Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Price of Division

Looking back on the last five years, I have to say the think that makes me the saddest is just how divided we’ve become, and that people have seen fit to encourage this division. Now, I don’t regret opposing Bush on his policies, because my intentions were always to reach out to others on the necessity to take a different look on the policies.

Now the Republicans are at it again, trying to push a resolution through Congress to link Iraq to the War on Terror, and oppose any arbitrary date for withdrawal from Iraq; this to put Democrats on one side of the fence or another. This is the last thing our Representatives and Senators need to be doing.

Yes, it wins elections. It might win a few for the Republicans. It will, though, extract the same price that all the other efforts have demanded.

The lessons of Vietnam should have been that you don't play Americans against each other to increase support for a war, especially one you're failing to take care of in a real sense. This only serves to divide the public on the war, and then slowly bleeds support as evidence of the failure of the war gradually chips the public's confidence. away. The lesson the Republicans took away as a party, though, was that one needs to win the propaganda war and stamp out dissent more ruthlessly.

Wrong lesson. This is America. People are free to think what they please, and presented with somebody trying to force their opinion one way or the other, stubbornness is their typical response. The Republicans could have decided to take a serious, policy-based look at the war, and attend to the practical problems in the field. They could have reached a hand out to the Democrats, and appealed to them on common principles. What's more, they could have acknowledge the mistakes more expeditiously than they did. These are the things that could have been done to calm down controversy on the war.

Instead, the Republicans decided that they wanted to do things their way, and demonize the opposition in order to win more elections.

This didn't have to be this much of a headache. This war never had to be so difficult. Many of the problems we faced were predictable. These were not unexpected developments. But if the Republican party had acknowledged those potential problems, they might have had to work with people whose efforts they didn't want involved: diplomats, Democrats, academics, critics, and others. This is little Johnny in the corner: he doesn't want to share his toys.

Trick is, they don't belong to him alone. They belong to all of us.

The opposition now to Bush would not be not be so strong without his opposition to them. Bush's style of confrontational partisanship, as popular as it is with his base, is distinctly unpopular with his opposition, and more importantly a motivation for stronger opposition. Some Republicans assume they can gradually beat this opposition down. They've only succeeded in strengthening and increasing it. Again, people can become stubborn and difficult to persuade when they're so confronted. They fail to realize that the best way to defeat opposition is never to inspire it in the first place. That though, requires restraint, and the ideology of the Republican Party sees restraint as a show of weakness.

So far, I've dumped a lot on Republicans. This isn't to say the Republicans are the only people who can afoul of these things, or become divisive over them. After all, it was LBJ during the Vietnam Era who employed the rhetoric described first. Why do I focus on them? I guess it boils down to the following:

1)The ranks of the Republican party are encouraged to aim a great deal of partisan hatred at the Democrats and Liberals, in a way that Liberals are not so formally encouraged to do. While we don't always describe the Republicans in the most glowing of terms, destroying conservatism as a movement is not our goal. We only feel it necessary to push things back. We don't describe conservatism as an enemy to defeat.

2)The Republicans have the Majority, and therefore hold the initiative on peacemaking. The Democrats can be as conciliatory and compliant as anything, but if the Republicans do not open the door on meetings and discussions of policy, the division will remain intact, and the opposition will gain credibility.

3)We Democrats never wanted this kind of division in the first place. It was never in our interest. It is more to our advantage to be part of the battle than to be resistant to it. Let's not forget how long it took the politicians of the left to break with Bush on the war. We don't want to lose wars, we don't want to see this country struck again like we were on 9/11. All this propaganda on the right gives us headaches more than it fits us. We want to protect our country, and all this bullshit about our lack of loyalty is just that, and it's time it stopped.

Ultimately the battle on my side has been twofold: first, we've been fighting to make the war on terror a success. Second, we've been fighting for respect and a place at the table on these important decisions. Many Republicans will scoff at the first and brusquely deny the second.

I think it helps to put the liberal perspective of this war in perspective.

We consider it a strategic mistake. Differences of opinions in our party have been over whether the answer to that strategic mistake is to cut our losses and withdraw, or stick it out and stay. I've been for the second for a long time, and plan to continue advocating that course it as long as I can. I acknowledge that others in my party, major figures included, favor withdrawal. This, though, as I've related before, largely owes itself to a sense of unaddressed problems left to fester for too long,a result of divisive, stubbornly held policies from our perspective.

Hope is the key element, and not just artificial hope. America has to sense there is a commonly acceptable way out of the war through our forces remaining there. If our presence, in the sense of the American people, does not contribute to the peace, the American people will not stand for the continued aggravation of the situation, and will back withdrawal. Most Americans consider this war a mistake, in no small part because of the way the planning failed the mission. If Bush and the other Republicans want the best regard for their policies, a real difference must be made in the situation in Iraq. Otherwise, the positive of the Bush administration's view on Iraq will be canceled out by the negative of the real world situation. People unite around common realities, common interests, not around the stubborn refusal to take care of mistakes.

The Republican party also has to get over it's sensibility of ideological superiority, at least enough to allow cooperation and involvement for the other party. The thing of it is, if you don't allow people a stake in things, calls for unity ring hollow. If we can't have real influence on policies coming out of this government, then we have no real unity. Unity is not merely standing together, it is acting together out of common interests. It is in our common interest as a nation that one group doesn't get to cut out all others arbitrarily. We cannot function as one nation if our government favors one group to the frustrating exclusion of another. Deals must be worked out, compromises struck between different parties to balance their interests.

The bill in the House and Senate is a transparent attempt to define this war once again in political terms, terms that have failed to yield us credible progress in this war. Between those who call for withdrawal and those who want to stay indefinitely, there is middle ground for sensible policy. This current resolution before congress wants to arbitrarily put political limits on acceptable policy, and wants to define this war as part of the fight against terrorism, even though it only substantively became so after the fact, because of the failure to secure Iraq. A better resolution, though less effective as a political weapon, would be one that said that we have a strategic interest in both an eventual end to this war, and to keeping terrorists from exploiting the failure of this nation to create a second Afghanistan. The question we must ask ourselves is whether we're willing to gain political power at the expense of our nation's interests. Both Republicans and Democrats should take heed of this.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2006 7:04 AM
Comment #158313

The opposition now to…

Can we relate this ninth paragraph to the war in Iraq?

Interesting read. Your treatise sums up what I feel to be the biggest problem in US politics today, Mudslinging which results in division, not of ideas, of people. One side is always trying to find fault in the other side. If one could resist the urge to do so and lead by example, I feel America could avoid the abyss that we have already begun to descend.

I feel like you tried not to say, “democrats dont do this and republicans do, if the could just stop we could move forward” but did not succeed. Might I remind you…
people can become stubborn and difficult to persuade when they’re so confronted.

Posted by: stopculture at June 16, 2006 9:14 AM
Comment #158317

people can become stubborn and difficult to persuade when they’re so confronted


So true. To change a mind is the most difficult thing to do. Even when confronted with the plain facts people are slow to let go of their position because they feel they are either letting go of their convictions, or cannot admit that they were ever wrong in the first place.

It doesn’t help when “facts” are the same consistency as mud, it makes it far more difficult.

Posted by: tree hugger at June 16, 2006 9:53 AM
Comment #158318

Great article! This is the most disgusting element of all difficulties currently facing our nation. The Republican demonization of the opposition proves they are not interested in sending a message to our enemies as one voice. Team effort is not constructed on following only one approach to a goal, teams must compromise and work out their differences. Instead the majority has defined the black or white options of with us or against us. This is taken to the extreme providing many opportunities for the majority to deploy mudslinging tactics.

I want real leadership, not playground children.

Posted by: europheus at June 16, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #158319

Republicans supported Democrats during WW II, Korea and Vietnam. ONLY when Republicans gained power did the idea that our “divisions stop at the water’s edge” go away. It went away because Democrats care more about regaining power than they do the US. Being the majority party it not a divine right, and the shrill, childish obstinance of Democrats will only ensure they remain a minority party. A loud and bitter minority party, but a minority party none the less.

The emergence of an alternate media, which negates the influence of the socialist suck-ups in the old MSM means that from now on you will have to win with better ideas. If you stay married to a failed system like say, socialism, the Democratic Party, like socialism, will fail every time. Getting mad because you are clinging to a lifeboat that won’t float is ridiculous. Stop blaming a bogeyman, and look at yourself. You are the architect of your own failures. Karl Rove just enjoys watching.

That is why we are a divided country.

Posted by: David C. at June 16, 2006 10:07 AM
Comment #158321

The Republican way is to be aggressive, competitive, self centered, and short sighted.

All traits that are instinctive and have helped humans thrive. It may be in the interest of our species to evolve beyond this. Evolution, if you believe in that sort of thing, involves incremental changes to portions of the population. If the result is good, it will grow.

It just may take a few thousand years and if the neandrathals remain in power, either the people or the planet probably wont make it that long.

Posted by: Schwamp at June 16, 2006 10:19 AM
Comment #158323

You make the assumption that that the war in Iraq was a strategic mistake. It was not and is not.Most of the goals have been accomplished. The war on terror has been expanded and made to last into perpetuity,justifying a bloated military budget. The US is well on its way to secure a major oil supply ensuring a continuation of the oil-oligargy. The war is being used to suppress those pesky civil rights the neo-cons have hated for years. Bush has been able satisfy a personel vendetta he probably decided on the same day he chose to run for president. Halliburton and other Bush family friends are making a ton of money. The war can be politically useful in maintaining Republican control of congress. Overlaying all this is the perpetration of a new expansive American imperialism that many neo-con leaders have favored for years, the American Century etc. It a romantic notion enabled by the fact that it is not their sons that have to die for it. They seek world domination as have so many others. The constuction of 14 permant bases alone should do much to show their true intent,establish a puppet regime and suck the country dry. The old British model. And we wonder why so many people hate us.

