John Cole is driven into shrill unholy madness

by Henry on August 24, 2007

John Cole’s Balloon Juice was one of those blogs on the other side of the spectrum that I used to read to balance my left wing blog diet a bit; he was one of the reasonable pro-war bloggers, back in the day when there was such a thing as a reasonable pro-war blogger. Things seem to be … a little different at Balloon Juice these days than they used to be:

I am firmly convinced it is only going to get worse from this administration and the nutjobs at the Weekly Standard. That is, unfortunately, a given, as we know how low they will go- as low as they possibly can. The only interesting question for me is how far will the lunatic fringe 28% crowd in the blogosphere go? How outrageous will the rhetoric have to get before the Malkins, the Hewitts, and all the rest of them say “Wait a minute- that crosses the line?”

I am betting they will never find a line they will not cross- this is not about Iraq or domestic politics anymore. This isn’t about the soldiers and it isn’t about the prospect of Democracy in Iraq. This is about being “right” in the face of evil leftists. This is about “winning.” This is not about what these policies and this vile rhetoric are doing to this nation and our standing- this is about saving face and their own personal stake in what they have attached themselves to in the course of achieving “victory.” My guess is Bush and his speechwriters and Kristol and those mutants at the Weekly Standard and other rags feel comfortable saying this stuff because they know that out there in the blogosphere and the world there are ample knuckledraggers willing and happy to cover for them.

Sadly, they are probably right. It doesn’t matter what type of filth you churn out- The Powerline will have your back. Remember- the Democrats are worse.

At the very least that’s worth transmogrification into an unspeakable tentacular horror. But he’s not the only rightwinger who’s angry. Which makes me wonder. If we discount the out-and-out hacks, my entirely unscientific impression that apparently smart1 pro-war bloggers who were/are genuinely right wing have been much more likely than apparently smart pro-war bloggers who were (or who claim to have been) left of center to accept that they were wrong and that their former comrades appear to be increasingly deranged. To the extent that I’m right, I suspect that there’s some psychological mechanism involving the sunk costs of ideological conversion here (but I could of course be wrong).

1 By ‘apparently smart’ I don’t mean ‘seems to be smart but isn’t,’ I mean ‘appears to be smart as best as one can tell from their writings on the Internets.’

{ 1 trackback }

Positive Liberty » QFT
08.28.07 at 3:16 am

{ 52 comments }

1

Grand Moff Texan 08.24.07 at 6:32 pm

This is not about what these policies and this vile rhetoric are doing to this nation and our standing …

Considering the demographic and opinion trends in the US, the country both looks and thinks less like the conservative party each year. For that reason, I don’t think it matters to them how much damage, death, and debt they inflict on the country.

A generation ago, they wrote off the cities. Now it seems that, as far as they’re concerned, the whole country can just burn.
.

2

bi 08.24.07 at 7:16 pm

_I suspect that there’s some psychological mechanism involving the sunk costs of ideological conversion here_

Or maybe it’s the psychological mechanism known as the “superiority complex”, where the pro-war-but-not-Rightist types think that their pro-war position is justified by some sort of profound Individualist Reasoning rather than Blindly Following the Flock. (Even if, at the end of the day, their Reasoning turns out to be the same as the Flock’s.)

The pro-war-and-really-Rightist folks don’t have this luxury.

That’s what I suspect, at any rate.

3

Backword Dave 08.24.07 at 8:01 pm

I think you’ve hit on exactly the reason I find John Cole so addictive. AFAIK, he still is “pro-war” (in the abstract sense, in which I am “anti-war”), but he’s against “these wars”. They’re not making the US any safer. They’re not making Iraq or Afghanistan any safer. I think there’s a sense in which Bush is not a right-winger in the same way that Tony Blair wasn’t (isn’t?) really a left-winger or a socialist. I recently read Peter Singer’s “The President of Good and Evil” (much better than I expected, btw) which among other things makes the case that Bush doesn’t practise cutting back the state (he’s very pro Federal interference when it suits him) or lower taxes, etc. The wonder is that more people haven’t sussed that he’s an absurd incompetent hypocrite. There are plenty of reasons for the left to hate him (his record of executions, the idiocy of his right-to-life position, especially concerning stem cell research, his unfair tax system, his eagerness for war), but that more on the right don’t (pro-big government, pro-pork barrel, not funding the military or accepting their expertise, etc).

