Balkinization  

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ralph Nader and the ironies of history

JB

Ralph Nader announced today on Meet the Press that he was running for a third time for the presidency. The reaction so far has been predictable.

Democrats, remembering 2000 and blaming him for the Bush Presidency, are annoyed and a little bit frightened that he is injecting himself into the race. Republicans are secretly delighted, in the hopes that he might swing a few close states like Ohio, or dare one say it, Florida, to the Republican nominee.

I think that Democrats have much less to fear this time. Nader's candidacy means something quite different in 2008 than it does in 2000. In 2000, Nader was one of several factors that put George W. Bush in the White House. And in fairness to him, he was only one factor.

My guess is that there is very little chance that Nader will decide the outcome of the 2008 election; he will probably have very small numbers, as he did in 2004. Third parties who do not quickly displace one of the two major parties (as the Republicans displaced the Whigs in the 1850s) tend not to wear well on repeated attempts.

Rather, if Nader has any significance in this election, it will be to push certain issues on the table, and force the candidates to address them. To do that, he would have to be a much more significant presence than he is likely to be. Nader is quite interested in pushing the corruption issue-- and the connections between corporate lobbying and Washington politics-- but public interest in that issue is by now overdetermined.

In the 2000 election, Nader represented the left's displeasure as much with Clintonism as with Republican politics. Nader's assertion that there was no difference between the two candidates in 2000 was premised on the idea that Gore would prove to be as much of an accommodator of conservative Republicans as Clinton had been and that, like Clinton, Gore would accept the framing of political issues and political possibilities in a Republican dominated age. That is, Nader ran against the accomodationist model of Democratic electoral success that Clinton had perfected.

It is worth noting that many Democrats now agree with Nader that this model is outmoded, and their preference for something more has created problems for Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

Bill Clinton's model of Democratic electoral success, whatever its political advantages, had two unfortunate side effects. One was a strongly chastened sense of what politics could do-- at least with respect to the progressive agenda. The second is that with the President and Congress converging on a fair number of issues-- like balanced budgets and welfare reform-- Republicans turned to the politics of scandal as the best technique for undermining the Democratic electoral strategy, and Bill Clinton was only too happy to help them out.

We will never know if Gore would have followed in Clinton's footsteps as a clever accommodator of Reaganism: he was certainly not as agile a politician as Clinton, and Vice-Presidents following successful two term presidents (Van Buren, George H.W. Bush) have not fared well. Perhaps most important, the 9/11 attacks reshaped the focus of American politics to foreign policy.

Gore would probably have had a different presidency than Bush, and many of his policies would have been different. Without a chorus of neoconservatives in the White House, the chances of an Iraq war in response to 9/11 would have been small. However Gore would have faced a very conservative and partisan Republican-controlled Congress following a bitterly contested election, and that Congress would not have been in much of a mood for cooperation. Gore might have served only one term, and the Republicans might have retained control of Congress.

With Bush in the White House instead, the President took the nation into an unnecessary war and a disastrous foreign policy blunder, the Republican coalition underwent enormous strains, and the Democrats retook both houses of Congress.

If Nader is responsible for Bush's Presidency, then, he is responsible not only for the havoc Bush created but also the Democrats' enviable political position today. It is an irony of history, but history is often ironical in precisely this way. Nader in 2008 may now be largely irrelevant, but that is because in 2000 Nader did his small part in in setting in motion the events that led to the political downfall of the Republican Party and the dissolution of the Reagan coalition. And with the end of the Reagan coalition, the reactive Clintonian strategy of triangulation, co-opation of Republican themes and deliberate chastening of progressive aspirations may seem unnecessary; indeed, the end of the Reagan coalition may give way to a new form of politics far more hospitable to liberalism and progressive values. Democrats who blame Nader for putting Bush in the White House will probably give Nader little credit for that, but it probably pleases Nader a great deal.


Comments:

Democrats, remembering 2000 and blaming him for the Bush Presidency

I keep seeing in the media that Democrats blame him. But isn't it an objective fact that Nader was a "but for" cause of Bush's winning, even if, as JB notes, there were other factors?

If Nader is responsible for Bush's Presidency, then, he is responsible not only for the havoc Bush created but also the Democrats' enviable political position today.

Sure, if you consider von Hindenburg, because he appointed Hitler chancellor, to be responsible for the good shape that Germany is in today. Personally, I do not believe that one who causes a disaster deserves credit for the remedial steps that are taken to ameliorate the disaster.
 

