September 27th, 2008

Post-debate: who are those undecideds, anyway?

There’s a general rule of political debates: people tend to think their preferred candidate won. A debater has to be really dreadful for his/her own supporters to concede he/she made a bad showing.

When you think about it, this should be no surprise at all. We filter our perceptions through our preconceived notions, and objectivity is a difficult although worthwhile goal.

But there’s more going on than that in the debates. We prefer a certain candidate because we like his/her mind and believe he/she (boy, this gender neutral stuff is tedious) will act in ways that will benefit us more than the other candidate will. It’s not arbitrary.

In the debates we see words and behavior and reasoning that is congruent with this. If we like McCain’s toughness on foreign policy, or his attitude towards the troops, we are not going to see something different in the debates. If we prefer direct answers to circumlocutions, we are going to favor McCain as well. If we think taxes should be raised on the very rich, Obama’s saying he would do so seems like an excellent point for him to make. And so on and so forth.

It’s those pesky undecideds who are the mystery. Who are they, anyway? In a year when the two candidates are somewhat similar, I suppose it might be understandable to be undecided at this point. But this year it seems almost inconceivable.

And even those voters who are undecided because they dislike things about both candidates are puzzling (although more understandable) to me. Yes, there’s plenty to dislike, but it’s irrelevant. One nearly always has to choose between the lesser of two evils in the dirty business of politics.

But choice is necessary, and the differences are so stark this year that to me the better man is glaringly obvious. Just as it’s obvious to me that McCain cleaned Obama’s clocks in the debate.

[NOTE: I've never understand why the debates are considered so important. This was true even back when I was a liberal Democrat. Yes, debates do demonstrate two things about a Presidential hopeful: how fast he/she is verbally, and how clear in communicating thoughts without a script. These things matter. But they matter far less than the ability to make the sort of decisions a President actually faces when serving. That's a different skill than verbal agility. Yes, there may be some overlap, but often the smooth talker is not the person better at working with people, evaluating advice, and making the best choice for action.]

[ADDENDUM: And I was just thinking this very thing myself: "Ultimately it is the voters' wisdom that will be tested in the election." But maybe that's always true.]

91 Responses to “Post-debate: who are those undecideds, anyway?”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    I think that, for the most part, the “undecideds” have decided against Obama but are in situations where they can’t or won’t reveal that choice. (There can be reverse undecideds for McCain, but those must be much fewer in number). Now, of course, the Obamatrons will say that racism is at the root of all that silence and, to an extent, they will have a point. But I think it is a small point.

    What keeps the decided undecideds quiet is the fear of recrimination or attack from the Obamatrons. They have no been shy about this and the extent of their efforts at intimidation range from quiet scorn to outright threats of violence and riots. Wise people in this environment simply shut up about their feelings, lie about them, or claim to be “undecided.”

    Glenn Reynolds today posted a statement that went:

    “You see a lot fewer bumper stickers, too. Could it be that outside of the political-junkie crowd people just aren’t that excited about this election?”

    Pace Glenn, but I don’t think “excitement” is what to look for in this election. What’s coming here is a reckoning.

    Here in Seattle, you see endless signs and bumper stickers for Obama as you might well expect. Not a lot for McCain except in the suburbs. But I don’t think that represents the actual popular sentiment in any significant way. Washington actually has, via Rasmussen, McCain within 2. That’s optimistic but even within 6 represents a notable surge in a state where Seattle skews all elections substantially left. (It is a city, as I like to say, where it seems that somebody lifted up the Northwest by the corner, shook it, and everything loose rolled into Seattle.)

    As a result, there is no frank exchange of political views between the camps that I can observe here either socially or in the local media. It is simply assumed that if you are not for the Big O, you have nothing to say and if you persist in saying it you will be shouted down in very short order.

    I think you see fewer signs not because we are not interested, but because we are now so sharply polarized — to the point of vituperative arguments and outright vandalism. It’s as if we’ve all decided to just prepare and then show up on Election day ready to rumble.

    There’s been no little of outright intimidation in this election so far, and I think for the most part, it all flows from the Obama camp. I can think of a number of incidents of hostile action against McCain supporters and even “moderates.” None come to mind when looking the other way. I think we’re seeing a secret sheaf of opinions held close to the vest and running up to a secret ballot. If we had to vote with a show of hands a la the caucus, it might tilt one way. But since we don’t do caucusing for the general, it might well tilt the other.

  2. T Says:

    Neo,

    Re: gender neutral, try “s/he.” It won’t help with him/her however.

  3. Oldflyer Says:

    Nice link Neo.

    Somtime I would like to have a conversation with an undecided and try to figure out the mind set. Most people I converse with think like I do with the exception of my California based daughters, and I try not to get too deep into politics with them because the downside is much greater than the up.

    Commenting on Vanderleuns observation. I do have a yard sign and I do wear my McCain-Palin ball cap. I do so with slight trepidation.

    I had a shouting match on the Mains St of our town a few months back with three guys who objected to my “SUPPORT PRESIDENT BUSH AND OUR TROOPS” bumper sticker. I am a little embarassed to admit that I got quite loud and profane. Fortunately it came to nothing in the end.

  4. Rose Says:

    Good for you Oldflyer! I actually had a couple of college students give me a thumbs up over the Bush bumper sticker a while back. When I looked quizzical, they made sure I knew what the thumbs up was for. It surprised me.

    “Ultimately it is the voters’ wisdom that will be tested in the election.”

    That’s what scares me.

  5. s1c Says:

    “Ultimately it is the voters’ wisdom that will be tested in the election.”

    That’s what scares me.

    That is what reassures me. There are enough who remember the “Carter” experiment, there are enough who will not vote for an empty suit.

    As for the yard signs etc. There are a lot less signs for the president races here in the Hartford area. What is surprising to me is that I see a lot more McCain (just McCain) than the Obama signs. Usually it is the reverse.

  6. OldTexan Says:

    I usually vote for the person I dislike the least. However this morning I finally got my McCain/Palin yard sign and bumper sticker. This is the first time I have put a presidential sign in my yard and on my car and I am so happy to let folks know what I am thinking about this election.

    I was kind of cool about McCain at first since he was about my 4th choice for president this spring and now I am excited with our choice.

    This an exciting election and this next six weeks should be even more fun, at least that is the way I am going to play it. Anybody asks me what I think, I am one happy camper to have a good ticket to support and so far that just confuses the heck out of the superlibs.

  7. strcpy Says:

    This election cycle has been *really* short of signs and stickers around here too – usually by now you can not read roadsigns for them.

    And it’s not just with the presidential end of it either but is true for congressional (both federal and state) seats. For the most part I think Tennessee is happy with our state legislators (well, as happy as one is likely to get) so I can’t see it being a general trend in unhappiness.

    I see more old Kerry stickers than Obama ones out there on cars. I see almost *no* McCain ones. I see very very very very few Obama signs and up until a short while ago a few McCain. However, since Palin there have been a big upswing in the number of McCain signs – I’ve even spotted a few with Palin in large letters and McCain in small ones (I assume someone local made them up – however the look just like the official McCain/Palin signs just with the names reversed).

