Erik Bates | November 2, 2004
I wake up Monday morning and go to work, as usual. We have a staff meeting, and at 10:30, I take off to the Tyson Events Center. I stand around in the rain, directing people to the proper doors from 11:30 - 3:30, then they let the volunteers inside. We go to our seats, dance around and enjoy the atmosphere for a while, then someone gets on the microphone and says....

"Ladies and gentlemen. The President of the United States, and the First Family!"

Yeah, that's right. Not only was Bush there, but he brought Laura and the twins!

Pictures are blurry. Bad lighting, and shaky hand at high zoom will do that to you...


More photos of the President, Laura, and other random stuff can be found at my website: http://www.jabooty.org

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Erik Bates | November 2, 2004
Well, crap. I screwed something up there. That, or it's a bug. Pictures are over at my website, though. Just click gallery, then the "W. 2004" album.

Mike Eberhart | November 2, 2004
Good pictures Eric.

Jackie Mason | November 3, 2004
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Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
I met Gore 4 years ago, it was pretty exciting. I have this one pic of him that I took at "point blank" range where you can see all the way up his nose. He's making this awful face, it's great.

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
I met Gore a year ago? Two years ago now? He was on his book tour. Yeah, it was exciting. I always liked that guy.

Erik Bates | November 3, 2004
Oh, and can anybody else back me up that the First Twins are hot hot hot?

Mike Eberhart | November 3, 2004
Eric, I was going to say that, but I didn't want to get slammed. They are incredibly hot... Especially the blonde.... :)

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
They ARE hot.

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
I found the Kerry daughters to look snobbish? anyone else agree?

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
I didn't think that, but I didn't see too much of any of the kids.

Mike Eberhart | November 3, 2004
I actually found the whole Kerry family snobbish. His wife is a prime example of being a snob.

John E Gunter | November 3, 2004
I also found the Kerry family to be snobbish. I really didn't like his wife's attitude at all.

John

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
I think of Bush the same way - extremely elitist, in the sense that he's not about to look at anyone else's viewpoint or rights.

I guess it irritates me that so much of the country (not indicting you there, Mike) thinks that Bush is a "good 'ole boy" while Kerry is a rich snob.

Well, they're both rich. They both went to Yale. They both don't have much in common with the common man.

Unfortunately, that's the way it is a lot of the time in politics.

At least Obama's got that going for him - his father was a goat-herder for goodness sakes - for REAL, yo! =)

Erik Bates | November 3, 2004
I agree.

The Bush family just seems genuine to me. When you see George and Laura together, it doesn't seem like they're doing it for the media. You see something real there.

When I look at John and Teresa, I see a ketchup queen and her gold-digging husband.

But that's just me.

Mike Eberhart | November 3, 2004
I totally agree with your last statement Eric. That's exactly what I wanted to say but couldn't come up with the words. Yes, the Bush family is probably just as rich as the Kerry family, but they just come off more likeable. George looks like someone I could sit down and play cards with.

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
As long as you don't use polysyllabic words while you play with him, Mike

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
It horrifies me to think that the Presidency has turned into one huge popularity contest.

But maybe that's all it's been for a long time.

John E Gunter | November 3, 2004
I think alot of that speaking problem comes from him being uncomfortable when put infront of people to speak. Yes, a person in public office shouldn't be like that, but it looks to me that he gets nervous and can't speak when put on the spot. Course, I don't watch his speeches very often, but from the parts I have seen, that's how it reads to me.

John

Mike Eberhart | November 3, 2004
I think it's always been a part of the Presidency. Popularity is a big part of it. As long as you can get a little of the other stuff to go with it, then you can win. I personally didn't vote based on popularity though.

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
No, I'm sure no one here did.

But I bet a lot of the country did.

I don't know what to think about America anymore.

Mike Eberhart | November 3, 2004
The President's speaking issues don't bother me at all. I have kind of the same problem. When I have to speak in front of people at a moments notice, I tend to get a little sloppy with how I talk. I talk faster, and I will start slightly stuttering a word or two. I don't know why I do that. When I talk in front of people and I'm prepared for it, it's not a problem.

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
I've poked fun at the President for his speech problems, but I don't think they are a reason to call him "stupid," or anything like that. At least we'll have Bushisms for the next four years. I can't say that makes it worth it for me, but I'm trying to be on the bright side.

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
You say they aren't reasons to call him stupid or make fun of him...but you're happy that his speach 'problems' are there so you can make the next four years worth while?

If that dosen't sound backwards I don't know what does.

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
You didn't read what I said at all.

I said it wouldn't make it worthwhile for me.

