Monday, July 02, 2007

Pay Attention to Those Who Pay Attention

Ah, public opinion polls.

Today the media is reporting the shocking news (meaning, they are shocked, since they are so enamored of their own conventional wisdom) that Barack Obama mopped the floor with Hillary Clinton in the last quarter's fundraising for his presidential campaign.

How can this be, they want to know, since Hillary is still ahead in the polls?

Remember the Iraq war? Back in 2003, when we started this disgraceful enterprise, public opinion was solidly in favor of it, with a distinct minority (something less than 30%, I recall) opposed. This minority was assaulted with a broad range of calumnies, accused of desiring to appease terrorists, engaging in partisan obstructionism and even actively supporting Saddam Hussein. But the objections of those of us who opposed invading Iraq proved sadly Cassandraesque: we weren't convinced that the U.S. had an actual plan for occupation and reconstruction, we weren't convinced of the evidence for WMD's or a link to Al Qaeda, and we worried that Iraq's long-simmering sectarian enmities, held in check for so long under the iron fist of Hussein, would boil over into civil war. Everything that is now playing out in what Jon Stewart dubs "Mess O' Potamia" was accurately foreseen by those of us who were pragmatic and sincerely interested enough not to blithely assume a functioning western-style government could be established overnight, or that centuries of deep mutual hatred would melt away under Bush's naive calls for "freedom" and "democracy."

So where did the American public get the idea that our disastrous Iraq venture was a good idea? From our complacent, cowardly Congress (hardly anyone, including Candidate Clinton, read the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq before authorizing Bush to invade) and our credulous media, which largely reported unchallenged the Bush administration's assertions and justifications for war.

The same media machine which finds it appropriate to grant Paris Hilton an hour-long interview on a channel which dubs itself "the most trusted name in news" has virtually manufactured the Clinton campaign out of whole cloth. The only reason people support her is because the media thought she had it sewn up. She's ahead simply because of name recognition.

But Senator Clinton's negative poll ratings are higher than Kerry's or Gore's during any point in their campaigns. That's highly significant: she's so unpopular that as a candidate, she would be a major inspiration for rallying the Republican base. She's a walking campaign issue.

Those Who Pay Attention know this, and have for some time. Those Who Pay Attention are interested in the junior senator from Illinois. Those of us who were right on Iraq want a candidate who was also right on Iraq, not some triangulatress who argues that knowing everything she knows now she would still invade a non-WMD-possessing nation with no ties to Al Qaeda, she'd just do it differently.

Hillary is the "front-runner" because the media just decided she was, and that's good enough for the average American who doesn't have time or the inclination to closely follow politics. Let's hope Obama's fundraising success causes them to re-evaluate this entire race, before their smug conventional wisdom saddles us with another sure-fire loser candidate.

Once the media starts accurately and meaningfully reporting on the candidates and not just granting default "front-runner" status, we'll see those polls turn around, just as they did on Iraq.

[Full disclosure: I'm rooting for a Gore/Obama '08 ticket.]


Gino said...

what did he collect?
something like 32 million?

way too much to pay for an empty suit.

but i do find it fascinating... that the same party who, in 88, skewered dan quayle for lack of experience to be VP, are now getting wood at the thought of obama being president.


Andy said...

I'll take an intelligent newbie over an experienced moron any day.

Jess said...

Gore/Obama. Now that would be quite a ticket!

Earl Cootie said...

That's my dream ticket too.

The Law Fairy said...

Not to play whiny radical, but why Gore/Obama and not the other way around? I could totally understand Gore not wanting to play second banana for sixteen years total, but I guess I'm clinging to the faint hope of actually SEEING a minority president before I'm old enough to tell cantankerous old stories about how it used to be inconceivable.

I WANT to like HRC. I really, really do. But she's just SUCH a politician, and my experience with experienced politicians has taught me better than to trust them. Obama gets my vote in the primaries. His inexperience is a BONUS in my view.

Also, doesn't hurt that he taught at my law school. How's them for bragging rights? ;)

DJRainDog said...

UGH! Are you f-ing kidding me?! I don't want ANY of these people as my President. They should all be dragged into the street and shot for crimes against the American people!

Trickish Knave said...

You think you're some kind of Jedi, waving your hand around like that?

Despite Jon Stewart's final say on what he perceives is happening, things are going well in Iraq, far better than what the media portrays. But you and I have been on this road before.

