Newspaper Blogs

February 22, 2004

CONSERVATIVE DOVES?....If a liberal hawk is a liberal who nonetheless supports George Bush and the war in Iraq, what do you call a conservative who nonetheless has given up on Bush and turned against the war? A conservative dove?

While sharing a sandwich at the stylish Beachwood Mall in this Cleveland suburb, one older couple — a judge and a teacher — reluctantly divulged their secret: though they are stalwarts in the local Republican Party, they are planning to vote Democratic this year.

"I feel like a complete traitor, and if you'd asked me four months ago, the answer would have been different," said the judge, after assurances of anonymity. "But we are really disgusted. It's the lies, the war, the economy. We have very good friends who are staunch Republicans, who don't even want to hear the name George Bush anymore."

....Many of those interviewed said that they had experienced a growing disenchantment with the conflict in Iraq over many months, but that only recently had they decided to change their votes.

A number said they had been deeply disturbed by recent statements of David A. Kay, the former United Nations weapons inspector, who said he was skeptical about administration claims that Iraq possessed unconventional weapons.

...."I voted for him, but it seems like he's just taking care of his rich buddies now," said Mike Cross, a farmer from Londonderry, N.H., adding, "I'm not a great fan of John Kerry, but I've had enough of President Bush."

The story also quotes poll numbers showing that 11% of former Bush supporters now plan to vote Democratic while only 5% of former Gore supporters now plan to vote for Bush.

The standard caveat applies here, of course: it's too early to know if this means anything. But it's still music to my ears. It sounds like at least a few conservatives are finally waking up and realizing just how shallow and unprincipled a man Bush really is.

Posted by Kevin Drum at February 22, 2004 08:10 PM | TrackBack


The liberals are definately firing up the echo chamber.
And the Cal is echoing.

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 08:19 PM | PERMALINK

The mystery is: What took them so long?

Well, no one likes being wrong, and most people are (1) less plugged in to politics than some of us and think it's a dirty business, and (2) think the media is full of lies anyhow. But when someone like (for instance) Kay comes along, a person who to the average viewer seems very level-headed and after all was appointed by the President himself, suddenly the truth becomes visible to many more of us.

Or something like that :)

Posted by: ryan b at February 22, 2004 08:22 PM | PERMALINK

the libeeral media sure is going to repeat this meme thru out this year's election coverage.

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 08:28 PM | PERMALINK

And furthermore:
Thomas Jefferson; if he were alive today, would say "GW Bush is my surrogate son, defender of freedom, liberal media and blogs be damned".

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 08:32 PM | PERMALINK

First post, woo hoo!

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 08:33 PM | PERMALINK

Hold on, reverse my posts. (damnded windows98).

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 08:35 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Andrew Sullivan published a letter from a "lifelong liberal Democrat" who was "glad that we had a leader of strength and character like George W. Bush in office on 9-11."

I dunno. Rhetoric like that really makes me think that this Karl R. wasn't really a Democrat.

Posted by: SamAm at February 22, 2004 08:36 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't vote Dubya; didn't vote for his dad.


If only Clinton could have kept his zipper closed for a couple more years.

--ventura county, ca

Posted by: Darryl Pearce at February 22, 2004 08:38 PM | PERMALINK

I have a related anecdote-- I too am starting to think that there's something going on among moderate, non-winger Republicans.

My mum, a Democrat-since-birth, has a dear old friend, Mrs. GOP, who is very active in local GOP politics and is a local (elected) politician. Mrs. GOP reports that lately many of her fellow Republicans have been quietly "coming out" to one another about the fact that they can't stand Bush-- and that many of them are talking about voting against him in November.

However, this goes beyond private dissention in the ranks. Apparently Mrs. GOP and her equally staunch GOP husband are talking about starting up a "Republicans for whatever-Dem-gets-the-nomination" group in their area. They'd rather have a better Republican run against a Dem in 2008 than 4 more years of Bush. This is coming from a middle-aged, western PA couple that has never voted for a Democrat in their lives. Mrs. GOP told my mum that she considers it her duty to organize her fellow GOPers to vote against Bush, for the sake of the future of the party.

Party loyalists bucking the leader of the party? Viva la Republican revolution!

Posted by: zoekentucky at February 22, 2004 08:41 PM | PERMALINK

thats been my experiencce too. although I'm afraid it's thru the liberal media lens.
you know what i mean.

