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The Art of Listening

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Do you hear the rumbling? Do you see flashes of lightening and hear the rolling of thunder? Do you feel the tension of the coming war?

I am not talking about an invasion of Iran or the ongoing liberation of Iraq. I am talking abou the The War for the 2008 Democratic Presidential ticket. I think it should be clear to everyone who has given this more than a passing thought that the clear frontrunner at this point in time is Hillary Roddam Clinton, the junior senator from New York (via Illinois, Arkansas, and Washington, D.C.). The print media and the talking heads are dissecting her every word, phrase, and faint.

And, lately, there is much to dissect and examine. For example, she recently gave a speech in Boston in which she invoked the name of God more than a dozen times, according to the New York Times. What may have alarmed people even more was that she admitted, in the same Boston speech, that she had “always been a praying person.” I am not sure exactly what that means. While she didn’t specify to whom she is “a praying person,” I am going to go out on a limb and assume it was prayer to a Supreme Being. The experts, and I use the term as loosely as possible, are suggesting she is reaching out in with a Biblical olive branch in an appeal to the – well, what do we call them in our politically-correct time today – “the Christian Right” or the “Evangelicals” or, as I have previously used, “People of Religion” (simply P.O.R.). If so, she is displaying an awareness that will bode well for a 2008 candidacy.

In the confirmation vote in the Senate for Dr. Condoleeza Rice, she did not join the yapping leftist lap dogs like Barbara Boxer and the increasingly piteous John Kerry, and voted for the confirmation. In her statement, she said:

“I’m hopeful that Dr. Rice’s statements during the recent hearings in support of reaching out to allies, public diplomacy and building coalitions will be more than words, but instead describe a genuine effort to ensure that our country leads the world though its strong alliances, values and example.”

I applaud Senator Clinton’s sensibilities. For those who think it is an important issue, and I count myself among this group, she has also spoken out against gay couples being granted the right to enter into a marriage, at least in the traditional sense of the word. She recently was quoted in the New York Post as saying:

“Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage always has been, between a man and a woman.”

Again, Bravo! She has her finger on the pulse of the majority of Americans, I think.

Now, Senator Clinton has some strong criticisms and temporally remote faux pas to address if she does, and I think she will, rise to the top of the Democratic ticket for 2008. I will not outline them here, as they have been written about, ad nauseam, elsewhere.

Some observers have taken note of Senator Clinton’s recent shift and reacted with a conniption of resounding proportion. But I have a different take on the recent speeches and remarks. I think Hillary might be the first post-2004 debacle Democrat to actually “get it.”

May God and my fellow P.O.R.’s forgive me, but I have very high hopes for Senator Clinton. I am a conservative by birthright and by choice. I am a practicing medical doctor by occupation. But, I have some admittedly non-doctrinal beliefs when it comes to some hot-button political issues. I firmly believe – and I may be expelled from the American Medical Association for saying so – that our health care system needs to be fixed. It is definitely broken. I see Medicare patients all day long who wonder how they are going to pay for the medicines their debilities require. I see Americans all day long that have absolutely no health insurance and, here’s the sad part – refuse medical tests they need simply because they cannot afford them. These are not Medicaid-eligible citizens, just lower-middle class people who simply cannot afford insurance. I know doctors who make way too much money for way too little delivery of care.We need a solution. I am not convinced that solution is government intervention since they have clearly botched Medicare and Medicaid. But something needs to be done. I am also for gun control, in some form. I am also for pro-choice for victims of rape, incest, and for fetuses with clearly definable, documented, severe and life-threatening congenital defects. We need more qualified, regularly certified and better paid teachers in our schools. We need better trained and better paid first-line emergency responders (police, firemen, etc.)

But, despite what many considers anti-conservative beliefs, I usually vote Republican. I think as long as the Democratic Party puts forth its “best and brightest” personified by candidates such as Al Gore and John Kerry, I will continue to vote Republican.

