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Blatt ’85 on Coakley ’75

Dan Blatt ’85 on Martha Coakley’s ’75 loss.

Perhaps, because I was dining with my fellow Ephs (graduates of Williams College) last night that I defended our fellow alum Martha Coakley as I had on this blog just after her defeat last week. She was waging the right kind of campaign for a special election in a jurisdiction which overwhelmingly favored her party.

When, however, she began to realize she had a race on her hands, her campaign had about ten days to shift strategies before voters trooped to the polls. Now, in the wake of her defeat in that overwhelmingly Democratic jurisdiction, national Democrats are already hitting the panic button even though there are more than nine months until Election Day. While Democrats don’t have the full length of a human gestation cycle to come up with a new strategy, they have time.

National Democrats don’t have the same excuse Mrs Coakley did. In that accelerated campaign, the Massachusetts Democrat didn’t have much time to shift strategy. Where Democrats have months, she had days. They’re hitting the panic button when they should be deciphering the results, reviewing the change in the electorate and developing a strategy to respond to those results and those changes.

I think that the debate over Coakley’s loss is one of the more interesting political discussions happening right now, as we have seen at EphBlog in recent threads. Consider John Judis writing at TNR:

The senior citizen vote overlaps to some extent with the white working-class vote, but it has a special importance because these voters come out disproportionately in midterm elections. If the Democrats continue to lose the senior vote, as Coakley appears to have done in Massachusetts yesterday, they will get clobbered in November 2010. We’re not talking two or three senate seats, but as many as eight, and not 20 or 25 House seats, but maybe between 30 and 40. To avoid a calamity on that level, Democrats will have to answer a difficult question: Why have these two groups distanced themselves in the last year, and particularly in the last few months, from Obama and the party?

Read the whole thing. Much of Judis’s argument (and neither he nor TNR are notably rightwing) parallels PTC’s claims about the “Townie Vote.”

But, as always, my favorite method for settling a debate like this is to use your position to make a forecast that might, or might not, come to pass. If the Democrats are crushed in November, then you would be hard-pressed to claim that Coakley’s campaign mistakes played a major role in her loss. On the other hand, if the Democrats do OK (lose some seats but not many), then those (like me) who think that Brown’s victory highlights major public disapproval of Obama/Democrats should admit that they were wrong. Any takers?

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#1 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki ’63 On January 31, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

It’s not too difficult to divine the reasons for Ms. Coakley’s loss in the recent special election in Massachusetts for the “Ted Kennedy” seat in the U.S. Senate. Her opponent ran an astute, well focused campaign based upon widespread disaffection for the Obama administration’s benighted effort to force its well left of center agenda through Congress. In addition, the high handed, far from mainstream, reign of Princess Pelosi (she of Botox fame) and Gen. Harry Reid, found that their style of leadership was not as popular as they had supposed. Factor in such major acts of folly such as trying as a criminal in our court system, a terrorist committing (or attempting to commit) an act of unspeakable horror in a foiled airliner bombing plot, as a mere criminal, “Mirada-izing” him after 50 minutes of productive interrogation, and you have a formula for an election day disaster.

Most Americans are tired of the large scale, trillion dollar deficits, which expand the role of the federal government beyond all reasonable limits. Mr. Obama and his inner circle of ideologues, are directly responsible for this mess. They “own” it now, despite their repeated bleatings that it is all George W. Bush’s fault.

I feel a certain degree of sympathy for fellow Eph, Martha Coakley, who is being subjected to the bombast of her Democratic “colleagues” who denigrate her recent failed campaign. These nay sayers have no further to look than to examine their own flawed and failing policies to identify the real reasons for the loss of the Senate seat. I expect that there will be more echoes of the coming debacle for the Democratic party at the polls this November. We’ll be watching this most interesting of elections for some time.

#2 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

comment deleted by it’s own author

#3 Comment By kthomas On January 31, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

@Peter S. Lewicki ’63:

Thanks for adding your comment.

You might consider the seriousness of the economic situation, from a distinctly Keynesean perspective:

[D]espite growth based on the fiscal stimulus during the latter part of 2009, the US economy will face serious problems to keep growing at rates consistent with significant job creation. This is because higher liquidity has not resolved the problem of low household income relative to debt. With high unemployment and record figures of foreclosures, consumption will fail to revive enough to put the economy on a steady growth path. The Fed’s policy to keep interest near zero confirms that the economy would need continuing fiscal support in order not to fall again. Although such support must not be put into doubt, the government will find it difficult at the same time to maintain confidence in the dollar and in US bonds, independent of the capacity of the Congress to support additional measures.

— Rogelio Ramirez de la O, Ecanal economic forecast, 21 Jan 2010

#4 Comment By Dick Swart On January 31, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

A sobering analysis from de la O.

NB and the link to Keynes:
http://www.ecanal.com.mx/aboutus

Thanks, Ken

#5 Comment By Derek On January 31, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

Jesus I am tired of this canard that trying an accused terrorist in a civilian court is somehow a failure. Let’s forget for one moment the accused terrorists tried in courts in the United States during the Bush years. Let’s instead consider the very real possibility that the United States neither invented nor discovered terrorism nor how to deal with terrorists. This is a lesson I try to imapart in my Global terrorism class, which I am teaching this fall and it is a solipsistic arrogance that I wish fewer Americans would fall into. Other countries have tried terrorists as criminals. And when they have not they have tended to make the mistake of becoming more draconian without necessarily becoming more effective (anyone ever hear of the IRA Hunger Strike?)

I have no idea why people are so afraid of letting the ideas of jihadists get exposed to sunlight, the greatest of all disinfectants. It’s a shame that people who will prattle on about American values are afraid to see those values enacted. Oh no — a terrorist might say bad things! And if he does so — what, exactly, happens? Suddenly the terrorists won’t like us? Suddenly they’ll be motivated to engage in terrorism against us? That will be the precipitating force? Really? Which trial was it that precipitated 9/11, exactly? I lovehow once a Democrat is in the White House it becomes ok to cast blame at America for the actions of terrorists, or to change American practices the changing of which once would have been letting the terrorists win.

But even more to the point, the assertion that the pending court case had anything whatsoever to do with Coakley’s loss is simply counterfactual sophistry. There is zero sign that terrorism of foreign policy was even close to a difference maker in the Massachusetts election — indeed, in the mind of voters both of those issues rank FAR behing the linked issues of poverty and unemployment, and though health care does not match those issues either, it is far more of a priority to more Americans than the court case in New York that has not happened yet and that motivated next to zero voters in that special election.

