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Tilting at Windmills

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October 25, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

RUDY ON WATERBOARDING....Rudy Giuliani on whether waterboarding is torture:

It depends on how it's done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it.

Italics mine. So that's that: when bad guys torture, it's bad. When good guys torture, it's good. Apparently that's the modern Republican Party's version of moral clarity.

Earlier today, Josh Marshall suggested that this kind of thing feeds into Rudy's popularity:

For all his problems of temperament, authoritarianism, ignorance and general ridiculousness, I know most people don't see him that way. The sheen of 9/11 is real for Rudy. And many otherwise sensible people see him as a generally moderate guy on social policy who couldn't be as stupid as Bush in managing the country's foreign policy but would still be ready to kick some ass to keep everyone safe. He's the only one of their crew who could put even a few reliably Democratic states into play.

Actually, I suspect it's Rudy's other campaign plank that really explains his popularity. Sure, 9/11 is a big part of his persona, but his crime reduction record in New York City might be an even bigger one. Think about it: in the eye of the public, he's literally the only presidential candidate who's actually accomplished anything concrete. He made New York City livable. It doesn't matter whether this is true; it only matters that this is what people think. And no other candidate has anything close to it. All they can say is that they sponsored a bill or survived Vietnam or ran a company. Big deal. But Rudy, regardless of how he did it, can say that he actually governed a political entity and made it better. Considering the low opinion most people have of politicians, that's a helluva powerful asset.

By the way, also note how smoothly Rudy turned the waterboarding question into an attack on the liberal media. He really knows how to hit the base's hot buttons. The guy's good.

Kevin Drum 3:18 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (90)

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Comments

GOP 08: We're Morally Bankrupt!

Posted by: cleek on October 25, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Earlier today, Josh Marshall suggested that this kind of thing feeds into Rudy's popularity: —Kevin Drum

And I wrote to Marshall that Rudy isn't all the popular (what 33% of the Rethugs right now), and especially so in NYC. All you gotta do is talk to a few NYC fire fighters and cops about his claim of being at Ground Zero as much as they were, and you'd learn the degree to which his star has declined at home.

Also, the more the guy talks, the stupider he looks. Remind you of anyone else?

Posted by: JeffII on October 25, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

That about sums up the GOP's moral vision on any issue -- "Whatever we do is OK by definition. Whatever anyone else does is not OK."

The GOP believes the Rule of Law is for sissies because most laws were drafted by liberals who want to tell you what to do. And you don't want liberals, communists and terrorists tellin' ya what to do, do ya? Well DO YA? HELL NO!

Posted by: pj in jesusland on October 25, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Well, here's the thing: you and I have one idea of the "sheen of 9/11", and the 24% has another.

They don't care if Rudy was competent on 9/11. They don't care if he was really leading anyone. What they care about is that he "gets it". You know, Never Forget. The "post-9/11 mentality" he proclaims is one of dangerous, paranoid delusions. The 24% still thinks that the entire world has united to destroy us via terrorist proxies. They're ruthless (even the French!) y'see, and if Rudy says he's gonna be ruthless right back, that's all they need to hear.

Posted by: scarshapedstar on October 25, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I agree with Josh and youself that Rudy is their most formidable candidate. And I agree with Andrew Sullivan he is the most dangerous candidate. His response to waterboarding, the favorite torture device of the KGB, Khmer Rouge, etc., is a great example of how dangerous Rudy is.

Posted by: MaxGowan on October 25, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, and it matters if the person is innocent.

Oh, wait. No, it doesn't.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on October 25, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK


> [Giuliani] made New York City livable.

Given that, it'll be a simple matter for him to make the trains run on time.

I'm sure a grateful populace will know how to react when that happens.

Posted by: joel hanes on October 25, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

"the favorite torture device of the KGB, Khmer Rouge"

Now why can't an elected Democrat use words like that (or do they, and it just doesn't get noticed?)?

Posted by: David in NY on October 25, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Yesterday, Kevin criticized Commentary magazine for an incomplete quote. Here's Rudy's complete response:

Mr. Giuliani said: “Well, I’m not sure it is either. I’m not sure it is either. It depends on how it’s done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it. I think the way it’s been defined in the media, it shouldn’t be done. The way in which they have described it, particularly in the liberal media. So I would say, if that’s the description of it, then I can agree, that it shouldn’t be done. But I have to see what the real description of it is. Because I’ve learned something being in public life as long as I have. And I hate to shock anybody with this, but the newspapers don’t always describe it accurately.”

Posted by: ex-liberal on October 25, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Amen, David in NY. I wonder that a lot myself. Obama has been pretty good about that, FWIW.

