A Psychotic Man Who Nearly Blew Up the World!

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One thing I'm looking forward to in this interminable election is the nomination, by both parties, of unelectable nominees. Both parties have candidates with cross-partisan appeal (McCain and Obama), both of whom should be ideologically acceptable to their bases. And yet there's anger boiling up from the base at them because they have too much appeal to people outside the tribe. Exhibit A: Hugh Hewitt, drinking in Romney's Michigan victory like a nomad happening upon an oasis,

CNN finally stumbles on the key fact: Republicans ultimately nominate the Republican nominee. Not Independents. Not the MSM.

Romney polls anywhere from 12 to 20 points worse than John McCain in the general election, but it's important that people who will cross over to vote for the GOP nominee in a year the GOP has basically no advantage don't get their guy.

Then there's the anti-Obama left, passing around video of this Barack Obama rumination:

I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

Obama wants to win as big and long-lasting as Reagan did, something that conservatives have been worrying about all year. The GOP leader who worked against Obama in Illinois's state Senate has said "Obama can be to liberalism what Ronald Reagan was to conservatism, and that's a friendly face or likable personality that can move the country left." But the reaction on lefty blogs is… Reagan was bad! Bad, bad!

Ronald Reagan didn't appeal to people's optimism, he appealed to their petty, small minded bigotry and selfishness.

Admittedly, it's pretty damn selfish to worry about 13 percent inflation and 8 percent unemployment. And from another one of the bloggers who brought you Sen. Ned Lamont (D-Conn)*:

Reagan was a psychotic man who nearly blew up the world and used paranoia and fear to change our culture and government in horrible ways. He also wasn't particularly popular, though as a politician, he's worth admiring for his raw political skill. Conservative ideology is based on greed and fear. There's no such thing as a good conservative leader, period. It is a fundamentally bankrupt, corrupt, and fraudulent ideology, and there is nothing laudable about people like Reagan who tap into the worst of America.

Let's, uh, take all that for granted. Obama was "lauding" Reagan about as much as Reed Richards "lauds" Doctor Doom. He wants to grok how Reagan won two landslides, while the critics want to recapture the intregrity and winning tactics of Walter Mondale. Again, I wonder what would happen if the big two parties stick with candidates who can't appeal beyond the base. As ridiculous as Mike Bloomberg is or the Ron Paul third party talk is, that would be the opening.

*This is probably unfair, as Lamont won the primary and was done in by Connecticut's lack of a sore loser law, but it says something about the bloggers' understanding of non-Democrats.

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  1. “And yet there’s anger boiling up from the base at them because they have too much appeal to people outside the trible.”

    I presume you mean “tribe.”

  2. Ink – pretty sure he meant trible

    🙂

  3. This reminds me of the “OMG! Al Sharpton called Fidel Castro a great leader in his book!” kerfluffle in 2004.

    Uh, yeah, sez Al. And I wrote the same thing about Ronald Reagan.

    Still, let’s not canonize Jesus Reagan quite yet, Dave. He did not give that speech about states rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi (where have I heard that name before) to make a point about inflation.

  4. But I thought Reagan was reincarnated in Pope Fred Thompson I. His Holiness was coronated by groups such as Glen Reynolds and Pajamas Media, the Cardinals of the Church of Small Government. Drafted by the people, He will smite the unbelieving liberals and pork shall flow no more.

  5. Again, I wonder what would happen if the big two parties stick with candidates who can’t appeal beyond the base.

    I think Obama does appeal beyond the base; the post notes that the hard-core lefties don’t like his lack of lefty purity. The hard-core anything will still turn out for their candidate, and I think Obama is a much more electable Dem because he appeals beyond the base. Hillary is much weaker on that front.

    Can Romney appeal to independents and squishy Dems? No idea. He did manage to get elected and govern Massachusetts, though.

  6. “Programs like education and others should be turned back to the states and local communities with the tax sources to fund them. I believe in states’ rights. I believe in people doing as much as they can at the community level and the private level.”

    That was the extent of Ron’s “state’s rights” comments in Philadelphia, Miss. The rest of his speech was about the economy and inflation.