How does poking fun at someone for speech issues (someone in power who should be good at it) mean I think he's stupid when I just said I don't think that?

Todd, just when I start to like you, you jump on something for no reason.

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
Applogies, read too fast obviously. Flame Off, if I could retract it I would.

You said "At least we'll have Bushisms for the next four years..and trying to look on the bright side." still sounded like an attack on The President to me.

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
Bow your head in shame, Todd. Bad, Todd, Bad. You've spent too much time around Mitz.

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
Yeah. That's definitely the worst thing I've said about the President on here.

Puhleeze.

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
IMO There is a difference between personal attacks, and attacks on policy. I have no issue with policy differences. Personal attacks however are different matters, they are nothing more than callously shallow attempts to defame, discredit and denigrate another person, which without question is unnecessary in a race for the Presidency.

Be afraid Scott.

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
Still.

Could you be any more random or out of the blue attacky during a nice conversation? I was hoping we were past all this bickering over nothing.

Mike Eberhart | November 3, 2004
Well, in Anna's defense, she was quoting Scott's comment about having bushisms to go on. And she said that wasn't enough for her. I don't really remember reading her bashing the President personally. I can definately vouch for her bashing policy, but I don't recall anything personal.

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
Thank you, Mike.

I don't have a bashing policy though. Well, maybe I do. If Kerry had won and was doing stuff I considered stupid or detrimental to the American people, I'd speak up about that too. I'm a non-party affiliated criticizer, I guess.

Erik Bates | November 3, 2004
I was talking to someone the other day who said that he had the opportunity to speak to the president in a one-to-one conversation. They said that Bush is much more relaxed and speaks very well in those situations.

So the man gets nervous in front of 10,000 people. I would, too. :)

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
Yes, I understand that. I'm speaking of the general populous as a whole. I already apoplogized to Anna above. I thought that was clear.

Evidently it was not.

As to quoting Scott, I only saw quotes aroud "stupid" and did not see it attributed to anyone.

So......

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
He was talking about you bashing Bush's policy.

Erik Bates | November 3, 2004
No, Anna... he remembers you bashing the policies. Not that you have a bashing policy.

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
Thank you people.

THANK YOU!

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
I just enjoy bashing anyone for any reason. I am 'non-partisan' that way. hehehe

As for the "Bushisms" I said before, I made a joke to lighten the moment. Geeze, you people need to understand sarcasm. Do i have to put a (sarcasm) tag around everything I say?

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
(sarcasam) Yes (/sarcasam)

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
I gotta' hand it to you, Todd -- you jumped right in her grill on that one... but you certainly aren't the only one guilty of not reading things all the way at times.

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
lol.... Todd, did you ever plot horrid revenge on your evil former psycho boss?

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
Again with this....I'm trying not to read anything into it, but I feel this is the second time you've made an insinuating comment towards me, Amy. I'm going to take it as face value though and agree with you.

I think it's been established that I, as well as others, don't necessarily read everything through well enough. I'm trying in that regard, and I think I'm doing a much better job lately.

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
Nope....er...well....I guess I can't lie.

It's already been enacted.

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
Wait,. we're suppose to read people's comments before we respond to them? Why wasn't I informed? I demand that Hardie write it in the rules of TC. hehehe

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
No sarcasam tag?

John E Gunter | November 3, 2004
Now what would make you think we didn't catch your sarcasm?

John

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
hehehe...

Anna, I'm not trying to pick a fight with you here... but for someone who claims to be "confused" or "mystified" when people are being direct, you sure are quick to jump on the more subtle "insinuations" -- yes, I was being "snarky" yesterday, and this morning I was being humorous (about the gay thread), although you didn't seem nearly as responsive to the humor. Just now, I was trying to help Todd not to feel alone in his moment of "flame" -- it just so happened to apply to you in this case.

If you're really "trying not to read anything into it", then why do you keep responding as though you are?

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
Because, as you just stated, there IS something to it. Your comments are so circular!

What's wrong with asking for clarification? Whenever I ask a question about something I'm confused on or am "mystified" it's because I honestly want to know, NOT because I'm being snarky. If I'm mistaken, set me straight, but don't make vague comments about how I missed something cause I didn't read. I'm trying to read carefully, and my recent postings I think reflect that. I'm trying my best here, even if no one believes it.

I'm once again mystified as to why I seem to be in the doghouse with you.

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
"He was talking about you bashing Bush's policy." Was that a vague comment?

I haven't put you in any doghouse, Anna... and I can't control how you respond to what I say.

"Your comments are so circular!"

