Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 5, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

DEBATE WRAPUP....How is it that these guys manage to make 60 seconds seem like too long a time? Crikey.

UPDATE: Was that cryptic? Or does everyone get what I meant?

Anyway: I'm a liberal and these guys are conservatives, so it's only natural that I'm not down with their message for America. But damn. They're just horrible. Their answers are so cliched and regurgitated that I mostly want to cry for mercy after about 10 or 15 seconds. Rudy on healthcare was so incoherent it almost made my teeth bleed. And I guess I didn't even hear the good part, where they all nodded along as Wolf Blitzer talked about nuking Tehran. But only with tactical nukes, so, you know, I guess that's OK.

Somebody shoot me.

Kevin Drum 8:51 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (54)

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Comments

I didn't see a president on the stage.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on June 5, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, there were several moments where I had to completely walk away from that! But I trooped on, stay the course, you could say.

GOD, FEAR, WAR......OMG!

Posted by: ktmnyny on June 5, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Best moment in the debate was when the lightening was really cracking down during Rudy's answers on abortion. I'll bet that really pleased the evangelical wingers out there! You know they figure he is heading straight to hell for his position on abortion.

Second funniest answer: Tom Tancredo saying GWB would not be allowed to darken the door of the White House after 2008. You know everyone else was thinking the same thing. Good question from Wolff to put those guys on the spot after all the questions to the Dems re Clinton.

I did think it was interesting that the Dem debate seemed more "optimistic" over all -- they displayed more of a vision for the future than the Repubs to my mind.

Posted by: Teresa on June 5, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one worried about Thompson?

Posted by: keptsimple on June 5, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Republicans: Invading Iraq was a great idea based on bogus intelligence and Bush fucked it up. But it's all Saddam's fault. So let's stay there to honor our fallen soldiers and create lots more of them.

I'm worried about Thompson too: Who let him out of the institution?

Posted by: Roger Ailes on June 5, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, GOD and WAR in their hands is something to FEAR.

Posted by: Names Names on June 5, 2007 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

ooh, where's a link to someone who did the "bubble" thing? I'd love to see a comparison between the 2 debates!

Also, Blitzer had way more time this time around...I hope they counted his numerous times trying to tell them their time's up.

Posted by: ktmnyny on June 5, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

The really scary part is the millions of voters who can't see the painfully obvious.

Posted by: chance on June 5, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

While I was happy (and surprised) that global warming was talked about, I can’t believe that neither wind or solar was not even uttered once by any of the candidates. Currently economically realistic or not, these are the holy grails of renewable energy. I heard nuclear, coal, clean coal, 4 forms of ethanol and biodiesel, drilling in Anwar, but not one of them even uttered the words solar or wind. Proof that global warming is a campaign, not policy, issue for these candidates.

Posted by: vividvew on June 5, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, when the basic credo of the modern Republican Party is "I got my pile of dough and screw you", what do you expect?

Organized selfishness is a very ugly thing to behold, indeed.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 5, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

When you insist on believing in something, even though you know it doesn't work, cliches are all you have left.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on June 5, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sanity isn't at a premium in the current Republican Party.

It's a liability.

Posted by: Kryptik on June 5, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Somebody shoot me."

If one of these fucking fools wins, somebody might.

Posted by: rayc on June 5, 2007 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13 - I haven't seen a president in 6.5 years; nor one tonight, as you mention. But have to admit I didn't linger long; my threshold head pressure is to low to permit it. Anybody who was able to watch much has my respect. Keep in mind these are the best of their best. Crikey is right, Kevin.

Posted by: bmaz on June 5, 2007 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't seen a president in 6.5 years...

Me neither, bmaz. Our POTUS has been aWol.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on June 5, 2007 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't seen a president in 6.5 years...

I don't know, I still watch "Law & Order" ;(

Whatever happened to the idea of drafting Martin Sheen?

Posted by: bad Jim on June 5, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

If you want a candidate who not only get U.S troops out of Iraq but won't send them to Darfur either or act as the world's policeman, then vote Ron Paul. You can't be for a withdrawl from Iraq but look for new wars to sustain America's "mission." Either liberals support an non-interventionist foreign policy or not. It's that simple. Don't cry about U.S. imperialism abroad but then support interventionism. You're just hypocritical as conservatives who say they want to reduce big government and yet support the military-industrial complex.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on June 5, 2007 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Bad Jim - Um, those are actors. Thats the Republican way to find leaders. One of the big GOP think tanks actually had a panel discussion for a whole weekend a while back about how the country needed Chuck Norris. We can do better. Shit, they don't even have good actors. Mindless morons.