The GOP should not rely on Nader to siphon many votes from the Dems in 2008.

Obama probably has a 75% chance of taking the Dem nomination and the Dem left is completely infatuated with him as the new JFK or their own personal fill in the blank fantasy candidate.

There is nothing about Obama's record, despite the moderate riff, which is likely to alienate the Dem left. Obama's scant record is far to the left of the neo Reaganism of Clinton's second term against which Nader rebelled. I believe that Obama has nearly the highest Senate voting rating among liberal interest groups who track this stuff and he was hardly a conservative or moderate in Illinois.

I do not even see Nader dragging Obama back to the left on the campaign issues because Obama's campaign is not about issues. Indeed, Nader's wearing his leftist politics on his sleeve could potentially make Obama's contentless "message of hope and change" look more moderate.

Perhaps, if McCain attacks Obama's leftish record and statements and forces him to tack his positions to the center, then Nader might cause some problems on Obama's left flank. That will take some proactive moves by McCain that I am not sure he has in him.

One would think that Nader would be on the Obama ideological bandwagon, which makes this announcement appear like an ego trip rather than an ideological rebellion. Ego trips do not attract voters.
 

BDP: "Obama's scant record is far to the left of the neo Reaganism of Clinton's second term against which Nader rebelled."

Holy **** Bart. Good to see you're as ill-informed about candidates as you are credulous about terruh. Just for your elucidation, this is the 'scant' record of which you speak:


-- Added health insurance for 20,000 children, welfare reforms, earned-income tax credits, and increased minimum wage in Illinois.

-- Reformed death-penalty cases, requiring that interrogations be video-recorded. Passed Illinois Senate 58-0. Signed into law by Illinois governor who first opposed Obama’s bill. Obama succeeded by building consensus with conservative opposition.

-- Expanded program to locate and dismantle stray Russian WMD with Republican Senator Lugar.

-- Passed major ethics and lobbying reform bill with Russ Feingold, insisting upon tougher restrictions around gifts, meals, etc. And extended the interval preventing exiting congress members from moving directly into lobbyist positions.

-- Toured Kuwait, Jordan, Israel, and Palestinian territories, telling Palestinian Authority Abbas that US would never recognize Hamas leaders until they renounced mission to attack Israel.

-- Cosponsored Secure Orderly Immigration Act by John McCain. Passes Senate 62-36. Makes undocumented persons who have been here 5+ years only allowed to stay and apply for citizenship if they pay back-taxes, learn English, and have no criminal record.

-- In Illinois State Senate sponsored 780 bills, 280 were signed into law.

-- In first year as US Senator, held 39 town-hall meetings throughout his state, sponsored 152 bills and resolutions, and cosponsored 427 more.

-- Designated US Senate point person on ethics by Speaker Harry Reid.

If ethics, tracking loose nukes, and lobbying reform is to the 'left' no wonder your party is going to continue to get decimated at the national level. Presumably, these are good things, right?
 

I saw and recommend the movie Unreasonable Man. I was impressed by the impact the Reagan deregulation campaign had on Nader the man. I think he feels he lost that debate.

The message I got from the movie was his effort to affirm the role of government in regulating commerce is more important to him than any President, let alone party.

I admire him.

And I'm not sure the politics are bad for Obama, who is going to get pushed to the Left of Ted Kennedy. Having Ralph out there even further, should help us with the pigeon-holers (or how every you spell that).
 

It's not obvious to me that a Gore administration would have permitted the 9/11 attacks. Bush's "What, me worry" explanation of his response to the "Bin Laden determined to strike in US" Presidential Daily Briefing, that he couldn't take action without a street address, is the hallmark of someone significantly less engaged than the historically aware Gore.
 

Larry Koenigsberg said: "...the hallmark of someone significantly less engaged than the historically aware Gore."

Or, put slightly differently, Nino's vote for Bush turns out to have been a substantive vote for terror.

You. Totally. Rock.
 

The fact that the Democrats are in an "enviable political position" due to the collapse of the Bush administration is only positive if you believe the country can recover from the extreme damage Bush has caused. I'd like to think we can, but I note that, as a science fiction writer, I now tend to date the decline and fall of the USA from 2002.
 

