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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Shorter Brooksie

Sure most Americans say they want out of Iraq, but what do you think this is, a democracy?


June 23, 2005 | Permalink


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Geez, I hadn't realized we'd switched over to Athenian democracy. Where do I pick up my himation?

Posted by: Hubris | Jun 23, 2005 7:31:42 AM

"Still, one thing is for sure: since we don't have the evidence upon which to pass judgment on the overall trajectory of this war,"

A little evidence would be nice. Particularly, the "evidence" (provided in intel reports that the British government had access to) that the war was unnecessary. The writer's opinion, in this regard, is absolutely bizarre: the U.S. electorate shouldn't pass judgment on the war since they've been kept in the dark. In other words, you've only heard the government's lies, so you don't know what's going on.

Posted by: Karlo | Jun 23, 2005 7:39:31 AM

I was just using 'democracy' in his context. But if massively unpopular policies continue without considering the People's opinion, I'd say the Republic is dead. We elect leaders in good faith, hoping they'll reflect our beliefs and serve our interests. We don't elect them to ride roughshod over us and call us a focus group, especially when our kids are dying in an open-ended war based on...well, lies.

Nobody suggests that we base all our decisions on polling or townhall meetings. But on issues of larger, strategic significance, the American people as a whole do have the right to direct this nation. All those folks in DC work for us, afterall.

There's a reason Republicans are starting to speak out about the disaster that Iraq clearly is: they see the public is not happy with being deceived and stuck in a quagmire that costs too many lives and dollars.

I defend "non-democratic" institutions like the Senate because I believe they are an important check on mob rule. Would that it had done its job when the passions immediately after 9/11 were high and allowed the USA PATRIOT ACT to be shoved down our throats. But we're not talking about an instantaneous reaction to a single, traumatic event. Polls asking about the war and whether we should withdraw have been checking our attitudes over a long period when we have started to get more information about what went on before it was launched, about our conduct in its execution, and what its true impact is on domestic and global peace and security.

It's ludicrous to think there is no accountability between elections. It's ludicrous to think that polls and avalanches of letters, phone calls and e-mails should have no impact on policy. It's ludicrous to compare Valley Forge to Iraq.

Posted by: NTodd | Jun 23, 2005 7:46:46 AM

Eh, I truly believe in representative democracy. I'm not saying one shouldn't listen to constituents, but only in the sense that as a representative, you re-think your position as a result of the feedback to ensure that your reasoning has been correct. I believe we elect decision-makers, not decisions-by-proxy.

For example, a majority favors continuation of the status quo at Guantanamo, but I don't think that's a reason for a representative not to use his or her own reasoning to argue for changes if they feel differently.

I'm not arguing that there's no accountability between elections, but I truly don't favor governing by polls. And especially not governing by complaints, because while I'm not invoking the Nixonian concept of a "silent majority," I don't think that those who yell the loudest should guide policy simply because they yelled the loudest.

Posted by: Hubris | Jun 23, 2005 7:59:02 AM

...and I think you were somehow channeling Mike Tyson in your last paragraph. ;)

Posted by: Hubris | Jun 23, 2005 8:02:00 AM

There's a difference between the "irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people’s minds" and a large majority of people who want to see a certain course of action, whether it be resisting Bush's call for private SocSec accounts or the desire to bring our sons and daughters home.

Again, day-to-day, tactical and mundane things are why we indeed elect "decision-makers". But all decision makers listen to input from a variety of sources. Decisions cannot be made in a vacuum, and when you've got such an important strategic issue here (and I'm not talking militarily necessarily, but more generally in terms of national direction), listening to the people is paramount.

The problem is that Bush has done nothing to galvanize support for his war (or his SSI privatizatin plan) because he never honestly presented a clear national goal. I mean, he's tried marketing a crappy product instead of encouraging frank national dialogue about what we need to do. That's not leadership, bold or otherwise.

Posted by: NTodd | Jun 23, 2005 8:10:25 AM

Don't try to scrutinize my brain, Hubris.

(an obscure reference to Tyson that I'm sure nobody will get)

Posted by: NTodd | Jun 23, 2005 8:11:28 AM

Well, I can stop on a point of agreement, because I think you've hit on what polls are good for: measuring your effectiveness in communicating your reasoning and vision.

I'll just ignore the other stuff, 'cause I'm happy fun guy.

I sense you're afraid of me scrutinizing your brain, but that's OK. As a great man once said: "If you can control your fear, it makes you more alert, like a deer coming across the lawn."

Posted by: Hubris | Jun 23, 2005 8:19:47 AM

One more thing: You need to get in touch with TTLB.

Posted by: Hubris | Jun 23, 2005 8:23:19 AM

I want out... but, then again, I'm just a bleeding-heart liberal. My opinion doesn't count these days.

Posted by: Lab Kat | Jun 23, 2005 8:27:20 AM

Shorter Brooks without words: (shrugs shoulders) (sound of slide whistle going down in tone)

Posted by: norbizness | Jun 23, 2005 10:06:45 AM

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