ChrisWeigant.com

Please support ChrisWeigant.com this holiday season!

Friday Talking Points [154] -- Egypt Rising

[ Posted Friday, February 11th, 2011 – 17:37 PST ]

The stunning news today of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak stepping down has all but eclipsed the other political news of the week. Who would have thought, a month ago, that a government that had oppressed its own people for over three decades would fall simply because a bunch of people marched in the streets and refused to give up?

American politicians are still trying to figure out how they should react. Although shocking to some, this is entirely normal. The people of Egypt have spoken, and before it happened, nobody could have foreseen how fast or how effective it was going to be. The demonstrations surprised the Egyptian government as well as the American government. The main lesson to be learned here is that sometimes, in our new cyberspace world, events move faster than analysis can hope to. That's one of the strengths of such "people power" movements -- their inherent unpredictability.

Of course, democracy is unpredictable as well. If Mubarak's exit truly does usher in an era of true democracy in Egypt, then the fact of the matter is that nobody knows what it will mean for the future. Nobody can predict who will win a free and fair election, what the Egyptian government will look like after one, or what it will mean for the region, the United States, Israel, or the rest of the world. But that is the nature of democracy.

George W. Bush spoke to this when he was president. In explaining his vision for the Middle East of democracy spreading outward from Iraq, he directly addressed critics who thought that "some people weren't ready for democracy." Bush soundly rejected this idea, in his belief that everyone, everywhere deserves freedom and democracy.

It was interesting to watch the political commentary from the Right during the Egyptian uprising. Initially, Republicans painted the movements in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere as a vindication of Bush's idealistic view of the future of democracy in the region. Then Fox News started warning of the dangers of the Muslim Brotherhood, and many conservatives had to execute a very quick rhetorical U-turn to side with Mubarak and "stability" (exactly the same Faustian bargain the United States has had with Egypt for decades). Tom Tomorrow captured this turnabout brilliantly this week in cartoon form.

President Obama has had a complicated few weeks as well, to be fair. Obama (and his spokespeople) have been issuing very closely parsed statements over the past few weeks, which at times seemed to fully back the protesters and at times seemed to defer to Mubarak's wishes. This, too, is fairly normal. Obama is the President of the United States, not some minor congressman or (even worse) some media pundit. His words carry a lot more weight and a lot more consequence than some random politico or television talking head. So he's been choosing his words very carefully over the course of the uprising.

But for all the quibbles over what Obama should and should not have said in the past three weeks, the real diplomacy was happening behind the scenes -- where Egypt's military is the biggest actor on the stage. What saved this uprising from becoming a bloodbath was the close ties America has to Egypt's military. This is of enormous importance, and it is why Egypt's mostly-peaceful outcome is not likely to be replicated in other Muslim countries (or at least not in the same fashion). Anyone disbelieving this has only to look as far as what happened in Iran recently for proof.

The Egyptian military is funded and trained by the United States to a degree unfathomable in most other Muslim countries. This is the direct result of the Israeli peace agreement. We agreed to build up Egypt's military to a professional fighting force in exchange for Egypt vowing never to use that force against their neighbor Israel. So far, this has worked.

Specifically, it has held the Egyptian military in check throughout the entire protest era in Egypt. The military, essence, declared its neutrality early on in the crisis, which was a true victory for Obama's diplomatic efforts. The few days of violence during the course of the demonstrations were actually a result of the military being too neutral, and refusing to separate the two sides. They quickly corrected this mistake, and the demonstrations resumed their original peaceful nature.

It's telling, too, that the military forced Mubarak to step down right at what could have been a very dicey point for them -- because after Mubarak's speech last night, the protesters decided it would be a good idea to branch out from the central square to besiege the key government buildings. The military would have had the tough job of guarding the buildings and the government, and possibly turning the crowd back by force -- which they really didn't want to take part in. Faced with this choice, they obviously gave Mubarak an ultimatum, which he (finally) accepted.

Egypt is a very special case, though. There aren't a whole lot of other countries in the region where America has such close ties to both the government and the military. If a popular uprising springs up in any of the other countries in the region, the outcome may not look anything like what just occurred in Egypt, so it's hard to say that the Egyptian revolutionary model is any kind of template for anyone else to follow.

