Newspaper Blogs

March 12, 2004

PARTISAN POLITICS....Here in the United States, a president can nearly get impeached for being indiscreet about his sexual life. In retrospect, many of us think things might have gotten a little out of hand during that episode.

In South Korea the president has just been impeached � really impeached � for saying "I want to do everything within legal boundaries to support the Uri Party."

Presidents are supposed to stay neutral in South Korea and the National Electoral Commission deemed this to be a minor infraction. But when the opposition asked Roh to apologize, he refused. They asked again, he still refused. On Friday he finally did, but it was too late:

With the decorum of a kindergarten class, some of the nation's leading politicians � mostly middle-aged men in somber suits � pushed and shoved and threw paper and furniture. Roh supporters screamed that the assembly was staging a "coup d'etat."

One legislator fainted. Others burst into tears. Pro-Roh legislators joined hands and sang the national anthem as they were dragged out.

Later, the Uri Party issued a statement saying that all of its 42 members in the assembly were resigning.

Remember this the next time you think politics in America has gotten too partisan and bitter.

Posted by Kevin Drum at March 12, 2004 08:17 AM | TrackBack


Clinton wasn't "nearly impeached" -- he WAS impeached, just not convicted by the Senate.

Posted by: Big Bob at March 12, 2004 08:23 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's telling that my first reaction to reading this was "damn, how do we get some of that action?"

Posted by: John at March 12, 2004 08:23 AM | PERMALINK

I wish we could make some of our rethugs burst into tears. I almost thought the bug man was gonna yesterday. "sniff, sniff... kerry is so mean to our preznit. He's not being preznitial."

I'd also like to throw furniture at him. It sounds like an entertaining occupation to me.

Posted by: four legs good at March 12, 2004 08:26 AM | PERMALINK

I heard a hockey game broke out soon after that photo was snapped...

Posted by: Rick W. at March 12, 2004 08:29 AM | PERMALINK

We've been wondering about political parties in general lately.

Could a constitutional case be made that parties are private, exclusionary entities that should have no official role in government affairs? Could the case be made that no tax dollars should be spent supporting the intrusion of parties into the legislative process?

We are not suggesting that parties should not exist . . . we are simply wondering about their insidious intrusion into every aspect of how our government works.

We recognize such an idea would be dead on arrival in our current legislative arena, but what about the courts? Might the Supremes conclulde that "parties are pernicious bodies that trample the rights of individuals and stiffle expression in the halls of Congress."

We see no mention of parties in the Constitution. We wish we were a lawyer.

Posted by: Liz at March 12, 2004 08:30 AM | PERMALINK

You mean, the next time the Republicans whine that Democrats are 'too partisan'. Or mewl that campaigning vigorously (but peacefully) against His Holiness Pope George II constitues 'political hate speech'.

Like ostentatious victimhood? Vote GOP.

Posted by: V from VJ at March 12, 2004 08:34 AM | PERMALINK

I think I saw Todd Bertuzzi in that crowd somewhere.

But seriously, I wonder how long it will be before we see something like that on the house floor?

Posted by: David Perlman at March 12, 2004 08:35 AM | PERMALINK

Hey at least the Republicans don't attaned meetings and organizations that propose assainating your boy Kerry.

How RADICAL was John Kerry:


By THOMAS H. LIPSCOMB Special to the Sun

The anti-war group that John Kerry was the principal spokesman for debated and voted on a plot to assassinate politicians who supported the Vietnam War.

Mr. Kerry denies being present at the November 12-15, 1971, meeting in Kansas City of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and says he quit the group before the meeting. But according to the current head of Missouri Veterans for Kerry, Randy Barnes, Mr. Kerry,who was then 27,was at the meeting, voted against the plot, and then orally resigned from the organization.

Mr. Barnes was present as part of the Kansas City host chapter for the 1971 meeting and recounted the incident in a phone interview with The New York Sun this week.

In addition to Mr. Barnes�s recollection placing Mr. Kerry at the Kansas City meeting, another Vietnam veteran who attended the meeting, Terry Du-Bose, said that Mr. Kerry was there.

There are at least two other independent corroborations that the antiwar group Vietnam Veterans Against the War, of which Mr. Kerry was the most prominent national spokesman, considered assassinating American political leaders who favored the war.

Gerald Nicosia�s 2001 book �Home To War� reports that one of the key leaders of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Scott Camil,�proposed the assassination of the most hard-core conservative members of Congress,as well as any other powerful, intractable opponents of the antiwar movement.�The book reports on the Kansas City meeting at which Mr.Camil�s plan was debated and then voted down.""""


Posted by: keiser at March 12, 2004 08:38 AM | PERMALINK

Here comes the smear....

Why do repug-licans hate america so?

4 hours: NASCAR
1 hour: Rodeo
1 hour?: 9/11 Commision

Worst job record since hoover...

