Iowa Thoughts In Haiku

Because why not.

Romney:

Eight votes? Wow, really?
You beat a squirrely has-been
By eight votes? Damn, son.

Santorum:

I think you should know
Every single Democrat
Is rooting for you.

Paul:

If you would just run
As a Libertarian
Obama would grin.

Gingrich:

GINGRICH NOW ANGRY
GINGRICH NOW HURT ROMNEY BAD
JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE

Bachmann:

Miss you when you’re gone?
Hold on a sec, checking now -
Nope! Not in the least!

Perry:

Dude. It’s so over.
South Carolina isn’t
Going to save you.

Huntsman:

Less than one percent
And you say you’re still in it?
Such optimism!

187 thoughts on “Iowa Thoughts In Haiku

  1. What I keep hearing (e.g. from NPR’s live coverage last night) is that Ron Paul’s support base is young voters who went for Obama last time.

    So I’m not sure the Paul haiku works.

  2. What BS, Scalzi! Huntsman wasn’t even RUNNING in Iowa. He’s focusing all of his efforts on New Hampshire…

    …where he’s polling at seven percent.

  3. @Nathaniel:

    That’s what I heard them say, too. But, Paul would divide the GOP’s chances faster than Ralph Nader can say “seat-belt”.

  4. <i?What I keep hearing (e.g. from NPR’s live coverage last night) is that Ron Paul’s support base is young voters who went for Obama last time.

    So I’m not sure the Paul haiku works.

    Are they actually saying “young voters who went for Obama” or is it just implied? Because there doesn’t seem to be a groundswell of former Obama voters flocking to Paul. They just seem to be Young Republicans who don’t mind if people smoke pot. I have a feeling that Paul’s opposition to gay marriage and abortion, to say nothing of his apparent casual racism (or at least his non-denial denial of such) wouldn’t fly with either most true libertarians or most young people.

  5. @Farley-

    Paul would take from both Obama and Romney. The question is who he’d hurt more. I think probably Romney, but it’s not as clear-cut as you suggest. As Glen Greenwald recently described on Salon, Ron Paul actually embraces several major issues that are near and dear to the hearts of progressives: ending foreign wars, ending the war on terror, ending the war on drugs, and support for civil liberties. Given Obama’s signing of the NDA as well as his warrentless wiretapping, use of drones, and targetting of American citizens for assassination without a warrant there is a real chance that Paul in the race *could* hurt Obama more than he hurts Romney.

    @Stephen-

    It was made several times by various analysts/reporters on NPR last night. I’m sorry, but I really don’t have any more info than that, and I don’t personally have a feeling for what is going on or any numbers at all.

    In any case: it’s probably a moot point. I very much doubt Paul will go 3rd party. I think he’s more interested in attention-getting (for his cause, not because he’s an egomaniac) and perhaps in building a larger base that he can hand off to his son Rand.

  6. Yep. Santorum is a has-been. A has-been who just came within a whisker of beating every Liberal’s favorite Republican.

    Last I checked, Santorum spent less than a dollar per vote on media advertising ($21,980). Romney spent $1,471,000 in direct funds and multiple millions in Super Pac negative ads against Gingrich alone.

    I remember another no-chance hick that the Left said they were dying to run against. He was just a dumb actor from California. How’d that work out for you?

    Kind of reminds me of an old Lee Trevino quote. “I don’t worry about the guy who can hit a seven-iron two hundred yards, I worry about the guy who can hit it 100.”

  7. @Jesse-

    The claim that was being made, by the folks at NPR, was that the same specific young folks who voted for Obama had grown disaffected because he’s essentially taken every controversial Bush-era civil rights violation and amped them up (with a few exceptions) and has failed to embrace other issues popular with young, idealistic, progressives. So that both the same demographic and/or the same specific individuals (they weren’t that specific) who voted for Obama were not making the difference between Ron Paul’s #s in 2008 and in 2012.

    He went from around 10% in 2008 to around 20 – 25% in 2012 and they were suggesting that pretty much the entire difference was all from Obama’s base.

    Again: this is not a claim I’m making. I really have no feel for this. But I thought it was very interesting, and it’s not the first time I’d heard it.

    I hear what you’re saying about his pro-life stance and gay-marriage stance, but there’s a possibility that these issues would be trumped by his stance on drugs, the war on terror, foreign policy, and the whole not executing Americans without a warrant thing. I don’t know: but it seems like a serious possibility that Paul could hurt Obama at least as much as Romney if he stayed in the race.

  8. @Stephen and @Nathaniel: I believe the intent was that if Paul were to run as a third party, he would “Nader” the GOP, which would make Obama smile.

  9. Cain:
    Herman Cain says, “I’m
    Glad I suspended last year.
    Are you free tonight?

    Bush:
    Dear Republicans,
    You all miss me now, don’t you?
    Mission Accomplished.

    Reagan:
    Subsurface spinning
    In coffin-bound rotation
    Roll roll roll roll roll

  10. @Jon-

    I realize that was the intent. My response is that I’m not sure he’d actually “Nader” the GOP, since it’s *possible* that a lot of his additional support since 2012 comes from disaffected Obama voters. He might “Nader” Obama just as much or even more than Romney if he ran as a 3rd party candidate.

  11. @ Jon Hansen: I got that that was Scalzi’s intent.

    It was just news to me (I apparently didn’t hear the same stories on NPR) that idealistic young Obama voters had shifted and were now idealistic young Paul supporters (as opposed to, say, disillusioned young “well, I guess I have to vote for Obama again, or maybe not vote at all, because what the hell other choice is there” discontents). I could possibly buy it, with some data as opposed to some anecdotes, but I’m a bit skeptical.

  12. Billy Quiets:

    “A has-been who just came within a whisker of beating every Liberal’s favorite Republican.”

    Romney every liberal’s favorite Republican?

    BWA HA HA HA HA HAH HA HA HAH

    As a tip: A liberal’s favorite Republican would be the one that’s most likely to get trounced in the general election. Which is why I said what I did in the Santorum haiku.

  13. @Stephen-

    “I could possibly buy it, with some data as opposed to some anecdotes, but I’m a bit skeptical.”

    FWIW: I’m skeptical too. I was sort of hoping others could shed some light (aka “data”) on the situation.

  14. Yep. Santorum is a has-been. A has-been who just came within a whisker of beating every Liberal’s favorite Republican.

    I thought Santorum beat Bachmann quite eas…oh, I see where you went wrong.

    Last I checked, Santorum spent less than a dollar per vote on media advertising ($21,980). Romney spent $1,471,000 in direct funds and multiple millions in Super Pac negative ads against Gingrich alone.

    Correlation does not imply causation.

    I remember another no-chance hick that the Left said they were dying to run against. He was just a dumb actor from California. How’d that work out for you?

    Um, what? Mind pointing us to all of the articles saying this? IIRC there’s more parallels with Romney (governor of liberal state, past support for GLBT rights, 2nd run at presidency, etc). Of course, Reagan didn’t have the albatross of a being a multimillionaire with a history of predatory banking and cutting/outsourcing of jobs in a down economy, either. And let’s not forget that Reagan would have been considered a socialist by today’s GOP standards.

  15. The more I find out about Ron Paul, the more he creeps me out. I suspect that most progressives I’m acquainted with will do the same. We’re not THAT desperate to get pot legalized, y’all.

  16. This isn’t actually data–and I apologize for that–but after a few minutes of scrounging the intertrons I found two pieces that address the Ron Paul supporter question.

    The first is an opinion piece at the WSJ that claims that Ron Paul’s supporters are GOP voters who don’t like Romney. The “protest vote”. http://online.wsj.com/article/wonder_land.html

    The second is an older piece from the right-wing blog Redstate. The source is less reliable, but it actually cites some numbers to point out that only about 1/2 of Romney’s supporters are actually Republicans. The rest are independents and Democrats: http://www.redstate.com/leon_h_wolf/2011/12/27/ron-pauls-base-of-support-not-republican/

    Clearly the second piece is really biased and may include some wishful thinking, but I think it’s at least plausible that Paul is picking up a lot of left-libertarians instead of right-libertarians this time around.

    The final piece to consider is this incredibly long piece from Salon I mentioned earlier by Glen Greenwald: http://www.salon.com/2011/12/31/progressives_and_the_ron_paul_fallacies/

    Quick sample:

    “Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial. The converse is equally true: the candidate supported by liberals and progressives and for whom most will vote — Barack Obama — advocates views on these issues (indeed, has taken action on these issues) that liberals and progressives have long claimed to find repellent, even evil.”

    Long sample:

    “The fallacy in this reasoning is glaring. The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested. He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with drones, cluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth. He rendered permanently irrelevant the War Powers Resolution, a crown jewel in the list of post-Vietnam liberal accomplishments, and thus enshrined the power of Presidents to wage war even in the face of a Congressional vote against it. His obsession with secrecy is so extreme that it has become darkly laughable in its manifestations, and he even worked to amend the Freedom of Information Act (another crown jewel of liberal legislative successes) when compliance became inconvenient.