So does this mean you think I should run for President? ;D

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
Ok... trying to end this argument. I guess the Redskins were finally wrong.

John E Gunter | November 3, 2004
Looks like ScottieHo, that or it were always just coninkiedink.

I see a definite difference in your posting Anna, at least for the last week roughly. I was afraid there would be bad arguments after the election, or crowing by those whose candidate had won, but I am happy to say, it's been fairly civil here today!

Guess there is hope for us after all.

John

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
I agree with what John said... I was afraid of the crowing, too. And Anna, if I really wanted to upset you, it would have been much simpler to say, "haha -- Bush won and Kerry lost... neener, neener, neener!" So, no, I wasn't trying.

And thanks, Ho, but I can end my own arguments... I was trying to be humorous in my last -- does nobody here think I'm ever funny??!!!

Mike Eberhart | November 3, 2004
I think your funny, Amy.... :)

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
I find you quite amusing Amy. Your picture, not quite what I imagined, makes you seem extremely light hearted. And that is what I like in people.

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
(sniff, sniff) Thanks, Mike & Scott... You like me, you really like me... (sniff)

Mike Eberhart | November 3, 2004
No problem Amy...

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
So... you were imagining what, Scott? A big green meanie??? ;DDD

(I'm glad you think I'm light-hearted, though -- I do like to laugh!)

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
I dunno. Not quite sure.

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
AMY MAD?!?!


I guess we can't change font colors....but that's supposed to be green up there.

John E Gunter | November 3, 2004
Naw, maybe a big blue meanie though! :-P

John

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
Heeheehee... that was a good one, John!

Lori Lancaster | November 3, 2004
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Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
then I would have understood it as a HULK reference. gotcha.

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
Yeah, that's why it was funny to me, Lori... it struck me as a great multiple reference, actually: "blue in the face", Navy "blue"... Wasn't it Todd that called me & Erik "communists"? Or was that James, who got censored? He was pretty obnoxious, but I did find him somewhat amusing... and I was so disappointed that you hadn't seen "Silence of the Lambs", Lori -- I was so proud of that joke and nobody laughed. ;DDD

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
We all agreed long ago that no one would crow no matter who won the election. And I wouldn't have crowed anyway. I think people don't know me very well, but I wouldn't be like that.

Mystifying squabbles with Amy aside, I think that if Mike and I are getting along, SOMETHING is going right!

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
bi-partisianship is already brewing. Maybe there is hope for this sorry country afterall.

Lori Lancaster | November 3, 2004
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Lori Lancaster | November 3, 2004
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Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
Yeah, but the scene I was talking about is one that you do have to see to really get...

Anna, I wasn't here for that promise, and from what I saw of the Yankees thread, it doesn't really mean much to me anyway... there are always eggers (cough, Anth-cough,-ony, cough! jk ;>)

Why don't you just stop being mystified and lighten up a little?

(Added: I'm glad that you & Mike seem to have made peace... now maybe we can, too?)

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
Why don't you stop trying to antagonize me for no reason, and I will. That's a sure way to make friends - "Why don't you just lighten up?"

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
hmmm... why don't you teach me some of your most stellar tactics, then, Anna?

John E Gunter | November 3, 2004
Although the reference of blue meenie was toward Yellow Submarine, I wasn't using it for a political statement. :-P

I just didn't picture you as a Hulk type. As big as I am, I don't picture me as a Hulk type, even though I like the Hulk. Course, I also like the blue meenies as well. Kinda thought they were pretty funny, especially the little one.

That plus I really like the color blue better than green, unless you're talking about money! ;-)

John

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
Nevermind. I guess I'm not going to get a real answer as to why anyone would want to be randomly mean to anyone.

If you'd like to stop ("make up") that would be great. I didn't do anything to you, Amy. I don't know why you persist in antagonizing me.

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
Blue meanie? I figured Genie from Aladdin :)

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
I know you weren't being political, John... I just found it all the funnier since somebody called me a commie a few days back, but mostly I was thinking "blue in the face". Yeah.

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
that was me....and it was just cause you said something about libretarian.....I was kidding about that....

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
Oh, I totally knew that, Todd... and I *thought* it was you, but since you weren't taking ownership earlier, I thought maybe I was remembering wrong and that it was James -- I told you to look it up, because even though I realized you were being funny, I thought it was kind of dumb (but I totally knew you were being funny).

Todd Brotsch | November 3, 2004
I'm like a bad penny...

I always turn up.



Ahhh Venice...

Amy Austin | November 3, 2004
Venice? Okay, I'm back on the short bus again!

Todd Brotsch | November 4, 2004
Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade...He says both things.

