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November 9, 2006

Remember
Posted by Patrick at 02:34 PM * 96 comments

Presently we’ll get over being All Politics, All The Time. First, though, a reminder of just exactly what kind of people got their comeuppance on Tuesday:

Yusuf El-Bedawi is no fool. He knows politicians can play dirty.

He’s just livid at being tricked into playing dirty with them on Election Day. All because he’s homeless—and therefore, apparently, considered too unprincipled to give a damn about the integrity of the voting process.

“I might not have a home,” El-Bedawi told me yesterday, “but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about right and wrong. No one has the right to use me that way.”

But use him they did, along with at least six busloads of other poor or homeless Philadelphians who were hoodwinked into handing out deeply misleading voter guides in Maryland on Tuesday. The guides state that they were paid for by committees supporting Republican Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich, who was up for re-election, and Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, who was chasing a U.S. Senate seat. […]

At first, the time passed pleasantly until some of the voters took a closer look at the flier that El-Bedawi was passing out, and went ballistic. It was labeled “Ehrlich-Steele Democrats” and “Official Voter Guide,” and its sample ballot pushed Ehrlich and Steele, who are not identified as being Republican.

It also pictured three prominent black Democratic leaders above the words, “These are OUR Choices” - suggesting that Ehrlich, who is white, and Steele, who is black, had the trio’s endorsement.

“People started screaming, at us, ‘Do you think we’re that stupid? What are you trying to pull?’ ” said El-Bedawi. “I said, ‘I didn’t know it was a lie! I’m from Philly!’ And they said, ‘Then go back to Philly!’”

When the voters left, he said, he was so shaken and angry, he tossed his remaining literature in the trash. On the bus back home that evening, he said, others were as upset as he was. They were told, “Don’t worry about it. People don’t care.”

“That’s some dirty, sneaky, underhanded stuff,” said El-Bedawi, shaking his head. “Voting is the most important thing we do. To mess with it is wrong.”

Both Steele and Erlich lost their elections. Steele is now talking about running for chair of the RNC. It would be nice if an upwelling of disgust from decent Republicans—there must be a few—put a halt to the candidacy of someone who considers this sort of thing acceptable. It would also be nice if Belle Waring had a pony. I give Belle’s pony higher odds of happening.
Comments on Remember:
#1 ::: Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 02:45 PM:

The problem is that there aren't any
decent Republicans left. They all already
left the party over torture. By definition
anyone who stuck with the party after that
is not decent.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 02:50 PM:

That's a bit broad, there.

#3 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 02:57 PM:

I can't tell you how glad I am as a Marylander seeing Erlich get the boot. His and Steele's campaigns were (unsurprisingly) smarmy and manipulative all around, but this is a low I hadn't heard of. I wish I were more shocked.

MD is largely but not thoroughly blue, and it looked close for a while. I live in a particularly GOP-leaning area (Harford county) and had to spend a week before election seeing signs along my drive to work - right across from a public school, mind - proclaiming "Defeat Section 8." I think many of my neighbors are terrified of having to be exposed to poor brown people, and think if we take away housing options for them they'll magically disappear. Which makes this stuff even more nasty and reprehensible.

Still, it warms my wee subversive heart to know that the Democratic Senate campaign ran on pretty much one message: Don't trust Steele; he's Bush's man. The fact that that was enough for us to send him packing says a lot about the current climate of dissatisfaction with the bastards in power.

#4 ::: Janice E. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 03:42 PM:

El-Bedawi also complained that he and the other homeless recruits were bussed home too late to vote themselves.

But I file this one under, "And this surprises you?"

#5 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 03:47 PM:

I was handed one of those "Ehrlich-Steele Democrats" pamphlets outside my polling place. It gave one choice for each race, all Democrats except for Ehrlich and Steele. I chose not to hassle the guy handing them out.

I was getting worried about these races, as the polls tightened. They turned out to not be close at all, which made me feel good.

#6 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:20 PM:

Like you, I'm happy to get in one or two more gloats before getting back to real life. And one or two more "good riddance"s, too.

But there can be an excess in our triumph, and I think you linked to one of them. I mean the Lefarkins quotation of Conan.

you know, the crushing your enemies and hearing the lamentations of their women bit. (And I'm not going to use this occasion to rail against the sexism of it; I'm on a different rant).

I like you, and I like Farley and his co-bloggers.

But I have always hated this quote, and I think it distills a lot of what has gone wrong with this country since 1994 or thereabouts.

When I grew up, there was an understanding that however rough and tumble politics might get--and I lived through the rough and tumble of Watergate--politics in America was never, ever, a winner-take-all game.

Every two years the balance might change, and everyone lived with the understanding that what goes around, politically, is likely to come around.

When you win, you advocate the policies you were elected to pursue, but you also extend a hand of generosity. When you lose, you trim your expectations but don't abandon the interests of your constituents.

Somewhere during the last decade and change, the Republicans began treating politics very differently. It was not enough to win elections. They wanted to *kill* their opponents. It was not enough to say that liberals came to different policy conclusions. Ann Coulter said you should take a *baseball bat* to liberals.

Politics went from a contest of ideas to a barely-suppressed civil war. If Republican spokesman like Limbaugh and O'Reilly could have labeled all Democrats as Tutsis and sent their ditto-heads out with machetes, they very well might have done it.

And very close to the core of this sickness was the Texas-based movement for a "permanent Republican Majority", spear-headed by Armey, DeLay, and of course Bush.

