Michael van der Galien Still Dodging Questions

Michael van der Galien Still Dodging Questions


A snarky response to an earnest question:

I’m not sure whether I should feel flattered or annoyed with all the attention Justin Gardner of Donklephant has given me recently. Donklephant turning into Michael Van Der Galiën Watch? It’s great that Justin has moved from Ron Paul to Barack Obama – good decision – but it’s getting a bit much, really. As an aside, you’re free to become a co-blogger here Justin, you’re welcome.

Bottom line: Michael still refuses to back his opinions with facts.

Obviously, this is more than a little disappointing. I thought that because we’re both moderate bloggers we could actually have a genuine debate on Barack v. Hillary. Instead he’s spinning my posts as some type of quasi-obsessive behavior. Oh well.

By the way, I said this over at the other post, but let me just say it very plainly here…if you’re looking to attack Michael personally in the comments section, don’t. Either bring some substance to this conversation or don’t comment.


  • http://www.poligazette.com Jason

    I wish Justin had made his point less personally about Michael (repeatedly referencing Michael’s name instead of making the discussion primarily about the underlying argument has the unintended side effect of making it appear purely personal). I also wish that Justin had avoided characterizing all of PoliGazette as being the same on this issue, since there are at least two contributors who have repeatedly disagreed with Michael regarding Obama’s moderation.

    Aside from problems with how it is presented, however, I agree with Justin’s argument about what defines moderation. Micheal’s argument has been to focus on the content of the issue positions, but I think that test is a poor one since almost no viable candidate of either party could ever be truly “moderate”. Even the supposedly “maverick” McCain is 95% conventional conservative when you look at his issue positions. And there is no evidence that Hillary Clinton’s issue positions are in any way more “centrist” than Obama’s.

    I think moderation is best measured through a combination of issue positions and style resulting in a composite metric that we might call “probable outcomes”. Is Obama or Clinton likely to lead to more moderate policy outcomes in the give-and-take of actual governance? I think that Obama’s less confrontational and less intentionally polarizing political style (demonstrated by his use of gestures to the opposition in his issue positions on immigration, globalization, and other issues) makes it inevitable that an Obama administration would wind up producing more moderate outcomes than a Clinton administration. Historically, the Clinton approach (especially Hillary) has been to stake out a position, establish a “war room”, refuse to compromise on anything, and demonize all opposition. I think that would result in intractable partisan battles that would force policy options towards the extremes sustained by a narrow partisan majority.

    So, basically, I think that in spite of all the blustering about what Obama supporters should supposedly “admit”, the underlying definition of what actually lies at the core of moderate politics (pragmatism) is missing in Michael’s critiques.

  • http://probligo.blogspot.com probligo

    I have tried to debate with Mr van Galien in the past on two or three of his many syndicated blogs with the immediate response that I am an “anti-Semitic”. Well, at that point I gave up. Despite his reputation on the ‘net, his is not a place that I would go for objective and reasoned debate.

    Well, not unless you agree with him.

    And that, kind sirs, is a personal observation – not an “attack”

  • abrisaham

    While Jason has a point what he fails to take into account is that any politician always governs to his base. Dances with the gal who brung him and all those other trite and quaint sayings. However to make a long story short the gal bringing Obama to the dance is the far left progressive antiwar crowd and they aint moderate. They ain’t. And when your forced to govern to your base and your base ain’t moderate then you ain’t gonna be moderate.

    The supposition here is that somehow Obama is going to resist the base. His voting record does not indicate that and he has dodged 132 votes in 2 years. His record in the senate has been to carefully groom himself for this shot at the presidency by dodging any vote that could be construed as confrontational with his base. He also sports one of the top two or three most liberal voting records in the senate. I won’t bother you with the details on that.

    So while Obama might use rhetoric that is moderate or less demonizing that is because he has YET to be in the dirty trenches with the backroom politicians trying to pound out a deal. Hillary has. The war room mentality that Jason points to has been the trademark of every president from nearly the beginning of the two party system.

    Just today in a speech Obama said this:

    In his speech, Obama depicted Clinton as a calculating, poll-tested divisive figure who will only inspire greater partisan divisions as she sides with Republicans on issues such as trade, the role of lobbyists in politics and national security. At the same time, he elevated McCain, fresh off victory in Florida’s crucial primary, as the likely Republican nominee.

    Facing tough times Obama is already showing that hint of cracking. Of getting down in the trenches and getting dirty. See I dont mind that. I dont mind politicians hammering out deals and getting dirty in doing so. What I mind is high minded “Im gonna change the way we do things in Washington” politicians. Because every 4 years a candidate comes along promising us the same old thing. Im gonna change things an in the end they just change the name plates on the door and business returns to normal. This is why I reject Obama’s candidacy because there is nothing to suggest that he will change anything only his word and as Jason points out a few trivial fig leafs on his website.

  • abrisaham

    divisions as she sides with Republicans on issues such as trade, the role of lobbyists in politics and national security.

    There was a time in American Politics when what a candidate or a politician or a president said was analyzed and dissected and meaning given to what the words meant.

    I still adhere to that.

    Look at the above. The moderate, centrist, lets all get along and Im the man to lead you to this promised land says what?

    If you side with Republicans on issues of National Defense, Trade or the role of lobbyists then you are a traitor to your own party, people and base. He is saying quite simply there is no room to side with the enemy. The GOP is the enemy and if Hillary is elected then she might actually side with them on issues that are wrong according to the Democrats or defined by Obama and his base.

    I follow Barak Obama quite closely. I am from the old school of analyzing what they say, how they say it and why are they saying it. I find him a very charming fellow. Someone I could vote for if he had 5-10 years of a moderate, centrist voting record. If he had that along with his present Rhetoric I would be campaigning for him. He does not and his words analyzed belie and underlying confrontational Im right and your wrong mentality.

    Even his audacity of hope suggests this when he says: Liberal thought is based in reason and truth. Suggesting that conservative thought is based in lies and unreasonableness.

    A careful watch of his words and analysis of what the implications mean are surprisingly no where near moderate.