The Long Weekend Political Thread: You Come at the King, You Best Not Miss

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My friend Brian Beutler is recuperating nicely, and Spencer Ackerman has set up a fund to defray his medical bills here.

Also, this morning I recorded a brief, pre-hospital visit, pre-BBQ Inside Washington Weekly podcast with Eli Lake and Jamie Kirchick; it'll be up here shortly. It was a slow news week, but we chewed over the horse race, energy, Colombia, and Montana.

The Week in Brief
– Barack Obama learned to love the surge, allegedly.
– John McCain traveled to Colombia; at the same time, Colombia rescued three hostages from FARC. (If Obama wins, do the hostages go back?)
– Florida Gov. Charlie Crist got engaged.
– former Sen. Jesse Helms died at age 86. Americans started setting off fireworks. The two events were unrelated. (My review of the latest Helms biography is here.)
– At the moment, Obama leads McCain by 102 electoral votes.

Below the Fold
– Brian Beutler examines the odious House FISA bill.
– Zev Chafets enters the empire of Rush Limbaugh.
– I'm going to climb out on a limb and predict that conservative black pastors won't be much of a problem for Obama.
– A Daily Kos diarist wonders if the party can still nominate Hillary. (He's angry about FISA.)

I'm tweaking Politics 'n' Prog this week and digging back into my high school tape archives for a song befitting this absurdly violent week.

SUNDAY UPDATE: Would you believe that Mumia Abu-Jamal agrees with Ralph Nader, that Barack Obama isn't black enough? Here you go.

NEXT: Woo Hoo, a Sparkler!

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  1. The link to the American Spectator review of the Helms bio is reported as an attack site. Any idea why?

    Oh, and nice pic for the Crist wedding. They look so lifelike.

  2. The link to the American Spectator review of the Helms bio is reported as an attack site. Any idea why?

    IIRC, someone mentioned the same thing about a Spectator link in last week’s political thread.

    P.S.: For those who’d prefer an alternative to Pearl Jam, I suggest this classic Lemonheads song. (And, if you’d rather see Evan Dando with short hair, click here.)

  3. So why the take down of you youtube post from yesterday?

  4. 1. There’s a new John McCain ad… just for us!

    2. The Washington Post lied.

    3. This week’s anti-prog is in the form of a call for tariffs.

    P.S. Happy 4th of July, tranzis!

  5. I think Lonewacko just sits in his basement masturbating angrily in front of his computer waiting for Weigel to put up the weekend political thread, just so he can get his shit-spam post up as soon as possible.

    Happy 4th, Lonewacko! Keep on the lookout for MexicanFireworks!

  6. Exuse me, but the last time I checked the Constution, the Electoral College votes aren’t counted until early January (January 6th, if memory serves……)

  7. 3. This week’s anti-prog is in the form of a call for tariffs.

    For those who’d prefer an alternative to Natalie Merchant (and, I assume, tariffs), I suggest this classic Dinosaur Jr song.

  8. Jesse Helms died at age 86. Americans started setting off fireworks. The two events were unrelated.

    Don’t bet on it.

    Exuse me, but the last time I checked the Constution, the Electoral College votes aren’t counted until early January…

    Some people really *need* those disclaimers; talk about literally minded. (Also, some people need Firefox for the spellchecker.)

  9. Not suprisingingly REASON missed this political story.

  10. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=12942

    Huh. Interesting…though I am still really quite skeptical of how Iraq fits into Just War theory. I remember reading the Richard Land letter and choking on bitter laughter.

  11. Not surprisingly REASON missed this political story.

    SIV, I think you seem to be confusing ‘political story’ with ‘story about a politician’. They are not the same.

  12. Elemenope ,

    Some people with an adolescent sense of humor might find the headline amusing. Clearly you are too sophisticated for such things.

  13. SIV,

    I would never fault the subtlety of your humor. Yeah, the headline was funny enough.

  14. The link to the electoral college votes seems like Obama is running away with it — until you click on the link for the 2004 election and find that Kerry had an almost identical lead in early July also — and that several states listed in the Obama column are virtually ties.

    Could be a squeaker again — with LP party voters possibly holding the balance of power.

    DC is worth checking out — 90-9 Obama — and this single digit showing for Republicans happened in all the prior presidential elections listed.

  15. Let’s not forget Joanthan Rauch’s analysis of Hemlm’s impact from back in 2002:

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/34646.html

  16. Happy 4th of July!

  17. Happy Independence Day, everyone!

    Here is the true meaning of the holiday:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osFKsmjwe6g

    It’s one of my faves on my YouTube page:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/RickeyRamone

    Feel free to subscribe so that you’ll be notified whenever I add a vid.

  18. Ohio is big on cornhole. My neighbors have their whole backyard made into a cornhole thing. Carson Palmer had a cornhole tournament also ( and he does commercials and print ads for extra long hotdogs).

  19. I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress.

  20. “opposing with manly firmness his invasions”

  21. Not suprisingingly REASON missed this political story.

    Didn’t former NJ Gov. Jim McGreevey already use his cornhole for fundraising?

  22. Pearl Jam? And still no Devin Townsend? Hang your head in shame, Mr. Weigel.

    But on a serious note, the article on the conservative black church leadership was thought-provoking. A profound Gordian Knot indeed, that a-word.

  23. No doubt about it dude. You gonna hit the King, you better make it count!

    JT
    http://www.FIreMe.To/udi

  24. Jesse Helms died at age 86. Americans started setting off fireworks. The two events were unrelated.

    I’d like to say that I set off pyrotechnic devices to celebrate that ignorant bigots demise, but the idea didn’t occur to me. OTOH, pouring a double of Irish whiskey over ice and musing about his seat in hell …

  25. Pearl Jam sucks. Ed Vedder’s an ass. He’s about a libertarian as a warm fart coming out of the ass of Obama.

    Again no Keith Emerson? Eddie Vedder’s no KE. He sucks!

  26. Obama supports a deliberate and orderly withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. It’s a completely different view of America’s role in the world and future in the Middle East.

    -sez the Obamapologist. Obama is a Serious Adult Politician; you kids go play, and let the grown-ups handle this stuff.