Posted by: BillS at June 16, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #158324

Game Set Match The good Americans win by a land slide.Liberal Democrats you have no Voice!!!!

Posted by: lookingout at June 16, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #158327

There are many many socialist elements at work in the US. How many are republican institutions?

To say that socialism is a failed system is a bit much. The US is not truely capitalist. We subsidize farming, the airlines, and tobacco companies. We fund public schools, parks, and Libraries.

You should win with better ideas. I think the problem is that good ideas are not always accepted. People can look truth in the face and ignore it. Countries that accept the right ideas and lead in new technology will become or remain leaders in this world.

Lets look at two countries who require oil and how they get it.
US seeks oil through corruption (Africa) and War (Iraq).

China seeks oil through mutual benifit (Kazahkstan).

Look at this article from the World Press from 1998.
This is an oil company (Unocal) talking about what are the options for getting oil out of central aisa.

You may think this is an irrevelant post. I just want to ask, haven’t politicians become tools of big business anyway? Haven’t we lost power of our own leaders?

Posted by: stopculture at June 16, 2006 10:47 AM
Comment #158333

Tom DeLay’s last speech praised the partisanship the GOP displayed during his tenure. It is therefore logical to conclude that the divisiveness we find ourselves in was part of the GOP plan all along.

Posted by: Aldous at June 16, 2006 11:09 AM
Comment #158334

Stephen, important topic. I would add the the greatest cost of divisiveness is the opportunity cost of addressing growing and future crises which are inescapable if preventive action is not taken. Medicare, Soc. Sec., and compromise of financial agility to meet future crises due to debt and deficits, come to mind.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 16, 2006 11:10 AM
Comment #158335

The socialism we have in this country is what saved the capitalism we have in this country.

Posted by: jlw at June 16, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #158338

The current resolution before the House is simply a statement of the individual Representative’s beliefs.

If you are for the war, say so and go on the record as having said so.

If you are against the war, say so and go on the record as having said so.

This resolution will end once and for all some Representatives from saying, “Yeah, I’m for the war” and then 2 weeks later, “No, I’m against the war” and then 2 weeks later, “Yeah, I’m for the war”.

So why are Democratic Representatives so upset? Just go on the record as being for or against the war.

Or are they upset because it gives them no “wiggle” room come November? Are they upset because they won’t be able to wet their finger and see which way the wind blows in November? Are they upset because they won’t be able to do the “Washington Two-Step” in November?

Go on the record. That way they will be against or for the war in June…AND in November.

Posted by: Jim T at June 16, 2006 11:22 AM
Comment #158339

This country is only united when we are threatened. WW2 united us. 911 united us for a short while until Iraq.

I think that most Americans fear change the most. Things aren’t that great for the workers but it could be worse. Those who want change, especially economic policy change, say that things will get worse unless we change. Those who favor the system the way it is, say that everything would be worse than the system we have.

The one thing the American people do know is a raw deal. They know that is what they are getting now.

Posted by: jlw at June 16, 2006 11:27 AM
Comment #158340


I always appreciate your writings, (even though I don’t agree with you a lot of times…) they are always well thought out and articulated, and you have done that here.

I think this vote makes perfect sense. It answers the question of where our representatives stand on this issue. They cannot ride the “take a poll first before I tell you what I think” fence.

I despise spineless people who will stand for what everyone wants. These people are worthless. With this vote, these people have a 50/50 chance of getting it right and they are politically afraid of getting it wrong. I respect the far left Dems who have made a stand and are sticking to it. I know where they are coming from and I know what to expect from them.

Bring on the vote…the voting public needs to know…AND or reps need to let their voice be heard.

Posted by: Cliff at June 16, 2006 11:29 AM
Comment #158341

Jim T: Do you think there will be any republicans that will go on the record as being against the war.

Posted by: jlw at June 16, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #158344

Ahh.. My favorite kind of Republican hypocrit. Sit around on their Social Security checks and talk about the evils of socialism. If its so evil and “failed” send the checks back. If you are not collecting yet send your parents checks back and you take care of them. While your at it ,you should refuse to drive on the socialist interstate highway system or recieve mail from the socialist postal system.No? Like spoiled children they want the benefits but do not want to pay their share of the cost.

Posted by: BillS at June 16, 2006 11:38 AM
Comment #158345

I wonder if the bill being considered will be either yea, you support the administration and it’s stay in Iraq forever policy or nay, you are for immediate withdraw which the republicans will spin as defeatest. Will the Congress actually debate the issues and have options to choose from.

Posted by: jlw at June 16, 2006 11:40 AM
Comment #158347

Ladies And Gentlemen Stephen say’s the Democrats never wanted Division.Any one with sight and good ears knows this is not true.From the day that George Bush took office the opposition party has fought George Bush and the American People all the way.They have fought him on Social Security,Judges,The war on Terrorism and every other issue important to the American people.Now that the war is all but won they want to Unite the Country.Stephens party has been more help to those who wish to harm us than Usama Bin-Laden his self.First of all try to remember one issue the Dems.Have’nt fought the American people on.And to make my case try to remember over the past six years one Senetor or one member of the congress on the Dem. side that has smiled when the U.S. gets a Victory.This shows how they truly hate what America Stands for.They would like to turn the victory over Al-zarqawi in to a loss for America.Even now that we are so close to total Victory in Iraq if they had the chance they would pull our troops out tomorrow.They talk big on Iran but if it comes to war with Iran you will see the same treason that you see today with Iraq.This is no joke the Liberal Democrats are a great danger to the American people and the American way of life.They are pretty much on the run now but remember the same folks that forced us to run from Viet-nam are back at it Thirty years later.We can not as a Nation allow these Anti-American Traitors to Spit on our Military ever again.True Americans will always give America the benefit of Doubt these Traitors will not even do that.I think they really beleive what they say but ignorance is no excuse when there is so much at stake.Its time for America to be proud and brave and let the world know that we will win the war on terrorism with or with out the help of the liberal media and the Democrat party!!

Posted by: john counts at June 16, 2006 11:46 AM
Comment #158353


Posted by: lookingout at June 16, 2006 12:02 PM
Comment #158356

You don’t need a democracy John Counts. You need a military dictatorship.

I just hope you dont get it.

Posted by: Stopculture at June 16, 2006 12:05 PM
Comment #158359

The liberal democrats sure were a powerful bunch, they forced Nixon to cut and run in Viet Nam. Just think about it, if we had stayed in Viet Nam a few more years, we could have killed 10 million of them instead of only 5 million. John, the American people were tired of hearing that the enemy was on it’s last legs and tired of puting up with a war that lasted nearly 20 years. I guess that the peoples attitude had no influence on Nixon. Doesn’t all of this sound familiar today?

Posted by: jlw at June 16, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #158366

I agree. There is far to much socialism in the US, and a good part of it is perpetrated by Republicans. In fact, Harry Truman and JFK would be right at home in today’s Republican Party. That’s why I am not. The modern Democratic Party is the modern Socialist Party, and Republicans are now Democrats.

Socialism and it’s big brother, Communism, have failed everywhere they are tried. Communism has slaughtered more people than any other political system in the history of the planet. Socialism has given Europe a stagnant economy with 11% unemployment. My leftist friends tell me that’s not so bad because you make as much from unemployment, or “the dole”, as you do for working. As if that is an adequate defense. It always comes down to this. Once more than 50% of the population is taking from the system instead of paying for it, the system fails. Every time. Then comes forced Socialism, i.e., Communism, and the gulags begin. It’s only a matter of time. Europe is 50-100 years ahead of us on this road. Just look over there for our future. It is a bleak one.

Posted by: David C. at June 16, 2006 12:42 PM
Comment #158367

jlw The only thing differant today is the American people see through the life long losers that want to retreat.Ours is a Proud and Brave Country.We now have Proud and Brave Leaders To reafirm The Traditions of The United States Of America!The Winning Tradition!!

Posted by: lookingout at June 16, 2006 12:43 PM
Comment #158369

If I were asked if we should leave tomorrow, or even next year, I would say no.

If I were asked if Iraq was the biggest strategic blunder made in a war in my lifetime I would say yes.

If I were asked if I thought the war on terror was this nation’s biggest priority right now, I would say yes.

Now, where’s the write in that will allow senators to explain their position? Why aren’t you demanding that? Or is a position like mine above too complex for you?

You see, not all Democrats are against the war. Of course, some of us are, and that’s because we don’t have an equation or diehard set of principles we use to solve every problem. This is one of the reasons Bush has been so poor as a leader. He took conservative principles and pushed a “play” button in response to one of the biggest threats this nation has ever faced. That’s not leadership. That’s why we are in Iraq instead of fighting Al Qaeda intelligently and establishing and securing democracy in Afghanistan where they wanted it.

If you’re for the war on terror, then you must fire the god awful idiots that are in charge and elect people who do more than mudsling. Demand results, just like you would for any business. Any fool can see what a terrible job Bush is doing with the war.

