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Parsing the Polls: Presidential Erosion

It's not news to political junkies that President George W. Bush's job-approval ratings have hovered in the 30s for much of the last year.

But there's been little empirical evidence that allows us to answer questions about where, demographically speaking, that erosion in public support has occurred most. Is it simply that those moderate Republicans and GOP-leaning independents -- voters who swallowed their doubts about Bush to support him in 2004 -- have since returned to their more accustomed spot on the political fence? Or does the drop in numbers represent a Republican base that's increasingly disenchanted by the Bush administration's stance on immigration and other hot-button issues?

A recent Pew poll provides us with some answers to those questions, based on a sample of 3,204 adults -- a group large enough for us to gain real insight into how different groups' views on the President have changed since the last time Pew conducted a similar survey in December 2004.

The Pew survey, it should be noted, was in the field from April 27 to May 22 -- well before the supposed uptick in Bush's political fortunes following the death of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and his surprise visit to Baghdad.

Let's parse the polls!

Bush's job-approval number has tumbled from 48 percent in December 2004 to 33 percent in May 2006, according to Pew's numbers. That decline has been accompanied by the emergence of a major disparity between those Americans who say they strongly approve of the president and those who strongly disapprove.

In December 2004, 34 percent strongly approved of the job Bush was doing, compared with 35 percent who strongly disapproved. In May, just 19 percent strongly approved of Bush's job performance, while 45 percent said they strongly disapproved. This discrepancy could well lead to a major turnout edge for Democrats in the fall elections, as their base voters appear to be more energized to to cast a vote against Bush. (The Post's Chuck Babington analyzed this trend in a story back in April.)

Beyond the overall job-approval number, the demographic details within the poll are the most enlightening.

The president's job-approval rating has dropped in every region of the country, level of income, education level, and age group, but the slippage is particularly pronounced among self-identified moderate Republicans. Eighty-one percent of this group gave the president positive marks in December, while just 56 percent did the same in May -- a precipitous 25-point decline that outpaced the 20-point drop (89 percent in December '04, 69 percent now) among Republicans overall.

The numbers are less stark when it comes to President Bush's conservative base, but perhaps even more worrisome for Republicans hoping to hold the House and Senate in the fall. The president's job approval among self-identifying conservatives has slipped from 93 percent in December 2004 to 78 percent in May. But Courtney Kennedy and Michael Dimock, authors of Pew's own analysis, pointed out that the smaller dropoff is somewhat misleading.

"There are far more conservatives than moderates in the GOP; as many as two-thirds of Republicans identify themselves as conservatives," the duo wrote. "Translated into real numbers, just as many conservative Republicans as moderate and liberal Republicans have grown frustrated with the president's leadership over the past year and a half."

As evidence of the erosion in what has long been considered Bush's base, take a look at his job-approval numbers among white evangelical protestants. In December 2004, 77 percent of this voting bloc approved of how the president was handling his job; the numbers was down to just 55 percent in May. Among Southern voters, Bush's job approval has dropped twenty points (56 percent in December 2004, 36 percent in May 2006); among those who attend church weekly or more often it has slipped 17 (58 percent to 41 percent.)

Not only has general support for the president among GOP base voters dropped, so has the percentage of that group who still strongly back Bush. Roughly 60 percent of white evangelical Protestants strongly supported the president in 2004, a number that was cut nearly in half (34 percent) by May 2006. Similarly, just 20 percent of southerners and 25 percent of weekly church-goers now strongly approve of the job the president is doing, down from 40 percent and 42 percent, respectively, in late 2004.

In some ways this falling support among Republicans (or among voters who tend to side with the GOP) isn't terribly surprising. Following the 2004 election, Bush was riding high (the president's famous "political capital" line came in those heady days), and even Republicans who were not entirely sold on the president and his policies were likely to give him the benefit of the doubt -- artificially inflating his approval score.

In the intervening two years, Bush has endured a losing battle to reform Social Security, the few highs and many lows of the ongoing war in Iraq, the immigration debate and rising gas prices. As each of those issues flare up, some Republicans peel away from the president.

By contrast, Democrats' estimation of Bush has never been terribly high -- giving them less room to fall. Seventeen percent of Democrats approved of the job Bush was doing in December 2004, compared with 9 percent in May. Eighteen percent of black voters supported Bush's handling of the job in 2004, while just 9 percent back him now. Four-in-ten Northeastern voters voiced approval of the president; just 27 percent now do.

Two other numbers of note -- both from voting groups considered to be up for grabs in 2006. Among Hispanics, Bush's job approval has dropped 16 points (45 percent to 29 percent). Meanwhile, just 26 percent of self-identifying independents approve of his performance, a 19-point fall-off from December 2004.

It doesn't take a political scientist (and The Fix is definitely not one) to draw the conclusion that the Pew numbers signal real trouble for the president. Of special concern should be the dropoff among Republican base voters who seem to have tired of Bush -- a not uncommon trend in the sixth year of any administration's tenure. All is not lost, however, as Bush's White House political operation seems energized in the wake of a major staff shakeup, the clearing of Karl Rove in the CIA leak probe, and the the death of Zarqawi.

Polls taken since these events show a slight boost for the president, but nothing that would indicate a sea change in public opinion. Republicans are worried and rightly so. But, as we so often say in this space, five months is an eternity in politics.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 21, 2006; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Parsing the Polls , Republican Party  
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Comments

On Bush's supposed recent "bounce:" even bowling balls bounce when they hit the floor. He's still a gutter ball in my book and should be impeached for blatantly violating FISA, among other "high crimes & misdemeanors." Only Kool-Aid drinkers think it's A-OK to shred the Constitution in the name of "security" or "freedom." I only wish they would quit drinking and start thinking.

Posted by: Bugs | June 22, 2006 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I am very concerned about sick of it all's position on the Dhubai Ports deal.
The World Trade Center had two terrorist assaults on it by Arab Islamic Extremists, both resulted in over 1,000 fatalities and the second resulted in the actual destruction of the buildings.
Both Bush's interfered with the bureaucracy, made special provisions for Arab friends and those friends then attacked us.
Even though Michael Moore says it doesn't mean it isn't true: the Bush family's connections in the oil world have twice opened the door for terrorists to strike in NYC.
Dhubai Ports would simply have provided another ticking time bomb.
President Bush's handling of the issue shows that his rhetoric on the post 9/11 world is only that.

Robert Chapman
Lansing, New York

Posted by: robert chapman | June 22, 2006 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Reading this entire debate has been extremely interesting from the perspective of someone living outside the US. In many ways it seems to the outsider as almost a microcosm of the entire political debate, a sensible, structured and civil debate between people from an obviously wide spectrum of political views which becomes watered down and devalued by personal attacks and partisan point scoring.

The area of debate here I find most fascinating is over the perceived "loss of respect" for America in Europe (and trust me zouk its not just in France). From my perspective the answer to why that is happening (particularly in Europe) can actually be pretty well explained using just two quotes from this very discussion:

"we are a belligerant nation and have extensive interests. and in case you forgot, we are the good guys in all those wars" -posted by "Zouk"

From someone blasting his critics for not being academic enough this is unbelievable, seriously "we are the good guys in all those wars"? This is the level of subtly I would expect from a child not someone trying to enter into serious debate.

"and how we invented just about everything important" - posted by "I could give as hit whether it's a Republican"

I don't even know where to start the response to this, I can only hope it was said in sarcasm. This sums up so simply why the US is seen by growing numbers of people all over the world as arrogant and self obsessed. The major religions of the world(Christianity, Islam, Buddism etc) are all I would argue pretty important, exactly which of these was invented in America? What about public transport, or sewage systems, or computers, or the language this debate is written in, or the principle of language itself for that matter. I could go on and on and on, Please explain to me how these fundamental pillars on which our societies are based were invented in America!

Posted by: Emil, UK | June 22, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Yeah

It seems to me that people were shocked that Bill Clinton lied about his personal life and then went overboard in the opposite direction. The voters are just now starting to realize what they have done.

They went from one president who lied about his personal life.

To Pres. Bush who lies about how he runs the government. You can't believe Bush on Going to war,WMD, CIA leaks, Rove leaks, NSA phone databases, GITMO, Iraq Prison Scandal, and etc (it goes on and on ) .

I thought that it was really telling that last month that a poll came out that said that more people believe Bill Clinton is now more trustworthy and honest than George W. Bush. Wow

It boils down to the question of who would you rather have working for you 1) a smart hard worker who lies about his adultery or 2) a unskilled worker who always lies about his work and cheats the system to get what he wants.

Posted by: Wells | June 21, 2006 11:56 PM | Report abuse

From out here on the fringe it looks to me that GW's across-the-board losses are the result of how he (i.e. Rove et al) won in the first place. This has really been a polarizing time, with his firm grip on the lunatic right -- I'm thinking Terry Shiavo here. His good ol' boy persona appeases the majority of voters who just want somebody they can relate to, and who would be put off by his more extreme positions, if forced to look at them. Problem is that here in the second term he can't juggle these two groups, and they've both found reasons to desert. His occasional moderate stance, like the immigration proposal, inflames the "red-meat" right; and the incompetence - which comes naturally from people who don't think government should do anything -- disheartens the dutiful middle class. My personal opinion, having grown up in a wealthy Texas suburb and seen his like all my life, is that he can't juggle period. But money and a simple mind get him by.

For me the real question is not so much what the Dems are going to do about it, but how in blazes did we become a people who would rather hear happy nonsense than learn for ourselves what's going on? I inlcude the press in that bewilderment.

Posted by: Leonard | June 21, 2006 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Moderate Republicans and GOP leaning independents have thank God realized that Bush does not represent their beliefs and his level incompetence goes beyond party lines and policies. I do not agree with Republican Presidents no matter what but Bush is even bad for Republican standards in my book. The Republican Party of today is not the Republican Party of Ronald R. They are the party of big government, big lies, big deficits, and big brother which is bad for America. Right now is the best time for Democrats to reachout and get a strangle hold and bring voters back in and expand our base. They are not sold on us by any means, but they are listening to our policies now. I just hope the Democrats play hardball in 2006 and field a candidate that can reachout and get these disenfranchised voters like John Edwards, Evan Bayh, or Mark Warner.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | June 21, 2006 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Moderate Republicans and GOP leaning independents have thank God realized that Bush does not represent their beliefs and his level incompetence goes beyond party lines and policies. I do not agree with Republican Presidents no matter what but Bush is even bad for Republican standards in my book. The Republican Party of today is not the Republican Party of Ronald R. They are the party of big government, big lies, big deficits, and big brother which is bad for America. Right now is the best time for Democrats to reachout and get a strangle hold and bring voters back in and expand our base. They are not sold on us by any means, but they are listening to our policies now. I just hope the Democrats play hardball in 2006 and field a candidate that can reachout and get these disenfranchised voters like John Edwards, Evan Bayh, or Mark Warner.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | June 21, 2006 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Although I wouldn't say the polls are completely wrong I will say I believe the polls are skewed. When you take a look at the polls, when they are done, how the questions are asked, they get the results they are looking for. Take Hurricane Katrina, for instance. The group of people the dropped the ball the most, on Katrina, was the press. The printed more falsehoods about that storm and have yet to, not only take responsibility for them, but to completely disavow some of them. Blaming Bush for Katrina was just too good for them and the polls reflected that. Why was if left to Popular Mechanics magazine to start the ball rolling on the biggest myths of Katrina?

So the polls are conducted in such a way as to guarantee the results posted. The press plays up a story for a week, takes a poll on Friday. The following week, the administration responds and points out the false information in the stories of the week before but their isn't a second poll taken, the results stand and the press moves on to the next hit and run. The ports episode, the NSA topic, the Bush National Guard Story, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo are all stories that the press has overplayed and taken polls after blaming the President on them for a week or more.

That's why I believe that the upcoming election is going to shock Democrats who believe these polls with all their heart and soul. They believe them so much that they figure they have November sewed up. Rude awakening on the way.

Posted by: pbthinker | June 21, 2006 8:10 PM | Report abuse

You remember the OLD DAYS , 6 years ago, when republicans were absolutely against any form of "Nation Building" . They would say "We are not the world's policemen" !