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 08:45 PM | PERMALINK

Well, as far as I can tell, there are roughly three kinds of people who still plan on voting for Bush: those who know he's incompetent but put party loyalty or religious principle ahead of the country, those who are not informed enough to understand why Bush needs to go, and those who are voting for him out of a good-faith belief that Bush will best prosecute the so-called "War on Terror".

Some of these people can be reached, and some of them are coming around on their own, but ultimately bringing around the ones who can be reached is a matter of divining how best to communicate to them how much damage Bush will do to this country with another four years.

Posted by: Catsy at February 22, 2004 08:46 PM | PERMALINK

The stool is a-totterin'. Somebody kick it, and get this over with.

Posted by: fouro at February 22, 2004 08:47 PM | PERMALINK


Why not call them converts to truth, justice, and the american way? Welcome them with open arms, kindness, and political appoitments if necessary.

Isn't that the liberal tradition? Maintain it.

Posted by: bobbyp at February 22, 2004 08:47 PM | PERMALINK

Cripes....could you imagine the number of republicans going democrat if they had a choice between Clark and bush?

Kerry should get on his knees and beg Clark to be his veep.

Posted by: -pea- at February 22, 2004 08:52 PM | PERMALINK

We're going to win. It's in our grasp.

Posted by: grytpype at February 22, 2004 08:53 PM | PERMALINK

There were several articles this past weekend with the same theme of conservative anger against the President.

I was especially pleased to see evidence of Republican anger in Ohio.

Posted by: David at February 22, 2004 08:55 PM | PERMALINK

"The liberals are definately firing up the echo chamber"

easy on those metaphors big guy...or we'll start cooking Bush Burgers...yes, and it counts, plus the alliteration...Ouch!!!!!

Posted by: motherbeef at February 22, 2004 08:59 PM | PERMALINK

For every Republican that will vote for a Democrat out of disgust with Bush, there are 10 who will just stay home, rather than betray their party.

Republicans are loyal to the party first, not to their leadership. If the leadership is obviously out of touch with their issues, and this one clearly is out of touch with all but the most radical elements in the GOP, then a good chunk of them will just stay home.

The trick is getting the Democrat voters to the polls. If you live in a battleground state, start organizing NOW. Carpool, cajole, and carry people to the polls.

Posted by: Monkey at February 22, 2004 09:00 PM | PERMALINK

Damn , if ABC and Extreme House Makeover could do that for everyone in the US, what A great nation this WILL be!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: peter jung at February 22, 2004 09:00 PM | PERMALINK

With Bush on a downward skid, it will be interesting to see if he takes the GOP's congressional hopes down with him. One of the political problems the Republicans face is that they control both houses of Congress-- they can't blame 'big-spending liberals' for the budgetary mess.

Posted by: peter jung at February 22, 2004 09:01 PM | PERMALINK

Big spending of course, if transposed to ANC's extreme house makeovers would mean nice new houses for most everyone.

Posted by: peter jung at February 22, 2004 09:06 PM | PERMALINK

Six posts in the first ten? Al, who's doing the echoing here?

Posted by: Ernest Tomlinson at February 22, 2004 09:06 PM | PERMALINK

Now Al is into channeling?

See, the influence of liberals is just undeniable.

Posted by: Quaker at February 22, 2004 09:10 PM | PERMALINK

dude , I got my paste boards all lined up. sorry I fired em up in the wrong order.
i blame MS!!!

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 09:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Al, who's doing the echoing here?"

I think Al likes to speak so he can hear the echo in the big empty space between his ears.

Posted by: Tony at February 22, 2004 09:12 PM | PERMALINK

+11% (D) less +5% (R)= 6% swing, 1/2 the way to a Reagan '84 60% blowout.

and we're still 9 months out. Just like his daddy: 1 term & seeyah.

Posted by: Troy at February 22, 2004 09:13 PM | PERMALINK

My anectodal evidence is just the opposite. I know a number of people (not many, to be sure, but a handful) who voted for Gore in 2000 who will vote Bush this time around, and don't know any Bush voters who will vote Kerry. Admittedly, it is a small sample and probably not representative of much, but I'd be careful about getting too excited at these stories which show great dissafection in the Republican ranks.

Posted by: Man United at February 22, 2004 09:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't like censorship but I would give up that principle just to see Al banned for a minimum of 30 days.........too many violations of good taste and common decency. Mr. "Oh, I blame MS".
Please.........we've heard enough.......take a friggin' hike you right wing freakshow.
'Nuff said.

