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Tilting at Windmills

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August 15, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE (FORMERLY) MUSHBALL MIDDLE....Josh Marshall talks about the change in his writing over the past few years:

I guess I'm one of those partisanized moderates Kevin Drum has spoken of (not sure that's precisely the phrase he used.) That leads to a certain loss of nuance sometimes in commentary and a loss in the variegation of our politics generally. As a writer, often it's less satisfying.

But I cannot see looking back on all this, the threat the country is under, and saying, I stood aloof.

I've tried harder than Josh to retain a moderate tone over the years, but this describes me pretty well too. And just recently I've been thinking about what a genuinely profound story this is, one that the mainstream media ought to be more interested in. Instead of writing incessantly about "angry bloggers," they ought to be asking why so many mild-mannered moderate liberals have become so radicalized during George Bush's tenure. It deserves attention beyond the level of cliches and slogans.

Kevin Drum 12:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (180)

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Along with moderate liberals becoming more aware of their revulsion to the policies of this Administration, the press should be aware of the numbers of traditional conservatives who are just as alarmed at this Administration which they see as out to cause a lot of international trouble as well as to utterly betray long-held conservative principles. Kevin is aware of it, as he and many other bloggers write about it. (Note Dreyfuss' article in this issue's Washington Monthly about Baker.) But the press and especially network TV seems to have made little notice of it except to note there are a few reactionary or disaffected conservatives.

How soon before we call it a movement?
(Or, "How soon before we call it fascism?" - Anne Norton)

Posted by: dano on August 15, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

I've tried harder than Josh to retain a moderate tone over the years, but this describes me pretty well too.

Instead of writing incessantly about "angry bloggers," they ought to be asking why so many mild-mannered moderate liberals have become so radicalized during George Bush's tenure.

*Snicker* You and Joshua Marshall have NEVER been moderate. When was the last time you said something good about Bush? When was the last time you admitted liberals were wrong? If you were truly moderate you would be criticizing both sides of the aisles instead of constantly attacking the right while praising the left. You two both sound just like Atrios and Kos which is why you two have been justifiably criticized as being nothing more than angry lefty bloggers.

Posted by: Al on August 15, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

I got radicalized during the Clinton impeachment. Looking back on it, I'm still amazed at the sheer prurience of it all. The Repubs showed their stripes then. From there it was all downhill. The 2000 SCOTUS election followed by our 'great leader' shredding the constitution and getting us into a war under totally false pretenses.

Posted by: nepeta on August 15, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

I think Tom Tomorrow would descrbe the two of you as "sensible liberals."

Posted by: klyde on August 15, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

But that wouldn't fit the media's narrative. It's very simple, Kevin. "Moderate liberal" = Republican. Anything slightly left of "moderate liberal" = Angry Left!!

It's just easier for the media to keep track that way. They really aren't very bright.

Posted by: Vladi G on August 15, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

That post perfectly captures my feelings too. Marshall hit a homerun - and it goes a very long way in explaining anti-Joe-ism.

It also justifies my even-greater hostility to people like Broder and Joe Klein and Marshall Wittman. I hate to cite bumper stickers I see on Bobo faux-hippy cars, but there is something to the whole "if you're not angry, you're not paying attention" argument these days.

Posted by: publius on August 15, 2006 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Reality has a well-known liberal bias.

--Stephen Colbert

Posted by: Ross Best on August 15, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

I agree that this has been one of the more fascinating things to watch. After all, I had realized that Bush was profoundly irrational and relentless in his pursuit of power much earlier than you or Josh or Matt. But I know that what I saw was what Krugman saw, the Revolutionary Power in action that really didn't care what it destroyed as long as it got something from it.

What was even stranger was trying to figure out why after you and Josh and Matt were finally just as worried as I was, that concern was not reflected also in the Washington Democrats. I think part of the problem is when you become a serious watcher of Bush (Krugman started by watching what Bush said in the 2000 campaign about economics), if you have a liberal bone in your body, it starts to make you really worried that he is so irrational, such a liar and so ruthless. (I suspect it isn't really a liberal bone that gives you this insight, but an anti-authoritarian bone that counts, because it's clear that John Dean also sees this and deeply worries about it too.)

For too many in Washington, too little time seriously looking at Bush and his cohorts, means they never see this radicalism in Bush and his supporters. One time I wrote Bill Keller that I thought there was something in the water that they were drinking because they couldn't see that Bush was completely untrustworthy and that personally I wouldn't trust him to boil water much less take our nation to war.

Welcome to the land of the shrill, Kevin.

Posted by: Mary on August 15, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

If you haven't been radicalized by the Bush administration, you just aren't paying any damned attention.

Posted by: dj moonbat on August 15, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

It's not that you or Josh or any of us is radical. It's tthat THEY are.

Posted by: mercury on August 15, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Mary:

Very eloquently written post.

Kevin:

Exactly.

publius:

Precisely. It's also the heart of what was the Howard Dean primary phenomenon as well.

So little of this has to do with traditional lefty activism -- save for a superficial resemblance to the Vietnam war opposition.

Outside of that, though, there are many good voices on here who would hardly be called left-liberals.

The common denominator really is, as Mary said, anti-authoritarianism.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 15, 2006 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

About what Mary just said:

Kevin and the the other liberal bloggers are exposed daily to commentary, much of it astute, incisive and original, from their own readership. The Washington media types aren't interested so much in reader feedback. Maybe that's why they're not "getting it".

These folks can rail all they want about the crazed lefty nutbars one finds in the blogosphere. They would do well to read some of the brilliant, anonymous offerings that also show up.

Posted by: exasperanto on August 15, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

somewhere along the way fighting for honest, open discussion of ideas and a fair and decent government became radical. I'm dreaming of the day when I can be a moderate again.

Posted by: michael on August 15, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

I've long commented on how I think you are basically a mainstream person consumed by Bush Derangement Syndrome, and I guess I'd put Josh in the same category -- I'm always impressed that in his public appearances he's much more reasonable than the slashing viciousness he desplays at TPM. I'd argue that Bush has constantly tried to extend his hand to the left, from the first day he entered the Whitehouse and invited the Kennedy family to watch 13 Days with him. I would argue that BDS is the result of it finally sinking in to your heads that you are not the dominate ideology in this country, and you can't accept it. In your mind 1994 was a fluke that should have been corrected, but instead the Repubs get stronger and stronger. I'd predict this feeling will get even more acute if you experience anemic gains, or even losses, in this election cycle. Your like the Labor Party in the UK just before Blair took over.
My suggestions:

1) Most Americans do not believe their country is the focus of evil in the world, or even just as bad as Iran or Saddam's Iraq. Since you guys honestly believe that American exceptionalism is just dressed up jingoism, I don't know how you get rid of that trait.

2) People like me might have more faith in fundemental restructuring of the healthcare industry, for example, if you guys weren't so supine to the teacher's union's ravaging of the public schools in this country, or the trial lawyer's atrocities against justice in our courtrooms. The Repubs are willing to discipline a Trent Lott, a Bob Ney or Tom Delay. You guys whine that you're not in power so how can you be expected to clean your own house. It doesn't wash.

I could go on but I will offer more suggestions in further posts as we get close to the election.

Posted by: minion of rove on August 15, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Al * snicker * We all know how deeply you are invested in labeling other people so you can prop up your childishly simple view of the world. The fact is, some of actually care about this country and are concerned about maintaining our integrity in the process.

We feel sad that the discourse has been handed over to semi-literate fearmongers like you and we take no pleasure in seeing the suffering of people, whether enemies or friends. But, in the end, we draw solace from the care of those we love and feel deeply sorry for those who subsitute snickering cheap shots and government approved lies -- they're lying to you, Al, and you are passing along bullshit -- for a real community of human beings. You take care now.

Posted by: Kenji on August 15, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

I am afraid that it is too late for the politics of the moment to be significantly affected by the conversion of moderate liberals to a more skeptical stance towards the Bush administration.

Given that the Repubs have essentially colonized the media and the judiciary, and neutred the leaders of the Democratic party in the process, it will take at least a generation to make any significant change to the current ultra-conservative milieu of the nation.

Posted by: nut on August 15, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

if you guys weren't so supine to the teacher's union's ravaging of the public schools in this country, or the trial lawyer's atrocities against justice in our courtrooms.

Blah, blah, blah - typical wingnut talking points putting down the working person - unions bad, lawyers for the common person bad - Corporate lawyers - good, anti-union protecting corporate fat cats good.

Fascist freak.

Posted by: Rambo on August 15, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Why ? Because there is strictly nobody to talk to on the other side.

Posted by: Fifi on August 15, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

I could go on but I will offer more suggestions in further posts as we get close to the election.

Hey Minion of Rove:

About your Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

http://www.behavenet.com/capsules/disorders/narcissisticpd.htm

Posted by: Norton I on August 15, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but the radicalism of the left largely reflects an immaturity.

For someone sitting in luxury typing on a computer about politics not to be respectful and reasonable in arguments reflects either immaturity or an anger that has overtaken their sense of reasonableness. And no, it is not as Marshal suggests, a loss of "nuance," or loss of "variegation" or an inability to stand "aloof" (Marshall actuall comes across plenty aloof).

When I re-read Kevin's post, I had to laugh at him stating there is a "profound" story about why "mild mannered moderate liberals have become so radicalized." Yes, that is what everyone wants to know -- an in depth analysis of the feelings of wackos like Kos and Marshall and the anguish of a non-wacko like Kevin. It is like a caricature or parody of the liberal mind -- let's study our own feelings to tell a profound story that eveyone else must be interested in.

Here's another idea -- how about reasonable and respectful argument that tries to persuade open minded people and maybe win a few elections?

Posted by: brian on August 15, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin - I think Democrat bloggers are angry and emotionally wrung out. That's why they are shrill.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on August 15, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

why so many mild-mannered moderate liberals have become so radicalized during George Bush's tenure.

The old farmers I grew up around used to say, "You can only kick a dog so many times before it comes after you."

As far as the press goes...since they were not paying attention "back then", they would have a hard time recognizing subsequent change.

Posted by: Keith G on August 15, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: "It's Bush's fault that my writing has become so lame!"

Posted by: Havlicek stole the ball on August 15, 2006 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

For Republicans, respectful arguments start and end with complete and total fealty to George W. Bush. Clearly, no argument,respectful or otherwise, is possible with such a precondition.

Posted by: nut on August 15, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

I think the biggest difference I've seen of late is Steve Clemons. For a while there he seems to have stumbled through some serious frustration.

To me, the whole thing is sad. No matter how cordial you try to be, the "other side" just doesn't play by the same rules. Sadly, it seems "the other side" is anyone with whom you have different opinion. What's most frustrating are the David Sirota types who are making a living off trashing the Clintons and anyone who points out where they are misguided or disingenious. I'm not one who believes the left needs to emulate everything that the right has done, but it's almost to the point where there is no other option.

Our political discourse sucks. And the anonymity and lack of higher up editing of the internet means people are freer to spew pointless and offensive invective. Sad.

Posted by: gq on August 15, 2006 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

they ought to be asking why so many mild-mannered moderate liberals have become so radicalized during George Bush's tenure.

I think you ought to be asking yourself. Your post brings to mind brooksfoe's recent claim that George Bush's policies have been "insanely radical." When I asked him to identify these "insanely radical" policies he couldn't name a single one that wasn't supported by, at the very least, a large minority of the American people and/or their elected representatives in congress. Some of these supposed "insanely radical" policies, such as the decision to go to war against Iraq, were even supported by a majority of Democrats as well as a majority of Republicans.

So yes, just exactly why are you so radicalized? You're like the conservatives who went berserk during Clinton's presidency.

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

I hope everyone will read this. To me it is what being liberal is mostly about: an understanding that what separates us from other nations, other religions, other ideologies and each other is very small compared to what connects us.

On The Occasion of Uri Grossman's Death
by Todd Hasak-Lowy

http://www.juancole.com/2006/08/guest-comment-on-occasion-of-uri.html

Posted by: nepeta on August 15, 2006 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

I also worry about the effect this will have on future leaders. I'm involved with college groups and I notice that even progressive policy oriented students are adapting the AEI/Heritage mindset. People interested in pursuing politics are starting out very polarized already. I don't think this bodes well for the future.

Posted by: gq on August 15, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

For Republicans, respectful arguments start and end with complete and total fealty to George W. Bush.

