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October 01, 2003

JOE WILSON: RADICAL LEFTIST....The allegations that Joseph Wilson is some kind of wild-eyed leftist radical were always odious, but they don't really matter anymore. He may have gotten the ball rolling on the Plame affair, but since he no longer has anything to do with the emerging facts of the case his political leanings are irrelevant.

Still, smearing Wilson — "Why, it's outrageous that the CIA would have sent a liberal to Niger!" — is clearly part of the conservative attack plan, so Robert Tagorda decided to do a little sleuthing over at Political Money Line to find out who Wilson has contributed money to. Full details are here, but the bottom line is simple: in the last few years he's contributed $5,250 to Democrats and $2,500 to Republicans, including $1,000 to George W. Bush.

Note to Karl Rove's attack dogs: wild eyed leftists don't usually give money to centrist Dems like John Kerry and Al Gore. Maybe he turned against you not because of some imagined radical ideology, but for good and sound reasons. Like, for example, seeing how his own research was ignored and then twisted simply because it was inconvenient to the administration's war plans. That would do it, wouldn't it?

UPDATE: The Washington Post has a nice profile of Wilson today:

Wilson makes no secret of being a left-leaning Democrat and said yesterday he intends to endorse Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) for president. Wilson, a former ambassador to Gabon who served as an Africa expert in the second Clinton administration, has long been friendly with leading Democrats.

In the mid-1980s he worked for then-Sen. Al Gore (D-Tenn.) as a congressional fellow. He briefed Gore by phone from Baghdad as the senator was preparing to vote to authorize force in the Gulf War. Wilson argued then that force was required.

Wilson said he was a nonpartisan civil servant during his nearly 23 years in government. Yesterday he was sporting a set of presidential-seal cufflinks given to him by either Clinton or the first President Bush -- he couldn't recall which. He wears each set with equal pride.

Sounds like a commie to me.

Posted by Kevin Drum at October 1, 2003 09:44 AM | TrackBack


Comments

The WSJ is trying their best:

"The real intelligence scandal is how an open opponent of the U.S. war on terror such as Mr. Wilson was allowed to become one of that policy's investigators"

Somehow they forget to mention that Cheney's office asked him to go and I have no idea how they come to the conclusion that Wilson is an "opponent of the war on terror." If this is the best they can do, you know the situation is bad for them.

Posted by: Craig at October 1, 2003 09:52 AM | PERMALINK

Voting for John Kerry gets you labeled as a "left-leaning" Democrat. I wonder what they consider a centrist - Bill O'Reilly?

Posted by: McDruid at October 1, 2003 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

At today's White House Press Briefing Norah O'Donnell repeatedly and specifically asked McClellan if Karl Rove said "Wilson's wife is fair game." McClellan repeatedly ducked the question and said the issue is leaking classified info [as opposed to say the ethics of pushing already leaked classified info in an attempt to smear Wilson]. When O'Donnell persisted he said he would not answer every allegation made by someone [Wilson] who had backed off of previous allegations. Hopefully the press corps will persist in this line.

Posted by: Galois at October 1, 2003 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

"Centrist Dems like Al Gore and John Kerry"????

You MUST be kidding.

Posted by: Al at October 1, 2003 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Tim Dunlop addressed this point as well (http://www.roadtosurfdom.com/surfdomarchives/001536.php):

I guess it was just the hero track record in Gulf War I and the high regard he was held in by an earlier President Bush that got him the gig. Something like that.

The mistake that seems to have been made, Glenn, is that in hiring Wilson the VP's office interpretted Wilson's fine service to Bush I as evidence of partisanship rather than as what it was, evidence of integrity.

All this is smokescreen. Wilson could be a card-carrying member of the Flat Earth Society and it wouldn't make outing his wife as a covert CIA agent legal. As I've said before, the only things that could make this okay is if Plame weren't covert -- a point you've covered thoroughly enough, Kevin, to establish as a no-go -- or if government officials really didn't blow her cover to Novak, a premise the CIA certainly doesn't seem to take very seriously. That's it.

Posted by: Gregory at October 1, 2003 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter wingnut: The real treason was allowing a differing point of view to touch the president's shadow.

Posted by: Demetrios at October 1, 2003 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

It's worth noting that on Nightline last night Wilson made it clear that Cheney's office did not ask him to go to Niger. Rather, the VP's office requested more information about the possibility that Iraq was seeking nuclear material and the CIA determined that sending Wilson to Africa was an appropriate way to meet that request. Just a clarfication for those who didn't catch the very good interview last night.

Hopefully ABC will provide transcripts, since Wilson made it clear why he would be selected, who he spoke with, and how he carried out his fact finding trip. Cleary he had a deep knowledge of the area.

Posted by: Frolic at October 1, 2003 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

The guy is a career government official. Of course he curries favor with officials from both parties.

It's not so unusual to donate to both parties. I myself have given money to John McCain. Bob Dole, and a few state and local Republicans. When someone hits me up for a donation, I usually say yes. If it's someone I don't know, I try to give as little as possible - $25, $50, whatever.

I think Wilson's article in the Nation speaks much louder than the fact that he's given money to different parties.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 1, 2003 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

I was intrigued by this in the linked WP piece:

Wilson said he and his wife have attended the same Episcopal church as Rove. Wilson quoted Valerie as saying, "Perhaps the next time we are taking communion I should introduce myself so he can see that I have a face and a name other than 'fair game.'"

Ouch!

Posted by: David at October 1, 2003 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

John McCain and Bob Dole are Republicans.

I think Wilson's article in the Nation speaks much louder

Why are we not surprised?

I do take solace knowing that there are Bush loyalists out there who actually believe that a person's opposition to the invasion of Iraq could be principled rather than political. One doesn't meet many, but I know they're there. Some of them even seem to be more receptive to that principle now that they've seen how wrong the Bush administration was in their estimates, how poorly they planned (if at all), and how they politicized the intelligence.

Posted by: Demetrios at October 1, 2003 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Demetrios, I am a Democrat.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 1, 2003 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see, Ms. Plame is an agent. Her number is orange. And, she recommends her husband for a BIG media job, AND to take hold of the Iraqi-reasons for attack-y, story. So far. So good. That our government infiltrates from the 'left' is nothing new.

And, that our CIA spends most of its 'clandestine' time assassinating characters (because they don't have to account for bullets), this snow job has been coupled to the media express.

Who is it designed to kill?

You know this may unfold like the Warren Commission. Which gave us the unreality of a speeding bullet going through 8 people. Or is it fragmenting and creating 8 wounds? I hardly remember that old plot.

But the CIA as an agency of excellence in anything but black bag jobs; an inability to read Arabic, or translate spoken Arabic, so no clues were given to 9/11 ... are now and again in top form.

They're almost heroic here, ya know.

And, most are Americans supposed to take this crap seriously? Is this all hype for a movie? Will Blame Plame ring out at the Academy Awards? Will the opening credits, instead of the running silhouette, the gun. The discharge of the bullet. And, then the coating of orange paint, work for this number, too?

I am just amazed that someone as out of touch with decency as Robert Novak could have been given such a lead role in the governtment's roll out of this production. (Oh, this time, it is INSIDE. Because the CIA and the Bush Family have special passes into the insiders' dungeon.) Skulls & Bones, anyone?

Posted by: Carol in California at October 1, 2003 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

I would like to make a point. One of the meme's now floated is "Why did they send Joe Wilson to Niger if he was so critical of the Bush Admin?". My point is that at the time he was sent he wasn't overtly critical of the Bush Admin. It was only after they ignored the results of his and other reports and used the Iraq/Africa claim to help the drive to war that Wilson published his criticism in the NY Times piece.

I also posted this comment over at Eshchaton.

Posted by: dwain at October 1, 2003 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

He must be a leftist- there is no other possible explanation for his behavior.

