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Tilting at Windmills

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March 11, 2006
By: Ogged

Competence

The Dubai ports debacle, which to many people signaled for the first time the unseriousness of the administration with regard to national security, is the Democrat's opportunity to finally change the context of the national security debate. Instead of playing "I'm tough too," Democrats should talk about national security in terms of competence.

In addition to a quick review of the fact that Democrats, when they've been in charge of military engagement, have cared about having a plan, and that one of John Kerry's main concerns was, yes indeed, port security, they should propose a few simple to understand, highly visible initiatives geared toward making people actually feel safer. Here's one idea: DHS will coordinate threat assessment teams composed of agents from the FBI, NRC, CDC, etc., who will be dispatched to various "high priority" sites around the country: a water purification plant in Atlanta, for example, or a vulnerable but important rail switching station in Kansas, or one of the unguarded nuclear sites we keep reading about, etc. Whenever one of these teams comes into town, there will be local coverage, which is what we really want: "DHS was right here in Ashtabula today, making sure that our little ol' chemical waste facility isn't vulnerable to terrorism." This is the kind of thing that people remember and care about. If what the teams propose is funded and put into effect, great, Democrats take credit for the idea. If not, then they have a long list up things the administration should have done, but didn't. If you don't like this idea, come up with another; it doesn't really matter, as long as it's clear and visible.

(An aside: people often dismiss plans or ideas with, "But the Republicans will just argue X...." The key in these debates, however, is that people stop paying attention pretty quickly, and as long as you have a reply to "X," the debate will be sufficiently muddled that the original proposal will remain salient. So if the Republicans were to say that the Democrats are so out of touch that they don't even realize that threat assessments are happening all the time, the response should be, "Well, what about sites A, B, C, D and E, all of which are vulnerable?" If the Republicans dismiss the plan as an unconscionable use of federal agents for show, the response should be that since sites A, B, C, D and E are all vulnerable, people should be able to see their government at work, and hold agencies accountable, rather than being satisfied with "trust us." (You might also mention Bush's own use of emergency personnel during photo ops for Katrina.) You get the idea. "Republicans will just say X" should only be dispositive if you also think "And I don't have a good answer to that.")

The catchphrase for the Democratic emphasis on competence should be "let's do what works." That signals both "enough with the fancy words and crappy outcomes" as well as "enough with the partisan and ideological bickering, we care about results." It also drives home the point that being "tough" doesn't matter if your toughness doesn't work. Facts are on our side, we should emphasize them.

The usual objection when anyone says that Democrats should emphasize competence is "Dukakis." But that was a special, or especially bad case. Dukakis was geeky and from Massachusetts, but there's no reason that "let's do what works" can't be folksy and no-nonsense: "Some people want to save the whole world or tell you what's right and what's wrong, I just want to do what works."

Ogged 2:37 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (150)

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Comments

You recommend debating with these folks as if facts and policy matter. Anyone who thinks that is already a Democrat. The Dem message on national security needs to be clear and simple: "Republican policies have weakened America. Democrats will restore our strength and prestige. Bush started a war then couldn't win it. America has had enough of these losers." Repeat ad infinitum. Keep it simple (but basically true) and emotional. The facts speak for themselves.

Posted by: Rob Salkowitz on March 11, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

At least one-third of Democratic activists do not believe we are at war with Islamic terrorists. They tell us terrorism requires a police response - just issue subpeonas, apprehend the bad guys and get them into court. Or, they tell us Bush created terrorism.

So, remind me again how the Dubai port issue helps the Democratic party?

Posted by: MountainDan on March 11, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

The catchphrase for the Democratic emphasis on competence should be "let's do what works."

Sounds more like "let's do something that looks like it's working." Does it occur to you that public display of your security measures might impress voters, but tends to make the measures themselves ineffective?

The Democrats have a long history on national security that they're going to have to overcome. A lot of us are old enough to remember Viet Nam, along with the Cold War attitudes of the 70s and 80s. When you have to go back forty years to find a Democratic leader who's a credible hawk, good luck with that.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 11, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

At least one-third of Democratic activists do not believe we are at war with Islamic terrorists. They tell us terrorism requires a police response - just issue subpeonas, apprehend the bad guys and get them into court. Or, they tell us Bush created terrorism.

That's a fascinating statistic, MountainDan. What poll is that from?

Posted by: Rob Salkowitz on March 11, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

At least one-third of Democratic activists do not believe we are at war with Islamic terrorists. They tell us terrorism requires a police response - just issue subpeonas, apprehend the bad guys and get them into court. Or, they tell us Bush created terrorism.

No, MD, what we don't believe is that attacking a country with negligible ties to terrorism is the way to combat terrorism.

And, yes, terrorism does largely require a police response. The way to defeat terrorism is to shut off the financial spigots, cut off or compromise their communications, and infiltrate their organizations. Bombing and occupying countries not connected to terrorism is a good way to fill terrorism's ranks.

Posted by: Jadegold on March 11, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

After the Dubai Port deal was announced, Hilary Clinton issued a press release and said she would block the deal.

A week later, we learned her husband had been a consultant with the Dubai company, advising them how to make the deal work.

And Dems think think they look like serious people on national security issues????

Posted by: BigRiver on March 11, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Mountain Dan,

The Bush-Cheney team has destroyed the national security story for republicans. In fact they have undermined their own story with their base, much the way Harriet Miers angered the evangelical court story.

The republicans now have a fight between their elite base and their voting base. The endless pit of corruption scandals do the same. But of course "Dan" you saw this before you created your strawman, right?

Posted by: patience on March 11, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand this "threat assessment team" proposal. The local coverage of teams coming to town -- and the coverage of the response, or lack thereof, to their recommendations -- won't happen unless the teams actually come into existence, and Democrats have no ability to make that happen. So how does the theoretical political advantage of their existence help now?

Posted by: KCinDC on March 11, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

This is not a rational debate. We need to use the opponent's moves against them, which means running to the right on arabs and iran. Play race cards. Trash Republicans for seeking a "global test" when they should be attacking iran and north korea.

Posted by: better remain anonymous on this one on March 11, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Oh no! Mr. tbrosz strikes again with his strawmen.

Posted by: lib on March 11, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

The Dubai ports deal is not a bright shining moment in American history. By all accounts Bush's handling of the issue was clumsy. But the Democratic response was weird. "We can't have an Arab country in charge of our ports because Arabs can't be trusted!" "Bush is putting terrorists in charge of the ports!"

Sorry, Ogged, but the Democrats come across as opportunists.

Posted by: BigRiver on March 11, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone dumb enough to believe we can fence out all perils instead of hunting down and killing those who threaten us is kidding himself. Anyone who does not understand that no matter how perfect your plan, the enemy will seek to go around it is nuts.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on March 11, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Does it occur to you that public display of your security measures might impress voters, but tends to make the measures themselves ineffective?" ~tbrosz

If Georgie has taught us anything, tbrosz, this is it.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 11, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Anyone dumb enough to believe we can fence out all perils instead of hunting down and killing those who threaten us is kidding himself." Posted by: Walter E. Wallis

Mention this at the next White House strategy meeting. Be sure to mention Osama by name.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 11, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Ogged, why are you blogging about port security when this country is filled with uneaten pies? This is why Democrats keep losing elections.

Posted by: apostropher on March 11, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Nicely written.

This cuts to the heart:

"...but there's no reason that "let's do what works" can't be folksy and no-nonsense"

Let me add to this:

Any democratic who is running for office ought to immediately and vociferously counter Rove's "soft on terrorism" charges by stressing that their children and their parents live in America too.

When Rove's boys play the soft-on-terra card... you had better go hard on the attack.

Show rage.
Show backbone.

Treat with hot contempt those who claim you don't care about the safety of your parents or your children.

Not only are these fucks questioning your heart,
They are questioning your patriotism too.

Either you swift boat the swift boaters...
Or... you are dead in the water.

If you can't bring that sort of power to the table in 2006 or 2008...keep your liberal weenie asses at home.

Posted by: koreyel on March 11, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

lib:

"Strawman" has an exact meaning. Look it up.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 11, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, competence is nice, because it's totally uncontroversial and yet, the fact that you're making it your slogan suggests that the opposition is incompetent. Dukakis had a lot farther to go to make that case than the Dems do.

Though security also works and this is a time when we can finally take the security mantle away from the Repubs.

How secure did you feel when the last Democrat was in office? And how secure do you feel now? Since Bush has been in office, we've had the attack on the World Trade Center, a profusion of terrorists, our soldiers being picked off in Iraq, an attempt by the Republicans to sell our ports to a country with ties to terrorists --- vote for the party who takes security seriously. Vote Democrat.

(Alternate lines: Vote for the party who won't sell your security to the highest bidder.

Vote for the party who won't sell your security to their corporate cronies.)

Actually, this would be good in the 2006 elections, too.

Posted by: catherineD on March 11, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

So, actually, on reflection, I'm going to give competence a no. Scaring people is so much more effective, and if we don't take the upperhand on security, then somehow the Repubs will once again, lying through their teeth, manage it.

Posted by: catherineD on March 11, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Dukakis and Kerry both ran on competence.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Posted by: Matt Stoller on March 11, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Matt:

The gist of this post was that sales apparently matters more than the actual product.

Kerry might have run on "competence," but it was, again, an attempted sales job. His record was still there for everyone to see, and I'm not talking about the military one.

Simply saying over and over again that a Democrat is smarter, more competent, and more patriotic doesn't make it reality.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders like Carter and Gore are not exactly helping to give the impression that Democrats are about America's interests first.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 11, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Yo tbrosz, the very definition of Strawman is the way you try to disrupt every thread on this blog.

I'm old enough to remember Vietnam, and not too old to cry in my beer over the men I loved that died there. What's your point?

The cold war strategery was begun while Truman was in office, and culminated while Bush the Senior was preznit. How did Ronnie Ray-gun get all the credit?

I ain't the Bush the Elder hater that most here probably are. The man was a genuine war hero, and spent his life in public service. You reckon he'd have had an abortion if he knew how his namesake would turn out?

Yeah, so do I.

Posted by: Grotesqueticle on March 11, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK
Anyone who does not understand that no matter how perfect your plan, the enemy will seek to go around it is nuts.

