To me at least, the obvious follow-up question is: “Mr. President, what information have you received in the past 24 hours that has caused you to change you mind on the War on Terror? What startling news has convinced that now the war could be won?”
I think Bush is the worst president this country has ever had, but I think accusations by either side of “flip-flopping” to be irritating and tiresome. They seem to require that a leader never be anything more than a dispenser of one-dimensional catchphrases. I’d rather have a leader who could assess a situation as it evolves and perhaps come to different conclusions as things change than one who rotely follows a one sentence mission statement regardless of new information or facts.
It’s the same shit with Kerry’s voting record with regard to Iraq. The assumption that you have to uniformly vote either for or against every single bill that has the word Iraq on it for all time or else be labeled a flip-flopper is, in a word, stupid.
Because of the ineptitude of his opposition. You, and other Democrats, keep doing his dirty work for him. He wants a divided America, and you make certain that it stays that way. You call his supporters evil, stupid, and all sorts of other names just the way he wants you to.
Can you, then, suggest a strategy that will work? The reason that I ask is that it seems to me as though it is not just the democrats that are slinging the mud. The problem, as I see it, is that the Republicans have figured out that if they repeat the same lie enough times it will eventually become something that “everyone knows”.
So clearly, ignoring them is not the way to go. The Left has also suffered from this notion that if the “masses” would only take the time to understand the issues that they would automatically see it their way. Couple that with a lack of focus (all of the protests that I have ever been to have been all over the place, rather than focusing on one issue) and there is a lot to work on.
But, friend Liberal, I have to say that you are not helping. I know that you are not a Democrat, but that you have opted to side with them for this election. So tell me, what positive thing will you contribute to the cause (other than your vote)? So far, all that I am seeing is a lot of pot shots.
I recently saw something, a campaign ad IIRC, which featured Dubya declaring that he’ll “keep America safe!” I can only assume that he means he plans to keep us safe from terrorism by continuing to invade countries which he thinks harbors them.
What about the ones on our own soil? What we need is someone who will make all our intelligence agencies openly share all their anti-terrorist information with each other instead of allowing them to continue acting like spoiled brats with their favorite toys. I don’t see Dubya doing that; I’m not sure if Kerry could but he’s got to be an improvement.
What he said was “I don’t think you can win it.” Big difference, especially when you watch the clip and see where he put the stress. The stress was on the words “win it” and it was in response to Matt’s question about him believing we can win the war on terror. He was hedging on the term “win”.
He was being realistic. You can’t completely defeat terrorists. He went on to say that while we can’t completely win the war, we are successfully dismantling the Al Qaida organization. That you can do. You can dismantle the larger organization, leaving unorganized and, largely, ineffectual terrorists behind.
He shouldn’t have changed his statement, I agree. He should have stuck to his statement because it was true.
But is it a horrible case of flip-flopping? Is it as bad as the example given last night of John Kerry telling a Muslim group that the Israeli wall between it and the Palestinians was a barrier to peace and then telling a Jewish group that the same wall was essential to their safety? While those statements aren’t mutually exclusive, siding with the Muslims one month and the Israelis the next on the topic of the wall/fence is flip-flopping.
All politicians dissemble. This wasn’t flip-flopping.
Bush is a bad president. Why can’t we attack him for what makes him a bad president? As a Bush, he prosecutes wars very, very well. Attacking him there does no good. But, also as a Bush,:
He is ineffectual domestically.
His version of God plays too big a role in his decisions and stances.
He promotes the exclusion of American citizens from the American dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
He can’t make a goddamned speech to save his life.
Let me give it to you plain, my friend, because I know that’s how you want it. You’re gutless — not you, personally, but your side. It’s okay sometimes to act like a man. You — again, I mean y’all — are behaving as though your notion of level-playing-field, let’s-all-be-fair, never-offend-anyone leftism has taken root in the country as a whole when it has not. It is a concept called straining gnats and swallowing camels. The idea is that your are fretting incessantly over piddly matters while the major things go unaddressed. Republicans plan; you anticipate. Democrats, as I said elsewhere, used to have balls. They took to the streets. Some even put their lives on the line for civil rights, for women’s rights, for gay rights — for things of critical importance.
I’ve been having a similar discussion with Finagle about the differences between 1968 and 2004. What was different about the polarizations between then and now is that then, it was Democrats fighting their own politicians. Conservative was the dirty word, and liberals were focused. They didn’t waste time on the minutae of Vietnam. It was not academic musings about justification for the war. It was getting their hands dirty, putting their feet in the water, shouting in hand-holding masses basically that “Your war sucks!”. What is happening today is different. Bush has dropped a sword right in the middle of America, put himself on a pedestal, and said basically, “Whoever is not with me is against me!” He has robbed you of your ideology. You have let him decide what is right and what is wrong. You have given conservatives the impression, over the years, that you believe that nothing is right or wrong, that everybody deserves a reward just for showing up in life.
Why should they listen to your interpretation of the same facts that they interpret differently? Take the Swift Boat thing. There was no need for you to tear apart the argument and hold a national debate. That whole thing was nothing but a distraction. And now you have debunked most (but not all) of the SBVT accusations, but so what? Their ads are still running. They still are effective. Bush’s numbers are beginning to creep up. And all the effort was wasted. What you should have done was show some balls. Brains matter, but your brain needs to be focused on the battle. Take the initiative. Read Sun Tsu’s art of war. (Karl Rove obviously has read it.)