  8. br549 Says:

    I have fallen for the word nihilist as of late. Suits Obama well, and really suits left wing types to a “T”.

    It was used either here or over at Rachel Lucas’ blog (by a commenter) to describe Obama.

  9. Fred Says:

    I just realized that the whole “Zip to Washington for the financial crisis” ploy was to interfere with Obama’s studying. McCain is older and knows more, so will learn less by studying. Obama is a quick study who knows less, so the preparation period is more important.

    It’s all military-type strategy. I think.

  10. Fred Says:

    The practical impact is that all the reporters were in one place, covering the bailout talks, instead of being split between the campaign and the talks.

    This seems like a good idea.

  11. Perfected democrat Says:

    “…who are those undecideds, anyway?”

    At this stage they must be comedians.

  12. physicsguy Says:

    Very OT,

    but… Neo, I would really like to know what you think of Kathleen Parker’s scathing column on Palin.

    I’ve been wondering about Parker for the last year or so; that is, her stances have definitely become less conservative. Nonetheless,this column was a shocker for me. And of course, it’s being palyed up all over the media.

  13. njcommuter Says:

    Re: gender neutral, try “s/he.” It won’t help with him/her however.

    Or hse, hir, and hirs.

    Or, if you think it’s all a load of … well, there’s the reader suggestion published years ago in the editorial pages of Forbes: Abbreviate he or she or it as h’ orsh’ it. (Yes, Forbes published it like that.)

  14. Will Says:

    I’m an undecided. Historically a Democrat voter but McCain is the first Republican I’ve seriously considered voting for (for President anyway).

    With both candidates there are issues on which I disagree and agree, so it will come down to which issues are most important.

    I took ABC News’ “Match-o-matic:

    http://abcnews.go.com/politics/MatchoMatic/fullpage?id=5542139

    an online survey in which you are presented with pairs of statements and asked to identify which one you most agree with, and at the end given a “score” Obama vs. McCain and which one you would vote for given your answers. I was nearly split in my score, but there was not much in it (no I am not going to tell you who it said I’d vote for). But – and this is a big “but” in my view – the test did not allow for any weighting of the “questions.” So my overall score may have put me in the McCain camp based on my answers to foreign policy and security-related items. But if social and economic issues are most important to me, and I lean more towards Obama on those issues, I’m going to vote for him.

    There are other factors as well, call them “X-Factors” or whatever you want, which are not related to specific issues or candidates’ policy positions. Trust, perceptions of “strength of convictions” and other factors which cannot be reduced to simple agree/disagree questions may become important to centrist undecideds like myself.

    By the way, the debates were no help in that I didn’t see either a decisive victory or loss for either candidate. Each was strong on different issues.

  15. Lem Says:

    I would never straight out lie about my politics. But for reasons that are beyond my control people usually assume for themselves my political leanings.

    I found that not wearing my politics on my sleeve to be advisable in self preservation sort of way.

    When some people say they are undecided it could also be code for ‘I just don’t want to have to be uncivil’.

    What is one of the cardinal rules while at the bar? no religion – no politics.

  16. Perfected democrat Says:

    “… Kathleen Parker’s scathing column on Palin.”

    I looked at that column, expecially the quote, and was thinking what’s the significant difference between Sarah Palin and uh, aw, um the great orator himself, B. Obama B.A. (that’s not Bachelor of Arts, but Bulloney Artist extraordinaire)? Sarah may not yet be a polished extemporaneous public speaker, but like Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman, her common sense and honesty is worth a lot more than a pile of b.s. Ms. Parker must have been having a bad hair day. I read Town Hall most days, but not Patrick B., and now not K. Parker…

  17. Sara Says:

    The undecideds were those waiting to see who the grown up is. McCain’s campaign tactics were aimed at trying to cast Obama as the empty suit celebrity candidate with no experience. He undermined his own candidacy by the unserious campaign he ran, culminating in the Palin pick. Not so easy to run against an empty suit celebrity now, is it.

    The reason said undecideds broke so heavily for Obama is that he showed himself to be a grown up while, while McCain, who could have so easily walked away with that title, pretty much spent all his capital on stupid stunts and high drama.

    Obama didn’t even have to take a swing.

  18. Lem Says:

    I just took that ABC News’ “Match-o-matic: see Will above.

    Surprisingly I found that I only agree with Obama on Immigration – Pay a fine, Learn English and go to the back of the line.

    I say surprisingly because I thought I had nailed all the answers for McCain ;)

  19. Lem Says:

    The test reminded me of our sexual harassment class at the office.

    In the multiple choice test some people concluded that whatever you thought was the right answer it was probably wrong ;)

    Obama tells people what he thinks they want to hear.

    While McCain calls it straight and is not afraid of explaining why he believes what he believes. He trusts that people will get it and follow in the end.

  20. Jimmy J. Says:

    I have a friend that took the test linked by Will. He scored with one question more favoring Obama. He was quite proud of the fact that it showed he was a true independent. So, I asked him if he was going to vote for Obama or flip a coin. He averred that he’d probably flip a coin as he doesn’t care for either one of the candidates. Will the election be decided by coin flips?

    I did not think McCain did so well during the debate. He attacked and he established his experience, but he needed to be more specific and highlight Obama’s past positions. Last night Obama was Mr. Centrist and that has not been where he’s been until recently. Not many undecideds will do the research necessary to highlight how much Obama has moved to the right since the primaries.

    I look primarily for Commander-in-Chief potential in a candidate. Because that is the primary job of the President. Good judgment, an understanding of himself and his shortcomings, the ability to separate good advice from bad, and, more than anything, the courage to make life and death decisons under great duress. When I compare the two candidates by those standards, McCain wins going away.

  21. nyomythus Says:

    It’s getting more and more difficult for me to say I’m undecided … I may have to actually lie and say, “I voted for Obama”. That’s what i get working in academia — sucks.

  22. Sara Says:

    OK, well, it’s been interesting, in the anthropological sense, visiting this alternative universe for a while, but I need to get back to reality.
    Buh-bye.

  23. Glen Kuniyuki Says:

    “I’ve never understand why the debates are considered so important.”

    To suggest that debates are simply contests of verbal agility is to pretend that all ideas are equally defensible.

    Elections should be about ideas and a debate is the most direct, transparent, objective opportunity to see one candidate’s ideas pitted against the others.

    Rhetorical skill certainly plays a role, but only where the ideas being argued are of similar substance.

    Having said that, it is certainly true that the mediocre media focus on verbal agility because their official posture is one of “neutrality.”

    It just wouldn’t wash for a commentator to say, Obama won the debate, because he was correct that invading Iraq was a disastrous mistake.

    To do that would shatter the pretence that the debate, indeed the election, is about which candidate has the appropriate persona to play the role of president.

    So, yes, within the mediocre media bubble, Neoneocon is correct, the debates are of little substance.

  24. Mitsu Says:

    And, as I stated before, it seemed to me that Obama won handily over McCain (no surprise there). On the other hand, McCain, I thought, comported himself reasonably well. If he hadn’t picked Palin, and aside from the abortion issue, I think McCain would turn out to be a reasonably competent, though a bit impulsive, President.