Good grief. What planet are you living on? George Bush has been the target of an enormous amount of criticism from Republicans. Fiscally conservative Republicans have attacked him at great length for his massive increases in public spending. Socially conservative Republicans have attacked him for failing to do anything meaningful to advance their agenda. Isolationist Republicans have attacked him for his interventionist foreign policy and his failure to clamp down on immigration. So your "complete and total fealty to George W. Bush" claim is just complete and total nonsense.

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

minion of rove? this handle is, i presume, a serious one, and assumed with pride? and we should read something by said 'minion'? perhaps this fool should look the word up.

Posted by: Fel on August 15, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but the radicalism of the left largely reflects an immaturity.

As opposed to the "maturity" of Freepers, Coulter, Malkin, Rush, the Fox line-up of Facist wanna-be's?

Entertain us with more of your dime store analysis, you pompous blowhard.

Posted by: Norton I on August 15, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

So your "complete and total fealty to George W. Bush" claim is just complete and total nonsense.

Ask Bruce Bartlett.

And making noises prior to complete capitulation, like Specter's do not count. Or making bold statements against torture and then going completely mum about the signing statements that totally negate the anti-torture legislation a la McCain is not real criticism.

If Republicans were able to criticize GWB without any attendant costs, impeachment proceedings would already have begun.

Posted by: nut on August 15, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum blaming his shrill writing on Bush.

What's next? Kevin Drum blaming Bush for Lieberman being ahead of Lamont in the polls?

HA!

Posted by: Paddy Whack on August 15, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Ask Bruce Bartlett.

Huh? I have no idea why you're citing Bruce Bartlett, since he clearly contradicts your "complete and total fealty to George Bush" nonsense. Bartlett, a staunch Republican, has been very critical of Bush.

Or making bold statements against torture and then going completely mum about the signing statements that totally negate the anti-torture legislation a la McCain is not real criticism.

There you go again. Polls have repeatedly found widespread public support for the use of torture at least in rare circumstances not only amoung Americans, but also amoung the British and the French. So the reluctance amoung politicians to support an absolute ban on all torture certainly does not seem to be inconsistent with the beliefs of the general public.

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

Holy crap!

A veritable trollswarm.

GOP, still defending "the decision to go to war *against* Iraq"? I thought we were *for* Iraq. You might want to explain.

Posted by: Foundation of Mud on August 15, 2006 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin.....If you read this far down.......You seem to say with your post that you might change a little with your output. May I ask you to do something and if I am wrong I apologize! I and many others have thought that for the last couple of years you have yourself posted a AL comment in the first few comments so as to Jump-Start the thread! If this is true, please stop! If you have not did this,I Apologize!

Posted by: R.L. on August 15, 2006 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

You know, speaking of radicalizing, I've really come in the last years to a new appreciation of Uncle Joe Stalin. Oh, not everything he did, but specifically, I've come to believe in one significant aspect of his legacy.

Show Trials.

Once the Bush nightmare years are over, I want to see every Republican officeholder in the country tried for various crimes and treasons against the USA.
And frankly, when I think about the picture of Dick Cheney, dressed in rags, shackled, forced to read a long LONG list of his crimes in front of a nationally televised court, before being dragged off to the gulag, well....

I don't even have to touch myself.

Posted by: jprichva on August 15, 2006 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: "It's Bush's fault that my writing has become so lame!"

Thanks to George and warporn I no longer need Viagra (tm). I'm high on life.

Posted by: russellswatsanother on August 15, 2006 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

Great post Kevin and Josh,

This is something I find myself thinking about all the time. I used consider myself a "Devout Centrist". Not in the Lieberman sense of the word, but as an unaffiliated progressive non partisan pretty much rooting for America. And who detested all right and left wing rhetoric.

And now, I find myself Ideologically aligned with Barbara Boxer. Thinking, "Man Chomsky is right on!" And hating Bush deep in heart of hearts. How the funk did that happen?

I blame Bush. And I f--king hate what rove gleefully did to our nation. I hope this time of polarized politics ends sometime before I die...

That would make me happy.
Troll

Posted by: troll on August 15, 2006 at 3:02 AM | PERMALINK

It's not that you or Josh or any of us is radical. It's tthat THEY are.

War based on lies, spying on citizens, torture, and putting the President beyond statute makes this perhaps the most radical rightwing administration in US history.

Posted by: Boronx on August 15, 2006 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

Wow are there any left leaning message boards that don't descend into ad hominem at the slightest challenge from the right?

Anyway I'm a non-religious conservative, but I would consider voting Democrat if I thought that anyone on the left had serious answers to a couple of questions relating to national security.

What would a Democratic president have done about Iraq in 2003? Given the oil for food business, could a responsible leader have really left it to the UN? The UN isn't doing too well with Iran, Lebanon, or Sudan...

Generally on Iraq, do Democrats seriously believe that Bush would have made up intelligence to justify attacking Iraq? That's a pretty serious charge, given how many lives and how much money the war has cost, but leftists just seem to toss it around. You'd have to believe that Bush is a pretty morally despicable person to believe he'd do that, right? The possible motives for attacking Iraq, other than WMD and democracy/freedom, are pretty thin, aren't they? One is that it is revenge for the assassination attempt on his Father, and another is "for Oil." Are there others? Because those two seem pretty unlikely to me.

Do Democrats have the balls to go against international opinion when it is clearly wrong? (imagine any hypthetical situation you want)

What would Democrats do differently to fight terrorists? It seemed like in 2004, Kerry was just saying "I would do all the good stuff Bush did, and none of the bad stuff, and I would do it smarter and I would get the French to help" which of course just means nothing. Judging from posts in previous threads, a lot of you think that the threat from terrorism is overblown. Is that because the threat is not existential? Could I trust democrats to get serious about it once the threat becomes existential (ie they get an atomic bomb)?

Can anyone respond without calling me a fascist?

Posted by: Will on August 15, 2006 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum wrote, "the mainstream media . . . ought to be asking why so many mild-mannered moderate liberals have become so radicalized during George Bush's tenure."

Well, yes. George Bush's tenure began with massive election fraud before election day, notably in Florida, where the state chief elections officer served as his campaign manager, and hired a private company to illegally strip over 50,000 mostly black voters from the rolls on the pretext that their names resembled those of convicted felons. Election fraud continued before, on, and after election day. Aides to more than one Republican member of Congress organized riots in the courthouses of Florida, putting American citizens in fear of their lives, and preventing many ballots from being counted even once. Mr. Bush's presidency was illegitimate from the start.

Prior to the awful events of September 11, 2001, the Gallup Poll regularly asked if Americans believed that Mr. Bush won the presidency legitimately. At no time did over 50% of those polled agree that Mr. Bush was elected legitimately.

But when America was attacked, there was a new narrative that served the interests of Mr. Bush, the Republican Party, and the mainstream corporate media: We must unite behind our leader.

But the media forgot that at least half of us never accepted the legitimacy of Mr. Bush's election in 2000. They assumed the attacks of September 11, 2001, put aside all doubts over Mr. Bush's legitimacy. Well, some of the people put aside their doubts for awhile. But the massive failures of the Bush administration — to get Osama bin Laden, to start a war in Iraq with defined objectives, to achieve those objectives, to prepare for Gulf Coast storms, to respond effectivly to those storms — have led most Americans to see the Bush administration as a catastrophic failure.

The media forgot that at least half of us never accepted his legitimacy, and they tried to cram another narrative down our throats.

Some of us are radicalized now because we were radicalized in November-December 2000, when the election was stolen, and we've never stopped being furious for the biggest robbery of the Twentieth Century in its final weeks.

Some of us are radicalized now because we've finally gotten fed up with the lies and the incompetence of the Bush adminstration. To those in the second category, all I can say is "welcome home."

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on August 15, 2006 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

I think Kevin and Josh are right. Something has changed the last few years and something has been lost. It's worth noting.

Never in our history did we have a blissful Eden where the left and right saw eye-to-eye about what's best for our nation, but there was at least an opportunity to find common ground at times and have respect for those who you may disagree with. The contrast today is so stark, however, there can be no compromise and certainly no surrender. The stakes are too great.

I myself would rather not be such a "political animal," so to speak. Until around the time of the Clinton impeachment, I was a casual observer. I took the news in stride. But the last decade has been a wake-up call. There are powerful forces that, frankly, want to destroy the things I hold dear about the country I love, my home. It is time now to fight.

Posted by: JJF on August 15, 2006 at 3:30 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You and Josh are not discovering a new found "radicalization". You only are discovering that in the end, most large-scale political movements (right or left) depend on scare tactics, emotion, and fear mongering.

You haven't actually seen horrible things happen because of GWB, its just been Drummed into your head as the troops of radicalization are Marshalled around the blatantly false ideas that Bush has some radical right wing agenda that is destroying the country.

I know this because of the extensive research of asking one smart liberal in my office what terrible things GWB had done. My sample set of one couldn't list anything that was of real substance, although he had a lot of emotional words like "devastation", "nonscientific", "nonthinking", etc. peppered through his response.

The real truth is that as human beings none of us are really that much of an independent thinker. I would contend the radicalization of your writing is not some rational process as you look at the facts, but an inevitable effect as you discourse mostly with those you agree with.

The only defense against this radicalization is to stick with trusted ideas that have stood the test of time. Moderate iberalism in the tradition of a man like Hubert Humphrey, and other moderate dems will continue to make its great strides for humanity. Center right policies, like those of GWB will continue to make thier contributions. Radicalism on either side will quickly destroy a country.

The real fight is to keep the fear-mongers and irrational people from gaining control. If the Kos crowd gains control of the Democratic party - its defeat will be so swift it will happen faster than you can say McGovern.

Posted by: John Hansen on August 15, 2006 at 3:44 AM | PERMALINK

Will: "...do Democrats seriously believe that Bush would have made up intelligence to justify attacking Iraq?"

Yes, many do.

"You'd have to believe that Bush is a pretty morally despicable person to believe he'd do that, right?"

Right again.

Will: "What would a Democratic president have done about Iraq in 2003?"

Nothing about Iraq;
stayed in Afghanistan until Osama bin Laden was caught. (There are any number of countries on the planet with dictators as despotic as Saddam. We aren't attacking them now are we?)

Will: "The possible motives for attacking Iraq, other than WMD and democracy/freedom, are pretty thin, aren't they? One is that it is revenge for the assassination attempt on his Father, and another is "for Oil." Are there others? Because those two seem pretty unlikely to me."

So Oil seems pretty unlikely to you. The fact that it seems unlikely to you does not necessarily make it unlikely.

Will: "Do Democrats have the balls to go against international opinion when it is clearly wrong? (imagine any hypthetical situation you want)"

Well, (and it's not hypothetical) George W. Bush went against international opinion in March 2003.

And regarding fighting terrorists, I think that Bush's failure to pursue Osama coupled with the fact that the war in Iraq is CREATING a whole new generation of terrorists has egregiously jeopardized our national security.

The sad thing now, though, is that there is not much a democratic president could do to undo the damage Bush has done to both our national security and our esteem in the eyes of the world, at least not in the short term. Bush has painted us into a corner. For this reason I don't expect a democratic candidate to propose some magic formula for getting things right all of a sudden like Nixon's "plan" to end the vietnam war.

Posted by: Mister Anderson on August 15, 2006 at 3:47 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a big fan of Josh and Kevin and daily reader but I think we need more Ko's and Duncan's in the World today, bloggers who take the fight to rightwingers via activism and attitude. Nice just doesn't cut it today, it's seen as a sign of weakness.

Just look at the trolls here. One remarks about Josh's "slashing viciousness he desplays at TPM."...LOL These wingnuts give no quarter, they don't respect anything about measured commentary. They should be dealt with accordingly.

Posted by: padcrasher on August 15, 2006 at 4:08 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin - Congratulations on Drum's Law and being a target in the GOP's Operation TrollSwarm.
Mehlman fears you and your new shrillness.

Posted by: ghostof RFK on August 15, 2006 at 4:17 AM | PERMALINK

Coulter and Hannity and Malkin and Savage and Rush have been around for over a decade and does conventional wisdom see them as a threat to the conservative movement??? Hell No! Americans at least respect someone who doesn't back down.
These blowhards are 20 times the assholes that the shrilliest liberal blogger is.