    He has entrenched for a generation the once-reviled, once-radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism powers of indefinite detention, military commissions, and the state secret privilege as a weapon to immunize political leaders from the rule of law. He has shielded Bush era criminals from every last form of accountability. He has vigorously prosecuted the cruel and supremely racist War on Drugs, including those parts he vowed during the campaign to relinquish — a war which devastates minority communities and encages and converts into felons huge numbers of minority youth for no good reason. He has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout, Fed secrecy, efforts to shield mortgage defrauders from prosecution, and the appointment of an endless roster of former Goldman, Sachs executives and lobbyists. He’s brought the nation to a full-on Cold War and a covert hot war with Iran, on the brink of far greater hostilities. He has made the U.S. as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government. His support for some of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes is as strong as ever.

    Most of all, America’s National Security State, its Surveillance State, and its posture of endless war is more robust than ever before. The nation suffers from what National Journal‘s Michael Hirsh just christened “Obama’s Romance with the CIA.” He has created what The Washington Post just dubbed “a vast drone/killing operation,” all behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy and without a shred of oversight. Obama’s steadfast devotion to what Dana Priest and William Arkin called “Top Secret America” has severe domestic repercussions as well, building up vast debt and deficits in the name of militarism that create the pretext for the “austerity” measures which the Washington class (including Obama) is plotting to impose on America’s middle and lower classes.

    The simple fact is that progressives are supporting a candidate for President who has done all of that — things liberalism has long held to be pernicious.”

    There are lots of hyperlinks in the original that you’re missing.

    The fact that you’ve got this much anger–coming from the left-libertarians–directed at President Obama and in favor of Ron Paul makes me think it really is plausible that a lot of Ron Paul’s additional support since 2008 (probably about 1/2 of his current support) is coming from the Obama base rather than the Romney base.

    I don’t actually have any more info, however, so I’ll stop spamming the discussion now and scuttle back off into the shadows. (Unless, you know, someone is wrong on the internet. Which would be insufferable.)

  17. John:

    I agree that a liberal’s favorite Republican would be the one that’s most likely to get trounced in the general election.

    Liberals scoff and laugh and belittle Santorum, Palin, Cain or any other real conservative, but secretly they fear a conservative candidate far more than Romney. If you were afraid of Romney you would be trashing him the way you do the real conservatives. He gets a pass because he’s the most liberal GOP candidate by far.

  18. *on pedantic soap box*

    English Haiku doesn’t need to be 5-7-5. The Japanese syntactical unit that has traditionally been translated as a syllable isn’t exactly. Many English haiku writers actually prefer 2-3-2 with the numbers representing stressed syllables.

    What you’ve written is actually, though, closer to Senryū.

    From Wikipedia:

    Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Unlike haiku, senryū do not include a kireji (cutting word), and do not generally include a kigo, or season word.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senry%C5%AB

    *off pedantic soap box*

    great poems!

  19. Question: Let’s say you strongly believe that the economy is going down the tubes for the next 4 years. Do you root for the worst of the opponents’ candidates, the best of the opponents’ candidates, or the best of your side’s candidates?

    The best of your side will keep the worst from happening in the short run – but could be costly in the long run.

  20. Billy Quiets:

    As someone who is generally considered liberal, who sent Jon Huntsman money for his campaign, I’m not 100% behind your police work, there. Personally, the problem with Santorum, Perry, Cain and Bachmann was not that they were conservative, but that they are varying but high levels of bigoted and/or ignorant. Which are different things entirely than “conservative,” to my mind at least.

  21. The idealistic-former-Obama-supporters-now-idealistic-Paul-supports thing is extremely credible to me. I’m running into a lot of sentiment on the ground that mirrors mine, that much of Obama’s presidency has been a parade of continuing and reinforcing Bush administration authoritarian measures, and we’d managed to grit our teeth and accept them as part of what it takes to actually govern, but the NDAA specifically, codifying a process of utterly depriving American citizens of liberty on no higher standard than an authority figure’s unaccountable say-so, was way, way too big a pill to swallow.

    If anyone knows of anywhere else credible there presently is to go, once you’ve failed to cram that one down your gullet, other than Ron Paul, I’d be extremely pleased to hear about it.

  22. Billy Quiets,

    Those conservatives you mentioned like Santorum get bashed on this blog generally because they are closed minded bigots, not because we are “afraid” of them.

  23. John:
    “Personally, the problem with Santorum, Perry, Cain and Bachmann was not that they were conservative, but that they are varying but high levels of bigoted and/or ignorant. Which are different things entirely than “conservative,” to my mind at least.”

    Are they really different things in your mind? This, I think, is where political discourse falls apart between liberals and conservatives. With one casual remark you feel comfortable labeling all of these people “bigoted and/or ignorant”.

  24. Billy Quiets,

    All of those people are comfortable saying that it is wrong to be gay. To a liberal that generally makes one ingorant and bigoted. I think you’re right though, that is where the discourse falls apart between some liberals and conservatives because the confliciting viewpoints will never change.

  25. @ John Scalzi

    Your claim of bigotry is boring, frankly, as by “bigoted” you mean “a framework of sexual morality that isn’t consistent with my own”––but I am interested to know what evidence you have for calling Santorum ignorant.

  26. Chris,

    I cannot tell you how many times I’ve argued with people in my party about their stance on gay rights. I think they are opinionated and wrong, but that does not make them ignorant and bigoted. 99% of them have no problem with homosexuals, they just don’t want to see the traditional American family destroyed any more than it already has been.

  27. Parker does that mean that someone racist against african americans just has a different racial morality than me? That’s ridiculous. They are bigoted because they discriminate against homosexuals and treat them as second class citizens.

  28. Well, this liberal thinks there’s a difference. I wouldn’t call Romney, Huntsman, or Gingrich bigoted or ignorant; though they may make an appeal to those who are, their past positions show that they understand the facts perfcectly well. As for Paul, “bigoted” certainly fits, though perhaps “seriously misguided” rather than “ignorant” would better describe his level of understanding.

  29. Billy Quiets,

    That last sentence sums up the problem. By saying that gay marriage will destroy the “traditional American family,” you are saying that there is something inherently wrong with being gay, and I at least have a problem with that. I’ve known families raised by same sex couples and they’ve turned out fine. I don’t believe that argument holds any water. Just because something is “traditional” it does not mean it is right.

  30. Chris,

    Yes, I agree with you. But there are many in my party who see any further erosion to “traditional family values” as dangerous. There are many families with one parent that turn out fine, but look what has happened in our cities where it is more common than traditional marriage.

  31. 99% of them have no problem with homosexuals, they just don’t want to see the traditional American family destroyed any more than it already has been.

    Replace “homosexuals” with “interracial couples.” See how stupid the sentence sounds now? If so, then the people that say it are hypocrites; if not, then they’re bigots. I fail to see how two people who love each other destroy any families. And how come I don’t see anyone complaining about Henry VIII or Ronald Reagan, when it comes to people that didn’t maintain “traditional” families.

  32. Families are destroyed by gay rights? What? Please, I’m a Brit an so do not have a dog in this fight but just,,,,what? Tell me, please, how gay rights destroys the “traditional American family”. Preferably in under 150 words.

  33. Jesse,

    Congratulations for being the first to play the race card.

    And with absolutely no provocation or hint of racism in the entire thread to this point. You win. It is impossible to argue with an intellectual luminary such as yourself.

  34. Billy Quiets:

    “With one casual remark you feel comfortable labeling all of these people ‘bigoted and/or ignorant’.”

    I feel comfortable labeling them bigoted and/or ignorant because they are all bigoted and/or ignorant, to the extent they can be know through their public statements. I listen to the crap that comes out their mouth and I’m appalled.

    One of the reasons I sent Huntsman money is that although his politics are certifiably conservative, he neither appears ignorant nor bigoted. I would have been delighted for him to have done better in the race, and am disappointed he never got traction.

    “Congratulations for being the first to play the race card.”

    Parker:

    “Your claim of bigotry is boring, frankly”

    Wait, this is a criticism? Because if it is, frankly it’s the stupidest criticism I’ve seen in a while. Likewise, my definition of “bigotry” in this case is “actively on board to deny rights to other people,” which is a common definition of the word, and which certainly applies to Santorum. Additionally, please try to grasp what the “and/or” construction means, as relates to this discussion.

    Shorter version: Wow, you really suck at parsing what I say.

  35. @Billy: but do they really have any notion as to exactly how getting homosexuals married will affect heterosexual families?

    By the way, “traditional marriage” is marriage in which the wife is, in law and fact, subservient to and under the control of her husband. In the US that only changed a few decades ago (and with rather a lot of sturm and drang from the It Will Destroy America types).

  36. Incidentally, as regards the “Gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage” thing, we already know it won’t because it hasn’t; it’s been around for years and traditional marriages are fine.

    Let not do the stupid thing where we pretend same-sex marriages don’t in fact exist here in the United States.

    Having said that, allow me also to note that the comment thread is drifting off the primary topic, so let’s reel it in.

  37. Billy Quiets

    Do you have evidence to back that statement up? I live in Boston and last time I checked we haven’t descended into anarchy just yet.

  38. John:

    So you like Huntsman because he doesn’t appear bigoted and ignorant. Could that be because he doesn’t negatively label people he disagrees with?

