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I Should Have Kept The Receipt

I started to write this post at least ten times over the past week. Something was always holding me back - either an unwillingness to share these thoughts or the worry over what would happen when I did. Ultimately, I remembered that the most important reader of this blog is me. Amid all the posts about movies and music and the weather, there are personal stories that read like diary entries because, in a way, they are. I write to purge, sometimes. Which is what I finally do today.

My impetus to finally spit it out was this.

Thatís right, personal responsibility. I still believe in that and Iíll be holding myself as well as all my republican friends responsible for getting that guy elected. At the same time, in my defense, I still donít think Kerry was a viable alternative. Not because heís a dem. (I voted for Clinton and would have done it again if I could have) but because I just donít like the guy.

Similar words have been spoken/written by me several times in the past couple of weeks to close friends. Some have reacted with dropped jaws, some have just nods sympathetically.

I've also left similar sentiments in comments on various blogs and, for the most part, they were met with a flurry of clenched fists and righteous indignation, with calls for me to go out and start protesting (or something like that) to prove my regret.

Well...no. It's not like that. First of all, I am not sitting here admitting to the world (ok, just the minuscule part of the world who reads this) that I regret my vote so I can, oh, get a pat on the head or a clap on the back or a wide-armed welcome back to the fold. I'm not going back to any fold and I don't seek anyone's approval.

So what is it that's causing my "buyer's remorse" as it's been called? It's a combination of things, and most of it stems from the fact that I was a one issue voter in 2004. And now, the issues I ignored in order to give my support to the war on terror are coming back to haunt me.

Social Security. Bankruptcy. The insistence of the far right that they have some kind of religious mandate now and we need to revert back to our Christian roots and morals. And yes, Iraq. I know all about the good things in Iraq. I know about the schools and the hospitals and elections. And I love that. I love the slow spread of democracy. I love the trickle down effect of taking Saddam out of power. But more and more, I'm thinking, at what price? Every time another soldier dies, another bomb goes off, another hopeful Iraqi policeman is murdered, another hostage is taken and another day looms on the horizon with no end in sight, I think at what price?

I'm not about to go stand on some street corner and protest the war. It's not like that. But my all-out support has certainly waned. I see no clear exit strategy. I just see more of our men and women dying. I just see more innocent Iraqis dying. Every day, first thing in the morning, I bring up my Command Post editing page and look through the morning news. And the stories are always the same. Car bomb. Roadside bomb. Death. Dead. Soldier killed. There used to be much more good news interspersed with those reports. But my hope for seeing this work has dissipated.

I know some of you are ready right now to send me links, to lecture me on why Iraq will turn out ok, why the spread of democracy will come about, why Syria and Iran and North Korea will all fall eventually. That would be great if it was my only gripe with this administration. But it's not.

And it's my own damn fault. What did I think would happen down the road as a one issue voter? I didn't think far enough ahead, I guess, to see how those other issues - with me as gay rights supporting, fiscally conservative atheist - would affect me later on. That once the smoke from the war on terror cleared, so to speak, I would have to deal with the fact that I voted in an administration that stands for a lot of things I'm against.

Not that I would have voted for Kerry. Just because I'm experiencing this regret doesn't mean I'm going to go running back to the left. I abandoned them with good reason. So I'm back where I was right around September 11, 2001. Standing firmly in the middle, getting a little flogging from both sides. I spent years on the left side of the line and discovered I didn't like it there. And now I spent a few years on the right side of the line and, frankly, I hate it here. I thought the "big tent" of the Republican party would be home. Turns out it was just a temporary shelter, given to me by the party who knew damn well that I was only as good as my support for the war on terror.

There are others out there like me. I talk to them at work. I talk to them in the parking lot of schools, waiting for our kids. I talk to them in email or instant message, people from across the country who feel that twinge of regret. What we all have in common is this: we feel used. We feel taken advantage of. We feel manipulated.

This is where some people are going to expect an apology. Donít hold your breath. Thatís not what this is about. When I made my vote, I did so with the best interest of my family in mind. I honestly believed I was making the right choice. I wasnít the one who voted a certain way just because I hated the opponent. I believed in the war on terror. I believed in the war in Iraq. I believed that the other issues werenít as important. So Iím not looking for forgiveness for anything. And this doesnít mean that Iím going to suddenly sign up for the Democrat party and start carrying around No Blood For Oil placards. There are people who have seen this ďconfessionĒ from me already who assume this means I think George W. Bush is an evil person, that Iíve finally joined the BusHitler crowd. No. Hardly. I donít hate George Bush, much as I donít hate John Kerry. I just donít think that either of them is what America needs.

That opens up a lot of questions, most of which donít have ready answers. What does American need? Who is the right person for this country? How do we fix Social Security? Who will make our future fiscally sound? How do we stop the bleeding in Iraq and at the sam time, keep Iran and Syria at bay, without losing more and more of our good men and women in the armed forces? How can we learn to accept people who are different from us? How can we stop trying to legislate someone elseís idea of morality? How can we teach the people of this country to start taking responsibility for their own lives instead of expecting the government (or trial lawyers) to do their decision making for them? How can we make our education system better for our children?

I placed my wager and lost. Unfortunately, there was no real winning wager this time around. Is there a person out there who will make us all feel like winners? Or is that just a pipe dream? Will there every be a candidate who will please mostly everyone?

Iím not looking for absolution from Democrats and Iím not looking to be reviled by Republicans. Iím just voicing my opinion that I think things have gone steadily downhill since November. I find myself in more and more instances slinking away from the right. But I stop at dead center because thereís no place for me to go. Maybe I just donít know how to make a commitment. Maybe the fact that Iím a gay rights supporter who drives an SUV and is against gun control, who doesnít believe in God, who is an un-P.C. person that hates the NEA, who thinks faith based initiatives are wrong and the government should stay out of our bedrooms, who is no longer so gung ho about things in Iraq, means I should do some soul searching.

Or maybe it's not up to me where I go from here. What does your party or your candidate have to offer me? I'm up for grabs.

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Comments

Michelle, Firmly straddling the middle is not a bad thing. It helps us keep our eyes on the plusses and minuses of both sides

Why not just support ideas, and forget the parties? Your medium, your blog, why be a party shell for anyone? You can just support your ideas, and whatever you happen to write about, if it helps one party or another so be it.

I don't mean be an independent. I mean, to hell with all of that.

It's not the parties that matter (Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, blah blah), it's the ideas. Social security, capitalism, individual rights, religion, the war in Iraq and terrorism in general, Islamofascism, gun control, et al. - ideas drive all of it, not parties.

Frankly, fuck the parties. They can all go to hell, the majors are pathetic, bureacratic, tax dollar sucking machines. There is no great choice among the relevant parties, that's the reality. The two alternative parties, the LP and the Greens are horrendous as well, with the same fundamental flaws as the Dems & Rep., just pretending to wear slightly different masks.

Support what you believe in, let someone else waste time defining you by party if they care to.

I've got to get Boyo up and ready for bed but just wanted to say, you ain't alone here. The minute Colin Powel made for the door my brain went into, "Uh oh." overdrive. Hasn't turned off sense.

michele,
find a person who agrees with EVERYTHING a political party stands for, and I'll show you an idiot. You think YOU have regrets, you should hear the paleoconservatives . With the history of the world hanging in the balance in the middle east, they go on a rant and rave every time they see a Mexican taking orders at Burger King. Talk about one-issue voters!

Our representative republic is MESSY. It's DESIGNED that way. Here in TN, we have a Dem govenor. I would really like to mistrust him, so I could vote Republican in the next election, but this guy so far has been an ideal TN gov. SO next year, I pull the Dem lever for the first time in 20 years. It's all very messy.

As to the WOT, you're leaving the game in the 5th inning! Not only that, but the Yanks are winning! Sure, the Sox have gotten hit after hit, so it FEELS like the Yanks are going to lose, but the Sox have crossed home plate zero times. Have a seat, michele. Have some popcorn and watch the rest of the game. Yes, the Yanks COULD still lose, but they're winning 6-0 .

This is one of those rare times when we don't study history, we are immersed in it. It's exhilirating and it's scary. The ground is shifting underneath our feet. If you believe freedom in the ME will make us safer, you have to be heartened. Yes, Iraq is tough right now, but it's not as bad as you think. So, some bombs made the ground rumble yesterday. Well, Iraq's FREELY ELECTED assembly met yesterday - now THAT's earth shattering. IED's are nothing compared to that explosion.

Look at the rest of the ME. Things are happening that we wouldn't have DREAMED of 10 years ago. Syria, Iran, Jordan, Egypt - they're back on their heels. They're just trying to hold on. The momentum is with Freedom.

Take your eyes of the tree and look at the forest. Iraq is suffering a Good Friday, but the result will be an Easter for the ME and the rest of the world. And you helped make it happen.

I just got a look at the flogging being dished out to you by a couple of Rox's commenters and I feel kind of bad. Then again, I've also taken it from NTodd before, and we're supposedly on the same side. But I wish some people on the left side of the fence would see the difference between having partisan opinions and being totally partisan, through and through. If we can't find a common cause with somebody unless they agree with us 99.9999% of the time, then we have problems.

Welcome to adulthood. No one person or political party has all the answers.

Unfortunately, it looks like the only place you can turn at this point is to a third-party. The Greens don't support small government (to my knowledge), the Constitutionalists are more of a mandate-from-deity crowd, I don't know WHAT Natural Law stands for, and the Libertarians don't share your opinions on the war in Iraq.

