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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 4:50 pm 
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Senator Kerry made the following remarks this week while on Campaign:

"If you make an effort to stay smart, you do well, if you don't, you end up in Iraq."

Kerry says this was seized upon "by Right Wing Nut Jobs" and distorted to be an attack on our troops, rather than a botched joke.

Senator McCain is a Right Wing Nut Job?

John Thurston is a Right Wing Nut Job?

I suppose it may be that the President is a Right Wing Nut Job?

I don't see much room for misinterpretation of what the Senator from the of Massachussetts actually said.

It is a classic example of the one having to called to be responsible for what one said, not for what one 'meant'.

Perhaps it was an instinctive throwback to the points of view of some in the Vietnam anti war movement.

I don't understand how this could have been a 'joke' ,nor did Senator McCain, a supposed friend of Kerry's who also is calling for an apology to our servicemen.

I feel that the Senators instinctive response opens a window to how he actually thinks, but may not be saying for political reasons.

I don't think Kerry will ever apologize. I don't think he 'gets it'.

'I am so glad my Johnny didn't have to go, he's still in school'.

Personally I deplored that sentiment.

I had already fely very badly about being turned down for the Marine's PLC program.

Later I saw that Anti war folk could literally throw turds on Servicemen sreturning from Vietnam and chant "Hey hey whadayya say, how many babies did you kill today?"

I admit to being deterred from volunteering again. That is the complete truth.

How glad I am that we now say out of respect: "thank you for your service" to Veterans.

It's a great custom.

In a way I do not think anyone's service in Vietnam was appreciated or respected at the time.

That's partially why I beleive that pro "Iraqi Freedom" sentiments expressed by those not presently in uniform cannot be discounted.

You never actually know who you may be talking to.

Roman inscription on a brave Centurion's Grave:

"Show respect, you are walking on the ashes of a Hero"

I know, an obscure historical reference.

jt

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:17 pm 
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John

I found the whole thing fascinating.

Here's the thing. Kerry said what he said. If you want my best academic (as objective as possible) evaluation of the line, it's sufficiently ambiguous (if isolated from the past) to allow Kerry to claim "botched joke" rather than intentional slight of the men and women in uniform. That's his story, and he's sticking with it.

However the statement isn't made in isolation. These are Kerry quotes from the past. This is part of his 1971 testimony to Congress about fellow Vietnam soldiers.

Quote:
I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.

It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit, the emotions in the room, the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.


That testimony came back to haunt an older, wiser John Kerry who represented himself as a war hero in a subequent presidential election.

Would that comment allow someone to view yesterday's quip with a biased eye? Certainly it's human nature partially to judge someone based upon their past. And as a professional mathematical model builder, there's statistical proof that the future can be predicted from the past with some (but not perfect) degree of certainty. That's why employers use references in job interviews.

Unfortunately for Senator Kerry, this is a recent quote of his concerning service men and women in Iraq. This is a December 5th, 2005 interview with Bob Schieffer.

Quote:
Let me--I--first of all, there is so much more that unites Democrats than divides us. And Democrats have much more in common with each other than they do with George Bush's policy right now. Now Joe Lieberman, I believe, also voted for the resolution which said the president needs to make more clear what he's doing and set out benchmarks, and that the policy hasn't been working. We all believe him when you say, `Stay the course.' That's the president's policy, which hasn't been changing, which is a policy of failure. I don't agree with that. But I think what we need to do is recognize what we all agree on, which is you've got to begin to set benchmarks for accomplishment. You've got to begin to transfer authority to the Iraqis. And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not...


Oops...

Then let's analyze what Senator Kerry said.
Quote:
You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.

When the firestorm started, Senator Kerry called his statement a "botched joke" and claimed he was referring to George Bush. There are two problems with this. First, there is his history of disparaging remarks of service men and women (quoted above). Second, George Bush got an undergrad degree from Yale (not too shabby, even if he drank his way through 4 years), and an MBA from Harvard (the program is ranked #1 in the country by US News and World Report).

But still... One could maybe kind of sort of believe it was a "botched joke" due to "Bush-isms." GW is a very intelligent man, but he is no Mr. Silver Tongue. The late night talk show circuit has fun with his verbal jaffes, as did his opponents in the two presidential elections.

