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"Be careful what you wish for, Rush"

Notwithstanding Tuzla-gate and all the other problems that the Hillary Clinton campaign has faced, I think that that the extended primary campaign is making Senator Clinton into a stronger, more appealing candidate.

Not unlike John McCain, she is more likeable as a scrappy fighter against a wealthier opponent than she is as the front-runner. Similarly, she is demonstrating toughness, resilience, and ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances--good traits for a commander in chief.

Now, with bitter-gate dominating the political news, Senator Clinton has found perfect pitch. Check out this video of her speech in Valparaiso, Indiana. If the spirits of Franklin Roosevelt or Hubert Humphrey were brought back to earth, and didn't know any of the facts of the 2008 campaign, and were allowed to watch Senator Clinton's Valparaiso speech, I suggest that they would exclaim, "That's my kind of Democrat!" The politics of can-do optimism and not of bitterness; appreciation for the religious character of small-town America; affirmation of the Second Amendment and the rite of passing the tradition of responsible participation in the shooting sports from one generation to the next.

Yes, I know that Senator Clinton's prior record is not exactly consistent with her Valparaiso speech, particulary in regard to Second Amendment issues.

Still...every good American should want both of our major political parties to be patriotic parties: to believe that in every year of American history, there have been many reasons to be proud of America, notwithstanding its flaws; to believe that Americans are the masters of their fate and not the victims of economic determinism; and to see the American people not as "bitter" or "mean" but as hard-working, decent, and good.

Even if you believe Senator Clinton's speech entirely hypocritical (I consider it to be partially but not entirely so), "hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue." Senator Clinton's Valparaiso speech moves the party a step closer to its virtuous traditions.

The Real Clear Politics polling averages already suggest that if the election were held today, Senator Clinton would beat Senator McCain in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and that Senator Obama would lose both of those states to Senator McCain. You've got to go back to 1960 to find a candidate who won the general election while losing Ohio, and in 2008 it would be very tough to defeat a candidate who won both Ohio and Pennsylvania. Senator Clinton is effectively using bitter-gate not only to improve her already-solid chances of winning the Pennsylvania primary, but to strengthen her general election message as a traditional Democrat who embraces the best of America's past, present, and future.

Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
Dream on :-)

Shrillary will NEVER EVER quit the race until Denver, when BoBama will be nominated ( the party CAN NOT go against their own popular vote ).

Rasmussen shows McCain beating BoBama solidly, and tied with Shrillary. And the REAL fighting hasn't even stated yet - HRC and BHO are so close in their positions, they really can't slam each other too hard on the issues without it splattering back on them.

It's amusing the last few days to see them both trying to play '2nd Amendment suporters', when in fact they are both hard-core gun banners. They think they're going to fool anyone with that ??
4.13.2008 3:34am
Rock On (www):
Bittergate? Seriously? The idea of that term makes me throw up in my mouth a little.
4.13.2008 3:41am
Vermando (mail) (www):
What in the heck is this post doing on this blog? Hypotheticals about FDR being reincarnated? Both parties being "patriotic parties" and "proud of America"? What the heck kind of hackery is this?

As Matt Yglesias at the Atlantic said, there are a lot of people who have been "dwelling too long in rhetorical foxholes alongside people who accuse their political opponents of holding 'anti-American' views." I don't mean that in terms of partisanship, it's just that this post is really incongruous with the careful thought and deliberation I'm used to seeing here.
4.13.2008 4:03am
GV:
I wish I lived in a country where adults could discuss politics without accusing a candidate who 40 or 50 percent of the country supports of being "unpatriotic." Either I don't live in that country or David Kopel is not an adult. (Perhaps both?)

As far as being proud of every year of this country despite its flaws, what a bunch of crap. Should African-americans in the 1820s -- who were enslaved, abused (physically, mentally, and sexually) -- thought, gee, I'm proud to be an American! Really, this is disgusting. Sorry, some of us find some sins so horrific that I won't look past them and think of all the nice things that the country was also doing. But I guess I'm not a real American.

I visit this site using the url to screen out all of David Bernstein's posts and I'll have to figure out how to add David Kopel to that list.
4.13.2008 4:12am
John Greggo (mail):
The real question is: who paid Dave Kopel to write this crap?
4.13.2008 4:30am
Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
Hillary, of course :-)
4.13.2008 4:51am
pADDy:
I wish I lived in a country where adults could discuss politics without accusing a candidate who 40 or 50 percent of the country supports of being "unpatriotic." Either I don't live in that country or David Kopel is not an adult.

Absolutely. This is the most shockingly stupid post I've seen on the internet in the last week. On the whole internet.
4.13.2008 4:54am
Uncommon Nonsense:
Hear hear, fellow posters--this was like bad NRO (which is sometimes very entertaining). A certain person is never mentioned, and why exactly was that? You can address what this no-named individual actually believes or you can build strawmen, and it's obvious what Kopel's doing here.
4.13.2008 5:45am
Vermando (mail) (www):
I returned to confirm that I hadn't hallucinated reading this here. Yep, it was true...

The comparison to bad NRO is apt. Picking a speech out of context to advance a questionable thesis, inferences of vague smears coupled with suspicions and unclarity about the author's motives, and lots of unresolved yet important questions about both crucial logical steps and the article's real point (Congratulating her on a good speech? Actually exhorting us to consider supporting her? Cajoling the Democratic party to move closer to her positions? Telling Democrats to change their bets and Republicans to take notice? And how does any of that mesh with the contrast between her record, this speech, and her earlier speeches of this campaign? And did he actually say "already solid chances" "good traits for a commander in chief" and "a step closer to [the Democratic party's] virtuous traditions?" - quack quack quack.

