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November 04, 2008

The Official VC Election Day Exit Poll

Forget the networks. They always get it wrong.

For unabashedly partisan and in your face Election Day snark delivered without those rigorous layers of editorial fact checking and control that distinguish professional journalists from the blog mob, you people know where to come:

Vote as your conscience directs but whatever else you do today, please vote. It is your civic duty and one of the great privileges of living in a free and prosperous nation.

However much our political process may wear upon our jangled nerves, it is notable that in America we settle our differences, at the worst, with harsh words rather than with bullets, with knives, or with our fists. This is the hallmark of a civilized nation; for as that playground rhyme we learned as children reminds us, words may bruise our egos and ruffle a few feathers but they leave no lasting physical damage. Words cannot truly harm us unless we choose to nurse a grievance long after the contest is concluded.

This has been a hard fought election. I know I made several of you angry yesterday. I will no doubt continue to do so, for that is my nature. The sole reason VC exists is to explore and discuss ideas. One does not do that timidly. If it's any comfort, I don't always like where my own thoughts lead me. There have been many times when I knew another tack would have been more popular. But I have never lacked trust in you all and as always, the comments section is open and you are free to disagree with me.

Strong emotions and beliefs are something I understand.

However, I also believe there comes a time when we must try to set them aside and find some middle ground - some space where we can create consensus. Obviously there are some moral issues which allow of no compromise. But in a nation as diverse as ours, compromise and cooperation form the foundation of all law, all progress, all commerce. People have to find ways to allow each other mutual profit from their interactions, and as Don so wisely observed in the comments section yesterday the demographics of this nation are changing more rapidly than we can understand or adapt to. We cannot hold back time, and so we must roll with these changes; otherwise our differences will pull us apart and we will no longer be able to say with any truth, "Out of many, One". The question is, how do we do this in a principled fashion?

Every day on the Internet, on my own site, I hear conservatives maintain that the individual is more important than the community. Quite frankly, I believe part of the disease which currently afflicts this country, the rot, lies within conservatism. We have lost the essential notion that there is a vital and constant tension between individual rights and duty to our community. But none of us - not a one - can long expect to prosper without the contributions of our forebears, our neighbors, our families, the infrastructure built by generations long past. None of us should expect our children to prosper, should we fail to leave this infrastructure stronger and healthier than it was when it was passed to us, for the challenges it must withstand in tomorrow's world are far sterner than the ones it withstood in our parents' day.

And yet we carelessly undermine the very traditions which gave us the life we enjoy today, selfishly putting our own pleasure before the welfare of our children. In the same breath, we extol the military for being the last institution worthy of trust while betraying every value which makes the military worthy of that trust: self restraint, willingness to sacrifice for the common good, respect for the law and for lawful authority. We delight in boastful displays of contempt and defiance, often before we have all the facts, seemingly unaware that our words persist and may mislead long after the transient news story which prompted them has been fully explored and (quite often) it has been revealed on page D22 that there was rather more to the story than was originally reported.

But by that time, the outrage has died down and it's on to a new brouhaha. Only the sour taste of contempt lingers.

Are these rational courses of action for conservatives? How, then, are we different from our opponents?

We have seen 8 years of deep division and an all too often poisonous rancor which have eaten away at the foundations of our political discourse.

We have seen people criminalize policy differences. We have seen people look at extremely difficult moral, legal and ethical questions on which legal experts and ethicists admit there exists more than one legitimate position; and yet they insist (not suggest, or debate, but insist) that only their side be admitted into the realm of permissible discourse. Anyone who disagrees is dubbed a moron, a criminal, a thug, somehow inhuman.

The question before us lies plain as day, and it is one of character. How will we behave during the next four years, no matter who wins? Because no matter who wins this election today, we will be sorely tested.

I come here every day because I have a deep, abiding faith in America.

That faith is vindicated, and more than vindicated, by each of you. You represent the best this country has to offer. Every day we discuss difficult topics - sex, religion, politics. Sometimes, we get visitors from lefty sites. I am proud that they have almost invariably been treated well and they have stayed around; not to scream insults, but to engage in conversation. We may get a little excited at times, but in the end we remain friends.

And that, my dear friends, is a testament to your forbearance and great courtesy. Or to whatever brand of beer you all are drinking these days.

Either way, it's all good.

Posted by Cassandra at November 4, 2008 05:43 AM

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Comments

Wow, I am surprised. Usually I find your takes pretty thoughtful, whether or not I agree with them. You are way off the fairway on this one, though.

I too hate to see the divisiveness and rancor in our politics. Over the last 8 years, though, this has primarily been coming from one direction only -- the Left. Bush Derangement Syndrome was first mentioned as a joke, but then became a full-fledged epidemic. I strongly disagree with many of Bush's policies, but never resorted to the kind of bile and nastiness you see from the liberals.

Blaming conservatives for political "divisiveness" is like blaming the victim for allowing herself to get mugged.

Soviets are merely liberals who have gained overwhelming power. If the Obamamessiah wins in a landslide, and the Dems control both houses of Congress, then be prepared for the Revolution, comrades. Then again, maybe this will be a "kindler, gentler" Revolution. After all, everyone knows that the Bolsheviks only slaughtered millions of opponents because they HAD to. Those counterrevolutionaries can be so "divisive", don't you know. Yup, it was all the fault of the Kulaks.

Posted by: a former european at November 4, 2008 08:12 AM

afe:

Where did I blame conservatives for political divisiveness????

I said that I have observed it on both sides. That is a far, far different thing than assigning the blaming to conservatives!

I don't think for one minute that conservatives are to blame for divisiveness. But I also don't agree with you that it is all on one side.

I also don't happen to think it's evenly divided.

Like you, my perception is that there has been more of this stuff on the Left than on the Right. But to maintain for one second that there isn't any of it going on on the Right requires a level of self delusion that I can't quite muster :p I can cite plentiful incidents of name-calling, plenty of unnecessary flame wars (I know - I see them in the morning and wave off all the time), plenty of times when bloggers on the right haven't had their facts straight and have gone off half cocked because something looked too good to be true (and it was - surprise, surprise).