So what does Mr. Kerry do? He insists he will apologize to nobody. That more than anything else is probably the biggest mistake. Quoting Shakespeare, "Methinks the lady doth protest too much." A smart politician certainly could pull off the "botched joke" line, but should still apologize profusely to service men and women if for no other reason than to engage in damage control a week before an election. Apparently Senator Kerry doesn't have a professional image consultant.

Neither the media nor the web seem to be buying his explanation. What I found fascinating last night, John, is that NBC is no longer quoting Kerry. Instead, they are reporting that Kerry insulted the military by saying students could end up stuck in Iraq if they don't get an education. Ouch! Frankly I'm surprised to see this kind of journalistic paraphrasing going on. In my book, it isn't a shining example of journalistic integrity. But it speaks to the reaction that "the man on the street" had to the comment.

The response has been so strong that you can now find the quip on YouTube (within hours of it having been made), and Kerry has cancelled numeous campaign stops in the next day or two. From CNN...
Quote:
Kerry's comment did not sit well even with leading members of his own party. A number of top Democrats told CNN they were upset with the senator for giving the Republicans election-time ammunition -- even if the GOP was hyping the remark.

"He has already cost us one election. The guy just needs to keep his mouth shut until after the election," a top Democratic strategist said Tuesday.

Ouch!

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:36 pm 
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With respect to the Vietnam veteran...

I highly recommend people read either or both of Grossman's books On Killing and On Combat. In both those books, he talks a lot about what it takes to minimize the risk of experiencing PTSD after combat. When it came to Vietnam, everything that could have been done wrong for our fighting men was done. They trained in different units than they fought in. They had no "behind the lines" place to decompress. They were the first generation of soldiers to experience a greater than 90% firing (killing) rate due to operant conditioning, which allowed the human brain to betray its natural instinct not to kill a fellow man. They stayed in combat for long periods of time. They had no debriefing time. Instead of the classic "slow boat home", they got a quick flight back to the states - alone.

And then... They came home to a public which BLAMED THE SOLDIERS for what happened in Vietnam. WWII vets called them failures. War protesters called them baby killers, and spit in their faces. There were no victory parades, or welcome home parties.

The cost to society in terms of morbidity to the veterans and their families was catastrophic.

Because of research done by many and books written by Grossman and others, we no longer make those mistakes. We treat the fighting men and women of our armed services for what they are - trained professionals who represent their country in the best way they know how. We keep them in cohesive units. We give them a "green zone" where they can decompress. We invite them to seek therapy. We allow them "debriefing time" after battles with others who have "been there." (This mimics the old paradigm of talking about the day's battle around the camp fire.)

And when we can, we get the public at home to show them how much we love them, how much we appreciate what they are doing, how much we understand when they are confused about the fog of battle, and how much we want to see them home soon and safely.

And we tell people who run their mouths disparaging our soldiers to SHUT UP!!! Disparage the politicians; it's a popular sporting event. But leave our men and women in uniform alone. They deserve everything we can give them.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:58 pm 
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Quote:
Personally, I buy Kerry's explanation that he was trying to insult Bush's intellect - not that of the troops. Any politician knows that bashing the men and women who serve is the dumbest thing a politician can do and Kerry himself is a veteran. Kerry also seems slightly obsessed with the question of whether he or Bush is smarter. Indeed, one can't help but wonder if he didn't release his Navy records during the campaign because they revealed that he actually got slightly worse grades at Yale than Bush did.

Nevertheless, the Republicans are going to run with this: note McCain's demand for an apology. Today there must be even fewer Democrats keen on Kerry '08.
- James Forsythe in Foreign Policy


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 9:54 pm 
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John,

Although not a strong McCain follower (not because he's a Republican), I do have to agree with him that Kerry should make the apology to the public whom he may have offended. Regardless of what he was trying to do or say, and nobody can know that other than himself, it came out wrong to many.

BUT, as a huge fan of the 1st Amendment, if he as Bill states, a person who constantly makes disparaging remarks about the military, so be it. He has the right, not only as a citizen of the US, but because he put the uniform on and did his thing over in Vietnam. Disparage his record all you want about his record, but he was there and did fight, so he deserves his comments if that is the way he truly feels. It would be wrong to ask him, or anyone else to shut up because that's what he believes, especially when we haven't walked in his shoes. Now, if McCain wants to tell him to shut up, well, he has earned that right too, as he is "plenty smart" and "plenty brave."



mike


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 4:04 pm 
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You make some excellent points, Mike.

By now we see that Senator Kerry wisely apologized to the soldiers in Iraq. Good...

