Patterico's Pontifications

3/31/2008

Obama’s 1996 Questionnaires Raise Questions

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 5:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to a Politico article, Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama has given conflicting answers to policy questionnaires that raise questions about how liberal his views really are:

“During his first run for elected office, Barack Obama played a greater role than his aides now acknowledge in crafting liberal stands on gun control, the death penalty and abortion — positions that appear at odds with the more moderate image he has projected during his presidential campaign.

The evidence comes from an amended version of an Illinois voter group’s detailed questionnaire, filed under his name during his 1996 bid for a state Senate seat.

Late last year, in response to a Politico story about Obama’s answers to the original questionnaire, his aides said he “never saw or approved” the questionnaire.

They asserted the responses were filled out by a campaign aide who “unintentionally mischaracterize[d] his position.”

But a Politico examination determined that Obama was actually interviewed about the issues on the questionnaire by the liberal Chicago nonprofit group that issued it. And it found that Obama — the day after sitting for the interview — filed an amended version of the questionnaire, which appears to contain Obama’s own handwritten notes added to one answer.”

The Politico notes specific examples of Obama’s liberal nuance on issues like abortion:

“Consider the question of whether minors should be required to get parental consent — or at least notify their parents — before having abortion.

The first version of Obama’s questionnaire responds with a simple “No.”

The amended version, though, answers less stridently: “Depends on how young — possibly for extremely young teens, i.e., 12- or 13-year-olds.”

By 2004, when his campaign filled out a similar questionnaire for the IVI-IPO during his campaign for U.S. Senate, the answer to a similar question contained still more nuance, but also more precision. “I would oppose any legislation that does not include a bypass provision for minors who have been victims of, or have reason to fear, physical or sexual abuse,” he wrote.

The evolution continued at least through late last year, when his campaign filled out a questionnaire for a nonpartisan reproductive health group that answered a similar question with even more nuance.”

Links to the questionnaire and related stories are at the Politico link. Check it out.

— DRJ

127 Responses to “Obama’s 1996 Questionnaires Raise Questions”

  1. This was a real stretch for the dreaded flipflop label- 12 years to be exact. He’s a father now. If your views don’t evolve with your life experience, you’re just not paying attention.

    Ann (1384ea)

  2. Does that mean he was a poor choice for state Senator, Ann? Using your logic, maybe Obama needs another 20 years of life experience before he’s really ready.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  3. DRJ – His answer about how he did not fill those out, but did write on the paper, was positively Clinton-esque.

    But, you are a racist for pointing out that Baracky is a bit cavalier with the truth.

    JD (fc3e1d)

  4. Just think, JD, we have 8 more months of this.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  5. DRJ – Once my little one gets here, I am going to blissfully tune out for a few days 😉

    JD (fc3e1d)

  6. Once my little one gets here, I am going to blissfully tune out for a few days

    Amen! And a preemptive strike on the congratulations front!

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  7. JD,

    By my count, you are home again so I hope she comes soon. Your family has been through a lot of change recently.

    And need I add? A lot of “changes” to come.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  8. Truth and Accuracy to a politician is only just a little more of a stretch than it is for a “journalist”. If this guy was on “The Gong Show”, the audio would sound like the Liberation of Paris at Notre Dame Cathedral.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  9. If your views don’t evolve with your life experience, you’re just not paying attention.

    There’s certainly some truth to that, but isn’t it interesting how Obama’s views also manage to change in relation to the office he is seeking? When he was running for state senator from a very liberal district, he had no problem taking an extreme view on abortion rights. As he set his sights on a state-wide election, and now a nation-wide election, he has started moderating his views. Coincidence maybe, but I am not inclined to automatically give him a free pass.

    JVW (0b3fa7)

  10. I’m just wondering what new Obama lie will be uncovered tomorrow. They’ve become a daily occurrence.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  11. Russell – Thanks.
    DRJ – Yes, many changes. The house is being painted today, and then it will be done !!! The better half is due any minute. We had a doctor’s appt this morning and he was talking about dilation and effacing, and expects it to be possibly today or tomorrow, which will make Madeline Grace 3 weeks early, but healthy.

    JD (75f5c3)

  12. Just so long as the wee one isn’t born today… Birthdays on this day have the potential to be REALLY cruel…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  13. Scott – Better half is quite concerned about that exact point. It had never occurred to me.

    JD (75f5c3)

  14. “We got you a pony for your birthday!!! APRIL FOOLS!!!”

    Grounds for justifyable homicide, I would think… Best to just avoid it.

    Though really, how classic would proposing on this day be?

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  15. Though really, how classic would proposing on this day be?

    And we all get some further insight as to why Scott remains single :)

    Steverino (e00589)

  16. As if further insight was needed… :)

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  17. There’s certainly some truth to that, but isn’t it interesting how Obama’s views also manage to change in relation to the office he is seeking? When he was running for state senator from a very liberal district, he had no problem taking an extreme view on abortion rights. As he set his sights on a state-wide election, and now a nation-wide election, he has started moderating his views. Coincidence maybe, but I am not inclined to automatically give him a free pass.”

    Astute reading, JVW. Sen. Obama has been sanitized, scrubbed and shrink-wrapped in such a way that he is a blank screen upon which a voter’s virtual reality may be projected.

    A whole class of voters appear to be voting for the candidate Sen. Obama is pretending to be.

    Criticisms of his positions, policies, predilections and his past…bounce off of him, because he’s a hologram, the image changes depending on the viewpoint of the observer.

    He’s not black, he’s not white, he’s not liberal, he’s not conservative, he’s not centrist, he’s not for NAFTA, he’s not against it, he’s not anti-Israel, he’s not for Israel, he’s not close to Rev. Wright, he’s not distanced from Rev. Wright.

    Say it loud, I’m Opaque and I’m Proud.

    cfbleachers (4040c7)

  18. Obama has been sanitized, scrubbed and shrink-wrapped in such a way that he is a blank screen upon which a voter’s virtual reality may be projected.

    Baracky says so much in one of his books.

    JD (75f5c3)

  19. JD

    My best wishes for you and yours! This is a fun time, MOST of the time. I’m happy for you.

    cfbleachers (4040c7)

  20. Shukraan jazeelaan, ya saudeeki.

    JD (75f5c3)

  21. Degenerate.

    Leviticus (ed6d31)

  22. @nk

    *snickers* Question is, who would that hurt more?

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  23. Question is, who would that hurt more?

    Anyone getting a mental image of it, that’s who.

    Time to wash my imagination out with kerosene.

    Steverino (e00589)

  24. Dude, that’s the sort of image you just can’t unsee…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  25. There’s certainly some truth to that, but isn’t it interesting how Obama’s views also manage to change in relation to the office he is seeking? When he was running for state senator from a very liberal district, he had no problem taking an extreme view on abortion rights. As he set his sights on a state-wide election, and now a nation-wide election, he has started moderating his views. Coincidence maybe, but I am not inclined to automatically give him a free pass.

    In politics, the way to succeed, is to broaden your appeal.

    Duh. How are else are you supposed to win elections?

    If the goal of politics is to run the government, there’s only one way you’re ever going to do that. Broaden. Your. Appeal. Get more votes than the other guy. I mean, what is this supposed to say about Obama, that he’s trying to win an election?

    You didn’t know that already? He’s not ‘moderating his views,’ he’s pro-choice, now and then. I mean he’s not even changing his position, I thought that was the big sin? I don’t see any inconsistency there whatsoever, anyway.

    Levi (76ef55)

  26. In politics, the way to succeed, is to broaden your appeal.

    Which is Dem-speak for “Say whatever it takes to get people to vote for you”.

    Sorry, but some of us have a measure of self-respect and integrety. I’m afraid you’re going to have to look those concepts up, and you are likely to be completely unfamiliar with them.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  27. Which is Dem-speak for “Say whatever it takes to get people to vote for you”.

