Bush Voters v. Voight-Kampff

Dubya’s up in the electoral vote count, which means the GOP Alternate Reality Field is in particularly fine shape this week; those all-too-dubious Dubya National Guard letters didn’t help matters either. This is Kerry’s big problem at the moment: When people go after him (i.e., Swift Boat), he takes the hit. When people go after Dubya and do it badly, he also takes a hit. It’s an interesting dynamic. We’ll see how the GOPARF fares in the next six weeks, but for now, it’s on full power.

I don’t wish to be uncharitable to the folks who will eventually vote for Bush, but at this point I do have to say that I do strongly believe that outside the GOP hacks who would vote a dog into office as long as it was Republican dog (“Checkers in ’08!”), people who are planning to vote for Bush fall into three primary categories: The stupid, the ignorant and the hypocritical. I’ll note that I imagine there is significant overlap between the stupid and the ignorant categories, but not so much overlap between those two categories and the hypocritical category. To be a hypocrite suggests an awareness of facts on the ground, and the commensurate intention to totally ignore said facts; the former of these conditions means one can’t be ignorant, the latter means one can’t be stupid. It takes brains to be a hypocrite.

However — and I think this is an important point — it’s possible that some of the hypocritical Bush voters have been so indoctrinated by the GOP party line that they are utterly incapable of consciously realizing that they are hypocrites. It’s not that they lack self-awareness; I’m sure they possess it, in some rudimentary “dog in the mirror” form. Merely that this self-awareness has been channeled so as not to delve too deeply into certain lines of personal inquiry. Basically, they learn not to think about certain things too much.

You can’t do anything about the stupid Bush voters; stupidity is a not correctable issue. You have more leeway with the ignorant; while some of the ignorant are indeed stupid, there’s a sizable percentage of ignorant people who have functioning brains. They can be taught, and that’s an encouraging thought. With the hypocrites there is, alas, nothing to be done about the hypocrites who know they are hypocrites, except to attempt to make them acknowledge that they are, in fact, contemptuous hypocritical bastards. But perhaps some of the unknowing hypocrites can be saved.

How to do this? Well, I’ll tell you. In the film Blade Runner (with which more people are familiar than its literary forebear, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), there’s something called a Voight-Kampff test, which is used to winkle out replicants walking among the humans. It measures empathy by asking a series of questions designed to evoke an emotional response. Get too many of the questions wrong, and you’re a replicant, and the next thing you know Harrison Ford’s on your ass. It’s always something.

Polling hypocritical Bush voters for empathy would be a fool’s errand, of course, so I won’t even bother. However, what I would like to do is set up a series of questions which I feel will rather effectively bring the hypocrite issue to the fore. So, if you’re planning to vote for George Bush, believe you are reasonably smart and informed, and in fact are not aware of being a contemptuously hypocritical waste of meat, please answer the following questions as truthfully as you can.

1. Is it more important to judge a president on his party affiliation or his policies?

2. A Democratic President promised to deliver 6 million new jobs during his candidacy for president; four years later the economy has had a net loss of 1 million jobs, and the president is the first in 70 years to have lost jobs over the span of his administration. On the basis of job growth, should this Democratic president be given a second term?

3. A Democratic president inherited a federal government that was running a surplus and within four years presided over a federal government which, in raw dollars, ran the highest deficits ever recorded, and which the CBO estimates will add $2.3 trillion to the US deficit in the next decade. On the basis of budget management, should this Democratic president be given a second term?

4. During his party’s convention, a Democratic president outlined a second term agenda which outside analysts estimate would cost $3 trillion to implement, in an environment in which no new government revenues were expected and the federal government is already running large budget deficits. On the basis of fiscal feasibility, should this Democratic president be given a second term?

5. After a massive terrorist attack on America’s soil, a Democratic president diverted troops and supplies from the military effort to find the perpetrators of the attack in order to attack a second country which, while hostile to the United States, was not involved in the terrorist attack in question. To date, the masterminds of the terrorist attack on America’s soil are at large. On this basis, should this Democratic president be given a second term?

6. In justifying the attack on this second country, the Democratic president and his advisers presented a particular justification and several other lesser justifications for invasion. In time it is learned that this particular justification was erroneous as were most of the lesser justifications. The Democratic president and his advisers have recently admitted that their reasons for attacking this second country may have been in error. Meanwhile, over 1000 American soldiers have died in the country we attacked. On this basis, should this Democratic president be given a second term?

7. Citing national security, a Democratic president and his administration have attempted to detain American citizens without regard to their constitutionally-protected rights, an action sharply rebuked by the Supreme Court of the United States. Given this attempt to circumvent the Constitution of the United States, should this Democratic president be given a second term?

8. A Democratic president has declared that he supports a constitutional amendment stripping all Americans of personal rights a sovereign state court has determined that they have. On the basis of attempting to curtail already-determined personal rights, should this Democratic president be given a second term?

9. If the phrase “Democratic president” is changed in the above questions to “Republican president,” would your answers change?

10. Does the answer to question 9 invalidate your answer to question 1?

11. If the answer to question 10 is “yes,” please explain how this does or does not make you, in fact, a contemptible hypocrite.

Have fun with the quiz!

152 thoughts on “Bush Voters v. Voight-Kampff

  1. Do you object if I link to this, to get others to view it? There are a *lot* of Republican voters who need to see this….

  2. Unfortunately, most of the Bush supporters I’ve run into are of the religious zealot variety. I suppose that makes them hypocrits amongst the three choices, though my wife would tell you that I also think they fall into the stupid camp. :)

  3. That was a terrific bit of writing. I’m still queasy about labeling half the country stupid, ignorant, or hypocritical. What about William Safire? I’ve gathered from his columns that he is against much of what Bush has done, but I presume he will vote for Bush because there is one issue on which Safire supports Bush that Safire considers so devastatingly important as to be worth the country’s losses on other areas. Safire, as I understand from his columns, thinks that Bush is the only candidate who will effectively protect America from a horrible attack. Is that a hypocritical view?

  4. That was a terrific bit of writing. I’m still queasy about labeling half the country stupid, ignorant, or hypocritical. What about William Safire? I’ve gathered from his columns that he is against much of what Bush has done, but I presume he will vote for Bush because there is one issue on which Safire supports Bush that Safire considers so devastatingly important as to be worth the country’s losses on other areas. Safire, as I understand from his columns, thinks that Bush is the only candidate who will effectively protect America from a horrible attack. Is that a hypocritical view?

  5. I was enthused at first to use this quiz on a few unapologetic Bush supporters I know, but then I realized that they–all of them–wouldn’t understand the questions–or at least where the questions are trying to lead. I suppose that puts them into the stupid and/or ignorant category.

    To me it seems like there are many people who go to work, come home and take care of the kids, mow the lawn on the weekend and only get to watch maybe a half hour of news a day–and God help us if it is Fox. Under these circumstances, with the amount of information they are getting and the type, you can almost understand their ignorance. I’m lucky that I have the time to search through multiple sources to fact check and research current events. If I didn’t, what would I understand about these issues? Hypocrits have no excuse and I’m not trying to blame everything on the media, it is a responsibility to be informed, but I think the stupid/ignorant are more plentiful and perhaps more dangerous than the hypocrits just by their sheer numbers. I think the Bush camp knows this and this is their most powerful campaign strategy.

  6. I was enthused at first to use this quiz on a few unapologetic Bush supporters I know, but then I realized that they–all of them–wouldn’t understand the questions–or at least where the questions are trying to lead. I suppose that puts them into the stupid and/or ignorant category.

    To me it seems like there are many people who go to work, come home and take care of the kids, mow the lawn on the weekend and only get to watch maybe a half hour of news a day–and God help us if it is Fox. Under these circumstances, with the amount of information they are getting and the type, you can almost understand their ignorance. I’m lucky that I have the time to search through multiple sources to fact check and research current events. If I didn’t, what would I understand about these issues? Hypocrits have no excuse and I’m not trying to blame everything on the media, it is a responsibility to be informed, but I think the stupid/ignorant are more plentiful and perhaps more dangerous than the hypocrits just by their sheer numbers. I think the Bush camp knows this and this is their most powerful campaign strategy.

  7. It’s really simple. Yes, Bush is tough on terrorism. But being the wrong kind of tough and focusing on the wrong enemy is… um… Let’s see. Wrong?

    So while I admire his resolve, I, as a taxpayer, see no reason to reward such a performance.

    And let’s not even get started on the faulty economy. I don’t expect the 1990’s, but could we at least have a recovery where everyone’s not so dubious about it?

  8. Adam Nelson writes:

    “I’m still queasy about labeling half the country stupid, ignorant, or hypocritical.”

    Well, in 2000, only 52% of US adults voted. So, realistically, in regards voting for Bush, only about 26% of people are stupid, ignorant or hypocritical.

    As for Bush being to only person who can protect us from terrorists, well. We have tragically manifest evidence against that assertion, don’t we.

  9. Adam Nelson writes:

    “I’m still queasy about labeling half the country stupid, ignorant, or hypocritical.”

    Well, in 2000, only 52% of US adults voted. So, realistically, in regards voting for Bush, only about 26% of people are stupid, ignorant or hypocritical.

    As for Bush being to only person who can protect us from terrorists, well. We have tragically manifest evidence against that assertion, don’t we.

  10. But, see, here’s the problem: Because Bush and Kerry are so simillar on so many issues (as a Liberaterian, I happen to believe both their records suck in the civil liberties department), this election will come down to people voting on one issue dear to their hearts: terrorism, gay marriage, abortion, school vouchers, etc…

    Now, those people who think abortion is the most important issue, more important than gay marriage, more important than gun control, more important than defecits, does it make them idiots or hypocrites to vote for Bush?

    Or for instance, if I happen to believe in school vouchers, why is my desire to see kids in bad school districts get a better education any less a holy cause than believing in gay marriage. (I happen to believe in both but think that, frankly, good education is more important than gay marriage for the good of society. Does that make me evil or stupid, John?)

    BTW: The above is not an endorsement of either candidate, but just an example of how a single issue can sway an otherwise, imho, tolorant person.

  11. But, see, here’s the problem: Because Bush and Kerry are so simillar on so many issues (as a Liberaterian, I happen to believe both their records suck in the civil liberties department), this election will come down to people voting on one issue dear to their hearts: terrorism, gay marriage, abortion, school vouchers, etc…

    Now, those people who think abortion is the most important issue, more important than gay marriage, more important than gun control, more important than defecits, does it make them idiots or hypocrites to vote for Bush?

    Or for instance, if I happen to believe in school vouchers, why is my desire to see kids in bad school districts get a better education any less a holy cause than believing in gay marriage. (I happen to believe in both but think that, frankly, good education is more important than gay marriage for the good of society. Does that make me evil or stupid, John?)

    BTW: The above is not an endorsement of either candidate, but just an example of how a single issue can sway an otherwise, imho, tolorant person.

  12. Alina Adams asks:

    “Now, those people who think abortion is the most important issue, more important than gay marriage, more important than gun control, more important than defecits, does it make them idiots or hypocrites to vote for Bush?”

    Personally, I think a single-issue voter is a special classification of stupid.

    I don’t buy the libertarian line of “they’re pretty much the same,” because manifestly they’re not on many critical issues. However, even if one thinks they are, and yet one is still determined to vote for one or the other, the question to ask, I think, is whether the incumbent deserves a second term, based on his record.