  7. “Conservative ideology is based on greed and fear.”

    sez the govt. employee clamoring for higher taxes.

  8. Comical to me is this notion, among Democrats and Republicans, that there is more than a spits bit of difference between ’em.

  9. joe,

    I don’t think Weigel is canonizing Reagan as much as he is implying that the blogger’s accusations are laughable. There has been ample criticism of Reagan in this mag, of his pandering to racists, his homophobia, and even his numerous anti-trade tendencies. However, arguing that he was far worse for this country than Carter and Johnson and Roosevelt is a comically stilted perspective.

  10. Romney’s ability to appeal to Democrats is vastly overrated. Ditto Guiliani.

    In one-party, Democratic states and cities, where the legislature is so lopsided, an executive cannnot impose an agenda. People in Massachusetts elected Republican governors because they wanted the governor to be a speed bump as the legislature governed. When the Democrats nominated candidates who were seen as too close to the Beacon Hill Democratic machine, or too weak to stand up to it, a segment of Democratic and indepdendent voters went outside of their political comfort zone just to make sure there was a check on the Majority Leader and Speaker. It was people’s certainty that Romney wouldn’t be governing that made Democrats willing to vote for him.

  11. Abdul,

    Why on earth would he stick a throwaway line about states rights into an economic speech, given in Philadelphia, Mississippi?

    It’s almost as if there was some sort of STRATEGY that made it important, when he was in the SOUTH, to give a shout-out to STATES RIGHTS.

    Help me out here.

    Rimfax, sure, it is one-sided to say that Reagaon ONLY appealed to fear and bitterness, but it is equally blinkered to say he only appealed to optimism.

  12. It was people’s certainty that Romney wouldn’t be governing that made Democrats willing to vote for him.

    Wouldn’t your described scenario apply exactly to Romney as prez with a Dem Congress (which we have now)?

  13. “People in Massachusetts elected Republican governors because they wanted the governor to be a speed bump as the legislature governed.”

    Sigh, if only the good people of maryland were this wise.

  14. Searching database on anti-Reagan talking points…

    RESULT: **Philadelphia, MS**

    Engaging…

  15. joe,

    Neither Weigel nor anyone in this thread has argued that Reagon only appealed to optimism.

    For someone who says that many of us argue against the “joe in our head” you sure do like to argue against things in your head a lot.

  16. Reagan was simply following the Nixon southern strategy playbook, nothing more or less. Doesn’t really make him any more or less of a prick than that would usually indicate, but for what its worth I don’t think he was actually racist.

    No, Reagan (who was neither the second coming nor the great Satan) gets blame from me for two things: prosecuting the drug war (though his successor was much, MUCH worse), and reacting inappropriately and too slowly to the AIDS epidemic.

    Other than that, he was a charismatic but policy-light trying-very-hard to be conservative pol who happened to be lucky enough to be president during the most embarrassing (Chernenko, Andropov) years for our main adversary.

  17. The reaction is of a part with the netroots’ oft-stated desire to not just beat the Republicans, but punish them. One of the themes I see on left-wing blogs a lot is how Obama is too soft on the right. He (Obama) wants to be a unifier, his rhetoric is about reconciliation and an end to violent partisanship, and there’s a big chunk of the left that believes, with Grover Norquist, that “bipartisanship is another name for date rape” and that Obama isn’t vicious enough to keep his boot on the Republican Party’s collective neck (like Edwards or Hillary would). Obama’s willingness to recognize the accomplishments of a conservative like Reagan feeds this fear of weakness on Obama’s part.

    And on a side note, what gets me about that Daily Kos diary is how the diarist came to the conclusion that Reagan was a liar:

    I was fortunate enough to go to Russia.

    I hung out with engineering students there who openly questioned their government’s allocation of resources to build these nuclear warheads. Their lack of testing them, and their dictates to just swap components when there were shortage issues. I saw people carrying briefcases and bookbags, to stock up on certain items that hit the store shelves and then disappeared just as quickly. I saw the cheaply made shoes, smoked the cheaply made local cigarettes and walked the streets where small three cylander vehicles – “put put cars” my friend called them – cruised the streets looking for the impossible to find parking spot.

