Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 26, 2006
By: Laura Rozen

GOP CAMPAIGN PLAYBOOK: IRAN AND JUDGES. Just over two months to go, and the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes writes that prospects for the GOP in November have improved in recent polls, but not enough. Where can President Bush start to rouse Republicans to get to the polls? Barnes: "The place to start is Iran." Here's more:

So bring on the midterm election, right? The answer is an emphatic no. As favorable as recent trends have been, they are not nearly enough to spare Republicans a nasty defeat, including the loss of the House and perhaps the Senate. The country is in a disagreeable mood and ready for a change. The Republican base is grumpy and apathetic. Bush may be America's choice to fight terrorism, but he falters on other issues. His boost in the polls doesn't mean he's now popular. He's merely less unpopular. And the August bounce may prove to be ephemeral, as earlier upticks have.

There's much to do. Standing pat and expecting terrorism to dominate the campaign would be foolhardy. ... It's Bush's actions, not his words, that will matter. Americans want to see him fighting for America's security. ...

The place to start is Iran. The diplomatic option is exhausted. No one expected the mere possibility of economic sanctions to cause Iran to halt its program to build nuclear weapons. And it hasn't. Now Bush must brook no dissent in pursuing stern sanctions. Russian and Chinese leaders have personally assured him they would back sanctions if Iran refused (as it has) to stop uranium enrichment. The president must hold them to their word, warning that their relations with America will be jeopardized if they balk. It's also time to make clear to Iran that the military option is indeed an option. ....

"A major problem for Bush and Republicans in the midterm election is turnout," Barnes continues. "Republicans have the most sophisticated turnout operation known to man. But it won't work if Republican voters, particularly conservatives, are angry at their leaders or indifferent." What's the next part of the formula to improve turnout? Barnes says it's no secret: "Besides national security, the issue that most energizes conservatives and Republicans is judges."

Laura Rozen 9:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (83)

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Comments

First!

Posted by: kgb on August 26, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

What's the likelihood of Iran being bombed before mid-term elections?

Posted by: kgb on August 26, 2006 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

thanks for this information

Posted by: Bob on August 26, 2006 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

The likelihood is that Iran will be bombed late in October: to terrorize the electorate late enough so that the economic bite won't overwhelm the fear.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on August 26, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Don't sell the public short: if we bomb Iran before the election, especially VERY close, Republicans could lose 100 seats in the House, and ALL of the close Senate races.

Lincoln was right: "You can fool all the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people, all of the time."

And let's not kid ourselves, either: Iran does not wish us well.

So have some faith in "We, the People."

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 26, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Barnes like so many of the tortured right suffers from some sort of political dementia --
he seems to think Bushco has no track record and or the American public is too stupid to understand as much as George Bush.

Fred -- a Fox news whore -- he's the kind of reporter(sic) who keeps repeating the factless story that the president of Iran was one of the "Iranian kidnappers.." He believes in the Stephen King school of politics --scare the crap out of the voter even if you have to invent things to do it.

Posted by: Katherine Graham Cracker on August 26, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas1

Or worse, some Iranian terrorist babe gives Bush a blowjob, thus forcing his impeachment.

Posted by: tomeck on August 26, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with Fred Barnes approach is that getting tough on Iran right before the election is going to require an explanation. Namely of, why now?

What Barnes doesn't get is that explanations are believed only if people trust you to tell the truth.

But Bush no longer has any credibility. In politics, you lose your credibility, and you lose everything.

Once upon a time, everything Bush did seemed good and effective because he was respected and trusted. Now everything he does -- especially anything that would appear risky -- seems incompetent and knavish because he isn't.

Yet Bush lackeys like Barnes can't acknowledge the change in circumstances. If Bush and his minions have any hope, it would be that Bush might pursue measured, sensible actions that would restore his credibility.

Of course, good luck with that.

Posted by: frankly0 on August 26, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK
"Besides national security, the issue that most energizes conservatives and Republicans is judges."
I've heard this argument: "Judges shouldn't be restricting the president's powers." "Judges shouldn't be deciding that gay people can get married." Yeah, well maybe judges shouldn't be deciding presidential elections either. Posted by: navamske on August 26, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Bush's best advantage over China and Russia is in their apparent hypocritical support for the U.N. Security Council's efforts on Iran (as Suzanne outlines in the next discussion).

How will GOP voters respond if Bush announces that active U.N. participation is his best option? Such a paradox.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on August 26, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

"For instance, theAmericanist, if an Iranian nuke is smuggled into the U.S. and detonated during this year's World Series, killing George and Laura Bush, as well as half a million other Americans:

im sure there are people that would consider this a bargain. in times of war, nations sacrifice the lives of hundreds thousands of soldiers to protect the lives of millions. maybe half a million charred americans is a reasonable price to pay to save the rest of the country from george bush and his end times mentality.

Posted by: red mike on August 26, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas1: true. since the terrorists dont have any bunker buster technology, theres no way they could hit cheney 2000 feet below the earth and under his bed.

