Elections and Protests

Andrew Sullivan seems to argue that the losing side in an election thereby loses the right to protest:

It’s perfectly proper – even admirable – to demonstrate and argue against the new administration’s ideas, but it’s also worth recalling that this plan in its essentials was an integral part of the president’s campaign platform and his party’s effective manifesto. It was debated ad nauseam last year, and Obama won by a hefty margin. The tone of these protests suggests that this is some wild power-grab. It isn’t. It’s a centrist and not-too-ambitious plan to fulfill a clear campaign pledge as responsibly as possible within a sensible fiscal framework.

The protestors keep saying that they want their country back. Sorry, my fellow small-governmenters, but this country is a democracy, and you didn’t lose your country, you just lost an election. You had your chance for eight years. You blew it, and you lost. What Obama is doing is what he was elected to do. The principled response is not a massive, extremist-riddled hissy fit a few months in, but a constructive set of proposals to build on universal care for a more market-friendly and cost-conscious system in the future. You have to win some political credibility for that; and then you have to beat the man you lost so badly to last year. That’s the civil and civilized way forward for the right. It also seems, alas, to be the one they are currently refusing to take.

This is wrong on so many levels.

First, Obama won for a whole variety of reasons.  Candidates say all manner of things on the campaign trail but winning does not necessarily confer a mandate for all of those programs.  A goodly number of the centrists, independents, and even conservatives who voted for Obama did so because they found him personally appealing, found John McCain less than inspiring, wanted to accelerate our withdrawal from Iraq, wanted a clean break from eight years of George W. Bush, or any of a hundred other things.  This does not translate into “this election was about universal health coverage,” any more than Bush’s victory of John Kerry in 2004 was about privatizing Social Security.

Second, even if one were to believe that the healthcare debate was somehow central to the 2008 election, it doesn’t mean that the debate must therefore be forever closed.  Certainly, the war in Iraq and the general fight against terrorism were much, much more central to the 2004 election.  That didn’t end the discussion.  Nor should it have.

Third, one can generally be in favor of something and yet oppose the manner in which it is implemented. Obama’s campaign message on healthcare was rather vague and none of the plans circulating through Congress much match up to it.  Even many Democrats are unhappy with the current plans.

Fourth, this is the United States of America. The right to protest one’s government for whatever reason one wishes is enshrined right there in our Constitution. It’s the first thing mentioned in the Bill of Rights.

FILED UNDER: Politics 101, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Billy says:

    Andrew Sullivan seems to argue that the losing side in an election thereby loses the right to protest

    I’m sorry – I missed the part where he calls for protests to be made illegal. Can you highlight that for us?

  2. LaurenceB says:

    I’m with Billy. Dr. Joyner mostly builds a straw man here.

  3. John Burgess says:

    Sorry, Obama’s victory margin comes nowhere close to what I consider a ‘mandate’. A minimum of 60% and preferably something closer to 80% is where I draw the line.

    Sullivan isn’t saying you ‘lose the right’. He’s just saying, ‘shut up and take it like a man… because you didn’t win, you shouldn’t argue anymore, so just shut up.’

  4. DL says:

    What Andrew fears most of all – the awakening of the sleeping giant and the fact that it has discovered and is willing to use the left’s tactics. They will not go quietly into the night….

  5. If we follow his logic, the voters have also provided a mandate to criminalize posession of marijuana and to deport visitors guilty of such.

  6. sam says:

    I’m having a problem here, James:

    Andrew Sullivan seems to argue that the losing side in an election thereby loses the right to protest:

    It’s perfectly proper — even admirable — to demonstrate and argue against the new administration’s ideas…

    …The right to protest one’s government for whatever reason one wishes is enshrined right there in our Constitution. It’s the first thing mentioned in the Bill of Rights.

    It’s also the first thing mentioned in your quote from Andrew. It’s one thing to criticize the substance (or substances) of a protest, and quite another to criticize the fact of the protest itself. Andrew’s doing the former and not the latter, as I read him.

  7. odograph says:

    Anybody can protest, but it’s boring when it’s just the reiteration “we lost.”

    In this case though I think it’s mainly “now that we are out of power, we can blame somebody!”

