Start your engines: Will we have a better choice of drivers in 2012?Nicholas Kronos -- Monday, January 31, 2011 -- 05:44:24 PM
The 2012 presidential campaign--you know it's coming and starting already. Will anyone run we can actually be excited about?This thread is tagged:
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I don't recall ever promoting Jeb Bush's candidacy at any time. As far as HRC goes, I was responding to your points, Pincher. You write...
...so you must be aware that you come off this way at times. And the reason is because you don't actually listen to what people say but transfer your preconceptions to them. You have some point you want to expound, and if what I say doesn't jibe with that, you manufacture some position on my behalf that allows you to hold forth and lecture.
I do not support Jeb Bush, and I certainly do not support Hillary Clinton.
You say of me...
Yet in starting this thread I wrote instead: "Will anyone run we can actually be excited about?" Does that sound like I look forward to a bunch of retreads? The first name I threw out--to your quick dismissal--was Jon Huntsman. Just now I mentioned favoring some of the fresh-faced Republican governors.
Now if you prefer a discussion of ideas to actual people, then that's fine, but you shouldn't be surprised that a thread about drivers (candidates) is going to focus on people.
Really, though, the main problem with almost any discussion with you is you invariably want to personalize it. In the Gay Politics thread, for example, it's all about Harri's lifestyle and who she knows. With Mayimadom everything is all about how she lives in New Jersey. (To be fair, she does reference personal experience herself from time to time in making her arguments.)
Of course I'm responding to you on a personal level now, too, but only in terms of how you are arguing. I don't believe I ever have referenced your Asian wife or your Marine Corps service or something like that as making you incapable of reasoning about issues in a wider fashion. I *know* I don't let such factors dominate how I read, interpret, and respond to every post you make.
Over the past year or so, though, I do think you've succeeded in making me read your posts with the preconception that what you really want to do is vent your frustrations with the current political world via haranguing people on a message board. That may not be the accurate case, but it is what causes you to come across as--in your word--an asshole, who I'd prefer to elide most of the time.
For example, in the post to which I'm responding, it would lose nothing to write this:
If Americans are unable to break away from their past thinking about politics, I believe recycling old names and failed political strategies will be destructive to this country. But a new paradigm is already shaping. Even if Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush could somehow be elected in 2012, it's not going to change anything. We will still have the problems of the last ten years, and we will still have politicians who are inadequate to addressing those problems because they are only armed with the failed political ideas which have put us in this losing battle in the first place.
Barack Obama is not the real problem. He's just the most visible symptom of the age. And it was the political ideas of the failed politicians of the past who put Obama in the presidency, who gave him any chance at all. Believing this hair-of-the-dog strategy is going to provide a cure. It's just insanity.
Yet what you are left with is fairly generic stuff, expounded at length. That is, "we can't nibble at the corners, but something big needs to happen--and may already be happening." By personalizing it to me and Cal, you may hope to draw us out through a sense of being attacked. What you have hurled, however, is a slush snowball that could target almost anyone with the charge of not being radical enough in their aims. The few bits of specificity--HRC and Bush--don't apply to me at all.
By the way, if I'm given a choice of *only* HRC and Obama in a hypothetical, and I say, "Okay, HRC," it's rhetorical entrapment to say, then, "You're not thinking outside the box enough." Surely if your premises are true--this change may already be occurring--then we'll be offered some other choice in 2012. I, for one, think there's a decent chance of a third-party candidate.
This phrase must be what caused you to draw the conclusion that I believe we can keep going, business as usual, with just a nip here and a tuck there.
Then please explain your continued fascination with Hillary Clinton for 2012 at this late date. Why even link to an article like that? She is less likely to become president in 2013 than is Rand Paul.
Have you ever given your views on Tim Pawlenty? Or even linked to something about him? How about Haley Barbour? Mitch Daniels? Jim DeMint? John Thune? Unlike Hillary, these men are all considering running against Obama. They were not in the field in 2008. Do they not deserve even your consideration? And why are these men not electable if the current president continues his downward spiral?
You keep looking back instead of looking forward.
I don't know, but it's not going to be Hillary. Or Jeb Bush.
