May 21, 2003

silhouette3.JPG From the desk of Jane Galt:

When you want something you've been thinking said better than you could ever hope to say it yourself, the first place to turn is, of course, Lileks:

So why did anyone believe the BBC story? Why did Robert Scheer take the bait and write an entire column based on an uncritical acceptance of the Beeb’s mad blather? The Prof was on Hewitt tonight (and contrary to what he said, he came off just fine) and he noted that it’s one of those stories that confirms the suspicions of those who wake every day believing the worst. Sure, they say the sun rises in the east, but that’s just to keep you from looking west where the real action is. Each side is guilty of this - in the 90s a substantial contingent of the right was convinced that Gov. Bill Clinton ran coke out of Mena. It’s almost as if you have two options:

1. I disagree with my opponent's position on taxation, and therefore I shall oppose it.

2. I disagree with my opponent's position on taxation, and therefore I believe he has sex with goats.


Which brings me to a political theory I have been developing for a while now:
Jane's Law: The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.

I used to think it was just the Republicans -- well, some Republicans -- who were insane. I mean, I am the only person I've ever met who actually thinks we got about the right result in the impeachment. We impeached the guy, to say "No, you can't just commit perjury", but we didn't remove him from office over a minor civil suit. (Although Democrats who are planning on deluging me with elegant arguments about how he shouldn't have had to answer those questions -- I agree with you, except for one little thing, which is that he signed, with great fanfare, the law that made it so he had to answer those questions. As far as I'm concerned, therefore, he's the only guy in America who should have had to answer such questions under oath.)

But I could see how you wanted him impeached, and I could also see the argument for not impeaching him. It was a judgement call.

Except that a substantial portion of the Republican Party seemed, long before, to have lost all judgement. They were insane on the subject of Clinton. It wasn't enough that they disagreed with him politically; nothing would do but that he be the AntiChrist. They flooded the airwaves and newsprint with vituperative rants about the veriest trivialities of his administration. They raged impotently at the people in America -- THE FOOLS! -- who couldn't see that Clinton was the AntiChrist, even though it was as plain as the nose on your face. Every tiny shred of news about Clinton, no matter how innocuous, was waved about as evidence of his perfidy. I recall listening to some radio commenter go on and on about some Rose Garden ceremony for some law that was, as laws go, blandly heartwarming though ultimately useless, rather than, say, totally antithetical to basic concepts of liberty. The radio host used this law, which was so boring that I can't remember its topic except that it had something to do with kids and learning, as proof of Clinton's inherent evilness. How dare he cavort with children in the Rose Garden when, as we have already seen, he's EEEEVVVVVIIIIILLLL.

Republicans, I thought, seem to be insane. (This opinion was quickly vindicated when they nominated the charming, yet thoroughly unelectable, Bob Dole.) I wonder what makes them that way?

Now I know. The loss of the presidency clearly unhinges people's minds.

Democratic websites now offer the same vast well of spleen, the same conviction that every single news item with the word "Bush" in it somehow vindicates their thesis that Bush is not merely a center-right president with tax policies they dislike, but a proto-Fascist intent on establishing a dictatorship and herding his political opponents into camps. I'm not saying that all Democrats believe this, any more than all Republicans were crazy Clinton bashers. But just as the Republicans did, they tolerate an astonishing array of nutty opinion. And a very large percentage of the commentariat, from the blogerati upwards, are totally obsessed with proving that Bush is, like, the worst president ever.

I confess myself surprised. I would have thought that they would have learned the lessons of the Clinton presidency, such as that obsessing with the commander-in-chief reflects worse on you than on him. But no, there's something about a political opponent in the Oval Office that seems to act as a red flag to a bull.

And of course, conspiracy theories have made it mainstream with the large number of thoroughly disproven tropes about Florida, from "A concerted effort was made by the Republicans to disenfranchise black people" to "Gore won" (that paper recount, the one you spent six months claiming would vindicate you, shows he lost. Deal with it.)

Republicans, of course, have turned into the Democrats of the nineties -- smugly convinced that they have merely assumed their rightful place at the top of the world, and that because of the essential goodness of their cause, they need exert little effort to stay there.

Of course, the way the Democrats are behaving now, they're right about that last part.

Posted by Jane Galt at May 21, 2003 07:44 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Good for you! You've now found a second person -- a Republican, no less -- who believes we got about the right result in the impeachment brouhaha.

Posted by: Tom Preacher on May 21, 2003 09:31 AM

Yup. Pretty much correct.

Posted by: Kate on May 21, 2003 09:32 AM

I well remember the Republicans who adamantly refused to give Bill Clinton credit for anything. He was the devil incarnate even though he saved many lives in the Balkans and push through welfare reform. Also, the United States economy didn't collapse when he raised some taxes. He definitely deserved to be rebuked, but the radical right completely lost their ability to deal with Clinton in a rational manner. And yes, the same holds true for the very left wing of the Democrat Party concerning President George W. Bush.

Please remember that Bill Clinton was easily reelected partly because of the craziness of the ultraconservatives who opposed him. This is another reason why President Bush should also have little trouble at the polls. The Democrats recent complaint about his allegedly wasting tax dollars when greeting the troops is ample evidence of their lunacy. Boxers are taught not to lose their cool in the ring. Politicians should also heed the same advice when taking on their electoral foes.

PS: Pragmatically speaking, President Clinton should have resigned his office. This action would have made Al Gore the leader of our country---and dramatically increased the latter's chances in 2002! Why do so many Democrats fail to admit this harsh fact of life.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 09:39 AM

I am totally with you on the impeachment deal. As for the theory, anyone willing to weild the power of the executive and legislative branch of todays governement has to be a little arrogant in the first place. And, anyone who is actually aiming to take that place so that they can have all the abuse lumped onto them instead has to be a little insane. I think the two partisans people who epitomize your theory are Paul Begala and Sean Hannity.

Posted by: greg on May 21, 2003 09:40 AM

The same was true of the Dems and Reagan. I believe they were that way about Nixon, too, even though he wound up being about the most liberal president we ever had.

Posted by: Crank on May 21, 2003 09:43 AM

Bravo! As a charter member of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" I too was/am bothered by the near insanity of those people (ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE!) who consciously partake in the politics of personal destruction. The former President may have been a man who cut corners and played with the truth but the anti-Christ he was not (although I'll admit I amy have thought he was on more than one occasion -- remember I am a charter member in the VRWC!). And the Demos who are simply against Bush because he is not Gore do a great disservice to the political process. There is only so far a minority party will get by being against whatever the majority party is for. And the attacks are substantially personal rather than ideological which will make November 2004 look much like November 1984--only deeper. One needs only look at November 1998 when Newt & Co. ran a blitz media campaign aimed at only one thing: Clinton is an unethical lout. Well the GOP got creamed and Newt was run out of town. Does anyone on the Left even pay attention to this stuff?

Posted by: Kevin Patrick on May 21, 2003 09:44 AM

Great post, Jane. I was over at Brad DeLong's forum a couple of months ago, noting the near-hysterical anti-Bush bashing and asked why this venting of spleen over a President who seems pretty moderate and open to compromise to my (admittedly biased) eyes generates this sort of feeling.

It's worth contrasting the good humor of Reagan with the snideness and nastiness of Newt Gingrich to get a picture of how I believe the electorate will react to this Democratic vituperation.

Posted by: JT on May 21, 2003 10:09 AM

First off, you have to remember that Clinton is a special case. He and Hillary are two mega sleazeoids, without question. Remember that 13 of their Arkansas buddies were convicted of felonies, including their business partners, her law partner and mentor, and his lieutenat governor. And of course, there's the entire sordid history with women, including the accusation of rape. Would the Republicans have been so crazy without the tawdry background? Doubtful. After all, except for HilIaryCare, he was basically a Rockefeller Republican. I don't remember them being so upset or nasty with Carter. Then again, Carter
was disliked by everyone, even Tip O'Neil.

Now as for the Dems, they were very nasty and ugly when Reagan was President despite his great achievments and very clear popularity. He was stupid, ignorant, a cowboy--hmm, history repeats--and so on(I was a Dem then, so I know). It's worse with Bush because of the contested election of 2000.

On the whole, I think the Dems are worse when they're out of government because they are the party of government. It's not as if they can go back to doing something useful like running a business when they are out of office.

Posted by: Paul on May 21, 2003 10:12 AM

I like Jane's Law. It organizes a lot of data.

Next, I would like to understand why government spending always has to go up. When Reagan was President, it was because Congress was Democratic. When Congress was Republican, it was because Clinton was Democratic. Now?

Posted by: Arnold Kling on May 21, 2003 10:20 AM

I think it's entirely appropriate to critique, in a nice, measured tone, the policies of the current Administration. Sometimes, we can even match these policies up against the Administration's rare public pronouncements.

Then, a supporter falls back to the "68% popularity, nobody cares about that shit" argument. THAT'S the red flag, not the loss of the Presidency itself. A corollary is that I wasn't making a big deal about the President when his popularity was in the high 40s prior to 9/11.

Posted by: Norbizness on May 21, 2003 10:24 AM

Nice analysis of the impeachment/Senate trial. I basically agree, although I'd put in the weasley lawyer-like terminology of: reasonable minds could come to the conclusion that what he did deserved impeachment, just as reasonable minds could come to the conclusion that it did not merit removal from office. It's just like how some suspects clearly deserve to be indicted to stand trial, but when you actually try them, maybe they should be acquitted. Just because they were acquitted doesn't mean they shouldn't have been indicted.

Posted by: Tung Yin on May 21, 2003 10:46 AM

I didn't say that it was insane to criticize the president; I simply think that the criticism is all out of proportion, as Republican criticism often was under Clitnon.

Posted by: Jane Galt on May 21, 2003 10:56 AM

Good post, Jane. Politics is moving more towards a "viscious binariism," where "either you're with me or you should be shot" seems to be the rule. This is a Bad Thing in my opinion. To me, the problem has become one of too much attention and airtime being awarded to the Lunatic Fringe on both sides, which has the effect of driving the moderates out of center. There is just too much "All or Nothing" in today's politicians. You may have heard that the House Democrats down here in Texas left the state for a few days last week to prevent the adoption of a Congressional Redistricting Plan. Why did they have to go to such an extreme? The Republicans refused to negotiate or compromise. The Dems had to give them a rude reminder that the Majority Party still has to compromise. (And does anyone really think that the redistricting plan would pass Constitutional muster? The point of the plan was for it to get the Repubs "One More Election." After that, they could try something else.)

There is also a HUGE lack of foresight, particularly when it comes to government budgets. Yeah, I know they can't work on a cash/limited credit basis like most of the rest of us, but, quite frankly, the bulk of our current economic woes (especially here in Texas) are due to our historic use of overly-optimistic income projections to justify/balance current spending. When the future gets here and isn't quite as rosy as the projections, who is held accountable? Whoever cuts the budget.

I guess the voters' short-term memory is part of the problem. :)

Posted by: EricB on May 21, 2003 10:58 AM

Nice post.

As a generally Republican-leaning voter, I don't know whether to smile because its means we'll win again, or sigh because it means bad things for the health of a civil polity, when I see so many people on the Left talk about how they need to get mean and beat the Republicans at their own game.

I mean, this is a pervasive meme on the Left, that the Republicans have been successful over the past 20 years because they are willing to sling mud, make heated accusations, etc. The problem is, it just isn't true. The Republicans have won exactly one national election in the last quarter century on an anger platform, the election in 1994 (and that was a politcal "perfect storm" if there ever was one). The Republicans tried anger again in 1996 and 1998 and lost badly. In 2000 and 2002 they were back to a forward-looking positive message and won again.