  13. Eeesh. Good stuff. Too bad all my Repub. friends would just discredit 2-8 with “nuh-uh”s and “that’s not true”s. It’s a different kind of fanaticism. I sit around and think, “Clark’s good…Kerry’s ok…” while my GOP friend stares wide-eyed at the TV as Bush speaks and says “I LOVE THAT MAN.” It’s just weird. Every situation can be turned around to be caused by some “liberal bastard” and every negative act by a republican can be denied or argued away. To me, it’s a closed-minded black-and-white way of looking at things. Rush Limbaugh syndrome…EVERYTHING that a democrat does is bad…there are NO democratic presidents who ever contributed one good thing to the country. While I, as a Democrat, was quite fond of the way George H. W. Bush handled many things. Democrats seem more willing to see the grey in things. I think the GOP is counting on that ‘black or white’ mentality to polarize their way into the white house again. *shrugs*

  14. Eeesh. Good stuff. Too bad all my Repub. friends would just discredit 2-8 with “nuh-uh”s and “that’s not true”s. It’s a different kind of fanaticism. I sit around and think, “Clark’s good…Kerry’s ok…” while my GOP friend stares wide-eyed at the TV as Bush speaks and says “I LOVE THAT MAN.” It’s just weird. Every situation can be turned around to be caused by some “liberal bastard” and every negative act by a republican can be denied or argued away. To me, it’s a closed-minded black-and-white way of looking at things. Rush Limbaugh syndrome…EVERYTHING that a democrat does is bad…there are NO democratic presidents who ever contributed one good thing to the country. While I, as a Democrat, was quite fond of the way George H. W. Bush handled many things. Democrats seem more willing to see the grey in things. I think the GOP is counting on that ‘black or white’ mentality to polarize their way into the white house again. *shrugs*

  15. Thanks John Scalzi.

    I think some people would consider me a one-issue voter. For me, the only thing that matters is, who can replace Bush/Cheney? Kerry/Edwards has the best chance, so I’m behind them. I would have prefered Clark, but by the time the primaries came to IL, the viable option was Kerry. Hey, I can live with it – it ain’t Bush/Cheney, at least!

    As for G.H.W. Bush – the best thing he handled was his re-election effort.

  16. Voting for Bush? Take this quiz

    I was just thinking yesterday that I need to resume my political blogging, doing my minuscule part to send Bush on to the next job he’s going to screw up, just like he’s screwed up every other job he’s had….

  17. “Safire, as I understand from his columns, thinks that Bush is the only candidate who will effectively protect America from a horrible attack. Is that a hypocritical view?”

    If Safire can produce no decent reason to support it (and from what I’ve seen, he can’t) then yes, it is. Can anyone really imagine Safire giving a Democratic president a pass on questions 5-7?

  18. Party affiliation should not impact on voting, but unfortunately it does — in both major parties. Questions similar to #2-4 were raised with regards to former California Governor Gray Davis. Yet he won re-election — in primarily Democratic California. It took MAJOR bungling on Davis’s part before and after his re-election before he was booted on a special recall election. And even in the recall, only San Francisco — a MAJOR DEMOCRATIC STRONGHOLD — had a sizable proportion of the population wanting to keep his ass in office — and ONLY because he was a democrat.

    Anybody who votes only based on party affiliation is an idiot. Regardless of the party in question.

  19. Party affiliation should not impact on voting, but unfortunately it does — in both major parties. Questions similar to #2-4 were raised with regards to former California Governor Gray Davis. Yet he won re-election — in primarily Democratic California. It took MAJOR bungling on Davis’s part before and after his re-election before he was booted on a special recall election. And even in the recall, only San Francisco — a MAJOR DEMOCRATIC STRONGHOLD — had a sizable proportion of the population wanting to keep his ass in office — and ONLY because he was a democrat.

    Anybody who votes only based on party affiliation is an idiot. Regardless of the party in question.

  20. “Anybody who votes only based on party affiliation is an idiot.”

    So, you won’t be voting Bush, then?

  21. Hullo! Just wanted to say that this page is unreadable in Netscape… there is no white box under the black lettering. The background is lovely, but it is black on the right hand side and so one cannot read the entries. The comments are in grey, which is readable on the blac, but not on the rest of the swirling grey smokiness. Lovely background, once again, but you need to find some way to make it work in older Netscape browsers. thanks.

  22. Hullo! Just wanted to say that this page is unreadable in Netscape… there is no white box under the black lettering. The background is lovely, but it is black on the right hand side and so one cannot read the entries. The comments are in grey, which is readable on the blac, but not on the rest of the swirling grey smokiness. Lovely background, once again, but you need to find some way to make it work in older Netscape browsers. thanks.

  23. As a general straight-ticket voter, I have to say that I have some issues with the first point. Not that it’s wrong, of course, just that it hits a little close to home. I vote straight-ticket (Democrat) because I know that the odds are better than 50% that the candidate in question will support programs that I, as a Democrat, support. Thankfully, this far in my life I have not been called upon to vote for anybody incompetant or crooked, but that’s why I can have a bit of sympathy for Republicans this year. If W were my candidate, and I were a Republican, I’d probably just withhold my vote come November 2nd.

    As far as people who say that there’s no real difference between that parties, I’m glad to say that I’ve heard a lot less of that this year than in 2000. That might be because I lived in a college town in 2000, and I live in a factory town now, or it might be because people OPENED THEIR GOD****ED EYES. (No, seriously, if you believe that Gore would have racked up the worst deficit in the history of money, neutered the EPA, fed civil liberties to the wolves of the Patriot Act, smirked while attempting to outlaw medical procedures, and started the War of American Aggression, well, then we just can’t even communicate, because you live on some planet John covered in his Rough Guide to the Universe.)

    I’ll admit, I was a little surprised to see this post here, because you always seem so calm and serene, and because you’d sort of sworn off political blogs for the duration of the election. But it was a good post.

    K

  24. As a general straight-ticket voter, I have to say that I have some issues with the first point. Not that it’s wrong, of course, just that it hits a little close to home. I vote straight-ticket (Democrat) because I know that the odds are better than 50% that the candidate in question will support programs that I, as a Democrat, support. Thankfully, this far in my life I have not been called upon to vote for anybody incompetant or crooked, but that’s why I can have a bit of sympathy for Republicans this year. If W were my candidate, and I were a Republican, I’d probably just withhold my vote come November 2nd.

    As far as people who say that there’s no real difference between that parties, I’m glad to say that I’ve heard a lot less of that this year than in 2000. That might be because I lived in a college town in 2000, and I live in a factory town now, or it might be because people OPENED THEIR GOD****ED EYES. (No, seriously, if you believe that Gore would have racked up the worst deficit in the history of money, neutered the EPA, fed civil liberties to the wolves of the Patriot Act, smirked while attempting to outlaw medical procedures, and started the War of American Aggression, well, then we just can’t even communicate, because you live on some planet John covered in his Rough Guide to the Universe.)

    I’ll admit, I was a little surprised to see this post here, because you always seem so calm and serene, and because you’d sort of sworn off political blogs for the duration of the election. But it was a good post.

    K

  25. Leanne:

    “Lovely background, once again, but you need to find some way to make it work in older Netscape browsers. thanks.”

    Thanks for the notice. However, less than 1.5% of my readers are using older versions of Netscape, and that’s a small enough percentage that rather than me going through the irritation of changing my background, I’d suggest they upgrade their browsers instead.

    If you’re reading this on Netscape 4.x, you’re reading with a five-year-old browser and may wish to consider using a browser generated in the 21 Century. I recommend Firefox, which is small and should work even on slower browsers. And it’s free. Visit: http://www.mozilla.org for more.

  26. Hullo, I have now read this in IE. I don’t know how anyone can think that Bush will effectively, let alone be the ONLY ONE ABLE to effectively defend America from attack. Was he not president when 9/11 happened? Had they not had forewarning from many intelligence sources within and outside America? Hadn’t they reduced spending on terrorism prior to 9/11, helping it to happen? Hasn’t the world sympathy for 9/11 been completely turned around into hatred for America during Bush’s presidency? Hasn’t the economy gone down, giving more people reason to be unhappy, poor and unemployed and thus ripe for joining anti-American groups? Hasn’t the occupation of Iraq diverted funds and military ressources from defending American soil, and hasn’t the neocon insistence on giving all Iraq rebuilding jobs to nonIraqis fueled both unemployment and anger against Americans, upping the recruits for fundamentalists and terrorist groups? Has Bush found Bin Laden? Where was the great American military force in the half hour to hour between the hijacking of the planes and them hitting the towers and the pentagon? Why were no intercepting planes sent after the hijacked planes? Why did Bush remain in the classroom reading to children, while NYC’s chief of police was immediately flown from northern Quebec back to NYC as soon as he heard about the attacks?? I really do not see any evidence of Bush either keeping military on American soil, using America’s ressources to lower the likelihood of war and terrorism off American soil, or using the ressources they had (intelligence, military and financial) to stop 9/11 either before or during. It is laughable. If he were head of security of a daycare, he would have been fired after such a performance during and after a breach of security. cheers from a canadian.

  27. I sent a copy of the quiz to a hardcore Republican friend of mine. I am eagerly awaiting his response. I expect much in the way of defensive argumentation.

    Kevin Q. wrote: “I’ll admit, I was a little surprised to see this post here, because you always seem so calm and serene …”

    John Scalzi, serene? (muffled evil laughter)

    Unfortunately, Mr. Scalzi, in his infinite wisdom, has removed the links to some of his earlier posts. Otherwise, I would refer you to “I Hate Your Politics” (March 22, 2002), and the associated follow up columns, as a counterexample. Funny, but not especially serene. Unless you can rant serenely.

    If you’re not going to let us access the archives, you could at least repost some of the highlights!

  28. I sent a copy of the quiz to a hardcore Republican friend of mine. I am eagerly awaiting his response. I expect much in the way of defensive argumentation.

    Kevin Q. wrote: “I’ll admit, I was a little surprised to see this post here, because you always seem so calm and serene …”

    John Scalzi, serene? (muffled evil laughter)

    Unfortunately, Mr. Scalzi, in his infinite wisdom, has removed the links to some of his earlier posts. Otherwise, I would refer you to “I Hate Your Politics” (March 22, 2002), and the associated follow up columns, as a counterexample. Funny, but not especially serene. Unless you can rant serenely.

    If you’re not going to let us access the archives, you could at least repost some of the highlights!

  29. Thanks, looked at Mozilla.org as suggested. Foxfire is not supported on Mac OS9 or earlier. So sorry, unless I have $4000 to change my entire computer system and peripherals so I can upgrade to Mac OSX, I shall be sticking to my non21st century netscape for some things (and I don’t normally browse in it, I browse in IE, but someone sent me a link to your site by email, which is in Netscape, so it opened in netscape when I clicked and I thought I’d let you know) BTW it is actually a shame to have such a gorgeous background with planets and all and then cover it except for a half inch border. wink.

  30. Thanks, looked at Mozilla.org as suggested. Foxfire is not supported on Mac OS9 or earlier. So sorry, unless I have $4000 to change my entire computer system and peripherals so I can upgrade to Mac OSX, I shall be sticking to my non21st century netscape for some things (and I don’t normally browse in it, I browse in IE, but someone sent me a link to your site by email, which is in Netscape, so it opened in netscape when I clicked and I thought I’d let you know) BTW it is actually a shame to have such a gorgeous background with planets and all and then cover it except for a half inch border. wink.

  31. >>> If you’re reading this on Netscape 4.x, you’re reading with a five-year-old browser and may wish to consider using a browser generated in the 21 Century. I recommend Firefox, which is small and should work even on slower browsers. And it’s free. Visit: http://www.mozilla.org for more. <<<

    At least on Macs, if you are running a browser that old you are unlikely to be running Mac OS X, which Mozilla Firefox requires. It says it can run on a fairly old CPU version, but I’m not sure how well OS X runs on machines that old.

    Windows users may be better off, since Windows 98 and a 233 MHz Pentium will do.

