Ockham’s Razor – Since October 2001 – by Scott Kirwin
Ace of Spades destroys Leftist hypocrisy in one photo:
Proof the anti-war movement was really anti-Republican.
I clicked on the link you provided beneath the photo and looked at the chart. As expected, I noticed that war demonstration by Democrats under Obama has declined, however, war demonstration by those defined as Independents remained relatively consistent. Did it ever occur to you that maybe many Democrats have become disillusioned with the party and now define themselves (when asked or polled) as Independent? Even though they will most likely vote Democrat during the next major election. I know many people who, right now, fall into that category. Just like your own post before this one, you have become disillusioned with the GOP yet you will in all likelihood vote Republican next time unless a you are really, really impressed with either the Democrat or Independent that is running.
My guess is this is exactly what is happening in that chart. Many of those who defined themselves as Democrats during the Bush Presidency and still do during the Obama Presidency weren’t demonstrating then or now. But those further left, those demonstrating then and now, defined themselves as Democrats during Bush but Independents now. They are disillusioned. Just as you are.
Taking a second look at the chart, I mean the “No Party” line when I said Independent. It’s interesting that the No Party protests is almost an exact inverse of the Democrat protests at one point; the Democrats dramatically peak at the same time the No Party dramatically drops. My guess is the No Party folks actually called themselves Democrats at that point, then went back to No Party when they became disillusioned.
The conclusion of the study reads, “The Democrats and the antiwar movement struck a useful alliance from 2003 to 2006. The antiwar movement helped to demonstrate grassroots support for a key party issue and the party helped to provide activists, resources, and legitimacy for the movement. By early 2009, however, it was abundantly clear that Democrats were no longer interested in this alliance. Abandonment by the Democrats gave the movement the independence it desired, but also stripped it of its capacity for political influence. While Obama’s election was heralded as a victory for the antiwar movement, Obama’s election, in fact, thwarted the ability of the movement to achieve critical mass.”
To support your idea you would need to find a general shift of Democrats to independents during that time, and the statistics I’m seeing don’t bear that out (http://www.gallup.com/poll/158399/2012-electorate-looks-like-2008.aspx).
Scott, point made. And it’s even hypocritical of the Democrats. Though I still think there were some Independents who identified themselves as Democrats when it suited them. I know several myself. Yes, it’s anecdotal but I noted it nonetheless.
But at the end of the day does calling one party hypocritical really mean anything? Every right-leaning friend I have (including you) supported the wars started on Bush’s watch. When talk of going into Syria came up I knew, before you wrote a single word about it, that you would be against it. Now how could I possibly know that if I wasn’t viewing you through a lens of partisan politics? To write about the hypocrisy of one party (and you are right about it) but not the other is, in and of itself, being a hypocrite.
For the record: I think going into Syria is a bad idea. And most all my left-leaning friends do too. They also thought going into Iraq was bad. But not one of my right-leaning friends thought so. Not once, during every single year that war dragged on.
I wasn’t alone in my support of the Iraq invasion in 2003. Kerry and Clinton both voted for it as did most Democrats. Up until 2008 Obama himself called the Afghanistan fight the “good war.”
What you may not know is that I opposed the original Gulf War in 1990. I believed that Saddam was the lesser of evils in the regional, and that included our “allies” the Saudis. History would have been very different had Bush I stuck with its initial stance of viewing the Kuwait invasion and threats to Saudi Arabia as a regional matter. Saddam was a secular dictator; the Saudis have spread Wahhabi Islam far and wide, undermining more moderate and home-grown strains of Islam throughout the world. Which one has caused us the most grief? But once the US made up its mind to attack Saddam, I supported the liberation of Kuwait and felt we should have gone all the way to Baghdad.
Do you think libertarians only oppose this war because Obama’s starting it? I was ambivalent about action in Libya (see http://www.therazor.org/?p=3322) and only later came to see it as a terrible mistake. I don’t support or oppose a war based on the affiliation of the president; I do so based on whether our interests are at stake, and whether clear goals and objectives have been set. Can the same be said about the Democrats? Since several are saying they personally disagree with the attack but will support the president because he’s a Democrat, then no.
Various members of each party flip flop on many topics. Politicians play politics and are hypocritical; it’s the nature of the beast. Pointing out the hypocrisy of one party and not the other is disingenuous.
