by Goldy, 08/28/2006, 12:14 PM

“What’s wrong with politics today? The candidates and the incumbents spend their time attacking each other’s personal character instead of attacking the issues and problems that face our country and our families.”
Mike!™ McGavick

George Lakoff simply illustrates the subtle power of framing in the title of his seminal book, Don’t Think of an Elephant. This is Cognitive Psychology 101: the very instruction not to think of a pachyderm, of course, instantly conjures its image.

I’m not sure whether Democrats have studiously read their Lakoff, but Mike!™ McGavick and his team apparently have. For in constantly stressing his desire to campaign on “the issues” rather than “personal character attacks,” the Republican US Senate wannabe has in fact made character the central theme of his campaign.

One simply cannot accept McGavick’s “civility” meme without inferring that his opponent, Sen. Maria Cantwell, is not sufficiently civil.

Indeed the very preamble to Mike!™’s much talked about public mea culpa is little more than a thinly veiled attack on the character of his opponent. Read it in its entirety (the emphasis is mine):

What’s wrong with politics today? The candidates and the incumbents spend their time attacking each other’s personal character instead of attacking the issues and problems that face our country and our families. They also pretend that they are without fault, yet we all know that none of us are.

In this campaign for example, my opponents have attacked my leadership in turning around Safeco. I am even the subject of a politically-motivated lawsuit. But I am convinced that these kinds of character attacks don’t matter to most people here. I have held dozens of open public forums in communities all around Washington state, and not a single person asked me about my compensation at Safeco. Instead, people ask about the many challenges that face their own families and our country.

Still, I know that the character attacks against me will not stop. So, how about I just tell you directly the very worst and most embarrassing things in my life for you to know, and then I will get back to talking about how much the U.S. Senate needs a new direction.

What does one take away from this statement? That Mike!™ wants to talk about the issues, but his opponent does not. That his opponent engages in character attacks, but Mike!™ refuses. That Mike!™ admits to human frailty, while his opponent “pretends” to be perfect.

But most importantly, that the “new direction” Mike!™ wants to take the US Senate — towards a more civil debate on the “issues and problems that face our country and our families” — is exactly the opposite direction of where his opponent is leading the nation and the state.

What a clever frame. This isn’t a campaign about “the issues” — it’s a campaign about campaigning about the issues, with the clear implication being that his opponent refuses to embrace this lofty ideal. At it’s very core, Mike!™’s “civility” meme, as noble as it may appear, is nothing more than a personal attack on Sen. Cantwell’s character.

Don’t think of an elephant.

In this context, Mike!™’s unprompted revelation of a thirteen-year-old DUI actually makes tactical sense if the strategy is to reinforce his campaign’s primary frame… a frame that at least some in the media have swallowed hook, line and sinker. Writing in Saturday’s Seattle P-I, columnist Robert Jamieson congratulated Mike!™ for his “courage” and “candor.” “He showed he’s human,” Jamieson wrote, by comparison implying that Sen. Cantwell is, well… not.

McGavick has just shown us that he isn’t clinical, rigidly guarded and remote — labels that have dogged Sen. Maria Cantwell, the Democratic incumbent he hopes to beat.

Notably absent from Jamieson’s column was any discussion of where the two candidates actually stand on “the issues and problems that face our country and our families” — exactly the kind of empty discourse the civility frame encourages, for it intentionally diverts our focus away from substance and onto style. Which of course, works in Mike!™’s favor, because he is on the losing side of almost every single issue of importance to Washington voters.

Think about it. Which candidate is really campaigning on the issues? Compare the two candidates’ television and radio ads, and which candidate has made the stronger effort to educate voters about their legislative priorities?

We all know that Sen. Cantwell is an environmental leader, a fierce opponent of drilling in ANWR and of increasing supertanker traffic in the Puget Sound. We know that Sen. Cantwell is perhaps the Senate’s most passionately wonkish leader on energy issues, a champion of alternative energy technologies and of higher CAFE standards, and a victorious defender of Snohomish County rate-payers against the extortionist energy contracts signed at the height of Enron’s unprecedented corporate fraud. We know that Sen. Cantwell staunchly supports reproductive rights and a living minimum wage, and believes the Republican controlled Congress has abdicated it’s obligation to provide necessary oversight of the executive branch.

And even though she was at first reluctant to talk specifics about her evolving position on the war in Iraq, she has been incontrovertibly clear that she believes it is now time to start bringing the troops home, and that she absolutely opposes the establishment of permanent US bases in Iraq.

And what do we know about Mike!™? Um… we know that he wants to bring “civility” back to the US Senate.

Really. Think about it. If elected, what will be Mike!™’s legislative priorities? He hasn’t told us.