I understand Nader's reasons for running in 2000 and 2004. He tried to inject content into the Democratic candidacies and was rebuffed. That said, his decisions -- or rather the first one -- has to be seen through the lens of history, which is less cloudy now than then. Its consequences include the Iraq War. And like Larry Koenigsberg I'm not at all sure there would have been a 9/11 on Gore's watch, which to say on any real watch.

The irony of Nader's entry is that an Obama presidency would probably do more for political watchdogs and give them presidential imprimatur than any in a long time, possibly since FDR's. I came to see Obama's process populism in follow-up due diligence on Chris Matthews' recent challenge of a Texas Obama spokesman to describe Obama's achievements. The tenor of Obama's legislative efforts suggests to me a picture of policymaking that puts smart heads into the same room with an informed (or informable) public watching over their shoulders. See if you don't agree after reading Hilzoy's February 4 post titled "Obama: Actually, I Think We Can."

Far and away it's on the level of process, not substance, that his healthcare proposal is to be distinguished from Hillary Clinton's, even from Edwards's. I won't speak to John McCain's tastes in reform, which have gotten enough attention in recent days.

It would be good if Nader appreciated Obama's trajectory. Perhaps he does and will evince his awareness subtly enough to throw process issues into relief without making Barack look like Nader's enabler.
 

schatten:

I do not want to turn this thread into a debate over the pros and cons of Obama's past voting record. There are still around seven months until the election, which is more than enough to tear into the half page resume you offered.

My only point was that the Obama resume you cited is considerably to the left of the Gingrich spending and tax cuts and elimination of the welfare entitlement to which Clinton signed on and against which Nader and some of the left rebelled in 2000.

Nader would be very comfortable with the Obama record. Consequently, Nader's most recent tilt at the windmill appears to be more of an ego trip than an argument that there is no real differences in the parties. If McCain can refocus attention from the "hope and change" smoke and mirror show to the nitty gritty of the issues, then the voters will have the starkest choice since the 80s.
 

larry koenigsberg said...

It's not obvious to me that a Gore administration would have permitted the 9/11 attacks. Bush's "What, me worry" explanation of his response to the "Bin Laden determined to strike in US" Presidential Daily Briefing, that he couldn't take action without a street address, is the hallmark of someone significantly less engaged than the historically aware Gore.

Please.

You may recall that the planning and the deployment for the 9/11 attacks occurred during the Clinton/Gore Administration. The Clinton/Gore Administration did not have a clue about 9/11 for the same reasons that the Bush Administration did not - FBI had no protocols for counter terror reports, FBI could not talk to CIA, DIA was not permitted to perform data mining of publicly available information on the internet for fear of being accused of spying on innocent Americans and we had no actionable intelligence on al Qeada because we were not at war with them and capturing terrorists to interrogate.

What is not obvious is whether Mr. Gore would have committed ground troops to rout al Qaeda out of Afghanistan and the other sanctuaries around the world. No post Vietnam Dem President has sent troops into a real shooting ground war since LBJ.
 

"No post Vietnam Dem President has sent troops into a real shooting ground war since LBJ."

Hear! Hear! All the more reason we should prefer Democrats in the White House over Republicans.

Of course, I think you sell the Dems short on their aptitude for imperialistic adventuring and willingness to be mass murderers; post-LBJ, we have had only two Democratic presidents in office, for a total of 12 years in power, versus five Republican Presidents, for a total of 28 years in office. The Dems just haven't had the same time to fabricate reasons to assert American military might against other nations around the world.
 

I do not want to turn this thread into a debate...

Oh, please, as though you have any other purpose to your life!

9-11 occurred because even though Bush & Rice were told directly by Clinton & Clarke that "Osama bin Laden is he guy you've got to worry about," they both spent August 2001 sitting around, twiddling their thumbs, their feet up on the table and clearing brush on the ranch and basically not doing squat to head off the disaster that Tenet was running around with his "hair on fire" about.
Sorry, but a Gore Presidency would not have had 9-11 happen on their watch.
 

rich said...

Sorry, but a Gore Presidency would not have had 9-11 happen on their watch.

OK, make your case.

1) Clarke had no earthly idea about the 9/11 plot. All the intelligence community had was increased chatter. So how could Mr. Bush have learned from Mr. Clarke how to stop the 9/11 plot?

2) While he was in office, Clinton ignored Clarke for years. Clinton declined to take down bin Laden on multiple occasions prior to 9/11 and did nothing to pursue Clarke's recommendations. So exactly how did Clinton supposedly tell Bush how to take down bin Laden?

