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Left/Right bloggers pessimistic on bipartisanship, split on Afghanistan surge:

This week's National Journal poll of leading political bloggers find over 90% of Left-wing and Right-wing bloggers being either "less encouraged" or having "no change" in their hopes for bipartisanship in Washington. (And the "no change" people never had much hope in the first place.) I was among the tiny minority that was "more encouraged," although not because I think that Obama's current course is going to attract Republican support. Rather, "The opposition of some Blue Dogs to the House version of the 'stimulus' (actually just a long-term spending spree, not a short-term stimulus) raises hope that more and more centrist Democrats will join in bipartisan opposition to irresponsible and overreaching measures pushed by Pelosi/Obama."

Should the U.S. send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan? About 2/3 of the Right and 1/3 of the Left thought so. My view: "President Bush led us to victory in Iraq. Let's hope President Obama does the same in Afghanistan." I do agree with bloggers who suggested that "more troops" is not the only issue; improved strategy and tactics are also important.

Floridan:
If victory has been achieved in Iraq, why are so many people wary of withdrawing American troops?
2.13.2009 5:32pm
Plastic:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/13/stimulus/index.html

Only 7 House Democrats were willing to vote against over 1000 pages of pork they hadn't even read (down from 11 for the first time).

I don't see where your hope for increased bipartisanship is coming from.
2.13.2009 5:35pm
Sarcastro (www):
There can be no bipartisanship till both sides agree with me!
2.13.2009 5:39pm
Dave N (mail):
Floridan,

Probably the same reason, after achieving victory, so many people were wary of withdrawing Union troops from the South after the Civil War or from Germany and Japan after World War II. Just because victory is won does not mean it cannot be undone by those who were just defeated.
2.13.2009 5:47pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

I think the bipartisanship is actually working in the opposite direction. While all House Republicans, all but three Senate Republicans, and a whopping 7 House Democrats opposed the Porkapalooza Bill today, there seems to be overwhelming support on both sides for "doing something" -- they just disagree on the particulars. I still think that we'd be better off if the government didn't try to "prime the pump" and let the market correction work its way through the system.
2.13.2009 5:49pm
Alan Gunn (mail):
Contrary to what a lot of people have claimed, we always had a strategy for victory in Iraq: train their army and police to where they can keep order, so that a democratic and reasonably secular government can run the country. It seems to be working reasonably well so far. I've never seen a proposed strategy for Afghanistan. The people who are giving us the most trouble there don't even think of themselves as Afghans; they think they (and their friends and relatives across the border) live in Waziristan, a country nobody on earth recognizes. The Afghan National Army's only tactic is "kill everybody in any village from which someone shoots at us," which makes the Taliban look good to the villagers in comparison, so if we leave, the Taliban will be back in short order. We should have left after we kicked out the Taliban; at that point we could have said we'd achieved our goal of punishing people who supported Al Quaeda and it wasn't our concern if other people calling themselves "Taliban" came back. We can't possibly pacify Waziristan, if only because much of it is in Pakistan.

The "surge" in the sense of using more troops worked in Iraq because it was part of an overall strategy, not because "more troops" automatically wins wars. Just sending more of our people to Afghanistan, without a plan, won't achieve anything. And nobody has a plan. President Obama's biggest foreign-policy mistake so far was insisting that Afghanistan was the centerpiece of the war on terror (or whatever we're calling it now). He did this, I suppose, because Bush was identified with Iraq, so that line let Obama talk tough while looking different from Bush. Now that he's in charge, he seems to be stuck with it. Too bad. This is Vietnam, except there isn't anybody remotely as civilized as the North Vietnamese to come in and take over.
2.13.2009 6:13pm
gab:
Thorley Winston said:


I still think that we'd be better off if the government didn't try to "prime the pump" and let the market correction work its way through the system.


They tried that with Lehman Bros. Then LEH went bk, which caused the Reserve Fund (the original money market fund) to "break the buck" and caused a run on money funds, which had to sell many of their holdings to meet redemptions, which led to the freezing up of the commercial paper market, which, in turn, led to some of the biggest corporations in the US to the brink of bankruptcy.

I don't think that was the correct approach.
2.13.2009 6:22pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

"The opposition of some Blue Dogs to the House version of the 'stimulus' (actually just a long-term spending spree, not a short-term stimulus) raises hope that more and more centrist Democrats will join in bipartisan opposition to irresponsible and overreaching measures pushed by Pelosi/Obama."



I must say, it is a somewhat unbalanced view of "bipartisanship" that necessitates only that Democrats move to the right.
2.13.2009 7:26pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Xanthippas [es?]: I must say, it is a somewhat unbalanced view of "bipartisanship" that necessitates only that Democrats move to the right.

Oooh, SNAP!

By the way, 'pork' seems to be somewhat in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps we could agree on an operational defintion of 'pork': whatever is added to a bill, costs money, and could not, possibly, serve the aims of the legislation.

