Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 12, 2006
By: Amy Sullivan

POINTLESS PROGNOSTICATION....'Tis the weekend, apparently, for spouting off about who the eventual GOP nominee will be in 2008. I usually try to abstain from this things, mostly because: a) I don't know, and b) I don't think anyone else knows. Still, the idea that "Huckabee, Hagel, Brownback, and Graham" (Graham? Lindsay Graham??) are the guys to watch was enough to rouse me for a few comments.

First of all, I didn't even know Mike Huckabee was thinking about running until a few weeks ago and there's a good reason for that. A poll of Arkansas voters in February revealed that 52 percent of them would choose Hillary Clinton over Huckabee. Remember, the spin was that she left the state as an unpopular woman. Maybe so, maybe not, but people there seem to think she's a better option than Huckabee. Only 39 percent of Arkansas voters think he's qualified to be president. You kind of need your own state behind you if you're going to make a run.

Hagel is seen as an apostate, a traitor (see: McCain, 2000). Even conservatives who like him tell me he would never get past the base.

Brownback is interesting. The old guard of the Christian Right may just be angry enough to get behind him. They wanted Ashcroft in 2000, settled for Bush, and although they've gotten two Supreme Court justices out of the deal (they hope), they're still feeling burned. Rather than compromising in 2008, they may insist on their own guy. And that would be fantastic. Because as my friend Jeff Sharlet showed in this fantastic Rolling Stone profile of Brownback (writer's cut can be found here), Brownback is about as extreme as they come in the Christian Right world. Finally, a religious candidate who actually deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.

And all I'll say about Lindsay Graham is--true or not--if he ran, we could expect push-polling about this "never-married", neatly-groomed senator. Even in his home state of South Carolina.

Who will be the nominee? I have no frickin' idea. But I wouldn't count out John McCain or George Allen. Never discount the willingness of GOP leaders to make a pragmatic choice.

Amy Sullivan 12:33 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (101)

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Ahhh... See-no-evil Drum lives up to his name...

"Finally, a religious candidate who deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left."

Yah, none of the others do Drum. Right.

We progressives are so shrill - SO SHRILL!!!

Have you received your kiss from gw for good behavior?

Posted by: cdj on March 12, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Apologies - it's not Drum this time - it's the basketball-know-nothing.... my bad!

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

Yes, the knee-jerk left who have spent their days condemning religious candidates Kerry, clinton, Gore, carter for their religiosity.

Fucknuts, Sullivan, now you're even standing up for the phony piety of the modern Republican party. they're destroying your religion, not the knee-jerk left.

jesus christ

Posted by: Mr. Bigglesworth on March 12, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP strategy relies upon winning a growing share of a shrinking demographic. If the 'religious' 'right' stays home, game over for the GOP.

Most of the candidates mentioned already aren't 'hot' enough.

The Talibornagain wing of the GOP is now in a predicament familiar to addicts - any candidate strong enough to get them high (out to vote) is perilously close to strong enough to kill them (cost the GOP the election).

The battle will be between the institutional 'it's my turn' school of politics, that gave us the Dole '96 steamroller, or right-wing identity politics.

Basically it's 1964 all over again.

Expect a religious Goldwater -- my money's on Brownback, Catholic notwithstanding.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 12, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Finally, a religious candidate who deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left."

why do people give you space to write nonsense like this?

Posted by: matt on March 12, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm ... "never married, neatly groomed" ... years ago the euphemism of choice was "confirmed bachelor."

Posted by: Peter on March 12, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

If Allen wins his Senate race, he's the nominee. Not bright, will do what his corporate masters want. In other words, Bush--Part II. Why deviate from a strategy that's worked twice already?

Posted by: Double B on March 12, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Condi v Hillary !

Posted by: cleek on March 12, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, the knee-jerk left who have spent their days condemning religious candidates Kerry, clinton, Gore, carter for their religiosity.

Have you read this comment section recently? Yeah, all of those guys have come in for abuse because they had the gall to talk about their religion. That's enough to drive many people around here over the edge. If you don't think that has an effect, you haven't been reading some of the conservative blogs that pick up on it.

Posted by: barney on March 12, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

What if the Republican party splits, with a moderate, professional sector breaking away from the neo-cons, corruption and the Taliban. Then joining with the establishment democrats for a national unity type party to recover from the Bush disaster. Sort of like Israel is trying.

Posted by: brodix on March 12, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, a religious candidate who actually deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.

Pointless prognostication, indeed.

Posted by: Jim J on March 12, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Have you folks forgotten about Rudy Giuliani? He's solid on national security and law norder and reactionary on most social issues, almost a perfect Republican profile. The imperfections may be a problem with base Republicans - he's for gun control and not opposed to abortion under all circumstances - but can be finessed: Congress is safely in the employ of the NRA, so Rudy's opposition to gun violence can be viewed as irrelevant, and he can overcome his squishiness on abortion by emphasizing his devout Catholicism.

Posted by: RonG on March 12, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

So Allen and McCain are the front-runners. Very counterintuitive.

Posted by: AF on March 12, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Is there a baser instinct in a candidate than one who eagerly sells their piety or religion?

This goes for Dems too.

Whoring out your faith eagerly in the name of gaining public office should earn you some Mark of Cain style scar. Like a big "F" on your forehead.

