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Tilting at Windmills

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November 15, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SID AND HILL....This comes as no surprise, but Sidney Blumenthal has written his last column for Salon and is joining the Hillary Clinton campaign. Here's his defense of Hillary, coupled with a not very subtle swipe at Obama:

I believe that the reason the Republicans have promoted the talking point that Hillary is unelectable is that they fear that more than any other candidate she can create a majority coalition, win and govern. They fear more than loss in one election; they fear the end of the Republican era beginning with Nixon. They know that she has the knowledge, skill and ability to govern. They know that she has already taken everything they can throw against her and is still standing.

Just as the disintegration of the Democrats brought about the rise of the Republicans, the collapse of the Republicans has created an opening for the Democrats. But the Democrats have been victims of their own false euphoria, sanctimony and illusions before....The Democrats at key junctures have been seduced by the illusion of anti-politics to their own detriment. Anti-politics upholds a self-righteous ideal of purity that somehow political conflict can be transcended on angels' wings. The consequences on the right of an assumption of moral superiority and hubris are apparent. Their plight stands as a cautionary tale, but not only as an object lesson for them. Still, the Republican will to power remains ferocious. The hard struggle will require the most capable political leadership, willing to undertake the most difficult tasks, and grace under pressure.

Anti-politics upholds a self-righteous ideal of purity that somehow political conflict can be transcended on angels' wings. Very bloggish, Sidney.

Kevin Drum 12:19 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (95)

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SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL GOTTA EAT!

Posted by: norbizness on November 15, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrats at key junctures have been seduced by the illusion of anti-politics..."

Meck. Frankly. Shortstop. the chewtoy. Dice....

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 15, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

The gist of this article is that it's vitally important to unseat the GOP, losing while retaining one's purity is not a vialble option. i.e. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

I don't think Obama can win. Hillary can. Edwards maybe. I vote accordingly.

Posted by: uh_clem on November 15, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is more insightful than bloggish.
Wise words that all candidates and voters should take heed of. Getting legislation through congress and the white house obviously takes more than simple idealogical zeal.

Course other folks think gridlock is good - for the people that is.

Posted by: optical weenie on November 15, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

I think that any of the Big Three can win the general election, despite the handicaps that each of them have, because all of the Republican candidates face even bigger handicaps. Sure, you can point to polls that claim A will do 3 points better than B, but that's not a huge difference and isn't reliable this early in any case.

So vote for the candidate who you think will be best for the country. By this criterion, I'd put either Edwards or Obama ahead of Clinton.

Posted by: Joe Buck on November 15, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know what he's smoking if he thinks *Hillary* can create some great coalition...

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on November 15, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

In this corner, meck, Frankly, Shortstop, the chewtoy, Dice, Pale Rider with their legions of support fans stands tall.

And, in that far corner theunAmericanist grouses and sings, "So alone, so alone am I"

Posted by: bert on November 15, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Some Republicans call Blumenthal "Sid Vicious", because of his tough, nasty methods. The quoted paragraph can be read as justifying, or even demanding, that approach. I think we're in for another dirty campaign next fall.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 15, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

No, really, we're promoting the idea that Hillary is unelectable because we think she's unelectable. Obama is a much more daunting prospect.

What are the reasons for thinking Hillary's more likely to win than Obama or Edwards? Is it because she'd turn out the base, or because she's the most moderate and hence might attract swing voters, or because Obama can come off as a bit green, or what? Because I think you've got to have a pretty compelling reason to turn down Obama's oratorical ability and general inspiring-ness. I mean, I disagree with the guy on practically everything, and *I* think he's appealing. Hillary, not so much. And I don't think I'm alone on this.

Posted by: Shoshana on November 15, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sidney Blumenthal's a professional writer? This reads like something I wrote in high school, before I figured out big words don't translate to big ideas and complex phrasing isn't necessarily sophisticated reasoning.

P.S. unless you're a great philosopher, stay away from the word "transcend."

Posted by: A different Matt on November 15, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

I usually don't agree with lefty Sidney Blumenthal, but I think he's 110% correct in this article. If liberals want to win, their best choice is Hillary, instead of defeatist Hussein Barak Obama or femme-bot John Edwards who only thinks about how his cute hair. Of course, Rudy, the Mayor of 9/11, would still beat them all so I'm not worried about any of the liberal candidates.

Posted by: Al on November 15, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

After reading the first few lines of David Broder's column in the WaPo today, I am convinced that no matter what her flaws, it will be fun to vote for her and to see her win just so Broder can croak endlessly about how bad the Clinton's marriage is and how much the two hurt his delicate sensibility that was so well served by the deaths of tens of thousands of people during the Bush era.

Hillary all the way.

Posted by: gregor on November 15, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK
I don't think Obama can win. Hillary can. Edwards maybe. I vote accordingly.

I think Sen. Clinton will bring more conservatives to the polls than any other candidate.
Which could have the effect of reversing the Democratic Majority in Congress.
With any other Democratic candidate I don't see a risk of losing the White House AND Congress.
Food for thought.
Roll the dice on HRC, and you could win the Presidency.
But if you lose, you lose the whole farm.

Posted by: kenga on November 15, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, Rudy, the Mayor of 9/11, would still beat them all so I'm not worried about any of the liberal candidates.
Posted by: Al

As ignorance is bliss, it's no wonder you have no worries. But Rudy "I Recommended a Mobbed-Up Crook as Director of Homeland Security"?

Posted by: DJ on November 15, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

gregor: I just about had an apoplectic fit when I read Broder's column. To me that was the most sexist piece of crap I have read in a long time, it's hard to see how WAPO saw that fit to print.

Posted by: optical weenie on November 15, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

I have always liked Blumenthal's writing. I think it is true Sen. Clinton understands how to govern better than most of her Democratic opponents and that she has withstood much more political abuse than any of them. Whether or not that is why the Republican establishment fears her I cannot say, but it makes sense they fear losing their power. That would be where I disagree with Blumenthal. I do not see the powers behind the Republicans diminishing with a Hillary Clinton presidency. Perhaps we disagree about what those powers are. If Blumenthal thinks Republican power resides with the Evangelicals and other conservative social issue factions and not with the bankers and defensecare firms, he is may be thinking strictly of electoral power. I think regardless of who becomes president, among the crop of viable candidates, the real power of American politics will not be challenged.

Posted by: Brojo on November 15, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

So, a self-righteous ideal of purity is what made Obama, for example, vote against the war in Iraq? Jeez, we wouldn't want a candidate to be like that would we? I mean, when there are important flag-burning amendments to get behind.

I like Sidney Blumenthal's writing, but most of what he's said over the last couple of years at Salon seems to be contradicted by his support of Hilary

Posted by: jrw on November 15, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what I don't get. I live in NY, Hilary's home state. I participate regularly in various Democratic Party meetings and events. Out of the hundreds of Democratic base voters I know, not one single person is enthusiastic about a Clinton candidacy. I know many who are wild about Edwards and Obama.

Why in the world does anyone believe that Clinton is our best chance to reclaim the White House? You can write off the South for sure if she's our candidate. And you won't see much support for her from the progressives in the netroots community. Just who and where is the constituency for her? I have a terrible fear that the Democrats are getting close to pissing away another critical election.