    I’m sorry, who did Republicans vote for? George “No Nation-Building” Bush, the big fiscal conservative?

    Rep-speak for “Say whatever it takes to get people to vote for you,” is that would you’ll call that?

    How is this non-story about Obama as bad as that? I know he’s pro-choice, and I know that were he the President, it’s not like he’d do a complete 180, and become pro-life all of a sudden. Like George Bush has been doing these past few years on all of his campaign promises.

    I mean certainly you’d see the irony in a bunch of Bush-electing (and re-electing!)Republicans throwing around the phrase, “Say whatever it takes to get people to vote for you” like it’s some huge insult. Haven’t you been paying attention the last few years?

    Levi (76ef55)

  28. No Levi – The story is about your candidate getting caught lying once more about his positions and/or what he has said in the past. It’s very simple. The Kennedy/Selma myth that Obama was spreading was more broadly debunked on Sunday. He moonwalked back from his Rev. Wright position on The View on Friday. The man has a problem with openness, honesty and consistency. Deal with it.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  29. Wait, how is he lying? I’m not getting it. Obama is pro-choice now, he was pro-choice in 1996. All that matters to me? Yeah, basically. Why am I supposed to care about whatever you’re up in arms about with regards to this meaningless questionnaire from more than a decade ago?

    And how do you reconcile this hysteria with your support of the biggest flip-flopper in histroy, Mr. George “No Nation-Building” Bush, the fiscal conservative?

    Have you ever looked in a mirror?

    Levi (76ef55)

  30. How is he lying? Is English your second language?

    Which part was he not lying about. He wrote on the paper, but did not fill out the form? That was not his position then, or it is his position now?

    You really need help.

    JD (75f5c3)

  31. Ann:

    This was a real stretch for the dreaded flipflop label- 12 years to be exact. He’s a father now. If your views don’t evolve with your life experience, you’re just not paying attention.

    Who said anything about flipping or flopping? It’s not about evolving postions; it’s about lying about them. If Barack had manned up and admitted to once holding those extreme left views, while stating that he now holds more moderate or nuanced ones, that would be fine. Instead he lamely blamed his original questionnaire on an unnamed staff member, and continued some version of that lame excuse even after it was pointed out he had been personally interviewed and supplied a revised version with his own handwriting on it.

    Lying aside, it’s not as though there is any evidence Obama’s views moderated or evolved in any meaningful sense. He was a doctrinaire liberal on a 12-year-old questionnaire, and he’s the single most liberal member of the U.S. Senate today.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  32. Wait, is George Bush running again?

    G (722480)

  33. And how do you reconcile this hysteria

    Levi – Control yourself. You are the only one getting htsterical over the exposure of what a fraud your lying gay crack whore candidate has turned out to be underneath that carefully crafted exterior.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  34. Levi, you can call Bush all kinds of things, but you must call him Mr. President for that is the office he holds. Obama on the other hand, is not and will not be President of these United States. He simply does not possess the necessary character. That substance M. L. King asked us to judge by. Obama used hard drugs. Is there some part of that you think qualifies a person to be President. Is that good character? How about valuing the father who abandoned him over those who cared, fed, clothed him and paid his way? I would love for someone to define Obama’s character.

    Zelsdorf Ragshaft III (e18128)

  35. Levi, you can call Bush all kinds of things, but you must call him Mr. President for that is the office he holds.

    That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

    Levi (76ef55)

  36. Who said anything about flipping or flopping? It’s not about evolving postions; it’s about lying about them. If Barack had manned up and admitted to once holding those extreme left views, while stating that he now holds more moderate or nuanced ones, that would be fine. Instead he lamely blamed his original questionnaire on an unnamed staff member, and continued some version of that lame excuse even after it was pointed out he had been personally interviewed and supplied a revised version with his own handwriting on it.

    Do you remember paperwork you were doing 12 years ago?

    And what, pray tell, are the extreme left views he held, or holds, or whatever, on abortion?

    Levi (76ef55)

  37. You are the only one getting htsterical over the exposure of what a fraud your lying gay crack whore candidate has turned out to be underneath that carefully crafted exterior.

    Come on, man. Gay crack whore? Let’s all take a step back and chill out.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  38. Obama used hard drugs.

    So did Bush. I don’t think that disqualifies you for anything in and of itself.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  39. So did Bush.

    And he didn’t even have the balls to come out and admit it. He got tricked into admitting it.

    Levi (76ef55)

  40. Russell:

    Obama used hard drugs.
    So did Bush.

    Source? No, having the ‘Tard of Thunder repeat your allegation does not count as a source, at least not a credible one.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  41. Bush says he hasn’t used any illegal drugs since 1974, and declines to talk about before then. Something to hide?

    In interviews taped by the author Doug Wead, the future president said:

    I don’t want any kid doing what I tried to do 30 years ago,” Bush said in recordings made when he was governor of Texas and aired Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “And I mean that. It doesn’t matter if it’s LSD, cocaine, pot, any of those things, because if I answer one, then there will be another one. And I just am not going to answer those questions. And it may cost me the election.” [emphasis mine]

    Tell me how you don’t come away with the obvious implication that Bush used to do illegal drugs.

    Not to mention the fact that he was an admitted heavy drinker, which is worse than most illegal drugs in my opinion. Certainly worse than marijuana as far as long-term damage.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  42. In any case, I fail to see how illegal drug use disqualifies you for being president, and that goes for Bush as well as Obama.

    And by the way, I keep hearing people calling Obama “extreme left,” “ultra left,” and the like. To me, that sort of language would be used to describe a a socialist, communist, Leninist, Marxist, etc. Thus to be described as such, Obama must support something along the lines of complete nationalization of the means of production and distribution, a centrally planned economy, or abolishment of personal possessions.

    Instead I hear about abortion and handguns. Can we all admit that Obama is no socialist, and would be several steps to the right of, say, Gordon Brown, the nominal conservative?

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  43. No.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  44. No.

    Well reasoned, DRJ, thanks. So Obama is a socialist?

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  45. whoa, I thought #43 was joking.

    Dana (fba430)

  46. Ok, forget the part about Gordon Brown. It’s debatable. I’m saying you can get a lot further left than Obama is or ever has been. He not Trotsky, for heaven’s sake.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  47. So, Russell – you would label a Socialist and a Marxist/Communist as one and the same?

    Apogee (4e1b69)

  48. Gordon Brown, the UK’s Labor party leader and Prime Minister is the nominal conservative?

    Was that self-parody?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  49. Russell – Nice straw man. If Obama isn’t the farthest left person in existance, then he’s not leftist?

    Apogee (4e1b69)

  50. Will somebody please tell these to-be-laughed-at lefties that Bush is NOT running for a third term*?

    “Third term! Get it? Nyah, nyah, nyah, losers.

    nk (34c5da)

  51. No, no nk. They’re very legitimate questions. Now I have a few questions to ask about that rapscallion Tammany bastard Al Smith!

    Apogee (4e1b69)

  52. Russell,

    You asked everyone to admit that Obama is no socialist and I answered No because I won’t admit that. I’m working on something else but if I have time later to go into my reasons why, I’ll be glad to do so.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  53. So, Russell – you would label a Socialist and a Marxist/Communist as one and the same?

    No, I’m saying that to be labeled “extreme left,” one has to be somewhere in that ball park. Clearly there are differences between Marxism and communism and socialism and Leninism and Stalinism and Trotskyism etc.

    Russell – Nice straw man. If Obama isn’t the farthest left person in existance, then he’s not leftist?

    #32: “If Barack had manned up and admitted to once holding those extreme left views…”

    I’m not just talking about this thread either, I’m talking about the country in general, and blogs in particular. Don’t tell me that conservatives haven’t been labeling him like this.