  39. [Likewise reeled in because we're getting way off topic. Not a personal slight to you, Parker -- I'm sure you posted before you saw my notation to reel it in -- JS]

  40. And many times, many “evil liberals” have asked for evidence that decreasing marriage rates among heterosexuals has anything to do with any mythical “gay agenda.” No evidence has ever been presented. Note — religious opinions do not count as evidence. They are opinions. Show how any hetero marriage has been damaged in any way.

  41. The idealistic-former-Obama-supporters-now-idealistic-Paul-supports thing is extremely credible to me. I’m running into a lot of sentiment on the ground that mirrors mine, that much of Obama’s presidency has been a parade of continuing and reinforcing Bush administration authoritarian measures, and we’d managed to grit our teeth and accept them as part of what it takes to actually govern, but the NDAA specifically, codifying a process of utterly depriving American citizens of liberty on no higher standard than an authority figure’s unaccountable say-so, was way, way too big a pill to swallow.

    If anyone knows of anywhere else credible there presently is to go, once you’ve failed to cram that one down your gullet, other than Ron Paul, I’d be extremely pleased to hear about it.

    The problem is that there is no one else, not even Ron Paul, because among other things, the NDAA that passed was veto-proof. I can understand that Obama signing it was shitty in the extreme. It sure as hell upsets me. Unfortunately, given the way the current political system is set up, the choice we have is, as Greenwald (who I don’t entirely agree with but is a good sounding point here) put it, the lesser of two (or maybe three) evils. FWIW even the ACLU only rates him better than Obama on two issues, and equal or worse on four.

    So, assuming a libertarian run, Paul would be someone decent on civil liberties (including the drug wars), and a small part of economic and foreign policy. In the meantime, he’s both formally and informally indifferent or even hostile on civil rights (for instance, he won’t be challenging the various voter suppression efforts from the GOP thanks to his belief in “states’ rights”), non-interventionist to the point of isolationism in foreign policy, mostly dangerously incompetent in economic policy, extremely anti-choice, anti-gay (notwithstanding his wobbly “leave it to the states” argument he’s a supporter of both DOMA and DADT), and doesn’t believe climate change is a serious problem. Given a GOP Congress–which is almost certain this year–he would get to pass exactly none of the stuff he’s decent on, and all of the stuff he’s an absolute nut on. That puts him a half-tick (if that) to the left of the rest of the GOP, in my mind.

    So that’s why I think Paul’s not anywhere near a viable alternative. Obama may have let evil shit go down, but on most everything else he’s by far the lesser of the evils, and at least has the potential to not let everything else that’s totally evil go down. I’m fully aware of and won’t try to deny what Obama has done, but I’ll be damned if I let in someone who will do much, much worse, either as a useless protest vote or apathy.

  42. Nathaniel:

    No worries. I reeled it back for you, and thanks.

    Billy Quiets:

    “Could that be because he doesn’t negatively label people he disagrees with?”

    It’s not negative to call a bigot a bigot, or an ignorant an ignorant; it’s merely commenting on a fact.

  43. Jesse-

    “So that’s why I think Paul’s not anywhere near a viable alternative.”

    I hear that, but my initial point wasn’t “Paul is a viable alternative.” It was that there’s some evidence–best I can find–that Paul may be drawing his support from Obama’s base these days as much or more than Romney’s.

    You would disagree with the angry left-libertarians who voted for Obama before but switched to Paul now, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. They are. The question is: how many?

    I cited the Glenn Greenwald piece just to strengthen the notion that they *existed*. Not that I agreed with them.

    As far as I can tell: no one has any stats (other than the Redstate-linked thing that said ~50% of Paul’s support was Democratic or independent), so speculation was the best I could do. (Regrettably.)

  44. Chris,

    Just telling you the argument they give me, man. Not making it myself.

    I would be happy as a clam if sexual orientation, religion and skin color never entered the conversation.

    For me, it’s all about limiting the government’s role in our everyday life. The current administration added another government agency today. Just what we needed.
    Last Friday the president signed legislation making it legal for the military to seize and detain any person, American or otherwise, anywhere, with no proof, if they “suspect” that person might be involved in terrorism. And you guys complained about Cheney. Sheesh.

    Less government + gay + any skin color = good.

    More government + gay + any skin color = bad.

  45. Nathaniel:

    Yeah, I guess I was responding more to the article than your post, probably because there’s been a lot of GRAR over this with some of my friends who, like me and JS, live in extremely close swing states.

  46. I do believe the “traditional” family is destroying itself from within and has not, does not need any help from gays marrying.

    I never saw where two people of the same sex marrying each other made the couple next to them, across town or in another country say: “Gee, let’s break up hon, ’cause those two gay folks just got married, and you know what that means!”.

    :/

  47. I would be happy as a clam if sexual orientation, religion and skin color never entered the conversation.

    Well sure. If your sexual orientation, religion and skin color are comfortably within the majority, so that who gets elected President will not impact your life measurably, then why would you want to talk about them? You got yours, Jack.

    It’s really a mistake to assume that the current candidates, particularly Paul, are in favor of less government intrusion into our private lives. Paul and, I believe, Santorum, do not believe that there is any privacy right inherent in the Constitution – which means it would be perfectly OK with them if a state government decided you have to show a marriage license to buy contraceptives, say.

    Fewer federal agencies != small government.

  48. Guys, remember the part where I said “reel it in and focus on the subject at hand”? Those were good times.

    The Mallet, it hungers.

    (PS: I do recognize that the dividing line between “on-topic” and “off-topic” is slippery here. I’m trying to err on the side of leeway. But, you know. Help me out, here.)

  49. Jesse-

    Yeah, I can see why you’d be frustrated enough to want to respond to the Greenwald piece itself. I’m still really curious about this question though. Let me know if you have any stats / feelings / thoughts on it. Is Paul taking more from Obama now than Romney? I’m *really* curious. (Unless this also counts as going off-topic, in which case I never posted this. It was my cat. Who hijacked my laptop. I had *nothing* to do with it!)

    Also: is GRAR an acronym? ‘Cause it made sense to me as sort of onomatopoeia for the sound you make when extremely frustrated by a political debate where you feel like something’s actually on the line, but I’m not sure if I’m missing something. :-)

  50. @ Farley

    “I never saw where two people of the same sex marrying each other made the couple next to them, across town or in another country say: “Gee, let’s break up hon, ’cause those two gay folks just got married, and you know what that means!”.”

    Yeah, this is the logical equivalent of the other side’s “Evolution isn’t true because we haven’t seen monkeys turn into humans.” Just fyi.

  51. Parker:

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. No, it’s not. It’s not even close.

    And Parker, final warning. Drop this line of conversation or you’re off the thread. It’s far too afield for this particular topic.

  52. Oh FINE, mister uses haiku instead of sonnets because he’s too PC to rely on poetic forms favored by dead pale males!

    Civil liberties
    Ron Paul ends, not with a bong
    But with a whimper.

  53. Mythago,

    I understand what you are saying. If I were a gay conservative, like Kevin DuJan at Hillbuzz.com for example, I would have a very hard time with the GOP’s endless fascination with screwing up their party by focusing on this issue in every election.

  54. FEAR THE MALLET. And thank you. In another, more appropriate thread, which will almost certainly come up at some point around here, you can discourse on the subject more fully.

  55. Let me know if you have any stats / feelings / thoughts on it. Is Paul taking more from Obama now than Romney? I’m *really* curious.

    Nope. That’s why I asked my very first qusetion in this thread.

    Also: is GRAR an acronym? ‘Cause it made sense to me as sort of onomatopoeia for the sound you make when extremely frustrated by a political debate where you feel like something’s actually on the line, but I’m not sure if I’m missing something. :-)

    AFAIK it’s not an acronym (see what I did there? Oh god stop me now…), I’ve always assumed the onomatopoeia.

  56. Somewhere Pawlenty
    gnashes his teeth and curses
    that damn Ames straw poll.

    Sarah Palin bides
    her time knowing the phone will
    soon ring once again.

  57. You’re apparently gleeful about the possibility of Santorum getting the nomination. Any chance you’re hiding some fear? I know I’m scared.

  58. I haven’t given Huntsman money (and won’t) but I agree with JS that he appears to be sane, NOT a bigot, generally well informed, and actually quite smart. I also agree that JS pronounces “squirrely” and “every” correctly (the way I do!). But do you say “probably” with two syllables also? (also the “correct” way).

  59. Iowa caucuses concluded
    Candidate choices narrowed
    All’s right on schedule—again.

    Every four years we watch the Iowa caucus results narrow the field of choices, as has happened again, right on schedule. Sadly, many of us out here want more and better choices on both sides of the partisan divide. And that is not going to happen. Oh, to vote next November for some one, rather than against the greater evil of the two choices.

  60. ThatRobert:

    I don’t believe Santorum is going to get the nomination. If he does get the nomination, I believe there’s almost no chance he will win the presidency. So no, not especially scared.

    Coolstar:

    How I pronounce “probably” changes depending on context, now that I think about it.

  61. Re Jack Lint –

    “”Sarah Palin bides
    her time knowing the phone will
    soon ring once again.””

    Dude, that’s scary. You should write horror stories.

  62. “… every Liberal’s favorite Republican.”

    Saying I have a favorite repug is like saying I have a favorite flavor of dog sh*t. T’isn’t possible.