    The various alternatives to corporate software may help with a number of problems, but the general phenomena of systems more than 4 years old being unsupported isn’t one of them.

  32. >>> If you’re reading this on Netscape 4.x, you’re reading with a five-year-old browser and may wish to consider using a browser generated in the 21 Century. I recommend Firefox, which is small and should work even on slower browsers. And it’s free. Visit: http://www.mozilla.org for more. <<<

    At least on Macs, if you are running a browser that old you are unlikely to be running Mac OS X, which Mozilla Firefox requires. It says it can run on a fairly old CPU version, but I’m not sure how well OS X runs on machines that old.

    Windows users may be better off, since Windows 98 and a 233 MHz Pentium will do.

    The various alternatives to corporate software may help with a number of problems, but the general phenomena of systems more than 4 years old being unsupported isn’t one of them.

  33. To Daniel Alvarez:
    A very valid point. I had thought about his “I Hate Your Politics,” but I guess when I was composing my reply, I had been taken in by all the posts and pictures about the weather, and his daughter, and had forgotten the that beneath that warm and fuzzy exterior beats the heart of a world-class curmudgeon.

    K

  34. DHA says:

    “If you’re not going to let us access the archives, you could at least repost some of the highlights!”

    And here I thought the link off the Whatever main page, the one that says “Whatever Archives, 9/18/1998 – 3/7/2003″ might be sufficient.

  35. DHA says:

    “If you’re not going to let us access the archives, you could at least repost some of the highlights!”

    And here I thought the link off the Whatever main page, the one that says “Whatever Archives, 9/18/1998 – 3/7/2003″ might be sufficient.

  36. Facts are decadent.

    I think people who will vote for Bush and can think have got themselves in a nice little loop which solves this problem. Any good news they hear about Bush is true. Any bad news they hear is liberal bias. Thus there is no bad news. So all the bad news you mention is irrelevant. Remember that whole “but we’re painting schools in Iraq” bit? The media just isn’t reporting the good news.

  37. Safire, as I understand from his columns, thinks that Bush is the only candidate who will effectively protect America from a horrible attack. Is that a hypocritical view?

    My boyfriend gibbers every time well-meaning Republicans or folk of any stripe, really, bring this up. Because the obvious fact of the matter is: We were attacked as a nation WHILE BUSH WAS ALREADY PRESIDENT. (And, to be fair, while Clinton was president, let’s not forget-the USS Cole and the original WTC bombing. One might get the impression that the party of the President didn’t really come into play when the terrorists decided to go for it.)

    I would like to think that my family is among the ignorant, or the skillfully spun, but given some of the things my dad said the last time we talked, I’d have to go for “unknowingly hypocritical”. Actually, blindingly uncritical also works.

  38. Safire, as I understand from his columns, thinks that Bush is the only candidate who will effectively protect America from a horrible attack. Is that a hypocritical view?

    My boyfriend gibbers every time well-meaning Republicans or folk of any stripe, really, bring this up. Because the obvious fact of the matter is: We were attacked as a nation WHILE BUSH WAS ALREADY PRESIDENT. (And, to be fair, while Clinton was president, let’s not forget-the USS Cole and the original WTC bombing. One might get the impression that the party of the President didn’t really come into play when the terrorists decided to go for it.)

    I would like to think that my family is among the ignorant, or the skillfully spun, but given some of the things my dad said the last time we talked, I’d have to go for “unknowingly hypocritical”. Actually, blindingly uncritical also works.

  39. Are you still going to be like this next year after Bush wins?

    Do you really expect me to come back? Do you really expect me to buy your books?

    Do you really want to alienate we stupid, ignorant, and hypocritical? Because that was just straight-up offensive, with offensive chaser. Yes, I’m well-informed, and yes, I can spin the facts just as hard in the other direction as you’ve spun them here. More importantly, to the question “Who has the best interests of Americans at heart, Bush or Kerry”, I answer “Bush”. ***It ain’t even close.*** And your ad hominems aren’t chainging anything, so why do you keep at it?

    I’ve enjoyed the rest of your rantings over the years, including (particularly) the confederacy posts. Oh well. Buh bye.

  40. Are you still going to be like this next year after Bush wins?

    Do you really expect me to come back? Do you really expect me to buy your books?

    Do you really want to alienate we stupid, ignorant, and hypocritical? Because that was just straight-up offensive, with offensive chaser. Yes, I’m well-informed, and yes, I can spin the facts just as hard in the other direction as you’ve spun them here. More importantly, to the question “Who has the best interests of Americans at heart, Bush or Kerry”, I answer “Bush”. ***It ain’t even close.*** And your ad hominems aren’t chainging anything, so why do you keep at it?

    I’ve enjoyed the rest of your rantings over the years, including (particularly) the confederacy posts. Oh well. Buh bye.

  41. I’m glad to see you broke your pre-election vow John. The world is always better off with another curmudgeonly voice, tho I love the publishing stories too.

    I’m not sure why Safire is garnering so much attention, but I think he falls under “tool,” which would be a combination of hypocrite and stupid. I think a degree of stupidity, or self-delusion at any rate, is necessary for hypocrites to operate.

  42. p.s. all the Dems had to do was nominate Lieberman and it’d be like, agreed, compromise reached, Lieberman it is. Even Edwards might have been good enough.

    The reason Kerry will lose is not because anyone is blindly luuuuuvin’ Bush.

    sorry, I will shut my hypocritcal face up now.

  43. p.s. all the Dems had to do was nominate Lieberman and it’d be like, agreed, compromise reached, Lieberman it is. Even Edwards might have been good enough.

    The reason Kerry will lose is not because anyone is blindly luuuuuvin’ Bush.

    sorry, I will shut my hypocritcal face up now.

  44. Stupid asks:

    “Are you still going to be like this next year after Bush wins?

    Do you really expect me to come back? Do you really expect me to buy your books?”

    Possibly to the first question, and I couldn’t really give a rat’s ass to questions two and three.

    Refresher course for everyone: In this area, I write what I please. If you don’t like it, by all means leave. If you’re so offended that you don’t want to buy my books, then don’t buy my books. I’m not here to please anybody but myself, and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. But if you honestly expect me to *care* that you’re offended by what I have to say, then you’ve simply not been paying close enough attention.

    If you’re the sort of person who expects me to temper my opinions on the fear that you might not want to buy one of my books, you’re not the sort of person I want reading my books. So, yes, so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good bye. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  45. >>>More importantly, to the question “Who has the best interests of Americans at heart, Bush or Kerry”, I answer “Bush”. ***It ain’t even close.*** <<<

    This is the sort of statement that makes me think… It’s not stupidity, and it’s not ignorance. It’s that Bush supporters are, in fact, actually smoking crack.

    Bush has the best interests of his extraordinarily wealthy “base” at heart. He has the best interests of Halliburton at heart. If he had the best interests of the U.S. at heart, he would not have dragged us into a costly fuckup of a war with a country that posed no immediate threat to us. Nor would he be loosening environmental standards. Nor would he be authorizing the clear-cut logging of the Appallachian Trail. It goes on. And on. And on.

  46. Bush has better intentions for the people of America than Kerry? Wow, the GOP Alternate Realtiy Field _is_ turned up to max down there.

    With conservatives like Bush, your “intentions” towards others are _at best_ to just leave them alone to succeed/fail, thrive/starve etc on their own. That’s bad enough. Dubya is outright malicious towards his own country on top of the fact that his political ideology is contemptuous towards the average American. Because at this point, the average American is poor. And hardcore conservatives have at best a feeling of apathy towards the poor, and at worst outright hatred for them.

    What are they putting in the water down there, seriously?

  47. Bush has better intentions for the people of America than Kerry? Wow, the GOP Alternate Realtiy Field _is_ turned up to max down there.

    With conservatives like Bush, your “intentions” towards others are _at best_ to just leave them alone to succeed/fail, thrive/starve etc on their own. That’s bad enough. Dubya is outright malicious towards his own country on top of the fact that his political ideology is contemptuous towards the average American. Because at this point, the average American is poor. And hardcore conservatives have at best a feeling of apathy towards the poor, and at worst outright hatred for them.

    What are they putting in the water down there, seriously?

  48. Stupid posted:
    “all the Dems had to do was nominate Lieberman and it’d be like, agreed, compromise reached, Lieberman it is. Even Edwards might have been good enough.”

    Great. All the Democrats have to do is ask the Republicans who to nominate. How come we don’t get to ask for a Giulianni, or re-animated Reagan? At least you had the sense to apologize Stupid. Thank you.

  49. JS: “And here I thought the link off the Whatever main page, the one that says “Whatever Archives, 9/18/1998 – 3/7/2003″ might be sufficient”

    Well, I suppose you could be especially clever and look there too (smacks self in the head repeatedly with large mallet).

  50. JS: “And here I thought the link off the Whatever main page, the one that says “Whatever Archives, 9/18/1998 – 3/7/2003″ might be sufficient”

    Well, I suppose you could be especially clever and look there too (smacks self in the head repeatedly with large mallet).

  51. Under what category do the owners — that is, the wealthiest 1% — come? They’re not typically stupid nor ignorant; they certainly aren’t hypocritical in that they are out front about their own benefits from a continuation of the current Administration. I’d suggest “greedy” be added to the list of reasons to support Bush. While this group’s members only have 1% if the votes, their influence is significantly greater, considering that they own >50% of the material assets of the US, wield far more than their proportionate influence on policies at the corporate level, and the like. If we’re going to let it all hang out, let’s be totally inclusive :-)

  52. Dear Stupid,

    What, exactly, has Bush done _for_you_? He obviously hasn’t stopped terrorist attacks, if anything he’s increased the frequency of terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens (At last check, car bombs were a terrorist attack, not an act of war going by the standard set by Northern Ireland). He hasn’t created all those jobs, quite the opposite. Liberation of Iraq doesn’t really count since you’re probably not an Iraqi—not much gain for you there. So, what, a $300 check in the mail 3 years ago? Its sort of sad to think that someone’s vote could be bought for a paltry $300.

    And why, oh why, do people miss the larger point: Its not BUSH thats the real problem, if he were alone up there he’d be harmless. Its Ridge, Ashcroft, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld (in no particular order) that also go. Remember kids, its not a vote against Bush. Its a vote against The Worst Cabinet Ever (and Friends). Not to mention a Supreme Court nomination or three.

  53. Dear Stupid,

    What, exactly, has Bush done _for_you_? He obviously hasn’t stopped terrorist attacks, if anything he’s increased the frequency of terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens (At last check, car bombs were a terrorist attack, not an act of war going by the standard set by Northern Ireland). He hasn’t created all those jobs, quite the opposite. Liberation of Iraq doesn’t really count since you’re probably not an Iraqi—not much gain for you there. So, what, a $300 check in the mail 3 years ago? Its sort of sad to think that someone’s vote could be bought for a paltry $300.

    And why, oh why, do people miss the larger point: Its not BUSH thats the real problem, if he were alone up there he’d be harmless. Its Ridge, Ashcroft, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld (in no particular order) that also go. Remember kids, its not a vote against Bush. Its a vote against The Worst Cabinet Ever (and Friends). Not to mention a Supreme Court nomination or three.

  54. Bruce asks:

    “Under what category do the owners — that is, the wealthiest 1% — come? They’re not typically stupid nor ignorant; they certainly aren’t hypocritical in that they are out front about their own benefits from a continuation of the current Administration.”

    I wouldn’t automatically assume that the top 1% swings to Bush, since anecdotally I believe that the top two richest people in the US (Bill Gates and Warren Buffett) are not big friends of George. And for those that are, I don’t see why they can’t be greedy hypocrites, as opposed to just greedy, or just hypocrites.

    Bear in mind, of course, that the quiz is not a complete statement of why people would vote for Bush, just one that in my opinion highlights certain discrepancies.