I am, however, acutely aware that this country populace is fractured. Severely fractured. I have never, in my 54 years, seen our country so divided. I don’t like what I see. The country seems to be as two plow horses, hitched to the same plow (made in China, by the way) and pulling in opposite directions. George Bush, who I unashamedly voted for – twice – is, by his nature – not a uniting President. Perhaps that is always true of war time Presidents. He will never bring closure to the Great Divide that is today’s American public. Ever.

I think that is OK with President Bush. I believe George Bush does what he believes in his heart to be right for this country and, if you like it, fine. If you don’t like it, that’s fine also. That’s George Bush. He’s a love me or hate me kind of guy. Maybe that’s what we need in these terrorist and perilous times. Only history will decide that issue.

Also, I don’t see any rising stars in the Republican party, either. Jeb Bush (Florida) or Mark Sanford (South Carolina)? Bush is too polarizing, if in name only, and Sanford too unknown. John McCain? Better choice, good man but probably not viable in 2008. How about a “I (Heart) New York)” ticket of Rudy Guiliani and George Pataki? Again, good men, but both would be out of their depth. Far right fringe candidates, such as the re-invented Pat Buchanan, need not apply.

So, in lieu of a strong Republican ticket, I really think the Democratic party will have an excellent chance to win the Presidency in 2008, if – and it is a very large if - they can move more toward the center on the Heartland issues. I – with my pie-in-the-sky optimism – also hope the Democrats and the Republicans can at least discuss issues of urgent importance to our country without name calling, race baiting, and hating to share the very air each other breathes.

Despite the long shadow of her past misdeeds (individually and through association with a certain ex-President), and at great risk to my personal safety, I am going to also hope Senator Clinton continues to move more centrist in her views on the Heartland issues. I am, in turn, willing to compromise with my usual voting preference. I think HRC could be a unifying candidate in 2008 and, further, I think we will need one then, even more than now.

It is not only past time for our country to have a female President, it is high time we started looking at our differences and start working to narrow them. We cannot survive as a country or as a people with our current divisive stands. There is nothing that can defeat this country – economically, culturally, or militarily – except ourselves. If we continue this path of two countries – and that is really what we have become – we will remain too busy caterwauling in each others’ direction to address the economic challenges posed by China and India, the cultural challenges posed by growing elitism and poverty, or the military challenges posed by terrorism.

Folks, it is time we all started moving toward each other rather than away. There needs to be dialogue not talking heads screaming at each other on the radio or TV. As a lifelong, firmly right-of-center Republican, I am ready to work some issues out. I hope there are enough P.O.R.’s (see above) like me that are willing to start listening to and stop screaming at the other party.

I know, from long experience, that feelings people have – on the right and the left – regarding highly emotional issues are never going to be changed by rhetoric or logic. I will never logically win over a pro-choice advocate on the issue of abortion. I will never, short of brainwashing worthy of the Manchurian Candidate, ever convince a peace-at-any-cost proponent that the Iraq invasion was the right war at the right time. But that is alright. There are things we can make compromises on. We need to start doing that and stop focusing on what we disagree on or, worse, think we disagree on.

Liberals and conservatives are not, innately, bad people. They really aren’t. Michael Moore is not the anti-Christ and, conversely, Bill O’Reilly is not Satan incarnate. We are Americans, first and foremost. We need to start talking about problems and taking baby steps toward finding solutions we can all – at least more than 51% – live with. I hope there are more who see the growing problem and are really ready to try and do something about it. If not, we are in for some even more troubling times ahead. Like pack dogs, our enemies can smell weakness. And with our continued division we will appear (and smell) weak. Let’s not wait for the next 9/11 tragedy to wake up and realize we are all in this together. Same ship, same ocean. If we sink this ship- and only we can – we are all going down. Not just conservatives and not just liberals.

I will be listening to more from Senator Clinton and other Democratic party leaders. I hope more conservatives will do the same. I hope the Democratic party will also be listening to America’s majority, as well. I can’t remember who said it, but one of the wisest phrases I know, paraphrasing, is “I have never learned anything from speaking; I have learned much from listening.” We should all take those sage words of advice.

