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I have to agree with Diana Hsieh.

Check out The Libertarian Website, which seems to seek a diversity in opinion simply not correlated with capitalism.

Excerpt:

This is from the Libertarians' own website

No such inconsistencies exist in capitalism.

Because capitalism holds that man's reason is an absolute.

Yes, because we realize that there is not one absolute system which uniquely leads to individual liberty. Moreover, there are individual differences in how people define having liberty and what rights entail. We recognize this and build a political structure around it: live and let live.

I'd say Captialism holds resources should be owned/controlled by private individuals. It is Objectivism which holds reason as absolute. But it's late and I could be wrong...I'll talk to you all tomorrow.

-Rich

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"You are right that libertarianism does not advocate any particular ethic, epistomology, or metaphysics"

"Libertarianism is a political philosophy however and only deals with man's relation to his government."

Thank you for explicitly agreeing that Libertarianism is a floating abstraction.

Because of this fact, it must logically be dismissed without further consideration. AS a floating abstraction, it has NO connection to reality - except the whim of the individual ASSERTING the abstraction. With no connection to reality, those who seek to assert it - asserting it in PLACE of reality - are DESTRUCTIVE of man.

--

Your claim that capitalism is only an economic system is false.

Communism is a social system.

Socialism is a social system.

Fascism is a social system.

Capitalism is a social system.

The attempt to restrict capitalism to 'merely' being an economic system is simply a tactic used to try to divorce capitalist economics from ANY specific politics. It is the same tactic used to divorce the 'politics' of libertarianism from any specific ethics. It is the tactic used to divorce branches of philosophy from one another - to sever the logical and therefore necessary connections between them - in the attempt to leave nothing BUT floating abstractions.

Put simply, it is the tactic used to elevate WHIM over and in place of logic.

This makes libertarianism "anti-morality and anti-capitalism" because it claims no specific morality is needed for 'libertarianism', and no specific politics is required for "capitalism" ("we feel morality can/should be left for individuals "). As such, not only is libertarianism "anti-morality and anti capitalism" it is also anti-identity, and thus anti-existence.

Thus the "hostility" and "cold-shoulder" given libertarians is the least they deserve.

"...I have a lot of replies to write."

No, you do not. At least not on this topic. This site is devoted to the discussion of objectivism so its adherents and those interested in learning about it may understand it better. It is not a site devoted to defending objectivism against attacks from other philosophies - or from those who reject philosophy as such.

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The attempt to restrict capitalism to 'merely' being an economic system is simply a tactic used to try to divorce capitalist economics from ANY specific politics.  It is the same tactic used to divorce  the 'politics' of libertarianism from any specific ethics.  It is the tactic used to divorce branches of philosophy from one another - to sever the logical and therefore necessary connections between them - in the attempt to leave nothing BUT floating abstractions.

Very well put :D

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Just out of curiosity, which political candidate(s) *do* you all support? The Libertarian party is (or claims to be) the "Party of Principle, not of special interests," and at lp.org they have laid out a clear, concise set of principles by which they stand--they at least have that going for them, unlike Democrats and Republicans.

I admit, though, that Radcap is right to be wary of the LP because the principles they state are almost entirely political, not ethical--in other words, they ignore the metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical bases for the principles in their politics.

Perhaps you all generally don't vote, as support for one candidate entails all kinds of baggage (in the form of special interests, compromise of ethical principles, etc.) Perhaps I need to realize (and explain to my friends and family) that not voting is not a sign of apathy, but the result of a tremendous conscious (and conscientious) effort on my part.

The only conclusion I can draw from this is that Objectivism is still in the early stages of propagation, and we have much educating (as Radcap said) to do before a strong Objectivist candidate has the money and the guts to run for president (or even a smaller office.) Am I right about this?

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I will say, as an objectivist, I do not ususally vote. In most instances, there are not enough differences between the front runners to justify it. As such, my vote would only sanction the actions of either one of them. And given the complete absence of a moral base, I am not going to vote libertarian, because that would only sanction them.

