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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea- Bush or Kerry?

 
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 09:35 am
panzade wrote:
Basing your vote on the affiliations of our soldiers doesn't reflect your outstanding ability to see the forest for the trees Bill. IMO


Perhaps true. But then a discerning mind should, as well, resist taking its opinions from the pages of the New York Times.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 09:42 am
The discerning mind should arm itself with as many facts as possible. There are many of them in the piece from the New York Times.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 09:56 am
sozobe wrote:
O'Bill, please read this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/17BUSH.html?pagewanted=1

If you come away from it still wanting to vote for Bush, fine, but I think you need to read it.
Darlin I'm trying... but I can't make it work. I finally got my cookie-block stuff out of the way and it turns out I've already registered, but don't my username and password... and the feature that retrieves it is "temporarily unavailable". Confused Perhaps you could cut and paste it and drop it somewhere for me?

sozobe wrote:
The discerning mind should arm itself with as many facts as possible. There are many of them in the piece from the New York Times.
I agree with the first part and will have to get back to you on the second. Confused


(Panz, you know damn well there's more to it than that. :wink: )
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 10:08 am
Here ya go, Bill. It's 10 pages long!

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2004/10/15/magazine/17cover.184.jpg


Without a Doubt
By RON SUSKIND

Published: October 17, 2004


Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told me recently that ''if Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3.'' The nature of that conflict, as Bartlett sees it? Essentially, the same as the one raging across much of the world: a battle between modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true believers, reason and religion.

''Just in the past few months,'' Bartlett said, ''I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do.'' Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, went on to say: ''This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. . . .

''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,'' Bartlett went on to say. ''He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'' Bartlett paused, then said, ''But you can't run the world on faith.''


Forty democratic senators were gathered for a lunch in March just off the Senate floor. I was there as a guest speaker. Joe Biden was telling a story, a story about the president. ''I was in the Oval Office a few months after we swept into Baghdad,'' he began, ''and I was telling the president of my many concerns'' -- concerns about growing problems winning the peace, the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanding of the Iraqi Army and problems securing the oil fields. Bush, Biden recalled, just looked at him, unflappably sure that the United States was on the right course and that all was well. '''Mr. President,' I finally said, 'How can you be so sure when you know you don't know the facts?'''

Biden said that Bush stood up and put his hand on the senator's shoulder. ''My instincts,'' he said. ''My instincts.''

Biden paused and shook his head, recalling it all as the room grew quiet. ''I said, 'Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough!'''


The democrat Biden and the Republican Bartlett are trying to make sense of the same thing -- a president who has been an extraordinary blend of forcefulness and inscrutability, opacity and action.

But lately, words and deeds are beginning to connect.

The Delaware senator was, in fact, hearing what Bush's top deputies -- from cabinet members like Paul O'Neill, Christine Todd Whitman and Colin Powell to generals fighting in Iraq -- have been told for years when they requested explanations for many of the president's decisions, policies that often seemed to collide with accepted facts. The president would say that he relied on his ''gut'' or his ''instinct'' to guide the ship of state, and then he ''prayed over it.'' The old pro Bartlett, a deliberative, fact-based wonk, is finally hearing a tune that has been hummed quietly by evangelicals (so as not to trouble the secular) for years as they gazed upon President George W. Bush. This evangelical group -- the core of the energetic ''base'' that may well usher Bush to victory -- believes that their leader is a messenger from God. And in the first presidential debate, many Americans heard the discursive John Kerry succinctly raise, for the first time, the issue of Bush's certainty -- the issue being, as Kerry put it, that ''you can be certain and be wrong.''

What underlies Bush's certainty? And can it be assessed in the temporal realm of informed consent?

All of this -- the ''gut'' and ''instincts,'' the certainty and religiosity -connects to a single word, ''faith,'' and faith asserts its hold ever more on debates in this country and abroad. That a deep Christian faith illuminated the personal journey of George W. Bush is common knowledge. But faith has also shaped his presidency in profound, nonreligious ways. The president has demanded unquestioning faith from his followers, his staff, his senior aides and his kindred in the Republican Party. Once he makes a decision -- often swiftly, based on a creed or moral position -- he expects complete faith in its rightness.

