Patterico's Pontifications


Quote of the Day

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:05 pm

Lee Stranahan: “You’re damn right I wanted the Iraq war to fail.”

UPDATE: I should make clear that if you read his whole article, he’s actually making a very good point: you can oppose your opponent without thinking he’s evil. He says he thinks Rush wants Obama to fail because Rush loves America and thinks Obama’s policies would be bad for it. He wants the Iraq war to fail because he loves America and thinks the war is bad for it.

The premise that someone wants the Iraq war to fail bugs me because I equate failure with more soldiers dying. (Rush’s saying he wants Obama to fail also bugs me because I equate failure with more Americans being out of work and suffering due to a bad economy.) But one could argue that the failure of the Iraq war could conceivably save soldiers’ lives — if you think “success” means we’ll stay there for years and subject soldiers to more danger.

In any event, I like his overarching point:

It’s wrong to leap from “I oppose policies that I’m opposed to” to “I want people to suffer and die.”

I agree. Both sides are quick to conclude that the other side is evil. In rare cases, they’re right — on both sides. But we needn’t demonize the opposition to passionately oppose their policies as wrongheaded.

55 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

  1. Well, at least he is honest. That is rare enough on the left.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  2. I completely agree with most of his points while disagreeing with most of his politics. Pretty fair and rational article (first one I’ve ever seen from there) except for a couple of unwarranted assumptions. He could have completely cut these two paragraphs and not been guilty of exactly what he’s writing against:

    The real crime Rush Limbaugh should be called out on isn’t for his opposition to liberal policies – because, duh – but for being such total hypocrite. His bread and butter for years has been forming ridiculous conclusions based on purposely distorting his opponent’s statements. He could give it but he can’t take it.

    But just because accusing our political opponents of treason is a tactic that Republicans have used with glee for years doesn’t mean it’s something that Democrats should adopt. It’s wrong and it’s counterproductive.

    Also, too bad he couldn’t resist that next-to-last line:

    The healthy conflict of views on our homeland is as American as Christian TV preachers involved in gay sex scandals.

    Overall, pretty reasonable article IMO, except for those things. Considering the audience he’s writing for, I hope he gets to keep writing there.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  3. I guess Obama trying to make a “backdoor” deal to pull out our troops by a date set by him, with almaliki while on his trip to Iraq during his campaign was not a treasonist act?. he wanted the war to fail because he valued the lives of our troops. did he value the almost 15,000 troops that died under Clinton’s presidency?. all this love is getting me teary eyed. this guy actually believes that rush’s statement of wanting Obama’s economic policies to fail is equal to his wanting us to lose the Iraq war. and what makes them equal is “love” for the country. Obama’s economic policies are not popular, and big government spending never fixed anything.

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  4. i had to re-read the story. these liberal writers write in a way that is confusing and deceptive at the same time. typical liberal forked tongue, I was for it, before I was against it, now I’m for it again!?!. ” it” being whatever topic is at hand.

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  5. this might be slightly off topic, but it does have to do with obama’s economic policies. mainly his stimulus bill. at “liveleak” they wrote about Obama giving china “eminent domain” over parts of the country. as collateral, should we fail to pay off our debt. which scares me is that I also heard from rush, that the chicoms are coming by the busloads to California and buying up foreclosed homes. china is not our friend, they already have too much power over our economy. and it is they that keep buying our bonds. much like the fed owns 40% of citibank stock, I cringe to know how much china owns us.

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  6. Can I question his patriotism now?

    Tully (c2f070)

  7. there was a lot to digest in that story. he doesn’t want to be accused of being in the blame America crowd than goes on to attack it’s founders. I can feel the love from him. in his mind, Americas wealth and power should only be used to enslave it’s own people to government, not to free a tortured and enslaved people. or protect america’s,let alone the world’s interest.

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  8. not yet tully, not until everything we say is going to happen, happens. and it seems that will happen much sooner than later. which is sad, but necessary in order for us to get back on the real road to recovery.