Meanwhile the idea that Obama is responsible for the current situation reveals who is the ideologue. It’s a cute little rhetorical device, but it hardly even adds up to the famous Colbertian “truthiness,” never mind anything even vaguely resembling truth. Obama has had his issues this year, but spending money during a recession is not one of them. I never thought I’d look back wistfully at the days when Karl Rove once famously pronounced that “deficits don’t matter.” Suddenly now conservatives get the old time religion that they have never actually practiced when in power.

Oh — and Obama is still more popular than Congress, and Democrats remain more popular than Republicans. I realize these facts are stubborn things for those who are spinning their own narratives, but they really ought to be taken into consideration by anyone interested in seriosuly discussing . . . oh, wait. That’s my mistake: Imbuing crap with a seriousness it does not warrant.

Never mind . . .

dcat

#6 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

Mr. Lewicki,

I am certain you did not intend your comment to read as a parody (as I first stated), but surely you see the irony of your reference to “Princess Pelosi” of “botox fame” in light of Mass. new “Centerfold Senator”.

As well, I believe your second paragraph suffers from more than a few typos and/or misplaced modifiers. I offer this correction:

Most American’s are tired of the large scale, trillion dollar deficits. And despite the repeated bleatings of the Republican idealogues that claim otherwise, this is all George W. Bush’s fault. However, beyond all reasonable limits, President Obama and his inner circle are now expected to “own” it.

#7 Comment By jeffz On January 31, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

Lewicki’s right, it is a pretty antiquated idea to try to afford accused criminals (whether they be “terrorists” or just ordinary mass-murders, child rapists, and Bernie Madoffs) with those antiquated things like “rights.” Better to just torture to death anyone that we suspect of terrorism, as some here have suggested, and while we are at it, all other evil-doers (I mean, if torture is fine for non-Americans, why not employ it on Americans as well? just by making you American, does that make you less torture-worthy, I mean come one, aren’t we tougher than that! torture ALL bad guys, just dispose of due process, it was a stupid idea in the first place) — sure, we’ll occasionally end up torturing, killing, and imprisoning without charges for years someone who is innocent, but that is just the kind of “small government” the right apparently now things the United States should be embracing. Because I KNOW the right thinks that the federal gov’t NEVER makes a mistake, so why should we worry that they might mistakenly lock up and interrogate the wrong guy. The mantra of the right is, after all, the gov’t needs MORE power and can do no wrong! Right?

And I guess the right thinks it is OK for American soldiers, once captured, to be indefinitely imprisoned without being charged, and themselves tortured, right? I guess you are willing to send a message to the world that the U.S. is all for violation of international human rights when convenient or when it can be justified by a technicality, and that, if they are not pleased with our soldiers occupying their land, often with great civilian casualties as a result, they should just torture away, right? Because believe me, just as we don’t like Muslim terrorists, I promise you that much of the Muslim world thinks no better of occupying American soldiers, and how could we complain if our guys are tortured and held indefinitely, when we embrace the same policy?

Let me ask you a question — if you and your comrades in arms are so convinced that Obama, Pelosi, and the rest of the people in power are anti-American Bolsheviks happy to destroy the U.S., and can’t be trusted, what makes you so confident they will capture, torture, and hold without charging the right people? I mean, if they are so bent on the destruction of this great country, aren’t they more likely to be using their power to take down great patriots like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh? Actually, on second thought, maybe you guys are right — MORE power to the government to violate basic human rights!! Never mind my earlier rant …

Here is another question — how many basic, fundamental principles are worth violating on the off chance (albeit unlikely, given all the evidence that torture doesn’t work) that it could save American lives? At a certain point, shouldn’t we place value on WHAT exactly it is we are defending, meaning more than just our power and our property and our people, but also our principles??

#8 Comment By frank uible On January 31, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

If my children or grandchildren are the people in question, then certainly it is people over principle.

#9 Comment By JeffZ On January 31, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

I’d rather my progeny live in a country that values basic human rights and in which they have a 99.9998 percent chance of being safe from terrorism, as opposed to a country like, say, Iran, even if they might be 99.9999 percent safe there. Of course, even this equation is hypothetical, and I actually don’t concede that holding people indefinitely without charging them while torturing them makes us any safer at all …

#10 Comment By Brandi ’07 On January 31, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

I liked the part where the first poster talked about how easy it was to divine the reasons, then he listed his reasons.

That was my favorite part of the story.

Mainly because I learned that divinin’ ain’t easy.

Devine, also.

#11 Comment By Brandi ’07 On January 31, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

Jeffz:

North Korea is safe too. Also, they have those great mass gymnastic festivities.

#12 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

@Brandi ’07:

Though Coakley’s opponent did run a divine campaign,
focused well…just right of [the] center.

#13 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

Oh…and someone needs to inform Mr. Lewicki, that it is “President Obama”, not “Mr. Obama”.

Talk about “high-handed naysayers”…SMH…

#14 Comment By Brandi ’07 On January 31, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

New York Times style says “Mr. Obama”. I heard have also referred to Meatloaf as Mr. Loaf. That is not confirmed.

So, he is not wrong about that.

#15 Comment By Ronit On January 31, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

@Brandi ’07: NPR also refers to him as Mr. Obama, and has done so with all Presidents since the 1970s:

http://www.npr.org/ombudsman/2009/12/why_do_you_call_him_mr_obama.html

#16 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 9:21 pm

@Brandi ’07:

I suppose I was being hard on Mr. Lewicki. Though I think there might be some etiquette about “Mr.” being okay as a second reference within the same piece?

Plus, if you are going to grant Ms. Pelosi the lofty title of “Princess”, it only seems fair to address POTUS as “President”.

#17 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

Okay…time for me to turn in for the night, I guess. Now that I’m properly educated on “web scraping” and the proper way to refer to “Mr.” Obama.

#18 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On January 31, 2010 @ 9:28 pm

Man, rough audience. Give the ‘noob some room to breath.

#19 Comment By Dick Swart On January 31, 2010 @ 9:46 pm


And … “his name is Robert Paulson”.

I can’t find that soap at the store anymore!

#20 Comment By nuts On January 31, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

Does anyone know if the usage ‘Princess’ as title for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is correct according to the NY Times style guide?

How does one reasonably use elective medical procedure in a debate about politics to prove or disprove the proposition that Coakley’s loss is a presage of Democratic losses in November? I want to know because I want to cite House Minority Leader’s oompa loompa brush on tan as a pejorative that compels others to my way of thinking. If it’s a fallacy then so be it.

#21 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

@Ronit:
@Brandi:

From Ronit’s link:

NPR has used Mister as the alternative term of respect on second (and subsequent) references to the president of the United States for decades,” Ron Elving, NPR’s senior supervising editor of the Washington desk, told Ombudsman Alicia Shepard. “I personally have been Washington editor for three presidents and we have done it consistently through this time.”