Tommy T. in good old San Francisco

Posted by: Tommy Tomorrow at February 22, 2004 09:24 PM | PERMALINK

I agree fully. I've always said that if McCain had won (the primary and the general) in 2000, he wouldn't be hated nearly this much. With McCain, I'd have sharp policy disagreements, but one way or the other I'd know that a cool, rational, intelligent head was in the Oval Office. My problem with Bush is that, regardless of your ideology, he's just not a good leader. It's nice to see that some Republicans are demanding a higher standard of leadership along with most Democrats.

Posted by: Daniel A. Munz at February 22, 2004 09:32 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with that 11%/5% figure is that it doesn't give the margin of error.

But still, it is an encouraging sign.

Posted by: David at February 22, 2004 09:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, my parents - long time Repubs and pretty durn conservative (I thought my father was going to leave my mother when she voted for JFK, the only time she strayed from the fold) - have said that they will stay home this fall rather than vote for W. They didn't support the war and they sure as hell don't support anyone who would run up the deficit like aWol.

Posted by: Carol Ann at February 22, 2004 09:37 PM | PERMALINK

ban me?
Tony , LOL!

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 09:40 PM | PERMALINK


No, just fine tuning the squelch.

Posted by: obe at February 22, 2004 09:47 PM | PERMALINK

( sorry nothing else to say--me-reactonary, ie. I react to Bullsite!!!!!

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 09:58 PM | PERMALINK

Look ,
After November. you all be the pink mist of liberal non history, the forgotten what ever happened to? non people.
America first.
Bush Will Win By A Andslide.The Biggest margin of Victory in History!

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

correction: Landslide.

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

I think the GOP should have some serious concerns about some of their party voting for a Democrat candidate. My ex is also quite conservative and a Vietnam Vet too. He thought Al Gore was stupid during the 2000 elections but because Bush cut veteran benefits - will now he is also planning on voting Dem. Of course, once he gets a load of the real John Kerry - he will probably swing over to vote Nader. Kerry has flip-flopped his way to the middle and has been very vague about really just what it is he actually stands for... Kerry better define his position close to where he has always been on positons. Flip-flopping won't cut it.

This will be where Kerry loses conservatives and some independents too and where Ralph Nader will waiting with a reality check (Ralph isn't the same kind stupid cold fish lawyer that Kerry really is). I do think Ralph will make a serious effort to appeal to conservatives.

With the war issue on MTP, saying that Iraq was smart enough to take care of themselfs once Ralph got in there with the UN - conservative (like Pat Buchanan would agree) so conservative won't have any problem buying into Nader matter of fact attitude. Conservative are fairly pragmatic folk after all - Kerry really isn’t the pragmatic sort at all.

Democrats have not choose WISElY at all.

Kerry acts like a lefty lefty liberal even when he's trying hard not to act like one.

Posted by: Cheryl at February 22, 2004 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Please tell me at least some of those posts were your stalker, Al...

Posted by: Anarch at February 22, 2004 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

I agree Cheryl,

Most of my friends wil not vote for Kerry cause of his flip flops.

Bush is a true american heroe, that we all can agree on.

I cannot fathon people who claim to like kerrry over bush.

Posted by: Al at February 22, 2004 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

I believe you mean "how shallow and unprincipled an administration Bush has presided over".

The dog reflects the trainer.

Posted by: David Glynn at February 22, 2004 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair, Al, to us, you are equally difficult to fathom. Possibly more.

Posted by: Dan at February 22, 2004 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

The NYT story is taking a lot of heat on the internet. Quotes have been "recooked" from earlier stories. Bumiller has a reputation for this sort of thing.

And frankly, a lot of the "disenchanted conservatives" stink like old fish. The issues they talk about are right down the Democratic party line, not the real issues that I have heard conservatives mention when expressing disenchantment with Bush.

"Lies, bodybags, tax cuts, evil rich, no WMDs" These are standard liberal talking points. Where are the conservatives in the article complaining about amnesty for illegal immigrants? Excessive spending? Gay marriage issues? Things that I am hearing real conservatives complaining about?

I'll believe a Cleveland teacher who is a "Republican stalwart" when I see her voter registration.