And of course you opposed the Gulf War in 1990. You were a liberal then. That would’ve been an easy prediction. So would being against a war by a president you hate that you were just ambivalent about to start with. The ambivalence is to add uncertainty or suspense to a highly predictable outcome. If I wrote a screenplay with this many predictable plot twists and turns I wouldn’t have a snowballs chance of selling it.
And libertarians are against all foreign military intervention. So, being a libertarian now is a good fallback position for someone when opposing any wars started by a president they strongly dislike. So I wonder, were you a libertarian when you supported the war in Iraq?
“I never realized how cool war could be until Obama started them.”
Obama didn’t start the war in Libya or Syria. Nor is it likely he is planning a ground invasion.
“Partisan Composition of Antiwar Protests, 2007-2009”
Notice that while as the Democratic proportion has decreased about 30 points, the third party proportion has increased about 30 points.
“Proof the anti-war movement was really anti-Republican.”
Obama ended U.S. involvement in Iraq, and is ending U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. Many on the political left are wary of any U.S. involvement, but Obama is not planning on starting a war, or a massive invasion into an ongoing civil war. Indeed, he has avoided largely U.S. involvement.
Obama started a war in Libya in which he “led from behind.” He is about to start another.
Wars cannot be made to order. By their very nature they are unpredictable. As Walter Russell Mead writes, “The degree to which the current debate is over fine tuning the limits of action is a powerful illustration of the lack of understanding on the part of our political class about the nature of war. War is not a waiter in a cafe from whom you can order a dish on the menu—the chicken sandwich, please, on whole grain but with no mayo. Similarly, you can’t order a war to be composed only of limited strikes against Syria with no ground troops, not to last longer than x number of days, because it is impossible to legislate the enemy’s response.”
As for the study by Heany and Rojas, Democratic self-identification within the anti-war movement collapsed after the 2008 election. In the comments above Jack suggests this is due to Democrats in the anti-war movement becoming disillusioned with their party, but that is undermined by statistics which show no overall change with party self-identification among the broader population. So either the Democrats in the anti-war movement were upset enough with their party to change affiliation but did not have enough members to make a dent in the overall statistics, or something else explains what happened. That something else Heany and Rojas believe, is Democrats deserted the movement.
This should not be surprising given that Obama ran as an anti-war president.
Scott Kirwin: Obama started a war in Libya in which he “led from behind.”
The war in Libya was already ongoing. Nor did the U.S. use ground troops.
Scott Kirwin: He is about to start another.
The war in Syria is already ongoing. Nor there any plan for U.S. ground troops.
Scott Kirwin: Wars cannot be made to order. By their very nature they are unpredictable.
War is chaotic by nature, but chaos is not the same as random.
Scott Kirwin: So either the Democrats in the anti-war movement were upset enough with their party to change affiliation but did not have enough members to make a dent in the overall statistics, or something else explains what happened. That something else Heany and Rojas believe, is Democrats deserted the movement.
We addressed this above. Obama ended U.S. involvement in Iraq, and is ending U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. Many on the political left are wary of any U.S. involvement, but Obama is not planning on starting a war, or a massive invasion into an ongoing civil war. Indeed, he has avoided largely U.S. involvement.
Your premise is that I am predictable. Given that I am human, and humans tend towards patterned behavior, it’s a safe assumption on your part. But the latest CNN poll shows 71% of Americans oppose military action in Syria, so your forecasting skills are equivalent to a weather man standing in a desert who predicts sunny skies for the day. Most of my friends are liberals and they also oppose the war. I’ve watched their comments on Facebook (I don’t post there anymore) and the rare agreement between right and left is more remarkable than any predictability in opinion, at least to me. It won’t go anywhere beyond this issue of course, but it’s nice to enjoy Jon Stewart without knowing he’s making fun of the positions I hold dear.
You ask about Iraq. Since I was in San Diego during the Gulf War, let me fill you in on how my stance changed at the time. I attended a few anti-war rallies on the UCSD campus. I was sickened by the anti-semitic propaganda at the rallies. Saddam’s invasion was supported by the Palestinians, and the protests became a “Support Saddam against the Jews” rally, with some pretty vile crap spewed. When Bush began sending troops to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf it became clear to me that debate was over and we had to support the troops. I then started crashing the anti-war protests which had really lost their steam anyway by the end of 1990. I even had a Free Kuwait bumper sticker on my 1983 Nissan Sentra that although rare on the campus parking lot, attracted less attention than my McCain bumpersticker did in 2008.