Not that there's anything wrong with all of that - it's effective hackery, it's still better than most of what's out there in the political blogosphere, and hey, we live in a free country where people can post what they like and who am I to criticize? It's just that there are places where this kind of piece seems at home, and then there are places where it stands out as the obvious choice in the game of "which of the following is different / does not belong". It's quickly in the latter category for this site...
4.13.2008 7:40am
PersonFromPorlock:
Indeed. Kopel has brought low the once-proud Volokh Conspiracy, indulged in political hackery, failed to utter the name of The One Who Cannot Be Named and... darn, what was the last talking point?
4.13.2008 7:54am
A. Zarkov (mail):
David's post is entirely reasonable. All he's saying is HRC is finding her voice while BHO seems to be self destructing.

At this point it's still impossible to predict anything about this year's presidential election. You can make a case for anything. But never have I seen such weak candidates. That might come from the insular existence of being a Senator. I don't think any of them could run a candy store and stay in business in business for long.
4.13.2008 7:57am
Visitor Again:
The most amusing thing about it is that none of the VC bloggers taking potshots at Obama think of themselves as engaging in political hackery. They think they're above the fray and that the deference and respect they enjoy as law professors commenting on the legal issues somehow carries over to their political diatribes.

I can hardly wait until the Democratic Party's choice of candidate becomes final and open season on McCain begins in earnest. Once he has to face the same sort of stuff that's been fired at Obama, he's quite likely to self-destruct because he won't be able to keep his well-known hot temper under control. Unless his managers put him on a strong course of horse tranquilizers.

If what the VC bloggers are writing is any indication of what's to come from both sides, it looks like it'll be one of the sleaziest, least informative and most entertaining Presidential election campaigns ever.
4.13.2008 8:36am
Lonetown (mail):
Clinton's battlefield conversion to the ranks of the vast rightwing conspiracy certainly broaden her appeal but it is a last minute change from the usual cant.

McCain would love to run against Clinton. they like each other. It might actually be a decent election if she could refrain from the war room tactics.
4.13.2008 8:49am
Gaius Marius:
The Republican Party needs the Clintons back in the White House so that it can unite its factions and retake the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
4.13.2008 9:18am
kadet (mail):
Nothing wrong with being bitter and angry -- in fact if you aren't bitter and angry you aren't paying attention.
4.13.2008 9:34am
Mike Keenan:
Lot of bitter and angry Obama supporters here. Looks like he is right...
4.13.2008 9:39am
kadet (mail):
Yeah, Mike Keenan.
The same week while the Bush-Petraeus-Crocker trio spin Iraq we suffer our worst casualties for one week in this year ...you bet I am bitter.

When the chairman of Bears Stearns walks away with 30 million dollars and the government bails out the company and hard working Americans LOSE their homes...you bet I am bitter.

When economists begin to predict that our children are the first generation that will probably NOT be able to better their parents' quality of life...you bet I am bitter.

When John McCain promotes more wars forever yet refuses vote after vote to support our veterans once they come home and the Republicans in Congress agree...you bet I am bitter.

When this administration says we cannot afford to insure all America's children while renewing contracts that give Halliburton and Blackwater billions of dollars...you bet I am bitter.

When this war has already cost every AMERICAN FAMILY over $ 16,000 which is all on borrowed money from China and other repressive regimes...you bet I am bitter.

AND, When this administration from the President on down authorized not only TORTURE but the VIOLATION of our Constitution and the Press would rather focus on one word Barack Obama says rather than the tremendous damage these decisions have done to the once glorious reputation of the United States...you bet I am bitter!
4.13.2008 10:01am
marc (mail):
Ha. Bravo, Messrs Zarkov and Visitor Again. And, please, people, don't everyone now discover the need to share which VC authors one reads and doesn't read.
4.13.2008 10:03am
NastyFish (mail):
OH and PA as a presidential litmus test? Interesting--though perhaps unwitting--reference to 1960 there. That was JFK's win. Maybe the comparisons of BHO to JFK are more apt than I realized.
4.13.2008 10:07am
JackLane:
Why not media talk about one of the "Keating Five" crooks? That would be McCain. Just asking.
4.13.2008 10:16am
Gaius Marius:
The same week while the Bush-Petraeus-Crocker trio spin Iraq we suffer our worst casualties for one week in this year ...you bet I am bitter.

The number of abortions this week in the U.S. (over 30,000) vastly exceeds the number of casualties the U.S. suffered this week in Iraq.

When the chairman of Bears Stearns walks away with 30 million dollars and the government bails out the company and hard working Americans LOSE their homes...you bet I am bitter.

Anyone who believes that the Federal Government bailed out Bear Stearns is an idiot. Bear Stearns' shares were trading at $170/share several months ago and are being purchased by JPMorgan (not the Federal Government) at $10/share. The Chairman of Bear Stearns may be walking away with $30 Million today but several months ago he could have been walking away with $500 Million were it not for the Bear Stearns collapse. I'm sure the Chairman of Bear Stearns is wishing he retired a year ago and cashed out his company stock at that time instead of today.

When economists begin to predict that our children are the first generation that will probably NOT be able to better their parents' quality of life...you bet I am bitter.

The children can blame their parents' or baby boomer generation for any degradation in quality of life. Thanks to Social Security and Medicare, the children will be transferring their wealth to their parents at a time when the children need such wealth to pay for rising college tuitions and saving for their retirements.

When John McCain promotes more wars forever yet refuses vote after vote to support our veterans once they come home and the Republicans in Congress agree...you bet I am bitter.

The Democrats have control of both houses of Congress so there is no excuse for blaming McCain or the Republicans in Congress.

When this administration says we cannot afford to insure all America's children while renewing contracts that give Halliburton and Blackwater billions of dollars...you bet I am bitter.

The spouses of House Speaker Pelosi and Senator Feinstein are profiting extremely well from government contracts.