Sure, if pushed and prodded you can sometimes torture an answer out of him. He’s for drilling in ANWR, and mostly opposed to abortion. He opposes the estate tax, but is for slashing the minimum wage for millions of tip earners. And he not only opposes a ban on permanent military bases in Iraq, he suggests that it’s inappropriate to even debate the war while our troops are still in harms way.

But he’s not running on any of this. He’s running on being civil. He’s running on being human. He’s running on being candid and courageous.

He’s running on character.

Last night on my radio show I asked the Seattle Times‘ David Postman if he thought Democrats are overly guilty of attacking Mike!™’s character, and he answered that for the most part, no. I also asked him whether character is a relevant issue in a political campaign, and of course he said yes.

This morning the Times editorial board echoed their senior political reporter, arguing that “honesty, integrity and character matter“:

McGavick has never voted on anything. His record is thin. Character matters haunted him. The public has a legitimate need to know about these.

And I’d argue that Mike!™’s character is especially relevant in light of the fact that he chose to make it the central theme of his campaign. Not that I can argue with his strategy.

The fact is, if voters elected representatives solely on the issues, the Democrats would hold a comfortable majority in both houses. But they don’t. We elect people, not issues, and the Republicans have simply done a better job electing their people than the Dems have.

Mike!™ knows this, and so in the midst of a political backlash that threatens to produce a huge Democratic wave, and running against an incumbent who wins hands down on almost every major issue, Mike!™ has chosen to run as simply gosh-darn more likable than that “cold,” “remote” Maria Cantwell. He’d surely lose a truly issue-oriented campaign, and so unable to run on the issues, he has chosen to run around them.

So central is the civility frame to Mike!™’s campaign, that even a potentially damaging revelation about his own human frailty was strategically (and successfully) played to call into question the humanity of his opponent.

So the next time Mike!™ rails against personal character attacks, try this little exercise: don’t think of an elephant.

I bet you can’t.

68 Responses to “Don’t think about character”

1. Mike Webb Sucks spews:

Yossarian, what do you expect from the librul dungheap of AssesHorse? Furball deivers his small turdlike objects and they eat it up. That’s why their biggest cheerleader is LeftHisTurdBehindLostHisBrain!

2. guest spews:

Goldy, I think “Mike!” should become “Mike?”

3. Willis spews:

Hot Damn Goldy! Now there’s a post!

4. Doctor JCH Kennedy spews:

Washington state’s 2004 governor’s race was decided by just 129 votes. A judge found 1,678 illegal votes were cast, and it turned out that 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle’s King County than the number of people recorded as voting. This affected just Washington state, but in a direct national election where everything hangs on a small number of urban districts, such manipulations could easily decide presidencies.

5. darryl spews:

Goldy,

Excellent post! McGavick’s entire campaign is smoke and mirrors, covered with whipped cream and topped with a maraschino cherry.

McGavick loses on the issues…Period. But the more we learn about McGavick, the more it looks like he loses on character issues, too.

One trend that I find particularly troubling, is his willingness to throw out little white lies.

It’s almost like lying is now an acceptable practice for Republican candidates or something.

6. Another TJ spews:

And I’d argue that Mike!™’s character is especially relevant in light of the fact that he chose to make it the central theme of his campaign.

I would go farther. Mike? has not simply made “character” and “civility” a central theme of his campaign, it is the only theme. He has gone out of his way to avoid talking about the issues. If he won’t engage the voters in a mature way, he’s left us with no choice but to wonder what he’s got to hide on the issues and to raise relevant questions about his character. Thus, his role in the dishonest ad against Lowery sheds light on Mike?’s character and civility, undermining his own campaign. He has no policy positions the voters want, and if we can’t trust him personally, he has nothing left. Perhaps that’s why he can’t crack 41% in any poll.

7. Doctor JCH Kennedy spews:

New Jersey’s reputation as a tax hell just got worse. The $1.9 billion worth of tax increases in the state’s new budget represents a 5 percent increase over last year, far outpacing any other state, /SNIP/ the highest state sales tax, tied with three other states, at 7 percent. Its cigarette tax now leads in the nation. And, of course, this all comes on top of the nation’s highest average property taxes.

What a joke. When other municipalities and states are finally starting to believe that revenues actually increase when taxes go down, NJ continues to strangle itself.
The state motto should be taxpayers saying, “Seeeee ya! I’m out of here”. [Atlas has Shrugged.]

So who is going to be left to support these dems? Welfare hacks, Union thugs? “Guvment” employees? Classic!!

Still trying to tax their state government into prosperity.

Doesn’t work in a depression, doesn’t work in a boom, and sure doesn’t work during whatever it is that New Jersey is going through.

CUT YOUR SPENDING AND END THE CORRUPTION!!!

They vote in Democrats and get higher taxes? Whodda thunk it?

8. ArtFart spews:

“It’s almost like lying is now an acceptable practice for Republican candidates or something.”

