Pols Are Not Your Friends

This interview excerpt with Jim Webb has been going around:

Josh Nelson: You mentioned the role the blogosphere played in your Senate campaign. I was wondering if you could elaborate on that a little bit. And also tell us what type of role you would like to see them play in legislative fights in the future.

Jim Webb: The blogsÖ the good news and bad news about blogs. First the bad news. The bad news is anybody can say anything about someone and they donít even have to put their name on it. In fact, the anonymity encourages irresponsibility. And it is pretty frustrating, Iíll be honest with you, thatís why I just stopped reading this stuff a long time ago. . . . [MORE]

The good is, when there are allegations made, in any variety of formats, there are people who know the facts, and step forward, and correct the facts. People who put their name on it and correct. . . . With respect to legislation, what I, I think the blogs really communicate, in a very intelligent way, on a couple of these really complicated issues, I would hope they wouldnít lock themselves into positions so early, uh, thereís some really complex pieces of legislation that kind of get boiled downÖ

Josh Nelson: Are you talking about FISA?

Jim Webb: Specifically Iím thinking about FISA since I have to vote on it tomorrow afternoon. . . . Thatís a very complicated issue and Iíve looked at it from every single angle that it can be looked at. Having had the black clearances that we were talking about, and at the same time Iím very strong on privacy rights. Itís not an issue that is easy to boil down in the way a lot of the blogging community has boiled it down.

What's missing is any explanation for Jim Webb's position on FISA. He never has explained it. and I imagine he never will.

But the real point of my post is pols are pols. And yes Jim Webb is a pol now. They do what they do. NONE of them are your friend. Falling into spells of admiration for them is simply ridiculous and counterproductive - if you care about issues that is.

Speaking for me only

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    There is a certain (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:39:41 AM EST
    adoration for the "Fighting Dem" in the blogosphere that goes beyond simply applauding those who take no guff from the Republicans.

    It's a variety of hero worship that singles out the manly, battle-hardened, John Wayne type, and yes, gender does enter in there.  Paul Hackett was the beneficiary of this sort of sentiment as well.

    I prefer a more thoughtful, issue-based assessment of what candidates to support, but I guess that sort of thing isn't as sexy when it comes to rallying the faithful.  Still, I'd like to think the blogosphere is capable of deeper analysis than noting which pol makes a thrill go up their leg.

    The problem is human nature..... (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:48:19 AM EST
    ...and people are just susceptible to certain types of mythology, even in the blogosphere. Wisdom is not virtual.

    I think (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:52:24 AM EST
    that many liberals are so sick of being called weak, effeminate, whatever, that they relish the opportunity to support candidates who are immune from such things.  While I understand it, I wish people were more conscious of it, as I feel (among other problems) it makes it harder on balance for female candidates to attract support.

    Definitely. We saw the trap (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:58:51 AM EST
    again in this campaign, as ever.

    Maybe feminists should (5.00 / 5) (#26)
    by samanthasmom on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:19:15 AM EST
    co-opt the word "effeminate" and change its definition to "b!tch".

    Ironically I would say that Obama is the (5.00 / 8) (#28)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:22:48 AM EST
    most vulnerable of our field of candidates in this cycle to those sophmoric labels that the Republicans like to throw at our candidates.  He has a boyscout geekiness to him that I think they will tap into down the line.  But the reality is that for some reason a lot of people decided that they wanted the "nice" Dem - the "good guy" image - the guy who would be friendly to everyone no matter what - I can't figure out for the life of me why that would appeal to Democrats who should know by now that the Republicans currently in power are simply not our friends no matter how "nice" anyone is to them - but that was the trendy way to think and here we are.

    As for Jim Webb - when he was running in 2006 I was talking to my Dad about him and his one line was the following: "He's a Republican."

    The Democratic Party's core problem right now is that the Republican Party has gone so far off the scale to the right that we are absorbing people like Webb who would at one time would have been a mainstream Republican.  He says his views on economics have changed and that is what brought him to the Democratic Party, but I think that the political landscape has changed probably more than he has - in other words - the Republican Party that attracted Reagan Democrats no longer exists and therefore the only place to go for people like Webb is to the Democratic Party.  The result for the Democratic Party is a much more watered down and even bastardized version of what it once was.

    I've been thinking for a while that maybe we've been too focused on rebuilding our own party and not focused enough on finding ways of reviving the Republican Party's more moderate wing and ousting their radicalized leadership so that we could have a more liberal Democratic Party again.  Sadly, that won't happen this cycle no matter which presidential candidate gets elected.  To move the mountain we face, we need leadership in our party that is a lot more principled and fierce than what we have right now.


    Maria (none / 0) (#29)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:24:05 AM EST
    Was that you in the Chronicle yesterday?  

    LOL, that wasn't me but..... (none / 0) (#62)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:54:38 AM EST
    ...she even looks a bit like me!

    Aha! Stolen identity! (none / 0) (#99)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:06:41 PM EST
    But were you there?

    No, not this year. (none / 0) (#113)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:22:45 PM EST
    Male Fighting Dems (5.00 / 9) (#39)
    by BDB on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:37:10 AM EST
    Female fighting Dems like Clinton get demonized even though her voting record is more progressive than Webb's.

    I've never gotten the Webb fixation.  He's good on Iraq, but not good on a lot of other things.  He's basically another one of those disaffected Republicns.  Oh, wait, that explains it - a lot of the Webb fixation is coming from other disaffected Republicans.


    Don't forget (none / 0) (#117)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:29:03 PM EST
    how he started off with that great op-ed in the WSJ. That got a lot of people's hopes up that he'd be leading an aggressive shift in that direction for the party, channelling Edwards' economic populism message to breathe some real change into the usual timid centrist or center-right Dem economic messaging.

    He's had some effect there I think, but nothing like what it could have been. I doubt the support he's gained from that part of what he's about is coming from other disaffected Republicans.


    IMO it is a big mistake to make a hero out of (5.00 / 6) (#94)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:52:31 PM EST
    any politician. The healthiest way to view a politician IMO is that he/she is your employee and you are paying him/her a salary to perform certain job functions. Prior to granting your vote like any good business person you review the person's qualifications for the job for the required experience, performance in past endeavors and what is said during the interview process on the ideas and benefits that the candidate will bring to the job.

    Once hired, the politician should be graded on how well he/she performs in relationship to the issues that are important to you. Talk is cheap, image is superficial all smoke and mirrors to distract from the fact that you the employer did not get the results you wanted from your employee.


    I think part of it is in the translation (none / 0) (#13)
    by kredwyn on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:56:29 AM EST
    I worked on the Hackett campaign during those last days.

    And in spite of his bluster, he's actually a pretty smart and thoughtful guy.


    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:59:15 AM EST
    I am not suggesting that Hackett wasn't deserving of support.  I liked the guy, rough edges and all.  But there's a notable pattern to the John Wayne types that the blogosphere falls in love with, and they seem largely unconscious to the phenomenon.

    It's Tweety syndrome (5.00 / 3) (#83)
    by cawaltz on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:30:06 PM EST
    complete with swooning and tingles. FWIW I voted for Webb and even did my part to get him elected- I didn't do it because I saw him as some ideal though. I did it because no matter what he'd be better than Allen and because I saw him as a shot of getting a Democrat in the door in a purple state. If the opportunity comes to unseat him with a better Dem I'll be all over it. Webb's office has already gotten an earful from me and mine. If he thinks he doesn't have to explain his vote on FISA he's mistaken and his "I know better because I had a clearance" ain't gonna rub with guys like my hubby, who also had a clearance during his tenure(Top Secret- as an ET for SEAL teams for 5 years).

