Apology: A Sign of Weakness or Strength?

I agree it’s insane to think President Obama has conducted any sort of apology tour, ever, or to frame his response to the horrible attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions as sympathizing with the attackers.  Both indicate a separation from reality or at least a fundamental disrespect for truth and for one’s audience.  I would say also that it’s deeply foolish to automatically interpret any real apology as a sign of weakness.

Apologies can indicate weakness when they issue from someone with a visibly underdeveloped sense of self w0rth.  President Obama doesn’t have that problem, regarding either himself or his country.  His detached-from-reality critics, many of whom claim to follow a religion that stresses the confession of sins and removing planks from one’s own eye, slam the president for expressing weakness by what they perceived as apologies from him about mistakes and faults on the part of the United States.  Obama displays a Christian disposition, and these Christian critics hate him for it.

Idolizing one’s nation and bellicosity isn’t strength, and admitting the faults and failings of one’s country isn’t weakness.  It is a weak faith that believes otherwise.

Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter,

Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a contributor to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

You may also like...

87 Responses

  1. Tom Van Dyke says:

    many of whom claim to follow a religion that stresses the confession of sins and removing planks from one’s own eye

    Oh please, Kyle.

    • Rodak says:

      What did Kyle say that was wrong?

    • Kyle Cupp says:

      Oh please what, Tom? Christianity emphasizes self-emptying, the last being first, confession, repentance, and ongoing conversion. A “No Apology” disposition is antithetical to it.

      • Rodak says:

        It’s a moot point, anyway, because Romney’s suggestion that Obama or his administration apologized for anything here is just one more blatant, cynical and–yes–evil lie.

        Conservatives, knowing that they are right–that they cannot, in fact, ever be wrong because God is on their side–feel themselves to have been given a waiver on the injun ction to speak the truth: they are licensed to lie, just as 007 was licensed to kill.

        • Kyle Cupp says:

          While he’s never made anything resembling an apology tour, Obama has had the audacity to mentioned U.S. arrogance and other failings. He took crap from Christians for those statements.

          • I find that much of the Gospels is elided by so very many people who claim to follow them.

          • Kyle Cupp says:

            The saints are few and far between.

          • BlaiseP says:

            Heh. I’m convinced, if Jesus Christ ever put in an appearance in Galilee or Georgia, he’d get crucified all over again and for the same reasons.

          • Kyle Cupp says:

            I tend to agree, BlaiseP.

          • BlaiseP says:

            I can just see Jesus out there being called a Friend of Sinners. One of the funniest chapters in the Bible is John 9. I can see the Python crew doing this as a sketch.

          • BlaiseP says:

            Yanno, I can see Jesus befriending all sorts of despised and rejected people. AIDS patients, drug addicts, homeless people. Come to think of it, he was sorta homeless himself for quite a while. He never condemned anyone for their religion or lack of it, so that opens the door to all sorts of Unclean Types who’d never be welcomed among today’s Scribes and Pharisees.

            Gay people, paroled criminals, curing the sick (for free, too!) , the disabled, trailer trash, immigrants, oh just the entire gamut of the world’s outcasts. Promising the earth to the meek and lowly? Saying the first would be last and the last would be first? Now that just wouldn’t do, not in this world where success always has a price tag and the Kingdom of God is a gated community where the only people from the outside scrub toilets and mow lawns.

            That Jesus guy, the more I read those Gospels, the stranger he gets. I always admire anyone who makes the right enemies and Jesus did that, in spades.

          • NewDealer says:

            I prefer Sullivan’s term of Christainist for the right-wing types

          • Mike Schilling says:

            The saints are few and far between.

            And many of them have been suspended.

      • Kazzy says:

        Oooo… I’m going to get the popcorn… this will be fun!

      • Tom Van Dyke says:

        Playing the generic Christian card on a completely unrelated topic is off, brother, and you know it.

        Here you are condemning the right wing when you have a mote in your own eye. &c. Please.

        • BlaiseP says:

          The right wing’s jackassery on the subject of American foreign policy has resulted in the deaths of thousands of American troops and untold tens, hundreds of thousands of civilians in other countries. America’s connived with a hundred dictators and ginned up wars all over the world. If President Obama says this is true, the facts are not on your side and they are on his side.