Posted by: global yokel on November 15, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Oddly enough, enacting good legislation isn't about 'standing tall' -- I mean, you're not going anywhere, being so visible smacks of vanity rather than utility and what's the point of offering the bad guys a good target without moving forward?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 15, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

would somebnody please just take a simple poll of who would win the presidential election - a nameless Republican vs. a nameless Democrat? I think there is a great plurality in this country that don't give a rat's turd want name is on the line, they are going to vote for the guy with the (R) or the guy (or gal) with (D) in front of their name.

Personally, to me, the next presidential election is all about getting the GOP out of the executive office. i don't care if it's Obama or Osama.

And I guarantee there is a great portion of the voting bloc who feel the exact same way.

Posted by: ny patriot on November 15, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I fear Brojo is right and that is most disheartening.

Posted by: Alan in WA on November 15, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

All arrows point to a Clinton win. That is the way the money is betting, that is the way K-Street is betting, and that is the way the polls are trending in the match-ups and in general. This is even what Newt Gingrich thinks.

Sidney Blumenthal is always too sanguine when it comes to the Clintons. He is one of the chroniclers of the radicalization of the Republican Party with its anti-New Dealism, neo-Confederate values, religious fundamentalism and dark anti-American authoritarianism at the top. Given this radical agenda it is hard to imagine an opposition Clinton administration that repudiates the Republican era and restores a pro-Middle Class, anti-authoritarian government.

Like Blumenthal I think Clinton can at the least keep the ship of American democracy off the rocks, but I do not believe she will get us off the Republican course into clear water (maybe no one can as American hegemony declines). I would like to be surprised, but like many here she is the status quo candidate.

Posted by: bellumregio on November 15, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

> I usually don't agree with lefty Sidney
> Blumenthal, but I think he's 110% correct in
> this article.

> Posted by: Al on November 15, 2007 at 12:40 PM

The Obama campaign thanks you.

Posted by: goethean on November 15, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

My editor says the closing phrase should read "but like many here I fear she is the status quo candidate"

Posted by: bellumregio on November 15, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

A probable good indicator of electability would be how the candidates do in swing states.

New poll from Quinnipiac shows the only Democrat to beat Giuliani in crucial Ohio is Edwards by 46 to 40. Neither HRC nor BO do.

Posted by: Chrissy on November 15, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Nameless Democrats beat nameless Republicans at this point in 2004 - and look what actually happened. (Point of fact, it was the only election of the previous four the Democrat did not win the popular vote.) Any election at this point is a dirty election; it's the Bush/Atwater/Rove legacy. So let's dispense with any foolish notions along those lines. And we can look at last year's Tennessee elections as an indicator of how the Republicans would treat an Obama candidacy.

The country is yearning to have a Democratic president - but this country is less unlikely to vote for a woman Democrat than a Black Democrat (a Powell candidacy would have been very, very different). We barely - once - elected a Catholic. (And look at his fate, by the way.) We can also dismiss as childish any notions that a Clinton presidency would be anything like Bush. C'mon. That's as childish as, oh, the Naderites in 2000 saying there were no real differences between Gore and Bush. We learned that lesson, now, didn't we?

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 15, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

I could get past this line:

Hillary is unelectable is that they fear that more than any other candidate she can create a majority coalition, win and govern.

I've heard HRC called a lot of things, but I've never heard her accused of being a coalition builder. Isn't part of her appeal is that she can kick some Republican arse? Isn't she Turning up the Heat on Republicans?

Posted by: Keith on November 15, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I keep asking myself, "Are these the best candidates that the Democratic Party can come up with in a country of 300 million people??"

As Jed Clampett used to say, 'Pitiful. Just pitiful.'

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 15, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrats at key junctures have been seduced by the illusion of anti-politics..."

Meck. Frankly. Shortstop. the chewtoy. Dice....

Thank God they can count on your take-no-prisoners realism to save them from themselves, tA. So do you talk out of the side of your mouth in calm, even tones when lobbing grenades at Those Too Soft to Be Trusted with Power? Methinks we've finally identified the bottom half of the 2008 presidential ticket.

Posted by: junebug on November 15, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

I think Blumenthal is 100 percent right. Glossy Broderist nostrums about everybody getting along and singing kumbaya simply won't cut it as a governing strategy anymore, if they ever did.

I vastly prefer Edwards's ideology, but I think Sidney's right that what we have to have right now is somebody who has the steel to get control of the government and the party from the get-go. What has deeply impressed (and surprised) me is Hillary's sense of command, and I personally think that's the first thing we absolutely must have in the next Democratic president.

As for coalition-building-- look up the woman's record in the Senate, will you? She's been as good at it right out of the gate as Ted Kennedy. Pay attention. You hear pundits and screamers and operatives and ideologues and fund-raisers bellowing their heads off about both her and Kennedy, but there's a remarkable lack of such bellowing from their colleagues. There's a reason for that.

I still think I'm going to vote for Edwards in the primary, but I am beginning to waver.

Posted by: gyrfalcon on November 15, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

HRC is the Briar Patch candidate for the Republicans. They attack her in the hope that their real enemies will rally around her.

Their ultimate strategic goal being to win even by losing.

Posted by: Forrest on November 15, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Bert

Just for the record, it's Tomeck.

Cue the laugh track as my favorite American calls me "stoooooooopid" again. Man, what a wit.

Beyond all that, I agree with Joe Buck, I think any of the three can win. I'd prefer Obama or Edwards, if for no other reason than I wouldn't have to listen to all the Whitewater, Monica, Travelgate etc garbage the Republicans would go shrill with. On the other hand, it would be fun to see R's interviews after the networks project Hillary a winner.

Posted by: tomeck on November 15, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK
Some Republicans call Blumenthal "Sid Vicious", because of his tough, nasty methods….I think we're in for another dirty campaign next fall. ex-lax at 12:38 PM
One presumes those delicate little Republican flowers include Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and other girly-men of the party like Karl Rove. The notion that the election will be a dirty campaign is a given: that is the only way Republicans campaign. Clinton's instant response team to counter Republican dirty tricks, smear&lies, and McCarthyism was crucial. The lack of the same hurt Kerry. Posted by: Mike on November 15, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

No, actually.

The thing is, there's a kind of echo chamber/feedback loop thing that goes on in any social networking, and networking is after all sorta the sinews of political organization. Averill Harriman couldn't imagine how Jimmy Carter could become President in early 1976, "Because I don't know anybody who's even met him."

I am deliberately provocative around here cuz it is a good convenient way to test the feedback loop: LOTS of folks post here (including Kevin, now and again), are basically like Harriman -- they can't imagine how Republicans/swing voters/conservatives, etc., OR actual legislators, and so on, can think the way they do, cuz THEY don't think or feel or act that way.

I think that's what Blumenthal meant about "anti-politics". Here are a couple examples from threads here:

1) after Kevin posted how voter ID laws turn out to dampen turnout among likely Democratic voters, Meck and Dice wanted to debate why anybody would pass 'em. (I kid you not.) Some folks in the thread wondered why we shouldn't just give away free IDs to everybody -- but Meck and Dice wanted to argue INSTEAD that the voter ID laws (several of which have already passed) weren't needed, cuz nobody had proven to THEM, that they were: "What are they good for?"

Um, maybe the folks who enacted 'em noticed they were good for... the folks who enacted 'em?

2) Kevin noted that Obama had used "jujitsu" on Republican framing for Social Security with the word "crisis", saying it's better to deal with it now than later.

I think it's sorta obvious that as a matter of practical politics, Obama (who is behind, after all) is looking for the biggest chunks of votes he can move in a hurry. So the most likely POLITICAL reason is that he's got polling that shows it resonates with younger voters, so he got a bunch of 'em in a focus group and discovered that the words "crisis" and "better now than later" move votes his way.

