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November 30, 2005

Schmidt billboard
Posted by Teresa at 03:04 PM * 94 comments

Never doubt that Howard Dean has a visceral sense of politics.

Comments on Schmidt billboard:
#1 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 03:17 PM:

That's wonderful! I'm considering a contribution.

Howard Dean realizes that the Kerry strategy of not fighting back is a loser.

#2 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 04:01 PM:

Lessee, when's Saxby Chambliss up for re-election in Georgia?

#3 ::: hrc ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 04:29 PM:

This is absolutely great! I've been missing the renegade freeway signs that were posted around the country (mostly on the coasts) prior to the 2004 elections. Maybe Howard can give the Democrats a spine.

#4 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 04:36 PM:

Whoo, nasty. But a great deal less nasty than much of what's been leveled at Democrats. And it has the advantage of being based on something real.

Sigh. In any healthy rhetorical environment I would say this was uncalled for. Even in our current sick one, I feel dirty, just looking at it. Yet--this is probably what will persuade. The majority of the public has shown time and again that it trusts negatives more than positives. So then, bring on the negatives. But how is positive policy going to be made in a rhetorical environment saturated with mudslinging?

#5 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 04:53 PM:

This is no-where near mean spirited. All the damn thing says is "Shame on you". And she should be ashamed. She called a decorated war veteran a coward, and then backed out of it by saying she didn't mean *him* specifically, which is utter bullshit.

#6 ::: orangemike ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 04:55 PM:

This is not mean-spirited. It seeks to shame the shameless. I only wish I could have afforded to make a substantial donation to fund it!

#7 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 04:57 PM:

Randolph, nasty is letting people get away with slander. This is honesty, and honest outrage. The fact that it is also manipulative isn't a sin.

#8 ::: Christian Griffen ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 05:00 PM:

And to think that the DNC bigshots were all worried that Dean would fail as a fundraiser and would be torn to pieces by the Rethuglicans. Now look at him: he's brought in massive support and contributions from everyday Americans rather than large corporations, and he's been out there giving it to the R's like no other.

Good for him. And for us.

#9 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 05:01 PM:

And looking at the webpage, I've just realised that the Green Card acquired earlier this year comes with one benefit I hadn't known about -- I can now legally donate money to US political campaigns.

What saddens me is that I am actually worried about doing so in a manner that can be connected with my name, address and alien number.

#10 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 05:03 PM:

In a recent thread, someone pointed out that, had John Kennedy not been killed, the Sixties overall would probably have turned out pretty much the way they actually did because the things that happened had too much momentum to have their course deflected by one man. Or words to that effect. People on this site have probably read lots of stories on that subject.

Jump to November 2000...

If someone came from the Future to that month of that year, armed with the knowledge we now have, there might be a way to short-circuit the election-stealing. And if Gore had won, there would be no war in Iraq, and it wouldn't have turned into a breeding ground for terrorists. Osama bin Laden might even have been caught because the military wouldn't have been diverted toward the current war.

Sometimes, I feel as if our History IS the result of someone who did come from the Future but working for the GOP.

#11 ::: jeffk ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 05:39 PM:

Serge wrote:
If someone came from the Future to that month of that year, armed with the knowledge we now have, there might be a way to short-circuit the election-stealing. And if Gore had won....

If Gore had won, 9/11 would likely not have happened, because Gore would have read the PDB that said "Bin Laden determined to strike in US" and thought "Hey, we should do something about that!".

#12 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 06:21 PM:

Schmidt's already been publicly rebuked. This is using her words for campaigning. For the rest, is no-one else saddenned and horrified that "our" side has sunk to this?

#13 ::: Alec Austin ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 06:45 PM:

Randolph:

This is called playing the game. Yeah, it's campaigning. Campaigning is how you get shameless reptiles like Schmidt voted out of office and the House back under Democratic control. What should we be doing, sitting on our hands?

While I'm loath to use the "Republicans have done far, FAR worse" argument, I'd suggest you take another look at the Tony Kushner quote below our host's blogroll. There's nothing remotely illegal or unethical about that billboard, and that's more than I can say for the other side's behavior.

#14 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 06:47 PM:

I'm a bit perplexed as to why it's to be in Portsmouth; she has an office here but I think the main office is at the other end of her district. Not sure where it's going to be either; I don't recall any billboards along that stretch of Chillicothe St. The closest I'm sure of are where US 23 and US 52 intersect, particularly about Gay and 11th. I'll be watching for this.