Amy Austin | November 4, 2004
Oh... yeah, I guess he does, doesn't he. Well, now that I know your game (DVD Master), I will pay more attention. My husband does that crap, too -- he is the KING of movies lines... (I'm going to go say those to him now and see if he gets it right!)

Todd Brotsch | November 4, 2004
203 and counting. I've opened up my own branch of Block Buster.

Mike Eberhart | November 4, 2004
203 Dvd's.... Wow! I thought I had a lot and I only have 50. I've got a long way to go to catch up to you.

Scott Hardie | November 4, 2004
About policy attacks vs. personal attacks: There are certainly such things as unfair personal attacks, like calling Bush stupid just because he mangles a few words now and then. But isn't personal character one of the most important issues in electing a president? Aren't we supposed to care that Bush has such strong resolve and that Kerry considers every stance correctly? These are important. When electing Congressional representatives, policy matters, because these people are writing our laws. The president has much less to do with the law; he's the head of state, so his job is diplomacy and military planning. When voting for the president, I always vote for personality over policy; it just happened that my preferences in both have matched in the last two elections. A lot of people voted for Bush on personality over policy, and I think that's wise.

I didn't really get mad about the election until I found out Tom Daschle had lost, and gay marriage was outlawed in all eleven states that were voting on it, and I overheard some people cheering both results. I've never thought of myself as living in a bubble, as there are plenty of Republican voters in my life, but I am newly having to come to grips with the fact that I'm out of touch with a majority of my fellow Americans. Kris, Jackie, Anna, Scott Horowitz, Anthony, and the rest of us liberals are not wrong in our opinions about Bush and his policies just because we lost an election, but we should accept that we have an abnormal view.

I'm seeing my country anew today. I am seeing people who I assumed were liberal because, I dunno, they're intelligent and sensitive, cheering for Bush's victory. I'm realizing that I am the one who has a detachment from the conventional, popular wisdom, not the people who I figured were blind or crazy to support "that madman." I will continue to disagree with conservatives' ideology, but I can no longer quietly contemplate their sanity when I hear one of them voice it; it's my own I have to question, and should have been questioning all this time, even if Kerry won.

What I'm seeing at last (here comes the smack-on-the-forehead moment) is what Mike, Erik, John Gunter, Aaron, and other conservatives see: A conservative nation. It's like Kris said a few days ago about the BBC; what Europe considers centrist would be considered staunchly liberal here. For better or worse, we're a nation that does intermingle Biblical values with public policy and doesn't see anything wrong with it. We're a nation that does go to war whenever we feel like it, just because we feel like it, which happens often. We aren't really interested in the best possible protection for jobs, or the environment, or education, or health care; we're satisfied with 'adequate' protection for these systems. We don't believe we should have access to all of the information that the president has. We don't believe the Bill of Rights trumps the USA Patriot Act when the two conflict. And worst of all, we legislate our bigotry against homosexuals and deny them their civil rights; our opinion is more important than their freedom.

That's America. That's our country. We're strangers in it. We can protest the war and the president for whatever reasons we want, logical or emotional, but we're the crazy ones. And Hillary isn't going to win in 2008, not against Jeb Bush or Rudy Guiliani or anyone else, because she's one of us, and most Americans see her as the monster that we see Bush as.

I'm not trying to be defeatist. This isn't a case of "I lost the vote, so I'm doomed and my ideology is flawed." I believe everything today that I believed yesterday, and I will vote Democratic for years to come. I'm just trying to accept that the America that really exists is a different place, and I think a worse place, than I believed it was yesterday. Mike may be forever outnumbered here on TC, but there really are more of him than there are of us.

Lori Lancaster | November 4, 2004
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John E Gunter | November 4, 2004
Remember Scott, I've told you that extreme Conservatives scare me the same as extreme Liberals. I'm more of a Moderate than a Conservative, but I do lean more toward the Conservative side than the Liberal side.

If I see the change as good, I'm for it, but if I perceive that the change as bad, I'm going to do my best to stop it. Even though I'm registered Republican, I don't always vote party, though most candidates I vote for are Republican because they have similar interests.

Not all of the Florida amendments that were showing were conservative in nature, but I voted yes for them anyway. Also, some of the candidates I was interested in were not Republican, so I voted for them.

But like you said, for President I vote for personality, not so much policy, but I also like to see what the candidate did in the past. All of their past! I'm not looking at what they are saying or what the media is saying about them, I'm looking beyond that because the media is always interested in sensationalism, no matter what the cost. I've seen it to many times to believe otherwise.

