National View: Why It is Romney and Not Obama on the Ropes This Week

Romney-MJ-VideoIt is difficult to have designed, let alone imagined, a worse week for the Mitt Romney campaign.  How bad was it?  The Romney campaign actually released his tax returns for 2011 to distract from the focus on his statements that came out earlier in the week with regard to 47% of the electorate.

Reading some of the commentary this week from Republicans has been interesting.  Peggy Noonan, former speech writer from the Reagan administration, has been particularly eloquent.

She wrote: “It’s time to admit the Romney campaign is an incompetent one. It’s not big, it’s not brave, it’s not thoughtfully tackling great issues. It’s always been too small for the moment.”

Later she realized that was not strong enough.

The next day she wrote: “This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant ‘rolling calamity.’ “

There are two things that really jump out at me about Peggy Noonan’s column.  First, in a way she gets it.

As she wrote: “That’s not how Republicans emerge victorious – ‘I can’t win these guys.’ You have to have more respect than that, and more affection, you don’t write anyone off, you invite everyone in. Reagan in 1984 used to put out his hand: ‘Come too, come walk with me.’ Come join, come help, whatever is happening in your life.”

What separates Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama from people like John Kerry, Al Gore, Bob Dole, and now Mitt Romney, were the former’s abilities to inspire and present a positive vision – whether you agree or disagree with that vision.  You do not win the presidency by simply being against the incumbent President.

That is what Mitt Romney is trying to do.  It did not work for John Kerry in 2004 and I do not believe it will work this time.

At the same time, I think Peggy Noonan does not get it, because she believe in the same message recast.

As she noted, “A woman asked me to talk about why in a year the Republicans couldn’t lose, the Republican candidate seems to be losing.”

This is really the sense you get listening to some conservatives – they are dumbstruck that they are not winning when they believe they should be winning.  The problem is that I think they are making the same mistakes the Democrats did in 2004.

Democrats, in 2004, thought they had a President that had not really won the presidency in 2000.  They thought that the economy was not great.  They thought that we were in an unwinnable quagmire in Iraq.

The problem is that none of their strongest potential candidates wanted to run, they had a weak field, they settled on John Kerry, John Kerry ran a poor campaign, and the country did not believe that the Bush Presidency was nearly the disaster that those on the left did.

This week I have asked some of my conservative friends to objectively tell me why the Obama Presidency is that bad.  Those of us on the left are no great fans of Obama at this point.  He certainly did not fight when we believed he should have, he compromised too quickly, he compromised with partners unwilling to do so, which led to the poor results in 2010, he sold us out on a whole host of war on terrorism civil liberties issues, and so on.

But he has not done much of what he is accused of on the right.  I was not fond of the bail-out of the auto industry, but in retrospect it saved the auto industry.  He took over a situation where the economy legitimately teetered on actual collapse.  The economy still is not great, but it is really unclear to me what policy would have saved the economy or turned it around quicker.

The economy is growing, but not as quickly as we would like.  Jobs tend to be a lagging indicator.

In short, the record is not the disaster that Republicans would have you believe, it’s just not as good as anyone would like it.  It is in the gray area now.  That means the public is probably willing to listen to whomever has the better vision and the better plan.

Here’s where I think Republicans have it wrong right now – the public does not reject government as part of the solution, and so when Mitt Romney talks about the 47 percent, he is hitting far too close to home with people who have legitimate needs from the government.

I think Noah Millman, in the American Conservative, hits some of the nails on the head here.

He writes, “The Republicans Party – not just the Romney campaign, but the party as a whole – is running on nothing. They are running on the presumption that the country has already rejected the Democrats, and that therefore it is their turn. They are behaving as if choosing Democratic governance was some kind of ‘experiment’ that didn’t work out, and now the American people will, of course, come back to their natural home.”

“By contrast, the Democrats actually made a case for their party. They explained what their party has done, and why they should be able to set the national agenda. They defended their foreign policy, their economic policy, and their social policy in strong, unapologetic terms,” he writes.  “Obviously, if you already strongly disagree with those policies, you weren’t likely to be convinced. But if you are inclined to agree with them, the experience of the convention must have been energizing.”

He goes through the particulars and then notes: “Of course, there’s plenty of time for additional turns of the screw…  But for right now, what we’re seeing, I believe, is a rejection not merely of Mitt Romney and his inept campaign, but of the Republican Party as it has chosen to represent itself in this election. And I suspect it is too late to reverse that judgment – the best the GOP can hope for is that something catalyzes American distrust of Democrats to match.”

Mitt Romney had an exceedingly bad week.  The only reason the polls are somewhat close is that the economy is not strong.  But 2004 is what I have believed, since the start, this election was – it was not a large margin for the incumbent, but it was stronger than most believed it would be.

If anything, Barack Obama is running slightly stronger than Bush did.  We will see if that changes.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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75 Comments

  1. rusty49

    “Here’s where I think Republicans have it wrong right now – the public does not reject government as part of the solution and so when Mitt Romney talks about the 47 percent, he is hitting far too close to home with people who have legitimate needs for the government.”

    Gallup poll:

    “A majority of Americans (54%) continue to believe the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses, although that is down from the record high of 61% earlier this summer. About four in 10 Americans (39%) say the government should do more to solve the nation’s problems.”

  2. rusty49

    Also from Gallup:

    “Forget the Republican doom and gloom drumbeat peddled elsewhere in the media this week.

    A new Gallup Poll out this morning finds President Obama’s convention bounce fading and the 2012 presidential race reverting to its previous tight margin. What a bummer for the preferred media narrative of recent days!

    The poll, of 1,096 registered voters in 12 key swing states, finds Obama and Mitt Romney virtually tied at 48% for the Democrat and 46% for Romney with less than seven weeks to go.

    Gallup’s Daily Tracking of registered voters nationally finds the margin even closer with Obama at 47% and Romney at 46%.”

  3. David M. Greenwald

    I would be hesitant to take any peripherals from the Gallup poll at this point:

    [img]http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/10/02/us/2polling920/2polling920-popup.jpg[/img]

    It appears to be anomalous for whatever reason.

    The other problem is is: “the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses”

    What is that actually measuring because I would be one of those 54% if I were responding.

  4. Rifkin

    To my mind, the slight but steady increase in the polls in Obama’s favor over the past month –look at the NET CHANGE column in the graffic below — is most interesting insofar as it has been very consistent in almost all of the hotly contested states.

    [img]http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/09/21/us/politics/21fivethirtyeight-swingstates/21fivethirtyeight-swingstates-blog480.gif[/img]

    What this catholic improvement for Obama suggests to me is that if Obama slips up or the perception of the economy appears worse or Romney clearly wins the debates, then the tide could reverse and all these slight gains in the swing states will disappear, too. But at this point, it is not just that the momentum is moving in favor of Obama being reelected. It is that his lead across the country is such that he would win easily if the election were held this week or next, as the following graph from the New York Times’s “Nowcast” shows:

    [img]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CNnb2ggVRBU/UF3pD8DWV1I/AAAAAAAAAp4/74Y6CbZNKo4/s1600/obama+winning.JPG[/img]

  5. Frankly

    [i]”when Mitt Romney talks about the 47 percent, he is hitting far too close to home with people who have legitimate needs for the government”[/i]

    Said another way…

    The national Democrats, with support from three decades of RINO politicians, have succeeded in increasing the ranks of the moocher class. Now there are so many people demanding entitlements – and not just the poor, business owners too – that they will vote for their selfish interests at the expense of the long-term wellbeing of the country.

    Romney’s campaign sucks. It is astounding that after this many months strategizing and preparing he is lacking a platform and presentation that sets the national tone.

    However, if this is 80% Romney’s fault, it is also 50% of a problem with the media corruption of the Democratic political process. Romney frankly has a much steeper mountain to climb fighting the bias of the left media. With help from the media, the Democrats have a much easier time crafting a negative perception of Romney. For example, what the hell is the problem with his tax returns? How the hell does that play into his suitability to be President? And why the hell isn’t the media asking questions about Obama’s education records? Those education records would likely tell us quite a bit about this man that we know very little about.

    Romney is obviously a nice guy, a boring guy, a family guy, a giving guy, a successful guy… yet here he is painted with an image of a greedy, mean, uncaring, rich guy that would push your grandma off the cliff and let poor people starve.