As it stands now however, I do plan on voting in the upcoming election if it seems the vote will be even somewhat close. Again, the difference between Bush and Kerry are almost non-existent in almost every regard. However, as has been noted elsewhere on the forum, Bush has a MUCH better approach to National Defense than Kerry (note I am not saying it is a very good approach, just that it is markedly better than Kerry's approach). And since such a defense is one of the ONLY proper functions of govt - and it serves to defend ALL our rights - that difference is enough for me to sanction Bush with a vote.

Given that this question is somewhat off-topic, I suggest it be continued in another thread if futher discussion is desired.

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I agree that there are few differences between the parties. Bush did a war before opening the spigots on a $100B welfare program in Iraq. If we had had President Gore, he would have skipped the war and just started straight with the welfare.

But I do not agree that voting for one candidate is any kind of sanction. In the voting game, one has a choice between Candidate D and Candidate R. Voting for the lesser of those two evils is not a sanction of the evil.

If one gave a speech to explain why Candidate R's platform is good for America, then that would be a sanction. This is because one has a choice to give the speech, or not, or give a different speech.

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After reading through this thread I am still left with a few questions. I think some of the issues raised by others were argued around but not touched on directly. At least, they still remain unclear in my mind.

How is what Rand said in the quote about evaluating a political candidate (1) and what she said when she advocated co-opting the Fairness Doctrine (2) consistent with what Schwartz has to say about sanction (3)? I know she wasn’t being pragmatic; she wasn’t compromising her morality at all. I understand what she was doing and I agree with her, but Schwartz seems to demand a prohibition on exactly the sort of things said by Rand on both occasions. Is this correct? How is co-opting the Fairness Doctrine in order to bring about greater freedom alright, but co-opting of the Libertarian party for the same reasons not?

I understand the faults of Libertarianism. I understand and agree with the need for a strong philosophical base for politics, that’s why I’m here. I know, and have met, Libertarians that want anarchy and advocate a position that would leave America weak and vulnerable to attack by terrorists and others. But, given a Libertarian who does not advocate those things (there are many) and, in fact, explicitly advocates the correct political positions (but not necessarily philosophical), where is the harm in sanctioning him with a vote, given what Rand said (1)?

If the differences between Democrat and Republican on a few positions are great enough to warrant sanctioning Bush with a vote (as many here have advocated, in this thread as well as another), why aren’t the *political* differences between Republicans and Libertarians, which are far more in line with Rand’s *politics* than the Republican’s, great enough to warrant sanctioning the Libertarian candidate with a vote? This is assuming that he does not advocate Anarchy, eliminating the military, etc., and keeping in mind the quote below from Rand (1). Why is voting Libertarian a sanction of the worst among the Libertarians (Anarchist, Nihilists), but voting Republican is not a sanction of the worst among the Republicans (Christians, Fascists)? It can’t be the lack of a correct philosophical basis for their political beliefs. The Republicans certainly don’t have one either; nothing the Republicans have put forth even comes close.

I appreciate any comments. This is my first post and I am still working on clarifying many issues.

(1) One cannot expect, nor is it necessary, to agree with a candidate's total philosophy--only with his political philosophy (and only in terms of essentials). It is not a Philosopher-King that we are electing, but an executive for a specific, delimited job. It is only political consistency that we can demand of him; if he advocates the right principles for the wrong metaphysical reasons, the contradiction is his problem, not ours.

A vote for a candidate does not constitute an endorsement of his entire position, not even of his entire political position, only of his basic political principles.

(2) As applied to television and radio broadcasting the fairness doctrine demands that equal opportunity be given to all sides of a controversial issue -- on the grounds of the notion that the “people own the airwaves” and therefore all factions of the people should have equal access to their communal property. The “Fairness Doctrine” is a messy little makeshift of the mixed economy, and a poor substitute for freedom of speech. It has, however, served as a minimal retarder of the collectivist trend: it has prevented the Establishment’s total takeover of the airwaves. For this reason --- as a temporary measure in a grave national emergency ---the fairness doctrine should now be invoked on behalf of education.

