Monday, December 11, 2006

It's sort of an ongoing math problem

* taibbi:
"The successful politician today is the one who can best convert the agendas of his campaign contributors into politically saleable policies. That's the business of government today; both the legislative and the executive branch are mainly engaged in searching out and finding the acceptable mean between voter sentiment and financial interest. It's sort of an ongoing math problem -- figuring out how many voters you can afford to fuck every four years, or how much money you should be extracting, and from which sponsors, for each rape of your constituents.
It's important, when you nominate your panel (e.g. ISG), to dig up the oldest, saggiest, rubberiest, most used-up political whores on the Eastern seaboard to take up your cause. That way, you can be sure that the panel will know its place and not address any extraneous issues in its inquiry -- like, for instance, whose fault a certain war is, or whether the whole idea of a "War on Terrorism" needs to be rethought, or whether the idea of preemptive defense as a general strategy is viable at all, or whether previously unthinkable solutions may now have to be countenanced, or whether there is anyone currently in a position of responsibility who perhaps should immediately be removed from office and hung by his balls. Your panel should contain people who are not experts or interested parties in the relevant field (since experts or interested parties might be tempted to come up with real, i.e. politically dangerous solutions), but it should contain people who are recognizable political celebrities whose names will lend weight to your whole enterprise, although not for any logical reason."

* glenn:
"It's possible that the Democratic takeover of Congress can result in genuine and meaningful -- and desperately-needed -- change for our country. But it's also possible that it could result in nothing notable, that it will produce only the most marginal and politically risk-free actions, all justified by the need not to do anything too "extreme" due to a fear of harming their 2008 electoral prospects.

Which course Democrats take will be determined by whether they are guided by political figures committed to genuine change due to a conviction that such change is needed (even if that means incurring some political risks), or whether they are driven by cynical, exclusively political and dishonest Beltway operatives like Rahm Emanuel.

To compete with Republicans, Democrats need not only political idealists, but also calculating strategists who are devoted to winning. That's fair enough. But they also need to enforce some (at least) minimal ethical standards if they are to avoid becoming indistinguishable from the rotted and corrupt GOP tyrants who were just so deservedly tossed out of power. Rahm Emanuel seems to fall well below even those most minimal standards."

* SMCD with driftglass:
"So although there were distinct flavors at various stations of the Sunday Morning Squalid Bar, mostly there was sober conversation about how blunt the language of the report was, how utterly fucked we are, and how to best dig out the bullets Bush has recklessly fired into the belly of Mesopotamia without killing the patient, when the only tools he as left us are a nuclear warhead, a melon baller and a silly straw.
Iraq is, among many other tragic things, the blowback that comes from infusing Rove/Gingrich/Limbaugh/Falwell, all-out berserker GOP politics into foreign affairs.

From letting every other tool but the strident, divisive Universal Hammer rot into rust. A tool which worked great when gutting honorable men or stabbing heroes in the back to get cowards and criminals elected, but now it has seeped so deeply into the Party DNA that they literally don’t know how to do act any other way, and so they actually come to believe they could somehow Swiftboat Iraq."


SadButTrue said...

Nice post, the collection of quotes from various sources formed something greater than the sum of the parts - which I think is what blogging is good at when it works.

steven andresen said...

I'm interested in considering these comments,

"The Democrats' dilemma

Some of this US and Israeli rhetoric has been echoed by Democrats, particularly incoming Speaker of the House, Representative Nancy Pelosi. In 2005, she told a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that "the greatest threat to Israel's right to exist ... now comes from Iran". AIPAC has long been associated with some of the more extreme sectors of the Israeli political spectrum. The organization has been particularly aggressive in lobbying for war with Iran, a war that polls show the US public strongly opposes.

The Democrats' close ties with AIPAC and the Israeli government are already causing problems. The Democrats won the election on a platform of getting the United States out of Iraq, but AIPAC and the current Kadima-Labor government strongly support that war.

Following an hour-long meeting with Bush recently, Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert told the press: "We in the Middle East have been following the American policy in Iraq for a long time, and we are very much impressed and encouraged by the stability" that the war in Iraq has brought to the Middle East.

US Democrat Representative Gary Ackerman, a reliable supporter of Israel, retorted that Olmert's comment was "a very unrealistic observation. Most of us here understand that our policy has been a thorough and total disaster for the United States: we have blundered ineptly into an area that our administration does not understand, and for which it has no plan on how to extract us."

The suggestion, I believe, Is that many Democrats believe there are greater issues afoot than just the welfare of American interests. They think that the existence and security of Israel, an ally of the United States, is at risk. These Democrats seem willing, according to this article, to consider continuing our involvement in Iraq because to do otherwise would endanger this ally in some way.

I want to give these Democrats the idea that Israel is surrounded by enemies who are best opposed through some 'divide and conquer' strategy. That is, a divided enemy too focused on its own problems won't be able to pester Israel.

I want to give them that idea because such an idea may explain their reluctance to leave Iraq now. However, I think it's that idea and that kind of strategy that's fatally flawed. Neither getting out of Iraq, nor staying in Iraq "until the job is done" will ever make Israel or the United States secure so long as we remain committed to the idea that force and dissembling works whereas argumentation and negotiation do not.

lukery said...

Steven - the 'divide & conquer' strategy is part of the Clean Break strategy - brought to you by criminals like feith & perle.

i'd argue, as many others - much smarter than me have argued - is that the best way to 'protect' israel is to stop the apartheid in palestine.

further, i'd note that it is wrong to presume that AIPAC speaks for israel (even though, as you note, the israeli govt is on the same side here.)