Posted by: Max at June 16, 2006 12:53 PM
Comment #158371

Bill S. says I shouldn’t take Social Security or drive on the Interstate because I know socialism doesn’t work. Using his logic, you would have to move to China since you are so fond of their way of doing business. I don’t believe in warped logic like that, so I vote you stay.

Actually Bill, interstate highways are one of the few things the Feds should do. Along with interstate and international commerce and defend the borders. So they do a thousand things they shouldn’t, and don’t do one of the few they should. Yep, we are a screwed up country. BTW, since the SS taxes were forcibly taken from me in a wealth transfer Ponzi scheme, I’m going to cash my checks. I would forgo them if it would end SS, but that won’t happen until it crashes under the weight of it’s own failed philosophy.

The best way to avoid socialism is to never start it.

Posted by: David C. at June 16, 2006 1:03 PM
Comment #158372

What part of the Global War on Terrorism do you people not understand?Think of this GLOBAL!Strategicly Iraq Is the Smartest move America has ever made.Lets remember now.GLOBAL WAR ON Terrorism.You folks dont know what Strategic is.READ PATTON get educated on war strategy if you are going to second guess the Pro’s.

Posted by: lookingout at June 16, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #158373

David C.-
I can speak quite well regarding what I care about. I don’t need your input on that, as I am very close to the source on this matter.

You are right: being the majority party is not a divine right, and I have previously made statements to that effect, even going so far as to say that if my people fail the same way the Republicans did upon reaching the majority, we deserve to lose it.

If you are a Republican, or on the Right-Wing, you are one to talk about failed systems. The failure to secure Iraq early and well, to aid Katrina victims in a timely and efficient manner, to keep spending under control and revenues sufficient to cover budgets, and to keep America’s borders secure, among other things, illustrates that the current Conservative system is right now a failed system.

Our system failed in the past, too, but we have allowed ourselves to learn from our mistakes. You only have to look at Clinton to see that the errors of the past need not be the errors of the future. We can all be the architects of our own failures, when we seek to be seen positively when we are not acting appropriately or productively. That is the failing of the current administration, and the conservative movement in general. Approval is not a divine right. It is easier in the long run to do things right than to endlessly sweep news of mistakes under the rug.

When I spoke strategically, I was not referring to all the political B.S.

It is not wise to count your chickens before they’ve hatched, especially if there’s a frying pan and broken shells nearby.

Jim T.-
It is no such thing. The resolution is meant to force people to certain rhetorical and policy distinctions that do not necessarily indicate being pro-war or against war.

It also tries and makes a connection between the real War on Terrorism and this war that is not justified. As far as the War on Terrorism goes, this war was a mistake. It took a place that had next to no al-Qaeda activity and turned it into a hotspot. That failure is what makes this part of the War on Terrorism. The Republicans have no justification to cheer this on as a positive contribution to that war.

This isn’t about wiggle room. This is about straitjacketing the debate with false dilemmas and muddying the waters with partisan rhetoric. Winning this war is about redeeming the mistakes of getting into it in the first place; restoring peace, restoring the economy there, restoring the security of that nation.

The Republican policies, however well intended, have failed this. New alternatives are needed, if not from the Republicans, then from someone.

If I were to ask “Do you believe it was a good thing or a bad thing when you raped your wife?”, you would likely get offended, and even more so if I tried to press you on it. Why? Because you could not take a stand for or against it? No, because the question was loaded already with a certain assumption. There would be no way to win by giving a straight answer.

Here the questions are

1)Do you support the absence of arbitrary deadlines, or do you support losing the war?

2)Do you believe That this is a part of the War on Terrorism, or do you believe it has nothing to do with it, despite all the terrorist activity going on.

In both cases, the questions are loaded with the assumptions of the Republicans, so no straight answer is possible.

It is spineless, in my opinion, to reduce the debate to that kind of loaded rhetoric, especially when one could argue that this party’s rhetoric is trying to making people forget how bad these assumptions were and are to begin with.

We don’t need politics to be about the egotism of this kind of self-righteousness on the part of our politicians.

John Counts-
Look, I’m an American, and so are most people on this column, so we can speak for ourselves. America contends with itself on a regular basis. That’s Democracy, that’s debate, and that’s legitimate.

America was made this way on purpose. Some Republicans and Democrats have both forgotten this in the past and the present, mistaking opposition to them as alliance with the enemy. As I commented in another column, LBJ and the old Democratic party made the same kind of mistakes. Republicans are doing so now, forgetting that our Founding Fathers altogether created a system that encourages and allows such dissent. We are supposed to have the maturity from our perspective to reason this out.

In the past, others have mistaken our contentious and active forum for free self expression as a sign of weakness and fatal division. Even our own people. In truth, what truly makes people like Bin Laden happy, or at least fortunate, is when people start trying to cut others out of the debate.

I was one of the first people to comment on Zarqawi’s death, and my entry was entitled Hoping it Makes the Difference. I think it’s safe to say from the news that the only reason we’re not happier about that guy’s death is that other deaths among their leaders have not done lethal damage to the enemies ability or willingness to fight. The violence has instead escalated.

The question is not what we want but what we will get. The Democrats are just more realistic about what we might get. But realism like that need not paralyze. It can be a spur to more intense efforts. Intense efforts, seem to be alien to this administration. It just wants to sit where it is and stay the course. They talk about other people as if their disagreement with this course is agreement with the extreme alternative of cutting and running. Even Murtha’s resolution did not suggest we go without getting things together and keeping them together.

As I said elsewhere, The military philosopher Sun Tzu said in his Art Of War: There is no such thing as a brilliantly protracted victory. Time works against an invading army and an occupation

He and other military strategist would also council against doing something else: dividing your people over a war.

Why do you see us as a threat? Look at Iraq. We don’t see power lines, oil pipelines, and other equipment sabotaged everyday. We don’t have our trucks hijacked by political and religious extremists. We don’t have death squad roaming through our streets looking for Democrats or Republicans to murder. All we’re doing is disagreeing with you on how we choose as a nation to protect ourselves and fight this war. You have no real concept of what a real enemy is. As I’ve said before, paranoia is a waste of good suspiction.

We support the military. We don’t just say that. You though conflate support for the President,your Legislators, and their policy with support for the troops. We have gone out of our way, though, not to cast disrespect on our soldiers.

You cannot win this war by knocking out half the country and dragging it with you. You folks have demonstrated through your actions the need for more than just one side’s point of view to be involved in analyzing and acting on the evidence. This kind of partisanship is more likely to lose the war against our enemies than it is to win it. When we cannot or will not guage the right or wrong of our actions, our pride will lead us to failure. Face it: you folks need our input, as we need yours.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #158375

Some very interesting comments about socialism and communism in this link. A good buddy of mine imigrated to the U.S. from Poland in the late sixties. He is fond of saying that; “We pretended to work and they pretended to pay us”. Sounds kind of like parts of Europe today doesn’t it? Visit Poland today and you see a vibrant ecomony, free people exercising their free will with stores full of food and all manner of consumer items. What changed? They shed the shackles of communism.
Just a word about the vote in the Senate and House on the War resolution. So many of you writing here seem to be obsessed with the idea that it “wasn’t fair”. Please tell me again what is unfair about a simple resolution, with no convoluted language, that simply allows our representatives to express their views. Some have complained that there was not time for some members to express their feelings. Bullcorn…they have months before the elections to slant, parse, change, flip-flop and detail their opinions based upon the latest poll. It’s refreshing to read the results of a simple yea/nay vote without all the grandstanding and wiggle-room usually found in votes by this August body. Now, we need to do the same with the illegal immigration issue. Jim

Posted by: Jim Martin at June 16, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #158376

Stephen-You summed it up very well with one sentance.We democrats GO OUT OF OUR WAY TO KEEP FROM CASTING DISRESPECT FOR OUR TROOPS.MR. THAT SAYS IT ALL!!

Posted by: john counts at June 16, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #158377

Jim Martin said: “Please tell me again what is unfair about a simple resolution, with no convoluted language, that simply allows our representatives to express their views.”

But, the Democrats were NOT allowed to express their views in the Resolution. The Resolution was purely a Republican invention. Nothing joint in this resolution AT ALL. Kind of like me giving you the choice to vote on how you want to die: by Pirhanna or Burning at the Stake. Its a forced choice Democrats and Independents were handed.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 16, 2006 1:32 PM
Comment #158379

Stephen Daugherty Why not go out of your way to tell the troops that are risking their lives to save your bacon that you are gratefull to them for being hero’s?Inever thought i would ever hear an American say im going out of my way to keep from insulting the men and women who protect my Country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: lookingout at June 16, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #158380

Stephen Justwondering Are you a spitter?

Posted by: justwondering at June 16, 2006 1:44 PM
Comment #158382


None…if they are smart.


No, I think it’s you who doesn’t understand. In the effort to “dumb down” America, this resolution will be presented to the American public as a “Are your for or against the war” resolution.

As long as that’s what the majority of the American public believes…then that’s what it is…and nothing more. Public perception is everything, and no amount of “education” will matter.

That’s why I wrote what I wrote. Because no amount of public education on this resolution will matter. All it comes down to (in the public perception) is, “Are you for or against the war?”

Make sure that you understand that the Reps will try to simplify and the Dems will try to “muddy the waters”.

It’s politics…pure and simple.

And one other thing. If the Dems could have put forth a resolution on one of ther other “hot button” issues and then simplified it to the American public, they certainly would.

It’s politics…pure and simple.

