View Poll Results: Who do you most agree with regarding Howard's comments and Obama's response?

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  • Howard

    5 17.86%
  • Obama

    17 60.71%
  • Neither

    6 21.43%
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  1. #1
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Barack Obama vs John Howard

    This forum is relatively centrist on average (with a rather high standard deviation!) so interested to see what side people fall on with regards the recent spat between Australian Prime Minister John Howard and US Democratic Party declared presidential candidate Barack Obama.

    If you don't know what all this is about, you're probably not informed enough to vote on it. Therefore I shall provide no further information at this point.
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  2. #2
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    I'm quite sure my answer would be the same regardless of what flavour (political persuasion) PM had taken the stance:

    - JH has simply stated his already known policy (as has Obama) so no issue either way there.
    - The issue of 'sticking his beak in' is just an exercise in Obama's side using its lungs. An Australian PM may have an opinion - just as the Opposition Leader may have an opinion. It is only because Obama and his supporters don't like what they hear, they reproduce this twaddle. Had JH said 'Long Live The Saviour Obama', the chances of a letter thanking him to stay out of it would be quite small. More likely a photo op and sweet nothings down the telephone line.

    As I say, more than certain I would have this stance if the players were flipped.
    Last edited by Basil; 13-02-2007 at 06:25 PM.
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  3. #3
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    For some reason the question to me reads as though one should be supporting a person rather than the argument they have made.

    Howard Duggan you are quite sure that your political persuasion has no influence on your opinion in this matter. Why then are you just as sure that other peoples opinions are simply a matter of politics?

  4. #4
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mangafranga
    For some reason the question to me reads as though one should be supporting a person rather than the argument they have made.
    Point taken; changed from "support" to "agree with"; I doubt that affected anyone's vote so far.
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  5. #5
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mangafranga
    Howard Duggan you are quite sure that your political persuasion has no influence on your opinion in this matter.
    Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mangafranga
    Why then are you just as sure that other peoples opinions are simply a matter of politics?
    Your deduction from my statement is inaccurate. Always a danger in paraphrasing people. You've made an extra leap on my behalf - I assume this was an oversight and not prejudice.

    I have said those who are claiming that JH should keep his beak out are playing politics. I have said if the roles were reversed, then those people would be playing politics, too.

    I have not said, as you have suggested of me, that "other people's" (this implies a blanket reference) "opinions are simply a matter of politics." I'm sure there many people who are against remaining in Iraq and perhaps against JH generally, who would share my opinion with respect to entitlement for leaders to comment and give their perspective. It's not as if JH's comments were out of the blue sabotage. His opinion is well-known on the world stage and he was merely ratifying it.

    In support of my 'beyond party lines' credo, I offer a perfect case in point which occurred in the recent Queensland elections (I am broadly a conservative). The conservative candidate was getting stuck into health, and bashing the incumbent Labor Government, which incidentally I think has done a fine job. The fact is, and was, that western governments of all flavours cop political beat-ups over the state of health and hospitals which are in various states of disrepair around the world.

    I renounced the conservative candidate's position as political point-scoring (and his standing in my eyes deteriorated considerably). Especially when as a keen observer of politics over many decades, I have noted that none have effectively addressed the burgeoning health problems that plague western economies and are worse elsewhere.

    I do wonder if the roles were reversed and I were denouncing a Labor candidate for point-scoring over health whether I would be accused of political bias Incidentally, if you were to ask me whether I think George Bush is a wally, I'd say yes. There really is much to be gained from separating the man from the issue.

    I hope this clears up more than a few things for you.

    $10 bonus HCDs for anyone who spotted the double use of the subjunctive in the third last sentence.
    Last edited by Basil; 13-02-2007 at 09:04 PM.
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  6. #6
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    Well, 7 votes to 1.

    Apart from my luminous comments representing the minority, I have had my motives questioned and a suggestion regarding the question itself.