And if you remove the obvious wrong answers to a question, you give yourself a better chance of getting the right answer.
I almost never post in Politics, but I have a question for the experts who do: Why is no one mentioning Rep. Paul Ryan, who, if nothing else, seems to have a better grasp of finance than the CBO, Ben Bernanke and the Fed governors combined? Is he a one-trick pony? Does he fail to meet expectations in other areas? Even Sarah Palin has nice things to say about him, as in a recent WSJ op-ed.
Your failure has more to do with political strategy than explicitly and strongly endorsing particular candidates.
You continually emphasize Hobson's choices that don't exist for you right now and may never exist for you. You like to say, for example, that you don't like A and you don't think she (or he) would make a good president, but if A is running against B, then you will vote for A.
This particular way you have of thinking about politics goes back to at least 2004. And it's greatly flawed. Electing the less bad candidate of the last remaining two might have been an acceptable way of thinking about politics before 2008, when the political consequences of your decision seemed more marginal, but you now should be able to see that you are capable of voting for presidential candidates who, after they get elected, screw this country up as badly as anyone ever screws it up, even if they are the less shitty alternative in a particular election year.
What makes this kind of political thinking dangerous, though, is that by screwing the country up, the guy you voted for shuts down your future political choices, giving you less ability to counter the other side's even shittier future alternatives. You are now contemplating voting for a worse presidential candidate in 2012 than you voted for in 2008, who in turn was worse than the guy you voted for in 2004. And all because your past political choices helped pave the way for a political lefty neophyte to take power.
You can't pull yourself out of this downward spiral because you continue to insist that the proper way to think about political choices is to pick the least worse option of the two, even if that dichotomy forces you into a pick which is both particularly bad and endangers the success of your best future political choices.
And why would you even be mentioning these Hobson's choices right now? The field is still wide open. But you are already announcing that you are prepared to vote for a politician you believe would make a bad president.
Shouldn't the proper attitude be that you have choices in the immediate future that can prevent that Hobson's choice? If I thought Candidate A would be a disastrous president and she was a member of my party, I would make damn sure she never got out of the primary alive. All my political rhetoric would be focused on that goal.
You can always face up to an awful Hobson's choice later if you fail. But instead you seem to prefer to build a mental cage which helps make the Hobson's choice inevitable.
He's in the House of Representatives.
He's too focused on realistic budget policies that are attractive to wonks, but not attractive to the public.
Do you see how much second-person you have used above? Believe it or not, Pincher, I don't really think you have much to teach me about my views. Believe it or not, I know my views better than you do. It would behoove you, therefore, to try to express your own views or to talk about your positions as I really don't read you to help me understand myself.
What I do with what you characterize as Hobson's choices is merely a rhetorical device to put specificity on views, whereas you prefer the rarefied air of never wanting to be pinned down. In the last election, for example, you half-heartedly sort of came out for Romney--even though one of the main problems you had with McCain was his historical inconsistency on some conservative positions. Be that as it may, I never got the sense you actually were enthused about Romney, but rather defaulted into a half-hearted support for lack of anything better.
Do you realize how energy-sucking it is to have to deal with someone obsessed with playing critic and armchair psychoanalyst for everyone (and at least as far as I am personally concerned, rather badly)? It matter not to you that the "evidence" from which you assemble your case is completely wrong (that I do not support either Bush or Hillary); you believe your case is just as sound as it ever was and keep right on restating it.
You made several points about the similarities of Obama and Hillary and asked what would be the differences between the two. When I answered that question as premised, you believe I'm engaging in a Hobson's choice.
As for Michele Bachmann, I posit her as the Republican nominee to show--and I quote--"it's only at the fringes that it makes a difference to me." [Emphasis mine.] Certainly anyone who actually pays any attention to what I write knows that if Obama is the Democratic nominee I will almost certainly vote for the GOP nominee.
Would you prefer I write, "If the GOP nominates someone I don't find acceptable then I'll probably not vote. Otherwise, I'll vote against Obama"? No Hobson's choice, as clearly the GOP will either nominate someone I find acceptable or they won't. Also, very informative, that, and about on par with how you express your own position.
