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Ken Adelman Endorses Obama

Ken Adelman at Center for American Progress,<br/> April 2007

Ken Adelman at Center for American Progress, April 2007

The line of Republicans endorsing Barack Obama is getting longer, with defense hawk Ken Adelman, who has held senior positions with every Republican president since Ronald Reagan, joining yesterday.

George Packer reprints an email exchange with Adelman in which he cites John McCain’s response to the financial crisis, which he describes as “impetuous, inconsistent, and imprudent; ending up just plain weird” and the selection of Sarah Palin for the vice presidency, which “showed appalling lack of judgment” and “contradicted McCain’s main two, and best two, themes for his campaign—Country First, and experience counts.”

While Colin Powell, Lincoln Chaffee, Susan Eisenhower, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Jim Leach, Richard Riordan, Bill Ruckelshaus, and others can be dismissed as outside the conservative movement, Adelman can not.  Perhaps, at some point, people will take these complaints about McCain and the direction of the party seriously rather than as an excuse for character assassination.

That said, I’m reminded of a line Jeff Medcalf posted on Dave Schuler’s Other Blog recently:  “[M]any of the people voting for Obama seem to be doing so on the hope that he doesn’t mean what he says, and most of the people voting for McCain are doing so on the fear that Obama means exactly what he says.”

Adelman closes his email to Packer:

I sure hope Obama is more open, centrist, sensible—dare I say, Clintonesque—than his liberal record indicates, than his cooperation with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid portends. If not, I will be even more startled by my vote than I am now.

It strikes me as odd, indeed, to vote for a presidential candidate who disagrees with you on the most fundamental issues in the vague hope that he’s been lying to you throughout the entire campaign.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Ken Adelman Endorses Obama: Ken Adelman at Center for American Progress, April 2007 The line of Republi.. http://tinyurl.com/5juzqb

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  2. sam says:

    It strikes me as odd, indeed, to vote for a presidential candidate who disagrees with you on the most fundamental issues in the vague hope that he’s been lying to you throughout the entire campaign.

    Well, it’s not as if getting it wrong would be something new for Ken “Cakewalk” Edelman, would it?

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  3. Dave Schuler says:

    I think the judgment is that Sen. Obama is a pragmatist rather than an ideologue.

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  4. Tad says:

    It strikes me that a lot of these conservative endorsements are more ‘I can’t vote for McCain,’ than ‘I like Obama.’ More of the ‘I’m rejecting where the Republican party is going so I’m voting the other way.’ They always seem to read ‘well I don’t think Obama will do these things, but I know McCain will do this and I can’t go for that.’

    Honestly I think that’s the more interesting development. I hope conservatives take note of it, but I imagine it will just be more character assassination.

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  5. Michael says:

    I think the judgment is that Sen. Obama is a pragmatist rather than an ideologue.

    I think Dave has is exactly right. They may not agree with the decisions they think Obama might make, but they’re scared as hell about the decisions they think McCain might make.

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  6. Michael says:

    It strikes me that a lot of these conservative endorsements are more ‘I can’t vote for McCain,’ than ‘I like Obama.’

    Which I guess speaks volumes on their view of the Libertarian party.

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  7. Alexander Klingman says:

    Clearly, Adelman is voting for Obama because he’s black…

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  8. DC Loser says:

    As opposed to all those racists who are voting for McCain because he’s white….

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  9. [...] Joyner, a conservative who blogs at Outside the Beltway, thinks Adelman’s announcement is significant. “While Colin Powell, Lincoln Chaffee, Susan Eisenhower, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Jim Leach, [...]

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  10. Bithead says:

    I think the judgment is that Sen. Obama is a pragmatist rather than an ideologue.

    So was Stalin.
    Thereby, I’m unclear how we’re supposed to derive any comfort from this.

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  11. DC Loser says:

    So was Stalin.

    Reagan was also a pragmatist, demonstrated by his willingness to negotiate with the Soviets.

    So the logic here is Reagan = Stalin.