#22 Comment By nuts On January 31, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

I think I’m beginning to understand that when the Senate Majority leader and Speaker of the House are Democrats then they are “General” and “Princess” as a means of showing disrespect and contempt for them.

Regarding “the bombast of her Democratic “colleagues” who denigrate her recent failed campaign,” it would seem as though Democrats are not only responsible for all ideologically driven policy and the soaring national debt but also the bombast of political rhetoric, even here among Ephs on Ephblog. Welcome idealogue.

#23 Comment By Ronit On January 31, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

I thought “Gen. Harry Reid” was a compliment.

#24 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

@ Ronit:

I would check with NPR on that. They are an excellent source, IMO. :-)

#25 Comment By Brandi ’07 On January 31, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

If we’re gonna talk about politics, can we talk about the stern talkin’ to Mr. President Obama gave to the GOP during his speed dating/Q & A the other day.

I think I sort of understand how he felt when ever we talk about what happened to Attorney General Runner-Up Senator Martha Coakley.

#26 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

@Your Royal Highness Brandi ’07:

You left out Eph when referring to Att. Gen. R-U Sen. M. Coakley.

Even Mr. Peter S. Lewicki ’63 didn’t make that mistake.

But, now that it’s been established….let’s call her EAGR Martha for short. Surely she won’t mind?

As for Pres. Obama, I quite liked his tone with the GOP, and hope to see more of the same. Especially great was the way he cut short the Texan dude, what’s his name…

#27 Comment By Ronit On January 31, 2010 @ 11:56 pm

@Brandi ’07: The Q&A was great. I wish the US had a regular UK-style Question Time. You rarely see US Presidents break the royal pose and get into an actual face-to-face argument, and I thought His Excellency Mr. Obama acquitted himself remarkably well.

#28 Comment By Brandi ’07 On February 1, 2010 @ 12:42 am

My favorite parlimentary moment is from Canada. It happened the day after the Oscars in ’07. An MP said something like, “and the award for bad environmental choices goes to…” then he pulled out and envelope, opened it and said a name. The the Speaker banged his gavel and reprimanded the MP for using props on the floor. Everyone laughed. It was awesome.

I wish we had questions time and there was heckling allowed. In the UK an MP compared the PM (was it Brown or Blair?) to Mr. Bean during questions and it was also awesome.

I still need to watch the full Obama questions which I will now do since I’ve made it back to my home.

#29 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki ’63 On February 3, 2010 @ 2:33 am

In rejoinder to the various replies to my blog entry, I offer the following observation: Scott Brown won the election.

The reasons for his victory are being debated and in all likelihood we will not soon know with any degree of certainty what really moved the Massachusetts electorate to make such a dramatic change from past voting habits. Unless the upcoming November 2010 elections provide us with more definitive answers.

Also, I want to thank those of you who posted on this blog in response to my blog entry which apparently was (1) perhaps not as polished an effort as some of you would like [I apologize for any typos or stylistic lapses, they were unintentional]; (2) using “Mr.” instead of “President” in reference to President Obama in every instance [what a simply beastly and terrible faux pas that was]; (3) my failure to hold Keynesian economics in the highest regard instead of my preference for the Austrian school of economics [everyone knows after taking Econ 101 that Lord Keynes’ theories are unassailable, don’t they?]; and (4) equating the denial of constitutional protections to terrorists with “torture” [imagine that, asking pointed questions, of someone who almost succeeded in blowing up an airliner filled with innocent passengers but for the intervention of another passenger].

I also believe that if one checks the facts as to the amount of the fiscal year deficit when George W. Bush left office, and compares it to the deficits that are mounting to truly historic levels under the current administration, one will conclude that there was almost a doubling of the deficit for the current year, and that trend looks to continue for many years to come. At the end of the day, the solution to the current economic crisis is not to be found with yet more and more (and massive) government spending resulting in a grossly expanded national debt.

In conclusion, it is apparent that the Massachusetts special election just passed, has stimulated a healthy debate and has raised questions about deeply held beliefs held by many in the commonwealth of Massachusetts and in other basically one-party states who have assumed that Democrats will always succeed and Republicans and independents are fated to fail in the current political climate. This assumption will be tested at the polls.

Oh, a final note should be added, if that is acceptable on this blog. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, received the honorary rank of “General” due to his pronuniciamento concerning the “loss” of Iraq. Echoes of how little credence was given to the military strategy of the surge by the nay sayers on the left prior to the success that the surge achieved in allowing an exit strategy for Iraq to emerge.

One waits to hear what the General has to say about the current quagmire in Afghanistan. He might have to offer his opinion before November 2010 in order to be able to do so as a U.S. Senator.

For those who might be interested in some historical perspective on that country, I recommend reading, “Into the Land of Bones, Alexander the Great in Afghanistan” by Frank L. Holt [University of California Press, 2006 paperback edition]. This book describes in broad historical analysis, not only Alexander’s failure to conquer the tribes of Bactria (roughly what is now Afghanistan), but also, the costly and sorrowful experience of the Russian and British empires struggling for domination in the “Great Game” with respect to the same territory, and finally the Soviet invasion from 1979 to 1989, ending in total failure and perhaps causing the evil empire to fall apart in 1991.

I look forward to all of your poignant and pointed comments in rejoinder to this modest effort at a spirited, but reasonably genteel discussion of this important topic.

#30 Comment By JeffZ On February 3, 2010 @ 6:32 am

Here’s what I will say in response. Scott Brown won, in one state, a special election. Barack Obama, whose agenda was no huge secret or anything, won a NATIONAL election in all 50 states just ONE YEAR ago. Yet, as he so astutely pointed out this week when he totally housed GOP Congressmen in front of a national audience, from day one of his administration, the entire GOP philosophy has been to oppose any and every policy the Obama administration hopes to pursue, usually in pathetically (yet sadly, effective) inflammatory terms. Bill Maher got it right — if the Dems REALLY wanted health care to pass, they should have just opposed it, and then the GOP would have eagerly signed on. I’m not going to deny that the tactics are effective. But personally, I can’t take seriously the reflexive opposition of a party, the majority of whose members actually believe that (a) Obama wants the terrorists to win, (b) Obama is not an American citizen, and (c) Obama is a marxist. The GOP has truly become a puerile party, crying wah wah wah, shouting NO as loudly as possible. That is apparently the party philosophy at this point. I believe the Dems are finally starting to get the messenging and the focus of the agenda right in the last few weeks. Keep it up, and don’t cowtow to those on the right that are going to be against simply for the sake of being against. Obama also corrected many of the fiscal fictions being tossed around.