We found WMD's, Hussein was linked to al-Qaeda, and the surge is working. There is no civil war in Iraq anymore than there was one in Chicago in the 1920- Iraq is more like the movie Gangs of New York with a splash of insurgency thrown in. Most Iraqi's aren't taking sides- they are just trying not to get killed. But this is all stuff you won't glean from Jon Stewart.

I liked Obama when he first appeared on the scene. Unfortunately, he hasn't done much to convince me to vote for him. He doesn't seem to stand for much and does not give a lot of substance in regard to what he will do as the next Pres/VP. Being a smart, black noob will only get you so far.

I hope that Clinton does not take the ticket in any form. Too much baggage, apart from under her eyes, for me to see another shyster Clinton make it to the White House.

Gore is a tool. His effort to fool everyone about the impending global warming catastrophe is just too much for me to take, all the while wondering what he would try to push on us if he were in the White House.

To be fair, there really isn't much to look forward to on the other side of the column for the GOP nominations.

Once again, the '08 elections will boil down to a turd sandwhich running against a douche bag.

The Law Fairy said...

We found WMD's

Oh MAN. Thank you SO MUCH. I really needed a laugh. Unusable weapons from the 1980s are going to destroy us all!!!!!

I love, too, how you manage to work in a cheap shot at HRC's looks. Because what discussion of a female politician would be complete without noting that she's not a supermodel? I mean, how DARE she -- everyone knows women are to be seen and not heard.

Gino said...

LF: you posted about prefering somebody who is black.

not much different than npt prefering a woman who is ugly.

looks as a qualification, or not, is still looks as a qualification.

if we are going down this route: i wanna vote for that commie-pinko-socialist babe who lost in france.
as far as politicians go: she was one pleasant looking dame.

The Law Fairy said...

Gino, I'm not going to help you turn Andy's blog into a flame war.

Andy said...

Mullah Raindog, calm thee down a bit, please. I'm not sure advocating the summary public executions of politicians in the streets is the way to get this country back on track.

TK: Yo, 2003 is over. We're in 2007 now. I think you've missed some developments.

Gino: What?

LF: Yes, exactly.

Gino said...

"Gino: What?"

huh? you didnt find that commie-pinko-socialist babe reasonably eye-pleasing?
i cant be alone on this.

Quinn said...

To bring it back to topic, I was visiting my folks (R-Cascadia) when they heard the numbers on fundraising, and they were floored. I briefly said if I were contributing, I wouldn't send it to HRC, and would probably send it to Obama. I think they were floored by that as well, esp. as I represent all that is feminist in their lives.

Part of the issue: many people think a woman will automatically sew up the woman vote. And yet, not that true.

Gino said...

yer right.
i think the 'prevailing wisdom', i use the term loosely, doesnt really give 'the women's vote' the respect it deserves.

there is no single minded, lockstep women's vote.

women vote just like men do: as individuals, according to their own personal set of values and concerns. they dont follow as a pied piper routine, and nobody owns them.

kr said...

Huh. An interesting question, which politician makes me least sick. (That's how I end up pickin' 'em, seems like.)

TK, wow, haven't heard from you in a while! I've seen things on the edges of news reports that indicate the vast majority of the Iraqi populace just wants everyone to just stop shooting each other ... have you seen any substantive-type writeups? It's not such a good headline as "U.S. out now!"

Looks: Being "black" is equivalent to being "a woman," on the legitimate-to-notice-because-of-historical-prejudice scale. "Bags under her eyes" is equivalent to "his big ears:" why exactly does this observation have to do with viability as a Presidential candidate? It doesn't.

The real question is not prejudice against looks (Gino); the better question is, should historical prejudice play a part in voting now (LF)?

I wonder if HRC not having the women's vote sewn up is because women have gotten far enough to not feel we need to win that fight Right Now, but black/white relations we can still sense are strained enough that we are interested in a grand cultural expiation (or maybe a quick, dark-colored bandaid, like some folks accuse the minority-full Administration). Despite being whiter than white, I am with those African Americans who question whether "black" as it has come to be used denotes anyone with noticable African genetic background (which is racist, but would include Obama) or denotes anyone descended from slaves (which I think raises more legitimate questions, but would not include Obama). Since it is all bungled up with the idea of "dark" and "from Africa," though, I suppose we'll never have it out.

