Commenter Archive

AvatarComments by InMD in reply to Stillwater*

On “The Perils of Impeachment

This may be where my blinders come on but I'm not sure how much evidence anyone open to voting for a conviction needs to see. Quite a few if not all of them were witnesses to what happened.

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I wish they had found a way to force it through before inauguration and I get the drawbacks of how this is likely to play out. However if there was ever a place to draw a line I think we saw it. Even if Trump probably couldn't be convicted in a criminal prosecution for his conduct Jan 6 there's a principle here about the political process that's worth defending.

On “Impeachment: A Briar Patch With No Rabbits

There was no AQ in Iraq until there were Americans in Iraq. Saddam destroyed his capabilities after the Gulf War.

Regarding the nature of these countries and our capabilities there you're the one saying we need to be involved not me.

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Yes they are bad. I do not dispute that. I'm asking for proof that these policies actually prevent terrorist attacks in the United States.

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LOL who is 'we'? Who had a chance?

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And yet you think making him more popular by unleashing collateral damage in Muslim countries and perpetually destabilizing governments that would suppress his cause is the answer.

You also still haven't shown evidence that any of this prevents attacks in the US. It's almost like you don't even care to dig into the efficacy of your own policy preferences.

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I know it's unfashionable but I've never understood the pathological need to reject the explanations they give for their own actions. I guess I can see why politicians and folks in the government do given how embarrassing it is for them but not regular people.

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Dark, take it back to the most basic issue of correlation and causation. What evidence do you have to show that our overseas interventions have prevented a single attack on American soil? Vague assertions to that effect from spooks and politicians don't count.

The lone wolf stuff if it happens will be home grown and not come out of Pashtun separatism or the millenia long feud between Sunni and Shiites. At most it's a local law enforcement problem that dwarves urban drug crime and probably even mass shootings.

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Do you have evidence to support any of these assertions? The people who committed 9/11 are dead, including OBL. Their beef with us was our boots on the ground in SA and support for various odious regimes in the region.

Now AQ is better characterized as one of many radical insurgent movements primarily interested in overthrowing middle eastern governments or fighting ethnic/sectarian civil wars on the other side of the globe. We should do our diligence to keep them out of the country but this 'fighting them over there so as not to fight them over here' is the stuff of pure discredited propaganda. AQ will never have their own country and the closest they ever come to it is when we decapitate nationalist dictatorships in our incoherent moral crusading.

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Who the hell cares who runs Iraq and Afghanistan? It has no bearing on the day to day life of the average citizen and even if it did our ability to control those countries is negligible. The best we can do is dethrone at the cost of a whole bunch of money, wasted American lives, regional chaos, unintended consequences, and breeding more AQ.

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As someone who shares a lot of Jaybird's views on this I want to give 3 specifics things I think team D could do that would destroy Trumpism. The best part is none of
are 'become Republicans' and all are IMO broadly consistent with existing philosophies and principles.

1. Recalibrate the relationship with big business/Wall Street. They can still be friends, but the quid pro quo needs to come with actual concessions that help American workers, not just campaign contributions for knee-jerk neo-liberalism.

2. Actually reject racism and sexism as opposed to feeding the vicious PoMo intersectionality version of it. No more infesting the administrative state with these kinds of nutballs. Stay pro immigration but channel it in ways that help the American economy and workers (prioritize high skills, only bring in low skill when absolutely needed and where downward wage and benefit pressure is mitigated). Drop it as an issue of morality that on its best day makes no sense and on its worst is another excuse to engage in racism against native born citizens.

3. Do the thing Jaybird says about war. We can defend ourselves and our long standing allies but stop dumping money in expensive pointless adventurism. I think it's no coincidence that a number of people in the Jan. 6 attack had military ties. We're sending them on pointless missions and vanity projects while serious socio-economic problems stay unaddressed on the home front.