Ah, now I understand Iraq. Clearly the best strategy is not to have a plan.

Posted by: KCinDC on March 11, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

You might want to look up "disrupt," too.

Apparently around here it's synonymous with "disagree."

Posted by: tbrosz on March 11, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still laughing at Matt Stoller's post....

"Dukakis and Kerry both ran on competence."

Matt Stoller has it right: Dems have got nothing. They can yell and scream "Bush is incompetent" over and over, but that won't get them anywhere.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on March 11, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

How as a Nation have we become so twisted politically? By BOTH parties ? Can we decide how to advance AMERICA and not stuffed shirt pompus blowhards. The fact is no body paid attention to this until they ran a poll. The American people were a sleep as usual and needed to be led like school kids at a fire drill.Where the Democrats get they are for National Security? Where is the plan? What Bush is for we are against? Hell of a plan. Some one mentioned John Kerry what a frigin joke that pompus bastard is.Can you here him saying "trust me I'll do what is right " Give me a break. If he was so up on port security he should of been whining about this back in OCT 05 when the story actually broke. Where are the balls of the REPUKELIANS COWARDS? Playing politics with this issue SUCKED, no education. no advise to the Citizens from nobody. WHY ? Because none of the clowns had been educated on something that they should of known before ever taking office.Fact is they were all blind sided again by the dumd ass Texan HA HA HA. Bush is a great Man and a great President he had the Balls to promise a veto ahead of the curve ball thrown by blabber mouths in both parties. This will come back to haunt those opposed to it because they have left no wiggle room. I can understand both views on this issue but I cant stand the lack of guts by those involved.

Posted by: Glyn Lockhart on March 11, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

How as a Nation have we become so twisted politically? By BOTH parties ? Can we decide how to advance AMERICA and not stuffed shirt pompus blowhards. The fact is no body paid attention to this until they ran a poll. The American people were a sleep as usual and needed to be led like school kids at a fire drill.Where the Democrats get they are for National Security? Where is the plan? What Bush is for we are against? Hell of a plan. Some one mentioned John Kerry what a joke that pompus Yankee is.Can you here him saying "trust me I'll do what is right " Give me a break. If he was so up on port security he should of been whining about this back in OCT 05 when the story actually broke. Where are the balls of the REPUKELIANS COWARDS? Playing politics with this issue SUCKED, no education. no advise to the Citizens from nobody. WHY ? Because none of the clowns had been educated on something that they should of known before ever taking office.Fact is they were all blind sided again by the dumd ass Texan HA HA HA. Bush is a great Man and a great President he had the Balls to promise a veto ahead of the curve ball thrown by blabber mouths in both parties. This will come back to haunt those opposed to it because they have left no wiggle room. I can understand both views on this issue but I cant stand the lack of guts by those involved.

Posted by: Glyn Lockhart on March 11, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Bad motto weird-named guy.

As soon as you make ONE mistake, the other side plays it up ("doing what works? not!", "if that's what he thinks works, then you need someone else", etc_, and you're through.

Posted by: cdj on March 11, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing!

The guys who supported the snake oil men of the GOP and continue to support them despite more than overwhelming evidence of their incompetence, mendacity, and integrity are accusing Kerry of a sales job!

I am sorry I used the word strawman for tbrosz.

Idiot is the right appallation.

Posted by: lib on March 11, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Of course I missed two words.

The guys who supported the snake oil men of the GOP and continue to support them despite more than overwhelming evidence of their incompetence, mendacity, and lack of integrity are accusing Kerry of a sales job!

Posted by: lib on March 11, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm.. Ogged is no more coherent at wonkery than at wankery. But at least this attempt slowed him down a bit.

Posted by: charlie don't surf on March 11, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Fairly lame idea.

The opening premise of the "unseriousness of the administration with regard to national security" shows Ogged's thinking is from a liberal/hate Bush bubble.

No administration, republican or democrat, would be unserious about national security. They might make mistakes. but to label your opposition as unserious shows Ogged looks at this only from political advantage terms.

Ogged may be serious (at least about securing some political advantage) but the notion of "playing defense" by protecting rail switches in Kansas is silly. If the "catch phrase" is "let's do what works," then Bush wins because there has been no attack since 9/11. Unless there is an attack, liberals lose on national security and, even then, I am not sure that they still don't lose.

If the democrats want to rehabilitate themselves on national security, they would stand with Bush on the issue and then try to win the election on other issues -- but they can't do that with the current hate Bush mindset. Incumbent in Ogged's idea is the implied hope that there is an attack so that the democrats can prosper in an "I told you so way" -- not a very serious approach to national security.

Posted by: brian on March 11, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Fairly lame idea.

http://www.laborlawyers.com/Bio/BrianFinucane.asp


Posted by: Brian's elusive hairpiece on March 11, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Brian makes a good point: Dems have not stood with Bush on any national security issue in the past 3 years. They have fought him tooth and nail on every point. Their position seems to be "If Bush is for it, we are against it." The Dubai port issue is nothing more than a new way to oppose Bush.

Posted by: BigRiver on March 11, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Why limit the charge of administration incompetence to national security? It applies just as well to virtually every policy area -- from energy to the environment.

Posted by: DevilDog on March 11, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

The Dubai port issue is nothing more than a new way to oppose Bush

Damn those traitor Republicans in Congress who killed the deal! Whoops, I said....republicans?

Oh yes, it WAS republicans who speared the movement to kill the deal ONLY because they knew they didn't want the Dems to get the momentum on it.

Thanks GOP! Please continue to distance yourself from the Daddy of the party as '06 closes in.

Posted by: SmallStream on March 11, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Brian, I see the danger. Look at what happened to the Bush administration when they labeled their opposition as unserious about security. As you would have predicted, the public saw that they were doing it only for political advantage and defeated them soundly in 2004.

Posted by: KCinDC on March 11, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Their position seems to be "If Bush is for it, we are against it."

That's a perfectly logical position. In absence of any other data, past is the best estimate for the future, and, therfore, since Bush and his cohorts have fucked up everything in the past, it is rational to assume that they will fuck up in the future as well.

Posted by: lib on March 11, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Our proposal can be made to work. I have written that about other proposals to help the Democrats. I think that you build on two false premises:

1. the Democrats are really dedicated to making things work; I think more likely they would try this for a while, and then do something else.

2. the Democrats actually care about American security; I think that higher priorities are universal health care and strengthening unions.

I am open to Democratic candidates willing to prove me wrong. Definitely, the Republicans are at risk, and can be taken advantage of.

Posted by: republicrat on March 11, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

I can't decide if most Democrats really believe this stuff about about the Great Port Security Plot or are they just pandering like crazy?

Who invented this doofus idea that everyone has glommed onto anyhow? Yeah, right, Osama is about to secretly ship a nuke into one of our ports. The Russkis could actually have done that back in the cold war days but no one ever hatched that fantasy so we didnt worry about it. I wouldnt be surprised if the idea came from some rejected movie script.

Look, if Iran, with its trained scientists, its connections in the worldwide black weapons markets and its money cant build a bomb, how could a ragtag crew of desert brigands? Iran needs 5000 centrifuges to enrich uranium to get the quantity needed for one bomb. Where is Osama going to get 5000 centrifuges?

As far as I can see, The Great Port Security Scare is just America's hysteria of the moment. I loved that Live Science chart Kevin put us on a few blogs ago. Chances are 1 in 7 of dying of cancer, 1 in 100 of dying in a car crash, 1 in 245 of dying from a fall and 1 in 88,000 of dying in a terrorist attack. So which one obsesses us? Go figure.

Posted by: James of DC on March 11, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Brian: No administration, republican or democrat, would be unserious about national security. They might make mistakes. but to label your opposition as unserious shows Ogged looks at this only from political advantage terms.

The question isn't how serious they are, it's how competent they are. "Incompetent" is the label that describes this administration's national security charade (to describe it as policy would imply there was some substance other than political positioning).

Since there is no serious policy, just some legislation draped over an ideaology, we can only talk about it in terms of political advantage, as Ogged does. Besides, if you are offended by political strategy discussions, you probably shouldn't be on a blog called Political Animal.

Posted by: DevilDog on March 11, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

And by the way, look back at post number one by Rob Salkowitz, folks. He has found the formula. Right on, Rob.

Posted by: James of DC on March 11, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: I will overlook your slur regarding geekiness and Massachusetts, knowing that I keep company with John Adams, the Alcotts, Emerson, Thoreau, Amy Beach,Yo Yo Ma, John Kennedy, and countless others. Unfortunately "doing what works" is exactly what this country has been doing. It is simply a matter of who it has "worked" for. Americans have shown a remarkable ability to ignore the obvious. A folksy slogan isn't going to work any better on anyone, except maybe for California geeks who let Texas hucksters screw them into insolvency by manipulating energy.

Posted by: horatio on March 11, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

horatio, Kevin's on vacation. This post is from Ogged.

Posted by: DevilDog on March 11, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Taim Kaine's address following the SOTU was along those lines.

The Democrats might say "When we had FEMA, FEMA worked!" The Republican riposte might be "All you had were hurricanes in Florida. We made FEMA work in Florida also. The problem with Katrina was the Democratic government in New Orleans." If you have an answer for that (an answer that at least 55% of Americans respect), then you have a winner.

Posted by: republicrat on March 11, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Having these "threat assessment teams" appear at various sites throughout the country might come across as meaningless posturing.

Posted by: Peter on March 11, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Republicrat, Mayor Nagin is a Republican. You don't get much more local than the mayor. Besides, the hurricane was six months ago and FEMA still hasn't gotten its act together on housing and a host of other issues. The perception of FEMA as a failed agency staffed by political hacks requires no further explanation.

If the Republicans said what you suggested, no one would take them seriously. FUBAR is already the conventional wisdom. The best evidence is Bush's poll numbers which have never recovered since the disaster. The GOP can make up whatever sound bites or excuses they want, the public has clearly made up its mind on this one.

This provides yet another example of an area, in addition to the ones I noted above, where Republican/administration incompetence was on full display. The question should be: Is there any area in which this administration has demonstrated any competence, let alone strength?

Posted by: DevilDog on March 11, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

How about two reminders, instead?