- The President is perfect in his ideology.

Therefore, if you oppose him, you must be a radical leftist.

- The President is perfect in his decisions.

Therefore, if you don't like them, you are a radical leftist.

- The President is perfect in his plans.

Therefore, if you don't like them, you must be a radical leftist.

- The President is perfect in his morality.

Therefore, etc.

Posted by: Mr. Spock at October 1, 2003 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Also, have you read the whole WaPo article? It makes it pretty clear that Wilson is a major publicity hound. We're seeing an Andy Warhol moment here.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 1, 2003 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

If the WSJ is trying its best, so is the NYT. Here's a headline from their web site:

"Intelligence: Bush orders full cooperation in leaking of name."

I know W runs a tight ship, but shit.

Posted by: Leo at October 1, 2003 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Joe Schmoe that's funny! The CIA meets its Andy Warhol moment. Freakier than Marshall McLuen. Better than 15 minutes of flame for Plame. Toast, if you ask me.

But we need 2004 to stick a fork in it.

Posted by: Carol in California at October 1, 2003 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

I am a Democrat.

And a Bush loyalist to the extreme -- heck, you don't mind a few crimes from the administration. You must be one of those "lifelong" Democrats.

Calling yourself a Democrat does not make you any more sensible when you rant about The Nation and Wilson's "ties" to it. By all accounts, Joseph Wilson is a lifelong bipartisan diplomat who is appalled by the Bush administration's politicization of intelligence and extreme, uncompromising ideology. And if he has become an anti-Bush partisan, that only puts him in with a majority of the world's people at this point.

But whatever. You're a Democrat. I apologize. I was wrong about you. You're so open-minded, I can't believe it.

Posted by: Demetrios at October 1, 2003 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin writes: The allegations that Joseph Wilson is some kind of wild-eyed leftist radical ...

It might be based, for example, on his statement as reported in the Washington Times: "Well, what would you think of someone who tells people around Washington — as Mr. Wilson did last week — 'Neo-conservatives and religious conservatives have hijacked this administration, and I consider myself on a personal mission to destroy both.'"

Posted by: Steve White at October 1, 2003 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

I'm confused why people are using Wilson's contributions to Kerry as proof. If he did get screwed badly by President Bush, it makes sense to support someone who may get him out of office.

Or have we lost all sense of cause-and-effect here?

It also seems to me that Wilson's only crime is being a Democrat rather than a Republican. Are we still living in the Age of Coulter, where being a Democrat is proof of treason?

Are all Democrats automatically untrustworthy, and only Republicans can be trusted by this administration's supporters?

--Kynn

Posted by: Kynn at October 1, 2003 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Demetrios, I am a Democrat.

Am I the only one who went and entered "Matthew Hess" into the campaign contribution sites? No sign of political contributions, though, so it doesn't tell us much of anything about Joe Schmoe.

--Kynn

Posted by: Kynn at October 1, 2003 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Joe Schmoe, boldly representing the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.

Posted by: whocares at October 1, 2003 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Steve White, apparently the Washington Times -- owned by the leader of the Unification Church, btw, who donates to Republicans -- reported something Wilson said "around town". Is that supposed to be some form of journalism?

But even so, if he said that, he's right. Neocons and religious cons have hijacked the administration. Most conservatives argue that that's a good thing. If Wilson doesn't agree with their opinion, does that make him a "Radical Leftist" or just a child of the Enlightenment? A completely nonpartisan individual could arrive at the conclusions radical rightists have hijacked our government and I need to do everything I can to stop them.

Posted by: Demetrios at October 1, 2003 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Full details are here, but the bottom line is simple: in the last few years he's contributed $5,250 to Democrats and $2,500 to Republicans, including $1,000 to George W. Bush.

Man, Kevin, you're behind the times here. Cliff May has already explained that this means that he's a lobbyist and therefore is even more untrustworthy.

Try to keep up, won't you?

Posted by: Nick at October 1, 2003 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Demetrios,
Typical spin. You still don't explain why republicans are so wrong in trying to question Wilson's motives when he says, "Neo-conservatives and religious conservatives have hijacked this administration, and I consider myself on a personal mission to destroy both."

Hmmm, whether or not you agree with Wilson's statement, you surely must agree that there's good reason to question his motives.

Posted by: James at October 1, 2003 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

The guy is a career government official. Of course he curries favor with officials from both parties.

He's a retired foreign service officer.

I think Wilson's article in the Nation speaks much louder than the fact that he's given money to different parties.

It struck me as something a traditional Republican could (and should) have written. Writing in February, 2003 he said that invading Iraq looks like a mistake, that it was dishonestly promoted, that it was unlikely to result in a real democracy and that it would be very costly in lives, money and our international relations. I see nothing leftish about that. It used to be a conservative value to figure out consequences and ask how much things cost.

Posted by: Roger Bigod at October 1, 2003 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Wilson said he and his wife have attended the same Episcopal church as Rove. Wilson quoted Valerie as saying, "Perhaps the next time we are taking communion I should introduce myself so he can see that I have a face and a name other than 'fair game.'"

I'm sure Karl Rove won't need me to remind him that to spread rumours is a sin and to receive communion while in a state of sin is a mortal sin, so if he values his immortal soul, it might be a while before Ms Plame gets the opportunity.

(yesyesyes I know that's the Catholics, but what the hey)

Posted by: dsquared at October 1, 2003 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, whether or not you agree with Wilson's statement, you surely must agree that there's good reason to question his motives.

And this justifies revealing the identity of an undercover CIA agent? Is there any crime you can think of that Bush's people don't get immunity from?

Posted by: Roger Bigod at October 1, 2003 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, whether or not you agree with Wilson's statement, you surely must agree that there's good reason to question his motives.

Do only radical leftists say they want to get rid of neo-cons and religious conservatives?

I've heard Republicans saying as much. Are they lefties? Or is this just some sort of smear?

The idea seems to be that anyone who would dare speak out is suspect. Surely that's not what you're saying?

"He opposes the people in power, therefore we couldn't possibly trust him."

--Kynn

Posted by: Kynn at October 1, 2003 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

James, follow me here. According to Steve White, the Washington Times reported that Wilson said this "around town". It's not a direct quote. According to what Steve White tells us, Wilson "said" this in approximately the same sense that George Washington said "I cannot tell a lie."

Now, I hope I don't seem ungrateful to Steve White for wading through all those WT stories about Hillary Clinton running for president to bring us this nugget.

you surely must agree that there's good reason to question his motives

Not really.

Posted by: Demetrios at October 1, 2003 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

James,

You just don't get it, do you? Wilson's motives in doing his job (and the Bush people admit he did his job well when they were forced to retract their sixteen little words) are irrelevant to the fact that the WH outed a covert operative in WMD just to get back at him. In fact, the continued spinning of this story as some kind of rational "tit for tat" just casts doubt on the White House's actual interests in fighting a "war on terror" in the first place. I don't doubt that the WH and Bush would like to be seen as doing someting to make the country more secure, but if they aren't worried about
1) compromising a covert operative
2) discouraging anyone in or near the CIA from doing their job honestly if it conflicts with presidential/neocon ideology
3) discouraging career CIA people from continuing to serve
then are they really worried about WMD and terrorism? I mean, I"m worried and I'm a democrat. If they really think that we are surrounded by enemies like al quaeda, and that wmd proliferation is a problem, why on earth are they so willing to attack personally the very people we have hired to protect us? Why are they outing and smearing not only Wilson (whose opinions are "fair game" but whose personal life and politics are not) and his wife--and I'd like to add that even just the way they have handled Plame's name and career during the spin is defamator. If this goes on who on earth will be willing to serve in the CIA except partisan hacks? As someone said on the news shows, I'd like to see these guys go undercover in another country and risk their lives. Rumsfeld, Bush et al had their chance to serve their country when it was dangerous and to a man they refused, now they want to take down the very people on whom they will have to rely for intelligence?