Posted by: me at March 12, 2004 08:46 AM | PERMALINK

In other polling news:

Republicans Retain Majority In Household
OMAHA, NE�In spite of a vocal Democratic following among the 16-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter demographics, Republicans managed to retain a slim majority in the Sanderson family, front-door exit polls revealed Monday. "Fortunately, strong Republican support among 48-year-old fathers and 46-year-old mothers won over the key swing vote among 6-year-olds named Timmy," speaker of the household Donald Sanderson said. "This, combined with the traditional Republican stronghold among visiting, over-60 grandparents, allowed Republicans to maintain control." The GOP has held the majority in the Sandersons' last 37 Sunday dinners.

hee hee

Posted by: James W at March 12, 2004 08:46 AM | PERMALINK

Funny how keiser only shows up on really really simple to understand posts about partisan politics; and not on complex issues based posts such as contrarian economics....

Our Congressionl debates are pretty boring when you think about it....

Posted by: Nixon at March 12, 2004 08:53 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's telling that my first reaction to reading this was "damn, how do we get some of that action?"

So close, and yet so far...

"It started with the mind-numbing reading of a 200-page pension overhaul bill, erupted into a remarkably bitter name-calling match between House Republicans and Democrats, and ended with a GOP lawmaker summoning Capitol Police to evict an outraged gaggle of Democratic colleagues from a congressional library."


"Republicans recounted indignities of their own: When Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.) had told Stark to "shut up" during the committee meeting, Stark denounced him as "a little wimp. Come on, come over here and make me, I dare you. . . . You little fruitcake. You little fruitcake. I said you are a fruitcake."

Posted by: koin at March 12, 2004 09:04 AM | PERMALINK

The weirdness that is So. Korean politics is only a sidestory. What's far more important is how this impeachment will paralyze So. Korea at a very crucial juncture in talks with No. Korea.

There will also likely be some economic implications.

Posted by: JadeGold at March 12, 2004 09:05 AM | PERMALINK

Could a constitutional case be made that parties are private, exclusionary entities that should have no official role in government affairs?

I'd be interested in seeing someone make the argument rather than merely suggest the conclusion. Its certainly not inconceivable that an interesting argument could be made along those general lines. Certainly, ISTR that many of the founders were opposed to formal parties and organized factions, including, IIRC, Washington himself.

Posted by: cmdicely at March 12, 2004 09:18 AM | PERMALINK

This story isn't better than Kitty pics.

Posted by: Cheryl at March 12, 2004 09:19 AM | PERMALINK

Lets see. The vote marked a spectacular setback for Roh, a 57-year-old, self-made human rights lawyer who came to office 13 months ago on a populist ticket that promised better relations with communist North Korea and a more equal footing with the country's biggest ally, the United States.

So we have Haiti, Venezuela, Spain and now South Korea.

No wonder the government added 21,000 new jobs. With all the regime changin' bushCo is up to, we need all the help we can get.

Tell me your friends at the CIA had nothing to do with this...And I'll tell you to fuck off.

Posted by: Dick Cheney at March 12, 2004 09:19 AM | PERMALINK

Personally, I would be in favor of the return of dueling politicans a la Hamilton-Burr. We either end up with a extremely polite Congress or one heavily skewed towards quick reflexes. Maybe both...

Posted by: Greg at March 12, 2004 09:23 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with violence is that it is so satisfying.

"Fist into face" is immediate sensual gratification.

I once had a philosophy prof call me to task for saying the phrase: the veneer of civilization.

I responded with those first two sentences.

Thankfully, he was refined enough to blush rather than throw a chair at me.

I wonder if he knew he won the argument?

Posted by: -pea- at March 12, 2004 09:25 AM | PERMALINK

South Korean Politics are great, I especially like the Tae Kwan Do matches that break out in the assembly. People would be a lot more interested in politics if we had occasional cage matches. I've been reading Sandburg's biography of Lincoln and its amazing how often political opponents got into fights back then. Wouldn't you love to see a fight between Kerry and Bush? No way Bush gets inside those long arms. I bet he'd quit like Duran.

Posted by: CalDem at March 12, 2004 09:25 AM | PERMALINK

Big Bob

Clinton was not simply not convicted by the Senate.

He was ACQUITTED of the charges.

Posted by: GT at March 12, 2004 09:26 AM | PERMALINK

I guess South Korea didn't want to become a "Uri Nation."

Posted by: praktike at March 12, 2004 09:29 AM | PERMALINK

So what's the Uri Party?

Are South Korean presidents the only national elected officials not affiliated with parties?

Posted by: Cryptic Ned at March 12, 2004 09:38 AM | PERMALINK

Onward to Pyongyang.

Posted by: Dick Cheney at March 12, 2004 09:38 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't Delay once get into a shoving match on the House floor with another congressman, calling him a "chickens**t?"

