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Karl Rove:

Several people reported that Karl Rove quoted our Blagojevich / Powell v. McCormack blog post on Hannity & Colmes; and, sure enough, here it is. Cool.

RPT (mail):
Seeing Mr. Rove, one of the few people in the US with apparent complete subpoena and testimonial immunity, opining on constitutional law matters, is pretty funny. He has certainly positioned himself well for the future.
1.1.2009 12:13pm
Obvious (mail):
Wow. Quoted on Hannity and Colmes. Quite an honor. Can one hope for being cited on the Drudge Report next, or would that be overreaching for a legal academic?

:-)
1.1.2009 12:43pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
Re: Obvious,

I think the point is more that a guy who was once reckoned the Richelieu of the Bush administration is reading the Volokh Conspiracy.

I guess that would make Eugene Milady de Winter.
1.1.2009 12:59pm
TCO:
Karl Rove is an idiot and he's fat and pasty-faced. I could take him physically in the ring or intellectually with Bessel functions. The only reason he is anyone is cause he plays little hanger on with the Yalie Bushes.
1.1.2009 1:36pm
Michael B (mail):
So, Rove too is mindful of the Constitution in lieu of conforming to the Reid/Obama pronouncement. No further proof is needed, Rove is engaging in "hate" and "illwill" and "dark forces" are being marshalled against the new dawn of "transparency" and "change." (All these theatrics while Roland Burris's qualifications are relegated to a tertiary issue at best. Priorities. Transparency. Change.)
1.1.2009 1:44pm
lonetown (mail):
When thought of in the context of the decline of newsprint, it seems even the newsmakers are tapping the new technolgy.

I wonder if Rove read it himself or has and someone or someway to aggregate the info. Maybe Rush Limbaugh clued him in.
1.1.2009 2:12pm
fortyninerdweet (mail):
Two thoughts: Which conspiratorial pseudonym does KR use when he comments here? And it sure doesn't take long for RDS to surface among the proletariat, does it?
1.1.2009 2:20pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I do think that it is a big deal, at least for EV's sake. Not really the substance of Rove's point, but rather that he (or someone working for him) would be reading the VC and take that previous post as legal authority.

And, not surprisingly, given EV's usual level of scholarship, the Powell decision does appear to be the closest authority on point here.
1.1.2009 2:27pm
billooooh (mail):
[Pointlessly vulgar insults of Rove deleted. -EV]
1.1.2009 2:41pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
The Slate article distinguishes Powell, because in that case Congress refused to seat someone who had been elected by the people. It doesn't seem like much of a difference to me. Blago was elected, and acted according to his official duties. He has not been impeached or indicted.
1.1.2009 2:45pm
TCO:
Newfangled stuff. We should not have direct election of senators.
1.1.2009 3:03pm
LM (mail):
fortyninerdweet:

And it sure doesn't take long for RDS to surface among the proletariat, does it?

I wonder where they could have gotten the impression that hatred is the appropriate response to people who attack you.
1.1.2009 3:15pm
trad and anon (mail):
Which conspiratorial pseudonym does KR use when he comments here?
I say he's Sarcastro.
1.1.2009 3:28pm
subpatre (mail):
"...there is a very interesting Web site maintained by a professor of law out of UCLA, Eugene Volokh, who points out that the Congress and the Supreme Court have already been through this drama once before. And he drew my attention today to Powell vs. McCormick, 1969." -Karl Rove

Odd wording indeed if it [Eugene's article] was obtained by a staffer or passed on by a friend.


The Slate piece is lightweight trash to appease the Obamaphiles who hate Bush hate Blagojevich for opposing the wishes of TheOne(tm).

Amar says "If the Senate may refuse to seat a person picked in a corrupt election, it likewise may refuse to seat a person picked in a corrupt appointment process. (Alternatively, we might think of an appointment as an "election" by one voter.)"

