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You're right. This makes both look worse and reveals why I am not at all sure that McCain loses the election in November.

The fact is, as any lucid observer can tell, that O'Bama is an empty suit. At the ripe old age of 47 he has accomplished precious little in his career except beating Alan Keyes and now running a close race with a woman that virtually the entire country loathes. No business successes, no legislation, no executive accomplishments, heck not even a successful career as a slip and fall attorney. And now Hill exposes him as orator of banal platitudes, who borrows the banal platitudes of others.

As for Hill, we have an empty (pants)suit, who has accomplished precious little in her career that wasn't a result of her proximity to a man who held power. Her only executive experience revealed a political tin ear, a propensity to construct overreaching government regulations, and the rare combination of a politician who feels both entitlement and superiority. Plus, she is one nasty piece of work.

Thanks Dems!

C'mon, now, Pursuit! Surely B. Hussein Obama's "achievements" include Affirmative Action admission to prestigious schools and winning the editorship of the Harvard Law Review on the 19th round as a compromise candidate. Surely he was elected to the US Senate because of his outstandingness, and not because the local paper exposed his opponent's messy divorce.

Remember, no matter which Democrat you pick, it's buy one, get one free! We all know who comes to the party with Hillary, but what a piece of work is Mrs. Obama! Unrestrained anger at America, anti-white racism, and resentment for having the world handed to her on a platter (Affirmative Action admission to Harvard Law, followed by cush board of directors positions and six figures to be the "community affairs director" for U of Chicago Hospitals).

Now that her husband is a serious contender for the Democratic nominee, she can finally proclaim, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am--really--proud of my country." I guess that the Space Shuttle, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the winning of the Cold War--all events in her adult lifetime--are nothing to be proud of. For that matter, the creation of a Christian country on a largely uninhabited continent that had been occupied by a couple of million "merciless Indian Savages"*, the settling of the American West, the massive improvements in the quality and quantity of life of all Americans over the past two centuries, the extraordinary level of achievement in all the arts and sciences made by Americans--none of this merits the least pride for Mrs. Obama.

Yeah, ol' Squidley is full of his racist™ "hate" again, isn't he? Of course, nothing I've written is substantiated by facts or analysis of her actual words and performance.

*Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

Gosh, Pursuit, I'd figured you for an Obama supporter. Go figure...

And Squid, not to belabor the obvious, but just because Thomas Jefferson said something doesn't mean it's not racist.

I'm just full of surprises

Is it your contention that the Indians of the 18th century were civilized and merciful? Perhaps you're referring to their stone-age technology, primitive agriculture, and habit of enslaving those they vanquished while slaughtering their enemies' women and children.

Oh, oops! I forgot that "only those combatting racism, sexism and classism now occupy the moral high ground. Every one else is a racist, sexist or bigot and therefore subject to being viewed with contempt, as well as being marginalized and even criminalized."

So obviously I am a racist™ and/or a bigot™ for being so immoral as to say anything unflattering about any minority, even--or especially--if it is true.

Silly me.

I think I would probably contend that, at that point in history, we were all merciless savages. The deliberate spreading of smallpox among Indians in order to take their farmland can hardly be thought of as civilized, and surely your mention of the Indian habit of taking slaves is ironic given that it's offered in the context of defending Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves.

I would also be interested to know why, in the middle of this, you linked to a blog post about erectile dysfunction advertising. What's the connection?

Last things first: I linked to where the quote came from; it seemed relevant.

Most important point: I take great exception to your smearing of early Americans as "savages." This is the typical liberal smear of all that the West accomplished before the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. According to this inverted world view, nothing that the West achieved before then was good, because it was all "tainted" by racism™, sexism™, classism™, imperialism™, and all the other "shortcomings" of our ancestors. According to this warped view, there are only two possibilities: the goodness and light of the modern liberal order, and the evil of the dark times before the 1960s, when all the West was the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany or the Taliban. (Somehow, leftist regimes of mass murder and oppression--like Communist dictatorships and Pol Pot's Cambodia--get a pass.)

Have you ever read de Toqueville? He made many extraordinary observations about America in the early 19th century. Among them, he noted that a woman traveling alone was safe, and that we didn't need homicide investigators because the community would rise up, find, and deal with the perpetrator of its own accord. Is modern America as safe as the America de Tocqueville saw? Sacrebleu, 'ow can that be? Surely we are superior to our "savage" ancestors!