Posted by: Matt at March 12, 2004 09:38 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't Delay once get into a shoving match on the House floor with another congressman, calling him a "chickens**t?"

I think that might be right. Anyway, maybe we could institute "thunderdome" and do a little thinning of the herd. Somehow I don't think Hastert would last long.

Posted by: four legs good at March 12, 2004 09:45 AM | PERMALINK

And people pooh-poohed the idea of Jerry Springer running for the Senate! JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!

Posted by: Wasting Away In Cuyahogaville at March 12, 2004 09:52 AM | PERMALINK

Well, we do have an honored tradition of violence in Congress, but we've gotten so namby-pamby over the years. Andrew Brooks beat Charles Sumner nearly to death on the Senate floor just before the Civil War. Ah, good ol' partisan politics.

And who else misses the grand old days when Congressmen carried loaded guns into the Capitol?

Posted by: Ted at March 12, 2004 09:56 AM | PERMALINK

And what about Mr. Ventura! He would be a Party all by himself.

Posted by: Liz at March 12, 2004 09:57 AM | PERMALINK

maybe we could institute "thunderdome" and do a little thinning of the herd. Somehow I don't think Hastert would last long.

None of them would. "Break a deal, face the wheel!"

Posted by: NTodd at March 12, 2004 09:58 AM | PERMALINK

I seriously doubt that being "indiscrete" would have been enough to get Clinton impeached. Maybe the perjury, destruction of evidence, and witness tampering had something to do with it, too. It's not the indiscretion that gets you in trouble, but the crimes you commit trying to cover it up...

GT, I'd find that "aqquittal" a bit more impressive if the Senate had actually allowed the House to present it's case, instead of voting to blow the charges off without a trial. Guess collecting all those FBI files was worth it. LOL

Posted by: Brett Bellmore at March 12, 2004 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Dick Cheney,

I'll say I've seen no evidence that the US in general, or the CIA specifically, helped engineered this.

Would you care to put forth some evidence, or just an unsupported consipiracy theory along with a promise to hurl an epithet at those who disagree with you?

Posted by: Hubris at March 12, 2004 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with violence is that it is so satisfying.
"Fist into face" is immediate sensual gratification.

You sound like a Todd Bertuzzi fan.

Posted by: snark boy at March 12, 2004 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

If I had a nickel for every "request" for evidence of my past misdeeds or involvement in conspiracies that I could talk about but would then have to kill you for, I'd be a rich man.

I'm a rich man.

Posted by: Dick Cheney at March 12, 2004 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the perjury, destruction of evidence, and witness tampering had something to do with it, too.

It is stunning to me that after three years of actual widespread corruption in the current administration, including threatening and maniplulating CIA agents, etc, etc, that anyone can look back on Clinton's blowjob with anything but nostaglia for more innocent days. Nothing can explain this except utter, complete partisan blindness.

Posted by: goethean at March 12, 2004 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not all that familiar with Korean culture but in Confucian based socities allowing people to maintain " face " by following prescribed social norms is very important. In all likelihood, it was Roh's failure to ackowledge his transgression properly and in a timely manner is what is driving the assembly nuts - such a refusal is a challenge to their status is probably a humiliation many times greater than the underlying infraction. Just a guess though.

Posted by: mark safranski at March 12, 2004 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

The gun nuts would reign supreme.
Unless it was all "unarmed combat". Back in the day, I would have kind of liked to see Hussein v. Bush. (Saddam did challenge him to a one-on-one to settle this before the war. Our heroic airman, Bush, declined. - perhaps he had one too many bad experiences as a cheerleader at Yale?). It wouldn't have mattered, really, who won. Either way, an @sshole would die, and the other @sshole would have remained in power, and the taxpayers would have been saved around $150 Billion. The only loser there would have been Halliburton.

Then again, one account of his younger years shows Bush as fairly spunky; one night, after coming home drunk, and running over the trash cans, and getting yelled at by his dad, he challenged him to "mano-y-mano" (such a burly TEXAN!). So maybe he HAS mellowed with age.

- -
as far as banning political parties goes, that goes against the Constitutional guarantee of "Free Association". While I'd like to see the heads of these two warring gangs of thugs strung up, I have to say that the Constitution, and our rights, have to be honored and protected.

Really - the solution has to be to reverse the "Corporate Personhood" decision, and the "money is speech" decision. That will get the corporate interests out of politics, and will clarify the ideologies a whole lot.

Posted by: Occam's Cuisinart at March 12, 2004 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

This could work well with Congress. Just think of three words: "Steel cage match."

Posted by: J David Eisenberg at March 12, 2004 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah - if there were a return to duelling, Jesse Ventura would definately end up "Emporer for life". He teased a Minnesota hunting club once by telling them; "You haven't hunted, until you've hunted man." - he later said he was joking - but back in his career as a Navy SEAL, it's likely that he's hunted.