    Unlimited power is bad, when Georgie Peorgie has it, but it’ll be okay, once we have the whip and the reins. And put that greasy old doughnut down! We have some nice arugula for you to snack on.

  27. Obama supports a deliberate and orderly withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.

    As does every other politician. The only differences are in the (increasingly arcane) details.

    You do know, of course, that Obama has abandoned his rigid schedule of 1-2 brigades per month, regardless of conditions on the ground, yes?

  28. What’s Obama’s stated policy (this week) on permanent bases in Iraq? Has he said he’ll stop funding their construction? What does he propose to do with the Fortress America embassy complex in Baghad?

    ps- I know you’re not an Obamapologist, RC.

  29. Our Congress, with the political and media elite cheering, is about to violate every one of these principles. They are taking away from the judiciary the power to adjudicate allegations of lawbreaking. They are creating a two-tiered system of justice in which our most powerful corporations can break the law with impunity and government officials remain immune from consequences. And they are, in unity, spewing rank propaganda to the commoners — who continue to be subjected to the harsh punishment for violations of the law — in order to convince them that granting license to our political and corporate elites to break the law is necessary for their own Good and for their Safety.

    -Greenwald

    go here

  30. We can’t know what either Obama or McCain “would do” when they get in office on Iraq. We do know where they “have been” on the war (Obama against, McCain bully on it). And we do know what their rhetoric currently is on it (again, Obama against, McCain bully on it). I imagine at different times both say different things on the details (like 100 years?)

    Does anyone remember Steve Colbert doing Carry on Wayward Son at the close of Strangers with Candy? Rocks.

  31. Knight 2k,

    I was watching the last episode of the HBO Adam’s miniseries last night. During his daughters breast cancer surgery, he was pacing. Abigail says “For God’s sake, John, sit down”. I laughed.

  32. Infromative linked article, P Brooks.
    I give a lot of props to Greenwald.

  33. Venus Williams is queen of Wimbledon again

    I love it when Yank athletes excel. If you’re a boorish American tennis fan, the men’s competition has provided you no reason to cheer lately. Fortunately the Williams sisters are still upper tier.

  34. We can’t know what either Obama or McCain “would do” when they get in office on Iraq. We do know where they “have been” on the war (Obama against, McCain bully on it). And we do know what their rhetoric currently is on it (again, Obama against, McCain bully on it). I imagine at different times both say different things on the details (like 100 years?

    MNG — what we do know is that Obama is now backing off on withdrawing the troops, now that he is courting a general election audience. What we do know is that Obama has broken his word about campaign financing funds. What we do know is that Obama is rolling over on the odious telecom immunity bill. What we do know is that Obama said the DC gun law was constitutional, until the 5-4 Heller ruling, whereupon he used a spokesman’s weasel words to imply it was unconstitutional.

    What we do know is that both Obama and McCain can and will do what is politically expedient. What we do know is that they both are finding frequent occasion to have spokesmen try to spin what they have said and done, and pretend they really didn’t mean what we all heard and observed. We can quibble about how far each will go to screw us over, but screw us over they will.

    Which is why I’m voting for Bob Barr, to send the message that all this crap is unacceptable to me, and doesn’t merit my vote.

  35. prole
    Is he backing off from withdrawing the troops? I just heard that he was making a trip there and said he’d take into consideration what he learned there in his Iraq policy. I’m not sure that’s the same thing. As for the telecom immunity if I remember correctly he said he was against that provision but I’m not sure that entails a promise to vote against any bill which contains that provision. Sure, I’d like to see him fight the entire bill to get the provision, but I imagine Senators have to vote for bills with provisions they do not like but which have improvements or provisions they do like.

    I actually am happy to hear about his Heller flip flop as it tells me that while there are many gun control types in the rank and file Democratic Party, and their pols have to take that into account, that they have determined that this is a liability for them in elections and thus will not touch it.

  36. Well, we have no way to know what either Obama or McCain will do about the war. But if you look to Vietnam for a precedent, it may very well be that it will be ended faster with McCain in office. Vietnam wasn’t ended because Nixon wanted to leave, it was ended because a hostile Democratic congress cut off it’s funding. Given that we’re going to have an overwhelmingly Democratic congress after the next election, who are they more likely to yank the rug out from under? A Democratic president, or a Republican one?

  37. Quibble: He rejected the DC law as unconstitutional a few days BEFORE Heller was announced. Not after.

    I suppose you could go all paranoid “but somehow he KNEW how it was going to go”, but that would be stupid.

  38. Lefty,

    Are you the same Lefty who commented here years ago?

    BTW we, at least, agree on Pearl Jam.

  39. I see there is a Brian Beutler aid party happening at the Black Cat in a couple of weeks. Any news on what that will be like? Should a libertarian bother to attend and throw down a few bucks in support of a local blogger?

  40. Mannix-I would guess something that might make your analogy a bit more inapt is that Obama has made his mark being against the war while LBJ made his being for staying the course until it was “done”. In that respect McCain=LBJ.

  41. Weigel, well done on the Gest/Manelli picture. That’s one of my favorite pictures of all time.

    Also, Pearl Jam sucks.

  42. Wow, the haters. Pearl Jam’s Ten was a great album. True, it was downhill ever since. I’ve found that pretty much everyone older than about thirty reflexively hates STP, Pearl Jam, AIC, Soundgarden.

    It’s a sign you’re getting old.

  43. much everyone older than about thirty

    Younger, no?

  44. Barack Obama learned to love the surge, allegedly.

    At the rate Obama is moving right, by Election Day his middle name will be Reagan and he’ll be endorsed by Rush Limbaugh.

    Wow, the haters. Pearl Jam’s Ten was a great album. True, it was downhill ever since.

    Yeah, Ten was their peak. No Code was just awful. Yield had one or two good ones.

  45. I’ve found that pretty much everyone older than about thirty reflexively hates STP, Pearl Jam, AIC, Soundgarden.

    Don’t forget to include people with taste. I remember when the album after Ten came out; everyone was totally hyped up for it beyond all reason–it was totally faddish. My cousins camped out in front of the music store to buy the album at midnight. A week later (since the album sucked) it was like Pearl Jam no longer existed. They wouldn’t even mention them because they were embarrassed at being sucked in.