As for the fears that Islamists will now sweep into power in Egypt, well, that's the thing about democracy -- the people get to choose. The Egyptian people will make that choice all on their own, which is exactly how it should be. They may indeed choose a government which decides not to have such close ties to the U.S. as before. That, though, is their right. Self-determination means that America doesn't get a vote at all in how they want to run their country. Realistically, though, an Islamist takeover of Egypt seems like a pretty remote possibility at the moment. The Muslim Brotherhood may win some parliamentary seats, but likely nowhere near a majority. And if the United States can live with an Iraq where Muqtada Al-Sadr holds a minority bloc of parliamentary votes, then we can likely live with an Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood has a similar political influence. And in Egypt, no American soldiers had to die to reach the same point.

Of course, it is still "early days" in the new future Egypt is forging for itself. It remains to be seen where this path will lead, and what will change as a result both for Egypt and for the U.S. The Egyptian military is now in control, which is probably the best outcome at the moment because of our close ties to them. As long as they move the process along of amending Egypt's constitution, ending the "emergency laws" which have resulted in a police state, and setting up free and fair elections, they are probably the most stable group in Egypt to referee the whole process. There may be some bumps in the road along the way, but as long as the military doesn't decide it likes running the country so much that elections aren't going to happen, then things will likely turn out fairly well from this arrangement.

Mubarak had to go, and now he has gone. The ironic thing about watching Mubarak was how behind the curve he was throughout the crisis. He kept making concessions which likely would have been acceptable to the crowds -- if he had only made them about a week or so earlier. Each new round of concessions Mubarak announced were similarly behind the curve, reacting to events which were days old. By last night, nothing short of the symbolism of Mubarak stepping down was going to satisfy the crowds. Quite obviously, the military explained this to him in no uncertain terms today.

While Egypt's future is uncertain, the feeling of optimism among the people who succeeded in demanding change is palpable today. It wouldn't surprise me if February 11th becomes an Egyptian national holiday in the future. No matter what happens to Egypt in the future, today is indeed a day of celebration for them to enjoy.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

We've got to slightly alter the name of the award this week, and rename it the Most Impressive democrats Of The Week award.

Because while the people in the streets of Cairo are obviously not members of any American political party, they do indeed qualify as "little-d" democrats.

The Egyptian uprising began as a youth demonstration. It grew into being supported by a wide swath of Egyptian groups -- including professionals, doctors, lawyers, unions and labor (the strikes were a key ingredient), and women and children. Whole families risked their safety to go stand in the square to have their voices heard. After the few days of violence, it was even more impressive that large and diverse crowds turned out, day after day. Because, at that point, the physical danger and risk weren't just hypothetical, but very real. People had been killed by that point, and yet still the flood of Egyptians down to the square continued.

They wanted Mubarak out, and they wanted free elections so they could choose their own leaders. They wanted an end to the emergency laws which banned political parties who disagreed with the Mubarak regime. And in the end, they got everything they demanded (at least, for now).

That is pretty downright impressive. Especially the part about the deaths. Who among us would publicly demand our rights if we knew that there was a very real possibility of a beating or a bullet for our efforts? We all like to think we'd be that brave, but likely none of us has ever been tested to such a degree.

The Egyptian people were so tested, and they responded in overwhelming numbers. They peacefully demanded their rights, and they got them. Which is why we simply have to award the Most Impressive democrats Of The Week to the Egyptian protesters. Truth be told, I haven't been this impressed by a political group in quite some time.

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Senator Jim Webb announced he would not run for a second term in Virginia, which was a disappointment in some ways, but also was to be commended in others. Webb took a look at the polls and decided he would have a tough time winning, and so he announced he was not going to run. Because this is so early in the process, it leaves plenty of time for another Virginia Democrat to mount a serious campaign to hold Webb's seat for the party. Virginia is a "purple" state, with some areas dark blue, and some deep red. But there are other Democrats waiting in the wings who might have a better chance of winning than Webb, so it's not all that disappointing that he made his announcement now, while there's plenty of time before the election. Webb actually chose the honorable route for leaving Congress, so we really can't give him any sort of negative award for doing so.

Representative Jane Harman, on the other hand, is to be excoriated for how she is leaving the House. She's in a pretty safe Democratic district in California, but that's not really the point. She was just re-elected to her ninth term less than three months ago. And she is leaving to take a cushy think tank job in a few weeks. What this means is that California has to come up with a big pile of money to run a special election in her district (and California has massive budget problems of its own). Solely because of Harman's timing. She will not serve out the term she was elected to, she is taking the money and running. Not that she needs the dough, as she is reported to be quite wealthy in her own right.

For forcing a special election so soon after a regular election, for costing the state money it doesn't have, and for throwing all her constituents under the bus, Jane Harman is our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week. The only thing which would change our minds is if Jane offers to pay for the entire special election out of her own pocket (which she is reportedly fully able to do). Until then, however, we have to say: "For shame, Jane, for shame."