  8. PD Shaw says:

    We have independent executive and legislative branches in this country, unlike some places Mr. Sullivan may have acquaintance.

    In a sense the mandate is for each legislator to decide with respect to his or her district. Ben Nelson (D-NE) didn’t run for election in 2008, but his state largely voted for McCain and a Republican won the U.S. Senate seat that was up for election. Mandate?

  9. frankenstein says:

    seriously, “you f***ing libtards are turning america into russia!”(and i cant tell you how many times ive heard this in real life in the past few months), is not healthy american protest; its obviously an emotional, reactive, and ignorant bit of nonsense that should be discouraged and socially ostracized least others think this sort of behavior is acceptable.

  10. Cam Winston says:

    Obama also ran on a platform of being against gay marriage.

    Since his election, we’ve seen Andrew Sullivan endorse the posting of the business addresses (and tacit endorsement of boycotts therein) of people who donated to banning gay marriage in CA, we’ve seen him smear those against gay marriage as being bigots and we’ve seen him cheer on fellow d-bag (won’t name him) who slimed Miss California with the worst of all names after causing her to lose Miss USA.

    Apparently, working towards changing the laws in a civil manner only matters when it comes to the black guy whose face Saint Andrew (of the rawmuscleglutemilkyload) so enjoys.

    Or, in short, we’ve seen a few more examples of the mountainous area known as “Andrew Sullivan gets caught participating in that which he condems”, which occurs on a semi-hourly basis.

    Lastly, this country isn’t a democracy; it’s a representative republic. If it were a democracy, the up and down national vote on gay marriage would still have poor Andrew crying all over his keyboard (THAT would be a mandate).

  11. anjin-san says:

    seems to argue that the losing side in an election thereby loses the right to protest:

    Not really. You, on the other hand, seem to be making things up as you go along…

  12. JKB says:

    Well, if the issue has been debated ad nauseam and there is some kind of mandate then why so concerned about a bunch of people, a whole bunch of people, getting together to stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue then hang out on the Mall for a while? Sure they carried signs, sang songs and it appears a good time was had by all. A gracious winner with such a mandate would let them have their say since it doesn’t really matter.

    Or could it be that some of that change we heard about has come and the support of such policies is not as deep as it was, if it ever was?

    and then you have to beat the man you lost so badly to last year.

    Ah no. All that has to be done is to put enough of those up for election next year in fear of the American voter. Which, of course, is the root of all this hand wringing on the left this fine September day.

  13. reid says:

    As others have pointed out, Sullivan explicitly states it’s admirable to demonstrate. He’s clearly addressing the “extremist-riddled hissy fit” aspect of the tea party nonsense. I wasn’t there, thank god, but surely you’ve seen the abundance of idiotic displays from yesterday. References to Hitler, The Joker, Stalin…. A lot of these people are just angry and unreasonable. (I’m not going to claim racism is the root.) So all in all, you seem to be attacking a straw man here.

    P.S. I have mixed feelings on Sullivan, so it’s not normal for me to be defending him!

  14. Steve Verdon says:

    It’s also the first thing mentioned in your quote from Andrew.

    Right, it was, but then Andrew goes on to eviscerate his initial statement, that unless they can beat Obama in an election (several years away) they should shut up. Basically, Obama has a free hand to do whatever he wants. Funny, I can’t imagine Andrew arguing this with regards to Bush.

  15. Davebo says:
  16. Davebo says:

    And before anyone claims “that’s just one protester” what would you do if someone in your protest was carrying that sign while standing next to you?

    Berate them for making the entire group look like rabid racists?

    Apparently not.

  17. G.A.Phillips says:

    Lastly, this country isn’t a democracy; it’s a representative republic. If it were a democracy, the up and down national vote on gay marriage would still have poor Andrew crying all over his keyboard (THAT would be a mandate).

    lol, How long does it take when a liberal changes the wording and meaning of something and the rest of the liberals believe it’s the absolute truth, part of history, and have aught but praise, devotion, and servitude to it for it and because of it?

