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America's Debate > Archive > Election Forum Archive > [A] Election 2006
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BoF
In a surprise announcement, The Fort Worth Star Telegram yesterday editorially endorsed Democrat Chris Bell for Governor of Texas over Republican incumbent Rick Perry

QUOTE
A solution is available, one that acknowledges the legitimacy of the current legislative conservatism but also recognizes the need for balance in crafting public policy.

Texans should elect a new governor: Democrat Chris Bell.

<snip>

The governor of Texas does not have much power -- just enough to make the Legislature think twice about what it is doing. That's exactly what today's monopolized state government needs.

<snip>

What power the governor has derives from the bully pulpit that the office provides, the ability to veto legislation and the power to make appointments -- with the approval of the Senate. Used judiciously, these can be great powers. If overused, they can become inadequate and ineffective. Even a speech from the governor can be ignored, and a veto can be overridden -- but each still makes the Legislature think just a bit harder before it acts.

<snip>

As governor, he couldn't tell the Legislature what to do on appraisal caps, and there are not enough Democrats in the House or Senate to block passage. Still, Bell could announce his position from the bully pulpit, and Republican legislative leaders would have to consider the possibility of a veto. They would need to gather Democratic support for any proposal to override a veto.

A veto override takes 100 votes in the House. In the 2005 session, the House had 86 Republicans and 64 Democrats. The November election could change those numbers, though not greatly.


http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/editorial/15815361.htm

The Star Telegram’s argument is simple - too much power is in conservative Republican hands. This power, in the editorial board’s opinion, need to be balance. Hence, the endorsement of Bell.
Texas government mirrors national government. Both the Governor, Lt. Governor and both houses of the legislature are controlled by one party – the Republican Party.

Can the paper’s opinion on bringing balanced to state government be extruded to national government.

Questions for Debate:

1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

2. What specific advantages or disadvantages do you think balanced or split government has over one party rule?
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NiteGuy
1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

Absolutely. As we've seen both in the last 6 years, as well as during previous administrations, single party rule of all the legislative and administrative branches of government is disastrous. Rampant, unchecked spending by the party in power; cutting the other party out of committee discussions; forcing vote times to be extended to get a desired result. Why? Simply because they can, that's why.


2. What specific advantages or disadvantages do you think balanced or split government has over one party rule?

Quite simply, like the endorsement in your newspaper link, the idea is for some kind of balance. Some call it gridlock, and that can happen (not that that's a bad thing). But mostly it means that both sides have to better hone their arguments, have to think about what's really important to get accomplished, and both sides need to compromise on minor issues to get that important issue accomplished.

Having an all Democrat majority or an all Republican majority simply doesn't do this. Approximately half of the populace gets marginalized when that happens. Running a government for the people of a city, state or country shouldn't be an all or nothing affair for one political ideology, when it comes to doing what's right for everyone.
Blackstone
1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

Not if they use that control to hand al-Qa'ida a victory in Iraq (even if that's not their intent). That could have very adverse consequences for the American people, and not just the American people either.

Overall, though, I'm not as concerned about parties as I am about individual politicians, and what they're going to do. I want people in Congress who'll challenge the administration and not give it a free pass, either in Iraq or anywhere else. But I also don't want people who speak of "strategic redeployment" (weaselcode for withdrawal) from Iraq. We need people who know how to depersonalize the issue - that is, not let their disapproval of Bush and his conduct of the war cloud their understanding of what needs to be done, and I think there's been a lot of that lately. On the what-to-do-about-Iraq thread there's no shortage of people whose answer to the question focuses mainly on listing all the things Bush did wrong, or is alleged to have done wrong. That doesn't help with the issue of where to go from here, and we need people in government who understand that.
BoF
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 23 2006, 07:19 PM) *

1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

Not if they use that control to hand al-Qa'ida a victory in Iraq (even if that's not their intent). That could have very adverse consequences for the American people, and not just the American people either.

Overall, though, I'm not as concerned about parties as I am about individual politicians, and what they're going to do. I want people in Congress who'll challenge the administration and not give it a free pass, either in Iraq or anywhere else. But I also don't want people who speak of "strategic redeployment" (weaselcode for withdrawal) from Iraq. We need people who know how to depersonalize the issue - that is, not let their disapproval of Bush and his conduct of the war cloud their understanding of what needs to be done, and I think there's been a lot of that lately. On the what-to-do-about-Iraq thread there's no shortage of people whose answer to the question focuses mainly on listing all the things Bush did wrong, or is alleged to have done wrong. That doesn't help with the issue of where to go from here, and we need people in government who understand that.


I disagree completely. Scaring people to death with what terrorists might do if Democrats control even one house simply isn't appropriate and it isn't going to work.

Apparently, a large section of the American people agree with me. A glance at the pdf file from ABC/Washington Posts shows how unpopular your ideas, and Bush's are.

The central issue for me has long been the idea that government works better when the opposition has the means to check the majority.

http://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/1024...ctionUpdate.pdf
Blackstone
QUOTE(BoF @ Oct 23 2006, 09:23 PM) *

QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 23 2006, 07:19 PM) *

1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

Not if they use that control to hand al-Qa'ida a victory in Iraq (even if that's not their intent). That could have very adverse consequences for the American people, and not just the American people either.

Overall, though, I'm not as concerned about parties as I am about individual politicians, and what they're going to do. I want people in Congress who'll challenge the administration and not give it a free pass, either in Iraq or anywhere else. But I also don't want people who speak of "strategic redeployment" (weaselcode for withdrawal) from Iraq. We need people who know how to depersonalize the issue - that is, not let their disapproval of Bush and his conduct of the war cloud their understanding of what needs to be done, and I think there's been a lot of that lately. On the what-to-do-about-Iraq thread there's no shortage of people whose answer to the question focuses mainly on listing all the things Bush did wrong, or is alleged to have done wrong. That doesn't help with the issue of where to go from here, and we need people in government who understand that.


I disagree completely. Scaring people to death with what terrorists might do if Democrats control even one house simply isn't appropriate and it isn't going to work.

Apparently, a large section of the American people agree with me.

Time for a review of ad.gif's Survival guide, with special attention on the logic fallacies. Clicking on "The Fallacy Files" will ultimately take you to a link to this page, which details, among other things, the fallacy of the Argumentum ad Populum, also known as the Bandwagon Fallacy:

QUOTE
The Bandwagon Fallacy is committed whenever one argues for an idea based upon an irrelevant appeal to its popularity.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

So, do you have a rebuttal to my above post?
BoF
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 24 2006, 02:10 PM) *


So, do you have a rebuttal to my above post?


Yes.

First, your post is irrelevant to the questions I asked.

Second, leaving off the bit about polls I have already rebutted it.

QUOTE(BoF)
I disagree completely. Scaring people to death with what terrorists might do if Democrats control even one house simply isn't appropriate.


Now, the polls are important because they are an indication that Republican scare tactics, such as you offered in your post, aren't working.
Blackstone
QUOTE(BoF @ Oct 24 2006, 03:16 PM) *
First, your post is irrelevant to the questions I asked.

Of course it's relevant. You asked if the American people would benefit from the Democrats gaining control of a House or two. My answer was no, given the current stance of most Democrats on the WOT, and I explained why.