Starting in the '90s, they began to approach politics as a winner-take-all war. If you get power, you hang onto it and never let go. If you have a slight majority, you call it a 'mandate' and push your most extreme policies. Lock the minority out of the process altogether.

Most of us on the Democratic side were very slow to realize that the Republicans were prepared to trample on the most basic unwritten rules of political decency.

Certainly my own relative complacency at the theft of the 2000 election was based on my assumption that Bush in office would still play by the old rules. Yes, I was upset by the SCOTUS shenanigans, yes I was nauseated by the man himself. But I assumed that he would still govern the way even people like Reagan and Nixon had governed: with an eye to the long term, and the alternation of power.

Instead, he governed like a tyrant. And suddenly we were being told that this was only what we should expect after an election--after 2002, after 2004--that winners take all.

That winners crush their enemies and drive them before them. The Conan stuff.

The idea that people who gained fewer votes than you did are no longer your fellow citizens, no longer partners in the work of governance, but subhuman traitors who should be eliminated, or (as Norquist put it) neutered.

Of all the unAmerican things that the Bush regime brought to our country over the last years--even including torture and the destruction of habeas corpus--that may be the most unAmerican of all. The declaration of war on the other half of the country.

So--anyhow--to end this rant--let's gloat a little bit more, and then get to restoring the country to its original Constitution, and to its original constitution.

And that means never ever taking the Conan attitude towards people who are, come what may, our fellow Americans.

#7 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:26 PM:

Dammit! How come everyone gets a pony but ME? Oh, wait, because I don't want one...

I live in Howard County, Maryland, and I thought the Steele "but I LIKE puppies!" ad was a joke. Oh, how wrong I was. Dear Lord. This was some very silly stuff.

#8 ::: Lawrence Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:28 PM:

I wonder how directly Ehrlich and Steele were involved in this particular scam.

I mean, I voted against both of them, and I'm delighted they lost, and Ehrlich demonstrated during his term as governor that he's irredeemable scum, but I'm a bit surprised if Steele was involved, as he'd struck me as relatively sane and decent.

Maybe he just fakes it well.

#9 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:31 PM:

The rejoinder by Cardin's folks was great: "He likes puppies. But he LOVES George Bush."

#10 ::: Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:41 PM:

kid- I apreciate where you are coming from here, but it is not within our powers to bring back comity. Until the Republicans abandon scorched earth tactics for themselves we will continue to be stuck with the scorched earth.

It would be a mistake to think that we can avoid rancour now. Vile partisanship might even get the media to notice our congressional hearings. Trying to maintain comity will just let them chump us again, not only that but it will make voters wonder if there is any point to showing up to vote for the Democrats.

I think the most important thing to remember here is that if we let them the John Yoo's, Norquists etc will be back and may not willingly relinquish power again, assuming they do so this time. I'd at least like for the people who lied us into the war and their enablers to pay some kind of price for it.

Not too long ago Christine Whitman was on Bill Maher's show and she was as usual treated as one of the "reasonable" ones. I don't buy it. In the aftermath of 9-11 she said the air was safe to breath, she lied, and people are now dying as a result. There needs to be justice for these people, even if that means crushing them or driving them before us.

#11 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:47 PM:

Janice E.: But I file this one under, "And this surprises you?"

Outrage and disgust aren't the same as surprise.

#12 ::: John Aspinall ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:50 PM:

kid bitzer (#6): Your argument is well reasoned, and reeks of humanity and decency. Would that we could all live in that world.

I have a three word response, though: Iterated Prisoners Dilemma.

When the Republicans interpret every attempt at compromise as a sign of weakness, there is no channel of communication left open but the results of the previous iteration. Now we get to wait and see their behavior on the next iteration.

#13 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:51 PM:

I didn't say I want to offer a blanket amnesty to law-breakers. There are some individuals I will be very happy to see crushed underneath the wheels of justice.

But in seeking "justice for these people", I think it matters a lot that we remain conscientious in specifying who "these people" are. They are the leadership of the Bush White House, the Frist Senate, the DeLay House, and the RNC. I'd be happy to see those people go to jail--and I think the number of people who deserve it is in the hundreds.

But that is different from reacting to victory by demonizing the other half of the country. That's what was done to us after 2000 and 2004. All of us--not a few people in the Democratic leadership, or people who were guilty of breaking laws. Every one of us godless, latte-sipping liberals was talked of and treated like a pariah in our own country.

That's what I do not think we should do in reverse.

#14 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:53 PM:

Here's a thought: we can do all the mean nasty stuff but do it politely and subversively. "Smiler with knife beneath the cloak" sort of activity. 'Cause I do think some of them are no longer believers in comity and rules to live by; many of them are beyond redemption and should have their dwellings plowed under and salt sown over them.

#15 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:53 PM:

In the aftermath of 9-11 she said the air was safe to breath, she lied

I wonder how much she may have been lied to herself, or if she was followign orders from higher up: when you get your information from others, or when you work for someone who is a vindictive SOB, you might very well say something like this, either not knowing it's a lie, or knowing but afraid of what happens to truthtellers. (Check what happens to people who tell the truth around Bush and Cheney. It's as reliable an indicator as 'heckuvajob'.)

#16 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:58 PM:

you know part of what is sad about all of this is the degree to which we as a nation really have never bound up the wounds of the Civil War.

This election has brought that out even more clearly than the last several did: the Republicans are now more than ever the party of the South. The Party that, as Lee Atwater said, is still shouting "nigger nigger nigger", in slightly coded terms.