Dems calling for less partisanship are wrong. We need more partisans. Pragmatic partisans like the liberal bloggers.

Posted by: padcrasher on August 15, 2006 at 4:20 AM | PERMALINK

"I've tried harder than Josh to retain a moderate tone over the years, but this describes me pretty well too."

Me, too. I've had quite a few former fans of my blog explain to me that since 2004, or 2003, I went all loony, and quit being the formerly reasonable moderate I once was; a fair number of blogs that once blogrolled me and linked to me reasonably often also dropped me, since I started saying such mean things about Mr. Bush and the leadership of the Republican Party, compared to how mild-mannered I once was.

Oh, well. (Of course, I've never been picked up by much of the angry left/liberal bloggers, either -- never made it on, say, the Atrios blogroll -- but life goes on.)

Posted by: Gary Farber on August 15, 2006 at 4:33 AM | PERMALINK

Will & John Hansen: Gotta give you credit for at least feigning interest in non-Bush thinking and options. Puts you a step or three ahead of the die-hard Bush-and-death-ber-alles approach to foreign policy. These baby steps are the beginning to your re-gaining your sanity. Good start, keep up the progress.

Posted by: Fel on August 15, 2006 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK

"You're like the conservatives who went berserk during Clinton's presidency."

Yes, he's right, Kevin. Because, well...

CLINTON: Blowjob.

BUSH: Election fraud (x2), illegal war, swiftbboating, Condi Rice and her "husband's" historical documents, relentless deceit and manipulation of the press, illegal domestic spying, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, endless tax relief for the rich, Terri Schiavo, Valeri Plame, Jeff Gannon, flag burning, fag burning, Social inSecurity, Katrina Brown, Kyoto Discords, John Bolton, Minutemen (funny, that's what John Bolton's wife always calls him), Michael Chertoff, Osama Bin Forgotten, Shotgun Cheney, Lamont=terrorism.

Yeah, those just about even out.

Posted by: Kenji on August 15, 2006 at 4:51 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks Mister Anderson for responding.

Regarding the war in Iraq, what did Bush do before the Iraq war began that made you believe he was morally despicable enough to start a war for no good reason? And I put the reason "for oil" in quotes because it doesn't seem to make any sense and I was hoping someone could explain it. If by "for oil" you mean "to increase the supply of oil to reduce prices so we can drive our SUVs" that doesn't make sense because Saddam's oil was already being pumped out at a pretty good rate, and starting a war to increase Iraqi oil production even by a large amount would be a pretty inefficient way to do it, and if by "for oil" you mean so that American oil companies could get contracts to rebuild the Iraqi oil fields, that's again a pretty nonsensical way to do it, given that he could give oil companies many things directly (tax breaks, lax enviro regulations) without having to start a war. It would certainly be easier to get a tax break for oil companies through congress than to prosecute a war for 5 years. If you really believe he'd start a war for the sole purpose of benefitting his "oil buddies" well.. it sounds like you're questioning his patriotism.

Regarding going against international opinion when international opinion is wrong, uhh, yes I know Bush went against international opinion invading Iraq. Under what situations would Democrats go against international opinion?

Regarding the standard democratic talking point about devoting our resources to finding OBL, it doesn't make much sense either. Given what a political victory it would be for Bush to find OBL, it's hard to believe that he hasn't devoted as much resources as the military people thought were necessary to find him. Having 100,000 troops scouring the mountains of eastern Afghanistan not only has little chance of finding him, given the size and roughness of the terrain (the USSR lost a war to goat herders here in the late 70s, remember), but having a massive US operation floundering around looking ineffective would be a massive PR win for Al Qaeda and bin Laden (imagine a bin Laden tape of him saying "Neener neener neener the weak horse can't find me", and you can bet that if a Democrat becomes president and somehow the Iraq war is finished, he won't redeploy the troops to eastern Afghanistan to find bin Laden.

If you're saying that the way to deal with someone who wants to kill you is to not provoke them, well, I have to disagree and I think that that is not a position that someone who is responsible for the country can take. The only responsible course of action is to neutralize the threat. Remember al Qaeda says they're attacking us because we despoiled the holy land repelling Saddam from Kuwait, so clearly they're going to take pretty much anything as provocation, and they're already provoked. So if you're saying that invading Iraq is provoking and creating alQaeda-like international terrorists you've got to consider, well, what other option was there? Leave Iraq alone, let Saddam game the sanctions, and hope he's not patronizing or arming the terrorists that we already know want to kill us. As Orwell said, the choice is not as a rule between good and evil, but between evil and lesser evil.

Posted by: Will on August 15, 2006 at 4:53 AM | PERMALINK

So if you're saying that invading Iraq is provoking and creating alQaeda-like international terrorists you've got to consider, well, what other option was there? Leave Iraq alone, let Saddam game the sanctions, and hope he's not patronizing or arming the terrorists that we already know want to kill us.
Will on August 15, 2006 at 4:53 AM

That Saddam was an unsavoury character at best is not disputed. However, there is no evidence that this secular Baathist had anything to do with fundamentalist Wahabi fanatics.

A much better argument would be to hold that there was a case for changing the rigor mortis of Middle East politics. In that case Bush ought to be condemned on the basis of gross and sickening incompetence alone.

Posted by: ither on August 15, 2006 at 5:05 AM | PERMALINK

So many of us, it seems, have had this journey.

My radicalization has taken place entirely since 1993, when I would have considered myself a centrist, and would not have even identified myself as a Democrat. (I would have voted for Bob Dole in either 1988 or 1992 had he, rather than Bush Sr., who I didn't trust very far, been the candidate.)

First, of course, there was the killing of the Clinton universal health care proposal, which was done simply to deny the Dems that particular win. (Digby, who was himslef a DLC-type Dem in the early 1990s, has documented this at some length.) Then there was the Gingrich Revolution of 1994-5. And finally (for the pre-Bush stage, anyway), there was the rest of Clinton's Presidency - that perpetual rearguard action to defend the center-left's gains of the previous 30 years, without any coherent attempt to articulate a new vision of where we should be going, what principles should guide us. Social security, Medicare, education and the environment wasn't going to be enough to go forward on.

And then came Bush, the recount, the enormous tax cut for the rich, and just when he seemed to be losing steam, along came 9/11. Patriot Act. (Irrespective of the merits of the law, anyone who remembers how that was shoved through Congress should shudder: that was the first indication that the Bushies were willing to exploit 9/11 to trump honest debate with the threat of being labeled a friend of al-Qaeda.) Homeland Security. (Supposedly we couldn't afford labor protections for DHS because of the barriers that placed in the way of assuring a topnotch workforce. Which was why they gave us Allbaugh, Heckuva Job Brownie, and Mike Chertoff - and they even tried to stick us with Bernie Kerik.) And finally, the obviously, blatantly dishonest case for war in Iraq.

If you weren't radicalized by then, you really weren't paying attention.

Only that wasn't 'finally.' There was the total absence of a plan for the postwar, other than to give Iraq the flat tax and similar conservative economic nostrums. There was the Medicare prescription drug benefit. There were the cap gains and dividend tax cuts - people living off their parents' accumulated wealth paying less tax than people working for a living. There was Abu Ghraib. The attempt to gut Social Security. There was Homeland Security's complete and total failure to be ready for Katrina. There were the NSA wiretaps and other citizen surveillance operations. There was the gutting of worker protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act - categorizing low-level workers out of the right to overtime after 40 hours, out of the right to unionize.

And it just keeps on coming.

I wish this were 1986, when being a centrist was a viable position. But it's not. The GOP must be stopped, and I'm willing to count as my allies all who are working to stop them. Once they have been stopped in their tracks, we can argue, a la Lieberman and the DLC, about how left is too left for the Democrats. But those who claim to be Democrats now, but spend most of their energy hurling invective leftward now, while the GOP steamroller keeps rolling, are GOP enablers and nothing more. Any Dem who doesn't see where the true enemy is, is in some other reality.

Posted by: RT on August 15, 2006 at 5:26 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: Your mild-mannered, moderate tone is what makes it possible for me to believe that I can be a anti-Bush just because it makes sense, and not because I was born with some kind of blue-state fanatical partisan gene. (I really wasn't -- I am such a mushball.) Please continue just as you are now.

Posted by: Noumenon on August 15, 2006 at 6:29 AM | PERMALINK

I mark today's radicalization of the middle by the GOP with Reagan's first inaugural address in January, 1981 when the newly elected President said, "Government is not the solution to our problem, government IS the problem."

The speech was a call to a new national cynicism, and partisans abandoned all rules of civility. Six years later we had Lee Atwater and the Willie Horton ads, which escalated into the relentless, incessant attacks on the Clintons through the 90s, including impeachment.

Since then it's been a "for us or against us" style of political discussion by those in power, and you can see how utterly corrupt the GOP machine has become with partisans and operatives holding the levers of power.

This whole situation reminds me of the steady isolation of Michael Corleone in Godfather III. One by one Michael whacks his enemies. The grand celebrations at the start of the movie give way to smaller and smaller encounters as mistrust builds. He only listens to his closest remaining advisers, who were afraid to say anything Michael might perceive to be disloyal.

Finally by the end of the film Michael, abondoned by his family, sits supremely powerful and all alone in a dark room at his guarded Tahoe estate. He had turned everything outside the gate into a threat.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on August 15, 2006 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK

I would hardly suggest that Democrats have moved left - far from it. The hard right-wing has pushed the political spectrum so far right you have conservatives like Al Hunt portrayed as "liberals". Can you imagine a representative from the American Communist Party on the McLaughlin Group? Unthinkable, right? However, that would be a fair counterbalance to George Will and Fred Barnes.

The hue and cry of moderates may also have something to do with having a president elected twice under the most dubious of circumstances (remember Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000?). Not to mention the unending spin of Karl Rove that has effectively blocked any public discussion of Bush's personal shortcomings, like coming clean with the American people about how many times he has been arrested or whether he paid for a young woman to abort his love child when abortion was illegal. Coming on the heels of the never-ending coverage of Democrat Bill Clinton's personal life, this press hypocrisy is an outrage of the highest order!

Posted by: A Cynic's Cynic on August 15, 2006 at 6:46 AM | PERMALINK

It's the opposite of that Yates poem, really, isn't it?

Seriously, it seems pretty normal for someone who grew up in a parliamentary system.

Posted by: Renwick on August 15, 2006 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
The very scary thing about Bush's reign is that even he has not taken the country as far right as their philosophy would take it to its natural end. Bush has given us a taste of what the market, free of regulation, would bring us. Bush has given us a vision of what unfettered privatization would bring us. Bush has given us a taste of where a foreign policy based on military action will take us. To take the next big step requires even more faith and trust in these guys. And thanks to Bush, that faith and trust has been exploited and trammeled and the great conservative experiment will be foreshortened. Conservatives really should be more pissed than the centrists.

Posted by: lou on August 15, 2006 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly I would have to disagree. They talk about the netroots taking over. But Bush controlled by radicals already. His own silly rightist loonly bin of support.

When the news talking heads discuss the netroots why don't real news people point out the fact that it's those Ann Coulter rabid wingnuts in control right now and how those so-called silly leftist netroots aren't nearly as insane as the Bush Administration, Broder, or Cokie Roberts crowd.

Posted by: Cheryl on August 15, 2006 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

Along with moderate liberals becoming more aware of their revulsion to the policies of this Administration, the press should be aware of the numbers of traditional conservatives who are just as alarmed at this Administration which they see as out to cause a lot of international trouble as well as to utterly betray long-held conservative principles.

But the problem is, as Glenn Greenwald and others have documented, critics of the Bush Administration -- no matter what their credentials -- immediately become characterized as "liberals," along with a host of less flattering adjectives.

Posted by: Gregory on August 15, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

GOP: When I asked him to identify these "insanely radical" policies he couldn't name a single one that wasn't supported by, at the very least, a large minority of the American people and/or their elected representatives in congress.

Golly, "a large minority" is now the threshhold!

I'm wondering - is this "large minority" as large as the portion of the electorate that disapproves of Bush? Or even the portion that thinks Bush should be impeached?

I don't know where you grew up, GOP, but from my standpoint, "unilaterally invading non-threatening countries" as a policy can only be described as "radical". "Kidnapping and torturing people without due process" is radical. "Spying without warrants on American citizens" is radical.