Iraq had nothing at all to do with 9-11.

and

Osama bin Laden is still on the loose.

But I guess those two facts speak volumes about competence and integrity, don't they?

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on March 11, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Devil Dog,

I wasn't offended by the political advantage discussion, just suggesting a better way and that Ogged's way was wrong and implicitly banking on an attack.

KCinDC,

I don't remember Bush labeling Kerry unserious on national security. If he did, I suppose a politician who holds the better hand on voters' view of national security credentials could get away with it. I thought Kerry was kinda lifeless on the national security issue, other than I do remember him talking about spending more money on ports and first responders. Otherwise, didn't Kerry largely agree with Bush on national security issues?

Posted by: brian on March 11, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

"horatio, Kevin's on vacation. This post is from Ogged.
Posted by: DevilDog on March 11, 2006 at 5:58 PM"

Alas poor Yorick I knew neither him, nor anything else, at all...

Posted by: horror_atio on March 11, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Right on, Ogged!

Winning elections is about public perception. So, PR stunts? Are GOOD. They are necessary. They must happen in order to win elections and to give you enough positive opinion to get things done.

The Republicans SUCK on substance. They gave up hunting Osama bin Laden in order to do Domino theory in Iraq. They totally botched Iraq becuase they thought something almost impossibly hard would be easy.

We've got substance, they've got PR. Enough with the goddam super-reasonable 10-point plans. Can we PLEASE just do some shallow photo ops so we can start freaking winning elections and, um, implement our much, much, much better policies?

Posted by: theorajones on March 11, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

So the democrats enter wars with a plan.

I'd like to know what JFK's plan was when he started the Vietnam war. Wasn't it great when we finally elected Nixon to end it?

Posted by: TruthPolitik on March 11, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Saddams tie to 9-11

1.Bin Laden has said that he attacked America because of our troops in the holy land

2. We had troops there because Saddam invaded Kuwait.

3. Saddams irresponsible acts contributed to Bin Ladens attack

Posted by: TruthPolitik on March 11, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the slogan that conveys the idea in a pithy, folksy, and memorable way:

If it's broke, fix it.

Posted by: edgewise on March 11, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

''Yes, competence is nice, because it's totally uncontroversial and yet, the fact that you're making it your slogan suggests that the opposition is incompetent. Dukakis had a lot farther to go to make that case than the Dems do.''

wow, Catherine, impressive: a Dukakis reference. irrelevant AND retro.

Excellent suggestions, all, Ogged. The scatterbrained responses from the usual gang of idiots should tell you you've struck a nerve.

Posted by: secularhuman on March 11, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to know what JFK's plan was when he started the Vietnam war. Wasn't it great when we finally elected Nixon to end it?

Where to start with that one? The Viet Nam war was in progress for something like a decade with and without the US when JFK took office, the first American military involvement was under Eisenhower (he must have been so sick of cleaning up after French ineptitude), and the escalation that marked the start of the version of the war most Americans remember took place under LBJ.

No one knows what Kennedy would have done if he'd been alive in '64 or '65. Johnson thought he was doing pretty much what Kennedy would have done when he followed the advice of Kennedy's advisors, but Kennedy had ignored most of them during the missile crisis, so there's no telling how much he would have listened to them later on. He might have gone down the same ill-fated road Johnson chose, but it's no sure thing.

Kennedy made some lousy decisions wrt Viet Nam (like the Diem assasination) and the larger situation throughout Indochina, but blaming him for the '65-'75 phase of the war assumes facts not in evidence

Posted by: VAMark on March 11, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

"All you had were hurricanes in Florida. We made FEMA work in Florida also. The problem with Katrina was the Democratic government in New Orleans." Posted by: republicrat on March 11, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Repub~

What major metropolitan area of Florida is below sea level? What part of it is 'protected' by a series of levees that are built to withstand up to a level 3 hurricane? What part of Florida went through a Hurricane Pam (level 4 or 5) modeling with disastrous results that foretold of what Hurricane Katrina was going to do? And lastly, it has been more than six months....what 'winning' programs has anyone in the administration come up with, even to propose to the local government of the gulf states that were hit so badly. Even if you focus your blame-game on the Gov of LA, you still have to explain the next-to-no action for Mississippi.

The whole country has been able to see that this administration is impotent at anything but spinning a winning election campaign. Even tried and true republicans that I personally know are admitting that they are turning their backs on the embarrassment that is the Bush administration.

Posted by: jcricket on March 11, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, right, Osama is about to secretly ship a nuke into one of our ports.

I do agree that many of the yammering heads are talking about Dubai and terrorism, but at least as important is plain old boring export control. If you work for a high tech company, and some customer asks you to ship your product either TO or THROUGH the Middle East, it's a big deal (to be fair, I think China may be in the same category or a similar one -- but perhaps it is also a mistake for Chinese companies to run our ports). The issue is not that someone will ship us a nuke, but rather that high-tech items will be diverted to countries (or organizations) that are not supposed to receive them.

This is also not racism, at least not on my part. These are rules, monitored and enforcement by our government. Break those rules, and a company can lose its export license.

Furthermore, for Bush to come out all sensitive on this one is a joke. This is the same guy who spoke of a "crusade", who didn't know the difference between Shiites and Sunnis. Bush doesn't care about offending Muslims; he cares about money, and his cronies.

Posted by: dr2chase on March 11, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

The Dubai ports deal demonstrates one thing and one thing only:

George Bush and the Repukes will stop at nothing to eliminate the last American job from the US mainland and ship it to some foreign power that has bribed Bush and his father.

Posted by: dataguy on March 11, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone more knoweldgeable about American history have any onformation on the last time when a senior White Official was arrested for a felony?

GWBush White House has had the ( I think unique) distinction of having had 2 such officials.


Nothing else need be said.

People know that we don't want felonious or potentially felonious people in the White House.

Posted by: lib on March 11, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Hey folks, there may be more to the Howdy Dubai show in any case:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4792788.stm

Second Dubai firm in US port link

A Dubai-owned firm is already providing shipping services in the United States, it has emerged.
Inchcape Shipping Services, whose clients include the US Navy, has been owned since January by the United Arab Emirates investment firm Istithmar.

Fellow Dubai firm Dubai Ports World has agreed to cede control of US ports acquired in its takeover of P&O to a "US entity" after a political outcry.

The US Congress threatened to block the takeover on security grounds.

Republican and Democrat politicians both claimed that the deal would make key US assets more vulnerable to terrorist attack.

However, as Dubai Ports World conceded the deal would not go ahead as planned, it emerged that Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) has had extensive interests in the US for many years.

"I would like to see us move toward really focusing on our critical infrastructure that is controlled, owned or operated by any foreign government" -

Senator Hilary Clinton

ISS arranges pilots, tugs and dock workers for shipping companies and works with the US Customs to ensure the smooth arrival and departure of vessels at ports such as New York, New Jersey and San Francisco.

ISS was bought by Istithmar, an investment firm ultimately owned by the Dubai royal family, for $285m in January.

Following the takeover, ISS maintained its global headquarters in London, where the firm's management is based.
...

Posted by: Neil' on March 11, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

''Yes, competence is nice, because it's totally uncontroversial and yet, the fact that you're making it your slogan suggests that the opposition is incompetent. Dukakis had a lot farther to go to make that case than the Dems do.''

wow, Catherine, impressive: a Dukakis reference. irrelevant AND retro.

Excellent suggestions, all, Ogged. The scatterbrained responses from the usual gang of idiots should tell you you've struck a nerve.

Posted by: secularhuman on March 11, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

apologies to catherineD for the snark.

Posted by: secularhuman on March 11, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Another nest of al Qaeda linked Dubai traitors, given cover by Islamic George, owning more US assets?

Next you know, he will have Islamic Dubai firms running security at US airports

Posted by: dataguy on March 11, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a question that I have never heard anyone ask:

Why is it that it is OK with Bush to have an ARAB government run things, when he does NOT TRUST OUR OWN GOVERNMENT TO RUN THINGS?

Why does Bush trust a foreign government to do things that he doesn't trust our own government to do?

Posted by: dataguy on March 11, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, all you Ay-rab haters, you might like to remember you wear clothes other than rough woven sacking, eat other than primitive, unrefined, barely-cooked food, know about mathematics etc etc etc.... and by the way, the first dude to fly was not the guy in New Zealand who was bfore the Wright Brothers (Didn't know about HIM, did you!!), but one of them Ay-rabs, a long, long time ago!

Have a look at this web site and try not to behave in a series of GWB-like grunts.

http://www.1001inventions.com

Posted by: maunga on March 11, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Why does Bush trust a foreign government to do things that he doesn't trust our own government to do?

Because the port deal involves a huge secret kickback to the Bush family.

That's why.

In other words:

Cheney is to Halliburton as Bush is to the Dubai Port deal.

Anybody who believed that this Dubai port deal was sprung on Bush almost by accident is buying into the bullshit spin big time.

The fucker is getting Arab money on the side...
I'd bet my fucking right testicle on it.

Posted by: koreyel on March 11, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Dear angry, profane koreyel. You are a pretty typical leftist liar. Assuming you have testicles, you deserve to lose them. Then you and Michael Moore can dance cheek to cheek and whisper your idiotic, libelous little fantasies to each other without mocking real physical passion.

You must be under the impression that there are right wingers somewhere who would be afraid of you. Not in your dreams, sweetie pie.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 11, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

I aplogize for being off thread, but I do not know how to write directly to Kevin or his surrogates............

Look at this reference from the Independent on Sunday. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article350787.ece

Surely cabinet officers have to divest themselves of direct holdings of all varieties. I know it is a silly question where this devoid-of-honor, devoid-of-morality Administration is concerned, but!!!!!

Posted by: maunga on March 11, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

I think competence is one of the themes.
But overall I think values and social philosophy are more important.

Thank God Bush was incompetent regarding his efforts to destroy Social Security.

And seriousness is something to talk about. Was Bush ever really serious about combating terrorism? I don't think so. Invading Iraq- giving up the hunt for OBL in Afganistan- this port thing- one could go on and on. But it's more than incompetence. It's a lack of seriousness about the whole issue of national security in regards terrorism.

