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July 07, 2007

Better Late Than Never?

By Ankush

The Times editorial board, in its sole editorial this Sunday:

It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.
...
Accomplishing all of this in less than six months is probably unrealistic. The political decision should be made, and the target date set, now.

The Times editorial board on August 6, 2006:

Democrats are embracing the withdrawal option because it sounds good on the surface and allows them to avoid a more far-reaching discussion that might expose their party’s own foreign policy divisions. Most of all, they want an election-year position that maximizes the president’s weakness without exposing their candidates to criticism. But they are doing nothing to help the public understand the grim options we face.

Whatever. 

For my money, the Times' latest editorial is less an argument for withdrawal than another argument for abolishing editorials.  They're embarrassingly behind the curve here, and I hope they're not under the impression that simply because their editorial runs the entire length of the page, they've performed an act of Utmost Seriousness.

"What liberal media?" indeed.

July 7, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

But Americans must be equally honest about the fact that keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse.

This central premise receives no support at all. The piece has the rhetoric of honesty and realism without the substance required.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 7, 2007 11:35:59 PM

As to the NY Times, yes they are inconsistent about their position. As to their position about the Democrats- they aren't far off from the truth.

Over at Americablog, insider types are saying that some Democratic Senators are contemplating entering a deal with GOP Senators:

"GOP/Dem coalition of Senators to offer legislation to keep US troops in Iraq indefinitely
by John Aravosis (DC) · 7/06/2007 02:04:00 PM ET
Discuss this post here: Comments (283)"

I didn't believe their last prediction about the capitulation, but they were right on the money about how it went down. So, in that sense, the NT Times isn't wrong about the Democratic stance on these issues.


Posted by: akaison | Jul 7, 2007 11:44:06 PM

akaison,
Do these Senators really think that's going to go over well? One of "coalition" Senators is Casey of PA. I can tell you he'll be getting a firestorm of phone calls on Monday. Those asshats in DC just don't get it.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience | Jul 8, 2007 12:51:10 AM

I think the Democrats are weak. I also think they are so trapped by their fears of the right that they are incapable of thinking in any other way than through the frame of the right's narrative. It would never dawn on them to actually stick together to crete their own.

Most of these people spent most of their careers living with framing things in terms of the Reagan revolution, being defensive about being liberal, and a certain having to project a level of appearing "reasonable." \

I understand this because I used to be them (thinking process), and it took a lot of not trying to spin myself to realize what I was doing. I wouldn't say what I meant- I would say what I tought was reasonable based on the other sides argument without ever asking was the other sides arguement itself reasonable.

Have you talked to a HRC supporter about healthcare or Obama? I put up a diary over at Mydd, and it was truly bizzare to read people argue- well the insurance companies won't like it. I mean not really? And you are making a decision based on the insurance company reactions and your expectations for your politicians on this because? it's truly bizzare once you break this train of thought to watch others continue it. But continue it they do.

By the way simlar arguments were made on things like raising the minimum wage.


9 in 10 Americans (according to recent polling) wants serious governmental involvement in actual change, rather than arguing from the place of "how can we use that fact to sell momentum in the public for reform"

What are they doing? They are discussing what a small percentage of the right will do. My thing is if you go to the American public first, and sell to them- you don't have to worry about what the right does. It's really what hte right did for a long time until they let the curtain down by electing Bush.

So- If you want my views- nothing will change in this country until this generation of Democrats is out of office. They are just as out of touch as the GOP in many ways. We elected people who truly truly don't get it. I am not sure they are capable of getting it.

Posted by: akaison | Jul 8, 2007 1:32:36 AM

another by the way- these are also not isolated events- one sees it over and over again. Alito and Roberts come to mind. It's a pattern of behavior that speaks poorly of our elected leaders character and leadership abilities.

Posted by: akaison | Jul 8, 2007 1:34:46 AM

akai, You've said most everything that needs saying. The Democrats are cowards. They fear confrontation so much that they'd sell out everything they believe in rather than get into a fight. That fear is palpable, and it's the primary reason Democrats have suffered so much over these last few decades. Nobody trusts a coward, and nobody wants to be led by people who won't even stand up to themselves.

That's not just a Republican Talking point, it's basic human psychology. You will always be better off with a leader who is strong than a leader who is right, because a leader who is right won't be willing to back up that correctness with action. They will instead back down repeatedly rather than argue and confront. The Democrats have to prove to the American people, and to the democratic base, that they are personally strong enough to see things through. That they are strong enough to twist arms and push through legislation, that they won't back down to Republican intimidation, that they will refuse to turn the other cheek.

Instead, the Democrats come off as fake tough-guys, going along with the real thing because all they can do is ape republican behavior. That makes them look weak, like the Republicans own them. It can never make them look strong, agreeing with people who hate you. You have to beat them till they're bloody and push their faces into the mud. Then, instead of apologizing as Democrats LOVE to do, put your boot on their chest and crow triumphantly. Because like it or not, and most of you won't, that's how you look strong to other people.