When I think of the Civil War, I think of Lincoln's benediction: with malice towards none, with charity towards all.

That is the attitude I would still like to take: the only attitude that makes us one nation, rather than two warring nations.

It boggles the mind that the battle lines are still drawn roughly where they were when the first shells flew over Fort Sumter.

#17 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:27 PM:

"Dirty tricks" politics was invented long before our nation's founding fathers used many of the same things to get the good people of the Colonies to go to war with Great Britain.

You should see the lies our founding fathers made up about each other and printed shamelessly . . .

On the bright side, at least it's a lot harder to print and publish lies about one's opponents -- the truth has a funny way of getting out a lot faster these days than in the days of hand-set type broadsides.

So, as we talk about campaign tricks, negative advertising and whatnot:

1) Dirty tricks and negative campaigning have ALWAYS been a part of American politics -- its intensity might ebb and flow. But it's always been there.

2) Both sides do it. USUALLY, the campaign workers do the shady stuff without the candidate's knowledge so there's plausible deniability -- and usually, they know that they'd be in a world of hurt from the candidate if he/she found out. Campaign workers can get a bit crazy around election time -- no excuse for Doing the Wrong Thing, but it happens. Let's be amazed that it doesn't happen as frequently as it might.

3) The Reps aren't the first group to mount a cohesive and successful political strategy to crush their opponents. The Dems would not hesitate to do the same if they had the opportunity or skill.

4) Not every Republican is evil and hell-bent on the destruction of democracy, just as not every Democrat is an atheistic angel determined to save humanity from itself.

#18 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:29 PM:

A quixotic notion for the word-happy folks here: Can we all stop using GOP?

Grand the Republicans are not, and their party is Old only in the sense of not as old as the Democratic party. The only word of the three being abbreviated that fits is Party. But every time headline writers or columnists or bloggers or whatever use GOP, they are repeating a Republican talking point - Grand Old Party.

Let's just stop, and let's remind other folks, in our kindly editorial way, that they can stop too.

#19 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:35 PM:

No, Doug, we should keep using it. The 'Grand' is bad, but the 'Old' really, really burns Republican asses. They HATE being called the GOP. Hate it.

I even call Republican candidates GOPpers. I love insulting them with their own once-positive name!

#20 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:40 PM:

I don't see any reason why the Republicans shouldn't be taught that "what goes around comes around" applies to them, too.

I think the next two years should be spent in really hard organizing and campaigning -- starting right now -- because a one-vote majority in the Senate just isn't enough. Especially if the Democrats still vote the issue while the Republicans vote the party.

#21 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:44 PM:

Kid, you're going overboard. Robert Farley's post with the Conan quote was a joke. Unless you actually think Farley plans to slaughter his enemies and savor the lamentations of their women, I suggest that your response is disproportionate.

#22 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:51 PM:

"They HATE being called the GOP. Hate it."

My mileage has varied. Or I missed your sarcasm Xopher. (Bear with me, it's late Over Here.)

#23 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:52 PM:

As for #17, nine times out of ten, when someone gets caught cheating in politics in some extraordinarily disgusting way, they turn out to have rationalized it to themselves with the argument that "everybody does it."

None of us, political parties or individuals, are without sin. Inconveniently enough, this doesn't get us out of the obligation to decry wickedness when we see it. Particularly the sort of wickedness that entails preying on the weak.

#24 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:53 PM:

And as for #19, I'm with Doug. I've never seen any evidence that Republicans, as a class, "hate" the nickname "the GOP." Quite the opposite, I'd say.

#25 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:55 PM:

Mr. MacDonald @ 20,

Markos of Kos is thinking about that already. He's got an overview of the Senate picture for that election. Pull quote:

"In two years, Republicans will be defending 21 seats, to 12 of our own. A large number of those Republicans will be freshmen."

#26 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:57 PM:

The Grand Old Perverts?

#27 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:57 PM:

Indeed, if Republicans hate the term "GOP" so much, why does www.gop.com lead to the home site of the Republican National Committee? I think Xopher is either confused or, perhaps, very subtly pulling our legs.

#28 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:57 PM:

Maybe we should start using "GOPMA" as a blog tag.

(Here, have some context.)

#29 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:58 PM:

Still haven't gotten around to writing up Tuesday and my little loss-analysis, but I'm certainly thinking about 2008 and what sort of activism I might participate in for those campaigns. I have a number of thoughts from this experience about how to be more useful than I was this time around.

Fortunately for my sanity, there appears to be no suitable office for me to run for locally.

#30 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 05:58 PM:

Regarding #25, I sidelighted a piece a few days ago that discusses Senate prospects for 2008.

#31 ::: Glen Fisher ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:01 PM:

Can we all stop using GOP?

I'd argue that Republican is actually worse, as being outright deceptive. The party as a whole doesn't appear to believe in republican government: "a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch" and "in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law"*.

#32 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:04 PM:

Linkmeister @ #25

The phrase I'm hearing for 2008 is "target rich environment." There's some expectation of a lot of retirements among aging Senators, which will also help.

And the first Ned for Congress posting has been spotted - Chris Shays will be up again and his last two races have been close. I don't know if his two-time-opponent Diane Farrell will want to have another go or not.

#33 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:08 PM:

21--

no, I certainly don't think Farley is going to go into the slave-driving business, or that you are.

But there's an intermediate position between "he totally means he's going to kill people oh my god call the police on Robert Farley" and "it's just a joke so it's insignificant."