Now, Republicans in 2006.

We can't just leave Iraq after 3 years. We need to "Nation Build". The United Staes is responsible for building Iraq's police department, Military, Security Force, Government, Schools, and oil pipelines, oil wells, and everything else the Iraq people are incapable of doing for themselves. If the Iraq government and Iraq's people do not care about rebuilding their country why should we. You can't help people who do not want to help themselves. This is the same old mistake with welfare. America is not Iraq's Sugar Daddy. Iraq needs to grow up and start being a responsible country just like the other 140 nations in the world.

I am sitting watching these republicans talking heads say : "America can't just leave Iraq after three years and have the Iraq Government do it."

Didn't republican push legislation that required a welfare mother to get a job after three years. Well, Iraq it's time for you to get a job, get off the dole, and do your own work. America can't just babysit Iraq for the next ten years. Iraq needs to step up to the plate.

Posted by: Wells | June 21, 2006 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, O.K. they gave Bush a uniform and he wore it for the photo op then split because that's the month they started drug testing! You say serving is admirable, well then why is it your party slammed McCain as a whako because he was a prisioner of war for five years? Why did they call Murtha, who served 37 years and father and two brother served a coward? So, I have a very quick solution to this problem, ALL DEMOCRATES SERVING IN IRAQ WILL BE SENT HOME, the REPUBLICANS that are left serving will fight Bush's WAR, then they can claim full responsibility, good or bad! How's that? No, well then let's reinstate the draft and the first two people that must be drafted are Bush's daughters,I bet if we reinstated the draft this mess would be over in a heart beat, and oh, no cheating, no deferments unless your INSANE! Thanks Sue F

Posted by: Sue F | June 21, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

>>>Gawd i hope they only let him teach shop class........

I'm sure a lot of people said that about Bush.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 21, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Zouk mentioned students in one of his posts. Gawd i hope they only let him teach shop class........

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | June 21, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

'Bush served in the national guard'-- hahaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahaha. best laugh I've had all day. Bush deserted his unit during wartime. A deserter during wartime. That's a capital offense --if you're daddy isn't president.

Posted by: Drindl | June 21, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

>

and risk his drivel being encapsulated in cyberspace for all time? no way!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

don't start that "this is the first time we ever attacked a country without being attacked" thing again:
Grenada
Panama
Sudan
Lebanon
Vietnam
Korea
German
Spain
Italy...the list is indeed very long. the countries that attacked us is quite short. we are a belligerant nation and have extensive interests. and in case you forgot, we are the good guys in all those wars.
Serving in the military is not an automatic pass for election. It is an admirable thing (unless you are a Dem) and conveys important experience. but if your views are wrong, serving in the military has no effect. there are many questions still unaswered about John Kerry's military service. I personally don't care, it is his views that do not appeal to me. but he tried to make himself above questioning with that silly reporting for duty schtick. Bush served in the national guard, I don't hold some hierarchy of better or worse service as some do. he served and that is it - his views are of interest to me only.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

ZOUK-

"A capitalist and free democracy will be able to be relied upon to be more sensible and predictable as far as market forces go."

You are still missing our point. You claim that replacing Saddam with a democracy (you introduce CAPITALIST democracy only now) leads to a stable supply of oil. Iran is a Democracy and is anything but stable. As a matter of fact, Saddam was quite predictable when it came to oil. We actually imported oil from him even though we imported not a drop from Iran.

Simply stating that "Saddam was unpredictable" does not make it so regarding oil.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

'Oh you poor devoid of history fools' -- don't you all get sick of this braindead grandstanding freak? Why does this moron gasbag zouk come here? He's a phony, a Fox parrot. You shouldn't even bother with him, because he can't give you a straight answer and he just pulls everything out of his you-know-what. A clown, in other words.

I say we vote him off the island.

Posted by: Drindl | June 21, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Back to Robert in West Hollywood, with comments by FH. Analysts for the DNC need to think long and hard about how the Repubs fight in the partisan ring. Lies, yes. Simple messages based on lies, yes. Does it work? For a while, then time catches up and tests the lies with reality -- as is happening now with Iraq. At some point, the disconnect between rhetoric and reality becomes a vast chasm. Who will jump into it?

This is why Bush's and Rove's discourse is not changing the polls much, not even the death of Zarqawi and Bush's p.r. trip to Iraq to look into the eyes of the new less-than-leadership.

But while we analyze Rove's success at the simple message, the biting lie, the nasty wit, we cannot excuse the Dems for not unifying around two or three themes that would speak to the heart of troubled Americans.

The war and the suffering of those Americans who really are paying the cost of this monumental foreign policy catastrophe (numbering now in the hundreds of thousands if you include the dead, the injured, the traumatized, and their immediate family and friends), the condition of our health system, the stagnation of wages and loss of social safety nets for workers, our woeful education system and the prohibitive costs of a college degree, the lack of preparedness for disasters of all kinds, the tax system skewed towards the top one percent -- all of these are themes, issues, that strike at the heart of families and ordinary citizens.

They could take their pick.

Your analysis is very interesting and on the mark, but so is FH's criticism. However successful the right-wing ideologues, it does not excuse the lack of imagination, bold alternatives, and hard-hitting themes from the Dems.

Posted by: Margaret | June 21, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

Uhmmm...

"Riddle me this, what was the result of the most recent election in South America. Just the facts please."

Evo Morales, the socialist leader of Bolivia and leading member of The Movement Towards Socialism political organization, won the 2005 Presidential election. He is fiercely anti-American: 1) He's a socialist. 2) He's vehemently opposed to American anti-cocaine efforts. 3) He has referred to American free-trade efforts as "an agreement to legalize the colonization of the Americas". 4) He supports starting an "Axis of Good" between Bolivia, Cuba (Castro), and Chavez (Venezuela). This pretty much coincides with my narrative that:

IN RECENT YEARS SOUTH AMERICA HAS BEEN TILTING ANTI AMERICAN AND LEFTIST ALONG WITH HUGO CHAVEZ.

If Bolivia isn't enough, regional powerhouses Brazil and Argentina also elected leftist governments.

On March 11 the socialist Michelle Bachelet took the reigns in Chile. She's slightly more free-market than Morales, but still a socialist.

Likewise Brazil's Lula de Silva (head of the Worker's Party) vehemently opposes American free trade policy in the region.

I guess you were talking about Uribe who is really a minority in Latin America. If you count one victory, amongst defeat after defeat after defeat... sufficient evidence that South America is just fine well, I have this bridge I want to sell you.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Stable oil markets is not a function of the actual price, it is a measure of the fluctuations in price. the volatility is a long standing term in financial analysis which determines expected return on a future investment (beta in black-scholes). a steadily rising price is not necessarily bad. It indicates that the commodity is becoming more valuable. compare the volatility of say a Carter era price fixing scheme, due to crazed middle eastern leaders trying to influence the world economy, to a volatile market based on unknown Democratic policies about finalizing a war to free an important region. but you still must find a way to eliminate confounding variables which will threaten your validity. you will have to hold constant world demand somehow to come to a proper conclusion. this is a tall order.
but my point was much more simple than that, Saddam would do what he felt like doing at any unpredictable time. A capitalist and free democracy will be able to be relied upon to be more sensible and predictable as far as market forces go.

do any of you have any background in economics at all? If so, please apply accepted principles to your input. I would be interested in hearing something academic for a change.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey Zouk, I was trying to remember exactly when it was that IRAQ attacked the U.S., you see my Dad fought at the Battle of the Bulge, he was one of sixteen survivors out of his platoon. He earned the purple heart and was awarded the medal of Belgeim, by the King. My husband served in the Navy during wartime, our son did two tours of the gulf in the Marine corp and if he would not have been injured he would still be in and I would be screaming even louder about this group of idiots we have in office. I did not vote for Bush in either election. And I find it ironic that both in Florida and Ohio or wherever it was that there was "problems" with the voting! The Supreme court elected Bush in 2000, secret energy meetings, gas is $3+ a gallon, go figure, spying on Americans without a warrant, reading their mail, e-mail, telephone calls. We had a McCarthy era, a Nixon era, and now a Bush era, all wroght with the same kind of crap, ignore the constitution were above the law and don't question us. So you can go on and on about Bush and how great he is, as my Granny would say the proof is in the pudding! I'm not rehashing the elections, but my point is this, the United States of America has never invaded another country, with the exception of Vietnam and now Iraq, unless it was attacked! For those individuals who never served it's mighty nice to say bring em on and bring me the guys head, that's what Bush wanted when the War began and they were looking for "terriorist", their head delivered to the White House, now what kind of a sick bastard starts a war that our kids are being shot/maimed and tortured in so he can get a trophy! If that's what you enjoy in a leader then you deserve whatever happens to this country, but the rest of us would like to bring some sanity back to this country! I'm glad my father isn't alive to see what's happened to this country he fought for, just like Murtha, Kerry, McCain and others like him fought for, however, we probably won't see a "swift boating" of McCain from the Democrats, if he runs, like the Republicans did to Kerry, we will probably see that from the Republicans though, because during the 2000 election they tried to imply McCain was insane because of being a prisoner of war! Now I wonder how many Iraq vets who decide to run for office will be portrayed by your party! They will probably be labeled as cowards and not deserving of their medals for the limbs they lost, isn't that the agenda for your party?? Bad mouth those that served and let the light shine brightly on those that didn't! And please don't tell me GWB served his country, while he was drinking and doing drugs during his national guard days he disappeared, he knew he could do so because his Daddy and friends would cover it up. I just love those that "get religion" after they have screwed everyone around them. So, God if your speaking to GWB again would you mind terribly giving him a sole and conscience! Thanks Sue F

Posted by: Sue Filutze | June 21, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

You found the one thing I am willing to pay for. the common defense and all that rot.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"I also noticed you left off South America, where Chavezstitas are slowly taking over the entire continent by promoting leftist American hating governments... and winning."
This is what you want me to respond to? so devoid of fact it is nonsense. Riddle me this, what was the result of the most recent election in South America. Just the facts please. hint: chavez campaigned hard and was rebuked. sounds like another of your Democratic heroes to me, calling plays right out of the D book.
that is why I don't bother with fools like you who think you are so smart but really have very little of substance to offer.
Let's try an exercise I require of my students - write a topic sentence, then back up your view with a citation of fact, then compose a conclusion. You Dems may have trouble with the citation of fact part.

I wasn't relying on the writer at townhall for opinion but rather the facts cited in the text of his article. I am not a journalist and do not do research on these topics everyday. I rely on others to provide me with summaries of things they discovered. And an opinion is most certainly quite different than plainly stating the results of someone else's research. there were official studies cited in that article. It helps to start from common ground in a rational debate.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"How did we survive as a nation for so long with no Federal income tax? and why? this was my point, no other."

We didn't. We survived about 70 years without a Federal Income Tax. But then the country engaged in a bloody, costly, and devastating Civil War. Congress enacted an income tax in 1862 to pay for said war which, last I checked, was about the most necessary and worthwhile Military investment this country has ever levied taxes to pay for.

The Federal Income tax disappeared for a bit until... gasp... another war needed paying for. This one was WW1, again an immenintly justifiable military campaign well worth the investment.

And Payroll taxes/witholding taxes and quarterly tax payments were introduced... gasp... during WW2 to fund our imminently justifiable military campaign against the ruthless Nazis.

So the Federal Income Tax has a long and close history with American military tradition.

Do you or don't you support (paying) the troops, Zouk?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

PGSimone,

Would you please inform us of the Democrat who killed your baby so we can report this miscreant to the authorities? I am terribly sorry for your loss.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

On the contrary to the Democratic Faithful, I believe that their support of the murders of millions of unborn babies is a key reason they continue to lose elections.

I would vote Democrat, if they would stop killing our babies.

Posted by: PGSimone | June 21, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

"Now you are an expert on oil markets. can you show me the cause and effect of war on oil markets."

We can certainly show you gasoline prices now and pre-Iraq War. Would this suffice?

If not why don't you give us a metric by which we can measure "stable oli markets". Because otherwise we are constantly having to explain our metric while you deny our authority. If we must constantly have this debate on YOUR terms, the impetus is on you to at least set the terms.