    I’m not saying he’s not liberal. Clearly he is. I’m saying the political spectrum goes way further than where he stands now.

    Oh, and I meant to say Nicholas Sarkozy, not Gordon Brown. My mistake.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  54. You asked everyone to admit that Obama is no socialist and I answered No because I won’t admit that. I’m working on something else but if I have time later to go into my reasons why, I’ll be glad to do so.

    Yeah. Bring on the detail.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  55. Sarcasm doesn’t suit you, Russell.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  56. Russell:

    Tell me how you don’t come away with the obvious implication that Bush used to do illegal drugs.

    Nice goalpost moving, that. I never denied he admitted to doing illegal drugs. You said he did hard drugs. Either substantiate that claim or withdraw it as the irresponsible smear that it is.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  57. I’m serious. Bring on the detail. If you think Obama’s a socialist, then by all means, make your case.

    And sarcasm does suit me. Size 40 regular.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  58. Nice goalpost moving, that. I never denied he admitted to doing illegal drugs. You said he did hard drugs. Either substantiate that claim or withdraw it as the irresponsible smear that it is.

    Actually, Bush has dodged all questions about any illegal drug use. He says he hasn’t done any illegal drugs since 1974 and didn’t specify which, if any. Kitty Kelly (the tabloid-y gossip monger) alleges that Bush used cocaine, but she seems unreliable. So I admit that the evidence Bush did cocaine is shaky at best.

    I still don’t see what any of this has to do with being president. My point was that even if Bush did cocaine or other illegal drugs, it doesn’t disqualify him from being president, though it is lamentably hypocritical of him to continue the hard line on drugs after he escaped scot-free himself.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  59. Russell,

    I think one indication of Obama’s socialist tendencies is illustrated in his remarks in a 2005 commencement address at Knox College in which he questions the capitalist view of markets and government:

    “So what do we do about this? How does America find its way in this new, global economy? What will our place in history be?

    Like so much of the American story, once again, we face a choice. Once again, there are those who believe that there isn’t much we can do about this as a nation. That the best idea is to give everyone one big refund on their government—divvy it up by individual portions, in the form of tax breaks, hand it out, and encourage everyone to use their share to go buy their own health care, their own retirement plan, their own child care, their own education, and so on.

    In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society. But in our past there has been another term for it—Social Darwinism—every man or woman for him or herself. It’s a tempting idea, because it doesn’t require much thought or ingenuity. It allows us to say that those whose health care or tuition may rise faster than they can afford—tough luck. It allows us to say to the Maytag workers who have lost their job—life isn’t fair. It let’s us say to the child who was born into poverty—pull yourself up by your bootstraps. And it is especially tempting because each of us believes we will always be the winner in life’s lottery, that we’re the one who will be the next Donald Trump, or at least we won’t be the chump who Donald Trump says: “You’re fired!”

    But there is a problem. It won’t work. It ignores our history. It ignores the fact that it’s been government research and investment that made the railways possible and the internet possible. It’s been the creation of a massive middle class, through decent wages and benefits and public schools that allowed us all to prosper. Our economic dependence depended on individual initiative. It depended on a belief in the free market; but it has also depended on our sense of mutual regard for each other, the idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we’re all in it together and everybody’s got a shot at opportunity. That’s what’s produced our unrivaled political stability.”

    Obama pays lip service to capitalism and free markets but this excerpt and the rest of his address make it clear he sees government as the answer. People are free to believe in capitalism, government regulation, or some combination of the two but I think those who view government as the real answer are modern socialists.

    I’m not trying to be rude but I don’t have time to discuss this further tonight. Hopefully we can continue this another time and/or others will join the discussion.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  60. If the Obamamaniacs think that today’s economy is “Social Darwinism”, I can only imagine what a night-mare the economy of the 1890’s would seem like. They would go screaming into the night, hopefully to careen over a cliff, like lemmings to the sea.
    These are not the thoughts of a “modern socialist”, but one who quests for a Utopian, Fabian society.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  61. DRJ-

    I hope you take no offense to this, because I mean none, but that analysis seems absolutely incorrect. You might say his terming the ownership society Social Darwinism over the top, but when he says “It won’t work,” he’s talking about laissez-faire capitalism. He’s not saying government can solve all problems there are, he’s saying that the government has to restrain the worst impulses of the free market to make things work:

    Our economic dependence depended on individual initiative. It depended on a belief in the free market; but it has also depended on our sense of mutual regard for each other, the idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we’re all in it together and everybody’s got a shot at opportunity. [emphasis mine]

    Socialism doesn’t have a widely agreed-upon economic agenda, but the closest thing to it is worker or state ownership of the means of production and distribution, the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

    You say “I think those who view government as the real answer are modern socialists.” Real answer to what? Some kind of regulatory framework reining in large business is not socialism. National health care is not socialism. Extensive welfare is not socialism. Socialism is complete destruction of the market-based economy, to be replaced by a planned economy.

    If you want to dispute that, and call socialism some kind of the mild leftist policies in place throughout Europe (as I just described), I would disagree, but in that case socialism is not at all the “extreme left” and my point stands either way.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  62. Russell,

    Anything short of Soviet or Maoist command economies is not socialism, eh?

    The big problem with “regulatory framework reining in large business”, is that, in actual modern practice, it smothers smaller competitors, leaving the Big Industry leaders to laugh all the way to the bank.

    “Extensive welfare” has been in place in this country for almost 45 years, and yet there are more and more people on welfare. Sounds like the archetype of a failed policy, if you ask me. LBJ’s “War on Poverty” has been almost as successful as the “War on Drugs”.

    Socialized Medicine (the new approved euphemism: National Health Care) is socialist by definition, so quit trying to move the goalposts.

    Spiny Norman (99c30b)

  63. Anything short of Soviet or Maoist command economies is not socialism, eh?

    Well, the USSR and the Maoists were socialists, but there are other ways to do it. The Mormons were socialist for a while.

    “Extensive welfare” has been in place in this country for almost 45 years, and yet there are more and more people on welfare.

    Evidence?

    Socialized Medicine (the new approved euphemism: National Health Care) is socialist by definition, so quit trying to move the goalposts.

    Socialized medicine is NOT socialism, dammit. One portion of your economy covered by a government program does not make you a socialist country, just like we are not a socialist country now because we have social security. It’s a socialist element in the economy, but you have to cover the entire economy with such programs to make the country socialist. Practically every industrialized country in the world (you know, the ones whose health care ratings are above ours) has some kind of socialized health care system, and they are not socialist by any stretch of the imagination.

    Socialism is defined as ” system of social organization in which property and the distribution of income are subject to social control rather than individual determination or market forces.” It’s a foggy definition, and there are various groups claiming to be socialist who are more or less hardcore, but don’t sit here and tell me that one feeble little health care program makes you into Stalin. Socialism is a system where all property and all income are subject to social control of one kind or another.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  64. My last comment got caught in the filter, I think. Can anyone get it out?

    [Found it and thanks for mentioning it. It’s now #64. — DRJ]

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  65. “Feeble”.

    Ohferchrissake! The federal government taking over an entire sector of the US economy is “feeble”? That’s what “single payer” means, by the way. Anyone who thinks having a government bureaucrat decide if you get to see a doctor sometime in the next 6 months is a good idea really ought to have their head examined. Oh, you have chronic health problems and you’re over 80? Too bad, you’re on your own… or perhaps euthanasia might be a better way to preserve your dignity. Oh, your baby will be or has been born with birth defects? We can ease your burden (and the burden on the System…).

    The problem with Socialized Medicine is that the individual’s needs are utterly meaningless, it is the System who’s “health” is paramount.

