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The Emperor's New Hump
February 5, 2005 6:52 AM   Subscribe

The Emperor's New Hump In the weeks leading up to the November 2 election, the New York Times was abuzz with excitement. Besides the election itself, the paper’s reporters were hard at work on two hot investigative projects, each of which could have a major impact on the outcome of the tight presidential race. One week before Election Day, the Times (10/25/04) ran a hard-hitting and controversial exposé of the Al-Qaqaa ammunition dump—identified by U.N. inspectors before the war as containing 400 tons of special high-density explosives useful for aircraft bombings and as triggers for nuclear devices, but left unguarded and available to insurgents by U.S. forces after the invasion. On Thursday, just three days after that first exposé, the paper was set to run a second, perhaps more explosive piece, exposing how George W. Bush had worn an electronic cueing device in his ear and probably cheated during the presidential debates.
posted by Postroad (121 comments total)

 
> The New York Times killed a story that could have changed the election—
> because it could have changed the election

...instead of because they decided there was no story there? Gee, the NYT's in on the Republican-regressive conspiracy? Somebody tell Maureen Dowd! Somebody tell Krugman! It's the Red State Newspaper of Record? Who knew? Next: the CounterPunch website moves to an Oral Roberts University server.
posted by jfuller at 7:10 AM on February 5, 2005


they should be ashamed...no one was afraid to run damaging stories on Kerry, or Gore, or any Democratic candidate--ever. Many of us online knew he was being coached, and a wider audience should have gotten a story on it too.
posted by amberglow at 7:12 AM on February 5, 2005


I thought the consensus was that the hump was a remote defribillator or alien parasite?
posted by mecran01 at 7:18 AM on February 5, 2005


It's not that they're conservative, it's just that every media outlet is so afraid of being accused of liberal bias that they tend to err on the side of conservatism.

What do a bunch of liberals do when there's [perceived] bias? They complain about it in a blog.

What do conservatives do when there's [perceived] bias? Hoot and holler about it incessantly, tell Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, call all the other networks, call the FCC, call Michael Moore fat, and blame the Clintons.

Liberals just aren't as driven.
posted by cloeburner at 7:20 AM on February 5, 2005


Ok, seriously, I'm as pissed about Bush winning as anyone... but could we pick a better target? Even if the NYT had run the story - and that's assuming the even more unlikely scenario that it really WAS a wire - the public wouldn't've cared. Does anyone seriously believe that, with everything ELSE that Bush did that no one cared about, they'd somehow get all hot and bothered over THIS of all things?

Far more likely explanation is the Times came to the exact same conclusion every other reasonable person did - it might be a wire, it might not, and we'll never really know.
posted by InnocentBystander at 7:21 AM on February 5, 2005


And folks don't care about this because....?
I heard nothing but "it's a question of character" through the Clinton impeachment while you could point to a dozen other reasons to castigate him (and Reno).
Now, I sit through improbable event after improbable event with Bush, we get to a dead on character issue (what else could you call cheating on a debate?) and the uproar is where?
Oh yes, perhaps it's not true....

Beyond that, it seems not to matter. People are behind Bush (or whoever) because that's their guy. Not because of any principles they believe in. Cheat on a debate? So what? Look at what (whoever) did over there!
Blah blah blah.
And the hypocrisy just rolls on and anyone who actually cares about anything beyond the expediency of the current cover story is a conspiracy nut or biased or whatever.

...whatever.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:28 AM on February 5, 2005


> ...instead of because they decided there was no story there?

Perhaps the real "no-story" story was how little a piece like that in the NYT would have changed things in the election... I can't remember having engaged an my acquaintances who voted for Bush about issues raised in articles they'd read in NYT, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, etc. Of course, it would have been nice to have had such discussions to get a better feel for why those Bush-voters were so motivated. For the most part, they just didn't seem to want to explore the president's ideological and political positions in any sort of thoughtfully subtle context of the sort that such publications present.
posted by Wash Jones at 7:36 AM on February 5, 2005


I personally have resigned myself to watching the first season of West Wing on DVD, and pretending it's a documentary.
posted by mecran01 at 7:39 AM on February 5, 2005


Perhaps they didn't run it because the pieces of the story didn't all fit in place. I thought the general consensus from many reliable sources was that Bush was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

How about this for a theory: Bush always wears a vest because there are constant assassination threats, but the White House doesn't want to make Bush look weak and refuses to admit he wears a vest.
posted by Arch Stanton at 7:46 AM on February 5, 2005


From the FAIR article: "the fact that the Kerry camp was offering no comment on the matter"

...Shows that Kerry must not have wanted to win, or maybe he wasn't supposed to. The public might have cared that Bush cheated in the debate if Kerry had spoken up about it.
posted by davy at 7:52 AM on February 5, 2005


"What do conservatives do when there's [perceived] bias? Hoot and holler about it incessantly, tell Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, call all the other networks, call the FCC, call Michael Moore fat, and blame the Clintons.

Liberals just aren't as driven."


Wusses. Where's an American Yushchenko?
posted by davy at 7:56 AM on February 5, 2005


On the other hand, it might be possible that slightly over half the electorate would still have been stupid enough to vote for Bush anyway. Remember the PIPA studies?
posted by davy at 8:06 AM on February 5, 2005


When this story first broke, I thought it was going to be huge, and that Bush was going to take a beating over it. In retrospect, I think it may not ( or, did not, since it WAS reported) have made any difference at all. Those on the Left already suspected that Rove, Cheney, et al were channeling the Neocon Message through Bush anyway, so it would have been just some more " preaching to the choir" As for the Right, they just wanted to hear the message, it didn't matter who, or where it came from.
posted by lobstah at 8:23 AM on February 5, 2005


It IS a question of character, smedleyman.
The people voted for a character who cheated his way through a minefield of potential (and valid) scandals relatively unscathed.

Accountability took a hit on Nov. 2nd.
If people's reactions to being lied openly to is as pathetic as it's been for the last few years, then I'd say it's fair to claim accountability is for all intents and purposes, dead.

I don't know if people would've given this story legs or not.
I'm boggled by which stories keep getting repeated and which fall into ether. Kerry obviously didn't think that the Swift Boat vets were going to get such great exposure, since they had zero facts and all opinion. He was wrong.

A president who took cues on stage during a debate?
Let's count the excuses that would pour out of pundits' mouths:
1. "well, it is an extremely difficult situation up there, intensely stressful."
2. "Maybe he had that system there as an alert, in case of a terrorist attack, he could have been notified quickly. For that matter, even if he had a listening device on his body, that doesn't mean it was transmitting..."
3. "This smells like some sort of cheap distraction away from a bold initiative presented by a god-like, brave President who has dared to tackle Social Security's future issues."

I think my cynicism has reached new heights.
posted by Busithoth at 8:28 AM on February 5, 2005


It's pretty obvious that Shrub somehow got ahold of a pre-release iPod Shuffle.
posted by srboisvert at 8:34 AM on February 5, 2005


Except for those propelled by their greed, complacency and comfort have made cowards of most Americans.

The result of this, while uncertain, is bound to be very bad.
posted by rushmc at 8:40 AM on February 5, 2005


the problem wasn't the bulge under bush's jacket, or the NYT's failure to pursue the story, or greed, complanency and comfort, the problem was the bulge standing at the other podium.
posted by three blind mice at 8:46 AM on February 5, 2005


Smedley is right. I remember arguing vociferously with my sisters (staunch reps) about the myriad of things the Bush administration had done that were - to say the least - ethically questionable as well as going entirely against the grain of conservative thinking. Who was this man in the White House pretending to be a republican conservative?

Amazingly, they conceded nothing; not the out-and-out lies about the war, not the support for Nafta and the desire to give immunity to Illegal Aliens, not the lack of border protection in the face of all these 'dire' threats, not the huge expansion of government...none of it. I felt it was one thing to say, "Kerry is a dolt" (because he is) but instead I would get, "Bush is a decent man".

That one line seems to sum up the feelings of many that voted for him. They just 'think' he's a good guy. I don't know if that's a guttural reaction like the kind you give a mental health client or a retarded child but I hear it over and over.

Yes, Smedely, these moral church goers used to castigate Clinton over and over because, "it's not what he lied about, it's the fact he lied". And now they brush aside little things like our administration lying to us to get us into Iraq, lying about their conservative roots, lying about the security of our borders on and on and on. I've always felt that if Clinton had been in office and followed this exact path, he would be hung from the top of the White House as the greatest traitor America has ever known. Bet!

No one would have cared about this incident. If you didn't think something stunk about the whole Iraq thing, how in God's name could this bother you??
posted by j.p. Hung at 8:47 AM on February 5, 2005


cloeburner, truer words have never been spoken. Bravo.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:54 AM on February 5, 2005


First, cloeburner, well put! Kudos.