Also, I'm getting leery of those who confidently predict Rudy imploding. It would be a great thing. It's possible. But remember back in '99 when many thought the same would happen to young Bush.

Posted by: MaxGowan on October 25, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine that, a lunatic who appeals to other lunatics.

P.S. I worked in the office of the Mayor of New York as a consultant in 1999-2001. Rudy was pretty much hated, including many among the Republicans serving in the office. He was universally regarded as being someone to work around, rather than to work with.

Posted by: CN on October 25, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

My socially liberal, secular Jewish future in-laws are voting for Rudy. When they talk about him, they always bring up that he denied Arafat entrance into NYC. They are *very* conservative on Israel issues and apparently think that Giuliani is the only candidate who will stand up to Iran, Syria, and every other country who in their eyes is threatening Israel.

Previously, they have voted Democratic. I think they're the type of people for whom "9/11 changed everything." They hate Bush, though I'm starting to think it's not because he's incompetent (the reason I've heard them give), but because he hasn't started enough wars.

Posted by: jn on October 25, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

"...survived Vietnam..."

Actually, given the circumstances under which McCain "survived Vietnam," it is a hell of a big deal.

Doesn't necessarily have anything to do with being qualified to be president, I grant you. But it does seem to qualify as a "big deal."

Posted by: John Heavrin on October 25, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, and it matters if the person is innocent.

Oh, wait. No, it doesn't.

How are we supposed to know if they're innocent until we waterboard them? If they're innocent, they'll sink. If they're guilty, they'll float.

Posted by: I saw Goody Good with the devil! on October 25, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

"But Rudy, regardless of how he did it, can say that he actually governed a political entity and made it better."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Just what we need, Huey P. Long reincarnated.

Posted by: steve duncan on October 25, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the Law & Order issue means as much to people after 7 years of chaotic government and randomly spread brutality. Maybe it means more, but it must mean something different now that Bush has pissed on the sheriff's badge in public.

Posted by: Kenji on October 25, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

You don't have to vote for Rudy, Kevin. He doesn't need your vote and will do just fine with out it, thank you. And everytime you post one of his quotes out of context, the people will see rigth through it.

YOu don't understand why the rest of Amercia admires him. But we do. We like him. And with Tancredo as VP, their going to make a fromidable duo.

Posted by: egbert on October 25, 2007 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, among voters who can't spell.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on October 25, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

"And with Tancredo as VP, their going to make a fromidable duo."

Promise, egbert? Pretty please? I can't wait, they're so "fromidable!" Practically "froming" at the mouth.

Posted by: David in NY on October 25, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on October 25, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

YOu don't understand why the rest of Amercia admires him. But we do. We like him. And with Tancredo as VP, their going to make a fromidable duo.

I agree that they would be fromidable, whatever the hell that is. But formidable? Not so much. I have some red-state rural roots. My Republican friends and family in the Missouri 6th simply can't say his name without spitting. They hate him. They will never vote for him, they see him as a hypocrite and a flip-flopper and he was pro gun control. Besides that "Hell no. I'll stay home before I vote for that New York Wop." Their words, not mine.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on October 25, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Jimmy Breslin describing Rudy:

"A little man desperately searching for a balcony."

Posted by: cazart on October 25, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of the vrey fromidable Tancerdo...did y'all see he tried to get ICE to raid Dick Durbin's press conference? Except, er, there were only legal immigrants there. D'oh!

Posted by: shortstop on October 25, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps personal voluntary participation for both Rudy and Mukasey in a waterboarding session would settle the matter for these gentlemen whether it was torture or not.

And charging a few dollars a head so the rest of us can witness their participation would fund the next six months of war.

Win/Win.

Posted by: Zit on October 25, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

You know, mhr is making so much more sense lately. I applaud him/her for the sterling efforts.

Posted by: Glenn on October 25, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

With Rudy, it's all about race.

Sure, you can say he's about "law and order," and "cleaning up New York," but who are we kidding? That's code for "sticking it to 'em" and his base laps it up.

Even his full-throated cry to crush "islamofascism" is another way of saying he'll protect you and me from scary "colored people."

How do you fight that?

You can't play the race card -- you'd look ridiculous. Besides, he'll do it to you before you have a chance.

Watch next fall while Rudy runs ads showing Hillary and Al Sharpton having a jolly old time.

You know it's coming.

Posted by: Ara on October 25, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Crime in every major city in America fell during Benito Giuliani's tenure as mayor. Was he responsible for that too?

Posted by: skewter on October 25, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Glenn--
R. O. F. L.!