Acceptable? It’s mandatory. The only tactic the right has ever used that consistently works is to lie, lie and lie some more until enough dipshits believe them.

9. Roger Rabbit spews:

DNA Doesn’t Match; Case Against JonBenet Suspect Collapses

… according to a Denver TV station.

10. Roger Rabbit spews:

… Karr is a liar, so he must be a Republican.

11. darryl spews:

JCH @ 5

“Washington state’s 2004 governor’s race was decided by just 129 votes.”

Well…actually it was 133 votes.

“A judge found 1,678 illegal votes were cast….”

Indeed…spread roughly evenly between Democratic and Republican precincts.

“and it turned out that 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle’s King County than the number of people recorded as voting.”

Nope. This is simply untrue. Somebody is yanking your chain.

“This affected just Washington state, but in a direct national election where everything hangs on a small number of urban districts, such manipulations could easily decide presidencies.”

Except, of course, that there were no “manipulations” found despite millions of dollars spent on both sides looking for anomalies.

Your assertion is as disingenuous as a typical McGavick statement (i.e. it is a lie).

12. Roger Rabbit spews:

“Florida Vote Registration Law Unconstitutional
“By CURT ANDERSON, AP

“MIAMI (Aug. 28) – A federal judge on Monday declared a new Florida voter registration law unconstitutional, ruling that its stiff penalties for violations threaten free speech rights and that political parties were improperly exempted.

“The … ruling … means that state authorities cannot enforce the provisions of the law … (which) has been blamed by several labor unions and nonprofit groups for effectively blocking voter registration drives ….

“‘This is a win for democracy and will send a signal to officials in Florida and other states that you cannot erect unreasonable barriers to voter registration,’ said Wendy Weiser, co-counsel for the third-party groups and deputy director of the Democracy Program at the New York University law school’s Brennan Center for Justice.

“The plaintiffs in the case included the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Florida AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and other groups.

“Attorneys for the state had argued that the Legislature was within its powers to single out third-party groups because of evidence of past registration problems.”

This article is quoted under the Fair Use doctrine; for complete story and/or copyright info, see http://tinyurl.com/jnvnb

13. Roger Rabbit spews:

It wasn’t civil of Mike? to drink and drive. He could have run over somebody’s kid.

It wasn’t civil of Mike? to lay off hundreds of Safeco workers, in order to line his own pockets.

It wasn’t civil of Mike? to steal $28 million from the shareholders he was supposed to serve.

It wasn’t civil of Mike? to support Bush’s plan to raid the Social Security Trust Fund.

It wasn’t civil of Mike? to support the GOP’s scheme to loot waitress tip jars all across America.

It wasn’t civil of Mike? to conceal the fact he’s a Republican from viewers of his TV ads.

It wasn’t civil of Mike? to pretend to be a moderate when in fact he’s a firm supporter of the hard-core, far-right, cheap-labor conservative agenda.

Mike? is a hypocrite.

14. Doctor JCH Kennedy spews:

10………..darryl……..Numbers came out of TODAY’s Wall Street Journal. [That HAS to hurt!!] JCH

15. Doctor JCH Kennedy spews:

For more than 200 years America has chosen its presidents as the Constitution provides: through the Electoral College. Traditionally, each state has cast its electoral votes–equal to its total representation in Congress–for the candidate who receives the most votes statewide.

But last week the California Senate passed legislation to award the state’s Electoral College votes to the candidate who has received the most popular votes nationally–whether Californians chose him or not. A similar bill passed the Assembly on May 30, so it will soon be up to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign or veto the bill. Such a bill also passed the Colorado Senate in April, part of a national to change the way we choose our presidents. The mandate doesn’t take effect until enough other states sign on to provide a majority of electoral votes. If it were in effect in 2004, George W. Bush would have taken California’s 55 electoral votes, even though John Kerry carried the state by a margin of nearly 10%.

It is an odd idea, an “interstate compact” switching the Electoral College votes of member states from their state’s vote winner to the national vote winner. And the direct election of presidents would be a political, electoral, and constitutional mistake that would radically change America’s election system.

First, the direct election of presidents would lead to geographically narrower campaigns, for election efforts would be largely urban. In 2000 Al Gore won 677 counties and George Bush 2,434, but Mr. Gore received more total votes. Circumvent the Electoral College and move to a direct national vote, and those 677 largely urban counties would become the focus of presidential campaigns.
Rural states like Maine, with its 740,000 votes in 2004, wouldn’t matter much compared with New York’s 7.4 million or California’s 12.4 million votes. Rural states’ issues wouldn’t matter much either; big-city populations and urban issues would become the focus of presidential campaigns. America would be holding urban elections, and that would change the character of campaigns and presidents.