    BTW, the problems in the US health care system are directly related to clumsy, ham-fisted government regulatory “intervention” and nationalizing it can ONLY make it worse. Should the government take over the automobile insurance business and have one single-payer System that covers everything, even routine maintanence like oil changes and tire rotation?

    Spiny Norman (99c30b)

  66. Obama pays lip service to capitalism and free markets but this excerpt and the rest of his address make it clear he sees government as the answer. People are free to believe in capitalism, government regulation, or some combination of the two but I think those who view government as the real answer are modern socialists.

    You know, government is kind of responsible for civilization. Government must be some kind of answer, I mean we’re not all living in caves anymore, are we?

    I don’t know how you people get away with saying “the government is part of the problem” and then get elected to run the government. Suppose you owned a small business, would you hire someone that said in the interview that they didn’t believe in your company, and that they didn’t think there was anything productive they could do by getting the job?

    Because that’s effectively what Republicans governing philosophy is, isn’t it? They say, ‘The government is inefficient and wasteful.’ Then they get in power, proceed to be as inefficient and wasteful as possible (Iraq, anyone?) and yell, ‘See? Look how inefficient and wasteful government is!’ Well, of course it is when you put a moron in charge who argues that the government he’s running is some sort of obsolete dinosaur that couldn’t possibly do any good.

    There can be more to government than reckless deregulation and tax cutting, there has to be more to government than that if a country is going to have any persistence. Obama’s right, we’ve tried this before, and we ended up with child labor and rat shit in the hot dogs. Government’s by no means a silver bullet, but it’s hardly The Big Problem, especially if you don’t entrust it to corrupt, lying idiots.

    Levi (76ef55)

  67. I don’t know how you people get away with saying “the government is part of the problem” and then get elected to run the government.

    – Google Ronald Reagan

    “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it, and if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

    Apogee (366e8b)

  68. “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it, and if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

    How can a government have a ‘view of the economy’ all on it’s own? There’s a trillion different types of government, and they each reflect the views of those who run them. Reagan is just mischaracterizing the liberal’s view of how the government should relate to the economy.

    Reagan’s view is that we should entrust the whole enchilada to businesses, and just believe that they’re inherently good and honest enough to regulate themselves.

    Nobody wants to stifle the economy or curb innovation. But we’re trying to maintain a functioning society here, and you can’t do that by endlessly cutting taxes and prioritizing profit margins over the public good on every single consideration. There needs to be balance.

    Levi (76ef55)

  69. I still don’t see what any of this has to do with being president. My point was that even if Bush did cocaine or other illegal drugs, it doesn’t disqualify him from being president, though it is lamentably hypocritical of him to continue the hard line on drugs after he escaped scot-free himself.

    It has to do with character and judgment. Most of us think pot is no big deal but cocaine is, hence the need to distinguish hard drugs from those that are merely illegal, and the latter from underaged use of alcohol and cigarettes (still illegal, but tough to imagine that ever having been a campaign issue, even that the height of National Prohibition). It’s a much smaller deal if the last use of any illegal drugs, hard or otherwise, preceded the presidential candidacy by a quarter century, but from where I sit, Obama’s bigger problem is not with the fact that he used or when he used it back then, so much as the horrendous judgment he exercises by bragging about “admitting” it now. At least Bush had the good sense to keep his mouth shut, for the most part, rather than set up every kid in the country to argue that if the Governor/President can do drugs, why can’t I? Obama probably didn’t even think that through; he just figured that if confession is good for the soul, it can’t possibly be bad for anything else.

    As for Bush’s “hypocrisy,” do you have any specific legislation in mind, or are you just taking another lame broadside at the guy for lame broadsides’ sake? Even if I were to accept your strained definition of “hypocritical” that precludes honest people from taking positions in 2008 that are inconsistent with behavior that ceased in 1974, so what? There are worse things than hypocrisy, and lowering standards to conform to one’s own bad habits is pretty high on the list. “Practice what you preach” is a sound principle; “preach what you practice” is not.

    You say “I think those who view government as the real answer are modern socialists.” Real answer to what? Some kind of regulatory framework reining in large business is not socialism.

    It has socialist tendencies, but I’ll grant you that as pure isms go, it’s closer to traditional fascism than Marxian socialism. Would it make you feel better if we stopped calling Obama a socialist and started calling him a fascist instead?

    National health care is not socialism.

    It is socialized medicine. The only difference being that national health care imposes the principles of socialism on one particular industry, while full-blown socialists want to impose it on every industry. If you really think the left wing of the Democrat Party wants to socialize medicine and then leave the rest of the economy alone, I have a bridge to sell you, but you’d better act fast before they nationalize it.

    Extensive welfare is not socialism. Socialism is complete destruction of the market-based economy, to be replaced by a planned economy.

    In other words, you’re relying on an absolute definition of “socialism” whereby any policy that stops short of commanding and controling 100% of all market decisions does not qualify. By that logic, socialism has never existed anywhere in the world, not even in the hard core commie countries of the Cold War era. Of course, by the same logic, laissez-faire capitalism hasn’t been around for quite some time, either.

    If you want to dispute that, and call socialism some kind of the mild leftist policies in place throughout Europe (as I just described), I would disagree, but in that case socialism is not at all the “extreme left” and my point stands either way.

    European-style quasi-socialism is pretty extreme by U.S. standards, even though it is obviously mild by comparison to the full-blown socialism thet used to have across Eastern Europe. In any event, I’m not sure why you object so strongly to the use of the word “socialism” to describe the policies of self-described socialists. Would that our socialists had the guts to admit that they are socialists, or at least socialist-lite (or “democratic socialists,” or whatever), rather than taint a perfectly good word like “liberal,” which retains its traditionnal, non-leftist connotations in most of the world. Or, worse yet, “progressive,” thereby tainting the very concept of progress itself.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  70. It’s a much smaller deal if the last use of any illegal drugs, hard or otherwise, preceded the presidential candidacy by a quarter century, but from where I sit, Obama’s bigger problem is not with the fact that he used or when he used it back then, so much as the horrendous judgment he exercises by bragging about “admitting” it now. At least Bush had the good sense to keep his mouth shut, for the most part, rather than set up every kid in the country to argue that if the Governor/President can do drugs, why can’t I? Obama probably didn’t even think that through; he just figured that if confession is good for the soul, it can’t possibly be bad for anything else.

    Obama can’t win by lying, and he can’t win by being honest. And somehow, Bush wins by getting tricked into admission. Another impossible standard you’ve constructed that applies to everyone except for the guys you like.

    Heaven forbid we actually talk about things in this country. ‘People use drugs? Better just pretend like they don’t exist! People get STD’s? Better tell our kids to never have sex! No justification or foreseeable end-game for the Iraq war? Better just keep at it!’ Denial won’t make the problems go away. Maybe the fact that Obama quit drugs and became a successful public servant would inspire kids?

    And I just can’t resist pointing out again that if we’re comparing these two based on who’s a better role model for substance abuse, Obama has nothing on Bush’s decades-long alcoholism and drunk driving conviction.

    Levi (76ef55)

  71. Obama can’t win by lying

    He is doing a bang-up job of that so far.

    decades-long alcoholism

    Are you going to start in on this again? Here is a hint, a clue if you will. When you know nothing, or next to nothing about a topic, it is best to not make declarative statements about it. You really look foolish in doing so.

    JD (75f5c3)

  72. Are you going to start in on this again? Here is a hint, a clue if you will. When you know nothing, or next to nothing about a topic, it is best to not make declarative statements about it. You really look foolish in doing so.

    Oh, that’s right. I’m not allowed to call Bush an alcoholic, because he’s not an alcoholic until he says he is, right? That’s the only thing that matters in defining an alcoholic, that’s what I don’t understand about it, right?

    Whatever, I don’t want to get into another semantics argument with a retard about something everybody knows is true.