Blue Girl--
Rudy was not popular in NYC either on 9/10/01. For that matter, neither were the ugly World Trade Center buildings. One of the things New Yorkers learned about their mayor is how nasty, vindictive, and really ugly the little Mussolini is.

Posted by: jprichva on October 25, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Glenn: ""You know, mhr is making so much more sense lately.

And he sounds even more convincing in German.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 25, 2007 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

So we're gonna have a choice between "islamofascism" and "italianofascism"?

Oy!

Posted by: David in NY on October 25, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure Kevin is right to suggest that when Giuliani said "It depends on who does it" he meant "when bad guys torture, it's bad. When good guys torture, it's good."

The way I read it, in response to a question on whether or not waterboarding is torture, he said it depends on the circumstances under which it is done, to include who is doing it. In other words, a private at a jail in Iraq doing it for giggles is wrong but an interrogator doing it with the approval of the chain of command is not.

To put it another way, if I lock someone up in my basement for years it is a crime. And I will likely go to prison where I will be locked up for years which is perfectly legal. I think this is what Rudy was talking about when he said "it depends on who does it."

Posted by: Hacksaw on October 25, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

You mean between "Ismaofascism" and real fascism, don't you?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on October 25, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

I love the smell of Moral Relativism in the morning.

Posted by: FS on October 25, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans often accused President Clinton of being morally bankrupt. But the record shows that in the last two years of his administration he ran a small moral surplus. It would have been higher if it had not been for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

But under 7 years of Republican rule, we have turned our moral surplus into a huge moral deficit. Projections show that the whole country will be morally bankrupt by 2010 unless we change course.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on October 25, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

And he sounds even more convincing in German.

Not only does that oft-repeated comment equating German and fascism slur modern Germany, but to be expressed by a USAmerican under the current regime is quite, well, ironic.

How about a updating it to "[blah blah] was more convincing in the original USAmerican English"?

Posted by: Disputo on October 25, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

The most stunning thing about Rudy's comments that Kevin links to is that he invoked the phrase "liberal media" more often than "9/11".

This can only get uglier.

Posted by: Disputo on October 25, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Projections show that the whole country will be morally bankrupt by 2010 unless we change course.

That's why I want to reform and privatize morals. People should have control over their own ethics, which will be managed, for a nominal percentage, by a select group of moral managers consisting of my cronies. Why would you trust the government with your morals?

Posted by: shortstop on October 25, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

The reason people love Rudy has very little to do with 9-11. This 9-11 meme has been pushed about moonbattia for a year now and it's had no effect on his popularity. I've noticed that the new angle being pushed by Drum and his ilk is the "Rudy is a crazy facist" and will be drunk with power upon taking office and making us all yearn for the days of Bush/cheney. This might work but I doubt it.

It's quite simple, people love Rudy because he pokes his finger directly into the eyeballs of the obnoxiuos liberal elite. He pissed all over liberal elitism and their sacred cows and did it on their home turf, and he has no regrets about it. He took on the race hustlers, the grief pimps, the unionists, and won. For most people, who spend about 1 minute a week thinking about politics, the fact that NY Times hates him is all they need to hear. If they hate him, he must be doing somthing right.

Whether that is enough for him to win I don't know, but that's why many like him.

Posted by: JBJB on October 25, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

That's why I want to reform and privatize morals. People should have control over their own ethics, which will be managed, for a nominal percentage, by a select group of moral managers consisting of my cronies. Posted by: shortstop

Weimar Republic here we come! Sing it with me!

"Life is a cabaret old chum, come to the cabaret."

* * * * *

P.S.

Kevin, your spell check is fucked-up on German - the second vowel give the word it vowel sound.

Posted by: JeffII on October 25, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,

Mi cronies es su cronies. : )

Regarding Rudy... he's Bush's just as evil twin.

If you like George W. Bush, you're gonna love Rudy Giuliani.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on October 25, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

for Apollo:

George: Amateur hour.
Damn Mooslims will know who's boss--
King Julie-Annie!

Posted by: shortstop on October 25, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Um, Hacksaw?

If you lock a guy up in your basement because he looked at you funny, you're a vigilante. If the state locks you up for this after a jury trial, that's justice. But the state locks you up for years because you might know someone who locked a guy in his basement, that's wrong whether or not the President tells them to do it.

Likewise, torture is torture even if the chain of command authorizes it.

Posted by: thersites on October 25, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

So are Josh and Andrew Sullivan saying that Dobson and the Christianists could save the nation from The Duce In The New RedSox Hat? Or is this world really a William Gibson novel?

Take the cannoli & fasces, leave the gun.

Posted by: tao9 on October 25, 2007 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

e-l, egbert

The context changes nothing.