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  9. mr. falcone,

    Saying you know what is in his mind is exactly what he’s talking about. Believing differently than you do doesn’t make him evil. It just makes one of you wrong. If you’re right, your ideas will work and his will fail. You don’t need to demonize him. Doing so undermines your own position.

    I would also doubt the LiveLeak info. No basis in fact or law… and silly to think any President could do that.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  10. that’s what I thought also,but I first heard of it from a “believable” source. and I stand corrected about knowing what’s in his mind. would it be more acceptable for me to say that because of his rhetoric, I can come to the same conclusion that I previously stated. I mean at the same time we were freeing a nation of people, our own government is attempting to take control over all aspects of our lives.

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  11. I (and hopefully this is obvious) disagree with his conclusions, but believe he’s arguing in good faith. Considering it’s HuffPo, he has largely refrained from demonizing conservatives while disagreeing with their politics. Except for the two parts that I quoted, it’s remarkably even-handed (IMO).

    He doesn’t seem to see it as “government is attempting to take control over all aspects of our lives”. More like government ensuring stability and prosperity while maintaining American values. The next four years will show who is more correct, but being wrong doesn’t make someone a hypocrite… saying one thing and doing another does. He just appears to be standing by beliefs that we don’t agree with.

    Just my opinion of course, but I’d much rather discuss and debate someone who argues in good faith than someone who argues the party platform “right or wrong”. YMMV

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  12. Wouldn’t the marginalizing of our conservative attack/whack jobs (my pet name for Ann Colter) be a step in the right direction?
    I agree with Stash that having opposing ideals is great, but when we encourage stuff like rushbo and AC it muddies the waters even more.
    As a conservative I have always tried to think for myself. I admit to being lazy once or twice and referencing a clever sound clip from rush, but still, we need to embrace and relish our differences.

    pitchforksntorches (4dd8c4)

  13. I’m a huge fan of both Limbaugh and Coulter actually. They’re pundits, not politicians. Hyperbole, snark, and verbal bomb-throwing are all tools to emphasize the ideas they’re trying to present. That’s why I said in another thread that CPAC can’t invite Ann Coulter to speak without expecting some type of on-the-edge comments (or even over-the-edge). It’s what she does and she’s great at it.

    Politicians don’t get the same leeway in that setting. Rush and Ann are not likely to ever run for office (why take the pay cut?), don’t work for a party, and the only polls they need be concerned with are ratings and sales. They articulate political principles in a way that not only gets the point across but gets attention. They’re not the “Face of Conservatism” no matter what the MSM or Democratic Party (but I repeat myself) say. Every joke has the potential to offend (rightly or wrongly) somebody and both Rush and Ann use humor extensively. They’re going to tick people off.

    The point is that when we discuss things online or IRL, we have to realize that the other side is often just as convinced they’re right, just as concerned about the country, and pretty much just like us in most of the ways that matter. We just disagree on how to make things better for everyone or at least keep things from getting worse. It’s too bad that the apparent anonymity of the internet tempts some folks into hostile attacks, dishonest debate, trolling, etc… which many would never consider while talking face-to-face.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  14. #12 pitchforksntorches:

    Wouldn’t the marginalizing of our conservative attack/whack jobs (my pet name for Ann Colter) be a step in the right direction?

    I don’t think so.

    A huge component of the very successful Soviet propaganda campaign against the West was the marginalization of ideas that they could not compete against. They did so, not in great leaps and bounds, but over time using a process that Moynihan described in “Defining Deviancy Down” by shifting the focus of our attention from individual rights to concepts like “social justice.” (Moynihan was not addressing political thought, but crime in his essay…but I think the process he described is at play in the political arena as well.)

    In other words, the Left has continually (at the instigation of the Soviets, who have now left the stage) shifted the focus of our attention by its most outrageous demands to a “middle ground” that isn’t anywhere near the middle ground that we started with.

    To marginalize the firebrands on the right may not only be ineffective, in the sense that it does not move us back to a middle ground in political thought, but counterproductive in that it legitimizes those of the left who seek to stifle any contrarian thought. In otherwords, an “own goal.”