The fact is that the American people almost always elect the more optimistic, forward-looking candidate as President. That doesn't mean they always get it right - the more optimistic, forward-looking candidate could be a boob or a villian. But it does mean that if you want to win national elections, its best to leave the piss and vinegar at home. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be spirited, not at all. Voter like a pulse. But they wan't to know that your heart doesn't just beat so you can go on exacting revenge on your enemies. I propose the following list of the most optimistic and forward-looking candidates in each Presidential election since WWII. Notice that they're almost all winners:

2000 Bush II
1996 Clinton
1992 Clinton
1988 Bush I
1984 Reagan (whoo, by a mile)
1980 Reagan
1976 A wash: a close election, ultimately decided by voters' post-watergate disgust with Republicans.
1972 Nixon
1968 Humphrey (the one clear exception I can identify)
1964 LBJ
1960 Kennedy
1956 Eisenhower
1952 Eisenhower
1948 Truman

Posted by: sd on May 21, 2003 11:02 AM

I thought I was the only one out there who had these thoughts. Because I see good and bad in Clinton and Bush, I get the strangest looks from people.

I work for a guy who is convinced that Clinton drank the blood of young virgins while selling missile secrets to the Chinese - and let's not even mention Hilary's lesbian orgies in the Oval Office. For the years 1992-2000, this otherwise profoundly sane, decent man would froth at mouth at the mere mention of Clinton.

Now, with Bush, I see the same frothing among my neighbors in NPR-ville (Chicago's North Side). Just sheer, illogical rage. I won't even mention what my African-American acquaintances say about Condeleeza Rice - the foulest descriptions I've ever heard used on a person.

It's disheartening and sickening. I've always voted for whichever candidate was the most sane. Now I also vote against the party whose activists are *least* sane.

Posted by: Chicago Ed on May 21, 2003 11:17 AM

I thought I was the only one out there who had these thoughts. Because I see good and bad in Clinton and Bush, I get the strangest looks from people.

I work for a guy who is convinced that Clinton drank the blood of young virgins while selling missile secrets to the Chinese - and let's not even mention Hilary's lesbian orgies in the Oval Office. For the years 1992-2000, this otherwise profoundly sane, decent man would froth at mouth at the mere mention of Clinton.

Now, with Bush, I see the same frothing among my neighbors in NPR-ville (Chicago's North Side). Just sheer, illogical rage. I won't even mention what my African-American acquaintances say about Condeleeza Rice - the foulest descriptions I've ever heard used on a person.

It's disheartening and sickening. I've always voted for whichever candidate was the most sane. Now I also vote against the party whose activists are *least* sane.

Posted by: Chicago Ed on May 21, 2003 11:18 AM

Next, I would like to understand why government spending always has to go up.

I don't think it always has to go up. It actually fell every year of Clinton's presidency (including the first two where the Dems controlled both the WH and Congress).In 1992 federal govt expenditures were 22.2% of GDP. By 2000 they had dropped to 18.4%.

But there seems to clearly be a floor beyond which spending can't fall because voters don't want it to. That's why I have always viewed the conservative's and GOPer's obsession with tax cuts as a defacto accepatnce of their failure to promote their fiscal viewpoint. Tax cuts w/o corresponding spending cuts (a la Reagan) are not real tax cuts. They are simply borrowing that has to be paid later.

Posted by: GT on May 21, 2003 11:19 AM

Richard Posner essentially made Megan's argument in his book on the Clinton impeachment.

Arnold, I know you know the answer to your question, but it's because the incentives facing political decision makers--well focused special interests trump the dispersed general interest--are all in favor of more spending.

Finally, in defense of the VRWC, there WAS a special viciousness to the Clintons from the get go. Remember the attempted frame up of the White House Travel Office?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on May 21, 2003 11:27 AM

Nice post Jane.

Politics are a contact sport and demonization is almost as old as the republic (Adams/Jefferson presidential election) itself. The big difference is that election politics are never ending in the current environment.

Posted by: Timmy the Wonder Dog on May 21, 2003 11:29 AM

The increase in the politics of alarmism and personal destruction is a function of two related trends in American society.

First, the increasing ignorance of the voters. Not, probably, you reading this. But the failure of public schooling is leaving an increasing fraction of the populace unprepared, unable, or unwilling to think critically.

Second, the implementation of socialism in America. Paraphrasing Churchill, a government that is powerful enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take away everything you have. Well, we have that now; it's worth fighting for your welfare check, your cushy government job, your tax drop, your union privileges, your farm subsidy, your regulatory relief, etc, etc. The increased stakes result in the increase in the attempts to influence the voters. More is at stake; more is spent. And when the voters are increasing unwilling or unable to judge based on objective factors, you go to mudslinging.

How many people have a firm theory on what should be done to "get the economy going"? Almost none, and most of those that do are wrong. But how many of understand that, and why, it is wrong to lie under oath? Almost everyone, I should hope.

Posted by: Leonard on May 21, 2003 11:46 AM

I think there is an element of truth that parties in power become smug and parties out of power become more hysterical. But that vastly oversimplifies reality.

Democrats are no more hysterical today than out of power party members have been historically. On the other hand, the Republican insanity of the '90s was truly something to behold. A new level in irrational political discourse.

There are two fundamental differences between the "vast well[s] of spleen" on the left and the right.

First, the truly irrational paranoia and hatred present on the left is generally limited to anonymous website posters (and Michael Moore). There is nothing comparable to Rep. Dan Burton's shooting of melons (to prove V. Foster's murder) or Bob Barr arguing for impeachment...months, if not years, before the Lewinsky story broke.

Please name names. Who are these mainstream left-leaning journalists or politicians (aside from Rep. McKinney, who was lambasted by fellow Dems) who are have suggesting anything approaching the charges of murder (foster), drug trafficking (Mena), or treason (giving secrets to China, "turning down bin Laden," or plotting for the UN takeover of America)?

The Democratic opposition to Bush has been almost entirely policy based (e.g. his tax cuts are not going to stimulate the economy and are unfairly distributed; he is failing in the war on terrorism because of his preoccupation with Iraq and failure to follow through in Afghan. secure ports, and allow investigation into 9/11; he is limiting Americans rights without increasing national security, he practices corrupt corporate cronyism - particularly regarding energy companies.) In the '90s, Republicans virtually ignored policy differences with Clinton. Avoiding the fact that Clinton was a conservative Democrat who supported more police, the death penalty, NAFTA, cutting deficits, and welfare reform Republicans instead chose to attack him on an almost entirely personal level (He's a womanizer, a "sleaze"!).

Another difference is in the presence (or absence) of facts. It is a fact that Bush wants to radically alter the tax structure in America (for better or worse). It is not a fact that Clinton had Vince Foster killed. It is a fact that Bush has chosen to not pursue broader nation-building in Afghanistan (for better or worse). It is not a fact that Bill Clinton was involved in illegal activity in Whitewater. It is a fact that Haliburton was awarded lucrative no-bid construction contracts in Iraq and that the White House initially downplayed the scope of the contracts. It is not a fact that Hillary Clinton was engaged in deceptive billing at Rose Law firm. It is a fact that Bush and Aschroft have claimed that the Executive Branch of the U.S. gov't may unilaterally declare American citizens arrested on American soil to be terrorists and detain them indefinitely without access to counsel. It is not a fact that Bill Clinton and Janet Reno were plotting a UN takeover of America, complete with black helicopters and thousands of troops hidden in salt mines.

Second, Democrats' "spleen" is directed almost entirely at specific Republicans who advocate policies they object to or who they believe to be corrupt: Bush, Rummy, Wolfowitz, Perle, DeLay, Cheney, Santorum. Republicans tend to indict all of the left at once.

Personally, although a registered Democrat, I have voted for many Republicans, and will do so in the future if their views are similar to mine.

Republicans, in complete contrast, have fabricated fantastical delusions about liberalism. In their minds, it has become some perverted combination of communism, satanism, and beastialism. I defy anybody to find a liberal commentator who denounces conservatism (as opposed to individual conservatives) in the same tones that Hannity, Rush, Savage, Coulter, DeLay, and countless others do on a daily basis. That level of bile simply does not exist on the left.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 12:21 PM

I think there is an element of truth that parties in power become smug and parties out of power become more hysterical. But that vastly oversimplifies reality.

Democrats are no more hysterical today than out of power party members have been historically. On the other hand, the Republican insanity of the '90s was truly something to behold. A new level in irrational political discourse.

There are two fundamental differences between the "vast well[s] of spleen" on the left and the right.

First, the truly irrational paranoia and hatred present on the left is generally limited to anonymous website posters (and Michael Moore). There is nothing comparable to Rep. Dan Burton's shooting of melons (to prove V. Foster's murder) or Bob Barr arguing for impeachment...months, if not years, before the Lewinsky story broke.

Please name names. Who are these mainstream left-leaning journalists or politicians (aside from Rep. McKinney, who was lambasted by fellow Dems) who are have suggesting anything approaching the charges of murder (foster), drug trafficking (Mena), or treason (giving secrets to China, "turning down bin Laden," or plotting for the UN takeover of America)?

The Democratic opposition to Bush has been almost entirely policy based (e.g. his tax cuts are not going to stimulate the economy and are unfairly distributed; he is failing in the war on terrorism because of his preoccupation with Iraq and failure to follow through in Afghan. secure ports, and allow investigation into 9/11; he is limiting Americans rights without increasing national security, he practices corrupt corporate cronyism - particularly regarding energy companies.) In the '90s, Republicans virtually ignored policy differences with Clinton. Avoiding the fact that Clinton was a conservative Democrat who supported more police, the death penalty, NAFTA, cutting deficits, and welfare reform Republicans instead chose to attack him on an almost entirely personal level (He's a womanizer, a "sleaze"!).

Another difference is in the presence (or absence) of facts. It is a fact that Bush wants to radically alter the tax structure in America (for better or worse). It is not a fact that Clinton had Vince Foster killed. It is a fact that Bush has chosen to not pursue broader nation-building in Afghanistan (for better or worse). It is not a fact that Bill Clinton was involved in illegal activity in Whitewater. It is a fact that Haliburton was awarded lucrative no-bid construction contracts in Iraq and that the White House initially downplayed the scope of the contracts. It is not a fact that Hillary Clinton was engaged in deceptive billing at Rose Law firm. It is a fact that Bush and Aschroft have claimed that the Executive Branch of the U.S. gov't may unilaterally declare American citizens arrested on American soil to be terrorists and detain them indefinitely without access to counsel. It is not a fact that Bill Clinton and Janet Reno were plotting a UN takeover of America, complete with black helicopters and thousands of troops hidden in salt mines.

Second, Democrats' "spleen" is directed almost entirely at specific Republicans who advocate policies they object to or who they believe to be corrupt: Bush, Rummy, Wolfowitz, Perle, DeLay, Cheney, Santorum. Republicans tend to indict all of the left at once.

Personally, although a registered Democrat, I have voted for many Republicans, and will do so in the future if their views are similar to mine.

Republicans, in complete contrast, have fabricated fantastical delusions about liberalism. In their minds, it has become some perverted combination of communism, satanism, and beastialism. I defy anybody to find a liberal commentator who denounces conservatism (as opposed to individual conservatives) in the same tones that Hannity, Rush, Savage, Coulter, DeLay, and countless others do on a daily basis. That level of bile simply does not exist on the left.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 12:23 PM

GT wrote: ".In 1992 federal govt expenditures were 22.2% of GDP. By 2000 they had dropped to 18.4%."

Which raises the question, did the total $ amoung of spending actually drop, or did the rise in GDP outpace it so that the percentage dropped even though spending actually increased?

Posted by: KCat on May 21, 2003 12:24 PM

The ubiquitous double-post apology.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 12:24 PM

space, you are, of course, right.


The best example is that of Katrina Leung, an FBI informant now accused of being a double-agent and spying for China, who was a prominent GOP fundraiser. We all remember what the right wing did with much, much less in the 90s. Yet the Dems have hardly mentioned Katrina's party affiliation and neither has the so-called liberal media.

