Retiring From Political Blogging (UPDATED)

November 5, 2008 at 2:03 pm | Posted in American politics | 51 Comments

UPDATED

Barack Obama has won the election and will become our next president. This will bring to an end the worst administration in our nation’s history. The war in Iraq will finally end. We may be able to regain some of the respect we lost thanks to George Bush and Dick Cheney. I don’t expect Obama to rule perfectly, or even close. I expect him to anger me with a few of his choices. But I see him improving our country far better than John McCain could ever do. And with that, I will retire from blogging about politics. I’ve tried and tried to get away, but now I have no reason to continue. At least not for a long while. 😉

The Original Post

Ten years ago I made a decision I’ve regretted for the last eight years. I chose to study International Politics at Brigham Young University. I regret it because of how hateful this jump into the realm of politics has left me. I’ve come to the conclusion that this world of politics is just not for me. I am a passionate man who has strong feelings about various topics. Mix that with the potency, no the powder keg that is American politics and it jumps far too often into the ugly. The constant focus on the political has taken me off track from the principles of the Gospel that are near my heart. As such, I am retiring from blogging about politics.

When I got to BYU in May 1998, I first had the thought of studying music (which I had done previously in California and at UVSC). I wanted to study composition, but at BYU, any major in music required the mastering of an instrument. I had played the saxophone in high school, and just intermittently after that. After my mission, I played only a few times and it was clear that I had lost some of the touch I had in high school. I didn’t have the motivation to play 2 hours a day, which was basically required to master the instrument, so I had to find some other field of study. In 1997, I flirted with being a pilot. I took a class in piloting at UVSC and flew above Utah Lake a couple of times. But I wasn’t ready to handle the upfront costs of being a pilot.

I chose politics because I was interested in the study of how people and nations related to each other and within each nation one with another. I loved comparative politics, as opposed to international theory, and I took the course of comparative politics. For my senior paper, I wrote on the Romanian election of 2000, entitled “Jos Mafia! Sus Patria!” the calling card of Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the ultra-nationalist who had received the second highest vote total in the election.

I wasn’t fully happy with this degree even during its course at BYU, mostly because there are few good jobs in the world of politics. During the summers, I worked as a tour bus driver in Alaska and was planning to do that for a couple of years, like my good friend Matt, who is still working in tourism in Alaska. But in August 2001 I was fired from my job because I had three speeding tickets on my record (not the bus driving record, but my regular car). So I drove east to Massachusetts to spend some time with my family and get new bearings.

On that drive east, this happened!

It was quite shocking. I was driving down from Edmonton through Regina, Saskatchewan. I stopped at a Wal-Mart to get an oil change (4000 mile drive) and the guy said that America was at war. I was listening to tapes on my tape deck and not the radio. I saw on their TV what happened and was as shocked as anyone else. I heard the borders were closing so I rushed down to North Dakota (my original plan was to drive east, north of the Great Lakes to Montreal and then south to Massachusetts) and made sure I was back in the US before something else happened. On that day few knew what else might occur. I detoured north of New York City to avoid any problems in the city and finally arrived in the east.

I got a job working at Brown University Library and found I liked the environment. It’s hard not to like Brown University. The campus is gorgeously set on a hill with massive old trees and red brick buildings. It’s a beautiful, quiet, bubble. After almost two years of working there, I decided to pursue a degree in library science. I got my masters and have worked in libraries ever since.

Throughout all this, I kept up far too closely with the goings on in the political world. I learned early on that the Bush administration was hoodwinking America. I remembered Colin Powell’s assertion in February 2001 that sanctions had worked against Saddam and that he wasn’t projecting any weapons of mass destruction. That just didn’t jibe with the new talking points post-9/11 that the administration was projecting. I argued with friends that there were serious issues with what was going on. That Saddam wasn’t a threat to us. That Israel wasn’t feeling any threat from Saddam, so why were we? That Israel wasn’t preparing for Saddam to hit them, so why were we? Surely he would hit Israel before deciding to hit us. Israel is merely a hundred or so miles away. We are 8000 miles away! None of this made any sense and I could not understand why so many Americans and Mormons would believe otherwise. I still can’t believe it.

I came to the conclusion early on that I chose the wrong time to begin the study of politics. This would be a very ugly time in our nation’s history. The division would be very acute. And there would be losses because of this division. And there are. It is no longer worth it to me to blog about politics. I chose to blog about politics because I felt it would be a way for me to let off the steam I had at our politicians making the stupid choices they were. It’s worked at some points, but it also ends up feeding the anger, because nothing really changes. The amount of influence one person like me could possibly have is very very small. My passion is greater than my ability to influence politics towards the direction I wish to see it go. There is an imbalance there and it leads to more trouble than it is worth.