Personally, I'm mostly a Libertarian, but I could also be pencilled in as a South Park Republican or a Dennis Miller Conservative. It just depends upon what issues are most important to you.

Last time around, I voted Libertarian. The only way I would've voted for Bush is if I was in a battleground state, because while -- as you said -- neither of them was really right for America, Kerry was more wrong.

I think something happens to our legislators when they get to the Hill. I think something up there changes them. Probably the need to make all those deals to succeed and get more power. Because, really, power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Just ask Hillary.

Slart wrote everything I was going to say.

I'm obviously a Democratic partisan, but my suggestion is to go to the local level and find a politician you like and believe in. Someone who deals with everyday issues, not big war and peace abstractions. Ask them why they belong to the party they belong to.

Rinse, repeat. You'll find your place.

Ok, did I fucking miss something? From the news I watch/read, things don't look much different today than they did pre-election. Was there a guaranteed magic potion that was to be dumped in the middle east water supply post-GW election? If so, I sure as hell missed the memo on that one. If not, then howinhell is it all of a sudden a bust, everything is going to hell in a handcart, and we're on the brink of Armageddon with no Bruce Willis in sight?

Matt Stoller has very wise words above for everyone.

How do we stop the bleeding in Iraq and at the same time, keep Iran and Syria at bay, without losing more and more of our good men and women in the armed forces?

You can't. Defeating the bad guys requires spilling of blood and treasure. Period.

Grown-ups recognize this; they don't abandon their principles at the first sign of trouble.

If I could hug you right now, I would. Great post, it's very much where I am right now, as well.

See, you're not the only one.

Add one more "you're not alone" to the chorus.

I wasn't able to get to the polls on Nov. 2. In the morning, the line was much too long and in the evening, I had plans (my loyalty to family trumps loyalty to country every time). Originally, I regretted not being able to cast a vote in this important election, but it seems as time goes by, I feel more and more better about not voting.

Politics is less about doing what is best for the future and more about sticking it to your ideological opponents in the here and now. In fact, it's so rampant with ideology that politics has become a new religion of sorts; a secular faith that addles the brain. One look at the likes of Kos or Powerline is proof enough.

We truly deserve the government we get.

Very infrequent commenter, but longtime reader just chiming in to say that I know pretty much where you're coming from. Glad to see you're examining your beliefs in such an honest way - that's where true growth comes from.

When I voted in November I was a many issue voter, and because of my commitment to gay rights/women's rights/separation of church and state/small government and spending conciousness I voted for John Kerry. I took a lot of flak for this from my family who went on and on about the War on Terror and how John Kerry would feed us to Al Quada on a silver platter. (Funny Image, no?) But for me I'd rather not live in a world where I have no right to control my own body, where my gay friends have to hide from the sunlight etc and so forth. But everyone has their own priorities, and if you felt that the War on Terror was the most important at the time then that is perfectly justified. Just like if JK had won and the horrible end that some people were predicting had happend, my choice would have been perfectly justified.

You have to weigh the issues that are important to you and make a choice, and if there is only one issue that is important to you, then so be it.

I've never agreed with everything the President has done ... and I've never known the conservative movement to be monolithic in its opinions. I don't "get" the idea that there is some huge religious mandate - where is this happening?? Social security is a train wreck we've been heading toward since ... it's inception.

____________________

Buyer's Remorse?

Good lord, that's a sign of taking politics somewhat seriously rather than as a stupid exercise in team sports fandom.

Based on your stated preferences, your only position would be to adopt one of 'Don't Blame Me, I Voted for that Libertarian Candidate that Nobody Remembers' or which ever third party candidate you endorsed or wrote-in.

At the moment I'm supporting Libertarian candidates at a local and state level.

I supported Bush with less of your enthusiasm in the run up to the election. I guess that explains why I'm having less 'regret' over his being elected.

Good lord --- the alternative is "President Kerry".

How much regret would you have then?

I'm here with you.

We don't agree on some issues (I'm anti-gun but I do believe in God - I just believe that religion should be out of politics). I'm not next to you, but I'm probably standing a few feet away along the same fence.

I wonder what I'd be saying if Kerry were elected (I voted for him). I'd probably be complaining about Political Correctness run amok about now.

What Slartibartfast said. I think the biggest danger is falling into (Andrew) Sullivanism, and concluding "Well, I was a single issue voter, but now I think guaranteeing that we have gay marriage is more important than guaranteeing the survival of Western civilization."

I'm also depressed by the evidence of just how powerful the voices of defeatism are wrt the war, that even people who know better eventually start believing them after enough repetition of the "quagmire" memes.

The religious right is going to end up destroying the Republican party by splitting it in two.

While I'm a Conservative, I hate all the religious crap they banter on about. I hate Bush's stance on immigration.

I'm pro-business, pro small government, nationalistic, un-PC, pro-abortion (yep, pro-abortion, not pro-choice, some people just shouldn't have kids), pro-death penalty, pro-euthenasia and pro legal immigrant.

So, I'm a mishmash of shit just like you, but I don't regret my vote for Bush, sometimes you have to bite the bullet to get the things you do want, done.

It seems clear that the 51% majority that elected Bush probably contains more people like you than the White House would care to imagine. Now that Americans are beginning to see exactly what it is they've unleashed, "buyer's remorse" is an apt description.

Though I make an effort not to get into partisan politics as much as I did previous to the election, I am still angry that so many Americans are so thoroughly undemanding of their leadership. Not that John Kerry was a great candidate; but he doesn't have the blood of young Americans on his hands.

Americans need to wake up and realize that they've been sold a bill of goods. The reality, though, is that most Americans frankly don't care. George W. Bush makes them feel good, which sure beats the hell out of thinking, eh?

I don't know. In some ways I feel like you, in that George W. Bush really represents many aspects of the Republicans that I dislike (gay marriage being one obvious issue), but I disagree with the premise that we're doing poorly in Iraq. Yes, people are dying. That's what happens in a war. They can die making the world a safer, freer place, or they can be murdered in another September 11-type attack, because we didn't start this war and the only way to end it is to win.

Jack,

Your last sentence is why the Democrats will continue to lose elections, if that attitude continues to prevail. How shallow of you to think that those who don't hold the same opinion you do are at the lowest rungs of the Maslow heirarchy and obviously aren't thinking.

In fact, many of us that did vote for Bush did evaluate both candidates with a great deal of thought, perhaps, based on your response, much more than you did.

BTW, I think the power of the "religious right" is almost always overestimated, in part because there are two groups with a vested interest in doing so:

1. The religious right itself, for obvious reasons.
2. The left, which loves to use the spectre of America turning into a theocratic dictatorship to scare people and raise lots of money.

And it's even more pronounced lately, because the MSM's flawed shorthand for explaining Kerry's failure is "It's all about those freaks in Jesusland and their 'values' talk." But the problem they keep running into is that, bottom line, very little of the "religious right agenda" has anything approaching the support of the majority of the country - or even a majority of the Republican party, I'd argue. (Though there are a lot of Republicans who like to pay lip service to the Religious Right agenda, but won't really do much to make it happen.)

My life in politics started as a Goldwater Republican and moved north from there; I now consider myself a Rational Anarchist. The Republican party has been captured by an anti-abortion pro-Christ minority, while the Democratic party has been captured by the socialist populists. Neither party has any real interest in anything other than being re-elected. They've reduced themselves to being two faces of the disfunctional state-as-abusive-parent party.

I held my nose and voted for Bush because of Kerry. If the Democrats had nominated Lieberman I would have happily voted for him over Bush.

Sekimori is also very wise. Personally I find this an odd time to be depressed about the ME, what with the non-stop "freedom boobs" on Instapundit, but I suppose it's possible.

And lemme add to what David C says: the religious right is very noisy, but they have very little actual power. This is why Pat Robertson's hanging out with the ANSWER geeks and claiming Jonah Goldberg and Mark Steyn are Mossad agents. I assure you it's possible to be a Christian Republican and still think the religious right are dorkwads.

Slartibartfast's post was excellent and I'm not sure I can add much more to that but here's my take. I've never agreed 100% with any political candidate or party. Hell, I've never agreed 100% with anybody including my husband and kids. I don't expect that kind of purity or idealogical alignment which may only be possible if one is a kool-aid drinker. A life-long liberal Democrat (but one with a strong independent streak), I've been increasingly disgusted by much of the Democratic party/liberal idealogy - identity politics, the cult of victimhood, extreme pc beliefs which they want to force on everyone, not to mention the rather large strain of anti-Americanism and anti-semitism which infects large numbers of the hard left. I've been voting for libertarian and independent candidates for local offices for a few years now as a protest, knowing full well that they'd never win. But given that most NYC elections are about as predictable as those in Saddam's Iraq, this has been my little protest. This year I voted for a Republican for president for the first time in my life. The war on terror was the clincher for me but I found common ground on other areas as well. NCLB is flawed, but Bush is the first person in at least a generation to look at the current state of public education and say this must change, and actually do something about it. I support social security reform even though it's not something I had given much thought to prior to the election. As for the social issues stuff, I'm an agnostic with a strong distaste for a lot of the religious right's agenda. But I just don't see that Bush is actually doing much for them. He's made it pretty clear that he's not going to be pushing the FMA and I think that personally he's just not that concerned about gay marriage. I think he's taken a similar approach to Roe v. Wade. I've never heard or read anything to indicate that he's going to personally work hard to overturn abortion rights, the way he's pursuing Soc. Sec. reform. The religious right may have more of a case for buyer's remorse than any other group. So Bush pandered to them during the election. Big deal. That's what all politicians do. It's sleazy but I expect it and it doesn't much bother me. So to conclude, even though I have a couple of very strong disagreements with Bush (on his disastrous immigration policies and his out-of-control spending)not only do I not have buyer's remorse, I'm thrilled with the way things are going. Every loss of life in Iraq is a tragedy for someone, but the results in the Middle East as a whole are beyond my wildest expectations. I'm amazed almost every week by new developments and feel privileged to be living in world-changing times. I like most of Bush's cabinet appointments - Condi is inspiring, as is John Bolton and the others seem highly qualified. I like the way Bush has been willing to shake up the status quo in many areas. So, I feel really good about my choice in November. I've thrown away my receipt. Will the Democrats ever get my vote again? Possibly but they've got some 'splainin to do (not to mention some changing to do). I'd like to see the Libertarian/South Park/Schwarzenegger/Guiliani wing of the Republican party become more dominant as I think that's where the future lies. It's going to be a real battle for the soul of the party but it's one I'm prepared to join.