    And on top of this… Obama continues to be propped up as much more competent and gifted than his record of performance proves. He is painted as being business-friendly… ASTOUNDING!

    With all due respect, I think many on the center-left are intelligent fools falling for this crap. They are stubborn ideological brats… putting up facades of independency and logic to support a cognitive process that is largely emotional rather than rational. It is that “make me feel good now” demand that exploded with the Baby Boomers. It is now evidence of a fading America… one that has lost its ability to accept struggle head on and build a better life for its children.

    What this election should have been about?… Which President is better for our children?

    I know the answer to that question. I think most others do to. If only they were honest and brave enough to admit it.

  6. David M. Greenwald

    Jeff: I don’t know what’s funnier that you assign 130% blame (80 for Romney and 50 for the media) or that you fall into the Republican/ Conservative trap of blaming the media (the messenger) rather than the message for your problems.

  7. medwoman

    [quote]Those of us on the left are no great fans of Obama at this point. He certainly did not fight when we believed he should have, he compromised too quickly, he compromised with partners unwilling to do so, which led to the poor results in 2010, he sold us out on a whole host of war on terrorism civil liberties issues, and so on.[/quote]

    I would like to modify your first sentence to “some of us on the left…”
    This statement would certainly be true of my daughter who became old enough just in time to cast her first vote for Obama. She was quite starry eyed and bought in very strongly to the message of change and working cooperatively to take the country in a new direction. She has been quite disappointed since her expectations were so high.

    I on the other hand have been around long enough to realize that we were not going to see sweeping change in four years. Change in this country is incremental and evolutionary rather than revolutionary as it probably should be. What I was surprised by ( although I should not have been ) was the vehemence with which the Republican vowed not to cooperate but to attempt to contribute to the failure of President Obama, and thus, in my view to the failure of the will of the majority as expressed through our votes.

    I feel that President Obama did very much what he said he would do. He tried, some on the left believe too hard to live up to his promise of working cooperatively. He has roundly been criticized for this by both sides,
    the right for not showing “leadership” conveniently ignoring that it was their electeds that were thwarting him at every turn, and the left, for not utilizing the strictly partisan governing style that they claim to so dislike when the Republicans are in power. Talk about hypocrisy from both sides !

    To answer Jeff’s frequently stated question, why do some liberals continue to support Obama. From my point of view the answer is simple. I approve of much of what he has done. I do see the economy as improved over where we were four years ago. I see the ACA as a necessary small step forward in health care delivery. Likewise the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the enactment of at least a portion of the Dream Act. I favor his Supreme Court choices. I feel he will handle foreign policy much better than Mitt Romney.

    But most importantly, the essential question for me is not “Are you better off than you were four years ago, although that answer is “yes”. The real question is ” Do you feel you are more likely to be better off four years from now if Obama is elected or if Romney is elected ?

    I see not only myself, but the country as a whole being far better off with four more years for Obama who I believe has done a fairly good job given the hand he was dealt and the complete lack of cooperation from his opponents who made it clear that his failure was more important to them than the well being of the county.
    For me, Obama’s vision of an America which actually provides a better chance for success for all rather than just mouthing empty patriotic sounding phrases about it while actually working hard to maintain the status quo so clearly disparate in opportunity is the far superior choice. Not a “love fest”, just a weighing of values, and choice of those closest to my own.

  8. medwoman

    [quote]With all due respect, I think many on the center-left are intelligent fools falling for this crap. They are stubborn ideological brats… putting up facades of independency and logic to support a cognitive process that is largely emotional rather than rational. It is that “make me feel good now” demand that exploded with the Baby Boomers. It is now evidence of a fading America… one that has lost its ability to accept struggle head on and build a better life for its children.
    [/quote]

    Ahhh, Jeff,
    It is amazing how similarly we see each other. Only, I do not believe that your are a fool. I just believe that we have completely different visions for what is better for our children. For my children, I want a world in which they are less likely to have to go to war, or to see their children at war, a world in which they can freely explore their potential and not have to worry about me in retirement if I don’t make exactly the right investment decisions, a world in which their health care needs and those of their children will be met without regard to “pre exisiting condition” or whether or not one of them loses their job. I do not see this as killing incentive, I see it as freeing them from unnecessary worries to pursue their dreams. If worked for me because of government assistance when needed. I would like to see it work for my children and grandchildren as well if they happen to need a hand along the way.

    I think your primary misconception about liberals is that we do not believe in individual responsibility. This is a myth about liberal belief. At least one of us probably believes even more deeply than you do about the importance of individual responsibility. I just carry it a few steps further than you do. You believe that the individual is responsible for their own and their family’s well being. I believe that if someone has managed to benefit from the advantages provided by their society, they have the individual responsibility not only to provide for themselves and their family,but also to help promote the basic security and advancement of those less fortunate to date. You never know which poor kid is going to end up, given a little government support,
    being a gynecologist and contributing far more economically and socially than she might have as a fruit picker where she started out ; )

  9. David M. Greenwald

    Medwoman:

    Fair enough on exchanging “some” for “those.”

    I was countering the myth that somehow I’m in love with Obama when the truth is I’m holding my nose to vote for the lesser of the evils just as I suspect Jeff and Rusty will do the same.

    I think he’s run a better campaign (with great assistance from Romney) and I think his record is not awful, but for me failing to repudiate torture and keeping the security state in place is difficult to forgive.

    And while ACA may be better than what we have, I would have preferred universal health care. I’d also really like to be covered right now and not having to shell out an insane amount each month to keep my health care and medication that is keeping me alive.

  10. hpierce

    Everyone should remember that there are 535 others, who are elected, that can “fill in the blanks” for the president. Unless we want to go to a different form of government, a President can’t do a lot unless he/she can count on at least a majority vote of both branches of Congress (and make sure it ‘passes muster’ by 5 members of another 9 member body).

    Except for the “bully pulpit” concept, neither presidential candidate can do a hell of a lot unless they have a working majority (including cross-overs) in both houses of Congrss. The last four years are glaring proof of that.

    And even the president and congress can do little about the economy, except keeping “out of the way”… and that might be a good thing.

  11. rusty49

    “And even the president and congress can do little about the economy, except keeping “out of the way”… and that might be a good thing.”

    Whenever I here this it makes me laugh. Democrats have incessantly blamed Bush for the crappy economy but after four years of Obama and still in a crappy economy now the cry is there’s little a president can do and it’s not his fault.

  12. Frankly

    [i]Jeff: I don’t know what’s funnier that you assign 130% blame (80 for Romney and 50 for the media) [/i]

    David, the math is more complex. I am saying that Romney is 80% percent to blame for not overcomming the 50% greater difficulty he has dealing with the liberal media. Republicans have to be much better than Democrats because they fight the media, while Dems are stroked by and loved by the media.

    [i]The one that is less likely to take America to war.[/i]

    Don, I think that is a way over-simplistic, feel-good, risk-averse, viewpoint. How about, the one that is less likely to cause us to have to go to war in the future? Wasn’t that the point for you doves in electing Obama. He extended that olive branch. What good has that done? Now he is also bowing down to these murderous thugs to give away our free speech. How many of our hard-earned freedoms are you willing to give away to keep American from going to war? What evidence do you have that doing so will even help prevent us from going to war?

    Again Don, it is about the children. I have a son in the military and I am certainly concerned about him being sent in harm’s way by a President too eager to go to war. However, I am more concerned about American being required to go to war because we thought we could just ignore the brewing conflicts, or talk and hug our way to peace.

    I think you must fight this obvious realization that there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people that want to kill Americans and destroy our way of life, and there are millions more that would be complicit in this because they are envious, and also because they too hate many of the very things you value in life.

    I think you mistake appearing weaker as reducing the risk of war. If you want the US to appear weaker, than by all means please vote for Obama.

  13. David M. Greenwald

    “Whenever I here this it makes me laugh. Democrats have incessantly blamed Bush for the crappy economy but after four years of Obama and still in a crappy economy now the cry is there’s little a president can do and it’s not his fault. “

    I think you have to be careful here. You are conflating a political argument with a causal one. Democrats are always going to attempt to politically blame the other party and vice-versa. That does not make it accurate.