Posted by: red mike on August 26, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist, notice how the israelis backed olmert during the fight with hezbollah, although he's cerainly going to lose his job.

but that's a parliamentary system.

if bush chose to bomb iranian reactors a few days before the election, there would, i strongly suspect, be a huge rally round effect. once the effect wore off, of course, there would be hell to pay, but the gop would still control congress. don't underestimate the slimeballs in the white house and their disinterest in anything other than political power.

after all, there are millions of clowns like Thomas1 who talk in terms of iran smuggling a nuclear device into a world series game as though that were a rational use of the english language instead of a war-porn fantasy....

Posted by: howard on August 26, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Let's face it people, fear works. It has worked for churches since the beginning of time.

Republicans must scare us with terrorism threats to stay in power. Democrats must find a way to scare us more and global warming doesn't seem to be doing the trick.

Welcome to the world of the neocons, fear forever.


Remember: A vote for republicans is a vote for full body cavity searches at airports and train stations.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 26, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

The abusive foster parent Nossel, is abetting the Republican campaign strategy by focusing on the Iranian defiance of neo-con and Exxon authority. She is a Lieberman.

Posted by: Hostile on August 26, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Ignoring Iran won't win any elections. But showing how republicans are incapable of dealing with anything competently could make a dent.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 26, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

One big problem with this strategy is that Bush's base is inherently isolationist. It was one thing to rally those folks for a holy war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq 18 mkonths after 9/11. It is quite another to try the same ginned-up campaign now, after 3 1/2 years of a declining situation in Iraq. I really don;t believe it would succeed without a first strike from iran, and why would they do that? They are winning as it is.

Posted by: Mimikatz on August 26, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

The only thing I can think of that the Republicans have been successful with is tax cuts. Maybe that is all it takes.

That and a few stolen voter precints.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 26, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Mimikatz,

I believe that most of the rhetoric is fodder for the media to give cover for stolen elections.

Essentially, I agree with you but I don't think it matters if you can't trust the black box voting.

The Headlines the next day will read: 'New Fears Motivate Voters to Maintain GOP Control of Congress'

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 26, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

a first strike from iran

Since Iran has never gone Tojo, the fear of such a strike must have been fabricated for nefarious reasons.

Posted by: Hostile on August 26, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

The president must hold them to their word, warning that their relations with America will be jeopardized if they balk.

What relations would those be?

Obviously the "answer" is war with the Iran. The "question" however is not "what's best for our national security"; it's "what will save the GOP from defeat in November." Barnes is almost man enough to admit it, too.

Posted by: DrBB on August 26, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Buchanan >"...most of the rhetoric is fodder for the media to give cover for stolen elections..."

EXACTLY !

Anything to ensure the criminal behavior continues to financially enrich the "Kewl Kids"

"...This is not a game." - Lorie Van Auken (2001.09.11 widow)

Posted by: daCascadian on August 26, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

"For instance, theAmericanist, if an Iranian nuke is smuggled into the U.S. and detonated during this year's World Series, killing George and Laura Bush, as well as half a million other Americans

Yeah! Cool! Or if they arranged to have a giant asteroid strike Los Angeles! Or even better, if they got one of those diamond powered laser gadgets like in the Roger Moore version of Moonraker I think it was and started blasting away at all the Western capital cities! Then you'd see some GOP voter turn out! Hot damn!

Posted by: DrBB on August 26, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

I think conservative voters could get excited about judges, but see no sign that Bush is moving to bring judges to the forefront of debate. The hack judge who wrote the NSA decision is worthy of scorn, but she will be off the radar scope at election time.

If Bush nominated a bunch of good judicial candidates, and if the Senate Judicary Committee approved them, and if they got held up in the Senate, then this issue might invigorate the Repubican base. However, I see no sign that this is going to happen. On the contrary, the conservatives are POed at the Republican Party for not doing enough on this issue.

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 26, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

And the Dems, if they want to win, need to attack Bush and attack him hard on how WEAK he is on terrorism. Two words - WHERE'S OSAMA???

Borrow a play from Karl Rove, ya goddamn dummies - attack him where he is perceived to be strongest (HA-HA). Point out that the Nunn-Lugar initiative has gone nowhere under Bush, meaning there is a lot of loose nukes out there for terrorists to exploit. Because, in the final analysis, it ain't 19 men with boxcutters that are going to threaten our American way of life. It's a terrorist getting their hands on a suitcase nuke or five and setting them off in Times Square. Our ports are also not secure, thank to dumbshit Bush. For what we spend in one week in Iraq, we could have radiation detectors in every port in America. For what we spend in one month in Iraq, we could have airliners with large, bomb-proof storage containers, and require everyone to check everything, down to their pocket combs, before they set foot on an ariplane.

ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK!!!!