Posted by: Occam's Cuisinart at March 12, 2004 10:37 AM | PERMALINK


"And who else misses the grand old days when Congressmen carried loaded guns into the Capitol?"

I do

Aaron Burr Shot Alexander Hamilton to death in a duel about 1800 AD or so. Just another example of Realpolitics in action

I long for the old school politics

where we chase the bastards down and eat them

Defenistrations anyone ????

Posted by: free patriot at March 12, 2004 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, it was more of a "speech costs money", rule, since they DID allow regulation of donations in the Buckely decision, just not expeditures. To quote:

"A restriction on the amount of money a person or group can spend on political communication during a campaign necessarily reduces the quantity of expression by restricting the number of issues discussed, the depth of their exploration, and the size of the audience reached. This is because virtually every means of communicating ideas in today's mass society requires the expenditure of money. The distribution of the humblest handbill or leaflet entails printing, paper, and circulation costs. Speeches and rallies generally necessitate hiring a hall and publicizing the event."

Freedom of the press... If you can find free printing presses, free ink, free paper, and the delivery boy volunteers his labor. Without the freedom to spend money, freedom of speech doesn't get you very far.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore at March 12, 2004 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

GT, I'd find that "aqquittal" a bit more impressive if the Senate had actually allowed the House to present it's case, instead of voting to blow the charges off without a trial.

There was a trial; so I'd find your argument a bit more impressive it had any relation to reality.

Posted by: cmdicely at March 12, 2004 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

American politicians are not too partisan and bitter. They are, with few exceptions, too dissimulating and dishonorable to allow something
like the violation of an established fundamental principle or procedure crinkle their facades. This kind of passion does not exit in the U.S. legislatures anymore, although, there is no shortage of bluster. Our officials are beholden to their carreers, special intrest sustainers, minority agendas, and self-inflated sense of value to the polity they claim to serve. Rarely are any of them motivated by any thing resembling the essential and invioble.

Posted by: Abu Wassiq at March 12, 2004 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Steel cage death match?....hmmmm
Kerry plays hockey, he killed people in Nam, he's got a reach advantage....if head-butting is allowed, Bush is toast.

Tag team?
Bush would be handicapped by 'Pacemaker'Cheney, although he might whack Kerry with a sack full of Halliburton greenbacks. Kerry could probably handle both of them at once.

Now, replace Cheney with Condi Rice, that would turn Vegas on a dime.

Posted by: mojo at March 12, 2004 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Give it time, Kevin. Give it time. I got my Louisville Slugger ready, just in case.

Posted by: fightingdem at March 12, 2004 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, the idea that Washington at the end of his administration was "against parties" is a myth perpetrated by people grasping at straws to claim that partisan politics are somehow beyond the bounds of good discourse. Most people who claim this haven't read Exhibit A of paranoid politics, the Farewell Address.

If you've ever read the actual Farewell Address, Washington was primarily against people joining that other party.

Washington was perfectly happy with his own party (he clearly was a Federalist by the end of his second term) and thought that everyone should join it, not the Democratic Republican party.

Despite popular myth, by the end of his second term, Washington is not necessarily against political parties, he was just against there being more than one of them.

Posted by: Tom Spencer at March 12, 2004 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Minor point- Evidence suggests that Jesse was never a SEAL. He was in the UDF, guys who did explosives work but rarely saw combat.
Jesse will talk a lot about the SEALs, but to my knowledge he has never stepped over the line and actually claimed to have been one.
UDF were like the little brothers of the SEALs. Not nearly as sexy. Or as dangerous. But that's the job of a professional wrassler, isn't it? Looking and sounding dangerous with a minimum of actual danger.


Posted by: Carleton Wu at March 12, 2004 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Only the South Koreans aren't Confucianists. According to the CIA World Factobook, the breakdown:

Christian 49%, Buddhist 47%, Confucianist 3%, Shamanist, Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way), and other 1%


Posted by: Carleton Wu at March 12, 2004 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

GT, I'd find that "aqquittal" a bit more impressive if the Senate had actually allowed the House to present it's case, instead of voting to blow the charges off without a trial.

Judges do this all the time. They look at the charges, look at the "evidence", and they swat the case into the 3rd row like Tim Duncan.
That's what happens to trumped-up bullshit. It happens in courtrooms around the nation every day.

And, anticipating your objection, they don't have to allow the prosecution to present its entire case before doing so. Look up the word "stipulate" in a legal context and you'll get an idea of how this works.
For example, Starr accused Clinton of "abuse of power" (not a criminal charge, but one that echoes the charges against Nixon) for asserting a right to confidentiality against SS testimony. A judging body doesn't need to hear evidence before throwing something like that, which is bogus on its face, out of court.


