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Tilting at Windmills

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September 21, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

IRAQ AND TERROR....I don't have anything brilliant to say about this, but here are the results of the latest LA Times poll on how people feel about Iraq and the war on terror. Bush's message is pretty definitely not getting through.

Note, though, that "Republicans have nearly doubled their lead when voters are asked which party they trust most to protect the nation against terrorism." The Democratic message is apparently not getting through either.

Kevin Drum 1:27 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (67)

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"Do you think the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over?"

Carnage, corruption, destabilized the Middle East... breaking the military, depleting the treasury... 73% of Republicans say yes.

Republicans are so... predictable. They are simply not capable of rational thought. Do NOT vote for, support, or enable Republicans. They are the downfall of American civilization.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on September 21, 2006 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

repubs need beer on tap at their houses

Posted by: sparkalloid on September 21, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans have some 'splainin' to do.

73% think Iraq was worth it, yet only 48% of them think it's the most effective way to reduce terrorism. huh?

Posted by: craigie on September 21, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see a poll question along the lines of "Do you think the phrase 'War on Terrorism' actually means anything, or is just an empty slogan the GOP uses because they like violence and violent imagery?"

Posted by: craigie on September 21, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

I don't have anything brilliant to say about this, but here are the results of the latest LA Times poll on how people feel about Iraq and the war on terror. Bush's message is pretty definitely not getting through.

Hah? Did you even the first paragraph of the article?

"President Bush's approval rating has reached its highest level since January, helping to boost the Republican Party's image across a range of domestic and national security issues just seven weeks before this year's mid-term election, a new Times/Bloomberg poll has found."

Posted by: Al on September 21, 2006 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

The Democratic message is apparently not getting through either.

Which message?

Democratic support for economic engagement of Muslim extremeists and Democratic support for multilateral insitutions in the struggle against Muslim extremists might simply be viewed as the wrong policy. That's different from the Democratic message not "getting through".

Posted by: republicrat on September 21, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Democratic support for economic engagement of Muslim extremeists and Democratic support for multilateral insitutions in the struggle against Muslim extremists might simply be viewed as the wrong policy.

republicrat, Democrats also support murder of the unborn, the radical homosexual agenda, and burning our nation's flag. The American people are against that also.

Posted by: Al on September 21, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

This is classic... more talking points from the Republican Bush-Bot...

Al:
Democrats also support murder of the unborn, the radical homosexual agenda, and burning our nation's flag. The American people are against that also.
--

Al = Karl Rove ?

PS: FU Al !!!

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on September 21, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Which non-message of the Democratic Party that they are not promulgating so it isn't getting through are you referring to?

I understand keeping your head down while the Republicans shoot it out among themselves, but I hope the Democrats have a secret weapon coming out before the polling booths open.

Not to have anything to say on a subject as morally clear as terrorist detention is criminal enough. To have nothing to say on THE BIGGEST EVENT going on in this world where US citizens (and others) are dieing makes the Democratic politicians liable for dereliction of duty.

The only thing I know so far is that they don't stand for what the others stand for.

The Repugnuts may be the worst. But silence is reprehensible too! And doesn't win a vote.

Posted by: notthere on September 21, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, I think Bush's message is getting through. It's just being rejected.

Posted by: four years instead of six on September 21, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

Frequency distribution tables, pie charts, frequency polygons, oh my! Can an Ogive be far behind? Or a box-and-whisker plot. Oh what fun we'll have!

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 21, 2006 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

Your liberal media at work:

"President Bush's approval rating has reached its highest level since January, helping to boost the Republican Party's image across a range of domestic and national security issues just seven weeks before this year's mid-term election, a new Times/Bloomberg poll has found."

The truth: he's maybe got back to where he was in January, when he was already the most unpopular president not actually being investigated for Watergate or Iran-Contra. So a better, more accurate, less GOP-licking lead would have been:

"President Bush is still the most unpopular President since Watergate, despite having his own party in control of the entire government, has managed to nudge his approval rating back to where it was at the start of the year."

Posted by: craigie on September 21, 2006 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

Hell the Republicans are putting midterm elections,get this DOMESTIC POLITICS come BEFORE the Iraqi "Terror"...

