Thursday, May 12, 2005

Voinovich is Smarter than you Think

When Brutus brought Caesar low, didn’t he share his guilt and honor with his fellow senators? Voinovich is speaking truth to power, and he knows the dangers. Bush has shown that anyone who defies him will be crushed, a policy that has worked well for the President.

Voinovich is more clever than courageous. He knows that Bush is weak – and that every Republican on the committee would have preferred that Bolton’s nomination be withdrawn. The committee was too small a venue for would-be challengers to go toe-to-toe with Bush’s formidable political hit-men. Voinovich knew long ago what he would do. He was hardly present before he jumped in to postpone the committee vote – and then dropped a sucker-punch by clearly stating his opposition to the nomination.

Voinovich will drop into the background and share information on Bolton political use of NSA intercepts to convince the pigs that such an animal can’t be allowed to live on animal farm. Everyone’s a Napoleon in the Senate. And they don’t want a fool like Bolton shitting where they eat.

Everything I needed to know I learned from one coincidence of facts. Biden is waiting for info on the intercepts, and Voinovich said that in light of “new documents” he feels Bolton shouldn’t be recommended for the post. Biden was asked how long he had known about Voinovich’s leanings, he responded “I would prefer not to answer that question.” At least he doesn’t kiss and tell.

22 Thoughts:

Blogger A.T. said...

How is V "smarter than we think?" I don't see the argument in this post; actually, I don't see any argument. V's actions are typical strategic maneuverings in which he becomes a key, swing vote. It will either pay off with return favors if he votes Yes or with certain wings of his constituency if he says No. No doubt, V is so infrequently in the nat'l news that this is great for his political career. So where's the "smarter than you think" aspect? This is simply typical political maneuvering.

Friday, May 13, 2005 7:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hi, all:

Actually, I'm not sure Allen and Demotiki are actually disagreeing in substance, but perhaps only in the depiction of that substance. I think this is both typical political maneuvering (which I'll take any day over theofascist thuggery on the Senate floor, e.g., Medicare vote) and a smart move to spread the responsibility. The Republicans on the committee, many of whom are actually sane (V, Hegel, etc.) know that Bolton is an awful choice. They're kicking it to the full Senate vote...walking that fine line between their constituencies clear desire (at least in RI, and I'm sure in Ohio, too) and the BushCo assassination machine (character, I'm referring to). I think it's smart politics, and betokens a burgeoning cooperation between Dems and moderate Reps that bodes very well for this country. V basically skewered Bolton; BushCo can't be pleased. And you know that the "unnamed source" that's been blasting Bolton is Powell. Look for him to run in 2008, possibly on the "Bush lied to me and to you" platform, along with a mea culpa for that disaster in the UN...which may ultimately undermine his candidacy, I realize.

Anyway, thanks for the post, allen, and keep 'em coming! I love that Pope blog. Hilarious!

Friday, May 13, 2005 7:16:00 AM  
Blogger A.T. said...

Fine enough, but you give up the game with such ridiculous and unsupported pejorative terms as "theofascist thugger" as it relates to the Medicare vote. That's just silly and prevents much of what you say from being worthy of serious consideration, don't you think? Unless all you want to do are pander to the likeminded, that is.

Friday, May 13, 2005 8:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hi, Allen: You have a point about the name-calling and how it only panders to the like-minded.

I'll stick with thuggery, though -- people almost literally got their arms twisted on the floor as the vote was elongated into the wee hours (never been done before). One congressman's son's future run as a Republican was threatened, on the floor! That's thuggery, in my book. It doesn't include all Republicans -- as I said, I admire a few of them: McCain, Hegel, Carl Ford, Jr., Brent Scowcroft, and I could go on.

I'm very afraid of the new-style, class of '94, Gingrichian Republicans, who really want to dismantle all progressive achievements of the last century (not that all progressive initiatives were "good" or even achieved much), break down the wall between church and state (which is as bad for the chruch as it is for the state), and thence comes my term "theofascist."

It's a silly label, I guess, but no more so than "Islamofascist," which you used, and I understood why. I let it slide because I know what you mean: these particular Islamic folks are basically fascistic. Many hundreds of millions of others are not. True. I think you should also take a closer look at what some rightwing evangelical groups want -- it's quite frightening. (Yes, I know there are leftwing evangelical groups, too.)

Friday, May 13, 2005 9:53:00 AM  
Blogger A.T. said...

No question - I'm not in favor of every right wing religious group's agenda. I can't think of anything "frightening" per se, so I'm not sure what you're talking about. But we're digressing here anyway.