Posted by: Carleton Wu at March 12, 2004 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, if all the Republicans in Congress were to get huffy over, say, Kerry's "crooked liars" comment and resign as one big group, I certainly wouldn't stand in their way.

Posted by: Doug Gillett at March 12, 2004 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Judges do this all the time. They look at the charges, look at the "evidence", and they swat the case into the 3rd row like Tim Duncan.

I served on a jury for a case where I expected the judge to do this because the prosecutions case had been so weak. She didn't but when we got to the jury room after the defense case and closing arguments the closest any of us came to suggesting that the defendant might be guilty was "I think that he might be dirty, but they certainly didn't prove it" I think all the rest of us had no doubt whatsoever of his innocence.

Posted by: ____league at March 12, 2004 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Cryptic Nerd,

I believe "Uri Party" roughly translates to "our party". It's a new reformist, anti-establishment party. Remember, Roh ran as a reformer, his main support coming from younger people via an internet campaign and financed by a large number of small donations from individuals. Someone would have found some excuse to impeach him, eventually. Tense economic and political situations just expedited things. I also wouldn't assume that Roh didn't want this fight--he's a feisty one.

Posted by: Robert E at March 12, 2004 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, Keiser, even if Kerry was at that meeting, he voted against the plan of action. Another right wingnut smear job from you.

Posted by: Steve Snyder at March 12, 2004 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

four legs good: "I wish we could make some of our rethugs burst into tears."

Last May, a certain Rep. Marilyn Musgrave got into a, shall we say, shouting match with fellow GOP Rep. Don Young. She was circulating a petition against the gasoline tax hike Young is floating as part of his highway package. Young says they were simply having a "conversation" on the House floor; most other reports call it "intimidation."

"I have never had a man talk to me like Mr. Young did," Musgrave said. No word whether she actually shed sweet, sweet tears -- but I wouldn't be surprised (in my experience, Young has wicked bad breath).

If I may feed keiser... So, John Kerry voted *against* an assassination plan and quit the group because of it? That doesn't sound so bad.

Posted by: Grumpy at March 12, 2004 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

It reminds me vividly of how the Republicans staged that riot during the Long Count.

Posted by: We're Non Partisan Here at March 12, 2004 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Various notes -- on S. Korean religion, the largest Christian congregations in the world are in Seoul.
On presidents of other countries and political parties -- in most parliamentary governments without monarchs, presidental candidates are nominated by political parties, but the winner is expected to be nonpartisan; of course, the largely ceremonial position doesn't offer much position for partisan action, but could allow space for partisan speechifying.

Posted by: Steve Snyder at March 12, 2004 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

I seriously doubt that being "indiscrete" would have been enough to get Clinton impeached...


GT, I'd find that "aqquittal" a bit more impressive if the Senate had actually allowed the House to present it's case... (snip)

Ya know, if you're going to snottily put quotes around other posters' typos to paint them as illiterate, you might want to keep the linguistic high ground by using "its" instead of the uncouth and wrong "it's" as a possessive.

I don't kare none bout spelin' errurs, I jes' hates snots what act like they is perfekt.

Posted by: Gaska at March 12, 2004 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

The point remains...Clinton WAS impeached.

and I'm hungry.

Posted by: Jeremiah at March 12, 2004 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

The only difference between South Korea and the Clinton impeachment is that Clinton refused to give in to the right-wing assholes who were trying to hound him from office.

Boy, I sure am glad we don't experience THIS kind of partisanship in the good ole' US of A.

Give me a break, Kev.

Posted by: Tod Westlake at March 12, 2004 01:44 PM | PERMALINK

Even more ridiculous?

The National Election Commission, which monitors campaign activities, decided not to punish Roh, saying his comments were in response to a reporter's question and could not be interpreted as campaigning, which is allowed only in the 17 days before the April 15 elections. But the commission warned that Roh could unfairly sway voter sentiment ahead of the elections. -- International Herald Tribune

Doesn't this mean that two weeks from now it would be perfectly legal for Roh to flat out campaign for his party, let alone merely express his intention to support them?

Posted by: Robert E at March 12, 2004 01:57 PM | PERMALINK

Bbbbbut, but Kerry talks to foreigners !!!

Posted by: Visualize Dead Thugs at March 12, 2004 02:13 PM | PERMALINK

FY 2005 Budget Request for Missile Defense: $10.2 billion

FY 2005 Budget Request for Port Security: $46 million

As Shumer says. All they need to do is put it on a ship.

Posted by: me at March 12, 2004 02:13 PM | PERMALINK

Is that Roh in the middle? That's hardcore. Imagine Clinton or Bush getting pulled by opposition on one side, supporters on the other. I heard on NPR that Roh refused to leave his seat there, and was finally dragged off by the opposition (the more conservative, slightly more pro-US party).

Posted by: andrew at March 12, 2004 02:34 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, South Korean politics seems less "partisan and bitter" than ours.