    That doesn’t mean that we need to pick up any burning brands dropped hither and about and run with them, either. Just recognize that the Left has been successful in redefining the confines of the arena, and that we need to come up with a strategery that does two things: shifts the confines of the arena back to principles that matter (ie, individual liberty & responsibility, limited government, and so on); and educates and woos the polity. Or, at least enough of it to avoid disastrous results at the polls.

    I don’t know if using that same strategy that the Left has perfected (marginalizing contrarian thought) can work for the right: it doesn’t seem to be working for me on a personal level, but who knows? Maybe I am just not patient enough…after all, it did work for the Soviets…even if they aren’t around to see the end result.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  15. Lee Stranahan is a stand up guy. I agree with him about very, very little, but he’s intellectually honest. He’s even gotten himself exiled for that sort of thing. If you’re in the mood for some overripe crazy, read the comments on that Palin piece.

    Would that more of the left were of Stranahan’s character.

    Pablo (99243e)

  16. An interesting article. But I do question his politics and the outcome of his wishes.

    Joe (17aeff)

  17. Pablo:

    I just updated the post to reflect my thoughts more fully. It is actually a good piece, even though I don’t agree with all of it.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  18. Both sides are quick to conclude that the other side is evil. In rare cases, they’re right — on both sides. But we needn’t demonize the opposition to passionately oppose their policies as wrongheaded.

    Okay, I’ll buy that, but isn’t that exactly what Patterico has done in his post entitled, “Obama: Planning to Spend Us Into Oblivion and Lie About It”?

    Really? Patterico believes that spending the United States into Oblivion is Obama’s plan? That’s not demonizing Obama?

    Just asking.

    Craig R. Harmon (0be05f)

  19. Oh, I don’t know, Craig. Attacking GW Bush for profligate spending…and then creating a spending bill to dwarf all spending bills…

    Well, if not demonic, I would call that act profoundly foolish.

    For a smart guy, the Presidents seems to borrow a lot from Jimmy Carter’s playbook.

    Oh, and picking Joe Biden as VP?

    Eric Blair (8d54e0)

  20. But, Eric, he found $1,500,000,000,000 in savings by cutting things never proposed.

    JD (0d1f38)

  21. Eric,

    I’ll buy profoundly foolish. Indeed, I’ve said that myself more than once over the last month or so but still, who here believes that Obama’s plan is to spend the country into oblivion?

    Patterico? Anyone?

    Or did I miss the fact that Patterico had his tongue in his cheek?

    Craig R. Harmon (0be05f)

  22. Okay, maybe Patterico means “minor demon.”

    Eric Blair (8d54e0)

  23. How would you describe his spending, to date, Craig? Restrained? Responsible? Redistributinist? Fiscally conservative?

    JD (0d1f38)

  24. Stranahan’s right, loving your country has nothing to do with which ideology appeals to you. Communists love their country just as much as fascists or Republicans or Democrats do.

    Which is another way of saying that loving your country doesn’t count for much.

    When it comes to patriotism, actions, not words or state of mind, are what matters.

    What kind of person moans about how terrible it is that they might have to pay more in taxes to bail out someone who was careless in borrowing? Is that person a patriot?

    I have no problem with calling mortgage bailouts counterproductive, but when your primary objection is that your taxes might rise and that you shouldn’t have to pitch in to help your imprudent neighbor, then I don’t see how you can claim to be a patriot.

    Patriots are willing to sacrifice for the good of the country.

    I have no underwater mortgage, so I won’t be directly benefiting in that way from the plan to rescue homeowners.

    But I don’t mind paying more in taxes to help pay to shore up the entire system. It’s a patriotic duty.

    I feel the same way about military service.

    One reason we lost the war in Iraq is that we broadcast to the whole world that our leaders are willing to start wars they don’t believe they, or their children will have to fight in. Ditto for our leaders’ most vocal supporters. They shout how much they love war, but don’t sign up to fight in it.