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on March 12, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Lindsey Graham isn't presidential material, but he would make somebody a nice pet.

Posted by: g on March 12, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Lindsey Graham isn't presidential material, but he would make somebody a nice pet.

That could be said for all republicans as they have all acted like little poodles in front of their dear leader. They have found no instance of Presidential deception unworthy of effusive praise and no example of utter incompetence undeserving of strong defense.

Posted by: lib on March 12, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

What's wrong with GWB? All what's needed is a little constitutional tweaking.

Posted by: mg56 on March 12, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

He's solid on national security

I dunno -- do you want a primary season full of attack ads featuring Bernie Kerik?

Ten bucks says Giuliani doesn't even run.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 12, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is obviously running; McCain is (at least according to polls) the most popular national politician in the country; and (polls say) is very likely to beat Hillary. Yet I keep reading pieces that say that because he irritated far-right conservatives in South Carolina in 2000, that he has no chance of being elected. If you assume that most of all, the GOP wants to win, this makes no sense. Until someone equally famous jumps into the ring (and there is no such person that I can see) he's the obvious nominee. The only real question is: Will the Democrats find a candidate that can force him to defend some of the current administration's crazier policies?

Posted by: Kit Stolz on March 12, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

DXM is correctl Giuliani won't run. He'll be happy for the attention and media exposure as it's good for his lobbying business--but he won't run. Far too many skeletons in and out of the closet.

I'd really like to see Allen run for the comedic value, though I suspect Webb will either beat him or bloody him so badly that Allen will decide staying on the VA side of the Potomac is just fine.

Posted by: Jadegold on March 12, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, a religious candidate who actually deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.

Give it a rest, Ms. Sullivan.

Posted by: dj moonbat on March 12, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think they should nominate a real religious wack job like Brownback or an opportunist bearhugger like McCain or a obviously bumbling idiot like Allen.

Even if one of them wins, it will be a hoot, and three terms in a row of Republican Presidential failures will seal the fate of the GOP for generations to come.

Bring it on.

Posted by: lib on March 12, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kit Stolz --

The story on McCain isn't that he has "no chance of being elected." It seems obvious that with his popularity among independents (and even conservative Democrats) he does have a chance of being elected (in the general). What is in greater doubt is whether or not he can be nominated. Where his unpopularity with "far-right Conservatives" really makes a difference is in the Republican primaries.

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

At least Santorum seems out of the picture. Republicans managed to sell Reagan's type of aw-shucks neglect and Dubya's downhome incompetence, but they don't seem to be able to sell Santorum's pious stupidity.

Posted by: duvidil on March 12, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Here's more on Mike Huckabee. Note that Huckabee, Tyson Foods, and LULAC are chummy. Huck would be a fine choice. For those Dems who support lowering American wages and have no concept of U.S. sovereignty, that is.

Posted by: TLB on March 12, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

The amount of hatred for McCain on the right over campaign finance issues is amazing. It's a strength for him in the general, but it may doom him in the primaries.

Posted by: Otto Man on March 12, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

The reaction to the draconian new restrictions on women's reproductive rights in South Dakota tells us a lot about the coming contest for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. Virginia Senator George Allen wholeheartedly endorsed South Dakota's direct challenge to Roe. In his run to the right, John McCain tried to have it both ways. Most predictable, Mitt Romney confirmed the 2005 assessment of his advisor Michael Murphy that "he's been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly."

For the full story, see:
"Mitt Romney's Abortion Flip-Flop"

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

The money men want McCain. The media want McCain (badly). The hard-ass monarchists want McCain. And the fundamentalists like Al are totally and easily manipulated.

It will be McCain / Lieberman. Get used to it. And they / Diebold will crush Hillary.

Posted by: Freedom Phucker on March 12, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a pretty avid follower of politics, but I was unaware that Graham had been playing Smithers to McCain's Montgomery Burns all these years. Thanks for the info. And as for Brownback, Huckleberry, Frist or Allen, we establishment Repubs know that another smarmy Pat Robertson-type is not going to fly with the American people. It's going to be McCain, or, if he gets sick, possibly Romney. As for Guliani, the country club wing of the Repub primary is not going for a guy who's wife starred in The Vagina Monologues off-Broadway.

Posted by: minion of rove on March 12, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

McCain/Diebold would truly be a ruthless combo :)

But what about Diebold/Ten Commandments?

Or, my favorite, Ten Commandments/Minutemen ... the juxtaposition will make sensible people's heads explode, leaving the religious right to clean up in the election.

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

Gosh Amy,
I thought you would tell us which one is truly more religious. When it comes down to crunch time in 2008, you'll want a Republican with strong religious credentials to back, right? Because everyone knows the Democrats don't take religion seriously enough---everyone but you, that is.

Brownback/Coburn good enough for you?

Posted by: marky on March 12, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kit Stolz

the key may be quite internecine to the Republican Party. Karl Rove and John McCain hate each other. And Marshall Witman(?), the author of the bull moose blog, and McCain's campaign advisor, had to leave the Republican Party, because Rove blackballed him-- no Republican candidate would employ him.

So 2008 may be all about Karl Rove's status in the party. My sense is post Plamegate and dear Leader's current flubbing and fluffing, the knives will be out for Karl Rove. It's not only democrats who have felt his lash (Joshua Green's piece in the Atlantic in summer 2004 about the attorney general's run in Alabama, with the paedophile rumours that were circulated by Rove's operation).