The disdainful smirks and grimaces that many viewers were surprised to see in the first presidential debate are familiar expressions to those in the administration or in Congress who have simply asked the president to explain his positions. Since 9/11, those requests have grown scarce; Bush's intolerance of doubters has, if anything, increased, and few dare to question him now. A writ of infallibility -- a premise beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains -- is not just for public consumption: it has guided the inner life of the White House. As Whitman told me on the day in May 2003 that she announced her resignation as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: ''In meetings, I'd ask if there were any facts to support our case. And for that, I was accused of disloyalty!'' (Whitman, whose faith in Bush has since been renewed, denies making these remarks and is now a leader of the president's re-election effort in New Jersey.)

he nation's founders, smarting still from the punitive pieties of Europe's state religions, were adamant about erecting a wall between organized religion and political authority. But suddenly, that seems like a long time ago. George W. Bush -- both captive and creator of this moment -- has steadily, inexorably, changed the office itself. He has created the faith-based presidency.

The faith-based presidency is a with-us-or-against-us model that has been enormously effective at, among other things, keeping the workings and temperament of the Bush White House a kind of state secret. The dome of silence cracked a bit in the late winter and spring, with revelations from the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke and also, in my book, from the former Bush treasury secretary Paul O'Neill. When I quoted O'Neill saying that Bush was like ''a blind man in a room full of deaf people,'' this did not endear me to the White House. But my phone did begin to ring, with Democrats and Republicans calling with similar impressions and anecdotes about Bush's faith and certainty. These are among the sources I relied upon for this article. Few were willing to talk on the record. Some were willing to talk because they said they thought George W. Bush might lose; others, out of fear of what might transpire if he wins. In either case, there seems to be a growing silence fatigue -- public servants, some with vast experience, who feel they have spent years being treated like Victorian-era children, seen but not heard, and are tired of it. But silence still reigns in the highest reaches of the White House. After many requests, Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, said in a letter that the president and those around him would not be cooperating with this article in any way.
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 10:09 am
Without a Doubt

Published: October 17, 2004


(Page 2 of 10)



Some officials, elected or otherwise, with whom I have spoken with left meetings in the Oval Office concerned that the president was struggling with the demands of the job. Others focused on Bush's substantial interpersonal gifts as a compensation for his perceived lack of broader capabilities. Still others, like Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a Democrat, are worried about something other than his native intelligence. ''He's plenty smart enough to do the job,'' Levin said. ''It's his lack of curiosity about complex issues which troubles me.'' But more than anything else, I heard expressions of awe at the president's preternatural certainty and wonderment about its source.

There is one story about Bush's particular brand of certainty I am able to piece together and tell for the record.

In the Oval Office in December 2002, the president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored ''road map'' for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region. The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman -- the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress -- mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.

''I don't know why you're talking about Sweden,'' Bush said. ''They're the neutral one. They don't have an army.''

Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ''Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.'' Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.

Bush held to his view. ''No, no, it's Sweden that has no army.''

The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.

A few weeks later, members of Congress and their spouses gathered with administration officials and other dignitaries for the White House Christmas party. The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the shoulder. ''You were right,'' he said, with bonhomie. ''Sweden does have an army.''

This story was told to me by one of the senators in the Oval Office that December day, Joe Biden. Lantos, a liberal Democrat, would not comment about it. In general, people who meet with Bush will not discuss their encounters. (Lantos, through a spokesman, says it is a longstanding policy of his not to discuss Oval Office meetings.)

This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker. Nothing could be more vital, whether staying on message with the voters or the terrorists or a California congressman in a meeting about one of the world's most nagging problems. As Bush himself has said any number of times on the campaign trail, ''By remaining resolute and firm and strong, this world will be peaceful.''


He didn't always talk this way. A precious glimpse of Bush, just as he was ascending to the presidency, comes from Jim Wallis, a man with the added advantage of having deep acuity about the struggles between fact and faith. Wallis, an evangelical pastor who for 30 years has run the Sojourners -- a progressive organization of advocates for social justice -- was asked during the transition to help pull together a diverse group of members of the clergy to talk about faith and poverty with the new president-elect.

In December 2000, Bush sat in the classroom of a Baptist church in Austin, Tex., with 30 or so clergy members and asked, ''How do I speak to the soul of the nation?'' He listened as each guest articulated a vision of what might be. The afternoon hours passed. No one wanted to leave. People rose from their chairs and wandered the room, huddling in groups, conversing passionately. In one cluster, Bush and Wallis talked of their journeys.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 10:09 am
Psst, squinney, I just posted the whole shebang.

(thought I had link copied but I don't, it's called "Without a Doubt", should be easy to find.)
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 10:13 am
You just posted it where? Do you need pgs 3-10? Will be happy to continue, if so.
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 10:16 am
Gotcha - Figured it out.

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=36388&highlight=
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 12:34 pm
Wow! That is certainly something to really think about. The article really highlighted the bizarre, mystical certainty that has enveloped the Bush presidency. I had tended to shut that aspect from my mind, (I think that you all know my perceptions and evaluation of mysticism of any sort).

