Metrosexuals versus manly men: a reason voters will prefer McCain to Obama?

Types like she laughs: I never thought about it this way before, but John Ettorre just left a very interesting and unique (because I’d yet to see the argument made nor had it ever occurred to me before now) comment on this thread with Ellen Bravo’s ten reasons why women should vote for Obama if he is the candidate.

Writes John:

And reason #11: he’s a metrosexual, with all the effeminate qualities that entails. They’re off-putting to many males (me included), and I predict it will be among the leading reasons for sinking his chances in the general election. [emphasis added]

This kind of idea is very far afield to me because I really don’t view people in those terms, or at least, I don’t think about metrosexuals at all.

I can’t remember seeing a microtargeting category of metrosexuals but here’s what you can find on Google if you put in “metrosexual Obama.” Results in the “news” search are here. I don’t have time to go through many of them, so let me just link to a couple:

This letter to the editor, in Maine, goes right to the military comparison and is not complimentary to Obama.

But this article in U.S. News & World Report takes the position that Obama is more of a woman than Clinton and that that implies that women will not lose if Obama is the nominee (fun note: that article was written on 2/13/08 and says that the race was Obama’s to lose, then).

This just gets too wrapped up in genderizing the qualities that go with being a leader and again, being short on time, I’ll leave the comments as a place for people to explore whether we are evolved enough to realize that we should be selecting our leaders based on those qualities, and not by saying things like “he’s more a woman than Clinton” or “McCain is more of a manly man.” What is that supposed to do for us? Some people identify women’s qualities as not being ones akin to leadership, others go the opposite direction. And manly men in the way people refer to someone like McCain totally turn me off. Feh.

Anyway – manly men or metrosexuals? What do people think?

138 Comments

  1. I don't think he really knows what a metrosexual is at all, since Obama doesn't fit any of the qualities. It sounds like it's just a smear since he doesn't go around strutting and say he is macho and all that (which is ironic since that's what metrosexuals actually do, Wikipedia has a quote: “The typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis – because that's where all the best shops, clubs, gyms and hairdressers are. He might be officially gay, straight or bisexual, but this is utterly immaterial because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object and pleasure as his sexual preference. Particular professions, such as modeling, waiting tables, media, pop music and, nowadays, sport, seem to attract them but, truth be told, like male vanity products and herpes, they're pretty much everywhere.”) and is just a replacement for calling him effeminate or gay seeming.

    Obama basically said that Michelle still has to pick out his suits…

  2. Hmm. Interesting. Well, since I'm in the midwest, do you think there are regional definitions? Not defending the commenter but he's a writer who does a fair amount of teaching. Before being sure he's got it wrong, and since I know nothing about metrosexuals really, what do you think – Midwest versus East Coast?

  3. Come on Jill… you can do better than this Maureen Dowd kind of thing.

    It's a tired old story: Democrats are all gay or gender confused while Republicans are all manly courageous men.

    It's as trivial as it is untrue.

  4. Edwards is more Metro than Barry, manicured hands down.
    or as they say at my salon manny-cure.
    Then again, I have hot women give me manicures while I sit and have a beer, does that make me less manly?

  5. If I had to guess, more generational. There are a ton of metrosexuals at John Carroll in Cleveland for instance (and an increasing number at Case it seems) and we use the same definition.

    From the article that wikipedia referenced, he left out a big profession and that's business/lawyer types, especially young middle managers or business students. But when I think of metrosexual the last thing I think of is doing community work and raising a family. And I seem to have missed out on the last time Obama went clubbing to make a scene.

    On the other hand it is definitely regional in the sense that places like Louisiana it'd be an insult to call someone metrosexual, while in New York who cares. So perhaps he has been used to kids using it to deride other people and used it himself. (Amongst my friends it's a term of derision not because of a supposed lack of machoism, but because of the highly narcissistic aspect. I hypothesize that my freshman roomate — who was a metrosexual by any sense of the term — used to bring women back into his room so he could look admire himself in the mirror in sexualized terms: he literally put up a mirror in a spot where it'd only make sense if you were on his bed!)

  6. The writer of that article in the Kennebec Journal is probably Bush's bait shop owner.
    Bush is the ultimate puppet of the Kirkpatrick/Cheney coalition for world domination.

  7. The writer of that article in the Kennebec Journal is probably Bush's bait shop owner.
    Bush is the ultimate puppet of the Kirkpatrick/Cheney coalition for world domination.

  8. Wait wait wait wait . :) Are you waiting? :)

    I was floored to get that comment. I am SINCERELY looking for input on this. I've never read about it before, I had to Google to see if anyone had. TMV is a fantastic place to get feedback – come on, I am the messenger here asking for feedback. Plus, I've know the author of that comment for at least four years so I take what he writes in the context of knowing him and wanted to find out how right OR WRONG he might be. How else do any of us do that?

    I think YOU can do better than accuse me of…whatever it is you're accusing me of (I stopped reading Dowd aboud five months ago – she's just getting too out there for me right now).

    So – your opinion on the matter is – this is garbage, correct?

  9. Wait wait wait wait . :) Are you waiting? :)

    I was floored to get that comment. I am SINCERELY looking for input on this. I've never read about it before, I had to Google to see if anyone had. TMV is a fantastic place to get feedback – come on, I am the messenger here asking for feedback. Plus, I've know the author of that comment for at least four years so I take what he writes in the context of knowing him and wanted to find out how right OR WRONG he might be. How else do any of us do that?

    I think YOU can do better than accuse me of…whatever it is you're accusing me of (I stopped reading Dowd aboud five months ago – she's just getting too out there for me right now).

    So – your opinion on the matter is – this is garbage, correct?

  10. Lol – I bet you are right! lol

  11. Lol – I bet you are right! lol

  12. Lol – I bet you are right! lol

  13. I wonder if Obamama would look more manly in a flight suit, with a cod piece and on board an aircraft carrier? Would this be more offensive if someone said Clinton is a (l)thespian?

  14. I wonder if Obamama would look more manly in a flight suit, with a cod piece and on board an aircraft carrier? Would this be more offensive if someone said Clinton is a (l)thespian?

  15. I wonder if Obamama would look more manly in a flight suit, with a cod piece and on board an aircraft carrier? Would this be more offensive if someone said Clinton is a (l)thespian?

  16. Give me a break. This focus on Bush like pretend machismo is stupid. What did it get us? Look at our country and what a pretend macho guy brought us to.
    I honestly do not believe in all the silly labels and Mark Penn like boxes. Obama is simply very typical of male gen x'ers who don't need to play act cowboy like boomers feel they have to.
    He is very much like most of men of his generation and they have outgrown the old school posturing.
    Apparently the media is still stuck back in the old boxes and thinking.

  17. Give me a break. This focus on Bush like pretend machismo is stupid. What did it get us? Look at our country and what a pretend macho guy brought us to.
    I honestly do not believe in all the silly labels and Mark Penn like boxes. Obama is simply very typical of male gen x'ers who don't need to play act cowboy like boomers feel they have to.
    He is very much like most of men of his generation and they have outgrown the old school posturing.
    Apparently the media is still stuck back in the old boxes and thinking.

  18. Give me a break. This focus on Bush like pretend machismo is stupid. What did it get us? Look at our country and what a pretend macho guy brought us to.
    I honestly do not believe in all the silly labels and Mark Penn like boxes. Obama is simply very typical of male gen x'ers who don't need to play act cowboy like boomers feel they have to.
    He is very much like most of men of his generation and they have outgrown the old school posturing.
    Apparently the media is still stuck back in the old boxes and thinking.

  19. Apparently the media is still stuck back in the old boxes and thinking.

    It's what the media knows how to cover because it requires absolutely no critical thinking or actual journalism. It should be no surprise our national discourse is dominated by such trivialities.

  20. Apparently the media is still stuck back in the old boxes and thinking.

    It's what the media knows how to cover because it requires absolutely no critical thinking or actual journalism. It should be no surprise our national discourse is dominated by such trivialities.

  21. Apparently the media is still stuck back in the old boxes and thinking.

    It's what the media knows how to cover because it requires absolutely no critical thinking or actual journalism. It should be no surprise our national discourse is dominated by such trivialities.

  22. Jill- FWIW I think this stuff is garbage in the sense of being an overblown stereotype- but I think like all stereotypes it reflects a kernel of truth in terms of how conservatives view gender roles vs. how liberals view them (which is to say, in very generalized terms, that conservatives tend to gravitate toward the more defined traditional roles- and despite what liberals think, that's not necessarily due to bigotry against homosexuals, transgender people, or effeminate men/ less effeminate women. I think it can be a valid preference in choosing a leader- if one just doesn't have the response to a nontraditional leadership style, then one isn't going to 'follow' or get behind a candidate like that.)

    And it plays into the political preferences in terms of whether one thinks that political differences are best solved by having the opposing ideas defeated, or by having a softer, more compromising approach. Plus, obviously on foreign policy some people feel that hawkishness is a necessity and that a more pacifistic approach leads to rogue dictators testing signs of weakness against us.

    And while Obama certainly isn't a stereotypical metrosexual, I think some people are going there just because stylistically he's not a traditionally masculine type of leader. It is, I'm sure, for some, a way of framing it in an insulting way because as mikkel points out, in some regions the term metrosexual certainly isn't a compliment. But the underlying reasons that it's considered unflattering are the same reasons that some people just aren't responding to Obama the way his supporters are, I think. That said, though, I think that any impression of him not being tough enough is mostly incorrect, because it seems to me that he just chooses to respond to things in a measured way (not that he's unable to respond forcefully.) I happen to think that he doesn't always choose the right time or the right degree of response- but that's just my personal opinion and I do feel that the idea of controlling one's responses instead of blustering or blowing up is on balance a very good thing.

  23. Jill- FWIW I think this stuff is garbage in the sense of being an overblown stereotype- but I think like all stereotypes it reflects a kernel of truth in terms of how conservatives view gender roles vs. how liberals view them (which is to say, in very generalized terms, that conservatives tend to gravitate toward the more defined traditional roles- and despite what liberals think, that's not necessarily due to bigotry against homosexuals, transgender people, or effeminate men/ less effeminate women. I think it can be a valid preference in choosing a leader- if one just doesn't have the response to a nontraditional leadership style, then one isn't going to 'follow' or get behind a candidate like that.)

    And it plays into the political preferences in terms of whether one thinks that political differences are best solved by having the opposing ideas defeated, or by having a softer, more compromising approach. Plus, obviously on foreign policy some people feel that hawkishness is a necessity and that a more pacifistic approach leads to rogue dictators testing signs of weakness against us.

