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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2004 6:17 pm 
Without a Doubt: Faith, Certainty, and the Presidency of George W. Bush (NYT Magazine, registration required)

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This evangelical group -- the core of the energetic ''base'' that may well usher Bush to victory -- believes that their leader is a messenger from God. And in the first presidential debate, many Americans heard the discursive John Kerry succinctly raise, for the first time, the issue of Bush's certainty -- the issue being, as Kerry put it, that ''you can be certain and be wrong.''

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In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

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There were Bush's periodic stumbles and gaffes, but for the followers of the faith-based president, that was just fine. They got it -- and ''it'' was the faith.

And for those who don't get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. ''You think he's an idiot, don't you?'' I said, no, I didn't. ''No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!'' In this instance, the final ''you,'' of course, meant the entire reality-based community.

Quote:
A regent I spoke to later and who asked not to be identified told me: ''I'm happy he's certain of victory and that he's ready to burst forth into his second term, but it all makes me a little nervous. There are a lot of big things that he's planning to do domestically, and who knows what countries we might invade or what might happen in Iraq. But when it gets complex, he seems to turn to prayer or God rather than digging in and thinking things through. What's that line? -- the devil's in the details. If you don't go after that devil, he'll come after you.''


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2004 11:28 pm 
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...hurts my head...

because it's true! It's true! I've got a goddamned office FULL OF THEM!

It doesn't matter how many professional organizations say he doesn't know what he's talking about. After all, one should act on faith not on the changing winds of factual analysis.

It doesn't matter what kind of apparent non-sequitur he throws out. God leads him on the right path.

It doesn't matter what the hell is even coming out of his mouth! It doesn't! Because they have faith, and therefore know what he really means!
(to a reality-based person like me, that means "He said what I believe, even if he said nothing at all.")

Ask one of them what they think of him. They'll say, "President Bush is doing a great job!"

Ask "How do you figure? What has he done well?"

Then get ready, it's like an intellectual skeet shoot with the ducks made out of pig iron instead of clay: even if you plug each argument they make squarely, it doesn't change a thing.

But what can I say. These people are well practiced in convincing themselves of benevolence where none exists.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2004 11:30 pm 
Man, you beat me to this one. I spent time on the phone tonight explaining Susskind's line of thought to my mother, long distance in Minnesota, one of the swing states in play. Meanwhile, Bush True Believers find nothing wrong with having a Messiah wannabe as president, and the media establishment continues to treat him as their cute little puppy, no matter how weird he acts.

In another swing state, Ohio, the Evangelicals are being rallied to the voting booth by a divinely inspired preacher who thinks that applying the death penalty to violations of anti-sodomy laws is a perfectly reasonable option for state legislatures.

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/10/18/gayohio/index.html

Gays, at least, might be seeing the difference between Kerry policy and Bush policy to be a life or death matter.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 12:38 am 
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"I'm a uniter, not a divider!"

--bet nobody remembers THAT old saw, huh?
--first election split the country in half, second one will as well. Ah, unity, such a wonderful sound of one voice crying out with a mandate...
--wonders what will happen if Britain up and ousts Blair, and promptly tells Bush to go bugger himself.
--pretty desperate when you have to jump up and say, "You forgot Poland!"


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 12:49 am 
I saw a guy yesterday preaching that Bush is ordained by god and that Kerry is the devil. My first impulse was to laugh, and so were all my other impulses, and I was glad to see that no one took him seriously, but it was worth noting that he was there.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:43 am 
Ishidan wrote:
Ask one of them what they think of him. They'll say, "President Bush is doing a great job!"

Ask "How do you figure? What has he done well?"


Despite all the claims to the contrary, the economy is doing quite well after Clinton/Gore's little scorched earth tactic. Other than that... Not very much.

Quote:
Then get ready, it's like an intellectual skeet shoot with the ducks made out of pig iron instead of clay: even if you plug each argument they make squarely, it doesn't change a thing.


