catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

The Democrats return to the pro-slavery cause

with 74 comments

There was a time when ending conscription was a traditional goal of the Left. In Australia, former Hawke government Finance Minister Peter Walsh wrote in his autobiography that one reason he joined the Labor Party was because of his opposition to conscription. Conscription was of course also a hated legacy of the Tory socialist Malcolm Fraser but it was Whitlam who ended it.

In the US, the late Milton Friedman along with other free market economists helped end conscription. And now someone from the party of the ‘progressive’ side of politics in the US wants to bring it back:

    Americans would have to sign up for a new military draft after turning 18 under a bill the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee says he will introduce next year.
    Rep. Charles Rangel (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., said Sunday he sees his idea as a way to deter politicians from launching wars.
    “There’s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm’s way,” Rangel said.
    Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription in the past, has said the all-volunteer military disproportionately puts the burden of war on minorities and lower-income families.

Never mind that at the moment no one actually puts a gun to anyone’s head and forces them to join the army. It’s just price signals at work. Any significant curb on individual liberty is worth another shot in the class war for these authoritarians. Never mind that many people from Rangel’s own party are as gung ho as the Republicans about engaging in military intervention. Neoconservatism is of course just Wilsonianism by ‘conservatives’ who don’t really care much about free markets and which party was Wilson from?

And never mind that the most obvious way of not getting involved in unnecessary wars is … by performing a rational cost-benefit analysis of the situation and not basing it on dirty spiteful anti-liberty political tricks like this one.

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Written by Admin

November 20, 2006 at 11:46 am

Posted in Uncategorized

74 Responses

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  1. It’s old news – this is not the first time Rangel has made this call. His motivation for doing so is that he represents a NYC district where lots of his African-American constituents have few other opportunities other than the military. He’s trying to make a point about the lack of “sacrifice” from the white upper class.

    No one may point a gun at the heads of recruits, but you mustn’t be unaware of the coercive tactics used. And how can their choice be unconstrained anyway when there are few others?

    Mark Bahnisch

    November 20, 2006 at 11:53 am

  2. The best way of addressing poverty is by addressing poverty, Mark. This is just spiteful. This is just about the most hateful kind of policy there is. I would support active civil disobedience and lawbreaking to bring it down.
    It’s not as if jobs aren’t plentiful in the US.

    What is this notion of broad sacrifice you are talking about anyway? The army is a job like any other. It’s a tough job and people should be well paid for it. Very well paid. I don’t dispute that. If because it’s so well paid compared to the alternatives that lots of blacks join up, well they’re still getting compensated for it.

    Jason Soon

    November 20, 2006 at 11:55 am

  3. Silly talk.

    A draft is too random.

    How about any elected rep who votes for war THEMSELVES putting their name in a hat? Then just a couple of them get drawn. If it’s a just and good war (and ooh, I dunno, one where they have a vague plan for how to fight it and what comes next), they can fight and die a hero. If it’s not, they won’t vote for it.

    It’s a win/win!

    FDB

    November 20, 2006 at 1:03 pm

  4. Why is the Army different to other dangerous jobs?

    Why not a draft for the police forces? Or do we restrict it only to jobs where certain racial groups are over/under represented?

    JohnZ

    November 20, 2006 at 1:23 pm

  5. Indeed John. Why not a draft for coal mining or construction work? I bet there are too many illegal Mexicans working those dangerous construction jobs in the US which blacks don’t have sufficient access to. We need a draft there as well.

    Jason Soon

    November 20, 2006 at 1:27 pm

  6. Well, I’m not sure there are any jobs as dangerous.

    In any case, it’s a stupid idea that won’t even go to the vote unless Rengel has serious shit for brains.

    Ever since chivalry died with the Poms using common archers against the Frogs in 13 hundred and something, wars have been increasingly fought by the poor. It’s hardly the worst thing about war.

    FDB

    November 20, 2006 at 1:31 pm

  7. Jeebus Jason, lighten up. It almost sounds like you think you’ll get caught in the net.

    It’s not as if Rangel’s proposal has a hope of getting up in any case. He needs to look at a few basics, like the ability of wealthy educated white politicians to build neat-o deferments into any system of conscription.