Also, I've heard to many stories about the media's hunt for the news to see that same sensationalism running wild. I mean come on; election night by 7:00 pm they were already saying that so and so was winning in this state. The polls on the west coast were still open for another 3 hours!

Did those broadcasts only show on the east coast? And if they did, did the media keep people from calling someone they knew on the west coast? This country has rampant irresponsible media and until we do something to change that, we'll still have problems of a mis-informed public.

John

John E Gunter | November 4, 2004
You're behind Todd, you need to get crackin!

John

Lori Lancaster | November 4, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | November 4, 2004
I don't know, Scott. While I pretty much agree with you that the nation is indeed far different than I want to look at it (and further from the ideal we always trot out as what our country IS), I don't think liberals are strangers in it. As someone pointed out to me, even swing states were almost half for Kerry - almost half of the country who voted is PISSED and wants a change. That, especially in light of how poor voter turn-out is usually, is a big step. I have to hope that in four more years, enough people will want to say ENOUGH and work harder to change.

That, and I hope, if there is no new guy I don't know about, that John Edwards runs in 2008. I think he'd have a great shot at it.

Mike Eberhart | November 4, 2004
I'd rather see John Edwards run for the Democrats than Hillary. I absolutely can't stand her.

Lori Lancaster | November 4, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | November 4, 2004
I don't think Hillary will run, to be honest. But yeah, I'm curious as to what you don't like about her too, Mike. I know a lot of people don't like her for a multitude of reasons, but I always thought she was pretty awesome. A very strong, outspoken First Lady who got stuff done.

Mike Eberhart | November 4, 2004
Well let's see. I think her running for Senate in New York was dishonest and greedy especially since she wasn't from there. It speaks of political aspiration rather than public service. I know, Alan Keyes did the same thing this year in Illinois. I didn't agree with that either. Her actions and business dealings have been shady at best. And yes, I know most politicians are like that. I just think she's worse. Her politics are unbridled socialism. I know I'm going to get a lot of disagreement on this, but it's just my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Anna Gregoline | November 4, 2004
Why are her politics unbridled socialism?

Mike Eberhart | November 4, 2004
Well, to start out, just look at that book she wrote. She believes that ordinary people can't take care of their own children and it needs the whole community. I, for one, don't believe that. She, and her husband, want more government control over a lot of things. She wants a government healthcare system. I really don't want to see that. I like having my choices with my healthcare. I can see her, if she were to become President, downsizing the military just like Bill Clinton did. There's just a lot about her I just don't like.

Todd Brotsch | November 4, 2004
There was that whole Healthcare initiative she tried to get going...but couldn't even get off the ground....

Anna Gregoline | November 4, 2004
Which was why I'm disappointed that we won't see Kerry's healthcare policies - an opt-in/opt-out government system of healthcare where you could keep your provider if you didn't want to choose theirs.

Kris Weberg | November 4, 2004
I'm not a fan of the Clintons either, but for almost the exact opposite reasons. They've always put themselves ahead of their party and their party's issues.

I was once in an argument with someone regarding politics -- I know, it's a shocker -- when, exasperated, they said, "You're just a Clinton-loving Dem!"

I replied: "I can't stand Clinton, because I actually consider myself to be a liberal."

But then, I'm to the left of pretty much anyone on here.

Jackie Mason | November 4, 2004
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Jackie Mason | November 4, 2004
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Todd Brotsch | November 4, 2004
Can you have right or wrong without Religion?

Anna Gregoline | November 4, 2004
Of course you can.

Kris Weberg | November 4, 2004
Lots of ways to have ethics without religion. Socratic ethics. The just society in Plato's Republic. John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism. Ayn Rand's Objectivism. Existentialism. "Rational choice theory" as proposed by economists. All secular theories that ground systems of values and ethics. Any simple course on ethics at a local community college could tell you this.

Heck, without getting into a massive debate, a lot of systems that mention God have an essentially non-religious basis or explanation for their ethics. John Locke argues for right and wrong fromt eh basis of the right to personal property based on individual effort and merit. He namechecks God, but the argument has nothing to do with religion beyond a cursory 'God created everybody" line at the very beginning.

Or, think of it this way -- if religion is based entirely on faith, and in all honesty, it must be, any logically-derived notion of right and wrong is already some distance from religion.

Anna Gregoline | November 4, 2004
Heh, I was hoping Kris would post to this. =)

Todd Brotsch | November 4, 2004
Thank you, then why say they are trying to push their religious views onto people. It is possible for their views to be made completely outside of religious purview.

Kris Weberg | November 4, 2004
Possibly because, unlike the people I listed above, they explicitly characterize their ethics as being, not ratiuonally-derived truths, but commandments from God.