    As for the undecideds, most polls show them favoring Obama after the debate.

    My scorecard on some of the major issues of the debate:

    Fiscal crisis: both said reasonably compatible things, though Obama was more detailed.

    Regulation: Obama made the excellent point that this crisis was caused to a large degree by the environment of deregulation that has transpired in recent years. McCain didn’t really disagree with this. Advantage: Obama.

    The surge: McCain was right about this one. Advantage: McCain.

    Iraq: Obama made the excellent point that Iraq is a drain on the Treasury and was a huge distraction from what should have been the central front on terror: Afghanistan (and Pakistan). Advantage: Obama.

    Deficit: McCain kept repeating the same points about earmarks. Obama made the excellent point that earmarks, while a problem, are a very small problem. It’s not as though earmarks alone are responsible for even a major fraction of the deficit. McCain’s tax plan would drastically worsen the deficit. McCain really had nothing else to say about this besides “get rid of earmarks.” Advantage: Obama.

    Diplomacy: McCain simply didn’t understand what Obama, or diplomats in general, mean by “preconditions”. He kept repeating an argument against a straw man position. Advantage: Obama.

    How did undecideds read it? Perhaps not as much in Obama’s favor as I did, above, but the polls suggest — more were in Obama’s favor than McCain’s.

  25. Rose Says:

    s1c Says: “Ultimately it is the voters’ wisdom that will be tested in the election.”

    That’s what scares me.

    That is what reassures me. There are enough who remember the “Carter” experiment, there are enough who will not vote for an empty suit.

    Then, what matters is the Get-Out-The-Vote. If enough of us make sure we get to the polls, and anyone like us gets there, too, then there’s HOPE.

    I’m afraid more people fall for empty rhetoric than care about facts. I see it on our local level and I am afraid it extends nationally on a massive scale.

    But I am reassured by your statement.

  26. strcpy Says:

    “And, as I stated before, it seemed to me that Obama won handily over McCain (no surprise there).”

    No, it’s not. Obama had very little actual substance in what he said, it was nearly all platitudes. Of the ones he *did give they were highly liberal and that is the side you like so, of course, he spoke to you. McCain spoke to me (I just do not believe him) and, in that sense, he “won” them too.

    In terms of a formal debate neither side was a clear winner, Obama did some good, McCain did some good, and they both did some bad. I pushed I would have to side with McCain mainly because Obama use of “John” in referring to McCain was improper form. Other than that they were as equal as I have seen.

    As far as persuasive goes – hard to say. Few polls are worth anything at today. Due to costs they tend to stay in populated areas and those are heavily democrat (I really don’t think it is bias). One should generally demote most polls taken on the Democrat side by a few points – that has been true since sometime in the late 90′s. This one is also particularly hard to gauge, we will really have to wait until the election. This is especially true when the “victory” is within the margin of error.

    My general feeling is that they were a wash there too. Obama was expected to be a train wreck of “umms” and wasn’t and McCain was expected to be a dottering old fool – neither is that and too many drunk from the koolaid bowl on that. It makes them both only have to have a “present” vote to achieve victory. Were I to guess then in population centers McCain won (too many there drunk from the “dottering old fool” bowl) and rural areas Obama won (too many drunk from the “umm” bowl). I will not make a statement on which was better here.

    You can take this how you will (truth or a conservative covering) but anyone who thinks one side won last night is crazy. I think that, in and of itself, they were both as equal as one can get. In the longer run I think McCain will come off better for this if for no other reason that Obama gave him more commercials than McCain gave Obama. The “I have a bracelet” comment and his continual use of “John” will come back to haunt him. But then that is only true if Obama gets his way and there are only a very few debates to go from, if there are many like normal than this one will be mostly irrelevant.

  27. galoob Says:

    I was undecided until McCain picked Palin and it became evident that she was both ignorant of basic world facts and possibly a weird extremist of the Rapture/Apocalypse type.

  28. Darrell Says:

    Really? What “basic world facts” are you referring to?
    This election will be decided between those that believe what the media tells them and those that knows it cant be trusted.

  29. douglas Says:

    As for the question of why debates are important, and is verbal agility important? Well, it was important for Ronald Reagan, but not essential. Last night I watched Obama giving canned answers that didn’t answer what he’d been asked, and then, when McCain was talking, the uncomfortable smile and look to Lehrer to ‘please, let’s move on here, he’s said enough, right?’. I watched McCain, for all he didn’t do, at least control the flow of the discussion, leaving Obama to either have a weak response or canned answer. I didn’t see confidence in Obama. I kept thinking ‘my God, Putin will eat him lunch.’ That to me, seemed pretty important.

    It would be nice if the arguments mattered, but those on the right are already sold, as are those on the left, and those still in the middle are truly inscrutable. When you watch those focus groups on TV of supposedly undecided voters, first, I question their honesty, and second, they never make any kind of coherent sense, individually or especially as a group. I’m glad I’m not the one who needs to figure out how to persuade them.

    Mitsu:
    “Fiscal crisis: … though Obama was more detailed.”
    Detailed? About what? He was asked three or four times by Lehrer about what he might consider cutting because of the possibility of a troubled economy, and all he talked about was what he wanted to SPEND money on. It was pathetic. Detailed, well, yes, I suppose.

    “Iraq: Obama made the excellent point that Iraq is a drain on the Treasury and was a huge distraction from what should have been the central front on terror: Afghanistan (and Pakistan). Advantage: Obama.”

    Well, first you’d need someone to actually work up numbers that tell you what it actually cost- when they throw out the numbers they use, it’s actual cost of those units- but they don’t subtract out what would be the normal operating costs of those units stateside or in other deployments (like Japan, Korea, Germany, etc.). Also, I think if it’s important enough to shed blood for, I don’t want anyone telling me it’s too expensive monetarily. How crass, frankly.

    Afghanistan may have been the capital, but the central ‘front’ has been Iraq for the last 5 years. Just ask al Zarqawi, he said so. I’ll take his word on that over yours, no offense. Also, the problem with Afghanistan isn’t that we aren’t committed enough, it’s that we’re fighting too much of it the Euro/NATO (and Obama’s) way, and not the way we’ve been doing it in Iraq. That’s about to change.

    “Obama made the excellent point that earmarks, while a problem, are a very small problem. It’s not as though earmarks alone are responsible for even a major fraction of the deficit.”

    Well, in raw dollars, that may be true, but don’t you think corruption is bad, and it’s tough to expect good legislation from corrupt politicians? Just ask Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, though, in their case it was bad legislation, and then blocking necessary legislation.

    “Diplomacy: McCain simply didn’t understand what Obama, or diplomats in general, mean by “preconditions”. … Advantage: Obama.”

    Well, why don’t we ask Henry Kissinger about that? Besides, it wasn’t about preconditions so much as Presidential level talks without necessary lower level meetings, which you might not feel fit the diplo-speak definition of preconditions, but alas, most people will. So McCain plays up that part to, that’s just politics, my friend.