Posted by: tbrosz at February 22, 2004 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

I don't talk poltics with many people cos most have the debating skills of our friend al, but one good friend who voted libertarian in '00 will be voting dem this time around, not for love of kerry but fear of another four years of bush---ABB, combined with disillusioned republicans staying home will bring us this election-------

Posted by: hoops at February 22, 2004 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Whoever puts out crap like this from either party must think that people are a pack of fools. I cannot believe anyone believes BS like this. To me if you see President Bush's support go below 40% then you might be able to make a case for Republicans abandoning him. But to print an article that has so-called Republicans repeat word for word the Democratic mantra is nothing but A-1 dumb. Transparent as hell.

Posted by: Dennis Slater at February 22, 2004 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

"It sounds like at least a few conservatives are finally waking up and realizing just how shallow and unprincipled a man Bush really is."

"A few conservatives...?"

Mr. Drum, have you read any of my writings on these issues over the past one and a half years?

As I have been saying again and again and again, many conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, constitutionalists, military leaders, and veterans have been opposing the Iraq war, and the foreign and domestic policies of the Bush administration.

I've been covering this issue at my blog for awhile - my older entries on the issues of war and foreign policy are copied to this blog (though they're still available at the main one)... I written many comment posts, and other writings on this subject as well.

The last entry that I wrote for WatchBlog contains a summary of the dissatisfaction with Bush from conservatives - with regards to fiscal, social, and foreign policy issues.

Many conservatives and Republicans are upset over what this administration has done, and many more would be if they weren't so misinformed.

Posted by: Aakash at February 22, 2004 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

There are two things Republicans are mad at Bush about: excessive spending and amnesty. Everyone said Iraq had weapons of WMD just not the President. If he lied so did they. The economy was either in or heading into a recession when Bush took office and economy was severely hurt by 9-11. Only a fool would think otherwise. Guess what? We lose jobs during recessions. He did not cause the recession or 9-11 and therefore he did not cause the loss of jobs. Did the administration do all it could to encourage job growth after the onset of the recession or after 9-11? That can be argued, but to blame him for job loss is dumb. The unemployment rate now is at or near the same levels it was during most of the Clinton years.

Posted by: Dennis Slater at February 22, 2004 11:41 PM | PERMALINK
(damnded windows98).

At least you got that right, Al. Maybe you'll have buyer's remorse about both your OS and your preznit and go buy a Mac on the same day you cast your first Democratic vote.

Posted by: peejay at February 22, 2004 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Judging from an earlier "Al" comment on a previous post, he might have over-indulged in celebration of the "Sex & the City" finale, or something. Let us, as liberals, judge him gently. There but for the grace of Bacchus go we.

Posted by: bad Jim at February 23, 2004 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

I would caution any liberals from taking too much comfort from this story. This is a political puff piece--consider your reactions if the polarity of the story was reversed.

I believe that the electorate, contrary to many pundits, is extremely volatile this time round. Some traditional democrats were frightened to such a degree by 9-11 that they will cling to their newly adopted father figure regardless of his shortcomings. On the other hand, I suspect some moderate republicans might revolt in disgust from the mockery this administration is making of their traditional platform and values.

Posted by: Dazir at February 23, 2004 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone said Iraq had weapons of WMD just not the President.

Scott Ritter didn't, and he was in a position to know something about it.

Posted by: patriotboy at February 23, 2004 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

continued -

This volatility will remain, I suspect, througout the campaign. Do not underestimate the political survival skills of this administration.

The faux Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times", seems apropos.

Posted by: Dazir at February 23, 2004 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

If you stop feeding the troll he will go away

Posted by: Free American at February 23, 2004 01:05 AM | PERMALINK

Good heavens, Kevin.
You think a major politician is shallow and unprincipled. Shocking!
Find me one who isn't please, regardless of party affiliation.
You don't get to the top of the heap by being principled these days. You have to pander to too many diverse factions.
All you can say is that you don't like the groups to whom a certain politician panders, but to criticise him for pandering and thus being unprincipled is absurd.

Posted by: fw at February 23, 2004 04:12 AM | PERMALINK

Dennis —

Everyone said Iraq had weapons of WMD just not the President. If he lied so did they.

Yet "everyone" didn't think whatever weapons he had constituted an imminent (immediate, gathering, whatever) threat. "Everyone" thought it was likely he had chemical weapons, probably degraded, and possibly biological weapons. "Everyone" thought it was highly unlikely he had nuculear weapons. "Everyone" did not insist he had large-scale WMD production facilities. "Everyone" did not repeatedly cite specific quantities of specific material ready to rain death down on us from the skies. "Everyone" did not give Blix intelligence on particular sites which proved to be, as one inspector said, "bullshit." "Everyone" did not think the invasion was necessary. "Everyone" did not want this war; Bush did. He pushed for it, and he's got it. It's all his. Too late to shift the reponsibility to "everyone."