You know more about the Medicare vote than I, perhaps, but let's not pretend that thuggery - by your definition - isn't a regular part of both sides' gameplay on the Hill. For example, the despicable and baseless accusations publicly made against Clarence Thomas, during his confirmation hearings, were Democratic dirty pool at its filthiest.

And McCain, who you admire, is among the worst. When he publicly outed J.C. Watts' oldest son (at the age of 10 or so, I think) as being born out of wedlock, in order to get back at Watts for not being more cooperative w McCain's agenda, was that not "thuggery?" Are such people worthy of your admiration?

Friday, May 13, 2005 2:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I agree that the Clarence Thomas hearings were pretty low. What the Democrats should have done, if they had had more spine, was just say, "Look, we don't care if this guy's black, purple, yellow or polka-dot. He got a C rating from the National Lawyers [whatever it was...reaching way back now]. He's not qualified. End of story." But they didn't do that because they were afraid of a backlash -- as Bush Sr. damn well knew. Politics is always ugly -- I'm talking degrees of ugliness here. The Founders pounded on one another; not surprising we do the same, and it was quite naive of them to think "faction" (i.e., political parties) wouldn't naturally arise. One major miss in their otherwise dead-on view of human nature.

On McCain: he's not my favorite guy by a long shot, but I don't know about that instance. Can you point me to some discussion of that?

On what's frightening about the rightwing evangelical movement, I can only say read this month's Harper's -- you don't even have to buy it; just read it at the local library. I wish it were online; I'd put in the link. In fact, let me check...nope. They're not into putting their content online. Sorry! If you have a PO Box, I'll mail you a Xerox -- that's how much I think you need to read this. :)

Friday, May 13, 2005 2:55:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Not to get too far off-topic here, Allen, but in what way were the Clarence Thomas allegations "baseless" if Anita Hill was there to testify as to what happened? Feel free to characterize her testimony as false if you think it was, but baseless it wasn't.

Friday, May 13, 2005 6:48:00 PM  
Blogger A.T. said...

Pawlr,

Please tell me you are kidding. One unhappy former employee with unfulfilled professional ambitions and a 180 degree different political outlook providing wholly uncorroborated "testimony" is not a legal bases. If it couldn't pass the heresay test in court, and it was the only so-called evidence, it was wholly irresponsible to be brought into so public a forum as the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. It was shameless and despicable character assassination, pure and simple. That you consider that in any way justifiable or defensible is unbelievable.

Friday, May 13, 2005 9:40:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Allen - "Hearsay"? do you even know what that means? She was testifying as to events that happened to her, not to what she overheard happen to someone else. Gee, I hope for your clients' sake you're not a lawyer ...

Friday, May 13, 2005 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hi, all:

I guess my position is, regardless of the truth of Anita Hill's story, which if I recall correctly, basically came down to he-said, she-said (not uncommon in sexual harrassment cases, and says zero about the truth-content in either "direction"), Thomas should have been rejected for the basic reason, for which we had no he-said/she-said problems, that he was deemed unqualified by the leading legal rating group (and for the life of me, I cannot remember its name -- a little help, here?). That's my point; regardless of whatever Anita Hill said, and regardless of whether it was true or not, CT was (and is, in my opinion) unqualified for the job. Nothing to do with politics; send up another conservative with an A rating; fine. Then we can argue based on political philosophy and legal philosophy -- which both sides rightly do, but claim not to (another hypocrisy).

I feel the same about Bolton. I tend to buy the fact that he's a "serial bully" or whatever, but the fact is that he's unqualified to be a diplomat at the UN. He's totally undiplomatic, and in this case, the many corroborated stories of his "serial abuse" is germane to the performance of the job he has been nominated for: ambassador to the UN.

At this point in America's history, the last thing we need is a loudmouthed bully running roughshod over others in the UN, especially if that bully doesn't really believe that that organization should exist, which I think is pretty clear. He has every right to think that, but the Senate is rightly not acting like a rubber stamp/rump parliament for Bush, Republicans and Democrats alike.

I think that's healthy; this guy is simply not right for the job on all fronts. Send up ANYBODY else -- a conservative who has the world's respect, a diplomat of long patience, a guy who might think the UN needs change, but who isn't anti-UN -- and he'd be approved. It's telling that even many Republicans on the committee have been very wary of OK-ing this guy -- even with the intense pressure of the Bush admin on their backs. I respect that.