The Powerlines and Malkins stagger me. I can (sort of) understand writing propaganda if one is paid, but doing it for free (or freelance, as both make some money) is just wtf?

4

Xanthippas 08.24.07 at 8:11 pm

If we discount the out-and-out hacks, my entirely unscientific impression that apparently smart pro-war bloggers who were/are genuinely right wing have been much more likely than apparently smart pro-war bloggers who were (or who claim to have been) left of center to accept that they were wrong and that their former comrades appear to be increasingly deranged.

That’s too many qualifications to be meaningful. Let’s just say that John Cole has (rightly) turned his guns on the right-wing bloggers who’ve had the misfortune to tick him off, and the rest of us are enjoying the show.

5

John Cole 08.24.07 at 8:21 pm

I’m mad. Plain and simple.

I am mad my party has descended into a swirling vortex of madness in which no one is accountable for anything, everyone is a hypocrite, and that no one cares if a policy or position is good or beneficial to the country, but whether or not there is some short term political advantage.

I am mad that the good aspects of the Republican party (respect for individual liberty, the belief in balanced budgets and sensible tax policy, free trade, etc.- you may not agree with those being good aspects, but I thought they were there) have been drowned out and been discredited for the next half century by the ramblings of mad men and religious nuts.

I am mad at myself for not listening to people prior to the war and instead followed this administration and the pigheaded cheerleaders in the press and the blogosphere. I should have known better. Read some of my old posts(pre-2004)- they are truly atrocious and really embarrassing.

I am mad that I defended the indefensible for too long.

I am mad that the Republican party now stands for torture, domestic surveillance, government secrecy, permanent detention, and the imperial presidency.

I am mad that political debate in the Republican party now amounts to little more than calling your opposition traitors and accusing them of treason.

I am mad that for the GOP, admitting a mistake and dealing with it is seen as weak, or cowardly, and that fixing mistakes are less of a priority than winning short-term political victories.

I am mad at a whole host of things, but most of all I am mad at myself. When I look at these folks, the right blogosphere in general, the Hewitts, the Malkins, the Powerline, the NRO, the Weekly Standard in particular, what I see are people who either have not learned a damned thing in the past few years or whose loyalty to a political party is so great that they don’t care.

I think a little shrill is warranted, and I think anything less than shrill is not adequate attonement for my past transgressions. These folks need to be stopped. They need to be discredited, the Republican Party needs to be completely and wholly destroyed and built back up from the bottom up.

My only concern regarding the complete destruction of the Republican Party is the chance that the Democrats might become just as arrogant and corrupt as the Republicans are currently. The only thing that assuages these concerns are the historical record of the Democratic Party being the biggest enemy the Democratic party has, and that I have a hard time believing the Democrats can become as bad as the Republicans. They will turn on themselves before it gets to that point.

I know this little rant does not explain the underlying question you were asking, but it might help to explain where I am now politically. I am mad at myself and the GOP, and I think I have every right to be.

6

John Cole 08.24.07 at 8:26 pm

And don’t get me started on the gay bashing, the cronyism and hideous appointments to the bureaucracy and the fact that these guys blame EVERYTHING on the “liberal media.”

7

robertdfeinman 08.24.07 at 8:41 pm

If you are interested in exploring the psychological makeup of these people you might want to look at the free, online book by psychologist Robert Altemeyer.