We can laugh while Amar explains about the primaries and caucuses in his 'election by one' nonsense; it is an appointment, pure and simple. Just as there are not perfectly clean elections, there are not purely "corrupt elections"; the issue is whether a candidate wins or loses due to corruption, cheating, improper counts, etcetera. Amar is just making this up to impeach a 'corrupt process', but the corruption of process is his own.

Amar further contradicts his own argument ('election by one') by later claiming Powell was about electoral rights. If Powell was so, then the appointment —Amar's 'election by one' or election by many— is perfectly valid.

It's funny to see the spin when they claim, "The power to judge elections and returns has been used on [link] countless occasions in American history [/link], at both the state and federal level ..." The provide link is to two instances. If "two" = "Countless" in Slatespeak, what can they count to?

Amar's last point —Senate decisions cannot be subject to court review— carries the seeds of revolution; what else to call it when a ruling party can unilaterally decide on the body's membership. His argument (again!) contradicts himself on whether a valid election (Powell) must be seated or not. Amar is throwing crap in all directions, hoping some will stick.
1.1.2009 3:40pm
Michael B (mail):
Well, LM, the current era of politically and ideologically motivated venom and hate was effectively inaugurated against Ronald Reagan, with his election in 1980, so yours is a query that does little or nothing more than obfuscate and misdirect. Combine that with billooooh's picknose sneer and the two of you succeed in encapsulating that dynamic rather well. Wouldn't be worth a mention if the phenomena weren't so common, so representative. Alas.

Change! Hope! Transparency!
1.1.2009 3:43pm
Bretzky (mail):
Bruce Hayden:

How does keeping Burris out come at the cost of losing the Senate in 2-4 years? Are you saying that this is a seat that the Dems won't have otherwise in 2 to 4 years? Or, are you saying that keeping him out will hurt the Dems in elections down the road with voters who are more inclined to elect Republicans?

To me, I think keeping Burris out actually helps the Dems. They are most likely going to keep Obama's seat (unless of course things get really bad in the next couple of years). And by actually refusing to bend to the will of a corrupt member of their own party, they position themselves as having a backbone, which should appeal to swing voters in key states.

My feeling though is that they do wind up seating Burris after an initial period of huffing and puffing. Unless some really sleazey connection between Blagojevich and Burris gets uncovered soon, I don't see how they manage to keep Burris out of the Senate. They would in essence be destroying the message because the messenger is a sleazeball.
1.1.2009 3:46pm
RPT (mail):
"49r:

And it sure doesn't take long for RDS to surface among the proletariat, does it?"

Definition of and rules for use of RDS acronym: When one has nothing to say on the merits. Cannot be used until subject appears to testify under oath and be cross-examined about actions.
1.1.2009 3:48pm
Barbara Skolaut (mail):
Mazel tov!

(Hope that's spelled right.)
1.1.2009 3:51pm
Putting Two and Two...:
Karl Rove musing about the Constitution in public? That explains the quivver I felt in the Force the other day.

I suppose having Rove mention you is "cool" in that it gets your ideas before a larger audience, but, frankly, I'd just want to take a shower. After reading the remainder of the Rove discussion, make that a Silkwood shower.
1.1.2009 3:54pm
LM (mail):
Michael B:

Well, LM, the current era of politically and ideologically motivated venom and hate was effectively inaugurated against Ronald Reagan, with his election in 1980

Really? Stretch your memory back one more presidency. "The current era of politically and ideologically motivated venom and hate" started with the partisan demagoguery, to the detriment of the country, of that President.
1.1.2009 5:05pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
michael b:

the current era of politically and ideologically motivated venom and hate was effectively inaugurated against Ronald Reagan


lm mentioned Carter. What about Nixon? I would expect you to be the last person to claim that "politically and ideologically motivated venom and hate" was not directed against Nixon. Really?