    And while Obama certainly isn't a stereotypical metrosexual, I think some people are going there just because stylistically he's not a traditionally masculine type of leader. It is, I'm sure, for some, a way of framing it in an insulting way because as mikkel points out, in some regions the term metrosexual certainly isn't a compliment. But the underlying reasons that it's considered unflattering are the same reasons that some people just aren't responding to Obama the way his supporters are, I think. That said, though, I think that any impression of him not being tough enough is mostly incorrect, because it seems to me that he just chooses to respond to things in a measured way (not that he's unable to respond forcefully.) I happen to think that he doesn't always choose the right time or the right degree of response- but that's just my personal opinion and I do feel that the idea of controlling one's responses instead of blustering or blowing up is on balance a very good thing.

  24. Jill- FWIW I think this stuff is garbage in the sense of being an overblown stereotype- but I think like all stereotypes it reflects a kernel of truth in terms of how conservatives view gender roles vs. how liberals view them (which is to say, in very generalized terms, that conservatives tend to gravitate toward the more defined traditional roles- and despite what liberals think, that's not necessarily due to bigotry against homosexuals, transgender people, or effeminate men/ less effeminate women. I think it can be a valid preference in choosing a leader- if one just doesn't have the response to a nontraditional leadership style, then one isn't going to 'follow' or get behind a candidate like that.)

    And it plays into the political preferences in terms of whether one thinks that political differences are best solved by having the opposing ideas defeated, or by having a softer, more compromising approach. Plus, obviously on foreign policy some people feel that hawkishness is a necessity and that a more pacifistic approach leads to rogue dictators testing signs of weakness against us.

    And while Obama certainly isn't a stereotypical metrosexual, I think some people are going there just because stylistically he's not a traditionally masculine type of leader. It is, I'm sure, for some, a way of framing it in an insulting way because as mikkel points out, in some regions the term metrosexual certainly isn't a compliment. But the underlying reasons that it's considered unflattering are the same reasons that some people just aren't responding to Obama the way his supporters are, I think. That said, though, I think that any impression of him not being tough enough is mostly incorrect, because it seems to me that he just chooses to respond to things in a measured way (not that he's unable to respond forcefully.) I happen to think that he doesn't always choose the right time or the right degree of response- but that's just my personal opinion and I do feel that the idea of controlling one's responses instead of blustering or blowing up is on balance a very good thing.

  25. By the very defition of a metrosexual… (a guy that spends a great deal of time and money on his appearence)… just about all politicians, especially the ones that run for president, are basically a metrosexual… even McCain.

    I think it has less to do with being effiminate, but rather vanity in one's appearence. Generally, gay men take more pride in their appearence than the majority of hetero men. Thus, the reason why metrosexual is often misplaced for one's actual sexuality or effiminate behavior.

    We gotta remember that men were the first to wear make-up, hose, wigs and high heels.

  26. By the very defition of a metrosexual… (a guy that spends a great deal of time and money on his appearence)… just about all politicians, especially the ones that run for president, are basically a metrosexual… even McCain.

    I think it has less to do with being effiminate, but rather vanity in one's appearence. Generally, gay men take more pride in their appearence than the majority of hetero men. Thus, the reason why metrosexual is often misplaced for one's actual sexuality or effiminate behavior.

    We gotta remember that men were the first to wear make-up, hose, wigs and high heels.

  27. By the very defition of a metrosexual… (a guy that spends a great deal of time and money on his appearence)… just about all politicians, especially the ones that run for president, are basically a metrosexual… even McCain.

    I think it has less to do with being effiminate, but rather vanity in one's appearence. Generally, gay men take more pride in their appearence than the majority of hetero men. Thus, the reason why metrosexual is often misplaced for one's actual sexuality or effiminate behavior.

    We gotta remember that men were the first to wear make-up, hose, wigs and high heels.

  28. Perhaps, and this is just one theory, that the media is so softball because it didn't have a major conflict to focus on like the old guard Vietnam journalists did. Gulf one, was over and done in 10 days, with video-game footage of bunker busters. VN showed the gruesome body counts on a daily basis.

  29. Perhaps, and this is just one theory, that the media is so softball because it didn't have a major conflict to focus on like the old guard Vietnam journalists did. Gulf one, was over and done in 10 days, with video-game footage of bunker busters. VN showed the gruesome body counts on a daily basis.

  30. Perhaps, and this is just one theory, that the media is so softball because it didn't have a major conflict to focus on like the old guard Vietnam journalists did. Gulf one, was over and done in 10 days, with video-game footage of bunker busters. VN showed the gruesome body counts on a daily basis.

  31. Plus, obviously on foreign policy some people feel that hawkishness is a necessity and that a more pacifistic approach leads to rogue dictators testing signs of weakness against us.

    How well has that approach worked with Cuba and with China (before Nixon)?

    I think it can be a valid preference in choosing a leader- if one just doesn't have the response to a nontraditional leadership style, then one isn't going to 'follow' or get behind a candidate like that.

    It's about as valid as not voting for someone because you think he's a secret Muslim.

    And it plays into the political preferences in terms of whether one thinks that political differences are best solved by having the opposing ideas defeated, or by having a softer, more compromising approach.

    You're stretching this way too far. It plays into anti-gay sentiment, not leadership style.

  32. Plus, obviously on foreign policy some people feel that hawkishness is a necessity and that a more pacifistic approach leads to rogue dictators testing signs of weakness against us.

    How well has that approach worked with Cuba and with China (before Nixon)?

    I think it can be a valid preference in choosing a leader- if one just doesn't have the response to a nontraditional leadership style, then one isn't going to 'follow' or get behind a candidate like that.

    It's about as valid as not voting for someone because you think he's a secret Muslim.

    And it plays into the political preferences in terms of whether one thinks that political differences are best solved by having the opposing ideas defeated, or by having a softer, more compromising approach.

    You're stretching this way too far. It plays into anti-gay sentiment, not leadership style.

  33. Plus, obviously on foreign policy some people feel that hawkishness is a necessity and that a more pacifistic approach leads to rogue dictators testing signs of weakness against us.

    How well has that approach worked with Cuba and with China (before Nixon)?

    I think it can be a valid preference in choosing a leader- if one just doesn't have the response to a nontraditional leadership style, then one isn't going to 'follow' or get behind a candidate like that.

    It's about as valid as not voting for someone because you think he's a secret Muslim.

    And it plays into the political preferences in terms of whether one thinks that political differences are best solved by having the opposing ideas defeated, or by having a softer, more compromising approach.

    You're stretching this way too far. It plays into anti-gay sentiment, not leadership style.

  34. CS I agree in general with what you've said and think it's very weird that most people think that overbearing people are tough. In my personal experience, a sense of balance is the most disarming and powerful weapon in a disagreement. The key is to have a guiding set of principles and don't compromise on those, but be flexible about the implementation and auxiliary issues. It's always really easy for me to win over a “macho” person or at least take away his power amongst everyone else when there is a conflict because it takes too much energy for them to stay aggressive and they often have undefined goals that are contradictory. (Now I would agree that they probably make better military commanders on the whole. But that goes back to my belief that military leadership has almost no correlation with effectiveness for political leaders.) I wish that there was an actual debate on whether we think Obama is capable of realizing his own vision.

    BTW I saw you asked a long time ago what Obama's policy on negotiation is. Now, from what I've read that is very hard to define because there is no set answer. I've gotten the impression that his approach is to agree to talk to anyone (except Hamas but I think that is a political issue and not a special caveat in his ideals) with a very clear understanding of what we need out of the situation to come to an agreement in any circumstances. The point of the negotiations would be to figure out what the other side's must haves are and see whether there is any sort of compatibility. His focus wouldn't be to get a deal done at any cost, just to help guide his overall strategy. Sometimes you just can't come to an agreement and have to focus on containment.

  35. CS I agree in general with what you've said and think it's very weird that most people think that overbearing people are tough. In my personal experience, a sense of balance is the most disarming and powerful weapon in a disagreement. The key is to have a guiding set of principles and don't compromise on those, but be flexible about the implementation and auxiliary issues. It's always really easy for me to win over a “macho” person or at least take away his power amongst everyone else when there is a conflict because it takes too much energy for them to stay aggressive and they often have undefined goals that are contradictory. (Now I would agree that they probably make better military commanders on the whole. But that goes back to my belief that military leadership has almost no correlation with effectiveness for political leaders.) I wish that there was an actual debate on whether we think Obama is capable of realizing his own vision.

    BTW I saw you asked a long time ago what Obama's policy on negotiation is. Now, from what I've read that is very hard to define because there is no set answer. I've gotten the impression that his approach is to agree to talk to anyone (except Hamas but I think that is a political issue and not a special caveat in his ideals) with a very clear understanding of what we need out of the situation to come to an agreement in any circumstances. The point of the negotiations would be to figure out what the other side's must haves are and see whether there is any sort of compatibility. His focus wouldn't be to get a deal done at any cost, just to help guide his overall strategy. Sometimes you just can't come to an agreement and have to focus on containment.

  36. CS I agree in general with what you've said and think it's very weird that most people think that overbearing people are tough. In my personal experience, a sense of balance is the most disarming and powerful weapon in a disagreement. The key is to have a guiding set of principles and don't compromise on those, but be flexible about the implementation and auxiliary issues. It's always really easy for me to win over a “macho” person or at least take away his power amongst everyone else when there is a conflict because it takes too much energy for them to stay aggressive and they often have undefined goals that are contradictory. (Now I would agree that they probably make better military commanders on the whole. But that goes back to my belief that military leadership has almost no correlation with effectiveness for political leaders.) I wish that there was an actual debate on whether we think Obama is capable of realizing his own vision.

    BTW I saw you asked a long time ago what Obama's policy on negotiation is. Now, from what I've read that is very hard to define because there is no set answer. I've gotten the impression that his approach is to agree to talk to anyone (except Hamas but I think that is a political issue and not a special caveat in his ideals) with a very clear understanding of what we need out of the situation to come to an agreement in any circumstances. The point of the negotiations would be to figure out what the other side's must haves are and see whether there is any sort of compatibility. His focus wouldn't be to get a deal done at any cost, just to help guide his overall strategy. Sometimes you just can't come to an agreement and have to focus on containment.

  37. all it is , is another label to hang on your opponent…and a way to deflect from the real issues and avoid being anything of substance.

  38. all it is , is another label to hang on your opponent…and a way to deflect from the real issues and avoid being anything of substance.

  39. all it is , is another label to hang on your opponent…and a way to deflect from the real issues and avoid being anything of substance.

  40. As a former college jock and full-blown frat boy, I can honestly say that Obama is NO metrosexual. In fact, he reminds me of those type of cool guys that you think are sort of soft but will put the hammer down on you when you least expect it. I can tell you this, you don't hear the black community (on average) thinking he's metrosexual. They think he's a “cool cat”. Just like black folks think Clinton (Hillary) is a “tough cookie” and McCain is the “old fella”.