How’s that for predictability?
Fast forward to 2003. As my writings on this website show I was a strong and consistent backer of the Iraq War especially through the tough 2005-2006 period when it looked as if the whole place was going to blow up in our faces. I still hold Obama responsible for undoing the war’s success by not negotiating a status of forces agreement with the Iraqi regime. I also hold him responsible for our failure to secure Afghanistan, the war he supported as a senator, when he announced the surge at the same time he announced a withdrawal date. Obama is a poor leader incapable of making tough decisions. To quote Mead again, “During his time in the White House, President Obama has repeatedly demonstrated a style of decision making that gets him in trouble. Especially when the stakes are high and the issue is complex, the President overthinks himself and tries to split the difference between tough policy choices. He comes up with stratagems that work beautifully on paper and offer well reasoned, moderate alternatives to stark choices. Unfortunately, they usually don’t work all that well in the real world, with the President repeatedly ending up in the “sour spot” where his careful approaches don’t get him where he needs to go.”
I will admit that my idealism has waned, and looking back, knowing what I know now, I would have opposed the war in Iraq (although not in Afghanistan). But hindsight is 20-20, and the failure in Iraq does not mean I oppose all war.
By your logic I should oppose all military action instigated by this president, correct? I’m sure you understand that foreign policy is rarely so binary, so there must be instances I would support the President attacking another country. I can think of one red line that should not be crossed, and if you are as astute as I suspect you are, you should know where that line is. Can you name it?
I will try, Scott, but could you please clarify the question. When you say there is one red line that should not be crossed, or you saying it’s a line we (as in the US) shouldn’t cross, or a line that shouldn’t be crossed against us? Sorry, I just need some clarification and I will try to take a guess.
As for as being predictable, I was too harsh. Everybody is predictable to some extent. What I really meant is that most people follow the “party line” probably 75% or more. We as a society have too few choices in our politics; we’re basically pigeon-holed with only two choices and many times those two choices seem to be between the Scylla and Charybdis. That being said, your blog posts, being conservative, are fairly predictable when it comes to politics as you decide what, in your opinion, is the best course of action given the limited choices. The blogs I read, from both sides, have all become boring and predictable. I think political blogs have played themselves out.
To use your weatherman analogy, if I was the weatherman in either Alaska or Hawaii my prediction abilities would be remarkably accurate. Not so much in the Midwest. Unfortunately, our politics has gotten as extreme as being in either Hawaii or Alaska. There’s very little in between these days.
When Bush won a second term, you wrote a blog post titled, “Better red than dead”. It was a clever turn on the original phrase. But it got me thinking. The way the phrase is structured suggests that you weren’t really quite as enamored with the Bush Administration as you seemed to be. But rather thought it was your only choice given the alternative.
I was never a fan of the Bush administration, Jack. Hell I voted for Gore for chrissakes. While much changed after 9-11, it’s easier for me to say what hasn’t. I still am socially liberal just as I’ve been since I was in my teens. On gays and women’s issues there’s not much difference between me and your average liberal. When it comes to corporations I’m closer to my blue collar roots than I am to the country club. I lost a job and was blackballed for behavior which could be construed as “unionizing.” I take issue with the idea of “corporate personhood” just as many on the Left do. I’ve opposed making bankruptcy laws more strict, an effort led by DE senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper, and the bank bailout of ‘08 which was a bipartisan clusterf**k.
The older I get the more I realize how screwed our two party system is. I’m so disenchanted with the way things are going I’ve even begun kicking around the idea of becoming an expat again. Ireland in particular is a beautiful country, and the people are amazing. Give me small cottage on a wind swept moor overlooking the Atlantic with a few sheep and a trusted sheep dog… But that’s just a fantasy.
The only issue I supported the Bush administration was on the Global War on Terror. I don’t regret that support because I’ve educated myself on Islam and view the Wahhabi takeover of the religion to be an existential threat, one that neither party understands but the GOP seemed to sense more. For over a thousand years Islam had just as much variety, perhaps more, than Christianity since the Reformation. But over the past sixty years the Saudis have sent missionary preachers to spread their Wahhabi version of Islam, supplanting the local strains and making it more of a monoculture.
