Their Strategy for Victory

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Bush Administration, Democratic Party, Iraq War, Republican Party

Here are a couple of editorials that ought to be read together. The first is in today’s Baltimore Sun

Having refused for three years to try to come up with any actual constructive ideas about the war in Iraq, congressional leaders last week chose to put the enduring conflict smack in the center of the coming election campaign. Jeering at “cut-and-run” Democrats, the Republicans placed their confidence in a formula that would keep American soldiers in the deepening quagmire — indefinitely.

There it is: their strategy for victory.

How many times have we heard that the Democrats have no proposals for dealing with Iraq? Yet the Sun is right — the GOP has no idea what to do about Iraq, other than use it as a wedge issue.

Of course, as far as the Right is concerned, just having U.S. troops fighting in Iraq is all the plan they need. We’re bound to achieve “victory” eventually if we have enough faith.

The maneuvering in the Capitol on Thursday and Friday was shameless and pandering, but at least it puts Iraq on the table for the voters to think about. The last elections, in 2004, came when it seemed to some that things could still be turned around, given a little patience. Two years later, with no significant progress, Americans’ patience has about run out.

Yet the Republicans are still using Iraq as a wedge to split Democrats —

… the country, after all this time, deserves a real debate, not the lugubrious emoting that went on in Congress last week. The Republicans there were feeling their oats, because Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the bogeyman of Baghdad, had been whacked with a half-ton of explosives, because President Bush had spent five hours in Baghdad and come away confident that the Iraqi government was going to come up with a plan, and because that government itself has finally been formed just six short months after elections.

The House and Senate, as expected, rejected any sort of timetable for withdrawal. A plausible argument could be made that such an approach is not the best way to extract U.S. troops from Iraq, but plausible arguments were not what congressional Republicans were about. If there’s a better way to get out of Iraq and leave the country in some sort of stable shape, they should be talking to Americans about it. … If the Republicans think that doing nothing different is a good strategy, let’s talk about that, too.

The Sun is right; the Dems should be challenging the Republicans on Iraq and demanding they trot out ideas for dealing with it.

The second editorial is in today’s Los Angeles Times.

On Friday, the House, by a 256-153 vote, approved a nonbinding resolution opposing an “arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment.” During debate, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R.-Ill) dusted off the specious connection between Iraq and 9/11, piously pleading with his colleagues to “show the same steely resolve as those men and women on United Flight 93, the same sense of duty as the first responders who headed up the stairs of the twin towers.” For its part, the Pentagon unwisely provided members with “rapid-response talking points” that sounded more like a stump speech than a military reference work.

The President himself is taking (for him) a softer tone —

The commander in chief, meanwhile, appears to recognize that being too triumphalist and partisan could undermine support for his stated intention of reducing U.S. forces gradually as the Iraqi government takes over more responsibility for security.

This is standard operating procedure for the Bushies. Although last week’s maneuvers to paint the Dems as wusses on the war was no doubt orchestrated by the White House — Karl’s gettin’ feisty now that he no longer has a threat of indictment hanging over his head — it’s essential that the President appears to be above it all.

In his homecoming news conference last week, Bush sent mixed signals about whether he understands that public impatience with the U.S. presence in Iraq threatens his stated goal there: to help Iraq “govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself” and become “an ally in the war on terror.” On the one hand, he said, “success in Iraq depends upon the Iraqis.” Yet he also suggested that Iraq was so crucial to the war on terror that it could not be left to the Iraqis, at least not yet. “If we fail in Iraq, it’s going to embolden Al Qaeda types,” he said. There is, to put it mildly, a tension between those two statements.

Yes, and let’s see the Dems capitalize on that. Let’s see the Dems take the GOP smear campaign and shove it back in their faces.

