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February 5, 2008

Endorsement
Posted by Patrick at 12:19 AM * 323 comments

Just for the record, and because some people might remember that a year and a half ago I wrote a Making Light post entitled “Why Barack Obama Can Kiss My Ass”, let me bring you up to date. I support Barack Obama for President. In fact, because I’ll be traveling all day tomorrow, I cast my absentee ballot for him last week.

I’ve come to this conclusion because in the months since mid-2006 I’ve read a great deal about the guy, his life, and his actual legislative record, both in the Illinois Senate and in Washington. And on balance I’m impressed. Not transported. Not uncritical. But impressed.

Two posts from group blog Obsidian Wings make the case on an issue-by-issue basis as well as I could:

Katherine, Maybe We Can
Hilzoy, Actually, I Think We Can
I have a couple of caveats to add. I know perfectly well that Obama, for all his idealism, is well inside the “centrist” consensus on how America ought to conduct itself in the world. He was against the Iraq war from the start, and that means a lot to me, but he’s also not someone who’s going to make the kinds of radical changes to American foreign policy that I would make on Day One if I were in charge. He’s not an insurgent; he’s the standardbearer for a faction of the country’s political elite. I believe that, on balance, this particular faction happens to comprise many of the the smartest and most conscientious individuals from within that elite. So I’m supporting Obama and his train, people like Samantha Power and Robert Malley and Lawrence Lessig, just as a peasant might cheer for an aristocratic faction made up of reasonably decent individuals against other factions made up of out-and-out thugs. Not because the peasant doesn’t know the game is rigged, or doesn’t have the wit to imagine a better world. But because incremental change matters, and because the right incremental changes can lead, like water flowing downhill, to bigger and more profound ones.

Also, while I am a radical in analysis, I am an incrementalist in practice, because life is short.

And all that said, I don’t loathe Hillary Clinton. I’ll support her against any of the Republican candidates, certainly against John McCain, a man whose basic foreign policy position is War With Everyone, Forever. And I think if she’s the nominee, she can beat McCain. I have a lot of reservations about some of the people she’s liable to bring in her wake, and the thought of a “Clinton Restoration” makes me tired. But the particular variety of frothing hostility she inspires in a lot of people makes me more inclined to support her, rather than less. And if she should become the nominee, two words will constantly remind me why I should get off my ass and vote for her: “Supreme” and “Court.”

But I think Obama can do more than beat McCain. I think he can beat McCain and sweep more Democrats, and more progressive Democrats, into power with him. I think it’s no accident that he’s been endorsed by so many elected Democrats in red states like Kansas, Arizona, and North Dakota. It’s not because he’s secretly a conservative, it’s because they know they’ll do better with him on top of the ticket.

I’m for Obama knowing perfectly well that, as Bill Clinton suggested, it’s a “roll of the dice”. A roll of the dice for Democrats, for progressives, for those of us who’ve fought so hard against the right-wing frames that Obama sometimes (sometimes craftily, sometimes naively) deploys. Because I think a Hillary Clinton candidacy will be another game of inches, yielding—at best—another four or eight years of knifework in the dark. Because I think an Obama candidacy might actually shake up the whole gameboard, energize good people, create room and space for real change.

Because he seems to know something extraordinarily important, something so frequently missing from progressive politics in this country, in this time: how to hearten people. Because when I watch him speak, I see fearful people becoming brave.

That’s not enough. But it’s something. It’s a real something. It’s a start.

Comments on Endorsement:
#1 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 12:59 AM:

I'd always thought of the shortness of life as an incentive towards radicalism, myself. And the fragility of life as the incentive towards moderation and incrementalism.

Anyway, yeah, I'm pulling the lever for Obama tomorrow, for pretty much the same reasons as you.

Also, he's actually committed to pulling the troops out of Iraq right away, while Clinton's just said that she plans to have some people draw up a plan. And he's signed the American Freedom Pledge.

#2 ::: Brenda von Ahsen ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:02 AM:

The only thing I worry about is the press. Obama has yet to see just how crazy (the word I really want to use here is evil) things can get. The media is going to unleash full on ugliness.

#3 ::: Nabil ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:02 AM:

The "big ticket" issues aren't as big a concern to me, since frankly they're politicians and are going to spin it however gets them better numbers. It's the smaller issues, and how they vote on THEM that concerns me.

For me, that means I'd rather Obama over Clinton, any day. Of course, it doesn't really matter: the state I'm in does partisan primaries, and for religious reasons, I can't declare a party, so I'm sort of shut out of the primaries.

#4 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:08 AM:

Oh, and that Washington Post story Hilzoy linked to. I see that as a sign not only that Obama's an effective politician, but also that he might be willing and able to rein in the torture state.

#5 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:31 AM:

Sounds right on to me.

If he wins, we'll get no vacation from the need for constant scrutiny and organized pressure to do the right thing. But that's true of every candidate with any prospect of winning, so it tips the balance in no particular direction. What does tip it for me is the willingness to respect hope and confidence.

#6 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:46 AM:

I agree. My contribution posted just this evening.

In a nutshell, I think Obama can be something other that the game of inches that has defined politics recently.

#7 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:50 AM:

I agree with you on this one, especially about how the fervor of the anti-Clinton brigades make me more supportive of her.

But the words that sum it up for me are, "Because when I watch him speak, I see fearful people becoming brave." Nicely said. I sincerely hope that you're foreshadowing accurately.

Brenda @ 2 - I think the press will go easier on Obama than they would on Clinton. It won't be pretty, but it's a lot harder these days for the media to use racist code words, whereas sexist code words remain rampant. Plus he's not married to Bill.

#8 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:52 AM:

From Eric's post, a lovely bit:

Obama knows what is in the Constitution. He taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. He agrees that the current administration has been overstepping its bounds. And he knows what a bubble sort is and when not to use it. That's as good as playing the sax for geeks.

#9 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:55 AM:

Also, from the Rude Pundit, as you'd expect: the profane, obscene, definitely NSFW truth.

#10 ::: bill wringe ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:26 AM:

nabil at 3 - can you what those religious reasons are?

#11 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:38 AM:

Good lord, in the media coverage I had seen on him so far, I never once saw it mentioned that he had taught at the University of Chicago. My experience there was deeply fucked up in a number of ways (while very positive in a number of others) but I do know one thing: they don't tolerate stupid people there, least of all among the faculty.

#12 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:11 AM:

David Rees, of Get Your War On, a comic strip not known for its gentleness toward triangulation. In favor of Obama.

Cluster bombs and landmines are particularly terrifying weapons that wreak havoc on communities trying to recover from war. They are fatal impediments to reconstruction and rehabilitation of agricultural land; they destroy valuable livestock; they disable otherwise productive members of society; they maim or kill children trying to salvage them for scrap metal.

Over 150 nations have signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. It pains me that our great nation has not. But in the autumn of 2006, there was a chance to take a step in the right direction: Senate Amendment No. 4882, an amendment to a Pentagon appropriations bill that would have banned the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas.

Senator Obama of Illinois voted IN FAVOR of the ban.

Senator Clinton of New York voted AGAINST the ban.

[...]

Is Senator Obama perfect? Of course not. Nobody who voted for 2005's wack-ass energy bill is perfect. Nobody who voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act is perfect.

But of the two remaining Democratic candidates, one decided her vote on Amendment No. 4882 according to a political calculation. The other used a moral calculation.

I'm 35 years old, and over the years, I've had two experiences in the voting booth: I've voted for politicians I really respected, who I knew could never win. And I've voted for politicians I didn't really respect, because I knew they could win.

Tomorrow, I'm going to vote for a politician I really respect, who I know can win.


#13 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:29 AM:

I have at least one relative in the U.S. who also supports Obama. And I'm not discouraging her... ;)

#14 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 04:24 AM:

John McCain, a man whose basic foreign policy position is War With Everyone, Forever

With that opinion, you'll love this political cartoon: http://cagle.com/working/080131/luckovich.gif

#15 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 06:09 AM:

Put me down for Obama for King, too. Same reasons as PNH.

#16 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:42 AM:

Your stance, with very slight inversions, is why I am pulling for Hillary today (basically, my preference for the professionals standing behind and around her). My choice was made on a slight preference, and the preference remains slight -- she nearly lost me a couple of times, but not quite.

I am very happy with either as the nominee.

#17 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 08:17 AM:

It's SO nice to be on my way to vote for someone I actually kinda sorta like (Obama), over someone I also kinda sorta like (Clinton). That's never happened to me before.

#18 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 08:18 AM:

Around the issue of energy, Obama makes me a little nervous. He seems to some of the wrong instincts when it comes to new energy solutions. (Clean coal, coal to liquid, etc.) That said, he's certainly been willing to listen to those who've objected to his missteps.

Bruce @5:

I couldn't agree more, and I'm proud to work for one of the organizations that will be doing that watchdogging, no matter who the nominee is. What's exciting, though is the possibility of a President who, instead of being jawboned into not opposing progressive change, could be convinced to become a champion for it. I think Obama is more likely to be that person than any of the other candidates. (With the possible exception of dear, departed John Edwards.)

Of course, I'm also biased. I went to the University of Chicago. Obama was my state senator. I'm still kicking myself for not running out and registering to vote when some of my friends were telling me that this really awesome Law School prof was a long-shot, anti-machine candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

#19 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 08:25 AM:

After a lot of thinking, I've come down in favor of Obama because of the charisma factor. I think it could count for a whole lot, because quite a lot of politics hinges on falling in line behind a leader. We've not had many Democratic candidates with a big charisma factor for a while, and Hillary seems just one more of the same, an able politician who does not set fire to much beyond an intellectual fondness, whereas Obama grabs you by the gut and then has the smarts to actually be leading in the right direction (unlike, say, Reagan).

At first I was inclined to distrust him because of the charisma, because of Reagan and far too many others who have used their charm to bad effect, but I think he is the best candidate in the race to LEAD this country in a healing direction. And we badly need not only competency, but leadership to make it happen.

#20 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 08:35 AM:

If only I could vote in your Imperial Plebiscites, I wouldn't vote for Hillary. Hillary is doomed to the same sort of treatment Gore got: the press hates her for being "robotic" (and you can only cry once without looking a bit fake) and progressives don't really get energized by a corporate lawyer (and on the Wal-Mart board, of all places!). She would lose the general election, concede with grace, then take a deep breath, relax, and start touring and lobbying for her pet cause, now looking like a fantastic advocate exactly because she doesn't try to be a candidate any more.

Meanwhile, the world would be stuck with another 4 years of Republican incompetence, another gerontocrat in charge (after puppetmaster Dick Cheney), and no chance to fight the forthcoming recession.

#21 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 08:48 AM:

#15: Yikes, president, sure. King? Not so much.

I'll be happy with either Obama, or Clinton. However, right now, my sympathies are with Clinton, in part because I want the sure thing. Four or eight years of Clinton will definitely be a game of inches. With Obama, either he changes the game, or bright, articulate, but inexperienced people, fail execute. The potential is a lot of positive change, or nothing. I don't see anything in the middle yet. (A friend of mine compared Obama both favorably and unfavorably to the current Duval Patrick administration here in MA. I think the analogy is apt. For the record, I voted for Duval Patrick, and still think he's better than the alternative.) My ideal scenario is 4 or 8 years of Clinton to stabilize the country, followed by 8 years of Obama.

Also, Clinton is totally electable because she's endured over a decade of nasty attacks and yet she still polls well. The numbers we see for her are more or less post-Swift Boat numbers. Now, Obama has teflon so I'm sure he'll survive a general election well too. However, I don't buy the "we shouldn't nominate Clinton because the Republicans will beat up on her" argument. Is anyone seriously suggesting that they won't beat up on Obama just as hard? (Also, that argument is an implicit slam of Obama. Obama is totally worth voting for in his own right, regardless of how anyone feels about Clinton.)

Like I said, I'll be thrilled with either candidate. Change under Clinton will be, at best, incremental, but I think it will definitely happen. Change under Obama will likely be more satisfying, but, for me, it's less certain to happen at all. We all seem to agree on the "roll of the dice" metaphor. I guess I don't actually want to roll the dice unless I absolutely have to.

(I should point out that I would be thrilled with a President Obama, just as I would be thrilled with a President Hillary Clinton. I'm still trying to deal with the notion that there are two candidates that I would be happy with. It's actually a shame that one of them has to lose.)

#22 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 08:50 AM:

If pressed between Obama and Hillary, I have marginally fewer dislikes and marginally more to like about Obama. However, with voting the way it is in NY, I got to vote with a cherry on top: I pulled the lever directly for Edwards, who is still on the ballot (showing the continued support), and also for the delegates committed to Obama (thus making that choice, which was forced).

It comes down to what sports types (and fantasy sports types, like me) call "upside"; while Obama hasn't yet had terrific results at the highest levels, he has the potential to do more good and maybe even less harm than Hillary (especially with a Senate Democratic majority that doesn't rest on the slimy shoulders of Holy Joe Lieberman). At least I'm convinced that he knows what's in the Constitution, whether or not he'd fight hard enough for it.

But, as with so many people, there's no question that if Hillary is the Democratic nominee, I'll vote for her over any and all of the Republican field.

#23 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 08:59 AM:

John Chu #21: Oh jeez, my lack of clarity has caused you to interpret me almost exactly backwards. I was responding to the aristocrat-peasant imagery in PNH's original post, and to things like Bernard Chazelle's...er..., endorsement, I guess, of Obama on A Tiny Revolution.

It's not what I want, by a longshot so long it circles the globe and hits me in the back of the head, but of the remotely possible options, he seems to be the best.

#24 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:05 AM:

The charisma factor is what turns me off Obama, myself (not that my opinion as a foreigner counts for much). Over here in the UK we had a charismatic leader for a bunch of years, and he turned out to be almost nothing but charisma. Manipulative, possibly corrupt in the financial sense, wholly morally dubious. But who knew, back in 1997, that he'd drag us into a war and then try to bluster away all responsibility for it? I can't say that Obama is that kind of politician, but I can't see around the glare of his charisma at the moment.

#25 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:08 AM:

#2 ::: Brenda von Ahsen:

The thing I worry about is Obama getting assassinated. I'm still supporting him, but it's a non-trivial risk, and a much more serious problem than him losing.

For what it's worth, when I've mentioned this to my friends, the most common reaction seems to add up to "Why are you worried about such an odd thing?".

They get convinced I have a point when I say Obama got secret service protection much earlier than the other proto-candidates because he was getting threats.

The good news is that violent racists are so far out of the mainstream that most people have forgotten they exist. The bad news is that they're still around.

In non-news, the PA primary is in March, so I'm just watching the rest of you guys vote.

#26 ::: Sean ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:14 AM:

Came over by way of the Scalziblog/Whatever.

I suppose I'm one of those young people that the media keeps saying has been galvanized by Obama - I pay attention to the primaries, listen to the speeches the candidates make, read their books. Never used to, wasn't real thrilled at Bush v. Kerry, and at the start of this election cycle really wished that Gore would come back and run. Then Obama happened.

It's definitely true that nothing is certain with an Obama presidency, that Hilary is more likely to hit the ground running and deliver small gains - but that sort of belief is anathema to how I believe democracy should work. We shouldn't vote for the candidate that's likely to take small steps in our direction, but rather the candidate that believes as we do and may take big risks.

Furthermore, Obama's name doesn't cause certain elements of the population to hiss, unlike Hillary.

#27 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:27 AM:

I'm for Obama as well, and I hope he does well today. (Unfortunately, by the time Pennsylvania's primary comes around in April, the race will probably be decided already.)

If Clinton wins the nomination, I will probably vote for her, but for me, and for many other pro-life-Democrat types, the Supreme Court factor tends to be a minus, rather than a plus, for the usual D presidential nominee. (That political combination may be unpopular in forums like this one, and may not be all that common nationally, but it's a definite factor in Pennsylvania. I don't know enough about the climate of other swing states to say how much of a factor it is elsewhere.)

I'm not expecting or asking Clinton or her supporters to change her Supreme Court position for political expediency; clearly that issue is something that's very important for her and many of her supporters. But I would hope, if she wins the nomination, that her campaign also puts forth clear and convincing *other* reasons for swing voters to choose her over her opponent. (And no, "My opponent wants our troops to fight in the Middle East indefinitely, and I, well, maybe, maybe not," is not particularly compelling.)