His work was the basis of John Dean’s recent book “Conservatives without Conscience”. He has now summarized his 40+ years of research himself. Here’s the link:
The Authoritarians

The part that seems relevant here is how this type needs to believe in the ideology that they follow and that appeals to logic or facts or anything else will fail.

He has also discovered that those who are not as strongly attached to their leaders tend to become more moderate as they are exposed to a wider variety of experiences and opinions.

As for the hawks that have now begun to criticize their fearless leader, it is hard to tell whether they have changed their fundamental world view or are just unhappy with the way the policy is being carried out. Many of them may also be repositioning themselves so that they can stay in the pundit business when there is a new party in control.

Some may also be in the process of rewriting their internal history so that they don’t have to accept their own prior ideological blindness. Lying to oneself is a very strong protective function.

8

Xanthippas 08.24.07 at 8:52 pm

His work was the basis of John Dean’s recent book “Conservatives without Conscience”. He has now summarized his 40+ years of research himself. Here’s the link:
The Authoritarians

Dammit. I always try to be the first to mention that book in a thread.

Well, you should read it.

9

Bruce Baugh 08.24.07 at 9:15 pm

There’s an additional factor at work with conservative bloggers, I think: the Bush administration went to war, more or less, in their names and justified by their creeds. The left-wing pro-war contingent has always had an imaginary war in its head, starting off with “never mind what Bush says, this is why I want war”-type foundations. But for people like John, the campaign began with things they actually do believe as justifications, which made judging it a very different matter. Someone like Thomas Friedman presumably doesn’t care very much one way or another whether the war makes any sense in limited-government, conservatively-interpreted-constitutional terms, because that’s not his thing. To someone like John, it matters a lot.

The specifically un-conservative aspects of the war drag the whole thing closer for self-professed conservatives, making it more likely that they will end up actually rejecting their conservatism in favor of a conservative-labeled imperialism, or rejecting the administration for the sake of their principles. Ongoing denial of the problem is always possible, of course, but harder in that position.

10

Bruce Baugh 08.24.07 at 10:09 pm

Side note to John: One of the reasons I, at least, read Balloon Juice is the straightforward honesty of the thing. One of the things that alienates me from a lot of both professional and amateur news and commentary is the weirdness of the language, all tied up in convolutions and jargon I just don’t care to follow. You and Tim F have this habit of being very clear indeed, and direct – you both sound a lot more like, well, actual people to me, and I like that.

11

Antti Nannimus 08.24.07 at 11:59 pm

Hi Mr. Cole,

“I am mad that I defended the indefensible for too long.

I am mad that the Republican party now stands for torture, domestic surveillance, government secrecy, permanent detention, and the imperial presidency….

I am mad at myself and the GOP, and I think I have every right to be.”

Are you not also ashamed, sir? Even those of us who have not defended these indefensible national policies are mortified.

“My only concern regarding the complete destruction of the Republican Party is the chance that the Democrats might become just as arrogant and corrupt as the Republicans are currently.”

Your concern is valid. We have had Democratic Party arrogance and corruption as well. But that doesn’t justify these policies, created and pursued in our name by the Republican Party, to the everlasting shame and detriment of our entire nation.

Have a nice day,
Antti

12

rilkefan 08.25.07 at 12:04 am

All the pro-war left-of-center bloggers I read came to their senses ages ago: Drum, Kleiman, Yglesias. They’re as shrill as anyone. What “left of center” pro-war blogger has failed “to accept that they were wrong and that their former comrades appear to be increasingly deranged”?

13

nick s 08.25.07 at 12:07 am

This is sort of why I like Andrew Sullivan, in all of his messy glory. But also John Cole, because I think politics would be better if he was doing the arguing from the right.

There’s the whole phenomenon of being conned by your own. I’d guess that Cole’s anger is similar to the approbrium demonstrated here and elsewhere towards Nick Cohen and other Decents.