Posted by: Dale on March 11, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats have a long history on national security that they're going to have to overcome. A lot of us are old enough to remember Viet Nam, along with the Cold War attitudes of the 70s and 80s. When you have to go back forty years to find a Democratic leader who's a credible hawk, good luck with that.

Viet Nam : started by a Dem, hugely expanded by another Dem, abandoned by a Republican. I'm not getting you here.

Cold War: Is this supposed to be a sly reference to how Saint Ronny saved the world all by himself? Not a frame of reference I buy.

Credible Hawk: what is that, exactly? Since I guess you'd say Bush is one, that appears to mean
1. Talks tough, preferably in short, inane sound bites
2. Willing to kill people with no regard to relevance of their deaths to actual issue at hand
3. Is more interested in the appearance of things than the actual things (mission accomplished, iraq, katrina, his entire 5 years in office)
4. Spends about 30% of term "clearing brush" on fake "ranch"

Is that the hawk you're looking for? The Gore you denigrate spent a lot of energy trying to convince the incoming Bushies that terrorism would be their number one concern. But, since it came from the Dems, it must have been worthless advice. So your "hawk" ignored it.

I will grant you that you represent a particular group of voters who have an emotional response to the GOP love of violence, and Dems do need a way to counter that. Because, as we see over and over, nuance and policy and actual governance is, apparently, for fags. Real men just land on the decks of aircraft carriers, wearing a codpiece.

Maybe Hillary should shoot someone. I vote for O'Reilly.

Posted by: craigie on March 11, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

The issue should be: It's the Sovereignty, Stupid.

The ports deal is about soveriegnty, which resides in the people. No foreign country will deny us our right to exercise sovereignty over our own ports, just like they don't deny us the right to limit our domestic air traffic to domestic owned airlines: its simply a matter of sovereignty.

No foreign country would deny that, but our President does, when it comes in conflict with corporate or moneyed interest, regardless as to which country they come from.

Bush had $400 billion dollar defense budget last year, yet failed to stop the nation from being invaded by a million unarmed illegal aliens. If he can't protect our borders, what's the $400+ billion for? Oh, his corporate or moneyed friends.

Time and again, he fails to protect this nations sovereign interest. Katrina? He left the amphibious ship that could distill 100,000 gallons of water a day and some 1,200 hospital beds rot out in the Gulf of mexico while people suffered from dehydration and insulan short falls.

9/11? Asleep at the switch even after being warned by Clinton, Hart-Rudman report, NSA/CIA. And then he let his family friends, the Bin Ladens, jet out of the country without hardly any investigation.

Soveriegnty, Security? Show me the money.

Posted by: E Publius on March 11, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Michael L. Cook,

Bandar in a broken back bed with Bush.
Such a pretty pair of war doves...

Ah...the sweet stink of a Saudi oil family and a Texas oil family.

Q: Anybody ever still wonder who let that getaway jet fly out of American airspace after 9/11?

A: Bush bastard that's who!

Also note that the Texas oil family made a killing backing Hitler before WW2 broke out.

In other words... they've got a history of siding with evil don't they?

So until you can show me some certifiable proof that Bush isn't to Dubai as Cheney is to Halliburton (Note: Deadeye Dick is still getting Halliburton checks in the mail):

J'accuse!

PS: And before you call me profane here is a suggestion...go fuck yourself in your Cheney hole on the Senate floor...got that...ya simple minded republican prick?

Posted by: koreyel on March 11, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

i'm fairly new to this site, and just out of curiosity, does tbrosz get paid to post here, or what?

Posted by: phoebus on March 11, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

phoebus --- if he isz, brosz isz not giving value for money, eh!

Posted by: maunga on March 11, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

i'm fairly new to this site, and just out of curiosity, does tbrosz get paid to post here, or what?

There is a running gag that he does, in fact, get cash - especially if he is the first poster in a thread (though he seems to have missed that one for quite a while).

I will say, though, that tbrosz serves a definite purpose here in this little ecosystem. It wouldn't be the same without him.

Posted by: craigie on March 11, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

The Russians had a very strong incentive not to send a nuke into a port. Plus, they had bombers and missiles with delivery time in minutes instead of days.

To point out the obvious, the Russians never flew planes into sky scrapers.

Posted by: Boronx on March 11, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

Show rage.
Show backbone.

Treat with hot contempt those who claim you don't care about the safety of your parents or your children.

Not only are these fucks questioning your heart, they are questioning your patriotism too.

Pleeeeaaaaze. The Dems use this tactic all the time. I mean, Bush and Cheney's families live on planet earth, and yet these men are constantly being slammed for not caring about the environment because their climate change policies aren't sufficiently communistic. Does that mean Bush and Cheney don't care about the health of the planet their grandchildren will inherit? Of course not, it simply means their preceptions and policy preferences are different. And that's all the Rove attack machine is saying. They're not making the claim that Democrats don't care about protecting Americans, they're making the claim that the Dems aren't qualified to protect Americans.

Posted by: Huff on March 11, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership has shown a strong willingness to put using race as a political tool ahead of supporting homeland security and what's in the best interests of the country.

If that weren't the case, they'd support enforcing our immigration laws, rather than being like Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who strongly supports those who break our immigration laws. Some Democrats are even worse.

Until Democrats get serious about all forms of homeland security, they're just selling you a line.

Posted by: TLB on March 11, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

No, no, no! Salkowitz speaks truth. Go back and read the very first post. Ogged makes the same mistake the Dems always make: smart people (Dems) are trying to talk to dumb people (the electorate) and they dont know how. (Or should I be more charitable and say distracted and inattentive people?)

The Repuglies will try to scare the people into believing terrorists are behind every tree and homos are in every bed. And we should counter all this hot-button passion with a dead-fish like competence? I can see the slogan: We crave a culture of competence. To prove how smart we are, our slogans are all alliterative this year. Puke!

Keep it simple, stupid. Heres Salkawitz: Republican policies have weakened America. Democrats will restore our strength and prestige. Bush started a war and then couldnt win it. America has had enough of these losers. Repeat and repeat and repeat.

Posted by: James of DC on March 11, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz is almost a fixture ; though I have run into him elsewhere and found him congenial ! For all that, lib's spelling of "appallation" made me realize puns could be simulated in print.
I think the best part of "Dubai-gate" port security fooferaw is how rapidly it has been followed by the Secret Service outsourcing - or have I been scammed ?
BTW The merchant marine has been flying foreign flags and is staffed by aliens since forever by now. Isn't there an obvious security risk in allowing foreign ships into large U.S. ports ? I think a lot of the security alarmism is way overblown but thought I'd throw that in for the sake of consistancy.
Are we "parannoyed" yet ?

Posted by: opit on March 11, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Geeky would be Duhbya in a Flight Suit or flyin off a sedgway or perhaps doing a 'Ford' on the steps or another pretzel moment.

This Port deal is way overblown to give the opinion elites something to jack their jaws about, more misleading crap. While all the hype was going on Duhbya basically Legalized Nixonianism with the Patriot Act while the Cloture Club Democrats
and the Blogging 'elite opinionists' waxed philosophical about some damn big ass steel containers that only about what 1-10% ever get looked in?

Morons

Another 'Crisis' to rehash umpteen thousand times Don't you guys get tired of repeating yourself?

Posted by: one eye budk tooth [X^B on March 11, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on March 11, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Ya Know OPIT
I got tired of the Fear factor Sheeeahht when I was in 3rd grade. Fallout Shelters
Drills, Mushroom Clouds all of that.
It's as if people think nukes are suddenly new.
The attention span of MSM American's is about 3 days.
The Israeli nuclear program began in the Late 1940s. It was established at the Department of Isotope Research at the Weissman Institute of Science under the direction of Ernst David Bergmann, "the father of the Israeli bomb," who in 1952 established the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission.
From the very beginning the U.S. was heavily involved in developing Israel's nuclear capability, training Israeli nuclear scientists and providing nuclear-related technology, including a small "research" reactor in 1955 under the "Atoms for Peace" program.
Israel had been active in the French nuclear weapons program from its inception, and provided critical technical expertise. Dimona became operational in 1964 and plutonium reprocessing began shortly thereafter.

People are letting the media scare them.

If I said that ALL AMEICAN Homes have BARIUM FERRITE! on their Refrigerators they would Panic.

Yet its only a fridge magnet.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on March 11, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

At least one-third of Democratic activists do not believe we are at war with Islamic terrorists. They tell us terrorism requires a police response - just issue subpeonas, apprehend the bad guys and get them into court. Or, they tell us Bush created terrorism.

So, remind me again how the Dubai port issue helps the Democratic party?
Posted by: MountainDan on March 11, 2006 at 2:50

Cronyism $$$ CSX Snowe for one.

Lack of Oversight Rummy didnt go thru Proper Channels second.

The Neo-Con Faux media Hyped it as Racist when it wasn't and had to eat their Rovian Bushco 'spin'

Now the UAE is pissed off and you will likely see a rise in Gas prices.

Thats only a few..
And No, Im not racist, and Yes I am an American.
Now, you Sir, you are Saying we should vote for Corrupt Republicans?

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on March 11, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

I love the whining about a plan. As if a real good plan would have won the war and the peace. As if the enemy does not, as soon as he discovers your plan change the nature of his attack?
Joe Stalin, father of all democrats had lots of 5-year plans, none of which payed out because they had no room for feedback.
Mao's Great Leap Forward killed 30 million people.
The solution? More plans?

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on March 11, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

maunga:

Kevin's name at the bottom of each post is an e-mail link. He has always responded quickly and politely when I've written him. I assume it's the same for guest bloggers, but I haven't tested it.

The 1001 Inventions site is interesting and educational, but what's come out of there in the past 400 years? Religious intolerance hasn't done their civilization any more good than it did for medieval Christian civilization.

craigie:

Viet Nam : started by a Dem, hugely expanded by another Dem, abandoned by a Republican. I'm not getting you here.

There's a reason I said 70s and 80s. They don't make Democrats like they used to. And Vietnam was abandoned by a Democratic congress as much as by Nixon.