Facts are such a nuisance, aren't they?

Posted by: GT on May 21, 2003 12:57 PM

And of course, conspiracy theories have made it mainstream with the large number of thoroughly disproven tropes about Florida, from "A concerted effort was made by the Republicans to disenfranchise black people" to "Gore won" (that paper recount, the one you spent six months claiming would vindicate you, shows he lost. Deal with it.)

First, it is not a "conspiracy theory" or a "disproven trope" that thousands of black voters in Florida were disenfranchised. The NAACP filed suit agaist the state...and won.

I suppose we can argue about whether such disnfranchisement was intentional or just the consequence of extreme incompetence. However, that has little interest to me. The reality is that many legal voters were not permitted to vote. That is not a trope. That is a fact.

Finally, use the obnoxious and anti-intellectual phrase, "deal with it" at your own peril. Be forewarned that anybody who responds to the greatest voting controversy this century (regardless of which side you were on, any sane and intelligent person should recognize that it raised substantial issues and questions) by rushing to dismiss the topic and demand that we all just "deal with it" or "get over it" automatically loses substantial respect in my book. I suspect I am not the only one who views such comments with extreme disdain. Although others may grant the courtesy of pointing out this fact.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 01:15 PM

Space - You are proving Megan's point. True or not, legitimate or not, your points and complaints do not come across as anything more than sour grapes -- and may come across as much worse than that -- to the vast majority of voters. Should voters care more about these issues than they do? Maybe. Maybe they should have cared more about a President being willing to lie under oath. They didn't and they don't.

You will not defeat Bush by claiming he is not really President, that he is a liar, that he wants to appoint racists to the Supreme Court, or that he wants to starve little children and torture small animals. Most voters will not believe ill of him. They are willing to believe his policies are wrong, but not that he does not have a good faith belief in their correctness. To win, the Democrats cannot make this a contest about Bush's innate goodness.

Posted by: David Walser on May 21, 2003 01:35 PM

"First, it is not a "conspiracy theory" or a "disproven trope" that thousands of black voters in Florida were disenfranchised. The NAACP filed suit agaist the state...and won."

This is total nonsense. There were absolutely no proven incidents of black voters being disenfranchised. The so-called victory was merely an agreement of the State of Florida to improve conditions for the next election.

The real problem was due to the fact that many of these black voters were marginally to functionally illiterate. Thus, they could not follow simply instructions. Does anybody remember the butterfly ballot? Only someone without adequate intellectual skills would have been confused by this ridiculously easy to comprehend ballot. Also, many of the black college student possessing fraudulent degrees were incompetent when it came to voting on election day. Does that sound cold? sorry, but I tell the truth. I'm not politically correct.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 01:43 PM

space wrote:

"It is a fact that Haliburton was awarded lucrative no-bid construction contracts in Iraq and that the White House initially downplayed the scope of the contracts. It is not a fact that Hillary Clinton was engaged in deceptive billing at Rose Law firm."

I think you're mixing apples and oranges here to bolster your point. Let me re-frame these examples:

Fact: Haliburton got no-bid contracts, the White House downplayed this.
Cynical Interpretation: The White House awarded contracts to Haliburton not because of merit but solely because of insider ties, and they lied to cover up this fact.

Fact: Rose Law Firm billing records went mysteriously missing after being subpeoned in the Whitewater probe, and then even more mysteriously re-appeared in the White House residence many months later.
Cynical Interpretation: The billing records were doctored between the time that they went missing and the time that they were found, because they provided incrimintaing evidense about Hillary Clinton.


You're comparing the Fact from the Bush example with the Cynical Interpretation from the Clinton example. Of course its not a (proven) fact that the Clintons doctored billing records, just as its not a (proven) fact that the Bushies awarded contracts to Haliburton improperly.

Whether you think that the proven fact that billing records went missing for a while, or the proven fact that Haliburton was awarded a no-bid contract that was not completely disclosed by the administration, implies anything about whether the Clintons doctored those records or the Bushies improperly awarded that contract, depends on how trustworthy you think the Clintons and Bushies are, respectively.

But you can't make any kind of useful statement about the relative good faith and bad faith of Democrats and Republicans from this example. Lefties point out that Haliburton got a no-bid contract not because giving a no-bid contract is per se always bad (one might want to skip the bidding process to cut out red tape and move more quickly, for instance), but because they want to imply that the contract was awarded in a crooked manner. Just as Righties pointed out that the billing records went missing for a while not because people never lose track of files (believe me, people lose track of files :) ), but because they wanted to imply that evidense was tampered with.

In both cases, the "respectable" public faces of the party did nothing more than "ask questions" about these "serious matters" that "raised some concerns." They left it to the cranks and the internet posters to come right out and say that the smoke proved there was fire.

Posted by: sd on May 21, 2003 01:44 PM

space:

You may well be right to take offense at people telling you to "get over" the year 2000 election, but as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow I can tell you this:

If the Democratic nominee so much as brings up Florida 2000 in the 2004 campaign, the Democrats will lose. Most people (regardless of political affiliation) look forward with glee to the first Wednesday in November every four years because it finally means that the endless campaign is over. And most people (regardless of politcal affiliation) were sickened and horrified when the process drug on for another few weeks, getting more and more contentious by the day.

Reminding people of Florida 2000 will alienate the vast majority of "in play" voters. The fact is, less than half of the American people voted for GWB on election day 2000 (though of course, less than half voted for Gore too), but he noew has a stable 60-65%+ approval rating and and even higher percentage of people think he's a "legitimate" President.

Posted by: sd on May 21, 2003 01:52 PM

"Next, I would like to understand why government spending always has to go up. When Reagan was President, it was because Congress was Democratic. When Congress was Republican, it was because Clinton was Democratic. Now?"

Spending inevitably “has to go up” due to the hypocrisy of the American people. Frederick Bastiat warned many years ago that a government is often threatened by the greed of its own citizens. The latter wish to believe that money grows on trees. Please note the citizens of New York City.

This is a crisis that must be resolved. Unfortunately, both major parties are reluctant to tell voters the truth.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 01:53 PM

Mr. Walser, I find you post confusing and nonsensical.

First, I fail to see how my points are "sour grapes." I was merely correcting factual inaccuracies in the original post regarding the '00 election. I certainly did not bring it up out of the blue. As to whether people should care more about whether we have a functioning electoral system in this country than whether a particular politician is politically punished for giving misleading or untrue statements regarding an irrelevant issue in a private civil law suit, the answer is yes.

Second, you suggest that Democrats would be wise to focus on Bush's policies rather than his "innate goodness." Guess what? I agree. But so what? Where in my post did I suggest that Democrats should attack Bush's dark heart? Where did I advocate any campagin strategy whatsoever? Nowhere.

In fact, I specifically said that Democrats complaign about Bush's policies while Republicans challenged Clinton's "innate goodness."

Well, since we both agree that for Democrats to win they need to show that Bush's policies are ineffective, rather than trying to portray him as a bad person, and it appears that that is what Democrats have been focusing on, then I guess the Democrats are in good shape.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 01:55 PM

"Just as Righties pointed out that the billing records went missing for a while not because people never lose track of files (believe me, people lose track of files :) ), but because they wanted to imply that evidense was tampered with."

I personally defended Hillary Clinton when she claimed to be unable to remember the intricate aspects of her future trading. This seemed entirely reasonable to me. Heck, most of us can’t remember what we had for lunch last week.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 01:59 PM

I think that it was Roger Clinton who was running coke out of Mena. Clinton just had the connections to cover it up...and got some good kick backs for it.

There are actually plenty of Arkanasan who still believe this to be true.

And the whole Anti-Christ thing. Well that originated out of Arkansas too. It was the only way that locals could explain how a guy who'd wrecked their economy and not followed through on a single promise could go on to win the presidency of the United States of America.

Posted by: mike on May 21, 2003 02:30 PM

Jane: Good post, "Jane's Law" is about the most succinct statement of the problem as I have ever seen.

Space: Ditto the other poster who said that you are proving Jane's point. Perhaps one could call me biased since I tend to lean socially conservative, but even to the extent that your points are correct, the appearance of frantic posturing is providing me with a deep well of amusement.

Final Question: Does the tendency of the out-of office party to become unglued mean that we can look forward to a long succession of eight-year presidents? Does the tendency of the ruling party to become smug mean that they will fail to select a viable candidate on the eighth year, resulting in a party power shift each time?

Posted by: anony-mouse on May 21, 2003 02:40 PM

Space: "First, it is not a "conspiracy theory" or a "disproven trope" that thousands of black voters in Florida were disenfranchised. "

Name one. Black, or white, or hispanic, or eskimo - your call. Name one voter who, with valid ID/paperwork walked into the correct precinct on election day, attempted to vote, and was told "gosh, I'm sorry, your ID is current and correct, and you are at the right precinct, but you can't vote because your name isn't on the rolls. Sorry, you're screwed."

If people were mistakenly removed from the voter rolls in Florida, yes, that's a mistake. But I have yet to see someone prove conclusively that any of the people removed from the rolls actually attempted to vote with proper ID at the proper place and were turned away.

Posted by: Chad P. on May 21, 2003 02:48 PM

anony-mouse:

"even to the extent that your points are correct, the appearance of frantic posturing"

I don't think you understood the original post. The point was that in the '90s the Republicans became irrationally obsessed with "liberals" and Clinton. You yourself are not contesting that my points are correct. You simply don't like me pointing them out. That does not make me "frantically posturing." It just means that you are uncomforable hearing people express (admitedly rational and possibly valid) viewpoints that you disagree with.

Saying that I disagree with Bush's policies and will not vote for him is not equivilent to Rush Limbaugh comparing Democrats to Satan or Saddam Hussein. It is not equivilent to Mena-coke conspiracy theories. Or paranoia about UN invasions.

Too bad you can't tell the difference.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 03:02 PM

"Hannity, Rush, Savage, Coulter, DeLay, and countless others do on a daily basis. That level of bile simply does not exist on the left." - Space

I would disagree. McAuliffe, James Carville, Paul Begala, Michael Moore, Maxine Waters, and half of Hollywood easily reach the level of bile you are talking about.

Posted by: ruprecht on May 21, 2003 03:06 PM

Sorry, Chad P., the fact that you are ignorant of the facts surrounding the election is not my problem to solve. I would suggest (if you give a crap, which I doubt) that you do a litttle research into how Florida purged suspected felons from the voter rolls. I think you will swiftly find that (a) the method that Florida used predictably would result in numerous minority people people being misidentified as felons, purged from the rolls, and denied the right to vote on election day; (b) the predicted flaws did occur; (c) lawsuits were filed; and (c) the state and counties settled, agreeing to changes various aspects of the system, including restoring the rights of persons incorrectly stricken from the records.

This is not top secret information.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 03:17 PM

Space said,

"As to whether people should care more about whether we have a functioning electoral system in this country than whether a particular politician is politically punished for giving misleading or untrue statements regarding an irrelevant issue in a private civil law suit, the answer is yes."

Misleading or untrue statements? Call it what it is, perjury. You totally misunderstand the gravity of the offense of perjury in this case, and you evidently refuse to see the consequences of the head of the Executive Branch lying under oath in a proceeding conducted by another branch of the government, the Judicial Branch. I, and most others like me, don't give a hoot about what the underlying issue was, but we are tremendously offended by perjury. And impeachment is not a "political" punishment, but rather the only sort of trial that Clinton could have had while he was still president. The political punishment occurred in the elections of 2000 and 2002.

Space is the one ignoring inconvenient facts.

Posted by: Chris Pastel on May 21, 2003 03:23 PM

Excuse me Mr. Pastel, but it is not perjury. Call it what you want. Lying under oath, contempt of court, or giving misleading testimony, but one thing it is not is perjury.