#15 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 07:09 PM:

Oh bloody hell, Randolph, I am not saddened or horrified in the least. Have you not been paying attention to the level of rhetorical brutality that's become SOP on the right? Sweet reason and turning the other cheek is not going to stop that. Passivity and silence just leaves us heartsick.

This is the right and moral thing to do.

#16 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 07:17 PM:

Hmmm... I think that 9/11 would still have happened, jeffk. Or, if Gore had managed to stop that whole operation, Osama bin Forgotten would have gone for another target. But the outcome would still have been no war in Iraq, and no PATRIOT Act BS.

#17 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 07:33 PM:

This is long overdue.

A related observation: In the wake of Murtha's call for withdrawal, the republicans introduced a resolution to "cut and run", in a misguided attempt to embarrass the Democrats.

What I don't get is why the Dems don't rub their noses in it by mentioning this at every opportunity: "We're in favor of withdrawal, but it's the republicans who introduced a resolution to cut and run, a resolution that the Dems helped defeat."

With the stakes so high, I don't understand why the Dems have consistently failed to call them out out their lies.

#18 ::: Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 07:33 PM:

Except that Gore and Edwards would have both been impeached for jaywalking or something by now. I'm not so sure that President Hasturt would have stayed out of Iraq.

#19 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 08:12 PM:

Randolf, it saddens me we have to. But if we try sweet reason, we get buried in BS. No matter what lip service is paid to good, most people are going to believe the Devil is stronger.

It isn't pretty. Neither is what's happening in our current government. We must make an attempt to reach the people who are still capable of thinking things through and giving them something to think about.

#20 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 09:09 PM:

Being good is a snare and a delusion, because goodness has not got a tangible metric.

Honorable conduct, living a Christian life, that hard way, seeking a Millsian increase in weal, a simple determination to do no knowing harm, all of these are difficult, but they all have tangible measures.

Goodness is an abstraction of abstractions, without tangible measure; purported of deities, attributed to rulers, and oft adjectively debased.

Any mandatory absolute leads to avoiding introspection, self-knowledge, and honesty -- plain simple respect for facts and the measurement as a means of resolving disputes -- because the failure of the absolute is also absolute.

Facts need no apology of niceness, and if speaking truth to power is a practice of the virtue of courage, being heard is required of the act for it to count.

Billboards, television spots, radio shows, all of these things are part of being heard. If the facts support Caution: Evil corpse-raping death fucker, that's what duty would bid one make known so widely as one might.

There's no middle ground between facts and pragmatism on the one hand and aristocratic absolutism and theocratic requirements of uncomplaining obedience on the other. It's not a question of living in peace; it's a question of greater hope, greater choice, greater freedom, or a choice of subjugation, and no very prosperous one.

That's not a time to focus on abstract requirements of in-group social politeness.

#21 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 09:17 PM:

For the second time, since no-one seems to have read past the first line: "But a great deal less nasty than much of what's been leveled at Democrats. And it has the advantage of being based on something real.

"Sigh. In any healthy rhetorical environment I would say this was uncalled for. Even in our current sick one, I feel dirty, just looking at it. Yet--this is probably what will persuade. The majority of the public has shown time and again that it trusts negatives more than positives. So then, bring on the negatives. But how is positive policy going to be made in a rhetorical environment saturated with mudslinging?"

...more later...

#22 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 09:26 PM:

Well, sure, Randolph, but it's not nasty at all to call a public figure on their public statements.

It's citizen's duty to do that.

Civil discourse rests on respect for the other a person of good will, not nicety and tact.

In the absence of good will in the other party, you can't unilaterally declare civility, either.

#23 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 09:37 PM:

But how is positive policy going to be made in a rhetorical environment saturated with mudslinging?"

It can't. But... if those who wish to make positive policy can't get it implemented because it's buried in mud, what then?

#24 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 09:46 PM:

"since no-one seems to have read past the first line"

I did. I read your whole post, and then the second one, in which you wrote:

"For the rest, is no-one else saddened and horrified that 'our' side has sunk to this?"

If I were going to bother arguing with you, this is what I'd be arguing with. But I'm not, because you're a waste of better people's time.