If Rove is disempowered in 2008, or 'taking a vacation', then McCain might be it.

My sense of Rove, being the political genius that he is, is that he could well be playing the long game. To be the real kingmaker in 2012, when Pres. McCain might well not be running again (age and melanoma) or Pres. Clinton might be struggling and vulnerable.

At which point, the Karl Rove candidate, be it Jeb Bush or someone else, could be very well positioned. Rove would be even more powerful than his relationship with Junior, which is dominated in part by Junior's tendency to belittle people, and also by Cheney's power.

GWB will not be Rove's presidential swansong, unless he is indicted for Plamegate. (I would expect that Scooter Libby has done a deal to prevent that).

Posted by: John on March 12, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

It'll probably be McCain for the GOP. I used to think he was unpalatable to the social conservatives, but apparently he's mended fences with them. He was a big supporter of Bush's right-wing SCOTUS nominees and federal judge nominees, and he's also apparently been going conservative on things like gay marriage lately. Plus, if anything he's even more conservative than Bush on foreign policy issues. So it'll probably be McCain for the GOP in 2008, which is scary since he'd be pretty tough.

Posted by: Chazz on March 12, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Another thing too-- if McCain is indeed the nominee in 2008, and the Dems nominate Hillary for 2008, then the Democratic Party will suffer a defeat worse even than McGovern in 1972. Hillary's so polarizing she's even splitting the Democratic Party, let alone the country as a whole, while McCain is seen as a more bridging figure.

McCain would be tough in general. The Dems would probably have their best chances against him with someone like Warner, Bayh, Clark or maybe Edwards. But Hillary would be an unprecedented fiasco. McCain could just stay home and relax all day, and the funds would still pour into the GOP's coffers by the billions, the way Hillary is despised by the right. You can't win if you unify your enemies like that-- you need to find someone who would split or at least neutralize them. Bayh, Clark or Warner would be a better bet.

Posted by: Chazz on March 12, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

The PTB in the GOP aren't going to anoint Brownback as their next Presidential nominee. He'd scare the bejeebers out of too many moderates. Need a guy like George Allen who's almost as conservative, but who knows how to soft-pedal it.

Posted by: RT on March 12, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Amy forgot about the "knee-pad Republican, always groveling before the rich and powerful... Ed Abbey".

Which one is in power? Which one is on TV 24/7 ? Which one is more presently dangerous to democracy? Which one have been wrong about EVERYTHING. Why that would be the knee-pad Republican! I mean, ...are there any knee-jerkers anymore?

God what a stupid thing to put in your post, Amy. I mean, unless you plan on posting at "the Corner", why would you put something so divisive and baseless here?

Like they say in NYC, "get outta here!".

Posted by: mark on March 12, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks all for the discussion, especially to John, who explained the Karl Rove angle very compellingly. I hadn't heard that one before, and the long view makes a lot of sense...horrifyingly so.

Posted by: Kit Stolz on March 12, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

And they say that Joementum is ever ready with a Republican talking point attack on Democrats? Amy Robinson is clearly congenitally unable to write a piece without an attack on Democrats as being insufficienlty religious for her sensibilities. As a proud member of the knee jerk left, I think my scorn for you (and other faux Democratic fellow travelers like Marshall Wittman) is quite well deserved. Theocracy is theocracy, whether it be the full throated variety of American Talibanists like Brownback or the (supposedly) kindler, gentler sort like yours.

Posted by: Marlowe on March 12, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

James 1:28:Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

If you can show me a repbulcian that stands up for the poor and vulnerable and isn't stained by the corruption of the world, I'll give him props.

However, the more vocally religous most republicans are, the further away they seem to be in practice from what the scripture describes as true religion. That is why Christian Democrats like me call all of them out as much as we do. Carter was the most Christian president we have had this century. Clinton was more Christian as president than Reagan or the Bushes. Its time to wake up and see what is true.

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on March 12, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

lol - now that this idiotic post has been Hullaboo-ized and Atriosed, I suspect that there's gonna be a lotta comments worse than mine...

From see-no-evil Drum to i'm-just-an-idiot Sullivan... at least there's occassionally some good wonkery here...

Posted by: cdj on March 12, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

I wish to fuck Amy would go join a goddamned convent already and spend the rest of her days jamming a Jackhammer Jesus dildo where the sun don't shine all day.

WHo wants to read this steady diatribe about religion in every single one of her goddamned posts?? The biggest things wrong with our country today is the melding of politics and religion and the millions of sheep too goodamned stupid to shed themselves of a 2000 year-old fucking myth.

Posted by: WyldPirate on March 12, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

The only knee-jerk I see in the room is Amy Sullivan.

The "left", if there is such a thing, supported the sanctuary movement of the 80s, the conscientous objection of the 60s, liberation theology and the priests who preach it, and a broad stream of ecumenicism promoting interfaith good works such as helping the homeless.

At least Amy has shown that sometimes you actually can catch more flies with vinegar, because who would have commented on the post if it hadn't included the not-very-subtle dig?

Posted by: serial catowner on March 12, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Why doesn't this Amy Sullivan person just do the right thing & go join the ReThug party. It would do her some good, & it would keep her from destroying the progressive left in this country. Why? Oh, Kevin apparently thinks he's so centrist that he's above it all. Goddamnit, I have voted for many religos in my life, whether I wanted to or not. Why does this blog keep giving a spot to the vapid words of Ms. Sullivan. Get thee to a nunnery.