One thing nobody has openly considered in this toxic political atmosphere is the possibility that Kerry himself is a victim of the mistreatment of soldiers during and after the Vietnam era. The angst at times is readily apparent; it flairs up royally from time to time. When the drumbeat of "traitor" began to emerge during the '04 presidential campaign, McCain himself told people to back off. I admire him for that.

Sigh... Another day, another search for a soundbite on the campaign trail.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 5:27 pm 
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I have no idea whether Kerry is being honest about the intent of the remark. For what it's worth, however, he seems to be claiming that he just failed put the word "us" in. That wanted to say:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get us stuck in Iraq."

That is, if you're uneducated you might lead the country into a stupid war. Sounds a little fishy, but it's possible he really meant it that way.

More likely he meant what he said, but it doesn't come across right. It is a true statement that IF you are uneducated you MIGHT end up in a situation where your best option might be to fight in a stupid war. That is, you could get stuck going to Iraq because you don't know of any better options. He probably meant something more like that, but he can't fess up to it because the distinction is too subtle for mass media. The fact is that there are people who did more or less get stuck there as well as people who had a wealth of other options but did choose to be there anyway. His statement doesn't say that if you are in Iraq you must have been stupid to get there, but to a lot of people it probably sounds the same.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:38 pm 
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Valkenar wrote:
"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get us stuck in Iraq."

That is, if you're uneducated you might lead the country into a stupid war. Sounds a little fishy, but it's possible he really meant it that way.


Sounds plausible to me, although I find it equally repugnant. I don't know why democrats think it's OK to call the Commander in Chief stupid. Doesn't matter whether he is or isn't smarter than the average bear, it's just not socially or politically acceptable to call somebody stupid. This belies even a modicum of respect for the dignity of the office, let alone the human being in it. Anybody can make a mistake in what they say, particularly politicians because they spend so much time talking instead of listening, but this kind of thing from democrats is frequent enough that it cannot be explained away as an accident or a slip, and you can see that in Kerry's response. It's a conscious choice. I'm ready for some changes but with such behavior from democrats being now the norm rather than the exception, I keep thinking about frying pans and fire. That was the problem in 2004, and if they keep it up through 2008, they'll manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory yet again.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:22 pm 
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Ok he didn't meant as a joke on our servicemen.

However, NEWSWEEK did state (paraphrase): 'That the prior standards for servicemen and woman had been lowered" and that the lowering would only worsen the conduct of our troops in the field.'

You can have that one to masticate upon.

Aslo reported in the Lowell Sun-"Dumb, a mistake, a butchered line from a senator Whose been unable to deliver a joke when in matters most."

That's how local soldiers and Service Member families AND a Massachustts congressman described Kerry' Gaffe, which seemed to urge teenagers to succeed in school lest the get stuck in Iraq.

But even as Bush, Vice President and other
republic leaders repeated the 'bothched joke------

Soldiers and thier families intervied largely absolved their home state senatator : "I think he made a dumb stament and apologized for it "


Bear with me I haven't found the apology yet.

At the same time soldiers in Iraq displayed a 1 foot x 6 foot homade sign:

"Help us Jon, we are Stuck In Iraq"

JT

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Last edited by JOHN THURSTON on Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:55 am 
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Mike,

Quote:
Sounds plausible to me, although I find it equally repugnant. I don't know why democrats think it's OK to call the Commander in Chief stupid.


Why do you think it's only democrats saying this? First of all, never mind it's your right as an American to call someone stupid (status should me absolutely nothing), but I'm hearing some questionable tones from his fellow republicans as well. You know, "stupid is what stupid does." A truer quote has never been uttered! It seems like the only people who are staying true are those within the inner circle.


Quote:
Doesn't matter whether he is or isn't smarter than the average bear, it's just not socially or politically acceptable to call somebody stupid. This belies even a modicum of respect for the dignity of the office, let alone the human being in it.


Why do some people put that office on such a level? I'm not saying the position isn't important, but the person is an elected official and rightfully succeptable to criticism in any form or fashion. It's part of the job. Personally, I can't think of many things that Bush has done that I agree with. Do I think he's stupid? As Bill states, the man went to Yale and Harvard, so he must have some innate intelligence, but he has done some incredibly stupid things while in office, and I believe it's the right of any American citizen, regardless of party affiliation, to call him out on them.