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  12. I have always thought that I would rather vote for someone with whom I held substantial disagreements but found honorable than someone I with whom I was in general agreement but whose character was lacking, but apparently that’s just me.

    The support of Ken Adelman and others with, “I’m endorsing the liar,” has to be one of the strangest byproducts of this election.

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  13. DC Loser says:

    “I’m endorsing the liar,”

    Now you’re confusing me. He didn’t endorse McCain.

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  14. It strikes me as odd, indeed, to vote for a presidential candidate who disagrees with you on the most fundamental issues in the vague hope that he’s been lying to you throughout the entire campaign.

    I really don’t think that this is what is going on. I think that there is an acknowledgment that much of what is said in a campaign won’t actually happen (whether one is voting for McCain or Obama). I stopped paying too close attention to specific legislative promise many electoral cycles ago.

    As such, I don’t think it is a case of hoping one of the candidate is lying.

    Plus, this is just a weird election where I don’t think all of the normal ideological categories apply. This is, if anything, Bush’s legacy.

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  15. anjin-san says:

    Reagan & Clinton were both pragmatists, and both successful Presidents. Politically, they had a fair amount in common. Obama may well join the club.

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  16. anjin-san says:

    So was Stalin.

    So now it would seem that Bits thinks Obama has DNA from Hitler AND Stalin. Can Atilla the Hun be far behind? (That Atilla was a socialist, you know, just like that Obama ‘feller)

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  17. Steve Plunk says:

    This defies logic. McCain supported the financial rescue plan along with Obama and a majority of congress. Palin has as much experience as many of the previous governors who have ran for president. How can it be claimed McCain is violating his two major campaign themes?

    I also find it puzzling anyone would expect Obama to be another Bill Clinton. Especially with Reid and Pelosi running Congress.

    I get the feeling many conservatives are frustrated with the way things have turned out under Bush. They fail to recognize the realities of governing and the way 9/11 changed the world. That frustration leads to a general attitude of giving up and letting the other side have a try at it knowing they will do worse and conservatives may be stronger in the long run. That long term view is in my opinion very short sighted and selfish.

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  18. anjin-san says:

    More from Adeleman

    When the economic crisis broke, I found John McCain bouncing all over the place. In those first few crisis days, he was impetuous, inconsistent, and imprudent; ending up just plain weird. Having worked with Ronald Reagan for seven years, and been with him in his critical three summits with Gorbachev, I’ve concluded that that’s no way a president can act under pressure.

    I also find it puzzling anyone would expect Obama to be another Bill Clinton.

    I think Clinton was pragmatic because it was his nature. The GOP reform Congress of the 90′s just amplified his natural inclination. The ideology came from Hillary.

    Obama will be pragmatic because that is his nature, not because of the political forces at work. The budget disaster Bush is leaving will force either candidate to be pragmatic, likely negating the Pelsosi/Reid factor. (I am not a fan of either BTW)

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  19. Bithead says:

    So now it would seem that Bits thinks Obama has DNA from Hitler AND Stalin

    Apparently, your remedial schooling didn’t bother to cover concepts of comparison?

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  20. Bithead says:

    Reagan & Clinton were both pragmatists

    true. Yet unlike the others, Reagan’s pragmatism was filtered through the concepts of limited government.

    Obama suffers no such limits.

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  21. DC Loser says:

    Reagan’s pragmatism was filtered through the concepts of limited government.

    Is that right? I must have lived through a much different Reagan Administration than you. Exactly how many government departments and cabinet positions did Reagan eliminate? How much did the federal budget decrease? I’m as much of a Reagan admirer as the next guy. For me, Reagan’s pragmatism was filtered through his determination to win the Cold War and triumph over the Soviet Union.

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  22. Rick Almeida says:

    I think Clinton was pragmatic because it was his nature. The GOP reform Congress of the 90′s just amplified his natural inclination. The ideology came from Hillary.

    That’s interesting…my armchair analysis has always been that WJC is at heart a relatively bleeding-heart liberal, and that HRC is the far more calculating one of the two.