I'm afraid that's how I feel when talking to BOTH sides. Pigheaded bunch, this Dem/Rep Unity party.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:43 am 
I think a good test would be to nail him to a cross till he's well and truly dead. If three days later he's up and about, you might consider voting for him. Or, you know, finding bigger nails. Whichever.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:39 pm 
Ishidan wrote:
--pretty desperate when you have to jump up and say, "You forgot Poland!"


Image


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 8:23 pm 
Rare are the moments when I've been so horrified.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 11:03 pm 
Anh Minh wrote:
I think a good test would be to nail him to a cross till he's well and truly dead. If three days later he's up and about, you might consider voting for him. Or, you know, finding bigger nails. Whichever.


Definately go with the bigger nail's.

Under God-- !@#$ McArthy $#@!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 2:44 pm 
Found a no-registration copy

Also, they have Reality-Based Community t-shirts on CafePress!
Reality Based Community Member
Reality Based Community: Conlegium Veritas (with a three-pronged blivet! I love those things!)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 5:34 pm 
The administration is retaliating against the NYT for Susskind's last couple of articles. After all that butt-kissing the Times has done over the last ten years!

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/10/19/nytimes_bush/print.html


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 7:22 pm 
Anh Minh wrote:
I think a good test would be to nail him to a cross till he's well and truly dead. If three days later he's up and about, you might consider voting for him. Or, you know, finding bigger nails. Whichever.


Make it "them" and I'm on board.

If we factor in Edward's "When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk. Get up out of that wheelchair and walk... " faith healer bit both campaigns have plenty of religious meglomania to spread around.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 7:59 pm 
BBlalock wrote:
Anh Minh wrote:
I think a good test would be to nail him to a cross till he's well and truly dead. If three days later he's up and about, you might consider voting for him. Or, you know, finding bigger nails. Whichever.

Make it "them" and I'm on board.

If we factor in Edward's "When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk. Get up out of that wheelchair and walk... " faith healer bit both campaigns have plenty of religious meglomania to spread around.

I'm pretty sure Edwards was refering to stem cell research. Did he specifiy that he expected divine intervention?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:28 pm 
Berken wrote:
I'm pretty sure Edwards was refering to stem cell research. Did he specifiy that he expected divine intervention?


Yes, he was talking about stem cell research, but the similarities to the standard "Rise up and walk!" gibberish are obvious.

Edwards was clearly promising a cure, as if by force of will (and/or government funding) he and Kerry can compel science to produce a cure on thier schedule.

And that's where the listener is required to have faith instead of reason, they have to believe that Kerry and Edwards can deliver something that reason guarentees that they can have no basis for promising.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:55 pm 
It's a flimsy excuse for nailing someone to a cross.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:13 am 
Yes, you are working very, very hard to dis Edwards for a simple statement about his commitment to stem cell research.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:35 am 
Better reasons:

He's a lawyer.
He's a candidate for vice president for a major political party.

To be fair, we should also stick kerry and cheney on there too with bush and edwards..

Cheney:
He's not entirely fair with handing out contracts.
He's a candidate for vice president for a major political party.

Kerry:
He's a useless rich guy who wouldn't do any better job than bush.
He's a candidate for president for a major political party.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 6:23 am 
Berken wrote:
Yes, you are working very, very hard to dis Edwards for a simple statement about his commitment to stem cell research.


I'm not working hard to dis Edwards, I'm working hard to show you how absurd his promise is.

What he said was not a simple statement about stem cell research, it's an absurd promise which was made in order to manipulate the emotions of voters.

Johnny 'rise up and walk' Edwards wrote:
When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk. Get up out of that wheelchair and walk...


Note that I'm not interpreting this in an unreasonably literal manner, I know the difference between what he said and what he wanted people to hear. Literally speaking John Edwards is also promising to raise the dead.

The Kerry-Edwards ticket is just as willing to say and do *anything* to gain the presidency as Bush is to keep it.