They dont seem to much care about Iraq to me Kevin, nor National Security...naw nothing is more important than 45 million dollar smear campaigns!!
----------------
Baker was bothered by the questioning. "Malicious," he whispered to Hamilton, unaware that it could be heard on the audio feed.

As a general rule, it's a bad idea to call a news conference if you have nothing to say. It's worse if you announce that answers are urgently needed but then decline to provide any.

"The next three months are critical," Hamilton warned at the start. "Before the end of this year, this [Iraqi] government needs to show progress in securing Baghdad, pursuing national reconciliation and delivering basic services."

But no matter how urgent the situation in Iraq, the solutions will have to wait at least until Nov. 8 -- and possibly much later -- because of a more urgent consideration: domestic politics. We're "going to report after the midterm election," Baker announced.

Posted by: Dick on September 21, 2006 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

Pollsters should review their poll questions carefully to assure that they have only one plausible interpretation. Unfortunately, they regularly fail to do this. And right here, we have the L.A. Times poll question:

Q. Do you think of the war in Iraq as part of the war against terrorism, or as separate?

Interpretation likely intended by the pollster:

Q. The United States is currently engaged in an effort to fight, reduce, and eliminate terrorism, a “war on terrorism.” Do you think that the war in Iraq contributes in a positive way to this effort?

Opinions may vary, but of course the only correct answer is No, it doesn't, and not only that, almost every aspect of the so-called “war on terrorism” is being conducted in a manner that is at odds with its purported objective.

Interpretation probably not intended by the pollster, but some may interpret it this way:

Q. The Bush administration says that it is conducting something it calls “war on terrorism.” Regardless of whether you agree that this effort is accomplishing its namesake goal, or has any chance of doing so, do you think that the war in Iraq is part of the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism”?

Opinions may vary, but of course the only correct answer is Yes.

Pollsters should be more careful to assure that their questions don't have such divergent meanings.

Of course, in this case, we have the problem that the term “war on terrorism” invokes a dishonest and unworkable frame of reference, and by using it, the pollster has implicitly accepted, and is forcing the public to accept, the lying rhetoric of the Bush administration. “War on terrorism” makes as much sense as “swat on spanking” or “starvation on hunger” or “fire on pyromania.”

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on September 21, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, since something like 80% of the troops serving in Iraq think that their efforts are in response to the September 11 attack, asking the general public whether their views are in accord seems like an obvious thing to do.

Posted by: bad Jim on September 21, 2006 at 3:41 AM | PERMALINK

They are bad questions, but to me they seem designed to elicit negative responses and poll vague or not important issues.

For example, "the situation in Iraq" was "worth going to war over"? What situation? I suppose it would be appropriat to ask whether you agree with the decision to go to war with Iraq.

Asking if the war is the "most effective" way to fight terrorism?

"part of the war on terrorism or separate" --

The questions have the virtue of simpleness and the defect of simple mindedness.

Regardless, it is distressing that on national security issues there is such a partisan split. The split overall is bad for the country.

Posted by: brian on September 21, 2006 at 3:44 AM | PERMALINK

Always the same pattern of turnout in these polls. Republican = totally disconnected from reality.
:(

Posted by: Gray on September 21, 2006 at 4:11 AM | PERMALINK

Fascists know that fear is a powerful motivator in people who do not possess the intellectual tools to discern the truth and will exploit people's fear and ignorance until they are exposed as charlatans.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 21, 2006 at 5:53 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "Note, though, that 'Republicans have nearly doubled their lead when voters are asked which party they trust most to protect the nation against terrorism.' The Democratic message is apparently not getting through either."

The only thing the GOP has to fear is fearlessness itself. And if American voters fall for their dog-and-pony show again, then our nation has truly devolved into a bunch of pussies.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 21, 2006 at 6:26 AM | PERMALINK

USA Today has a front page story (1A) about how President Bush's approval ratings track with the price of gas. They note that a USA Today/Gallup Poll has the President's approval rating up to 44%, the highest in a year. The graph starts on 8/25/2005 - in other words, since Katrina hit, but of course the word Katrina is not in the article.

The article also notes that the same poll found "two in five" believe "the administration has deliberately manipulated gas prices to decline before the fall elections". Wow, are we that cynical?