Ya know it is actually possible to disagree with people who approach things from a Christian worldview without resorting to bigotry. The reaction of so many people towards evangelicals is amusing. We are made to fell like shit for having the gall to express a political opinion. We are dissed because, unlike every other interest group in America, people feel evangelicals should be excluded from using the political process for nacting change. In America of all places. Trying laying thet same rationale on african-Americans or gays, and realize how absurd it is.
It's not like it was some big secret that evangelicals had been keeping from everybody until after the election. You had to know all along that by voting with the GOP you were going to be standing alongside those who hold certain values.
Where are the great malevolent forces of evangelicals actually preventing anyone in America from doing anything? Abortion is still readily available, and you can order up a nice batch of porn from Comcast.

So, htom, if the two parties are both playing state-as-abusive-parent roles, which one's the Daddy and which is Mommy Dearest?

The ME seems to be getting better and bettter...

Someone needs to fix social security and the Democrats head-in-a-bucket-of-sand plan is even stupider than any plan Bush has.

Bush hasn't exactly been aggressivly fighting homosexuality. He paid lip service to the amendment but spent exactly no time trying to get it to pass. I don't think he is especially anti-gay.

I'm more afraid of Congress right now. While I like Bush, I'm not so fond of many of our Congresscritters.

Bolie IV

I wish you could experience the mood shift among Iraqis since the elections. It's wonderful. The news from the surrounding countries in the past week has been so good it's almost unbelievable.

I'm pretty much a Heinlein-Libertarian. I'm bitterly opposed to both major parties on so many substantial issues that I dont know where to start, but I am damned glad that the war issue won in november.

Michele, I'm here because you're a thoughtful and talented person who is not motivated by rigid ideology. I'm a nominal Democrat, but I'm no more enamored of my party right now than you are with the Republicans. I don't dislike Kerry personally, but he's too liberal and was a very bad candidate and I can't really fault anyone who didn't vote for him. Some of my closest friends voted for Bush, and I know for a certainty they didn't do it out of religious fervor.

I'm up for grabs as well. We seem to be caught in this web of winner-take-all politics where both parties would rather nominate a relatively extreme candidate who might squeak through with a win, rather than a moderate who would enjoy broad public support. I mean if John McCain or Colin Powell had been nominated by EITHER party against either Kerry or Bush, Kerry or Bush would have lost in an historic landslide.

If my choice had been a substantive, moderate Republican vs. John Kerry, I damn sure would have voted Republican in the last election. I don't know what the answer is to this partisan mess we're in, but I do know I'm sick of it.

It took courage for you to make a post like this, because partisan jerks on both sides of the fence were sure to come out of the woodwork. It's exactly the sort of thing those of us who respect and admire you have come to expect.

Well, you know I can only add a fervent "me too" to this.

I've been telling my Democrat brother for over a year now, "We're here--Bush voters who aren't social conservatives--and you could have had us for a song. We're on special, we're on markdown, we come cheap. But instead of wooing us, you sat around and complained that Kerry wasn't left enough. You put Howard Dean on the DNC. You defended people who said and did indefensible things, out of a much stronger sense of party loyalty than I've ever seen displayed on the right. You could have guaranteed your party would run this country for the next 16 years if you'd only moved to the middle, if you'd only been willing to concede that the noninterventionist policies America pursued in the decade leading up to 2001 did not work in her interests."

That's when he basically tells me "tough shit."

So I don't have a lot of hope that there's somewhere else I can go. I wind up thinking what Debra said:

I'd like to see the Libertarian/South Park/Schwarzenegger/Guiliani wing of the Republican party become more dominant as I think that's where the future lies. It's going to be a real battle for the soul of the party but it's one I'm prepared to join.

Unfortunately, that schism probably means 4, 8, 12, maybe more years of Republicans losing to Democrats as the votes get split. I'm disgusted by much of what I see on the right--but I'm thoroughly repulsed by much of what I see on the left. I'm screwed.

Not to pick a fight with another commenter now, but this:

It's not like it was some big secret that evangelicals had been keeping from everybody until after the election.

Actually, yes it was, if you believe Dawn Eden. In the NY Observer piece by George Gurley, she gives gushing assent to Gurley's question about whether parts of Bush's SOTU constituted a "coded message" to the Christian right. I'd link it if I could find it in their archives--I'd even pay the fee for it--but it apparently hasn't been filed there yet. It's not everyday the religious right admits so openly to lusting for power on earth instead of in heaven, so to me it's worth the article fee for that alone.

very little of the "religious right agenda" has anything approaching the support of the majority of the country - or even a majority of the Republican party, I'd argue.

Bingo. I had a friend who used to complain to me all the time about the GOP being in thrall to the Religious Right...until I had this conversation with him:

"The GOP controls the White House, yes?"
"Yes."
"And both houses of Congress, right?"
"Yes."
"And a majority of state houses and state legislatures, correct?"
"Yes."
"The Supreme Court and most lower courts tend to lean to the right, don't they?"
"Yes."
"So the Republicans pretty much control all three branches of government in a majority of our country, wouldn't you say?"
"Yes, they do."
"And the GOP is controlled by the Religious Right, isn't it?"
"Damn straight!"
"Then why is abortion still legal?"
"Er, ah, um..."
"I mean, if America were run by theocratic wackos, banning abortion would be Job One, wouldn't it?"
"Um...gotta go."

Priceless.

ilyka,

I really can't state it more plainly. where were you the first four years of Bush's term? The guy is a rock star to evangelicals. Didn't you stop to ask yourself why?
In spite of this, I submit the president has made a pretty conscious effort to not appear beholden to the interests of the so-called "religious right" Bush obviously has no taste for any divisive gay marriage fight. The overturning of Roe v Wade is not imminent. As for "coded messages" well I guess you caught us. I mean honestly, does it surprise you that an evangelical uses language that is familiar to other evengelicals.
I'd prefer it if people like you and Micheele would just come out and say they find evangelicals icky and stupid, and don;t want to compromise their place at the popular table by hanging out with the religous geeks. At least then I could see who the bigots really are.

I see them as the Mommycrats ("do what I want and I'll give you a treat") and the Daddycans ("if you don't do what I want I'll whomp you with my big stick.")

What this country needs is a government that relates to its citizens on an adult-to-adult basis, rather than dysfunctional parent to abused child.

"Rational Anarchist" is a reference to Robert Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, one of the characters (Professor De La Paz) claims to be such.

http://dwrighsr.tripod.com/heinlein/RatAnarch/

I'd prefer it if people like you and Micheele would just come out and say they find evangelicals icky and stupid, and don;t want to compromise their place at the popular table by hanging out with the religous geeks. At least then I could see who the bigots really are.

I don't find evangelicals icky or stupid. I do on occasion find some of them--not all--to be at best disingenuous and at worst deceitful. I've simply run into too many who, when the "rock star" is out of power, are welcoming and inclusive--only to turn on the nonevangelicals the moment the balance of power shifts.

You say you'd rather I were honest. (Incidentally, while I can't speak for Michele, I doubt that she's a "bigot" either.) Well, I'm being honest: A devout Christian who wants the rights promised him in our Constitution, the right to freely worship as he chooses, the right to vote for those who share his values, is always okay with me. The devout Christian who wants to restrict the rights of the unbelievers, on the other hand, is never okay with me. I admit it--I'm big on the strict separation of church and state. It's the only way a nation of evangelicals, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants, etc. can all enjoy the most freedom.

I'm sorry if you sense bigotry in that viewpoint. It isn't intended, I assure you.

Michele, I will be your knight in shiny armor. 100% tinfoil free armor, I might add. I worked up the solution to this conundrum shortly after the election. It fizzled due to lack of participation but I'm rearing to pick up the torch again.

I don't have buyer's remorse. The more people who tell me that because I'm a Christian Republican I must obey the decrees of Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, or Wildmon, the more I laugh. Believe it or not, there are Christian Republicans who would place those guys in the "idiotarian" league. I'm one of them.

That being said, on the other side I see people telling me that because I voted the way I did that I must be stupid, ignorant, evil, or all three. So tell me, after insulting me, why should I join them? I guess I'm supposed to be stupid enough to fall for playground name calling.