    It’s no wonder the ‘undecideds’ thought Obama won.

  30. douglas Says:

    “but at the time I said that what Obama meant was not “meet without any preliminary meetings or preparation” but rather “meeting without demanding the other side make a significant concession before talks even begin.”but at the time I said that what Obama meant was not “meet without any preliminary meetings or preparation” but rather “meeting without demanding the other side make a significant concession before talks even begin.”

    If you haven’t gotten some concession by the time you’ve gotten through Sec of State level talks, why on earth would you bother having Presidential level talks?

    “In Diplomacy you never want to arrange a Summit unless you’re 95% sure that the deal both sides are seeking will be achieved.

    # Mitsu Says:
    September 27th, 2008 at 11:35 am

    I don’t disagree.”

    If so, how does one get to 95% likelihood of agreement without some preconditions?

  31. douglas Says:

    Oh, I can’t help myself- Even if Obama and you are technically correct, shouldn’t he have at least realized that Joe Sixpack doesn’t understand diplospeak? I’d call that poor judgement. Lack of insight like that can cause big problems in important meetings.

  32. br549 Says:

    As we all know, promises are made all the time. How many come to light? Depends on how bad the opposite party wants to make the one making the promises look, doesn’t it? Depends on how honest the politician is speaking the promises (Honesty? Humor!).

    No doc loans are about the most stupid thing I ever heard of. The proof is in the pudding. Who benefited from these loans?
    1. Those who could not afford a home any other way.
    2. Those who generally are recruited to, or expected to, vote democrat.

    Fact is, they could not afford a home at all. Fact is, they knew it. Fact is, the lending institutions knew it. Fact is, our elected representatives knew it. Facts are, many saw this coming and did nothing. The few who tried to were shot down. And here we are.

    Whose pocket is the money going to come out of to pay for this mess? Those of us who these loans were not made available to, because we are too successful – responsible is a better word – and for a few other reasons we all know, but it is not PC to say.

    As always, the truth is the first casualty. The body is being buried in plain sight. The ones screaming the loudest and pounding their fists on the desk the hardest should be under investigation, not making new rules, as well as committing my future earnings, as well as my children, grand children, great grand children. And those future earnings themselves, are now in jeopardy.

    The joke is over. The ball is now in the people’s court. If we do not vote all these assholes out in the next cycle, surely, we deserve what we get from this moment on. Democracy is not a spectator sport (I know, I know, it’s a republic).

  33. SteveH Says:

    This election will be decided by those who think punishing achievers to make themselves and their shortcomings feel better, is an acceptable mindset for an adult to have.

  34. Vince P Says:

    I think the best part of the Foreign Policy portion of the debate was Pakistan.

    Obama shows absolutely no awareness of the incredible difficulty in dealing with the Frontier Agency tribes. McCain showed great understanding that Pakistan has its work cut out for it in trying wrestle back the allegiance of the tribes from their current allegiance with Taliban.

    Plus Obama kept saying Al Qaeda were the actors in Afghanistan.. when it’s the Taliban.

    And Obama talks to much about things he’s going to do with a magic wand.

    Like “restore America’s image”.. the only way to do that is to make America into a country that doest’ initiate anything in its defence.. one that is subsurviant to Europe, one that is non-assertive.

    yet he also says he’s going to increase American leadership in the world.

    he can’thave it both ways.

    I dont like either of their approaches with Russia.

    I’m not an expert into what makes Russia tick or how Putin thinks .. but the way I see it, starting in the 1990s. America has been too ignorant and arrogant when it comes to Russia.

    I think we moved NATO to far to the East. We have been too critical of what they did in Chechynia, and our horrible intervention in Serbia totally alienated Russia.

    That Bush continued these policies was a giant mistake.

    Because we didn’t pay attention to the concerns Russia had, is it any wonder that they resort to a policy of extreme assertiveness?

    I say we should have come to an understanding with Russia… tell them how important it is for us to battle the Islamic forces in Afghanistan , how we need to restrain Iran etc… and tell them if theydont make trouble for us, we wont make any trouble for them for what they want.

    I

  35. Sergey Says:

    It is not a secret what Russia wants: absence of heavy armed forces near her borders, inclusion in one or another form in a system of collective security in Eastern Europe, and, ultimately, a belt of neutral countries at her most troublesome southern borders (so called finlandization). I can not see why these reasonable goals are not negotiable.

  36. Larry Grant Says:

    “Ultimately it is the voters’ wisdom that will be tested in the election.”

    There’s an interesting tension captured by that statement in this election. At the same time that the Dems engage in a massive voter registration push, helped by organizations like ACORN and presumably because they believe they in the wisdom of the common man, they argue against the most fundamental characteristic of republican participation, which is that all citizens are and should be ready to serve. In the face of this, the Dems actively argue that government offices ought now to belong only to Ivy League lawyers or political science trained wonks.

    Can someone square this circle for me — elitist leadership only if supported by the wisdom of the common man?

  37. Jamie Irons Says:

    As to the “undecideds”…

    I am reminded of a scene in the immortal Blazing Saddles, a movie so politically incorrect, and therefore so funny, that it could not possibly be made in 2008.

    The scene is the jail, where Gene Wilder’s character, Jim, is trying to comfort the town’s new sheriff, Bart (played by Cleavon Little) who, because he is black, has been rejected in the most rude way imaginable by the townsfolk. Jim tells Bart:

    You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West.

    You know… morons.

    Jamie Irons

  38. FredHjr Says:

    As the other “Fred” on neo’s weblog, I would like to weigh in as a counterbalance to “Fred.”

    I don’t wear a McCain-Palin pin and I don’t put signs on my front yard or bumper stickers on our cars. We live in an area where it has been known for cars to be keyed and signs to be trashed by the Left. They are very good at intimidation and scorn. My wife and her mother have to pretty much shut their mouths around her sister and her sister’s husband, who are strong Leftists who support Obama. Most of my siblings are now like me: refugees from the Democratic Party and are slightly to the right of center Republicans. Too many friends and family are verbally and emotionally abusive and childish when discussing politics. My wife had to break up a fight between her mother and sister yesterday.

    I and a lot of people I know who support McCain and who support our troops are very, very careful about when we discuss politics and around whom we do.

    The Left is showing its thuggish nature. I also think it is lapping at its high water mark, but there is no telling how long this surge will last. It could all blow out after this election or, as I think will be the case, will go on for some time longer. It will go on for some time longer because it controls education and the media. And the young voters have no idea that the worldview they embrace comes from revisionist Marxists, who have succeeded in their long march through the institutions.

    The level of venom and confrontation will not abate any time soon. Eventually, we may even face a civil war over it. An attack by Muslim jihadists could bring this about. A day of reckoning for the Unholy Alliance that David Horowitz writes about is coming.

    I did not listen to the debate because I am not an “undecided.” I already know the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates and their policy positions. I know their voting records and character. No point in subjecting myself to the media circus and their endless spin on how Obama was so much more sophisticated. Everyone knows the media is for Obama. It’s not a secret and the media knows we know it. But they don’t care. How surreal is that?