    Oh, and I wish I was a better cartoonist. I’d whip up something with Gingrich as the Hulk, saying: “GINGRICH NOW ANGRY, GINGRICH NOW HURT ROMNEY BAD.”

  63. Dude, that’s scary. You should write horror stories.

    “And the face she saw in the mirror was….THE FACE OF A MODERATE REPUBLICAN!”
    “That’s stupid, Daddy. Everybody knows moderate Republicans aren’t real.”

    Gingrich strikes me as more akin to Polonius.

  64. mythago

    Having some problems with following you on the Polonius riff; I suspect that this is because I’m very familiar with Hamlet but very unfamiliar with Gingrich. Does he spend a lot of the time hanging around behind arasses?

    Incidentally, I would like brownie points for sneaking in that abysmal pun on Santorum…

  65. [Deleted because unless I read it wildly incorrectly, it was being egregiously rude to another commenter. Let's not respond to general comments, even offensively framed, with a specific insult to another commenter, please -- JS]

  66. Based on the, to be honest, mad things, Santorum says, I think the DNC and the Obama re-election committee would probably wet themselves in the anticipation of him in the race. I suspect they’re gearing up for a fight with Romney, who probably just got weakened by this result and further by the world of hurt Newt and others will hurl at him while they throw in with Santorum (who, to echo John, won’t get the nomination because I don’t think the GOP is actually that daft).

    As for the other discussions. Santorum is a bigot. He’s said, frankly, outrageous things about homosexuals, his position on contraception has no place in 2011, he’s downright creepy to listen to. Sorry. He really is.

    He’s also got an electoral track record that’s dreadful.

    Finally. I believe that in any presidential race, the only way to beat an incumbent is if you’ve been a state governor. Santorum was a short lived Congressman. Obama got the easy route by being up against another Senator.

  67. To break away from haiku form for a minute, I do think Gingrich is going to be fascinating from here on out. I don’t think he has a chance at the nomination — it’s possible but really unlikely — but he can definitely be a spoiler for Romney, and it looks like he might be gunning for that.

  68. Oh, man, please let Gingrich win the nomination from behind. The speech after the 400th or so EV that goes for Obama would be gloooooorius.

  69. Yes, it should be something to watch. You can say a lot of things about Gingrich, but he’s not ignorant. From what I’ve seen he has encyclopedic knowledge on a wide range of subjects. I would love to watch his proposed Lincoln-Douglas debates with President Obama. That would be fascinating.

  70. @Nathaniel: It is hard to imagine an Obama supporter deciding that his views would be better represented by Ron Paul, or vice versa. The two are more or less polar opposites.

    That having been said, a lot of young people did vote for Obama in 2008 because a.) it seemed like the “in” thing to do, or b.) Obama successfully positioned himself as the “youth” candidate.

    After 4 four years of skyrocketing government spending and a poor economy, many of them may now have decided that having been betrayed by Obama, they should opt for the ultimate “un-Obama,” which is Ron Paul. If Obama believes that government can do everything, Paul believes that government can do nothing. Either position is impractical.

    I actually share John Scalzi’s take on Ron Paul, more or less. Paul would be as much of a disaster as Obama has been. I don’t see Ron Paul as the answer. We need a moderate in the White House, not an ideologue from either end of the political spectrum. (I suppose it would be futile for me to hope for a “Clinton in 2012″ insurgent campaign.)

  71. We need a moderate in the White House, not an ideologue from either end of the political spectrum. (I suppose it would be futile for me to hope for a “Clinton in 2012″ insurgent campaign.)

    It’s worth noting here that Clinton (assuming Hillary here) is identical to or even to the left of Obama on pretty much everything, and both are considered centrist or left-of-center in most ideological rankings.

  72. Good news this morning:
    The worst insane homophobe
    Took her dumb ass home.

    (I count her much worse
    Than the shit-frothy nutbar:
    She’s less obvious.)

    Almost a quarter
    Of Iowa ‘publicans:
    Gay-hating shitstripes.

    The stupid Texan,
    Apparently deluded,
    Says he will go on.

    Caucus-time over,
    We can ignore Iowa
    Another four years!

    Only two of these are real haiku (Japanese doesn’t have grammatical number; ‘haikus’ is a point-and-laugh among Those Who Know), and one of them is stretching a point a bit.

  73. What? Someone is arguing with John in a thread, and it’s not me?? This will not do. (g)

    As for Gingrich deliberately trying to crash the Mitt Express, well, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised. Just as I wouldn’t be surprised if evangelicals work harder than ever to pit Santorum — or Gingrich — against the ‘Devil Mormon.’ Witness what was said by Georgia rep Judy Manning (who supports Newt):

    “I think Mitt Romney is a nice man, but I’m afraid of his Mormon faith. It’s better than a Muslim. Of course, every time you look at the TV these days you find an ad on there telling us how normal they are. So why do they have to put ads on the TV just to convince us that they’re normal if they are normal? … If the Mormon faith adhered to a past philosophy of pluralism, multi-wives, that doesn’t follow the Christian faith of one man and one woman, and that concerns me.

    These are the kind of cornpone chuckleheads both Romney and Huntsman have to deal with at a national level.

    Judy Manning translated: “Welp, he’s a might pertier than wun o’ them terrrist Muzlimz, but ah’ll be damned’n if ah see a Devil Mormon lead this here kuntray! (spit)

    Women like Manning are part of the reason why I sometimes wish that all of my LDS brothers and sisters — all of us, together — would declare a moratorium on Republican support. So long as the the Judy Mannings of the party can actively question and even sabotage the efforts of any Mormon ascending to the national stage, what do we LDS owe the Republican party, anyway? We are not the Republicans’ bitch. (Though we always seem to act like it.)

    What if…. (insert wavy dreamtime segue….)

    Mormons on strike?
    Mormons on Strike!
    Mormons!
    Mormons!!
    Mormons!!!
    Mormons!!!!
    Mormons on strike!
    Mormons says “no more!”
    No more neglect! We want respect! That’s what we’re striking for!
    All you Bible Belting dick asshats can all just take a hike!
    It’s Mormons….! On striiiiike!

    Mormons on strike!
    From our homes we sing along,
    We raise our middle fingers up to tell you that we’ve gone!
    And with our votes now absent no you won’t be very psyched!
    It’s Mormonssss on striiiiiiike!

    And we will not bow or budge.
    Our resolve is strong.
    We even took three hours to rehearse this striking song! (at church!)

    Mormons on strike!
    No matter where you are!
    If you are Mormon, then you’ve got do your part!
    March out of the Republican party! Screw ‘em!
    That’s right, suck our Latter-Day Saint balls!
    It’s Mormons on strike!
    It’s Mormons on Strike!
    It’s Mormons on Strike!
    It’s Mormonsssss
    On Striiiiiiiiike!

  74. @Todd-

    I don’t have any facts to prove my case, but check out the link to the Glen Greenwald article for an example of why a lot of young, idealistic Obama voters may in fact be quite interested in Ron Paul. They are diametrically opposed on some issues (e.g. abortion) where liberal/progressive types would obviously favor Obama. But on quite a few issues (war on drugs, foreign policy, and civil liberties) Paul clearly and blatantly trumps Obama.

    So it really just depends on which issues matter more, and I think that for a lot of young folks the war on drugs, foreign policy, civil liberty stuff all matters more than social issues that really aren’t on the front burner for anyone this year.

    Keep in mind: no one actually thinks Ron Paul is going to win. Not even most of the people who support him. This is crucial. It means that a Ron Paul vote is *not* a vote for pro-life policy (he’s not going to win) but it is a great protest vote if you’re mad at Obama for making George W. Bush look like a poster-child for the ACLU (which is what Obama has done since he got in office).

  75. We need a moderate in the White House, not an ideologue from either end of the political spectrum.

    And you think Obama isn’t a moderate?

    I’d hate to meet moderates in your world!

  76. @Todd: Shouldn’t be that hard to imagine at all. As weirdly marginalized as it is in the public dialogue, liberty matters to some people, and on that score, unless you’re a straight white mainstream-Christian male who doesn’t care about the liberty of anyone who isn’t just like you, the Democrats have been the lesser of two evils ever since the GOP started kowtowing to the fundies. But if, say, the Obama administration drops the ball on that approximately three thousand consecutive times, you can actually reach the point where the wacky right-wing outlier who appears to oppose all forms of Big Government, as opposed to liking Big Government just fine when it’s about telling people at gunpoint who they can and can’t fuck, starts to look almost appealing.

  77. They are diametrically opposed on some issues (e.g. abortion) where liberal/progressive types would obviously favor Obama. But on quite a few issues (war on drugs, foreign policy, and civil liberties) Paul clearly and blatantly trumps Obama.

    See my link above as to why most of the differences aren’t particularly clear or blatant, even according to the ACLU.

    So it really just depends on which issues matter more, and I think that for a lot of young folks the war on drugs, foreign policy, civil liberty stuff all matters more than social issues that really aren’t on the front burner for anyone this year.

    First of all, none of what you mention is on the front burner for anyone, least of all young voters. The economy is and will be the biggest concern, and disproportionately so for young voters. Greenwald’s area of expertise is civil liberties, and I’m sure even he’d be willing to admit he’s biased towards that being a sense of importance. And on economics, almost all of Ron Paul’s positions fall apart even without close scrutiny.