          The President and the Secretary of State sternly walked back any attempt by the embassy staff to apologise. You’ve made your bed very hard, Tom. As David Sessions’ tweet points out, it’s insane to build a case for an “apology tour”.

          And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. You can go on living in your own private reality. It’s deeply distasteful to those of us who’ve had to live with the consequences of America’s hubris and connivance with the devils we knew. If we find it refreshing and yes, Christian, to see President Obama confess a few of our sins, that’s all to the good. Means we’re improving, no longer recapitulating the bellicose idiocy of former years.

        • Kyle Cupp says:

          Ah, yes, completely unrelated, because Jesus told his followers to compartmentalize their faith and put it aside when commenting on the affairs of state.

          I’m criticizing Christians who are inclined to view “apologies” from the president as a sign of weakness. It’s an unchristian perspective, and you should know it.

          • James H. says:

            Thank you, Kyle. TVD reminds me of many of the things that drove me out of the church. You remind me of the many things that sometimes make me long fir the capacity to believe again.

            Too much of American Christianity has perverted the faith through lust for temporal power. I remember TVD a while back emphasizing how little regard he had for the lives of people in other countries, compared to American lives, and it forcibly resonated with me as encapsulating all that convinced me that American Christianity, taken as a whole, had turned its back on God and was worshipping a false idol.

          • Tom Van Dyke says:

            Well, at least that’s some attempt to be relevant. However, you just said Obama WAS apologizing,

            I’m criticizing Christians who are inclined to view “apologies” from the president as a sign of weakness. It’s an unchristian perspective, and you should know it.

            after the OP says he wasn’t

            I agree it’s insane to think President Obama has conducted any sort of apology tour

            so which is it, man? Obama’s not apologizing but even if he were that would be OK and any Christian who disagrees is a hypocrite to his religion because WWJD he’d apologize, that’s what.

            And that’s stipulating we have stuff for Obama to apologize for, a separate question.

            My point remains, after you drag Jesus in on such thin partisan grounds, then you’ve trivialized the whole faith thing. Did Jesus die on the cross so Nancy Pelosi could have abortions on demand? How far do we take this crap?

            I say it’s a junky riff that might get you some cheap applause from certain quarters but that’s as far as it goes.

          • Kazzy says:

            Dude, you’ve reached a point of partisan ignorance and pettiness that isn’t even entertaining anymore. You’d rather bash Dems that talk seriously with one of the best writers here we have on religion. Congrats… you’ve not only lost all respect, but all relevance.

          • Tom Van Dyke says:

            Enjoy your cheap applause, Kyle, if that’s how you roll.

          • James H. says:


            I think everyone knows that when someone put a word in quotation marks they’re questioning the applicability of the word. That’s whybthey’re called scare quotes. So when Kyle writes __”apologies” from the president__ he doesn’t mean _apologies from the president__. So, no, there is no fair or even plausible reading by which Kyle actually said Obama WAS apologizing. Talk about junky riffs–I’m going to assume you’d never bang out one that horrible on your bass.

          • Ryan Noonan says:

            I tend to believe Jesus died on the cross so halfwit bloggers could seize control of Nancy Pelosi’s uterus and tell her what to do with it. I’m sure Kyle’s going to write a long post about how I’m being un-Christian.

          • Stillwater says:

            James: excellent point about the scare quotes. Kyle: excellent point about Christian values. TVD: the fact that you think Kyle “admitted” (see how those scare quotes work!!??) that Obama has apologized is a demonstration of one of two things: that you’re too ignorant to be taken seriously or too willfully venal to be taken seriously.

            The only way to out of this, it seems to me, is for you to apologize to Kyle for misrepresenting his views.

          • Tom Van Dyke says:

            Obama’s not apologizing but even if he were that would be OK and any Christian who disagrees is a hypocrite to his religion because WWJD he’d apologize, that’s what.

          • Stillwater says:

            Actually, “venal” is not quite right, but close enough I suppose…

          • Stillwater says:

            Huh. That’s in interesting paragraph. Does it mean: “I apologize for misrepresenting your views about Obama, Kyle”?

            Or does it mean: “I apologize for incorrectly attributing partisan motives to you in writing this post, Kyle”?

            I can’t quite tease out which way you want this to go.

          • Tom Van Dyke says:

            It means that’s the paragraph I wrote the first time and you read me uncarefully. It means goodbye, Mr. Stillwater.