"two in five" is a bit inprecise. Is that 30% or 50%? But here is the poll and I don't see any questions about gas. So does that mean "two in five" of the respondents volunteered this cynicism in comments?
http://www.usatoday.com/news/polls/tables/live/2006-09-18-poll.htm

Posted by: VOR on September 21, 2006 at 6:48 AM | PERMALINK

> Bush's message is pretty definitely
> not getting through.

Even Kevin absorbs and internalizes the Rovian framing, eh? Could it be possible, just possible, that Bush's message IS geting through? And that is why his approval rating is so low?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on September 21, 2006 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

I noticed that the first piechart is misdrawn, swapping the 38% "Yes" with the 57% "No" answers. Not good, not good. Reading the article and other sources indicates that the layouter simply screwed up, and that the digits are right.

The Democratic answer, for those of you that are wondering, is (paraphrased) "Republicans don't really give a shit about terrorism, and just want to scare you. They haven't done anything worthwhile, and in reality made everything worse." What isn't coming through loud enough is the "We can do better" closer.

In the meantime, I wonder if there really is an Al. He's been spoofed so many times I think he left for good, and all we're seeing here is some sort of bad parody.

Posted by: Saint Fnordius on September 21, 2006 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

The interesting question is what do Republicans really think.

The answers they give are so far removed from either the Democrats or, more importantly, Independents, you have to wonder if 73% of the really believe the war was worth it.

If as I suspect many of those Republicans answering yes it was worth it are doing so out of pure tribalism you can expect that a large percentage of those people will find other things to do on election day. Maybe Diebold can save them. The voters aren't going to.

Now I read George is planning to bomb Iran as his October surprise. That is the kind of move that could backfire all over the Republicans. They might never be elected again.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 21, 2006 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the questions should be "Was the situation in Iraq, as George Bush portrayed it, worth going to war for?" and "Was the situation in Iraq as it actually turned out to be worth going to war for?"

My answer is "no" to both, since I thought Bush was either wrong or lying about Iraq before we attacked her; and it's hard to believe that more than about 5% of Americans would answer "yes" to the second question.

Posted by: Ace Franze on September 21, 2006 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

what a surprise -- republicans are unquestioning, obedient little toadies, who are pisstheirpants askeered of the big bad world outside.

Posted by: linda on September 21, 2006 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin I think this proves that the Democrats are getting their message of cut-n-run out there loud and clear.

Say it with me:
"The President's approval number has risen." There, that wasn't so hard to say was it?

Since you seem to put so much stock in this number it kinda hurts when it turns on you.

Posted by: Orwell on September 21, 2006 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

And speaking of the war, the only thing I find is in the USAToday editoral page:

Our view on the War in Iraq: In Iraq, a mismatch between U.S. goals and resources
Military is stretched thin trying to defeat insurgents, avert civil war.

Early this year, President Bush and his aides spoke optimistically about bringing some U.S. troops home from Iraq. "As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead," Bush said in his State of the Union message, "we should be able to further decrease our troop levels."

But that is not happening. On Tuesday, Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, said troop levels, which have risen by 20,000 since June, would remain at the present level of about 145,000 into 2007 and may go higher.

That's not what Republicans running for re-election in November wanted to hear, and it's yet another telling sign that the Iraq war is not going well. The all-too-familiar reasons include the slow pace at which Iraqis are ready to take over, a proliferation of militias and a wave of sectarian violence that threatens to escalate into all-out civil war.

So is it time, as some congressional Democrats contend, to cut our losses and bring the troops home? Administration rhetoric about creating model democracies to the contrary, about the best that can be hoped for is to hold the line on chaos to prevent Iraq from disintegrating into all-out civil war and becoming a terrorist haven. That limited goal is worth fighting for because the alternatives are so dreadful. But it is stretching U.S. resources in key trouble spots:

Anbar province. This Sunni heartland, a desolate place about the size of Louisiana, is the base for al-Qaeda in Iraq's terrorist operations. Last week, the commanding U.S. general in Anbar province acknowledged he did not have enough troops to defeat the insurgency. His senior Marine intelligence officer, in a leaked classified report, earlier argued that another division of troops, about 10,000 to 15,000, could turn the deteriorating situation around.