There is a spark of hope for the future if Barack Obama wins in November. But alas, I’ve come to the conclusion that unless the Democratic party has strong control of Congress, he will not be able to effectively make the changes that need to be made in our country. Republicans will do all in their power to UNDERMINE him. They won’t just not help. They will actively do what they can to ensure he can’t function well. And then they will use their megaphones to hype up the impotency of Obama’s administration. This is what I’ve come to believe after eight years of close inspection of politics. This is how much cynicism I have towards the Republican party. I honestly cannot say anything nice about them right now. I believe they have unilaterally grabbed the mantra of “family values” to claim that their political opponents don’t stand for family values, when of course this is plain false. Family values are above political biases. I believe they use anything they can to strike a point against their opponents. I believe they focus too much on attempts to belittle and demean their opponent rather than on building something positive about themselves. I am so anti-Republican right now that I’m truly shocked. They have so thoroughly discredited themselves in my eyes that I cannot see the good in what they do. Could this be because I read mostly liberal leaning blogs? Maybe. I think the greater culprit is the Republican brand. They choose policies I don’t agree with and then attack their opponent on patriotism, on caring for the country, on character. It is very poor branding for someone like me. I’d prefer that we stick to debating the issues rather than the character of the individual. But that is impossible with the Republicans making the character of the individual a central core of their policies. They deify their heroes (for example, Ronald Reagan) and devil-fy their opponents (for example trying to compare Obama to Paris Hilton). That kind of strategy turns me off like nothing else.

On the Democratic side, I can’t stand the feeble cowards that Democratic leaders have become in these last eight years. Stand up for yourselves you fools! Don’t be the cowards your opponents paint you as. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Take the risk. Stand for what is right, stand for what is good. I keep seeing news reports of various votes taken in the Senate, for example, with a vote of 51-48, or 53-44, or something where the Democrats won the actual vote count, but somehow lost the battle. I can’t help but think WHAT THE HELL!!!!!! Force the Republicans to actually filibuster Mr. Senate Majority Leader! Why do you cave when you won the vote? Force the Republicans to look foolish reading the local yellow pages for hours on end. What the hell are you thinking? Why can’t you be removed from your post, sir? Who has the ability to fire you? Who can we put in your place who has some balls of steel? Force the Republicans to filibuster, Mr. Reid. Jeez!

If the Democratic party had more balls (or let’s say more courage, because anatomically not all the Democrats in Congress can have balls), the Republicans wouldn’t be able to get away with as much crap as they have been, and my ire toward the Republicans wouldn’t be as great. This isn’t relegated just to the Senate, or even the House (where Democrats have safer seats and can get away with saying bolder things—they still don’t!—they’re still beholden to AT&T on spying on Americans). The party elite, like Mrs. Clinton, have failed badly, have abrogated their Constitutional duties when in power, and have allowed Mr. Bush to expand his authority far beyond what is allowed by the Constitution.

This is why my hope for the future is right now, but a spark. Mr. Obama speaks of great things. But to do such great things, one must have a horde of people behind you to get those things done. A politician does not reside in a vacuum. Mr. Obama is surrounded by weak democrats who cower at the first sound of a “Boo!” from a Republican operative. They run scared. It’s become so bad that the media goes along with this standard narrative. I’m seeing some changes. I’m seeing the media start to question Republicans a bit more harshly. But it is not enough. And this is the fault of the Democratic leaders, the elite, who have stayed silent for far too long.

I wish Mr. Obama luck. I know he will win in November. Mr. McCain has made a mess of things with his choice of VP. It will become a millstone around his neck. I fear she will be thrown under the bus, with her cute, but tragic family, unready for the national spotlight. What a sleazebag. Mr. McCain is a horrible candidate and Republicans should stop lying to themselves that he is anything good. They’ve got to save face, though, so they will pretend he is a good candidate. But he is truly utterly horrible. He may have been good in 2000, but Republicans went with the bad candidate then. Thankfully they did not go with Giuliani this year. That would have been utterly, utterly awful. As Biden said, the man is truly not qualified to be president. But McCain is not any better. And Republicans know it.

So this will be my last post on this blog. I shan’t post anymore. I’m starting a new career as of tomorrow. I will now be Mr. SAHD. I will be taking care of our lovely daughter, go to read-alongs at the local library, take her to dance class, or to the beach, or just simply hang out at home together.

So with that, I end this career and go find a more rewarding one.

Ciao,

Dan

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51 Comments »

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  1. Dan, I have an enormous amount of respect, primarily for you and, also for your decision on political blogging. I must say, I love this post you’ve left us and recommend you sending it on the Pelosi, Reid, and Obama. Tell them that it represents the majority of American political thought. I wish you well in your future as a SAHD. Also, I hope we’ll continue to keep in touch. And, if you ever do come out west, you and your family will certainly have a place at our house. Good day then, -wade-

  2. Wow Dan. Best of luck to you. In all sincerity, your little one there means more than all of the politics in the world. I have some kids too and had to make a choice at one point in my life to go and wave signs and protest, or to follow the Spirit of the Lord which was telling me to study the Book of Mormon more closely and to raise up my children in righteousness. Glad I chose to follow teh Spirit there. Take care amigo.

  3. God bless you and your good intentions. I don’t approve of you giving up. But then again, maybe you’re just moving on. I didn’t know you had your own blog until today. I used to lean towards the democratic side of politics, but family values are very important to me and I just don’t see them doing well with democratic politics. Read my political views on my “about me” section in facebook. I’m not entirely republican, but I do lean the right way.