(3) This means the refusal to grant it, by word or by deed, any moral respectability. It is by scrupulously withholding from the irrational even a crumb of a moral sanction — by rejecting any form of accommodation with the irrational — by forcing the irrational to stand naked and unaided — that one keeps evil impotent.”

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But, given a Libertarian who does not advocate those things (there are many) and, in fact, explicitly advocates the correct political positions (but not necessarily philosophical), where is the harm in sanctioning him with a vote, given what Rand said (1)?

Because the Libertarian has no shot in hell at winning. The Libertarians don't try to win offices, especially at a national or even state level; they try to "educate". Their "education" consists in promoting the Libertarian position, which amounts to acontextual anti-governmentalism. So when you vote for a Libertarian, even one of the better ones, you're not really helping to advance his particular positions. You're merely helping to advance their propaganda by giving them another vote to brag about.

If there were a Libertarian who had a genuinely decent, non-anarchist position on things, and who had a shot at winning a major office, he might get my vote. (Though I'd have to think it through, because the publicity the anarchists would get by implication could be disastrous.) On the other hand, to get one of the better Libertarians into a major office would require a culture much different than that which we have right now -- and by that point, a real Objectivist would have no problem beating a Libertarian in an election.

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MinorityOfOne, I agree.

However, I don't think you hit the most important point, so I would like to add that the Fairness Doctrine was a definable constant... the Libertarian party is not. When offering blanket support for the Fairness Doctrine, one knows exactly what one is offering support to. When offering blanket support to the Libertarian party, one is offering support to an unitentified goal. Not advisable...

(This does not rule out your support for an individual candidate, though).

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Why take over the Libertarian Party when we can take over the REPUBLICAN party?

There have been Objectivist-only Young Republican clubs. Objectivists and Objectivist sympathizers have run for office -- and gotten elected -- as Republicans. There have been Objectivists who took over as Educational Chairman of their local Republican organization. Objectivists have written for and even edited Republican publications.

Who needs the Libertarians?

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I would like to thank those who responded, they brought up good points.

It may just be a matter of personal preference, more a function of living in the Bible belt and being surrounded by fundamentalist Christians than anything else, but I would rather the Anarchists get some implicit support from my vote (although there is no reason not to make it _explicitly_ clear that it is not meant as such) than have to put up with one more Christian using Bush’s election as proof to him that the American people really want a Christian Republic after all, complete with a total repudiation of the Bill of Rights and their replacement with the 10 commandments. The current talk around here is that the FCC isn’t going far enough, if you can believe that. If there are people who are lucky enough to live in parts of the country where these people don’t make up at least 50% of the Republican Party, they should be very happy. Around here, I’m up to my armpits in them. The Anarchists seem to be a far smaller percentage of the Libertarians than the Theocrats are of the Republicans. Though, this may just be an issue of where we live and who we come in contact with on a daily basis.

In any case, the real point of my post concerns the issue of sanction. I don’t want to give credibility to an immoral philosophy, either Nihilism or Fascism, but I do want to make an attempt to change the culture in positive way. How do I go about that? Is Schwartz’s essay “On Moral Sanctions” really so strict as to say that what Rand said in the first two quotes given at the bottom of my last post, and similar acts, is no longer acceptable? If so, do others here agree? If not, can someone please help me clarify what he is saying? I really want to resolve this issue so that I can start building the kind of world I would like to live in.

James

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It may just be a matter of personal preference, more a function of living in the Bible belt and being surrounded by fundamentalist Christians than anything else, but I would rather the Anarchists get some implicit support from my vote (although there is no reason not to make it _explicitly_ clear that it is not meant as such) than have to put up with one more Christian using Bush’s election as proof to him that the American people really want a Christian Republic after all, complete with a total repudiation of the Bill of Rights and their replacement with the 10 commandments.