None of them deserve the job.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 3:03 pm 
Hm. I'm sure there are a lot of good reasons to hate Edwards, but his expressing confidence in stem cell research and commitment toward its development isn't one of them.

Unless, you know, you think messing about with human cells is majorly icky or something.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 8:59 pm 
Anh Minh wrote:
Hm. I'm sure there are a lot of good reasons to hate Edwards, but his expressing confidence in stem cell research and commitment toward its development isn't one of them.


If "expressing confidence" was what he was doing you might have a point. He was clearly going beyond a simple expression of confidance.

Anh Minh wrote:
Unless, you know, you think messing about with human cells is majorly icky or something.


We mess around with plant and animal cells all the time. If some day we could come to the point where my nephew will never have to deal with the minor medical problems that I have to deal with (and the major ones that I am at risk for) I'm all for human cells joining the "messed around with" club. Heck, we already mess around with human cells quite a bit.

Oh! I gotta sign off. The Keys and Obama debate is going to be on the radio. Everyone loves a good train wreck, right?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 5:36 pm 
BBlalock wrote:
Berken wrote:
I'm pretty sure Edwards was refering to stem cell research. Did he specifiy that he expected divine intervention?


Yes, he was talking about stem cell research, but the similarities to the standard "Rise up and walk!" gibberish are obvious.

Edwards was clearly promising a cure, as if by force of will (and/or government funding) he and Kerry can compel science to produce a cure on thier schedule.

And that's where the listener is required to have faith instead of reason, they have to believe that Kerry and Edwards can deliver something that reason guarentees that they can have no basis for promising.


Consider this though. The expected time required to finding a cure for Alzheimers by way of the same technology is 5 to 10 years. If Kerry has two terms of president, then it's quite possible that a cure for Alzheimers would show up during his time in office

Now granted, I'm not sure as to what the temporal prognosis is for the restoration of nerve cells to allow people to walk again, but something similar to the Alzheimer estimation isn't that unreasonable an expectation.

As for Edwards promising that Reeve would be resurrected from the dead.. One must take into account when the speech was made, does it predate Reeve's passing or not?? If it does, then he did no such thing. If it doesn't, then the speech wasn't adopted to fit the new reality of his passing. Sloppy certainly, but does it make it likely that Edwards was going on a Religious tangent??

Not imo. Religious goofballness is (generally speaking) an area at which Republicans excel and not Democrats. With Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell being two of the most obvious examples.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 8:52 pm 
IS_Wolf wrote:
Consider this though. The expected time required to finding a cure for Alzheimers by way of the same technology is 5 to 10 years. If Kerry has two terms of president, then it's quite possible that a cure for Alzheimers would show up during his time in office.

Now granted, I'm not sure as to what the temporal prognosis is for the restoration of nerve cells to allow people to walk again, but something similar to the Alzheimer estimation isn't that unreasonable an expectation.


It's possible, yes, but Edwards' statement didn't even hint that it might not take place.

And yes, in eight years we could easily have a cure for Alzheimer's due to stem cell research. On the other hand a cure for Alzheimer's could easily come from a serendipitous source.

There is literally no way to know what the future will bring, so there is no way for Edwards to make the promise he made.

IS_Wolf wrote:
As for Edwards promising that Reeve would be resurrected from the dead.. One must take into account when the speech was made, does it predate Reeve's passing or not?? If it does, then he did no such thing. If it doesn't, then the speech wasn't adopted to fit the new reality of his passing. Sloppy certainly, but does it make it likely that Edwards was going on a Religious tangent??


The speech was after his death, and the only reason I brought the resurrection of Reeve up was to show that if I wanted to misinterpret what he said by being excessivly literal there was a real whopper in what he said. I never claimed that Edwards promised to raise Superman from the dead.

IS_Wolf wrote:
Not imo. Religious goofballness is (generally speaking) an area at which Republicans excel and not Democrats. With Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell being two of the most obvious examples.