  4. Honey,

    I couldn’t be more proud. You are amazing with our daughter and she loves you so. I look forward to what this brings in the next chapter of our life together.

    Love,

    Jaime

  5. I think you’ve made the right choice for yourself. When righteous indignation mixes with the frustration of inaction, it gets highly tiresome. This is among the many reasons why I choose to largely ignore national politics. (I’ve actually had some influence at the state and local levels.)

  6. Say it isn’t so! What would we do without your dissenting voice??? We need you!

    That is one cute picture of a dad and his little doll :).

  7. Dan, I know we have disagreed in the past, but I as I have mentioned previously–and do so again now–I respect your zeal in defending your beliefs.

    You have a wonderful family and I wish you nothing but the best in your decision to leave political blogging behind.

  8. Thanks for the comments everyone. I’m still going to keep up on the news and blogs. But I’m not going to comment much. I’ve thought much about the following exchange from Fiddler on the Roof:

    Villager: Why should I break my head about the outside world? Let the outside world break its own head.

    Tevye: Well put! He is right. As the Good Book says, “If you spit in the air, it lands in your face. ”

    Revolutionary: Nonsense! You can’t close your eyes to what’s happening in the world.

    Tevye: He is right!!

    Avraham: He’s right and he’s right? They can’t both be right!!!

    Tevye: You know, you are also right.

    How much I would rather that the world go break its own head. Unfortunately, we can’t close our eyes to what is going on. Eventually we may be forced out of our own houses without realizing it.

  9. I understand your feelings on this, Dan. The political atmosphere is so poisoned and so divided and the tactics used by the major parties in their attempts to maintain and enlarge their positions of power these days that national elections have become the next best thing to a state of war (or so it appears to me).

    I imagine that covering politics on a day-to-day basis isn’t probably all that different from working as an undercover police officer in the vice squad — eventually it just gets to you and you have to get out to maintain any semblance of virtue or self-respect you might be clinging to. Sorry to see you give it up, but I’m certainly not surprised.

    Good luck to you in the future.

  10. oops — make that “The political atmosphere is so poisoned and so divided and the tactics used by the major parties in their attempts to maintain and enlarge their positions of power these days are so heinous that…”

  11. what? i thought you were kidding when you said that on fMh.

  12. mfranti,

    Nope, I was very serious. I tried to make a comment on fMh, but my comments kept going to spam.

  13. I wish you well in finding peace.

  14. God bless, Dan.

  15. I should add, I haven’t given up on politics. After tonight’s awful speeches from the Republicans, I finally donated to Obama’s campaign. That is the first time I have ever given a politician money. It is amazing the lies that the Republicans want to go on. What a shameful group they have become.

    Mr. Obama, I wish you luck. Please, oh please crush the Republicans. Humiliate them to the point where they may actually start to realize how utterly awful they have become, because clearly they are unable to see how bad they really are.

  16. “After tonight’s awful speeches…”

    I would have to disagree (SURPRISE). I thought tonights speeches were spectacular! Especially Rudy’s. My gut feeling is that your donations to Mr. Obama are going to be a waste 🙂 Sorry to hear you are no longer blogging.

  17. Joe,

    Didn’t you find the attacks on community organizers distasteful and repugnant? It was an especially ironic attack (both times by two white people) when those community organizers tend to help poor blacks in urban areas. You wonder why blacks only give Republicans about 10% of their vote.

    And why did you think Rudy’s speech was any good? He took so long that it broke the narrative that the McCain campaign was going for. They had to scrap a propaganda video introducing Palin to the world because Giuliani took so long. He may have worked the crowd there, but let me tell you, on prime time TV, he looked guttural, brutish, nasty, angry. Those are turnoffs, not turn ons. He was, really, a gift to Democrats. Compare Giuliani’s speech to that of Obama’s (or frankly anyone at the Democratic convention—maybe Bill Clinton could be the comparative) and Giuliani just looked like a crazed lunatic.

  18. The Republican Convention can best be described in one word: schizoid.

    The keep talking about how change is needed, but then they also keep talking about what a fine, fine job Bush has done.

    The HAL 9000 computer in “2001: A Space Odyssey” could not possibly have been more conflicted than these Republicans are.

    So, what I’d like to know is: who wrote Miss Alaska’s speech? I’m sure she didn’t do it herself. And if this is the case, I would think that some of the praise she’s received for that speech should be withdrawn. It’s one thing to be able to read a speech well, and another thing altogether to be able to put the words together yourself.

    Actors at least try, from time to time, to give the screenplay writers their due, but politicians? Not a chance.

  19. Hey Dan,

    I am truly sorry to read this post. When I saw that comment on you Fb site, I thought it was idle chatter. I’ve been reading your blogs off and on for a few years now, and I do respect your opinions.

    Since our “little exchange” on Facebook this morning, you might be surprised to learn that I actually read the platforms of Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin. I agreed with about 80% of the platforms of both parties. And I find that a bit scary. Have I become that liberal over the past 10 years?

