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View Diary: The Rules of the Game: Crossing Your Rubicon (242 comments)

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  •  You are changing the rules... (4.00)
    That turn of phrase strikes me as curious.

    wouldn't it be more appropriate for Armando to say
    "we are changing the rules"?

    For the last few months, and especially since KOS book ad had been up on front page, I've noticed ythat there is a implicit feeling that there are two types of bloggers...the elites , blogsite "owners", and their franchisees (as curmudgeaon puts it),  and "you" the blogging masses.  It's easiest to pick this up by analysing pronoun usage.

    I also notice that the way KOS writes recently is the same way that Obama wrote on that dreadful dairy he posted a couple months ago.  There this sense thet "we" the plebian bloggers are somehow always getting it wrong, even though our intentions are right.
    I think curmudgeaon has it exactly right.

    •  But it is honest (4.00)
      I'm not leading this fight, or for that matter, was I engaged in it "after the fall" on Thursday.

      I'm joining it.

      I'm a follower on this one.

      The community did it. Not me.

      The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

      by Armando on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 08:25:48 AM PST

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      •  Ok, if you aren't running for elected office - (none)
        you must be a spy.  Very cryptic.

        If it talks like an R, VOTES like an R, it is an R - even if it has a D after its name.

        by dkmich on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 08:32:09 AM PST

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      •  Armando - thank you for joining us!!! (4.00)

        Bush is NOT America!

        by annefrank on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 08:32:39 AM PST

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      •  I understand (4.00)
        but then you should have titled this "crossing our rubicon"

        The fact that you say "crossing your rubicon" suggests that you are implying (in connection to the other dairy) that it's not for us to tell Kos about his rubicon, but for us to contemplate "our" own (the plebian bloggers' rubicon)

      •  It was so many of us that realized we agreed (4.00)
        And kept supporting each other when being told over and over again that we could never win. Personally, that is what really pissed me off. Going down without a fight is a close second.

        And the action, the focused force, that followed that recognition, aided and abetted by the ongoing communication with each other, started to have an effect on our elected Senators. A little at first, then more and more. Someone's comment about calling Salazar, being put on hold, and then having his staffer say, happily, "You're calling to support the filibuster?" made me realize that. It's like the Dem Senators and their staff were listening to all the trad media, too, and thinking that Alito was already confirmed, even if they didn't like him. We gave them another voice to hear. A lot of us. Hell, it's hard to even get a call through right now.

        Armando has it right, this is a Rubicon, and we are crossing it en masse. And we've got to be ready when the trad media starts telling everyone that "those liberal bloggers are trying to get the Dems to commit suicide by filibustering!"  Because that's going to be the message Sunday and Monday.

        In preparation for that, I'm going to go do some research on Carl Schmitt and his theory of Führerprinzip. Another Kos diarist brought this up and it seems rather interesting. It may be good way to really show where Alito's concept of unitary executive leads, and the whiff of Nazi that goes with it should really stir things up.

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

        by bewert on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 08:46:42 AM PST

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        •  Better be prepared (none)
          to take on the media, too.   Going to have to defend the dems - how?   If everyone sounds like "rebel without a cause", they'll just use it against them.  Kennedy and Kerry must have thought about this along with the rest who agreed to do it - don't you think?

          If it talks like an R, VOTES like an R, it is an R - even if it has a D after its name.

          by dkmich on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 08:53:13 AM PST

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          •  The $64 question (4.00)
            We don't have access to the trad media. Our only way to communicate is with each other and directly to our elected officials, along with a LTE here and there.

            On the other side are people like Jan LaRue, chief counsel for Concerned Women for America, who do have access to the media. LaRue, who helped shoot down Miers and is a strong supporter of Alito, "...says, with a playful smirk, she would like to see the Supreme Court put Roe v. Wade through a paper shredder and then set it afire with a blowtorch."

            Maybe we have to provide them (our Senators and their staffs) with the arguments with which they can really reach through the noise and mobilize the rest of their base and those Americans who don't agree with Ms. LaRue.

            "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

            by bewert on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 09:01:24 AM PST

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        •  Damn (none)
          Never thought of Schmitt here, but you're absolutely right. That's the logical conclusion of the unitary executive idea.

          Look, in your research look for links between Schmitt and Strauss. If you find those -- I can't recall how those two got along -- you could nail it solid.