James:

I sympathize where you are coming from - I live in such a part of the country myself, although being in a large urban area provides a good bit of shelter from it. My problem with your position, however, is this: how on earth is giving support, no matter how implicit, to anarchists going to help change people's minds one bit and improve the situation? How is it possible to oppose one form of irrationalism by supporting another? As the old saying goes - the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.

There are decent, well intentioned Republicans out there - even in the Bible Belt. The Republican Party has a big divide between its so-called social conservatives and its so-called economic conservatives. Neither side particularly likes each other when you really get right down to it - but they both hate the Left and that has been what has kept them more or less unified. But the Left is in shambles right now. The Democratic Party has been losing more and more control for 10 years and they have absolutely no positive agenda whatsoever. They are simply against Bush, against American self-assertiveness, against the successful etc. If their decline continues, there will eventually be a heated battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party and the better Republicans will be very much in need of rational arguments in order to effectively answer both their opponents in the Republican Party as well as those in what is left of the Democratic Party. Objectivists actually have those answers and can provide the necessary intellectual ammunition. Most economic conservative/social moderate Republicans I have met seem to be decent people and are usually reality oriented in their approach to political issues. They are people who value their own pocketbooks and the benefits of living in a free economy and have no desire to butt in on how other people choose to live their private lives. In other words, most of them are essentially rational and that is the type of people we should seek as allies.

In the end, this upcoming election is overshadowed by one issue and one issue only: the war. I don't approve of the way that Bush is conducting it - but the thought of Kerry being in charge scares me to no end. Kerry is nothing more than a '60s hippie who happens to wear grown-up clothes and the man is anti-American to his very core. If he is elected, up goes the white flag of surrender. With Kerry in charge, we might as well just consider ourselves to be a French puppet state. As for the Libertarians - heck, their view on the war is somewhere to the Left of Howard Dean. Personally, I think it is wonderful that the Libertarians have taken such a position on the war because it makes their true nature crystal clear more eloquently than anything any Objectivist can say against them.

As to the social conservatives - my biggest fear with them is not that they are going to take over the country and turn the United States into some sort of Afghanastan like Christian Republic. There is simply no way that the American public will stand for something like that for generations to come. My biggest fear is of a backlash against them that will only end up getting Leftists in office. That's why there needs to be principled opposition to them from within the Republican Party. I view socialized medicine and surrender to the terrorists as far greater and more likely threats to my life and freedom than I do being forced to pay homage to the Ten Commandments.

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The “Fairness Doctrine” is a messy little makeshift of the mixed economy, and a poor substitute for freedom of speech. It has, however, served as a minimal retarder of the collectivist trend: it has prevented the Establishment’s total takeover of the airwaves.

Ayn Rand wrote that in 1972 and she had no way of knowing what would take place after the Fairness Docrtine was repealed during the Reagan Administration. It was the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine that opened the door to the so-called "new media" by making talk radio possible. Prior to the late 1980s, talk programs on radio were very timid and rarely tackled controversial issues. They basically were interview programs with best selling authors and covered topics such as UFOs or movies and such. If a host took a strong viewpoint, the station was on the hook for providing "equal time" - and whether or not they provided such time was, in large part, determined at license time based on letters of complaint from angery listeners. In other words, with millions of dollars invested in their broadcasting properties, station owners didn't dare risk offending anyone for fear it might have consequences at license renewal time. The end of the Fairness Doctrine is what made Rush Limbaugh possible - and think what you will of Rush, nobody can deny that he has exposed to a very wide audience a great many of the dirty deeds of the Left which would have previously been sweeped under the rug by the media Establishment. If you notice, it is the Left and the Democrats , i.e., the members of the old Establishment who are the ones calling for a return to the Fairness Doctrine because there is little demand for their point of view on the open marketplace of voluntary listeners. It is no coincidence that, when one attempt to reimpose it was suggested during the Clinton years, the measure was immediately nicknamed the "Hush Rush Bill." The end of the Fairness Doctrine was the beginning of the end for the big media Establishment.