    Keep in mind: no one actually thinks Ron Paul is going to win. Not even most of the people who support him. This is crucial. It means that a Ron Paul vote is *not* a vote for pro-life policy (he’s not going to win) but it is a great protest vote if you’re mad at Obama for making George W. Bush look like a poster-child for the ACLU (which is what Obama has done since he got in office).

    Wait, what? Where did you come up with that last sentence? Even the ACLU would dismiss that as hyperbolic nonsense. And the idea of a “great protest vote” no longer applies. Even new voters in 2012 probably have some idea of what a spoiler vote like Nader in 2000 can do.

  78. Much noise, no real sign –
    Only 5.4 percent of Iowans caucused

    Clearest winner from Iowa caucus?
    Current resident of White House

    Score: Mormon cult 1,
    God’s Choice for Iowa, nothing

  79. I don’t have any facts to prove my case

    Indeed, you don’t. I’m actually finding it a bit difficult to believe that you believe your own argument, there, which is in direct conflict with, um….reality. If you want people to vote for Paul, then great, but pretending he is a civil libertarian or that the ACLU is sitting around thinking “If only we had Bush back!” is…again, in direct conflict with reality.

  80. mythago-

    You seem very confused. I’m not sure if you didn’t read most of my posts or what, but I’ll try to clear things up:

    “If you want people to vote for Paul…”

    I am not advocating for or against any candidate in this thread. If I was advocating for a candidate it wouldn’t be Paul.

    “pretending he is a civil libertarian…”

    I didn’t make that case. Glenn Greenwald did. I cited it as evidence that other people (not me) believe (rightly or wrongly) that to be the case.

    I am emphatically not trying to tell people they should vote for Ron Paul because he’s a superior civil libertarian to Obama. The case I’m actually making is that it seems plausible that Ron Paul as a 3rd party candidate could hurt Obama as much or even more than Romney. I have no direct polling data (please let me know if you have any) and so I’m forced to do my best with indirect evidence such as:

    – The folks on NPR mentioned several times last night that Paul’s growth in popularity since 2008 is from disaffected young Obama voters
    – Glen Greenwald’s piece for Salon is an example of a prominent left-libertarian making a case that would appeal to these types of voters
    – polling does reveal that only about 1/2 of Ron Paul supporters are GOP voters.

    I freely admit this isn’t really “data” ’cause I don’t want to misrepresent my case. But I’m just talking about politics here, mythago. Not engaging in politicking myself. When I do that: you’ll know.

  81. Jesse-

    “See my link above as to why most of the differences aren’t particularly clear or blatant, even according to the ACLU.”

    I respect that Paul might not actually be substantially better than Obama. I don’t want people to be confused here so, like I told mythago, I’ll just state clearly: I’m not a Ron Paul fan. Don’t read any implied support for him into my words.

    But–to the point at hand–I think that Ron Paul has the perception of being a great civil libertarian while Obama–especially since the signing of the NDAA–does not. You’re arguing the reality (and I respect that) but I’m just pointing out the perception (among folks who might not be as well-informed as yourself).

    “First of all, none of what you mention is on the front burner for anyone, least of all young voters.”

    I disagree with you on that: I think young voters do care substantially more about foreign policy (no more foreign wars), the war on drugs, and civil liberties. I can’t find any stats for now, however, so it’s just anecdata. :-( Sorry. I did find some interesting new articles by folks who are noticing Ron Paul’s extremely young voter base. Here’s a quick one:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/03/ron-paul-s-surprisingly-young-support-base.html

    This older article (6 months ago) discusses Obama’s lack of appeal with younger voters. He was falling the polls with them even then.

    http://www.policymic.com/articles/969/obama-2012-may-lack-the-youth-vote

    Putting two and two together (Obama losing the young vote and Paul mysteriously doubling his numbers with a glaringly youthful base) and it’s not hard to see why I think the argument that Paul is siphoning off former Obama supporters is plausible.

    “Wait, what? Where did you come up with that last sentence?”

    I’ll grant the last sentence was somewhat hyperbolic, but I’ve been reading mainstream and leftish outlets complain that Obama has been doubling down on Bush-era civil rights violations since 2008. I’d give you the list, but Greenwald already did that, and–though I don’t agree with everything he wrote–his comparison of Bush to Obama on civil liberties was pretty much dead-on. In balance, Obama is substantially worse on civil liberties than Bush was.

  82. Meh… I’m unhappy with my last paragraph.

    Mostly I want to just talk about what others think about civil liberties, so I should leave my agreement with Glenn Greenwald on that out of it.

    Sorry: I violated my own premise for this debate there.

    (So much shame…)

  83. @Nathaniel: If your intent was simply to say “I don’t believe these things, but here is what Greenwald and others are saying” you did an extremely poor job of it; I’m not the only poster who apparently took statements like “But on quite a few issues (war on drugs, foreign policy, and civil liberties) Paul clearly and blatantly trumps Obama” to be statements coming from you, rather than quotations, particularly as you were responding to Todd’s comment.

    Really, sometimes the problem is not that everybody else is too careless or stupid to understand the Mighty Fine Idea you are putting forth, but that you communicated poorly.

  84. Cross-posted with yours, above, so I hope our host will forgive a potentially consecutive post here.

    Indeed it’s true that among supporters there is this “civil libertarian” veneer that the other candidates seem to lack; and that’s frankly because a lot of people have not looked closely at his positions or the reasons he holds them. Or, bluntly, because they’re not thinking about them very hard. Ta-Nehisi Coates has been running some pieces about Paul’s appeal, and as he’s a far better writer and also much nicer than I am I’d direct you to those.

    WRT to the Iowa primary in general, since we’re kinda sorta trying to stay on topic here: did Perry really expect to win? Honestly? I don’t get it.

  85. mythago-

    Really, sometimes the problem is not that everybody else is too careless or stupid to understand the Mighty Fine Idea you are putting forth, but that you communicated poorly.

    Consider me chastened. I’m sorry. It’s late. I blurred the lines and didn’t stay as objective as I was trying to be.

    To clear things up: I’m not a Paul supporter, but I do agree with Greenwald’s observations on Paul vs. Obama on the specific issues he mentioned. My primary interest really was objective (is Paul really snagging enough younger voters from Obama to make him a bigger threat to Obama than Romney?) but along the way I let some of my irritation with President Obama’s record on civil liberties bleed through.

    Once again: my bads.

  86. mythago-

    I absolute agree that a lot of Ron Paul’s support comes from folks who don’t look closely at either him or their own reasoning. I’m just frankly not that interested in Ron Paul’s actual civil libertarian creds because he’s already disqualified from serious consideration in my view based on other factors.

    As for this:

    WRT to the Iowa primary in general, since we’re kinda sorta trying to stay on topic here: did Perry really expect to win? Honestly? I don’t get it.

    He didn’t really need to win. He only needed to beat Michelle Bachman and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to be the One True Social Conservative and thus mount a credible attack on Romney. He could have finished third and still been in decent shape. Honestly: Perry would be a bigger threat to Romney just because his campaign is better established and better funded. Santorum’s rise came more or less out of nowhere and at the last minute, so I think that’s why Perry had some high expectations.

    Why has he not dropped out since then?

    He’s hoping Santorum will crater fast enough that he’ll be around to once again rally social conservatives and evangelicals against Romney.

  87. I’m guessing ego, but who knows? It’s like, did he really think he had a chance? Did it not occur to Perry that the national stage is a little different than good-ol’-boy Texas state politics?

    I’d still strongly suggest you take a gander over at TNC’s commentary. But then my opinions of Greenwald are kind of unprintable, so.

  88. mythago-

    I read the piece. It was riveting up until the part where he started talking about Ron Paul. (I mean that seriously: the description of Farrakhan was really engrossing.) The problem is not that I like Ron Paul, it’s just that whenever someone tries to write a really serious, thought-provoking article critiquing Ron Paul I feel like I’m reading someone’s dissertation on why flossing with razors is inadvisable. Yes: it’s true. But why is it worth discussing?

    TNC was dead-on with his questions:

    It is not enough to simply proffer Paul as a protest candidate.One must fully imagine the import of a Paul presidency. How, precisely, would Paul end the drug war? What, exactly, would he do about the Middle East? How, specifically,would the world look for women under a Ron Paul presidency?

    I’ve never met a Ron Paul supporter who was willing to even seriously entertain this kind of discussion. The man dabbles in conspiracy theories and embraces policies that make Michelle Bachman look like the voice of reason in terms of practical implications. Refusing to lower the debt ceiling has nothing on a unilateral withdrawl of American military forces from S. East Asia in terms of potential to rapidly bring about earth-shaking chaos.

    So when it comes to the revelations of racism in his newsletter I can’t muster any outrage. He’s a nutcase. Perhaps a well-intentioned nut-case with some principles, but a nutcase nonetheless. Anger doesn’t seem the appropriate response to a nutcase. Bemusement, wariness, and a bit of sadness: sure. But not anger.

    I’m fascinated by him in terms of political economy and demographics and the whole horse-race of the 2012 election, but I can’t fathom anyone taking his policies–as a complete package–with anything akin to seriousness.