I think Bruce is on-point with the fact that many liberal hawks implictly and explicitly defend the ‘Good War’ they wanted, even though it was always a choice between Bush’s war and no war. But now? Well, it would be rude to suggest that liberal hawks’ incomes depend upon their remaining hawks, wouldn’t it? Just as a non-hack Hugh Hewitt is an unemployed one? I mean, what’s the fucking point of Powerline if Assrocket shows some signs of reason?

@7: It’s the ‘great disappointment’, just in politics not religion.

14

John Cole 08.25.07 at 12:34 am

Of course I am ashamed by much of what has happened. Abu Ghraib and Padilla and the domestic spying and so many other things are shameful for the nation, even if you had nothing to do with their implementation and did everything you could to fight them. I just wish Schiavo had happened 6 months earlier so I would have voted for Kerry.

And in my defense, I was never one of the folks who latched onto the smearing of Democrats. I always was getting flamed from the right for “buying into the lefty spin” or such.

The whole last few years have just been a disgrace and a total waste. It is too bad that life really doesn’t offer mulligans. The only upside is that I feel so burned and so stupid that I don’t think I will ever personally go down this road again. That is something, I guess.

15

Henry 08.25.07 at 12:41 am

rilkefan – that is fair enough. I guess I was thinking of the people who got seriously invested in the war, and Yglesias, Marshall and Drum were ambivalent enough, and jumped ship early enough that I never really thought of them as pro-war bloggers. But it may be that xanthippas is right and this is a construct in my head …

16

Rich Puchalsky 08.25.07 at 1:00 am

John is one of the few “reasonable conservatives” to remain readeable. For almost all the rest, it’s a long spiral into the garbage pit. Remember Josh Trevino / Tacitus? He went from being the reasonable conservative that all the liberals blogrolled to being the Marble Douchebag. One can’t even read the supposed moderate rightwingers at Obsidian Wings anymore.

17

Mrs Tilton 08.25.07 at 1:00 am

Antti @11,

no, shame on you. John Cole is an honourable man, full stop.

I am far to John’s left (though probably to the right of most people at CT). No matter: reasonable people can disagree on how to solve problems; there’s nothing we can’t discuss.

Whackjobs, though, should have no part in those discussions. Alas, these days it seems it’s whackjobs morning noon and night.

As for Mr Cole, perhaps I can best sum things up by saying that I respect him greatly, and look forward to the day when we can be opponents again.

18

rea 08.25.07 at 1:13 am

Antti @ No.11:

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

19

John Protevi 08.25.07 at 2:16 am

Thank you, rea, for that beautiful and apposite quotation. The KJV is often simply beyond comparison in its power.

20

Randy Paul 08.25.07 at 2:29 am

What Mrs. Tilton and rea said.

21

John Emerson 08.25.07 at 3:23 am

Back in the day I was unreasonably harsh with Cole. He stuck to his guns pretty stubbornly, but in a reasonable and non-dogmatic way, and proved to be able to change his mind, which doens’t happen very often. At that time I just did not believe that an honest conservative was a possibility, and I didn’t give him any benefit of the doubt, or a fair hearing.

Honest conservatives still aren’t thick on the ground, though.

22

Antti Nannimus 08.25.07 at 3:39 am

Mrs. Tilton,

“John Cole is an honourable man, full stop.”

There is no question about it. Mr. Cole’s gracious reply to my inquiry @ 14 simply confirms it. I meant him no disrespect. Citizens of a country share responsibility for its policies and actions. Mr. Cole’s writing in “Balloon Juice” and CT is a great service at a crucial time.

“Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants. (Edmund Burke, 1790)

Regards,
Antti

23

Hidari 08.25.07 at 8:11 am

‘What “left of center” pro-war blogger has failed “to accept that they were wrong and that their former comrades appear to be increasingly deranged”?’

All the bloggers at Harry’s Place.