I believe my "side" is on the side of the angels. But I don't believe the *are* angels. When you start believing that, you have to check your credibility at the door, afe. We are all of us human.

I know you guys don't like it when I criticize anyone on the Right. But in my mind, if you see a thing that is wrong, and you excuse it just because your side is doing it, how are you different from that which you oppose?

It is bad enough that I don't post (most of the time) about it when some Republican gets himself into hot water. And I don't, because frankly the other side is doing a good enough job of roasting our frankfurters and I have limited time. That's not my focus, nor my interest. If no one else were covering it, maybe I would. But there is no lack in the MSM of coverage of these stories and I don't post that many times a day, so I don't have the time or interest.

What often doesn't get any focus on the Right is the fact that sometimes we do the same things the other side does.

Not as often. And IMO, not as egregiously. But when I see it, because I love my own community and want it to be the best it can be, I do say something. I'm sorry if that offends you and I have always admitted my focus is not balanced but neither is my political commentary. It's not required to be and I'm open about why it's not. So there is really no doubt.

I think I was fairly plain about it not being people here I was talking about. "Conservatives" doesn't equate to VC readers or commenters, at least in my mind - that's an awfully large universe and if you're objecting to the part about going off half cocked that clearly referred to bloggers (or at least it was clear in my mind :p).

Be that as it may, all of the above is intended to correct any misunderstanding of what I said. You are still quite free to disagree with me! :)

Fire away.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2008 08:36 AM

Much as I assured my young friend that the world was not going to end in 04 if Bush won a second term, and that if civil liberties were ACTUALLY under attack by the government, that I would pick up a rifle and fight against tyranny myself (which wouldn't be required)... The world is not going to end in 08 if Obama wins the election (not even if the Dems get a filibuster proof majority in the House or Senate), and if civil liberties are ACTUALLY under attack by the government, I will pick up a rifle and fight against tyranny myself (which won't be required).

The fact is, some policies I don't like WILL be passed in the event the Dems get the Executive and Legislative branches, some SCOTUS judges I don't care for will be placed on the bench, and we'll see terrible economic policies that will damage the economy. The good news is, it won't last. Policies will be overturned eventually (yes, even the Fairness Doctrine... it's already come and gone once before), the Supreme Court will remain 4-4-1 (left-right-Kennedy), and economically I won't really be any better or worse under Obama's tax plan (though I would fear more for my job, as the owner of my company is one of those EVIL rich folks... but hey, at least I'm not in the soon to be bankrupted coal industry).

Fact is, the big ship of government won't turn left fast enough to make a huge difference. And I am frankly quite certain that Obama is a one term President at worst. Charisma will only carry you so far. One election, and folks will have forgotten George Bush, then what's he run on?

Long story short: Don't Panic!

Posted by: MikeD at November 4, 2008 08:39 AM

Well, I'll be headed to the polls shortly, but my hope is to bottle myself up in my home office and avoid the television and internet minute by minute analysis of the exit polls and general nonsense that the TV news puts on when they have a big event going on and no real news to report. My goal is to wake up tomorrow morning and read who has won, I'll either be moderately happy or in deep depression and concern about where this Democratic super majority will take the country.

Posted by: Frodo at November 4, 2008 08:58 AM

Every day we discuss difficult topics - sex, religion, politics.

You're kidding, naturellement.

Every thread in this place slouches merrily toward sex within

*checking watch*

a day or so.

Posted by: BillT at November 4, 2008 09:30 AM

We are having a revolution today.

It happens every four years, or so. Millions of Americans go to the polls, stand in line patiently, then cast their ballots.

I stood in line this morning for quite a while, talking to one on my neighbors who was in line with me. There was a lady who rolled a cart around with coffee, juice and donuts for all the people waiting in line.

There were people of a lot of different nationalities there today. I saw the parents of one my son's friends, and I know his mother was born in Venezuela. Chinese, African, Hispanic, black, white, yellow, brown, old, young (my neighbor reminded me that my oldest son will be able to vote in four years. Wow.)

It was all very peaceable and civilized.

Some revolution, huh? So what kind of country will we have after today?

"A republic, if you can keep it." - Benjamin Franklin.

Now, back to the grindstone!

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 4, 2008 09:58 AM

What you say reminds me of a motivational speaker, Charles Plumb a fighter pilot as it happens, who was shot down over Viet Nam after 75 missions. Typical cocky fighter pilot on an aircraft carrier, in this case the Kitty Hawk, he took for granted the sailors who supported his efforts.

When he was shot down he parachuted to ground being held captive for 6 years. Years later, while at a restaraunt with his wife, someone recognized him as a shipmate on the carrier. Turns out, he packed the pilot's parachute. It was a humbling experience for both of them. The sailor said, "I guess it worked." Plumb imagined all the times he had failed to say hello or acknowlege his shipmates who made his work possible.

None of us are a one-man-band even though sometimes we think we are. You never know when your life may depend on them.

Posted by: vet66 at November 4, 2008 11:40 AM

Howdy Guys,

I didn't read yesterday's column 'cuz I don't regularly read VC. But I'd opine there are more than moral issues that obviate compromise, assuming the Constitution is more than moral. Reading quickly though this one, I found it difficult to determine whether I disagreed with Don or VC. Either way, I take exception to the postulate that the individual is more important than the community. IMO, Don must be afflicted with youthful naivete. Seems he doesn't understand Adam Smith's principle of the invisible hand. He seems too shallow still to understand that individuals not motivated by the hope for personal gain, soon sink to mediocrity while the mediocre layabouts sink even lower. Too, he seems to have confused infrastructure with community. Clearly, we need to build but IMO, only to the extent that it furthers the individual's hope for progress. Hopefully his ignorance will be overcome without the necessity of personal experience. Done with Don -- or VC as the case may be.