            Kyle, I’m sure you got my point. I think Christ was used as a cudgel here and that doesn’t wash for either “side.” Agree or not, I’ve had may say and thank you for it. I just think there are better ways for you to approach this sort of thing.

          • Stillwater says:

            Hmmm. Not seeing much of an apology there, Tom. It is ironic, of course – and illuminating – given the topic of the post.

    • MikeSchilling says:

      But as some are removed, others grow, leaving the number of planks constant.

      • Rodak says:

        @MikeSchilling — It would seem to be that way. And that would seem to show that membership in an organized religion is a feel-good, herd animal, kind of thing, having very little effect on conduct or thought in the real world: i.e. it’s a scam and a consciously conducted one.

        • Jaybird says:

          You’d think that there’d be more sympathy for people who make movies deliberately intending to offend those people.

        • Kyle Cupp says:

          Or perhaps that ongoing conversion requires a community.

        • BlaiseP says:

          A common enough complaint about religion from people who see it from the outside. Seen from within, at least from where I sit on the church pew, it’s more like fellow travellers on a long journey.

          A spiritual journey is a lonely enough thing, even with company. If it seems to have little effect on conduct in the real world beyond the sanctuary, we who sit in those pews are just ordinary, fallible people who never measure up to even our own standards. It’s not a scam. It’s more like AA.

          I’ve always said Hypocrisy is a word describing those who try and fail. It’s only used by those who really have no intention of trying, lest they fail. We admit we’re sinners, that we don’t measure up to even our own standards. I’m always so envious of people who are perfectly satisfied with themselves. Must be nice to be perfect. Sure wish I was.

          • Rodak says:

            If there is anybody who exemplifies the type of person who is “perfectly satisfied” with himself, it’s Mitt Romney. And he is supposedly entirely informed by his devotion to his church and his activities in his religious community. I could find other examples, but he is currently in the spotlight and he makes my point beautifully. If you want a comparable Catholic, you can find him in the comment threads–you don’t need a star.
            The fundamental problem with organized religion is rather obvious–it becomes codified. And the law kills. It ressurrects the Pharisees and puts them in charge. It relies on the letter, because reliance on the spirit is only for saints, and saints don’t make productive members of a community–they transcend the games people play.
            Jesus said, “Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there.” That is all the community, and all the organization, and all the institution you need. The rest of it is just a jobs program for a clerical hierarchy.

          • BlaiseP says:

            Let’s be careful here, looking into Mitt Romney’s heart. When I look at such a man, the apple seldom falls far from the tree. I don’t know as much about Mitt as I do about his father, a man I admired extravagantly in his prime. George Romney was a friend of the working man. He may not have been perfect but he was a thoroughly decent man.

            If Mitt Romney is a man of faith, I have no problem with that fact. The law doesn’t kill, it convicts. Mitt Romney did many admirable things as governor of Massachusetts. His faults may be many but I will criticise them and not him. As with Dinsdale Piranha, I’d like to be called cruel but fair. Though I would never vote for him, and Lord knows the number of times I’ve said nasty things about him would require a long integer data variable, my problems with Mitt Romney has nothing to do with his faith. That’s a deeply personal thing, I think he’s an upright and honourable man.

            You’re already on record saying religion is a consciously conducted scam. Anything else you might have to say about matters of faith or those who subscribe to them is therefore a bit Twee and Fecetious.

          • Kimmi says:

            The man who cheats on his church… and you’ve got no problem with his faith?
            His faith is as fraudulent as the rest of him.

          • BlaiseP says:

            Aren’t there enough reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney than to assert he’s now cheating on his church? Face it, Mitt Romney is his own worst enemy. He reminds me of John Kerry in his last presidential campaign: Mitt’s become the creature of his handlers.

            Perhaps others don’t see what I see in Mitt Romney. That’s likely because I use a different set of measuring tools. Here’s a Big Shocker: he says what he thinks his constituency want him to say. But the presidency is a unique position: this isn’t a CEO job where the candidate has to demonstrate the ability to hew to the corporate charter and keep the shareholders happy. Bush43 used to say he was the Decider. Probably the only insightful comment he ever made.