Baghdad. In a massive security operation in the capital city, U.S. forces are securing neighborhoods, searching door-to-door and patrolling with Iraqi forces. The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, has cast this "Battle of Baghdad" as a last best stand. As Baghdad goes, he says, so goes Iraq. But so far, the violence has barely abated.

The sobering truth is the United States does not have the means to ensure total victory. It is having to pick its battles. Abizaid said that although the situation in Anbar was dire, he would not send more troops. They are needed in Baghdad.

Kenneth Pollack, a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, suggests an effective counterinsurgency would require 450,000 troops. But large numbers of troops aren't available. Many have served two or three tours in Iraq. Increasing their numbers would either require a large coalition won by patient diplomacy, as in the 1991 Gulf War, or drastically expanding the U.S. armed forces, perhaps even with a draft.

Even if they were available, it's unclear whether tens or hundreds of thousands more troops could achieve victory. There's a danger, as in Vietnam, that a huge infusion could only increase casualties and prolong defeat.

"It's not lost yet" is hardly a satisfactory rallying cry. But as long as there's still a reasonable chance of salvaging a stable Iraq from this misguided and mismanaged war, the American troops trying to achieve that mission deserve all the help that can be mustered, regardless of the U.S. political calendar.

Posted at 12:22 AM/ET, September 21, 2006 in Iraq - Editorial, USA TODAY editorial


I wish some reporter, maybe someone from the USAToday since I've given up on NYT and WP, would ask McCain if he is planning to drastically expanding the U.S. armed forces with a military draft should McCain become president?

And I wish John F. Burns would make a career move over to USAToday.

Posted by: Cheryl on September 21, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

WELL, DUH...there's a huge surprise...Democrats message not getting through! WHo'd have thought. But the idea that they DON'T HAVE A MESSAGE is doing just fine, right? Heard an interesting thought on WJ this morning. A caller thinking the "dissenent" Repugs were playing "good cop/bad cop" and that neither bill being presented (Bush's or theirs) is one we should want accepted. Who has examined both? What, besides the "torture" issue is hidden in each? Why isn't this the focus of the story. I barely hear anything on MSM about the fact that someone can be denied the information in charges against them. Actually heard someone on WJ (R) say the other day that the LAWYERS for a client would have this information but not their client (DOES THIS MAKE SENSE TO ANYONE?). So, who knows? Who's looking...where is the fine investigative reporting we've been receiving for the past six years (wink, wink)

How can our EYES GET OPENED?????

Posted by: Dancer on September 21, 2006 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

The article also notes that the same poll found "two in five" believe "the administration has deliberately manipulated gas prices to decline before the fall elections". Wow, are we that cynical?

I think two in 5 have payed enough attention during election years to note that gas prices always drop precipitously in September/October when Republicans are in power.

Posted by: Boronx on September 21, 2006 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Questions for the Republican supporters of George's Adventure in Mesopotamia:

Do you support instituting a draft so we have enough troops in Iraq and elsewhere?

Do you support this draft, even if this means that you or one of your relatives will be serving in Iraq?

Posted by: freelunch on September 21, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Dems oppose the NSA terrorist surveillance program. Dems want the terrorists at Gitmo to be afforded Constitutional rights. Dems routinely accuse our troops of rape and torture and murder. One Dem Senator (Durbin) compared our troops to Nazis and Pol Pot.

And Dems are surprized voters don't trust them to fight the war on terror?!?!?!

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on September 21, 2006 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

If I keep saying voters trust Dems less than Repubs to fight the "war on terror" enough times, maybe this statement will come true.

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on September 21, 2006 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

freelunch,

Isn't that Mess-O-Potamia, curtesy of Jon Stewart?

Have been reading rdw's posts and David Reinhard columns in the Oregonian exclusively of late - Seems as though, my comprehension skills are diminishing rapidly.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 21, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

freelunch, I believe McCain's son or is grandson is already serving in the military right now.

However, I'm sure that doesn't mean the most Americans want to invest in a militiary draft. Most Americans want a way out of this war, nnot a biger way into it, because most American see this war as a mistake that has cost Iraqis and the US far to too much blood and money.

From the bits and pieces that I can find on Iraq, it already sounds like there is no hope for Iraq. Is Baker looking to install a pro-American dictatorships? Another Saudi Arabia style of government?