    Cool Cat, Tough Cookie, and Old Fella… Sounds like a SNL or MAD TV superhero spoof.

  41. As a former college jock and full-blown frat boy, I can honestly say that Obama is NO metrosexual. In fact, he reminds me of those type of cool guys that you think are sort of soft but will put the hammer down on you when you least expect it. I can tell you this, you don't hear the black community (on average) thinking he's metrosexual. They think he's a “cool cat”. Just like black folks think Clinton (Hillary) is a “tough cookie” and McCain is the “old fella”.

    Cool Cat, Tough Cookie, and Old Fella… Sounds like a SNL or MAD TV superhero spoof.

  42. As a former college jock and full-blown frat boy, I can honestly say that Obama is NO metrosexual. In fact, he reminds me of those type of cool guys that you think are sort of soft but will put the hammer down on you when you least expect it. I can tell you this, you don't hear the black community (on average) thinking he's metrosexual. They think he's a “cool cat”. Just like black folks think Clinton (Hillary) is a “tough cookie” and McCain is the “old fella”.

    Cool Cat, Tough Cookie, and Old Fella… Sounds like a SNL or MAD TV superhero spoof.

  43. vwcat wrote: “I honestly do not believe in all the silly labels and Mark Penn like boxes. Obama is simply very typical of male gen x'ers who don't need to play act cowboy like boomers feel they have to.
    He is very much like most of men of his generation and they have outgrown the old school posturing.
    Apparently the media is still stuck back in the old boxes and thinking.”

    I agree 100% and I believe this explains EXACTLY why I've never heard of this comparison, analogy or garbage, if you like. :) Because I do not read the stuff that promotes such dichotomies. The follow up comments at my blog where the comment was first posted indicate that this dichotomy, as much as the commenter feels it will in fact affect the voter outcome, definitely shows that the thinking has a lot to do with the person thinking it.

    Thanks.

  44. vwcat wrote: “I honestly do not believe in all the silly labels and Mark Penn like boxes. Obama is simply very typical of male gen x'ers who don't need to play act cowboy like boomers feel they have to.
    He is very much like most of men of his generation and they have outgrown the old school posturing.
    Apparently the media is still stuck back in the old boxes and thinking.”

    I agree 100% and I believe this explains EXACTLY why I've never heard of this comparison, analogy or garbage, if you like. :) Because I do not read the stuff that promotes such dichotomies. The follow up comments at my blog where the comment was first posted indicate that this dichotomy, as much as the commenter feels it will in fact affect the voter outcome, definitely shows that the thinking has a lot to do with the person thinking it.

    Thanks.

  45. vwcat wrote: “I honestly do not believe in all the silly labels and Mark Penn like boxes. Obama is simply very typical of male gen x'ers who don't need to play act cowboy like boomers feel they have to.
    He is very much like most of men of his generation and they have outgrown the old school posturing.
    Apparently the media is still stuck back in the old boxes and thinking.”

    I agree 100% and I believe this explains EXACTLY why I've never heard of this comparison, analogy or garbage, if you like. :) Because I do not read the stuff that promotes such dichotomies. The follow up comments at my blog where the comment was first posted indicate that this dichotomy, as much as the commenter feels it will in fact affect the voter outcome, definitely shows that the thinking has a lot to do with the person thinking it.

    Thanks.

  46. I wish that there was an actual debate on whether we think Obama is capable of realizing his own vision.
    Hear, hear.

    And although it's OT, thanks for addressing my question about policy of engagement/talking/diplomacy, mikkel. Let me ask you this- would you agree that Biden and others (even to some extent his staff, like Rice) are dialing back on what Obama has said? I mean, Biden even went so far as to say basically that Obama erred in his debate response. And to me it seems like even Obama's now saying that before he'd meet face to face with leaders he'd have to have preparations which would include lower level talks to determine whether or not the other leader is willing to give up certain things. And if I'm not mistaken, he even said that the higher level talks would then not proceed if that wasn't going to happen.

    So how is that any different from setting a precondition for high level talks? Seems like a euphemism to me, substituting preparations for preconditions, and that seems an awful lot like a way to appeal to his base by sounding different than Bush when essentially his approach will be the same.

  47. I wish that there was an actual debate on whether we think Obama is capable of realizing his own vision.
    Hear, hear.

    And although it's OT, thanks for addressing my question about policy of engagement/talking/diplomacy, mikkel. Let me ask you this- would you agree that Biden and others (even to some extent his staff, like Rice) are dialing back on what Obama has said? I mean, Biden even went so far as to say basically that Obama erred in his debate response. And to me it seems like even Obama's now saying that before he'd meet face to face with leaders he'd have to have preparations which would include lower level talks to determine whether or not the other leader is willing to give up certain things. And if I'm not mistaken, he even said that the higher level talks would then not proceed if that wasn't going to happen.

    So how is that any different from setting a precondition for high level talks? Seems like a euphemism to me, substituting preparations for preconditions, and that seems an awful lot like a way to appeal to his base by sounding different than Bush when essentially his approach will be the same.

  48. I wish that there was an actual debate on whether we think Obama is capable of realizing his own vision.
    Hear, hear.

    And although it's OT, thanks for addressing my question about policy of engagement/talking/diplomacy, mikkel. Let me ask you this- would you agree that Biden and others (even to some extent his staff, like Rice) are dialing back on what Obama has said? I mean, Biden even went so far as to say basically that Obama erred in his debate response. And to me it seems like even Obama's now saying that before he'd meet face to face with leaders he'd have to have preparations which would include lower level talks to determine whether or not the other leader is willing to give up certain things. And if I'm not mistaken, he even said that the higher level talks would then not proceed if that wasn't going to happen.

    So how is that any different from setting a precondition for high level talks? Seems like a euphemism to me, substituting preparations for preconditions, and that seems an awful lot like a way to appeal to his base by sounding different than Bush when essentially his approach will be the same.

  49. The more troublesome aspect of this focus on appearances is dealt with in the book Blink, which deals with unconscious bias and snap decisions.

    Sometimes these are uncannily accurate, while other times they lead us into disastrous decisions. A great example of the latter is covered in a chapter devoted to Warren Harding, one of our worst presidents, who ascended to that role by “looking” presidential and having a deep sonorous voice. The author, Malcolm Gladwell, points out that our top corporations are overwhelmingly run by white men of exceptional height. While none of the boards of directors who choose these CEOs would claim that being tall has anything to do with being competent, the facts are overwhelming that they are unconsciously predisposed toward tall men. We don't choose to be biased in the ways we are, and we can overcome them, but our predispositions are clearly there, and you can explore some of your own through Harvard's Implicit Associations Test, HERE.

  50. The more troublesome aspect of this focus on appearances is dealt with in the book Blink, which deals with unconscious bias and snap decisions.

    Sometimes these are uncannily accurate, while other times they lead us into disastrous decisions. A great example of the latter is covered in a chapter devoted to Warren Harding, one of our worst presidents, who ascended to that role by “looking” presidential and having a deep sonorous voice. The author, Malcolm Gladwell, points out that our top corporations are overwhelmingly run by white men of exceptional height. While none of the boards of directors who choose these CEOs would claim that being tall has anything to do with being competent, the facts are overwhelming that they are unconsciously predisposed toward tall men. We don't choose to be biased in the ways we are, and we can overcome them, but our predispositions are clearly there, and you can explore some of your own through Harvard's Implicit Associations Test, HERE.

  51. The more troublesome aspect of this focus on appearances is dealt with in the book Blink, which deals with unconscious bias and snap decisions.

    Sometimes these are uncannily accurate, while other times they lead us into disastrous decisions. A great example of the latter is covered in a chapter devoted to Warren Harding, one of our worst presidents, who ascended to that role by “looking” presidential and having a deep sonorous voice. The author, Malcolm Gladwell, points out that our top corporations are overwhelmingly run by white men of exceptional height. While none of the boards of directors who choose these CEOs would claim that being tall has anything to do with being competent, the facts are overwhelming that they are unconsciously predisposed toward tall men. We don't choose to be biased in the ways we are, and we can overcome them, but our predispositions are clearly there, and you can explore some of your own through Harvard's Implicit Associations Test, HERE.

  52. CStanley – this is a REALLY interesting comment! You know what it makes me think of? It reminds me of how I feel about the word feminism – it just doesn't mean nearly the same thing to nearly enough people anymore. There is a good youtube of “what does a feminist look like.”

    Maybe we need a youtube of “what does a leader look like.”

    Anybody game?

    For the record, I'm with you re: the label is intended to encompass certain behaviors or choices or someething – but I think that that word is so limited – I mean, I read more than 350 RSS feeds! I never once seen this, and yet the person who left the comment – he is absolutely well-read. He and I also disagree on a LOT of stuff, esp. related to gender. But the fact that he would assert that he believes people will find that this matters is what made me want to hear more.

    I'm very sorry at these times for the one-dimensional nature of the web. Those who may remember a few months back, I wrote about whether or not what Obama had done, at that time, vis a vis Rev. Wright was enough – and I wanted to know what people thought, from an academic point, was the tipping point where we ALL say to people we followed, that we now diverge too much.

    I got SLAMMED for asking that – like I had a secret mission.

    I swear to you – I just ask questions few others will – either because I'm dumb, naive or – hey – just really want to know!

    It truly is because I really want to know.

  53. CStanley – this is a REALLY interesting comment! You know what it makes me think of? It reminds me of how I feel about the word feminism – it just doesn't mean nearly the same thing to nearly enough people anymore. There is a good youtube of “what does a feminist look like.”

    Maybe we need a youtube of “what does a leader look like.”

    Anybody game?

    For the record, I'm with you re: the label is intended to encompass certain behaviors or choices or someething – but I think that that word is so limited – I mean, I read more than 350 RSS feeds! I never once seen this, and yet the person who left the comment – he is absolutely well-read. He and I also disagree on a LOT of stuff, esp. related to gender. But the fact that he would assert that he believes people will find that this matters is what made me want to hear more.

    I'm very sorry at these times for the one-dimensional nature of the web. Those who may remember a few months back, I wrote about whether or not what Obama had done, at that time, vis a vis Rev. Wright was enough – and I wanted to know what people thought, from an academic point, was the tipping point where we ALL say to people we followed, that we now diverge too much.

    I got SLAMMED for asking that – like I had a secret mission.

    I swear to you – I just ask questions few others will – either because I'm dumb, naive or – hey – just really want to know!

    It truly is because I really want to know.

  54. CStanley – this is a REALLY interesting comment! You know what it makes me think of? It reminds me of how I feel about the word feminism – it just doesn't mean nearly the same thing to nearly enough people anymore. There is a good youtube of “what does a feminist look like.”

    Maybe we need a youtube of “what does a leader look like.”

    Anybody game?