          •  A start (4.00)
            Especially one's that don't come from Lyndon LaRouche!

            From an interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

            To understand what is distinctive about today's Republican Party, you first need to know about an obscure and very conservative German political philosopher. His name, however, is not Leo Strauss, who has been widely cited as the intellectual guru of the Bush administration. It belongs, instead, to a lesser known, but in many ways more important, thinker named Carl Schmitt.

            Strauss and Schmitt were once close professionally; Schmitt supported Strauss's application for a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship to Paris in 1932, the same year in which Strauss published a review of Schmitt's most important book, "The Concept of the Political".

            There's more, and it's really interesting:

            Conservatives have absorbed Schmitt's conception of politics much more thoroughly than liberals. Ann H. Coulter, author of books with titles such as Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism and Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right, regularly drops hints about how nice it would be if liberals were removed from the earth, like her 2003 speculation about a Democratic ticket that might include Al Gore and then-California Gov. Gray Davis. "Both were veterans, after a fashion, of Vietnam," she wrote, "which would make a Gore-Davis ticket the only compelling argument yet in favor of friendly fire." (Coulter recently displayed her vituperative talents by calling former Sen. Max Cleland, a triple amputee, politically "lucky" for having dropped a grenade on his foot while serving in Vietnam.) Liberals, by contrast, even in their newly discovered aggressively anti-Bush frame of mind, stop well short of Coulter's violent language. Interestingly enough, Schmitt had an explanation for why conservative talk-show hosts like Bill O'Reilly fight for their ideas with much more aggressive self-certainty than, say, a hopeless liberal like Alan Wolfe.

            Schmitt argued that liberals, properly speaking, can never be political. Liberals tend to be optimistic about human nature, whereas "all genuine political theories presuppose man to be evil." Liberals believe in the possibility of neutral rules that can mediate between conflicting positions, but to Schmitt there is no such neutrality, since any rule -- even an ostensibly fair one -- merely represents the victory of one political faction over another. (If that formulation sounds like Stanley Fish when he persistently argues that there is no such thing as principle, that only testifies to the ways in which Schmitt's ideas pervade the contemporary intellectual zeitgeist.) Liberals insist that there exists something called society independent of the state, but Schmitt believed that pluralism is an illusion because no real state would ever allow other forces, like the family or the church, to contest its power. Liberals, in a word, are uncomfortable around power, and, because they are, they criticize politics more than they engage in it.

            Maybe crossing our Rubicon also involves our taking the gloves off and picking up the baseball bat, even if we do so with distaste.

            Still, if Schmitt is right, conservatives win nearly all of their political battles with liberals because they are the only force in America that is truly political. From the 2000 presidential election to Congressional redistricting in Texas to the methods used to pass Medicare reform, conservatives like Tom DeLay and Karl Rove have indeed triumphed because they have left the impression that nothing will stop them. Liberals cannot do that. There is, for liberals, always something as important, if not more important, than victory, whether it be procedural integrity, historical precedent, or consequences for future generations.

            If all that sounds defeatist, at least for liberal causes, Schmitt, inadvertently, offered a reason for hope. Searching for examples of liberalism to dismiss, he happened upon Thomas Paine and the American founders. Here, in his view, were liberals typically afraid of power; indeed, he wrote with some astonishment, they naïvely tried to check and balance it through the separation of powers.
            <snip>
            To the degree that conservatives bring to this country something like Schmitt's friend-enemy distinction, they stand against not only liberals but America's historic liberal heritage. That may help them in the short run; conservative slash-and-burn rhetoric and no-holds-barred partisanship are so unusual in our moderately consensual political system that they have recently gotten far out of the sheer element of surprise, leaving the news media without a vocabulary for describing their ruthlessness and liberals without a strategy for stopping their designs. But the same extremist approach to politics could also harm them if a traditional American concern with checks and balances and limits on political power comes back into fashion.

            In the meantime, we are left with a fascinating example of the ways in which ideas fashioned at another time and place can anticipate events in this society at this moment. No wonder the 2004 election has aroused so much interest. We will, if Schmitt is any guide, be deciding not only who wins, but whether we will treat pluralism as good, disagreement as virtuous, politics as rule bound, fairness as possible, opposition as necessary, and government as limited.