Quote:
Anybody can make a mistake in what they say, particularly politicians because they spend so much time talking instead of listening, but this kind of thing from democrats is frequent enough that it cannot be explained away as an accident or a slip, and you can see that in Kerry's response. It's a conscious choice.



And the Republicans don't slip???? It's call partisan politics. It's an election year. And how can it be a conscious choice? Again, I don't condone what Kerry said by any means, but he's not a stupid individual either. He must know that a statement like that was political suicide if he decides to run for president again. I don't know if he made a decision yet, but it's over now if he was thinking about it in my opinion. So, a conscious choice, I think not. That would simply make no sense.

Quote:
I'm ready for some changes but with such behavior from democrats being now the norm rather than the exception, I keep thinking about frying pans and fire. That was the problem in 2004, and if they keep it up through 2008, they'll manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory yet again
.

Change is necessary and needed in this country. The current administration (Republican) has shown it has no consideration for what the majority of the public wants; it has no idea what it has done in Iraq, has racked up record deficits, and shown an indifference to domestic affairs. The list goes on and on and on. Even if you were correct in your assessment that it is only the democrats making a stink, then I say good and shame on others for not chirping in. As you said, it's time for a change, and I say it's about time.


mike


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:20 am 
It`s neither , it`s a statistical truth that isnt politically correct


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:44 am 
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mikemurphy wrote:

mhosea wrote:
Anybody can make a mistake in what they say, particularly politicians because they spend so much time talking instead of listening, but this kind of thing from democrats is frequent enough that it cannot be explained away as an accident or a slip, and you can see that in Kerry's response. It's a conscious choice.



And the Republicans don't slip???? It's call partisan politics. It's an election year. And how can it be a conscious choice?


I think I did say "Anybody can make a mistake". I mean that anybody can let an insult out in the heat of the moment, and I mean anybody. However, I believe that it's been a conscious choice of the opponents of this administration to demean the intelligence of G.W.B. from day one, and Kerry even claims that this was his intent! I have advanced degrees and academic and professional honors stacked in my closet, and I don't call people stupid, at least not in public. I expect as much from people who propose to lead this country.

In my mind this isn't partisan politics, i.e., where you distort your opponent's positions and try to make the case that electing him would be a bad idea because of what he's done or probably will do. I'm talking about simply implying that your opponent is stupid, not inexperienced, not uninformed, just plain stupid. That's not partisan politics, that's just a personal insult. Are you telling me that the democratic party platform is now that democrats are smart and republicans are stupid? Elect me (or this other guy I'm supporting) because that other guy is real dumb. I guess that plays well with the people who are already supporters, but I think it really turns off a lot of people in the middle. Hence, I think it is a good way to lose elections. I think a lot of people in this country want their leaders to maintain decorum. There are serious issues to deal with, and comparing politician IQs isn't one of them. Besides, some geniuses I wouldn't trust to run a bake sale, let alone the country.

Here's another case in point. Everybody knows the UN is a flawed, and we don't have a lot of friends there, but that didn't stop those same delegates from reacting negatively to Hugo Chavez's little rant, and it tanked Venezuela's chances to get on the UN Security Council. Decorum. A lot of people think it's a good thing, not just me.

Quote:
Even if you were correct in your assessment that it is only the democrats making a stink[snip]


I never said nor even thought this, but I haven't really been listening to the thrashings of desperate incumbent republicans who are trying in vain to distance themselves from the president on the issue of Iraq because they can read the polls. If they're using similar rhetoric, then good riddance. However, I've been listening to liberals demean the president's intelligence since he was elected, so naturally it strikes me as more of a pattern.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:47 pm 
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Mike,


Quote:
I think I did say "Anybody can make a mistake". I mean that anybody can let an insult out in the heat of the moment, and I mean anybody. However, I believe that it's been a conscious choice of the opponents of this administration to demean the intelligence of G.W.B. from day one, and Kerry even claims that this was his intent! I have advanced degrees and academic and professional honors stacked in my closet, and I don't call people stupid, at least not in public. I expect as much from people who propose to lead this country.



To use a little "Billism" here, can you show me where some Democrat (person or platform), or anyone for that matter, has come right out and said he thinks Bush is stupid? I'm not saying there isn't, I really curious. Kerry didn't say it in his little quip. I think people imply it enough, but outright say it? I don't know. Personally, I would respect the man more for coming out and saying what he feels or means. All of our collective advanced degrees and honors aside, I think you expect a little too much, especially in the world of politics. Look at any presidential campaign in history and you'll see the behind the back insults thrown at candidates from all parties. Some do it more openly than others, but they are there. Where is the decorum there? Wouln't it be great if we were all endowed with the truth bug like in the Jim Carey movie "Liar, Liar?" Then, we'd really have fun.

