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May 13, 2008

Be careful what you ask for
Posted by Patrick at 07:18 AM * 117 comments

The House Republicans have a new slogan:

In a memo to be sent to Republican members today, the leadership hints at a new slogan building on the change message that has already been shown to have political resonance with a public unhappy with the nation’s direction.

It looks like Republicans will counter the Democratic push for change from the years of the Bush administration with their own pledge to deliver, drum roll please, “the change you deserve.”

I don’t think anyone, least of all the Republican caucus of the United States House of Representatives, really wants a serious discussion of what we “deserve.”

Or as another well-known Southern politician once observed, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”

Comments on Be careful what you ask for:
#1 ::: Michael Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 08:32 AM:

Reminds me of the Bujold quote:

"Mercy, High Ones. Not justice, please, not justice. We would all be fools to pray for justice."

#2 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 08:40 AM:

In the words of the Pet Shop Boys:

What have I done to deserve this?

#3 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 08:41 AM:

"I'm from the government, here to help you"
Words to strike fear in honest humble folk,
who fear their government and would eschew
elections, which they see as just a joke.

For governments these days seem quite perverse,
with hollow slogans claimed by those who serve.
But monarchy, democracy, or worse
we get the government that we deserve.

#4 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 08:45 AM:

“The change you deserve.”

Makes me think of diapers.

#5 ::: Tim Walker ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 08:49 AM:

Reminds me of my favorite Mencken quote:

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

#6 ::: iain ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:09 AM:

"The change you deserve" is the slogan for Effexor. The republicans will have to come up with something else, which is perhaps a good thing if Hamlet was right:
"Treat each man as he deserves, and who shall 'scape whipping?"

#7 ::: Nina Katarina ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:13 AM:

The phrase oozes entitlement, doesn't it?

#8 ::: Dave Lartigue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:14 AM:

So the Republicans are going to run on a "reform" platform...as the incumbents?

#9 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:14 AM:

I take it that this also means that the abandonment of President Bush is almost complete.

How do you reckon history will judge him? What's more interesting, how do you reckon history will judge us, the Americans who allowed him to be our Commander in Chief, the most powerful man in the world, for 8 years? 8 years?
He should be in prison.
Isn't "waging unprovoked war" a war crime? Against the Kellog-Briand Pact and all that?

#10 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:17 AM:

The image brought to mind of Republicans giving us the "change we deserve" is a fat cat tossing a nickel to the beggars as he steps into his limo.

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:18 AM:

“the change you deserve"

According to criteria established by a bunch of social darwinists?
Oh, joy!

#12 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:19 AM:

Sorry, I meant "Waging an aggressive war."

#13 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:19 AM:

8: Suggested slogan - "I can change, honey, really, I promise, it'll all be different this time".

#14 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:19 AM:

Sorry, I meant "Waging an aggressive war."

#15 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:24 AM:

Yeah,

I remember at VP, Teresa was critiquing my story and brought up the Jonathan Edwards's sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

We, he says, are alwys in danger of damnation, we deserve to be damned, and the only reason we have not yet been cast into the fires of hell is that it is not yet TIME for us to be damned. But be assured, that time is coming.

All we can hope for is not justice, not what we deserve, but only in mercy.

Now, given that the republicans are the party of the religious right, what worries me is that they have cast themselves in the person of God within this little melodrama, and seeing as the people have not blindly acquiesced to whatever whim of theirs was their goal for today, they're going to try to show us their true wrath and power.

Here, is the change we deserve!

By their lights at least.

#16 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:28 AM:

Damn!

That should be "always in danger" obviously

#17 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:33 AM:

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

#18 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:43 AM:

As Joe Franklin would say, the rest of the story

#19 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:49 AM:
"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." Marcus Cole, Ranger to Franklin, A Late Delivery from Avalon
#20 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 10:07 AM:

Julia @ #18, isn't that Paul Harvey?

#21 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 10:31 AM:

sigh. Of course it is.

Me and mornings don't exist well in the same space.

#22 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 10:39 AM:

It happens to be an advertising slogan used for Effexor.

#23 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 11:00 AM:

Ads touting something people "deserve" always make me cringe, more from the false sense of entitlement than from intimations of comeuppance. But the term is creepy in either sense, and current Republicans seem to want to monopolize both of them (hand out goodies; arbitrate "morals"). Ugh.

#24 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 11:00 AM:

Yeah, that's what's at the link.

#25 ::: Calton Bolick ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 11:13 AM:

It happens to be an advertising slogan used for Effexor.

"Are these symptoms of depression interfering with your life?

The Change You Deserve™
* Not involved with family and friends the way you used to be?
* Low energy, fatigue?
* Not motivated to do the things you once looked forward to doing?
* Not feeling as good as you used to?"