[Contact Representative Jane Harman on her House contact page, to let her know what you think of her actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 154 (2/11/11)

Welcome to this week's Friday Talking Points. You can read our full article every week at ChrisWeigant.com, DemocraticUnderground.com, and DemocratsForProgress.com. At my site, there are no word limits on comments, and the moderation is almost non-existent (unless we get truly abusive comments, which is extremely rare). Just to let everyone know.

Each week, we provide talking points for Democrats to use to explain their positions in catchy ways, primarily for those Democrats who are being interviewed on television this weekend, but also for any Democrat to use around a water cooler as well.

This week's talking points are somewhat disjointed, and have no overarching theme to them. I would have thrown one in poking fun at Chris Lee's "Craigslist Congressman" sex scandal, but the whole thing happened so fast that I doubt many people will be talking about it for long. Also, there were a few other things going on this week. So let's get to it without further delay.

 

1
   Why are you so afraid of democracy?

The first is to be used in response to Republicans who, in recent days, have been calling for America to fully support Mubarak and come out against the protesters. A quick Google search will quickly unearth a few quotes to use in this context.

"I find it interesting that many Republicans seem to be on the wrong side of history in what is going on in Egypt. Flowery words about 'freedom' and 'democracy' are the stock in trade of the Republican Party, when talking about America and even when talking about Iraq. But in Egypt, Republicans have come out against freedom and democracy for the Egyptian people. So I'd like to ask you, why are you so afraid of democracy? Why do you believe that some people deserve to elect their leaders, and some people don't? What gives you the right to make that decision -- a decision which condemns millions to live in the exact opposite of 'freedom' and 'democracy'?"

 

2
   You don't have the courage of your own convictions

Google a bit deeper, and you can probably find plenty of other contradictory Republican quotes over the past ten years on the subject (when we had a different president, of course).

"You know, back when George W. Bush was president, Republicans were singing a mighty different tune on the subject of democracy in the Middle East. Back then, Republicans would rhapsodize over the wonderful future democracy was going to bring to the region, starting in Iraq. Now, you've come out for Mubarak instead of for democracy. How times change, huh? Bush used to specifically say that anyone who argued that these people weren't ready for democracy was flat-out wrong because democracy was a universal right. Why don't Republicans have the courage of their convictions, when spontaneous democracy breaks out? Is it that democracies in the region are only allowed when we impose them by force, or what?"

 

3
   Can Boehner count?

I wrote a whole article about this earlier in the week. Seems Boehner's making a few rookie mistakes as Speaker. Which would be a dandy thing for Democrats to bring up for discussion, wouldn't it?

"It seems that Speaker John Boehner is having problems counting votes these days. Either that, or he can't keep his own party members in line. Boehner had two embarrassing unforced errors this week on two separate bills, including the Patriot Act extension where twenty-six Republicans crossed the aisle and voted with the Democrats. Well, I guess the guy is learning on the job... or perhaps Republicans are beginning to end their lockstep partisan voting records in the House. Either way, I think Boehner needs to learn to count noses a little better."

 

4
   Republican Party infighting

Always a fun subject to explore -- and one that will be getting more and more obvious as the budget battles progress.

"Boy, it seems the political story of the year so far is how the Republican Party is starting to fracture into infighting amongst themselves. The Tea Party Republicans are voting against the Republican establishment in the House, Republicans are squabbling over the budget cuts they promised, and now I hear that major conservative groups boycotted the annual C.P.A.C. conservative-fest. It seems the right wing and the far, far right wing can't agree on their agenda, doesn't it?"

 

5
   Taxes lowest since Korean War

Here's a story most of the mainstream media missed.

"Did you see the recent story that Americans are paying the lowest amount of taxes this year since 1950? Yes, you heard me right. We're paying lower taxes than we've paid since the Korean War. For three years in a row, Americans are paying lower taxes than under George W. Bush, due to Democratic tax cuts that seem never to get discussed in the media. Obama lowered everyone's taxes, and it's time the American public knew the facts of the matter."

 

6
   The culture wars versus jobs

This needs pointing out at every opportunity: where is the Republican jobs plan?

"I notice that the Republicans in the House are considering three bills on restricting abortion, but I still haven't heard of any job-creation bill from them. They have, quite obviously, shown their priorities -- to fight the culture wars and ignore the economy. Maybe it's really a vote of confidence in Obama's economic plans in disguise -- Republicans are doing nothing, because Obama's plan is working. The unemployment rate has come down eight-tenths of a point in the past two months -- a faster decline than we've seen in decades -- while Republicans continue to do nothing about jobs. I just hope the voters are paying attention to the Republican agenda, and how they prioritize things."

