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The examined life: One conservative's journey

When I was 17, I was a socialist.

Seriously. When I was 17 years old and a senior in high school, I announced to everybody who would listen that I was a card-carrying member of the Democratic Socialists of America. And I was fervent about it. I was a true believer.

I turned 18 in November of 1990, three and a half months after Saddam Hussein rolled his tanks into Kuwait. George Bush was in the White House, and we all saw him on CNN declaring that the Iraqi invasion would not stand. War seemed inevitable. And war, as every college freshman knows, is something that must be opposed with protests and signs and chants. Mostly because that's where all the girls are, the pink-cheeked teenage girls in their cut-off jeans and their tank tops with peace signs on them.

Between the endless succession of vainglorious anti-war extracurriculars and the sudden post-U.S.S.R.-era tackiness of that old-time proletarianism, 18-year-old me came into the 1992 election cycle as about as rasa a tabula as you could ever hope to see. I knew that war was bad because the hippie chick with the bandana and the jeans with the hole you-know-where told me so in between attempts to teach me how to French kiss. But on the other hand, I knew that the Gulf War had been about as bloody as a Pearl Jam concert and had lasted only slightly longer. Democratic candidate Bill Clinton delivered a few stump-speech platitudes and a Ray-Banned sax solo, and it was a done deal.

That November I went into a booth and I pulled a lever and I was proud to be an American and a Democrat.


Throughout the 1990s, I was an unapologetic, though not always proud, member of the Democratic Party. I had lost none of the fervency of my high-school days; I really believed. I was twenty years old. Of course I believed. Believing is what unreconstructed idealists do best.

But in 1998, the whole world came crashing down. That summer, news broke that the President -- my President -- had had a protracted and wildly inappropriate sexual relationship with a 22-year-old White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. And not only did he have an affair, but he lied about it defiantly and forcefully. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," he said. He said it to the press, he said it to the whole country. He said it to me. And it was a lie.

"Oh, everybody lies about sex," they said. You know: they. The faceless voice of the conventional wisdom. "It's no big deal," they said. But to me, it was a big deal. I don't expect my President to be without sin. But I do expect that when he looks me in the eye and pounds his extended finger on that podium and says it like he means it, that he's not lying to me.

I didn't say anything about it to anybody. Not to my friends, not to my co-workers, not to anybody. But it was then, in the fall of 1998, that I began to feel, for the first time, like I didn't fit in with the Democratic Party any more.


During the late 1990s, little by little, my convictions began to evolve. Things that had seemed self-evident to me five years before were suddenly up for grabs, or worse, now seemed equally self-evident to me only in the opposite direction. But I was still a Democrat -- I've never been one to jump ship over a few differences of opinion -- and I dutifully voted for Al Gore in November 2000.

The aftermath of the 2000 election was an embarrassment to the nation. Gore's retracted concession was an act of political classlessness unequalled in recent memory, and the turmoil that resulted damaged this country in ways from which we still haven't recovered.

But what really shocked me was the vitriol that gripped my party during and after the election. People were throwing around the word "stolen," and they meant it. They really believed that some dark cabal had conspired to overturn a fair election and award the Presidency to a candidate who hadn't earned the office.

In the winter of 2000, it seemed like dissatisfaction with a failed campaign boiled over into outright hatred, not just among the fringe lunatics but in the minds of mainstream Democrats around the country. Once again, I was starting to wonder whether I really fit in.

Then came a Tuesday morning in September.


I was on a business trip, visiting a client in Los Angeles. My phone woke me up. "Turn on your television," said the co-worker on the other end. I asked which channel. "All of them," he said.

One of the towers had just fallen and the other one was burning; smoke was rising from the Pentagon. There were rumors of planes still unaccounted for. It wasn't over. One of our co-workers had been on a flight from Dallas to Chicago that was in the air during the hijackings; was he okay? They were clearly trying to hit "soft" targets, and the woman I loved worked in one of the largest buildings in the Southwest. And the phones were jammed and I couldn't get through to anyone. I looked out the window of my high-rise hotel over the L.A. basin and saw, on the horizon, the blue-grey smudges of a pair of F-15s. A flash of reflected California sunshine and they were gone.

For four days I sat in that hotel and watched the news unfold on CNN. By the time the airports reopened, I knew exactly what I wanted from the government and the President. I didn't want mere retaliation or a military quid pro quo. I wanted absolute certainty that nothing like the events of that horrific Tuesday morning could ever happen again. I wanted the smoke from the burning towers to herald the flames of a reformation that would sweep across Central Asia, the Middle East and parts beyond. I wanted the President -- who at some point during that unforgettable week had become my President -- to change the world.

Not all Democrats saw it that way. While American troops were fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, Howard Dean announced that Osama bin Laden should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Prominent Democratic donor George Soros declared that "crime requires police work, not military action." John Kerry, who would eventually secure the Democratic nomination, said that the President "rushed into battle."

What the hell had happened to the Democrats? Why was a party that had been so willing to use American military force during the 1990s when the commitments were small and the sacrifice slight suddenly so reluctant to do what was right?

I came into the 2004 President election season disenchanted with my own party but ready to be won back. All the Democrats had to do was show even a token willingness to win the war. They didn't do that. Instead they nominated an undistinguished legislator who saluted with one hand and pandered to the squeamishness of the anti-war bloc with the other.

In November 2004, I walked into a booth and pulled a lever. And I was proud to be an American and, for the first time in my life, a Republican.


I have friends who've been Republicans all their lives. I think we all know people like that, people who inherited their political opinions from their parents and never wavered. I had to strike out on my own and experience a sort of philosophical Wanderjahr before I was ready to come back to the values I learned from my parents.

Does that make my political opinions any more valid than anyone else's? Of course not. But it does make them complicated. I believe that personal responsibility is a cardinal virtue, but I believe that society must sometimes protect us from ourselves. I believe that free markets solve problems better than governments, but I believe that public education is too important to leave to the invisible hand. I believe that sometimes war is the inevitable extension of a strong foreign policy, but I believe that the state has no business executing prisoners. I'm a swarming, teeming mass of political contradictions, and as such I fit in perfectly with no political party.

But I think that's how American politics is supposed to work. I think American political parties are supposed to be made up of smart, dedicated people who disagree about practically everything but who find enough common ground to work together. I think that American politics is the politics of persuasion, and that people with strong convictions have a responsibility to get out there and start persuading others to see things their way.

And I believe that strong-willed people who disagree with each other can change the world for the better. Because I think that those are the only people who ever have.

Jeff Harrell blogs at The Shape of Days.


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Comments (68)

Welcome Jeff,It's ... (Below threshold)
taz:

Welcome Jeff,

It's been said that "a Republican is a Democrat who's been mugged once". Your mugging was everyone's on 9/11/01.

I sometimes wonder just how... (Below threshold)
EXDemocrat:

I sometimes wonder just how many of us are out here. Those of us who are a,

swarming, teeming mass of political contradictions, and as such fit in perfectly with no political party.