#25 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 09:47 PM:

A decorated war veteran can be very wrong in another place and time. Consider Duke Cunningham who almost missed his 15 minutes of fame because he was being punished by being grounded - denied the opportunity to fly combat missions, on the day that made his name - then reluctantly allowed to fly. As I heard the story most of the air group on the Connie found combat easier than shipboard politics as well.

There's the famous award winning combat messenger who earned his medals by getting up and walking around in his skin when the cannon roared - and deserves all the criticism of all the years since.

As a free speech absolutist I definitely say go for it. On the other hand to speak of rhetorical brutality on the right and not the left reminds me the Germans practiced nasty unrestricted warfare with U-boats while the Allies used nice submarines. Obs sf Our Fair City.

#26 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 10:24 PM:

I guess I'm not understanding this. The woman got her seat by slandering a serving soldier, and then she got up on the floor of our nation's representative body (our nation's, not her party's) and called a man who re-enlisted at age 35 and was awarded multiple purple hearts a coward, and the question is am I ashamed to be associated with heaping shame on her?

Not so much. How I figure it, she heaped shame on herself, and she did it on the House floor. It seems a bit precious to say that we're morally obligated not to mention words someone was proud enough of to put into the congressional record.

Until it became clear that her words in the congressional record were grounds for a black mark against her, at which point she asked (without apologizing) for a do-over.

With all due respect (that lovely elastic phrase), the suggestion that publicizing the lady's freely-made remarks is somehow suspect sounds a great deal like that argument we've heard so much of since this misbegotten war started that reporting the myriad ways that this administration and its friends in congress have failed the american people, the military and the world is somehow unpatriotic.

I'm sure you agree with our founding fathers that demanding knee-jerk complicity with the activities of our elective leaders simply because they're in office is contemptible and unamerican.

I say that because to say otherwise would be to slander you, and people of good will attempting to reason with their fellows don't do that.

Still, if you're comfortable with Ms. Schmidt's rhetoric, why on earth are you so uncomfortable with asking her to stand behind it?

#27 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 10:25 PM:

Clark E. Myers: A decorated war veteran can be very wrong in another place and time. Consider Duke Cunningham who almost missed his 15 minutes of fame because he was being punished by being grounded - denied the opportunity to fly combat missions, on the day that made his name - then reluctantly allowed to fly. As I heard the story most of the air group on the Connie found combat easier than shipboard politics as well.

There's the famous award winning combat messenger who earned his medals by getting up and walking around in his skin when the cannon roared - and deserves all the criticism of all the years since.

With these two paragraphs, you have exceeded your normal level of opacity by an amount I wouldn't have thought possible. It's really remarkable.

Put another way: Huh? What are you talking about?

#28 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 10:36 PM:

Randolph, calling shame is not a violation of civility. It is a way to restore civility. Schmidt acted shamelessly and there should be social consequences for it. She needs to be censured in a way that will be understood by people in her district. The billboard is factual and entirely appropriate. I think Dr. Dean is showing uncommon wisdom in his decisions.

#29 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 11:53 PM:

Republicans have been successfully using ad hominem attacks to deflect criticism of their actions for some time. This is exactly what Schmidt attempted, and Dean's billboard calls her on it.

#30 ::: Kayjay ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 12:07 AM:

Frank

Except that Gore and Edwards would have both been impeached for jaywalking or something by now.

I'm confused. Was this just a name mix-up? Edwards wasn't Gore's running mate. Or are you making a reference that I am failing to follow?

#31 ::: Richard Parker ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 01:18 AM:

Julia Jones wrote:

I've just realised that the Green Card acquired earlier this year comes with one benefit I hadn't known about -- I can now legally donate money to US political campaigns.

What saddens me is that I am actually worried about doing so in a manner that can be connected with my name, address and alien number.

I don't know if it will help, but the identities of those who make individual contributions of less than $200 are not reported to the federal government (contributions of less than $200 are not itemized, they're reported in bulk as a single line item). However, while contributions of less than $200 don't appear in the public database of political contributions, most political organizations maintain their own databases of contributors (even the small contributors) so any donation would probably be recorded. Fortunately political organizations tend to treat those databases as extremely valuable and sensitive assets - I suspect either political party would scream bloody murder if an administration controlled by the opposing party ordered them to surrender their database.