    At a causal level, I tend to agree with hpierce (who btw, seems to be more of a centrist). I think the impact of most presidential policies on the economy is on the margins. The economic collapse however is an unusual situation and I think it defies normal interpretations. I think we are too close to it to really have accurately analyzed it.

  14. David M. Greenwald

    “David, the math is more complex. I am saying that Romney is 80% percent to blame for not overcomming the 50% greater difficulty he has dealing with the liberal media. Republicans have to be much better than Democrats because they fight the media, while Dems are stroked by and loved by the media.”

    In my view, you are using fake numbers that have no real meaning. I think media coverage has changed so much that it’s even more difficult to make the claims as to media effects. First you have to ask yourself where most people are getting their news, how receptive they are to the impacts of the source. Given the proliferation of Fox News, citizen journalist sites, Facebook and Twitter, it’s difficult to even gauge this let alone establish with numbers that Romney is getting more difficult media coverage.

  15. Don Shor

    [i]Don, I think that is a way over-simplistic, feel-good, risk-averse, viewpoint. [/i]

    NO. Based on the past behavior of Republican presidents, and the stated policies of Mitt Romney (such as they can be discerned), Mitt Romney is much more likely to take us to war than President Obama. In fact, the recent history of the Republican Party is that any president of that party is more likely than not to take America to war.

    [i]How about, the one that is less likely to cause us to have to go to war in the future? [/i]

    That would be the president who works hard to dissuade Israel from striking Iran, among other things. Moreover, “have to go to war” means something a whole lot different to the hard-right than it does to the rest of us.

    [i]Wasn’t that the point for you doves in electing Obama. He extended that olive branch. What good has that done? Now he is also bowing down to these murderous thugs to give away our free speech. How many of our hard-earned freedoms are you willing to give away to keep American from going to war? [/i]

    No he isn’t. But I’ve given up on trying to argue about this total canard by conservatives.

    [i]What evidence do you have that doing so will even help prevent us from going to war? 

Again Don, it is about the children. I have a son in the military and I am certainly concerned about him being sent in harm’s way by a President too eager to go to war. [/i]

    Now you have touched a sore point. Guess what, Jeff? My daughter did three tours of duty in Iraq. She was sent into harm’s way by a President too eager to go to war, who then mismanaged that war and the other one such that they dragged on longer than necessary. Romney originally criticized the president for his timetable in Afghanistan.
    Many neo-con’s actually think we should have permanent military bases in Iraq. That was what the Bush/Cheney administration tried to get in the agreement they were negotiating with the al_Maliki government in their waning days. Thousands of American troops in Iraq forever? Fortunately, they couldn’t get that agreement.

    [i]However, I am more concerned about American being required to go to war because we thought we could just ignore the brewing conflicts, or talk and hug our way to peace.[/i]

    Obama is not ignoring the conflicts. “Talk and hug?” How about try first, second, and third to negotiate, apply pressure through sanctions, and every other option before even entertaining military options? And when we do go to the military option, let the regional powers take the lead. Or our allies, if they have strong interests. But of course, that is being termed ‘leading from behind’.

    

[i]I think you must fight this obvious realization that there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people that want to kill Americans and destroy our way of life, and there are millions more that would be complicit in this because they are envious, and also because they too hate many of the very things you value in life.[/i]

    Your numbers are off by many zeroes. You repeat and repeat and repeat them based on no evidence.

    Mitt Romney is surrounded by war-mongers who are advising him. The same people who advised George W. Bush. The same ones who apparently learned nothing from the simultaneous debacles they created, that have strained our military, drained our treasury, and harmed our reputation worldwide.

  16. medwoman

    David

    [quote]And while ACA may be better than what we have, I would have preferred universal health care. I’d also really like to be covered right now and not having to shell out an insane amount each month to keep my health care and medication that is keeping me alive.[/quote]

    On this I completely agree. But as one of my colleagues said to me when I was suffering severe angst over the fact that universal health care was not even on the table, ” Look, he has absolutely no chance of getting universal care through at this time. Let him get something, even a little on the books, and we will move forward”. This I think is not only the only realistic approach, I think it is probably the right approach given the massive disorganization of the fee for service, privately financed, employment and insurance driven chaos that we have now to start developing the structures and systems needed to implement a truly universal system.
    To try to go from where we are now, to a truly universal system overnight would essentially amount to what Jeff says he wants to do with the schools. Just blow it all up and start over his way. I doubt this would be constructive even if he could have gotten it past congress and the Supreme Court.

  17. hpierce

    [quote]hpierce (who btw, seems to be more of a centrist)[/quote]Although I do not perceive ‘malice’, I do take exception to the term “centrist”.. implies that I seek middle ground, and may not have strong convinctions… trust me, many of my views are [b]deeply, passionately held[/b], but they tend not to be well represented by the extremes of the left and right. Ex. I am inextricably opposed to allowing partial birth abortions (far left says “anything goes, woman’s choice”)… the far right can say that they think ALL abortions should be illegal, and folks punished who have them. My mom had two. Non-therapeutic. Her body and/or a ‘higher power’ decided a biological mistake had been made and it was corrected by nature. Mom didn’t even know she was pregnant until the “products of conception” were expelled from her body (look up the word “abortion” if you fail to realize that miscarriages ARE ‘abortions’). For circumstances between those two, I have nuanced positions, but fortunately have never had to personally face those. But my views are not “compromises”… they are informed by knowledge, experience, and spirituality. I do NOT consider myself to be a “centrist”, but those individuals who prefer to consider the world in black and white terms may well consider me so.

  18. hpierce

    [quote] My daughter did three tours of duty in Iraq.[/quote]I hope that your daughter is now safe and doing well. Thank her for her service, for me. May she never face having her children be put in harms way.

  19. hpierce

    [quote] you doves[/quote]What is meant by that term, “dove”? Do you mean coward, or someone who looks for viable alternatives to bloodshed? Do you mean those who would blindly stand by when another human being is attacked, particularly the helpless? Do you mean someone who opposes looking for a fight? Please define your term.

    What would you call someone who did not want to go to Vietnam in ’72, but who, if called in the draft, would have tried to enlist as a medic, so they wouldn’t be “charged” with deliberately killing the “enemy”? Sounds kinda’ “dovish” to me…. but that’s who I was. On the other hand, a few years later, I was confronted with a situation where an impaired individual, carrying a 6 inch sheath knife posed a threat to three friends, including my future wife… I was prepared to use lethal force to make sure my friends were not harmed… the crisis passed without me needing to go there. I do believe that we need to let the world know that we will not idly stand by if another holocaust appears to be likely to play out. We also need to let the world know that we cannot afford to be the “playground monitor”, even if some die as a result.

    Call me a “centrist”, but, like Don, your term dove was at best condescending. And remember an individual who has been associated with ‘doves’, and yet rebuked Satan, and overturned the money-changers (sorry, ‘businessmen’) from the temple grounds.

    That being said, any of your family in harms way, defending the country and/or innocent people anywhere in the world, have my thoughts and prayers for their safety, and my sincere thanks for their service.

  20. Frankly

    [i]May she never face having her children be put in harms way.[/i]

    That is the key.

    In fact, that should be the key for almost everything.

    Our adult children are adults. They have inherited a world that we and the adults before them have created through our blood, sweat, tears and mistakes. There is nothing much we can do about the present except celebrate our past accomplishments and apologize for our past mistakes, and ensure them that we will support working toward a world that will be better for the young children, and the children not yet born.

    What keeps me up at night is thinking about our once great country over-burdened in debt from a growing entitlement state; combined with a weaker defense demanded by those foolish people mistaking a position of strength as justification for greater fear of harm, and frothing over the extra dollars that could be used for even greater entitlements if only we would cut back our defense spending.

    If we are financially and militarily strong and those that demand this are wrong (e.g., it causes increase threats to develop), then we are still safe because we are strong.

    If we are financially and militarily weak and those that demand this are wrong (e.g., it causes increase threats to develop), we – meaning our children – are screwed.

    We are not loved in the rest of the world. Even our friends will not come to help us if we are attacked.

    What happens if Iran gets a nuclear weapon and then uses it on Israel? If the US is debt burdened and weak, would not Russian and China step in to protect their economic interest with Iran? Alternatively, how would the moves of Russia and China be altered with a US continually in a position of strength?