Recently, I posted what I thought Kerry should say if OBL is captured. Someone else tore it apart, and rather than defend it, I caved. But what the member was saying basically is that the wording I suggested was such that the Republicans could pick it apart and spin it in their favor. But so what? I mean, it isn’t like the Republicans are struggling and you have to walk on glass lest their momentum change.
Notice that the Republicans package their attacks in terms of ordinary principle. They frame things with references to courage, steadiness, reliability, and so forth. They’ve painted a picture that Kerry is a coward, a flip-flopper, and a liar. You allowed this to happen by shouting back, “Hey, that’s unfair, and here are the facts!” Unfortunately, there aren’t enough Americans who sympathize with you. What you should have done was shout back, “Hey, your war sucks!” Don’t attack Bush for how he pronounces “nuclear”. One of your guys, Carter, pronounces it exactly the same way anyhow. Don’t attack Bush for being a big old meanie who doesn’t play fair. And don’t attack him for waiting five minutes in a schoolroom. Attack him for destroying America. Meet him head on. When he says, “People who are against me hate America,” say, “You hate America because you are destroying it.” Do as Democrats did in the 1960s and go against your own when they’re wrong. Tell the Democrats in Congress who voted for the Patriot Act that they are Bush puppets. See, you haven’t even convinced your own people that you mean business. How will you convince others?
You’re like chess players who play for a draw, so their choice is between a draw and a loss. Bush’s people were talking about fighting wars on terror while you people were talking about UN inspections. By the time you proved your point that there were no WMDs, nobody gave a shit. By the time you proved your point that Kerry earned his medals, nobody cared anymore. You are followers. And specifically, you are following the Republican lead. It’s okay for you to invoke principles like courage, duty, and responsibility. These are things that stir the hearts of people who rebel against kings.
Liberal, I’m gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you just a bit. Just what exactly are you suggesting anti-Bush people do? You may recall a demonstration that took place in cities all over the world against Bush’s war and involved millions of people. You may also recall that in various places people took to the streets and were arrested for it. Just what were we supposed to do that we didn’t do?
I certainly understand your point about following the Republican’s lead, especially on nitpicky issues. For example, who cares if some republican talking head calls Kerry a flip-flopper? (I’ve personally found this particular accusation to be a complete load of crap from day one. Who doesn’t change their mind EVER, especially when they learn new things? Duh. Oh, wait, there is one guy, and he’s in the White House. Shit.) But it sounds like you’re saying that instead of using reason to prove our point, we should instead use propaganda and violence. Is that what you’re saying?
And how can you say that Dems shouldn’t go on and on about something just because it’ll annoy the people already opposed to them??? Isn’t that exactly what this Swift boat thing is all about? It seems to be a tactic the Repubs are very fond of, and it seems to work for them, why shouldn’t it work for Democrats?
It seems like you are suggesting that the Dems need to “dumb down” and play dirty. Some days I wish that could happen but then I have to say that this country does need a party for the thinking man, and the Dems are the best we have to offer. I have long held Washington Republicans in contempt for their lowdown sneaky, desperate dirty tactics and I would be disappointed to see that in the Democrats. So forgive me but I’ll cling to my lofty ideals for a bit longer.
I am interested to know if you truly feel propaganda and violence is a better alternative to open debate.
I’m not saying that you should use violence, but you certainly shouldn’t shirk being violated. No great change ever came about by the debates of talking heads. Martin Luther King Jr was nonviolent, but he was the kind of man who would stand and bleed for other men. He roused sympathy to his side because he gave himself to the cause. You — not you personally necessarily — misread the perception Americans had of the millions who marched against the Iraq war. You presumed that Americans shared your we’re-all-a-village mentality. The protestors in London, Madrid, and Paris actually hurt your cause. By calling upon the world, rather than calling upon your fellow Americans, you gave Bush exactly the demarcation where he could drop his sword. Half of America doesn’t give a shit what Britain, France, or Spain thinks. They don’t want to give their freedoms over to a United Nations, but they are willing to give them over to a United States in order to stop a United Nations. You need to return to the roots of your liberalism where noble principles like the sanctity of a single man’s consent remain. Anarchists now have taken your place, putting their heads in the way of clubs. And they do not have sufficient political clout to make a difference. In fact, they are fodder for ridicule both from you and Republicans. You’ve become complacent. You’ve made liberalism into something soft and hypersensitive. It was never either.
So it sounds like what you mean is that anti-war Americans should fly to Iraq and place their bodies in front of American guns. Could I even do that? If I really wanted to, I mean? I imagine that would cost quite a bit of money, plane tickets, passport and bribes and all. What about half a million people from across the country, just where are we all supposed to line up and get violated?
I’ve been violated in rent and wages and taxes, I’ve been violated on the stock market and on the internet, where exactly can I sign up for this club-to-the-head that you seem to think would be so effective for my cause? Sorry, Lib, it doesn’t gel with me. Many people who took to the streets the day of that protest were there to demonstrate their opposition to the war, but no one came to club us. Should we have clubbed ourselves?
What the hell is complacent about a worldwide protest? What is complacent about demanding facts instead of smoke and hyperbole? Who are these anarchists and where are they being clubbed?
And as far as the sanctity of a man’s consent, that doesn’t really exist and you know it. For example, I personally choose to pay my taxes rather than to not pay them and go to jail. I don’t want to pay them, but I have no choice other than jail. Where’s the sanctity in that?
I still haven’t really gleaned an idea from you about what us modern-day liberals should be doing instead. You don’t really think that by excluding other countries from the protest, we would have been more effective, do you?