Saturday, May 14, 2005 7:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Typographical note: I republished Demotiki's post so the paragraphing was clearer. :)

Also, to return to what D was writing, it's actually not Bush-bashing -- he's basically saying, using Orwell's Animal Farm as a model ("Napoleon," etc.) that basically all Senators look out for themselves and their constituencies, as has always been the plan and expectation, even if they have some buffering from their constituencies with a six-year term.

In this case, due to intense pressure from the Bush admin -- which can't be denied, nor can this admin's viciousness in going after political enemies, GOP and Dem alike (which will reap their downfall, I think) -- the committee kicked the issue out to all 100 senators. Spread the responsibility; give the president an up-and-down vote on the floor, plus more debate and more voices heard. Make the entire body responsible.

As Demotiki said, not necessarily courageous, but really the only option left for GOP senators who are horrified by Bolton -- and many on that committee were, if you watched any of it on C-SPAN.

The beauty of our system is that it's designed for actual, real, live people, not gods or fictional characters. I think that was the subtext, Demotiki -- correct me if I'm wrong.

So, I don't quite see how "typical political manuevering" is somehow not to be expected, or is somehow morally wrong, though it can be -- depends on the specific maneuver!

This gets at a "government-is-the-enemy" kind of feeling that I think underlies a lot of the GOP's allure, even though they control pretty much the entire government. It has shunted populist discontent with how we're ruled (and overruled) into unproductive and self-destructive avenues. I don't think drowning the federal government in the bathtub is the right way to go. Nor is it what Bush has done -- he's expanded government, and our collective debt, far more than just about any other President in history (not exactly sure of the numbers, but he's neck-and-neck on debt/deficit with Reagan, in real dollars; his Medicare "plan" is the biggest social program since LBJ, if not FDR. And it does no good to anyone but pharmaceutical companies).

I realize that "starve the beast" is a goal of far-rightwingers. It always has been. But this is simply suicidal -- and false. WE are the government. That's what's been forgotten here.

Saturday, May 14, 2005 7:57:00 AM  
Blogger A.T. said...

Pawlr,

Not a lawyer, no. My only courtroom experience is my 3.5 years as a DC area police officer during the mid/late 90s.

But while you're right, that Hill's "testimony" was not technically "heresay," it is de facto heresay. Why? Because the problem with heresay in civil/criminal court is that there is no cross-examination by the accused's advocate, in order to challenge/corroborate/disprove the claim. It's the exact same deal in a confirmation hearing. Thomas had no opportunity to challenge Hill's bizarre and humiliating charges; instead, he just had to absorb them, publicly! So it was still - for all intents and purposes - heresay. No question.

Saturday, May 14, 2005 8:30:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

It’s interesting to hear from you "conservative" contributors. Unfortunately, as a neo-con who reasons to support their beliefs, rather than a liberal who reasons to discover his beliefs, you do not speak the truth. In fact, Paul is correct on the hearsay issue. Instead of accepting that you either lied or misspoke when you incorrectly stated that Anita Hill’s testimony was “hearsay,” you go on to make all sorts of incorrect assumptions about the process of the confirmation hearings. I happened to have watched them, so I guess I have some advantage. Forgive me but it is habit of truly “conservative” people to actually research and learn before they commit to having an opinion on a subject. In fact, Anita Hill WAS cross examined. In fact, she was slandered and smeared by Republican Senators and their staffs. Her spotless reputation was a great aid as the Republican effort failed to convince the American public that Clarence Thomas was telling the truth. In fact, most people didn’t like the “look-at me I am a victim!!!” attitude adopted by the “pull-yourself-up-by-your-boots” crowd. “Victim” Thomas was heard to declare, “this is nothing more than a “high-tech” lynching.” How pathetic. Even though his entire legal career was based on the color of his skin, his empty head and complete lack of scruples – he had the audacity to pretend it had been anything other than a boon to have been a black lawyer. Never has a less qualified candidate been elevated to the Supreme Court. Thankfully, Uncle Thomas knows his place and prefers to stay quiet and do what Scalia tells him to do. After all, that guy hunts ducks with Chaney.

Saturday, May 14, 2005 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hi, all:

I find it very interesting that pawlr and demotiki have been complaining about the lack of having rightwingers on the site -- rightly, as we supposedly don't want to simply talk to ourselves, which is fruitless -- only to treat our guest, Allen, with whom we will of course disagree fairly significantly, with less than the requisite hospitality. I know; he comes on strong, but no stronger than we. That's exactly what we're all supposedly trying to rectify so that we can actually listen to each other and understand.