Posted by: Jim T at June 16, 2006 1:46 PM
Comment #158383

David C-
Well interestingly enough David I just got back yesterday from Beijing, and I did enjoy my 1 year stay. Though not because it is communist, because it is not communist. Far from it. Some describe it as Socio-Capitalism. I would describe it as a capitalist dictatorship.

The only thing China does is provide anyone that wants a job with work. The only thing is most people are only qualified to sweep the floor. They don’t hand out money for free, like one would expect from communism, they make you work really hard for a little bit of money. Also you cant go to school for free in china like one would suspect, you have to pay for it.

I want to make this relevant to the post about division. It seems that most republicans are moving the way of china. They cast down liberals as the end of democracy, and there solution is to form one party??? I dont get it.

Stephen D-
I think your post is trying to say division in america is a double edged sword. It can hurt and it can help. In China there is no division in the government, and this i helping them make major decisions about their future, without interference from the people. In america we have so much interference that we can do a damn thing! One party passes a bill the next party nullifies it and passes there own, the next party nullifies that and so on and so on.

We need the parties to stick to issues and give up mudslinging. But more than that we need informed voters that vote.

Posted by: stopculture at June 16, 2006 1:47 PM
Comment #158384

Jim T says: “If you are for the war, say so and go on the record as having said so.

If you are against the war, say so and go on the record as having said so.

This resolution will end once and for all some Representatives from saying, “Yeah, I’m for the war” and then 2 weeks later, “No, I’m against the war” and then 2 weeks later, “Yeah, I’m for the war”.

So why are Democratic Representatives so upset? Just go on the record as being for or against the war.”

Here’s the problem with that: I’m against the fact that we went to war in the first place. That was a mistake.

But I’m for staying and cleaning up the mess we made. If we do things right, we could actually do good things for the middle east. Pulling out now would be a bad thing.

But I’m against a lot of the ways the current administration is handling the war. The dolts who got us into this war with bad information and bad planning are still the same dolts who are making all the mistakes that have made this war worse than it should have been. It’s like having the captain of the Exxon Valdez clean up the oil spill.

I’m also for keeping a significant number of troops there until the situation is stable enough to allow us to leave without causing chaos. While we can’t set an exact date, can’t we at least get an estimate?

So, am I for or against the war? You tell me.

Posted by: Jeff at June 16, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #158385

sounds like your Forgainst it!

Posted by: stopculture at June 16, 2006 1:52 PM
Comment #158389


Exactly the point.

You don’t want to give a sweeping approval of the administration (because you don’t approve)…but given the situation, you try to make the best of it.

But this resolution, from what I read, gives you the choice of a sweeping approval or a sweeping condemnation, with absolutely no middle ground.

The public perception that this is a “Are you for or agsint the war” resolution backs people like you into a corner. Your answer is a qualified “No, but yes” answer. It seems like the only middle ground here for Representatives that feel as you is not “Aye” or “Nay”, but “Abstain”.

Posted by: Jim T at June 16, 2006 2:04 PM
Comment #158390

Jeff -
You are against the war and responsible enough to clean up after yourself.

Posted by: europheus at June 16, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #158393

Stephen Let me tell you where the democrat party the liberal media and you missed the boat with the American people.People who love theU.S.A. go out of their way to beleive in the military.They go out of their way to beleive in their country.They go out of their way to speak about the great things America does around the world.They go out of their way to let our men and women in harms way know that we trust them and love them.Ask the people who are doing the fighting what party backs them in every way.Its not the murtha’s or kerry’s of the world they listen to.Its not the murtha’s or kerry’s of the world that they trust.In short its the American people and The president of the united states of America The military trusts and depends on.

Posted by: jcmasterblaster at June 16, 2006 2:16 PM
Comment #158394


We’ve done a great deal to distinguish our opposition to politicians and policy from any kind of opposition to them. My choice of words might have opened things to misinterpretation, but the real point is, we’ve done everything we can to make sure the soldiers know we’re on their side.

I’m grateful to our soldiers for all they’ve done, for what they’re willing to do as a matter of honor and duty. I am the grandson of a veteran, and I do not lightly regard those who enter the service of our country, or who lose their lives carrying out their duty.

Bush, though, doesn’t deserve to bask in their glory. Not with the way he managed and justified this war. Not with the way he stubbornly insists on staying on his course, implying that everybody else’s intentions are cowardly and ineffective.

I can safely stand on my record as having only the utmost respect for the troops, and the mission of stabilizing Iraq and ending this war. If you have any more questions of equal maturity, please bring them on.

Jim T-
Language can be simple where the thinking is tied in knots. The logic behind this is that the Bush Policy status quo reflects the only true path of not cutting and running. But that’s a fallacy on several levels.

Simplification is not clarification when it obscures crucial details and hides other legetimate interpretations.

I think you ask them “Do you want victory in Iraq?”, most would say yes.

But what about asking them “Do you support Bush’s policy, then?” Well, then that same person might disagree. Hidden within that resolution is language that implies staying the course (that is, Bush’s course) is the only legitimate way. People disagree on that. Einstein once said that people should make things as simple as possible, but no simpler. This resolution tries to make simple and make true what isn’t simple, and what isn’t true.

I’m thinking this could backfire on the Republicans. If, by this fall, Iraq is not in better shape, we Democrats have Republicans on record as wanting to stay the course. Which of course means disagreeing with that majority of Americans who believed the war to be a mistake.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #158395

Division is part of the “Gospel according to Rove.” Win elections at all cost. Now he is, at least for now, off the hook for leaking Mrs. Wilson name, this White House believes they can get away with anything. The most scary is that they believe that they are above the law.

We can do something about this, if we really want to. It is call the election of 2006. Support candidates with your time and money that believe that everybody is protected by the Constitution and that they are elected to represent people not mega companies. It will be up to each and everyone of us to do just a little more than our share.

I live in the 4th district of Kansas. We have a Congressman who represents the NRA, Tom DeLay, Big Oil, Mega Communication but not the rank and file people of his district. I am and will continue to work for his defeat.

Posted by: C.T. Rich at June 16, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #158396

Stephen now you are saying you wish for a loss in Iraq for political advantage for your party the democrats.Why not say if america wins in iraq it will be good not only for america but for the world.Son you seem to have foot in mouth problems!

Posted by: jaycee at June 16, 2006 2:35 PM
Comment #158397

I think the better way to say it is that nobody can do a damn thing as long as opposition and competition are the only means of discourse. The question that seperates apparent division from real is whether we’re willing to settle on the matter with our opponents in some way.

The Real point of a Democracy is to keep one group of people from taking control and keeping control. It works better when people think more of their interests and less of their politics.

There are many people who can say “I support the soldiers.” How many of them, though, when given the opportunity to express outrage over low manpower, absent armor, and obviously dysfunctional policy instead chose to safeguard the reputation of Rumsfeld and the President?

They reason that since Bush is the true war leader here, and his policy that which fulfills the sacrifices these soldiers made, that criticizing him is devaluing those sacrifices, failing to believe in the mission.

That is their opinion. Ours is that this war is more complicated than some video game, and we don’t win by clearing levels and killing bosses.

Right now, I think people in the military have a health skepticism of the politics back home, and perhaps a degree of resentment concerning policy from above. You might think you can shield them from all the controversies, but in many way, they are right in the middle of these problems, and they are often the first to suffer the consequences. The low armor wasn’t merely news to many of our soldiers. It was often what got them killed or maimed. The low manpower isn’t news to them. It’s their day-in, day-out reality. The hostility and the friendliness of the natives isn’t simply something they find out about from that liberal media- it’s what they’re stuck in the middle of.

The soldiers don’t have the benefit of your detachment, your unalloyed optimism about Bush’s policies. Much of what you’ve considered our lack of support for these folks has simply been our way of dealing with the reality they face.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #158399

What most Bush Supporters fail to realize is that Iraq comes with an opportunity cost.

An Islamic Fundamentalist group just took over Mogadishu, in Somalia. Due to the usual incompetent Bush foreign policy, the US backed the losers.

Anyone remember Somalia? You know, “Black Hawk Down,” failed state, the place Osama bin Laden claimed he defeated the US?

When corporatists in Venezuela overthrew the democratically elected government of Chavez, the US recognized the coup attempt that same day. Instead, democracy won, Chavez stayed in power, and he has never forgiven us.

We face the same situation in Somalia. I seriously doubt the Islamic Court Union feels very friendly towards the US, given the money we funnelled to their enemies. So tell me, Bush Supporters, why is it better to be bogged down in the quagmire of Iraq than to deal with failed states in Afghanistan & Somalia?

What a mess.

Oh. The Tamil Tigers struck again in Sri Lanka, with a terrorist bombing that killed a lot of people. Unfortunately, the poor people of Ceylon are just like the Somalis. We will not be doing anything about that, no way. Not even on the radar, uh-uh.

Those poor bastards do not have any oil.

Posted by: phx8 at June 16, 2006 2:48 PM
Comment #158403

You might want to take the foot from your mouth first, sir. Anybody whose read my stuff can tell you that even in these dark frustrating days, my goal has been the goal of victory.

I believe this war to be a strategic mistake, and ill-justified, but getting out of this situation and staying out of it is not so simple. I believe we will have to win this war to make up for the price we’ve paid starting it, and avoiding the ironic fate of leaving there what we had planned originally to destroy.