About Diet Doc

  • Mary

    Pat Buchanan is a prophet, not some “far right fringe,” as the author ignorantly writes. I am not going to waste my time saying anything more herein. Thank you.

  • http://www.kalyr.com/weblog Tim Hall

    Pat Buchanan is a prophet, not some “far right fringe,” as the author ignorantly writes.

    If you really believe that then you yourself occupy the same far right fringe as Buchanan.

    I am not going to waste my time saying anything more herein. Thank you.

    Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Is Buchanan going to switch back to the Democrats and join the rest of the leftists again so he can run for president?

    Dave

  • http://www.kalyr.com/weblog Tim Hall

    I’ve never been convinced by the right-libertarian argument that the authoritarian right are some wierd kind of leftists. If anything, the extreme authoritarian ‘left’ have fallen off the edge of the political spectrum and come back round the other end.

  • http://www.kolehardfacts.blogspot.com Mike Kole

    As a right-libertarian, I’ve never been convinced of it either. An authoritarian is an authoritarian.

    As stated on another thread recently, Buchanan shares a curious number of positions with Ralph Nader: pro-union, anti-NAFTA, most notably.

  • Dan

    Pat Buchanan is an honest intellectual, and a decent man.

    Leftist Ideologues have waged a relentless, aggressive war on Western Civilization for a long time. Their most effective tactic is to use their unearned moral superiority to tarnish and squelch the dissent of anyone who has the courage to defend Western Civilization, as they feverishly work openly and aggressively to dismantle it.

    Pat Buchannon is a victim of this. Any reasonable person, upon listening to PB on a cable news show for the first time is likely to think: Wow! I wonder what all the hysterical shrieking about this guy was for.

    dietdoc seems a little naive with the enthusiasm for Hillary. (no disrespect implied) She’s obviously posturing for the run. She’s engaging in the same ol’ double speak phonyism liberals always have to resort to… to fool people instead of win them over. It’s fun to watch, but a little creepy. Sort of Terminator like. Emotionless, calculating, cold-blooded.

    A Hillary/Condoleesa Presidential Debate would be most interesting.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Dietdoc, you seem like a nice enough fella, but you must be writing yourself some interesting scripts if Hillary is your idea of the uniter that’s going close those gaps. Yowsa!

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com alienboy

    dietdoc is to be applauded for displaying signs of intelligence and an appreciation of reality; it is indeed “compromise that moves us along”.

    mary, dan and mr barger demonstrate both how rare this and how ambitious a project.

    i really believe that if the usa does not find ways to resolve these internal conflicts, it will destroy itself from within. there are countless examples of this throughout history.

    i also think that such a fall would be a bad thing, for everybody.

  • Eric Olsen

    Amazon please

  • http://dietdoc.blogspot.com Diet Doc

    Alienboy writes:

    “i really believe that if the usa does not find ways to resolve these internal conflicts, it will destroy itself from within. there are countless examples of this throughout history.”

    Reply: I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said, paraphrasing, “America will can never be defeated; it can only die by suicide.”

    I appreciate your comments. I see the same problems you do and fear the same end game.

    Cheers,

    Ron

  • http://emeraldcitycomments.blogspot.com/ Roy Smith

    A very thoughtful post. HRC, if elected will be hated by a certain far-right portion of the electorate with a vehemence that will make their hatred of her husband look positively tame. Simultaneously, she will become hated by a portion of the far-left portion of the electorate for “selling out” their agenda (i.e., becoming a centrist). For the rest of us, she could be a very good President.

  • http://dietdoc.blogspot.com Diet Doc

    Roy:

    I agree. If willing to compromise, I think HRC could be a major step toward one nation again. I really am disturbed at what I see today. I honestly still believe harsh times call for harsh measures. At the same time, I am clinging to a belief that in 2008, we will not need what we need now.

    Thanks for the comments.

    Cheers,

    Ron

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    It will take 2+ years of consistently centrist action – votes, not just talk – to reposition Senator Clinton to a winnable stance for 2008. We’re all watching.