I believe primary devotion to the community drains one's enthusiasm and eliminates the joy of personal success. On the other hand, primary devotion to personal success creates more success as the individual needs other individuals to grow his balance sheet. Today, we're faced with a large group of individuals who would drop the community around our necks like a horse collar on Dobbin. And they would drain our assets under this guise of community good. Of course it'll all be legal and above board -- and it will be legally enforceable through police and their military if necessary. Yep, I said "their" military 'cuz that too will be ceded by our side that has become too weak to resist. And publick opinion soon will be on their side. I heard Chuck Schumer this a.m. alread boldly championing the Fairness Doctrine as if their side had already won. Of course that too is for the good of the community just as prohibiting pornography on the internet is for the good of the community.

I agree with Cassandra's post that admonished us to "not panic." I believe if Junior wins, he'll be such a disaster, a la Carter and Kennedy, that his term will end in '12, AT THE LATEST. And in those short years, America will learn again the lessons our founders learned from the old dictatorial Europe. My agreement is tenuous though because I also believe Election Year 2008 will be recorded in history as the year the nuts learned to vote. That said, the worm may have turned permanently against our Constitution. I've boasted that my guns are at port and cocked to resist the approaching government that would overstep it's Constitutional restraints. But when I think about it, I wonder if I'd actually shootour County Sheriff Box who comes to take my property 'cuz like my neighbors, I could no longer afford the taxes. Conditions would have to be so totally horrible that I'd be willing to sacrifice everything to make a statement that would surely be unheard and swallowed by the new government maw.

Am I the only one who feels the gathering storm (apologies to Winston)? thx. Tom

Posted by: Tom2 at November 4, 2008 11:41 AM

OOPS. I meant I take exception to the postulate that the community is more important than the individual. (Too hasty I guess)

Posted by: Tom2 at November 4, 2008 11:43 AM

Okay, looks like I misunderstood your point, Cass. I am just tired of hearing from the Carville, attack-dog Left that anything short of total submission or surrender by conservatives constitutes "partisanship" or "divisiveness".

Yes, while I agree with those who have said that neither the USA nor the world will end tomorrow if Obama gets elected, each time we lurch to Left with some incompetent boob (but maybe with plenty of charm or charisma), FDR, LBJ, Carter, and mow Obama, this country has suffered essentially permanent wounds to its foundation. The Republic is not dead, I agree. Does this mean we should just keep stabbing away to see how much damage it can take?

Posted by: a former european at November 4, 2008 11:48 AM

Youthful naivete?

Well thanks. 52 (or am I 53?) is pretty young after all, I guess. Well, younger than BillT or spd rdr, that's fer shure.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 4, 2008 11:51 AM

Heh :p

I always liked the word "tension". I think it fits - you have two forces in opposition: individuality and a sense of duty to the community. The have to balance. Too much of the first and you have anarchy; too much of the second and you stifle freedom and productivity.

But the balance isn't fixed either; it's in flux and (I believe) must adjust to circumstances. Some people might argue with my interpretation. We design a system of laws with some flexibility, and we have mitigating circumstances to account for times when individuality needs to come to the fore.

And Don, if you are young then that makes me a baby! :) spd and Bill still seem like young men to me.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2008 12:07 PM

Republicans are good because we discipline ourselves, we punish the guilty, and we protect the innocent. Like with the Marine Corps, the guilty must be punished and the innocent must be exonerated, and it ain't going to be the Code Pinks or the lawyers looking for a career maker from Murtha that is going to do it.

Hate the Left all you want but never lose sight of the fact that human beings are evil because they are human and have free will, which also includes us for we are human and have free will as well.

The same principle applies against foreign enemies of America. Never forget that while there are enemies outside our nation, there are enemies inside our nation as well. We should not discard the truth on the homefront simply because it is inconvenient on the foreign front just as we should not ignore our own flaws to highlight the flaws of Democrats and Leftists.

That is not the path to self-improvement. That is the path to Obama's Utopia in which the guilty are released and given positions of power while the innocent are punished and used as scapegoats.

We are better than the Democrats. We don't need their methods. We are better at killing, better at seeking and finding the truth, better at adapting actual solutions to actual problems in reality, and better at both introspection and empathy with other human beings. If we are not better than Democrats at propaganda, warfare, killing, and competition then we will lose even if on the surface it looks like we are winning some gains. Victory goes to those that deserve it. South Vietnam deserved victory but the US failed to keep up her bargain and thus S Vietnam fell. Deserving victory means doing the right things, the right preparations, in order to win. But it also means actually winning and not just cheating yourself with some Pyrrhic victory.

The Democrats use their methods because they have to use those methods given their basic deficiency in character and ethics. We are better not because we don't use those methods but because we don't need those methods.

P.S.

I was reading John Scalzi's blog, the author of Old Man's War (anti-authoritarian and anti-military industrial complex being the central Leftist themes in it) and he is going for Obama. His blog has some 200 plus comments and almost all of them are rooting for Obama.

The one thing I noticed from those comments that related to how we are different from them is that they actually believe Obama is their salvation from the disaster days of Bush. This calls into some key questions of the perception of reality. If Bush was really as horrible as they believe he was, why then are these people not complaining of personal economic problems? Why are the people, the military and their families, who have the most to complain about in this war not the ones actually complaining by any great majority?

There seems to be a reality gap between people like Scalzi, whose personal successes as an author is unquestional, and the perceptions of reality by Democrats, including Scalzi.

They want to bring about paradise on Earth and they believe Obama will do it, even if some of them recognize that politics requires compromise and the US President can't just get everything done that he promises he will get done. We, however, are just hoping to prevent disasters. We recognize that most of our prosperity and security were bought by previous generations. We are growing the wealth, yes, but only because the seed capital weren't ours to begin with. THe seed capital was the honor, lives, and fortunes of men and women who came before us. THe Left believes they can somehow grab, steal, extort, or otherwise make up wealth and prosperity on demand if only they have the right Strong Man. I don't tend to think like that.