            Every trainee standing outside the mess hall is taught to memorise his chain of command, shouting out the litany of everyone in it, in order, going up to POTUS. Every Congresscritter and lobbyist wants face time with POTUS. But everyone who’s held that job says it’s awfully lonely. For all the counsel available and polling data and all the political Zeitgeist, the president has to decide alone. All that “hypocrisy”, however successful, only led him to sit at a desk where none of that bullshit matters.

            Religion’s one thing. Faith is another. Religion is a big nothing, a framework for belief. But faith, that can’t be shared. Even an atheist needs faith in something greater than himself. All that Religion Stuff, that isn’t faith. Anyone who becomes POTUS will need faith in us, the people of this country, or we can’t have faith in him to lead us. We have no faith in Congress because they’re faithless, consumed with their petty quarrels. I think Mitt Romney’s nothing like what he’s saying and everything like what he’s done and how he was raised. If elected, he will come as a disappointing surprise to the current crop of Conservative Reactionary Blowhards.

      • greginak says:

        +h for Mike

      • Mike Schilling says:

        6.626068 × 10-34 m2 kg / s

        (Someone had to say it.)

        • Rodak says:

          “If elected, he will come as a disappointing surprise to the current crop of Conservative Reactionary Blowhards.”

          That’s possible. But it’s also possible that the moderate Romney who was governor of Massachusetts was the one acting out of expediency, rather than conviction, and the current hard-line conservative Romney is the real thing. (This perhaps naively allows for the possibility that there IS a real thing…) I don’t worry so much about Romney’s probable domestic agenda. What I worry about are his likely foreign policy moves. A war with Iran would be a global catastrophe and I’ve heard Romney say nothing to convince me that he understands (or cares) about that.

      • Rodak says:

        “Huh. That’s in interesting paragraph.”

        It defies exegesis.

  2. Rodak says:

    And, btw, “hypocrisy” is doing and extolling that which you consciously do not believe in. It has nothing to do with trying and failing–it has to do with being a conscious phony. It is that which made Holden Caulfield so very disappointed in his world.

    • BlaiseP says:

      Holden Caulfield, heh heh. I used to have a large sign on the refrigerator door, done in the style of an old Wild West wanted poster: It read “Attention Children! Leave home while you still know everything!” Fine stuff, Catcher in the Rye, just the thing to touch the hearts of angst-ridden teenies, awash in hormones like so many harbour seals coming in from the surf off Big Sur.

      But for those of us who’ve grown up a bit, the word Phony rings a bit hollow. Everyone’s a phony. We’ve built up these elaborate personae, one for work, another for home, one for every situation. If it weren’t for my career, I’d use my real name out here. I guess that makes me a phony, too, since I don’t.

      And of course, you’re not a phony. Nossir. You feel you have the right to say religion’s a conscious fraud. And I suppose you do have that right. And I have the right to tell you to get off that ridiculous little hobby horse of yours. Religious people don’t think they’re perfect and my definition of hypocrisy stands as defined. It’s not a conscious fraud to say the example of Jesus Christ has motivated millions of people to live better lives, exhibit mercy to those who don’t deserve, to love our enemies, to believe we might be better people if we followed that example.

    • James H. says:


      Respectfully, I think you misread Blaise’s point about hypocrisy and effort. I don’t think he said what I think you think he said.

  3. Rodak says:

    Strength IN weakness is exactly what Christianity–or maybe I should say “disciplehood”–is all “Your right, your right, your right” at the end of every row. It is heard, however, as “you’re” rather than “your.”

  4. Rodak says:

    I don’t look into Mitt Romney’s heart. But I do listening to what he says, and I don’t see what he does. “By their fruits you shall know them.”

  5. Rodak says:

    Wow. It’s time for bed! — “I do listen to what he says, and I do see what he does.”

  6. Rodak says:

    Strength IN weakness is exactly what Christianity–or maybe I should say “disciplehood”–is all about. [There were lines missing from the comment above that began this way, and perhaps that’s just as well.]

    Mr. BlaiseP does not think he’s perfect. He does, clearly, however, think that he’s BETTER. He is arguing from a position of strength, from whence he shall come to judge the phony and the phony-er.

    I’m not to certain what being “awash in hormones” has to do with Holden Caulfield’s perception of his world, or with a reader’s perceptions of Salinger’s message, but it is clear that Mr. P (or maybe Mr. X would be more accurate) knows better than all of the tens of millions of people who have read The Catcher in the Rye, and who continue to buy and read the book xixty-odd years after it was first published. They are all nearly mindless, adolescent fools, whille Mr. P (a professional for crying out loud!) has got his piece of the True Scoop on Reality. [Say! This ad hominem stuff is kinda fun!)

