Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Gore’s rage

Joe brought to your attention the Al Gore talk of two days ago. I saw it. I got home late, couldn’t sleep. I think it was just past midnight when I turned on C-Span. Al Gore was talking. I was transfixed for the next thirty minutes or so (I don’t know how long he’d been on when I caught it). At first I focused on this automaton of man, without heart and blood. Then I noticed the anger. Again the anger. Nothing but rage and loud rage. I haven’t seen Gore for about a year, I guess. The last time I saw him, he was also beside himself about something or other. What does he do with himself the rest of the time? He comes up for air once a year, growling, showing us his teeth. Each time I see him talk, it is only to reveal his indignation at something. Now it is at the NSA wiretapping issue; the cause doesn’t matter, it is only anger that moves him, he is only enlivened by his own steam. This is awful and depressing and I regret it. It took me hours to fall asleep. A former vice-president going insane in public for all of us to see and lose sleep over. I am sorry for him.

Discussions - 31 Comments

Peter- In my view, your depression is misdirected, because your attention is directed at demeanor, and not at content. Bush very calmly assured the nation last year, for instance, that wiretaps would not happen without a court order. Nice and polite, but a lie.

Now, you seem to suggest that Gore commits the sin of acting angry because the President of the United States has broken the law.

I am willing to wait a bit to see if Gonzalez and/or the courts can shed some light on the legality of Bush’s actions, but if it turns out that he broke the law, I hope that all of us will not only BE angry, but that we will also ACT angry, as well.

Look, Al Gore has been angry since Nov. 2000. He is losing his grip simply because he has never stopped believing he is the President and not the imposter in the White House.

Once there were institutions filled with people who thought they were Napoleon. Then they let them out on the streets. Now they let them give speeches as if they really were Napoleons, or Presidents.

Wow, you wingnuts are really taking this speech hard. What is it that bothers you so much about this? Maybe it’s because Gore actually KNOWS and CARES about an issue, unlike the man who supposedly beat him in the election, who will no doubt be planted on a sofa playing Xbox the day after he leaves office.

Fung and Thompson are evading the issue.

To describe Gore as "angry" is like describing Al Sharpton as "colorful,"
Howard Dean as "outspoken," or Ted Kennedy as "aggressive." It is understatement to the point of blatant dishonesty.

Is there anything in particular of what Gore actually said that bothered you, or was it strictly your perception of his emotional state that cost you the sleep? There are plenty of people who haven’t a clue what is who would see Gore’s supposed anger as a RIGHTEOUS anger. "Nothing but rage and loud rage" you said. Really? I think his speech had a message, did it not? Of course you’ll never see or acknowledge any righteousness in Gore’s anger, but I recall seeing plenty of it from the right during the Clinton years.

It’s funny that you bring this up, with the none-too-subtle implication that Gore’s hysterical and irrational (see Frisk’s "lunatic" accusations), so soon after making a perfunctory reference to MLK Jr.’s speeches. Everyone can just cool their heels before launching into any "Gore is no MLK Jr." tirades, since obviously there are qualitative differences between the issues they addressed, but I think it’s also safe to say that MLK would, too, often speak "to reveal his indignation at something." As I said, the issues are different, but in both cases, the indignation was warranted (no pun intended, but there it is, like it or not!). But why do I even bother here, as I know the standard: when Bush is agitated, it can only be a dignified display of his Lincolnesque "resolve," but with Gore it is merely a "crazy" "lunatic" "growling" and "showing us his teeth" and "going insane." Really now, I wonder if even Ann Coulter would go to such extremes in describing his speech...but I won’t bet on it.

It strikes me as contradictory that someone could be an "automaton," "without heart and blood" and still be so angry, so full of rage. Frankly, I’ve always had mixed feelings and opinions about Gore and his ideas, policy prescriptions, etc., but he always came off as very bland, and not a very emotional guy. I guess I need to see the video of his speech. The way it’s described, he was a real mad dog!

Angela dear please read...........

Consider Article II of the Constitution. Did your "teachers" explain any further? If not, why?

Um, I think that whole thing by Crispin Sartwell (!!!) would apply a hell of a lot more to Dick Cheney than Gore, especially considering that Cheney is currently the VP. The article stated that "the fact that he will not or cannot reveal himself in public is precisely his most authentic revelation of himself" - ummm....didn’t this thread start out by a reference to a free, public speech that Gore gave? Cheney, on the other hand, is constantly hiding...err, ’existing’ at his ’undisclosed location’ retreat, perhaps burning through artificial hearts like they’re going out of style. And while airplanes in the U.S. can still fly over nuclear plants, they can’t fly over Cheney’s new Maryland mansion. Maybe because it, along with Cheney, doesn’t exist?

