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Monday, November 08, 2004

How the left sees America

Make no mistake about it. Bush haters realize they're out of touch with the majority of Americans. As Coyne pointed out on Saturday, Bush's victory isn't remarkable for its narrowness but rather, its breadth (one-third of Bush backers were non-Republicans, roughly half described liberals, Bush increased support amongst the traditionally Democratic minorities like women, Hispanics, Blacks and Jews, etc. etc.)

But rather than looking-inwardly and reflecting on why Manhattan values may not be the American mainstream's cup of tea, many lefties are taking the approach that the Midwest is clueless and needs to be set straight, a remarkably arrogant attitude. (Coyne cites this stunning NYTimes article wherein New Yorkers say clever things like: "New Yorkers are more sophisticated and at a level of consciousness where we realize we have to think of globalization, of one mankind, that what's going to injure masses of people is not good for us," and one young film producer, who frequents Elaine's and "spends many mornings on a bench in Central Park talking politics with homeless people" proposes taking her way of life on a roadtrip around the country (a sort of Up With People emphasizing the benefits of gay marriage, abortion and the appeasment of terrorists) to show  the rest of America as to why she's right and they're wrong.

Trall041108_2And those are the nice liberals. Then there are the frothing, entirely unhinged ones. Ted Rall demonstrates in his latest drawing how he sees the rest of America: As mentally handicapped, pitied by and reliant on New York liberals, but, because they're allowed to vote, they're also dangerous.

That's why, in his syndicated column this week, Rall is proposing that certain Americans lose their right to vote on specific issues.

"Only women are affected by the abortion debate; only women ought to be allowed to vote on it. The same goes for war--only the young who fight and die in war enjoy the moral right to declare it. Terrorism? Please, if you live in Mississippi or Colorado or Alaska, don't presume to talk about, much less cast your vote based upon, your "views" of Islamist terrorism. New Yorkers don't lecture you about hunting."

No. No. Of course you don't.

Posted by Kevin Libin on November 8, 2004 | Permalink


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Actually that "remarkably arrogant attitude" comes from having your facts straight as Bob Herbert outlines in today's NYTtimes:

"A recent survey by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that nearly 70 percent of President Bush's supporters believe the U.S. has come up with "clear evidence" that Saddam Hussein was working closely with Al Qaeda. A third of the president's supporters believe weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. And more than a third believe that a substantial majority of world opinion supported the U.S.-led invasion."

It seems the right is now leading the 'politically correct' birade demanding that everyone should be 'sensitive' to the superstitions and willful ignorance of the Bush backers.

Posted by: Justin | 2004-11-08 12:54:27 PM

Justin, I've a British sister-in-law with graduate degree who just hates Bush and thinks she's always got her facts straight. She lived for a whole year in the Middle East in Dubai....thinking it was on the Red Sea. Can't tell her anything.

There's a whole shift taking place in the political landscape of America. It's a viewpoint that, at heart, does NOT have the "worship of the sixties" as its defining theme. If you think the Dems lost bad this time, then just wait until four more years have passed.

I'm pretty old myself, but before I die I'd like to see at least one election where the 'what-did-YOU-do-during-the-Vietnam-war'line is killed off for good.

During the Tet offensive I was in grade school enduring stoned-hippie-with-no-deodorant as my teacher. The man may well have been willfully ignorant, but the odor was hardly superstitious.

Posted by: John Palubiski | 2004-11-08 6:03:39 PM

70 percent think that there were close links between Saddam and Al Qaeda eh? Well what did you expect from people who read hard-core, guns'n'Jesus-lovin', abortion-hatin', fascist newspapers like the Toronto Star?


Posted by: Justzumgai | 2004-11-08 8:35:20 PM

Oops! Sorry I was merely citing the Independent Commission on 9/11. I'm sure a Toronto newspaper knows better.

Posted by: Justin | 2004-11-09 7:35:38 AM

Actually, Justin - you cited a survey reported in the New York Times.

Also, there seems to be a problem in some quarters in understanding that "links to Al Qaeda" and "aiding the attacks on 911" are two completely different things.

The commission found the former, not the latter. But for many people, it matters not.

That Hussein was an international supporter of terror is established fact. That he had a record of using WMD in both battle and on his own civilian population is established fact. That he would explore any and all means of striking back at the US is established fact. That he had issued threats to do so is established fact.

Whether he met with this Al Qaeda operative, or that, or with the Sudanese or what he said to them, is totally and completely irrelevant.

His time was up.

Posted by: Kate | 2004-11-09 8:24:42 AM

"That he would explore any and all means of striking back at the US is established fact. That he had issued threats to do so is established fact."

Correct. In fact, he had attempted attacks against the US, and attempted the assassination of George H. W. Bush while Bush was visiting Kuwait. See Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies." According to Clarke, however, Iraq hadn't attempted any major terrorist activities against Americans since 1993. (Iraq did plan an attack against the Radio Free Europe building in Prague in 1998, but the person who was to carry out the attack defected.)

What the 9/11 commission found was numerous "friendly contacts" between Iraq and al-Qaeda, but no "collaborative operational relationship."

From Section 2, p. 66:

"There is also evidence that around this time [1997] Bin Ladin sent out a number of feelers to the Iraqi regime, offering some cooperation. None are reported to have received a significant response. According to one report, Saddam Hussein’s efforts at this time to rebuild relations with the Saudis and other Middle Eastern regimes led him to stay clear of Bin Ladin.74 In mid-1998,the situation reversed; it was Iraq that reportedly took the initiative.

"In March 1998,after Bin Ladin’s public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. [This is the meeting reported by the Toronto Star.] In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with Bin Ladin. Sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through Bin Ladin’s Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis. In 1998, Iraq was under intensifying U.S. pressure, which culminated in a series of large air attacks in December.75

"Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Ladin or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Ladin a safe haven in Iraq. Bin Ladin declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports describe friendly contacts and indicate some common themes in both sides’ hatred of the United States. But to date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States."

The survey referred to by the Bob Herbert column in the New York Times was conducted by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes.

Some of its findings:

"Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.

"Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.

"... Despite an abundance of evidence--including polls conducted by Gallup International in 38 countries, and more recently by a consortium of leading newspapers in 10 major countries--only 31% of Bush supporters recognize that the majority of people in the world oppose the US having gone to war with Iraq. Forty-two percent assume that views are evenly divided, and 26% assume that the majority approves. Among Kerry supporters, 74% assume that the majority of the world is opposed.

"Similarly, 57% of Bush supporters assume that the majority of people in the world would favor Bush's reelection; 33% assumed that views are evenly divided and only 9% assumed that Kerry would be preferred. A recent poll by GlobeScan and PIPA of 35 of the major countries around the world found that in 30, a majority or plurality favored Kerry, while in just 3 Bush was favored. On average, Kerry was preferred more than two to one."

Posted by: Russil Wvong | 2004-11-09 12:37:50 PM

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