Second. DIE HORSE DIE!!! Oh wait, you're already dead? DIE AGAIN!!!!
posted by AspectRatio at 8:57 AM on February 5, 2005


I am one non-nutcase journalist for a major national publication who is 99% convinced that Bush was wearing a wire, and it has nothing to do with the bulge. His pauses and facial expressions, particularly during the second debate, were precisely suggestive of someone being prompted by a voice that no one else could hear [insert obligatory hipster/ironic joke about God or psychosis here].

I think this is a very important story no matter what the typical red-state voter thinks of it, and I appeal to the Times' public editor, Daniel Okrent, to pursue this.
posted by digaman at 9:02 AM on February 5, 2005


I think the fact that Kerry won the debate with ease is what really killed investigation of the bulge.

Who is gonna believe someone who lost the debate so badly was cheating?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:07 AM on February 5, 2005


j.p. hung: Where does support for NAFTA enter into this? Just curious. I don't think of support for NAFTA as evil, exactly.

and jfuller: The NY Times did break the Whitewater story, and reported all manner of dubious stories in connection with it. It also of course employed and continues to employ Judith Miller. It's not some Democratic Dream Paper.
posted by raysmj at 9:09 AM on February 5, 2005


Can someone tell me why they didn't just put the doohicky beneath his arm??
posted by Hobbacocka at 9:09 AM on February 5, 2005


"I think the fact that Kerry won the debate with ease is what really killed investigation of the bulge."

How many Bush fans thought he lost the debate? It's not scored as objectively as basketball, you know. I doubt those debates are even scored as hard as debates in high school.

"Who is gonna believe someone who lost the debate so badly was cheating?"

How many Bush fans would have cared if he were cheating?
posted by davy at 9:15 AM on February 5, 2005


Wusses. Where's an American Yushchenko?

He's dead. When the Republicans put their minds to something, they get it done. Unlike those sissy Russians.
posted by graventy at 9:16 AM on February 5, 2005


See also Bush Ear Piece and Bush's Mystery Bulge from Cryptome.
posted by mlis at 9:20 AM on February 5, 2005


From browsing the rest of that website, I find it ironic that Fair.org seems to be devoted to eradicating or debunking anything remotely conservative or right wing that makes it into the mass media. I suppose they are trying to balance out the vast right-wing conspiracy.
posted by acetonic at 9:22 AM on February 5, 2005


Liberals just aren't as driven.

like hell they aren't. liberals just have nothing to say other than to criticise the party in power and even this they do exceedingly poorly.
posted by three blind mice at 9:29 AM on February 5, 2005


Thanks to the modern world, media scams are being revealed, and look at which ones keeps getting caught.
posted by HTuttle at 9:40 AM on February 5, 2005


"The NY Times did break the Whitewater story, and reported all manner of dubious stories in connection with it. It also of course employed and continues to employ Judith Miller. It's not some Democratic Dream Paper."

LOL, every con artist knows you gotta give 'em one every so often to keep the scam rolling.
posted by HTuttle at 9:42 AM on February 5, 2005


What cloeburner said.

And after Kerry and the DNC folded without a fight, and given the Democratics have folded on the Rice and Gonzales nominations, I think I will take my vote elsewhere next time, to people with more backbone and integrity. Nader was right.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:50 AM on February 5, 2005


The chorus of conservatives in this thread basically telling people "we won -- just shut up!" is predictable, but sorry guys, the issue is a legitimate concern, and if the whole thing turns out to be offbase, diligent reporting will make that apparent. Only people with something to hide or deny would have to rely on bravado and ridicule to marginalize the story.
posted by digaman at 9:51 AM on February 5, 2005


What really freaks me out are the almost transparent strings attached to his limbs and head that rise up into the ceiling scaffolding, and that shadowy figure who vaguely resembles John Cusack scurrying about.
posted by mecran01 at 9:54 AM on February 5, 2005


now I of course agree with all the criticism re the "liberal media joke" (read Eric Alterman or Thomas Frank for reference), and I don't want to get all AskMefi on this thread, but do any of our Kerry supporters here really think that a NYTimes expose re Bush wearing a wire would have actually changed the course of the election?

I mean, people who voted for Bush didn't care about the "no wmds issue", didn't care about the net loss of jobs and didn't care about Abu Ghraib and didn't care about the 1,000+ dead GI's and didn't care about the new official policy that it's cool to torture nonAmerican prisoners as long as you don't kill them in the process (memo: the Vietnamese didn't kill McCain either, so according to Attorney General Gonzales it wasn't torture. I am sure that even our Bush fans here agree that McCain he wasn't treated well, Mr Gonzales' nail-ripping doctrine notwithstanding), etc etc

oh, Bush voters didn't care about Bush' DUI record in 2000, either, by the way. and you seriously think a New York Times story two days prior the vote would have changed things in Diebold-heavy Ohio and Florida?

I think Bush was probably wearing a wire too, but allow me a giant WTF here.
and the only people who think the NYTimes is a bunch of lib'rul activists are the same who think that Saddam did 9-11 and wmds have been found in Iraq -- Rush told them so after all

ps re the always funny charges of NYTimes "liberal bias": one can only mention Jeff Gerth's witch-hunt during Whitewater, ms Miller's shaneful lies about wmd's that were happily fed to the blind NYT editors by Chalabi and his henchmen -- about the NYTimes blind (and ultimately very dangerous) coverage of Middle East affairs I defer to the excellent " The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy"
posted by matteo at 10:14 AM on February 5, 2005


The chorus of conservatives in this thread basically telling people "we won -- just shut up!"

they're just following their Leader's example, digaman.
as the RudePundit politely reminded us, The State of the Union Is "Suck It, Fuckers"
posted by matteo at 10:17 AM on February 5, 2005


The lump was a vest bomb.
posted by mokujin at 10:27 AM on February 5, 2005


they say the DUI thing did make some rightwing people stay home last time, so who knows if this would have made a difference or not?
posted by amberglow at 10:28 AM on February 5, 2005


OK, I'd love to nail the Presnit as much as the next guy, but the "device" theory just doesn't feel very solid to me. Here are my questions:

1. Where was the earpiece? How was Bush supposed to hear his coaches?

2. Why place the device on a part of his body where clothing normally fits tightly rather than, say, low in the front of his (unbuttoned) jacket where a lump wouldn't show?

3. Why place the device on a part of his body hit obliquely by highly directional teevee lighting?

3. If a clandestine bugging device can apparently be very small, why does what amounts to a short-range radio need to be so huge, clunky, and easily seen? My $99 flash player is a quarter that size.
posted by 327.ca at 10:41 AM on February 5, 2005


I think Matteo is right on with this one. Bush could have used notecards and his supporters wouldn't have cared. Anyway, 327.ca, here are some possible answers to your questions:

2-3a. Remember that the debate agreement asked that no cameras be present behind to candidates

3b. The need for some type of encryption to prevent interception by the opposition party.
posted by mokujin at 10:46 AM on February 5, 2005


Sometimes when I'm home alone, late at night, I have these...unfashionable thoughts... Exaggerated as they may sound, I think they hold validity just the same....



Any adult who gave serious thought to the "Bush was wearing a wire" story—instead of finding more "progressive" means for spreading their ideas over time, thus preventing a Bush election in the first place—deserves the president they got.

Anyone who compared Bush to Hitler in 2004 deserves the president they got.

Anyone who reinforced the Conspiracy Nut stereotype over and over again until Middle America assumed that's what even Moderate Libs must sound like deserves the president they got.

Anyone who spent 95% of their time wringing their hands over Bush's religious "extremism" and 5% reluctantly acknowledging the deadly, repressive, Middle Ages brand of MidEast fundamentalism which desperately needed attention deserves the president they got.
Any pundit and politician who complained endlessly about Bush but failed to ever lay out visionary, rationale alternative solutions to our foreign policy deserves the president they got.

Anyone who sought the safety of an echo chamber rather than taking your ideas into enemy terroritory and making them sound practical & palatable deserves the president they got.

Anyone who looks down their noses at 95% of the country without ever bothering to explore the things you might have in common with your Red State neighbor deserves the president they got.

Anyone for whom Vanity comes first and substantial knowledge of history & foreign policy comes dead last deserves the president they got. (I'm looking at you, Hollywood!)

Anyone who thought moderate Bush voters genuinely "didn't care" about things like Abu Ghraib and dead civilians—they'd know the truth if they ever condescended to actually speak with a Republican—deserves the president they got.

Anyone who thought an opportunistic buffoon like Michael Moore was a major political force deserves the president they got.

Anyone who dressed as Uncle Sam on stilts, painted "No Blood for Oil" placards in their garage, spent weeks getting their protest puppets just right, went to salvation army for some Anarchist-chic bandannas and then admired themselves in the mirror for hours, continuing their March to Irrelevance, braying about The Patriot Act without reading it, deserves the president they got.