This will allow utter battering of the GOP to the extent possible in our system as they retreat to a rump of rural reactionaries and bloodless patricians.

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I actually think most of the debate is premised on the idea that the GOP broadly and the Trump faction specifically are unsupportable. We then spend our time debating whether the Democrats are knocking-it-out-of-the-park beyond reproach or if they could do better fighting the real threat.

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This is also true. I think Andrew's point is about what this might do to the legislative agenda.

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Maybe so but that doesn't mean they aren't also outmatched more often than not.

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If that's what shes thinking then I really question her judgment. The biggest perception problem Dems have in vulnerable districts is that their behavior is performative.

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Yea that's fair. I'm not exactly dying for a scorched-Earth progressive agenda (I don't think it would work) but they never try for the kill shot when it's there. It would go a lot farther I think at checking current GOP strategy, or at least force the GOP to play them more honest.

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I agree. Pelosi and Schumer never seem to outsmart anyone but themselves.

On “Fox News Shouldn’t Have Called Arizona When They Did

Is it by itself going to stop that from happening? Of course not. But I don't think it's meaningless either.

If it was why did Trump spend his entire 4 years in office defensively lying about the popular vote? I think the fact that he lost the popular vote absolutely gnawed at him and undermined any argument outside of his true believers that he had a broad mandate.

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Sure. But I don't want to dismiss the critics out of hand either. My understanding is that the driver for the Senate going to popular vote was crippling gridlock in state legislatures. It was getting to the point where states couldn't even seat Senators.

We may be starting to run up against a similar failure. The president gets ever more powerful because our parties turned from vessels of regional interests to ideological actors and are now unable to compromise. So the question is what does eliminating the EC do in these circumstances? I'm not sure it helps.

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My honest answer is I don't know. Maybe in the abstract yes.

However I worry in practice it would grant legitimacy to a bunch of highly suspect actions and encourage an even further pushing of the envelope. Like who else would be able ro question the one person popularly elected by the entire country? Could already battered and blurred checks and balances on an aging piece of paper contain that person?

And I'm not dismissing it out of hand. But we're talking about changing the constitution and if we're doing that I'm not abolishing the EC and leaving the executive branch as is.

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I think that's exactly right and much like state legislatures draw their own Congressional districts with... we'll say idiosyncratic results, we could expect all kinds of interesting takes on administration. It's far from clear to me everything would play out exactly as it does now, just this one thing would be different.

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The 'never had' is such a counter-factual it would result in major differences in history.

The push I think comes from the tension created by our own federal administrative state and the lack of basis for it in the constitution. Like who cares if the president is elected through the EC when the president is just some functionary administering policy set by Congress? Now, and particularly in the face of Congressional gridlock, its become a powerful policy making office.

Calling the EC 'minority rule' wouldn't have made sense in the context of which it was created. Of course when people talk about it that way now my immediate question is 'what do you want, a popularly elected king?' And the answer I think is an implicit 'yes we do.'

All of this is a rambling way of saying I agree with you, that it isn't a simple question of enfranchisement, but of our entire constitutional structure. And by all means we should be free to have those discussions, but we need to understand if goes beyond a question of partisan advantage. I'd only be open to eliminating the EC if it came with clearer constitutional restrictions on the executive branch. Which you know, is exactly what advocates of eliminating the EC don't want.

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I think any analysis that envisions a critical mass of GOP reps in Congress and state legislatures across the country giving up a structural advantage for their party is so divorced from reality I wouldn't know where to begin.

On “Electoral Trends: Into The Biden Era

I don't disagree. I believe he was the proverbial dog that caught the car. He didn't know what to do with it once he got it so he went with what came naturally. So, much like the dog who turns to lick his own... wait, this metaphor is getting out of hand.

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I think this could be expanded to say any party in a democratic system has to be at least a little bit populist. I also like North's distinction. Maybe populism isn't so much about what the policy is and more about who knows which policy is best.

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