As Firedoglake points out, "Well. That was perhaps not the best possible choice. Even more so when you consider that it's been under a 'Black Box Warning' for promoting suicidal tendencies since, ahem, 2004."

#26 ::: Max Kaehn ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 11:13 AM:

I suppose they could try being honest and use “I got mine; you’re on your own.”

#27 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 11:40 AM:

Mary Dell, I love the card.

The fictional family that haunts my imagination is Hansel and Gretel. It doesn't really matter whether it's their mother or stepmother who pressures the father to abandon them, or whether their (step)mother dies or repents when the children return. What I wonder about is the awkward conversation as they sit around their fireside afterward, and in the years to come. How do you talk your way past issues like "You took us into the wilderness, intending that we should die"?

Pedantic Peasant: Their foot shall slide in due time.

Now, given that the republicans are the party of the religious right, what worries me is that they have cast themselves in the person of God within this little melodrama, and seeing as the people have not blindly acquiesced to whatever whim of theirs was their goal for today, they're going to try to show us their true wrath and power.
I've suspected for some time now that that's the other explanation for Bush's enthusiasm about torture, and his insistance on continuing to hold and question prisoners at Guantanamo and elsewhere. He hasn't gotten the results he wants -- the information that would retroactively justify invading Iraq, make it clear that he's been right all along, and enable him to triumphantly win the war -- and he's not going to let up on them until he gets it.

I doubt he means to show us any great mercy.

Near the end of WWII, Hitler was willing to see the German military and civilians crushed because they had failed him. The army was forbidden to engage in strategic retreats. (In many areas, this meant that instead of being beaten, they were lost entirely.) As for Germany's civilian population, Hitler held that if they preferred to give up rather than go on fighting down to the last toddler and great-grandparent, it proved they were worthless and deserved to be destroyed.

Pathological narcissist. In the end, it was all about him.

#28 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 11:55 AM:

Teresa, Hansel and Gretel are alive and well, and they're living in Berlin, though of course now that they're all grown up they're just called Hans and Greta.

#29 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 11:55 AM:

The change we deserve? Wouldn't that start with impeachment and a war crimes tribunal?

#30 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 11:59 AM:

He hasn't gotten the results he wants -- the information that would retroactively justify invading Iraq, make it clear that he's been right all along, and enable him to triumphantly win the war -- and he's not going to let up on them until he gets it.

Isn't that the way it always is, with torture? The state doesn't torture prisoners for information; it tortures enemies for confessions, which are then used to prove that the state has enemies who deserve to be tortured.

#31 ::: AliceB ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 12:00 PM:

"The change you deserve" made me laugh out loud. You should never invoke that if you're running for reelection!

#32 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 12:04 PM:

Man, that word "deserve," strikes terror in the heart, doesn't it. Particularly when you consider who seems to be making the decisions about deserts.

#33 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 12:13 PM:

#9 ::: JimR :::

When GW won the 2004 election, what could we have done? Steady pressure for impeachment? A general strike?

#34 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 12:13 PM:

AliceB @ 31: ""The change you deserve" made me laugh out loud. You should never invoke that if you're running for reelection!"

It's so obvious after even a moment's thought, isn't it? That's the problem with bullshitting--not only do you lose the ability to tell truth from lies, you lose the ability to tell plausible lies from implausible ones.

#35 ::: SisterCoyote ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 12:18 PM:

JimR @ #12: Aren't all wars, by definition, aggressive? If not, please fight my ignorance.

Max @ #26: Imagine seeing you here!

#36 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 12:27 PM:

heresiarch #34: If a guy who's been in the Senate for two decades can run as a maverick outsider, and a lady whose total experience in office has been eight years in the Senate can run as the experienced, seasoned leader, I don't see why the Republicans can't run as the party of change.

Torture. Secret prisons. Massive domestic surveillance. Financial crises at home and abroad. A tarnished international image. Strained relations with our allies. Political defeats for foreign leaders who side with us. We are the party of change, and we'll give you the change you deserve. Indeed, after a few days of enhanced interrogation, you'll even sign a confession to that effect.

#37 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 12:37 PM:

I was down there to the grocery yesterday and on my way out I noticed I was charged for a white boiling onion instead of a white spanish onion which is what I had in my basket because white spanish onions were on sale. I didn't go back because it was too crowded.

The change I deserve is $0.29. Please include it in my rebate check.

Thanks again,
Proud To Be An American

#38 ::: Tully ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 12:38 PM:

We really do not want the government we deserve. Sadly, we generally get it.