    For the record, I'm with you re: the label is intended to encompass certain behaviors or choices or someething – but I think that that word is so limited – I mean, I read more than 350 RSS feeds! I never once seen this, and yet the person who left the comment – he is absolutely well-read. He and I also disagree on a LOT of stuff, esp. related to gender. But the fact that he would assert that he believes people will find that this matters is what made me want to hear more.

    I'm very sorry at these times for the one-dimensional nature of the web. Those who may remember a few months back, I wrote about whether or not what Obama had done, at that time, vis a vis Rev. Wright was enough – and I wanted to know what people thought, from an academic point, was the tipping point where we ALL say to people we followed, that we now diverge too much.

    I got SLAMMED for asking that – like I had a secret mission.

    I swear to you – I just ask questions few others will – either because I'm dumb, naive or – hey – just really want to know!

    It truly is because I really want to know.

  55. ThunderMonkey – LOVE it! lol yup – think of the movie Amadeus. Totally.

    Sigh.

    Yeah – I don't know – I think some of it is a fear-thing – fearing how one really is – but in the end, doesn't it all come back to the problem with “genderizing” this stuff – like it's all “BAD” v. “GOOD”?

    I hate that.

  56. ThunderMonkey – LOVE it! lol yup – think of the movie Amadeus. Totally.

    Sigh.

    Yeah – I don't know – I think some of it is a fear-thing – fearing how one really is – but in the end, doesn't it all come back to the problem with “genderizing” this stuff – like it's all “BAD” v. “GOOD”?

    I hate that.

  57. ThunderMonkey – LOVE it! lol yup – think of the movie Amadeus. Totally.

    Sigh.

    Yeah – I don't know – I think some of it is a fear-thing – fearing how one really is – but in the end, doesn't it all come back to the problem with “genderizing” this stuff – like it's all “BAD” v. “GOOD”?

    I hate that.

  58. RememberNovember: Hmm, I suppose. I don't know – maybe it's also time to turn this on the writers – journalists and their editors included: this is what THEY are worried about – and what that says about THEM, not us.

    Ok – my head is starting to hurt.

  59. RememberNovember: Hmm, I suppose. I don't know – maybe it's also time to turn this on the writers – journalists and their editors included: this is what THEY are worried about – and what that says about THEM, not us.

    Ok – my head is starting to hurt.

  60. RememberNovember: Hmm, I suppose. I don't know – maybe it's also time to turn this on the writers – journalists and their editors included: this is what THEY are worried about – and what that says about THEM, not us.

    Ok – my head is starting to hurt.

  61. Chris – now see what I mean? I would NEVER have this frame of reference. When someone in Ohio refers to metrosexual, I would ASSUME they are referring to anyone who lives in a city like Chicago or NYC. The sexual orientation wouldn't kick in for me at all.

    Wow.

    Thanks for commenting.

  62. Chris – now see what I mean? I would NEVER have this frame of reference. When someone in Ohio refers to metrosexual, I would ASSUME they are referring to anyone who lives in a city like Chicago or NYC. The sexual orientation wouldn't kick in for me at all.

    Wow.

    Thanks for commenting.

  63. Chris – now see what I mean? I would NEVER have this frame of reference. When someone in Ohio refers to metrosexual, I would ASSUME they are referring to anyone who lives in a city like Chicago or NYC. The sexual orientation wouldn't kick in for me at all.

    Wow.

    Thanks for commenting.

  64. Re: Mikkel I am telling you – we need a Youtube of “what a leader looks like” to go with that first graph of your comment (from 12:15pm). Fascinating.

  65. Re: Mikkel I am telling you – we need a Youtube of “what a leader looks like” to go with that first graph of your comment (from 12:15pm). Fascinating.

  66. Re: Mikkel I am telling you – we need a Youtube of “what a leader looks like” to go with that first graph of your comment (from 12:15pm). Fascinating.

  67. Lol , T-Steel- thank you again.

    So let me ask then – covering myself for fear – so – then, it is NOT cool to be a metrosexual?

    Maybe I should say here that I remember a movie from a long time ago called Metropolitan about rich white kids in NYC who thought they were cool and they really were just asses. I would think that they would be “metrosexual” but they certainly thought they were cool.

    Are we at the point with language where our diversity as a society has made it really hard to know what each other means????

  68. Lol , T-Steel- thank you again.

    So let me ask then – covering myself for fear – so – then, it is NOT cool to be a metrosexual?

    Maybe I should say here that I remember a movie from a long time ago called Metropolitan about rich white kids in NYC who thought they were cool and they really were just asses. I would think that they would be “metrosexual” but they certainly thought they were cool.

    Are we at the point with language where our diversity as a society has made it really hard to know what each other means????

  69. Lol , T-Steel- thank you again.

    So let me ask then – covering myself for fear – so – then, it is NOT cool to be a metrosexual?

    Maybe I should say here that I remember a movie from a long time ago called Metropolitan about rich white kids in NYC who thought they were cool and they really were just asses. I would think that they would be “metrosexual” but they certainly thought they were cool.

    Are we at the point with language where our diversity as a society has made it really hard to know what each other means????

  70. T Steel – interesting!!! Obama gets “cat” which is feline, Clinton gets cookie which is baking and McCain gets…fella! lol oy I have to stop.

  71. T Steel – interesting!!! Obama gets “cat” which is feline, Clinton gets cookie which is baking and McCain gets…fella! lol oy I have to stop.

  72. T Steel – interesting!!! Obama gets “cat” which is feline, Clinton gets cookie which is baking and McCain gets…fella! lol oy I have to stop.

  73. GreenDreams – what you write is consistent with what the commenter subsequently wrote – he'd also linked recently to an article I think from Scientific American maybe? That was about the brain/neural functions and these biases. That's probably why he made this comment about metrosexual and the impact of such perceptions in the first place.

    Again – it obviously wasn't anything I knew anything about – and I wanted to elicit some ideas of how to look at it – frankly because I would reject right out of hand – but – as we can see from these comments, well – we dismiss it but it isn't quite as simple.

    Thanks.

  74. GreenDreams – what you write is consistent with what the commenter subsequently wrote – he'd also linked recently to an article I think from Scientific American maybe? That was about the brain/neural functions and these biases. That's probably why he made this comment about metrosexual and the impact of such perceptions in the first place.

    Again – it obviously wasn't anything I knew anything about – and I wanted to elicit some ideas of how to look at it – frankly because I would reject right out of hand – but – as we can see from these comments, well – we dismiss it but it isn't quite as simple.

    Thanks.

  75. GreenDreams – what you write is consistent with what the commenter subsequently wrote – he'd also linked recently to an article I think from Scientific American maybe? That was about the brain/neural functions and these biases. That's probably why he made this comment about metrosexual and the impact of such perceptions in the first place.

    Again – it obviously wasn't anything I knew anything about – and I wanted to elicit some ideas of how to look at it – frankly because I would reject right out of hand – but – as we can see from these comments, well – we dismiss it but it isn't quite as simple.

    Thanks.

  76. Well, it IS a euphemism, but I'd argue that the euphemism is “preconditions.” When the Bush administration has used the term preconditions it normally means “the other side will have to agree to give us what we want, and then we'll sit down and figure out their reward” which is highly condescending. That's not a precondition, that's an ultimatum.

    In the past the preconditions would be that the other side is even capable of acting in good faith in following the agreement and that there is any mutual outcome that could ever be reached. I think the negotiations with the Soviets showed that time and again the two superpowers satisfied these preconditions even as they actively sought to undermine each other in general.

    The other problem with the Bush use of preconditions is that they are heavily focused in trying to get everything done at once (at least that's the public image) rather than making individual topics. I think that Obama would be open to trying to negotiate with Iran some solution re: Iraq while leaving their sponsorship of terrorist groups in general off the table until another time. I'm sure that the current Administration tries to do stuff like this privately, but in public they say it's all or nothing.

  77. Well, it IS a euphemism, but I'd argue that the euphemism is “preconditions.” When the Bush administration has used the term preconditions it normally means “the other side will have to agree to give us what we want, and then we'll sit down and figure out their reward” which is highly condescending. That's not a precondition, that's an ultimatum.

    In the past the preconditions would be that the other side is even capable of acting in good faith in following the agreement and that there is any mutual outcome that could ever be reached. I think the negotiations with the Soviets showed that time and again the two superpowers satisfied these preconditions even as they actively sought to undermine each other in general.

    The other problem with the Bush use of preconditions is that they are heavily focused in trying to get everything done at once (at least that's the public image) rather than making individual topics. I think that Obama would be open to trying to negotiate with Iran some solution re: Iraq while leaving their sponsorship of terrorist groups in general off the table until another time. I'm sure that the current Administration tries to do stuff like this privately, but in public they say it's all or nothing.

  78. Well, it IS a euphemism, but I'd argue that the euphemism is “preconditions.” When the Bush administration has used the term preconditions it normally means “the other side will have to agree to give us what we want, and then we'll sit down and figure out their reward” which is highly condescending. That's not a precondition, that's an ultimatum.

    In the past the preconditions would be that the other side is even capable of acting in good faith in following the agreement and that there is any mutual outcome that could ever be reached. I think the negotiations with the Soviets showed that time and again the two superpowers satisfied these preconditions even as they actively sought to undermine each other in general.

    The other problem with the Bush use of preconditions is that they are heavily focused in trying to get everything done at once (at least that's the public image) rather than making individual topics. I think that Obama would be open to trying to negotiate with Iran some solution re: Iraq while leaving their sponsorship of terrorist groups in general off the table until another time. I'm sure that the current Administration tries to do stuff like this privately, but in public they say it's all or nothing.

  79. “It's a tired old story: Democrats are all gay or gender confused while Republicans are all manly courageous men.

    It's as trivial as it is untrue.”

    You nailed right there. The old chestnut of liberals being girly men and republicans being big tough men smoking cigarettes on their horses. Its a theme Bush has repeated played up to in photo ops because it works. So many people don't know how to unravel what they know from their gut impressions.

    Take the swiftboating of Kerry. One candidate actually volunteered for service, and was in fact leading boats into action in the deltas, blowing away viet cong and getting shot at. Another candidate's connections kept him off the front lines, home even, where he wouldn't have to fight. Yet it was the war record of the first man that was called into question not the second in the last election. Why? Kerry doesn't look like a guy who did those things, therefore it was easy to think that he never did. You know, if you're gullible, and so many are.

  80. “It's a tired old story: Democrats are all gay or gender confused while Republicans are all manly courageous men.

    It's as trivial as it is untrue.”

    You nailed right there. The old chestnut of liberals being girly men and republicans being big tough men smoking cigarettes on their horses. Its a theme Bush has repeated played up to in photo ops because it works. So many people don't know how to unravel what they know from their gut impressions.