QUOTE
Second, leaving off the bit about polls I have already rebutted it.

QUOTE(BoF)
I disagree completely. Scaring people to death with what terrorists might do if Democrats control even one house simply isn't appropriate.

No, you didn't rebut it, all you did was object to it and disagree with it. And not exactly categorically, either, since you basically acknowledged that I "might" be right. But in fact, giving al-Qa'ida a victory in Iraq raises the probability level to just a hair beyond a "might".

QUOTE
Now, the polls are important because they are an indication that Republican scare tactics, such as you offered in your post, aren't working.

Now that has nothing to do with your questions at all. You weren't asking about the effectiveness of any politician's or party's alleged tactics.

By the way, calling it a "scare tactic" isn't a rebuttal either. It's just question begging.
BoF
QUOTE(BoF)
I disagree completely. Scaring people to death with what terrorists might do if Democrats control even one house simply isn't appropriate.


QUOTE(Blackstone)
I "might" be right.


I think you are interpreting the word “might” out of context. It was meant as a bit of sarcasm, not an acknowledgement that you could be right. I should have used a "rolleyes" emoticon next to the word “might.” rolleyes.gif Like that.
nighttimer
QUOTE(BoF @ Oct 23 2006, 06:25 PM) *

Questions for Debate:

1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

2. What specific advantages or disadvantages do you think balanced or split government has over one party rule?


1. and 2. The founding fathers never meant for Congress to be dominated by one party that only follows the dictates of a handful of wealthy, well-connected special interests. Nor was it ever intended that Congress should become either an engine of obstructionism or a lapdog to the whims of the Executive Branch.

But that's exactly what we have now with Republican domination of both Houses of Congress.

Hopefully, two weeks from today, the American people will return some semblance of checks and balances and reign in the unprecedented power grabs of the Bush Administration. Chances are the House will go to the Democrats, the Republicans will maintain control of the Senate and the President will have to actually include both parties in the creation of the nation's domestic and foreign policy priorities.

When one party controls everything corruption, arrogance and indifference to the concerns of ordinary people follow. Sometimes divided government creates gridlock. Sometimes it creates actual bipartisan cooperation.

If there's a downside to that I don't see it.

QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 23 2006, 08:19 PM) *

Not if they use that control to hand al-Qa'ida a victory in Iraq (even if that's not their intent). That could have very adverse consequences for the American people, and not just the American people either.


That kind of fear-mongering rhetoric isn't the least bit grounded in fact. Nor does it advance the debate to suggest Democrats want to serve up a victory in Iraq to Al Qaida. That's as unfair as suggesting Republican unwillingness to adapt to the situation in Iraq has created more of a terrorist threat than previously existed.

QUOTE
Overall, though, I'm not as concerned about parties as I am about individual politicians, and what they're going to do. I want people in Congress who'll challenge the administration and not give it a free pass, either in Iraq or anywhere else. But I also don't want people who speak of "strategic redeployment" (weaselcode for withdrawal) from Iraq. We need people who know how to depersonalize the issue - that is, not let their disapproval of Bush and his conduct of the war cloud their understanding of what needs to be done, and I think there's been a lot of that lately. On the what-to-do-about-Iraq thread there's no shortage of people whose answer to the question focuses mainly on listing all the things Bush did wrong, or is alleged to have done wrong. That doesn't help with the issue of where to go from here, and we need people in government who understand that.


Mistakes cannot be resolved until they are first acknowledged. Something this President has been reluctant to do. "Strategic redeployment" is not "weaselcode for withdrawal" or any such nonsensical smear. When what has been tried in the past has failed to yield the desired results, how can any reasonable, rational person rule any option off the table that offends their particular policy preferences?

This line of thinking that anyone who disapproves of Bush is incapable of clear-minded critical thinking is a spurious approach. It devalues viewpoints that run counter to the conventional wisdom that got us stuck in Iraq. More of the same status quo suggestions aren't bringing America one day sooner to getting out of George Bush's War.

It absolutely helps to know what went wrong in order to avoid making the same mistake twice. The definition of insanity and all that...
Vermillion
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 24 2006, 08:49 PM) *

But in fact, giving al-Qa'ida a victory in Iraq raises the probability level to just a hair beyond a "might".


Perhaps we can try again, nicely.

This is not the first time you made this assertion. Here you refer to an 'al Qaida victory in Iraq' as if that were an actual possibility. Then you refer to the Democrats 'handing Al qaeda a victory in Iraq', again, as if this were even remotely possible. Earlier in another thread you referred to Al Qaida as 'the principal reason why we're fighting over there.'

Can you explain this? Al qaida is a tiny percentage of the insurgency, around 2% as of US military counts a month ago. They are, on the strategic scale of insurgency in Iraq, almost entirely irrelevant.

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews....=rss&rpc=22

Al Qaida makes up about 5% of OIraq's Sunni Arab insurgency, and thus less than 2% of the total insurgency.

And the Insurgents themselves are doing a pretty good job of cutting down even those tiny numbers, and rendering them nationally irrelevant.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/01/12/afr...eb.0112iraq.php


The destruction of Al Qaida in Iraq would have no impact whatsoever on the growing insurgency, nor its growing effectiveness. In fact there are significant portions of the insurgency who hate Al Qaida as much as the US does, and would be able to turn their ENTIRE force against the US or the Iraqi government were the remnants of Al Qaida in Iraq destroyed.


So can you explain why you keep referencing the 'battle against Al qaida' as the major factor in your belief the US should not leave? Also, how does this 'Al Qaida issue', whatever it is, make worthwhile the increasing losses, increasing expenses, increasing civilian casualties, and strategic impotence of the US in the area?

If you keep making this point, sooner or later you are going to have to explain it.



By the way, while you are correct about the inherent weakness of the 'Bandwagon fallacy' in argumentation, I think this argument regains a great deal of weight when the issue being debated is the results of a democratic election. Suddenly the 'Bandwagon' becaomes the voting public, and their majoritarian opinions are VERY relevant.
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Blackstone
QUOTE(nighttimer @ Oct 24 2006, 04:02 PM) *
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 23 2006, 08:19 PM) *

Not if they use that control to hand al-Qa'ida a victory in Iraq (even if that's not their intent). That could have very adverse consequences for the American people, and not just the American people either.


That kind of fear-mongering rhetoric isn't the least bit grounded in fact. Nor does it advance the debate to suggest Democrats want to serve up a victory in Iraq to Al Qaida.

I took the liberty of highlighting a part of my post that you apparently missed.

QUOTE
QUOTE
Overall, though, I'm not as concerned about parties as I am about individual politicians, and what they're going to do. I want people in Congress who'll challenge the administration and not give it a free pass, either in Iraq or anywhere else. But I also don't want people who speak of "strategic redeployment" (weaselcode for withdrawal) from Iraq. We need people who know how to depersonalize the issue - that is, not let their disapproval of Bush and his conduct of the war cloud their understanding of what needs to be done, and I think there's been a lot of that lately. On the what-to-do-about-Iraq thread there's no shortage of people whose answer to the question focuses mainly on listing all the things Bush did wrong, or is alleged to have done wrong. That doesn't help with the issue of where to go from here, and we need people in government who understand that.