Waterboarding is an old, well-known, clearly defined technique. Playing semantical games and comparing drown times is a disgusting evasion.

You can't be against torture and for using torture techniques. Try having the courage of your convictions.

Posted by: uri on October 25, 2007 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Thersites,

You are right that torture is torture and, as presuming you are someone who believes waterboarding is inarguably torture your position makes perfect sense.

My point was that Giuliani was not saying that waterboarding was torture is the other guys did it but isn't torture when we do it. He was saying he unsure if it was torture and felt that the circumstances under which it was done would define if it was torture or not.

Posted by: Hacksaw on October 25, 2007 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Cara mia! One of your best, shortstop!

Posted by: Apollo 13 on October 25, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Hack: Chain of command
Makes evil acts A-okay
"I had my orders."

Posted by: shortstop on October 25, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

How about the rack or the Iron Maiden? Is the torturiness user dependent?

Posted by: Alan in WA on October 25, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

My point was that Giuliani was not saying that waterboarding was torture is the other guys did it but isn't torture when we do it. He was saying he unsure if it was torture and felt that the circumstances under which it was done would define if it was torture or not. Posted by: Hacksaw

God, you're an offensive human being - parse, equivocate, dissemble. Regardless of the circumstances, waterboarding is torture.

Posted by: JeffII on October 25, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Hack, we know why Guiliani said it the way he did, so do you. He didn't mean anything other than what he said. He's a shrewd guy who knows better everyday which soundbites will play well on Rush's and Sean's and Billo's shows. They like it more when they can show the clip on that there TV.

JB2 has a good point, Rudy loves the microphone and he tap danced a great response. Liberals think it's torture but I'm not going to outlaw the technique if my guys (like Podhoretz) tell me it's not...really...only kinda, a little, but they're terrorists!!!

Posted by: TJM on October 25, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

How about . . . Iron Maiden? Posted by: Alan in WA

Iron Maiden, Metallica, Ozzy Osborne - all torture. Then so are Celine Dion, John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Usher.

Posted by: JeffII on October 25, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: "Damn Mooslims will know who's boss -- King Julie-Annie!"

I think you probably mean Queen Anne with Julie.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 25, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

I think you probably mean Queen Anne with Julie.Posted by: Donald from Hawaii

That photo needs more circulation. Surely a good portion of the "family values" crowd finds the image a bit more than disturbing.

Seems to me PA could have generated more cash during the fund drive had Kevin posted the picture (rather than the cats) and threatened to not take it down until the goal was met.

Posted by: JeffII on October 25, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo: "Not only does that oft-repeated comment equating German and fascism slur modern Germany ..."

Damn right it does, and in my personal estimation, deservedly so.

And I reckon such slurs will be around for a couple more centuries to come, given that the German people collectively bear primary historical responsibility for the commencement of two world wars and a wholesale slaughter of life that was heretofore unprecedented in the history of mankind. Enduring such comments and slurs must by necessity be their penance for the foreseeable future -- at least during our own lifetimes and those of our children.

And quite frankly, if I had my way, I'd have never let Germany re-unite in 1990. I would have forced a break-up of that country into its autonomous component parts (save for Prussia, which was abolished as a political entity by the Allies in 1945), as they existed prior to the 1866 Seven Weeks War. While I've met some truly wonderful individual Germans, I don't trust them collectively as a people, and we'd be supremely foolish to forget the horrors they proved capable of unleashing in just seventy-four years of prior existence as a united Germany (1871-1945).

Incidentally, I'm of German descent, fourth generation. My paternal great-grandparents came from Danzig and Koenigsburg in East Prussia (now Gdansk, Poland and Kaliningrad, Russia, respectively).

Whatever relatives we had in those regions were undoubtedly killed or driven westward in the Soviet Union's ethnic cleansing of Eastern Europe (1946-48). My Great-Grandma Sander never heard from any of them again after Hitler declared war upon the U.S. in December 1941. Her youngest boy, Victor Lorenz, joined the U.S. Army, and at age 24 was killed by Nazi sniper fire in Stromberg, Germany in March 1945.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, Unrepentant Krautphobe on October 25, 2007 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Had we not known this? A blowjob is a crime only in the proper context.


And only the Repubs can decide the contextual morality and/or criminality of the actions of American citizens.

Posted by: gregor on October 25, 2007 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII: "That photo needs more circulation. Surely a good portion of the 'family values' crowd finds the image a bit more than disturbing."

Well, I know I certainly do. He's wearing way too much make-up, the bleached-blonde wig looks absolutely frightful, and white is most definitely not his color. Perhaps something more elegant and matronly, in purple or navy-blue, would have sufficed.