I'd challenge you to stop and think very seriously about how you think about the "war on terror" and who is really fighting it before you start to excuse the WH for outing Plame.


By the way, OT but TPM has a very interesting interview with Clark up now.

aimai

Posted by: aimai at October 1, 2003 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

sorry that should be "defamatory."

Posted by: aimai at October 1, 2003 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not condoning the leaker(s), I'm just saying you guys are trying to make Wilson into this non-partisan saint when he has already made it clear that he wants to bring down this administration. That's why when he implies that someone as high up as Rove was behind the leak (by saying he looks forward to seeing Rove taken away in cuffs!), it's perfectly legitimate to question his motives.

But don't get me wrong, the leakers should be fired and prosecuted. No question about it. I just think you have to look at Wilson's comments with a skeptical eye.

Posted by: James at October 1, 2003 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

He *can't* remember which cuff-links came from which president?! He doesn't value one set over the other?! Can you get any more leftist?!

Joe Schmoe, what kind of Democrat are you? We currently have the worst president ever in the history of the United States. He's a Republican. And, you're defending him. What's with that?

Posted by: dennisS at October 1, 2003 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

For those you didn't hear NPR a bit earlier, the author of Bush's Brain about Roven (last name ame Moore...he wrote it with Texas reporter Dubose and they know Rove inside and out) said the word among Beltway and Texas reporter types is that this has Rove written all over (the type of leak to Novak, which has happened before and the long-time relationship Novak and Rove have. In addition, even if it wasn't Rove himself, Novak would have caled Rove to confirm anything of this nature), with second likely leaker out of Cheney's office, most likely Libby.

Now, as much as I hate Rove, I am willing to buy that he didn't know he was leaking an undercover agent's name. There is enough info out there to know that she worked at the CIA. The excuse doesn't hold for anyone in Cheney's office. It doesn't make this less of a diabolical evil plot by Rove, but it just would be his standard, scorched earth smear tactics, with a wiff of macho sexism thrown in for good measure. But it looks like he picked the wrong name to use as part of his SOP. Looks like he in over his head this time and Cheney's boys fucked up, IMHO.

Posted by: Hank Essay at October 1, 2003 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

James, where, besides an imaginary quote in the Washington Times, has Wilson talked about wanting "to bring down this administration"?

Let's role play. Your wife is a covert CIA operative. Karl Rove outs her. Quick! What are your feelings toward Karl Rove? Try to imagine that you're not a Bush loyalist.

Finally, even if he does make grandiose expressions about bringing down the administration, you need to start getting used to the idea that this a perfectly rational response for a career nonpartisan diplomat to have to the nation's current leadership.

Posted by: Demetrios at October 1, 2003 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

The scandal around the outing of Valerie Plame stands on its own feet. Why do so many of you have the need to defensively portray Wilson as some kind of quasi-Republican sent by the Administration to Niger? It seems likely that the CIA had its own agenda in mind.

Posted by: melk at October 1, 2003 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

James,

Its not that anyone thinks that wilson is a "non-partisan saint" its that we think that the only sane thing a normal person should/could want at this time is to see bush and co removed from office. Wilson just strikes us as someone with a fantastic resume, who has worked hard for both republican and democratic presidents, who has risked his life and whose wife has, presumably, risked hers for "the country" and who is not taking intimidation and threats lying down. I imagine that most serious Democrats are just happy to see someone will balls stand up for the basic democratic issues: free and unfettered inquiry, public safety, rule of law, and etc... Are you surprised that we don't all roll over and shout "oh the shame" when you call Wilson (and by contagion the rest of us) "partisan" and "anti-bush" and "democrats?" Guess what, since the republicans have been calling anyone to the left of far right traitors, homos, perverts, and "liberals" for years the mere word "partisan" just has lost its shock value.

The outing of Plame and the warping and gutting of the intelligence that led us to war is not an "accident", its not a "leak" its not a passing incident, its the whole MO of Rove, BUsh et al and we are sick of it.

Posted by: aimai at October 1, 2003 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

James:

Wilson's motives are totally irrelevant. He's not the one who requested a DOJ investigation. It was the CIA. So, if you insist on questioning motives, you need to question the motives of the CIA.

Posted by: VT at October 1, 2003 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

But don't get me wrong, the leakers should be fired and prosecuted. No question about it. I just think you have to look at Wilson's comments with a skeptical eye.

You don't seem to get it. Wilson could watch French soccer games on Superbowl Sunday and it wouldn't justify outing his wife. He could enjoy torturing cocker spaniel puppies and it wouldn't justify outing his wife. He could be Saddam Hussein's catamite and it wouldn't justify outing his wife.

Posted by: Roger Bigod at October 1, 2003 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Why are we still getting comments about Wilson's credentials?

Look up his biography. Maybe, among other things, the reason he was sent to Niger is that his first frigging posting in the Foreign Service had been to that country, and he'd been repeatedly to Africa after that. He'd been there, on and off, for about fifteen years in total. If he wasn't qualified, who was?

For the wingnuts who haven't found Google yet, here's his bio from the Middle East Institute web site (just the parts concerning Africa):


AMBASSADOR JOSEPH C. WILSON, IV

....
Ambassador Wilson served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from June 1997 until July 1998. In that capacity he was responsible for the coordination of U.S. policy to the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. He was one of the principal architects of President Clinton’s historic trip to Africa in March 1998.
Ambassador Wilson....served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Gabonese Republic and to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe from 1992 to 1995....
Ambassador Wilson was a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Service from 1976 until 1998. His early assignments included Niamey, Niger, 1976-1978; Lome, Togo, 1978-79; the State Department Bureau of African Affairs, 1979-1981; and Pretoria, South Africa, 1981-1982.
In 1982, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Mission in Bujumbura, Burundi.....He was Deputy Chief of Mission in Brazzaville, Congo, 1986-88, prior to his assignment to Baghdad.
Ambassador Wilson....is a graduate of the Senior Seminar (1992), the most advanced International Affairs training offered by the U.S. Government. He speaks fluent French.
Ambassador Wilson.... has been decorated as a Commander in the Order of the Equatorial Star by the Government of Gabon....

Among other things, I suspect the attempt to get him is an intellectual version of penis envy by the flatliners in the BuSh administration. Which one of them has a bio like that in anything?

Posted by: sagesource at October 1, 2003 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Uh, no James, no one is painting Wilson as anything other than he is: a retired FSO with a solid career track who is an Africa hand.

That he's someone who leans D NOW, after the nastiness of all the Freeper crap he and his wife have taken, is that really a big deal?

James, you keep on trolling, but your inability to be honest is sad . . .

Posted by: lordwhorfin at October 1, 2003 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

James, Wilson's comments are not the basis for suspecting Rove or other higher-ups. There's a small number of people who could've been responsible for the leak to Novak, and Rove is a logical suspect - he's screwed himself in the past by using similar tactics. Wilson might have some concrete evidence on Rove but probably not; he's probably just pissed, and drawing the same conclusions as many other people. In either case, his opinions are not currently driving the investigation and the truth will come out one way or another.

Posted by: Eli Bishop at October 1, 2003 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Look, I don't want to make this about me, but I am, in fact, a Democrat. I don't know why my name hasn't appeared on the campaign contribution sites, becuase I gave money to John Edwards a few months ago, and gave some to Al Gore in 2000.

I have voted for approximately 1,500 elected officials during my adult life. I would say that I cast my vote for Democrats at least 1,450 times. (This is a rough estimate.) Sometimes I cross over; for instance, when a personal friend was running for office as a Libertarian, I voted for him. Sometimes I vote for a third party just for fun; I have voted for the Socialist Workers Party candidate just becuase I think it would be neat to see a Socialist elected to the zoning commission -- imagine what board meetings would be like. Sometimes I just don't like the Democratic candidate.