Behind the New York Times firewall, Frank Rich writes [UPDATE: Here’s a public link to the article at True Blue Liberal],

Polls last week showed scant movement in either the president’s approval rating (37 percent in the NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey released on Wednesday night) or that of the war (53 percent deem it a mistake). On NBC Tim Russert listed Mr. Bush’s woes: “Iraq, Iraq, Iraq.” Americans pick Iraq as the most pressing national issue, 21 points ahead of immigration, the runner-up. They find the war so dispiriting that the networks spend less and less time covering it. Had the much-hyped Alberto roused itself from tropical storm to hurricane, Mr. Bush’s Baghdad jaunt would have been bumped for the surefire Nielsen boost of tempest-tossed male anchors emoting in the great outdoors.

All of which makes it stupendously counterintuitive that the Republican campaign strategy for 2006 is to run on the war. But there was Karl Rove, freshly released from legal jeopardy, proposing exactly that in a speech just before the president’s trip. In a drive-by Swift Boating, he portrayed John Kerry and John Murtha, two decorated Vietnam veterans calling for an expedited exit from Iraq, as cowards who exemplify their party’s “old pattern of cutting and running.”

Rich points out that Karl is working from exactly the same playbook he was using back in 2002. But in 2002, Bush’s approval ratings were sky-high, and in the four years since the American public learned the hard way that Bush can’t be trusted. Why isn’t Karl adjusting the playbook?

One explanation might be that he thinks his team can still keep the ball by running the old plays, because the Dems still haven’t developed much in the way of a defense. Although individual Dems have taken firm positions on Iraq, the party as a whole is all over the map and can’t agree on anything approximating a united counter-strategy. Rich continues,

While the Democrats dither about Iraq, you can bet that the White House will ambush them with its own election-year facsimile of an exit strategy, dangling nominal troop withdrawals as bait for voters. To sweeten the pot, it could push Donald Rumsfeld to join Mr. DeLay in retirement. Since Republicans also vilify the defense secretary’s incompetence, his only remaining value to the White House is as a political pawn that Mr. Rove can pluck from the board at the most advantageous moment. October, perhaps?

In a post I published recently at Unclaimed Territory I linked to an article from In These Times magazine that calls for liberals and progressives to develop a “unified progressive narrative.”

“An opening now exists, as it hasn’t in a very long time, for the Democrats to be the visionaries,” writes Michael Tomasky, the editor of The American Prospect, in the magazine’s May 3 issue. “To seize this moment, the Democrats need to think differently—to stop focusing on their grab bag of small-bore proposals that so often seek not to offend and that accept conservative terms of debate. And to do that, they need to begin by looking to their history, for in that history there is an idea about liberal governance that amounts to more than the million-little-pieces, interest-group approach to politics that has recently come under deserved scrutiny and that can clearly offer the most compelling progressive response to the radical individualism of the Bush era.”

A narrative is more than a bulleted list of policy proposals. A narrative is a story. A narrative puts policy in the context of history. And stories are often saturated with mythos — traditional beliefs and notions accumulated about a particular subject. The Republican mythos about Democrats and liberals is that they don’t know how to fight bad things, like Communism, crime, and terrorism. They don’t seem to understand how dangerous these bad things are. They raise taxes to ruinous degrees and throw money at expensive social programs that only make [mostly black and brown] people lazy. They are impractical and snooty and don’t love America/children/God as much as normal folks do.

Ann Coulter’s whole shtick is the Republican mythos. She has become the perfect reflection and embodiment of the mythos, like a priestess who gives voice to the pure and undiluted narratives of her tribe.

This mythos has been so thoroughly internalized by much of the American public that it doesn’t have to be spelled out in Republican narratives. Dennis Hastert merely has to evoke the memory of Flight 96 to conjure the lore of weak and wussy liberals who don’t know how to fight. This mythos is so hardwired into American brains that a baby-faced pudge like Karl Rove can tell Republicans audiences that Democrats are wussy and soft, and the audience can’t see what a joke that is coming from Karl.

Frank Rich continues,

What’s most impressive about Mr. Rove, however, is not his ruthlessness, it’s his unshakable faith in the power of a story. The story he’s stuck with, Iraq, is a loser, but he knows it won’t lose at the polls if there’s no story to counter it. And so he tells it over and over, confident that the Democrats won’t tell their own. And they don’t — whether about Iraq or much else. The question for the Democrats is less whether they tilt left, right or center, than whether they can find a stirring narrative that defines their views, not just the Republicans’.