Jesse Fan - I did check out your link. Found this:

"If we had known that one of those terrorist attacks was coming, could our government have electronically eavesdropped on the attackers without a warrant?

If a known Al Qaeda terrorist had made a phone call from outside the country to someone inside America about these or other attacks, could our government have listened in?"

Here are a couple of points for you to chew on: first, the Clinton Administration DID warn the Bush Administration about plans by OBL and about potential methods, including using planes. Bush and Condie et al. sat on that information. So, we can throw that argument right out. Second, if Bush wanted to eavesdrop legally, all he had to do was go through the process of obtaining a warrant RETROACTIVELY within three days, so no one is suggesting that he could not obtain a warrant. We just want him to recognize and follow the law!

Finally, J Mont has it exactly right. Many of you ridicule Gore because he has no emotions, and then you ridicule him for showing emotions. All of it is a red herring attempt to distract others from the fact that Gore was right about every difference that he and Bush had during their debates, and Bush was wrong. (Remember "fuzzy math?") (Remember "No international policing without a clear exit strategy?" "Remember "Trust the people"?)

Now, it is an old trick to paint an opponent as a "madman" to legitimize attacking that opponent. Nobody looks good attacking reasonable people. But, there is a certain amount of inconsistency, isn’t there? And the idea that we shouldn’t be angry when our President craps on civil liberties is astounding! Speaking of automatons, I wonder what kind of a family person, what kind of a citizen, or thinking person, can sit by and allow a "leader" to scare them into handing over their freedoms without so much as a whimper. You even try to help them get away with it! Shame on you!

Bush can spy on our enemies all he wants. And he can spy within our borders legally very easily, but he chose another way, and the only reason we know about it is that he was exposed. Just like we know about Scooter Libby, and Frist, and DeLay, and Abramoff, Cheney, and Ney, and the whole bunch of "Patriots," and Abu Ghraib, and the carte blanche for torture. Someone had the bad manners to expose them. And the rest of us have the bad manners to suggest that a true patriot would find ways to protect our country AND obey the laws of the same country.

So, you worry about red faces and waving arms all you want. The rest of us will pay attention to the words coming out of people’s mouths, and check them with their actions. I’ll take an arm-waving truth-teller over a corn-pone liar any day.

We’re being given a lot of contradictory arguments from the right on this topic. We’re told that Gore is an automaton, but that he’s also furious and crazy. And Schramm says he’s losing sleep over this angry robot’s rant, but then "jesse fan" tells us that no one is paying attention to the gasbag that has the NLT crowd so stirred up. It’s all a bit confusing!

"jesse fan":

1. Please don’t call me "dear." And please don’t give me that crap about how it’s complimentary to say that.

2. Do you read (or get any of your ideas) from sources other than the WSJ or FrontPagemag’s website?


If conservatives are really as gung-ho for "law and order" as they claim to be (especially around campaign time!), then there really should be some outrage coming from them that the president they put into office has unilaterally (and just because his loyal cronies ok’d it doesn’t make it any less unilateral!) decided that it’s ok if he breaks the law when he thinks he needs to. One needn’t go to law school to know that just isn’t how it works.

Wow ....

looks like a bunch of Gorons found there way to No Left Turns.

Step #1 to your recovery, folks, is to recognize that your conclusions are "Opinions", not "facts" - in fact, in my opinion there’s a much stronger argument that the interception of communications to & from Al Qaeda types is a wholly lawful & entirely justifiable activity under the President’s powers as Commander in Chief.

Now, you may disagree - but your opinion doesn’t become more convincing just because you wax indignant ... or hold your breath until you turn more blue, or whatever it is you do.

Now here’s the hard part -

There’s an argument on both sides of the issue (OK, I’m being overly kind to your side here, but I’ll do it anyway);

Doing it your way would make defending the homeland more difficult;

Doing it your way is exactly what our enemy would want us to do;

Yet you not only oppose the President’s actions - no benefit of the doubt for him from you - but you denounce him in terms which would make our enemies proud.

Regardless of your intentions - I’ll even concede (for the moment) that they’re honorable - doesn’t the company you’re keeping bother you just a little bit?

Yes, we certainly are Phil, but don’t expect any response from Mr. Schramm to any of the good points made here by the dissenting voices. He takes full advantage of the ignore-the-opposition option that all bloggers have.