    Speaking only for me... (5.00 / 4) (#87)
    by kredwyn on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:39:30 PM EST
    I'm tired of milquetoast Dems who are unable, for whatever reason, to recognize that they are consistently fit into the role of Charlie Brown being played by the GOP's version of Lucy.

    Each time it happens, my response is "Oh Good Grief!"

    They don't see it...they don't learn from it...and it stumps me how normally intelligent people are incapable of seeing the games.


    Unfortunately, (none / 0) (#20)
    by pie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:02:43 AM EST
    voters in his district went with Jean Schmidt.

    Now there's a contrast.


    Nobody promoted the Fighting Dems more than kos (none / 0) (#160)
    by bridget on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 04:21:01 PM EST
    on Air America together with Sam Seder AFAIR.

    Moulitsas appeared once a week on Sam Seder's show on Air America and promoted another Fighting Dem each time. Many were Republicans before they decided to run for a Dem seat in congress, others  didn't discover politics until they came back from Iraq. I always thought someone from the "FD club" questioned Vets after the returned from Iraq and suggested they run for Dem office. Like that over the top Hackett fellow who had his fans but was completely inappropriate for this job.

    Sam Seder completely fell for it ... but then what else is new. From the v. start of his radio show Seder was so impressed with the "netroots" i.e. of course dkos  - and in his eyes Moulitsas can do no wrong.

    btw. I am still rolling my eyes when I think of the Seder mild Q and A time of the new Fighting Dem candidates. Basically, they all said they were good Dems because they didn't like the Iraq war and Prez Bush. Bravo! Let's vote for them. ZZZZzzzz.....

    Rumor had it Janeane Gerafalo who does not care for the net at all it seems - did not like this section of the MRR (among other things) and left soon after. I didn't like it and others didn't like it. But Seder loved it because kos did and said it was the way to win elections for the Dems.

    Seder is 40 and old enough to know better but he was a political newbie and he did turn out to be a huge disappointment the longer he remained on radio. Now its totally hopeless. His blog slowly but surely turned into the anything goes nasty Clinton bash fest and he leads the cultish Obamafolks.

    It was fun when Seder started MRR with Gerafolo in 04 - when people like Chomsky, Gore Vidal and lots of smart people wort listening too, were invited on the show.I don't like talk radio but hoped liberal talk radio would benefit us all. NOT. Now it is too sick IMO (remember Randi Rhodes?) and I bet it hasn't changed in the last few months Obamafans got their wish.



    now? (5.00 / 7) (#5)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:48:12 AM EST
    this is truly a minor quibble I think, point of clarification.

    I think he became a pol the second he decided to run for office.

    Just to add I think his description of blogs is pretty right on except for one thing.  One person providing a fact check can get drowned out by a piling on effect and the overriding need to push memes.  Peer review on the Internet all to often devolves into mob rule.

    The folks at wiki can better discuss the pros and cons of peer review I think.

    He was a political appointee. . . (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:00:16 AM EST
    under Reagan, so I think his politician-ness predates even his Senate campaign.

    sounds good to me (none / 0) (#22)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:13:06 AM EST
    Honestly, I think there has to be a little pol in all of us.  If anyone knows who OPOL is from dkos, there is still a certain amount of politicking involved in issue activism.  Even on blogs.

    I bring up OPOL because while he appeared to be advocating for the same issues as everyone else, he also appeared to have no inner pol, and more often than not only ended up annoying the people who wanted to believe in the politicians they recruited even if only for a brief moment.


    Anyone who cares about the issues more (5.00 / 11) (#34)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:33:54 AM EST
    than they care about the "heroes" will generally annoy more people than not.  Most people like to have their "heroes" left in tact - most people just don't want to know anything beyond the rosy story - a lot of people feel that there is too much conflict and thinking involved in examing their political heroes' mortal qualities.

    Few people seem to be able to accept the fact that any given politician on any given day could be their friend and on another be their adversary.  They want them to either be a friend all the time or an adversary all the time and people like OPOL, BTD and a handful of others really piss people off when they point out when someone they call a friend is acting in an adversarial way.  They just can't handle it.

    BTD says "pols are pols" - I say "pols are people" - they are mortals just like the rest of us with the potential to make us happy and the potential to piss us off - just like anyone one you know - you're not going to agree with anyone in this world 100% of the time and that is OK - accepting that is the only way to manage democratic politics effectively - because if you don't fight for the issues you believe in just because someone is your "hero" - you've effectively taken yourself out of the democratic process and yielded all power to them - that makes no sense to me.


    Spot on. It is a sign of maturity (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:37:34 AM EST
    to see politicians, like parents, as only human.

    Parents, of course, can be forgiven far more for their frailties.  Politicians, not so much.


    Parents may be forgiven, but frequently (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:04:41 PM EST

    The big mistake many people make is (none / 0) (#170)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 08:50:27 PM EST
    that they act like these politicians are their parents - they are NOT their parents - these politicians don't love them personally - they don't know them - they do not have the bond that family might have with them - they are people that we don't really know all that well who are presented to us through numerous filters - people who are strategic in when, how and what they say - they are professionals who are seeking a job - we have the choice to hire them or fire them based on performance.  The problem is that our standards for assessing performance have fallen to such a ridiculously low level that we could never really expect greatness from any of them.  They aren't trained to deliver it and we are too stupid to understand that mediocrity is something that we get because we accept it - not because it is "just the way it has to be in presidential politics".  The system is bullsh.. not because these representatives are substandard - the system is bullsh.. because we don't demand - insist - that they do better - because we'd rather have American Idol style heroes than a real and effective government run by people.

    Webb's a conservative Democrat (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by david mizner on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:49:02 AM EST
    who happened to be right about Iraq.

    Wrong on FISA.
    Phony economic populist who voted for the Peru "Free" Trade Deal
    Now he's going to lead the effort to capitulate on drilling

    A smart guy, and a thousand times better than Macaca, but he's no progressive leader, or even a progressive.

    Right on Iraq? (5.00 / 0) (#96)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:01:50 PM EST
    Webb said he was against the invasion of Iraq. On that I agree. OTOH, Webb has consistently voted with Bush and the Republicans against establishing any timelines etc.



    I admire Feingold. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by NealB on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:50:53 AM EST
    He seems always to take the time to fully explain his position, even the votes I've disagreed with. And his explanations always seem to be based on principles. I wouldn't call him a friend, but Feingold is easy to like.

    I call him a friend (none / 0) (#124)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:41:29 PM EST
    which doesn't stop me from noting he's disappointed me 25 times in the 15+ years he's represented me in the Senate.

    A few years back, I'd posted on dkos that he'd disappointed me, then, 16 times. Saw Russ a few days later, he asked "Was that supposed to be a compliment?"


    Tell me about it. (none / 0) (#148)
    by brodie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:49:44 PM EST
    The vote for John Roberts -- decades on the High Bench as CJ for a mostly doctrinaire ultraconservative.  The committee vote to enable Ashcroft becoming AG.  The very unfortunate vote against Byrd in 99 which could have put a quick end to the impeachment disgrace.

    Generally, on the downside, his too rigid "principled" stance on allowing through any president's nominees (absent extraordinary circum's) can result in some pretty extraordinary antidemocratic results.

    On the upside though, I agree with his votes 90% of the time, and very much like his strong articulate presentation of the issues.

    Not quite a friend, certainly not in the very personal and emotionally-based sense of The Byrds "He Was A Friend of Mine".  But someone I appreciate and find less disappointing overall than 93% of the rest.  With a little less of a quirky maverick track record, and a slightly more optimal personal profile, he would have been strongly in the running for prez.


    On Ashcroft he turned out to be right (none / 0) (#166)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 06:12:25 PM EST
    when he said "This is the best Nominee for Attorney General we'll see from this President."