Posted by: Rick Penn on March 12, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

hey hold on a minute.

this was not a post on religion from Amy. Why is everyone reaming her for something that she is not guilty of?

the brownback remark was just a offhand comment. give her a break people.

Posted by: lib on March 12, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Your comments about religion are about as interesting and isightful as your commentary about basketball. I've been avoiding both when I find them on this blog--in fact, I skip anything that has your name next to it. Digby has some good points to make about your careless enabling of republicans.

Posted by: eb on March 12, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ms. Sullivan-- the danger to free religious practice in this society doesn't come from those of us who argue for a strict separation between church and state, but from those who want THEIR religion to control the state.

Both Christ and Jefferson understood that getting the state involved in religion-- or religion too involved in the state-- endangers RELIGION. The state will muddle on. But how many of us have been turned off organized religion precisely by lectures from the like of you? I appreciate that religion is very important to you. Yay! Enjoy! But keep it out of my constitution and my statehouse and my face. And trust me, I'm not your enemy. I think it's great you practice your religion. I am not going to get in your way, unlike some of your religious fellows, those who think only their way is the right way.

You seem to believe that all religion, any religion, is equally valid. That's a nice secular attitude. I can assure you most who are pushing religion into the political realm are far less tolerant of other religions that I the atheist am. I think you would be much happier with a bunch of secular "everyone worship if they want to, however they want to" types running things than someone who tells you that your religion doesn't qualify. And if you're Catholic, well, I can tell you from experience, many fundamentalist Protestant churches think you're an apostate.

Posted by: an on March 12, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

guiliani is soooooooooo catholic he's been divorced twice. kind of takes the religious validity right off the table for him. maybe he won't need it though.............

Posted by: fahrender on March 12, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, a religious candidate who deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.

Dear Amy,

Fuck you.


Posted by: dave on March 12, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

This kind of nonsense is why I didn't renew my subscription to Washington Monthly.

Posted by: Doug on March 12, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Amy Fucknuts, a religious blogger who deserves the scorn of the sensible.

There, fixed that for you.

Posted by: jerry on March 12, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

You will single handedly drive me away from Kevin's blog and the Monthly at the rate you're allowed to drool your kool-aid all over both their pages.

Posted by: patrick in chicago on March 12, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Politricks is the ritualized killing of love.

Posted by: dith on March 12, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

And, of course, we have a self-hating DLCer who wants to keep losing elections. Good fucking grief, you folks keep losing elections. Let us lefties lose for awhile. At least we have ideas in opposition to Team Bush.

I truly do not get Democrats who always side with Republicans. Why not just become a Republican? It's easier, and because they know how to win elections, your self-esteem will be higher. Unless the DLC is just a bunch of masochists who like losing, which is a distinct possibility.

Posted by: Diamond LeGrande on March 12, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, a religious candidate who actually deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.

The insulting thing about this comment is that it discounts all possibility that someone might actually have good and considered reasons to scorn so-called religious candiates.

Consider history. Name two politicians who have held high political office in this country in the past 50 years who wore their religion on their sleeve and weren't also 1) comtemptable human beings and 2) obviously lying and corrupt.

I don't believe that it is impossible to be both openly religious in politics and a decent human being, but I don't see much evidence of it.

Posted by: Ray on March 12, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, a religious candidate who actually deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.

What universe does Amy Sullivan live in?

Apparently not the one where we elect Presidents of the US. Just what exactly is the 'knee-jerk left'? The few percentage of people who voted for Nader? Who are they: name names!

Can Amy cite ANY progressive or liberal with some kind of audience or public attention that attacked Bill Clinton, or Kerry or Gore or Carter for their religious affiliations and beliefs?

Amy's position isn't journalism, and it isn't fact-based opinion either. Where are the facts to back this assertion?

Posted by: JimPortlandOR on March 12, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Amy Sullivan at least does us one favour by repeating the old right-wing lie using the exact words she does: Finally, a religious candidate who actually deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.

Pat Robertson ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1988. Be it noted, for the purposes of establishing just where Amy Sullivan is politically, that she thinks Pat Robertson does not deserve the scorn of the left.

Posted by: derek on March 12, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

While some of the "knee-jerk Left" may deride fundamentalists... it's knee-jerk, it's not "Left" or extremist, and it's not unfounded.

My parents, verging on 70, are devout Christians -- who believe in a woman's right to choose (based on a patriotic view of the meaning of America), who are both feminists circa 1966, and are old-line Liberals...

.. .. who happen to believe that it's important to work hard, pay your bills, take personal responsibility, and serve your country.

When will Amy Sullivan learn that the right-wing has NO monopoly on religion, patriotism, values, or homespun, hometown ethics?

The "knee-jerk" slam is just too much. Frankly, the political stance of the "Left" all very well thought out, thank you very much. It's not only valid -- it's a far better and more effective electoral strategy than that of the so-called 'moderates' who've been losing election after elections with their milquetoast capitulation of the powers and duties they were sworn to uphold.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 12, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, a religious candidate who actually deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.

If I wasn't forgiving kind of knee-jerk leftist you appear to abhor, Amy, I would take you to task for this bullshit non-sequitor.