Can't you at least point to some entertainingly creative Power Line article to ostensibly support this remarkable claim you made?

obfuscate and misdirect


That reminds me of these unanswered questions. Why did you present an LAT article as an example of work produced by "conservative blogs?"
1.1.2009 6:21pm
Jerry F:
Obvious: Being quoted on Hannity &Colmes certainly is more of a honor than being quoted on a pseudo-newspaper like, say, the New York Times. At least Hannity &Colmes presents both sides.
1.1.2009 7:00pm
lonetown (mail):
I'm still trying to picture Karl Rove wading around the Volokh Conspiracy.

How did he find you?" Maybe he googled conspiracy?

How does he know he can trust what you say? Did he have you checked out?

What's his handle? Is it Sarcastro? I haven't seen Turd Blossom comment yet but that might be too obvious.

This is a wonderful new world we are creating, isn't it?
1.1.2009 7:42pm
billooooh (mail):
One musn't say bad things about Karl Rove on this here "libertarian" blog, I guess.
1.1.2009 8:44pm
OrinKerr:
I'm still trying to picture Karl Rove wading around the Volokh Conspiracy. How did he find you? Maybe he googled conspiracy?

Nicely done, lonetown.
1.1.2009 8:45pm
Putting Two and Two...:

I'm still trying to picture Karl Rove wading around the Volokh Conspiracy. How did he find you? Maybe he googled conspiracy?


More likely he was Googling "presidential pardons"...
1.1.2009 8:54pm
Jeff Walden (www):
Karl Rove may take a broad view of the powers granted to the President by the Constitution, but to the best of my knowledge he has never ignored the Constitution. I find the implication that he usually ignores the Constitution made by some of the sarcastic comments here both wrong and tacky; the complaints are just politics as usual. (There's nothing inherently wrong with political disagreement, but I wish people wouldn't pretend something is what it isn't just to appear externally less politicized.)
1.1.2009 8:56pm
RPT (mail):
"Jerry F:

At least Hannity &Colmes presents both sides."

Sure they do, and they also play both kinds of music...Country AND Western.

Jeff:

Yes, the assertion is that Rove has ignored the relevant provisions of the Constitution in every respect and on every occasion where its provisions interfered with his political agenda. You need to broaden your knowledge by reading up on the Scrushy/Siegelman case, the Ohio/Blackwell/Connell case, the US Attorneys' affairs, and so on. This is not sarcasm, it is reality for everyone who has been adversely affected by his actions and manipulations, and that excludes very few. Rove is not and has never been "politics as usual". If he sat for a deposition or testimony under oath we would find out more. As it is, the clock is ticking on his pardon.
1.1.2009 9:09pm
Perseus (mail):
How did he find you?" Maybe he googled conspiracy?

Birds of a feather flock together. The flock in this case being the vast right-wing conspiracy. It's amusing to watch the lefties become apoplectic at the mention of Karl Rove.
1.1.2009 10:15pm
LM (mail):

It's amusing to watch the lefties become apoplectic at the mention of Karl Rove.

Keep laughing. The voters aren't amused, and it's not the lefties they're concerned about.
1.1.2009 10:42pm
MatthewM (mail):
Too bad he didn't read the Volokh Conspiracy while he was still in the White House. Things might have turned out considerably better....
1.2.2009 1:57am
KR:
TCO:

"Karl Rove is an idiot and he's fat and pasty-faced. I could take him physically ..."

have you seen my dick?
second only to Cheney's!
1.2.2009 11:27am
byomtov (mail):
the current era of politically and ideologically motivated venom and hate was effectively inaugurated against Ronald Reagan,

Funny. I thought it was Adams and Jefferson.

Even within my own lifetime I remember some people cheering when JFK was assassinated. Seems pretty venomous and hateful to me.
1.2.2009 11:44am
David Warner:
Hey, I get to agree with JBG and byomtov. It really is a New Year and New Happiness. Partisan venom has been an unfortunate but evidently inevitable part of the American political process since, what, Roger Williams? The current flavor traces most strongly to Nixon or FDR though, depending on your perspective.