    Levi (76ef55)

  73. Nice Xrlq – well said.

    This guy has a problem with definitions, and easily gets lost trying to define things.

    So if:
    “Extensive welfare is not socialism. Socialism is complete destruction of the market-based economy, to be replaced by a planned economy.”
    One would ask how that differs from communism.

    Perhaps that’s the answer to Xrlq’s lament about “Would that our socialists had the guts to admit that they are socialists”

    They don’t want to let on about their true intentions: a small group of people telling every one else what to do, and profiting greatly from that position. A rehash of a century’s old scam that has always resulted in failure.

    Obama himself admits to it in the speech quoted by DRJ. He holds up the internet as a shining example of government blazing a trail for society. Unfortunately, quoting a secret DARPA project that by its very nature faces none of the regulatory restrictions of the private sector only proves that innovation is assisted by reducing government influence, not expanding it.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  74. You can’t dismiss all of socialism because the Soviets and Nazis were socialist. Palestine voted in Hamas, does that mean we should abandon democracy?

    Europe’s doing pretty well with socialist policies, why can’t we borrow ideas from them? (WARNING: I am not talking about national health care, let me just head that off at the pass.) There’s nothing that says we can’t remain capitalistic and Democratic and incorporate an Americanized sort of socialism, too.

    If the concern is that a small group of people is going to be telling us what to do and profiting tremendously from it, well be concerned, because George Bush has brought us that scary reality. Just look at the very small group of people that are enormously benefiting from the Iraq war, for example.

    Levi (76ef55)

  75. There’s nothing that says we can’t remain capitalistic and Democratic and incorporate an Americanized sort of socialism, too.

    That you can type that sentence without your head exploding is remarkable.

    JD (75f5c3)

  76. JD,

    Have you said anything important today? You seem to be obsessing over me a little bit.

    Levi (76ef55)

  77. Nope, nothing important at all. I just enjoy pointing out the mendoucheity of your missives. It really does not require much effort. You have been generous enough to supply all the material.

    JD (75f5c3)

  78. Well then I’m glad I’m keeping both of us busy.

    YOU’RE STALKING ME.

    Levi (76ef55)

  79. Responding to comments online is stalking? Give me a fucking break. Pointing out every time you lie is stalking? It is tiresome, yes, but stalking? Hyperbole often?

    I guess in Lefty-speak, that is like where they call telling the truth about someone a smear.

    JD (75f5c3)

  80. Dude, you’re following me from thread to thread, interjecting with stupid, unfunny one-liners when I’m not even addressing you, and ignoring or intentionally misinterpreting 95% of the stuff that I say.

    Leave me alone weirdo.

    Levi (76ef55)

  81. And I just can’t resist pointing out again that if we’re comparing these two based on who’s a better role model for substance abuse, Obama has nothing on Bush’s decades-long alcoholism and drunk driving conviction.

    It takes a special brand of BDS to think Bush’s abuse of one legal substance is worse than Obama’s abuse of multiple illegal ones.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  82. Leave me alone weirdo.

    Here’s a great way to accomplish that: stop posting here. Ever. It’s not as though anyone is going to miss your idiotic, knee-jerk non-insights anyway. Take your idiotic ramblings to a forum where they belong, like dKos or Huffpo, and I can virtually guarantee you that your “stalker” will NOT follow you there.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  83. It takes a special brand of BDS to think Bush’s abuse of one legal substance is worse than Obama’s abuse of multiple illegal ones.

    The legality of alcohol is totally arbitrary, it’s one of the most lethal and judgment impairing poisons you can inject yourself with, and Bush kept at it for 20+ years. And doing drugs a couple of times, as Obama admits to, doesn’t amount to abuse in the same way that a compulsive pattern of behavior practiced over more than 2 decades does.

    Bush did the illegal shit, too, anyway. He just doesn’t have the balls to admit it.

    Levi (76ef55)

  84. Here’s a great way to accomplish that: stop posting here. Ever. It’s not as though anyone is going to miss your idiotic, knee-jerk non-insights anyway. Take your idiotic ramblings to a forum where they belong, like dKos or Huffpo, and I can virtually guarantee you that your “stalker” will NOT follow you there.

    No thanks. I came from another forum where the liberals outnumbered the conservatives. I like the balance here much better.

    Levi (76ef55)

  85. Then do some growing up, Levi.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  86. Levi wrote: You can’t dismiss all of socialism because the Soviets and Nazis were socialist. Palestine voted in Hamas, does that mean we should abandon democracy?

    What that does is illustrate why the founders of the U.S.A. were wise NOT to make one-man one-vote “democracy” the way we elect leaders.

    People whine and complain about the two-party system and the electoral college, but it the existing system that has kept this nation comparitively steady as a rock. No wavering decade after decade between capitalism, socialism, fascism, and various amalgams like in other nations.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  87. Levi #81,

    You are not in charge of who comments here or how/where they choose to comment. Patterico is the blog owner and he handles comments as he deems appropriate. Obviously, Patterico can’t read every comment or thread in real time so if you have a problem you can’t resolve, you are free to email Patterico with your concerns.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  88. Levi spit: Bush did the illegal shit, too, anyway. He just doesn’t have the balls to admit it.

    Two words: Prove it.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  89. You can’t dismiss all of socialism because the Soviets and Nazis were socialist. Palestine voted in Hamas, does that mean we should abandon democracy?

    While Socialism is frequently linked with dictatorships, it does not HAVE to be. That you confuse the issue so readily is hardly surprising…

    You are, after all, an idiot.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  90. The legality of alcohol is totally arbitrary, it’s one of the most lethal and judgment impairing poisons you can inject yourself with, and Bush kept at it for 20+ years.

    Nothing “arbitrary” about the fact that alcohol is legal. For one thing, we tried National Prohibition and that didn’t work out too hot. For another, alcohol in moderation is good for you, while there’s no evidence that the same can be said of pot, cocaine or even tobacco. Granted, Bush’s past use went beyond moderation, but why you think that makes it any worse than Obama’s smoking is beyond me. Particularly when you consider that Bush gave up his vice for personal reasons years before showing any interest in elective office, while Obama held on to his until the bitter end.

    And doing drugs a couple of times, as Obama admits to, doesn’t amount to abuse in the same way that a compulsive pattern of behavior practiced over more than 2 decades does.

    Decades of drinking too much, compulsive. Decades of smoking too much, not compulsive. Got it. I think.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  91. Let me remind everyone what my original beef was. I was saying that attempting to label Obama as “extreme left” or “ultra left” as I have seen here and elsewhere is completely ridiculous. As an example, I asked if we couldn’t all admit that Obama is no socialist and move on (correct me if I am being dishonest here).

    Then we got tangled up in definitions:

    In other words, you’re relying on an absolute definition of “socialism” whereby any policy that stops short of commanding and controling 100% of all market decisions does not qualify. By that logic, socialism has never existed anywhere in the world, not even in the hard core commie countries of the Cold War era. Of course, by the same logic, laissez-faire capitalism hasn’t been around for quite some time, either.

    I thought that socialism should be defined as Marxist theory does, as the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Of course, honest-to-god socialism hasn’t actually existed–it’s not possible to control 100% of the economy even in a totalitarian dictatorship. This seems to be controversial, so let me relax that a bit. I still think any definition of socialism has to include a sort of vector sum of all things that have called themselves socialist–on one side you’ve got the hardcore USSR and Maoist China, and on the other you’ve got, say, democratic socialism as advocated by MLK, and the sum is somewhere in the middle. Still, this is beside my original point, which was to say that Obama is no hard-core leftist.

    European-style quasi-socialism is pretty extreme by U.S. standards, even though it is obviously mild by comparison to the full-blown socialism thet used to have across Eastern Europe.