Every time another soldier dies, another bomb goes off, another hopeful Iraqi policeman is murdered, another hostage is taken and another day looms on the horizon with no end in sight, I think at what price?

I agree, but I think taken in perspective of the possibility of another 9/11 it's still "cheap." In one day we lost over 3000. Since then, we've lost another 1500+. But what we've gained in the meanwhile is immeasurable. The prospect of peace in the middle east, and the subsequent "peace" here was something I never thought we'd realize in my lifetime, if ever. Recent events are making me believe it's possible.

Counting lives in this fashion makes me sick to my soul. But, unfortunately you canít calculate a price without doing just that.

So if we pull out, people will stop dying on tv and go back to their mass graves in perfect obscurity. War's over, tell the CNN crew to close the American war crimes investigation (heh). Come on out of your cage saddam, we don't want anymore casualty reports read on our news, we don't care who you kill so long as we don't have to know about it.

That is an exit strategy.

I am not unhappy at all about the election, or even GWB.

But I would use this baseball metaphor: Kerry wouldn't take the bat off his shoulder (the Donks haven't had a new idea since the 60s). Bush swings for the fences, at just about every pitch (the grand visions reside with the GOP now, but it isn't vary good at limiting the fights it picks).

A lot of good comments, especially Slartibartfast's.

Don't worry too much about it, Michele. There are times I feel the same way, but I have to look at it realistically: there's NO candidate or party I agree with 100% of the time. Hell, I don't even agree with myself 100% of the time. I'd love to vote for a fiscally conservative, semi-libertarian hawk of a candidate, but as yet none have presented themselves, nor is one likely to. the closest I can get seems to be the neocon wing of the Republican party (and even that's really not close). But the Repubs have their fair share of lunatics too. That's just the way it goes.

The way I see it, the Republicans have their theocratic nutjobs on a leash for the moment. The Democrats have given in to full-blown delusional paranoia regarding the Bush Administration and the whack-jobs seem to be running the show. The Libertarians (the party who I'd LIKE to like) really dropped the ball with their recent obsession with drug legalization and isolationism. The Greens, well, they're just nuts. So what choice, in the end, is there?

Maybe I'll vote for the Reform Party. Or maybe I'll pound red hot nails into my eyeballs with a claw hammer. It'll pretty much have the same effect.

Confusing. Iraq was much worse off when you were on the Bush bandwagon.

Maybe the real reason for Buyers' remorse is because Bush is doing TOO well in the WOT? He has "successed" his way out of your support...ie, he's got the ME going so well, you see no need to support him anymore. Now that Bush has done the heavy lifting and freedom is on the march, the next guy's job will be easy, so you can vote again with your liberal social views?

Just a theory.

I was refraining from making any comments in this thread, but I have to chime in to say - Jason, that's just fucking retarded.

Ouch.

I'm just trying to understand the juxtaposition of

-supporting bush in the IRAQ war when it was going badly

-but now that it's looking better on all fronts (not looking perfect but better) changing your view

given, the obvious fact that you have disagreed with him on most domestic issues all along.

I strongly support Bush.

However, I'm not particularly socially conservative and I don't believe we're headed to some kind of Theocracy. That's just sensationalism promoted by the extreme left and gleefully supported by the MSM.

If the Dems had as much of a leash on their left-wing crazies as the Republicans have on their right-wing crazies (nods to Otto), the Dems would be much more relevant in today's political environment.

My big problems with the Dems:

- "Everyone's a victim and no one has to be responsible for themselves or their actions"

- "People are too irresponsible and the Government has to take care of them"

- "Peace at any cost. We can't take risks."

I have friends in Iraq, Afganistan, South Korea, and many other places who are fighting terrorists and others who would end our way of life. I also know those who have paid in blood to defend our country, and did so as a volunteer. We have the luxury to DECIDE if whether or not we are going to serve our country; DECIDE if we are going to vote; DECIDE what we want to do for a career; DECIDE what we are going to protest; etc. This is NOT the case for most people in the world.

I've been to many of the most forsaken places on this earth and I can tell you that most Americans have NO CLUE what a real struggle for life and liberty means.

Bush has the vision and the backbone to: 1) stand up for the millions who live in tyranny; 2) ruthlessly prosecute the war on terror; and 3)weather the storm from all of the rock throwers who want to carp about what they think he is doing wrong but have no responsibility for history.

Soon I will be headed back overseas on yet another tour in a god-forsaken place. I, for one, am thankful that Bush is my Commander-in-Chief. At least I and my family can rest easy that we will show resolve in the struggle; not cut-and-run when the going gets tough (as Clinton did in Somalia, for example...creating big problems for us).

Michele, rest easy. Your vote will help to define history for the better, whether you see it now or not.

What rights of unbelievers are being restricted and by whom? It's entertaining to watch normally rational people pat themselves silly for knocking down such a big strong stawman.

Peter Forsberg? Is that you?

Michele,

This may make you feel somewhat better wrt your single issue.

http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/004082.php

But I think South Park is correct -- it's always going to be a choice between a giant douche and a turd sandwich.

Jason,

Yes, someone has finally cracked my secret code! Good to see our hero back on the ice. Too bad it's not in a burgundy and white jersey.

For the election, I looked at Bush's record. The Bush administration was composed of liars and thieves. So I was ready to vote for any alternative. Even if the other guy was just as bad, at least he hadn't had his turn yet.

I didn't much like Kerry but I voted for him because he wasn't Bush. Bush won. Now we get to see him fulfill the potential he demonstrated the first term for lying and stealing.

It was a travesty that we were limited to two choices. A proven bad choice and a probable bad choice. Travesty.

We desperately need a better voting system. I recommend approval voting or IRV.

Here's how the latter works: You vote your first choice, then your second choice, and so on until you run out of candidates you're willing to approve. They cound all the first choices and if there isn't a winner, they throw out the candidate with the lowest number of votes and distribute his votes to those votes' second choices. Then if there still isn't a winner they throw out the last candidate and distribute his votes to the second and third choices. And so on.

So you never waste your vote by voting for your first choice. If you want to vote Libertarian or Green then go right ahead, your vote won't be wasted at all, when your candidate loses your vote counts toward your backup choice.

I think if we had a voting system like that we wouldn't have two major candidates each trying to be the second-worst choice. Or if we did, we'd get a third-party candidate pretty quick and we would have changed our minds about which party is the third party.

Two choices. Maybe two bad choices. You wouldn't run a free-enterprise system that way. Why would you let an election limit you so much?

I personally don't know anybody who voted for Kerry. We all voted against Bush. And a whole lot of Bush voters were voting against Kerry. And if you voted against both of them your vote was wasted. This is a stupid system.

Dang, I miss hockey.

This vast wasteland of sports after football ended is killing me.

I wonder if J. Thomas' idea would fly? I kind of like that one.

I think the real reason for pussing out is obvious. She's insanely jealous of all the freedom tits. :(

Heh

As for you, Foppa21, way to gloss over that "some--not all" specification I made.

I also like how now we're supposed to argue about what rights currently are restricted instead of what rights some evangelicals want restricted; there's a difference, and I was speaking of the latter. That these aims have not been achieved does not mean the aims don't exist.

As a purely hypothetical example of what I'm talking about, I take issue with the guy who says, "Oh, no, I don't want to take away anyone's freedom; I just think letting homosexual couples adopt children is bad for society. It's a policy issue." Yes--and it's a policy that restricts the rights of a segment of society to which the advocate of said policy does not himself belong. It's a policy that restricts the rights of others. Which--fine, but then cop to that. Be honest about what it is you're really after (I'm using "you're" hypothetically, if I haven't made that clear already).

Since when is adoption a "right"?

The problem here is that the definition of a "right" has been diluted to the point of silliness.

Today we hear of the "right to "healthcare", "right to drive", "right to a good paying job", etc. Uh, hello...NONE of those are rights. You have to earn those "privileges" by working, educating yourself, and/or demonstrating responsibility.

However, we all have the "right" to become whatever our abilities, talents, or desires will allow us to become WITHOUT infringing on the rights of others.

Unfortunately, we have been headed towards the Western European model of the Welfare State for so long that people don't understand the difference between a "right" and a "privilege".

Too bad Forsberg might be retiring early due to his latest concussion.

Ilyka,
We restrict the rights of all sorts of groups of people in all sorts of ways as a matter of policy. There are many reasons we do this. The bottom line, however is that these restrictions come about through the political process set in place by the framers.
You use the example of homosexual adoption, so I'll stick with that. Would you have a problem with someone oppossing same-sex adoption because they believed that children do better in a two parent non-same-sex environment? Or do you believe that everyone oppossing same-sex adoption is a homophobe?
Surely you can see that just becaue immigration reform is championed by a lot of racists, doesn't mean that reasonable non-racists cannot be in favor of immigration reform as well. And this is the crux of the matter, you seem to be hung up on the motives of the evangelicals rather than debating whether their ideas are the right direction for the country. Did the fact that 19th century abolitionists were trying to end slavery based on their evangelical worldview make their ultimate policy goals any less worthy?

Count me in as one of the puzzled people. From where I sit (in my bedroom in my apartment in Winter Park, Florida, in front of my computer) things seem to be improving in the ME, not going downhill. So people are still dying. So name me a war that didn't have a long mopping-up operation after the paper streamers from the official "war's over!" parties had been swept into the trash. Yes, even the "good" war, World War II, just seemed to drag along forever after VJ day.