The Bushhate may have inaugurated a new tradition, I'll admit, but only because many of those harboring it are so ignorant of what came before. My money's on an Eisenhowerian holiday with Obama.
1.2.2009 12:08pm
David Warner:
Too bad comment sections have such a bad rep, or I'm sure Mr. Designated Hate Object wouldn't have been able to resist gracing us with his thoughts. As it is, I doubt occurred to him even to hit the comments button.
1.2.2009 12:13pm
David Warner:
Rereading the thread, if he did post my money's on Nunzio (with Bush as the Pope), for Rove's moniker.
1.2.2009 12:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
have you seen my dick?
second only to Cheney's!


I'm not so sure it's a good idea to make fun of Dick's dick. After all, it seems to have saved him from the draft.
1.2.2009 1:03pm
Michael B (mail):
I'm foregoing the earlier era. Both Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter enjoyed a post-Watergate period of well tempered goodwill, in relative terms. People joked about Ford's clumsiness and people joked about Carter's "attack rabbit" (or whatever it was) and people also criticized both Ford and Carter for certain policy directions, but there was an absence of bile, venom, hate, etc. for its own sake. Not so with Reagan, who inaugurated, for example, his anti-Soviet strategy immediately upon assuming office and that alone, never mind his economic policies on the domestic front, fueled the anger and scorn of the Left immediately.
1.2.2009 1:47pm
MikeS (mail):
I certainly had a soft spot for Ford, though it was probably not shared by the two people who tried to assassinate him.
1.2.2009 1:52pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

Karl Rove is an idiot and he's fat and pasty-faced.

God I hope this is satire.
1.2.2009 2:16pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
michael:

Not so with Reagan, who inaugurated, for example, his anti-Soviet strategy immediately upon assuming office and that alone, never mind his economic policies on the domestic front, fueled the anger and scorn of the Left immediately.


Can you show some examples of "the anger and scorn of the Left" that was "immediately" manifest in response to Reagan's "anti-Soviet strategy?"

Just curious, in case you have any examples that you can locate without too much trouble. And hopefully your examples show unmistakable "anger and scorn," and not just reasonable analysis and criticism. And are also from someone recognized as some true leader of "the Left," and not just some minor columnist or crank.

I'm just not particularly aware for this. But since you are, I would appreciate the chance to learn something new.
1.2.2009 4:15pm
Michael B (mail):
jukebox_metasneer,

No, I wouldn't care to even attempt to engage your middle-school level Derridean snide and snot. What you "would appreciate" is itself, shall we say, debateable, at never-ending length. I've said it before, fling your snot and your metasnot elsewhere.
1.2.2009 4:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
michael b:

fling your snot


I guess that's your friendly way of admitting you can't prove the claim you made. Which I suppose is a step ahead of defending a claim by bringing proof that makes no sense.
1.2.2009 5:47pm
Michael B (mail):
jukebox_metasneer,

Nope. I could provide quotes from luminaries and from the hoi polloi on the Left as well. The cast of "luminaries" would include people ranging from the Chomskys and Zinns of the world to others such as various Hollywood types, talking heads and others at broadcast networks - others still such as Albright, Church, Galbraith, Thurow, Samuelson, Kennedy, Kerry, Dellums, Bundy, Sheehan, Halberstam and Kennan, but that's a partial list only and it only includes those who forwarded malice and contempt vis-a-vis Reagan's anti-Soviet and anti-totalitarian program. The hoi polloi on the Left was a different story; while the luminaries, in addition to their malice and contempt, also forwarded more reserved or "diplomatic" criticisms, the broader based Left was far less often genteel in its choice of terms.
1.2.2009 6:18pm
Forman:
The modern anger and scorn of the right traces back to Roosevelt. The left, to Johnson.
1.2.2009 7:06pm
Michael B (mail):
One can choose various timeframes, whether arbitrarily or on a basis that is supported with empirical/historical and better reasoned evidence. But the subject invoked isn't mere policy directed anger and scorn, it's the more concentrated, pervasive and systematic venom and hate, for its own psychological reasons and leveralged for political effect as well.