Posted by: RickD on August 15, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

I got radicalized during the Clinton impeachment. Looking back on it, I'm still amazed at the sheer prurience of it all.

GOP prurience is stll amazing to behold.

Posted by: Bob M on August 15, 2006 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Mister Anderson wrote:

Will: "What would a Democratic president have done about Iraq in 2003?"

Nothing about Iraq;
stayed in Afghanistan until Osama bin Laden was caught. (There are any number of countries on the planet with dictators as despotic as Saddam. We aren't attacking them now are we?)

Will: "The possible motives for attacking Iraq, other than WMD and democracy/freedom, are pretty thin, aren't they? One is that it is revenge for the assassination attempt on his Father, and another is "for Oil." Are there others? Because those two seem pretty unlikely to me."

So Oil seems pretty unlikely to you. The fact that it seems unlikely to you does not necessarily make it unlikely.
________________

It isn't true that any Democrat would have done nothing about Iraq in 2003. At the very least, we were already engaged against Saddam and had been for twelve years. Some things to ponder:

A good portion of our forces were tied up in an increasingly difficult containment of Saddam Hussein, a containment which was actually a quasi-war, with bombings and emergency deployments happening all the time. Two thirds of our military had done nothing for their entire careers but prepare for, deploy to, and recover from the containment mission. We were blamed for the harm and deaths caused by years of sanctions, which in any event were beginning to fail. Several of our allies were complicit in cheating the sanctions. Our position in Saudi Arabia was deteriorating and the Saudi government refused the use of their bases and seaports for the fight in Afghanistan. We had endured terrorist attacks and the various insulting restrictions on our deployed forces. Saddam continued to provide assistance to terrorists. We were still uncertain about Saddam's WMD programs and he was still in violation of a dozen UN resolutions. Various intellectuals constantly told us to "deal with the root causes of unrest in the Middle East." Saddam was still killing his own people in job lots with apparent glee. Regime change in Iraq had been official US policy for six years or so.

One can point out, "Yeah, and look how much worse things are now." But we didn't know that then, did we? Nobody did. I suggest that nobody knows what a democrat in office would have done about Iraq in 2003. But it wouldn't have been nothing.

Oil? Does anyone care to list the different ways we could get more oil without invading, for Pete's sake?

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 15, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

lou: "The very scary thing about Bush's reign is that even he has not taken the country as far right as their philosophy would take it to its natural end."

Excellent point. This terrible administration is failing (from the conservative POV) because they have not been conservative enough.

And people like me are horrified by the damage that they have done already.

The other thing that is frustrating & scary is that those of us who are basically centrists but horrified by the direction that conservatism is taking the US are dismissed entirely: obviously we suffer from irrational Bush derangement syndrome. Our criticism of Bush's "leadership", policies and the consequences of those policies can't possibly have any rational justification.

We live in a lunatic time. I've gone on this same journey, from moderate to shrill.

Posted by: PTate in MN on August 15, 2006 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas1,

Your comment makes no sense. There are no divinities on this board.

But try this: admitting that George Bush acts like the Godfather of a GOP crime syndicate is the first step to coming to terms with reality.

Look what we've seen under Dubya's watch. Racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering, wired contracts, palm greasing, bribery, Court stacking, gerrymandering, political hit squads (Swift Boat Vets, New Hampshire phone jammers), plundering the treasury, cooking agency books, misuse of office, shakedowns of elected officials, GOP operatives in the press pool.

And all this is just what's been admitted to or proven in court.

This is right wing organized crime, pure and simple. It's a disgusting state of affairs and we're going to change things.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on August 15, 2006 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

John Hansen:

Moderate liberalism in the tradition of a man like Hubert Humphrey and other moderate Dems will continue to make its great strides for humanity. Center right policies like those of GWB will continue to make their contributions.

George W. Bush the conservative equivalent of Hubert Humphrey? You've got to be kidding. George W. Bush makes the hardly liberal George H.W. Bush look like Hubert Humphrey. I can imagine the screams coming from a Minnesota cemetery.

Posted by: Vincent on August 15, 2006 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

One can point out, "Yeah, and look how much worse things are now." But we didn't know that then, did we? Nobody did.

First off, I give Trashhauler props for acknowledging -- contrary to Bush's utterly dishonest rhetoris in pushing his war of choice -- that not invading Iraq was not equivalent to "doing nothing."

But you're wrong, Trashhauler, to poist that the mess Bush the Lesser created with his invasion wasn't foreseen. The undesirability of occupying Iraq was exactly why Bush I and Powell stopped short in the first Gulf War. Indeed, the fact that these difficulties were predicted, and that a decade later Bush the Lesser failed so uppterly to mitigate them, is an even more shameful indictment of his incompetence.

Posted by: Gregory on August 15, 2006 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Posted by: anandine on August 15, 2006 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

Please do not take this as harshly as it sounds. But all your (and Josh Marshall's) nuanced moderation during the halcyon period preceding 2000 (actually the maelstrom begins earlier with the Clinton impeachment) just shows how poor your political analysis was and how clueless you were to the political and economic developments all around you. You may think there is a story there about how the Bush years have radicalized moderate liberals like you and Marshall (actually let's not exaggerate. You still buy into most of the fairy tales about America and the exceptional American politics.) America and by extension the world is in a political and economic crisis of great severity; the political system at home is both inflexible and sold to corporate interests and has been for years. The corporate interests have perceived their prosperity in the new market depends on rapid globalization regardless of the effect on the American middle class. Bush represents this strain of robber-baronism in its most naked form and is willing to further deform the political system through wars, lies and deceit. It is a natural byproduct of that process that large sections of the opposition become radicalized.

Posted by: della Rovere on August 15, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

"the best way to fight evil is to do good."

-- Thomas Aquinas

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 15, 2006 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

The "why" is simple: Because the Administration is trying to destroy everything good about the country I grew up in.

Posted by: Matt on August 15, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Good God (if he exists).

If you believe the trolls, Bush is absolutely beyond reproach and any shortcomings that the moderate liberals see in him are just the result of the latter's inability to accept his kind and generous invitation to join him, as almost most Americans have done, in his projects that have been so successful and uniformly lauded and supported by one and all except the big bad liberals.

Posted by: nut on August 15, 2006 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Count me in...

I consider my one of those fiscally conservative, socially liberal members of the public. I am unaffiliated and seriously considered myself a frothing moderate 6 years ago. I had problems with both parties, and was of the mindset "they are all corrupt" I never really flirted with becoming a Republican, but I can honestly state I would have considered donating and possibly voting for Republicans.

However, the Bush Presidency has taught me an incredible lesson. This President has turned me completely off from the Conservative movement. George W. Bush, in conjunction with one party control of Congress, has shown me the true colors of the movement. I have seen the light.

I still remain true to my fiscal and social stances, but the President has left such an awful taste in my mouth, and I assume many others, that I can not imagine a scenario where I would be able to vote or donate to such an absolutely extreme party.

Tax Cut and Spend, the morality police, abandonment of minorities, willing to break the law, and willing to engage in preemptive wars and torture...what possibly could drive me to ever vote for a Republican in my lifetime. They had 6 years to do as they please, and they have failed my country...miserably...

President George W. Bush has an incredible knack for being the best recruiter possible for his opponents...I am not a mean or angry person, but this man is doing his darndest to radicalize me...

The Decider, The Divider...

Posted by: me2 on August 15, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Amazing the frothing from right wingers on this topic, and a bit bizarre that they want to illustrate why so many of us have become radicalized.

For me, it was prety gradual. Iran-contra was bad. I didn't like Pat Buchanan's culture war speech in 1992, but I felt that George Bush had little love for it either. But even through impeachment, I kept my registration independent, I spoke with local leaders of both parties. I went to Democratic and Republican events to get to know the candidates. In 2000, I saw Chris Shays, Gov. John Rowland, and Phil Giordano (Senate candidate, made my skin crawl, look him up to see that I was right.)

In normal times, I'm a strong advocate of political independence, and the multi-partisanship. Even if one party agrees with your policy views, single party control is a permission slip for corruption.

Further, it encourages complexity in viewpoints. A candidate may agree with you in your position on abortion, but how to do you weigh that against welfare or tax reform? What about the time - maybe nothing is going to happen with abortion, but tax reform is going to happen? What about general trust issues?

It's only since 2000 that I've really come to truly realize that we are not in ordinary times.

Maybe that makes me late to the party, but I'm here now.

I love my country. A country where George Washington, in a fragile, poor republic that frequently didn't have the resources to give it own soldiers shoes or blankets, insisted on treating British and Hessian prisoners of war with decency and respect. (They did not reciprocate, treatment of colonial prisoners was awful, when they even took prisoners.) Washington understood that the opinions of mankind and of the other nations of the world was important, and important enough to risk the time and resources to do the right thing.

Today, we are rich and powerful, and torturing prisoners. We are dancing around legalisms, rather than pursuing principals.

And that's just one thing.

Franklin said "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

Adams said "The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty."

And yet congress is violating both these maxims. Warrantless surveillance, library records, Diebold election systems with no human accountability. The right seems to view these things as fine as long as their man is in charge, but the steps we are taking are in the wrong direction.

I'm an optimist, I think we can bring our country back. We have a Republic, I'm willing to be radicalized in the service of keeping it.

Posted by: Fides on August 15, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

I love a lot of the comments. A lot of the criticism is basically:
1) You have to be "tough" - and tough is always just starting wars, not thinking hard and working hard to solutions.
2) You never say anything nice about Bush, ergo you're a nut.
3) Democrats are just bad, because they need to convince me, rather than having any responsibility as a citizen.

Kevin also raises an interesting point. Josh and Kevin both tried very hard to be "moderate". They wanted to appear 'reasonable'. But Duncan Black (Atrois), Kos and Sirota just drove hard on the logic. And although they were labeled extremists - they were right early on, repeatedly.

Early on both ID'ed Lieberman as a selfish sanctimonious jerk who was harming the Democrats - the new Zell Miller. They led the charge to get rid of him, and they got it.

Immediately on Iraq they both jumped and said BS. No hedging. The administration is lying, there is no threat. It's a scam. And Josh and Kevin hedged - the President wouldn't lie that much, would he? Well, we found out - yup, he certainly would.

Even that "mercenary" episode. Kos immediately ID'ed the real problem - what the heck were mercenaries doing in Fallujah? Now we know that's a rampant problem in Iraq.

The irony is that in actual policy, there isn't that much difference between Kevin, Josh, Duncan Black, Sirota, - it's tone. And unfortunately in the last 6 years - the people who expected the worst - and said it most shrilly have repeatedly been right. And those who hesitated, who tried to sound "moderate", have been behind the curve.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on August 15, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

"...they ought to be asking why so many mild-mannered moderate liberals have become so radicalized during George Bush's tenure."

Sorry, they've used up their quota of real question for 2006. Come back next year.

Posted by: zak822 on August 15, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

If you're not angry, you're not paying attention.

BTW: it should have been crystal clear after Bush stole a presidential election in 2000. I'm not talking any Diebold conspiracy theory. I'm talking robbery in broad daylight on tv.

Posted by: The Fool on August 15, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm always impressed that in his (Josh Marshall's) public appearances he's much more reasonable than the slashing viciousness he desplays at TPM"

Slashing viciousness? You obivously don't read Josh Marshall very often. If you really think he's "slashingly vicious", you're a pussy.

Posted by: brewmn on August 15, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Joel Rubinstein: amen brother

Posted by: The Fool on August 15, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

RT: amen brother

Posted by: The Fool on August 15, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Samuel Knight: amen brother

Posted by: The Fool on August 15, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

This is slightly OT but these comments, which are no so remarkable really, nevertheless are the answer to anyone who wonders why so many of us love the blogosphere as opposed to the MSM.

Look at posts like those of Joel Rubinstein, RT, and Samuel Knight. Here are at least 3 people, on a regular day in a relatively unremarkable bunch of comments, all of whom make more astute analysis than anything I have ever read in the MSM.

And they wonder why we like the blogs.

Posted by: The Fool on August 15, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Great posts from Drum and JM. Count me in that category of radicalized centrists: southern, Christian, often hawkish, socially traditional. But I won't cry for my lost innocence.