  55. I was going to protest against the ‘stupid’ classification. But after reflection I can live with it — it represents all those who are unwilling or unable to think through logic such as the test John’s posted above. Whether their stupidity is chosen or enforced isn’t really relevant I guess.

    I would however replace ‘ignorant’ with ‘gullible’. The 2000 election in particular showed how willing people were to accept whole-cloth fabrications (“Al Gore says he invented the internet”) even when refuatations are available. It’s less a matter of not being informed, and more a matter of believing whatever the people in the magic box tell them to believe.

    I’d put the truly ignorant in the same class with the ‘apathetic’ — the 50%+ of eligible people who don’t bother to vote.

  56. Stupid “still” said:
    “p.s. all the Dems had to do was nominate Lieberman and it’d be like, agreed, compromise reached, Lieberman it is. Even Edwards might have been good enough.”

    I said this many times before that Lieberman cost Gore the election as it alienated Hollywood and 18-to-24 vote, since Lieberman’s a part of many pro-censorship groups. And if Lieberman was a better candidate than Kerry, he would have done better than Kerry in the primaries.

  57. Stupid “still” said:
    “p.s. all the Dems had to do was nominate Lieberman and it’d be like, agreed, compromise reached, Lieberman it is. Even Edwards might have been good enough.”

    I said this many times before that Lieberman cost Gore the election as it alienated Hollywood and 18-to-24 vote, since Lieberman’s a part of many pro-censorship groups. And if Lieberman was a better candidate than Kerry, he would have done better than Kerry in the primaries.

  58. Scalzi said:
    “… the question to ask, I think, is whether the incumbent deserves a second term, based on his record.”
    Not my country, but I’ll quibble a bit with this. It’s an important question to ask certainly, but if the answer is “no” I’d ask if there is an important reason to vote for the incumbant anyway. David Duke’s run for governor would be the canonical example of the importance of this.

  59. Andrew Wade writes:

    “It’s an important question to ask certainly, but if the answer is “no” I’d ask if there is an important reason to vote for the incumbant anyway. David Duke’s run for governor would be the canonical example of the importance of this.”

    Well, yes. If it’s George Bush versus David Duke, then Bush gets my vote. Likewise Oliver North ran for Senate in Virginia some years back (just before I moved there, I think). Had I been there at the time, I would have voted for his opponent sight unseen (his opponent was Chuck Robb, who despite lying about nailing Tai Collins, was otherwise a reasonable politician).

    However, it’s worth noting that John Kerry is not of such vile stuff as either Duke or North, nor are most politicians.

  60. Andrew Wade writes:

    “It’s an important question to ask certainly, but if the answer is “no” I’d ask if there is an important reason to vote for the incumbant anyway. David Duke’s run for governor would be the canonical example of the importance of this.”

    Well, yes. If it’s George Bush versus David Duke, then Bush gets my vote. Likewise Oliver North ran for Senate in Virginia some years back (just before I moved there, I think). Had I been there at the time, I would have voted for his opponent sight unseen (his opponent was Chuck Robb, who despite lying about nailing Tai Collins, was otherwise a reasonable politician).

    However, it’s worth noting that John Kerry is not of such vile stuff as either Duke or North, nor are most politicians.

  61. “All the Democrats have to do is ask the Republicans who to nominate.”

    Lest you forget, this is exactly what we did. Back in February, the shoo-in candidate was one Howard Dean. Somehow, it was Kerry who swept the primaries. Reason? Because the electorate, according to the conventional wisdom, rejected Dean’s bombast in favor of Kerry’s electability.

    In other words, they looked at the guy and said, “He’s the most likely guy for *non-Democrats* to vote for.”

    Now it’s September and Kerry is getting his ass handed to him. Why? He’s playing too nice. He’s middle-of-the-road. He’s (so far) uncomfortable on the attack. And he’s allowed his vulnerability on the Iraq vote to be played against him both ways.

    Me, I want Dean back. If we’re going to lose to calumny, I’d rather do it with a guy who went down swinging. This guy — a decent man who’d make a fine president — is just perpetuating the Democratic model of bending over and taking it.

  62. “All the Democrats have to do is ask the Republicans who to nominate.”

    Lest you forget, this is exactly what we did. Back in February, the shoo-in candidate was one Howard Dean. Somehow, it was Kerry who swept the primaries. Reason? Because the electorate, according to the conventional wisdom, rejected Dean’s bombast in favor of Kerry’s electability.

    In other words, they looked at the guy and said, “He’s the most likely guy for *non-Democrats* to vote for.”

    Now it’s September and Kerry is getting his ass handed to him. Why? He’s playing too nice. He’s middle-of-the-road. He’s (so far) uncomfortable on the attack. And he’s allowed his vulnerability on the Iraq vote to be played against him both ways.

    Me, I want Dean back. If we’re going to lose to calumny, I’d rather do it with a guy who went down swinging. This guy — a decent man who’d make a fine president — is just perpetuating the Democratic model of bending over and taking it.

  63. Mitch Wagner says:

    “I know some intelligent people who plan to vote for Bush. They don’t like Bush, but they think Kerry would be even MORE incompetent. It’s hard to argue with them.”

    No it’s not. Just remind them that with the executive branch in Democrat’s hands, and the legislative branch in the Republicans, gridlock will keep monumental political stupidity to a reasonable minimum.

  64. FYI, Mozilla was available for Mac OS 9 through version 1.2. You can’t seem to find it anymore through the Mozilla site, but you can download the installer from VersionTracker. I haven’t tested it yet to see if it works, but you can get it here. As John said, Netscape 4.x is simply too old to support anymore; the last version came out some five years ago, but the rendering engine hasn’t been updated in more like 9 years. Ancient history.

  65. FYI, Mozilla was available for Mac OS 9 through version 1.2. You can’t seem to find it anymore through the Mozilla site, but you can download the installer from VersionTracker. I haven’t tested it yet to see if it works, but you can get it here. As John said, Netscape 4.x is simply too old to support anymore; the last version came out some five years ago, but the rendering engine hasn’t been updated in more like 9 years. Ancient history.

  66. Here’s my anecdotal addition.

    My 1% Republican inlaws are voting for Kerry. As my father-in-law’s wife said to me (sorry, she’s wife #2) the other day “I can’t believe I fucking voted for Bush; I’m so embarrassed.”

    Hee.

  67. Bush doesn’t deserve a second term. He’s spent money domestically like a Democrat, has us entangled in Iraq for somewhat dubious reasons, and his assaults on civil liberties are disgusting.

    Having said all that, Kerry doesn’t even deserve a first term. His stated policies are socialist, he will not create new jobs — no president can, and when I hear a candidate say that, I discount it as electioneering bullshit — and it appears that his record in the Senate has been just as hard on civil liberties as the current administration has been. Go get the latest print issue of Reason magazine to read about it. I don’t think it’s online yet at http://www.reason.com

    So, where do we conservatives stand? Between a rock and a a hard place. Scalzi’s sactimonious insults aside, the ONLY reason to vote for Kerry is, as he points out, for the anticipated gridlock.

    Scalzi may have given undecided voters a tweek a while back, but the truth is, I’ll be struggling with this up until the moment I vote.

  68. Bush doesn’t deserve a second term. He’s spent money domestically like a Democrat, has us entangled in Iraq for somewhat dubious reasons, and his assaults on civil liberties are disgusting.

    Having said all that, Kerry doesn’t even deserve a first term. His stated policies are socialist, he will not create new jobs — no president can, and when I hear a candidate say that, I discount it as electioneering bullshit — and it appears that his record in the Senate has been just as hard on civil liberties as the current administration has been. Go get the latest print issue of Reason magazine to read about it. I don’t think it’s online yet at http://www.reason.com

    So, where do we conservatives stand? Between a rock and a a hard place. Scalzi’s sactimonious insults aside, the ONLY reason to vote for Kerry is, as he points out, for the anticipated gridlock.

    Scalzi may have given undecided voters a tweek a while back, but the truth is, I’ll be struggling with this up until the moment I vote.

  69. RwB writes:

    “Scalzi’s sactimonious insults aside, the ONLY reason to vote for Kerry is, as he points out, for the anticipated gridlock.”

    I don’t think my insults are particularly sanctimonious. I think they’re jazzy and fun!

    Gridlock would be substantially better than what Dubya would do in term two, that’s for sure.

  70. John, all great and salient points about why NOT to vote for Bush, but you’re voting for the wrong fish, to use a bad and somewhat confusing expression from a work of fiction.

    Could you also list ten reasons to vote FOR Kerry without falling back on Bush’s failures? Citing Bush’s policies for points of comparison between the two candidates would be fair, but honestly, I haven’t seen anyone convince me why I’d want to vote FOR Kerry. I’ve only heard arguments against Bush, which I won’t argue with. I’m not thrilled that I’m leaning that way come November.

    But the lack of an ability to express why an individual should vote for Kerry is, at heart, the reason why Kerry’s failing miserably in the polls following his Convention.

    Saying that I’m either stupid, an idiot, or a hypocrite for wanting to vote for Bush is in no way going to convince me to vote Kerry come November. Give me reasons to vote this man into office, and “because he’s running against Bush” isn’t an acceptable one. Satan or Hitler or even my own Mother could be running against Bush, and would fit that qualification, and I wouldn’t vote for them (and for everyone who is warming up their fingers to say that I’m comparing Kerry to Satan or Hitler, you can just stop now, because I’m not).

    Why should I vote FOR Kerry? If he’s going to do a better job than Bush, please illustrate how. Site past experiences and policies of Kerry in your examples.

  71. John, all great and salient points about why NOT to vote for Bush, but you’re voting for the wrong fish, to use a bad and somewhat confusing expression from a work of fiction.

    Could you also list ten reasons to vote FOR Kerry without falling back on Bush’s failures? Citing Bush’s policies for points of comparison between the two candidates would be fair, but honestly, I haven’t seen anyone convince me why I’d want to vote FOR Kerry. I’ve only heard arguments against Bush, which I won’t argue with. I’m not thrilled that I’m leaning that way come November.

    But the lack of an ability to express why an individual should vote for Kerry is, at heart, the reason why Kerry’s failing miserably in the polls following his Convention.

    Saying that I’m either stupid, an idiot, or a hypocrite for wanting to vote for Bush is in no way going to convince me to vote Kerry come November. Give me reasons to vote this man into office, and “because he’s running against Bush” isn’t an acceptable one. Satan or Hitler or even my own Mother could be running against Bush, and would fit that qualification, and I wouldn’t vote for them (and for everyone who is warming up their fingers to say that I’m comparing Kerry to Satan or Hitler, you can just stop now, because I’m not).

    Why should I vote FOR Kerry? If he’s going to do a better job than Bush, please illustrate how. Site past experiences and policies of Kerry in your examples.

  72. The ignorance doesn’t bother me as much as the WILLFUL ignorance. Limbaugh and Fox and the rest of the wurlitzer bring the water to the horse, but the horse still has to drink it. Many people are choosing to drink the water, to stay in the echo chamber and hear only what they want to hear.

    For the conservatives who see that Bush is stinky but can’t imagine that Kerry could possibly be any better – sit this one out. Either find a third party candidate that fits you better, or don’t vote for President. Seriously, why endorse someone whom you see as unfit?

  73. Hey Scalzi! You forgot “Evil”

    I’ve covered this ground in the past, and it’s nice to see a great mind like Scalzi’s think the same way. And I quite like the questionnaire….

  74. Bowler,

    I like much of Kerry’s policies, but you seem to want to focus on his character. Here is my perspective on his character:

    1. He has great courage.

    a) He faced death in Vietnam, and even signed up for a second term. He took on a very dangerous assignement, where 50% of the soldiers were killed in the first year.

    b) Upon returning to the US, he took the unpopular stand of protesting the war, because he believed it was the right thing to do.