    Take the swiftboating of Kerry. One candidate actually volunteered for service, and was in fact leading boats into action in the deltas, blowing away viet cong and getting shot at. Another candidate's connections kept him off the front lines, home even, where he wouldn't have to fight. Yet it was the war record of the first man that was called into question not the second in the last election. Why? Kerry doesn't look like a guy who did those things, therefore it was easy to think that he never did. You know, if you're gullible, and so many are.

  81. “It's a tired old story: Democrats are all gay or gender confused while Republicans are all manly courageous men.

    It's as trivial as it is untrue.”

    You nailed right there. The old chestnut of liberals being girly men and republicans being big tough men smoking cigarettes on their horses. Its a theme Bush has repeated played up to in photo ops because it works. So many people don't know how to unravel what they know from their gut impressions.

    Take the swiftboating of Kerry. One candidate actually volunteered for service, and was in fact leading boats into action in the deltas, blowing away viet cong and getting shot at. Another candidate's connections kept him off the front lines, home even, where he wouldn't have to fight. Yet it was the war record of the first man that was called into question not the second in the last election. Why? Kerry doesn't look like a guy who did those things, therefore it was easy to think that he never did. You know, if you're gullible, and so many are.

  82. When the Bush administration has used the term preconditions it normally means “the other side will have to agree to give us what we want, and then we'll sit down and figure out their reward” which is highly condescending. That's not a precondition, that's an ultimatum.

    Exactly.

  83. When the Bush administration has used the term preconditions it normally means “the other side will have to agree to give us what we want, and then we'll sit down and figure out their reward” which is highly condescending. That's not a precondition, that's an ultimatum.

    Exactly.

  84. When the Bush administration has used the term preconditions it normally means “the other side will have to agree to give us what we want, and then we'll sit down and figure out their reward” which is highly condescending. That's not a precondition, that's an ultimatum.

    Exactly.

  85. Slamfu I agree 100% but WHY WHY WHY then did Kerry do that hunting thing when he was in the race? He looked ridiculous! And when I saw the photo, I assumed he was doing it to show, Hey! I hunt! Man hold gun! Ugga Ugga.

    Again – totally turns me off, but obviously someone advised him that he had to do it.

    So what do we do – I mean – isn't perpetuating that and candidates letting letting their supporters or advisors tell them that they have to be seen doing x, y or z just as bad as actually believing what the commenter does all on his own?

    I don't know – you know – for example, I think of Ann Richards – now I do not believe that there was much that that woman showed us that wasn't really who she was. I could be wrong – I didn't chronicle her or anything.

    But I don't think she is the norm. Even Edwards' haircut silliness plays into all this.

    How do we get them to just let us see them as they are if they are also going around and “playing types” for different constituencies?

    And I do mean all candidates – I'm sure someone can come up with plenty about Clinton too.

    This is one reason why, athough it's impossible, it sure would be nice if each of us could meet each of them in a much more up close and personal way than photo ops and so on.

    Sigh.

  86. Slamfu I agree 100% but WHY WHY WHY then did Kerry do that hunting thing when he was in the race? He looked ridiculous! And when I saw the photo, I assumed he was doing it to show, Hey! I hunt! Man hold gun! Ugga Ugga.

    Again – totally turns me off, but obviously someone advised him that he had to do it.

    So what do we do – I mean – isn't perpetuating that and candidates letting letting their supporters or advisors tell them that they have to be seen doing x, y or z just as bad as actually believing what the commenter does all on his own?

    I don't know – you know – for example, I think of Ann Richards – now I do not believe that there was much that that woman showed us that wasn't really who she was. I could be wrong – I didn't chronicle her or anything.

    But I don't think she is the norm. Even Edwards' haircut silliness plays into all this.

    How do we get them to just let us see them as they are if they are also going around and “playing types” for different constituencies?

    And I do mean all candidates – I'm sure someone can come up with plenty about Clinton too.

    This is one reason why, athough it's impossible, it sure would be nice if each of us could meet each of them in a much more up close and personal way than photo ops and so on.

    Sigh.

  87. Slamfu I agree 100% but WHY WHY WHY then did Kerry do that hunting thing when he was in the race? He looked ridiculous! And when I saw the photo, I assumed he was doing it to show, Hey! I hunt! Man hold gun! Ugga Ugga.

    Again – totally turns me off, but obviously someone advised him that he had to do it.

    So what do we do – I mean – isn't perpetuating that and candidates letting letting their supporters or advisors tell them that they have to be seen doing x, y or z just as bad as actually believing what the commenter does all on his own?

    I don't know – you know – for example, I think of Ann Richards – now I do not believe that there was much that that woman showed us that wasn't really who she was. I could be wrong – I didn't chronicle her or anything.

    But I don't think she is the norm. Even Edwards' haircut silliness plays into all this.

    How do we get them to just let us see them as they are if they are also going around and “playing types” for different constituencies?

    And I do mean all candidates – I'm sure someone can come up with plenty about Clinton too.

    This is one reason why, athough it's impossible, it sure would be nice if each of us could meet each of them in a much more up close and personal way than photo ops and so on.

    Sigh.

  88. I think that Obama would be open to trying to negotiate with Iran some solution re: Iraq while leaving their sponsorship of terrorist groups in general off the table until another time. I'm sure that the current Administration tries to do stuff like this privately, but in public they say it's all or nothing.
    But that's not true- the Bush administration HAS negotiated with Iran regarding Iraq security. In fact to me it's almost the opposite of what you are saying- Bush is handling things bit by bit by participating only in the lower level talks, but if you advocate for a summit, that's like saying that we're going to deal with things from the top down or as a whole.

    And I also disagree with the way you and Chris oppose the “ultimatum”. That's one way to characterize it, I suppose, but really it's disingenuous to sit down with someone for negotiations on a topic that you are unwilling to really negotiate. And certainly sponsorship of terrorism should be nonnegotiable.

    There's also the idea behind the Bush approach of isolationism that it is the best leverage we have to force regime change by internal forces- because if the moderates in Iran see that they'll get nowhere with Ahmadinejad, they're more likely to push him out the door and replace him with someone that is more moderate.

  89. I think that Obama would be open to trying to negotiate with Iran some solution re: Iraq while leaving their sponsorship of terrorist groups in general off the table until another time. I'm sure that the current Administration tries to do stuff like this privately, but in public they say it's all or nothing.
    But that's not true- the Bush administration HAS negotiated with Iran regarding Iraq security. In fact to me it's almost the opposite of what you are saying- Bush is handling things bit by bit by participating only in the lower level talks, but if you advocate for a summit, that's like saying that we're going to deal with things from the top down or as a whole.

    And I also disagree with the way you and Chris oppose the “ultimatum”. That's one way to characterize it, I suppose, but really it's disingenuous to sit down with someone for negotiations on a topic that you are unwilling to really negotiate. And certainly sponsorship of terrorism should be nonnegotiable.

    There's also the idea behind the Bush approach of isolationism that it is the best leverage we have to force regime change by internal forces- because if the moderates in Iran see that they'll get nowhere with Ahmadinejad, they're more likely to push him out the door and replace him with someone that is more moderate.

  90. I think that Obama would be open to trying to negotiate with Iran some solution re: Iraq while leaving their sponsorship of terrorist groups in general off the table until another time. I'm sure that the current Administration tries to do stuff like this privately, but in public they say it's all or nothing.
    But that's not true- the Bush administration HAS negotiated with Iran regarding Iraq security. In fact to me it's almost the opposite of what you are saying- Bush is handling things bit by bit by participating only in the lower level talks, but if you advocate for a summit, that's like saying that we're going to deal with things from the top down or as a whole.

    And I also disagree with the way you and Chris oppose the “ultimatum”. That's one way to characterize it, I suppose, but really it's disingenuous to sit down with someone for negotiations on a topic that you are unwilling to really negotiate. And certainly sponsorship of terrorism should be nonnegotiable.

    There's also the idea behind the Bush approach of isolationism that it is the best leverage we have to force regime change by internal forces- because if the moderates in Iran see that they'll get nowhere with Ahmadinejad, they're more likely to push him out the door and replace him with someone that is more moderate.

  91. And one more thing, about whether 'preconditions' or 'preparations' is the more honest and forthright terminology. If by preparations you just mean doing your homework and understanding as much as possible what your opponent thinks, then yes, that's an honest term. But Obama (and certainly his surrogates) has at times defined preparations as the lower level talks which are done to find out if there is actual room for negotiation- is the other party willing to give up certain things and is there something they want from us that we're willing to give. He's then said that if those lower level talks reach a dead end, then the high level talks would not take place. So how in the world is that not a “precondition', when you take that word at face value to mean that a condition must be met before the action is taken? If he's only arguing about specific preconditions which Bush uses but he would not, then he should say so, so that everyone can understand exactly what he thinks is necessary before the high level talks can possibly be productive.

  92. And one more thing, about whether 'preconditions' or 'preparations' is the more honest and forthright terminology. If by preparations you just mean doing your homework and understanding as much as possible what your opponent thinks, then yes, that's an honest term. But Obama (and certainly his surrogates) has at times defined preparations as the lower level talks which are done to find out if there is actual room for negotiation- is the other party willing to give up certain things and is there something they want from us that we're willing to give. He's then said that if those lower level talks reach a dead end, then the high level talks would not take place. So how in the world is that not a “precondition', when you take that word at face value to mean that a condition must be met before the action is taken? If he's only arguing about specific preconditions which Bush uses but he would not, then he should say so, so that everyone can understand exactly what he thinks is necessary before the high level talks can possibly be productive.

  93. And one more thing, about whether 'preconditions' or 'preparations' is the more honest and forthright terminology. If by preparations you just mean doing your homework and understanding as much as possible what your opponent thinks, then yes, that's an honest term. But Obama (and certainly his surrogates) has at times defined preparations as the lower level talks which are done to find out if there is actual room for negotiation- is the other party willing to give up certain things and is there something they want from us that we're willing to give. He's then said that if those lower level talks reach a dead end, then the high level talks would not take place. So how in the world is that not a “precondition', when you take that word at face value to mean that a condition must be met before the action is taken? If he's only arguing about specific preconditions which Bush uses but he would not, then he should say so, so that everyone can understand exactly what he thinks is necessary before the high level talks can possibly be productive.

  94. And certainly sponsorship of terrorism should be nonnegotiable.

    And I suppose they could demand we dismantle our CIA or end our immoral occupation of Iraq. Or make us pay reparations for overthrowing their government and supporting the Shah.

    Both sides can come up with hundreds of excuses to hold grudges and not talk to each other. Or we can all grow up and sit down and try to hash things out. If that doesn't work, we'll at least know that violence was the last option not the first.

    There's also the idea behind the Bush approach of isolationism that it is the best leverage we have to force regime change by internal forces- because if the moderates in Iran see that they'll get nowhere with Ahmadinejad, they're more likely to push him out the door and replace him with someone that is more moderate.