A strong man or leader is there to safeguard the people (chain of command in combat) and make decisions so as to avoid disasters. IT is the people that do most of the work. Leave the people alone and make sure they are alive and not heavily exploited by taxes and you get wealth automatically. This is a principle that empires and kings have known, or should have known, since man discovered fire and how rocks could bash in people's heads.

There's a huge difference between people who are demoralized about the state of America and want to bring America to a state of greatness simply because they wish to believe in One Man and people who believe that there will always be problems which require individuals who value responsibility, loyalty, duty, and the other virtues of humanity: individuals who happen to be natural leaders but aren't necessarily the One.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 4, 2008 12:55 PM

The Puppy Blender has a couple of links to people on both side who essentially take Cass' position. Scalzi, being one of them.

If Obama should win the election today, the electoral college elects him and the House certifies it, Obama will be my and our President. Agree with him or not he will be the legitimately elected leader of this country. To say otherwise is to cast aspersions on the Constitution and the Constitutional process.

If he were to win, when Obama is correct (if ever) I will support him. When Obama is incorrect (much more likely) I will fight like helk to oppose him.

But I would say the same about McCain. When McCain is correct (on occation), I will support him, when he ain't (only slightly less likely than Obama) I'll oppose him.

While I think that an Obama presidency will be the start of the downward spiral across the nation that mirrors what has been seen in Democrat controlled cities like Detroit, I will certainly pray that it won't. I would rather be wrong than see my country hurt.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 4, 2008 01:28 PM

If you are talking about John Scalzi, he doesn't take Cass's position at all. Rather, Scalzi comes to similar conclusions about the US Constitution but does so from different starting points. This isn't just the nickel plate observation that individuals have different life experiences and so start off on the road of self-discovery on different starting points. John Scalzi actually has some philosophical and reality-perception beliefs totally opposite that of Cassandra's. The mutually exclusive premises cannot produce the same conclusion the same way, even if on the surface they appear similar or alike.

For example, if both a Leftist and I come to the conclusion that there is evil in the world and that it needs to be purified through fire and blood, then this means the Leftist and I agree, right? No, for the Leftist could believe that evil resides in Bush and good resides in helping Saddam while I believe the opposite. This is a mutually exclusive set of philosophical premises. Even if our conclusions are the same, even if both of us says the same things about evil and what it takes to fight evil and the specific methods we will use to fight evil, it will still be mutually incompatible. That is how I see Cass and Scalzi's positions. Mutually incompatible even though they sound like they are the same.

I know you guys don't like it when I criticize anyone on the Right.

Say what? No way, Cass. I love it when you criticize people. Why do you think I gave you the link (mined) to Blackfive about Joey and what not? It's like reading Defendusa+Deltabravo!

I like you, I like your writing, so I must logically like the Republic of Cassandra regardless of who you criticize, right?

But when I see it, because I love my own community and want it to be the best it can be, I do say something.

I wrote my previous comment without reading anything in the comments except a few lines detailing how afe and you started arguing.

Strong coincidence that I brought that subject up on a totally independent track from yours, Cass.

I think I was fairly plain about it not being people here I was talking about. "Conservatives" doesn't equate to VC readers or commenters, at least in my mind

I suppose we are not very conservative in that sense. "Very extreme" might be a better way to phrase things.

Fire away.

Bring Mark in Irvine back here and you'll see some fireworks from me for sure, Cass.

Much as I assured my young friend that the world was not going to end in 04 if Bush won a second term, and that if civil liberties were ACTUALLY under attack by the government, that I would pick up a rifle and fight against tyranny myself (which wouldn't be required)... The world is not going to end in 08 if Obama wins the election

But, Mike, this time will your friend fight with a rifle by your side if the choice is to repudate an Obama President's anti-civil liberty policies?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 4, 2008 02:08 PM

While I think that an Obama presidency will be the start of the downward spiral across the nation that mirrors what has been seen in Democrat controlled cities like Detroit, I will certainly pray that it won't. I would rather be wrong than see my country hurt.

Did Scalzi pray for success in Iraq even though he disagreed with Bush's policies in 2003-2006 or did Scalzi pray that the money used there could be funneled to Scalzi's pet projects that he believed had more importance?

Did Scalzi feel good about the success of Petraeus post 2006 or did Scalzi feel bad because the money spent on Iraq could never be unspent; did he feel good about having his fears of a waste in Iraq being disproven or did he feel bad that the Surge was still creating support for a futile and contemptuous cause?

For a Cliff's notes hint about Scalzi's perception abilities, realize that Scalzi defends Bush by saying Buchanan, who presided over the dissolution of the Union, was a worse President than Bush. That is what (good) Bush has going for him in Scalzi's view.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 4, 2008 02:12 PM

This may be as good a place as any to broach the subject, since I'm not sure who he is emailing.

I recently became aware that Mark is emailing several VC readers, and furthermore that the emails are unpleasant.

I am sorry this is happening. I am not getting copies of the emails, so I didn't know it was happening, and I'm not going to intervene in any way because it's my strong sense (based on past experience) that any reaction by me will only encourage further harassment.

My advice to you is to place him on your blocked sender list and move on. This is my usual response to being harassed. I don't get upset. I don't respond. I just hit "Delete" and if the problem is persistent, I block the sender. Any other response merely fans the flames.

If you need help in doing this, please write me and I'll help if I can.

Again, my apologies.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 4, 2008 02:16 PM

But, Mike, this time will your friend fight with a rifle by your side if the choice is to repudate an Obama President's anti-civil liberty policies?

Probably not, but given the fact that in 04 he was CONVINCED Bush 43 was going to instate a draft, he was prepared to flee for Canada the day after the election. I talked him down pointing out that (other than the fact that the President can't instate a draft, nor that there's no way he'd pass a physical to enter the military) there'd be plenty of lead time before they could even begin to draw draft numbers that he could be long gone before it happened.

He's young, he really has no good grasp on what the real world is like. Hell, he argued in favor of the virtues of bureaucracy (if you can believe that). I recall being fairly liberal when I was in my teens as well. I grew out of it. I suspect he will as well if he ever gets a job and a wife.