    I have to say that the thought of an Obama presidency doesn’t scare me any more 9(and it never really has. Clinton was the scary one to me…). He seems like a likable guy, and well-meaning. If he can get even 1/4 of what he proposes enacted, America will be on its way to being a better place. But then, I could say the same thing for McCain… The question is: is it all talk, or will the winner step up and fulfill his promises?

  20. I really hate all this President-worship that goes on every 4 years. The President — if he were to take his oath of office seriously and take the time to read and understand the Constitution — isn’t some kind of God-King who will make everything all better. The real power resides with Congress, which controls the purse strings, and makes the laws. Sure, the President can veto a law he doesn’t like, but he can still have that veto overridden.

    We need to quit looking at the office of the President as some kind of political Savior, and get the Congress-critters to understand that they really are supposed to be the guys running the show.

    We should worry far more about who we elect to Congress than who gets to live in the White House for 4 years.

  21. And yes, the President gets to propose people to be Supreme Court justices, but if the Congress would wake up and realize it doesn’t have to rubber stamp everything the President does, we’d see that it’s up to the Congress to make sure the right people end up making the major decisions in the Supreme Court.

  22. Dan, I’ve enjoyed many of your comments and I’m glad you are prioritizing your own sanity. I have been spending less time on the blogs recently myself. As you probably concluded, many of the buffoons who mocked and criticized you were unable and unwilling to deal with the evidence you presented, living as some of them do in bubbles impervious to reality.

    I first contributed to Obama in 2007 and ponied up some more after NH and after OH/TX. I thought I had already done my part, but after the shameless and mean-spirited displays on Wednesday night, I contributed again.

    Knowing what a disaster George W. would be, I was a McCain supporter and contributor in 2000. Sadly, he has been almost completely coopted since then. That’s what was so sad about his speech yesterday night. He kept touching on the admirable themes that he used to authentically represent.

    Mark N., the Palin speech was written by Matthew Scully, onetime speechwriter for Quayle and W. Bush, who incidentally wrote a recent semi-backstabbing piece about a colleague:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200709/michael-gerson

  23. Mark N.,

    That truly was a despicable Republican convention. I said, over on Mormon Mentality, to Seth, that this is a war. Pat Buchanan said it back in 1992. Just because his party hasn’t vocalized it since then as a “culture war” or a “religious war” doesn’t mean it isn’t. What was on display this week in St. Paul was an amassing of the Republican army in the culture war against the rest of Americans. They claim unity and then use division as their tactics. They are so far unhinged that they honestly cannot tell anymore what is real and not.

    The real power resides with Congress, which controls the purse strings, and makes the laws.

    Sadly, not anymore. We truly are following in the footsteps of the Roman Empire.

    Mike D.,

    Have I become that liberal over the past 10 years?

    That’s not a bad thing. I’m really a moderate, but I despise what the Republicans are doing right now. I would have voted for McCain in 2000. But today’s McCain is NOT the McCain of 2000. Today’s McCain is a slave to the Republican base. He sold his “maverick” soul.

    Bill,

    As you probably concluded, many of the buffoons who mocked and criticized you were unable and unwilling to deal with the evidence you presented, living as some of them do in bubbles impervious to reality.

    I’m glad someone else saw that. Thank you.

  24. Daniel,

    Rudy looked “guttural, brutish, nasty, angry” ? Really? I thought he looked happy, fun, entertaining, wise, and lighthearted. I am glad he took so long because it was awesome, I wish he would have gone longer. Not that Palin’s speech was bad, but I enjoyed Rudy’s more. The community organizer part was hilarious!!! I don’t know what a community organizer does. Apparently you do. They “tend” to help black people huh? what does that mean???

    Mark N – “It’s one thing to be able to read a speech well, and another thing altogether to be able to put the words together yourself.” Does Obama right his speeches?

  25. Joe,

    I don’t know what a community organizer does.

    Why don’t you look it up. Then go back to Giuliani’s talk and try to find what was so funny about it.

    Does Obama right his speeches?

    Actually yes, he does.

  26. On that last point, about speech writing. I think it is very sad that today’s politicians can’t stand by their own words and require the talents of others to project themselves falsely upon the populace. This goes for all politicians that don’t write their own speeches. It’s one thing to get some help here and there, or to make sure your speech is vetted, but, please, guys—and gals—tell us what you REALLY think.

  27. I don’t know what a community organizer does. Apparently you do. They “tend” to help black people huh? what does that mean???

    Whatever it is, it apparently doesn’t involve big, or bigger, government. You are in favor of smaller government, right?

  28. nice point Mark.

  29. Daniel,
    I just recently found your blog from FMH and then right after I find you it you post this. I am a little disappointing. I find so many similarities in our beliefs I was excited to find your blog.

    I am glad that you aren’t retiring completely and I understand needing to take a step back. I am obsessive about politics and sometimes let them consume my life a little too much.

    I also have to add I agree with you so much about the republican party. I have debated a lot with my family about them hiding behind “family values”. I see it as a wolf in sheep’s clothing and I am extremely fearful of my rights if they take office again for the next 4 years.