  39. Vince P Says:

    Sergey : I agree with you.

    The US relationship with Russia is further proof that “experts” (Condi Rice was billed as an expert) and the Washington Establishment are quite capable of screwing everything up. And that the reasons people cite for Sarah Palin’s unsuitability for office are bogus.

  40. Larry Says:

    ……….

    I think many of those that are undecided are those that don’t want to be labeled as ‘racist‘ for seeing McCain as the better candidate, wait till ballot in hand.

    ………..

  41. br549 Says:

    FredHjr:

    Some of what you stated above are the very reasons I personally believe that the left (those at the helm of the left) want the guns taken away. Let’s say, the real reason. I have felt this way a very long time, but until recently never said much out loud because I was afraid people would think I was off my rocker. It was easy to start it in D.C. because of the incredible crime rate. Plus, you know, the elected few live there.
    They wouldn’t stand a chance if the population of D.C. was armed, and heading toward the Capitol.

    The people of this nation have already proved they are willing to go to war with one another over their beliefs.

    The left wants control through legislation and the courts. Well, comes a time when the sword is mightier than the pen. Fighting to keep what is rightfully yours, means you are willing to fight harder. If you’re just trying to steal from someone, you’ll go the way of less resistance.

    As long as there are people who want the government to take responsibility for their well being, there will be people who want to take those positions of control. For all the outpouring of knowledge in recent centuries, there has been no corresponding outpouring of wisdom. Mankind has not changed.

    I have no faith in mankind. I know how fallible I am, for Christ’s sake.

  42. Vince P Says:

    News story on Obama establishing “Truth Squads” who will not tolerate false character attacks and will use criminal justice system against opponents.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ2DXN3aOSo

  43. br549 Says:

    Hmmmmm, just can’t find 700 billion in foreclosures on Realty Trac.

    (www.realtytrac.com)

    Sure would like to be able to hand AIG’s books to the CPA who’s been doing my taxes for as long as I can remember. Fannie and Freddie, too, for that matter.

  44. br549 Says:

    But then, if all that got out, a bunch of people would go to jail.

  45. PGH Says:

    Why Obama gets stomped in Nov;
    The Bradley effect: Tom Bradley was a black LA mayor who ran for Calif Gov..Polls gave him a big lead yet he lost in a landslide…Lefties say it was because Californians are racists, but a better explanation is that those being asked were afraid of being called racist by shrieking lefties…In reality they just didn’t like Bradley’s policies…
    The 9/11 effect: Lots of moderate dems & Independents voted for Bush in 04 but will rarely admit it…I know of several who had never voted REpublican prior to 9/11 but now feel that the Dem party has gone too far left & underestimates the Islamic threat.
    The “You can’t sit at the cool kids table any more” or ” You’ll never work in this town again” effect…In many places, where liberals predominate, to admit you’re voting for
    McCain is to commit social suicide & subject yourself to harsh, contempt filled denunciations by sanctimonious libs who are absolutely positive that your choice of a candidate is proof of your moral and intellectual inferiority….In other venues such as academia, hollywood, unions and anywhere your boss is an obamanaut, revealing your true political views can negatively affect your career….So People don’t…
    The Jewish Vote: always important to Democratic candidates, many Jews are alarmed at at Obama’s connections to the likes of Rev Wright & Farrakan…His seeming soft stance towards Iran’s leader,ImaNutJob..I think many Jews see disturbing similarities between now and the late 30s and between ImaNutJob and Hitler….Though Jews may be reluctant to admit it publicly,I suspect McCain will get more Jewish votes then any Republican Presidential candidate ever..A poll I saw on the Shrinkwrapped blog indicated that 52% of New York’s Jews favor McCain to 38% for Obama…

  46. PGH Says:

    RE: The confiscation of guns….Word on many gun forums is that in many places around the country, guns, ammo and loading gear are flying off the shelves in anticipation of an Obama victory, coupled with fears of an economic and social breakdown…Many dealers can’t keep up with demand…Do you have any idea of the military force it would take to confiscate guns in the most heavily armed nation in history….And would the military and LEO communities, which tend to be conservative, forcefully take guns from their friends and relatives??Civil War and Coup D’ etat anyone??

  47. strcpy Says:

    Gun owners have been through the whole “I only want reasonable bans” thing before.

    We have been through being told the assault rifle ban only affect guns that are only good for wars and then see that shiny new shotgun we wanted be taken off the shelf.

    We recognize that when Obama says he doesn’t want to ban hunting ammunition, only ammunition that penetrates a bullet proof vest we release that nearly *all* hunting ammunition penetrates them.

    We realize that even though the Washington post gave the NRA’s add three Pinocchio’s we realize that they were more accurate about what the effects of those bills are or would have been if they had passed.

    We also realize (and this is the really important one) that every single weapon or ammunition that has been banned, taxed, and discussed as having that doe to it is *not* the weapons used in crimes. For instance long guns (and that is *all* rifles) are responsible for less than 1/10 of one percent of the crimes committed, armor piercing ammunition is *not* regularly sold anywhere, and things like a barrel shroud (one of the things in the assault rifle ban) are nothing more than cosmetic.

    So I suppose many of us also wonder why spend all this money and all this time on them if you wish is to reduce crime (and this is why this one becomes a good litmus test for other issues)? I don’t believe he is stupid enough to believe his own rhetoric, if that were it then I would be somewhat forgiving. There are some that are that stupid. The one I generally believe is that it is part of a systematic reduction of our rights and increasing our dependence on the govt – add in things like his attempts to circumvent and redefine the first amendment and you have a bad combination.

    There are sensible laws that do affect crime rate – the NRA even supports them (as they did with the nationwide instant check procedures) but it is like pulling teeth to get them enacted – however you will note that those measures tend to expand individual rights, restrict criminals, and minimize govt intrusion while the ones that are more widely supported by the legislative classes tends towards the opposite.

  48. PGH Says:

    One more reason Obama gets creamed: The PUMA effect..Meaning ” Party Unity my Ass” PUMAs are staunch Hilary supporters who, with good reason, feel that their candidate got royally screwed by the powers that be at the DNC….They feel that the primary campaigns were loaded with misogyny directed at Hilary by the obamanauts & the media…( check out the youtube video:”Hilary Clinton:Mad as Hell/Bitch”..It’s eye opening) Well, the PUMA’s are as Mad as Hell, 18million of them, and a surprising number are openly supporting McCain/Palin while many others while unwilling to back McCain say that they will vote third party or leave the Pres ballot blank….It’s clear that McCain’s pick of Palin was brillant…Some PUMAs even feel that McCain’s pick of that silly orange tie during his RNC speech was a message to them, ( orange is their color)…Check out the PUMA blogs such as “The Confluence”…”Not Your Sweetie” …”The Reclusive Leftist”…& “count us out”….The Hilary supporters were bullied and called racists by obamanauts at the DNC… Axelrod is alleged to dismissed hilary supports as bitter old bags who would come skuttering back to the DEm Party & vote obama when Roe V Wade was waved in their faces…

  49. Nolanimrod Says:

    Thanks for congruent. Now that Buckley is gone there are few writers who either introduce me to new words or who remind me of good old ones I’ve forgotten.