            There's a message--Alito's concept of the unitary executive stands directly against the very document our great country was founded on, the Constitution of the United States. Simply put, Alito doesn't believe in the Constitution if he believes in the unitary executive.

            It's time to throw a few bombs of our own...

            "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

            by bewert on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 09:22:02 AM PST

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            •  I'm not sure Wolfe is the guy (none)
              to make the argument. That Chronicle piece you cite strikes me as pretty confused, starting off by attacking leftist intellectuals for their attraction to Schmitt, then praising conservatives for their successful implementation of his principles, and then finally declaring that the liberal tradition is the greatest system on earth. Yet the whole thing is undermined by Wolfe's barely hidden admiration for Schmitt's philosophy.

              Many years ago, when doing deep background research on Pinochet's constitution for Chile, I read a bit of Schmitt. I'm pretty sure the book was Political Romanticism, and I remember the translator's introduction was a very insightful analysis of Schmitt's biography and his political philosophy. One thing I took away from that reading was Schmitt's central role in developing the philosophical foundations for the Nazi constitution.

              Poking around just now, I find there is a 1978 translation of The Concept of the Political, and the interesting thing about that book is that it has "comments on Schmitt's essay by Leo Strauss." That's where I'd go if I were looking for links between Bushism and Nazi political philosophy. I'd probably also look at Nick Xenos's analysis of Strauss in the Spring 04 edition of Logos.

              •  Thanks for the input (none)
                If you have more ideas, please post them here. I think this subject deserves a diary of it's own this weekend, but right now I have to get moving, as I'm in the middle of moving to a new residence over the weekend.

                "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

                by bewert on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 10:18:33 AM PST

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            •  I've said similar before... (none)
              Schmitt argued that liberals, properly speaking, can never be political. Liberals tend to be optimistic about human nature, whereas "all genuine political theories presuppose man to be evil." Liberals believe in the possibility of neutral rules that can mediate between conflicting positions, but to Schmitt there is no such neutrality, since any rule -- even an ostensibly fair one -- merely represents the victory of one political faction over another.

              I've said similar before.  And I'll say it again... only fascism can deal with fascism.

              Until people realize that it's much more than Carl Schmitt, the neo-conservatives, and imperialism then they won't understand the political reality we live in today.

              The moral decay of America coincides nearly exactly with that of Germany 1933.  Torture with little outrage, or looked upon as merely "bad luck?"  Check.  Little concern with decaying civil rights, such as Patriot Act?  Check.

              It's not just a political movement, but a social one as well.

              And I think really soon now, our economic system is going to turn around.  Many of the people around Bush are honestly trying to attack the government itself.  And it seems nothing is stopping them, as we slide further into debt hitting our debt ceiling again in February.

              Clearly, we are heading towards totalitarianism this year.

              What's also interesting is Hitler's "big lie" technique.  Karl Rove has used this tactic before in a campaign long before Bush where he distributed flyers attacking his own party campaigner.  Thus, he created a backlash against the opponent and offered the opponent no easy way to explain the situation (i.e. how do you say "my opponent distributed flyers attacking themselves to make me look bad?").  No one would buy it.  Hence, the  "big lie."

      •  you got it (none)
        the filibuster exists. We are in that state, right now.    

        Let's roll.

        -8.0, -7.03 don't always believe what you think...

        by claude on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 09:07:38 AM PST

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      •  "after the fall" on Thursday?????? (none)
        I don't understand this.  What are you talking about?

        If it talks like an R, VOTES like an R, it is an R - even if it has a D after its name.

        by dkmich on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 09:57:43 AM PST

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    •  like when Bush said (none)
      "I'm mindful of YOUR civil liberties..."
      OUR Bill of Rights is entirely separate from HIS "rights" - and that's what we're fighting!

      Bush is NOT America!

      by annefrank on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 08:31:45 AM PST

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      •  Chimpy sez: (none)
        ""I'm mindful of YOUR civil liberties..."

        ....when I go to Mexico, I'm "mindful" of diarrhea, and I suspect I feel the same way about diarrhea as Chimpy feels about "our civil liberties".

        Makes me feel weak, it's a major annoyance, and I can't wait for it to go away.

        May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.--Samuel Adams

        by roxtar on Sat Jan 28, 2006 at 10:02:38 AM PST

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