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger on August 26, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

kevin,

you're wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, as usual. if president bush decides to attack iran it will be the right thing to do, not because of politics. i'm predicting that american voters will do the right thing and strengthen the republican's majority in both the house and senate. wait! kevin didn't post this. i'm wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, as usual!

Posted by: Al on August 26, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

how about if they drop judges on Iran, that's a sure winner.


and liberal avenger asks the right question - WHERE'S OSAMA?

(sorry for the all caps, but i really wanna know)

Posted by: benjoya on August 26, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

October surprise anyone?
--
Safety Guy

Posted by: Safety Guy on August 26, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

If the Republicans have to lose in Nov., I would rather have them lose the Senate rather than the House. It is in the House where the conservatives have the greater strength. And because of the rules in the two bodies, having total control over the House is much better than having nominal control in the Senate. Apart from confirming judges, the majority of the Senate Republicans are worthless RINOs who have governed no worse than Hillary and Teddy would have. In addition, they are insufferable egoists who need to be reminded that without the support of the conservative base of the GOP, they will always be the ranking minority members of the committees that they sit on instead of being Chairmen of those committees.

The Dems should prefer this outcome as well. Since the Senate Dems are, as a group, much more moderate than their House colleagues. Having John Connors in charge of House Judiciary Committee pushing impeachment, Charlie Rangel in charge of Ways & Means pushing for higher taxes or having Maxine Waters, Henry Waxman, Pete Stark in charge of anything, all led by Speaker Pelosi would guarantee a return of a GOP majority and President in 08.

Posted by: Chicounsel on August 26, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Folks are missing the point... in any public controversy worthy of the name, most folks (or at least, a decisively large minority) are on BOTH sides. That's why it's a controversy in the first place. Flexible majories are pro-choice AND against abortion on demand, favor gay rights and oppose same-sex marriage, etc.

Just so with Iraq, what to do about the Muslim whackjobs who want to kill us all, and Iran.

Any politically convinced and committed group is necessarily going to feel a certain antipathy toward the mushy middle, of course -- but it is the Left these days, far more than the Right, which tends to disrespect "the sheeple".

That's what I meant -- fretting that Bush might attack Iran close enough to the election to count on some rally around the flag reaction, to save Republican majorities in the House or Senate, is pretty dumb.

For one thing, it actually IS an impeachable offense: a real one, not like the usual bullshit stuff that essentially concerns political disputes.

But it's the premise that concerns me: waayy too many progressives assume (and worse, say so) that most Americans would be suckers for an October Surprise.

Selling us short is a manifestation of something deeper, a genuine distrust, even a dislike of most Americans.

Rise above that, folks.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 26, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

kgb: What's the likelihood of Iran being bombed before mid-term elections?

Nil. Contrary to Barnes' assertion, diplomatic efforts are far from exhausted--the focus is simply shifting--and there's not enough time to run out the clock before the elections.

However, the cynical side of me wouldn't bet against something like Gulf of Tonkin II.

Posted by: has407 on August 26, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

But it's the premise that concerns me: waayy too many progressives assume (and worse, say so) that most Americans would be suckers for an October Surprise.

Fair enough. But where's your evidence? I've gotten pretty old waiting for "most Americans" to exhibit something I would recognize as common sense.

Posted by: craigie on August 26, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

The important point in this article is that George Bush uses his asshole to communicate,

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2006/082606.html

Posted by: cld on August 26, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Or worse, some Iranian terrorist babe gives Bush a blowjob, thus forcing his impeachment. lol

Political Wire guest contributor Stuart Rothenberg raised his estimate of likely Democratic gains in the House of Representatives from 8-12 seats to 15-20 seats, which would translate to between 218 and 223 seats -- and a majority -- in the next House.

Hi Laura. :)

Posted by: Den on August 26, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

The spectre of lefty judges will bring out the base and incumbancy will take care of the rest.

I'm fascinated by the idea that judges, who are (we may assume) the best educated and most involved in the area of law and the constitution, are somehow inherently biased against the Right.

When you figure out how to give Loyalty Tests to judges, and they are all GOP hacks too, then whom will you blame when you still can't seem to get reality to cooperate with your fantasies?

Posted by: craigie on August 26, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

As for judges: the complaints against "activitst judges" are bunk. Strict construction is a fraud because of the Ninth Ammendment, which states that there must be unenumerated rights. Hence, judges have to speculate on what those rights would be (e.g., privacy) and can't read them directly from the wording of the Constitution. Con-servatives have been evading this implication since A9 was added.

Posted by: Neil' on August 26, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Press1forEnglish - Don't we already have all the right-wing judges that the base wants? I mean how scared can they be with Roberts and Alito???

1) A large number of the American people weren't able to distinguish between al-Qaeda and Iraq. They're not going to get the difference between Iran and Iraq either. Sure, maybe the fear tactics will work, but...

2) We don't have enough money to start another war by October, do we? Bush can talk the talk, but I don't think he can afford to walk the walk...

