Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community  

Go Back   Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community > The Academy > Tilted Politics


 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 03-15-2004, 02:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
The polarization of America- War version.

With all the Iraq and Vietnam talk flying around, I wanted to bring the arguments together in an intelligent(?) way. Seems to me that half of America thinks John Kerry is a poor choice, the other half thinks Bush is a poor choice, but pretty much ALL of us have an opinion on war.

The polarization that results is astounding- excuses flying every which way in regards to what's allowed and what's not.

In this corner, we have George Bush, who certainly did what he could to avoid a war he apparently had no actual opinion on. He trained as a soldier and learned to be a pilot, certainly not an easy task, before bailing on the military to become a part-time politician and party kid. He then succeeded at a very school before becoming a failed businessman. After spending some time as the owner of a dreadfully bad baseball team, Bush wandered into government and did quite well, when compared to his baseball team, winning as both governor of Texas and President of the USA. After a tremendous failure (9/11) occured on his watch, he stiffened his resolve and chose to attack Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries that had nothing to do with Saudi Arabia, the country most responsible for the attacks on 9/11. Nonetheless, the successful sweep of Iraq removed a man considered by most of the world to be a terrible and violent leader. Many Americans feel Bush's tough leadership and determination to stamp out "terra" at all costs is a positive- these folks believe we're at constant risk of attack, and are willing to be at constant war to prevent this. Additionally, many American businessmen and corporations support these same ideas. They will vote for George Bush.

On the other hand, we have John Kerry, a man who has consistently shown his desire to achieve greater political office, a direct opposite opinion of Bush, who does not appear to truly "desire" to be leader of the free world, he just sort of wandered into it. (This is not meant as a bash of GWB, just a comparison of their styles) Kerry also attempted to avoid Vietnam, although his reasons seem to have been political. When he could not, he was willing to go to battle, to stand for himself, and to kill in name of God and country. He was unquestionably unhappy with this, and returned to the USA full of vim and vigor, nearly and possibly radical in his approach. Kerry's desires to improve his political standing were apparent and obvious, and he used his considerable intellect to further himself in that area, planting himself firmly as a liberal. Post 9/11, Kerry did as most of America's leaders did, following Bush's plans to eliminate threats and eventually invade Iraq. Since, he's backed away from his vote for the war. Is this due to his supporters, peaceniks that they are, or does he truly believe the war has gone awry? Kerry's history suggests that he is willing to fight a war, then stand up against its principles and negatives, but this would be too much benefit of the doubt, so we'll assume he's waffling. Many Americans join Kerry in this waffle, however, and feel that continued preemptive war will only result in more terrorism and continual war, even as they supported the ouster of Saddam Hussein. These folks will vote for Kerry.

In other words, the folks who believe we're all gonna die any day now will vote for Bush to protect them, even though 9/11 happened while he was protecting them. The folks who believe America is trying to become "America the All Powerful" will vote for John Kerry to return us to a humbler state, even though his rise into power was forced largely by his ego, or lack of humility.

Additionally, those who claim Kerry doesn't have the international chops to handle the job are the same folks who voted for Bush, who had (reportedly) never left the USA of his own volition prior to his presidential run... and those who claim Bush is a power-grabber who stole the last election will support someone who would lie to his grandmother for a vote, likely.

I did not support the war in Iraq, so I apologize if this comes off as biased towards the peaceniks. I ask every respondant to this to do me one favor- if you make an argument against the other guy (Kerry's hair is ugly!), please also add an honest comment about your guy (Bush can't pronounce nuclear!).

The only way to seperate ourselves from partisanship is to be honest about those we support instinctively. Yes?
Tomservo is offline  
Old 03-15-2004, 08:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
Mencken
 
Scipio's Avatar
 
Location: College
I'm going to gripe at a few things you said, and then talk about the bigger picture that your post actually addresses.

Quote:
Kerry's history suggests that he is willing to fight a war, then stand up against its principles and negatives, but this would be too much benefit of the doubt, so we'll assume he's waffling.
His history doesn't merely "suggest" this, and no "benefit of the doubt" is required. He DID go to Vietnam, DID serve heroicly and earn the silver star, and DID rise to prominence in the anti-war movement, and testify before congress.

His post-facto rationale is that he voted to authorize war at the president's discretion. The senate essentially abdicated its authority to declare war, and gave it to the president as it pertained to Iraq. Kerry claims that he didn't really want to see Iraq get invaded, but wanted to give the president the power to bluff credibly. The idea was that the imminent threat of American power would coax Saddam into some kind of compliance with UN Res. 1441, and avoid a war.

The "waffling" bit (particularly on Iraq) is a GOP talking point, and is repeated endlessly in the press. Sure, Kerry has an elaborate position on the war, but that doesn't mean it's an inconsistent one.