I am opposed to the Bush tax cut. I believe in publicly funded abortion on demand, though I myself would not ask anyone to get an abortion. The Wall Street scandals are outrageous to me. The 2000 election had me howling mad.

I believe in progressive taxation. I would support raising CAFE requirements and tightening emissions standards, so long as they doesn't wind up crippling the US auto industry. Drilling in the ANWR? Opposed to it.

The separation of church and state is very important to me. I believe in gay marriage -- not domestic partnership, marriage. The decline of unions troubles me, though the rise of public-sector unions is equally troubling.

I think Americans have a right to universal health coverage. The government should create a retirement system for workers, becuase many people no longer have pensions today. The government should provide child care to single mothers who need it, so long as they are working or are in school.

Gosh, what else is there? I can't think of anything else.

There are only three areas in which I differ with the Democratic party. First, I am opposed to affirmative action. Second, I am very skeptical of government spending and bureauracy. Perhaps I have an overly-pessimistic view of the efficacy of government from growing up in Chicago, but I am often appalled by the wastefulness and ineffectiveness of government programs. For this reason, I generally do believe that the free market is more efficient than government. The public policies I favor tend to be market-based. For instance, if the poor need housing, I would rather have the government fund a home mortgage program than build new public housing projects or Section 8 apartments. Sometimes I am in favor of big government programs anyway when I see no private sector altnerative. For example, I favor universal health coverage, and since the private sector obviously isn't capable of providing it, I think the government should. However, I still want the health care system to incorporate as much free enterprise as possible.

Third, and most importantly, I differ with the Democratic party in questions of national security. I think that Bush is handling the war on terrorism more or less perfectly, and I don't want to see any changes. Because the war on terror is going to be one of the leading issues in 2004, this will make it very difficult for me to vote for a Democratic candidate. Also, and I know that this will rub some the wrong way, I think that a large percentage of the Democratic party is infected with anti-American sentiment, just as a large percentage of the Republican party is infected with racisim. I think Democratic party anti-Americanism is a horrible legacy of sixties leftism, and that it must be stamped out at all costs. Normally I could probably hold my nose and live with it, but not when we are at war. I am sickened by the cynicism and criticism of my country, and am equally disgusted by the defeatism and whining coming from our elected officals on the subject of Iraq. I hope that the 2004 election destroys the Bush=Hitler wing of the Democratic Party. I'd like to see this happen during the primaries, but sadly realize that it may happen in the general election.

On a personal note, I am a plaintiffs' trial lawyer. Right after law school, I spent a year as a public-interest lawyer helping immigrants apply for political asylum. I enjoyed the work very much, and if I were in a financial position to do so, would probably still practicing in the public interest field. Right now, I have several pro bono cases including a civil rights/false arrest lawsuit against a local police department, and a First Amendment case against a large corporation. I briefly worked on a Supreme Court brief for the American Civil Liberties union, but the case settled the day after I started working on it, so that never really amounted to much. One of my goals for this year is to take some more court appointed criminal cases. In fact, one of my dreams as a lawyer is to one day become a criminal defense attorney. I'm not pursuing it right now becuase it doesn't pay much, but if I can ever get into a good enough financial position, I plan to take a lot of criminal cases.

Anyway, yes, I really am a Democrat. I just agree with the way Bush is handling the war, and don't particularly trust the Jimmy Carters and Madeline Albrights of the world to kill our enemies.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 1, 2003 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Demetrios,
However you feel about the Wash Times, I imagine they have enough journalistic integrity to accurately quote individuals.

I also can understand Wilson's outrage. It doesn't let him totally off the hook for viciously accusing Rove of outing his wife without proof. Rove may or may not be behind this, but that point is irrelevant. Also considering that Wilson has no intentions of staying out of the public eye, should I look at him as a non-partisan observer or someone who is looking to score points against the Bush admin in his future interviews?

Otherwise, I agree melk, the scandal stands on its own two feet. There's no need to pretend that Wilson is something that he isn't.

Posted by: James at October 1, 2003 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Also, have you read the whole WaPo article? It makes it pretty clear that Wilson is a major publicity hound. We're seeing an Andy Warhol moment here.

and therefore, anyone who outed his covert CIA operative wife gets a pass?

You know, I'm willing to concede all these worthless GOP talking points, because it doesn't make a damn bit of difference, and I can assure you that the CIA doesn't care whether Wilson is a "publicity hound" either.

Posted by: Ringo Mountbatten at October 1, 2003 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Bush is handling the war on terrorism more or less perfectly

Bush is so great, in fact, that you're willing to ignore a few crimes to let him keep at it. So you're a lawyer who doesn't particularly respect law. And you choose the racists over the anti-Americans, probably a good call, though some would say that racism is also anti-American.

Okay, my apologies, you're a Democrat. But you perceive that Bush is "perfect" in fighting terrorism and will continue to support him even if it turns out that a high-level member of his government outed a national security asset for political reasons. I just want to keep this straight.

Posted by: Demetrios at October 1, 2003 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

You know, Demetrios, I tried to respond to your comments in a civil manner, but I think your last post went a little too far. Please don't call me a racist or accuse me of not repsecting the standards of my profession.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 1, 2003 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

One should add to Wilson's credentials for this particular mission, that he was former Ambassador to Gabon, one of only 4 uranium exporting countries in Africa (and they export the yellowcake kind too). As such, it should be presumed that he has been extremely well briefed and is quite familiar with issues related to the export of uranium from Africa.

And Joe Schmoe, methinks thou protesteth just a wee bit too much. If you think that Wilson's article in the Nation was the identifying litmus test re Wilson, then obviously you have absolutely no problem with Nixon type enemies list and political retribution against those who experts in their field actually contributing to intellectual debate about pressing affairs that affect our country. You may claim yourself to be a Democrat and spend paragraphs listing your "creds", but frankly, sir, with views like yours, we don't want you.

Posted by: Andy X at October 1, 2003 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

This was my 15 minute satirical summary of what I saw on a right leaning blog yesterday.

I have it all figured out.

It is a conspiracy against the Bush White House and this is how it happened.

There is no Plame that worked for CIA. In fact, she does not exist. Joseph Wilson is an alcoholic, liberal extremist that has delusions that he is married and has children.

So who, might you ask, is really behind this?

Well of course it is George Tenet, the master spy handler. He has been manipulating Wilson and the press. He did send Wilson to African in 2002 but Wilson just got drunk for awhile and came back. You note the denial in the tea drinking story.

Well he gets back and George tells him that he has heard through his extensive connections inside the Beltway that Cheney is not happy about the lack of yellowcake smoking guns and is going to “out” his wife. He convinces Wilson to get even by denouncing the yellowcake in the Times Op Ed piece.

So he has set his patsy in motion.

Fast forward to July or there abouts:

George Tenet calls Novak, pretends to be Novak’s source and lets it slip about Plame. (You know these CIA guys, they can change their voices to sound like anyone). He then has Novak’s “confirmation” call forwarded to the appropriate person and they verify that Plame is a CIA agent.

He also has his patsy out beating the bushs telling journalists that someone has outed his wife.

He has some interns make calls to journalists as “Training Exercises in Misinformation”.

So, Novak tells all in his July column. . . but dammit! Nothing happens.

So Tenet sends an unsigned letter to DOJ. Still, nothing happens!

So Tenet sends a formal request. Finally, the media get hold of it.

And so all the journalist are saying “Son of Bitch”! How did we miss that?

“Wait a minute. . .”

Some of them remember that phone call they received about this Plame person, but they can not say anything cause it would violate their confidentiality.

So you see Plame does not exist. It is impossible that she is a CIA agent. The anonymous sources are all fakes. The stories are all lies.

No crime has taken place, but the President Bush and Karl Rove are just taking the heat.