    Mr. P. says “The law doesn’t kill it convicts.” He can take that one up with St. Paul, who presumably didn’t get his take on the subject from reading J.D. Salinger at an impressionable age. St. Paul said it kills, but then he hadn’t had the opportunity to consult Mr. Pascal here before rashly rushing that notion to press.

    Mr. Pascal claims that only the cowardly cry “Hypocrite!” Only those afraid to fail ever use the word. But I counter that Jesus was not afraid to fail. Maybe Mr. P. missed that message while sitting there, hormone-free and righteous, in his pew; presumably communing with the Almighty under his real name?

    • James H. says:

      Now that’s how to write a screed. Well done.

    • BlaiseP says:

      No, I don’t think I’m better. That’s sorta the point of Christianity, if you get right down to it, that we’re not better: like the people in AA, we came to the point where we had to trust in some Higher Power. Really, if you don’t have a Sin Problem, stay away from Christianity. It’s not for you. Christians are sinners and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a great big sinner or a little, petty, scheming little sinner. The great big sinner at least has the chutzpah to get out there and sin greatly.

      To bring up Holden Caulfield in the context of Phonies is rather to miss the entire point. Holden Caulfield is the biggest phony in Catcher in the Rye and all the other stories where he appears. Look at him, all judgemental and hubristic, Infantile. But buried deep in chapter 24 is Mr. Antolini who says:

      Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them — if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.

      Well, Holden, and by extension, Rodak: that’s how adults think. As Holden observed earlier in that book, seventeen year old kids do sometimes act like they’re twelve or thirteen, still coming to terms with what’s happening to them physically and emotionally. At that age, a person can be forgiven for a good deal of that sort of thing. The concrete only looks dry. Not everything is all true. It’s true to the extent it can be proven. Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s harried parent. Mark Twain tells the story of running away from home. When he came back, he was amazed at how much his father had smartened up in the interval. Holden Caulfield is a cautionary character: a Peter Pan who refuses to grow up.

      Rashly rushing Romans 3 to press, hee hee. Hurl your li’l cardboard theological thunderbolts elsewhere, I’ve read the Bible all my life. Jesus failed all right: how many times did he have to teach his disciples the same truths and they didn’t Get It? St. Paul had to re-teach the same lessons, and people still didn’t Get It, constantly sliding back into legalism and every sort of corner-cutting. We’re still doing it today.

      I didn’t say the word Hypocrite is only uttered by the coward. I said it was used by people who have no intention of doing what the “hypocrite” is trying to do. So feel free to make hay at Christianity’s expense. We’ve batted away puny little attackers of your sort for many centuries and we’ll be here after you’re gone. If we say one thing and do another, Holden Caulfield also said nothing’s all true.

  7. Rodak says:

    back@BlaiseP —

    “… I think he’s an upright and honourable man.”

    And I think that he’s a cynical opportunist and a bald-faced liar and rabble-rouser who will say whatever he thinks it takes to move the nativistic mob of credulous rubes and bible-thumping, gun-toting, jingo-slanted yahoos that constitute the Republican base, in his direction. Not so very honorable at all, in my estimation. In fact, quite the opposite.

    • BlaiseP says:

      Yeah, yeah, Rodak. Cardboard thunderbolts seem to be your speciality. It’s all been said before and more eloquently by others. See, Mitt Romney might actually be all those things. But he’s still his father’s son and I think that’s an important aspect of anyone. You’re your father’s son. I presume he was an honourable man. I can safely state without fear of too much projection you were profoundly influenced by his value system.

      I don’t like Mitt Romney because he seems to be in thrall to moneyed interests. He went out into the world and made a bunch of money. He knows these folks. Now you and I don’t like Romney because he seems to represent people we don’t like and whose value systems we despise.

      But the same is equally true of Barack Obama. Look at his relationship to Wall Street and the financial industry: it’s a beast with a low IQ, a short memory and it’s easily panicked, at which point it starts snorting and bucking and wheeling and destroying things. It’s not immoral, it’s amoral, that Bull-Bear Beast. It does what it’s permitted to do and it doesn’t have any political affiliation any more than it has a memory. Obama sends forth his mouthpiece Tim Geithner to them because Tim Geithner’s a known quantity to the Beast. Geithner is Obama’s rodeo clown.