    Result? Exclusion of wealthy educated white children.

    One only has to go back to the Vietnam War for evidence of how conscription fell disproportinately on the poor.

    Except George W Bush of course. He was bravely defending Texas from air-attack by the NVA at the time.

    Christine Keeler

    November 20, 2006 at 1:34 pm

  8. One thing that gets overlooked in the discussion about the poor being cannon fodder is the fact that the armed services in liberal democracies are inherently meritocratic. It’s quite possible for a minority recruit to ascend to the top of the command chain on sheer ability, in ways not necessarily as achievable in other career paths . Colin Powell, the son of poor Jamaican immigrants, is a case in point.

    In NZ, the armed services have long been a conduit for talented Maori to rise to senior positions. The current NZ Chief of Defence, Jerry Mateparae, is an example.

    FDB, one argument against sending pollies off to war is that they’d have no skills or training for it – but I guess that might be all to the good, from your perspective 🙂

    GeoffH

    November 20, 2006 at 1:40 pm

  9. FDB, that would mean John Kerry would have to return to combat – maybe for another four months!

    Rangel is so serious about this supposedly important issue that when his bill on reintroducing the draft was put to a vote in 2004, he voted against it. The only yeas came from “Arab Jack” Murtha and spoonerism waiting to happen, Fortney Stark.

    This stunt, then, is simply a new incarnation of leftist racism: to wit, the volunteers don’t know what they’re doing because a lot of them are not rationally acting whites. Another common flag-word in this kind of advocacy is use of the word “kids”. Like “boy”, it deliberately implies that the people being spoken of cannot be considered adults and their decisions cannot be considered free. (“The president’s foreign policy is scaring the kids of this country,” said Representative Tim Ryan, Democrat of Ohio).
    That a non-white politician would use such arguments is contemptible but not surprising in a party that – post “landslide” – is slowly edging towards civil war.

    C.L.

    November 20, 2006 at 1:46 pm

  10. Jason, YHBT.

    gilmae

    November 20, 2006 at 1:52 pm

  11. ????

    Jason Soon

    November 20, 2006 at 1:53 pm

  12. Ah, yeah, sorry. You Have Been Trolled.

    gilmae

    November 20, 2006 at 1:58 pm

  13. Still not sure I get it, Gilmae.

    FDB

    November 20, 2006 at 2:05 pm

  14. Anyway, the idea that a politician should need to have a vested interest before making a voting decision is… well…

    C.L. was that Kerry snipe a response to Christine’s Bush reference? So now you’re saying “the Dems aren’t as bad”? That’s a hell of an about-face! Anyway, unlike you I have convictions that transcend the party-political, so I have no problem criticising warmongers of any stripe.

    Last resort I always say.

    Only on the best intel I always say.

    Plan it properly and be prepared to review your plans, I always say.

    Anyone who voted for war in Iraq on the current terms deserves a bollocking.

    FDB

    November 20, 2006 at 2:14 pm

  15. Saddam Hussein was the warmonger. The difficulties in Iraq are caused by terrorists and the campaign there remains as tremendously just as it ever was.

    C.L.

    November 20, 2006 at 2:23 pm

  16. “No one may point a gun at the heads of recruits, but you mustn’t be unaware of the coercive tactics used.”

    Thats just silly. And no its not old news. Its shocking news. And if it were old news that wouldn’t make it any less shocking and disgraceful.

    My guys did great for 100 days back in 96. For once politicians acting with a bit of responsibility. Balanced the budget and everything. Beefed up defense spending and stiff-armed Clinton into not vetoing welfare reform the third time.

    And then they just naturally slid into rampant taxeater mode.

    The horror, the horror.

    Now we see the left. All this talk about protecting peoples freedom. All leaking of state secrets and political warfare against the administration at war……. with the feeble pretense that THEY the left-wing (THE LEFT-WING???) are the ones who have peoples civil rights at heart.