All said and done, Rudy in drag looks like the prom date from Hell. He needs an extreme makeover. Where's Mr. Blackwell when you need that old queen?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 25, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

All said and done, Rudy in drag looks like the prom date from Hell. He needs an extreme makeover. Where's Mr. Blackwell when you need that old queen?
Posted by: Donald from Hawaii

Yeah. Compared ever to Divine he's a dog.

So, don't be coy - Poipu? Kilauea? Hanalei? Kapaa? Lihue?

Posted by: JeffII on October 25, 2007 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII: "So, don't be coy - Poipu? Kilauea? Hanalei? Kapaa? Lihue?"

Wrong island, friend. I live on the island of Oahu, in east Honolulu, in a beautiful place called Kuli'ou'ou Valley. If you look on a map, we're about six miles east of Waikiki, and about 2 miles from Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 25, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

While I've met some truly wonderful individual Germans, I don't trust them collectively as a people,

That's fucking rich coming from an American, that is.

Posted by: Stefan on October 25, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop thinks that rhymes
Are substitutes for thinking
Silliness ensues

Posted by: Hacksaw on October 25, 2007 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Um, those aren't "rhymes," Hacksaw. Gee, you can't get anything right tonight, can you?

Posted by: shortstop on October 25, 2007 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

This group of contenders worries and upsets me. Kevin once summed them all up as 'Stepford' guys. Indeed.
Rudy likely has the strongest personality of the crowd--and I mean crowd--he has the market (marketed?) psychology going for him (although self-styled and repulsive to us liberals) as being THE visible entity on nine eleven (bullshit of course, since the command center was wiped out and he was forced to be on the streets then.)
I welcome all negative press regarding Rudy to educate the average six-pack Joe (not that there is anything wrong with a six-pack)
Republican consumer demand is so strong now (with the playing field so weak) that Rudy's over-confidence these days needs addressed.
He is a serious case for alarm, he is Bush/Cheney revisited, carrying a little-man's Napolean Complex, over-impressed with himself, and never facing the true reality.
We need to pound the fact that he was absent from meetings of the Iraq Study Group, instead electing to give speeches for monetary advancement--- Mr. Nine Eleven, indeed.

Posted by: consider wisely always on October 25, 2007 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

"I think this is what Rudy was talking about when he said 'it depends on who does it.'"

Since, either way, it would still be illegal, not to mention morally reprehensible, I'm afraid you haven't done Rudy any favors with your interpretation of his remarks, even assuming they are accurate.

Posted by: PaulB on October 25, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

"He was saying he unsure if it was torture and felt that the circumstances under which it was done would define if it was torture or not."

Not only is this a silly "interpretation" of Giulani's remarks, it still doesn't excuse Giulani, since that would be a supremely idiotic and reprehensible statement to make. I think you'd better just stop digging that hole; you're over your head.

Posted by: PaulB on October 25, 2007 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

One of the campaign trail reporters noted that Giuliani has become a fang-baring rival, "tell(ing) horror tales of... Muslims lurking near resevoirs and promis(ing) to bomb them all back to the stone age..." In an article in Rolling Stone Magazine slamming Romney The Huckster, by political writer Matt Taibbi: "Romney... made his fortune laying off factory workers....worshipping God loudly and often...a salesman...running for the nomination of a party that has nothing left to sell."

Similarly, Giuliani has nothing to sell but a bunch of familiar ugly fear-mongering and his recent attempt to peddle Bush-like 'confusion' about torture.

Posted by: consider wisely always on October 25, 2007 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

In Iowa yesterday, GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani followed Bush Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey in playing dumb on the subject of torture. It should come as no surprise that Giuliani would argue that whether waterboarding violates the Geneva Convention depends on what the definition of "torture" is. Even less surprising is that the same man who in May endorsed "every method they could think of" would now jokingly claim that he was a victim of torture himself.

For the details, see:
"Giuliani Flip-Flops on Waterboarding, Jokes About Torture."

Posted by: Furious on October 25, 2007 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Rudy's 'Senior Freedom Adviser': Curtail Arab Birth Rate

"Lately Philip Weiss, proprietor of the blog Mondoweiss, has been reading up on the work of Peter Berkowitz, a George Mason law professor who moonlights as Rudy Giuliani's "Senior Statecraft, Human Rights and Freedom Advisor" (pretty good gig, if you can get it). Today Weiss dug up a 2004 Weekly Standard article in which Berkowitz offers an analysis of Israeli demographic policies hinging on one overwhelming concern: How do we get Arabs in Israel to stop breeding so damn much? Berkowitz begins by acknowledging that the very term "demographic problem...conjures up illiberal images of a government classifying people by ethnicity, race, or religion." OK, duly noted. And then, natch, Berkowitz goes on to make some chillingly illiberal policy prescriptions. Weiss sums up:

[Berkowitz] said that Arab birth rates are a "threat" to Israel's "political sovereignty and territorial integrity" and came out for a policy aimed at curbing subsidies to large families, thereby limiting Arab birth rates in the Jewish state. It's hard not to describe this attitude as racist. Does Rudy Giuliani endorse such family-planning policies?