Somebody properly observed this could be Clinton's knockout punch to Obama's glass jaw, if she tells him tonight that "there is no crisis -- the Social Security Trust Fund is subsidizing Bush's war and tax cut budget, and when I'm President, that will stop..."

'Course, if she DOES that, there's gonna be more polling and focus data that could suggest she's left herself open to a Republican who reaches out the way Obama is trying to... but I doubt it. Still, I'd like to see the data -- and so would the Clinton campaign, when it gets to that.

The point is that on ALL of these matters, there are folks who don't think, feel, talk or react the way Meck, Dice, Pale, etc., do. Politics has mechanics and dynamics -- and it's not a sin to know how to use 'em.

And there are, I think, a LOT more progressives associated with the Democratic party who would rather lose, clutching their precious bullshit, than there are conservatives associated with the Republican party who would be willing to do that. A representative sample posts here.

So I poke 'em with sharp sticks, to see how they jump. I don't do it to persuade, but to see what I can find out.

Fair enough, junebug?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 15, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on November 15, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I think these two sentences are contradictory:

"Anti-politics upholds a self-righteous ideal of purity that somehow political conflict can be transcended on angels' wings. The consequences on the right of an assumption of moral superiority and hubris are apparent."

The hubris on the right most certainly did not come from taking the political high road.

I'd also note that hope and optimism do not exclude the necessity of hard-fought political struggle.

Posted by: bob on November 15, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Absolutely right, Mike. I still have a hard time forgiving Kerry for blowing it. He let himself get swift-boated. How could they not know it wasn't coming? Even in the debates, when Kerry had Bush on the ropes, he couldn't bring himself to go in for the kill. Coulda shoulda woulda. Know what? Same with Gore. And with Dukakis. And Mondale. And, for that matter, Carter. That's where at least Hillary has earned my grudging respect. She's Bill but with bigger balls. And even though I've favored Edwards, the way he let himself get manhandled by Cheney in the '04 debates does not inspire confidence.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 15, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK
So I poke 'em with sharp sticks, to see how they jump.

In technical parlance, that's called "trolling" an internet forum, and those who do it are called "trolls".

Posted by: cmdicely on November 15, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

As inspiring or right(eous) as Edwards and Obama are, they don't have the political skill to govern. Honesty is all very well and good, but it doesn't add up to much when it comes to negotiation and compromise with smarmy politicians who have their own agendas. HRC is positioning herself very well for such fights, and if Democrats had any sense in their heads they would stop undermining her ascent to the presidency, especially with variations of the "she's unlikable" meme. Her policy prescriptions may not be completely to your liking but they are eminently more pragmatic and thoughtful than anything the Republicans will come up with. Besides, who could honestly stand four years of an angry president (Edwards) or one that stands around asking "why can't we all just get along?" (Obama). At least HRC will get something done.

Posted by: Mina on November 15, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Very lofty prose, Sidney!!

I think I've read this somewhere before... thinking.. thinking... wasnt' it from the 3rd letter of Paul to the Romans?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on November 15, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Some Republicans call Blumenthal "Sid Vicious"

Actually, I doubt they do. This is the sort of moronic nickname-coining that comes only from Rush Limbaugh and his horde of brain-addled listeners, from which we also got such zingers as "Puff Daschle." Stop making a fool of yourself, ex-

Posted by: Tyro on November 15, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Smart move on the part of both sides.

Fits with Blumenthal's ambitions.

Fits with the Clinton's strategy of whining about the right wing conspiracy against them so loudly that legitimate progressive criticism of their stand for nothing careers is drowned out, or simply lumped in with the right wingers. Wanna gripe about Hillary's humiliation of Bill's rape victims---join the other right wing nutcases. Want to say anything about the Clinton's personal crap overwhelming the Gore presidential candidacy giving us 8 years of Bush making Clinton look great by comparison----we will be happy to lump you with Limbaugh. We have proof that flip flopping and obfuscation works a hell of a lot more effectively than standing for anything.


This campaign could be the reverse image of Reagan's 1980 campaign----the more sensible, centrist George Bush would have lost to Carter---but Reagan---stood for something. I did not like that something, and I still don't----but his campaign proved that going to the centrist who has no principles, who stands for nothing except winning--is not necessarily the best strategy.

Posted by: kjoe on November 15, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

"As for coalition-building-- look up the woman's record in the Senate, will you?"

I checked her record, here are the bills she's passed:

Statistics: Hillary Clinton has sponsored 337 bills since Jan 22, 2001, of which 291 haven't made it out of committee (Very Poor) and 2 were successfully enacted (Average, relative to peers). Clinton has co-sponsored 1670 bills during the same time period (Average, relative to peers).

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/person.xpd?id=300022

Posted by: Keith on November 15, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hey TA

I come here to read interesting opinions, occasionally post an opinion or two, maybe have a conversation, stay informed. I know you don't like answering my questions, but see if you can answer this.

What the fuck do you know about how I act politicaly? What do you know about what values I have and how I live them out? Do you know the difference between stating an opinion and carrying out a plan of action? You don't know shit except for what you make up in that fevered little mind of yours.

Not that anything I say is going to change you, just be aware that everyone else here sees through your bullshit.

And take your meds, you'll feel better.

Posted by: tomeck on November 15, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

uh_clem: "I don't think Obama can win."

I don't, either. But I think Barack Obama would become an excellent vice-presidential candidate for either Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, and would certainly help bring the Democratic ticket full-circle.

And if Clinton is the nominee, she should offer the Attorney General's slot to Edwards contingent upon her election, and the State Department to Bill Richardson. When contrasted with the present occupants of those offices (who in truth are more like squatters), such a diverse and capable Democratic team would be truly inspirational, and the Democrats would win in a rout.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 15, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: "Some Republicans call Blumenthal 'Sid Vicious', because of his tough, nasty methods."

And I call you "Foghorn Leghorn", because of reasons quite obvious, not the least of which is your utterly hopeless addiction to whatever superficial GOP story arc happens to be in play that particular day.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 15, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think tA is "trolling," CM. That's what Al does. Rather, whether you agree with his premises or not, he is trying to set out some legitimate talking points.

That said, tA, as for ideological purity, I will likely vote Green again. Are there differences between Republicans and Democrats? Yes.

On several issues, are the differences significant enough, from where I come from, that I would vote for, at least, any of the "big three" Democrats in the general election?

Not likely. Not at all.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 15, 2007 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Obama won't be the VP nomination. No disrespect intended to the guy, but if he's not ready for Prez, then he's not ready for VP. He doesn't really bring that much to the party as VP. We already have Illinois in the blue column. He won't do anything for the South or West. Moroever, it will be hard enough to elect a woman. If HRC is the nominee, she'll have to go with a white Southerner, like Wes Clark. If Edwards is the nominee, he has more latitude than HRC; maybe someone from the West. Obama will simpy have to wait until his time comes. He'll be all of 55 years old in 2016.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 15, 2007 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

jrw: "So, a self-righteous ideal of purity is what made Obama, for example, vote against the war in Iraq? Jeez, we wouldn't want a candidate to be like that would we? I mean, when there are important flag-burning amendments to get behind."

Barack Obama was a member of the Illinois State Senate, not a member of Congress, when the congressional authorization for the use of force in Iraq was adopted in October 2002.

Oh, and thanks for proving Sid Blumenthal's point in spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 15, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

MaxGowan: "We already have Illinois in the blue column."