Maybe Obama should drop the "black" issues concept from his campaign (since I understand he didn't grow up with most "black issues"?) and just let the rest of the country (populace, press, political machinery) decide how racist they want to be. He would get took-the-higher-ground points for not using his questioned right to claim "black," plus we'd see wiht less static whether he can succeed as just a candidate. I can't deny that if he made it to the White House I'd see it as a victory against negative racism ... but I'd like that to not occur because of "postive" racism.

Gino said...

i think negative racism was conquered politically back in 96, with the huge popular movement to draft powell to run.

i'll belive racism is truly conquered, though, when charlie rangel faces stiff competition from a white jew in harlem.

btw: most of the blacks i know are offended with the african-american label. they prefer to called americans, or just plain black.

counter: i've know african americans (those actually from african families) who absolutely did not like being refered as blacks. its an important cultural/socio distinction.

nutshell: we cant truly deal with the issue/topic until we decide what the lables denote.

as for obama: i am blacker than he is. most blacks can see this. and is why he isnt polling well with them.

Trickish Knave said...

Yes, Andy, 2003 is over but I am merely commenting on things you brought up now that it is 2007.

kf, geting ready for retirement has kept me busy. I barely have any time to post on my own blog let alone come to my fav's and post.

I have heard much of the same thing- the Iraqi's just want to live in their country without the worry of being blown up by some asshat wearing a bomb. They are helping us more and more each day but it just isn't enough when so many of them are threatened and/or killed by insurgents hell-bent (no pun intended) on driving the infidels out at any cost. It really is encouraging to see a dusting of red areas on the map of Iraq vice the red zones that were so prevalent only 18 months ago.

LF, I merely brought up HRC's bags because she already has a head start on her husband who steadily declined throughout his two terms. Gino, brought up an excellent observation that however fashioble it is to observe the color of the candidates, you find it offensive to take one's appearance into observation. It's not a flame war so much as you making it a war against the sexes.

Oh, you attended the same law firm that HRC attended when she worked with Charles Garry to get murderous Black Panther thugs off with light sentences? I'm from the same state Clinton was governor of but I don't brag about that.

So, if 500 tons of uranimum found at Taiwatha doesn't count as a WMD, then what does? Ok, ok, only 1.8 tons of it was actually enriched so I'll give you that one. But this has gotten way off topic from a 2003 perspective anyway. I forgot you can only bring stuff up that makes Bush look bad.

So how about that Obama/Gore ticket! Obama has a better shot of getting my vote if Billary is not on the ticket. I like where he stands on abortion and a woman's choice, he is against gay marriage but has no problem with civil unions and voted against the gay marriage ban. This shows me that although he may oppose something, he is still a fair enough guy to let people live their lives without interferrence from the government.

He is against the death penalty-something I disagree with him on. He also said he supports a stable Iraq even though he considers it a blunder having gone in there and that the war was based on ideology. Obama did vote against pulling troops out by 2007.

His voting record looks great on paper however, when he speaks he just regurgitates the same recycled rhetoric out of his campaign handbook. If he would get off his ass and get fired up about some issues I think he would have a great chance of picking up the nomination.

Andy said...

I don't know what to make of your "Taiwatha" claim because I've never even heard of it. So I Googled it, and came up with nothing. No reference to it even from completely unreliable sources like FreeRepublic or WorldNetDaily or anything like that, just ONE indirect comment on ONE random blog that provided zero details other than this is some story "the media" failed to cover. Is FOX News even in on the conspiracy then?

I mean, jeepers h. chrysanthemums, if we had found anything resembling 1.8 tons of enriched uranium in Iraq, THE WHITE HOUSE WOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING. Dick Cheney might personally have come to my home to rub my nose in some of it. Is the White House just sitting on 1.8 tons of radioactive evidence that could once and for all silence the accusations that they lied to get us into Iraq? Come on, now, TK.

Trickish Knave said...

Dammit, I suck. I misspelled it- should have been 'Tuwaitha nuclear weapons development plant'. Ironic, since I just made a post on my blog about how important it is to write clearly.

Do a search for "wmd 500 tons" and you'll find more entries- not that it matters at this point.

BTW, I sent your invitation out a few days ago. The return address is my Commanding Officer. Just didn't want you to get jumpy and toss it thinking it was a draft notice. Oh wait...

Andy said...