Yup, that would be yet another question for an enterprising campaign reporter to ask Giuliani on the trail. I nominate someone from the New York Times, which, as far as I can tell, has completely ignored the Giuliani advisers story. For now, see this American Prospect rundown and this Talking Points Memo video on the subject."

—Justin Elliott
Posted by Mother Jones on 10/24/07

Posted by: consider wisely always on October 25, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK


Pls try to be less naive about rudy. he's running a classically nixonian gop-style campaign - right in the primaries, left in the general. but to be "right" in the primaries means to appeal to the 24 percenters - the ones who would follow bush to armageddon just for the hell of it, cos it makes 'em feel powerful. so he's embracing torture and nuking iran to keep those marginals pumped up. he makes them believe that bush will be vindicated in history by coming out of new york, of all places, and aspiring to be a new bush. the business about the liberal media was ham-handed and transparent, not to mention so ye olde. people are not going to elect an overt political freak. we prefer our freaks covert.

Posted by: eyeball on October 26, 2007 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan: "That's fucking rich coming from an American, that is."

Considering our recent behavior, can't say as I blame you for feeling that way. But then again, we weren't the ones who tried to implement the "Final Solution," were we? So it's still very much a stretch to compare our leadership's current behavior with that which occurred during the Third Reich.

But then again, the current president's grandfather, Prescott Bush, and his great grandfather, George Walker, were guilty of trading with Nazi Germany in 1943 -- and apples don't fall far from the tree.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 26, 2007 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

when bad guys torture, it's bad. When good guys torture, it's good. Apparently that's the modern Republican Party's version of moral clarity.

Maybe. But it's also bog-standard American exceptionalism, exactly analogous to: "When bad guys wage unilateral, preventive war, it's bad. When good guys do it, it's good."

Posted by: Scott E. on October 26, 2007 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Rudy's crowning glory is the broom handle rape incident. Mmmm. Nothing like Cops Gone Wild to cement your bona fides with blood, gore, and veins in the teeth crowd.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on October 26, 2007 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

GOP candidates: How Bushie are we?

Strange how the press says that Repugs distance themselves from Bush, but really, GOP candidates are tring sooooo hard to be just like Bush/Cheney (more like Cheney, actually).

And according to the Carpetbagger, Ron Paul is testing the third Party waters, dividing the radicals could persent a problem, something worse than Nader did to Al Gore, but as for NYC Julie, it's full steam ahead, right off the narrow radical bridge, right into a waiting chasm.

The bumper stick should read: "The GOP, hellbent on ruin in O8"

Posted by: Me_again on October 26, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

It depends on who does it.

I have trouble believing someone could possibly say this (out loud). You have got to be kidding.

Kevin Drum: ...it only matters that this is what people think.

Well, I think Guiliani is a worthless piece of shit, and I hope it truly does matter what I think, and that there are more that think (and vote) like me come November 2008.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on October 26, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, did Rudy indeed make NYC more livable? If not, we need to get the story out.

Posted by: Neil B. on October 26, 2007 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, did Rudy indeed make NYC more livable? If not, we need to get the story out. Posted by: Neil B.

Actually, it was the confluence of changing demographics and the economic good times during the Clinton years that made NYC a better place. Without all the extra tax money, they never could have begun cleaning up the subway system, GCS, the NYC Public Library or Central Park. The rehabilitation of Bryant Park happened on Dinkins' watch.

Posted by: JeffII on October 26, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Giuliani also thinks it's only pedophilia depending on who does it.

Posted by: tx bubba on October 26, 2007 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

But then again, we weren't the ones who tried to implement the "Final Solution," were we?

Excuse me????

Posted by: The American Indians on October 26, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

But then again, we weren't the ones who tried to implement the "Final Solution," were we?

But then again, neither were the Germans of today.

So it's still very much a stretch to compare our leadership's current behavior with that which occurred during the Third Reich.

I'm not comparing merely current behavior, I'm comparing a four hundred year history of slavery, genocide, invasion and aggressive warfare against America's neighbors.