    Anyway sorry to go off on a tagent I just needed to add my two cents.

  30. His experience as a community organizer “taught Obama to listen well and get along with all kinds of people, Kellman says.” The ciriticism the Republicans were raising is that obama has no expreience as an executive. He has never been held accountable, forced to make a decision. No one is saying that a community organizer is a bad thing. Listening and getting along with people are good skills to have, but it is just doesn’t give him experience in making tough decisions. Which a president needs to be good at. http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-09-04-community_N.htm

    Obama does not write his speeches. Mr Favraeu does. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/fashion/20speechwriter.html

  31. Joe,

    Listening and getting along with people are good skills to have, but it is just doesn’t give him experience in making tough decisions.

    And John McCain has so much executive experience….er….what “tough decisions” did McCain have to make?

    Obama doesn’t make his few years as a community organizer a major part of the reason we should be voting for him. Not say, like, oh John McCain makes a big stink about his time as a POW. What, er, what “tough decisions” did he make then that would give him the experience to lead our country?

    With so much emphasis on his POW days, I get the impression the GOP wants us to vote for McCain BECAUSE he was a POW. Well, lots of Americans were POW in Vietnam, including one Senator Kerry. I distinctly recall that McCain told Kerry not to focus on his days in Vietnam. I also distinctly remember that the GOP was arguing that Kerry’s years in Vietnam did not make him qualified for the president. Yet now they parade a POW around and say, “vote for him because he was a POW.”

  32. No executive experience that I know of. But here was an example of decision making used at the RNC, I think by Rudy 🙂 McCain said “we are all georgians” That same day Obama said that both russia and georgia were at fault and should talk to each other to solve disputes… but the next day said actually the UN should solve dispute… upon realizing that russia has veto power in UN the next day said essentially what McCain did on the first day. That is a good example of the difference between the two 🙂

    What tough decision did McCain make as a POW???? Did you not watch the RNC? He was offered release, but DECIDED to stay because leaving would disgrace the U.S, and it would be demoralizing to the other prisoners there. That was the honorable thing to do, but it caused him to bear a heavy cross. I don’t want to spit Republican bull, but he put his country first.

    Your right that McCain’s service alone does NOT qualify someone for the presidency. There have been too many to count that have done the same thing. But then take that love of country he developed and place him in the senate and “he’ll read about some act of selfishness — a corrupt Pentagon contract, Jack Abramoff’s scandals — and he’ll spend the next several months punishing wrongdoing.” Is it surprising to you, that someone willing to be tortured to defend his country’s honor will stand up fiercely to corruption that rapes this country?

    McCain is a veteran at dealing with politics, and has given ample examples of his tough decisions being right, even though difficult at the time. Just look at the surge. We would not have growing peace in Iraq right now without it. But no one is “voting for him because he was a POW” just like no one is voting for obama cause he is black. Lets not make stupid accusations 😉

  33. Daniel,
    At risk of pointing out the obvious, you said this would be your last post, but you are still posting! What gives?

  34. radical mormon,

    eh, I’m working on it. It’s a process. 😛

    Joe,

    said essentially what McCain did on the first day.

    Really? Obama said “we are all Georgians?” Sorry, but McCain is not right on Georgia.

    I don’t want to spit Republican bull, but he put his country first.

    That’s not an example of putting your country first. Besides which, what does that have to do with actually running a country? Nothing really. But it is a divisive issue. The Republicans are saying, “look McCain puts his country first, and our opponent doesn’t.” That’s the basic gist of this. But again, nothing showing how he would actually lead, except that he would divide his people.

    But then take that love of country he developed and place him in the senate and “he’ll read about some act of selfishness — a corrupt Pentagon contract, Jack Abramoff’s scandals — and he’ll spend the next several months punishing wrongdoing.”

    Except that it wasn’t John McCain who “punished” the wrongdoers. McCain himself may not have ties to Abramoff, but he has all sorts of ties to those same kinds of lobbyists like Abramoff. He has 26+ years of missed opportunities to take on those very same people he says he will take on. But to do so would mean to take on his very own campaign! That’s where the lobbyists are right now!

    Is it surprising to you, that someone willing to be tortured to defend his country’s honor will stand up fiercely to corruption that rapes this country?

    Willing to be tortured? You realized he gave a false confession because of that torture. But again, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Furthermore, once again, he has had 26+ years to “stand up fiercely to corruption” and what does he have to show for it? Um, in the words of Giulani, “zero, nothing, NADA!”

    McCain is a veteran at dealing with politics, and has given ample examples of his tough decisions being right, even though difficult at the time.

    Where? Was he right about demanding a full withdrawal out of Somalia? Was he right in demanding a withdrawal out of Lebanon? Was he right in demanding a stop to the bombing of Serbia? Was he right in October 2001 that the next target should be Iraq? Was he right that we needed less than 100,000 troops to go into Iraq in 2002?

    What exactly has John McCain been right about? It surely is hard to be right about much when you spend 90% of the time with the most wrong president in our nation’s history.

    Just look at the surge.