How's that? Notice, the last criterion is 'could not, possibly, serve the aims of the legislation' - not 'isn't what I think would work better,' nor 'offends my partisan code,' nor 'does not advance the interests of my constituents [geographical or financial].'
2.13.2009 8:04pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
I'd be very interested to hear what you think "victory" means.
2.13.2009 8:48pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
PS:

... and specifically, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You have to have rational objectives before you can evaluate the success or failure of a mission, and the simple truth is: we don't -- it's the strategic equivalent of heroin addiction.
2.13.2009 8:53pm
darrenm:
This whole 'stimulus' is really just perverse. "The economy is good; let's spend more money!". "The economy is bad; let's spend even more money!"
2.13.2009 9:10pm
TokyoTom (mail):
David, I don't think we have a chance of winning in Afghanistan, as long as there are opium profits to be made.

Another perverse consequence of our insistence on creating thriving black markets and incentives for corruption around the world.
2.13.2009 10:46pm
GatoRat:
Wars in Iraq are winnable and the political implications of even just partial victory tremendous. Wars in Afghanistan are very difficult to win and the political implications zilch. (In this regard, Afghanistan is very much like Vietnam in many ways. By making genuine democracy a goal, Bush at least kept the war from running out of control. Among other things, we'll likely see a completely corrupt puppet government be installed.)
2.13.2009 10:52pm
Paul Allen:

They tried that with Lehman Bros. Then LEH went bk, which caused the Reserve Fund (the original money market fund) to "break the buck" and caused a run on money funds, which had to sell many of their holdings to meet redemptions, which led to the freezing up of the commercial paper market, which, in turn, led to some of the biggest corporations in the US to the brink of bankruptcy.


False. The commercial paper market "froze" for about one day. There was never a significant raise in CP interest rates (or their spread over Fed Funds) for industrial and commercial businesses. The only CP market with persistent trouble was bank paper--which sort of makes sense.

The Reserve Fund caused a psychological panic because people considered it the most safe, most conservative. Later when it became apparent substantial holdings of LB paper was the cause, people were shocked. The fund had actually been extremely speculative, but was scrubbing their books to look safe before every quarterly report--there was no fraud though, they did make a very quiet change to their prospectus which enabled their speculation.

John Taylor, the Stanford University economist behind the famous "Taylor Rule" has pulled together a fairly good presentation showing that the bank CP markets were destabilized following Paulson's TARP plan.

One of Taylors's Papers on this Subject
2.13.2009 11:00pm
GatoRat:
My worry the moment politicians started talking bailouts was that markets would being extremely risk averse, fearful of doing anything that would risk their government windfall. Worse, they would start to game the system--to play an expensive game of chicken with the government.
2.13.2009 11:26pm
Psalm91 (mail):
As McCain said today, the R's were completely partisan for years, in the course of which they got everything they wanted by running roughshod over the D's. This is now deemed bad by the R's, and the only way for the D's to redeem themselves is to allow the R's to get everything they want from the D's in a "bipartisan" process. The result: the R's get what they want, then, now and in the future. What a great arrangement!

Re "let the market correction work its way through the system", better to call Spiderman. Equally fictional but more entertaining.
2.14.2009 12:59am
Tritium (mail):
Bipartisanship means the 2 major parties get 1 vote, regardless of the number of people.

The recession won't turn around until the banks who took $$ are liquidated and the creditors/shareholders take a loss. This would cause all existing mortgages to be sold at market value ($0 is possible if there are no lenders) the prices would be back to where they were prior to the manipulation by treasury &fed reserve.

It seems that several people in Congress are guilty of violating their oath of office, and treason. Our unjustified wars in the middle east, the debt spent each month. It would be nice to get back to the Constitution, but it judging from body language, the Emanuel/Obama Twins (One coaches the other, cause they make similar pauses.)

Perhaps our Democratic Missionary will rub off, and we'll be invaded in the name of democracy... and establish a more perfect union.

Has anyone else noticed that Nancy Pelosi rarely fulfills the Speaker of the house roll, who speaks and is spoken to.
2.14.2009 3:38am
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
I repeat:

What does victory mean?

What's winnable in Iraq?

You people toss these words around like they actually mean something -- what is it??
2.14.2009 9:47am
Bart (mail):
C. Gittings:

What does victory mean? What's winnable in Iraq?

Achieving all of our national goals:

1) Remove predatory Baathist regime and bring them to justice. Check.

2) Remove al Qaeda and the other jihadi organizations brought in by Saddam starting in 1993. Check.

3) Stop Iraqi WMD programs. Check.

4) Establish a pro American Iraqi democracy. Check with a purple finger.

The United States and the new elected Iraqi government have decisively won the Iraq War. The last Iraqi elections were an enormous victory where everyone participated and the Iraqi people rejected Iranian meddling.

Iraq has a very bright future courtesy of the United States. All Obama needs to do is ensure the remainder of the handover is done responsibly at a measured pace to ensure al Qaeda and Iran are not able to reconstitute in Iraq.