    Roberts is among the 25, but barely. I understand his reasoning, and it made his "no' on Alito carry more weight. Alas, not enough.

    Most recent, his cosponsoring the budget doubling for multijurisdiction drug task forces under the Byrne Grant program. Even if one accepts the basic premises of the DrugWar, this is a bad model, as there's no oversight by local elected officials, an invitation to corruption and abuse.


    Also, pols are not our friends (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by pie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:54:51 AM EST
    until election season rolls around.

    You Could Say It 100 Times Over... (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by JimWash08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:56:46 AM EST
    But the real point of my post is pols are pols. ... They do what they do. NONE of them are your friend. Falling into spells of admiration for them is simply ridiculous and counterproductive - if you care about issues that is.

    ... and half (or more) of the country's voters still won't listen, or even consider it.

    Elections at all levels have become vanity and popularity contests. I've pretty much lost all hope in our political system. What's the point, really?

    I thought I lost it in 2003, but I actually found some of it back last year, and hoped to regain all of it at the end of this year.

    With the two boneheads -- oops, I mean Pols -- running for President now, what hope is there? It's always a case of hold-your-nose and vote-for-the-lesser-of-two-evils. I just won't be voting this time.

    Re: blogs. Politicians are like celebrities. They use the blogs and the media when it's to their advantage/gain, and rail against them when their feet are held to the fire. But, I actually prefer this group of pols to the group that doesn't give two hoots about anything that anyone has to say.

    My guess is Obama is in the second group; in the good company of W & Co. I'm still trying to figure out where McCain is.

    On balance (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:57:39 AM EST
    Webb is probably about as good a Senator as we rate to get from the South these days, even from a purplish state like Virginia.  That's not to say that we shouldn't keep pushing the envelope, but in practical terms, I would rather see the blogosphere get a little too enthusiastic about supporting a guy like Webb than see them get a little too negative about supporting a guy like Harold Ford, who certainly would be better in that seat than Bob Corker has been.

    Terry Gross interview with New Yorker author of (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by imhotep on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:02:04 AM EST
    the piece about (some of) the blogosphere's darling.  He made an interesting comment about BO's very fast rise in politics and his methods for doing so:  "many Democrats are happy that they finally have a cut-throat candidate."
    BO's ambitions were pushed by many blogs, but I wonder if they knew what they were getting.

    Happy Democrats? (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by samanthasmom on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:14:56 AM EST
    It seems to me that there may not be enough "happy Democrats" left in November. Who wanted a cut-throat candidate? I guess anyone whose throat isn't being cut will be OK with it, but life under the bus is hard enough for some of us without decapitating us.

    I wanted a cutthroat politician. . . (5.00 / 6) (#27)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:20:49 AM EST
    and that's part of the reason I voted for Clinton.  I thought she probably had a much more realistic view of inter-party politics than the get-along philosophy Obama was espousing.   I'm somewhat reassured by the Lizza article.

    I guess you and I (5.00 / 8) (#33)
    by samanthasmom on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:33:40 AM EST
    have a different definition of cut-throat. I see Hillary as somebody who can get things done, but not as someone who has no scruples about how to do it.

    Cutting their own throats (5.00 / 3) (#95)
    by BarnBabe on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    many Democrats are happy that they finally have a cut-throat candidate."
    Surely they do not mean Obama? And don't call me Surely. Obama, cut throat? Only with progressives. He flip flops because he agrees with both sides. I wish people would take off their rose colored glasses and see the real person. Some blogs were bowled over by the tall smooth talking dude and just wanted him to be them and theirs. Reality, ain't happening.

    Listening to Lizza on Fresh Air and another show, (none / 0) (#119)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:33:52 PM EST
    seemed to me he was working to place almost everything Obama had done in the very best light. For example, he said Alice Palmer had promised Obama she would not run for her seat if she couldn't win the Congressional seat primary--previously I'd read that there was no such promise. And how can we really know?

    Small point, but this seemed to be how he covered everything. Knocking opponents off the ballot? Just the way it's done.

    The only think which gave Lizza pause was that Obama moves from position to position--and once he's in the WH, where can he go? What's he use that for? In all his jobs he barely had been there, when he was making his next move up--and had little actual personal accomplishments. (Lizza did make clear that Obama was given legislation others had nurse along to just make his name.)

    I haven't finished the article yet, but am looking forward to comparing how Lizza presented his info in interviews on the MCM with how he wrote about things.


    okay... (none / 0) (#139)
    by sj on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:05:03 PM EST
    ... he's shown himself to be a cut throat candidate, but after winning, then what?  Post partisan?

    I think the only thing missing from (5.00 / 7) (#21)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:12:17 AM EST
    Webb's comments was the statement that bloggers are not nearly as smart as they think they are...

    Listen, I don't claim to be an expert of FISA, and I am certainly not privy to the classified information that only a few people in the Congress were allowed to see, but as an American citizen whose right to privacy - among others - is protected by the Constitution, and who depends on those in the Congress to be stewards of my Constitutional rights and privileges, I am angry that those rights are being sacrificed to bad legislation at the behest of someone - Bush - who has - from Day One - made appropriating power for himself his top priority.

    When people talk about "balancing" privacy rights with national security concerns, what they are really saying is that we have to undermine those rights so that they are on the same level with national security.  Why isn't the conversation and the debate about maintaining the higher stature of those rights?  Wasn't that why the original 1978 FISA was enacted - so that we could preserve the integrity and importance of these rights over the government's desire for information?

    I'm very tired of being talked down to by people like Webb and Obama and Pelosi and Rockefeller; "trust us" is not an answer that should suffice for any of us, and the hand-wringing comments about the agony of their decision-making process do not make me feel any better.

    All you have to remember (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by pie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:43:15 AM EST
    is that Russ Feingold was privy to the information, and he was deadset against it.

    This is not to support Webb's position, (5.00 / 4) (#64)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:57:00 AM EST
    but in fact that level of clearances that Webb has goes deeper than what Feingold has - or so he is led to believe...  The real problem here is that with all of this Secret Squirrel stuff, the opportunity to have an informed debate even amongst Senators is extremely limited.  Senators aren't given all the information and the fact that the Congress actually accepts that is the REAL problem in our current system.

    After 9/11 when Bush kept telling Congress that they had to do what he said because he knew really bad things that he couldn't share with them - they should have told him to shove it until he came up with the goods.  Instead they all just agreed like sheep to follow Bush along with little to no information.

    Don't think for a minute that the Bush Administration hasn't figured out a way to push each and every Congresscritter's fear buttons.  Even people like Webb are susceptible to the manipulative game of telephone that is so often played in the backrooms and cocktail parties in this town in order to shift the mood on the Hill.


    As was Ron Wyden n/t (none / 0) (#127)
    by sassysenora on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:48:55 PM EST
    Especially when (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by cawaltz on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:38:40 PM EST
    you see what big failures they were on situations like Iraq. Pols use their constituents wishes as cover for that little fiasco. It's amazing how "doing the right thing" always seems to benefit corporate America somehow.

    Oh, yes. (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by pie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:41:02 PM EST
    Especially when you see what big failures they were on situations like Iraq.

    Let's not forget that.


    Webb is a marginal Dem. (none / 0) (#118)
    by AX10 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:33:48 PM EST
    He has some very conservative viewpoints.
    He has one thing going for him,
    He is ALOT better than "Mr. Macaca" Allen!

    Shades of Nancy Pelosi! (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Demi Moaned on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:13:52 AM EST
    It's the
    We are leaders. They are advocates

    argument couched in more intelligent language.