  18. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Is being anti red racist? Sullivan got busted for dope and got away with it. Friends at Justice? There was a time when guests who violated our laws were invited to leave. Today that seems to be overlooked if you lean far enough left. Anyone ever notice Sullivan telling Cindy Sheehan not to protest?

  19. Cam Winston says:

    Does that apply to folks who sit in congregations while racist preachers spill bilge about whitey & chickens coming home to roost during one of his frequent anti-USA sermons?

    Didn’t think your outrage through to its logical conclusion, did ya? What about Barry & Michelle donating 20 grand to a race-mongering preacher, Davebo? Reckon someone next to that moron holding the sign ended up donating to that lady’s cause, as Obama did with Rev. Wright?

    We’ll wait while you conjur up some way to move the goalposts & claim that it’s “different”.

  20. reid says:

    Davebo: I just didn’t want to get into the motivations of the crowd because I think some folks are a little too quick to call them all racists. I think the idiocy on display is an obvious-enough problem. But I agree that race probably is a factor for a sadly large number of those in the crowd.

  21. G.A.Phillips says:

    And before anyone claims “that’s just one protester” what would you do if someone in your protest was carrying that sign while standing next to you?

    lol, thats perdy dumb sign, but I’ll debate like a liberal:How is that racist?

  22. Davebo says:

    How is that racist?

    Are you referring to the sign? Or to my statement that the group should police it’s nuttier members?

    Groups like this need to police themselves to maintain some level of integrity to the rest of the public.

    But then again, that would be a huge undertaking among that crowd.

    Just ask yourself, what does the average moderate independant American come away with after viewing the Hitler, Stalin, death camp, and overtly racist signs in that crowd?

    That these are concerned Americans attempting to prevent one policy or another? Or that the majority of these folks are just bat sh#t crazy?

  23. I love the “Russia” comments. Because of course they don’t mean “Russia,” they mean the USSR. Russia today is not communist it’s an oligarchy or a kleptocracy or a nascent fascist state, but it’s certainly not communist.

    If you really wanted to accuse someone of being communist you’d go with China, not Russia. Except that wouldn’t really work, would it?

    This is all proof of one thing: old white people are almost the entirety of the teabag-you lie-grrrr movement. Angry old white people. Because no one under the age of 50 equates Russia and Communism. Or knows what the hell communism is.

    So we have streets and townhalls filled with angry retired white people all complaining that they don’t want their tax money squandered.

    Well, here’s a heads up for you teabagging geniuses: your taxes are already gone. Looooong gone. You squandered those long, long ago, and now with your social security and medicare and VA benefits and pensions you’re burning through your grandchildren’s money. And not one of you is carrying a sign that says, “Means-test Social Security,” or, “No Medicare For The Rich.” or “Raise The Retirement Age.”

    No, see, that would be the responsible thing to do when you’re 68 and you’re stealing money from the piggy banks of your grand and great-grandchildren.

    Much better to blame it on the black guy.

    Republicanism at its finest.

  24. Cam Winston says:

    If you wish to present yourself as a non-thinking troll who parrots the dailykos line, keep typing “teabag” in its various incarnations.

  25. Davebo says:

    If you wish to present yourself as a non-thinking troll who parrots the dailykos line, keep typing “teabag” in its various incarnations.

    Including these people?

    It’s not like Michael made that name up. They did.

  26. giantslor says:

    James, your take is wrong in its premise. Andrew never said the protesters shouldn’t have the right to protest. He said they should be doing something more productive instead of protesting.

  27. Cam Winston says:

    Davebo, since you’shown that you’re reading my comments, would you mind revisiting the one I posited earlier & address how someone standing next to a person holding an offending sign is so much more egregious an offense than, say, Barack Obama sitting in a congregation for 20 years listening to Rev. Wright’s continual racist (at worst)/anti-American/race hustling (at best) ‘sermons’ and donating 20K to his cause? Seems on the surface that one is a tacit condoning while the other is a verifiable endorsement (as in, endorsing with checks).

  28. Cam Winston says:

    It’s not like Michael made that name up. They did.

