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October 29, 2004

Lock the Doors November 3

I agree with Lane Core; despite all hopes and prayers to the contrary, I'm not confident that a Democrat/Leftist hoard that has stoked its own flames to the heights that they've currently reached will be in a mood to wait out another presidential term when they lose:

Physical violence and outrageous lies: those are not the tactics of people who are confident they're going to win. Nor are they, I think, the tactics of people who are concerned that it's going to be a close race. They are the tactics of people who are pretty sure they're going to lose.

And they are not, most importantly, the tactics of people who drop such tactics and go back to work or school when they have lost.

There's only a split-second hair's breadth of delusion between aiming a car at a politician and doing so without swerving at the last minute. It may be that electoral defeat will deflate the passions, but I tend to doubt it. Violence is more likely. Wild political attacks and unsubstantiated attempts to impeach President Bush would seem a safe bet. With so many people having hammered references to Nazis and the end of civilization into desperate, immediate rallying cries, they couldn't all just throw up their hands and go back to a low simmer.

It seems to me this represents another warning against voting for Kerry in the hopes of changing the Democrats and their supporters. A victory will vindicate the anything-goes campaign strategy and will add a juicy reward for the years-long hatred high of the liberal rank and file. As seems usually to be the case, appeasement is not a long-term solution.

Posted by Justin Katz at October 29, 2004 1:01 AM

I was hoping somebody would say I'm wrong.

I do think an attempt at impeachment will be made. But the Democrats are in the minority in both houses (and that's how it will stay for the next Congress), while the Republicans had a majority when they impeached Clinton.

I'm also pondering some other possibilities. How will mainstream media try to silence their opponents on the Internet? (They will: they know how shot them in the foot, over and over again, this year.) Will the old Congressional warhorses (like Kennedy or Byrd) announce their retirements, because they're tired of being in the minority, or will they ratchet up their increasingly offensive behavior? Or both? And what else?........

Posted by: ELC at October 29, 2004 10:45 AM

Should be "who shot them". :-)

Posted by: ELC at October 29, 2004 10:46 AM

"I do think an attempt at impeachment will be made. "

There is no way that will go anywhere unless control of the House changes(which is highly unlikely prior to the end of Bush's term).

Posted by: Mike S. at October 29, 2004 11:26 AM

Curious, this made me think the following,
regarding a Bush victory next Tuesday:
"A victory will vindicate the anything-goes
campaign strategy, and will add a juicy
reward for the years-long hatred high of
the conservative elite."

The feelings are running so high on both sides,
no matter WHO wins, the other side is going to be virulently resentful and determined to sabotage him. That's the part I find distasteful.

Posted by: Robert Walker-Smith at October 29, 2004 12:26 PM


Thank you for commenting. You know, I'll surely expose myself to accusations of blind partisanship — or whatever — in saying this, but I frankly just don't think the parallel exists. First of all, to the extent that passions center on the candidates, the opposing storyline about Bush is that he's a rabid, heartless fascist; the opposing storyline about Kerry is that he's a vain, pretentious nincompoop. The reactions to each will vary greatly just as a function of how people tend to react to such characters.

More generally, while I understand that there are nuts of similar bent on any side of any issue, as a factual matter, I just don't see the campaigns and "hatred highs" as equivalent in either tenor or scale.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 29, 2004 12:33 PM

Justin -
While I _want_ to believe you, when I read things like
(the anti-Idiotarian Rottweiller) who refers to the President's opponent as a 'backstabbin' beantown bastard' among other things,
or Ann Coulter's repetitious screeds, accusing everyone voting Democrat of treason, littlegreenfootball's vituperation of 'Morlocks',
Michelle Malkin's remarkable assertion that the Japanese-American internment camps of WWII were a crackin' good idea we'd be well-advised to resurrect (only for a different group this time, of course), and, in short, the incessant chorus that Kerry is not only incompetent, but would destroy the Republic if made CiC and Chief Executive. If they were just calling him a nincompoop, I would be much less concerned. They're not.

That's what I'm referring to. The Kool-Aid comes in two different flavors, to borrow a meme. I read in the paper today that Mellon Scaife has sicced one of his posses on Soros. Great - battling billionaires. It does not inspire me with optimism, regardless of the confidence you convey. I hope, hope HOPE you're right, but my optimism canteen is dry right now.