It is just unfair, I tell ya.

Posted by: j Swift at October 1, 2003 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

However you feel about the Wash Times, I imagine they have enough journalistic integrity to accurately quote individuals.

James -- what does it mean to quote somebody as saying something "around town"?

considering that Wilson has no intentions of staying out of the public eye

Why should he? Because everyone who disagrees with Bush is "partisan" and shouldn't be permitted to participate in public discourse? I'd say he's putting himself on the line, at no amount of personal risk. To a lot people, he's a hero for speaking out. He's more or less Bush's Ellsberg. And just as the Pentagon Papers were not about the messenger, this scandal is not about Wilson. So why are you so focused on him?

Every single person who speaks out against Bush's policies is shouted down by his loyalists. Furthermore, Bush's supporters mostly cannot imagine that anyone could come to opposition to his "perfection" for principled reasons.

should I look at him as a non-partisan observer or someone who is looking to score points

Either way. But if you choose the latter, please remember also that the Washington Times is owned by Republican supporter and America-hater Sun Myung Moon. If everything's going to be about someone's partisan agenda, then you should be consistent, and take what the WT says in a similar light.

Posted by: Demetrios at October 1, 2003 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

"The real intelligence scandal is how an open opponent of the U.S. war on [Iraq] such as Mr. Wilson was allowed to become one of that policy's investigators"

Glenn Reynolds essentially regurgitates the WSJ quote above. But Glenn, how could Wilson be an opponent of the War in Iraq at the time of his mission to Niger? HE WENT TO NIGER IN JANUARY OF 2002, more than a year before the war started! How can he oppose something that wasn't even on the drawing board yet? How could he be biased against something that doesn't exist? Wilson only came forward with his complaints after the war ended, more than a year and a half after his mission. One of three things might be true if we believe Glenn's account:

1. Wilson is clairvoyant, and so can oppose a policy not yet formulated.

2. The Bushies had already decided to go to war in January 2002, and Wilson knew about their plans.

3. Wilson wasn't opposed to the Iraq war in January of 2002. And really wasn't even a Administration critic in 2002. And maybe that's why he was chosen for the mission-- because he could report impartially on this foreign policy issue.

Which one do you think it is?

Posted by: GFW at October 1, 2003 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Schmoe, I didn't call you a racist, nor did I intend to imply it. However, my statement about choosing racists over anti-Americans was wrong, and I apologize. On the other hand, you did say yesterday (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that you will support Bush even if high-ranking officials in his government commited a few crimes.

Posted by: Demetrios at October 1, 2003 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Anyway, yes, I really am a Democrat. I just agree with the way Bush is handling the war, and don't particularly trust the Jimmy Carters and Madeline Albrights of the world to kill our enemies."


Well how about a General? The last time I looked Albright (which I had the distinct *cough* pleasure of serving in a temporary security detail for, also Warren Christopher but thats another story) or Carter werent even on the ticket.

I didnt know that Democrats werent able to wage war successfully? What ever gave you that idea?

Oh thats right, I know. Dont tell me.

Posted by: .sUbversive. at October 1, 2003 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Also considering that Wilson has no intentions of staying out of the public eye, should I look at him as a non-partisan observer or someone who is looking to score points against the Bush admin in his future interviews?

What's wrong with his staying in the public eye? Is it a felony for Democrats to exercise First Amendment rights? The WH called attention him for outing his wife. He took them up on it and is sticking it to them. Why shouldn't he be enraged at what they did to her?

Posted by: Roger Bigod at October 1, 2003 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Schmoe,

YOu know, I'm one of those people, I guess, who are accused of "not loving america" or whatever the current slag is. You offered us your bio as a kind of defense to being misunderstood. You said, basically, I"m a nice guy who believes lots of things you all do (universal health care, pro-bono legal work, blah blah) but I'm willing to throw all that away to support a man who I think is strong enough to protect me from a frightening world. Ok, lets take that for what its worth: you have principles to the left of center, but you are willing to support a man who is out to destroy absolutely everything (the environment, civil liberties, health care, the middle class, public education) because you think he can protect you from our enemies.

I happen to think that he *can't* protect us from our enemies, and I happen to think that the way he has chosen to go about his little war on terra is in fact increasing the total number of enemies we have, changing former allies into enemies, and ultimately (because of its effect on the economy, the deficit, and the army/cia and morale) going to make us *less safe.* Does that make me an "america hater?" Doesn't that just make me a person with a different opinion than your own? An opinion that I have based on careful research and thought? I'm sick and tired of having well reasoned political opinions trashed because of the right wing smear that people who are not republicans are "america haters." I don't accuse Bush and Cheney of hating America, I just accuse them of having a f*(&^ up sense of priorities, a priviliged position from which to loot the treasury, and an unlimited supply of money to poison the public discourse.

If you are willing to sacrifice everything else for security that is one political stance and I understand it. But you might want to ask yourself whether you are not, in fact, sacrificing everything *including* security by continuing to believe that Bush and co, because they are willing to "kill our enemies" are also able to make us secure.

by the way, I didn't think jimmy carter and madeline albright were running for anything this time round. what are you, stuck in a time warp?

Posted by: aimai at October 1, 2003 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Schmoe,

Thanks. Eloquent post and I disagree with some who, IMHO, put too much emphasis on where we disagree. I especially disagree with Andy X when he says we don't want you.

I disagree with you on Affirmative Action (still warranted) and I think complaints about inefficient government bureauracy is overblown, but your argument regarding Bush/Republican handling of national security is where we really differ.

We're less secure today because of this administration. They blew it when they didn't listen to Clinton's team about Al Qaeda and terrorism and they've continued to blow it by launching this ill-conceived war against Iraq. There's too much that's already been said here on Kevin's Blog for me to go into all this again, but I will say I think it's more than unseemly for Republicans or Democrats to throw out these red herrings about Wilson's political leanings at a time when the president has been caught aiding and abetting a traitor during a time of declared war against terrorism and weapons of mass distruction. At this moment Bush is still shielding the traitors and in fact is probably partially guilty himself. Furthermore, this has been the pattern of the Republican leadership for many years. If US interests don't align with their own then US interests are not worth protecting. I'd love to hear more about how you came to the conclusion that Bush is doing a good job in this arena but finding common ground here seems extremely remote.

Posted by: dennisS at October 1, 2003 01:02 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Schmoe:

Doesn't it bother you at all that this president mislead this country into the war? Doesn't it bother you at all that he is on a solid course to destroy the NATO alliance, which has kept the world safe for 50 years? Doesn't it bother you at all that Iraq, which was not an imminent threat to anybody (except the unfortunate Iraqis), and had absolutely no link whatsoever to the 9/11 perpetrators, is sucking every last resource we have that could be used to hunt down real terrorists? Doesn't it bother you at all that we are now estranged from the rest of the world, and will have to hunt down these assholes and their idealogical brethren all by ourselves?

Well, it should.

Posted by: Brautigan at October 1, 2003 01:04 PM | PERMALINK

I can appreciate Joe Schmoe's explication of his views--and he seems pretty pragmatic on most of them. I believe he is a Dem and not some clever Republi-bot bent on trolling the comments sections of blogs.

Supporting Bush in any form is anathema to many of us that find him so incompetent, destructive and repugnant--but the "we don't want you" stuff is a bit strong IMO. Maybe we should hate the sin but not the sinner ;-}...

The only question I would have, JS, is why you think the Bush security policy is effective. I see our alliances crumbling, credibility approaching zero, potential enemy states arming themselves, the real threat of WMD proliferation increasing--and let's not even start on how much Bush's shitty policies is going to cost. Sorry, I just don't get it. Do you hate the UN or something? Does invading Iraq make muslim "non-deterrables" put down their bombs? Big parts of the neo-con foreign policy are a dangerous fantasy in my eyes. Please elucidate.