    And it didn't work in Iraq. It hasn't worked in Cuba. It didn't work with China. It didn't work with North Korea. That idea has been thoroughly trampled on by history. And remember Ahmadinejad doesn't call the shots in Iran.

  95. And certainly sponsorship of terrorism should be nonnegotiable.

    And I suppose they could demand we dismantle our CIA or end our immoral occupation of Iraq. Or make us pay reparations for overthrowing their government and supporting the Shah.

    Both sides can come up with hundreds of excuses to hold grudges and not talk to each other. Or we can all grow up and sit down and try to hash things out. If that doesn't work, we'll at least know that violence was the last option not the first.

    There's also the idea behind the Bush approach of isolationism that it is the best leverage we have to force regime change by internal forces- because if the moderates in Iran see that they'll get nowhere with Ahmadinejad, they're more likely to push him out the door and replace him with someone that is more moderate.

    And it didn't work in Iraq. It hasn't worked in Cuba. It didn't work with China. It didn't work with North Korea. That idea has been thoroughly trampled on by history. And remember Ahmadinejad doesn't call the shots in Iran.

  96. And certainly sponsorship of terrorism should be nonnegotiable.

    And I suppose they could demand we dismantle our CIA or end our immoral occupation of Iraq. Or make us pay reparations for overthrowing their government and supporting the Shah.

    Both sides can come up with hundreds of excuses to hold grudges and not talk to each other. Or we can all grow up and sit down and try to hash things out. If that doesn't work, we'll at least know that violence was the last option not the first.

    There's also the idea behind the Bush approach of isolationism that it is the best leverage we have to force regime change by internal forces- because if the moderates in Iran see that they'll get nowhere with Ahmadinejad, they're more likely to push him out the door and replace him with someone that is more moderate.

    And it didn't work in Iraq. It hasn't worked in Cuba. It didn't work with China. It didn't work with North Korea. That idea has been thoroughly trampled on by history. And remember Ahmadinejad doesn't call the shots in Iran.

  97. CS I'm not disagreeing that Obama isn't going to have preconditions. I'm saying that the term has become loaded politically and so what he says is just responding to that. Many terms now have implicit political meanings and the response is more about that than the definition.

    As for the Iran talks, I've heard that they never had the support of a lot of people at the top and the diplomats/Rice basically got hung out to dry. They went over to see if Iran was willing to stop all the meddling in Iraq but really had no ability to make it worthwhile for them. Iran wanted a security guarantee which they could not be given and the talks never really got underway. In that particular example, Iran's influence in Iraq is extremely important for them to try and dissuade us from attacking over their nuclear program, so I'm not sure they can be separated. When thinking of separation I was thinking more about their support for Hezbollah.

  98. CS I'm not disagreeing that Obama isn't going to have preconditions. I'm saying that the term has become loaded politically and so what he says is just responding to that. Many terms now have implicit political meanings and the response is more about that than the definition.

    As for the Iran talks, I've heard that they never had the support of a lot of people at the top and the diplomats/Rice basically got hung out to dry. They went over to see if Iran was willing to stop all the meddling in Iraq but really had no ability to make it worthwhile for them. Iran wanted a security guarantee which they could not be given and the talks never really got underway. In that particular example, Iran's influence in Iraq is extremely important for them to try and dissuade us from attacking over their nuclear program, so I'm not sure they can be separated. When thinking of separation I was thinking more about their support for Hezbollah.

  99. CS I'm not disagreeing that Obama isn't going to have preconditions. I'm saying that the term has become loaded politically and so what he says is just responding to that. Many terms now have implicit political meanings and the response is more about that than the definition.

    As for the Iran talks, I've heard that they never had the support of a lot of people at the top and the diplomats/Rice basically got hung out to dry. They went over to see if Iran was willing to stop all the meddling in Iraq but really had no ability to make it worthwhile for them. Iran wanted a security guarantee which they could not be given and the talks never really got underway. In that particular example, Iran's influence in Iraq is extremely important for them to try and dissuade us from attacking over their nuclear program, so I'm not sure they can be separated. When thinking of separation I was thinking more about their support for Hezbollah.

  100. MIKKEL made a very important observationa aobut negotions. and how defining prexonditons has become sullied.
    As James Baker recently said, the combination of diplomacy and talks (whether or not they contain the nitty grity of negotiationg specific details ) is a long term commitment.
    You talk and talk making diplomatic arguments, and what has repeatedly happened is that an opening for meaningful resolution rises out of the very process of talking.

    This kind of process can fail, of course, and that's why the participants must be profesional experts, chosen for their talents, not party loyalty.

  101. MIKKEL made a very important observationa aobut negotions. and how defining prexonditons has become sullied.
    As James Baker recently said, the combination of diplomacy and talks (whether or not they contain the nitty grity of negotiationg specific details ) is a long term commitment.
    You talk and talk making diplomatic arguments, and what has repeatedly happened is that an opening for meaningful resolution rises out of the very process of talking.

    This kind of process can fail, of course, and that's why the participants must be profesional experts, chosen for their talents, not party loyalty.

  102. MIKKEL made a very important observationa aobut negotions. and how defining prexonditons has become sullied.
    As James Baker recently said, the combination of diplomacy and talks (whether or not they contain the nitty grity of negotiationg specific details ) is a long term commitment.
    You talk and talk making diplomatic arguments, and what has repeatedly happened is that an opening for meaningful resolution rises out of the very process of talking.

    This kind of process can fail, of course, and that's why the participants must be profesional experts, chosen for their talents, not party loyalty.

  103. Yeah, pretty much a published institution has an entire staff of people who decide what runs and what doesn't( and leaves us to decide what SHOULD, most times).

    For me, Metrosexual originally meant risky business on a DC subway.

  104. Yeah, pretty much a published institution has an entire staff of people who decide what runs and what doesn't( and leaves us to decide what SHOULD, most times).

    For me, Metrosexual originally meant risky business on a DC subway.

  105. Yeah, pretty much a published institution has an entire staff of people who decide what runs and what doesn't( and leaves us to decide what SHOULD, most times).

    For me, Metrosexual originally meant risky business on a DC subway.

  106. Hah, ex-Greek here too, Alpha Tau Omega

  107. Hah, ex-Greek here too, Alpha Tau Omega

  108. Hah, ex-Greek here too, Alpha Tau Omega

  109. I'm saying that the term has become loaded politically and so what he says is just responding to that. Many terms now have implicit political meanings and the response is more about that than the definition.
    Uh, OK, but isn't that pretty much saying that he's then choosing a euphemism, which was what I said and you disputed? LOL, I'm not trying to pick, honestly- just pointing that out and hope you can see the humor in my point. It's like my use of euphemism ends up being another politically loaded term (has a bit of a derogatory connotation to say that someone is using one) so you object to me calling it that even though you then describe his rationale for using a different term which is pretty much definitional for use of a euphemism.

  110. I'm saying that the term has become loaded politically and so what he says is just responding to that. Many terms now have implicit political meanings and the response is more about that than the definition.
    Uh, OK, but isn't that pretty much saying that he's then choosing a euphemism, which was what I said and you disputed? LOL, I'm not trying to pick, honestly- just pointing that out and hope you can see the humor in my point. It's like my use of euphemism ends up being another politically loaded term (has a bit of a derogatory connotation to say that someone is using one) so you object to me calling it that even though you then describe his rationale for using a different term which is pretty much definitional for use of a euphemism.

  111. I'm saying that the term has become loaded politically and so what he says is just responding to that. Many terms now have implicit political meanings and the response is more about that than the definition.
    Uh, OK, but isn't that pretty much saying that he's then choosing a euphemism, which was what I said and you disputed? LOL, I'm not trying to pick, honestly- just pointing that out and hope you can see the humor in my point. It's like my use of euphemism ends up being another politically loaded term (has a bit of a derogatory connotation to say that someone is using one) so you object to me calling it that even though you then describe his rationale for using a different term which is pretty much definitional for use of a euphemism.

  112. Chris, again, this is a case where we'll never see eye to eye. Just about every case where you say that a hardline approach has failed, or where you see that a 'talking' approach succeeds, my view is that you need the combination of the two. Nixon going to China is kind of the classic example of what I'm talking about- had China been given formal diplomatic status and full access earlier on, the rapprochement wouldn't have been possible.

    And Mikkel, on the Iran/Iraq negotiations, that's pretty much he said- she said stuff, so it's a bit hard to form a conclusion. Obviously Iran having backed out of the talks means that they either weren't getting what they wanted (which could mean the US wasn't willing to give as much as we should have or it could mean that their demands were unreasonable, or some combination) or that they found that their best approach was to score propaganda by portraying it as though the US was the impediment to progress. My guess is that it was all of the above, and that the bottom line is that there are some really unbridgeable differences in our self interests. I think a much more creative third way must be found before any progress can be made- and as I alluded to the propaganda interest, this means to me that talking just for the sake of talking is pretty risky.

    And really the point I'm trying to get at about the doubletalk about Obama's proposed policies is that I think it shows that underneath it all, neither the current adminstration nor their opponents really do think that unconditional talks should be on the table- but politically the liberal side has to portray it that way to their base. I think all of the delinking- put aside Hezbollah, etc- is considered dangerous by everyone except the far left- and even the politicians who want to get the support of the left wing realize that they have to do a bait and switch because that kind of diplomacy really does embolden terrorists and nations that support it. If they really thought that we should be more accomodating like that, I don't think there would be this effort by seasoned pols like Biden to 'correct' Obama's statements.

  113. Chris, again, this is a case where we'll never see eye to eye. Just about every case where you say that a hardline approach has failed, or where you see that a 'talking' approach succeeds, my view is that you need the combination of the two. Nixon going to China is kind of the classic example of what I'm talking about- had China been given formal diplomatic status and full access earlier on, the rapprochement wouldn't have been possible.

    And Mikkel, on the Iran/Iraq negotiations, that's pretty much he said- she said stuff, so it's a bit hard to form a conclusion. Obviously Iran having backed out of the talks means that they either weren't getting what they wanted (which could mean the US wasn't willing to give as much as we should have or it could mean that their demands were unreasonable, or some combination) or that they found that their best approach was to score propaganda by portraying it as though the US was the impediment to progress. My guess is that it was all of the above, and that the bottom line is that there are some really unbridgeable differences in our self interests. I think a much more creative third way must be found before any progress can be made- and as I alluded to the propaganda interest, this means to me that talking just for the sake of talking is pretty risky.

    And really the point I'm trying to get at about the doubletalk about Obama's proposed policies is that I think it shows that underneath it all, neither the current adminstration nor their opponents really do think that unconditional talks should be on the table- but politically the liberal side has to portray it that way to their base. I think all of the delinking- put aside Hezbollah, etc- is considered dangerous by everyone except the far left- and even the politicians who want to get the support of the left wing realize that they have to do a bait and switch because that kind of diplomacy really does embolden terrorists and nations that support it. If they really thought that we should be more accomodating like that, I don't think there would be this effort by seasoned pols like Biden to 'correct' Obama's statements.