A point on Iraq for Will and the other reasoning conservatives on this string. Containment was not really "failing". That's mostly a manufactured GOP talking point for people like McCain who were looking for cover to vote with the President at a time when the war was clearly beginning to look like a disaster. As we now know, containment was doing pretty well: Saddam was effectively hemmed in and losing power internally, the Kurds were functionally independent, and Saddam couldn't come close to restarting his WMD programs. Not bad, all around. Still, there were some holes, and Bush's early pressure on Iraq COULD have paid some dividends IF he had been willing to settle for a more beefed-up containment regime with returned inspectors, etc. He wasn't. Never crossed his mind. A massive error in judgment.

Second, as for "oil," I'd say that this was a major consideration, but not a wholly irrational one. After all, this is a key resource upon which we are economically dependent. We were also worried about the politial stability of the Saudis, who were Osama's real political targets. Creating a secure pro-US Iraq would make us less dependent on the continued survival of the corrupt Saudi oligarchs. It would also allow us to move our military installations off Saudi soil (a major bin Laden gripe) and put them in Iraq--hence our effort to build "permanent bases" there. The problem, of course, is that the Bushies' "solution" to this problem has proved far worse for our standing in the region that the old status quo. If they had been less beholden to American oil interests, they probably would have been able to develop a more coherent plan to address these problems, one that would have included domestic conservation, for example. Never crossed their minds. Massive error in judgment.

Posted by: RMcD on August 15, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Why have liberals been radicalized? (I am one of those...)

1. Newton's law: For each action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

2. Because it forces us to re-examine and get back in touch with our core beliefs. We can no longer afford to be lazy, stay close to the sidelines, and let things play out, generally in a favorable direction. Things aren't playting out that way at all. We have to **** or get off the pot.

Posted by: Libby Sosume on August 15, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

RMcD: amen brother.

Again, better than anything you will read today in the Washington Post or the New York Times.

Posted by: The Fool on August 15, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

I have been made out to be irrelevant. I have been disenfranchised. I have been ignored. I have had to watch the most egregious cynical debasing of American Democracy in our history. By people who have no concern for anything except their own enrichment by any means necessary.

I dont think my values have changed. The political spectrum has shifted. I now find my beliefs described as outside of the mainstream.

But now I am angry. I look at my contemporaries, my neighbors, [what war???], the people I see just going about their lives, and wonder, why arent you angry too?

You guys, Kevin, Josh et al, havent changed. The gauge of reasonableness has shifted.



Posted by: bobbywally on August 15, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

My conservative family always called me the "sensible" liberal, as opposed to my one sister, who was the crazy liberal.
Not anymore. I rather liked No Child Left Behind for its spotlight on the terrible plight of poor and minority kids and how Bush aligned with Ted Kennedy and George Miller for its passage. I really wasn't that upset by Bush's election because of his supposed bipartisanship in Texas.
But after 9-11, Bush could have used a terrible tragedy to rally the country and unify everyone. He could have made every effort to reach out to every American.
Instead, we get a president who stoops so low to condemn any criticism as "aiding the enemy," instead of celebrating the rights of Americans in a strong and vibrant democracy to practice those rights. His people used ugly and evil political campaigns to tar disabled veterans like McClelland as tools of Osama bin Laden.
To say nothing of daily outrages, such as the dismantling of environmental laws, repeals of taxes for the rich, while the middle class got nothing, the corporate giveaways, to Enron, Halliburton, and so on.
I can go on and on about how I was radicalized.
Now my conservative family tiptoes around politics. And they're even dismayed by their party and president's activities.

Posted by: lou on August 15, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK


"minion of rove? ... perhaps this fool should look the word up."

Or better yet, take a gander at the two posts (before the present post) on the authoritarian personality by Sara Robinson, who is subbing over at Orcinus.

http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/

You will not be sorry.

(But for some reason I can't access the comments, although it's obvious others can. Would anyone have any idea why?)

Posted by: p on August 15, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

I count myself as a radicalized centrist, or a partisanized moderate. I cheered when I read Josh's reaction to Lieberman, when he stooped to "a win for Lamont is a win for the terrorists."

Up to that point, I had no dog in that hunt. I was willing to leave the matter to the voters of CT, and live with Joe's difference of opinion on Iraq. But to spew that crap, and to run as an independent, saying he was trying to "save" the Democratic party? Fuck him. He has been decieved.

I love how the trolls come on here and tell us not to be angry, to be "nice". When are they nice? Was Swift Boat Veterans for Truth nice? Is torture nice? Is it "nice" to take a crap on the Constitution, bypassing courts and spying on Americans at home? Was it "nice" to publish the name of a CIA agent on the NOC list as a political vendetta? Was it "nice" to say that we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud?

Nice stops at midnight. We definitely need to not be nice. What is necessary is to ensure that what we do in our anger neither hurts our cause, nor harms the country.

We have a deciever in our midst. The result, predictably, is that the country is polarized. This always happens when there is a deciever at large.

They adopt the protective coloration of the righteous by their support for Pro-Life, and "protection of marriage". Maybe some of them believe it, or maybe it's just that beliefs will conform to follow interest.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on August 15, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Can anyone respond without calling me a fascist?

I dunno, Will - I think that depends on whether or not you and your compatriots can avoid calling me a "terrorist sympathizer".

Posted by: Irony Man on August 15, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Will,

Toppling Saddam to control oil makes perfect sense.

Yes, Saddam was pumping oil but he was aligning himself away from the US oil companies and with the Russian, French, and Chinese.

Worse than that, he was attempting to sell oil in Euros instead of dollars.

For a lot of reasons the US needs the US dollar to be the world's reserve currency and for many reasons the currency used to buy oil is the world's reserve currency.

By invading Iraq we sent a strong signal that anyone attempting to sell oil in Euros would pay a BIG price. We are willing to use military force to protect oil pricing in US dollars.

Posted by: Tripp on August 15, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Nice post, Kevin. Hadn't thought of it in quite the way Josh's correspondent has. But of course he's right.

The times no longer call for thoughtful moderates. Thoughtful moderates are solipsistic putty in the hands of the deranged right-wing types drawn to this site as fruit bats flock to rotting fruit.

Throw out that old fruit. No one's gonna eat it anyway. Lose the right-wing bats. Get angry. Shrill even.

Throw the bastards out. Reclaim our country. Live free or die.

Posted by: PaxR55 on August 15, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

You tried harder!!! I scan both you and Josh, and You don't come close to him in tone. Far more to the angry left. Look in a mirror fellow and see the problem. If hate eats up & destorys one personally, what does political hate do?

Oh yeah, screw the cats too

edmond

Posted by: edmond Temple on August 15, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

i guess i never really thought of myself as being "radicalized" until this thread. i've always been a Democrat (it's kind of a family tradition), and i've always leaned more liberal than others in my family.

I was in high school for Bush 1 and alot of my friends were budding Republicans. during college/grad school in the Clinton years it was the same thing. i've been used to being the one with the "lefty" position, and able to defend it. back then there was alot more willingness to agree to disagree, and less scorn of someone who thought differently politically.

but looking at the last 5.5 yrs, i think i have become more hardened in my defense of my political positions. the responses i get from Republicans now are not logical (for the most part), are not thought through. it's sound bite/talking points politics for the common man. and where's the fun in that? i've always been curious as to why a person believes what they believe, and generally i'm not out to change minds. i just want to understand how it is that you came to the conclusions you came to. but if all you can come back with is "Democrats will cut and run" or "Flip Flopper" then there isn't any point.

the other thing that seems to have changed is the genuine belief among some people that anyone with a liberal mindset isn't "really" a citizen of the US. before the 2000 election i was talking to the husband of a friend who said "the populations of LA and NYC shouldn't be allowed to vote, because they're so liberal and out of the mainstream." i thought he was exaggerating to make a point, so i said, (half joking) then we'd have to take the 20 Million (or an equal number) most conservative people and not let them vote either, to keep the balance right. he looked at me like i'd grown another head, and even though i explained it several times he really didn't get my point. to him, "liberal" equalled enough out of the mainstream to be disenfranchised, but there was no such thing as so conservative to be similarly disenfranchised.

that's when i started to realize that there was something new going on, that in the mind of alot of otherwise thoughtful and intelligent people there was no more room for debate on politics or policies. and to me, hardening my rehtoric was a logical adaptation.

Posted by: e1 on August 15, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, perfect description of my situation. Yes, it started with the use of lawsuits by the GOP to score political points, and that culminated in the Monica affair and eventually impeachment. The same GOP that blames Clinton for terrorism ignores the fact that the GOP basically shut down the government on its holy prudeness crusade. At that point it became obvious to me that the GOP wanted nothing more than power, regardless of how it adversely impacted our country (and before that I would vote for some moderate Republicans -- they don't really exist now, except for perhaps your Bloombergs of the world).

Next, the 2000 election. Again, a display of pure and crave powermongering. When the "conservative" justices of the Supreme Court went against decades of their own precedent and interpretation of the Equal Protection and Due Process, and against their stated respect for "States Rights", it became obvious.

Ah, but then George "I am a united, not a divider" Bush came into power, and the GOP took back Congress. Instead of showing some semblence of respect for "the minority" (aka the group that represents 49% of the country), they shut them out in unprecedented ways. Changing the rules of the game to consolidate more and more power (but amazingly having succeeded in passing little meaningful legislation, except of course for racking up HUGE deficits and record numbers of earmarked projects).

Then 911. The country, because of this tradgedy, was as one. I supported Afghanistan. I supported the pressure that Bush was putting on Saddam -- thinking it was a brilliant ploy to get Saddam to open up to the inspectors (which it did do by the way) so we could keep our eye on him. Sign the resolution authorizing force, that will give Bush more bargaining power.... Ahhh it worked, the inspectors given more leeway, and thankfully no sign of any WMDs.... Oh wait, the inspectors have to leave now because we are about to attack, oh wait we a slew of new reasons for going in after the WMD argument falls apart.... this is getting ugly.

From that point on, me engaging in the argument that the war was the wrong choice and would distract us from getting al Queda, drain resources, and result in too much death... The GOP response, to call you a traitor to your country, to call you a pussy for not wanting to use military force, to use every opportunity to harness the winds of terror caused by the 911 terrorists so that it could further its aims of invading Iraq. Think about that, Bush USED THE TERROR CAUSED BY 911 TO START HIS OWN WAR, HE HARNASSED THE ILL WINDS OF 911 LIKE A SAIL ON A SAILBOAT.

That was the last straw for this moderate democrat. From this point on, I am strongly Democratic, been involved in fundraising, given plenty myself. I no longer take their crap and I give back what they gave to me times 20. I don't always like that feeling, but I feel if I relent they will do what it in their twisted and fascist nature. They have ZERO Qualms about destroying this country if they can stay in power, and demonizing those that disagree with them -- the last 6 years is proof positive of that.

Posted by: Palooza on August 15, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Don't be silly, Kevin - what is there to be angry about?

Things are just fine in this country . . . just . . . fine . . .

Posted by: Chuck on August 15, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks Fool.

Liked the addition of the Clinton impeachment and the whole 90s witch hunts to the perspective. During the 1990s a whole group of right wing loonies did almost anything they could possibly do to smear and bring down the Clintons. Private investigators, paying for stories, fabricating stories, etc. All aided and abetted by prominent GOP operatives and magazines. And it was all lapped up by the big papers, the Times and the Post especially.

Then the 2000 election, when Gore got trashed. (I didn't think he was going to be a great president and all, but heh, wasn't that a bit nuts? And no, I don't want to read Somerby about it - again, pls)

But 9-11 was the breaker for me, when it become horribly clear the problem we faced. First, because it was obvious that this had been a massive failure of competence - the administration had failed to protect the country. And then almost immediatly the tone of the response was wrong - this ferocious, tribal, political attack - on all 'enemies', 'evil-doers' and democrats.

It was awful and we started burning the power of this country - morally, financially, and militarily. But despite that all, we had all the mindless cheerleaders yipping to war. Ninnies who we sometimes even are supposed to read, even here (Andrew Sullivan).

So yes, I don't think that it as at all wrong to be brutally frank when calling people out - and holding them responsible. Nor is it bad to be brutal when pointing out the massive money some of them receive to spout this nonsense (Kristol bought by Murdoch, or all those "think-tanks".)

No, listen to Shakespeare:
"Moderation is for monks, give me excess of it!"