The President of South Korea is supposed to be neutral, like our Supreme Court. Imagine William Rehnquist actually coming out and saying, "I will do everything in my power to ensure the success of the Republican party", then refusing to apologize for saying it.

South Korea dealt with the kind of very serious infraction that we simply haven't seen. It's not a symptom that their politics are "partisan and bitter".

Posted by: dan at March 12, 2004 02:36 PM | PERMALINK

Honestly, I would not be at all surprised if things got violent in Congress in the next 8 months. This country is so polarized at this moment in history. Actually, it might be good. Ya know, let off some pressure and all that. I'm not big on violence, but both sides are going to be saying some nasty stuff in the coming months and we all remember the day the Repubs called the cops on Democrats, right? That was mild, the next several months are going to be very ineresting.

Posted by: Babba at March 12, 2004 02:45 PM | PERMALINK

Babba gets it right.


Posted by: keiser at March 12, 2004 03:20 PM | PERMALINK

Dumbo tells us a president can nearly get impeached for being indiscreet about his sexual life.

1. Clinton WAS impeached.

2. It wasn't because he had sex and lied -- it was because lied, under oath, in a proceeding before a Federal judge

And big Bill was merely defrocked, not imprisoned. Look what's happening to Martha Stewart.

And you wonder why I call him Dumbo?

Posted by: Norman Rogers at March 12, 2004 03:27 PM | PERMALINK


Confucian thought isn't a religion, it's a cultural ethos and a philosophy. I grant you Christian proselytization has made enormous inroads in South Korea but Korea was a tributary state of China until Japan formally took it over circa 1910.

Posted by: mark safranski at March 12, 2004 03:32 PM | PERMALINK


Didn't Hamilton write the Farewell address ? Or at least most of it ? That would explain the high Federalist tone.

Posted by: mark safranski at March 12, 2004 03:34 PM | PERMALINK

Damn you're right! Clinton was impeached for lying under oath! Let's pray GWB is never under oath to a judge.

Posted by: ps at March 12, 2004 03:35 PM | PERMALINK

I don't usually agree with Mark Safranski, but I will here: it's quite possible to have a Confucian outlook on life, belong to a Buddhist congregation, and carry out shamanist rituals. The idea that one set of religious beliefs necessarily precludes another needn't apply in South Korea... plenty of people could describe their religion as Protestant Christianity while retaining a Confucian outlook that they had inherited from their parents, grandparents, etc.

Posted by: Keith at March 12, 2004 04:23 PM | PERMALINK
And you wonder why I call him Dumbo?

Posted by Norman Rogers

Obviously, it's projection, Norm.

If IQ were watts you'd have a hard time lighting a flashlight.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus at March 12, 2004 04:49 PM | PERMALINK

looks like the Philadelphia City Council of the early '80's.

Posted by: ann at March 12, 2004 04:50 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that one set of religious beliefs necessarily precludes another needn't apply in South Korea... plenty of people could describe their religion as Protestant Christianity while retaining a Confucian outlook that they had inherited from their parents, grandparents, etc.

Which is how works in Hong Kong, more or less. Don't know about Korea, though.

Posted by: Anarch at March 12, 2004 06:04 PM | PERMALINK

The Taiwanese assembly has had some great brawls over the years.

Posted by: davids at March 12, 2004 08:00 PM | PERMALINK

Works much that way in Korea, too, from my observations, Anarch and Safranski. Confucianism seems to manifest pervasively, starting from the family level on up. (I lived there for a third of my life, and my parents still do, although I'm U.S.-born and my spoken Korean is so-so at best.) I have an aunt who is devoutly Christian but very Confucian in outlook.

"Uri" is "our" or "ours," yes. My impression of the usage generally (not necessarily specific to the party's name) is that it connotes a sort of modest-but-proud feeling: I'd introduce my husband (or try--his last name doesn't render well at all into Korean) as "uri nampyeon," literally "our husband," with the "our" here reading as "my." "Uri nara," "our country."

Take with copious sogeum (salt) and check against real Korea experts, however.

Posted by: yhl at March 12, 2004 08:06 PM | PERMALINK

I was over in Korea a good bit when Kim Dae Jung's
party was first taking power (I seem to be in a lot of countries right before election time; I'm wondering when some intrepid border agent is going to notice this and look askance at me coming in).

Yes, Korean politics is pretty wacky. To begin with, you have to have the right party name. That's first and foremost. It has to be uplifting, but being descriptive is optional; the most conservative party back then had the word "liberal" in their name. If your party loses, you change the name (thence the "Grand National Party", which got trounced when Kim Dae Jung came to power, so it gave itself a "namelift").

Then you have the standard bizarreness of multiparty systems, in which coalitions are formed between rivals who should by all rights be ripping each other's eyeballs out (this phenomenon is also shown in grand style by Turkey).