    You guys are going to have to make up your minds. Are those protesters a collection of astroturfed minions that have been hornswaggled by Tom Delay & a bunch of other big-wigs & all part of a grand scheme put forth by the “vast right wing conspiracy”, as told by folks like Rachel Maddow & Keith Olbermann, who first put the “teabag” thing in the public domain as a means to smear the protesters (much as what is happening here, and done so because so many of you – like them – are filled with seething rage) or they they led by a businessman who bought that domain that you so eagerly put forth, which is a low-rent web site that probably gets dozens of hits per day, mostly via links from democratic diehards doing exactly what you did (try to smear the entire group)?

    Back on topic: good to see Andrew Sullivan wishing for more introspection & less hissy-fits in political discussions, nowadays. Is there anyone alive that is less self-aware?

  29. frankenstein says:

    cam winston forgot to check if obama had denounced anything the rev. had said

    “Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements ” via http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barack-obama/on-my-faith-and-my-church_b_91623.html

  30. Cam Winston says:

    frankenstein,
    That was the mulligan speech given a week after the initial “I could no more disown Reverand Wright” attempt, which was put together when Rev. Wright went to the nat’l press club and restated many of the things he said in his church (he admitted as such) while Barack Obama sat nodding in the crowd, checkbook in hand.

    You are either ignorant of what happened just last year or you’re willing to put forth a half-truth out of context. Neither is good for your credibility, especially when considering that you use huffington post as a news source.

    Of course, we’re talking about a guy who hired a 9/11 truther & communist for green jobs czar -someone please tell Michael that “we beat the Russians in hockey” pertained to the CCCP team, not just the boundaries of the country of Russia- so it goes a lot further than just standing beside someone holding a sign, doesn’t it?

    Try, try again.

  31. Cam Winston says:

    I did like this part of Obama’s speech: I believe that Americans will judge me not on the basis of what someone else said, but on the basis of who I am and what I believe in.

    He left off the part where that only applies to him & other Democrats, but guilt by association is to be used in the most heavy handed of ways if he’s elected. [here’s the part where folks caught between a rock and a hard place say “okay, people are responsible for their own actions and not those of others and maybe those folks protesting aren’t all racists”. Well, intelligent ones do, that is. Be smart and accept the olive branch]

  32. frankenstein says:

    cam,

    so you think one should disown someone they’ve known for 20 years even though they’ve specifically and publicly denounced specific statements the other person has made that they disagree with?

    if i saw a liberal or anyone else using such propaganda (forget for a moment that its also insane, backward, and confused) as the kind the teabaggers are using, i would call them out on it, denouncing that shit for what it is; if it were my pastor of 20 years, i wouldnt “cut all ties” and run, instead i would challenge their statements, as obama has of the rev.

  33. Cam Winston says:

    Gosh, so you think that Obama did the right thing by saying he couldn’t distance himself & then a week later, when that didn’t work, he did, and the folks you disgree with are “teabaggers”. I’m shocked!

    if i saw a liberal or anyone else using such propaganda

    That whole part about America deserving 9/11…..eh, just say you disagree (later, when it’s expedient) and continue to give money and nod approvingly? That kind of propaganda?

    Nice try.

    if it were my pastor of 20 years, i wouldnt “cut all ties” and run,

    An reasonable person would’ve quit 19.5 years ago, if that type of rhetoric were REALLY something that offended them.

    Fail.

    But, hey, you continue to carry that water!

  34. G.A.Phillips says:

    Are you referring to the sign?

    Yes, it’s hardly racist, a poor attempt at birther humor? It was a dumb play on words,and thats something I’m an expert at, so take my word for it.

    Most of the signs were exceptional, like the one that Rush mentioned during my ACS class today, it said something like this”it doesn’t matter what the sign says the liberals will label me a racist anyway” not exactly but something like that…….

  35. frankenstein says:

    cam,

    i view church relationships less as a choice and more as a commitment. my pastor has said some things i think are significantly backward and inappropriate. instead of cutting all ties and running, i challenge him and publicly express my disapproval. i try hard not to cut ties with people, as i dont find it effective. trust me, ive often wanted to cut ties with my vocally-racist republican mother who thinks we have the best healthcare in the world.

  36. Cam Winston says:

    i view church relationships less as a choice and more as a commitment.