24

Katherine 08.25.07 at 9:54 am

Well, John, I don’t know you and was always against this war, but you have my respect sir.

25

alphie 08.25.07 at 11:21 am

“To bravely accept a battle that is unavoidable and inescapable, to wage it in the name of divine providence, to have confidence in it and its eventual blessing, to stand before fate with a pure conscience and clean hands, to bear all suffering and every test, never even thinking of being untrue to one’s historic mission, never wavering even in the most difficult hours of the final battle — that is not only manly, it is also German in the best sense of the word!”

–Joseph Goebbels, a few days before he blew his brains out.

Feel free to crib, wingnuts, cuz your writers suck:

http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/unser45.htm

26

thag 08.25.07 at 12:06 pm

Yeah, I think John has done any penance he owed to us lefties.
And any penance he owed to us is trivial in comparison with the penance that all of us owe, in virtue of our citizenship, to the people of Iraq.

We’re going to have to figure out how to make up for that. But beating up on Cole or Sullivan or any of the people who woke up a little later than they should have, just won’t do the trick.

On the other hand, beating up on the Kristols and Kagans may just save us from having to apologize for killing a bunch of Iranians in the future.

Jesus those guys are sick. Even for a bunch of Straussians they are inexplicably twisted.

27

Matt McIrvin 08.25.07 at 12:10 pm

If we discount the out-and-out hacks, my entirely unscientific impression that apparently smart1 pro-war bloggers who were/are genuinely right wing have been much more likely than apparently smart pro-war bloggers who were (or who claim to have been) left of center to accept that they were wrong and that their former comrades appear to be increasingly deranged.

I’m not sure that’s true. I think that a lot of left-of-center pro-war bloggers in the United States changed their minds early enough that we no longer think of them as formerly pro-war (Josh Marshall, The Editors of The Poor Man, Matthew Yglesias and Kevin Drum are all in this category). Unless you count them all as right-of-center, which I suppose most US Democrats are by world standards.

What I do notice among anti-war bloggers on the right is that the later you flip, the angrier you are. Andrew Sullivan and John Cole flipped very late and they are very, very angry. That anger is useful.

28

Matt McIrvin 08.25.07 at 12:17 pm

…I should probably remove The Editors from that list; he was ambivalent at best.

29

John Emerson 08.25.07 at 1:34 pm

There are other reasons to dislike Sullivan, and IIRC he was much nastier than Cole.

30

Henry 08.25.07 at 1:46 pm

rilkefan etc – the people I was thinking of were the Decents, Marc Danziger at Armed Liberal, Roger Simon Michael B’s whole ‘I used to be a Democrat until 9/11 and now I’m enraged at Chappaquiddick’ Crowd. In other words, the people who got invested in this in a more visceral way than Drum, Yglesias etc.

31

engels 08.25.07 at 3:17 pm

Good on John Cole. (The multiple smacking down of Antti for asking a fairly understandable follow-up question seems a bit sanctimonous though.) It’s always nice to be reminded that there are still honest conservatives (and libertarians) in the US, even if they are becoming an endangered species.

32

Scott Lemieux 08.25.07 at 3:35 pm

I don’t remember about Yglesias and his archives from that period are no more, but I’m pretty sure that Drum and JMM bailed just before the war actually started. I think if you modify it to “left-wingers who did not support the war after the shooting started” your point holds in general. And the yoosta-bees — your Armed Liberals, neo-neocons, Roger Simons — remain among the very staunchest dead-enders.

33

cheem 08.25.07 at 3:42 pm

Actually, I think people who change over recently are always the angriest… the ones who flipped earlier are just tired by now.

34

Hume's Ghost 08.25.07 at 6:42 pm

Mr. Cole,

For what its worth, I’m mad, too.

http://dailydoubt.blogspot.com/2007/07/angry-left.html

35

gmanedit 08.25.07 at 8:51 pm

“I just wish Schiavo had happened 6 months earlier so I would have voted for Kerry.” Jeez. Is there a course somewhere in thinking for yourself?