But what it comes down to is this — the party supposedly concerned with deficits is (a) responsible, under Presidents Reagan and Bush II, for creating the VAST majority of our current national debt [FACT], (b) opposed even the creation of a bipartisan commission to come up with solutions to the deficit (what a joke), and (c) has never made a serious proposal to balance a budget (which would HAVE to include cutting social security and medicair spending — sacred cows for both parties — and HAVE to roll back Bush tax cats and raise taxes further on the uber rich and on outsized inheritences. Discretionary spending is a drop in the bucket compared to the revenue side and especially compared to entitlement spending. Until we make common sense entitlement reforms like rolling, gradually, social security eligibility back to 70, means testing social security, reforming medical costs for more emphasis on prevention as opposed to enormously expensive late-in-life care, and so on, the GOP simply should admit that they are a pro-huge-deficit party. Because that is what they’ve proven to be, more even than dems, every time they’ve governed.

#31 Comment By Brandi ’07 On February 3, 2010 @ 6:35 am

@JeffZ: This.

#32 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki ’63 On February 3, 2010 @ 10:35 am

Response to JeffZ:

True, Scott Brown one in one state, but you are omitting to mention several things.

First, that Brown’s victory came against very heavy odds in a traditionally and “reflexively” Democrat stronghold. Scott Brown came from far behind in the polls in an exceptionally short period of time prior to the election. Why? The facts here are problems for your viewpoint since the health care debate focused people’s attention on the “top down” method of governing by the current administration, the secret deals cut with Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, the behind closed doors Chicago-style politics (with the insurance industry to garner their support, with AARP which caved in to the blandishments offered by the Obama White House), etc. There were other issues which resonated with the American people, e.g., the Christmas Day bombing attempt, which reminded voters that all of us are far from safe as we travel not only abroad, but here in this country, due to security lapses. I need only mention the fact that the U.S. State Department had been warned by the attempted bomber’s own father about his son’s radicalism and threats, yet no action was taken.

Second, you are ignoring in your response to my post other elections, implying that the Scott Brown victory was an isolated occurrence. The past November’s gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia are cases in point. A former federal prosecutor, Chris Christie, won a stunning victory against incumbent governor Corzine, and in Virginia, Bob McDonnell also won, placing a Republican in a key swing state governor’s office for the 1st time since 1997. Perhaps, one senses a trend here?

Third, I beg to differ with your analysis that only the Republicans have been largely responsible for the massive public debt hobbling our country’s ability to mount an economic recovery. While you cite some truths (discretionary spending being a small fraction of the problem, etc.), there is no real debate about the fact that when George W. Bush left office, the deficit included TARP emergency funding -to be repaid, in fact $500 billion of the $700 billion TARP funds have already been repaid. Even with the TARP funding included, the total deficit was no more than $800 billion as Bush left office. When President Obama stepped in, one of his first legislative priorities was to sponsor another $300 billion spending program for supposedly “shovel ready” largely pork barrel spending and unlike the TARP spending, will not be repaid to the government, ever. Other massive government spending will now push up the current deficit to truly staggering levels (current estimates are a deficit of $1.4 trillion this year, and more trillions of red ink in the future years to come. We, as a nation, simply have to address this issue soon, it won’t go away by itself.

I note that implicit in JeffZ’s commentary, a distinctly Keynesian bias. It was as if there was never an example of broad, across the board cuts in marginal tax rates having a very positive effect on hiring and economic activity. In my other life as a tax attorney, I can tell you that the effect of such tax relief has always been very favorable for economic decisions made by the clients I represent and have represented over 40 years of experience. Government confusion, lack of a firm policy and the resultant consternation in the business community, will continue to have a pronounced deleterious impact on our economy. We need to get our act together soon, or it will be too late. I personally see a long “lost decade” here in America, similar to the economic malaise besetting one of our biggest trade partners, Japan.

In the spirit of good will, let’s all join together to get our politicians to start communicating with one another, instead of having “wood shed” moments of accusation and cross accusations like the one we just witnessed between Obama and Republican congressmen and congresswomen. We deserve much better than that.

#33 Comment By rory On February 3, 2010 @ 10:41 am

also, it appears that treating the underwear bomber as a criminal has led to more and better information than we would have gotten had we not treated him as such.

so, umm…yeah, that point doesn’t stand up under scrutiny either.

I also find it somewhat amusing that conservatives/republicans can’t even acknowledge that the economy seems to have started to rebound. By the 2010 elections, there’s a good chance the electorate will feel differently (Obama’s approval ratings have shot back up, too, i might add).

#34 Comment By JeffZ On February 3, 2010 @ 10:51 am

Quickly:

(1) Bush tried tax cuts for the rich. Can we all agree that didn’t help the economy in the slightest?

(2) I am from NJ. The defeat of Corzine was anything but “stunning.” NJ has a huge culture of political corruption that people were sick of, and Corzine was ENORMOUSLY unpopular all on his own. And Deeds ran an atrocious campaig in Virginia. If the Democrats had three very different candidates in Mass, VA, and NJ, they could easily have won all three races. I think it is far more relevant that, in the last two NATIONAL elections, in 2006 and 2008, the Democrats had absolute MASSIVE electoral victories. If you are really interested in respecting the will of the voters, you have to recognize that as a massive repudiation of what the GOP stands for and accomplished. But you and the GOP have not. So why should the Dems care about three states, each of which featured (at best) flawed candidates running (without any doubt) awful campaigns?

(3) You mean the “Chicago style” politics that has already led this administration to be FAR more transparent (even if not yet perfect in this regard) than the “Texas style” politics of the Bush administration, right??

(4) I agree that finger pointing and cross-accusations doesn’t help anything. But when your opponents falsely brand you as a Marxist, pro-terrorism advocate of death panels who is responsible for an economic crisis that you actually inherited and to some degree averted, who isn’t even born in this country, you can’t just sit there and take it. Dems already learned that lesson the hard way in 2004. You either fight back, or face irrelevance.

#35 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki ’63 On February 3, 2010 @ 11:02 am

Response to JeffZ:

Yes, there are always reasons for political campaign reverses. But ignoring a trend with excuses about NJ corruption (there is no dispute there), Virginia campaigning, Massachusetts campaigning, etc., ignores the larger issue of a discernible trend coming into play. If the Democratic strategists want to ignore this fact, so be it.

The Obama administration, including his exceptionally benighted chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, is far from “transparent”. I don’t know what else one can reasonably conclude from the history of the currently proposed 2,000 + page health care proposal now before Congress. Accusations about Republican past misdeeds in the same department are not a logical argument in support of the current administration, only perhaps an implicit admission that all of the politicians deserve to be the subject of opprobrium from all of us.