Unfortunately, the Right has made this all about supporting its policies, doing things its way, staying the course. Well, I believe we need to change course, if we are to reach the goal we all want: victory in Iraq, and an end to the damn thing.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2006 2:55 PM
Comment #158410


Excellent job as usual. One need look no further than the “far right” comments here to see what an excellent job the Republicans have done at dividing OUR country.

I put emphasis on OUR because I truly believe the resolution many would love to see passed is one expelling all Democrats, not only from government, but from the USA.

Maybe E. Simonson isn’t that far off talking about re-education camps. I guess those of us who refuse to drink the red kool-aid could just be deported.


Posted by: KansasDem at June 16, 2006 3:19 PM
Comment #158411

Victory by retreat is not an option stephen.phx8 The blame for black hawk down can be put on the shoulders of wesley clark the same cut and runner you see trying to cut and run today.This loser is a hero to your party stop bathing in defeat.

Posted by: jcmasterblaster at June 16, 2006 3:21 PM
Comment #158414

Ive read your stuff as you call it.Icall it Anti-American propaganda by an Anti-American liberal.

Posted by: jaycee at June 16, 2006 3:25 PM
Comment #158415


I agree with you wholeheartedly. However, it is that very simplification while obscuring the details is what is being pushed.

By way of example, I just got in a fax from Congressman Roger Wicker (to be held until after today). It says,

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution last week declaring that the United States is resolved to complete our mission in Iraq and win the global war on terrorism. I strongly supported the measure, which also rejected the idea of setting an arbitrary date for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Oversimplification? Yes. Obscuring or ignoring the fine points? Yes. And that’s how it’s being pushed to the American people.

It’s politics in this “screw the boring details and give me the bottom line” society.

You just gotta give one point to the Reps on this one. They correctly read our Adult ADD generation and marketed it “first-est with the most-est”.

Posted by: Jim T at June 16, 2006 3:25 PM
Comment #158416

David C.
They want the benefits but resent paying for them…Thanks for verifying my arguement.

Socialism is working well in countries all over the world. Google the list of the 10 best places to live (life expectancy,health,education. etc.) and you will find the every one of them much more socialist than the US.

Excuse me. I seem to be a mood to argue today. Maybe I should see lookingouts therapist. Fact is the best run economies have socialist institutions. We do,as we have mentioned. Modern countries could not function without them. Where we may disagree which institutions should be socialist. I believe that the results of a free market health delivery system are apparent. 45 million with no healthcare,an infant mortality rate near third world levels ,the cost of the unisured threatening to bring down the whole thing as well as the tremendous drag on the economy warrent a dramatic shift in paradigms to a more humane and socialist system like every other modern industrial country. Certainly you can find problems with them. There is nothing short of paradise that will please everyone but their problems pale compared to ours.

Posted by: BillS at June 16, 2006 3:26 PM
Comment #158422


This article is well-thought out, reasonable, measured, diplomatic and balanced. And it would have been well-received by most folks around 1977.

This administration and its Congressional enablers are not reasonable, measured, diplomatic and balanced. It’s policies, such as the one in Iraq, are not “mistakes”, they are coldly calculated, triangulated, vicious policies to further American hegemony abroad, and to selectively, and secretly undermine liberty and democracy at home.

These people haven’t just turned right, when they meant to turn left, or picked up the wrong bottle of seasoning and now have paprika in their eggs. These people are brutal ideologues, who are convinced of their supremacy and are hell-bent on preserving it—no matter what the cost, or who pays it!!.

Consequently, your article is the most dangerous kind of seeming reasonableness. You are the patient parent that sits down to lecture a truant child—when in reality these are cold-blooded thugs who have done more to undermind the nobility of humankind and the democratic ideals of this nation than any political entity before.

Their policies aren’t mistakes—oops there goes another mistake (tee hee!). This isn’t middle school. These policies are criminal—hundreds of thousands of people have died. Their economic policies have accelerated the economic gulf between the haves and the have-nots—poverty is increasing, and their policies have created a perfect storm of dangerous, even cataclysmic conditions that have this country teetering on the financial edge.

As you say, they aren’t here to negotiate with the Left, with Democrats, even with centerists. They’re here to destroy them. Giving them the benefit of thinking, reasoning, “compassionate” human beings is feeding the animal that will devour you in the middle of the night. All the signs of fascism are plain to see—the corporatism of government, the muting and dissembling of the press, the demonizing of dissent, the militarizing of formally civilian agencies, the undermining of the electoral process, the unsupervised and secretive surveillence of American citizens, the signing statements invalidating legislation, the torture, the ‘disappearing’ of innocent people.

Your reasoned position allows the neo-cons qualities they do not possess. And I think you believe that once Bush is gone (assuming he and his henchmen actually leave), that things will slide back into their comfortable middle-of-the-road politics as usual. The damage done to this democratic process has been incalcuable in the last 25 years of Right-wing rule (and yes, Clinton was another corporate shill, more dangerous than Reagan), and you want to allow them qualities they not only don’t have, they are qualities they despise and ridicule.

Your admission of being a Reagan Democrat is proof the political center in this country is as rotten as the Right. Reagan is a poster boy of corporate excess, governmental loathing and underhanded folksyness that has had no small part in the economic descent of the middle class and the image of America as an imperialist whore.

You give too much credit to a political force that would cut your throat as to look at you. This government is full of the dry rot of corporatism, cronyism, and corruption—if the front door were kicked in, the whole edifice would collapse.

What all of this boils down to is this—is this government and the principles that it was based on, still capable of functioning in a reasonable way? Can the American people still believe that this edifice called government is answerable to them? In short, can we count on the government to be responsive to the majority’s wishes?
If any reasonable, thinking person can say ‘yes’ to any of those questions, then I believe you have a winner with this article. I, for one, have concluded that none of those questions can be answered in the affirmative, and that has been true for a long, long time.

But it is clear to me, and some others, that this country is ripe for revolution—a major economic downturn that devastates what’s left of the middle class, a downturn that puts the poor in a position of having nothing left to lose, a major terrorist attack that conveniently segues into martial law—whatever the challenge may be, I believe the elements of reasonableness, of humanity, of justice and fairness, have been weakened, underminded, and starved. And we are a Reichstag fire away from a real, and brutal, lockdown.

I believe a revolution is coming in this country, it is long overdue, and it is necessary and needed. But because of the viciousness of partisan bigotry, the polarization of the American political scene, the corruption of ideals and the decline in the belief in the common good, much less the actual practice of that belief, the revolution I had hoped and truly believed would be bloodless, has become more and more remote.

We are facing a chasym of civilization-ending challenges—and this administration, along with more than a few in the recent past, have not only not applied the brakes, they’ve stomped on the gas.

These are not reasonable people—they are myopic with power, they are inhuman in their greed, they are heartless in their hubris, and they have damaged the country so badly in such a critical time in our history, that they are beyond redemption.

Arguing about the color of the curtains on your prison windows is all we are allowed—unless we recognize that democracy hasn’t worked for the people, and it is up to the people to start formulating ideas about how to get one that works.

Posted by: Tim Crow at June 16, 2006 3:35 PM
Comment #158423

If some of you feel that your party did not have a chance to vote on a resolution that is acceptable to you, I suggest you have those folks write their own resolution and get a vote on it…if they can. That’s the advantage of being in the majority (as the Dems were for 40 years) you get to call the shots because you REPRESENT THE MAJORITY OF VOTERS. Difficult concept to understand, I know, but give it a try again. Jim

Posted by: Jim Martin at June 16, 2006 3:38 PM
Comment #158426

Tim wrote -
“Arguing about the color of the curtains on your prison windows is all we are allowed—unless we recognize that democracy hasn’t worked for the people, and it is up to the people to start formulating ideas about how to get one that works.”

Fortunately for the Republicans, there is such a divide, the people will never agree on their ideas, thus keeping them in power.

Posted by: europheus at June 16, 2006 3:41 PM
Comment #158429

I’ll make this brief because most still think I’m just a “wacko” when it comes to the whole Dominionist Theocracy issue, but I would assert that most everyone on both sides misses the real reason Bush and the Religious Right led us into Iraq.

The real reason: to fulfill Biblical Prophecy!

This didn’t start just yesterday. If you wonder how we ended up in such a fix you can now download George Grant’s 1987 publication “The Changing of the Guard - Biblical Principles for Political Action” free in PDF:

The few times Bush fumbled and used the word “crusade” it wasn’t just typical Bush “mis-speak”, it expressed his true intention. Everything else has just been a smoke screen.


Posted by: KansasDem at June 16, 2006 3:49 PM
Comment #158430

Tim crow this shit makes for a good novel but you are saying that not only the government is corrupt but the people of this country are evel and corrupt.If we were as you say We would have nuked Iran,Iraq,Russia,China,Korea And many other countrys long ago.You know this we could have done.So Mr.Know it all Why is it that we help people in other countrys more than we help those from our own country?And why is it the people from this country understand it?