I mean Baker has been talking to Syria and Iran officials for help, but what kind of help could those countries offer other then dictatorships? And we all know that the international community isnt going to step in to clean up Bushs bloody mess in Iraq.

Posted by: Cheryl on September 21, 2006 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

The answers they [Republicans] give are so far removed from either the Democrats or, more importantly, Independents,

...or, more accurately, the answers they give are so far removed from reality you wonder if they polled an insane asylum.

Or a Republican caucus. Same thing, really.

Posted by: Stefan on September 21, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Bush's message is pretty definitely not getting through."

I disagree. It's just that there are more people who agree with the rest of us that Bush is a lying sack of shit.

We got his message.

Posted by: fightingdem on September 21, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Our eight-point plan. See? We DO have one.

1. We have a lot of good positions on terror, intelligence gathering, prisoners, and everything else having to do with the war. That all of our positions coincide with what our enemies would want us to do is purely coincidental.

2. Bush sucks.

3. Don't let fear rule you. Oh, did you know the oceans are going to drown the world next year? Elect us before it's too late!

4. Bush sucks.

5. None of the normal economic indicators count any more. Pay no attention to the unemployment rate, the stock market, or the falling deficit.

6. Bush really sucks.

7. If we win in November, it will be the Voice of the People. If we lose, it will be because the Republicans cheated.

8. Bush sucks dead bunnies through a soda straw.

Posted by: dnc on September 21, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

It must be tough to be a Bush loyalist right now.
If you look at the LAT questions, being a supporter of Bush - and being endorsed by Bush - is a 16 point loser in the poll. If you look at the NYtimes/CBS poll, Bush's approval rating is a toxic 37%, unchanged since August. This strongly suggests that even the low Bush approval rating in the LAT poll is an outlier. Here is the quote from the NYT article:

"Mr. Bushs job approval rating was 37 percent, virtually unchanged from the last Times/CBS News poll, which was conducted in August. On the issue that has been a bulwark for Mr. Bush, 54 percent said they approve of the way he is managing the effort to combat terrorists, again unchanged from last month, though up from earlier this spring."

It's 1994 in reverse. Cook and Rothenberg, both of whom were very accurate the past several cycles, are both on record as projecting a Democratic House; neither is ruling out a Democratic Senate, although they view it as unlikely. I suspect that when the misdeeds of Bush are subject to actual oversight 2008 will be a worse year for the GOP, not a better one...

Posted by: Marc on September 21, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

dnc: Points 2,4,6,& 8 are coming thru loud and clear.

Posted by: Draft Republicans on September 21, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, George Bush is an insignificant and unaccomplished man who insignificant and unaccomplished men revere. The talented Mr. Rove has constructed a cult of personality for him and he reads his speeches okay, but he is no executive.

As Sidney Blumenthal put it:
In the Cheney administration, the president is volatile but passive, firm but malleable, presiding but absent. Once his complicity has been arranged, a closely held "cabal" -- as Lawrence Wilkerson, once chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, calls it -- wields control.

One of the most candid accounts of Mr. Bushs qualities as an executive comes from David Rubenstein, co-founder and Managing Director of The Carlyle Group:


But when we were putting the board together, somebody (Fred Malek) came to me and said, look there is a guy who would like to be on the board. He's kind of down on his luck a bit. Needs a job. Needs a board position. Needs some board positions. Could you put him on the board? Pay him a salary and he'll be a good board member and be a loyal vote for the management and so forth.

I said well we're not usually in that business. But okay, let me meet the guy. I met the guy. I said I don't think he adds that much value. We'll put him on the board because - you know - we'll do a favor for this guy; he's done a favor for us.

We put him on the board and (he) spent three years. Came to all the meetings. Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years - you know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.

He said, well I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.

And I said, thanks - didn't think I'd ever see him again. His name is George W. Bush. He became President of the United States. So you know if you said to me, name 25 million people who would maybe be President of the United States, he wouldn't have been in that category. So you never know. Anyway, I haven't been invited to the White House for any things.

Posted by: bellumregio on September 21, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Um, the "yes" and "no" arrows are pointing at the wrong slices of pie in the very first pie chart. Editors??