    Well it all fades away like last Christmas once the leftists get the power. They are just fine with sacrificing people and for no good reason.

    That last sentence may seem ironic one supposes. Because with this war the administration have drifted into this horrible middle-of-the-road course where they are letting Iran and others murder their soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

    Backed up against the wall they are. Each of them individually, collectively and severally criminalised by leftist propaganda.

    Still yes its disgraceful how it is but this President appears to be a stickler for legalisms and cannot seem to change the strategy.

    But this Rangel. This is no drifting into a situation that he didn’t expect. This is an all-out attack on peoples civil rights. And an attack on the rights of one of us is an attack on the rights of all of us.

    I could see a draft in Australia if we had slashed non-defense spending as far as we could go without a serious body-count and we were expecting a naval attack on our own soil.

    You might simply require pretty much everyone to submit for training one day a fortnight so that you’d have the numbers with rifles in their hands, and the ability to take co-ordinated orders, if we couldn’t stop an occupation.

    But nothing as fanciful as this is likely to happen to the Americans.

    There is just no need for this. They could simply cut 1.5 trillion off non-defense spending and maybe take one quarter of it to give everyone a pay rise, give all the fellas the best protective gear, recruit some more people, and have a stash set aside for a quick change in strategy.

    And on top of that have all this excess for paying down debt and cutting taxes strategically whenever the economy looked close to tanking.

    A quick change in strategy.

    Thats what they need above all other things..

    But where does this DRAFT come into that?

    Its the evil side of altruism, that Ayn Rand used to rail against, reaching from out of the grave to screw everything up again.

    GMB

    November 20, 2006 at 2:25 pm

  17. For a democrat I always like Charlie R. He’s the representive for Harlem. Charlie is forced to say silly things at times in order to stay good with his electorate.

    Best to ignore 90% of what Charlie ever says.

    JC.

    November 20, 2006 at 2:29 pm

  18. But it’s not going to happen??!!

    Christine Keeler

    November 20, 2006 at 2:31 pm

  19. Okay, let’s see…

    On my terms and conditions for war, Iraq had *arguably* passed the first test. The last resort one. Maybe nothing else was going to work, and the sanction system was not working, partly thanks to massive rorts such that they rewarded Saddam as much as they punished ordinary folks. Iraq was CERTAINLY NOT the prime cantidate for regime change, but I’ll even forgive the hawks for that one.

    On terms 2 & 3, a big failure. Reasonable people around the world didn’t need hindsight for this, they could see it plain as day.

    Now please furnish me with a list of quotes from people you think I blindly follow who were pro-war. It’s been weeks!

    FDB

    November 20, 2006 at 2:32 pm

  20. Sorry, that was for CL.

    FDB

    November 20, 2006 at 2:35 pm

  21. The Iraq War was just and the campaign against terrorism there is also just. I know the macho quotes of formerly backboned Democrats are embarrassing for you, FDB, but I’m sure you can google them for yourself.

    C.L.

    November 20, 2006 at 2:42 pm

  22. I agree FDB. My whinge against the war was never that it was in some vague way “unjust.” It was because it was never going to work. The case for invasion had been manifestly cobbled together; even at the time the case regarding WMDs seemed vastly overstated; and that there was not the slightest hint of post-war planning.

    Anyway it’s good to see a bit of revisionist history. I can now see from GMBs post that the reason for the present impasse was none of the above.

    It was the Stab In The Back.

    Christine Keeler

    November 20, 2006 at 2:46 pm

  23. A draft would never bring equality of military representation. Using influence on those in charge of intake, those in charge of deployment, outright bribery, dodges such as overseas stays or false medical conditions – these and many other methods are available to the rich.

    So rich sons would still not be sent to the front, and poor sons who didn’t want to go to war to kill and be killed won’t be able to make that choice.

    A military draft is madness. Rangel is a moron.

    fatfingers

    November 20, 2006 at 2:47 pm

  24. No, C.L. as I’ve patiently explained many times before, they’re not embarrassing for me. I’m embarrassed on your behalf that they are your only response to criticism of the war and its justifications.