One of the beautiful things about teaching history and for all those who are closet historians is to look back at such things as presidents and presidential elections and make our choice at what a particular president or politician was like, especially in hindsight. Can we look back and people like Nixon and say he's stupid for the watergate scandel? Kennedy for not listening to the secret service about riding in an open car? Roosevelt for not taking into consideration the warnings about the Japanese attack? Eisenhower for denying the existence of spy planes? Hoover for not doing anything after the Stock Market Crash? Sure we can. It's opinion only. Why then is it such a shock to say this about the man who got us into Iraq, bungled the Hurrican Katrina relief effort, has lied to the US public, has constant problems with the English language? I personally think, as I said before, that some of things he has done are stupid. You can plug in your own adjectives, but because he president, he doesn't get a waiver. Andy Rooney does a great story about how he thinks that stupid people should have to wear a sign, then we would already know and not have to guess. What do you think?

Anyway, I would love to see where any politician actually said that GW was stupid, because as much as I would respect their candidness, I would have to think that that would kill their political career(s).

mike


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:42 pm 
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mikemurphy wrote:

To use a little "Billism" here, can you show me where some Democrat (person or platform), or anyone for that matter, has come right out and said he thinks Bush is stupid?



Chevy Chase comes to mind, and I've heard it countless times in private conversations. Probably the public comments that I have heard have come more from pundits and celebrities than politicians, but it's definitely in the vernacular of liberals when discussing the president.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 00568.html

I'm not buying the "stupid is as stupid does" thing that you're trying to sell me now because this has been going on among liberals since the election. The litany of missteps and mistakes is just their idea of a "proof" of what they have been saying all along. Here's a T-Shirt you can buy

http://www.cafepress.com/peacepirate.56 ... TC:froogle

Kerry pulled that little ditty out entertain the base. He tried to tone it down by converting "stupid" to "not smart", but pretty much everybody knew he was calling somebody stupid. Can I prove it in court? No. If it pleases you to believe that they don't mean to imply that Bush is unintelligent rather that he has made unintelligent choices, then I'm not likely to dissuade you.

Maybe I do expect too much, but so what? It's my right to set my own expectations and to vote accordingly. It's not like they don't know that it's bad behavior. My point is that this behavior just plays to their base. Other than that, it throws votes away. My opinion.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:40 pm 
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mhosea wrote:

My point is that this behavior just plays to their base.

Indeed.

For every yin in the universe, there is a yang.

Image

You want toxic language? You want abuse? She dishes it right back out. Like those on one end of this Liberal/Conservative, Democrat/Republican dichotomy (if we MUST think one dimensionally), she knows how to insult and get under the skin. She knows how to rally the base. Does she unite? Hardly. But I do find it amusing listening to her modus operendum.

Seeing this group on TV - at the same time - was highly entertaining.

Image

Believe it or not, Coulter and Carlin were absolutely gentlemanly (gentlewomanly) to each other. It was a sight to behold.

That being said...

It's worth noting in this and other threads that the word "stupid" is sometimes a replacement for "something I disagree with." Beware falling into this trap. Perspective and truth are not one and the same.

Recently there was a rather venemous "bot" attack on Lieberman's website the day of the Democratic primary in Conneticut. I saw an editorial I believe in the Washington Post that warned "the faithful" about this mean-spirited side of his party. He likened it to what happened at the 1968 Democratic presidential primary, and how it led both to an unelectable candidate and an absolute route in the subsequent presidential election. (Against Mr. Watergate himself, Richard Nixon)

I have to agree with Mike on the desire to defend the first ammendment. But then I take this to an extreme. When the Neonazis came to Richmond to preach their hate, I defended their right to do so. To put it succinctly, "I defend the right of anyone in this country to make an ass of themselves." Beware those who wear their emotions on their sleeves. Your enemies can see your buttons, and they know how to make you look bad.

What do you want to do? Do you wish to prove you are right, or do you wish to be effective? Do you want to express your emotional side, or do you want to sway votes? There's a big difference between what you can do (or have a right to do), and what is in your best interest.

Food for thought.

- Bill


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