"I did not plainly state that the oil markets are stable now, I said it was goal of this effort. If you deny that removing Saddam from the equation will eventually lead to a more stable trading partner, you are simply incorrigable."

Iran is not a "stable trading partner" though, prior to the WMD mess, would you have us invade them? What makes you think Iraq will be a stable trading partner with us after a Conservative Shiite government takes over (democratically)? Has a democratic Iran become more friendly with us as a result of elections?

Saddam was rational. We played a cat and mouse diplomacy game with him for years... but it worked. Sanctions kept him from procuring WMDs or instituting a serious WMD program. Oil kept pumping out of his country.

Production is down in Iraq below prewar levels; do you deny that?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Poor devoid-of-history fools. Stop trying to remember what you learned back in 4th grade. The Revolution has been on TV this last week or two. If you had watched it you would have seen that the taxes levied on the colonists were all revoked as a result of the sour mood of the Americans. then more were passed. then revoked. the taxation without representation was a sound bite of the day meant to encourage a rebellion. the simple fact was that the colonists simply did not want to pay ANY taxes. this was my simple point which you pinheads have belaboured. we don't like taxes. We will pay them to get what WE need but not for what YOU want. How did we survive as a nation for so long with no Federal income tax? and why? this was my point, no other.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

zouk-

As a matter of fact, global oil prices were more stabilized when Saddam had control of the oil rather than when no one had control of the oil because Iraq's oil infrastructure was under constant threat of insurgent disruption. One thing Saddam did effectively, because he was greedy, was produec oil and transport it to other countries for export.

I also read Townhall and enjoy some of the articles there. However, you patronize the rest of this board constantly with accusations of blind partisanship and that we need to "educate ourselves"... by posting from a blatantly partisan website. Townhall has an agenda, and its authors have an opinion about the war that is different from ours. They write OPINION columns that are not "facts" but more or less Conservative doctrines applies to relevant issues.

Townhall and its authors were wrong about Iraq. They were wrong about Saddam. They were wrong about the "effects" of the war. And thus the conclusions they reach about how best to deal with Iraq are wrong because they operate under consistently false assumptions.

You've not addressed a single one of our points. Rather you make very general claims about us, or about our positions, and then post Frank Gaffney articles demanding we "educate" ourselves with them. You respond to MY points and I'll respond to yours. Not Frank Gaffney's. If you don't have anything original to add then shut the eff up.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Now you are an expert on oil markets. can you show me the cause and effect of war on oil markets. I would love to see the regression analysis you did on the controlled variables that indicate without a doubt that this is the cause and it is not attribitable to maybe rising demand in China and India?
I did not plainly state that the oil markets are stable now, I said it was goal of this effort. If you deny that removing Saddam from the equation will eventually lead to a more stable trading partner, you are simply incorrigable.

Besides I thought you Dems wanted higher gas prices so we could go solar. Or maybe we can regulate the market sufficiently to punish the oil companies and reward anyone else. so we lower prices AND find alternative methods. more economic nonsense from the party of gibberish.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"do you know that America came into being because of high taxes."

That's crap. The taxes weren't even high : the biggest problem most colonists had was that the taxes were passed without their consent.

"Sense of history" my red-white-and-blue ass.

Posted by: book | June 21, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

To Coming around on GWB and those who agree with his immigration stace: I've searched out news stories and facts about options to the immigration problem as I have mixed virews. On one hand I think Mexicans are should have oportunities in the U.S and do not want t odiscriminate/sinle out illegal Mexicans, on the other, my hometown is now 80% Mexican and it is hard to find anyone speaking English. But the guest pass is the same as slave trade, did you know these workers are and will be bound to work with only that employee, so abuse is nearly guaranteed. Many unscrupilous empoyers or their source agents hold the immigrant's house title and IDs as a hostage situation.it is just another method to give the country and it's control to big business at the expense of all the rest of us. Look at the profits and pay of many large companies, do they really have to apy $3 or less to compete globally?? On a related note, not all black males are criminals and they need jobs too.

Posted by: barb | June 21, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, you are laughable. Sorry, dont have time for a more detailed response but I really wish i did.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 21, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Interesting thing about that clinton war - no authorization from congress for the action. no authorization from the UN. now shall we talk about an illegal war? nonetheless I supported his intervention.

Yes it is exasperating to be confronted with so-called debaters who throw around opinions disguised as facts and then trumpet thier victory when I don't respond. It would seem none of you have the depth and breadth of background for this subject required to conduct an intelligent discussion. Maybe you are spending too much time blogging and not enough time reading factual accounts of the world.
did anyone actually read the 911 commission report or a summary of it. Failure to cooperate, mandated by Gorelick was the primary fault cited. has anyone reviewed military reports or accounts from imbedded journalists? Or do you rely on NYT writers safely ensconced on the upper west side? If you want me to take on your arguments, cite an outside source for your claimed facts and I will destroy them one by one. Unitl then it is all baseless opinion that while fun, has very limited value.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I did not assert that Hussein was the rightful owner of Iraqi oil, only disputing your assertion that oil markets have been stabilized by our action.

You did not assert that a goal was to return oil to the rightful owners- the Iraqi people. Oil markets are not stabilized plain and simple. US military action in the Middle East has caused wild fluctuation and escalating costs of production, security and transport.

Posted by: RMill | June 21, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I am torn over Robert's comments.

I truly see his point that the issues, the real ones, are far too complex to whiddle down to a few focus group-tested sound bites. In all reality though, moderate and more progressive voices are consistantly drowned out by the incessant and multi-channel noise machine of the Repubs/conservatives. Let's face it, they have perfected a fascinating/infuriating ability to one-shot their positions into 30 second-or-less phrases that feed into a drive-through nation mentality. This is not so much a criticism of Demos or progressives, but an honest observation of the public's short attention span and lack of ablility to decipher and engage more thought on important issues.

The indictment of 'living with the government that you deserve' clearly falls on the shoulders of (some of) the American public who are spun and bamboozled by the noise machine of the conservatives. I truly believe that middle America is easily swayed, becasue if you believe such personal issues as gay marriage or abortion are at the level of highly important national issues such as the war in Iraq, terrorism, job offshoring, the erosion of the middle class, health care costs, environmental destruction and education problems, then there is no hope for that group.

(I harbor this wild fantasy that forces all voters who put Bush & Co in power to move to certain states in the center of the country and they get to live with the results of their policies. Let them pay back the federal debt, live with the draconian, 'faith-based' social policies and environmental damage, and let's see how well they do. Then again, why force such horrors onto the middle states of the country)

With that knowledge, I am torn. One one hand I feel like just sitting back and continue to watch America's descent into third-worldom, because we (they) deserve it for refusing to engage any candidate or party beyond sound bites to honest and lengthy discusssions of issues. (With more people voting on American Idol than President, I feel they deserve to live with the fruits of their lack of labors)
At the same time, I know that almost half of the country is paying the price for the majority that is either not paying attention, or is the 'core' of the conservative positions and will continue to vote for conservatives anyway.

Robert, whether any of us like it or not, Progressives need to boil their positions into 30 second-or-smaller phrases, and the messages need to be re-crafted into bite-sized chunks, or they are doomed no matter what.

This reality will never change unless America lands in a colassal economic depression, a civil war breaks out or a totalitarian regime comes to power. (think the religious right in full bloom) Only then will the public even think of paying attention. (even then, it may only be around 35% of us!) That's just the reality of our world. The only thing we can hope for is that once the progressives can get the public's attention, and some positions of power, maybe then can they swing or enlarge the debates through having more of the 'forum', than the conservative noise machine.

This is just an idea, and it can be argued with. I just calls 'em as I sees 'em.

Posted by: james in Charlotte | June 21, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"stablizing world oil markets is completly out of touch with reality."

do any of you actually think about anything before you post Alan Colmes' ideas?

You are saying that having the oil resources in the personal hands of Saddam Hussain is a stabalizing effect, as opposed to handing it over to the rightful owners of the resources - the people of Iraq. consider the motivations of each player in this.

It boggles the mind what some of you believe.

try to educate yourself before you further implicate your intelligence.

http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/frankjgaffneyjr/2006/06/20/201889.html

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"you are assured of a Republican majority for decades at this rate. Losers!"

How old are you, 12?!?! I would rather stand against Bush and lose 100 elections out of 100 than sign on with his horrendous policies.

"I am so upset the French don't respect us anymore. Oh, they never did. even after we handed them democracy twice."

And, as you referenced earlier TODAY, if it wasn't for that French fleet at Yorktown, we might not even have a democracy...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Ah, how soon we forget...

RMill I agree for the most part with the following:

"The argument that the Dems are now forwarding that will have resonance with the public is:
Iraq must be told that they are soon to be responsible for their own security.

It is not pull the troops out for the sake of pulling them out but an act to prod a fledgling new government to take control of its own destiny. This is what the White House fears, not having control."

Someone else responded (after you suggested a influx of troops to tamp down the insurgency, and finish the training before getting out) that there are no leaders brave enough to make these proposals. Umm, really? Seriously? Is this not exactly what J. Kerry suggested during the election? And soon after his defeat he was calling for a simliar strategy, creating a set of goals for Iraq to meet and as each is met, a number of US troops come home.
All this gets lost when everytime a democrat goes on to sell a new idea on Iraq the media simply throws out the GOP talking point 'cut and run' in the form of a question. Its so frustrating.
One final thought, what is going on in the dem. party right now is, I believe, healthy. Dems are being beat around for not having a consensus plan on Iraq, but the truth of it is, they are searching, debating (or attempting to engage the gop in one) and trying to develop the best solution to a very difficult problem that the GOP/adminstration has created for this country. My only regret is that Dem. senators don't simply say these things when asked if their multiple plans simply add up to 'cut and run'. Instead they try and come up with another inane slogan (as Milbank discusses) to berat the GOP. Seriously, stop! I'm fairly sure, based on these poll numbers, that we do not have to convince voters the current strategy will not work. So, we should focus on explaning the process the party is going through, the debate we are trying to get the country involved in and the options that are on the table and most of all the adminstration and GOP's utter failure and lack of will to engage in any real debate on such an important issue. Its that simple.

Posted by: tony, columbia, mo | June 21, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

It is obvious you are exasperated since you only spout off yourself when confronted with a real debate. Both Will and I went point by point with your assertions of the laundry list of benefits of attacking Iraq. Where is your response? We are being partisan, ridiculous and silly. What well thought out points Zouk.

And its not just France. You cannot be a leader with no one behind you. The damage done to the diplomatic standing of the US will follow us for decades. You obvoiously don't understand the way the world works or just don't care.

9/11 happened because we stationed troops in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War and a rich wacko terrorist decided to use his family fortune to spend a decade plotting an appropriate revenge.

Bush's ill-fated "Bring it on" spurred on an insurgency in Iraq to target US soldiers already in harm's way.

Things you pass off as meaningless or ridiculous have ramifications that are obviously beyond your grasp.

Posted by: RMill | June 21, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

>>>I am so upset the French don't respect us anymore.

Funny b/c the only people I hear talking abt "The French" are neocons. Why are you so obsessed with France? You should go sometime. It's quite nice.

Oh and answer my post abt oil stability, please.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 21, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Just for kicks, lets explore whether Republicans are always committed to keeping troops in harms way so as to "finish what we start." Here are some quotes relating to Clinton using troops in Bosnia:

Quotes from when Clinton committed troops to Bosnia:

"You can support the troops but not the president."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
--Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
--Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
--Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
--Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
--Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
--Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)


Hmmm, ALMOST makes one think that some of these folks have reversed their views. I'm sure I'm just reading things wrong though. What do you think, KOZ - is my tin foil hat on too tight?

Posted by: Colin | June 21, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

the more you spout off your ridiculous ideas, the more the sensible people in this country can evaluate them and determine that they are without merit. keep up the good work. you are assured of a Republican majority for decades at this rate. Losers! I am so upset the French don't respect us anymore. Oh, they never did. even after we handed them democracy twice. If that is your standard then cut and run fits you like a glove. Use it and see how far you get.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"Read some of the reports about Iraq."

You mean like Khalilzad's latest cable, in which he suggests the Iraqis working for the governmental authority live in constant fear for their lives???