    What about Taiwan and the islands that Japan and China and Korea are all starting to fight about?

    What country is going to step up to prevent escalating global conflict from these things, and the threats from a growing violent Islamic extremism, if not the US?

    Those of you demanding the US pull back in a more isolationist and weaker position are gambling that there is not enough malice in the hearts and heads of the leaders of other nations and the nation of Islam, and that the US exiting this role would not leave a vacuum that would fill with even greater global conflict that we would be eventually be swept into.

    With this “weaker US” template, you are gambling with the lives of our young children.

    I don’t support it at all. It is not your gamble to make even if I could find a way to hold you accountable if you are wrong.

    The US sits on top of the global economic pyramid. We are there for a number of reasons which includes our financial and military might. We give up those things at our peril. More specifically, we give up those things at our children’s peril.

  21. hpierce

    [quote]Those of you demanding the US pull back in a more isolationist and weaker position are gambling that there is not enough malice in the hearts and heads of the leaders of other nations[/quote]This is on point… because of US isolationism (Charles Lindbergh was a spokesman, as I recall). Hitler was not ‘checked’ in Czechoslovakia… Poland, Russia, France, Pearl Harbor, China, SE Asia (including Philippines) were ravaged as a result. Gets to my analogy of protecting the helpless. We, all ‘free nations’ have to stop that “state terrorism”, for I believe that is what it was.

    [quote] nation of Islam[/quote]Jeff, I REJECT that term, in no uncertain terms… history is filled with Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and even Jewish atrocities based on religion… there is to my knowledge, no “nation of Islam”… there are those who call for an Islamic State’ in several countries.

    At their core, Islam, Judaism, Christianity seek to understand God and God’s intention for us to act as those who were created in “his likeness and image”. We are achieving that locally, in my opinion.

    There are those (mentally/morally deficient) who will ‘cloak’ themselves of their national or religious identities to gain power, ‘treasures’, or terrorize others. History is full of this. However, spiritual people, who choose to express their spirituality in a religion should not be held responsible. Islam drew many books of the Koran from Judaic and Christian sources. Despite what Rush Limbaugh or other opportunists say, Islam is NOT responsible for the ‘troubles’. The terrorists who call out “allah akbar” as they commit crimes against humanity, are no different from the Christians who killed Jews because they were “responsible” for the plague in the middle ages, and/or for ‘killing Christ’ (who, by Christian belief HAD to die and rise again, or it wouldn’t ‘count’), the Crusaders, the Moors who invaded Spain, etc.

    By focusing my comments on the “Abrahamic” faiths, I do not mean to demean any other that believe in a higher power/creator, and basically respect human life and individual conscience.

    Jeff, I’m sensing something is going on that you are deviating from your analytic mode to a more antagonistic one. Take a nap… hug your family… chill… but please give us the benefits of your perspectives… I do “weigh” them, before I decide to embrace/reject/modify them for my own use.

  22. Don Shor

    [i]What happens if Iran gets a nuclear weapon and then uses it on Israel? [/i]

    Then they have committed suicide. What policy do you propose, that you think we aren’t following, that is going to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon? Bombing them won’t stop it. We’d have to invade them and occupy them. If Iran gets a bomb, we will have to contain it. This concept is apparently anathema to conservatives, to the point that they will propose unrealistic, actually insane, military options.

    [i]If the US is debt burdened and weak, would not Russian and China step in to protect their economic interest with Iran? [/i]

    They are also debt-burdened and weak. They are already doing what you describe, there and elsewhere. Why would we elect someone who is confrontational with China and oddly obsessed with Russia?

    [i]Alternatively, how would the moves of Russia and China be altered with a US continually in a position of strength?[/i]
    

What exactly do you mean by this? Bankrupting ourselves to pay for weapons systems we don’t need? Maintaining troops in other countries just to project a muscular image? What does “strength” mean to you in this context?

    [i]What about Taiwan and the islands that Japan and China and Korea are all starting to fight about?[/i]

    What about them, Jeff? What can the United States possibly do about the conflict between Japan and China? I see no likelihood of any change in the current highly-nuanced relationship we have with Taiwan.

    
[i]What country is going to step up to prevent escalating global conflict from these things, and the threats from a growing violent Islamic extremism, if not the US?[/i]
    NATO, and the US will continue to act as we have before and during the Obama administration.

    [i]Those of you demanding the US pull back in a more isolationist and weaker position[/i]

    What makes you think I am advocating a more isolationist position? I just don’t think we should go to war as readily as Republicans prefer.

    [i] … are gambling that there is not enough malice in the hearts and heads of the leaders of other nations and the nation of Islam, and that the US exiting this role would not leave a vacuum that would fill with even greater global conflict that we would be eventually be swept into. [/i]
    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A NATION OF ISLAM. Yes, I am yelling.

    

[i]With this “weaker US” template, you are gambling with the lives of our young children.[/i]
    Wow. Yeah, sure we are.

  23. medwoman

    hpierce

    [quote]Although I do not perceive ‘malice’, I do take exception to the term “centrist”.. implies that I seek middle ground, and may not have strong convinctions… trust me, many of my views are deeply, passionately held, but they tend not to be well represented by the extremes of the left and right. Ex. I am inextricably opposed to allowing partial birth abortions (far left says “anything goes, woman’s choice”).[/quote]

    I have a couple of thoughts in response to this. First, I do not interpret centrist to imply that one does not have strong convictions. One can have very strong convictions and still be willing to attempt to seek where there are strengths in the beliefs of others and try to aim for a solution that builds upon the strongest points of the beliefs of all sides. This does not have to mean sacrificing one’s core values, just being willing to consider that there may be alternative views that one may not have considered. I still believe, as apparently Obama did too, that there is much of value in the systems of bellef of all people who are acting in good faith. This of course, means that one may have to be willing to rethink ( not abandon) the basis for one’s beliefs.

    So if you are willing, I would like to explain something about the term “partial birth abortion” and how it has become a political football and leads to folks making the statement that you did about the “far left saying anything goes”. However, I do want to put in an alert so that anyone who does not want to read a graphic description of a very sad and grim medical situation can stop here.

    I have taken part in one late term abortion in my career. The consequence of not performing this procedure would have been the inevitable death of both the fetus and the mother. The right would have erroneously called this a partial birth abortion so that they could use it in their inflammatory claim that the left says “anything goes”. The situation was as follows:

    The woman was fairly far along in her pregnancy, about 32 -34 weeks when the fetus was detected as having had rapid development of a condition called hydrocephalus. This is a large, in this case very large accumulation of fluid within the ventricles of the brain. This occurred before the advent of intrauterine surgery. The only option almost 35 years ago was to drain the fluid from the fetal brain which resulted in the compression of the skull and brain allowing delivery of the fetus. Without this procedure, the baby, whose head had attained an undeliverable size either by the vaginal or Cesarean route would eventually have died and caused its mother’s death as well. This was a much wanted pregnancy and this situation was devastating both to the couple, the attending physician who is herself a very religious and spiritual woman and to me, an idealistic and impressionable resident. I can guarantee you that this procedure was not embarked on lightly.
    It was only undertaken following consultation with multiple specialists to try to find any other option. In the end, none was found and the procedure was undertaken after both mother and fetus were anethesthetized. We sat and cried through the procedure… all of us.
    These “partial birth abortions” are not used commonly, and are not undertaken lightly as those who wish to use them as a political weapon would have folks believe. They are used only in the most extreme circumstances. Now, there are some who would say “this should have been left “in God’s hands”. My “God” would not allow me to sit back and not do what was in my power to save the life of this woman. And I pray that we do not hand over power to those who would dictate someone else’s health care on the basis of their religious beliefs which I do not share.

  24. Frankly

    hpierce: [i]What is meant by that term, “dove”? [/i]

    Thinking about this post and my prior post…

    Is the US moving from a once great patriarchy to a new never-been-tried matriarchy?

    It seems to me that testosterone and tough love is being rejected by our growing PC society. This is evident in our growing nanny state, and how our education system identifies a growing number of kids – who behave like normal active kids to all of us having experience with normal active kids – as having ADD.