And to suggest Johnson reflects that point for the left is little more than a tautology since the advent of the New Left - which is to say the point where the propaganda, ideology and populist support of the left gained widespread traction in the U.S. - occurred precisely during the Johnson administration, hence the soixante-huitards. Still, prior to the New Left - the '68 and '72 election in terms of presidential politics - it was a very different era. Also, after Watergate, both Ford and Carter did enjoy a relative reprieve, out of a general, broadly based goodwill.
1.2.2009 8:00pm
LM (mail):
DW,

The current flavor traces most strongly to Nixon or FDR though, depending on your perspective.

I disqualified Nixon because he was undone by bi-partisan criticism of his own making. The seemingly partisan attacks during his first term came mostly from anti-war factions who cut LBJ no more slack.

In light of those two anomalies and the non-existence of Ike Derangement Syndrome, FDR seemed too disconnected from the modern trend to dredge up.
1.2.2009 8:11pm
David Warner:
LM,

"I disqualified Nixon because he was undone by bi-partisan criticism of his own making. The seemingly partisan attacks during his first term came mostly from anti-war factions who cut LBJ no more slack."

After the McGovernite shift, Nixon became the perfect hate object for a Left now fully committed to the Democratic Party. Perfect in that he, Palin-like, confirmed a great many pre-existing prejudices and now that the long-despised South was perceived to have an R next to its name (although Southern local politics remained D dominated well into the late 90's) and Nixon did too, a new level of evil was added to the old R greedy obstructionism/McCarthyism. The R's could also safely now be branded the war party, the Scoop Jackson's being suitably chastened.

A Perfect Storm for a certain mindset that has held great sway in our cultural leadership to this day.

"In light of those two anomalies and the non-existence of Ike Derangement Syndrome, FDR seemed too disconnected from the modern trend to dredge up."

I guess a know a few more old-time conservatives than you, then. It was all about FDR, some well-founded, some not so much. As for evidence of similar Reagan hate, all I know is that its seared, seared in my memory, and I wasn't even a huge Reagan fan (my family voted Anderson in 1980 and Mondale in 84, thought I, Natalie-like, dissented on the latter, being unjustly denied the suffrage).
1.3.2009 11:50am
LM (mail):
DW,

After the McGovernite shift, Nixon became the perfect hate object for a Left now fully committed to the Democratic Party.

This confuses correlation with causation, and revulsion with derangement. Essentially, Nixon was vilified for two reasons: the war and Nixon. Taking them in reverse order:

He was the perfect hate object because he was a lying, paranoid-obsessive misanthrope. He made lists of his (perceived) enemies, and schemed to destroy them. He was visibly uncomfortable around people, not that relating to people is an important skill for a politician or anything. And, lest we forget, he lied to cover up crimes. That he went as far as he did is testament to the intelligence and persistence that made him a very good president (in certain limited respects) despite himself. A less flawed person with his talent could have been a great one. It wasn't derangement that made people, including eventually his own party, vilify him. He was a tragic villain.

As for the "McGovernites," they hated him because he was in the White House and we were in Viet Nam. Everything else was window dressing. Don't be confused just because they adapted their narrative to fit the person and the party of the moment. They were the same people who drove LBJ from office, called Hubert Humphrey a war monger, and got Nixon elected by destroying the 1968 Democratic Convention.

I guess a know a few more old-time conservatives than you, then. It was all about FDR, some well-founded, some not so much.

You may well know more old-time conservatives than I do, but I've heard too much FDRDS ever to doubt "it was all about FDR." The relevant question here is, "which 'it'?" Specifically, which "current era of politically and ideologically motivated venom and hate?" Because I understood Michael B to be referring to a fairly continuous phenomenon, and since there were so many interruptions and anomalies after FDR, I just left FDR alone. Believe me, it's not because I doubt FDRDS is at least as deep, deranged, misplaced and obnoxious as any other [fill in name] derangement syndrome, if not more so.

Finally, and I don't have time to go into it at length, but as bad as Carter was as a president (I voted for Anderson too), he was also viciously demagogued into a caricature. When he spoke to the country like adults, Republicans didn't join his call for unity and sacrifice. They demagogued him for political gain.