    2. He’s a stud. Some people try to twist his marriage to Teresa Heinz into a wimpy thing, but think about this: What does it take to woo wed and bed a good looking woman who has incredible wealth? She could (and still can) have anyone she wanted, but she chose him. He’s gotta have something on the ball.

    3. He’s honest. I can’t find many citations for this, but I believe it. I haven’t heard any digs about him being deceitful.

    4. He’s caring. I think his policies show that, but I admit I can’t find specific examples.

    That is my take.

  75. Bowler,

    I like much of Kerry’s policies, but you seem to want to focus on his character. Here is my perspective on his character:

    1. He has great courage.

    a) He faced death in Vietnam, and even signed up for a second term. He took on a very dangerous assignement, where 50% of the soldiers were killed in the first year.

    b) Upon returning to the US, he took the unpopular stand of protesting the war, because he believed it was the right thing to do.

    2. He’s a stud. Some people try to twist his marriage to Teresa Heinz into a wimpy thing, but think about this: What does it take to woo wed and bed a good looking woman who has incredible wealth? She could (and still can) have anyone she wanted, but she chose him. He’s gotta have something on the ball.

    3. He’s honest. I can’t find many citations for this, but I believe it. I haven’t heard any digs about him being deceitful.

    4. He’s caring. I think his policies show that, but I admit I can’t find specific examples.

    That is my take.

  76. Bowler said “Give me reasons to vote this man into office, and ‘because he’s running against Bush’ isn’t an acceptable one.”

    Well, at what point is that what most reasons come down to? When I say I’m going to vote for Kerry because I don’t think he’ll destroy my civil liberties, try to force his religion down my throat, ruin our foreign relations, and be honest in his campaign about how much money he’ll spend domestically, the only reason that those reasons are important is that I’m convinced Bush _won’t_ do any of those things. However, they are all specific points that I support him for.

    Elections are a comparison of two people who have different beliefs (if they didn’t, there’d be no reason to have an election). Given that, at some point the reason to vote for a person will be that you support what they believe in or say they will do while at the same time thinking that the other person won’t do it. There’s no problem saying you’re going to vote for someone because they aren’t someone else–you are selecting a set of views which you _don’t_ want to see put in place.

  77. Bowler said:

    “Why should I vote FOR Kerry?”

    I don’t recall suggesting that you (or any person thinking of voting for Bush) should vote for Kerry. The suggestion that if one doesn’t vote for Bush that one must then vote for Kerry (or vice versa) is incorrect. Just ask Nader. Or Perot.

  78. Bowler said:

    “Why should I vote FOR Kerry?”

    I don’t recall suggesting that you (or any person thinking of voting for Bush) should vote for Kerry. The suggestion that if one doesn’t vote for Bush that one must then vote for Kerry (or vice versa) is incorrect. Just ask Nader. Or Perot.

  79. And here I thought the link off the Whatever main page, the one that says “Whatever Archives, 9/18/1998 – 3/7/2003″ might be sufficient.

    John,
    I can’t recreate it, but about 5 minutes ago your archive page was linking to file://c:/… for each title. Now the links are to the correct paths on the server. I think you may have a problem with your blog software since this was not the first time I tried to access archives and got paths to files on your hard drive.

  80. Oh, yeah, careful with that “socialism” there. I always forget how (many) Americans never really got over the whole “left wing = socialist = communist = EVIL EMPIRE” thing.

    Yep, having affordable health care really sucks.

  81. Oh, yeah, careful with that “socialism” there. I always forget how (many) Americans never really got over the whole “left wing = socialist = communist = EVIL EMPIRE” thing.

    Yep, having affordable health care really sucks.

  82. John, no, nowhere did you say I should vote for Kerry, but at the end of questions 2-8 in your quiz, (and I’m going to paraphrase here so hopefully we can all agree that a direct quote is unnecessary), you ask “should this president be given a second term?” We can play the logic game all day on this one. If I answer “no” to any of those questions, then that invalidates the incumbent as a candidate to vote for. That leaves Kerry, or Nader, or umpteen candidates who stand only a slightly better chance of earning a few hundred votes than I do, and I’m not even running. And I would hope that we could agree that Nader or Perot is a “joke” candidate. So, really, just Kerry.

    I don’t see this election as “should the incumbent be given a second term.” I see it as “which of the candidates is best suited to lead us for the next 4 years.” Granted, Bush’s experience as president is relevant. But the majority of the politics I’ve read on your site (and in your short-lived political blog) thus far seems to be more anti-Bush than it is pro-anyone-else (to be fair, I’ve read the Kerry bashing from earlier on in the campaign).

    And because I don’t want to get nailed for assumptions or for a symantics issue, I will ask a two part bland question this time:

    Which Presidential candidate are you thinking about voting for come November and why are you voting *for* them? You’ve illustrated your reasons for not voting for Bush eloquently. As a reader, I want to hear what qualities you find in your preferred candidate that are worthy of a Presidential seat.

    I’ll be the first guy to say that *none* of the candidates interest me enough to earn my vote come November, but I didn’t vote in the past two elections, and I’d actually like to do it this time. I’m looking for convincing arguments from people. Was hoping you’d fit the bill.

  83. John, no, nowhere did you say I should vote for Kerry, but at the end of questions 2-8 in your quiz, (and I’m going to paraphrase here so hopefully we can all agree that a direct quote is unnecessary), you ask “should this president be given a second term?” We can play the logic game all day on this one. If I answer “no” to any of those questions, then that invalidates the incumbent as a candidate to vote for. That leaves Kerry, or Nader, or umpteen candidates who stand only a slightly better chance of earning a few hundred votes than I do, and I’m not even running. And I would hope that we could agree that Nader or Perot is a “joke” candidate. So, really, just Kerry.

    I don’t see this election as “should the incumbent be given a second term.” I see it as “which of the candidates is best suited to lead us for the next 4 years.” Granted, Bush’s experience as president is relevant. But the majority of the politics I’ve read on your site (and in your short-lived political blog) thus far seems to be more anti-Bush than it is pro-anyone-else (to be fair, I’ve read the Kerry bashing from earlier on in the campaign).

    And because I don’t want to get nailed for assumptions or for a symantics issue, I will ask a two part bland question this time:

    Which Presidential candidate are you thinking about voting for come November and why are you voting *for* them? You’ve illustrated your reasons for not voting for Bush eloquently. As a reader, I want to hear what qualities you find in your preferred candidate that are worthy of a Presidential seat.

    I’ll be the first guy to say that *none* of the candidates interest me enough to earn my vote come November, but I didn’t vote in the past two elections, and I’d actually like to do it this time. I’m looking for convincing arguments from people. Was hoping you’d fit the bill.

  84. Bowler says:

    Bowler says:

    “We can play the logic game all day on this one.”

    It’s not a logic game, it’s a simple question: “Does this man deserve a second term?” In my opinion, clearly he does not; I refuse to be a party to a consipiracy to continually allow Dubya to fail upward, particularly when doing so damages my country and my rights.

    You seem to be under the impression that if one acknowledges Bush does not deserve your vote, this means your vote *must* go to one of the remaining candidates. Obviously, this is not so. If none of the presidential candidates meets your requirements, don’t vote for any of them.

    You should still vote, of course; there will be lots of other candidates for lots of other elected positions, as well as various bonds, propositions, amendments and so on. But voting for a presidential candidate because you can’t think of anyone better to vote for is nearly as stupid as voting for one because he (or she) is in your party.

    I *don’t* agree that Nader or Perot are “joke” candidates — Ask Gore if he’s laughing. People vote for third party candidates because they reflect their views and/or because for various reasons they decide the major party candidate closest to their positions does not deserve their vote. I’m not at *all* charitable toward the people who voted for Nader in 2000 — thanks to them we’ve had four years with an incompetent as the head of state — but I won’t demean the Nader voters by suggesting their intent to vote was a joke. Should a minor party candidate best fit your values, that’s a reasonable vote to make. It’s also worth noting that at the time Lincoln was voted into office, the Republican party could be considered a “third” party.

    As I’ve said on the site many times before, I’m voting for John Kerry. This time around, I am primarily voting *against* George Bush, and I am content enough with Kerry’s positions on major policy issues that I am comfortable with providing him my vote for President (re: your request for a detailed examination of Kerry’s positions — I’ll pass. I don’t feel like writing it up right now, and in any event it’s not difficult for you to research it yourself. Suffice to say I find them adequate for the purposes of securing my vote). Kerry’s not my preferred candidate — I would have like to be voting for Clark — but he’s fine, and he’s definitely better than Bush. As a bonus, he’s closer to my political views than the array of minor party candidates.

    Of course, it would be entirely fair to turn the questions I ask of potential Bush voters back at me, to see if I was a hypocrite: If indeed a Democratic president had done all the things I described in the quiz, would I vote for him? The answer: Hell, no. This does not mean I would be voting for his Republican rival; it does mean that this Democratic president would have one less vote on his side come November.

  85. Scalzi writes:
    “Well, yes. If it’s George Bush versus David Duke, then Bush gets my vote.”
    I thought it was important to spell that out, that’s all; for all I know Kerry will make a fine president.

    RwB:
    “His stated policies are socialist, he will not create new jobs — no president can”
    I disagree. You can have public works projects, even if they are only picking up garbage in parks. You can recruit soldiers, which while not exactly a job does keep people occupied and payed. Now granted such policies have costs, and if pushed too far can be counterproductive job-wise, but it is possible to create jobs.

  86. Scalzi writes:
    “Well, yes. If it’s George Bush versus David Duke, then Bush gets my vote.”
    I thought it was important to spell that out, that’s all; for all I know Kerry will make a fine president.

    RwB:
    “His stated policies are socialist, he will not create new jobs — no president can”
    I disagree. You can have public works projects, even if they are only picking up garbage in parks. You can recruit soldiers, which while not exactly a job does keep people occupied and payed. Now granted such policies have costs, and if pushed too far can be counterproductive job-wise, but it is possible to create jobs.

  87. betsarms and Our Host both note that not all of the 1% do in fact vote strictly Republican (to add more examples, George Soros, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand and some large number of other music and film types). Concedo.

    My point was primarily that there are some number — probably a majority of that 1%, especially of the ones who control major corporations — who both know and suport the Bush rape of America, because they benefit in the short term. And that their influence is disproportionate to their numbers, by orders of magnitude.

    For Bowler’s question, my answer lies in Florida, 2000. If you truly and honestly believe that GWB does not deserve a second term (and that if he won one, it would be a worse disaster than his first), then your best realistic chance of removing him from office is to vote for the other candidate. John correctlly points out that he’d almost certainly do less harm, because of gridlock if not his actual policies, and, in four years, there are opportunities to bring forward a candidate you actually wish to vote FOR. Perhaps this isn’t really a good reason, but the alternative seems, to me, to be terribly worse.

  88. Bowler,

    Okay, you’re not voting for Bush and are looking for a reason to vote for Kerry. Given that you haven’t voted in the last two elections, I’m not sure if my reasons above will stir your soul, but I’d at least like to hear what you think of them.

  89. Tripp said: “I’m not sure if my reasons above will stir your soul, but I’d at least like to hear what you think of them.”

    I initially didn’t respond to your list because my issues with Kerry don’t revolve around character, but more with just a lack of policy I see being put forward by his campaign.

    As far as your character points?

    1. He has great courage. I really can’t argue much for or against this. While it’s true he went to Vietnam and faced enemy combatants, there’s still the question of him reporting an injury as a combat wound in order to get three purple hearts faster so he’d be shipped home sooner. So this one is a 50/50 for me. As far as protesting the war, I don’t think he went about it in the right way. He demoralized his own fellow troops with his claims. Battling your government on what you felt was a wrong war shows courage. Selling out the guys you were in the trenches with does not.

