Facebook Reporting: Dan Drezner Skewers John Kerry


Daniel Drezner just posted the following on his Facebook Profile and it’s also at his blog:

Your dumb-ass quote of the day
From John Kerry’s endorsement of Barack Obama:

“Experience is not defined by years spent in Washington but by instinct and judgment and wisdom,” Mr Kerry told a crowd of about 2,000 at a college in Charleston, South Carolina.

I can sort of see judgment and wisdom emanating from experience. . .but instinct? Isn’t that pretty much the opposite of experience?
Doesn’t that almost sound like Stephen Colbert said it? I was wondering what his writers were doing during the strike.
UPDATE: Marc Ambinder has more.

And I do/did too. . .
I’d really like to just have Obama’s and Clinton’s supporters talk substance and drop the metaphysical stuff. They both have many substantive strengths and weaknesses. Let’s get back to real points of comparison.

— Steve Clemons


18 comments on “Facebook Reporting: Dan Drezner Skewers John Kerry

  1. Carroll says:

    The rational, cerebral, factual candidate may appeal to you, but is seen as boring or elitist to the media and the average voter.
    Posted by Bill R. at January 12, 2008 01:56 PM
    I’am an average voter and I see the platitudes as boring and elitist.


  2. Bill R. says:

    Substance vs. Metaphysics-Steve, your comments are well taken. Huckabee says it’s divine intervention that is behind his campaign, so he needs some substance for sure. That said, there is plenty of empirical evidence that deconstructs the idea of the rational voter. Voters are about their visceral response. So a candidate has to give them some metaphysics for their unconscious mind, with a bit of rationality to help it along. I wish that were different. The rational, cerebral, factual candidate may appeal to you, but is seen as boring or elitist to the media and the average voter.


  3. Carroll says:

    O.K. let’s cut the crap and discuss the issues differences. Disclaimer: we all know we have to read between the lines and rhetoric doesn’t match the outcome but you gotta start with something.
    Anyone on here what to volunteer for a comparision study?
    The candidates stated issue positions:
    Going to thomas to compare their voting record is required: Disclaimer: all bills are not what they seem of course.
    Checking out their backers and donors is also required: Disclaimer: you won’t be able to tell in some cases who is behind their “grassroots” contributions.


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Well you got any better suggestions out of the current lineup?”
    No, I don’t, Carroll. To be honest, I think we’re screwed. I believe we have witnessed the end of our experiment into “representative government”.
    Truth be known, we can’t even trust the integrity of the vote counting process, even if we did have candidates that were honestly going to work in our best interests.
    I really do think Edwards is just one more slick package, making the noises he thinks we wanna hear. This guy is no sooner going to go after corporate greed than Hillary is going to seek to rein in the arms industry, or Obama is going to stop bankrolling the Israelis.
    Besides, the neo-cons still have plans that they are willing to go to any length to pursue. Alot can happen between now and and the “transfer” of power.
    And trust me, alot WILL happen.


  5. Carroll says:

    It will require some real balls to take on the corporate devils. When one considers Edwards complete and utter failure to take on Bush these last seven years, it would be foolish to imagine that Edwards has ANY gonads, much less some that are up to the task. In fact, it would be stupid to overlook the fact that he was obviously neutered long ago.
    Posted by PissedOffAmerican at January 12, 2008 11:51 AM
    Well you got any better suggestions out of the current lineup? Paul has been frozen out and is more of long shot in %’s than Edwards who has also been frozen out but to a lesser degree.