Posted by: Archana on August 26, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Another "Crusader War" is all it will take to bring the RW base out in force. A few well choosen code words by Bush to make sure the base knows that it is indeed a war on Islam, and victory in the war is assured. The war against the Left that is...November will just strengthen their hold on power.

Posted by: Whack a NeoCon for Christ on August 26, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Prior to the invasion of Iraq, half the US Army and Marines were already stationed in the gulf. It was going to happen.
Two months from now, the biggest story is going to be an imploding housing market and if this administration ordered the bombing of Iran, the military is going to be in open revolt, after the way they have essentially been hung out to dry in Iraq and because the situation over there would be untenable if Iran were attacked.
This is the same propaganda campaign, but the cheerleaders are on their own this time.

Posted by: brodix on August 26, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Three things to remember:
1. Nobody EVER went broke betting on the stupidity of the American people- we are good people, but way too trusting of snake oil salesmen.

2. Diebold- no paper trail...oh please...don't tell me you think that voter fraud is not a part of American politics? The only districts that seriously diverged from exit polls in the 2004 election were those districts WITHOUT paper trails.

3. Incumbent protections- incumbent democrats will win their seats with higher margin of victoriy, incumbent republicans will win their seats with a smaller marging. It is simple math, when all of the dems live in one precint and all of republican voters live in another district - it is next to impossible to upset the status quo.

So, will the US bomb Iran before election day ? Yes, but we will not hit anything important becase China and Russia both have serious economic investment there- so the Administration gets the best deal around...money for more bombs used, rally round the flag vote, wink and a nod to Russia and China...

Democrats will not take majority of House or Senate.

Come on folks...this is not that hard..Simply put yourself in K. Rove's shoes: one goal- win mid-terms- nearly unlimited resources.

Posted by: Out on Bond on August 26, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

"The military option is an option..."

Barnes, as usual, is full of crap. This conservative mouthpiece - the wonder is why he gets quoted at all.

The US military is nearly flat on it back - drained, frustrated, angry and out of men.

The budget is likewise in deep do do. We have no more money, folks! With tax cuts for the rich we are now broke!

So, what does this genius Barnes recommend to overcome these two, giant realities?

Just more empty conservative bull shit. No attack on Iran will happen. Iran knows it and anyone (except dufus types like Barnes) with a wit of sense and knowledge knows it.

Can we cover some more serious people other than Barnes, please?

Sons

Posted by: Sons on August 26, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Great article, thank you!

------------------------------
Home

Posted by: Mark on August 27, 2006 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone with a brain and without an interest in a Republican win for president witnessed two stolen elections, yet we talk like voting really matters. It is truly bizarre.

What evidence is there that the mid-term elections will be fair? NONE!

DLC Dems are just as interested in maintaining the status quo as the GOP. Two sides of the same corrupt coin.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 27, 2006 at 5:07 AM | PERMALINK

Craigie asks: " where's your evidence? I've gotten pretty old waiting for "most Americans" to exhibit something I would recognize as common sense."

YOU'RE my evidence.

In a different discussion, it'd be worth pointing to the hundreds of examples where the great American public has been a helluva lot smarter than our leaders.

But in THIS thread, I had merely noted that "waayy too many progressives assume (and worse, say so) that most Americans would be suckers for an October Surprise ... a manifestation of something deeper, a genuine distrust, even a dislike of most Americans."

Which craigie promptly demonstrated.

And nobody picked up on it. What's that tell you?

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 27, 2006 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

The only people we have to worry about falling for an October surprise is the media. And they ALWAYS fall for it.

If you have faith in the media, you are a sad sack.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 27, 2006 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Ishmael, you are part of the problem. You are merely the other side of the coin of Islamo-fascism.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: Jay on August 27, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

"the media"? Get a grip.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 27, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Americanist,

Care to ellaborate? Or do you have nothing to counter with?

Didn't the media sit on several damaging stories until after the election in 2004? Like the CIA leak or the illegal wire-tapping?

How about the Niger deal that all Europenas knew was a lie before the invasion of Iraq. Need more?

The media and you are the biggest problem America has.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 27, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

couldn't agree more. We definitely need more judges whose reasoning and view of the world is just and right, we need more who follows in the footsteps of Christ and uses that as a foundation for their review of the law of the land. For Christ is just and correct, and always right.

These activist judges should be thrown out of their seats or carted off in jail, because it's where their criminal minds should belong.

The more we have conservative, just and right judges, the more they will understand and be inline with Pres Bush point of view.

I thank GOD that Bush is a devout Christian, and I thank him for letting GOD work HIS way through him everyday.


Posted by: Left Behind America on August 27, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Buchanan wrote: Didn't the media sit on several damaging stories until after the election in 2004? Like the CIA leak or the illegal wire-tapping?

Most political observers believe the NSA wire-tapping was helpful to President Bush. A majority of the country supports that program. The public was happy to hear that the US was doing things to undermine the terrorists. Also. a large majority are furious at the media for exposing it, thus weakening it, in their view.