When this war has already cost every AMERICAN FAMILY over $ 16,000 which is all on borrowed money from China and other repressive regimes...you bet I am bitter.

Welcome to democracy. If you don't like the war, then elect candidates who will end the war immediately instead of making such promises on the campaign trail only to come up with excuses once they are sworn into office.

AND, When this administration from the President on down authorized not only TORTURE but the VIOLATION of our Constitution and the Press would rather focus on one word Barack Obama says rather than the tremendous damage these decisions have done to the once glorious reputation of the United States...you bet I am bitter!

Barack Hussein Obama is a closet Jihadist sympathizer who will say anything to get elected as POTUS so that he can deliberately weaken this nation's defences and advance Jeremiah Wright's agenda of hate and vengeance against "White America."
4.13.2008 10:34am
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

The same week while the Bush-Petraeus-Crocker trio spin Iraq we suffer our worst casualties for one week in this year ...you bet I am bitter.


Has it crossed your mind when we take heavier casualties it's because the war is being prosecuted at a proper intensity? That a "surge' is an increase from a level of combat too low? That a "surge" isn't a surge at all, it's the level at which we win?


Has it crossed your mind that mandating withdrawal is announcing to an enemy who sees anything other than full-bore engagement as a fundamental weakness, and a primary reason to remain engaged?

You didn't have a bad week, friend, they did.
4.13.2008 10:41am
Mike Keenan:
"you bet I am bitter"

Thought so. Thanks for clarifying. Are you clinging to religion, anti-trade thoughts, anti-Immigration feelings, guns, or just a nice combination of all?
4.13.2008 10:45am
Dave B (mail):
Apparently there is a pro-bitter movement.

bittervoters.org
4.13.2008 10:53am
davod (mail):
The Obamites must be out in force to get the first comment on anything possibly negative about the Messiah. Much like the Omaites` who shout down and jeer hillary on the campaign trail.
4.13.2008 11:14am
Justin Bowen (mail):

If the spirits of Franklin Roosevelt or Hubert Humphrey were brought back to earth, and didn't know any of the facts of the 2008 campaign, and were allowed to watch Senator Clinton's Valparaiso speech, I suggest that they would exclaim, "That's my kind of Democrat!"


That's a terrifying thought...
4.13.2008 11:14am
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Next election cycle, can we hope for the Bitter Party? It could combine the malcontents of the both the left and right. And probably win.
4.13.2008 11:20am
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
edited:


Has it crossed your mind that mandating withdrawal is announcing to an enemy who sees anything other than full-bore engagement a fundamental weakness and a primary reason to remain engaged, that we are indeed weak?
4.13.2008 11:24am
30yearProf:
Barack Hussein Obama is a closet Jihadist sympathizer who will say anything to get elected as POTUS so that he can deliberately weaken this nation's defences and advance Jeremiah Wright's agenda of hate and vengeance against "White America."


THIS is worth repeating. Maybe, twice.
4.13.2008 11:56am
loki13 (mail):

Barack Hussein Obama is a closet Jihadist sympathizer who will say anything to get elected as POTUS so that he can deliberately weaken this nation's defences and advance Jeremiah Wright's agenda of hate and vengeance against "White America."



THIS is worth repeating. Maybe, twice.


Why? You want everyone to know how batshit crazy y'all are?
4.13.2008 12:19pm
Cornellian (mail):

"McCain would love to run against Clinton."

Which pretty much explains what's behind this post.
4.13.2008 12:19pm
Cornellian (mail):
30YearProf,

Yes, and McCain is a manchurian candidate who fathered a black child and Hilary is a lesbian who murdered Vince Foster - it must be true because I read it on The Internets.
4.13.2008 12:21pm
Gaius Marius:
At best, Barack Hussein Obama is an elitist Ivy League snob who feels entitled to become POTUS and thinks white Americans are nothing but a bunch of redneck crackers with too many guns and bibles.
4.13.2008 12:47pm
Fearless:

to believe that in every year of American history, there have been many reasons to be proud of America


I would have to do a systematic survey of every year in American history before I would agree with this.

I doubt that every year, the good outweighed the bad, especially in the era of slavery and in the era when we abandoned the South to racists after Reconstruction.

I am proud of America. I am especially proud of how it has evolved. But, I am not naively proud.

To me, the sort of pride you seem to exhibit in America, where you insist that we must see every single year of American history with rose-colored pride, promotes a shallow and superficial sort of patriotism, easily pierced.

A true patriot is someone who clearly sees America's flaws, and loves her anyway. What you are promoting seems to be something different. A sort of denial of certain brutal and harsh realities.
4.13.2008 12:58pm
byomtov (mail):
Barack Hussein Obama is a closet Jihadist sympathizer who will say anything to get elected as POTUS so that he can deliberately weaken this nation's defences and advance Jeremiah Wright's agenda of hate and vengeance against "White America."

You have a future as a VC blogger.

every good American should want both of our major political parties to be patriotic parties

Dave Kopel should be ashamed of this sentence. The implication is revolting. Accusing Democrats of lack of patriotism is vastly scummier than even the most biased, distorted interpretation of Obama's statements - the one the VC is pushing.
4.13.2008 1:01pm
Fearless:

Dave Kopel should be ashamed of this sentence. The implication is revolting. Accusing Democrats of lack of patriotism is vastly scummier than even the most biased, distorted interpretation of Obama's statements - the one the VC is pushing.


You give him too much credit. I think it has more to do with the fact that Kopel has something missing upstairs. I think he really believes that Democrats are not patriotic.

Kopel's view: being patriotic = being blind.
4.13.2008 1:04pm
justvisiting (mail):

At best, Barack Hussein Obama is an elitist Ivy League snob who feels entitled to become POTUS and thinks white Americans are nothing but a bunch of redneck crackers with too many guns and bibles.