    Is there any danger of some dialogue amplifying the majority view from the silent death squad? *joke*

    Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarn
    "John Howard shouldn't have re-stated his already known position because ..."
    Last edited by Basil; 13-02-2007 at 10:13 PM.
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  7. #7
    CC International Master Rhubarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Duggan
    Well, 7 votes to 1.

    Apart from my luminous comments representing the minority, I have had my motives questioned and a suggestion regarding the question itself.

    Is there any danger of some dialogue amplifying the majority view from the silent death squad? *joke*

    Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarn
    "John Howard shouldn't have re-stated his already known position because ..."
    How about: the only reason Australia is participating in this illegal war, which has bugger all to do with us, is because we want big ol' Uncle Sam to come to our rescue if we ever get invaded by Indonesia. Therefore, John Howard making any negative comment on America's internal politics concerning the conduct of the war defeats the whole purpose of his toadyism.

  8. #8
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    Well, that's a start, Greg. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shirty
    How about: the only reason Australia is participating in this illegal war, which has bugger all to do with us, is because we want big ol' Uncle Sam to come to our rescue if we ever get invaded by Indonesia.
    I'm not sure that has anything to do with whether any leader should make a statement about another leader's stance. Blair had similar comments regarding the French PM's stance. Beazley had comments on various SE Asian policies. What's the difference? Are our representatives to self-zipit on China? Come on. That line is a complete non-starter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shirty
    Therefore, John Howard making any negative comment
    It's a comment. Neither negative nor positive. From George Bush's and his millions of advocates POV, it's a positive comment. From (by some reports) the mainstream Iraqi's POV, it's a positive comment. Certainly it can equally be a negative comment from others' POV. But this is perspective. The comment itself is neither negative nor positive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shirty
    on America's internal politics
    No. It's the USA's external platform. With global ramifications.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shirty
    concerning the conduct of the war defeats the whole purpose of his toadyism
    Your assessment that his motivation is toadyism is your (popularly held) opinion. It has nothing to do with a leader's right (from any party) to ratify their position. I do assume that you would equally deny Kevin Rudd's right to publicly support Obama.

    Can anyone do any better?
    Last edited by Basil; 13-02-2007 at 10:53 PM.
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  9. #9
    CC International Master Rhubarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Duggan
    Well, that's a start, Greg. Thanks.
    No problem. You asked for a reason and I gave you one.
    I'm not sure that has anything to do with whether any leader should make a statement about another leader's stance. Blair had similar comments regarding the French PM's stance. Beazley had comments on various SE Asian policies. What's the difference? Are our representatives to self-zipit on China? Come on. That line is a complete non-starter.
    Huh? We're talking about the very specific policy on Iraq from a US Democrats presidential candidate, nothing else. I pointed out why it may not be a very good idea for Australia to criticise in this case.

    It's a comment. Neither negative nor positive in isolation. From George Bush's and his millions of advocates POV, it's a positive comment. From (by some reports) the mainstream Iraqi's POV, it's a positive comment.
    Huh? It wasn't "in isolation". It was a comment in direct response to a very specific policy on Iraq from a US Democrats presidential candidate, nothing else. It was most certainly negative in that context. He said Obama's plan was "wrong". I pointed out why it may not be a very good idea for Australia to criticise in this case.

    No. It's the USA's external platform. With global ramifications.
    It is not "the USA's external platform" at all. It is the internal machinations for what may become external [edit].

    Your assessment that his motivation is toadyism is your (popularly held) opinion. It has nothing to do with a leader's right (from any party) to ratify their position. I do assume that you would equally deny Kevin Rudd's right to publicly support Obama.
    When you say "ratify" his position I wasn't aware that he had already told Obama that he was wrong in such an undiplomatic fashion. Feel free to correct me if he has.

    Can anyone do any better?
    No doubt. Can you?
    Last edited by Rhubarb; 13-02-2007 at 11:09 PM.