How about the Niger deal that all Europenas knew was a lie before the invasion of Iraq.

Huh? The report that Saddam was seeking to buy uranium in Africa came from Great Britain, a
European country. The British continue to stand behind the accuracy of this report.

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 27, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal,

So wrong. How could the news og illegal wire-tapping help Bush if the story was held until well after the election?

The Niger document was a fake. It was never true. This was widely reported throughout Europe days before the invasion.

Were you in Europe in March 2003? No? I was.

Next?

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 27, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

I know of another document that would've hurt Bush's chances, it was the Downing Street Memo. The domcument proved that the administration was fixing intelligence to justify a war.

Why do you choose to believe lies?

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 27, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

chirp....chirp...chirp(crickets)

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 27, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist: But it's the premise that concerns me: waayy too many progressives assume (and worse, say so) that most Americans would be suckers for an October Surprise.

Me: Fair enough. But where's your evidence? I've gotten pretty old waiting for "most Americans" to exhibit something I would recognize as common sense.

theAmericanist: YOU'RE my evidence.

That's a tad circular, isn't it? I ask you for examples of the American public exhibiting some common sense, and you reply that my asking the question is evidence that they have done so.

Let me try again:
Can you provide any evidence that the American electorate is beyond being manipulated by "look out behind you!" scare stories? The fact that I am cynical does not, of itself, make me wrong.

Posted by: craigie on August 27, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- no, craigie: that reading comprehension problem continues to afflict you.

I noted that you guys tend to talk as if you despise the American public, and you promptly spoke up to confirm it.

Merely being cynical not only doesn't prove you're right, more often than not it renders you unpersuasive. THAT's the point.

Buchanan evidently figures that folks who have a better appreciation for BOTH the public and the press than he does must be as stupid as he figures "the other side" to be.

That's downright infantile.

The President's own poll numbers, particularly the unfavorables, are pretty solid evidence that the public actually does have better sense than MB does, anyway -- not to mention than Bush himself.

It's worth noting that Katrina, far more than Iraq, sunk Bush's credibility. There is an argument to be had about Iraq, the whole pottery barn thing. Folks aren't foolish for asking critics, 'well, what would YOU do?' and not accepting the "can't unshit the bed" as much of answer.

Cuz it ain't one.

But Katrina confirmed the public's long-developing impression of Bush as simply not competent at his job. There was no pro-Katrina side, so folks saw Bush measured against their own minimal expectations plain.

And remember what "the media" does. If the President of the United States orders an Osirak-like strike on Iran's heavy water facilities, let us say (God forbid, I might have family involved), CNN, the networks, etc., they will REPORT it, in the same messy but generally accurate way "the media" reported Katrina, or Iraq, or the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

And if the immediate reaction of folks like you is to dis "the media" for those reports, and the President for ordering the strike, and the public for holding our breath while we watch, YOU are bigger fools than even I take you for.

You've got a reverse Midas curse: everything your opinions touch turns to crap.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 27, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist has an appreciation for the media because they just report the facts.

And I really appreciated the generally accurate way the media reported those terrible, crooked looters in New Orleans who had no respect for the corporations they looted. I really appreciated those correspondents who couldn't manage to get closer to the action than the front of their own hotels.

And I really appreciated the generally accurate way they reported the Florida election. Or pre-war intelligence or 9/11 or the occupation of Gaza or the fair and balanced way they discuss gay rights or the fair and balanced coverage of Jon Benet or any blonde girl gone missing, for that matter. I could go on.

Wow. I mean, WOW.

I guess we can all stop taking you seriously now. You have your head planted firmly in the sand.


Judith Miller, is that you?

PS: for your pro-Katrina side, just take a look at the color of those mostly affected by the destruction. For die-hard cons, there's your up-side.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 27, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

I diss the media more for what they DON'T say. Or for who they don't let say it.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 27, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Buchanan wrote: How could the news og illegal wire-tapping help Bush if the story was held until well after the election?

Michael - my point was that if the New York Times had resleased news of the NSA spying before the 2004 election, that report would have gained votes for Bush.

The Niger document was a fake. It was never true. This was widely reported throughout Europe days before the invasion.

You are confusing the Niger document with the British report that Saddam was seeking to buy uranium in Africa. As you say, everyone knew the Niger document was a fake, including British intelligence. They found evidence separate from the Niger report showing that Saddam was seeking to buy uranium in Africa.

President Bush did not rely on the Niger report. His relied on British ingelligence's other information, which, as far as anyone knows, was true. It's now pretty well established that Saddam's agents were exploring the purchase of uranium in Africa, although there's no evidence that they ever consummated such a purchase.

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 27, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Golly, this reading problem of mine must really be holding me back. But here's the odd thing - the topic at hand is whether the
GOP will produce an October Surprise, and if/when they do, whether the electorate will run, lemming-like, for the GOP.