#40 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 01:31 PM:

Scott Taylor #19: Hah! Just two comments earlier I had paused and searched up that quote to include when I got to the end of the thread. :)

#41 ::: Carl ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 01:54 PM:

Exact change only. (Isn't that fare enough?)

#42 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 01:54 PM:

According to everything I've seen and studied, he didn't win anything in 2004, anymore than he won the election in 2000. They STOLE both elections right in plain sight and we the people allowed it, by allowing the supremes, the senate and the house to go along with it. We bent over.

Voter repression is the name of the game and they've been very busy for 8 years working on expanding that game into every precinct.

Love, C.

#43 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 02:12 PM:

Madeline F @ 40 -
"Scott Taylor #19: Hah! Just two comments earlier I had paused and searched up that quote to include when I got to the end of the thread. :)"

It's one of two quotes that most frequently come to mind when people talk about "deserving" things (other than, perhaps, a second chance). The other, of course, being -

"Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends.
Gandalf the Grey, The Lord of the Rings

Overall, I think I prefer Marcus', however.

#44 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 02:17 PM:

TNH @ 27:

Mea Culpa! You are, of course, correct, mine hostess. Thank you for the correction.

Yeah, narcissism and blind self-faith:
I can't be wrong. Therefore, if it hasn't been found that's not proof it didn't exist, but proof that those working for me haven't been trying hard enough.

I am reminded of the adage that there are some people no one is able to make a fool of ...
... because they are already doing such a great job any help would be superfluous.

Or to paraphrase Abe Lincoln, he has already done so far beyond our meager ability to add or subtract.

#45 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Time to Change

When it's time to change
you've got to rearrange
Who you are into
what you're gonna be.

#46 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 02:43 PM:

Madeleine Robins @ 32

Serve us right for fighting dessert wars.

#47 ::: aphrael ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 02:45 PM:

Dave, at #8: the Republicans will spin it that all of the country's problems are due to the Democrats running Congress.

This is ridiculous, but it has just enough of a kernel of truth that they may be able to persuade some people.

#48 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 02:48 PM:

Reminds me of the incident that (supposedly) happened at a McDonald's years ago. Someone tossed a brick through one of the windows. Wrapped around the brick was a note that said, "You deserve a brick today."

We've had more bricks than we deserve lately.

#49 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 03:02 PM:

Reminds me of the scene in O Brother Where Art Thou, when Junior O'Daniel suggests to his (incumbent) father that that reform stuff is so popular that maybe they should get them some.

#50 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 03:07 PM:

Scott Taylor #43: For me it's of a set with the "well, things kinda suck, and that's how they are, and you should know them for what they are and not fear what is not" quotes, like Ecclesiastes, a la 2:12-21

And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness and folly; for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. 14 The wise man's eyes are in his head, and the fool walketh in darkness: and yet I perceived that one event happeneth to them all. 15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so will it happen even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also was vanity. 16 For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no remembrance for ever; seeing that in the days to come all will have been already forgotten. And how doth the wise man die even as the fool! 17 So I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun was grievous unto me: for all is vanity and a striving after wind. 18 And I hated all my labour wherein I laboured under the sun: seeing that I must leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labour wherein I had laboured under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labour is with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skilfulness; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion.
Or Hemingway, from the Old Man and the Sea,
I am glad we do not have to try to kill the stars. Imagine if each day a man must try to kill the moon. The moon runs away. But imagine if a man each day should have to try to kill the sun? We are born lucky. Yes, we are born lucky.

I guess the class is, quotes which illuminate that getting what you deserve is pretty unlikely, and you might as well think about how that's not necessarily a bad thing.

#51 ::: DaveKuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 03:48 PM:

Does that change we deserve resonate like a glove from sea to shining sea?

#52 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 03:53 PM:

SisterCoyote: An aggressive war (as opposed to a merely violent one) is one in which the belligerent can't claim a justifiable casus belli and is merely attacking some other country as an excercise of realpolitik.

aprael: They will make a point of all the legislation people wanted which the Dems couldn't be, "bi-partisan" enough to pass. This of course could have been strangled aborning (as a campaign device) if all those, "it takes 60 votes to pass a bill" crap hadn't been allowed and a series of 24 hour filibusters were forced.

But I'm a something of an idealist; and wish there was a Democratic party which knew how to brawl; with the opposition.

#53 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 04:13 PM:

Ask not what you deserve from your country, but what your country deserves from you.


#54 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 04:14 PM:

The Senate may have finally grown a pair -- they defied the Idiot-in-Chief by voting 92*-6 for suspending deliveries to the Strategic Oil Reserve as long as the price of oil remains above $75 a barrel.

Now, someone get Pelosi to set the table for impeachment...

*More than enough to over-ride a veto. Obama and Clinton were present for the vote and McCain was AWOL...as usual.