Posted by: soullite | Jul 8, 2007 8:45:29 AM

I agree. If newspapers used the space now wasted on editorials for advertising, and then contributed that cash to the candidates and issues they support, they'd have a lot more impact than what they do. As a dividend, they'd deprive themselves of two or three daily opportunities to look like fools.

Posted by: Stuart Eugene Thiel | Jul 8, 2007 10:54:34 AM

The 2008 Presidential Candidates have spoken. Find out how they feel about different issues. Click here

Posted by: Barack Obama | Jul 8, 2007 10:59:41 AM

Soullite- a lot of what I say is basic pscyhology. It doesn't take a genius to think up what I wrote and realize that's what's happening. This is why I know there is something really kind of messed up with the Democratic psyche because they don't see it, and they certainly aren't listening to the large number of people repeating "this is why I have a problem with you." All they hear, I fear, is "I can reason my way into convincing you to like me." I said of the war vote, the Democrats lost that vote the minute they cast it. It made us look like we've always looked- weak. That perception was the real war. Everytime we look weak- peo will not trust us as much as they should with foreign policy. I am not saying we aren't winning by default with the GOP. But Howdy Doodie (spelling?) would look after the last 6 years of the GOP. I am saying that we will not be able to fully capitalize on it because our approach is still the same live in the shadow of Reagan approach it has always been.

Posted by: akaison | Jul 8, 2007 11:33:01 AM

All the talk about Democratic politicians just not knowing what's good for them is very much like talk about people not liking negative ads. Sure people complain about Democrats not fighting and doing bold things and all that. And then they turn those who do out of office. Why? Probably mostly because, in controversial areas, people are more secure with some basic conservative principles than with the competing liberal ones, enough to keep it that way.

It can never make them look strong, agreeing with people who hate you. You have to beat them till they're bloody and push their faces into the mud. Then, instead of apologizing as Democrats LOVE to do, put your boot on their chest and crow triumphantly. Because like it or not, and most of you won't, that's how you look strong to other people.

Sure, ask Saddam Hussein. This is one reason there are wars instead of sensible resolutions to things. It's a bit of a problem for the supposed party of peace and reason to take the soullite line on politics.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 8, 2007 2:17:16 PM

Sanpete what you just wrote as no basis in what polling and anecdotal evidence supports.

Posted by: akaison | Jul 8, 2007 2:28:13 PM

Regular as clockwork. The Tick Tock Man shows up with his Tick Tock argument.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Jul 8, 2007 2:31:17 PM

Tell me again about why Edwards' Senate record wasn't more progressive, and why Cleland lost, akaison. That was you making those points, remember?

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 8, 2007 2:33:23 PM

All the talk about Democratic politicians just not knowing what's good for them is very much like talk about people not liking negative ads. Sure people complain about Democrats not fighting and doing bold things and all that.

Right, because the Democrats were so successful in 2002 (and 2004) when they decided not to "fight" the administration on Iraq. Interestingly, this was going to be the Democrats' strategy (don't mention the Iraq war and concentrate on domestic policy) for 2006 as well until Joe Lieberman lost his primary race. Democrats, quite obviously, did not know what was good for them because their strategies kept on losing. What you're missing, of course, is that fgor many Democratic politicians and their strategists, their interests were not aligned towards "winning." Their interests were aligned towards having a group of Democratic politicians in the leadership maintain their prominent public positions as well as retaining social acceptance from certain beltway-based interest groups and media personalities.

Interestingly, your mentality, such as it is, always coincidently seems to explain who it is the Democrats who are going to be on the losing end of something.

Posted by: Tyro | Jul 8, 2007 2:41:04 PM

Democrats, quite obviously, did not know what was good for them because their strategies kept on losing.

You'd have to show the alternative you favor would have worked better at the time. Which is very doubtful.

What you're missing, of course, is that fgor many Democratic politicians and their strategists, their interests were not aligned towards "winning."

I am indeed missing that, and think it's baloney.

Interestingly, your mentality, such as it is, always coincidently seems to explain who it is the Democrats who are going to be on the losing end of something.

Have no idea what that's based on (even allowing for the typo). I'm pointing out how Democrats actually do win--it's not the way you suggest.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 8, 2007 2:49:48 PM

I'm glad that everybody here has diagnosed the collective psychology of the Democratic Senators. But how exactly do we get to make a veto-proof majority of Senators in favor of withdrawal? Can we use some of the magic rays that you brave fellows seem to possess? Number of Democrats in the Senate 50 - Lieberman. So they start with a minority when they want to do anything. They managed, just barely, to pass a budget with timelines twice. Both were vetoed. All those brave Republicans with all those brave conservations in the cloak room voted with the president, when push came to a shove. What do you want, the Dems to torture some Republicans? Take their children hostage? The Senate of the United States doesn't work that way.

