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Sun Aug 26, 2012, 02:41 PM

 

Obama is an "Eisenhower Democrat" and this election is no clash-of-ideologies

From this Salon piece by Michael Lind, which is mainly about why Romney putting Paul Ryan on the ticket ain't no big deal:

Nor will the election be a debate between two opposed visions of political economy. Such a debate would thrill policy wonks and political philosophers, but it is not in the interest of either candidate.

In the months between now and the general election, expect Romney to distance himself from the elements of the Ryan plan that are most likely to frighten senior voters and others. All that Romney and Ryan need to do is insist that under their plan, the resulting economic miracle not only will fund all middle-class needs into the twenty-second century but also will enable every American to have a pony. A thousand budget experts can swear on a stack of official reports that the numbers do not compute and the ponies cannot be found, but it doesn’t matter. In the “he said/she said” world of the mass media, numbers and expertise don’t count. Candidates whose budget numbers do not add up merely need to insist that, yes, they do too add up, and that is good enough for the media and the voters. Besides, the kinds of voters who don’t make up their minds until just before the election are not the sort of people who pore over budgetary analyses by Washington think-tanks late at night.

Nor is Obama likely to make the election a referendum on Swedish-style social democracy versus Goldwater-Reagan conservatism. After all, Obama is not a Progressive-Liberal in the New Deal tradition but rather a moderately conservative neoliberal in the tradition of Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter — an “Eisenhower Democrat.” What Obama has learned from the last two Democrats to be elected to the White House is the art of positioning himself as the moderate voice of reason between the alleged extremes of the big-government left and the anti-government right. Inasmuch as the big-government left that neoliberal Democrats love to denounce is actually moderate, centrist liberalism, this puts Obama’s comfort zone, with respect to economic questions, well to the right of center.

Instead of delivering a courageous defense of generous social insurance and adequate Keynesian stimulus, Obama will almost certainly run as the candidate of authentic deficit reduction, as Bill Clinton and Walter Mondale did before him. This will play into the hands of Romney and Ryan. If the election turns into a referendum about who is the greater deficit hawk, then the Republican strategy — cut spending (especially on the poor) — is likely to have more appeal than the Democratic strategy — raise taxes (especially on the rich). In addition, Obama and the Democrats will find themselves trapped in a debate about the solvency of entitlements in the 2030s rather than programs to help most Americans today, a debate that does not play to their strengths.

<snip>

Far from being a clash of ideologies, then, the 2012 election will resemble the last half dozen or so elections. Once again, the election will pit Republicans based in the white South and the white working class against Democrats based in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region and the West Coast, as well as blacks and Latinos in metro areas across the country. Once again, a few key states and regions — Florida, the Midwest — will determine the outcome. Once again, while mobilizing his party’s base, each candidate will try to appeal to center-of-the-road voters. Romney will reassure old people that he will not take away their Social Security and Medicare, while Obama will insist that he is the genuine deficit hawk. And no matter who wins the White House in 2012, the U.S. will not adopt either Nordic social democracy or libertarian minimal government.


A rare voice of reason himself, that Lind (a former National Review editor, BTW). This is a dreary and rather depressing analysis, but a hard and realistic one. This can't be repeated often enough, to counter the insane "Obamunism" and suchlike memes the frothing-right has been propagating these past four years. Tell your friends.