Posted by: Big House on September 21, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

"The Democratic message is apparently not getting through either." - Kevin


What message would that be? To be nicer and acquiesce more often to radical Islam?

Posted by: Jay on September 21, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

In response to dnc above our rnc plan:

1. We have a lot of good positions on terror, intelligence gathering, prisoners, and everything else having to do with the war. The terrorists like to see us descend to their level of barbarity and inhumanity and destroy American values and we at the republican party is happy to oblige 'em.

2. Bush may be unfit mentally (his recent angry rants and drunken slovenly conduct at G8 cases in point) but dammit we republicans don't dare allow anyone to bring this up.

3. Don't let rational fears rule you. Good republicans let irrational fears rule. Like the terrorists are gonna gitcha if you don't watch out. Forget about rational fears - like us republicans escalating the war, global warming or the fact the we sold the country on the cheap to China. Ignore the sleeping dragon that is China and concentrate on unarmed nations of the Middle East.

4. Sure bush is unfit mentally but we republicans like it that way.


5. Ignore the republican deficit. Just don't ask, don't tell and don't think about it and it will go away.

6. Sure bush is unfit mentally but we republicans like it that way.

7. Just because Bush condones torture and shown a propensity to cruel behavior throughout his life (beginning in childhood with the killing of small animals to the burning of frat pledges with cigarettes and coat hangers), he says he is a good Christian and that is good enough for us republicans. We never let evidence to the contrary stand in the way of an irrational belief and it was just the upstanding denial of evidence that led us into our great attack in Iraq.

Posted by: rnc on September 21, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

they screwed up the labeling on that first pie.

bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 21, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Polls take the place of core values for liberals. Polls are the only things they have to support their inane positions. They trot around, ask a bunch of their friends some questions and hold it up as evidence that their positions are mainstream.

It's fun to watch though.

Posted by: Jay on September 21, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Polls are worthless, except when they support Bush. Then polls are great.

Posted by: Jay on September 21, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK
Note, though, that "Republicans have nearly doubled their lead when voters are asked which party they trust most to protect the nation against terrorism." The Democratic message is apparently not getting through either.

What Democratic message? Unfortunately, the Democratic party hasn't had a coherent message on the war on terror, or even done a good job of presenting a message tying criticism of the war in Iraq to the failure on the war on terror.

The problem isn't the "Democratic message" not getting through. The problem is that there really hasn't been a "Democratic message".

Posted by: cmdicely on September 21, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

What message would that be? To be nicer and acquiesce more often to radical Islam?

Right, Jay. There's no middle ground, none at all, between "acquiescing" to religious nutcases and your considered positions that we should "fuck Allah in the ass" and murder every Muslim on earth.

You are one angry, fucked-up loser, son. I don't know where I went wrong with you.

Posted by: Jay's Mother on September 21, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

"Republicans have nearly doubled their lead when voters are asked which party they trust most to protect the nation against terrorism."

Begs the question of whether there is, in fact, a terrorist threat against the nation.

Posted by: Halfdan on September 21, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, Bush's message IS still getting through to way too many people. Take my boss, for example. She claims to be a "democrat, but with a brain," whatever the hell that means. She's afraid. Of everything Bush tells her to fear. She voted for him in 2004 (not sure about 2000). And she actually made the comment yesterday that "we'd all be dead if Kerry had been elected president." I didn't respond, because how do you contradict an absurd statement like that? But it just shows how a lot of people have been sold fear and have bought it, hook, line, and Iraq.

Posted by: EM on September 21, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Advise L.A. Times first piechart is wrong.

Layout person has to stay late for that. :D

Posted by: James on September 21, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Shore are a lotta people who hate Amurica and freedum!

Posted by: Wingnut on September 21, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

The poster "rmck1" is a SOCK Puppet!

"Evidence of SockPuppet Activity"

"More evidence"

Posted by: SOCK PUPPET!!! on September 21, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

off-topic: a different Muslim responds to the Pope's lecture.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20060920-090612-3074r.htm

Posted by: republicrat on September 21, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

73% think Iraq was worth it, yet only 48% of them think it's the most effective way to reduce terrorism. huh?