 

7
   Trump? Really?

OK, this falls into the "you just can't make this stuff up" category, obviously.

"Donald Trump just hinted that he might actually run for the Republican presidential nomination. Donald Trump? Really? Wow... that's just... wow. Well, I heartily encourage Mr. Trump to throw his hat into the ring. I thought we had the Republican laughingstock candidate slate covered pretty well already, but hey, there's always room for one more, right?"

 

All-time award winners leaderboard, by rank
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant
Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

34 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [154] -- Egypt Rising”

  1. [1] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    "Anyone disbelieving this has only to look as far as what happened in Iran recently for proof."

    Actually, Chris, as I type this the regime in Yemen has already suppressed a popular uprising in the capitol.

    Agreed on the role of Egypt's army as well as American military ties. For several days now I've been laughing at firebagging lefties intoning about "the end of American empire" -- as if the army would allow any regime to cut ties with us, or the 90,000 Americans living and working in Egypt won't be welcome back, or our tourist dollars will refused. If anything, this will deepen the role of the United States in Egypt. The same is true for everyone, left and right, saying Obama has "failed" in some way; these folks don't know what they're talking about. Obama had a very fine tightrope to walk and did it without falling down.

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    George W. Bush spoke to this when he was president. In explaining his vision for the Middle East of democracy spreading outward from Iraq, he directly addressed critics who thought that "some people weren't ready for democracy." Bush soundly rejected this idea, in his belief that everyone, everywhere deserves freedom and democracy.

    One has to wonder if ole George said that BEFORE or AFTER the Palestinian elections that brought Hamas to power.. :D

    But I bet David is fit to be tied.. Arguing Bush's point has got to be a sore spot.. :D

    President Obama has had a complicated few weeks as well, to be fair. Obama (and his spokespeople) have been issuing very closely parsed statements over the past few weeks, which at times seemed to fully back the protesters and at times seemed to defer to Mubarak's wishes. This, too, is fairly normal. Obama is the President of the United States, not some minor congressman or (even worse) some media pundit. His words carry a lot more weight and a lot more consequence than some random politico or television talking head. So he's been choosing his words very carefully over the course of the uprising.

    You are far too kind, CW...

    Obama's administration was a train wreck in the handling of the Eqyptian issue... Seems like every day there was a new statement coming from the Obama Administration that contradicted the previous statements... Between Hillary and Biden and Clapper and Panetta, it was a Marx Brother's routine...

    "The whole Middle East is like an old Marx Brothers routine.. it's like Gadafi! God bless you! Assad? Nobody! Hussein? Nobody! You're outta here!"
    -Robin Williams, LIVE AT THE MET

    Michale.....

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, the question is now..

    What should the US do??

    In 1989 the Berlin Wall came down.. President Reagan (and President Bush after him) flooded the region with advisers and assistance. The advisers showed the leadership of those countries how to build the civil institutions that were vital to a vibrant and healthy democracy. Today those countries are flourishing democracies, pro-American through and through...

    Contrast that to the Iranian debacle. When the Shah fell, President Carter just sat on his hands, preferring to leave Iran to the Iranians.

    What happened??

    The fanatical Muslim extremists took control and slaughtered any moderate who dared speak out...

    Now Iran is a loose cannon, bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and committed to the total annihilation of Israel and her peoples...

    Obama has been attempting to channel Reagan since the Shellacking Mid Terms...

    Let's hope, in regards to Egypt, that Obama is a Reagan and not a Carter...

    Michale.....

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Osborne -

    Yeah, I heard someone being interviewed last night and they were talking about how they were communicating with someone in Yemen attending a demonstration, when suddenly the phone line went dead. They had cut off all communications. It was an ominous note, that's for sure.

    Actually, what I've been thinking is that Egypt is uniquely positioned to perhaps become what Bush dreamed about in Iraq -- a stable, secular democracy which is friendly and open to the West. There's a few reasons why this could be possible: (1) they have no oil, (2) they rely so heavily on tourism, and (3) the Suez Canal. Economically, they pretty much have to be open to Westerners, otherwise their entire economy would collapse. They don't have massive oil profits to fall back on, or buy their people off with.

    As for the American Empire, well, I hadn't heard that one but it's kind of laughable. You could make the case that our investment in Egypt's armed forces is what made this a bloodless revolution. In other words, American Empire created the backdrop for the uprising. Heh.