    “The Dems said so as well” you whine, flatly refusing to accept that I am quite prepared to be critical EVEN OF PEOPLE OF WHOM I BROADLY APPROVE. For you, anathema; for me, intellectually rigorous.

    FDB

    November 20, 2006 at 2:48 pm

  25. FDB, it’s a sad indictment of the attempted justifications from the pro-war crowd that they point to US Democrats as having being pro-war as well, and think this is a devastating debating tactic. Of course, if you reply that the Democrats are just a faction of the overall War Party that runs the US, then you are accused of anti-Americanism.

    fatfingers

    November 20, 2006 at 2:58 pm

  26. Calm down, FDB – you’re getting hysterical as usual. I don’t quote the Democrat hawks to prove they’re equally to blame. I quote them to demonstrate how right so many of them were before they became populist morons prior to the 2004 election. The war was just and the campaign against terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere is also just.

    C.L.

    November 20, 2006 at 3:06 pm

  27. “On my terms and conditions for war, Iraq had *arguably* passed the first test. The last resort one.”

    A very bad test. And this sentiment really the ultimate cause of terrorism.

    GMB

    November 20, 2006 at 3:06 pm

  28. My understanding is that Rangels is arguing that the US needs a bigger army and this can only be done via conscription.

    Of course the war against Iraq wasn’t just. did Iraq threaten the US, invade it?

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 20, 2006 at 3:17 pm

  29. Iraq and the US are not at war, the current strife is down to a band of anonymous and unidentified criminals who have the media worried.

    rog

    November 20, 2006 at 3:36 pm

  30. The only war is with Iran and it is being staged in Baghdad and if the pundits get their way they will confirm Iran’s victory by accepting Iran’s terms of surrender.

    rog

    November 20, 2006 at 3:42 pm

  31. The anonymous an unidentified criminals have more than the media worried. A whole horde of warnicks are so scared shitless of the terrorists-under-their-bed that they’re falling over themselves to increase the power of government.

    The scared little tax-eaters and government-lovers were so worried about the almost non-existent threat from terrorists that they have pretty much abandoned any previous commitment to small government. “please tax me” they scream as they try to hide behind their incompetent governments.

    Those who give up freedom for security will end up with neither — Benny Franklin. Learn it people. Or as Birdy would say: LEARN IT!!

    John Humphreys

    November 20, 2006 at 3:46 pm

  32. sorry wrong thread

    JC.

    November 20, 2006 at 3:48 pm

  33. ‘“please tax me” they scream’

    Your travels have certainly lightened your writing tone, John. And made you more emphatic. It’s all to the good.

    PS How could you afford such globe-trotting?

    fatfingers

    November 20, 2006 at 3:49 pm

  34. Your understanding of Rangel’s argument and intent is wrong, Homer. He voted against his own bill in 2004. He has no genuine practical agenda.

    Rangel is principally interested in fostering a race-based “debate” about war service that plays well to his constituency. He believes – and is trying to popularise the notion – that politicians will not be willing to mobilise a conscript military for anything short of, well, a Chinese invasion of Massachusetts.

    Quite apart from the libertarian arguments against the draft, this popularity-driven approach to national security would reduce the efficacy of US interventions in range of different scenarios. Even policing or humanitarian forays could be swiftly wound up by Washington if widespread opposition to the mobilisation of draftees was successfully cultivated by special interests and marginal but noisy figures. Rangel’s ideas are profoundly un-serious.

    Almost as un-serious as those who are so irrationally scared of “big” gummint that they consider terrorist attacks on Western interests throughout the world for several years to be a “non-existent threat”.

    C.L.