9/11 did have a huge impact on a number of us.

the hippie chick </p... (Below threshold)

the hippie chick

LMFAO! Perhaps you meant 1965 instead of 1990?

Howard Dean announced th... (Below threshold)

Howard Dean announced that Osama bin Laden should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Damn! Did you forget all the whining from the GOP impeachment shills about the Rule of Law?

Welcome to the fold, Jeff!<... (Below threshold)
harmlesslittlefuzzball:

Welcome to the fold, Jeff!

I, too, was a Democrat during my misguided youth. I’m from a blue-collar Hispanic family, and had always been taught that Democrats were the party that represented the interests of poor downtrodden people like us.

My epiphany came a couple of years after I entered the work force as a medical technician. It just about killed me to work my butt off six days a week and get a sizeable chunk taken out of my check in taxes, while my patients were on various federal and state government programs and enjoyed a better standard of living than I did. Here I was, eating oatmeal morning, noon and night so that I could afford to pay my light bill, and these people got to eat steak. Not cheap hamburger meat like I bought when I wanted to splurge, but real steak. To make matters even worse, my patients took great delight in bragging about how they scammed the system.

When I’d complain about the whole mess to my family, I pretty much got raked over the coals and was tersely informed that it was the government’s job to do stuff for people. I waved my pay stub and asked them, “Where in the hell do you think the government gets its money?” They honestly thought somebody in Washington, D.C. just sat around printing money all day long.

The doctor that oversaw our department heard me ranting in the break room one day, and took me under his wing. After he dispelled many of the myths about the Republican party that I had always harbored, I changed my political affiliation. My family was horrified. You would have thought that I just murdered thirty-seven people with a weed-whacker or something. “How could you?!” they screamed. “Republicans are the party of the rich!”

Maybe I’m just weird, but I kind of liked that idea. I wanted to be rich, too. I’m not there yet, but I’m still working on it…

Your right wingers really d... (Below threshold)
David:

Your right wingers really do make me laugh here you are complaining about how the state is wasting money on people in most cases what your really saying is non white people,,,,and then when is comes to Iraq your party is suddenly the most caring party out there and willing to spend billions to help some brown people get democracy,,,hypocrites the truth is you dont give a dam about no one in the USA who aint got no money and you only support the war because your all war mongering bloody thirsty cowARDS

Wow, I could have written t... (Below threshold)
JimK:

Wow, I could have written this, except that I came to my realization between 1997 and 1999. By 2000 I was convinced that the lesser of two evils was on the right and not the left. By 2004 I will admit, I enjoyed watching them flounder in defeat. I'm STILL unhappy with a lot of what the right does, but I'm also not an idiot. In a de facto 2 party system, you pick the one that does the least amount of damage.

When one side wants to risk my very life and the other only wants to run it...the choice is clear for me. I'll take the political mother-in-law; at least she doesn't want to invite terrorists over for dinner and serve them on the good china.

Clinton lying, Gore's parti... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Clinton lying, Gore's participation in the 2000 election debacle and advocacy for a military solution for terror.

Those are like mating calls to moonbats. Let me get some popcorn, this could be fun.

When I turned 18, my mother... (Below threshold)
Mark:

When I turned 18, my mother told me that if I ever wanted to vote in primaries, I'd have to register Dem; when someone did run on the Republican side, he was unopposed and generally had little chance of winning whereas you at least got a chance to weed out the idiots on the Dem side. I grew up around people who would NEVER vote 'R' just because... you know the litany.

The 'D' party pretty much ran the state, and I heard all the crap; I heard the people who would vote for someone they KNEW was an idiot/drunk/thief/incompetent because "he's the party candidate!" and that was all that mattered. And it came to really piss me off.

What I tell people now is that saying "He's the party candidate and that's all I need to know" is the equivalent of hanging out a sign saying "I don't have to think, the Party does it for me". That may be a fine attitude for the PRC or Cuba or the old Soviet Union, but it's not how this republic was supposed to work.

I make no apologies for the 'R' party when they do something stupid, and I will vote for a 'D' when I know this one is both the best for the job and will NOT fold up for the national party's wishes. Problem has been, the 'D' party nationally I cannot trust AT ALL, and the 'R', if I watch the clowns hard and yell enough, I can trust somewhat.

I have to mention one more ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

I have to mention one more thing; when I found that the Democrat party trusted our enemies to be 'reasonable' with nukes and chem/bio weapons, but didn't trust me to own a firearm, BIG splitting point there.

Great article, and welcome ... (Below threshold)

Great article, and welcome to the crew. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Yeah, I was a socialist for... (Below threshold)
meep:

Yeah, I was a socialist for a little while in high school, then a Randian for a little while after that (that was an amusing switch), and then I voted for Clinton in 1992 (I was 18). Then I joined the Libertarian party sometime before 1996, the year I moved to NYC.

Then I stopped playing games in 2001.

So yeah, I hear ya Jeff. 2001 really woke me up. I was bemused by Clinton's "diplomacy" when it came to North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Israel, etc. Then it all became deadly serious, and the UN's perpetual finger-wagging was no longer so funny.

Things don't change much as... (Below threshold)
epador:

Things don't change much as the decades pass. Quaker hippie chick (who later converted to Judaism after a summer dig in Israel and dumped me), Earth Day, anti-war protests, all in the background for my first Presidential Vote. However I was never a "Party Man." I voted for Shirley Chisholm. (Not just the Primary, but for the final election too. No way I was gonna vote for McGovern.) However, then a righteous man appeared on the scene. Carter. Oops. Yep, after I helped elect the guy who led us into double digit inflation, one foreign relations blunder after another culmunating in the disaster OPERATION EAGLE CLAW, I was done with idealism. The final straw was when he essentially paid ransom to the Iranians by releasing their frozen assets (who as a final snub to Carter refused to release the hostages until after Reagan's inauguration). If the Dem's could find someone practical AND with some integrity, I would have voted for their candidate, but they haven't found one yet.

My bleeding heart wife bought me Carter's new book for Christmas. It sits next to the toilet in the basement. Just in case I run out of toilet paper.

Good job on the Wizbang Gig... (Below threshold)

Good job on the Wizbang Gig, Jeff.

See, life ain't all hell. ;)

JeffJust when I trho... (Below threshold)
clrjk:

Jeff
Just when I trhought it was impossible to find another naive, gullible impressionable young man, you produce this codswollop!! Your President! Your president! Who are you? What are you?!! You change your enrire political outlook because of a sex scandal?!! Jesus Christ, I've heard it all. With the due-est of respect, how do you say, oh yes get a life!

Please excuse any typing er... (Below threshold)
clrjk:

Please excuse any typing errors. Am trying to trade at the same time!!!

I too was once a liberal. ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I too was once a liberal. I am embarrassed to say I voted for Dukakis and Clinton the first time.

Although I had switched parties long before the whold Lewinski thing broke. Even when I pulled the lever for Clinton in 1992, I was already changing, and had I realized then what an accomplished liar Clinton was, I probably wouldn't have voted for him that year, but I didn't know that then.