Soz- You may be buying a LOT of cream cheese for me in a few weeks! :wink:
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 02:28 pm
I would buy um um 2004 packages of cream cheese for ya! Yeah!

And make it all into cheesecake!

THE most delicious cheesecake EVER!

<running off to find the best cheesecake recipe ever...>
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 03:49 pm
Okay, I finally caught up with you guys. Thanks Squinney! Sozobe dropped it on another thread for me... and I answered there... here is my thoughts:
Quote:
Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told me recently that ''if Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3.''
It is very difficult for me to take serious words that follow such a prediction. But since you said please, I gave it my best shot. For the most part it seemed like a very anti-religion piece... but I'll return to that in a bit.

I will give it credit for remaining somewhat entertaining, in much the same way Fahrenheit 911 was. This part had me rolling on the floor:
Quote:
Bush held to his view. ''No, no, it's Sweden that has no army.''


In the authors attempt to put a negative spin on everything, he loses more credibility in my eyes... This next paragraph is an example of this:

Quote:
Christopher DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute, the neoconservative policy group, told me. ''It's a too tightly managed decision-making process. When they make decisions, a very small number of people are in the room, and it has a certain effect of constricting the range of alternatives being offered.''

Clearly the author of this piece has never been the decision maker for any large group. Of course the decisions are made with few people in the room. Management by committee is folly in itself, under normal conditions, let alone crunch time. I consider myself an excellent personnel manager and I am a my way or the highway type of leader. At the same time when I've had a boss, I am a loyal subordinate. My job is to be a tool to his will… and so on down the line. Once my skills are recognized, I've experienced less and less micro management because I get results. However, if the boss chooses to micromanage, who am I to object? I'm taking this too far… suffice to say that this is the formula of strong leadership towards pointed goals. The author of that piece seems oblivious to this.

He also rely's on hearsay and anonymous quotes more often than not which mean very little to me outside of the fact that their amusing in the portrait they paint of Bush. He really does lend himself to such humor. Laughing

But mostly, the piece seemed to be trying to drive home the point that he's a religious nut… and frankly I agree. I don't wish to detract from the point with a religious discussion, but frankly I don't understand how anyone can believe in invisible men who live in the sky. The more certain such beliefs become, the nuttier the holders of these beliefs always seem to me. But that, is where I come to a contradiction. Many, many people who's intellect I have a great deal of respect for are some of God's faithful. The vast majority of these people, that I know, are way better off for having such faith… so much so that I sometimes envy them… so I don't often try to dissuade them. For practical purposes, I try to simply ignore the faith stuff and exercise no judgment at all. Since I agree with the majority of the values taught, conflicts of interest are few.

The author raises some valid concerns regarding "Separation of Church and State". I definitely agree that this separation is very important, but I really don't see how Bush will change anything in that area that would be irreversible… so it doesn't rise to the paramount issue the author tries to make it out to be.

Bush is a nut. I do agree him on that… but he's a predictable nut. I prefer a predictable nut to an unpredictable yes-man. That is how I see Kerry… an ass-kisser that has risen to a position way beyond his abilities. Yes, I can see he's Bush's intellectual superior by a mile, but I don't think the job calls for the smartest man. I believe history has shown that leaders with less upstairs have frequently proven far more effective than their more intellectual peers. If you understand why I think Reagan was a better leader than Carter, than you can probably see my point.

Sozobe, I have to tell you this about that article… It wasn't that good. I think your summary… or Nimh's or Craven's or Setanta's of why we shouldn't elect Bush would be far more convincing because each of you would hold yourselves to far higher standards than the author of that piece did. Just my opinion… you asked for it. :wink:

Ps. This was funny, too, "Is there anyone in America who feels that John Kerry is an instrument of God?" Shocked Laughing

PPs, How bout them Packers! :smile:

PPPs, How about Brett Favre for President!
0 Replies
 
coachryan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 04:36 pm
OCCOM BILL wrote:
PPPs, How about Brett Favre for President!



well he'd carry WI Very Happy
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2004 08:33 pm
An A$$ Kisser? I certainly don't see Kerry as an A$$ Kisser.

Here's a current newsweek article on Kerry. I have other posts )with extensive links) I have made on A2K regarding some of the information mentioned in this article. If you want links to that info, let me know.