    That’s exactly right. If you want to quibble with my definition of socialism and say that, no, Obama proposes a national health care system (which is not single-payer, by the way) and therefore he is a socialist, then you’ve weakened your definition of socialism so much that Obama is still not a hardcore leftist. Is that clear enough?

    As for Bush’s “hypocrisy,” do you have any specific legislation in mind, or are you just taking another lame broadside at the guy for lame broadsides’ sake? Even if I were to accept your strained definition of “hypocritical” that precludes honest people from taking positions in 2008 that are inconsistent with behavior that ceased in 1974, so what? There are worse things than hypocrisy, and lowering standards to conform to one’s own bad habits is pretty high on the list. “Practice what you preach” is a sound principle; “preach what you practice” is not.

    My personal view is that all drugs should be decriminalized to some extent. Marijuana should be totally legalized (but no advertising), and more dangerous things available by prescription. My point is that politicians who use drugs and then stop, shaking their heads about their struggles in their youth, then turn around and sign the latest three-strikes law bug the crap out of me (and that includes Obama, though he seems to support more treatment and less imprisonment, and the cessation of DEA raids on medical marijuana facilities). Would these politicians have been better off arrested and in jail when they were young?

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  92. No thanks. I came from another forum where the liberals outnumbered the conservatives. I like the balance here much better.

    Then quit whining when your trollish behaviors occasionally come home to roost.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  93. Nothing “arbitrary” about the fact that alcohol is legal. For one thing, we tried National Prohibition and that didn’t work out too hot. For another, alcohol in moderation is good for you, while there’s no evidence that the same can be said of pot, cocaine or even tobacco.

    And you think the national prohibition on other drugs is working out hot? And since when is the positive health benefits of a substance a basis for its legality or illegality (you mentioned tobacco)? Why are marijuana, cocaine, heroin, every psychedelic, and ecstasy illegal? It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with danger or benefits. You mentioned that tobacco is legal, which kills more people than every other drug combined, while large doses of alcohol are incredibly damaging to the brain and liver. Moreover, it’s possible to be a heavy heroin/morphine addict your whole life (provided a clean supply, and you don’t OD, of course) and not suffer hardly any negative physiological side effects.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  94. Xrlq – You are spot on in your guarantee. Levi wants to be able to spew and spit his bile, and gets the vapors when someone calls him on it. I will quit feeding the troll.

    JD (5f0e11)

  95. Still, this is beside my original point, which was to say that Obama is no hard-core leftist.

    Only if you define “hard-core leftist” out of existence. The guy is the single most left/liberal member of the U.S. Senate. Within the context of American politics, it doesn’t get more hard core than that.

    My personal view is that all drugs should be decriminalized to some extent. Marijuana should be totally legalized (but no advertising), and more dangerous things available by prescription.

    I tend to agree but that’s neither here nor there. The point was not whether our current drug laws do more harm or good. Reasonable minds can differ on that. You called Bush a hypocrite. Simply disagreeing with you does not a hypocrite make.

    My point is that politicians who use drugs and then stop, shaking their heads about their struggles in their youth, then turn around and sign the latest three-strikes law bug the crap out of me

    Sorry, you lost me there. What was the latest “three-strikes” law that George W. Bush has signed, and what does that law (or any other three-strikes law, for that matter) have to do with locking up casual drug users anyway? Have you even read a three strikes law?

    Would these politicians have been better off arrested and in jail when they were young?

    Maybe, maybe not, but that goes to the substantive question of what our drug policy ought to be; it has nothing to do with hypocrisy. Those who believe that the drug laws work should support strict enforcement of the same. Those who do not, should not. Whether they themselves partook in the activities in question is irrelevant.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  96. Within the context of American politics, it doesn’t get more hard core than that.

    That’s exactly my point. The US political spectrum in no basis for definitions of “hard-core leftist.” It’s a historical term, and it should be reserved for those situations in which it applies. I can’t just stake out the most conservative senator and call him a “hard-core rightist,” because that has an implication of fascism (and if anybody mentions how Jonah Goldberg has conclusively proven that fascism is a leftist phenomenon, read this and this and get back to me).

    We have to remember history and political theory when using categorical definitions like this. You can’t just stake out the narrow boundaries of acceptable US political behavior and call that hard-core this or that.

    And your contention that Obama is the “most liberal senator” is silly. What about Bernie Sanders, the actual democratic socialist? Furthermore, the voting record of presidential campaigns is inevitably distorted because they only show up for the most important votes and appear more extreme than they really are (this is true of McCain as well). Obama’s healthcare program is less liberal the Hillary’s, he supports merit pay for teachers, and wants to expand the Army by 65,000 soldiers. Sure, he’s plenty liberal, but he’s not Russ Feingold either.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  97. Russel and Xrlq – As I read your comments it seems that the topic is bouncing back and forth between discussions of leftism and liberalism, two things that I do not equate. Leftism, IMO, falls under collectivist, statist and totalitarian definitions, while liberalism (in it’s original context) is comparatively almost a diametrically opposite viewpoint.

    Admittedly, these are very broad definitions of political ideas, and as such are open to a lot of subjective opinion, but I find it interesting that your agreements and disagreements seem to be lining up with regards to those two political ideas.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  98. Russell – as for your definition of Fascism, lets quote Paxton:
    “Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

    Let’s parse that, shall we?
    1. obsessive preoccupation with community decline:
    “The American economy was bound to suffer a painful correction, and policy-makers found themselves with fewer resources to deal with the consequences. Today those consequences are clear. I see them in every corner of our great country as families face foreclosure and rising costs. I see them in towns across America, where a credit crisis threatens the ability of students to get loans and states can’t finance infrastructure projects.” – Barak Obama 3/27/08

    2. Humiliation:
    “One of the heavy stones that currently rest at the United States’ feet is Iraq. Until we lift this burden from our foreign policy, we cannot rally the world to our values and vision. As many of you know, I opposed this war from the beginning – in part because I believed that giving this President the open-ended authority to invade Iraq would lead to the open-ended occupation we find ourselves in today.

    Now our soldiers find themselves in the crossfire of someone else’s civil war. More than 3,100 have given the last full measure of devotion to their country. This war has fueled terrorism and helped galvanize terrorist organizations. And it has made the world less safe. That is why I advocate a phased redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq to begin no later than May first with the goal of removing all combat forces from Iraq by March 2008. In a civil war where no military solution exists, this redeployment remains our best leverage to pressure the Iraqi
    government to achieve the political settlement between its warring factions that can slow the bloodshed and promote stability.” Barak Obama 3/2/07

    3. or Victimhood:
    “Legalized discrimination – where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities. – Barak Obama 3/17/08

    4. Compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity:
    “I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.” – Barak Obama 3/17/08

    5. a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion:
    – see DRJ #60 quote on Obama’s 2005 speech. “The problem is it won’t work.” Capitalism? Won’t work? So then what?

    I know you’ll argue about how I view this, but this is my main problem attempting to talk to leftists. They have a pre-programmed notion that only “conservative” movements can possibly produce pain, poverty or suffering. You can easily see that in Paxton’s book, where he blithely waves away the communist movements of the 20th century as “revolutions”, while strait-facedly describing a supposed system whereby those nasty conservatives amass power. Reading this system, one would wonder how anyone would amass power in any other way:

    “1. the creation of a movement. 2) the rooting of the movement in the political system; 3) the seizure of power; 4) the exercise of power; and 5) the duration of power.”
    Huh?

    All this is of course subjective. My problem with Obama is rooted in the fact that I cannot (and not for the lack of trying) find anything that he says wherein he concretely states his position.

    If he doesn’t want to be known as a far leftist, (or a fascist as in my thought experiment) he could take steps to immediately change people’s opinions of himself by actually talking about something without resorting to vague platitudes.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  99. Russell:

    That’s exactly my point. The US political spectrum in no basis for definitions of “hard-core leftist.” It’s a historical term, and it should be reserved for those situations in which it applies.

