Newt Gingrich’s Big Speech & the GOP’s Foreign Policy Civil War

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newt-gingrich.jpgCenter for American Progress Senior Fellow Brian Katulis has given Politico an essay on the foreign policy divide in the GOP that I would have loved to run here at The Washington Note.
His oped captures well the brewing tension inside Republican circles between those who on one hand want to put forward a constructive, national-interest driven strategy that has at its core a patriotic commitment to reinventing American power and those on the other who engage in blustery, pugnacious nationalism that either clobbers other countries in efforts to remake them or walls them off from America.
Katulis is anticipating a major speech to be given by Newt Gingrich at the American Enterprise Institute tomorrow, Thursday, titled “America at Risk: Camus, National Security, and Afghanistan“. (Gotta love the title.)
The question Katulis asks is which part of the GOP foreign policy crowd will Newt Gingrich, who will likely attack the Obama administration’s national security course and priorities, reach out to.
As Katulis writes in his essay:

Dissension in the Republican ranks was on full display in the conservative reactions to the Obama administration’s National Security Strategy this spring. Conservative foreign policy analysts couldn’t decide whether to accuse the Obama administration of plagiarism or treason. Some praised the strategy as a continuation of the Bush administration’s approach; others condemned it as a recipe for weakness and an appeasement of America’s enemies.

Newt Gingrish’s speech will livestream here or can be seen in the box above starting at 2 pm on Thursday, 29 July.
Should be an interesting show. I hope Dick Cheney or John Bolton get the first question.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

159 comments on “Newt Gingrich’s Big Speech & the GOP’s Foreign Policy Civil War

  1. David says:

    So my Sweetie is driving through Windermere (Florida), you know, the place where all those rich athletes and other such folk live, and coming toward her is an older black guy in his beater work truck, not speeding, not weaving, just driving. Windermere cop makes a U-turn, roars up behind the guy, can’t stop him for anything, so he roars in front of him while he runs the license tag. Apparently nothing, but the cop still accomplished his goals: profiling, intimidation, and sending the message that black guys in beater work trucks are not welcome. They ain’t Tiger.
    Profiling in Florida is so common as to be a norm. Intimidating poor blacks, de rigeur when I was a younster growing up in apartheid Florida, simply has not gone away. Hell, Jeb Bush succeeded in disenfrancishing a whole slew of blacks guilty of nothing but trying to vote while black. Favorite trick in the past, and still used from time to time, is to set up traffic roadblock checkpoints on election day near polling places with significant black constituents.
    I’m thinking everyone entering Arizona, especially whites who don’t think much of Arizona’s anti-Hispanic law (yes, it is anti-Hispanic, being profiled sucks, and having any law enforcement official demand identification is unsettling, especially if you’ve done nothing wrong) should stop at the nearest welcome station and ask who they should present their passports to. I will.

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  2. questions says:

    POA writes:
    “And if someone fair skinned cannot produce valid documents establishing identity, you contend they will get a free ride, get cut loose? ”
    questions replies:
    Someone fair skinned won’t get carded. Funny how that works. Suspicion, reasonable or not, is a funny thing. Brown people seem to be, in this country, always already “suspicious” which means that they will be carded more often, even if police actually try not to.
    And if they don’t card enough “suspicious” people, they can be sued by their own townfolk.
    In fact, Brewer realized she was in dangerous water over the profiling issue and had to back off it a bit in a re-write of the law.
    Aside from using random checkpoints that stop everyone, it’s kind of hard to avoid the profiling issue, though.
    (By the way, just as an aside, is everyone who disagrees with you automatically rectal?)

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  3. questions says:

    POA, you are conflating so many issues it’s unbelievable.
    The question at hand is, is there a requirement in California, a LEGAL requirement, that you carry identification with you at all times. It looks like the answer is no, in fact, there is no legal requirement.
    Why do I say there’s no legal requirement as far as I can tell? Well, because the relevant Supreme Court case on identifying yourself under a reasonable suspicion stop by police seems to suggest that all you have to do is STATE YOUR NAME, since that’s what the guy in the lawsuit refused to do.
    Further, on a wiki list of states that have stop and identify LAWS, California does not appear. Perhaps they have added a stop and identify law since then. The place to look is in the California Code. I don’t do code. If there’s a lawyer out there who does, I’d be interested. Or, POA, you could call your local police station and ask a non-emergency officer if there is now a stop and identify law in California.
    If they don’t have a stop and identify law, I have a hard time thinking they’d have a required ID carry law. The two seem connected in my thinking.
    Remember this interchange from above:
    questions:
    “”Oh, and POA, when you walk down the street,you have to carry your drivers license?”
    POA:
    Yes. California REQUIRES adult citizens to have either a valid California Drivers License, OR, if not a driver, a valid California ID card.
    See, thats the problem, questions. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about on this issue.”
    So you’re saying you HAVE to have ID, and I haven’t found anything that says you do, and more to the point, that you have to have it with you wherever you go…. Now maybe we’re just talking at cross purposes, and really you mean that it’s just a good idea to ID, or maybe there really is a law in CA that says you have to have ID but you don’t have to carry it…. I don’t know. If you find the statute, go ahead and post it.
    ****
    Note by the way that if you’re stopped by the cops for mild speeding and you don’t have your license, they can haul you in, or they can give you a ticket and a warning and a court date at which you have to show you license. All of this is based on police prerogative and we should be vary wary about expanding this prerogative. It opens up a lot more space for racial profiling, and it makes Scalia and Thomas salivate in joy at the thought of locking up more people rather than fewer as they seem to prefer locking up now and checking for accuracy later as a general legal outlook on life.
    ******
    The second issue is whether or not one can function w/o some kind of identification — clearly that’s pretty hard to do anymore, since you have to show id to use credit cards (sometimes) and to open accounts and get passports and get on planes and buy alcohol (it’s now mandated for EVERYone in Indiana to show ID to get alcohol, regardless of how weathered and ancient you appear to be — reasonable way to cut down on underage drinking probably, but many younger people are very upset about it, as are those who are OBVIOUSLY over 21).
    So, ultimately, the question isn’t is life easier with an ID, it’s is it legal to demand ID papers under “reasonable suspicion” or under any other standard.
    Is it possible to set up an ID check that isn’t based on racial profiling of brown people who wear certain kinds of clothes and shoes and speak funny?
    And finally, is it at all desirable to have a state supersede the federal government when it doesn’t like the fed’s policy on some issue?
    My sense in all of this is that, no, I don’t want states superseding the feds. No, I don’t want ID checks based on skin color and reasonable suspicion. And no, I don’t really, ultimately, want mass deportations that split families, enforcement that takes basically American kids and denies them education and sends them “back” to a country they don’t know, and I’m guessing that the labor issues underlying all of this are fairly complicated such that simplistic enforcement of border laws and the summary dumping of human beings isn’t going to help.
    Generally, racial animus is, well, racial. I don’t feel it, I don’t approve of it, and I worry when we scapegoat brown people over economic difficulties that have their sources elsewhere.
    If you want to explode, explode at the right targets — the immobile labor market as compared to the mobile capital market (kind of abstract, but there you go), the disaster that Mexico has created, the way that we take advantage of Mexican production, Mexican cheap labor, Mexican drugs so that we can have a somewhat better and cheaper life.
    Remember that much of the labor done by Mexicans has been done by other outcast social groups over time, and as groups move more “in” other groups need to take up the space. You really won’t get lettuce, grapes, strawberries and the other really hard to harvest crops picked by American laborers. You won’t find builders who are willing to pay labor and you won’t find American laborers willing to work for 5 bucks an hour under the table — so there will be less of everything done here.
    In a low wage world, high wage workers will increasingly find themselves shut out of the labor market. As I’ve said before, status loss sucks. Big time. And that is what is happening to the American labor market.
    Scapegoating brown people isn’t going to help.
    In fact, those brown people end up helping the economy by buying food, renting houses or trailers, and shopping at the local Salvation Army.
    But I’m sure nothing will convince you that you haven’t come upon THE solution to what ails you — mass deportations…. Ugh.
    And yes, POA, FEDERAL LAW requires that those here on visas carry ID with them at all times. No one disputes that. The issue is a lot more complicated though. That’s the part about a FEDERAL CRIME vs. a STATE CRIME. Maybe you don’t see the difference? It’s kind of abstract, in a way, is preemption.
    But the court injunction is based on the idea that immigration is a federal prerogative, a federal issue, not something for the states. It’s related to foreign policy which is completely under the fed. Arizona can’t make treaties with Mexico, and they can’t make immigration crimes be state crimes as well.
    If there’s something not clear here, just try saying, hey, this isn’t clear, instead of getting all rectal the way you do.
    And for good measure, regarding the “30+ years of law” thing — did I depend solely on that, or did I find the court opinion and give a link? I believe that I found the Court opinion and looked it over and found that the “30+ years” guy was probably right. Then I found the Wiki list of stop and identify states which would seem to bolster the case.
    Ugh.

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  4. Carroll says:

    Awful lot of words expended on illegal Mexican immigration.
    Some of us say illegal is illegal.
    Other claim it’s all just racism.
    The real conversation should be about the fact that Mexico is close to a failed state….”despite” all the international corps that have moved there for cheap labor. Actually it is a failed state already for 60% of their population.
    Consider….Co Cola, Maytag, Microsoft, Toyota, GE, GM, etc.,etc….all jobs that could have stayed here…AND yet, AND still ..it hasn’t made a dent in the Mexican joblessness and poverty or Mexicans fleeing Mexico.
    Consider these stats for Mexico:
    Elites (wealthy)…10%
    Middle Class…….30%
    Poverty Class……60%
    Does this remind you of Batista and Cuba?
    Do we have another little corrupt Latin country club on our doorstep? Probably if there was an ocean between us and Mexico the Mexicans would have been forced to come up with a Castro. As it is it’s easier to jump the fence than revolt. Mexico is heaven for the Mexican political elites who rule and for US capitalist.
    The Mexican elites btw control almost all of the land ownership in Mexico…that’s why the 60% in poverty live in one room buildings in the major cities and shacks in the countryside. Guess that’s why they don’t mind living in rundown trailers on farms and apts. in crime ridden neighborhoods in the US.
    A corrupt capitalist ruled US unwilling to upset the corrupt elite rule’s apple cart in Mexico equals Americans who pay the price and Mexicans who pay the price.
    Some years ago right after friends of ours moved to San Miguel there was a protest riot over wages by Mexican workers at a US owned manufacturing plant and the Mexican police swooped in on helicopters and fired on the protesting workers…. does that give you a clue to what the problem is in Mexico?

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  5. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, are you really trying to say that America does not have the manpower and technology to secure the border, and cut the current flood of illegals down to a trickle? Secure the border, and open the gates of legal immigration wider. It can be done and ought to be done.
    Sure, a big, deep, hard-to-breech wall with electronic surveillance would be expensive, on the order of $10s of billions, but that’s nothing to our free spending government. Here’s the ultimate shovel-ready job. But Obama wants the border open. He sees an additional 50 million Mexicans in America as job insurance. For him, naturally, not for Americans.
    But he’s taking a big risk. What if there’s another terror attack – this time by guys who know how to make a working bomb – at it turns out the terrorists came over the Southern border, not wishing to face border guards?

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  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Pulled that one out of your ass too, didn’t you? You find some website, and post some opinion from someone that identifies themselve with the qualifier “30+ years as a criminal defense attorney”, and on your planet, its the gospel.
    Ok, so lets assume your anonymous dingleball source is correct and credible…..
    Try getting a passport with no valid legal ID.
    Or a Drivers License.
    Or a duplicate SS card.
    Or a credit card.
    Or an account with a utility.
    Or a bank account.
    But you don’t think sufficient red flags are raised when someone can’t produce ANY of these? Or the documents they present are obvious forgeries???
    And if someone fair skinned cannot produce valid documents establishing identity, you contend they will get a free ride, get cut loose?
    Under Arizona’s law only hispanics are subject to producing valid identification documents???? Is that your asinine contention? And are not these documents, or lack of these documents, valid indicators through which law enforcement can make a reasonable assumption about citizenship?
    BTW, asshole, FEDERAL law requires that legal immigrants obtain a green card. Do you suppose that law was enacted so that the immigrant could refuse to produce it when asked??? Tell me, what exactly is the point in a “green card” when assholes like yourself don’t think immigrants should need one?
    Why the hell don’t we open ALL the points of entry, jackass??? Hell, lets do away with this discriminatory business of only allowing Hispanics to piss on the law. Lets open this thing up to Muslims too, allow unfettered and undocumented entry of millions of Iranians, Pakistanis, Palestinians, Somalians, etc?
    Why not, you sputtering jackass? Whats the difference, if not race? Obviously, allowing only our southern borders to remain porous is a racist policy. Lets do away with passport and visa laws too, while we are at it. Don’t you think it is racist to demand passports from Swedes entering our country? Norwegians??? Damn, racial profiling at its worst. How dare we demand documentation in such a discrimatory fashion.
    So the next time you get pulled over, jackass, just tell the cop to fuck off, you don’t need no ID. And traveling abroad??? Tell the Customs inspector to kiss your ass, that he’s a racist for demanding documentation.

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  7. questions says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_and_identify_statutes
    Stop and identify laws by state.
    According to this, California is not a stop and identify state which would suggest to my unschooled and ignorant brain that as of 2009 at least, in CA you don’t have to carry papers.
    Note that “reasonable suspicion” is the standard language for the stops and it’s a very low standard.
    I think the AZ law was redone to make it a little harder to stop and question, but not sufficiently hard, and besides, it’s a pre-emption case at this point.

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  8. questions says:

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=000&invol=03-5554
    Here’s more on the Hiibel case which seems to be the one to look at.
    I will read more carefully soon.
    If one of the lawyers around here wants to translate this into English, that would be helpful.
    I think the basic idea is that you don’t have to have papers, but you do have to state your name, and you cannot falsify.
    If it’s a Supreme Court decision, I assume it overrides any state’s requirement that you carry id papers.
    Of course, alcohol, driving, financial transactions, gun carrying and other behaviors might well mandate the carrying of id. But just walking around (or jogging) doesn’t seem to.
    But POA if you find something different, feel free to post and correct my misinterpretation.

    Reply

  9. questions says:

    “First, what the United States Supreme Court said. What the United States Supreme Court held in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial Dist. Court (2004) 542 U.S. 177, was that a state could make it a crime for a person to refuse to identify himself (i.e., tell the officer his name and address) when lawfully detained for criminal activity. Note that the Supreme Court did NOT say that any kind of identification papers could be required, nor did they say that police officers could ordinarily arrest someone for refusing to identify himself absent a state law permitting that arrest. There is no law in the United States requiring everybody to carry ID, at least not yet.
    There is NO law in California requiring anybody to carry identification. There is no law making it illegal for anyone (even someone lawfully detained) to fail to have identification papers or to refuse to identify himself (there was such a law, which was declared unconstitutional). Thus, Hiibel is of no effect in California, since there is no comparable law there. (It is, however, a crime to give a FALSE identification.)
    A person CANNOT be arrested just for failing to identify himself or failing to have ID, even with a lawful detention. It is NOT interfering with an officer. The only effect of not having ID occurs if a police officer has probable cause to believe an arrestee has committed a criminal offense. A police officer who could otherwise give an arrestee a citation to appear would instead take the person into custody to appear before a magistrate. But this is ONLY if the officer has probable cause to believe the person has committed a crime–NOT just because the person did not have ID.
    Of course, one must have identification in his or her possession when driving, and a police officer obviously can demand to see a drivers license from any driver lawfully detained.
    Source(s):
    30+ years as a criminal defense attorney
    * 3 years ago”
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071003114409AAOBi8n
    ****
    It is definitely hard to find laws requiring the carrying of id cards at all times.
    I don’t think the AZ law requires citizens to carry papers anyway. Only those whose immigration status is non-citizen have to have papers identifying their right to be here.
    If California has changed the law in the last three years then the info above is incorrect.
    I run without my “papers” all the time. Oh dear. I’m dead meat now…..
    ****
    The issues with the AZ law are first is it even a state’s right to have much of anything to do with immigration? The court will decide. The Constitution already says no.
    And second, on what basis may a police officer employed by the state question the legitimacy of a person — what kinds of stops, what kinds of suspicions.
    Will they use skin color? Manner of dress? Language dominance? Kind of car? Number of associates? The “third eye”?
    What’s a reasonable suspicion and how do you figure it all out — IF, that is, the courts even allow the police to take over the federal responsibility of dealing with immigration.
    And then we have to figure out what documents people will have to carry, and which people will have to carry them and so on.
    For now, the courts will wrestle with the stops and the paper checks and the suspicions….