    2. He’s a stud. Uh, don’t care? Seriously, I didn’t care who Clinton (or Bush I or II or Reagan or Carter) was screwing when he was in office. Private life is private life in my book.

    3. He’s honest. I’m actually leaning more towards the dishonest camp on this one. The swiftboat issues (see purple heart thing above) come to mind.

    4. He’s caring. Again, I’m leaning more towards not. Most of what I hear him say seems to be flavor of the week propoganda, in order to get him favor with whoever he’s speaking to at the moment. The for the war/against the war thing (and many other of what the conservatives have termed “flip-flops”) comes to mind, along with his voting record on military hardware (which he claims supports the troops, which it does not). The only thing he seems to care about to me is saying the right thing to the right people in order to get elected, and not because it’s his conviction or feeling on the issue.

    But these are just my opinions on the character topics you asked for. Obviously, everyone’s mileage may vary. There’s really no right or wrong answers regarding character, only opinions, which is why I’m trying to find more on issues and evidence to support the party’s claim on those platform issues.

  90. Tripp said: “I’m not sure if my reasons above will stir your soul, but I’d at least like to hear what you think of them.”

    I initially didn’t respond to your list because my issues with Kerry don’t revolve around character, but more with just a lack of policy I see being put forward by his campaign.

    As far as your character points?

    1. He has great courage. I really can’t argue much for or against this. While it’s true he went to Vietnam and faced enemy combatants, there’s still the question of him reporting an injury as a combat wound in order to get three purple hearts faster so he’d be shipped home sooner. So this one is a 50/50 for me. As far as protesting the war, I don’t think he went about it in the right way. He demoralized his own fellow troops with his claims. Battling your government on what you felt was a wrong war shows courage. Selling out the guys you were in the trenches with does not.

    2. He’s a stud. Uh, don’t care? Seriously, I didn’t care who Clinton (or Bush I or II or Reagan or Carter) was screwing when he was in office. Private life is private life in my book.

    3. He’s honest. I’m actually leaning more towards the dishonest camp on this one. The swiftboat issues (see purple heart thing above) come to mind.

    4. He’s caring. Again, I’m leaning more towards not. Most of what I hear him say seems to be flavor of the week propoganda, in order to get him favor with whoever he’s speaking to at the moment. The for the war/against the war thing (and many other of what the conservatives have termed “flip-flops”) comes to mind, along with his voting record on military hardware (which he claims supports the troops, which it does not). The only thing he seems to care about to me is saying the right thing to the right people in order to get elected, and not because it’s his conviction or feeling on the issue.

    But these are just my opinions on the character topics you asked for. Obviously, everyone’s mileage may vary. There’s really no right or wrong answers regarding character, only opinions, which is why I’m trying to find more on issues and evidence to support the party’s claim on those platform issues.

  91. Scalzi: “No it’s not. Just remind them that with the executive branch in Democrat’s hands, and the legislative branch in the Republicans, gridlock will keep monumental political stupidity to a reasonable minimum.”

    Good one. I’ll give it a try.

    I’d also point out this: As Dr. Phil says, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. It’s quite possible that Kerry might be as bad as Bush. I don’t think that’ll happen–look back on his record, and you see an honorable 30 years of service to the nation, even if it is somewhat lacking in the kind of grand highlights that make for good campaign talking points.

    Kerry is not my first choice for president. He’s not even my fourth or fifth (Clark, Dean, Gore, Hillary Clinton–even Teddy Kennedy is looking surprisingly good, nowadays.)

    On the other hand: future behavior. Past behavior. A husband who cheats on his wife will likely cheat again. Looking back on President Bush’s four-year record of screw-ups, why should we believe we would NOT be letting ourselves in for four more years of the same?

    Indeed, a husband who cheats on his wife, is found out, and forgiven, will likely figure he’s now got a pass to let his pecker go free.

    RwB: Bush doesn’t deserve a second term. He’s spent money domestically like a Democrat…

    Um, the last Democratic president wee had, Bill Clinton, paid down the deficit. Our nation had run up a staggering credit-card debt, he paid it all off. Alas, the Constitution did not permit him to cut up the cards.

    Who ran up that debt? Well, a lot of it was run up by supposed fiscal conservative Ronald Reagan.

    The notion that Republicans are fiscal conservatives and Democrats are spendthrifts is a bigger myth than Santa Claus.

  92. Mitch Wagner write:
    “The notion that Republicans are fiscal conservatives and Democrats are spendthrifts is a bigger myth than Santa Claus.”
    Yup. The same is true in Canada; if anything the left-wing parties are slightly better at reducing deficits or even paying down debts. To some extent this is due to tax cuts by the right-wing, but the left-wing parties are not (in general) big spenders compared to the right-wing parties either.

  93. Mitch Wagner write:
    “The notion that Republicans are fiscal conservatives and Democrats are spendthrifts is a bigger myth than Santa Claus.”
    Yup. The same is true in Canada; if anything the left-wing parties are slightly better at reducing deficits or even paying down debts. To some extent this is due to tax cuts by the right-wing, but the left-wing parties are not (in general) big spenders compared to the right-wing parties either.

  94. Let me try to clear up what I think are some misconceptions:

    Bowler wrote:

    “He demoralized his own fellow troops with his claims. Battling your government on what you felt was a wrong war shows courage. Selling out the guys you were in the trenches with does not.”

    He claimed nothing – what he was presenting were the results of the Winter Soldier Investigation, which quoted testimony from soldiers and civilians who had done or witnessed atrocities. He never said he saw them himself. Now, you may argue that this is hair splitting, but really, what would you do in his situation? You have all this evidence – do you keep quiet? Pretend that everything is going fine in Vietnam? If you read his testimony before Congress, you’ll see he is blaming a lack of leadership, not the soldiers. He is pleading, not for punishment, but to get the troops out.

    “I’m actually leaning more towards the dishonest camp on this one. The swiftboat issues (see purple heart thing above) come to mind.”

    And yet, nearly every claim the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth have made is suspect. The doctor who treated his purple heart doesn’t have his name on the record; the man who claims there was no enemy fire for the Bronze Star incident got his own Bronze Star for being under enemy fire; the CO who claims Kerry was dishonest about his Silver Star based his opinion on a misreading of a statement in Kerry’s bio; the reports SBVT claim Kerry wrote don’t even have his correct initials on it, and some involve incidents Kerry wasn’t in… the only claim that can’t be completely dismissed is the Cambodia issue.

    “The for the war/against the war thing (and many other of what the conservatives have termed “flip-flops”) comes to mind, along with his voting record on military hardware (which he claims supports the troops, which it does not). The only thing he seems to care about to me is saying the right thing to the right people in order to get elected, and not because it’s his conviction or feeling on the issue.”

    Votes matter in context. The spending bills that Kerry voted against included provisions in other areas of the economy that he objected to – not because they would benefit the troops. If you read the voting records of Congress you will notice that some Republicans voted against that spending as well because of issues not related to military spending. As an analogy, why would I want to vote more money for troops if, at the same time, it would gut funding for senior citizens? I’d say, send it back – write me a better bill.

    As for saying anything to get elected. Again, look at the context of what he’s saying and when he was saying it. Is it realistic to expect your opinions to be precisely the same for thirty years? Is it even reasonable, or would such a person be deemed dogmatic and inflexible? Your call. Bush himself has made promises he has never delivered on and actually went the opposite way – I can give you a list if you want. Is that flip-flopping, or just plain lying?

    I’ve heard a lot about how Bush is “decisive”. As more than one commentator has said, well, just because a guy is decisive doesn’t mean he’s making the right decisions. You can be decisive all the way over the cliff, and I can see the US heading for that cliff with Bush in the driver’s seat.

    You’re right. There’s no right answers or wrong answers. But I really had to answer these points.

  95. Let me try to clear up what I think are some misconceptions:

    Bowler wrote:

    “He demoralized his own fellow troops with his claims. Battling your government on what you felt was a wrong war shows courage. Selling out the guys you were in the trenches with does not.”

    He claimed nothing – what he was presenting were the results of the Winter Soldier Investigation, which quoted testimony from soldiers and civilians who had done or witnessed atrocities. He never said he saw them himself. Now, you may argue that this is hair splitting, but really, what would you do in his situation? You have all this evidence – do you keep quiet? Pretend that everything is going fine in Vietnam? If you read his testimony before Congress, you’ll see he is blaming a lack of leadership, not the soldiers. He is pleading, not for punishment, but to get the troops out.

    “I’m actually leaning more towards the dishonest camp on this one. The swiftboat issues (see purple heart thing above) come to mind.”

    And yet, nearly every claim the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth have made is suspect. The doctor who treated his purple heart doesn’t have his name on the record; the man who claims there was no enemy fire for the Bronze Star incident got his own Bronze Star for being under enemy fire; the CO who claims Kerry was dishonest about his Silver Star based his opinion on a misreading of a statement in Kerry’s bio; the reports SBVT claim Kerry wrote don’t even have his correct initials on it, and some involve incidents Kerry wasn’t in… the only claim that can’t be completely dismissed is the Cambodia issue.

    “The for the war/against the war thing (and many other of what the conservatives have termed “flip-flops”) comes to mind, along with his voting record on military hardware (which he claims supports the troops, which it does not). The only thing he seems to care about to me is saying the right thing to the right people in order to get elected, and not because it’s his conviction or feeling on the issue.”

    Votes matter in context. The spending bills that Kerry voted against included provisions in other areas of the economy that he objected to – not because they would benefit the troops. If you read the voting records of Congress you will notice that some Republicans voted against that spending as well because of issues not related to military spending. As an analogy, why would I want to vote more money for troops if, at the same time, it would gut funding for senior citizens? I’d say, send it back – write me a better bill.

    As for saying anything to get elected. Again, look at the context of what he’s saying and when he was saying it. Is it realistic to expect your opinions to be precisely the same for thirty years? Is it even reasonable, or would such a person be deemed dogmatic and inflexible? Your call. Bush himself has made promises he has never delivered on and actually went the opposite way – I can give you a list if you want. Is that flip-flopping, or just plain lying?

    I’ve heard a lot about how Bush is “decisive”. As more than one commentator has said, well, just because a guy is decisive doesn’t mean he’s making the right decisions. You can be decisive all the way over the cliff, and I can see the US heading for that cliff with Bush in the driver’s seat.

    You’re right. There’s no right answers or wrong answers. But I really had to answer these points.

  96. Terence Chua: I’ve heard a lot about how Bush is “decisive”. As more than one commentator has said, well, just because a guy is decisive doesn’t mean he’s making the right decisions. You can be decisive all the way over the cliff, and I can see the US heading for that cliff with Bush in the driver’s seat.

    Jon Stewart: “”He drove the bus into a wall, but at least he didn’t blink.”

    Mitch Wagner

  97. This is certainly making for great Reality TV.

    I even like the part where we get to vote one of the two (likely) finalists off the island.

    The only snag is that this particular vote comes with four+ years of consequences attached. Consequences that affect my own, personal, life.

  98. This is certainly making for great Reality TV.

    I even like the part where we get to vote one of the two (likely) finalists off the island.

    The only snag is that this particular vote comes with four+ years of consequences attached. Consequences that affect my own, personal, life.

  99. Bowler: He’s honest. I’m actually leaning more towards the dishonest camp on this one. The swiftboat issues (see purple heart thing above) come to mind.

    most everything these fools have said has been proven to be b.s.

    and I also can not figure out why you don’t think that a good reason to vote for #1, is because you dont like #2. Every election we’ve had in the past 20 years has been about choosing the lesser of 2 evils. make your choice (even if it is stupid, i.e. Dubya) and live with it. you are either happy with the job the current a-hole has done, or your not.

    b.t.w., John, are u 2 happy with your minivan? (thinking of buying the same one & same year).