  10. #10
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shirty
    We're talking about the very specific policy on Iraq from a US Democrats presidential candidate, nothing else. I pointed out why it may not be a very good idea for Australia to criticise in this case.
    OK, we'll have to agree to differ (there's going to be a lot of that). You are differentiating between this and other observations a foreign leader might make. Are you saying that such observations should be select? If Rudd were to speak out specifically on a Chinese candidate's* intention to invade Korea, who you speak out against Rudd's right (or the appropriateness) to do so?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shirty
    It is not "the USA's external platform" at all. It is the internal machinations for what may become external
    Well no debate here. Respectfully you're wrong. The term for such matters is Foreign Policy. Trying to say that any country's foreign policy is internal to them is playing with words. A nation's foreign policy is a global business. After all, you have an opinion on America's foreign policy and so does Kevin Rudd. I ask again, are you in favour of restraining Kevin Rudd's right to speak out on it. Of course not - and nor would I.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shirty
    When you say "ratify" his position I wasn't aware that he had already told Obama that he was wrong in such an undiplomatic fashion. Feel free to correct me if he has.
    I should have said re-affirm. Not ratify. Therefore I was saying (hoped to have said) that all John Howard is doing is saying again a position he is already known to hold.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shirty
    No doubt. Can you?
    I think I have - but for the other side of the debate.

    *Chinese Candidate *LMAO*
    Last edited by Basil; 13-02-2007 at 11:57 PM.
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  11. #11
    CC International Master Rhubarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Duggan
    OK, we'll have to agree to differ (there's going to be a lot of that). You are differentiating between this and other observations a foreign leader might make. Are you saying that such observations should be select?
    Exactly. This one is particularly undiplomatic as should Howard win another election and Obama get the Democratic nomination and go on to win the presidency, then you would have the ludicrous situation of Australia supporting the US war on Iraq, when the US is no longer supporting the US war on Iraq (not that I really imagine that John Howard would have too much difficulty weaselling out of that).


    Well no debate here. Respectfully you're wrong. The correct term for such matters is Foreign Policy. Trying to say that any country's foreign policy is internal to them is playing with words. A nation's foreign policy is a global business.
    Well I'll concede that point, but again state that it was unwise to meddle in this case.

    After all, you have an opinion on America's foreign policy and so does Kevin Rudd. I ask again, are you in favour of restraining Kevin Rudd's right to speak out on it. Of course not.
    Before Howard's gaffe, Rudd was only speaking out on it in terms of attacking Howard. After all, Rudd's original comments were to do with Australia's foreign policy (the total and early withdrawal of Australian troops) not the USA's.

    I should have said re-affirm. Not ratify. Therefore I was saying (hoped to have said) that all John Howard is doing is saying again a position he is already known to hold.
    And pissed off a lot of Americans on both sides of politics in the process. And, to point it out again, undermined the whole sycophantic point of engaging in this war in the first place.
    I think I have - but for the other side of the debate.
    In the interests of honesty, I should point out that I 'accidentally' voted for Obama in the above poll but would like to change that to Neither.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Duggan
    Yes.

    Your deduction from my statement is inaccurate. Always a danger in paraphrasing people. You've made an extra leap on my behalf - I assume this was an oversight and not prejudice.

    I have said those who are claiming that JH should keep his beak out are playing politics. I have said if the roles were reversed, then those people would be playing politics, too.

    I have not said, as you have suggested of me, that "other people's" (this implies a blanket reference) "opinions are simply a matter of politics."
    By "other peoples" I meant to specifically refer to whomever you were referring to by this.

    It is only because Obama and his supporters don't like what they hear, they reproduce this twaddle.
    The grammatical point is not important, but I would be interested to know what others intuition about this are. I specify intuition because I am interested in what people think it means when they read it, rather than what they can argue for with a dictionary or whatnot.

    My motivation for positing was that I do not think it is that useful to talk about political bias as an end in itself. If a politician makes an argument with no merit then there is a good argument to be made that they made the argument knowingly just for political gain. But you need to first discuss the argument and show that the argument is bunk. To turn this into a discussion about political bias at this early stage to me seems to be incorrect as the argument has barely even been touched upon yet. I did not find your refutation of Obama's position to be convincing. I should have stated this to begin with and stated why.