Not if Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevitch -- who coined the term "testicular fortitude" to characterize his supposed independence from Mayor Daley and the Chicago Democratic machine -- follows the dubious example of his GOP predecessor George Ryan, and goes down for the count with a federal indictment for felony corruption.

He's currently under investigation by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, and I must say, things don't look so good right now for Mr. Blagojevitch.

Please don't be so politically blase that you would take such states like Illinois for granted. That state is currently "blue" only because the Illinois Republicans self-destructed in rather spectacular fashion in 2000-02. If the Dems emulate their example, all bets are off.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 15, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I am very simple-minded, so very simply I support the candidate whose proposals are closest to what I think needs to be done. In my case that is Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich. If others prefer the proposals of Clinton or Obama then they should support those candidates.

I have enjoyed Blumenthal's writings in recent years but in all honesty I haven't the slightest idea what he means by "anti-politics", "a self-righteous ideal of purity" or "transcending political conflict can be transcended on angels' wings". Sounds to me like a bunch of noise directed at people who prefer to support a different candidate from the one that he supports.

The idea that I should support the candidate that someone else supports even though I don't like that candidate's proposals very much, just because someone else thinks that candidate is more "electable", doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 15, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

So I poke 'em with sharp sticks, to see how they jump. I don't do it to persuade, but to see what I can find out.

Unlike others who show up here, tA tends toward pet theories, rather than pet causes or issues, and he has this idea that TheoryMan is intellectually superior to HomoCausus and his descendent, IssueGuy. TheoryMan doesn't bother with lesser things like the paragraph, idea, or (heaven forfend) the gut reaction. TheoryMan goes in for the treatise, replete with numbered sections & ALL CAPS, lest any mouth breathers here lose track of the points on offer or place the emPHASis on the wrong sylLABle and thereby completely lose Very Important Ideas within said treatise.

The good thing about TheoryMan, though, is that he allows us to see the error of our ways. His ultimate goals are pretty much similar to ours, though his thought processes & strategies are different (and vastly superior). He pokes with sharp sticks not because he's a smug jackass interested in proving the simplemindedness of everybody else, but for the purity of research.

Posted by: junebug on November 15, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

"their stand for nothing careers..."

More proof: in a different thread, Kevin had wondered where the derangement about Clinton came from. Folks wondered about which pundit was jealous of Lewinsky, etc., -- and I noted that a lot of folks on the left are really annoyed with Bill Clinton precisely because he has so much political talent, and yet accomplished so little.

It's a fair rap against President Clinton, I think -- sure, he had enemies who were particularly icky, but a very long list of his political disappointments were self-inflicted.

I don't think you can make that stick on Senator Clinton. But it's a sign of the "anti-politics" bias that is pretty common among progressives these days that they will use it, or anything else they can imagine, to bash Senator Clinton with.

Her Senate record is pretty good, bearing in mind that she WAS the First Lady and a presumptive Presidential candidate from the day she got to the Senate -- RFK wasn't a major legislator, either. (And she has HIS seat in the Senate, no less.)

Her health care project wasn't a great success, but it WAS a great effort -- and frankly, that compares favorably with most Presidential candidates. (What's Romney or Huckabee or Obama or Fred ever even TRIED that's as big as universal health care?) She's not a sound bite.

In some ways, I think it's fair to compare Senator Clinton and her Democratic critics with Lincoln, or even Sam Houston. Horace Greeley famously dissed Lincoln for being too slow to make the war about slavery; Frederick Douglass said much the same thing -- but Douglass (if not Greeley) acknowledged after the war that Lincoln saw more clearly, and a lot farther, than he ever did. History remembers Greeley's attacks primarily for the brilliant way Lincoln rebutted 'em.

(And since Kevin likes the Yellow Rose story) Sam Houston spent WEEKS leading his ragtag Texas army away from Santa Ana, while folks dissed him something terrible cuz, being Texans and all, they were sure they could have whupped the far superior Mexican force at any time. But Houston knew his cause could not survive a major defeat, especially after the Alamo -- so he waited. And waited.

Not until the time was right and his enemy was vulnerable, did he attack: and he won. The critics evaporated: who knows or cares what they were saying before San Jacinto anymore?

Give Senator Clinton credit: she's not her husband. A lotta folks who are complaining about her now, won't help her win: the key for her is making sure they don't make us ALL lose. (Yeah, I'm looking at you Nader voters.)

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 15, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Donald, no disrespect intended, but Illinois isn't Blue because the GOP self-destructed and won't go for Romney or Rudy or whomever because of Blagovjavitch's problems. Look at the data: Kerry won by half a million votes. Half a million, for a campaign that was pathetic. Illionois went for Gore by over 600,000 votes. Illionois has been reliably blue for 20 years. We knew Kerry had lost when he gave up on Missouri: It's the border states and Southern states (and some promising Western/Rocky Mt. - like Colorado) that will tell the tale.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 15, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Research? Not me. A scientist, I ain't.

I meant what I said -- I poke folks around here with sharp sticks to see which way they jump.

Dice, f'r instance, reflexively looks for secondary or tertiary points, then tries to make a distinction without a difference -- all the more impressive when you realize that he's playing to the crowd with his "plain English sentences".

Meck (and many others) think that anybody who asks whether a particular response to some atrocity is effective, MUST therefore support the atrocity.

It's generally what folks take for granted that is the most revealing -- the idea that ANYBODY might legitimately think, gee, maybe there is no right to be unidentified (unless you live in a cave, I suppose), f'r instance, is anathema.

But what's more intriguing to me (and revealing) is when somebody even asks about whether taking that for granted is a good idea, the threads derail into often heated foodfights over just how fiercely folks (like Meck and Dice and Pale and Frankly and all those folks "standing tall") CAN take it for granted, as if the great American debate is between the headings 225 and 315 degrees.

Same thing on Iraq -- SOME folks would like us to get out with something, anything, worthwhile, if it's possible, and recognize that even if it's NOT possible, it's gonna take awhile. We sorta like a grown up attitude toward a war. We didn't vote for Bush (or Nader), but we recognize the dumsumbitch IS the President -- and he gets what he gets from us for that, as the man said in the Caine Munity, "cuz he's got the job or you're no good."

And we DON'T like the Brojo 'America is evil' approach, nor Frankly's idea that admiring Senator McCain for his service to our country is infantile.

I've watched folks take it for granted that Brojo and Frankly are much closer in those icky views to most folks on these threads than I am: that's why I noted that a # of folks here exemplify Blumenthal's "anti-political impulse".

Shows to go ya.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 15, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Now, THIS is a deliciously insightful commentary -- my sentiments, exactly!:

Sitting Out This Round of Candidate Charades
by Adolph L. Reed Jr.

OK, here we are again, a year out from a Presidential election, and we're all supposed to be figuring out which of the Democrats has the best chance to win -- determined mainly by the standard of raising the most money-and subordinating all our substantive political concerns to the objective of getting him or her elected. This time, I'm not going to acquiesce in the fiction that the Presidential charade has any credibility whatsoever. I'm not paying any attention to the horse race coverage -- that mass-mediated positioning in the battle for superficial product differentiation.

The Democratic candidates who are anointed "serious" are like a car with a faulty front-end alignment: Their default setting pulls to the right. They are unshakably locked into a strategy that impels them to give priority to placating those who aren't inclined to vote for them and then palliate those who are with bromides and doublespeak. When we complain, they smugly say, "Well, you have no choice but to vote for me because the other guy's worse." The party has essentially been nominating the same ticket with the same approach since Dukakis.