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  10. questions says:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/may/04/kyrsten-sinema/under-arizona-immigration-law-overgrown-lawns-bark/
    Here’s a politi fact piece on whether or not minor civil offenses might be cause for checks on paper status.
    *****
    John McCain has no reason to fear illegal immigrants “intentionally causing accidents on the freeway” — according to Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), “trained professionals” can identify undocumented workers just by looking at their clothes.
    Discussing Arizona’s pending profiling bill on “Hardball,” Chris Matthews challenged Bilbray to cite a “non-ethnic aspect” by which law enforcement agents could identify illegal immigrants. “They will look at the kind of dress you wear, there is different type of attire, there is different type of — right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes,” Bilbray replied.
    Of course, law enforcement wouldn’t detain people based solely on clothing, Bilbray said. They also know to look out for the ways in which illegal immigrants just act illegal.
    “It’s mostly behavior, just as the law enforcement people here in Washington, D.C. does it based on certain criminal activity,” he told Matthews. “There is behavior things that professionals are trained in across the board, and this group shouldn’t be exempt from those observations as much as anybody else [sic throughout].”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/22/brian-bilbray-gop-rep-cla_n_547710.html
    So here’s the clothing line — I didn’t make it up. I’ve seen it many places.

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  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    If any of you entertain the false notion that the right is any less supportive of a continued flow of illegal immigrants pouring over our border, check out Meg Whitman’s campaign platform on this issue, as compared to HER ACTUAL ACTIONS. (To say nothing of McCain’s pathetic flip-flop, or the monkey boy Bush’s repeated attempts to weasel through a couple of stealth amnesty provisions attached as riders to bills addressing issues unrelated to immigration law)

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  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Nadine merely mouths the same kind of scripted talking points that questions does, from opposite ends of the issue. Neither one of them has a clue about it. Neither one of them live in an area seriously impacted by illegal imnmigration, and neither one of them offer arguments based on personal experience or facts on the ground.
    Questions’ misrepresentation of this law is as disingenuous and despicable as Nadine’s misrepresentation of the actions and policies of Israel. It amazes me that people like these two do not have the character or integrity to recognize how bankrupt an argument is that needs to be supported by lies, exaggerations, and scripted propaganda. Don’t these two have any pride or self-respect??? What is it that prompts a person to openly lie in the defense of an argument?
    Only a fool can believe this unfettered migration of illegal immigrants will have a positive or constructive outcome for our nation. It is simply unsustainable. It is not a matter of race, but of simple logistics and infrastructural capabilities. To allow it to continue as it has for decades is INSANE and destructive. It only makes sense to those entities profiting by the continued exploitation of these people, whether it be for profits, or for votes. But Obama is sorely mistaken if he thinks this lawsuit has helped him at the polls. On the contrary, it has aided the right, EVEN THOUGH the right will DO NOTHING about illegal immigration either. It is typical political mumbo-jumbo, with each side posturing insincerely. The difference is that the insincere posturing from the politicians on the right is more in tune with the public’s sentiments about illegal immigration. The right is simply posturing from a smarter platform, and it will cost the left dearly.
    Obama stepped on his own dick with this one. What else is new?

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  13. Don Bacon says:

    Obviously efforts on this scale involve drugs and not just people looking for work. So the current moves to legalize MJ are necessary — it’s (reportedly) 60% of the drug trade. Jane Hamsher is good on this, at FDL.

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  14. Don Bacon says:

    “Walls do work. Enforcement works too.”
    There goes the bigmouth again, talkin’ foolish about somethin’ she knows nuthin’ about.
    As Molly Ivins said, a ten-foot wall just leads to the sale of a lot of twelve-foot ladders.
    In a nearby border town the huge new steel border fence, with sensors and border patrol presence, was both breached and tunneled under recently, requiring a large, expensive effort to patch the fence and to shut off the tunnel, which required lots of concrete, steel I-beams, several large machines and many men. They’ll be back.
    This is a populated area with lots of border patrol agents, so one can only imagine what’s happening in more remote areas.
    Nadine undoubtedly knows. You tell us, kid. The way you scored on Vietnam atrocities and secret Iran nuclear facilities you’re due for another breakthrough.

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  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Oh, and POA, when you walk down the street,you have to carry your drivers license?”
    Yes. California REQUIRES adult citizens to have either a valid California Drivers License, OR, if not a driver, a valid California ID card.
    See, thats the problem, questions. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about on this issue.
    “As far as I’m concerned, the sheer racism of encouraging a situation in which you’re safe if you’re not brown is really unacceptable”
    So now you’re claiming that the Arizona law exempts actual citizens, or fair skinned people, from the law? You’re full of SHIT, questions, and have got all the slimey disingenuous talking points down pat. What is “safe”, in the context you use it? That Arizona police won’t pull you over for expired tags if you are fair skinned, but WILL pull over someone that looks hispanic and has expired tags? Thats horseshit, and you know its horseshit.
    “Stopping people solely because they have suspicious skin and cheap clothing is totally fucked up”
    You piece of shit liar. What part of the Arizona law gives police permission to do that? Thats a TOTAL misrepresentation of the aim, intent, and context of Arizona’s law, AND YOU KNOW THAT TOO. And so do most of the people reading this. You’re showing your true colors, asshole. Statements like “Stopping people solely because they have suspicious skin and cheap clothing is totally fucked up” perfectly underscores the disingenous nature of your spew, and underscore the FACT that most of your horseshit is pure straw and deception.
    “The real problem with the Arizona law is that if you have brown skin and you dress just so (probably not in Chelsea Clinton’s wedding dress) you are suspicious just for the color of your skin and the low budget quality of your clothing and the fact that you’re near some other brown people”
    Are you REALLY such an ignorant schmuck? So now we can tell illegal imnmigrants by the quality of their clothing? What the fuck is a matter with you? You come up with that kind of ignorant stereotyping and you’re calling ME the racist?
    Questions, you’re making an ass of yourself. Nothing new there, but you’re doing a better job of it than usual with your purposeful perversion of the truth. The only way you can defend your opposition to this law is by misrepresenting it, which you are doing unabashedly and openly. And failing that, making unfounded and ridiculous accusations of racism.
    The “Stopping people solely because they have suspicious skin and cheap clothing is totally fucked up” part is PERFECT. It really shows us what you are truly made of. You’d have anyone stupid enough to buy into your crap believe that the law completely erases the requirement for probable cause, and has Arizona cops harrassing anyone that appears to be hispanic. In short, asshole, you’re a liar, and you know you’re lying.
    Gee, what a brilliant way to present your case.
    Hows your foot taste? Don’t look now, but its in so deep you need a mirror to tie your shoelaces.
    “If the driver has no license and cannot produce one within a day or so (I actually think most states give you a day at this point) then the crime you can be charged with is that of driving without a license”
    Amazing, You pulled that one straight out of your ass. The FACT is that law enforcement, having had probable cause to believe a crime may have taken place, such as expired tags on your vehicle, has the right to demand identification, and if none is produced, and there is no manner in which to establish your identity, DETAIN YOU UNTIL YOUR IDENTITY IS ESTABLISHED. Thats the facts, asshole. Yes, more often than not, a simple ticket for driving without a license is issued, USUALLY because the automobile registration, or other ID, is able to establish identity sufficiently enogh to satisfy the detaining officer. But when a number of specific factors add up to instill suspicion about a persons identity or legal citizenship, you would have the police IGNORE those factors. No valid ID, no SS card, no insurance, no drivers license, professed identity not matching the Vehicle registration….on and on. You would have the officer IGNORE these red flags BECAUSE the person looks Hispanic. So, is he supposed to ignore these red flags if you are fair skinned as well?
    Its astounding that you would offer such an ignorant out-of-your-ass claim such as “If the driver has no license and cannot produce one within a day or so (I actually think most states give you a day at this point) then the crime you can be charged with is that of driving without a license”. It only underscores my contention that you haven’t a clue what its like out here in the real world. What, you think the cop is gonna tell you “Hey, flag me down in a day or so if you happen to find your license”??? Gads, what a jackass you can be, questions.

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  16. nadine says:

    “As for the uncontrolled border, deportations are up. Walls don’t work. Shooting people on sight is a little much.”
    Walls do work. Enforcement works too. Illegals reckon their chances like other people. Just because it’s not perfect is no excuse not to try.
    If the border is uncontrolled, it’s uncontrolled — anybody can come over — drug runners, criminals, terrorists, anybody. Check out how many “OTMs” (other than Mexicans) come over the border.

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  17. questions says:

    After a few minutes of googling and not finding, I found this:
    You are required by law to have your license in your possession while driving.
    Chances are, you will get a warning. If you do get a ticket, you should be able to have it dismissed or reduced if you bring your license with you to court.
    Worst case, you can be detained until the officer has confirmed your identity. That could be quite a hassle.
    Source(s):
    Law enforcement since 1991
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100228195440AAnzkCq
    So it looks like you get a ticket but can have it reduced, or you get a warning. So there would seem to be some breathing room at least in some places if you don’t have your license with you and you end up getting pulled over.
    *****
    As for not doing immigration, that’s fine by me. It’s not the police officer’s job to do immigration any more than it’s the officer’s job to figure out if your clothing meets flame retardant standards.
    ***
    As for the uncontrolled border, deportations are up. Walls don’t work. Shooting people on sight is a little much.
    nadine, PEOPLE RISK DEATH crossing the damned border. What the fuck does anyone think is going to work in terms of enforcement? They RISK DEATH. That means that what they are leaving is pretty damned awful, and what they face promises something slightly better.
    Now think about how utterly miserable most of these jobs are, abusive jobs, exploitative jobs, nasty nasty lives. And yet, people cross the deserts for this.
    What is going to stop it? And do we want to become that which does stop it?
    By the way, the tales of towns starting to dry up as Latinos move out are starting to hit the press. People of all sorts help economic activity.

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  18. nadine says:

    “No, that’s not the issue. If the driver has no license and cannot produce one within a day or so (I actually think most states give you a day at this point)” (questions)
    That’s news to me. It is illegal to drive without a license. Is this an unfair burden on drivers, btw? But according to the federal injunction, if the officer catches you without a license, he’s not allowed to ask you where you come from or check your immigration status.
    Obama is slow-walking the issue. The ninth circuit won’t here the case until after the election. Obama thinks he can run on the issue. Polls should tell him otherwise. The uncontrolled border is a huge national security issue.
    But Obama just thinks of illegal aliens as unregistered Democrats.

    Reply

  19. questions says:

    oops — you’re papers should be your papers…..

    Reply

  20. questions says:

    So here’s a question, if an undocumented immigrant is stopped for running a red light, and that immigrant has no drivers license, is the police officer obligated to let the person go, even though POA would be impounded?
    No, that’s not the issue. If the driver has no license and cannot produce one within a day or so (I actually think most states give you a day at this point) then the crime you can be charged with is that of driving without a license.
    We’re all subject to that equally.
    The real problem with the Arizona law is that if you have brown skin and you dress just so (probably not in Chelsea Clinton’s wedding dress) you are suspicious just for the color of your skin and the low budget quality of your clothing and the fact that you’re near some other brown people. THAT is what becomes “reasonable” suspicion of an immigration crime’s having been committed and THAT is what leads to the paper check. If you don’t have you’re papers, they start on deportation proceedings.
    There are people whose immigration status is in process, but they don’t have the paper work that makes Arizona happy. There are all sorts of weird bureaucratic statuses that will become risk factors.
    Stopping people solely because they have suspicious skin and cheap clothing is totally fucked up.
    Asking for a drivers license during a routine traffic stop for speeding or running a red light will not be made illegal.
    On top of it all, the police in AZ do not want to have to enforce immigration laws for many reasons among which are:
    *It’s really not their job
    *They don’t have adequate training in immigration issues
    *There are too many brown skinned people around for them to stop each and every one MULTIPLE TIMES to make sure the papers are in order
    *The police actually desperately need the trust of the people in the communities they police. Without that trust, people don’t report serious crime. No brown skinned person will voluntarily initiate contact with an officer over a REAL crime if that officer is obliged to check the complainant’s paperwork
    *The communities can sue the police if the police don’t fuck with enough brown skinned people, so the police are FORCED to act in ways that make law enforcement harder. Now that’s really fucked.
    Who doesn’t see these problems as problems? People who are so blinded by racial animosity that they can only see brown, and cannot see smart

    Reply

  21. questions says:

    Oh, and POA, when you walk down the street,you have to carry your drivers license? California is a weird state.
    The AZ criminalizes, as a STATE crime, the act of not carrying ID under some immigration statuses.
    Immigration is a federal issue under the Constitution, not a state issue.
    The states are not supposed to take matters into their own hands.
    The reason for the law suit is precisely this pre-emption of federal authority.
    As far as I’m concerned, the sheer racism of encouraging a situation in which you’re safe if you’re not brown is really unacceptable. The Justice Department didn’t think this one would fly, so they used the pre-emption issue, which is also a problem.

    Reply

  22. questions says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/25/AR2010072501790.html
    Number of deportations increasing under Obama.
    nadine, your concern about hyperinflation is misplaced is what it really is. For now, the concern is deflation and the cure is government spending. Long term, the steady state is a dynamic process with regular alterations as manias threaten. But for now, benefit cuts, budget cuts, cuts to state aid, any cuts at all are a huge huge mistake.
    Perhaps we could spend on gyms and recreation facilities all across the country. We could cure obesity, crime, boredom, and the jobs issue all at the same time.
    Probably not, really. But it’s a thought.
    As for if the majority is racist or not, POA, you got me…. I think the deportation crowd plays on race fears.
    Comprehensive immigration reform will go part of the way, but if the people can’t move legally, they will move illegally. So maybe we should open the borders….

    Reply

  23. nadine says:

    “I don’t dislike their activism. I only dislike the actual content of what they say and their radically conservative political agenda. I also don’t care for their very un-Madisonian contempt for civilized standards of democratic discourse, which at least in their earliest incarnations they tended to replace with verbal terrorism and angry, unthinking harangues.”
    They may be frustrated with their non-representatives in DC, but they don’t as a rule do “verbal terrorism” (unless criticizing your Congressman counts as such). That’s a slander cooked up by the DNC and broadcast by the MSM, aka the DNC press office. The charges of racism are invented, unless you really want to define any criticism of a black president as racist.
    I have seen more than one tea party sign say “It doesn’t matter what I write on this sign because you’ll call it racist anyway” The tea partiers are acutely aware of the media bias against them.

    Reply

  24. nadine says:

    questions, do you read John Mauldin’s letters? He is also concerned about deflationary pressures in the near-term.
    My concern about hyperinflation is that it is a standing temptation to any government with unsustainable debt. They can choose to lessen the debt by debasing the currency it is denominated it. They will try to choose just inflation, not hyper-inflation, but the situation is not easy to control.
    Central control is usually bad control. That’s why we DON’T need a controller.

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Comical, isn’t it? Note the shift to I/P that questions employs when it is pointed out that the overwhelmning majority of americans FAVOR the ENFORCEMENT OF IMMIGRATION LAW. I guess the majority is racist, eh?
    Well, why the difference in poll numbers when it comes to I/P as opposed to illegal immigration??? Because public opinion on the I/P “conflict” is founded in a carefully managed and scripted narrative designed to conceal the actual reality of what is occurring. And public opinion about illegal immigration is based on the public’s actual real life exposure to the issue.
    And in regards to questions last bit of idiotic shit. If a do not carry a driver’s license, and proof of auto insurance and auto registration, my vehicle is subject to impound, I can legally be arrested. But questions seeks to EXEMPT illegal immigrants from these kinds of accountability before the law. And he seeks to neuter law enforcement’s ability to administer the lasw. Assholes like questions shift the tables, declaring the actual enforcement of the law as discrimatory. But the TRUTH is that not enforcing the law against illegals, while holding actual citizens to the letter of the law, is the discrimatory policy. Special Order Number Forty, practiced by the LAPD, for years now, has exempted illegals from being subject to laws that legal citizens are subject to. Officers simply did not, and do not, make arrests if they suspect that a perp was here illegally.
    Questions can take his accusations of racism and shove them up his ass. Where are the solutions to this problem of unfettered illegal immigration? What is ACTUALLY being done to control our borders while demographics are PURPOSELY altered by ALLOWING a steady migration of illegal immigrants into our nation’s border states? While the public debate rages on, BOTH sides of the aisle continue to nurture the division while ignoring the problem.

    Reply

  26. questions says:

    sdemetri,
    Thanks. The deflation issue has been floating around for a while. Roubini brought it up some time ago, but it seemed to be less of an issue for a bit. But the general sinking of things seems to lead to further sinking as we all wait to spend until someone else is spending.
    And the money illusion issue seems to be part of it as well, according to Akerlof. If EVERYthing deflates together it works out, but people resent pay cuts, employers are often loath to cut wages because they don’t want to piss off their employees, and so wages stay to high RELATIVE to prices. When we see money as a relation rather than as an essence, we do better. But we don’t ever see it that way.