  89. Vote for a Mormon?
    He’s not True Republican!
    The godless Rino …

    NPR is full of it. Paul’s base is gold-standard leave-us-alone fiscon libertarians, most of whom righteously (and rightfully) distrust the dominionist evangelicals. Santorum is the flavor-of-the-week for the dominionists, who have already run through all their other alternate Anyone-But-That-Heathen-Mormon-Romney candidates and are willing to take a chance with an autocratic Catholic who mouths soothing socon catchphrases.

  90. And from the dominionist POV:

    Mormon wins Iowa
    God’s America looks more remote
    WInter is coming …

    With bonus GRRM reference.

  91. I apparently lack the creative juices today (or at all) to put this into haiku or other poetic format, so I’ll just say it:

    The story line I’m most interested in coming out of Iowa is Perry’s decision to stay in.

    Unlike Nathaniel @ 12:44, I do not think there is sufficient time in the primary process for Perry to “pull it out” if Santorum craters in South Carolina and /or Florida. (New Hampshire is highly unlikely to go to anyone but Romney; pundits will be focusing on the margin of his victory rather than the fact of it, and pundits drive coverage, which is another story/ rant entirely.)

    This is particularly true in light of the differences between the Republican and Democratic nominating processes: more R primaries are “winner take all,” rather than proportional delegate distribution, and even in those states with proportional distribution, it is my understanding that if a single candidate clears 50%, they get the whole enchilada. The proportional distribution in the Democratic primary in 2008 contributed hugely to the length of that primary, and success at exploiting it was one of the Obama campaign’s major victories. (Please note that I have no opinion about either of these procedures; they are just different, and I can see flaws and benefits in each.)

    There’s no way for Perry to amass sufficient delegates if he essentially doesn’t have any until a Santorum cratering, in my opinion. Money will be drying up (already), and Perry has never had the Republican Establishment backing, except the Texas/oil/gas component. Unlike McCain, he doesn’t have a well-established national brand, nor a national network of activists similar to the set McCain built in his 2000 run. Without resources to get his message out, he’ll have to take advantage of media coverage, which in this cycle has been heavily focused on the debate, and we all know that is not a venue in which Gov. Perry shines. After Florida, you’re looking at Super-Tuesday, and it will be too late to mount a comeback.

    Most importantly, there was his speech in Iowa Tuesday evening. I saw it later, and he looked tired and defeated. His words, “I’m going back to Texas to think” are practically politico-speak for “I’m getting the hell out of here.” Spending more than $450 a vote will do that to you, I guess.

    But in the overnight, something changed. What?

    I have a conspiracy theory/ Machiavellian thought: Perry’s continued presence in the race will likely prevent conservatives from coalescing around Santorum as the only option, thus benefiting Romney. Since I strongly agree with Scalzi that Santorum is a far weaker general election candidate (he lost by 18 points! in 2006) the conspiracy doesn’t point to interference from outside the party, but rather that Perry got SOMETHING from the Romney campaign in return for continuing on for another 2-3 weeks.

    My theory falls flat because I have no idea what Romney could offer Perry that he would want; it won’t be the Veep slot, since I think that has to go to a swing state guy (like Sen. Marco Rubio (FL).) Perhaps support in ’16 or ’20? Seems a little thin, even to me.

    Regardless, I’m curious as to how this will play out over the next month or so.

  92. Tully: There’s no way Perry gets the VP slot. I’d put money on it.

    He doesn’t bring anything to the table that can’t be equally well brought by swing state conservatives: Gov. McDonnell (VA) in addition to Sen. Rubio (FL) I mentioned above both have impeccable conservative credentials, popularity their home states, and none of the negative baggage associated with Perry. That’s not to say that they’re perfect, but they’re better for the ticket than Perry, by a lot. Heck, I think Michelle Bachmann is probably better than Perry in the Veep position, although the same “heartbeat from the Presidency” that plagued McCain/Palin would probably be a problem for Romney/Bachmann.

  93. Yes: it’s true. But why is it worth discussing?

    Because the piece really wasn’t about Ron Paul so much as about his supporters – and why people who aren’t conspiracy nut goldbug We Will All Propser In Sealand libertarians are so fervently in the tank for him, and are perhaps in his favor in spite of his policies.

    @Nat, I’m betting on either ego or the hope that staying in now will get him some position in the next Administration advantageous to his friends. He’s done very well by them in his current position.

  94. Nathaniel @10:56pm
    I’m just going to write this down, in case no one since has mentioned it, but I don’t want to forget while catching up on the thread.

    We’ve been here before with Paul, in 2004 and 2008: A number of liberal/progressives trumpeting Ron Paul as the Republican candidate they can get behind. However, while Paul’s positions on a handful of issues align with some liberal/progressive tent poles, they do so only superficially. He opposed the Iraq war, but he then takes his non-interventionist stance to the point of an isolationism that should turn off any liberal. He presents himself as pro-civil liberties in general, but in detail he’s a lot more selective about which liberties he wants to protect than his rhetoric might suggest, and he’s perfectly happy to let States restrict all the civil liberties they want. As for the War on Drugs, I dunno, man. It’s nice that he wants to end it, but his reasoning should concern liberal/progressives. And, frankly, it’s always hard to take one-issue voters seriously, but you really cut into your political credibility when your one issue is that you want to get high (since high people aren’t known for, erm, sober decision making).

    Put simply, the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.

    Note: yes, I know that many who oppose the War on Drugs also oppose (or at lest, don’t support) drug use/abuse. But those people tend not to be single-issue pot legalization voters.

  95. Nat — I didn’t say he’d get it, I said he’d push for it. Just like he pushed for the nomination.

  96. Not to get too far afield, but in response to those mentioning Rubio as VP, I find it highly unlikely that will be the case. The GOP has spent the last 4 years especially firing up the base over immigration for both economic and xenophobic reasons, and any Latino–or likely any first- or second-generation immigrant. See also: Barack Obama the “Kenyan anti-colonialist”–will serve as a physical manifestation of that regardless of how or why they immigrated (more on that below). Also, Latinos are not a monolithic demographic, and it’s my understanding that thanks to the Wet Feet, Dry Feet policy Cubans are not well-liked by other Latinos, especially by those of Central American and Carribean descent. In addition, he couldn’t remember when his family left Cuba, whether as regular immigrants under Batista’s regime or as political exiles under Castro’s, then claimed that the date wasn’t important (hint: Batista was an ally of the US and wasn’t really mentioned by Rubio). He’s also been in a ongoing spat with Univision and many of it’s most popular TV personalities.

  97. Daveon@11:06: “And you think Obama isn’t a moderate?”

    He has approved a system of assassinating American citizens with zero due process and ordered the assassination of at least one American and his 16 year old son. The names of who is on the list of needs-to-be-assassinated is itself classified and without any due process.

    No President has ever gone so far off the reservation before this.

    He has also buried any and all attempts at innocent victims of American torture system from ever having their day in court. He has also buried any and all atempts at prosecuting anyone behind the war crimes that occurred as part of Americas torture system.

    He launched a secret war in Yemen. He launched a war against Libya without support of congress and in violation of the war powers act.

    Anyone who wants to argue that Obama is a “moderate” is either smoking crack or unbelievably bad at math.

  98. Obama has also launched one of the biggest wars against whistleblowers ever seen. He allowed the torture of Bradley Manning to go on for months until pressure finally forced him to change some things. Even now the UN torture expert has not been allowed to see Manning without an American guard hovering over him, which makes it hard for Manning to be forthcoming about what they might have done to him in the past or are doing to him now.

  99. Jesse:

    I assume Scalzi will at some point generate a thread where we can hash out the pluses and minuses of various Veep candidates, including Senator Rubio, but I think that exceeds the scope of this thread, since I can’t manage to squish my thoughts on that into haiku form, either.

  100. Oh dear. Let’s see:
    –FDR authorized the internment of the Japanese.
    –JFK and Johnson had a little secret war in Laos, dropping 2.3 million pounds of bombs over Laos from 1964-1973.
    –Bay of Pigs?
    –Shall we talk to the Indian nations, and who was president when various massacres occurred?

    This is not to let Obama off the hook. I’m disgusted with the way things are going right now (and fortunately, so are both my senators, though not my republican Congressional rep). Rather, the point is that neither democratic nor republican presidents have clean hands when it comes to wartime ugliness.

    Since I’m currently reading about “The Great Game” (aka the insanity perpetuated in border disputes between the British Empire, the Russian Empire, and the Chinese Empire from ~1800-1945), all I can say is that history rhymes quite a lot even if it doesn’t quite repeat. Anyone who thinks that what we’re seeing right now is massively new or different might find history enlightening. And I say that even though I’m not a historian.

  101. This is not to let Obama off the hook. I’m disgusted with the way things are going right now (and fortunately, so are both my senators, though not my republican Congressional rep).

    And, unfortunately, overall Obama is by far the least evil of the options. As I mentioned before, I may not like it, but there’s no way I will let my vote go to waste (either by “protest” vote or not voting at all) in a swing state when I know everybody else will be across-the-board worse.

  102. het@1:02: “oh dear”

    Spare me your false concern and false equivalences. FDR’s internment of Japanese was nothing more than fear-based fascism at its simplest. That a Democrat president did it doesn’t make it any better. It certainly doesn’t make it any more “moderate”.