Alan Keyes, as he is a full-time politician is an even better example.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 9:44 pm 
BBlalock wrote:
IS_Wolf wrote:
Not imo. Religious goofballness is (generally speaking) an area at which Republicans excel and not Democrats. With Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell being two of the most obvious examples.


Alan Keyes, as he is a full-time politician is an even better example.


Make no mistake: Robertson and Falwell are politicians. They just aren't candidates for or holders of public office.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:13 pm 
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Uh yeah...it was something called a "simile"

People LIKE Reeve.

Not Reeve, personally.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:35 pm 
gwalla wrote:
Make no mistake: Robertson and Falwell are politicians. They just aren't candidates for or holders of public office.


True. They're just not full-time politicians. (Or AFAIK carpetbaggers.)


Ishidan wrote:
Uh yeah...it was something called a "simile"

People LIKE Reeve.

Not Reeve, personally.


You're right.

That wasn't critical to my line of reasoning though.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 11:20 pm 
BBlalock wrote:
gwalla wrote:
Make no mistake: Robertson and Falwell are politicians. They just aren't candidates for or holders of public office.


True. They're just not full-time politicians. (Or AFAIK carpetbaggers.)[/url]

They're full-time, all right. Everything they do is done for political purposes.

Quote:
Ishidan wrote:
Uh yeah...it was something called a "simile"

People LIKE Reeve.

Not Reeve, personally.


You're right.

That wasn't critical to my line of reasoning though.


Misrepresenting someone's statement because what they actually said "isn't critical to your line of reasoning" is pretty dishonest.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 12:32 am 
BBlalock wrote:
There is literally no way to know what the future will bring, so there is no way for Edwards to make the promise he made.


Don't read too far into Edward's speeches. There just isn't much depth behind them. I watched an episode of Meet the Press the other day which started out with an interview with Edwards. It became pretty obvious that Edwards really didn't understand the platform that he was spouting, and probably didn't understand how Kerry was going to do it in the first place. Whenever the guy asked a question to Edwards, he would basically repeat a party or campaign line, regardless of if it actually answered the question or not. The second part of the episode of Meet the Press had Coors and Salazar, the candidates for colorado's senate seat. In contrast to Edwards, it was Coors in the second half that was stammering and pulling up party lines whenever he was asked a question. Coors obviously doesn't know what he's talking about either. Especially on the patriot act.

Kerry's platform makes a bit of sense, but you'd have never guessed it by listening to Edwards. We can only hope that if Kerry is elected, that he never gets killed, maimed, or incapacitated. Or if he is, that whatever gets him also eliminates Edwards first.

Of course, he's just continuing the old trend started by George HW Bush.

Incompetent vice presidents. Quayle, Gore, and now Edwards. (oddly, George W Bush's campaign is just the opposite...)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 5:10 am 
gwalla wrote:
BBlalock wrote:
You're right.

That wasn't critical to my line of reasoning though.


Misrepresenting someone's statement because what they actually said "isn't critical to your line of reasoning" is pretty dishonest.


Actually, it was an honest mistake.

Now if you're going to call every accidental mistatement that is peripheral to an argument a lie we'll be here all day and you'll end up even more cynical about politicians than I am.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 9:39 am 
Kazriko wrote:
Of course, he's just continuing the old trend started by George HW Bush.

Incompetent vice presidents. Quayle, Gore, and now Edwards. (oddly, George W Bush's campaign is just the opposite...)


I'll give you Quayle.. Haven't heard enough mistakes from Edward to fully agree or disagree with you on him (but it's definitely possible), but I have to protest the inclusion of Gore. Seems to me, that he had the mental acumen to have been a good president.

Course considering the outcome of the 2000 election, there's no way of telling if he would or wouldn't have better, beyond personal expectation with regards to the person's performance.

Imnsho, he probably could've done a better job than Junior has done. Least he wouldn't have shattered the record of most vacation days of any president since the start of the Republic. Though I must admit, the idea of Tipper Gore as First Lady isn't exactly pleasing to me.


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