Fortunately, our system of government enables us to “throw the bums out” every 2 years and every 4 years. I take it that you will not be voting for the Republican challenger in 2012, and that is your privilege and right.

#36 Comment By frank uible On February 3, 2010 @ 11:07 am

Never complain, never explain.

#37 Comment By Derek On February 3, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

Peter —
Foir the love of God, can you and people of your ilk stop repeating this brazen falsehood: “First, that Brown’s victory came against very heavy odds in a traditionally and “reflexively” Democrat stronghold.” How many freaking times do I have to point out that the supposed Democratic stronghold you are discussing had Republican governors for virtually all of the 1990s and well into the 2000s. Get your damned facts straight if you’re going to try to pawn off garbage as jewelry.

Why does no one acknowledsge the NY 23rd District? It was the GOP and Fox new that said that tat race would be a national referendum. And in a diehard Republican region the GOP teabagger lost. So much for the talk of a referendum.

In any case, let me bring you back to the halcyon days of February 2, 2008, the exact same distance before the 2008 election as we are from the midterms. At that point Rudolph Giuliani and Hillary Clinton were both preparing their acceptance speeches as prohibitive favorites. How’d that work? Even with all that has gone on, while the Democrats will inevitably lose seats in this election, accrding to Congressional Quarterly, they should carry both houses quite easily. Why do I imagine that when that happens the standard for “referendum” will change again?

As for the length of the health care bill, why do people keep bringing this up as if it is an actual issue? There are lots and lotsof long bill,s but more to the point, have you actually seen these pages? They are in something like 14 point font and are quadruple spaced. In normal 12-point font and double spacing they would be a quarter as long. Could we stop trafficking in ignorance for once?

dcat

#38 Comment By frank uible On February 3, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

Registered Dems in MA outnumber registered Republicans there 3 to 1.

#39 Comment By Derek On February 3, 2010 @ 12:34 pm

Frank —
So what? The voters of Massachusetts have consciously voted for Republicans as Governor. Mitt Romney and Bill Weld reached national status as a result. How people register matters less than how people vote if we are talking abnout, you know, elections.

Is this somehow confusing?

dcat

#40 Comment By Derek On February 3, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

Oh — and the majority of registered voters in Massachusetts are Independents.

dcat

#41 Comment By kthomas On February 3, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

Hi Ronit. Got all the above, just a little late.

#42 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki ’63 On February 3, 2010 @ 11:30 pm

To Derek:

First, I do not appreciate being referred to “you and people of your ilk” implying that my blog entries are not worthy of serious and thoughtful discourse among rational and well intentioned people. The tone of your remarks is not helpful to your arguments. I think it would be much more productive to refrain from ad hominem comments on this blog.

Second, I take issue with your characterization of Massachusetts as anything other than a Democratic stronghold. I believe that the state legislature (as good an indicator as any as to the complexion of the state’s electorate), is 90% Democrat. That speaks volumes about the truth of matter irrespective of your citing two governorships being held by Republicans over the past how many years?

Third, the race in NY’s 23d district was sui generis, and indicative of no trend that I am aware of, in fact the unique manner in which that race was held, including an on the eve of the election withdrawal of one of the candidates, replaced by a last minute stand in, as I recall, makes this an easily distinguishable aberrant political example.

Finally, very few pieces of legislation that go through Congress have the length and the complexity that the numerous health care proposals which ended up as two versions of the same legislation, one passed by the House of Representatives and one by the Senate. It would be instructive to learn how many of our solons actually read the entire bill passed by each chamber before voting on it (this applies to both political parties’ representatives and senators).

In sum, I don’t believe that the viewpoint you espouse is consistent with my views, in either a broad sense or from a narrow political perspective, but that’s politics.

#43 Comment By nuts On February 4, 2010 @ 12:38 am

@Ronit: It’s a popular idea. You can be counted as a advocate here:

http://www.demandquestiontime.com

#44 Comment By PTC On February 4, 2010 @ 12:54 am

As stated, I do not think this is a reflection of anger against Obama, it is a reaction to the extreme left positions of Coakley. I always felt she was a vulnerable candidate.

No doubt people are angry at gov in general right now…

Anyone who thinks they can call this coming election cycle right now because of this election is a damn fool in my opinion.. you’ll only get lucky if you do… it is volatile as hell.

#45 Comment By nuts On February 4, 2010 @ 5:38 am

“Obama should turn up the heat on both the G.O.P’s record of fiscal recklessness and its mad-dog obstructionism.”

#46 Comment By rory On February 4, 2010 @ 8:54 am

@Peter S. Lewicki ’63: I hate to use you as the example, especially because you’ve only done this once on this blog, but, such is life/blogging.

I am exhausted (its no longer amusing) by the ability of some, predominantly on the right, who cast ad hominem attacks (Princess Pelosi) and then cry when that same form of political framing/attacking is used against them later.

If you got yourself in the mud, frankly, you have only yourself to blame when your clothes come out dirty.

#47 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki ’63 On February 4, 2010 @ 10:19 am

To Rory: Sorry to be so annoying to you on the use of an admittedly ad hominem label for House Speaker Pelosi, but you might factor in the following item in deciding whether the identifier, “Princess” fits as a reasonably accurate description of her sense of entitlement:

“…Last year, Judicial Watch made big news by exposing Nancy Pelosi’s boorish demands for military travel. According to the internal DOD correspondence we uncovered the Speaker has been treating the U.S. Air Force as her own personal airline. And not only was her staff demanding, arrogant and rude, but the Speaker cost taxpayers a lot of money by making last minute cancellations and changes to the itinerary.
This week, Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Air Force that shed a bit more light on this ugly story.
According to the documents, which we obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Speaker’s military travel cost the Air Force $2,100,744.59 over a two-year period – $101,429.14 for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. (Lots and lots of alcohol.) The following are highlights from the recent release of about 2,000 documents, which you can readhere:
• Speaker Pelosi used Air Force aircraft to travel back to her district at an average cost of $28,210.51 per flight. The average cost of an international congressional delegation (CODEL) is $228,563.33. Of the 103 Pelosi-led CODELs, 31 trips included members of the House Speaker’s family.
• One CODEL traveling from Washington, D.C. through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq from May 15-20, 2008, “to discuss matters of mutual concern with government leaders” included members of Congress and their spouses and cost $17,931 per hour in aircraft alone. Purchases for the CODEL included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.
• According to a “Memo for Record” from a CODEL March 29 – April 7, 2007, that involved a stop in Israel, “CODEL could only bring Kosher items into the Hotel. Kosher alcohol for mixing beverages in the Delegation room was purchased on the local economy i.e. Bourbon, Whiskey, Scotch, Vodka, Gin, Triple Sec, Tequila, etc.”
• The Department of Defense advanced a CODEL of 56 members of Congress and staff $60,000 to travel to Louisiana and Mississippi July 19-22, 2008, to “view flood relief advances from Hurricane Katrina.” The three-day trip cost the U.S. Air Force $65,505.46, exceeding authorized funding by $5,505.46.
If you have a moment, take a look at the documents for yourself. And pay special attention to the receipts, noting the large quantities of food and alcohol purchased at taxpayer expense. Doesn’t it seem as if the Speaker’s congressional delegations are more about partying than anything else? It certainly seems that way to me.
At the heart of the issue of corruption, is a sense of entitlement on the part of our elected officials. Nancy Pelosi clearly believes she deserves special treatment at taxpayer expense. This message comes across loud and clear in the disrespect she has demonstrated towards the U.S. Air Force and the American taxpayer….”