    When Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, did you mention JFK’s entry into Vietnam as a way of equivilating Bush to JFK?

    Because in response to criticism of Obama’s violation of the War Powers act, you bring up JFK and Vietnam as a way to show some perverted sense of equivalence. And you know what? Selectively defending Obama fbut chastizing Bush for doing the exact same thing is tribalism of the sort we need less of in the world.

    Stupid wars should be criticized whether the president is a dem or rep. Saving your criticism of stupid wars for Republican presidents while downplaying and minimizing the stupid wars of a Democrat president is offensive to all the people who died as a result of those wars.

  103. @Greg: Actually, no, when Bush went into Iraq, I was in the street protesting.

    I don’t like what Obama’s doing, and I’ve been busier dealing with the idiocy from his Interior Department than I was under Bush, which frustrates the hell out of me because I voted for him. The Obama administration is currently well to the right of Nixon on the environment, pathetically enough.

    The point above is that Obama’s scarcely alone in his abuse of the Constitution. The only faint cheer I take from this is that there’s a reasonable chance that his bigger abuses will be overturned or partially mitigated in the decades to come.

    The biggest problem I see right now is the number of uninformed voters (and idiot congresscritters) who want a more imperial-style president. That way lies dictatorship, and, as in the 1930s, we are vulnerable to such a switch, whichever party is in the white house.

  104. het: if Obama abused his war making powers as much as Bush, and you took to the streets in protest of Bush, but you downplay and minimize and make excuses for Obama because he has a D after his name, then you are living in EXACTLY the world you deserve.

    “The point is Obama is scarcely alone in his abuse of the constitution”

    No, the point is you respond to presidential abuse differently depending on what party they belong to..

    CLP: the question was posed with incredularity that Obama was not a “moderate”.

  105. Greg: your Greenwaldian indignation aside (which is always so much fun), it’s Democratic president. Democrat is used as a noun, you’re using it as an adjective, which is generally considered a slight against Democrats. Which I’m pretty sure you know. Interestingly, I’m not aware of an equivalent slight against Republicans, but there it is.

    Yes, I’m being pedantic. Sue me.*

    *Please don’t sue me. After the holidays, I’m more broke than usual. Which is pretty damn broke.

  106. Thanks Doc. It’s too bad that “Don’t feed the troll” has only four syllables. Otherwise I’d do a haiku response.

  107. Oh, Greg’s not a troll. He’s a strong liberal/progressive who’s very passionate in his views (many of which this liberal/progressive disagrees with, but whatever). He may not be the most thoughtful commenter here – he certainly has no fear of the snide remark – but he’s neither stupid nor ignorant, and he’s well above the bottom of that list.

  108. From the Coates piece mythago linked earlier:
    But every man is a prophet, until he faces a Congress
    My god,that is one of the most brilliant lines of prose I’ve read in a long time.

  109. Greg – shy of a fairly massive realignment of the political compass in the US, hell yes, Obama is a moderate, everything you said, not-with-standing.

    There was no presidential candidate in 2008 who wouldn’t have done the same or worse (let’s attack Iran eh?) – there isn’t a better option for 2012 either.

    On the other side of the coin; Healthcare reform (no, it didn’t go far enough, but it was a start), end of DADT, effectively killed off DOMA, *finally* got moving on the Consumer Credit Act stuff and so on…

    He’s a moderate. He’s not left of center by any standard, but he’s the best liberals and progressives have at the moment.

  110. Doc, no, didn’t know that “Democrat” was an insult. Not sure how one would differentiate between a party and a form of government. Democratic government, democrat party, was how I always sorted it. Republic form of government, Republican party, would be the right wing equivalent.

    As for dismissing my point as “greenwaldian indignation”, thats an interesting way to avoid the simple point that Obama has continued and sometimes expanded Bush’s war powers. Seriously, the term “Bush Doctrine” describing US foreign policy, i.e. we are willing to wage preemptive wars against countries that hold no immediate threat to the US, is perfectly describing Obama’s war policy since getting elected.

    All I am doing is pointing out to the Obama apologists that in some cases, Obama is just as bad as Bush, and sometimes even worse. Obama certainly does not deserve the label “moderate”. Republicans dont call him that and the only democrats that call him that are the ones who only want him reelected because the R alternative would be worse. But when comparing Obama’s war policy with Bush, the differences are superficial. Obama can say ‘nuclear’ where Bush could not.

    How does Obama deserve the label of “Moderate” with regard to foreign policy? Especially if he only continued or expanded what Bush did?

    Now, if the vote comes down to Romney or Gingrich or some such versus Obama in the election, I will have to vote strategically and vote for Obama, because Romney will only continue Bush’s war policies, like Obama continued them, and they are no different, but Romney will likely adopt bigoted positions on domestic issues, which makes Obama slightly better that Romney.

    But that doesn’t make Obama a “moderate” , and anyone saying that is smoking crack.

    het: how is it trollish to point out political tribalism?Glenn Greenwald has some funny links that show John Yoo criticizing Clinton and Obama as overextending their authority as president, yet Yoo also argued that the president has inlimited authority at least when Bush was in office.

    Tribalism means judging people based on what team they belong to rather than how they behave. John Yoo demonstrates perfectly what it looks like when a republican exhibits political tribalism: Democrats are always wrong regardless of what they do. Republicans are always right.

    My only question to you is to ask you to explain how Obama’s war policies are in any pricipled way different from Bush. And if they are not different, then how do you justify a different response to the same behaviors?

  111. Re John Scalzi’s comment yesterday evening at 8:55 —

    “”To break away from haiku form for a minute, I do think Gingrich is going to be fascinating from here on out. I don’t think he has a chance at the nomination — it’s possible but really unlikely — but he can definitely be a spoiler for Romney, and it looks like he might be gunning for that.””

    Really? He’s an egomaniacal, confrontational jackass, but spoiling Romney’s bid would get him *what*? A place on Santorum’s ticket as VP? Don’t think he’d settle for that.

    I don’t underestimate the guy, he effectively ‘spoiled’ George H.W. Bush’s chances at a second term, and his ‘take no prisoners’ approach has become the mode the whole damned Congress is now stuck in. Time was, politics was defined as ‘the art of the do-able.’ You give a little, get a little. Tip O’Neil understood that. Now it’s ‘win at any cost, compromise grants victory to the enemy, courtesy be damned.’ Politics by bludgeoning the opposition with a slim margin. Newt needs to go away. Far away.

  112. Daveon, how is Obama’s foreign policy “moderate” unless Bush’s policy is also “moderate”?

    And if Obama’s foreign policy isn’t moderate (and believe me it is not) then how can Obama be called a “moderate”?

    Hypothtically speaking, if a president has an extreme right wing foreign policy and an extreme left wing domestic policy, one does not average the two out and declare he lands somewhere in the middle. Obama has a foreign policy that is indistinguishable from Bush. Obama even wanted to stay in Iraq after the 2011 deadline, but the information from wikileaks about US abuses in Iraq caused the Iraqi government to push back and they refused to extend our stay.

    How does that stand, a stand virtually indistinguishable from Bush, deserve the label of “moderate”???

  113. Daveon@5:26, woah, wait a second. “moderate” is now a subset of “electable as president”????

    When did that happen? If that’s the case, then your sefinition would just as easily say that Bush was a moderate, because he was electable, he was the best the right had to offer, and he got, what was it, something like 51% of the vote. I meaif we define moderate by voting results and electability, then Bush got 51% when he was elected and Obama got 51% when he was elected.

    And for the record, someone being “the best some party has” is got nothing to do with them being moderate.

  114. Big “D” Democratic party, small “d” democratic system of government. Also, again, the word democratic is an adjective, not a noun. And, as far as I know, the only use of the is democrat in reference to a member of the American Democratic party. The word republican, however, can be used as both an adjective and a noun, but, again, I believe the noun form is specific to U.S. politicians. I’m surprised you weren’t aware of the little kerfluffle over “Democrat party” a couple years back, but, hey, the more you know…

    “As for dismissing my point…”
    Not so much dismissing or avoiding as pointing out that we’ve heard this song before, that it’s famously Greenwald’s favorite tune, and that I, respectfully, disagree with the assessment.

    ” Republicans dont call him that”
    That’s true, they don’t call Obama a moderate. What is they do call him? Oh, right! Socialist!

    “How does Obama deserve the label of “Moderate” with regard to foreign policy?”
    Ah, so we’re going to walk this back and make it just about foreign policy?

    “if a president has an extreme right wing foreign policy and an extreme left wing domestic policy, one does not average the two out and declare he lands somewhere in the middle.”
    No, you call him unfit for the office and never let him out of the primaries, duh. However, if a president acts center-left on some issue, center-right on others, well, that’s kinda the definition of moderate. No one sits dead in the middle. It’s like trying to roleplay True Neutral – you can’t justify any action, or you have to balance every act with another on the opposite side, which is tedious, to say the least.

    Look, clearly you and I are not using the same meterstick here. And we’ve gotten pretty far afield of the topic of the thread. So, please, don’t take it as “dismissive” when I say that I really don’t care to debate it here anymore. However, at the risk of overstepping my bounds, I think you’ve officially over-used the phrase “smoking crack”, which was never funny nor constructive to begin with.