Mistakes cannot be resolved until they are first acknowledged. Something this President has been reluctant to do. "Strategic redeployment" is not "weaselcode for withdrawal" or any such nonsensical smear.

That's exactly what it is. It means withdrawing the troops from Iraq, but "leaving them on the horizon". In other words, withdrawing them. (being "on the horizon" is the weaselly part that can mean just about anything)

QUOTE
This line of thinking that anyone who disapproves of Bush is incapable of clear-minded critical thinking is a spurious approach.

You may have noticed that I also highlighted another part of my post. Same reason.

QUOTE
It absolutely helps to know what went wrong in order to avoid making the same mistake twice. The definition of insanity and all that...

OK, as far as it goes, but when the discussion focuses exclusively on criticizing what happened, without coming to any kind of conclusion on what to do, then it's unproductive.


QUOTE(Vermillion @ Oct 24 2006, 05:26 PM) *
The destruction of Al Qaida in Iraq would have no impact whatsoever on the growing insurgency, nor its growing effectiveness. In fact there are significant portions of the insurgency who hate Al Qaida as much as the US does, and would be able to turn their ENTIRE force against the US or the Iraqi government were the remnants of Al Qaida in Iraq destroyed.

Even if that were true, there's a reason why insurgencies in other societies don't merit our attention. Why would we care about an insurgency in Iraq if it's a completely intrernal matter? The main reason we're over there (at least, the one that's been advertised) is that one particular portion of the insurgency, however small, also happens to be a rather troublesome enemy of the U.S. (and was so before we invaded). And this enemy has stated in its own documents how important Iraq is in the fight against us.

QUOTE
By the way, while you are correct about the inherent weakness of the 'Bandwagon fallacy' in argumentation, I think this argument regains a great deal of weight when the issue being debated is the results of a democratic election. Suddenly the 'Bandwagon' becaomes the voting public, and their majoritarian opinions are VERY relevant.

They're not the slightest bit relevant to the questions asked. The question for debate was whether a Democratic takeover of one or two Houses of Congress will be good for the American people, not whether it will actually happen.
Vermillion
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 24 2006, 10:54 PM) *

QUOTE(Vermillion @ Oct 24 2006, 05:26 PM) *
The destruction of Al Qaida in Iraq would have no impact whatsoever on the growing insurgency, nor its growing effectiveness. In fact there are significant portions of the insurgency who hate Al Qaida as much as the US does, and would be able to turn their ENTIRE force against the US or the Iraqi government were the remnants of Al Qaida in Iraq destroyed.

Even if that were true, there's a reason why insurgencies in other societies don't merit our attention. Why would we care about an insurgency in Iraq if it's a completely intrernal matter? The main reason we're over there (at least, the one that's been advertised) is that one particular portion of the insurgency, however small, also happens to be a rather troublesome enemy of the U.S. (and was so before we invaded). And this enemy has stated in its own documents how important Iraq is in the fight against us.


Well, it IS true, and I'm sorry, but I still don't understand your assertion.

Firstly I would hardly say that this tiny Al qaida presence is the main reason the US is there. The US invaded when there was no Al qaida presence, so obviously it has nothing whatsoever to do with the reason for the invasion.

Thus, I presume you meant that the tiny Al qaida presence is one of the 'primary reasons' why the US is STILL in Iraq. Well, this is the first I have heard of it. Since there is no possibility whatsoever of an 'Al qaida victory in Iraq', and since they are being hunted by the Iraqi insurgency itself, they are strategically irrelevant. Furthermore, you seem to imply that the presence of this tiny force is one of the main JUSTIFICATIONS used by the Bush Jr. presidency for remaining in Iraq. Again, this is the first I have heard of it. As far as I know, Bush Jr has not so much as MENTIONED Al Qaida in Iraq as a justification in ages.

But it gets worse. Two years ago, the Pentago admitted that the US presence in Iraq only STRENTHENS Al Qaeda in Iraq and worldwide (http://www.sundayherald.com/46389) while repeated studies from the IISS, the CIA and the unified US intelligence agencies have all reported that because of the sideshow in Iraq, Al qaeda has gotten much stronger, and the US is a less safe place because of the war.

So again, I have to ask you to explain your use of the presence of this miniscule Al Qaeda force (less than 2% of the insurgency) as a reason for US forces to keep fighting and dying in Iraq...

Dontreadonme
1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?
Of course Americans would benefit, for two reasons: As others have pointed out, not much good can come from one political party controlling all three branches of government. It simply does not represent all concerns of the populace. The second reason is that in mine and many people's opinion, a congress that is gridlocked can do little to harm the people.
I see no major difference between either party in practice. Ideologies differ, but are rarely in effect by the respective lawmakers. Democrats, once in power will likely not end our involvement in Iraq any sooner, they will simply blame Bush for their future inaction.

I fully expect and hope that the Democrats take control over the house or the Senate, both for the above reasons and the following: the only way that the Republican party will return to the root cause that they claim to stand for is to lose their stranglehold on the government. They may have started with good intentions in 2004, but they have become drunk with power and indistinguishable from their opponents.
BoF
QUOTE(Dontreadonme @ Oct 24 2006, 05:13 PM) *
Democrats, once in power will likely not end our involvement in Iraq any sooner, they will simply blame Bush for their future inaction.


DTOM, we'll have to wait and see, but I commend you for an astute observation.

History is on your side. Nixon promised to end the Vietnam War in his first term, but didn't. He, in fact, expanded it into Cambodia.
Blackstone
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Oct 24 2006, 06:10 PM) *
As far as I know, Bush Jr has not so much as MENTIONED Al Qaida in Iraq as a justification in ages.

Define "ages". Since this radio address is well within the timeframe comprehended in your next paragraph, I'm sure you won't consider it completely irrelevant:

QUOTE(Bush)
Al Qaeda's number two leader, a man named Zawahiri, wrote to his chief deputy in Iraq, the terrorist Zarqawi. We intercepted this letter, and we have released it to the public. In it, Zawahiri lays out why al Qaeda views Iraq as "the place for the greatest battle" of our day.

He says that establishing al Qaeda's dominion over Iraq is the first step towards their larger goal of imposing Islamic radicalism across the broader Middle East. Zawahiri writes: "The jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals. The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq. The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq. The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq."

This letter shows that al Qaeda intends to make Iraq a terrorist haven and a staging ground for attacks against other nations, including the United States.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
Two years ago, the Pentago admitted that the US presence in Iraq only STRENTHENS Al Qaeda in Iraq and worldwide (http://www.sundayherald.com/46389)

Two years ago, you say? That's interesting, because the last time I brought up this internal document from al-Qa'ida showing how bad things are from their perspective, you couldn't help but notice that it was all of five months old.

QUOTE
while repeated studies from the IISS, the CIA and the unified US intelligence agencies have all reported that because of the sideshow in Iraq, Al qaeda has gotten much stronger, and the US is a less safe place because of the war.

Do these studies show that aQ will get weaker if we leave? If not, they're irrelevant to this discussion.
Vermillion
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 24 2006, 11:51 PM) *

Do these studies show that aQ will get weaker if we leave? If not, they're irrelevant to this discussion.