    Keep in mind, she will need to worry just as much about attention from the liberal Democrat base as from her right-wing critics.

  • http://dietdoc.blogspot.com Diet Doc

    Dr. Pat writes:

    “Keep in mind, she will need to worry just as much about attention from the liberal Democrat base as from her right-wing critics.”

    Reply: Absolutely. As she drifts, I expect, toward just-left-of-center, the far left will howl. It will probably be very difficult to distinguish where the loudest howls come from – the boo birds from her own party or the (far) right wing. I agree voting record speaks louder than words.

    Cheers,

    Ron

  • http://www.bigtimepatriot.com Big Time Patriot

    I (and many liberals I would guess) believe in the commonly heard motto, “Abortions should be legal, safe and RARE”.

    I would take conservatives worries about abortion more seriously if they gave as much passion to those already alive. The mortality rate in America is going up. But once they are born I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. 130 Iraqi children died in the war. Doesn’t matter if there was a good excuse for the war, they don’t matter anymore, they were already born.

    Anyway, I think Hilary is great and she really is not very radical, she is pretty much a centrist like her husband. I myself don’t think she goes far enough in several liberal areas. But she is brave enough to speak her mind AND she has a mind smart enough to see reality. Wouldn’t it be great to have a President who had BOTH qualities?

  • http://www.bigtimepatriot.com Big Time Patriot

    d-oh, okay, I should have checked this first, infant mortality (not just mortality as I wrote above) is not increasing in America, I heard that somewhere and repeated it without checking. However our infant mortality rate is still piss poor compared to other countries http://www.unicef.org/sowc03/tables/table1.html so my point about priorities still stands, just not QUITE as strongly as before..

  • http://emeraldcitycomments.blogspot.com/ Roy Smith

    For more on the correlation between conservative opposition to abortion and lack of concern for infants, this article about Mississippi appeared in The Nation: Post-Roe Postcard. One of the more enlightening parts:

    Such concern for the rights of fetuses does not appear to translate into a commitment to promoting the well-being of the children they may become. The uncomfortable irony for an opposition movement purportedly concerned with saving “innocent babies” is that restrictions on abortion are associated with worse outcomes for actual babies. Indeed, children fare terribly in Mississippi. The state with arguably the least access to abortion also has the second-highest rate of child poverty in the country, according to the Children’s Defense Fund. Mississippi’s infant mortality rate–a good indication of the health of both women and children–is the highest in the country. For every 1,000 live births, 10.5 infants under age 1 die in Mississippi. In parts of the impoverished Delta region, that number ranges up to 18. (The national infant mortality rate, by comparison, is 6.8.) Interestingly, a postelection comparison found that “red” states had higher infant mortality rates than “blue” ones. In general, states that restrict abortion spend far less money per child than prochoice states on services such as foster care, education, welfare and the adoption of children who have physical and mental disabilities, according to a 2000 book by political scientist Jean Reith Schroedel.

  • http://www.shortstrangetrip.org Joe

    Nah, it’s still pretty lame. Try a little analysis: You think that maybe the higher rate of births in the US than some of the higher ranking countries might count for something? And just possibly, that because of advances in neo-natalogy, premature babies that might not even stand a chance elsewhere are often handled here where they would otherwise be written off? Would you rather take your child to a pediatrician in China?

  • http://emeraldcitycomments.blogspot.com/ Roy Smith

    The post compares Mississippi with other states in the United States, not with foreign countries. As a rule, states most opposed to abortion also take worse care of their children.

  • http://www.shortstrangetrip.org Joe

    My comment was in response to # 15/16.

  • http://emeraldcitycomments.blogspot.com/ Roy Smith

    The point that I am promoting (in #17) is exactly the same as the one in #15 or #16. Comparing states within the US probably makes the point more strongly than attempting to compare the United States with other countries.

  • http://www.shortstrangetrip.org Joe

    The point you are promoting is just more agenda driven B.S. How original!