Rich also links to Michael Tomasky:

What’s needed, wrote Michael Tomasky in an influential American Prospect essay last fall, is a “big-picture case based on core principles.” As he argued, Washington’s continued and inhumane failure to ameliorate the devastation of Katrina could not be a more pregnant opportunity for the Democrats to set forth a comprehensive alternative to the party in power. Another opportunity, of course, is the oil dependence that holds America hostage to the worst governments in the Middle East.

Instead the Democrats float Band-Aid nostrums and bumper-sticker marketing strategies like “Together, America Can Do Better.” As the linguist Geoffrey Nunberg pointed out, “The very ungrammaticality of the Democrats’ slogan reminds you that this is a party with a chronic problem of telling a coherent story about itself, right down to an inability to get its adverbs and subjects to agree.” On Wednesday Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were to announce their party’s “New Direction” agenda — actually, an inoffensive checklist of old directions (raise the minimum wage, cut student loan costs, etc.) — that didn’t even mention Iraq. Symbolically enough, they had to abruptly reschedule the public unveiling to attend Mr. Bush’s briefing on his triumphant trip to Baghdad.

Talking points alone are not enough. Agendas are not enough. George Lakoff’s “framing” technique, with which I essentially agree, is not enough, either. And it may be that standing up to Bush and the wingnuts is not enough, either, as long as their stories are better than ours. But it’s a start.

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15 Comments

  1. A. Citizen  •  Jun 18, 2006 @8:17 pm

    Ours is a nation led by idiots, people call them Republicans, who are ‘opposed’ by cowards, these are known as Democrats.

    We are following the Nixon Trajectory very closely.

    Until thousands more of our troops die, until ‘fragging’ make the papers, until gas is $6.00/gal. until several years after these things come to pass Congress and the Executive will play their sick little political game with the lives of our soldiers, with the lives of our children and with our lives.

    The people of this country need to drag these AssClowns from office by whatever means necessary and replace them with human beings. This as opposed to the human jackals and hyenas who occupy that institution at present.

    It took seven years to get out of Vietnam it will take longer to get out of EyeRack unless the lack of a draft results in wholesale mutiny in our armed forces. Which, with divorce at 70% in the officer corp it could do sooner that Brave Leader President Dumbya McChimpy the First might ‘think’.

  2. Mel Stricker  •  Jun 18, 2006 @8:54 pm

    Let’s take it by the numbers:
    1. Congress had the same information that the Prsident saw.
    2. The Dems voted for the war based on that information (not information presented by the president but by the intelligence community).
    3. A number of countries (including Russia) stated that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction
    4. Wars do not work like a TV movie. The end does not really mean the end. After World War 2 a government was not elected in Germany for 10 Years (October, 1953 to be exact).
    5. There were German insurgent attacks for years after the end of the war.
    6. People believe that FDR knew about Pearl Harbor. There are books, one by a noted author John Toland (and there are others) that suggest this is true.
    7. Why did we go to war against Hitler as Germany was not really a treat to the United States.
    8. People need to stop thinking that events are like a 2 hour TV movie.
    9. First think about where you are getting your information and critically question the source.
    10. What happens if we cut and run? We were NOT in IRAQ when the World Trade Center was attacked. I was there on 9/11 and saw the planes personally.

  3. Swami  •  Jun 18, 2006 @9:25 pm

    a sugar coated treat?…give it up loser!

  4. maha  •  Jun 18, 2006 @9:33 pm

    Mel:

    1. False.

    2. Since #1 is false, question #2 doesn’t apply.

    3. Yes, but not nuclear, and once the weapons inspectors were re-admitted, why the rush?

    4. Post-World War II Germany was nothing like Iraq.

    5. False.

    6. Yeah, and those people are nuts.

    7. Hitler declared war on the U.S. before the U.S. declared war on Hitler, genius. And German U-boats had already attacked U.S. naval vessels before Pearl Harbor (sinking the destroyer Reuben James in October 1941) and were spotted in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Florida. The notion that “Germany was not really a treat [sic] to the United States” is massive historical revisionism.