Posted by: MikeD at November 4, 2008 02:20 PM

Also, I need to point this out. I don't think it even remotely likely that our government will descend into tyranny from either the right nor the left in my lifetime. We may idiotically vote the economy of the nation down the tubes. We might even continue descending into a cultural sewer. But totalitarianism? No. I do not believe that the American people are even capable of letting the pendulum swing that far without some incredibly massive national trauma (i.e. multiple nuclear strikes across the country). Anything less will simply cause us to tighten our belts and drive on. It's what we've done since before the Revolution even.

Posted by: MikeD at November 4, 2008 02:25 PM

I picked “In the root cellar, bitterly clinging to a sawed off shotgun, the family Bible, and my first cousin...” It’s not literally true: I have neither a root cellar nor a shotgun of any length; my brother has the family Bible (although I do have the pretty white one with the nice pictures I got when I started Sunday School); and I’ve never been quite that fond of any of my first cousins.

Instead, I think of it as a metaphor for how I will spend Election Day: on the couch, bitterly clinging to a 12-pack of Cokes, the leftover Halloween candy, and a stack of “Stargate: Atlantis” tapes I haven’t gotten around to watching yet. If I don’t pass out from High Fructose Corn Syrup shock, I may run over to Blockbuster and rent “Bloodrayne” and “Bloodrayne 2: Deliverance” to keep me away from the television and the Internet tonight. Then when I wake up tomorrow and discover who has won, I can always remind myself that things could be a lot worse: we could be hip-deep in vampires. Er, make that “up to our necks in vampires.”

As for which side, Republican or Democrat, left or right, is more guilty of divisiveness and rancor in politics, Lileks once wrote about a incident where the Left had been eager to believe some obviously insane story that reflected badly on the Bush administration. He went on to say:

Each side is guilty of this - in the 90s a substantial contingent of the right was convinced that Gov. Bill Clinton ran coke out of Mena. It’s almost as if you have two options:

1. I disagree with my opponent's position on taxation, and therefore I shall oppose it.

2. I disagree with my opponent's position on taxation, and therefore I believe he has sex with goats.

It seems to me that what Cassandra is saying is that it would behoove conservatives to oppose Democratic policies with which they disagree without resorting to speculation about bestiality in the halls of government.

And that may not be as easy as one hopes. While I do think the left has been particularly ill-behaved in this regard over the last 8 years that may be a function not so much of the right’s superior virtue as of Jane’s Law:

Jane's Law: The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.

Assuming a sweeping Democratic victory, it will be interesting to see if the Crazy Cloak passes to the conservatives.

Posted by: Elise at November 4, 2008 02:42 PM

...it will be interesting to see if the Crazy Cloak passes to the conservatives.

If it does, just wait 'til you see the tax rate on it...

Posted by: BillT at November 4, 2008 02:49 PM

I don't think it even remotely likely that our government will descend into tyranny from either the right nor the left in my lifetime.

you need an outside force willing to move in on a weakened America and occupy us for our own good. Like the Un did, with Clinton's help, in Kosovo.

(i.e. multiple nuclear strikes across the country)

You referring to Tom Kratman's scenario?

If you need help in doing this, please write me and I'll help if I can.

Carrie essentially faced Mark down and told him to backdown and remove her from the list and he did, or said he would.

That stuff wasn't harassment so much as it was light entertainment to me. Of course, I'm not his preferred target, either. He likes women.

Mark behaves much better at Grim's Hall. Of course, that was after some of his hits rebounded.

It is never a pleasant feeling to wait in ambush for an enemy only to have the enemy spring a counter-ambush on you instead.

since I'm not sure who he is emailing.

You (who I guessed right was blocking him), Carrie, two Bills, spd, and HomeFrontSix at something or other. Me, of course.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 4, 2008 02:51 PM

All I really know about Scalzi is that he once taped bacon to his cat and it has since become a running gag on the internet and what he wrote in the post Glenn linked to:

You’ll note, however, that I did not say that I was happy that Bush has such a God-awful rating. I’m not. Having a weak and deeply unpopular president makes us vulnerable as a nation, particularly when we are engaged in a war, and especially when engaged in a war that it is becoming increasingly clear the origins of which are best described as an administration misadventure. I don’t like Bush, and I wish he weren’t president; nevertheless he is my president, and my country is ill-served at home and abroad by his weaknesses, both real and perceived.

So from that little slice, I would probably say that while he does disagree with the war, he probably does pray that it turns out well.

From the end of the linked post:

So, if the other guys wins the election this year, what I hope you will do is acknowledge that he is your president, and wish him well in guiding the nation through the next four years. Be in opposition, but be a loyal opposition, with your loyalty to the Constitution and the nation it allows to be.

So while I will fully stipulate that Scalzi and Cass may come from diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive worldviews, this still seems, to me, like pretty good advice for everyone.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 4, 2008 02:52 PM

Jane's Law: The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.

Tuttle's Corollary: The insane will view the smug and arrogant as inescapably evil until such time as the insane become the smug and arrogant -- at which time, they will view the insane as inescapably evil.

Posted by: BillT at November 4, 2008 02:55 PM

Mark engaged in a little e-addy harvesting on one particular thread. He snagged at least one bogus addy -- I hope he continues to regale youaintit@nothere.com with his insights...

Posted by: BillT at November 4, 2008 03:05 PM

The Left is already insane, smug, and arrogant. There's no need to switch out those elements out for each other.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 4, 2008 03:06 PM

I enjoy being insane, smug AND arrogant.

And I, for one, welcome our new insane, smug and arrogant overlords. I will have something in common with them.

Alright, now let's cue up "Won't Get Fooled Again", by the Who. And play it REAL LOUD!

Posted by: Don Brouhaha, now with extra insanity at November 4, 2008 03:35 PM

"Mark engaged in a little e-addy harvesting on one particular thread. "
Indeed. I never would have known, had there not been reply/all messages directed back his way. His email's do not pass, do not collect inbox time, they go straight to the wastebasket.