#55 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 04:23 PM:

I really don't understand the frequent use of "Deserve" in advertising. "Because You Deserve It", "The Change You Deserve"... what's "deserve" got to do with anything? Are people feeling guilty?

How about a much more honest GOP slogan? Such as...

"The Change You Don't Deserve, Because You Re-Elected The Bozo In The First Place"

#56 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 04:53 PM:

"What is this talk of deserving? For we all deserve everything, all the treasures that were ever piled on the graves of dead kings; and we all deserve nothing, not one mouthful of bread in hunger."

Odo, from The Dispossessed (quoted from memory, with all that implies)

#57 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 05:22 PM:

What's Eastwood's line in, "The Unforgiven", something about how we all deserve it (which is to be dead)?

#58 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 05:28 PM:

I think Eastwood's line is "We all got it coming, kid."

#59 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 05:43 PM:

Lori #54

Gas prices that have gone OVER $4.00 a gallon have hit a fury-resonant chord I suspect....

Even the iditorials on AM radio are now condemning the oil companies as greedy extortionate slime....

#60 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 05:44 PM:

Terry Karney @#57, Steve C. @#58:

Here's the clip.

#61 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 05:47 PM:

The change we deserve? Well, actually I was hoping for a refund of the past eight years, thanks.

#62 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 06:04 PM:

A.R. Yngve, #55: It's all part of the Entitlement Movement and the Culture of Greed. They're trying to sucker in the same people who have been suckered into the Status Symbol Wars and the consumerist culture for years. "You deserve to have these things! Never mind how you're going to pay for them, just buy them and let the future take care of itself."

Given that more and more of those suckers are now having that attitude come back and bite them on the ass, I think it may be a miscalculation to assume that the same trick will work again.

#63 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 06:19 PM:

I'm surprised they don't adopt the slogan which was once, however briefly, used by SoCal Gas:

"Serves you right."

#64 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 06:28 PM:

#63

That's worse than 'Glad to be of service'! (Didn't think it was possible, even with Flameboy ....)

#65 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 06:53 PM:

reminds me of the Churchill quote something like "every country gets the government it deserves"

#66 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 07:01 PM:

P J Evans @ 64: Share and enjoy.

#67 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 07:40 PM:

#57, 58: I always understood that line to have a subtext of "Deserving has nothing to do with it." - i.e., we all do in fact have death coming, although not necessarily on that kind of accelerated schedule.

I'm not sure if that's more or less bleak than the Hamlet-like reading.


In any case, it's clear that the change the Republicans deserve is to go the way of the Whigs and the Know-Nothings (they actually pretty strongly resemble the latter IIRC, especially with their recent heavier emphasis on nativism), and have one of those party shifts where one old party and one new party become the next two-party system.

Maybe we could make it a reality TV show - America's Next Major Party. Put the Libertarians, the Greens, the Reform Party and whatever other minor parties you can round up into a house full of cameras and have the electorate vote them off...

#68 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 08:11 PM:

Constance Ash @42: Voter repression is the name of the game and they've been very busy for 8 years working on expanding that game into every precinct.

If a photo-id is going to be required for voting, it should be provided for free, or else it is a poll tax.

When I was living in Ontario, people went door to door (like the census), registering eligible voters. This wasn't a partisan effort; this was something that the government paid for to ensure a fair election.

#69 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:24 PM:

#68 ::: Rob Rusick

The Electoral Commission do that here in Australia - go door to door making sure all people of voting age are on the rolls. Mind you, in our version of democracy, you can't choose not to vote (you can of course, choose to stuff up your ballot, and many do).

I do not know whether we have the government we deserve, but last night's Federal Budget looked to be a little step in the right direction. I'm still benignly staggered that so far this mob seem to be Doing What They Have Said They Will Do, with a minimum of fuss.

#70 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 68

this was something that the government paid for to ensure a fair election.

The "government' in the US (the current gang of Kleptocans in office) don't want a fair election. They seem willing to pay for an unfair election, though.

#71 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 10:25 PM:

Has anyone but me heard about the group of elderly nuns who weren't able to vote in the Indiana primary because they didn't have picture IDs and (being physically frail) hadn't been able to get out of the convent to get them in time? It was absolutely classic. When I first heard the story, I remember thinking: "And what about all of the elderly people who aren't nuns, who don't have family or an organization behind them? Has anyone brought that group up yet?"

The nuns (average age somewhere in the 90s, I believe) are apparently determined to be properly equipped by next November, by the way, and I'm betting they manage it . . .

#72 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 11:39 PM:

And what about all those elderly folks born in times/places where births were not always officially recorded and who therefore do not possess the birth certificates necessary for obtaining other forms of ID, let alone proving their citizenship as is required or possibly about to be required in some states?

