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April 5, 2003

Josh Marshall’s latest post reads like a Bruce Sterling story, suitably miniaturized. [08:42 AM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Josh Marshall's:

Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 10:48 AM:

Josh Marshall has been radicalized.

His comment about Kerry's "regime change" speech is worth repeating:

"For the purposes of our present discussion, the particulars of Kerry's remark are almost beside the point. This is no better than cheap bullying practiced by the president's hacks. And, in political life as in personal life, there is only one way to deal with bullies: you must fight back against them with at least the ferocity and intensity that they use against you. They understand nothing else and deserve nothing better. There's no reasoning with them, no apologizing to them, no hashing out the particulars of remarks you've made."

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 11:02 AM:

Yeah, I was noticing that moderate ol' Josh now sounds like Erik V. Olson.

Erik took a certain amount of stick for saying the same thing in an Electrolite comment thread a while back. But he was right. And Marshall is right.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 11:17 AM:

Which is why I support Dean, and now, Kerry. The fact that Dean said "Well, I wouldn't have used those words, but I'm not about to stand with Tom DeLay on this." earns points to.

You cannot comprimise with people who will not comprimise. You cannot have a civil discoure with those who refuse to be civil.

And the only way to stop a bully is to stand up to them, and, if needed, to hurt them. Period. Deals do not work. Caving in does not work. Calling for the teacher does not work (and will get you even more bullying later.) You have to stand there, say no, and if the bully tries to carry out his threats, fight back.

The fact that this is finally sinking into the left and moderate portions of our country is the only gleam of hope I've had this year. It's amazing what a gleam of hope can do. But it is still a gleam, and there are too many who still think that we can be reasonable and calm and fix the problems of this country.

Draw the line here. Stand. Stand together. Look them in the eye, and laugh, and tell them to go straight to hell. Don't kid yourself, it might get ugly, it might get violent -- it might not work -- but better to Stand and fall, then not even try.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 12:03 PM:

I still haven't forgiven Lloyd Bentsen for not being a little more specific in his "You're no Jack Kennedy" response to Quayle; he didn't even mention that Kennedy served in battle while Quayle got himself a safe sideline seat -- not a deferment but National Guard service (just like Shrub) that ensured he wouldn't be sent to Vietnam. Kerry didn't have the guts to call the bullies draft-dodging scum but he pointed to his own service record; the media that were paying attention noted that two of his critics didn't serve at all and the third had "served" as a lawyer. That's not a lot of progress but at least it's a step.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2003, 12:24 PM:

Yeah, I'm one of those people who gave Erik a hard time. I have apologized, sufficiently I hope, and am publicly declaring I was wrong. My natural instinct is still reason and compromise, but, like he says that's not gonna work with these hyenas. Dammit.

MKK

Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2003, 12:09 AM:

" to hurt them"

I think one way to hurt the GOP right now would be to send copies of articles describing their cuts in Veterans' benefits to "any soldier" in the Persian Gulf.

"Dear soldier: Look what the President's up to while you're at war."

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2003, 12:27 AM:

I think one way to hurt the GOP right now would be to send copies of articles describing their cuts in Veterans' benefits to "any soldier" in the Persian Gulf.

Not really. Yes, the military is very conservative -- but there isn't that many of them, overall, and they're scattered across the states.

The first thing to do is to rally our troops, before we attack thiers. And the way to do that is to look their leaders in the eye, call them on thier lies, and tell them to go to hell. Just like Kerry did. And, when we do, make sure we back each other up. The way they attack is to single out one person and try to destroy them. The way to defeat that is to never let a liberal or a moderate make a stand alone.

For example, both of my senators, one of them who might as well be John Ashcroft II (I'm in MO) got *very* nasty letters about Rep. DeLay's comments -- and my representative (MO 3rd. You've heard of him.) got a nasty letter for not calling him Mr. DeLay on it.

And, well, I can't afford much right now, but Mr. Kerry got a $10 check.

Support those who fight for you. Rebuke those who don't, if they refuse, reject them.

Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2003, 01:02 AM:

"Not really. Yes, the military is very conservative -- but there isn't that many of them, overall, and they're scattered across the states. "

That's true. However, if troops in the field start getting mad, it might come out via the embedded reporters, and start a media feedback loop, at least for one cycle.