    It’s a sign you’re getting old.

    Claiming something is a sign of someone getting old is a sign you’re getting old.

    And I just entered myself into an endless loop of getting old.

  46. Younger, no?

    Just barely. I’ll be twenty-seven in two weeks. And I’m actually on the younger side of people who grew up directly with those four bands; twenty-nine is probably the sweet spot for grunge. And yeah, pretty much everyone older than thirty or younger than twenty-six fucking hates ’em, and not without reason. Some of their albums *did* suck.

    Don’t forget to include people with taste. I remember when the album after Ten came out; everyone was totally hyped up for it beyond all reason–it was totally faddish. My cousins camped out in front of the music store to buy the album at midnight. A week later (since the album sucked) it was like Pearl Jam no longer existed. They wouldn’t even mention them because they were embarrassed at being sucked in.

    Oh, I dunno. Vs. was OK, and Yield was…um, OK. Vitalogy really blew. By that time, pretty much everyone I knew had moved on to Tool and System of a Down, so the grunge movement died a quiet death.

  47. I’m in my early 40’s and didn’t really appreciate them when they were big, as I was going through a funk and jazz obsession at the time. Now, I’m checking out their CD’s from the library and I’m thoroughly impressed. Great musicians. Some beautiful songs. And Vedder’s songs from “Into the Wild” are, in my opinion, just wonderful.

  48. STP, Pearl Jam, AIC, Soundgarden.

    I am 34, and these have the heaviest rotation on my playlists on the ipod. The whole grunge thing came out my freshman year of college, and thanks to an environment which enabled a delayed and perpetual adolescence, I don’t really count my ‘teenage’ years over until about 1999. So I would say I ‘grew up’ with them too.

    OTOH, as I have said, I am the world’s worst cultural critic

  49. I am 34, and these have the heaviest rotation on my playlists on the ipod. The whole grunge thing came out my freshman year of college, and thanks to an environment which enabled a delayed and perpetual adolescence, I don’t really count my ‘teenage’ years over until about 1999. So I would say I ‘grew up’ with them too.

    Well, there are always outliers. My younger brother’s favorite band is Pink Floyd, and he’s about twenty-five years too young to care about them. Then again, he’s heavy into Alice In Chains right now, and he’s a bit too young for them too.

    I have a sweet spot for The Rolling Stones (and it kills me that they’re *still touring*; that just ain’t right), myself.

  50. I’ll be twenty-seven in two weeks.

    I’m older than you, but I look 27, so it’s a wash.

    the grunge movement died a quiet death

    As a person who was the exact age to experience grunge, I can only be happy about this. Grunge is some of the shittiest music around. Self-involved douchebags whining about how tough their lives are is very annoying.

  51. Self-involved douchebags whining about how tough their lives are is very annoying.

    Isn’t that the description of all artists ever?

    (Speaking, respectfully, as the son of a professional artist.)

    Pathos is critical to art, and if you don’t have it, you gotta at least fake it for the art’s sake.

  52. I never did get into grunge (a term that I’ve always thought has been misapplied) during and after my college years. (I’m 36.) Instead, I have a soft spot for a lot of power-pop and punk-pop–not to mention TV themes (especially from the early ’60s through the late ’80s, and most notably for game shows and local TV news). (My primary exposure to new music is through occasionally listening to songs on MySpace and PureVolume.)

    Since I plugged a few songs earlier, I might as well plug Husker Du’s “I Don’t Want to Know if You Are Lonely”–and a cover version by Green Day. And, just in case, LoneWacko’s reading this, here are members of three of Mexico’s leading pop-punk bands (Allison, Delux, and Masappan) performing three of their groups’ best-known songs (respectively, “Me Cambio”, “Entre la Guerra y el Amor”, and “Otra Ma?ana”). (“Alternative Press” apparently had a recent feature on Mexican punk, but I haven’t been able to read it yet, as it’s not online.)

  53. Sorry for the extraneous comma; it should read “just in case LoneWacko’s reading this…”.

  54. “At the moment, Obama leads McCain by 102 electoral votes.”

    I knew that Electoral College thing was rigged.

  55. Episotomy: I’ve been accused of being older than you, but I play the sousaphone like Jimi Page and the girls I date are underage.

    Gotta agree with you though. The listenable parts of grunge were stolen. The rest was original.

  56. My younger brother’s favorite band is Pink Floyd, and he’s about twenty-five years too young to care about them.

    No one is too young to care about Pink Floyd. It is a sign of quality when a group significantly (there are always outliers) crosses generational boundaries.

    200 years from now, people will still be listening to Floyd. Im not sure about The Beatles (to pick an example that people THOUGHT would last that way). Pearl Jam wont make it.

  57. Out of a sense of respect, I’d like to say a few words about this thread. The Long Weekend Political Thread lived an amazing life even though it was rather short. What is it that we remember when we think of The Long Political Thread? I think everyone who knows it very well would agree with me on this. It was its sense of humor. It was the kind of thread that would make everyone laugh so hard that they’d end up crying. And we can all agree about The Long Political Thread’s love of music, especially prog, and how it loved to debate about it knowing there could be no real resolution on this subject, but enjoying the few minutes when libertarians, liberaltarians, paleos etc. could all be united in a mutual like and nostalgia for music of days gone by.

    The Long Political Thread is in heaven now and we are here at its funeral. This is not the time for us to grieve its death but it’s our time to celebrate its life. Don’t ever forget The Long Political Thread. It never wanted to see people cry. It wanted to make everyone happy. So at this moment when we are about to lay its body to rest, let’s all think back and remember how The Long Political Thread touched our lives. How it made us laugh and how good The Long Political Thread was as a blog thread. This is not the moment for us to shed our tears but we should all be thankful that we were given the chance to have known a thread named The Long Political Thread. After all, it’s not its fault there was no news about evolution or gay marriage this week.

  58. I refuse to give up The Weekend Political Thread to the Angel of Death.

    But, aye, I weep for the dearth of t3h joez, t3h Guy Montags, t3h Wine Commonsewers and t3h Neu Mejicans. Even Dondero’s half-hearted.