#73 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 01:08 AM:

Summer Storms @ 72: Yeah, I thought of them, too. And although I'm fairly sure that Social Security has a set of procedures for dealing with people who have no birth certificates or the like, I've also no idea if the various states have decided to accept those procedures or institute similar ones . . . let alone the DHS.

To me, it all demonstrates that no one has really thought this "picture ID" business out. At best, and if I'm feeling optimistic about the matter.

#74 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 02:38 AM:

That slogan's not working, even in deep red districts. Democratic House candidates have won three consecutive races in heavily Republican districts in the past two months, including former Speaker Hastert's old one.

The photo ID requirement is Republican voter suppression pure and simple. The Supreme Court decision which let Indiana's law stand ignored the fact that no one could cite a single incident where anyone had to tried to vote with a fraudulent ID.

Indiana's photo ID law is the strictest in the country. The Republican-led effort was designed to combat ballot fraud, said supporters, who also have acknowledged that no case involving someone impersonating a voter at the polls has ever been prosecuted in Indiana.

#75 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 05:22 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz, # 33;
I meant "we" as in ALL Americans. The ones who voted for him, and the ones who didn't protest when he stole the election. So, please see Constance Ash's comment, #42, for answers. (Lovely chance, that.)
I think you took "we" to mean "the like minded folks who don't like him."
In which case, yes, we could have kept up steady pressure for impeachment. Letters to papers/congress/the world telling people that the CIC is a dangerous madman, and that a lot of the American people don't generally like that sort of person. That we need UN electoral oversight to ensure a fair count.
That sort of thing.
Things I wish I had done.

For Sister Coyote, #35, in addition to Terry Karney's comment at #52, I would turn your attention to this wikipedia article, and this one.
It's a delicate issue, but I think a real case could be made that the US invasion of Iraq could be considered a war of aggression. There was no REAL threat against the US or its interests (other than the green ones), and a very real economic gain for certain parties involved.
The biggest point against such an argument is that the US has stated many times that it does not plan to remain in Iraq, and thus has no ostensible desire to retain the "conquered" land (the language of the laws of war does mention that an Aggressive War is one fought to expand territory). However, the reality of this remains to be seen. In any case, the current US regime's true motives are at best questionable, and so anyone with the juevos to make the claim and the rancheros to stick to it under fire might actually have a chance of bringing certain jackasses to trial for war crimes.
In my deepest, sweetest dreams, that is.

#76 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 05:37 AM:

I think my Google skills are getting rusty, but wasn't there a discussion on Making Light about autantonymic slogans a while back? This certainly seems to fit.

#77 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 07:39 AM:

JimR @9, @12/14: Aha! Another chance to deploy a quote I've used here before

Starting a war of aggression is: "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." (Nuremberg judgement)

And, appealing to authority, others have made similar points.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 07:54 AM:

Coming soon, a smashing new BBC-America comedy, Are You Being Deserved?...

#79 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 09:00 AM:

Paul @#76: At your link, I really liked this contribution:

... a number of websites popped up selling "Run, Hillary, Run!" bumper stickers, advising Democrats to affix them to their rear bumpers, Republicans to the front.

Kinda sums up the difference in attitude, doesn't it?

#80 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 09:26 AM:

Now that even staunch Republicans are starting to distance themselves from the Shrubster, it looks like his dream of a legacy as the Great Deciderer is melting in his hand like sherbet in Eblis. Which makes me wonder how long it will be before revisionism sets in, and people who voted for him and cheered his policy of wholey war start claiming to have marched in demonstrations and written to their congressthings in opposition to him. Like in France, after WWII, when everyone suddenly joined the Resistance retroactively.

#81 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 09:44 AM:

Bruce Cohen (StM) As I recall from a few Greenwald columns (or someone, there were so many, it was so dark) there are already people who cheered him on, claiming they were against him.

But the internet is a wonderful thing, terrible in its ability to remember.

#82 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 09:57 AM:

Chris at #67 said:
"Maybe we could make it a reality TV show - America's Next Major Party. Put the Libertarians, the Greens, the Reform Party and whatever other minor parties you can round up into a house full of cameras and have the electorate vote them off..."

I love the idea. This could turn C-Span into a big hit. Trouble is, the way things are going, it would end up on Fox instead, and would be rigged.

I have been racking my brains what the average person *could* have done about the stolen elections in 2000 and 2004. And lots of stuff since. I did my share of letter writing and emailing. Trouble was, Congress needed a spine transplant. In my more paranoid moments, I wondered if the Repubs were holding all their youngest children as hostages against articles of impeachment being passed. What could we do, short of us all grabbing our guns and marching on Washington? (/snark)

#83 ::: David Manheim ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 10:08 AM:

JimR @ 9:
There is an interesting article about Bush's legacy in the upcoming (June) Atlantic Monthly (not online yet.)