    November 20, 2006 at 4:02 pm

  35. fatfingers — I sell my organs on the black market. Luckily, they keep growing back. Have you given up your commie ways and joined the LDP yet? 🙂

    (serious answer: I have investments)

    John Humphreys

    November 20, 2006 at 4:09 pm

  36. Don’t put quote marks around “non-existent threat” when no-one has said that, CL. Bad blogger (smacks CL’s wrist).

    fatfingers

    November 20, 2006 at 4:10 pm

  37. I was never a commie, John! Unless of course you consider social democrats communists.

    I have half-seriously considered joining the LDP. From my POV, some policies are strange/wrong/unecessary, but that’s true of every political party in existence. I dunno. Do I get a badge or bumper sticker if I join?

    fatfingers

    November 20, 2006 at 4:19 pm

  38. I’m no fan of Rangels but he does seemed to have changed his argument.
    Most people believe the US Army has too few soldiers. Conscription is the lazy way to increase it. It is also the worst way.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 20, 2006 at 4:33 pm

  39. I’m backing Lachlan Connor’s Senate campaign:

    http://www.grods.com/post/835/

    Christine Keeler

    November 20, 2006 at 4:39 pm

  40. Fatty, you praised John’s comment without reading it?

    C.L.

    November 20, 2006 at 4:43 pm

  41. Malcolm Fraser started conscription?

    yobbo

    November 20, 2006 at 4:44 pm

  42. I wouldn’t say he started it. But he introduced it during the Vietnam war when he was Army Minister.

    Jason Soon

    November 20, 2006 at 4:53 pm

  43. I can appreciate good writing without agreeing, CL. Like Tim Blair – atrocious politics, great writing style. And funny.

    fatfingers

    November 20, 2006 at 5:07 pm

  44. Fraser was a hypocrite of the highest order along with most of the government Mps at the time.

    They ‘supported’ conscription but helped out anyone they knew to get out of it.

    fat fingers any resemblance between the writing styles of CL and Timbo are only likely when one is in a drug induced spell!

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 20, 2006 at 5:39 pm

  45. ” I have half-seriously considered joining the LDP.”
    Another lefty pretending he’s a Libertarian.

    ” Do I get a badge or bumper sticker if I join?”
    Yes, you do. Yours would say.

    Help, me. I’m a confused lefty.

    JC.

    November 20, 2006 at 5:43 pm

  46. Fatso,

    Do yourself a favour. The socialist alternative is always looking for fully paid supporters. You’d be happy there.

    JC.

    November 20, 2006 at 5:46 pm

  47. Methinks Rangel is trolling.

    skepticlawyer

    November 20, 2006 at 6:36 pm

  48. Lets chuck the wrangle over Chas Rangel.

    rog

    November 20, 2006 at 9:28 pm

  49. “fat fingers any resemblance between the writing styles of CL and Timbo are only likely when one is in a drug induced spell!”

    I said nothing about CL’s writing. I was saying that I can enjoy Tim B’s writing without agreeing with him. Sometimes. Same for John Humphreys’, especially since he went off on his Travelling Misfit tour of the world.

    “Another lefty pretending he’s a Libertarian.”

    As opposed to a righty pretending he’s a libertarian? Joe, you are a joke.

    “Yours would say. Help, me. I’m a confused lefty.”

    The only confused one around here is you. Clearly I am too complex for you to comprehend.

    “The socialist alternative is always looking for fully paid supporters. You’d be happy there.”

    Even in the depths of my anti-American anti-capitalist youth I couldn’t stand socialists and communists. I’m middle of the road all the way, but I like supporting underdogs, and genuinely think LDP has some good policies.

    JC, I think you’d do well in the Pretend Economists and Bird Sycophants Party. In the Gratuitous Insulters faction. There’d only be you, but at least you wouldn’t have to deal with other people’s ideas that are too difficult for you to understand.

    fatfingers

    November 21, 2006 at 10:06 am

  50. Now this is what I call good news;
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-3-2461268-3,00.html

    rog

    November 21, 2006 at 4:02 pm

  51. Rog

    Posts 29 and 30 are a brilliant summary of the facts.

    As to the idiot who talked about raising taxes, has he noticed the howling and whinging by the DemocRats at the tax CUTS introduced by Bush.

    One day someone will be able to explain what is was that caused the “Bush derangement syndrome” that seems to infest so many on the left. It has always baffled me, why people hate the man so much. Maybe that is the basis of another thread? How about it Catallaxists?