    And after all of this I thought to myself: this is the Evil Empire? It seemed like a surreal joke, knowing the trillions we had spent in “defending” ourselves against these folks.

    It was then I understood I had been lied to. By Reagan.

    If she was an Iraqi visiting the United States circa 2002, I wonder if she’d have concluded that the US posed no real threat to Iraq. After all, Americans are nice people too 🙂

  18. Elemenope,

    I just wish his advisors had let him make the “wacky” gold standard push he wanted to do.

  19. The reaction is of a part with the netroots’ oft-stated desire to not just beat the Republicans, but punish them.

    Its sort of a parallel to something I used to hear about the Israeli-Arab conflict. The two sides talked peace, but what they wanted was victory.

  20. Episiarch,

    Wouldn’t your described scenario apply exactly to Romney as prez with a Dem Congress (which we have now)?

    In Washington, there is a small Democratic majority which could be reversed at any time.

    In Massachusetts, before the first voter goes into the first voting booth, we know that the Democrats are going to have a veto-proof majority in both houses, and will continue to for years to come.

    robc,

    I’d walk you through this, but I’m afraid it would make me stupider.

  21. The reaction is of a part with the netroots’ oft-stated desire to not just beat the Republicans, but punish them.

    I can’t argue with that; there really is a sense that there need to be consequences for the past seven years.

  22. In Washington, there is a small Democratic majority which could be reversed at any time.

    It’s too bad we can’t vote for Congress, wait a couple weeks, then vote for President.

  23. Y’know, that’s a good idea, Rhwuyn. It’s probably a holdover from the English parliamentary system.

  24. “Other than that, he was a charismatic but policy-light trying-very-hard to be conservative pol who happened to be lucky enough to be president during the most embarrassing (Chernenko, Andropov) years for our main adversary.”

    Don’t forget that Reagan’s arm race helped break the USSR’s back.

  25. A Political Song

    1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4.

    We don’t want your apathy.
    No fuckin’ government gets down on me.

    Can spare any change?
    Can spare any change?

    Anti Reagan and stuff man, yeah.

    -Joe Pop-o-Pies, 1984
    http://www.pop-o-pie.com/

  26. I hate to say it, but despite being a truly disgusting creature, Mitt Romney is waaaaaaaaayyyy more electable than Ron Paul.

  27. there’s a big chunk of the left that believes, with Grover Norquist, that “bipartisanship is another name for date rape”

    You do have to admit that most bipartisan measures leave the public with a sore ass in the morning.

  28. “I think Obama does appeal beyond the base; the post notes that the hard-core lefties don’t like his lack of lefty purity. The hard-core anything will still turn out for their candidate, and I think Obama is a much more electable Dem because he appeals beyond the base. Hillary is much weaker on that front.”

    Hillary appeals to the Democratic base because she’s so polarizing towards the Republicans. This won’t translate very well into the general election. Her polarizing personality will turn off independents and Republicans and even some Democrats. Obama would be much better liked by independents and moderate Republicans because of his less polarizing personality and willingness to work across the aisle. He needs to convince enough Democrats of this, that between he and Hillary, only he can win the general election.

  29. Don’t lefties understand:

    Hillary is not as much of a leftie as she is perceived.

    Obama is more of a leftie than he is perceived.

    This means that they’ll get more of their policies enacted under Obama than under Hillary because his leash is longer with the public. This is exhibit #7,215 why partisans are morons.

  30. I wonder if, in 1941, there were people in the Army who told George Patton “We can’t adopt a strategy of sending armored spearheads deep behind enemy lines! That’s what the Nazis do, and they’re bad!”

  31. there really is a sense that there need to be consequences for the past seven years.

    Most definitely.

    Anybody got the number for the Hague?

  32. Oh, and some of those consequences need to apply to the Congressional Dems who have done exactly ZERO to stop any of this in the past year.

  33. It occurs to me that there WERE people saying something like that in 1941. Stalin, for example.

    How’s that go again?

  34. Oh, and some of those consequences need to apply to the Congressional Dems who have done exactly ZERO to stop any of this in the past year.

    Darn tootin’! The good news is, that faction of the party is going to a have a rough primary season.

