So Who Cares What 2/3rds of Americans Think?

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Ralph
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So Who Cares What 2/3rds of Americans Think?

Post by Ralph » Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:46 am

Poll: Two-thirds of Americans oppose more troops in Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two out of three Americans oppose President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq, a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Friday indicates.

Nearly two-thirds of those polled also say Bush has no clear plan for Iraq.

While his numbers have inched up slightly on that question since the previous poll last week, Bush's address to the nation Wednesday night seems to have made little difference.

Nearly half of those who saw the speech say their minds were not changed, while the rest are evenly split over whether they'd be more or less likely to support his policies.

This is the first poll gauging Americans' positions on the strategy following Bush's address. The telephone survey of 1,093 adult Americans was conducted Thursday. The sampling error on all the questions in the poll is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

In his Wednesday evening address, Bush said he would send more than 20,000 additional troops to help the embattled government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki secure Baghdad, the scene of intense sectarian violence, and other regions roiled by the Sunni-backed insurgency.

Bush also said he would request billions more dollars to fund

The president argued that the increase in troop strength would be the best chance to succeed in a war the U.S. cannot afford to lose.

But Americans, the poll indicates, do not see it that way. Asked their positions on sending more troops to Iraq, 66 percent of respondents said they oppose the move, while 32 percent said they favor it.

Half the respondents said they "strongly oppose" sending more troops, while 16 percent "moderately oppose." Only 19 percent "strongly favor" sending additional troops, and 13 percent "moderately favor" the idea.
Watching Bush address had little, no impact on opinions

Asked whether they believe additional troops will help the United States achieve its goals, 48 percent who answered the poll said it will make no difference; 31 percent said it would help, and 18 percent said the United States would be less likely to accomplish its goals in Iraq.

Asked whether Bush has a clear plan for Iraq, 63 percent said no, while 35 percent said yes.

A week earlier, 72 percent said no and 25 percent said yes.

But that slight rise is apparently not attributable to having watched Bush's speech Wednesday night. Among those who watched the speech -- which was a little less than half the people surveyed -- 45 percent said it made no difference. Meanwhile 27 percent said they were more likely to support his policies -- and 27 percent said they were less likely.

With Democrats controlling Congress, Americans show substantially more support for the Democratic Party on the issue of Iraq. Just more than half -- 51 percent -- said they have more confidence in the Iraq policies of the Democrats in Congress, while only 34 percent said they have more confidence in Bush's Iraq policies.

The public's increasing dissatisfaction with the war may be encouraging lawmakers from both parties to strengthen their opposition to the president's war strategy. Democratic lawmakers have said they are exploring ways to limit or restrict funding for the war efforts to force the president to change his strategy.

Leading GOP senator: Morally, militarily wrong

While appearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice faced tough questions from senators, many of whom expressed doubts from both Democrats and Republicans that the increase in troop strength would help in the sectarian violence that has torn Iraq apart. (Watch Rice, senators engage in heated exchanges over IraqVideo)

Several leading GOP senators have also come out against Bush's "New Way Forward" -- some in blistering terms. Sen. Chuck Hagel, an increasingly outspoken critic of the administration, called it "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam" and promised to oppose it.

"To ask our young men and women to sacrifice their lives to be put in the middle of a civil war is wrong," Hagel told Rice during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing. "It's, first of all, in my opinion, morally wrong. It's tactically, strategically, militarily wrong."



Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/12/ ... index.html
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DavidRoss
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Post by DavidRoss » Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:23 am

Right! After all, more than 2/3 of Americans prefer Madonna to Dittersdorf.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:25 am

DavidRoss wrote:Right! After all, more than 2/3 of Americans prefer Madonna to Dittersdorf.
*****

I seriously doubt that claim can be validated.
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DavidRoss
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Post by DavidRoss » Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:23 pm

Ralph wrote:
DavidRoss wrote:Right! After all, more than 2/3 of Americans prefer Madonna to Dittersdorf.
*****

I seriously doubt that claim can be validated.
Probably not, since more than 2/3 of Americans polled either have never heard of Dittersdorf or identify it as a fairy tale castle in Bavaria.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Sat Jan 13, 2007 1:48 pm

DavidRoss wrote:
Ralph wrote:
DavidRoss wrote:Right! After all, more than 2/3 of Americans prefer Madonna to Dittersdorf.
*****

I seriously doubt that claim can be validated.
Probably not, since more than 2/3 of Americans polled either have never heard of Dittersdorf or identify it as a fairy tale castle in Bavaria.
*****

Dittersdorf's day is coming!
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Barry
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Post by Barry » Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:32 pm

So I suppose the fact that public opinion in Britain and western Europe generally in the mid to late 30s was overwhelmingly against forcefully confronting Hitler when he was weaker and would have been more easily beatable means Chamberlain did the right thing.