#28 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:36 AM:

Patrick encapsulates above much of what I've been thinking over the past few weeks. Obama is not everything I'd want in a president -- no one would be likely to be short of the second coming of Eleanor Roosevelt or Martin Luther King -- but he stands for what is decent and just, and decency and justice are what we need to get things moving in the right direction.

#29 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:47 AM:

I have a lot of British friends who, like NelC, see Obama's soaring rhetoric and charisma and are reminded, not pleasantly, of Tony Blair, who ascended to office on a wave of idealism and proceeded to systematically betray everything progressives believe in. (Yes, I know "progressive" isn't a term much used in British politics, but I need a word that refers to that particular superset of political strains.)

I understand why they feel that way--from here, it looks like a symptom of political PTST, and I mean that with all due sympathy--but there's just no serious similarity between the community-organizing background of Barack Obama and the lifelong greasy-pole-ascending of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair. They're both deeply ambitious men, but the comparison ends there. Obama's life story, and the kinds of accomplishments he can point to even before he began his career in electoral politics, couldn't be more different. And as elected politicians, Obama's record is one of convincing conservatives to support progressive initiatives, while Blair's record is one of moving his entire party to the right wholesale.

#30 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:03 AM:

Not being registered to a party, I can't vote in the New York primary, and I wish Edwards had fared better, but given the options, I'd go with Obama over Clinton.

However, my confidence that either can beat the Republican nominee is not that high; the institutional barriers against it are enormous, and Clinton only won because Perot took significant percentages of the vote in both '92 and '96.

All things considered, it probably is the Democrats' election to lose, but they have a real talent for doing just that.

#31 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:18 AM:

I have to vote sometime in the next ten hours, and I'm still wavering. I call my friends who vote today, and they are still wavering also. My mother isn't voting and in any case is a registered Republican, but is supporting Clinton. My stepfather is supporting Obama. My college-age crowd is going for Obama. Robin Morgan writes powerfully supporting Clinton.

In a moment of incipient psychosis, I considered praying for guidance.

This was all much simpler when I wasn't party-registered.

#32 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:38 AM:

Nancy #25: (We discussed the same things on Dar Kush awhile back; I'm more or less repeating myself here.)

I worry about that, too. Colin Powell famously didn't run for president because of worries (I think largely from his wife) about a serious black presidential candidate being a huge assassination target. Now, I don't feel like I have any good sense of how much bigger the risk is for a black candidate than a white one, but given his military background, I have to guess that Powell both:

a. Had some idea of the kind of risk he faced, some idea of what vulnerabilities he faced, etc.

b. Wasn't enormously freaked out by physical danger.

So the fact that he didn't run makes me suspect that those risks are significant. (He clearly had enough ambition to come back to a very powerful government post, though I don't think it turned out very well for him in the end.)

On the other hand, it seems like any candidate is potentially a magnet for violent crazies. Is Hillary more or less likely to be targeted by one of those than Obama? I have no idea. A lot of folks on the Right have invested a *lot* of effort in making Hillary a target of fear and loathing. (I'm not sure how much of an impact this has, though.)

#33 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:40 AM:

Obama, for Patrick's reasons. Not that it matters at the moment since I'm in Wisconsin.

#34 ::: Henry Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:42 AM:

I'm with Patrick on the Obama/Blair distinction. Blair had charisma, but it was pretty clear from the start that he was also trying to sell you a bill of goods. Obama, I don't think is. If anything, he seems to me to be more like John Smith (whose death was an enormous tragedy for UK politics) - closer to the right than I would like on some issues, but as best as can be discerned a genuinely decent and intelligent human being. On the one hand, I don't want to get swept up too much by the Obama charisma, but on the other, I think that you have to recognize (as Patrick says) that it is a potent force that can really change people's sense of what is politically possible and what isn't. I hope that Obama has both the political intelligence and moral center to use this in the right way - he may not, but I think it's a gamble well worth taking.

#35 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:46 AM:

You mention Lessig, briefly, in your main post, Patrick, but it reminds me of something I saw yesterday. A mostly reasonable discussion of the issues at hand, and insightful posts of how the candidates each might address them. That's a remarkable thing almost anywhere, these days, but it's damn near a miracle at any time on Slashdot. It stands in sharp contrast to the ugly mire of a thread on Republican candidates next door, but I digress.

The topic of those discussions (for those who followed /. tradition about RTFA) was which candidate has the best record on technology and the issues of intellectual property that concern so many of us in technology fields, and the runaway winner, as I read the thread, was Obama. It may sound strange, but it was learning people like Lessig support him, and learning more about his technology platform (i.e.: that he has one, and actually seems to understand it to a degree) that finally tipped me from sort of vaguely rooting for him to considering myself a supporter.

Yes, I'm a nerd. But now, I guess, I'm a Nerd for Obama, and that doesn't sound bad at all when I say it in my head.

#36 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:57 AM:

I would have preferred to touch the screen for Edwards, but since he's out of the race I voted for Obama this morning even though Edwards is still on the ballot here in Ga. I don't trust Mrs. Clinton and I hope I don't have to vote for her in November (but I will if I have to).

#37 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 11:01 AM:

Well, it's conceivable this might have convinced me had I read it last night, before voting, instead of just now (after). I voted on my way to work this morning, without turning on the computer.

I voted for Hillary. Fundamentally, I think the only person who can begin to repair the damage to America's reputation abroad that eight years of Skrulls has done is Bill Clinton, and I can't see him having a part in an Obama administration. As First Gentleman he would (and I hope will) be an effective goodwill ambassador; he's already known and widely liked across the world.

In addition, though Hillary has wisely stopped talking about the "vast right-wing conspiracy," I believe there is one—not so much against her and her husband per se—though it certainly was organized against them (as a subagenda of a longer plan) during the Clinton years—as against religious freedom, racial equality, and economic justice.

I believe there are people in America who, if they had their way, would put me in a concentration camp. I do not believe these people all have red necks covered by white hoods; I believe many of them have nice homes in the suburbs, and volunteer for organizations with the word 'Family' in the name, and will bring you a casserole if a family member dies. I believe they will be perfectly polite, even sweet to me now, and if they take power will bring their kids and a picnic basket to my lynching.

I, you see, am an idolater (images of Ganesha, Anubis, Isis, and many others in my living room), a "terrorist sympathizer" (there's a copy of the Qur'an somewhere in my apartment), a pervert (gay porn and (gasp) restraints in my bedroom), a commie (my DSA card is...somewhere), a "race traitor" (I've dated people of all colors, and my family taints me too: none of my sibs is married to a Caucasian) and a chocolatier. OK, they probably won't lynch me for being a chocolatier, but that wouldn't be any more reasonable in my view than lynching me for any of the other things.

I believe these people are steadily gaining power.

The people who hiss at the name of Hillary are my enemies. I want them to be defeated, not brought into the fold. I think Hillary will fight them; I think Obama will try to conciliate them. We don't need a conciliator IMO. We need a fighter. They'll nod and smile at Obama and he'll believe they like him, and they'll keep pulling the same dirty tricks they've been pulling for the past 20 or 30 years, and Obama will keep making compromises that let the country slip further and further down a road that makes me literally afraid for my life.

Obama's rhetoric on the Religious Right sounds an awful lot like Peace in Our Time to me. I not only don't think he can stop them; I don't think he understands why he should try.

I think Hillary knows they're a threat, and will at least make an attempt to stop them. And while I haven't heard either candidate speaking to gay groups this election cycle, and both oppose same-sex marriage (limiting my enthusiasm for either) Hillary did (just before kicking off her first Senate campaign) have a gay chorus sing at her birthday party. I know because I was there, singing for her. I would be very surprised to hear of Obama doing the same.

So, Patrick, while I certainly respect you and like you, I'm afraid Obama can still kiss MY ass, even if not yours.

#38 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 11:32 AM:

Beautifully put, Xopher! Though as a married straight female, I may have less to fear from the Evil Right, I'd still consider fleeing the country if McCain got elected. And to me, Hilary's version of "experience" seems better suited for down-and-dirty politics (is there really any other kind?) than Obama's charisma and intelligent idealism.

Naturally, I'll vote for whichever Dem wins the nomination, then hunker down and hope for the best on Election Day and the months following. But I still fear that America hasn't broken free enough of the 20th century to elect a president for the 21st* and allow him to have his way.

* assuming things ever get more enlightened, in these parts

#39 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 11:47 AM:

despite the deluge here I went and exercised my franchise, mostly because later in the day it all may freeze and turn into automotive ice skating. I just hope it doesn't hurt turnout.

Since Edwards dropped out, I'm supporting Obama.

All the Republicans who have been in the hunt in this cycle have each in their own special way creeped me out. For some I can tell you exactly what bothers me, for others it's just a feeling.

But then I also vote as a Democrat, and have even when I lived in Kansas (where it's a moot point, the Republicans run that state, period).

#40 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 11:49 AM:

Patrick, I'll take a Clinton Restoration over the Bush Restoration any day.

That said: What you said. (Scott Dennis seemed confident at COSine this weekend that Obama could usher in a sea change in American politics comparable to the FDR interregnum, but I'm more of a wait-and-see type.)

Also, that said: #12, as if I needed any more qualms about old warmonger, Hilary.

#41 ::: Flippanter ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 11:59 AM:

Hillary doesn't talk like a woman who will be both shield and sword against the worst enthusiasms of the American right wing. To me she sounds like a distaff version of Bob Dole: frayed, thwarted, too exhausted by the burden of wanting something to remember why other people might want her to have it. Obama at least talks like the inspirer that some people take him for, suggesting that his supporters see and hear their candidate more clearly.

#43 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 12:17 PM:

"Fundamentally, I think the only person who can begin to repair the damage to America's reputation abroad that eight years of Skrulls has done is Bill Clinton"

Xopher, I like you, and you know perfectly well that I'm not a Clinton-hater.

But honestly, that's just about the silliest thing I've ever heard you say. The only person? Really? You mean, if Bill Clinton walks in front of a careening beer truck, the game is up, American progress is over, and we should all just go home?

Honestly. No supporter of any candidate in this thread has made such an extraordinary claim, until now. Do you suppose you could think over a moment whether you really mean to claim that William Jefferson Clinton has superpowers unavailable to anyone else?

One of the things I like best about Obama's rhetorical approach is the way he hands the power and responsibility back to his supporters. As Maria Shriver said in her remarkably good endorsement speech, "we are the ones we have been waiting for." That's a world away from claims that only one guy can save us.

#44 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 12:22 PM:

Thanks Patrick.

You encouraged, and inspired me, to write my own endorsement.

#45 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 12:23 PM:

I just got a robocall from -- Stevie Wonder, who asked me to vote for Barack Obama; which I have, though not because he asked me to.

One of the things I like best about Obama's rhetorical approach is the way he hands the power and responsibility back to his supporters.

Yes.

#46 ::: broundy ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 12:25 PM:

I’ll be happy with either candidate, and I was still making up my mind on my way to the voting booth this morning. But distilled into its simplest form, what made up my mind is this:

I want Obama so he can lead and inspire a new direction for the country.
I want Hillary so she can fight the GOP tooth and nail.

And I think Hillary can lead that fight just as well – if not better - from the U.S. Senate, ideally as the Senate Majority Leader. She’ll have subpoenas and investigations and the legislative maneuvering she’s so good at.

Obama’s inspiring rhetoric won’t even be heard if he doesn’t have the bully pulpit to speak from - he’d just be another Senator

#47 ::: Barbara ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 12:30 PM:

I would love to see Obama get the nomination. (Shamefully, I'm a registered republican from the good ole days when that meant small government, not crazy religious people.) I want to live in a world where we can elect someone on a platform of idealism.

If he doesn't -- if Hillary wins -- at least she's smart. At this point, I almost don't care as long as our president is someone who can string two sentences together.

#48 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 12:34 PM:

My meaningless vote will be for Edwards. But if the nomination still hasn't been decided...I will have had another three weeks to think about it, because I just don't know. I'm leaning toward Obama, except for the part of me that's wanted to vote for a woman since I was very little.

I really wish Clinton would take the VP slot. That's the best anti-assassination insurance Obama could ask for.

#49 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:04 PM:

I'm starting to hear the "if it's a choice between Clinton and McCain, I might go with McCain" stuff on my friendslist. Can someone please point me to a couple of good resources with which to convince people to rethink McCain?

#50 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:13 PM:

Patrick 43: OK, OK! He's the only single person with the international reputation, the charm, the skills, and the vigor to take on that task from Day One (or Day Two, if you count Jan 20, 2009 as Day One (but actually he'll probably start right after his wife gets elected)).

There really is NO ONE else with that combination of traits. Of course that doesn't mean the task can't be accomplished. It just means that without Bill taking part it will take a lot longer and require a lot more people. And we don't have a lot of time, methinks.

I've racked my brains trying to think of anyone who would be anywhere near as good a goodwill ambassador. If you can think of any, I'd be delighted.

As for careening beer trucks...I'm not entirely convinced it isn't too late anyway. Bush has dug us a very deep hole. But talk to me on a better day and I'll be more hopeful.

#51 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:14 PM:

I've taken a different route, and voted for Edwards. I do not call it a meaningless vote, and here's why: The delegates in the Dem primary are going to be allocated proportionately. Every delegate given to John Edwards is a bargaining chip. A small lever that Edwards can use to move Clinton or Obama a little closer to Progressive positions.

I'll happily support whoever the Democratic nominee is. The idea of a McCain presidency is a nightmare. But I want to give Edwards some chips to bring to the table.


#52 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:15 PM:

TexAnne 48: Obama has said that certainly Hill would be on "anyone's short list." She said she might consider him too.

#53 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:20 PM:

If you're most concerned with defeating McCain, the polls I've seen take two positions: Obama and Clinton do equally poorly, or Obama does better. Yes, the election is a long way away, but that small difference settles it for me.

I like that Obama's edge is for an issue that matters greatly: Clinton looks like a flipflopper on Iraq, but Obama does not.

#54 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:25 PM:

#43: Patrick, I definitely agree. That's why statements along the lines of what Avram linked to in #42 worry me. (Yes, I know it's a joke. But would the have been drawn at all if there weren't already some attempt to portray Obama as the Saviour Of Us All?)

It runs counter to Obama's own rhetoric. It's not productive in the long run.

#48: I really wish either one of them would consider the VP slot. The two of them on the same ticket, in any order, would be terrific (assuming hybrid vigor takes hold). I don't think they are as far apart on the issues as they keep wanting us to think.

#55 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:25 PM:

While I come to a different conclusion than Xopher, I think he's right about the key issue: the US cannot depend solely on hard power in this world. We've had that proven (all too well) over the past few years.

IMO, Obama is the candidate most suited to bring American soft power back; electing him is the best way of convincing the world that we aren't the same USA that managed to piss away the largest outpouring of international support ever seen (post September 11) in such a short time and such a complete fashion.

#56 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:26 PM:

#49 ::: Lee, both Limbaugh and Coulter have said they would rather have Clinton than McCain. Trying to figure out why makes my head hurt.

TexAnne and beth, simply adding to the turnout makes a statement.

#57 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:31 PM:

*wistful* I still want to vote for Dodd, but I think that goes under "copout" rather than "statement" at this point. I dither, I blither, I read comparisons of the candidates, I read everyone else's opinions, and I still can't make up my mind.

#58 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:33 PM:

I still think both Clinton & Obama are corporate-approved flavors. I don't vote until April, and when I do it will be for Edwards. He can still pick up delegates. It's his platform I want heard at the convention.

#59 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:47 PM:

all: I live in Texas. Horserace or not, I doubt that there will be two candidates after today. So: my March vote is meaningless.

#60 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:50 PM:

hummm...

While I'm still a registered Republican (more because Independents don't get to vote for anyone in the two "Important" parties in NY, and I'd rather spoil a Giuliani (or worse) than vote for someone I'm only nominally supporting), were I a Democrat...

...last night, I drove through Twelve Corners, on my way to a Simcon meeting.* There was a support Obama rally going on. With a couple-three hundred people.

In Rochester.

In February. At night.

Now, it's unseasonably warm out right now (47 Fahrenheit). But last night it was ten-fifteen degrees colder, and moist. And there were whole bunches of people out there. Many of them college age, some older, and kids as well.

Obama inspires people. He's getting people interested in politics.

That's good.

*well, actually an URSGA meeting, but I spent more time doing SIMCON fu than URSGA stuff.