Anyone who plastered their car with "War is not the Answer" sticker, but looks at you like a deer in the headlights if you ask them what The Answer is to something like Sept 11th, for example, deserves the president they got.

Anyone who paradoxically contends Bush is a brainless twit, yet has masterminded the Theft™ of two elections, deserves the president they got.

Anyone who swallowed the July Surprise hook-line-and-sinker no matter how logistically ridiculous it was deserves the president they got.



Perhaps the only other people who share equal blame for distorting the image of Moderates everywhere and perpetuating Bush's miserable reign over this country are gun totin', god-lovin', gay-hatin' Middle Americans who actually voted for the man.

Like I said--unfashionable thoughts. They don't come out of love for Bush, but from frustration with peers. I wonder if anyone else has the same creeping feelings. I doubt I'm the only one who dreads thinking about the Moderate-Left's tremendous image problem and how much it's done to alienate potential voters and paint the rest of us as insufferable, unelectable snobs.
posted by dhoyt at 10:51 AM on February 5, 2005


How about this, mokujin.
1. There was no earpeice, you don't need them for a bulletproof vest.
2-3a. They didn't want camera behind them so they couldn't see the bulge for the bulletproof vest.
4. Why is this still a topic?

I'm guessing the Times dropped the story because they realized there was nothing to it. It's the same as Judith Miller spouting off on Chris Matthews because the Times wouldn't run her article. They did some investigations, there was no earpiece and thus, no story. That is a diligent media at work, running the investigations and when they find out there is nothing there, then not going forward with a non-story.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:53 AM on February 5, 2005


>Arch Stant:
>I thought the general consensus from many reliable
>sources was that Bush was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Arch, What brand of vest are you thinking of that has a small square lump in the middle of the back? There are vests with ballistic plates, but these are broad flat plates, not little boxes.

>Hobbacocka
>Can someone tell me why they didn't just
>put the doohicky beneath his arm??

Hobba, I originally went with the "His Masters Voice" theory, but now favor the defibrillator theory. If it's a medical device they can't change it casually. Even if they did change it in a hurry, would you want to test your new model on the president??
posted by Ken McE at 10:55 AM on February 5, 2005


2-3a. Remember that the debate agreement asked that no cameras be present behind to candidates

So would you base a massive violation of the public trust on the strength of an agreement about the placement of cameras? Even if you did, the device would still have been visible to people on location.

3b. The need for some type of encryption to prevent interception by the opposition party.

I'm no authority on the state of the art, but my hunch is that encryption alone wouldn't necessitate a device of that size. My el-cheapo flash player can decode MP3s. Why shouldn't the resources of the US defence establishment not be able to create a small device that can decrypt a radio signal?
posted by 327.ca at 10:55 AM on February 5, 2005


. . .the "device" theory just doesn't feel very solid to me. Here are my questions. . .

The links here offer possible answers to your questions. There is a good picture of President Bush with a bulge on another occasion.

The device (if it exists) could be for safety purposes which the links also address.
posted by mlis at 10:57 AM on February 5, 2005


Anyone who spent 95% of their time wringing their hands over Bush's religious "extremism" and 5% reluctantly acknowledging the deadly, repressive, Middle Ages brand of MidEast fundamentalism which desperately needed attention deserves the president they got.

Ok, so Bush invaded secular Iraq to strike a blow to Islamic fundamentalism?
posted by crank at 11:00 AM on February 5, 2005


no, he did it to remove Saddam's dangerous wmd arsenal * and to stop the tortures at Abu Ghraib

* Iraqi nukes were obviously going to blow up American cities very, very soon
posted by matteo at 11:12 AM on February 5, 2005


You know, dhoyt, while I feel the sincerity in your exasperation with the left, your list strikes me as a litany of paper tigers designed to make you feel better about feeling impotent.
posted by digaman at 11:18 AM on February 5, 2005


Seriously dhoyt, what diga said...

Anyone who plastered their car with "War is not the Answer" sticker, but looks at you like a deer in the headlights if you ask them what The Answer is to something like Sept 11th, for example, deserves the president they got.

It's a radical new theory called pacifism, you should look into it.
posted by iamck at 11:28 AM on February 5, 2005


Dhoyt, your excuses and reasons are ridiculous. The reason Bush won is that he had better marketing and spin control, thus a better campaign. That's why Bush won. It has nothing to do with opportunistic buffoons and understanding the needs of red states and echo chambers and complaining or anything like that. Both sides, left and right, do all of that stuff in broadly equal measures. It's all about the marketing and spin control. Bush did both better and he won because of it.
posted by Arch Stanton at 11:45 AM on February 5, 2005


Ok, so Bush invaded secular Iraq to strike a blow to Islamic fundamentalism?

I don't mean to imply that, and I probably wasn't being clear. I'm saying that Sept 11 was a clarion-call to address US-MidEast relations, whether it be Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, or so forth. I don't remember hearing anyone on the left side of the aisle stand up after Sept 11th and deliver a firm, strong, reasonable solution for how we should act. Invading Iraq, on the other hand, is a whole other messy ball of wax, and I didn't mean to imply that it was the fundamentalist hotbed in question.

It's a radical new theory called pacifism, you should look into it.

If you lose 2300 civilians due to kamikaze actions of people from a part of the world which dream about your violent destruction—and your response is bumpersticker about 'Pacifism'—then you really have no right to consider yourself any more "reality-based" than the average televangelist nutcase. There are plenty of instances where the case for 'Pacifism' translates into convenient spinelessless and there's too much unrest in the world for that, IMO.

It's all about the marketing and spin control. Bush did both better and he won because of it.

And much of my post was meant to explain just that: why Democrats/Moderate Libs failed to market successfully. I think we're agreeing on that.
posted by dhoyt at 11:58 AM on February 5, 2005


> It's a radical new theory called pacifism, you should look into it.

Oh yes! I sincerely hope to see a pacifism plank in the Dems 2008 platform. Who do I contact about this?

jfuller: Hey Chairman Dean! Pacifism plank for 2008! Energize your core constituency!

Dean, and rest of Dem National Committee: [deer in headlights]
posted by jfuller at 12:06 PM on February 5, 2005


kamikaze actions of people from a part of the world which dream about your violent destruction—

do you mean Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the allies you just won't dump right?
look, in the blazing of straw men you just ignited (read a lot of InstaCracker huh?) you don't seem to recognize the fact that it's the Republicans who are in charge since January 2001 -- it's not up to the opposition (weak as it is) to come up with a plan. it was the GOP's responsibility, as the owner of the White House, Senate, House, and SCOTUS to:


a) come up with some sort of a plan to avoid a 75% rate of success for an attack plan hatched by 19 assholes whose boss lives in a cave somewhere. instead Bush (not the Democrats) was asleep at the wheel (and his clueless National Sec adviser not only hadn't read her intelligence briefings, but she hadn't even read Tom Clancy novels about kamikaze 747's attacking DC)

b) come up with a coherent strategy post-Afghanistan (not even you, I think, are willing to deny that Gore would have invaded Afghanistan). Bush (well, the neocons) came up with the Iraq smashing success. enjoy it.

jfuller,
please give us another gloatfest, another MISSION ACCOMPLISHED moment. please. the first one was so delightful I can't wait for another.
posted by matteo at 12:18 PM on February 5, 2005


If you lose 2300 civilians due to kamikaze actions of people from a part of the world which dream about your violent destruction—and your response is bumpersticker about 'Pacifism'—then you really have no right to consider yourself any more "reality-based" than the average televangelist nutcase.

Dhoyt, really my friend, if your map of the world is so low-resolution that you can't tell the difference between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, or between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, then I seem to have the president that you deserve. The only people who believe that the war in Iraq has made the world safer from terrorism are people who have bought Bush/Rove's spin hook, line, and sinker, and that doesn't include the CIA. Bush's agenda has made the world much more dangerous, and is continuing to do so. Precisely because of 9/11, we can't afford these kind of opportunistic adventurers in office.
posted by digaman at 12:23 PM on February 5, 2005


liberals arent lazy - they're just filled with in fighting and dont seem to know what the hell is going on - mass confusion. but it may change - they just need some orginization.