Posted by: Venicemenace | June 21, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"everyone here knows so much already why bother to post your opinions. they are all the same anyway."

What in the world?! Did you completely miss the reasonable but pointed debate over the efficacy of Bush's African AIDS programs? I guess if a discussion's not being carried out in Coulterish scorched-earth, vindictive tones, then it's not a debate, right KoZ?

Murtha's weakeness on MTP had nothing to do with old corruption charges, dude. It had to do with his uninspiring "stay and pay" mantra and lack of any creative thought...like a growly robot programmed before the show and just spitting out the same subroutine over and over.

Finally, your point about Saddam being "a really bad guy" is so beyond irrelevant. As Eddie Izzard said in 2003, "I have no problem with us taking out Saddam simply because he is an evil dictator - as long as we are taking down every evil dictator in the world, in alphabetical order beginning with S." The idea that it's the United States' responsibility to take down bad dictators and bear all the responsibility and cost for setting up new governments- well that's just foolish.

Posted by: Venicemenace | June 21, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

KoZ

The only thing silly about expecting Iraq to pay for rebuilding or their own security is that we believed Bush when he said it to begin with.

Posted by: RMill | June 21, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Zouk, you have to admit, "stablizing world oil markets" is completly out of touch with reality. Right? What is your proof that the oil markets have stablized since 2003? Surely not, ummm, the price of oil on the world market b/c that proves the exact opposite of your point.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 21, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Will

Not sure US power has weakened but our standing, stature, respect and image have taken major hits.

Otherwise I am with you.

Posted by: RMill | June 21, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

If you call that evisceration then I suggest you have no further need for facts in your world. Read some of the reports about Iraq. don't sit home and make things up or rely on lefty columnists for your views.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Of which partisan one liner are you ashamed of me?

You could not have been referring to the one posted just after yours.

I never said I was above partisanship or sound biting. It has been my hobby and oft times profession for many years.

I am interested in what it is you are specifically referring to.

Posted by: RMill | June 21, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

This country did not rebel strictly because of high taxes, it was "Taxation without representation." I'm continually amazed at at the misconcetions propagated by ultra-rightwing folks that have become the rallying for otherwise intelligent people.

Posted by: Old Ironsides | June 21, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Zouk on "results":

"democracy in Mid-east"

I've raised the point that democracy in the Middle East is bad. You've responded by saying "democracy in Mid-east". Quite convincing. But let's keep in mind this "democracy as bad" idea for the rest of your "results".

"Free Arab Army"

You mean Shiite and Suuni militias infiltrating the Iraqi army and preforming nightime kidnappings and murders of rival religious groups is a good thing?

"all the countries in the area have been positively affected including
Afghanistan (democracy now)"

Turbulent democracy where the people rise up and demand execution for Apostates. There's more to Democracy than just having elections; like preserving religious freedoms from, among other things, institutionalized executions.

"Egypt (elections)"

The conservative and Islamofascist connected Brotherhood picked up 20+ seats. Great.

"Iran (talking)"

Anyone who thinks our position with Iran has strengthened since Iraq lives in a fantasy world. Prior to 2003 Iran wasn't even considering taking the seals off their nuclear plants. Now we have to "negotiate" with them because they are "talking" in the sense that they completely called our bluff and now we have to carrot/stick them into putting the original seals back on.

Who do you think benefits from a Shiite led Iraq, anyways?

I noticed you left "Palestine" off your list because Democracy didn't work out so well for them; they elected a terrorist organization setting the "peace" talks back a few decades.

I also noticed you left off South America, where Chavezstitas are slowly taking over the entire continent by promoting leftist American hating governments... and winning.

You are delusional. The United States is infinitely weaker as a global power now than we were in 2002, largely because of our failed foreign policy agenda that has yielded no net positive results but has made us look like a big band of blubbering bozos. "Cutting and running" is another euphemism for "cutting our losses" which, in my opinion, is really the only viable option.

"Unless you are suggesting eliminating Islam, of course, it is going to be an Islamic state. We used to be a Christian state. give it time."

The seeds of post-Christian western statehoods were planted 500 years ago during enlightenment. The Islamic world has been completely Religious-State dominated for over a thousand years with little to no sign of change. The recent trend is for countries to become MORE dogmatically theocratic (in Iran and Saudi Arabia). The only entities that have shown any success in combatting fanatic Islamic State are dictators like Saddam Hussein (outed) and Gen. Pervez in Pakistan (one bullet away from a powerful dogmatic Islamic republic... with Nuclear Weapons).

I am not talking about fighting Islam, I'm talking about initiating a foreign policy agenda that sucks the power from Religious Fanatics. Ousting Saddam has not done that; instead it's led to a regional power vacuum that Ahmadinejad was all too happy to fill with his own influence. Rather than separating and destroying Islamofascist regimes we've helped Iran consolidate its power by adding another Sectarian Shiite government to its regional fold. This is not progress in the war against Fanatic Islam.

"but are you seriously advocating we let these killers run loose and hide from them in Okinowa?"

No, I hope we redeploy to Afghanistan and hope they chase us... where we can fight them without the backdrop of a civil war and without having an imbedded civilian enemy (to the same degree). Okinawa is Murtha's gump, not mine.

"this is what we do as Americans, we help people get free. always have."

You are so monumentally naive.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I am working on the sound bite response to cut and run.

I am thinking "paid in full" sums it up.

Posted by: RMill | June 21, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

robert in w lala land - since you have no indication as to my qualifications to "take you on" I can only chalk this up to more blustering and arrogance. Rather silly actually since you seem to love the sound of your own voice more than actual debate points. exactly what are your quals? my what a long winded diatribe to say what I was able to parrot in two short sentences. It seems your tin-foil hat is on the same frequency as Drindl's - a scary place to inhabit.
And RMill I am ashamed of you, joining in the partisan melee with silly one liners is beneath you.

"everything was fine until you rolled in." my point in spades, everyone here knows so much already why bother to post your opinions. they are all the same anyway. just head off to a celebrity award show and try to get your moronic views on TV.
Fact 1 - Saddam was ready to reconstitute his WMD programs within a week of sanctions being dropped. there are many reports as to where the WMD's went but that pesky press only reports Republican talking points. Ha ha ha
Fact 2 - saddam was paying killers in Palestein, was staging training grounds for terrorists, was meeting regularly through surrogates with many nefarious characters, sheltered guys who are the problems. It is amazing you can see conspiracies everwhere in American politics but can't even conceive of this one with a really bad guy.

Yes I saw Murtha on MTP and he exposed himmself for the fool he is. Unindicted co-conspirator in Abscam. culture of corruption - you bet, on the Dem side.

I am happy we finally have a President who doesn't govern by polls. you see, character does matter.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

Now that "Will in Texas" and "RMill" have evicerated your arguments, will you have the decency to admit your mistakes? Or, like GWB will you stick to your guns even when you're wrong?

Posted by: J.S. | June 21, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Zouk-

We have been through this before.

"Idealistically - democracies seldom attack their neighbors"

Who cares? We are a democracy and we attack people. Why is "attacking their neighbors" necessarily a bad thing? Aren't we talking about "attacking Iran" down the road? Weren't we justified in "attacking Afghanistan"? In your opinion, weren't we justified in "attacking Iraq"?

If you're referring to the now antiquated Democracy-Peace theory then fine. The US and Britain destroyed that theory this milennium. Further in a global war against Islamic Fanaticism there isn't anything great about having Conservative Islamic Regimes; democratically elected or not.

"eliminate the threat of present or future WMD in Iraq"

We know this concern was false, now.

"rob the killers of a base of operations"

Not sure about this. There are terrorist bases of operation throughout the world. Some are in France. Some are in England. Many are in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq currently. Perhaps you should classify the "killers" and their "base of operations" further. As Steyn has masterfully pointed out the common denominator among domestic terrorists is that they have planned and executed their terrorist plots while enjoying the fruits fo Western Welfare. The "base of operations" for 9/11 was the United States.

And, as I pointed out, Saddam's Iraq was NOT a friendly place towards religious extremists. Saddam viewed them as a constant threat to his power.

"eliminate the mass murderer of civilians"

Noble yes, but doesn't necessarily belong in the "Realist" category. It's a tangential benefit that, by itself, does not justify a war. Your "mass murder" is typically inflated and reaches back many years. In any event, we aren't the world's police, as Bush pointed out in his 2000 campaign.

"end the no-fly-zone quagmire"

So we go to war to end "no-fly-zone quagmire"s? Here we come, China.

"send a message of retaliation to all"

Terrorists, check your inbox. Message from the United States reads: A small number of incredibly brave, fanatical, and devoted Islamofascists can bring the United States foreign policy agenda to its knees with shoe bombs and IEDs. Take that, Osama Bin Ladin. What a message.

Afghanistan, had we finished the job (instead of divesting resources to Iraq) would have been a perfect "message" war. Unfortunately we failed.

"stabalize world access to oil"

Are you kidding?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

RMill "Iraq should be responsible for paying for their rebuilding, like it was promised. Iraq should be responsible for their own security, not American soldiers."

I thought Republicans were the party of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps." They cut social programs at home just to give them to Iraqis abroad.

In a way, Iraq is the ultimate welfare queen.

Posted by: Zathras | June 21, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse

The defense against "cut and run" is starting to get through.

Iraq should be responsible for paying for their rebuilding, like it was promised. Iraq should be responsible for their own security, not American soldiers. We are not supposed to be policing the world, like Bush said in 2000.

While we did the significant damage to the Iraqi infrastructure and security forces, I think our $400+ billion and 20,000 casualties has more than made up for much further responsibility.

Posted by: RMill | June 21, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

FH, sugar is sweet but, candy is dandy. Complexity can't always be effectively discussed in short sound-bite sentences.

Posted by: Robert In West Hollywood | June 21, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

My first experience reading a blog to the
bitter end - amazing stuff! It is evident
that the American mind is vastly diverse and that views of the same situation are
wildly different. It is somewhat explainable how Bush got to be president, but I've been totally amazed that there were enough people to keep him in office in
'04 - this blog sheds a bit of light on that mystery!

Posted by: Pat in Idaho | June 21, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

My first experience reading a blog to the
bitter end - amazing stuff! It is evident
that the American mind is vastly diverse and that views of the same situation are
wildly different. It is somewhat explainable how Bush got to be president, but I've been totally amazed that there were enough people to keep him in office in
'04 - this blog sheds a bit of light on that mystery!

Posted by: Pat in Idaho | June 21, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

KoZ

You tried this line last week. It is strewn with misleading or one sided and incomplete information.


benefits of establishing (yet another) Conservative Islamic Republic in the Middle East.

Idealistically - democracies seldom attack their neighbors
(No, they generally go overseas to do it)

Realistically - it was in the US interest to:
eliminate the threat of present or future WMD in Iraq
(false claim)
rob the killers of a base of operations
(killers??? what is this in reference to? 9/11? Another false claim)

eliminate the mass murderer of civilians (fine but hardly a US Security concern)

end the no-fly-zone quagmire
(to replace it with a bigger quagmire?)

send a message of retaliation to all wannabe killers (it has heightened tensions and resentment, kick starting insurgencies and new terrorists)

stabalize world access to oil
(it has de-stabilized the oil markets- have you noticed the $3/gal. prices?)

the results:
democracy in Mid-east
(a democracy in the Mid-East; hardly sweeping the region)

Free Arab Army
(not yet established)

all the countries in the area have been positively affected including
Afghanistan (democracy now)
(deteriorating quickly as Taliban insurgency has strengthened)

Egypt (elections)
(nothing to do with Iraq; increase in terrorist attacks)

Iran (talking)
(restarted nuclear program without benefit of inspectors)

Syria (pulling back)
(focused on cracking down on their own population and still supporting Hezbollah)

Lebanon (devoid of syrian troops)
(Assassinated Prime Minister; little stablility and failing economy)

Posted by: RMill | June 21, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

FH, sugar is sweet but, candy is dandy. Complexity can't always be effectively discussed in short sound-bite sentences.