You're going to have a tough time rewriting the history of the Cold War during the 70s and 80s. Too many people were there, and remember full well who was supporting which side.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 12, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

out here in the Great Unwashed, folks might not take politicians too serious about national security by speechifying on and on about port safety or chemical plant safety or even nuclear powerplant safety when nothing is being done to stop 3,000,000 people sneaking across our southern border each and every year.

its like arguing over how tight to shut the windows during a thunderstorm when there is a whole wall missing from the house.

its just nonsense.

its just a diversion to the real issues of national security.

of course all this blather is about the game of politics. it has nothing to do with actually making the US and Americans more secure. Americans would never accept the cost, but like to be deluded into thinking that hiring a few more night security guards will prevent disaster.


and what will happen vis-a-vis "port security?" the dems will declare that they are stronger on national security than republicans because they are willing to hire more night security guards. tough bastards there! yeap, tighten those windows down! forget about that wall.

Posted by: kuvasz on March 12, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

If the American public weren't comprised of a bunch of lemmings, willing to follow their leader right off the cliff, it would benefit the Democratic Party (granted--the Dems need to start coming on a lot stronger and reminding America of how badly the Republican party has failed them). And the Republicans know it and therefore made a spectacle of themselves opposing this idea, to keep the lemmings coming. This is a perfect example of how this administration has ridden the coattails of 9/11 (somehow connected to Iraq but I still have yet to figure it out), pushing "National Security" down the throats of the country, to keep us scared, to keep us from questioning their insane policies. On Sept 14, 2003 on Meet the Press, Cheney said "If we're successful in Iraq....we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially 9/11 (note subtle attempt to tie Iraq into 9/11".

So which is it? Cheney said himself that this area is the "geographic base" of terrorism. The Republicans are the ones who have been implying a geographic connection to the entire Middle East and terrorism knowing darn well most Americans couldn't identify Iran from Iraq on a map. We've invaded and occupied Iraq until who knows when (Mr. I-don't-need-a-plan to get our beloved troops home as soon as humanly possible...I could pull the old Republican line that you don't support your troops, but I won't since I'm a Democrat and one of us has to be the nice guy), done something in Afghanistan...oh yeah the Taliban (but where is Osama?), talked a little SMACK about Iran, Syria....All that great axis of evil stuff. You can't preach to the public for going on 5 years about this stuff and have the Dubai ports deal spilled out all over without Bush even knowing about it until the last minute! Please, SPARE me the long, overdrawn, National Security "tough on terror" whining battle cry of the supporters of these hypocrites.

As an aside, I don't doubt the capabilty or reputation of Dubai with regard to our ships/ports. I think Americans should be running American ports....regardless of anything else. I think it's be easier for a terrorist from the Middle East to infiltrate a Middle Eastern country, if we're really focusing that heavily on our country's safety. With that said, all of our relationships with Dubai and who was running our ports up until now should have had similar scrutiny and been examined right after 9/11, by the press and the public as well as the legislature, not 5 yrs later.

Posted by: Allison on March 12, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:

You shtick is getting old and tiresome. Your constant calumny that Dems support the enemies of America is slanderous and disgusting.

I had concluded long time ago that you neither have any honor nor any decency. It's very sad that you continue to post such filth here.

Posted by: lib on March 12, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

lib:

I'm 52 years old. I was in college in the 1970s, and started paying attention to this sort of thing. Since then, in every conflict between the United States and its values, and any other nation and its values, the Left has come out in defense of the other side.

During the late 70s and early 80s, you'd only have to check the Soviet position on arms control, international politics, missile defense, or any other issue to know which side the Left, and increasingly the Democratic Party, would come down on.

If you have even one exception to show me, I'd like to see it.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 12, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Whew, I let all the profane Bush haters get me riled, for a minute, but then I came back to my level-headed senses. Bush has placed two of our guys on the Supreme Court. The Patriot Act has been renewed. Iraq is not plunging into a civil war. Iran may not be cowed by American power and diplomatic skill, but Pakistan sure as hell is. It is not inconceivable that the Pashtun hideouts where Osama bin Laden hangs out will be his stepping stone to heaven ere long.

Like this summer, probably, which will take the last of the slight bit of pressure off Afghanistan that the remnants of the Taliban exert. At that point, Afghanistan will look like one of the most remarkable American victories of recent memories, sullied only a little by the poppy trade.

And then, we will slide into this summer with the news from Iraq actually getting better, which means both Iran and their nasty little lap dog Syria will have postured themselves into a corner. They are either going to have to use one of their ridiculous little nukes or just sit around futilely as their conventional terrorist strategies become more and more ineffectual.

And then, it will be Fall and election time. There might even be more Democrats elected to the House, but they won't sound like Nancy Pelosi, they will sound like Joe Lieberman. Then the great 2008 presidential race will be on with
Hillary sounding like Mrs. Joe Lieberman and Bill probably off getting his picture took standing out in the brush with a shotgun and a hunting dog.

When the American public sits down to think about it, they will realize that however unpopular Dubya has become, his policies are going to be around a long, long time. Then maybe they will wonder--could it be that Dubya has been on the right track with a whole lot of things?

And oh yes, I gassed up both my big pickup trucks this week for $2.13 per gallon. Those rotten Texas oil companies are sure ripping me off, bless them all and curse George Clooney forever.

Last but hardly least, I am thinking the '08 Republican ticket. Uh, McCain and Condi Rice. Uh, Condi Rice and Schwarzenegger, with an amendment to the Constitution proposed. Or maybe the republicans will elect to go with Guilliani and Huckabee, the present Arkansas governor, a nice balance of New Yorker and Southern preacher.

Up against the red state party will be Hillary and that dandy little general who commanded NATO. This might be a winning ticket, except that the Democrat Party is going to tear itself into a million gory little pieces at their convention, never to be put back together in time for the Fall election.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 12, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz

Very good recitation of Ann Coulters' talking points.

The 52 years have not taught you anything.

What a waste.

Posted by: lib on March 12, 2006 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

Couple more predictions: by this summer about 85% of the present detainees at Guantanimo will be released. Maybe another new 100 or so will pour in from Pakistan or Yemen. The 2006-2007 hurricane season will be more like an average season than this last year's events. More theories will emerge proposing natural causes of climate cycles. Both E-85 ethanol and battery cars will surge in popularity. Regular may fall below $2.00 in most states by November. The Dow Jones will climb past 12,000. If it is the economy, stupid, repubs will hold on to both the House and the Senate.

Long-term predictions: before the 2008 presidential election, Republicans will pass some form of national Universal Health Insurance.
If they survive 2006 election relatively unscathed, repubs will revisit Social Security determined to means test a lot of the entitlements. Let's be honest, a lot of us new millionaires don't really need Roosevelt's little monthly bribe for the senior vote. I'm planning to use my S.S. check to buy the dream RV, which will probably by powered by one of GM's flexfuel engines.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 12, 2006 at 6:21 AM | PERMALINK

If you have even one exception to show me, I'd like to see it.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 12, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK


Lets start with South Africa. I've got quite a few others.

Posted by: Tbrosz watch on March 12, 2006 at 7:39 AM | PERMALINK

Exhortations about competence without sufficiently bellicose rhetoric won't get the Dems over the national sercurit hump in Nov.

People know (or assume, at any rate) that the Republicans will wage war aggessively because they've got people like Ann Coulter out there saying things about invading, killing leaders and converting Muslims. The vast majority of Americans would find that statement extreme, but understand that any party which count people like Coulter among them is going to take the fight to the enemy (however, ineptly).

If the democrats just talk about competence, they're never going to stop sounding like pussies on defense.

Posted by: TWAndrews on March 12, 2006 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

i'm fairly new to this site, and just out of curiosity, does tbrosz get paid to post here, or what?
Posted by: phoebus

There's a handy-dandy Troll reference guide tabulated by Bob over on "Having a Plan".

Check it out. It's not perfect, but will give you some idea which pain-in-the-ass troll is which.

Scolling past trolls is a valuable strategy.

Posted by: CFShep on March 12, 2006 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

You reckon he'd have had an abortion if he knew how his namesake would turn out?
Posted by: Grotesqueticle

Medically impossible. Jeez.

Then there are the other sons to consider as well...Neil 'Siverado' Bush, Jeb 'Fixed Elections' Bush. Sterling arguments for competance, eh?

Too much in-breeding among the 1% might account for it.

Posted by: CFShep on March 12, 2006 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Unless Dems understand the first post by Salkowitz and what James of DC wrote, they're gonna get dukakis'd, bigtime.

"Competence" ??? What a feeble word to use. Even the most uninformed are realizing the loser policies of the republicans are endangering the future for everyone and bushie's War on Terror is really a Big Fat Error.

Restoring strength and prestige is right (maybe add accountability and respect as well). Gotta use words that rouse some emotion. Words like loser, restoring strength, weak, not 'competence'.

Posted by: Chrissy on March 12, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

lib:

The trouble with people like trbosz is they are very susceptible to propaganda and the right-wing has a very effective propaganda machine. In the common parlance, they have defective crap-detectors. They buy into propaganda about the Soviet Union having superior nuclear capabilities (Google Team B, to debunk) or Iraq being a threat to the United States (ludicrous on its face) and thus, see people who are skeptics as "siding with the enemy". Had he been living in 1930 Germany, he would have been leading the chorus in rounding up Jews and liberals. Ignore him - he is a defective man.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on March 12, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

I am coming in late on this party but the "catchphrase" idea and the media angle has a lot of merit to it. For a party, whose leader recently stood on a podium and proclaimed that he "killed" the Patriot Act, and whose chairman recently stated that any notion of winning the terror war was wrong, to now begin to coin "catchphrases" to demonstrate their tough stance on National Security is right on the money. Also, I love the idea of having a media event surround the train terminal inspections in Kansas, wow, if that's not getting tough on the Islamic Jihadists, I don't what is. This is definitely the right path towards developing that '08 platform, "catchphrases and media events, but whatever you do, make sure the people understand that you won't listen to their phone calls.

Posted by: Jay on March 12, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, if one of the ridiculous little Iranian nukes gets through, how will President H. Clinton explain away that phone calls from the bomb smugglers were not intercepted?

By the by, Hitler did kill plenty of liberals, but nothing compared to Joe Stalin, who considered liberalism as worse than the monarchists. By the time Reagan came to power the Soviet Union had at least 30,000 nuclear warheads stockpiled, adhering to Uncle Joe's philosophy that quantity has a quality all of its own.