"If you lose 2300 civilians due to kamikaze actions of people from a part of the world which dream about your violent destruction—and your response is bumpersticker about 'Pacifism'—then you really have no right to consider yourself any more "reality-based" than the average televangelist nutcase. There are plenty of instances where the case for 'Pacifism' translates into convenient spinelessless and there's too much unrest in the world for that, IMO."

also youre ignoring the fact that these kamikaze attacks were only possible because of us's funding and training. so in other words, what youre saying is that its too late to be pacifist, since our violent actions in the past created the unrest. so what backlash will we create another 20 years in the future once we "settle" this unrest today with more violence?

of course on the other hand, I have to admit - the pax romana could only have happened by a superpower using violence to take over the world, thereby causing peace. so who knows? maybe all this cycle of violence and corruption will actually trigger some really long period of world peace?
posted by klik99 at 12:23 PM on February 5, 2005


This is the thread were dhoyt made his move to join the ParisParamus/Steve@Linwood-type "conservatives".
Successfully, I might add.
posted by mr.marx at 12:38 PM on February 5, 2005


Nice way of breaking everyone into "teams", mr. marx, as though I automatically have anything, politically, in common with either steve or paris.

With us or Against us. Does that sound familiar? Brilliant binary thinking.
posted by dhoyt at 12:43 PM on February 5, 2005


From browsing the rest of that website, I find it ironic that Fair.org seems to be devoted to eradicating or debunking anything remotely conservative or right wing

You'll find situations like that often. MediaMatters is another one. It should have been named LiberalMediaMatters, but that wouldn't sound fair, and not as legitimate. It's ironic to watch such a liberal site talk about media "fairness". It's a joke.

The chorus of conservatives in this thread basically telling people "we won -- just shut up!" is predictable

And the fact that the left is still stuck on crap like this is also predictable. Hell, that postroad was the one who posted this was a no brainer. The fact that the left can't let go, that they'd be better off looking four years down the road and just accepting that Bush will be president until the next election is predictable.

Lot's of things are predictable, including the left losing again next election if this is what they gained from the past one. Still going on about the hump in his back. It's almost comical.

This is the thread were dhoyt made his move to join the ParisParamus/Steve@Linwood-type "conservatives".
Successfully, I might add.


No, this is the thread that you decided to act like a child and choose to marginalize their opinions simply because you disagree with them.

lib·er·al: def-
Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

Except for you of course.
posted by justgary at 12:59 PM on February 5, 2005


dhoyt:
It's not that you have something politically in common with either of them.
It's that up to this thread you have always made your, yes conservative, political arguments in a sound and serious manner. Here, not so much.
It's not about breaking people into teams, more like breaking people into who'd you expect to take part in a serious discussion or not.
Perhaps you'll prove me wrong, but in this thread you're nothing but a reactionary rightwing-nut. And I thought you were more than that.

justgary:
I'm not from the U.S. so I don't fit into your very limited political definitions. Nice try, though.
posted by mr.marx at 1:03 PM on February 5, 2005


I don't know who else noticed this during the candidate's introduction at the second debate, but I seem to recall Kerry shook Bush's hand with his right and patted down Bush's back with his left. I took it as an inside joke.
posted by edverb at 1:17 PM on February 5, 2005


Mr. Marx:

I can live with you thinking I'm a "reactionary rightwing-nut" because I know it's miles from the truth. I'm sorry you feel that way, but I respect your opinion regardless.

Reading back over what I wrote, I don't think it's nutty at all, and, in fact, expressing those same things IRL has led to a lot of friends "coming out of the closet" to say: Yeah, I reluctantly agree. We need to share blame for someone like Bush coming to power, and we can't keep blaming the US for all the world's problems.

Suggesting I'm a 'wingnut' (no different than the 'moonbat' epithet at FreeRepublic--ah, the edifying world of online communities) is a convenient way to ignore the points I was trying to make, hard as they may be to swallow.
posted by dhoyt at 1:21 PM on February 5, 2005


you don't seem to recognize the fact that it's the Republicans who are in charge since January 2001 -- it's not up to the opposition (weak as it is) to come up with a plan. it was the GOP's responsibility, as the owner of the White House, Senate, House, and SCOTUS to:

I don't like the sound of this. Are you saying its not the Dems responsibility to come up with any alternative plans or ideas to help protect/better this country? Are they just to sit back and criticize? That doesn't sound like a good way to let everyone know you're the better choice.

As for the wire, as a Republican I can tell you nobody (except maybe the Limbaughs and Hannity's) would say Bush won the first debate. Most of us agree he lost the first one horribly, probably tied in the second, and had a better performance than Kerry in the third.

In the Jan. 24th issue of Newsweek there is an article about Bush's inaugural and the subsequent campaing, "Bush asked his strategist Matt Dowd for an honest assessment of the first showdown (debate). 'It wasn't your finest hour,' said Dowd. 'What do you mean?' Bush shot back. 'You got your ass kicked,' Dowd explained."

So even with a wire and someone "coaching" him through the debate he got his ass handed to him? If that's true it was the worse use of a wire ever.
posted by Ron at 1:29 PM on February 5, 2005


So let me get this straight: Some people think Bush wore a wire during the presidential debates?
posted by TBoneMcCool at 1:40 PM on February 5, 2005


dhoyt:
I don't think everything you wrote is nutty. But these statements:

Anyone who spent 95% of their time wringing their hands over Bush's religious "extremism" and 5% reluctantly acknowledging the deadly, repressive, Middle Ages brand of MidEast fundamentalism which desperately needed attention deserves the president they got.

Anyone who sought the safety of an echo chamber rather than taking your ideas into enemy terroritory and making them sound practical & palatable deserves the president they got.


is practically from the playbook of an average warmongering, well, wingnut. And I thought (and for what it's worth, perhaps I still do) you were better than that.

I thank you for respecting my opinion, and while I don't expect you to take any leads from me - I'm a fairly new Mefite with quite "leftist" opinions - I hope you can see my point.
I respect your opinion too, but it hurts when it's condensed to such statements as above.
posted by mr.marx at 1:48 PM on February 5, 2005


I'm not shocked that the "President was wired" story went nowhere. Even as much fun as it was, there's no solid proof, so that's why it didn't have legs.

But the Al Qaqaa story, that one really does surprise me. The President's war/reconstruction plan was weak and done on the cheap. Here's a major munitions base that everyone knew about, and yet no one made a move to secure it. One year later, the base is empty and similar materials are being used against our troops all over the country. In my mind, that was open-and-shut damnation.

Of course, I was already anti-Bush. But plenty of other people chose to ignore it and put the blame on the troops (including, on national television, Rudy Giuliani). Even when they released goddamn VIDEO footage of the explosives before they were looted, people refused to believe it.

If anything, this shows how little the news media can influence anybody. Even if there was hard evidence that Bush cheated at the debates, it would have changed NOTHING.
posted by fungible at 2:10 PM on February 5, 2005


You know, I remember Watergate -- not the big ruckus that brought down Nixon, but the actual break-in. I remember the story in the newspaper that said the burglars had been traced back to the Committee to Re-Elect the President and telling everyone "This is it! The Republicans have been caught with their pants down, the public won't accept it, Nixon's gonna lose!" And then... nothing. The story vanished from the media. Nixon won. But in the end that fourth-rate burglary took him down anyway. Don't despair.

mr.marx:
But these statements:

Anyone who spent 95% of their time wringing their hands over Bush's religious "extremism" and 5% reluctantly acknowledging the deadly, repressive, Middle Ages brand of MidEast fundamentalism which desperately needed attention deserves the president they got.

Anyone who sought the safety of an echo chamber rather than taking your ideas into enemy terroritory and making them sound practical & palatable deserves the president they got.


is practically from the playbook of an average warmongering, well, wingnut. And I thought (and for what it's worth, perhaps I still do) you were better than that.

I disagree. I think both those statements are reasonable, and accurately portray a certain lack of balance and good sense that characterized what for ease of reference I will call the "progressive" position (as reflected right here on MeFi). I don't see how any sensible person can deny that a lot of lefties paid much more attention to Bush&Co's religious extremism than to that of the Islamic terrorists, or that a lot of leftists poured out their rage and disgust in terms that made them feel better but did nothing to make the average American re-think a reflexive attachment to a War President. I think you're being unfair to dhoyt. Just one man's opinion.
posted by languagehat at 2:44 PM on February 5, 2005


fungible opines "Even if there was hard evidence that Bush cheated at the debates, it would have changed NOTHING."

I'm not so sure. I can imagine this response from the Red Heartland:

"See, Dubya isn't as full of that sneaky logic and egghead theories as that flip-flopping pointy-headed Northeastern 'intellectual' John Kerry is. So, so what if Dubya needs a little help?

"So would I up against these sneering high-and-mighty 'perfesser' types with their diabolical arguments calling men lying with men a 'civil right' and for 'EVIL-lution' and saying 'Happy Holidays' so as they can take Jesus out of Christmas.

"If anything, these liberals with their so-called 'logic' and their ways of twisting words are the cheating ones; Dubya's a straight talker and it's no surprise to me he needs a little help warding off these silver-tongued liberal devils.