Even the left recognizes, if they are too bitter to admit, that the Iraq War has been won and are now concentrating on losing in Afghanistan.
2.14.2009 11:29am
Brian Mac:

Achieving all of our national goals:

1) Remove predatory Baathist regime and bring them to justice. Check.

2) Remove al Qaeda and the other jihadi organizations brought in by Saddam starting in 1993. Check.

3) Stop Iraqi WMD programs. Check.

4) Establish a pro American Iraqi democracy. Check with a purple finger.


Did you write 2 and 3 with a straight face?
2.14.2009 12:55pm
Sarcastro (www):
Bart hails from a parallel universe where Superheros exist. Supervillian Saddam "Doctor Mustache" Hussein had used his Baathisto-Beam to take over the small peacefull country of Iraqistan. He then proceeded to start making WMD's in a mad plot for world domination and blackmail.

But when Saddam hired Osama-"The Professor" Bin-Laden and his Al-Queda warrior-monks to take out the World Trade center on 9-11 in a dastardly pre-emptive strike against the well known superhero group Coalition of the Awesome, he had gone too far.

The innumerable robot-army of Iraq seemed unstoppable, but soon proved no match for the combined might of The Coalition. A mere 3 months after "Mustache Crisis" began Saddam was deposed with a well-placed punch from Coalition leader The Real American.

The grateful people of Iraqistan changed their country's name to Fredonia, and forever dedicated themselves to peace, democracy and purple fingers.

So you see, everything Bart says is true, to him.

It seemed the adventure was over. But wait, whatever happened to the WMDs? And what are these mysterious barrels being loaded into trucks in Syria, under the care of the mysterious "Soroso?" Whatever happened to Saddam's Changeling Scarab and Baathisto-Beam, and who is this new super-popular politician Obama?

It seems our heroes aren't out of the woods yet!
2.14.2009 1:28pm
Bart (mail):
Brian Mac:

BD: Achieving all of our national goals:

1) Remove predatory Baathist regime and bring them to justice. Check.

2) Remove al Qaeda and the other jihadi organizations brought in by Saddam starting in 1993. Check.

3) Stop Iraqi WMD programs. Check.


4) Establish a pro American Iraqi democracy. Check with a purple finger.

BM: Did you write 2 and 3 with a straight face?

I compiled the extensive evidence and history of Saddam's alliance with al Qaeda and other jihadi groups here.

You can find a partial compilation of the evidence of Saddam's ongoing prewar nuclear weapons program here.
2.14.2009 1:33pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
I must say, it is a somewhat unbalanced view of "bipartisanship" that necessitates only that Democrats move to the right.


Well, either the left moves right, or the right move left, or both move inward. David thinks that it's more likely that the former will happen than the latter two. In fact, he says so in the OP. What's unbalanced about that view?
2.15.2009 1:26am
Brian G (mail) (www):
The reason we don't have bipartisanship is because those damn right-wing wacko neocons and Jesus freaks who tote their automatic rifles and handguns that make up the Republican party are full of hatred, bigoted, and closed-minded on abortion, gay rights, the needs of the poor, the seperation of church and state, and the rights of the people held illegally in Guantanamo Bay. If they would end their hatred and stereotyping of anyone that doesn't agree with them, biparisanship would be a reality.
2.15.2009 9:07pm
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):


Probably the same reason, after achieving victory, so many people were wary of withdrawing Union troops from the South after the Civil War or from Germany and Japan after World War II. Just because victory is won does not mean it cannot be undone by those who were just defeated.

Hitler's not coming back from the dead, and neither is Hussein.
2.16.2009 12:51am
Happyshooter:
I have an opinion, but it is worthless in this case.

I was a corporal. As such I was qualifed to lead a fire team, supervise people cleaning a bathroom or waxing a floor, and to work as a crew chief.

Officers at the general officer level have completed many years of training within the military, they have at least a masters and most doctoral level education in academia, they have commanded troops at all levels and served as staff officers at almost every position and level.

They are the ones who judgment counts, not mine, not a law professor, not even a president. Obama can decide to not listen to them, which is a mistake. If there is disagreement among them including at the Joint Chiefs level, then he should be the tie breaker.

However, my opinion, and that of the other posters here, really means nothing. To the extent that the lawyers here can write well, that is worse because it lends credit to our ignorance.
2.16.2009 9:49am
WPZ (mail):
The worst thing that can happen to the question of what to do with Afghanistan is to make even passing, facile comparisons to Iraq. The two countries, while having been two of the worst to be a citizen of on Earth, are entirely different: different histories, different physical structures, different peoples, different enemies, different everything.
Even fooling around with the word "surge" is troublesome, since it evokes the final strategy at the end of the Third War of Iraq.
Elements of successful modern counterinsurgency may well work in both places, but the overall strategy will never be comparable.
2.16.2009 4:49pm

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