36

engels 08.25.07 at 9:04 pm

Welcome to the dark side, Mr Hume…

37

Mrs Tilton 08.25.07 at 10:39 pm

Engels @31,

The multiple smacking down of Antti for asking a fairly understandable follow-up question seems a bit sanctimonous though

As one of the sanctimonious multiple smackers-down, may I make clear that Antti has since made clear what he meant, and I was happy to see thereby that my criticism was, as we say, ohne Gegenstand.

Perhaps I am a bit oversensitive here. I must confess before the cadres that I too thought, back in the day, that Bush’s invasion of Iraq could have a positive outcome. I had thought it might be something like his father’s toppling of Noriega — in fast, fast out, little damage done except to the target. There is a part of me that thrills to see dictators get their comeuppance, and that the authors of their downfall should be their own masters only adds an ironic frisson. I was wrong, of course; should have paid more attention to Daniel.

Anyway, I hope Antti will understand that I did not wish to treat him with sanctimony, but merely wanted to defend a man with whom I probably disagree on most things, but who is manifestly one of the good guys.

38

engels 08.25.07 at 11:08 pm

Entschuldigung, Mrs T, my reaction to your reaction was itself an over-reaction, although it was the number of responses that set me off rather than anything objectionable in the tone of any of them.

For the record, I have seen some truly vicious responses to repentant warbloggers elsewhere (on another thread here somebody insisted that one of them should be made to “crawl over broken glass”, iirc). However, I have also seen (again, not here) a certain amount of sanctimony from people who can’t, or won’t, understand that people are still understandably angry about this issue; and it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that has sometimes been rather self-serving behaviour from people who were always pretty close to the pro-war faction themselves.

39

Mrs Tilton 08.25.07 at 11:53 pm

Engels @38,

thanks; I am very glad to hear that. But may I say:

my reaction to your reaction was itself an over-reaction

Between my post and yours, this is starting to achieve a beauty most sublime.

And yeah, you’re right. Even my favourite gang of idiots in the world can take a very hard line against people who were pro-, or at least not anti-, war from the start. Given my own history, that hurts. It’s gratifying to see that somebody who, SFAICT, was never bamboozled sees the same thing.

40

fishbane 08.26.07 at 2:06 am

Jeez. Is there a course somewhere in thinking for yourself?

Don’t be an asshole. If you had any familiarity with Cole’s writings, you’d know that the clown show in question was his tipping point – where (in this context) the realization that policy was dead, and partisan gain was prime. If you want to call him dumb for not noticing it earlier, do so, but I personally think that’s unfair. Cole’s a smart guy. There are good reasons to stick with your tribe even when you disagree with what it does, up to a point. We all have our points, and they are all different.

41

Decline and Fall 08.26.07 at 6:34 am

I’m one of those who made the switch completely: started the war (and blogging) as a dedicated neocon nation-builder, now I’m an antiwar democrat with increasingly leftist leanings. My change occurred as a result of a stint in Iraq and all the crime, torture and lies that came with it. I’m back in Iraq now and it’s even worse than it was last time.

42

novakant 08.26.07 at 12:34 pm

All the pro-war left-of-center bloggers I read came to their senses ages ago

So for while, after the war was unofficially announced by Cheney in August 2002, a lot of the left-of- center bloggers were pro-war?

That’s interesting and merits its own analysis, or has that already been done by someone?

43

George 08.26.07 at 3:55 pm

“reasonable pro-war bloggers”

Very funny. Haha.

44

chris y 08.26.07 at 5:09 pm

So for while, after the war was unofficially announced by Cheney in August 2002, a lot of the left-of- center bloggers were pro-war?

Well, yes, the soi disant Decent Left. Plus a lot of people who were still understandably angry at 9/11, but who changed their mind as soon as they gave themselves time to think. The “Decents” are now either anti-war or openly right wing.

