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The Tuesday WTF: Condi Edition

I'm going to sue the Dems and the rest of the left for whiplash. Let's see - just yesterday they were screaming that Condi should testify, and screaming loud. Now that the White House has agreed to let her testify, this is what I've found on left blogs and Dem sites: * It really doesn't matter if she testifies or not * She's just going to lie, so why bother * The White House is flip flopping * This is all some kind of Vast Right Wing Conspiracy * Who cares? * It was a plan by Bush to begin with to have it turn out this way * This means the CNN poll was a big lie WTF people? You want her to testify, then when she does you find something else to complain about. My head is going to explode. I need to read some comics. Update: Well, who knew? It was all about a book deal.


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» Memo from MiniTruth from The Politburo Diktat
Dear Commissar, Party Leaders, and Politburo, Who thought of this? Who had khorosho idea to put Dr. Evil Rice in front of Congress, on national television? Here at MiniTruth, we do good job serving Party line. We can spin almost anything. Are Bush poll... [Read More]

» What's Next? from Wizbang
So National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is going to testify under oath to the 9/11 commision... The moonbats on the left should just start calling for a perjury prosecution against Rice now. That's the only reason they want her testimony.... [Read More]


It may have been planned from the beginning. Bush and Rove seem to favor giving their opponents plenty of rope to hang themselves with before springing into action.

Anyway, I hope this is part of a plan and not just a capitulation.

I admire both Condi Rice and Richard Clarke - guess that makes me a man without a home, so to speak.

I see them both as sincere, competent people who differ in their interpretation of this issue largely as a result of the different perspectives from which they view(ed) it.

Having political parties is stupid. People like you and some people on the left just make it into one big pissing contest. People should run on the issues, not their party. We shouldn't have parties. The founding fathers agree.

Parties are unavoidable in politics. If you did away with the existing parties, people with common agendas or common opponents would still form coalitions to advance those agendas or resist those opponents. Soon enough those coalitions would have labels, and you'd be right back where you started.

We shouldn't have parties. The founding fathers agree.

Ummm, actually there's nothing further from the truth than that statement. Go and read the Constitution. Particularly the 12th Amendment regarding the Electoral College. Political parties have been inbred into the system. You can't have the Electoral College without electors being chosen by their parties---whether that be the Democrats, the Republicans, the Libertarians---whomever. There has to be a party attached to a candidate---it's just the way it works.

The problem with the founding fathers is that they didn't think that having more than two political parties was beneficial to the country. More than two parties and you have the potential for the democratic process to be something like the one in Israel---where there are so many parties that just to get a mandate to rule, you have to hook up with parties that may not have the same interests as yours just to get something done. It creates gridlock and ultimately creates a good deal of turnover. Our system, obviously, is not parliamentary, but that was the system the founding fathers based our republic upon.

If you want to break through the hegemony of the two party system, we need to rid ourselves of the Electoral College. After all, why do we need it anymore? We have the technology to award the presidency based upon the popular vote nowadays. It's a simple solution. And one no politician in Washington will touch with a ten foot pole, despite the cries they uttered in 2000 after the Florida crisis. Abolishing the Electoral College would disenfranchise the two party system---and they're obviously not going to do that.

But I digress...

Kathy -

The electoral college has nothing to do with technology or the lack of it. The electoral colleged exists to keep states like California from overwhelming states like Montana. People nowadays seem to regard the whole country as one big monolithic entity, but the founders were rather concerned with making sure that each state had a certain amount of pull, even if it wasn't a huge center of population. Hence the electoral college and the Senate.

Regardless of the merits of a two party system I can't see Rice testifying as anything but good for us all. I may be naive, but I remain convinced that both parties and their respective advisors have this nations best interests at heart and are truly hard working public servants. If getting at the truth is really the purpose of these hearings it's vital to hear both sides. Clarke and Rice have fundamentally different opinions about a milestone in this countries history -- I want to know who's telling the truth.