    I also thought Obama performed admirably well walking the tightrope. It was a tough situation for the US to be in (given our history in Egypt), and I thought Obama did the right thing -- reach out to the army, and plan for a peaceful transition. I have yet to hear anyone kvetching about Obama's handling of the crisis have any better suggestion as to how Obama should have handled things better.

    Which brings me to...

    Michale -

    That's actually a very good point. I finally found the Bush quote I was looking for, from this week's New Yorker magazine:

    "Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom and never even to have a choice in the matter?"

    This became known as Bush's "Freedom Agenda," but the article goes on to state (as you correctly pointed out): "...a year later, Hamas displaced the Palestinian Authority in Gaza. Bush never returned to his attacks on tolerating 'oppression for the sake of stability.'"

    I remembered Bush's words because I actually applauded them when he was speaking about the issue. I thought it was a good point -- who are we to say that certain people don't "deserve" democracy?

    Sigh. OK, just how was Obama's handling (both public and behind the scenes with the Egyptian military) a "train wreck"? What, precisely, would you have had him do differently? How, exactly, would the outcome have been different if Obama had done what you wanted him to?

    Panetta was right, it just took an extra 12 hours before his prediction came to pass.

    Um... in 1989 there was no President Reagan anymore. I'm just sayin'... and the track record of former Iron Curtain/Soviet Republic countries is a decidedly mixed one, I have to say. There are plenty of kleptocracies and outright totalitarian dictatorships which resulted from the fall of the Soviet Union. Not to say there aren't success stories as well, but like I said, it's a mixed picture at best.

    What, exactly, would you have had Carter do, too, I'm interested? Invade and reinstate the Shah? The Islamists grabbed power so quickly that merely sending in advisors wouldn't have mattered more than a fart in a windstorm. And I have to point out to you the ironic phrasing of your own point "...leave Iran to the Iranians" -- um, who ELSE was it going to be "left" to? Heh. Maybe you meant to say "Islamists"?

    Oh, that brings up another point from another thread. You lit into an Obama spokesman (I forget who) for saying "the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organizatinon." Been meaning to ask about that -- was it a typo on your part? Because I would have thought you'd agree with that statement. All "secular" means is "not religious" so it seems to be something you'd agree with.

    Here's another question I've been meaning to ask you. Since you are quite obviously against Islamic governments in general, what do you think of Saudi Arabia? They've got the strictest Islamic laws of just about any country, Iran included. So where do you stand on the Saudis?

    -CW

  5. [5] 
    Americulchie wrote:

    Chris this week you deserve noting but rose petals;no rotten fruit at all;working on all eight cylinders.This was a good week for Democracy everywhere.

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    I remembered Bush's words because I actually applauded them when he was speaking about the issue. I thought it was a good point -- who are we to say that certain people don't "deserve" democracy?

    The only remaining Superpower... The world's Police Department..

    Take your pick... :D

    The Hamas issue proves conclusively the flaw in Bush's "Freedom Agenda"..

    Sigh. OK, just how was Obama's handling (both public and behind the scenes with the Egyptian military) a "train wreck"? What, precisely, would you have had him do differently? How, exactly, would the outcome have been different if Obama had done what you wanted him to?

    For one thing, get your ducks in a row.. Is it too much to ask for a little consistency from this administration??

    Sure the situation is fluid and ever-changing. But the message from the Administration was all over the board.

    "This guy's at 20,000 feet. Now he's at 5,000 feet. Now he's at 30,000 feet. He's all over the place. What an asshole."
    -Unknown Air Traffic Controller, AIRPLANE

    :D

    Let's face it. Obama et al, like Mubarak, thought that the protest would just peeter out after a few days, so they backed their guy... When it became clear that the protesters weren't going to go, then Obama threw Mubarak under the bus..

    You can bet that all of our allies are really examining their relationship with the US right now.

    And our enemies are either A}laughing their asses off or 2}rubbing their hands gleefully at how the US is completely and utterly impotent..

    Or both...

    Um... in 1989 there was no President Reagan anymore. I'm just sayin'...

    Touche' My bust.. :D

    There are plenty of kleptocracies and outright totalitarian dictatorships which resulted from the fall of the Soviet Union.

    Initially perhaps... But in the ensuing 20 years, it's clear that Democracy reigns in the former Soviet Union..

    Except for Russia, of course.. :D

    Oh, that brings up another point from another thread. You lit into an Obama spokesman (I forget who) for saying "the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organizatinon." Been meaning to ask about that -- was it a typo on your part? Because I would have thought you'd agree with that statement. All "secular" means is "not religious" so it seems to be something you'd agree with.