Chuck Robb has the dinstinction of being the last democrat I ever voted for-it was somewhere around the mid 90's that I figured out the democratic party just wasn't what I thought it was, its values weren't the ones I believed in, and the GOP was a better fit.

"I have to mention one more... (Below threshold)
JimK:

"I have to mention one more thing; when I found that the Democrat party trusted our enemies to be 'reasonable' with nukes and chem/bio weapons, but didn't trust me to own a firearm, BIG splitting point there."

Oh, Mark, you NAILED the very thing that turned my head toward the right. I was appalled that a group would, as a platform plank, endorse a stance that encouraged people who wanted Americans dead to gain access to weaponry that can kill, indiscriminately and by the tens or hundreds of thousands, but they refused to see what the Founding Fathers recognized as my personal, individual and inherent right: to be armed for the purpose of protecting myself. It was that very notion that created the schism between my former liberalism and my current trend toward libertarian-esque conservatism.

Hmmmm--me thinks poor littl... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Hmmmm--me thinks poor little "David" must be a LLL--reckon?

Well, I'm not surprised you... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Well, I'm not surprised you could change your entire political affiliation over a sex scandal. Believe it or not, a lot of college students are liberals because of what they think about the issues, not because some girl tells them to be. The fact that you're so intellectually shallow is belied by the fact that you changed your entire philosophy over a sex scandal. Oh well, I guess we'll be welcoming you back to the Democratic party after the Abramoff scandal is fully exposed. I mean, I'm assuming you're not so much of a hypcrite that you could stay with a party whose leaders would look into the camera and lie about their involvement?

Great article and comments.... (Below threshold)
Vanna516:

Great article and comments. I too had a moment of weakness in the early 90's when I was working as an attorney at the time & considered myself well-read but I bought that line that Republicans were ruining the courts by stacking them with conservatives. Thankfully, my insanity was short-lived and I haven't voted for a democrat in a major election since 1992. Now even most of the Republicans aren't conservative enough for me.

Chris If you think... (Below threshold)

Chris

If you think Jeff changed his whole philosophy over a sex scandal, need to go back and have your keeper read it to your again, without skipping over the 3+ syllable words.

You and David are in the say dayroom, right?

Convenient how David and Ch... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Convenient how David and Chris read only what they want to read. It was the "let's roll over and piss ourselves like wimpy dogs" attitude the liberals adopted after 9/11 that had him see the light you pompous, ignorant pseudo-intellectual pansy boys.

You think the enemy *respects* for your willingness to self immolate? Hardly. Like any bully they see you as the patheitic excuses for intelligent beings you think you are.

I just love the "reality based community" that doesn't live in the real world--"progressives" who whine about everything but never, you know, progress--and "enlightened" people who show about as much enlightenment you would expect out of a mentally handicapped amoeba.

I have ZERO respect for a party who ignores their real problems and the only position they can muster is an anti-platform. It's easy to just be anti-establishment. It's easier to manipulate you because you are more controlled by the establishment that way.

Relieves you from actually thinking of solutions as you only have to wait for the other side to actually do something then you can oppose it. It's the ulimate in laziness...don't think just be lead around by the nose by either your opponent or your sycophants.

I've heard the term Cognitive Desonance is a good explanation for the reactions of the left. I disagree since it implies there was an ability to apply cognition in that first place.

Darleen, perhaps it is you,... (Below threshold)
clr:

Darleen, perhaps it is you, whom should have your keeper re-read it to you. The seeds of doubt were sewn when heavens forbid a politician, the er-hem, president had an affair with an intern. Now lets not be coy. Politicians are human beings. They are not infallable and are subject to the same moral frailties as the rest of us, probably more so given the money and kudos at stake.

The post 9/11 diatribe..... is nothing more than a diatribe. There was not a single trace of an original thought . Rehashed, hackneyed and put together with the expectation of a clap on the back, a howdy partner, a welcome on board mate, as it were. In other words, it was more of the same old, same old, well this was my turning point, I'm one of you, therefore I am great! Who cares? Who gives a flying fart? It's not quite the road to Damascus, but Christ does it go on?

Caveat: I am not a democrat and my leanings would be more Republican but the current administration is in my humble opinion, an abomination. Spin and nationalistic rhetoric have overtaken the real values. Bush et al have hijacked 9/11 for their own twisted purposes and made America look weak. I am not anti war, when it is for the right reasons. Lets be honest here, there are few on this website, well not many in the country whom could have picked out the Middle East on a map of the world never mind any of its individual components such as Iran, Iraq Saudi etc,nor would they have been au fait with the history/culture of said region. Now we have pundits appearing right left and centre boring a lot of us to tears with their insights and impressions. A quick google search on the Middle East and suddenly everyone is an expert!! Experts who live in the smallest one horse or cow towns, whom have probably never ventured further than their state line!!!

We are probably the most powerful nation in the world. I hope it never comes to a show of strengh with China or our old foes such as a re-formation of the SOviet bloc. The world used to look to us for leadership. Now we are ridiculed by by our old allies, and even by some of our closest neighbours. No, it is not the rest of the world whom is out of step, it is us!

My helmut is on so fire away!!!!!!!!!!!

The world used to look t... (Below threshold)

The world used to look to us for leadership. Now we are ridiculed by by our old allies,

OMIGOD, the old "They used to LOVE US" canard. For crissakes, why is that tune by Urban Myth still being banged out?

am not a democrat and my leanings would be more Republican but the current administration is in my humble opinion, an abomination.

Yeah, right, sure. I believe you. Really. Uh-huh. I've never heard that one before ...

BTW clr... the sentence you missed

I don’t expect my President to be without sin.
If you are bored reading "hackneyed insights" let me give you the same advice I'd give to Mrs. Grundy on the ladder peering over the 8 ft backyard fence to be scandalized by her nude sunbathing neighbor -- GET DOWN OFF THE LADDER and stop reading.

Putz.

I swear, Chris and clr need... (Below threshold)
Adam Lawson:

I swear, Chris and clr need to learn to read: It wasn't the sex. It was the lies. He said as much. I love how when someone is angry that Clinton lied... moonbats go on the "IT WAS JUST SEX!"

No. It was a president who looked into the camera and lied. Something that moonbats want to have Bush tried for treason over. He lied under oath about a sexual relationship during a rape investigation. But everyone overlooks that. I guess:

"IT WAS JUST RAPE!"

Darleen, perhaps it is y... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Darleen, perhaps it is you, whom should have your keeper re-read it to you. The seeds of doubt were sewn when heavens forbid a politician, the er-hem, president had an affair with an intern. Now lets not be coy. Politicians are human beings. They are not infallable and are subject to the same moral frailties as the rest of us, probably more so given the money and kudos at stake.

Actually if you had read the post, it wasn't just the affair, but the fact Clinton looked the nation in the face and lied to us all. But I doubt it was a uniquely pivotal factor. It was just one of several steps on the road to enlightenment. If not this, then something else would have taken its place.