The more I see and hear of John McCain and his willingness to say what needs to be said and to be perfectly candid with the American people about what needs to be done in spite of knowing how unpopular that is and that supporting a troop increase may very well cost him the presidency, the more convinced I am that he is the best leader we have in this country at the moment and that he is exactly the man we need at this point in time. He is as close to a Churchillian type of leader as we have today. Seeing him in the Arms Service Committee hearing with Gates and Pace on C-Span and hearing him say that those who favor a withdraw have a duty to say what the consequences of that withdraw would be and what they would do if those of us who say a disaster of a much greater magnitude in Iraq and possibly a regional conflict would result are correct was inspiring, to say the least. I agree with him 100 percent that if we pull out now, we'll be back in the coming years, only under much more difficult circumstances. Those who think things can't get worse over there are flat out wrong IMO. And we need leadership that's going to do what's right, not play politics with our national security.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:45 pm

Public opinion in Britain in the 30s was, from our perspective, wrong. But that didn't mean the government of the day could go against it. Even Churchill, perhaps especially Churchill, understood that.

In 1940 and 1941 President Roosevelt secretly, and probably unconstitutionally, aided the British war effort. He was right to do that and right to conceal his actions from a clearly antagonistic majority.

Perhaps one day Bush will be applauded for his Iraq policy - I can't see into the future, I can only work with what I presently know. And I join most Americans in believing we have failed in Iraq and can not prevail through the infusion of more troops and dollars.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Sat Jan 13, 2007 3:53 pm

his willingness to say what needs to be said and to be perfectly candid with the American people about what needs to be done in spite of knowing how unpopular that is and that supporting a troop increase may very well cost him the presidency,

Barry
So you think ignoring the will of the people is a good Presidential quality
I suppose ”Of the people by the people for the people” is an outdated notion

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Post by keaggy220 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:00 pm

Ted wrote:
his willingness to say what needs to be said and to be perfectly candid with the American people about what needs to be done in spite of knowing how unpopular that is and that supporting a troop increase may very well cost him the presidency,

Barry
So you think ignoring the will of the people is a good Presidential quality
I suppose ”Of the people by the people for the people” is an outdated notion
What does, ”Of the people by the people for the people” have to do with a President not doing what is popular at the moment?

pizza
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Post by pizza » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:13 pm

Ted wrote:
his willingness to say what needs to be said and to be perfectly candid with the American people about what needs to be done in spite of knowing how unpopular that is and that supporting a troop increase may very well cost him the presidency,

Barry
So you think ignoring the will of the people is a good Presidential quality
I suppose ”Of the people by the people for the people” is an outdated notion

Depends what the "will of the people" is. Guess what Lincoln would have done on the slavery issue if he had followed the will of the majority.

DavidRoss
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Post by DavidRoss » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:22 pm

I suspect that the general public was better informed in Britain in the '30s than in the U.S. now. Today's college seniors know less about the world than the average high school graduate in 1950 (see this). And the literacy rate among college graduates these days has fallen to 31% (look here).

I'm hard-pressed to recall a time in my half-century plus when the general public was right about anything. Santayana's maxim still holds, and probably will for as long as wishful thinking prevails over rigorous analysis.

Why is it so hard for some to learn the lessons in Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? Put things back the way you found them. Clean up your own mess. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Barry
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Post by Barry » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:40 pm

Ted wrote:
his willingness to say what needs to be said and to be perfectly candid with the American people about what needs to be done in spite of knowing how unpopular that is and that supporting a troop increase may very well cost him the presidency,

Barry
So you think ignoring the will of the people is a good Presidential quality
I suppose ”Of the people by the people for the people” is an outdated notion
What Pizza said.

And slavery was far from the only issue on which the position of most of the American public held positions that we consider flat out wrong today.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:55 pm

Suspect as its judgements may typically be, when we speak in the same breath of George W. Bush, "the people" are wiser.

Frightening, isn't it?

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Sun Jan 14, 2007 9:24 pm

Barry Z wrote:
Ted wrote:
his willingness to say what needs to be said and to be perfectly candid with the American people about what needs to be done in spite of knowing how unpopular that is and that supporting a troop increase may very well cost him the presidency,

Barry
So you think ignoring the will of the people is a good Presidential quality
I suppose ”Of the people by the people for the people” is an outdated notion
What Pizza said.

And slavery was far from the only issue on which the position of most of the American public held positions that we consider flat out wrong today.
*****

But the majority of non-Southern Americans were committed to preserving the Union which was the main issue of the war.
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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Jan 14, 2007 9:38 pm

Ralph wrote:
Barry Z wrote:
Ted wrote:
his willingness to say what needs to be said and to be perfectly candid with the American people about what needs to be done in spite of knowing how unpopular that is and that supporting a troop increase may very well cost him the presidency,

Barry
So you think ignoring the will of the people is a good Presidential quality
I suppose ”Of the people by the people for the people” is an outdated notion
What Pizza said.