    Yea, it was a typo... (wordo?? :D) I meant to say that Clapper, Obama's DNI, claimed that the MB was a secular organization..

    For some reason, I have always thought that 'secular' meant 'religious'... Silly me..

    Anyways, yea. The stupidity of Clapper's statement is that the MB clearly is as fanatical as Hamas or Hezbollah.. The fact that they haven't gotten a foothold in Egypt is due to Mubarak... That will likely change now....

    As Egypt goes, so goes the entire Middle East...

    Since you are quite obviously against Islamic governments in general, what do you think of Saudi Arabia? They've got the strictest Islamic laws of just about any country, Iran included. So where do you stand on the Saudis?

    If there was ever a country that needed a Regime Change, it could be Saudi Arabia... I would say the same about Jordan, but the King's a die hard Trekker, so it's hard not to like him. He even appeared in an episode of STAR TREK:VOYAGER.. :D

    But, SA is an ally and our last best hope for keeping Iran in check... So we make nice with them and send them billions in military hardware even though their government is a throwback from the Dark Ages...

    "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one."
    -Spock, STAR TREK II:The Wrath Of Kahn

    Michale.....

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    If there was ever a country that needed a Regime Change, it could be Saudi Arabia... I would say the same about Jordan, but the King's a die hard Trekker, so it's hard not to like him. He even appeared in an episode of STAR TREK:VOYAGER.. :D

    But, SA is an ally and our last best hope for keeping Iran in check... So we make nice with them and send them billions in military hardware even though their government is a throwback from the Dark Ages...

    Of course, that doesn't even begin to describe the problematic relationship that exist between the US government and the House of Saud.

  8. [8] 
    akadjian wrote:

    But I bet David is fit to be tied.. Arguing Bush's point has got to be a sore spot.. :D

    Not at all. If someone is willing to support a principle I believe in, I don't care about party.

    I think its too bad all the conservatives flip-flopped on this issue to go back to "stability over Democracy".

    -David

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Of course, that doesn't even begin to describe the problematic relationship that exist between the US government and the House of Saud.

    It IS problematic, to be sure..

    But it's also a logical arrangement borne out of necessity of the circumstances..

    When I was in the military I was forced to work with some pretty unsavory groups and individuals. People that, if I saw them on the street, my hand would be on my weapon.

    But we don't always get the choice of working on with angels...

    The enemy of your enemy may not always be your friend. But they are usually a partner...

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    Not at all. If someone is willing to support a principle I believe in, I don't care about party.

    Awww gee.. Yer no fun at all! :D

    I think its too bad all the conservatives flip-flopped on this issue to go back to "stability over Democracy".

    And all the liberals flip-flopped to Democracy over stability...

    Such as it is with politics...

    Michale.....

  11. [11] 
    akadjian wrote:

    And all the liberals flip-flopped to Democracy over stability.

    I don't see it. How so?

    -David

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    I don't see it. How so?

    Democrats have been in power in DC for 4 years now..

    Do you think that we would still be supporting Mubarak if Dems wanted Democracy over stability??

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Do you think that we would still be supporting Mubarak if Dems wanted Democracy over stability?

    I don't follow your logic. The revolution just happened. And the administration tread a fine line because they didn't want to influence the outcome.

    But if what you believe is truly the case, wouldn't you support Obama?

    I think you just enjoy being "anti-liberal" :) As you told me about Sarah Palin when I asked why is she so popular with conservatives? Because liberals hate her.

    -David

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    I don't follow your logic. The revolution just happened. And the administration tread a fine line because they didn't want to influence the outcome.

    We have been supporting Mubarak for 30 years... Democrats were in control for 4 years...

    If Democrats were truly interested in Democracy over Stability, then they should have been making noises for the last 4 years... Or any other time they had control of Congress and/or the White House.

    Democrats are only concerned about Democracy when it is a political liability NOT to feel so..

    To be fair, the same thing can be said about Republicans...

    But at least Republicans don't put on aires about it...

    Michale.....

  15. [15] 
    dsws wrote:

    Osborne Ink
    "laughing at firebagging lefties intoning about "the end of American empire" ..."

    Firebagging? (Urban Dictionary says it isn't defined yet.)

    CW
    "who are we to say that certain people don't "deserve" democracy?"

    Well, certain people don't bother to vote. Certain people, even if they do vote, don't bother to get even a remotely accurate impression of what the candidates and parties say on the issues, let alone check it against their record. Certain people ... .

    Oh, you meant certain foreign people.