"I get help with my answers too: all the answers I need are right here in this book. And just like Dubya I consult this book to find The Answers. I don't have no fancy ear-piece, but then I ain't up in front of the nation debating Harvard-trained Boston liars either. My answerbook wasn't written by no 'perfesser'-types; it's 2000 years old and it was written by God Himself. It's called the Bible!

"If getting a little help to counter liberal lies is 'cheating' then reading the Bible is cheating! Dubya's 'cheating' is all right by me! Media's only complaining about this because they're all liberals."
posted by orthogonality at 2:55 PM on February 5, 2005


Anyone who reinforced the Conspiracy Nut stereotype over and over again until Middle America assumed that's what even Moderate Libs must sound like deserves the president they got.

Um, those were Republicans who worked hard to do that.
posted by rushmc at 3:29 PM on February 5, 2005


I don't see how any sensible person can deny that a lot of lefties paid much more attention to Bush&Co's religious extremism than to that of the Islamic terrorists

Perhaps because one was more relevant to us and within the immediate circle of our responsibilities? It's not either/or, you know, but a question of priority.
posted by rushmc at 3:31 PM on February 5, 2005


I always thought it was the idiots that voted for Bush that deserved the president they got.

We've been playing so nice together lately I guess it was only time for a political post to come along and change that. The minute I hear anything about this election I just go ballistic.

I was one of many who just could not believe any president, even Bush, would wear an earpiece. If this story had been published in the times it would have made me think more seriously about it, but many consider the Times tainted. I consider the only real newspaper in this country.

More importantly, the reasons that led me take the story seriously at all - that Bush always speaks haltingly and never looks like he knows what he's about to say - that, I would have hoped, would have been reason enough for people to vote against him. There were so many good reasons not to vote for this man, that I can't believe any more would have changed any minds.

I have a European friend who says that before the election many hated Bush, but did not hate Americans. Now they do, and you know what, so do I.
posted by xammerboy at 3:32 PM on February 5, 2005


I have a European friend who says that before the election many hated Bush, but did not hate Americans. Now they do, and you know what, so do I.

You've just reinforced the biggest stereotype yet: the "America-hating" liberal who can move to another country whenever he wants, yet doesn't.

Why bother waiting for Republicans to label you an "America-hater" when you can do it yourself?

Crikey. You guys are proving my point(s) in spades.


Thanks for your comments, languagehat...
posted by dhoyt at 3:44 PM on February 5, 2005


languagehat: I couldn't care less about dhoyt's accusations of the american left - that's for someone else to do - I take issue with his "islamic fundamentalism=saddam" crap and his "'enemy' territory" shit. I think that's fucked up.

on preview: republican this, liberal that. grow up , for fuck's sake! can't you see your damn polifight affects a whole lot of people? normal, ordinary people, in Iraq and elsewhere. the USA is not the world, I promise. there's +5 billion of us here outside your tiny sandbox.
posted by mr.marx at 4:00 PM on February 5, 2005


You know, you're really just opening yourself up for "Why do you hate America?" when you admit that you hate America.
posted by kindall at 4:15 PM on February 5, 2005


islamic fundamentalism=saddam

?

Never said that. In fact, I immediately clarified as such in another comment. Sorry.

"'enemy' territory" shit


Don't know why this draws so much anger, either. Maybe you're misunderstanding. Enemy territory was shorthand for the American MidWest, or even virtual redstates like LGF or Free Republic. What reminded me of it was that a some fairly Lefty friends of mine, tired of preaching to the choir at DailyKos, acquired accounts at both those sites. Of their experience in the forums, they said that even though their outsider status gets them shouted down plenty—not unlike what happens here at MeFi—they have managed to conduct themselves as Moderates and created a domino effect in which Freepers suddenly act more moderate in return. Long story short, by not acting like smug, insecure bratty conspiracy theorists, they're finding a surprising amount of common ground with the 'wingnuts' most MeFites are so quick to snub.

Meeting in the middle....engaging your ideological enemy directly instead of hiding in the echo chamber--it can be a great thing.

grow up , for fuck's sake! can't you see your damn polifight affects a whole lot of people?

Not sure why your tolerance seems so low. Maybe chill out a bit and post again?
posted by dhoyt at 4:19 PM on February 5, 2005


Yeah, this is a great thread. Telling people to move is very intelligent,and has certainly persuaded me against reading any other articles such as this. I have no idea as to the ultimate merits of this particular matter, but I also know:

a) The truth isn't always in the middle, although it usually is - assuming that is thus irrational.
b) People stay in a country even when upset with it because they have ties of longstanding here, including familial ties, and would rather change things from the inside, cannot afford the move, are just about too old to begin any worker retraining.

(My training is American-specific, for instance, and I've been working on it for seven years, and it will likely require me to stay in the eastern U.S. for at least another decade. Meanwhile, I have another project in the works - one about a decade in the making - which would be practically impossible to take up in another country. Then, I'm 38 and have waited a long for a payoff. Otherwise, I'd strongly consider a move to Vancouver, BC, say, given that it beats most U.S. cities and I wouldn't have to worry about funding imperialist adventures anymore, but then what about relatives? Can you secure me a massive international grant that would allow me to take weekly cross-continental flights?)
posted by raysmj at 4:41 PM on February 5, 2005


they have managed to conduct themselves as Moderates and created a domino effect in which Freepers suddenly act more moderate in return

That's the most surprising and encouraging thing I've heard in a while. I dislike all us-vs-them, black/white categorizations, and I deeply want to believe that a little civility and empathy can bridge gaps. I may, of course, be deluded. But thanks for the reinforcement.
posted by languagehat at 6:20 PM on February 5, 2005


ha! he was wearing a wire and still sucked in the debates.
posted by nickerbocker at 6:51 PM on February 5, 2005


I don't remember hearing anyone on the left side of the aisle stand up after Sept 11th and deliver a firm, strong, reasonable solution for how we should act.

A firm and strong solution? No, you're right. Most of the liberals were too busy concentrating on the reasonable aspect, while the more reptilian members of our government handled the angry, reflexive, short-sighted parts of the solution. Good work, by the way.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:17 PM on February 5, 2005


Languagehat -

It's not at all surprising that when someone goes to a wingnut site and addresses the folks there as stupid fucking wingnuts that their reception is a bit less than civil.

Sure, you might think you're doing them a favor by telling them that they're stupid fucking wingnuts, because they're obviously so damn stupid that they can't recognize for themselves that they're stupid fucking wingnuts, but you can hardly expect them to be actually grateful for being called stupid fucking wingnuts, can you? Start off with something like that, and you've effectively bricked up the window of communications, welded steel plate over it, put up studs, insulation and drywall, painted the drywall a pleasant color, put up crown molding, and what do you think about maybe a nice landscape or some abstract art and putting in some indirect lighting?

In other words, you're not doing that to communicate, you're doing it to start a fight. Or, to maintain your isolation behind a holier than thou feeling - because you're RIGHT, dammit, and if those stupid fucking wingnuts weren't such stupid fucking wingnuts then they'd be able to SEE that!

For decades we're told in school as kids that we're supposed to be polite. We're supposed to try to look at things from the other persons' perspective. Be polite and don't insult people. Do unto others the way you want to be done by, and all that stuff. Why does it get tossed out the window so damn fast when politics get going?

Dhoyt's got some very good and valid points - and look at how they've been sidelined by folks who look hard for the exceptions and attempt to make them the norm. If the left continues to margnialize those who attempt to remind them (as Justgary did) of the definition of
lib·er·al: def-
Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
and any who attempt to bring in new ideas, then I see the Democratic party going the way of the Whigs.

On preview - Civil-Disobedient - I've been hoping to see SOMETHING resembling a workable idea from the Democratic side of the House since the Carter era. I still have hope, but I think that a lot of the old guard dinosaurs will need to die off or retire first. Obama's got promise - but Ted Kennedy's day is long past.

JB
posted by JB71 at 8:42 PM on February 5, 2005


Pointing out that GWB could have lost the election because of a listening device he lied about is similar to watching a video of genocide and pointing out that one of the killers is wearing mismatched socks.

There are a million reasons that this idiot should have lost the election. None of them matter more than the fact that the majority of Americans want more of what he has to give.

Like it or change it. Enough with the whining and splitting hairs. A cabal of evangelical psychopaths have stormed the control room--who cares what they had for breakfast?!
posted by squirrel at 8:42 PM on February 5, 2005


Are the new ideas you're all talking about sort of like the "new economy" crap of a few years back? Stuff that's new, but doesn't work because it ignores basic longstanding rules of economics and finance? Or is it proposing to add an amendment to the Constitution that would add discriminatory language to the Constitution?
posted by raysmj at 8:50 PM on February 5, 2005


You've just reinforced the biggest stereotype yet: the "America-hating" liberal who can move to another country whenever he wants, yet doesn't.

Ever try to dump one citizenship for another?