    JH has simply stated his already known policy (as has Obama) so no issue either way there.
    But I thought the issue was the nature of the way in which these things were expressed. I thought the issue was the degree to which our Prime Minister is expected to display diplomatic tact with those he may possibly be working with in the future.

  13. #13
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shirty
    Exactly. This one is particularly undiplomatic...
    While I do support JHs right to speak out if he so chooses (as I would Rudd in my hypothetical), I can't see any benefit in Howard's doing so and have no opinion as to whether it was diplomatic or otherwise. All I can say is that if Rudd were my PM and he wanted to reassert his policy (regardless of whether I agreed with it), I would have no problem with his doing so.

    as should Howard win another election and Obama get the Democratic nomination and go on to win the presidency, then you would have the ludicrous situation of Australia supporting the US war on Iraq, when the US is no longer supporting the US war on Iraq.
    Odd to be sure. But not relevant to me in the context of this thread. I should imagine that if the USA bailed, then logistics above all else would demand that Australia withdraw.

    Before Howard's gaffe, Rudd was only speaking out on it in terms of attacking Howard. After all, Rudd's original comments were to do with Australia's foreign policy (the total and early withdrawal of Australian troops) not the USA's.
    Indeed. That is what happened. But it does not address my hypothetical which essentially interchanges John Howard with Kevin Rudd, and Iraq with Korea.
    Last edited by Basil; 14-02-2007 at 12:11 AM.
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  14. #14
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mangafranga
    By "other peoples" I meant to specifically refer to whomever you were referring to by this
    I can't really add anything beyond my initial statement. I will reiterate that had JH said "Obama The Saviour is correct and the Coalition forces should withdraw immediately", then the chances of the offended maintaining their indignation would be all but zero. Therefore I conclude that it is NOT that JH said anything on the issue - but rather they didn't like what he said. In short, disingenuous poppycock from the selectively indignant.

    The grammatical point is not important, but I would be interested to know what others intuition about this are. I specify intuition because I am interested in what people think it means when they read it, rather than what they can argue for with a dictionary or whatnot.
    I'm sorry. I didn't quite follow. Are you asking people to say how they interpreted my statement? If so, then it may be helpful if I clarify. I do so by referring to my answer in the paragraph above.

    I thought the issue was the nature of the way in which these things were expressed. I thought the issue was the degree to which our Prime Minister is expected to display diplomatic tact with those he may possibly be working with in the future.
    Perhaps I have missed something in the reporting. You and Greg have both alluded to the diplomacy side. Just to clarify for me, is the issue that JH had something to say and what he said, or is it the way in which he said it?
    Last edited by Basil; 14-02-2007 at 12:43 AM.
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  15. #15
    CC International Master Rhubarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Duggan
    While I do support JHs right to speak out if he so chooses (as I would Rudd in my hypothetical), I can't see any benefit in Howard's doing so and have no opinion as to whether it was diplomatic or otherwise. All I can say is that if Rudd were my PM and he wanted to reassert his policy (regardless of whether I agreed with it), I would have no problem with his doing so.
    Again, reasserting one's position is different to Howard's outright criticism in this case, but we've already been through this.

    Indeed. That is what happened. But it does not address my hypothetical which essentially interchanges John Howard with Kevin Rudd, and Iraq with Korea.
    I don't think I saw this hypothetical the first time around as you added it in as an edit after I'd finished responding, but anyway:

    If Rudd were to speak out specifically on a Chinese candidate's* intention to invade Korea, who you speak out against Rudd's right (or the appropriateness) to do so?
    I'm sure you're making some kind of Manchurian Candidate joke here, but I haven't actually read it yet (it's sitting at the bottom of my to-read pile). In any case, this particular hypothetical is irrelevant; I surely don't need to explain why.

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