Basically, Bush's legacy will imporve because capable administrators (Bush Sr.) get ignored, while those who create problems (JFK's Cuban missile crisis) that end up being solved, even if not by them, get praised later down the road.

If US troops are still in Iraq in 25 years, even in very low numbers, and Iraq gets better due to later careful policy by multilateral groups rebuilding the country, Bush Jr. will get credit - even though demacracy happens on its own over that type of time scale.

#84 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 10:25 AM:

I agree, the new Indiana law is a Republican attempt to suppress votes -- especially Democratic votes. Democrats in Indiana and elsewhere should respond to it by agitating for (and in Democratic-held legislatures, passing) a law providing a simple, free mechanism whereby all voters can obtain a state-issued photo ID. And then the Democratic party should get behind Barack Obama's massive Vote for Change effort, and register new voters, and especially new Democrats, like crazy.

#85 ::: lurker ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 10:29 AM:

"They say you get the government you deserve. The thing is, I don't remember knife-raping any retarded nuns." (the Onion)

#86 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 10:31 AM:

Steve C @48, I saw that in the early 70s as a joke in the letters page of the National Lampoon -- something like,

"Sirs: I don't think it was at all funny for you to advise your readers to throw bricks through the windows of McDonald's restaurants with notes attached saying 'You deserve a brick today.' There's broken glass all over the place. Signed, Ronald McDonald. ps: Jesus, there goes another one!"

#87 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 11:03 AM:

#75 ::: JimR :::

I was wondering what can be done about a President once they've taken office. It only makes sense for us to be blamed for Bush if there's something we could have done.

#88 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 12:58 PM:

Nancy #87: Given that the normal mechanisms of power in the government were not able/willing to remove him, the only way to have removed him would have been some kind of revolution or uprising. Since the cost of that is enormously high (in the "smoldering ruins of your once great cities, piled high with bodies" sense), there wasn't anything those of us who didn't vote for him could do, except campaign for a better replacement. The results in 2004 don't indicate any great success with doing that, though I think W's best campaign manager was Osama Bin Laden--after the 9/11 attacks, there was tremendous pressure to shut up and back the president, and the actions of the media and many Democratic politicians demonstrate how strong that pressure was.

More generally: I think there's some real danger in accepting this revision of history in which the American People all wanted Democrats, but somehow the Republicans rigged the election. That's not what happened. Bush arrived in office after a tie (basically) was resolved in his favor by a bunch of Republicans put into the position to decide how to do the recounts. (I have to guess that having his brother as the state governor was a big help there.) But he wasn't very popular and didn't have much support until 9/11. Then, the flag waving went into high gear, and there were several years where almost everyone was yielding to pressure to "shut up and follow the president," and getting behind the flag. The Republicans understood this, and used it to win the 2002 and 2004 elections on some combination of selling fear of Muslims, selling a positive vision of how to use American power to protect ourselves without asking sacrifices of most voters, and smearing the patriotism of anyone who dared point out that the fear they were selling was a load of crap.

The Democrats won in 2006, and will probably win big in 2008, because those techniques aren't working anymore. Largely, this is because the world just looks a lot nastier now than in 2000, and a lot of the nastiness seems linked to Republican actions (Iraq, Afghanistan, New Orleans, massive overspending and corruption in Congress, domestic spying and torture scandals coming home to roost, rising gas prices and inflation, the mortgage crisis).

#89 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 01:24 PM:

#47 ::: aphrael :::

[ Dave, at #8: the Republicans will spin it that all of the country's problems are due to the Democrats running Congress. ]

I've been seeing this for months already among the loonytunes -- howling that the price of gasoline and everything else has increased so wildly BECAUSE the dems got the majority.

Their understanding of cause and effect is mind-boggling, a sense that can only originate in drinking the whackadoodlerightywhitey kool-aid.

Love, C.

#90 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Yesterday, the dem, Childers, won that o so safe rep seat in Mississippi.

Love, C.

#91 ::: Mitchell ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 01:34 PM:

I don't know, I think the worst part about this slogan is that it is a good one. For real. Those Obama slogans were catching me even though I didn't know nothing about him. It worked. And you know, everyone's disgruntled right now- to be honest, republicans want change, too, so it ain't really off, but god damn I could have known they'd have a good slogan. I guess I was just hoping Obama could out-propagandize them.