Posted by: Stefan on October 26, 2007 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

The further west you go, the less impact the phrase 9/11 has. Most of the people I talk to around here, which is in California think 9/11 is past history and it is time to move on. Get over it. Frankly, the world does not rotate around NYC and some of us could care less about Rudy's relationship with that city. The last thing we want to see is a couple of New Yorkers duking it out for the presidency.

Posted by: Hank on October 26, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

But then again, we weren't the ones who tried to implement the "Final Solution," were we? Donald from Hawaii

Um, may I remind you of the Native American genocide perpetrated only seventy some years before the "Final Solution"?

How about two centuries of slave ownership. Including being one of the last nations to give it up (and not willingly at that)?

Sorry Donald, but America's got too much blood on it's hands to point any damning fingers at anyone else.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on October 26, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, forgot to close that bold tag.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on October 26, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Dr. Morpheus, I reckon such slurs will be around for a couple more centuries to come, given that the American people collectively bear primary historical responsibility for the commencement of the Iraq War, a wholesale slaughter of the American Indians, millions of Vietnamese dead, three hundred years of forcible slavery, and multiple unprovoked invasions of their Canadian, Caribbean, and Latin American neighbors. Enduring such comments and slurs must by necessity be their penance for the foreseeable future -- at least during our own lifetimes and those of our children.

And quite frankly, if I had my way, I'd divide America up. I'd force a break-up of that country into its autonomous component parts such as the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast, the Midwest, and the Southeast, while giving Texas, California and the Southwest back to Mexico, from which those states were stolen, and Hawaii back to the native Hawaiians. While I've met some truly wonderful individual Americans, I don't trust them collectively as a people, and we'd be supremely foolish to forget the horrors they proved capable of unleashing in just the last four years.

Incidentally, I'm of American descent, fourth generation....

Posted by: Stefan on October 26, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Those liberals are such sniveling moral relativists! Wait, what?

Posted by: gex on October 26, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

And I reckon such slurs will be around for a couple more centuries to come, given that the German people collectively bear primary historical responsibility for the commencement of two world wars and a wholesale slaughter of life that was heretofore unprecedented in the history of mankind. Enduring such comments and slurs must by necessity be their penance for the foreseeable future -- at least during our own lifetimes and those of our children.

And by the way, I assume you apply this same collective sense of historical responsibility to today's Russians (the horrors of the Soviet Union), Chinese (Tibet, Mao), Japanese (World War II), Turks (Armenian genocide), British (wholesale slaughter in Ireland, India, Africa, etc.), Dutch (Indonesia), Belgians (the Congo), Spanish (subjugation of the Indians in the Americas, Franco), Israelis (the dispossession of the Palestinians), Italians (Ethiopia, Mussolini), French (West Africa, Indochina, the Algerian War), Australians (the Aborigines), and so on, and believe that they can all, even those born decades later, be justifiably slurred en masse?

Posted by: Stefan on October 26, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, give it a rest. We all understand that numerous cultures over the last 300 hundred years or so have marginalized, subjugated and in, many cases, attempted to exterminate other peoples. But I think it's pretty universally agreed that the Holocaust (and Nazi brutality in general) was unique in it's cold-blooded single-mindedness and matter-of-fact efficiency. Moving aboriginal "Floridians" to Oklahoma Territory was monstrous. But not quite in the same manner as engaging some of your leading industrialists to design and build gas chambers and massive crematoriums.

Posted by: JeffII on October 26, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Again, what's that got to do with Germans born in the last 60 years? I'm engaging Donald's point that the Germans of today bear some blame for what their grandparents did, in which case I fail to see how that has something to do with how intrinsically evil the Holocaust was. If his point is that children bear the sins of their parents, well then, why doesn't that apply across the board?

But I think it's pretty universally agreed that the Holocaust (and Nazi brutality in general) was unique in it's cold-blooded single-mindedness and matter-of-fact efficiency.

What, it was more evil because it was more efficient? So the Tutsi massacre, in which 800,000 Tutsi were killed in about two weeks using only machetes, clubs and axes was less intrinsically evil because only hand tools were used?

But not quite in the same manner as engaging some of your leading industrialists to design and build gas chambers and massive crematoriums.

What about engaging some of your leading industrialists to design and build atomic weapons to be dropped on cities filled with civilians? Is that cold-blooded and efficient enough?

Posted by: Stefan on October 26, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

What, it was more evil because it was more efficient?

No. First of all, what happened in Rwanda amounted to fratricide, like Cambodia. The "final solution" was more evil because it was an elaborate premeditated plan by one people to destroy another. Not some bizarre primitive blood lust.