You may not care whether it was relevant to the underlying testimony but the law does. In order for testimony to perjurious it must be in regard to a material issue of the case. Because the judge in the case ruled that, as a matter of law, Clinton's relations with Lewinsky were not relevant to the Paula Jones case, it could not be perjury even if Clinton swore on ten bibles that he had never met anyone named Monica.

In short, perjury is a legal term that does not apply in this case. I do not say this to minimize the import of Clinton's actions. I merely point it out because I refuse to use a legal term that does not apply and I want to show that you don't know what the hell you are talking about.

As for the consequences of Presidential lying. I understand two things. First, the judicial branch is capable of policing itself without Henry Hyde's help. And second, abusing the impeachment process and the office of the independent council for political purposes is far, far more offensive and dangerous to the country than Bill Clinton's lying. I would also add that, when it was revealed a few years ago that Tom DeLay had provided false information on sworn documents (which might in fact have been perjury), there was absolutely no call by the GOP for any sort of investigation or punishment. This leads me to conclude that the piety of the GOP was indeed false. I also predict that upon learning of this potential criminal activity on the part of DeLay you will promptly forget about it, never to declare that the "gravity of the offense" demands that he be removed or severely punished.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 03:50 PM

" the method that Florida used predictably would result in numerous minority people people being misidentified as felons, purged from the rolls, and denied the right to vote on election day."

The State of Florida inadvertently committed a few errors preventing a small handful of minorities from voting on election day. However, most of the troubles on election day were due to the gross ignorance of many of these voters. Why should this surprise anyone? The Democrats pursue the formally and informally less educated Americans. It is inevitable that more of their voters will have trouble casting their ballots. This is simple common sense.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 03:54 PM

"Tom DeLay had provided false information on sworn documents" - Space

Links please, I've never heard of this.

Posted by: ruprecht on May 21, 2003 04:13 PM

The Democrat Party relies on many of its voters who probably can’t even read at a sixth grade level. These people couldn’t understand a newspaper editorial if their lives depending on it. What motivates them to vote Democrat? That’s very easy to explain: the promise of increased welfare benefits!

It is most unfortunate that white racists abused the literacy tests. This was a very legitimate tool to separate the modestly educated from those who are abysmally ignorant. It is almost certain that only a very small percentage of Republicans are illiterate. Republican illiteracy is probably less than 2%. What about the Democrats? My guess is that minimally 30% of their voters cannot even read the ballot they are casting!

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 04:20 PM

Hmmm. We seem to be fighting some old battles here.

Anyway, I generally agree with Jane's post, but I do think that there is a genuine difference in degree of insanity. Both sides obviously engage in gleeful political and personal destruction. As a Democrat, I was deeply disturbed by the treatment of Clarence Thomas. I do have to say, though, that some Dems were itching for impeachment when Iran-Contra broke, but backed off understanding the negative political consequences. If it turns out that Iraq had too few WMDs to pose a threat and/or no nuclear program, the Dems are going to let W. get away with it. I'm sure of it. I doubt the Reps. would have cut a Democratic president as much slack. The problems is the very powerful "Shiite" wing of the Republican party (borrowing a phrase from Molly Ivins). It currently has power within the Republican party disproportionate to the party's national constituency. That is really the only silver lining the Democrats can look forward to in the coming presidential and congressional elections.

And I have to ad that Michael Moore has absolutely zero influence on your average liberal. There is nobody ... nobody ... on the left who has any amount of influence comporable to Rush Limbaugh. Michael Moore? Please. Bartcop? C'mon. There's no one on the left who can even start an e-mail or a fax campaign the way right-wing radio does. These people have a very degrading effect on political debate. The left contributes, no doubt. But they aren't part of the liberal mainstream.

Posted by: Amitava Mazumdar on May 21, 2003 04:21 PM

Hmmm. We seem to be fighting some old battles here.

Anyway, I generally agree with Jane's post, but I do think that there is a genuine difference in degree of insanity. Both sides obviously engage in gleeful political and personal destruction. As a Democrat, I was deeply disturbed by the treatment of Clarence Thomas. I do have to say, though, that some Dems were itching for impeachment when Iran-Contra broke, but backed off understanding the negative political consequences. If it turns out that Iraq had too few WMDs to pose a threat and/or no nuclear program, the Dems are going to let W. get away with it. I'm sure of it. I doubt the Reps. would have cut a Democratic president as much slack. The problems is the very powerful "Shiite" wing of the Republican party (borrowing a phrase from Molly Ivins). It currently has power within the Republican party disproportionate to the party's national constituency. That is really the only silver lining the Democrats can look forward to in the coming presidential and congressional elections.

And I have to ad that Michael Moore has absolutely zero influence on your average liberal. There is nobody ... nobody ... on the left who has any amount of influence comporable to Rush Limbaugh. Michael Moore? Please. Bartcop? C'mon. There's no one on the left who can even start an e-mail or a fax campaign the way right-wing radio does. These people have a very degrading effect on political debate. The left contributes, no doubt. But they aren't part of the liberal mainstream.

Posted by: Amitava Mazumdar on May 21, 2003 04:22 PM

On a previous discussion. Jane Galt pointed out the New York city government sponsored bus trip to Albany of minorities supporting rent control laws. Does anyone really believe that these people had a clue about the issue? Of course not. And yet these grossly ignorant people cause enormous damage when Democrat leaders use them as suckers. Our country is severely threatened by the Democrats cynical use of the marginally to functionally ignorant---and it’s time we stop ignoring this travesty of justice.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 04:38 PM

Space said,

"In short, perjury is a legal term that does not apply in this case. I do not say this to minimize the import of Clinton's actions. I merely point it out because I refuse to use a legal term that does not apply and I want to show that you don't know what the hell you are talking about."

Actually, perjury is lying under oath. And Bill Clinton committed perjury. And the Arkansas Bar disbarred him as a result. Not as "punishment", but because it reflected adversely on his being capability to practice law to the ethical standards required of lawyers. (Joking aside, lawyers are held to very high ethical standards.)

I'm a member of two state bars and the federal patent bar. I wonder what Space's qualifications are?

Posted by: Chris Pastel on May 21, 2003 04:47 PM

Space: "In order for testimony to perjurious it must be in regard to a material issue of the case."

Considering sexual harrassment cases tended to look at behavior patterns of the defendant as part of the "hostile environment" claims, wouldn't demonstrating sexual liasons with subordinates fall under material evidence? I realize the court may have disagreed but that always made sense to me.

As far as the other stuff goes, Jane you have it dead on. The loony fringes of both parties go even more insane when their guy is no longer in office. Clinton had a death list of supposed mysterious deaths connected to him and so does Bush. Clinton was part of the NWO, Bush is part of PNAC....even the material doesn't change too much, only the players.

Posted by: Ryan on May 21, 2003 05:07 PM

Mr. Pastel,

The relevent section under which I believe Clinton would have been charged (italics mine):

"§ 1623.  False declarations before grand jury or court

(a) Whoever under oath [...] in any proceeding before [...] any court [...] of the United States knowingly makes any false material declaration [...] knowing the same to contain any false material declaration, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. "

As you can see, materiality (not to mention knowledge, which due to the elaborate definition of sex in the Jones case would be hard to prove) is a necessary element.

As for Clinton being disbarred, I believe that that too is incorrect. If recollection serves, his license was supended for 5 years - although he was disbarred from the U.S. Supreme Court. Nor has he ever been convicted of perjury. Nor has he ever admitted to it.

My qualifications are these: I know what I'm talking about. I understand that someone is legally innocent until proven otherwise, and I will no longer listen to patent lawyers regarding federal criminal law issues.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 05:19 PM

Chris Pastel:

I'm an attorney barred in two jurisdictions. At least under the federal perjury statute, there is no perjury unless the subject of the untruth is material. Lying under oath about an immaterial matter (the Arkansas federal judge hearing the case -- forgot her name -- ruled that the Lewinsky evidence was immaterial) is not perjury, though it is still punishable as unethical conduct by the judge and the bar if either see fit.

Posted by: Amitava Mazumdar on May 21, 2003 05:19 PM

When I first posted, I thought this string was going to be a "yeah, Dems, Repubs, they're all bad" kinda string. It would be a string where we could look beyond political parties and see the fact that, regardless of views or political affiliations, we all have the same general problems, just perhaps expressed differently.

Boy was I wrong. The same stupid political "I know you are but what am I" debate has come to a head once again.

I would like to point out a few things which I find interesting based on previous discussions I've had on these boards.

About a week ago, Megan and I got into a debate about how come democrats constantly insulted the size and adequacy of republican's genitalia. Aside from the usual "we don't do it any more than you guys do" stuff that a whole bunch of us Dems retorted back, I recall saying something similar to "I'd rather be told I have a small penis (which I do) then be called a moron"

I'd like to point out how often democrats are called stupid on this string. I don't see any comments about penis size one way or the other.

Second, I am constantly hounded for being an over-educated-snobby-liberal. I remember getting into an argument with someone on this board months ago because I, as a snobby-over-educated-liberal, would never stoop to hang out with truckers at a NASCAR rally...you know TRUE American Republicans. So which is it guys, are all democrats uneducated or are all republicans "simple folk" or, perhaps, we can agree that both sides have idiots who follow their leaders unquestioningly based on empty promises and that perhaps we should all keep our mouths shut about the less educated within our political ranks lest we shatter that glass house we're in.

Posted by: Kate on May 21, 2003 05:32 PM

And to poor ruprecht, who wants to know about DeLay's dastardly deeds:

"The House Republican whip, Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, a driving force behind the effort to impeach President Clinton on charges of lying under oath, himself gave a deposition five years ago that is being challenged as untruthful."

"At the time, Mr. DeLay was being sued by a former business partner who maintained that the Congressman and a third man had conspired to cut him out of his ownership share in a Texas company, Albo Pest Control. In the deposition, Mr. DeLay swore that he was no longer an officer of the company and had not been for two or three years."

"But Mr. DeLay had filed Congressional financial disclosure forms saying that in those years, he was actually the company's chairman."

"The discrepancy was reported by The Houston Press, a free weekly, in November 1995, and The New Republic recently published an article comparing Mr. DeLay's conduct in that lawsuit with his criticism of the President." (Neil A. Lewis, New York Times, January 6, 1999).

Oops!

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 05:35 PM

"I'm an attorney barred in two jurisdictions."

Does this mean you we should trust your experience or that you're a compulsive liar to be ignored?

: )

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 05:38 PM

What's with the tone Space, I hadn't heard something and I'm honestly looking for info. Its harder to convert people when you spit at them.

Posted by: ruprecht on May 21, 2003 05:47 PM

Space wrote:


Sorry, Chad P., the fact that you are ignorant of the facts surrounding the election is not my problem to solve.

Actually if you’re the one making the charge the people who were legally eligible to vote and were actually denied the right to vote in the 2000 election in FL because of the felon list, then it is up to you to provide the evidence backing up the claim.

If you don’t then I think we can all safely assume that you don’t have anything to back it up and the stories we’ve heard that the felon list (bought by a Democratic election official BTW) wasn’t enforced by the election judges and therefore moot are possibly true.

Posted by: Thorley Winston on May 21, 2003 05:49 PM

"I'd like to point out how often democrats are called stupid on this string."

Who said anything about all Democrats being stupid? My comments were directed mostly to the roughly 30% of Democrat voters, white and nonwhite, who are marginally to functionally illiterate. Sigh, but I also indeed admittedly question the fraudulent degrees of many other Democrats. A high number of American universities harass their more conservative students. Tenure is often granted only to those who are intellectual liberal whores. They only “earned” their degrees by going along with the Liberal establishment agenda.

I strongly recommend that everyone read Martin Kramer’s brilliant “Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America.” The author goes into great detail concerning the disgraceful ignorance of most “scholars’’ studying the Middle East. They have their well paying positions only because they are Liberal intellectual sluts.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 05:56 PM

I apologize. Sometimes I get defensive. Frankly it is irritating seing people repost the same untruths over and over. And then when you correct them, you are criticized for "sour grapes," "being hysterical." or whatever.