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  23. Arachnae says:

    It strikes me as odd, indeed, to vote for a presidential candidate who disagrees with you on the most fundamental issues in the vague hope that he’s been lying to you throughout the entire campaign.

    I know at least one PUMA (maybe the last remaining PUMA) who’s voting for McCain and hoping he doesn’t mean it about abortion. According to her, he’d never overturn Roe because it’s been such a money-maker for the GOP. Um, okay.

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  24. Floyd says:

    Excuse the mixed metaphor but it looks like the rats are abandoning a sinking ship once again,to earn a place at the hog trough of the incoming regime!
    You can pump this guy up like a Macy’s balloon, but he’ll still be a little nobody, or at best an ancient has been!
    My guess is that his name recognition yesterday was less than one in a million.
    To quote Ken Silverstein from years ago…”Adelman’s hypocrisy is stunning.”

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  25. Michael says:

    So was Stalin.

    Is there some kind of variation of Godwin’s law that applies to Communist Russia?

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  26. Michael says:

    They fail to recognize the realities of governing and the way 9/11 changed the world.

    9/11 didn’t change the world, it changed you, and not necessarily for the better.

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  27. Bithead says:

    Is that right? I must have lived through a much different Reagan Administration than you. Exactly how many government departments and cabinet positions did Reagan eliminate? How much did the federal budget decrease?

    So, Reagan was a dictator who could arrange such things as he wished?

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  28. tom p says:

    The line of Republicans endorsing Barack Obama is getting longer,

    What strikes me as odd, James, is how so many in the GOP consider these long time conservatives to be traitors, little more than rats, and never stop to ponder why so many “rats” are leaving the ship?

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  29. John Burgess says:

    I’m really amazed at how the selection of Sarah Palin has sent a bunch of conservative men up the tree. Absolutely amazing to watch.

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  30. Steve Verdon says:

    “[M]any of the people voting for Obama seem to be doing so on the hope that he doesn’t mean what he says, and most of the people voting for McCain are doing so on the fear that Obama means exactly what he says.”

    As I’ve pointed out, democracy isn’t about electing the best person for the job, but the best liar.

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  31. Eric says:

    So was Stalin.

    Aw, man. Someone please tell me Bitsy didn’t go there. Tell me he’s just joking. Tell me he didn’t trot out the ol’ “Well, I’ve got no rationale arguments left, so I’ll just find some sort of tenuous connection between Obama and some super evil villain to support my increasingly narrow and ossified worldview.” Say it ain’t so, Bitsy. Say it ain’t so…

    Apparently, your remedial schooling didn’t bother to cover concepts of comparison?

    Actually, anyone who would seriously make a boneheaded comparison like you did is the one who needs remedial schooling. With comments like that, you really show that you’re nothing more than a dilettante.

    true. Yet unlike the others, Reagan’s pragmatism was filtered through the concepts of limited government.

    I love the rationalization. The guy who presided over one of the biggest increases in military spending believed in limited government? I guess he forgot to change his filter. But, please, let’s not focus on what Reagan actually did; let’s concentrate instead on what he said, right?

    Is there some kind of variation of Godwin’s law that applies to Communist Russia?

    Yeah, no kidding. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that trotted out by a righty friend or family member as their last “argument.” LOL! It’s never the first thing they say, of course, because they want to sound all knowledgeable; only when their argument fails on its merits do they really begin to show their stripes.

    They fail to recognize the realities of governing and the way 9/11 changed the world.

    9/11 didn’t change the world, it changed you, and not necessarily for the better.

    Yeah, I’ve never agree with the “Pre-9/11 mindset” argument. Nothing in this world has changed: People still kill and get killed just like they did in the past. The only thing that has changed is one’s own perception. Those who are fearful and afraid believe the world changed; those who understood these things to begin with only fear how others will change (for the worse). (In fact, the Framers of the Constitution understood these tendencies well, which is precisely why they divided our government into three branches, so that “cooler heads” could prevail over the rash and fearful.)