#32 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 01:34 AM:

Randolph, the thing is, I don't think it is nasty to quote someone and point out how outrageous it is like that. If it were lying, yeah. The nasty thing they do -- when politicians take a fraction of what an opponent says and use it in a context that makes it a lie -- that's a different thing.

You know that thing Yeats said --The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity --

how about we make it not true, and we say what we feel and what we know to be true, and say it in clear, recognizable, convincing terms?

oh, no, we can't do that, it would be propaganda!

#33 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 01:39 AM:

I believe Clark is simply observing that veterans aren't always right just by virtue of being veterans. I agree with that observation, and I imagine everyone else, veterans included, does too.

His second paragraph would probably have been less opaque if he had mentioned Hitler by name.

#34 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 04:29 AM:

Okay let me just understand. Does anyone think that she did the right thing? Does anyone think the billboard does not accurately describe her actions.

That's not wrong.

Generally wrong would be something like mischaracterising a right action so that it seems wrong, and attacking that.

#35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 06:33 AM:

Frank, I also didn't get why your comment teamed up Gore and Edwards. But I agree that, from the start, the GOP would have gone for Gore's impeachment. Heck, it worked the first time around, with Clinton. Then 9/11 would have happened and you'd have had them clamoring that this happened because of his criminal negligence and thus he MUST be impeached.

#36 ::: Bill Altreuter ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 07:56 AM:

What I still don't get is how Howard Dean managed to lose the Democratic nomination. He plays hard-- but fair-- he is by g-d right thinking, and he actually has ideas but what needs to be done and what should be done, and how we should be doing it. Of course it's true that not being in the Senate makes it easier to be these things, but right now I can think of very few national Democrats that possess these qualities.

#37 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 08:10 AM:

Because the primary voters in the earliest primaries are not in the least bit representative of the party.

Also because his campaign manager managed to piss away his warchest before the first vote was cast.

#38 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 08:32 AM:

I like Howard Dean a great deal and probably donated more money to his campaign than I could really afford, but consider the parallels in support for his campaign and for the movie Serenity: intensely motivated fanbase with good demographics, disproportionate Internet presence, and interactive social networking, but insufficient overall numbers/outreach to bring in the necessary quorum for success.

Mind you, Serenity didn't have the further problem of having an out-of-context sound bite mockingly plastered all over the airwaves after its opening weekend, either. Even NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! newsquiz was using the "Dean Scream" as a substitute for its winning bell on the show right after the Iowa primary.

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 08:40 AM:

I worked on Dean's campaign and so can see Julie's parallel between that and Serenity. In both cases, the reaction was heart-breaking. And, of course, when Dean's Democrat competitors used the scream to show him as unfit, they probably helped the GOP paint us as a bunch of loonies. And it came out of our coffers. We're really good at cutting our noses to spite our faces.

#40 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 08:52 AM:

Serge --

The Dem establishment is also a bunch of millionaires; they will also, very reliably, hate and fear truly populist causes and those who champion them. ("netroots" is about as populist as it is possible to be; even if Dean had had no other sins in their eyes, that would have been enough.)

The tree of liberty may need to be watered with the blood of patriots from time to time, but it grows in a mulch made from aristocrats and their ambitions, or it doesn't grow at all.

#41 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 08:55 AM:

I believe Clark is simply observing that veterans aren't always right just by virtue of being veterans. I agree with that observation, and I imagine everyone else, veterans included, does too.

I got that, I just couldn't make heads or tails of the illustrative examples.

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 08:56 AM:

True, Graydon, but our millionaires are more likely to side with the People than theirs.

#43 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 09:32 AM:

One thing I don't see, Graydon, is why the Tree of Liberty especially needs an Aristocrat-based mulch.

#44 ::: J Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 09:34 AM:

Chad, a quick websearch showd that Duke Cunningham was a navy fighter-plane ace who got a big reputation by shooting down a number of north vietnamese planes. Once he shot down three in one day. I don't know why it was a big deal that he almost didn't get to fly that day. But now he's about to resign from congress because he was proven to have taken $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. There are quotes of him saying he was completely honest after the stories started spreading. Bush said it was outrageous that a republican congressman took bribes. So he's an example of a war hero who did something wrong later.

Presumably the moral is that since Cunningham did something wrong after he'd been a war hero, maybe Murtha was also doing something wrong after being a war hero so it's OK to call him a coward.