    Assuming we are moving toward a matriarchy… the rest of the world has not “progressed” the same way. In fact, there is little evidence that it works even in those nations that are trying to make a go of it. There are a few Northern European countries deeper into it, but then we deploy the alpha, largely male and testosterone-filled, troops to protect their more feminine/beta European social experiment. This male-female domination conflict is one of the primary drivers of the Western conflict with extreme Islam. Ironic, huh?

    Certainly “dove” versus “hawk” is not a definitive woman versus man comparison. It is not even a definitive feminine versus masculine comparison. However, there does appear to be a drift toward modifying many words in our US vocabulary to end with “a”.

    However… and let me shout this for effect…

    DEMANDING A STRONG MILITARY DOES NOT MEAN ADVOCATING WAR OR VIOLENCE!

    Defense does not translate to aggression; but a strong defense requires aggressive responses when required.

    Do ya’ll think we should outlaw self-defense training so as not to draw any attention from the bullies and thugs?

    My mother, God rest her soul, hated the conflicts at the dinner table. The four males around her would routinely fluff their tail feathers and get into it and she would demand it stop without much impact. However, those four males loved each other and still love each other. They sill hugged and played golf together. They would not hesitate to fight to protect her and each other. They also would not hesitate to fight to protect their friends and their neighbors and their country. My mother certainly would have been repulsed by the violence that might have been necessary to provide this protection in extreme situations. Thankfully, she wasn’t able to make that call.

  25. eagle eye

    Romney’s campaign problems aren’t too surprising if we take into account that this is a man who wears each day undergarments/underwear that have been blessed by his church; a man who puts aside rational thought in order to agree that Joseph Smith was a prophet and not a bipolar fraud;
    and a man that is willing to believe the Book of Mormon is legitimate,
    a book whch includes lots of war, and blood and gore, as if those were a good thing. And then, Mormon “family values” includes polygamy in highest heaven for men like Romney who serve their church well.

    The LDS church isn’t all bad: no smoking, no swearing, no drinking, no tattoo’s, only one pair of ear piercings, for women only, encouragement to obtain higher education, as much as possible, at taxpayer expense.
    Also a schedule of rotating visits among members to make sure everyone is
    managing well.

    The way of life is wholesome, the underlying theology is not.

  26. Frankly

    [i]The terrorists who call out “allah akbar” as they commit crimes against humanity, are no different from the Christians who killed Jews because they were “responsible” for the plague in the middle ages, and/or for ‘killing Christ’ (who, by Christian belief HAD to die and rise again, or it wouldn’t ‘count’), the Crusaders, the Moors who invaded Spain, etc.[/i]

    hpierce, maybe one day I can accept this moral equivalency comparison that bridges several centuries, but for now I am stuck in a 21st century perspective. Taking your approach I would have to go back to the early Ottoman Empire through WWI… back to those historical crimes we can attribute to Islam. I would prefer we focus on the here and now since societies and people change quite a bit over centuries.

    I do appreciate your points and obvious sensitivity to the terrorism-Islam connection. I cringe myself when I write “Muslim” or “Islam” in the same sentence with the word “terrorism”. I would prefer that these things could be separated if not completely made to disappear. However, they cannot be separated, IMO. Islam is a dominant theocracy in many nations. The extreme element is not just a minor player as Don Shor would have us believe.

    There is a clash of national cultures and national identity in this century… with the cultural of the theocracy of Islam in conflict with almost every other culture… especially the more progressive, any-thing-goes, Western cultures.

    I have a Persian friend that gets on his soap box blaming the US for propping up the Shaw who then repressed the Iranian secular elites that posed the most challenge to his political power, while allowing religious and anti-Western extremism to blossom in the slums as a way to deflect populist anger. I see his point, but I also see it as making excuses for the failures of his people to effectively govern themselves. The same is true in most of these other nations where Islamic extremism boils… weak leaders using the proxy cause of the US and Israel to deflect the real reason for their peoples’ misery. Frankly, we see a similar approach with our current President enflaming class anger to deflect the truth that he and pervious political leaders have made a giant mess of things. Even Romney jumped on this bandwagon targeting an external culprit since it seems to work so well with everyone else.

    Since we cannot even prevent this weak-leader approach in our own country, it is silly to think we can do it within the nation of Islam. IMO, we need to extract ourselves, and economically punish those leaders and people that do not rise up to deal with their own problems that threaten us and our global interests.

    The US should no longer be the scapegoat for their failures and fears. And, it should be made perfectly clear that any nation that threatens Israel or any other ally will be economically destroyed by our global demands. Any nation that supports any other nation with links to or support of terrorism will not only be cut off from aid, but we will restrict all trade with them. We will also add tariffs to the products from any country buying oil from black-listed countries. Any nation that attacks Israel or our allies will be receive a commensurate response in force. To do these things, we will need to maintain a very, very strong military because these weak leaders will pull out their desperation chips when we “economically bomb” them back to their pre-industrial Medieval state. China and Russia that will bristle when we implement trade tariffs responding to their likely attempts to exploit the cheaper oil caused by our market rejection.

  27. Rifkin

    [img]http://ru-crazy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/farrakahn.jpg[/img]

    [quote]THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A NATION OF ISLAM. Yes, I am yelling.
    [b]–Hortense Pierce[/b][/quote] Don’t yell that in the presence of Louis Farrakhan. Rev. Farrakhan surely understands that there is an NOI. His tens of thousands of followers and those who to this day revere Elijah Muhammed believe there is a Nation of Islam. Not only that, but there are hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) who believe that the Nation of Islam was responsible for the murder of Malcolm X, who himself was in the Nation of Islam, had a falling out with Elijah Muhammed, and then was murdered.

  28. Rifkin

    [img]http://ru-crazy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/farrakahn.jpg[/img]

    [quote]THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A NATION OF ISLAM. Yes, I am yelling.
    [b]–Hortense Pierce[/b][/quote] Don’t yell that in the presence of Louis Farrakhan. Rev. Farrakhan surely understands that there is an NOI. His tens of thousands of followers and those who to this day revere Elijah Muhammed believe there is a Nation of Islam. Not only that, but there are hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) who believe that the Nation of Islam was responsible for the murder of Malcolm X, who himself was in the Nation of Islam, had a falling out with Elijah Muhammed, and then was murdered.

  29. Don Shor

    Jeff, we have a strong military. We could cut the military budget prudently and still have by far the strongest military in the world. We have control of the air and the sea. We have demonstrated that we can invade a country and topple the government — if we are willing to spend a trillion dollars and sacrifice several thousand Americans and several times that many of the civilians of the country we are occupying. We have shown that we will attack our enemies even in countries that don’t want us to do so.

    Obama has not pursued a foreign policy of weakness. His counter-terrorism policies have been very effective. He is clearly a realist, not an ideologue, when it comes to foreign policy. We have actually implemented the kinds of sanctions you are describing, against Iran and we have tried to enact them against Syria.

    To tie ourselves to Israel in the kind of alliance you describe, we would need to have a more cooperative government there. Netanyahu is a disaster, and we shouldn’t be helping him implement his government’s current policies. We need more, not less, distance from the current government of Israel, with the understanding that they remain our ally in principle.

    Implementing tariffs against China would be very bad policy, for any number of reasons that surely you can understand.

  30. Frankly

    Re: Nation of Islam. [i]you and Jeff are talking about two very different things[/i]

    Don, please explain.

    [i]Jeff, we have a strong military. [/i]

    [i]Obama has not pursued a foreign policy of weakness. His counter-terrorism policies have been very effective. He is clearly a realist, not an ideologue, when it comes to foreign policy. We have actually implemented the kinds of sanctions you are describing, against Iran and we have tried to enact them against Syria.[/i]

    Don, my issue is the Obama and Democrat moves to reduce the defense budget.

    Diplomatic moves against the leaders of Iran are useless without severe economic sanctions. I agree that Obama has continued his support of that. But without a very strong military and and a clear indication that the US will use it when warranted, China and Russia just fill the void and prop up Iran.

    I have to say though… I have been rethinking our entire Mideast approach given the results of the Arab Spring. I am thinking we might want to start supporting Dr. Bashar Hafez al-Assad.

  31. Frankly

    eagle eye, why so much hostility for a religion that does much good in the world. It seems like a large dose of religious intolerance coming from you.