That would be the sole criterion for callign a set of ethics "religious," actually.

Dave Mitzman | November 5, 2004
In regards to Hillary running for Senate (being from NY):

When she first made the announcement, I wasn't exactly a happy camper about the whole thing (but then again, when am I a happy camper about anything? :-P). Anyway, after watching her school Rick Lazio in the debates and thinking about things, I decided to vote for her. She had everything to lose by not doing a good job. When she plans on running for president (be it 2008 or 2012), her run as a NY State Senator will be what people look at as whether or not she's up for the task. As for the Republican's representative in 2008, it's going to be Mr. I'm-Loved-By-All (you know who I'm talking about, and I would absolutely vote for him), or Mr. Guiliani. I'm not sure if I'd vote for Giuliani because his methods of running things are extremely sketchy (in terms of pure ethical values).

Mike Eberhart | November 5, 2004
Sorry Dave, I must be asleep this morning. But who is Mr. I'm-Loved-By-All? Thanks.

Anna Gregoline | November 5, 2004
Yeah, I don't know who that is either...

Erik Bates | November 5, 2004
Dave, Bush can't run for a 3rd term :-D

Scott Horowitz | November 5, 2004
methinks Mr. Mitzman is in a world of his own imagination. Maybe McCain is of whom he is speaking.

Mike Eberhart | November 5, 2004
That's who I was thinking about, but I wasn't sure, so I didn't say anything. I wouldn't mind if McCain ran. I'd vote for him.

Scott Horowitz | November 5, 2004
I'd probably vote for him, hell, I would have voted for him this year. Depends who the Dems put up against him.

Jackie Mason | November 5, 2004
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Todd Brotsch | November 5, 2004
I like Mr McCain too. Though, on the military experience thing, if I remember right both of them (McCain, and Kerry) were trying to paint a picture of them serving and Bush not. Which is perfectly find, but I don't think military experience makes any person more or less fit to seek the White House. Not to say that what both men did overseas or the sacrifices they made mean nothing, just that a military life dosen't make you more or less suitable for the Office.

Amy Austin | November 5, 2004
Not that I think a civilian is any less capable of the job, but I do think that military service makes you "more qualified" -- after all, this person is going to be the "Commander-in-Chief" of the armed forces. Saying that someone who has military experience is no more qualified for that job is like saying that Bill Gates is not more qualified than someone who doesn't know computers to run Microsoft. I don't know about you, but I'd always *prefer* someone with some experience in my company over an outsider to head it up/run for Pres, even if there are others who are "suitable for the Office". I felt this way even before joining, and my experience only confirmed it.

Todd Brotsch | November 5, 2004
Yes, it is bennificial, I'm not saying it isn't. What I am saying though is that I don't think having it makes one person more or less qualified than another. I mean we don't send The President to get educated at West Point and Annapolis, then The War College, put him through OCS and the whole rigamarole. That's what the Joint-Chiefs are for, and the Chairman.

Kris Weberg | November 5, 2004
Actually, you find lots of CEOs who aren't particularly experienced in most of the "practical" functions of their companies these days -- a CEOs job is to attract investors and essentially manage the money end of things; product development and the like are usually not under his or her direct control.

As to Presidents with military service: remember, Woodrow Wilson, who was CiC during World War I, was a college professor. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who helmed the country for the bulk of World War II and was Secretary of the Navy, was a lawyer and stockbroker prior to gaining political office. In other words, what were, prior to the two Gulf Wars, America's two most sweeping military victories were largely accomplished under Commanders-in-Chief with no real military service in their background -- the Secretary of the Navy is not actually in the Navy, but represents the element of civilian control ultimately delegated to the President.
I will add that Harry S Truman was, of course, a regimental commander in World War I, and was rightfully proud
of that service; and that he presided over the end of WWII and over the Korean War-in-all-but-official-status.

Likewise, of the Founding Fathers, among whom were our first six Presidents, only George Washington actually participated in the fighting during the Revolutionary War. The only one of them to preside over an actual war was James Madison was essentially a political thinker and a legislator, who was in charge of the War of 1812. Likewise, Thomas Jefferson, both John and John Quincy Adams, and James Monroe never saw combat. It was only after the last of the Founders was President that war heroes like Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor became Presidents, because the United States military was simply not particularly well-organized nor particularly powerful prior to the end of the 1812-4 conflict.