#45 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 09:39 AM:

Re the Cunningham comparison: OK, I'm feeling magnanimous today. The next time a Democratic politician who happens to be a veteran pleads guilty to a felony, Republicans may say nasty things about him.

#46 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 09:40 AM:

Serge --

More likely, sure, but not very likely, not around emotional-reflex issues like redefining the basis of power. (Which is what Dean's campaign was about, and his actions as chair have also been about.)

Intellectual awareness of the necessity of setting the system up to be concerned with absolute measures of power and prosperity rather than relative measures is all very well, but it's not the same thing as a substantial emotional belief in the virtue of work or basic trust in the common man.

#47 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 10:09 AM:

Graydon, the basic trust in the Common Man got us Dubya staying in the White House for a second term, and one that wasn't even stolen this time around.

#48 ::: diddy ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 10:27 AM:

Can't believe this --

I feel as if our History IS the result of someone who did come from the Future but working for the GOP.

is still hanging out there without a reference to Schwarzenegger. If you know anyone named Sarah Connor, you might consider telling her to get the hell out of California.

#49 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 10:40 AM:

Serge -- I can't believe you have any confidence that the election "wasn't stolen this time around." The election was most certainly stolen: there was such widespread fraud that there are states with more Republican votes than there are residents. We have no way whatsoever of knowing what votes were actually cast -- and never will know. We can't say confidently that Bush actually got any particular number of votes. So any retrospective characterization of the electorate's will on that day will always be merely speculation.

What's important, though, is that we have all sorts of measures showing that, whatever they thought in the past, the majority of US voters now are pretty disgusted with Republican behavior and the pursuit of the war. And these measures are ones that we know are biased in favor of the ruling party -- we've seen the leading questions, the weighted response choices, the carefully-chosen statistical methods -- so if they show such abysmal numbers, we know that we have an electorate which is likely not to vote for a hand-picked successor to the Bush gang, or any Republican who can't make a clear case for being untouched by the party.

The Democrats could lose this advantage, in one of three ways: by being timid as in the past, by being Republicans in nature -- as in the past -- or by allowing the Republicans to cheat, as in the past.

#50 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 10:55 AM:

True, Lucy, there was some fishy stuff, but I don't think they stole 2004. As for people being disgusted now with the Busheviks, it'd have been much better if they had shown more distrust one year ago. And I still expect them to go rushing back into Big Daddy's protective arms if something happens on American soil.

#51 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 11:03 AM:

there was such widespread fraud that there are states with more Republican votes than there are residents.

Without double checking, I think it was more Republican votes than there were total registered voters. This was attributed to the number of registered voters being the miscount, not the votes, a far more plausible lie.

#52 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 11:27 AM:

I did some checking. Some sites no longer carry the information, but I found this, the "Status Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff" pdf file at:

http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/ohiostatusrept1505.pdf

It is titled: Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio

With regards to our factual finding, in brief, we find that there were massive and
unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio. In many cases these irregularities
were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of
State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.

[snip]

(iii) the voting records of Perry
county show significantly more votes than voters in some precincts, significantly less
ballots than voters in other precincts, and voters casting more than one ballot; (iv) in
Butler county a down ballot and underfunded Democratic State Supreme Court candidate
implausibly received more votes than the best funded Democratic Presidential candidate
in history; (v) in Cuyahoga county, poll worker error may have led to little known thirdparty
candidates receiving twenty times more votes than such candidates had ever
received in otherwise reliably Democratic leaning areas; (vi) in Miami county, voter
turnout was an improbable and highly suspect 98.55 percent, and after 100 percent of the
precincts were reported, an additional 19,000 extra votes were recorded for President
Bush.

#53 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 02:09 PM:

Diddy wrote:
If you know anyone named Sarah Connor, you might consider telling her to get the hell out of California.

Shiver. That explains way too much.

#54 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 02:38 PM:

First, Lin Daniel, thank you very much for the sympathy; it was very comforting to read amidst the mass of flames.

Since I'm not sure it got across, let me point out that what upsets me is using Schmidt's face and words in a national campaign. I completely support using her face and words against her in her own district. Yay team! But Karl Rove and W. Bush are the enemy; Schmidt is a most a foot-soldier. Yet she's the one whose face is going to be plastered on the billboards all over the USA, because she's the easy target.