    Sure you do.
    Last I checked, we all had a choice over which church to join. I recall Howard Dean being praised for quitting his church when they did something that the netroots disagreed with. Interesting.

    my pastor has said some things i think are significantly backward and inappropriate.

    So has mine. We’re in agreement.
    If my pastor hinted that the USA deserved 9/11, it crosses the line and you know it. You’re using a higher standard for someone attending a rally, where they’re supposed do be inclined to start an argument with a stranger over a sign that has a bad joke included (with errors), but a lower standard for someone who is a supposed leader & who sits quietly as a pastor tells an entire congregation some of the most racially bombastic things that have been said in a church since, well, someone visited another black church where politickin’ took place (usually around election time).

    Then again, double standards have become commonplace amongst the blogosphere. A shame, IMO.

    You guys have this weird game going on where you’re demanding on a semi-weekly basis that such-and-such Republican should publicly condemn whatever person you guys are told is the boogeyman of the day (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, etc) and if they don’t then it means that the party is kow-towing to bigotry/racism/etc (even though you guys think they’re really racists, anyway) and thus they lack credibility.

    In between, you condemn Republicans for being judgmental and intolerant whenever they condemn people who are a part of your interest-group-laden coalitions.

    Double standards, again. Per the usual.

    As an aside, the concept of the ONLINE LEFT being outraged at political rhetoric is quite amusing. It’s like history began this year.

  37. Mark says:

    James,

    I think Andrew succinctly walks around your argument and points to the pure hypocrisy of the rage felt on the right these days. He’s not arguing against protest. He’s arguing for meaningful protest that has a lasting effect.

    Rather than walking down the street painting Obama as Hitler (after he clearly committed to do these things in the campaign) I read Andrew as saying it’s time to be grown ups, come to terms with reality (please!), and find solid ground to build a movement on.

    Does the healthcare reform Obama talked about during the campaign look “exactly” like he said it would?

    Seriously?? – that’s the leg your standing on in leaning to the side that walks down main street screaming “socialism!” and carrying signs comparing Obama to Stalin?

    That’s pretty thin dude.

  38. frankenstein says:

    Sure you do.
    Last I checked, we all had a choice over which church to join. I recall Howard Dean being praised for quitting his church when they did something that the netroots disagreed with. Interesting.

    and we have a choice to get divorced in a marriage when our significant other says crazy things. i view relationships as commitments toward betterment, not a tool to draw lines in the sand. you and i can differ in respect to how we view our friendly relationships; im just saying, i can understand not disowning someone for idiotic comments they make (people make them all the time about all sorts of things)

    So has mine. We’re in agreement.
    If my pastor hinted that the USA deserved 9/11, it crosses the line and you know it.

    we all think outrageously inappropriate things about all sorts of stuff. frankly, i found all the flag-waving and arab remarks after 911 to cross the line. PEOPLE SAY STUPID SHIT ONCE IN AWHILE.

    You’re using a higher standard for someone attending a rally, where they’re supposed do be inclined to start an argument with a stranger over a sign that has a bad joke included (with errors), but a lower standard for someone who is a supposed leader & who sits quietly as a pastor tells an entire congregation some of the most racially bombastic things that have been said in a church since, well, someone visited another black church where politickin’ took place (usually around election time).etc

    the problem is that these signs are a symbol of a problem in america: ignorance masked as a legitimate political voice. was the rev. ignorant when he voiced his comments? sure was. did obama call his comments idiotic? sure did. do teabaggers *willingly* embrace any nut with a sign? sure do. do they think talk of hitler passes as sound intellectual argument? without a doubt.

  39. steve says:

    “If my pastor hinted that the USA deserved 9/11, it crosses the line and you know it”

    The chickens come home to roost quote, IIRC, came from an ambassador before Wright repeated them. While we did not deserve them, we certainly should have known an attack on our territory was inevitable. How many countries can you invade, how many governments overthrown before someone decides to fight back? Even a cursory knowledge of our actions in the Middle East or Latin America over the last century makes it obvious.