  59. MNG, can I have some of whatever you’re on today?

    “I’ve changed. People change. Changes…I’m not the same Jerri Blank who informed on those blind orphans. I’m not the same Jerri Blank who revealed the hiding place of those Guatemalans…such as yourself. And I’m not the same Jerri Blank who took a crap in the Fleishmann’s holly bushes…last night.”

  60. I would agree that these numbers are no evidence that Obama will win because, yes, John Kerry and Michael Dukakis also had an early lead. But this brings up what I like to call the “weiner factor”. Kerry was kind of a weiner. So were Gore and Dukakis. Obama might be a weiner, but ultimately, I think that McCain is the leading contender for Mega Weiner right now.

  61. 200 years from now, people will still be listening to Floyd.

    … in the future’s equivalent of elevators, waiting rooms, and pretentious classical music stations.

  62. prolefeed,

    That’s also where they’ll probably be listenting to Human League, Associates, OMD, Depeche Mode, et al. as well. I can live with that (if you can pardon the expression).

  63. When two candidates have vastly different positions on a major issue, and one of them is trying his damnedest to blur those differences, you don’t need a lot of polling data to figure out the state of the race.

    Two years ago, the Republicans decided it was politically expedient to ignore everything Obama was saying about “listen to the commanders on the ground about tactics” and “we need to be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in,” and pretend his position was indistinguishable from Dennis Kucinich.

    Now, they’ve decided it is politically expedient to ignore everything he’s saying about withdrawal being the cornerstone of his strategy for Iraq, and pretend his position is indistinguishable from John McCain’s.

    And the theory here is, in a country where 70% of the public wants to leave Iraq FASTER than Barack Obama, he is changing his position to one of staying longer, out of political expedience.

    I’d say that’s an astoundingly stupid argument for conservatives to make in this election, but, as always, we return to: well, what the hell else are they supposed to talk about?

    BTW, RC, love the “everyone wants to withdraw from Iraq in an orderly manner” line. Perhaps you should tell Senator “maybe 100 years, maybe 1000 years, maybe 10,000 years.

  64. John Kerry and Michael Dukakis also had an early lead.

    Yes it’s clearly better to be way behind.

  65. I think if anything the polls underestimate Obama’s true lead. African American and young turnout is going to skyrocket from 2004 levels (something the polls don’t take into account) and be compounded by the swing in party ID (again, something most polls–esp. the weighted ones (gallup) don’t show because they are using 2004 numbers).

    Watch for surprisingly strong numbers in the deep south, especially. Obama will have the strongest performance there of any Democrat since Jimmy Carter.

  66. Obama has shown bigger leads than either Kerry or Gore ever did.

    As for Dukakis, in 1988 a Vice President under a very popular incumbent was running to succeed him. Bush Sr. would have taken it as a compliment if someone accused him in 1988 as running for a “third Reagan term”.

    Not so much for a third Bush term in 2008.

  67. In 1988, 2000, and 2004, party IDs were roughly even.

    In 2008, the Democrats’ lead in party ID was even larger than it was in 2006.

  68. Real Clear Politics “only” has Obama up by 70 EVs, in their “no leaners” count.

  69. As for Dukakis, in 1988 a Vice President under a very popular incumbent was running to succeed him. Bush Sr. would have taken it as a compliment if someone accused him in 1988 as running for a “third Reagan term”.

    That’s not even close to true. What was the line? “We shall be a kinder, gentler administration (which should not be taken as a criticism of my predecessor).”

  70. Long weekend, short weekend political thread.

    I see this as a positive thing.

  71. I saw my first McCain ad the other day. It was on the economy. He listed four or five things he was going to do, and two of them were “make corporate CEO’s accountable” and “restructure mortgage debt” and I thought, wow this is an unusual GOP Presidential ad isn’t it?

    Obama’s ads run quite a bit. Mostly fluff. They seem to say “I’m NOT a scary black guy, I have and like my grandmother. And values n’stuff.” But it was a better put together ad.

  72. Elemenope, Reagan campaigned way more for Bush Sr. than Clinton did for Gore, or Eisenhower for Nixon.

    “No New Taxes” certainly is Reagan-esque, isn’t it?

  73. Regardless being a Republican in 1988 wasn’t a big problem–it was probably a plus given Reagan’s popularity.

    I’m almost positive Reagan could’ve won a third term in 1988 had he been allowed to run, something you certainly can’t say for Bush Jr. today.

  74. “Self-involved douchebags whining about how tough their lives are is very annoying.”

    “Isn’t that the description of all artists ever?”

    Wow. “All”? “Ever”?
    I guess, maybe, if “all” art began in the 1990s…

  75. joe,

    BTW, RC, love the “everyone wants to withdraw from Iraq in an orderly manner” line. Perhaps you should tell Senator “maybe 100 years, maybe 1000 years, maybe 10,000 years.

    I think RC’s point was that even McCain wants to withdraw in an orderly manner, which might be 1000+ years from now. But, he wants to do it. Orderly.

  76. I saw my first McCain ad the other day.

    I dont think I will get to see any ads this year (yea! for me). Obama got crushed by Clinton here (well, not literally here, he beat her in my county, just got thumped in the state) and he has zero, zip, zilch chance against McCain in KY. I didnt mind the ad free campaign of 4 years ago either.

    I think it would be a good place for Barr to run ads (along with others) if he is interested in maximizing his vote numbers vs maximizing effect on the race.

  77. Why do I have the feeling Ben wasnt of legal voting age in 1988?

  78. Robc-

    You’d be right. What that has to do with the fact that Reagan didn’t have an approval rating in the upper 20s, and that the Republican Party wasn’t self-destructing in 1988 like it is now, I’m not sure.

  79. Epi
    Sorry, I just say no. As my friend Sara Blank says about dealing with folks with drug addiction: “You can’t help a drug addict until they’ve hit rock bottom. And sometimes it’s important to help the process along. You dig a hole in the yard and cover it with sticks and leaves, put glass in their slippers… “

  80. robc,

    I stand corrected. John McCain is, indeed, in favor of withdrawal. Why, he’s even begun speaking about a timeline. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Seriously, there is an easy way of figuring out this not-really-a-mystery about what the two candidates intend to do about Iraq; look at what they’re saying about troop levels in Afghanistan.