    Subject line : The Adolescent Left’s prejudiceagainst George Bush

    Rococo Liberal

    November 21, 2006 at 6:07 pm

  52. I’m no Bush fan (too much big government and legislating about stuff that happens between consenting adults in private), but you’re right about BDS, RL.

    I suspect much of it is intellectual snobbery – how dare someone who isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed finish up President. Similar stuff was said about Reagan in the 80s.

    skepticlawyer

    November 21, 2006 at 6:17 pm

  53. skepticlawyer wonders why people don’t like George Bush:
    >I suspect much of it is intellectual snobbery – how dare someone who isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed finish up President.

    Err…where to start?

    Firstly, if comes down to the intellectual snobbery of ‘adolescent left’, this must mean that 62% of Americans are currently adolescent leftist intellectual snobs:

    http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/client/act_dsp_pdf.cfm?name=mr061116-1topline.pdf&id=3273

    If that seems somewhat unlikely as a scenario, you can always forget mere opinion polls and take the famous D-squared challenge from way back in 2003. To wit:

    Name something with the following three characteristics:

    1) It is a policy initiative of the current Bush administration
    2) It was significant enough in scale that we’d have heard of it
    3) It wasn’t in some important way completely fucked up during the execution.

    http://d-squareddigest.blogspot.com/2003_02_23_d-squareddigest_archive.html#89796111

    If you can’t name very many examples of the above, then I suggest you may have a considerably less feeble reason for the widespread contempt that this US adminstration is held in than alleged ‘adolescent leftism’! The real Bush Derangement Syndrome is the weirdo – and deeply adolescent, come to think about it – cult of personality that has surrounded this profoundly untalented princeling to date and is only now, thankfully, beginning to evaporate. That’s the one for the future historians.

    Daniel Barnes

    November 21, 2006 at 7:54 pm

  54. In effect DB proves the case of derangement.

    rog

    November 21, 2006 at 9:17 pm

  55. Daniel
    what’s the relevance of your link? Disapproving of Bush’s policies is not the same thing as BDS

    Jason Soon

    November 21, 2006 at 9:21 pm

  56. Rog:
    >In effect DB proves the case of derangement.

    And I thought the leftists; were supposed to be the adolescents…;-)

    Daniel Barnes

    November 21, 2006 at 9:27 pm

  57. Maybe its not the same thing to you Jason, but to much of the right it is, see for example Rog’s comment above yours.

    As is usual with these things it starts as an accurate description for those ranting about Chimpy McBushitler, but then just gets turned into standard partisan rhetorical baiting term.

    Steve Edney

    November 21, 2006 at 9:29 pm

  58. Bush Derangement Syndrome exists and is an actual psychiatric disorder. It has to be distinguished from disagreeing with Bush.

    In my view, Daniel does not exhibit enough of the symptoms to be diagnosed with this condition.

    Jason Soon

    November 21, 2006 at 9:38 pm

  59. is an actual psychiatric disorder

    Evidence? As usual Jason is just putting up a straw-left. This doesn’t apply across all possible left-of-centre political traditions and is an insult.
    I demand satisfaction: comments fields at dawn.

    Liam

    November 21, 2006 at 9:54 pm

  60. Jason asks:
    >what’s the relevance of your link? Disapproving of Bush’s policies is not the same thing as BDS…

    What Steve said.

    Daniel Barnes

    November 21, 2006 at 9:57 pm

  61. >In my view, Daniel does not exhibit enough of the symptoms to be diagnosed with this condition.

    Phew.Thanks Doc…;-)

    It’s just that the meme that only naiive leftist fanatics dislike Bush/his policies is a soap bubble that is well overdue for contact with reality. Fact: most Americans have now simply caught up with the rest of the world in their opinion of the man. Fact: it is almost impossible to think of any major Bush policy that has not been completely fucked up in some important way.

    Yet still we have to hear time and again about ‘intellectual snobbery’ and ‘adolescent leftism’ as the reasons people don’t like him. As if it’s some kind of ‘baffling’ psychological puzzle!