    As I’ve pointed out, democracy isn’t about electing the best person for the job, but the best liar.

    Look, I’m just as suspicious of politicians in general as the next guy, but this seems unduly cynical. If you believe that, why bother to vote? Why bother having a democracy. At some point, we all must put our trust in whom we vote for; otherwise, what’s the point?

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  32. Michael says:

    In fact, the Framers of the Constitution understood these tendencies well, which is precisely why they divided our government into three branches, so that “cooler heads” could prevail over the rash and fearful.

    I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. Their reasons for separate branches was more an efficiency concern. The only division that was meant to let “cooler heads” prevail was a bicameral legislature.

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  33. Eric says:

    don’t think that’s entirely accurate. Their reasons for separate branches was more an efficiency concern. The only division that was meant to let “cooler heads” prevail was a bicameral legislature.

    Yes, you are right. I overgeneralized when I should have made a more nuanced point to connect the dots. Essentially, I meant that the Framers divided the government into three branches to act as a check on tyranny from the other two. Tyranny itself can come about when the emotions of the electorate are driven by fear, etc. My recollection is that the Framers discussed these sources of tyranny in The Federalist Papers.

    D**n your Vulcan logic, Michael!

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  34. Michael says:

    Yes, you are right. I overgeneralized when I should have made a more nuanced point to connect the dots. Essentially, I meant that the Framers divided the government into three branches to act as a check on tyranny from the other two. Tyranny itself can come about when the emotions of the electorate are driven by fear, etc. My recollection is that the Framers discussed these sources of tyranny in The Federalist Papers.

    Well I’m currently in the middle of the Federalist Papers, and it seems that the executive and judicial branches were designed more as a delegation of responsibility from the legislative, and not so much as a check on legislative power. I’m not sure the founders wanted to put a check on the branch of government that most represented the will of the people, other than it’s own bicameral nature.

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  35. Floyd says:

    Tom p;
    So many? It’s maybe a dozen or a score.
    There are Many millions of Conservatives in the country , so a few rats with questionable credentials to begin with, aren’t enough to pique anyone’s curiosity.
    Celebrity endorsements don’t sell me clothes, cars,shoes or politicians.

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  36. Floyd says:

    Shouldn’t the spin be that every republican endorsement of Obama, merely adds credence to McCain’s claim to Maverick status??

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  37. Michael says:

    There are Many millions of Conservatives in the country , so a few rats with questionable credentials to begin with, aren’t enough to pique anyone’s curiosity.

    It’s funny that nobody was questioning their conservative credentials before it was know that they were abandoning the ship. I guess it all goes back to the new definition of Conservative: “People who agree with me”.

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  38. Michael says:

    Shouldn’t the spin be that every republican endorsement of Obama, merely adds credence to McCain’s claim to Maverick status??

    Only if your new definition of Maverick is “Someone nobody agrees with”.

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  39. tom p says:

    Floyd: credit where credit is due. You beat me to the sinking ship metaphor (I am a slow typer).

    But one has to ask, Frum, Douthat, Brooks, Sullivan, Will, Noonan, Gergen, Adelman…. These are all intelligent conservatives (oops, my bad, intelligent=intelligentsia… that is a smear reserved for liberals)(and it is more than a dozen or 2)

    At one point the GOP said it had a “big tent”, but the tent is getting pretty empty right now. Even JJ has been accused of being a traitor for holding to the ideals he holds so dear, ideals which once fit within that big tent.

    As one who holds to a “center/left” point of veiw, I too worry about an unchecked democratic party… But the GOP has become a caricature of itself and not even close to a check on the Democrats.

    They deserve to be sent to the wilderness, and I hope there are enough true conservatives to send them there, just as I helped send the Dem’s there in 2002. I want a viable alternative in 2010… but I don’t expect it.

    They are yet too blind to what they have become.

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  40. Plus, this is just a weird election where I don’t think all of the normal ideological categories apply. This is, if anything, Bush’s legacy.