    There is no reserve available for us to put into Afghanistan. Zip. Zero. Nada. And yet, everyone realizes that we’re quite thin there, with the Taliban making a comeback. The only way there can be an increase in troop levels there is if we shrink the force in Iraq.

    Barack Obama is on record in favor of a substantial increase in American troop levels in Afghanistan – IIRC, he’s talking about a 10,000 man surge. John McCain, on the other hand, is saying that we should not increase troop levels there, and aren’t the Europeans terrible for not sending more of the their own troops?

    Barack Obama intends to have at least 10,000 troops available to send to Afghanistan next year, and John McCain does not. There ya go.

    Barack Obama has a strategy to withdraw from Iraq, but will be flexible and pay a great deal of attention to the uniformed military in the tactical implementation of that strategy. John McCain has a strategy to continue the occupation of Iraq, but will be flexible and pay a great deal of attention to the uniformed military in the tactical implementation of that strategy. It’s as the CinC of CentCom said a few months back to Congress – “We do what we must in Iraq, we do what we can in Afghanistan.” John McCain intends to keep that order of priorities in place, and Barack Obama intends to do the opposite.

  81. Barack Obama will end the illegal,immoral, war of imperialist aggression. Barack Obama will smite the muslim hordes.

    Barack Obama will restore our civil liberties to the level intended by our founding fathers.Barack Obama will give law enforcement and the intelligence community the tools it needs to stop terrorism,child pornography and the war on drugs.

    Barack Obama will protect a womans right to chose. Mental distress is no excuse for murdering your unborn child.

    Barack Obama will lower gas prices. barack Obama will tax the oil companies and protect our lands from destructive drilling.

    Barack Obama has ponies for every little girl in the world.A whole stable full of ponies just for joe.

  82. I’m not sure what’s more impressive; the evidence you brought to bear, or the keen logic.

    Anyway, you sure showed me.

    This just in: people who support Barack Obama support Barack Obama. That’s all you need to know to understand that they’re wrong.

  83. “Let me be as clear as I can be. I intend to end this war. My first day in office I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war – responsibly, deliberately, but decisively. And I have seen no information that contradicts the notion that we can bring our troops out safely at a pace of one to two brigades a month, and again, that pace translates into having our combat troops out in 16 months’ time.”

    I have to say, there is not a word about waving a magic wand and transporting 140,000 troops w/ their equipment from Iraq to Tampa in that statement. Not a goddam one.

    I’ve been had! What a fool I’ve been!

  84. joe,

    what the two candidates

    I dont know about Mass, but my state will have more than 2 candidates on the ballot (actually, I do know for Mass – as of the June “ballot access news”, the greens have qualified already and the LP is half-way there. Deadline in late July. That is ahead of KY, which has a much later deadline [Sept 2]).

  85. joe,

    The problem is you keep comparing the Obama position to the McCain position. Instead, you need to compare it to the Paul position, or something similar. By that standard, Obama’s position is better but its like saying Saturn is closer to the earth than Neptune.

    Problem #2 is – I dont believe anything Obama says (Ditto McCain, for that matter), even when he says something I agree with (actually, especially when he says something I agree with). I realize it makes things tough for you to argue if we accept everything “wrong” he says as true and everything “right” is assumed to be a lie. But, there ya go, you have to work from the premises you are given.

  86. Ben,

    Your earlier comments about Bush 1 in 1988 had nothing to do with approval ratings or the GOP. The GOP couldnt self-destruct in 1988, they hadnt had the power for that in nearly 40 years. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Your comments did not represent the race in 1988. It was obvious you werent paying close attention to it at the time. As anyone who has seen Ferris Bueller knows, Bush invented the term “voodoo economics” in the 1980 primary race. He won because people wanted a 3rd Reagan term, but he didnt run for a 3rd Reagan term. Like Gore in 2000, he mostly ran away from the president. He didnt do it as much as Gore did, which is why Gore didnt win. But, the tone of the 1988 campaign was clearly “Im not Reagan”. And then he was elected and proved it.

  87. robc,

    So, you don’t believe anything that Obama or McCain say, but RonPaul and Bob Barr’s statements are beyond reproach.

    OK.

    I compare the two candidates who have a chance in hell of being the next President, because I think it is a matter of abiding importance whether the next president will end the war, or continue it. I think that actually accomplishing this is important, even beyond the speed at which it occurs.

    I have to say, the idea that Obama is closer to McCain than to Paul or Barr is a bit silly. Look at these three statements: I’ll give you a million dollars tomorrow; I’ll give you a million dollars over the next couple of years, ideally within 16 months; I’m not giving you any money.

    One of these things is not the other, and it’s pretty obvious which one.

  88. joe,

    but RonPaul and Bob Barr’s statements are beyond reproach.

    Actually, I put them in the “they are politicians, therefore they are lying” category too. I just figure they are more likely to lie in a direction I like. ๐Ÿ™‚

  89. I compare the two candidates who have a chance in hell of being the next President

    Well, I had this argument 12 years ago too (it may not apply this year, but McCain may fit it soon). Dole had no chance of being president in 1996, as far as I was concerned he was in the exact same basket as Browne and Perot and whoever the Nat Law Party ran.

    think it is a matter of abiding importance whether the next president

    I hear this about some issue every 4 years and it hasnt turned out to be true yet. Abortions didnt go away under a Bush presidency. Clinton didnt cause whatever catastrophic harm he was supposed to cause. Reagan didnt lead to old people eating dog food, Carter didnt lead to double digit unemployment + double digit inflation. Oh wait, well, I dont think anyone predicted that as a particular Carter outcome in 1976.

  90. robc
    Do you care about ending the war, or not?

    If you care about ending it then voting for Obama will get you closer to your goal than voting for McCain. If you live in a state where a vote for Barr will hurt McCain then you should vote for Barr. If you live in a state where Obama needs every vote then you should vote for him.

    But if ending the War is important to you voting for McCain would be the nuttiest thing you can do since he has been a consistent supporter of the LBJ strategy to stick it out until its “done.”

  91. “I hear this about some issue every 4 years and it hasnt turned out to be true yet.”

    I hear what you are saying. Who would have foreseen the tough law enforcement provisions under Clinton, or the crazy high deficet spending and expansion of government benefits under Bush, given the rhetoric of the two parties?