    Reply

  27. questions says:

    Support for Israel in U.S. at 63%, Near Record High
    Near-record-low 30% optimistic about Arab-Israeli peace
    by Lydia Saad
    PRINCETON, NJ — For the first time since 1991, more than 6 in 10 Americans — 63% — say their sympathies in the Middle East situation lie more with the Israelis than with the Palestinians. Fifteen percent side more with the Palestinians, down slightly from recent years, while a combined 23% favor both sides, favor neither side, or have no opinion.
    Middle East Sympathies, Full Trend, 1988-2010
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/126155/support-israel-near-record-high.aspx

    Reply

  28. sdemetri says:

    questions, Krugman raised a alarm about deflation with a recent column, The Third Depression. John Makin, a scholar at AEI raised the same concerns:
    http://www.aei.org/outlook/100971
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/28/opinion/28krugman.html?_r=1&ref=paulkrugman
    Makin:

    Reply

  29. questions says:

    Here’s a good poll I’d like to see:
    Arizona recently passed a strict immigration law and the Obama administration has sued to stop enforcement of it. If the law required that you carry with you at all times proof of citizenship, and the proof had to be some document that the particular state you are in actually recognizes, would you support it? Note that your home state driver’s license might be insufficient.
    If you were subject to arrest for not having proper identification with you at all times, would you support the Arizona law?
    If you were considered suspect based on the color of your skin (there have been many illegal aliens from Ireland and England and Germany) would you support the law?
    If the enforcement of the Arizona immigration law meant an end to most American agriculture, or a 50% increase in food costs, would you support the law?
    If all of your food was now to be imported from Mexico would you support the law?
    If your citizenship could be revoked because of your parents’ immigration status, would you support the law? What if it turned out that, say, there was a paperwork mistake at Ellis Island and in fact your grandparents were not citizens, and so your parents were not citizens and you you and your children were also not citizens? If that became a law, would you support it? What if it went back 1 or 2 or 3 more generations?
    Open ended question — what does it mean to be an American? Who’s a real American? What counts? Who should decide? Should we have a council of Orthodox Americans who decide?

    Reply

  30. ray keith says:

    The ego driven gop juvenile & pompus actions guarentee ‘A DEMOCRACY IN DECLINE’.
    Why can’t america realize we are fueling our ‘so-called’ nation w/ blood & guts spilled out on foreing soil by peoples who cringe thinking they may be invaded, if they have oil deposits, next?
    ‘THE LAST HURRAHS OF A ONCE GREAT NATION NOW IN DECLINE’

    Reply

  31. questions says:

    How many white people are worried about being stopped and asked for papers?
    Isn’t that what just got Sandoval in trouble? Like, he said, umm, MY KIDS ARE SAFE BECAUSE THEY DON’T LOOK HISPANIC!!!!!!
    Now that’s a reason to support a law!
    White people will be fine. They will. Be. Fine.

    Reply

  32. questions says:

    The will of the people has loved: gay bashing, anti-sodomy laws, the death penalty, the 100-1 crack/cocaine sentencing disparity, Jim Crow, slavery, car culture, the elimination of that nasty nasty DEATH TAX, and a whole bunch of other really neat stuff!
    The will of the people sometimes even wants to go against the Constitution. The will of the people doesn’t seem to mind making a lot of security/rights trade offs.
    The will of the people loved itself lots and lots of Iraq war.
    The will of the people might love itself some mosque bashing.
    The will of the people is a funny funny thing.
    And the reason you don’t know much about me is that I don’t post much about me because “about me” is immaterial. What matters is good public policy drawn up by people who have a good sense of what happens when you intervene in a complex system — like say the labor market.
    Enforcing immigration laws affects a lot of systems well beyond your anxiety about brown skinned people’s taking your shit from you.
    It affects food prices, food availability, growing standards, imports and exports, family life, schools and towns, economics, the housing market, basic humane treatment of others, conditions in Mexico and Central America….
    So I hope the DREAM ACT passes, I hope we liberalize immigration, I hope we find some way to do the migrant labor shuffle with a little more justice and peace than what we do now.
    And I hope that Lindsay Graham’s idiocy regarding birthright citizenship goes NO WHERE in a hurry. We start doing away with birthright citizenship, and let’s see who gets kicked out of the country — sick people, old people, children of immigrants, criminals, irritating types, politically troublesome types — let’s hear it for men with no country! Sailing around the ocean in perma-exile. Now that’s some serious will of the people!
    And I hope you can afford your strawberries when the growers have to pay 15 bucks an hour and can guarantee work for only a few months a year!
    As for tiny url — I don’t use the service. Go ahead and put in the real address, even if it’s not, umm, tiny…..

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Poll: Nevadans back Arizona law on illegal immigration – News …Jun 8, 2010 … A majority of Nevadans would welcome an Arizona-style law to crack down on illegal immigrants, according to a new poll commissioned by the …
    Poll: Most Ariz. voters support state’s immigration law – On …Apr 28, 2010 … Poll: Most Ariz. voters support state’s immigration law …..
    Poll: Most Georgia voters want Arizona-style immigration law here …Jul 16, 2010 … Most Georgia voters would support a state law similar to the one enacted in Arizona this year to crack down on illegal immigration, …
    Poll: Ohioans like Arizona immigration law | cincinnati.com …Jun 29, 2010 … Ohio voters say 45-35 percent they would like Ohio to pass an immigration law similar to the law in Arizona, the Quinnipiac University poll …
    Poll Says Texans Favor AZ Immigration Law | NBC Dallas-Fort WorthJul 20, 2010 … Do you favor Arizona’s immigration law? A poll says most Texans do….
    Poll: People in Washington like Ariz. immigration lawJun 1, 2010 … “half of Americans questioned in a new poll say they want their states to pass an immigration law similar to Arizona’s” …
    Tennesseans favor Arizona-style immigration law, poll suggests …Jul 28, 2010 … Tennesseans favor bringing Arizona’s controversial immigration measure to the state by a 4-to-1 margin, a poll conducted by The Tennessean …
    Poll: Pennsylvania residents residents like Arizona law …Jul 14, 2010 … A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday showed Pennsylvanians, by a 2-1 margin, support the Arizona law. …
    Poll says majority of Coloradans favor tough Arizona immigration …
    May 5, 2010 … Rasmussen poll claims Coloradans endorse Arizona’s strict immigration law : The Denver Post’s political and editorial writers give a daily …
    Civitas Poll: NC voters favor Arizona Immigration Law | WWAY …
    Jun 2, 2010 … According to the poll of 600 likely voters, 64 percent of voters said they favor the new immigration law in Arizona which tracks federal law …
    Is AZ immigration law ‘misguided’? Minnesota GOPers say, ‘No way …Apr 26, 2010 … Arizona’s controversial new immigration law is drawing ire near and far … SD42 Republicans change language on Arizona immigration poll …
    minnesotaindependent.com/…/is-az-immigration-law-misguided-minnesota-gopers-say-no-way-jose -
    Poll: Majority Of Georgians Want Immigration Law – News Story …Jul 17, 2010 … Poll: Majority Of Georgians Want Immigration Law … Men tended to support an Arizona-style law more than women. Steve Newsome of Lincolnton …
    On and on.
    Fuck off, questions. You care about the will of the majority? Bullshit. Your argument is purposely disingenous.
    Go hide in your library, or sweep your classroom. Real life obviously isn’t your forte.

    Reply

  34. questions says:

    oh, and what about the people’s wishes regarding I/P? WigWag keeps citing polling data…..
    The will of the people is certainly important. So is the Constitution. These two often battle against each other as the Constitution often requires that we be more fair to each other than we actually want to. (Not always, of course. It has allowed some pretty wicked behavior.)
    The will of the people is exerted regularly in elections, in letter writing campaigns, in screaming at their representatives.
    So vote out the bums if you have that much of a problem. And if you can’t convince a bunch of other people to vote with you, maybe you don’t accurately represent the “will of the people” after all, though no doubt you’re certain you do.

    Reply

  35. questions says:

    No, we’re actually not straying far at all.
    Plenty of people DO NOT WANT Jan Brewer’s “solution” especially since Jan Brewer’s “solution” violates the Constitution we’re supposed to be following.
    The lack of confidence in Congress is a long running piece of nonsense.
    People HATE “Congress” but keep voting in their own MC. People want local constituent service and lots of money pouring into their home districts for roads and buildings and the like, but they don’t want to pay for someone else’s projects.
    People want to take without giving, receive without paying, be safe without taking the trouble to report for duty, want prosperity without suffering and so on.
    Congress is the institution that shows most clearly that you can’t have both sides, so people get irritated.
    We want clean air and clean water and safe products, but we don’t want regulations that interfere with prices or businesses…..
    We are split in our identities, and Congress reflects every one of those splits.
    I personally think it’s a marvelous institution, and people do what they can within the incentive systems we have. And I would guess we’d remake the whole thing pretty much as is were we to do it again.
    It is a reflection of something like popular sovereignty among 300,000,000 people with varying positions, interests, geographies, abilities, connections and the like.
    And personally, I think Obama is absolutely right to sue Arizona over the stupid immigration law. I’m glad the judge at least stopped some of the worst provisions til a court deals with it. And I hope one day labor can move as freely as capital. Kind of evens out the score a little.

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Baird’s statement, quoted below, applies as much domestically as it does to foreign affairs.
    “When the United States is on the side of injustice, it harms our country, it harms our integrity, it harms our principle, it harms our standing in the world,

    Reply

  37. Don Bacon says:

    Theory has its place but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
    Congress has a national job approval rating of twenty-one per cent (RCP ave.) and it’s amazing they got that much, considering that they are shills who have been easily bought. The polity is restive, even as more pols face corruption charges.
    The president now has a negative popularity spread, having backed off most if not all of his campaign promises. He has continued to expand both government employment and unpopular programs, while the national debt skyrockets. Forty thousand per man, woman and child and growing daily.
    Wherever one looks at national government performance one sees abject failure: foreign policy, wars, environment, employment, intelligence, healthcare, homeland security, education, agriculture. And all of these failures have been fed and nurtured by corporate interests subsidizing too much power in Washington.
    It makes no sense to reinforce failure. A new corporate CEO seeing that too much power in the corporate headquarters had ruined the company would immediately decentralize operations and move accountability down to the operating level, where it belongs.
    Thomas Jefferson and his disciples have been correct. Jeffersonians favored a form of government that was more democratic than that of England, thought that the common people were capable of self-government, desired to increase the opportunities for the common people to participate in government by lowering voting qualifications, favored a strict interpretation of the Constitution to limit the powers of the central government and conserve state rights, wanted to reduce the number of federal officeholders and favored freedom of speech and press.
    Lack of faith in the American people, and calling them schoolyard names, has no place in any solution to US problems. It is the people that will finally end this foolishness, one way or another. The solutions will not come from Washington, that’s been proven.

    Reply

  38. questions says:

    Dan, the company analogy doesn’t quite satisfy the libertarian mind.
    Companies are not coercive, they are voluntary, according to the libertarian view. Yes, they plan long term and short term, regional and local. Yes they coordinate (sometimes quite illegally) with other companies and within their own divisions.
    But all that coordinating is without the coercive power of the government.
    The libertarian mindset doesn’t have a problem with coordination, it has a problem with coercion.
    BUT, in fact, we are profoundly coerced by private corporate behavior. They hand us polluted air to breathe, polluted water to drink, faulty products with little or no alternative, shortened product cycles such that anything we buy assuming a value of X on day 1, suddenly has a value of -X after year 1, and must be replaced. It’s not that we have devalued our own instantiation of the product, it’s that the network effect has completely devalued the product. So a certain amount of “get the latest and greatest” is actually coercive corporate practice.
    Corporations, private firms, control the means of our livelihoods and dispose of us as workers and as consumers and as bystanders as they see fit.
    It’s not particularly democratic for those on the loser side of the equation, even though it’s a lot of fun for the winners.
    Corporate coercion LOOKS free, but isn’t.
    Government coercion LOOKS unfree, but isn’t.
    Corporations put us to death, impose poverty and servitude and call it choice. We don’t get to vote though.
    Government coercion does much of the same, but we get to vote, and we have a constitution and judicial system and mass participation that limit the circumstances under which these not-so-great results come about.
    Free and unfree are funny terms that way.

    Reply

  39. David Billington says:

    “That’s not the same, on two counts: states demand there be a
    minimum level of insurance, but don’t tell you who to buy it from
    or what the product must look like, and you don’t have to buy it at
    all if you don’t drive. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and it is
    possible to live without it. But Obamacare demands I pay the
    mandate as a condition of citizenship. If you live, you have to buy
    it.” (Nadine)
    I’m not sure I see the difference. Emergency health care is not a
    privilege or an option like driving, since everyone receives it (as
    they do fire protection) as needed. I think there should be a
    minimal obligation to pay for something that would otherwise be
    charged privately to others.

    Reply

  40. questions says:

    By the way, nadine, any thoughts on the hyperinflation issue? Any corrections from my post? Any feedback at all?

    Reply

  41. Dan Kervick says:

    “I am only saying that it is not its business to enact the common good as the latter spontaneously rises from the rational actions of people in their every day working affairs in the context of an unrestrained free market”
    There is a lot of faith these days in the power of “spontaneous arising” and in the rationality of individual action. But both good *and* evil arise spontaneously out of the cacophony of the individual tunes we play, and individuals are only imperfectly rational at best.
    I don’t know why conservatives are so hostile to the idea of national strategies and plans. Don’t any of you guys work for companies? In a company like mine, at least, nobody ever thinks that the good just “spontaneously arises” from the uncoordinated actions of their individual employees, each acting autonomously. The company chooses some goals, develops a strategic plan for implementing those goals, and then executes that plan.
    Now I know a society is not as self-contained and uniform in purpose as a company. But the members of a society do share a very large number of common interests. There is a common good, and that common good is sometimes best achieved by developing and executing a plan for achieving it.

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    “They are, they are. They’re called the “tea parties”. You don’t like them.”
    I don’t dislike their activism. I only dislike the actual content of what they say and their radically conservative political agenda. I also don’t care for their very un-Madisonian contempt for civilized standards of democratic discourse, which at least in their earliest incarnations they tended to replace with verbal terrorism and angry, unthinking harangues.
    The tea party also seems to attract the believers in every kooky conspiracy theory under the sun, which I believe the tea partiers themselves have come to understand dilutes their message behind embarrassing public displays of lunacy.
    I looked at the “Contract from America” recently, and could only agree with about 10% of it. So while I approve of their willingness to get involved, I can’t approve of what they are trying to accomplish.

    Reply

  43. Dan Kervick says:

    “When before has Congress passed laws forcing private citizens to enter into contracts with private corporations of their choosing on penalty of law?”
    Well, I would personally prefer a single payer or single provider system, Nadine, or at least a mixed system with public medical insurance and public medical care options. Then we could avoid the dubious means of an individual mandate, and instead rely on something the government has a clearly established right to do: provide services and levy the taxes to pay for them.
    We would also make much more progress on our key health care challenge: lowering costs and increasing efficiency in the system, and squeezing out the waste, excess profits and bad medical practice that are present in it now. Those. Future species of tea partiers, grown accustomed to the government provision of health services, would devote their energies to demanding both better deliverables from the government-augmented system and lower taxes at the same time.
    The two other areas in which I would like to see more energetic democratic involvement in our economy are (i) more stringent regulation of commerce toward the deliberate ends of both reducing the slope and crimping the tail of the income disparity curve, and also preserving our environment, and (ii) more investment in technology, education and research, and more coordinated plans to build the infrastructure for the sustainable economy of the 21st century.
    The second task particularly requires that we be bold, make some risky social decisions and “pick winners”, as it is misleadingly put. Of course, we might get hung up on questions-like fears that we should avoid choosing any future at all because we might choose poorly, and we can’t foresee all of the consequences of our actions. But I’m confident we can choose well if we put our minds to it, and in the meantime are going to waste a large amount of resources on redundancies, dead ends and incoherent and incompatible paths. We need a clearer and more prescriptive strategy. We have public environmental and energy goals which are unlikely to be achieved as simply the emergent product of individual choices. We need to choose a future and then develop a strategy and plan to aim at it – just like a company does.
    By the way, I am very inclined these days to think that the two greatest American presidents were the two Roosevelts, which should give you a good idea of the varieties of government activism I favor.

    Reply

  44. questions says:

    Kotz,
    No indeed the general good, the public good, any kind of good at all, does not naturally arise from the individual pursuits of private goods.
    Once you read a few texts in game theory, you realize that the tragedy of the commons, the prisoners dilemma, the free rider issue, the problem of assurance, the paradox of saving, the money illusion and vast numbers of other pathologies of being an individual in a group make the emergence of the public good not merely unlikely, but basically impossible.
    The government has a proper role of stepping in and regulating the commons, forcing all of us to behave in certain ways to avoid each of these pitfalls.
    We CANNOT coordinate without a coordinator. Or, actually, at some level I suppose we can. But the cost in lives would be quite a thing. How many of us have to die from the horrible effects of some segment’s pursuit of its own good before the “market” kicks in and “corrects?”
    And remember, with some things, the market will likely have no ability at all to step in.
    The free market, free property, free choice, freedom from having to coordinate with others, freedom from other living human beings — this is all an illusion.
    We need each other. We need to improve each other. We help each other. We divide labor for each other. We have to coordinate with each other.
    We have a general interest in a robust education system that turns all of us into citizens, some of us into doctors and others into tree surgeons or whatever. It’s a general interest that is enormously expensive to set up and most individuals do not have the resources to fund major universities for their own kids. So we coordinate. And it turns out that most people benefit from robust schooling, so we provide it for as many as we can, and we all foot the bill as we all benefit from everyone’s education.
    This same pattern holds for many other enterprises, including health care. We benefit from one another’s good health (read anything in the public health field), and we ourselves may actually need the support of a robust public health system should we be tossed out of the private system.
    The real fantasy that runs through libertarian thinking is that somehow libertarians have sufficient resources that they don’t really need any institutions or institutional supports. They are self-made, self-sustaining selves who have no need of others. That of course is nonsense. We must coordinate.
    So we make a coercive government that comes up with a reasonable set of arrangements to deal with all the stuff that we don’t do well alone.
    What does leaving the market alone give us? Look at the melamine and dry wall issues, the wide range of unsafe designs, the pollution, the destruction of the commons, the externalization of costs….
    You really like this stuff?