3) Tell us exactly how Mr. Gore would have changed the previous Clinton/Gore policies to prevent 9/11 and give us precise evidence showing he had any plans to do so.

Listen to Robert. He at least has the honesty to admit that no post Vietnam Dem President has had the sand to wage close up and personal ground war against any enemy for any reason. Clinton/Gore did not even have the sand to bomb the bin Laden because they were too worried about collateral damage.

Therefore, there is serious doubt as to whether Gore would have departed from this history and prosecuted a ground war against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Instead, it is more likely that we would have seen a large air strike ala Operation Desert Fox in 1998 with the same lack of results.
 

Listen to Robert. He at least has the honesty to admit that no post Vietnam Dem President has had the sand to wage close up and personal ground war against any enemy for any reason.

I find your assumption that it is every President's duty to start a ground war and that failure to do so is "isolationist" to be disturbing. It is sort of like your challenge to other posters here -- what country do you want to invade. I you don't want to invade someone, that makes you an isolationist.
 

1) Clarke had no earthly idea about the 9/11 plot. All the intelligence community had was increased chatter. So how could Mr. Bush have learned from Mr. Clarke how to stop the 9/11 plot?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100879.html

If the omniscient narrator of Woodward's book is to be believed, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice waved off warnings that should by any reasonable standard have put the government on high alert for an al-Qaeda attack.

Had Western Europe been attacked by the Warsaw Pact in September 1981, Reagan could have made the case that he had been pumping money into the US military, that he had been trying to meet the attack before it occurred. With Rice having "waved off warnings" Bush can't make the same claims concerning 9-11.

2) While he was in office, Clinton ignored Clarke for years. Clinton declined to take down bin Laden on multiple occasions prior to 9/11 and did nothing to pursue Clarke's recommendations. So exactly how did Clinton supposedly tell Bush how to take down bin Laden?

http://www.time.com/time/nation/printout/0,8816,333835,00.html

The terrorism briefing was delivered by Richard Clarke, a career bureaucrat who had served in the first Bush Administration and risen during the Clinton years to become the White House's point man on terrorism.

That doesn't sound to me like a fellow whom Clinton "ignored." Also, in Bill Clinton's interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News
http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/09/bill_clinton_bin_laden_and_hys.html
Clinton pointed out that:

I think it's very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who now say that I didn't do enough, claimed that I was obsessed with Bin Laden. All of President Bush's neocons claimed that I was too obsessed with finding Bin Laden when they didn't have a single meeting about Bin Laden for the nine months after I left office. All the right wingers who now say that I didn't do enough said that I did too much.

3) Tell us exactly how Mr. Gore would have changed the previous Clinton/Gore policies to prevent 9/11 and give us precise evidence showing he had any plans to do so.

No, my point is that Gore would have continued the Clinton policies, policies that were far more aggressive and proactive than Bush's policies. As in my example about Reagan and a Soviet attack, Gore could at least have said "Hey, I tried".
 

Let's face, it. Many Presidents do think about the role of Commander-in-Chief, especially when considering (beginning usually shortly after being sworn in) what their legacies might be, looking back at what may have contributed to the legacies of past Presidents considered as being great or near great: many times their roles in wars, usually major wars, elevated their legacies. So perhaps a new President feels a need to make his bones. Some have done this with small wars (that perhaps are not really, really wars) against small nations that form no real threat to our national security. This can be the case for a President who never served in the military or who did serve but was not in harms way when he did. So let's give some credit to Ike who really, really knew what war was like. His campaign included getting us out of Korea, which he did. (His role was most limited with Vietnam.) He gave us the warning about the military-industrial complex which was not heeded by many Presidents who followed. Yes, there was the backlash to Vietnam. But we got over that with the end of the Cold War. We now have a backlash to Iraq. Never again? Make no bones about it? But then there is the matter of legacy. LBJ may have wanted to get out of Vietnam but was reluctant to have withdrawal as part of his legacy. George W? He doesn't care, as it would be detrimental to his legacy and the future of the Republican party. But Democrats also hesitate for fear of being perpetually accused of cutting and running. Meantime, our troops die; who speaks for them?
 

Bart reveals much about his unsavory worldview when he characterizes the criminal imperialistic adventuring and mass murder carried out by so many of our Presidents as "having the sand" to engage our "enemies."

Which of our post-WW II military engagements abroad have been necessary or justified? I would say: NONE OF THEM. However, Bart sneers that our Dem Presidents haven't been as ready to butcher as many human beings as have our Republican Presidents.