Liberal old me thinks the White House is aware of this and made this decision for all the right reasons. However, it seems foolish to deny the political realties involved; when consesus is divided in ones own party with an ugly, divisive floor battle looming, it would be sheer idiocy to perpetuate any impression of being less than forthcoming.

I agree with that completely, Farmer Joe, but the Electoral College is also where the party apparatus is also legitimized. Electors are chosen by political parties---that's where the deal goes down. The way the Electoral College is structured ensures that the most efficient way of governance is with two parties---everything else just splits the Electoral College.

When the Electoral College serves no other purpose than to legitimize the winner of the popular vote---why on Earth do we need it anymore? Think about it for a minute. Why do states like New York and California have more electoral votes than Nebraska? Population. In this day and age, when we can get actual vote counts rather quickly, why do we need the electoral college? It doesn't do anything other than legitimize the president-elect---something the popular vote has already achieved. It gives states with more population a bigger say in who is elected president, yes, I completely agree with that----but that has already happened with the popular vote. If more people vote in, for example, Florida, if we're talking about a strict popular vote system, wouldn't their needs already be taken care of by pooling those votes with all the other votes for that particular candidate from across the country?

There's no need for the Electoral College other than to protect the party system. Yes, this means we would have had Al Gore as President in 2000, which is not something that I would have wanted. But it would have meant that at least my vote did count. I live in one of those "blue states." My vote was automatically negated by the way the Electoral College works. Did fighting for the Electoral College votes give Bush more or less legitimacy when he took office? The only conceivable purpose for the Electoral College to still be in existence is that it legitimizes the politcial party apparatus in this country---the two party political apparatus.

Anyway, that's just what I think:)


The reason the electoral college still is useful is that it forces candidates to spend time in smaller states as well as the huge population centers on the west coast and northeast. Without the EC, a few states would determine who was president and who wasn't. Remember, in the US the largest 10 states maker up a huge percentage of the population (if I remember correctly, 40+%). Why on Earth would a candidate even bother spending his limited finances to woo voters in flyover country when he could bombard New York, California, Texas and Florida, and then just pick up a few states here and there to round things out.

It might not be an INTENDED consequence, but something else the Electoral College does is insulate the election from widespread fraud. A purely popular election could be susceptible to big-city political machines (For example, Philadelphia cast more votes in the 2000 Presidential election than the city had eligible voters.) In a close election stuff like this could be the deciding factor, but thanks to the electoral system, all it can do is impact one state. Plus, you could argue the Electoral College might encourage people to vote in smaller states - Bush's margin of victory were the Electoral votes of Alaska and Montana, two states where the votes would be meaningless in a popular system.

Kathy: Well, for one thing, the US is made up of states, and is not a blob of undifferentiated land. If, as Otto suggests, we do not wish to have the President chosen directly and solely by California, Florida, and New York, it is absolutely necessary that the other states have something to "offer". (This is echoed by what Mr. Barrett said, as well.)

And, furthermore, I don't see that more parties is a good idea in any way. A system like that of most of Europe gives too much power and influence to minor, extreme, "fringe" parties and their ideas; a two-party system has a contrary effect, forcing both toward the center of the idea/ideology bell-curve (if you will, and if we assume, as seems to match the way things are, that there's a normal distribution of ideas and political beliefs at the national level) in order to get the required support.

Moderation, as a structural part of the very political system, is a great good.

Kathy, I mean this in the nicest way possible, but you're almost totally wrong. Although they didn't forbid parties, they did find them distasteful. For a taste, read Federalist Paper #1 ("...nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties.") Federalist Paper #10 is entirely parties and the concerns of "violence of faction" at length. They were concerned about "factions" and that people would be loyal to factions instead of the country. George Washington's Farewell Address is a must-read. "Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally."

You say "The problem with the founding fathers is that they didn't think that having more than two political parties was beneficial to the country." This is wrong, and is rebutted in the Federalist Paper #10, which describes increased variety of parties as an advantage.