Posted by: Robert In West Hollywood | June 21, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, stick to the Bush league, you don't have the knowledge or experience necessary to take me on in a debate. Wipe your nose, tie your shoes, take a lollypop and go play with the other intellectually impotent Conservative children. And you know what, I bet they'd love to see how well you can throw a Conservative fit. Only other Conservatives can truly appreciates the nuance and technique of a good attention grabbing public tantrum. Though, I'm certain your technique is right up there with the best of them, I just can't bring myself to watch an ignoramus like you debase yourself to assuage your needy personal insecurities. So, run along little boy, this discussion is for the adults.

Posted by: Robert In West Hollywood | June 21, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Good post, FH.

Did anyone besides me see Murtha on Meet the Press last weekend? He was terrible.

I really wish the Democrats could find a leader to unite behind. It's clear to me that unless there's a sort of cult-of-personality for everyone to get excited about, the Democratic coalition fragments.

Posted by: Venicemenace | June 21, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Robert in West Hollywood: Try being a bit more laconic. You used a great many words...and I'm still trying to figure out what you're saying. Most Americans are too busy living their lives to sit down to a 2 - hour dissertation on what the dems plan for fixing the country are. If I kept being beaten election after election, I might want to study my opponent and find out what they are doing better than me. If you can't deliver your message in a quick, easily understood format, I have no sympathy for you.

As for Bush's poll numbers...he is a slave to Iraq, which is what he should be. He made the decision to go to war in Iraq. He did a bad job of planning for the aftermath of that conflict. He was wrong about the WMD. He is an idealist who believes democracies in the middle-east are the answer to Islamo-facism, and in my mind he initially underestimated the difficulties associated with nation-building. It's the anchor that he will carry throughout his presidency, as it should be.

Posted by: FH | June 21, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I liked Will in Texas post so much I am reposting it and commenting. I was thinking the same thing. I think Bush AIDS policies have failed and I give him a F. AIDS prevention education without sex education and condoms is "crazy talk". I remember reading that one third of the money spent on AIDS in Africa must only be for abstinence only programs - if you mention condoms you lose your funding.

WHAT HAS BUSH DONE IN AMERICA ON AIDS POLICY ??? NOTHING - THAT IS WHY IT IS INCREASING ! ( HETROSEXUAL WOMEN ) ARE NOW THE FASEST GROWING GROUP FOR AIDS IN AMERICA. WHAT HAS BUSH DONE ABOUT THIS ? NOTHING

Andy R-

Uganda where "ABC" was successful? The rate of infected adults fell from 15% in the 90s to 5% in 2001 which is admirable. But it's on the rise again; up to 7%.
One semi-discredited report in 2004 had the number at 17%.

Much of the funding for "ABC" programs comes from groups that are, surprise, ANTI-CONDOMS. Which means the C part is eliminated all together. This "AB" only emphasis has been criticized in and outside of Uganda by health officials. Notably, Dr Jotham Musinguzi, director of the Population Secretariat at the Ministry of Finance and Dr Katamba, health co-ordinator of the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau.

Uganda is a success story but because it followed all three prongs of the ABC plan. That success is not at risk because of a campaign to eliminate the "C" from the plan which results in increased HIV prevalance.

Bush's plan calls for "AB" and "C I guess, but not really". The funds for ABC are channeled through groups hostile to condom use (for religious reasons) and thus undermines their efforts and, ultimately, the larger goal of fighting AIDS. So do not speak of Uganda as a sucess of the ABC plan, rather it is a shining example of how a working plan is abandoned because of religious and idealogical commitments. This is unacceptable.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 11:49 AM

Posted by: Wells | June 21, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Were you aware that there is an Arab Muslim army of 250,000 in Iraq right now fighting for thier freedom. This was unimaginable a few years back."

KoZ, for a man with such inflappable confidence in his own intellectual superiority, you seem to have significant trouble with spelling and grammar. What's up with that?

My question is, "thier freedom" from what? Dissident factions? Saddam has long since been removed, and yet the fighting continues. It's intellectually dishonest to suggest that the fighting in Iraq today is a matter of freedom vs. dictatorship.

"Were you aware that America suffered about 22,000 casualties in one day at Antietam? 2000 in one day at Normandy? 2000 in one day at Pearl Harbor? 3000 in one day in NYC. you seem to have no sense of history."

And 30,000 men were lost on the first day of the Somme. What's your point? Military deaths don't matter unless they shatter historical records? Pearl Harbor and 9/11 were sneak attacks against the US, and Normandy the start of a relatively brief and utterly victorious campaign. Americans can accept military deaths in combat, but only for a just and successful cause. So far, the war in Iraq has not proven to be either.

"do you know that America came into being because of high taxes. We rejected the British. What if the French had set a date certain when they would have pulled their fleet from Yorktown? How would the British have reacted?"

Clever but hardly analogous. And you're glossing over a crucial point -- taxation without REPRESENTATION was the colonial beef with England, not "high taxes".

"You all act as if Bush was elected in a vacuum. He was the better choice of the two presented. We did not all agree with all his policies, but we did disagree with most of his opponent's policies."

Although I concur that Gore and Kerry ran terrible campaigns, "WE" implies that these elections were landslides. The GOP strategy of narrowly winning divisive elections, then governing as if they had won landslides, has done significant damage to the US political atmosphere. You are obviously part of the problem, KoZ.

"When will you tire of all the tired old rhetoric about tax cuts for the rich - tax cuts for the tax payers actually."

Tire of the tired? Perhaps it is you who needs to work on his rhetoric.

This assertion is just insulting - everyone pays taxes, you jerk.

"High gas prices which you assume the government can control - have you forgotten that old fool Jimmah (worst presdient ever?)?"

First of all, as a self-described student of history, you should know we've had MUCH worse presidents than Carter.

It's true that Bush can't control the price of crude. But he can make efforts towards developing non-fossil fuels, using the vast resources of the US Government. Instead, the Bush administration caters to the energy companies. That may not bother you, KoZ, but it bothers some of us.

"Student loans which lead to higher tuitions, creating a cycle of inflation and devaluing of the degree."

A college degree is still worth a million dollars over the course of a working career. That's devaluation I'll take any day of the week.

"Isn't it wonderful that everyone on this blog agrees, where is the debate?"

Did you actually read the other posts? Just because there aren't arrogant trolls like you starting fights and pissing people off does not mean there is an absence of debate. One Democrat poster wrote in support of Bush. A Republican wrote denouncing him. In fact, everything was fine until you rolled in...

"What about the consequences of cutting and running didn't you comprehend in Somalia, Beirut, Munich, etc.?"

I wish this blog had been around during the Clinton administration. I'm sure you would have voiced a "stay the course" attitude about the Somalian operation.

"these people are brutal killers and need to be eradicated from the planet. did you ever get beat-up by a playground bully? did you stop going to school?"

Which people? Sunni insurgents?

I don't remember them perpetrating any attacks on the United States until we invaded their country. Stop the BS rhetoric about all-terrorists-must-be-killed. Not only is it pointedly NOT the US policy (I don't see Delta Force sweeping around Ireland looking for IRA hitmen), it's the kind of simplistic, stupid reasoning that leads poor Arabs to scream "Death to America!": namely, that killing and mayhem can solve your problems and increase the peace.

"your desire to win an election has left you bereft of common sense. you have allowed the crazy left to hijack your party."

Some people agree with you, while others think EXACTLY the opposite. I'd say it's not clear whether the Dems have been too liberal or not liberal enough.

"Murtha, Pelosi and Kerry will insure that you continue to lose elections as long as you let them. they are detached from reality. Put your stock in Ford, Barack, Hoyer, Lieberman, etc. Only with a return to sanity will you stand a chance of getting more than 45% of the vote."

Well if you want to talk popular vote percentage, KoZ, it might interest you to know that in the 2000 election...

"I hope you do, the R s are straying from their principles too and need a correction."

Ah Ha! Finally an assertion I agree with.

Posted by: Venicemenace | June 21, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

You're welcome Drindl. And you're quite right; the media's been duplicitous in the Republican misinformation machine. That's what happens when you have five major Corporate Media companies owning all of the media and needing the Party in power to change the rules for them so they can continue to grow and make even larger profits (regardless of whether or not it is in the public's interest to have so few people, five to be exact, controlling the flow and focus of information into the public conscience). The present situation with the mass media in this country is an abomination and an affront to American democratic ideals. The media companies need the Republicans to scratch their backs or they can't grow so they scratch the Republican's backs. The only thing that suffers from their incestuous little back scratching tryst is democracy itself. Without the free and unfettered flow of information, democracy itself cannot exist. Democracy requires informed and engaged citizenry in order for it to function. I don't know about you but I think there's few more important things going on in the world these days that could use some extensive coverage besides Brad and Angelina's baby?

Posted by: Robert In West Hollywood | June 21, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

What choice did we have? Kerry?

I wonder what his numbers would have been like by now... he seems to have serious problems of his own these days..

I personally think the low numbers are a corrective swing that is no more meaningful that the high numbers were.

Posted by: SwissEx | June 21, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Fctchk,
The Global Fund was a failure, that isn't an opinion it is a fact. It never got off the ground because it tried to bite off more then it could chew, and the the new UN AIDS trust fund is just the same program repackaged. Now if you want to argue that the Bush administration hasn't done enough to fight other preventable disease, or assist in general international public health I agree with you whole heartidly, but on HIV his administration hasn't done a bad job.
Now on to what you and Will pointed out about the ABC program. Now I agree the program doesn't work if the "C" isn't included. However, when Bush wrote his AIDS in Africa proposal with Dr Fauci from the NIH it had the full funding ABC attached. What happen was that when it hit congress they tacked on many of the restrictions such as 'you can't talk about abortions, you can't talk about homosexual sex, condoms etc... Put the blame where it belongs on that. Also in alot of the places where this money is needed the groups that are on the ground are faith-based and won't teach about condoms anyway.
More importantly though is that Bush did SOMETHING. No president had lifted a finger to fight AIDS in Africa, and although I would change alot of the approaches used I think in the end it was very good thing.
Also I Hate having to defend Bush, but on this one for once he is part of the solution not the problem.

Posted by: Andy R | June 21, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

robert in hollywood, such a poor victim. "If only those mean Republicans would fight fair we could convince the voters that we are so smart and deserve to be in power". the vanity of this view is astounding. you assume that the only reason people don't vote for you is that the message has been muddled or that the voters are too stupid to understand their own interests. Well I am here to tell you that the message is understood and rejected. the voters understand very well. try something else. Maybe a coherent message for a change. I think this is John Kerry's fourth flip-flop on this particular war. and the R s are confusing your message? Really.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

benefits of establishing (yet another) Conservative Islamic Republic in the Middle East.
Idealistically - democracies seldom attack their neighbors
Realistically - it was in the US interest to:
eliminate the threat of present or future WMD in Iraq
rob the killers of a base of operations
eliminate the mass murderer of civilians
end the no-fly-zone quagmire
send a message of retaliation to all wannabe killers
stabalize world access to oil
the results:
democracy in Mid-east
Free Arab Army
all the countries in the area have been positively affected including
Afghanistan (democracy now)
Egypt (elections)
Iran (talking)
Syria (pulling back)
Lebanon ( devoid of syrian troops)
Unless you are suggesting eliminating Islam, of course, it is going to be an Islamic state. We used to be a Christian state. give it time.
but are you seriously advocating we let these killers run loose and hide from them in Okinowa? war is deadly, messy and unpleasant. But it doesn't go away if you ignore it - in fact, throughout history, it always gotten worse when it eventually had to be dealt with. Instant gratification and the 24/7 news cycle of the spoiled brats of the 90s is not a good foundation for this sacrifice. this is what we do as Americans, we help people get free. always have.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

...or republican--
I wouldn't want to be accused of being a tool of the liberal media.

Posted by: cosign HIghMayhem | June 21, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

similar to the odor of any Fox-ian rant that begins with: "I am a lifelong democrat, but..."

Posted by: cosign HIghMayhem | June 21, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"Come around on Bush"? Sorry, but that smells too much like astroturf.

Posted by: HIghMayhem | June 21, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Robert in West Hollywood! Can you hear me, I'm applauding. Quite a brilliant synopsis. The only thing you have left out is how the mainstream media has been cowed and whipsawed into swallowing the republican framing of issues, and has merely become itself an arm of the Repuiblcan attack machine.