    [i]And by what twist of logic would you consider our invasion of Iraq to constitute “defense” ?[/i]

    medwoman, the initial impetus for the Iraq war was the concern about weapons of mass destruction, state-sponsored terrorism, and clear evidence that Saddam would attack other countries, massacre his own people and use WMDs. Two out of four where correct.

    So, yes it was pre-emptive defense in a time where risk aversion for these things was rampant after 9-11. Remember too that the UN approach was followed for nine years without compliance from Saddam. How long do we wait?

    What else could it have been other than these things? Do you have a different opinion? I would love to hear it.

  32. medwoman

    Jeff

    Pre emptive defense is nothing but another word for aggression.

    You frequently argue for decision making based on fact and logic. Yet here, you are arguing for decision making based on fear and anger We were afraid that Saddam would attack because we had benn attacked by others. To the question “how long do we wait ” when there has been perceived threat but no action, my answer would be “forever”.

    And let’s look at your criteria for taking offensive action, and please note, I am using your criteria, not mine.

    1) Concern about weapons of mass destruction ( the US certainly has them)
    2) State sponsored terrorism ( here there is clearly room for interpretation since terrorist ve freedom fighter is often a matter of perspective)
    3) Clear evidence that the leader would attack other countries ( demonstratedly so)
    4) Massacre his own people
    5). use WMDs ( US has a history of doing so)

    Depending on how you want to count, at least three of your five are true of the United States from the point of view of the citizens of other countries …..and objectively. So by your standard, someone should have taken the US out long ago.

    As I have stated previously, and often, I cannot condone violence in any circumstance other than direct and imminent threat ( such as amassing weapons on a border). In my opinion, this certainly did not apply to Iraq at the time of our invasion. Do you believe that it did ?

  33. hpierce

    [quote]The consequence of not performing this procedure would have been the inevitable death of both the fetus and the mother. [/quote]I am “pro-life”… which in the situation described, a young mother is likely to die with her child due to what has transpired, but by ending the pregnancy, the door may be open to having the wife/mother alive and the potential for new birth if she “chooses”, then in my opinion, the choice to save the mother, even if it results in the death of a child, is “pro-life”.

    The partial birth procedure that I am inextricably opposed to is where the child is delivered, exceot the head, and while the head is still “in-utero”, it is pithed like a frog in a seventh-grade science demonstration. I see no medical reason for that kind of pregnancy termination.

  34. Frankly

    So, medwoman, when the cops raid a crack house to prevent the drugs from hitting the street and ruining people’s lives, that is aggression that you would prefer to stop?

    I think you have fallen for the left media bias… the Isael haters, etc… Those that follow that made-up template of American imperialism and aggression.

    So, what wars has America participated in, besides the second Iraq war, that you want to claim as evidence of US military aggression?

    And, while you are thinking of your list, please also help me understand what you think the motivation was/is for these wars that you attribute to US aggression. Or, do you think the US is just being aggressive for the sake of aggression? For example, these men in political power just sending young men and women to die in battle just because they are itching for a fight?

    Let me help you a bit here. The US military has never gone to war to expand her territory outside her national boundaries. She has never attacked first. She has always been a reluctant participant in war. In ALL cases the justification for war was to defend herself and her interests from other nations and groups seeking to damage or destroy her… OR, to help defend her friends from others.

    To assign sinister motives to the past and present military operations I think is reprehensible. Also, your assignment of moral equivalency with the US and Saddam is very troubling.

    As a doctor and a woman, I understand your views on violence. But freedom is not free. There is evil and malice in the world. Somebody has to do the job to protect you and others with soft hearts from that evil and malice. You should thank them for doing that – the most difficult job in the entire world.

  35. Don Shor

    [i]The US military has never gone to war to expand her territory outside her national boundaries.
    [/i]
    Yes we have. 1846.

    [i] She has never attacked first.
    [/i]
    We attacked Iraq first.

    [i]She has always been a reluctant participant in war. In ALL cases the justification for war was to defend herself and her interests from other nations and groups seeking to damage or destroy her… OR, to help defend her friends from others. [/i]

    No, none of that applied in the case of Iraq. Hussein was not a threat to us and was not a provable threat to our friends at the time of the invasion.

    If we’re a patriarchy, why do you call the US “she”?

  36. Frankly

    [i]”Yes we have. 1846″[/i]

    Geeze, Don… you sure spend a lot of time drawing modern conclusions from dated history. The 1936 war of Texas independence preceded the war of 1846. The people of the state of Texas decided they wanted to be independent of Mexico. The US actually captured Mexico City in the later war… why didn’t we just claim all of Mexico as our territory at that time if we are that aggressive imperial force that so many on the left say we are? Also, we paid Mexico for these US territories after the war.

    The US killed Indians and buffalo too. Let’s also hang that sign around the necks of the current military.

    [i]If we’re a patriarchy, why do you call the US “she”?[/i]

    To help medwoman feel more attached to her country. But, you do ask an interesting question. Why do we refer to America as “she”, when it’s history and expansion was driven mostly by the ambition and conflicts of men? I think it is because these same men have similar inclinations toward protectionism for the women they love and the country they love. Apparently, that protectionism is a thankless job.

    [i]We attacked Iraq first.[/i]

    Yes we did. For reasons of national defense. Do you disagree? What other motives do you think there were if not this?

    Got any other examples to help support this false left view that the US military is the aggressor? I have two from you: the war of 1846 and the Iraq war. That is not much.

  37. medwoman

    hpierce

    [quote]The partial birth procedure that I am inextricably opposed to is where the child is delivered, exceot the head, and while the head is still “in-utero”, it is pithed like a frog in a seventh-grade science demonstration. I see no medical reason for that kind of pregnancy termination.[/quote]

    If this were to be used as an elective option, I would agree with you. However, exactly that procedure is what we would have had to do had draining the fluid through the maternal abdominal wall proven unsuccessful.
    Luckily we were not faced with that nightmare ( but medically necessary) scenario. Others have been. I have a very hard time with non medical folks deciding that a given procedure has “no medical indication”. Sometimes the things we do to save lives are indeed horrific but we don’t do them lightly or casually.

  38. eagle eye

    Partial birth abortion: It sounds awful, and it’s an awful situation.
    New Yorker magazine had, a few years ago, a lengthy article by a parent
    who was faced with this issue. He did not minimize the abortion process, but he explained in great detail the medical and humanitarian reasons for the procedure. He had been as opposed to “partial birth abortion” as anyone of us would be, until it became the only caring choice.
    Even though the choice was clear, it was extremely traumatic for him.
    His story gave a different, heartbreaking, perspective to a situation we haven’t had to experience first hand ourselves, thank goodness!

  39. Don Shor

    Don: [i]We attacked Iraq first. [/i]

    Jeff: [i]Yes we did. For reasons of national defense. Do you disagree? What other motives do you think there were if not this? [/i]

    National defense was not a stated reason for attacking Iraq. Nor was there any evidence that Iraq was a threat to the United States.
    The Iraq Resolution authorizing the war stated the intent was to remove “a regime that developed and used weapons of mass destruction, that harbored and supported terrorists, committed outrageous human rights abuses, and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the world.” [Source: Wikipedia; text from Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002].
    A number of reasons were included. Some were spurious (al-Qaeda links, WMD’s).

  40. Frankly

    [i]JB: The 1936 war of Texas independence preceded the war of 1846.

    Please review your comments carefully. Understandable mistake, but distracting, nonetheless. [/i]

    wdf1, I agree. I type fast, and edit slow. Need to be more careful.

    Obvioulsy I meant the 1836 war following the vote for Texas independence and annexation to the US.

  41. Siegel

    Don: I hate to agree with Jeff:

    “National defense was not a stated reason for attacking Iraq. Nor was there any evidence that Iraq was a threat to the United States.
    The Iraq Resolution authorizing the war stated the intent was to remove “a regime that developed and used weapons of mass destruction, that harbored and supported terrorists, committed outrageous human rights abuses, and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the world.””

    But that sounds an awful like like national defense.