This is a glib non-answer (tautological and circular), but has been typical of your response since at least 2008 when called upon to state your own views. I suspect it is because, although one cannot come up with the right answer, pointing out the "obvious" still can give one some modicum of a sense of faux intellectual accomplishment:
PM: You sure are stupid to think balancing the budget can be accomplished through cutting foreign aid.
Random poster: What? Me? I never said that. I don't think that way at all.
PM: You most certainly do. You even said once we should cut foreign aid.
Random poster: That was in answer to the question of whether we should cut foreign aid or not. I didn't say it would balance the budget.
PM: It won't. You keep trying to cut foreign aid, but you're not going to balance the budget doing that. You need radical change.
Third poster: Well, how would you balance the budget?
PM: I don't know, but one thing I've figured out that the rest of you haven't seemed to is you can't do it by cutting foreign aid.
He does seem a trifle obsessed with telling us what our views are, doesn't he?
Cliff: I can't say that I'm an expert on Ryan, but I don't think our current system is geared toward elevating candidates based on technocrat-type competence. (I had a much longer answer, but I think that covers it.)
You hope the eventual winner fills his or her team with such people, but they aren't the ones who get to play quarterback.
I didn't realize, Nick, that you had raised your self-awareness into personal omniscience. Who knew you had eliminated all predictable patterns of thinking of which you might be unaware? I guess Greg and I are the only posters occasionally guilty of that lack of self-reflection. Cal and you apparently have your political beliefs tightly whipped in line. If they occasionally appear contradictory or wrong, it's plainly due to a faulty perception in the beholder.
I hate to be the one to tell you this, because I suspect you will think it is the "armchair psychoanalyst" who is talking, but you aren't that smart. You're certainly not a dumb person. In fact, you're quite sharp. But you move around to various subjects here with the same numerous glaring fallacies cropping up in your arguments. And when you are pressed on them, you fall apart mentally. You become defensive and your wounded amour-propre could fill an Arab tent. There just aren't enough IQ points in the world to hold up this brittle self-image you have.
Robert Heinlein has an excellent quote in which he says he never learned anything from a man who agreed with him. It's a sentiment I've seen expressed many times over the years. I think it's pretty clear you obviously wouldn't agree with it. The idea of vigorous criticism improving your arguments seems to be foreign to your way of thinking, which apparently prefers the soft approbation of slack-jawed dunderheads to critics who read you seriously and take your ideas seriously.
I don't think you need to be an armchair psychoanalyst to understand why.
I suspect it's the critic who deflates you more. Intelligent criticism energizes me, even when it is filled with all kinds of comments I don't like. I loved my old battles with PE for just that reason. I learned so much from them. And I lost most of them.
I've never learned anything from someone who just posts tail-wagging comments like "Yep", "Ditto", or "I agree," and I distrust the kind of man who needs to hear that mindless approval.
A simple example from a logic course should suffice in showing that. If we agree that God is not a mini-van, then we have successfully, if only partially, defined God by defining what he is not.
Narrowing the range of your acceptable choices is not glib. It's not tautological. It's not circular. It's a perfectly useful way of thinking about problems.
I never said you supported either Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton. I said you retreat to a predictable pattern to frame your political choices, a pattern I was reminded of by your recent arguments.
For example, the most recent "Candidate A" I was mainly thinking of when writing my posts to you was not Bush or Clinton, but Sarah Palin. You have stated here in this forum that given a choice between Palin and Obama, you would choose Palin, even though you are not a fan of hers and don't believe she would make a good president.
You made a similar argument in 2008 in defense of McCain (who you liked). And in 2004 about Bush. You also have made similar arguments about other Republican candidates. You see a pattern?
It's true you don't always make this argument about Republican candidates, but you usually only drop it when the candidate is an obvious long shot unlikely to ever force you into having to make a Hobson's choice.
From H.L. Mencken's "Footnote on Criticism":
I like this criticism of the "destructive variety." I like giving it, and I like receiving it. I like it precisely because it makes me think. I almost always come away from destructive criticism with my arguments either significantly strengthened or appropriately dismissed and tossed out. In both cases, I'm better off for it.