Posted by: john counts at June 16, 2006 3:54 PM
Comment #158435

It was a bullsh*t resolution, and the Democrats should have abstained from voting. Why the Dems act so weak in the face of Republican Dirty Tricks is beyond me, but I’m getting plenty fed up with that kind of limp behavior from them. They need to know who they’re dealing with here, and start meeting Republican Dirty Tricks fearlessly and with head-on boldness.
Because that is all it has come to — Republlican Dirty Tricks, and Lies, and Demonization of Democrats. No middle ground. No Negotiations. Nothing but Trash Talk spewed in our direction. They want their Republican dictatorship and police state, and they don’t care what the f*ck they have to do in order to get it.
The Price of Division. It’s very high. In fact it is so very high we have people like Ann Coulter being praised and widely applauded for trashing 9/11 victims widows — and for no other reason than that they demanded information that exposed the president’s complete incompetence and negligence. Today I read where Ann had this to say about two war, decorated veteran Marine, Colonel John Murtha: “The reason soldiers invented ‘fragging.’”
Can you f*cking even believe that horsefaced B*tch? No doubt she’ll be praised and applauded again for this obscene and vile comment.
Let’s just say it, shall we?:
The Republicans have completely lost all sense of decency. Incredibly and unbelieveably they often claim to be doing so in the name of Jesus — their supposed Savior. They have no respect whatsoever for Democrats — therefore, it’s time to quit showing them any in return. We don’t need to start lying, or become nasty or hateful though.
No. What we need to do is to find a way to steal the next election just like they’ve been stealing them for years. But rather than try to be sneaky and furtive about it, let’s just go all the way over the top. Let’s find us some Liberal hackers that can give us an ENORMOUS Democratic landslide. ALL THE VOTES for Democrats. 100% wherever possible. A win so completely freaking impossible that they’ll be the ones screaming for election reform and hand recounts all over the country. And then we can tell them that they should “just get over it” our guys won, too bad.
[Sigh] I enjoyed writing that. It was a nice fantasy for about a minute. That’ll never happen. Liberals just don’t have it in them to use the same dirty tricks on the bully that are used against them. We have principles and integrity and honor — and we can’t seem to escape who we are, even when it actually works against us.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 16, 2006 4:05 PM
Comment #158439

Bill S.,
The fact that a left leaning media organization says that many socialist countries are “the best places to live” means absolutely to me or about 100 million other Americans.

As for health care, everything is GREAT when someone else pays. As long as they keep paying. Computer companies aren’t socialized, so the cost of computers goes down, and their abilities increase. Not so in the medical world. Why would anyone care what it costs, they aren’t paying. Eventually we will run out of people willing or able to pay. Then it will be Medical City, USSR!

This is human nature. If it’s free or very inexpensive, we use it as much as possible, who cares what it costs! There is no incentive to lower costs or usage.

Ronald Reagan spoke of this, he also referenced the good side of human nature. That when we have to, when there is no “safety net”, we are capable of resourcefullness that approaches genius. Socialism robs us of those opportunities.

Posted by: David C. at June 16, 2006 4:10 PM
Comment #158441

Adrienne-Another one bites the dust!!

Posted by: lookingout at June 16, 2006 4:11 PM
Comment #158443

You consider Wes Clark, a four star Army general, wounded four times in Vietnam, a man awarded Bronze & Silver stars, former CINCEUR & SACEUR, to have questionable judgment when it comes to warfare?



Opportunity cost. Let us return to that topic for a moment. Iraq is a mess, we all realize that. But does anyone seriously believe Iraq has more potential to threaten the national security than North Korea? If we find ourselves in a shooting war with North Korea tomorrow, are you sure what is happening in Iraq today is wise? Can you justify it?

Or is this really just about providing cover for Republicans until the horrendous mess in Iraq is somehow miraculously resolved? Do we just keep our fingers crossed in the meantime, & hope nothing bad comes out of Somalia or North Korea or Afghanistan?

Posted by: phx8 at June 16, 2006 4:18 PM
Comment #158445

phx8 Iconcider wesly clark to be a coward and a traitor to his country.And i do it with pride!

Posted by: jcmasterblaster at June 16, 2006 4:23 PM
Comment #158447

Dave C,
Ronald Reagan… also referenced the good side of human nature. That when we have to, when there is no “safety net”, we are capable of resourcefullness that approaches genius. Socialism robs us of those opportunities.”

That is just hilarious. Did you know Ronald Reagan increased his personal wealth more than any other president in the history of the United States? Ho ho ho. “Resourcefulness.” Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha. You are being robbed, bucko, but it aint socialists sticking you up. Take off the blindfold and have a look around.

Maybe you got yourself a piece of the United Arab Emirates/Port deal. In that case, I congratulate you on your “resourcefulness.”

Posted by: phx8 at June 16, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #158448

BTW Bill, there aren’t 45 million people in this country with no healthcare. There is not one person with no healthcare. Don’t believe me? Walk into ANY emergency room in America and demand treatment. They will treat you, they have to, IT’S THE LAW.

How many people are uninsured? I don’t know, but it’s not 45 million. Given the preponderance of insurance plans and government programs there might be a few million people who aren’t covered by something, college kids who really don’t ever get sick and a few millionaires who self-insure.

My father died last year of cirrohsis. He was unemployed, with no insurance. I brought him to live near me, and even before he was eligible for Medi-Care, I enrolled him in the county health system where he was treated on an ongoing basis and even had surgery for glaucoma. All he had to do was sign up. If he hadn’t kept drinking, he’d be alive and well today. He had nothing, but he was treated as well as most insurance plans. That is, not terribly well, lot’s of waiting and scheduling, common circumstances when you give away free medical care, but had he followed instructions (not his strong suit), he would have been just fine for many years.

Trust me, there are not 45 million Americans without healthcare. You don’t even have to be here legally to get healthcare. That is a made up number which the left used to get away with, but not anymore. That’s one reason you are a minority party. A minority party to the Republicans, the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. You should be proud.

Posted by: David C. at June 16, 2006 4:26 PM
Comment #158450

David C., public schools are socialist, our military is socialist and dictatorial, no democracy in the military. Our highway systems, our national parks and monuments, and every service and activity of our U.S. government is socialist. They take money from everyone and parse it out to those who need it to conduct activities deemed to be in the public interest or good of the nation, regardless of whether individuals agree with those services or not.

So, explain to me how socialism has prevented the U.S. from having the greatest military power on earth? Our military is one of the biggest social programs within government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 16, 2006 4:28 PM
Comment #158451

Please don’t embarras yourself. Whatever Reagan made will look small when Clinton is done. Besides, ALL modern Presidents get rich as a result of being President, the only limit is how rich they want to be. They are Presidents ok. People will pay whatever they ask to hear them speak. Even if Reagan made more than say… John Kerry, it doesn’t negate the fact that SOCIALISM ALWAYS FAILS, and the Democrats will continue to fail until they renounce it. So will the Republicans, as they are headed down the same path. The division is caused by Democrats who can’t stand reality and want to blame others for their own failures. They can’t help it, their whole ideology is based on either blaming others or making them responsible.

Posted by: David C. at June 16, 2006 4:33 PM
Comment #158452

Not surprisingly you are just not looking at the evidence. Look at Norway. Fundementally a socialist country. Highest life expectancy,higher standard of living than us ,highest literacy rate in the world. Their average income is not the highest but they way services are delivered make up the difference.
This is pretty anecdotal but I wish to tell you of the town my mother lives in. It is a small agricultural hub City in Eastern Washington. They city has its own munciple power system. It works well and stays in good repair even through the harsh winters. Their rates are extremely low. Dispite many efforts to “privatize “it the townspeople just will not go for it. They have a small transit system funded by a regional sales tax. Not unusual but what is remarkable is that it is free to passengers. They figured that way to improve ridership and save the cost of counting nickles. These are both socialist by definition. This city( Wenatchee), sits in the middle of the red zone,far from any hotbed of liberalism. What they are doing just makes sense. Try looking at things without the left over cold war labels.

Posted by: BillS at June 16, 2006 4:33 PM
Comment #158453



Could you write in ENGLISH next time?

Posted by: Vincent Vega at June 16, 2006 4:38 PM
Comment #158454

I do not accept your premise regarding the military, as for the schools, you are correct, they are socialist, and they suck.

As for highways and parks, those are some of the few things the federal government should be doing. It’s in the Constitution, you should read it sometime. Nowhere in that document do the founders refernce medicare, social security or welfare. Don’t trot out that “general welfare” ruse, because I ain’t buying. Limited government works best, and what we have now, perpetrated by both parties, is not limited government.

Just because we want the feds to do a few things that only they can do (highways, defense, interstate and international commerce), does not mean we want , or need, complete socialism. Save that red herring for brunch this Sunday. It goes well with creamed cheese.

Posted by: David C. at June 16, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #158455

David C., you were warned about the Critique the Message, Not the Messenger policy just 5 hours ago in the Center column. And your comment telling others to not embarass themselves is just another example of your flame baiting and violation of our policy to maintain civil discourse. Your comments are no longer welcome here.

Posted by: WatchBlog Managing Editor at June 16, 2006 4:42 PM
Comment #158459

I wish to see Iraqi soldiers capable of keeping the peace before I see American soldiers go. If that isn’t happening, I want more troops in there or whatever else has to be done to get things in gear.

As for Blackhawk Down, I don’t think General Wesley Clark was all that involved with the operation. General Hoar was Centcom head at the time, and General Anthony Zinni was in charge of operations. Things were pretty snarled already when we got there under a Bush administration plan. What snapped it was somebody being foolish enough to send helicopters into unsecured territory on a daylight raid.

I don’t intend to bathe in defeat. I disliked what happened after Somalia, disliked the Clinton Administration’s phobia for casualties and dangerous situations.