  6. Dan Kervick says:

    I hate to jump into this one again, but frankly I find this whole discussion so intellectually frivolous and hyperbolic that I feel it is necessary to try to encourage the participants to back up a bit and regain some perspective. I’m sorry to see that now Drezner has also now gotten drawn into these fussy complaints.
    Earlier Steve complained that the Obama campaign was asking people to support Obama on the basis of his superior “innate” instincts. But of course neither Obama nor his campaign has said anything at all to suggest that the qualities of intelligence they are talking about are innate.
    People frequently use the term “instinct” to refer to something that is also called “intuitive judgment”. A seasoned journalist might say for example “This doesn’t smell right to me. My reportorial instincts tell me the Pentagon is lying.” Nobody thinks that the reporter is talking about any “innate” instincts here – we know people aren’t simply born with an innate Pentagon lie detector. Nor is the reporter talking about some magical skill that replaces the need for legwork, investigation, fact-checking and analysis. The instincts the reporter is talking about have presumably been built up over time from experience in covering the Pentagon. So when “instinct” is used in these sorts of contexts, it is not something that is opposed to experience, as Drezner claims. And those reportorial instincts are valuable, because they lead to further investigation.
    Presidents are called upon to utilize many aspects of intelligence in the performance of their jobs. They need to be able to analyze and synthesize volumes of information over time. But they also need to be able to make sound decisions under pressing time constraints during a crisis, when the opportunity for further analysis is limited. This is an area in which we usually recognize the importance of well-honed intuitive judgment, which is not some sort of innate or magical skill, but the product of accumulated knowledge and experience being brought to bear quickly in urgent circumstances.
    The fact that we have had a president the past seven years who elevated the “gut” to a kind of infallible Ouija board taking the place of actual intelligence and knowledge shouldn’t make us swing 180 degrees in the opposite direction and make the mistake of assuming that there is no role for intuitive judgment in Presidential decision-making.
    I’m sorry to get bogged down in what may seem like a pedantic discussion. But on the other hand, it seems to me that Steve and Drezner are being equally pedantic here, and making an awful lot out of some relatively meaningless campaign patter. If Steve or Drezner is really interested in understanding what kinds of intellectual qualities and decision-making making skills Obama possesses, the man has a substantial record as a student, a constitutional law professor, a community organizer, an Illinois legislator and a US Senator. Why not look into that substantive background instead of reacting to a few bits of campaign talk?


  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    It will require some real balls to take on the corporate devils. When one considers Edwards complete and utter failure to take on Bush these last seven years, it would be foolish to imagine that Edwards has ANY gonads, much less some that are up to the task. In fact, it would be stupid to overlook the fact that he was obviously neutered long ago.


  8. Carroll says:

    I am trying to decide who I want to represent me in my complaint charging special interest government harms the country.
    CEO’s and congress.. or a trial lawyer?
    Ennie mennie minnie moe…
    US Corporate Elite Fear Candidate Edwards
    By Kevin Drawbaugh
    Friday 11 January 2008
    Washington – Ask corporate lobbyists which presidential contender is most feared by their clients and the answer is almost always the same — Democrat John Edwards.
    The former North Carolina senator’s chosen profession alone raises the hackles of business people. Before entering politics, he made a fortune as a trial lawyer.
    In litigious America, trial lawyers bring lawsuits against companies on behalf of aggrieved individuals and sometimes win multimillion-dollar settlements. Edwards won several.
    But beyond his profession, Edwards’ tone and language on the campaign trail have increased business antipathy toward him. His stump speeches are peppered with attacks on “corporate greed” and warnings of “the destruction of the middle class.”
    He accuses lobbyists of “corrupting the government” and says Americans lack universal health care because of “drug companies, insurance companies and their lobbyists.”
    Despite not winning the two state nominating contests completed so far, with 48 to go, Edwards insists he is in the race to stay. An Edwards campaign spokesman said on Thursday that inside-the-Beltway operatives who fight to defend the powerful and the privileged should be afraid.
    “The lobbyists and special interests who abuse the system in Washington have good reason to fear John Edwards.
    “Once he is president, the interests of middle class families will never again take a back seat to corporate greed in Washington,” said campaign spokesman Eric Schultz.
    Open attacks on the business elite are seldom heard from mainstream White House candidates in America, despite skyrocketing CEO pay, rising income inequality, and a torrent of scandals in corporate boardrooms and on Wall Street.
    But this year Edwards is not alone. Republican candidate Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, sometimes also rails against corporate power and influence, tapping a populist current that lies just below the surface of U.S. politics.
    One business lobbyist, who asked not to be named, said Edwards “has gone to this angry populist, anti-business rhetoric that borders on class warfare … He focuses dislike of special interests, which is out there, on business.”
    Another lobbyist said an Edwards presidency would be “a disaster” for his well-heeled industrialist clients.
    After this week’s New Hampshire primaries, where he placed a distant third behind New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Edwards might not seem so scary. He ran second in the Iowa Democratic caucuses last week, trailing Obama and just ahead of Clinton.
    Edwards suffered a blow on Thursday when Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry snubbed him and endorsed Obama. Edwards was Kerry’s vice-presidential running mate in Kerry’s failed Democratic bid for the White House in 2004.
    Business’s Favorite Unclear
    Asked which candidate their clients most support, corporate lobbyists were unsure. Clinton has cautious backing within the corporate jet set, as do Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, they said.
    These candidates represent stability to executives who have much to lose if November’s election brings about the sweeping change some candidates are promising.
    Obama and Huckabee register largely as unknown quantities among business owners, both large and small, say lobbyists.
    “My sense is that Obama would govern as a reasonably pragmatic Democrat … I think Hillary is approachable. She knows where a lot of her funding has come from, to be blunt,” said Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at Stanford Group Co., a market and policy analysis group.
    But Edwards, Valliere said, is seen as “an anti-business populist” and “a trade protectionist who is quite unabashed about raising taxes.”
    “I think his regulatory policies, as well as his tax policies, would be viewed as a threat to business,” he said.
    “The next scariest for business would be Huckabee because of his rhetoric and because he’s an unknown.”