    Reply

  45. kotzabasis says:

    Nadine, thanks for clarifying my position.
    Kervick
    I am not suggesting the disutility or euthanasia of government as the latter is a necessary and vital institution in the affairs of its people. I am only saying that it is not its business to enact the common good as the latter spontaneously rises from the rational actions of people in their every day working affairs in the context of an unrestrained free market, without however being free from some necessary at times regulation. It goes without saying that government must take initiatives both internal and external for the general welfare of the country such as education, building roads and hospitals etc and ensuring that the vital interests of the nation are protected from external or internal enemies. But all these initiatives of government which contribute to the enhancement of the common weal merely consummate the wishes of their constituents, the government does not impose them upon the latter by legislation. In democracies no government can ever succeed in implementing its policies unless these policies have some resonance among its constituents and its opinion makers, the fourth estate.
    Only in certain critical circumstances, such as war, statesmen, with that unique Nietzschean combination of intellect, moral clarity, and fortitude, can go against the stream, but by their nature they are accountable neither to men nor God but to History, although, like Winston Churchill, they can still be vulnerable to the vagaries of a volatile electorate.

    Reply

  46. nadine says:

    “If we work to restore government to its role of promoting the general welfare, and put it back in the energetic service of the interests of the many, rather than the well-being of an elite and privileged few, we can secure popular consent once gain for the activity of government.”
    Since the current lot of limousine liberals are busy feathering their nests as fast as they can, where do you suggest we go to find these new paragons of good government?
    “But in a democratic republic, government isn’t just supposed to have the consent of the governed; it is supposed to have the active participation of the governed in their own self-government.”
    They are, they are. They’re called the “tea parties”. You don’t like them.
    BTW, I think you misunderstand kotz (often easy to do). He is not arguing that the government should have no part in building infrastructure. He says that proper government function is to safeguard individual property and liberty and trade. As long as you keep the principle in mind, you can certainly debate about what sort of infrastructure is proper to be left to government. But there should be a due process for that debate; government must be checked from just deciding and grabbing for itself without a check and balance. That’s what Madison was worried about, government propensity to take more and more power to itself. The Constitutional framework was intended to be that check; but this has been steadily hollowed out and vitiated by 100 years of progressive legal thinking.

    Reply

  47. nadine says:

    “States do this with auto insurance. The questions are whether this kind
    of thing should occur at the federal level and whether health care is a
    special case. ” (David Billington)
    That’s not the same, on two counts: states demand there be a minimum level of insurance, but don’t tell you who to buy it from or what the product must look like, and you don’t have to buy it at all if you don’t drive. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and it is possible to live without it. But Obamacare demands I pay the mandate as a condition of citizenship. If you live, you have to buy it.
    Of course Obama is pulling the same stunt with the mandate that FDR did with Social Security: telling the public it’s not a tax, but an insurance premium that you pay into your own account. Then he sends his lawyers into court to argue that it’s a plain old tax that goes into the general revenues, nothing new here, move right along.
    “Under the fifth amendment there is no unqualified right to property in
    the United States, although seizures have had to be for public uses. The
    Kelo decision in 2005 went beyond a seizure for public use, and I would
    expect new rulings in the future to clarify the situation.”
    I agree Kelo was a big waystation on the road to a soft tyranny, where you only get to have property if the local ruling class says it’s okay.

    Reply

  48. David Billington says:

    Nadine – “When before has Congress passed laws forcing private citizens
    to enter into contracts with private corporations of their choosing on
    penalty of law?”
    States do this with auto insurance. The questions are whether this kind
    of thing should occur at the federal level and whether health care is a
    special case.
    I agree that it is wrong to force people to buy health insurance from
    private sources. In my view, there should be a public entity from which
    people can also buy it as an alternative. But if we treat emergency cases
    regardless of ability to pay, it would seem to me only right that everyone
    has an obligation to pay into some insurance pool in return.
    I should add that this is an argument in the abstract for a health care
    mandate and not a judgment that the current bill will actually make this
    sort of social contract work. I’d like to see what the current reform does
    and then decide whether it should be changed.
    “According to your way of thinking, Congress is free to nationalize entire
    industries at will, citing merely some idea of the general good. What has
    happened to liberty and property of the owners and shareholders of
    those businesses?”
    In 1939, the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of the Tennessee Valley
    Authority, which private utility companies argued was an unconstitutional
    use of taxpayer funds to create an entity in competition with private
    firms. After the Supreme Court decision, the private utilities were not
    seized but had to sell out to the TVA or go bankrupt.
    Under the fifth amendment there is no unqualified right to property in
    the United States, although seizures have had to be for public uses. The
    Kelo decision in 2005 went beyond a seizure for public use, and I would
    expect new rulings in the future to clarify the situation.

    Reply

  49. Dan Kervick says:

    “23% Say U.S. Government Has the Consent of the Governed.”
    If we work to restore government to its role of promoting the general welfare, and put it back in the energetic service of the interests of the many, rather than the well-being of an elite and privileged few, we can secure popular consent once gain for the activity of government.
    But in a democratic republic, government isn’t just supposed to have the consent of the governed; it is supposed to have the active participation of the governed in their own self-government.

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  50. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m sorry, Kotzabasis. But your abstemious interpretation of the permissible pursuit of the common good as something that can only be the emergent result of individual action in a laissez faire economy is an anachronistic projection of latter-day libertarian values onto the much more nuanced views of the founders of the United States, many of whom were quite eager to build their new nation through energetic government, and with a far-sighted concern for the public good and national interest.
    You seem not to understand the traditions of classical republicanism, civic humanism and the contractarian theories of government that formed the wellspring of American political thought. Governments are instituted to promote positive values and pursue the general welfare, not just to protect individual liberties and establish a system of “thou shalt nots”.
    Jefferson supported mandatory public education; he authorized the Cumberland road. John Adams established a system of socialized medicine for seamen.
    Jefferson wrote:
    “The rich alone use imported articles, and on these alone the whole taxes of the General Government are levied… Our revenues liberated by the discharge of the public debt, and its surplus applied to canals, roads, schools, etc., the farmer will see his government supported, his children educated, and the face of his country made a paradise by the contributions of the rich alone, without his being called on to spend a cent from his earnings.”
    and …
    “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
    A large part of the federalist papers debate, and the motive for establishing the Constitution, was about enhancing the central government

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  51. nadine says:

    Dan Kervick, here is more evidence for you that the American people does not consider the current government to be “us”, but a separate ruling class, and an out-of-control ruling class at that.
    Don Bacon, the loss of power is always grating for any party. It’s annoying to see someone else steer in what you think is the wrong direction. But when you see a bunch of toddlers driving the family car off a cliff, you get more than usually upset about it.
    From Rasmussen:
    “23% Say U.S. Government Has the Consent of the Governed
    Friday, July 16, 2010
    The notion that governments derive their only just authority from the consent of the governed is a foundational principle of the American experiment.
    However, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 23% of voters nationwide believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed. Sixty-two percent (62%) say it does not, and 15% are not sure.
    These figures have barely budged since February.
    There is no gender gap on this question. Younger voters are more likely than their elders to believe the government today has the necessary consent. Among voters under 30, 28% say the government has that consent. Just 15% of senior citizens share that view.
    From an ideological perspective, most liberal voters (58%) think the federal government has the consent of the governed. Most moderates (57%) and most conservatives (84%) disagree.
    Democrats are closely divided on the question. Republicans and unaffiliated voters strongly reject the notion that the government has the consent of the governed.
    The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 12-13, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. …
    In his new book, In Search of Self-Governance, Scott Rasmussen observes that the American people are

    Reply

  52. kotzabasis says:

    Kervick
    You continue to be stuck to your intellectually rusty grooves. No reasonable person would not strongly respect

    Reply

  53. nadine says:

    ” I have not defended any agenda that would require the courts to practice judicial activism. All of the social and economic measures that I would like to see carried out can be passed by Congress.”
    Indeed, Congress can and has passed many statutes that have been found unconstitutional by the courts.
    “Similar measures have been enacted in the past, and Congress

    Reply

  54. Dan Kervick says:

    Actually, Nadine, that passage seems utterly inapt given the current discussion, so I don

    Reply

  55. Don Bacon says:

    Hamiltonians admired the English aristocracy and the English system of government, favored a broad interpretation of the Constitution to strengthen the central government at the expense of of state’s rights, wanted an expanding bureaucracy and considered the common people ignorant and incapable of self-government.
    Jeffersonians favored a form of government that was more democratic than that of England, thought that the common people were capable of self-government, desired to increase the opportunities for the common people to participate in government by lowering voting qualifications, favored a strict interpretation of the Constitution to limit the powers of the central government and conserve state rights, wanted to reduce the number of federal officeholders and favored freedom of speech and press.
    If I have to pick one, I’ll go with Tom.

    Reply

  56. nadine says:

    “Nope, won’t happen. Making government stronger by new laws won’t stop the corrupting of politicians, it’s simply make those corrupted politicians stronger. ” (Don Bacon)
    …giving business more incentive to corrupt them.
    Indeed, if the politicians are so strong that they can arbitrary put businesses out of business (like the new “Financial Reform” bill allows), paying off the regulators becomes a necessary cost of doing business.

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  57. nadine says:

    From a must-read essay, “The Constitution, at Last” by Charles R. Kesler:
    “For the most part, the Constitution

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  58. Carroll says:

    I’am with Col Lang on this. There was no critical intelligence info in the wilki leaks. It’s useful to both the anti war’ers protest and for the pro war’ers to scream “Blood on his hands”..anti war traitor!,off with his head!”…but that’s about it.
    “The Afghan Papers
    “…a daily diary of an American-led force often starved for resources and attention as it struggled against an insurgency that grew larger, better coordinated and more deadly each year.
    The New York Times, the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel were given access to the voluminous records several weeks ago on the condition that they not report on the material before Sunday.
    The documents

    Reply

  59. Carroll says:

    Posted by rc, Jul 29 2010, 9:09PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    In answer… we have our own Joe Lieberman’s trying to do the very same thing in the US. The internet is a hotbed of anti zionism, anti Israelism and anti semitism and so on and should be censored or controlled.
    But they’ll never be able to get away with it here to any large degree.

    Reply

  60. Don Bacon says:

    There’s little difference, or no difference, between the militarism of Dems and Repubs, but as Jonathan Schwarz writes: “[The Repubs are] mostly angry in the way Sunnis in Iraq are angry -

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  61. questions says:

    By the way, Steve Coll has some quotation up at the WaPo about the horrible risks of the WikiLeaks for the lives of named informants.
    It would seem to be quite a double-edged sword, and Assange is defending himself by saying that the US ALREADY has killed so many, what’s a few more.
    Utilitarian thinking in action.
    It really is impossible to be Kantian in a utilitarian world. But I think Kant actually knew that.

    Reply

  62. questions says:

    Regarding nadine’s fears of hyperinflation, some unschooled thoughts that may or may not be relevant — feel free to correct…..
    Regarding money supply, every time a bank makes a loan, every time credit is granted, the money supply increases by the amount of the credit granted. Right now, credit is so tight that I would guess that the money supply has actually shrunken significantly from a peak at the height of the boom. This shrinking of the money supply would seem to me to be the opposite of inflationary. And it would make the flight to gold seem a little foolish, perhaps.
    There are a few sectors of the economy that seemed to be in inflationary mode — housing, higher education, and health care.
    In each of these, there was either some kind of bubble formation coupled with easy credit, a little corruption, and some speculation, or some desperate need that supported the increasing costs despite the lack of increasing income.
    But in each of these there are some alternatives — community college, renting a dive, natural herbs and clean living/early death.
    There are some other natural limits here — not everyone goes to college, and those who do are limited to a few years of it anyway, so it doesn’t affect the entire life span. Not everyone lives in Vegas or Miami Beach where the regional markets really got hit by speculation, and not everyone has a medical crisis that costs millions. So there are lifespan and regional limits on the inflationary pressures in these areas.
    If income doesn’t rise significantly, there’s a ceiling on price increases in a tight credit market. Anti-inflationary tendencies are built in to a tight credit market.
    In terms of confidence in the value of a dollar such that you don’t jack up the price because you’re terrified of what tomorrow brings, I would think that any competitive market is going to be limited in what it can charge.
    The airlines are jacking up fees and UPS is shipping luggage now. There are trains, cars, and staycations, as well.
    Lack of confidence, then, isn’t going to push prices up too much as someone will step in and compensate.
    There are so many sectors of the economy now that even if inflation hits one of them, it won’t hit all of them — with the following exceptions that have NOTHING TO DO WITH SOCIAL SECURITY, national debt or the annual deficit:
    Energy spikes and food spikes.
    Now energy price spikes can be caused by wars in the ME or by speculators cornering the futures market (or whatever the right way to say this is). The war thing is a worry and is a check on our behavior vis-a-vis Iran, and maybe a cause of our behavior vis-a-vis Iraq.
    Food prices will spike, again, if there’s speculation (see the chocolate market) in the futures market, or if there is global climate or massive weather trouble. This is something we really ought to be watching for. I don’t think we have the hydroponic capacity to deal with tropical weather in Canada and desert weather in Mississippi.
    If energy scarcity or food scarcity hits, we could be in trouble.
    But otherwise, it seems to me that there isn’t any risk of much inflation at all right now — too many unemployed, too little credit, too many substitute commodities, too many competitors, too many sectors of the economy for any kind of sustained price increase across the board to be sustainable. And, by the way, far far too much increase in productivity.
    The risks, then, are speculation, speculation, speculation — caused by unprogressive tax rates and dumbfuck greed and lack of regulation and massive climate disruptions or energy disasters.
    The debt ain’t gonna do it.
    If there are any economists out there who could correct any of this, I’d really appreciate it.
    (Note that I skimmed a wiki entry on hyperinflation from which I might have learned that *confidence* and *money supply* are thought to be the two main culprits in hyperinflation, with different theorists emphasizing one or the other. “Might have learned” means that it could all be wrong.)

    Reply

  63. Don Bacon says:

    Along with the trend that WiWag describes, I think accurately, there is coming (as I mentioned above) an issue over the military budget, between those who want a moderate increase and those who want a large increase. It (rather esotericly) has to do with the QDR vs. the recently-released QDR review, and a renewal of American Exceptionalism (as if it needs renewing).
    We need to keep in mind that the term “realist” is imprecise, some claiming that they are devoted to war-aversion, generally being prudent about the use of force and skeptical about most overseas military adventures, while others see realism as a hawkish view of world politics and big fans of using military power.
    I see the Repubs becoming even more hawkish which will help to drive the stake into America’s heart and soul, coming soon (November) to a theater near you. In foreign affairs Obama is zero for four — Iraq, Iran, I/P and Afghanistan, and the economy continues to tank.

    Reply

  64. Don Bacon says:

    Nope, won’t happen. Making government stronger by new laws won’t stop the corrupting of politicians, it’s simply make those corrupted politicians stronger.
    The US government is currently growing by leaps and bounds in employment and expenditures, with all kinds of irresponsible behavior in various fields: military, intelligence, education, agriculture, healthcare, homeland security, etc. — why encourage them?
    The American people aren’t crazy and they’re not uninformed. The polls show that they get it. Obama job approval/disapproval 46/49, Congress job approval/disapproval 21/72, health care plan (Obama’s signature bill active in 2014) for/against 38/50 (RCP average). Thirty-seven per cent of the electorate didn’t officially vote in the last presidential, they voted none of the above.
    If you haven’t noticed, there’s dissension in the land, so it’s crazy to claim that two hundred million Americans are crazy when they obviously get it.
    We need to stop running down the American people and instead strengthen them by promoting their education on the issues, which would allow them to confront those corrupted politicians and maybe even change the perverted US “election” process. It’s worth a try, and not trying it won’t work.
    Take a clue from our host, Steve Clemons. He always respects people, even those who disagree with him. “Best, Steve.” He obviously doesn’t consider them (us) to be crazy. Maybe not as clever as his dogs, but never crazy. (And I don’t say this simply because he keeps me on a generous retainer.)

    Reply

  65. WigWag says:

    By the way, getting back to the topic of Steve’s post, Jacob Heilbrunn recently published an essay on the death of the old-school Republican foreign policy apparatus in the “Foreign Policy” blog.
    Speaking of the old school Republican realists, Heilbrunn said,
    “…it becomes clear that the traditional Republican establishment isn’t on the defensive, it’s in danger of extinction.”
    Speaking of some of the heavy-weights that Steve likes such as Baker, Scowcroft and Kissinger, Heilbrunn says,
    “these modern Republicans have one thing in common: Their in their dotage. Nor is their a successor generation in sight to uphold their legacy.”
    Heilbrunn thinks that the generation of moderate foreign policy professionals that Steve admires died when George H.W. Bush was defeated in his quest for a second term. He says,
    “The last gasp for the Republican foreign policy estabishment came with George H.W. Bush’s Administration…For his departure from the conservative gospel the right deserted Bush during his failed 1992 reelection campaign against Bill Clinton who promised swift action in the Balkans and decried the butchers of Beijing.”
    Heilbrunn ends his piece by saying “the mainstream Republican establishment is headed straight back into oblivion…The Republican establishment, like a shorn Samson, will remain in a total state of eclipse without any hope of day.”
    Here’s the link to the full article,
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/07/16/end_of_the_establishment?page=0,0
    The bottom line is simple; the fight for the soul of the Republican Party is over; the realist wing of the Party has been so totally defeated that it essentially no longer exists.
    “The King is dead. Long live the King.”

