Monday, May 21, 2007

Washington Post headline today: "Richardson Joins 2008 Race"

Really? Is that why he's been running campaign ads and participating in the presidential primary debates?

Seriously, I don't understand how a journalist can run such a headline with a straight face. While we're screwing up campaign-finance law, maybe we can pass legislation saying you're not allowed to run for office without first becoming a candidate.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Top Five ways to automatically lose a debate in the blogosphere.

1) "Nazi". It's sad because there are historical lessons to be learned from World War II and the rise of Nazism. But the term gets overused so much in politics, that just about anyone invoking the term is grasping at straws because he or she cannot come up with a coherent argument. See also, "Hitler", "Fascist", and "the end of America/democracy as we know it".

2) "Must have hit a nerve". The argument goes that, because you are responding at all to a point, then the other person must be right. Does that mean the best bloggers are the ones nobody reads? See also, "Riled up" and "Must be scared".

3) "Troll." There are a lot of trolls out there who lurk on blogs and comment on just about every post. Some of them make pretty weak and immature arguments. Those people should be easy to smack down. Others actually make good points. Don't dismiss them out of hand just because they have the courage to comment on a blog that disagrees with their views.

4) "Racist." Unfortunately, racism does still exist in America. But not everyone who opposes affirmative action or disagrees with Al Sharpton is a hateful bigot. If you invoke this term, you have better damn well be able to back it up with strong evidence. See also, "KKK".

5) "Bias." It's true, the mainstream media has a liberal bias, and Fox News has a conservative bias. Get over it. They are both popular and represent a sizeable chunk of the American electorate. Don't ignore what The New York Times or Fox says. Sure, they represent a particular view, but they often make good points. If the point is weak, attack that, not the background of the person making the point.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Bogus: Conservatives have been dismissing all liberal interest in the Iraq War, arguing that Democrats can only benefit politically if the United States loses there -- that any success will only help the Republicans in the '08 elections by making Bush look good.

That's just right-wing garbage. The Democrats can actually stand to gain greatly by a U.S. victory in Iraq.

There was bipartisan support in Congress to start the invasion, but Bush and the Republicans managed the war, period. They succeeded in defeating Saddam Hussein and creating a democratic government, complete with free elections. Beyond that, the Republicans have failed to maintain stability in that government, end the fighting in the streets, and defeat the terrorist threat that has taken the lives of thousands of Iraqis and American troops.

That's why the Democrats were elected to Congress, because the American people were not happy about the progress in Iraq. We needed change.

Since the Democrats took over Congress, we have gotten change. Bush has fired Donald Rumsfeld, increased the troop levels in Baghdad, and brought new generals to change tactics. The political pressure that the Democrats are bringing against the White House is altering the course of Iraq, probably for the better.

If we do ultimately succeed in stabilizing Iraq (relative to the region), the Democrats deserve as much credit, if not more so, as President Bush.

I've supported this war from the beginning. As such, it is absolutely heart wrenching to see the problems that have developed in Iraq. I don't know whether to blame Bush for mismanaging the war, the Iraqis for fighting each other instead of working through democracy, or people like myself who thought it was a good idea to go in there in the first place.

But I still think we can succeed. We've already removed Saddam Hussein and established a fragile democracy there. If we can neutralize the Al Qaeda presence in Iraq and reduce the violence as we pull our troops out, I'll consider that a successful mission. It definitely won't be pretty, and it isn't what we had hoped for, but it's the best we can get.

All that being said, I'm still not ready to withdraw our troops as the Democrats want. We need to draw down our military levels in such a way that will increase stability. Right now I think running away would just lead to chaos in that country, which will only make things worse. This is now a political mission in which the military plays a crucial role.

But no one in the United States, especially not the Democrats, would gain from a defeat in Iraq. We're all in this together, now more than ever.

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