I thought the point was to find common ground, and try to understand why those who don't think as we do think as they do.

To jump on this guy as being either a liar or misspeaking, which in fact, Allen basically said he did in his last reply (redefining "hearsay" as de facto, and agreeing with Paul's correction on his usage, and continuing his argument -- with which I don't agree either), is just fruitless and undermines the supposed desire to understand the other side. It's as dumb as me jumping the gun on the blog outage thing, which has definitely got me thinking about my own manner of argumentation.

How do we even know that Allen is a "neocon"? I don't. Why are we so eager to jump to conclusions -- as I wrongly did on the blog outage? I'm taking full responsibility for that, and I'm thinking through why I would leap to such a conclusion. Maybe others should do the same, especially if we want to be worthy of the self-declared ability to think critically we continually accuse the other side of not doing. Gotta walk the walk if you talk the talk.

Saying is easy; listening is hard. I should know.

Furthermore, no one except Allen (who has promised to do so tomorrow, and I fully believe he will) has actually taken up the full challenge (pawlr did provide one notion -- thanks!) in my post: come up with three things you dislike about your own side's position or what-have-you.

I wonder whether blogging as a medium is perhaps as much of a species of the problem of "soundbiting" debate as any of the other media we rightly bash. Of course, we can change that -- there's no structural reason for blogs to be short-form and vitriolic. No limitations, in principle, actually. It's a sociological issue; a reflection of where our national discourse has gone.

We know what we think; we've known each other for pushing 20 years. I want to know what Allen thinks, and why. Let's actually ask each other probing, tough questions, but let's not call each other liars (or potential liars) with no cause. That's no way to learn, and it's certainly no way to create a conversational space in which folks of radically different viewpoints can feel comfortable enough to begin to examine their own viewpoints. It just gets people's dander up, as we all well know. (Yes, I've been as guily as anyone of this, if not more so -- so please don't interpret this as "talking down" -- but I am seriuosly rethinking my tonality and discourse-methods. I suggest we all do the same, as the joint goal here is supposedly to communicate, not to pontificate.)

Anyway, let's all try to keep it unvitriolic and open-minded. Hospitality is one of the great lost arts, I think, along with that of conversation; and perhaps those losses are not unrelated.

A la Fight Club, I suggest we (on cyberpols; I think Allen's already done this by coming onto cyberpols) go out and find a rightwing blog and begin engaging folks, politely, but honestly/firmly, about their views. (Maybe everyone's already dont this; apologies if that is so -- then this piece of my comment doesn't apply to anyone here.) Try to figure them (views and folks) out, with an eye towards mobilizing the great majority of the country that's getting screwed by the great minority that owns it. That's how I see a anti-power majority forming: shedding the divide-and-rule structure of our political discourse, allying against the "1%," and actually making this republic work for the majority (while always protecting minority rights). I can't see that as something anyone in the "99%" would disagree with, as a first principle.

An ex-member of this blog we all know, who actually writes for the New York Times, left specifically because he said he wasn't interested in rehashing what we all know: he wanted to find out why others think differently, specficially because he simply couldn't understand it. And that's what he's doing.

To understand is not to agree, and this isn't a college debate. We're all adults concerned enough about the state of our country to spend a lot of time doing this blogging stuff.

Why?

If it's only to hear ourselves talk, it's vanity of Ecclesiastian proportions. If it's only to get into arguments, well, that's another issue entirely. For me, it's to learn -- and again, I'm the one who just made a total ass of myself on Allen's blog re: hacking, so don't take this as patronizing at all, please!

So, I'm trying to walk the talk here. Let's all do that.

Thanks, and have a great day!

Dug

Sunday, May 15, 2005 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger A.T. said...

D,

Real quick...

"Unfortunately, as a neo-con"

Definitely not a neocon. If you knew my beliefs, you'd agree.

" who reasons to support their beliefs, rather than a liberal who reasons to discover his beliefs,"

Well, this is a pejorative claim and is nonsensical in the end. But, due to some exploration, I've actually changed my mind/positions on some weighty topics, to a degree that I think you'd find atypical for conservatives. For example, I'm an officer in an organization that advocates for prisoners (including better conditions, fairer penalties, etc) and prepares them for a more successful life after prison. Hardly the "lock em up and throw away the key" stereotype that "conservatives" have fairly and unfairly earned. Why? Because I've studied and experienced (as a police officer, in particular) enough to realize that my previous to-hell-with-them outlook and policy beliefs just didn't reflect reality, the constitution, or my Christian beliefs. Emotionally, I often FEEL like locking them up en masse and keeping them there - especially after heinous crimes are committed by someone who was previously a petty criminal. But I digress. The point is, lose the stereotype. It doesn't fit.