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Hillary’s really not particularly all that radical in her policy stances, certainly not since she actually began seeking her senate seat.

    She’s got some very likely insurmountable problems though, probably the worst of which is really her history of extreme and overtly, maliciously and ruthlessly dishonest partisanship. You could start there, for example, with her famous “vast right wing conspiracy” that was supposedly making up lies about her husband.

    Then there are just SCADS of personal scandals, the memory of which will not be erased. Jebus Criminy, those people couldn’t just manage to vacate the White House without stealing the frickin’ furniture.

    I don’t that much mind the rather unlikely idea of President Hillary. Some Democrat will be elected president again someday, and I’d rather see her than a President Kerry. Flaws aside, she’s probably got a little more sense than most of her party.

  • SFC SKI

    I just wonder how anyone so ambitious will do once in office? I mean, she didn’t divorce Bill merely on stand by your man principles, she knows it would hurt her later, just as being a radical loudmouth in the Boxer vein would hurt her later. I am not saying she is dishonest or incompetent, but she knows what she wants and will play her cards close to the vest until she gets there.

    She might be a good choice, but she would have to really work hard to make me believe she any other than raw ambition to get my vote.
    Maybe in the next next 3 years she will step out a bit to show what she that she has a vision and is capable.

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com alienboy

    SFC SKI: Surely it should be taken for granted that anyone interested in high public office is ambitious?

    the fact that you can see Ms Clinton playing politics can only be to her credit. and if she has to compromise to get ahead, i see no harm, that’s just the nature of the game.

    perhaps you could lay out the vision of her opponents, as all i can see is a cold disdain for the needs of both citizens and the larger world.

    i really feel like vomiting when presented with ivy league educated rich people pretending to be just plain folk. then i see people actually buying it and do indeed vomit

    Before Mr Barger or Mr Nalle start calling me a Democrat (or worse, lol), let me say i’m not.

    However, if I had to pick, i’d go for honest ambition over cheesy falseness any day.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    The tradition of ivy league elitists pretending to be ‘just plain folk’ is one of the great traditions in American politics going back to Thomas Jefferson who was about the biggest elitist on earth but still won the presidency on the strength of being an advocate for the little people. I think it really goes back even farther in politics to the days of leaders like Peter the Great in Russia. It’s the idea of the nobleman who chooses to live like a peasant so that he can understand their plight and rule them better when he comes to power. It’s a very appealing, very romantic idea.

    When done in a way which seem genuine – as in the case of George W. Bush – it can be very effective. To make it work Bush had to largely separate from his family, go out and fail in business several times and then sort of work his way up to prominence on his own. When it’t done in a way which seems artificial I think it’s a disastrous strategy – Louis XVI and his fake peasant village at Versailles.

    But what makes it a bad thing? Would you rather have an elitist like John Kerry who says effectively “I’m better than you so I’ll do your thinking for you” or one like George W. Bush who says “I may have a priveleged background, but I’ve worked hard to understand you and I think I can speak for you because of that.”

    Dave

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com alienboy

    Morning Dave,

    Interesting points – see, I knew you could be relevant and interesting when you want to! lol

    Just because there is a long tradition of deceit amongst your educational “elite” doesn’t make it acceptable, does it?

    Do you think that a member of the ruling elite can ACTUALLY come to understand the needs and aspirations of the larger, more impoverished public?

    I think it might be possible – but not without a lot of effort and disciplined hard work, far more than any contemporary leader could ever spare.

    I guess the question of whether Bush does a good job is a subjective thing, but please trust me when I say that, from a distance, it seems very difficult to see the difference between Bush and one of those travelling snakeoil salesmen. He really comes across as fake, kind of like a commission-based sales person.

    I’m not up on the details of Bush’s business past, but I seem to recall reading an article that said he managed to run an oil company, in Texas!, into the ground and was then bailed out by some rich family friends.

    If that is a true story, it would rather change the image of the man, no?

    Do you think the successes and failures of an Ivy Leaguer can, in all seriousness, be compared to the daily grind of just plain folks? It seems a bit of a stretch to me.