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Reply Obama is an "Eisenhower Democrat" and this election is no clash-of-ideologies (Original post)
BrainGlutton23 Aug 2012 OP
AnotherMcIntosh Aug 2012 #1
unblock Aug 2012 #6
leveymg Aug 2012 #7
AnotherMcIntosh Aug 2012 #13
limpyhobbler Aug 2012 #15
AnotherMcIntosh Aug 2012 #19
limpyhobbler Aug 2012 #20
Rhiannon12866 Aug 2012 #25
BrainGlutton23 Aug 2012 #8
frazzled Aug 2012 #2
greatauntoftriplets Aug 2012 #3
treestar Aug 2012 #9
WI_DEM Aug 2012 #4
BrainGlutton23 Aug 2012 #10
Blue Meany Aug 2012 #5
scheming daemons Aug 2012 #11
coalition_unwilling Aug 2012 #12
bananas Aug 2012 #26
NYC Liberal Aug 2012 #14
Cha Aug 2012 #17
DonCoquixote Aug 2012 #16
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 #18
Zoeisright Aug 2012 #21
progressivebydesign Aug 2012 #22
Jack Sprat Aug 2012 #23
Jennicut Aug 2012 #24
MFrohike Aug 2012 #27
Kalidurga Aug 2012 #28
MFrohike Aug 2012 #30
Agnosticsherbet Aug 2012 #29
grantcart Aug 2012 #31

Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 02:50 PM

1. He's an "Eisenhower Democrat"?

 



I could be wrong, but I think that there are some differences.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 03:14 PM

6. if that speech is the yardstick, then ike wasn't an eisenhower republican.

sure he warned us about it... after playing a key role in creating and building it into the monstrosity it became.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 03:27 PM

7. Truman Democrat might be the more conventional historical label

Both have some degree of accuracy in describing Obama's centrist instincts and mildly conservative ideology. In the domestic economic area, not a progressive, liberal Democrat willing to much expand the role of the state in the FDR or LBJ mold. Obama's economic policies are essentially laissez-faire and in the pocket of Wall Street, like Clinton's. Eisenhower may have been more liberal, in the sense of tax policies. In foreign policy, Obama is a cautious but conventional Cold Warrior but not shy about confrontations, like Truman, who hopefully has learned a thing or two from Truman and Johnson's terrible mistakes and unmanaged escalations. Charismatic and essentially humane and intelligent, like JFK, with an eye toward how history will judge him.

To call him an Eisenhower Democrat is perhaps polemical, but not inaccurate.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #7)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 04:28 PM

13. A "Truman Democrat"?

 

Here's some Truman quotes:

Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.

Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.

Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive ...

Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home--but not for housing. They are strong for labor--but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights. They favor minimum wage--the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all--but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine--for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing--but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.

Whenever a fellow tells me he's bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #7)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 04:35 PM

15. hmmm...I think a "Clinton Democrat" might be closer to the mark.

Sometimes seems like Clinton Administration Part II.

Although that's not totally fair either.

We might need a new word, he is unique after all. He is an "Obama Democrat" ?

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #15)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 04:54 PM

19. A "Clinton Democrat"?

 

That may be closer. Clinton signed NAFTA. Obama's Administration is working on the next let's-send-more-jobs-to-foreign-countries "free trade" agreement. Unless it is resisted by enough Democratic Senators, it will be signed after the election.

On the other hand, Clinton didn't give de facto immunity to openly admitted war criminals who participated in approving of torture. He didn't give de facto immunity to banksters and allow the statue of limitations to run. He didn't appoint high-level Republican carry overs to his Administration to continue the disastrous policies of a preceding Republican Administration. He didn't engage in endless wars in the Middle-East. He didn't adopt a Republican plan to compel the purchase of health insurance instead of engaging in genuine health care reform. And he didn't extend the Bush tax-cuts for the super-rich.

Plus there is a rumor that he left a surplus when he left office.

Obama is better than Rmoney. But a "Clinton Democrat"? Some might think that he is more like a Bush II Democrat.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #19)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 05:01 PM

20. I almost said exactly what you said

but didn't want to cause any heart palpitations. So I changed it to Clinton II to be nice.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #15)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 09:15 PM

25. I agree. Both Clintons and Obama are centrists, despite what the MSM says...

But you're right that Obama is unique. I like the term "Obama Democrat..."