Reagan? Sure. Even more so and more famously, but that's because he was more successful and popular (see, Clinton, William Jefferson).
1.3.2009 4:47pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
michael b:

I could provide quotes


Yes, and I'm sure you could also fly, if only you had wings. Your track record of providing 'proof' is greatly entertaining.
1.4.2009 12:39am
David Warner:
LM,

"He was the perfect hate object because he was a lying, paranoid-obsessive misanthrope. He made lists of his (perceived) enemies, and schemed to destroy them."

Confirming prejudices the Left already held vis-a-vis R's. If the Left had been as all in for the D's as they were post '72 (and thus all out against the R's, justified and otherwise), they would have found another convention to trash in '68. Yeah, LBJ's then Nixon's War, but the former is evidence that the partisan rancor that this is all about was not then the driving factor, and if it was such a big deal between '68 and '72, no way Nixon is reelected in a landslide.

The change in tone and tactics had everything to do with the successful '72 Left putsch taking over the D's and the resulting media coup called Watergate (whether its semen on the dress or a keystone kops break-in, neither of the two bookend attempted impeachments rose above farce, let alone high crimes and misdemeanors) shortly thereafter, and not so much with Nixon personally, as he was the same Dick he'd been in '60 and '62.

Once the cultural commissars saw some change they could beleive in - the putsch - it was Katie bar the door, inaugurating the present state of hate affairs, Left-wise. For the non-Left, I fear its still about FDR, as all the cries of "spread the wealth" and "socialism" in the previous election illustrate.
1.4.2009 1:24am
LM (mail):
DW,

Confirming prejudices the Left already held vis-a-vis R's.

What are you saying confirmed it? That Nixon was that way, or that I believe he was?

If the Left had been as all in for the D's as they were post '72 (and thus all out against the R's, justified and otherwise), they would have found another convention to trash in '68.

What makes you think the left was "all in" for the D's post '72? Or maybe the better question is, how do you define "the left?" Because I know quite a few leftist activists (counterparts to Republicans who held their nose if they voted for McCain) who didn't vote for a Democrat between McGovern and Obama.

Yeah, LBJ's then Nixon's War, but the former is evidence that the partisan rancor that this is all about was not then the driving factor, and if it was such a big deal between '68 and '72, no way Nixon is reelected in a landslide.

I don't get this at all. I believe there were three main reasons for the '72 landslide:

1. All else being equal, the wartime president gets a second term.

2. Consolidation of the Southern Strategy.

3. Moderates, including many who by then opposed the war, were turned off and/or frightened by violent anti-war activists, Black Panthers, and other leftists they associated with McGovern. In other words, the "law and order" vote.

The change in tone and tactics had everything to do with the successful '72 Left putsch taking over the D's

If the left controlled the D's post 1972, why did they run a centrist in '76 and '80?

and the resulting media coup called Watergate (whether its semen on the dress or a keystone kops break-in, neither of the two bookend attempted impeachments rose above farce, let alone high crimes and misdemeanors) shortly thereafter, and not so much with Nixon personally, as he was the same Dick he'd been in '60 and '62.

I think in Nixon's case it was the sort of media coup the founders had in mind when they drafted the First Amendment.

Once the cultural commissars saw some change they could beleive in - the putsch - it was Katie bar the door, inaugurating the present state of hate affairs, Left-wise.

This presumes that had a Democratic Nixon been elected and done everything Nixon did re: Watergate and the war that the reaction would have been any different. I see no reason to believe that.

For the non-Left, I fear its still about FDR, as all the cries of "spread the wealth" and "socialism" in the previous election illustrate.