#92 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 01:49 PM:

#89: The Republican spinmeisters understand cause and effect just fine. They're just gambling on the public not understanding cause and effect. There's a strong tradition in politics of repeating ones' lies often enough for it to be accepted as "conventional wisdom."


#93 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 01:55 PM:

Constance @ #90--This means the Mississippi House seats are now 3 out of 4 Democratic--and the Blue Dog on the coast, Gene Taylor, uses his Congressional webpage as a Katrina-issues clearinghouse.

I don't think we've seen that distribution since Jamie Whitten retired, taking the keys to the pork barrel with him.

#94 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 02:15 PM:

fidelio, even better than that: the NRCC sent in everyone they could campaigning for the R, including Cheney - and the guy still finished 8 percent behind the D.

#95 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 02:51 PM:

Well, it's a bit early, and McCain could pull it off, but 2008 is shaping to be a realigning election in which the Republican majority which emerged in 1994 disappears. These things become clear only in hindsight, of course, but it could be that in a few years the textbooks will be speaking of an 'Obama coalition' in the same way that they speak of the 'New Deal' coalition.

As they say, it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of vampires.

#96 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 03:24 PM:

Fragano #95: Along the theme of "be careful what you ask for," I wonder if getting complete unchallenged power for a few years might be one of the worst things that can happen to a political party or movement. Without the other side being able to keep you in check, the wacko wing of your party runs wild, your corrupt members are fearlessly and brazenly corrupt, and many of your ideologues engage in arms races of ideological purity and fiery rhetoric. And all this is eventually visible to the voters, most of whom aren't ideologues or fanatics, and absolutely will discard a party that looks to have been taken over by them.

I'll repeat my prediction, which doesn't exactly require a crystal ball to make: the Republicans are going to have very little choice this election, except to focus on the negatives of the Democratic candidate. An awful lot of Republican voters just flat don't like McCain, and a big batch of them are still pretty disillusioned by what happened with the Republicans in pretty-much unchallenged power for six years.

Of course, the bitter campaign between Obama and Clinton has opened up one alternative strategy: play up the mutual antagonism between Obama and Clinton voters.

I don't think we're going to see much discussion of a Republican vision for governing in this campaign, because that's not likely to help get them elected. I expect that getting their own voters to turn up is going to require serious work demonizing Obama to get the base p-ssed off and scared enough to come to the polls. This has a cost for the whole country, but there's not much evidence that either party has much reluctance to do things that hurt the country in order to get elected.

#97 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 04:04 PM:

Albatross: For starters, how do you account for the Gingrich-led internal coup within the Republican Party at a time it was way far from the ascendancy? The serious totalizers don't care about anything about what they can get away with, and are as happy to despite a tolerant majority as a subservient minority.

#98 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 05:46 PM:

#93 ::: fidelio

Yeah, and Childers is as blue dog as they come: anti-choice, anti-gun regulation, and anti the current G.I. Benefits Bill up in the House -- just like McCain.

Sigh.

Love, C.

#99 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 06:17 PM:

albatross #96: I'd say you were right. Unchecked power always gets corrupted, that was the central insight of the people who founded this republic. The clowns who call themselves Republicans forgot this long ago. They need to learn the lesson.

#100 ::: Carl ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 06:38 PM:

Nancy #87: A lot of us pushed very hard to get indictments filed and investigations started, to the point where one of my Senators won't even take letters from me any longer, and Conyers and a few others have changed their e-mail contacts to refuse any from out of their state. Change has been made, but mostly in the wrong direction.

#101 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 08:10 PM:

I was inspired by Edwards and Obama tonight.

Even though I know better. I guess.

Love, C.

#102 ::: Tehanu ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 08:52 PM:

Scott Taylor @43: there's another relevant quote, about "justice" rather than "deserving," by G.K. Chesterton -- I may not get this exactly right:

Children are innocent and love justice. The rest of us, being sinners, naturally prefer mercy.

#103 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 09:50 PM:

Trent Reznor should sue. The new slogan was ripp'd untimely from one of his songs (Yes, the following quotation is longer than permitted by fair use, but given that TR's releasing all of his current stuff under a Creative Commons license, I don't think he'd object.)

God money I'll do anything for you.
God money just tell me what you want me to.
God money nail me up against the wall.
God money don't want everything he wants it all.

No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me

Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.

Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.

God money's not looking for the cure.
God money's not concerned with the sick among the pure.
God money lets go dancing on the backs of the bruised.
God money's not one to choose

No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me

Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.

Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.

#104 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 03:01 AM:

I've come to feel that power corrupts only in a very mild degree, and that what it mostly does is provide more opportunity to indulge whatever corruption you have. Thus (for instance) the large fraction of self-loathing gay Republican politicians, who, since they've committed themselves to a social vision that doesn't allow them a publicly happy romantic or sexual life, need the advantages of wealth and power to achieve covert gratification. There are certainly cases in which previously honest people succumb because the stakes are now high enough to overwhelm their conscience and they're cut off from useful moral support. But far more often, the big bad stuff involves people who were already doing little bad stuff.