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 03:28 PM

8. Sorry, I forgot to include the link to the article

 

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 02:51 PM

2. No, the contrast could not be more stark

Women's rights versus Neanderthal attempts to control women's bodies
Measures to close the inequality gap versus tax breaks for millionaires
Stimulus versus austerity
Long term deficit reduction that is considered and balanced (e.g. reductions in defense budget) versus slashing all discretionary monies for the poor
Civil rights for all versus homophobia and xenophobia
Bringing all the troops home versus ??

One could go on and on. But go ahead and listen to the National Review guy.



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Response to frazzled (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 02:54 PM

3. What frazzled said.

I'd also mention appointing Supreme Court justices and what the repukes want to do to Medicare.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 03:29 PM

9. +1

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 02:59 PM

4. If he is a "Eisenhower Dem" then there are big differnces between the parties

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/08/26/1956-republican-party-platform/

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed--Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 03:30 PM

10. The "big difference" is between the GOP in the 1950s and the GOP today.

 

There used to be such things as "Rockefeller Republicans," moderately economically conservative and socially liberal. Where are they now?

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 03:00 PM

5. I would agree that Obama has governed like an Eisenhower Democrat, probably

being pulled to the center from his more progressive beliefs. Obama talks like a progressive but govern like a moderate, even conservative Democrat on non-social issues. It may well be Romney is a moderate Republican in his heart, and thus not really that far from Obama on key issues. But the question is (as with Obama): how would he govern. It is clear that whatever political principles he has, they are subordinate to his desire for power and/or political position. That is why he can reverse positions on a dime, as though he were on a debate team rather than in a political race. Unmoored from any strong political principles, he isvery likely to pulled to the right by the Republican base and to support radical actions such as tax cuts for the rich, war with Iran, outlawing abortion, etc.

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 04:13 PM

11. The GOP are "Taliban Republicans", so the difference is VERY VERY stark


These columns saying there is no difference between the parties are nothing more than troll-ism.


Anybody who says the parties are the same is fucking braindead. They aren't even close to the same.

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 04:20 PM

12. Oh, FFS, Obama is a center-rightist and Romney is an out-and-out fascist. Whenever

 

morally conscious beings have the chance to oppose fascism, they should do so by any means necessary, i.e., VOTE AGAINST ROMNEY. With a Romney presidency and GOP control of both houses of Congress, unemployment will increase to 20-25% and the concentration of wealth will reach even more obscene levels. With a Romney presidency, a land war with Iran is pretty much a given.

Lind is engaging in false equivalence. There are light years between Obama's positions and Romney's.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #12)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 09:38 PM

26. Yes. nt

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 04:32 PM

14. Barack Obama is an Obama Democrat.

He is his own man, not an "Eisenhower Democrat" or an "FDR Democrat" or a "Truman Democrat".

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #14)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 04:47 PM

17. Exactly NYC Liberal..

President Obama is his own man and ain't it great!

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 04:37 PM

16. Here is the problem

Yes, Obama turned out to be very much in the Clinton/DLC mold, but the OP, like many people, are falling for the idea that Romney is not that far right, and that he would keep a lid on the Kettle of the Tea Party.

That is an idea that should have died when he selected Paul Ryan.

Let us say that Mitt has a sincere intent of veering left when he wins; does anyone honestly think that, with Paul Ryan in the wings, the Kockes and others would let him do that? As is, most conservatives dislike the Mormon only slightly less than Obama, so in 2016, they would happily primary him for Ryan, and you now the money would flow. The Grover Norquists will be happy to get rid of Mitt, as he is only a means to their end, and a very disposable one, who could easily be made less welcome at the 2016 convention than Bush is at 2012.

Also, note they do not seem to care about the felonies...well, watch them care if Mitt starts looking at the etch a sketch. After all, what is the worst that can happen, two more years with Paul Ryan in power, ready to play Gerald Ford to Mitt's Nixon? No worries that a less tea party types Jeb Bush or Chris Christie will try to get on in 2016?