    Reply

  66. Dan Kervick says:

    The only way to make the corporations weaker is to make the government stronger. Corporations aren’t going to hand over their vast powers voluntarily. We need to write some better laws and put them into effect.
    Lots of Americans are very crazy right now. Some of the things they are saying are deeply uninformed at best and utterly insane at worst. They need to get a life and get a clue, and stop the self-indulgent hate binges and rage-fests.

    Reply

  67. Don Bacon says:

    A time like the present when an expanding, careless US government and its corporate friends are running roughshod over US citizens is no time to dump on “crazy” US citizens while promoting a stronger government.

    Reply

  68. Dan Kervick says:

    “Yet in your proposal this is exactly what you suggest, i.e., the replacement of individual value judgments by the value judgments of an

    Reply

  69. questions says:

    Wait, Crist is closeted? But didn’t he get married and make sure that he was videoed in an elevator kissin’ a girl? I mean a woman?!!
    Think of the generational issues regarding gays in Fla…. I remember having a discussion with my grandparents some years ago in Miami about homosexuality — the grandparents were pretty sure it was pathological and should be cured….
    Not sure how you turned out to be mostly liberal all in all (save for the Clinton thing, which I forgive you for!!! (insert smiley emoticon here) (sometimes!!))
    It is amazing how little issue commitment some of these people have….

    Reply

  70. WigWag says:

    “By the way, WigWag, Kendrick Meek is looking pretty low in the polls. Wouldn’t bet the house on him. Crist is going to win. He’ll caucus with the Dems. He’ll be to the left of blue dog-style decision-making, but not THE most liberal.” (Questions)
    I agree with you completely. Rubio isn’t out of it yet, but I think things look increasingly bleak for him; as for Kendrick I am afraid it would take a miracle. Obama is mostly to blame for that.
    At least when Crist enters the Chamber, the Senate will be back up to its quota of one closeted gay Republican; we haven’t had one since the departure of Larry Craig.
    Of course what differentiates the two is that Craig may have been in the closet about his sexual preferences but he was “out” in terms of his political preferences; he was a dyed in the wool conservative Republican. Crist on the other hand obfuscates not only about his sexual preferences but about his political preferences as well. Politically perhaps we can say that he goes both ways or maybe it would be more apt to say that he’s politically androgynous.
    Once Crist is elected, perhaps HBO can do a sequel to its television special “Outrage.” It featured Charlie Crist last time and Steve Clemons made a prominent guest appearance on the show. Maybe Steve could guest host the sequel.
    Crist’s isn’t particularly intelligent but he’s not venal either. He will just be another in the long line of dumb Senate mendicants living off the largess of corporate benefactors. Like most U.S. Senators, Crist is basically a political hack.
    But you’re right, Questions, there are plenty of Senators who are far worse than Crist will be.

    Reply

  71. Paul Norheim says:

    “the Versailles of the public good” metaphor (Kotzabasis)
    would certainly be valid if that government did not allow
    the “cretins” to elect a new government after four years
    (and forbid midterm elections). But that’s not the case in
    Kervick’s suggestions.
    But yes, I admit that there is a potential problem here: A
    majority could elect a strong and interfering government
    that – to use Kotz’s metaphors – says that you can only
    read Plato and Hume. Then the pendulum swings after
    four years, and you’re only allowed to read Hobbes,
    Schmitt and Heidegger. And so forth.
    One could be tempted to think that it’s better if the cretins
    read Plato and Hume, or for that matter Hobbes, Schmitt,
    and Heidegger, instead of not reading at all; but personally
    I would defend the rights of the cretins to watch reality TV
    or read Donald Duck instead. Seriously.

    Reply

  72. questions says:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/no-citizenship-for-you-tpm-rounds-up-the-anti-immigration-gopers-targeting-birthright-citizenship.php?ref=fpi
    Do the Repubs REALLY want to go this direction? Really?
    Those dog whistles come back at you, eventually.

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  73. questions says:

    ” I have confirmed that Brian Sandoval, as reported by Univision

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  74. questions says:

    By the way, WigWag, Kendrick Meek is looking pretty low in the polls. Wouldn’t bet the house on him.
    Crist is going to win. He’ll caucus with the Dems. He’ll be to the left of blue dog-style decision-making, but not THE most liberal.
    Rory Reid is even looking possible.
    Harry Reid is looking good.
    I kind of have a suspicion that even the hapless and completely in the wrong place but maybe in the right place at the right time Alvin Greene could surprise us via a bizarre anti-incumbent anti-Republican reality shift….. Ok, maybe not.
    But it would be something if SC ended up voting for him because of the anti-incumbency wave that probably isn’t that real anyway.

    Reply

  75. kotzabasis says:

    Kervick
    No your policies, with one exception applying to this argument, are not unconstitutional, but your arguments in supporting them are intellectually unhinged and laughably incongruous and contradictory. In the present case, in your eagerness as

    Reply

  76. questions says:

    “Friday opinionating.
    Charlie Cook:
    A Turning Point For Democrats?
    It’s too early to say for sure, but it’s possible that the Republican wave has subsided.
    Very few people watch political polls more closely than I do. (Whether that’s a good thing or suggests that I’m slightly neurotic is up for debate.) When you monitor surveys incessantly, you occasionally see results that you’re unsure how to interpret. You don’t know whether they signal a key turning point in public opinion or whether they’re just a hiccup, a passing blip. Or perhaps the odd results are from an outlier poll, a statistical anomaly that is the political equivalent of a false positive medical test.
    We’re currently experiencing one of those periods of uncertainty. One interpretation of recent results is that the momentum in this critical midterm election has shifted and the Republican wave has subsided. Another interpretation is that it’s too soon to tell whether much has changed at all.
    Charlie’s a fair-minded guy, so whether he’s liking you or raining on your parade, give him a close listen.”
    ******
    Kos, front page abbreviated pundit roundup.
    This note agrees with my sense of things. But I’m not Charlie Cook.
    ******
    And this from the same section:
    “In our June poll 45% of seniors who said they were most likely to vote in the midterm election said they were either much more likely or somewhat more likely to vote against a candidate who voted for the law. That compared with 28% who said they were more likely to support a candidate who voted for it, a notable 17 percentage point difference. But many other factors come into play in local races other than seniors views on health reform. Seniors said the candidates

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  77. Paul Norheim says:

    “So if you want to oppose activist government, strong
    government involvement in the regulation of commerce
    and the organization of public investment projects at the
    national level – those “liberal and enlarged plans” of which
    Hamilton spoke, and which we know he carried out – you
    have to defeat these things at the ballot box, and not just
    cry “Constitution!”. In the same way, if people like me
    want to carry out such projects, we have to win support
    for them through the democratic process.” (Dan)
    That seems to be the obvious interpretation. My short post
    above where I wrote that I had no idea that the US
    constitution automatically had to lead to a libertarian
    society, was of course intended as an ironic comment.
    The Norwegian constitution is inspired by the American, as
    well as the British, and French political philosophy
    (Montesquieu etc). We have a Parliamentary system where
    we can elect governments that are conservative, populistic,
    Christian-Democratic, social-democratic, or socialist – or
    coalitions of the above mentioned options. But no one in
    our political debates argue that their party or political view
    is closer to the Norwegian constitution, or that the
    opposition violates it. That kind of argument seems utterly
    absurd – unless we talk of a dictatorial coup of some sort.
    As a matter of fact, these democratic constitutions would
    not be democratic, but dictatorial, if the “cretins” could not
    make choices within a wide political spectrum – but had to
    vote, say GOP, or conservative, or libertarian, not to violate
    the dictates of the founding fathers.

    Reply

  78. Dan Kervick says:

    “Dan thinks the people are cretins!”
    And yet, as a democrat, I respect the rule of law and democratic process, and am willing to be governed by my fellow-citizens, cretins and non-cretins alike.

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  79. Dan Kervick says:

    “As for the quotes Dan Kervick picked out, they don’t mean what he thinks they mean, which is license for the government to take over ANYTHING that somebody decides is in “the common good”. Constitutional limits were supposed to provide a permanent structure that was supposed to constrain the whims of temporary office holders.”
    Can’t you cretins read? :)
    As I have have repeated ad nauseum, we are only free to “take over” something, or undertake some large project IF there is no Constitutional prohibition against the takeover or the project.
    Within the basic structure of government established in Articles 1 through 7, and with boundaries set by the liberties protected by the Bill of Rights, the Constitution actually provides the American people with tremendous degree of freedom and latitude as to how they want to organize their society. And that’s only natural. The Constitution wasn’t some totalitarian recipe prescribing each and every aspect of social and economic organization.
    So if you want to oppose activist government, strong government involvement in the regulation of commerce and the organization of public investment projects at the national level – those “liberal and enlarged plans” of which Hamilton spoke, and which we know he carried out – you have to defeat these things at the ballot box, and not just cry “Constitution!”. In the same way, if people like me want to carry out such projects, we have to win support for them through the democratic process.

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  80. nadine says:

    Paul, I think you might find this article interesting
    Sol Stern
    The Nakba Obsession
    http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_3_nakba.html

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  81. Observer says:

    I just watched the Gingrich speech. I think it was brilliant and delivered with a lot of gusto, rousing American neocon ideals of politics with a big stick. ‘If we wouldn

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  82. nadine says:

    “(And no, Nadine and Kotz, this doesn’t imply that I am a
    Marxist, or agree with his thoughts on violent revolution
    or the dictatorship of the Proletariat. But you have to admit
    that his 160 year old diagnosis is brilliant – don’t you?)” (Paul Norheim)
    No? How does one tell? Facile, rather than brilliant I would say, since Marx immediately took the wrong conclusion of class warfare forever in the capitalist states. The effects of the industrial revolution were as visible then, as of globalization now.
    As for the quotes Dan Kervick picked out, they don’t mean what he thinks they mean, which is license for the government to take over ANYTHING that somebody decides is in “the common good”. Constitutional limits were supposed to provide a permanent structure that was supposed to constrain the whims of temporary office holders.
    When Hamilton said “A government ought to contain in itself every power requisite to the full accomplishment of the objects committed to its care, and to the complete execution of the trusts for which it is responsible, free from every other control but a regard to the public good and to the sense of the people.” he was endorsing a government with the powers to do its proper functions, not giving the government unlimited powers.
    It’s rather ironic that Dan is quoting Hamilton, who advises that government be controlled by “a regard…to the sense of the people”. Dan thinks the people are cretins! So does Obama apparently; he rams his bills through Congress whether the majority of voters like them or not.
    As always, the question the conservative puts to the progressive is, When is it enough? When does the government consume enough funds, take over enough duties, tax enough, regulate enough, spend enough for you to say that’s it, the government is doing all it should do? Is there ever a limit?

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  83. Paul Norheim says:

    Any comment on the “Federalist” quotes Dan Kervick
    provided, Nadine and DonB?
    Not much Ayn Rand in the thoughts of Madison, Hamilton
    and Jefferson, was there? And not much “Marxism” either -
    neither there nor in Obama’s policies, for that matter. His
    reasoning sounds more like the founding fathers to me.
    By the way, what is wrong with reading Karl Marx?
    Speaking of developments that have taken place in the
    many decades after the birth of the United States – here is
    a stunningly precise and prescient quote from the
    Manifesto, written ca 70 years after the Federalist papers
    (1848).
    I can’t think of a more appropriate introduction to his
    diagnosis for those of you who haven’t read a sentence of
    his work, than the following quotes. Replace “bourgeoisie”
    with “capitalism”, or “globalization” (forces that America
    has been such a central agent for), and the whole passage
    sounds like it could have been written in the Clinton era:
    “Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted
    disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty
    and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all
    earlier ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train
    of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are
    swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated
    before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all
    that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to
    face with sober senses his real condition of life and his
    relations with his kind.
    ———————-
    “The need of a constantly expanding market for its
    products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of
    the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere,
    establish connections everywhere.
    ——————
    “The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world
    market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and
    consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of
    reactionaries, it has drawn from under the feet of industry
    the national ground on which it stood. All old-established
    national industries have been destroyed or are daily being
    destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose
    introduction becomes a life and death question for all
    civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up
    indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the
    remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed,
    not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe.
    —————————-
    “In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production of
    the country, we find new wants, requiring for their
    satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In
    place of the old local and national seclusion and self-
    sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction,
    universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material,
    so also in intellectual production. The intellectual
    creations of individual nations become common property.
    National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become
    more and more impossible, and from the numerous
    national and local literatures, there arises a world
    literature.
    ——————
    “The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all
    instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated
    means of communication, draws all, even the most
    barbarian, nations into civilization. The cheap prices of
    commodities are the heavy artillery with which it forces the
    barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to
    capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to
    adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them
    to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e.,
    to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a
    world after its own image.
    ————————–
    “The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of
    the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly
    increased the urban population as compared with the
    rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the
    population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made
    the country dependent on the towns, so it has made
    barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the
    civilized ones, nations of peasants on nations of
    bourgeois, the East on the West.
    —————————
    “The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with
    the scattered state of the population, of the means of
    production, and of property. It has agglomerated
    population, centralized the means of production, and has
    concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary
    consequence of this was political centralization.
    Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with
    separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of
    taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with
    one government, one code of laws, one national class
    interest, one frontier, and one customs tariff.
    ———————-
    “The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred
    years, has created more massive and more colossal
    productive forces than have all preceding generations
    together. Subjection of nature’s forces to man, machinery,
    application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam
    navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole
    continents for cultivation, canalization or rivers, whole
    populations conjured out of the ground — what earlier
    century had even a presentiment that such productive
    forces slumbered in the lap of social labor?”
    http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/classics/manifesto.ht
    ml
    (And no, Nadine and Kotz, this doesn’t imply that I am a
    Marxist, or agree with his thoughts on violent revolution
    or the dictatorship of the Proletariat. But you have to admit
    that his 160 year old diagnosis is brilliant – don’t you?)

    Reply

  84. nadine says:

    Wigwag, I agree 100% with what Gingrich says about the devastating effects of the Wikileaks intelligence leak: it teaches everybody in the world NEVER to trust the Americans because they are so unreliable. The informants who are named in these documents will die. No skin off Steve Clemons’ nose, yes? He calls the leakers ‘heroic’. That is unforgivably cavalier with other people’s lives, people America has a profound national security reasons to protect. As Gingrich says, American politicians who live safe middle-class lives under rule of law have the ability to say stupid things on a daily basis without paying the price of their folly.

    Reply

  85. nadine says:

    “For a scholar, Gingrich can play the dope pretty well when it suits his cynical political purposes. As I am sure Gingrich knows, Sharia is simply Islamic law, and is thus not just the legal tradition of “radical” Islam, but the legal tradition of the entire Islamic faith.” (Dan Kervick)
    What Gingrich actually said is that Sharia should not be accepted in the place of American law in any court in America. He cited the New Jersey case where a judge actually ruled that a Muslim man was allowed to beat and rape his wife because he sincerely believed it was his right according to sharia. The appeals court properly overturned the decision; we have a long legal tradition in America that you are not allowed to commit crimes and take refuge in religion.
    Note this does not prevent parties from voluntarily setting up a private sharia court and using it, just as Orthodox Jews use private Bet Din courts. But if one party goes to the police and demands protection under American law, American law must trump the religious courts.

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  86. nadine says:

    Wigwag, Romney may have money and experience but he has three strikes against him in the Republican primaries: his religion, his inability to connect with voters, and Romneycare.
    A large proportion of Republican primary voters are believing Christians, who have heartburn over Mormonism, which the Church of LDS does not help by running around claiming to be a Christian church, which it is plainly not, even spreading a fairly wide net to encompass various Christian doctrines. Romney gave big speech last time trying to reassure Christian voters, but it didn’t really seem to work.
    Romney had money last time, but never caught fire with voters. Charges of flip-flopping stuck to him, and will again.
    Romneycare hangs around Romney’s neck like an albatross. He has to repudiate it utterly, which will hardly speak well of his own judgement. But repealing Obamacare will be a major issue in 2012, and I don’t think that anybody who waffles about repealing it or tries to straddle the issue will get anywhere in the Republican primaries.
    Interestingly, Republican voters and the Netroots have the same current favorite for the Republican nomination: Sarah Palin. While she is a much stronger and smarter candidate than the Left gives her credit for, she would have to do something quite extraordinary to overcome the Emmanuel Goldstein treatment the MSM dishes out to her, which in itself is a kind of backhand compliment: they hate her the most because they fear her the most. But I don’t know if she can appeal to independents.

    Reply

  87. nadine says:

    “If everything inflates or deflates together there’s less of a problem.” (questions)
    You think somebody is going to inflate your savings account and your Treasury bonds according to the general rate of inflation? What would be the point of that?

