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Thursday, October 30, 2008


just when you think it can't go lower

and no, i don't mean the market.

perhaps it isn't fair to highlight daniel pipes, for he is quite clearly not a balanced mind. as much was apparent years ago as pipes beat the drum for unlimited war. but in case anyone forgot how crazy he is, try this straitjacket on for size:

Barack Obama appears to have personally benefited from funds originating in Saddam Hussein's regime. It's a complicated connection, but one that deserves the consideration of Americans voters.

no, it really doesn't. the spectacular descent of the republican party into comic ridiculousness seems, stunningly, to actually be picking up momentum in the election's waning days. this video of mccain campaign deputy director of communications (and online editor of bill kristol's absurd journal of neoconservatism 'the weekly standard') michael goldfarb being caught in a ridiculous and incendiary lie for the cameras has sadly become characteristic of a political party in what would be, in a just world, its death throes.

meanwhile -- levelheaded conservatives continue to close the door on the GOP and cast it into the wilderness years that it needs so badly to expurgate itself. the latest is the avowedly thatcherite (and best-in-class) magazine, the economist.

The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence. But we acknowledge it is a gamble. Given Mr Obama’s inexperience, the lack of clarity about some of his beliefs and the prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress, voting for him is a risk. Yet it is one America should take, given the steep road ahead.

... At the beginning of this election year, there were strong arguments against putting another Republican in the White House. A spell in opposition seemed apt punishment for the incompetence, cronyism and extremism of the Bush presidency. Conservative America also needs to recover its vim. Somehow Ronald Reagan’s party of western individualism and limited government has ended up not just increasing the size of the state but turning it into a tool of southern-fried moralism.

... Ironically, given that he first won over so many independents by speaking his mind, the case for Mr McCain comes down to a piece of artifice: vote for him on the assumption that he does not believe a word of what he has been saying. Once he reaches the White House, runs this argument, he will put Mrs Palin back in her box, throw away his unrealistic tax plan and begin negotiations with the Democratic Congress. That is plausible; but it is a long way from the convincing case that Mr McCain could have made. Had he become president in 2000 instead of Mr Bush, the world might have had fewer problems. But this time it is beset by problems, and Mr McCain has not proved that he knows how to deal with them.

... There is no getting around the fact that Mr Obama’s résumé is thin for the world’s biggest job. But the exceptionally assured way in which he has run his campaign is a considerable comfort. It is not just that he has more than held his own against Mr McCain in the debates. A man who started with no money and few supporters has out-thought, out-organised and outfought the two mightiest machines in American politics—the Clintons and the conservative right.

Political fire, far from rattling Mr Obama, seems to bring out the best in him: the furore about his (admittedly ghastly) preacher prompted one of the most thoughtful speeches of the campaign. On the financial crisis his performance has been as assured as Mr McCain’s has been febrile. He seems a quick learner and has built up an impressive team of advisers, drawing in seasoned hands like Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers. Of course, Mr Obama will make mistakes; but this is a man who listens, learns and manages well. ...

So Mr Obama ... is a gamble. But the same goes for Mr McCain on at least as many counts, not least the possibility of President Palin. And this cannot be another election where the choice is based merely on fear. In terms of painting a brighter future for America and the world, Mr Obama has produced the more compelling and detailed portrait. He has campaigned with more style, intelligence and discipline than his opponent. Whether he can fulfil his immense potential remains to be seen. But Mr Obama deserves the presidency.

precisely. obama was not my candidate, and he may yet prove some of my longstanding concerns valid. but he really is the only legitimate choice in this election, and has done nothing to disqualify himself from the perspective of a pragmatic voter -- indeed, quite the opposite.


Being outfoxed (no pun intended) by a CNN anchor is not easy to do. That clown from the McCain campaign was caught. LMAO. I guess talking points don't come with rebuttals. I'm shocked...

Almost as shocked as you endorsing a democrat for the presidency gm. If you would have told me this in 1995 I would have never believed this day would come. It says alot for where the neo-cons have hijacked and taken the GOP gm that a conservative of your nature would switch sides. Hard to imagine for me anytime before the last 6 years. I wish more traditional conservatives would look at the GOP with your sharp viewpoint. They really need that if they want to return to any sort of power in the next decade.