Although people don't care ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Although people don't care much for Monica, that lie wasn't a just an "I didn't do it!" lie of a child. It was an attempt to paste Lewinski as a scheming liar or mental case.

That lie wasn't just CYA, it tried to harm someone else as well.

I have a very simmilar stor... (Below threshold)
David Marks:

I have a very simmilar story. I also voted for Clinton twice and Gore. It was not only not only the democrats reaction to 911, but the chorus of "its our fault and lets try to understand the terrorists" from the left made me wonder how I could be assosiated with such morons. It wasn't long before every single one of my preconceived notions had to be scrutinized. I don't consider myself a rebulblican, but I also can't associate myself with a party whose left wing base are, for lack of a better word, idiotarians.

The seeds of doubt... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
The seeds of doubt were sewn when heavens forbid a politician, the er-hem, president had an affair with an intern.

Typical liberal spin. Jeff wrote “And not only did he have an affair, but he lied about it defiantly and forcefully. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” he said. He said it to the press, he said it to the whole country. He said it to me. And it was a lie.”

Had Clinton courageously took responsibility for what he did, not only would the American people have forgave him, after all it was only about sex, but many soles wondering in the political landscape would have found a home in Clinton's party. It was the lie itself that showed Clinton’s true character and it was that depraved character that started Jeff on the path to political enlightenment.

The lie was an attempt to o... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

The lie was an attempt to obstruct justice in a sexual harassment case that was eventually plea-bargained rather than go to trial.

The moment for me was listening to Gore trying to answer the Juanita Broderick question when he got blind-sided that time, can't remember the details. All I know is when I heard his non-denial double-speak bullshit, it was obvious Clinton was a rapist and Gore knew it.

If you think it was just about a blow-job you are an idiot beyond help.

Networking: Securing illega... (Below threshold)

Networking: Securing illegals' records
Migrant farm workers flow into Salinas, Calif., during the lettuce-harvesting season, just as once portrayed, long ago, by novelist John Steinbeck. The difference is that now, the workers come to California's Central Valley from central Mexico, not the Oklahoma dust bowl, as in "The Grapes of Wrath."
And although they are in the United States illegally, have no money or health insurance and don't speak English, they do have access to consistent medical and dental care, as a result of a new wireless networking initiative, experts tell United Press International's Networking. By Gene Koprowski

Yes, the Dems left me and n... (Below threshold)
Bonequark:

Yes, the Dems left me and not verse visa. Many years of listening to how bad I was because I was an American took their toll. Sad, really, cause the Republicans could use honorable competition now more than ever.

Bonequarkcause ... (Below threshold)

Bonequark

cause the Republicans could use honorable competition now more than ever.

Guess what? I agree with you. No competition means getting complacent and lazy.

Of all the reasons that right-of-center ideas have gotten traction within the public at large, and why so much of the Left within the media, academia and blogsphere react with such spittle-spewing hysteria is that for too long such people have been the dominate view point and it's allowed conservatives and libertarians sharpen their own argumentative styles against them. We know the Left's lines of "argument" while they rarely know ours...or even give ours much credence.

I think a principled and non-Leftist liberalism needs to re-assert itself. A competition of ideas between people who can disagree in good faith is very much needed.

So i guess when reagan pull... (Below threshold)
David:

So i guess when reagan pulled the troops out of Lebanon after the Barracks bombing all you guys suddenly switched to the democrats, has it ever occured to you that each preseident takes millatary decisons after consulting the millatary and looking at the overall picture of whats happening around the world the full geo pollitical picture,

Clinton lied wow I aint no Clinton supporter to me the majority of them are liers, its just I aint brainwashed by party propaganda, Clinton lied that means every democrat is going to be a lier now...such an inteligent person is our Jeff...finally Bush lied cost us billions of dollers lost thousands of lifes and ruined the reputation of our millatary...and is taking us towards defeat in Iraq...but hang on dont worry its not his fault its the CIA's...i mean how can Bush lie he goes to church

Chris,The Abramoff s... (Below threshold)
tblubird:

Chris,
The Abramoff scandal will hang as many demo moonbats as it will repubs (who should know better) - read this link - http://washingtontimes.com/national/20060115-115033-1547r.htm

You can hang the Republicans for the scandal but you can't think the Democrats are clean - they still have to deal with the perception of "lying to the public" that Clinton endorsed and skated on. Very similar to the Kennedy debacle with Mary Jo. Lying always cuts deep to Republicans and honest Democrats - get over it. Until Demo's quit hiding the truth (like kerry's treason) Republicans will always take the high road.

clr,
Get a grip - this is Dave's story and a lot of young people are finding likeness in it. I'm am an old fart - and I feel just like they do. It's the continuing attachment to constant principles which drives Republicans. Democrats keep changing the roadmap - and people like Kerry aren't helping (I voted for it before I voted against it?). And I don't understand your point about finding the Middle East on a map - WTF? So? When has that been a requirement and what for? What we do know is that it's where the terrorists are enshrined and perpetuated. It requires us to find them and if we have to use a map, so what? Just find them. Your "summary" - "Now we are ridiculed by by our old allies, and even by some of our closest neighbours. No, it is not the rest of the world whom is out of step, it is us!"
What were you thinking? France threw up the white flag immediately, Germany has now let a terrorist killer out of jail, and Spain caved because, well, because they have no will - not to mention their government changed to left wing liberals. Did it do them any good? Not if you read the reports of what has happened there in the last year.

I'm with Dave. His education has been similar to many new Republicans. Glad to have them at least looking on things from right of center.

Psssst.... tbluebird<... (Below threshold)

Psssst.... tbluebird

I don't think you mean "Dave"

DavidI realize tha... (Below threshold)

David

I realize that the Left runs on a fundie absolutism..that kind goes with emotion and unexamined faith.

Reagan's moral bankaccount was hurt but not overdrawn with his ill-considered abandonment of Lebanon.

I left the Republican party when GHW Bush pulled out of Iraq before Saddam was over thrown. That overdrew his moral bankaccount. (I was a registered Libertarian until the end of Clinton's 2nd term, and re-registered Republican so I could vote in the CA primaries).

Clinton lied that means every democrat is going to be a lier [sic] now...such an inteligent [sic] person is our Jeff...finally Bush lied cost us billions of dollers [sic] lost thousands of lifes [sic] and ruined the reputation of our millatary [sic]

I think you're overdrawn at the coherency bank.

Winston Churchill once quip... (Below threshold)
Gary:

Winston Churchill once quipped, if you're not a liberal when you're 20 then you have no heart, if you're not a conservative when you're 40, then you have no brains.

Churchill also converted from very liberal member of parliament to very conservative prime minister. Also in his later days, the liberals were making excuses and allowances for Hitler as he rearmed Germany following WWI. Churchill was called an extremist for pointing out the danger. History repeats now in Iran.

its just I aint br... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
its just I aint brainwashed by party propaganda

But the following shows you swallowed the left's propaganda hook line and sinker…

finally Bush lied cost us billions of dollers lost thousands of lifes and ruined the reputation of our millatary...and is taking us towards defeat in Iraq...