“Ad hominem”? Perhaps. But, I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

#48 Comment By rory On February 4, 2010 @ 10:40 am

Honestly, Peter, the point is really simple:

if you’re going to throw around snide labels and terms, regardless of their validity, don’t get all whiny and defensive when others do the same to you. Ad hominem as a term/claim of logical fallicy applies whether or not one believes the critique is valid.
Whether or not Pelosi is a stuck-up entitled Speaker from San Francisco who uses Botox is irrelevant to whether or not democrats have run good campaigns in Massachusetts, Virginia, NY, or wherever else. In short, ad hominem is this:
Person 1 makes claim X
There is something objectionable about Person 1
Therefore claim X is false

You did that with Pelosi and Reid and when Derek kinda did it back to you, you got defensive. Sorry. Shed those crocodile tears elsewhere.

it’d also be better if you presented the (a href= ‘http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7283476’> full story including Pelosi’s explanation instead of just the juice details. The best quote:

“SEABROOK: Pelosi has another ally in this, President Bush. She says he’s repeatedly told her she needs extra security, and today White House press secretary Tony Snow called this whole story silly and unfair to the speaker.

Mr. TONY SNOW (White House Press Secretary): I think this is much ado about not a whole lot. It is important for the speaker to have this kind of protection in travel. It was certainly appropriate for Speaker Hastert, and so we trust that all sides will get this worked out.”

You and your ilk now sounds more and more truthful the deeper i bother to delve, quite honestly.

#49 Comment By jeffz On February 4, 2010 @ 10:44 am

PTC, I continue to think the truth is somewhere in the middle of Coakley’s campaign in particular, and the national mood in general (I think had EITHER been different, she would have won). But I have heard NOT ONE credible analyst of what happened to Coakely claim that her purported “far left” positions were at issue. Being to the left on abortion, gun control, women’s rights, and so on did not hurt Coakley, just as it didn’t hurt Kennedy before her. A combination of (1) being seen as an establishment choice in a virulently angry and anti-establishment political climate, (2) a minority party that is VERY motivated after a series of crushing electoral defeats via a complacent democratic base, (3) seeing this election as a referendum on a health care plan that is little understood, poorly messaged, and flawed in certain ways to the point where lots of people became single-issue voters and she was on the wrong side of most of them, (4) her lack of personal flash especially relative to the handsome and charismatic Brown (who himself ran a masterful campaign) and (5) a poorly-run and overconfident campaign did her in. The one actual policy area I will grant that you were critical of, that did seem to hurt her, were issues related to the Fells Acre case.

I am 99 percent confident that, had she started campaigning aggressively sooner, defined Brown before it seemed like desperate negativity at the zero hour, not said what she said about Fenway and Schilling, just generally was seen as pressing the flesh and connecting to voters rather than going to DC for last-ditch fundraisers, she would have done fine. Whether overconfidence or just an aversion to campaiging (and really, she is not a natural / in her comfort zone in that arena like Brown), Coakley and her team messed up in that regard. People weren’t voting against her abortion or gun control positions, and the vast majority were not focused on her record as a prosecutor, or at least those who were, would have been in the minority of voters in Mass who would oppose ANY democratic candidate. The independants and dems who swung towards Brown are not concerned with those issues. Your obsessive and radical right wing gun fetish (which I am done arguing about substantively on here as we’ve both more than said our piece) is not embraced by a majority of voters in places like Massachusetts, D.C., etc., although it is certainly shared in places like Montana and the South. Nor is being to the left on abortion a losing position in Mass.

#50 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki, ’63 On February 4, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

To Rory:

Thank you for your observations on “ad hominem”. On the other hand, using such terms as “Princess” and “General” are far less objectionable than the use of such pejorative phrases as “you and people of your ilk”. That latter phraseology is far beneath the dignity that one blogger ought to give to another. The Speaker of the House, and the Majority Leader of the Senate are public figures, and are held to high standards of competence, actions in the public interest in the broadest political sense and avoiding controversies that interfere with discharging the public service they owe to all of us. I maintain that the use of the term, “Princess” and “General” are to be taken in the sense that they were used, injecting a bit of humor in this blog, many entries in which are strikingly devoid of humor and apparently also lacking in good taste.

Therefore, I will endeavor to elevate the discourse here in future, as I have diligently tried to do in the past.

Finally, with respect to your major point, i.e., that such comments are fair afield of the subject of this blog, point well taken, though those comments by this blogger were meant to illustrate the larger point I make. Meaning that the election losses in Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey are not totally the fault of the candidates themselves, but are a symptom of the rejection at the polls by independent and libertarian voters who are being moved to the center of the political spectrum by the issues that I have identified, e.g., the health care debate, the security issues, the bailouts, and so forth.

Until those issues are addressed in a way in which voters will be comfortable, I maintain that Democrat candidates for public office will face an uphill batter to maintain their positions in power, or fall to be elected in the first place. The recent withdrawal of such Democrat power brokers and Chris Dodd is a case in point.

#51 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 5, 2010 @ 2:40 am

Therefore, I will endeavor to elevate the discourse here in future, as I have diligently tried to do in the past.

It has been my experience that those who are capable of elevating the conversation, do just that.

#52 Comment By JeffZ On February 5, 2010 @ 8:37 am

Before I can even take seriously a single Republican who claims to be concerned about deficits, “pork barrel” spending, balanced budget, government restraint, and the like, I’d like to see the GOP call out its own members on this unprecedented nonsense:

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/02/senate_shark_jump_announced.php#more?ref=fpblg

So basically, a single GOP Senator is holding hostage EVERY single administrative appointment to line his own state’s coffers. And nary a peep in protest from other Republicans. Party of fiscal responsibility, my ass. What a joke.

(Not to mention, their refusal to entertain a bi-partisan balanced budget task force, and their just-released budget plan which balances the federal budget … in FIFTY YEARS. Ya-huh.)