In Korea, party membership and loyalty have a lot to do with family ties, and history. It's "who you know". Kim Dae Jung knocked that for a loop a bit a while back (a person imprisoned for life, and the subject of a plot to assassinate him, back when the dictators were running the country [all with the approval of the good ol' U.S. of A, of course]). But it looks like after Kim's departure, it's back to "business as usual".

. . .

Even back then, four or five years ago, they had periodic brouhahas in congress, verging on brawls.

Yes, indeed, a vigourous democracy. But then again, they're still pretty new at it.


-- Arne Langsetmo

Posted by: Arne Langsetmo at March 13, 2004 01:22 AM | PERMALINK

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-- Arne Langsetmo

Posted by: Arne Langsetmo at March 13, 2004 01:30 AM | PERMALINK

Carleton Wu wrote at March 12, 2004 11:02 AM:

Minor point- Evidence suggests that Jesse was never a SEAL. He was in the UDF, guys who did explosives work but rarely saw combat. Jesse will talk a lot about the SEALs, but to my knowledge he has never stepped over the line and actually claimed to have been one. UDF were like the little brothers of the SEALs. Not nearly as sexy. Or as dangerous. But that's the job of a professional wrassler, isn't it? Looking and sounding dangerous with a minimum of actual danger.

Jesse Ventura was on UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) 12. "UDT" as a designation predates the "SEAL" designation by nearly two decades, but was dropped in 1983; those teams were re-designated SEALs; their members from before that re-designation are now counted as SEALs — and their history is part of the history of the SEALs. The SEALs in turn are part of the Navy, and I have yet to hear anyone argue that "SEALs aren't really members of the Navy, just little brothers of the Navy".

One might as well say that George Washington was not an American, but merely a Virginian (a category that predates the United States). certainly counts Ventura as a SEAL:

"Famous Navy SEALs> Richard Marcinko | Rudy Boesch | Jesse Ventura | Navy SEAL Heros"

Perhaps Carelton would like to tell that they don't know the difference?

SEAL HISTORY explains: [emphases added —R.]

Today's Naval Special Warfare operators can trace their origins to the Scouts and Raiders, Naval Combat Demolition Units, Office of Strategic Services Operational Swimmers, Underwater Demolition Teams, and Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons of World War II. While none of those early organizations have survived to present, their pioneering efforts in unconventional warfare are mirrored in the missions and professionalism of the present Naval Special Warfare warriors.

As for Carleton's ignorant and contemptible claim that UDTs "rarely saw combat", well, perhaps he simply doesn't understand what "demolition" means in wartime.

SEAL HISTORY summarizes: [emphases added —R.]

On 23 November 1943, the U. S. Marine landing on Tarawa Atoll emphasized the need for hydrographic reconnaissance and underwater demolition of obstacles prior to any amphibious landing.

After Tarawa, 30 officers and 150 enlisted men were moved to Waimanalo Amphibious Training Base to form the nucleus of a demolition-training program. This group became Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) ONE and TWO.

The UDTs saw their first combat on 31 January 1944, during Operation FLINTLOCK in the Marshall Islands. FLINTLOCK became the real catalyst for the UDT training program in the Pacific Theater. In February 1944, the Naval Combat Demolition Training and Experimental Base was established at Kihei, Maui, next to the Amphibious Base at Kamaole.

Eventually, 34 UDT teams were established. Wearing swim suits, fins, and facemasks on combat operations, these "Naked Warriors" saw action across the Pacific in every major amphibious landing including: Eniwetok, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Angaur, Ulithi, Pelilui, Leyte, Lingayen Gulf, Zambales, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Labuan, Brunei Bay, and on 4 July 1945 at Balikpapan on Borneo which was the last UDT demolition operation of the war.

The rapid demobilization at the conclusion of the war reduced the number of active duty UDTs to two on each coast with a complement of 7 officers and 45 enlisted men each.

The Korean War began on 25 June 1950, when the North Korean army invaded South Korea. Beginning with a detachment of 11 personnel from UDT 3, UDT participation expanded to three teams with a combined strength of 300 men.

As part of the Special Operations Group, or SOG, UDTs successfully conducted demolition raids on railroad tunnels and bridges along the Korean coast.

On 15 September 1950, UDTs supported Operation CHROMITE, the Amphibious landing at Inchon. UDT 1 and 3 provided personnel who went in ahead of the landing craft, scouting mud flats, marking low points in the channel, clearing fouled propellers, and searching for mines. Four UDT personnel acted as wave-guides for the Marine landing.

In October 1950, UDTs supported mine-clearing operations in Wonsan Harbor where frogmen would locate and mark mines for minesweepers. On 12 October 1950, two U.S. minesweepers hit mines and sank. UDTs rescued 25 sailors. The next day, William Giannotti conducted the first U.S. combat operation using an "aqualung" when he dove on the USS PLEDGE.