    Forget the surge dude. It has failed. It has not accomplished its stated goal: political reconciliation. Forget the surge. Look at the original decision. On which side was John McCain?

    But no one is “voting for him because he was a POW” just like no one is voting for obama cause he is black.

    Um, Obama hasn’t made his race a centerpiece of his campaign like McCain has made his POW a centerpiece of his campaign. If Obama had, I would not vote for him. I don’t vote for someone because he is black, white, Asian or Hispanic. I vote for someone because of what they promise to do. I really could care less if someone was a POW. Lots of people were POW. That does not make them qualified to lead our nation.

    Lets not make stupid accusations

    You mean like accusing Obama and his supporters of NOT putting “country first?” You mean like accusing Obama and his supporters of not being patriotic enough? Of not wearing flag pins?

    I’m all for not making stupid accusations, Joe, but I think you need to direct that particular advice toward your party and your candidate. It is HE AND THE REPUBLICANS that are making the stupid accusations.

  35. “No matter how this conflict started, Russia has escalated it well beyond the dispute over South Ossetia and invaded another country… There is no possible justification for these attacks.
    The United States, Europe and all other concerned countries must stand united in condemning this aggression…” -Obama

    You don’t care about McCain’s military experience, fine. But Obama gave his acceptance speech on the anniversary of MLK’s. Hmmm coincidence? Oh and many times Obama has said “they will say that I don’t look like all those other presidents…” Who said that? No one but Barrack has brought up the race card. Like you say though this is unimportant.

  36. McCain is not going to completely eliminate lobbyists, neither is Obama.

    But look at McCain’s record of standing up to corruption, not just lobbyists. He investigated the Boeing contract and found billions in wasted money. He led the investigation of Abrahamoff. He tried to pass anti smoking laws (against lobbyists wishes). He fights to make earmarks more transparent and require a super marjority. Keep in mind that many of these examples were met with high resistance by conservatives.

    But maybe you can give examples of Obama fighting corruption? Community organizing does not qualify.

    The surge has brought peace to Iraq. If that is not a high enough goal than you got issues. Ther is much to gain still in political reconciliation, but withdrawing would have left a situation without political reconciliation and massive violence. In other words a civil war. Obama was flat out wrong. I highly suggest this short article:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/24/opinion/24brooks.html

  37. Joe,

    I can’t see how that quote from Obama makes him equal to McCain’s statement that “we are all Georgians.” Can you not see the difference?

    The surge has brought peace to Iraq. If that is not a high enough goal than you got issues.

    Nope, that is not a high enough goal, because unless there is political reconciliation, that peace is temporary at best. Is that really what you want? A mere band aid?

    but withdrawing would have left a situation without political reconciliation and massive violence.

    That’s not definitive. That’s just one possible scenario. It’s a worst case scenario, but it’s not the ONLY result of America withdrawing.

    And, no David Brooks doesn’t know what he is talking about. No need to read him.

  38. They both condemned Russia’s actions. I am sorry Obama did not use McCain’s exact words so that you could understand.

    Peace is not a high enough goal for you? Political reconciliation is now your highest goal. Hmmm, thanks for justifying any and all wars 🙂 🙂 🙂

    And I will take a band aid over decapitation any day! I have yet to understand what exactly you think will reconcile Iraq’s political parties when our troops withdraw. There is no doubt that the easiest way for two parties to reconcile is through the destruction of one of them. I am curious what your other scenarios are? If the two sides cannot come together in a temporary peace, the only other solution is through war.

    Just look at your last comment about David Brooks. You won’t even read him at peace in the U.S. Please explain why you would read him if he was sending suicide bombers into your hometown and killing your relatives?

  39. Joe,

    Indeed they both condemned Russia’s actions. But McCain pressed further toward a provocation of war with Russia over tiny Georgia. Obama has not. This is key. See, if you say “we are all Georgians,” that implies that when a Georgian gets killed by a Russian, “all Georgians” have a responsibility to react. If all of America is Georgian, then all of America has the same responsibility to react with the rest of Georgia. Can you see the difference in what the rhetoric means?

    Peace is not a high enough goal for you? Political reconciliation is now your highest goal. Hmmm, thanks for justifying any and all wars

    DUDE! There is NO peace without political reconciliation. You can kill as many people as you want, but until you and they reconcile, there is no peace.

    I have yet to understand what exactly you think will reconcile Iraq’s political parties when our troops withdraw.

    Similarly, I have yet to understand what exactly you think will reconcile Iraq’s political parties with our troops there!

    We’re a CRUTCH, dude. We’re not helping.

    There is no doubt that the easiest way for two parties to reconcile is through the destruction of one of them.

    Are you kidding me? Tell me, how’s that working between the Israelis and Palestinians? How’s that working between the Israelis and Lebanese? You don’t seem to get it, Joe. You cannot kill your way to peace. It is impossible.

    If the two sides cannot come together in a temporary peace, the only other solution is through war.

    No. The removal of American troops will force the various parties of Iraq to get real, to realize that they must find a way to govern their country. And if they cannot, then their country must fall. I don’t see how it is any of our concern anymore, frankly.