As for spreading smallpox, three things need to be kept in mind:
(1) At the time, people did not understand how disease spreads.
(2) Indians, like other populations not exposed to Western diseases throughout their history and therefore without the collective genetic resistance to them, were particularly vulnerable to said illnesses. Just as we should not attribute the spread of Ebola fever or AIDS (both from Africa) to malicious intent, we should not attribute the spread of smallpox (et al.) to malicious intent.
(3) The giving of blankets was an effort at humanitarian aid that had a horrible--and unintended--consequence.

Finally, for slavery, the Founding Fathers found themselves born into a society in which slavery was a fact of life; they did not manufacture the institution ex nihilo. They did their best with what they had, and--if Lincoln's understanding of their intent is correct--made a way to accommodate it but with the goal of its eventual disappearance. (After all, they did work in provisions to abolish the international slave trade in America.) The problem of slavery--a practice that had died out in the West until we came into contact with African and Moslem slave-traders in the 15th century--was one they found themselves unable to solve, and one which ultimately caused the deaths of over 620,000 Americans.

Furthermore, it was the West (primarily Great Britain) that, at great cost and little benefit to itself, forced an end to slavery.

Finally, are you unaware that Jefferson was deeply troubled by slavery? Do you not know that he tried, on several occasions, to limit or abolish it? He was financially unable to free his own slaves, but did manage to manumit five of them toward the end of his life.

Why is it liberals can only focus on the shortcomings of our ancestors--and the greater their achievements, the more they must be torn down--and ignore their extraordinary accomplishments? I'm not advocating whitewashing--but how about a little balance?

Squid, there's absolutely nothing in that last comment that reflects a literal interpretation of what I've actually said, ever. I say something and you spin off into some delusional world of generalities.

I know Jefferson was troubled by slavery, but his great failure was that he was not so troubled by it that he would actually sacrifice anything to eliminate it. While you find his angst admirable, I find it hypocritical. I trust you apply that same standard of admiration to Leonardo DiCaprio, who crusades against global warming but drives a 12 mile per gallon SUV. Like Jefferson, he knows change is necessary, but -- also like Jefferson -- he's unwilling to sacrifice his own comfort to affect that change.

As for your objection to considering life on the frontier, in general, savage...well, get a grip. Of course not everyone was savage. Not every Indian was savage either. But by contemporary standards it was absolutely brutal. People killed each other without legal consequence. Infant deaths were so common they were barely mourned. Warriors and soldiers deliberately targeted women and children.

Finally, this characterization of my beliefs: According to this warped view, there are only two possibilities: the goodness and light of the modern liberal order, and the evil of the dark times before the 1960s, when all the West was the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany or the Taliban.

In the upper right hand corner of every page of F/A there's a Google search button. I challenge you to find a single thing that I have ever written on the blog that -- in context -- supports your statement.

My fundamental belief about the United States is that we are a nation defined by its quest for liberty. That has been an imperfect quest because people are imperfect. There is no better example of that imperfection than Thomas Jefferson, who I find incredibly admirable in almost every way.

Our quest is constant, personified by literally millions of people who've stepped-up at crucial moments. (Most of the time, those people were condemned by the conservative establishment, which was perfectly comfortable with the status quo.) I accept that perfection is a theoretical thing and thus out of reach, but believe it is each of our patriotic duties to continue the quest. (This is why I'm so offended by contemporary Republicans, who at every opportunity are willing to sacrifice liberty for physical safety.)

There is nothing in my belief that makes the 1960s a significant line of definition. There is nothing in my belief that broadly condemns the past the way you say.

Squid, you need to stop arguing imaginary points. Seriously.

And this is why we stick with you, Tom. In spite of your liberalism, you haven't bought into it all the way. I commend you for your open mind.

However, I believe if you look around you, you will find several million of your fellow countrymen do, in fact, see everything about traditional America (i.e., everything before the 60s) more or less as I described it. I apologize for attributing to you the same lunacy, though I stand by my original point: our American ancestors achieved great things, and they were most assuredly not savages. (Of course, some of them acted savagely--duh. That, however, was not the rule.)

Incidentally, when I said that Jefferson was financially incapable of freeing his slaves, it's because he used them as collateral for loans. Putting himself and his family into the poorhouse would have done no one any good. Also, we modern types tend to be a bit sanctimonious when it comes to judging our forebears. I imagine that in the future, there will be some perfectly common practice of ours that our descendants will find inexcusable. Will they also anachronistically damn us for our immorality?

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