Ridiculus hyperbole! Obama maybe be an elitist but a strong case could be made that so are Clinton and McCain. Certainly both McCain and Clinton feel they are entitled to become POTUS or why would they be running. Saying that Obama thinks white Americans are nothing but a bunch of redneck crackers is a leap of logic completely unjustified by anything he has said or his actions even taking into account Rev. Wright. I also don't see how you can claim he thinks Americans have too many bibles. You need to look at all the evidence, not just one quote. He may actually believe Americans have too many guns, but I am not too worried that if he is elected the jack-booted goverment thugs will be showing up at my door to collect my guns any time soon.

Try to be realistic and avoid the histrionics please.
4.13.2008 1:16pm
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
"... scrappy fighter against a wealthier opponent ..."

Hillary has personal wealth somewhere north of 50 million. With income north of 100 million since Clinton left the presidency she's not exactly middle class.

Obama's net worth is only in the range of one million.

So Hillary is not fighting a wealther opponent. This will not be the case when she fights McCain either. He's only worth 35 million or so.

I find it disturbing that politicians get these kinds of payouts. You know damn well that McCain and Clinton would not have these kinds of incomes unless they were involved in politics. They didn't actually provide goods and services of the kind of value that would earn them this, at least not private goods and services as oppossed to tax payer financed ones.
4.13.2008 1:21pm
frankcross (mail):
I'm honestly not sure who I would favor for President.

But so many conservatives are so psycho, it makes it hard to align Republican. Maybe I need to read more psycho liberal boards to balance it out.
4.13.2008 1:23pm
seadrive:

Even if you believe Senator Clinton's speech entirely hypocritical (I consider it to be partially but not entirely so), "hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue." Senator Clinton's Valparaiso speech moves the party a step closer to its virtuous traditions.


All week, we've been treated to Obama being slammed for every thought that challenges the homogenized political pap of the American dream, and today we note the Hilliary talks out of both sides of her mouth, but, hey, it's OK because she's found her voice.

Remember, this is law school-level thinking.
4.13.2008 1:39pm
Cory J (mail):

Dave Kopel should be ashamed of this sentence. The implication is revolting. Accusing Democrats of lack of patriotism is vastly scummier than even the most biased, distorted interpretation of Obama's statements - the one the VC is pushing.



Orin wrote about the good faith presumption a while back, which named something a good many of us do when reading Internet posts.

Sure, you could think Kopel was implying what you say. But is that the most likely? Would Eugene really invite someone to post here who would harbor such feelings?

There are many more inferences and implications you can make from that post. Surely Dave doesn't think that about all Democrats because in this post he is praising the Democratic party for its traditional messages. To me, he's pointing out that accusing Americans of being bitter is more likely to lead to hostility down the line.
4.13.2008 1:41pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Gawd, these Obamatons do talk all around the point.

KOPEL! Bad pundit! Sit! SIT!

See, it's easy.
4.13.2008 2:09pm
Fearless:
CoryJ,

First of all, you need to re-read that Orin post you linked to, because it simply is not applicable here.

The arguments in bad faith that Orin was referring to are situations where one asserts that someone is arguing something they do not really believe.

We aren't saying that Kopel is implying that Democrats are unpatriotic even though he doesn't really believe it. We are saying the he is implying that Democrats are unpatriotic, and he really believes it.

And your full of it if you do not think Kopel is implying that. Notice the italicized word both in Kopel's post. It clearly implied that both is not the typical situation. That one of the major political parties is less than patriotic.

And we know which political party Kopel is referring to when he is suggesting it isn't the norm for both political parties to be patriotic.

I am all for giving someone the benefit of the doubt. But give me a break. That idea only goes so far. Kopel said what he said. He apparently doesn't believe in that the system we have worked out here in America is very good. After all, one of the major political parties is unpatriotic.

I wish I could say that Kopel's post here is bringing down the level of discourse on the VC. But sadly, that isn't the case. This sort of absurd BS is increasingly the norm here.
4.13.2008 2:13pm
TerrencePhilip:
Undeniably this was a great week for Hillary. The "bitter" flap even managed to bury Bill's stupid resurrection of the Tuzla issue (he managed to lie about it even more).

It brought to the fore the things in Obama's manner that will be hardest to sell to the electorate (composed as it is of people other than VC readers)- that he is coolly elitist, highly intelligent, perhaps a touch atheistic.
4.13.2008 2:17pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
The most amusing thing about it is that none of the VC bloggers taking potshots at Obama think of themselves as engaging in political hackery. They think they're above the fray...


Please, tell us more about what other people think about themselves. Is that a crystal ball you're using or do you possess actual powers of telepathy?
4.13.2008 2:20pm
Nice to see the(?) legal isssue re: Yoo (mail) (www):
BHO devloped further this week as the guy who would offer you candy as a kid to 'get into the car.' You bet that puts some lyricism into the voice of your termagant mom.
4.13.2008 2:34pm
NickM (mail) (www):
McCain's wealth comes from marrying a wealthy woman before he ran for office. Cindy McCain's money comes from a family business (Anheuser-Busch distributorship). The government had very little to do with that (once you get past the 21st Amendment).

Nick
4.13.2008 2:34pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
byomtov wrote:

every good American should want both of our major political parties to be patriotic parties


Dave Kopel should be ashamed of this sentence. The implication is revolting. Accusing Democrats of lack of patriotism is vastly scummier than even the most biased, distorted interpretation of Obama's statements - the one the VC is pushing.

This is an amusing phenomenon. Many of the same people (not singling out individuals I don't know) who consider patriotism to be the refuge of scoundrels and the unsophisticated, are always very sensitive at the merest hint of an accusation of the lack of it.