No, they show that Al qaida has gotten stronger because of the US presence. I'd say that's pretty germaine, wouldn't you?

If your 'primary reason' for staying in Iraq is because of Al qaida, then I think the fact that Al Qaeda has consistently grown stronger since, and because of, the US presence in Iraq is exceptionally relevant. I think the fact that Iraq has proven to be a distraction from, rather than a front in the war on Terror is supremely relevant.



And I'm sorry, I have to repeat myself, because you seem to be missing the central point of both my last two posts, and repeatedly ignoring the simple questions I asked.

As I have shown, Al Qaeda is a stretegic irrelevancy in Iraq, less than 2% of the total Insurgency. Furthermore, its not like they influence the rest of the insurgents, in fact many of them hate Al qaeda and are actively struggling with them. If they were to dossapear tomorrow, it would have NO effect on the other 98%+ of the insurgency.


So can you PLEASE explain why you keep citing them as a 'primary reason the US is fighting over there', and why you keep referring to some phantom 'Al Qaeda victory in Iraq', when such a thing is a clear impossibility? Can you also justify why you feel this miniscule force, which exists only because of the US invasion, is worth the increasing loss of US lives, US wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars of US currency? You can't keep asserting these things, especially in the face of repeated calls to justify your assertions when they seem completely at odds with the facts.


Blackstone
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Oct 24 2006, 07:17 PM) *

QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 24 2006, 11:51 PM) *

Do these studies show that aQ will get weaker if we leave? If not, they're irrelevant to this discussion.


No, they show that Al qaida has gotten stronger because of the US presence. I'd say that's pretty germaine, wouldn't you?

Only if the findings carry any serious suggestion that al-Qa'ida will get weaker if we leave. Otherwise, they're not germane.

QUOTE
I think the fact that Iraq has proven to be a distraction from, rather than a front in the war on Terror is supremely relevant.

As the missive from Zawahiri shows, al-Qa'ida apparently does not consider it a distraction.

QUOTE
And I'm sorry, I have to repeat myself, because you seem to be missing the central point of both my last two posts, and repeatedly ignoring the simple questions I asked.

As I have shown, Al Qaeda is a stretegic irrelevancy in Iraq, less than 2% of the total Insurgency. Furthermore, its not like they influence the rest of the insurgents, in fact many of them hate Al qaeda and are actively struggling with them. If they were to dossapear tomorrow, it would have NO effect on the other 98%+ of the insurgency.

I guess I'll save myself the trouble of repeating myself, by just cutting and pasting:

QUOTE
Even if that were true, there's a reason why insurgencies in other societies don't merit our attention. Why would we care about an insurgency in Iraq if it's a completely intrernal matter?
Jaime
Let's chill with the belittling tone. Keep in mind just because someone disagrees with you, doesnn't mean that person hasn't read what you wrote. Civility, please.

TOPICS:

1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

2. What specific advantages or disadvantages do you think balanced or split government has over one party rule?
Wertz
Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

At this moment in history, the American people would benefit - without qualification. So would the rest of the world. Bad policy has bad consequences and, under this Republican Congress and this Republican Executive, we have had nothing but the worst policy imaginable. There is no conceivable way that things could get even worse - unless the single party in power is allowed to continue unchallenged. But the only way that we, the people, would seriously benefit would be if a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress started impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney the instant they took office and started rescinding all of the legislation that has enabled this Executive to run amok. So, little hope there. Two days ago, Nancy Pelosi reiterated that the "impeachment [of President Bush] is off the table" - which immediately prompted me to make a hefty donation to Mike DeNunzio.

Otherwise, though, I doubt it makes much difference whether Democrats are in control, Republicans are in control, or there's a split, either within Congress or between Congress and the Executive. Theoretically, of course, there's all that checks and balances stuff and the whole notion of a balance of power - balance, balance, balance. Yeah, right. When there is virtually no discernable difference between the parties in question, where's this purported balance? Ideologically, the Republican and Democratic Parties are about as far apart as A and B. I agree with DTOM's suggestion that not much good can come from one political party controlling all three branches of government. But in the United States in 2006, it's kinda irrelevant. The Democrats and the Republicans are one party - and it's a party that does not represent the concerns of the populace.

The only time that these two indistinguishable parties need the semblance of balance is in reaction to specific individuals or groups within one of the parties (in reaction, for example, to an Executive that is criminal or out of control). Here, I would agree with Blackstone. We urgently need a Congress that will challenge - and, ideally, oust - the current administration, which is both criminal and out of control. I fear, however, that it is too late. Too much has already been conceded, too much damage done. The September 11 attacks did change everything - for the worst. Immeasurably. But that change was not effected by al-Qaeda, it was effected by the Bush administration. And it could take generations for the world to recover.

What specific advantages or disadvantages do you think balanced or split government has over one party rule?

In the more usual scenario, a politically "balanced" government provides oversight and accountability, leading to less cronyism and corruption and sounder, more thoughtful decisions all around. This is a more general advantage. In thankfully rare and untoward cases (like our current, desperate situation) it helps prevent outright autocracy. As we have seen, one-party rule can lead to the shredding of our Constitution and our treaties, the destruction of human rights globally, and the undoing of hundreds of years of democratic principles, natural law, and human justice. A more "balanced" government that could have prevented this immoral and inhumane tragedy would unquestionably have been a "specific advantage". But no petty midterm election can possibly forgive, undo, or indemnify the eternal shame that this has wrought on the American people.

:::::::::::::::::::::

Regarding what I see as a bit of a sidetrack to these questions: Once the hilarity subsides, the outrageous argument that Democratic control of one or both houses of Congress "<'*"might"*'>" lead to an al-Qaeda victory in Iraq is just sad. To the extent that al-Qaeda even exists, they have won whether we leave or not - the much touted "victory" has already happened. The Bush administration's unwarranted, unjustified, and illegal invasion of Iraq was (and remains) the best recruiting campaign that al-Qaeda has had since the first Bush administration abandoned the mujahedin. They couldn't hope for a better victory.

QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 24 2006, 06:51 PM) *
Do these studies show that [al-Qaeda] will get weaker if we leave?

The numerous reports from just about everyone that the illegal invasion of Iraq has created more terrorists than it could ever eliminate do not address whether or not al-Qaeda would get weaker were we to leave. But to answer that question ourselves, we need only appeal to what reason we may have left. If we advertize a product, hundreds of years of marketing experience tell us that sales of that product will increase. If one stops advertising a product, it follows that sales of that product will decrease. The occupation of Iraq is a recruiting ad for al-Qaeda. If we stop running the ad, recruiting will drop. So, yeah - al-Qaeda would get weaker if we left Iraq. Ergo, germane - at least to the side topic.
Vermillion
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 25 2006, 12:50 AM) *

Only if the findings carry any serious suggestion that al-Qa'ida will get weaker if we leave. Otherwise, they're not germane.


Study after study, by seperate agencies, including the IISS and the unified American Intelligence community have stated unequivocally that the US presence in Iraq has made international Al qaida stronger. That is not a fact in dispute.

So given that, and given the strategic irrelevancy of Al Qaeda IN Iraq (at less than 2% of the total insurgency) I think it is exceptionally relevant to say that staying helps Al qaida.