Being wrong about something is not a lie, it’s a mistake. If we are going to start calling every mistake politicians make a lie, then what are we going to call it when someone intentionally deceives us--a clinton?

Chris et al, I think you mi... (Below threshold)
Just me:

Chris et al, I think you missed the point in there somewhere.

The facts are that most of us who were once liberal and saw the light didn't actually have a road to Damascus type experience.

The reality is that for most of us, it was a gradual proccess-one day you realize that you don't like A about what your party or its leaders stand for, the next day it is B, then C, then before you know it-you realize the party you once supported doesn't believe in the things you believe in. Some people may not identify with the GOP, but they identify more with its positions than the democrats.

I can't say there was any bright light moments-it just happened. I think for some, who were already seeing the signs that the party wasn't for them, had a defining moment on 9-11, but I think it was more like the wife whose husband is cheating on her seeing all the little warning signs, and then one day catching him in bed with the other woman. While that was a defining moment, the reality is that she sensed there was something wrong long before that moment, that moment was just the last straw.

Usual crap its unbelievable... (Below threshold)
Saf:

Usual crap its unbelievable how you guys in the states shit yourselfs so quickly and are only too willing eat the bullshit bush feeds you, I mean listening to some of you idiots sounds just like all the dangerous scare stories about communism, what happend when you got your asses kicked in vietnam did communism really take over the world no...now someone on here said Bush senior pulled out before over throwing saddam in the first gulf war which made him an idiot,,,well looking at whats happening over there now may be he was right...

Finally i've said this many times before you brainwashed ignorant moran dream on about Iran, your millatary is busy getting its ass kicked in Iraq by insurgents representing no more than 20% of a population of just over 20 million, now why do you think the Iranin presendent is egging you on becuase he knows his country is much larger than iraq with 3 times population of iraq and without the ethnic divisions to exploit so your millatary who has its handsfull in Iraq have not got the manpower to stage an invasion thats one reason and the other is that for one moment try to get it into your thick heads how would the US millatary cope if the Shia rebelled 60%+20% sunnis rebelling would the us millatary really be able to cope with that, I think not and in case you did'nt know the winners of the recent election is an islamic party whic was based in Iran during the times of saddam and has very close tiess to iran it is just one of several parties with very close ties and all of these parties have large millitias,,,,and Sisatani the religious leader of the shia well he is in fact Iranian born he is persian,,,so as you can see you really have Iran quaking in its boots

I guess Carter left office ... (Below threshold)
epador:

I guess Carter left office before most of you could walk, huh? ;-)

Saf,You seem to ha... (Below threshold)
taz:

Saf,

You seem to have forgotten the close US friend, located within short range of Iran. It's name is Isreal....I realize it's not on your map of the middle east, however it's firepower is strong & I suspect Iran or Persia is expecting a delivery of that firepower soon.

Good luck

Saf,I see you're b... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Saf,

I see you're back with your usual charm. In past ages a conquering army suppressed uprisings among the conquered by barbaric brutality. That's currently not an acceptable approach, so coalition forces are hampered in fighting the insurgents in Iraq. If not for the women and children to hid behind, the insurgents would be wiped out in a few weeks just as the U.S. destroyed Iraq's army.

Iran is a different story. The U.S. should make it known that because Iran has violated the non-proliferation treaty that any nuclear device used against the U.S. or it's allies will be assumed to come from Iran and the U.S. will retaliate in kind, but much larger in scope. Of course, the U.S. may not need to do a thing given Israel's alleged advance nuclear program and anti-ballistic missile program. What will the world be like without an Iran?

"David" writes:... (Below threshold)

"David" writes:

ruined the reputation of our millatary

"Saf" writes:

so your millatary

Ladies and Gentlemen, the only question that remains is whether this troll is from dKos, Asstrios or DeludedUnderground.

Epador-while I wasn't in di... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Epador-while I wasn't in diapers when Carter left office, I was still too young to give a hoot about politics. As a matter of fact I used to get very angry at Carter because he actually preempted a favorite TV show to give some boring speech (of course this was in the days before cable, and if the president spoke it was on all three channels, and I had no other options).

I do remember my mom voted for Carter, and my dad voted for Reagan. I don't think my mom ever voted for a GOP candidate-but then she was very liberal.

Wow! Love the way he writes... (Below threshold)
EricR:

Wow! Love the way he writes!!

DarleenThanks for ... (Below threshold)
clr:

Darleen

Thanks for the advice but if ever I find myself needing your advice, then I suspect It will be too late as my my marbles will have already been truly lost!

My dear, presuambly you are not well travelled but when you hear different people from different countries from both sides of the fence, the left and the right telling you how they percieve Bush et al, then you dont have to be a rocket scientist (I'm not far off!!!) to see that something is wrong with America today. Prior to 9/11 not many Americans would have known what was going on in the world. Post 9/11, everyone thinks they know what is going on. Bush has hijacked our fears and told us that "badmen" and "evil doers" are out to get America. Bin Laden bombs the World Trade Centre, we bomb a few mountains in Afghanistan but our ultimate goal is the removal of Saddam Hussein? Now, how bloody stupid do you have to be to buy that. Come on people!! This has to rank as the greatest con of a nation ever!

As for, it wasn't the "sex" it was the "lies", smarten up, dear, all politicians lie. It is up to us to choose which lies we believe and which ones we choose to let irritate us.

Similarly as for looking over the neighbours fence and then taking offence, you are quite wrong. On the whole I enjoy most of the articles on here, though not always agreeing with the sentiment. A privilege I am grateful for.

DarleenThanks for ... (Below threshold)
clr:

Darleen

Thanks for the advice but if ever I find myself needing your advice, then I suspect It will be too late as my my marbles will have already been truly lost!

My dear, presuambly you are not well travelled but when you hear different people from different countries from both sides of the fence, the left and the right telling you how they percieve Bush et al, then you dont have to be a rocket scientist (I'm not far off!!!) to see that something is wrong with America today. Prior to 9/11 not many Americans would have known what was going on in the world. Post 9/11, everyone thinks they know what is going on. Bush has hijacked our fears and told us that "badmen" and "evil doers" are out to get America. Bin Laden bombs the World Trade Centre, we bomb a few mountains in Afghanistan but our ultimate goal is the removal of Saddam Hussein? Now, how bloody stupid do you have to be to buy that. Come on people!! This has to rank as the greatest con of a nation ever!

As for, it wasn't the "sex" it was the "lies", smarten up, dear, all politicians lie. It is up to us to choose which lies we believe and which ones we choose to let irritate us.

Similarly as for looking over the neighbours fence and then taking offence, you are quite wrong. On the whole I enjoy most of the articles on here, though not always agreeing with the sentiment. A privilege I am grateful for.

DarleenThanks for ... (Below threshold)
clr:

Darleen

Thanks for the advice but if ever I find myself needing your advice, then I suspect It will be too late as my my marbles will have already been truly lost!