That's not hard. It is a simple contrast between and action that is good and and unknown action that would be best. Republicans basically agree that Iraq was worth it, but split on what the "best" might be.

Recall the saying "The perfect is the enemy of the good". The "best" is never known in advance, and never agreed on even post hoc; people can unite behind the good. If enough people refuse to back the good because they are holding out for different versions of the the best, they can not do anything.

On this site, proof or evidence of imperfection is usually accepted as proof of extreme bad. For example, the energy bill (which took 4 years to pass because many were holding out for what they thought were better bills) is imperfect. It is nevertheless good.

On many occasions on this site I have argued that piecemeal examination of the imperfections in Iraq mask the fact that almost all of Iraq is considerably better off than before the US invasion. Windhorse thinks that I have the balance wrong, but at least he aggregates all of the evidence. Most people count the daily death toll, or the most recent gas pipeline explosion, with no attempt to balance all the current evidence against all the evidence of the pre-war state.

And in conclusion, the Iraq war was worth it, but probably not the best thing to do against terrorism, whatever that "best" might be. That's the explanation.

Posted by: republicrat on September 21, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

SOCK PUPPET is a sock puppet!

SOCKPUPPET!!!

Posted by: SOCK PUPPET!!! on September 21, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that Republicans continue to support Bush, the war in Iraq, the banning of same-sex marriage (or even affording the same rights to gay couples as are afforded straight couples), amending the Constitution to prohibi flag desecration, Federally-funded stem cell research, the impact of global warming and the conflation of the "War on Terror" (while failing miserably to fund it or even provide a plan for exectuing it, should come as no surprise to any rational citizen.

Members of the adninistration have repeatedly sneered at the Democrats and like minded-Independents for continuing to live in a quaint, "reality-based" world. Given that the core of Bush's support comes from the radical "Christian" right, where "faith" and fear trump reason every time, It seems increasingly apparent that reason holds no sway with them.

In my mind, that's the core battle...how does one use rational, fact-based argument to combat the pure irrationality of those for whom faith trumps all?

Posted by: Ex-Pat on September 21, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat wrote: "On this site, proof or evidence of imperfection is usually accepted as proof of extreme bad. For example, the energy bill (which took 4 years to pass because many were holding out for what they thought were better bills) is imperfect. It is nevertheless good."

I understand your point about not making the perfect the enemy of the good.

That's why I, a registered Green Party voter, plan to vote the straight Democratic ticket in November.

Having said that, the energy bill is very, very bad. Not "imperfect". Very, very, very bad.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 21, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

off topic: Hugo Chavez' comments seem to have split the Democrats:

http://www.brendanloy.com/2006/09/dems-blast-chavez-for-attacking-bush-kos-kidz-not-so-much.html

Tom Hayden seemed to like the guy.

In my mind, that's the core battle...how does one use rational, fact-based argument to combat the pure irrationality of those for whom faith trumps all?

to start with, you should say with intensity and sincerity that Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad really gave worse speeches than Bush, and represent greater threats to democracy.


Secular Animist, I wonder sometimes if the Congress could even write an energy bill that both you and I liked. We agree, I think, on the value of CO2 sequestration (though you have criticised my emphasis on new planting) and energy efficiency, but hardly anything else related to energy generation. Do we even agree that use of solar (PV cells and other) and wind turbines should be expanded? I don't remember.

Posted by: republicrat on September 21, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Thaksin had other problems, including a disputed election, but this is probably not good news.

http://www.antara.co.id/en/seenws/?id=20404

What the Muslims in the south mostly wanted to "talk" about was implementing Sharia law, ridding themselves of Christian and other churches, and removing women from public life -- re-establishing Muslim control as it used to be immediately after their conquest. Like some of the other places where Muslims are trying to expand their influence through military means, there is a rich recent and ancient history.

Posted by: republicrat on September 21, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

dnc: "Bush sucks dead bunnies through a soda straw."

And he passed out after continued effort, because the bones had plugged up the straw's opening.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 21, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell is 'pretty definitely?'

Posted by: bj on September 21, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Al: republicrat, Democrats also support murder of the unborn, the radical homosexual agenda, and burning our nation's flag. The American people are against that also.

I hope you're just trolling, there. It's an absurd statement.

Posted by: republicrat on September 21, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

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