#61 ::: Suzanne M ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:51 PM:

I'm getting unreasonably stressed out about my vote today. I still don't know who to support and I expect I won't decide until I'm in the booth. I dislike and distrust both candidates approximately equally, for different reasons (Xopher @37 nailed my feelings on Obama pretty well), and I'm at a loss. Since I fully expect Clinton will pretty much sweep New York, I could vote for Obama because he's the underdog. Or I could vote for Clinton because, hey, what's one more vote?

I'll support whichever Democrat wins the nomination, of course, because I still vividly remember crying myself to sleep around 4AM back in November '04 after spending hours watching the results come in, and I don't think I can face that again. Since I'll never have the perfect candidate, I don't know which compromise to make, and I just don't know which vote is the best way to ensure that '04 election night sobfest doesn't happen again.

#62 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Susan, take a look at this: Barack Obama Tours With Anti-Gay Singer

Joining him on the tour is gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, an ex-gay and notorious homophobe who performed at the Republican National Convention in 2004. McClurkin has vowed to battle "the curse of homosexuality," and believes that gays can be turned straight with religious intervention.
Also here: Obama under fire for gospel tour with anti-gay singer
In a statement on his website, Obama said he disagrees with McClurkin's views on homosexuality, but he did not cancel the appearance.

I don't know if that makes it harder or easier for you. If Obama gets the nod, I'm going to have to hold my nose when I vote for him in November—which I certainly will, but not with any enthusiasm that he understands or cares about my interests.

#63 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:58 PM:

TexAnne 59: You may be right, but since many of the Dem primaries aren't winner-take-all, you could be wrong. The press makes up this crap about "winning states" and "momentum," but what matters is delegate count, and it's very possible that neither of them will have a lock on the nomination by March. Some are saying it could go to the convention, but most don't seem to think so.

#64 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 01:59 PM:

Xopher.. We're all going to hold our noses. ("Get your hand off my nose. I can't breathe. Use your own nose!")

#65 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:01 PM:

Xopher, this is a year old, but possibily still of interest. In Clinton, Obama: Homosexuality 'Not Immoral'. Obama said, "I do not agree with General Pace that homosexuality is immoral." Clinton ducked the issue by saying, "Well, I am going to leave that to others to conclude."

#66 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:02 PM:

I had a rather frightening moment this morning when a co-worker said that if the Democratic nominee turned out to be Clinton, she'd end up voting for the Republican ("unless it's Romney").

Luckily, thanks in no small part to talking points I picked up here, I managed to convince her that was a bad idea, particularly if the Republican nominee ends up being McCain.

(Personally, with Edwards gone I opted for Obama, though Edwards was still on the ballot. I liked Clinton a lot more ten years ago than I do now, but she's still a better choice than any of the Republicans.)

#67 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:07 PM:

xopher @ #37, "I think Hillary will fight them; I think Obama will try to conciliate them.

Amen, brother. I said much the same here a week or so ago:

We need somebody who'll use the White House megaphone to point the finger directly at the Republican Senators and say "These people are keeping us from doing good things for America." I just don't see a President Obama doing that.

#68 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:07 PM:

TexAnne@59, the latest thought is that you could be dead wrong.

Which is kind of exciting, because I've never voted in an election where I had a non-zero chance of actually selecting the person that won my voting precinct, before, much less had any potential to actually matter on a larger scale!

#69 ::: Donald Delny ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:09 PM:

I lived in the midwest for eleven years, in both red and blue states. I don't think people from the coasts understand how deeply embedded the anti-Clinton story is out here.

#70 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:12 PM:

In all honesty, I have trouble believing that Bill Clinton could be The Man Who anymore. In particular, he's the guy on whose watch we started extraordinary rendition and ramped up the hellacious sanctions on Iraq - if you're looking for American authority that isn't connected to the current occupation disaster, he's just not it, any more than he can be a voice against the excesses justified by "free trade", without a whole lot of backtracking. It's not like Bush needed precedent for anything evil, but Clinton provided it in too many instances.

By the way, people wondering about the substance of Obama's efforts in the Senate should go see the Hilzoy post Patrick linked to up at the top. There's good stuff there.

#71 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:13 PM:

Serge -
Xopher.. We're all going to hold our noses. ("Get your hand off my nose. I can't breathe. Use your own nose!")

Yup. Pretty much.

There is no candidate - in either party - that I'm going to agree 100% with. And the ones who are available tend to be "B, C, C-, A, F, D, B-, C-, C, D-" at best. (and Fs are serious "hold nose" for me - I don't care if your averaged grade is a B-, an F on any topic that is important to me is bad juju).*

So come November, I'll be voting against the Republicans again, and hoping that whomever ends up in office will be so busy with the things I (basically) agree with, or (mostly) don't care about to go screwing up the things that I'd rather they not screw with.

*I could have voted for Dodd with mostly clear nostrils, I think, but I was pretty sure from the beginning that while I might like him, he wasn't going to win.

#72 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:26 PM:

Scott 71: I just said this to someone about to vote in a take-all state:

We're not picking a flawless person here. We're picking the dirty conniving bastard who's better able to serve our interests than the other dirty conniving bastards.

#73 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:26 PM:

Donald @ 69

We hear it too.
I got the 'Obama isn't a Christian (because he lived in Indonesia)' line this morning from a co-worker.

#74 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:40 PM:

Xopher @ #62:
Oh, yes, I remember that the McClurkin thing. On the other hand, he put the line "We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them" into his speech at Ebenezer, which takes at least a little guts, and appears to support a more complete repeal of DOMA than Clinton does. I've got a cute Obama canvasser who dances very well pointing this out to me right now and would so love to ask if this is an issue of personal concern for her, except that the 20-year age gap makes me go hrm.

It's not an easy choice on ANY issue for me.

#75 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Here's Obama at Ebenezer Baptist Church:

“If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean,” Obama said to applause. “If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

“We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them,” he continued. “The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.”

Pretty gutsy of him, considering the amount of homophobia in the black churches.

#76 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 02:55 PM:

Xopher @ 72
We're not picking a flawless person here. We're picking the dirty conniving bastard who's better able to serve our interests than the other dirty conniving bastards.

Or, in my case, better able to jack up the dirty conniving bastard I'm voting against because the damn fool is going to (further) ruin my beloved Republic, but the sentiment is there, yeah.

#77 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:13 PM:

At #60 Scott: Hey! URSGA! I used to be a member of that, back when they were all crazy. Taught me how to invert any wish and play Settlers & D&D! Do they still have the office in the rafters of Wilson?

Member 2001-2002, although I wasn't on their staff.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:17 PM:

Scott Taylor @ 71... I could have voted for Dodd with mostly clear nostrils

Combine that with candidate-picking and you get...

#79 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:21 PM:

Formatting correction for the Obama quote @#75:

“If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean,” Obama said to applause. “If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

“We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them,” he continued. “The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.”

Blockquote tags just cover one paragraph rather covering all the way to the close tag.

#80 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:24 PM:

OK, some of my points have been refuted, others cast into doubt. If we'd had this conversation yesterday, it might have made a difference to my vote. But walking into the booth this morning, I pressed the button for Hillary without a qualm or second thought, confident that I was making the right choice at the right time.

Me second-guessing that now won't help me or anyone else. And I'm not convinced enough that YOUR dirty conniving bastard is better than MY dirty conniving bastard to tell anyone ELSE to vote for him instead of her.

Oh well. Sucks to be me. :-)

#81 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:29 PM:

Arg. . . I had a real, on topic point for posting as well, but I forgot it during the rush of UR recollections.

Patrick, can I ask what made you change your mind from your "Kiss My Ass" post, or do you still think that Obama isn't for a clear separation between church and state? Are you endorsing him despite his views, or do you have a different perspective on those quotes now?

#82 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:31 PM:

Spherical Time @ 77
At #60 Scott: Hey! URSGA! I used to be a member of that, back when they were all crazy. Taught me how to invert any wish and play Settlers & D&D! Do they still have the office in the rafters of Wilson?

When they were all crazy? What makes you think they stopped? :-D

Yup, the office is still in 504 - they share it with the jugglers now (which is all sorts of... interesting, since the jugglers have nowhere else to store their props - including the large plastic balancing balls that they never actually use).

(Simcon is thirty years old this year. Hard to believe...).

Member 2001-2002, although I wasn't on their staff.

Heh. I'm half-convinced people don't actually ever leave URSGA - they just stop coming to meetings...

#83 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:44 PM:

I'm glad a few people here still remember Dodd, and that he stood out among the field a bit. I really badly wanted him to do a sudden "OMFG, Who is THAT GUY" surge before the primaries started in earnest, but I knew it wouldn't happen.

I honestly think the flop that was the Dodd campaign is a pretty clear parable of what is wrong with our current campaign/funding system. Most of the time when I said "I'm supporting Dodd," people would have no idea who he was... then when I explained, and talked about his experience and policies they usually said "huh. that sounds like the kind of candidate I would like, actually."

But he didn't have the money or profile, and got forgotten. I sort of resented Edwards a bit I think, as he was occupying the "hey there's a competent elder statesmen type candidate here, who knows what they're doing" slot, and Dodd was trying to occupy the same slot, only more politely and with less money.

Anyway, I like both Clinton and Obama and, like many here, I can't really make the decision between them.

I have been thinking a lot about a conversation I had in class, either in middle school or high school. It was during the wide open part of some primary, and we had been in social studies. There had been a lesson about voting rights, and the old 'who is more discriminated against - minorities or women' argument had come up.

Anyway, in the end, someone suggested that the argument would eventually be settled by which of those groups got the first president. It was a joke at the time, but not entirely... that's always seemed as good a way of keeping score as anything else (note: currently 43 - nil - nil). This idea has always sort of stuck with me and in some way, whoever wins this... will put a tic in that column, and win or lose a decade old bet buried deep in my brain.

I had always hoped that we'd get a black woman president first, and screw up all the scorekeeping. That's just the rebel in me, though.

#84 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:45 PM:

Xopher (#80): I can't speak for anyone else here, but I'm neither second-guessing you nor asking you to second-guess yourself.

You thought about people, and policies, and what mattered to you; then you voted based on your thinking. To me, that's what matters.

#85 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:46 PM:

#82 Scott: When they were all crazy? What makes you think they stopped? :-D

Oooooh, that's a valid point. You might have been impressed with exactly how crazy our fearless URSGA leaders were though. Sometimes I couldn't tell when they were jokingly crazy or not.

Yup, the office is still in 504 - they share it with the jugglers now (which is all sorts of... interesting, since the jugglers have nowhere else to store their props - including the large plastic balancing balls that they never actually use).

That sucks. Jugglers had one of the downstairs offices when I was there. I can't imagine how crowded it is up there. We used to just hang out in the office, and I was always impressed by how many people we could jam in there.

Then again, I lived on Wilder 9 (MIF), and we excelled at stuffing people into small containers.

Heh. I'm half-convinced people don't actually ever leave URSGA - they just stop coming to meetings...

I'd probably still be dropping by on occasion if I didn't live 2000 miles away. Anyway, nice to hear that they're still going strong up there!

#86 ::: Michele DeCrow ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:48 PM:

I woke up this morning, still not knowing who to vote for today. Your post and many of the comments here swayed me from Clinton to Obama.

#87 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:56 PM:

I'm not too worried about the more bizarre slimings of Obama going around. I think the people who uncritically believe stuff like that weren't going to vote for Obama anyway.

I also don't believe Clinton is unelectable, as so many seem to assume. The vitriol of the Clinton-haters has always been disproportionate to their number.

#88 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 03:56 PM:

Leah Miller #83: It seems to me that the primary reason no one knew about Dodd (who was also my candidate) was that no one in the MSM ever mentioned him, for any reason...even when the various rounds of FISA filibustering were going on, it was very difficult to find even a brief mention of it anywhere, despite how vitally important that stuff was (and continues to be).

#89 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 04:00 PM:

I thought I had made it clear that I went out and read a lot more about the guy, and that doing so gave me a much more nuanced (and favorable) view.

I don't mean to get all G*r* F*rb*r, but some of you are displaying a startling ignorance of well-known and well-covered facts, and I don't just mean people who happen to disagree with me. For instance, there was at least one commenter who seemed to think that NY's primary is winner-take-all.

Democracy does require that you RTFM once in a while. Or at least review the FAQ.

#90 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 04:16 PM:

I agree with that too, ethan @88.

I really don't know what to do about 'the problem with the media.' We can't forbid the media from reporting on political subjects. Neither can we 'force' them to give equal coverage in any meaningful way I can think of. The state of the media and current journalism is one of the more depressing things out there, to me.

On the other media hand - I have been constantly amused by Stephen Colbert's repeated slimings of Obama by spreading the vicious rumor that he fathered a black baby. It works on so many levels, especially with McCain being the front runner in the other party.

#91 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 04:23 PM:

Interesting anecdote on the "conservatives hate Hillary too much to ever vote for her" theory:

A co-worker just came by to say that a friend's parents in rural Georgia who are staunch life-long Republicans and have sworn they'd never vote for a Democrat because of the g*n c*ntr*l issue called her friend to let him know that they'd voted for Clinton today.* Why? Because their other son had just lost his job and the grandkids needed healthcare.

Single data point, yes, but still.

* Open primary.

#92 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 04:23 PM:

Xopher, figure that at the very worst, you voted for the second-best of the viable candidates. :)

#93 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 04:28 PM:

#89 PNH: I suppose I missed the "incrementalist" line originally and after I read the KMA post I was wondering if I'd missed some major component that had reversed your position on his separation of church and state policy, etc.

I just wanted to clarify that you still had the same issues and that I wasn't missing a large piece of the picture.

#94 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 04:32 PM:

If it's any consolation, PA's primary is so late I'll have more information and make less difference. It's rather Heisenbergian.

#95 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 04:45 PM:

will shetterly @#65: as I read that article, both Clinton and Obama initially ducked the question, and when pressed about it later, both of them said "not immoral." So their positions and their answers were fundamentally the same. You're comparing Clinton's initial statement to Obama's followup statement - apples & oranges.

#96 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:07 PM:

#80 ::: Xopher, no big. Nearly half the Dems who vote today will end up supporting the candidate they didn't choose. This way, you'll feel better if Obama gets the nod.

#87 ::: Scraps, the polls disagree with you, as I understand 'em, but there's time to change that, especially if she puts together the Dream Team.

#89 ::: Patrick, we need a simpler manual. My latest democratic obsession: Election Day Registration. Which will go nowhere under Republicans, and is under attack by them in Wisconsin.

#95 ::: Mary, oops, thanks for catching that! So this is another issue where they're essentially identical.

#97 ::: Melinda Snodgrass ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:12 PM:

Just got in from voting and I was stunned by the turn out. I waited forty minutes to vote, and the lines were longer when I left then when I entered. When I voted in the primary in 2004 it was an echoing cavern filled with two elderly ladies manning the lists and me.

Democrats are energized. We've got a lot of work to do to clean up the past seven (soon to be eight) years, but it seems like the passion has returned, and we're ready to try and make a difference.

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:16 PM:

Melinda Snodgrass @ 97... My wife voted this morning at a school near Copper & Tramway. Apparently there was only one person to look thru all the voter lists. That meant loooong waiting lines, but that's fine by me if that means people are taking this VERY seriously.

#99 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:32 PM:

Xopher, so you'll feel better about your vote, Clinton offers unequivocal support for the LGBT community here.

#100 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:35 PM:

Minnesota does caucuses, so I have to wait until 7:00 to vote. They're doing it differently this year. The presidential vote is not going to be a caucus but a straw vote. I haven't seen anything to explain how that will work with the system of conventions that follows. With other things, such as senators, you caucus for the senator of your choice, and the result of the caucus determines the number of delegates that go on to the county convention. (Then there's the Congressional District Conventions, that get their delegates from the County Convention...)

So I'm not happy about not knowing exactly what the straw poll will mean. I think they're doing it so that people can vote and leave, and not have to stay for the whole caucus -- which they appear to think will run about an hour. This seems optimistic to me. I'm going to stay for the caucus because I want to caucus for Al Franken for senator. Bad stand up comedian, but I think he'll be a good senator. And I think he'll do better against Norm Coleman than the alternative, who's just kind of a party hack, nothing to get excited about.