Following that, a President who had a military service background was always someone who'd seen combat, and usually a war hero of some kind. Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and George H.W. Bush were decorated combat veterans. The exceptions begin with the Presidents after Johnson. Richard Nixon was a Cargo Officer in the Navy, but his advancements in rank were given as a measure of his efficiency in that capacity rather than any direc combat involvement he had. Likewise, Jimmy Carter served in the Navy and initially had a strong military career ahead of him, but never saw combat and retired from the service to farm peanuts. Ronald Reagan was in the army, but never saw combat.

It's also unlikely that many future Presidents will be military men. In a sense, conscription before the 1960s ensured that a alrge proportion of the population in general would have some military experience, of whom some would, by sheer weight of probability, forge political careers. It wasn't until Vietnam that this changed greatly; of our two Presidents who would have been of age to fight in Vietnam, only one was involved in any branch of the military, and he never saw combat. The generation that fought World War II is passing on, and the Viet Nam conflict does not seem to have lent those who fought in it the kind of political capital that earlier wars did.

Too, very few persons of rank in the military these days seem particularly interested in political office. Colin Powell would have been a strong Presidential candidate in any race, but has never sought the office; nor has the Gulf War's hero Norman Schwarzkopf. And Wesley Clark's political ambitions seem to have died a-borning. It remains to be seen if powerful political careers will be forged independent of rank in the years to come, as both the "Gulf War" generation and the troops currently engaged in the "War on Terror" leave service and pursue their electoral ambitions. (I use quotation marks because neither conflict is technically a war.)

These days, for good or for ill, to succeed in politics generally means to have been a career politician for most one's life.

Steve West | November 5, 2004
Matt Cale of the Ruthless Corporation has an opinion of Woodrow Wilson that would make him a poor choice to use as an example of a good "civilian" President during wartimes.

"Woodrow Wilson sent hundreds of thousands to their deaths in a silly war that no one to this day can explain, he ignored (and thereby exacerbated) the influenza epidemic, crushed civil liberties, left giant, corn-filled turds on the Constitution, and childlessly refused to resign even after losing half his brain to a massive stroke. His miserable presidency ushered in years of repression, hysteria, and yes, the rise of Hitler. Fuck him and may history piss on his memory forever."

I tend to agree with as much as 80% of that rant.

Kris Weberg | November 6, 2004
That would indeed be a good argument for hating Wilson, except that that half of it is bullshit. But the other half is not too far from the mark.

Let's take it step by step:

1) "a silly war that no one to this day can explain"

If you can't explain World War I, I suggest you take a high school history course. It was a fatal breakdown of the polity of premodern constitutional monarchies, the whole of the European political order, and of a treaty system that had, in general limited the destructiveness of thousand-year-old territorial disputes by providing deterrents and reinforcing definitions of war that prevented massive territorial acquisition and injurious reparations. In fact, many political and social theorists -- Leo Strauss, Hannah Arendt, et. al. -- have persuasively argued that the Treaty of Versailles (something Wilson opposed) was the real problem, being the refutation of the above prevention of injurious reparations notion. In any case, said breakdown in polity led to a German policy unrestricted submarien warfare, which was bad news for any nation that used the ocean for anything.

Second, America's entry into the war was rather late, and hardly the cause of it; rather, it sped the conflict to an end, arguably forestalling millions more dead.

Third, America did not enter the war until German U-boats sank a boat containing 200 American civilians. If that's a flimsy justification for war, I'd be interested to hear Mr. Cale talk about 9/11. In addition, the Zimmerman telegram became public, revealing that the Germans had contacted the Mexican government seeking to use Mexico as an ally to occupy the U.S. militarily and promising to give back mush of the Southwest if they won. This was after years of bandit raids on the U.S. by the likes of Pancho Villa, not to mention the Mexican American War of just 30 years prior. Not unreasonably, Wilson and Congress took this telegram as evidence of German aggression against the U.S., because, well, it pretty much WAS evidence of German aggression against the U.S. Mexico declined the offer, reasoning that it wouldn't work out, but didn't do so until after the U.S. had declared war on Germany. All decent reasons to go to war against them, really.

Third, Wilson's opposition to the war and his isolationism was well-known. Prior to the Lusitania incident and Zimmerman, he staunchly opposed the war; after asking Congress to declare the war, he is said to have wept in his chambers; and finally, Congress, who have the actual power to declare war, voted for it overwhelmingly in both houses.

Fourth, after the war, Wilson fought for international support of human rights and recogniton of stateless minorities, which would have included, among other groups, the Jews. Europe agreed on the rights, but never enforced them, and because of a once again isolationist Congress, the U.S. never intervened on anyone's behalf.