    Steve

  40. Christian Sieber says:

    James, I have to say that I find your distortion of Andrew’s remarks very disturbing. You said:

    Andrew Sullivan seems to argue that the losing side in an election thereby loses the right to protest:

    Nowhere in his post does he say this. The very first line of Andrew’s post is lauding the act of protesting. For Pete’s sake.

    Your point about the election results “representing” many things is valid enough. But Andrew just makes the point that this was debated during the campaign quite a bit, and a centerpiece of Obama’s domestic policy proposals. In that light, he argues, the protesters portraying this as some sort of unexpected powergrab aren’t being realistic.

    Then you wrote:

    Second, even if one were to believe that the healthcare debate was somehow central to the 2008 election, it doesn’t mean that the debate must therefore be forever closed.

    This is a true statement, but Andrew never argues that the debate should be closed. He instead states that the tone and kind of debate being staged is out of proportion, and that claims of “wanting one’s country back” aren’t reasonable since they never lost it — they only lost an election.

    Then you write the worst part of your post:

    Third, one can generally be in favor of something and yet oppose the manner in which it is implemented. Obama’s campaign message on healthcare was rather vague and none of the plans circulating through Congress much match up to it. Even many Democrats are unhappy with the current plans.

    Obama’s campaign message was not vague. The current bills in Congress implement all the major features of the proposals he made, in detail, as part of his campaign for president. The plan to reform private health insurance regulation and provide subsidies to private insurance to reach “universal coverage” was always Obama’s proposal.

    The fact that you claim his proposals were vague just demonstrates that you didn’t take the time to familiarize yourself with them. (That or you might be lying, I suppose.) This makes me regard you as an unserious commentator and makes me less likely to trust your work in the future.

    Finally:

    Fourth, this is the United States of America. The right to protest one’s government for whatever reason one wishes is enshrined right there in our Constitution. It’s the first thing mentioned in the Bill of Rights.

    Really? No one is claiming otherwise, least of all Andrew. Nothing in his post implies that he wants to restrict this right.

    You’ve spent your whole post tilting at straw men James. You can do better.

  41. An Interested Party says:

    re: steve at September 14, 2009 22:06

    I’ll bet someone around here will be asking you why you hate your country because of those comments…

  42. Joey Bagadonuts says:

    During the 2008 campaign, Obama talked about health care reform in practically every speech, debate, interview and TV commercial.

    Of course FOX news viewers and Right Wing radios listeners would have no way of knowing this.

    On the other hand, Bush rarely if EVER mentioned privatizing Social Security DURING the 2004 campaign.

    In no way are they equivalent campaign “promises”

  43. Clarence says:

    Um, Bush didn’t run on privatizing Social Security in 2004. Go back and look at this speeches and campaign materials and you’ll see only a passing glance at the issue. What pissed off so many people in 2005 is that he DIDN’T run on it, instead just citing his puny victory as a mandate to do whatever he pleases. And Obama talked about health care endlessly, for two years. If someone claims to be shocked by what he’s doing now, it’s only because they weren’t paying attention during the campaign or are being disingenuous.

  44. sam says:

    Andrew retorts:

    [James] … says that I am arguing that “the losing side in an election thereby loses the right to protest.” Not true. They have every right to protest, as I wrote. But declaring this a power-grab or somehow unexpected is absurd. It was his priority in the campaign. It’s not like, say, the Iraq war.

  45. Cam Winston says:

    was the rev. ignorant when he voiced his comments? sure was. did obama call his comments idiotic? sure did.
    Please. He sat in that church for 20 years and uttered not one peep. When Sean Hannity aired video of some of the sermons & the kitchen got too hot, he came out and gave a speech where he said he couldn’t disown Rev. Wright.

    And the media showered him with praise for sticking with Wright.

    Then, Wright came out a week later and said the same things in front of the national press club and the kitchen got VERY hot, so Obama saw that he needed to save his campaign & then distanced himself from Wright.

    And the media showered him with praise for straying from Wright.

    Common denominator in all this: the media will stick with Obama and say he’s right, even if he does a complete 180. Also, you’ll say that Obama is doing what’s right, even if it’s doing exactly what you’re decrying some stranger walking down a street is doing.

    How many countries can you invade, how many governments overthrown before someone decides to fight back?