  9. Linda says:

    Thad, dan, and Steve,
    Thad, I agree with you about technology but admit that I haven’t visited all the candidates’ websites and looked for their proposals about it.
    And I have not figured out how to put a link into these comments–and wish I knew how to do it.
    Steve, I e-mailed you about Robert Reich’s analysis of the three leading Democrats that ran in WSJ on January 9. I’d like to see people linked to it. I am not a big personal fan of Robert Reich who was Clinton’s first Secretary of Labor, and I expected him to say Hillary’s plan is better. In fact, he provides very clear anlaysis comparing the health reform plans of Edwards, Clinton, and Obama. The differences between them are so small that they don’t matter. The differences between all the Democrats on univwersal coverage.
    dan, first of all, Steve has never said who he favors in either party. He is mulling it over. Lots of people are. Indeed the only two endorsements that might make a difference in the Democratic race would be from Al Gore and Teddy Kennedy–and we may not even hear from them before February 5.
    dan, second, all the candidates have detailed positions on most major policies. It is difficult, the way our elections are to run talking about them. When Hillary did, she was portrayed as cold and wonky. So now she’s talking about change and hope and her ideals and feelings. Obama perhaps should talk more about his policy positions. But really I thought Steve’s comments were about the candidates’ rising above mud-slinging at each other.
    It’s easy commenting on a blog to take cheap shots at various candidates too, i.e., “people will see the real Obama?” So who in the world do you think the real Obama is (or any of the candidates for that matter). He has an personal life and experiences, an excellent academic record as well as a record of service outside and within government, has impressed people along the line with his ability to respect those he disagrees with and the leadership skills to bring them together, and has the best writing skills of the three candidates, etc. But I could make such comments about all the candidates.


  10. Dirk says:

    Wow, it seems that Bush was lying about the accusations of N. Korean counterfeiting too. They had me fooled on this one.
    From McClatchy:
    U.S. counterfeiting charges against N. Korea based on shaky evidence By Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers
    WASHINGTON — Two years ago, as he was ratcheting up a campaign to isolate and cripple North Korea’s dictatorship financially, President Bush accused the communist regime there of printing phony U.S. currency.


  11. dan says:

    >>more specific planks
    Really? Obama don’t know anything except words like hope and change. That is all Obama knows.
    Why do you have to drag Clinton into the discussion? She has talked plenty about her policies.
    I understand that you want Mr Hope to win but relax, man. Why don’t ask Obama to layout his policies? Mr Hope won’t because people will see the real Obama.


  12. Thad Anderson says:

    I agree with Steve that the Dems really need to flesh out their positions with more specific planks. One thing I wish we’d hear more of is some discussion of how to regain/maintain leadership in the technology sector. Obviously, private sector is the source of most tech innovation, but I think some big ideas on how to compete with Europe and Asia in the tech sector could swing a lot of votes.
    Of course, it gets kind of old hearing vague promises of new jobs . . . maybe it could be some kind ambitious tech education program, or some kind of special tax break for tech start-ups. If the candidates reached out the tech crowd, I’m sure they’d get some ideas (after all, everyone has blogs now!). I’m working on a post on this topic, and will probably have it up in the next week sometime.