    My question is (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by MichaelGale on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:26:25 AM EST
    why do they not explain their reasons for voting on issues that voters care about?

    What I make out of it is they place too much emphasis on controlling the outcome and have a distrust and lack of respect for voters. Webb appears to think that voters are not capable of understanding the complex issues of governing. He says do not make rash decisions but offers nothing to voters to make a decision.

    In addition, the blog chaos this election cycle most likely have set a new rule for politicians...they are out of control and reactionary...stay away.

    Distrust of the dumb public (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:35:36 AM EST
    and lack of respect for us is endemic in Dem politics, a result of the party making the tent too big.  And it is the party for which that attitude is particularly disastrous.  In a word, it is elitism.

    But ... but ... voters might vote 'wrong' ... ?!? (none / 0) (#171)
    by Ellie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 08:53:46 PM EST
    They might say the wrong things, wreck the shining prospects of the deserving lights of the Fauxgressive Movement prepared to assume power?!?

    Aren't you tuned into the Giant Fauxgressive Brain yet?

    There's them and there's the Stoopids, who must be prevented from seeing satire that misses the mark, or exposed to people, even well meaning ones saying Repug Talking points.

    The wrong people might have uncontrolled ideas and the Fauxgressive Movement can only handle so much noise at a time. It's just temporary, until more and reliable management can be vetted and credentialed. It's not an A-B-C like confirming Bush SCOTUS or justice appts.

    Gaaah, Cream, as a historian you of all people should want to cut your future colleagues a break.

    And don't you want future history to be tidier than this insane cluttered mess we're living in now?


    Tip O'Neil (5.00 / 7) (#51)
    by samanthasmom on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:44:48 AM EST
    was one of the first politicians to come out against the Vietnam War. His district had a lot of college students in it who were heavily invested in stopping the war, but at that time college students were required to vote in their home towns, not where they went to college. Tip listened to the students and came to agree with them. His votes in the house were not popular with his voting constituents, however. Instead of backing down, he held meetings in his district to explain his votes. He brought his voters around by, according to him, respecting his position enough to stick to it, and by respecting them enough to share his reasons with them. "All politics is local."

    Seriously? (none / 0) (#54)
    by JimWash08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:48:54 AM EST
    why do they not explain their reasons for voting on issues that voters care about?

    The audacity to ask such a thing of our elected officials and the nerve to hold them accountable for their actions? Pfft! You've got to be kiddin'


    See, it's all part of the new politics that a certain presidential candidate and administration subscribe to -- don't ask question; just hope, believe and follow!


    Do you really think they're going to explain (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by imhotep on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:46:32 PM EST
    their relationships with lobbyists?  Aren't they what influences most voting?

    Why should they (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:19:12 PM EST
    have to explain lobbyists?

    By definition, the lobbyists' job is to influence the legislator with information favorable to their employer's view.  That is a simple fact, whether the lobbyist is hired by (owned by - as some insist) Big Oil or The Nature Conservency.

    Lobbyists rarely 'buy' legislators...only those who are corrupt can be bought.  They do make contributions to the campaign funds of those who favor their view of any issue.  So do I.  So do you.

    So what?


    Call me harsh (5.00 / 8) (#36)
    by mwb on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:35:33 AM EST
    I'd go further, it's not just a matter of them not always being friends. Whenever someone runs for office they should be treated with strong cynicism and the higher the office the more so.

    Too often elections are treated by the media, pundits, blogs and the people like they are choosing a date for the prom.  

    Instead it should be done with the vigor a parent should approach those who may spend time watching their kids.

    Assume the worse and make really should you are keeping those who may abuse their power from even obtaining it.  

    Which one would you (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by pie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:42:07 AM EST
    like to have a beer with.



    Remember, Gore was not okay (none / 0) (#49)
    by madamab on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:43:40 AM EST
    because he wore earthtones and sighed. Who would want to have a beer with a guy like that?

    /shoots self in face


    I would (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:09:07 PM EST
    Maybe he would have given me a tip about Google stock awhile ago.

    Oh, I would have preferred to have a beer (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by madamab on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:11:04 PM EST
    with Gore.

    Bush probably would get drunk and try to give me a massage, like he did to poor Angela Merkel. The guy always creeped me out, even before I knew the full extent of his horror.


    OMG--your comment caused me to flash on the (none / 0) (#115)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:26:30 PM EST
    mere idea of being alone with BushBoy. Ick, ick, ick, scream, run!

    "NONE of them are your friend." (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by desertswine on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:41:02 AM EST
    Amen to that.

    Until they want donations, that is.

    Politicians are human (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by dianem on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:42:34 AM EST
    All of them. Human beings are complex. They often are torn on issues, ambivalent. Good politicians try to balance their own beliefs with those of their constituency. Not so good ones simply vote the way they are told, or vote the way they feel is the most advantageous to them, believing that their constituents will end up supporting them because they hate the opposition. They are generally right.

    We do not have a Direct Democracy. We elect politicians to represent us - not vote based on polls. Sometimes we will disagree with them. Hopefully, they will vote in a conscientious manner and not violate flat-out promises they made while campaigning. Hopefully, when they are campaigning, they will only make promises that reflect their true values. But sometimes they will surprise us. They know things we don't - they have teams of people who do nothing but study issues and brief them, and they have access to classified information we do not have.

    Webb ran as a conservative Dem in a district that would not have elected a liberal, no matter what their sitting Congressman did. His win was a victory for Democrats, not for hard core progressives. He is better than the alternative, but he is only of many conservative Dems who will not please the netroots with their decisions all the time.

    Sure, but then he must be seen (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:58:53 AM EST
    as a marginal Dem.  Instead, certain bloggers -- say, if they share a military background -- blustered about Webb's manly bravado and push to place him and his ideological, post-Reaganite ilk at the center of the party.  The netroots fell for the  the illusion of the adjective "Fighting" and abandon the noun "Dems."  And such netrooters are plenty pleased.  They pushed the party rightward, and we see the result in the pretzelification to hail this predestined nomination.

    Yet they demonized my Rep for being moderate (5.00 / 2) (#134)
    by sassysenora on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:57:34 PM EST
    Like Webb, she replaced a very conservative Republican. She's as liberal as we're likely to get in my district. But that didn't matter to them; they attacked her for many of her votes, while rationalizing the same votes from ppl like Webb.

    They rarely get the tingle up their leg for moderate women pols. They're held to a very different standard in the blogosphere.


    ps- my rep is to the left of Webb (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by sassysenora on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:01:07 PM EST
    but they demonized her while defending Webb and other male pols. sometimes it was the same ppl on the same day.

    He IS a marginal Dem (none / 0) (#85)
    by dianem on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:36:39 PM EST
    But he is the most Democratic Dem we will get in that area until we convince people in the South that the term "conservative values" is an oxymoron. Webb, and people like him, gave Democrats nominal control of Congress, but they do not give liberals control of anything because they tend to vote, at best, as moderates.

    Glad we agree, but my point is (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:39:48 PM EST
    about those alleged Dems who do not agree and, again, see him as a leader of a new dawn for the party -- see the support for him as a VP, which pushes a perception that he is at the center of the party and thus pushes it rightward.

    Webb as VP is just another compromise (5.00 / 3) (#126)
    by dianem on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:45:13 PM EST
    Democrats are starved for a win, and some will do anything to get it, including moving to the right. They lie to themselves that Webb, even if given a VP head start, will never be President, and that Obama will turn hard left when he gets into office. But even those who acknowledge the truth are willing to sacrifice their beliefs to get the right wing out of office. This is not really a bad thing, in a lot of ways, although it is sad.