      Honour is mostly being true to your own objectives, keeping your eyes on the prize. Politics isn’t an honourable person’s profession: it’s all about compromise and dining on half a loaf.

      • Kimmi says:

        Mitt saw his father lose the chance to be president. He subsequently decided to be the anti-George.

        You ain’t never met my father, but I hope to hell you recognize none of him in me!

        • BlaiseP says:

          Everyone swears they’ll never repeat the mistakes of their parents. Often, they live out their lives trying to escape the shadow of their terrible childhoods. Even the most dutiful child of the best parents is constantly scheming to liberate themselves from their onerous heritage.

          But the truth always comes out in the end. Even a bad example is also an example. I’ll bet my life there was someone you did admire who you have emulated. We’re less original than we think.

  8. Solid post, Kyle, and a message that really shouldn’t be too controversial.

  9. Rodak says:

    @BlaiseP — It is certainly true that Obama is merely the lesser of two evils. That said, however, I find Mitt Romney to be particularly obnoxious, even as contrasted only with other politicians. Maybe it’s because I’m from Michigan originally and remember his father and expect more out of Mitt because of that? Or maybe it’s because he has so transparently prostituted his values to his ambitions? The guy takes a dump on most everything he once accomplished and doesn’t even have the decency to kick some dirt over it. Ultimately, he has no class and seems to be almost totally without empathy, going all the way back to Cranbrook.

    • Kimmi says:

      +1. I could have easily voted for his father. Hell, I’d have voted for Nixon — he had some good ideas, and his evil was petty.
      Going to war with Iran is not a petty evil.

    • BlaiseP says:

      Romney was a creature of his times. In those days, his Biz Skool education taught him the supremacy of the stockholder a-la Milton Friedman. He was no better or worse than those around him. I remember those days, when the leveraged buyout was what all the Whiz Kids were doing.

      Prostitution is such an ugly word. I spent decades writing systems which replaced workin’ class people with assembly line robots. I watched those robots move from one state to another, following the tax incentives for screwdriver factories. I rewrote systems that turned ordinary banks into loan sharks, granting loans to people who couldn’t afford them, replacing denials with obscenely inflated interest rates. I wrote government systems for logistics and watched the firms around me produce crap and lie to the feeble-minded military command structures who were supposed to be supervising them. I went on to write systems to screw people out of insurance benefits. I was an ambitious sorta guy, wading into solo consulting when all my peers were bucking for promotions within now long-dead organisations. And like Job’s messengers, only I have survived to tell the tale.

      The longer I live, the harder it’s become to sort out the good guys from the bad guys. A career isn’t a John Ford movie, where you can sort ’em by the colour of their hats. Romney’s got plenty of shit on his boot heels, profiting from the stupidity of corporations but George Soros has plenty on his, too, profiting from the stupidity of governments. Doesn’t mean either one is evil or good. Romney operated in the realm of what was possible. Don’t expect anyone to do otherwise when it comes to the making of money. Bain had some good attorneys and if they operated beyond the bounds of our notions of Right and Proper, Mitt Romney’s survived several political campaigns where his purported crimes would have mattered more.

      Quit looking at Mitt Romney on the basis of what he says. Consider him on the basis of what he’s done. Maybe you’re right. Maybe he’s still a good-looking bully, the child of privilege, tone-deaf to the suffering he’s caused in the course of the money’s he’s made. But I don’t buy into the screechy DailyKos gibbering and frothing. That’s not how Romney could and should be attacked. Romney’s travelling in bad company these days. Ordinary folks know he’s backing away from his track record. People will elect an asshole. They won’t elect a tune-changer.

      • Kimmi says:

        Never said he was a bully — that’s GW, and I’ve got the pics to prove it (rugby). Romney’s just a coward.

  10. Rodak says:

    “That’s not how Romney could and should be attacked.”

    I totally disagree with that statement, particularly if considered within the context of Christian teachings. But, what the hell — I’ll stipulate for the sake of advancing our understanding of poor Mitt, that you’re correct. And I’ll go on to ask you to explain, then, on what grounds Mr. Romney could and should be attacked instead?

    • BlaiseP says:

      You really ought to learn to hit the Reply button, to chain up a thread.