Guess what? We lose jobs during recessions. He did not cause the recession or 9-11 and therefore he did not cause the loss of jobs.

Guess what? We're still losing jobs even though the recession is over. In justifying the first tax cut, Bush declared it would lead to millions of new jobs jobs. It didn't. He said the same thing to push the second tax cut. No new jobs. Rinse and repeat for Tax Cut #3.

Apparently it's fine with you if the president has one and only one approach to economic issues — tax cuts! — no matter how many times it's failed before. I'd prefer a president with a sharper learning curve.

Posted by: dix at February 23, 2004 05:30 AM | PERMALINK

I love to hear myself talk!
I say W! Losrs! Yu!
George best ever! Brains win!

Posted by: Al at February 23, 2004 05:38 AM | PERMALINK

'Liberal Hawk' is an oxymoron; people who claim to be one are plain morons. 'Conservative dove' is a possibility, but given how conservatives call someone a "dove" as a derogatory remark, I don't see how using it would do anything but piss conservatives off and ensure that they vote Bush to avoid being called 'conservative dove'.

'ABB conservative' is both more accurate and I would guess more tolerable to conservatives as it only confers a dislike of Bush and not any connotation of being traitorous to their cause.

Posted by: gak at February 23, 2004 05:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Everyone said Iraq had weapons of WMD just not the President. If he lied so did they."

The 'we blew the intelligence' meme is a victory for whack pack. The issue was never that Hussein was a bad guy. The issue was what to do about it. The whack pack's illegal, immoral invasion of a sovereign nation when Hussein had been thoroughly and completely contained and under control, i.e., no imminent, or even long term threat is travesty of tens of thousands dead and tens of thousands maimed for NO LEGITIMATE REASON!

Posted by: spek at February 23, 2004 05:49 AM | PERMALINK

My husband's whole family are Republican, and only one of them is voting for Bush. One of them is not going to vote at all, and the others are going to vote for whoever wins the Dem nomination.

Posted by: maurinsky at February 23, 2004 05:56 AM | PERMALINK

Some of the disaffected Bush voters are just disaffected Bush voters, and others are disaffected Republicans. Disaffected Bush voters really are bothered by job losses and failure to find WMD, and for good or for ill they blame Bush. Disaffected Republicans, as Dennis points out, are bothered by excessive spending, the amnesty provision, NCLB (on state's rights grounds), expansion of Medicare, and failure to push FMA hard enough. If the article was weak it was for not differentiating between these two forces. My guess is a handful of disaffected Republicans will sit out the November election but not many will. It would be like me not voting Democrat because Kerry voted for the war. No way I'd do that. However, the disaffected Bush voters may move en masse to Kerry. I personally know some self-described independents who voted Bush AND Clinton in 92 - they're not going back to Bush.

Posted by: Elrod at February 23, 2004 06:19 AM | PERMALINK

Beachwood Mall? Are you a fellow Clevelander? I had no idea.


Posted by: Ron at February 23, 2004 06:32 AM | PERMALINK

My dad, the most conservative, lifelong Republican I know, said he liked John Edwards (and not in that snarky, "he'd-be-easier-for-Bush-to-beat" way - that's not Dad's style).

He also said he wished he could vote in both primaries (my brother is running in the Republican primary for a county commission seat back home) so that he could help my brother AND vote for John Edwards. Since it's Indiana, though, we figured my brother needed the help more - he's running a McCain-esque campaign against someone who has been in county government for three decades. It's one-party rule back home, and county government is practically a retirement plan to local GOP pols.

This is the same person who called Oliver North a national hero.

The times, they are indeed a-changing. If DAD is having second thoughts about Bush, then my smile will indeed be big come Nov. 2.


Posted by: Wes F. in Cincinnati at February 23, 2004 07:32 AM | PERMALINK

Some of the disaffected Bush voters are just disaffected Bush voters, and others are disaffected Republicans. Disaffected Bush voters really are bothered by job losses and failure to find WMD, and for good or for ill they blame Bush. Disaffected Republicans, as Dennis points out, are bothered by excessive spending, the amnesty provision, NCLB (on state's rights grounds), expansion of Medicare, and failure to push FMA hard enough.