    I've been arguing for some time that the only way we'll ever "win" is by doing what the right did - setting up a system to communicate the value of Progressive/liberal values to the public. They set up foundations, staffed them with effective and knowledgable conservative experts in every topic, and sent their contact information to news channels so that when they needed somebody to comment on pretty much anything they simply had to look in their rolodex. They coached their leaders in talking points that would communicate simply and effectively what they stood for in a way that people would find sympathetic ("death-tax", "family values"). These things didn't just happen - the right spend billions finding smart people and training them, hiring people in foundations to think up ideas to communicate, communicating (talk radio, cable news), buying facts when necessary (remember how much they paid to witnesses to Clinton's indiscretions?). They worked from the ground up to build a movement. We had reality on their side, but reality isn't very powerful when people are distorting things day after day.


    I wish I could give you (none / 0) (#142)
    by madamab on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:15:42 PM EST
    a 50 for that.

    It took Republicans DECADES to dominate the media. After Nixon's political demise, they knew they would never be elected again unless they did something radical. So, they decided to control the information that the public was receiving about their party. Ergo, the truth is "out there," but most people don't have access to it.

    If we the people don't get smarter about countering the corporate interests, then we will never have our voices represented in government again. We have to force the pols to pay attention to us.


    Bingo! Btw, where did the GOP (none / 0) (#164)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 05:46:52 PM EST
    also, according to some in academe, worked for find the smart people to train them, to do the studies and evolve the ideas, etc?  There is thinking that the GOP worked for decades to turn campus political science departments conservative, thus to teach generations more of conservatives.  Or maybe that so many poli sci departments are so ruled by conservatives is just a coincidence.  

    Now, I'm not a grassy knoller, and not saying that this is a conspiracy.  It's really just common sense based on how senior academics, charged with hiring, replace/clone themselves.  That happens throughout business and more, too.  But it could be pretty smart to coordinate what happens anyway, forming those foundations to award grants to certain young scholars and not others, and guess which ones would get tenure and become senior and do the hiring. . . .


    It's not a conspiracy (none / 0) (#173)
    by dianem on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:32:36 PM EST
    It was a well executed plan. A conspiracy is done secretly. They were quite open, if you knew what to look for. Nobody was looking. Democrats had controlled Congress for so long that they were complacent. Liberals were convinced that they were going to dominate politics at least until the baby boomers died off.

    I believe I have read something about the right wing and various college Economic and Law schools. They argued for a long time that colleges were too liberal, encouraging the hire of more conservatives at prestigious universities. It's not hard to gain influence at a university if you have money. They also built colleges - a lot of religious colleges. But the biggest innovation was the K Street Project. That enabled them to hire top quality people for rock bottom wages and get top quality conservative volunteers, because the people who worked cheap knew that once they had done their time they would be hired by large corporations for big bucks.


    Definitely a marginal Dem, (none / 0) (#103)
    by camellia on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:12:22 PM EST
    but at least better than the horrendous George Allen.  As you all know, Webb squeaked in by a whisker and probably wouldn't have made it except for George's macaca moment.  The Webb campaign was very quick to exploit that, for good reason, but I don't for one moment think that the Dem victory in this Senate seat means that Virginia is turning blue.  Webb comes from the mountains of southwestern Virginia and made a lot out of that fact, which helped him a lot also -- one of us, in the most conservative part of the state.

    I worked very hard for his campaign but only for lack of a better candidate.  He's OK, but he does seem to be becoming more of a smooth pol as he learns on the job.  I wrote to him urging him to vote against FISA and I got a letter back yesterday spelling out why he didn't do it.  Seemed kind of wimpy to me.  If I have time, I will copy some of it to this thread, fyi.


    Webb is very populist in (none / 0) (#106)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:16:20 PM EST
    his economic views....he has spoken about the return of the Nineteenth Century Robber-Barons.

    His views and some interesting analysis by Krugman have persuaded me that our market system has significant long term problems....

    He is very able to reach those in Appalachia...he wrote a book on it.  Heard him say that those in Appalachia often say, "Born white, out of sight."

    Needs perhaps to go to feminist boot camp.


    He's not a bad person (none / 0) (#129)
    by dianem on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:50:33 PM EST
    ...or even, imo, a bad politician. He is simply not the kind of liberal some would like to see in control of Congress. He represents a conservative state, and he votes accordingly. He ran as a moderate, not a liberal. I'm glad that he was able to win, just like I'll be glad if Charlie Brown wins my district. I'm not expecting Brown to be a liberal - he isn't - but he will be a much better leader than any right-winger (especially the carpetbagger who is running).

    I appreciate that (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:39:22 PM EST
    I want politicians elected from certain voting blocks to represent those voting blocks.

    Webb was elected by conservatives.  He should vote conservative.  

    If only we could get Republicans from liberal districts to do the same....


    Still worried (5.00 / 10) (#60)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:53:02 AM EST
    about it because that's what he's selling to Democrats...and Independents...and anyone who will tune in long enough to buy the brand.

    But what's it all for?

    If you are a Democrat, is Obama your transportation to good government and progressive politics?  Or...are you his transportation to ultimate power to.....

    ...to what?  To do what?  What are the issues he cares enough about to fight for...and are any of them in sync with traditional Democratic issues?  Are they?

    How do you know?  (And hope is not an answer to this question....hope is for when you buy a lottery ticket).

    I somewhat disagree with your conclusion (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by imhotep on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:56:53 AM EST
    He pushed to get ahead fast by courting special interests.  He began his campaign for national office as soon as he was elected to State office. His redrawing and  gerrymandering his State district was very telling of the kind of politician he is.  

    I found the part on redistricting (5.00 / 5) (#71)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:05:12 PM EST
    the fascinating part new to me, although I ought to have expected it.  I have found many examples of this as the reason for many successes in African American politics.  A marvelous irony, as who would know better how redistricting was used against them for so long.

    But yes, no matter who does it to whom, it is pols doing it for themselves, not for the people.  It would be a separate article, I suppose -- although I would have like a brief summary -- to see how well various constituencies in Obama's district were served, or not, by the redistricting.  I.e., who was served by it, other than himself, and who was dissed by the redistricting.

    It is so key to so much of politics. . . .


    You should worry (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:50:51 PM EST
    this is the junk that Tom DeLay pulled here in Texas to, a large degree, watered down the Dem Congressional Caucus here and gave more seats to the republicans after re-districting.

    I should know:  I testified before two state senate panels, protested from Dallas to Austin and lobbied lawmakers here in Texas TO DEATH!

    Anytime a Dem mimicks an R like this gives me great pause.  Redistricting sucks in any way to give ANY one group a bigger advantage.

    Since Obama and his ilk are so big on rules, why the hell can't they follow them to win the game the RIGHT way?

    Hoping for too much there.


    What rules. . . (none / 0) (#133)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:56:25 PM EST
    do you think Obama broke during the redistricting process?  Partisan redistricting is the norm in almost every state -- it's not against the rules.

    Obama seems to have been redistricted so as to make his constituency less likely to elect him, at least on racial lines.  It was his old district (created by Republicans) that was drawn to confine black voters to the smallest possible number of districts.


    In the context (none / 0) (#138)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:02:53 PM EST
    of the comment, it seemed that redistricting was done to favor him.  I will have to research that one.  I doubt seriously that ANY pol will draw lines against himself.  I don't buy that one bit.

    Redistricting, at least in the state of TX, is done after the census, every 10 years.  I don't know when IL does theirs.  I will also have to verify if BHO was in office that long to have been able to see a redistricting that he lead that did NOT favor him, as you stated.


    Oh, I don't think. . . (none / 0) (#140)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:09:18 PM EST
    he was endangering himself -- an incumbent is pretty safe, especially in Chicago.  And he didn't district himself into places that were necessarily hostile.