As my previous comment indicates, I don't fool myself that the Dems are intrinsically more virtuous or less murderous than the Republicans, but to the extent any President is willing to find diplomatic or other nonlethal solutions to complex world problems--rather than to demonize the "enemy" and throw bombs at them--I say that President is to be admired and supported. As it stands, most of our Presidents of the last half-Century are war criminals who have wreaked death, destruction and misery throughout all areas of the planet.
 

EnlightenedLayperson: "I find [Bart's] assumption that it is every President's duty to start a ground war and that failure to do so is "isolationist" to be disturbing. It is sort of like [Bart's] challenge to other posters here -- what country do you want to invade. I you don't want to invade someone, that makes you an isolationist.

Since it is such a recurring theme, let's parse it and dispose of it once and for all. When a Newt-loving Roviac cries, "You're an isolationist!" is an easy to parse example of TOAC 32: Put His Thesis Into Some Odious Category, about which The Art of Controversy says:

In making an objection of this kind, [the attacker takes] it for granted (1) that the assertion in question is identical with, or is at least contained in, the category cited - that is to say, [the attacker cries] out, "Oh, I have heard that before"; and (2) that the system referred to has been entirely refuted, and does not contain a word of truth.

Further fun with TOAC, one of our commentors writes, Listen to [Mr. Cook] . He at least has the honesty to admit that no post Vietnam Dem President has had the sand to wage close up and personal ground war against any enemy for any reason.

Two little sentences, but how many TOAC attacks do you think we can find? First and foremost there's, TOAC 38: Become Personal, Insulting, Rude, which in turn is a gambit aimed at capitalizing on TOAC 27: Anger Indicates A Weak Point and, perhaps more generally as a kind of meta-strategy, TOAC 8: Make Your Opponent Angry. Our exemplar won't actually call Mr. Cook a liar, but does so by insinuation, and if anyone is angered by this that anger will be used by our exemplar as [clearly false but emotionally effective] evidence of some weakness in their argument.

Of course the whole matter of "Post Viet Nam Dem presidents" is a fine example of TOAC 29: Diversion, drawing conversation away from the simple observation that Gore was more "historically aware" than was the "less engaged" Bush, which allows the plausible speculation that warnings received by the White House prior to nine-one-one might have been treated differently had the high-bench perhaps been a little bit less activist and counter-majoritarian in 2000.

I commend to my readers (both of them?) TOAC 34: Don't Let Him Off The Hook as a delightful counter strategy to much of the rhetoric offered here. All too often when scoring a point against our debate partners we seem to let them off the hook by following their (mostly illegitimate) lines of questioning. Don't do it! Once a solid position is made, hold that ground. Gore is quite plausibly described as less of a cowboy, more "historically aware," and that could well have lead to a deferent September 2001 (not to mention March 2003) than what we had under Commander Codpiece.

And now, to give the devil his due, the main point of Jack's post is that a Nader run in 2008 won't be as significant as was the Nader run in 2000. Please take note that despite whatever controversy that later ensued, Bart's initial offering on this thread, "The GOP should not rely on Nader to siphon many votes from the Dems in 2008." harmonizes well with our host's words, "I think that Democrats have much less to fear this time...My guess is that there is very little chance that Nader will decide the outcome of the 2008 election". Aside from predictable, and ignorable, partisan snipes at one of the Dem contenders Bart's first comment really wasn't particularly outlandish.

Peace.
 

Robert Cook: "...to the extent any President is willing to find diplomatic or other nonlethal solutions to complex world problems--rather than to demonize the "enemy" and throw bombs at them--I say that President is to be admired and supported."

Hear, hear!!!

Equally applicable, imnsho, to blog commentors as to Presidents. Rock on, Mr. Cook.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Dear Mr. DePalma,
You seem contemptuous of any consideration of "collateral
damage". The particular instance you cite, it seems a
prince of The United Arab Emirates was in the area. Does
this change the equation? Does the fact that the location
was a small village in a Middle Eastern country and not a
small village in Colorado change the equation, in respect to
"collateral damage"? FW
 

rich:

Nothing you offered contradicts what I posted apart from Clinton's pathetic whine in response to a reporter's question why he did not capture or kill bin Laden when he repeatedly had the chance.

Once again, it is inconceivable that the same policies which allowed the 9/11 planning, deployment into and training in the United States would have stopped the 9/11 plot 8 months later.