Posted by: Tim B. at October 1, 2003 01:10 PM | PERMALINK

Unlike the war there are some hard facts so the conspiracy theories will actually be put to the test. After seeing Thomas Friedman declare the French to be the enemy and not drown in ridicule (the first time I saw this gambit it was used to explain the British nuclear deterrent in Yes Prime Minister) it will be a blesed relief.

So I can read James' innuendos, claims that the CIA are dangerous leftists, that Jospeh Wilson was an incompetent because he could not support the suggestions of a fake letter and the rest with relative equanimity. In fact seeing this kind of delusional thinking having its nose rubbed in reality could actually be entertaining.

Posted by: Jack at October 1, 2003 01:12 PM | PERMALINK

It's not suprising that some party loyalists would seek to divert attention away from the real scandal by manufacturing the "scandal" of Wilson as dangerous radical. It's no less reprehensible for being entirely predictable.

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct at October 1, 2003 01:12 PM | PERMALINK

Clearlyl, Wilson called up all those newsmen and pretended to be Rove when he outed his wife. If he'd give money to Gore and Kerry, you know he's the kind of guy who'd do that. I just hope they arrest him before he destroys his phone logs.

Posted by: Roger Bigod at October 1, 2003 01:26 PM | PERMALINK

1. I don't think Bush is stupid. I think he's a brilliant visionary.

Bush appears to be trying to transform an entire region of the world. The neocon plan is not the kind of thing that a stupid person comes up with. Whether you agree with the neocons or not, you've got to agree that they have an audacious and nuanced plan. If Bush didn't invent it, he's at least seen its potential and agreed to implement it.

I'm not saying that Bush is a supermanHe may not be the brightest star in the heavens, but he's had some very good ideas.

2. I think bold, decisive action is required, and Bush is bold and decisive.

Bold, decisive action is required for two reasons. First, our enemies percieve us as weak. We need to disabuse them of that notion. Second, decisive action generally works better than halting, hesitant action, especially when you are dealing with the Sadaams and Osamas of the world. We're talking about murderous thugs bent on killing here, not about adjusting the Federal Reserve discout rate.

This is not to say that subtelty and caution isn't required; it certainly is. But when dealing with the likes of Osama, if I am given a choice between taking decisive action and sticking a toe in the water, I'll choose decisive action every time.

3. Bush has fighting spirit

Fighting spirit is a rare and precious commodity. Very few individuals and world leaders have it. Just ask President Lincoln; he fired dozens of generals until he found one, Grant, who was actually willing to kick some ass. Most people don't know that most existing flag officers were quietly retired at the beginning of WWII. Gen. Marshall realized that the prewar officer corps simply wasn't up to the challenge of fighting a global war, so he canned them.

You can see this in day to day life, too. Some people have pluck and are willing to stand firm, while others crumble in the face of complexity or adversity. Anyone who works in the private sector and attends meetings knows all about this. People will pass the buck and split hairs endlessly rather than make a decison and risk failure. Politics and the military are no different. Anyone can "manage" a situation to a satisfactory conclusion; very few people have the desire to destroy the enemy, crush his forces, and leave him begging for mercy.

Fighting sprit is priceless. When you find someone who actually has it, you should be very reluctant to give that person up.

By invading Afghanistan, Bush demonstrated his courage and fighting spirit. You may disagree and say that becuase the war in Afghanistan was popular, Bush was not in fact demonstrating his courage, but I respectfully disagree with this. It is difficult to explain why without a detailed explanation of the Russian experience in Afghanistan. Let's just say that when Bush invaded, he was intentionally getting us into a conflict that was almost certain to become Vietnam, Part II. And no, I don't think that our advanced technology made all the difference. The Russians had plenty of advanced technology too, and were far more ruthless than we would ever be, but they still lost. There was not as much of a technological advantage as you might think.

I did not expect Bush to rise to this challenge. Nothing in his background gave us any reason to believe that he would be up to the task. Bush was a drunken, back-slapping overpriviliged frat boy who had never accomplished much of anything. This did not inspire confidence in me. But then I saw him rise to the challenge. The man proved that he has balls. This won me over. Now I am reluctant to lose Bush; I see him as a real asset.

4. I don't think we have really lost our allies

Our "rift" with our allies has been greatly exxagerated. If the French were to discover that Al Quaeda was about to detonate an atomic bomb in downtown Boston, they'd warn us immediately. Ditto the Russians, and pretty much everyone else. France is not about to attack us; there won't even be a trade war. We will continue to cooperate on most important issues. This is just the way it is.

5. Our Allies aren't that useful anyway.

Even if we'd done everything in our power to woo the internaitonl community, there is a very good chance that we still would not have gotten support to go to war in Iraq. And even if we had gotten support, it would not have been meaningful.

The French Foreign Legion was not about to take Baghdad. The Germans were not going to pony up $25 billion to defray the cost of the war. We don't really want to have Algerian troops policing Falujah, and we certainly don't want the Syrians teaching Iraqis about democracy.

Iraq was controversial. Let's consider another crisis that is far less divisive: North Korea. All of the nations of the world recognize that North Korea is a serious threat to peace, nonproliferation, and stability. No one supports Kim Jong Il or the ideology of juche, and North Korea isn't an important trading partner with anyone except for rogue states seeking missiles and WMD.

Has President Bush been unable to enlist the cooperation of other nations in the North Korean situation? Not at all. Plenty of people are willing to come to the table and work toward a solution. The Security Council is fully on board. The French are standing shoulder to shoulder with us, as are the Russians.

What are our "allies" actually offering? Basically nothing. If we decide to go to war, the French will not be sending a carrier group into the Inchon straits. German tank divisions will not be charging up the DMZ to lead the assault on Pyonyang. Canadian pilots will not be engaged in heated dogfights with North Korean Migs. The US will be all alone. Our soldiers will do the fighting and the dying. We will pay for everything. Our "allies" won't do shit.

Nope, our "allies" will contribute nothing of substance. They could -- the French have a big army, and I can't imagine a place where allies would be more needed than in North Korea -- but you know they won't. The usefulness of allies is illusory. They aren't really that useful.

6. Anti-American sentiment is not new.

Our "allies" have been obsessively anti-American for decades. 9/11 was a brief respite, not a sea change. The French didn't cast aside their Gaulist snobbery on 9/11; they simply put it on the shelf.

The goodwill and cooperative spirit was never going to last. Bush didn't destroy anything; he just hastened the inevitable by speaking bluntly and refusing to sugar-coat his proposals.

That being said, I do think that Bush was a little too blunt. But it's not like he "alienated" allies who had been loving us and admiring us for decades. They would have quickly started hating us again, no matter who had been President. And again, the anti-American sentiment isn't a significant threat. They're not going to declare war on us; they're still going to help us fight terrorism. This is about bruised egos, and nothing more.

7. Homeland Security is a red herring.

Democrats often criticize Bush for failing to pay enough attention to homeland security. I think this is a bogus issue for several reasons.

First, and most importantly, homeland security isn't the answer. It's impossible to seal our borders. If terrrorists want to get into the US, they'll find a way. We need to attack the terrorists over there, not here.

Second, Bush is improving homeland security. I often hear his policies criticized, but I almost never hear specifics other than amorphous ones like "spend more!" But also, I am sure that there would be plenty of holes in any security network set up by the Gore administration. When you are working with large government bureaucracies and on massive scale, problems are inevitable. The fact that a given nuclear power plant failed the security check doesn't mean a whole lot. And any problems which do result are more the fault of the government bureauracy, rather than the elected officials.

8. The best way to win this war is to transform the middle east.

Bush appears to be trying to bring democracy and hope to the Middle East. I think this is a brilliant strategy, and I think that Democrats, of all people, should agree with it.