    Daniel Barnes

    November 21, 2006 at 10:12 pm

  62. BDS is an obsessive illness/disease that started well before Bush won the first election and becoming an epidemic after the 2nd with the afflicted be easily identified by mindlessly hurling epithets such as “Bush is a chimp,” “Bush is dumb,” “Bush created (Katrina, 9/11, global warming, peak oil, war, fast food etc etc)” followed by “Bush fucked up, yoh”.

    Vast slabs of the media are in an advanced state of BDS which hopefully will prove fatal, thank God.

    rog

    November 21, 2006 at 10:47 pm

  63. I think Psychiatry is mad

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 22, 2006 at 12:19 am

  64. The man who would have been president, John Kerry, outlined his contribution to the mid-terms yesterday:

    Shortly before the Nov. 7 elections that brought Democrats back into power in the House and Senate, Kerry retreated from public view following his remark to a college audience that young people might get “stuck in Iraq” if they do not study hard and do their homework.

    Kerry said Sunday he had made the decision to keep a low profile after the White House attacked the joke as insulting to U.S. troops and several Democrats called the comment a needless distraction before the pivotal congressional elections.

    “Since we had very close races, I made the decision to make certain that I didn’t distract. The results speak for themselves,” he said.

    Heh.

    Bush has refused to give carte blanche to anti-immigration extremists, refused to side with anti civil union advocates, taken what many regard as a principled stance on partial birth abortion, the meaning of marriage, embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia (compare with the bio-ethics of a Ted Kennedy – who jettisoned his principles for cheap expediency’s sake), initiated the largest global health initiative in human history, re-shaped the Supreme Court for a generation, overthrew the Taliban, overthrew Saddam Hussein (finishing the job his Dad and his cronies weren’t up to), neutralised Libya, killed thousands of wannabe jihadists, began a long-neglected reform of the US military and made it more unlikely than ever that any other nation (with the exception of Iran) will facilitate a homeland attack on America again because regime change is now a real deterrent. Most of Bush’s war initiatives have been planned and carried out over less than one four-year term. (While maintaining the lowest average daily military fatality rate of any long run national security era in American history). His BDS-suffering critics wonder why Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t exemplars of high Western democracy after three and a half years. By so wondering they advertise themselves as being far more stupid than the man himself. There are, of course, numerous other domestic policies and focuses and none of them have been any more or less characterised by opposition and success, compromise and re-calibration than any other President’s. Previously, Bush was a successful Governor of Texas, having demolished snooty Democrat legend Ann Richards who famously called him “some jerk”. He was re-elected, thus shaking to its foundations the Lone Star State’s historical loyalty to the Democrats.

    By way of comparison, the Democrats have been back on the stage for five minutes and have already f***** up the House Majority Leader question, f***** up the Alcee Hastings question (Pelosi will lose either way now), f***** up their response to the “disaster” in Iraq (they have no idea what they actually want to do), f***** up the ‘listen to the advisers’ meme (the advisers caution against withdrawal and have vindicated Rumsfeld), f***** up their commitment to “the troops” by allowing John Kerry anywhere near a podium during the campaign, f***** up the draft question (some commentators say Rangel’s stunt will now be read by the electorate as a serious proposal),
    f***** up the Bolton appointment (even some of his detractors now say he’s done a good job and should be confirmed), f***** up the GOP corruption wedge by allowing themselves (Reid, Murtha, Hastings and Pelosi herself) to be associated with sharp practice (especially in real estate) and earmarking pig-outs.

    This all builds on the tradition of Bill Clinton who f***** up health reform, f***** up the response to the 93 WTC bombing, f***** up Haiti, f***** up Somalia, f***** up the early response to Bosnia, f***** up the response to the bombing of the USS Cole, f***** up the response to the bombing of the African embassies, f***** up the Sudan bombing, f***** up eliminating Osama bin Laden on about five occasions, f***** up on sex scandals, f***** up on sleaze and nepotism (Pardongate) and f***** up on North Korea. That list is far from exhaustive.