Try reading the 9/11 report.

Then go watch ABC's Path to 9/11 movie based on the 9/11 report, which 9/11 chairman Kean approved and in which Richard Clarke only found fault for one composite scene where the CIA were on the ground asking for a air strike on bin Laden when they actually had located bin Laden from a remote location.

I will rest my case on the 9/11 report.
 

fw said...

Dear Mr. DePalma,

You seem contemptuous of any consideration of "collateral damage".


Hardly.

If you can kill bin Laden standing alone in a field rather than hiding with civilians, then you do so.

However, if your only viable window to kill bin Laden risks a a handful of civilian lives in order to save thousands which bin Laden would kill in the future, a President reluctantly gives the order to strike and then goes a little bit grayer.

The particular instance you cite, it seems a prince of The United Arab Emirates was in the area. Does this change the equation?

No.

Does the fact that the location
was a small village in a Middle Eastern country and not a small village in Colorado change the equation, in respect to "collateral damage"?


So far as location or the identity of the civilians being risked, no.

However, we have boots on the ground and the opportunity to capture bin Laden in the US. Prior to 9/11, no one was willing to put boots on the ground in Afghanistan to war against al Qaeda.
 

Baghdad, given your thirst for blood, it sure seems odd that you haven't got your cowardly ass into the fight.
 

Prior to 9/11, no one was willing to put boots on the ground in Afghanistan to war against al Qaeda.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 9:29 AM


Heck, the Bushies weren't even willing to do it AFTER 9/11. Bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora when we decided to let the Afghans do the fighting instead of sending in US troops.
 

bb:

It is pathetic when cowards who would never consider military service attack the service of combat veterans.

Of the two of us, only one has fought in Iraq, taken enemy fire and taken enemy lives.

Of the two of us, only one tried to re-up after 9/11 to fight in this latest war.

Unfortunately for this middle aged ex grunt and fortunately for you who desire to avoid service, there are plenty of patriotic young Americans willing to serve in wartime so the military does not need us.

If you want to continue this discussion, slink away and take it over to my blog. Professor Balkin did not start this thread for this nonsense.
 

Baghdad, we're not talking about your 4 days driving through the wilderness butchering people who are trying to surrender, we're talking about a 5 year war where the Iraqis have actually decided to fight back.

They may not have wanted you after 9/11, but I bet they'd take you back now. You need to get your cowardly ass into the fight.

And I have no problem taking it to your blog, but you're censoring posts there.
 

Professor Balkin did not start this thread for this nonsense.

If he has no problem with scum like you posting here, he should have no problem with people who use his blog to kick your teeth in.
 

Bart: ...pathetic...cowards......slink away...

As if TOAC 38: Become Personal, Insulting, Rude hadn't been mentioned already this morning. Thanks for the fine example! Also, you've managed TOAC 8: Make Your Opponent Angry. For that matter, I suppose this tired tirade of "I'm a serviceman!" (stamping foot and grimmacing) fits TOAC 29: Diversion as well as TOAC 16: Arguments Ad Hominem.

Bart, you're a cornucopia of opportunities to hone our critical thinking skills today. I reckon we should thank you.

By the way, have you yet mustered a refutation, or even a plausible disputation of the claim:

"Gore was more 'historically aware' than was the 'less engaged' Bush, which allows the plausible speculation that warnings received by the White House prior to nine-one-one might have been treated differently had the high-bench perhaps been a little bit less activist and counter-majoritarian in 2000."

Did I miss your reply to that one?
 

robert link said...

"Gore was more 'historically aware' than was the 'less engaged' Bush, which allows the plausible speculation that warnings received by the White House prior to nine-one-one might have been treated differently had the high-bench perhaps been a little bit less activist and counter-majoritarian in 2000."

Exactly what evidence is there that Gore is more "historically aware" than your average politician, which is to say your average potted plant?

If his various self important fibs did not do in Mr. Gore's credibility in 2000, all the outright lies and exaggerations in his propaganda movie "An Inconvenient Truth" certainly did.
 

I'm sorry, but I am driven to point out that, while Gore may be a navel-gazing, Peace Prize-winning, Oscar-winning, highly intelligent person, he is not a "sensitive plant" -- which folds its leaves when breathed upon.

On the other hand, from observation, President Bush seems less aware than the fungus that grows on bathroom walls.