QUOTE

As the missive from Zawahiri shows, al-Qa'ida apparently does not consider it a distraction.


Firstly, that is not a missive from Al qaeda, that is from 'Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia', or Al qaeda in Iraq as the group is popularily known: the small and strategically irrelevant organistion operating in Iraq.

Secondly, forgive me if I do not take as Gospel the opinions of the now dead Zawahiri on his importance in world affairs. The fact is that they form a miniscule percentage of the Insurgency. The Fact is that they have no influence with the rest (over 98%) of the insurgency, some of whom are actively engaged in trying to destroy Al qaeda as well.

However, if YOU place great stock in what Zawahiri had to say, it might interest you to know that ANOTHER thing Al Qaeda leadership had to say was that the best thing the US could do for Al Qaeda in Iraq would be to 'Stay the course'. Seems they believe that the US staying in Iraq is the best thing that could happen to them, and that was said more recently than the Zawahiri letter (http://thinkprogress.org/2006/10/04/qaeda-letter-iraq/). How do you reconcile that with your insistance on 'staying the course'?


QUOTE
Even if that were true, there's a reason why insurgencies in other societies don't merit our attention. Why would we care about an insurgency in Iraq if it's a completely intrernal matter?


A rhetorical question with little actual link to the topic is not an answer. Firstly, its obvious the US DOES care about the insurgency in Iraq and NOT JUST the miniscule Al Qaeda section of it: The last several major operations, including massive operation Enduring Freedom were directed against regional insurgent stronghold, in which there were NO confirmed Al Qaeda presence whateoever. They were fighting the over 98% of the Iraqi insurgency which is NOT Al qaeda. That would appear to destroy your claim that Al qaida is the 'primary reason the US is fighting over there'.


So we go back to my basic question. And Blackstone, I am seriously not trying to be difficult, and I am trying very hard to stay WAY on the good side of diplomacy. But I have asked you this very simple question half a dozen times in several threads. If I made up an apparently false assertion multiple times, and then consistently refused to ever explain it or back it up in ANY way, I am quite sure you would not let me get away with it. It is not a trick question, it is not a trap, I just would like you to justify the same assertion you keep making in thread after thread:

-That Al Qaida is 'the primary reason we are fighting over there'; that a pullout would 'hand victory to Al qaida', and so on. These statements seem completely counter-intuitive at first glance, given the relative insignificance of Al qaida forces in Iraq, and their inability to gain a foothold. Also considering their lask of any influence within the over 98% of the insurgency that has nothing to do with them.

So could you please explain these comments, and how they mesh with the facts at hand? Can you also explain why you think the enormous loss of American life and American treasure is worth skirmishing against this tiny force which is strategically irrelevant in the future course of the nation? (Especially considering it has been priven that the US presence in Iraq has made international Al Qaida substantially stronger).

I don't think it is an unreasonable request (considering you continue to make this counter-factual assertion time after time in thread after thread) to ask that you explain or justify it?
AuthorMusician
1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

I of course think the country will benefit from Democrats gaining control of Congress. For one thing, Democrats seem to be faster thinkers than Republicans. Demos have called for a time frame regarding the Iraq project, and it has taken years for the Republicans to see that this is something that is needed.

For another, Democrats have been calling for a change in strategy regarding Iraq. Well, years later, Republicans (starting with the President) are no longer chanting, "Stay The Course."

A Democratic Congress will be a lot quicker at seeing how the Republican Congress made huge mistakes along the way and taking actions to rectify the situations.

2. What specific advantages or disadvantages do you think balanced or split government has over one party rule?

The chief advantage is to limit power. The primary disadvantage is that government slows down, which might be an advantage. Depends on how you look at this and the specifics of each situation.

When the American people were largely sold on the idea that we are at war, one-party rule made sense. But then the war became something different, and the sense has gone away, at least for the majority of the independent voters.

In all though, I don't think people are really thinking that it'd be a good thing to split government. I do think that many more people are sick of the same old dodgeball politics that the present one-party government constantly delivers than there were two years ago. This might result in a split government, which would be an effect stemming from the cause.
CruisingRam
1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

Well, when you have competant statesmen in all forms of goverment, you usually have a pretty smooth running machine, for the most part, as smooth as a representive democracy can be, like when the dems controlled both houses pre-Nixon, or, if you have a president that is an honorable person, like with eisenhower, who did great things with the dems, such as building our road systems. It is when you get completely opportunistic and incompetant ideologues like we have had in power since 1980, and culminating with the complete republican takeover in 2000 that we get the stupidity we see today. So, it has been fine in the past, it is only when republicans totally take over we seem to have a problem LOL- though Carter was pretty bad, it is nowhere near as bad as under GW. I actually wish for a complete Dem takeover by 2008, because I think it would signal a well needed shift back to the center, and hopefully, the dems won't become some power mad christian theocracy leaning extremists that we have today, I am hoping.

Blackstone's near laughable quote at the beginning is the best reason for getting rid of the repubs- because some poeple are actually silly enough to believe those kinds of things. I wish I had a better way to put it- but no amount of evidence, in hundred's of posts, have convinced Blackstone to see reality, and when it is pointed out how illogical and wrong a quote may be, he changes the subject, and refuses to adress his own quotes directly- and this has been the hallmark of the entire republican power- talking points, don't adress reality, say it louder the next time, and whatever you do, don't admit to being wrong! The entire republican power base is based on fear mongering, and very little reality.

The American would have benefitted from some balance in rule, though I think the Dems, when in power, for the most part, allowed more dissent within the ranks and checked themselves most of the time, with thier own inner party divisions. It is the lack of dissent within the party, until very recently, that has made us need this check and balance again. The American public would benefit if not one single republican we re-elected again, and a new party took it's place.

2. What specific advantages or disadvantages do you think balanced or split government has over one party rule?

Moving to the center would always be the great advantage- extremism is very, very difficult when you have a plurality of goverment.
Blackstone
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Oct 25 2006, 08:49 AM) *
Study after study, by seperate agencies, including the IISS and the unified American Intelligence community have stated unequivocally that the US presence in Iraq has made international Al qaida stronger.

"Has made". In other words, according to them, the genie's out of the bottle. So does that mean the genie will go right back inside after we leave? Is that a logical conclusion? You haven't even said so yourself yet.

QUOTE
QUOTE

As the missive from Zawahiri shows, al-Qa'ida apparently does not consider it a distraction.


Firstly, that is not a missive from Al qaeda, that is from 'Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia', or Al qaeda in Iraq as the group is popularily known: the small and strategically irrelevant organistion operating in Iraq.

No, Zawahiri (who, by the way, is still alive) is al-Qa'ida, as in, the mothership. And he doesn't consider al'Qa'ida in Iraq strategically irrelevant.

QUOTE
Secondly, forgive me if I do not take as Gospel the opinions of the now dead Zawahiri on his importance in world affairs. The fact is that they form a miniscule percentage of the Insurgency. The Fact is that they have no influence with the rest (over 98%) of the insurgency

No influence? That assertion could stand some scrutiny. They form a part of the Mujahideen Shura Council, which is an umbrella group of at least six Sunni insurgent groups, including al-Qa'ida. This past Friday they staged military parades in a string of Iraqi towns:

QUOTE(AP)
Like the audacious show of force by up to 60 insurgents in the city of Ramadi on Wednesday, the latest parades — including two less than a mile from U.S. military bases — were staged in support of an announcement this week by a militant Sunni Arab group that it had created an Islamic state in six of Iraq's 18 provinces, including the capital, Baghdad.