The scary thing is that Hollyweird in the late 1940's and early 1950's had a number of people running around who would have been thrilled to pieces to put Stalin-style Siberian extermination camps to work in the U.S. I guess they were dreaming that such camps would be only for the Rockefellers and the Hearsts. Even poor old drunken Joe McCarthy was smarter than that, which is why young Bobby Kennedy seemed to have liked the man.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 12, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Neil:

So what is your solution? Expel every foreign-owned company from port terminal operations - will they at least be compensated fairly? Does it stop there? Arabs own gas stations too, and those can be even more dangerous that port terminals.

It is a fact that no U.S. company runs this many major port terminals, and certainly none bid $7 billion in the original sale. There are just a few smaller companies that run a couple and obviously wanted 1 or 2 P&O terminals at a fire sale price. Is that what you think Congress should be doing now - imminent domain on an international scale, a la Kelo? After you catch up on the news that one such company, Eller, down in Miami, lobbied Schumer (D-NY) and that another, Marine SSA, lobbied Murray (D-WA) plus the other Senator from New York - Senator Murray's husband also works at Marine SSA per this article - then let us know what you think:

http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/0431/040804_news_port.php

Posted by: Don P. on March 12, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

The canard that terminal operations had nothing to do with port security -- always ludicrous on the face of it -- is officially dead.

Study Warns of Lapses by Port Operators
By TED BRIDIS , AP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lapses by private port operators, shipping lines or truck drivers could allow terrorists to smuggle weapons of mass destruction into the United States, according to a government review of security at American seaports.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/P/PORTS_SECURITY_STUDY?SITE=WIMIL&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

The previously undisclosed results from the study found that cargo containers can be opened secretly during shipment to add or remove items without alerting U.S. authorities, according to government documents marked "sensitive security information" and obtained by The Associated Press.

The study found serious lapses by private companies at foreign and American ports, aboard ships, and on trucks and trains "that would enable unmanifested materials or weapons of mass destruction to be introduced into the supply chain."

In theory, some nuclear materials inside cargo containers can be detected with special monitors. But such devices have frustrated port officials in New Jersey because bananas, kitty litter and fire detectors - which all emit natural radiation - set off the same alarms more than 100 times every day.

The study applauded efforts to install radiation monitors overseas. "While there is clearly value in nuclear detection at a U.S. port, that is precisely the concern - it is already on U.S. soil," it said.

Finding biological and chemical weapons inside cargo containers is less likely. The study said tests were "labor intensive, time-consuming and costly to use" and produced too many false alarms. "No silver bullet has emerged to render terrorists incapable of introducing WMD into containers," it said.

Sen. Patty Murray, who advocated the study, said: "There are huge holes in our security system that need to be filled." The Washington Democrat said the study "shows us there are major vulnerabilities over who handles cargo, where it's been and whether cargo is on a manifest."
________________
So guess what?

No "single-chain-of-custody" from port to port, as rdw & Cheney insisted.
No secure ports or terminal operators at either end. No secure containers in transit.
No real way to detect WMDs in containers.
No assurance that manifests are valid or accurate.

From another news story -- no security clearance for longshoremen ('these longshoremen are not angels, you know'). Same is gonna hold true for sailors.

So repeat after me: terminal operators have everything to do with port security.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 12, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

What are we going to do with all of the foreignly owned AM/PM and 7-11 stores around the country. This is a huge national security issue and implore the democrats to put this along side the foreignly owned terminal operators at the top of their platform. How about a media event surrounding the random inspections of mini-marts? Now that speaks to National Security. I will tell you, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat these liberals when it comes to coining catch phrases and organizing media events.

Posted by: Jay on March 12, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

And I was wondering why the clerks at 7-11 all wear turbans!

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 12, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Watch:

Lets start with South Africa. I've got quite a few others.

Better bring a few out. South Africa, whatever its other issues, was on the same side of the Cold War as the United States was. In fact, that was usually a solid indicator of whether the Left supported a particular nation's government or not. Obviously it didn't have to do with the government being a repressive regime, since nations like Cuba still get applause from many of them even today.

Stephen Kriz:

An empire that had a record of invading neighboring nations, a long history of human rights violations, tens of thousands of nuclear warheads, would be considered a threat by most rational people. I, for one, was not all that comforted by the fact that we had more warheads than they did.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 12, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Jay:

Can you imagine the damage wreaked if all those AM/PM and 7-11 stores stopped selling coffee one morning?! Oh, the humanity!

SombreroFallout:

I don't recall the argument that they had "nothing" to do with port security. Port terminal operators, however, are not in charge of security. Why can't Democrats just admit this is racial profiling.

Posted by: Don P. on March 12, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Stephen, absent the nuclear warheads, your description of a threat; ie: record of invading neighbors and a long history of human rights violations sounds a lot like Saddam's Iraq. Just curious how you would rate the fromer regime of Iraq on your threat rate scale?

Posted by: Jay on March 12, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'll tell you Don, we're one bad chili cheese dog away from another 9/11 and Bushco is oblivious to that. We are in need of the brain trust of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to keep our apetites safe.

Posted by: Jay on March 12, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Don't bring in South Africa for the idiot tbrosz. He thinks that deseggregation may have resulted in lowered reading scores for blacks.

Posted by: lib on March 12, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Con P.
SombreroFallout:

I don't recall the argument that they had "nothing" to do with port security. Port terminal operators, however, are not in charge of security. Why can't Democrats just admit this is racial profiling.

Posted by: Don P. on March 12, 2006 at 12:09 PM |

Bush, and everyone else, repeatedly claimed the DPW deal was a NON-ISSUE, BECAUSE terminal operators are not in charge of port security.

They said this outright.

And that link proves that security IS an issue, and goes right to the heart of security.

Don P.: Why can't you just admit it's about security? Why don't you at least read the linked article?

It's about security. Not about race.

Where were YOU, Don P., when Bush was profiling Arabs by race, and sending innocent men via rendition to be tortured? Or to Gitmo? Where were you? But suddenly you're concerned about race, or profileing? Suddenly you're not about security anymore. Suddenly you're concerned about the Constitution? Give me a break -- you danced while Bush fiddled while Rome burned.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 12, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, please remind us all how wonderful, caring and instantly immediate in his eaction GHW Bush was to the opening salvoes in Yugoslavia. It seemed wonderful to me, especially the insistance of his pal Eagleburger that Slob-Scum Milosovic was a wonderful fellow. I vaguely recall that the US did nothing until the nexr president arrived. A little support, and pressure/sanctions against Yugoslavia, perhaps no muscle needed, might have saved a lot of lives.

Of course the last 40 years have had only 12 years of Democrats: you are factoring the disparate years in, aren't you?

Of course, 40 years ago, JFK (I loathed him!) faced down Kruschev...... twice. I know about one of them, because Mr K backed down 23 minutes before I was going to get whacked!

Ronald the Saint did have a good team in his first term, and did invite Gorby to "Tear down that Wall!" against the advice of those closest to him. The only time he got physical was against that terrible threast to us, Grenada, remember? I expect you were terrified of being drafted at the time.

Posted by: maunga on March 12, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

So let's limit ourselves to the time-frame proposed by tbrosz and see what the Republicans were doing in the 70s and 80s that demonstrates a devotion to national security.

Nixon. Nixon expanded the war in Vietnam to include Cambodia, destabilizing that nation and leading to the rise of communism there. Okay, bad example.

Ford. Ford was the guy who assured us that Poland was not under Soviet domination. Okay, bad example.

Reagan. Well, I guess I have to give props to the guy whose cut and run tactics in Lebanon resulted in a great victory for America and its national security. Oh, and as has been pointed out his smashing victory in Grenada ending that nation's threat to our civilization. There is also that great missile shield that he put in place. It has been 100% effective against every missile ever launched at the United States. Of course, it did have one small flaw it apparently didn't work when a couple of jumbo jets were used instead of missiles, but you can't have expected the great Borrow and Spend to have thought of everything. Oh, and he was there when the wall came down in Berlin. Okay, bad example.

Bush. Personally flew sorties to defend us against the terrible threat from Panama (jk). Well, at least he used the military as a giant police force, killing soldiers to get Noriega. Thank god that stopped all of the drugs coming out of Central America. Oh, and he faced down Hussein ending all of the problems in Iraq. Okay, bad example.

So, I guess tbrosz is right. The Republicans really have stopped every missile, every invasion, and every threat to the United States in the last three decades. Okay, bad examples. Perhaps he wasn't talking about their presidents?

Posted by: heavy on March 12, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah that's right. Without the support of South Africa we would not have won the cold war.

Posted by: lib on March 12, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Secularhuman--
Excuse me??? If you'd actually bothered to read the original post, you'd know that it was Ogged who actually brought up Dukakis and I was simply responding to that post. Your post, ignorantly needing to put me down for no apparent reason, is surely the irrelevant one.

Posted by: catherineD on March 12, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Competence" feels a little too close to Kerry's "Closing Arguments." Let's elect a technocrat lawyer! He'll be competent!

Yeah, right, that's going to go over well.

Sorry to see the comments have all seemed to be about dissing competence (as I have just done) or arguing the fine points of the Democratic/Republican records in the past, as opposed to actually considering the value of slogans and, if they are valuable, some possible slogans for the Dems.

Posted by: catherineD on March 12, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Vote for the party who won't sell your security to the highest bidder.
and:
Vote for the party who won't sell your security to their corporate cronies

The Clinton China shenanigans undercut that pair.

Posted by: republicrat on March 12, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat, of course, provides no actual evidence, only smears that mark him a typical Republican. Even better, it is most likely he is talking about when GHW Bush sold technology to the Chinese - the kind of historical understanding that leads Republicans to claim Clinton was also responsible for Ruby Ridge.

Posted by: heavy on March 12, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz: here was your challenge:

1) in every conflict between THE UNITED STATES AND ITS VALUES, and any other nation and its values, the Left has come out in defense of the other side.

2) During the late 70s and early 80s, you'd only have to check the Soviet position on arms control, international politics, missile defense, or any other issue to know which side the Left, and increasingly the Democratic Party, would come down on.