    It seems important that if someone wants to be trusted to be given the job of leading a country, the least they could do is be honest and open about it. After all, if they’re lying to their own electorate, how can they be trusted on anything else at all?

    I don’t think Kerry has ever said that, and doubt he thinks it, although he does come off like that sometimes.

    Bush has the “Tin Men” routine down to a fine art, but it plays way better in the USA than internationally, where that kind of cheesiness just doesn’t play so well. He just comes across as rather bogus.

    One of the most important qualities of a leader is to NOT give in to the worst impulses of a society, but the current regime seems to embody these impulses, not channel them.

    This is one of the things that worries the USA’s close friends and partners, particularly in Europe, as some of the reaction to US “initiatives” inevitably splashes over its close friends.

    If the USA then displays indifference to the messy splatter, who wouldn’t be offended by that? Nobody would tolerate that kind of behaviour on a personal level, so why would it be acceptable on an international level where the stakes are so much higher?

  • dietdoc

    Alienboy writes:

    “please trust me when I say that, from a distance, it seems very difficult to see the difference between Bush and one of those travelling snakeoil salesmen. He really comes across as fake, kind of like a commission-based sales person.”

    Reply: My father, a died-in-the-wool Democrat and union man all his life, says that the one thing he really finds obnoxious about GWB is his smile. He describes it much as you – a smirk more than a smile. He really has strong negative feelings about the man. We completely avoid the issue altogether as I am just right of center, politically. My mother always tries to steer the conversation away from politics, completely.

    But I never cease to be amazed at how angry he can get about the person, not necessarily the agenda, of the man, himself.

    Cheers,

    Ron

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Alienboy:

    >>Just because there is a long tradition of deceit amongst your educational “elite” doesn’t make it acceptable, does it?< <

    It's actually the old money aristocracy of wealth, not the educational elite. These folks are the closest thing we have to a nobility here in the US. The educational elite are part of a separate class of intelligentsia and generally not people who go into politics, though there is overlap between the two groups.

    >>Do you think that a member of the ruling elite can ACTUALLY come to understand the needs and aspirations of the larger, more impoverished public?< <

    I think that's a matter of how capable he is of projecting himself into other peoples viewpoints. Some people are just naturally very good at this. Others are not. If he's a person who reads a book and makes an emotional connection with the characters in the book and comes to understand them and people like them better as a result, that's good enough. If Bush read and understood John Grisham's "A Painted House", for example, it would hav equipped him to understand a whole segment of the population he would normally never have contact with. Maybe that's superficial, but it's as good as you're likely to get. And the truth is that no one is going to elect a poor farmer or an inner city garbage man president anytime soon. And if they WERE elected they'd have as much trouble understanding the needs of the middle class as Bush has understanding them.

    >>I think it might be possible – but not without a lot of effort and disciplined hard work, far more than any contemporary leader could ever spare.< <

    Well, what do you think those 30 years bumming around Texas half drunk all the time were all about. Bush made himself part of a class of people, the entrepreneurial salesmen of the oil industry of that era, and that took him out of his background, put him with a new class of people, and put him in contact not only with people of the same class, but also the people they did business with and who worked for them. That's a lot of exposure, from quasi-legal Mexican roughnecks to pipe fitters to truckers and real estate speculators and everyone else you come into contact with in a day of work.

    >>I guess the question of whether Bush does a good job is a subjective thing, but please trust me when I say that, from a distance, it seems very difficult to see the difference between Bush and one of those travelling snakeoil salesmen. He really comes across as fake, kind of like a commission-based sales person.< <

    I think that's a personal thing. Having known a lot of people like him, or like the personna he has adopted, living here in Texas, I see exactly what he is trying to be and am not so troubled by it.