If someone is willing to leave, why do they have to keep paying taxes to the US - the place they are leaving?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:51 PM on February 5, 2005


None of them matter more than the fact that the majority of Americans want more of what he has to give.

Incorrect. The Majority of Americans did not cast votes in favor of GW Bush.

There are the people who did not cast a vote at all. Then the people who cast a vote for anyone but Bush or Kerry. And the group that voted for Kerry.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:00 PM on February 5, 2005


Liberal leftie here who basically agrees with Dhoyt. The answer to Islamic fundamentalism would have been to take all those billions we've spent blowing up Muslims and creating tomorrow's terrorists and instead create a Marshall Plan for the developing world. I'm willing to believe Bush was wearing a wire, but it doesn't matter -- the candidates should have been allowed to bring notes and even advisers to the podium, for a substantive discussion, minus journalistic grandstanders.
posted by Slagman at 9:22 PM on February 5, 2005


Before the 2004 election, I thought the way your post suggests you do, rough ashlar. Post-election, this much is clear: to the very best of its ability, America has collectively declared that it wants four more years. We had our shot at unseating him, it should have been like fish in a barrel--but it wasn't. Bush stays on because America, to the horror and outrage of the world, wants him. All your equivocation and hair-splitting doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

On preview: well said, Slagman.
posted by squirrel at 9:25 PM on February 5, 2005


and meanwhile, in the country we invaded and are occupying (that didn't ever attack us, btw), the people who didn't even vote are going to have a place and seats and a say in the government--something we don't get.
posted by amberglow at 9:29 PM on February 5, 2005


raysmj seems to be having a conversation with someone only he can hear.

Intentional? If so, brilliant.
posted by soyjoy at 9:30 PM on February 5, 2005


Debating someone who's not there is suggesting that, oh, it's a good idea to have debates in which everything is laid out on the table and anybody can say anything AND proposing a Marshall Plan for the Third World. I can see those things happening tomorrow. The American people are just crazy ready for those wild new ideas. They go gaga over that foreign aid, and they love the nuance that having advisors and charts and graphs galore around would bring. Shit. Plenty of Americans think half our money goes to foreign governments already. Talk to them about foreign aid. You'll hear the same thing, time and again.

I'm sorry, I'm just exasperated by this thread. Everybody move who's fed up and, if you don't, you're a cliche. Suggest new ideas - whether they're bad or not, who cares? As long as they're new, I suppose. Also, liberals, try being liberal. Gawd.
posted by raysmj at 9:48 PM on February 5, 2005


soyjoy: Here's what I was answering in that post about new ideas. It's not so darned obscure.

"Obama's got promise - but Ted Kennedy's day is long past." And blah blah.

How exactly do Obama and Ted Kennedy differ in their support or lack thereof for public policy? Neither he nor Ted are big supporters of Gonzalez for AG or the Bush Admin.'s Social Security plan.

Also, hasn't Ted gotten along surprisingly well with G.W.? Didn't he also support parts of No Child Left Behind, as Obama has, but criticize its funding? Yes, he sponsored the friggin' legislation for NCLB in the Senate, already. I think the difference here is mainly one of the tone their speeches, Obama's loudly expressed concern with division in the population at large, and the way Obama is perceived by the public and media types, as contrasted with the way Kennedy is.

The idea here is to make Dems. look like sticks in the mud, as contrasted to Repubs., with their plans for privatization and whatnot. There is truth here. The Dems. have been bereft of new ideas, 'cept for Clinton's Third Way stuff, but newness isn't valuable for the sake of its newness alone. Many of Bush's ideas have been disastrous. And new ideas, such as that for a Marshall Plan for the Third World, are hardly possible due to the history of past policies and the general political environment that's been created over the past 30 or so years.
posted by raysmj at 10:07 PM on February 5, 2005


The answer to Islamic fundamentalism would have been to take all those billions we've spent blowing up Muslims and creating tomorrow's terrorists and instead create a Marshall Plan for the developing world.

Quite a large number of us have been saying this since 9/11. This is about as effective as suggesting we give more money to schools if we want our kids to have jobs in the future. Or proposing a tax-break to the lower-class, financed with a tax-hike to the upper class, if you want to increase domestic spending.

The simple problem is that they're not interested in real solutions. They just want to see a body count. That's what you get when you start buying into all that eye-for-an-eye crap.

On preview:
Everybody move who's fed up

Many of us already are. It doesn't happen overnight. Unless you'd like to pony up some cash to expidite the process? Come on, put your money where your enormous gaping maw is.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:08 PM on February 5, 2005


Maybe the article wouldn't have made a difference. We'll never know. But it would have been nice if the article had run just so the lovely people over at littlegreenfootballs could eat crow. They, along with other wingnut blogs, went on for days about how Kerry cheated because he pulled out a pen during the first debate, in violation of the debate rules.

This choice snippet is a prime example.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 10:32 PM on February 5, 2005


It's the fear(?) that made them not run it that's the real problem--for the past 4 years and counting, we haven't been getting all sorts of information--useless or not--that we should be getting. Or the disinformation and lies, duly reported.
posted by amberglow at 10:59 PM on February 5, 2005


Come to Canada, disenfranchised American brothers and sisters! We'll tax the living shit out of you, but at least you won't have to hang your heads in shame every second week or so. Our leaders aren't that bright either, but their nitwitism doesn't lead to the wholesale raping and slaughter of men, women and children.

And, when you wear that Canadian flag pin on your jacket while travelling overseas so you don't get treated like a festering douchebag, it won't be a lie.

And bring some of those Payday bars when you come, eh?
posted by Darkman at 11:29 PM on February 5, 2005


~chuckle~

I'm actually all in favor of wiring Dear Leader, and having someone continually feed him the answers. Can't hurt. Might help.

And so good to hear from the "moderates", as always. 'Course, in place of arguments detailing their own ideas and recommendations for dealing with Bush (IF they have any...a big 'if', because we sure as shit didn't hear any from the "moderates" above), one supposes we got what we deserved.

Here on MetaFilter, every neocon without the courage of their convictions wants us desperately to think he/she is really a "moderate". The technical term for the phenomenon is "speaking out of both sides of ones mouth." They all spend a lot of time running from and denying their own obvious conservative silliness, after they spout it. Can't imagine why.

And these "moderates" do so want us to meet the perpetrators and supporters of this gutless, shitty war halfway, don't you know. 'Cause, you know, if we'd have met them halfway, things would be so much different. Better, for sure. Yeah, compromise, understanding. Maybe if we'd met them halfway, all those American soldiers would only be missing half their limbs. Maybe all those poor Abu Ghraib prisoners would have only have gotten half as many dog bites, one supposes. A full half of all those dead Iraqi children wouldn't be rotting in their graves now. Maybe half the world wouldn't consider America an unethical, blundering laughingstock, if only we non-moderates could have just put down our placards and long hair and patchouli oil and reached out to those friendly, reasonable, red state folk. After all, compromising and overlooking the lies that led to the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of people makes people feel better about themselves, and gets them, you know, to maybe come over to our side, if we sweet talk them enough and maybe say it's ok if we just send half as many troops over to kill Iraqis.

Horse. Shit.

"Moderates" haven't changed much over the years. You still have to drag them around my their noses, as Martin Luther King found when dealing with "white moderates". More recently, when the time came to take a stand, "moderates" placed their tails firmly between their legs and fell into step with the President's invasion, occupation, and terrorizing of another nation. For them, any criticism of American policy is "hating America". Any criticism of Bush is "Bush hate". They're still trying to justify and rationalize their own stupidity in supporting the war. They've had little to do with any resistance to Bush's policies. They kind of just go along.

No one will believe for one instant that a sitting wartime President would be as unpopular, and returned to office so narrowly, without the relentless work of those on the left, who apparently pack slightly bigger political testicles than "moderates. "Moderates" have been kowtowing and bleating "whatever you say, boss" to Bush ever since 9/11, refusing to acknowledge any of the clearly established American stupidity and greed, going back half a century, that helped bring about 9/11.

Those who vociferously opposed the war were right, as events have shown. If anyone with half a frontal lobe had listened to the marchers in the streets before the war said, the "liberation" of tens of thousands of Iraqis (and thousands of Americans to come) into their graves would have never happened. Ameicans have listened to those marchers, as the growing unpopularity of the war shows. America sure as hell ain't listening to the "moderates" on the war. If the same cretins-in-charge had listened to what "non-moderates" were saying thirty years ago about the potential disaster of arming despots "to pursue our interests", Saddam Hussein, who was once the wingnuts' wettest dream, would have never posed a problem. If we'd lived up to progressive ideas about actually living our American ideals (without the opposition of so-called "moderates", may of whom are still suspicious of progressive American ideals like civil rights), we wouldn't be facing yet another fundamentalist regime we helped create (guess you Bush supporters should have spent more than 5% of your time worrying about Iraqis voting for fundamentalists instead of the 95% of the time you spent patting yourself on your back that invading Iraq was the "Christian" thing to do).