I suspect lots of disaffected Republicans care about WMD. There is a big Republican contingent that really does believe that intervention should be limited and based on clear and immediate national interest, not all Republicans are neoconservatives. And lots of Republicans care about jobs, too -- heck, a lot of the support for Republicans is based on faith that the Republicans are better for jobs. Now, at the top, that rhetoric may be cover for programs that favor wealthy investors over workers, but on the ground level, its a real belief that if it falters, so does support for the Republican party.

Republican voters vote their own perceived self-interest just like everyone else.

Posted by: cmdicely at February 23, 2004 08:36 AM | PERMALINK

I heard Marc Racicot on the radio today: "President Bush volunteered to go to Vietnam." When? Last year?

I think this is part of the new I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I strategery, to wit:

MR. MCLELLAN: I think if you check the record, you'll find that while President Bush was saving the lives of US soldiers while risking his own life, Senator Kerry was supporting the war, while avoiding any risk to himself.

Bush is a true american heroe,

Posted by: flatulus at February 23, 2004 08:37 AM | PERMALINK

and remember, you can't spell awol without dubya

Posted by: flatulus at February 23, 2004 08:40 AM | PERMALINK

It's a long list of reasons for former supporters to come to dislike aWol. The MTP interview may have been the "Emperor has no clothes!" moment, but indefensible Iraq War has had the most impact.

I personally know several long-time Republicans and Republican voters who have flipped to staunch ABB. What's interesting is the diversity of the group. They represent damn near the entire spectrum of Bush Voters (except for the core mouth-breathing jingos, whom I do not expect to flip). It's very heartening, but, yeah, quite early.

Posted by: some dude at February 23, 2004 08:49 AM | PERMALINK

I will always be with you, my children.

Posted by: Al at February 23, 2004 08:51 AM | PERMALINK

With all this talk of non-voting by lazy so-called citizens, we should frame the issue of voting as one of patriotism, since so many seem to be unable to get by without a daily dose of it. How can you think of the Greatest Generation getting tore up on foreign battlefields and you're too lazy to get educated on a candidate you like (write one in if you must), and get your fat ass down to the local polling station?

Posted by: Peter at February 23, 2004 09:27 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect a lot of Republicans who say they will vote for a Democrat will not do so. They will find something about the nominee to not like and will be spared from that fate. But voter turnout could well be depressed.

Here's my example. I have a friend who is fairly liberal, but her husband nearly always votes R. She has convinced him that Bush has made a lot of mistakes, and the war in Iraq is one of them. He is threatening to vote D. But when Dean was leading, he decided he couldn't vote for Dean because he would "cut and run" in Iraq. He just knew this without any evidence. He thought Kerry would be much better. My guess is that when/if Kerry wins the nom, my friend's husband will find some reason he can't vote for Kerry.

Posted by: Emma Anne at February 23, 2004 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

"Everyone said Iraq had weapons of WMD just not the President. If he lied so did they."

Isn't the Rep party supposed to be one of personal responsibility and accountability? Ever notice how anything that goes wrong with this administration is someone else's fault? From the economy to the war on Iraq, it's always what someone else did before. That may work for the first few months you're in office, but c'mon, after three years, you're responsible for at least a little bit of what happens on your watch.

Shrubya needs to watch "A Bug's Life" in which Hopper tells Princess Anta "First rule of management: everything is your fault".

Posted by: Baaaa at February 23, 2004 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

My inlaws have all three left the Republican party, not solely due to the current Bush administration.
Father-in-law is retired from Wall Street, a friend from years back of Jack Kemp; he thinks the Repubs are reckless.
Mother-in-law, retired CFO, was on the board of a womens' organization in Texas which was searched gestapo-style (her term) by the Texas Rangers in some fracas about abortion advice, during Bush's governorship. She has hated Bush ever since.
Stepfather-in-law, retired CEO from publishing field, also former military, has reluctantly concluded that the current administration is dangerous to the future of the country, fiscally, diplomatically, militarily.
Now I will admit that mother- and stepfather-in-law find themselves out of step with most of their neighbors in the gated golf 'community' they live in.
But if they've flipped there have to be more.


Posted by: A different Al at February 23, 2004 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

I haven't read all of the comments above -- actually just the first couple -- but I am beginning to formulate a little theory.