And the intermediate position is:

the rhetoric we use, and the ways we think about politics, have consequences. They change over the years, and those changes affect other things.

It was not always the case that bipartisanship was considered to be equivalent to date-rape. That was a Republican leadership innovation.

That way of thinking about it neither means that Frist was sexually assaulting Reid (trying to prosecute him on such a charge would be disproportionate, as you say), nor that viewing the legislative process in that way is without consequences.

Look, it's hard to go on for as many paragraphs as I did earlier without seeming to blow things out of proportion (and seeming humorless). I'm not saying "Lefarkins bad! PNH bad!"

I'm just saying: food for thought. We've got a chance to change the national discourse and the political culture, from a position of strength. Let's try to change the culture, not just the names of the winners and losers.

#34 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:12 PM:

Personally, I'm inclined to let them have "GOP". I'd much rather focus on the falsity of their claim to be in favor of limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility. Everything about that claim is a complete lie.

What they are in favor of--the object of their utter devotion since the 1870s--is the perquisites and privileges of the limited-liability corporation, a highly artificial social entity which requires big government in order to protect its very existence, which works unceasingly to limit the economic freedom of all other economic players in its vicinity, and whose fundamental purpose is the wholesale avoidance of personal responsibility. There are excellent arguments for the value of limited-liability corporations, and I think we should keep them around, but these arguments have nothing to do with "personal responsibility." The success of America's business class at bamboozling everyone about these issues has got to count as one of the most successful pieces of mass hypnosis in the history of civilization.

#35 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:17 PM:

There's a bumper-sticker reported out there (I believe it's from Northern Sunshine):

'Bipartisanship: I'll Hug Your Elephant If You'll Kiss My A*s'

(The * is not on the sticker.)

While I'm not in favor of vindictiveness, I'm wholeheartedly in favor of investigations and putting the trash out. And my idea of trash includes the folks like Schumer and Rahm, who want the credit for winning without having done much (if any) work for those who won.

#36 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:18 PM:

With malice toward none... Shouldn't the guiding principle now be With NO malice toward MOST? Unless I'm mistaken, many of the actors of the plot that has made the 21st Century crappy so far were involved in the Nixon scandals. They were allowed to lick their wounds then they came back and bit us again. What makes us think they won't do the same thing 20 years from now? Look, do you know what I heard my cubicle neighbors say to each other the day after the election? They accuse our side of stuffing ballot boxes and other illegal acts. They're NOT going to forget that they lost, but they will forget WHY they lost.

OK, let's not throw James Carville's metaphorical anvil at our drowning opponents, but let's not turn our backs to them when they come out of the sewage ponds.

#37 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:22 PM:

One of the most famous quotes, perhaps the most famous quote, from Conan is: "Conan! What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies -- See them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!"

As brilliant as director/writer John Milius is, he did not invent this dialogue. Who did? Was it taken from the Conan script by Oliver Stone that was rewritten by Milius? No, it came from a book. I know what you're thinking... a Robert E. Howard book, right? Wrong! Milius actually lifted it from a book by Harlod Lamb titled, GENGHIS KAHN: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MEN, pages 106-107:

One day in the pavilion at Karakorum he [Genghis Kahn] asked an officer of the Mongol guard what, in all the world, could bring the greatest happiness.

"The open steppe, a clear day, and a swift horse under you," responded the officer after a little thought, "and a falcon on your wrist to start up hares."

"Nay," responded the Kahn, "to crush your enemies, to see them fall at your feet -- to take their horses and goods and hear the lamentation of their women. That is best."
The Barbarian Keep
The Conan and Robert E. Howard Website
http://www.barbariankeep.com/ctbsecrets.html

There is a certain dispute about further details on the Conan quote and on the source and original words of anything by the Khan.

Winner take all is hardly new in American politics see e.g. The gunfight at the OK Corral but winner take all has often been more the exception than the rule. There is a great deal in the literature about the increasing prevalence of winner take all notions in American society in recent years.

I'd rather see the incoming Congress as friends of ideals - which might include recognizing many Illinois Democrats as corrupt, the incoming Governor of Massachussets as on the record against free speech, and Alcee Hastings as an odd choice for Committee Chair.

#38 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:22 PM:

I'm all for well-considered rhetoric, but if it means never making jokes at the expense of the other side's misfortunes, forget it.

Besides. We're talking about a political movement that has legalized torture and eliminated habeus corpus, while pursuing policies that have led to the slaughter of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of foreigners. And you're lecturing us not to make a joke based on a dopey Conan line? I'm not even going to dignify that with a "give me a break."

#39 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:24 PM:

yeah, I'll take 'no malice towards most.'


And I completely agree that it was a huge mistake not to nail to the wall every bad actor from Iran/Contra. I realize that conviction cannot "work corruption of Blood", but I don't see why some crimes should not preclude service in government for the rest of the criminal's life.

And membership in the College Republicans, Atwater era to present, should be pretty much prima facie evidence of said criminality.

It's Republican voters I'm saying we should not demonize; Republican leadership I'll be happy to see rotting in jail.

#40 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:26 PM:

There's plenty to criticize about the Democratic Party. For instance, it encompasses some legislators with truly awful views about intellectual property and the Internet. That particular disease appears to be bipartisan, and we need to work to get smarter people and better arguments to the forefront, and expose the extent to which the bad arguments are bought and paid for by Hollywood money.

But it takes a heap o' bad IP law to balance out an Abu Ghraib.

#41 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:30 PM:

#38--


oh, alright--I plead guilty to misguided fuddy-duddery in the second degree, as well as unlawful kill-joy-ishness.