I agree, but I still think it's a different "it." Hating FDR is like hating Joe McCarthy. When so few people alive today remember the actual person, the hostility is more archetypal and abstract. It's less personal than what we've seen contemporaneously with Clinton and Bush.
1.4.2009 7:01am
David Warner:
LM,

"That Nixon was that way"

Of course he was, as Palin mostly turned out to be (as far as I can tell, given the Pravda-level validity of that information stream). Sample size of one or two is still unrepresentative. Reagan/Bush I are both better reflections of the R-type, in my experience, rather than the predominant Left caricature reflected by Nixon. Ah, R-type, best coin-op ever.

"how do you define "the left?""

Good point. How about Adlai Stevenson Gone Wild. Very intelligent, productive, and generally admirable people given license to indulge their primal urges. Unchecked (cultural, in this case) power tends to do that to the best of homo sapiens.
1.4.2009 9:34am
David Warner:
LM,

"I know quite a few leftist activists (counterparts to Republicans who held their nose if they voted for McCain) who didn't vote for a Democrat between McGovern and Obama."

Well, to the original point, did these folks ever stint in their hatred for the R's, or merely in the means by which it could best be expressed? Pre-'72, were they or were they not doing things like trashing D conventions? '72 focused the laser on a common target to be against, if not one to be for. Whether Reagan or Cheney/Bush, when your hammer's hammering out social justice, every R looks like a Nixonian nail.
1.4.2009 10:05am
David Warner:
LM,

Your three points don't contradict my one. Partisan rancor is not a winning electoral strategy. I'm just tracing the current flavor of said rancor, D-wise, to its source. To the extent such rancor is the only flavor Dems offer, they lose, but its very much been there since '72. Prior to that, the liberals largely had the upper hand among the D's, and so tended to serve as an ameliorating force. They also did well winning elections during that period. Hmmmm....

"I think in Nixon's case it was the sort of media coup the founders had in mind when they drafted the First Amendment."

Then they got cocky, and, worse, predictable.

"This presumes that had a Democratic Nixon been elected and done everything Nixon did re: Watergate and the war that the reaction would have been any different. I see no reason to believe that."

The Left believed that the D's had booted their Nixons in '72. Some still evidently believe. Anyway, a Democratic Nixon, and worse, was elected and the reaction has been different, Caro's fine efforts notwithstanding. Nixon is still the archetypal R for Left haters of a certain age, not so much with LBJ and the D's. Watergate would have been small beer for the big Machiavelli.

"When so few people alive today remember the actual person, the hostility is more archetypal and abstract. It's less personal than what we've seen contemporaneously with Clinton and Bush."

Yep. What I'm saying is that it purports to be personal, but is so comically inaccurate exactly because its not.
1.4.2009 10:19am
LM (mail):
DW,

Sorry I couldn't get to the keyboard till now. If you're still checking this thread,

Good point. How about....

I was unclear. I meant, "To which group of (how many) people are you applying the term?" Because as I think you know, large populations don't really break down that conveniently into such clear categories. Circa 1972, many, maybe most Democrats called themselves liberals, and some "left-wing." Probably most of the latter fit various pieces of your definition of "left" and the views you ascribe to it, but very few fit all of it. Applying it to Democrats as a whole, probably only a fringe qualified. In short, your descriptions of the "left" seem like like caricatures that are more relevant to current politics than to the people they purport to describe.

Well, to the original point, did these folks ever stint in their hatred for the R's, or merely in the means by which it could best be expressed?

"Stint in their hatred for the R's?" You're assuming the conclusion. The people you and I would both call "left" hated the war, LBJ, Nixon, and anything they could associate with any of them. Nixon happened to be a Republican, so R's came under fire. But don't confuse cause and effect.

Pre-'72, were they or were they not doing things like trashing D conventions?

You're making my point.

'72 focused the laser on a common target to be against, if not one to be for. Whether Reagan or Cheney/Bush, when your hammer's hammering out social justice, every R looks like a Nixonian nail.

In 1972, Republicans weren't perceived as the problem. At that stage, the so-called "leftists," not Republicans, were shouting that every government, D and R, was the problem. An uninterrupted string of D and R administrations supported the Viet Nam war, large defense budgets, and a whole raft of related cold war policies and operations they objected to.