If you follow Calpundit at all, and read the comments to many of the postings, you'll see that Supertroll Al has an uncanny knack at posting responses early (and often). Frequently he's among the first 10 or so. Today -- and not for the first time -- he was first in line.

Now that really is remarkable. I know from experiece that on Kevin's more interesting posts, it can sometimes be no more than a matter of seconds before the first comments are posted. To even land among the first 20 or so comments is doing pretty good, actually. How the devil does Al The Troll manage to post comments on so many Calpundit threads, and do it so quickly?

Kevin once asked him directly if he did nothing all day but monitor Calpundit. Good question. Supertroll, naturally, did not deign to provide anything like a convincing answer.

So here's my (vaguely paranoic) theory. As we all know, the VRWC is more than flush with money. Millions upon millions of dollars are provided every year -- from the Moonies, from Scaif, from the corporate world, etc. -- to obsessively and relentlessly promote the rightwing worldview. (Think about the seeming-scores of various conservative think tanks out there, none of which actually generates much revenue or genuine grassroots support, although the Heritage Foundation makes something of a fetish of their aggressive direct mail fundraising programs. I mean, SOMEONE is paying for it all!)

So years ago I was told, in a conversation with a guy in D.C. who worked at one of these places -- I'd not be at liberty to reveal his name even if I could still remember it at this point -- that among their other projects at that time, they were assiduously monitoring and responding to "liberal" letters to the editor in EVERY major daily newspaper in the country, and many smaller ones as well. I also remember (going back even further) how, as a columnist on my college paper, I'd write something that would displease a major industry group (against nuclear power, for example, or in favor of bottle deposit bills like Oregon's), and then like clockwork receive a big package of PR propaganda from the industry in question. This happened repeatedly, and I marveled that they were monitoring college newspapers and spending (in today's dollars) at least $5-$10 on printed matter alone to respond to things that displeased them.

So, back to Al: has it occurred to anyone that one or more rightwing think tanks are monitoring the liberal blogosphere, and spending a LOT of money doing it? I can't prove it, but I'd bet dollars for doughnuts it's happening. "Opposition research" is a BIG DEAL to these people -- in fact they crow about it, from time to time, although we usually think of it in terms of national and state elections -- and this would neatly fall into that category.

Going one step further: if someone is assigned to monitor a couple of blogs -- and paid for it -- how much harder would it be to have that person "respond" as frequently as practical, thus making sure they get "their" opinion out here while invariably leaving all of us with the nagging worry in the back of our heads that we are somehow hopelessly outgunned?

Now I certainly don't know that Al is part of such a thing. I imagine it more likely that he's simply some rightwinger on disability, or a retired nitwit, with absolutely nothing better to do all day than monitor the hated Pinkos and drop his little turds into their midst. (Mind you, it's very hard to imagine how he could have ANY kind of gainful employment, or meaningful life, away from his computer given his ubiquitous presence here).

Back to the "paid troll model": let's not rule out the possibility that "Al" is not one guy, but two or more. "Al-1" comes in 8 a.m. EST to his cubicle in the offices of the D.C.-based, Scaif-funded "Foundation For The Annihilation of Liberalism" and works until 5. "Al-2" comes in around 4 and works until midnight. That would certainly be business-like, wouldn't it? And besides spewing their views out here, in an attempt to (over time) act like an acid -- drip, drip, drip -- corroding liberal confidence, and wasting our time as we respond to the trolls rather than focus on actually doing substantive things, it would do one other thing as well: it would serve as both a training position AND a filtering mechanism for future rightwing pundits and PR people.

That, after all, is a BIG part of what the VRWC is about. Young liberal writers, for the most part, must develop their skills on college papers or at free blogs. No one pays them for it. No one organizes them. Sooner or later they have to go find paying work, and THAT rarely entails promoting a liberal worldview. So uncounted thousands of liberal-thinking commentators never get much of a chance to join the battle. They never have a chance to hone their skills, they never have the luxury of researching and writing on these topics without constant money worries, and hence they never even appear on the radar -- down the road -- as potential new hires into the world of the punditocracy.

But it's plainly evident that this is precisely one of the jobs of all these rightwing think tanks. They take young kids just out of college and give them a chance: a modest paycheck, opportunities to "fight for the cause," professional editing and advice on their writing, many platforms to express themselves (including, perhaps, the anonymous platform of "troll to liberal websites"), and the opportunity -- if they're good enough -- to eventually move up higher in the rightwing's hierarchy of shills.