    Ah, David Brooks. He makes sense when he says that Republicans are unfit to govern. But when he panders to the Republican line, he is unfit to tell America what America should do.

  40. Holy smokes!!! you read a lot into one little sentence!!! McCain pressed toward a further provocation of war? please, come one. Did you bother to read the speech? The quote I lifted was from the section in which he was offering prayer and support for Georgia. Why don’t you go read things in context before you read into it implications. But let me restate the similarity between the two:

    Obama- “The United States, Europe and all other concerned countries must stand united in condemning this aggression.”

    McCain- “With our allies, we must stand in united purpose to persuade the Russian government to withdraw its troops from Georgia.”

    Ha ha ha. NO peace without political reconciliation? The North was not politically reconciled with the South and it resulted in the Civil War. Now, I am pretty sure the North won that war, not because the two sides reconciled, but because the North beat the South into submission. You say otherwise?

    I have no magical answer that will reconcile Iraq’s political parties. But that is the whole point of the surge. It is to give Iraq the chance to politically reconcile in a time of peace. For if they cannot come together in peace, they will NOT come together. You yourself have no idea on how to reconcile them other than withdrawing. You say it will work because they will be forced to reconcile or to fall. This condition you create demonstrates your shallow understanding of history. Their country will not fall when one side uses force to subjugate the other (see our Civil War if you doubt this). But this of course is not political reconciliation, it is political surpression. Their options are not limited by withdrawing, they are opened up to ambition and bloodshed. If you don’t think it is our concern, fine leave them to more endless violence. But we have finally achieved peace there. Throwing them back into violence simply because you are selfish is not exactly taking care of your neighbor.

    Ah I see, David Brooks is wrong only when his views are Republican. And you think political reconciliation is possible? Lets hope Iraqi’s don’t decide things like you do.

  41. you read a lot into one little sentence!!!

    That’s because words have power dude.

    McCain pressed toward a further provocation of war?

    Yep, indeed. You choose one quote, but forget the rest. Take a look at his VP saying “perhaps” when asked if we should go to war with Russia.

    Ha ha ha. NO peace without political reconciliation? The North was not politically reconciled with the South and it resulted in the Civil War.

    You know, if it takes a civil war for Iraq to reconcile, then so be it. Can you imagine what would have happened if someone interfered with OUR civil war? Would we have reconciled?

    Don’t get caught up in the Republican stereotype that those who don’t like the Iraq war are against all wars. We’re not. We’re against dumb wars.

    But that is the whole point of the surge. It is to give Iraq the chance to politically reconcile in a time of peace.

    THANK YOU. I’m glad someone who supports this war finally realizes what the true purpose of the surge was. Will you acknowledge here and now that it has failed in its stated goal?

    But we have finally achieved peace there

    Sadly, as usual, you have not fully learned. We have not achieved “peace.” We’ve gone back to the levels of violence in 2005. You must have forgotten how bad it was back then to think that today’s level of violence is “peace.” It is not dude.

    Lets hope Iraqi’s don’t decide things like you do.

    Indeed. I’ve lost complete respect for the Republican party and cannot trust them to lead this fine nation anymore. The Republican party needs to take major steps toward improving their ability to govern. For one, they need to step back into the real world. Sadly, that will not happen for the foreseeable future. As such, they will not get my support for the foreseeable future.

  42. Okay, I take it back. I will read David Brooks.

    I would have more sympathy for this view if I hadn’t just lived through the last eight years. For if the Bush administration was anything, it was the anti-establishment attitude put into executive practice.

    And the problem with this attitude is that, especially in his first term, it made Bush inept at governance. It turns out that governance, the creation and execution of policy, is hard. It requires acquired skills. Most of all, it requires prudence.

    What is prudence? It is the ability to grasp the unique pattern of a specific situation. It is the ability to absorb the vast flow of information and still discern the essential current of events — the things that go together and the things that will never go together. It is the ability to engage in complex deliberations and feel which arguments have the most weight.

    How is prudence acquired? Through experience. The prudent leader possesses a repertoire of events, through personal involvement or the study of history, and can apply those models to current circumstances to judge what is important and what is not, who can be persuaded and who can’t, what has worked and what hasn’t.

    Experienced leaders can certainly blunder if their minds have rigidified (see: Rumsfeld, Donald), but the records of leaders without long experience and prudence is not good. As George Will pointed out, the founders used the word “experience” 91 times in the Federalist Papers. Democracy is not average people selecting average leaders. It is average people with the wisdom to select the best prepared.

    Sarah Palin has many virtues. If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she’d be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness.

    The idea that “the people” will take on and destroy “the establishment” is a utopian fantasy that corrupted the left before it corrupted the right. Surely the response to the current crisis of authority is not to throw away standards of experience and prudence, but to select leaders who have those qualities but not the smug condescension that has so marked the reaction to the Palin nomination in the first place.

    Well said, Mr. Brooks.