    In this sense, the Iraq war dramatically increased the discount on neo-conservative macho talk. Virtually all the key people pushing the war, from Cheney to Bush to Perle, Wolfowitz and so on had never been willing to actually fight in a war themselves. Moreover, these same people insisted that Americans need not pay for the war, that instead, a tax cut and bigger borrowing was in order.

    There’s no doubt that Cheney, Bush, and their supporters love their country, no doubt at all. They just don’t believe that love demands any personal sacrifices. Any of our enemies who doubted that before the Iraq war are now surely convinced.

    Hax Vobiscum (edacf7)

  25. Indeed, I’ve said that myself more than once over the last month or so but still, who here believes that Obama’s plan is to spend the country into oblivion?

    Patterico? Anyone?

    Or did I miss the fact that Patterico had his tongue in his cheek?

    Obama is planning to spend money in a way that I would say is spending us into oblivion. And yeah, I think he’s lying about the savings. Did you read the WaPo article (or at least the excerpts I quoted)?

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  26. Hacks clearly is a liar.

    JD (0d1f38)

  27. JD,

    As I indicated above, profoundly foolish but redistributionist fits as well.

    However, I’m not defending Obama’s spending. I’m questioning whether, in implying that Obama’s plan is to spend the country into oblivion, Patterico hasn’t demonized Obama. Even if I were defending Obama’s spending, I would still think Patterico guilty of demonizing Obama since he’s implying more than just that Obama’s plan might result in spending the country into oblivion; Patterico is implying that that’s Obama’s intention.

    I simply can’t believe that anyone really believes that Obama is planning to spend us into oblivion, not even Patterico. Rather, I think Patterico was either being tongue in cheek and I just missed his intended humor or he’s rhetorically demonized Obama where he really just opposes Obama’s policies.

    To wit, re-read his update to this post, particularly the last sentence.

    In short, my opinion of Obama’s spending so far is irrelevant to my point.

    Craig R. Harmon (0be05f)

  28. Craig,

    At the risk of making the hordes upset, I’ll repeat: no, I don’t think that Obama *thinks* his plan will be harmful to the country. But I think it will.

    As an analogy: if you’re planning to invest in Citigroup, and I think that’s a stupid thing to do, I might say: “Craig is planning to do a really stupid thing.” Nobody would think I’m claiming that you believe it’s stupid.

    I think we shouldn’t reflexively deem the other side evil, but that doesn’t mean we should pull our punches. We need to call a sp — ah, hell, I can’t say that, can I? (It refers to a shovel, if you look up the origins of the phrase, but the monkey-cartoon people would be all over my ass if I completed that sentence.) Anyway, my point is we can’t walk on eggshells, and your interpretation of my comment is strained.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  29. Craig,

    I’ll add that I’m not perfect and may slip from time to time. I’m human too. It’s good to remind me when you see it happening. Just don’t think it is here.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  30. It should be patriotic to pay your own mortgage. It should be patriotic to manage your own affairs prudently. It is not un-patriotic to object to paying for other people’s poor personal financial decisions. It is not patriotic to raise taxes on the demonized class of actual taxpayers. It is not patriotic to lend or borrow beyond your means, and then expect others to fix everything for you. It is not patriotic to punish success. It is not patriotic to have a shared sense of sacrifice, as opposed to yur ideal of sacrifice for the successful few for the good of everyone else. Your view of the American ideals is fuckin twisted, hacks.

    Stating that he is spending us into oblivion is not demonizing the person, it is pointing out the ginormous flaws in his orgy of spending.

    JD (0d1f38)

  31. “Oblivion” versus what?

    Supporters, like me, of the budget-busting stimulus/banking/automaker bailout believe that without the spending, we’d face continued economic collapse.

    What do opponents think would happen without these measures to shore up the system?

    Would the banking system heal itself? Surely eventually it would, but in 9 months, or 5 years? And, in the meantime, what would happen to our country?

    What would become of the auto industry?

    Hax Vobiscum (edacf7)

  32. And when I say we lost the war in Iraq, I mean the costs exceeded the benefits.

    There were tactical victories, to be sure, but the geopolitical losses to our credibility and overall standing overwhelm them.