"Gorons," eh? Pretty clever. I also liked this creative language:

"...recognize that your conclusions are ’Opinions’, not ’facts’ - in fact, in my opinion there’s a much stronger argument..."

"in fact, in my opinion" - Brilliant! Yes, I suppose that if the opinion is actually the one that you hold, then it is in fact your opinion.

As for the recovery tips, I don’t think they’re needed, as I haven’t read anything from anyone here - except perhaps you - claiming that their opinion was anything other than that - an opinion.

Ah yes, that’s a new and original accusation, BD. If you dare criticize the Bush Administration’s actions, you are only helping the terrorists! Keep your mouth shut an let ’em do their jobs, right?

Anyway, I think we’re all reacting to the vitriolic responses to Gore’s speech, and are hardly the ones who need a lecture about "both sides of an issue."

If I dare venture into this acidic exchange to defend Peter Schramm - he almost never enters into the dialogues, but simply puts forth his views and allows other to pick them apart at will. Rather than ignoring the opposition, he courageously stimulates a conversation and stands back. Sounds like a teacher to me.

Mizzz Riley (feel better?),

I do not know if you read my cited article. But here goes again with a sample.......

In modern times, the 1947 National Security Act contained no provision for congressional oversight of presidential national-security actions. In 1968 Congress enacted the Safe Streets Act, providing that nothing in the act "shall limit the power of the President to take such actions as he deems necessary to protect the Nation against actual or potential attack or other hostile acts of a foreign power, to obtain foreign intelligence information deemed essential to the security of the United States, or to protect national security information against foreign intelligence activities."
When President Carter signed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978, his attorney general noted that it did not "take away the power of the president under the Constitution," and in 1994, when President Clinton expanded FISA, his administration agreed. As constitutional scholar Robert Turner noted in The Wall Street Journal last month, "Section 1811 of the FISA statute recognizes that in a period of authorized war the president must have some authority to engage in electronic surveillance ’without a court order.’"

America’s judicial system has reached the same conclusion. The Supreme Court’s 1972 decision in U.S. v. U.S. District Court (known as the "Keith case") held that the Fourth Amendment’s "unreasonable searches and seizures" clause applied to domestic wiretapping, but refrained from concluding that it restricts "the president’s surveillance power with respect to the activities of foreign powers within or without this country."

In 1980 the Carter administration argued in the Truong case that the government could conduct domestic, warrantless wiretaps of conversations between a U.S. and a Vietnamese citizen who had been passing on U.S. military intelligence to the North Vietnamese. The Supreme Court agreed.

In 1982 a federal court of appeals ruled that "the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe the Americans are foreign agent."

And in 2002 the FISA court said that the president has "inherent constitutional authority to conduct warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance."

Again please note the last paragraph.

In case you forgot the address, heah itizz......

Mr. Moser - I am rather surprised to see any of Sartwell’s writings passed along here. Those wanting more, however, should see here, here and here.

Truth hurts, don’t it, Phil?

If you want to offer constructive criticism, that’d be all well and good - but you’re not interested in that; you think the answer to all our problems is impeachment.

Face it, Phil - you don’t take terrorism seriously. You’d just as soon say "No mas" and beg Osama to be kind ... because, as we ’all’ know, "Bush is the real terrorist."


Hear hear, hizzoner! Another good comment from the mayor of Our Nation’s Capital!

Keep it up, BD, it’s always amusing to read the right-wingers’ crazy equation: Not thinking Bush is the greatest president ever = Wishing Osama could somehow win the election in ’08.

I DO take terrorism seriously. I just don’t think Dubya should be allowed to use it as an excuse to start pointless wars and conduct illegal eavesdropping. If you want to continue being an unquestioning, adoring little sheep, go right ahead. But don’t tell me that not doing so means I somehow support terrorism.

See, there’s your conceit, Phil - you’re unwilling to seriously consider the point of view of your opponents so you caricature them.

I didn’t say W is the greatest President ever, did I?

I didn’t say you’re wishing Osama would be elected, did I?

I said the positions you take and the arguments you advance make it harder for us to win, whether you want us to win or not.

"Illegal" eavesdropping is your judgment. There are a lot of people who disagree with you; it’s certainly hard to square your opinion with the view of what the Commander in Chief powers have traditionally included (see, e.g., Lincolnd during the Civil War, Roosevelt during WW II, the powers to conduct military intelligence operations claimed by the Reagan, Bush I & Clinton Administrations). And while it’s only dicta, the Courts that have gotten into the subject give every indication that the President’s Commander in Chief powers include the conduct of military intelligence operations, even in the United States, without the necessity of asking a Court’s permission.