  35. What bothers people like me (on the left) is that I feel like Democrats are always supposed to be the adults and Obama plays into this nonsense by making it sound like the past 12 years of Republican petty bickering childisness and insanity is somehow equally the fault of Democrats. He does metaphorically what the mainstream media does…when there is a huge Republican scandal they try to find a minor Democratic scandal and say ‘apox on all your houses!’. For God sakes the Reagan worshippers are the most damned idiotic and immature people on the planet, have you watched a GOP debate, they are sickening in their adulation about him. I support Obama over Clinton, but no I don’t agree with a lot of his statements.

  36. “Hillary is not as much of a leftie as she is perceived.”

    She actually is. The ADA rated her at nearly 100% liberal along with Teddy Kennedy and John Kerry. I pointed this out in another blog, which was met with skepticism. One of the other bloggers checked it out with several organizations and found that they all gave her a nearly perfect liberal rating. She is just pretending to be a centrist, feeling that that’s the only way she can win the general election.

  37. “Hillary is not as much of a leftie as she is perceived.”

    Nobody who takes that much corporate cash is a real liberal. She is part of the DLC hackery with ‘tons of money but a wilted soul’. She engages in copious amounts of bs warmongering talk.

  38. I guess her war votes were not included? Pre-emptive wars are not generally found on the liberal platform.

  39. Darn tootin’! The good news is, that faction of the party is going to a have a rough primary season.

    No they won’t. If their opponents follow the letter of the law in campaign financing, the incumbents will always have a formidable advantage.

  40. Oh, right, the incubency advantage that only started to exist when campaign cash was regulated.

    Of course incumbents are going to have an advantage, but the needle can still move.

  41. That quote makes me start to like Obama more. If only I were part of a demographic that mattered.

  42. The American political system is specificaly designed to favor big money/corporately sponsored 2,000/plate fundraising candidates…we call it freedom I guess..

  43. Oh, right, the incubency advantage that only started to exist when campaign cash was regulated.

    joe,

    I didn’t even infer that and you know it. I merely recognize that McCain and Feingold designed the Incumbent Protection Act the way they did because they were aware of the huge advantage of incumbency and feared that lavishly funded candidates could counter the name recognition and free publicity advantages that incumbency always confers.

    OK, I’m not a mind reader and can’t say for certain that that is why the legislation was written. An average seventh grader can see the advantages of incumbency, I’m fairly sure that John and Russ could too.

  44. But if some of the squishy Dems get ousted by true believers, I really won’t complain.

  45. If you really want to lessen incumbency advantage then try public financing of elections or the system they have in Arizona where if you don’t accept public funds you automatically trigger funds for your opponent. When the funding between the candidates is the same then monetary advantage is factored out and ideas will matter more.

  46. McCain-Feingold was designed as it was because the most obvious solutions – like public funding or expenditure limits – were politically unacceptable to the people now complaining about how McCain-Feingold is designed.

  47. Better Obama lauding Reagan, I suppose, than Schwarzenegger lauding Hitler (“I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for his way of getting to the people and so on. But I didn’t admire him for what he did with it…”: http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/03/schwarzenegger.hitler/index.html)

  48. Or because you are an incumbent you already have a ton of free press, so the cash may be equal but the resources are certainly not.

  49. First of all incumbents almost always outraise challengers…just a fact because they get hooked up with the party aparatus in Washington, but we get tons of fucked up law because congress is bought and paid for by various interests…not to mention the fact that the time of congresspeople is wasted by having them constantly holding fundraising events instead of reading the damn bills they are passing…a free-spending system is the biggest advantage for incumbents….

  50. McCain-Feingold was designed as it was because the most obvious solutions – like public funding or expenditure limits – were politically unacceptable to the people now complaining about how McCain-Feingold is designed.

    Solutions to what? Seriously, what problem has McCain-Feingold solved?

  51. Can Romney appeal to independents and squishy Dems? No idea. He did manage to get elected and govern Massachusetts, though.

    Well, Primary Romney TM can’t win, but General Election Romney TM would do well.

  52. James,

    That’s a new one! Poor Congress, they don’t have time to read the 500-page bills they pass because of all the time they have to devote to fundraising.