  42. Don Shor

    [i]Got any other examples to help support this false left view that the US military is the aggressor?[/i]

    The Spanish-American War, the Banana Wars, the Conquest of California, and New Mexico and Arizona, the Pacific Coast campaign, the occupation of Haiti by Wilson to protect US corporate interests, numerous other occupations in Latin America.
    Oh, forget it. Your statement (“[i]The US military has never gone to war to expand her territory outside her national boundaries..[/i].”) was patently false.

  43. Frankly

    Seigel, don’t hate to agree with me… it will set you free! 😉

    Funny how two people can read the same thing and come out with a complete oposite conclusion of meaning and intent.

    I think Don and I must wear different pants and glasses.

  44. Frankly

    [i]”The Spanish-American War, the Banana Wars, the Conquest of California, and New Mexico and Arizona, the Pacific Coast campaign, the occupation of Haiti by Wilson to protect US corporate interests, numerous other occupations in Latin America.
    Oh, forget it. Your statement (“The US military has never gone to war to expand her territory outside her national boundaries…”) was patently false”[/i]

    Don, I appreciate you working hard to prevent yourself from having to admit the absurdity of your claims.

    So, you are going to bring in the early wars to fight for our independence from foreign land claims? That is a stretch.

    And you bring up these occupations of Haiti and other Latin American countries. So why don’t we own those territories? Why didn’t we colonize them like all those European countries you admire?

    I think you should just give up this struggle of yours to paint the US military as aggressors. This is a problem where the facts just don’t match the left’s fictional template. The template that helps them explain why they dislike the America they live in and want it transformed.

    You know of course that the US military is a charitable organization. We spend billions of our own money, and give the lives of our own people, to help other nations that cannot seem to take care of themselves. And yes, we defend ourselves.

    American colonialism is simple our economic expansion which includes the export of our culture. America has never been imperialistic. We have never exploited the power of our military and economy to take over the world. We certainly could have. Maybe we should have.

    The second Iraq war is your only viable example here. Let’s say I give you that one. You still have a very weak argument defending this claim that the US military is aggressive and not defensive.

  45. Don Shor

    [i]”I think you should just give up this struggle of yours to paint the US military as aggressors. This is a problem where the facts just don’t match the left’s fictional template.”
    [/i]
    Jeff, we conquered the entire west of North America, from native Americans and Mexico. The principle of Manifest Destiny? Remember that?
    My position is not absurd. The wars we fought through much of our history involved annexation of territory. “The US military has never gone to war to expand her territory outside her national boundaries…” is completely false. The US military, and the wars we fought, [i]created[/i] our national boundaries. I don’t think the native Americans in the Pacific Northwest were any threat to us, just to use one example of a case where it was an unprovoked conquest. Your statement was false.

    [i]So why don’t we own those territories?
    [/i]
    Quick quiz: name the current US territories and do a quick review as to how they came to be ours.

    [i]The template that helps them explain why they dislike the America they live in and want it transformed.[/i]
    What makes you think I dislike the America I live in?

    Siegel: at no time was Iraq described as a threat to the United States.

  46. Siegel

    “Siegel: at no time was Iraq described as a threat to the United States.”

    You’re parsing something that I don’t understand. It’s not that Iraq itself was a threat to the US, but the weapons of mass destruction were seen a potential threat, particularly in the hands of a terrorist.

  47. Don Shor

    Due to the no-fly zones and complete air dominance of Iraq, we had Saddam Hussein completely neutralized. Hussein couldn’t have moved troops on his neighbors if he wanted to. The UN inspectors had no evidence of WMD’s and were just months from completing their task. There was no direct evidence of WMD’s. There was no direct evidence of ‘harboring terrorists’. So how can you state that it was a defensive war?

  48. Siegel

    True Don, but you’re shifting the argument. If your argument is that we were wrong in thinking it was a defensive war, then I agree with you. But since your argument is as you wrote it that national defense was “not a stated reason”, then your point is actually irrelevant since what matters is only stated reasons.

  49. Don Shor

    But here’s the question. If the administration knew the intelligence did not support their rationale, but used that rationale anyway (i.e., they lied), how is that a defensive war? It isn’t that we were wrong. It is that we were lied to. Those who had the responsibility to authorize military force were given false information.

    As the Senate Committee concluded in 2008:
    [i]”…top Administration officials made repeated statements that falsely linked Iraq and al Qa’ida as a single threat and insinuated that Iraq played a role in 9/11.”
    “In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.”[/i]

  50. Siegel

    I’m not one who believes that Bush knew there weren’t WMDs. I think he believed that there were, he probably did not check and verify it as much as he should have, but I don’t believe he knew there weren’t. I think he thought this was a preemptive war to insure the defense of this country. I was against the war, it was part of why I changed from Republican to DTS.

  51. medwoman

    Jeff

    [quote]our global interests. [/quote]
    [quote] our global demands[/quote]

    I think that these phrases speak very eloquently to the agressive ( as opposed to defensive nature of the US).
    What moral authority allows us to establish global demands and interests more than any other nation? It is only our military power that allows us to achieve this. To me, this is agression, pure and simple.

    If our military were maintained at a level that would allow for our defense and those of our legitimate allies
    ( not some military dictator that we have decided to prop up), then I would be in agreement with you. However, as Don has already stated quite eloquently, we already have far more than this much military might.

    [quote][quote][quote]The US military has never gone to war to expand her territory outside her national boundaries[/quote]

    And, as Don has again said quite clearly and concisely, much of the boundary of the current United States was established by military force. And I would point out in addition, with regard to your mentioning of weaponry,
    the United States throughout its history has chosen to use weapons and techniques that I would consider questionable both morally and ethically. I’ll be happy to give you a few examples.
    1) Small pox infected blankets ( biochemical warfare)
    2) Atomic bombs ( deliberate targeting of civilian populations)
    3) Agent orange
    4) Napalm
    5) Unmanned drones
    6) Torture – we rightfully condemned it when used against our soldiers ( John McCain for example) but then condone it’s use by “our side”.
    I truly believe that if any group or nation had used any of these against the United States, we would have quickly, and rightfully denounced their use as evil. Again, I do not believe that the moral basis for an action is the intent of the perpetrator, but the action itself. If it is wrong for a terrorist group or nation to do it, it is likewise wrong for us to do it.

  52. medwoman

    Oops. Careless use of quotes there at the end. My apologies if I was unclear. But I believe my biases and beliefs to be clear enough to all to know that the entire last listing is mine and mine alone.

  53. medwoman

    Jeff

    [quote]Yes we did. For reasons of national defense. Do you disagree?[/quote]

    I absolutely disagree. And I think that your example of the drug dealers was an apples to oranges comparison.
    So let me provide what I think is a more apt analogy with regard to a local comparison to our actions in Iraq.

    Let’s suppose I live on a street with neighbors Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith. My house is a fortified mansion,
    set well back behind locked gates and staffed by private security. I am extremely wealthy and can afford 24/7
    guards over all my properties, and have also hired private security to guard the entire neighborhood and enforce my “neighborhood rights” and my “neighborhood demands”. Mr Jones and Mr. Smith have no where near my financial resources. Mr. Jones becomes frustrated because he is chaffing at having to do things “my way”. He enlists some cronies and does a drive by shooting killing some of my family members. I have the support of the neighbors and police for a counter attack against Mr. Jones.
    I become suspicious that Mr. Smith, who was, years before aggressive against another neighbor might have somehow colluded or might in the future pose a threat. Mr. Smith claims that he has no intention of attacking me and in reality given the fact that I have now tightened my security significantly, has no realistic means of doing so. I decide to try to enlist neighborhood support to attack Mr. Smith and am largely unsuccessful, so I double down on my at best shaky claims and attack him anyway with large loss of life to his family as well as my own.

    Justified…..I don’t think so. And yet, this is exactly what I believe we did in Iraq. There is no leftist spin to this. I have never read anything that described the attack in this fashion. Nor do I think this explanation would fly with any “leftist” media. But it is truly my view of what our government chose to do.

  54. medwoman

    Jeff

    [quote]The template that helps them explain why they dislike the America they live in and want it transformed. [/quote]

    A curious comment from someone who himself wants many aspects of current American society changed.

    Am I to conclude that you dislike America because you believe that school reform is needed ?
    Am I to conclude that you dislike America because you believe that too many people receive too many government handouts?
    Am I to conclude that you dislike America because you do not like current immigration policy ?
    Am I to conclude that you dislike America because you do not support equal pay for equal work or gay rights ?