For the remainder of the war, UDTs conducted beach and river reconnaissances, infiltrated guerrillas behind the lines from sea, continued mine sweeping operations, and participated in Operation FISHNET, which severely damaged the North Koreans' fishing capability.

Responding to President Kennedy's desire for the Services to develop an Unconventional Warfare (UW) capability, the U.S. Navy established SEAL Teams ONE and TWO in January of 1962. Formed entirely with personnel from Underwater Demolition Teams, the SEALs' mission was to conduct counter guerilla warfare and clandestine operations in maritime and riverine environments.   [...]

The UDTs again saw combat in Vietnam while supporting the Amphibious Ready Groups. When attached to the riverine groups the UDTs conducted operations with river patrol boats and, in many cases, patrolled into the hinterland as well as along the riverbanks and beaches in order to destroy obstacles and bunkers. Additionally, UDT personnel acted as advisors.

On May 1, 1983, all UDTs were re-designated as SEAL Teams or Swimmer Delivery Vehicle Teams (SDVT). SDVTs have since been re-designated SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams.

So, let's see... WWII, Korea, Vietnam... I suppose Carleton could say the UDTs as a separate group "rarely saw combat", if by that he means they only saw combat whenever there was combat to be seen, in every war the US sent any forces to, between their founding and their re-designation as SEALs.

And of this proud history, Carleton has the unmitigated gall to say, condescendingly, "UDF were like the little brothers of the SEALs. Not nearly as sexy. Or as dangerous. But that's the job of a professional wrassler, isn't it? Looking and sounding dangerous with a minimum of actual danger."

Go say it in person to a SEAL, Carleton.   Any SEAL.   Anywhere, any time.

Posted by: Raven at March 24, 2004 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

More on Jesse Ventura: is the website devoted to exposing phony SEALs.

They have a page on Ventura: "Was Jesse a SEAL?"

A source at the Naval Special Warfare Command states:
Our take is that Jesse Ventura is a SEAL. He even did his reserve time in SEAL Team ONE. He earned and wears the Trident....Captain Larry Bailey is probably the best guy to talk to about this, but OFFICIALLY, we think it's splitting hairs by Salisbury. The Navy considers Jesse Ventura to be a former SEAL. Hope that helps.

Captain Larry Bailey states:


Jesse Ventura went through UDT/SEAL Class 58 in 1970 and was assigned to UDT-12, where he spent three years (including three deployments to Subic Bay, Philippines). As a UDT frogman, he operated in Viet Nam waters and earned the US Viet Nam Service Ribbon. He undoubtedly, like so many UDT men of that era, went ashore in Viet Nam for short periods of time. After he was released from active duty in 1973, he joined Reserve SEAL Team ONE. The point here is that all graduates of BUD/S are referred to within the Naval Special Warfare community as SEALs. They received the same training, whether they went to SEAL Teams or Underwater Demolition Teams. The case made by Commander Salisbury on Fox News Channel recently is without merit; Jesse Ventura is a SEAL by any definition.

Larry Bailey, Captain, USN (Ret.)

R.D. and Pam Russell, Co-Directors of Navel Special Warfare Archives state:

The official viewpoint of the Archives is that Jesse was a SEAL. He completed BUD/S and the SEAL course in the desert. The West Coast used UDT as a manpower pool so they could pull people at any time without there being a training delay.

There you have it: three "official" statements! Any questions???

[end quote]

Posted by: Raven at March 25, 2004 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

One more "official" source, and is about as official as it gets:

           The United States Navy on the World Wide Web
   A service of the Navy Office of Information, Washington DC  
      send feedback/questions to  
  The United States Navy web site is found on the Internet at  

NAVY WIRE SERVICE (NWS) - 5 August 1999 -
This transmission contains 7 stories.
NWS5Aug-1. USS Inchon Task Group completes deployment
NWS5Aug-2. Former SEAL highlights Fleet Week `99


NWS5Aug-2. Former SEAL highlights Fleet Week `99
by Lt. Rick Haupt, TRICARE Southern California public
affairs, and Lt.j.g. Tom Greer, Navy Special Warfare Center
Public Affairs

CORONADO, Calif. (NWS) -- Jesse Ventura, Minnesota
Governor and former Navy SEAL, spoke at the local Rotary
Club, secured "Hell Week" for Basic Underwater Demolition /
SEAL (BUD/S) Class 226 and delivered the keynote address at
the San Diego Armed Services YMCA-sponsored All Services
Enlisted Ball July 29 and 30.


     Finally, Governor Ventura had the opportunity to
socialize with former teammates still on active duty,


     Ventura enlisted in the Navy in 1969, trained here as a
Navy SEAL in BUD/S Class 58, and served two tours in
Vietnam. He left active duty in 1973 and served two years in
a reserve status.
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