    8. People need to stop thinking of war as the only solution to foreign policy problems.

    9. I do. Constantly. You should put down the Kool-Aid and try it yourself.

    10. Personally, I like Murtha’s suggestion for an “over the horizon” redeployment that would take troops out of Iraq but leave a large U.S. presence close by that could reinforce Iraqi security when necessary. That’s not exactly “cutting and running.” The fact is that its our presence that’s inciting most of the insurgency.

    No, we were not in Iraq when the World Trade Center was attacked. The WTC attacks had nothing to do with Iraq, just as Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. That’s one of the several reasons the invasion of Iraq made no sense.

    And I was in lower Manhattan on 9/11, also, as were lots of people. Might I ask exactly where you were when you saw the planes? I was on a subway when the planes hit, but I was watching from a high-rise office building on West 17th St. when the towers collapsed.

  5. Swami  •  Jun 18, 2006 @10:28 pm

    10. What happens if we cut and run? We were NOT in IRAQ when the World Trade Center was attacked. I was there on 9/11 and saw the planes personally.

    Is the emphasis on “NOT in IRAQ” designed to imply that Iraq’s attack on the United States was unwarranted? Really, If honesty is any measure.. the United States has been in Iraq since the Iran-Iraq war in some capacity, and has been in Iraq in a miltary capacity since the Gulf war.

    To use the term “cut and run” in a serious sense is a dead give away to either personal stupidy or being a rightie blog zapper trying to spread subtle intimidation by way of bullshit. The question we should all be asking is..If a terrorist has a nuclear suitcase bomb that going to destroy a major city and kill millions of innocent Americans, is it wrong to torture the guy who can save miilions of lives by telling us where the nuclear suitcase bomb is located?

  6. howard roberts  •  Jun 18, 2006 @10:35 pm

    The plan I am sending you has been approved by many prominent thinkers and
    activists in the field. Which includes: Benjamin Ferencz, Chief Prosecutor
    at the Nuremburg Trials, Ken Livingstone-Mayor of London,
    Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, Tom Hayden, Matthew Rothschild, Anthony Arnove, Danny Schecter, Tony Benn- Former Member of the British parliament ,Reggie Rivers,
    Robert Jensen, Andrew Bard Schmookler and others.
    I formulated this plan in September 2004, based on a comprehensive
    study of the issues. For my plan to be successful it must be implemented
    with all seven points beginning to happen within a very short period of
    time.
    I have run up against a wall of doubt about my plan due to it’s
    rational nature ,and due to it’s adherence to placing the blame on the
    invaders, and then trying to formulate a process of extrication which would
    put all entities in this conflict face to face, to begin to finally solve
    the dilemmas that exist.
    If you read my plan you will see that it is guided by a reasonable
    and practical compromise that could end this war and alleviate the
    internecine civil violence that is confronting Iraq at this juncture in it’s
    history.
    I am making a plea for my plan to be put into action on a wide-scale.
    I need you to circulate it and use all the persuasion you have to bring it
    to the attention of those in power.
    Just reading my plan and sending off an e-mail to me that you received
    it will not be enough.

    This war must end-we who oppose it can do this by using my plan.
    We must fight the power and end the killing.

    If you would like to view some comments and criticism about my plan
    I direct you to my blog: sevenpointman

    Thank you my dear friend,

    Howard Roberts

    A Seven-point plan for an Exit Strategy in Iraq

    1) A timetable for the complete withdrawal of American and British forces
    must be announced.
    I envision the following procedure, but suitable fine-tuning can be
    applied by all the people involved.

    A) A ceasefire should be offered by the Occupying side to
    representatives of both the Sunni insurgency and the Shiite community. These
    representatives would be guaranteed safe passage, to any meetings. The
    individual insurgency groups would designate who would attend.
    At this meeting a written document declaring a one-month ceasefire,
    witnessed by a United Nations authority, will be fashioned and eventually
    signed. This document will be released in full, to all Iraqi newspapers, the
    foreign press, and the Internet.
    B) US and British command will make public its withdrawal, within
    sixth-months of 80 % of their troops.