My dear, presuambly you are not well travelled but when you hear different people from different countries from both sides of the fence, the left and the right telling you how they percieve Bush et al, then you dont have to be a rocket scientist (I'm not far off!!!) to see that something is wrong with America today. Prior to 9/11 not many Americans would have known what was going on in the world. Post 9/11, everyone thinks they know what is going on. Bush has hijacked our fears and told us that "badmen" and "evil doers" are out to get America. Bin Laden bombs the World Trade Centre, we bomb a few mountains in Afghanistan but our ultimate goal is the removal of Saddam Hussein? Now, how bloody stupid do you have to be to buy that. Come on people!! This has to rank as the greatest con of a nation ever!

As for, it wasn't the "sex" it was the "lies", smarten up, dear, all politicians lie. It is up to us to choose which lies we believe and which ones we choose to let irritate us.

Similarly as for looking over the neighbours fence and then taking offence, you are quite wrong. On the whole I enjoy most of the articles on here, though not always agreeing with the sentiment. A privilege I am grateful for.

It was the "let's roll o... (Below threshold)

It was the "let's roll over and piss ourselves like wimpy dogs" attitude the liberals adopted after 9/11

Despite what that traitor Rove said, 83% of self-described liberals were in favor of a military reponse to 9-11.

The Abramoff scandal wil... (Below threshold)

The Abramoff scandal will hang as many demo moonbats as it will repubs

LOL, sure it will, pal.

The Washington office of Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, a Seattle-based law firm, keeps adding Republicans . . . Earlier this year, Preston Gates hired Jack Abramoff, a high-powered Republican with impeccable conservative credentials.
National Journal
From the K Street Corridor
April 8, 1995


If a Republican era began in 1994, Jack Abramoff is K Street's future . . . Abramoff has given himself the tough task of advancing the goals of the conservative revolution while also making money. ''They agreed that I could work on things that were important to me,'' Abramoff said.
National Journal
Jack Abramoff: A Lobbyist
With a Line to Capitol Hill
July 29, 1995

Some insiders have already bet on the Republicans. This summer the Association of American Railroads hired a Republican, Edward R. Hamberger, as president; and the new head of AT&T Corp's Washington office, James W. Cicconi, was a top official in the Bush White House. ''These groups really drive K Street,'' says Jack Abramoff, a Republican lobbyist with the law firm of Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds.
National Journal
K Street, That GOP Street?
September 19, 1998

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his book of lucrative clients and GOP connections are leaving Preston Gates Ellis and Rouvelas Meeds 12/31 to join Greenberg Traurig. Abramoff, a member of the kitchen cabinet of House Maj. Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX), plans to bring about 10 lobbyists with him . . . Greenberg Traurig nat'l gov't chair Fred Baggett: "We're heavy into substance lobbyists. Jack is heavy into the relationship side."
Hotline
Career Track: Abramoff and Running
December 14, 2000

Now comes word that Jack Abramoff, the firm's star GOP lobbyist, has jumped ship to Greenberg Traurig and plans to take up to 15 folks with him. " They're completely Republican-less with a Republican House, Senate and president," one source crowed about Preston Gates.
Roll Call
Heard on the Hill
December 18, 2000

Abramoff said the Bush team's careful and deliberate approach to leadership is the exact opposite of the Clinton team. "The feeding frenzy which started even before Clinton was inaugurated, and continued to the final pardon, was perhaps best exemplified by the reckless and unprofessional handling of his responsibility to appoint honorable public servants," he said.
The Hill
Lobbyists approve of Bush's businesslike style
May 2, 2001

Jack Abramoff has recruited a new Republican lobbyist for his team: Hill staffer Neil Volz. Volz, 31, works as the chief of staff for Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio . . . Volz says he'll miss the flow of the legislative process, but now he plans to "enjoy it from a different angle."
National Journal
People
February 9, 2002

It's being dubbed the "battle of the Republican uber-lobbyists," pitting Haley Barbour, once the face of the GOP, and quiet Jack Abramoff, his biggest competitor. The jockeying for the top spot kicked into high gear this month when Abramoff helped open the posh Signatures restaurant, down the street from Barbour & Co.'s Caucus Room. This place is hot -- and booked with GOP fundraisers . . . Also, Abramoff's lobbying team just beat Barbour's over an Indian casino issue in Louisiana. What's more, he's a big pal of Rep. Tom DeLay, the likely next House majority leader. "He's the face of the new generation," says an ally.
U.S. News & World Report
Washington Whispers
March 25, 2002

Last summer, in an effort to raise the visibility of his Indian clients, Abramoff helped arrange a White House get-together on tax issues with President Bush for top Indian leaders . . . The lobbyist also reportedly invited the Coushattas and two other tribal clients to a dinner party last fall that included [Interior Secretary Gale] Norton.
National Journal
The K Street Jackpot From Indian Casinos
April 20, 2002

No tribe spends more--or more effectively--than Mississippi's Choctaw . . . Most of the money has gone to one of the capital's premier lobbyists, Jack Abramoff, a top Republican Party fund raiser. It was money well spent. In the 1997 legislative caper, Thad Cochran, Mississippi's five-term Republican Senator, slipped into a 40,000-word appropriations bill a 19-word sentence that exempts the tribe from oversight by the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Time
Playing The Political Slots
December 23, 2002

In a business built on relationships, Abramoff has more than two decades of involvement in Republican politics to draw on. . . . With the Republicans now in control of the White House, House and Senate, and his friend Tom DeLay (R-Texas) controlling the House agenda, Abramoff does not have to look far to find clients interested in his services.
The Hill
Republican power broker
Jack Abramoff on lobbying in the Bush II era
March 26, 2003

"I think it's a very different administration ... compared to the Clinton days. They're going to go out of the way to make sure that they are not courting special favors to lobbyists and to special interests . . . From a good government point of view, that's very refreshing. From a lobbying point of view, it's obviously more of a challenge."
Jack Abramoff
Quoted in: “Republican power broker
Jack Abramoff on lobbying in the Bush II era “
The Hill
March 26, 2003

The (Bush) campaign . . . has 18 individuals who qualified as "Rangers" by helping raise at least $200K and 50 who qualified as "Pioneers" by helping to raise at least $100K. . . . Pioneers include . . . lobbyist Jack Abramoff."
Hotline
Bush: Take it to the Limit – and Beyond
July 16, 2003

"Everyone in town is trying to be a Pioneer or Ranger. But the only way to do it is to have contacts outside of D.C., which fortunately I do. So far I've raised about $120,000, and I haven't even really started making calls."
Jack Abramoff
Quoted in: “Bush Loyalists Compete
for Spots on President's A-Team “
New York Times
July 21, 2003

At least a dozen Republican influence merchants made the pilgrimage to Crawford on August 9 to hang out for a few hours at a barbecue with President Bush and his top campaign advisers . . . Abramoff, who didn't go to Crawford because he does not travel on the Jewish Sabbath, added that when he reaches his $200,000 target as a Ranger, he plans "to try to help some other lobbyists meet their goals" by helping to organize small strategy meetings.
National Journal
All the President's Moneymen
September 6, 2003