      Mitt Romney’s plans lack detail. I get pulled into projects with just this sort of problem, blue-sky promises have been made and nobody with a clue has any idea how to keep such promises.

      Will Rogers, homespun comedian, once took to the stage in NYCity during WW1. In those days, the submarine was coming into its own as a weapon of war. The Lusitania had been sunk and rumours abounded. Will Rogers said he had a plan to deal with those German submarines: he’d raise the temperature of the North Atlantic to the boiling point and those subs would surface like so many dead sardines. [insert big laffs here]. He continued, saying folks would want to know just how he was planning to boil the ocean, but he wasn’t worried. Those were just details, mere details. “I’m a Policy Man, myself.”

      That’s Romney’s problem. All these fine plans about how we’re going to spend all this money on the military without raising taxes amount to Boiling the Ocean.

      • Rodak says:

        I hit the reply button, and did last time, too.

        “All these fine plans about how we’re going to spend all this money on the military without raising taxes amount to Boiling the Ocean.”

        You see, what bothers me is that Romney plans to spend all this money on the military. That policy having been decided upon, I don’t really give a damn that he can’t pay for it. Or that he will have to go back on yet one more “no new taxes” pledge in order to do so. It’s only money. What the money that goes to fund the military is used for, however, is life and death. That’s what I care about.

        • BlaiseP says:

          Thing is, our military does have serious needs, which ought to be intelligently addressed. We need to regroup and rearm and refit. Our war machine is literally worn out. Our troops have been deployed so many times, it’s like the legions of Rome, whole cities have grown up in the shadow of our encampments.

          Do we need to spend more money on the military? Putting aside the absurdity of promising money to the Pentagon when they didn’t ask for it, how much more cutting is prudent? I’m not against spending money on the military if it made a difference in national security. Now here’s one area where Romney is terribly vulnerable. He’s neither a military nor foreign policy kinda guy. If he couldn’t name one program he’d cut or reform, I’d incinerate him on stage.

          • Rodak says:

            America should not have a war machine. America should have a national defense establishment. America should not be garrisoning the globe; American should be protecting its shores and airspace. There will always be the nuclear deterrent to back that up.

          • Rodak says:

            The only real need America has for a war machine is the perceived need of Mitt Romney and a few of his closest friends to make mega-billions by building and deploying that war machine. It’s all Daddy Warbucks picking the pockets of the rubes to build crap that becomes “obsolete” without ever being used in many cases. At which point, it “needs” to be replaced. What total bullshit.

          • Kimmi says:

            30 minutes makes a fine nuclear deterrent, Rodak.
            5 minutes makes a ton of radioactivity. 6 minutes run on ENIACS? Deadly stupid.

          • BlaiseP says:

            That’s all fine and good, until we get to the part where pirates come gunning for our merchant shipping and our consulates are being overrun. But yes, I suppose we don’t need a War Machine, as such. We need a Peace Machine and I don’t mean some Kum Ba Ya types either. This nation has genuine enemies who are plotting our destruction day and night and that’s not paranoia. They really are out to get us.

            America’s problem is this: we don’t believe our own sermons about democracy. We lack the courage of our convictions. Democracy and the rights of man are concepts worth the sacrifice of blood and treasure: the veneer of civilisation is very thin and requires constant maintenance. The last thing needed in the course of advancing these goals is yet another militaristic jackass (specifically one who never wore a uniform) letting his mouth outrun his ass, making promises we can’t keep.

    • BlaiseP says:

      On the foreign policy front, I’d attack Romney on the basis of his consistently inept responses to the world’s problems. Talking softly and carrying a big stick is a far more menacing stance, anyway. Shouting doesn’t win fights. Big sticks don’t always win fights, either.

      Romney’s dangerous because he’s so ideologically brittle. He’s likely to get us into avoidable wars on that basis. America will fight, if it needs to fight. But where we can avoid a war by use of diplomacy, we ought to. Someone on Romney’s staff needs to get him a copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Romney has no idea how disastrously stupid an unnecessary war could be to America at this point in time.

      • Rodak says:

        “Romney has no idea how disastrously stupid an unnecessary war could be to America at this point in time.”

        Exactly. And Obama does.

      • Rodak says:

        “They really are out to get us.”