    C) Every month, a team of United Nations observers will verify the
    effectiveness of the ceasefire.
    All incidences on both sides will be reported.

    D) Combined representative armed forces of both the Occupying
    nations and the insurgency organizations that agreed to the cease fire will
    protect the Iraqi people from actions by terrorist cells.

    E) Combined representative armed forces from both the Occupying
    nations and the insurgency organizations will begin creating a new military
    and police force. Those who served, without extenuating circumstances, in
    the previous Iraqi military or police, will be given the first option to
    serve.

    F) After the second month of the ceasefire, and thereafter, in
    increments of 10-20% ,a total of 80% will be withdrawn, to enclaves in Qatar
    and Bahrain. The governments of these countries will work out a temporary
    land-lease housing arrangement for these troops. During the time the troops
    will be in these countries they will not stand down, and can be re-activated
    in the theater, if the chain of the command still in Iraq, the newly
    formed Iraqi military, the leaders of the insurgency, and two international
    ombudsman (one from the Arab League, one from the United Nations), as a
    majority, deem it necessary.

    G) One-half of those troops in enclaves will leave three-months after they
    arrive, for the United States or other locations, not including Iraq.

    H) The other half of the troops in enclaves will leave after
    six-months.

    I) The remaining 20 % of the Occupying troops will, during this six
    month interval, be used as peace-keepers, and will work with all the
    designated organizations, to aid in reconstruction and nation-building.

    J) After four months they will be moved to enclaves in the above
    mentioned countries.
    They will remain, still active, for two month, until their return to
    the States, Britain and the other involved nations.

    2) At the beginning of this period the United States will file a letter with
    the Secretary General of the Security Council of the United Nations, making
    null and void all written and proscribed orders by the CPA, under R. Paul
    Bremer. This will be announced and duly noted.

    3) At the beginning of this period all contracts signed by foreign countries
    will be considered in abeyance until a system of fair bidding, by both
    Iraqi and foreign countries, will be implemented ,by an interim Productivity
    and Investment Board, chosen from pertinent sectors of the Iraqi economy.
    Local representatives of the 18 provinces of Iraq will put this board
    together, in local elections.

    4) At the beginning of this period, the United Nations will declare that
    Iraq is a sovereign state again, and will be forming a Union of 18
    autonomous regions. Each region will, with the help of international
    experts, and local bureaucrats, do a census as a first step toward the
    creation of a municipal government for all 18 provinces. After the census, a
    voting roll will be completed. Any group that gets a list of 15% of the
    names on this census will be able to nominate a slate of representatives.
    When all the parties have chosen their slates, a period of one-month will be
    allowed for campaigning.
    Then in a popular election the group with the most votes will represent that
    province.
    When the voters choose a slate, they will also be asked to choose five
    individual members of any of the slates.
    The individuals who have the five highest vote counts will represent a
    National government.
    This whole process, in every province, will be watched by international
    observers as well as the local bureaucrats.

    During this process of local elections, a central governing board, made up
    of United Nations, election governing experts, insurgency organizations, US
    and British peacekeepers, and Arab league representatives, will assume the
    temporary duties of administering Baghdad, and the central duties of
    governing.

    When the ninety representatives are elected they will assume the legislative
    duties of Iraq for two years.

    Within three months the parties that have at least 15% of the
    representatives will nominate candidates for President and Prime Minister.

    A national wide election for these offices will be held within three months
    from their nomination.

    The President and the Vice President and the Prime Minister will choose
    their cabinet, after the election.

    5) All debts accrued by Iraq will be rescheduled to begin payment, on the
    principal after one year, and on the interest after two years. If Iraq is
    able to handle another loan during this period she should be given a grace
    period of two years, from the taking of the loan, to comply with any
    structural adjustments.

    6) The United States and the United Kingdom shall pay Iraq reparations for
    its invasion in the total of 120 billion dollars over a period of twenty
    years for damages to its infrastructure. This money can be defrayed as
    investment, if the return does not exceed 6.5 %.