The last straw for me was the spectacle of all the "serious candidates" falling over one another to link Castro and Chvez with Ahmadinejad, bin Laden, and Kim, thus endorsing the Bush Administration's view that any government that does anything that ours doesn't like -- including giving its own people's needs higher priority than those of our corporations -- qualifies it as a supporter of terrorism, a rogue state, part of the Axis of Evil, or whatever comic book slogan is operative this week. Then came the supposedly anti-war Obama buttressing his commitment to increase overall American troop strength with a pledge to invade Pakistan. Then came his and HRC's tiff over the etiquette of publicly declaring a willingness to use nuclear weapons on a case-by-case basis, with both parties treating the issue as purely a matter of foreign policy gamesmanship. And this was during Hiroshima and Nagasaki week, no less! ...
.

Posted by: Poilu on November 15, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Before you jump on the HC bandwagon consider this:

"NEW YORK - Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton has joined Avenue Capital Group, a $12 billion hedge fund manager whose founder has contributed to many Democratic Party campaigns, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

Clinton, 26, the only child of former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, has taken a post at the New York-based fund manager in an undisclosed capacity, the source said."

Remember Kevin's recent posts about hedge fund manager tax loopholes? How the hedge fund managers got salary treated as capital gains and thus avoided taxes? Well guess who will probably be benefiting from that loophole in a few years? Little Chelsea! Do you really think HC and BC aren't cashing in as fast as possible?

They have hardly positioned themselves in opposition to the "malefactors of great wealth".

Electing HC will result in years of stage-managed social-issue kabuki theater, while real issues of job security, wage growth, and income inequality, remain untouched.

Posted by: Adam on November 15, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK
I don't think tA is "trolling," CM. That's what Al does.

I agree that what Al does is trolling. What tA describes is, nonetheless, also trolling. Yeah, they are different kinds of trolling; what they have in common is that they both deliberately aim to produce value for the poster engaging in them at the expense of the rest of the members of the forum, rather than engaging in honest, productive discussion with the other members of the forum.

If blog commenting software had half the sophistication of 1980s-era NNTP newsreaders, neither would matter much, because it would be trivial to killfile the offenders and proceed as if they didn't exist. But every new online discussion medium seems to forget the lessons learned from each previous iteration...

Posted by: cmdicely on November 15, 2007 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Adam wrote: "Electing HC will result in years of stage-managed social-issue kabuki theater, while real issues of job security, wage growth, and income inequality, remain untouched."

I don't think that Hillary Clinton will substantively challenge America's ultra-rich neo-fascist corporate-feudalist ruling class. Certainly, Bill Clinton didn't challenge them, and during his presidency, the rich got richer -- much richer -- faster than any other sector of society.

But in fairness, with regard to job security, wage growth, and income inequality, Americans were in fact much better off with the Clinton presidency than they have been with the Bush presidency.

Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are parties of, by and for America's ultra-rich corporate aristocracy. But the Democrats are the party of a "kinder and gentler" corporate aristocracy, and that difference isn't nothing.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 15, 2007 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

@SecularAnimist

What? This is supposed to be a serious response?

It's not a question of Democrats versus Republicans. It's a question of which Democrat.

Why would somebody choose HC over Edwards -- he made his money sticking it to the folks HC is trying to ingratiate herself with.

Posted by: Adam on November 15, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

tA,

What you think is your finger on the pulse of the nation is actually your thumb up your ass.

Look yourself up in the dictionary. You're a classic blowhard.

Posted by: frankly0 on November 15, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

@theAmericanist

You are not nearly the font of folksy down-home wisdom you think you are.

Posted by: Adam on November 15, 2007 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Come to think of it, the email address “pauldonnelly@medialever.com” brings to mind another poster with much the same posting style (though a different supposed background and set of interests) to theAmericanist, one who had abandoned their primary handle and was (rather transparently) posting under a number of different others (which have since faded out) at the time theAmericanist appeared.

Coincidence, I'm sure.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 15, 2007 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Arguments against Clinton from common sense
(1) All politicians are evil, the longer you are in politics the eviler you are. -- on this count Obama and Edwards are significantly better
(2) Political dynasties are BAD.
(3) The clintons have so much power over even the liberal blogosphere, that both Kevin and Atrios always post pro-Clinton peices with very little for other candidates
(4) Hillary doesn't stand for anything.

Posted by: Jor on November 15, 2007 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii Barack Obama was a member of the Illinois State Senate, not a member of Congress, when the congressional authorization for the use of force in Iraq was adopted in October 2002. Yup, sure got that wrong didn't I? But, how the heck does that prove Blumenthal's point, and what is his point, anyway? Other than we should vote for his candidate?

Posted by: jrw on November 15, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Now that's a real shame. I used to think a lot of Blumenthal--I guess his judgement isn't as good as I gave him credit for. Oh, well. Another one bites the dust.

Posted by: Helena Montana on November 15, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

You know, looking at this:

The Democrats at key junctures have been seduced by the illusion of anti-politics to their own detriment. Anti-politics upholds a self-righteous ideal of purity that somehow political conflict can be transcended on angels' wings.

I think its true in almost exactly the opposite sense that Blumenthal appears to intend. That is, there is a very real trend that seeks (or at least pretends) to transcend political conflict with a self-righteous ideal of purity, but its the politics (or "anti-politics", if you will) that campaigns on the premise that bipartisanship and compromise are independent goods, rather than tools that are necessary, in varying degrees, to acheive the best attainable outcomes on substantive policy. And the embrace of these as ends rather than means have been crippling to Democrats when the leadership has engaged in it.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 15, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think Obama could maybe win, but he wouldn't be effective at governing. Idealists as president don't seem to work out too well. They (Wilson, Carter) number among my favorite presidents, but they don't seem to enjoy too much success.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on November 15, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

I am in complete agreement with the rest of the Clinton supporters. Why take a chance on a real progressive or politician 2.0 when you could have a centrist who favors triangulation. It makes even more sense when you realize that Dems have the opportunity to pick up perhaps as many as five Senate seats. I am already looking forward to those 2010 midterm elections.

Posted by: long view on November 16, 2007 at 4:35 AM | PERMALINK

Anybody who is impressed with Wilson's idealism oughta learn more about his bigotry: the most racist American president, hands down.

(Cue Dice to explain something meaningless, then post my real email address again as evidence that I'm an imposter and how he is the soul of fairplay and intellectual rigor.)

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 16, 2007 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK
then post my real email address again as evidence that I'm an imposter and how he is the soul of fairplay and intellectual rigor.

Er, I didn't "post" (highlight, actually: you posted it by entering in the comment box) it as evidence that you were an imposter. I've previously posted about the rather uncivil email you've sent to me from that address, so I wouldn't suggest that the address wasn't really associated with the same person posting here. I did post it to suggest that you might have been posting here before you did so with your real address, and been a widely recognized troll before you were an admitted troll.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 16, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Dice today: "I didn't "post" (highlight, actually: you posted it by entering in the comment box) it as evidence that you were an imposter. "

Dice yesterday: "the email address "[]"brings to mind another poster with much the same posting style (though a different supposed background and set of interests) to theAmericanist, one who had abandoned their primary handle and was (rather transparently) posting under a number of different others"

QED

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 16, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Heh. Okay, I'll feed you a bit more since the thread seems otherwise dead, so its pretty harmless:

1) The quotes you printed are not in dispute,
2) The quotes you printed do not (despite your use of "QED" as if it were a magical incantation that would transform the absence of proof into proof) prove the point you offer them for, to wit, that I was offering your email address as proof that you were an imposter; they show that I offered your email address (which isn't the point in dispute), not that I did so to prove that you were an imposter, rather than to suggest the possibility that prior to posting under your real address, as you do now, you had posted under a different identity not linked to that address, an identity widely recognized as a troll here,
3) I'm not sure what you imagine the point of deleting your email address from the excerpt is: its still visible with every single post you make, as well as in the comment upthread.