But Digby did it for me.

One tries to remember we are on the same side. We are on the same side, are we not?

Posted by: bobbyp on March 12, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

One would like to think so. One would like to think our "realist/moderate/responsible/centrist" Dems are really on the same side. But given their eat-their-own-young strategy (witness the craven & witless lynching of Paul Hackett) -- it doesn't seem like they ARE on the side of the Democratic Party after all.

Why it's almost as if they're policing their own allies, in order to APPEAR responsible to the supposedly more-powerful Republicans they pretend to want to replace! It's almost as though they're trying to curry favor with those they perceive to be the true bosses of us all.

And if that's the real attitude they have towards the halls of power -- I really hate to say it, but why would they WANT to rule a country called America? Doesn't that contradiction alone mitigate against any comfort level with their own callow, toadying nature?

One example of this is how quickly everyone cried "Racism!" to those who saw the DPW/Dubai ports deal as actually having to do with security.

Trust the the "centrist" Dems to get suckered by the "discrimination" manipulation. But as many of us pointed out at the time, terminal operations have EVERYTHING to do with port security. The concerns raised were substantive.

Check out link below for proof that terminal operations matter to port security.


Study Warns of Lapses by Port Operators

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.

Excellent article goes into great detail.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 12, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

I am a very secular person. However, with the possible exception of Pat Robertson (who I think is nuts and a scammer of his "flock"), I do not feel scorn for any religious candidate because of his/her religion. I wish him/her peace, solace, joy, sense of community, and whatever else their religion may add to his / her life. I do, however, feel bottomless scorn for any attempt to weaken the separation of church and state and re-write the history concerning the role of Christianity in the founding of this nation. There is a lot of debate in this country about how Christians are under attack. This is a ludicrous position to those of us who do not place religion (as opposed to spirituality) at the centers of their lives. Christian fundementalists seem exceedingly selfish in their pursuit of religion - some selfish enough to hope for the end of days when they expect to lord it over (pun intended) those of us who do not believe / practice in the manner they do.

I have scorn for policies that are supposedly inspired by religious faith but actually are punitive and uncaring toward man and womankind. I also feel scorn for the demands that we declare the U.S. a "Christian Nation." Such policies and demands are a spike being driven into the heart of my republic and my liberty. To the extent that religion is the hammer of choice for sponsoring politicians, I also will be scornful of the use of religion for those ends.

Posted by: TuiMel on March 12, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

PS: I've never heard any of my fellow liberals clamoring for a candidate who disowns religion. I've never heard anyone suggest that an atheist would be their candidate of choice. I do hear people on the right constantly challenging the adequacy of the relligiosity of left or center-left candidates.

Posted by: TuiMel on March 12, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

President Ahmadinejahd-isn't he the right note of religiousity for the right?
Taliban-the Now party!
Turn the other cheek? Alms for the poor?
Jesus-weak on national security, weak on welfare, not the kind of savior America needs now.

I can only surmise that when the bidding for the contract on National Religion, Sullivan is hoping Pope Mightabeenanazi will come in with the right bid so we don't have to worship Halliburton on our soon to be mandatory Sunday excursions.

Posted by: Boing!!!! on March 12, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

The comment about Lindsey Graham was not necessary, and it doesn't help the opposition's cause.

Posted by: BWR on March 12, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Bullshit bullshit bullshit.

Scorn of the kneejerk left? What exactly are you talking about? Please, Amy, enlighten us. Because I'm sure as hell not seeing it anywhere on my radar. Could there be some enclave of raving atheists crashing DC cocktail parties that we've not heard about before?

Posted by: nobody on March 12, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

I detected a lot of support at a recent caucus (last Tuesday, actually) for Condi Rice at the top of the ticket and maybe Mike Huckabee for Veep. Mike is the unknown governor of Arkansas, a former preacher and 90 lb overweight rock band leader who exudes populist charm. People keep talking about Arnold as Veep choice despite the constitutional problem. Condi and Guilliani together might seem too urban, too cosmopolitan, the ticket needs a genuine red state face.

Most us Republicans, of course, are assuming the opposition will be Hillary and maybe that dandy little general who used to head NATO for Veep. That would actually be a formidable ticket, but it makes so much sense that a lot of leftists will drink hemlock and open their arteries before they support it.

On another thread I waxed optimistic about the chances of the war in both Afghanistan and Iraq to look winnable, maybe even won, by November. I still think that could happen, but it also may happen that the terrorists have set up another really big attack on the West. My hunch in this regard runs to an assault on Denmark or Paris, the latter a possibility because it is an easy target very emblematic of Western values and the Enlightenment.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 12, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Power will have to be pried out of Cheney's cold, dead hand. He's my pick, with Condi thrown in as VP.

Posted by: bob h on March 12, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah. Condi Rice. Because she's done such a great job so far, she deserves a promotion. Mr. Cook, you sound like a nice / thoughtful guy. But "the Iraq war won by November?" If you mean THIS November, I, um, kinda think not. If you mean SOME November ... I still kinda think not, but maybe.

Posted by: Pat on March 12, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

My first great prognostication for 2008:

The party that wins the Presidency in '08 will be the one that doesn't nominate a candidate named Clinton or Bush.

Remember, you heard it here first...