This is neither here nor there, as comparison between humans and members of other phyla is seldom worthwhile -- and, in honesty, generally not flattering to the humans involved.

We have gone far afield, however, in considering Nader, although I have to say the ironies of history have been presented in stark detail by the discussion.

I knew a lot of Nader voters in 2000. None are even considering a vote for him today. Their reasoning at the time was that "Bush and Gore were indistinguishable."

Their discriminators have been tuned by the last 8 years. Nader won't be anything but fodder for the comedians this season.
 

Some have done this with small wars (that perhaps are not really, really wars) against small nations that form no real threat to our national security. This can be the case for a President who never served in the military or who did serve but was not in harms way when he did. So let's give some credit to Ike who really, really knew what war was like.

Eisenhower did know what war was like, but...

Eisenhower did plan the Bay of Pigs, installed a puppet government in South Vietnam, and overthrew both Mosaddeq and Arbenz, plus he sent the Marines to interfere with the sunbathers in Lebanon. And his substitute for war consisted of having JFDulles threaten everyone with nuclear annihilation.

The sad thing is, this record looks peaceful in comparison to other post-WWII Presidents except Carter and Clinton.
 

The schooling continues, consider it a public service:

I asked Bart, "By the way, have you yet mustered a refutation, or even a plausible disputation of the claim:

'Gore was more 'historically aware' than was the 'less engaged' Bush....'"


He replies, as per TOAC 19: Generalize the Matter, Then Argue Against it: "Exactly what evidence is there that Gore is more "historically aware" than your average politician, which is to say your average potted plant?"

Of course this also serves as Diversion, supra. What it doesn't serve as is cogent argumentation, but that makes sense, as the suggested use for TOAC 19 is, "Should your opponent expressly challenge you to produce any objection to some definite point in his argument, and you have nothing much to say...". Guess that's the case w/r/t Bart's failure to refute, or even credibly dispute, the claim in question.

And, just in case folks have missed my larger point, I repeat, I don't turn to TOAC because it's comprehensive or some kind of final word; it's just convenient and adequate. The more often we refer to it or some similar reference the less often we will get caught up in time-wasters. The more often folks are busted for such shoddy, sophomoric tricks, the sooner they will develop a more worthwhile mode of discourse. Or so one hopes.
 

@C2H50H, just to get back on track, you'll appreciate a comment from a pal of mine:

"I have previously supported the idea that Nader should be humanely live-trapped and released in the wilderness, far from human habitation, where he could do no further harm. Now I just say shoot the son of a bitch."

(quoted w/o permission, but publicly available, so plausibly fair to use.)

I recall fondly his "live-trapped" remark back in '04, wouldn't have thought he'd have chance to reprise it.

Peace.
 

The more often folks are busted for such shoddy, sophomoric tricks, the sooner they will develop a more worthwhile mode of discourse. Or so one hopes.

# posted by Robert Link : 12:30 PM


You have ZERO chance of getting into a worthwhile mode of discourse with Baghdad Bart.
 

robert link said...

The schooling continues, consider it a public service:

I asked Bart, "By the way, have you yet mustered a refutation, or even a plausible disputation of the claim: 'Gore was more 'historically aware' than was the 'less engaged' Bush....'"

He replies, as per TOAC 19: Generalize the Matter, Then Argue Against it: "Exactly what evidence is there that Gore is more "historically aware" than your average politician, which is to say your average potted plant?"


I am using the classic Socratic method by challenging your unsupported underlying premise that Mr. Gore is "historically aware" with another question.

Your claim that I generalized your argument and then argued against it has no merit because I challenged your exact assumption that Gore was historically aware.

In contrast, you decline to prove that Mr. Gore is historically aware and thus concede my point.
 

Bartbuster: My odds are arguably better if I try than if I don't. ;) It bears repeating that his inital post on this thread was agreement with Jack, despite the accompanying pot-shot at Obama. We should encourage that sort of thing, shouldn't we?
 

My odds are arguably better if I try than if I don't.

No, they're not. You probably have a better chance if you just annoy him with his own tactics.


Only a moderator can end his non-stop BS with any degree of certainty
 

Bart comments positively on the ABC TV movie "Path to 9-11":

"The Path to 9/11 contained inaccurate and even fabricated scenes that cast the Clinton administration as insufficiently aggressive in combating terrorism and that showed President Bush taking aggressive action not indicated in the 9-11 Commission report. In addition, the film was sharply criticized by former Clinton administration officials, journalists, and conservatives alike, who noted that significant parts of the "docudrama's" content were not supported by the 9-11 Commission's findings."