In 2000, Abramoff was one of a half-dozen Washington lobbyists who raised $100,000 for the Bush campaign. This cycle, at least four partners at Abramoff's firm hope to raise at least that amount.
Roll Call
Insiders Vie to Raise Cash for Bush
October 15, 2003

“I know Jack Abramoff and I know Wayne Berman. They are Republicans; they were Republicans before they were lobbyists.”
Former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie
Capital Report
CNBC
October 15, 2003

The College Republican group is an integral part of the GOP network . . . Among those who served as chairman or executive director were Atwater; Rove; Grover Norquist, an influential conservative activist in Washington; Jack Abramoff . . . and Ralph Reed, who ran the Christian Coalition at the height of its prowess and now is a top southern consultant.”
Washington Post
Another Lobbyist Emerges
From the GOP Trenches
January 13, 2004

On a warm evening in June 2003, a star-studded crowd of political and corporate conservative celebrities flocked to the Homer Building on 13th Street NW to toast the opening of the Washington outpost of [Ralph Reed’s] public-affairs firm Century Strategies . . . Mingling in the lobby and enjoying drinks and hors d'oeuvres were the likes of Ken Mehlman, now the campaign manager for Bush-Cheney '04; former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, chairman of the Bush campaign and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee; Grover Norquist, the conservative anti-tax activist; Jack Abramoff, then an uber-lobbyist for Indian casinos; and lobbyists from some of Reed's blue-chip corporate clients.”
National Journal
Go-To Guy
July 17, 2004

"If you look around Washington, D.C., today, and you look around College Republicans 20 years ago . . . if you look at who's running the town . . . they're all from College Republicans."
Jack Abramoff
Quoted In: "College Republicans
raring to go in 2004"
Gannett News Service
July 25, 2003

you dont have to b... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
you dont have to be a rocket scientist (I'm not far off!!!)

Someone says they're close to being a rocket scientist, but can't figure out how to post a comment to Wizbang just ONCE. It's easy, just press the Post button ONE time.

Mac Lorry, ... (Below threshold)
Saf:

Mac Lorry,
Yes your right insurgencies have been put down by brutality in the past but also in the past those same tactics have actually flamed insurgencies and looking at Iraq that’s exactly what would happen there take the prime example of Falluja which was flamed after the firing on protestors by US troops.

The nuclear non proliferation treaty oh yes is that the one that North Korea has now pulled out of, the one that did not get ratified by the US congress is that the treaty your talking about, and what Iran is doing is still within the agreement of the original NPT.

What really makes me laugh though on here is how people get shocked at the thought of politcians lies i mean come on where the hell have you been for the last 100 years

Saf,I agree there ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Saf,

I agree there is no easy answer in Iraq. It's the same dilemma the U.S. has faced before, how to defeat combatants who hide within a civilian population. It's really up to the people of Iraq to either fight for some sort of inclusive government or accept what's imposed on them by the insurgents. As the U.S. begins it's pullout, the people of Iraq may realize that how they will be governed is really up to them. Hopefully they don’t realize it too late.

The antics of North Korea doesn't let Iran off the hook. If Iran persists in it's current path, the long standing U.S. policy of deterrence should be extended to Iran. We just need to make it clear that any nuclear weapon used by terrorists will result in nuclear retaliation against Iran. There will be no hiding behind the civilian population as the civilian population is the target, just as has been the case for 50 years between the U.S. and Russia. Any country that joins the nuclear club also joins the target list. If you don’t want to be on the target list, live up to the requirements of the non-proliferation treaty.

It's not that politicians lie, it's what they lie about that shows their character. Everyone lies for social reasons and for strategic reasons in negotiations. It's a given that cops lie when interrogating suspects. Show me someone who says they never lie and I will show you someone who is either a liar, mentally ill, or not human. It's a lie like Clinton's that demonstrates a serious character flaw. The type of character flaw many don't want in a president.

Boy, it's ironic how many p... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Boy, it's ironic how many people lecture me about reading closely while missing so many facts themselves. Harrell said when the Clinton scandal broke "the world came crashing down." If that doesn't sound like a turning point, I don't know what does. And my point was that a scandal nvolving one President shouldn't be enough to make you change your party affiliation, but I guess if your political views were formed based on what you thought would get you the most tail, then you're shallow enough to do anything.

As for the case he makes for how the Democratic response to 9/11 made him a Republican, I call bullshit. Everything he's saying is part of the mythology, not what people experienced at the time. The Democrats overwhelmingly supported the invasion of Afghanistan, as well as the Patriot Act. And please quote the Democrats who said after 9/11 "its our fault and lets try to understand the terrorists." And when Kerry said Bush "rushed into battle" he was talking about Iraq, not Afghanistan. If you still think we went into Iraq in response to 9/11 then you're just not paying attention. And as for Howard Dean, he said when we capture bin Laden (back when we thought Bush cared about capturing him) we should put him on trial. If that's so offensive, how do you feel about us putting Saddam on trial? We put the Nazis on trial, for Christ's sake. It's not that outrageous an idea. You folks are fond of claiming that anyone who comes here and says he used to be a Republican is a lying Democratic troll. Well, from the tone of Harrell's post, I sincerely doubt he was ready to vote Democratic in 2004.

Face it, we all got scared after 9/11, but some of us kept our heads and some just wanted a strong daddy who would make them feel safe. Well, you got George Bush and he's turned out to be one of the worst Presidents in history. Virtually everything he has touched has turned to shit. Pay a little attention to who won the election in Iraq and tell me that's a good outcome. And if you think the Abramoff scandal is going to affect both parties equally, keep dreaming. The Republican spin machine keeps pressing that point, so of course you're going to have the idiot press picking up on it. But as the indictments start to come down people will become more aware that not a single Democrat got money from Abramoff. This is a Republican scandal, like it or not.

You can all talk about how it's too bad that the Democrats are so weak, and how the country could really use a two-party system. Well, like it or not, it's the political center that decides elections, and if you think the whole country's turned Republican, you're in for a rude surprise. More voters voted Democrat than Republican in 2000, Bush won by three points in 2004, the smallest margin ever for a sitting President in time of war (and certainly not a "mandate.") Democratic senators represent 55 percent of the population. The Republicans took over the House in 1994 because the public saw the Democrats as corrupted after years in power. And if you don't think that describes the Republicans, wake up. When people start seeing the ramifications of the prescription drug bill the Republicans gave to their lobbyist friends, it's going to get even worse.

When the Democrats regain control, it won't be because the country is suddenly Demoicrat, either. It will be because the voters recognize that one-party control of government is a dangerous thing. The Repuiblicans have demonstrated that in spades.

Face it, we all g... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Face it, we all got scared after 9/11, but some of us kept our heads and some just wanted a strong daddy who would make them feel safe.

