Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Obama’s Substance

John Podhoretz offers the argument that Obama’s proposal that we invade Pakistan, at least has the virtue of being the first substantive statement on foreign policy in this long, dull contest for the Presidency. Of course, if Obama’s intention was to look tough after his blunder in the YouTube debate, he succeeded only in looking even more naive and pathetic. As Podhoretz points out, he’s no more going to be able to invade Pakistan than the moon. But the substance of Podhoretz’s point is that the candidates and NOT the media are to blame for the lack of substance in this election cycle. That is, none of the candidates is really saying anything that isn’t canned and pulled from the shelf. That Obama’s first attempt at substance came, as it did, because of a blunder in a YouTube debate speaks volumes about what has happened to our politics. And perhaps it is an argument in favor of Republicans going forward with plans for such a debate--snowmen and all.

Discussions - 16 Comments

The decisive argument in favor of a GOP You Tube "debate" is that even idiotic questions can be answered not only effectively, but to real advantage, by a smart and aggressive candidate. Newt is right that the formats of some of the "debates" (e.g., at the Reagan Library) are awful. But even an awful format allows excellent things to be said. The fault is more in the candidates than in the questioners, no matter how awful the questioners may be.

"Obama’s proposal that we invade Pakistan, at least has the virtue of being the first substantive statement on foreign policy in this long, dull contest for the Presidency."

I beg to differ. Ron Paul advocating non-intervention is clearly "substantive" and different. The interventionists and internationalists may not like it, but there is no way you can say it is not "substantive."

Ron Paul is changing the debate, especially on the right, unlike any other candidate by far.

I think T. Thompson’s (or is it Brownback) idea of partitioning Iraq is substantive, and I think Richardson’s idea of withdrawing the authorization to use force (essentially undeclaring War if this thing had been done right to begin with) is substantive.

Does J Pod only consider it substantive if it is some form of saber-rattling?

I also find the “one of seven people … will be president in 15 months” statement extremely irritating. That is very likely a true statement but it is partially true just because of the self-fulfilling statements of the know-it-all “chattering classes” like that. Also, it is just tacky to say that before one primary vote has been cast. Where are all the defenders of democracy when you need them?

Mitt Romney suggested that we double the Guantanamos. Was that substantive? Or didn't it technically qualify as foreign policy?

Remember when Obama said that 5 year old kids should be introduced to "age appropriate sexual materia;" I said on a thread that Obama could be counted on for more kooky comments to follow. And he hasn't let me down.

Obama's Harvard experience can be counted on to bleed through in his statements, despite the determination of his staff to completely manage his message.

And don't think for a minute that our Harvard boy is done yet. He's not close to being through.

That's one of the advantages of a lengthy campaign season. Sooner or later, the essence, {or in this case, the clear lack of substance} of the candidate will show itself.

I hate to hijack this thread, but I can't help but ask: Dan, what is it about 5 year olds learning about sex that you find so offensive?

Yea, why wait till they are 5? The earlier the better. We should probably begin when they are 3, maybe even 2. Let's go right past Thomas the Tank Engine, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, Theodore the Tug Boat and let's immediately immerse them in Debbie Does Dallas. You see for thousands of years ordinary mortals knew that 5 year olds could wait to learn about sex, but what an antediluvian notion that was! How antiquated! What an anachronism!

Only lunatics hold such ancient ideas anymore.

So I've an idea. Let's ask Obama! We know how eager he and his campaign must be to continue with that topic. I'm sure they're desirous of really getting into the details of that idea. So let's ask Obama, and let's not stop asking until he and his campaign unfold for us their full vision for the proper education of 5 year olds. Let's ask him to write the textbooks, the age appropriate Kama Sutra, as it were. Let's ask him to explain it to all of us who just don't get it. Let's ask him for the specifics that he intends to relate to 5 year olds, the particulars that he desires to impart to them.

Don't ask me, I'm just some Conservative who doesn't have that rosy view that Obama has. So let's ask Obama. He's from Harvard. We can rely upon him to explain it to all of us. .

I'm sure that as he's proposed new and innovative ideas for our foreign policy, like talking to dictators everywhere, like invading Pakistan and about the proper use of our strategic arsenal, I'm sure that we can rely upon him to provide the material for 5 year olds everywhere.

You see, he's so smart. Oprah tells that all the time. And we've seen so much intelligence on display these last few weeks!

That last answer was too flip though.

I'll answer the question directly a bit later.

I don't know why you would equate sex with porn ("Debbie Does Dallas"), but Obama specifically said "age appropriate" sexual education. I see nothing wrong with five year olds learning about how their bodies function. If they can learn about how their heart beats or about what their liver does I don't see any reason not to tell them what their genitals are for. You just seem stuck in a Victorian worldview, Dan. Not every ancient culture thought sex was dirty.