    Yawn. This is a discussion about American politics. It’s not about a “spectrum” that extends to other countries but means nothing here. “Left” and “right” don’t have any absolute, worldwide definitions anyway. Right especially, as the very concept of “conservative” assumes support of the status quo, which means something completely different in any other country.

    Apogee: I think I made it pretty clear that I appreciate the difference between classical liberalism and the leftist dogma that carries that label in American society today.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  100. Sheesh, not another reference to the discredited attempt by Paxton to revise the history of fascism? How nauseating.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  101. Apogee: So now Obama is a fascist AND a socialist? Please try and keep your criticisms from eating their own tail, like the Muslim/black radical Christian thing.

    They have a pre-programmed notion that only “conservative” movements can possibly produce pain, poverty or suffering.

    I don’t know where you got this notion. Clearly Soviet Russia and Maoist China cause horrible suffering and death, in numbers far more than Nazi Germany. You clearly missed the whole point of Paxton’s book, which is to differentiate between standard authoritarianism (like Soviet Russia) and fascism. Not to say that one is worse than the other, just to outline their differences.

    Sheesh, not another reference to the discredited attempt by Paxton to revise the history of fascism?

    Discredited? Revisionist? Says who? This is the premier work in the field. Even the execrable Goldberg cites it as an authoritative reference. If anyone is a revisionist it’s Goldberg. And you haven’t read Bell either, I see.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  102. Oh, and Apogee, let me see you cram Obama into this box you seemed to forget: “abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  103. Xrlq – you did, I forgot – my bad. Back to the speak and spell for me.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  104. Russell #102 – Yes, I did just prove that Obama is both a fascist and a socialist. How? By following the strained logic of your hero Paxton. I think I know why you have trouble defining anything.

    I “got the notion” of leftist equivocation of all things conservative and all things evil by interacting with leftists themselves and reading their “pick-me-up” materials like precious Paxton.
    Yes Clearly Soviet Russia and Maoist China cause horrible suffering and death, in numbers far more than Nazi Germany, but it’s not that clear if the person who wrote that turns around and evinces excitement at the prospect of socialized anything.

    the whole point of Paxton’s book, which is to differentiate between standard authoritarianism (like Soviet Russia) and fascism. Not to say that one is worse than the other, just to outline their differences.
    Why outline their differences? To provide a sleazy, unfounded link between conservative principles and Nazis (see about 950,000 Kos entries)

    Sorry, but it’s the same story, no matter how you define it. The only goal for fascists, socialists, communists, or any group of thugs is to amass power and profit by exerting control over others. The only system in the history of this planet that takes this into account is our current system of representative democracy. And not because of life, liberty, etc., but because of the system of checks and balances. Nobody gets trusted, not the people, majority or minority, nor the government.

    This is the system that Obama thinks “won’t work”. He’s for changing it. How, he won’t say, and that’s your answer to your #103 Russell. (Re-read #99’s part 5)

    Apogee (366e8b)

  105. Apogee: So now Obama is a fascist AND a socialist? Please try and keep your criticisms from eating their own tail, like the Muslim/black radical Christian thing.

    Oh goody, one of those “socialists can’t be fascists” types. How about the National Socialists? They must not have been fascists, either, right?

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  106. Fascism was a socialist movement. This has been clearly established by real authorities on the subject. Both italian fascism and german national socialism were derivative of non-marxian socialist movements. Revisionism to attempt to recast Fascism as not of socialism follow the old marxist technique of defining only marxist derivations as “true” socialism.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  107. Nothing “arbitrary” about the fact that alcohol is legal.

    It’s legality is totally arbitrary when you compare the effects of alcohol with those of pot. You can’t overdose on pot, pot doesn’t irreversibly kill your brain cells, you can’t develop a physical dependency on it, it doesn’t impair your judgment, and there are a variety of medicinal uses, particularly for pain-suffering patients that are allergic to other means.

    That’s not to say it’s harmless, inhaling smoke into your lungs obviously isn’t going to be healthy no matter what you do, but there’s no way you can argue that pot is less safe, or more dangerous, than alcohol, which kills thousands of Americans each year in all manner of ways.

    Decades of drinking too much, compulsive. Decades of smoking too much, not compulsive. Got it. I think.

    You were talking about Obama’s illegal drug use, which was brief, and hardly anything you could honestly call abuse. Smoking cigarettes for 20 years is obviously compulsive, and I wouldn’t say that it wasn’t. Do you see how you’re putting words in my mouth?

    Levi (76ef55)

  108. Then quit whining when your trollish behaviors occasionally come home to roost.

    What is that supposed to mean? Have I been whining? I’d just leave if I didn’t want to be here, or couldn’t ‘take it,’ from all you big tough conservatives…

    What the hell are you talking about, exactly?

    Levi (76ef55)

  109. You can’t overdose on pot, pot doesn’t irreversibly kill your brain cells, you can’t develop a physical dependency on it, it doesn’t impair your judgment,

    Levi – Tell me the same thing after you’ve met people who’ve smoke weed daily for 20 plus years and are trying to give it up. It ain’t a pretty sight.

    What makes you so certain Barack’s drug use was so short – just because he says so? His honesty is turning out to be pretty suspect, isn’t it? Larry Sinclair said he was doing drugs with Obama in the recent past, Levi. I’m sure you read about that. Polygraphs aren’t 100% accurate, cupcake.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  110. It’s legality is totally arbitrary when you compare the effects of alcohol with those of pot. You can’t overdose on pot, pot doesn’t irreversibly kill your brain cells, you can’t develop a physical dependency on it, it doesn’t impair your judgment, and there are a variety of medicinal uses, particularly for pain-suffering patients that are allergic to other means.

    No one has ODed on pot, that’s true, but the mere fact that you can say pot doesn’t impair your judgment is pretty damning evidence that it has. Add to the list the fact that there is no clear medical use of pot as such that cannot be served by other means, e.g., Marinol, and the fact that no “moderate” amount of pot use has been shown to extend anyone’s life expectancy, and the arbitrariness subsides. In any event, those only go to the question of what should be legal, not what is legal or was at the time the individuals in question did it. Compliance with the law vs. flouting of the same has a lot to do with one’s judgment, I think.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  111. Pot – it doesn’t impair your judgment

    Given the universe of brain poundingly stooopid statements offered up by Senor Levi, this is a chart topper.

    JD (75f5c3)

  112. You were talking about Obama’s illegal drug use, which was brief, and hardly anything you could honestly call abuse. Smoking cigarettes for 20 years is obviously compulsive, and I wouldn’t say that it wasn’t.

    You implied as much with your constant comparisons between Obama and Bush. What useful purpose is served by arguing till you’re blue in the face that one of Obama’s past vices was not long-term, compulsive behavior, while quietly conceding that another of his vices was?

    Do you see how you’re putting words in my mouth?

    If foolishly assuming you were arguing in good faith rather than being deliberately disingenuous is “putting words in your mouth,” then perhaps so. From now on, I promise to construe every ambiguously stupid statement you make as an intentional lie, instead. Happy?

    Xrlq (b71926)

  113. Happy?

    Likely, no…

    But you’ll probably be spot-on far more often. :)

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  114. “Both italian fascism and german national socialism were derivative of non-marxian socialist movements.”

    -SPQR

    “Granted that the XIXth century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the XXth century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the ‘right’, a Fascist century. If the 19th century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the ‘collective’ century, and therefore the century of the State.”

    – Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism

    It would seem that Benito Mussolini disagrees with you when it comes to his movement drawing inspiration from your typical socialist movement (and, for what it’s worth, he’s something of an authority on the subject). It would also seem that Mussolini seems to identify with “the right”… and right, you’ll recall, is the opposite of left.