Obama gets my vote for the charisma, and the fact that he seems to poll a little better against McCain than Hillary does. But I do keep on worrying, when I see him make speeches, that there's somebody in the crowd with a gun. I'm not old enough for this, I don't remember the assassinations of MLK, JFK, RFK, and Malcolm X. But still I worry.

#101 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:41 PM:

If Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee for President, I will vote for her in November, without question. The country cannot take another Republican in the White House. CANNOT. (Sorry, didn't mean to raise my voice...) Whichever wins (and that isn't going to be decided today), whether it's Obama or Clinton, I will spend the months until November working on voter registration for the Democratic party in California. I hope that everyone who takes this moment and decision seriously will do the same in their own state. I want more Democrats! I want the Democratic candidate in November elected in a blow-out, and I want the Senate and House to go solidly blue; I want the Republicans back to being the minority party, and I want it to be a teeny tiny minority. We have a lot of repair work to do.

#102 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:43 PM:

Had a (middle-aged, black) woman in the library today who was excited about Obama, but worried that he'd be assassinated. It's definitely on (some) people's minds.

#103 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:49 PM:

#100 ::: Lydy, it's not exactly consolation, but if Clinton's elected, there'll be nuts gunning for her, too. When I'm worried about Clinton, I think of Maggie Thatcher. When I'm worried for her, I think of Benazir Bhutto.

#104 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:55 PM:

I just read a statement from James Dobson (it's up at DailyKos) in which he says if McCain and Clinton or Obama are the candidates for President, he won't vote at all in the Presidential election.

Works for me!

#105 ::: Rachel Heslin ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:56 PM:

FWIW, I voted for Obama because I wanted to choose inspiration over pragmatism. Xopher, I deeply respect your fears and understand why you are voting as you are. For myself, I am of the belief that it *is* possible to protect you and others with similar concerns from the evil that has permeated our society under the guise of "family values" without needing to resort to open assault -- but that is my personal belief.

#106 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:56 PM:

I think Mark Schmitt is very convincing on Obama here. For the first time I'm thinking of Obama as a first choice, and not a second choice after Edwards. I've always kind of suspected that there might be a wily rhetorical cooptation of right-wing language going on in Obama's rhetoric, and as a Red State resident I know we desperately need some rhetorical skills in a candidate. Hillary, bless her heart, doesn't have the potential to move voters here where I live. It's a deep cultural difference in the kinds of cues people respond to. Rhetoric and style are important, and they are the main reason Obama might be that game-changing re-alignment candidate.

Then there is the wonky policy stuff. Obama's looking good there, the more I read. I'm better at analyzing rhetoric though, so I guesstimate that an inspirational president with coattails and okay policies will do more good than a nose-to-the-grindstone president with no coattails and good policies.

#107 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 05:59 PM:

Just lost the post where I explained my extremely valuable opinions.

Anyway, the real thing I have to say is to recommend this article by Mark Schmitt. I think it's convincing.

#108 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 06:00 PM:

Whoops. Sorry.

#109 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 06:29 PM:

Never mind. I just found my write-in candidate.

#110 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 06:32 PM:

leah at #90
I really don't know what to do about 'the problem with the media.'
My new name for the media is the Corporate Pravda.

I think Al Gore sees the media as the problem also (prescient as always) and his answer is to work on creating an alternative media (current.tv)

#111 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 06:43 PM:

Janice Murray and I were talking night-before last, and recognized that while the Presidency is quite important, there's still the Cabinet to consider. So she came up with the idea of Fantasy Cabinet, like Fantasy Baseball. And we tossed around lots of ideas (Al Gore as Ambassador to the UN, for example, or possibly Secretary of Energy or Administrator of the EPA). There are lots of interesting permutations possible in this.

Executive is different from Management (is different from Board of Directors). I would like to see an Obama-Clinton ticket much more than a Clinton-Obama ticket. Sen Clinton looks great as a top level manager, to me; Sen Obama looks like an executive.

From my small experience in an executive position (around Worldcons, several orders of magnitude smaller with appropriate scaling problems) it's significantly better to have someone with vision backed up by someone with nuts&bolts than it is to have someone who is into nuts&bolts backed up by a visionary. If the VP "hits the ground running on day 1", a surprising amount is likely to get done. Why, just look at the past eight years.

I'd rather have it be things I want to see get done.

#112 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:03 PM:

I just got a robocall for Hillary - from Jack Nicholson.

#113 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:04 PM:

Conclusion, after two hours locked in my office looking for a tiebreaker and having a good cry over the whole thing:

No matter which way I vote, I am betraying myself.

I can't decide because I can't win here; I'm getting sick to my stomach at the idea of voting against either one of them. I have no idea whatsoever how to deal with this except possibly by casting a protest vote or a blank ballot, which is also a betrayal. I'm just not sure if it's a greater or lesser one.

So I'm going off to betray myself now, before the polls close.

#114 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:04 PM:

What Patrick wrote at the start, with tinkly bells on. Voted earlier today, for B.O. (!)

My cat, my beloved little buddy of 17 years, died Sunday after a ten year battle with diabetes. He was a tough little son-of-a-queen and I admired him greatly for his fortitude and judgment. His last purr to me was: "Obama, or I'll come back and gnaw through your cheeks in the middle of the night."

In the end, it's the cats who always know best, I think.

#115 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:05 PM:

Conclusion, after two hours locked in my office looking for a tiebreaker and having a good cry over the whole thing:

No matter which way I vote, I am betraying myself.

I can't decide because I can't win here; I'm getting sick to my stomach at the idea of voting against either one of them. I have no idea whatsoever how to deal with this except possibly by casting a protest vote or a blank ballot, which is also a betrayal. I'm just not sure if it's a greater or lesser one.

So I'm going off to betray myself now, before the polls close.

(And now ML is breaking....apologies if this double-posts)

#116 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:06 PM:

My husband and I are being very bad. Neither of us are going to our precinct caucus tonight, mainly because neither of us are passionate enough to caucus for one of the Dem candidates over the other. In '04 I was an alternate delegate for Kucinich. I would this time if I thought he had even as much chance as Edwards. I don't think he does. I am sad.

Which is not to say that I'm not passionate about either candidate. I'm passionately happy about them both. I'm not passionate in a preference for one over the other, that's the problem. Reading this thread, I've bounced back and forth, and would probably continue to do so at the caucus listening to campaigners' speeches.

If Colorado just had a primary today, I'd go in and vote. I'd make a decision and vote on one or the other. But caucusing I could not bring myself to do.

I think, when I'm feeling cynical, that it's really that I don't *want* to choose. I want to just say to the Universe, "Thy will be done." Which is really, really terrible of me--it's not the spirit of democracy at all. It's cowardice. Fear that if I made a decision and campaigned on it, and that candidate won the primary and then lost the general, it would be partially my fault. Egocentric cowardice. It's not rational. It's stupid. But it's the only explanation I can find for my instinct to want to just leave it in Her hands.

(That rather took a lot of courage to admit, but it would be more courageous to freakin' make a decision, I think.)

On the pragmatic side, I think I couldn't go even if I wanted to. I think I'm still registered Independent, which I did purely to help the county get the right numbers of election poll workers at each precinct. They were short on election judges who could work the Hart-Intercivic machines, so I was willing to futz with my registration to help them out with the numbers. I needed to have changed that by Jan 08, according to this site here.

But what makes us *really* badly behaved is, we're quietly celebrating Mardi Gras tonight and inviting friends over. We are tempting OTHER people not to attend the caucus. With king cake and red beans & rice.

We've made sure to tell everyone "we'll still be here after the caucus, don't let us stop you going," but that may not be enough to avoid the karmic backlash.

(Stupid 2008. Stupid early Mardi Gras. I heard it was a real wrencher back home, trying to choose between watching the Superbowl and going to see the Krewe of Bacchus roll, too. Of course, that's what portable TVs and parade-route bars are for.)

In any case. Come the general election, I will vote for either Clinton or Obama with a smile on my face. I like them both. Either will make me happy and proud to vote Democrat.

#117 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:11 PM:

Michael Weholt, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Your post made me laugh, though.

May I be able to show so much humor when my cats' days come.

#118 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:13 PM:

Will, #56: Pointing that out won't hurt him in the eyes of the people I'm talking about. McCain is still running on the inertia of his former "maverick" image with a lot of people. What I want is a site that lists his actual positions on a bunch of issues, preferably with backing quotes. Something I can point people at and say, "Are you sure McCain is really someone you could support? I don't think you'd agree with him about a lot of things." The fact that he hasn't filled out the VoteSmart Political Courage questionnaire is telling for me, but won't be for people who are still thinking about the McCain of 2000.

Xopher: I'm with Christopher Davis in #84. You made the best reasoned choice available to you at the time, in accordance with your own personal set of priorities. There's not much more that can be asked.

ethan, #88: Yes, that. Much the same thing with Edwards -- he got some MSM coverage, but very little by comparison to Clinton and Obama. And there were others (Mike Gravel, for one) who got even less than Dodd.

I am about 80% convinced that media control is another weapon in the Republican arsenal (spearheaded by the Murdoch empire), and that they have been deliberately and skillfully orchestrating the coverage for at least the last 3 elections to produce what they see as the least-electable Democratic candidate. Notice especially the terrific push for Hillary Clinton over the past 4 years; the media have been talking about her candidacy as if it were a done deal ever since 2004. Obama is succeeding despite that, which is even more impressive.

Lizzy, #104: That kind of response from the Dominionist wackjobs is one of the best things we could hope for. They've been the go-to vote-delivery machine for the Republicans for at least 20 years; if they withdraw their support for this election, one of two things will happen, and either one would be good news (FSVO):

1) The Democratic candidate will win, or

2) The Republican candidate will win without that vote-delivery machine... thus demonstrating conclusively that it's not a necessary component of a Republican campaign. That might just put enough spine into the rest of the party to kick the loons out for good and all.

#119 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:14 PM:

Michael at 114, I'm sorry. It hurts. But your buddy's gone to the Land of Happy Cats...

Susan, the world will go on turning no matter what you do. Please be gentle to yourself.

Went for a walk today with two women friends: one slightly older, one slightly younger than my 62. The younger one voted for Clinton. The older one didn't say... We agreed, what mattered was voting for the Democrat in November.

#120 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:14 PM:

#50 ::: Xopher --

I have been listening to editors and journalists who are European, from England to Germany to Italy to Spain to Sweden, and all of the sectors who care about politics know far more about all the candidates of both parties than your average person in the U.S. does -- perhaps more than the average person posting on this thread does even. That's saying a lot.

They are all terrified of any of the R candidates, though they also say the average person in their country isn't interested any of them except McCain. They all think McCain would be a much better POTUS than Bush, because he knows the value of cooperation, and they can't wait to get this regime gone gone gone.

That said, they have been interested in all the Dem candidates, and know a whole lot about them, and generally, they all would prefer a Dem candidate to succeed to the Oval Office.

It's a great deal more than probably any of us (certainly more than I know!) know about the election campaigns and candidates that are current in other countries. How much do you know about Russia's coming election, for instance?

Love, C.

#121 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:23 PM:

#98 Serge: My wife voted this morning at a school near Copper & Tramway. Apparently there was only one person to look thru all the voter lists. That meant loooong waiting lines, but that's fine by me if that means people are taking this VERY seriously.

There were three at my condensed station between Santa Fe and Madrid. They'd divided the list between them. It was the first time I've ever seen more than three people in line for my polling/voting station ever.

#122 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:30 PM:

I did a search for "Voter turnout" at GoogleNews here. Record numbers expected in Ca, Mo, Mass, Utah...

#123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:38 PM:

Michael Weholt... Sorry about your kitty.

#124 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:45 PM:

Michael Weholt #114: Sorry for your loss.

#125 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:50 PM:

Michael Weholt: I am currently owned by several felines, and we all send our condolences to you on your recent loss.

#126 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:51 PM:

I was speaking to a right-wing conservative earlier who hates McCain and brought up this thing I've been hearing about... the whole McCain was in a commie-prison camp, and, you know, did you ever see the "Manchurian Candidate"?

LOL. It's so schadenfreudy seeing the right-wing conspiracy nuts, those who suggested Lesbo Hillary killed Vince Foster because I-fergit-why, turning their 2nd Amendment gun sights on each other.

#127 ::: soru ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 07:56 PM:

'How much do you know about Russia's coming election, for instance?'

Well, unlike the US one, I know the winner.

#128 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 08:01 PM:

I'm sorry to hear about the cat, Michael--I know it's a hard adjustment after so many years.

#129 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 08:06 PM:

Lee at 118, I think your second option is highly unlikely. I don't think the Republican candidate can win without the extreme right. Seems more likely to me that the Republican party will collapse and not-quite-die, as the extreme right wing bleeds out of it. And then what? I asked the Magic 8-Ball, which says, "No frickin' clue."

#130 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 08:21 PM:

#118 ::: Lee, neither Obama nor Clinton answered that either, which depressed me. But I am sure that after McCain secures the nomination tomorrow, Democrats will learn all his weak points. Alas, I'm not sure that Republicans will. If you want to see more about Republicans against McCain, you could start here. I can't decide if it's sincere, or if conservative Republicans are playing a game to get conservative Democrats to vote McCain.

#131 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 08:56 PM:

Did my duty. Got to the polling place, a school's gym, Found three lines, but no sign saying which letters of the alphabet each line was for. I told one woman also wondering if she was in the correct line "Hey, we're Democrats, of course we're disorganised." Naturally I was in the wrong line. That's OK. Everybody was in a good mood, both the voters and the poll workers.

#132 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:13 PM:

Personally, I think we lost when the Dodd and Edwards campaigns were asphyxiated by the MSM, but I know that's a minority opinion.

As is my take that Clinton and Obama are both what we used to call "moderate Republicans".
However, I also think the class war we've been suffering for the last generation or so will progress far more slowly with either of them as President.

One of the biggest differences between them, for me, is the reservations I have about each.
I'm not sure Hillary is "electable" with the almost-twenty year backlog of incessant sliming she's received, but I'm uncertain about Obama's ability to deal with it if and when it's turned on him. We know that they'll be on him hammer, tongs, chainsaws, and woodchippers, 24/7, as soon as the balloons stop falling.

On another hand, this thread makes me wonder if Obama might not have significantly larger coattails than Hillary. We've seen how useless a "Democratic" Congress can be, but it looks possible that Obama would drag along more of an increase in the majority than Hillary would.

#133 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:22 PM:

#132 ::: Neil, we're down to symbolism, and Obama's symbolic difference is greater than Clinton's. As for electable, he just took Georgia with nearly half of the white voters. (I do wish I knew the gender divide there.) With Clinton out, he would take the rest of those voters.

And something I can't decide what I think about: a lot of Republicans really like Obama.

I'm with you in thinking the Democrats wounded themselves when they failed to back the person who polled best against McCain, but the DLC took over the DNC long, long ago, and until that changes, Democrats shouldn't expect liberal candidates.

#134 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:31 PM:

Listening to NPR reporting from Minnesota: both Democrats and Republicans report that they are breaking all records for turnout in the primary. Has anyone seen any comparative turnout figures, and if so, can you point me to the website?

#135 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:39 PM:

Will, #130: No, that's still no good. It is, in fact, a spin for "McCain as the maverick Republican", which is exactly the perception I'm trying to counter. I want to hear him endorsing the main party line, which I know he's been doing regularly for the last couple of years (pro-torture, pro-war, etc.); it's not Republicans I need to convince, but moderate Democrats who might "hold their nose and vote for Clinton" against any other Republican, but not against McCain.

#136 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:58 PM:

will shetterly @ 133: And something I can't decide what I think about: a lot of Republicans really like Obama.

I think (or maybe it's just a hope, based on a couple of conversations with such folk) that there are a lot of moderate Republicans looking to make the jump if the Democrats present a candidate whom they respect, and whom they perceive as respecting them. Deservedly or not, both of those things are much more true of Obama than Clinton.

#137 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 09:59 PM:

Lee, how about The Real McCain?

But you're right. The Dems need a simple fact sheet. It'll turn up.

#138 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:02 PM:

Tim, did you follow the link in #107? Well worth reading. I can't decide if the guy's hopelessly optimistic or brilliant, but I'll hope for brilliant, given our options.

#139 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:25 PM:

The best part of watching the returns: The "Republican Convention Ends in Schism" outcome is shaping up to actually be a possibility. An insane, improbably possibility, but worth talking about numbers about.