Great criticism doesn't nibble politely at the margins. It goes right for the weakest parts of an argument like a hungry predator hunting down the weakest members of a herd. It seeks to push the object of its attention to defend himself and his views. If he's not an idiot or a poseur, why would he mind?
Of course some criticism can be destructive and still be unfair. But most intelligent men can easily tell the difference between the two, and while they might be occasionally upset by some harsh and unfair words directed their way, they usually don't dwell on it as if their mother's honor was involved.
Hahahahaha! Yes, Nick is whining that you've attacked his honor.
What we're both trying to tell you, Pincher, is that you are simply incorrect in your assertions.
I'm not going to be responding to Pincher further for now, but I don't see that honor can be evidenced or traduced over much on a message board, despite anyone's contrary view of what we engage in here as some kind of evidence of cock-a-doodle manliness.
Honesty, perhaps, but that's not at all the same thing as honor.
To the degree I've complained:
1) I don't appreciate a misrepresentation of my statements or views for the sake of generating controversy when there is none, or to promote a belief in one's own deep thinking when there is none of that demonstrated either.
2) It seems the most obvious waste of time to engage in a discussion with someone who, regardless of what you say, believes he knows what you you think and say better than you do yourself. Pincher seems quite capable of arguing with his simulacrum Nick without my making any contribution whatsoever.
So have at it, old boy.
That's it exactly.
You are a little vague about which of those assertions I'm incorrect about.
Let's leave Nick aside for moment and turn to you. I'll make a few assertions and you tell me which of them are wrong.
In 2007 and very early 2008, you projected that Hillary would win the 2008 Democratic nomination. When she was on the verge of losing the nomination, you began claiming the caucuses were to blame and that HIllary actually won more votes than Obama, a dubious assertion that required you to slant your analysis in favor of Hillary. After it became clear Hillary had lost, you expressed your hope she would take the fight all to way to the convention. When she conceded early, you expressed your hope that she would not accept the VP slot if it was offered to her. When the VP slot wasn't offered to her, you expressed outrage and said Hillary and her supporters should not lift a finger to get Obama elected. When they did help, and he was elected, you said Hillary should not join his administration and instead held out hope she would challenge Obama in 2012. When she did join his administration, you continued to act as if it might be a political feint at cooperation and that she had not given up her options for 2012. When polls began turning south for Obama, you again expressed hope that this was Hillary's moment to make her move, ignoring the fact that Obama's support among Democrats was still very strong.
Now that it's obvious Hillary is not going to run in 2012 against Obama, you still link to articles entitled "Why Hillary Must Run" with the silly caveat that while you realize now that Hillary won't run, you still feel compelled to publicly wish for it because those damn Republicans haven't already nominated a political superstar who can beat the dreaded Obama, even though the race is still wide open and many candidates haven't even declared yet.
Now what is incorrect there? What assertion have I made that is wrong which undermines my argument you can't move beyond the past in your political thinking? I'm all ears, Cal.
Who can't read now?
I didn't say Nick was whining because I attacked his honor. I said that when intelligent men are harshly and unfairly criticized -- which I haven't done here to Nick -- they usually don't dwell on it as if their mother's honor was at stake. My point was that men who are intelligent and secure don't puff up every time someone says something that might be mistaken about their thinking.
Like you, Nick needs praise for his thoughts, a little gold star put on his homework. Like you, he can't bear criticism, especially the kind of criticism which goes to the heart of his thinking. He can deal with someone telling him he misspelled a word, but he can't deal with someone telling him his general thoughts on some matter he cares about are flat-out wrong. He handles criticism far differently than you, of course, much more quietly and with dignity, but it's the same general reaction.
If I'm wrong, show why I'm wrong. Instead, you both throw up your hands, in the style of Amaxen, and harrumph that it is too much to bear. Nick's time is apparently better spent writing blog posts which show how Obama is just like Carter, and you are better off looking for more articles on how Hillary should still gear up for 2012.
What the fuck? Yeah, it's all about what my nonexistent gay designer friends tell me.