The fact that Bush has low approval ratings, or that Katrina hurt him, or that people wouldn't support privatizing Social Security (you forgot that one) - those things are not the issue being discussed. Indeed, I think they strengthen the point that, when (not if) the GOP starts shouting "terrorist!", people are likely to move to the GOP. So I don't think it's me that can't read.

However, it's really very simple. If the GOP starts ranting about terrorists (does the recent Iran stuff count?) and the media dutifully report that we are all going to die unless we vote Republican, then I'll be right. And if the Dems, despite the low approval ratings of the Rs, don't pick up seats this November, then I'll be right.

However, if the Dems do make progress, despite the Chicken Little ravings of the Right, then I'll be wrong, and I will punish myself by giving up crack and hookers for a whole weekend.

Posted by: craigie on August 27, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: established that Saddam's agents were exploring the purchase of uranium in Africa

Uranium? Why bother. I've got three friends that are looking to buy plutonium though. Should I report them? Their names are Larry, Mo and Curlie.

Posted by: alex on August 27, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

The other day on C-Span radio, I heard Robert Novak, of all people, say he expected the Democrats to gain 20 to 25 House seats in November.

Posted by: Vincent on August 27, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Dig Barnes' recommendation: it would result in an extremely unpopular military action which would be doomed to failure, and wreck our diplomatic relations with China and Russell as well.

And all as an election strategy! Well, that would have to be the reason to do things so foolish as these; it sure wouldn't be a good security strategy.

Even as stupid as these pundit-approved actions would be, I can't rule out the possibility of Bush walking into his Monday staff meeting waving Barnes' column around, looking for agreement about how sensible it is.

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

Russia, that is.

Posted by: centerfielddj on August 27, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

The other day on C-Span radio, I heard Robert Novak, of all people, say he expected the Democrats to gain 20 to 25 House seats in November.

I would love for that to happen, of course, but I don't believe it will.

Posted by: craigie on August 27, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised when Californians spanked Arnie last year, so who knows? Maybe there is a god.

Posted by: craigie on August 28, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Craigie, I think most of us figure you're pleasantly surprised each day to find the refrigerator light works: open, close. Open, close. Amazing, ain't it?

It is truly awesome, the blinders you guys have.

Craigie is just a bit more obvious -- it went right past him, the idea that dissing most Americans tends not to persuade them. He rarely posts without talking about stupid most of us are.

That speaks more to his own imbecility rather than the distributed intelligence of the electorate.

Likewise, Buchanan misses the point how ranting against "the media" works.

A bit oversimplified, when the Right bitches about 'liberal bias' in the media, it achieves two goals.

First, because conservative journalists consciously see themselves as a kind of counterculture, part of 'the conservative movement', bitching about 'the liberal media' helps to brand THEIR guys and reinforce the legitimacy of that perspective, as an alternative brand.

Second, the basic dynamic of Right wing complaints about the liberal media is to constantly restore the idea that America is both good and great, while those who hate America constantly seek to undermine us.

For progressives to attack "the" media, from whatever perspective, tends to erode our advantages and preclude more persuasive approaches.

For one thing, what the Right calls 'the liberal media' doesn't see itself as part of a movement' they rather quaintly think of themselves as reporting the facts as they find 'em. Attacking "the" media for corporate shilling, fluffing sources or for being intimidated by the Right all of which happen a fair amount) actually tends to reinforce the assumptions of media bias that help the Right, not progressives.

For another, when you look at the particular examples of "the" media that piss off Buchanan, he's generally in favor of an alternative story line that says America has no enemies, the Left has no responsibility, race is beneath everything, and so forth.

If knuckleheads like this didn't exist, Rove would probably invent 'em.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 28, 2006 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

Do you hear what your saying?

Cram sanctions down Irans throat, black-mail Russia and China into agreeing.

This is how to keep Republicans in power? No wonder people are fed up. Governing is about whats good for the country, not what keeps a party in power.

God, this is the most criminal administration in the history of the US. By all means, screw up another two or three countries so the criminals can keep power.

Posted by: Eclectic Floridian on August 28, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: qq on August 28, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Just out of curiosity, WHY would sanctions on Iran and obtaining the cooperation of Russia and China be bad for America?

The UN (a/k/a "the whole world") has said that it would be a bad idea (not to mention against the law) for Iran to get nukes. So the UN has passed resolutions, which the United States and THE WHOLE FRIGGING WORLD (give or take) supported, to discourage 'em from doing that.

Now it seems likely that they have taken a specific step which the UN said if they DO this, we will impose sanctions.

Remember, the whole point of United Nations resolutions is that they are an alternative to cruise missiles and F-15s. After all, "jaw-jaw" is better han "war-war", right?

But if the UN passes resolutions that say 'do this, and that happens', and nations go ahead and DO 'this', and NOTHING happens -- doesn't that make wars more likely, since nations have no other meaningful alternative?