    7) During the beginning period Saddam Hussein and any other prisoners who
    are deemed by a Council of Iraqi Judges, elected by the National
    representative body, as having committed crimes will be put up for trial.
    The trial of Saddam Hussein will be before seven judges, chosen from this
    Council of Judges.
    One judge, one jury, again chosen by this Council, will try all other
    prisoners.
    All defendants will have the right to present any evidence they want, and to
    choose freely their own lawyers.

  7. AFJ  •  Jun 19, 2006 @1:57 am

    Why all the secrecy Mr. Bush? Are you making some secret deals with the puppet IRAQUI government you don’t want the American People to know about? We know the war is about you, your friends, and your business interests. Come on, bring our soldiers home. You are wrong in going there, being there, and going back in Secret. There is nothing in IRAQ except poor helpless people caught in the middle of the Oil War. Is Iran next on the list?

  8. Mel Stricker  •  Jun 19, 2006 @5:55 am

    Swami,

    How intelligent.

    Maha,

    I like the one word reply to items my list. I especially like the work FALSE to number 1. I, of course, absolutely believe that a one word response is all that is needed to counter this, or any, discussion. Brilliant!

    As to where I was when the WTC was attacked. I was looking out my window. I saw the second plane cross and turn into the building. I saw people jump from the building, not on TV, but close enough to hear the bodies hit the ground.

    As to the UN doing anything. They sent someone for a day then pulled out.

    As to Hitler declaring war on us. Was that serious? There were many people in the U.S. that did not want us to go to war against Germany. There was no way to take that declaration serious as there was no way Germany could have attacked us.

    I find it amusing that when people have nothing to say that come up with things like to Kool-Aid comment.

    Howard,

    There is no way to get the international community to do anything. Look at the ambiguity of this community. In Iraq we are told we should have involved other countries, in Iran people complain we are not talking to them one on one.

    Howard, are you the musician?

    To all,

    This is a discussion of views. Do personal attacks bring any discussion forward?

  9. maha  •  Jun 19, 2006 @6:29 am

    Mel:

    I especially like the work FALSE to number 1. I, of course, absolutely believe that a one word response is all that is needed to counter this, or any, discussion. Brilliant!

    There was a link, genius. The news story I linked to showed that your claim was false.

    Be advised: The Mahablog motto is “I ain’t your monkey.” If you come around here dribbling lies and trying to pick fights, don’t expect me to drop everything and perform tricks for you. I am being unusually indulgent in discussing anything with you at all. But if I go to the trouble of providing a link, don’t you dare say that I provided only a one-word answer.

    As to the UN doing anything. They sent someone for a day then pulled out.

    Who said anything about the UN?

    As to Hitler declaring war on us. Was that serious?

    Yes it was. It’s also the historical record..

    There was no way to take that declaration serious as there was no way Germany could have attacked us.

    Germany had already attacked us by attacking U.S. naval vessels. Their attacks killed 115 crewmen of the destroyer U.S.S. Reuben James in October 2001, more than a month before Pearl Harbor. That’s more sailors killed than by the al Qaeda attack on the U.S.S. Cole. And you think we should have just ignored that? Germany wasn’t really serious? How naive.

    German U boats were active in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Florida before Pearl Harbor. Had Germany taken over Britain, as it was trying to do, North America probably would have been next.

    There is no way to get the international community to do anything.

    Had we something approximating an actual leader in the White House on 9/11 instead of a smarmy little frat boy, the international community most certainly could have been willing to join us in a real “war on terror.” Unfortunately we had Bush — a.k.a. The Prick that Roared — and unfortunately he and his crew were fixated on a plan to invade Iraq that made absolutely no sense.

    This is a discussion of views.

    No, it isn’t. It’s you spewing what you’ve been brainwashed to believe, and me attempting to correct you.

    Do personal attacks bring any discussion forward?

    You lost the moral high ground when you posted rightie propaganda on my blog. And when you wrote “I especially like the work FALSE to number 1. I, of course, absolutely believe that a one word response is all that is needed to counter this, or any, discussion. Brilliant!” when I had, in fact, provided a link, you earned a place of honor in my “banned” filter.

    Finally,

    As to where I was when the WTC was attacked. I was looking out my window.