#53 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki ’63 On February 5, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

To JeffZ: First of all, you do not know how I vote. I vote for the best person regardless of party. You apparently may be a dyed in the wool Democrat, in favor of big government, massive federal spending, and ever increasing interference in the private sector by government intervention. I could be wrong on this observation, and if so, I would gladly change my mind on where you stand politically and from an economic standpoint.

You may want to pay more attention to what is happening across this country on the financial side of the ledger and the political fallout from our parlous state of the economy. We may be witnessing the birth of a third party, an alternative to big spending government officials and Congresses that know no limits. One can only hope that this country sees the light and ceases to spend its future wildly in a paroxysm of frenzied “throw the money at the problem” activity. Maybe a third party is the way to make both Democrats and Republicans come to their senses.

For example, ask ourselves what will happen to the recently repaid $500 billion in TARP funds. Will it be spent on Afghanistan? Or, on resuscitating the zombie money center banks whose balance sheet (and off balance sheet lurking disasters) are still stuffed with toxic waste in the form of hopelessly valueless or nearly so credit default swaps, mortgage backed securities secured with stunningly, financially underwater properties, etc. Or, maybe the odd trillion dollars here or there thrown at new programs that tickle the fancy of those currently in power, could instead be saved or rather not printed by the madly whirring government printing presses, or more accurately, not called into being digitally by our Fed.

All of us should unite on the principle of fiscal responsibility, be they Democrat, Republican, libertarian or other party affiliation, or plain and simple independents. Elect those who will stop this mad rush to diminish the value of our currency, spend our future generations’ patrimony, and reduce this country’s standard of living to unrecognizable depths. If we don’t, then heaven help us.

An olive branch is extended to you if you will agree to the latter point.

#54 Comment By Ronit On February 5, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

@Peter S. Lewicki ’63: I think fiscal responsibility (read as: increasing taxes, lowering spending) is a foolish and counterproductive policy at this point.

#55 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki ’63 On February 5, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

To Ronit:

Thanks for your comment.

Who said anything about raising taxes? And spending? Sounds to me like more debt and currency cheapening. More debt got us into this mess in the 1st place, so I’m not in favor of that. I am in favor of giving incentives to the free markets, and that includes cutting back on wasteful spending. As to taxes, I can see a legitimate argument there, but I am in favor of reduction of marginal tax brackets as a way of giving the private sector some assurance that the rug will not be pulled out from underneath it, and then, businesses (especially small business which is the backbone of our economy) can begin hiring again. Apparently, that philosophical approach is not too popular right now among the powers that be in Washington, D.C. That may change over time.

#56 Comment By rory On February 5, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

@Peter S. Lewicki ’63: detail exactly what “wasteful spending” you speak of and how much would be saved.

#57 Comment By nuts On February 6, 2010 @ 2:51 am


@Peter S. Lewicki, ’63:

On the other hand, using such terms as “Princess” and “General” are far less objectionable than the use of such pejorative phrases as “you and people of your ilk”.

Princess, are you really going to make the argument that a less objectionable perjorative aimed by you at someone else is not nearly as offensive as the perjorative aimed at you, “you and people of your ilk”, which is to say ‘you and people like you’?

What is it that being like you and being told so is an insult?

#58 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki, ’63 On February 8, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

To Rory:

Wasteful spending? I think that that term has become synonymous with federal spending at most levels. Start with earmarks. That category is a good beginning. Then, how about redirecting the $500 billion in TARP repayments, e.g., the $30 billion “lending facility” to small business (though a laudable goal, this is not the way to accomplish it). Then, how about the reluctance to freeze federal spending across the board instead of to no more than 3% of the federal budget?

Then, how about the alleged “jobs bill” now being considered by Congress. This legislation is larded with excess. Or, how about not spending the alleged “shovel ready” 2nd stimulus package, already in place?

One could go on, but like Sisyphus we as sinners in the spending department would be condemned in Tartarus to an eternity of rolling a boulder uphill then watching it roll back down again. As it rolls back down the hill, the budget will flatten us all. Just a matter of time.

#59 Comment By rory On February 8, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

@Peter S. Lewicki, ’63: earmarks are a tiny percentage of the budget, hypothetical money (we don’t know what that 500 billion will be used for), and the “alleged “jobs bill” being considered” are all such a small part of the bigger problem, that I just can’t care too much about them.

Talk to me about fiscal responsibility when you’re willing to radically reform health care and our military budgets, which account for, by far, the largest part of our budget. The US does not need to keep building a better way to destroy the entire world, nor do we need to continue to have one of the most monetarily inefficient health care systems in the developed world. Earmarks are a drop in the bucket.

And why not continue the stimulus efforts of a jobs bill and a 2nd stimulus package? The stimulus has not only stabilized the market, but has provided a faster than expected stabilization of unemployment and move back towards a less ridiculous level of unemployment. Far better use of funds than pretty much anything else I can think of right now.

#60 Comment By jeffz On February 8, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

What Rory said … I always find it interesting that the same fiscal conservative who freak out over the Gov’t spending money on, say, education also almost uniformly freak out if the already-astronomical military budget does not continue to grow astronomically. In fact one thing I am displeased with this administration on is that cutting the military budget, or at the very least level-funding it, is not on the table. We simply can’t afford the size of the military we are now funding each year.

#61 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki ’63 On February 9, 2010 @ 3:18 am

To Rory and Jeff:

“Hypothetical money” a new term enters the lexicon. You really ought to spend more time studying what is happening in this economy. Then, you would know that the Fed’s printing presses, and the wholesale inflating of our dollar is the real danger, not the bogeyman that you are frightened of. Sorry, we will never agree. Earmarks are a way that the politicians can garner support by wasteful spending on their home districts. The late Rep. John Murtha was a master at spending wasteful dollars on his SW Penna. district. There are many others. I was replying to a query about wasteful spending in a previous blog entry. I stand on the examples I cited.

#62 Comment By kthomas On February 9, 2010 @ 3:41 am

Ronit:

Taking up a previous topic:

If the US begins to print money– what do you think, the leaders of the other central banks, will do?

Or to put it — if you were advising them, and had a financial stake and your future in the game– what would you tell them to do?

#63 Comment By rory On February 9, 2010 @ 8:59 am

@Peter S. Lewicki ’63: Don’t speak down to me. I don’t take kindly to it. To respond slightly in kind, you speak of “bogeym[en]” in regards to me being afraid of I don’t know what (did I ever mention a particular financial fear?), yet you repeat the bogeyman of cutting earmarks as a form of fiscal responsibility. There is no red herring greater than the idea that earmark reform is a significant component of fiscal responsibility. Earmark reform as a form of better governance, sure, but as a sign of fiscal responsibility? Not in the least.