Quote:
Many Americans join Kerry in this waffle, however, and feel that continued preemptive war will only result in more terrorism and continual war, even as they supported the ouster of Saddam Hussein.
Your interpretation of the issue is unclear and incorrect. You are right about one thing though: "Many Americans ... feel that continued preemptive war will only result in ... continual war..."

First, nobody's really talking about "continued preemptive war." The Bush people aren't. The Kerry people aren't. Nobody is. The only people with any credibility at all who talked about ending the Iraq war (the only major preemptive war going on right now; remember, we're not talking about starting any others anytime soon) were some of the long shot Democratic candidates. So, more preemptive war is not on the table, and neither is ending Iraq. Both Bush and Kerry would "stay the course" as they like to say.

I'm thinking you draw on polls for this sentence (I hope). It's true that polls show most Americans support "ousting Saddam." Who wouldn't? It's also true that many people believe that in the long run, going to war every few years won't solve the problem of terrorism, and indeed might make it worse. A lot of people also think that going to Iraq didn't reduce the overall terrorist threat America faces, and indeed might have made it larger.

The point is, there's no "waffling" going on here at all. People believe both that getting Saddam out was a good thing, and that the Iraq war has had some undesireable consequences for the war on terror.

Quote:
In other words, the folks who believe we're all gonna die any day now will vote for Bush to protect them, even though 9/11 happened while he was protecting them. The folks who believe America is trying to become "America the All Powerful" will vote for John Kerry to return us to a humbler state, even though his rise into power was forced largely by his ego, or lack of humility.
Bush = Strong on Terror, but failed to stop 9/11 versus Kerry = wants to stop American hegemony, but has a big ego. This is an interesting proposition, but I'm not sure it's true, and I'm not sure it tells us anything. Why is that? A much more plausible interpretation of Bush is that 9/11 happened, and he had an epiphany that terrorism was a major problem, and he jumped on it. If you recall, there really wasn't any association at all between Bush and fighting terrorism. One might even think his motivation to prevent another attack is greater than anyone else's could be, as 9/11 did happen on his watch, and his reaction to it has been to vow not to let it happen again.

Whether or not his efforts are likely to succeed is for another thread.

Second, the connection you draw between Kerry's personal ambition and his potential to pursue a muscular foreign policy isn't that clear. I don't think Kerry's "ego" will inspire him to invade other countries.

And finally:

Quote:
Additionally, those who claim Kerry doesn't have the international chops to handle the job are the same folks who voted for Bush, who had (reportedly) never left the USA of his own volition prior to his presidential run... and those who claim Bush is a power-grabber who stole the last election will support someone who would lie to his grandmother for a vote, likely.
The difference again, is context. If you recall, in 2000 national security wasn't a big issue. The issue was "keeping our prosperity going," and how to spend the surplus, and how to plan the future of our domestic policy. Iraq had been off the table for a good 2 years by then. There was a surplus, though we would later note that a depression was beginning in January 2001, after the election, but before Bush took office. The election was petty and superficial, imho. International policy wasn't on the table, so people didn't criticize Bush for being a governor.

I'm going to stop there on that last quote. This post is getting rather long.

You're attempting here to show that a lot of partisans are bound to be hypocrites in a lot of areas. Likely voter supports X, so he supports Kerry for supporting X, but Kerry actually only supports X sometimes, and other times he actually supports NOT X!

But is anyone here actually being "busted," so to speak?

I think not. Political views can be looked at in a number of ways. One is cultural, which says that association is more important than specific policy views. Particularly among non-independants, specific positions aren't often critical. Others might reply that policy positions DO matter. A lot of independants are single issue voters. A stand on health care, the environment, or protecting children from vulgarity might matter. On the other hand, a lot of voters decide based on personality, or on which candidate "seems to be trustworthy," or "is a good leader."

More likely still is that all of those views have some truth. Personally, I vote based largely on party and ideology. What kind of person Bush or Kerry happens to be doesn't really matter. As a voter, I'm not "in play" as they say. My mother is turned off by the Bush swagger. Though pundits mention his likeability, not everyone does.