#140 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:26 PM:

Nicole #116: In '04 I was an alternate delegate for Kucinich. I would this time if I thought he had even as much chance as Edwards. I don't think he does. I am sad.

This is entirely off-topic, and I'm sure you're aware already, but did you know that Kucinich has a primary opponent for his seat in Congress? And that he's being outspent five to one? It's scary, for several reasons. For one thing, I don't think we can afford to lose him in Congress, and for another, if he does lose, it'd be a powerful message to all those who, like him and Dodd and Gravel and, yes, RuPaul, who run primarily to force important issues into the debate, that they can't afford to do it because people will swoop in and attack while they're distracted. I've given him a bit of money, and sure wish I could give more.

#141 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:35 PM:

will shetterley @ 138: Tim, did you follow the link in #107? Well worth reading.

So it is. Let's hope for a double reverse Reagan.

#142 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:44 PM:

Being as I am still eligible to vote in US elections, I sent off for my ballot a couple weeks ago and been a'studying of it since. That down-ticket stuff is murder during the primaries (Who are these people? Why do they want to be judges? Have any of them been to law school?).

I'll be voting for Hillary Clinton. Obama's a decent enough fellow, seems like, but I'd like him a lot better if I'd known of him longer. Clinton's been out in the public eye, nationally, taking on some of the meanest junkyard dogs the neocons could rustle up, for what? sixteen years now? Clinton knows what it's like to be hated just for breathing. That matters to me. Being hated in that way is something I lived with for so long, I became only fully aware of it when I emigrated.

The week before we got married, my mom and her best friend hauled me and my partner off to an off-season ski resort for a breather. I remember most fully the evening we all sat around talking, or rather, Nola and I listened to the the two little old ladies talk, and smoke and drink wine, all about the fights they'd weathered and the ones coming up, about making sure the Planned Parenthood clinic didn't lose its zoning and how vital it was to make sure it could continue to offer abortion services, and about how the older they got, the more adamant they became on issues important to women, to minorities, to gays. I thought about how long it'd been since I'd heard anyone talking with that level of commitment born of experience, knowing how to get things done in the sphere in which they'd chosen to work. Experience matters. Commitment matters. Sticking around to see things through matters.

Also? Voting for a woman for President feels to me like being offered a chance to see a sunrise for the very first time.

#143 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 10:48 PM:

Lee @ 135

I'd remind them that he voted for torturing prisoners of war, even though torture had been used on him and he knew what would happen. (I expected him to not be so clueless. On the other hand, he is a Republican.)

#144 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 11:20 PM:

P.J. Evans: I'd point out that he lied about voting against torture, while making it easier to both do, and hide.

#145 ::: Kvon ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 11:35 PM:

'And if she should become the nominee, two words will constantly remind me why I should get off my ass and vote for her: “Supreme” and “Court.”'

I agree with the sentiment, but are many justices likely to need replacing soon? I guess the 88 year old John Paul Stephens is coming up soon. W.J. Clinton only got one pick.

#146 ::: Tehanu ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2008, 11:42 PM:

I like, but don't looovvvve, either Obama or Hillary, and I couldn't make up my mind until last night, when I realized that -- much as I love the Big Dog -- I'd rather not see any dynasty established in our politics, not even one I like. Two Bushes was bad enough; two Clintons, though not bad in themselves, still pushes our politics in the direction of hereditary aristocracy. Not that it will make any difference if Hillary is the nominee in November; I'll vote for her willingly. But for today, I voted Obama.

#147 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:03 AM:

"We are the ones we've been waiting for."

#148 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 03:06 AM:

Will, #137: That's better. At least it's got real quotes, and video clips so that people can't claim it was "taken out of context".

I also remembered that someone I knew had done a series of "evaluating the candidates" blog posts, and looked up his entry on McCain. It's not perfect -- I wish he had more direct links -- but it does lay out McCain's actual positions in a neutral way, and points out the discrepancy between McCain's stated position on torture and his actual voting record.

#149 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 03:25 AM:

And two Adamses, Tehanu, were a problem? If we'd wanted a dynastic system, as a nation, there was a strong chance it'd have been set up very early. And it was rejected then. Two from a family in near succession -- okay (think RFK before he got killed) -- three, the populace hasn't found it good. Later folks in the particular succession not even making it into the first ranks of contenders.

#150 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 03:39 AM:

I think Obama's oratory may just be able to defuse--or at least weaken--the right wing hate machine. If he can do that, the rest is commentary. Sure, I'd like a progressive President; conservative is going to work in 2009 about as well as it did in 1933, or 1941. But the reality is that before we can elect that progressive, we have to get the fear and hate levels down. And maybe Obama is the man for the job. Meantime, it appears that Obama and Clinton are neck and neck in delegates. Obama is pulling the rural Democrats, with Clinton bringing in the candidates from the big urban states. A situation where a compromise would be a winner, I think. But what do Clinton and Obama think?

...and what is Ron Paul up to?

#151 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 03:40 AM:

Michael Weholt, #114, I'm so sorry about your cat. I had to set Giorgio down to type (and just got back from finding him). The vet was here today; we'll get labs back in the morning. I hope it's just the obvious decaying tooth with infected gum, but he's down 2 pounds and will drink but not eat. I have kind of an immediate idea of what you're feeling.

#152 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 07:41 AM:

I was going to email thanks to everyone who said nice things to me about my kitty, but it was too hard to figure out everybody's email addresses. So, I'll say thanks here.

#153 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 07:50 AM:

#139: What worries me is that with Clinton and Obama so close, the Democratic convention may also be contentious.
The Washington Post reports that Clinton picked up 582 delegates vs. Obama's 562 last night. The Post is also reporting their total count as 845 delegates and 756 delegates respectively.

When was the last time it's been this close with so many delegates already committed? (Still hoping Obama and Clinton aren't beating each other to near death for the honor of receiving the final killing tap from the Republican nominee.)

#154 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 08:20 AM:

Neil @ 132:

"As is my take that Clinton and Obama are both what we used to call 'moderate Republicans'"

This sort of attitude flabbergasts me. What liberal utopia are you harkening back to? Sure, there are a handful of positions where I could wish that Clinton and Obama were more liberal, but I live in Boston and work for a frickin' environmental group. You don't get much more liberal than me without joining the Communist Party or the ELF.

Yes, there was a time when there were Republicans that were more liberal than Clinton and Obama. But keep in mind that was also a time when a significant number of Democrats were pro-segregation southerners. The issue of race in the mid-twentieth century completely scrambled the ideological spectrum. (The older members of my organization can still remember a time when it was much easier to get Republicans to support good environmental policies than Democrats, for example.)

The fact is that we're looking at two presidential candidates who support cap and trade systems for CO2 emissions, universal (though not single-payer) health care, withdrawal from Iraq (though not as fast as some would like), etc. etc.

These ideas might be slightly right of center among my or your friends, or even by comparison to politicians in other developed countries, but they're significantly left of the center of American politics today. To say that they're just "moderate Republicans" is meaningless if you mean it in a historical sense (the ideological spectrum has completely reorganized itself several times in the last 50 years) and manifestly false if you compare them to the modern republican party.

#155 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 08:43 AM:

You know, maybe I'm misremembering, I hope I am, or if I am not misremembering, maybe this is just petty, but...

It's my recollection that during their speeches last night both Clinton and Obama acknowledged the terrible storms in the South last night and expressed condolences to those who lost people, but the Republicans said nothing.

But as I say, I hope I'm misremembering that. Maybe I'm just in a FEMA state of mind and the brownies did a heckuva job without me noticing it.

And Chris W @ 154? Well said.

#156 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 09:29 AM:

#149 ::: Tom, dynasties seem to be liked by the Electoral College. Like Bush II, Adams II "won" because the Electoral College rewarded the loser. He just wasn't smart enough to start a war to get the voters behind him four years later.

#157 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 10:22 AM:

Well, I cast my vote (for Hilary) despite appalling conditions. Three or four districts of Dems and Repubs together had been consolidated -- apparently as a cost-cutting move -- and when I arrived at the church auxiliary building (with basket ball court) at around 10:30 a.m. there were at least 150 people, probably closer to 200, ahead of me. It was cold out, so they let everyone indoors, but that meant a line that snaked up the middle of the basketball court before snaking around three more walls before reaching the check-in tables.

Due to AZ's new "ID" law, check-in had three stages: one line (eventually split into two, alphabetically, when they realized what a mess they were in) just for proof of ID; a second line for getting signed in; and a third one for finally getting a ballot! That's why, with so many people in the room and about 10 voting booths at the end, there were times when no booths were in use and I never saw more than four of them occupied at once.

The bulk of the voters were retirement age or more (that's why the place was so busy in the middle of the morning), and fortunately it was a very civil crowd. No one got particularly upset with the ordeal until confusion arose about line #2 (yes, it was really two separate lines #2, still divided by alphabet). We chatted with each other, stared into space, or made up quips about the ordeal.

When I finally got my ballot in (well over an hour and at least 150 recorded votes after first getting a look at the collector's machine with the vote count), I tottered out into the cool, windy noonday and down the driveway -- only to encounter a fire truck with alarm sounding in "ambulance" mode heading toward the church buildings. Hope no one had a heart attack in there. I also hope the local authorities learn from this monumental mess, so I don't have to go out and cast my November presidential vote at dawn! (Though Novembers do tend to be a lot warmer than Februaries in these parts.)

#158 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 10:57 AM:

I just checked the polls here. Going head to head, McCain beats Clinton, but Obama beats McCain (not as decisively as Edwards did before he suspended his campaign, but still...). I'm becoming increasingly baffled by Clinton supporters, since Clinton and Obama are equally good on gender and race. If electing a Democrat in 2008 is your priority, he's the one to support now. Does Clinton have a strength that I'm missing, or is it simply that a lot of Democrats continue to be swayed by the Clinton advantage in the DLC?

#159 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:28 AM:

will @158
Does Clinton have a strength that I'm missing, or is it simply that a lot of Democrats continue to be swayed by the Clinton advantage in the DLC?

Some people just don't trust Obama or his approach or the media rah-rah.
As for race, Clinton gets Hispanic and Asian-American support, which I personally think is a cultural thing -- loyalty to their family's past service.

#160 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:33 AM:

This seems like a good thread to put in this unbelievable quote, which I got today from the Doonesbury page (but it's an actual quote):

"We expect both Obama and Hillary Clinton to be respectful to the Fox News Channel and to 'The O'Reilly Factor.'...The Fox News Channel is the dominant force in cable news, and in prime-time news in this country. If you dodge the Fox News Channel -- which has treated both candidates fairly, by the way -- if you dodge us, it is at your peril."
-- Bill O'Reilly, courting appearances by the Democratic candidates
I don't know who this guy thinks he is, but it's far enough off his actual identity that I think he's in serious need of mental health care. Not to mention that his definition of 'fairly' must be one I've never heard before.

#161 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:36 AM:

"Does Clinton have a strength that I'm missing, or is it simply that a lot of Democrats continue to be swayed by the Clinton advantage in the DLC?"

Speaking only for myself and a few other friends, we've been drawn to Clinton because of her apparent grasp of policy detail. Although, frankly, this might partially be wishful thinking on our part--sort of an echo effect for those of us who admired Bill Clinton's policy-wonkism.

#162 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:39 AM:

#156: And Benjamin Harrison, the third dynastic president (grandson of William Henry) also won by electoral college. Gee, we've hit the trifecta.

(I'm not counting FDR. Fifth cousin is too distant a relationship to be significant, though being a nephew by marriage might be.)

#163 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:49 AM:

#158:Those poll results aren't nearly as clear cut as you're making it sound. The spread is surely within the margin of error regardless of whom you pair up against McCain. Also, as you like to point out, the national poll results are meaningless due to the Electoral College. What we need to see is the state-by-state breakdowns.

Given the clear trend of more people voting in the Democratic primaries than the Republican ones, I think both Clinton and Obama are in good shape against McCain.

(BTW, is the DLC even relevant these days? I haven't heard anything about them in a while.)

#164 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:59 AM:

#160 ::: Xopher, it's the same as Fox's definition of "balanced."

#162 ::: Jon, excellent catch! (Okay, for those of us who enjoy obscure coincidences, but I love knowing that.)

#165 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Michael, I'm sorry for your loss.

#133 ::: will shetterly:

And something I can't decide what I think about: a lot of Republicans really like Obama.

Maybe Obama is really likable.

Not exactly a theory, but maybe someone being Republican doesn't tell you all that much about them.

Just for the fun of predicting: The Republican party takes massive damage. Oprah gets into politics, with hard-to-predict results.

#166 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:09 PM:

#163 ::: John, I agree that the poll results aren't decisive, and if Clinton gets the nod, I pray they're wrong or we can change them. But the current numbers still tell you the smart way to bet. The Electoral College has only rewarded the loser four times in, what, 54 elections? So while it may fail again this year, odds are that it won't, and there's no time to fix it this year anyway.

We don't hear much about the DLC because we're down to the DLC candidates now.

#167 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:10 PM:

I'm becoming increasingly baffled by Clinton supporters, since Clinton and Obama are equally good on gender and race.

...and there are no other relevant issues? And "equally good" means one should therefore support the man over the woman?

If electing a Democrat in 2008 is your priority, he's the one to support now. Does Clinton have a strength that I'm missing, or is it simply that a lot of Democrats continue to be swayed by the Clinton advantage in the DLC?

Didn't we choose Kerry on "electability" too?

Hint: dismissive attitudes by supporters, not helping the Obama cause. Dismissive attitudes from men towards a female candidate especially eyebrow-raising. Can't you come up with some actual reasons to support Obama other than implying that Clinton supporters are delusional tools of the DLC? There've been plenty of good ones tossed around in this thread and in links given by the posters.

#168 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:13 PM:

#165 ::: Nancy, some of my favorite people are Republicans, but their politics still suck, especially in a year when the stakes are universal health care (even in a DLC-approved corporate-friendly form) and withdrawing from Iraq (even though either Clinton or Obama could pull an LBJ on us).

#169 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:15 PM:

Kvon @145:

Many of the liberal Justices are more than ready to retire, and are only staying on the Court to keep the Idiot-in-Chief from choosing another.

And I'm still betting that if Clinton wins, she appoints Bill to the first SC vacancy...

#170 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:21 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #165: Oprah gets into politics, with hard-to-predict results.

I'll tell you this: nothing good can come from anyone so deeply into the "Secret".

#171 ::: terrintokyo ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:22 PM:

great reading notes from all of you - we DemsAbroad had our Global Primary start on Tuesday (2.5-2.12), and I voted, quite happily, for Obama.

No, he's not Howard Dean, but then, nobody is:-)

But he is building on the foundation that Dean and we and a long line of movement people helped create, and he has a hopeful pragmatism that I think can help change America in spite of its worst self, to our best self.

Being an AfricanAmerican woman, the choice was nonetheless a no-brainer, because I wasn't focused on race or gender (so much media nonsense), but on character and emotion and trust first, positions after, then the rest of it. In that, I think I'm much more like a regular person than a political wonk. In the meantime, I'll work hard for whoever gets the nom: we're already starting to plan a trek to GOTV where needed. It makes a difference (I think), when you knock on people's doors and ask for their vote, saying you came from across the sea to help:-)

#172 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:24 PM:

#167 ::: Susan, if their policies are equal, and a black man has a better chance of winning against McCain, why shouldn't a feminist support a black man?

Kerry got the nod because the DLC was behind him. Most importantly, he lost, so whatever the reasoning for supporting him, it was wrong. (At the time, I supported Kucinich, then Kerry, but wished they had flipped the ticket, because I still think Edwards would've done better than Kerry did.)

I now wonder if anyone polled better than Kerry against Republicans in 2004. The DLC fondness for the weaker overall candidate may not have started with the current race.

#173 ::: terrintokyo ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:30 PM:

and, for those who are interested, some decent coverage of voters at various DemsAbroadGlobalPrimary voting centers.

In Tokyo, Obama was the overwhelming favorite, btw. Nagoya and Kyoto have their in-person voting this weekend, so the saga continues...

#174 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:31 PM:

Susan: While I understand the sentiment, I've not seen anything in will's comments that say he preferes Obama because of his gender.

I don't think my reservations about Clinton have anything to do with her gender (they have more to do with her experience, and how that will color her use/abandonment/repudiation of the executive privilege claims of the Bush).