In the meantime, people (not the loon conservative talking heads Limbaugh, Hannity and all of the rest) had better keep tabs on the Dems. Power corrupts and they are about to be handed the keys at a critical time in this nations history. I know the Dems might be the lesser of two evils today, but that can change awfully quick, which is why the republicans have to get their house in order in a hurry after this election.

keep up the great work on this insightful read.

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lol -- ccd, i don't have much against the democrats per se anymore. they have their crackpots too, but they've done a far better job of keeping them out of power in recent years. clinton was deficient as a person, perhaps, and his administration overrated in some respects -- but it's hard not to find it quite favorable compared with what came after. makes me pine for the days of bush 41 -- his faults were minor compared to this, though he certainly contributed to the radicalization of his party.

my unvoiced hope in all this, ccd, is for the republican party to schism. the GOP prior to barry goldwater in this country was the domain of kooks and luddites -- it was idiotville. after what has turned out to be an all-too-brief foray into intellectual respectability led by william buckley and others, the party seems to be reverting to the mean.

there's something left to salvage in the GOP, but the denizens of idiotville -- best represented at the moment by the people who seem to think sarah palin should run for the roses in 2012, the success of which would be i might add a dealbreaker for me in the same was as the central european chaos of the 1840s was a dealbreaker for my courageous ancestors -- need to be chucked overboard.

israel, i think, provides something of a model with the defection of ariel sharon and the formation of kadima, the better to isolate the wild-eyed fringe of likud led by beni natanyahu.

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james carville in the ft -- i sincerely hope the republican party listens to what he's saying. delusionally dumping the spectacular manifold failures of the GOP into the "mccain campaign" in an effort to avoid a more difficult but infinitely more rewarding self-examination is exactly what would be necessary to beget an utterly retarded "palin 2012" push. this party badly needs a teardown and rebuild.

but of course many thought the same of the democrats when in 2004 they could not manage to wrest the presidency from an already-dysfunctional bush administration. at that time i thought the democrats badly needed to find jesus and stay near the pragmatic center rather than drift ideologically leftwards. they've done that admirably in my view -- players like evan bayh and tim kaine are playing bigger roles. but many wondered if the party could -- and they did so without melting down.

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this is for the archive on palin. i will be extremely surprised if she has a career in politics when this is over -- if she does, it will only be because there are a lot of grassroots idiots who see her as some sort of celebrity-hero caricature, a right-wing madonna.

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look what i found in some archives:

"then, of course, even if kerry wins, the next important day becomes january 20, 2005 -- for the peaceful transfer of power in an increasingly radicalized society cannot be assumed."

even scarier today, 4 years later, eh, if obama wins?

my fear (and todd harrison at MV): bush and co. throw gas on the fire before they leave. maybe in the middle east?

oh, here's the link for the above quote:

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dc -- glad you're having fun in the archives -- i called that election poorly, though, and should remind myself of the lesson i learned then: polling is not a reliable indication of outcome!

indeed i think every transfer of power from here on out will be something to be watched. i don't think, however, that bush is in a good place to do so -- dictators generally ride a wave of populist demand, a la FDR's third term, and he hasn't even the support of his own party at this point. i cannot imagine petraeus -- whose support would probably be critical for any coup -- supporting it.

but i'll still have an eye open.

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from perrone: GM, did you catch Krugman's rather compelling argument today on why a nasty defeat is less likely to lead the republican party to some salutary soul searching (geez, pardon the alliteration) and more likely to empower the rump-dom wingnuts?

time for you to come on over, amigo -- most democrats have deep respect for the thoughtful, honorable conservatism you espouse.

or you guys should start your own party. three definitely wouldn't be a crowd, in that case. keep everybody more honest, maybe.

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i did, perrone, and here's what i emailed ccd about it:

it's not fair of him to hit at chambliss, who is generally one of the moderate republicans i (and presumably krugman) would like to see survive.

but it's hard not to see this as being the short-term effect. the close and losing races for incumbent republicans are all in moderate districts. it's broadly the fucksticks gerrymandered into airtight districts that would vote for a hitler/mussolini ticket if the GOP said so who are safe.

it took the democrats a good while to adjust to the reagan revolution, which was already a groundswell in 1976. it really wasn't until 1992 that they found clinton, who convincing ran as a new kind of centrist democrat. that's 12, maybe 16 years to clear out the deadwood.

it's taken GWB to push the GOP into the wilderness the way that carter did the democrats in 1980. they may go off the map for a while as krugman suggests, but i'd wager they -- or some kind of centrist conservative party -- will be back in the running by 2020.

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