    Strangely though, they always have time to hold hearings about what chemicals were ingested by men chasing balls around on a field.

  53. McCain/Feingold was not intended to limit money in politics…it was intended to limit ‘soft money’ flowing into politicalv parties as well as the ‘stand by your ad’ provision that forces the candidates to say “I’m George W. Bush and I support this message”.

  54. “That’s a new one! Poor Congress, they don’t have time to read the 500-page bills they pass because of all the time they have to devote to fundraising.”

    The point is that you are buying access when you buy a candidate…Also, no maybe they would’t read those long bills, but there would be less of a chance of say Eli Lilly getting immunity shoved into the ‘Patriot Act’…they bought and paid for that favor.

  55. I wonder if “term limits” are a politically-acceptable solution now. Seems like it would lessen the advantage incumbents have. And then there’s the side bonus of “experienced” pols like Byrd no longer being able to push cartloads of my money into W. Va. every year.

  56. What bothers people like me (on the left) is that I feel like Democrats are always supposed to be the adults and Obama plays into this nonsense by making it sound like the past 12 years of Republican petty bickering childisness and insanity is somehow equally the fault of Democrats

    In fairness, James, the Democrats (especially in the Senate) could have done more obstructing/filibustering (kind of how the GOP has been obstructing like crazy since they became the minority). Instead the Dems were scared of being called mean names like “obstructionists” by the GOP and gave in to just about every major issue the GOP tried to ram down their throat. I wouldn’t say that the Dems were equally culpable, but they share a non-trivial amount of the blame since they were pretty fucking spineless and were more than happy to go along with anything the GOP wanted in the hopes that the GOP wouldn’t attack them.

    Also, if I remember — there were quite a few times where the minority were completely locked out of negotiations when House and Senate bills were reconciled. Something the now majority Dems would NEVER EVER do.

    The reality is that the GOP was playing to win, and the Dems are merely playing to enjoy the sport of it all.

  57. ‘In fairness, James, the Democrats (especially in the Senate) could have done more obstructing/filibustering’

    Totally agree…the Dems acted like dogs who had been so abused by both the Republicans and the media that all you need to do is motion in their direction and they cower. I sure as hell wished they would have stood up stronger, I wish they wouldn’t have signed on with the Clintonite losers at the DLC who have no principles, I wish they would fight to win like the Republicans are doing now in gumming up the works…

  58. Solutions to what? Seriously, what problem has McCain-Feingold solved?

    crimethink —

    I think the appropriate revision would be: “what problem has McCain-Feingold attempted but failed to solve?”

    And the answer would be: rampant plutocracy.

    Look, it would be a nice world indeed if money were either a natural extension of speech or speech itself, or that some sort of market force naturally caused a selection of pols with attendant policies that benefit the social order. We don’t live in that world.

    People with lots and lots of money can either support policies that make them

    A. somewhat richer and everyone else somewhat richer (i.e. hands off the market entirely), or

    B. hugely richer at the expense of others (i.e. corporate Welfare).

    They tend to choose option B, for obvious reasons…and as a result become even richer and hence more able to choose option B in the future.

    McG-F is almost worse that the problem it fails to solve. But it is a problem that still needs to be addressed.

  59. I don’t support term limits because I think they are undemocratic and it doesn’t make sense to force excellent politicians out of office arbitrarily.

  60. Reagan was a psychotic man who nearly blew up the world and used paranoia and fear to change our culture and government

    I think he meant John F. Kennedy?

  61. [Reagan] popularized the notion that all government is bad government

    *sigh*

    (looking wistfully out window) Does anyone else pine for these days?

  62. The same people who call Reagan a racist, because he made a speech about keeping education at the state level in Missippi (and we are supposed to somehow infer that there was some wink-nod racist intent to it), somehow are still in love with FDR (who overtly ordered and implemented racist concentration camps).

  63. I don’t think many people today agree with the racist internment camps of FDR(execpt Michelle Malkin), Reagan went to Philadelphia, Mississippi to give a wink and nod to southern racists and imply, ‘I feel your pain’.

  64. In case some of you don’t know why some people were critical of the states’ rights speech in Philadelphia, MS, this is why.