Posted by: bmaz on June 5, 2007 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Either liberals support an non-interventionist foreign policy or not. It's that simple.

That's the problem with libertarians -- simplifying everything beyond recognition so that it makes sense to them. There's a difference between wars for oil and wars to stop genocide. Too bad greedy libertarians cannot comprehend that.

Posted by: Disputo on June 5, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

That's the problem with liberals, they're two-faced about everything. A lot of people thought Saddam Hussein's government was genocidal and yet you still opposed the war. Robert Mugabe is committing genocide against his own people yet I hear of no one advocating invading Zimbabwe. If we operated foreign policy by that standard the U.S. will be at constant war and have garrison's all over the globe. Now is that what you want? An empire just to prevent genocide? Because remember, as Colin Powell said and famously ignored "You break it. You own it."

You're no different than your leftist ancestors in the 1930s. First they called arms makers "merchants of death" and then they demanded those very same merchants go to work for them making weapons for the Soviet Union.

Where's a George Norris, John Flynn or a Robert LaFollette Jr. when you need him most? "Modern war poisions democracy." LaFollette Jr. said that. Ron Paul believes that. So why don't you?

Posted by: Sean Scallon on June 6, 2007 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush may as well be a trained actor. I imagine that's what Cheney saw in him. The GOP establishment learned with Reagan that actors make the best frontmen.

Posted by: Chris on June 6, 2007 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

I guess its all about who can be more "Bushie".

I kind-of redneck macho thing.

Who the hell are these guys trying to court? Are they trying to scare the hell out of the average American but appeal to the Bush cult, deadbeat rednecks, dumb as hell and built to stay that way??

I mean gosh, even Bush knew better than to run as a far right weido. And Blitzer throwing in the nuke buisness. If I didn't know better, I'd think Blitzer was trying to nuke the Repug Party even before it get out of the gate. You know, show the TV viewer a disgusting perspective of Preznut wannabe's.

And like a pack of idiots, everyone of those fools hearted Bush, I'm not sure why, since many conservatives can't see to flee the GOP fast enough these days.

Yeah, just keep kissing Bush ass, because at 28 percent, what have Repugs got to lose except an national election!

AND Totally creepy too. It's like a Malaria infested redneck swamp, a kind-of no-man’s land. You go in at your risk, the Southern crazies bayou of bunch of Timothy McVeigh's, skin head style conservatives.

You could make a comic book about Repugs and call it: "Swamp Thing" - a freak out readers with slimy politics "R us" themes.

Posted by: Me_again on June 6, 2007 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

A lot of people thought Saddam Hussein's government was genocidal

Name three people who said this before the invasion, you lying piece of shit. Hell, name just one.

Gawd, you libertarians are all really useless feeble-minded twits, aren't ya?

Posted by: Disputo on June 6, 2007 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one worried about Thompson?

Nah, Thompson's just a big, dumb actor. Nobody like that could ever beat a brilliant Democrat in a presidential election.

Hillary is a frigging genius. If you take off that wig, you can see her brain pulsing constantly under a transparent, plastisteel skull dome. If her brain were not artificially compressed to 800 psi, her head would be the size of a three-foot beach ball.

Posted by: dnc on June 6, 2007 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK
That's the problem with liberals, they're two-faced about everything. A lot of people thought Saddam Hussein's government was genocidal …..Sean Scallon at 12:03 AM
Two faced? Bush 'supports democracy' yet supports the nuclear armed dictator Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan whose coup against a democratic government won Bush's approval. Bush also supported the coup in Haiti and the attempted coup in Venezuela.

Bush 'supports democracy' yet supports the kings of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and Islam Karimov, the murdering dictator of Uzbekistan. I can't remember anyone calling Hussein actually 'genocidal,' even when Reagan supported and armed him during his war on Iran. Remember that?

The opposition to the war was based on the fact that the rationales offered to support the war were not based on fact but on misstatements and fear mongering.

While it seems like the US is engaged in constant warfare, we do, in fact, have garrisons all over the world.

I fail to understand your complaint about arming the Soviet Union in its war against Nazi Germany. Do you think we should have supported Hitler? He was the one to declare war on us, not Stalin.
Ron Paul believes that. So why don't you? Mainly because Ron Paul is a simplistic Libertarian idiot.