The declaration was made Sunday by the Mujahedeen Shura Council — an umbrella organization of Sunni insurgent groups that includes al-Qaida in Iraq — in a video posted on the Internet.


QUOTE(Vermillion)
However, if YOU place great stock in what Zawahiri had to say, it might interest you to know that ANOTHER thing Al Qaeda leadership had to say was that the best thing the US could do for Al Qaeda in Iraq would be to 'Stay the course'. Seems they believe that the US staying in Iraq is the best thing that could happen to them, and that was said more recently than the Zawahiri letter (http://thinkprogress.org/2006/10/04/qaeda-letter-iraq/).

Your link does not show that at all. What it shows is that the main Qa'ida leadership was urging Zarqawi to "stay the course". The fact that they don't want Zarqawi giving up in Iraq does not, by any remote standard of logic, mean that they'd be happy if we just left Iraq. It shows that, contrary to your own assertions, their leadership does not consider al-Qa'ida "strategically irrelevant" in Iraq.

QUOTE
How do you reconcile that with your insistance on 'staying the course'?

How do you reconcile the premise of that question with what I've said?

QUOTE
QUOTE
Even if that were true, there's a reason why insurgencies in other societies don't merit our attention. Why would we care about an insurgency in Iraq if it's a completely intrernal matter?


A rhetorical question with little actual link to the topic is not an answer. Firstly, its obvious the US DOES care about the insurgency in Iraq and NOT JUST the miniscule Al Qaeda section of it: The last several major operations, including massive operation Enduring Freedom were directed against regional insurgent stronghold, in which there were NO confirmed Al Qaeda presence whateoever. They were fighting the over 98% of the Iraqi insurgency which is NOT Al qaeda. That would appear to destroy your claim that Al qaida is the 'primary reason the US is fighting over there'.

No, it wouldn't. When you have an enemy to fight, it also behooves you to fight to support your ally.
Delvy
1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

Yes. It would provide some form of brake on an administration that has been allowed it's head too much. When all 3 branches of government are in the grip of any one party to the extent that the US seems to have been for most of the last 6 years, or certainly that is how it has seemed from my external, then dangerous things can happen. The checks and balances so carefully built into your political and judicial systems become almost non-existant in what is, to all intents and purposes, a one party state.

2. What specific advantages or disadvantages do you think balanced or split government has over one party rule?
The founders deliberately attempted to create a system with checks and balances in order that fair government be robust and ensured in the future. There are some very solid and sensible reasons why they did this, at least one of which is to stop the rule of a tyrant. Some of the regimes that the US has the biggest issue with are one party states.... thumbsup.gif

A balanced or split power share should provide you with a consensus method of government. This will stop less radical changes and makes the status quo more likely. At the moment that seems a sensible change for the US.

CruisingRam
Yes< I would like to add- in the case of the republican full rule- there has been a demonstrated effort to take down FURTHER checks and balances- a classic case would be the Patriot act, and it's attempt to circumvent the idea of the search warrant. So, with the extreme right wing tilt we have had, we have also had a hard run to end institutional checks and balances along with balances found in Democratic rule of dissent within the party. Another example would be LBJs supremecy over the lawmakers of his time, but I still think that was at least framed within the rules of Congress, which he knew so well. I don't think LBJ tried so hard to get rid of the checks and balances so much as he tried to use them to his advantage.
Vermillion
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 25 2006, 04:42 PM) *

"Has made". In other words, according to them, the genie's out of the bottle. So does that mean the genie will go right back inside after we leave? Is that a logical conclusion? You haven't even said so yourself yet.


You are imposing a set term on what has been clearly defined as an ongoing process. As the US remains in Iraq, International Al qaida gets stronger, period. They get stronger because the US is no longer fully engaged in the war on terror (being overcommitted to this sideshow) and because it provides a powerful recruitment tool to the organisation. These facts have been confirmed and reconfirmed by several studies, and are not in dispute.

QUOTE
And he doesn't consider al'Qa'ida in Iraq strategically irrelevant.


I'm sorry, I am forced to repeat myself. I don't care what the opinions of the leadership of Al qaida are of their own global self-importance, nor should you. What I prefer to examine is hard facts and figures, and that Is what I have been trying to get you to exaine for about 5 posts now.

QUOTE

No influence? That assertion could stand some scrutiny. They form a part of the Mujahideen Shura Council, which is an umbrella group of at least six Sunni insurgent groups, including al-Qa'ida.


Did you read your own link?

"On January 15, a spokesman of Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq, announced the formation of the "Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen fi al-Iraq" (Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq or Mujaheddin Consultative Council), apparently a coalition of al-Qaeda and five even smaller insurgent organisations. This was apparently an attempt at regaining support. (...) It is speculated that the group was dominated by Zarqawi's Al-Qaeda in Iraq and that his death has dealt a severe blow to the unity of the Council."

QUOTE
This past Friday they staged military parades in a string of Iraqi towns


Yes, they did. Up to 60 millitants!

As I said, at less than 2% of the Insurgency, they are stregically irrelevant to the future of Iraq.


QUOTE

No, it wouldn't. When you have an enemy to fight, it also behooves you to fight to support your ally.



OK, That's It. I give up.

I have asked you, in simple, polite and open terms to PLEASE explain and justify your counter-factual assertions. You make them frequently, and yet seem singularily resistant to explaining or justifying them in any way.

You have stated that "Al Qaida is the primary reason the US is fighting over there (In Iraq)", an obviously counter-factual statement, and yet despite pleas in FOUR subsequent posts you have refused to justify or explain with anything but flippancy or avoidance.

You have stated that pulling out would "hand victory ot Al qaida in Iraq", an obviously counter-factual statement, and yet despite pleas in FOUR subsequent posts you have refused to justify or explain with anything but flippancy or avoidance.

Al Qaida in Iraq is a strategically irrelevant, miniscule (LESS than 2%) portion of the total insurgency, and one opposed bitterly by large sections of the Insurgency. It is obviously not the reason the US invaded (you admit that), and you have never even tried to explain how it is the 'primary reason the US is fighting over there' now. The fact is the numbers of this group (never estimated at over 1000) are so small that if they dissapeared tomorrow the OVER 98% of the Insurgency which has no relation to Al qaida would be utterly unaffected.


I am at a loss. What should have been a two-post aside (one question, one answer) has derailed the thread as I re-ask and re-ask, and you avoid and prevaricate. I don't think I was being unreasonable. Asking people to explain or justify counter-factual assertions, especially ones they repeat again and again, is commonplace here. YOU do it all the time.

But since I can't compell you, and continuing to ask the same question again and again will inevitably strain my efforts to keep this polite, I surrender. Apparently everyone but Blackstone has to justify and explain their assertions, even when those assertions are completely at odds with the facts. I won't bother asking again, because as experience has shown, what would that accomplish?
Blackstone
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Oct 26 2006, 10:18 AM) *

QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 25 2006, 04:42 PM) *

"Has made". In other words, according to them, the genie's out of the bottle. So does that mean the genie will go right back inside after we leave? Is that a logical conclusion? You haven't even said so yourself yet.