If my wife asked me whether I recognize a particular number on the caller ID, and I responded indignantly that she was out of line for accusing me of having an affair, she would have every reason to begin questioning my fidelity (rightly or wrongly). So keep selling that "Don't dare to question my patriotism" thing. It worked well for John Eff Kerry.
4.13.2008 2:39pm
Toby:

The most amusing thing about it is that none of the VC bloggers taking potshots at Obama think of themselves as engaging in political hackery. They think they're above the fray...

Actually what's amusing is that those partisans who have used diversity and tolerance as a club to beat all who disagree with them get the vapors and promptly opt to block out all thoughts not to their liking, and encouragre others to do the same

When economists begin to predict that our children are the first generation that will probably NOT be able to better their parents' quality of life...you bet I am bitter

I assume then you are encouraging your children to take plenty of hard science and math in high school, instead of course about politics and feelings and sexuality? Cause if not, you better resign yourself to feeling bitter.
4.13.2008 2:43pm
Cory J (mail):
<blockquote>
CoryJ,

First of all, you need to re-read that Orin post you linked to, because it simply is not applicable here.
</blockquote>

I know it wasn't directly on point. I meant more the general rule. Also, I think Orin was talking about the blog world in general. I give EV's judgment a lot of weight. Again, I can't see him allowing someone to blog here if he really thought the author really thought large blocs of the Democratic party were not patriotic. I guess you could say I'm just arguing an appeal to authority here.

<blockquote>
I wish I could say that Kopel's post here is bringing down the level of discourse on the VC. But sadly, that isn't the case. This sort of absurd BS is increasingly the norm here.
</blockquote>

I would certainly think/hope that the authors are taking into account the various comments here.

I agree the language was broad enough that your reading can certainly be inferred. I just tend to think that the position "X party is unpatriotic!" is so dumb that I look for other interpretations first.
4.13.2008 2:43pm
Cory J (mail):
I have no idea why the blockquotes aren't working. They looked fine in the preview.

I did get an "Error: Bad password" as I accidentally typed in the wrong one. Maybe the software has a bug, I don't know.
4.13.2008 2:45pm
Oren:
<blockquote> The number of abortions this week in the U.S. (over 30,000) vastly exceeds the number of casualties the U.S. suffered this week in Iraq. </blockquote> Why stop there? Untold millions of men masturbated this past week blowing potential life into a tissue.
4.13.2008 2:48pm
mike1234 (mail):
I must have read a different posting .... the one I read is insightful and offers up a warning for McCain.

Frankly, I think Kopel is right .... what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.... Hillary is getting stronger, while McCain's campaign atrophies.

Plus, she may be smart enough to recognize that her Valparaiso positions can win the electon. Once she implements that Nixonian course change, Jaun McAmnesty will lose big time.

Heck, what do I know ..... born and raised in PA, I love guns and God, and now live in Georgia.
4.13.2008 2:48pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
termagant-
1500, "violent, overbearing person" (especially of women), from Teruagant, Teruagaunt (c.1205), name of a fictitious Muslim deity appearing in medieval morality plays, from O.Fr. Tervagant, a proper name in "Chanson de Roland" (c.1100), of uncertain origin.

hehehehehehehehe
4.13.2008 2:51pm
byomtov (mail):
Many of the same people (not singling out individuals I don't know) who consider patriotism to be the refuge of scoundrels and the unsophisticated, are always very sensitive at the merest hint of an accusation of the lack of it.

Do you not understand the difference between genuine patriotism and patriotism used as a cover or to divert people's attention from genuine misbehavior?

I guess not.
4.13.2008 3:11pm
byomtov (mail):
I think it's very clear what Kopel meant. Clinton is suddenly patriotic because she supported values Kopel likes:

appreciation for the religious character of small-town America; affirmation of the Second Amendment and the rite of passing the tradition of responsible participation in the shooting sports from one generation to the next.

That's all. Obama and his supporters, or anyone who disagrees with Kopel, is unpatriotic. No. I won't give him a "presumption of good faith."

And why is it unpatriotic to note that some (not all, as Kopel misrepresents it) people who suffer economic difficulties are bitter?

Would Eugene really invite someone to post here who would harbor such feelings?

On the plain evidence, the answer is "yes."
4.13.2008 3:21pm
Oren:
Do you not understand the difference between genuine patriotism and patriotism used as a cover or to divert people's attention from genuine misbehavior?
That distinction is seeming more and more quaint these days.
4.13.2008 3:27pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
When economists begin to predict that our children are the first generation that will probably NOT be able to better their parents' quality of life...you bet I am bitter

Economists have been predicting that since at least the mid 1970s. If you measure quality of life as having more and better stuff, then I would say earlier predictions have not panned out. That prediction also requires us to overlook all those 18th and 19th century Americans who were relegated to essentially the same occupations and standards of living as their parents and grandparents.
4.13.2008 3:37pm
Russ (mail):
Wow it has become shrill in here.

Problem for democrats is thatif Obama is the nominee, dems lose Jews, Hispanics, and working class dems. If Hillary is the nominee, African-Americans and elite academics revolt and stay home.

Pick your poison!
4.13.2008 3:41pm
donaldk2 (mail):
byomtov: well put. That is what Boswell perceives Johnson to have meant.
4.13.2008 3:58pm
donaldk2 (mail):
wuzzagrunt: In "Bonfire of the Vanities" set in the 90's, Tom Wolfe portrays this syndrome as affecting the yuppie generation. E.g., the Asst. DA's little Village apartment in comparison to his parents' more spacious home.
4.13.2008 4:03pm
jb9054 (mail):
What Russ said.
Also, keep in mind that the current Democratic system (superdelegates, etc.) that produced this chaotic counterproductive primary season was set up as a response to the McGovern disaster.