Second, in any direct national election there would be significant election-fraud concerns. In the 2000 Bush-Gore race, Mr. Gore’s 540,000-vote margin amounted to 3.1 votes in each of the country’s 175,000 precincts. “Finding” three votes per precinct in urban areas is not a difficult thing, or as former presidential scholar and Kennedy advisor Theodore White testified before the Congress in 1970, “There is an almost unprecedented chaos that comes in the system where the change of one or two votes per precinct can switch the national election of the United States.”

Washington state’s 2004 governor’s race was decided by just 129 votes. A judge found 1,678 illegal votes were cast, and it turned out that 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle’s King County than the number of people recorded as voting. This affected just Washington state, but in a direct national election where everything hangs on a small number of urban districts, such manipulations could easily decide presidencies.

16. Roger Rabbit spews:

Does Jamieson think Cantwell is “clinical, rigidly guarded and remote” because she doesn’t drink-and-drive?

17. Doctor JCH Kennedy spews:

darryl, Enjoy!!! [Don't feel badly. Carl Grossman is even dumber!!!!]

18. My Left Foot spews:

JCH @ 14.

Passing someone else’s words, and work, off as your own is clearly illegal.

Carl Grossman
Liberal, Democrat

19. Roger Rabbit spews:

“Think about it. Which candidate is really campaigning on the issues?”

Of course Mike? won’t campaign on the issues — because he doesn’t want Washington voters to know he’s a CHEAP LABOR CONSERVATIVE.

That likely won’t play well on the heels of today’s NY Times story that workers are getting screwed by the Wingnut Economy:

“The median hourly wage for American workers has declined … (t)he drop has been especially notable … because productivity … has risen steadily …. (W)ages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s ….

Economists attribute the wage stagnation to global trade, immigration, layoffs, technology, higher spending by companies on health benefits, and weaker trade unions – all of which conspire together to erode workers’ bargaining power:

“(T)hese forces have caused a growing share of the economy to go to companies instead of workers’ paychecks. … (E)conomists at Goldman Sachs wrote, ‘The most important contributor to higher profit margins over the past five years has been a decline in labor’s share of national income.’ … ‘If I had to sum it up,’ said Jared Bernstein, a senior economist …, ‘it comes down to bargaining power and the lack of ability of many in the work force to claim their fair share of growth.’”

(This article is quoted under the Fair Use Doctrine; for complete story and/or copyright info, see http://tinyurl.com/re4hd )

Of course, this outcome for average Americans is utterly predictable, as the GOP’s cheap-labor policies take hold in the economy. Republicans (and companies like Safeco) are pouring millions into McGavick’s campaign because they want the U.S. Senate reliably behind their “cheap labor” agenda. The only way to prevent things from getting even worse for average Americans is to elect Democrats.

20. GS spews:

Yeh I just heard Maria’s new Campaign add.

“I am working hard on reducing taxes on the people of washington”

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeh……………….I can really feel that work in my pocketbook………………Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeh!

21. My Left Foot spews:

JCH’s crimes:

1. Impersonating a Doctor

2. Plagiarizing

3. Impersonating a human being.

4. Breathing.

5. ‘Nuff said. (pussypud, it just keeps slipping out. I am sooooooooooooooo sorry.)

Carl Grossman
Liberal, Democrat and campaigning on JCH’s character (or lack thereof).

22. My Left Foot spews:

“JCH is a lying, cheating, plagiarizing mother fucker in my humble opinion)” Carl Grossman in/on Horsesass.org blog.

How to properly quote someone. Please note the clever way I protected my right to express an opinion, without stating a fact. Don’t look at the elephant!

Carl Grossman
Liberal, Democrat and married to a shiksa.

23. My Left Foot spews:

“Having looked objectively at all the evidence, it is a fact that JCH is an immature, lying, Puddypud cocksucking ingrate, (In my humble opinion).” Carl Grossman

Carl Grossman
Liberal, Democrat and ROFLMAO

24. ArtFart spews:

9″… Karr is a liar, so he must be a Republican.”

Considering where they found him, can’t help wonder if he’s a buddy of Brother Neil…

25. Particle Man spews:

Being somwhat dislexic, I read the heading as “Don’t DRINK about character”

26. proud leftist spews:

If Mike@#$%* wants a battle over character to decide his senate race, I would hope that Maria would say, “bring it on.” Nothing about his character is impressive. He has a standard background for a rich, white, Republican male–second marriage, distant parent to first child, hypocrite, power hungry, willing to do anything to achieve money and power, slanderer, etc. Nothing about him suggests integrity, honesty, empathy, or any of the other characteristics that would suggest he should focus on character. Indeed, we all know he’s just being manipulative and disingenuous in raising the civility/character issue. Mike@#$%* is a heavily partisan protege of Slade Gorton. If he had any balls, he’d run on issues. As Goldy points out, however, he wants to stay as far away from issues as he can. Besides, when he gets excited, he sounds like a 15 year-old boy whose voice is just starting to change.