Posted by: Mike on June 6, 2007 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

Name three people who said this before the invasion, you lying piece of shit. Hell, name just one.

I recommend spending a little time browsing the Human Rights Watch website. Here's the "just one" you wanted. Oh, wait. Here's another one for free.

Posted by: elmendorf on June 6, 2007 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Either liberals support an non-interventionist foreign policy or not. It's that simple. Don't cry about U.S. imperialism abroad but then support interventionism.

Don't be so stupid, Sean. Let me as a Canuck try this one:

1. I support humanitarian intervention. I completely oppose imperialistic intervention.

AND

2. I support smart intervention. I completely oppose dunderheaded intervention.

Now you put these two together and try to figure out what is what. What is the real purpose of the intervention and is it smart (a net positive, ideally over all time frames) or is it dumb (a net negative)?

Sometimes it'll be obvious what the situation (and Iraq failed on both counts and screamed assinine to almost all but you Yanks from the git-go) and sometimes it'll be a difficult call.

Perhaps you can find hypocrisy there but you'd have to invent it.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 6, 2007 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

Oh good f-ing lawd, elmendorf -- try reading for context. We're talking about (1) supporters of the war who (2) called Saddam genocidal prior to the invasion as a casus belli. I don't think HRW quite applies.

You people are really f-ing slow tonight. Time to stop the tag-team.

Posted by: Disputo on June 6, 2007 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack:

How many U.S. troops would have to be blown up by IEDs in Sudan before the indicator needle moved over to the "dunderheaded intervention" zone?

Posted by: elmendorf on June 6, 2007 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

Some people must like bleeding. They send their kids all over the world to practice. That too subtle for you ?

Posted by: opit on June 6, 2007 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

Yup elmendorf, that's one of them consideration thingees yous gots to consider. And yup too, can also be that something that looks like a whole load of sunshine at the start can turn into a whole lotta shit. Good on ya for identifying the obvious (sorry, I keep forgetting I gotta go through this ABC territory with you Yanks). Hence intervention never a decision made lightly and always a decision made within that darn fog we all exist in, that fog of the future uncertain.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 6, 2007 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

"Fog of the future uncertain?"

The entire Iraq War has been dealt with in 20-20 hindsight by the Left, which is why you have the spectacle of Democratic politicians who spent the late 90s and most of 2002 declaring that Saddam was a major threat to the world, who are now trying to sell the idea that they never thought any such thing.

The criteria for going to war right now seems to be omniscience on the part of a president, a definite time period in which the war must be won, and an upper limit to casualties after which surrender must be declared. A lot of our other wars would have turned out much differently if fought by those rules.

Posted by: elmendorf on June 6, 2007 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Can't speak for the American left there, elmie as 1. I ain't one of yous and 2. not sure I fit into that boxed area you've set aside for lefties. As far as I know even it's the case that even in your reality my country didn't go so am not sure that your description of 'our' war really applies. But I must say, I'm mighty flattered by your description of me as omniscient. The unpublished letter I faxed to the Washington Post on August 6, 2002 said of the WMD threat, you know, the casus belli "...and if this reason doesn't suffice, another one will be invented." Seems rather foresightedish of me.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 6, 2007 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

Don't you mean that unauthorized excursion which dragged on while bases were built, the public purse was milked, and undeclared 'war' turned occupation which has to be continued because - it's such a disaster for the Iraqis that it would be irresponsible to stop !

Posted by: opit on June 6, 2007 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

"You're no different than your leftist ancestors in the 1930s. First they called arms makers "merchants of death" and then they demanded those very same merchants go to work for them making weapons for the Soviet Union."
--Sean Scallon


Then, of course, Mr. Scallon, you have right-wing vermin like the Bush family who helped build the Nazi war machine. You have a great understanding of modern history – NOT!!!

Go back to listening to Rush and stay off this blog.

TCD

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 6, 2007 at 6:02 AM | PERMALINK

If I listened to Rush (Limbaugh that it not the band which I do listen too quite often) do you think I would be supporting Ron Paul?

. I support humanitarian intervention. I completely oppose imperialistic intervention.