For years, Democrats have been saying that law enforcement is not the solution to crime in the ghetto. Rahter, we need to address the "root causes" of crime, such as poverty, unemployment, the breakdown of the family, and racism. I think this is absolutely right.

That's what Bush is trying to do in the Middle East. He's not simply having the Egyptian secret police arrest a few Islamic radicals, because we all know that this would solve nothing. If every single terrorist in the world were to be arrested tomorrow, new ones would spring up to take their place overnight. We need to bring freedom and prosperity to the region so that people are no longer willing to kill themselves for the sake of an ideology.

9. The war is not backfiring.

Democrats often claim that the war is hampering the fight against terrorism, because it is diverting resources from the hunt for Al Quaeda and because it is increasing anger and resentment on the Arab Street.

I do not agree for two reasons. First, I find it hard to believe that the invasion of Iraq has "distracted us" from the hunt for Al Quaeda. We did not and do not need the Third Infantry Division in Afghanistan. The Fourth Armored Division was not performing vital terrorism-related duties befor it embarked for Iraq. Instead, they were busy training in Oklahoma and Texas, as were the B-2 bombers, the Apache attack helicopters, the F/A-18 fighters, etc. We just didn't need these assets to help hunt for Al Quaeda. You might say that intelligence assets were diverted, but I doubt this strictly as a practical matter. It would be political suicide for Bush to divert, say, agents who were searching for a dirty bomb in Memphis to instead search for Sadaam in Tikrit. For this reason, I do not beleive that any administration would use reasouces in such an irresponsible manner.

Lastly, I do not believe that our war has "increased resentment" on the Arab street. First, they've been awfully quiet lately. Where are the riots? The protests? I haven't seen any. Second, big deal -- like they weren't angry already. Third, we are replacing the anger on the Arab street with HOPE on the Arab street. These guys don't love their despotic leaders. We are finally offering them a credible and humane alternative. If we can pull it off, this will do more than anything to reduce Arab rage.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 1, 2003 02:32 PM | PERMALINK

joe, you got me both laughing and crying hysterically with that one.

Posted by: whocares at October 1, 2003 02:52 PM | PERMALINK

Taking things off on a related tangent - I note that the New York Post (choke) asserted this morning that Wilson is "a harsh Bush critic with ties to far-left organizations and publications." Anybody have any idea of where this came from, and which organizations and publications are involved?

Posted by: xcentrik at October 1, 2003 02:53 PM | PERMALINK

One last (last!) thing:

I don't think that I am trading all of my other values for the sake of security. A lot of Democrats hysterically exxagerate the damage that Bush is capable of doing domestically.

I don't doubt that certain Bush supporters (and aides -- heck, maybe Bush himself) do have a radical conservative agenda.

But as a practical matter, there's no way he'll ever be able to implement it. Social Security is not going to disappear. Bush won't be able (and, more importantly, doesn't want to) resinstute slavery or repeal women's sufferage. He's not going to pollute all of the rivers and close the public schools. This stuff will never happen. It is politically impossible. Democrats need to stop being so hysterical.

I don't deny that Bush can do a lot of damage. We're going to have a bigger deficit thanks to him, and maybe he will be able to chip away at the social safety net a little bit. Personally, I think the biggest failure of Bush's presidency have been has refusal to respond decisively to corporate corruption. These guys are going to keep on cooking the books and stealing if they aren't punished. Every day we wait makes another round of Enron and Global Crossing scandals, except worse this time, more likely. I was honestly shocked that Bush didn't do anything to them. This is a serious problem that should be above partisan politics. Even people on Wall Street were shocked at Bush's refusal to take action.

But repealing the New Deal? Get real. That simply isn't going to happen.

On the other hand, terrorists truly are trying to kill as many Americans as possible. This isn't a fantasy. It's real. If they can get thier hands of nukes, or a disease, they won't hesitate to use them. We can't afford to show weakness in the face of this threat.

That's why I am supporting Bush. I think he's handling foreign policy quite well, and I dont' see any imminent danger of the repeal of the New Deal. The danger from one far outweights the danger from the other.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 1, 2003 03:16 PM | PERMALINK

That's why I am supporting Bush. I think he's handling foreign policy quite well...

If that's the overriding issue, it looks like you have to approve of outing Wilson's wife. do you think we should call off the investigation?

Posted by: Roger Bigod at October 1, 2003 03:38 PM | PERMALINK

He's (Bush) not going to pollute all of the rivers and close the public schools. This stuff will never happen.

Joe, you forgot, Republicans don't love their kids. What the hell do they care about a clean environment for? Plus, global warming increases energy use because of all that air-conditioning, which ultimately benefits Haliburton.

Posted by: P. B. Almeida at October 1, 2003 03:39 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Schmoe obviously drank the Kool-Aid. Poor deluded schmuck. How about Osama been Forgotten?

Posted by: MadAsHell in CA at October 1, 2003 04:44 PM | PERMALINK

Joe,

Repeal New Deal: Maybe not, but Bush is taking us to such a miserable position on federal budgets and deficits we are nearly guaranteed three lousy choices within 5 years. The most likely, perhaps best option, is a fiscal crisis that places a severe burden on not just the next generation but all of us geezers as well.

But the real issue here is, as you said, security. The Neocon dream of transforming the Middle East by conquering Iraq was enticing, but this administration created serious doubt among most liberals and many others and for good reason. First, though backroom Neocons presented this democratizing rationale (and other less savory rationales, ie. sowing chaos among Muslims), Bush himself never made the case. Instead he lied about WMDs and links to 9/11. Furthermore, he lied about the costs. These things made most people think they weren't really serious and perhaps really only wanted to sow chaos as Perle suggested and as was done in Afganistan during the 80s. Doing again the very thing that created Al Qaeda seemed like an extremely foolish and dangerous thing.

Can we really pull this off? Doubtful at this point. Were there other less risky and less expensive ways to bring democracy to the Middle East. Absolutely. Bush supporters seem to ignore the whole range of options between "do nothing" and get bogged down in a sinkhole.

Maybe if his fighting schedule didn't have to conform to the electoral calendar we'd have a chance, but otherwise we're fighting with one machiavellian GOP party on our back.

I can't believe we will prevail as you and I would wish when lies and deceit are central to the campaign. Consider: Bush wants to "preserve UN integrity" and cites UN resolutions, ignorning 30 years of resolutions on Palestine, then blows off the UN when they can't agree to his timetable for war. Completely disingenuous and the costs to American credibility, leadership, and strength are extreme.

Now, we're faced with an $87 B price tag, on top of the billions already spent, and $50 - 75 B of unfunded requests which they unrealistically expect others to pick up. We're already up to a quarter trillion and the real threats are still out there.

Joe, you're overly concerned about anti-Americanism. It wasn't an issue here or abroad before and is even today becoming less of an issue as people come to realize we Americans are not Bush.

Posted by: dennisS at October 1, 2003 05:24 PM | PERMALINK

Whether you agree with the neocons or not, you've got to agree that they have an audacious and nuanced plan.

Audacious, yes. Nuanced? I can't find the words...

Posted by: Anarch at October 1, 2003 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Joe S:

I don't mean to be unkind, but based on your lengthy peroration, my advice to you is to switch parties. Truly, you don't belong in the Democratic party.

As to Bush's fighting spirit, you seem to be saying that somehow or other it was Bush's fighting vibes sent round the world that brought the Taliban down. Their fall is no mystery, nor does one need to resort to hero-worship to explain it; there was first of all the fact that most of the world accepted we had the right to answer 9/11 with military action, and the fact that the people the Taliban ruled so cruelly had had enough; another factor, the Northern Alliance and more importantly, the success of the CIA in bribing tribal chieftans sometimes referred to as "war loads" to stay out. The rest can be explained by our extraordinarily greater military power, including our total domination of the air.