27. My Left Foot spews:

” ” (giving JCH a vitual finger)

Carl Grossman
Liberal, Democrat and on a roll today.

28. darryl spews:

JCH @ 13

“10………..darryl……..Numbers came out of TODAY’s Wall Street Journal. [That HAS to hurt!!] JCH”

Sorry Craig, but my numbers come right out of
Judge Bridges Ruling.

Ohhh…that’s gotta hurt even more!

29. My Left Foot spews:

Darryl @ 27:

John Craig can’t feel pain. He only feels inferior.

Carl Grossman
Liberal, Democrat and revitalized in his fight against the RightWingNuts.

30. Daddy Love spews:

More detail on the “trigger” for California’s eletoral vote legislation.

“If it eventually becomes law, the legislation would take effect only if states with a combined 270 electoral votes – the number now required to win the presidency – also agreed to decide the election by popular vote. Similar legislation is pending in Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana and Missouri.”

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/082306O.shtml

31. Thomas Trainwinder spews:

His radio ad is an uncivil, attack on his opponent through purposeful mispresentation of the facts.

Worse, he pretends he’s put this kind of thing behind him through his public mea culpa.

Civil, my ass. This guy is scary. He’ll say whatever he believes will get him elected…but deep down, his actions speak volumes more than his words. And here is a great case where his action is 180 degrees from his promise.

That leads to SCARY…you have no idea what kind of other lies he’s telling. Electing him could open up a large list of scary votes…

32. darryl spews:

JCH,

How about a link to your source. Google News does not turn up a WaPo article.

Have you been reading Ben Domenech’s posts again, or what?

Perhaps you should try reading the authoritative source before spewing your nonsense.

33. rhp6033 spews:

“I have held dozens of open public forums in communities all around Washington state, and not a single person asked me about my compensation at Safeco.” (Quote from Mike McGavick)

Where, pray tell, can I attend one of these “open public forums” to ask Mike about how he earned 28 million dollars of Safeco money for two months of part-time work? My impression is that all of his “meetings” have been in fairly carefully controlled locations, among friendly audiences, where opportunities to ask unscripted questions were nil.

I would LOVE to hear him explain how he worked harder, in those two months, than other workers?

Did he work harder during those two months than a waitress would work at the Republican-sponsored minimum wage of $2.15 per hour? A waitress would have to work double-shifts, eighty hours a week, for 3,131 years at the Republican minimum wage to equal the 28 million dollars worth of value McGavick would like us to believe that he provided to Safeco in two months of part-time “availability”.

34. rhp6033 spews:

The whole “civility” campaign reminds me of a children’s game. “Tag – no tag backs!”

35. Mountain Man spews:

McGavick has proposed nine debates.

Does that sound like somebody who’s avoiding the issues?

36. freek spews:

Troll @ 10

The WSJ published misinformation? I’m shocked. SHOCKED!

37. rhp6033 spews:

Funny, while Goldy is talking about linquistics, I just realized that while McGavick is talking about “civility”, I still read this as “character”. Is this because the Republicans have so often tried to frame the debate as about “character”, that we automatically assume that he is trying to make that an issue?

Of course, McGavick has no advantage in a “character” contest with Cantwell.

But over the past fifteen years or so “character” has been a code word for another meaning. It means “I’m religious, you are not”. Not really spiritually religious, mind you. Just in favor of the same things conservitive Christians are in favor of – prayer in public schools, anti-abortion, etc.

Of course, McGavick wouldn’t win that contest either. On KIRO Friday, he affirmed that he would continue to drink on occassion, and continue to drive, but would just not drink and drive to the extent he did before when he received his DUI. That, along with his divorce, would normally be an automatic disqualifier among Conservative Christians as a good role model. But he can still argue that even if he is a “flawed” Christian, surely he is better than the openly “secular” Cantwell.

Gee, this isn’t looking to good for Mike. His “civility” campaign is a thinly-disguised attack on his opponant, who hasn’t even mentioned him in her ads. In an “issues” matchup, he fails. With regard to being forthright to voters (clearly explaining his positions), he has avoided any real public discussion. In a character comparison, he falls short. Even as a “conservative Christian”, he is only willing to buy their votes by persuing their political agenda, but he doesn’t walk the talk.

38. Daddy Love spews:

it turned out that 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle’s King County than the number of people recorded as voting.

A meaningless statistic that is always thrown out and given sinister import by Republicans. The reconciliation process is not and has never been intended to exactly match votes to voters, or numbers of votes to numbers of voters, because of additional registrations, cancellations, and changes to individual voter records. It is precisely, as KCE says, “a post-election administrative process that has no bearing on the authenticity of the election results.”