What about engaging some of your leading industrialists to design and build atomic weapons to be dropped on cities filled with civilians? Is that cold-blooded and efficient enough?

I think the atomic bombings were wrong, just as were the fire bombings of Tokyo and Dresden. But these were still acts of war. The Holocaust was, at least in Hitler's mind, a fringe benefit of the war. The Japanese were brutal throughout Asia in the 1930s and 1940s, but they never had a written policy specifically direct at exterminating one cultural/racial group.

Listen, I don't agree with Donald that Germans born since the war or generations to come need to keep apologizing for something done, for the most part, by a generation of people mostly gone now. Particularly since Germans in their 50s, 60s and 70s have apologized (though having nothing to do with what happened) and spent a lot of time trying atoning for the sins of their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers. However, you're equivocating as badly as the idiotic trolls who keep trying to justify preemptive war against Iraq and, perhaps, Iran with the failure to do this to Germany and Japan in the 1930s.

Posted by: JeffII on October 26, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

No. First of all, what happened in Rwanda amounted to fratricide, like Cambodia.

No, it wasn't. The Hutu quite clearly saw themselve as distinct and different from the Tutsi, whom they called cockroaches.

The Japanese were brutal throughout Asia in the 1930s and 1940s, but they never had a written policy specifically direct at exterminating one cultural/racial group.

What's so special about the "written plan"? The Hutu, to use the example above, had a policy specifically directed at exterminating one cultural/racial group, but they just never wrote it down (rather, they broadcast it over the radio). You seem to be saying that it's the Germans' penchant for recordkeeping, not the murders themselves, that are uniquely evil.

The "final solution" was more evil because it was an elaborate premeditated plan by one people to destroy another. Not some bizarre primitive blood lust.

Setting aside what the phrase "bizarre primitive blood lust" implies about Africans, again, so what? I'm not arguing that the Holocaust wasn't especially evil. That't not really the point, is it? As I said above, what I'm arguing is that there's nothing about the Holocaust, as compared to myriad other horrors, that somehow implicates every German born since that time in a way that every other massacre and genocide doesn't. Why should the Holocaust be thrown in their faces in a way that, say, every Turk isn't expected to bear the blame for the Armenian genocide? Arguing whether one genocide or another was more or less evil doesn't explain this, because it doesn't go towards explaining why one group of descendants is expected to keep bearing the sins of their ancestors while every other group gets a free pass. It can't be because the evil was somehow unique, because the evil occurred before the lifetime of most living Germans, and we generally do not hold people responsible for what their parents or grandparents did.

Listen, I don't agree with Donald that Germans born since the war or generations to come need to keep apologizing for something done, for the most part, by a generation of people mostly gone now.

Well then, you and I are in complete agreement.

Posted by: Stefan on October 26, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

I think the atomic bombings were wrong, just as were the fire bombings of Tokyo and Dresden. But these were still acts of war.

How is firebombing hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children an act of war, exactly?

Posted by: Stefan on October 26, 2007 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

No. First of all, what happened in Rwanda amounted to fratricide, like Cambodia.

No, it wasn't. The Hutu quite clearly saw themselve as distinct and different from the Tutsi, whom they called cockroaches.

The Hutus and Tutsis can think whatever they like, of course, but culturally there's not enough difference between the two groups (there is no "racial" difference at all) to call them distinct from one another like, say, the French and Chinese are.

Setting aside what the phrase "bizarre primitive blood lust" implies about Africans,

It implies that Subsaharan Africa is still culturally backward due both to the native level of development prior to colonization by Europeans (much of Africa was still in the Stone Age as late as the 19th Century), and by the fact that most of the European colonization did little to ameliorate this because it did so little to educate the bulk of the population.

I'm not arguing that the Holocaust wasn't especially evil. That't not really the point, is it?

No. That is exactly the point I was making.

Why should the Holocaust be thrown in their faces in a way that, say, every Turk isn't expected to bear the blame for the Armenian genocide?

Because the Turks didn't start a continental war with pretty much the rest of Europe. Had Turkey done this in conjunction with the Armenian genocide, then in all likelihood there would have been similar repercussions.

You could ask the same question about the rise of the Bolsheviks during WWI, Russia's withdrawal from the war, and the eventual purges in the 1920s. Like China's take over of Tibet, all these were seen more as "internal matters" rather than a policy concomitant to a multi-front war against multiple nations.

Arguing whether one genocide or another was more or less evil doesn't explain this,Posted by: Stefan

Yes it does and we make this very distinction in our own criminal justice system between premeditated 1st degree murder, second degree murder, etc.


Posted by: JeffII on October 26, 2007 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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