I repeat, if a Republican-hating ideological left was dominating Democratic politics in the 1970's, why Jimmy Carter and not Ted Kennedy? Reagan, not Nixon, was the first in-your-face right-wing Republican candidate since Goldwater (whom the left barely noticed in their frenzied hatred of LBJ), and Reagan was the first to be the target of ideological left-wing ire.

Remember, the Republicans of the 60's and '70s included a lot of liberals, and the Democrats conservatives. Remind me, who was Gerald Ford's VP? George Wallace got almost as many '72 Democratic primary votes as McGovern. I protested against the war, I thought Nixon should be impeached (for Watergate), and I, like many other liberal Democrats, happily voted for my Republican Senator(s) and Mayor. Poignantly, Jake Javitz retired when Reagan took office. By then the parties were on their way to dividing along current ideological lines.

Your three points don't contradict my one.

I disagree. The first two have nothing to with Democratic politics, and the third is guilt by association. McGovern was very liberal and extremely anti-war, but he wasn't a leftist. He wasn't even the first choice of left-wing Democrats. Gene McCarthy was, but 1968 taught them the wisdom of backing a candidate who has a prayer of winning. Yet even with almost 90% of the party's left wing, McGovern only got about a quarter of the total primary votes. Wallace and Humphrey each got about as many, and Ed Muskie who ended up with a lot less than that probably would have been the nominee but for the dirty-trick "Canuck Letter" forgery.

In other words, this was not a left-wing Democratic Party. And to be clear, the real leftists, the ones behind violent street demonstrations, riots, bombings, etc., the ones who understandably sent a lot of moderate, low information voters running from McGovern, considered the Democrats a good fit for Mussolini.

Partisan rancor is not a winning electoral strategy. I'm just tracing the current flavor of said rancor, D-wise, to its source.

But you haven't shown that in 1972 that rancor was D->R partisan, as opposed to anti-whoever-was-running-the-war partisan.

To the extent such rancor is the only flavor Dems offer, they lose, but its very much been there since '72. Prior to that, the liberals largely had the upper hand among the D's, and so tended to serve as an ameliorating force. They also did well winning elections during that period. Hmmmm....

The left wing of the D Party won a tactical battle for the 1972 nomination with 25% of the primary votes. Big deal. Barry Goldwater won the R nomination in 1964. Was the Republican Party from 1965 to 1979 a Goldwater party?

Then they got cocky, and, worse, predictable.

They're in business. They tried to make money. You're not suggesting stripping the profit motive from news media? I agree the press was just as bad with Clinton, but I don't blame them. Sensationalism is market driven.

The Left believed that the D's had booted their Nixons in '72. Some still evidently believe.

Ideologues believe everything confirms their narrative of past and future events.

Anyway, a Democratic Nixon, and worse, was elected and the reaction has been different, Caro's fine efforts notwithstanding.

I agree, LBJ shared many of Nixon's faults, though not all. But he wasn't caught red-handed committing a crime (though he was hounded from office anyway), so we'll never know.

Nixon is still the archetypal R for Left haters of a certain age, not so much with LBJ and the D's.

No. Bush, Cheney and Rove are. Nixon is just politically useful. Nixon, like Carter, was a moderate. That both of them are favorite bogey-men of their opponents indicates only that their own side is embarrassed by them, not that they were so ideologically objectionable in the 1970's.

Watergate would have been small beer for the big Machiavelli.

I assume you mean LBJ, and I'm inclined to agree. But he didn't do it. Nixon did. So again, we'll never know.

Yep. What I'm saying is that it purports to be personal, but is so comically inaccurate exactly because its not.

What's not personal, and is thus largely inaccurate, is much of the emotional, symbolic significance figures like Nixon and FDR get freighted with by later generations who have the luxury of selective hindsight. But that doesn't mean there aren't major elements of truth to the history.

Sorry for the long, probably repetitive response. I (seriously) didn't have time to write a shorter one.
1.5.2009 11:46pm

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