Ah yes, now I remember. The Washington Post covered it. I think you have your facts wrong. Yes, this was a nuclear facility, but "its equipment was dismantled at the direction of U.N. inspectors in the early 1990s as part of the agreement following Iraq's surrender in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The U.N. inspectors removed highly enriched uranium that could be used for weapons and shipped it for storage in Russia. The low-enriched uranium was placed under seal in storage at Tuwaitha but under the control of the IAEA." Got that? All the enriched uranium at Tuwaitha was removed by the UN 12 YEARS BEFORE the US invaded, and then they put the facility under seal. Who broke the seals to the facility? The Marines, in 2003.

Then, after leaving the facility open, they failed to guard it. "Defense officials acknowledge that the U.S. government has no idea whether any of Tuwaitha's potentially deadly contents have been stolen, because it has not dispatched investigators to appraise the site. What it does know, according to officials at the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command, is that the sprawling campus, 11 miles south of Baghdad, lay unguarded for days and that looters made their way inside."

A little far-fetched of you to be claiming that we have since discovered 1.8 tons of enriched uranium at the site.

Trickish Knave said...

Did we read the same article? Where does it say all the material was removed? if it was removed then then explain this paragraph:

As part of that effort, it placed tamper-proof seals on many rooms at Tuwaitha and on at least 409 barrels of radioactive material.

If the IAEA removed all the material then why were they inspecting some at the site?

So there was believed to be at least 400 barrels of stuff in the rooms. A black eye to the military for not guarding the compound to be sure.

However, the 1.8 tons of material is documented by the IAEA and as per the nuclear non-proliferation treaty was to be checked once a year by the IAEA. Last time it was checked was 2002 and it was all there. In 2004 the International Atomic Energy Agency had the stuff airlifted out because they were so concerned about its stability.

One of Saddam's nuclear scientists, Jaffar Dhia Jaffar, admitted to the BBC in 2004, "We had 500 tons of yellow cake [uranium] in Baghdad."

What this really boils down to is how much you trust Saddam Hussein. Every action from him suggested he was pursuing a nuclear weapons program, WMD's, or both.

No "stockpiles" but lots of evidence to suggest that he was lying to us and engaging in some shady practices. But no matter what inspectors find it is never enough- the MSM waves its hand like a Jedi, "These aren't the weapons you're looking for."

Unnaccounted WMD's, repeated UN inpspections violations, 500 nuclear scientists prohibited from IAEA interviews, etc. You do the math.

Although he might not have been pursuing nucular(sic) weapons he was pursuing WMD's. This is an extensive and boring read but it is telling.

Andy said...

However, the 1.8 tons of material is documented by the IAEA and as per the nuclear non-proliferation treaty was to be checked once a year by the IAEA. Last time it was checked was 2002 and it was all there.

You're only sort of right. The entire contents of Tuwaitha were catalogued after the first gulf war, and the IAEA -- as it clearly says in the passage I quoted -- removed the enriched uranium at that time, and left the lower grade stuff behind under seal. Those seals were intact at the time of our invasion at 2003, and it was the Marines that broke them. Meaning? Yes, there was uranium in Iraq. We knew about it, it was documented. It was not weapons grade and Hussein had no capacity to enrich it. It was sealed, and Hussein did not access it between 1992 and 2003. So, your suggestion that it was "discovered" following our invasion and is meant to be some sort of proof of anything to justify the invasion is hokum. The only thing it proves is that the UN inspections were working.

The Law Fairy said...

TK, huh? You don't "attend" a law firm, you work at a law firm. Or rather, *I* work at a law firm. I'm not aware that HRC has ever worked at my law firm. What I stated, if you read more carefully, is that I attended law SCHOOL at the same place OBAMA was a law professor (and at the same time, even).

If you can't even get the facts straight about a comment five inches above you...

And I have no war "against the sexes." Unlike certain members of my former church, I don't disregard scientific facts when it suits me. Nor am I trying to initiate a war OF the sexists, as I suspect you were trying to suggest. That you and Gino think that noting someone's skin color (and thereby acknowledging the attendant institutional racism to which they are subject for merely EXISTING) is the same as making a catty remark about a WOMAN'S appearance where no such comments are made about equally unattractive men, demonstrates just how very far we have to go in this country.

The Law Fairy said...

Dammit, I try to be clever and snarky and I go and make a typo. I guess God wants me humble today :) That should be "war of the sexes," not "war of the sexists"... if the sexists wanna fight and kill each other, I can't say I'll be shedding too many tears over it.

kr said...

LF, be fair, I think Gino referred to Obama's prominent ears in one post.