  50. Nolanimrod Says:

    I wonder if Sanskrit is gender neutral.

  51. FredHjr Says:

    I used to be on the Left and I know how much they fear an armed citizenry. They fear it because if they destroy the essence of what our nation is we will come for them. This should be a land of freedom and opportunity, not a nanny state. Most of us do not want a Eurosocialist society. But the kids coming out of the schools are being primed to want exactly that. I know, because I once was a part of the project to bring this about.

    Most Americans do not want their security and freedom sold out by leaders who appease Islamic terror states and organizations. If the Islamists strike us with a WMD, we want to punish the Islamic world in the most severe way possible. An American president and Congress that will not do this will fall by our hands. They will be arrested and maybe frog marched up the gallows. The Left and its leaders will be put down and the Republic restored.

    The vast majority of the military and law enforcement will not be on the side of a POTUS who wants to transform our society into something it was never intended to be. He may buy off a few to create a praetorian unit, but he won’t get more than 10% of the military.

    I believe the Left is comprised mainly of cowards who will never risk fighting and dying for the socialist utopia. They know dick about military tactics and weaponry. They will be arrested and imprisoned if a civil war happens. And it will be over quickly.

  52. Bryan Costin Says:

    I was thinking about this other day. My answer is similar to vanderleun’s first post. I live in a heavily Republican county in a largely Democratic state. There were lots and lots of Bush/Cheney signs around last time, for what seemed like months before the election. I saw the first McCain signs last week, and not that many.

    I can’t imagine that all those same folks are really undecided. Or that they’re so resentful of McCain or so entranced by Obama that they’d switch parties and vote Democratic. Maybe a few, but not many. I think they’re just hesitant to voice their support for McCain for fear of being made to feel like closet racists. Why go begging for abuse?

  53. FredHjr Says:

    I think the Left has poisoned the well in the American polity. They have succeeded in using deceit, intimidation, peer pressure, and obfuscation of the issues to build their organizational strength.

    I still think, in the long run, they can be defeated but it may take a civil war to do it. I don’t see any groundswell for conservatism right now in the country, so it is likely that the Left will creep ever further in their gains in the culture. We are a long way from the Reagan revolt of 1979-80. Politically, the Left is way far ahead of us, and Newt Gingrich knows this. This is why he is trying to rebuild conservatism from the ground floor up. And he says it will probably take the loss of an American city or a horrific WMD attack before the Left is decisively discredited and defeated.

    I much prefer it be done by the way Gingrich has mapped out. I prefer it be done at the ballot box. But events might make it so urgent that we could be pushed into civil war.

  54. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    I think many undecideds fall into Will’s pattern, above: people who usually vote for one party but are considering switching because of the circumstance of this election. They may not be undecided every election, just this one, or for a few election cycles in a row while they are are moving from one party to another. I was a liberal voter in 1980, a conservative voter in 1988. I was an undecided in 1984.

  55. Perfected democrat Says:

    Bryan Costin Says:

    September 28th, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    “… they’re just hesitant to voice their support for McCain for fear …”

    People are tired of confrontation in any form. Too many, probably most, rely exclusively on the MSM for information. Observing the evolution of events catapulting toward a more dangerous situation with Iran and friends it becomes easier to understand how events unfolded during the WWII era. This may sound (politically) naive, but I do have a wisp of hope when reading that President Clinton recently called a spade a spade in reference to the democrat’s culpability, particularly the last five years, playing politics with the current financial crisis. It will not be noticed by many, however, and probably won’t change the numbers. The strategic advantage against Iran has slowly been “talked” away… It will make the financial crisis pale by comparison.

  56. Perfected democrat Says:

    Bryan Costin Says:

    September 28th, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    “… they’re just hesitant to voice their support for McCain for fear …”

    People are tired of confrontation in any form. Too many, probably most, rely exclusively on the MSM for information. Observing the evolution of events catapulting toward a more dangerous situation with Iran and friends it becomes easier to understand how events unfolded during the WWII era. This may sound (politically) naive, but I do have a wisp of hope when reading that President Clinton recently called a spade a spade in reference to the democrat’s culpability, particularly the last five years, playing politics with the current financial crisis. It will not be noticed by many, however, and probably won’t change the numbers. The strategic advantage against Iran has slowly been “talked” away… It will make the financial crisis pale by comparison.

  57. Thomass Says:

    strcpy Says:

    “We have been through being told the assault rifle ban only affect guns that are only good for wars and then see that shiny new shotgun we wanted be taken off the shelf.”

    I had a 22 covered under a state ban on ‘assault rifles’. lame…

  58. Lem Says:

    What do you do when the very idea of “indecision” is anathema.

    Shelby Steele on what it means to be Obama.

    “There is a price to be paid even for fellow-traveling with a racial identity as politicized and demanding as today’s black identity. This identity wants to take over a greater proportion of the self than other racial identities do. It wants to have its collective truth-its defining ideas of grievance and protest-become personal truth…. These are the identity pressures that Barack Obama lives within. He is vulnerable to them because he has hungered for a transparent black identity much of his life. He needs to ‘be black.’ And this hunger—no matter how understandable it may be—means that he is not in a position to reject the political liberalism inherent in his racial identity. For Obama liberalism is blackness.”

  59. Lem Says:

    Nolanimrod said

    Now that Buckley is gone there are few writers who either introduce me to new words or who remind me of good old ones I’ve forgotten.

    Nyomythus above has a word gold mine.

  60. Vince P Says:

    I think the Left has poisoned the well in the American polity.

    The Left has destroyed Europe and now it’s destroying America.

  61. Lem Says:

    The Left has destroyed Europe and now it’s destroying America.

    The sad part is that really smart people that I look up to when relating how they feel about our current economic crisis speak as though they are ready to try socialism as the answer.

    It’s really depressing. I mean, they should know better!

    Jesuscrist.

  62. douglas Says:

    “It is not a secret what Russia wants: absence of heavy armed forces near her borders, inclusion in one or another form in a system of collective security in Eastern Europe, and, ultimately, a belt of neutral countries at her most troublesome southern borders (so called finlandization). I can not see why these reasonable goals are not negotiable.”

    I disagree. It may be what Russia wants, and there’s nothing wrong in that in and of itself, however, what if countries like Ukraine and Georgia and maybe Khazakhstan and Uzbekistan want to be more aligned with the U.S., who are we to say ‘No, you’re supposed to be ‘neutral’ or in with Russia to keep them happy. Sorry, I’m not buying. It might have made things easier, but I won’t say it’s the right thing to do.

  63. FredHjr Says:

    The real issue, one that Sergey seems to stubbornly refuse to admit of, is that Iran is Russia’s jewel among its proxies. Russia is going to great lengths to insure that Iran’s nuclear weapons’ program survives and is protected. This is a security threat to the West. Russia knows it too. I think one of the strategic goals of Russia in the former republics on its southern border is to help protect Iran more, by taking away air space from Iran’s enemies and taking away nations that are hostile to Iran, friendly to the U.S., and not necessarily hostile towards Russia.