The right has nothing to lose, which is why, no matter how much they try to make Mitt some sort of "compassionate conservative", we need to do everything and anything to make sure he does not get the Oval Office, period. Mitt is not the one really being elected, it is the oligrachy that wants to prove that they can take any idiot, throw a billion dollars into pacs, and stick him on the throne.

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 04:53 PM

18. I guess they're comparable in the sense both are a product of their time...

Eisenhower was the first Republican in sixteen years to serve in the White House and because of that, was shaped by a more liberal, Democratic ideology that dominated politics for nearly two decades. Eisenhower made voting Republican acceptable again and that would not have happened with a more extremist candidate like, say, a Robert Taft-like Republican. You've got to remember, prior to Eisenhower, the last Republican to serve in the White House was Herbert Hoover and he was considered a failure ... at best.

So, of course Eisenhower was more liberal than the Republicans who came after him. He made voting Republican acceptable and allowed the party to nudge their way into a discussion that was, for sixteen years, being dominated by Democratic presidents. But it's also important to point out that Eisenhower created the conservative revolution in the process. He begat Nixon, who begat Reagan, who begat Bush and so on and so forth.

It was a process that originated with Eisenhower. If Eisenhower loses to Stevenson in 1952, there probably is no President Richard M. Nixon and who knows if there is ever a President Ronald W. Reagan - certainly if neither of those happen, it's unlikely there is a President George W. Bush.

It's all evolving and Eisenhower was just one of the many players to reborn conservative politics.

In that regard, comparing Obama to Eisenhower is not such a bad thing. Obama stepped in at a time when American politics had been dominated by the conservative ideology going back to the 1970s. We saw blow back in the 70s from the New Deal and it ultimately culminated in Reagan's victory in 1980.

It took thirty years for the Republicans to undo much of what Roosevelt did in his presidency. Obama undoing thirty years of Republican control is going to take more than four years...it's going to take more than eight and twelve.

If anything, I'd wager Clinton is more Eisenhower and Obama probably more Nixon. What I mean by that is that Clinton, like Eisenhower, made Democratic presidents tolerable again. Prior to '92, no one took Democratic presidential candidates seriously. They either were getting blown out in elections (McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis) or were one-term presidents who left office with awful approval ratings.

Clinton changed that. He not only won, something a Democrat hadn't done since '76, but also won in a landslide and was able to win reelection. But, like Eisenhower, he was a product of his time. We were just coming out of the Reagan era and even though Americans had voted for Clinton over Bush, the ideology of the country was still invested and tied to that generation. Clinton tried to overcome it in his first term and nearly lost control of his presidency for it ... so, yeah, he became a moderate president who, on the whole, didn't accomplish a whole helluva lot. But then again, outside ending the Korean War, what is Eisenhower's biggest accomplishment? We look back fondly at the 50s because we had a post-war economic boom and what else? Kinda feels like the 90s, right?

Obama is undoing everything Nixon-Reagan-Bush did ... but it took Clinton winning in '92 to prove Democrats could succeed nationally. Eisenhower similarly proved Republicans could succeed nationally...even though he wasn't all that different than Truman on a great deal of issues.

But the change was enough and over time, it became stark when, election after election, Republicans seemed to win. If Obama wins reelection, Democrats will have controlled the White House for 16 of the past 24 years. When Nixon secured reelection in '72, it assured Republicans would control the White House for 16 of 24 years.

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 05:55 PM

21. Absolutely, completely, 100% wrong.

Supreme Court.

That's all that needs to be said.

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 06:01 PM

22. I can save that writer some time. President Obama is a MODERATE, just like me.

And just like the MAJORITY of voters in America. See, they didn't even have to write that whole piece.