        But they can’t. They have no hope. The only way they can hurt us is by stimulating our insecurities and paranoia until we spend ourselves into an economic collapse. (see: Union, Soviet)
        As for civilization… Civilization doesn’t have democracy as a necessary condition. It doesn’t imply freedom. There was civilization in abundance long before either of those things were conceived of. I personally don’t think that Jesus, or any other saint, gives a hoot about either “democracy” or “freedom” as politically defined by our current mindset. St. Paul said that a disciple of Christ should be in the world, but not of the world. If one is worried about democracy and the kind of person freedoms we “enjoy” under the umbrella of “liberty,” then one is very much “of” the world. You can’t have it both ways. Most “Christians” choose to sit in their pews and feel very good about themselves for so doing, all the while reeking of their lust for “the world.” But you can’t have it both ways.

        • Rodak says:

          I have no problem, btw, with the U.S. maintaining a fleet to take part in an international effort to patrol the oceanic trade routes against pirates. But that is really a problem of policing crime, not one of waging war.

        • BlaiseP says:

          I don’t buy any of that. America has a short attention span. That’s the way we’re set up, to replace our leadership every few years. Tyrants and bad guys can out-wait us. The USSR failed because its leadership got old and creaky and didn’t adapt. Communism never works. People want to own things.

          Civilisation might have existed before democracy but it was pretty awful stuff. Rome was more akin to an anthill than a democracy. Your philosophy is skim milk and it has gone sour. Do make up your mind: either argue from inside the Bible or outside it. I will not be lectured on the subject of Christianity by someone who can’t even cite from the Bible.

          • Rodak says:

            I cite from the Bible continuously. It is possible that you aren’t recognizing the citations, though.

          • BlaiseP says:

            Um, my idea of a citation involves chapter and verse. I’m not going to do your homework for you. Either cite from scripture or quit preaching your little un-sermons.

  11. Rodak says:

    For the record, I am against *organized* religion, which is, in every instance I know of, corrupt and literally “gone to the devil.” I am not against fundamental religious teachings and philosophies.

    • Kimmi says:

      “Love and Peace! Love and Peace!”
      _and then Jesus flys through the room on a string_

      I challenge you to show how Japanese churches are corrupt.

    • Rodak says:

      I’m interested in the ideas not in the chapter and verse. And the minute I start citing chapter and verse I’ll have every papist on the site ragging on me for proof-texting. I’ll express myself as I please. And I’ll quote the Bible from memory. And anybody who sees it and recognizes message will get the message. And if they don”t, citing chapter and verse won’t change anything for the better.

      • BlaiseP says:

        Ah, the ideas. Which you’ve already called a conscious fraud. Fact is, you don’t know the Bible well enough to come up with anything but a cavalcade of sour sophistry and boneheaded fallacies. Papists, eh? I have no problem with Papists. I rather like ’em, myself. Especially the Jesuits, they’re the thinkers of that branch of the faith. I like Judaism, too. Very sensible religion, that one. It teaches charity, a quality lacking in some quarters.

        Now just you run ‘long now and crack open your copy of the Bible, as I do every day. You’ll find the ideas behind Christianity and Judaism more interesting when you’ve actually read something besides the Cliff’s Notes version.

        • Tom Van Dyke says:

          Friggin’ Blaise. He’s more like me than I am. I cannot help but love him.

          And vice versa. ;-P

        • Rodak says:

          I called organized religion a conscious fraud, not the Scriptures. You seem to have serious deficiencies in reading comprehension. I don’t know…night school, maybe?

        • Rodak says:

          Which translation would you like me to use, Master? The Jerusalem Bible? The good ol’ King James? The New English Bible? The RVS? The NIV Study Biblle? I’ve got ’em all, some of them in multiple editions. But, hey–I know that you hear “voices” whispering to you “Tell him that he’s never read them! Tell him NOW!”

          The meds, Father Pascal. Take the meds.

          • Rodak says:

            I’ve been wondering, too, Master, about this mysterious profession to which you belong and which prevents you from operating here under your real name. A careful analysis of your linguistic traits and interpersonal affect has led me to conclude that you are most likely a cop. But you are a cop with out-of-the-ordinary intellectual aspirations. My best guess here would be a junior college associate’s certificate in something like “Prowl Car Psychology,” earned on the basis of your paper, “The Uses of Arrogance in Recreational Bullying.” I congratulate you, Master, on your ambition to rise a step above!