    But I also think you’re wrong in some respects. If Gore had beat Bush I don’t think we would be in Iraq right now. I really don’t. There are other examples of that kind of thing.

  92. robc,

    You’ve got a point about Dole, and by extension, McCain.

    If this is not a close election, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be one, than perhaps you are in a position to take the hard line.

  93. The Democratic Congress can “end the war” anytime they want by reducing/cutting off funding. Considering both Mccain and now Obama have committed to continuing the operation, which candidate can expect the legislature to rubber stamp his funding requests regardless of the “facts on the ground”?

    Mccain is the “accidental” anti-war candidate whether he, or his supporters and opponents, realize it or not.

  94. It doesn’t make any sense that you would call yourself “PUMA” and make that argument, troll. Try again.

    Or, better yet, grow a pair, then grow a brain, and try to make an argument that you actually believe, in good faith, that makes sense, and then put your name on it.

  95. robc,

    On the other hand, in all of those other cases, you refer to terrible outcomes that were predicted that never materialized.

    On the other hand, McCain’s stay-the-course position is not an outcome, but an input, it is his actual policy, and one that he has clung to at a political cost to him, so there is a strong reason to believe that it would actually come to pass.

  96. MNG,

    I am voting for Barr because of the people who will be on my ballot, he is the one I most want to be president. No other considerations, no strategeries necessary.

  97. Damn, that’s a lot of hands.

    You know what I mean.

  98. Obama cam out against a woman’s right to chose to try to win over the economically distressed Bible-thumpers this weekend. ANYBODY but Obama.

  99. joe,

    The fact that you didnt use the phrase “on the gripping hand” saddens me.

    I would have found a new level of respect for you if you had.

    Sigh.

  100. LOL.

    Sure he did. Also, he thinks invading Iraq totally rocks.

  101. “Considering both Mccain and now Obama have committed to continuing the operation”

    Wow, that’s a stupid conflation of the two candidate’s oft stated views!

    What’s interesting is I’m guessing whoever posted this wants us to stay in Iraq, but knows it’s not a popular position. Sad.

  102. “I am voting for Barr because of the people who will be on my ballot, he is the one I most want to be president.”

    Hell, I can respect that. Don’t expect any pratical consequences you may want to see unfold from that vote, but I can respect that (no snark or trap, I mean, we are supposed to vote our interests [I voted for Jerry Brown in 92 primary], Perot in 96 and Buchanan in 00.)

  103. MNG,

    Hell, I can respect that.

    Im incapable of respecting anyone who doesnt vote that way.

  104. I dunno robc. I believe in 3rd party candidates. They provide real benefits to our politics. I’ve backed that with my votes many times. But…

    Let’s imagine a scenario where candidate A says “I will sign a law stripping a (right very important to you).” Candidate B says he will veto any such law. The law is likely to pass Congress. Candidate C has no chance of winning but says he would not only veto such law, he would work to undermine it in more serious ways than candidate A vows to. The night votes are cast the polls show candidate A and B in a deadlock but candidate C has no chance. I honestly cannot see voting for candidate C as the responsible choice to the extent that you care about the right…

  105. MNG,

    Shoot A. Vote for C. In either order.

  106. Uhh, robc, that’s how they do things in Iraq…

  107. Im incapable of respecting anyone who doesnt vote that way.

    Me too.

    I am having a hard time with your lack of apostrophes, though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  108. As disturbing as your hypo is, I can save the essence of mine by stipulating that if candidate A is slain his party will just appoint someone of like mind. Now what? Voting for C might ensure you lose your right or benefit you value..

  109. lmnop,

    My lack of apostrophes is intentional. I can think of no situation in which the apostrophe clarifies things. I can figure out from context a plural vs possessive and contractions dont cause problems either. See.

  110. joe | July 6, 2008, 2:34pm | #

    John Kerry and Michael Dukakis also had an early lead.

    Yes it’s clearly better to be way behind.

    If by “way behind” you mean “takes the lead with a 1% swing in Ohio and Indiana, a 2% swing in Virginia, and a 3% swing in Colorado” in polls with margins of errors of 5% or more — months before most people have started paying attention to politics — then sure, Obama is ahead in a blowout.

    Or perhaps you mean “in polls where McCain had the same commanding-looking lead about a month ago”?

    Or perhaps you mean “in polls where Texas was recently allegedly in play for Obama, and Connecticut for McCain”?

  111. The only voting stategy other than “vote for the person you most want” than I can respect is “voting is immoral”.

    MNG,

    A single vote never matters. In any race above city council level, a single vote difference will end up in the race being decided by the courts. Thus, it really doesnt matter what I do with my vote anyway. I cant cause B to get elected over A. I only control one vote, I might as well vote for C. Bs party will just interpret it as support for their causes anyway.

  112. robc
    Would you advocate as a general ethical rule: “shoot any candidate who threatens a right you value?” Because a lot of people, you know, will disagree with you about what rights are valued and who and what is threatened…You can see that, right?

  113. MNG,

    Just those rights that are so important that it would cause **ME** to consider voting strategically. At that point, assassination is more than reasonable. I think at that level the rights being taken away are so sacrosanct that you would agree with the assassination too.

  114. robc
    I see your point. But if a fair number of people think that way some swing states (not most mind you) could swing different ways, with pretty bad results.

  115. MNG,

    Example:

    A supports a bill that will cause all descendents of former slaves to be reenslaved to the descendents of the former slaveholders. B opposes the bill. C opposes it, plus he favors tax cuts.

    I would rather shoot A (and every other member of his party – assuming it was party policy) than vote for B.

  116. “I think at that level the rights being taken away are so sacrosanct that you would agree with the assassination too.”

    Not as long as there was a democratic alternative.

    For example, someone takes away the right to keep and bear arms. As long as I could advocate for change I would not engage in violent challenge.

    Someone takes away the right to vote or to advocate for a challenging candidate or party, then I would think about what you are talking about, seriously. I’d be angry, and like the Hulk, you would’nt want to make me angry….