A typical situation was outlined by the Seattle Times:

“It’s impossible to come up with a precise number, [King County Elections Superintendent Bill] Huennekens said, because workers are adding and deleting names of registered voters as they update the list in preparation for a Feb. 8 special election…Huennekens said the numbers released Friday were wrong because the names of 1,003 voters appeared twice on the voter list…”

BTW, if you’re leaning on the Shark for your data, you should look again. Carla at Preemptive Karma had the definitive takedown.

39. Daddy Love spews:

Oh, well…

40. rwb spews:

Goldy, this could possibly be you best post ever. This is the kind of thing that everybody needs to read, yet you’ll never see in the newspapers. Instead you get Jamieson buying Mike’s BS. What a sucker.
So what will Mike?’s legislative agenda be? Probably just what Dick Cheney and Ted Stevens tell him, that’s what. Oh, is that the same Ted Steven who voted FOR torturing people?

41. Yossarian spews:

All Dmeocrats are idiots.

Roger Rabbit is a Democrat.

Roger Rabbit is an idiot.

42. Daddy Love spews:

Mountain Man

McGavick has proposed nine debates. Does that sound like somebody who’s avoiding the issues?

It doesn’t sound like anything. As an incumbent with a seven- to ten-point lead on the challenger and $2 million in the bank, Maria Cantwell no doubt feels little incentive to debate Mike!, and no doubt her staff has made this clear to Mike!s staff when they contacted them to ask. As in the courtroom, no one asks a question in a campaign to which they do not know the answer. Mike could safely have publicized a wish for 500 debates, because he knows he will get as few as she feels she needs. So he asks, in order to appear to be pressing the issues that he refuses to discuss on the campaign trail. It’s a standard campaign ploy, and I don’t find it particularly convincing.

43. Daddy Love spews:

Yossarian

Aside from the small matter of the truth of your premises, that is a valid syllogism.

44. ArtFart spews:

25 ” Mike@#$%* is a heavily partisan protege of Slade Gorton.”

(Sigh!) That wouln’t be so bad. Now he’s a protege of Ted Stevens.

45. My Left Foot spews:

All Republicans are idiot liars.

Yossarian is Republican.

Yossarian is an idiot liar. (love that wide brush, you get really good coverage with it. Reminder, don’t look at the elephant).

Carl Grossman
Liberal, Democrat

46. My Left Foot spews:

Brownie, Goldy’s pal, is on MSNBC saying the White House told him to lie and he is sorry he went along with the talking points. The words are nice, wonder how sincere he is. Says he make a mistake in that he should have remembered he was working for the American and not the White House.

Hmmmmmmmm

47. My Left Foot spews:

American People, is what I meant to type.

48. Yossarian spews:

Yossarian

Aside from the small matter of the truth of your premises, that is a valid syllogism.

Commentby Daddy Love— 8/28/06@ 2:40 pm
All Republicans are idiot liars.

Yossarian is Republican.

Yossarian is an idiot liar. (love that wide brush, you get really good coverage with it. Reminder, don’t look at the elephant).

Carl Grossman
Liberal, Democrat

Commentby My Left Foot— 8/28/06@ 2:45 pm

Check out Roger Rabbit’s post at 11 you fucking dolts!

49. Yossarian spews:

Correction – make that post #9 for Roger.

50. proud leftist spews:

Is it even possible to be a faithful member of today’s Republican Party and still have “character?” If I were to play a word association game, when I hear “Republican,” I would think reality-averse, smug, self-righteous, selfish, close-minded, hypocritical hater. The last thing I think of when I hear “Republican” is integrity. Of course, one thing that all Republicans share is an utter lack of self-awareness. Perhaps that deficiency explains why someone like Mike@#$%&* can ally himself with the party of Ann Coulter, Karl Rove, and Dick Cheney yet claim that he is running to promote civility in politics. Lord, help us survive such civility.

51. rhp6033 spews:

Leftist at 49: Yes, Bush was able to go a long way on the “presumtion” that he, and his administration, was a civil guy who wouldnt engage in the worst of actions and intentions which his opponants were ascribing to him.

But “Katrina” was a turning point. The American public watched TV for several days and saw the problems in New Orleans broadcast nationally. Then they saw no effective response by FEMA. Then they saw Brownie and Bush trying to cover themselves by claiming “they just learned” of the problems at the Superdome, and “nobody could have anticipated” the devestation in New Orleans, and Brownie was doing a “heckuva job”. Faced with such obvious falsehoods, and realizing that Bush (and Brown) were lying to the public with a straight face, using the same types of words and argumetns they had used with regard to tax cuts, the Iraq war, and other controversies, then they realized that they had been lied to all along.

No longer would they give the President the benefit of the doubt. Instead, they would assume that he was lying. As Nixon found out, nothing so outrages the American people as having a President lie to their face, and think they can get away with it.