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Is Schwartz’s essay “On Moral Sanctions” really so strict as to say that what Rand said in the first two quotes given at the bottom of my last post, and similar acts, is no longer acceptable?

It is 100% totally strict, but voting for the least damaging candidate, or invoking the Fairness Doctrine in support of liberty, are not the kinds of things it forbids.

Let me give you some example scenarios:

1. An altruist tells you, "One should never refuse any request for help." You reply, "OK, so can you help me please? I need $10,000." When the altruist begins to pontificate about how one mustn't be greedy etc., you interrupt him and say, "I just made a request for help. You're not refusing, are you?"

2. An armed mugger offers you to let you keep either your wallet or your life. Since you are unable to defend yourself and prefer to keep your life, you give him your wallet.

3. An altruist tells you, "One should never refuse any request for help. I need your help--please give me $10,000." You say, "Uh ... of course I agree that it's not a nice thing to refuse requests for help, but ... well ... unfortunately, I cannot give you quite that much right now. Here's $20, though."

4. An armed mugger offers you to let you keep either your wallet or your life. You could defend yourself by shooting him dead, and you know for sure you wouldn't get into trouble with the police for doing so--but you decide to give him your wallet instead because "he's a human being too."

Scenario 1 is an example of "making them play by their own rules," which is one of the best ways to fight the irrational. Here, you don't advocate the irrational premise, you just take advantage of the fact that your adversary is already advocating it. This is what Ayn Rand did with the Fairness Doctrine.

In Scenario 2, force has already been initiated, so it is not you who bear moral responsibility for the loss of your wallet. You do not sanction the aggressor; you simply choose the option that minimizes the damage done by his aggression. This is what you do when you vote for the "least worst" candidate.

Contrast that with Scenarios 3 and 4: Here, the guy agrees with the evil message of the altruist, and thus disarms himself, making it impossible to resist the mooching. He chooses to be looted when he could kill a looter instead. THIS is what we call the sanction of the victim, and this is what you need to forbid yourself with 100% total strictness if you want a life qua man.

You see the difference now, don't you?

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Capitalism Forever:

I have always seen the differences between the examples you gave. If that is what Schwartz meant then I agree with it completely. I am glad I’m not the only one who thinks that there is nothing wrong with “voting for the least damaging candidate, or invoking the Fairness Doctrine in support of liberty”. It is unfortunate that many Objectivists use that essay to support the opposite position.

One of the issues that was raised in the thread was that support for a Libertarian candidate constituted support for the Libertarian party and the Anarchists and was, therefore, immoral, whereas support for a Republican candidate was not support for the Republican Party or the Christians and, therefore, was not immoral. Of course, no one put it exactly like that, but that is what they were saying. It appears totally arbitrary.

For example, I have been told that my support for a Libertarian candidate that is against the War on Drugs and gun control would be immoral because of the implicit sanction it would give to his lack of a moral base for his positions and to the Anarchists, Nihilists, etc., who happen to agree with those positions. That didn’t make any sense to me. It made even less sense when I found the quote from Ayn Rand about evaluating a political candidate. My support would only be for his political positions. It would also be better than supporting a candidate that supported the War on Drugs completely and claims to be against gun control but who votes for it repeatedly anyway.

My position would be sort of like Rand’s in "Tax Credits for Education" (VoR pg. 249):

I want to stress that I am not an advocate of public (i.e., government-operated) schools, that I am not an advocate of the income tax, and that I am not an advocate of the government’s “right” to expropriate a citizen’s money or to control his spending through tax incentives. None of these phenomena would exist in a free economy. But we are living in a disastrously mixed economy, which cannot be freed overnight. And in today’s context, the above proposal would be a step in the right direction.
Sort of like…

I want to stress that I am not an advocate of Anarchism or any position that holds that there is no rational basis for man’s rights or that a government is not needed to protect them. But we are living in a disastrously mixed economy, one that is headed rapidly in the wrong direction, and which cannot be turned into a rational, free society, based on Objectivist principles overnight. And in that context, my support of candidate X and the implementation of his proposals to end the War on Drugs and to repeal the laws that make it harder for a man to defend himself and, therefore, easier for criminals to prey on him, is a step in the right direction.