  115. Greg:

    To be fair, your first post mentions just being a moderate, no specificity, and mentions Clinton (who voted for Iraq, Afghanistan, and the PATRIOT Act) as an alternative. You can’t lash out at people for being apologists when your original argument didn’t specify that you meant foreign policy and/or civil liberties, then exhibits what appears to be cognitive dissonance.

  116. Strange that a President who ended the war in Iraq, is winding up the war in Afghanistan, fought a brief and massively successful intervention in Libya without invading, and is (as of today) substantially curtailing the military budget can’t even manage the label of “moderate.”

  117. Thanks for the clarification, Doc.

    As for “moderate,” I guess it’s where you stake the center. By European standards, Obama’s a conservative. By environmentalist standards, he’s to the right of Nixon, and not much better than Bush.

    So no, I’m not very fond of Obama’s take on war powers. Yes, I’ll give him credit for winding down Iraq and Afghanistan and for flying rather than landing over Libya. Unfortunately, we can counter that with things like Syria, the failure to close Gitmo, the current huge military budget (even with cuts, it’s still bigger than it was in 2001), and massive increases in the military’s black budget (from $32 billion in 2008 to $56 billion in 2010). On this last, the problem with black budgets isn’t the need for secrecy to promote innovation, it’s that the lack of oversight inherent in black programs tends to lead to fraud, abuse, over-runs, and non-functional weapons. For every stealth fighter, we get a bunch of men staring at goats or MISTY satellites.

    To be fair, it’s not just Obama’s fault. Congress has consistently failed to reign in the Executive’s power grabs, even when they could have (as in 2008). Still, the man said he’d clean up the place before he was elected, and he hasn’t.

  118. By environmentalist standards, he’s to the right of Nixon, and not much better than Bush.

    You keep on mentioning this, but the only thing I could find was the ozone rules from September. If you’ve got any other evidence to bolster the “right of Nixon on environment” argument, I’d be interested to see it. Meanwhile, in the other direction, people seem to think Obama’s tightening of mercury rules may be a much much larger environmental win that could have farther reaching effects.

  119. By European standards, Obama’s a conservative

    And by Roman standards, Obama’s a…wait what? You shouldn’t compare different political systems? Who knew?

    Unfortunately, we can counter that with things like Syria, the failure to close Gitmo, the current huge military budget (even with cuts, it’s still bigger than it was in 2001), and massive increases in the military’s black budget (from $32 billion in 2008 to $56 billion in 2010)

    You’re countering him winding down the longest two wars in American history with a military budget that grew massively under Bush and now has leveled off under Obama, a failure to close Gitmo in the face of massive GOP intransigence, and the addition of $20 billion to the secret budget? That’s not a counter, that’s a willful decision to be pissy.

    Still, the man said he’d clean up the place before he was elected, and he hasn’t.

    What part of winding down the two longest wars in American history did you miss?

  120. David: Strange that a President who ended the war in Iraq

    heteromeles: Yes, I’ll give him credit for winding down Iraq

    You guys have so much spin on history that it’s making me queasy.

    Way back when, Bush made an agreement with the Iraqi government to pseudo-legitimize our occupation. That deal had a withdrawal date of Dec 31, 2011, and that deal was made long before Obama became president.

    Obama spent most of 2011 negotiating with the Iraqi government to extend that deal, to allow US troops to stay in Iraq for years longer.

    The problem was that Iraq is now a democracy, and many of the people there don’t think we’re actually good for their nation. The wikileaks about the Apache video and the memos about the US troops who executed a house full of women and children, then called in an airstrike to try and cover up what they did, certainly didn’t win any hearts and minds.

    So, Iraq said we *could* extend our stay in their country, but only if we are accountable to Iraqi courts for any war crimes we might commit. And Obama bailed.

    So, giving Obama *credit* for ending the war is about as spin-free as giving an alcoholic *credit* for leaving a bar when the truth is he kept trying to get more booze, and the only thing that made him stop was the bartender threw him out.

  121. Greg, did he or did he not honor the agreement with Iraq and withdraw all American forces there? Hint: the answer is “yes.”

    Obama spent most of 2011 negotiating with the Iraqi government to extend that deal, to allow US troops to stay in Iraq for years longer.

    The problem was that Iraq is now a democracy, and many of the people there don’t think we’re actually good for their nation.

    Wait, you mean he respected their government’s decision and honored its wishes? That’s a shocking thing for a President to do, shocking!

    And Obama bailed.

    Wait, now you want him to have left troops there?

  122. David: did he or did he not honor the agreement

    What part of “he spent most of 2011 trying to extend the war past the deadline” fails to make sense to you?

    What part of “He wanted to stay longer, but Iraq kicked us out” qualifies as “giving him credit for leaving”?

    The alcoholic was kicked out of the bar trying to order a drink. He doesn’t get any “atta-boy” points for that.

    Wait, now you want him to have left troops there?

    No. I opposed the war from when it started on September 12, 2001.

    What I want is for you to be able to talk about historical facts without you mangling everything into some political spin that is consistently party-aligned. “Ooooh, Bush kept extending the war. Bad Bush. Obama tried to extend the war, but Iraq kicked us out. Yay Obama????” No, sorry. That’s a Bill O’Reilley level of revisionism.

    Redefine “moderate” to be meaningless. Fine. Murder the dictionary. Whatever. But don’t rewrite history in front of people who know history.

  123. I DO hope we’ll see your poetic analyses after each of the primaries. And I hope that your workload will shrink rapidly as some of the candidates show more smarts than they are displayingnow by dropping out.
    If you can sum up each of the candidates so well so succinctly, why do NPR, CNN, and any other network one might mention feel they have to blather on and on, adding nothing new. (I know, I know, it is because it is easier and cheaper than going out and finding osmehting new to report.)

  124. heteromoles @{Jan 5, 2012 2:54 pm} stoned the mob when he wrote
    > It’s too bad that “Don’t feed the troll” has only four syllables. Otherwise I’d do a haiku response.

    Uncontraction:   Do not feed the troll
    Polite action:   Please don’t feed the troll
    Use redaction:   Don’t feed the [-----] troll
      …
    AWAIT YOUR HEPTADECASYLLABIC RESPONSE STOP QUIT STALLING OR MORE NONETS WILL DROWN IN CHEESE STOP MESSAGE ENDS◼
      …
     
    <fgebat>Jurngba snpgvba:   </fgebat>Qba’g srrq gur gebyy QVPX

  125. doc, I hate indefinite imprisonment without trial. Sort of conflicts with everything the Constitution stands for.

    I suppose given that we have already defined “moderate” to mean “politically like Obama but magically different from Bush”, then I suppose I should not be terribly surprised that folks are going to redefine “partisan” to mean “doesn’t like when Obama shreds the consitution”.

    I mean, hey, it was a terrible thing when Bush did it, right? but only a partisan would criticize Obama for the exact same thing.

    Happy anniversary Indefinite imprisonment without trial. It wad horrible when Bush did it in Guantanamo, but it is totally different and OK when Obama does it at Bagram.

    And none of the republicans have voiced any alteration from what Obama is doing in Bagram. Except Ron Paul, who doesnt have a chance of winning anyway. Soes Mitt Tomeny have any substantuially different position on how he will handle Bagram? No.

  126. Actually, the “he” was Greenwald, and I would have bet money that’s who you were linking to before I clicked it, but, y’know, 5 syllables.

    “we have already defined ‘moderate’ to mean ‘politically like Obama but magically different from Bush’”
    No, you’ve defined it like that. It would be helpful if you could keep that straight.

    Anyway, Romney doesn’t have much of a position at all. And he doesn’t need one, for two reasons. One, economic and social issues are going to dominate this election. And two, regardless of the details*, to the average undecided voter, “Bin Laden dead” and “Troops out of Iraq” are going to trump any kind of foreign policy wonking. And setting aside the myriad ways a Paul presidency would be a bad bad thing, to say he’s an improvement on foreign policy is like a meth addict kicking his habit by switching to heroin.

    * There’s a reason the aphorism “the devil is in the details” was written.

  127. talking about indefinite detention of American citizens with zero due process is policy wonking?

    Really? Is that something you believed in 2001 as well? When Candidate Obama campaigned against indefinite detention, did you oppose that part of his platform as nothing more than wonking? Or would an honest history find that it onlly became “wonking” when it became a criticism of Obama’s presidency? Cause it sure sounds like its that last one.

    Also, I wasnt talking about what fits the definition of right and wrong as measured by “the average undecided voter”. F

  128. wait, if you want Ron Paul to go toe to toe against Obama strictly on a foreign policy platform, I would rellay like to know how Paul would be so much clearly worse than Obama. Secret war in Yemen is good? war in Libya with zero congressional support and in violation of the war powers act is good? expansion of predator missile attacks in afghanistan and pakistan is good? With all the extra civilians those missiles kills is good? Obama’s polling numbers in Egypt are worse than Bush’s numbers. How is that good? Obama has become a pushover for Israel aggression towards Palestinians, the peace process is in the dumps and Israel continues to build settlements. Palestinians are under a full blockade of everything, to the point of being under a “siege” by Israel. How is that good?

    Ignoring domestic differnces and focusing specifically on foreign policy, what specifically has Paul proposed that would be so much worse than Obama?

    Other than not being Obama of course.

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