Lucy, it seems to me that I am expressing conviction here, while my critics are arguing for expediency. It seems to me it is partly such expediency that has corrupted the Republican Party into its current pass; they were not always dominated by a radical-right coalition. My concerns here are that: (1) negative campaigning may be just as corrupting to the Democratic Party as the Republican and (2) the more effort our political leadership spends on infighting, the less effort we spend on dealing with the genuine issues confronting the USA.

Howard Dean is someone I can support. Al Gore was. But the Democratic leadership as a whole, is not. My own Democratic Senator, Ron Wyden, voted to strip the right of appeal from the detainees in Guantanamo Bay. Joe Lieberman is not someone I can support. The DLC is not a group I can support. I support the Democratic Party because I want the neo-fascist radical right out of power and I think they've the best chance of doing it. But I think the dirtier the campaign gets, the more power will fall towards the factions of the Democratic Party which most of us oppose.

Finally, Patrick, isn't it about time to bury the hatchet?

#55 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 02:50 PM:

I didn't get the impression the plan was to use Schmidt's face all over the country; rather that the intent was to expand the billboards, money permitting, to other districts where Republican congressional reps had used the same tactic, targetting them and holding them responsible for their words. Schmidt is merely the first in the cross-hairs, and her billboard is an example of what would be done. After all, if the point is to replace an annoying Republican tool, the sensible strategy would seem to be to call them on their words in their own district, not to point the finger at someone from another district or even another state. I think Dean's more than smart enough to do this, rather than wating time, money, and effort on someone the local voters don't vote for.

Perhaps I have interpreted the announcement incorrectly; I certainly seem to have interpreted it differently from the way you have, Randolph.

#56 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 03:26 PM:

fidelio, I interpreted it the way you did. They want to do that to all different congressslugs, not just the Schmidt-slug.

Step on the bottom-feeders in front of their home-town crowd. That's the ONLY way to get rid of them.

#57 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 03:30 PM:

And I'd just like to point out that 'Schmidt-slug' is devilishly difficult to pronounce successfully (without even going to the '10 times fast' criterion). It's graceless; so is she; I stand by it.

#58 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 03:31 PM:

The definition of irony?

"I pledge to walk in the shoes of my colleagues, and refrain from name-calling or the questioning of character. It is easy to quickly sink to the lowest form of political debate."

-Jean Schmidt, first address to Congress, September 6, 2005

#59 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 03:33 PM:

Fidelio, I think you are right; I was pretty sick when I first looked at the link. um, nev-ver mind.

#60 ::: Frank ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 04:35 PM:

OOps all I can say is that I must have repressed my knowledge of Gore's running mate from my mind.

I don't know that 9-11 would have happened but they would have found or made up some reason to get rid of him.

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 04:43 PM:

Now, now, Frank... Why would one want to repress any knowledge of the existence of Joe Lieberman?

#62 ::: Sandy ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 04:48 PM:

I don't think any specific President would have stopped 9-11; we just weren't expecting it. [I know, there were all sorts of warning signs that got lost in the noise; hindsight is 20-20. ]

There are many things I blame GWB for, including almost everything he did afterwards, but I don't think "stopping 9-11" belongs on the list.

#63 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 04:54 PM:

Same here, Sandy, although Dubya COULD have paid a little more attention to warnings about Osama bin Forgotten. What would have been quite different with a Democrat as President is the reaction to 9-11.

#64 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 05:18 PM:

I disagree. I don't think 9/11 would have been successfully carried out had Gore been president.

Randolph, the Republicans have been inventing dirty tricks for decades, then whining and sniveling when the Democrats give them a taste of their own medicine. And the Democrats apologize, which doesn't make American voters thing "what nice guys." It makes them think "what useless wimps." The next time there's a Republican president and a Democratically controlled Congress (may that day be in January 2007), he'll be impeached (unless the Dems decide to go back to being useless wimps). Watch the GOPhers whine then! Lying hypocritical bastards.

You're calling the halt in the wrong place. Call it when you see "our side" using lies and distortions to get our way. Call it when you see "our side" willingly sacrifice American lives (or even foreign lives) to further a political agenda back home. Call it when "our side" is busy lining its personal pockets with the income from a deadend foreign policy.