The alternative is to not allocate any Iraq money. They'll switch it around, while screaming bloody murder about "our boys." Watch the news coverage on that. Watch the Blue Dogs collapse.

I'd love nothing better than a bill that gets us out of the damn place. But people on the "left" have to be realistic about what the Senate can and can't do. What, you didn't get the Sesame Street lessons on how bills become laws?

Posted by: Jim H | Jul 8, 2007 2:51:37 PM

The media has been Al-Qaeda's Fifth Column giving quislings like Mr. Elizabeth Edwards room to call the GWOT a "bumper sticker." Meanwhile, the NYT is of more than one mind about this, with a good article by John Burns, who refuses to drink the Kool-Ade, on Anbar & rolling back AQ in the field.

But as for WHAM, the NYT is helping AQ here in the states & the Dems are heavily invested in an American defeat, so they can blame it on Chimpy McHitlerburton & his evil VP plus those nasty Repubs......

Too bad Talk Radio doesn't really run the country, Trent-boy.

Posted by: daveinboca | Jul 8, 2007 4:08:08 PM

Sanpete I am not interested in arguing with the mentally lazy and most of what you say is lazy.

Dave- there is a such thing as collective group psychology- I am not exactly sure what you think we are talking about here, but I was talking about collective group action and how it plays out on the left. If you want to argue against that point do so but don't try to flip the conversation into a single issue discussion.

For example, explain Alito or the bankruptcy bill or any number other votes that have happened. If you like Sanpete are good with pretending the world is tableau rasa I suppose every decision can be jusified,a nd one need not ever go into what the bigger picture of what this means in terms of personalities are. But call the rest of us crazy, we care what's the mentality that consistently produce the same results.

For example- your thinking is classic of it. In your mind, the only two possibilities are either you defund or you don't. It's not possible to use it as a wedge with the american people to gain more concessions etc. Classic capitulation negotiation approach- assume the outcome will be worse for your side so assume you can only give whatever scraps they throw at you. If this were just Iraq- maybe you might almost have a point, but that's my point- it's not just Iraq. It's a conistent pattern of group psychological behavior repeated over and over again.

I hate doing this because I know you intellectuals will be offended but Ben Affleck had it right when he said "and the democrats would why so many people think they are weak." It's not just a right wing frame- it's what the leadership projects that reinforces the definition also of that frame.

Posted by: akaison | Jul 8, 2007 4:21:13 PM

WB

What's the tick tock argument?

Posted by: akaison | Jul 8, 2007 4:23:45 PM

Before anyone gets too excited about the New York Times'(2 years too late in my opinion) call to get out of Iraq, let us not fail to notice that in the same edition, they printed a story about supposed progress in Anbar province that was as pathetic an example of Bush administration stenography as anything Judith Miller ever wrote.

Guys, if you really want to stop Bush's suicidal maladministration, how about not giving a platform to his endless lies?

Posted by: Carl from L.A. | Jul 8, 2007 5:39:23 PM

You didn't manage to explain the basic contradiction in your views, akaison. Why isn't Edwards' Senate record a perfect example of what you're complaining about, and Cleland a perfect example of what you're arguing for?

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 8, 2007 5:58:57 PM

What's the tick tock argument?

Well certainly not your argument, Akaison.

A tick tock argument is an argument that is as regular, predictable and monotonously dull as the ticking of a clock or a metronome. You wind it up and off it goes on it's repetitious round, leading nowhere in particular.

Indeed, that's rather the point of such arguments. Not to convince or enlighten and certainly not to learn but to reassure the person making them with their steady, static beat. Never faster, never slower, never any surprises.

They serve the same purpose for their expositors as the windup clock placed in the sleeping box of a newly acquired puppy. Reassurance that their warm, dark corner is a safe place to sleep.

Likewise, if you disturb their slumber, they have a tendency to yap.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Jul 8, 2007 9:51:47 PM

BTW, Akaison, you didn't ask but if you want background on the reference to the Tick Tock Man you need only read the story: Repent Harlequin, Said the Tick Tock Man by Harlan Ellison.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Jul 8, 2007 10:31:10 PM

Oh- so you are describing sanpete then.

I will write the title down, but honestly right now beyond procrastinating by chatting on blogs, and doing the day job as a lawyer, I am proud to say that I am finally working on my third short film which I will be doing in Super 16mm (my first jump to film rather than HD). That is to say with any luck I won't be having time to read anything soon because I will be pursuing my bliss. Thanks however.

Posted by: akaison | Jul 9, 2007 12:12:52 AM

You two have no shame. You apparently can't offer sound arguments against what I post, so you lash out like this instead. It's sad, because I know you're capable of far better than this childish ill-will.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 9, 2007 12:52:58 AM

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