    Reply

  88. Dan Kervick says:

    Kotzabasis,
    You often sound like you are writing captions or fortune cookies, rather than making arguments.
    I have never proposed a single policy that is unconstitutional. All of the activist policies I defend have been practiced in the past in the United States, in one form or another, have been brought before the Supreme Court, and have passed constitutional muster. Americans have broad constitutionally unimpeachable freedoms to build roads, canals and airports; appropriate and set aside public lands; regulate commerce; levy taxes on themselves and their fellow citizens; and to undertake whatever projects they desire in pursuit of the general welfare or common good as they see it, so long as those projects don’t run afoul of the fundamental liberties protected by the constitution.
    It surely must be a sign of radical right individualistic decadence that the mere pursuit of the common good or public good, one of the central concepts in the western legal and political tradition, now strikes them as some sort of frightening communistic notion.
    The founders, even the Madisonians and Jeffersonians, were classical republicans, and took it for granted that pursuit of the common good was one of the very purposes of government. And even more obviously, they took it for granted that pursuing the common good was at least a virtuous and good thing.
    Madison: Federalist #57:
    “The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.”
    Madison: Federalist #10
    “The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.”
    John Adams, Thoughts on Government:
    “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.”
    Jefferson, First Inaugural:
    “During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good.”
    Madison, Federalist #45
    “It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and that no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object. Were the plan of the convention adverse to the public happiness, my voice would be, Reject the plan.”
    And of course, we get even stronger and more frequent defenses of republican conceptions of the public good from the Federalists, who mainly prevailed in the constitutional debate:
    Hamilton, Federalist #31
    “A government ought to contain in itself every power requisite to the full accomplishment of the objects committed to its care, and to the complete execution of the trusts for which it is responsible, free from every other control but a regard to the public good and to the sense of the people.”
    Hamilton, Federalist # 30
    “How is it possible that a government half supplied and always necessitous, can fulfill the purposes of its institution, can provide for the security, advance the prosperity, or support the reputation of the commonwealth? How can it ever possess either energy or stability, dignity or credit, confidence at home or respectability abroad? How can its administration be any thing else than a succession of expedients temporizing, impotent, disgraceful? How will it be able to avoid a frequent sacrifice of its engagements to immediate necessity? How can it undertake or execute any liberal or enlarged plans of public good?”
    - Hamilton, as we know, was very, very fond of liberal and enlarged plans executed by strong and activist governments.
    Hamilton, Federalist #37
    “It is a misfortune, inseparable from human affairs, that public measures are rarely investigated with that spirit of moderation which is essential to a just estimate of their real tendency to advance or obstruct the public good; and that this spirit is more apt to be diminished than promoted, by those occasions which require an unusual exercise of it.”
    - Failure to judge policies by their conduciveness to the public good? Bad.
    But apart from these frequent antique acknowledgments that the very purpose of government goes beyond the protection of liberty, and aims at the promotion of the common good, public good or general welfare, what should be even more obvious is that the citizens of a democratic republic are *at least free* to propose, enact and pursue projects for the promotion of the common good, so long as those projects do not conflict with fundamental liberties protected in the constitution.
    And it is impossible to saddle our energetic and activist founders, who wrote the constitution in order to toss out the Articles of Confederation, and to create a stronger central government with a central taxation authority capable of meeting the exigencies of the nation and executing dynamic plans for national growth, with the absurd and anarchistic doctrine that everything I don’t feel like doing is a fundamental liberty reserved to me under the ninth amendment.

    Reply

  89. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Or questions…
    The War On Wiping Your Own Ass Without First Consulting Plato.

    Reply

  90. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Actually these fuckin’ monsters in DC have a multitude of names to choose from….
    The War On Credibility…
    The War On The People’s Trust….
    The War On Our Children’s Future….
    The War On What We Coulda Been….
    ….ad nauseum.
    (Then theres Kotz, who is waging his own personal War On Sanity)

    Reply

  91. kotzabasis says:

    Kervick adventitiously and foolishly with his “unconstitutional” governmental dirigisme, which Don Bacon correctly characterized as fascistic, has opened a pit of venomous snakes biting him.

    Reply

  92. Dan Kervick says:

    “Obama refuses to call the current conflict by its real name; even some Republicans don

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  93. Dan Kervick says:

    “I think that makes my point.”
    Your point is that people shouldn’t try to promote the common good because they sometimes put the wrong people in charge of the project?
    I would agree that if the American people decide to launch a new era of activist government and bold public initiatives, they shouldn’t hand the chief executive’s job to a Republican like Newt Gingrich.

    Reply

  94. WigWag says:

    “Wigwag, do you think Newt’s presidential bid will get any traction?” (Nadine)
    Nope. Gingrich is smarter than the rest of the Republican field put together but he has no chance. Like Palin, he has too many negatives to overcome.
    Frankly, I’d bet the ranch that barring any major gaffes, Romney has the nomination locked up. All the Republican big money people are breaking for Romney; it’s true of Wall Street, it’s true of the Oil and Gas sector and its true of the pharmaceutical industry.
    Winning the nomination takes money; winning the Presidency takes more. Not only does Romney have plenty of his own; he has the LDS contingent he can count on for fundraising and he, not Gingrich will get the big money players on his side.
    This makes him awful tough to beat.

    Reply

  95. Don Bacon says:

    Newt Gingrich could be the guy in charge of “interference or regulation from a government with an organized commitment to a vision of the public good” with his “discipline of the polity.”
    I think that makes my point.

    Reply

  96. questions says:

    Here’s a beautiful political story!!
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/7/29/888825/-IL-SEN2;-Gov.-Quinn-calls-special-Senate-election-for-Obamas-seat
    Looks like some judge ordered there to be a special election for Obama’s old Senate seat.
    Looks like the gov decided to make that special election the same day as the general.
    Looks like the names of the major party candidates will be on the ballot TWICE.
    I guess we’ll see what voter education can do….
    The winner of the special serves from certification til opening day of the new Congress.
    Wow! Great fun. And Mark Kirk was looking so totally awful according to kos and Tribune stories!
    *******
    And considering that right now we’re worried about deflation, and no one is talking about inflation let alone hyper inflation, I’m not worried.
    If everything inflates or deflates together there’s less of a problem. This goes back to the notion of the “money illusion” I posted about from Akerlof. I’m not illiterate regarding economics, though I’m not well-versed. BUT, Alan Greespan fucked up and he is supposed to know a lot. The whole field has some structural problems, so you’re anxiety also fails to move me.
    Thanks for not hating on me, by the way!!!

    Reply

  97. nadine says:

    “nadine, gimme a break with the iou stuff. SoSec owns Treasuries. The gov’t ain’t gonna default. I feel quite confident that I will get a monthly check when I retire.”
    Oh, for sure, you’ll get a monthly check. The question is, whether you’ll be able to buy more than lunch and dinner with it. For one day.
    Hyper-inflation is very nasty and society-destroying for those who go through it. But for governments with unsustainable levels of debt, inflation is always the easy way out. If they own the debt, they own the printing presses as well.
    Look what Russian pensioners suffered, when the rubles they were paid in became nearly worthless. You had old people selling whatever they had by the side of the road, basically begging. Don’t think it can’t happen here.
    “Remember, nadine, deep down, I’m very liberal. People come before profits for me. My needs are simple. And I’m not heavily into exploiting others for my own good.”
    Yes, I know, questions. I can’t hate you for it. But I can hold you up as an example of “the economically illiterate go left.”

    Reply

  98. questions says:

    Indeed, not cretins at all — brilliant inventors who think of things that make us live better:
    “The second technology that I depend upon is that in my rocker alarm. I’m a very heavy sleeper and I sleep through most alarms, because, of course, I take my aids out when I sleep. My rocker alarm goes under the mattress, so when it goes off it shakes the bed. which does wake me up. Living alone, this is essential to maintaining my ability to keep morning commitments.”
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/7/29/886607/-Getting-Around-In-The-World-With-A-Little-Help
    This is good, indeed.

    Reply

  99. nadine says:

    “Is it conceivable to Kervick, the student of David Hume, that cosmopolitan America would have accomplished all these great achievements in the field of politics, economics, and science, and having the greatest number of Nobel Laureates in its midst, if it was a country of “self-enslavement” populated by

    Reply

  100. questions says:

    nadine, gimme a break with the iou stuff. SoSec owns Treasuries. The gov’t ain’t gonna default. I feel quite confident that I will get a monthly check when I retire.
    And if I don’t, to be honest, I’m so relieved that mother did get checks that I feel that’s enough. Had she not gotten her checks, I would have had to send an equivalent amount. So I’m way better off personally for there having been SoSec at all.
    I’m also so relieved that the poverty rate among the elderly is very very low. I’m so relieved that our parents don’t eat cat food. I’d like to keep it that way. No people should be food insecure. And that’s that.
    Remember, nadine, deep down, I’m very liberal. People come before profits for me. My needs are simple. And I’m not heavily into exploiting others for my own good.
    Kos has been running a series on the SoSec metaphors you use (they’re all Foxpoints, by the way) and I’m just not afraid.
    It’s a bodily fluid thing, I think. And I don’t do anxiety at that level. Just don’t do it.

    Reply

  101. nadine says:

    “I just don’t feel bad about paying more of my precious bodily fluids, I mean my cold hard cash, I mean my hard earned paycheck into a set of funds that keep people functioning, learning, appreciating art, being safer, and being cared for in old age.” (questions)
    You ought to feel bad, questions, because the funds you are paying into are empty, broke, busted. The politicians stole all the money and replaced it with IOUs. The promises are coming due and there is nothing to pay them out with.
    If we don’t reset these government Ponzi schemes onto some more sustainable track, and pretty damn quick, a lot of old and helpless people will be left in the lurch, as the government, having no other way out, will start a massive inflation, destroying everyone’s savings and pensions.

    Reply

  102. rc says:

    “You talk about the government as though it were some kind of invader from another planet, Don. In a democratic society, allowing your government to tell you what to do just means agreeing to submit to the the legally binding decisions of a majority of your fellow-citizens. It means being a cooperative team player instead of a selfish rogue.” (Dan Kervick, Jul 29 2010, 9:35PM)
    In theory, yes, but in practice the government can become captured by vested interests. The US 2008 presidential election turnout was 63% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout) giving 32% effective control. Hardly a majority of “fellow citizens”.
    In this system, when these elected representative agents get into the administration food chain and simply work for the money interests then a plutocracy, and even kleptocracy, develops.
    Given the wealth distribution in the US (e.g. see * below) it is hardly surprising that government power (and the lack of exercise of it domestically) is directed by (and for) those interests which benefit from the situation.
    It has very little relationship to the “decisions of a majority of your fellow-citizens” (DK).
    The ‘tone at the top’ is one of creeping fascism through corporatism and everyone should be concerned, and is seems to be a world wide phenomena:

    Reply

  103. nadine says:

    Wigwag, do you think Newt’s presidential bid will get any traction?

    Reply

  104. questions says:

    Don Bacon, I don’t like all sorts of things my government does. I HATE the current education “reform” (not sure how you knew that!). I HATE the lack of proper regulation over BP, the lack of industrial policy, the too low tax rates, the lack of nationwide rail, the push to the automobile, the fact that there are billionaires, the number of gunned down babies across the country, the existence of guns, the new version of the 2nd amendment that has nothing to do with “militias” anymore….
    BUT, as Dan notes above, we live collectively knowing that sometimes we will HATE the outcome, sometimes we will like the outcome, and always we are better off together than apart.
    Really if you haven’t read the holy triumvirate of social contract theorists, you should. Even a simple synopsis of Leviathan will clue you in. Game theory does the rest.
    Individually, we cannot function. In a group without assurance we cannot function. In a group with assurance we won’t always like the outcome. But let me tell you (or let Hobbes and Locke and Rousseau tell you) this alleged “natural freedom” isn’t very free.
    As for insurance — here’s a deal we should make, but we can’t ever do it and won’t. Someone is allowed to forgo health insurance if that person either has 2-3 million dollars in an insurance escrow account and signs a waiver for any additional care OR that same person waives his/her right to any and all care. No trauma care after a car accident, no bone setting, no stitches, no flu treatment, no IVs, no chest x-rays, no cancer care, no 20,000 dollar a dose miracle drugs for what ails ya, no antibiotics, no rehab after a stroke, no reviving, no Heimlich maneuvers, nothing. Just die in the street, sucka!
    Who honestly is in a position of such great knowledge that he or she could sign such a waiver? No one, actually. And who could really and truly turn away a dying person in that instance?
    So, if you’re going to get emergency and cancer and pneumonia care regardless, you really ought to pay in advance. You’ll be begging at the hospital door, otherwise.
    The mandate covers the cost of guaranteed issue, and it’s utterly worth it for all of us.
    I do not feel bad for people who hate the current administration, for people who lose money, for people whose precious freedoms are TAKEN AWAY by the evil government because those same people have to serve dark skinned people, put in ramps, make sure that you can’t reach the sink from the light switch or the outlet, make sure that your house doesn’t fall over in the rain, make sure that your car’s bumper is good for a 10 mph crash (oh rats, that’s down to 2.5 now, I think) and so on.
    I just don’t feel bad about paying more of my precious bodily fluids, I mean my cold hard cash, I mean my hard earned paycheck into a set of funds that keep people functioning, learning, appreciating art, being safer, and being cared for in old age.
    I really don’t feel bad. In fact, I’m ever so relieved when I use a government service. It’s there, dependable, imperfect, sometimes corrupt, but always better than what I could arrange privately.
    It’s so funny. I don’t love money so much that I can’t stand parting from a chunk of it to help both others and me. I just don’t love the stuff that much.
    Government is one of the most brilliant things people have come up with, and I LOVE an expansive commerce clause!
    ***
    As for are people cretins — I’m not in the least misanthropic. I actually find myself amazed that people find ways to cope given the kind of junk information, poor education, bad thinking, lack of reading, wasted time, overindulgence and the like that we all engage in. Despite all of this, many people I talk to have all sorts of amazing insights and good thoughts and I rarely meet people who don’t want to learn more, who aren’t kind of wowed by all there is in the world worth checking out.
    The most rigid people I know are the tea party set, and even they are fairly smart if not in the direction I think they should be. But they aren’t really me, so I can’t expect them to see the world as I do.
    The wisdom of the crowd is a neat feature of having enough of us participating. Sure we fuck up and people die along the way, but then we correct the course. And some people end up thriving.
    I have bunches of faith in popular sovereignty, even if I woulda done it all differently. Fact is, not everyone has my set of instincts, so they make different decisions. I can cope. I actually have to cope as we all share the same planet.

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  105. nadine says:

    “Don’t cretins have the right to try to improve their lives?”
    LOL, the new progressive motto.
    And you wonder why progressives are always trying to order us what to do?
    If you think the people are cretins, you don’t leave them alone in possession of their own property and lives. You step in to give orders in the name of compassion. You take from one and give to another to redistribute the wealth. You carefully regulate every activity because there is no telling what these cretins will do if left alone.
    If in the process, you become rich while the cretins become poor, that’s just by way of a happy accident, right?
    This is the road to serfdom.

    Reply

  106. WigWag says:

    I wonder whether Steve Clemons or Brian Katulis actually watched the Newt Gingrich speech. If they did, all doubts would be erased about which side of the supposed Republican divide on international affairs the former Speaker comes down on. Of course the

    Reply

  107. Dan Kervick says:

    “And now you flip-flop and say citizens have “the right to work together to build the kinds of communities they want.”
    Don’t cretins have the right to try to improve their lives? Even the Jersey Shore kids are entitled to work together to organize public investment in a better life for their children. And I would strongly recommend that Glenn Beck, John Hagee and Sarah Palin get on board with activist government as well – not that they would be disposed to listen to me.
    “Or not, if we allow the government to tell us how to live in its vision of the common good.”
    You talk about the government as though it were some kind of invader from another planet, Don. In a democratic society, allowing your government to tell you what to do just means agreeing to submit to the the legally binding decisions of a majority of your fellow-citizens. It means being a cooperative team player instead of a selfish rogue.
    Now I’m perfectly well aware that our national government, as currently constituted, falls far short of the best democratic ideals. My response to that situation is a desire to strengthen that government and make it both more responsive to the people as a whole, and more capable of turning popular decisions into social policies and concrete social realities. And I want the head of BP to live in holy fear of the President of the US and the US Congress. That’s my vision of a better future: one in which a revitalized US government has restored the American people’s ability to collectively choose their future.
    The Republican approach is to keep weakening government so that it incapable of doing anything right, and then pointing to those failures as an excuse for weakening it further. Starve schools districts so that they turn out poorly educated fools, and then say, “These schools suck; we need to turn education over to McTeachMe.”
    The Constitution, sitting there in its glass case, isn’t going to protect you from the depredations of oligarchic rule by BP, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and Phizer. Only if the American people work together to form a government that is more powerful than all those companies together do they have some hope of controlling their lives, and building a life based on community values of equality, shared burdens and shared benefits, rather than the cold, iron laws of domination by the strong, and submission of the weak to their stronger masters. Private enterprise can serve the general good, so long as it is is brought to heel under an effective rule of law, and made to operate according to rules that are conducive to that general good.
    The only alternative that has every existed to gradual enslavement by ruthless individual titans and warlords is a broad, committed popular solidarity of the kind that can build a cooperative force that is more powerful than the might of those titans. That’s called “government”, and in its democratic form is called “self-government.” But if you favor Social Darwinist domination of the weak by the strong, then by all means, keep supporting your libertarian ideals of weak government.