Unfortunately, Bush didn't have sufficient fighting spirit to commit the number of troops required at Bora Bora to keep the Taliban, Bin Laden and the the higher ups around him from getting out of Afghanistan, a fact that Afganis are paying for now, and will continue to pay for, as will we, and let's not forget how this error has enormously complicated the already complicated situation of Pakistan, a nuclear power, remember, most of which is being ignored by this administration.

Are you seriously trying to say that had Al Gore been President he wouldn't have done pretty much what Bush did; warn the Taliban to hand over Bin Ladin and the rest of AQ or suffer immediate military attack that would be aimed at removing them from power? Because if you are arguing that you'll have to explain why every single Democrat in and out of office supported the war in Afganistan, and large numbers of the liberal/left did so also. The difference between Al Gore and Bush is that Gore would have finished the job, and would have had a full grasp of the larger picture of how to deal with Islamic terrorism. He wouldn't have just talked about a Marshall Plan for Afganistan, he would have initiated an actual plan to secure Afganistan in the fullest sense of that word.

As for the shiny new audacious bold neo-con action concepts your Daddy gave you for Christmas, there's this little problem with them, they are profoundly un-American, and just as profoundly ineffective.

There's a reason why those people who tend to be the most skeptical of the efficacy of war are professional military men. I wonder if you credit President Eisenhower with that same fightin spirit you've spoken of. Here's what Eisenhower thought about the very notion of "preventive war:"

"All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time....I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing."

And please don't tell me that everything changed after 9/11. Eisenhower faced a world in which both this country and the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons aimed at one another capable of delivery within hours; Kennedy faced an incursion of launchable Russian missiles ninety miles off our shore, and he ruled out Curtis LeMay's preemptive strike. As for a Pax Americana, that neo-con wet dream of America no longer shirking its historic role as an imperial reshaper of the world, check our Kennedy's speech at American University in June of 63.


You are aware, aren't you, Mr. Schmoe, that the ever rising deficit includes receipts into Social Security, which is still taking in more than goes out and those surplaces are meant for that time when the drain of the baby boomers will tip the balance, only they won't be there. What in hell do you think Bush means when he continues to blather on about reforming Social Security. He means privitizing it, and/or turning it into a welfare program, instead a universal social insurance program.

I regret my irritable tone, but to be frank, I'm so tired of reading drivel like your discussion of how Democrats exaggerate, or are unspecific. You are either a liar, or you don't bother to read or listen to anything that Democrats are saying, or if you do you're incapabale of hearing what they're actually saying. No one ever specify what isn't being done that should be for Homeland Security????

How do these two strike you, just as starters. You've no doubt heard the central metaphor that the terrorists of 9/11 used our advanced technology against us? Well, would you like to hazard a guess as to how many chemical factories and nuclear facilities we have across this golden land of ours. Most of them have unsecured installations just waiting for that same kind of exploitation. We know what to do to make them secure. The industry said, leave it to us. Thus far nothing's been done...not one installation has been secured. And so far, not a dime has been requested or set aside for the government to do what industry won't do.

Heard about dirty bombs, have you; well one of the likeliest entry points for fissionable material are our many ports; with the right equipment our major ports could be taking a look at ever pallet that comes into this country to screen for nuclear material; wanna guess how many are prepared to do that.

Try watching Bill Moyers's Now on Fridays, or take a look at his website, he has dealt in detail with many of the issues you claim Democrats are too vague about. Or save yourself a lot of energy and just switch parties. Honestly, I think you'll be a lot happier as a Republican.

Posted by: Leah A at October 1, 2003 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Open your eyes everyone! This is a small point in the Plame scandel: Wilson is a liberal bush-hater. He was before someone outed his wife, and he still is. If you bother closing the comments window, you'll realize this is what the blog-posting or whatever your call it was all about Wilson's political leanings. Mr. Calpundit didn't imply that whether Wilson was a liberal or conservative had anything to do with this investigation, but he did insist that Wilson was reasonably non-partisan. I say his actions show that he is not. I guess that this is debatable, but there is strong evidence to show that he has strong left leanings. You can dispute this all you want, but the evidence is there.

So why does calpundit or anyone else think Wilson's partisanship is of any importance? Well, if you thought it was because of the Plame scandel, you're wrong. His leanings are of concern to his Niger report and particularly to the column he wrote in the NY Times on the Niger-Iraq uranium connections. That column is still a big deal (duh).

Posted by: James at October 2, 2003 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Leah,

If you think Joe Schmoe should switch parties over a single issue, do you think Pat Buchanan should join the Democrats for the same reason? Do you think that would be a good trade? Or do you wish to purge the Democrats of everyone except those who follow marching orders without exceptions?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 2, 2003 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

James--

No partisan with "strong left leanings" (meaning exactly what?) would be selected by Bush Sr. for high diplomatic duties. Nor would such a partisan send money to Bush Jr's campaign. Nor would Wilson have been sent to Niger if he wasn't trusted.

The Bush neo-cons just didn't like the message from Niger and decided to ignore it. And then, once he opened his mouth, they punished (and possibly endangered) Wilson's wife as an object lesson for other people who might criticize the White House. Besides, Wilson's politics are irrelevent. That a WMD intelligence officer has been outed, for whatever reason, is the issue.

Outing CIA agents is deadly serious, and either you don't understand the ramifications of this crime, or you are such a Bush lover that all of his critics must be traitorous liberals--valid criticism be damned. People that undermine the secrecy of our intelligence (on WMD, no less) are truly dangerous and should be be treated very harshly. Period.

Joe Schmoe--
You must be a lawyer, judging by the verbosity of the response ;)...my brief reply;

1. The "boldness" thing. Just ask Israelis how much safer and prosperous they feel after a few years of Sharon's "boldness". LBJ was no pussy either which really deterred the Vietcong and brought us victory, right? Bush is not making us safer because the enemy wasn't in Iraq and the terrorism danger we face isn't going to be solved by a "democracy" in a Bagdhad.

2. Todays' GOP hates the New Deal. If you don't think they are serious about undermining and repealing it in spirit and law--you aren't paying attention.

I could go on, but basically I think Bush is a dangerous man. You find him reassuring. I hope history proves you right.

Posted by: Tim B. at October 2, 2003 05:42 AM | PERMALINK

James--

No partisan with "strong left leanings" (meaning exactly what?) would be selected by Bush Sr. for high diplomatic duties. Nor would such a partisan send money to Bush Jr's campaign. Nor would Wilson have been sent to Niger if he wasn't trusted.

The Bush neo-cons just didn't like the message from Niger and decided to ignore it. And then, once he opened his mouth, they punished (and possibly endangered) Wilson's wife as an object lesson for other people who might criticize the White House. Besides, Wilson's politics are irrelevent. That a WMD intelligence officer has been outed, for whatever reason, is the issue.

Outing CIA agents is deadly serious, and either you don't understand the ramifications of this crime, or you are such a Bush lover that all of his critics must be traitorous liberals--valid criticism be damned. People that undermine the secrecy of our intelligence (on WMD, no less) are truly dangerous and should be be treated very harshly. Period.

Joe Schmoe--
You must be a lawyer, judging by the verbosity of the response ;)...my brief reply;

1. The "boldness" thing. Just ask Israelis how much safer and prosperous they feel after a few years of Sharon's "boldness". LBJ was no pussy either which really deterred the Vietcong and brought us victory, right? Bush is not making us safer because the enemy wasn't in Iraq and the terrorism danger we face isn't going to be solved by a "democracy" in a Bagdhad.

2. Todays' GOP hates the New Deal. If you don't think they are serious about undermining and repealing it in spirit and law--you aren't paying attention.

I could go on, but basically I think Bush is a dangerous man. You find him reassuring. I hope history proves you right.

Posted by: Tim B. at October 2, 2003 01:54 PM | PERMALINK

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