#64 Comment By Peter S. Lewicki ’63 On February 9, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

To Rory:

I beg your pardon. I only spoke what is very apparent to me, i.e., that earmarks constitute one of the most egregious and widespread ways in which tax money is wasted on “make work” projects (reminiscent of the New Deal’s CCC projects) with the same result, more waste and lost opportunity to balance budgets. As a point of fact, I have been trying to elevate the discussion on this Blog, but alas and alack, that appears to be nigh on impossible. Doing away with earmarks “not in the least” a step in the right direction toward fiscal responsibility? Surely you jest.

I note that one of the great practitioners of the dark arts of pork barrel politics passed away yesterday, John Murtha. May he rest in peace.

#65 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 9, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

As a point of fact, I have been trying to elevate the discussion on this Blog, but alas and alack, that appears to be nigh on impossible

Lord Lewicki,

There is no small irony in your inability to “elevate the discussion”.

It has nothing to do with those with whom you are speaking, and everything to do with you.

Good Lord, I have never seen someone so willing to pat himself on the back for a skill he is so far from attaining.

#66 Comment By nuts On February 9, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

@Jr. Mom:

Good Lord Good God (Bad Lord), I have never seen someone so willing to pat himself on the back for a skill he is so far from attaining.

Mr. Lewicki’s arguments remind of hwc …when he chose to engage.

#67 Comment By kthomas On February 9, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

#68 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 9, 2010 @ 11:06 pm

@kthomas:

You MUST…be kidding. Honestly, Ken…

Read the thread!!!!!!

#69 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 9, 2010 @ 11:09 pm

Ken,

Ad hominem abusive usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponent[…]

Yeah…oh….lookee there. Shall I go back and make a tally for you?

#70 Comment By kthomas On February 9, 2010 @ 11:10 pm

Did I point at anyone???

#71 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 9, 2010 @ 11:52 pm

@nuts:

Oh, yeah…you’re so right…maybe I should edit…

Actually, I will let it stand as evidence of my efforts at “genteel” discussion.

#72 Comment By kthomas On February 10, 2010 @ 1:03 am

@Jr. Mom:

A tally? You really wish– me– to give an accounting, a judgment, to take up les accusees?

Let’s pick up from my threads, on language. Let’s give this thing, a name– the abusive ad hominem attack.

For you, bears in the forest are real. For me, abusive ad hominem attacks are real– just as real. “A bear”– “a bear,” “bears” “in the woods”– these are just names, you give phenomena, in the world. They’re not real, really real. Ceci n’est pas, une pipe.

What happens to the public realm, to the world of politics, to reason and argumentation, when such monstrous beings come to infect, and dominate, the realm?

You see bears in the woods. I see monsters. What happens when, nearly every time a citizen opens their mouth, there comes forth, one of these destructive beasts? When everything else, is pushed aside, and consumed, by these warring beasts?

You see a bear. I see these monsters. I see our worlds, beset by their plague. I see death.

J’accuse…

#73 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 10, 2010 @ 1:18 am

@kthomas:

If you’re so determined to ward off the plague, you need to start disinfecting sooner.

J’ accuse, aussi!

#74 Comment By kthomas On February 10, 2010 @ 1:35 am

Je ne saurait pas savoir, que je t’ai accusee. Mais quand le chausure, correspond au pied, courez!

#75 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 10, 2010 @ 1:43 am

@kthomas:

La syncronisation est toute.

P.S. No more french, please. We have enough affectation in this thread already. ;-)

#76 Comment By kthomas On February 10, 2010 @ 2:08 am

¡Hélas! C’est simplement un moyen de la communication. ¿Des americains ne sont pas capables? Dommage. C’est un moyen, qui est bien sur different que l’anglais. D’une premiere facon, il n’y a que cent mille des mots actifs en francais.

#77 Comment By kthomas On February 10, 2010 @ 3:00 am

@Jr. Mom:

That’s the thing about plagues. I can keep my own house free of pests– but what if the rest of the citizens, do not?

And what about a plague of grasshoppers, unleashed by the G-ds? How do I fight against that?

#78 Comment By jeffz On February 10, 2010 @ 8:49 am

Lewicki seems to share something Dan Blatt has … a lack of a sense of irony. Half of Blatt’s posts are thoughtful, informed critiques of liberal (or on very rare occasion GOP) positions, actions, or policies, which while I may disagree with, I find not objectionable in the slightest. The other half (maybe not half, but at least a large number) are dumbfoundingly ridiculous, and go something like this: all liberals are assholes because they make stupid generalizations about conservatives! Again, no sense of irony.

Just like I can’t stand Blatt’s constant ass-kissing of Palin, the most divisive, without question, political figure of our generation, no matter how malicious, corrupt, lazy, dumb, ill-informed or hypocritical she may be (and every DAY comes a new example, like making fun of Obama’s use of a teleprompter while looking at her buzz-words on her hand, or claiming that it is OK for conservatives, but not liberals, to employ “retarded” in a pejorative fashion because she is no terrified of offending Rush … personally, I think we all could stand to avoid use of “retarded”, but hey, I’m not a hypocrite) at the same time that he laughably claims that Obama, who by comparison is Switzerland, is a divisive figure … I find it unbelievably infuriating when someone who is so comfortable employing the Limbaugh-eque tone, the Princess Pelosi-style lingo and tactics that the right wing hate-machine media invented and has now perfected, bitch about the response that engenders. All I can imagine is that many on the right are so accustomed to listening to the likes of Beck, Palin and Limbaugh that otherwise intelligent and thoughtful people integrate, without even thinking, their sad style of communication into their own and just assume that terminology is part of a productive political discourse. I guess if I listened to only Keith Olbermann I might be the same way.

Here is what I say to people like Lewicky and Blatt … either sack up and stop whining when the left occasionally says nasty and snarky things in response to the same tired attacks, condescension, misinformation / lies, and silly name-calling that your party and media spokesmen (Beck, Palin, Bachmann, Rove, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Gingrich, Cheney, etc. etc.) have used to accumulate massive popularity (unlike the most popular democratic figures, who are by any objective measure, outside of Olbermann, not remotely in the same category in terms of vitriol, obnoxious name-calling, and disrespect for the opposition), or disown the hate-mongers at the forefront of the conservative movement in favor of less inflammatory figures, and stick to discussing policy issues sans the name-calling and generalizations about the arugala-eating assholes to your left. But anyone who supports the likes of Palin and/or Limbaugh and/or Rove NEVER has the right to EVER complain about the tone. It’s as simple as that. Make your choice.