And I agree that the leadership are *horrible* people.

Still, I don't retract my view that the new attitude towards political comity is an anti-American offense against the unwritten rules of politics that is on a par with the advocacy of torture and the violation of habeas corpus.

(I mean: that actually *applying* the winner-take-all model, as the DeLay House did repeatedly. Not merely *joking* about it, as Farley did).

#42 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:30 PM:

Hmm, I looked for where I heard that the Rethuglicans disliked the term GOP, and I found jack-all. Well.

Confused, I guess. Not pulling anyone's leg this time. I still like GOPper, though. Gawper, like that.

And #38: yeah, that. I say we should tell Republicans of our acquaintance "how can you keep affiliating yourself with a party that has done such things? Aren't you ashamed?" And if they aren't, we should ostracize them socially.

I'm not pulling your leg about this, either. I think the sane and reasonable people have to find another party to belong to, because the GOP has become "a stinking midden where true conservatives suffocate in the effluvia of right-wing ideologues."

Or they can reclaim the GOP for the conservatives. But until and unless they do so, we should make 'Republican' a word we say with a curled lip.

#43 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:31 PM:

#23 -- I couldn't agree with you more . . . wickedness ought to be brought to light and shouted out against.

I did not suggest that there's justification in "everyone does it." There is none.

I'm merely pointing out that neither side is without sin, and I'm not convinced that the nasty Republicans (i.e., "just the kind of people who got their comeuppance") are the only ones who have engaged in questionable and disreputable practices.

#44 ::: Annalee Flower Horne ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:32 PM:

Lawrence Evans: I wonder how directly Ehrlich and Steele were involved in this particular scam.

I know the money came directly from Ehrlich's campaign, so it wasn't an unrelated wingnut group or anything. I can't speak to how much Steele was involved.

And Ehrlich didn't just lose; he lost with 36% of the vote. That there is just sad. I mean I knew he was doomed from the start (keeping in mind that the democratic majority in the maryland legislature is such that even his veto power was almost entirely useless), but 36%? I almost feel bad for the guy.

...almost.

#45 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:35 PM:

AFH, just to make sure I'm not missing a regional variant of some kind, by 'sad' you mean "hahaha, serves you right you dumb son of a bitch! Die, and I'll dance on your fucking grave you piece of SHIT!!!!" right? That kinda sad?

#46 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:40 PM:

Annalee @ 44, I read somewhere (WaPo, maybe) that Ehrlich's wife met some of the buses carrying those Philly homeless folks. That's pretty blatant.

Patrick @ 30, sorry. Missed that particular particle. The comment threads have been so active I've neglected the main page.

#47 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:40 PM:

#16 This election has brought that out even more clearly than the last several did: the Republicans are now more than ever the party of the South. The Party that, as Lee Atwater said, is still shouting "nigger nigger nigger", in slightly coded terms.

Care to explain Idaho?

Hard up against the southern (Canadian) border and at one time or another represented by Frank Church. Idaho sent Cecil Andrus to serve in Jimmy Carter's cabinet then made Andrus governor again!

Are the Democrats missing something or is Idaho really voting white supremacy?

If you think Idaho is voting white supremacy remember such things as the Harlem Globetrotters for many years did a benefit in Lewiston Idaho at their own expense because during the Globetrotter's barnstorming days they were welcomed to unsegregated facilities and invited to put up at the best and damn near only downtown hotel.

#48 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:41 PM:

PNH: "Personally, I'm inclined to let them have 'GOP'. I'd much rather focus on the falsity of their claim to be in favor of limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility. Everything about that claim is a complete lie."

No reason one can't focus on the falsity while disdaining the use of that abbreviation. But like I said, it's a quixotic notion, and the best I hope for now is a brief pause while one thinks about whether or not to subtly spread a Republican talking point.

Alternatively, of course, we could christen the Democrats the Best Party Ever and spread the use of BPE as a common, three-letter synonym for the Democratic Party...

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 06:53 PM:

Or we could just come up with what 'GOP' really stands for.

Gross Old Party
Greatly Oppress the People
Grouchy Old Pharts (or Pissheads or whatever)
Greasy Old Perverts (Foley et al)
Gag Our Press/Gag Our People
Go Out and Puke
Ghraib - Our Pride
Gingrich's Old Pals
Gorged On Profits
Greed: Our Policy
Gang Of Profiteers

That's off the top of my head. I'm sure there are many more.

#50 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 07:10 PM:

Rather than "with malice toward none," how about "and justice for all"?

Yes, all break the law. But let's not equate jaywalking with grand theft.

How about doing something positive? Why not write to Nancy Pelosi right now, asking her to make the first order of business the repeal of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (AKA the torture bill)?

A letter to your freshly-elected senators and congressmen might not be a bad idea either.

#51 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 07:30 PM:

Letter-writing requests remind me of my other quixotic notion. Even though I live Over Here (where it's now headed toward very late indeed), for voting purposes I am still a resident of the District of Columbia. Half a million of us have no bona fide representation in the House, and none whatsoever in the Senate.

I would be deee-lighted to write letters to my freshly-elected Senators and Representative (we would only have one). Could you all help me and my fellow DC residents get some representation to go with our taxation?

#52 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 07:38 PM:

Doug #51, I'm now envisioning the signs I've seen on televised Redskins and Nationals games:

Home Rule for DC!