In any case, I was rude and I'm sorry.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 05:56 PM

Jane, might we propose a corollary to your law that political campaigns based on insanity-driven hatred of the incumbent almost always lose?

Posted by: Matthew on May 21, 2003 05:59 PM

I had to chuckle at the "Antichrist" stuff - My then current girlfriend's adorable old great aunt *seriously* believed that to be true, and said as much to anyone who'd listen.

Given my opinion that it took well-moneyed individuals with an axe to grind financing the beating of bushes around every trailer park in Arkansas to drum up the case in which Clinton eventually tripped himself up, it's hard for me to imagine anything more destructive to the future of American politics than the success of such an effort. The attempt was destructive enough by itself, having given birth to the politics of extreme sour grapes that grips the internet, if not the country.

I never voted for the guy, but he wasn't a *terrible* president. He gets the blame/credit for a bunch of things he doesn't deserve. He strikes me as a likeable guy, someone I could hang with. Bush strikes me exactly the same way... go figure.

Posted by: RC on May 21, 2003 06:09 PM

Mr Winston wrote:

Actually if you?re the one making the charge the people who were legally eligible to vote and were actually denied the right to vote in the 2000 election in FL because of the felon list, then it is up to you to provide the evidence backing up the claim.

Yes and No. If I cared about convincing him then, yes, I should provide the evidence. However, after three years, if a person is still so (proudly) ignorant of how Florida purges its voters from the rolls then my posting a bunch of links is likely not going to convince them. They will either ignore the evidence, dismiss it as being from a "liberal" source, or whatever. Frankly, it is not my problem. If someone told me that Florida conducts voter scrubbing by culling lists of felons from other states, comparing those felons to the list of registered voters in Florida, and dumping anyone whose name and race match, I would think, "Gee, that sounds pretty shady. If true that's really bad. Let me do a little google search to see what I can find out about this."

I would not demand links and refuse to accept the possibility of election fraud unless another anonymous poster handed me the evidence on a silver platter. And anyone who reacts like that probably doesn't really care if thousands of black voters were denied their voting rights.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 06:11 PM

There is always the possibility of election fraud. The highly Democratic Election Commission investigated the Florida election and did not ask that charges be brought against any person or entity.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on May 21, 2003 06:16 PM

"And anyone who reacts like that probably doesn't really care if thousands of black voters were denied their voting rights."

This is silly. I doubt very much that "thousands of black voters were denied their voting rights" on election day. Most of the problems were due solely to the high number of marginally to functionally illiterates voting Democrat. They simply couldn’t follow written instructions.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 06:19 PM

"He gets the blame/credit for a bunch of things he doesn't deserve." - RC

That statement is true for George W. Bush as well (and most other Presidents for that matter). Three is something to be said for the buck stops here and captain is responsible for his ship, but a little reality is in order as well.

Posted by: ruprecht on May 21, 2003 06:22 PM

You know, I get really tired of this "It wasn't perjury because it wasn't material." There's a short answer to the argument about the judge's finding of non-materiality: the judge was wrong. The rule of evidence that authorized the questions in the first place made it material. I agree that it's a stupid rule, and without the rule the argument that it was immaterial has a lot more force; but the rule was passed. Why do you think they have rules of evidence in the first place? Furthermore, the credibility of a witness is always material, so after he lied about it the next question could have been, "Was that a lie?" and *that* would have been material, as going to Clinton's credibility.

Changing the subject to the Scheer article that started the whole post: I was going to write a snotty e-mail to Scheer, suggesting that if he ever published a compilation of his articles he should title it "Gullible's Travails." But on second thought I concluded that that's much too good a title for the likes of Scheer. I think it would make a great title for a weblog. I have nowhere near the free time or energy to start a weblog myself (I don't know how you folks do it; I've been trolling these blogs for only about a week now, and I'm seriously leery of the addiction that seems to be developing, and seriously worried about the amount of time and energy it's possible to devote just to reading the things) so I toss it out there to anyone who's interested.

Posted by: Tom Preacher on May 21, 2003 06:31 PM

“There is always the possibility of election fraud. The highly Democratic Election Commission investigated the Florida election and did not ask that charges be brought against any person or entity.”

The Democrats were mostly in control of the election process. Ironically, the so-called confusing “butterfly ballot” was approved by a Democrat bureaucrat. What did this ballot look like? Well, take a look:

http://www.larrysworld.com/gifs/ballot.jpg

I believe that any reasonable person would conclude this ballot was easy for someone to comprehend who was even half way literate. Heck, who would dare claim that they were so grossly ignorant?

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 06:33 PM

I doubt very much that "thousands of black voters were denied their voting rights" on election day.

Ahh, wilfull ignorance.

Ok, here's a link.

The Wrong Way To Fix The Vote
The Washington Post
Sunday, June 10, 2001

Exerpt:
"In June 2000, on the basis of ChoicePoint's results, the Florida Division of Elections ordered county election officials to remove from their registries some 58,000 residents unless the counties had evidence that they were not in fact convicted felons.

One of those 58,000 was Linda Howell, who says she has never committed a felony. Her protest was immediately taken seriously, since she happens to be Madison County's election supervisor. The false accusation shook her faith in the purge process: "It really is a mess," she told me afterward. "

"Researchers from Salon.com who investigated the lists in 13 Florida counties found that at least 15 percent of the names should not have been there. ChoicePoint spokesmen subsequently told me they don't dispute that figure, and they consider it a reasonable rate of error."

"If Salon's 15 percent error figure is right -- and data like Leon County's indicates it ismuch higher -- almost 9,000 of the 58,000 names on the scrub list belonged to rightful voters. (Furthermore, 2,883 other names belonged to people convicted of felonies in states that restore voting privileges after a sentence is served. These people were also purged -- even though they should not have lost their civil rights merely by moving to Florida.) "

Here is the key. The majority of the voters who were unjustly stripped weren't former-felons. They were simply misidentified people.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 06:38 PM

“Here is the key. The majority of the voters who were unjustly stripped weren't former-felons. They were simply misidentified people.”

You speak only about the eligible voters who had the right to vote on election day. Still, that is not the same thing as actual people being turned away at the polls! Once again, how many minorities (and white voters) were denied the right to vote? We must never forget that many, if not most citizens, never bother to vote. This is not Saddam Hussein's Iraq. We don't force citizens to take advantage of their legal rights.

Lastly, are the Republicans responsible? What about the Democrats who sat on these election committees? Why didn’t they protest?

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 06:52 PM

"Who said anything about all Democrats being stupid? My comments were directed mostly to the roughly 30% of Democrat voters, white and nonwhite, who are marginally to functionally illiterate."

As opposed to all the Republicans who are marginally to functionally illiterate? I won't go citing statistics (although I'd love to see where you got the stat) but I'd be very surprised to find that dumb people don't vote for candidates on both sides for dumb reasons. And if I recall a part of the problem in Florida was the elderly didn't get the butterfly ballot either, although fairly well educated, they found it confusing and voted for Buchannan.

Then you decide there is some equally strong left-wing over educated conspiracy to keep political conservatives from getting advanced degrees? Uh, shouldn't you pick a view-point and stick with it?

So let me see if I have this figured out, The very smart, very well educated "liberal elite" go out and brain-wash the very stupid, very uneducated people so that they may use them to destroy the world. Oh, and to give everyone welfare benefits. Have I got that right?

Boy, you really give the Democrats a lot of credit. That's a very good plan.

Posted by: Kate on May 21, 2003 06:57 PM

“"I was very upset," (Linda) Howell said. "I know I'm not a felon." Though the mistake did get corrected and law enforcement officials were quite apologetic...”

http://archive.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/12/04/voter_file/index1.html

Apparently, the voters incorrectly denied the right to vote had plenty of time to protest. Thus, any problems on election day seem to be the result of personal laziness. Why are some people ignoring this fact? Also, why are they conveniently pretending that marginal and functional illiteracy are the real reasons for the confusion?

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 07:06 PM

The influence of Rush Limbaugh is at least as exaggerated as the influence of Michael Moore. If I had a nickel for every time I've seen some bog-standard Republican talking point answered (or rather, non-answered) with "You got that from Rush", I'd be married to John Kerry.

Since that same message not only included the phrase "Shiite wing of the Republican party" but helpfully attributed it to a widely-read liberal columnist, I think we can safely say that this short of shrillness isn't the sole property of a few obscure wackos.

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek on May 21, 2003 07:13 PM

“So let me see if I have this figured out, The very smart, very well educated "liberal elite" go out and brain-wash the very stupid, very uneducated people so that they may use them to destroy the world. Oh, and to give everyone welfare benefits. Have I got that right?”

Gosh, you almost got it. The only thing you are overlooking is that I never claimed that those of the “liberal elite” are well educated. On the contrary, they are often intellectual whores who go along with the dominant liberal agenda. Need further proof? Just do some reading about the current scandal at the New York Times. Most Liberals at this major publication were guilty of cowardliness. They kept their mouths shut and didn’t dare to confront the Time’s management. It is obvious they learned their lesson well at college.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 07:15 PM

"Gosh, you almost got it. The only thing you are overlooking is that I never claimed that those of the “liberal elite” are well educated. On the contrary, they are often intellectual whores who go along with the dominant liberal agenda. Need further proof? Just do some reading about the current scandal at the New York Times. Most Liberals at this major publication were guilty of cowardliness. They kept their mouths shut and didn’t dare to confront the Time’s management. It is obvious they learned their lesson well at college."

I really think this paragraph just proves my point. I will not elaborate.

Posted by: Kate on May 21, 2003 07:19 PM

Wow, Mr. Thompson! On the very same page that you got your quote from is this:

But if some counties refused to use the list altogether, others seemed to embrace it all too enthusiastically. Etta Rosado, spokeswoman for the Volusia County Department of Elections, said the county essentially accepted the file at face value, did nothing to confirm the accuracy of it and doesn't inform citizens ahead of time that they have been dropped from the voter rolls.

I guess most purged voters had no warning after all. It is truly amazing how you can see only what you want to see. Like I said, this is why I didn't post a link earlier, with blatant examples of electoral malfunctioning - leaving aside fraud for the moment - some people simply can't accept it even when it is staring them in the face.

Why do you strike me as someone who didn't get far in academia and is desperately trying to blame a vast left wing conspiracy for holding you down?

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 07:28 PM

David Thomson wrote:


You speak only about the eligible voters who had the right to vote on election day. Still, that is not the same thing as actual people being turned away at the polls! Once again, how many minorities (and white voters) were denied the right to vote?

David makes an excellent point. Saying that someone was on the felon list when they shouldn’t have been is not the same thing as being turned away from the polls and being denied the franchise. So far no one has presented evidence showing that this happened.

Lastly, are the Republicans responsible? What about the Democrats who sat on these election committees? Why didn’t they protest?

Actual it appears that Democrats were responsible for the initial screw up that lead to voters being wrongly classified as felons. From Human Events:


The purge was conducted pursuant to a 1998 Florida law that required the state to hire a private firm to compile a database of felons and dead people on the states’ voting lists. The contract for this database was not signed by Harris but by a the elections director, now a Democrat, who served under a previous secretary of state. The purge law required only that local county governments–not the secretary of state–remove appropriate names from the voting rolls. And the counties themselves, not the secretary of state’s office, were responsible for ensuring that the lists provided to them were accurate

Read the rest of the article, it sheds some light on a lot of the myths we've been told about the 2000 Florida election debacle.

Posted by: Thorley Winston on May 21, 2003 07:42 PM

"..did nothing to confirm the accuracy of it and doesn't inform citizens ahead of time that they have been dropped from the voter rolls."