Posted by: Drindl | June 21, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

What a gift you have for projection, zouk. i'm not the one who watches Fox incessantly and spits out their talking points. I'm merely suggesting that instead of attacking people here with fallacies, you either stick to facts, or go someplace like little green footballs, where you will agree with everyone there --your fellow Fighting Keyboardiists. From the comfort of your air conditioning and armchairs, you can pontificate on what a shame it is that americans are no longer willing to make the hard choices and sacrifices necessary for 'winning'.

Posted by: Drindl | June 21, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Margaret,

I actually think I have an answer to your question. It isn't so much that the Democrats are a disorganized mess, it's that the Republican Political Marketing Disinformation Machine is extremely difficult to wrangle with. It comes down to not just the fact that Republicans lie regarding just about everything all the time, it's how they lie and fog the debate with their nonsense that makes it difficult to wrestle to the ground. Republicans, particularly Karl Rove at the helm (with a lot of help from Republican marketing guru Fank "The Fat Bastard" Luntz) create tight little counter intuitive "straw man" arguments with which they are able to smear their opposition and set down a marker around which the conversation revolves. Catchy little phrases like "cut and run" are heavily focus grouped to fine tune their disinformation message so that it carries the most impact and dramatic effect when it's delivered.

Think about the phrase "cut and run" for a moment. If you step back you've heard the phrase used to describe an entirely different situation? It's a manipulation of the business term "shut it down and cut our losses." What Frank Luntz does is he sees the parallels between the concepts and says to himself "The democrats are saying 'shut it down and cut our losses. If I didn't agree with that approach I'd respond with the counter argument 'we've made a significant investment and we owe it to our shareholders to stay the course because though it may be slow, we're making progress. Cutting and running now would cause our shareholders to loose confidence and our business partners to [our allies] to loose trust in us in the future. Not to mention the town where we've made the investment. Frank then takes that convoluted counter argument, polishes it, tests it to death to refine it and rather than hold it in reserve for a time when a real person makes such a challenge to them, instead they slap a generic "straw man" to their snappy little counter argument, turning it into an offensive verbal attack against a generic political entity who is cannot possibly engage in a debate with the Republicans because the individual in question doesn't exist except deep in the mind of Karl Rove. Specifically in my example, the Republicans accuse a generic opponent (Liberals) with secretly harboring dishonorable intentions towards the well being of our nation and the sacrifice made by those who serve our nation by attacking and knocking down their "straw man liberal" by answering their own attack with their original lie claiming that Republicans will finish what they started blustering their damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead rhetoric while driving us all off the cliff with them even faster.

Margaret, it's extremely hard to defend against attacks that are only being inferred against you and nearly impossible to go on a counter offensive when there is no one to lead the charge because the person being attacked doesn't actually exist. The sad thing for America is that Republicans aren't interested in having a realistic, pragmatic debate over honest areas of disagreement or tactics (particularly since every single one of their policies has been a miserable failure or miscalculation of epic proportions on their part). Instead, Republicans would rather hold onto power at any cost (in this case at the expense and well being of this nation) so that they can continue to exactly what they have been doing, stuffing their pockets from war profiteering while at the same time bankrupting this country, undermining our democracy, ruining our reputation with the rest of the world and shortchanging our future prosperity all for the sake of acting like spoiled, rotten, ignorant children who throw a fit if they don't get their way, even if they're wrong. I actually heard Tim Russert say to Joseph Biden last Sunday morning, "What do the Democrats stand for. They need to have substantial positions and policies to offer Americans. They need short accessible and easily comprehendible statements of political position on the issues just like the Republicans do." If the Democrats followed Russert's advice, Democrats would be just like Republicans and instead of trying to discuss substance and issues as they do now, they'd have nothing but empty marketing phrases and catchy political counter-spin statements just like the Republicans. If you think things are bad with a ruling political party that is nothing but empty rhetoric, prescribing the same "cure" for what "ails" the Democrats would really be the beginning of the end for this country. For everyone's sake, that's cannot be allowed to happen or we're all really in big trouble. One party ignoring the needs of our Nation for their own benefit is a disaster, both doing it would be the end of our democracy.

So what can the Democrats do? Exactly what they have been doing, putting their policy statements out for consumption, do the best they can to cope with the bluster coming from the Republicans and wait until enough Americans finally realize they've been had and do something about it at the ballot box. Democrats have the policies and solutions for what ails this Country, they just need the chance to implement their plan and prove they've been right. I do not believe it's alarmist to say that if the current political leadership in this Country isn't removed from power in the next election, our continued standing as the leader of the free world, even the very survival of our Nation itself, would be called into question.

Posted by: Robert In West Hollywood | June 21, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Margaret, your point of lack of an effective opposition is the most important caveat on Bush's low numbers. Why are the Democrats so incompetent? I'm sick of hearing about Republicans' unfair campaigning tactics. Either get on the ball or get out of the game.

Posted by: Zathras | June 21, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

If your reality places you in the role of kingmaker, economic guru and military policy analyst than I suspect your reality may be Fox's fall hit. but I keep forgetting that it is so easy to know everything required of a sentient human being with the simple click of a mouse. no need to venture outside the house. all the facts required are available to you and no study, debate or education is required. Oh, ignorance is so blissful. but the frontiers of stupidity must be beaten back.
continue with your incest - "oh we are so smart, no need to disagree, we will censor you or call you names because you are not in the family" how open minded of you? but that was my main point which seems to have eluded you, as usual.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

This country is in dire need of a national debate about what a "victory" in Iraq would mean for Iraqis, Americans, and global Islamofascism and whether or not we can afford "victory" there.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/opinions/graphics/iraqdocs_061606.pdf

Iraq is quickly becoming an Islamic republic as conservative, or morseo, than Iran or Saudi Arabia. We have sacrificed a Secular dictator who was cruelly effective at suppressing Religious fanatics for... Religious fanatics. History will determine whether or not this was a Faustian bargain, but, at the very least, we owe it to ourselves to have this debate.

I would like for Zouk and others to explain the "benefits" of establishing (yet another) Conservative Islamic Republic in the Middle East.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

As a not especially doctrinaire dem, I too can sometime sympathize with W in areas like immigration. But what really has me permanently angry with this administration is its perception of extreme presidential power. The notion of a "unitary executive" is a slippery slope that leads to nothing less than the end of our democratic system of government. And the Republican Congress' evident willingness to put party loyalty ahead of the defense of its duties under Article I of the Consititution is unforgivable. I can't see voting for a single republican until that party as a whole affirms by ACTIONS, not words, that it intends to exercise strenuously its responsibilities for oversight of the executive branch and to slap back those who claim imperial powers for the presidency. Don't tell me a concentration of authority in the executive is necessity in a "time of war."

The American people are stronger and more resilient than our "protectors" give us credit for.

Posted by: iowan | June 21, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Zouk why don't you go peddle your lies, delusions and propaganda elsewhere? We were having a nice, reality-based discussion before you came along.

Posted by: Drindl | June 21, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

sick of it all,
You are not the only moderate dem who has a more positive opinion of Bush than before. Up until his number started to sag, I had thought of him as a mere puppet of Cheney and the rest of his senior administrative staff.

I respect his passion for "Comprehensive immigration reform," national security and a positive resolution to the war on terror. I still think that he is going about it all the wrong way. So, I still disapprove of the job he is doing, but I'm only moderately opposed as opposed to strongly opposed. Does that qualify as coming around?

Posted by: acarriedo | June 21, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree with much of what you say, RMill, but where will we get more troops? We have so many wounded, and so many that have been deployed too often, and the military has already pulled every stop loss and recruitment gimmick they can and numbers are still down.

But what we can do is offer the Iraqi government carrots and sticks. Right now they have no incentive for us to leave. So we have to give them one. Create benchmarks-- if they meet them, they get rewarded [money, troops, etc]. If they don't, such like are taken off the table as punishment. Right now, they're just using our soldiers as pawns in their civil war.

And all this talk about 'winning' or 'losing'.. it's silly machismo. Again, someone tell me the definition of winning? Is it that Iraq is secure and stable? What if that takes 30 years? No republican politician is being honest about this.

Posted by: Drindl | June 21, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

RMill- I disagree with your introduction, but agree with your conclusion. The situation in Iraq can only improve if we change course. Forgetting Dems & Repubs for a moment (off-topic, I know), the best direction for the US to take is the one you propose: get some help, get more boots on the ground, stabilize the country, train local replacements & get out. Returning to the subject at hand, neither party has leaders with the chutzpah to propose such a solution, as its not seen as a political winner. The fools running the parties are too worried about short term electoral gains rather than long term victories that will benefit us all.

Posted by: BSimon | June 21, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

this is a real hotbed of confused souls here today.
Were you aware that there is an Arab Muslim army of 250,000 in Iraq right now fighting for thier freedom. This was unimaginable a few years back. Were you aware that America suffered about 22,000 casualties in one day at Antietam? 2000 in one day at Normandy? 2000 in one day at Pearl Harbor? 3000 in one day in NYC. you seem to have no sense of history.
do you know that America came into being because of high taxes. We rejected the British. What if the French had set a date certain when they would have pulled their fleet from Yorktown? How would the British have reacted?
You all act as if Bush was elected in a vacuum. He was the better choice of the two presented. We did not all agree with all his policies, but we did disagree with most of his opponent's policies.
When will you tire of all the tired old rhetoric about tax cuts for the rich - tax cuts for the tax payers actually. High gas prices which you assume the government can control - have you forgotten that old fool Jimmah (worst presdient ever?)? Student loans which lead to higher tuitions, creating a cycle of inflation and devaluing of the degree.
Isn't it wonderful that everyone on this blog agrees, where is the debate? What about the consequences of cutting and running didn't you comprehend in Somalia, Beirut, Munich, etc.? these people are brutal killers and need to be eradicated from the planet. did you ever get beat-up by a playground bully? did you stop going to school? your desire to win an election has left you bereft of common sense. you have allowed the crazy left to hijack your party. Murtha, Pelosi and Kerry will insure that you continue to lose elections as long as you let them. they are detached from reality. Put your stock in Ford, Barack, Hoyer, Lieberman, etc. Only with a return to sanity will you stand a chance of getting more than 45% of the vote. I hope you do, the R s are straying from their principles too and need a correction.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 21, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Not sure why its relevant, but:

AZ: Filing Deadline Yields Crowded Field To Succeed Kolbe, Few Surprises

http://www.cqpolitics.com/2006/06/az_filing_deadline_yields_crow.html

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

While we're talking polling data - Kyl's up on Pederson 43%-29% out in Arizona, numbers that from Kyl's perspective I only think will improve.

Posted by: AZGOP | June 21, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I've noticed the WH has been cutting and running a lot recently, especially in regards to Afghanistan (which is failing, and Canada's getting tired of doing the bulk of the fighting there), Europe (where the lowered expectations in regards to the G8 and WTO all point to a resounding defeat of the US positions on trade - a major cut and run on any scale), and internationally. Heck, let's just note that Italy and Japan have bailed on Iraq, and that there ain't no more Coalition of the Billing left.

Bush can't even collect on the fake promises to pay for Iraq reconstruction, leaving the US holding the bag, at a time when American taxpayers are already furious with the beltway over having to pay for stuff we didn't want in the first place.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | June 21, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

There is no doubt that with troops on the ground, that Iraq can still turn, regardless of the sentiments of the general public. Dems should be wary. Winning Iraq? What exactly does that mean? That is the real question.

We removed a brutal dictator and brought him to justice. We have helped incorporate a new government. What is left is to rebuild infrastructure and maintain security to ensure stability.

Why is that US responsibility (Bush said in the 2000 debates that America was not responsible for policing the world). Originally, the oil profits were going to pay for reconstruction and Iraqi security forces would take over securing Iraq.

The argument that the Dems are now forwarding that will have resonance with the public is:

Iraq must be told that they are soon to be responsible for their own security.

It is not pull the troops out for the sake of pulling them out but an act to prod a fledgling new government to take control of its own destiny. This is what the White House fears, not having control. That is why they are still there. They always felt Afghanistan and Iraq were controllable actions (you'll notice we did not invade Iran or North Korea).