And on the Electoral College, there is nothing in the Constitution that says anything about parties choosing electors. The states choose the electors. How and when the states decided to give all their electors to the winning party I do not know, but it is not called for in the Constitution. (The only choosing of electors the party does is choose their own people that'll vote for their candidate, so that when the state decides which electors to send, they'll have a list.)

And one more thing, although we can see in hindsight that the American system would lead to a two-party system, the Founding Fathers would not have known that, and it appears they did not realize it. They were building the first goverment of its kind.

One thing we can do to foster the growth of independents and third parties is to allow primary votes picked up in multiple primaries to count.

Example: Mr. Middle is running. He's center. The dems are too left, crazy left. The right is crazy-right. Where's the center to go? So he runs, and gets 40% of the repub vote in their primary (losing to the repub winner who had 55) and 42% of the dem vote (losing to the dem guy who had 55%).

Now he lost both primaries, but he picked up more total votes than either of the other two. I don't know any more specifics about it but I know right now candidates aren't allowed to pool their vote from two party primaries.

Oh well.

RAWB, how would your idea work, exactly? First off, your hypothetical centrist candidate is running for two parties' nominations at once: can he do that? (I think he could in NY, but not most states.) If so, should he be able to? Moreover, now he has more overall votes in two separate elections, so what happens? He becomes BOTH parties' nominee even though the majority of voters in each primary rejected him? And then what? The general election either becomes a coronation, or one and/or the other of his previous opponents run against him again as independent, which seems unnecesarily redundant.

Moreover, there would be potential First Amendment problems with "pooling" of primary votes. The political parties are not agencies of government, but groups of private individuals who have the right to freely associate...or disassociate, and to choose their candidates as a form of expressing their corporate/collective political opinion.

Not to interrupt this very interesting discussion, but to get back to Michele's original point:


It ain't the Dems causing the whiplash here.

Dave I know this sounds terribly ignorant of me, but i was regurgitating something I had only heard of ;) The guy who explained it to me seemed to know a lot about it though =D

Today Tom Dashle made a speech on the Senate floor about what this administration is doing and why its bad for democracy. Whether you agree with it or not, I think its worth a read (It's only a page or two).


One interesting thing he points out, and I hope you all at least acknowledge this, is that if the white house comes out with 2 Clarke contradictions between the two testimonies (for example), but do not declassify the entire testimonies, I am not certain we can completely trust it. Feel free to disagree, but I think this is important.

America as a whole is losing the depth of discourse. The Kerry 'i voted for it before I voted against it', as silly as it sounds, actually makes sense. He voted for it in committee, the bill changed, and he didn't approve of the final version. This is just one example of how things can be taken out of context, and I hope that Clarke's testimony is not.

There was one example where fox news attributed a Clarke response to a question, neglecting to realize there were in fact 4 questions between the supposed 'question' and Clarke's supposed 'answer'. Not to mention, the questions were asked by different people.

I just hope we'd all read through the primary documents.

I went out had a life for a while. Sorry it's taken me so long to reply. (Everyone's probably moved on from this post anyway) To save space and take the digression from topic elsewhere, I posted replies over at my blog.

Go here.

You asked for it: Here's a lefty blog that doesn't complain about Condi testifying.

I'm with Thlayi on this one. On Sunday's 60 Minutes Dr. Rice claimed she couldn't testify due to "important, longstanding principles." The fact that she held on to those principles for almost 48 is something of a record in this White House.

Seriously, tho'---I wish you wouldn't put words in the Left's mouths just to have a straw man to knock about (he said, mixing his metaphores). I'm glad that Dr. Rice will finally go on the record and I hope she is candid, forthcoming, and honest.

I have always found it delightful that the left is now in the position of having to fling shit at a black woman. Although I suppose her party affiliation makes her an honorary white male.

And this gem from NR:
Not only will Rice make short work of Clarke, she will emerge from the hearing with conservatives flinging themselves at her feet, begging her to run for president in 2008. And it would serve liberals right if she did decide to run, for Rice would be their worst nightmare. She would win the women's vote outright, peel away half the black vote, and set back the Democratic party for a generation.
Be careful what you wish for. I'm lookin' forward to this.--scott