Have fun!

Posted by: cmdicely on November 16, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ever see a baby lawyer caught in a lie?

"Er, I didn't "post" ... it as evidence that you were an imposter. "

"I offered your email address... to suggest the possibility that prior to posting under your real address, as you do now, you had posted under a different identity"

Is there ANYBODY who doesn't see through Dice's bullshit?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 16, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't we compromise and say you both posted it. Anybody who clicks on your name can see your e-mail address.

cmdicely posted an opinion on the possibility of your posting under other names previously. An opinion is not a fact so cannot be a lie, so he's not caught in anything.

Frankly, Paul, I don't think anyone gives a damn except you. But that's typical for the stuff you post here anyway.

Quick, call me stoooooopid again!

Posted by: tomeck on November 16, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Oddly enough, Meck, your post illustrates what I object to in your 'reasoning' more generally: Dice told a lie.

I had noted in passing, in a post about Wilson the racist, that Dice would say something meaningless and post my email address again as evidence that I'm an imposter, to show what a great guy he is.

Dice promptly lied: he said he hadn't really posted my email address, he had merely "highlighted" it... spelled out in a comment box.

It is UP TO ME that I sign these posts with my actual email address. I always have. (Well, I think once I posted as "theAmericanist's editor".) I've had assholes send me threats cuz I do that. But it keeps me honest -- when I say stuff around here, or anyplace else, you can check it out. I stand behind what I say -- and THAT, is up to me.

Dice wants to appear 'classy' -- so he figured to demonstrate what a classy guy he is, by posting MY email address in a comment box.

Then he made a distinction without a difference (which is what I've noted is his pattern), claiming that he hadn't actually 'posted' it, since of course anybody can click on my name to get it. But pointing TO that is a personal privilege: it's not up to Dice.

But it IS yet more proof that many folks who pose to themselves as models of fairness and integrity, who claim to value certain standards, abandon 'em in a heartbeat when anybody pisses 'em off: why do you think I post here? To poke you guys with sharp sticks and watch which way you jump. It's revealing.

I've noted that its my real email address myself, more than once. I figure that's MY privilege. I don't post here about ME -- though once in a blue moon when I've said something that I know a bit about and don't want to take up time adding detail here, I suggest folks can just email me. Now and again, somebody with more class than you or Dice, will do that.

The only other times I've suggested that folks email me directly is when knuckleheads like you challenge my bona fides more broadly -- I noted upthread here someplace, I think, that you're one of those folks who figures that when somebody like me asks if X is the smartest way to counter some Bush atrocity, than that person must SUPPORT the atrocity.

And wouldn't even YOU agree that this is stooooooooopid?

Dice notes that we had what diplomats call a 'frank and candid exchange of views' once in private email -- the sum of it for me is that I had foolishly thought he knew something about a subject that I know a lot about, and would thus be worth arguing with. I realized after an exchange or two that he actually knew nothing about it, and wasn't willing to learn, either.

And of course we can see what a classy guy he is: caught in a lie, and... well, speaks for itself, don't it?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 16, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

I noted upthread here someplace, I think, that you're one of those folks who figures that when somebody like me asks if X is the smartest way to counter some Bush atrocity, than that person must SUPPORT the atrocity.

I was arguing against the law. You were arguing with me. Natural assumption is that you were in favor.

Let's look at the first two exchanges.

I wrote

I dislike the voter ID solution for a lot of reasons. One is that voting should be as easy, not as dificult as possible. What requirement is Rove going to want next after we demand photo IDs?
But more than all the arguements pro and con, ultimately the photo ID for voting is bogus because it's a solution in search of a problem. There is NO documentation (outside of a few anecdotes) that people are using identity theft to vote.
So folks, how many more laws do you want the government to pass that make your life a little more difficult for no reason at all? I'm not a Liberatarian, but let's have a reason before we start regulating behavior.

You wrote

'Meck: you EPITOMIZE the lazy progressive on this one. 'Well, I'm not convinced, so it's not a problem: gee, how come we're losing?'

I state a position, you come back with an insult. Which is fine if that's what you want to do and putting up with crap like this is part of the price one pays for coming here.

But where is your evidence that I'm a "lazy progressive." This is a forum for stating views, not posting the political actions we take. Like I said before, you don't know a damn thing about what I do or don't do. Where did I say "it's not a problem"? And I think there are many reasons why progressives have lost elections in the last decade, and there are things I've tried to do to reverse that. The fact that I didn't put them all in this short post about voter ID laws doesn't make me some naive dopehead.

So like I said, if you want to post crap like that, well, that's your right. Just don't expect me or anybody else to buy into it. I don't know what you're trying to accomplish, but if it's anything other than making yourself look like an ass, then you're failing.

Posted by: tomeck on November 16, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Bernard Shaw had a great line on the point in Caesar and Cleopatra. At the beginning of the play, Cleopatra is basically a smart ditz surrounded by ditzy ladies in waiting; Caesar teaches her ruthless statecraft, so naturally by the middle of the play she is bored by her ditzy ladies in waiting, complaining to Caesar that she can't stand to listen to them. He tells her she SHOULD listen to them, because she can learn so much. She scoffs, what on earth could she possibly learn listening to 'em? Caesar's answer is deadly:

"Who they are."

I stated a position too, ya know: that you epitomize progressive sloth. You want folks to ASSUME you do not, but you didn't argue it. So fwiw, observe the cascading pieces of evidence for my position:

1) "I was arguing against the law. You were arguing with me. Natural assumption is that you were in favor."

It's only a 'natural assumption' if you're too lazy to notice what I'd actually said, which you are THAT lazy.

2) "I state a position, you come back with an insult."

Actually, I kinda succinctly expressed not only your position, but ALSO your role on these threads in general, and this one in particular: "'Well, I'm not convinced, so it's not a problem: gee, how come we're losing?"

3) You seem to have forgotten to cash the reality check: Voter ID laws have passed in several states, are likely to pass in several more; and that the way Clinton got into trouble over the driver's license for "undocumented" in one debate (and Obama, same issue, last night) has much more to do with voter fraud than driving.

I ALSO noted when you and Dice kept arguing PROSPECTIVELY, that you were downright feeble about it -- there is a TON of credible argument to the ideas that move Voter ID legislation, and there are many bills which have already passed.

So the 'I'm not convinced, prove it', is by definition the lazy approach: as if YOU are the person whose mind needs to be changed.

(In case you still don't get this, if it was up to YOU, these laws wouldn't have passed in the first place. Since the laws HAVE passed, and more are likely to, and Presidential candidates are having trouble with these issues, well -- seems sorta like maybe the 'gee, is the 'prove it' approach working?" question might be worth more than your bullshit was willing to give it, huh?)