Your challenge was not: who was on our side in the Cold War.

Playing by your original rules (this may be difficult for you to do):

It would be very difficult to say that South African governments (before 1994) were on the side of the United States AND ITS VALUES.

It is also true that most US governments, D and R alike (with the possible exception of Carter) supported the SA government covertly or publicly as against the Soviets.

Which is it Tbrosz: realpolitik, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, or US values?

Posted by: Tbrosz watch on March 12, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

'An empire that had a record of invading neighboring nations, a long history of human rights violations, tens of thousands of nuclear warheads, would be considered a threat by most rational people.'
--tbrosz

Sounds like the United States itself. The Soviet Union was a paper tiger that was on it's way to internal implosion in the mid-1970s. The massive military build-up of the Reagan era, egged on by the Committee for the Present Danger and Team B's lies and exaggerations, was an unnecessary squandering of American tax dollars that our great-great-grandchildren will be paying off.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on March 12, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

"The Democrats have a long history on national security that they're going to have to overcome. A lot of us are old enough to remember Viet Nam, along with the Cold War attitudes of the 70s and 80s."

Tbroz, demonstrating that he has perfected talking out of both sides of his mouth, claims simultaneously that Democrats were too strong and too weak in the Cold War. This isn't shocking coming from scumbags who call WWII a "Democratic war". Nor is it unreasonable to assume that the sides of his mouth are all he has left to talk with since Bush's dick occupies the center 24/7.

52? Just another Vietnam-avoiding pussy.

I just love the wingnuts ignorance of history. JFK started a war in Vietnam! Tell me, does someone have to feed you and take you to the bathroom?

But if you are into slogans how about "Republicans - Dishonest, Incompetent and Corrupt"- which is amply demonstrated by their supporters in this thread. We can all be thankful that they take time off from posting every once in a while to shoplift at Target.

Posted by: solar on March 12, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat, of course, provides no actual evidence, only smears that mark him a typical Republican.

I didn't provide any links. The information to which I alluded would be repeated in a campaign. All I claim is that the Democratic party is not superior to the Republican party on the issue of selling advanced technology to the high bidders in foreign nations.

Posted by: republicrat on March 12, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat, without evidence, all you have is the repetition of a tendentious smear. Not only did you fail to provide links, you failed to provide sufficient context to know whether you are talking about a real or an imaginary event. Since the best known example is the Cox report which papered over the elder Bush's loss of the W-88 technology to the Chinese, it is (as I said before) most likely you are at best seriously wrong.

Posted by: heavy on March 12, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

And what do you mean by 'what works'?

Competence plus direction is necessary to be convincing.

Posted by: McA on March 12, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

I know who started the Vietnam War because I was head of the teenage Democrats in our little town who built a nice colored-toilet paper float and a banner proclaiming "All the Way with LBJ!"

I thought we would have to fight the communists somewhere and it may as well be SE Asia. What I didn't count on was how incompetent our military leaders were. Having been incontrovertibly told that they at best would have to fight a long term defensive war, they eschewed any attempt at forcing the administration to outline an area of Vietnam that could be defended at reasonable expense and without the use of drafted soldiers, which was certaint to be enormously unpopular.

Later, when I got my own tour along the DMZ, it really struck me how different the war might have been had America built the roads, fences, and walls needed for defensive warfare, instead of flitting about on search and destroy missions, squandering lives taking hills that would immediately be abandoned, and bombing villages that we didn't bother to defend so as to keep the enemy out in the first place.

All the tactical and strategic bombing of North
Vietnam and Laos ever accomplished was to lose us pilots. In a proper defensive scheme, we would have been bombing no further forward than two kilometers from our outposts along the line we cleared and intended to defend.

What a shame LBJ and Westmoreland mucked that war up and lost it. There was a way it could have been won, but the corporate culture of the Pentagon at that time was both too gung-ho and too pigheaded to understand the subtleties of defensive war.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 12, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

Well apparently you weren't very observant Mr. Cook. If you had been paying attention, you might have noticed that there had been fighting long before Eisenhower sent in "advisers. But I guess it is more fun to denigrate the Democrats with lies than to admit that the situation was complex and that the Republicans made the situation worse by expanding the war illegally.

While I'm sure you are a strategic genius, I have a hard time with anyone who claims they know how we could have won the 10,000 days war but don't know enough to get the right American President as the one to send troops.

On July 8, 1959 Dale Buis and Charles Ovnand became the first Americans killed in action in Vietnam.
Note the date? That would make it hard for LBJ to have brought the Americans in wouldn't it? Posted by: heavy on March 12, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

heavy:

I've seen a lot of attempts to rewrite history, but attempting to stick the Republicans with the Vietnam War has to be a new record.

When Kennedy took office, there were less than 1,000 advisors in Vietnam, and the total casualties from 1956 to 1960 were 9. The first combat troops arrived in 1965 to join the 21,000 advisors that were there then.

2,415 Americans were killed in Vietnam in the month of May in 1968.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 12, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

TBrosz watch (I rate a watch?):

Maybe I can simplify it a bit.

For the past forty years, the only thing that any nation or entity had to do for the Left to oppose it was for that entity to be pro-American. The only thing an entity had to do for the Left to support it was be anti-American.

This, IMO, is the main reason why South Africa earned the enmity of the Left while communist nations, nations that treated ALL of their citizens exactly like South Africa treated its blacks, were not only tolerated, but even lauded.

This, unfortunately, is still true for many on the Left, which is why you can often see them marching arm-in-arm in demonstrations with Islamists whose values on women, individual freedom, and minorities would send real liberals screaming into the night.

I will also readily admit that U.S. policy worked in a similar way for too many years, Democrat and Republican, supporting dictators solely on the basis of their opposing the Soviet expansion. What I like to call the "OUR thug" theory of foreign policy.

While that worked in the short term, you have to agree that a lot of that approach has come back to bite us in a lot of places.

On the other hand, we are also finding out what happens when the iron hand of a dictator is lifted off a seething mass of ethnic and historical hatred.

No simple answers.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 12, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz

your post clarifies once and for all that you do not have any understanding of even the most elementary concepts of logic.

No wonder the facts and reality elude you.

Posted by: lib on March 13, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz:

I'm not sure what parallel universe you were living in during the 1970s and 1980s when you "started paying attention to this sort of thing" or what the heck you mean when you talk about the "left."

Aside from a very small fringe of hold-over sectarians, NO ONE of any note voiced support for the Soviet Union or any of its satellites. And certainly not in the Democratic Party!

Quite the opposite: an intellectual lodestar of the new left was the Prague Spring, and after that the Polish uprising of 1970, and of course Solidarity. As well, and against US clients - support for the movements for independence against Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Timor; for the South African independence fight; and the fight by the Sandinistas against Somoza.

Much of the corpus of left thinking (of various hues) was concerned with bureaucratism and authoritarianism, whether left or right. The same impulse which drew students (I hate to say of your generation, since this seems to have entirely passed you by at the time as it does now) to criticize and protest the South African government drew them to support movements like Charter 77 and Solidarity. It had virtually nothing to do which side their opponents were allied with in the Cold War.

Moreover, some of the most incisive criticism of the regimes that emerged in each of the fights mentioned above came from the left.

You may have a knee-jerk reflexive approach to politics - support for any regime that is somewhat aligned to US foreign policy - but please don't impute your biases to those on the amorphous "left" you criticise. I too know what a strawman is. There's no harm voicing disagreement on this site; however, yours would be more persuasive if you simply found a more intellectually honest way of expressing it.

Posted by: Tbrosz watch on March 13, 2006 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

The Democrats definitely need some fresh blood when it comes to research, focus groups, and drawing conclusions from these. This isn't a kindergarten classroom - use real American language. Folksy is not something that is a confused issue - we all know it when we see it.

Posted by: Jimm on March 13, 2006 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

If any further proof was necessary that you are a mouth-breathing fuckwit incapable of rational thought this bleating: "...while communist nations, nations that treated ALL of their citizens exactly like South Africa treated its blacks..." pretty well nails it.

We know you are just a heartsick tween, scribbling "Mrs. Tbroz Bush" inside little hearts in the back cover of your schoolbooks, but please-why demonstrate your ignorance of US and world history over and over again? Are you that desperate for attention?

And if you are looking for someone who is reflexively anti-American you need look no further than a mirror. Anyone who is so invested in a cult of Bush personality that they drool and bark on cue; who puts party above country; who applauds illegality and roughshod trampling of our Constitution; and who personally refuses to serve their country is as anti-American as any RPG-toting Arab.

Posted by: solar on March 13, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

What I really was trying to get at is the importance of military leaders understanding whether they need to fight an offensive or a defensive war. The most famous American to get the answer totally wrong was Robert E. Lee. General Lee by his nature was driven to a dashing, Napoleonic style of offense, but what the South needed was a patient, dogged defense fighting out of trench.

Lee actually frittered away his army winning victories. When he had to late in the game, he became good at defensive war, but by then it was too late. The basic problem was that the North had an inexhaustible supply of Irish and Germans to replenish their ranks, but the South did not.

Generals have to understand the strategic realities of their nation. Some people think that if the U.S. loses a dozen soldiers a week in Afghanistan and Iraq combined, that is too much. Actually, for a defensive war strategy, less attrition than would be hard to achieve fighting any real enemy.

If Americans want and need a quick resolution, then we have to identify the enemy strongholds and go at them with a shock and awe offensive strategy. I guess that would be Iran, Syria, the Pashtun area of Pakistan, and maybe Saudi Arabia.

Americans are undeniably attracted to offensive strategies. I think I would stick with the defensive a while longer.....