I suppose Eclectic may be thinking, well, the US has nukes, and so do Britain and France, Russia, Israel, China, India, Pakistan, etc.... so who are we to deny Iran the most devastating weapon ever developed?

But it's hard to see a nuclear Iran as so obviously in our interest that trying to use the UN to stop it is just another attempt by corrupt Republicans to remain in power.

'Xplain yourself, Eclectic.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 28, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised when Californians spanked Arnie last year, so who knows? Maybe there is a god.

Et tu, craigie? All my heroes have feet of clay...

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

First, my objection to the article, you may notice, is an that the foreign policy espoused is framed as a way to win an American election.

This administration has been using foreign policy as a way to instill fear in our citizens in order to win elections. Excuse me if I feel that is an abuse of power. Our relations with the entire world have taken a huge negative hit because our Incompetent-in-Chief wanted to win elections.

Second, it is possible that Iran really means they only want nuclear electricity. The only indication we have to the contrary is this administrations statement of, "because I told you so." Well, their record on truthfullness, so far, is pretty dismal.

When I see real proof of an Iranian attempt to create nuclear weapons, sanctions are in order. But, me take Bush's word? Not a chance.

I suspect that if we, and other world leaders, would act like adults and actually TALK to Iran, they would agree to international verification of peaceful intentions.

Like anyone else, Iran would be stupid to agree to destroy their negotiating leverage by stopping enrichment prior to TALKING.

Get it? TALKING is not appeasement, it is negotiating. If, by TALKING, we can get verifiable peaceful intent, then we are all better off. If we can't, bring on the sanctions.

Posted by: Eclectic Floridian on August 28, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

You're a few years behind the curve, Eclectic.

The UN has BEEN talking to Iran. That's why this heavy water thing is a violation.

You're sorta justifying, all by yourself, the rap against progressives that they can't see anything but Bush.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 28, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist, don't you get it?

The UN has proven a lack of effectiveness to the world including Iran. Even you must admit that.

Iran wants to be recognized as a regional leader. They want agreement from America. Bush has proven that he'll do anything to win an election for the Republicans, including something as stupid as unilaterally bombing Iran.

Bush needs to climb off his little cowboy rocking-horse and do what presidents do, TALK to the other side. Is there some problem with doing that? Is there some vast strategic reason, that talking with Iran is verboten?

Does it destroy our freedom of speech, our guarantee of Habeus Corpus, our right to privacy, our guarantee of trial by jury? No, Bush has already, unilaterally, removed those rights anyway, so what do we have to lose?

Posted by: Eclectic Floridian on August 28, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Eclectic, I don't think you understand how nations work. Iran isn't particularly interested in 'being recognized as a regional power' (which means running most of Iraq, ya nitwit), as if the the United States would say '' hey, is that who I think it is? Didn't you used to be called Persia? Wow, how you've grown... I bet you're a REGIONAL power now, huh? Wow, how time flies..."

I've always said that Iran would probably prefer to be a nearly nuke power (and thus, not attacked) then to provoke us (not to mention Israel), along the lines of Osirak. And guess what? That's exactly how Iran is acting now.

So I don't have any objection to Rice spending a month in Tehran, assuming she'd go with any actual objectives to achieve. But that's not the point.

It's like I said long ago after 9-11, when Bush said in this scary new world, Saddam had to go. He wasn't completely crazy (albeit he failed to achieve the PRIMARY objective first) to say that, yanno. And that was good enough for me -- I want the bad guys of the world to BELIEVE American Presidents when they say things like that.

Likewise, I want the world's governments to PAY ATTENTION when the UN says "do this unwise thing, and that bad thing will happen to you."

You don't.

So stop blaming Bush for your own myopia; you wouldn't be able to read the big E on the eye chart if Franklin Delano Clinton was President.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 28, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist;

In your prescient world view, I'm sure it's all very clear. The problem is, the world doesn't necessarily work the way you, in your infinite wisdom, see it, nor, probably in the way I do.

Sneering at a viewpoint other than yours is less than productive.

You cast your votes for the most criminal regime in US history, and I'll cancel them out. Is that ok with you? Or, should Monkey Bush just declare himself our lifetime president and THEN bomb Iraq. Fool!

Posted by: Eclectic Floridian on August 28, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sneering at your opinion itself as much as you think, Eclectic, as I am scoffing at the way you're hiding what you actually believe behind this irresponsible smokescreen of "Bush sucks".

My first post in this thread was to take issue with the idea that if Bush was to attack Iran right before the election, that would help Republicans.

I think we ought to give the voters credit for more sense than that. I noted that a LOT of progressives talk as if it is a given that most voters are stooopid.

To which craigie promptly spoke up to say that, well, he DOES regard most voters as stupid.

MBuchanan added that he considers "the media" to be biased in every conceivable fashion... and, oh yeah, that's HOW the voters are stupid, because they are so easily manipulated by the corrupt media.