  114. Chris, again, this is a case where we'll never see eye to eye. Just about every case where you say that a hardline approach has failed, or where you see that a 'talking' approach succeeds, my view is that you need the combination of the two. Nixon going to China is kind of the classic example of what I'm talking about- had China been given formal diplomatic status and full access earlier on, the rapprochement wouldn't have been possible.

    And Mikkel, on the Iran/Iraq negotiations, that's pretty much he said- she said stuff, so it's a bit hard to form a conclusion. Obviously Iran having backed out of the talks means that they either weren't getting what they wanted (which could mean the US wasn't willing to give as much as we should have or it could mean that their demands were unreasonable, or some combination) or that they found that their best approach was to score propaganda by portraying it as though the US was the impediment to progress. My guess is that it was all of the above, and that the bottom line is that there are some really unbridgeable differences in our self interests. I think a much more creative third way must be found before any progress can be made- and as I alluded to the propaganda interest, this means to me that talking just for the sake of talking is pretty risky.

    And really the point I'm trying to get at about the doubletalk about Obama's proposed policies is that I think it shows that underneath it all, neither the current adminstration nor their opponents really do think that unconditional talks should be on the table- but politically the liberal side has to portray it that way to their base. I think all of the delinking- put aside Hezbollah, etc- is considered dangerous by everyone except the far left- and even the politicians who want to get the support of the left wing realize that they have to do a bait and switch because that kind of diplomacy really does embolden terrorists and nations that support it. If they really thought that we should be more accomodating like that, I don't think there would be this effort by seasoned pols like Biden to 'correct' Obama's statements.

  115. CStanley,
    “certainly sponsorship of terrorism should be nonnegotiable.”

    So, don't negotiatie it.

    No one should divulge their whole geme plan before sitting down.
    Talks/ usually about a specific probelm, not about every issue. and general world views.
    The US cut off avenues for gaining specific benefits by making the conditions for talking too broad.
    Had there been ongoing talks all along, the use of diplomacy might have left an opening to bring in the question of terrorism, but now we'll never know.

    The one precondition that is never there is a necessity to concede anyhing, discuss anything, or agree to anything. we don't want to.
    It's a question of being open for opportunitie.

  116. CStanley,
    “certainly sponsorship of terrorism should be nonnegotiable.”

    So, don't negotiatie it.

    No one should divulge their whole geme plan before sitting down.
    Talks/ usually about a specific probelm, not about every issue. and general world views.
    The US cut off avenues for gaining specific benefits by making the conditions for talking too broad.
    Had there been ongoing talks all along, the use of diplomacy might have left an opening to bring in the question of terrorism, but now we'll never know.

    The one precondition that is never there is a necessity to concede anyhing, discuss anything, or agree to anything. we don't want to.
    It's a question of being open for opportunitie.

  117. CStanley,
    “certainly sponsorship of terrorism should be nonnegotiable.”

    So, don't negotiatie it.

    No one should divulge their whole geme plan before sitting down.
    Talks/ usually about a specific probelm, not about every issue. and general world views.
    The US cut off avenues for gaining specific benefits by making the conditions for talking too broad.
    Had there been ongoing talks all along, the use of diplomacy might have left an opening to bring in the question of terrorism, but now we'll never know.

    The one precondition that is never there is a necessity to concede anyhing, discuss anything, or agree to anything. we don't want to.
    It's a question of being open for opportunitie.

  118. The one precondition that is never there is a necessity to concede anyhing, discuss anything, or agree to anything. we don't want to.
    It's a question of being open for opportunitie

    But that's whats done in the lower channels, which have been open all along. What I'm pointing out is that that's exactly what Obama is now saying he'll do too- because if the 'preparation' doesn't bear fruit, then the high level talk doesn't make any sense (again, it would be disingenuous to sit down for negotiations about say, support of Hezbollah if our position is that there is no support of Hezbollah that is acceptable to us- and the other party would rightfully say that you were coming to the negotiating table in bad faith if you didn't announce ahead of time your intent to take that position. Ditto for nukes, assuming we hold to the position that a suspension of uranium enrichment is nonnegotiable.)

    Preconditions are really just the honest announcement of intentions. If there was a condition that the other side considered nonnegotiable, we would also want them to admit that upfront rather than wasting our time- and if they came to the table saying that they wanted to negotiate on a particular topic but then showed up at the talks and refused to consider any movement from their current position, we'd rightly walk away with the PR victory there because we'd announce “well, we tried, but they aren't willing to negotiate in good faith.”

  119. The one precondition that is never there is a necessity to concede anyhing, discuss anything, or agree to anything. we don't want to.
    It's a question of being open for opportunitie

    But that's whats done in the lower channels, which have been open all along. What I'm pointing out is that that's exactly what Obama is now saying he'll do too- because if the 'preparation' doesn't bear fruit, then the high level talk doesn't make any sense (again, it would be disingenuous to sit down for negotiations about say, support of Hezbollah if our position is that there is no support of Hezbollah that is acceptable to us- and the other party would rightfully say that you were coming to the negotiating table in bad faith if you didn't announce ahead of time your intent to take that position. Ditto for nukes, assuming we hold to the position that a suspension of uranium enrichment is nonnegotiable.)

    Preconditions are really just the honest announcement of intentions. If there was a condition that the other side considered nonnegotiable, we would also want them to admit that upfront rather than wasting our time- and if they came to the table saying that they wanted to negotiate on a particular topic but then showed up at the talks and refused to consider any movement from their current position, we'd rightly walk away with the PR victory there because we'd announce “well, we tried, but they aren't willing to negotiate in good faith.”

  120. The one precondition that is never there is a necessity to concede anyhing, discuss anything, or agree to anything. we don't want to.
    It's a question of being open for opportunitie

    But that's whats done in the lower channels, which have been open all along. What I'm pointing out is that that's exactly what Obama is now saying he'll do too- because if the 'preparation' doesn't bear fruit, then the high level talk doesn't make any sense (again, it would be disingenuous to sit down for negotiations about say, support of Hezbollah if our position is that there is no support of Hezbollah that is acceptable to us- and the other party would rightfully say that you were coming to the negotiating table in bad faith if you didn't announce ahead of time your intent to take that position. Ditto for nukes, assuming we hold to the position that a suspension of uranium enrichment is nonnegotiable.)

    Preconditions are really just the honest announcement of intentions. If there was a condition that the other side considered nonnegotiable, we would also want them to admit that upfront rather than wasting our time- and if they came to the table saying that they wanted to negotiate on a particular topic but then showed up at the talks and refused to consider any movement from their current position, we'd rightly walk away with the PR victory there because we'd announce “well, we tried, but they aren't willing to negotiate in good faith.”

  121. Getting back to the post, I see where opinions about being metrosexual are very much like the arguments about preconditions and negotions.

    It's about appearance vs substance.
    Bling ves the single flawless diamond.
    Placing the appearance of strength above using actual strength wisely.

    The manliest man is seldom the one needing to brag about his manliness.

  122. Getting back to the post, I see where opinions about being metrosexual are very much like the arguments about preconditions and negotions.

    It's about appearance vs substance.
    Bling ves the single flawless diamond.
    Placing the appearance of strength above using actual strength wisely.

    The manliest man is seldom the one needing to brag about his manliness.

  123. Getting back to the post, I see where opinions about being metrosexual are very much like the arguments about preconditions and negotions.

    It's about appearance vs substance.
    Bling ves the single flawless diamond.
    Placing the appearance of strength above using actual strength wisely.

    The manliest man is seldom the one needing to brag about his manliness.

  124. CStanley,
    The reason we can't agree is because your perception of diplomacy and negotiations are a bit off. Let me quote M. Yglesias:

    The aim of diplomacy in this kind of situation is genuine bargaining aimed at reaching a mutually advantageous agreement. You're trying to cooperate and realize positive-sum gains, and diplomacy is the process by which those opportunities are identified and exploited. Obviously, such efforts sometimes fail and then maybe you look at coercion, but the diplomatic effort is not, as such, an attempt at coercion. If you think of it as one, you'll wind up thinking of it as a really shoddy attempt at coercion, and wind up rejecting it out of hand.

    And for kicks… there this:
    “The argument that the administration makes is that we can't negotiate with Iran because it will legitimate them. Well, we're legitimating North Korea, so what's the big deal?” – Zbigniew Brzezinsk

  125. CStanley,
    The reason we can't agree is because your perception of diplomacy and negotiations are a bit off. Let me quote M. Yglesias:

    The aim of diplomacy in this kind of situation is genuine bargaining aimed at reaching a mutually advantageous agreement. You're trying to cooperate and realize positive-sum gains, and diplomacy is the process by which those opportunities are identified and exploited. Obviously, such efforts sometimes fail and then maybe you look at coercion, but the diplomatic effort is not, as such, an attempt at coercion. If you think of it as one, you'll wind up thinking of it as a really shoddy attempt at coercion, and wind up rejecting it out of hand.

    And for kicks… there this:
    “The argument that the administration makes is that we can't negotiate with Iran because it will legitimate them. Well, we're legitimating North Korea, so what's the big deal?” – Zbigniew Brzezinsk

  126. CStanley,
    The reason we can't agree is because your perception of diplomacy and negotiations are a bit off. Let me quote M. Yglesias:

    The aim of diplomacy in this kind of situation is genuine bargaining aimed at reaching a mutually advantageous agreement. You're trying to cooperate and realize positive-sum gains, and diplomacy is the process by which those opportunities are identified and exploited. Obviously, such efforts sometimes fail and then maybe you look at coercion, but the diplomatic effort is not, as such, an attempt at coercion. If you think of it as one, you'll wind up thinking of it as a really shoddy attempt at coercion, and wind up rejecting it out of hand.

    And for kicks… there this:
    “The argument that the administration makes is that we can't negotiate with Iran because it will legitimate them. Well, we're legitimating North Korea, so what's the big deal?” – Zbigniew Brzezinsk

  127. CStanley-
    Again, if we don't want to negotiate about Hezbollah, WE DON'T HAVE TO.

    That should not be a precondition to say 'hello' on other topics.

    Gazing into crystal balls about what Obama would or would not do in situations that haven't happened yet, is just pseudo-analysis, as no one knows anymore what any ot the phrases or words used actually mean.

    I'm actually sorry that politics has pushed Obam to make as many specific statemtns as he has already. That just paints him in a corner, whereas an important attribute of a leader is the ability to be flexible when necessary, to adapt to new conditions and to think outside the box.

    It's much more important to know HOW he thinks, not what specific steps he would take in the unknown future. If you must have a dead certain step by step blueprint for dealing with future siuations, I don't think politics is the place to look for that.