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 13, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK


HI: I won,t say as much as most of you. I will say this keep posting as free speech is all that will save our country now. KEEP calling your congressmen, and senators.
LAWS need to be passed to keep froeign governements from owning and occupying
our infrastructure. THAT includes ports, railroads, transportation industry, nuclear
power plants. THIS is a constitutional issue about the ports. THE constitution also talks about consorting with the enemy during wartime. READ it you,ll see I am right.
IT may be a good idea if everyone here got a copy off the internet and taught their
friends and relatives what it says. KEEP a copy in all your houses in case they try to destroy it! IF [WE THE PEOPLE] had taught each other this. THEY would never have gotten this far. RUMOR has it bush adminastration is threatening to arrest leak sources along with responseable journalist as well. THEY are also reclassifying
documents as top secret that were given to public when clinton was president.
SO most here are not as crazy as you think.
THIS has gone too far an WE american must band together an stop it!
WE must vote out all the yes men who approve his bushwacking plans.
FOOD for thought.

s we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every
idle silence: Benjamin Franklin

Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people.
(August 1765) John Adams

When the representative body have lost the confidence of their
constituents, when they have notoriously made sale of their most valuable
rights, when they have assumed to themselves powers which the people never
put into their hands, then indeed their continuing in office becomes
dangerous to the state: by Thomas Jefferson

A CONCERNED AMERICAN VET


Posted by: wally on March 13, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

This is a great idea. It goes right at the defeatest mentality our side has been guilty of. I love it.

Dukakis never had such a wealth of incompetence to compare himself to. Instead of saying Democrats are competent, we should point out that the Republicans are incompetent at just about every level you can name.

Democrats do it better. Period.

Posted by: Hieronymus braintree on March 13, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz Watch:

A very well-written response. Your example of Solidarity was a good one. I don't recall what the position of the radicals was on this, but I do remember support for Solidarity from liberals and Democrats.

Of course, I remember a lot more support from certain Republicans. ;)

I still stand by my statement that much of the opposition to South Africa's abuses was more about Cold War politics than morality. Once African nations acquired Marxist rulers, the attention of the American Left to rights abuses seemed to drift off a bit. What's new in Zimbabwe lately?

...the movements for independence against Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Timor; for the South African independence fight; and the fight by the Sandinistas against Somoza.

Just wondering--seriously, I haven't looked it up--in all of these cases, how many of the rebel groups associated with those movements were Marxist, and supported by the Soviets from outside?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 13, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

If any further proof was necessary that you are a mouth-breathing fuckwit incapable of rational thought this bleating: "...while communist nations, nations that treated ALL of their citizens exactly like South Africa treated its blacks..." pretty well nails it.

Yeah, I used to always get pretty much the same spit-shower from leftists when I pointed out the moral disconnect between leftists opposing human rights abuses in South Africa while at the same time taking Marxist totalitarian leaders like Castro and others and fellating them into clinical dehydration.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 13, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

As the only person in this conversation who has ever killed a real live Communist, I can't really find it in my heart to forgive dickless wonders such as yourself from accusing anyone who disagrees with the I Heart Dubya Club of being a Marxist. It's an idiotic accusation- coming from an idiot who has run out of things to say. "Bbbbut bbbut you're a Commiminst!"

As a propagandist you're not even worth minimum wage. Your hopeless freeper conflation of the Democratic Party with straw men leftists (who, if they exist, have as much to do with the Democratic Party as you do) is just banal. Intellectual rigor is something you'll never achieve.

Now back on your knees- your masters require servicing.

Posted by: solar on March 13, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz apparently has trouble counting. See, in the real world, nine is greater than zero. Just as Nixon expanded the fighting, so too did Kennedy. As for his loathsome and vulgar description of the left, it ignores basic facts like the difference between, for example, Castro and Pinochet. The left may have suggested that Castro wasn't as bad as the right claimed (which is true - but the right has always been about wildly overplaying their hand), but the left didn't assassinate a democratically elected leader to install Castro. Can your side say the same? In fact, can you name a single leftist dictator installed by the Democratic Party using the power of the state?

Posted by: heavy on March 13, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

If anyone can't be trusted to use the power of the military for the good of Americans it is most certainly the right. Consider that every single Republican President elected in the last four decades has used the military for some specious purpose (see the list above Cambodia, Grenada, and Panama are the easy ones.). Consider the current debacle. Sure Clinton and Bush had the same information (though Bush also had inspectors back in country saying they weren't finding anything), but only one of them decided to commit troops and destabilize Iraq.

Now, the elder Bush's solution of sanctions may not have been ideal, but from the standpoint of American lives it was certainly better, and given the disaster that is the current state of Iraq, it is arguable that the Iraqis were better off as a whole under Hussein. At least then they had a clear idea of who the enemy was and they didn't have to worry about foreigners stopping by to kill them. And it was certainly a better deal for Americans. All we had to pay for was jet fuel, some salaries, and a few rockets/bombs a year. A far cry from a minimum of $100M/day. Hell, given how much we've spent just in cash we would have been better off giving Hussein $10B in cash to walk away.

Was it paradise? Of course not. Were children starving? Yes they were. And the oil for food program that Hussein was abusing with the help of companies around the world (including American ones) was doing some good. Were children really flying kites in Baghdad? Yes, yes they were. No matter how fat Michael Moore is.

Bush alone turned Iraq into a war zone. If you start a war based on faulty intelligence you should not be trusted with the job of national security. You are objectively too reckless.

Posted by: heavy on March 13, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

For the past forty years, the only thing that any nation or entity had to do for the Left to oppose it was for that entity to be pro-American. The only thing an entity had to do for the Left to support it was be anti-American.

Anyone who writes this sentence knows no history.

Anyone who writes the sentence as premise in an argument to prove that the Left is anti-American knows no logic.

tbrosz is an idiot.

Posted by: lib on March 13, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

For the past forty years, the only thing that any nation or entity had to do for the Left to oppose it was for that entity to be pro-American. The only thing an entity had to do for the Left to support it was be anti-American.

Anyone who writes this sentence knows no history.

Anyone who writes the sentence as premise in an argument to prove that the Left is anti-American knows no logic.

tbrosz is an idiot.

Posted by: lib on March 13, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, a generally non-snark reply from T-man.

We're still not sure where you went to school, where there was such a powerful Soviet-loving "American left."

Notwithstanding:

1. Glad we are agreed: Ronald Reagan, the Democratic Party, the AFL-CIO and the non-communist US left all supported Solidarity in its struggle against the Soviet Union and its proxy, the Polish Communist Party. That rather rebuts Tbrosz' original contention that "you'd only have to check the Soviet position on arms control, international politics, missile defense, or any other issue to know which side the Left, and increasingly the Democratic Party, would come down on."

2. Tbrosz can "stand by his statement" that support for the South African nationalist movements was motivated more by Cold War considerations than by concern for South African conditions. But he'd have a hard time convincing anyone who knows anything about the country. Still, we should give him the chance to present some EVIDENCE on this point. Otherwise he should drop it. Perhaps he would like to cast the AFL-CIO, its counterparts in Britain, Sweden, Holland, and Germany; the US and UK Catholic Bishops Conferences, the National Council of Churches, the Anglican Church, about half a dozen northern European communities of faith; and a smattering of social democratic (anti-communist) northern Eruopean governments as Soviet dupes. Because they formed the backbone of the western movement to isolate South Africa. Most of these groupings were supportive of "our side" in the Cold War, or at least certainly weren't on "their side."

3. Of course the movements fighting Portuguese colonialism, and obviously the Sandinistas were supported pretty heavily by the Soviet Union. As was the African National Congress. Equally true that most of these sought initial support in the West, which turned a cold shoulder because they had the temerity to oppose our client states. How do you spell Ho Chi Minh?

4. Some of the most trenchant criticisms of the post-colonial regimes in each of these countries has come from "the left" which has catalogued a host of failings, mostly on human rights grounds, but also on corruption and their generally poor record on development and upliftment. Zimbabwe is a case in point. Just who do you think is doing the best work researching and publicizing the awful rule of Robert Mugabe? (who, between us, stopped being a "Marxist" at least a year before the Lancaster House agreement, but probably earlier). For every comment by George Bush about Mugabe's failings, you could probably find some 100 by people on the "American left;" 1000 if you include left-of-center commentators elsewhere, including southern Africa. Unlike Bush who cares not a damn about the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans, those who've followed the country from the independence fight actually do care a great deal about what this mad regime is doing to its citizens.

Finally, what if anything does this have to do with the Democratic Party? You've thoroughly misunderstood the American left which means you cannot even begin to think through its relationship with the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Tbrosz watch on March 13, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, solar, you certainly are not the only one with communist blood on their hands, and most likely a number of collaterals as well. It's not a thing to speak about much. Most young warriors "fall from their mother's womb into the state" as the poet said about WWII. I didn't even know that much about why communism was truly evil, though I had tried to write a master's thesis on Joseph Stalin at a state university where there was practically nothing on Russia in the card catalog at the library.

Later I became convinced that communism, either Russian or Maoist, was truly evil, so I felt a little better about the effort but more upset that my friends had died and we still lost.

So I became interested in the mechanics of obtaining victory. I used to think it was a simple matter of turning the home front into a huge engine of production, while out on the front lines everything is really a matter of applied engineering.

It turns out there are a lot of caveats to those simple ideas.

I keep reading on all these threads about how competent Democrats are and how they never jump to conclusions and make mistakes, always get the right answer when they do their homework, etc. You Dems remind me of the true Neanderthals--great big brains, excellent tools and even a few gods, low birth rate, kind of dangerously cavalier about immigration. . .

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 13, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Uh, solar, you certainly are not the only one with communist blood on their hands..."

Could you point out exactly where you hallucinated I said this?

Or where you imagined this?

"keep reading on all these threads about how competent Democrats are and how they never jump to conclusions and make mistakes, always get the right answer when they do their homework, etc."

It's hard enough to talk to you delusional folks without having to entertain your aberrant fantasies. Focus, for the love of God. Try to separate reality from the voices in your head.

Posted by: solar on March 13, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

solar, who posted for you on March 13th at 2:01 pm? Is there a fake-solar out there?

It's true I do have voices in my head (or at least visions), and dreams. I actually dreamed of the first attack on the World Trade Center months before it happened--the truck in the parking garage. I saw choking people descending a stairway. No warning on 9-11 though, except I had a nagging premonition that something really bad was going to happen on Wall Street. Not the market, the physical area of the stock exchange itself. It got so bad I almost acted on it an put in some sell orders, but the "rational" side of me kept shrugging it off.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 14, 2006 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

The voices in your head must account for your reading liabilities. I apologize for making fun of the disabled.

Posted by: solar on March 14, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

歌手
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here

Posted by: hjhgjghjgh on March 14, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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