Belittling people who want to be safe in their own country won't win points here or anywhere else I know of. You sure seem to lean toward those who said we should figure out how we offended the terrorists and try not to do in again. What those idiots haven't figured out yet is that it's their breathing that offends the terrorists.

Well, you got George Bush and he's turned out to be one of the worst Presidents in history.

His term is not up and the fruits of his labors have yet to be reviled and yet you claim to speak for history. Your statement is wishful leftist propaganda and nothing else.

…that not a single Democrat got money from Abramoff.

What have you been smoking? Several Democrats have already admitted getting money from Abramoff and made a show of giving it to charity. Some Democrats have even decided to keep it thinking as you do that it "is a Republican scandal", but no one knows at this point if voters will make that distinction. We'll all find out this fall.

Mac Lorry:First of... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Mac Lorry:

First of all, I come here to try to offer some reasoned responses to what are usually right of center arguments. I don't really expect to "win points." And it would be helpful if you pointed out what I said that made it seem that I "lean toward those who said we should figure out how we offended the terrorists and try not to do in again." As I said, we were all scared after 9/11. But there's a knee-jerk response to fear and a reasoned response. The notion that Bush will keep us safe because he dresses up in a flight suit is laughable. He so far has shown no ability to manage the important task of keeping us safe. Please tell me what he's done that has made us safer?

And before I post a response, I usually try to check my facts to make sure what I'm saying is true, not just conventional wisdom. You might try to do the same. As you'll see from this story,

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=arVHles5cKJc&refer=us#

Abramoff did not give a dime to Democrats. Some of the tribes he represented gave money, but they had been doing it all along. Remember, the tribes were being defrauded by Abramoff. They haven't forfeited their right to donate money to politicians just because they're the victims of fraud. As a matter of fact, Abramoff's clients were the only ones among the top 10 tribal donors to give more to Republicans than Democrats. In other words, Indian tribes generally give to Democrats unless they're working with Abramoff, at which point they become Republican donors. It's not unusual for a Senator from Nevada to receive money from both gaming and Indian interests, both of which deal with issues that are important to his constituency. I'm not arguing that it's wrong for anyone, Democrat or Republican, to take lawful donations. That's not what this scandal's about.

I don't blame you for being confused. The Republicans, as usual, are doing a pretty good job of lying about the issue. Even your President said that Abramoff gave money to Republicans and Democrats, and you know he knows better. How do you feel when your own President lies to you? And of course the media worries so much about offending the Republicans that they dutifully repeat the spin. They know better, too.

And by the way, I only share what I'm smoking with my friends.

I think it's funny that thi... (Below threshold)
Bryan:

I think it's funny that this guy writes a very heartfelt piece about his political journey to the right and all the tolerant openminded liberals jump on him with "You're Stupid! You're Evil! You're Worthless!" I turned 18 in 1991 and, like the author, I spent a large swath of my twenties as a proper goodthinkful liberal, ladeling gallons of scorn on people I disagreed with and smugly patting myself on the back over how tolerant I was. The change started slowly after I graduated from college and actually had to live in the real world. It accelerated when I met a man named Orrin Judd (who runs the brothersjudd.com blog these days) who taught me that conservative does not necessarily equal pure evil. He showed me that you can be a conservative and still be a hell of a great guy. (Believe it or not, that had never occurred to me!) Once I started looking at conservative beliefs with an actual open mind (instead of a pretend liberal open mind) I realized how many conservative beliefs were ones that I had shared my whole life! It was an epiphany. I voted for Bush in 2000, with some trepidation. After all, he was my first Republican. After that terrible day in September I knew I had made the right decision and I never looked back. Of course, like the author of this piece, I have been demonized and hated by many of the people I had thought were my friends, but all that did was show me who my true friends are.

A fine piece of writing. I... (Below threshold)

A fine piece of writing. I'll be adding your blog to my aggregator.

Bryan"all the tole... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Bryan

"all the tolerant openminded liberals jump on him with "You're Stupid! You're Evil! You're Worthless!"

Huh? It's nice to know that I take the time to write a lengthy rebuttal and do some fact checking to make sure I've got my facts straight, and that's the best you can come up with. Please tell me what I wrote that comes remotely close to the way you characterize it.

Chris:I wasn't talki... (Below threshold)
Bryan:

Chris:
I wasn't talking about you.

Chris,From the sou... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Chris,

From the source you cited.

Reid spokeswoman Tessa Hafen said the senator is still considering whether to return the $60,000 in donations he received from Abramoff associates and clients.

Other democrats have already returned or donated the money they received. Obviously, they feel that voters are making a connection between them and Abramoff because of the money, regardless of whether Abromoff gave it to them personally or through some associate, and that's why they are returning it. They have already been tainted and they are trying to cut their losses.

The notion that Bush will keep us safe because he dresses up in a flight suit is laughable.

Typical straw-man argument. Where has anyone claimed that "Bush will keep us safe because he dresses up in a flight suit?"

I know leftists don't like Bush and you're entitled to your opinion, but that's all it is. My opinion is that Bush is way ahead of the left in understanding the true nature of the threat to this country. There are likely many more secrete programs in place that haven't been leaked to the New York Times, so no one who knows the true impact of the Bush policies can speak out at this time.

Worrying that donations wil... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Worrying that donations will look like they came from Abramoff is not the same as them actually coming from Abramoff. A politician may return money because he doesn't want to have to deal with the issue. That's not the same as returning it because it came from Abramoff. And again, accepting donations isn't illegal. If a tribe donates to a politician, unless there's a quid pro quo, how does he know it's at Abramoff's direction? Many of these tribes were making donations before Abramoff ever entered the picture. And there's strong evidence that in many cases he was telling them that their donations were buying them access when it really wasn't. I have no problem with a Republican who got a donation from an entity that happened to be an Abramoff client. But this investigation goes way beyond that, as the Republicans will soon find out.

And I'd still like to know what Bush has done to keep us safe. Other than "secret programs" we're not supposed to know about. Although I still don't believe we should have gone into Iraq, our military success there is credit to the fact that Clinton left us with the finest military in the world. The planning beforehand and occupation afterward are Bush's responsibility, and they've been a mess.

our military success the... (Below threshold)

our military success there is credit to the fact that Clinton left us with the finest military in the world

Don't know many people in the military, do you, Chris?

Gawd, best laugh line tonight!

I have said this many times... (Below threshold)
Todd:

I have said this many times to friends of mine...

"I was born a democrat, I became a Republican when I realized I could think for myself..."

"I was born a democrat, I b... (Below threshold)
Nick:

"I was born a democrat, I became a Republican when I realized I could think for myself..."

Sorry, Darleeen - Todd's line above would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Who knows if Bill Clinton left us with the finest military in the world, and who cares. The facts show us that George Bush is a complete incompentent (Iraq) who also happens to be corrupt (Jack Abramoff).

Independent voters are the ones who will decide who wins in 06 and 08, and independent voters hate George Bush. Go to PollingPoint.com and check it out for yourself.




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