Also, as I said, we have a corrupt and decadent media. The media reacted to Clinton's spanking of Wallace with a request for smelling salts and by dramatically fainting on a conveniently-nearby couch because, as they put it, Clinton was so terribly rude and mean to poor Wallace. At no point did the media seek to examine just who was right and who was lying.
 

I'm opposed to turning Ralph out into the wilderness. It's a free country, he should be able to run for President and be an example of what happens if you miss the bus once too often.

And Bart finally falls back upon the last refuge of the RWA: simply refuse to be persuaded by any "proof" that could be offered.

A valid question to ask is "what would convince you of the truth of this assertion?" In this case, that Al Gore was, and is, more historically aware than George W. Bush.

If the answer is "nothing" -- or a set of requirements that amounts to the same thing -- then everyone can see whose position is supported by nothing but dogma.

For my part, I'd be convinced that Bush is as thoughtful as a house plant if he could coherently explain the catastrophic effects of acidification of the oceans due to CO2.
 

To lighten things up a bit, here is some comic relief as SNL offers their version of the CNN Dem debate in Texas.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Robert, I don't want you to get the idea that I don't enjoy watching you smack the little scumbag around. You just should not expect him to change his tactics.
 

Bart: you decline to prove that Mr. Gore is historically aware and thus concede my point.

TOAC 14 Claim Victory Despite Defeat: ...advance the desired conclusion, - although it does not in the least follow, - as though it had been proved, and proclaim it in a tone of triumph. If your opponent is shy or stupid, and you yourself possess a great deal of impudence and a good voice, the trick may easily succeed.

'Nuff said. (And thanks for the SNL link!)
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Baghdad, your blog still appears to have the censorship switch set to ON. Are you planning to fix that?
 

Robert Link wins the thread.
 

I don't know about a chorus, but Joe Lieberman would have been in the White House, and he's about as big a "neoconservative" as anyone. He's even Jewish!
 

My thoughts on Ralph here.

While his admonition to the Democrats might be salutary, and a little more Democratic spine is not a prospect to be feared, his actual candidacy won't do anything positive (we had Kucinich and Gravel too, FWIW; if Nader cared about the Democrats, he could have have gone that route....)

Cheers,
 

Compare and contrast:

Obama's scant record is far to the left of the neo Reaganism of Clinton's second term against which Nader rebelled. I believe that Obama has nearly the highest Senate voting rating among liberal interest groups who track this stuff and he was hardly a conservative or moderate in Illinois.

v.

I do not want to turn this thread into a debate over the pros and cons of Obama's past voting record.

"IOW, I want to say what I feel like saying because I like to hear myself talk, and I'll ignore it when people actually try to engage in discussion of stuff that I myself brought up. Yes, you're right, I don't know when to STFU. SO what, it's my blog!!!"

Oh. Right. No one reads his execrable blog.....

Cheers,
 

You may recall that the planning and the deployment for the 9/11 attacks occurred during the Clinton/Gore Administration.

The PDB came in August 2001. The flight school clues came in the summer of 2001. The "chatter" was waaaayyyyy up in 2001. AG Ashcroft stopped flying commercial airlines in the summer of 2001 (and still hasn't explained why that might have been).

While prep might have been done beforehand, it's when the clues are available to you that you become responsible.

Cheers,
 

Then go watch ABC's Path to 9/11 movie based on the 9/11 report....

ROFLMAO..... "Bart" thinks we're stoopid ... or that someone here is stoopid.

As anyone who's paying attention knows, the principal "scenes" that the miniseries used to try and pillory Clinton were made up!!! Even ABC had to put in a caveat:

The extent of the criticism and indignation expressed resulted in ABC revising its original description of the film as a "docu-drama based on the 9/11 Commission Report" to describe it as a dramatization of events based only in part on the 9/11 Commission Report.

Leave it to the "Bartster" to cite a Hollywood "dramatization" as factual evidence.

Cheers,
 

Bart, don't you remember how serious Clinton was about the al Qaeda threat? He wanted to sic ninjas on them. You don't get much more serious than that.
 

Which of our post-WW II military engagements abroad have been necessary or justified? I would say: NONE OF THEM.

Well, then, there are 50 MILLION people in South Korea who are pretty glad that you are just an obscure commenter on a blog and have had no influence in government.
 

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