Milady, I would suppose that anyone who frequents the halls of VC would not think your apology is necessary. Kind and gracious, but not necessary. We are not, at least IMHO, our fellow human beings keepers. *sayeth the hun holding the bloody jawbone of an ass behind his person and then whistling a nondescript ditty whilst gazing at the sky*

And in my haste to plant my winter garden today, I think I munged together a comment on two threads and posted it in another. The fair and thoughtful advice portion of that comment was intended to be placed here.

Now as an aside, I still have several unused Charlton Heston is my President/NRA bumper stickers if anyone feels the need. Maybe not as in your face as a NBPP member with a nightstick standing in front of the doors to a polling place on election day, or Chucky Schumer flapping with much foul wind about the fairness doctrine and porn, but full of sentiment nonetheless. =;^}

Posted by: bthun at November 4, 2008 04:11 PM

Chucky Schumer flapping with much foul wind about the fairness doctrine and porn, but full of sentiment nonetheless.

Geez, sex and relationships *again*?

Posted by: BillT at November 4, 2008 05:19 PM

If you ever read Neo-Neocon's blog, Bill, you would see what a group therapy blog in action can do.

It's good stuff.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 4, 2008 05:30 PM

You know, Neo-neocon is a nice lady, and I like to read her ideas some time, but there are moments when I feel like calling "nonsense" on some of her commenters.
The other day they were going on and on and on about how sad they were that they all followed the dreaded "Baby boomer" generation, with all the Gen Y and Gen X and woe is me and the country is going broke stuff.
Grab a hold of yourself and get control of your own life. Group therapy may be good for Alcoholics Anonymous and stuff like that where you have a REAL problem, but the rest is just so much eyewash. Support groups are great for families stressed out with an old person with Alzheimer's or vet's wives with their husbands deployed for a long time, but a support group for the year you were born in? Get over it. Almost all those Gen X and Gen Y and other younger folks are going to still be here after I'm dead, and frankly I don't lose too much sleep over THAT.

Or maybe Ymar was making fun of Neo-neocon too. In that case, never mind.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha, more smug? at November 4, 2008 05:38 PM

BillT
A fairness doctrine over porn? I wonder what that would be like? :)

Posted by: Don Brouhaha, way too smug at November 4, 2008 05:41 PM

"Alright, now let's cue up "Won't Get Fooled Again", by the Who. And play it REAL LOUD!"
For the benefit of all the people some of the time or some of the people all the time, or mostly cultist, or dyed in the wool permanent recipients of Big Bro's redistributive largess or all who identify themselves as hyphenatedAmericans, or other?

Now that you mention it, the list is pretty large... And I'd not be willing to bet that they could or would avoid being fooled again.

Posted by: bt_PTBarnum_hun at November 4, 2008 05:43 PM

"A fairness doctrine over porn? I wonder what that would be like? :)"
Gawd, I hope Billy Mayes does not do the Infomercial!

Posted by: bthun at November 4, 2008 05:46 PM

Get ready America. Here I come.

Posted by: Keyser Soze at November 4, 2008 06:38 PM

Or maybe Ymar was making fun of Neo-neocon too

I'll take a page from Grim and say that it is a productive use of time when people are talking about what the standards for their generation should be.

This isn't so much a question of individual contribution as the contribution of many individuals. Hence the name "group therapy". AA is the therapy of individuals in groups but not the therapy of groups, you see.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 4, 2008 07:47 PM

Remember the old joke about how dogs love to chase cars, but what would the dog do if he ever caught one?

Well, the dog just caught the car.

Posted by: MathMom at November 4, 2008 11:51 PM

I'll take a page from Grim and say that it is a productive use of time when people are talking about what the standards for their generation should be.

Did I say that? I should have, if I didn't.

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2008 12:19 AM

Obama,Obama, Obama! Support our president...after all, you are either for the US or against it.

Posted by: Miguel at November 5, 2008 01:36 AM

Some of us have already made our travel arrangements for supporting President Obama's Iraq policy, Miguel -- whatever he decides it will be.

I expect I'll see you there?

Posted by: Grim at November 5, 2008 01:43 AM

Did I say that? I should have, if I didn't.

It's a derivation of the spirit, not the exact topic or phrasing, of your words about standards of politeness in society and the standards of beauty (x ring).

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 5, 2008 02:21 AM

Well, the dog just caught the car.

Let's hope the dog didn't catch it from the front.

I expect I'll see you there?

Gotta have people reporting all sides, embedded with Taliban and AQ for example, right?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 5, 2008 02:23 AM

One of the reasons why I didn't like people who opposed the Iraq war was because they often did so for petty and vindictive reasons. Letting other people suffer cause it is convenient and fun is not exactly a result of a high empathy capacity.

What applies to foreigners in Vietnam, iraq, or afghanistan also applies to people here in America: which is kind of the problem.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 5, 2008 02:25 AM

Owe-kaaaaay -- how long do you think it will take for the euphoria to fade when folks find out that Obie is *not* going to pay off their mortgages and put gas in their cars?

Posted by: BillT at November 5, 2008 02:35 AM

how long do you think it will take for the euphoria to fade when folks find out that Obie is *not* going to pay off their mortgages and put gas in their cars?

Depends on how long Obama can milk the US military's budget for a Peace (In War) Dividend.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 5, 2008 03:13 AM

Well, considering the military budget is only 4.3% of the GDP, it might not take all that long.

And, since he's vowed to go after the 'lectricity-producers to force suitably-expensive changes (to be passed on to the consumer, i.e., the rest of us) which will result in a .00000013% reduction of the dreaded carbon dioxide monster, it's only a one-block ride on the short bus to jerking a knot in the drawers of Beeg Earl, with a commensurate increase in gas prices, too.

Posted by: BillT at November 5, 2008 04:25 AM

I voted for McCain because I had to. I could not in good conscience turn the country over to a man who has not even run a successful high school car wash.

But every time I saw a McCain ad, starting with the remark about how the last eight years had not been very good for us, so he'd try to make the next four better, I wanted to slap him.