My advice is to quit updating Command Post for a while. Unfortunately like all of us you still have to get most of your news from the "professional" news media, and you know they hardly ever bother reporting the good stuff, and when they do they feel compelled to tag on a "contrasting" article about something that sucks somewhere, so we don't get to feeling too happy and secure to buy newspapers any more. (No you didn't ask for advice; so don't take it.)

Oh, and -- yes, from what I heard the bankruptcy bill is a bad thing, so it turns out my personal finance plan of simply not paying for things was better than struggling along trying to keep up this "good credit" fantasy. Actually, I haven't believed in "good credit" ever since I found out that credit companies consider someone who saved and paid everything in full all their lives but who had never borrowed anything on credit was considered in the same league, credit-wise, as a multiple-bankruptcy deadbeat. Worse, in fact, because at least with the deadbeat they knew they could make money off of him. I worked for a mortgage company for fourteen years; it's made me cynical about all things financial.

As for Social Security, I think Bush has his heart in the right place (give the American people at least some control over some of their own goddamn money) but he seems to have more confidence in the American people than I do. (This is where my inner Democrat rises to the surface.) Most people will never save a dime; give them money and they'll spend it like Congress. Then they'll end up old, broke, and starving in some state-run old-folks warehouse, the very thing all this is trying to avoid. But this will hardly be Bush's fault; he can't daddy every one of us for our entire span.

"But this will hardly be Bush's fault; he can't daddy every one of us for our entire span."

Wow. Nicely said Andrea.

Granted, there are many who are too irresponsible to take charge of their own lives. Perhaps we shouldn't confine them to the fate that they would otherwise face in a "law of the jungle" environment. That's the liberal in me speaking. Also, as a civilized society we have an obligation to help those who are unable to care for themselves; the severly disabled (mental/physical), for example.

But this view doesn't mean that ever-increasing quantities of my hard-earned dollars should go to wasteful programs that take care of people who "choose" to be irresponsible for themselves. I work hard, damn it.

It's amazing what a bit of "tough love" will do in getting the able-bodied and able-minded to take responsibilty for themselves.

Since when is adoption a "right"?

It isn't if you require "rights" to be explicitly stated, a la the "there's no right to an abortion in the Constitution" argument.

It is most certainly a privilege, a privilege adult U.S. citizens have the right to pursue, if you take the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, as a document designed to ennumerate and limit the powers of the federal government to infringe on the inherent ("endowed by their Creator," to borrow from the Declaration of Independence) rights of its citizens.

You're upset that people no longer distinguish between right and privilege. I hear you on that. I'm upset, though, that people keep running to the law books, to the Supreme Court, to their history professors, searching for a list of their "rights." It was never intended that such a list should be made, since what the government giveth it can surely taketh away.

It has become a little like yield signs and the right-of-way: You only have the right-of-way insofar as you're able to yield it. Only here, it would be that gays have the right to build families via adoption only long enough to fight those who would take it from them.

Oh -- and I went and read Travis' "Personally Responsible for Bush" post, and despite all the chesty talk and carefully-laid-on "sure as hells" I can't understand what he's so cheesed off at Bush about. I mean, he linked to Bushlies.com. That's like saying "I read something in DU today" and not meaning to make fun of it. (Dems, change "DU" to "LewRockwell.com" or something if it makes you feel better.)

I don't agree with the term "buyer's remorse" because it implies that knowing what you know now, you'd have chosen differently in the first place.

Bush has made some questionable decisions, but he still has my support. I am cynical enough to know better than to expect perfection from anybody, especially a politican; to do so would be like giving them carte blanche to act without accountability. In the long run, the course of action that Bush has embarked upon will still be the most beneficial overall, in my opinion.

As far as the Religious Right is concerned, I think they are in the throes of their collective 15 minutes of fame and are getting the most out of the attention that they are getting. They are not representative of the majority of the Republican party's beliefs, no more than MoveOn.org is for the Dems (I hope...lol).

Personally, I think that many, many Americans are taking a 'wait-and-see' attitude while both of these factions duke it out. For me, the Religious Right is disturbing in that I believe faith is such a personal choice that I have a hard time with people who are excessively open and verbose about it...and I believe that the very notion of arguing about another's beliefs is the antithesis of what Christ taught - or tried to teach, anyway.

Ilyka...

"I'm upset, though, that people keep running to the law books, to the Supreme Court, to their history professors, searching for a list of their "rights.""

This is precisely why we have "representative" government. A representative government should reflect the will of the people it represents. Not the will of the courts. Not the will of history professors. Not the will of the minority. And certainly not the will of the media.

The will of the majority is the essence of any republic or democracy (we are a republic). If a law, policy, etc. is effected that violates the basic "inalienable rights" of an individual then it will ultimately fail; even if it was legislatively enacted (sans a constitutional amendment, which was purposely made difficult to accomplish...unlike most States which can amend their constitutions with a simple majority vote as a ballot referendum; the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, an important safeguard). In the end, the people we elect to represent us are accountable to us. If you happen to be in the minority, you have the right to exercise free speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association to work towards getting candidates that reflect your views elected into the majority.

However, we have checks-and-balances to protect "true", or "inalienable" rights. This is why the definition of a "right" is so important. For example:

- You have a "right" to vote if you are a US citizen.

- You have a "right" to procreate.

- You have a "right" to worship as you please.

However:

- You do NOT have a right to healthcare or a job.

- You do NOT have a right to drive.

- You do NOT have a right to classified government information or access to government facilities, even though you pay taxes.

The Bill of Rights and an independent judiciary were specifically established so that any governing majority would not have the ability to take away the rights of the minority while protecting the ability of any minority to BECOME the majority. This provides the balance. Ultimately, our system works better than most, even if you disagree with the result.

Oh...

Ilyka.

Gays can build families. I support that. I'm not particularly socially conservative by any stretch, even though I am a military officer (Marine)...often sterotyped to the contrary. If a gay (woman, for example) wants to have a child with her partner, she can get artificially inseminated. I've no doubt that a gay person can love and care for a child as much as I love my son. I largely support government support gay rights. Except where it infringes on freedom of association, i.e. Boyscouts. The gov't has no business telling private organizations with whom they must associate. However, I support State recognition of same sex marriage, if that is what that particular State elects to do.

The issue is the right of the elected members of any State to put restrictions on adoption. I support that. For example, there are many deserving heterosexual couples who cannot meet a particular State's requirements. Unlike a "right to vote", the State can take away the privilege of adoption.

Disclaimier: The only instance a State can take away the right to vote is for convicted felons, which has been upheld under constitutional law.

"Welcome to adulthood." What a freaking stupid comment.
How's this for a quote I found on a repub blog: "Conservatives love to make the world a better place. They just prefer to use daisycutters." And he is serious.

Ilyka.

BTW, I suck.

I read about your grandfather and I didn't give you the courtesy of condolences for you and your family.

My grandfather rocked (like yours). I agree, they just don't make men like that anymore (my GF was a company exec, town fire marshal, councilman, and built is own house...not to mention a host of civic duties with the Masons, church, etc.). If I live up to half the man my grandfather was I would consider myself a huge success. But I won't. Wow, I really suck (looks at scrapbook dutifully constructed by my wonderful grandmother).

Take care and best wishes.

~Harry

Ok, I'm late to this party and I'm skipping the comments right now because I want to speak to you, Michele.

We all look back in some sort of golden glory to WWII and don't realize the news of the time was horrible and the Americans were getting the sh*t kicked out of them on a regular basis by the Nazi's. Our tanks were NO match for their's.

At what cost in Iraq? Well, the road to freedom and democracy is bathed in blood because totalitarians of every stripe have a vested interest in terrorizing people out of their yearning for freedom. Better to stake out a few town virgins and keep the dragon sated than to risk it flaming the town? The only reason Israel has survived in the face of unremitting and bloody Judenhass from Arabs is because they realize the alternative to fighting for freedom. Do you think that Lebanonese would have taken to the streets to demand Syria OUT if the Iraq election hadn't taken place?

The bankruptcy thing does seem a slip, but can I ask, when it is a "right-wing" tenet that one should pay one's voluntarily acquired debts? I thought that was just what moral people of any political persuasion did.

Re Social Security. It's BROKE. And I'm tired of the Dems wringing their hands when what they are saying is that us, The People, are TOO STUPID to manage even a small part of our own money.

When you have radical atheists tearing down the cross on Mt. Soledad, removing the tiny cross from the seal of the county of Los Angeles and trying to block any matching funds from the government to repair earthquake damage to CA missions, and railing against the Easter Bunny, it ain't the Religious Right that has a fundie branch stuck up its ass.

Maybe when Dems and their judges stop acting like Iranian mullahs they MIGHT listen to the wisdom of Zell Miller.

I ain't holdin' my breath.

The only way out is technological supremacy, you have to be free from oil and free from putting your people in war. Look at what the Israeli are doing with their unmanned planes - this is the otaku in me speaking, but robot soldiers and renewable energy would solve a LOT of problems... the US just needs to put the effort and money into such projects.

Re voting systems: none of them, including the approval system mentioned, can guarantee the most approved person will always win in a race of 3 or more candidates. This was proven by one Keith Arrow. Tinkering with the system because your candidate didn't win is a really bad idea. Don't game the system - come up with a winning platform.