    Hax Vobiscum (edacf7)

  33. Patterico, you make a good point.

    I don’t think Bambi is stupid. I think he’s full of himself, and convinced he is right because he feels he’s right. I think he’s a naif w/r/t economics, and I think he’s going to blow out spending beyond all boundaries. But I don’t think he’s doing it because he’s evil or stupid. I think he’s doing it because he’s doctrinaire.

    steve miller (4bda12)

  34. I have a very good friend (maybe my best friend, my godson’s father) who chides me for “taking the side of the filthy rich”. He is my friend and a very smart guy and I’m sure he will, soon, think out for himself that it’s not ok to take what does not belong to you to give it to someone who has less than you, even under governmental authority. So I just tell him jokes and new recipes I have successfully tried.

    nk (502275)

  35. Obama is planning to spend money in a way that I would say is spending us into oblivion. And yeah, I think he’s lying about the savings. Did you read the WaPo article (or at least the excerpts I quoted)?

    Okay. That seems overblown and hyperbolic to me but I understand your point now. Thanks.

    And yes, I agree that he was less than honest when he spoke of finding $2 trillion in wasteful spending. It was mostly smoke and mirrors. There’s no way what he laid out in his speech will result in the kind of savings he spoke of. Not even close.

    But I never questioned the part about Obama’s lies. I questioned whether saying that Obama was planning to spend us into oblivion wasn’t demonizing Obama. That phrasing sounded to me like you meant that that was his intention. Like saying, “FDR: Planning to Pack the Supreme Court”. It’s hard to read, “Planning to” and avoid including the idea of “intending to”.

    I apologize for demonizing you via my misreading. 😉

    Craig R. Harmon (0be05f)

  36. What steve miller said, goes for me as well.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  37. I apologize for demonizing you via my misreading. 😉

    No prob. Kumbaya, baby.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  38. Thanks JD! You’re a gentleman and a scholar.

    Hax Vobiscum (23258e)

  39. Hax, I think, makes a point that makes me think of this: economics is an inexact science, if it is a science. The problem with economics is the same problem that Hayek and others identified with central planning: there’s no way to account for all of the factors that will effect an economy such that one can either a) plan how much raw materials, workers and factories will be needed to fill demand or b) know how quickly or slowly (or at all?) an economy will recover with or without governmental intervention.

    In other words, we’re mostly just whistling past the graveyard here, folks, plumping for our preferred big-picture solutions.

    My own big picture solution is that of F. A. Hayek as laid out in The Constitution of Liberty, but Europe hasn’t exactly closed up shop and reverted to the dark ages. It’s a different model, one toward which I’d rather we didn’t move any further toward, but neither can I say how many jobs would be lost, how many factories closed, how many banks closed, how many homes foreclosed, and so forth before the economy turned around with and without the huge intervention that Obama is making.

    and neither, I think, can anyone else.

    Craig R. Harmon (0be05f)

  40. It’s an interesting time we live in. The Presidential throne is occupied by an administration that will blow out spending beyond comprehension, spending more in one year than all previous years of the republic combined. Payment for this “money” and spending is not defined. Is there value to back up these greenhorn-backs? Or is this just adding a thousand zeros to everyone’s paycheck and prices, and hoping the resulting hyperinflation fools people?

    I remember the pictures of the Weimar Germans with their wheelbarrows full of paper currency. Heck, I can look at the news to see Zimbabwe’s currency with $Z100bn notes. How in the world can a economy issue that much money at one time without causing astounding inflation? I know that FDR tried the same thing, and tried raising taxes to absorb the extra money – but what did that accomplish? The stock market didn’t recover to its 1929 levels until 1954. Do we have 25 years of misery ahead of us because some guy wants to get his face on Mt. Rushmore?

    steve miller (4bda12)

  41. stashiu3: can you please explain (IMO) and ymmv. I don’t understand what you mean. we on the conservative need people like rush and ann. they bring a stark contrast between our ideological beliefs. I’m a very cynical person when it comes to politics. and his words drip with honey, but in the end are as bitter as wormwood. now those of us that know the difference between a liberal and conservative hear his words and properly disect them. but to those who don’t, say this guy makes sense we need to listen to him. and thus become believers of liberalism.