52. Libertarian spews:

As Nixon found out, nothing so outrages the American people as having a President lie to their face, and think they can get away with it.

Commentby rhp6033— 8/28/06@ 3:40 pm

==========

Could that be why Clinton was impeached?

53. rwb spews:

How many of you have read John Dean’s “Conservatives without Conscience”?
Proud Leftist in post 49 brings up Mike?’s total lack of self-awareness. This is an authoritarian trait as outlined in Dean’s book. It’s a fantastic (and a little scarey) read.

54. freek spews:

Troll @ 48

The rabbit made a logic error, implying that all liars are repugs (he prolly meant all repugs are liars). That’s not the same as lying. But you prolly knew that.

55. proud leftist spews:

rwb
I haven’t read the book, but I saw John Dean interviewed on The Daily Show. He’s developed some true insight through his post-Watergate experience. You’re right about the link between lack of self-awareness and authoritarianism. Those who are incapable of recognizing fault–indeed, incapable of recognizing any shortcomings at all–cannot truly believe in democracy. Rather, they believe they must lead no matter what, that they are ordained to lead, and any political process that might pose a barrier to them need not be respected. When I read posts from some of the rightwing trolls on this blog, the tendency toward authoritarianism becomes apparent. They are right, we are not only wrong but moonbats, and never shall facts get in the way of what’s right.

56. ArtFart spews:

John Dean has stated that he considers himself a Goldwater Republican, which he contends, in the surreal political order now extolled by Faux News and the right-wing screech monkeys, now classifies him as an “ultra-liberal”.

My guess is that Barry would agree. No doubt in language that would make James Dobson pee his pants.

57. Roger Rabbit spews:

Y’o @40

I can spell my own fucking name. You?

58. Roger Rabbit spews:

55

It’s inconceivable that Goldwater would cotton to the neocons, most of whom are warmed-over commies who became fascists only because it pays better. I met the man once; he didn’t seem like their type.

59. proud leftist spews:

ArtFart
When younger, I thought Barry Goldwater was as far out there as they came. Man, was I wrong. Now, if alive, Goldwater would be the picture of moderation and dispassionate reason in the Republican Party, if indeed he remained in that party. Too bad the Republicans have shed statesmen such as he for the puerile pap that they pass off as policy now.

60. unlisted spews:

Character according to Mike! is firing Safeco employees as he gets an eight figure bonus payout for voluntarily leaving the top floor.
Character according to Mike! is dumping faithful policy holders after years of paying their auto premiums just because a credit rating trick showed they were no longer worthy customers of Safeco so get out!
Yeah, now we understand Mike!s definition of character.

61. Tree Frog Farmer spews:

Y’o, is it #7? #8? #9? #10? I can’t read your ind. . .oh that’s right, you have no mind!

62. Doctor JCH Kennedy spews:

Trash the ‘Compact’
An attempt to circumvent the Electoral College is really an urban power grab.

BY PETE DU PONT
Monday, August 28, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

For more than 200 years America has chosen its presidents as the Constitution provides: through the Electoral College. Traditionally, each state has cast its electoral votes–equal to its total representation in Congress–for the candidate who receives the most votes statewide.

But last week the California Senate passed legislation to award the state’s Electoral College votes to the candidate who has received the most popular votes nationally–whether Californians chose him or not. A similar bill passed the Assembly on May 30, so it will soon be up to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign or veto the bill. Such a bill also passed the Colorado Senate in April, part of a national to change the way we choose our presidents. The mandate doesn’t take effect until enough other states sign on to provide a majority of electoral votes. If it were in effect in 2004, George W. Bush would have taken California’s 55 electoral votes, even though John Kerry carried the state by a margin of nearly 10%.

It is an odd idea, an “interstate compact” switching the Electoral College votes of member states from their state’s vote winner to the national vote winner. And the direct election of presidents would be a political, electoral, and constitutional mistake that would radically change America’s election system.

First, the direct election of presidents would lead to geographically narrower campaigns, for election efforts would be largely urban. In 2000 Al Gore won 677 counties and George Bush 2,434, but Mr. Gore received more total votes. Circumvent the Electoral College and move to a direct national vote, and those 677 largely urban counties would become the focus of presidential campaigns.
Rural states like Maine, with its 740,000 votes in 2004, wouldn’t matter much compared with New York’s 7.4 million or California’s 12.4 million votes. Rural states’ issues wouldn’t matter much either; big-city populations and urban issues would become the focus of presidential campaigns. America would be holding urban elections, and that would change the character of campaigns and presidents.