    Ah, the Freedom Fighter argument. I know a lot of folks who also use that argument. Kahlid Sheik Mohammad, Osama Bin Ladin, the leaders of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and now you. And, look, “An Interesting Party” has already swooped in and sock-puppetted their way to your defense. Isn’t that precious?

    Do go on and tell us more about how Al Qaeda was simply “fighting back”. Details, please.

    On the other hand, Bush rarely if EVER mentioned privatizing Social Security DURING the 2004 campaign.

    Nonsense.
    You guys got the talking points around the same period. My guess is that it’s from the same place.

    Er, folks, you do remember that one of the arguments you guys used against Bush was that he was going to ‘privatize social security’? I was joking earlier, but do you REALLY think that history began last year?

  46. frankenstein says:

    cam,

    i think we’ve covered this topic pretty well. you’ll keep spinning it and crying that obama is my messiah; i’ll keep giving my reasons why i think the situation is significantly different. i guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. either way, comparing obama to hitler and crying that we are going to become russia is nothing more than emotionally-drive ignorance and confusion, and should be discouraged, as we should discourage anyone who voices such shit.

    in regards 911, i suggest picking up the book “the great war for civilization”. anyone who was surprised by the attack was and is horribly ignorant of what has been taking place in the middle east, as well as the significant amount of war crimes committed and condoned by the usa in that region. (inb4 they envy our freedoms, or some other dumb shit everyone said after 911)

  47. Cam Winston says:

    comparing obama to hitler and crying that we are going to become russia is nothing more than emotionally-drive ignorance and confusion, and should be discouraged, as we should discourage anyone who voices such shit

    Agreed.
    Calling the whole lot racists, or attempting to portray the crowd as not liking Obama because he’s a black guy: also wrong and should be discouraged. (By the way, that’s happening right now. Michael did it several comments upward)

    as well as the significant amount of war crimes committed and condoned by the usa in that region.

    A country didn’t attack us. If it makes things clearer, imagine some right wing nuts attacking citizens and pointing to the (many) crimes that the US government has committed against its citizens. Oh, wait, that’s happened, and I dare say I can’t recall the, er, somewhat acceptance for their excuses for attacks. Why? Because the right wing nuts (McVeigh, Rudolph) shouldn’t be excused in any way. Funny how so many are so willing to see things through Al Qaeda’s point of view. Well, not funny, disturbing. But don’t dare question anyone’s patriotism when they say “gee, Al Qaeda has a point”!

    Maybe if Bush wasn’t president at the time, the reaction from the left would be a bit different.

  48. frankenstein says:

    cam,

    jeez…

    ive actually been thinking a lot about the racism comments, and have yet to side with what i think of them for two reasons: 1. i can name no fewer than 5 people i know who are teabaggers and who are self-admittedly racist (anecdotal evidence at best, but still weighs heavy on me since it also happens to be all the teabaggers i know) 2. however, there is no scientific data to show that the most of the people at the protests are in fact racist (and i suspect that many probably aren’t).

    i have been turning it over and over again, trying to decide if i should call out those calling the teabaggers racist, and i honestly cant decide. if you can provide some additional evidence or some additional argument, it would be appreciated.

    911: your comments about “a country didnt attack us” betrays a lot. why didn’t a “country” attack us? notice again, the term “war crimes”. again, i suggest picking up the great war for civilization.

    i try to see it through the eyes of history, not through some fallacious american patriotism that you seem to have on. question my patriotism all you want, i dont much give a shit on that point.

  49. frankenstein says:

    oh, and the several other conservatives i know who aren’t racist also happen to not be teabaggers.

  50. Cam Winston says:

    i can name no fewer than 5 people i know who are teabaggers and who are self-admittedly racist (anecdotal evidence at best, but still weighs heavy on me since it also happens to be all the teabaggers i know)

    No problem, I can name no fewer than 4 people I know who are Democrats who wanted Obama elected so that other people would pay for their health care bills and make it so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes. One can find anecdotal evidence for pretty much anything.

    if you can provide some additional evidence or some additional argument, it would be appreciated.