Perhaps that sounds paranoid, but recently in Zanzibar two British girls had acid thrown in their faces. I’ve been to Zanzibar and was most recently in Tanzania in 2006. My Wife travels to Africa every year and she reports that tensions are much higher now between the Muslims and those of other faiths. This isn’t an original hypothesis; Kraima Bennoune wrote a book about it “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories From The Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.”
Life has proven I’m not a very good writer, and I accept that (sniff!). I believe that my writing would have been best in an institutional setting, either within an intelligence agency or perhaps academia. It is an important part of my job, so technically I do get paid to write so there has been some success there. Still at my age I don’t expect I’ll accomplish much with it, and that’s okay. This blog has become a kind of diary for me, a journal that allows me to express myself and learn something while I do it. Every once in a while I’ll write something special, just as a blind squirrel will find a nut now and then, but most of what I write isn’t very good. And that’s okay.
If Iran tests a nuclear warhead I would support a bombing campaign followed by an invasion. Oprah could be president for all I care, but the Iranian should not be allowed to acquire nukes. Code Pink would disagree as would most of the anti-war community, but I would support doing whatever needed to be done to stop them from keeping them.
You didn’t let me guess what the red line you wouldn’t cross, but had you let me, I would’ve been wrong.
Yeah, the two-party system is screwed and so are we.
As far as writing goes, I’ll give you my unasked for two cents. If I remember correctly, you gave up fiction writing after you concluded your novel wasn’t very good. I bit my tongue and didn’t say anything to you about that and have regretted it ever since. Most first-time-anything isn’t very good. Yeah, you get the first time writer who writes the best seller every now and then and the screenwriter or film director who wins an Oscar the first time out, but they are the one-off. Most of us have to strike out a few times before we even get on base, much less a home run. Didn’t Ray Bradbury get something like a hundred rejection letters before selling his first short story? Didn’t I make a godawful, unwatchable movie before making one that sold to two major studios. Then followed that up with one that’s in Redbox right now (I know, shameless plug. And I’m not trying to compare myself to Bradbury, just using an example closer to home).
After that first feature film debacle I had family and friends hinting (sometimes strongly so) that I should find something else to occupy my time with. Today however, their silence is deafening. Some of them have went so far as to rewrite history and tell me how much they supported me all along. They say, “don’t you remember?”
Everyone who succeeds has failed first, sometimes miserably. I say give another novel a shot. The fact that you wrote one, produced hundreds of pages on one subject, regardless of the outcome, is phenomenal. That type of thinking is what kept me together to make further feature films. I’d done it once. Stayed focused on one project for a very, very long time. And got it finished. And I learned what I did wrong and how to correct it.
Go for it. You just might surprise yourself.
Now that you mention it… I have been reading astrophysics pretty voraciously and find myself lost in concepts like the Holographic Principle. There just might be a return to science fiction, my first literary love, someday.
People dissed you after Fatal Exam? Seriously? Morons… I still have my VHS copy – it’s one of the few tapes I’ve saved.
That sounds great, Scott, you should seriously try your hand at a science fiction novel. A page a day and in a year you’re done with the first draft. Another 3 or so months and you have a polished draft. And even if you cannot interest a publisher, commission an artist to do a cover then publish it yourself as a digital download on Amazon. That’s a respectable way to go these days. The print business is dying and because of that, they, like Hollywood studios, are primarily interested in the heavy weights who have a track-record.
I truly believe you can do it. As much blog writing as you’ve done it should be a piece of cake.
I’m glad you have a copy of Fatal Exam but you should get a copy of Ghost Image and Fatal Call. Both are available from Amazon. I’m not trying to get you to spend your hard earned money on my stuff; I just want you to see what I’ve been doing these days. By the way, Fatal Call was not my choice for a title, it was my distributor’s and I resisted it because I already had a film with “fatal” in the title. My title was Call Me On Tuesday, but, it is what it is. And it’s in 36,000 Redboxes so I can’t really complain.
[...] a comment on another thread one of my long-time friends wrote, “When Bush won a second term, you wrote a blog post titled, [...]
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