    No ? Then why do you make the assumption that those of us on the left dislike America because we also see things that we would like to see improved ? Just because our vision for improvement is different from yours does not mean that we love our country any less than you.

  55. Frankly

    [i]And, as Don has again said quite clearly and concisely, much of the boundary of the current United States was established by military force.[/i]

    Awh geeze… can’t we at least keep it in the 20th century? What country has NOT established their boundaries having to use some type of force? You and Don are really stretching here to make your case about your vision of an aggressive Amercia. Are you one of this open borders… children of the globe type people?

    The statute of limitation is up going back over 100 years. I just made that rule and I think it is a good one.

    [i]the United States throughout its history has chosen to use weapons and techniques that I would consider questionable both morally and ethically. I’ll be happy to give you a few examples.

    1) Small pox infected blankets[/i] Huh? Don’t know what you are talking about.

    [i]2) Atomic bombs[/i] This saved hundreds if thousands if not millions of lives.

    [i]3) Agent orange [/i] To clear the jungle… how is that “agressive”?

    [i]4) Napalm [/i] Just another type of bomb. Why this bomb over others?

    [i]5) Unmanned drones [/i] Saves lives given the alternative for taking out our enemies that would otherwise kill us.

    [i]6) Torture [/i] You mean the rough spa treatment that the left call “torture”? Again, these enhanced interogation techniques save lives. John McCain was a POW. His views are respected, but not objective.

    Medwoman, taking all of these things in context, I am sure you would add all bullets, bombs, swords, knives as evidence of aggression. It is clear that you just do not like war. There are not very many people that do like war. But the existence of these things, and the use of these things, does not make the US aggressive. The US is passive, but resolute. The only time in our recent history that we have stuck first is Iraq post 9-11.

    The best way to prevent the US from using military force is to leave us and our interests alone.

    Watch Obama 2016 and the interview with Barak Obama’s half brother George.

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/george.jpg[/img]

    George says that Kenya chased out the British too early. They did not get the benefit of economic colonialism from the white man (George’s words) that other countries got. They just went back to their backward tribal warring ways.

    This template of American military aggression is false. Now, business aggression for global economic expansion… that is true. And this has helped far many more countries that it has hurt… even if we have required some bullets, bombs, swords and knives to prevent others from preventing that business and economic expansion.

  56. jimt

    I’m surprised that Mitt hasn’t been able to capitalize on his hair advantage as much as he could have–an amazingly thick head of hair for a man his age. However, his verbal gaffes have shifted the viewers attention from his head to his mouth, with negative results. If he keeps quiet or confines his speeches and comments to ‘heady’ talk, I believe he still has a shot at winning the election, by a hair (unless Obama lets his hair grow by another 1/2 to 1 inch before election day, to demonstrate he’s still got it going on top; follicular count looks good but needs length to be sure to win–he may be waiting to deploy the hair growth in case there is an economic downturn before election day).

  57. medwoman

    Jeff

    I have watched it. And it seems quite ironic to me that you are very willing to accept George’s theories while eschewing those of his brother while it would seem to me that perhaps George is the less educated and experienced of the two. Are you really putting him forward as an expert on economic development, or just noting that you agree with is point of view ? ; )

  58. Frankly

    medwoman – Ha!… No George is most likely not an expert on economic development… my point was that some people in these countries actually dream of colonialism to save them from their pre-industrialized ways.

  59. Frankly

    jimt, as a follicle-challengenge older male, I am offended that you would make such a big deal about Romney’s hair! 😉

    You do bring up a good point though. Would the US ever vote for a President lacking a good hairline? I think not. It says something about the intersection of pop culture and poliitics. It also begs the question… are we really electing the best?

  60. jimt

    Jeff,

    Yes I recall reading a few years ago that since the television era, all elected candidates have had better than average hair retention for their age (with the exception of Lyndon Johnson, who was elected in 1964 arguably by his prior association with the martyred Kennedy, who had exceptionally good hair).
    The Romney-Ryan ticket has the best hair since Kerry-Edwards; that ticket demonstrated that good hair alone doesn’t trump all; though they did get pretty far.
    I think there is a conscious or subconscious association of thick hair with youth and virility and good health (although of course this is not always accurate).

    I used to work in the Biotech Industry; it’s my contention that the first trillion-dollar drug will be one that is really effective at permanent hair regrowth/maintenance (must be much better than Rogaine). Many men would secretly mortgage their houses to get hold of such a treatment; it would easily trump Viagra.

  61. medwoman

    Excuse me you two. I hate to disrupt your little hair “love fest”. But I think that the two of you are seemingly oblivious to the gender and culture bound nature of your descriptives. I wonder, for example, what you think of the hairline of the current elected President of the United States ? Or how does the hair line of Nancy Pelosi rank as compared with that of Clinton or Rice ? Or maybe that doesn’t matter since only the first was elected to her current position ? Of course jimt, there is always the possibility that you read your article prior to 2008.
    This might bring a whole new meaning to “Yes, we can.” ; )

  62. medwoman

    Jeff

    [quote]some people in these countries actually dream of colonialism to save them from their pre-industrialized ways.[/quote]

    Yes, and I am sure that some men and women in the United States dream of finding the perfect mate who will support them in the manner to which they inspire to be supported for the remainder of their lives. That certainly does not make such a marriage their most certain, best, or only path to prosperity.

  63. Frankly

    jimt: [i]I used to work in the Biotech Industry; it’s my contention that the first trillion-dollar drug will be one that is really effective at permanent hair regrowth/maintenance (must be much better than Rogaine). Many men would secretly mortgage their houses to get hold of such a treatment; it would easily trump Viagra.[/i]

    I think you are correct… unfortunately. Women too… there are plenty of women that also have problems with thinning hair.

    Re: medwoman’s question about this also translates to female politicians… that one is also interesting. I think it is different. I think a handsome and youthful-looking adult male would attract female votes; but a beautiful and youthful-looking adult female would repel female votes.

    For all the pop culture press about males being obsessed with female looks, I think women are much more judgmental about the looks of people sharing their gender. I also think the same is true for a female opinion of a male politician… but to a lesser degree. I don’t think as many male voters would be influenced by the attractiveness of a candidate as would female voters. I may be wrong about this. Does anyone know of any studies or surveys that would back this up or refute it? I do know of studies that prove a tremendous about of female bias against shorter men. Take a short, overweight, balding man running for office. I think he would have no problem getting votes from males if he had the right resume and message. However, I think he would be toast with more female voters.

    Conversely, I don’t think male voters would alter their vote for a female politician based on her looks.

  64. Siegel


    Conversely, I don’t think male voters would alter their vote for a female politician based on her looks.”

    I do. BTW. a pretty sexist statement with absolutely no data to back it up.

  65. Siegel

    What is sexist about your opinion: “For all the pop culture press about males being obsessed with female looks, I think women are much more judgmental about the looks of people sharing their gender.” What study can you point to validate this opinion?

  66. Frankly

    Siegel,

    As I pointed out, my comments were not based on any study that I had researched. It was just my opinion and it was backed up by most of the men and women in my circle of family and friends.

    For example, the snark toward Sarah Palin… even from the conservative wives.

    For decades political observers have pointed out that in presidential match-ups, it’s often the taller man who wins.

    It is also well known that people in general, and women specifically, have a bias against shorter men. [url]http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/04/23/unconscious-bias-against-short-men/[/url]

    Does that translate into evidence that women are more or less apt to consider appearance? No. Again, it was just by own experience that I was basing my opinion on.

    However, in general, it is clear that appearance is a factor.

    This study [url]http://webscript.princeton.edu/~tlab/wp-content/publications/Todorov_Science2005.pdf[/url] appears to prove that appearance is a factor.

    [quote]Competence emerges as one of the most important trait attributes on which people evaluate politicians (9–11). If voters evaluate political candidates on competence, inferences of competence from facial appearance could influence their voting decisions.[/quote]

    The “Halo Effect” has been studied and proved.

  67. Frankly

    medwoman: =)

    I think I know some things… knowing how women think is not one of them.

    If and when I try, I usually fall deep in a hole that it takes a while for me to dig out of.

    Why don’t I ever learn!!!

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