That's like being a little bit pregnant. But I am glad you said this because you boiled down the essence of your hypocricsy. I'm sure the policy makers in Vietnam thought they were being humane too. They wanted to build the TVA on Mekong Delta. George Bush I thought he was being humane by sending troops to Somalia to deliver food to a famine-stricken country, forgetting that the famine was caused by internal war which would be sucked into because the country itself was essentially broken. The upshot to all our humanitarian work? Blackhak Down thank you very much. Many of the neocons from Bill Kristol to Richard Perle thought it was quite humane of the U.S. to liberate Iraq from the dictator Saddam Hussein. Our humanitarian intentions in Bosnia are creating Muslim entities in Europe which will be bases for Al Qaeda.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, "humanitarian interventionism" being one of them.

Amazing how so few around here know their history of the politics of the 1930s up to 1941. Perhaps a refresher course is needed to know anti-interventionist left like Norris, LaFollette and Flynn during that time that bravely stood up to the Stalinists who wanted the U.S. to get involved to save Uncle Joe and his proxies.


Posted by: Sean Scallon on June 6, 2007 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

That's like being a little bit pregnant

Um, no it's not, all hyperventilating assertions aside.

you boiled down the essence of your hypocricsy

Um, no I didn't, all hyperventilating assertions aside.

But, you're probably right in that given the cultural dunderheadedness of most of you Yanks, it's a better rule of thumb to lean away from intervention than to lean towards it; you seem to have a grave inability to judge situations.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 6, 2007 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

P.S. I should apologize for all those Yank references. It probably gets the goat of some people that it's not intended to.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 6, 2007 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Sadly, one of these guys (or FDT) is going to be elected President once the MSM turns him into Lincoln, Jefferson, and TR rolled into one while repeating every single Drudge item about the Dem nominee about 100 billion times.

Posted by: howie on June 6, 2007 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Wolf Blitzer: "Liberal blogger Kevin Drum just asked that someone shoot him. By a show of hands how many of you would shoot him?"

All the candidates raise their hands.

Posted by: peep on June 6, 2007 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

In middle-school I was a libertarian too. It lasted until my first years in high school, in the early sixties. It dawned on me that the vast majority of black Americans were never going to be able to even dream about the American dream without the explicit protection of the federal government and without affirmative action to correct socioeconomic disparities that made it impossible for the average black American to compete.

We could argue forever about what intervention was bad or good, which should be discontinued, etc. That's because nothing about humans living together is "that simple." There is no way you could adopt a totally noninterventionist policy in a world where pollution and radioactive fallout and disease doesn't recognize borders, where commerce is global, where as nations we have specialized and made ourselves interdependent. There are problems we HAVE to solve together, and much better by talking and negotiating than force.

Libertarianism is a stage people go through when they feel immortal, idealistic and much, much smarter than those cautious adults who have been around for many years, made many compromises and who know that nothing is "that simple." Most of us outgrow it around the time the braces come off.

Posted by: cowalker on June 6, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Sean Scallon on June 6, 2007 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK
Sean,
You are one bitter nut.
Really, your mind lives in a bizarro universe where up is down, good is bad and blue is red.
It's a little sad.

Posted by: Northern Observer on June 6, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

As for the Republican debate all I can say is that the immoral nature of the Republican Party and American Conservatism becomes more and more manifest with every word these 11 dictators in waiting make.
How any American can affiliate with them is beyond me. You must feel dirty on some level.

Ron Paul stands apart in not wanting war war war, but he is still of the nutty mindset that bows down before the "Free" Market as if it were a manifestation of Chirst on Earth.

There is no intelligence, wisdom or compassion in the Republican Party of America. Vote Democrat or die, it is sadly for Americans the only moral choice, which is unfortunate because a functioning democracy requires two moral players available for the citizenry to choose from. But in America that luxury is gone, it is not like chosing a Ford or a GM it is literally good and evil. And the party that prances around as "good" and "Christlike" is in fact as evil and dark as possible. The Devil decieves to defeat us and he has done a very good job in the RNC.

Posted by: Northern Observer on June 6, 2007 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

It would seem that it takes a real hard position like Northern Observers to cut to the truth of whats really going on here.

Posted by: gandalf on June 6, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

how the country needed Chuck Norris.

You mean Kiefer Sutherland isn't available?

Posted by: Fox "News" on June 6, 2007 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Who won the debate?

In point of fact, there is one clear winner so far in all the debates, both Democratic and Republican.

Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: debatewinner on June 6, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, and I thought the left hated the military-industrial complex and yet everyone around here keeps dreaming up new missions for it to survive. So we're going to maintain a large military establishment to deal with Darfur? It figures thought because the person who most warned us about the insidious threat it posed to our republic was not a leftist but Dwight Eisenhower.