    Reply

  108. rc says:

    Carroll, Jul 29 2010, 3:00PM (and various posts from Don Bacon)
    Where to from here? One might also factor in this (below) as the leading edge of US policy experimentation on future democratic governance directions.
    “The Israeli parliament is considering several new laws that could seriously impact the ability of citizens to criticise the government, according to rights groups. Human Rights Watch is reporting a crackdown on political activists who criticise Israeli’s treatment of the Palestinians. In what rights groups consider part of an alarming pattern, Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, recently admitted to spying on a young Australian activist in the West Bank. Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros reports from Jerusalem.”
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=5438

    Reply

  109. Don Bacon says:

    questions, how about the Department of Education? Do you like its vision of the common good? Do charter schools, NCLB and Race to the Top float your boat? How about Arne Duncan’s goal of closing 5,000 schools?

    Reply

  110. nadine says:

    Dan Kervick, your idea of what motivates the right is a self-serving caricature. It is true that the right are greatly energized about the out-of-control spending in DC, but that is because one of the enduring divides between right and left is that if you can read a balance sheet, you tend to go right. If you are an economic illiterate, you tend to go left.
    One of the reasons that the right was so dispirited in 2008, was that they considered that over-spending and too much easy credit, as well as too much government jiggering of the housing market, was a big reason for the 2008 crash, and they blamed Bush for it. Of course, they got Obama who proposed to “fix” the problem with 10 times more of the same!
    If you ask why McCain didn’t win, that’s a big part of the reason. Another is that the independent voter was sold a bill of goods about Obama by an in-the-tank media – that he was brilliant, sober, centrist, a cool non-partisan, post-racial analytic thinker – none of which is true.
    Obama is a progressive ideologue. I would call him a socialist, and so do 55% of American voters, according to a recent poll. Obama is all about glib rhetoric and cheap demagoguery, but he can’t even put three paragraphs of a logical argument together in a speech. Which helps account for the fact that his hundreds of speeches have failed to persuade anybody of anything.
    Obama’s entire definition of ‘non-partisan’ is that Republicans should give up their own ideas and join in with the ideas of the left-wing of the Democratic caucus. That doesn’t work. Obama seems genuinely surprised. Meanwhile, the Democratic Caucus has joined Obama heading over the partisan cliff.
    Independents are disgusted and peeling off in droves. They will vote Republican, not because they have forgotten their problems with Bush, but because divided government is the only way to put a check on Obama.
    The only question now is, how bad a drubbing will the Dems take in November?

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  111. Don Bacon says:

    Speaking of the commerce clause, here’s a couple bits from HR 3590, Mandatory Medical Insurance For All:
    (a) Findings- Congress makes the following findings:
    (1) IN GENERAL- The individual responsibility requirement provided for in this section (in this subsection referred to as the `requirement’) is commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce, as a result of the effects described in paragraph (2).
    and:
    (A) The requirement regulates activity that is commercial and economic in nature: economic and financial decisions about how and when health care is paid for, and when health insurance is purchased.
    So under the commerce clause the government can force a citizen to buy insurance for her or his own personal use, not affecting anyone else, that s/he doesn’t want. That’s a government acting with vision, for the common good, they say, to help out people who are “bitter and hate-filled paranoids and obsessives.” Hey, that’s us!

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  112. DonS says:

    Paul, I had a whole dissertation on Locke, Rousseau, English versus French political thinking in the 18th century, etc., but I decided to hold fire. Mainly because I think both Dan and Don can well handle their own debate. But I will excerpt this paragraph, relevant to what you bring because it seems germane to the way the U S ordinary Joe citizen has been had, and screwed over by a version of the American dream that puts him/her in a double bind . . . brought up to ingest the notion of ‘rugged individualism’, but many finding theselves living in a nation constructed to crush the middle class and requiring government intervention to ameliorate the worst of consequences, if only to prevent one from winding up in old age totally destitute and helpless:
    And we can probably say with some certainty that the Founders did not anticipate the complex federal government of today which, de facto, makes the ideal of individual struggle, e.g., libertarianism, more a cruel joke than a practical implementation of either “individual rights” or “social responsibility” theory. I don’t think there is a way to divine the Founder’s ‘actual’ intent, certainly not relative to today’s realities.
    These are the practical consequences of increased corporatism, and the driving force of the military-industrial complex. They were not inevitable, but they have resulted.
    As far as expanding the role of government, well, the phrase “privitize the gains, socialize the losses” about says it all. Modern conservative are good at, if nothing else, talking out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to the role of government. And notably, the largest increases, especially in spending, as well as tax cuts for wealthiest of course, under republican adminstrations. (you really can’t count the recent emergency so-called ‘stimulus”).
    Bottom line, there is little to be gained in debating the Founders intentions since the reality is that the American empire is a sinking ship and that much of the wisdom of the Founders, of whichever stripe, has been long since eclipsed by the need to find a practical way forward.

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  113. nadine says:

    “I had no idea that the American constitution dictated that the
    US democacy should be an experiment implementing
    libertarian ideology.” (Paul Norheim)
    You should read it sometime, Paul. Then read the Federalist Papers. The Founders, esp. Madison, were extremely concerned with putting a check on ever-expanding government powers. That’s why the 10th amendment says what it does: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The Founders were adamant that rights came from “Nature and Nature’s God,” to use Jefferson’s phrase, NOT from government.
    That’s why progressives have never been happy with the Constitution, from Wilson and FDR to Obama. Obama has criticized the Constitution for being about “negative rights” – what the government can’t do – much more than “positive rights” – what the government must do.
    Progressives want to rewrite the Constitution, which they do in the guise of calling it a “living document,” which means that it doesn’t say what its authors intended it to say, or what the plain language means, but instead can say anything you think it should say. Make it up as you go along.
    Under FDR, the Commerce clause was stretched so far that it regulated a farmer who was growing wheat on his own land for his own private consumption. Today Obama wants it to regulate an insurance mandate where private citizens MUST purchase insurance from a private corporation, with rates and coverage set by the government. A number of states’ attorneys generals have sued over that question, and we’ll see what the Supreme Court has to say in the not too distant future.

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  114. Don Bacon says:

    Those that are claiming that Obama’s future military plans, as expressed in the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), are too modest might grab onto a just-released, congressionally-mandated “QDR review” report which calls for rebuilding and expanding the US military. It explicitly warns about the “growing gap” between what the military is able to do and what it may be called on to do in the future. It advocates an expansion of the Navy and continued increases in an annual defense budget that has more than doubled since 2001.
    The report panel included only “defense experts” who of course could be expected to report as they did.
    “The congressionally mandated report differs in significant respects from the official QDR (Feb 2010), in which Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his team argued for rebalancing the military away from the huge weapons systems the United States has been building since World War II and toward more manpower- intensive, small-war capabilities like those being used in Iraq and Afghanistan.” — Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy

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  115. Paul Norheim says:

    I had no idea that the American constitution dictated that the
    US democacy should be an experiment implementing
    libertarian ideology.

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  116. samuelburke says:

    as a life long republican i really dont care whether the war within
    the party is over or not, and who won or who lost matters little to
    me unless they preach a different sermon. i will not vote for the
    warmongers again, and like me there are gazillion others who also
    will not support these fabricators and have migrated away from the
    party.

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  117. samuelburke says:

    what a sad political posture this man brings to the fore of the
    republican party.
    how truly sad and pathetic.

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  118. Don Bacon says:

    questions, if you have a point of view that relates to our discussion I fail to see it. For one thing, do you agree that US citizens are, to summarize, “bitter and hate-filled paranoids” who need a paternal government to tell us what to do? Let’s start with that.

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  119. Don Bacon says:

    Kervick, you started this discussion off by saying that American citizens are “cretins: bitter and hate-filled paranoids and obsessives, driven by rage and our multifarious addictions and grasping dependencies to defend and spread a way of life we actually hate and resent in our bones. In other words, we’re crazy people” and so we need “interference or regulation from a government with an organized commitment to a vision of the public good” which I claimed was un-American.
    And now you flip-flop and say citizens have “the right to work together to build the kinds of communities they want.” Make up your mind, or is it impossible because of craziness.
    Regarding our rights, nobody gets to define them, legally, barring injury to others, but unfortunately the government does, which should satisfy you as it contributes to a well-disciplined polity. Your emails should interest somebody in the vast intelligence community.
    “Must the citizen, ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think we should be men first, and subjects afterward.” — Henry David Thoreau
    Or not, if we allow the government to tell us how to live in its vision of the common good, powered by legislators on a corporate payroll and executives that are strangers to the truth, and should be impeached according to some, dictating orders to a well-disciplined polity.

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  120. questions says:

    Oops, left out the link to the stuff on the Constitution…..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_One_of_the_United_States_Constitution

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  121. questions says:

    Geez, Dan,
    You might have to turn to, I don’t know, actual constitutional scholarship, books, history, practice, precedent and the like to make your case. Gawd, you might even have to use some logic or game theory or refer to, I don’t know, a book by John Locke or something to make your case.
    In which case, you will lose POA as an ally. For now he has a crush on you because though you may have read some books, you don’t actually use all that Bertrand Russell and Plato shit…. Phew.
    Don Bacon seems to have foolish libertarian instincts the ramifications of which he does not appreciate because he has yet to be on the losing side of a prisoner’s dilemma.
    Here’s the Wiki Constitution by the way, Article I (that’s the stuff about Congress):
    Congress’ powers are enumerated in Section Eight:
    Section 8: The Congress shall have power To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
    To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
    To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
    To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
    To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
    To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
    To establish post offices and post roads;
    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
    To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
    To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
    To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
    To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
    To provide and maintain a navy;
    To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
    To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
    To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;

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  122. Dan Kervick says:

    “A government by definition can’t have a vision because it is (legally, if not in practice) an agent of the people.”
    People can have a vision, and they can implement that vision through government, which belongs to them, and is their instrument for forming a more perfect union, promoting the general welfare and the rest.
    “… There is nothing in the Constitution about “advancing a certain vision of the public good,” …”
    The constitution also doesn’t say anything about opening up a winery, or creating a park, or building a public school. But we have the right to create those things, do we not? Americans are free to create whatever kind of society they want, so long as the practices of that society are not constitutionally prohibited.
    If the people have a vision of the common good and they vote democratically to implement and advance that vision, and that vision doesn’t run afoul of constitutional proscriptions, then would you deny them their right to bring their desires to reality?
    Who gets to say what amazing rights are covered under your omnipotent ninth amendment? You? God?
    It seems like your version of freedom is all about a few obstreperous individuals denying others the right to work together to build the kinds of communities they want, on the basis of willy-nilly declarations of “rights” they have dreamed up.

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  123. Don Bacon says:

    And thirty-eight per cent of the electorate did not vote in the last presidential (but in a way they did vote — none of the above).

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  124. Carroll says:

    Listen, in discussing the conseratives and liberals, dems vrs repubs, and what it shows of the American population, you have to realize you are using examples of the fanatic fringes of both that dominate the debate today and in particular control the GOP, more so than the liberal whackos control the dems. But imo neither is representative of the population as a whole.
    Living in a purple state it is my experience that both fringes are batshit crazy in different ways. But we got to explain the little acknowledged fact that 45% of the voters now claim themselves as independent or unaffiliated voters.
    Make of that trend what you will. I have dem friends that are still upset Chuck Hagel didn’t run for president so they could vote for him and repub friends that crossed over to vote for Obama.
    Except for the fanatical gop’ers or fanatical dem’ers, everyone else is disgusted with both of them.

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  125. Don Bacon says:

    Kervick: “The constitution provides a basic structural framework for democratic government, and also protects certain fundamental individual and state rights.”
    No, the Constitution does not protect certain rights, it sets up a government to protect our basic human rights. There are some rights enumerated in the Constitution, but they are not exclusive of other rights.
    Amendment IX – Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
    There is no Constitutional right to breathe, have sex, have an abortion or travel, but we still inherently have these rights.
    There is nothing in the Constitution about “advancing a certain vision of the public good,” but rather “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Big difference. A “well-disciplined polity”, one of your previous remarks, is a product of fascism, not liberty.
    The Constitution is the law of the land, the Declaration of Independence is the spirit of our country. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”
    Governments are instituted to secure our rights, not to advance “a certain vision of the public good.” I have given examples of how the present government fails in this regard. The government should therefore have less power, not more, because it is infringing upon liberty.
    A government by definition can’t have a vision because it is (legally, if not in practice) an agent of the people.

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  126. Nobcentral says:

    Major speech my behind. Shorter Newt:
    We’re tough, it’s a long fight, reinvoke the Cold War, Obama is a
    wuss.
    And then he didn’t answer any questions.

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  127. Carroll says:

    And the goods news today is..the battle for the hearts and minds of American ‘rubes’ is heating up.
    Co-op boycott:

    Reply

  128. Dan Kervick says:

    “The US government was established to safeguard our basic human rights, not to have a vision of the public good. The government should work for us, not the opposite.”
    The constitution provides a basic structural framework for democratic government, and also protects certain fundamental individual and state rights. Within those broad constraints, it permits the American people a great deal of latitude in developing a government that does whatever the hell they democratically decide to make that government do. It’s our government; we can do what we want with it. If the American people choose a strong system of government organized around advancing a certain vision of the public good, they are free to create such a government.

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  129. Don Bacon says:

    A couple of recent examples of government vision.
    The Dem-controlled senate refuses to vote to change the filibuster rules, rules that permanently doom every idea they claim to champion. They want to make sure 41 Senate Republicans always have a veto over every piece of legislation, so nothing they claim to care about could ever pass. –FDL
    The Obama Administration is asking Congress to sanction the collection of internet (including email) records without a warrant

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  130. Don Bacon says:

    Kervick: “. . .regulation from a government with an organized commitment to a vision of the public good and a virtuous social order”
    There you go again, dissing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The US government was established to safeguard our basic human rights, not to have a vision of the public good. The government should work for us, not the opposite. Your faith in government and your lack of faith in the citizenry is un-American,
    “We’re just cretins: bitter and hate-filled paranoids and obsessives, driven by rage and our multifarious addictions and grasping dependencies to defend and spread a way of life we actually hate and resent in our bones. In other words, we’re crazy people.”
    Bullshit. You need to get out more.

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  131. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “But mostly they come from reflection on my own personal experience, and my observations and moral appraisal of contemporary society”
    Uh oh, questions will need an interpreter to understand that statement. Might as well be speaking Martian, Dan.

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  132. Dan Kervick says:

    On the topic of contemporary optimism and pessimism:
    Conservatives in America are *not* optimistic. They are just rabidly energized. Large numbers of conservatives are convinced that we are ever dangling over the pit of apocalyptic doom. The books they read preach various versions of the End Times. They are agitated, it is true, but only to fight their endless cultural war against liberals and all of the other objects of their bottomless hatreds. That cultural war gives them a sense of meaning and purpose, but not any hope for the future.
    Progressive Democrats have not been notably optimistic in my lifetime. Vietnam, the nuclear balance of terror, oil shocks, Watergate, the

    Reply

  133. questions says:

    WigWag, think of it this way.
    IF the current neo-con line, or the current version of the Republican party, turns out to be unstable, as it might, there needs to be some remnant of some other version of the Party lying dormant, ready to envelop the survivors.
    What suggests the end of the neo-con enterprise eventually is that though remaking the world in the image and likeness of the US has its charms, it also has a lot of frustrations, impossibilities, and expenses.
    We will find that even when countries liberalize (a good thing), they do so their own way and end up as competitors (not so good). Getting them to the point of liberalization turns out to be quite a handful and more likely generational than from the efforts of war.
    The religious differences are so useful for instigators that trying to liberalize an Islamic society is not at all like trying to liberalize a Christian society. As Pape notes, that religious difference is an effective point for instigation.
    So the deeper in neo-consciousness we get, the more in trouble we may well end up.
    The continent of Africa is loaded with minerals, and it will eventually be the next staging ground for what’s playing out in the ME. Already, China seems to have a different model from what the US is doing, and perhaps that model will work better for the liberalization project.
    Meanwhile, here at home, we are in some small ways, backing away from the liberalization project as liberalization tends to run counter to directing the rest of the world. We should probably watch for our own anti-liberal tendencies even as we champion liberalism for other peoples.
    What we will need coming out of the neo-con era is some version of co-habitation without cooptation. We really are going to need to be less dependent on fossil fuels and on multi-national corporations as these are forces easily arrayed against liberalism.
    If the Clemons gang can figure out how to have us be tied enough to other nations to ease international anxiety, and far enough from other nations that we don’t feel a need to make them into carbon copies of us, he and the gang might have a nice refuge for the Party Apparatus when it finishes self-destructing.