These are the same lukewarm, impotent "moderates" who have never found a stand they couldn't waffle on, never found an imperative they wouldn't compromise on. Shame. Don't blame others for Bush. Don't blame others for that chronic crotch-ache from your endless fence straddling.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:44 AM on February 6, 2005


You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity. Farewell.
posted by Dreamghost at 3:10 AM on February 6, 2005


no, it's not a farewell, Bush will be there for another 3 years and eleven months and change. but I agree with the sad strange pitiful little man part
posted by matteo at 7:40 AM on February 6, 2005


> Here on MetaFilter, every neocon without the courage of their convictions wants
> us desperately to think he/she is really a "moderate". The technical term for the
> phenomenon is "speaking out of both sides of ones mouth."

No no, foldie, that's "nuance." Comes highly recommended by your side, you're tail-wagging glad to see it--check your program.
posted by jfuller at 8:33 AM on February 6, 2005


Here's one conservative who doesn't care in the least to spun as a moderate, nor do I generally think moderation is any kind of virtuous leavening of conservatism.

What I think does leaven conservatism, and create avenues for discussion with leftists, is libertarianism.

Where Bush doesn't satisfy me as President is that he has a very statist/institutionalist approach to problem solving; he's very little of a libertarian at heart. Education policy is a great example of that, but there are lots of others.
posted by MattD at 9:03 AM on February 6, 2005


You people picking on dhoyt, what I don't think you realize is he's on your side. More or less. It seems to me he doesn't think that Sadaam == 9/11 & Muslim Fundamentalism, and he probably thinks Bush is a twit.

What he's talking about is strategy and influence. What's it going to take to influence the portion of the center that could be influenced, that could have voted for Kerry instead of Bush, that could be persuaded the Bush's SS plan is bad news for America?

Not bumper stickers about pacifism. The left really needs to take stock in how they use personal influence as a political tactic.
posted by namespan at 9:25 AM on February 6, 2005


Kerry spoke often of his plans to bring other countries in--including giving our (used-to-be) allies a real stake, and to empower the Iraqis themselves, and to wholly change the way we are dealing with Iraq--if you didn't see it, or watch any of the debates, or care to even take a look, that's not our problem. All along there have been voices calling (rightly) for doing this differently, given that it was already done.

It's an empty and false criticism to say that we on the other side don't offer alternatives. We offered at least 49% of voters alternatives, and possibly more.
(and it's also a current GOP talking point, which makes it even more empty and bankrupt coming out of your mouths)
posted by amberglow at 9:34 AM on February 6, 2005


amber: as I've said several times now, I'm not pointing to Iraq as ground zero for radical Islam. Forget Iraq for now. Iraq was, at best, a dubious response to what happened on 9/11. Forget Iraq and forget John Kerry.

What I'm asking is: after 9/11, what liberal voices did you hear—media, pundits, protesters, politicians, whether or not they were "in power"—who offered rationale, "progressive" solutions for international terrorism, specifically in the MidEast? For obvious reasons, 9/11 became a reason to address the issue seriously. So who stepped up and sharply delivered one of the famous 'nuanced' approaches the Left are supposed to be known for in order to appeal to both Middle America and urban liberals on this issue? Who had the gumption to point at Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, et al, and say: You need to get your houses in order or it will be done for you? Sorry, but I don't remember anyone filling that role (except some journalists like Hitchens), or having the guts to criticize how dangerous radical Islam has really become. Even saying something like that on Metafilter gets you some smug, matteoesque comment about your "hatred" for Islam, or bloodlust for Brown people.

What happened instead was a bunch of predictable conspiracies ("Bush wanted 9/11 to happen! He wants to make war for oil, let's make puppets!") and a whole lot of Blame-America-First. Once again, so-called Progressives shot their feet full of holes. Surely blowback was an issue with 9/11, but you know what? Blaming America for the past isn't addressing the current crop of maniacs who want to kill us, many simply on the principle that we are 'infidels' by nature, thus doomed. And sadly, the only ones who stood up to hatch a plan for all this was neoconservatives who already had a plan anyway, crazy as it sounded to some. Protesters, meanwhile, never sent a message to the MidEast, never criticized the hijackers, never criticized radical Islam and never expressed pity for the people living under fundamentalist religious regimes straight out of the Middle Ages. Their refrain, even before the Afghanistan invasion? "No Blood for Oil". It's like bad parody.

Remember how much flak Mick got the other day on his comments about "silence"? Well, Mick is not the first to notice. How often at MeFi have you ever heard someone condemn a religious 'wingnut' suicide bomber with the same vitriol they reserve for Bush? Those pacifists (read: deer caught in the headlights) and wishy washy Democrats (many who voted for the Iraq war) haven't earned the right to smugly refer to themselves as the "reality-based" crowd, nor did they earn a new president on Election Day, 2004, nor did have they cut a particularly strong, impressive figure since 9/11 so as to improve their Isolationist image. 'Neocons' and MidEast theocracies are not the only ones dangerously out of step.

What he's talking about is strategy and influence. What's it going to take to influence the portion of the center that could be influenced, that could have voted for Kerry instead of Bush, that could be persuaded the Bush's SS plan is bad news for America?

Exactly.
posted by dhoyt at 10:57 AM on February 6, 2005


The SS issue isn't being discussed by liberals? Hello? It's a 24/7 thing right now. Or are they to provide "alternatives" for a crisis that doesn't seem to exist? That's what all this talk about "new ideas" is. It's a talking point to make Bush sound like the guy with the new ideas, who, the talking point goes, liberals are supposed to be. So . . . Thirty years after making "liberal" a dirty word, you want to reclaim it. It's all spin crap.
posted by raysmj at 11:38 AM on February 6, 2005


And Gary Hart's only been talking about progressive anti-terror ideas for eons now, to name but one fairly well-known example.
posted by raysmj at 11:41 AM on February 6, 2005


Dhoyt - the question you asked...
What I'm asking is: after 9/11, what liberal voices did you hear—media, pundits, protesters, politicians, whether or not they were "in power"—who offered rationale, "progressive" solutions for international terrorism, specifically in the MidEast?
... is one that won't have a palatable answer. But then, your asking the question at all indicates you know the answer as well as anyone else does.

There weren't any.

Part of it, I think, is that suddenly it was realized that just not identifying themselves with 'the system' wasn't sufficient protection. In fact, it wasn't any protection at all. There were people who hated them, from core convictions that were impervious to anything short of death, that wanted to destroy them utterly. And suddenly it didn't matter that they didn't like the system, thought Bush/Republican policies were crap, that they demonstrated at all the right times and places - they'd still be targeted and killed because they were of the West and of the wrong religion.

Then part 2 kicked in - decades of indoctrination that all cultures are good and equal and that you cannot, that you MUST not, make any value judgements on anything outside your own culture. And that any criticism of another culture or religion (aside from Christianity) is racism.

So. You've been kicked in the metaphorical nuts by a culture dedicated to your destruction, and you mustn't say anything critical of it. Add the two together, and you get paralysis.
What's it going to take to influence the portion of the center that could be influenced, that could have voted for Kerry instead of Bush, that could be persuaded the Bush's SS plan is bad news for America?
Ideas. Workable ideas. Not "They're so fucked up that there's no way to salvage (concern X) so we insist no change be made" statements, not saying something needs to be done about Problem Y before elections, then shelving Problem Y and not working on it until the next election cycle hits (which I saw WAY too much of when Democrats were in power), not blaming everything on folks making more than $60k/year (dump the class warfare stuff) and in general looking at making the country BETTER for EVERYONE. I know Zell Miller's not exactly considered a good Democrat, but there's a lot of truth to what he's saying, and what he's saying is what the center is seeing and feeling. You read his book, you'll see his frustrations and anger clearly about the party he loves.

Right now, the DNC's lost a lot of credibility with the center. You can only play the same tunes to your core group so long before people notice you're not coming out with anything original. You can deny it, and insist that the old songs are good enough - but in the end, the consumer (the voter) decides what he's going to buy. If the customer doesn't like the product, it doesn't do any good to call him stupid and uneducated. You won't win him over.

On preview - raysmj - It's funny how SS is in crisis when there's a Democratic president, but not when there's a Republican one. And as far as Gary Hart goes - he's really got a voice in the Democratic party, doesn't he? Why, 24/7 that man's a figurehead, constantly expounding his ideas on his blog... which hasn't been updated since March of '04.

I wonder why the DNC doesn't seem to be listening and promoting them?