  117. MNG — depends on where you live, and on what you believe.

    Scenario 1 — You live in Hawaii (or DC or Massachusetts or Illinois or California …), where Obama has a 100% chance of winning, or you live in Utah (or Texas or Idaho or …) where McCain has a 100% chance of winning. Candidate A represents 30% of your political views, Candidate B represents 35% of your political views, and Candidate C represents 90% of your political views.

    Do you vote for candidate B because he is the lesser of two evils and has a chance of winning the election, but has no chance at all of winning in the state where you personally will vote? Or do you vote for candidate C to send a message about your values?

    Scenario 2 — You live in a swing state like Ohio (or Nevada or New Mexico or …)

    Candidate A – 30% of your views.
    Candidate B – 30.1% of your views.
    Candidate C – 90% of your views.

    Who do you vote for now?

    Scenario 3

    Candidate A – 30% of your views
    Candidate B – 50% of your views
    Candidate C – 100% of your views (you ARE Candidate C)

    Do you loudly proclaim to everyone that you’re voting for Candidate B, because he is the best candidate with a chance of winning, even though you think he’d fuck things up royally, but not as much as the other guy?

  118. MNG,

    Im not in a swing state, but there isnt a single swing state that my vote could swing. Take a hypothetical 2000 Florida Nader voter. He didnt cost Gore the election. If he had voted for Gore instead, Bush still wins.

  119. “I would rather shoot A (and every other member of his party – assuming it was party policy) than vote for B.”

    Jesus that is nuts. Really you should check yourself in somewhere…Get some help…B would oppose the horror but rather than vote for him, who does not support your favored tax cut, you would kill A. robc, you’re nuts…

  120. prolefeed,

    Your example brings up an interesting question. Who is Barr going to vote for in Georgia?

    If he is targeting states that McCain could lose if he gets enough votes, like GA, will he vote for Obama to push him past McCain, or will he just vote for himself?

    Im thinking Bob Barr will be voting for Bob Barr. As will I.

  121. MNG,

    Are you saying A doesnt deserve it? For actively trying to enslave a significant portion of Americans? Really?

  122. MNG — so if, knowing what you know now, you could send a squad of Delta Force operatives back in time before the 2000 elections to take out candidate Bush in such a way (say, poisoning) that it would look like a natural heart attack, knowing that this would mean Al Gore would definitely win, and that no one would ever suspect you — would you push that time machine button and change everything?

    Or would you say, but — but — I can “advocate for change”?

  123. MNG,

    About a decade ago (probably a little less), Liberty Magazine surveyed their readers on a bunch of issues. They found that about 1/3 of their subscribers were morally opposed to voting. There was a comment that got discussed in letters back and forth when one person said that if they had the ability to cast a single vote that would have kept Hitler from gaining power, they wouldnt have done it, do to their opposition to voting. However, they would have gladly shot him in the head.

    While I dont have any moral opposition to voting, I understand the reasoning.

  124. prole
    As I’ve said, if you care about the issues in which Obama differs from McCain on, though Barr may agree with Obama in a more pure way, you’d be a fool to vote for either McCain or Barr in any state that was close for Obama, but you’d be a fool not to vote for Barr in any state that McCain or Obama would win handily. In any event you would be a fool to vote for McCain…Do you see something wrong with that (because I don’t from your comments, but honestly I may be missing something)?

  125. robc — Bob Barr is going to vote for himself, because he represents 100% of his political views (and the other two guys are evil nimrods from his POV).

  126. Hmmm, trying again, I must have screwed up tags.

    MNG,

    B would oppose the horror but rather than vote for him, who does not support your favored tax cut, you would kill A.

    You obviously dont realize how important tax cuts are to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  127. robc
    If not voting would have made Hitler more likely, then it was evil not to vote, even if the other candidate was Hitler lite.

    Your chances of killing McCain are (thankfully) nil. So your choice of effecting the policy you and your fellow citizens will live under is either for him or Obama….

  128. prolefeed,

    the other two guys are evil nimrods from his POV

    FTFY

  129. …or Barr or Cynthia McKinney or whoever the Con Party runs.

    Barr has a better chance of winning KY than Obama. (You know, if McCain died and the GOP decided not to replace him on the ballot or something.)

  130. MNG — Heartily concur with the logic in your 9:59 post. That was exactly what I was getting at. I personally would lean toward McCain 35% and Obama 30% and Barr 90%, but I can certainly see how, with a different emphasis on the importance of certain issues, a libertarianish person could favor Obama over McCain.

  131. MNG,

    Right now Obama, McCain and Barr (and the rest) all have zero votes. Personally, I always assume the best of the rest of America and assume they will come to their senses and vote overwhelmingly LP on election day.

  132. robc — thanks for the 10:04 pm edit. Well said, sir.

  133. robc
    To talk about killing someone over the rates of tax cuts is, I am afraid, insane….

    If your, and other like situated, though a well recognized minority, could be the difference between Hitler and Mussolini, then you betcha I thin you should vote for Mussolini…

    But c’mon, don’t be so crazy dramatic: McCain is not Hitler and McCain is not Mussolini.

  134. MNG,

    If only McCain and Obama were on my ballot, I would probably be joining the rest of my state in voting McCain. But, damn, that would suck.

    I didnt suggest killing anyone over tax cuts – I suggested killing them over slavery. Not like there isnt precedent behind that idea.

  135. Stupid keyboard (or me), “if you, or other like situated though a well recognized minority, could be the difference”…”then you betcha I thinK you should..”

  136. If your, and other like situated, though a well recognized minority

    It would be a violation of many voting laws for even a well recognized minority to cast their votes. Only individuals cast votes.

  137. MNG,

    But c’mon, don’t be so crazy dramatic: McCain is not Hitler and McCain is not Mussolini.

    I assume one of those McCain’s is supposed to be Obama. Which is acually my point. I havent called for the killing of either. Neither is that bad. Which is why I can easily vote for Barr and not care which douche gets into office.

  138. “A supports a bill that will cause all descendents of former slaves to be reenslaved to the descendents of the former slaveholders. B opposes the bill. C opposes it, plus he favors tax cuts.

    I would rather shoot A (and every other member of his party – assuming it was party policy) than vote for B.”

    robc-these are your words.

    Simply voting for B would, according to yout hypo, democratically register your disapproval with this plan, and maybe stop this travesty. But rather than this you would rather shoot A than do this???