Michele, I agree with Andrea Harris, Sekimori, and Slartibartfast. Things are not getting worse. If anything, judging by the demonstrations in Middle East, they're getting better. I don't see an end in sight yet myself, but it's way too early to pronounce success, failure, or even quagmire.

Remember all the people who predicted the Arab street would rise up against the US? THEY WERE 100% WRONG! Ted Kennedy predicted the failure of the Iraq election only days before they succeeded! It's all gone far better than the worst critics predicted. Was Roxanne one of them? Do you think she said anything like the things that drove you away from the Dems? Think about that.

It's not over yet. In the long run, it's never over. There will always be dictators and people on the extreme right and left who will try to force their respective dystopias on us.

Social Security reform won't pass. Too many people are wary of it, and the majority of representatives know it.

If terrorism goes away magically, or if a Dem candidate can come up with a tough and credible position for security and against terrorism, he/she will win handily. But personally, I can't forget the outrageous negative things said about 9/11, Bush and the war by even the most mainstream Dems, and the Repubs will have to screw up really badly before I vote for a Dem.

Adil: you have an otaku inside you? They have pills for that now.

By the way, I typed that on a computer that is 100% oil-based product-taint free. Yep, it's made from hemp, and it was brought to my apartment by an elf riding a flying unicorn. No petroleum products whatsoever! Pinky swear.

"The only way out is technological supremacy"

"Robot soldiers and renewable energy would solve a LOT of problems"

Throughout history, such arguments have been the mantra of many failed civilizations. Unfortunately, the stark truth is that war will always be brutal, bloody, and personal...regardless of "technological supremacy". I know from experience.

Citing what the Israelis are doing with unmanned aircraft has nothing to do with the reality of bloody streets, terrorism, and the conflict on the ground.

In the end, a country's will and determination to win a struggle for survival decides who will prevail.

I can only hope that my country has the will to win so that the sacrifices of so many remain relevant. Otherwise, pray hard every day that your children remain safe as you put them on the bus to school, because prayer is all you will have between your children and those who wish to kill them.

Digger wrote, "The religious right is going to end up destroying the Republican party by splitting it in two....

"I'm pro-business, pro small government, nationalistic, un-PC, pro-abortion (yep, pro-abortion, not pro-choice, some people just shouldn't have kids), pro-death penalty, pro-euthenasia and pro legal immigrant."

Sounds like you're a Joe Lieberman kind of Democrat. Watch that party--! Depending on the way it goes, if the moderate-conservatives like yourself quit the GOP because of the influence of the Religious Right, you'll be able to join the Dems or create a third party in-between with the Joe Lieberman types, depending how much or how little influence we progressives gain over in the Dem. Party.

Posted by Digger on March 16, 2005 11:07 AM

"Sounds like you're a Joe Lieberman kind of Democrat."

Lieberman rocks. He would be an awesome President.

Did anyone else notice how all marines sound the same. It's amazing. Even in text, I could tell he was a Marine.

Do they train you guys to all speak the same... one voice. Yeah I suppose that's a good thing out in the hell you guys face, but man, it still is just amazing to me. Sorry, everyone I know is in the Army or Special Forces, gotta stick it to the Marines :)

No disrespect there Bassman but there's an aweful lot of guys over there that wouldn't be in nearly the world of shit that their in if things were planned a little better.

I know a guy that's been to Afghanistan twice and in and out of Iraq twice. Between him and his dad(both career military guys) I was amazed to hear just how f'd up things are over there. That's their discription not mine.

They both, in separate conversations, talked about how there was really not enough consideration made for all the shit that's been happening since the "end of major hostilities" in Iraq.

Now, I know that the "liberal media" has a tendancy to blow these things out of proportion, but given the first hand accounts from somebody that's been there and back, oh yeah and back again, it would seem that the current administration has failed to appropriately plan for what's currently happening over there.

You'd just think that they would have learned something more from their failings in the Millenium Challenge.

Wasn't VanRiper one of your guys?

Ratl:

I was an MC 02 Planner at U.S. Joint Forces Command (2000-2002). I also worked for "Tha Ripper" long before Millenium Challenge was a concept (i.e. when he was CG MCCDC, CG 2d MARDIV, and COS 3d MARDIV, go figure).

Without going into a lot of minutea, MC02 was an experiment, not an exercise. This alone was something that "Tha Ripper" couldn't understand; and honestly many other senior U.S. Military officers had a hard time understanding as well. Experiments have both successes AND failures. The real success is whether we learn from the results. It's clear that Van Riper couldn't understand the difference and the intervening years have proven this.

I don't argue that there are things we could have done differently at the strategic, operational, or tactical levels to ensure a "smoother" GWOT, but you must know that the reality of chaos on the battlefield provides the most "hind sight" fodder for the armchair generals.

Every war has it's share of armchair generals. The question is will we support those who are responsible for the lives of our men and women who are fighting for the comfort of the majority of Americans who have NO immediate personal stake (i.e. loved ones in the military) in the current conflict.

Remember, hordes of media et. al. questioned the fitness of many of our great generals at their moments in history (Patton, MacArthur, Smith, etc.). I'm not saying that we do everything perfectly; no one does and there will be mistakes and miscalculations. In the end, however, I want to be able to put my son on a bus to school with more than a prayer between him and those who want to see him dead.

Semper Fidelis,

~Harry

Well, I'm a pretty stanch conservative, but I sympathize with you. Sometimes, I'd love to vote for someone other than the two big candidates (example: the Arlen Specter v. Hoffel race - had I still lived in Pennsylvania, I would have had a hard time voting for Specter). Sometimes, I wish we had more of a parlimentary system - you have a choice between several parties, you vote for one that is closer to your political preference. Much more representative. Two parties tend to hold . . . two views. Either that, or one becomes the visionary party, and one the ractionary - which means that only one ideology is coming up with ideas, the other is just reacting to those ideas.

I don't regret my vote, but understand why you might. I also need to be less of a political junkie, or I'll end up in politics. Which either excites or scares me.

"You'd just think that they would have learned something more from their failings in the Millenium Challenge."

Oh, one more thing.

MC 02 revolved around "Effects Based" operations. The quick take-down of Iraq was a perfect execution of the concept. So was Afganistan; even the Ripper would have to concede this point. If you understood the MC 02 concept you would be able to easily make the connection.

MC 02 had nothing to do with Phase IV operations (occupation and reconstruction). Granted, there are many things we could have done better during Phase IV, but that doesn't negate the lessons of MC 02.

~H

"Re Social Security. It's BROKE."

Well, no. SS is not broke, not close to it. SS is in better financial shape than any other part of the federal government except the "special" SS for government employees or the even more special separate SS for IRS employees.

The only major problem with SS is that they invested their money in US government bonds, which traditionally were the safest investment possible and consequently got the lowest interest rate. Now we're saying the US is going to default on those bonds because the US government is in such bad shape.

SS could reduce its exposure to US default by selling its US bonds and buying bonds from the british government, and the german government, and from india, south korea, japan, etc -- from all the first-world nations (or almost-first-world nations) that have solid credit ratings and have solid economies and that would not default on their bonds. Problem solved -- for social security. But it would destroy the US government budget.

The problem is not social security. The problem is that the US government is not collecting nearly as much in taxes as it's spending. And that problem has come entirely since Bush was elected. (Reagan was the big deficit spender before Bush, and there were others, but we were doing fine before the Bush tax cuts.)

Social security is not broke. Social security has a lot of money. Bush wants that money. This is why he's going after social security and not Medicaid which is a big problem. Medicaid doesn't have money, Medicaid spends money.

"Social security is not broke. Social security has a lot of money. Bush wants that money."

Paul Krugman, is that really you? "He wants to turn us into Argentina, aaaarrgghhh!"

As someone once said, "The only way you'll find a candidate you agree with 100% is to run for office."

I didn't agree with Howard Dean--he was to the right of me, esp. on the death penalty, and other areas--but I liked the way he stood for something and said exactly what he thought. (He was miscast as a "liberal" by the media, btw.)

So I went to work on his campaign, met a lot of middle-of-the-road, hard working Americans. Just like me.

Somewhere along the way, I figured out what I stood for, too, and who I wanted to stand with.

Keep looking. There are candidates out there you can support.

Kind of in KathyF's line of thinking, I was wondering where I can send the campaign check out to and where to go to get my 'Catalano in 2008' bumpersticker.

The insistence of the far right that they have some kind of religious mandate now and we need to revert back to our Christian roots and morals.

???

I live in the depths of the Bible Belt and I just don't see this. Or maybe I'm sufficiently accustomed to the worst of the bombast and its perennial failure to go anywhere that you and I see the same things and react to it differently.

Calm down. There are far worse threats to this nation than a bunch of Bible-thumpers.

And the real issue threatening to tear apart the Republican coalition has nothing whatsoever to do with religion. It's immigration, people.

Great post, michelle.

Don't be up for grabs, Michelle. Stay independent. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being independent. It sounds like you know who you are quite well. Stick to it. If no party or ideology fits you, then so be it. Vote your conscience and hope for the best. In the end, that is what we all end up doing anyway.

I would add one thing - after the first term of Bush, I wasn't satisfied with Bush - I was NOT a fan of the Iraq war - became one as I saw good things happening (not a pacifist, but just not a fan of sending our military willy-nilly throughout the world). Still, though, I wouldn't have voted for Gore, and 2004, I found myself voting for Bush again. shrug I'm even an evangelical Christian - but I don't support Bush on everything.