There is not a single administration since FISA was passed in the late 70’s that agreed with the proposition that it had to get FISA warrants to conduct military intelligence operations in the United States - including that of the sainted Mr. Clinton (you remember him, right? One of yours ...).

Against this backdrop, a President of the United States - even the hated Mr. Bush - might be due the benefit of the doubt from the likes of you.

That is, if you were at all rational.

But I’ve given you more explanation than you deserve, given you feel so free to lie about what your political opponents have said/believe.

BD- Are you Lt. Naum? There’s something about your writing style that’s very familiar...

There’s a big difference between the Civil War, WWII and the GWOT, as Gore pointed out in his speech Monday: The latter has no end in sight. Bush has said that it could go on for the rest of our lives. Now, it’s not Bush’s fault that this war is different in its very nature, but I’m extremely uncomfortable with the idea of giving him (or any president) whatever he wants when there probably isn’t going to be a time that we can say "OK, we’ve won. All the terrorists are dead or have given up."

Aren’t conservatives supposed to be wary of a strong federal government? Does this just seem ok to you because it’s Bush, or would you be cool with this no matter who was in office?

As for my last post, yes, I was being a bit hyperbolic with my little equation, but you DID accuse me of "not taking terrorism seriously," which is what conservative-types always shout about when anyone questions Bush’s actions.

Funny how there’s so many Democrats reading No Left Turns, which by the way,is a name this former Demo and perennial Tocquevillian finds objectionable: of course you have to turn leftward from time to time. But the quality of the site certainly speaks for any case, since some of you leftward leaning folks are here, here’s an off-topic link on what Iraq-war supporting conservatives like myself are beginning to think about: the coming (either this year, or in a worse form five to ten years down the line) WAR WITH IRAN. I do hope I am wrong, but check out this Winds of Change article Winds of Change by Tom Holsinger (Jan 19 if the link fails) and pay particular attention to his argument about proliferation in other nations if we tolerate Iranian nukes. Some of his descriptions of how an invasion of Iran invasion works strike me as hopelessly Polly-Annish. Interesting response from Joe Katzman on that site today advocating in-and -out "regime decapitation" rather than occupation. Gentle lefties, (and "gentle" in my book is not pejorative) the world is going to get harsher soon, and I am asking you, pleading with you, to THINK, take a deep breath, and THINK again, before you respond to the voices on the right which will rapidly grow that call for an attack on or invasion of Iran. Nobody WANTS this, but we have to start thinking about what our real options are. Please, talk to your leftward compatriots, and tell them we all need to think outside our pro-Bush and anti-Bush boxes on this one.

Sure enough, the link doesn’t seem to work, in someway I don’t understand, I entered it wrong. (I’m trying, Joe, okay? Failing, but trying!) But folks, very much worth looking up yourselves.

Carl-I think that Iran poses a completely different threat than Iraq did before we invaded it. So far, it looks like the threat is REAL, for instance. If so, you will probably find that many lefties support strong, forceful measures after (or if) more humanitarian ones are tried unsuccessfully. As with Afghanistan, you and others may well find that the left is not soft but rather choosy. We like our wars to be justified.

Mr. Williams (in comment 18) said,

If I dare venture into this acidic exchange to defend Peter Schramm - he almost never enters into the dialogues, but simply puts forth his views and allows other to pick them apart at will. Rather than ignoring the opposition, he courageously stimulates a conversation and stands back. Sounds like a teacher to me.

I disagree with your characterization of what a "courageous" teacher is. The best teachers that I had were extremely reluctant to share their own opinions on topics and then just allow others "to pick them apart at will." The best teachers that I had would present the facts to us in an interesting way and then, to provoke thought, analysis, discussion and debate, they would present at least two different viewpoints regarding the issue or point at hand, and not tell us what their own opinion is, since this can often intimidate students who might disagree, or at the very least corrupt the formation of truly independent, informed opinion-making. To describe Gore as a "growling" bloodless "automaton" and then not address any of the people who then question such assessments is hardly courageous (there’s little or nothing involved in blogging that involves courage, that much is certain). This is not teaching, it is merely ranting for the sycophants.

I second that Jeff.

Okay, Fung, I welcome your remarks. Americans can have a debate about an important war-decision, without slipping into back into our incessant debate about the last big one. IF, that is, lefties like you muffle your "real threat" comments, and righties like me muffle our "how could we realistically threaten Iran w/ consequences if we hadn’t blah blah blah Saddam" comments. Historical debates are fascinating and important, but dangerous when they hobble necessary discussions about the future.

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