  128. CStanley-
    Again, if we don't want to negotiate about Hezbollah, WE DON'T HAVE TO.

    That should not be a precondition to say 'hello' on other topics.

    Gazing into crystal balls about what Obama would or would not do in situations that haven't happened yet, is just pseudo-analysis, as no one knows anymore what any ot the phrases or words used actually mean.

    I'm actually sorry that politics has pushed Obam to make as many specific statemtns as he has already. That just paints him in a corner, whereas an important attribute of a leader is the ability to be flexible when necessary, to adapt to new conditions and to think outside the box.

    It's much more important to know HOW he thinks, not what specific steps he would take in the unknown future. If you must have a dead certain step by step blueprint for dealing with future siuations, I don't think politics is the place to look for that.

  129. CStanley-
    Again, if we don't want to negotiate about Hezbollah, WE DON'T HAVE TO.

    That should not be a precondition to say 'hello' on other topics.

    Gazing into crystal balls about what Obama would or would not do in situations that haven't happened yet, is just pseudo-analysis, as no one knows anymore what any ot the phrases or words used actually mean.

    I'm actually sorry that politics has pushed Obam to make as many specific statemtns as he has already. That just paints him in a corner, whereas an important attribute of a leader is the ability to be flexible when necessary, to adapt to new conditions and to think outside the box.

    It's much more important to know HOW he thinks, not what specific steps he would take in the unknown future. If you must have a dead certain step by step blueprint for dealing with future siuations, I don't think politics is the place to look for that.

  130. Runasim: bingo: “The manliest man is seldom the one needing to brag about his manliness.”

    Why did anyone even have to create this word? ugh :)

  131. Runasim: bingo: “The manliest man is seldom the one needing to brag about his manliness.”

    Why did anyone even have to create this word? ugh :)

  132. Runasim: bingo: “The manliest man is seldom the one needing to brag about his manliness.”

    Why did anyone even have to create this word? ugh :)

  133. So, now that this discussion has veered almost permanently off-topic, let me once again reiterate a real-world perspective missing in this dialogue.

    The police negotiate with criminals in very intense crisis situations in which there is a high possibility of injury or death on both sides. No one accuses them of “appeasement” or of “legitimizing” the criminals. There are no preconditions, as none are possible. There are no “low level talks” because there isn't time (and besides, what sense does it make to give your second string a shot at it first?)

    Negotiation has become a highly evolved strategy with a rich and diverse toolkit. It works an amazing amount of the time. The alternative, from a law enforcement standpoint, is to say “we've got you surrounded, you're outgunned, and we're going to kill you. So do your worst.”

    I know I won't convince some commentors here of anything, but it is my hope that readers with more open minds will start thinking about negotiation as a serious tool for resolving conflict, and not some sissy soft liberal “appeasement” strategy. Remember, real world tough guys with guns, actual law enforcement heroes do this every day: they negotiate with the most sociopathic and dangerous people imaginable. And they win. They're not “naive” or stupid or inexperienced or exercising bad judgment. I wouldn't be surprised to see some of them standing up for Obama and throwing this misrepresentation of the art of diplomacy right back in the GOP's faces.

    The approach of threatening, of not engaging, and of attacking is a much riskier strategy, both in law enforcement and in international relations.

    I hope the Obama campaign can get across to voting Americans that negotiation is not a gift to our enemies. Negotiation concedes nothing! Is a perfectly valid, legitimate and proven method of resolving conflict.

    Now, as several here have taken a very inflexible position about negotiation, what is your solution? Bomb Iran? Is that really what you're suggesting? Unleashing missiles against a sovereign nation, possibly even nuclear weapons, threatening our own soldiers downwind in Afghanistan with radiation poisoning? Inciting the righteous wrath of the entire Islamic world, of all of our enemies and most of our friends? Or do you have some third option that you haven't stated. Please. Share it with us.

  134. So, now that this discussion has veered almost permanently off-topic, let me once again reiterate a real-world perspective missing in this dialogue.

    The police negotiate with criminals in very intense crisis situations in which there is a high possibility of injury or death on both sides. No one accuses them of “appeasement” or of “legitimizing” the criminals. There are no preconditions, as none are possible. There are no “low level talks” because there isn't time (and besides, what sense does it make to give your second string a shot at it first?)

    Negotiation has become a highly evolved strategy with a rich and diverse toolkit. It works an amazing amount of the time. The alternative, from a law enforcement standpoint, is to say “we've got you surrounded, you're outgunned, and we're going to kill you. So do your worst.”

    I know I won't convince some commentors here of anything, but it is my hope that readers with more open minds will start thinking about negotiation as a serious tool for resolving conflict, and not some sissy soft liberal “appeasement” strategy. Remember, real world tough guys with guns, actual law enforcement heroes do this every day: they negotiate with the most sociopathic and dangerous people imaginable. And they win. They're not “naive” or stupid or inexperienced or exercising bad judgment. I wouldn't be surprised to see some of them standing up for Obama and throwing this misrepresentation of the art of diplomacy right back in the GOP's faces.

    The approach of threatening, of not engaging, and of attacking is a much riskier strategy, both in law enforcement and in international relations.

    I hope the Obama campaign can get across to voting Americans that negotiation is not a gift to our enemies. Negotiation concedes nothing! Is a perfectly valid, legitimate and proven method of resolving conflict.

    Now, as several here have taken a very inflexible position about negotiation, what is your solution? Bomb Iran? Is that really what you're suggesting? Unleashing missiles against a sovereign nation, possibly even nuclear weapons, threatening our own soldiers downwind in Afghanistan with radiation poisoning? Inciting the righteous wrath of the entire Islamic world, of all of our enemies and most of our friends? Or do you have some third option that you haven't stated. Please. Share it with us.

  135. So, now that this discussion has veered almost permanently off-topic, let me once again reiterate a real-world perspective missing in this dialogue.

    The police negotiate with criminals in very intense crisis situations in which there is a high possibility of injury or death on both sides. No one accuses them of “appeasement” or of “legitimizing” the criminals. There are no preconditions, as none are possible. There are no “low level talks” because there isn't time (and besides, what sense does it make to give your second string a shot at it first?)

    Negotiation has become a highly evolved strategy with a rich and diverse toolkit. It works an amazing amount of the time. The alternative, from a law enforcement standpoint, is to say “we've got you surrounded, you're outgunned, and we're going to kill you. So do your worst.”

    I know I won't convince some commentors here of anything, but it is my hope that readers with more open minds will start thinking about negotiation as a serious tool for resolving conflict, and not some sissy soft liberal “appeasement” strategy. Remember, real world tough guys with guns, actual law enforcement heroes do this every day: they negotiate with the most sociopathic and dangerous people imaginable. And they win. They're not “naive” or stupid or inexperienced or exercising bad judgment. I wouldn't be surprised to see some of them standing up for Obama and throwing this misrepresentation of the art of diplomacy right back in the GOP's faces.

    The approach of threatening, of not engaging, and of attacking is a much riskier strategy, both in law enforcement and in international relations.

    I hope the Obama campaign can get across to voting Americans that negotiation is not a gift to our enemies. Negotiation concedes nothing! Is a perfectly valid, legitimate and proven method of resolving conflict.

    Now, as several here have taken a very inflexible position about negotiation, what is your solution? Bomb Iran? Is that really what you're suggesting? Unleashing missiles against a sovereign nation, possibly even nuclear weapons, threatening our own soldiers downwind in Afghanistan with radiation poisoning? Inciting the righteous wrath of the entire Islamic world, of all of our enemies and most of our friends? Or do you have some third option that you haven't stated. Please. Share it with us.

  136. Haha I originally agreed that it was a euphemism! That Bush used one, and now Obama is using another one to distance himself from Bush. If Obama was completely honest he would just say “I'm going to set preconditions but I think it means something different than what other people mean. They have the wrong preconditions.” I think that is why Biden et. al have tried to couch it even while agreeing with the underlying premise. Biden never really cares about the politically correct thing to say.

    It's just another context in politics where the players have to say what they do to play roles instead of reality. If we keep agreeing we'll get into a big fight.

    I do disagree with this: “I think all of the delinking- put aside Hezbollah, etc- is considered dangerous by everyone except the far left” considering that's a fundamental characteristic of the Realist school of foreign policy which dominated the Cold War and was seen as conservative.

    Although you can argue that our policies then hurt us in the present, but it is kind of ironic that the statement “we should negotiate with Iran about our own interests while setting aside some things that are bad but don't affect us a while lot” could be construed as Left. Liberals are supposed to be the Utopian ones that look for universal solutions! I think a lot of times people get caught up in arguing over strategic intentions by criticizing tactics.

  137. Haha I originally agreed that it was a euphemism! That Bush used one, and now Obama is using another one to distance himself from Bush. If Obama was completely honest he would just say “I'm going to set preconditions but I think it means something different than what other people mean. They have the wrong preconditions.” I think that is why Biden et. al have tried to couch it even while agreeing with the underlying premise. Biden never really cares about the politically correct thing to say.

    It's just another context in politics where the players have to say what they do to play roles instead of reality. If we keep agreeing we'll get into a big fight.

    I do disagree with this: “I think all of the delinking- put aside Hezbollah, etc- is considered dangerous by everyone except the far left” considering that's a fundamental characteristic of the Realist school of foreign policy which dominated the Cold War and was seen as conservative.

    Although you can argue that our policies then hurt us in the present, but it is kind of ironic that the statement “we should negotiate with Iran about our own interests while setting aside some things that are bad but don't affect us a while lot” could be construed as Left. Liberals are supposed to be the Utopian ones that look for universal solutions! I think a lot of times people get caught up in arguing over strategic intentions by criticizing tactics.

  138. Haha I originally agreed that it was a euphemism! That Bush used one, and now Obama is using another one to distance himself from Bush. If Obama was completely honest he would just say “I'm going to set preconditions but I think it means something different than what other people mean. They have the wrong preconditions.” I think that is why Biden et. al have tried to couch it even while agreeing with the underlying premise. Biden never really cares about the politically correct thing to say.

    It's just another context in politics where the players have to say what they do to play roles instead of reality. If we keep agreeing we'll get into a big fight.

    I do disagree with this: “I think all of the delinking- put aside Hezbollah, etc- is considered dangerous by everyone except the far left” considering that's a fundamental characteristic of the Realist school of foreign policy which dominated the Cold War and was seen as conservative.

    Although you can argue that our policies then hurt us in the present, but it is kind of ironic that the statement “we should negotiate with Iran about our own interests while setting aside some things that are bad but don't affect us a while lot” could be construed as Left. Liberals are supposed to be the Utopian ones that look for universal solutions! I think a lot of times people get caught up in arguing over strategic intentions by criticizing tactics.

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