Posted by: dr sardonicus on March 12, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

My hunch in this regard runs to an assault on Denmark or Paris, the latter a possibility because it is an easy target very emblematic of Western values and the Enlightenment.


Al-Zawahiri: Praised be Allah and Muhammad his prophet. Okay, who's got the PowerPoint on the latest targets for martyrdom operations?

Abu Farfalle: Right. Well, here's the thing. As you can see from this diagram, we were considering a strike on Paris, perhaps on the house of Voltaire, as a blow against skepticism and rationalism, or the Louvre, because by combining exhibits of ancient Pagan art and religious art - be it Christian or Muslim - it represents the spirit of inclusive secularism and tolerance, which is evil.

Al-Zawahiri: But isn't Paris also the center of postmodernist anti-rationalism? We had decided at the last meeting that Foucault and Derrida, by interrogating the rationalist technologies of hegemony, were objective allies in the struggle.

Abu Farfalle: True, but Foucault and Derrida have both always enjoyed greater prestige on American campuses than in France itself. In case we were concerned about such ambiguities, we might explicitly blow up an institution representing the prewar scientific-rationalist consensus, such as the Museum of Man or the Eiffel Tower, rather than, say, the Picasso Museum or the new Musee du Quai Branly, which exhibits tribal art from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania.

Al-Zawahiri: Are we pro-tribalism? There was an issue regarding tattoos at the conference in Peshawar.

Bin Laden: I still don't understand why we dropped the Warsaw concept. Everyone knows they have been the Americans' greatest ally in the crusader invasion of Iraq. To borrow a phrase, "You forgot Poland."

Al-Zawahiri: But, to borrow another phrase, there are no good targets there. And the Catholic church has opposed the crusade. The message would be confused.

Abu Farfalle: You are all out of touch. In view of the recent renaissance of such icons of post-postmodern neo-modernity as post-punk rock and the high neomodernist architecture of Santiago Calatrava, we ought to strike a location that signifies the West's tentative rebirth of faith in technological rationalist ideas and the free market, moderated by a dose of socially conservative skepticism towards the era of interventionist government and the grand projet. Only two targets make any sense: the Jimi Hendrix Museum in Seattle, or Rem Koolhaas's new CCTV building in Beijing.

Bin Laden: It's settled then. Oh, there you are, Senator Biden.

Sen. Biden: Hey guys! Did I miss anything? It's such hard work being a liberal traitor these days - too many meetings to get to.

Bin Laden: No, it's no problem. Bush couldn't make it either - he had a lunch date in Dubai he couldn't break.

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 12, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK


Rudi won't make it past the fundies. He's an adulterer, is pro-choice and supports gay rights.

Posted by: Steve J. on March 12, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand all the invective directed at Amy. It's very ugly, imo.

Her heart is in the right place, and that's what matters.

Michael Cook:

On another thread I waxed optimistic about the chances of the war in both Afghanistan and Iraq to look winnable, maybe even won, by November. I still think that could happen

You, OTOH, bring religious & magical thinking together without bringing credit to either...

Posted by: obscure on March 12, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Sullivan is one trick pony but she has a very very small point. There is a small segment of the population which includes a few on the left who are anti-religion and scorn anyone who professes faith in the devine. They generally fall into 1 of 3 categories: 1)the science/logic explain everything 2)marxists - relgion is an opiate for the masses 3)I was a brain-washed teenager and religion ruined my life. These people are not found in the DNC or the blogosphere to much of a degree.

The US is a Christian country in the sense that 77% of the population identifies themselves as such. I am all for identifing the US as a Christian country. In the very near future, Catholics will be the largest religious denomination in the US. I will then refer to the US as a Catholic country in the hopes the fundamentalists' heads explode.

Posted by: Monsingnor on March 12, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

There really is a lot of posting about religion here lately. Did BeliefNet buy the site and just not tell anyone. Seriously, what gives?

Posted by: Pat on March 12, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

I think a lot of people are not making the obvious deduction from the number of Republican enabling "democrats" in our stable.
It's Payola, guys!
It's remotely possible that Amy in particular does not spew pro-Republican swill because she's being paid to do so;however, if her honest views are as muddled and stupid as those she posts on here, I think she should try to cop to receiving payola, just to make herself look better.
Look, there are dozens of right wing writers, ranging from low to moderately high name recognition, who have been getting payola. Why on earth wouldn't it occur to the GOP tricksters to pay a "democrat" to post pro-Republican talking points? Of course it would occur to them, and I'm sure it's happened.
Maybe someone was paid by Republicans to promote Amy; I find that a plausible scenario. What I do not find remotely plausible is that this Quisling, rabid, redneck, holy-roller pro-lifer is an honest Democrat, or that she has reached her current pundit status through insight and writing skill.

Posted by: marky on March 12, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Pat on March 12, 2006 at 10:09 PM:

Seriously, what gives?

This is what happens when you mix religion and government, Pat.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 12, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

"knee-jerk Left"?
The staunchest liberal-left folks I know are devoutly religious -- and their socially-conscious politics stem directly from their Christian faith. Do ya like MLK? Ghandi? How about human rights? Or a foreign policy that adheres to American principles? If you do, there you will find the religious "left," for those are the faithful who embrace, and forgive, and practice a politics based on Christ's teachings. When a fundamentalist professes Christian love, I can respect that -- but their compulsion is your-and my-compulsory obedience to their way of praying, to get between me and God. So as much as I may respect another American's religious inclination -- I'll also keep an eye on my rights and liberties thank you very much.