It's fun to imagine what system they will come up with as a response to the current disaster.
4.13.2008 4:04pm
Oren:
Problem for democrats is that if Obama is the nominee, dems lose Jews, Hispanics, and working class dems. If Hillary is the nominee, African-Americans and elite academics revolt and stay home.
It might seem that way now, but I'm certain that a few month of listening to "100-years-in-Iraq" McCain will unite the party against this lunacy.
4.13.2008 4:25pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I have no idea why Obama thought pandering to fellow elitist snobs would help his campaign, and the more he talks about it, the worse it gets. He needs someone on his team whose parents punched a time clock, to vet his speeches, because he is way out of touch with the average voter. Perhaps Hillary could offer this as a premium to her donors.


Barack Hussein Obama is a closet Jihadist sympathizer who will say anything to get elected as POTUS so that he can deliberately weaken this nation's defences and advance Jeremiah Wright's agenda of hate and vengeance against "White America.

Wow. Nothing that we could have taken in the 70s would have made us say that. That must be some primo stuff.
4.13.2008 5:24pm
Baseballhead (mail):
Barack Hussein Obama is a closet Jihadist sympathizer who will say anything to get elected as POTUS so that he can deliberately weaken this nation's defences and advance Jeremiah Wright's agenda of hate and vengeance against "White America.

See, Obama was right! There's bitterness!
4.13.2008 5:35pm
Baseballhead (mail):
Barack Hussein Obama is a closet Jihadist sympathizer who will say anything to get elected as POTUS so that he can deliberately weaken this nation's defences and advance Jeremiah Wright's agenda of hate and vengeance against "White America.

See, Obama was right! There's bitterness!
4.13.2008 5:35pm
DCP:

I have no idea why Obama thought pandering to fellow elitist snobs would help his campaign



Obama panders to elitist snobs for the same reason every other politician does - to get their money. Why else would he be campaigning in San Francisco? Any chance he's trailing in the polls THERE?

In this era of cell phone cameras, 24 hour news networks and Youtube anything a politician says is going to be recorded and combed over. He would have never said something like this in a Pennsylvania bingo hall, but it's the kind of backroom talk the far left power players in San Francisco want to hear. Problem is, eventually word trickles back to PA that they're bitter and embrace things like guns, racism and religion (the three primary evils to liberalism which I'm sure were non-existent before the rust belt experienced an economic downturn).
4.13.2008 6:05pm
Bart (mail):
The ironies here are delicious...if you are a Republican.

We have one out-of-touch Dem elitist giving a classic GOP stump speech taking to task another out-of-touch Dem elitist. Hillary does not believe word one of what she is pitching. In fact, the GOP used this same tactic against the Clintons in 1994 to take the Congress.

Moreover, any Dem and Indi blowback for Clinton's adoption of the GOP playbook is directed back against the Dems while McCain gets to stand above the fray and act Presidential. Is McCain the luckiest man alive or do the Clintons work for the GOP?

The final bit of irony is that the Clinton campaign against Obama's latest gaffe is unlikely to give her the nomination because Obama's condescension to small town and rural America is shared by the much of the urban Dem base. Who do you think Obama was sucking up to when he made those comments to San Francisco millionaires and billionaires begging for cash?
4.13.2008 6:58pm
Confused:
I'm not surprised that a Republican would enjoy the fact that Hillary Clinton is using the classic Republican attack that Democrats are unpatriotic against her Democratic opponent, but I'm a bit confused as to how hypocritical posturing for political advantage is supposed to make her a better commander in chief. Honestly, after some of the recent posts it seems like the Volokh conspiracy is being outsourced to Sean Hannity.
4.13.2008 8:29pm
Anderson (mail):
Obama is not a perfect candidate -- who is? -- but I suspect he would do well once the voters are faced with "Bush's third term" or Obama.

As for Hillary, I started off favoring her, but she's run a terrible campaign -- the typical Clinton preoccupation with listening to Mark-Penn types. Blowing off the caucus states will go down in the books as one of the great blunders of any modern campaign.

So despite Hillary's underdoggedness (if that's a word), she simply can't win at this point without relying on the superdelegates' tossing the race to her -- which would make the Corrupt Bargain of 1824 look tame.

Obama may yet turn out to be the Adlai E. Stevenson of 2008. I just hope that if McCain's elected and we get more Bush-style disasters, the VC bloggers aren't suddenly "too busy" to post on his blunders ... though I'm sure they will be.
4.13.2008 8:36pm
Smokey:
Fearless:
A true patriot is someone who clearly sees America's flaws, and loves her anyway.
Absolutely wrong. Just as a husband in love with his wife is blind to her flaws, a true patriot leaves the anti-American attacks to other folks, like the UN, the EU, China, Hamas, Venezuela, etc.

Anyone who claims to be a "patriot" while badmouthing our country is simply a chameleon.
4.13.2008 8:39pm
Bart (mail):
Anderson (mail):


As for Hillary, I started off favoring her, but she's run a terrible campaign -- the typical Clinton preoccupation with listening to Mark-Penn types. Blowing off the caucus states will go down in the books as one of the great blunders of any modern campaign.

Not many folks have picked up on that. I was amazed when the Clintons just blew off the caucus states. They have been through this drill once before in 1992. Their negligence this time around is incomprehensible.

So despite Hillary's underdoggedness (if that's a word), she simply can't win at this point without relying on the superdelegates' tossing the race to her -- which would make the Corrupt Bargain of 1824 look tame.

That would be too much for the GOP to hope for. However, Clinton's entire strategy now appears to be to make Obama unelectable in the general election and blackmail the Dem super delegates into either voting for her or watching Obama crash and burn against McCain ala Dukakis against Bush.

They are real pieces of work.

Obama may yet turn out to be the Adlai E. Stevenson of 2008. I just hope that if McCain's elected and we get more Bush-style disasters...