    Bush is already an extremely consequential President historically – far more than either of his two GOP predecessors – and he has the power and the opportunity to achieve even more should he emulate two of his Democrat predecessors, the earlier of whom he and his circumstances resemble in many ways.

    C.L.

    November 22, 2006 at 2:33 am

  65. Comment spaminated.

    C.L.

    November 22, 2006 at 2:34 am

  66. Should have read: “Bush is already an extremely consequential President historically – far more than either of his two GOP predecessors.”

    He hasn’t overtaken the Gipper yet.

    C.L.

    November 22, 2006 at 2:51 am

  67. Goodness me, CL. Don’t hold back, bud. Tell us what you really think. 🙂

    More seriously, you’ve been reading Hayek, et al. and, I suspect you’ve read Rudd on Hayek. So tell us what you think about that.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 22, 2006 at 5:08 am

  68. I think Bob Carr, one of the founding members of the new Australia-America Institute was pretty close ot the mark in his interview on Lateline. GOP got hammered because Bush II prefered the advice of policy fantasists to the old guard policy realists.

    BOB CARR: Some people say this is an average swing for a mid-term election in a President’s second term. Well, even if that were the case, given the trend to gerrymander fewer and fewer marginal seats, the Democrat gains are remarkable. This is the American electorate voting against a war that was being fought. That’s what is so special about it, a war designed by the President and his Vice-President and the Defence Secretary, and fulfilling a neoconservative fantasy, or an ultra nationalist fantasy, that America, through military strength, could reshape the Middle East and we now know, deep into this war, America’s been at this war almost as long as it was at the war in Europe, the Second World War, it is now a long war and a draining war. The American people have repudiated it. This is extraordinary. This is remarkable. All the arguments about patriotism and loyalty to our men and women in the field have been set aside by voters who are really saying they’re more aligned with the Democratic party’s view of national security issues than with that of this Republican administration. This is a defeat of adventurism and an encouragement to caution and traditional realist, national
    security concerns in foreign policy.

    This line would be what any wise Democrat would be running with on the war

    CARR: It’s a betrayal of American interests and it’s left the whole Western world weakened. It’s made jihadism stronger, it’s increased the chance of the terrorists carrying a nuclear bomb into a Western city and detonating it.

    BOB CARR: If I had to debate the proposition is this the worst President in US history, I’d rather be on the pro than on the anti case.

    Stephen Hill

    November 22, 2006 at 7:45 am

  69. More than one commentator noted that Carr appeared to have something approximating an emotional meltdown on Lateline – demonstrating again the pathological potency of Bush Derangement Syndrome. The “realists” were the men whose stupendously flawed doctrine was cited by bin Laden as evidence of American weakness. The mid-term results were unremarkable for a sixth year presidency.

    C.L.

    November 21, 2006 at 10:37 pm

  70. Test.

    C.L.

    November 21, 2006 at 10:38 pm

  71. the realists were a bunch of appeasing nutters…

    invading iraq was the right thing to do…they should have instantly pushed for a three state solution and by doing so created the long term power situation avoiding a need for major civil war (there probably would be some fighting around the edges)

    when will people learn that different cultures demand sovereignty over their own destiny…without it they are doomed to slavery and holocaust (eg the kurds, the jews et al throughout history)

    c8to

    November 21, 2006 at 10:48 pm

  72. test

    Jason Soon

    November 22, 2006 at 3:27 pm

  73. CL:
    >His BDS-suffering critics wonder why Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t exemplars of high Western democracy after three and a half years. By so wondering they advertise themselves as being far more stupid than the man himself.

    CL, a question. When you put forward arguments like the above – that Bush’s critics are merely quibbling about Afghanistan and Iraq because they’re not ‘exemplars of high Western democracy’ – do you really mean it?
    The US faces a serious military and political situation in both territories, where it is barely holding on in the former and has almost certainly lost in the latter. Yet you portray this as just a little less than perfection, and describe critics as ‘deranged’. I don’t honestly see how you can get there.

    Daniel Barnes

    November 23, 2006 at 4:23 am


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