You have made a very fair point. Still, how many people were actually turned away on election day. Why can't you come up with any precise figures? After all, we know that Democrat lawyers were searching desperately for these folks. Were there two, a dozen, a hundred? Why the silence?

The butterfly ballot was very ridiculously easy to understand. You mentioned a number of elderly voters who claimed to be confused. Were they suffering from Alzheimer's? My guess is that any ballot would have deemed equally incomprehensible. Once again, let's take a serious look at the butterfly ballot:

http://www.larrysworld.com/gifs/ballot.jpg

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 07:45 PM

I truly appreciate the article in Human Events. My jaw dropped to the ground after reading the following two sentences:

“Some individuals have come forward describing 'horror stories' of having to swear under oath that they were not felons in order to vote.

But no one has yet identified a single eligible voter who was actually and finally kept from voting by the purge.”

Thus, we find out that no eligible citizen was actually turned away on election day. Swearing an oath is not exactly a torturous experience!

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 07:53 PM

“Space” appears to be well intentioned individual. Almost certainly, he (or she?) had no idea that they have been spreading the lies of their liberal cohorts. Isn't it funny? We have debating something that was never true in the first place! Oh well, utopian Liberals cannot be trusted to tell the truth. Their patron saint, Bill Clinton, has taught them well.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 08:02 PM

Jane, are yoiu too young to have clear memories of the Reagan Administration?

Posted by: Scott on May 21, 2003 08:30 PM

Oh well, utopian Liberals cannot be trusted to tell the truth. Their patron saint, Bill Clinton, has taught them well.

You're a real asshole, Thomson. It's clear you don't give a damn whether people are denied the right to vote or not. As soon as you find the slightest reason to not have to worry your delicate little mind, you can change the subject to Bill Clinton.

Butterfly ballot? Stupid old people don't deserve the vote anyway.

Purged from the voter rolls? Oh, they weren't going to vote anyway. And if they were, they had plenty of time to get back on. And if they didn't, they still could have sworn they weren't felons. And if that wasn't allowed....

And now Bill Clinton is my patron saint and I'm a liberal? After telling me to "get over it," telling me what I think and who I vote for is the surest way to convince me that you are an idiot.

Posted by: space on May 21, 2003 09:55 PM

Space - Have you ever considered that the number of people off the voter rolls during that election, legally and by mistake, might not have been in the felon zone if only Clinton hadn't aggressively increased mandatory sentencing and three-strikes-you're-out? As long as you're counting people cheated out of their chance to vote, why not count people who weren't voting because of Clinton? Just for fun.

Incidentally, I never understood the Clinton role in Whitewater to be criminal - I thought they got suckered.

Jane, as usual, you make an excellent point.

Posted by: j.c. on May 21, 2003 10:02 PM

http://www.salon.com/letters/corrections/

"In the Salon Politics article "Florida's flawed 'voter-cleansing' program," it was incorrectly stated that Florida's Secretary of State Katherine Harris hired a company, ChoicePoint, to create a voter "purge" list. The company was hired in 1998 before Harris was elected to her post. Also, Rick Rozar was incorrectly identified as a founder of ChoicePoint. Rozar was the president of a company, CDB Infotek, of which Choicepoint owned 70 percent, and which ChoicePoint eventually bought. Salon regrets the errors."

Nonetheless, these centerpieces to the conspiracy theory about Choicepoint are endlessly repeated to this day. Furthermore, Rick Rozar was dead and buried before any of this stuff took place.

Posted by: HH on May 21, 2003 10:34 PM

While it is always dangerous to disagree with mighty Jane,

Jane's Law: The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane,

I think viewing the issue from a different perspective may yield different results.

For the WWII generation we saw the presidency swing from the Dems, JFK, LBJ to the GOPs, RMN, GRF, to the Dems JEC to the GOPs, RWR, GWHB. The legislature , especially the House, stayed firmly Democrat as did the Supreme Court, more or less, due to stare decisis. While LBJ and RMN, especially, gave the opposition lots to chew on, I recallwe never had the level of personal vilification we have had with WJC and GWB. No one ever went ?insane? because the other party held 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. In the end LBJ recognized he had failed and left as gracefully as he could. RMN, though he generated a fairly irrational hate, ultimately did the same. Both were compelled to do so by the wiser counsels of their own party. The contribution of Barry Goldwater is particularly under appreciated today, though history will reward him manifold.

Each generation seeks to keep doing what it knows how to do, the triumph of its youth. After securing the civil rights of an oppressed minority by imploring, ?come, let us reason together?, LBJ started a war, the War on Poverty. He was afraid to be seen giving into another enemy in Viet Nam, so he fought that war, too; just as his generation had fought WWII.

In spite of having a bigger patsy than Helen Gahagan Douglas in George McGovern, Nixon sought papers in the pumpkin known as the Watergate to prove the connivance of his opponent with God knows whom.

cThis left the boomer generation with its youthful triumphs of overthrowing U. S. presidents. And doing it with direct, personal attacks on them as human beings: hey, hey, LBJ how many kids did you kill today?, what did he know and when did he know it?

Transition to 1992. The boomers take over. And they oppress everyone with Fleetwood Mac and the desire to relive the triumph of their youth; the overthrow of presidents. The new War on Poverty, Hillarycare, is defeated. Then, in 1994, a shift in the legislature comparable to 1932 occurs. The Democrats, holding the White House, loose control of the House and legislature for probably the next 60-80 years. WJC, draft dodger, never mistaken for a Sunday School teacher, besmirches his office for the basest of reasons. Time to overthrow the scoundrel! But Democrats will not play the role of Goldwater this time.

2000 and a reformed GOP drunk takes over the Presidency on the basis of a Supreme Court decision without winning the popular vote. Then he is given the gift of a lifetime, an indisputable Tonkin Gulf attack. He gets the opportunity to fight the Viet Nam war the way it should have been fought. Twice. Afghanistan and Iraq. Time for the Trifecta?but?Iraq or North Korea?

No one will ever be silly or reckless enough to ask the boomers to reason together. But we had better get accustomed to their inclination to overthrow the President. At least until the Gen X?ers get to clean up the mess. And the sooner the better, though I am not optimistic.

Posted by: Richard A. Heddleson on May 21, 2003 10:51 PM

I find blatant partisanship to be so boring. I was having fun reading the comments, until about halfway down, the sides really started to part, and then the mudslinging started. Is there really only two parties, or a whole bunch of smaller parties that lean with one or the other of the main stream ideas?

I think I will write a bit on this on my blog.

Posted by: Tiger on May 21, 2003 11:10 PM

“It's clear you don't give a damn whether people are denied the right to vote or not. “

Hello, what are you talking about? It turns out that nobody was denied the right to vote. The facts are that you were unwittingly, with probably the very best intentions, spreading lies.

“And if they didn't, they still could have sworn they weren't felons.”

So what? What’s wrong with someone swearing that they are not felons? Is this suppose to be similar to having one’s fingernails pulled out without anesthetic?

“Butterfly ballot? Stupid old people don't deserve the vote anyway. “

You totally missed my point. The butterfly ballot was so easy to understand that anybody saying they were confused by it---had other troubles to be concerned about. I literally doubt if any ballot would have sufficed.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 11:26 PM

“Incidentally, I never understood the Clinton role in Whitewater to be criminal - I thought they got suckered. “

I totally agree with you. Both the Clintons and Susan Susan MacDougal were almost certainly innocent of all charges. Ken Starr was out of control and acted in a contemptible fashion. Ms. MacDougal is a very brave woman.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 21, 2003 11:32 PM

Clinton wasn't running coke out of Mena? Are you sure about this?

Posted by: Matt Johnson on May 22, 2003 01:34 AM

I'm a speed-reader. What BBC story are we talking about?

Posted by: dsquared on May 22, 2003 04:54 AM

“Clinton wasn't running coke out of Mena? Are you sure about this?”

How can one disprove a negative? I see no reason to jump on Bill Clinton with allegations that are somewhat dubious. The people charging him with recreational drug use were often trying to sell books---and only salacious gossip was going to move them off the shelves! Let’s just stay with the matters that are conclusively proven. Aren’t there enough of those?

Posted by: David Thomson on May 22, 2003 07:04 AM

Re: Mena:

I first read about Mena while Clinton was still Governer. The allegation was that large amounts of nose candy entered the country at Mena for distribution elsewhere. There was clear inaction and apparent protection by the State Police. The rumors where that the corruption reached the top of the police force and into the Governor's office. Clinton had an unhealthy relationship with the State Police which may have encouraged this corruption. This is enough to cast doubt on his suitability for President, but it is not grounds for saying that he _sold_ any coke.

Re: The Election:

It is alleged that the "deliberately confusing" Miami ballot got Buchanon 3000 votes which "should" have gone to Gore. Can anyone here confirm whether, as I have heard, the Reform candidate for Senate also got 3000 extra votes in Miami County?

Posted by: triticale on May 22, 2003 08:41 AM

Sorry for my mistake: statutory perjury requires materiality in most jurisdictions. Now we can argue over "materiality!"

Posted by: Chris Pastel on May 22, 2003 09:26 AM

I feel the need to come to the defense of Florida voters. I remember also thinking, having voted on a butterfly ballot in Ohio many times, that the old Floridians must have just been senile to have messed it up.

Then I saw a report on CBS that showed the ballot, and then described the source of the confusion. The reporter said that the arrows (see the pic linked to above) from the candidate were pointing in-between the two punch-holes, not at a particular one. That is, the printing of the ballor was such that they didn't allign properly with the machines.

I never saw this report printed anywhere else. Everyone kept repeating the same canard that the butterfly ballot is just too confusing for Floridians, which is just a silly notion. People have been voting successfully using this ballot for years. Why the problem in Florida now? Only CBS (I think it was CBS) provided a good answer.

Posted by: Amitava Mazumdar on May 22, 2003 09:54 AM

The crazy Republicans trying to kill Clinton were senators, congresspeople, judges and other Kool Kids.

You can't compare and contrast them to fringe bloggers. The mainstream left has no belief that Bush is the anti-christ, rather a far-right president who campaigned on false centrism.

Posted by: TruthInAllThings on May 22, 2003 10:19 AM

Amitava-
I saw a similar report, and saw a picture of the ballot in the machine, and it did look confusing to me.

Space-
You show a lot of concern for eligible voters being improperly disenfranchised. Do you have an equal level of concern for ineligible voters being improperly franchised? In other words, do you believe the standard for removing someone from the rolls should be like criminal court, beyond a reasonable doubt, or like civil court, more likely than not? I believe that when an ineligible voter votes, he effectively disenfranchises one voter for each candidate for whom he did not vote; therefore, the standard should be closer to civil court, and it should be viewed as at least as important to block ineligible voters from voting as it is to avoid blocking eligible voters.

Posted by: MattJ on May 22, 2003 10:44 AM

Jane, I think you have got to the heart of the matter and explain in a straightforward way the problem with the political system today.

I've wondered about this for a long time and have called it the "polarization of politics". At its most simple it is this: "what you are for I am against". A most recent example is the bloviating of the Left on the war in Iraq as compared to the pass, from the Left, that Clinton got for his military excursions. Remember our alienation of the "International Community", our flaunting of the United Nations, our ignoring of international law? Clinton's administration did all these things too - and the Right sounded then as the Left does now.

Donna Brazille coauthored a column in the WSJ yesterday (5/21) that calls the Demo presidential candidates to the carpet about their message. She chastizes them for spending too much time on being not-Bush and too little time articulating a specific, positive, and forward looking position on the issues facing the nation; notably national defense.

It strikes me that in the world of our political system over that past 30 years we have become lazy and sloppy. It is so much easier - maybe cheaper - to tear down your opponent who is in power than it is to articulate a vision and a road-map for where you believe we should be going.

In this "end justifies the means" system, holding office is the end that the candidates and office holders will say anything to get and maintain.