Seven years ago I was still waking up every day and going immediately to read Drudge, to see if another US city had been attacked. I watched as 50% of our net worth disappeared in the stock market due to the shocks reverberating in our economy from the terrorist attacks.

But the days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years without another attack on our soil. I watched the stock market return, and exceed prior levels. I saw the economy take off, saw 50 million people, at least half of them women, freed from the most vile oppression seen in recent times, and watched while my President, George W. Bush, helped the recovery from a situation that in less capable hands, would have turned into an economic depression. I commented many times in the first two years of his administration that if Al Gore had been able to steal the election, we would still have been negotiating with the Taliban.

So, I'd say the last eight years have turned out remarkably better than I expected, Senator McCain.

I watched while George Bush was savaged by the left and the right. The Left, I understand, but not with the intensity that they released on a good and decent man. The Right? I have to say that I believe some of today's election defeat lies at the feet of Peggy Noonan (who is dead to me), Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham, who spilled a lot of ink and verbal abuse on George Bush, which in my opinion served to undermine the good he was doing. They exacerbated his low approval ratings by piling on.

I think McCain was wrong to believe that campaigning with Bush would hurt his chances. I mean, even with an approval rating in the 20's, that was triple the approval of Congress. And if he had not instilled so much bad will in the base early on, I might have donated to his campaign before he brought Sarah Palin on board.

And when the credit crisis happened, McCain could not bring himself to shine a harsh light on the true origins of that disaster and name Democrat names. He could only talk about the greed of Wall Street and vilify oil companies.

He could not see that ACORN was the seed planted by the people who caused us to lose the Vietnam war way back when he was still a guest of the Hanoi Hilton, and through their focused plan executed over decades, interfering with good lending practices and eventually bringing on the entire mess of the last month, these bastards have won the final battle of Vietnam.

Now, who will uproot this oak that has also made a mockery of our election system, registering Mickey Mouse to vote? It will not be the beneficiary of all of the illegality, Barack Obama. Who will prosecute the brazen campaign fundraising fraud perpetrated by the Obama campaign? Not it's beneficiary, Barack Obama.

What will happen to the millions of people whose trust we finally won in Iraq? When Obama gets his complete briefings by the Bush Administration, will he finally understand that being president is more than making speeches with a teleprompter? Will he grow up? Will be become an American, and fight for American ideals?

We have elected a closet Marxist. I doubt it.

Posted by: MathMom at November 5, 2008 06:27 AM

Amen, MathMom. Amen.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2008 07:09 AM

sales of alcohol were not allowed until after the polls closed.

Ya gots ta love the South.

Posted by: Cricket at November 5, 2008 08:54 AM

How did that old Prohibition quote go? Oh, yeah --

"The South is Dry, and will always *be* Dry as long as there's somebody sober enough to stagger to the polls."

Posted by: BillT at November 5, 2008 09:46 AM

Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham, who spilled a lot of ink and verbal abuse on George Bush, which in my opinion served to undermine the good he was doing. They exacerbated his low approval ratings by piling on.

Only Bush is responsible for his approval ratings. He didn't care so that is what happened. As for Malkin and Ingraham, they had to serve as the REpublican's loyalty opposition since the Democrats surely weren't up to the task. Somebody has to be the adults and at least try to debate the merits of policy differences. Otherwise you start negotiating with the Left and it'll get you to the same place it got McCain.

I think McCain was wrong to believe that campaigning with Bush would hurt his chances.

Well, Bush did win 2 elections so he had something going for him. I don't know what it was but it was something. Something McCain lacked even with Sarah Palin (who is much better than Dick Cheney, one may, say on the campaign trail).

I might have donated to his campaign before he brought Sarah Palin on board.

I heard Obama outspent McCain by 10-5 to 1. That's some campaign finance reform McCain got going for us. Well, at least, McCain was honest even though he couldn't get anyone else to become honest through threats, fear, or bribes.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 5, 2008 03:11 PM

I think there are two critical issues that led to the successful propaganda operations against Bush: the fact that Bush wasn't ruthless and the fact that Bush seemed to be operating outside the OODA loop of the Democrats.

What this tends to mean for McCain is that many people were fortified with Obama's message of change so they didn't quite take seriously McCain's message of change at the convention. Sarah Palin was a real threat for she could have convinced America that she represented change, but since she was the VP she could not really outshine McCain, especially since she didn't have that much time to campaign.

People wanted somebody to hate and since they couldn't hate Bush, you got to give them someone like Sarah to hate. Combine this fact with a "positive" message in Obama and you got more than John Kerry did. Combine this with an economic Crisis created by the Democrats to fulfill Democrat campaign promises and reinforce Democrat propaganda operations and you got a great advantage (from the October Surprise).

Like Yuri Bezmenov said, people will buy into all sorts of promises for goodies (pie in the sky) if they are allowed to. And they were given plenty of allowances by certain organizations like ACORn, for example. Fannie May. Franks and their corrupt oligarchy in Congress as well.

P.S.

I'd like to know what happened with FLorida, however. Bad economy there or something? Tourism in Miami going down and they blame Bush?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 5, 2008 03:17 PM

The Democrats tried to get a "Presidential" candidate, John Kerry, and tout him as a 'war hero'. However, the Democrats were never truly interested in war heroes, just Leftist mass murderers (or even secular murderers like Tookie; I do include Islamic Jihad among the Left, of course). This didn't spark up too much interest amongst people, you may say. The Democrats worked for decades to destroy America's belief in such anachronisms as honor, duty, loyalty, and defense (military). Touting their President as being worthy cause he was a naval officer wasn't exactly wise of them nor did it play to their strong points.

When the Democrats got it fixed and went for the black vote or women vote, now they were playing to their strong points. They have worked for decades to lock down women and blacks into little pastures so they can be milked for all they got. It paid off.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 5, 2008 03:21 PM

Ymarsakar -

You said, in reference to Bush's approval ratings: He didn't care so that is what happened. As for Malkin and Ingraham, they had to serve as the REpublican's loyalty opposition since the Democrats surely weren't up to the task. Somebody has to be the adults and at least try to debate the merits of policy differences. Otherwise you start negotiating with the Left and it'll get you to the same place it got McCain.