    >>I’m not up on the details of Bush’s business past, but I seem to recall reading an article that said he managed to run an oil company, in Texas!, into the ground and was then bailed out by some rich family friends. < <

    Yep, and there's no better experience in the world than running a small, doomed, entrepreneurial business where all the responsibility is on your head. Even if he was bailed out in the end, he still got the experience of trying desperately and failing. And later business ventures did better. He really did do a remarkable job when he was wit the Texas Rangers Baseball team.

    >>If that is a true story, it would rather change the image of the man, no? < <

    Why?

    >>Do you think the successes and failures of an Ivy Leaguer can, in all seriousness, be compared to the daily grind of just plain folks? It seems a bit of a stretch to me.< <

    Believe me, it's plenty humiliating to have to be bailed out by your dad's friends, and even if you don't end up personally impoverished, you still know you failed.

    I've known so many people like Bush who went through the same life cycle without necessarily having as good connections. They pick up the pieces, start another enterprise and move on. They may fail a dozen times before they either hit the right groove or drink themselves to death. We're talking people who solely on wit and charm go from millionaire to bankrupt to millionaire to bankrupt in the course of 5 years.

    >>It seems important that if someone wants to be trusted to be given the job of leading a country, the least they could do is be honest and open about it. After all, if they’re lying to their own electorate, how can they be trusted on anything else at all?< <

    I don't see how he's hidden anything about his background. It's just like Kerry's in most ways, except that he at least tried a career in business while Kerry went straight into government on a golden carpet.

    >>Bush has the “Tin Men” routine down to a fine art, but it plays way better in the USA than internationally, where that kind of cheesiness just doesn’t play so well. He just comes across as rather bogus.< <

    After all this time doing it I don't think it's bogus, though. If you play a role long enough you become the role.

    >>One of the most important qualities of a leader is to NOT give in to the worst impulses of a society, but the current regime seems to embody these impulses, not channel them. < <

    I don't think Bush would agree and I'm not sure that I do. I think his actions are motivated by a desire to do good, but things don't always work out the way he expects.

    >>This is one of the things that worries the USA’s close friends and partners, particularly in Europe, as some of the reaction to US “initiatives” inevitably splashes over its close friends.

    If the USA then displays indifference to the messy splatter, who wouldn’t be offended by that? Nobody would tolerate that kind of behaviour on a personal level, so why would it be acceptable on an international level where the stakes are so much higher?<<

    People here don’t see the situation this way, though. We haven’t asked the Europeans to come in and bail us out, or tried to dump our problems on them. But we also haven’t rewarded them for not being supportive in the first place. Their response to that has been very petty. We apparently haven’t shown them the ‘respect’ they think they deserve, but that’s because we’re showing them the respect they’ve earned, and they’re not used to that.

    Dave

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com alienboy

    So the coalition of the willing didn’t primarily consist of Britain and other Europeans?

    Let’s face it, even the USA isn’t the power it once was. Just as the internet is democratising so much information that used to be that much harder to discover, by interconnecting everything, so the whole world is becoming more closely bound together.

    The USA is constantly asking other countries for support on all its initiatives but doesn’t seem to understand it’s a 2 way street.

    There are a LOT of great ideas being developed in the USA, and we all respect and appreciate the contribution. However, being young and gifted doesn’t justify boorish behaviour.

    We don’t have to earn your respect: firstly, we don’t need it. there are more of us than there are of you and once europe’s integration is more developed, you might find yourselves struggling to catch up with us! So it would be prudent to build alliances not stress them.

    secondly, showing respect is nothing more than an extension of courtesy and being so ill-mannered as to blow one’s own trumpet so much gets real old real fast.

    The respect we’ve earned?

    Versus the respect you’ve earned?

    Interesting math possibly but where’s it get us? We still have a hot, dangerous, polluted, hungry planet to sort out.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    There is a fallacy to perfectionism that argues “since we cannot do everything now, at once, perfectly and ideally, we should do nothing.

    Or to quote from memory, “Pick your battle and fight it to win. Then chose your next battle… The day you refuse that battle is the day you die. Believe me, there are a lot of dead men walking around, wondering where their ideals went.” –John Cielewicsz

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com alienboy

    Dr Pat: Huh?