You are imposing a set term on what has been clearly defined as an ongoing process. As the US remains in Iraq, International Al qaida gets stronger, period. They get stronger because the US is no longer fully engaged in the war on terror (being overcommitted to this sideshow) and because it provides a powerful recruitment tool to the organisation. These facts have been confirmed and reconfirmed by several studies, and are not in dispute.

You're still avoiding a very simple question that I've tried to get you to answer a number of times now (yes, I know how hard that is to believe, given how much you love to falsely accuse me of doing that): Will they get weaker if we leave?

QUOTE
QUOTE
And he doesn't consider al'Qa'ida in Iraq strategically irrelevant.


I'm sorry, I am forced to repeat myself. I don't care what the opinions of the leadership of Al qaida are of their own global self-importance, nor should you.

So when you said in your first paragraph that we're being distracted from the "war on terror", what exactly are you referring to with that phrase? I always kind of assumed that we were at war with al-Qa'ida. Is there a different terrorist organization you have in mind that has a much greater "global importance" that we've been missing out on all this time? Because if we are at war with al-Qa'ida, it does behoove us to at least take into account what they consider to be their own strategy. Pretty basic, don't you think?

QUOTE
Did you read your own link?

"On January 15, a spokesman of Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq, announced the formation of the "Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen fi al-Iraq" (Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq or Mujaheddin Consultative Council), apparently a coalition of al-Qaeda and five even smaller insurgent organisations. This was apparently an attempt at regaining support. (...) It is speculated that the group was dominated by Zarqawi's Al-Qaeda in Iraq and that his death has dealt a severe blow to the unity of the Council."

QUOTE
This past Friday they staged military parades in a string of Iraqi towns


Yes, they did. Up to 60 millitants!

Yes, I did read my links, how 'bout you? The AP story (side note: the original link to that went defunct, but it's hosted here, and the whole thing does make for some interesting reading) states, "Like the audacious show of force by up to 60 insurgents in the city of Ramadi on Wednesday...." The 60 fighters you mentioned were from an earlier parade in a single city. This has now spread to multiple locales. And the fact that they could parade openly in these towns, without being attacked, and without the locals feeling bothered by them, suggests either that they're not as opposed by the rest of the insurgency as you say, or that the parts of the insurgency that are opposed to them are limited in their ability to strike at them.

QUOTE
QUOTE

No, it wouldn't. When you have an enemy to fight, it also behooves you to fight to support your ally.



OK, That's It. I give up.

Nice try at pretending my answer was unreasonable or something. I directly answered a point you raised. You noted that we're fighting other insurgents, and concluded that that "destroys" my argument that al-Qa'ida is the primary reason why we're fighting over there. My answer explains why that conclusion does not follow. If you don't have an answer to that, fine, but snarky replies like that aren't a substitute for an answer. It's just a way of saying, "Ha ha, my position's more popular than yours, neener neener."

QUOTE
I have asked you, in simple, polite and open terms to PLEASE explain and justify your counter-factual assertions. You make them frequently, and yet seem singularily resistant to explaining or justifying them in any way.

Apart from the fact that it's hardly "polite" to ask such obviously loaded questions like that one, I have been backing up my argument, this entire thread. All you have to do is reply to some of it, accurately. But instead, you just make inaccurate comments (like the one about the 60 fighters), refuse to answer simple questions about the nominally accurate comments you do make, and then follow it all up with snarky strawman questions like "How do you justify your counterfactual assertions?"
nighttimer
Ask not for whom the snark tolls. It tolls for thee. rolleyes.gif

I enjoy a good tautological steel-cage death match as much as the next guy, but could someone please explain to me what the hell this has to do with the original questions posed by BoF?

QUOTE(BoF @ Oct 23 2006, 06:25 PM) *

Questions for Debate:

1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

2. What specific advantages or disadvantages do you think balanced or split government has over one party rule?
Blackstone
QUOTE(nighttimer @ Oct 26 2006, 01:24 PM) *
could someone please explain to me what the hell this has to do with the original questions posed by BoF?

1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

Perhaps I was mistaken, but I thought it might be reasonable to assume that in answering that question, it might help to actually examine the effects that Democratic control would have on our policies. In order to do that, I figured one might want to look at their stances on a given question of policy. Was I assuming too much?
nighttimer
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 26 2006, 02:49 PM) *

QUOTE(nighttimer @ Oct 26 2006, 01:24 PM) *
could someone please explain to me what the hell this has to do with the original questions posed by BoF?

1. Would the American people benefit it Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress?

Perhaps I was mistaken, but I thought it might be reasonable to assume that in answering that question, it might help to actually examine the effects that Democratic control would have on our policies. In order to do that, I figured one might want to look at their stances on a given question of policy. Was I assuming too much?


Yes, when it appears that instead of pointing out specific and verifiable examples of proposed policy changes by Democrats should they regain control of Congress what has instead occurred appears to be the continuation of a debate that began in another (now-closed) thread.

I haven't even seen the word "Democrat" mentioned in the serve-and-volley of last few posts between yourself and the other gentleman. Could you please make the correlation? unsure.gif
BoF
Nighttimer is correct. The focus on this thread is about the pluses and minuses of divided as opposed to unitary government. It's really government 101.

If this thread continues to be a convenient landfill for dumping the remnants of the closed topic "What do We Do Now," I respectfully request that the mod close it. Otherwise, I would appreciate sticking to the topic, which could be debated in a historical and/or theoretical way as well as current issues. In more than two years on this board, this is the most blatant case of thread hijacking I've seen. down.gif

In my opinion, changing the distribution of political power in this election is more paramount than specific issues. So far, I think the only "real argument" against balanced government is avoiding gridlock," but as DTOM observed, gridlock might be a good thing. Political scientist James MacGregor Burns wrote about this problem 40 years ago in a book entitled The Deadlock of Democracy. It's still worth reading.

http://www.academy.umd.edu/home/index.htm
aevans176
QUOTE(BoF @ Oct 26 2006, 03:38 PM) *

In my opinion, changing the distribution of political power in this election is more paramount than specific issues. So far, I think the only "real argument" against balanced government is avoiding gridlock," but as DTOM observed, gridlock might be a good thing. Political scientist James MacGregor Burns wrote about this problem 40 years ago in a book entitled The Deadlock of Democracy. It's still worth reading.

http://www.academy.umd.edu/home/index.htm


The issue I have with James Macgregor Burns' ideas about avoiding gridlock is that leans (in my mind) on the "mechanics of governing" (as coined by Robert Samuelson). The funny thing about many candidates is that they really appeal to what the media and voters "want to hear" as opposed to being candid and realistic leaders. Having a campaign making comments that tell the truth as near as they can doesn't bode well for election, and furthermore pushes candidates towards similarity in campaign promises than it does difference. So, in essence, it renders mechanics of our government useless.