Human rights, yes, but what about a woman's right to choose? Where do left-Christians stand on that issue? Glad you asked, Amy, glad you asked.

Perhaps most interesting to me, is how easily Amy Sullivan forgets that it was the devoutly religious "knee-jerk Left" who led the charge in securing women's rights and a woman's right to choose. Those women sacrificed so that, apparently, today's political centrist can take for granted what being a liberated American actually means in substance.

Because it was the very devout, "radical" Catholic guidance counselor at our high school who broke the dress code. The job of any woman who showed up for work in pants was threatened. They were to be terminated, for not wearing a skirt or dress. My mom -- seminary grad and Methodist -(later turned Quaker) explained that the younger women couldn't risk their jobs (rights, marriage having an economic component) -- so Marian Kelly decided to do something about it. She was too popular, too well-respected, and too formidable to be fired. I recently discovered that she took an enormous amount of grief for it, however. But extraordinarily inspirational for the younger teachers.

Point being, this is the woman who met a radical Catholic nun, not long thereafter, who ran off to the cornfields of Iowa, threw off her habit, ordained herself (along with her sisters), and proceeded to perform Mass for communities of women and others out on the prairie. Marian went along.

Point being, without the so-called "knee-jerk Left" -- and they are neither "knee-jerk" nor "Left" but rather thoughtful and patriotic -- there would be no woman's right to choose for Amy Sullivan.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 12, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus, guys. Someone says "knee-jerk left" and you all freak out and start denying there is any such thing and accusing anyone who would say such a thing of being a secret Republican. Guess what? You ARE the knee-jerk left. TACP.

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 12, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

It was worth shoveling through the shit to get to brooksfoe at 9:58.

Posted by: Lucy on March 12, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

And at 10:39.

Posted by: Lucy on March 12, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

It's gonna take a lot more shoveling to deal with the huge turd Amy laid.
*Hands Lucy faux pearls and Gideon bible*
Clutch away, dearie.

Posted by: marky on March 12, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, but you remind me of your evil twin.

Posted by: Lucy on March 12, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Lucy.

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 12, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

You're welcome!

Posted by: Lucy on March 12, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

marky's on track here.

Any "centrist""responsible Democrat or liberal who wants a piece of the money pie -- only needs to squawk the talk.

And you know there are PLENTY of supposedly liberal Dems, pundits, and reporters who've adopted Rove's talking points.

The War on Christmas /people of Faith is, of course, an Orwellian and outrageous lie. It's transparent as hell, and of a piece with the "liberal media" trash. If Amy Sullivan wants to do us all an irreparable disservice - she can just continue to cater to this sort of manipulation. After all, why make Rove do his own work for him?
It's plenty eerie -- but hardly inexplicable.


Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 12, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Sombrero, wake up and take that hat off your face. You're babbling in your sleep.

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 12, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe -

compared to you and Lieberman, that's a fair assessment.

compared to reasonable people, not so much.

Posted by: cdj on March 13, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

We could use yet another political party: the Biblicans (or Biblocrats); Brownback and Judge Moore could be their standard bearers.

Posted by: Brian Boru on March 13, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

I said it before and I'll say it again...

GOP Kingmakers are not stupid. They will take one look at McCain's high favorables with independents and the general electorate (besides he has a sizeable GOP base) and determine that he is the guy. Given current political dynamics, he is the only Republican who can beat even a remotely strong Dem candidate (except for perhaps Guiliani) and they are smart enough to know it. Besides, he has done enough (hugging Bush etc) to convince them he won't stray far. They will back him, he will win the GOP nomination,and he will be hard to beat by any Democrat (except for perhaps B. Obama, who won't run). I hate to say it, but it's true.

Posted by: John Bentley on March 13, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Check the betting websites. I think there's several hundred thousand dollars willing to say its McCain if you think it isn't.

We just want to see him answer the next whiny, 'torture' media blitz by ripping a shirt off and showing off a few scars. Then adding more power to military interrogators.

Posted by: Mca on March 13, 2006 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

Amy, don't you just love it when you write stuff like this and you KNOW you are as eat up with right wing bullshit as any in Rush's cult?

Do you get paid for this?

Why don't you tell us something like Tweety says like...oh, that we should all be listening to Michael Savage to get a good view how the world should be?

I had heard you weren't too bright nor informed, they were right.

Digby was too nice to you.

any wonder our nation is going to hell?

Posted by: Dan on March 13, 2006 at 3:57 AM | PERMALINK

Amy you're cute an all, but it's LINDSEY Graham. E! THE E!

Posted by: MNPundit on March 13, 2006 at 5:26 AM | PERMALINK

This is the first time I've seen someone put Graham's biggest problem with the base down in writing. Its a bit of a silent, but known entity here in SC that Graham is certainly effeminate and likely a closeted gay man who does not act on his desires. I don't think this is a problem, but I'm not a Republican.

Posted by: scarolina on March 13, 2006 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Cook

Agree with much of your analysis. Paris and Denmark (and London) are targets because there are indigenous alienated groups, though. 'international terrorism' by and large, isn't-- it's local groups that actually do the deed. This was true here (London) on July 7th, in Madrid and elsewhere. 9-11 was a big exception.