    Russia is waging war by proxy against us. Anyway you slice and dice it, eventually the logic leads back to this. Russia could always have friendly trade relations with Georgia and Ukraine. And Russia knows damn well that the ballistic missile defense system (if it survives a President Obonga’s promise to end it) was really meant for actors like Iran and North Korea, which seem oblivious to MAD. Russia understands that neither the U.S. nor Russia can win a nuclear war with each other. But Russia wants Iran to be able to do their dirty work for them. If Iran can threaten and destabilize the West, Russia can see ways to capitalize on that.

  64. Vince P Says:

    But why is Russia waging a war agaisnt us? Have you considered maybe they perceive us as waging a war against them?

  65. strcpy Says:

    “The real issue, one that Sergey seems to stubbornly refuse to admit of, is that Iran is Russia’s jewel among its proxies.”

    Actually, I don’t think Sergey is refusing to admit that (at least from what I have read here).

    I think he is absolutely correct as to what Russia wants – however I think it is absolutely correct what Douglass say too.

    In either case Russia is still treating sovereign nations as part of their own wants. Iran is happy to play that role as it gives them the weapons and materials that they want. Others, like Georgia, have no wish to be ground up into bits in order to protect Mother Russia.

    I can’t say I blame Russia – what they want is probably “reasonable” given their past. But it isn’t realistic – those actors are no longer theirs to throw away. The rest of the world may fear and cave to them (western Europe definitely want to do so in almost any conflict), but it isn’t the Right Thing to do. In the long run there is a war there – about the same threat as Islam in my opinion.

    You would not want to die to make sure your neighbor is safe in their home – neither does Georgia. That everyone else around you demands it doesn’t make it any better. An old saying is that Democracy is two lions and a lamb deciding what is for dinner, a Republic is a well armed lamb – same thing here. Democracy will throw away places like Georgia because the lions do not care, if Georgia has enough arms then the lions have to come to the table (and grumble, complain, and everything else all the time).

    We do not want to deal with it – or even things like Iraq – but they will eventually have to be dealt with. Better now when we are in the strong position than later (we may be able to achieve a diplomatic victory if the other side knows there is no hope of a military one and we have the will to do so) when we have to fight a fairly even war like the last World Wars. I think that when (and not if – too many think we can bargain from a position of weakness) that happens that places like Russia and Iran will ignite another World War simply because they view it as in their mutual interest to kill the players bigger than them.

  66. sergey Says:

    The real problem is that no nation can be completely sovereign in globalized world, and some nations are more sovereign than the others. All attempts to absolutize sovereignity and pretend that rivalry of great powers, their desires to expand their spheres of influence are obsolete or illegitimate are either utopian or hypocritical. The best approximation to sovereignity for small nations is neutrality, and it can be guaranteed by negotiated agreements between great powers. This seems to me the best way to establish realistic, stable and peaceful new world order – at least, better than to play really obsolate Cold War power games. Russian leadership is also responsible for this unfortunate course, but do not pretend that it was not provoked to choose it.

  67. sergey Says:

    Unlike Iran, Russia has not religion-based irrational expansionist ideology to wage a Cold War. It has not now ANY ideology to talk about, except self-defence and preserving its territorial integrity and independence. These are rational goals, and nobody in Russian political class is ready to sacrifice blood and treasure for anything else. Russia also has no demographic or economic potential for expansion, at best it can hope to retain what it already has.

  68. njcommuter Says:

    The current business in American politics seems to merit a Chesteron quote I just ran across:

    “I would rather a boy learnt in the roughest school the courage to hit a politician, or gained in the hardest school the learning to refute him – rather than that he should gain in the most enlightened school the cunning to copy him.” (Illustrated London News 8-31-1912)

    (Found here

  69. br549 Says:

    All a nation like Russia needs to expand its agenda is the natural resources to do so. They have most of that. And they certainly know how to force their people into following lock step. Add a few puppets scattered around the globe, with natural resources of their own, and hey.

    Socialism is on the rise in this world. (duh). From each his ability, to each, the fruits of the able.

    That virus now infests our own nation. In order for it to multiply, the nation has to be divided. The best way to divide the nation is to divide the very base of its existence. The family, in our own nation. The voting base for socialists had to be created, you see.
    They are doing a good job. Saul Alinsky must be smiling from hell.

    A line needs to be drawn. No one wants to draw it. The left keeps nibbling away. Or should I say nihilists? One day the line will simply have to be drawn. If and / or when, another civil war comes to this nation, Katy bar the door. We certainly know how to wipe ourselves out. We proved that once. More American people died in our civil war than any other, perhaps every other, since. By the way, Sherman should have been hanged, not had a tank named after him. What he did in his “march to the sea” I have no words for.

  70. sergey Says:

    Socialism is always attractive to those who have not experienced it on their own hides. To those who had this experience it is a nightmare they want to forget. Humans being what they are, they always begin value their liberties and comforts only after they have lost them. Most of young westerners born after Cold War have no idea what living in communist state really involve, so they have no immunity to socialist ideology.

  71. TheRealSwede Says:

    The undecideds are those people who cast their vote on a whim. It could be a candidate’s affectation or bearing. A turn of a phrase or a winsome smile. Such insignificant things trigger responses in these people that, in turn, directs their choice. They wait for that trigger, and if it never happens they make the equivalent of a coin-flip in their heads. Either that or, we can only hope, they don’t vote at all.

    In a just world such trifling citizens (I use the word loosely) would not be allowed the privilege of their vote. In the world we find ourselves in today, they end up being the king-makers. Decidedly one of the great ironies of our time.

  72. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I have a couple of relations who suffer from BDS.
    It’s been transferred to current politics as well.
    Interesting thing is…they know absolutely nothing, except what isn’t true. To which they cling like Saran Wrap.
    To explain the reality brings up anger and personal attacks.
    IANP (I am no pshrink), but I think part of that stems from an unconscious awareness that their positions have major internal inconsistencies. Which, for some reason, they cannot face.
    I think part of it–I know their social circle–is the fear of being seen as uncool among some fairly well-known folks in a small town. To be cast into the darkness in northern Michigan is a serious fate.

  73. br549 Says:

    As the information about what was in the bailout bill surfaces, and what has been removed, what the left wing democrats truly want will become crystal clear.

    Read the blogs today. Listen to talk radio today. Stay away from any and all of the MSM today. Go to the gun store today.

    I’m not running for office. So I don’t care what anybody else thinks about what I think.

  74. Glen Kuniyuki Says:

    Say what you will about liberals, but at least most of them aren’t paralyzed constant fear that they will lose an argument.

    I find conservatives seem to feel it is an affront to disagree with them. They routinely ban people from their blogs, all the while whining endlessly that liberals challenge them in public when they spout their views.

    It’s simple: if you want to spout the kind of highly ideological positions I see here on this blog in public, you better be prepared to defend them. You should also be prepared to fend off rejoinders from people with views that are at least as strident as your own. Isn’t that just common sense?

    And if it is, why the constant complaints from conservatives that their neighbor/counsin/co-worker or what have you makes them feel bad when they talk politics?