  13. Carroll says:

    “The Bush administration’s assertion that 5 small Iranian boats confronted big, well-armed US ships in the Straits of Hormuz and threatened to blow up the American vessels is looking more and more like a serious error if not a Republican Party fabrication.
    The episode featured prominently in the Republican presidential debate in South Carolina, according to McClatchy:
    “One of the most animated exchanges came when the candidates were asked whether they backed the Navy’s cautious response recently when Iranian boats reportedly harassed U.S. vessels in the Persian Gulf.
    Huckabee said anyone who challenges the Navy again should be prepared to go to the “gates of hell.” Thompson said anyone testing the Navy might soon meet the “virgins” that Islamic terrorists expect to meet in heaven.
    Texas Rep. Ron Paul called the bellicose language frightening and reminiscent of the reaction to an alleged naval exchange that led to the Vietnam War. “I would certainly urge a lot more caution than I’m hearing here tonight,” Paul said.
    Romney cracked that Paul should stop reading Iranian propaganda, drawing what sounded like boos from the audience and a glare from Paul.”
    So the Republicans are embarrassing themselves again,” ….Cole
    gawd….the Preacher, Boss Hogg and little Mitty Witty…what asses.


  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Meanwhile this piece of shit Bush has fabricated an “incident” in the Strait, and has upped the ante for war with Iran.
    And do you hear any of these so-called “candidates” raising the issue, and demanding that Bush cease and desist lying to the American people in an attempt to decieve us into another war? If these God damned cowards on the left would have joined hands and fought for accountability YEARS AGO, our nation would not be in the sorry state it is in. But instead, they have done absolutely NOTHING to rein Bush in, and they continue to do nothing, except swiftboat each other and make excuses for their
    Bush enabling of the last seven years.
    And we are supposed to elect one of these pathetic cowards to the White House? Screw them, the whole writhing mass of these opportunistic snakes should be ran out of Washington in tar and feathers.
    I know some of Hillary and Barack’s people read this blog….
    Hey, you slimey co-conspiring criminals, why don’t you tell your headliners to do something to salvage this democracy before its too late? I for one am sick of their shallow posturing and the feeble “opposition” they’ve waged against this fascist war mongering administration. They need to show some fuckin’ guts, or get the hell out of the way.


  15. MarkL says:

    Obama is heading into the gutter now—accusing the Clinton campaign of race-baiting.


  16. B.N. says:

    Yes, the three standing Democrats in the race for their party’s nomination need to be careful in their dealings with each other. While the electorate wants them to discuss their differences and similarities, if they attack each other as hard as they did recently they had explosives to the other side and against the ultimate nominee of their party.


  17. JohnH says:

    Much as you and I might like the candidates to talk about substance, that’s not what wins elections: it’s how they frame issues.
    Conservatives talk in language that is evocative (tax relief, security, etc.). Democrats tend to list their programs (boring!!!). http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/projects/strategic/simple_framing
    Obama seems to have learned the lesson. Instead of talking about the estate tax or the death tax, he talks about the Paris Hilton tax break. You can find his policy recommendations at his web site but not in his speeches.
    Hillary says she found her voice in New Hampshire. I think she finally realized that she needed to co-opt part of Obama’s message of hope and Edwards’ message of fighting greedy monopolies. She specifically singled out drug companies and other special interests for attack.
    It will be interesting to see how long Hillary can keep it up before the DLC and Chamber of Commerce get nervous and pull on her reins. It will also be interesting to see if she can keep her speech within the chosen frames. It takes a while to change thinking enough to be consistent, particularly during unscripted Q&A sessions.
    Will she start to refer to the Iraqi Occupation, Bush’s War on the Middle Class, etc.? For me, it’s too late. She’s felt comfortable working within Bush’s view of the world far too long. I couldn’t trust a conversion any more than I could trust Mitt Romney’s newfound opposition to abortion. And others are likely to chalk it up to ‘calculation.’


  18. Linda says:

    Amen!! Don’t they realize that every time they do this, they create stuff to be used by Republicans in the election. And it would be nice to have some substance there rather than sound bites.


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