Posted by: Robert at October 29, 2004 2:57 PM


Well, I think a few things need to be honed in your response. I don't believe (although I don't read her regularly) that Ann Coulter has ever accused "everyone voting Democrat of treason." I think her line is more that some liberals are treasonous, while others among the Democrats and the media are effectively treasonous, and that these are factors that voters and media consumers should take into consideration. As for Rottweiler's and LGF's name-calling, I guess I just see a difference between general aspersions and references to fictional species versus specific accusations that the President is a Nazi who wishes to lock up blacks and gays.

More than the others, however, I think your mischaracterization of Michelle Malkin's argument relates to the false equivalence of sides to which I was objecting. Malkin doesn't believe internment was "a crackin' good idea we'd be well-advised to resurrect." She has argued that it was a reasonable idea at the time and is an aspect of our history that we have to look at rationally because reaction to a skewed version has affected our modern policies in such a way as to prevent much less profound measures from being taken in our current circumstances.

Regarding Kerry as republic-destroyer, I can only return to my point above: how a President's opponents believe that he will destroy the republic makes a difference. If one believes that the President is intent on taking rights through the mechanisms of a warmongering police state, one will fight back differently than toward a President who is seeped in misguided ideas that he intends to push into the government through legislative, executive, and judicial processes.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 29, 2004 3:24 PM

Quote from Nicedoggie -
"Rope. Tree. Justice. The only three things that Qerry deserves for his 'service'."
Quote from Ann Coulter
"New campaign slogan: John Kerry - Betraying America since 1971." Not to mention the celebrated "Spawn of Satan convention" reference in a column I was sure was a parody, but wasn't.

Malkin's argument can be summarized as "It was appropriate and necessary to deprive American citizens of their civil rights during WWII, and we should not allow squeamish concerns to deprive us of this valuable tool during the current state of war." I respectfully disagree. Disagreement on this count is, or appears to be, rigorously partisan. Also, she has argued, in published interviews, that the internment of Japanese-Americans was both necessary and appropriate, and that we should not allow misguided criticism of that policy to restrict us from doing what's necessary now. I can't see how this is fundamentally different from my admittedly facetious paraphrase.

Infidel Cowboy:
"The Lie, Cheat and Say Anything Party of Thugs and its Media, Terrorist, UN and Foreign Leader Accomplices"
"Democrat's Strategy (To Undermine Democracy)"

and basically anything on

The attitude I'm referring to is parsecs removed from "Kerry is steeped in misguided ideas". It's more like "Kerry will be the death of America as the Best of All Possible Nations, and no effort must be spared to prevent his handing over our sovereignty to Godless foreigners." Believe me, I've been visiting conservative/right wing/pro-Bush blogs and websites for several months now, and have become progressively more dismayed at the bile and vitriol being expressed.

And yes, I'm aware of the bile and vitriol on the other side, but, unlike you, I'm not seeing an imbalance; i.e., responsible, thoughtful Republicans concerned with the polity vs. liberal rank and file on a years-long hatred high.
William Tucker recently had a piece in the American Spectator, essentially saying, "If the worst happens and Kerry gets elected, let's be civil and let him govern." The letters AS got in response were informative, but not heartening. That's what I'm thinking of when I respectfully disagree with your perspective. If you haven't, drop by and give them a read.

Posted by: Robert at October 29, 2004 4:33 PM

You are forgetting one thing Robert. It was a Democrat (Al Gore) that broke tradition and challenged the election in the courts instead of accepting the loss and biding time until the next election, setting up four years of people constantly whining about the winner stealing the election. The ideology of the far left is NOT a peaceful ideology. This is the ideology that has been creeping into the mainstream of the Democratic party. I'm not denying that there are crackpots (some more than likely have violent leanings) on the opposite side, but that is not the mainstream ideology in the Republican ranks. You are using quite a broad brush in painting "basically anything on Free Republic" as evidence that the rancor is equal on both sides.

Posted by: smmtheory at October 31, 2004 2:31 PM

If you think that 'far left' ideology is creeping into the mainstream of the Democratic Party, your definition of either 'far left' or 'mainstream' are quite different. To me, the DLC* is quite centrist; Kucinich would be left.

The 'mainstream' ideologies of both parties are, in my view, remarkably similar; Gore Vidal once described them as 'the two wings of the Money Party', IIRC. The extremist wings are likewise mirror images - for every Al Franken, a Rush Limbaugh, and so on. To repeat my previous assertion, to posit the split as 'reasonable, restrained, politic rightists' vs. the grunting, hate-high rabble of the left, is willful blindness to the facts on the ground.

*Democratic Leadership Council, to save you googling time.