All just a thought for the day.

-- Roger

Posted by: Marsman at February 23, 2004 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

For God's sake, Kevin, ban the fake Al. The real Al is bad enough.

Posted by: M. at February 23, 2004 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Republican voters vote their own perceived self-interest just like everyone else."

How very untrue!. Many, many voters vote against their own self-interest...out of ignorance or emotion. This is true of every non-wealthy, or non-white person that votes republican. There is simply nothing that republicans offer of benefit to these people, and yet many vote republican against their own self-interst. The converse is also true of wealthy white Democrats - nothing in it for them personnally...except that they can feel like they are somewhat recognizing their good fortune and satisfying a desire to give something back.

Posted by: gak at February 23, 2004 01:01 PM | PERMALINK

This may seem simplistic, and consequently not directly in line with the topic of whether or nor R's are going to vote D. The question I have is, "Who voted for Gore in 2000, and is now going to vote for Bush?"

Considering that W lost the popular vote, it would appear that he is the one that needs to pick up votes. While the polls do move all over the place, I think it is safe to say that the most likely voters in 2004 are those that voted in 2000, the majority of whom voted for Gore.

I think the claim that 5% of Dems who voted for Gore are now going to vote for Bush is beyond belief. However, that there are many swing voters who thought W was a conservative (fiscally and otherwise) who now know better, as well as many centrist Republicans who voted for Bush for the same reasons, who will also not go down that road again, seems to fit with my common sense notions about what no job growth and a new, huge deficit will mean to W's electability, as well as what I'm reading in the media ("liberal" and otherwise).

I believe people like Al are your typical low to middle income Republicans. They voted for Bush, and against their own self-interests, because they wanted to win, and were very attracted to being able to consider themselves part of the "powerful white men" party. While I'm not saying that Republicans are all racists, I expect the Republicans like Al to behave like klansmen when they are caught and put to public ridicule. That is to say, it's only fun while your winning, and deep down you know your on the wrong side of things. So when it looks like your busted (i.e. not going to win) you flee, point your finger at the head guy for misleading you, etc.

I find considerable support for this argument in Al's comments as well as those of the major R-leaning pundits at the WP and NYT. No matter what the poll numbers say, these guys are raging about how W will win in a landslide. So how does one go from losing the popular vote, to three years of job losses, an unecessary and expensive war,a budget surplus to a huge deficit, and magically pick up a huge number of votes in 2004? I don't think even KR has the answer to this one, but they do realize that if the middle to low income shmoes who support the R party get a wiff that they're voting for a loser, they wont vote and the outcome in '04 will be even better from a "liberals" point of view.

Posted by: Gary in Denver at February 23, 2004 02:33 PM | PERMALINK

On nomenclature....

How about in-ies and out-ies? Inner and outer doves and hawks. So...

Liberal Hawk = Inner dove, outer hawk

Conservative Hawk = Inner hawk, outer hawk

Chicken Hawk = Inner hawk, outer dove

Pacifist = Inner dove, outer dove

Posted by: Sugar Plum Fairy at February 23, 2004 06:59 PM | PERMALINK

" It sounds like at least a few conservatives are finally waking up and realizing just how shallow and unprincipled a man Bush really is." - Kevin Drum

Makes loadsa sense - switch from a shallow and unprincipled George Bush to a shallow and unprincipled Democrat. What's that... a Lose/Lose proposition? *snicker*

Posted by: Ironbear at February 24, 2004 09:43 PM | PERMALINK

Guess what? We're still losing jobs even though the recession is over. In justifying the first tax cut, Bush declared it would lead to millions of new jobs jobs. It didn't. He said the same thing to push the second tax cut. No new jobs. Rinse and repeat for Tax Cut #3.

You must be seeing different employment information that I am. The employment rate is 5.6% now. That is below most of the Clinton years. The economy is doing very well although I am sure there is not one Democrat who will admit it. The economy is not creating a large number of jobs but that, according to recent news, is about to change. Too bad for you.

Democratic proposals to raise taxes would put the economy back into a recession.

Posted by: Dennis Slater at March 3, 2004 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

My husband's whole family are Republican, and only one of them is voting for Bush. One of them is not going to vote at all, and the others are going to vote for whoever wins the Dem nomination.

My wife's whole family are Democrats and not one of them is voting for Kerry. The general feeling is that Kerry is a rich, arrogant asshole who will say anything to get elected. And they live in a swing state.

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