Finally,

4) I've pretty much sounded Dice; he ain't very deep. But his support around here, for want of a better term, is sorta interesting. Folks who argue for a living (as opposed to Dice, who's just learning) see through his technique pretty fast. The "I didn't post, I HIGHLIGHTED" rationalization is the sorta thing that gets lawyers disbarred.

But progressives/Democrats ARE the political party most closely associated with useless lawyering, so Dice's appeal, such as it is, isn't entirely irrelevant to the fault lines in the good guys' appeal to the broader electorate.

I invented "theAmericanist" to test this sorta thing, in a relatively harmless way: put it like this -- I learn a lot more from you than you do from me, evidently.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 16, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK
Oddly enough, Meck, your post illustrates what I object to in your 'reasoning' more generally: Dice told a lie.

Where?

I posted that your email address reminded me of a different poster with a particular history.

I posted that I did that to suggest that you posted here under a previous name previously, not that you were an "imposter".

Neither of these is a lie.

Dice promptly lied: he said he hadn't really posted my email address, he had merely "highlighted" it... spelled out in a comment box.

No, actually, I didn't say that I hadn't posted it. I said that I hadn't posted it as evidence that you were an imposter, but instead to suggest that you may have posted under a different name before doing so under your real one.


(I also noted in an aside since you made it publicly visible yourself, "highlighted" would be a more accurate term than "posted" for what I did with the address, but noting that a term is not the most accurate in a parenthetical aside is not the same as stating that it is flatly wrong.)

claiming that he hadn't actually 'posted' it, since of course anybody can click on my name to get it.

That's not what I claimed, nor is it somethign I would claim, since clicking on your name is not required to get. At least using most user agents that could be used to browse the web.

See, when you say that people have claimed things that they haven't (and we're up to how many examples of that so far, just in this thread?), that's a lie.

It is UP TO ME that I sign these posts with my actual email address. I always have. (Well, I think once I posted as "theAmericanist's editor".) I've had assholes send me threats cuz I do that. But it keeps me honest

No, it clearly doesn't do that. You rarely post here without lieing about what someone else has said. It may make you modestly accountable, but it falls far short of assuring honesty in practice.

But pointing TO that is a personal privilege: it's not up to Dice.

How do you figure? Certainly, it is your choice whether or not to make it publicly available. Once you do, its not your choice if someone comments on it. Even under most of the somewhat elaborate codes of netiquette that were frequently touted (though observed far less) in the days before the Web and AOL when Usenet was king. (Though, of course, the common "neither post nor respond to inflammatory messages" recommendation [see, e.g., RFC 1855] would apply to most of what you post here and most of the responses to it, but that's different than the email issue.)

Now, were I to go beyond that and post personal information you hadn't yourself first posted to the group (such as your address, phone number, etc.), that would be inappropriate. Its your choice what information about yourself to make public here.


Dice notes that we had what diplomats call a 'frank and candid exchange of views' once in private email -- the sum of it for me is that I had foolishly thought he knew something about a subject that I know a lot about, and would thus be worth arguing with.

That's a rather...interesting...decription of the pile of personal abuse you hurled at me over email. I think a more accurate expectation is that you tried to do personally what you've admitted you do here publicly: "To poke you guys with sharp sticks and watch which way you jump."


And of course we can see what a classy guy he is: caught in a lie, and...

The only one getting caught in lies here is you, PDon.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 16, 2007 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Right.

Posted by: tomeck on November 16, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

"to suggest that you posted here under a previous name previously, not that you were an "imposter"

QED.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 16, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK
I invented "theAmericanist" to test this sorta thing

In the same way that you invented "Don P", "Atheist", "GOP", and others prior to the trolling handle which you would attach to your real name and email address?

I learn a lot more from you than you do from me

Yeah, there's a lot more to learn from people attempting to engage in honest, productive discussion than from lying trolls. Nothing surprising there.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 16, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK
QED.

<ThePrincessBride>
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means...
</ThePrincessBride>

Posting pseudonymously does not make you an "imposter" if you aren't stealing someone elses identity (and while it does seem like another troll may have stolen the "Don P" identity that you may coined, I've never suggested the reverse...each of the identities adopted by "Don P", including "theAmericanist", was previously unusued.) Posting pseudonymously and then under your real identity doesn't make you an imposter, either. So, suggesting that you were posting pseudonymously and then under your real identity—while it might suggest other negative things about you—is not the same as suggesting that you are an "imposter". They aren't even similar.


Posted by: cmdicely on November 16, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Tell ya what, Dice: look up the law on slander and libel.

Then email me. Cuz you and I are gonna have a SERIOUS talk.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 16, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK
Tell ya what, Dice: look up the law on slander and libel.

That's quite a substantial body of law; I'm already familiar with the general outline, of course, but if you want me to more fully investigate some particular aspect of it (in addition to giving me a reason) you'll need to let me know more specifically what you want me to review. Start with: do you want me look up the law of slander, or the law of libel.

Then, you know, the more detailed question of what about that law do you want me to look at: The rather broad protection of opinion? The high bar to defamation actions by public figures, including limited-purpose public figures within the scope of that status? Something else?

Then email me. Cuz you and I are gonna have a SERIOUS talk.

No, we're not going to have an email discussion of that or any other topic. If you'd like to have a serious and non-public discussion about libel law, I suggest contacting an attorney specializing in that field.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 16, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

More to the point, asshole, you just committed the reason.

Still, I suppose I should be grateful -- having started as a more or less run of the mill bloviator on subjects you know nothing of, you've now illustrated for me how you will downright fucking hallucinate that somebody who shows plainly you're a fool (e.g., those 'plain English sentences' of yours), must be... this guy. Or THAT guy. No, wait -- he's somebody else, too!

Fair warning: don't do it again, Dice.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 16, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK
you've now illustrated for me how you will downright fucking hallucinate that somebody who shows plainly you're a fool (e.g., those 'plain English sentences' of yours), must be... this guy.

Still having trouble with plain English? Familiarize yourself with the meaning of the words and phrases "may", "possibly", and "might have been".

They don't mean the same thing as "must".

Fair warning: don't do it again, Dice.

If you walk and quack like a duck, I will continue to suggest the possibility that you might be a duck.

But if you think your laughable threats are going to get me to stop making suggestions which have far more grounding than the things you've claimed as fact about me in every thread we've engaged in—or even if you think they will be successful into getting me to exchange email with you again as you requested along with your last threat—you are rather mistaken.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 16, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Well, at least I know now why he doesn't seem to be posting on any of the recent threads.

CM: you do good work, but I'm afraid the cause is hopeless. They say you should speak truth to power, but speaking truth to assholes is probably less rewarding.

Posted by: tomeck on November 16, 2007 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

No guts, no glory, Dice.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 16, 2007 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

No guts, no glory

Marvelous! E-mail at 20 paces, to the Death!

Posted by: tomeck on November 16, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Naa... it's simple put up or shut up. (fat chance)

In no particular order, the issues that I've argued around here include that you guys exemplify the 'anti-politics' Blumenthal was tagging, a long-ish bit with Hacksaw and the writer Jerry Mayer trying to get Hack to say how states' rights could have kilt Jim Crow, that the 'prove it's needed' response to ALREADY ENACTED Voter ID laws ain't effective, torture, and that Beauchamp was obviously lying (and TNR covering it up), among other things. (Most threads I don't bother with, they don't interest me.)