Domestically, the Dems may be pretty pleased with McCain. To this conservative, he is simply the best choice available is a bad to very bad lot.
4.13.2008 9:06pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Smokey is right.

And since anyone who can't find ANYthing to "badmouth" about our country government is either mentally or ethically impaired, it follows that the old saying "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" is correct. Clearly the Founders were not patriots, in Smokey's view.
4.13.2008 9:10pm
PersonFromPorlock:

Clearly the Founders were not patriots, in Smokey's view.

Nor in the Crown's. ;^)

I've always liked the paraphrase "My mother, may she always be sober - but my mother, drunk or sober" as a definition of intelligent patriotism. The problem with the Left's criticism of America's very real flaws is that it paraphrases as "My mother's just a drunk!"
4.13.2008 9:37pm
Smokey:
See, Thoughtful, you were on the right track in your first paragraph, but you skidded off the road when you cleverly conflated "our country" with the "government."

Heck, you might even over-reach, and try to frame the argument your way by saying something demonstrably silly, like the Founders were not patriots, in Smokey's view. But you're too smart for that, right?
4.13.2008 9:37pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Smokey, I'd have fun parodying your view, but you're doing such a good job yourself.

Porlock Person (Just where IS Porlock, anyway...?), I agree completely with your analysis.
4.13.2008 10:52pm
Dave B (mail):
More context on the origin of the theory. From: 11-23-2004

Anyone seen this video yet?

After you see this video, do the statements sound more, or less, caustic?
4.14.2008 12:06am
Smokey:
4.14.2008 12:40am
Jerry F:
It is truly hilarious that leftists seem to find this post to be biased from a conservative direction or even a piece of "hackery." I would have thought that Kopel was if anything charitable to the Democrat Party for suggesting that the Democrat Party is in fact a mainly patriotic party despite Obama's rhetoric. If this same post had been made on a conservative blog like FreeRepublic instead of here on Volokh, commenters would have thought that it reflected a liberal bias.
4.14.2008 1:18am
Vermando (mail) (www):
Jerry: Not a question of bias. Just of hackery. If it had been on TNR or NRO, it would have been perfectly appropriate (though then certainly criticized in the ways you say). Here? It's just below the high level of intellectual rigor and good faith thoughtfulness that this blog usually produces.
4.14.2008 3:11am
Jerald (mail):
Yay, pandering!
4.14.2008 3:38am
rarango (mail):
Maybe I am not paying attention, but many of the names in the comment thread above do not appear to be VC regulars. Could it be that the Hillary and Obama bots are out in force?

I suspect we will have many more verbal gaffes before this interminable campaign ends--and it looks like it is going to end badly for the Democrats. And then we get to do it all over again in the general and hear all the recycled garbage--is this a great country or what?

Me? I spent the day at the target range after I got back from church yesterday--helps work out the bitterness, you know.
4.14.2008 10:01am
A.W. (mail):
As a bitter small town Pennsylvanian (at least by upbringing), I would like to say that this is only the latest example of a controversy where Barack exposes a significant weakness, but hil is the wrong person to exploit it. Look at the ridiculous headline on drudge where hil, after trying to say that she relates to the gun toting, bible believing set, she then turns around and that the question of when she last shot a gun or went to church is irrelevant. Barack may have stepped in it, but Hil's been covered in it for years.
4.14.2008 10:19am
xxx (mail):
I'd vote for McCain over either Clinton or Obama, and although not a member of the VRWC, I would not look forward to more years of Clinton psychodrama and am troubled by the idea of alternating Bush-Clinton dynasties ruling this country for decades.

A few points:

1) I have been impressed with Hillary's toughness and resilience. Came back to win New Hampshire, came back to win Texas (sort of), probably will come back to win the bitter state of Pennsylvania. She has not folded like a lot of candidates would have.

2) Obama is just not ready for prime time, and would be a weaker candidate in the general election than Hillary would be. Imagine this "bitter" comment coming out during a debate? She has been vetted, not a lot of surprises to come out with her, but I get the feeling we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg of Obama's problems.

3) McCain is the nominee because Huckabee ate into Romney's support on the right. McCain has had severe organizational problems, has a sharp tongue which will get him into trouble, will have fundraising problems, and his age and health are legitimate concerns. He would have a tough fight against Hillary, because both of them are centrists.

4) If Obama wins the nomination, most of Hillary's supporters will support him. If Hillary wins, she'll lost a big chunk of the the african american vote and the hard left vote.

For republicans, the best hope is a long and bitter fight, going all the way to the convention, where Obama is the ultimate victor.
4.14.2008 11:53am
Dave N (mail):
More context on the origin of the theory. From: 11-23-2004

Anyone seen this video yet?

After you see this video, do the statements sound more, or less, caustic?
If Barack Obama had made the statement in this video, there would be no controversy.

I am supporting John McCain--but Obama sounds much, much better in the Charlie Rose interview linked above than he did in either his San Francisco comments OR his Indiana explanation.
4.14.2008 12:05pm
Gordo:
The most interesting thing about Obama's comments is that they are fundamentally the truth.

People in small towns and rural areas are those who, for whatever reason, have left the main current and pace of American life. Some of them have left (or never entered) by choice, others have been barred from the mainstream by their own inabilities or flaws, and others are too obtuse to realize their plight. Only a few, such as successful commercial farmers, are well-integrated into our economic life.

All three of these conditions lead to the political aberrations that Barack Obama talked about. Rural politics has traditionally been the politics of tradition, reaction, stupidity, and manipulation by elites. That's just the way it is, and always will be.

Now Obama was himself stupid to bring this up and alienate some voters. But I have to laugh at the nauseating paeans to rural simplicity being mouthed by Hillary Clinton and Republican Obama detractors these days.
4.14.2008 1:32pm
c.gray (mail):

Rural politics has traditionally been the politics of tradition, reaction, stupidity, and manipulation by elites. That's just the way it is, and always will be.