#53 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 07:52 PM:

May I also humbly request that you urge your representatives to demand actual charges and trials by properly constituted civil courts, with the usual safeguards as prescribed by your Constitution, for those detained at Gitmo, even foreigners?

#54 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 08:21 PM:

Linkmeister, we do have home rule after a fashion, and have since the early 1970s.

It gets complicated fast, though, and I have been away for a few years, so details are fuzzy. In short, Congress can pass laws directly that affect the District, which the Mayor and City Council cannot overrule. (There was a push by the Rs a few years ago to roll back the District's gun-control laws. Just what the District needs, more guns.) There is a significant payment from the federal budget into the city's coffers, which Congress also likes to micromanage. The federal presence, and many other entities such as Fannie Mae and foreign embassies, are not taxable, leaving the District with a significant hole in its tax base. Also, the District has to provide many services that a state would, but without the resources of a state. (For comparison, Germany has three cities that are also states; two of the three (including Berlin) have chronic budget problems, and the third flirts with them regularly.) Anyway, there are lots of levers for Congress to pull on when it wants to meddle with the District, and unlike any other polity, it has no Members or Senators to go to bat for it. Delegate Norton is a local icon, but she has limited voting priveliges, not full voting rights. And of course there's no one in the Senate.

License plates in the District say "Taxation without Representation," but that probably isn't shown on sports broadcasts.

#55 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 08:29 PM:

Doug, I left Annandale, Va. in 1968 when I was 17, but I do remember some of the arguments even then. I think I've seen the plates and laughed and then thought "well, yeah."

I'd imagine all the Fed and international properties aren't subject to property taxes either, right?

#56 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 08:59 PM:
Besides. We're talking about a political movement that has legalized torture and eliminated habeus corpus, while pursuing policies that have led to the slaughter of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of foreigners.

The covertly right-wing MSM is advising the Democrats to show "moderation" and "maturity" by engaging in bipartisan cooperation with the right-wing extremists.

Wasn't it Newt Gingrich himself who said "Bipartisanship is another word for date rape?"

Guess who gets raped? Yes, it's still possible for a wife who makes all the money in the family to be abused and intimidated by her worthless drug-using (in this case the drug is Christofascist ideology) husband.

#57 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 10:04 PM:

I planned to put this Anniversary post in the Open thread, but it seems to go with discussions of politics and violence.

The First 9/11 — Broken Glass & Ashes (In Australia 9/11 is November 9th). Remembering 'Kristallnacht' - 9/11/38.

An eyewitness account ( http://www.thelooniverse.com/books/kastner.html ). There you can see Erich Kästner's description of "Crystal Night, 1938", as well as his attendance at the 1933 burning of his, and 23 other authors', books.

Summary

In 1938, incensed by hearing of his family in Germany being forced into "relocation camps" in the November snow under Nazi laws, an adolescent Jew in Paris shot and killed a German diplomat.
Goebbels used this for propaganda about conspiracies against Germany, inciting Germans to "rise in bloody vengeance", culminating on the long winter night of November 9th in organised widespread violence. Non-Jews who protested were beaten. Police and firemen watched people brutalized, buildings smashed, looted and burnt. Morning footpaths were impassable under an icy glittering crust of broken glass and ashes.
Lack of public protest encouraged the Nazi government to pass even more repressive laws in the next few months. Prominent Germans who protested were arrested. Ordinary Germans who protested were beaten up.
Can we hope that we've learnt from last century's several examples of disasters wrought by stirring up the darker side we all have - for power, for gain, for dogmatic religion or ideology?

Note the winding-tighter spiral of assassination, having been sparked by rage at the laws & treatment following the Reichstag fire, being used as pretext for Kristallnacht, which sparked the next round of ill-treatment & laws giving more power to The Party, und so weiter. That's why I detest the violent political language discussed here.

Two sites of many others about it: www.remember.org/fact.fin.kristal.html and www.us-israel.org/jsource/Holocaust/kristallnacht.html

(I particularly like the knife-twist, so typical of current 'economic fundamentalists' of indemnifying the Jewish community to pay for the damages, for example by confiscating their insurance payouts. Relatives were also billed for execution expenses in Nazi Germany. It reminds me of recent British stories of released prisoners whose convictions were quashed being charged for their keep, and of course our own Respected & Beloved Government's way of discouraging rejected refugees in a similar way.)

#58 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 11:22 PM:

Steele is going to take over for Mehlman as Republican National Committee Chairman.

#59 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 01:19 AM:

Sara, that "date rape" line was Norquist's, not Gingrich's. I'll bet Newt kicked himself for not thinking of it first, though.

#60 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 02:29 AM:

kid @ 16:
the Republicans are now more than ever the party of the South
Bollocks. New Mexico and Florida went blue for the Senate, while southern Texas, Arizona and even Utah (!) went blue for the House. Please stop repeating pundit nonsense.
The Republicans are now more than ever the party of torture, arrogance and incompetence. The voters booted them out. Fact.

#61 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 03:47 AM:

#55: "I'd imagine all the Fed and international properties aren't subject to property taxes either, right?"

Bingo.

Smithsonian, Navy Yard, Kennedy Center, etc. Not sure what the status is of mega-nonprofits like Georgetown University or American University, but any way you slice it a hefty portion of the tax base is just immune.

#62 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 04:48 AM:

retterson at #43, there's plenty of evidence of campaign dirty tricks co-ordinated nationally by the RNC in this election: just read the last few days worth of talkingpointsmemo. Not just dirty but downright illegal, as in "ongoing FBI investigations". Josh Marshall over there has another suggestion for what GOP stands for: Grand Old Police-Blotter.