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 06:37 PM

23. This looks wrong.

 

If the election turns into a referendum about who is the greater deficit hawk, then the Republican strategy — cut spending (especially on the poor) — is likely to have more appeal than the Democratic strategy — raise taxes (especially on the rich). In addition, Obama and the Democrats will find themselves trapped in a debate about the solvency of entitlements in the 2030s rather than programs to help most Americans today, a debate that does not play to their strengths.

<snip>




If the repubs can win on spending cuts (especially on the poor) versus Democratic strategy of raising taxes (especially on the rich), then we have done a darn poor job of educating the voters or their unlimited campaign money for ads has taken a huge toll on voter gullibility. I hope that Salon writer is wrong in this prediction. To my way of thinking a reasonable argument can be presented that shows the continued widening of the deficit under the rethug plans and the sacrifice of entitlements in conjunction with larger deficits with only the wealthiest enjoying all the benefit.

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 08:09 PM

24. The author seems depressed that this election won't be about ideas.

Since when are most elections that idealized? Most people respond to empathy in a politician or if a person can speak well and relate to the public. Most everyday voters will be taken in by soundbites and carefully created messages. It has not been about ideas since...well since I was able to legally vote in 1996.

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:15 PM

27. Accurate

This election is 2d term Grover Cleveland versus William McKinley. Either way, it's a bonanza for the rentier class. The only positives I see about Obama are that he's unlikely to start a pointless war (Iraq) and unlikely to appoint a Scalia-Thomas type to the court. After the free pass given Goldman Sachs, I have no delusions about the resurrection of the regulatory state.

Lind never worked for National Review. He worked for Buckley on one of his books and was friendly with him.

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Response to MFrohike (Reply #27)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:53 PM

28. Isn't that enough?

Another war will very likely end this country, yes it is that serious, we can't afford the ones we are in now. Trillions of new spending on a war would mean we are dead as in really really dead, like in the Princess bride the Prince wasn't really dead, that is where we are now and the needle will go really dead if we get stuck in another pointless war. And the Supreme Court we really really can't afford another Fat Tony in there not by a long shot.

IMO the writer of this piece is a hack and not even a very good one.

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Response to Kalidurga (Reply #28)

Mon Aug 27, 2012, 12:13 AM

30. He's a good writer

I've read a lot of his stuff and it's rarely not worth reading.

Is it enough to vote for Obama? Sure. I'll vote for him because there's no other option. However, note that I didn't say he wouldn't do those things, just that it's unlikely.

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 11:43 PM

29. It cannot be stressed too much that the parties of today are not the parties of the 50's.

Today's Democratic Party has many parallels to the Republican Party of Eisenhower, and very few to the Democratic Party of 50's or the 60's under LBJ. The liberal Democrats that created medicare, passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and passed medicaid are dead as Cesare. No one with any real power is calling for big liberal ideas. They are completely unable to achieve nomination.

As the Republican party moved farther right, the Democratic Party moved with it. The accusations remain the same. Democrats have never been socialists, but the tired accusation that they are remain. It's a lie, but it is a lie that works with their base.

The parties are different today.

Republicans are far right religious radicals rather than conservatives. The old Fiscal Conservative social liberal Republicans of the Northwest have left the Republican party and are now Democrats because they are unwelcome in the Religious Republican Party.

The parties are different today.

The answers to problems faced by our country are all given free market answers. Collective solutions like Medicare or Social Security are not considered in any serious way.

The differences between the parties are stark.

Gay Rights as human rights Democrat
Gay lifestyle as aberant and inherantly sinful Republican
Marriage defined by law Democrat
Marriage defined by the bible Republican
Broad acceptance of the equalitiy of minorities Democrat
Dominance by the white majority and the Wealthy Republican
Women as equal individuals with control of their bodies Democrat
Women subservient to men and God's will Republican

The parties are not the same. Though the Democratic Party may not be what many of us want, there is no other choice.

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Response to BrainGlutton23 (Original post)

Mon Aug 27, 2012, 01:52 AM

31. Well you did get 1 rec.

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