No wonder Obama is running into trouble. The enlightened, cerebral politics of urban Chicago have left Obama with no exposure to these horrible, retrograde political forces. The harsh realities and corruption of small town Pennsylvania must come as a terrible, terrible shock.
4.14.2008 2:40pm
Kurt A (mail):
This morning as I heard the clips and soundbites from Hillary and Obama on the news, I thought that Obama may have done the impossible by making Hillary seem likeable. Sure, she may be a liar and an elitist and a not-so-closeted socialist, but she is certainly familiar, and although she'll get caught in a lie here or there, she knows better than to make the kinds of gaffes that have gotten Obama in trouble lately. Although there is no way I will vote for her, if Hillary or Obama were to get elected president, at this point, I can say without the least bit of doubt that I would prefer Hillary.
4.14.2008 2:49pm
Oren:
Of course, it goes without saying that the vast majority of this country is urban and suburban, not rural and that pandering to that latter small group is just that: pandering.
4.14.2008 2:53pm
rarango (mail):
Gordo: you are clearly an Obama supporter. Congratulations on your political choice and very small mind.
4.14.2008 2:54pm
David Sucher (mail) (www):
"The politics of can-do optimism and not of bitterness; appreciation for the religious character of small-town America; affirmation of the Second Amendment and the rite of passing the tradition of responsible participation in the shooting sports from one generation to the next."

= cant
4.14.2008 4:21pm
Darrin Ziliak:
IMHO, what Obama was talking about was the simple fact that so-called 'conservatives' have used 'God, Guns, and Gays' for decades as wedge issues to entice people into voting against their economic self interest.

The counter-argument is that there are people who put principle ahead of comfort, but the simple fact is just what have the wedge issue using candidates delivered?

Frankly, not much.
Abortion is still legal.
We missed an AWB renewal by a whisker, and Bush would have signed it had it passed.
Gays aren't forced into the closet anymore.

Personally, I'm cynical enough to believe the huge majority of politicians that use these as wedge issues don't want victory because then they'd stand revealed as having no clothes.

Obama's phrasing could have used some work, but I live here in the buckle of the Rust Belt and I'll tell you that yes, there are a lot of people who are really bitter and cynical when it comes to politicians in general and the Bush agenda of 'free trade', corporate welfare, and tax cuts for the wealthy while engaging in record deficit spending.


I'm one of them and despite my unease about Obama's record on gun rights, I'm cautiously supporting him.

Color me one of the Bitter Reformed Rednecks for Obama. :)
4.14.2008 4:23pm
Darrin Ziliak:
Posted by Kurt A:

This morning as I heard the clips and soundbites from Hillary and Obama on the news, I thought that Obama may have done the impossible by making Hillary seem likeable.



Did we see the same videos?
Obama's been taking it on the chin from both McCain and Clinton for months without really fighting back.
Now that he finally has (and managed to do so with humor), he's made Hillary likeable???

Then he must really be the Obamessiah, as he's performed a genuine miracle.

Calling her out over her blatant hypocrisy (over both the gun issue and many others) was long overdue.
4.14.2008 4:39pm
c.gray (mail):

The counter-argument is that there are people who put principle ahead of comfort


Actually, the REAL counterargument to the entire "What's the Matter with Kansas" style-argument is that there is very little evidence to support the claim that voting for "progressive" candidates would actually be in the economic interest of working and middle class voters in flyover country.
4.14.2008 6:20pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Even the Wall Street Journal is questioning whether this molehill issue has actually caused Obama to trail by 20% in the polls.

And in other news, a Republican Congressman is apologizing for calling Obama "boy."
4.14.2008 8:00pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Whoops, the link to the WSJ article mysteriously vanished in my post above.
4.14.2008 8:02pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Why do I need to pay for slavery? It was over shortly after the war of 1861 to '65. my grand parents didn't even get here until 1910 or so.

Why do I have to pay for Jim Crow? I hated it when I was 5 and marched and lobbied against it since I was 18.

You can either wallow in your bitterness or MoveOn.
4.14.2008 9:35pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
The war? I favor the candidate who said:

"We are Americans and we will never surrender, they will."
4.14.2008 9:36pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Barack Hussein Obama is a closet Jihadist sympathizer who will say anything to get elected as POTUS so that he can deliberately weaken this nation's defences and advance Jeremiah Wright's agenda of hate and vengeance against "White America."

You forgot to mention that Obama would force all our children to become gays and lesbians, and that all religion would be banned.
4.15.2008 12:47am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Randy,

What makes you think all religion will be banned? I Should think that Black Liberation Theology and the followers of the Nation of Islam will do just fine.

Inherently racist whites will need to be re-educated.

I'm not sure where Jews fit in but, I', studying the matter.

I want to please our new masters. It avoids trouble.
4.15.2008 2:43am
JosephSlater (mail):
Randy R.:

Try as you may, sometimes it really is impossible to parody some of the posters here.
4.15.2008 3:12pm
zippypinhead:
This overtly partison post by Dave Kopel is actually quite funny to a few of us. I'm sure that many VC readers assume the libertarian, Second Amendment scholar Dave Kopel would never support a liberal Dem for anything. But those of us who knew Dave back in the day might be forgiven for wondering if he's over that libertarian flirtation thingie, and is finally returning to his roots.

Circa 1983-84, Dave was far and away the most vocal and rabid Gary Hart supporter in the entire U.Mich. Law School student body. Even had some sort of minor campaign functionary title, if memory serves. Hart and Clinton: similarities that would attract Dave Kopel. Discuss. And no Monkey Business allowed!
4.15.2008 7:14pm