It feels, a lot, as if you are telling me I have to not say I prefer Obama, because talking about what makes him a better candidate is sexist, esp. when the critique doesn't have anything to do with the sex of the candidates.

#175 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:33 PM:

perhaps we'll get to see one golden dawn
the shape of things not turned into a pain
worlds not destroyed for temporary gain
a light the glow of which we will not scorn
such things as we have dreamt since we were born
a cleansing of the old and noisome stain
an effort not expended all in vain
an honest oath that shall not be forsworn
so that the truth be told and hate be scorned
we face the fire and say the words of praise
before the altars of the silent god
these are the matters honest unadorned
that will be with you to the final days
when we're forgotten underneath the sod

#176 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:46 PM:

#167 ::: Susan, let me try this again: based on the polls, 5% of the voters will not vote for a black, and yet most polls indicate that Obama can defeat McCain, and Clinton cannot. When people point at Clinton's weaknesses, it's not her gender that comes up. It's her "likeability." Conservatives and liberals equally mistrust her, and the reasons are pretty much the same: in the '90s, when she spearheaded that drive for universal health care, she came up with a corporatist mishmash that pleased no one. Now she has a more streamlined version based on Edwards' plan. The war is a huge factor: running against McCain, she looks like a flipflopper. I could've happily voted for her as president in the '90s. I'll vote for her now if she's the last Dem running, but I'll worry much more about it.

#177 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:55 PM:

I caucused.

Lizzy @ 104: The Republicans are a school sharks circling each other, waiting for the first scent of blood so the feeding frenzy can begin.

Well, we can hope so, anyway.

pericat @ 142: Being as I am still eligible to vote in US elections, I sent off for my ballot a couple weeks ago and been a'studying of it since. That down-ticket stuff is murder during the primaries (Who are these people? Why do they want to be judges? Have any of them been to law school?).

It gets to the point where, if all the candidates for judge or smaller county and city offices are unknowns to me, I'll pick the Libertarian candidate just on the off chance of shaking the Big Two out of their complacency. But RuPaul makes me want to look at these guys a hell of a lot more closely.

Michael Weholt @ 147: "We are the ones we've been waiting for."

Chad Kroeger: "They say a hero could save us/I'm not gonna stand here and wait."

For the longest time, every time I heard that song, my mind went immediately to the brave souls aboard United 93.

But perhaps he meant all of us to sing along.

Xopher @ 160, on O'Reilly: I don't know who this guy thinks he is, but it's far enough off his actual identity that I think he's in serious need of mental health care. Not to mention that his definition of 'fairly' must be one I've never heard before.

Xopher, don't you remember Fox News owns the rights to "fair and balanced"? So 'fairly' means whatever they say it means.

What are you, one of these reality-based types?

(Come to think of it, the other Fox's definition of "reality" hasn't helped any.)

will @ 172: Kerry got the nod because the DLC was behind him. Most importantly, he lost, so whatever the reasoning for supporting him, it was wrong.

Kerry became the nominee in large part because, although support for him had been all but invisible beforehand, when he won the Iowa caucuses the MSM anointed him "the winnah!" His base in Iowa was apparently veterans, so the MSM concluded he'd have strong support there, but as we learned, plenty of conservative Vietnam-era vets detested his participation in Vietnam Veterans Against the War, which fed right into the hands of the co-called Swift Boat Veterans for (so-called) Truth. Of course, as a candidate, he turned out to be one of the worst campaigners imaginable. No wonder no one liked him before Iowa.

#178 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 12:55 PM:

My dislike or like of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have nothing to do with gender or skin. It was infuriating to read in the NY Times this a.m. that it does: the Dems are divided along racial and gender lines, stupid Adam Nagorske stated, flatly. I flatly state he's a farkin' nitwit.

I am very much afraid that if the dems give it to Clinton, McCain will take her out. I do believe that Obama has a better chance of defeating McCain, because of the enthusiasm factor among the younger voters and some others. If Clinton i is the nominee they won't turn out. Edwards, of course, was an even more electable candidate, but we certainly were not going to be allowed to have him.

None of this has to do with race or gender on my part. It has to do with Hillary's really high negatives. I also don't support her first, because there are some slight differences between her and Obama, and they are in issues that really matter to me, including Cuba and health care.

Love, C.

#179 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 01:01 PM:

Will @ #172:
Susan, if their policies are equal, and a black man has a better chance of winning against McCain, why shouldn't a feminist support a black man?

If you think this is a useful argument, my point flew right over your head. I'm not particularly interested in argument based on gender and race, and I do not care for any argument that suggests gender and race should be the only issues of concern.

Kerry got the nod because the DLC was behind him. Most importantly, he lost, so whatever the reasoning for supporting him, it was wrong.

One reason was that he was thought to be most electable. Same argument you are making for Obama. That's why it's kind of flopping with me.

(Note that I will be supporting the Dem candidate in November regardless of who it is.)

#180 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 01:13 PM:

Will @ #176:
Susan, let me try this again: based on the polls, 5% of the voters will not vote for a black, and yet most polls indicate that Obama can defeat McCain, and Clinton cannot.

Still no reason of substance to support Obama...

When people point at Clinton's weaknesses, it's not her gender that comes up. It's her "likeability."

I guess I'm not most people; I find Obama arrogant and offputting. I also find his wife's hints that they would not support the eventual Democratic nominee if it's Hillary and that Obama might not run again if we don't select him now to be extremely offputting, to say the least.

But we're not voting for Miss Congeniality here. If the only reasons to vote for Obama are that more people would rather have a beer with him than Hillary (just like W!) and that he's more electable (just like Kerry!), that just doesn't spur a whole lot of excitement in me.

[snip of valid arguments on health care, Iraq]

That's more like it. Not exactly new arguments, though.

#181 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 01:18 PM:

#179 ::: Susan, I completely agree that gender and race shouldn't be a concern. Defeating McCain is my concern, and Obama's numbers say he has a better chance of doing that. So why should we support Clinton instead?

And where are the polls that said Kerry was the "most electable"? What I remember from 2004 is that, like Clinton now, Kerry had the party machine behind him, but I don't remember if the polls said he was the strongest candidate against Bush.

Speaking of polls, there are all sorts of interesting numbers about last night here.

#182 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 01:27 PM:

I believe you haven't heard much about the DLC for two reasons:
1) The DLC brand is tainted, and has a lot of negative value for the candidates. Last year, I believe all the candidates skipped the DLC shindig.
2) The DLC doesn't object to either Hillary or Obama as the candidate, and Edwards (a former DLC'er) never got to the point where he needed to be stepped on. Hillary's on the DLC's leadership team, and Al From has said he's fine with Obama. (I read it on talkingpointsmemo, but couldn't find a link. 'from' is a bad search keyword.)

#183 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 01:34 PM:

One thing about Hillary's negatives -- I think they're overblown, specially among women. This is anecdotal, but I've talked to/emailed women who are afraid to say which candidate they like best -- turns out it's Hillary and they're afraid to say it for fear of being jumped on. It's acceptable, even cool, to diss Hillary in public.
Obama's got the reverse effect -- people are afraid to be labeled bigots if they talk about their reservations about him.

#184 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 01:37 PM:

Serge @ #131, it looks like your New Mexico vote really meant something this time.

71 votes separate Obama and Clinton with 98% of precincts counted at 1:33pm EST.

#185 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 01:55 PM:

Linkmeister @ 184... That's good to hear. As for who I voted for, like I said yesterday, neither of them wowed me so, no matter which way it goes, it's not like I'll get my heart broken. That happened 4 years ago when, instead of Howard Dean, they annointed John Kerry. He may have been a good guy, but he didn't realize, even after what happened to Gore in 2000, that the other side had no honor whatsoever and so he let himself be swiftboated.

#186 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 02:00 PM:

Mayakda, the CNN site I posted to at 181 has exit polls showing Clinton doing really well with women. In California, for example, men divided equally between Clinton and Obama, but women went for Clinton nearly 2 to 1. "Age and race" is also interesting: whites under 44 chose Obama; whites over 44 chose Clinton.

#187 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 02:18 PM:

Richard @177: I'll pick the Libertarian candidate just on the off chance of shaking the Big Two out of their complacency.

That's not normally an option in a primary... :P

#188 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 02:20 PM:

I genuinely questioned myself, in the voting booth, over which lever I was going to pull. I was inclined towards Clinton, but I had to ask myself if I was letting the fact that some of the Obama campaign's tactics really offended me overlook someone who could be a better president. After all, a lot of things about her campaign bother me a great deal too (I'm afraid his stumping for Joe Lieberman sorta took the war issue off the table for me).

This was the tiebreaker.

To more effectively oppose Supreme Court nominees in the future, Democrats need to convince the public "their values are at stake" rather than use stalling tactics to try to thwart the president, said a senator who opposes Samuel Alito's confirmation.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., predicted on Sunday that an effort to try to block a final vote on Alito would fail on Monday. That would clear the way for Senate approval Tuesday of the federal appeals court judge picked to succeed the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Democrats fear he would shift the court rightward on abortion rights, affirmative action, the death penalty and other issues.

"We need to recognize, because Judge Alito will be confirmed, that, if we're going to oppose a nominee that we've got to persuade the American people that, in fact, their values are at stake," Obama said.

"There is an over-reliance on the part of Democrats for procedural maneuvers," he told ABC's "This Week."

I have been voting the Court since I've been able to vote, and the way I see it, not fighting Alito with everything in our power was an obscene cowardice, and the Senator's political glamor was used to sugarcoat an obscene cowardice (they generally don't send the jr. Senator from Illinois up on TV to explain silverback strategy, do they?).

I absolutely don't judge anyone who came to a different conclusion, or who has a different hot button issue or dealbreaker. Will I vote for him in a New York minute if he's the nominee for either of the two top spots? Try and stop me.

But he shook me, and in the back of my mind I now have a nagging question question about who his lack of specificity is meant to lull.

#189 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 03:09 PM:

#188 julia: (Quoting Obama) ... We need to recognize, because Judge Alito will be confirmed, that, if we're going to oppose a nominee that we've got to persuade the American people that, in fact, their values are at stake... There is an over-reliance on the part of Democrats for procedural maneuvers...

Except that... I agree with him. I think he is exactly right. Which is why I voted for him, I guess. I think he can do that. Maybe not better, maybe not worse than Senator Clinton, but in my judgment he is absolutely right and I think he has the chops to do it.

But, like you, I make no judgment about others who may disagree.

#190 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 03:21 PM:

Unfortunately, when Sen. Biden announced on MTP that he didn't see a problem confirming, Alito hadn't actually spoken to anyone or provided his record.

The american people did, polls said, strongly oppose confirming a justice who held the positions that Alito held, but his nomination raced through before they found out that he held them.

That was the time, in my view, to let them know.

#191 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 03:37 PM:

Here's an interesting statistic about Colorado from today's local paper:

"Both parties reported extremely heavy turnout. More than 118,000 Democratic voters went to the caucuses, compared to just 15,000 in 2004. More than 56,000 Republicans participated Tuesday."

!!!!!!

pericat @ 187: Richard @177:I'll pick the Libertarian candidate just on the off chance of shaking the Big Two out of their complacency.

That's not normally an option in a primary... :P

Oops. Good point. I was already looking ahead to the general election (silly me). In our caucuses we only had to concern ourselves with President and Senator, apparently other races will be addressed at the county convention.

#192 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 03:43 PM:

#179 ::: Susan, I did a little looking at polls and blogs in 2004. You're right--electability was a huge topic of discussion (which is probably inevitable in our system). Kerry had the money and the DLC behind him, and he was 10 points ahead of Bush in the polls. Then he stopped competing with Edwards and began running a DLC campaign.

Interestingly (okay, to me), Edwards was about as far ahead of Bush as Kerry, but he didn't have the party support, so he took the #2 slot. I worry that Clinton with the "Dream Team" under her would just be a replay of Kerry-Edwards.

#193 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 04:38 PM:

Ye gods I hate this primary season, but in case anyone cares, I voted against Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney in the hopes that the rest of you won't have to.

No need to thank me... just try not to burn down your party in a brokered convention, kthxplz.

#194 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 04:55 PM:

Richard Brandt, I echo your bangs. That's a huge, huge jump in turnout.

ethan, I'm embarrassed to say I had not known that about Kucinich's current situation. That's distressing. I contributed to his '04 Presidential campaign, *and* to its debt-payoff after the election; I ought to put something towards keeping him present in D.C. I hope it helps.

On sort of a tangent, but still quite political: A friend of mine sent me a link to a web site he helped launch last night as part of his job: BelieveInLouisiana.com My eyebrows quite predictably raised. They seem ambitious and on the correct side of the Force. Yet another thing I should be paying attention to.

#195 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 05:06 PM:

As I have said, if Cl8inton is our nominee, I'll vote for her and I'll get very involved in increasing Democratic voter registration.

Also as I have said, I voted for Obama. One concern I have which I will try to express here, because I'm curious to know if anyone else is worried about this. Clinton is virulently hated by the nutso right wing. Some of those people dislike McCain as well; he's insufficiently whatever for them. If he were to be the nominee, they might choose not to vote for him if he were facing Obama. But they hate Clinton so much that I fear they will vote for him just to vote against her, and if the November election is at all close, those votes could make a difference.

Anyone else...?

#196 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 05:10 PM:

#193 ::: j h, letting the undemocratic superdelegates decide would be a nightmare for the Dems, but things could be over sooner than that. A Nomination Analysis: Why Obama Has the Upper Hand is hopeful, but not impossibly so, and Five reasons Hillary should be worried feels spot on.

#197 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 05:39 PM:

Nicole @ 194: Richard Brandt, I echo your bangs. That's a huge, huge jump in turnout.

I just did the math. More Democrats voted for Obama than the total number of Republicans that caucused.

By approximately 22,000.

#198 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 05:46 PM:

Actually I just ran up more numbers: Clinton with a third of the Democratic vote finished a distant second with about 39,000 votes, which is still almost 5,000 more votes than were cast for Mitt Romney, the Republican front-runner.

#199 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 06:04 PM:

julia:

Do note that Obama, like Clinton, did in fact vote against cloture on the Alito decision--that is, he supported the filibuster. I think he's right that using procedural motions to block Supreme Court justices isn't the best way to win on the issues.

#200 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 07:27 PM:

#196 ::: will shetterly letting the undemocratic superdelegates decide would be a nightmare for the Dems, but things could be over sooner than that

I hope so. I'm loathe to be too critical of how Democrats organize themselves, because y'all are a bit touchy about Greens being all preachy at you about such things, but I think you've got too damned many superdelegates by about a factor of four. It will really be Teh Suck if one of your candidates is the clear but narrow winner of the popularity contest and the superdelegates decide to go with the other one out of purely elitist political considerations.

#201 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 07:28 PM:

I used to think the idea of a Clinton/Obama or an Obama/Clinton ticket was absurd, but I was watching the (hated by many) Chris Matthews show tonight and the Head Talkers were discussing something that I have feeling myself, more and more lately.

I have a number of friends who feel that this might be the only time in their lifetimes that a woman will have a real chance of becoming President. I don't know but I suspect there are many blacks who feel this might be the only time in their lifetimes an African-American will have a chance.

The Democratic Party risks bitterly disappointing one of these crucial member groups of the Democratic alliance.

More and more, I'm thinking there isn't any other option but a C/O or an O/C ticket coming out of the convention. If the winner of the nomination doesn't offer the 2nd spot to the runner up, then I fear I'm going to have to view the winner as a traitor to the party. If the runner-up is offered the 2nd spot and refuses, I may come to see him/her as a traitor to the party as well.

This is, of course, without regard to the wonderfulness for the country of such a ticket, which it would be, I think. Full of wonderfulness for the country, I mean.

#202 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 07:49 PM:

More Democrats voted for Obama than the total number of Republicans that caucused.

YES!!!!! *Insert Snoopy dance here*

#203 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 08:01 PM:

"More Democrats voted for Obama than the total number of Republicans that caucused."

I'm not sure if this is a fair comparison. I mean, heck, would you risk the chance of being seen in public with a Republican?

#204 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 09:11 PM:

Ethan @ 140, Nicole @ 194: Relax, Kucinich's opponent is a pretty competent Democrat, and may well be even better able to accomplish what's needed than Dennis has proven to be. I'm in the contested district - Kucinich's local office is less than a mile from my house - and I like Dennis, but I really think that Rosemary Palmer would be a good option, too. It just might be time for a change.