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  42. IMO = In my opinion
    YMMV = Your mileage may vary

    As to properly dissecting his words, I’m all for it. Reading things into them that he hasn’t said or implied is another issue. Read Patterico’s update which is what I’ve been saying. Do you honestly believe that liberals are wrong on every single issue that is important to them? If not, which issues are they right about? Do you believe that they are all intentionally trying to destroy our way of life? It’s kind of like the MSM and Dem Party (but again, I repeat myself) claiming that President G.W. Bush was both supremely diabolical and supremely stupid. The cognitive disconnect was simultaneously laughable, frustrating, and sad.

    Also, your “eminent domain” tip turns out to have been started at a neo-nazi website and picked up by Atlas Shrugs.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  43. for arguements sake, I will say Obama is doing what he is doing in good faith. now put that aside, all actions have a reaction and consequences. intended or unintended. liberal policies have many unintended consequences to them. you can be sincere about something and still be wrong.

    welfare raised the amount of poor people in the country. abortion has devalued human life to that of less than a dog. political correctness is destroying free speach. the belief that everyone should own a home has put our economy in the dumpster, and the list goes on. yes, liberals believe their policies are well intended, but that doesn’t make them good for the country.

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  44. stashiu3: thanks for the updates

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  45. Good piece for a liberal, which isn’t saying much. Stranahan seems to have the view popular on the left that wars are won or lost by political parties rather than by countries. I submit that the only failure a patriotic war opponent could reasonably have hoped for is that Bush would have failed to persuade enough Congressmen to vote on the AUMF. Wishing that a policy already implemented should fail is wishing harm on one’s own country.

    Conversely, I don’t read Rush’s statement as hoping that Obama will succeed politically in enacting his socialist agenda, and that this agenda will then harm them country. Rather, I read it as hoping he will fail to enact it in the first place. As do I, and as should anyone else who does not admire socialism.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  46. We must remember that as spending by Government increases as a share of GDP, individual Liberty has always diminished.
    Prior to the era of the Federal Reserve, total Government spending (Fed, State, Local) in times of non-War, rarely exceeded 10% of GDP.
    Today, that number is approaching 40% in direct spending, plus another 10-15% in regulatory-directed spending.
    Are we more or less free now than we were one-hundred years ago?

    Hell, we’re not as free today as we were fifty years ago!

    AD - RtR/OS (0ac8fd)

  47. I hope Bambi fails, too, but I hope it’s not a spectacular failure – that implies that America would be harmed.

    Instead, I hope the Republicans grow a spine, oppose every single one of his socialistic policies, and trump every attempt he makes to co-opt them. And yes, Specter, Collins, and Snowe, this means you.

    steve miller (4bda12)

  48. Hax, I think, makes a point that makes me think of this: economics is an inexact science,

    You appear to be new here, so please accept the following advice – do not feed the Troll. Nothing good will come of it, as has been amply demonstrated over the past month or so. Review the backlogs and you’ll see what I’m referring to.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  49. DMac, truer words never spoken.

    Do not – for the love of Pete – feed the troll.

    steve miller (4bda12)

  50. when all the words are finished and the rhetoric has faded. I just simply believe that the government should not have the power nor authority to determine which businesses should succeed and which should fail. our economy is bigger than this stimulus bill and any other spending bill that come after. it will bounce back, ithas every other time. government intrusion only proved to prolong the healing process.

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  51. Dmac, Steve,

    Okay. Does that make my observation untrue or irrelevant?

    Craig R. Harmon (534b06)

  52. I see Hack is still flogging his definition of “losing” with respect to the Iraq War. A definition that means that the US has lost every war in which it has been engaged.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  53. #52 Craig R. Harmon:

    Does that make my observation untrue or irrelevant?


    Unfortunately your reference does have the effect of opening the dump drain of a cesspit, however.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

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