Gino, I know the terms black and African American vary in preference over time ... up here, right now, they are both dissatisfying, but there isn't a good alternative, so they are both used awkwardly. I tend to avoid "black" because it is SO color-based, and I think the nation overall is mostly getting over "just" being prejudiced because of someone's color--and because I haven't seen a strong preference from the local community of affected people.

Trickish Knave said...

Law school, law firm, sexists, sexes. Good catch but better dodge at the same time.

If all you can defend HRC from are my comments about the Ricardo Beverly Hills under her eyes then I would say she is less deserving of the nomination than ever.

I will admit my knowledge of the Law is limited, having only taken 2 undergrad classes to fulfill electives, but perhaps you could fill me in on how an illegal immigrant can get out of jail having committed 11 acts of rape (total)?

As an outsider it is easy for me to say, "What the hell is the matter with these judges/attorneys/etc.", but there has to be more to it than that. The illegal was all over the news yesterday while I was working out but I had my ear buds in so all I did was read the scrolling text. Perhaps this is outside your area of Law but I'm sure you have some insight.

The Law Fairy said...

TK, I'm not trying to defend anyone. I don't plan to vote for HRC because I think she's a liar who puts power before principles. Notice that this has NOTHING to do with her looks -- just like my opinion of ANY politician has nothing to do with his or her looks.

And to stave off the inevitable inapt comparison: race, as I referenced it, is not about looks, it's about historic and institutionalized oppression. That there is a physically observable indication of that oppression does not mean I'm judging someone based on looks. I hope the difference is sufficiently clear.

I'm really just not familiar with the case you appear to be referencing. My specialization is in entertainment litigation (civil), not immigration or criminal law, and I've been buried in paperwork in my office for a good chunk of the past week.

Andy said...

Hey, was that Sex and The City bit based on you? You know, the one where the girls head to LA so Carrie can pitch her column as a movie, and they go to the erotic exposition and see a scantily dressed woman?

Miranda: Do you work in the porn industry?

Woman: Oh, heavens, no. I'm a lawyer for Disney.

Sorry, everyone else was going way off topic, I thought I'd help.

My *point,* in case anyone still cares, was that I strongly suspect Clinton is WAY LESS POPULAR than the media keeps telling us she is.

Trickish Knave said...

LF, so it is ok to call Hillary a liar and a fraud, just not ugly?

Got it.

Entertainment lawyer? Please tell me that's not the same group that drums up sympathy for societal ills like Paris Hilton and Anna Nichole. Although I would imagine that would be the most fun line of work a lawyer could have, piles of paperwork notwithstanding.

The Law Fairy said...

Oh my god Andy. I've never seen the episode but that was TOTALLY ME. LMAO. That's hilarious.

And Andy, I sincerely apologize for derailing your comment thread. I take 70% of the responsibility. I think people perceive HRC as popular because she was pre-anointed for the Dem win. Then along comes Obama, who is wildly popular and perceived to be an "outsider" at a time in our country's history when being an outsider could not be more welcome (the Republicans have Bush the Junior and his rampant cronyism to thank for that). The only ones who are surprised by Obama's popularity are HRC's campaign managers.

TK, the criticizing a politician for being a liar or a fraud is legitimate, because it's relevant to the job she's seeking. Criticizing her for being ugly is illegitimate, because it's irrelevant to the job she's seeking. You seem to think that I take issue with anyone criticizing a woman for anything, which is a common misrepresentation and misunderstanding of feminism of which I'll disabuse you right now. For instance, you'll never hear a real feminist speak of Ann Coulter in glowing terms.

Most of my work is for studios rather than talent. I've dealt with some talent lawyers... and I will end my remark at that :)

And yes, it can be a great deal of fun, paperwork notwithstanding.

DJRainDog said...

Backtracking WAY back: Gino, the pinko-commie-socialist babe to whom you refer, is, I believe, Marie-Ségolène Royal. And notwithstanding that she's a middle-aged politician and I'm basically gay, she is pretty fine. But then, she's also French, and those ladies have a certain je ne sais quoi going for them. (Full disclosure: I've lived in Paris, and I have some pinko-commie-socialist leanings myself.)

Andy: Not sure how I feel about being called Mullah. I'm more fond of French Revolutionary rhetoric; I think "guillotine" should be in everyone's vocabulary, and there should be one on the front lawn of the White House. (I'll let you take bets on whose head I think should roll first.) ;-)