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  134. Dan Kervick says:

    “It is interesting that he uses Lenin

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  135. WigWag says:

    “…the majority of Americans simply agree more with the neoconservatives than with other schools of foreign policy.” So why didn’t they vote for John McCain?” (Dan Kervick)
    Because George W. Bush was a tremendously unpopular President of the same political party as McCain. Most importantly, it was because the American economy was literally imploding and Americans wanted a president of a different political party in the hope that he would fix the economy and protect their jobs.
    I tend to doubt that the election of Obama and defeat of McCain had much to do with foreign policy issues.
    After all, on Iraq, first the public massively supported the invasion, then after it was mismanaged, the public massively opposed it and then after the surge, opposition waned, at least a little.
    On Afghanistan the public supported Bush throughout his Presidency and despite the recent bad news; the public probably still supports the Obama strategy (which is not that different from the Bush strategy).
    On Israel-Palestine, more than one poll showed that Israel’s popularity amongst Americans reached its historical high point during the Bush Administration. In the wake of war with Hezbollah and the attack on Gaza, Israel just became more and more popular in the U.S. while the Palestinians became more and more disdained.
    On Iran, during the Bush Administration, more than one poll showed that Americans favored a U.S. led military attack on Iran if it refused to relent in its purported pursuit of nuclear weapons. Bush was actually more dovish than public opinion on this, not less dovish; as we know he never ordered an attack.
    On military spending, the debate over missile defense that took place during the Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Clinton Administrations died out and no one objected to “star wars” any more. As Pentagon spending continued to increase, the public was largely silent.
    It’s not just Republican and Democratic politicians who think that the neoconservatives have it right on foreign policy; most Americans do to. But none of this means that they will tolerate a political party in power that presides over a collapsing economy. That’s what Bush did and that’s why McCain lost.
    One of the best posts that Steve Clemons ever did at the Washington Note was his post eulogizing Irving Kristol. Here’s the link,
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/09/irving_kristol/
    It’s really remarkable how a tiny group of intellectuals sitting around Irving Kristol’s kitchen table were able to hatch a strategy that totally took over the foreign policy apparatus of the Republican Party and largely did of the Democratic Party as well. It’s even more amazing when you consider the fact that they first started out as Trotskyites and then spent years as Democrats before turning their sites on the Republicans. This small group took the Republican Party away from Steve Clemons, Rita Hauser, the Chaffees, the Eisenhowers and many others. Even more remarkably, they defeated giants like James Baker, Colin Powell, Brent Scowcroft; it’s not an exaggeration to say that they even defeated the foreign policy ideology of Ronald Reagan himself.
    It reminds me of nothing so much as the battle of Agincourt. Irving Kristol and his small cadre of neocon activists took on the mainstream Republican Party elites and defeated them thoroughly and completely. “Those few, those happy few, that band of brothers (and sisters)” destroyed the realist wing of the Republican Party as thoroughly as King Henry V defeated the Dauphin’s superior army.
    It’s extraordinary.
    I sympathize with Steve; he wants his old political party back the way it used to be. There

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  136. DonS says:

    correction: . . . the repetitive impact of propaganda is it’s foundational TOOL.
    “It (neoconservatism) has everything to do with the American cultural milieu and the religious nature of American society.” (wigwag)
    Now what would that “religious nature” be, as long as we are positing overall constructs of American society? If we are talking about American “exceptionalism” and it’s supposed lofty origins, that is religious-based hocus pocus that the Supreme Court usually strikes down at every turn. Though I wouldn’t bet on the current Court.

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  137. Dan Kervick says:

    “the majority of Americans simply agree more with the neoconservatives than with other schools of foreign policy.”
    So why didn’t they vote for John McCain?

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  138. DonS says:

    “In my opinion, John Waring, it has nothing to do with unforced errors on the part of the Obama Administration; the majority of Americans simply agree more with the neoconservatives than with other schools of foreign policy. We live in a democracy; as much as foreign policy elites might wish that the great unwashed would stick their noses out, Americans are no longer willing to abdicate responsibility on foreign policy issues to elite; in fact, I doubt they ever were willing to do that.” (wigwag)
    Now this is pure unadulterated garbage. As if the “American people” really have a thought that is not manipulated by the movers and shakers manipulating the parties manipulating/conspiring with the press. To posit ‘thinking’ the the American public; now that;s wishful thinking.
    Wigwag’s statement about the public being treated like a bunch of rubes is much more in the line of truth.
    I’ll stick with George Washington’s idea of foreign entanglements if the alternative is the neconservative/liberal interventionist penchant to seen a plausible intervention at every turn. I’d say Washingtons’ idea is more in line with the gut reaction of Americans, after all our recent disastrous interventions, than the neocon canon. Now square that circle.
    Interestingly, Wigwag brings the discussion around to I/P, asserting in effect that her zionist ilk is in charge of American foreign policy. Not a surprise, given her penchant to see all things related to foreign policy through that lens, and through the propaganda of AIPAC, for which she is the liason to the evangelical community in her area. Why, except arrogance, she would call attention to the Israel lobby once again I have no idea. Oh yeah, an the repetitive impact of propaganda is it’s foundational too.

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  139. kotzabasis says:

    Nadine
    It is the cackling of the nihilistic geese, like Kervick

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  140. nadine says:

    “There are many reasons for opposition to American power in the world. But one of them is certainly the growing feeling all around the world, expressed in different ways depending on the culture, that the dominant strain in the American way of life is a highly toxic spiritual poison that breeds in the human soul an unthinking and compulsive mania to destroy almost everything of value, and replace it with pure shit. Americans sometimes think this response from others is an opposition to our freedom. But it is really opposition to the demonic American practice of self-enslavement to the basest level of our own natures.” (Dan Kervick)
    Fifty years ago, progressives were happy warriors like Hubert Humphrey and were generally speaking, happy and optimistic people. Today, conservatives are generally speaking, happy people, while progressives sound like paranoid schizophrenics spitting bile at their countrymen and loathing their own country, as if America were a concentration camp that its inmates were trying to flee, instead of a free country that 100 million people would immigrate to tomorrow if they were allowed.
    Can anybody explain to me why is this? Wigwag? kotz?

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  141. nadine says:

    Wigwag, good comments.
    I was going to write that Katulis was comparing apples with bicycles in his effort to invent dissension in the Republican foreign policy apparatus, but you beat me to it. That putative conflict between tea-party deficit hawks and neoconservatives is especially ludicrous when you compare the size of the defense budget to entitlements, domestic spending and interest on the debt. Defense is molehill next to a mountain range. Small government people want domestic spending returned to 2000 levels. We’d have no deficit if we did that.
    The Republican foreign policy disagreements are just the normal debates of a party out of power, even less rancorous than usual because Obama is such a uniter (of Republicans, that is).
    The libertarian non-interventionist wing of the Republican party is named Ron Paul. I’m not sure if it even includes Rand Paul.
    That doesn’t mean there are no questions about Afghanistan but you shouldn’t confuse strategic questions with huge rifts or isolationism. Republicans were unhappy with Michael Steele because when it comes to American wars, they are the grownup party; they prefer that America win even if it means credit for the other party. Democrats otoh keep trying to make America lose when a Republican is in office.

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  142. Dan Kervick says:

    “The folks who blame the press think Americans are just Rubes who are just so gullible that they will believe anything that the press says.”
    I don’t think we Americans are rubes. We’re just cretins: bitter and hate-filled paranoids and obsessives, driven by rage and our multifarious addictions and grasping dependencies to defend and spread a way of life we actually hate and resent in our bones. In other words, we’re crazy people.
    We don’t believe everything the media tells us. Indeed, most Americans make a pastime out of rejecting media messages. We only believe those media messages that conform to our insane pre-existing passions, hatreds and fixed ideas.
    It’s not that Americans are ignorant of their own interests. It’s that they don’t care about their own interests. Madmen are not interested in making themselves “happier” or “better off”. They have bigger and more elusive psychic fish to fry.
    There are many reasons for opposition to American power in the world. But one of them is certainly the growing feeling all around the world, expressed in different ways depending on the culture, that the dominant strain in the American way of life is a highly toxic spiritual poison that breeds in the human soul an unthinking and compulsive mania to destroy almost everything of value, and replace it with pure shit. Americans sometimes think this response from others is an opposition to our freedom. But it is really opposition to the demonic American practice of self-enslavement to the basest level of our own natures.

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  143. Don Bacon says:

    America at risk? Sure, from the vast conspiracy of the moneyed classes and the military-industrial complex that work in obvious ways to blind Americans to their true interests, which are peace, jobs, and a government that cares more about them then about foreign bogeymen who are fictitious threats, when the real threats are unemployment, lack of health care and corrupt politicians. They do it all for profit. give ‘em credit for that, they sure make money off it.
    Haven’t we learned that these politicians (like Obama) are merely preying upon tried-and-true marketing concepts driven by hot-button polls that create issues where none exist, while deferring the real work that needs to be done by real people, not politicians? Like Afghanistan is not really a threat to America, is it. Or Iran, for god’s sake. Huh?
    Other advanced countries (except Israel) don’t dream up international threats like American politicians do. Notice?
    Fragile swagger, I call it. The fragility has been proven; the swagger persists.

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  144. WigWag says:

    “Any administration, any political party, and any world view that gives a fiasco as colossal as Iraq to the American people deserves its thirty years of political wilderness. But no, the unforced errors of the Obama administration may grant it an untimely reprieve.” (John Waring)
    In my opinion, John Waring, it has nothing to do with unforced errors on the part of the Obama Administration; the majority of Americans simply agree more with the neoconservatives than with other schools of foreign policy. We live in a democracy; as much as foreign policy elites might wish that the great unwashed would stick their noses out, Americans are no longer willing to abdicate responsibility on foreign policy issues to elite; in fact, I doubt they ever were willing to do that.
    I think Steve, Hauser, Eisenhower, Powell, Chaffee and the others should just give it up and become Democrats because at least there is still room for the views that they express in the Democratic Party. At least Steve’s views might receive a fair hearing and the fight to convert those views into actual policy might just be possible. In the Republican Party that possibility is long gone.
    With that said though, I think it has to be pointed out that even in the Democratic Party, neoconservative views are pretty ascendant. Remember, many Democratic House and Senate members agreed with Republicans on the Iraq War and almost all Democrats agreed with Republicans about the American attack on Afghanistan. On the Israel-Palestine front, Democratic lawmakers are just about as vociferous in their support for Israel and in their distaste for the Palestinians as Republican lawmakers are. On defense, Democrats have voted to dramatically increase the Pentagon budget just like Republicans have. On things like “Star Wars” the Obama Administration may be taking a somewhat different approach than the Bush Administration did, but it is still investing billions of dollars in missile defense. On Iran, there is virtually no question that if Obama proposes a resolution to support American military action against Iran that most Democrats will support it.
    Of course the real reason that Democrats hold foreign policy opinions that have almost as much of a neoconservative tint as the Republicans do, is that the neoconservatives have won the argument; at least so far.
    There are plenty of dimwits who will blame the press for deceiving distracted Americans who are just too dumb to know any better. The folks who blame the press think Americans are just Rubes who are just so gullible that they will believe anything that the press says.
    Other people (usually progressives) deceive themselves into thinking that there is some vast conspiracy of the moneyed classes or a military-industrial complex that work in mysterious ways to blind Americans to their true interests.
    All of this is poppycock. The reality is that the neoconservative approach to foreign policy is quintessentially American or at least it has been since George Washington’s warning about foreign entanglements went out of fashion. American support for the neoconservative approach to foreign policy has little to do with either the press or with some putative conspiracy of powerful business interests. It has everything to do with the American cultural milieu and the religious nature of American society. Wasn

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  145. Dan Kervick says:

    “… between those who on one hand want to put forward a constructive, national-interest driven strategy that has at its core a patriotic commitment to reinventing American power.”
    It’s interesting how Katulis’s sensible version of Republican foreign policy sounds an awful lot like the official buzzword-infused statements of Obama administration foreign policy, statements which Katulis presumably helped to craft.
    I always knew Obama was a sensible Republican.

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  146. kotzabasis says:

    WigWag
    Clemons in all his

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  147. John Waring says:

    Wig Wag,
    What you describe is to me the very pit of hell. Neoconservatism is the worst fraud ever to gain control of the machinery of American policy, or the soul of a major political party. Now, generational change may grant it ascendancy in the Republican party by default. Now, the administration’s failure to concentrate on jobs creation may aid and abet its national resurrection after the fall elections.
    Any administration, any political party, and any world view that gives a fiasco as colossal as Iraq to the American people deserves its thirty years of political wilderness. But no, the unforced errors of the Obama administration may grant it an untimely reprieve.

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  148. WigWag says:

    By the way, if Mr. Katulis wanted to write something interesting about the foreign policy divide in the Republican Party, the two Republicans he should have compared are Senator John Kyl and Senator Richard Lugar.
    Lugar is one of the longest serving Republican Senators (before that he was Mayor of Indianapolis). He has been on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for decades and he has served as both Chairman and Ranking Member of that Committee. At one time, Lugar was considered a giant in the Foreign Policy apparatus of the Republican Party; now few if any Republican office holders care what Lugar has to say about international affairs.
    These days, Lugar agrees with the Chairman of his Committee, John Kerry, much more often than he agrees with his fellow Republicans on the Committee or in the rest of the Senate. Lugar came out very early on in support of the START Treaty that Obama negotiated; his support was completely inconsequential to other Republican Senators.
    John Kyl on the other hand has been in the Senate less than half as long as Richard Lugar (15 years as opposed to 34 years). While Kyl has served less than 3 full terms, Lugar is now the longest serving Republican member of the Senate and the 2nd longest serving Senator of either Party. Kyl has never served as the Chairman of a Senate Committee but he is the Republican Whip. Unlike Lugar, Kyl is a dyed in the wool neoconservative and despite being a relative new-comer, in his Party he is far more influential than the more senior Lugar.
    In fact, Lugar’s endorsement of the START Treaty was met with a collective yawn from his Republican colleagues. But Kyl’s views are critical to whether the treaty will pass or not.
    According to the New York Times (July 22, 2010)

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  149. Blue Mooner says:

    steve,
    a growing number people think neither party will lead us to anything good, normal or back to “our” senses.
    dana priest and william arkin point the way -
    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/
    “And now, they’re coming for your Social Security money – they want your fucking retirement money – they want it back – so they can give it to
    their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It’s a Big Club: and you’re not in it.”
    –George Carlin

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  150. Dan Kervick says:

    Katulis is a classic self-hating Democrat, who measure the seriousness of his administration’s foreign policy by how many Republicans he can get to agree with it.

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  151. Randy L says:

    Nothing will change the Recorpblican party “back to its senses”. Nothing, nothing at all.
    I’d bet a few Libertarian/Tea Party guys or gals could slowly start steering this country back to ethics, morals and consumer-oriented behavior. Recorpblicans can’t do that — it’s, it’s just against their very nature!
    Picture a large pool filled with animal blood and guts. Then picture money down at the bottom of the pool. Both sides of the two-party system would dive in, but the Recorpblicans would dive deeper.
    And take that to the bank.

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  152. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m still mighty mad at Katulis for writing the stupid article that convinced the Barack Obama transition team, fresh off a resounding victory based on a campaign that was largely built on repudiating the foreign policy of George Bush, and in which Obama had just trounced one of the leading Republican lions and foreign policy lights, a man identified with the stalwart defense of Bush’s foreign policy, to hand his Pentagon over the George Bush’s Secretary of Defense. As a result we are seeing defense budgets continue to rocket, and got a national security policy that is in most essentials continuous with the wretched eight years of extremist GWOT hell we thought Americans had decisively rejected.
    Thanks a lot B.K. for the assist. You’re the kind of guy who makes the life of a Democrat the tawdry queue of recurring disappointments and manipulative shakedowns it has become. Well done!

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  153. WigWag says:

    I did say, Steve that I wasn

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  154. Mike Jones says:

    Steve,
    I’m rather disconcerted that you (and Katulis) blatantly *ignore* the other part of the GOP foreign policy picture which is slowly gaining ground: the “libertarian” non-interventionist wing.
    As more people realize that “blowback” isn’t just Giuliani in drag, the more that the reality of our “all sticks, no carrots” foreign policy will become evident and the more people will realize that the US sticking our *ahem*s in everyone’s punch bowls is *not* the way to go.
    Maybe *then* we will get a sensible, sustainable, *defensive-minded* foreign policy.
    I’m not holding my breath, though…especially with Newt and Palin vying for dominance. It’s like stupidity on overdrive on that side of the aisle.

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  155. Maw of America says:

    I seem to recall a fairly robust support for Michael Steele’s remarks on Afghanistan (Ann Coulter anyone?). I think Steve and Katulus are onto something…

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  156. Steve Clemons says:

    Wig – your post is interesting and smart, but the last line is a bit over the top don’t you think given the general “climate of engagement” you and I both like to maintain here? I get that you see the world differently — but I don’t think that the battle for the soul of the Republican Party will “ever” be over…and I continue to be interested in wrestling the GOP back to its senses. best, steve

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  157. WigWag says:

    His essay captures well the brewing tension inside Republican circles between those who on one hand want to put forward a constructive, national-interest driven strategy that has at its core a patriotic commitment to reinventing American power and those on the other who engage in blustery, pugnacious nationalism that either clobbers other countries in efforts to remake them or walls them off from America.” (Steve Clemons)
    The “brewing tension” that Steve refers to is a figment of his imagination. Steve may long for the day when the conflict over foreign policy that Katulis claims exists in the Republican Party becomes real, but it’s not real; it

    Reply

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