On Afghanistan and Iraq we live on a different planet. 40 people were killed yesterday in attacks in Baghdad-- one of the bloodiest days in months. The country was on the brink of civil war 2 weeks ago. The Kurds have threatened to secede if Al Jafarri becomes PM.

There is simply no evidence that we are 'winning' in Iraq. Indeed, the number of 'combat ready' Iraqi battalions has been downgraded from 3 to 1. It is widely reported here that Britain will pull out in 2008, come hell or high water.

In Afghanistan the incidence of attacks on NATO forces continues to rise. Britain is on the point of deploying more troops to assume responsibilities in the southern region. The government controls little outside of a couple of main cities, and none of the south. Think Cambodia in the last days of the Lon Nol regime, or Laos through much of the Vietnam war.

It's impossible to argue that either of those countries is anything like 'won'. In fact, by all evidence, they are deteriorating, and the 'war' is running backwards.

Domestically, the thing to watch is the housing market. Real family incomes have not risen (median not average) since 1999 but housing wealth has, so people feel better off and can spend more (Greenspan 'housing equity as an ATM machine'). Americans are actually fairly disinterested in international politics, but they do watch their pocket books. If the housing market cracks, so will the ruling party's popularity.

(here in the UK the housing market has already dramatically slowed, and with it Tony Blair's popularity).

Posted by: John on March 13, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe has an evil twin?

I've pretty much had it up to my soulful hazel eyeballs with Amy.

Enough already, Kevin.


Posted by: CFShep on March 13, 2006 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Finally, a religious candidate who actually deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.

With friends like Amy...

And, I'm sorry, but you really think George Bush wasn't deserving of our scorn? He made me very nervous because he ran on God--and not because I don't think Jesus is a great guy. But I'm smart enough to know that in America you run on Jesus when you don't have anything else.

We've been proved fucking right every step of the way, and I'm more than a little sick and tired of Amy crawling up on her cross to play the martyr to horrible oppressive Democratic secularists. The politician who mixed politics with religion and played the Jesus card got elected in '00, and has wreaked abolute havoc on our nation and our democracy. The solution to this is NOT to encourage everyone to play the Jesus card, it's to pull the Jesus card out of the deck.

Jesus rocks. But really, he's no one's running mate. I'd think a halfway intelligent religious person would see the obvious value of knee-jerk reaction when a politician plays the Jesus card. Of course, I guess that would be expecting a little much out of the woman who's making her repuation as the liberal who wants MORE politicization of religion!

Posted by: theorajones on March 13, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

John McCain will be the GOP nominee if he decides to run.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on March 13, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Brownback will have the religious organizations backing him, which are the best run political orgs in the Republican Party. These orgs are also the most adept at using the smear tactics used against McCain in 2000. Unwavering loyalty to a theology/ideology and a strong dirty tricks regime deliver the nomination to Brownback.

Posted by: Hostile on March 13, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, a religious candidate who actually deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.

I can't even believe you wrote that, Amy. I think you owe all of us an apology.

Posted by: Avedon Carol on March 13, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Name two politicians who have held high political office in this country in the past 50 years who wore their religion on their sleeve and weren't also 1) comtemptable human beings and 2) obviously lying and corrupt. "

Uh, Jimmy Carter and, uh, uh ...

Ok, maybe Joe Lieberman. Yeah, he takes positions we don't all like, but I don't think he's corrupt, and I don't think he's a contemptable human being, so I'd go with Joe for the other one.

As to the main point being discussed, I used to agree that McCain was unbeatable, but I think he's getting TOO close to the Shrub, too kissy face, and the 60% of voters who now realize how incompetant Shrub is won't care for that admiration on the part of McCain. Plus, he's brittle.

Mitt Romney. You heard it here. Great looking, religious, the conservative who tamed the Massachusetts wilderness. Competantly organized the Salt Lake Olympics. AND a Governor. Governors always beat Senators. Hate to say it, but I think he'd be a very good candidate for the Rethugs.

Posted by: Cal Gal on March 13, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Could we be "winning in Iraq" and no one notices?
U.S. casualties are down in recent months, mainly because Iraqi police and military units as they take to the streets tend to become the targets.

There isn't going to be a civil war in Iraq, although there probably will come about some fairly rigid partitions. Having no-mans-lands and checkpoints between sectors does not rule out
having federated government.

The Iraqis will work it out, because they have to. Everyone knows that if things get too bad for the Americans and the Brits, they will leave. In fact, they are leaving anyway.

My personal favorite in the whole brew has been the Kurds, who recently are allying with the Sunni parties against the Shia. Historically, what eventually will happen is that the Sunnis and Shi'ites will get together and send an army to subdue the Kurds. Well, murder them, actually. I like Kurdish people and welcome them to come live in my neighborhood with the Iranians, Ukrainians, Laotians, Ethiopians, Koreans, and all the Hispanics. Don't believe Hollywood, we get along fine!

Brooksfoe! You have peered into the fallacies of my soul. Truth to tell, I mainly fingered Paris because of a premonition. I've never even been there, and now it may be too late. This hunch came on me--were I a terrorist with one really good bomb, where would I position it so as to cause maximum loss of any will to resist among Europeans? (Not that there is that much will to begin with.)

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 14, 2006 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK



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