Do you have evidence of co-ordinated dirty tricks by Democrats? *Any* evidence of Democratic dirty tricks at all in this election?

#63 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 05:23 AM:

Xopher @ 42: I think I know where you got the meme that the Rethugs hate the term 'grand old party'.

j h woodyatt claimed it on Making Light, here, at #173.

#64 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 09:22 AM:

the Republicans are now more than ever the party of the South

Bollocks. New Mexico and Florida went blue for the Senate, while southern Texas, Arizona and even Utah (!) went blue for the House.

I'm missing something here. Since when are most of these states (Utah???) part of the South? Most of them are southwestern, and there really is a cultural difference (speaking as someone who grew up in Texas). Florida's the only one that could really be called Southern in a political-geographic sense, and Florida is a outlier with its particular population groups.

Your post seems to me to support the argument that Republicans are becoming the party of the South. Or am I just completely misunderstanding you?

#65 ::: Ali ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 09:31 AM:

I was immediately suspicious of Steele when I caught the ad with him petting the puppy. Not that Republicans don't pet puppies, but for some reason it set off my BS detector. It was pretty funny when a couple of days later I caught the Cardin ad telling people that it wasn't even his puppy.

That Democrat/Republican blurring was present in his ads all along. The handouts take the cake though. His campaign had the audacity to claim that they weren't trying to be misleading.

#66 ::: Annalee Flower Horne ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 12:57 PM:

Xopher at #45:

I try not to wish death on others, and having never met his mother, I shall refrain from commenting on his parentage. I meant 'sad' as in "It's really pathetic that he never seemed to grasp that Maryland never liked him; and it's rather ironic how much money he spent on underhanded tricks over the years, because Maryland still doesn't like him."

As a Marylander, I'm not the least bit shocked that he did this. He's been doing it since he took office. A couple years ago, he appeared in state-funded ads to tell Marylanders that they could now renew their driver's licenses online instead of standing in line at the DMV. He talked about how awesome the program was, and did everything but come out and claim credit for it himself. What he didn't say was that the bill behind it was written, pushed, and passed by democrats. In fact, unless I'm remembering wrong, he vetoed it for 'security reasons' (read: because he doesn't like immigrants), and only had a program to take credit for because they overrode his veto.

This is the guy who slandered incumbant governor O'Malley during the campaign with horrible lies about his character (I can't remember if the accusation was pedophelia, lechery, or serial betrayal of his wedding vows, but it was low, underhanded stuff) and then blamed it on (and subsequently fired) one of his junior staffers when he got caught.

The man's a lame duck who has spent his term doing nothing but vetoing bills he knew would pass anyway while bitching that the democrats were being mean to him. I've always seen him more as one of those bumbling villians from a saturday morning cartoon than anything else-- he's too pathetic to warrant my scorn.

#67 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 02:04 PM:

Serge @ #36 - What makes me sure that the Nixonian retreads won't be pulling dirty tricks in twenty years is that they'll be dead. They weren't young thirty years ago; they'll almost all be in their graves in another twenty. Here and now, we still have them and their malice to deal with, of course.

#68 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 03:12 PM:

but for some reason it set off my BS detector.

For some reason, or maybe for no reason, I read that as "...my B5 detector."

Very odd thoughts for a few seconds there.

#69 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 06:45 PM:

The obvious mechanism for preventing people involved in these outrages from serving in public office again is outrage by voters. The same mechanism applies to punishing politicians who do evil stuff, toss inconvenient bits of the constitution in the shredder, etc. But the voters have to care enough that they will say "I don't care if that guy is a Republican in good standing and a friend of a Republican president, this is still wrong." That didn't happen with the Bush administration for a long time, and that's a tragedy. Though it's worth noting that in the last couple years, Bush has had more and more trouble getting his people approved by congress, which led to withdrawing one supreme court nominee (the lady who was prepared to do for the supreme court what Michael Brown did for FEMA), and a bunch of recess appointments.

This sort of thing is one part of why the whole argument about sticking to one of the two big parties rubs me the wrong way. Too little party loyalty makes you ineffective, but too much makes you a party of lemmings.

#70 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 06:58 PM:

The obvious mechanism for preventing people involved in these outrages from serving in public office again is outrage by voters. The same mechanism applies to punishing politicians who do evil stuff, toss inconvenient bits of the constitution in the shredder, etc. But the voters have to care enough that they will say "I don't care if that guy is a Republican in good standing and a friend of a Republican president, this is still wrong." That didn't happen with the Bush administration for a long time, and that's a tragedy. Though it's worth noting that in the last couple years, Bush has had more and more trouble getting his people approved by congress, which led to withdrawing one supreme court nominee (the lady who was prepared to do for the supreme court what Michael Brown did for FEMA), and a bunch of recess appointments.

This sort of thing is one part of why the whole argument about sticking to one of the two big parties rubs me the wrong way. Too little party loyalty makes you ineffective, but too much makes you a party of lemmings.

#71 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 10:04 PM:

Annalee, the incumbent Maryland governor is Bob Ehrlich. O'Malley is the incumbent mayor of Baltimore.

#72 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 01:02 AM:

I take it that when an American says "the South" it actually means, generally, the states that were in the Confederacy, during the Woah Butween the States, suh. California, for example, would not count as 'south', despite having a border with Mexico. Yes?

#73 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 01:12 AM:

Dave @ 72:

Yup!

Including Texas, but not New Mexico or Arizona.