I'll stop with this point: people who vote do so because of what they think will happen in the future, and vote based on an aggregate perception of a candidate based on a variety of factors. People get a feel for the kinds of things a president will do, and for the kind of person he is. One can look to how a voter feels about the war, and predict how they might vote with (I think) pretty good accuracy. If they are anti-war, and vote for a man (Kerry) who voted for the war in senate, are they hypocritical? I don't think so. Their position of the war doesn't exist in isolation, and positions on the war can be extremely complex. It fits into an individual zeitgeist that encompasses not only political views but other views as well. I don't think we should let this complexity deter us from analyzing voters, but we should also not be surprised when we find things that seem to indicate hypocrisy or internal inconsistency.
__________________
"Erections lasting more than 4 hours, though rare, require immediate medical attention."
Scipio is offline  
Old 03-16-2004, 01:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Quote:
His history doesn't merely "suggest" this, and no "benefit of the doubt" is required. He DID go to Vietnam, DID serve heroicly and earn the silver star, and DID rise to prominence in the anti-war movement, and testify before congress.
I wasn't questioning any of his previous actions, merely suggesting that his waffling on Iraq may be due to similar reasoning- that is, he stands by his country but still has reservations about the decisions that Bush made. This is quite a leap of faith, but one that a voter can definitely make. Whether the waffling is a GOP talking point or not is irrevelent, I watched every Democratic presidential debate, and Kerry most definitely changed his reponse to questions regarding Iraq. My point was that just as he has changed his opinions, so have most voters. If our leadership fails to recognize a shift in policy needs, that's a weakness.
Quote:
First, nobody's really talking about "continued preemptive war."
Then you haven't been paying attention. The president has repeatedly stating that the United States will continue to stamp out dangerous leaders and havens of terrorism across the world. In the past week there have been two deadly terrorist attacks in the news- obviously more war is needed. We won't be in Iraq, but we'll be in Syria, North Korea, Pakistan, Israel... oh wait, their terrorism is okay. Scratch that last one. Saudi Arabia... dang it, they're okay too. Back to the point, setting the concept of preemptive WAR, not "strike", not "intelligence action", but full blown man-on-the-ground regime change WAR, as the standard in international relations has set us up for continued military action. This benefits the Boeings and Halliburtons of the world, and it obviously will root out some bad guys along the way, but if you think it's gonna "end" with Iraq, you don't read the papers. (And it doesn't sound like that's the case at all)

In regards to "9/11 happened", well, it didn't just "happen". Many folks (Including the Clinton White House) believed that Osama bin Laden was a threat, and many intelligence advisors suggested this specific means of attack. Somewhere in our leadership, someone was asleep at the switch. The amount of time between the first plane striking the WTC and the second was significant enough (18 minutes) to allow for that plane being SHOT DOWN. There's no two ways about it- the second plane never should have hit. Ever. Had Bush (Or his people!) been ready to make the tough calls, the second plane wouldn't have hit, and a lot less bodies would be the result. Argue all you like about how it wasn't his fault, but mere minutes after that event occured, fighters shoulda been in the air. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE MILITARY DEFENSE. Of course, the administration's staunch refusal to cooperate with an investigation into the matter should be considered, as well as the near-immediate evacuation of our #1 suspect's family from the USA, while the investigation was going full-bore. Forget the fact that Saudi Arabia's name was blacked out of the "official" findings in every instance...

Or to use a football analogy, occasionally teams run a "fake punt". It's rare enough that you don't expect it, but it can happen from time to time. If you don't train your special teams to defend the fake punt, then the COACH is to blame. However, none of us saw it coming, so we can't hold it against him. See, the thing is, if the VERY NEXT PLAY after a succesful fake punt, the punter checked back in, every single one of us would know the fix was in, and if the coach bumbled it again, it'd be his head on a platter. Sure, 15 minutes is not a lot of time for these tough decisions, but that's why we (supposedly) put so much effort into finding the RIGHT GUY to run the country- it's a hard job.

But I digress... my attempt wasn't to show how partisan people could be, but rather to battle that with anti-partisanship. That is, I'm a Democrat, but I can admit John Kerry is bad in THIS way, while as a Republican, someone else can admit Bush's flaws. These don't have to be personal flaws, but rather policy flaws. Bush is at odds with many conservatives in regards to immigration and HUGE spending, yet the same conservatives will rarely call him on it, because they don't want to lend a hand to his ouster, for fear the other TEAM wins the election. Ask schoolkids what political party Washington, Lincoln, or hell, even Kennedy belonged to- they won't know, but they've been taught that all of these guys were great leaders. Ask adults (well, educated ones) their political party and they know. Kids know that a leader we can trust, rely on, and support is more important than "our guy" on "our team". How often do you hear a politician's name nowadays without hearing his party affiliation directly following? Partisanship will divide, not unite.
Tomservo is offline  
Old 03-16-2004, 05:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
Minion of the scalÚd ones
 
Tophat665's Avatar
 
Location: Northeast Jesusland
Quote:
who certainly did what he could to avoid a war he apparently had no actual opinion on
Tom, I did not get anything like that sense from the News coverage leading up to the war. It seemed rather the opposite. I'm going to leave it there, but I think you missed clean on that point.
__________________
Light a man a fire, and he will be warm while it burns.
Set a man on fire, and he will be warm for the rest of his life.
Tophat665 is offline  
Old 03-17-2004, 10:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Actually, Tophat, I was referring to GWB avoiding Vietnam, which he has never seemed to give a real opinion on. As I mentioned, he did train as a pilot, and that's no cakewalk either, but he did avoid Vietnam.

For the record, I would have too, but in a more Kerry (Or even Clinton) way- opposition. But with my luck, I would've died in the fields anyhow.
Tomservo is offline  
 

Tags
america, polarization, version, war

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:23 AM.

Tilted Forum Project

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
© 2002-2012 Tilted Forum Project

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360