Actually, I think there needs to be a temporary troop escalation leading up to a withdrawal schedule in 2007. That might have been quickly possible but for the escalating tensions in Afghanistan. I would assign a joint NATO/UN force to take over security in Afghanistan and move 15,000 US troops into Iraq. There are also about 40,000 stationed in Kuwait at last count.

Use overwhelming force to clear out insurgents in a summer campaign and then accelerate training and supply of Iraqi Security forces, targeted for end of 2006. Then as new Iraqi security comes on line, begin withdrawal. Declare victory. Whatever it takes.

Posted by: RMill | June 21, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Andy R-

Uganda where "ABC" was successful? The rate of infected adults fell from 15% in the 90s to 5% in 2001 which is admirable. But it's on the rise again; up to 7%.
One semi-discredited report in 2004 had the number at 17%.

Much of the funding for "ABC" programs comes from groups that are, surprise, ANTI-CONDOMS. Which means the C part is eliminated all together. This "AB" only emphasis has been criticized in and outside of Uganda by health officials. Notably, Dr Jotham Musinguzi, director of the Population Secretariat at the Ministry of Finance and Dr Katamba, health co-ordinator of the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau.

Uganda is a success story but because it followed all three prongs of the ABC plan. That success is not at risk because of a campaign to eliminate the "C" from the plan which results in increased HIV prevalance.

Bush's plan calls for "AB" and "C I guess, but not really". The funds for ABC are channeled through groups hostile to condom use (for religious reasons) and thus undermines their efforts and, ultimately, the larger goal of fighting AIDS. So do not speak of Uganda as a sucess of the ABC plan, rather it is a shining example of how a working plan is abandoned because of religious and idealogical commitments. This is unacceptable.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Andy, I did check the facts. "The United Nations AIDS trust fund is a joke" is not a fact, it is an opinion. Now everyone has a right to their own set of opinions, but not their own set of facts. I take it that it your opinion that the Fund does not work. It is MY opinion, based of facts as they are, that this administration tends to side with the Pharmacuetical industry over people.
By the way, yes, I have been to Botswana, Cape Verde, Mozambique and good ol' Suid Afrika. While no one else quite matches the US benchmarks on obesity, diabetes, asthma, and various other ailments you chose not to focus on are epidemics, and preventable ones at that.
And since we want to always be factual, we should probably disclose that the "Bush Plan" also called for holding back AIDS funding from the "C" portion of your ABC program.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"the few highs and many lows of the ongoing war in Iraq"

Excuse me, but our brave troops did their job and won the war rather handily. The Iraqi army was defeated and President Bush celebrated it with "Mission Accomplished" in May of 2003. Ask any general, they'll tell you that we won.

What the Bush administration completely botched - probably because they did not adequately plan for it - was the occupation of Iraq, which has now lasted more than three years. It's time to bring our troops home, for they did a superb job and won the war, but have suffered horrible losses during the long occupation, due mainly to abysmal policy decisions in Washington.

Posted by: -the doc- | June 21, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Jaxas, I too appreciate what you say. For too long as Americans, we have acted as if we had the divine right to dictate the economic structures and belief systems of all other countries in the world.

Indeed, there are many in power now [bush for instance] whose theocratic beliefs are such that he believes he takes his crusade marching orders straight from the lips of God. ['God told me to smite Saddam'].

The 'mission' in Iraq has never been anything but a thinly-veiled plan to set up a permament military center of power from which to dominate the Middle East, the world's center of oil production. How difficult is that to see?

World is running out of oil, Republilcans want lock on oil for their patron oil companies, who conveniently will pay dearly to keep them in power. Unfortunately, certain Iraqi and other Muslims don't want to serve this particular master and they are jighting back. That this surprises anyone is astonishing.

Bush has said repeatedly that he has no intention of ever pulling out of Iraq while he is in office. He said that the mess he has created will be someone else's to solve. That's not a plan, it's an admission of incompetence.

Posted by: Drindl | June 21, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Hey FctChckr,
The United Nations AIDS trust fund is a joke. It is basically the last ditch effort to save the theory of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Malaria, and TB. The Global fund was a doomed project from the beginning because it attempted to address the three largest infectious disease problems in the world at once. ALSO the global fund and indirectly everything afterwards (which are all run by the same people) was started during the great reign of Bill Clinton, who has said that his lack of fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic is the #1 regret he has from his time in office. Saying that the US policy is bad because it doesn't want to throw money into a program that has been shown not to work is ridiculous.
Also you notice that the second article you site doesn't say the US doesn't support cheap AIDS drugs which are included on the list, it says they don't support dropping patents on new Diabetes, and asthma drugs. Now most Diabetes drugs are designed to combat type 2 diabetes which is casued by Obesity (as well as other factors) Now I don't know if you have ever been to Africa but folks there aren't really suffering from an epidemic of Obesity.
And you can dog the Pharmacuetical industry if you want, but you should know that in Botswana, the only country in the developing world that provides anti-HIV drugs to all of its citizens can partly because the folks at Merck, Bristoll Myers, and Glaxo agreed to sell them the drugs at cost.

Also the Bush plan calls for using the ABC program, which calls fro Abstinence first, Be monogamous if not, and use a Condom if you aren't monogamous. This program has been shown to work in places like Uganda. Next time you should check you facts.

Posted by: Andy R | June 21, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Prup, interesting analysis. Bush as lynchpin - that could be. I tend to think of it along similar lines. The Republican party was on the offensive in 2000, and Bush was indeed the man to stitch together all the different factions of the GOP. But Bush also came under heavy fire a couple years into his Presidency from Democrats. I think the more Democrats attacked Bush, the more Republicans became defensive of him - because who wants to admit that the guy that they supported is wrong - and so the GOP became not a coalition of factions but a camp. Maybe if Democrats talk about a positive vision in 2008, the GOP will indeed splinter as you say.

Posted by: Jeff | June 21, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

One of the questions this analysis begs is so obvious -- why don't we have a hard-hitting, dynamic, coherent political opposition party, despite this remarkably wide opening in the culture right now? This lack of a unified, or, better, unifying political leadership could still translate into continued Republican control of Congress after the November election

from: ecologicalhope.wordpress.com

Posted by: Margaret | June 21, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The Bush AIDS Legacy--

Administration Underfunds AIDS Fund, Weakens AIDS Negotiations

The Bush administration pledged $200 million for the new United Nations AIDS trust fund, a sum well below the amount U.N. and international relief groups expected the United States to contribute. The advocacy group the Global Treatment Access Campaign also accused the U.S. delegation of consistently undercutting support for lifesaving AIDS medication, refusing to support an expansion of the antiquated Essential Drugs List, which currently does not include many AIDS-related medications, and refusing to discuss condoms and other accepted HIV prevention methods at the annual World Health Assembly.
-Source: Health GAP Coalition, "After Underfunding UN AIDS Trust Fund, Bush Administration Colludes With Drug Industry to Block AIDS Medication and Care Proposals at World Health Assembly," Asia Russell, May 18, 2001

Administration Refuses Developing Nations Access to Low-Cost Medicines

The Bush administration killed an agreement that would have helped poor countries access cheaper drugs by allowing them to override drug patents and import generic drugs from abroad. Talks at the World Trade Organization broke down after the United States indicated it was unwilling to support an agreement that would have expanded the range of low-cost drugs countries could import beyond drugs for HIV/AIDS and 15 "tropical diseases." Developing nations were seeking a compromise that would also include medicines for conditions such as asthma and diabetes. Developing countries criticized theUnited States, and health advocates accused the Bush administration of caving to pressure from the pharmaceutical industry. According to the Associated Press, the United States was the only country that "openly refused" to support the agreement.
-Source: The Associated Press, "WTO Talks on Cheap Drugs Collapse," Naomi Koppel, Dec. 20, 2002


Posted by: FctChkr | June 21, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

90% of this country owns 25% of the wealth, down from 30% in 1989.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 21, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Jaxas, I simply want to quote these two things that you wrote, and hope (vainly I fear) that every American here will read and consider them one more time. One cannot underestimate the importance of these concepts in understanding why we are so hated in that portion of the world. And you've only scratched the surface of the matter (read up on how we've been jerking Iran around for the past half century if you care to get an education, folks). They're not just irrational Muslim fanatics people. Human beings usually have more complicated reasons for feeling and acting the way they do, as it turns out:

"Imagine how you would feel if some big talking, fathead, priviledged Arab fop who got to where is is by trading on his old man's name, started talking about how he was going to "transform" America by using his power to force Americans into a more Middle Eastern way of thinking, of spreading Middle Eastern values into the Americas, of going after fundamentalist Christian terrorists in America who blow up federal buildings.

You are looking at Bush through a mindset that has been just as propagandized about hte nobility of what we are doing in Iraq as has Bin Laden's admirers in his heroic, Jihadists crusades against the West. Whenever you use force, violence and military arms to make your point, you are admitting that you have failed to convey the nobility of your ideas and values."

(I wish I could have bolded this quote of your post here.)

Posted by: B2O | June 21, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

If it's a skunk putting perfume on it won't make it anything else! The Republican "moral majority" as they like to call themselves thought Bushy would be it, load up the supreme court, give the corporations big tax cuts, revoke the enviornmental laws, screw the middle class, screw the poor even more, and last but not least take out Saddam. Well, so far you have got your wish, except our grandchildren's children will be paying for all of this mess for years to come. The middle class has all but shrunk, the poor, well they will remain that way under Republican leadership and all those HAWKS as they like to call themselves, who were never in the service or never served in a WAR can only come up with slogans, I have a slogan for you for IRAQ, STAY AND PAY! Keep paying with our kids lives and our economy while North Korea, China, Russia, Iran etal revel in the fact that we have depleted our military, our economy, lost countless lives and sent home thousands of veterans who have lost limbs, minds, body functions and will have to spend the rest of their lives fighting the Veterans Administration for benefits, that will be cut to pay for the tax cuts that Bush and his croonies wanted. The world views us as a group of idiots, we elected the biggest idiot of all to run the largest country in the world. So, for all them good ol boys who like Bush cause they can have a beer with him or watch Nascar, and please no letters, I watch Nascar, but that it seems is the standard for the Republican party now. If you hate gays, Democrats, anyone who isn't white or rich or can down a beer in two seconds and say stuff like Bring em on, and carry a bible then you might be a Repbulican! If you run around bad mouthing 9-11 wives for their views and wanting answers by some skinny broad who needs to have herself dropped off in the middle of Bagdhad, you might be a Republican. If you can't come up with one single thought for yourself as a congressman or senator because your too busy rubber stamping the crap that flows out of the White house, you might be a Repbublican, and if you stand back silently and let this crap happen and then try and put together some kind of legistlation that will get us out of this mess, but waited to long to do so, you might be a Democrat. I believe we should close off Washington D.C. and make it a country unto itself. Leave every politician there to duke it out and run their own "country" and the rest of us will elect someone who has a brain and a plan and didn't forget who writes their check. Then maybe, just maybe we can become a better country again! Oh, and yes we are a proud military family, we support our troops by questioning our so called leaders! Instead of simply waving a flag and putting a bumper sticker on our car! Thanks Sue F

Posted by: Sue Filutze | June 21, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Sicktoo:

"I'm a moderate-to-conservative-leaning republican who is 'coming around' to the hard truth that there is no morality or honor in 'sticking to your guns' if you are wrong."

Wow, how utterly refreshing, to see someone finally grasping this basic notion (and risking horrible scorn in saying so out loud no less). It seems like for several years now we've been hearing nothing but admiration for this simplistic, childlike "value" of Blind Uninformed Resolve.

Is it really so difficult to see that "steely resolve" is only as *good* or as *bad* as the thing you are "resolving" to stick to? Think about it people - please. And no, it really isn't Unamerican to think, they just want you to think it is.

If the American public can only learn this simple concept before Bush's term is up, I will perhaps feel some hope for them after all.