    Most states redistrict after the census, as does Illinois.  The 1990 redistricting was heavily gerrymandered by the Republicans.  The 2000 was done by the Democrats presumably to improve their situation.

    I'm still not sure what rules you believe Obama broke or what, in particular, he did wrong.  Partisan redistricting is a fact of life in politics, not one I particularly like, but accepted by both parties.  Are you suggested that Obama should have redistricted himself to favor Republicans?  I just don't follow.


    I think what Larry is saying (none / 0) (#143)
    by CST on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:16:31 PM EST
    (and correct me if I am wrong), is that the redistricting favored Dems in general by spreading the black vote to more districts, but it disfavored Obama because he came from a heavily black district that got watered down a bit.  So he drew lines that favored his party but didn't favor himself, although he probably wasn't really hurt too much by it either.

    Goes to show (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by lilburro on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:17:54 PM EST
    there's no political cost in ignoring the blogosphere.  Seems like their motto is "the blogosphere is not your friend."

    Well, friendship is (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:22:12 PM EST
    a two-way street, is it not?

    Unrequited love...different story.


    This is just my blogging opinion Jim (5.00 / 7) (#81)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:27:46 PM EST
    but once many people have become career military and spent a career lifetime having not much privacy legally, there is no way most of you are strong on privacy issues without some serious exposure to the REAL world and lots of listening/less orating.  The Jim's of this world are much weaker than any of them imagine themselves to be because they themselves have "made it" 20+ yrs without many legal protections available to them to maintain privacy and they made it without a horror story/destruction of personal life story.  Other people they served with got taken out and taken down but they managed to not be one of those because they are more special and more dedicated (a notion that the military loves to foster) :)  My husband is also such a person and as I posted previously he believes himself at times to be superhuman and not needing of legal privacy protections.  He understands the Constitution better than the rest of us while giving up his own Constitutional rights to defend it.  Sorry, and I do this with much love, but bawahahahahaha!  Jim needs to listen more and project less.  Never an easy thing to do for any ingrained military officer ;)

    Which I think explains Inouye's votes--the CinC is (none / 0) (#114)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:25:03 PM EST
    to be trusted and followed. Alas. At least Akaka broke and voted against the FISA abomination.

    And he was right, too (5.00 / 2) (#122)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:36:45 PM EST
    Whereas you are not.

    Wow, a politician is NOT my friend (5.00 / 2) (#136)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:58:37 PM EST
    THAT'S an eye-opener.  

    For the person who was speaking of the R's going so far right that guys like Webb are Dems, think about this:

    The R's may not handle our money wisely but they know how to win hearts and minds, to the tune of getting people to vote against their own interests.  That said, the idea that the USA is a center-right country gains traction when the Dems move right and center. A sinister GOP trick?  Who's to say?

    There are no more Paul Wellstones(I LOVED PW!) It's sad that we are at this point in politics that there are no REAL progressive leaders (although Feingold and Boxer come pretty close for me), that we are settling for the likes of Webb.

    There was an episode of the Golden Girls pre-Bill Clinton where the girls had a dog they were caring for.  Betty White tells them the dog is a hunting dog.  Sophia(Estelle Getty's character) tells the dog, "Go out and find us a DEMOCRAT that can WIN to run for president!"  The crowd roared in approval.

    That's what we need.  A REAL Democrat.  When there's one around, I'll vote for him or her.  I did in March.  For her, that is.

    Webb became a pol real fast. (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:24:39 PM EST
    I haven't heard a peep from him about the war since he was elected. Maybe he has said something, but I simply haven't heard it or read it anywhere. But - before he was elected... a different story.

    I also disagree with him about the negative aspect of anonymity with respect to people, like myself, who have an opportunity to express an opinion without identifying themselves.

    To me, there is no downside. I read what people have to say. I don't need to know who they are and where they live. I can evaluate the content.

    And - in this day and age, anonymity allows people to express opinions that they would not otherwise. The government, as we know, is looking over our shoulders and does not take kindly to any criticism. Retribution against people who express opinions that do not coincide with the current lines being given us by the folks in Washington is not exactly unknown. Valerie Plame - anyone?

    Lastly - I find Webb's statement about the irresponsibility of anonymous comments particularly amusing in light of the total disregard for facts in the statements from elected officials and their spokespeople.

    after thinking this through (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:58:07 PM EST
    Here's how I might sum up my thoughts on this:

    There's gotta be something in between cultism and throwing up your hands and saying "anything's better than ......"

    If there were an interview designed (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:37:00 AM EST
    to piss off BTD, it would look something like this one. Attack anonymity? Check. Call the DFHs too stupid to understand the FIA? Check. If he said "stay the course" and complemented Joe Lieberman, I would have been sure of it.

    This Exclusive Provision (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by BDB on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:40:13 AM EST
    will be used by the GOP against the Obama administration because they are not so stupid as to give the opposing party a complete pass on lawbreaking and spying on Americans.

    The Republicans, (none / 0) (#55)
    by madamab on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:49:20 AM EST
    should Obama become President, will have impeachment articles ready to go the second he takes the oath of office. Knowing them, they will use his own bad votes against him.

    It's how they roll.

    I wish our Dem Congresscritters had done that with Bush in 2007. They should have impeached him and Cheney and Condi and Rummy within the first 100 days of their installation. But then, the war would have ended, the economy would have improved, and they wouldn't have been able to blame everything on Bush this year.

    As BTD says, they are not our friends.


    Well, I don't expect "perfect" (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:00:32 PM EST
    from politics, the art of compromise.  But I do expect Dems to fight for nearly perfect, not to defend "far from perfect."  Go far enough from the Dem definition of perfect, and it's Republican.

    This is pretty similar to the e mail I received (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:01:54 PM EST
    from Sen. Feinstein.  

    Ding ding ding (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by cawaltz on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:44:13 PM EST
    The Democrats had the power to hold out for a perfect bill. They didn't. They caved. Pretty typical and the difference between the Democrats and GOP in a nutshell.

    I wonder what ol' Jim Webb (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by cawaltz on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:02:38 PM EST
    has to say about the fact that some of our forefathers and Founders used psuedonyms back when they were pushing for independance.

    It isn't surprising that now that he IS the government (ala Tom Delay) that he's less than happy that people who attack his positions can have anonymity and can't be accused of subversion outright.


    Heh. Nobody in power likes gadflies--and that's (none / 0) (#111)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:20:50 PM EST
    what the internet allows, all over the place.

    However, many strong bloggers blog under their own names, so I don't accept his arugment that he doesn't pay attention to blogs bcz of anonymity. That is an excuse for ignoring criticism.

    He's become a Villager. Maybe always was. Just the incompetence of the Iraq Invasion and war drove him to run for office.

    And he won bcz of the macaca moment--which the blogosphere paid attention to until the MCM had to also. Nice of him to be so gracious and grateful!

    We may have a dystunctional relationship here!


    For all the ranting and railing (none / 0) (#151)
    by cawaltz on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 03:18:40 PM EST
    I see a large portion of the blogosphere as just as much of an echo chamber as the traditional media. It was amazing how fast the primary went from issues to cult of personality and how many were insistent that they were basically all the same(which if time were taken to examine them was NOT the case). If I had a nickel for each time I was told not to worry my pretty little head about particulars I'd be a rich woman(or how the President doesn't REALLY get to drive the agenda on stuff like health care etc, etc..

    Total blather (none / 0) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:42:42 AM EST
    None of what he says is true or even relevant.

    Some of it is obviously true. . . (none / 0) (#52)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:45:25 AM EST
    what parts aren't?

    Hmm (none / 0) (#53)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:46:51 AM EST
    If none of it is true, that means "this bill is far from perfect" is untrue...