At the very least, though, when our soldiers were sent in, they were sent with material support, too. In Somalia, we actually stayed an extra six months afterwards. Instead of sending our troops around in rear-eschelon vehicles like Humvees, which were not designed for frontline combat, Clinton had the soldiers ride around in APCs. As for cutting and running there, the real truth was, we were never supposed to stay there to begin with. On this operation, we were supposed to be filling in for the UN until they got there act together. Clinton Demanded they do and then had us withdraw, as we were supposed to. This was a humanitarian mission here. We were never supposed to take over the place.

America is not above criticism. Nor does it deserve to be blamed for every problem in the world. We’re not the only nation in the world that is filled with people who are only human.

What makes me proud of this country, what leads me to marvel at the wisdom of the founding fathers, is that this is a country that learns from its mistakes, and lets its people have the freedom to do the same. You can call me and my work anti-American. Then again you can call me a ham sandwich on rye, and my work a slice of sharp cheddar. Doesn’t change things.

It doesn’t change what I believe: This is the best country in the world, and I write what I do because I believe it can help change things for the better.

Many of the politicians may beyond salvation, but my sense is that the people out there who have been voting for Republicans are reconsidering the wisdom of that. Those are the people I want to appeal to, to encourage them to vote better people in, whether those folks are Republican or Democrat.

You have likely read enough of my stuff to know that I do not take screw-ups in government or war lightly. Don’t disregard that. The philosophy underneath this is a practical approach to politics

I must have faith in my audience’s powers of reason to whole-hearted appeal to them. We have nothing to gain by writing off huge parts of the population. The GOP hasn’t gained that much in the long term doing so.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2006 4:51 PM
Comment #158460

Frankly, I’m ready for a nice, heaping, steaming glob of socialism now—especially since the cancer known as capitalism is on the verge of destroying the environment, has destroyed democracy, has made a joke of economic justice, and is eating up human and earthly resources to serve the greed of a few rich bastards that vacation in Bora Bora.

The economic and social rungs of the Horatio Alger myth have been cut in this country, and more and more it’s who your parents are whether you succeed or not. There are millions and millions of hard-working people in this country that are falling further and further behind—and the poor bastards blame themselves for not succeeding in a rigged system. Alcoholism, divorce, depression, despair, dead-end jobs, under-employment, wages that can’t allow a hard-working family to make ends meet.

Yeah, socialism, that big, bad, scary beast. And in the meantime, our collective throats are being cut by corporatism that has no heart.

Posted by: Tim Crow at June 16, 2006 4:57 PM
Comment #158463

Tim Crow-
Times can be pretty bad, and things can go pretty wrong. Still, I think we don’t think we’re alone in American history in facing great challenges. We’ve all felt the dark shadow of history hanging over us. We all remember better times from when we were kids, when we didn’t understand enough about our world to know how scary it was.

I think Bush’s policies will hit us with bad times as their consequence. I don’t think, though, that America is any kind of unrecoverable tailspin.

Ultimately, it’s for the best that we focus on being problem solvers, and open-minded ones at best. Let’s not jump from the dogmatic fire to the rigid-minded frying pan.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2006 5:11 PM
Comment #158470


“We have nothing to gain by writing off huge parts of the population. The GOP hasn’t gained that much in the long term doing so.”

Oh? Where have you been for the last 25 years, Reagan-Democrat? I think the GOP has gained enormous ground, at the expense of democracy.

I am not the one to write off huge parts of the population—the centerist, DLC types in the Democratic Party and the neo-cons of the GOP have been writing off the people—not me.

“The philosophy underneath this is a practical approach to politics.”

What has made this administration so dangerous is that it has thrown out the basic building blocks of the democratic process. They have done an end-run around “the practical approach to politics.” They sneer at it. And your faith in the political process, “the ability to vote them out”, to appeal to the reasoning of the electorate, despite the compromising of the electoral process, the undermining and manipulation of the MSM, the trashing of the Constitution, may be dangerously naive. It is a position that assumes that everything is in working order, that this is a temporary anomaly, and that a reasoned, measured approach to the electorate will have everything back to ‘normal’ in a jiffy. In other words, the same shit that has been steam-rolled by the neo-cons for the last five years.

Rational, reasonable people are patiently saving up their points to win a game that the neo-cons and the corporate power brokers aren’t even playing. They’ve coopted it.

What will you do if, in more than a few congressional races, the exit polls strongly indicate one thing, and the ballots decidedly indicate another? What reasoning will you apply if the Republicans, in their %29 poll-glory, hold onto their majorities in Congress? Even more sinisterly, what if there is some manufactured foreign ‘emergency’ that skews reality once again, and scares the populace into another stampede to ‘rally around the Prez’ in ‘this dark hour’? And even more monstrously, what if your Democratic Party, once again, enables the whole mendacious mess by sitting on their hands?

So, what do you want, Crow? What is all this bitching and moaning leading to? Glad you asked.

We, as a people, must admit that this political process is not working, has not worked, and will not work in the future for the peoplefor the people

That is the beginning of liberty, of individual freedom. The look at the truth, unvarnished, unspun, naked. This system is broken, and it can’t fix itself. Now what?

Posted by: Tim Crow at June 16, 2006 5:45 PM
Comment #158478

Euphorus stated

I want real leadership, not playground children.


The Republican way is to be aggressive, competitive, self centered, and short sighted.

All traits that are instinctive and have helped humans thrive. It may be in the interest of our species to evolve beyond this. Evolution, if you believe in that sort of thing, involves incremental changes to portions of the population. If the result is good, it will grow.

It just may take a few thousand years and if the neandrathals remain in power, either the people or the planet probably wont make it that long.


The war on terror has been expanded and made to last into perpetuity,justifying a bloated military budget. The US is well on its way to secure a major oil supply ensuring a continuation of the oil-oligargy. The war is being used to suppress those pesky civil rights the neo-cons have hated for years. Bush has been able satisfy a personel vendetta he probably decided on the same day he chose to run for president.


It is therefore logical to conclude that the divisiveness we find ourselves in was part of the GOP plan all along.


The one thing the American people do know is a raw deal. They know that is what they are getting now.

Stephen you have a well thought out article and I enjoyed reading it. I do not agree with it but I think you made your case clear. These quotes that I have here are some of the very reasons we are not able to actually have any unity. These are only a small sampling of very divisive statements that are continously being made by Democrats to Republicans. If someone thinks this badly of someone there is no way unity is going to come. I realize that there is no perfect political party. I wish that you also along with critiquing the Republicans that you would have done this for the Democrats as well.

I am glad that you are not participating in these derogatory statements. I do find it disengenuous to say that the Republicans are to blame way more then the Democrats. The loudest voices I hear speak out in this manner tend to be the Democrats.

I will give you this that you mentioned it but it seemed to be minimized as not really that big of deal. As a Republican I find it a big deal. Infact if I was on capitol hill I would be wary of dealing with those who hate me so much.

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at June 16, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #158496

Be careful where you make your divides

You might not end up on the right side of it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 16, 2006 6:30 PM
Comment #158506

I think Stephen got it right, this administration has placed all its eggs into the basket called Iraq. That the Republicans in Congress feel abandoned or uninvolved with Bush and yet must feign unity with him for the good of their party, only works in favor of Democrats. Bush has not been able to accomplish one goal that he had set prior to becoming elected. He has not governed as much manage one crisis after another, and most self-induced.

If by chance, and we all hope, Iraq turns out well, which would be great news for all Americans, the Republican party will maintain a majority. If by November things are the same or worse in Iraq…Well, we all know what that would mean. And that is what happens when you alienate and try to govern through sound bites.

Much had been made of the results of the recent election here of Bilbray over Busby here in California. But if any of you had the opportunity to listen to any of Bilbray’s political ads; He pulled so hard trying to distance himself from the President and the Republican party, that I believe they had to fish him out of the ocean a few times. That somehow, it was interpreted as a great victory for the Republican Party amazes me. I suppose spending 22 million dollars to get a candidate elected gives you that right. But it doesn’t say much for the Party or the candidate.

Posted by: Cube at June 16, 2006 7:00 PM
Comment #158510

I’m glad you initiated this discussion, Stephen. I read this blog from time to time and comment infrequently because so much bile is spewed forth here.

I wish this could have been a civil discussion. I get upset when I’m called a traitor because I disagree with the powers that be. I believe many of these true patriots would take away my freedoms due to their narrow-minded view of OUR country.

Our current state of division is due to the consequences of the winner-take-all election process we have. Those who boast of the GOP majority fail to realize that GW is president due to an electoral process that has failed the majority. Even if you dispute the vote numbers, you can’t deny the slim margin that puts Republicans in the Whitehouse. If the Leglislative Branch truly represented all the people in the US, it would always be pretty close to 50/50, with the Dems holding a very slight majority.

Don’t interpret this as sour grapes… I just believe that it has become too easy for the GOP to discount the will of the people, since they have figured out how to manipulate the system.

I find it hard to support a president who cares so little for a sizable portion of the people for whom he supposedly works. When politicians of either party say the American people want this, or won’t stand for that, they manipulate the people to fit their own decisions.

Posted by: Loren at June 16, 2006 7:07 PM
Comment #158512

BTW, ALL of the nations whose students fair better than ours on standardized tests are socialized.

Posted by: Loren at June 16, 2006 7:10 PM
Comment #158513

John Counts and lookingout are the same person.

Posted by: Observer at June 16, 2006 7:21 PM
Comment #158514

Stephen I read the article at cnn. I find that public opinion is easy to sway as a whole. There are individuals that are not easy to sway but the general public seems to be. Look at the jump with the capture of one bad guy. I am not sure the over 400 raids that have been made since has even registered yet. Around 200 of those raids were solely Iraqi forces and all of them were lead by Iraqi forces. It seems to be crumbling fast. My only fear is that we get to excited and move to quickly. I think we need to be there a while longer to make sure this isn’t just a small repreave.