  100. Bowler: He’s honest. I’m actually leaning more towards the dishonest camp on this one. The swiftboat issues (see purple heart thing above) come to mind.

    most everything these fools have said has been proven to be b.s.

    and I also can not figure out why you don’t think that a good reason to vote for #1, is because you dont like #2. Every election we’ve had in the past 20 years has been about choosing the lesser of 2 evils. make your choice (even if it is stupid, i.e. Dubya) and live with it. you are either happy with the job the current a-hole has done, or your not.

    b.t.w., John, are u 2 happy with your minivan? (thinking of buying the same one & same year).

  101. Minivan: Yes, very happy with it. It’s a fine vehicle. Friends of our recently got a Nissan Quest and have been quite happy with it as well, so that’s one to look at too.

  102. More Voight-Kampff applications

    John Scalzi proposes a list of Voight-Kampff questions pertaining to the presidential election. I’m not sure I agree that Bush voters can be classified strictly as stupid, ignorant, and/or hypocritical–I think there’s some “evil” and “psycho” mixed in…

  103. John,

    The problem with your hypocrite test is that there are voters like me who can pass it with ease, having already voted for Clinton twice; the match-up is far from exact, but certainly serves as an indicator. I suspect history provides sufficient evidence to place me out of the other two categories as well. Nevertheless, as I’ve written before, I’ll be voting for Bush.

    So where does that put me in the schema?

  104. John,

    The problem with your hypocrite test is that there are voters like me who can pass it with ease, having already voted for Clinton twice; the match-up is far from exact, but certainly serves as an indicator. I suspect history provides sufficient evidence to place me out of the other two categories as well. Nevertheless, as I’ve written before, I’ll be voting for Bush.

    So where does that put me in the schema?

  105. Gerrymander asks:

    “So where does that put me in the schema?”

    Interesting question. Feel free to design your own category, I suppose.

  106. So, Gerrymander, “having already voted for Clinton twice,” what’s the attraction to Bush, who is about as far away from Clinton as you can get without becoming unelectable in a national campaign (David Duke).

  107. So, Gerrymander, “having already voted for Clinton twice,” what’s the attraction to Bush, who is about as far away from Clinton as you can get without becoming unelectable in a national campaign (David Duke).

  108. Daniel,

    To some extent, I disagree that Clinton and Bush are all that far apart. Obviously, there are some areas of policy and personality in which the gulf separating them is huge. There is in my opinion, however, one commonality they share: the both got mugged by reality early in their first terms. With Clinton, it came in the form of a discussion with his Treasury Secretary, wherein he was told in no uncertain terms that if the bond market doesn’t like his policies, no one else will either. With Bush, it came in an attack.

    Both presidents changed the focus of their tenure in office because of those events — Clinton to the economy, Bush to national security. Clearly there were still plenty of policy outliers from those foci which were supported and enacted, but they still serve as a frame around their years in the White House.

    Therein lies the appeal of both. Both men send a stong (if contentious) message about the tenor of the times. I think those messages are important even in light of outside influences which may appear as counter evidence. Clinton, for example, had to contend with a soft economy and the Mexican currency devaluation right on the heels of NAFTA just as Bush has to deal with complaints about Iraq. I suspect that despite current debacles and flawed implementation, a second term by Bush would show as vast a benefit to the nation as Clinton’s did.

  109. Hmmmm… Gerrymander, I’m going to challenge your assertion that Clinton changed the focus of his administration early on from national security to the economy. He inherited a recession and he ran on the economy. His 1992 campaign manager famously had a placard above his desk that read, “It’s The Economy, Stupid.”

  110. Hmmmm… Gerrymander, I’m going to challenge your assertion that Clinton changed the focus of his administration early on from national security to the economy. He inherited a recession and he ran on the economy. His 1992 campaign manager famously had a placard above his desk that read, “It’s The Economy, Stupid.”

  111. I love the logic here:

    If you disagree with John in any way shape or form you are an idiot and unworthy to sit at his feet. You shall be cast into darkness you brainless evildoer!

  112. Nonsense. Perfectly smart people disagree with me. It’s the mindless boobs who disagree with me that I’m concerned about.

  113. Nonsense. Perfectly smart people disagree with me. It’s the mindless boobs who disagree with me that I’m concerned about.

  114. Supposedly this election was won due to overriding voter concern about the possibility of future terrorist attacks. But the States that voted Bush were in the least likely to be hit regions, and the States with the most likelihood of attack went to Kerry. There is a bizarre correlation that goes “least likelihood of attack = most rabid support of Bush” or “most chance of attack = least support of Bush”.

    It seems the people who have the most to fear, don’t want Bush protecting them, but those that are more out of the way do – so what is he protecting them from?

  115. Some Advice for My Democrat Friends

    I the spirit of bi-partisanship, and as an American truly interested the continued viability of the US two-party system, I offer those Democrats still bemused by their recent rejection at the polls, the follow suggestions to turn it around next…

  116. Some Advice for My Democrat Friends

    I the spirit of bi-partisanship, and as an American truly interested the continued viability of the US two-party system, I offer those Democrats still bemused by their recent rejection at the polls, the follow suggestions to turn it around next…

  117. Some Advice for My Democrat Friends

    I the spirit of bi-partisanship, and as an American truly interested the continued viability of the US two-party system, I offer those Democrats still bemused by their recent rejection at the polls, the follow suggestions to turn it around next…

  118. Some Advice for My Democrat Friends

    I the spirit of bi-partisanship, and as an American truly interested the continued viability of the US two-party system, I offer those Democrats still bemused by their recent rejection at the polls, the follow suggestions to turn it around next…

  119. Hope you have your bandwidth paid up through your hiatus… even though it’s a second-order effect (gee, do stoopid voters know what that means?), Instapundit is linking to a blog that’s linking to you. Could mean a few hits, or people might just be bored with the “Disagreement=Stupidity… Hypocrisy at Best” meme and ignore you.

    I trust that, when you come back, you’ll continue to insult the majority of the voters who re-elected the President. Condescention will kill the left more thoroughly than Karl Rove can dream to, especially when you nominate its avitar (gee, do stoopid voters know what that means?).

  120. Hope you have your bandwidth paid up through your hiatus… even though it’s a second-order effect (gee, do stoopid voters know what that means?), Instapundit is linking to a blog that’s linking to you. Could mean a few hits, or people might just be bored with the “Disagreement=Stupidity… Hypocrisy at Best” meme and ignore you.

    I trust that, when you come back, you’ll continue to insult the majority of the voters who re-elected the President. Condescention will kill the left more thoroughly than Karl Rove can dream to, especially when you nominate its avitar (gee, do stoopid voters know what that means?).

  121. That’s spelled “avatar.”

    Instapundit frequently links to me directly, so based on previous experience I imagine I’ll be able to handle the backend stress just fine.

    If 58 million people vote stupidly, ignorantly and hypocritically, I see no reason why I should reward them for their actions, especially seeing as I will have to suffer because of those actions for the next four years. So, yeah, when I feel like insulting them, that’s exactly what I plan to do.

    Having said that, I agree with the larger point that the perception of liberal condescension doesn’t work in the left’s favor, although I would also note that those on the right have only been too happy to exploit that perceived condescension to their own advantage with those who are willing to uncritically receive such nuggets of crap.

    For example, you, for suggesting that Kerry is an avatar of condescension after casting your ballot for the millionaire son of millionaire who wraps himself in the bosom of middle America while pursuing an economic policy that benefits the richest, snootiest members of society almost exclusively, and exposes the majority of the 58 million people who voted for Bush to a fiscal nightmare once all those debt notes we’re selling to Japan and China come due. Maybe I’m a little nutty, but that seems a pretty condescending action to me.

    I agree that the left needs to make a cogent and non-condescending case for its politics being better for America. I also think it would also be nice for the people voting on the right to flick on their frontal lobes every once in a while. I think that’s a fair “meet in the middle” compromise.

  122. “I agree that the left needs to make a cogent and non-condescending case for its politics being better for America.” Too bad, so sad for you then, because that is impossible. Your superiority will still come out no matter how hard you try to suppress it’s glorious radiance. Oh and another thing, since you are truly part of a eunuch caste that can’t even talk tough without inspiring guffaws from the truly evil, get down on your pinky knees, pussy, and thank the rough men who keep you safe in your starched linens. This just in! EPA says blue counties just need more oxygen.

  123. “I agree that the left needs to make a cogent and non-condescending case for its politics being better for America.” Too bad, so sad for you then, because that is impossible. Your superiority will still come out no matter how hard you try to suppress it’s glorious radiance. Oh and another thing, since you are truly part of a eunuch caste that can’t even talk tough without inspiring guffaws from the truly evil, get down on your pinky knees, pussy, and thank the rough men who keep you safe in your starched linens. This just in! EPA says blue counties just need more oxygen.

  124. rhodeymark babbles:

    “since you are truly part of a eunuch caste that can’t even talk tough without inspiring guffaws from the truly evil”

    Yeah, that FDR surely folded in the face of evil. But what could you expect? He *was* a cripple, after all. And of course we all know how JFK let those commies walk all over us in that Cuban Missile Crisis. And while we’re at it, let’s pause a moment to memorialize all those American lives senselessly lost when Clinton authorized force in the former Yugoslavia. Yes, clearly, the American left hasn’t the *slightest* idea what it’s doing when it faces evil.

    Six US troops killed today in Fallujah. 10 injured. Osama bin Laden still at large.

    Come back when you have something useful to say, Rhodeymark.

  125. 1. Policies
    2. Let’s see, economic bubble was bursting before he took office, 9/11 attack had a serious impact on the economy, and the alternative was “not Bush”, and “I’ll do everything better”. All the while never articulating where he really stood.
    3. Again, economic bubble burst, unfortunate reality is that he increased gov. spending to keep economy going. Not a bad result – a minor recession. Opponent is more liberal than Ted Kennedy – do I think he’ll cut spending? After criticism for not spending enough?
    4. Neither candidate had viable spending plans. Back to policy stances.
    5. Need to root out terror whever it lives. Alternative is 17 more impotent UN resolutions with no action? Alternative is allowing US military direction only with “World” opinion, even when that includes unanimous consent from countries making corrupt deals with terror sponsoring governments?
    6. Decisions made with bad intelligence. Predecessor and opponent both had the same intelligence, both agreed something needed to be done. Constant cries of “he lied” for using bad intelligence from media and opponent. But they had the same info… And opponent voted FOR the decisions (before voting against)? And opponent voted repeatedly to slash funding for intelligence? No wonder it was bad. I’ll vote for a strong military any day over a weak one.
    To quote George Washington: “There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet an enemy.”
    7. Funny that NOW the Constitution is a revered document. Without knowing more about the individuals in question, I can’t comment.
    8. That wouldn’t be a sovereign state court that has seriously overstepped its bounds, would it? Constitution guarantees equal, not special, rights. Maybe rather than pushing a radical agenda through courts, the standard small-d democratic methods should be used.
    9. Since you didn’t talk much about policies, I can’t answer that. All you did was ask leading questions without all the facts. Given that there are many factors that go into a political perspective (at least for some people), perhaps you should expand your questions.
    10. No.
    11. Enjoy your anger. And you really should try to get your news from alternate sources. Even us stupid, ignorant, hypocrites read several opinions during the day. And calling us stupid for voting for W. will really get us to change our minds.

    I have question for you. My sister called me closed-minded for not agreeing with her regarding a number of issues, even after shouting all the compelling slogans at me. So who is more closed-minded? Her for debating on slogans, or me for debating on facts?