    If voting for B would really increase the likelihood of defeating A, and voting for C would increase the likelihood of electing A, would you then vote for…?

  139. There was a comment that got discussed in letters back and forth when one person said that if they had the ability to cast a single vote that would have kept Hitler from gaining power, they wouldn’t have done it, do to their opposition to voting. However, they would have gladly shot him in the head.

    Then they lacked the ability to think even a little abstractly. A vote is a use of force, just as a bullet being shot is. In fact, it is literally what came to replace the more direct force of the sword or the bullet. Seeing as how votes (no matter how occasionally cynical we may think of them) change the course of nations and determine the laws under which people must live (and thus the manner of state-monopolized force under which people would be subjected), it is hard to understand *any* moral difference between the one use of force and the other.

    I must add also that the person who thinks that voting is immoral but blowing off the back of someone’s head isn’t is not a person I care to meet in person.

  140. “McCain is not Hitler and McCain is not Mussolini.

    I assume one of those McCain’s is supposed to be Obama. Which is acually my point. I havent called for the killing of either. Neither is that bad..”

    Shit I’d vote for Mussolini before I’d vote for Hitler any day…

  141. lmnop,

    I think you are right on the use of force argument. Although, shooting Hitler has a clear cut meaning. Voting against him can be misinterpreted.

    Like I said, I dont have a problem voting. But Im not going to pick nits over evil A and evil B. Ill just vote C, thanks much. Maybe its 20 year old guilt for voting for GHWB instead of Dr. Paul.

  142. Although, shooting Hitler has a clear cut meaning.

    The guy didn’t like his mustache?

    All actions are ambiguous. The observer imbues it with decisive meaning.

  143. lmnop,

    Yeah yeah. However, some actions are less ambiguous than others. Voting against Hitler says the same thing as shooting him “I dont want him in power” but also can be construed to say “voting is a legitimate means of determining who has power”. I dont think “Im only voting in this extreme circumstance” gets conveyed as well as “Im only shooting someone is this extreme circumstance” does.

  144. All actions are ambiguous. The observer imbues it with decisive meaning.

    Oh, bullshit. That’s relativistic nonsense, saying all things are grey.

    Are you saying that my action — typing and saying “Oh, bullshit …” above is ambiguous?

    If I say to someone in early November “Fuck no, I didn’t vote for Obama or McCain. Those statist bastards? No way. I voted for Bob Barr, and felt good about it.” — where’s the ambiguity?

  145. No, prolefeed, and you are being fairly obnoxious about it besides.

    What I am *saying* is that absent some signifying communication from the doer, any action can be interpreted any number of ways.

    Communication exists to reduce the ambiguity of non-communicative actions. Duh. Your example proves the point; the more pointed the communication, the less the ambiguity.

    And the last time I was accused of being a relativist of any sort was in Philosophy of Science class, because I made it my business to futz with the holier-than-thou Positivists, and not because I endorse in any form *actual* metaphysical relativism.

    Yeah yeah. However, some actions are less ambiguous than others. Voting against Hitler says the same thing as shooting him “I dont want him in power” but also can be construed to say “voting is a legitimate means of determining who has power”. I dont think “Im only voting in this extreme circumstance” gets conveyed as well as “Im only shooting someone is this extreme circumstance” does.

    I certainly agree that certain actions have such moral or practical extremity as to significantly limit the possible legitimate interpretations. My point was that people have been killed for less than a stupid mustache; to be sure if the doer is concerned about how his or her action may be interpreted, he or she should busy themselves with communicating that intent directly rather than whining about the particular bare ambiguity of one or the other action.

  146. Shit I’d vote for Mussolini before I’d vote for Hitler any day…

    If he was running against Hitler, or Mao, or Stalin, I might send Mussolini’s campaign $100 bucks.
    There is no fucking way I’d vote for any of them, or McCain or Obama.

    Barr has my vote but he better get on the stick if he wants me to match the $200 I sent to Ron Paul!

  147. prolefeed,

    a 1% swing in Ohio and Indiana, a 2% swing in Virginia, and a 3% swing in Colorado

    I don’t know what poll you are referencing, but I like to look at vote aggregators, like pollingreport.com and realclearpolitics.com. The situation is not as you describe.

  148. Two years ago, the Republicans decided it was politically expedient to ignore everything Obama was saying about “listen to the commanders on the ground about tactics” and “we need to be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in,”

    Perhaps because such pronouncements were inconsistent with his oft-repeated and completely unqualified promise to withdraw 1-2 brigades per month?

    Barack Obama has a strategy to withdraw from Iraq, but will be flexible and pay a great deal of attention to the uniformed military in the tactical implementation of that strategy.

    If that really is his position, it is new (because you cannot reconcile it with his previous, rigid plan to withdraw 1 – 2 brigades per month and be completely out of Iraq within a year and a half), and it is indistiguishable from the Republican position, which is, and always has been, to hand over control and draw down troops as the situation allows.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think that’s the responsible position. McCain’s “100 years” remark was made in response to Obama’s rigid drawdown plan, in recognition of the fact that we have left troops in-theater for over 50 years where our allies face significant regional threats (Korea, Western Europe). So long as Iran sponsors hostile actions against Iraq, it may well be that an American presence in Iraq is necessary to prevent an expansion of Iranian aggression. Who can say, at this point?

  149. You can keep talking about how rigid the man is, RC. People who have been paying attention to the campaign know that he’s been advancing precisely this position for two years.

    and it is indistiguishable from the Republican position, which is, and always has been, to hand over control and draw down troops as the situation allows.

    “Draw down” is not the same thing as “withdraw.”

    Defining “as the sitution allows” as “as long as we are still in military control of the country” is not the same thing as defining it as “consistent with the security of American troops, without being unduly destabilizing.”

    Planning to get our troops out of Iraq is not the same thing as planning for our troops to stay there indefinitely.

    And, once again, strategy is not the same thing as tactics.

    Who can say, at this point? Um, anybody with a passing familiarity with the growth of Iranian influence in Iraq over the past six years? Anyone who watched Iraqis throw flowers and candy at Ahmedinejad’s motorcade as he drove to the warm greeting his ally Malaki offered him?

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