Posted by: Steve on May 22, 2003 10:48 AM

How about another theory behind the "polarization" Steve mentions: there are larger ideological differences between political foes today than in the 60s and 70s? Goldwater -- a genuinely non-mainstream ideologue -- provoked the same kind of animus as do political leaders today. The acceptable, pragmatic GOP candidate who succeeded him, Nixon, couldn't be nominated by the Dems today because he was so far to the left in economic matters.

The differences between right and left wings today are a gaping ideological chasm, both in economic and in cultural terms.

Any comments?

Posted by: JT on May 22, 2003 11:04 AM

steve wrote:

"I've wondered about this for a long time and have called it the "polarization of politics". At its most simple it is this: "what you are for I am against". "

Amen. Too often now political battle lines are drawn because one side seizes a position on an issue first, and the other side reflexively opposes.

One of the things that frustrated me most about the Clinton-Lewinsky affair is that my fellow Republicans missed a golden opportunity to say: "See how stupid these sexual harrassment laws are? A man can be accused of harrassment, and his entire sexual history can be brought up in a public court of law to tar his character. Now that you see how destructive this can be, let's change these silly laws so that only directly relevant information about a defendent's past can be brought up at trial."

That would have done some good, an delivered a backhand at the fax-machine warriors of the feminist fringe. But no, the night the Lewinsky scandal broke, Orin Hatch (Or was it Robert Byrd? I get my faux-intellectual camera-hugging blowhards confused) made some kind of silly remark about possible impeachable offenses on TV, and the Republicans smelled blood and wasted the next two years trying to take down a President.

Posted by: sd on May 22, 2003 11:21 AM

JT says "The differences between right and left wings today are a gaping ideological chasm, both in economic and in cultural terms."

I would agree with this on fringe issues, i.e.; Sodomy laws, Gay marrige, and Single parenthood but on the mainstream issues of: national defense, taxes, personal liberty (abortion and gun ownership) and government spending I think there is more public agreement; at least according to polling data.

Yet I think that the political parties positions on these mainstream issues - and how it changes depending on who is in power - prove Jane's and my point that there is no principled stand involved, simply the adoption of the anti-position so as to be different and, possible, more electable.

To be fair, Bill Clinton's adminstration fought for and passed NAFTA and Welfare Reform legislation. Bush, with the latest budget working its way through Congress, is presiding over huge growth in government spending the likes of which we haven't seen since LBJ. I know much of the growth is tied to homeland security and defense, but it belies the idea that he represents the fiscal conservative wing of the Republican party.

And, lest anyone take offense at my characterization of sodomy laws, etc. as "fringe", I mean only that the majority of Americans share a view of these issues that is best characterized as "live and let live" or "none of my business". Jerry Falwell and Noam Chomsky excepted.

Posted by: Steve on May 22, 2003 12:00 PM

Nu, so Rep. Pete "Bush's budget is the embodiment of the Antichrist" Stark (D-CA) is just a fringe blogger now?

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek on May 22, 2003 12:21 PM

It was all space and David Thomason--a good core that the thread wound around.

And space was holding it together, keeping cool, refuting the postulate of 'Jane's Law'

And then that Human Events link was put up--with verifiable refutations of spaces' points

And space fell apart, proving that his initial calmness was simply the chilling quiet of the insane as they explain their delusions--followed by the rage that erupts when those delusions are challenged.

great thread.

Posted by: jack on May 22, 2003 12:49 PM

Fact: Bush won in 2000

Opinion: Bush will win by a landslide in 2004

Opinion: Karl Rove will repeat his Texas success

Opinion: The democrats don't get it

Opinion: Worse, they haven't got a candidate who
can win. Some won't even hold onto their
seats in upcoming elections

THE WORST PART IS THAT WE DON'T LOSE THE TALKING HEADS WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN AXED LONG AGO. Goodbye, Carville. You allowed Gore to head the top of the ticket. Goodbye, Bill Clinton. You are a disaster and a failure; because you hated our military, and you went personal. Instead of building us up against CRIME, you allowed PC crapola to rule at the Pentagon. And, the democrats fed at the public trough as well as the public trust.

MESSAGE TO KARL ROVE: BEWARE THE THIRD PARTY GENTLEMEN WHO COMES TO THE TABLE IN 2004 OR 2008 AND EATS ALL THE REPUBLICAN GAINS ... Only then will enough heads change places to that the pendulum swings into the center. (Ditto for the NY Times. I'm waiting for the Canadian gentlemen, fired by Asper at the National Post, to head into New York and change everything.) BAD IS BAD. Stink is garbage. And, there is hope when the garbage trucks come rolling along.

Posted by: Carol Herman on May 22, 2003 01:18 PM

“I get my faux-intellectual camera-hugging blowhards confused) made some kind of silly remark about possible impeachable offenses on TV, and the Republicans smelled blood and wasted the next two years trying to take down a President.”

Bill Clinton should have resigned for the sake of the Democrat Party. A President Al Gore would have been a cinch to be elected in 2000. Still, the Republicans went too far in their attacks once it was obvious that Clinton desired to stay in office. They should have made sure the President was humiliated for his misbehavior---and then backed off. Clinton remaining in office only hurt the Democrats! He was already a politically harmed sitting duck. The country did not need a highly divisive impeachment trial. And yes, this took our minds off other issues of importance, like the threat of Muslim totalitarianism.

Posted by: David Thomson on May 22, 2003 02:02 PM

The best thing to come out of Clinton's impeachment was the end of the incredibly stupid Independent Counsel Act, which, of course, only existed due to support from the Democrats. Sometimes I think this was Starr's major objective all along.

Posted by: Will Allen on May 22, 2003 02:14 PM

Daivd Thomson wrote:

"I totally agree with you. Both the Clintons and Susan Susan MacDougal were almost certainly innocent of all charges. Ken Starr was out of control and acted in a contemptible fashion. Ms. MacDougal is a very brave woman. "

and

"Bill Clinton should have resigned for the sake of the Democrat Party. A President Al Gore would have been a cinch to be elected in 2000. Still, the Republicans went too far in their attacks once it was obvious that Clinton desired to stay in office. They should have made sure the President was humiliated for his misbehavior---and then backed off. Clinton remaining in office only hurt the Democrats! "

David posted two articles I can wholeheartedly agree with. I'm shocked.

I'm going to go lie down now.

Posted by: Tom on May 22, 2003 02:26 PM

Space, first of all, let me point out how generous I am being with my attention to your foam-flecked rantings in response to my post. I acknowledged that people were mistakenly removed from the voter rolls. That fact is not in dispute. My post raised the question of people who were mistakenly removed from the rolls who subsequently were denied their right to vote – people who legitimately attempted to vote but were turned away from the polls. Because of this, you say I am "ignorant" of the facts surrounding the election? Astonishing. Leaving aside your reading comprehension issues, my disagreement with your contention leads you to "doubt" that I "give a crap"? What kind of response is that? What sort of credibility do you possibly think this could lend any of your arguments? Later on, you contend that I am "proudly ignorant" – again, you make suppositions based on a willful misreading of my post, and use those incorrectly founded suppositions to resort to name calling. Given this, I don't see why I or anyone ought to bother to even given your posts the time of day.

I used your link to the Greg Palast article, which despite being a wrong-headed, overheated hack job, still fails to give any proof that people who had been mistakenly removed from the voting rolls (once AGAIN, no one is disputing this) and who subsequently tried to vote and were denied the opportunity. The closest Palast gets is to say "most had no idea what had happened until they showed up at the polls." But Palast fails to support his charge that "most had no idea" – what does he base that "most" on? Surveys? And, more importantly, Palast fails to comment on what happened when the collection of "most" showed up at the polls. The key: Can he name one person, as I asked for in my original post, who was improperly turned away?

Thanks to David Thomson and Thorley Winston (both of whom exhibit far more patience with you than your petulant rantings deserve), we are linked to an article at Salon that the Palast article references. Palast claims Salon "investigated the lists in 13 Florida counties" which is absolutely untrue, using the Salon article as a source. The article in Salon says that 10 – not "13" – counties were contacted – not "investigated". And look at what Salon found: that *half* of those counties: Palm Beach, Duval, Madison, Dixie and Washington, ignored the felon removal list (in violation of Florida law). Flat out ignored it (in fact, the Miami Herald found that in Palm Beach and Duval counties alone, 445 felons had illegally cast ballots in the 2000 Presidential election – see, Space, they can name people that were actually affected by the issue in question, not hypothetically, as you and Palast do. Additionally, I'm ignoring the mathematical mistake Palast makes to estimate an "at least 15%" error rate). Of the other counties contacted by Salon, Hillsborough began contacting purged voters as early as June, Leon contacted them in January, Orange sent out letters (date unspecified in the article), and Miami-Dade notified people in 1999 and then again in January 2000.

Of the ten counties contacted by Salon, nine either ignored the list or made good-faith efforts to contact voters. Only Volusia took the list at "face value". You quote the spokeswoman saying this, but ignore her comment that "If they show up at a polling place, we'll say, 'Wait a minute, you're a convicted felon, you can't vote. Nine out of ten times when we repeat that to the person, they say 'Thank you' and walk away. They don't put up arguments."

So, what we’ve seen then, is that there were 445 specific, named voters that *were* allowed to vote that shouldn’t have been allowed to, but we have yet to see someone – a real, live, someone – actually denied to vote when they legitimately attempted to do so. What about the people in the Volusia, who said 'Thank you' and walked away? How do you know that they are not felons? How do you know that they were denied of a vote that was legitimately theirs? You don't, and that's the point I'm trying to make.

What did you think of the statistical arguments made, saying that since the TV networks called the state of Florida for Gore, but did it mistakenly before all the polls closed (since Florida sits in two time zones) that "thousands" of voters in the heavily-Republican panhandle were "disenfranchised"? I guess you wouldn’t think much of that argument, and I don’t either. When people don't try to vote – for whatever reason - they're not "disenfranchised", they’re just staying home.

Absolutely, people were mistakenly removed from the voter rolls in Florida. But, according to the articles linked in this thread, in many cases (half per Salon’s count) the removal orders were simply ignored, letting anyone vote as normal, and in most of the other cases, contact was attempted (in Hillsborough, for example, by certified mail, regular mail, ads in the paper, and public hearings) to let voters know they were being dropped, well in advance of election day. So given the staggering detail of attention paid to this issue, the fact that you or the articles you link to can't produce anyone who legitimately should have been able to vote, who tried to vote, and who was denied the right to vote, makes the argument that the "voter purges" had any major impact on the 2000 Presidential vote in Florida extremely unlikely.

Posted by: Chad P. on May 22, 2003 02:55 PM

Well... I agree with Jane's Law.

For some reason though, and this may be personal bias or simple fact, the way the left has polarized against Bush has been way more extreme than the Clinton bashing of the 90s. I don't remember any Clinton = Hitler, or "Clinton, pull out, your daddy should have" signs. I remember a lot of allegations based on dubious charges, but rarely the level of raw, emotional hatred that's coming out from the left. Maybe we would have had that if we had a system of universities in this country to indoctrinate college students into reflexive, anti-leftist hatred, but we don't, and so we didn't.

Posted by: . on May 22, 2003 03:02 PM

I'm British, and I think it might be worth making a point here about how the Florida election is viewed overseas, which rather backs up Jane's Law.

Plenty of people in this thread are arguing about the intricacies of what actually happened in 2000. I understand what you're on about, because I follow American politics pretty closely, but most Europeans don't. Yet, even though most people over here don't have the faintest clue about what actually happened in the Florida election and have no idea what the Electoral College even is, they still have extremely strong views about the "injustice" of the result and can get quite hysterical about it. It is reasonable (wrong, I think, but sane) for an American, who understands their own political system, to believe the result was the wrong one. There were so many factors involved that there are simply too many what-ifs to be sure about what "should" have happened. But Europeans tend to react exactly as Jane's law predicts: insanely. They simply repeat factoids, rumours, & outright fabrications dogmatically, devoid of context, talking about how Bush stole the election, how it was a coup d'etat, how black voters were turned away from polling stations by men wielding shotguns, how the Republicans counted illegal votes, how the recount revealed that Gore won... and, if you question them further, you quickly realise that they haven't got a clue what they're talking about, and they get increasingly hysterical. I would guess that many Americans who don't know their politics behave similarly.