I'd say to just remember that the president doesn't have all the power. Remember you vote for the legislative branch, too, and THEY are the ones who ultimately make the laws, not Bush, though he does of course have influence.

You also vote for state reps. And local reps.

So hey, vote half dem and half rep and let them fight it out. ;)

You can't. Defeating the bad guys requires spilling of blood and treasure. Period.

Grown-ups recognize this; they don't abandon their principles at the first sign of trouble.

And smarter grown-ups recognise situations where spilling blood and treasure only increases the number of bad guys.

Kill a dozen Iraqis, and three dozen take up arms against you. Kill all the Iraqis and every single Arab in the Middle East takes up arms against you. Kill every single Arab, and everyone in the entire world takes up arms against you.

Meanwhile your own civil liberties are being eroded, your country's standing has never been lower, and your chattering classes are having serious debates on whether shoving needles under the fingernails of prisoners counts as "torture".

Principles? What principles?

Not to mention other effects on the US.

Oh god, here's that fossil guy come back with nonsense again. Hey, I got this out without Bush's Brownshirt's finding ou

Fossil guy?

More like bad-spelling guy.

At the risk of belaboring the obvious: you're a dumb fuck, ASV. You backed a moron in the last election and now you're surprised to learn that he's a moron. You'll get no sympathy from me. That's what happens when you're a one-issue voter, and an ill-informed one at that.

You dumb fuck.

Oscar:

a) Good think I wasn't looking for sympathy from you, eh?
b) Stop it. You're turning me on.

spilling blood and treasure only increases the number of bad guys.

This gets bruted about by anti-war types a lot, but is it true? Doesn't it follow that if you kill more bad guys, there are fewer bad guys left?

Kill a dozen Iraqis, and three dozen take up arms against you. Kill all the Iraqis and every single Arab in the Middle East takes up arms against you. Kill every single Arab, and everyone in the entire world takes up arms against you.

What if we used this logic in 1940? "Kill a dozen Nazis, and three dozen non-Nazi German take arms against you!" Guess we should stood in bed when Hitler was raping Europe, eh?

Isn't it possible that killing bad guys is a good thing, that (at least some of) the other people living in the country would support the liberators, because they helped them get their country back? Or are we assuming that all Arabs are subhuman proto-terrorists just looking for an excuse?

"Hey! The Americans are arresting our country's dictator and his thugs! That does it! I'm going to go out and kill Americans!"

Meanwhile your own civil liberties are being eroded, your country's standing has never been lower...

"And so on, and so on, and scooby-dooby-doo..."

Sounds like you fell for the "war on terror" bit. Bush offered up a lot of different rationales for voting for him. Some rubes fell for the "them homos is gettin' married" bit.

Of course, with the election over, the first thing the republicans do is ram the bankruptcy bill through for their credit card buddies. And Bush has spent the last 2 months on nothing but Social Security.

The war on terror? What's that? Where's Osama? He murdered 3000 americans and he's probably in a cave somewhere getting a bj and drinking a beer and laughing at us. Meanwhile we're handing Iraq over to ayatollahs so we can declare victory and get out.

Suckers.

Michele,

I don't think you should apologize, or protest, or vote Democrat, or fall at the feet of the Far Left and offer atonement. Your problem is not with your choice of political alignment but with yourself. Your current state is indeed your "own damn fault".

I visited your blog periodically for over two years, and my problem during that time was not with your politics but the utter contemptuous surety with which you held your beliefs, regardless of facts or rebuttal. You snarked and sneered and brayed at anyone who doubted the existence of WMDs; you demanded with righteous exasperation that anyone criticizing Bush's war policy ought to "sit down and shut the fuck up"; you ranted that "the Left" was the greatest danger to our country next to terrorists, at least until you could no longer explain whether you meant "the Left" or "the Far Left" (never mind which was which in the first place); you once gleefully declared yourself "a cheerleader for death"; and at Election time you bragged about being a selfish, one-issue voter as if it were something honorable. It's not so much that you expressed these things, it's that your response to anyone challenging them was to sneer and snark even more, as if doing so was all the reasoned response necessary. I wonder what that Michele would think of the one today.

What I get from your entry above is that you haven't learned a single thing. It's the Republicans' fault for bringing you into their tent just to use you, and it's the Democrats' fault for not producing a suitable enough candidate. The woman who nodded approvingly at nearly every word of Bush's State of the Union address ("good enough for me, good enough for me") had all the facts at her fingertips and yet chose to feverishly stand behind what she FELT like believing in, seeking comfort in said beliefs by periodically trashing the deranged ravings of the DU and Ted Rall. That there were more rational people on the Left expressing reasoned and valid opinions didn't seem important to you at all. What mattered was that you were Right.

I respect the fact that you even made this post, and I respect the fact that you ceased political blogging altogether when you realized that something was wrong. But I think far more of the fault lies within yourself than you're willing to admit.

Right now, Bush is saying in his best Nelson Muntz voice, "Haaa-haaa."

The harm is done, and your opinion now makes no difference. Mine never did. But at least you can proudly say that you're not a Democrat,

JasonD, it isn't over. Bush is still president, and if we're going to get him impeached or even limit the theft it will take a strong bipartisan effort.

It doesn't make sense to blame Bush's victims for being victims. This is a mind-control technology. Otherwise-reasonable people found themselves ignoring the mamby-pamby mass media because it was "liberal", they utterly disrespected anybody who told unpleasant truths about Bush etc because he must be a Michael-Moore-type liberal, etc. Once "liberals" were the enemy it was considered perfectly OK to be as nasty to them as one liked. They were the Enemy. No outside data could get through.

Do you completely understand this technology? I don't. It may be too soon to decide that you aren't a victim of it yourself. Maybe you've been manipulated into treating half the victims as if they were raving neocons, without actually listening to them.

So here's Michelle waking up naked in the bushes, wondering what happened to her, and you're blaming her for what she did while she was rohypnoled. It's blaming the victim.

At this point liberal/conservative/whatever doesn't matter. Until we get the wolves out of the sheepfold nothing else is important. To do that in less than four years we need a bipartisan effort. Every republican who wakes up is potentially part of that coalition. You can't afford to blame them for what they did last year.

These thieves are good at splitting alliances. If you get bogged down in deciding whose fault it is, you could have the rest of your life to argue about it while you wear your transponder and radio-controlled shock collar. It looks to me like they want to steal as much as they can in four years on the assumption they won't have any longer than that. But I don't understand their secret weapon. It might be good enough to let them play for keepsies.

Re: "I placed my wager and I lost."
The sad thing is that you placed your wager after all the evidence was in and it takes a lot of effort to be that clueless. You have no right to complain.

If I was able to bet on yesterday's basketball game today, I would be very lucky. If I bet on the losing team after I knew the final score, I would be like you.

What did you think would happen if Kerry was elected? Do you think he would have appointed Bin laden Secretary of Defense?

Stop wringing your hands and learn from your mistakes or next time the Republicans will distract you again with bullshit or a shiny object or something else and you will do the same thing over again. Face it, you screwed up and we all have to live with the consequences.

Michele,

This is my first time at this blog so I can't really comment on your previous posts. But it seems that the nut jobs are out again, the ones that think we are all being manipulated by the sinister Bush Administration. Until this year, you only heard these rantings from the right-wing militia types in Idaho.

It's sort of like Marx. Everyone else was trapped in the thinking of the time, but Marx was able to rise above history and see the certainty. I guess when you are a visionary that's the way it goes, you have to put up with the less enlightened.

It's interesting too that the more partisan you are, the more that you apparently have to swear. There must be an unwritten law that to show your passion, you have to swear ("bullshit" and "fuck" especially show that you are thinking seriously about politics)and call opponents names.

Well MSW, thanks for the compliment but I don't think of myself as all that enlightened just reasonably well informed. I am truly sorry for the un-P.C. language but I didn't think the word bulldoodoo would have the same effect.

For folks in the middle, there were no good options in the last election. If you'd supported Kerry and he were elected, there might be reasons for remorse as well.

I have buyer's remorse over the Iraq War, having initially supported the invasion somewhat enthusiastically. When the WMD's didn't show up, I was astounded and embarassed before my friends who had opposed the war.

Even though there is some positive fallout for the war in terms of democratization, in hindsight I feel it was a mistake, and not worth the sacrifice of American lives. So what was my mistake? In not understanding President Bush's character, which I now see from reading The Price of Loyalty, the book written with the cooperation of Treasury Sec. Paul O'Neil, is to make decisions based on gut instinct and not on evidence.

You got what you voted for moron. Grow-up.

Since this was, for you, a one-issue election, terrorism, then all the discussion really should boil down to:

You assessed President Bush as being a better bet than Senator Kerry on keeping our country safe from terrorism.

Either you were correct or you were wrong in that assessment. The truth is that you will never know. The larger truth is that the country will never know.

If you can continue to assess the situation and say that if you had looked into the situation as closely as possible, you would still feel that way, then according to your own criterion, you made the correct decision. If you reassess and think that Senator Kerry would have been at least as good at keeping our country safe from terrorism, then you erred in your decision.

All the rest of the discussion, all the regrets, non-regrets, accusations, justifications, expectations of and denials of apologies are just nonsense. Given your criterion.