Kerry by the BookJohn Kerry's biggest achievements in the Senate: a groundbreaking investigation into money laundering, drug dealers, terrorists and secret nukes. Yet voters have rarely heard of the senator's dogged inquiries into the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Why? Because some of Kerry's leading campaign strategists believed it was too difficult for voters to digest. "You can't talk about that because people think you're talking about the BBC," Bob Shrum, Kerry's top adviser, told one senior staffer. "Why were you investigating British TV?"

From corrupt banks to Vietnam POWs, Kerry's Senate record is a mixture of the high-profile and the obscure, of showboat politics and detailed debate, not unlike the man himself. George W. Bush accused Kerry last week of having "no record of leadership." In fact, as the BCCI inquiry shows, Kerry has a serious record that translates poorly into the language of a presidential campaign. That's not unusual for senators, who have struggled unsuccessfully to reach the White House since the days of JFK. But Kerry has been no traditional senator. From the moment he entered the Senate as an ambitious 41-year-old, Kerry eschewed the clubby corridors of the lawmakers, where colleagues like Ted Kennedy, the senior senator from Massachusetts, cast a long shadow. Instead, the younger Kerry preferred the crime-busting culture of his previous life as a prosecutor and the investigative spirit of the Vietnam and Watergate era. He delved deep into the lives of narco traffickers, gun runners and rogue spies. And along the way, he also nurtured his intellectual love of foreign policyThree years after he launched his inquiries, BCCI collapsed.Kerry's work as head of the POW/MIA committee was bitterly divisive, pitting true believers against hardened skeptics like Republican John McCain. "People now think it was easy to do," says Bob Kerrey, the former Democratic senator. "But I heard people say to John McCain and John Kerry: 'You are traitors. There are people dead because of you'." Kerry brought together the warring sides in both parties to do what most veterans and senators thought was impossible: write a final report that won unanimous support. Kerry and McCain did more than just debunk the myth of living POWs; they opened the door to normalizing relations with Vietnam. Working with a hesitant President Bill Clinton, Kerry offered the Vietnamese the promise of an end to the embargo as long as they opened their files and POW sites. "He understood how to get it done," recalled Sandy Berger, Clinton's national-security adviser and a former Kerry adviser. "He knew he had to push the Vietnamese and pull us." It was

Despite those successes, his record at home is far less impressive. Kerry has a lightweight history of legislation, with few signature achievements and little of the follow-through that drove his detective work. President Bush claimed in last week's debate that Kerry had introduced 300 bills and passed only five. In fact, congressional records show that Kerry has authored 376 pieces of legislation since 1985, and passed 56 through the Senate. Of those, 11 were signed into law, but most of those were ceremonial (including two that proclaim World Population Awareness Week). Kerry's aides say this is not unusual compared to others in the Senate. But he certainly pales in comparison to Ted Kennedy. "When you come from the same state as Ted Kennedy, people who want a bill passed are going to go to Ted Kennedy," says Michael Goldman, a longtime Democratic operative in Massachusetts.


With or without laws to his name, Kerry has still To Republicans, the votes point to Kerry's ultraliberal status; Bush likes to quote a 2003 National Journal analysis that ranks Kerry as the most liberal senator. But that's a misleading measure, based on a year when Kerry was already running for the White House and missed half the critical votes. According to the same publication, Kerry's overall record places him 11th among liberal senators, well behind Kennedy. On taxes, Kerry's record has also been distorted by counting multiple votes for the same bill. On that basis, Kerry has voted more than 350 times for higher taxes, as Bush says. Using the same measure, the Kerry campaign claims the senator has also voted more than 640 times against raising taxes. On defense, it's a similar pattern. Kerry has been cast as a peacenik, but he voted for Reagan's big defense bills at the height of the cold war (even as he opposed the MX missile and Star Wars). In the 1990s he supported big cuts in the 1990s as a "peace dividend." Since 1998, the only defense-spending bill he voted against is the $87 billion package for Iraq and Afghanistan.


Neither votes nor legislation captures Kerry's conflicted position on two of the hot-button issues that have defined social values in this election: abortion and gay marriage. Judging by his votes, Kerry is 100 percent pro-choice, opposing the ban on "partial birth" abortion and earning a zero rating from the National Right to Life committee. Yet since his first run for the Senate in 1984, Kerry has insisted that his personal belief as a Roman Catholic means life begins at conception. (He argues that he won't legislate to impose those personal beliefs on Americans of other religions.) Kerry treads the same fine line on gay marriage, voting against the Defense of Marriage law in 1996 (which Clinton signed) and favoring equal rights for gay couples. But again, Kerry says he personally opposes gay marriage, preferring civil unions.


To Bush, Kerry's record is both inconsistent and "out of the mainstream." That depends on what you call the mainstream. Source
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