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at June 16, 2006 7:33 PM
Comment #158520


Another great article.
It seems that we have given away the last vestages or reasoned discourse and policy.
No longer do we consider whether a policy is actually good for the people, instead it becomes “How will this stick it to those evil _______ “
Just look at all the bile and invective this post has generated from both sides. There was a slim chance in those few days after 9/11 for a toning down and maybe even putting this nations needs in front of party supremacy but it died a quick and lonely death.
For the dems lamenting this partisan trick,

Political power is cyclic

For the reps enjoying this victory,

see above^

Every time we lower the bar and accept the new standard no one stands up and says this is to much when their own party gets its shot.

Posted by: Ted at June 16, 2006 7:59 PM
Comment #158543

“I think Stephen got it right, this administration has placed all its eggs into the basket called Iraq.”


I agree. Also Bush & Co. put Afghanistan on the back burner and Iran’s in the oven defrosting, while North Korea has been ignored like the chuck roast in the back of the freezer that’s now too badly freezer burned to even consider bringing to the table.

If, and it’s a big IF, we have any time left to set things straight I fear it’s a very short period of time.


Posted by: KansasDem at June 16, 2006 9:53 PM
Comment #158551

David C.

Maybe your disregard for your fellow man was one of the reasons your father drank himself into a life threatening illness. You certainly show little regard for the man.

Regardless, I can guarantee you that the revenue from alcohol easily covered his health care costs. If the government you elect chooses to misuse that revenue it’s no different than the misuse of Social Security and Medicare funds.

Those who whine about having to pay into Social Security, Medicare and the various Welfare programs are also the ones who make the same programs neccessary. Quite simply, not everyone gives two craps about his fellow man. Society can’t depend only on charitable donations.

Some people simply don’t have a charitable bone in their body. Why do so many “deadbeat fathers” end up in court? Simply because they lack social responsibilty. Those who whine about taxes are not far behind.


Posted by: KansasDem at June 16, 2006 10:08 PM
Comment #158570

David C et al

Democratic Party is the modern Socialist Party
Democrats are to Socialism as Republicans are to National Socialism.

Posted by: ElliottBay at June 17, 2006 12:16 AM
Comment #158702

Tim Crow-
It’s gained temporary power at a steep price. Once again, it’s put itself in the position of having to support to the hilt a leader unworthy of that support. Once again, it’s snarled up the economy. Once again we’re in a problematic war for no better reason than somebody’s political theory

You are writing off people, assuming that people should just instantly know that our side is right. The thing is, most people don’t get to wisdom and understanding directly. Many people have to make the lousy choice first and suffer the consequences to understand their mistake.

There are sometimes I feel that kind of frustration, but then I reflect that I’ve been mistaken in the past, and believed in things unworthy of my advocacy.

People have to start from somewhere, and the best candidates for converts are always the repentant sinners: people who know their votes were wasted, want something better, but don’t want to end up with something worse.

These folks are uncertain, wary, and often defensive. My advice is that we should do all that is in our power to calm their fears, give them a good principle to stand on, and most importantly, no need to defend themselves from us.

We also have to be careful not to become like our rivals. Our rivals felt at the beginning, during our majority, as we feel now. They allowed that to encourage them to divide from everybody else, forming a dogmatic system that eventually strangled the party’s robust variety of positions with one set that promised victory and delivered it. With the seeds of that kind of victory, were sown this kind of defeat.

I don’t believe its dangerously naive to believe in the electoral process. I believe it’s the key to keeping things like this from happening. A voting public is an alert public. When you believe your vote matters, your voice will be heard. If you don’t believe that, then you will abstain, and by abstaining raise these conservative’s margins higher.

If the conservatives do indeed steal elections, and continue to do so, they will set themselves up for a fall so massive, it will make the one they’re apparently headed for now look like a stumble on the curb. In the worst cases, we might have riots and revolutions. People will not and cannot remain dumb forever. They will not tolerate being dupes and pawns when they believe otherwise. The people who do these things are not supermen, immune to error. They are mortals who will get burned if they play with fire.

Only if we give in to despair, and quit the battle, do we truly lose our voice.

Randall Jeremiah
Despite the unbalanced view that Social Darwinism has given us of evolution, the virtues are as much survival values as the vices. More to the point, we are not all instinct. There is learned behavior, and there is a reason we have it. It allows us to evolve faster inside our skulls than we ever could biologically.

All we have to do is agree that it is more important that our nation runs smoothly and runs well than that either side controls it. We once had such a point of view. We can have that point of view again.

Democrats and Republicans are pummelling each other with derisive and derogatory talking points, and each has cause to hate the other for it. That is why a sense of forgiveness is a must. We can’t take back all the nasty rhetoric. We can, though, write it off as our adversary’s former foolishness.

One point I must make, though. When one party is in the majority, and another otherwise, the power dynamic runs downhill. The Republicans have the power to include or exclude Democrats on deliberations, on important debates, to give them a seat at the table or not.

Even when we held power, we Democrats did not go as far as the Republicans. We have grown to hate the Republicans more over the past five years, but our hatred has not risen to the level where the Republicans are now, even after a decade of dominance in the legislature, and half a decade of dominance over all branches. Even now, books are openly sold by mainstream conservative authors that call for an end to liberalism, that treat it like a disease, and it’s carriers as lepers.

I think it’s normal and healthy for their to be some antagonism, but that kind of contempt must be discouraged. To treat half of America as enemies to the whole is to lose perspective on what it means to be American. We might believe each other wrong, or even badly wrong, but I think its safe to say, nobody disagrees simply to be evil, and few Americans truly want to see our country come to harm or fall to decay.

We got to first admit that the other side deserves to be American as much as we do, before we can come together on that common ground.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 17, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #158710

Cry me a river!

Posted by: justwondering at June 17, 2006 11:22 AM
Comment #158783

Anything of substance you can add to the discussion? Randall, Jack, and others have something to offer. I’m sure you’re not without some coherent views on the subject. We’ll never know if you never share.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 17, 2006 6:47 PM
Comment #158855

Randell Jeremiah:
Thanks for attributing the quote. The last sentence about Bush deciding to invade Iraq the same day he decided to run for president is obviously speculation. As to the rest I stand by every word. You may find that divisive and it may be but it is also accurate. You would prefer perhaps that I should think of GWB as a good man trying to do his best that I disagee with. Sorry,I can’t do that. There are too many corpses in the way.

Posted by: BillS at June 18, 2006 1:40 AM
Comment #158881

Paul O’Neill recounted to Ron Suskind in the book The Price of Loyalty discussing an invasion of Iraq as if it were a foregone conclusion- no debate on whether it was right, whether it was justified, just means and strategies.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 18, 2006 9:16 AM
Comment #159124

Ahh.. My favorite kind of Republican hypocrit. Sit around on their Social Security checks and talk about the evils of socialism. If its so evil and “failed” send the checks back. If you are not collecting yet send your parents checks back and you take care of them.”

Now, will you quit taking my money to support your beliefs? Are you willing to be taxed more to support those beliefs?
I doubt it.

“While your at it ,you should refuse to drive on the socialist interstate highway system or recieve mail from the socialist postal system. No?”

US Constitution, Article I, Section 8

—To establish post offices and post roads—


“Like spoiled children they want the benefits but do not want to pay their share of the cost”

Again, I would GLADLY give up these so-called “benefits,” are you willing to:
leave me alone?
quit telling me how to use my money?
quit expecting everyone else to pay for YOUR causes?

Posted by: kctim at June 19, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #159142


being socialist and constitutional are definitely not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Loren at June 19, 2006 2:04 PM
Comment #159203

Especially not in todays Socialists States of America that we now live in.

To bad the desire for “freebies” is more than the desire to be free.

Posted by: kctim at June 19, 2006 4:16 PM
Comment #160042

It is interesting that you mention the division between the left and right in the USA. I am a conservative. I have many liberal friends. I have NEVER, not once, been able to have a thoughtful discussion on politics with my liberal friends. They become so enraged by my positions, they refuse to discuss why they differ with me. I undestand that they disgree, probably disagree radically, but wouldn’t discussion give them as much chance to change my opinion as it would give me to change theirs? These are well educated New Yorkers we are talking about. I notice that many of them never discuss politics with anyone outside of their political circle. How can they expect to influence opinion if they only speak with people who already agree with them?

Posted by: Duane at June 21, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #160790

I wrote a piece a while back called The Politics of A Small World.

You know the old Six Degrees of Separation thing? Well, people researching the scientific background of it discovered that the world tends to work through clusters of association, neither completely orderly, nor completely random.

One interesting fact that emerged: the closest ties were not the ones most effective for networking, in no small part because those who know you, also know the other people who know you. In political terms, appealing to the people most like you will not gain many new converts, because most folks that totally believe you already belong to the choir.

It’s called the strength of weak ties. To put it simply, applying this principle in politics means being willing to work with those you are not part of your normal circle of political allies, to work beyond the immediate circle of those who agree with you.

The way both you and them could have more civil arguments is not to base your arguments on the idea that the other person must believe you, the way any close associate would. No, belief for most people is a choice, and by research, manners, and other means, one figures out ways to influence that choice respectfully.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 22, 2006 10:58 PM
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