    And your window was where? My point is that most real New Yorkers would have told me what block they lived on — “I was on the fourth floor of a building near the corner of Vesey and West Broadway,” for example. Or they would have said “Tribeca” or “Battery Park City” or some such. That’s why I offered my location, to see how you’d respond.

    I can’t prove you weren’t really anywhere near the financial district on 9/11, but I suspect you were not. In any event, the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers can’t stand Bush and were opposed to the invasion of Iraq all along, including the hundreds of thousands (at least) who witnessed the destruction of the trade center. I’ve talked to lots of New Yorkers whom I know for certain were very close to the WTC when it was attacked and who have not been bamboozled by the Bushies, as you have been. So the implication that somehow you have some kind of special insight because you were nearby when the WTC was destroyed is way bogus.

  10. John Clavis  •  Jun 19, 2006 @10:02 am

    To know how to be a decent American, everyone should watch “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town”, directed by Frank Capra and starring Gary Cooper (for God’s sake, avoid the Adam Sandler remake).

    Cooper gives some speeches about what the American dream and the American way are really all about that will put tears in your eyes.

    Longfellow Deeds: From what I can see, no matter what system of government we have, there will always be leaders and always be followers. It’s like the road out in front of my house. It’s on a steep hill. Every day I watch the cars climbing up. Some go lickety-split up that hill on high, some have to shift into second, and some sputter and shake and slip back to the bottom again. Same cars, same gasoline, yet some make it and some don’t. And I say the fellas who can make the hill on high should stop once in a while and help those who can’t. That’s all I’m trying to do with this money. Help the fellas who can’t make the hill on high.

    If we want a symbol around which we can unify, in contrast to the bombastic, arrogant Ann Coulter Republican, it’s the humble decency of Longfellow Deeds.

  11. Bill Johnson  •  Jun 19, 2006 @11:39 am

    Maha, your response to Mel is what’s wrong with this country. Mel believes in the lies and repeats them as facts. When he is corrected, he keeps repeating the lies as facts. And, if Mel could, HE WOULD BE SCREAMING THEM AT YOU BY NOW.

    The only difference in the blogosphere, is people like Mel get corrected. Our problem is that people like Mel are running the News Departments of most media outlets in the country.

    Therefore, millions hear the lies over and over again every day.

  12. maha  •  Jun 19, 2006 @11:47 am

    And, if Mel could, HE WOULD BE SCREAMING THEM AT YOU BY NOW.

    His “by the numbers” facts are, I believe, copied from an email that was making the rounds two or three years ago. He must have been at the far end of the email chain.Lots of leftie bloggers debunked them at the time.

  13. James Lewman  •  Jun 19, 2006 @1:11 pm

    Please understand that mission accomplished was said and meant. Your gas price is 3 .00/Gal because mission is accomplished. George controlls the oil no oil going out of Iraq means him and the saudi can put the price where they will.This is bottom line everything else is just the story.

  14. VJB  •  Jun 19, 2006 @5:58 pm

    Time to start the meme, ‘Why do Republicans hate America?’ I Have had it up to HERE with them, and with the Democrats’ inability to reply. Praise be to 15-year-old Ava Lowery from Alabama and her anti-war animations. http://www.peacetakescourage.com Death threats, a badge of courage, are hers at too young an age. The Dems should put her vids on the tube 24/7 and really pound the message like a stake into the heart of Bushco.

  15. Fred Hamden  •  Jun 19, 2006 @10:19 pm

    The real irony on the debate and vote on HR 861 is that came a day after widespread news reports that Iraq’s Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi had asked President Bush for a time-line for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq. A request made in a face-to-face meeting in Baghdad earlier that week; a request that Iraq’s President confirmed and supported. And of course there is the issue that (according to the Brookings Institute) almost 80% of the Iraqis who’ve been polled, also favor a time-line for withdrawal.

    Failure to note this recent Iraqi request, and the passage of the resolution, perpetuates the GOP policy of paying lip-service to the importance of “Iraqi sovereignty” — while making unilateral decisions about that country from safely inside the Beltway.

    There should be hell to pay – and no one in the media has picked this up yet. Go figure.

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