Buu, you must not know many five year olds in a very personal way. Not one would interested in liver function. They know what their genitals are for, as far as they need to know at the age of five. Why push more? A child will ask if he wants to know. A parent will tell him, if he wants to do so.

Obama's proposal was never about genuine education. It wasn't a mere thing of anatomy. It was about indoctrination. To be more specific, it's an attempt to divorce any moral norm from sexual expression. The same people who have royally screwed up America's educational establishment, Obama would entrust to impart knowledge about sex to 5 year olds.

Another thing, you used the word "offensive" when describing my reaction to Obama's proposal. I wasn't offended. I simply thought his proposal was more of what we've come to expect from bay area Democrats, Boston Bay, San Francisco Bay.

Obama's proposal was an attempt to curry favour with certain elements of that party. He is in a primary battle, and his proposal shouldn't be assessed as if he were functioning in a political vacuum.

Now Buu asked a question that many today are prone to ask. She didn't ask "what was right with Obama's proposal," she asked "what fault we found with that proposal," or rather, she asked what I found so offensive.

First, isn't it Obama's burden to demonstrate what advantages his idea has; isn't it his burden to demonstrate why EVERY previous generation was wrong in waiting to instruct kids about sex. He hasn't done that. In fact, he backed off fast from his original proposal. His first suggestion was a barely veiled indoctrination plan. When he was rightly hammered for that, he then tried to morph his indoctrination plan into one to prevent kids being sexually molested. Now I'm all for ending sexual molestation. But a full scale sexual indoctrination program isn't necessary to advance that goal.

Lastly, sex is far more than mere mechanics. It isn't equivalent to course work in ballistics for instance, which is the study of projectiles in motion. Sexual expression has a moral component. How are we to expect a government that has made a fetish of separating church from state, to properly impart the fullness of what can occur between a man and a woman.

Their idea of educating kids about sex is instructing them how to put on condoms, something clearly self-explanatory.

I believe it was French Prime Minister Clemenceau who said that "War was too important a thing to be left to the Generals." Likewise sex, which is "too important a thing" to be left to our liberal dominated educational establishment.

Instead of worrying themselves about what kids know or don't know about sex, they should make sure they can handle algebra, that they know where the Kalahari Desert is, that they can name more than five countries in sub-Sahara Africa, that they're properly instructed in physics, in Chemistry, in real English Lit. Let them worry about that; let's see them make progress on that front, before they take on educating kids about the wonder and the joys of sexuality.

And Kate is dead right, they know all they need to know at that age. Why push more? Why the rush, what's the hurry?

This is the last thing I ever thought I'd see on this thread! But I'm with Kate on this. Anyone who is this interested in pushing such information on 5 five-year olds tells us a great deal more about himself than he tells us about his understanding of what is good for five-year olds. The very idea that there is a method that government should endorse or promote for teaching young children about sex is beyond absurd. You will not find more than 1 or 2% of the people who either have or know 5 year olds supporting that notion--so I hope Obama continues to push it. Obviously, the way to tell your kids about sex depends entirely upon your kids. A good parent will do the best she can and know that she still did something wrong--just as she did with potty-training and everything else concerning the development of the child. So what? Better that she makes the mistake with the buffer of love than the government makes it not only without love but with an agenda to change the sexual attitudes of the nation. I guess people still have a right to be what Buu probably calls a prude.

Julie, I was driving up to see my nephews the other day, and listening to Rushbo, and he said: "We all know what this is about...."

I tend to agree; this isn't about education, this is about mainstreaming what heretofore has been widely understood as aberrational sexual expression.

My nephews ask me about Dementors, about how Harry Potter's mom managed to shield Harry from Voldemort. They don't ask me about sex, although my little nephew Ryan told me secretly that he kissed Katie on the lips....

And for the record Buuu, I don't have a Victorian attitude about sex.

I've NEVER thought sex was dirty. And I kind of resent having that attitude attributed to me. Sex is one of the greatest gifts of God to man.

If you had half a clue what I have in mind for a woman I desire, if you had half a clue what I would like to do to her body, mind, heart and soul, you wouldn't brand me a Victorian. Not by a long shot. You'd find the very suggestion preposterous.

Sex is an adult pursuit. It's about longing and consummation, it's about fire, it's about a fire that burns, and does so only to burn the more brightly.

Oh and Buu, my first answer to your query was sarcastic. I was thinking about something else when I took up answering your question. And it was wrong of me to allow that attitude to overflow towards you.

Your first name or your initials would be helpful though.........

reproachlessness imbannered dispersonification kosteletzkya hemivagotony plagiopatagium mundanely poundal >kover

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