#74 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 01:55 AM:

Dave @ 72 - South is a somewhat flexible definition. Most people would agree that everything bordering the Gulf of Mexico is southern, although South Florida is not very southern, whereas Northern Florida is the Deep South.

Texas is kind of split. West Texas is in the Southwest, East Texas is the South. Many people put the line between Ft. Worth (West) and Dallas (South) even though today they're part of the same metro area.

As far as the Confederacy test goes, it's reasonable. I'd put every state that seceded, plus Oklahoma at least partially in the South. But some would put Kentucky and West Virginia (states which had allowed slavery but stayed in the Union) in the South, whereas others would call them Appalachia and separate from the South. Maryland is an edge-case, too. Southern and western Maryland can be pretty southern.

Oh, and California isn't in the Southwest, either, despite being in the extreme southwest corner of the continental US. That term is reserved for Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas, southern Nevada, southern Utah and southern Colorado. Basically the deserty bits, not the mountainy bits.

The term West is even more confusing, since it can apply equally to the Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho), California, the Southwest, the Rocky Mountains, and, in different historical periods the Great Plains and the Midwest.

American regional identity can be complicated.

#75 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 01:58 AM:

Oh, and while I'm being pedantic, when a Northern Californian says "down south," he usually means LA or San Diego, not Atlanta. California's it's own deal.

#76 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 06:31 AM:

#74 -

On calling Dallas "South":

1. Doesn't match my experience growing up there.
2. Went blue on Tuesday.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 08:14 AM:

Anne @ #67... Yes, the original Nixonians will have kicked the bucket (like Jimmy Durante's character literally did in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World). But didn't they breed pupils, some of whom were involved in the current mess? Those will be around 20 years from now and they're probably doing their own breeding right now. Hmmm...This IS starting to sound like Mars Needs Women...

#78 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 08:22 AM:

Is this going to end up with some crazies running around in Argentina with Nixon's DNA, ready to breed a race of stubble-cheeked Quaker ubermenchen to take over the world?

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 09:13 AM:

The horror, albatross, the horror!

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 09:40 AM:

On second thought, albratross, instead of something along the line of The Boys from Brazil, this could be like that episode of Wonder Woman where some scientist clones Hitler, with military costume and boots included in the process, but luckily for us WW stops the horror by decloning Hitler.

#81 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 10:06 AM:

Larry Brennan: But some would put Kentucky and West Virginia (states which had allowed slavery but stayed in the Union) in the South,

This is a matter of semantics, perhaps, but West Virginians will point out that WV wasn't a state when Virginia joined the Confederacy. WV didn't stay in the Union; it was broken from Virginia after Virginia left.

#82 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 12:55 PM:

aconite - yes, but West Virginia separated from Virginia in order to stay in the Union, thus highlighting the question of whether it is in the South, if having been in the Confederacy is a predictor for Southernness.

#83 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 01:25 PM:

Larry @74, it gets more complicated when you add Hawai'i into the mix. We identify as much with Pacific Rim as we do with the concept of West.

Seattle sometimes does the same, I think.

#84 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 02:01 PM:

Larry Brennan: I'm not disputing that, certainly. As I said, it's a matter of semantics; strictly speaking, WV as a state joined the Union, it didn't stay there. (Forgive me if I'm being a pain. When I'm very tired, I tend to get literal.)

#85 ::: belledame222 ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 05:58 PM:

Jaysus.

honestly i think in future a campaign against some people could be sufficient if it only said:

"Vote ___. Because -this- dude just -sucks.-"

#86 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 08:38 PM:

Linkmeister: I gather you never heard of the famous description by Harry Truman's Postmaster General? "The 47 states and the Soviet of Washington."

#87 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 10:12 PM:

One day in the pavilion at Karakorum he [Genghis Kahn] asked an officer of the Mongol guard what, in all the world, could bring the greatest happiness.

Proof, finally, that all Mongols are Jewish?

#88 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 10:15 PM:

Xopher #68: Are you by any chance Minbari?

#89 ::: Annalee Flower Horne ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 10:28 PM:

#71: wow, I'm sorry. Me type stupid sometimes. I meant governor-elect. 'scuze me. I apparantly need to go make flash-cards or something...

#90 ::: Jerry L ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 05:12 AM:

This site is hilarious. Name calling republicans, particularly perverts. Hell, the Democrats have the charter on perversity and corruption. Mel Reynolds, Barney Franks, Gerry Studds, Ted Kennedy, and a host of others. Problem is that you sicko's keep them in office. At least the republicans vote them out. What a bunch of anile of fossils.

#91 ::: abi sees a piñata ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 06:15 AM:

Typical driveby, but I am interested in any attempts to parse anile of fossils.

Maybe it's a line of stone bones, spreading to a delta, as long and as wide as a river in Egypt. The sandy crocodiles climb over and among them, baffled as the penguins of the Sahara at their change of habitat.

#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 08:33 AM:

abi... If you google 'anile of fossil', the first hit is for someone who had called Ted Kennedy an anile old fossil. Anyway, this forced me to look up 'anile' in the dictionary so this silliness has a silver lining to it.

#93 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 09:24 AM:

The OED's last citation of 'anile' dates to 1856. Somehow, I can't see anyone calling Teddy 'old-womanish'. ("Of or like an old woman, old-womanish; imbecile.")

#94 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Larry Brennan @74 "American regional identity can be complicated."

Even more so for non-Americans. I spent ages (some years ago) searching a political map of the USA for the state called "New England"...

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