JB.
posted by JB71 at 11:53 AM on February 6, 2005


For obvious reasons, 9/11 became a reason to address the issue seriously. So who stepped up and sharply delivered one of the famous 'nuanced' approaches the Left are supposed to be known for in order to appeal to both Middle America and urban liberals on this issue?
Many did speak up, but 9/11 became a reason for a lockdown on dissent, with even Senators calling anyone and everyone who questioned the administration "traitors" etc. Those who did speak up then were attacked by the Right, in and outside of the media. The baying for blood (little did we know then that it would be Iraqi blood--in buckets--and not Osama's) and smackdown of ANY dissenting views was widespread.
Everyone said "let's go get Osama." EVERYONE. On all sides. The fact that they were already planning on using 9/11 to get Saddam/Iraq has nothing to do with the fact that there were many many many people on all sides with plans. Guess who was right? Just because a massively wrongheaded plan was already in place--a plan that we'll be paying for in lives and money and lost goodwill for decades to come--doesn't mean that there weren't other options--options raised over and over. Sometimes saying "no" and "why?" are the better options--and if only the administration had listened instead of ignoring Powell and others, and firing Pentagon people who knew what we were in for.
posted by amberglow at 11:57 AM on February 6, 2005


JB71: dhoyt said point out a liberal who said so-and-so regardless of whether the person is prominent or elected. I named one. I didn't need to go any further. I'm sure if I had all day I could find post-9/11 columns that as hard on the Taliban, etc., as those in power, but I have to do some work.

And Social Security is not in the trouble that people figured it might have been about six years ago. That's the way things go sometimes.
posted by raysmj at 11:58 AM on February 6, 2005


Closing Down Debate (from 12/01)
posted by amberglow at 12:15 PM on February 6, 2005


I forgot what the point of this discussion was...didn't it have something to do with Bush cheating and the NYT giving him a pass? Right, right. I heard something about how it wouldn't have mattered and no one would have cared anyway.

Now I see what happened to the thread....The ball was in Bush's zone and someone on defense kicked it downfield and the thread chased it, allowing this thread about Bush's cheating to turn into a generalized discussion of his opponent's faults! Cleared the zone! We should award bonus points for the distraction of "the left lacks a compelling alternative vision" canard. Masterful subject changing, all told.

Anyway, Bush cheated and the Times (what...you mean it wasn't the Washington Times but the New York Times?) covered for it. It amazes me how an election decided on "morals" can co-exist with such utter apathy towards "ethics". But then, I also wonder how much Judith Miller's front page NYT exposes on Saddam's scary WMD arsenal cost the White House Iraq Working Group. It ran orders of magnitude above Armstrong Williams money, to be sure.
posted by edverb at 12:20 PM on February 6, 2005


Closing Down Debate (from 12/01)

You're rather predictably using Ashcroft as a personal bogeyman to explain why more people didn't put forth a different plan for snuffing international terrorism? Sorry, but Ashcroft was not personally responsible from preventing more journalists, pundits & politicians from publishing their ideas. How can you say, on the one hand, "Plenty of people were voicing their opinion!" and on the other, "No one was allowed to voice their opinion!"? Ashcroft was no saint, but that sounds like a weak excuse to me.

allowing this thread about Bush's cheating to turn into a generalized discussion of his opponent's faults!

No, the thread was about the wire issue, and some of us posited that maybe, just maybe, the MSM didn't pick it up the story because there was nothing to pick up. And then some of us wished, aloud, that certain folks concentrated on meatier, less National Enquireresque issues so that 'leaders' like Bush wouldn't get elected in the first place.

Anyway, Bush cheated

Ah, well it's settled then. Evidence or no evidence.
posted by dhoyt at 12:34 PM on February 6, 2005


How can you say, on the one hand, "Plenty of people were voicing their opinion!" and on the other, "No one was allowed to voice their opinion!"? Ashcroft was no saint, but that sounds like a weak excuse to me.

It wasn't just Ashcroft. Here's a little something about the gameplan from Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation

They were voicing their opinions, but were immediately shut down from continuing to do so--it's fact. You discount the power of government officials and their like-minded cohorts in the media from having a chilling effect--at your own peril.
posted by amberglow at 12:46 PM on February 6, 2005


even today it's still going on (from the American Conservative fascism link on the front page):
And of course it’s not just us. When USA Today founder Al Neuharth wrote a column suggesting that American troops be brought home sooner rather than later, he was blown away by letters comparing him to Tokyo Rose and demanding that he be tried as a traitor.
posted by amberglow at 12:51 PM on February 6, 2005


Ah, well it's settled then. Evidence or no evidence.


posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:03 PM on February 6, 2005


he was blown away by letters comparing him to Tokyo Rose and demanding that he be tried as a traitor

So...he got some angry letters?

What does that have to do with Ashcroft?

Were there laws passed specifically banning this kind of dissent?

Are you saying that Dems/Libs have been tight-lipped about their foreign policy plans all this time because the theat of receiving angry letters was too great?

Any opinion writer who doesn't get angry letters—or whose sensibilities can't handle them during a time of controversy—isn't much of a writer.
posted by dhoyt at 2:28 PM on February 6, 2005


I guess I would sum up my frustrations by saying:

Post 9/11, Dems-Libs have had all these outspoken opinions about what NOT to do, terrorism-wise, but they seem to have precious few specific, practical, applicable ideas about what TO do.
posted by dhoyt at 2:44 PM on February 6, 2005


And here's my problem with you. I can agree that Democrats with more interesting ideas weren't heard or weren't prominent enough (although it wasn't as if Gary Hartm say, was disrespected or a nobody in Dem circles, given his previous involvement on a bipartisan anti-terror commission that warned of a 9-11). But, regardless of how new the idea of spreading democracy by force was, how exactly was it practical?

Worse, it certainly wasn't even close to prudent. I read on here somewhere the other day that Bush middle eastern plan was Machiavellian. Well, Niccolo suggested prudence, and striking only in just conflicts. The Iraqi conflict was neither just nor prudent. Plenty of other Bush ideas have been similarly reckless and more ideologically driven that pragmatic or sensible.
posted by raysmj at 3:26 PM on February 6, 2005


and dhoyt: The First Amendment is something that lives within the culture. It's not just a selection of a document whose protections will be enforced due to the fact that it's official. Hasn't Bush been pushing this book whose Israeli author says the test of a free society is whether a person can go into a town square and voice an opinion without even the fear of being beaten to a pulp for it? Threatening letters would, I think, provoke that sort of ear.
posted by raysmj at 3:31 PM on February 6, 2005


The most likely explanation is that it's a bulletproof vest. Why are they denying it? Because if it were common knowledge, assassins would aim for his head instead of the wider target of his (possibly-protected) chest.

and now, I expect my front door to be busted through by FBI
posted by pmbuko at 12:00 AM on February 7, 2005


I'd like to voice more support for dhoyt, and say I'm basically ashamed at the reaction his comments have produced here. I used to think y'all could tell the difference between a right-wing troll and someone who wants the same outcome as you and is troubled by the way we as liberals are half-assedly trying to bring that about.
posted by rustcellar at 8:55 AM on February 7, 2005


Post 9/11, Dems-Libs have had all these outspoken opinions about what NOT to do, terrorism-wise, but they seem to have precious few specific, practical, applicable ideas about what TO do.

Something you still haven't proven to us, dhoyt...if you repeat that often enough, do you think we'll start to believe? It's a common attitude among some, lately. Just because you're repeating a

more
posted by amberglow at 1:37 PM on February 7, 2005


oops---Just because you're repeating a rightwing talking point doesn't make it truth.
posted by amberglow at 1:40 PM on February 7, 2005


And just because it's something the bad guys say doesn't make it false. I'd be glad to be proven wrong, and I don't read as much news and political commentary as I should, but I read a whole damn lot of MetaFilter, and I've never heard a plan for dealing with terrorism other than "stop pissing other countries off" which is neither specific nor feasible, especially since so much of the anger America creates is a result of cultural imperialism, which is so far along now that we are powerless to stop it.

Seriously, y'all are giving dhoyt the same reaction that any of us would receive on LGF. We can do better.

Is it really in the best spirit of liberalism to take, as so many are here, the "our folks are right, their folks are wrong" attitude that's responsible for so much that's wrong the world? It's okay if we acknowledge that the democratic leadership sucks. It's okay if we acknowledge that some forms of protest are embarrassing and counterproductive. And it's okay if we acknowledge that the terrorists are bad people. We can say that and still say that George II's wars are the greatest abuse America has ever foisted upon the world, which they are. We can say that and still say that the Republican leadership is a bunch of self-interested lying crooks. But we don't deserve to participate in the political arena if all we have to contribute is another episode of "look at what the Xs are doing, I'm sure glad we're Ys."
posted by rustcellar at 1:52 PM on February 7, 2005


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