I'm with Bill. You don't understand the rudiments of traditional US democracy. At best, you've learned that you're too stupid to vote. You want to do the right thing next time? Don't vote Democrat next time; just don't vote. We'll take care of the rest.

You guys are being way too hard on her.

According to the polls, the majority of the american public got taken in the way she did. And she's one of the ones who's wised up.

Jesus forgave people. "Go, and sin no more." Can't you do the same?

Well, I know that a lot of left-bloggers are linking to your piece and urging liberals to be kind and gentle with you and your kind.

Let me just say that I disagree profoundly. I think that, as a private citizen and especially as an opinion writer, that you have exhibited a sort of gullibility which revokes any claim you have to being a person who deserves to be convinced.

And it's not because I'm a rabid Bush-hater who wants to see you wailing your shame or suffering for your crimes. No, nothing that dramatic. It's simply clear that you've been taken in by the lowest form of manipulation. By a leader who makes you suffer and then convinces you that only he can save you from your suffering. By a leader who wants to fundamentally change the way your government operates for no reason other than short-term benefit for his allies. By a leader who has no interest in communicating other than with carefully crafted lies. In short, by a would-be fascist dictator, brought to you by the same crew who brought death squads and despotism to Latin America and would like nothing more than to do the same thing to you.

In fact, this post shows that while you are willing to admit you have 'buyer's remorse,' you still cannot shake the effects of the propaganda from your mind. Someone with true buyer's remorse would have supported John Kerry, if for no other reason than because he was the only candidate who wasn't a corrupt, dishonest revolutionary.

But someone who is still in thrall of the 'fact' that Kerry Would Have Been Worse doesn't have buyer's remorse -- she sounds more like someone who just woke up from the year-long election propaganda campaign, and will obediently fall back asleep when the next wave of propaganda comes along.

So let me say again, I don't think anybody should waste time coddling you or encouraging you. What's at stake here is so important that you can see it without having your ego stroked. And if you can't, then you're hopeless and not worth our time.

Good thing I didn't write this post because I wanted to be coddled by you, Neil, eh?

You've got a lot of pretention going on there. Maybe some day when you're less smug and condescending I'll actually care what you think of me.

Great post, Michele, I'm just sorry I came on it so late (thanks to Gary Farber- gotta read his blog more).
"Buyer's remorse" is a very real phenomenon in both the commercial and political spheres, but under the system we live with there's no easy "return policy" for officials we elect (well, shorter than two, or four years, anyway).
Whatever else I got from your excellent post, I can see that you are still concerned about important issues, and where the country is headed (and I wonder how many of the prior commenters would change their opinionating about today's politics post-Terri-Schiavo-follies!) - and that you seem to have gotten over (if indeed, you were ever afflicted by it) the black-and-white simplicities and partisanship that so badly infects too much Internet commentary. Well done.
I hope you can find a satisfactory solution to your quandary, and share it with the rest of us (hopefully in time for the next election!)

"You guys are being way too hard on her.

According to the polls, the majority of the american public got taken in the way she did. And she's one of the ones who's wised up.

Jesus forgave people. "Go, and sin no more." Can't you do the same?"

Some people here are being too hard on Michele, but I don't think I'm one of them. If you go through her archives you will see how thoroughly and fervently she believed in her opinions and why. She claimed not only a superior knowledge of the facts than her opponents but a superior morality as well, laying claim to the side of the leaders and the soldiers by default, and without a single shred of self-doubt. And let's not forget 9/11, which was Michele's "go-to" whenever she felt the need to bolster her assertions and beliefs.

There's nothing to forgive, and she didn't "sin". But she took a stance from which all the facts and arguments in the world could not budge her, and suddenly all that has changed and in her mind it isn't her fault. If anyone pulled a fast one on Michele, it was Michele. In a large sense, she hasn't "wised up" at all.

BobSee is on the right track, I think. Go for Cheney first; then the focus on Bush.

I guess you should feel bad because John Kerry wasn't offering any real alternative on the war on terror.

You voted on what you considered to be the most important issue, but John Kerry basically made it a non-issue by offering nothing significantly different than what we were already doing other than making an attempt to go back to the UN and win the favor of the national community (basically an image improvement campaign).

Therefore, I would say being tired of seeing the same thing about the war on the news all the time is an unrealistic reason for your "buyer's remorse." You're tired of the war, I get that, but its something we have to deal with and pay for because of 30 years or more of public ignornace and neglect on affairs in the Middle East that you can blame as much on the media and government or politicians as you can the American public. (Why do they hate us? It's ridiculous that we even had to ask.) And its not going to be short or easy.

The war on terror is an issue of domestic security. The war can be fought abroad, or it can be fought right here. Most of your other concerns are about social liberty and general happiness, but you can't pursue either of those without ensuring the security of "life." People don't care as much about gay rights when suicide bombers are trying to blow up shopping malls.

You're entirely justified in your original stance on the war. But I don't think you can now use the war as an argument in why you feel bad about voting for Bush. (I guess if you were hoping for an early withdrawal Kerry would have been your best bet but, again, the odds were damn poor judging by the rhetoric.)

So you should feel bad for voting for Bush. With Kerry you would still be sick of the war, but you would have had some hope of a few of your other concerns being addressed to your liking.

"But Stan, don't you know, it's always between a giant douche and a turd sandwich."

"But Stan, don't you know, it's always between a giant douche and a turd sandwich."

Yea, that pretty much sums it up.

Lying naked in the bushes in May 2003, apparently helpless and hoodwinked, Michele managed to write the following:

"Did you really expect that within a month of the war, Iraq would be some sort of carbon copy of the United States, filled with open markets and democratic elections and prospering people? Are you so naive to believe that freedom can come in a week, a month, even a year?"

"The end does justify the means. It takes time for freedom to flourish. It takes time for democracy to be installed. It takes time for wrongs to be righted and reapirs to be made and for the stench of a rotten regime to dissipate."

"I care that good things have happened because of this war and it makes me angry that there are people who refuse to see that or acknowledge it, that they are so wrapped up in their hatred for Bush that they would deny a tortured Iraqi woman her freedom just to laugh in the face of the president's supporters.

Would you be happier, Sean Penn, if we never went into Iraq? I'm sure you would be."

"This is not about Iraq for Penn and his kind. It is about their selfish hatred for George Bush. It is about the craving they have to be able to say I told you so, about their need to be right, always right and to prove everyone else in the free world wrong. They care about nothing but themselves and their self-centered ideology.

I have not been used by this administration like a cheap hooker. But most of you who oppose this war on the grounds of lack of WoMD have been used by the anti-Bush movement, by Scott Ritter and Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore and Robert Fisk. Your slogan should not be "Not in My Name," it should be "No Freedom for Iraq." That's what your ideology comes down to."

Since Michelle posted those comments, 1,451 military personnel have died. One wonders what the body count was when Michele decided that enough time had passed for freedom to flourish.

This is the most ridiculous post, from someone who is apparently attempting to be serious, that I've ever read. All the whining is abhorrent:
* being over on the left was terrible
* i don't like john kerry
* this is not an apology, i'm in the middle!

what kind of garbage is this? this is why you voted for Bush? the u.s. military is raping the citizens of another country - figuratively and literally - and you vote for Bush because you don't 'like' Kerry? do you not know about Abu Ghraib? do you not?

how many innocents have to be killed? how many have to have their heads dunked in feces and urine before you say, 'You know what, I really don't think that's what I want to be a part of'?

Like Michael Moore said, you do owe people an apology - our troops, for starters. Just because you busied yourself watching Fox News doesn't mean you aren't culpable for the nightmare that is still unfolding. We are all responsible - even me - even Moore - but you owe a lot more. You've got some serious catching up to do.

Did you see today's cover of the USA Today? 2 years! 2 years! Still not enough body armor! You re-relected this guy! This information was available! You re-elected him! How do you sleep?!

And you still talk down about anti-war protesters. "I'll never be one of them," you say. Very big of you.

[admin note: I edited the rest of this post out because it was starting to annoy me. Too many excalamtion points and too many links to blogs that I consider, how should I say this, irrational. ]

Thank you for this moving and eloquent post. I'm not here to gloat or offer absolution. You're guilty only of doing what you thought right at the time and we're all guilty of that. I'm here to ask - so now what we do?

I'm late in arriving but for what's it worth, I blogged this today. If you care to read what I said, here's my post in full but let me share the last two paragraphs here.

I'm really not an "I told you so" kind of girl. I'm inclined to forgive and forget, well at least to forgive - we should always remember how we got to this place. It looks like we have chance here to heal the rift in this nation. Bush is finally uniting us, albeit in dissatisfaction with his policies.

Let's put aside our political differences then and raise a unanimous voice in protest of the hijacking of our personal sovereignty by politicians beholden to a zealous minority of bigoted "religious" extremists before it's too late. Let the blogosphere lead where Congress has failed and join in a non-partisan call to make this administration accountable for its actions.

[in passing]

In all the issues you've mentioned, Kerry's position was closer to yours than Bush's. Everything that the Bush administration has done on abortion and on bankruptcy is consonant with the positions they stated prior to the 2004 election. The power of the religious right in the Republican Party is well known, as is Bush's belief that he is acting on behalf of g-d. And what, please tell me, would a Kerry administration have done that would have been worse than Abu Ghraib?

I am sympathetic to your remorse. I am also living with the consequences of your choices, just as you are. I can only remind you that as you sow, so shall you reap and plead with you to be more mindful of your choices.