In the ones that interest me, you guys have posted essentially useless stuff, which as quickly as you can become personal attacks on me when I point out they're useless, viz., Shortstop's idea that I'm neglecting my family, or Dice egging the mighty Elmo to threaten me more (in private email, no less). In ALL cases that I recall, your 'contributions' to arguments have been more or less beside the point -- Meck, f'r instance, still doesn't seem to notice that although he is not personally convinced a law is necessary, it isn't actually repealed; while Dice likes to grab tertiary points and make a distinction (viz., he didn't "post" my email address in a comment box, he merely "highlighted" it) that makes no difference.

And all this, cuz I don't mince words: when you express ignorant or idiotic opinions, I note this marks you as stooooopid.

I'm not particularly against making this sorta dialogue personal in a "yeah, sez who?" sorta manner: I have asked Dice to back up some of his bullshit with questions like 'have you ever settled a case? negotiated a deal?" I asked those, cuz Dice's habit is to churn the file rather than solve a problem.

What baffles me is how folks don't seem to see through it.

You guys are marvels of groupthink: hothouse flowers in a cold and windy world. Dice likes to brag (and he gets an amen corner sometimes) that he's 'refuted' me over and over -- riiight.

What he DOES get are folks like you, Meck: who missed the point from the jump: you want to express YOURSELF (no one has proved the need for Voter ID laws!), and hear echoes (yeah, you're right: those nasty Republicans, getting away with it again....)

Me, I wanna win.

Look at the last torture thread: I argue that the key to EFFECTIVELY opposing this crap is FIRST to attack the Notion that it yields any useful information. (If you say 'it's evil" first, and only THEN say "and it's useless", the message is that you care less about security than your own self-righteousness.) After you have first effectively attacked its utility, proponents are left with "okay, so it doesn't work: but it's evil and cruel, too!"

I posted as a proof of this the funny Comedy Central bit where a guy is waterboarded until he finally "answers" that the capitol of Maryland is... Baltimore: "proof that torture works."

Somebody ACTUALLY posted that my anecdote was wrong cuz, um, it's Annapolis.

And Know Nothing Jeff promptly announced that she had handed me my ass.

THAT'S the dynamic you guys play out, every damn time we argue. You couldn't be dumber if you worked at it -- which I suspect you do.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 17, 2007 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

Meck, f'r instance, still doesn't seem to notice that although he is not personally convinced a law is necessary, it isn't actually repealed;

I haven't noticed any legislators runnig to repeal that law in Indiana (or wherever) based on your opposition to it. I guess you don't have any more influence than I do, or are you just lazy?

And my state doesn't have that law, no one has proposed it, and if some Rove dittohead does propose it then it won't go anywhere since both houses are controlled by the Democrats. I work on issues here that confront us now. I don't need you to set my agenda.

By the way, I never knew anyone older than 13 who thought it was cool to write "stoooopid."

Posted by: tomeck on November 17, 2007 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

That's cuz it isn't "cool". It's kewl.

And as yet more evidence of your utter laziness: I wasn't talking about trying to repeal the Indiana law.

I argued for directly helping folks to vote. (As it happens, that's the effective framing.)

Thus, I note your stooooopidity.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 17, 2007 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

No, actually, in your first post you didn't say a damn word about helping people vote

So, just to be a pain in the neck, GO there, already: what would y'all say if a candidate for office wanted your vote to create a national identification system in which each American, for free, would be uniquely and reliably identified?
I got scars from this one, folks: so be CLEAR -- are you for it, or against it, and why?

So I said I was against it and gave a couple of reasons. And your neck turned red.

In your second post, you're not talking about helping people vote, rather you're talking about knuckling under to Rove and saying we should get people to vote with the photo ID cards.

I'm with Mr. Bill on this one -- and I'll go further: this is one of those issues where progressives (and Democrats) are simply flat out LAZY. We don't like clarity cuz it's too much work.
1) There is a real argument about identification. Civil libertarians are deeply suspicious of "papers, please". So we face a choice. Let's make it.
If somebody wants to be anonymous, that's fine -- but not if they want to do business here, in any way. If you work, ya gotta pay taxes. If you vote, ya gotta register. To pay taxes or register to vote, you have to be identified. That's a good thing, not a bad thing.

Registered Voters aren't anonymous if they lack a photo ID. They already proved their ID when they registered. Likewise, they pay their taxes without a photo Id.

Mr. Bill is right: we should GO AFTER the folks without identification, make 'em proud to tell The Man who they are and VOTE.
Let's punch the bad guys in the nose first for a change.

So that's real effective, surrender to Rove's plan to disenfranchise poor and minorities and foist a national ID card on the country. If that's effective, I'll take lazy any day.

Posted by: tomeck on November 17, 2007 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Well, my goodness gracious -- after several days, Meck finally catches on to the original thread. Dayum, dude -- who knows but one day you might actually make a scrap of sense, given enough time? (like the proverbial monkeys at a keyboard.)

You ARE gonna have to work on your literacy, though: asking if folks would support "a national identification system" (which isn't the same as a document, but I realize that's over your head), IS about helping folks to vote.

Here is another example of where, yanno, LITERACY is useful: "you're not talking about helping people vote, rather you're talking about knuckling under to Rove and saying we should get people to vote with the photo ID cards."

Try connecting your clauses without the characterization: "you're not talking about helping people vote, rather you're ... saying we should get people to vote with the photo ID cards."

(Cue Dice to post my email address again, and claim that I'm really the Dalai Lama.)

Meck, you're not quite doing Dice's bullshit of a distinction without a difference, cuz while you're not much smarter you're fundamentally more honest than Dice: the distinction between "voting" and "voting with a photo ID" is, of course, the photo ID: which you're against.

So -- if you had the brains -- you'd have noticed that in practice, by not only opposing the solution but ALSO denying the problem, you're supporting the alternative: NOT voting cuz folks don't have photo IDs.

That happens to be the problem Kevin posted about. He also posted the explanation -- these laws benefit Republicans. (I remind you of that, cuz you kept demanding to know "what are these laws good for?" I dunno why the main point of Kevin's original post, which I have reminded you of at least four times, still escapes you: but then, I was riting in plain English. Perhaps Dice can translate it into bullshit?)

Careful now, cuz this is where you just MIGHT learn something: remember, you pretty much hallucinated out of sheer laziness that I was arguing FOR the voter ID bills. Strive to hold onto the tiny bit of progress you made, realizing that in fact, I was not, and never did: you were WRONG. Cuz when you start there, you might get someplace useful, instead of your usual mental cul de sac.

As you kindly pointed out, my first post asked about a "national identification system". As several posts (not just mine, either) noted, one advantage of a national system is that IDs could be provided to everybody for free, and be valid for eligible voters.

So you spent several days arguing with me AGAINST THE MOST DIRECT WAY TO ENSURE THAT THE FOLKS WHO GET SCREWED BY VOTER ID LAWS CAN STILL VOTE.

After all this time, you've finally got around to arguing the point I originally made in my first post in this thread. My goodness, what took you so long? It wasn't like I used Dicewriting to say it.

So, here's the answer why it took you so long:

As you generously observed, you don't want anybody setting YOUR political agenda. You're not convinced that there is any need for these laws -- and (as I've reminded you) that's not exactly motivating folks to repeal 'em, and not much of an obstacle to passing 'em (which you noted yourself).

Which is why I observed -- quite accurately, as you keep proving -- that you epitomize the lazy progressive. Your sole purpose in the last dozen posts or so, has been to scoff at me... cuz I have been posting in this thread about directly helping the folks screwed by voter ID laws to vote.

And you COMPLAIN that I observe you're stooooopid?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 17, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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