I don't know if Bush cared about his approval or not, and he chronically failed to remind the ADD generation of Americans that wars take more than 30 minutes. But the animus that Malkin offered in print was often equal to whatever could be dished out by the Left or the media. Ingraham often used her "disgusted" voice when talking about him. Neither of these fair lasses balanced their criticism with a count of the days since the last attack, and expressed what a miracle that truly was, especially with national security secrets being leaked by the NY Times and anyone who could find some to leak. There are others who similarly slashed and burned Bush.

I think he is tired after eight years of fighting the good fight in spite of his ungrateful countrymen's passing fancies, and he has aged like a really good President does. (I noticed that Clinton didn't really age in office until the Lewinsky situation blew up in his face. Until then he was phoning it in, traveling Triple First Class, and enjoying living the life of a wealthy layabout.)

I don't see the criticism of Bush by some on the Right as "loyal opposition". It was very destructive to Bush's presidency. Their trash talk had the same effect, IMHO, of a disgruntled employee who constantly gripes and infects an entire office with dissatisfaction.

When polls stated that George Bush's approval rating was low, and that those scores were correlated with being at war, I found myself in agreement that I'd rather Bush did the war a different way, but MORE, rather than LESS. But if I had stated my disapproval to a pollster, they would have interpreted as a vote against the war. I also wished that he had searched for the leakers at the NYTimes and put them in prison, so I had some dissatisfaction with him on that score.

I researched various campaigns of various wars, and for example, the Battle of the Bulge had a huge death toll in a few days, and caused by bad intel. You'd have to be at war in Iraq for years to eventually rack up that sort of death toll. But Americans weren't pansies when WWII was being fought. We understood that we must win, with bloodshed, or speak German or Japanese. We won.

Sissy Americans are going to be in for some very rude shocks if Obama is as stupid as Jimmy Carter, and he gives every indication of being that stupid and also more vain. Carter was the Father of the Islamic Revolution in a very real sense, and we are now looking at crazy lunatics who are nearly in possession of "noo-kee-yer" weapons, in the parlance of Carter. But Obambi the affirmative action hire thinks, like the rooster, that his voice makes the sun rise, and his charm can soothe the savage beasts who threaten us.

Maybe it will. I find his "soaring rhetoric" soporific. Maybe the world will sleep through the next four years. Unfortunately, I think the evil regimes in the world have found their opening and will exploit it as soon as they can.

Posted by: MathMom at November 5, 2008 07:42 PM

I don't know if Bush cared about his approval or not

Bush said he didn't govern by polls and I believe him. His campaign and advisers used them, yes, but he didn't pay too much attention to them. Once Bush decided on something, his stubborness kicked in and he never really paid much attention to the press's constant talk about approval numbers.

That is a good thing but not if you lack an operational counter-propaganda capacity. Public opinion has to be dealed with because even if you leave office, the delusional beliefs of the American people bred from enemy propaganda won't go away. Bush is leaving office but he leaves behind a lot of junk with WMDs, Iraq, and so forth in the American conscience. This is contrasted with the concrete good left in Iraq, but what good is good if nobody believes in it? There may be water just 2 miles from dehydrated survivors but if they don't believe it is there they won't go there, so thus they die. Belief is what powers human action and human history. Oil is what powers human prosperity.

The President has the power to use nukes on the world for a reason in my belief. There's a price to that power but that's what power is for. To be used at a price like we pay electricity bills to power our stuff.

I don't know if Bush cared about his approval or not, and he chronically failed to remind the ADD generation of Americans that wars take more than 30 minutes.

His speech on the carrier did remind people that the war could go on longer; I don't think that was his problem: the failure to remind Americans. Propaganda is not just about "talking about things". Propaganda is about manipulating people's beliefs and emotions so that they take your side or the side you wish them to take. This involves complex and simple psychological issues as well as sociological, tactical, strategic, or economic matters. It involves more than just a speech.

Moral, after all, is what they teach in leadership schools: something the leader must maintain for it is vital to getting people to obey and obey efficiently.

A minor example is the common concept of lowballing. If you make America expect a war 10 times worse than what will happen, people tend to get psychologically hardened and thus won't be surprised when the war is only half or a third as bad. This involves deception, however, purposeful deception in convincing the American body politic that bad things will happen, when in reality you know that the worst case scenarios aren't likely.

It isn't a lot of deception, for preparing people for the worst case scenario does not exclude the fact that something better may come about. Yet it is still deception: manipulation of people's emotions and beliefs towards a goal. In this case the goal is beneficial and positive and people will forgive you if they feel good about themselves or their nation afterwards. But the methods are some of the same as was used to demoralize America in Vietnam, causing the slaughtering of millions. The methods are the same but the goals may not be for it is the goals that decide the evil or good of one's actions.

But Americans weren't pansies when WWII was being fought.

They also didn't get news of the war very immediately, either. Which means their psychological states weren't affected in time for them to influence command decisions like it is today. Any population can be demoralized with sufficient technology and technique. The WWII generation probably was more resistant to such but even they could be taken down given modern communication speeds and propaganda methods after enough time has passed without a counter-propaganda effort.

Unfortunately, I think the evil regimes in the world have found their opening and will exploit it as soon as they can.

It will be a good lesson on the Great Game, if nothing else. Interesting times to come. America benefited from Bush's protection and perhaps believes the days of 9/11 are past. Of course ,they haven't read the history of humanity.


Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 5, 2008 07:56 PM

Don Brouhaha: You on the 4th said that you have some of the Charlton Heston stickers left? I am trying and searching everywhere trying to find some and they are gone.

I would LOVE two if you still have them, and if I could get them.

Feel free to email me.. your email bounces btw.

Posted by: Stefan at November 26, 2008 03:18 PM

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