I will grant that most on the left will not like limited government views of Ron Paul and that's fine. But he understands that what passes for conservatism today isn't at all, it's right-wing social democracy. Conservatives cannot reduce the size of government at all if they are joined at the hip of a foreign policy that calls for a large military establishment both within the government itself and which extends itse influence throughout the business world. It's become a jobs program and welfare state for its adherents. You can't talk about getting rid of the IRS and then wish to suspend Habeus corpus. It just doesn't work that way.

Interesting that you speak of a Bizarro Universe Mr. Nothern Observer because Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com feels that's exactly what happened on 9-11, the explosion ripped a hole in the space-time continuum and now down is up and up is down. Given the ideas of the left-interventionists, I would say that's exactly where you live.

So when do you ship off to invade Zimbabwe? It's so easy to send other people's kids to war isn't it? You're the necons' twin brother.

Better a bitter nut then rotten fruit.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on June 6, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

...and I ask again...Is it even remotely possible that any Demoislamofascist candidate could lose to any Rethuglican???

Or are the registered voters of these United States so inept...wait, I think I just answered my own question.

Crap.

Posted by: bobbywally on June 6, 2007 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK
Here's a reminder to history-challenged liberals who are gasping for air after hearing several of last night's debaters said they would use tactical nuclear devices to destroy Iran's nuclear program- the only man to have ever approved the use of the atomic bomb was a liberal Democrat. A man by the name of Harry Truman. He did it twice.

To a country that had launched an unprovoked war of aggression against, among others, the United States of America, and as a means of bringing a swift end to that war that had drug on for years and which, while US victory seemed inevitable at the time, was credibly expected to cost far more lives (American and Japanese) if an invasion of the main islands of Japan was necessary.

Not to eradicate a speculative, distant, future threat that a regime might one day have the power to pose some vague kind of military threat.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

To follow on with cmdicely's post, there's also the fact that at the close of WWII the US was the only nation with the Bomb and her enemies had been defeated or were teetering on the edge of defeat, so retaliation, nuclear or otherwise, was not a problematic concern.

Today, not so much.

Posted by: Gregory on June 6, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I would also like to add that mhr's post reveals the fundamental misunderstanding that many on the right have of us leftists/liberals. This is that we will blindly support anything that any leader considered to be a Democrat and/or a liberal has ever done.

Real life is not sports teams opposing one another, nor is it some huge chess or Risk game. No politician is perfect, just as no other human is perfect.

FDR made a mistake when he allowed the internment camps for Japanese-Americans to be built during WWII. And in hindsight, this is widely considered to be a mistake. I believe that Truman made a mistake in allowing the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as the Japanese were ready to surrender.

Unfortunately, I suspect that if A bombs had not been used then, they would have been used elsewhere, say during the Korean war. The one good thing about their use was to demonstrate just how destructive they were, and countries agreed not to use them again. It's REALLY unfortunate that some Republicans today are seriously considering "tactical" bombing of Iran.

Clinton was not perfect and you will not see a liberal claiming that he was. He should have kept his pants zipped, but that is not a huge failing compared to what Bush has done. His promotion of NAFTA has led directly to the illegal immigrant situation we're having trouble with now. Yes, he and many other politicians talked about what a dreadful man Saddam was, but the key difference which you cons and libertarians continue to gloss over is that he didn't use his beliefs about Saddam and WMDs to invade Iraq.

Finally, many of us on the left warned against this war, and accurately predicted the outcome, i.e., no WMDs, inciting the Iraqis to rise up against us (they were invaded, after all), worsening of relations with other countries in the Middle East, etc. This doesn't take any particular inside knowledge, just an understanding of human nature, and following news from around the world rather than just news from American sources.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on June 6, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK
…a refresher course is needed to know anti-interventionist left like Norris, LaFollette and Flynn …Sean Scallon at 8:50 AM
You must really like Father Coughlin. By the way 1930-1941 != 1990 – 2007 and you need to take your whines, cries and laments to your Dear Leader, George W. Bush who is now claiming that Americans are dying to bring humanitarian government to Iraq. Posted by: Mike on June 6, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Love it when you rant, Kevin. :)

Posted by: Nancy Irving on June 7, 2007 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Nice piece of BS Mike. I mentioned three figures on the anti-war left and you cite Fr. Coughlin? What's up with that? George Bush II is my dear leader and I support Ron Paul? You're not making any sense. PLease stop trying to muddy the waters, you just get dirty.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on June 7, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK
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