  16. [16] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Democrats are only concerned about Democracy when it is a political liability NOT to feel so.

    I would almost agree with that. I'd change it slightly to "Democrats are only concerned about Democracy when it is NOT a political liability."

    But I think we're saying the same thing.

    This is because if Democrats take this stance, I think they're afraid of being accused of weakness. But you're right, I'd like to see them advocate principles more and stand on them. I think long run it would gain them more respect.

    I would also change the Republican version to:
    "Republicans are only concerned about Democracy when it fits their agenda."

    You only hear Republicans talk about freedom or Democracy when they have something else they want to accomplish. One example, justifying the Iraq War after the fact.

    Well played, sir!
    -David

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    I would also change the Republican version to:
    "Republicans are only concerned about Democracy when it fits their agenda."

    I would agree with that as well..

    But the difference is that, by and large, Republicans acknowledge it and don't make any excuses for it.

    Their attitude is, "that's the way it is, deal with it."

    Democrats will spend hours lecturing you that being that way is bad and telling you that the Democratic Party is NOT that way, then turn around and do it anyways...

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    akadjian wrote:

    How about Democracy and freedom in America then? Do conservatives feel the same about our country? That life would be better if there were a perpetual conservative regime and we didn't have a Democracy?

    -David

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    How about Democracy and freedom in America then? Do conservatives feel the same about our country? That life would be better if there were a perpetual conservative regime and we didn't have a Democracy?

    We don't have a Democracy..

    We have a Constitutional Republic...

    Having said that, considering what's going on in Wisconsin, I don't think Democrats are in a position to talk about democracy as if they are any authority on it... :D

    Michale......

  20. [20] 
    akadjian wrote:

    We don't have a Democracy.. We have a Constitutional Republic...

    Easy, easy. No need to get upset and change the subject. We're just talking here.

    Let's say we have a Constitutional Republic, a version of a Democracy, where our leaders are elected by our citizens.

    Do you think conservatives would establish continued Republican rule by eliminating the "elected by our citizens" part if they could?

    My guess is yes. I think many would say that the people are too immature to elect leaders and make decisions - someone has to make the tough decisions for them. Not all, but many. And I think this is one of the differences between many conservatives and progressives/liberals. I know progressives and liberals would fight for Democracy (Constitutional Republic just doesn't sound worth fighting for :).

    -David

  21. [21] 
    akadjian wrote:

    BTW- If I'm wrong, I'm happy I'm wrong. Would much rather this be an area of common ground. And I do know several Tea Party folks who would agree.

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think many would say that the people are too immature to elect leaders and make decisions - someone has to make the tough decisions for them. Not all, but many.

    Actually, that sounds like the Liberal/Progressive perspective...

    It's not conservatives that push a Nanny State perspective... It's liberals and progressives..

    :D

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    But since we're talking democracy here, lemme ask you.

    What's your opinion about how Wisconsin Democrats are short-circuiting democracy by running and hiding out of state instead of doing their jobs??

    This is another one of those examples of when Democrats claim they are pro-democracy...

    Until democracy is inconvenient or interferes with their agenda....

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I'd be happy to respond to your comments, but I noticed you still haven't answered mine.

    Do you think conservatives would establish continued Republican rule by eliminating the "elected by our citizens" part if they could?

    Any thoughts? I thought you were the one who didn't like "equivocating" ... :)

    -David

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    Actually, I did answer it..

    I stated that what you were postulating as a conservative trait (IE A nanny state) is actually a liberal/progressive/lefty trait...

    However, I would be willing to wager that a politician that thinks that he/she knows what is best for the American People is not a malady that is suffered by conservatives only...

    "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts, absolutely"

    Michale....

  26. [26] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Let me rephrase and be a bit more direct so that you don't have to speak for conservatives in general:

    Would you establish continued Republican rule and eliminate the "elected by our citizens" part of our government if you could?

    Yes / No / Maybe

    Just trying to understand your line between stability and Democracy. In other countries, you favor stability. What about the U.S.? I'm honestly not trying to make a broad generalization about conservatives. Because I know several Tea Party folks who swing pretty far towards the Democracy side of things.

    -David

    "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" - The Amazing Spiderman :)

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    Would you establish continued Republican rule and eliminate the "elected by our citizens" part of our government if you could?

    Of course not..

    Just trying to understand your line between stability and Democracy. In other countries, you favor stability.

    I favor stability over democracy in other countries where there is a vested national security interest..

    What about the U.S.?

    If there were to come a time where the US faces such instability as we are seeing in Bahrain etc etc, then there might have to be some emergency decrees and/or martial law type arrangement..