    My experience, and the shape of talkradio and the news media shows, that conservatives prefer and expect to give their opinion without opposition.

    Rush Limbaugh does it all day, so why shouldn’t the average joe? Trouble is, the average joe doesn’t control the microphone. He’s got neighbors who think he’s a nut-job and don’t mind telling him so. So he pipes down. And were supposed to feel sorry for him??

  75. FredHjr Says:

    Sergey,

    Given all you’ve stated about Russia, you still don’t answer the question, “Why is Russia allied with Iran?” Why is Russia helping Iran nurture and protect its nuclear weapons’ programs?

    I ask these questions respectfully, Sergey. I don’t attack you personally. I just want to understand how you view that alliance.

  76. Sergey Says:

    This is simple, Fred. To annoy Uncle Sam. This is silly, of course, and hardly has anything to do with genuine Russian national interest. The close analog of this stupidity in US politics was to arm Saakashvilly to teeth. This was done only to annoy Kremlin, because no genuine US national interest was accomplished by it.

  77. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Glen.
    Wrong planet. This is Earth.

    Conservatives try to be rational–which by itself conflicts with pomo sensitivities–and look for facts.
    My relatives do not do facts. They do good upset, though, and their strident response to an argument is to call me names.
    I have been banned from several lib blogs for nothing but doing what is called “content trolling”, which, afaik, means facts the locals don’t like.
    And I don’t call names.
    Now, if you think good argumentation is the kind the libs do, good for you. But you’re wrong. And that’s a fact.

  78. Sergey Says:

    All this is not Realpolitic (in benign sense of the word), but stupid ideology-driven stubbornness, like promoting democracy where it does not belong and impossible, or re-create Cold War strategic parity having economy one-tenth size of American.

  79. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Glen – your impression is nothing more than that unless you back it up. Radio call-in shows have people uh, call in. I don’t see that ABC/Time/NYT have people call in.

    I find that conservative blogs allow comment more frequently than liberal ones. I have never had my comments deleted by a conservative or libertarian blog, but it has happening many times on liberal blogs. That is anecdotal, and I do not have overall numbers – I don’t know that such numbers exist. But my experience is sharply different from yours.

    My experience is that progressives argue via the social cues of condescension, false dichotomy, and ad hominem rather than logical premises. I say this as a former liberal and writer for a small socialist rag, who used to do exactly that and thought I was quite the clever one.

  80. Gringo Says:

    I have never had my comments deleted by a conservative or libertarian blog, but it has happening many times on liberal blogs.

    On this thread, the software has blocked my comment(s), most likely because I included two links to previous comments in this blog, plus something embedded. Not a link-friendly filter.

  81. Glen Kuniyuki Says:

    There’s tons of anti-liberal ad hominem right here on this blog. Virtually zero anti-conservative ad hominem. Moreover, I don’t recall conservative posters here objecting to ad hominem as long as it is directed toward liberals.

    And the record shows Neoneocon routinely deletes liberal comments and bans liberal commenters, without ever clarifying what rules there are and what transgressions the banned have committed.

  82. douglas Says:

    Glen, care to back any of that up with quotes and or links so we can argue the specifics and not engage in a ‘because I said so’ argument?

    I thought you were the one about rational, fact based arguments?

    Now, you’re here and dissenting, and haven’t been removed, and many before you have had more than a fair chance to have their dissenting say civilly. Mitsu is still around, though he’s a steady dissenter, but he’s civil. So, where’s your beef?

  83. douglas Says:

    “Say what you will about liberals, but at least most of them aren’t paralyzed constant fear that they will lose an argument.”

    It’s not that we’re paralyzed by fear of the argument, I’m totally up for that- It’s fear that because of irrational behavior, I or my family will be subjected to unreasonable derision simply for disagreeing with the ‘party line’. I’d rather get along with my neighbors that I disagree with and who won’t argue rationally, so I don’t argue. It’s just the right thing to do.

  84. douglas Says:

    “Saul Alinsky must be smiling from hell.”

    He’s been smiling ever since Obama got nominated.
    Ever notice how he and Michelle like to use the ‘world as it is / world as it should be’ line? Right out of Alinsky.

  85. Gringo Says:

    I have been trying to post something that links back to an old Neo thread, and it never gets entered. Glen might call it censorship, but it has more to do with the way the commenting software attempts to protect against spam.

  86. Gringo Says:

    Why is a posting without any links being blocked?

  87. neo-neocon Says:

    Gringo: my spam filter has a mind of its own. Certain words are blocked, or parts of words, that seem like spam. For example, there is a great deal of drug spam that come in, so that words that have parts of drug names in them are sometimes blocked. “Soma” is a drug, and the word “Somalia” used to be blocked because of that (I think I fixed that problem, but I can’t fix everything).

  88. Gringo Says:

    Glen:
    You have provided no documentation whatsoever to support your assertion. I refer you to some comments I made in the “Political Posturing” posting from the twenty sixth day of November in the year 2007.

  89. Gringo Says:

    Glen: Refer to my comments on the twenty eighth day of November at one thirty nine in the afternoon, and on the twenty ninth day of November at six minutes after nine in the morning. Type in “political posturing” at the top of the search mechanism and find the appropriate date.

  90. Gringo Says:

    Glen:
    I observe the following behavior about those who have been banned form various non-Liberal blogs. First, some engaged in personal insults. In the example I provided,BB ( name changed to try to defeat spam filter) misrepresented what I said (first date) While he later acknowledged his error, his carelessness was shown by his addressing me as “Gray.”
    3) L ( name changed to try to defeat spam filter) requested documentation for what another poster had stated. No problem. When I and another poster provided such documentation, L denied the validity of the documentation- bad source according to her. After being shown further documentation that showed that the source was valid, and L accepted that the source was valid, L then misrepresented what L herself had originally said- changing the goalposts. (second date)

    I found L and BB to be rather frustrating: misrepresentation of what others said, changing goalposts, etc. Later, Neo banned them.

    IMHO, it comes down to a lack of integrity on their part. This was repeated behavior on their part. IMHO, that is what got them banned: repeated lack of integrity.

    I am quite willing to debate, but my experience is that it is tiresome to debate with those who do the following: 1) misrepresent what others say, 2) make careless statements that documentation easily refutes, 3) change the goalposts. See my comments to L and BB in cited thread.

    Like Neo, I used to be a liberal. I left the liberal camp well before Neo did. What the liberal “progressive” university taught about the world outside the US did not correspond at all to the reality I encountered outside the US when I worked overseas four years.
    All this to try to defeat spam filtering.

  91. Richard Aubrey Says:

    What is interesting about lib arguing, and I think I’m mature enough to correct for selection bias, is that they will misrepresent what a conservative says and then react to the misrepresentation as if that were the actual point.
    I would fully expect them to lie about what I said if it were to somebody not present originally.
    But what puzzles me is that they do it on a comment thread where my literal words are there for anybody to review.
    I just don’t get how that works.
    The only possible reason to do it is to wear out the conservative who spends so much time correcting the misrepresentation that he just gives up.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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