    I’ll be merciful and grant that Fascism is something of an ideological anomaly, and is accordingly difficult to categorize. That said, I think it’s pretty stupid to try to couch Democratic politicians as “Fascists” when the words of the Head Fascist contradict you.

    Leviticus (e87aad)

  115. Leviticus, the words of a speech where Mussolini is drawing distinctions of his movement are one thing. The actual ideological tenets of Fascism are that of centralized state control of the economy and even culture. The differences between it and the Bolshevik form of socialism that it purported to oppose were more matters of degree such as whether or not the state actually owned all the means of production rather than merely dictating to the owners.

    Hence, the reference to the “collective” century in your own quote. Those are ideas derivative of socialism in general ( Mussolini having originally been a more typical socialist leader before splitting off into the fascist movement ).

    As for it being “stupid” to link Democratic politicians, the admiration that FDR’s advisors had for Fascism serves admirably to rebute that snark.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  116. Consider the similarities between the quote from Mussolini that Leviticus selected above, and this quote from FDR’s head of the National Recovery Administration, Donald Richberg:

    There is no choice presented to American business between intelligently planned and uncontrolled industrial operations and a return to the gold-plated anarchy that masqueraded as “rugged individualism.”…Unless industry is sufficiently socialized by its private owners and managers so that great essential industries are operated under public obligation appropriate to the public interest in them, the advance of political control over private industry is inevitable.”

    SPQR (26be8b)

  117. I’ll be merciful and grant that Fascism is something of an ideological anomaly, and is accordingly difficult to categorize. That said, I think it’s pretty stupid to try to couch Democratic politicians as “Fascists” when the words of the Head Fascist contradict you.

    Leviticus, I’ll ask you the same question Russell couldn’t or wouldn’t answer: were the National Socialists “fascists?” Why or why not?

    Xrlq (b71926)

  118. Leviticus, I’ll ask you the same question Russell couldn’t or wouldn’t answer: were the National Socialists “fascists?” Why or why not?

    Of course they were fascists. What’s your point? That because they called themselves “socialists” they were so? Not true.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  119. I think I see where this is going, so let me get a head start. First of all, the name of a political part or country is not a reliable gauge of their political beliefs, as witnessed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

    Second, the Nazis weren’t socialist. Economically, they had some shared characteristics, but their policy would more accurately be called corporatist. They did have extensive government intervention in the economy, but it was mostly for the purposes of massive armament production, and there was such a thing as private property under fascist regimes.

    Political structure is where the main difference is. Whereas socialist countries like the USSR and Maoist China (with ordinary paranoid authoritarian bureaucracies) kept their populations in check, fascist countries relied on violent nationalism and massive popular participation (thus requiring a charismatic figure like Mussolini). This is the key factor in any definition of fascism, the whole point of Paxton’s book, and one that The Execrable Goldberg totally misses. This is not to say that USSR-style authoritarian socialism is somehow better than fascism. Stalin killed 20 million of his own people, and Mao around 50 million, some through repression but many through bloody-minded stupidity. At least Hitler burned out after a dozen years.

    If we’re going to have fascism as a term, it can’t just be a synonym of authoritarianism, or it’s totally useless except as a slur (which seems to be the point of The Execrable Goldberg’s book–taking back fascism to cudgel the left with).

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  120. Nationalism and personality cults are indeed essential to fascism, but they’re not antithetical to socialism, only irrelevant to it. Thus, while it is fair to say that merely being a socialist does not make one a fascist, or vice-versa, it is not correct to imply that either precludes the other. The National Socialists called themselves that for a reason: to form a broad coalition appealing to nationalists and socialists alike, while really, really, really appealing to those who were both nationalists and socialists.

    Are party names always a reliable indicator of their agenda? No, not always, but more often than not. Even in the case of the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the ruling party is called Workers’ Party of Korea, which leaves little doubt as to its socialist leanings. Even more so the case with the German “Democratic” Republic, whose ruling party had “socialist” built right into its name, and only got around to adding a reference to democracy after democracy overtook them. In a bizarre coincidence, I hear that that German Communist Party, the Communist Party of Germany, the French Communist Party, the Communist Party of the United States of America and the Communist Party of Russia are all … you’ll never guess this one … communist.

    I could go on, but you get the point. Now why don’t you provide a single example (other than this one disputed example you are trying to prove) of a political party that called itself socialist but wasn’t.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  121. “The differences between [Fascism] and the Bolshevik form of socialism that it purported to oppose were more matters of degree such as whether or not the state actually owned all the means of production rather than merely dictating to the owners.”

    -SPQR

    I agree, I just think you’re lending insufficient weight to the significance of the distinction between the two.

    “As for it being “stupid” to link Democratic politicians, the admiration that FDR’s advisors had for Fascism serves admirably to rebute that snark.”

    – SPQR

    OK, fine. MODERN Democratic politicians. I didn’t figure you’d quote a pre-1964 Democrat (since many pre-1964 “Democrats” are what you’d “Republicans” nowadays), but there you go…

    Xrlq: Yeah, the “National Socialists” (better known as “Nazis” to those not grasping at semantic straws) were fascists. But, as Russell said, just because the Nazis called themselves socialists doesn’t mean they were socialists.

    As Russell also said, history’s myriad socialist failures don’t get a pass just because they weren’t fascist; socialist regimes are responsible for more deaths this century than anything else I can think of. That said, trying to equate fascism with socialism so that you can equate fascism with Obama/HRC/The Left (by proxy) is disingenuous and annoying.

    Leviticus (ed6d31)

  122. I mean, I refrain from calling anyone on the right a “Fascist” (although I might’ve implied such in my Mussolini quote; I assure you, it was unintentional). The label doesn’t apply; why use it (unless its your intention to use it as a “cudgel”)?

    Leviticus (ed6d31)

  123. Russell and Leviticus seem to be contradicting each other. Leviticus states that Fascists can’t be socialists because they say so, and Russell states that even though fascists call themselves socialists, you can’t really listen to them.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  124. I could go on, but you get the point. Now why don’t you provide a single example (other than this one disputed example you are trying to prove) of a political party that called itself socialist but wasn’t.

    I don’t know of another example. My point was that political parties’ names tend to be rather propagandistic, but I think you are right in that there is a good deal of truth in advertising here. Still, I think calling the Nazis socialist is totally incorrect, and here’s why:

    The National Socialists called themselves that for a reason: to form a broad coalition appealing to nationalists and socialists alike, while really, really, really appealing to those who were both nationalists and socialists.

    No, not at all. Hitler hated the leftists in Germany more than anything and hunted them down like dogs. Anti-communism was one of the Nazi party planks. Hitler’s plan for lebensraum was always to the east, at the expense of the Soviets. Of course, this had to do with Hitler’s violent anti-Slav racism, but don’t tell me the leftists and the Nazis got along. They were the ones beating the crap out of each other in the streets in the 20’s and early 30’s.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  125. Methinks Hitler hated the Jews a wee bit more than the leftists, for whom the Holocaust was a minor inconvenience by comparison. The fact that Nazis and commies went around beating each other up tells you just about how far apart they were ideologically: as different as the Crips are from the Bloods. Commies ran around beating up on other commies back then, too, for being the wrong kind of commies.

    If the Nazis hated socialism, and had no desire to tap into the socialist base, they would have called themselves something else, like “National Democrats” or maybe “Republicans.” [Note that “democracy” carries a lot more propaganda value than “socialism,” hence the plethora of non-democratic political organizations with “democratic” in their name, vs. the dearth of non-socialist ones calling themselves “socialist.”]

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  126. Nazis calling themselves socialists? Rove did that, to make socialists look bad.

    Pablo (99243e)


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