45

engels 08.26.07 at 6:24 pm

By ‘apparently smart’ I don’t mean ‘seems to be smart but isn’t,’ I mean ‘appears to be smart as best as one can tell from their writings on the Internets.’

But is it possible for anyone to “appear to be smart” from what they have said on the internet? I am coming round to the view that the most one should hope for from a blog comments discussion is to come away with one’s temper and sanity intact.

46

SG 08.27.07 at 3:58 am

God, what was this man expecting? He saw Colin Powell at the UN and thought “this is an honest administration, committed first and foremost to the truth”?

Anyone who saw the way the administration behaved in the lead-up to this war and didn’t think it was going to spread to the rest of their actions is a blind fool. Anyone who cannot look at history, and think “oh yeah, some important principles tend to get trampled on the road to a cabinet war” is an idiot.

A million dead iraqis later, I have no patience or respect for these people.

47

r4d20 08.27.07 at 10:17 pm

right wing have been much more likely than apparently smart pro-war bloggers who were (or who claim to have been) left of center to accept that they were wrong and that their former comrades appear to be increasingly deranged.

I’m not blogger, but I am a foremrly “pro-war” guy who also always, until recently, considered myself on the “right” and I think I can give two big reasons for this.

1) Guilt. The Pro-War Left could at least assuage some guilt by thinking that, while they may have supported the “right” on this issue, they were not part of it and did not support it in general. We cannot do that. We supported this issue. We supported them in general. We helped make this disaster and its therefore a point of honor to stand up to the true nature of what we supported.

2)Personal Resentment. Most Leftists, no matter how pro-war, probably were never surprised/offended by being called a “Rino” or a “leftist”. Like many lifelong Republicans who were solidly pro-war right up to the invasion, I was absolutely astounded to find that the moment I began to question some of the Presidents policies – especially the policy to write all the violence off as the “last throes of dead enders” that required no serious re-evaluation of strategy – I got treated like I was a lifelong, anti-war, socialist, member of ANSWER.

3)Patriotic Resentment. We care more about our country than our party and these guys are RUINING our country on EVERY front. A lot of people say “Iraq was unwinable” but the truth is that we will never know because these guys made decisions almost designed to wreck any chance we may have had. They did more to objectively undermine this country than anyone else.

48

r4d20 08.27.07 at 10:17 pm

Sorry – added a 3rd but didn’t chance my post :)

49

r4d20 08.28.07 at 1:02 am

They deleted my first post – probably because I just restated what Mr. Cole had already said.

I’m no blogger, but I am a formerly pro-war Republican who had always saw myself as moderately “right” who feels strongly about this.

I would only add that, for some (at least for me) much of the passion comes from the reaction we got from the 28% to our initial second-thoughts. I had never before experienced anything like it. I know it’s immature but one gets mad after being called names for things one is not guilty of. But, truthfully, it’s more about guilt than anger – I never should have questioned the patriotism of others.

50

Michael Sullivan 08.28.07 at 6:14 pm

One of the problems with your selection criteria is that, at least in my universe, for at least the last 2-3 years, “apparently smart” is incompatible with failing to reconsider pro-war positions.

100% of the apparently smart originally pro-war bloggers, whether left or right have done some serious reassessment of that position.

Those who haven’t, of either stripe, appear to fit the first definition of “apparently smart” better than the one you chose to go with.

51

Dr Zen 08.29.07 at 5:52 am

Personally, I think we should be absolutely furious with them, because they weren’t just wrong, they formed a cheer crew for the wrongness, an echo chamber for the less “reasonable”. And I don’t think you qualify as “smart” if you were taken in by the arguments for the war, no matter how nicely you write.

52

The Editors 08.29.07 at 6:02 pm

…I should probably remove The Editors from that list; he was ambivalent at best.

I prefer “incoherent”.

Comments on this entry are closed.