Posted by: Samuel Knight on August 15, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

'...why so many mild-mannered moderate liberals have become so radicalized during George Bush's tenure."

Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by: bj on August 15, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

I saw Mr. Marshall at some kind of meeting of pundits and luminaries on C-SPAN two or three years ago. He was sitting right next to Richard Perle. When Mr. Marshall had the opportunity to rebut Perle, he decided to stand aloof. If I was sitting next to a devil I might be reticent to call him out for his inhuman policies and corruption, too, but I certainly would have questioned him about saying his ideology was pragmatism.

Posted by: Hostile on August 15, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld et al are not "conservative" or "right-wing" politicians. They are not ideological at all. They are crooks. They are a gang of career corporate criminals and war profiteers, masquerading as ideologically right-wing polticians in order to gain power. Their only agenda is to use the power of the Federal government, including the US military, to enrich themselves, their families, their cronies and their financial backers.

All of the Bush-bootlicking neo-brownshirt right-wing mental slaves who have posted their anti-American, pro-Bush comments on this thread are weak-minded, gullible dupes of this gang of criminals.

And "sensible liberals" who continue to act as though the "Bush administration" is simply another iteration of the executive branch, albeit a politically extreme iteration, rather than recognizing it as the criminal enterprise that it really is, are equally gullible dupes.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 15, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who has been often irritated and occasionally infuriated by your tone, let me welcome you to the dark side.

What was it Josh Marshall said about Lieberman after he left? "F--- Him" I think it was. It's nice to know that other people can see the danger we are in.

Posted by: MNPundit on August 15, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

I think the radicalization of moderates has many sources, but one deep and encompassing one: the rejection of analysis and rational processes by the Bush WH and movement Conservatives more generally.

Moderates come in many stripes, but one thing that inclines virtually all of them to moderation is the sense that the truth is often to be found in the middle between two opposing points of view.

But if one point of view simply eschews, even despises, reasonable thought itself? What if the point of view is incoherent and unmoored from fact?

In that case, the very impulse that drives people to moderation in the first place is explicitly frustrated and trampled upon.

That's what turns moderates into what appears to be outraged fanatics; the exact principle of their existence has been violated.

Posted by: frankly0 on August 15, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Moderate liberals only have to examine their acceptance of the demonizing of Iran. That military force should be used to counter Iran's desire to obtain national security through nuclear weapons is an example of the root cause of moderate mushiness, which is really just an unconscious alliance with Bush and other neo-cons to dominate all others in the pursuit of unquestioned US hegemony.

If we go back in time to the end of 2002 when moderates were entertaining the idea that invasion and occupation of Iraq was possibly a good idea, we can find that moderates are very much responsible for the poor state of the world today. Moderates refused to outright oppose the insane foreign policies of the Bush regime. Only now do moderate pundits think they need a little stronger opposition rhetoric after so many have died needlessly, and it is a little more than just disconcerting.

Posted by: Hostile on August 15, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

its the same as recently stated regarding bipartisanship: if only one side is compromizing then its not bi-partisanship, its capitulation. If only one side is maintaining moderation, then its no longer moderation, its enbaling of the radicalized opposition, i.e., moderates become useful idiots. Since any and all moderates leaning from the right were silenced long ago, Drum, Marshal, and others leaning from the left have only become enablers of the radicalized right running roughshod over the left.

There just is no room in US politics today for moderation...not if you want to obtain and maintain power. This is an extreme disadvantage for the left, who's basic orientation is 'can't we all just get along.' For the right, who's basic orientation is that everyone else exists for and at thier pleasure, compromise is just a sign of weakness and failure.
.

Posted by: pluege on August 15, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0,

You certainly nailed me correctly.

I voted for Reagan and the first Bush. I considered myself a 'moderate' with a conservative slant.

Then I was hit with the double Pat whammy. I think it was the 92 presedential election when Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan spoke at the GOP convention. They spoke what to me were some very radical and troubling things. The religious culture war and battling for the soul of America.

While I am a Christian this went against both my Christian beliefs and my rational side. I was totally turned off and voted for Clinton.

Since then I've said that I did not leave the Republican party, they left me. I've still got the same convictions and beliefs that I had then but the modern Republican party does not represent them.

Posted by: Tripp on August 15, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Foundation of Mud,

GOP, still defending "the decision to go to war *against* Iraq"?

Er, yeah. Me, and about half the country.


Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Three years ago I was hoping soldiers would frag their commanders while moderates were hoping for a quick democratizaion of Iraq and the fulfillment of Bush's dream. I wish the soldiers would have turned their hostility on their commanders rather than killing and raping all of those little girls. I forgot the soldiers were volunteers, willing subjects for brainwashing and vulnerable to act out the overt sadistic desires of the American conservative movement.

With the news today that soldiers who have just returned home are being sent back to Iraq and that others in country have been required to stay another four-six months longer than originally told, the breakdown of the US military's ground forces is well under way. Something good can come from war, as long as we are defeated.

Posted by: ftw on August 15, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Anderson wrote:
"Will: "The possible motives for attacking Iraq, other than WMD and democracy/freedom, are pretty thin, aren't they? One is that it is revenge for the assassination attempt on his Father, and another is "for Oil." Are there others? Because those two seem pretty unlikely to me."

So Oil seems pretty unlikely to you. The fact that it seems unlikely to you does not necessarily make it unlikely."

Mr. Anderson, you forgot the Project for a New American Century. Major players in the Bush administration signed off on it. Now they are doing exactly what they said they wanted done.

They believe what they wrote. We should remember that.

Posted by: zak822 on August 15, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

The Clinton Administration set a new record for scandal and corruption, including the following:

- The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
- Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates
- Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation
- Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify
- First president sued for sexual harassment.
- First president accused of rape.
- First first lady to come under criminal investigation
- Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
- First president to establish a legal defense fund.
- First president to be held in contempt of court
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad
- First president disbarred from the US Supreme Court and a state court

The 1996 campaign finance scandal alone resulted in the criminal conviction of 17 people on dozens of counts of fraud, conspiracy, illegal campaign contributions, jury tampering and other crimes related to funding for Democratic election campaigns, including Clinton's.

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

I know this because of the extensive research of asking one smart liberal in my office what terrible things GWB had done.

Hilarious parody of a wingnut!

Posted by: Disputo on August 15, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

they ought to be asking why so many mild-mannered moderate liberals have become so radicalized during George Bush's tenure

Bush v. Gore radicalized the hell out of me, and I've only become more radical as the Disaster Administration has ground on and on.

Bush v. Gore was a sin against Democracy and we have been punished for it ever since.

Posted by: grytpype on August 15, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Only now do moderate pundits think they need a little stronger opposition rhetoric after so many have died needlessly, and it is a little more than just disconcerting.

Agreed. I am more than a little disturbed by fair weather liberals who only find the gonads to challenge "Dear Leader" when he is under 50% in the polls.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad that Kevin and Josh are now on our side, but they have also adequately demonstrated that when the chips are down, they cannot really be trusted. We are just another terrorist attack on US soil away from Kevin and Josh avidly supporting GWB's next experiment in democracy building.

Posted by: Disputo on August 15, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Same thing has happened to me. I was rooting for Lamont and I get nervous when I hear "bipartisan support" unlike in the past.

I was watching an old rerun of West Wing and noticing how badly out of step it is with the current political paradigm. In a way, Clinton is also in this bare knuckles decade.

I still can't stand Chomsky and the strain on the left that reduces everyone to their class/social status as an explanation for their behavior and power in society. But we can't all be professors and full-time activists can we?

But overall, I'm as reliable a liberal and Democrat as you can find.

Posted by: david on August 15, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

David,

Just because we need tough assertive arguers - who are willing to slam people, doesn't automatically mean that we need Chomsky or Gore Vidal.

Every time I see Gore Vidal's face on TV I have the same reaction as when I see Lieberman's. What kind of drivel is that pompous a** spouting now.

And although Chomsky was and is a brilliant linguist - his sweeping assertions of US evil are nuts. The US has made many mistakes, no question, but the Soviet Union was an evil empire. And Al Queda was a threat.

And, GOP you're statistics about convictions in the Clinton administration are wrong. The simple fact, is that even after the Starr chamber, there were fewer Clinton officials convicted of anything that there were under Reagan or Bush I. I know it makes it easier to be a right wing nut believing the Clinton is evil and that you got your man, but buddy, it ain't reality.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on August 15, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Samuel Knight is right and GOP is wrong.

GOP, you are right that Clinton was the most investigated ever and consequently the most "x" where "x" is anything that follows from the fact of being investigated a lot. But even you have to recognize that those investigations were kind of like Arbusto Oil Company -- they hit a lot of dry wells and not much oil.

Posted by: The Fool on August 15, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

And, GOP you're statistics about convictions in the Clinton administration are wrong.

No, they're not wrong.

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

GOP:

You've got nothing pal. All you have is the facts that a) the Republicans were fanatical investigators of Democrats, b) the Democrats were pathetically timid about investigating, and c) the Republicans refuse to investigate Republicans.

Hence you have a disproportionate amount of investigation of Democrats.

John Conyers has outlined in detail 26 laws that Bushco has broken. If all of the guilty parties in Bushco were held accountable to the rule of law, there'd be a lot of extra office space in the West Wing, starting with the Oval Office.

Posted by: The Fool on August 15, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

I do not understand the antipathy Prof. Chomsky elicits. When I see Mr. Vidal on C-SPAN I am almost always in agreement with him.

Social realists and homosexuals have a difficult time overcoming American prejudices, I guess.

I do not think Prof. Chomsky would disagree the USSR practiced evil behavior, but he would point out similar behavior practiced by the US and publicly wonder why it is not labeled evil as well.

I saw Mr. Vidal on TV one or two years ago, and he was really bashing the insurance companies. We need more of that.

Posted by: Hostile on August 15, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

what does Clinton have to do with this?

Idiots.

Posted by: nut on August 15, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

"- The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
- Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates
- Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation
- Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify
- First president sued for sexual harassment.
- First president accused of rape.
- First first lady to come under criminal investigation
- Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
- First president to establish a legal defense fund.
- First president to be held in contempt of court
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad
- First president disbarred from the US Supreme Court and a state court"

And you know what GoP?
All those things about Clinton are going to pale in comparison when History looks back on the Bush presidency.
but more closely to now, we long for the days of Clinton's sexual predations cause they were parlor humor compared to Bush's wanton, and wholesale slaughter of non-combatants. We're sighing everytime Bush opens his mouth spouting his haughtiness about "How big his thang is," and his "bring it on!"
Sure Clinton may have been a sexual miscreant, but at least he didn't order our nations troops to go to war that caused the deaths of 100,000+ noncombatants. Clinton didn't okay torture, nor did Clinton defend torture, but Bush certainly did and continues to defend it!
Sure Clinton lied to cover up a blow-job, but compared to Bush's lie(s) which cost the lives of, what now, 3000 American soldiers, and over 15,000 lives damaged because of injuries incurred over Bush's lie(s)...Where's the comparison!
No, GoP, it is the Republicans who've, with the rope that was given to them by the American public, have opted to hang themselves with it rather than build a rope bridge over troubled waters. I just hope my vote is the one that knocks over the boxes the Republicans are standing on.
Bush radicalized me when the truth became undeniably apparent: George W. Bush is a wannabe Tyrrant, and the nutcase is paving the road for a far more competent Tyrrant to finish off his quest for absolute power.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on August 15, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Folks, stop feeding the GOP troll. He is paid to derail the discussion.

Do what I do: anytime a wingnut invokes the "C" word, just curtly explain that GWB is president, and leave it at that.

Posted by: Disputo on August 15, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo,
I would disagree cause the way this whole fiasco is playing out that everytime the Wingnuts drag out Clintons name it makes me think more fondly of Clinton than compared to who we have got now running things.
With Clinton in the WhiteHouse things were good, everyone was working, and the economy was humming.
With Bush, we got a tax-cut and spend liberal running the economy.
I could go on, but if any Wing Nut wants to crow about how naughty Mr. Clinton was, I can counter with how reprehensibly evil Bush is.
Bottom line, Clinton shines compared to Bush, and it's not what they are going for.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on August 15, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

they ought to be asking why so many mild-mannered moderate liberals have become so radicalized during George Bush's tenure. It deserves attention beyond the level of cliches and slogans.