    But all that is laid out in our Constitution, so it is actually part of our democracy...

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    I favor stability over democracy in other countries where there is a vested national security interest..

    To further clarify....

    I favor stability over democracy in other countries where there is a vested national security interest and where the alternative to stability is a fanatical theocracy bent on killing Americans and other innocents...

    Michale.....

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" - The Amazing Spiderman :)

    Kudos to the quote..

    But, ya know, it ALSO justifies the US's role as the world's police. :D

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I favor stability over democracy in other countries where there is a vested national security interest.

    Fair enough. I would disagree because in the long run I believe Democracy in other countries will be better for our best interests than the corrupt puppet leaders we put in place, but fair enough.

    But, ya know, it ALSO justifies the US's role as the world's police. :D

    You mean the "world's nanny"? :)

    What's your opinion about how Wisconsin Democrats are short-circuiting democracy by running and hiding out of state instead of doing their jobs?

    Using procedural rules to obstruct and block? I'm not personally for it, but both parties do it and in this case I think its an interesting protest.

    Republicans won back a lot of popular support by obstructing and using procedural rules to stand in the way of President Obama. I don't know if Wisconsin Democrats can do the same.

    Watch closely which narrative dominates the media. If I were folks in Wisconsin, the question I would ask is, this guy promised jobs, why isn't he focusing on how to generate more jobs?

    "Wisconsin is open for business. We will work tirelessly to restore economic growth and vibrancy to our state. My top three priorities are jobs, jobs, and jobs." -Scott Walker, election night speech

    I don't believe Mr. Walker ever said anything about stripping collective bargaining rights when he was running for governor. He lied to get into office, and now he's going to pursue the same old agenda which has gotten us where we are today.

    Mr. Walker is going to fight for the corporate agenda - less money for workers, deregulation, and more perks for Wall Street.

    The battle is going to play out in Ohio shortly w/ our new Wall Street government so I'm with the folks willing to take a stand!

    -David

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    Fair enough. I would disagree because in the long run I believe Democracy in other countries will be better for our best interests than the corrupt puppet leaders we put in place, but fair enough.

    What you are referring to is 20/20 hindsight.. :D

    You mean the "world's nanny"? :)

    No more so than NYPD or LAPD is New York's and Los Angelos's "nanny"..

    There's a big, a HUGE difference between a Nanny and a Cop... I am the latter and married to the former.. :D

    Using procedural rules to obstruct and block? I'm not personally for it, but both parties do it and in this case I think its an interesting protest.

    Running and hiding out of state, out of reach of the law is NOT "procedural rules to obstruct and block."..

    It's a complete and utter abrogation of the responsibilities of a legislator and utter decimates the concept of democracy...

    Watch closely which narrative dominates the media. If I were folks in Wisconsin, the question I would ask is, this guy promised jobs, why isn't he focusing on how to generate more jobs?

    As opposed to Democrats who, if they had their way, would eliminate 10,000 state and teaching jobs..

    Seems like it's the Republicans who ARE concerned for jobs in Wisconsin, while the Democrats/Union are only concerned about holding on to power...

    I simply can't imagine a teacher who would place her benefits package over the welfare of their students..

    Such a teacher doesn't DESERVE the job....

    Michale.....

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    I simply can't imagine a teacher who would place her benefits package over the welfare of their students..

    Sorry... That was incredibly sexist... :D

    Amend that to read, "I simply can't imagine a teacher who would place their benefits package over the welfare of their students.."

    Michale.....

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    At the risk of opening a whole slew of can 'o worms.... :D

    NYPoet....

    What's your take on this??

    Is it better to pull some benefits of teachers and state workers??

    Or can 12,000 teachers and state workers??

    Michale....

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    Using procedural rules to obstruct and block? I'm not personally for it, but both parties do it and in this case I think its an interesting protest.

    Here is an interesting "procedural rule" for ya... :D

    Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate can pass any measure that doesn't spend State money by a simple majority..

    16 Votes...

    The Wisconsin Senate can simply attach the new rule that removes collective bargaining rights for State employees to other legislation that doesn't spend State money and then pass it with the Senators they have on hand...

    Looks like the Dem Senators in Wisconsin really stepped on their wee-wees with this latest charade...

    One should never bluff when one has such a weak hand...

    It also should be noted that Senate Republicans in Wisconsin offered a compromise whereas the new law would go into affect and expire in 2013.

    Democrats and the Unions don't WANT a compromise.. They are simply desperate to hold onto power...

    Michale.....

Comments for this article are closed.
[Powered by WordPress]