And slavery was far from the only issue on which the position of most of the American public held positions that we consider flat out wrong today.
*****

But the majority of non-Southern Americans were committed to preserving the Union which was the main issue of the war.
The majority of northerners could have cared less if the South had held slaves till kingdom come (which is exactly what would have happened in a few years in apocalyptic terms if they had not forced it on themselves). Northern soldiers actually refused to be entertained by a roaming band of musicians because they performed antil-slavery songs. So while in global terms the Civil War was about slavery, in terms of poll-able public opinion it was nothing of the sort.

Untempered majority opinion is extremely unreliable in a democracy. If we relied on majority opinion in the US, there would be at the minimum a Congressional resolution that angels exist and serious legislation that children should be taught that the Earth might be only a few thousand years old. It might be nice if we could rely on a majority opinion (in the sense of an up-or-down plebiscite) in a case like Iraq, but it is not that simple. Oh boy, is it not that simple.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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DavidRoss
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Post by DavidRoss » Sun Jan 14, 2007 11:00 pm

Ralph wrote:But the majority of non-Southern Americans were committed to preserving the Union which was the main issue of the war.
Spoken like a true Yankee.

John, I'm delighted to report that for once we are in substantial agreement.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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anasazi
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Post by anasazi » Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:05 am

pizza wrote:Depends what the "will of the people" is. Guess what Lincoln would have done on the slavery issue if he had followed the will of the majority.
I'm waiting for your answer? Did they take polls in 1863? Are you just looking at favorite history books? How can any of us know?

My only point is this: if you want to say that slavery would be supported by a majority of Southerners of that time, are you actually counting African-Americans slaves as Southerners?
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" - John Muir.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:39 am

anasazi wrote:
pizza wrote:Depends what the "will of the people" is. Guess what Lincoln would have done on the slavery issue if he had followed the will of the majority.
I'm waiting for your answer? Did they take polls in 1863? Are you just looking at favorite history books? How can any of us know?

My only point is this: if you want to say that slavery would be supported by a majority of Southerners of that time, are you actually counting African-Americans slaves as Southerners?
What's the problem? Here is what Ralph's favorite organization, the ACLU says:

"However, a fundamental principle of American democracy is that even a democratic majority cannot be permitted to tyrannize the minority and restrict individual rights. For example, prior to the Civil War, a majority of U.S. citizens favored slavery. Fortunately the government moved to ensure basic freedoms for all Americans."

http://www.acluohio.org/about/faq.asp

Granted, most of what they say is pure nonsense, but in this case they're stating a fact rather than one of their off-the-wall opinions.

anasazi
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Post by anasazi » Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:12 am

I guess that settles it. Afircan-Americans were not U.S. citizens then, so they did not count.
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" - John Muir.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:18 am

anasazi wrote:I guess that settles it. Afircan-Americans were not U.S. citizens then, so they did not count.
Neither were American Indians; nor are today's resident aliens or illegal immigrants. They also don't count as US Citizens. Neither are foreign tourists and foreign diplomats.

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Post by Kevin R » Mon Jan 15, 2007 5:03 am

I agree with both Barry and Pizza here. While a president must always be aware of where the majority is at any given time, he must do what he thinks is right and, at times, go against what the people want. The Lincoln example is apt, as he was far ahead of Northern whites on the issue of emancipation and black civil rights. I think an even better example would be how FDR fought against the Ludlow Amendment (even though 68% of Americans favored its adoption).
"Free trade, one of the greatest blessings which a government can confer on a people, is in almost every country unpopular."

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Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jan 15, 2007 5:25 am

DavidRoss wrote:
John, I'm delighted to report that for once we are in substantial agreement.
Let's aim for two out of three. :wink:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

anasazi
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Post by anasazi » Sat Jan 20, 2007 4:20 am

pizza wrote:
anasazi wrote:I guess that settles it. Afircan-Americans were not U.S. citizens then, so they did not count.
Neither were American Indians; nor are today's resident aliens or illegal immigrants. They also don't count as US Citizens. Neither are foreign tourists and foreign diplomats.
But none of those people were brought here, kidnapped, against their will.

And native born American Indians, ARE U.S. citizens, although true they were not counted as such at one time.
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" - John Muir.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:21 pm

anasazi wrote:
pizza wrote:
anasazi wrote:I guess that settles it. Afircan-Americans were not U.S. citizens then, so they did not count.
Neither were American Indians; nor are today's resident aliens or illegal immigrants. They also don't count as US Citizens. Neither are foreign tourists and foreign diplomats.
But none of those people were brought here, kidnapped, against their will.

And native born American Indians, ARE U.S. citizens, although true they were not counted as such at one time.
At the time Lincoln abolished slavery, a majority of US Citizens favored slavery. Indians and slaves then had no vote and couldn't have affected the outcome of the 1864 presidential election; consequently Lincoln's act was an act of courage that disregarded the will of the majority of those whose position on the issue could have defeated his re-election.

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