  43. I am sorry, were we talking about McCain or Palin? Please stay on topic.

    So then you believe that political reconciliation is all that matters, let Iraq duke it out in a civil war. The fact that Iran is right next to Iraq and will likely take “control” of the situation does not bother you? There would be no more democracy, all those soldiers that died in Iraq would have died for nothing. You may not be in favor of dumb wars, but I am not in favor of dumb retreats either.

    Yeah I acknowledge it has failed in its stated goal. But that does not mean it does not calm down the violence. It does not mean it does not help build a peaceful state in Iraq. If you want Iraq to solve their problems in a civil war, where Iran exerts its influence, be my guest, at the cost of never going back there.

    If we cannot reconcile, maybe we should have a civil war 🙂

    See, you need to read more David Brooks. He is a wise guy.

  44. joe,

    I am sorry, were we talking about McCain or Palin? Please stay on topic.

    heh, well, from her own rhetoric it sure is looking like she will be in charge and he won’t…

    The fact that Iran is right next to Iraq and will likely take “control” of the situation does not bother you?

    Not at all. They currently are in charge of Iraq, as it is. Not much will change. Besides which, there really isn’t that much to fear from Iran, neo-conservative whining notwithstanding.

    There would be no more democracy, all those soldiers that died in Iraq would have died for nothing.

    War is hell. Clearly you conservatives didn’t learn this lesson from Vietnam. Maybe it takes a third war for you to finally learn this, as the second war (Iraq) has not driven it in.

    Yeah I acknowledge it has failed in its stated goal

    Thank you. Now, tell that to John McCain.

    But that does not mean it does not calm down the violence. It does not mean it does not help build a peaceful state in Iraq.

    Once again, let’s put this in perspective. In 2005, the level of violence in Iraq was horrible. In 2006-2007 it was even worse. The Surge brought the level of violence in Iraq to 2005 levels where it was horrible. How is that really an improvement?

    Furthermore, you bet it has not built a peaceful state. Because Americans cannot build Iraqis a peaceful state. Only Iraqis can build Iraqis a peaceful state. Thus, once Americans are removed from the picture, Iraqis will begin reconciling on their own terms, which is how it should be.

    at the cost of never going back there.

    Is that a promise?

    If we cannot reconcile, maybe we should have a civil war

    I’m cool with that. We’re headed in that direction. Let’s get it over with already and get back to making this country a good place.

    See, you need to read more David Brooks. He is a wise guy.

    Indeed he’s a wise guy. As far as a wise man? Nah… 😉

  45. lol, whatever.

    No, the level of violence is not back to the “horrible” level of violence in 2005. But nearly to the lowest since the start of the war. I think I remember everyone marveling at the success of the war at the beginning… I would say that is a vast improvement. http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2008-07-28-Petraeus_N.htm

    “Only Iraqis can build Iraqis a peaceful state.” Yeah, that is why we are building up their armed forces to give them the ability to take care of themselves. “Iraqi security forces have been growing in numbers and effectiveness as threats from al-Qaeda and Shiite militias have decreased, Petraeus said.” -USA Today. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. I would say that they are beggining to, lets not slit their throat while they are hydrating.

    Let me put it this way, has America ever considered returning to Vietnam?

    Amen! Let the battle begin! The military is 65-75% Republican. Ha ha ha.

    Would you vote for David for President?

  46. Joe,

    Clearly you don’t understand Iraq. The level of violence in Iraq that I’m talking about is not the violence directed toward US troops. That violence is inconsequential. I’m talking about the violence of Iraqis killing Iraqis. That’s the number that is back to 2005 levels, where it was horrific.

    Let me put it this way, has America ever considered returning to Vietnam?

    Thankfully no, but that’s because once America left, the country became rather peaceful. Huh…interesting development, methinks. Maybe it just might work in Iraq…

    Amen! Let the battle begin! The military is 65-75% Republican. Ha ha ha.

    What does this have to do with anything. Besides, the military world has given more money to Obama than to McCain. Seems to me they want something that only Obama will give them. Rest and peace.

    Would you vote for David for President?

    Not because of Iraq. But my vote for him would depend on what he has to say. At this point, if he were to run solely on what he has said and done my answer would be a fairly clear HELL NO!

  47. I think there is an error in your update. I believe the Carter administration is generally viewed as the worst administration in the nation’s history. I imagine that Bush will give Carter a run for his money. Especially since the media doesn’t love Bush like they love Carter.

  48. Conservatives may see Carter’s administration as the worst, but it wasn’t as bad as Bush’s. Not by a long shot.

  49. Dan,

    I haven’t had much time to stop on by and reach much of your blog lately. I enjoyed it greatly. I found myself agreeing with you sometimes while other times not so much. thank you for you passion and enjoy the time as a SAHD.

  50. Good on you for finally deciding to retire from politics blogging. Funny thing, now I’m finally talking about it on my blog.

    Some see the world black and white, some do not. Politics has never been a place for those that couch the world in black and white or good or bad like 43 for instance. But that’s how some people see the world and that’s not a bad thing.

    Take care Dan. Hopefully we’ll still see you blogging about things besides politics.

  51. You will be back. You just need a break. I cannot annoy the rightwingers on the bloggernacle by myself.


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