  65. For someone who says that many of us argue against the “joe in our head” you sure do like to argue against things in your head a lot.

    lmao

  66. I don’t think many people today agree with the racist internment camps of FDR(execpt Michelle Malkin), Reagan went to Philadelphia, Mississippi to give a wink and nod to southern racists and imply, ‘I feel your pain’.

    Good, so we all have something we don’t agree with when looking back on our greatest politicians.

    We don’t agree with an internment camp for people of a certain race, and we don’t agree with “winks and nods”. Check.

    Moving on now…

  67. fantastic four reference followed by use of the word grok. you’re on nerd notice, weigel.

  68. it doesn’t make sense to force excellent politicians out of office arbitrarily

    Putting aside a wiseass remark on “excellent politicians”: the problem with identifying if someone is pas their prime, is that you can only do that when they are actually past their prime. The downside of getting rid of someone before his “peak” is rather small. Futhermore, if he is actually a ‘good guy’ he should be able to do some good outside of political office (forex, if you’re fans of them, Carter and Gore). A sufficiently long term limit, say 3 terms for senate and 6 terms for the house, I think has a very low possibility of mixing wheat with chaff.

    At the very least, I wouldn’t mind seing a limit on consecutive terms; take a few years off, and then we’ll see if you’re still Congressional material.

    Caveat to above: I do believe that term limits should be implemented by constitutional ammendment, not by state legistatures nor congressional action

  69. Edwards, Obama, and Clinton would all run over their grandmothers if necessary to become president. Like I should give a crap what sort of mouth noises they make on the campaign trail.

    PS, that applies to the Republicans, too.

  70. That’s a new one! Poor Congress, they don’t have time to read the 500-page bills they pass because of all the time they have to devote to fundraising.

    You’re making the huge assumption that Congresscritters can read. That’s what staffers are for.

  71. They can read the numbers on the checks just fine.

    Honey, run these down to Riggs when you’re done with that.

  72. “Conservative ideology is based on greed and fear.”

    says the guy that wants me to pay for his healthcare.

  73. ron,

    What is this new “Nerd Notice” periodical you’re offering and how do I get a subscription? Will it feature an article on Galactus’ kitchen decor? Or an article on how Valentine Michael Smith gets the chicks and I can too?

    Please, man, where do I send the money?

  74. “that you can only do that when they are actually past their prime”

    On a more global note the great advantage of parliamentary system is that there are no fixed terms, you can dissolve the gov’t whenever a no-confidence vote succeess…ergo, Bush would likely have been replaced years ago by his own party.

  75. joe sez the most obvious solutions – like public funding or expenditure limits

    To the former I say, you want YOUR tax dollars going to LaRouche and/or Duke, hell, even Bush?

    To the latter I say, 1st Amdt?

  76. James sez nd it doesn’t make sense to force excellent politicians out of office arbitrarily

    Excellent politicians? Isn’t that like military intelligence?

  77. Like David, I am pretty confused by the liberal blogosphere going to town on Obama over this. I understand he may not be as progressive as Edwards (the popular choice for many of them), but I really don’t see how this largely descriptive statement is supposed to constitute support for Reagan’s actual policies. Progressives may want to avoid triangulation, and Obama may be too far right on healthcare and social security for some, but this seems like much ado about nothing.

  78. Any Democrat that votes for Hillary over Obama is an idiot. He can win the White House for them. She would have a much harder time, and probably also a much harder time winning a second term, whereas Obama is likeable enough by the majority of people, even Republicans who disagree with his policy positions, to win a second term quite easily.

    Anyone that votes for her just to see a woman president is an idiot, too. That’s just as idiotic as not voting for her because she’s a woman.

  79. RC Dean,

    I suspect the author’s idea is: Obama has cross-over appeal, but many Democrats are too myopic to see that. HRC and Romney are the referenced “unelectable nominees,” whereas the author believes McCain and Obama have greater appeal to non-partisans.

    RC Dean wrote: “I think Obama does appeal beyond the base; the post notes that the hard-core lefties don’t like his lack of lefty purity. The hard-core anything will still turn out for their candidate, and I think Obama is a much more electable Dem because he appeals beyond the base. Hillary is much weaker on that front.”

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