    Clearly, everything is George Bush’s fault. Imagine if George Bush, or anyone for that matter, could do 10% of what he is supposed to be able to do.

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  41. Bithead says:

    Actually, anyone who would seriously make a boneheaded comparison like you did is the one who needs remedial schooling. With comments like that, you really show that you’re nothing more than a dilettante.

    How is the comparison boneheaded?
    PLease elaborate. Is it just because the comparison makes you uncomfortable?

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  42. anjin-san says:

    Is it just because the comparison makes you uncomfortable?

    That could be it. The stupidity of the comparison is making him uncomfortable…

    This just in… Obama “palling around” with SMERSH member Ernst Blofeld.

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  43. Dawnsblood says:

    I know at least one PUMA (maybe the last remaining PUMA) who’s voting for McCain and hoping he doesn’t mean it about abortion. According to her, he’d never overturn Roe because it’s been such a money-maker for the GOP. Um, okay.

    To be fair I have heard similar arguments on websites before but it was about votes not money. The basic idea being that without Roe V Wade, the GOP would lose a lot of Catholic votes if abortion was a non-issue because of Catholic social values such as poverty.

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  44. Eric says:

    How is the comparison boneheaded?

    Somehow even asking that shows that you just don’t get it. People who know their history and are serious about it simply do not make offhand comparisons like that. It’s inappropriate on its face. And if you can’t (or won’t) see that, then you are simply not getting it.

    George Bush is not Hitler. Obama is not Stalin. We are not the USSR in the twentieth century.

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  45. An Interested Party says:

    Obama “palling around” with SMERSH member Ernst Blofeld.

    Actually, Blofeld was the head of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and not a member of Smersh…just sayin’…

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  46. Floyd says:

    It’s funny that nobody was questioning their conservative credentials before
    “”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”

    In the case of Adelman this has not been true for many years, same with Powell.
    ——————————————-
    Tom p;
    The one conservative on that list has only voiced disagreement with McCain, not an endorsement of Obama.

    McCain is not, after all, a conservative, so it should not surprise anyone that he would lose some conservative support.

    No conservative, moral or fiscal, would EVER endorse Obama by simple definition.

    Which of those on your list actually endorsed Obama, even if we pretend that they are all Conservatives?

    I could not endorse McCain myself,…. but, to endorse Obama, I would have to betray every moral & fiscal principle held by every decent American for the last 230 years.

    BTW; did you really have to leave country to compile half your list?

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  47. anjin-san says:

    Actually, Blofeld was the head of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and not a member of Smersh…just sayin’…

    How can anyone be expected to keep track of all the evil organizations that Obama is associated with? He is tied up with KAOS as well. And it is well known he spent time in the phantom zone. Kal-El? Another lie…

    >Nice catch, its a little embarrassing considering the number of Bond first editions I have… guess I need to reread them

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  48. [...] by my vote than I am now. James Joyner, a conservative who blogs at Outside the Beltway, thinks Adelman’s announcement is significant. “While Colin Powell, Lincoln Chaffee, Susan Eisenhower, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Jim Leach, Richard [...]

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  49. sam says:

    A little break from all the above.

    Actually, Blofeld was the head of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and not a member of Smersh…just sayin’…

    Well, Ernst did a lot of recruiting from SMERSH, e.g., Rosa Klebb.

    (Points for–what famous American version of what song mentions the wife of the man who wrote the song…no peeking at Wiki!!)

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  50. [...] politics of hope, indeed: It strikes me as odd, indeed, to vote for a presidential candidate who disagrees with you on the [...]

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  51. [...] by my vote than I am now. James Joyner, a conservative who blogs at Outside the Beltway, thinks Adelman’s announcement is significant. “While Colin Powell, Lincoln Chaffee, Susan Eisenhower, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Jim Leach, [...]

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  52. [...] validation of everything that is wrong with the McCain campaign. After all, this is a “loyal lifelong Conservative Republican.” I have a couple of problems with that characterization. First, it is astonishing that [...]

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