Having a two party system would probably work better if US public education taught more about how our government should really work, so voter understanding and expectation lead to a more honest campaign. For the most part, at least as of late, people make unrealistic claims (such as no changes in eligibility or benefits cuts on social security). Do voters know or care about the difference? Generally not. Leadership in the nation should have a more prevalent impact on voter opinion as opposed to opinion having such a stark impact on the actions of leadership. Elected officials are paid to know more about the environment, foreign affairs, the economy, etc. However, seemingly elections on both sides of the fence are an exercise in placating interests.

I like to use the last great President, Ronald Reagan as my example. Public opinion of Mr. Reagan was often very poor. His military spending, economic policies, etc were regarded as ineffective at the time. History has told us that these actions had an overwhelmingly positive impact on our nation and the world. If an elected official would earnestly make an attempt at doing what's best for the nation at all times, and voters would still re-elect him/her, we'd have a successful two-party system.
AuthorMusician
QUOTE
Having a two party system would probably work better if US public education taught more about how our government should really work, so voter understanding and expectation lead to a more honest campaign.


Can't. Too busy teaching to the test.

QUOTE
For the most part, at least as of late, people make unrealistic claims (such as no changes in eligibility or benefits cuts on social security).


Or the billions of dollars shoveled into the war that was supposed to pay for itself. Doesn't help when the President points at T-bills and T-bonds and says they're worthless paper. Even in the dim minds of voters, it fires off a response like, "Okay, just turn them all over to me and I'll take care of them." In fact, I'll take all of the government's IOUs and thereby collect something like 40 billion annually through interest payments.

Sure would solve my retirement woes.

QUOTE
Do voters know or care about the difference? Generally not.


Maybe the voters are getting it. We'll see. I see the difference, I think, between something and something else.

QUOTE
Leadership in the nation should have a more prevalent impact on voter opinion as opposed to opinion having such a stark impact on the actions of leadership.


Okay, so convince me of whatever. The present leadership has done a dismal job of that because, well, the ideas don't make any sense or aren't really ideas in the first place--they're slogans. Some of the poor ideas, like SS reform, are actually attempts to privatize more government functions, a plan that has already failed in health care. Thank goodness the privatization cons stayed off the USPS. I'm sending out book queries now and would hate to pay Fed Ex rates.

QUOTE
Elected officials are paid to know more about the environment, foreign affairs, the economy, etc. However, seemingly elections on both sides of the fence are an exercise in placating interests


I believe your hero, President Reagan, used the term special interests. Yep, and we need new leadership that will legislate against the huge lobbying system that has taken over the Republican party since President Reagan's time. I don't think the Republicans are motivated to do this. Who else might get a swag at it? Well, maybe moderate Republicans who are really concerned about this country, and those other guys over there in the present minority.
Blackstone
QUOTE(nighttimer @ Oct 26 2006, 03:07 PM) *
Yes, when it appears that instead of pointing out specific and verifiable examples of proposed policy changes by Democrats should they regain control of Congress what has instead occurred appears to be the continuation of a debate that began in another (now-closed) thread.

Well, maybe that's part of the problem in general with this issue. It's hard to pin the Democratic Party down on what their "specific and verifiable" position on Iraq exactly is. The closest we've come is this position statement (scroll to the box at bottom and click on the "Iraq" tab):

QUOTE(DP)
Ensure 2006 is a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with the Iraqis assuming primary responsibility for securing and governing their country and with the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces.

Insist that Iraqis make the political compromises necessary to unite their country and defeat the insurgency; promote regional diplomacy; and strongly encourage our allies and other nations to play a constructive role.

Hold the Bush Administration accountable for its manipulated pre-war intelligence, poor planning and contracting abuses that have placed our troops at greater risk and wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.

Aside from the last (which isn't really a policy position and has little if anything to do with where to go from here), I don't see what's so different here from the administration's own position, and certainly don't see anything that should put so much distance between the rest of the Democratic Party and Joe Lieberman, who seems to have been persona non grata among them even before he declared himself an independent. So it makes me wonder what their real position is. To some extent, I don't have to wonder, because individual Democrats, including some of the most powerful ones like Nancy Pelosi, have been advocating something quite beyond what's in that position statement:

QUOTE(NewsHour)
JIM LEHRER: What would you say to those who profess confusion over the Democratic view on this? Congressman Murtha has said, four square, set a deadline; get the U.S. troops out. And you at first -- well, what is your position now? Do you support the Murtha position personally?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: Yes, I do, but that is not the position of the Democratic Party. But let me be clear about what Mr. Murtha said. Mr. Murtha talked about strategic redeployment.

So there's that phrase again. It means, basically, withdrawal from Iraq. Refusing to fight al-Qa'ida there. And that's what I've been arguing is not sound policy, and will likely not be good for the American people.


QUOTE(BoF @ Oct 26 2006, 04:38 PM) *

Nighttimer is correct. The focus on this thread is about the pluses and minuse of divided as opposed to unitary government.

No, that's what the second question asks. The first question simply asks if a Democratic takeover of Congress would be good for the American people, and that's what my posts have been addressing. Certainly if someone had asked if continued Republican control of Congress would be good for the American people, we'd be suffering no shortage of opinions about Iraq as well as a whole host of other issues.
BoF
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 26 2006, 06:08 PM) *
QUOTE(BoF @ Oct 26 2006, 04:38 PM) *

Nighttimer is correct. The focus on this thread is about the pluses and minuse of divided as opposed to unitary government.

No, that's what the second question asks. The first question simply asks if a Democratic takeover of Congress would be good for the American people, and that's what my posts have been addressing. Certainly if someone had asked if continued Republican control of Congress would be good for the American people, we'd be suffering no shortage of opinions about Iraq as well as a whole host of other issues.


Then would you kindly give us your considered opinion on the second question? In case you've lost track, I'll repeat it.

2. What specific advantages or disadvantages do you think balanced or split government has over one party rule?
Blackstone
QUOTE(BoF @ Oct 26 2006, 07:25 PM) *
Then would you kindly give us your considered opinion on the second question? In case you've lost track, I'll repeat it.

2. What specific advantages or disadvantages do you think balanced or split government has over one party rule?

I just got through looking over the forum rules, and I didn't see any requirement that members answer every debate question that's asked on a given thread. The respondents, therefore, are free to choose which one(s) they want to answer, and I've made my choice. The reason for my choice is that the considerations from the first question, to me, so completely outweigh the considerations from the second as to make them largely irrelevant as far as I'm concerned.
BoF
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 26 2006, 06:49 PM) *
I just got through looking over the forum rules, and I didn't see any requirement that members answer every debate question that's asked on a given thread. The respondents, therefore, are free to choose which one(s) they want to answer, and I've made my choice.


You are entirely correct Blakstone. smile.gif You will notice that I asked, not demanded, that you grace us with your opinion. I think the second question is more important, historically and in the long run.

The pros, as I see them, are reducing hubris though competition and facilitating developing ideas through the competition between two parties. Again, the negative may be gridlock, but as DTOM said, this could also be a plus.
BoF
This thread onme I think was blatantly hijacked, has been cited as evidence in another thread.

http://www.americasdebate.com/forums/index...st&p=203661

Despite the arguments, whether on topic or not, the American people opted for divided or balanced government on November 7th. Democrats now control Congress and the Presidency is in the hands of Bush for two more years.
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