Posted by: B2O | June 21, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I wanted to weigh in on this idea of coming around on Bush. All the points made so far have been pretty valid. I think you have to be totally blinded by partisanship to think everything Bush has done is wrong.
As THS pointed out Bush's contribution to the HIV/AIDS epidemic is truly note-worthy, and I beleive will really be his legacy (at least the positive part of it). When Bush gauranteed billions of dollars to fight AIDS in Africa he was the first Major foreign leader to pony up. This cause a tremendous amount of pressure on the leaders in Europe to up their share as well. Because of this the EU has increased it's donations to Africa as well. Also it moved this problem to the Forefront of international politics, which in my humble opinion is where it belongs. I research AIDS in Africa and have spent time there working with infected patients and I can say with all honesty that the HIV pandemic is the greatest current threat to mankind. And I applaud the President for taking the initiative on this issue. (and By the way Everyone should see the PBS Frontline on AIDS, it is infromative and very accurate)
Now That being said the rest of his presidency is a model of incompetence, and the GOP will be paying for it for the next 8-10 years.
One other thing, Jaxas the science you are explaining is Cosmology not Quantum Mechanics. QM is the study of sub-atomic particles and their properties.

Posted by: Andy R | June 21, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

One of the reasons America is in the mess it is in sick-of-it-all, is because so many "independents" like you got suckered by George W. Bush and all of his "compassionate conservative" hokum combined with his completely absurd neocon claptrap about transforming the Middle East.

Imagine how you would feel if some big talking, fathead, priviledged Arab fop who got to where is is by trading on his old man's name, started talking about how he was going to "transform" America by using his power to force Americans into a more Middle Eastern way of thinking, of spreading Middle Eastern values into the Americas, of going after fundamentalist Christian terrorists in America who blow up federal buildings.

You are looking at Bush through a mindset that has been just as propagandized about hte nobility of what we are doing in Iraq as has Bin Laden's admirers in his heroic, Jihadists crusades against the West. Whenever you use force, violence and military arms to make your point, you are admitting that you have failed to convey the nobility of your ideas and values.

Posted by: Jaxas | June 21, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Looking for another, convenient witch to burn --

In that American conservatives are by and large the 21st-century equivalent of 19th-century no-nothings, driven by their greed, their renal glands, and their desire for scapegoats, yeah, Bush is certainly a conservative. The day that Charles Krauthammer is representative of American conservatism is the day I'll relent. Until then, opposition to science or any other form of reason except economics will be the chief hallmark of the breed, and there will always be another Bush and Rove struggling to remain at the head of the mob, always on the lookout for another, convenient witch to burn.

Posted by: D | June 21, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Prup,
that was one of the more profound comments I've read in a while. sadly, it's probably true.

Posted by: i'msicktoo | June 21, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

But cut taxes on whom? Have your taxes gone down? I'm a middle class wage earner, and my taxes have gone only up since bush took office. Not only that, so has my energy bill, my health insurance, and my daughter's college tuition.

How exactly does cutting taxes on the small percentage of incredibly weatlhy help the rest of us? They're just as likely to spend that windfall in Dubai as invest it here. Not only that, but the tax-cutting has been paid for using the Social Security trust fund. Yes, that's right... the taxes that all us little people paid for our retirement has been funneled straight into the pockets of the rich. That's the only reason there's any sort of 'crisis' with Social Security.

All 'conservatism' really amounts to is the redistribution of wealth -- from the middle class to the wealthy. Why any rational middle class citizen would support this is beyond me.

Posted by: Drindl | June 21, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I have felt for some time that the Republicans were setting themselves up for a Goldwater-level debacle in 08. Bush has been a linch-pin holding any number of disparate groups together, the social 'conservatives,' the tax-cutters, the pro-war types, the libertarians and the Specter-Snow-Giuliani moderates. There is some overlap between some of these, but many of them are inherently opposed to the ideas of the others.
Bush had held them together, and been able to draw just enough independents to barely win election, but many of these groups will blame the losses they will see in 06 on Bush not being 'conservative enough' as they perceive 'conservatism.'
If the Democrats don't do something idiotic -- like nominating Hilary, who could unify them -- the various wings will engage in such incredible internecine fighting that whoever comes out will have turned off many of the other branches of the Republicans, and who will be taking positions on taxes, social issues -- particularly abortion -- and the war that will drive away the independents and moderate Democrats who were willing to accept Bush because they didn't think he 'really meant it' on the more extreme platform planks.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) | June 21, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I'd point out, if i was a conservative and i ain't, that the one very true conservative success that Shrubya has had is two Supremes named. That is one area that he can claim as a legacy. My wife is a die hard gop'er and for the life of me i can't figure out what the heck she still sees in this clown. For a true conservative he's cut taxes and what else? He is fiscally insane in all other areas. And if your a holy roller all he's done is paid you lip service, and kicked you to the curb. BTW, think it's a little late in his game for him to suddenly become the "great compromiser"...

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | June 21, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, no one wants the embarrasment of "LOSING" in Iraq...but the reasons for winning or even being there have nothing to do with why we were led there. And let's be honest, my republican friends--once we are past the posturing, Murtha's stance is not far from that of Pres. Bush, who, IMO, is looking for some type of solid footing to bring the troops home (except of course for those protecting the huge base and embassy that we plan to build there).

Posted by: nonpartyzanhack | June 21, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I agree w/ you, sick of it all. Bush has taken some decent positions lately, and I think I see a common element in some of his actions---one that, as in all tragedy, contains the seeds of both his best moments and his worst ones. That element is his "gut instinct" style of decisionmaking that underlies both some of his best positions and some of his worst actions.

For instance, he's MUCH less of a Neanderthal about immigration than many of the wingnuts, and I don't have the sense that his stance is a sop to the corporate types in the Republican party---at least not entirely. I think he genuinely understands the desire of poor people in Mexico to want to make thing better for themselves; he seems to see both their suffering and their heroism. I was genuinely touched by the speech on immigration that he gave on TV.
According to recent news reports, he is doing more to lead efforts to stop the terrible suffering in Sudan than any other world leader. Of course, that problem has been going on way too long, and it's not likely to end soon. But Bush is acting, and he seems to be doing so out of a moral impulse.

Second, he's done more to fight AIDS in Africa than other U.S. presidents. I've seen several documentaries indicating that the aid the U.S. has sent (moving from millions to billions, as one interviewee said) has really made a difference. Of course, the situation is still hellish, and he is, to some extent, taking w/ one hand and giving away w/ the other by requiring that some part of that money be spent on abstinence education. But, still, it appears that there has been real progress. (I'm relying here on a recent Frontline show concerning AIDS.)

Third, according to recent news report, some (minor, fragiel) progress in putting together a political system that would reduce, and eventually stop the horrible killing now taking place in Darfur.

As I've said, these examples by no means represent solved problems, but they suggest that GWB and his cronies do seem to be striving to "do the right thing".

But, in my view, it's this same tendency to respond "from the heart" rather than to think things through that has us where we are in Iraq.

Posted by: THS | June 21, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Colin -

It's not just those few things - I've also come around on Iraq since his numbers have began to tank. I have began to see the importance of winning

This doesn't mean I still would have done it in the first place. Therefore, I think my changing views on the Iraq issue have less to do with Bush's recent "policy decisions" and more to do with the Democratic mishandlings to answer what we are going to do.

To fellow Dems: Follow Murtha at your own risk. Despite the Bush poll numbers on Iraq, Murtha's stance is not the answer to those looking for leadership on the issue.

Posted by: sick of it all | June 21, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Come around on bush? Around the bend? I cannot see a single reason why any Dem [or any republican, for that matter] would support bush. "Disastrous' is an apt term for the astonishing, smirking, stumbling incompetence he continously displays.

I have respect for the posters here who support bush's immigration plan --but I have to disagree. The type of guest worker program bush is pushing will mean that corporate employers will be guaranteed a source of cheap labor and wages for American citizens will be kept artificially low.

We need to have an honest debate about immigration, who wins and who loses as a result of it --but all we are getting from republicans in power is either total obseisiance to transnational corporations or brain-dead, reflexive mexican-bashing.

Posted by: Drindl | June 21, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

"the numbers wad down to just 55 percent in May"

SPELLCHECK!

On topic tho, the situation is quite obvious that Bush is taking across the board, as are Republicans in general. It doesnt take a genious. At least CC didnt consult his infamous "political observers" who dont know their ass from a hole in the wall. But regardless of whether or not we KNEW this was happening, it IS nice to see empirical evidence of the matter and a decently FAIR and BALANCED (imagine that) analysis. :)

I look fw to reading comments on this thread. I hope we put on our Troll-proof jackets and wear our protective headgear b/c this could get ugly. Lets keep it real. And lets keep it FACT BASED (ya hear that trolls! fact based!)

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 21, 2006 9:44 AM | Report abuse

sick, I'm just the opposite. I'm a moderate-to-conservative-leaning republican who is 'coming around' to the hard truth that there is no morality or honor in 'sticking to your guns' if you are wrong. The people that we elected are conservative and republican in name only, which is why so many truly conservative voices have been marginalized..

Posted by: i'msicktoo | June 21, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I think your analysis is probably mostly correct Chris but, I also think that we have reached a point in our political history where conservatism--both the traditional and the neo versions--have pretty much reached the limit of their vision. You can only cut taxes so much. You can only limit government so much. And, when the so-called party of "ideas" starts being perceived as the party of bad ideas, you know its time for a change.

Political movements are pretty much like the movements described in Quantum Mechanics. They all have an event horizon beyond which any further movement in the direction they have been risks being sucked into a black hole. I believe that is what is happening to the republican majority right now. They are dominated by an ideology that has grown far beyond the level of its own competence. It has become as they say, long in the tooth.

Right now, Americans are looking for something new, something fresh. But that opens up a problem as well for the democrats. They cannot seem to settle on this new direction. Some want to revitalize the old liberal imperative of activist government and big spending on social programs. Others are insisting on a Third Way.

That leaves America in a vacuum. And as we all know, nature--especially political nature--abhors a vacuum. Tyrannies have been nurtured in such vacuums.

Posted by: Jaxas | June 21, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Sick of it All -- Not to be snarky, but yes I think you are the only moderate Dem who has come around on Bush. I don't disagree with you that GWB has gotten a few things right of late - such as his immigration plan, which I agree with. But how in the world can a few decent decisions make up for what has been a disasterous 6 years in office? I guess my point is that, even if you like his stance on the ports deal or a few other things - don't forget about his handling of Iraq, his reckless fiscal irresponsibility, his general incompetence revealed through his handling of Katrina, etc., etc., etc.

Posted by: Colin | June 21, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Coming Around on Bush?

One issue doesn't make up for the colossal number of misques.

I actually wrote a few weeks ago that I thought his dropping polling numbers were going to damage his leadership on immigration (which I favor as opposed to the House Republicans version).

Overall, his presidency has been a travesty, and that is coming from a fellow moderate.

Posted by: RMill | June 21, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only moderate Dem that has actually begun to come around on Bush? And the reason I've come around is not soley because of the sinking numbers...

Maybe most of this is because of the compromising he has had to do because of his situation in the polls and his transition into the lame duck period.

But other than that, I have seen some genuine stances that have made me see the Republican claims of 2001-2004 that he "sticks to his guns." I think we've seen some bush stances that could be labeled as "independent." For instance, take the ports deal. For many, this was one of the first instances of a President affected by bad numbers. For me, I saw him taking an independent stance in line with my political orientation.

Posted by: sick of it all | June 21, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

With the President's approval ratings at their lowest, I can't help but feel that Michael Gerson's resignation precedes even more revelations. After reading David Brock's book "Blinded by the Right", his right wing advocacy and eventual ex-conservatism was partially formulated by his earliest experiences at Berkeley. Censorship just wasn't characteristic of a true liberal, when a political speech was lambasted by a group of fellow students. Norman Podheretz became conservative early in the 1960's because his beliefs regarding sexual experimentation and the social weaknesses of his friends contradicted his own. One leader of the religious right had speeches ghost written by a now gay minister. Are those that we look up to as leaders merely empty shelled marionettes filled with the thoughts and motivations of others? Maybe it's time those behind the scenes step up to the forefront and lead.

Posted by: Wayne Przybylowski | June 21, 2006 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I read the other day that someone sent Marilyn Musgrave (R Colorado somewhere) a campaign contribution envelope filled with dog feces. Apparently someone's upset with the Republican majority.

Posted by: J. Donne | June 21, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

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