It has been labelled "Bush derangement syndrome", and I am myself mystified. There are people, including friends of mine, who actually believe that Bush is a far worse president than Richard Nixon was. Nixon was smarter, better read, and better prepared, but he was considerably worse as a president.

On the other hand, I have been reading Josh Marshall since before he received his PhD degree, and Calpundit/Political Animal since early 2004, and I can't recall that either has ever been other than strongly partisan.

And yet again, it is reminiscent of the anger felt by Republicans toward Pres. Clinton. That may have been because he took some of their best ideas, promoted them partially, and took credit for their successes. And it isn't that different from the extreme hostility toward FDR by Republicans.

Posted by: republicrat on August 15, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

It has been labelled "Bush derangement syndrome", and I am myself mystified.

Oooh. Look! Another fruit bat for Bush.

Posted by: PaxR55 on August 15, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

"republicrat" wrote: It has been labelled "Bush derangement syndrome"

Which is, of coruse, a cliche and a slogan, and a stupefyingly dishonest one as that.

No one who uses the term "Bush Derangement Syndrome" as anything other than parody deserves to be taken seriously. The same is true with the term "Islamofascist" and its derivatives -- which means, of course, that Bush himself is not to be taken seriously as an honest commentator with constructive solutions.

But we knew that.

Oh, and "republicrat"? Bush the Lesser is demonstrably a worse president than Nixon. Nixon's illegal oversteps were due to his personal paranoia, and not to be excused, but he also accomplished much tghat was positive -- opening China and the EPA just to name two. I'd wonder why you think Bush isn't a worse president than Nixon, but given my experience with you and your Bush-enabling dishonesty, I really don't care.

Posted by: Gregory on August 15, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Samuel Knight: "And although Chomsky was and is a brilliant linguist - his sweeping assertions of US evil are nuts."

I have read a lot of Chomsky's work and listened to numerous lectures he has given. He does not offer "sweeping assertions of US evil." What he does offer are specific, detailed and well-documented accounts of "evil" actions by various governments of the USA going back to the 19th century, along with specific, detailed and well-documented accounts of the role of the US mass media in propagandizing the American public to "manufacture" consent for those actions.

The sort of response to Chomsky's accounts of "evil" actions by the US that you express seems to me to generally come from people who believe, or feel, that "the USA can do no wrong", a view that is usually based on an ignorance of the actual history of the USA and the actions of its government, and often by an unfamiliarity with what Chomsky has actually said and written about that history over the years.

If you want to argue with what Chomsky says, you should try to be as specific, detailed and well-documented in your rebuttal as he is in making his case.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 15, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

"We can no longer afford to be lazy, stay close to the sidelines, and let things play out" Libby Sosume on August 15, 2006 at 10:42 AM

But what about the other part of A-mericans who do wish to be lazy, stay close to the sidelines, and let things play out? You know, those who still have Bush/Cheney 2000 stickers on their bumpers? Republicans only scream about justice and accountibility from Democratic leadership and suddenly go deaf, dumb, and blind as it bleeds away in buckets from their own party.

My left arm to even begin to understand the Republican status quo mentality. I have been radicalized for 6 years now (and I am exhausted), I have read more, talked more, and written more than I ever have regarding politics. I once banked my future on the next elections in hopes that someone would be able to repair even some of the damage that this administration has inflicted on its people, on its own "democratic" system that it works to spew across the world, and on the globe itself. But seeing that Cheney has done all his work and now wishes to retire, that the media spends most of its time showcasing Tom and Katie, and the Republicans STILL defend Monkey Boy, my radicalism is drowning in fear, and with Republicans not seeing, hearing, or believing outside their personal status quo, I fear for what comes next. I hope only for a sane person to take over WA now, party affiliation be danged.

Posted by: Jitter Bugg on August 15, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Jitter Bugg wrote: My left arm to even begin to understand the Republican status quo mentality.

In a word: fascism.

In a few more words: there are people who prefer to be the slavishly obedient subjects of an all-powerful King, rather than self-governing citizens of a democracy.

You can keep your left arm.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 15, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

The fool:

You've got nothing pal.

You have trouble facing up to reality, don't you?

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

"In a word: fascism.
In a few more words: there are people who prefer to be the slavishly obedient subjects of an all-powerful King, rather than self-governing citizens of a democracy."

I don't believe Fascist works in our particular instance, but I do believe the word choice for "King" is accurate, though I feel "emperor" is far more accurate. Of course, in this day and age the more appropriate term is Authoritarianism...or simply Tyrannt.
Ceasar had some great ideas on restoring the Republic, but it was his methodology of politics which is what prompted his executioners to chant, "Thus always to tyrannts."
Not saying Bush is a tyrannt, that would take a considerable amount of intelligence and personal finesse, non of which he posseses. However, I do believe he is "paving the road" for someone in the future who is far more competent than he is to drag us into that...situation.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on August 15, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist wrote:

"I have read a lot of Chomsky's work and listened to numerous lectures he has given. He does not offer "sweeping assertions of US evil." What he does offer are specific, detailed and well-documented accounts of "evil" actions by various governments of the USA going back to the 19th century, along with specific, detailed and well-documented accounts of the role of the US mass media in propagandizing the American public to "manufacture" consent for those actions."
______________

Professor Chomsky makes the sort of errors in his history lessons that one expects of a gifted polemicist. His historiography is too flawed to receive much credit from most historians, but his narratives are certainly convincing and appealing to the proper crowd.

The most common criticism of his work is that he seldom points out contrary evidence to his own theses. He sometimes eliminates whole portions of the historical record, giving the (perhaps mistaken) impression that he is more interested in making his point than in being historically objective.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 15, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

No really, GOP, you've got jack shit.

Despite massive investigations, there were no serious findings of guilt in the Clinton Administration. Sure Clinton was guilty of lying about sex but that's all you've got it and frankly it ain't much.

However, John Conyers has presented detailed evidence that Bushco violated 26 serious laws. Hell Bush even ADMITS he broke FISA.

Face reality, loser.

Posted by: The Fool on August 15, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

"You have trouble facing up to reality, don't you? "

Becareful, GoP, reality has a way of biting back...real hard.

Of course, it does beg the question:
Why do you still support a Party that will use you for it's own ends, and then when they're done with you, throw you to the wolves?

Seriously, GoP, if you're a true Republican, you should be looking out for your own ass. Cause you know, in the Republican party, it is you who will be looking out for you.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on August 15, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

sheer,

All those things about Clinton are going to pale in comparison when History looks back on the Bush presidency.

While you've got your crystal ball out, please tell us who'll win American Idol next year.

but more closely to now, we long for the days of Clinton's sexual predations cause they were parlor humor compared to Bush's wanton, and wholesale slaughter of non-combatants.

Ha ha ha ha ha! What "wanton, and wholesale slaughter of non-combatants?"

Sure Clinton may have been a sexual miscreant,

Well, you've got that right, at least.

but at least he didn't order our nations troops to go to war that caused the deaths of 100,000+ noncombatants.

The decision to go to war against Iraq was supported by a majority of Americans and by a majority of their elected representatives in congress, including a majority of Senate Democrats. Even now, the country is split 50-50 on whether going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do.

As for deaths, Clinton's sanctions caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians from disease and malnutrition.

Clinton didn't okay torture,

Polls have repeatedly found that a majority of Americans support the use of torture, at least in rare circumstances.

Bush radicalized me

I think you radicalized yourself. It's all about your romantic notions of revolutionary chic, and nothing at all about the real world.

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Despite massive investigations, there were no serious findings of guilt in the Clinton Administration.

The 1996 campaign finance scandal, just one of countless Clinton scandals, resulted in the criminal conviction of 17 people on dozens of counts of fraud, conspiracy, illegal campaign contributions, jury tampering and other crimes related to funding for Democratic election campaigns, including Clinton's.

However, John Conyers has presented detailed evidence that Bushco violated 26 serious laws.

John Conyers is as steeped in self-delusion as you are.

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

The most common criticism of his work is that he seldom points out contrary evidence to his own theses. He sometimes eliminates whole portions of the historical record, giving the (perhaps mistaken) impression that he is more interested in making his point than in being historically objective.

LOL. Well, thx for being specific....

Posted by: Disputo on August 15, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Don P, who sometimes posts as "GOP" and sometimes posts as "Atheist" since being repeatedly and thoroughly discredited as a serial liar when posting with his original handle, is a willfully ignorant, belligerently dishonest, malicious phony, driven by the insatiable demands of a diseased, bloated ego to impress himself with his ability to waste people's time with bullshit. This is how he proves to himself -- over, and over, and over, and over, as his neurosis demands -- that he is superior to others.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 15, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

willfully ignorant, belligerently dishonest, malicious phony . . .

Nice riff, SA. I'd add only insufferable, dopey windbag.

Posted by: PaxR55 on August 15, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

GOP:

List all the big name White House people convicted in the 1996 fund raising scandals. Who would you say were the top 3 people nailed?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Posted by: The Fool on August 15, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

The Fool,

List all the big name White House people convicted in the 1996 fund raising scandals.

List all the big name White House people convicted in any alleged Bush scandals.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK


minion of rove: I'd argue that Bush has constantly tried to extend his hand to the left


shorter minion: democrats think americans are stupid

bush and rove know it

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on August 15, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

shorter gop: bu...bu..but...clinton

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on August 15, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

shorter thisspaceavailable: I...I...I'm a raving hypocrite. I judge Bush by one set of standards, and Clinton by a completely different set.

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Even now, the country is split 50-50 on whether going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do.

I like to repeat this in every thread. For some reason I think this pathetic statistic is actually worth bragging about. Well, I got nothing else, do I?

I don't care if a solid 60 percent of Americans want out of Iraq! They're just the loony left!

Posted by: GOOP on August 15, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Um, but GOOPer:

shorter thisspaceavailable "I...I...I'm a raving hypocrite. I judge Bush by one set of standards, and Clinton by a completely different set."

You made what he said ~longer.~ You lose.

Posted by: PaxR55 on August 15, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

GOP:

So you can't do it, huh? As clear an admission of defeat as I would expect from a person like you.

Of course, you know that no one from Bush White House has been convicted because their co-conspirators in the Congress refuse to have any serious investigations. But that doesn't mean they're not guilty, my retarded neocon friend.

Not by a long shot. Fuck off and die, Republican scum.

Posted by: The Fool on August 15, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

You made what he said ~longer.~

I said what he is. You made a fool of yourself.

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

The Fool,

So you can't do it, huh?

Can't do what, huh?

Of course, you know that no one from Bush White House has been convicted ...

Yes, I do. So do you. Which is precisely why your demand for a list of "big name" Clinton White House convicts is so hypocritical.

Fuck off and die, Republican scum.

Burn, burn, burn, Democrat trash.

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

For some reason I think this pathetic statistic is actually worth bragging about.

I don't know why you think it's pathetic. Even now, after all the problems in Iraq, half the American people still believe the invasion was the right thing to do. And at the time Bush decided to invade, even a majority of Democrats supported military action.

Well, I got nothing else, do I?

Apart from widespread public support for virtually all of Bush's other major policies too, you mean. I'm not sure what else you think I need to demonstrate the stupidity of your position.

Posted by: GOP on August 15, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

I inadvertantly left the TV on after Countdown tonight so I caught the beginning of Joe Scarborough Country. Very funny. The first segment featured Laurence O'Donnell and John Fund debating whether Bush was 'stupid,' with a lot of
old and recent takes of Bush trying to compose an English sentence. Fund's analysis was that Bush was indeed 'inarticulate' but had a lot of common sense. O'Donnell rather handily proved that, no, he's just plain stupid, lacking intelligence, imagination and curiosity.

Posted by: nepeta on August 15, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: Nixon's illegal oversteps were due to his personal paranoia, and not to be excused, but he also accomplished much tghat was positive -- opening China and the EPA just to name two.

EPA yes; China grandstanding no -- simply getting out of theay would have been simpler and more effective than the secrecy that necessitated the "tilting" toward Pakistan in the war with India. Nixon also unilaterally ended the Bretton Woods exchange rate mechanism. He bombed NV and Cambodia willy-nilly to no effect, negotiated a worthless "peace" deal with NV, caused a majority of US casualties in the VN War, thus uselessly killing more foreigners and more Americans than have died as a result of Bush's war policies. Nixon imposed wage and price controls. He pardoned Lt. Calley whereas the Bush administration has investigated, prosecuted and imprisoned war criminals in America's ranks. His administration's economic "policies" created stagflation. He led illegal break-ins of his political opponents, and he subborned perjury. Nixon was "demonstrably" worse than Bush has been, as I just (this is a partial list) demonstrated.