".. you do not speak the truth. In fact, Paul is correct on the hearsay issue. Instead of accepting that you either lied or misspoke when you incorrectly stated that Anita Hill’s testimony was “hearsay,” you go on to make all sorts of incorrect assumptions about the process of the confirmation hearings."

I disagree. Why is it either lying or misspeaking? No nuance? I guess "nuance" isn't the liberal specialty after all! Ha! I was overly simplistic in calling it "heresay" without qualifying what I meant. Fair enough?

" I happened to have watched them, so I guess I have some advantage."

So did I, but not all of them nor ALL of them. (Did you watch ALL of them?? If so: WOW!)

"... Forgive me but it is habit of truly “conservative” people to actually research and learn before they commit to having an opinion on a subject. In fact, Anita Hill WAS cross examined. "

Not by a legal advocate of Thomas, no she was NOT. It was by favorably disposed Senators, who are - at the end of the day - acting on their own best interests and those of their constituency, NOT Thomas'! OK??? That's a BIG difference. Trash Hill, and you look like a shmuck, which hurts you at the polls later. That's hardly the best legal advocacy for Thomas! Come on, you've got to admit that, for crying out loud.

It's like (probably worse than) having the equivalent of a Rape Shield Law in place, which is wholly unfair to the accused. But again ... I digress.

"..In fact, she was slandered and smeared by Republican Senators and their staffs. Her spotless reputation was a great aid as the Republican effort failed to convince the American public that Clarence Thomas was telling the truth."

Well, I disagree with your assessment, but so be it. Regardless, your assessment is immaterial to whether or not the process was fair to Thomas.

"... In fact, most people didn’t like the “look-at me I am a victim!!!” attitude adopted by the “pull-yourself-up-by-your-boots” crowd. “Victim” Thomas was heard to declare, “this is nothing more than a “high-tech” lynching.” How pathetic. Even though his entire legal career was based on the color of his skin, his empty head and complete lack of scruples – he had the audacity to pretend it had been anything other than a boon to have been a black lawyer. Never has a less qualified candidate been elevated to the Supreme Court. Thankfully, Uncle Thomas knows his place and prefers to stay quiet and do what Scalia tells him to do. After all, that guy hunts ducks with Chaney. "

See, this is where it becomes hard to take you seriously. At all. No need for me to challenge this bizarro-world hack attack. "Uncle Thomas" with the "empty head" is obviously not a fan favorite of yours. At some point, I'm sure that you'll explain how you're so intimately familiar with his expertise and skills that you can hold him in such low esteem. Not that I care.

Doug,

I responded at my place. And I'm hoping to email you in the next few days.

-AT

Sunday, May 15, 2005 4:50:00 PM  
Blogger A.T. said...

two amendments:

"...changed my mind to a degree atypical for what you think of as conservatives"

and

I'd note that I've had to sacrifice quite a bit financially to work for the prisoner organization that I do. I just figured that was noteworthy in case one assumed that this organization was simply "the best deal" going. Far from it; I'm working at that organization for far below market value because I believe so much in the cause.

Sunday, May 15, 2005 5:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hi, Allen:

I'm sure you were going fast, but that post you were responding to was not written by me, but rather by Demotiki, and I'll let him respond.

Tx!

Dug

Sunday, May 15, 2005 5:56:00 PM  
Blogger A.T. said...

Doug,

I did understand that, but thanks.

AT

Sunday, May 15, 2005 6:28:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

I agree with Doug that hospitality is a good thing. It seems that Allen is a thoughtful guy with some real world experiences - so I hope you stick with us.

Also - Dug, this guy was a cop! so I'm sure he can handle any tough talk us squirrely liberal types dish out...

Monday, May 16, 2005 8:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey: My overcompensational plea for "niceness" duly noted! :)

Thornblog is now on our site, above the horizon, I might add (at least on my system).

Word.

Monday, May 16, 2005 9:22:00 AM  
Blogger A.T. said...

Yeah, but we’re below Al-Jazeera! Kidding, I’m kidding. Thanks very much; I’ll do the same within the next 48 hours.

And pawlr’s right (oops, I mean left … didn’t mean to offend), I’m pretty thick-skinned.

Monday, May 16, 2005 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

LOL.

Al-Thornbloga. Has a certain ring to it, no?

Monday, May 16, 2005 1:12:00 PM  

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