    It also means. . . (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:49:32 AM EST
    "Today, I voted for. . ." is not true.

    Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#157)
    by daring grace on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 03:56:43 PM EST
    for the Mr. Spock flashback.

    There IS that little matter (none / 0) (#69)
    by Pegasus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:04:01 PM EST
    of the veto pen.  A "perfect" bill couldn't have gotten through an override process.

    Then I guess (5.00 / 6) (#93)
    by pie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:50:26 PM EST
    it shouldn't have been brought to the floor.

    It happens again and again... (5.00 / 3) (#104)
    by OrangeFur on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:12:45 PM EST
    We can't get a perfect bill because Bush will veto it.

    Yet the GOP always gets a perfect bill, even though the Democrats control Congress.

    We cave in to their threats. They don't cave in to ours. No wonder the Democrats are always perceived as weak.


    Well (5.00 / 4) (#108)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:16:50 PM EST
    I would have been happy to pass a bill with all of the good stuff, and none of the bad stuff.  Let Bush veto it because he couldn't have his precious telecom immunity, or whatever.  And then when the Republicans try to demagogue the issue, we point out that we gave Bush all the tools that are necessary to catch terrorists, but he cared more about telecom immunity than accepting those tools.

    Democrats always lose these battles because they lack the political courage to actually take arguments like those to the street.  They're constantly terrified that the Republicans will win the war of words, so they never even try.


    Any predictions on what our Dems will do about (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:22:37 PM EST
    opening areas to oil drilling?

    I don't have a good feeling about that.


    No Bill was "less than perfect." (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:36:58 PM EST
    This one is bad. Marginally less bad than the last version the Senate passed, but quite bad.

    Agreed. (none / 0) (#132)
    by Pegasus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:52:42 PM EST
    I'm not in any way trying to justify the bill they passed; I would have preferred no bill at all.  I'm only pointing out that a "good" bill wasn't going to be possible.

    Webb slags off the blogosphere? (none / 0) (#3)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:44:08 AM EST
    I feel better about him already.

    I'm a little confused as (none / 0) (#4)
    by dk on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:46:54 AM EST
    to what you mean when you say that Webb doesn't explain his position on FISA here.  Seems to me like he does explain it.  He says he weighed privacy rights on one side, and classified intelligence (I assume on terrorists, etc.) on the other, and that the FISA capitulation bill, which he voted for, was an acceptable position for him to take.

    I really don't mean this as a snark.  Just not sure what you mean about him not explaining his position.

    He doesn't explain (none / 0) (#10)
    by pie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:51:10 AM EST
    why this version is better than FISA.

    I think a lot of people, (none / 0) (#41)
    by pie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:39:07 AM EST
    including Jeralyn and BTD, would disagree.

    If you think that is an explanation (none / 0) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:43:33 AM EST
    worthy of respect, then I submit you will accept anything on the subject.

    If you'd been reading posts here (none / 0) (#79)
    by pie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:23:44 PM EST
    before and after this was passed, you'd know exactly what the complaints were.

    Check the archives for FISA legislation.


    Former republican and military. (none / 0) (#8)
    by pie on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:49:37 AM EST

    Anyway, Webb hasn't always voted the way I wanted him to.  As others have pointed out, he's no liberal.  I'd like to hear his reason for the FISA vote though.  I'm sure it's a "good" one.

    In a representative Democracy. . . (none / 0) (#25)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:18:36 AM EST
    we elect people whom we trust to decide important matters of state.  At least, in theory.

    I've never been that big a fan of Webb's -- I hope Dems can do better than electing Reagan Republicans.  But on a matter like FISA I'd probably trust Webb more than most other Congress members to balance security and civil rights concerns.

    Still, BTD is right that Webb hasn't really said, even without possibly classified specifics, why he came to the decision he did.  If he says why, I can better make a decision on whether I trust him or not.

    Trust is a sliding scale (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by samanthasmom on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:25:51 AM EST
    It's not all or nothing. This election cycle we seem to be being asked to give complete trust to the candidate we support. Anything else is not enough. I trust Hillary more than I trust Obama, but I certainly still expect her to disappoint me at times. (I trust Ted Kennedy to vote the way I want him to 99% of the time, but I'm not sure I'd let him drive me home.)

    Until we sell the south... (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by dianem on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:43:55 AM EST
    ...on liberal ideals (whatever we call them), we aren't going to get them to elect progressives.

    I'm all for selling the South. (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:51:31 AM EST
    Let's put it on Craig's List.

    If Kathy were still around, you would (none / 0) (#73)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:08:05 PM EST
    be toast.

    We lost Kathy... (none / 0) (#80)
    by madamab on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:27:36 PM EST
    but we have flyerhawk and tben!



    Where IS Kathy? (none / 0) (#154)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 03:32:23 PM EST
    And why?

    Jeez...I'm never in the loop when it matters.

    Gotta stop taking a day or two off for 'real life' and other commitments.


    Maybe She A Paid Shill (none / 0) (#165)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 06:04:04 PM EST
    I would not be surprised. Hillary would have been smart to hire her as she was talented and relentless.

    Webb was electable in VA, which was why he was (none / 0) (#107)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:16:47 PM EST
    supported. He also made quite a few progressive statements, but mostly about economics. I always figured he would be very pro-military and pro-rules--just didn't think he'd like rules that were contrary to the Constitution.

    But, he did add to Dem numbers....

    And, what did our majority do with all that investigation power?


    Conyers had been doing yeoman work in the House, of course.


    Even Pols Get Miffed At Other Pols (none / 0) (#59)
    by bmc on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:51:48 AM EST
    Hill Democrats Miffed At Obama

    "They think they know what's right and everyone else is wrong on everything," groused one senior Senate Democratic aide. "They are kind of insufferable at this point."

    Among the grievances described by Democratic leadership insiders:

    • Until a mailing that went out in the past few days, Obama had done little fundraising for Democratic candidates since signing off on e-mailed fundraising appeals for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee immediately after securing the Democratic nomination.

    • Obama has sometimes appeared in members' districts with no advance notice to lawmakers, resulting in lost opportunities for those Democrats to score points by appearing alongside their party's presumptive presidential nominee.

    • The Obama campaign has not, until very recently, coordinated a daily message with congressional Democrats, leaving Democratic members in the lurch when they're asked to comment on the constant back and forth between Obama and John McCain -- as they were when Obama said earlier this month that he would "continue to refine" his Iraq policies after meeting with commanders on the ground there.

    • Coordination between the Obama campaign and the House and Senate leadership is so weak that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) -- who will chair the Democrats' convention in August -- didn't know of Obama's decision to move his final-night acceptance speech from the Pepsi Center to Invesco Field until the campaign announced it on a conference call with reporters.


    Greenwald sure doesn't think they're our friends (5.00 / 3) (#82)
    by Nettle on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:28:34 PM EST
    on FISA, for sure.  

    But I don't get why Daschle isn't on Glenn's CYA list, he was majority leader afterall, during much of this crap and surely was in the inner sanctum sucking up Cheney's breath.  Maybe Obama was voting to protect his campaign-daddy.  Oh, Wizard of Oz, they call Daschle.  Little guy behind the curtain, indeed.  

    btw, I'm hearing complaints of the Obama campaign taking over state parties, hiring away congressional campaign workers, etc., scooping up voter lists, not helping downticket.  What if Obama wins this year and loses in 2012.  Do they have to give back to the party what they've confiscated?  And, at least one member of the Rules Committee is really torqued off at the Obama parallel platform move on his website.  "We have rules" she told me.