DON'T call it when our guys are using Truth and Justice to further themselves. Don't call it when that stupid hypocritical bitch's OWN WORDS - without contextual distortion - are being used to defend one of our own (and not exactly the most liberal of Congressbeings, either), and incidentally to dim her own hope of reelection. I'm advising you not to, because a) if you do this now, no one will listen to you when (if) you later have a legitimate point, and b) it sounds an awful lot like you're trying to make us lose, by saying we shouldn't take our opponents' vulnerabilities where we can get them. This isn't a game of Go. We're fighting for the life of our country, in a very real sense.

Oh, the Republicans will be outraged. They'll say the equivalent of "What?! You're a Betan! You can't do--" Well, guess what? We Betans can, and will, do. And proudly carry their heads back to their home districts to show to their former constituents.

#65 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 05:28 PM:

We Betans can, and will, do. And proudly carry their heads back to their home districts to show to their former constituents.

Start a new tradition: the gift of a preserved politician? 'On the thirteenth day of'?

#66 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 05:37 PM:

Concerning Gore and 9/11- I don't know either way, but I remember a long while back, in Will Shetterly's blog, there was a thread that proliferated from the premise that Gore had, in fact, won the 2000 election, and then created an alternate history of a possible Bush presidency. Odd in its own non-alternateness. I'll have to see if I can't google up a link to it, though now I remember it came to my attention through Electrolite in the first place, so all of you are already familiar with it, and this comment is useless. I'll post it anyway, just in case.

#67 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 05:39 PM:

I -heart- Neil Gaiman (that didn't take long): http://shetterly.blogspot.com/2004/10/what-if-george-w-bush-had-been-elected.html
for anyone interested or who missed it.

#68 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 05:58 PM:

Xopher, I misread the link and thought it was going to be one of these Rovian "attack Schmitt nationally" things (I was sick at the time--later that night I was semi-delerious). For the rest, I would have to say that the Democrats are the not-completly-insane guys; not the good guys. And my brain is fading away again--no more until later, if at all.

#69 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 06:15 PM:

Oh goodness... Will, I have to pass on will's what-if exercise to as many people as I can.

#70 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 06:56 PM:

P J Evans: Start a new tradition: the gift of a preserved politician?

Score: P J -- one spit take.

#71 ::: sennoma ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 08:04 PM:

'Schmidt-slug' is devilishly difficult to pronounce

Nah, just turn it into one word: Schmidtslug, German for the sinking feeling only bullies know, that they get when they realise they've picked on the wrong person.

#72 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 08:56 PM:

If Gore had been elected, 9/11 may have happened anyway. However, the response would have been "oh sh... That's what they meant" instead of "huh?"

#73 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 10:14 PM:

Oh, I see now. OK, that makes more sense. But I still think using her as a symbol of GOP stinkiness could be good. And if it would work, would be worth doing. But as you now know, that's not what they're doing.

#74 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2005, 10:48 PM:

This is a purely linguistic/grammatical sidenote, but it's come up several times in the journals I edit, as psychiatric nurses are very interested in survivor trauma, and is one of my biggest peeves: question of presidency aside, of course 9/11 would have happened anyway; it would have followed September 10th, and come right before September 12th, just like it did every year before then and will every year after.

Whether or not someone could have prevented the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon is another issue all together.

#75 ::: Alec Austin ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 12:09 AM:

Randolph:

Ditto Xopher on the clarification of your position making more sense.

I still more or less agree with Xopher's sentiments re: Schmidt, but I'm no longer gaping in disbelief at the suggestion that it's illegitimate to use someone's own words to campaign against them.

#76 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 03:05 AM:

As a general rule: if you want a chance of stopping bad things from happening you must have someone competent authorized to stop bad thing from happening.

#77 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 04:17 AM:

Ditto the recommend of "what-if-george-w-bush-had-been-elected". Very fun.

As to [the terror attacks of] 9/11, the open question is whether the Republican traitors who prevented Clinton from persuing bin Laden (those who knew that the Cruise missles did not hit "empty tents", but kept silent regardless) would also have tied Gore's hand. "Wonkmeisters" like Clinton and Gore were keeping al Quida from major attacks (cf the Millineum Bombing plans), even as Republicans were shouting "Wag the Dog!"

#78 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 04:17 AM:

Well, I kicked in $50.