The GOP would then be in a tough spot, since the house already voted for the benefit cuts. Likewise, it puts a focus on the tax cuts, and what is being sacrificed in order to allow the tax cuts. - if the GOP would cut veteran's benefits in wartime - when disabled vets are being *created* - what wouldn't they cut?

It wouldn't be useful at election time, but it could help tarnish their patriotic, pro-troop image. The vet's benefits cut hasn't really gotten the attention it deserves.

The tactic might be most effective as a threat, or if identical letters were first sent (as "cc's") to newspapers,
in hopes of forcing a GOP response and getting the media attention.

I'd rather not have to actually send them to the troops, since they don't hardly need the aggravation.

Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2003, 07:39 AM:

I appreciate Kerry's display of backbone. But one should also note that it's timing comes shortly after a poll showing his standing relative to Howard Dean, who opposes the war more overtly, is slipping. Analysis of the poll attributes this to Dean's overt oppostion to the war.

All the democrats running for president ought to be opposing the war, but the very tactics Marshall describes have kept most them pacified, given them the mistaken impression that it is to their political advantage to support Bush, or, if they must dissent, to do so very quietly.

The poll/media combo as a driver of the positions of American politicians in quite toxic.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2003, 09:49 AM:

I appreciate Kerry's display of backbone. But one should also note that it's timing comes shortly after a poll showing his standing relative to Howard Dean, who opposes the war more overtly, is slipping. Analysis of the poll attributes this to Dean's overt oppostion to the war.

So? If polling means that the Democratic candidates and representatives in Washington will grow spines, then, by Ghugle, bring on the polls.

In case you've forgotten, they're supposed to represent us, not tell us what to do. If polls are telling Kerry that is "sorta mumble maybe disagree mumble war but err voted yes mumble anyway" position is wrong, and if he doesn't drop it, he'll lose, then I'm all for polling. That's exactly how representative democracy is supposed to work!

Polls can be abused. So, for that matter, can the Internet, Diet Coke, The Dodge Neon, and Light Emitting Diodes. (Briefly. Then they die. LEDs are very intolerant.) But if polling is telling Democrats to grow spines, then, why, that's the best news I've heard in two years.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2003, 09:54 AM:

The Globe's Tom Oliphant I think makes some good points about the downside of Kerry's remarks.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2003, 11:48 AM:

Well, John, we may have to agree to disagree. I had to quit reading Mr Oliphant when he said Shrub's selection was a legitimate Constituional process. I don't happen to think so. I happen to think that the way that man got to occupy the White House was based on lying, chicanery, fraud, and outright intimidation. And I'm not talking only about Florida.

MKK

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2003, 05:00 PM:

No problem, Mary Kay,

It was more Oliphant's point that Kerry may be sorry for some of his tactics later on that I found interesting. He's obviously aware he may need to out-Dean the man from Vermont, at least for the primaries. I don't know much about Dean but he strikes me as more sincere than our Bay State senator.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2003, 01:34 PM:

Orcinus has a good comment about Tom Oliphant's "tender sensibilities" about the appropriateness of the word "regime":

A quick Google reveals 2,100 hits for "Clinton regime" -- many of them from such supposedly respectable voices as the Cato Institute, CBS News, and various Republican members of Congress.

And a search of the Boston Globe's own archives reveals that the phrase has appeared no fewer than seven times in the paper's own pages.

Over Tom Oliphant's strenuous objections, I'm sure.

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2003, 04:42 PM:

RNC chairman Marc Racicot, whom I used to think was sane, is quoted by Marshall as saying,

"Senator Kerry crossed a grave line when he dared to suggest the replacement of America's commander-in-chief at a time when America is at war."

We're at war? Really? When did Congress declare it? I must have missed that part. Yes, I know we're attacking Iraq, but that's not what's under discussion here. If you want the special rules for wartime to apply, you need to declare war.

And since any dolt should be able to tell that the "regime change" Kerry was referring to is the constitutionally-mandated 2004 election (if Racicot thought Kerry meant a coup, he would hardly have specified that it was inappropriate in wartime), then if that's to be condemned, the worst American traitors of the last century include:

1) Governor Thomas E. Dewey (R-NY), who dared to run a full-scale presidential campaign against President Roosevelt in 1944, while the US was in a declared war;

2) Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Sr. (R-MA), who organized the campaign that deprived President Wilson of his majority in Congress in 1918, while the US was in a declared war, and later defeated the peace treaty that followed that war.

Either Racicot is prepared to take this absurd position, or his argument was nonsense to begin with.