    Any details, link on the platform thing? T/U (none / 0) (#105)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:13:52 PM EST
    no, I can't give details of my discussion. yet. (none / 0) (#141)
    by Nettle on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:13:49 PM EST
    OpenLeft had a discussion about lack of support for downtickets and replacing state staffers a few days ago that rings true for discussions I've had with people on the ground and concerns I read about coming from NC.  I appreciate the call for links on the Obama draft platform move but I can't disclose the details of those discussions, with the rules committee woman, right now.  Corrente had a good discussion on Obama's "platform party" tactic. If someone were to query party committee people right now I'd bet you'd get an ear full.  Because I help state level candidates, tho, we have a pretty good view of how things are and aren't working - congressional candidates have their own battles with the Hildebrand machine.  

    Appreciate what you can link to. Will wait with (none / 0) (#155)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 03:45:36 PM EST
    bated breath. Well, will wait.

    Aah yes... (none / 0) (#75)
    by JimWash08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:14:42 PM EST
    Disorganization. Self Over Others. A sign of things to come.

    I've read that any U.S. Senator could (none / 0) (#74)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:10:54 PM EST
    be briefed on the inside security on which Senators such as Feinstein and Webb infer influenced their votes on FISA.  On condition the information is only disclosed under the security umbrella.  Is this correct?

    Ahhhhhhhhhh! (none / 0) (#84)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:35:22 PM EST
    Ahhhhhhhhhhh!  AHhhhhhhhhhhhh!



    We now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.


    Where, oh where, did I put my decoder ring? (none / 0) (#98)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:06:40 PM EST
    Maybe it's next to . . . (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:49:05 PM EST
    the dictionary?

    Sorry, just being snarky.  Mostly.

    Webb and Feinstein implied that secret information figured into their vote.  From that we may infer that there actually is information not known to us that is pertinent to the vote, or we may infer that they simply don't want to explain their vote.


    Ah. The grammar police. Must check the (none / 0) (#149)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:52:07 PM EST
    style book from college.

    Vocabulary police. . . (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 03:57:51 PM EST
    I think.

    Well...he's right, (none / 0) (#156)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 03:55:48 PM EST
    isn't he?

    Words have meanings.

    No reason we can't all learn to be better communicators...more exact, more clear...in saying what we mean, is there?  Even on a blog?

    I have a few pet peeves myself.

    Don't get me started on lend and loan or who and that....


    Oh course he is correct. But woe be he if (none / 0) (#167)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 06:35:31 PM EST
    he makes a mistake in the future!

    Well, there ya go! (none / 0) (#169)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 08:31:16 PM EST
    Don't get mad.  Get even!

    He's (none / 0) (#125)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:45:06 PM EST
    busting your chops on the proper use of infer vs imply.

    That's what Feingold was saying (none / 0) (#90)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 12:43:26 PM EST
    in his statement against FISA, I think -- see the part about what he learned sitting on the oversight committee, the part where he says that his colleagues can come to him to ask what he knows. . . .

    Interesting interview with host of NOW on WNYC's (none / 0) (#102)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:11:40 PM EST
    Leonard Lopate Show, final episode (audio available at link):

    John Siceloff and David Brancaccio of PBS's NOW, tell how unlikely activists have worked for change in their communities all across the U.S. Their new book is Your America: Democracy's Local Heroes.

    It's about individuals who have become passionately interested in something, some needed change, and their work to achieve it.

    The comment that grabbed me is Brancaccio saying that when people protest, they are asking Mr. Politician to please do something about this for me. The people featured on the PBS Now program and in the book took matters into their own hands, came to feel empowered, and went to pols and officials and said we've done this, you must do X and Y.

    I know: Sounds simple. But it was an interesting analysis. Protest is simply asking--the authors say they're featuring people who have demanded and told the pols what to do.

    Well, not sure how to do that on our issues, from Dem rule committee to BushCo's wars....

    Still, interesting. No transcripts, btw. About 20 minutes.

    Tactics may vary (none / 0) (#116)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:27:31 PM EST
    in achieving political change.

    I'm going to check up on this story.  I haven't personally seen much success with people 'telling' electeds what to do.

    I've had success personally in collecting the necessary data and information, educating and lobbying my legislator to sponsor a bill to change the statewide law and fight for it.

    I did.  She did.  We did.  Took three exhausting years and a lot of work behind the scenes when NOBODY thought it could be done.  They didn't know how mad I was...or how determined.


    Congrats--on your energy, commitment, perseverence (none / 0) (#121)
    by jawbone on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 01:35:35 PM EST
    and success. Not easy to do at all.

    Polls aren't our friends, but (none / 0) (#145)
    by samtaylor2 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:34:30 PM EST
    I think he is right that the legislations that is put forward is often too complicated to understand (especially for me and I am guessing other non lawyer types).  That being said, I will be my trust in the blogisphere (after I have read a thousand posts to take my own poll of where the wind blows) over a politician.  The problem and the great thing about the blogisphere is that it is anonymous which makes it harder to trust one's opinions, but easier for people to put out their opinion in mass.  I really wish there was a way to allow people to be anonymous, but have some sort of system that allowed people to see if you were a real person (sorta like Amazon's or Ebay's sytem) vs. a operative that simply a e-mail address.

    Wow! (none / 0) (#146)
    by Addison on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 02:35:28 PM EST
    Jim Webb actually gets the blogs. And seems to understand perfectly the destructive premature hardlining that goes on there (though some may disagree that it's acceptable or not given the issue).


    I guess, unlike McCain, he has used the internet.

    Webb explained everything (none / 0) (#152)
    by pluege on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 03:20:43 PM EST
    'FISA is complex and hard and he's looked at it and he is strong on privacy rights.'

    What more could an average citizen possibly need to know than that? Everyone should just go back to their shopping now.

    Webb's Voting Record (none / 0) (#153)
    by hapapp on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 03:26:16 PM EST
    In 2007 the ADA gave Webb a 85% rating on the 20 votes they use.  BTW, Clinton was given a 75% that year.  So, Webb isn't the conservative that many want to portray him as.

    What Webb's quote actually reveals (none / 0) (#159)
    by s5 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 04:02:41 PM EST
    What Jim Webb said about blogs is not only 100% true, but is identical to what bloggers say about blogs. Bloggers can be irresponsible, but the self-correcting nature of the internet (through comments and the ease at which anyone else can create a blog) is the check against that. This point has been made about internet media since the 90s, and it's actually heartening to hear it come from a Senator.

    Usually you would expect a politician to stop at "blogs are bad because bloggers are irresponsible" without continuing on to the second part, and it shows his understanding of the self-correcting nature of the internet.

    Your takeaway is "politicians don't like you, blogger", but I think the more interesting point here is that "some politicians actually understand the internet".

    As for the FISA stuff, I've got nothing.

    The problem is us, not the POLS (none / 0) (#168)
    by fctchekr on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 06:55:30 PM EST
    Don't you just love these Morse code responses from POL insiders who know what the rest of us can only imagine, and they like it that way. One could compare the polticial hierarchal system to the church. Don't blame either establishement; blame the ones who follow. Blogging though, is religious/POL freedom.

    His entire point is empty (none / 0) (#172)
    by Dadler on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:50:55 PM EST
    An opinion requires no name attached to be judged either worthy or not.  This is a guy making up excuses, rationalizing, complaining, essentially, that pols now have to expect even more criticism and heat WHEN THEY DESERVE IT.

    He's afraid to havet he spotlight on him on certain issues.  Issues, not surprisingly, where he can't logically argue his position, and with FISA his position is fear trumps rights, period.
    He's afraid, so afraid he's willing to compromise the fourth amendment.  Why can't he just say he's scared?  Not manly enough.

    What a crock of horsesh*t.