Posted by: republicrat on August 15, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

oops, "getting out of the way" is what I meant.

Posted by: republicrat on August 15, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

As I've admitted on more than one occasion, both Reagan and Nixon genuinely thought of public service as having a real and essential value -- although the quality of that service was finally compromised by their limitations as human beings.

Georgie Peorgie, on the other, was never anything more than a bird-brained nest-featherer who never gave one damn about the country except as a revenue stream. That is exactly how he'll be remembered by history.

Posted by: Kenji on August 16, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Krugman is an obvious parallel.

He was a rather moderate commentator during the 1990s - and in the 1980s he worked for Reagan!

What separates Krugman from the Washington Press core is that he doesn't rely upon access to write his stories: all his information comes from publically available information sources. So he doesn't have to be polite, although prior to 2000, he was inclined to be so.

Bloggers are in a similar situation. The Bush admin can retaliate against reporters who try to ferret out wrongdoing, but they can't hold anything over a blogger. The most they (the RNC) can do is secretly fund supportive blogs, as they did in South Dakota during the Daschle race.

Posted by: Measure for Measure on August 16, 2006 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, with all due respect, your view of the world is about as clear as Hugh Hewitt's, and always has been.

Posted by: Will Allen on August 16, 2006 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

Well at least we know who pays GOP's bills.

What he hasn't explained is why a mob rule preference for torture should overrule the Constitution, the rule of law, and American principles in general. He can't do it because it's un-Constitutional, unlawful, and un-American.

Very sad that he considers 60% of Americans who view the current (and very un-conservative) adventurism in Iraq to be a big mistake - da da dum! - in the minority. Please get a 3rd grade edumacation before trolling further, you dumb fuck. 40% is not "half", you moran.

And for any percentage between 25 and 40%, I'll quote the Barnum corollary: you can fool a profitable minority of the people any time you are willing to utter bullshit with a straight face.

But people are getting tired of your shit, GOP. Among people under 30, Boosh has something like a 20% approval rating. You could get that for a guy who repeatedly kicks his dog in the nuts on TV. A witless few will always say "he musta done something to deserve it!".

Posted by: JT on August 16, 2006 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

It's more than just the quality and thrust of your writing, Kevin and Josh, America lost eight precious years! All that the country had so painstakingly built up regarding social security, the tax system, the environment, came to a standstill and began a reverse slide. For the last six years we should have been discussing how to fix the health care system, how to stop global warming, etc., etc. but Bushie and his boys, with a huge push from 9-11, stole the public discourse and wasted it totally on dumb ideas like privatizing social security and dumb questions like should we indulge in pre-emptive wars.

Hatred is not something I wish to indulge in, but if I were going to...

Posted by: James of DC on August 16, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, one reason for an intensification of outlook on the part of people you and Joshua (and me) is actually a purely pragmatic one: compromise doesn't work. The classic tool of the moderate, the balance of competing alternatives, is not available. The administration displays no gratitude for support from anyone outside its circle of designated good people, nor any appreciation for a chance to work out a deal. There's no such thing as quid pro quo with them.

In the '90s, a lot of moderates seemed to think that this was at least in part the bitterness of the out-of-power party and that it'd settle down when they got a shot at the top. Then they did, and no, it wasn't just being out of power. They're sore winners, too. (I admire that phrase so much.) So at this point, "moderate" can't mean "someone who pursues balance between rival factions", when it comes to national politics. It can only mean "someone who incorporates more than some amount of Republican desires, whose generosity will not be reciprocated nor provide the slightest protection if the moderate ever attracts administration ire".

Posted by: Bruce Baugh on August 16, 2006 at 6:51 AM | PERMALINK

Very sad that he considers 60% of Americans who view the current (and very un-conservative) adventurism in Iraq to be a big mistake - da da dum! - in the minority. Please get a 3rd grade edumacation before trolling further, you dumb fuck. 40% is not "half", you moran.

Watch me once again mindlessly quote a late July NYT survey in which almost half of Americans say going to war was originally the right thing to do. Then watch me ignore the 60 percent of Americans who now say we should get out.

I like to ignore majority polling except when it agrees with my personal preference for torture. Mmmmm, torture.

Posted by: GOOP on August 16, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

Almost half of Americans still say invading Iraq was the right thing to do. Almost half! That's a lot! These numbers correspond with the percentage of Americans who think getting involved in WWI and WWII was the right thing to do.

OK maybe not. But they correspond with Viet...oh wait. Never mind.

Posted by: GOOP on August 16, 2006 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: Whenever you think you've been radicalized, scroll through this comment thread, reading the trolls. You haven't scratched the surface of radicalization.

Posted by: Stuart Eugene Thiel on August 16, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Trolls, they're what's for breakfast.

Posted by: Rush Limppaw on August 16, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Don P, who sometimes posts as "GOP" and sometimes posts as "Atheist" since being repeatedly and thoroughly discredited as a serial liar when posting with his original handle, is a willfully ignorant, belligerently dishonest, malicious phony, driven by the insatiable demands of a diseased, bloated ego to impress himself with his ability to waste people's time with bullshit. This is how he proves to himself -- over, and over, and over, and over, as his neurosis demands -- that he is superior to others.

Please remember, if you find yourself inclined to engage in an argument with him: he is a bullshit artist who wants to waste your time.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 16, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

OK, well thanks for taking the time to post that over and over and over. Its good that no one is wasting time on Don P.

Posted by: sonofgodzilla on August 16, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Samuel Knight wrote--

"And although Chomsky was and is a brilliant linguist - his sweeping assertions of US evil are nuts. The US has made many mistakes, no question, but the Soviet Union was an evil empire. And Al Queda was a threat. "

Chomsky is far from perfect, but he agrees Al Qaeda is a threat and that the Soviet Union was an evil empire. You don't seem to know much about what he's said.

As for his sweeping accusations of American evil, you can verify most of his detailed accusations in other sources. I say "most" because I don't think he's right in every instance. But the US does have a long record of committing massive human rights violations or supporting those who do.

But when arguing this point, I never cite Chomsky because his name elicits kneejerk responses. If you want to argue the US committed crimes in Central America, Indonesia, East Timor, the Middle East, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and so on, you can make the case without ever needing to reference a single thing Chomsky has written.

Posted by: Donald Johnson on August 16, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

radicalism begets radicalism. ahmedinejad is a perfect example outside of the US, why shouldn't it be the same at home?

Posted by: susan on August 16, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

I stopped reading Kevin a long time ago when he was unable to understand what the big deal was about the Plame investigation.
If Kevin and Josh have had this awakening, they should both tell us how they were hoodwinked by the incessant Neocon propaganda WMD, WMD, WMD, until our eyes glazed over.
Certainly our corporations have done very well by Kevin and Josh's warmongering. Not so much for the soldiers...
Tell us again why you fell for it?

Posted by: SoCali on August 16, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

JT,

What he hasn't explained is why a mob rule preference for torture should overrule the Constitution, the rule of law, and American principles in general.

Ha ha ha ha ha! When you agree with the majority, it's democracy. When you disagree with the majority, it's "mob rule." There's a principled political philosophy.

He can't do it because it's un-Constitutional, unlawful, and un-American.

He can do it because it's constitutional, lawful and American.

Very sad that he considers 60% of Americans who view the current (and very un-conservative) adventurism in Iraq to be a big mistake

Another false claim. Half the American people still believe that the war against Iraq is the right thing to do.

Please get a 3rd grade edumacation before trolling further, you dumb fuck. 40% is not "half", you moran.

Right. 50% is "half," you insanely moronic bat turd.

But people are getting tired of your shit, GOP.

People are ready to throw you over a cliff, "JT."

Posted by: GOP on August 16, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Mmmm ... bat turd.

Them's fightin' words.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 16, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

60% of Americans now oppose the war. More than 60% want at least some troop drawdown by end of year.

Posted by: on August 16, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

GOP. Go. Away.

Kevin is angry and radical now. He doesn't like you any more. You have bad manners. You make no sense. You just want to argue, without the proper intellectual tools.

Whole Foods is hiring. You could work in the produce section, throwing out rotten fruit.

Posted by: PaxR55 on August 16, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Too late, but for the record:

Bush Derangement Syndrome. bj at 11:50 AM

Bush Derangement Syndrome, BDS, is a mental affliction characterized by the compulsion to defend the object of one's political value system against all factual examples of failure. For many suffers, that defense is motivated more by hatred of anyone who dares to point out those failures than by adherence to their supposed "core principles." This obsession to defend is actually Stalinist in its manifestation because the believers will hold two mutually contrary beliefs concurrently. An analysis of those with BDS has found that, for the most part, they are immature white males with a decided lack of empathetic qualities and a laughable overestimation of their own abilities. Those with BDS generally feel powerless when confronting complex social issues.
Supporting politicians who spout simplistic sound bites gives them feeling of superiority: intellectual, racial, and cultural.
Those with BDS are authoritarian people who do not need a charismatic or articulate leader, only one who can play the role while others actually make policy decisions.
BDS sufferers will proclaim their support for such noble ideals as egalitarianism, democracy, godliness, liberty and patriotism, but their support for privileged aristocrats shows the cynical hollowness of their ideology. When challenged to defend their professed principles, those with BDS will instead attack the supposed failings of their opponents, hoping thereby to change the subject.

Er, yeah. Me, and about half the country. GOP at 12:42 PM

Yup, the 50% who believe that WMD were found in Iraq.
The Clinton Administration set a new record for scandal and corruption, including the followingGOP 12:51 PM

Actually, that is a lie. The Reagan Administration holds all those records, the Clinton administration was remarkably scandal-free.
Every time I see Gore Vidal's face on TV I have the same reaction as when I see Lieberman's.Samuel Knight 1:29 PM

You need to challenge them on facts which is difficult to do, not your "visceral" reaction.
List all the big name White House people GOP 6:48 PM

Why proves the fact that the Republican Congress is just as corrupt as the Bush regime and complicit in it.
Apart from widespread public support for virtually all of Bush's other major policiesGOP at 9:24 PM

That support must be part of your imagation
He can do it because it's constitutional, lawful and American.GOP 12:45 PM

You need to read Hamdan v Rumsfeld which disagrees

Posted by: Mike on August 16, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Bush-worshipper Al wrote:
"When was the last time you said something good about Bush?"

No true moderate could find *anything* good to say about Bush. No true liberal, either. No true conservative, either. Certainly no true libertarian. True fascists, yes.

And I think that's really the point.

Posted by: Anonymous Libertarian on August 16, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

'When I asked him to identify these "insanely radical" policies he couldn't name a single one that wasn't supported by, at the very least, a large minority of the American people and/or their elected representatives in congress. '

Well, I can. Torturing people. Rejecting the Geneva Conventions. Ignoring and denying global warming. Spying on Quakers without warrants.

Them's the easy ones. The problem is that there's a large minority who still doesn't believe this is *happening*, despite ample proof.

Posted by: Anon. on August 16, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

"You haven't actually seen horrible things happen because of GWB, "

Well, if you don't count all the stuff we saw in photographs and videotapes. You know, Katrina, the civil war (and gang killings) in Iraq, Abu Ghraib, and so on. Perhaps you think photography is merely a lying agent of the devil, and you should only trust things you see personally?

More likely you have a series of transparent excuses for why every disaster of Bush's making was not really Bush's fault.

Meanwhile, Bush's adamant global warming denial is slowly but surely causing the extinction of polar bears, and encouraging what will be the biggest natural disaster in human history.

Right-wingers really *are* disconnected from reality. Take a reality check.

Posted by: Anon. on August 16, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

No true moderate could find *anything* good to say about Bush. No true liberal, either. No true conservative, either. Certainly no true libertarian. True fascists, yes.

Or as I like to say, "When you're a fascist, everyone to your left is a radical communist."

Posted by: Thumb on August 17, 2006 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

I became a radicalized moderate when a friend said I was guilty of treason for questioning US policy during wartime a wartime that had no fixed end.

Try as I might. I cannot forgive that.

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