Second, in any direct national election there would be significant election-fraud concerns. In the 2000 Bush-Gore race, Mr. Gore’s 540,000-vote margin amounted to 3.1 votes in each of the country’s 175,000 precincts. “Finding” three votes per precinct in urban areas is not a difficult thing, or as former presidential scholar and Kennedy advisor Theodore White testified before the Congress in 1970, “There is an almost unprecedented chaos that comes in the system where the change of one or two votes per precinct can switch the national election of the United States.”

Washington state’s 2004 governor’s race was decided by just 129 votes. A judge found 1,678 illegal votes were cast, and it turned out that 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle’s King County than the number of people recorded as voting. This affected just Washington state, but in a direct national election where everything hangs on a small number of urban districts, such manipulations could easily decide presidencies.

Third, direct election would lead to a multicandidate, multiparty system instead of the two-party system we have. Many candidates would run on narrow issues: anti-immigration, pro-gun, environment, national security, antiwar, socialist or labor candidates, for they would have a microphone for their issues. Then there would be political power seekers–Al Sharpton or Michael Moore–and Hollywood pols like Barbra Streisand or Warren Beatty. Even Paris Hilton could advance her career through a presidential campaign.

For such candidates to run under the present system is very difficult, for they have to win state by state electoral votes. But if all you need is national fame and fortune to win popular votes, many candidates would run and presidential campaigns would become unfocused, confused, and about political advocacy instead of presidential substance.

Finally, direct election would also lead to weaker presidents. There are no run-offs in the Interstate Compact–that would require either a constitutional amendment or the agreement of all 50 states and the District of Columbia–so the highest percentage winner, no matter how small (perhaps 25% or 30% in a six- or eight-candidate field) would become president. Such a winner would not have an Electoral College majority and therefore not be seen as a legitimate president.

So rather that trying to eviscerate the Electoral College, we should be embracing it. It was put in the Constitution to allow states to choose presidents, for we are a republic based on the separation of powers, not a direct democracy. And the Electoral College–just like the Senate–was intended to protect the residents of small states. As James Madison said, the Electoral College included the will of the nation–every congressional district gets an electoral vote–and “the will of the states in their distinct and independent capacities” since every state gets two additional electors.

And might not the direct-election Interstate Compact lead to other similar efforts? California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein says the Electoral College violates “one person, one vote,” and so we should have direct election of the president. But the equal allocation of two senators to each state also violates “one person, one vote.” Montana, with 900,000 people, gets two senators and so does California with 34 million, so Feinstein’s logic would say that California should have 12 senators, and Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont should share just one among them.
Might not “one person, one vote” allow a national vote to amend the Constitution instead of requiring approval by three-quarters of the states? To restrict freedom of speech, or expand searches and seizures, or modify any of the Bill of Rights?

One wonders if the direct election of presidents is really the beginning of an effort to bring national government under the control of large and liberal states. Common Cause, a Washington-based lobbying group that describes itself as “promoting open, honest and accountable government,” argues “how neatly it fits with American tradition.” But it doesn’t. It contradicts our constitutional republic’s state and federal government sharing of powers. Choosing presidents is one of our states’ powers, and we should not remove it to begin a centralized national American government.

Mr. du Pont, a former governor of Delaware, is chairman of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. His column appears once a month.

63. Doctor JCH Kennedy spews:

Carl Grossman
Liberal, Democrat and married to a shiksa. [Mrs. Gossmanstein, "Tookie" love tonight????? Call me!!!]

64. proud leftist spews:

61
“One wonders if the direct election of presidents is really the beginning of an effort to bring national government under the control of large and liberal states.”

One wonders if maintaining the electoral college isn’t really the continuance of an endless effort to keep the national government under the control of small and reactionary states.

65. Roger Rabbit spews:

37

I especially like this mistake of Stefan’s:

“The most visible mistake was asking the postal service about bulk mailing of military overseas ballots, and not asking about the right bulk mail license.”

66. Yossarian spews:

The point was to show your hypocrisy. Roger Rabbit can make a faulty logic statement and go unchallenged. (Karr is liar, Karr is a Republican. – see post #9 for Roger.)

I deliberately made a statement using Roger’s same faulty logic scheme and was attacked byt the usual suspects, but Roger was not called to task for his error. Sounds like a double standard to me, and makes all of you arrogant fuckers a bunch of asshole hypocrits!!

Have a nice day, fuckwads!

67. Jacko spews:

What the hell is the difference between Cantwell and Mike! on Iraq? If you want to stop the war machine please tell is how re-electing Cantwell (who has yet to admit her Patriot Act and Iraq War votes were wrong — not just “I was mislead” bullshit) furthering this cause?

68. rhp6033 spews:

A late addition to this topic, but appropriate to the subject: Horsey Cartoon 8/29/2006 about the Cantwell/McGavick race:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/horsey/viewbydate.asp?id=1447

So what is better: a repentant sinner, or one who has not sinned?

(yea, yea, I know, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God….”)