I've rambled on a bit here (sorry), but what I'm saying is that, when you argue about the details of what happened in 2000, you're not really addressing Jane's point. Jane's point is about people behaving irrationally, and she's right: they do. You may well have reasonable arguments to make about Florida, but the fact remains that most of the pro-Democrat complaints one hears about Florida are bitter, angry, incoherent, unrealistic, slanderous rants.

Secondly, I'd like to say that I was shocked when I finally saw a butterfly ballot. Shocked because I'd heard so much about how incredibly difficult they were to understand, so seeing one and seeing how simple and comprehensible it was was surprising.

Posted by: Squander Two on May 22, 2003 04:21 PM

Rep. Pete "Bush's budget is the embodiment of the Antichrist" Stark (D-CA) is just a fringe blogger now?

I do not think you are using quotes in the way most of us use quotes. Please provide a refrence to Representitive Stark saying that "Bush's budget is the embodiment of the Antichrist." Thanks.

Posted by: TruthInAllThings on May 22, 2003 04:22 PM

Oh, one more thing:

Kate,
There is a world of difference between illiteracy and stupidity. No-one claimed that people only vote Democrat because they're stupid. David said that a lot of Democrat voters are illiterate. Since the Democrats are proud of the fact that they claim to represent disadvantaged people, I fail to see why you consider this statement to be insulting.

Posted by: Squander Two on May 22, 2003 04:44 PM

Intresting thread, a point that actually related to Jane's idea/theory remarked that it was members of the boomer generation who were going to extremes. I agree, while noting these boomers have plenty of young followers, and want to point out that this fits the historian/sociologist's Strass and Howe theory of American history running in cycles or turnings that are driven by generation types that have followed one after the other. The boomers are called a "prophet generation", those who shake up the inner lives of people. In the past they drove events like the "Great Awakening" and in the 1960s the "Conscience Revolution" which Strass and Howe call 2nd Turnings. The theory argues that when these "prophets" age into power positions the power struggles get nasty both domestically and abroad. These are called 4th Turnings or Crisis cycles, in the past they were: American Revolution, American Civil War and the Great Depression/WW II. Back in 1996-7 in their book "The Fourth Turning" the authors predicted that the US was heading into a new crisis cycle and some nation shaking event, that would be preceived as threating the very material existence of the US as it was, would happen about 2005. Last I read of them the author's believe 9/11 could be that event (even if early, they never claimed the cycles come with exact timing) or perhaps something worst is to come. The up shot is every 4th Turning has resulted in the US engaging in a "general war" the type fought all out, little or no holds barred. The theory does not claim this as a certainty, only that it seems to be the pattern. What we are seeing now in the "War on Terror" is only the beginning, both domestically and foreign, if the cycle concept bears out. Which it seems to be. What I've written here is a very bare bone description. If I've interested anyone, they can check it out on the web by searching "The Fourth Turning" via google. I think the book is still available online. I believe this theory is valid. I bring it up in the name of "Forewarned is Forearmed".

Posted by: Rifle308 on May 22, 2003 05:38 PM

OK, I'm slow, but I just gotta back up a little bit...

Mr. "space", are you *really* saying that:

purging felons from voter rolls = disenfranchising black voters???

You got some 'splainin' to do if you want to convince me of that.

Sorry to replow the already furrowed ground, but what can I say?

Posted by: RC on May 22, 2003 05:44 PM

Space seems to have gone into hiding, but since he did make some direct comments to me, I'll jump back in the fray for a moment:

I don't think you understood the original post. The point was that in the '90s the Republicans became irrationally obsessed with "liberals" and Clinton.

Actually, if you read the first and third paragraphs of my post, you will find that I understood the original post perfectly.

You yourself are not contesting that my points are correct.

Incorrect. My words were "even to the extent that your points are correct," which is to say I had not taken time to follow up each one in line-item detail but I certainly had no reason to disbelieve any significant portion of them. Sort of a "benefit of the doubt" phraseology there.

You simply don't like me pointing them out.

Incorrect, I was enjoying them immensely, and said so. Look up the definition of the word "amusement." That parting explosion when you couldn't give a straight answer to David Thomson's point was the icing on the cake. Err, the cake I'm enjoying that is, I doubt you found it particularly sweet...

That does not make me "frantically posturing."

If you say so, but given how you are about to respond to me in another nine lines here, the point is reinforced:

It just means that you are uncomforable hearing people express (admitedly rational and possibly valid) viewpoints that you disagree with.

See, I never said anything close to that. Posturing.

Saying that I disagree with Bush's policies and will not vote for him is not equivilent to Rush Limbaugh comparing Democrats to Satan or Saddam Hussein. It is not equivilent to Mena-coke conspiracy theories. Or paranoia about UN invasions.

Too bad you can't tell the difference.

See, I never said anything about THOSE, either. Frantic posturing.

Thanks again for proving Jane's point, and the corresponding reduction in my blood pressure! :)

Posted by: anony-mouse on May 22, 2003 06:09 PM

Some of those felsons were convicted of their crimes in 2007. Some of those felons were felons in other states and were thus legally eligible to vote in Florida. Some of those felons weren't felons at all, but simply had a name AND RACE which was "close enough" to some other felon somewhere - the matching criteria on the names was deliberately set loosely to ensure that it would massively overflag names.


Posted by: Atrios on May 22, 2003 06:09 PM

I would have agreed with you about Clinton's impeachment--but other allegations and facts emerged which the House took seriously, but the Senate did not. Namely, that Clinton was (and is) a serial sex abuser, if not a rapist. (See David Shippers' "Sellout.")

Now, admittedly, the system was not designed to handle such accusations of high office. Nonetheless, the Senate failed to conduct a bona fide trial for the first time in its history of the exercise of this constitutional function; they failed to exercise the obligations commensurate with the seriousness of their charge; they bent to media inflammed public opinion that it was all about the rube-prude Ken Starr's "penis-gate," as Geraldo dubbed it, rather than high crimes and felonious behavior.
(Who indeed remembers that the bill of impeachment NEVER mentioned sexual behavior?)

The bottom line has not yet been articulated anywhere that I know of: the failure of the Senate to properly discharge its responsibility makes a good case for repealing the 17th Amendment that made the office subject to popular election. Instead, I think the Framers got it right in insulating the Senate from the winds of public opinion.

Posted by: Orson Olson on May 22, 2003 06:09 PM

I think that much of this especially high insanity over the past 10 years has to do with the circumstances. Repulbican gained controlled of the entire legislative branch for the first time in 50 years thanks to Clinton, so they thought that *everyone* thought like them, and were so unse to the newfound power they had, went a bit bonkers.

Democrats, conversly, have gone a bit bonkers with the *lack* of power. After 50-60 years of controlling the house, senate, or at least the presidency, a party begins to feel "entitled" to that power. "We've wielded it this long. it belongs to us!" and now, being nothing more then the minority sense in every way political, that really has to grate into them and bruise their ego.

Posted by: Nick M. (Arrogant Rants) on May 22, 2003 06:18 PM

Will this url do?

Or this one?

Posted by: Eric Brown on May 22, 2003 06:21 PM

hi all,

i found this comment from chad p to be interesting:

"still fails to give any proof that people who had been mistakenly removed from the voting rolls (once AGAIN, no one is disputing this) and who subsequently tried to vote and were denied the opportunity."

i want to just say, from an economist's point of view, i do not have to deny people an opportunity to vote to in fact "deny" them the vote. it would be nice if we lived in a world where people get the day off and have been raised to take their civic duty seriously enough to vote. but we don't. 51% of eligible voters went to the polls last presidential election.

http://www.fairvote.org/turnout/preturn.htm

this suggests for whatever reason, that the opportunity cost of voting is high for a perceived benefit. so, if it is not a smooth effortless transaction, will you stay to fix it? or will you go back to work, because lunch-time is just about up?

as for jane's post: "Republicans, of course, have turned into the Democrats of the nineties -- smugly convinced that they have merely assumed their rightful place at the top of the world, and that because of the essential goodness of their cause, they need exert little effort to stay there.

Of course, the way the Democrats are behaving now, they're right about that last part."

i don't mind saying, that sounds a little smug! but is it true? reading back through comments made by republicans after op desert storm, one detects a similar thread.

you may be right, and lord knows that the amount of money that the administration is throwing at the economy should have an effect. still, bad news will give democrats some guts to pursue the agenda. bad news and falling ratings will do that for you.

i hope bush is not re-elected. and not because i am a democrat (which i am not), but because the economic policies that this administration is offering and promoting make little economic sense. i would be interested to know how many of you actually think they do? i know that you have blasted the ny mayor, jane for his budget. but what of bush's? most economists, and i mean most, do not think this tax relief-- as structured-- makes any sense at all. can any of you tell me it does? i think i understand the social engineering that hides behind the economic rhetoric. i just think it is dishonest and will actually be extraordinarily divisive for the country--in the short AND long run. i do not think that the administration has really thought through the impact of what it is attempting to do economically (which wouldn't be the first time).

Posted by: cas on May 22, 2003 06:36 PM

Again, I do not believe you are using quotes the way the rest of us use quotes. Please find "Bush's budget is the embodiment of the Antichrist," please.

Of course, you cannot. What you can find is a no-context "the embodiment [sic] of the Antichrist" and a contextual

"It turns its back on the poor, it turns its back on education and health care for young children," added Stark, a Unitarian. "The holiest week of the year, to release this budget that flies in the face of all Christ's teachings is infamy."

But, of course, if FarrahLiesDaily says it's a fact, it's got to be one, right?

PS - what was FarrahLiesDaily's role in the Clinton Wars? How honest were those articles? Dodge and weave.

Posted by: TruthInAllThings on May 22, 2003 06:46 PM

Come on, any Economist knows that voting is irrational behavior. Only one vote counts, and the chance that that vote is yours is so statistically insiginificant that only people who place almost no value on their time and are tremendously risk adverse will ever go vote.

Posted by: TruthInAllThings on May 22, 2003 06:59 PM

Thanks, Eric. I got this one from Andrew Sullivan, but for some reason I take demands for documentation less seriously when they issue from pseudonyms with fake e-mail addresses. Since this one provided us yet another example of lefty shrillness, you're helping move the discussion along.

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek on May 22, 2003 07:00 PM

hi truth in all things (tiat),
"Come on, any Economist knows that voting is irrational behavior. Only one vote counts, and the chance that that vote is yours is so statistically insiginificant that only people who place almost no value on their time and are tremendously risk adverse will ever go vote."

i guess the economics of public choice school has really got its head shoved up its arse then to be exploring such behaviour. the issue would then be why do so many people vote, if it makes so little difference?

but apparently, your argument is not the case. i found this great site for you, tiat, at

http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/voting/p20-542.html

lots of great info on voting patterns.

http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/voting/p20-542/tab06.pdf.

it suggests that a greater percentage of highly educated folks vote, than do those with some high school or a school diploma only.

how do you square this with what you claim?

my guess is that there are very rational reasons for this voting pattern, especially if we define individual interest to include benefits to the economic class i happen to belong to.

Posted by: cas on May 22, 2003 07:12 PM

Bill Clinton could not be the anti-Christ because if Satan came back to Earth he would not be so obvious and venal he would seem to be pious and self-righteous; using phony morality to disquise his insidious, odious, evil....in other words we had him already...James Earl Carter...wonderful post, I agree whole heartedly.

Posted by: Ward on May 22, 2003 08:00 PM
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