Like I said, if folks this dumb didn't exist, Rove would have to invent 'em.

But you, Eclectic, have actually expressed a genuine opinion, but it's buried so far down in your anti-Bush rap that you are shocked to discover it IS what you think: you point out that"The UN has proven a lack of effectiveness to the world including Iran..." so you argue that IF the UN was to be effective, that would simply mean "Cram sanctions down Irans throat, black-mail Russia and China into agreeing."

Can't have it both ways, Eclectic: the alternative to an effective UN, with all that cramming and blackmailing, is unliteral American (or worse, Israeli) action, OR a nuclear Iran.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 28, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

My you are the mind-reader, aren't you?

But, you are right in a few things. Bush is the only president that, I believe, should be jailed. Cheney and Rumsfeld should be put in the same cell.

The US must come to understand that it is not big-daddy to the rest of the world. That would relieve tensions to a great extent.

A nuclear Iran ... hmm.

Nuclear as in peaceful electric power? That's a no-brainer sure, they have a right.

Nuclear as in atomic weapons? There are crazier regimes with them, like, er, North Korea. I grew up learning to hide under my school desk in case of nuclear attack. Not a single weapon was fired in all those years. Once that threshold is pierced, nations act differently. Remember, if Iran gets a nuke, they have 1/11000th the power to retaliate that we do. You have seen me say, prove nuke weapons intentions, bring on the sanctions.

An Iran with nuclear weapons is not a foregone conclusion. So far, it is only a Bush scare tactic. Well, sorry, I, and about 2/3rds of the nation don't believe the criminal Bush crap anymore. Trust but verify. It's a shame I have to say that about my own government, but that's the case.

Posted by: Eclectic Floridian on August 28, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Golly, it's my fault for giving you the slightest credit for a clue, Eclectic: Iran has had nuclear power for generations.

For Iran to get nuclear weapons is, of course, a very serious step. I've said for months that it makes more sense for them to be a nearly nuke power, than actually to provoke the U.S., not to mention Israel.

But for somebody (like you) to discuss that intelligently, you'd have to pull your head out of your ass.

Just consider this: one of Iran's most influential leaders has said flat out that Israel should be eradicated, noting that even if there was massive retaliation against any Muslim country that did such a genocidal attack, that would at most kill a small percentage of Muslims -- but it would kill ALL of Israel.

You figure this is all about Bush?

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 28, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Bush unilaterally stirred the pot. Who else got us here?

Posted by: Eclectic Floridian on August 29, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

The proper answer to your question is "whaa...?"

Ancient and proud peoples do not decide to acquire enormously expensive and powerful weapons because of unilateral pot-stirring.

Perhaps you should take two seconds of your obviously distracted life, and think of what the world looks like from the perspective of a fairly old, fairly religious, fairly educated and moderately intelligent Iranian; someone who in the course of things could scarcely care less who is the President of the United States.

She would remember slightly the unpleasantness regarding the Shah and his secret police, and as a reasonably informed person she would know who put the Shah in power, and why.

But it would be MUCH more vivid to her the son, or the older brother, or the father she lost when Iraq attacked Iran, and when she thinks of Iran's future, THAT is what she would want her children and children's children to avoid.

She would know that Saddam's rule over Iraq was not only an unbroken series of crimes against people like her (and, in fact, HER), she would also know that it was the rule of a Sunni minority over a Shi'ite majority -- so the current mess in Iraq looks mostly like the liberation of the Shi'a, stymied by Americans. She'd think of this in family terms -- Uncle Massoud, who disappeared, or the Ghodrati cousins who used to live in Tikrit.

Like most folks (Eclectic is a pretty good example) she would be only dimly conscious that her own perspective is missing some angles, so Iran's genocidal threats against Israel would mostly seem like the distinct possibility that Israel (or the United States) at Israel's urging, might make an "unprovoked" attack.

All of that would contribute to her support for Iran to develop and deploy nuclear weapons, and NONE of it depends much on Bush.

Arguably, you could say that this exemplary Iranian's view of Iraq is entirely because Bush knocked off Saddam, but that would only mean that the Shi'ite majority would continue to be under the boot of the Sunni minority, thus hardly changing her basic views at all.

Get a grip, Eclectic. If nothing else, catch on that every time you post, you prove my point.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 29, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

And every time you post you prove that the Bush regime has caused this mess.

"She" is clearly an educated, well-versed nation. You on the other-hand seem to be dedicated to insisting that they be religated third-world status.

Iraq knows what it is about. Who is the US to tell them what rights they have to pursue scientific knowledge? If that knowledge leads them to posession of nuclear weapons, who are we to tell them they have no right to that knowledge?

Our job, as a nation, is to deal with the world as it exists, not to tell other nations what they are allowed to explore.

Get off your high horse, recognize that the US is not the world's moral arbiter. Is your nose so long that you can't see beyond it's end, as you look down on the rest of humanity?

Posted by: Eclectic Floridian on August 29, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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