  126. 1. Policies
    2. Let’s see, economic bubble was bursting before he took office, 9/11 attack had a serious impact on the economy, and the alternative was “not Bush”, and “I’ll do everything better”. All the while never articulating where he really stood.
    3. Again, economic bubble burst, unfortunate reality is that he increased gov. spending to keep economy going. Not a bad result – a minor recession. Opponent is more liberal than Ted Kennedy – do I think he’ll cut spending? After criticism for not spending enough?
    4. Neither candidate had viable spending plans. Back to policy stances.
    5. Need to root out terror whever it lives. Alternative is 17 more impotent UN resolutions with no action? Alternative is allowing US military direction only with “World” opinion, even when that includes unanimous consent from countries making corrupt deals with terror sponsoring governments?
    6. Decisions made with bad intelligence. Predecessor and opponent both had the same intelligence, both agreed something needed to be done. Constant cries of “he lied” for using bad intelligence from media and opponent. But they had the same info… And opponent voted FOR the decisions (before voting against)? And opponent voted repeatedly to slash funding for intelligence? No wonder it was bad. I’ll vote for a strong military any day over a weak one.
    To quote George Washington: “There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet an enemy.”
    7. Funny that NOW the Constitution is a revered document. Without knowing more about the individuals in question, I can’t comment.
    8. That wouldn’t be a sovereign state court that has seriously overstepped its bounds, would it? Constitution guarantees equal, not special, rights. Maybe rather than pushing a radical agenda through courts, the standard small-d democratic methods should be used.
    9. Since you didn’t talk much about policies, I can’t answer that. All you did was ask leading questions without all the facts. Given that there are many factors that go into a political perspective (at least for some people), perhaps you should expand your questions.
    10. No.
    11. Enjoy your anger. And you really should try to get your news from alternate sources. Even us stupid, ignorant, hypocrites read several opinions during the day. And calling us stupid for voting for W. will really get us to change our minds.

    I have question for you. My sister called me closed-minded for not agreeing with her regarding a number of issues, even after shouting all the compelling slogans at me. So who is more closed-minded? Her for debating on slogans, or me for debating on facts?

  127. Ignoramus says:

    “Given that there are many factors that go into a political perspective (at least for some people), perhaps you should expand your questions.”

    No, I think the questions are sufficient as is. They may not be to your liking, but that’s another issue entirely. And of course, you didn’t answer the questions, you offered justifications for why the current president has done the things he has done. One does wonder if you would be so accomodating to the theoretical Democratic president in the questions as you are to the Republican president in the White House.

    Given your insistence on facts rather than slogans, I am encouraged that you would be, and that you would have therefore cast your vote for the theoretical Democratic president in question. Needless to say, I don’t find that heartening, as the theoretical Democratic president in question is clearly incompetent and needs to be thrown out on his ass. But I suppose people will offer any sort of rationalization for their foolish behavior.

  128. Point taken – I did not answer the questions as asked. The answer in every case would be a resounding “no.”

    But, if I’m so stupid, why is it that I was able to evaluate the events of the previous four years, and reached my own conclusions about what the man represents? I’m only smart, according to you, if I agree with what the mainstream media, Hollywood celebrities, and bloggers like you tell me I should believe.

    If the opposing party actually supported policies I agree with, they would receive my vote. You can’t ask on the basis of what he accomplished alone. Congress blocks, economies collapse, enemies sucker punch. Do you honestly think that Kerry would have succeeded with all of his proposals while facing a Republican House and Senate?

    You have not proven that the theoretical president was incompetent with your questions; therefore I disagree that he deserves to be ‘thrown out on his ass’, as you so eloquently put it. Intentional misdeeds would be grounds for dismissal. Policies that are OBE are hardly evidence of incompetence.

    It is not the stupid, nor the ignorant, nor the hypocrite that evaluates a situation before acting. Rather, it is the knee-jerk response ignoring such which is foolish.

  129. Point taken – I did not answer the questions as asked. The answer in every case would be a resounding “no.”

    But, if I’m so stupid, why is it that I was able to evaluate the events of the previous four years, and reached my own conclusions about what the man represents? I’m only smart, according to you, if I agree with what the mainstream media, Hollywood celebrities, and bloggers like you tell me I should believe.

    If the opposing party actually supported policies I agree with, they would receive my vote. You can’t ask on the basis of what he accomplished alone. Congress blocks, economies collapse, enemies sucker punch. Do you honestly think that Kerry would have succeeded with all of his proposals while facing a Republican House and Senate?

    You have not proven that the theoretical president was incompetent with your questions; therefore I disagree that he deserves to be ‘thrown out on his ass’, as you so eloquently put it. Intentional misdeeds would be grounds for dismissal. Policies that are OBE are hardly evidence of incompetence.

    It is not the stupid, nor the ignorant, nor the hypocrite that evaluates a situation before acting. Rather, it is the knee-jerk response ignoring such which is foolish.

  130. Ignoramus says:

    “I’m only smart, according to you, if I agree with what the mainstream media, Hollywood celebrities, and bloggers like you tell me I should believe.”

    Oh, please. I never said any such thing. And in fact, were you to bother to actually wander through the site, say, to the very next post, you might see something like this:

    “Also, as a reminder — just because I personally believe something doesn’t make it so. Yes, I do believe that generally speaking you have to be stupid, ignorant or a hypocrite to vote for George Bush in the coming election. But I allow for the possibility that I could be wrong.”

    If you allow anyone else to do your thinking for you, you should be hit with a shovel and be put out of every one else’s misery. I’m not particularly convinced enough people do their own thinking.

    Having said that, I don’t think that much of your “policies are one thing, results are another” dichotomy, as by and large the latter is predicated on the former when one gets to the presidential level. Certainly in the case of our current president, the results with which we are living — large deficits, attacks on personal liberties, an ill-advised push into Iraq (I’d be more convinced of the “bad intelligence” argument if there wasn’t ample evidence that there was plenty of good intelligence, which the administration chose to ignore) are in a substantial part due to his policies.

    Moreover, Bush has the advantage of having his party in charge of both houses of Congress, through which most of his policies went through largely unmolested. This is not a president who faced a substantial amount of hostility when it came time for his policies to be enacted; therefore I feel comfortable attributing the results to him — as I do our theoretical Democratic president, who I assumed to have enjoyed the same practical benefits as our current president. And in both cases “incompetent” is a word which applies just fine.

  131. John says:
    “Oh, please. I never said any such thing. …
    Yes, I do believe that generally speaking you have to be stupid, ignorant or a hypocrite to vote for George Bush in the coming election. ”

    thank you – you, Slate, the NYTimes have all expressed this sentiment. ergo, by voting for W, we are not “smart” like you.

    It’s far more offensive to me that the previous President allowed a gathering storm to go unchecked than for the current one to use the intelligence accepted by France, Germany, Russia, England, the previous administration, heck, even the UN over the “ample evidence” of differing intelligence. Hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy to spot trends in data when you know the end result.

    John says further:
    “This is not a president who faced a substantial amount of hostility when it came time for his policies to be enacted…”

    Ha. Do you watch the news? Read the paper? Nope, no hostility there.

    Good luck with your endeavours.

  132. John says:
    “Oh, please. I never said any such thing. …
    Yes, I do believe that generally speaking you have to be stupid, ignorant or a hypocrite to vote for George Bush in the coming election. ”

    thank you – you, Slate, the NYTimes have all expressed this sentiment. ergo, by voting for W, we are not “smart” like you.

    It’s far more offensive to me that the previous President allowed a gathering storm to go unchecked than for the current one to use the intelligence accepted by France, Germany, Russia, England, the previous administration, heck, even the UN over the “ample evidence” of differing intelligence. Hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy to spot trends in data when you know the end result.

    John says further:
    “This is not a president who faced a substantial amount of hostility when it came time for his policies to be enacted…”

    Ha. Do you watch the news? Read the paper? Nope, no hostility there.

    Good luck with your endeavours.

  133. Ignoramus writes:

    “Ha. Do you watch the news? Read the paper? Nope, no hostility there.”

    I would submit to you that the newspapers and the media do not vote in Congress, which is where the President’s policies were passed, and which has been largely controlled by the president’s party. If Bush had not been able to pass his policies in such an environment, he’d have been even more incompetent than he already is. Of course, I’d have preferred that particular brand of incompetence.

    “by voting for W, we are not ‘smart’ like you.”

    Nonsense. As I mention, you may also be ignorant or hypocritical.

    If you want validation for voting for W, you won’t find it here. If you want me to entertain the notion that voting for W was a smart thing to do, you’ll be waiting a long time. If you want me to acknowledge that it’s possible to be a smart person and vote for W, I certainly agree that it’s possible. Smart people can also drive drunk, have unprotected sex, clean their guns without making sure they’re unloaded, and all sorts of other stupid, stupid things for which they ought to have known better. Indeed, smart people who voted for Bush have even less excuse than the merely stupid, who, after all, can’t help that they are stupid. Being *willfully* stupid is a generally contemptible act.

    I hope that clarifies matters for you.

  134. Hmmm … so all I’ve got to do is work out if I’m stupid, ignorant or the other one which I can’t spell because I’m too stoopid. Gee I must be thick. I’m amazed I can even type this. Maybe I’ll get clevererer and agree with this turkey? Oh, sorry I forgot, I’m too dumb for that. Silly me.

    OK, I better go back to picking my nose, or whatever it was that I was doing before, but unfortunately I can’t remember what it was because I’m too stupid.

    Or maybe I’m just so morally corrupt I don’t actually care that I’m so obviously wrong. Yeah, perhaps that’s it. Oh yes, of course, I remember what I was doing now … I was picking my nose with my forked tail.

  135. Hmmm … so all I’ve got to do is work out if I’m stupid, ignorant or the other one which I can’t spell because I’m too stoopid. Gee I must be thick. I’m amazed I can even type this. Maybe I’ll get clevererer and agree with this turkey? Oh, sorry I forgot, I’m too dumb for that. Silly me.

    OK, I better go back to picking my nose, or whatever it was that I was doing before, but unfortunately I can’t remember what it was because I’m too stupid.

    Or maybe I’m just so morally corrupt I don’t actually care that I’m so obviously wrong. Yeah, perhaps that’s it. Oh yes, of course, I remember what I was doing now … I was picking my nose with my forked tail.

  136. It’s good to see you’re doing something practical with your head (and your tail).

    Eric Simonson: You (and everyone else coming over for Gweilo) have made the assumption that I’m a Democrat. I’m not. I’m registered independent, and in the last election I voted for candidates to various public offices who were Democrats, Republicans and (in one case)independent. I’m not terribly fond of the GOP, but not so much so that I won’t vote for someone purely on that grounds.

    My problem with Bush is not that he’s Republican; my problem is that he’s incompetent. My problem with Bush voters is not that they’re Republican or conservative; it’s that they voted for an incompetent.

  137. It’s good to see you’re doing something practical with your head (and your tail).

    Eric Simonson: You (and everyone else coming over for Gweilo) have made the assumption that I’m a Democrat. I’m not. I’m registered independent, and in the last election I voted for candidates to various public offices who were Democrats, Republicans and (in one case)independent. I’m not terribly fond of the GOP, but not so much so that I won’t vote for someone purely on that grounds.

    My problem with Bush is not that he’s Republican; my problem is that he’s incompetent. My problem with Bush voters is not that they’re Republican or conservative; it’s that they voted for an incompetent.

  138. What She Said

    Maureen Dowd, in the Times today. (Hat tip to Jason Merchey) I’m no liberal, and I’m sure I disagree with Ms. Dowd on many matters of policy, but in this case she gets the nod. And of course, if you want the full run down, there’s …

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