Posted by: Robert at November 1, 2004 11:59 AM

You are right. When I say mainstream, I mean the majority of the membership, the prevailing trend. It seems as if you mean the centrist trend which does not appear to me to be the prevailing trend. The fact that you are quoting Gore Vidal does not help your case in the least. When you say "the mainstream ideologies of both parties is remarkably similar" (paraphrased), you appear to be projecting your desires onto the reality.

Posted by: smmtheory at November 1, 2004 1:01 PM

I can assure you most sincerely that it is not my
_desires_ that I am projecting, if in fact that is the appropriate verb. Dreads, alarms, dismays, all would be more appropriate. I have recently become aware that the same people who consider Kerry ultra-liberal/far left consider Bush 43 a 'centrist'. This elasticity of terminology would impress Orwell.

And my regrets if a Vidalian reference has injured my case. I don't have any Westbrook Pegler memorized at the moment. When it comes to political commentary, I find Vidal more credible that, say, Strauss. But _chacun a son gout_.

Posted by: Robert at November 1, 2004 3:41 PM

You would be wrong to toss me into that generalization that the same people who consider Kerry far-left or ultra-liberal also consider Bush centrist. I view President Bush as a conservative, and that is the reason I support him.

I get the impression though, that you view Kerry as a centrist. Talk about elasticity of terminology. I don't know what brings you to this conclusion, but the support for infanticide, the support if same sex unions, the support for federal restriction on industrial utilization of resources (out-sourcing), the cooperation with hostile Communist governments, the support for federalization of the health industry, and the support of tax increases places Mr. Kerry on the far left in my book. And that's mostly just the domestic policy issues.

So if you think Kerry is centrist, where does that place you on all these issues? You would perhaps like to crank up the abortion rate, maybe even get an Euthanasia Industry started? Maybe you think income redistribution is a good thing? You would perhaps prefer companies spend more on labor and passing the costs along to everybody; or not be able to compete with imports? Is it possible that you don't believe a socialized health industry would be substandard to what we have today?

Posted by: smmtheory at November 1, 2004 5:47 PM

To take the last of your questions first - I work in a federally-run medical center. I take pride in providing quality health care to the patients I serve.
As for abortion (which I'm guessing 'infanticide' is code for), I feel about it much as I do about capital punishment: I don't like it, I would prefer that it not happen, but not to the extent that I'm willing to make a serious effort at making it go away. I don't see it as the murder of innocent children; if I did, I have no doubt that we'd be shoulder to shoulder on this issue.

But we arent'.

As for the economic issues you raise - protectionist tariffs, labor costs, etc. - I have no faith nor confidence that a Kerry administration will differ significantly from a Bush administration on those scores. So I plead _nolo contendere_ to the charge of parlor pinkism.

And finally - yes, I understand that he's on the far left in your book. I have a different book.

Posted by: Robert at November 1, 2004 6:09 PM

And given all that Robert, you go around saying people are displaying a willful blindness to the facts on the ground?

Let me guess, you're voting straight Libertarian ticket, right?

Posted by: smmtheory at November 1, 2004 8:09 PM

Since I find no evidence that your Parthian shot was intended sarcastically, I am puzzled.

What sort of Libertarian works for the Federal Government?

And I'm not 'willfully blind' to the facts, I view them differently than you do. You may view this as a distinction without a difference; you are certainly entitled to view it that way.

Posted by: Robert at November 2, 2004 11:59 AM

"I don't see it as the murder of innocent children"

How about innocent human beings? What distinction do you use to determine which human beings are not worthy of being protected by law, and which are? Isn't the stage of development just as arbitrary as the color of skin?

As for Bush being a centrist, it's quite easy to make that case. He is generally conservative on social issues. His position on foreign policy is a combination of hawkishness and idealism (which is why neoconservatives, i.e. former liberals, generally support his policies, and why many liberals favored the Iraq invasion (many of whom have since soured on it - see Tim Cavanaugh in Reason online) ). He's for lower taxes, but he's also not averse to increasing federal spending (on education and faith-based social services). (a contradiction that will bump up against reality sometime) And on immigration he takes a position that most liberals are comfortable with (this is actually more of a general public vs. policital elites issue, rather than right vs. left, but Bush's position can't really be called conservative).

It's obvious Bush is to the right of Rudy Guliani, but he's also to the left of, say, George Will. And he's obviously supported by half the electorate. Where you place him depends upon which issues you think are more important (for example, many fiscal/spending/low government conservatives are very disappointed in him), and on your frame of reference. But the claim that he is 'far-right' ignores both his actual record, and those to his right on many issues.

Posted by: Mike S. at November 2, 2004 1:02 PM