#205 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 09:12 PM:

D'oh! My link didn't work. Let's try that again:

Kucinich's opponent, Rosemary Palmer.

#206 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 09:18 PM:

On the other hand, Palmer isn't crystal clear on certain issues... abortion, forex. And I'm not sure exactly where she stands on health care. But I'm not going to panic yet just because she isn't Kucinich.

I'm just saying.

#207 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 09:28 PM:

will, #176: "in the '90s, when she spearheaded that drive for universal health care, she came up with a corporatist mishmash that pleased no one."

But that's what Obama has already done, as Paul Krugman keeps pointing out. On issues, I think Clinton and Obama are actually very close, and reflect the conservative Democratic consensus. I think both candidates have skills that could be very valuable to the USA; hence I support a combined ticket.

#208 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 09:38 PM:

Here's info on another Democratic challenger for Kucinich's seat.

As I can find things out, I can share...

#209 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 10:06 PM:

Summer 206: On the other hand, Palmer isn't crystal clear on certain issues... abortion, forex.

Two bad things to be against. I think people should be for at least ONE of those.

What? Oh. OHHHHH!

Never mind.

#210 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:13 PM:

#207 ::: Randolph, I think Reich is correct about Obama and Clinton on health care: it's essentially the same deal. I just meant that back in the '90s, Clinton's plan was a corporatist mess that disappointed liberals who haven't forgotten their disappointment. Just like NAFTA. Just like bombing Iraq. Just like "Don't ask, don't tell," which she's failing to remind people was her husband's compromise after he didn't have the balls to do what Truman did regarding blacks in the military. I'm a little surprised the LGBT folks are cutting her slack on that. True, she's not him, but she has hardly denied her connection to his policies.

My impression is that her current corporatist package is better than the previous one. Maybe it's just more palatable after all these years. In any case, I'm not saying Obama is better because of his health care stance. I'm just noting that the polls say he's got a better shot at beating McCain, and McCain isn't promising health care, last I heard. (Though if he wanted to hurt the Dems, he could. Nixon backed it, after all.)

#211 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:14 PM:

This testimonial is brought to you, free of charge, by the Old Hippies' Brigade.

A few weeks ago, I thought Obama was an interesting candidate, was a little concerned about HRC's ability to win in "the heartland" and her independence from Bill, and thought John Edwards was the berries. My opinion of John Edwards hasn't changed, nor has it been diminished by his withdrawal/self-suspension from the race. My concerns about HRC have only intensified as I've watched them on the campaign trail. And I'm afraid she'll have problems selling even a Democratic congress on the things that so many of us here hold dear.

Barack Obama, however, has just blown my socks off. I've compared his statements from months ago to those of the past few weeks, and seen a maturation occur, as he's gone from "do enough of y'all think I could even be considered" and a man who hadn't developed a strong stand on things that didn't directly affect him, to someone who's thought (nearly) every issue through, and knows exactly where he stands. His stands in nearly every area strongly impress me. And now, the man has the courage to sell hope to a set of generations who have seen any and all idealism they had be sold down the river by corporate and other elite interests.

Since Nixon killed hope, I hadn't ever expected to see it again in my lifetime. But now, here it is. Hope for the America I was taught as a child, coming from a man whose career has been made possible by those who have worked over the past forty years to make it so. I hoped for, fought for, marched for, even prayed for this, and had almost accepted that it was to be denied me, one of my most fervent and patriotic dreams. Now, in a time of horror and shame caused by one of the failures of my generation, comes a member of a new generation, bearing an aggressive message of that hope I so desired, and the greatness, not through military might, we once aspired to. There lies the torch at our feet. How can I not pick it up? How can we not pass it on?

#212 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:22 PM:

will, #210: Krugman, I think, agrees with you on Clinton's health plan, but also says that Obama's isn't as good. And if Obama is compromising before the other side has begun to fight, what's going to happen after? The mud hasn't even begun to fly; too much can happen between now & November, so we can't predict "electability". I still think they could make a great team.

#213 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:30 PM:

LMB MacAlister, #211: Well-said. Off-topic... I sent you an e-mail offlist a couple of weeks ago. If you didn't see it, you might want to check your spambox, or drop me a line at the link from my name here. If you did see it and simply chose not to respond, no offense taken.

#214 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:37 PM:

In any event, there seems little enough additional to say; now we try to keep the discourse civil and the damage down, and fall in behind either candidate, whoever takes the nomination. May the right--but not the Right--win.

#215 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:41 PM:

Lori Coulson @169: And I'm still betting that if Clinton wins, she appoints Bill to the first SC vacancy...

My fantasy had been that Obama won, and appointed Hillary...

#216 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2008, 11:59 PM:

I always feel leery disagreeing with Krugman on economic matters, but I've always thought that mandates were a terrible idea, and I'll explain why.

One of the things poor people learn is that if there's an expensive service and any kind of rebate or payment help available, this is how it goes:

You will be charged the full amount, up front. Your assistance will almost always be less than it's supposed to be, and it will be in installments, and late. If you have even the slightest complicating or ambiguous circumstances, your help will be later. If the initial amount can be adjusted based on need, proving your need will take as long as paying the higher amount and waiting for the relief would.

There are exceptions, but it's a depressingly valid generalization.

Knowing how these things go by the time enemies of the basic concept are through messing up legislation, I have a very difficult time imagining mandates for health care as anything but another way to put health care out of the reach of a lot of people who need it most.

Furthermore, once there are charges in place, two things happen. First, they rise, unpredictably and irrationally. Second, any move to abolish them with payment by any other means (like single-payer coverage via taxation and no mandate) is opposed as a nasty ol' giveaway.

Mandates seem to me a concession to the puritanical notion that people don't really deserve coverage just for being Americans and members of such a wealthy society, but that if they pay through the nose then it's okay. But this is not necessarily compatible with actually attending to the health needs of the worst off.

#217 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 12:05 AM:

I said earlier in this thread that we all have to hold our noses when we vote. Sometimes though I get into a Mister Smith Goes to Washington mood, and I think that not everybody gets into politics for the power or the money(1). They probably could get more of either from working in the private sector, where they won't have their every action scrutinized. Some get into politics because they want to make the world a better place(2). How dare they make compromises? Well, we too have to compromise sometimes to achieve our goals - for example, I value Truth, but I've learned that being honest with the higher-ups at the office might keep me away from my goal to remain employed. And I find myself remembering that Clinton and Obama are in the same position, and that they are in an Arena infinitely nastier than life in the corporate world.

(1) Some exceptions would be the current Administration, and the likes of Joe Lieberman.
(2) As for what a better world is, it depends on the person answering to question.

#218 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 12:06 AM:

Chalk me up as another Obama voter who will happily support Clinton if she's the nominee. Partly this is indeed because the idea of President McCain is sickening, but partly it's because either of them would probably be a pretty good President.

Maybe I should qualify what I mean by "pretty good": either Obama or Clinton would probably be the best President we've had in the last 40 years. And maybe that sounds like I'm setting the bar a little low, considering the Presidents we've had for the last few decades, but look at it the other way: that's a pretty good fraction of a human lifetime. I don't expect another FDR, but either of them will probably be better than anyone we've had in the time that I've been old enough to read (let alone vote). I think I can be forgiven a little bit of enthusiasm about that.

#219 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 12:17 AM:

#212 ::: Randolph, Robert Reich's take on the Democratic candidates' health care proposals is here. While my understanding of economics is only a little better than a Republican's, my understanding of the political realities in 2008 makes me think he's right. Democrats shouldn't fight among themselves over Clinton's and Obama's health care proposals. Yes, HR 676 is infinitely better, but we won't get a DLC candidate championing that. We might, however, get a DLC candidate to sign that if the right people make it into Congress.

#220 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:11 AM:

I like Reich's take; thanks for the link, Will. It makes an intuitive sense to me, and matches with my understanding of the forces at work at the moment.

#221 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:37 AM:

I don't see any way either of them takes the back seat.

The VP isn't supposed to be a player. The VP is the back-up, the guy who breaks deadlocks in the senate, and warms the chair when the Pres is out of town.

God forbid the Pres should be incapacitated, the VP takes over.

Historically it's a terrible place to campaign from.

(The saddest moment in VP history was when Harrison died, Tyler took over and Clay had to contemplate that he; who desperately wanted to be president, had refused to be Harrison's VP).

#222 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:41 AM:

I've read Reich; I trust Krugman a lot further. And everyone agrees on this: unless the system is universal, it's going to cost a lot more.

Bruce, well, yes--the best solution is simply universal Medicare, but can't you just hear the right scream? Personally, I don't care if the health insurance companies all go bankrupt (well, maybe I care about their employees, but no-one else)--they've made their pile on the backs of the old and infirm. But the Senate cares a great deal about the health insurance companies, so that's not going to happen any time soon.

#223 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:42 AM:

Terry, on the other hand, both Gore and Cheney have been influential VPs. It doesn't have to be a minor position.

#224 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 09:35 AM:

#222 ::: Randolph, then you might want to support The National Health Insurance Bill (HR 676). I doubt Clinton or Obama would veto that if it reached the Oval Office, though neither would do anything to help it get there.

#225 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 10:02 AM:

If they go on the same ticket, I'd like a Clinton/Obama ticket, with the agreement that neither run for a second term. Really, the 2nd term always seems to be more trouble than it's worth, for both president and country. They each have 2 years to do some good before they become lame ducks. That should put some urgency into their "now".

What upsets me about this primary is the staggering amount of money all the campaigns have to come up with. Obama raised something like $39 million in January, Clinton had to lend her campaign $5 million, and the bitter irony of John McCain being the only one doing the public financing. Clearly, clearly, you can't run for office without the backing of the capital class anymore.

#226 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 10:04 AM:

#222 Randolph: I know there are people who don't agree with that. See some of Tyler Cowan's posts on Marginal Revolution.

There are two very visible health care problems (to me):

a. The middle-class problem that when you have any history of illness, you will never get health insurance again except through an employer or group plan.

b. The poor people problem that it's common to not be eligible for medicaid (or medicare, if your 60 and retired), yet also not have enough money to pay a health insurance premium, and not have a job that offers health insurance.

Those two groups overlap, but I think they're different problems. Now, my concern is that we're likely to do a better job solving (a) then (b), because the people affected by (a) are more eloquent, vote, write editorials and blog posts, etc. I know a bunch of people affected by (a), and I was myself at one point. I know only a couple people affected by (b). I think most decisionmakers, and most politically active people, are in the same boat.

#227 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 10:16 AM:

Will @ #192 -
I am not inclined to shape my vote by polls - six months ago, polls were telling us Clinton was way ahead, and look how well that's working out for her now. I think "electability" is going to be something that shakes up bigtime when the Republican attack machine goes into action and when McCain turns purple and loses his temper on the trail.

On Obama in general, I am disinclined to jump on the "Obama is the Messiah" bandwagon both because personality cults bother me and because I just don't think he's that different from any other politician except in being an exceptional public speaker with a Kennedy speechwriter. And as my mother, who was old enough to notice, points out, JFK talked a good game but didn't actually accomplish much.

What I see is:

- Obama is so progressive that when he was elected to the Senate he looked around and chose as his mentor Senator Joe Lieberman.

- Obama is so anti-war and so into standing up for change and so audacious that he came to Connecticut and endorsed incumbent Lieberman over Lamont. I guess you could say he was against the war before he was for the war before he was against it.

- He did endorse Lamont in the general (and sent him a whopping $5000 contribution), but he didn't come and bring his spiffy rhetoric and charisma to CT when we really needed him. I see someone who, if his choice isn't the party, sits out the fight, and is as concerned with personal power-building as with supporting the party. This makes me wonder if he'll campaign aggressively for Clinton if she wins, or if he'll make the calculation that he can try again in only four years if she loses.

Note that I don't think any of this makes Obama any worse than any other politician, and certainly no worse than Clinton. But it disinclines me to go about all breathless and starry-eyed.

#228 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 11:03 AM:

Albatross @226: (or medicare, if your 60 and retired)

You cannot apply for Medicare until you reach age 65. You MIGHT qualify for Medicaid...but I wouldn't bet on it.

To apply for Social Security retirement benefits you MUST be age 62 and have worked in a job that paid into Social Security for at least 10 years.

You may apply for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) at any age if you become disabled and have accrued 40 quarters of coverage with Social Security.

#229 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 11:12 AM:

Rob @215: That works! I think either one would make a good SC member.

#230 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 11:37 AM:

#225 ::: mayakda, I had thought about Clinton stepping down after six years, giving Obama two free years on the job, but I think I like your scenario better. (With the reservation that so long as Obama's ahead in the polls for beating Clinton, I'd prefer Obama for prez.)

#227 ::: Susan, were there polls saying Clinton could beat McCain? I remember that she started ahead within her party, thanks to the superdelegates, but when I started watching Edwards, he was the only candidate who could beat McCain.

And I'm sure not saying he's the messiah, at least in the Christian sense. He might be in the Jewish sense, 'cause of the being more likely to defeat McCain thing. I didn't back Obama until after the DLC froze out Edwards.

I'm also with your mom on JFK.

#231 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 11:39 AM:

Mayakda, oops, that should be "for beating *McCain*". I can tell them apart, but my fingers get confused.

#232 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Susan at 227, your warning is valuable. It is very important for those of us who support Obama not to turn him into a political messiah. It's bullshit, and dangerous bullshit. But despite some folks' overblown rhetoric, I think most Obama supporters say that they would support Clinton should she be nominated -- and that shows that the majority of Democrats are remaining practical about what we have to do. We need to beat the Republicans, not only for the WH but in all the legislative districts we can reach, or the DC Monster will still be out there, lurching through the halls of Congress and keeping anything progressive from getting done...

**Shuffles off, muttering about hearts and pointy sticks...**

#233 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 12:03 PM:

Will @ 230:
(polls) - not that I know of, but last summer polls said McCain was finished. This does not inspire a high level of confidence in the reliability of polling.

My concern in a nutshell:
Obama's chosen role model in the Senate is currently stumping for McCain because the Democratic Party rejected him in the primaries and his ego and sense of entitlement are greater than his loyalty to either his party or his supposed principles.

Note, once again, that I will definitely vote for Obama if he is the nominee, and I will not even hold my nose while doing so. I might even work the campaign, since anyone who thinks that CT is a securely blue state if McCain is in the race is not paying attention.

#234 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 12:18 PM:

Polls are crap. Look at what they were saying about Howard Dean before 2004's Super Tuesday, and on the day after. Not long ago, Giuliani was ahead of every other GOP candidate, or so polls told us. Crap. Or horsepuckey, as Colonel Potter was fond of saying.

#235 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 12:44 PM:

Lizzy L, there are people who would vote for McCain over Clinton, but I pray there aren't a lot of them. I doubt there are any on Making Light.

Susan and Serge, I thought polls were crap until the polls were right about Florida in 2000. What I like about RealClearPolitics take on the contest here is they look at many polls, not just one. Polls aren't perfect, but they're the way to bet.

Yesterday in another thread, someone claimed the polls said McCain was dead six months ago, but when I went looking, I could only find polls that said he was losing momentum, and spinmeisters who claimed that meant he was dead.

Now, it's true that people's positions change. If Clinton starts doing better against McCain than Obama, I'll switch my support to Clinton. All I want is health care and departure from Iraq, and I won't get either from McCain.

#236 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 12:47 PM:

Romney is dropping out of the campaign!!

#237 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 01:04 PM:

Steve C. @ 236:

Yep. And I just heard part of Romney's lunatic speech before CPAC. Paraphrasing: "The real threat to our country is from within: The Liberals."

Good effing riddance, jerk.

#238 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 01:21 PM:

#228 Lori Coulson: You may apply for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) at any age if you become disabled and have accrued 40 quarters of coverage with Social Security.

This conflates SSI for the SSA Disability program; they're two differeent things. SSI benefits may be drawn at any age, including minors and people over 65--it's means-tested, rather than earnings based.

The SSA-Disability program requires a minimum number of quarters of coverage (i.e. earnings above a specified level) within the past five years. There are also some rather arcane and complicated medical qualifications you have to meet. Establishing that you've met those can be killer.

Once you've received SSA-Disability for a minimum period, you can get Medicare coverage--SSI benefits may qualify you for Medicaid coverage. (The rules on that appear to change all the damn time.)