#105 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 07:34 AM:

What's worse, much worse, than too much power? Not enough power.

That is the primary lesson I learned from decades of losing battles.

#106 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 08:28 AM:

"The change you deserve" is right up there with "Nixon's the one."

#107 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 09:16 AM:

Bruce #97: Gingrich came into his own with the midterm elections in which the Republicans got the majority in Congress, and I think he and they misuderstood a vote against Clinton and the Democrats as a vote for them. At any rate, I'm not claiming the only way your party can go off the rails is to be in unchallenged power, just that it's one easy way to go off the rails.

I expect that we will see another example of this, soon. The Republicans have left such a bad taste in the mouths of the voters that I expect they're going to lose very big in this next election, and we'll have a few years of pretty much unchallenged Democratic control of the congress and white house. I also expect that this will provide us many examples of the wackos in the Democratic party running wild, and many examples of pork and abuses of power from Democrats. And, alas, I don't expect President Obama to discard many of those broad claimed executive powers from the Bush administration.

Bruce #104:

#108 ::: alexander ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 11:59 AM:

Serendipity. The 108th comment.

#109 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 01:21 PM:

#88 (and others)---

"Those who vote decide nothing, those who count the votes, decide everything."

- Joseph Stalin -


I hear it was very elegant when rendered in Russian...

#110 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 04:15 PM:

Edward #109: Somewhere, I have a refrigerator magnet made from an old Soviet propoganda poster (which I bought for more than it was worth in Russia a few years back). It shows Stalin dropping a ballot into a ballot box, with a background of flowers, and a line in Russian underneath which was translated for me by a friend as "For the happiness of the people."

#111 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2008, 05:51 AM:

I can't help imagining a sort of Monkey's Paw scenario here. /Early 2000 or so, and Al Gore acquires the mysterious object, and makes his three wishes.
His first wish is for the environment - "do something to discourage us from using so much oil!" he wishes. And lo, it was done.
His second wish is for his party and the approaching election - "do something to discredit my opponent, Governor Bush, and make the Democrats the natural party of government for years to come!" And lo, it was done.
At this point, I'm really starting to worry about what his third wish was.

#112 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2008, 03:07 PM:

ajay

Extrapolating from the first two, he asked for peace on earth, and the response will come in the next two years in the form of a bird-flu pandemic that will kill off the human race. That ought to make it nice and peaceful around here until the raccoons' develop a little more manual dexterity.

#113 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2008, 10:52 PM:

Bruce (SpeakerThruNougat)@111 – I remember a story where humans are dying off and one, as he is dying, thinks to 'Nature' something like "bears, I think there are possibilities there", as a possible replacement intelligence for Earth.

If anyone wants to help identifying this story, I'll put spoilers in rot13:
Vg fgnegf jvgu crbcyr genpxvat n fpvragvfg jub'f geniryyvat nebhaq gur jbeyq ivfvgvat ynetr pvgvrf. Gurl ercbeg onpx ur frrzf gb abg qb nalguvat fvavfgre, ur srrqf gur oveqf, frrf gur fvtugf, rgp. Gura n oveq-fcernq sngny rcvqrzvp qvfrnfr gnxrf bss. Ur'f qrpvqrq uhznaf ner qbvat fb zhpu qnzntr gb gur jbeyq (& rnpu bgure) gung gurl fubhyq or ryvzvangrq.
It's told much better than my summary. One of those stories, whether it's the ideas or the writing or both, tho' read 30-40 years ago, has stuck. I'm horrible at linking up stories with their names & authors, tho'. Apologies if that deflates writers here.

#114 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2008, 07:46 AM:

#113: This sounds like "The Last Flight of Dr. Ain" by James Tiptree.

#115 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2008, 09:30 AM:

Thank you Wesley! I looked some details about it up, and that's definitely it. (Even available in pdf online.) Distressing, tho', that what struck me in my early teens so forcefully and clearly as the final part unfolded seems to have eluded someone I'd assume is older and more experienced in comprehension. I hope this guy has improved since that entry.

I sort of suspected it was likely to be a Tiptree. Hir stories have burrhooks in them, they really lodge into one's psyche.

#116 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2008, 09:38 AM:

Oh, the quote I was groping for @113: “Have you ever thought about bears? They have so much . . . funny they never came along
further. By any chance were you saving them, girl?”

#117 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 07:45 PM:

Sir Ernst Boris Chain deserves his own thread.

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