The only argument that has swayed me is that every vote that goes to such a candidate is one the Democrats don’t have to get. This is particularly worrisome in the Presidential race because both the Democrat and the official Libertarian positions on terrorism are unacceptable. But in state and Congressional elections the choice of candidate x over a Republican, with the necessary qualifications, seems entirely appropriate and moral, in my opinion.

If everyone who agrees with the politics of a Libertarian would vote for him, instead of being afraid of wasting their vote or giving a moral sanction it would, at the very least, make it clear that a sizable minority of the American people will not tolerate any more encroachments on our liberties or any moves to bring us closer to full socialism. It might even roll some of the more recent encroachments back a bit, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Dismuke:

how on earth is giving support, no matter how implicit, to anarchists going to help change people's minds one bit and improve the situation? How is it possible to oppose one form of irrationalism by supporting another? As the old saying goes - the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.

I should note that I agree. My point was that if you remove the word "anarchists" from above and replace it with the word "Christian" the argument is still valid. The distinction appears arbitrary to me. Hopefully, what I said above will clarify what I meant.

I appreciate everybody taking the time to read my long posts and respond. I look forward to any further comments.

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For example, I have been told that my support for a Libertarian candidate that is against the War on Drugs and gun control would be immoral because of the implicit sanction it would give to his lack of a moral base for his positions and to the Anarchists, Nihilists, etc., who happen to agree with those positions.

Your support for a Libertarian candidate is only immoral because it accomplishes nothing except to publicize anarchism. If your candidate had a chance to win an election, and was better than the other options, it would be a good idea to vote for him. But, alas, he does not, and a vote for him does nothing except add to the partys percentage of the vote (which they then use to advertize their party).

That is why voting for Bush over Kerry is different from voting for Brown over Bush.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My favorite among their replies:

Q: Out of curiosity, what would some of you think if instead of Iraq the US had attacked Iran?

What if the President had stated in no uncertain terms that we were going to war with Iran, not for any selfless motive to "liberate" the Iranian people, but for our own self-interest - to DESTROY terrorists who want to kill us and to END the theocratic state that sponsors and harbors them?

Would you still be opposed to war?

A: Yes.

Kind of says it all...

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Libertarians will jump through hoops to hate America.

http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?control=1123

"And Truman and his advisers were already embroiling the US in a Cold War against Russia, a government that had been a close US ally only a few years earlier. "

Just check your dates to find out who was in charge of Russia between 1948 and 1952 - Truman's presidency.

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As I have learned recently, the key to Libertarians after you realize that they are anti-philosophical is that they hate any monopoly on the use of force. They oppose a domestic governmental monopoly preferring competing "protection agencies" all the while denying that will lead to anarchy. When it comes to foreign policy they do the same thing. They adamantly oppose the strong use of international force by any "mononpoly"; ie the US Military. This is why they are such big admirers of the UN which fits in with their "competing protection agency" theory. What kills me is that they will defend regimes that have abusive "legal monopolies" and vehemently attack the one government in all the world whose "monopoly" is mostly kept in check (at least in relative tems). I can't ascribe honest motives to them; especially men who should know better like Harry Browne.

Also I have found that philosophical absolutism is anathema to them. They equate it with totalitarianism. This is why they have such animous towards Objectivists. Especially ARI Objectivists. We are on an especially low rung of hell. Lower than Osama.

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But your cartoon is idiotic.

It follows the time-worn Republican FUD that Kerry wants to negotiate with the terrorists.

It ignores the FACT that he voted for both wars.

It misinterprets the context of his own foreign policy statement regarding the use of military might.

Worst, it ignores the fact that Bush himself negotiates with terrorists. He's doing that with Arafat right now. Arafat is as much a terrorist as Osama Bin Laden.

I have to admit fascination with the post by "herself."

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