    Nah, you go ahead and join the many who are in agreement that people who oppose Barack Obama are racists.

    why didn’t a “country” attack us?

    Getting bombed into oblivion in response is one answer.

    i try to see it through the eyes of history, not through some fallacious american patriotism that you seem to have on

    Coincidentally enough, the “eyes of history” (and a book!) are in alignment with the rationale put forth by Osama bin Laden in his video explaining why the 9/11 attacks occurred. Again, “Al Qadea has a point!” is a argument put forth by many.

    oh, and the several other conservatives i know who aren’t racist also happen to not be teabaggers.

    There are several liberals I know who are gainfully employed, are able to take care of themselves financially and don’t rely on others to meet their basic needs. They also tend to pick up the argument for Al Qaeda when the topic turns to 9/11, too.

    We’ve gone over this enough. Enjoyed it. Have a nice day, frankenstein.

  51. An Interested Party says:

    Ah, the Freedom Fighter argument.

    Idiot…do you really think that our foreign policy actions have no consequences? No one is saying that we deserved anything that happened on 9/11…but it is complete ignorance to think that things like destabilizing foreign governments and lending support to dictators can’t come back to bite us in the ass…you are aware of blowback, are you not? When you want to discuss the issue without distorting it do let us know…in the meantime, you can go back to making homophobic comments about Andrew Sullivan…you did seem to enjoy that…

  52. Cam Winston says:

    The only thing I typed about Andrew Sullivan was his pseudonym when he was advertising online for gay sex. Surely you knew that. However, if that makes one a homophobe then the word is devoid of all meaning. Or, better yet, some of the people throwing it around haven’t a clue as to its actual meaning.

    Look, I don’t need to make fun of Sullivan’s sexual dalliances, his Trig Trutherism is enough to laugh at.

    do you really think that our foreign policy actions have no consequences?

    Kinda like Eric Rudolph felt our domestic policies had consequences? Like Tim McVeigh felt our domestic policies had consequences?

    Perhaps you should find better people to defend than rawmuscleglutes, who is so unattractive that he was relegated to advertising that he enjoyed taking loads (his words, not mine)? That kind of thing can also result in some blowback.

  53. An Interested Party says:

    Actually, I was unaware of that pseudonym, as I don’t make it my business (unlike others, apparently) to be interested in the sexual escapades of Andrew Sullivan…you see, it’s not about defending him at all, but rather, pointing out that his sexual past (indeed, would this same line of attack be used against a straight blogger who had a similar past?) has nothing to do with the argument that he is making, which is the subject of this post…I mean, if we are going to judge people by such standards, then we no longer need to care about what, say, Newt Gingrich has to say, considering his history of adultery and serial marriage…as for our foreign policy…were we better off overthrowing Mosaddeq in 1953 and installing the Shah? The Shah’s repressive regime led to the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and look at all the mess that has resulted from that…but hey, if it makes you feel better to have a simplistic view of our activities around the world, far be it from me to interfere with that…

  54. Cam Winston says:

    as I don’t make it my business (unlike others, apparently)

    The cheap shot!

    Newt Gingrich has to say, considering his history of adultery

    Apparently, you do make it your business! Duplicity within the span of one paragraph.

    And very bold of you to ignore the motivations of our own domestic terrorists who acted out against our government by killing innocent civilians while you continue to put forth the reasons that foreign terrorists use (you guys needn’t continue to do that; I can listen to the videotapes of the terrorists themselves, they don’t need more spokespeople carrying out their handywork & giving their talking points).

    My job here is done.

  55. An Interested Party says:

    Look who’s talking about duplicity, considering it was you who took the original cheap shot by going after Sullivan for a completely unrelated matter to what was being discussed here…and it is very bold of you to try to mischaracterize my motivations for talking about the effects of our foreign policy…your job here hasn’t even begun…

  56. tailgunner says:

    Screw civility. Screw Andrew Sullivan too.

    I’m not going to let myself be turned into a serf who has to beg Obama for an operation on a knee destroyed by twenty years of Navy PT or watch my wife go blind on a two-year waiting list for cataract surgery.

    Obama is a lying POS, the Democrats are lying POS, and Andrew Sullivan is a lying POS.