Considering that all of America's trade partners were at war, that any American on a ship was considered fair game for torpedoing by one of the combatants, and that that combatant was violating the long-established Monroe Doctrine for the express purpose of screwing with the U.S., it's hard to call his reasons for entering the war "silly."

2) "ignored (and thereby exacerbated) the influenza epidemic"

There was no effective treatement for influenza in that time period. No vaccines -- flu is viral, so antibiotics don't work against it -- and, really, not much beyond "fluids, bedrest." If you caught it and were going to die, odds were you were dead. In fact, as a cursory look at contemporary sources would tell anyone, our present vaccination system is no guarantee against a fatal, worldwide flu epidemic either. If 2004 medical science is helpless, I doubt 1918 medical science was much better. Especially

That's 0 for 2.

3) Wilson did oppose segregation, exacerbated racial and ethnic tensions, and brutally attacked Haiti and rewrote its quite progressive Constitution with a new, less democratic, and inherently rather racist version. During the war he essentially removed first amendment protections for anti-war activists.

So Cale is right on that one.

Of course, one also can't exactly blame the entirety of racial discrimination on Wilson -- like many in his generation, he was reacting to Reconstruction and to . And I can't name a single President before 1952 who didn't piss all over civil livberties in wartime. Even Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, removed habeas corpus protection, something explicitly enshrined in the Constitution. FDR interned Japanese-Americans and produced massive amounbts of racist propaganda. Yet Lincoln is a hero to most and FDR is at leats credited with running the War well, even if the New Deal is nowadays a subject of bitter contention.

(I'll assume this also covers the "turds on the Constitution" objection.)

4) "childlessly [sic] refused to resign even after losing half his brain to a massive stroke."

Wilson did not resign after being incapacitated by a massive stroke, letting his wife Edith bring some matters to his attention while delegating the rest to the Cabinet, and keeping visitors away from the White House, including his own vice-president. In Wilson's defense, there was then no 25th amendment providing for the Vice-President to take over for the President in such a circumstance, nor wa sthere much precedent for incapacitation. Generally speaking, earlier Presidents either died or never got sick in office.

Still, hiding from one's own veep bespeaks a knowledge that something shady was being done, and overall, one has to consider Wilson a bit greedy to hang onto his office even when he was arguably incapable of performing its duties.

So, as far as I can determine in the subjective field of history, that's 2 for 2. In other words, you're 30% off. I would point out that Wilson is not the beloved figure he was for a while in the mid-20th century, when pretty much anyone short of Harding or Pierce could be loved by history books near and far. I imagine his academic career and occasional flickers of intellectualism helped teachers take a shine to him as well.

On the other hand, I can guess the probably indirect source of Cale's animosity, though -- Sigmund Freud, of all people,and a U.S. ambassador named CW Bullit worked on a nasty hit piece book about Wilson, and though it wasn't published for 30 years after Freud's death, Freud's intellectual credentials made the book, Thomas Woodrow Wilson: A Psychological Study, rather more credible. Pretty much also the Woodrow-bashing since has been indirectly derived fromt hius book.

Of course, given that the book's explanation for Wilson's crappiness is an Oedipal frustration, and part of the target was Wilson's unbending morality (unless you were Black or German, one supposes), I'd take it with a grain of salt.

All in all, I'd say that Wilson was not our best President, but definitely not one of the worst. Unlike Franklin Pierce, he was willing and able to take a moral stand on a divisive issue -- the war -- and the effect, the further consolidation of America as a military superpower, was a good if probably an unpredictable one. And unlike Harding, his administration wasn't thoroughly corrupt, "just" morally indefensible in several regards.

In any case, my argument wasn't so much that Wilson was a great President, but that his lack of personal military service didn't prevent him from successfully waging a major war.

Dave Mitzman | November 6, 2004
I'm fully aware Bush can't run again. Did I say anything to the tune of he would be?

Todd Brotsch | November 6, 2004
Thanks for your history lesson Kris....Kinda defeated your comment to take a high school history course didn't it?

Oh well, a zing lost


Mitz, you're an idiot, I wouldn't be surprised if you did think such a thing. Idiot.

Erik Bates | November 6, 2004
Sorry, Mitz, end my last comment with a </sarcasm> since you obviously didn't catch it. It was meant to be a crack at your cryptic "Mr. I'm-Loved-By-All (you know who I'm talking about, and I would absolutely vote for him)" line.

Jackie Mason | November 9, 2004
[hidden by request]

Jackie Mason | November 15, 2005
[hidden by request]

Michael Paul Cote | November 15, 2005
Sounds like the Bush "Team" only pays attention to whether or not people like him or think he's doing a good job when the polls are in his favor. Talk about "playing politics"!


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