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 08:57 AM:

"...of course 9/11 would have happened anyway; it would have followed September 10th, and come right before September 12th, just like it did every year before then and will every year after..."

Coughgagsplutter!!!

Will Entrekin, funny man extraordinaire.

#80 ::: Nina ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 11:33 AM:

The billboard company owner is trying to weasel out of putting up the billboards.

kos story

#81 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 11:39 AM:

Since Will Entrekin is apparently my fellow employee of PedanTech International, I will point out that his statement that September 11th followed September 10th every year before is inaccurate. Not every year. So there.

#82 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 02:31 PM:

Alec, Xopher, thank you both for your patience and sympathy.

"But I still think using her as a symbol of GOP stinkiness could be good. And if it would work, would be worth doing."

It is tempting, but that's a Karl Rove strategy if there ever was one. Schmidt is after all just a foot-soldier, if even that; it's Rove and Bush who are the leaders.

In other news, it seems the billboard company has suddenly decided to invoke the "won't run it" clause in their contract. Sounds like a really good use for illegally posted handbills, or even graffiti.

#83 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 02:35 PM:

Randolph --

The difference between being the leader of the free world and an old man in a room is that when the former picks up the phone and gives orders, people do what he says.

It's entirely legitimate to remove the foot soldiers; to make shilling -- lying, lending one's public reputation to bad ends -- really, really expensive. To make doing what the neocon cabal wants extremely expensive, personally, for the people ding it. That's one way to limit the power of the folks in control of the cabal.

Just being low in rank and power doesn't excuse lying, or make exacting the consequences of public falsehoods and smears unjust.

#84 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 03:03 PM:

In the circumstances described here I would class Jean Schmidt as management and an entirely fair target for any speech - although I would expect imputations of sexual immorality to be ineffective and to carry a risk of libel per se (which is a risk to be evaluated in reality, free speech absolutist though I be).

Just the same I avoid screaming at the front desk when there's a lack of hot water in the hotel room and chewing out the waiter when the kitchen disappoints even if the waiter touts an item.

Notice the story that immediately after the Inaugural FDR went back to his new office of the President to start the New Deal - everybody else took the day off and he found himself useless without others and so took the rest of the day himself.

Finally in alt.history was there ever a candidate who would have instituted a let's roll response to highjacking? Not SF but consider Donald Hamilton's Mac - get high jacked get shot down - cheaper in the long run. I'd rather not see the social control that otherwise totally prevents evil acts. Don't think we can be so loved as to forestall evil nor yet so feared as to paralyze all opposition.

#85 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 06:49 PM:

Xopher -- as a part-time employee of PedanTech I note that your example is insufficient; there was no 10 Sep not to be followed by 11 Sep. Wikipedia says that the Gregorian change that the English did not follow was decreed for 15 Oct 1582, so that's also not an instance. Neither are any of the other corrections I could find -- Sweden did it in February, Alaska in October (changing from Orthodox to Western calendar when purchased by Seward), Russia in February, .... I'd be interested to know of \any/ case that fell so precisely as to have 10 Sep but not 11.

#86 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2005, 09:09 PM:

Graydon, far as I'm concerned, going after Schmidt in her district is just fine (and turning out to be rather difficult); going after her nationally is just nasty.

But this gives me an idea... Anyone know where I can find public domain pictures of Bush and Rove?

#87 ::: Karl Rove (no,not really) ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2005, 03:03 PM:

Bring it on.

#88 ::: . ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2007, 07:07 PM:

[Posted from 89.179.1.177]

#89 ::: Serge sees pointful spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Well, there's a point so it's not pointless. Period.

#90 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2007, 07:56 PM:

That was spam (for cheap mortgage loans) but I deleted it. I put in the ISP so folks searching on that ISP in the future can see it was used for spamming.

#91 ::: . ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2007, 04:11 PM:

[Spam posted from 89.179.93.24]

#92 ::: Spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 01:52 PM:

Spam from 82.94.187.199

#93 ::: sadie ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 08:42 PM:

Graydon in the first aritical that i red was about rapest. What if you new a girl who got raped and you new who raped her. What would you do?

#94 ::: Rob Rusick spots spam? ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 09:37 PM:

Re: #94 — there is a comment by Graydon @20 which conceivably ties in, but if this is a response to his comment, it seems like a 'bot' response.

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