#239 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 01:22 PM:

Will, #219: Interesting! Does anyone happen to know whether Reich's blog has a LiveJournal feed?

Terry, #221: You're probably right. But good ghod, if either of them would take the back seat... now THAT would be impeachment (and assassination) insurance!

Steve, #236: Interesting! That makes it pretty much a straight horse race between McCain and Huckabee, and all the neocon pundits are going to shit bricks. Who wants popcorn?

#240 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 01:36 PM:

Susan, and others going on about Obama's lack of achievements, please check out the Hilzoy post that Patrick linked to in the post we're commenting on. Among the things he's been pushing on are nuclear non-proliferation, public access to Congressional proceedings and the full text of bills in time to actually study them before passing, avian flu preparedness (this in 2005, mind), and quite a bit more. This is all reported on very poorly, but none of it is actually super hard to find.

And I think we owe it to candidates to make sure we're not slagging them based on our ignorance.

#241 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 01:36 PM:

Lee # 239 -

Oh, yes. We're going to see wailing and gnashing of teeth from Limbaugh/Coulter brigade. Gee....how awful for them...

To quote Dr. Smith..."Oh, the pain...the pain..."

#242 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 01:43 PM:

Bruce:
Pardon me? Please point out where I was "going on about Obama's lack of achievements".

(Note: suggesting other people are ignorant, also not useful to the Obama-cause, especially when it seems to stem from not reading or possibly not grasping what they actually said and making the interesting assumption that they couldn't possibly have done their background research or they'd be in with the Twoo Beweevuhs too. Arrogant & insulting much?)

#243 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 01:43 PM:

To supplement my last comment: I care less about Obama's relationship with Lieberman or what Lieberman is doing than what Obama's been doing with his time in the Senate, and I see a bunch of good stuff there. I also see a lot to be displeased with, just as with pretty much all Senate Democrats, including capitulation on all the war funding and other such issues. I just don't want the good stuff to get lost in the shuffle, because it should also count in the scales along with the obvious negatives. Assessment is hard, but more evidence makes it...well, not easier, but more useful.

#244 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 01:49 PM:

Susan, I read your #227 as a criticism of Obama's popularity as resting pretty much on just talk rather than substance. Was that a severe misreading on my part? If so, my apologies.

#245 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 01:50 PM:

Romney the Osmotron has fallen on his sword to spare the Republicans a civil war. On Saturday, we may find out if Huckleberry Hound will do likewise or will battle McCain for the remaining prizes (Ohio, Texas, Indiana, Virginia). If Huckleberry wins Louisiana he may feel he has some legs, if not, he, too, may fall on his sword and proclaim McCain Augustus.

#246 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 01:51 PM:

(And my own take on Obama is in #5 above: "If he wins, we'll get no vacation from the need for constant scrutiny and organized pressure to do the right thing. But that's true of every candidate with any prospect of winning, so it tips the balance in no particular direction. What does tip it for me is the willingness to respect hope and confidence.")

#247 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 01:56 PM:

Fragano @ 245... Got something against blued dogs? Next, you'll be picking on Pixie and Dixie. As for Lee's straight horses, I've often wondered about QuickDraw McDraw and his sidekick donkey.

#248 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Will, I don't think there are many McCain supporters on ML. But my concern stands.

Bye bye Plasticman.

McCain-Huck ticket?

#249 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 02:10 PM:

Serge #247: No, I just have a hard time taking Huckabee altogether seriously.

#250 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 02:21 PM:

Lizzy L:

Wouldn't a McCain/Romney ticket be more likely? ISTM that Huckabee would drive away a lot of the moderates that McCain hopes to get voting for him. Romney wouldn't, and also wouldn't overshadow McCain. A deal on that might have convinced Romney to end his campaign.

Though if you want a really fun campaign, think McCain/Lieberman.

#251 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 02:26 PM:

#248 ::: Lizzy, I hope not. Huckabee scores very high on likeability--heck, I smiled when I heard about him entering the voting booth muttering, "Who to choose, who to choose..." I've long thought the pundits have underestimated the appeal of his version of Caring Christian Conservatism. I was soothed by his polling results, but if the polls are wrong, or, dear God, something happens to McCain between now and November....

#252 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 02:36 PM:

will @251 I agree. Huckabee will be dangerous in the general election. Even a McCain/Huckabee ticket might be enough to bring their base out.

#253 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 02:37 PM:

#250 albatross: Though if you want a really fun campaign, think McCain/Lieberman.

Thank gawd even Smokin' Joe Lieberman has his limits. He's already said he has no interest, his reason being: "Been there, done that."

Of course, he's not exactly known for his even keel...

#254 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 02:39 PM:

Will # 235:
Iowa Poll, August 2007: Romney is the big leader in Iowa, followed by Giuliani. McCain's support has collapsed; he is the lowest on the poll at 1.8%, which leaves him below not only Thompson but - heh - Obama. Among caucus-goers, McCain also scored lower than Tancredo and Brownback.

#255 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 02:42 PM:

re 245: Not really-- at least not from the delegate count as I last saw it. McCain has a majority, not just a plurality; the trick in WV was clever but apparently unnecessary. For all the attempts to get some traction through the press, neither Romney nor Huckabee are doing more than picking up a state here or there. McCain could have sewn up the nomination by next Tuesday without much trouble anyway; just the "Potomac Primary" that Tuesday could give him enough.

#256 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 02:46 PM:

What is worrying me is the possibility that HRC wins and millions of disappointed Obama-supporters stay home on November 4. To my mind that would be tantamount to cutting off one's nose to spite one's face, but I can see it happening, and it scares me.

#257 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 02:56 PM:

Linkmeister @ 256... millions of disappointed Obama-supporters stay home on November 4

I doubt that Democrats and/or liberals would be that stupid.

#258 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:04 PM:

Hillary has money troubles, while Obama is still raking it in. As Julie Mason of the Houston Chronicle reports in her blog:

"Can we give the debates a rest for a minute? Since she's low on money to buy ads and nowhere near through with the campaign, Clinton challenged Obama to weekly debates. How better to keep her name and message out there than more televised hostage situations? His campaign demurred and this morning, Clinton's campaign manager sent Obama's campaign manager a hurt-sounding note lamenting his lack of commitment to democracy, and cc'd the news media."

[Here Julie quotes Patti Solis Doyle]

"After seven years of a Bush administration that has left the economy struggling and our health care system in crisis, Americans are certainly facing their fair share of challenges and deserve to hear how the candidates for the nomination will address them," Patti Solis Doyle wrote to David Plouffe.

#259 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:04 PM:

#215 ::: Rob Rusick

Lori Coulson @169: And I'm still betting that if Clinton wins, she appoints Bill to the first SC vacancy...

You all are far more optimistic than I am. I hadn't begun to think that far ahead, for my doubts that the dems are going pull off the national election are so great. Much less something like this.

Did Bill Clinton ever actually practice law?

He was suspended from the practice of law for 5 years; the suspension's now lifted, of course. But, has he filed to be re-instated to the bar in either Arkansas or New York? I haven't found any info on this. But without bar membership he's not allowed to argue cases.

I'm also curious why Clinton would be considered to be a good choice for the SCOTUS.

Love, C.

#260 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:09 PM:

Serge @ #257, we older Dems/libs wouldn't be that dumb, but there are a bunch of college kids working for Obama who are in the first political love of their lives, and, if rejected, might very well go off and hibernate for a while.

They need older, sadder and wiser mentors!

#261 ::: broundy ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:11 PM:

Linkmeister @ 256... millions of disappointed Obama-supporters stay home on November 4

Serge: I doubt that Democrats and/or liberals would be that stupid.

No, but Obama is getting a lot of support from self-identified independents. They're the ones who might stay home.

#262 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:12 PM:

I have to admit that it would be very tempting for me to sit out HRC versus whoever. I won't, if it comes to that, but tempting.

#263 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:17 PM:

Linkmeister @ 260... They need older, sadder and wiser mentors

You hear that, ethan?

#264 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:17 PM:

#254 ::: Susan, thanks for finding that. McCain was looking bad in the crowd then. But our winner-take-all system leads to something that's counter-intuitive: doing better than someone in a crowd doesn't mean you can beat that person one-on-one.

Also, I agree with you that there are good reasons to ignore polls that far from the election. But now that we know the other candidate will be McCain, it's time to decide which of two Dems can beat him.

This'll probably be my last link on that for a good while: Why Obama Will Win and May Have Already.

#256 ::: Linkmeister, what Serge said. Obama's enough of a politician to know that if he's not the candidate, he needs to tell his people to support Clinton. And Democratic voters are used to voting for the lesser of two evils.

#265 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:23 PM:

will shetterly @ 264...voting for the lesser of two evils

Has anybody ever written a story set in a world where people actually and literally have to vote for the lesser of two evils? It sounds like something by Fletcher Pratt and Sprague de Camp.

#266 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:31 PM:

I'd rather vote for the lesser of two weevils.

#267 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:36 PM:

Or the lesser of two cavils.

#268 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:36 PM:

I have a couple of weevils for rent.

That would make me the lessor of two weevils.

#269 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:39 PM:

Or the leasure of two earwigs.

#270 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:40 PM:

Bruce @ 244:
Yes, substantial misreading. I've read extensively on the candidates' positions - on some of which I prefer Obama to Clinton, and some the reverse - and I find it strange that rather than argue on his (obvious) merits on matters of substance, his supporters argue on electability and likeability and similar meta stuff. It suggests to me that either (1) they don't think they can win on substance, or (2) they haven't done their research, and are in fact voting for bandwagon/messiah reasons and want others to do the same. If Obama supporters can't make an argument on the candidate's actual merits, I'm not going to do it for them. If I could convince myself one way or the other, I'd have done it already!

I can appreciate the warm-fuzzy-movement thing (I went there with Lamont, though he was a mediocre speaker and kind of dorky), but since I get just as many warm fuzzies from Clinton people, I'd rather Obama people make a case on substance. And I've gotten more substance from eager young college students than I have here, which surprises me.

#271 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:44 PM:

Or the seizure of two bigwigs.

#272 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:49 PM:

I can understand the desire for substance, but presidential elections have proven time and time again that substance in and of itself is just not enough, and quite often charisma carries the day.

If substance mattered the most, we would have had Adlai Stevenson instead of Ike and Mondale instead of Reagan.

Is there any doubt that Bill Clinton's likeability helped carry the day over Bush pere?

#273 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 03:52 PM:

Should we be taking bets as to when the Talk Radio loons will suddenly announce that the were for McCain all along, and were just joking about his buggering alpacas while reading Das Kapital?

#274 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 04:02 PM:

Steve:
Likeability is nice, but it's not going to convince me and - more importantly if Obama is the nominee - it's not going to be very useful if I were to pop over to the Naugatuck Valley (the closest local area that went strongly for Clinton) to try to convince people to vote for him. I can't quite see myself ringing doorbells in that area to tell them he's a great speaker and inspires hope. I used to teach in that area, and I think actual substance will be a whole lot more useful.

#275 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 04:30 PM:

Susan: Sorry for filling in the gaps wrong, then, and thanks for explaining.

I hate settling. From my point of view, Clinton's about a C- candidate, Obama maybe B- or so. I feel like we should do so much better. Fending off calamity is important work but seldom very rewarding. *sigh* But I'd rather fend it off than not, and hope for some context shifting, if this amazing increase in turnout can be built on.

#276 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Bruce Baugh @275 -

The turnout is very important, for the obvious reason that all of the House and a third of the Senate is up for election. If Democrats get 60 Senate seats and maintain a majority in the House, vital things could really get done.

#277 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 05:04 PM:

#275 Bruce Baugh: Fending off calamity is important work but seldom very rewarding.

Of course, I find much of my daily life consists of fending off calamity, and so making it to the end of the day and being able to rest my head on my own pillow is just about all the reward I ever expect out of this life.

Naturally, I know I'm not the only one who feels that way and so I know there's nothing special about me in this regard.

#278 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 05:09 PM:

Michael, I get the feeling that a whole lot of us are there, and it's good sometimes to go ahead and acknowledge how far it is from ideal, before getting back to it.

#279 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 05:10 PM:

And did we all notice who Romney blamed for him suspending of his campaign?

"Hillary", of course. Who else? I mean, first she came for Vince Foster and Romney didn't speak up...

#280 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 05:31 PM:

Michael Weholt @ 277... Sounds like my job. As for a President's fending off calamities... She/he will have quite a list of calamities to clean up that were caused by the current bunch.

#281 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 05:31 PM:

It gets better. Rush Limbaugh is now telling his followers to contribute to Clinton's campaign. "Keep Her In It So We Can Win It."

And does it bug anyone else that the MSM routinely refers to her as "Hillary" while calling all the other candidates by their last names? I don't buy the "confusion with her husband" excuse, either; if that were really the issue, they could refer to her as "Sen. Clinton".

#282 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 05:34 PM:

Lee: I agree. I think the name 'Hillary' conjures what they want to conjure. If they called her 'Clinton' that would conjure prosperous times, budget surpluses...

#283 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 05:37 PM:

#281 Lee: And does it bug anyone else that the MSM routinely refers to her as "Hillary"...

It certainly bugs the hell out of me. It's so easy for these clowns to get it right if they are "worried about confusion"...

Sen. Clinton
Sen. Obama
Sen. McCain

...and yet they can't seem to manage it.

Of course it isn't just the MSM. It's anybody who, consciously or otherwise, thinks there is some advantage in calling her "Hillary" instead of Senator Clinton.

#284 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 05:40 PM:

I happen to be reading the 2/11 paper edition of Newsweek, and there's a relevant article in there entitled "When It's Head versus Heart, the Heart Wins." It discusses voting tendencies.

#285 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 05:43 PM:

I am not sure it's fair to blame the MSM for following the candidate's lead. On the front page of her website, there are fifteen uses of "Hillary" and none at all of "Clinton" unless you count the "Paid for by Hillary Clinton for President" mandated notice.

#286 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 05:45 PM:

re 272: Ummm, I don't think Adlai and Modale are good examples. Certainly not Adlai in 1952: the biggest issue was the war, and Eisenhower had the better creds for that.

Mondale in 1984 is perhaps closer, but not in a good way. In the first place, Reagan was a second termer. But more to the point, Mondale tended to stand for "we want to go back to the way that things were before Reagan was elected."

#287 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 06:00 PM:

Constance Ash @259:

From Wikipedia:

Because the Constitution does not set forth any qualifications for service as a Justice, the President may nominate anyone to serve. However, that person must receive the confirmation of the Senate, meaning that a majority of that body must find that person to be a suitable candidate for a lifetime appointment on the nation's highest court.

So, you see, Bill doesn't even have to be a lawyer.

#288 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 06:02 PM:

C. Wingate @ 286 -

Possibly. When you get down to it, "substance" is as fuzzy a label as "likeability". What does it mean? Policy specifics? Get too much into that and you risk the wonk label. Gravitas? Totally subjective. Record? Here, Clinton has a longer time in the Senate, but I doubt 9 out of 10 voters who favor her give her voting record a second thought.

The article that Linkmeister refers to in @284 is dead on.


#289 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 06:09 PM:

The folks who hate Hillary Clinton no doubt grind their teeth at any suggestion that it would be appropriate for them to show her respect.

However, the use of first names doesn't always intend to diminish a candidate. FRX: "I like Ike." And as has already been pointed out, Clinton's website makes liberal use of her first name.

#290 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 06:45 PM:

Serge #263: You hear that, ethan?

Hey, I hate both of 'em, but I'll vote for either. How's that for youthful idealism?

#291 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 06:48 PM:

Is it bad of me that I still have trouble remembering that 'Obama' is his last name, and 'Barack' his first, and not the other way around?

#292 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 06:52 PM:

ethan @ 290... How's that for youthful idealism?

Pitiful?

#293 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 07:03 PM:

Serge, you got it in one.

#294 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 07:04 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 291... And I'm sure the confusion is something that fills the GOP with great sadness. So does 'Obama' being a furriner name that sounds like that of a certain terrorist.

#295 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 07:30 PM:

#265 ::: Serge, not exactly what you're looking for, but many great stories are about people playing two bads against each other. (Time to see Yojimbo again!) Someone should write Cthulhu versus Satan.

Just googled. There's a vid with that title on youtube, but, alas, it's not all it should be.

#296 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 07:35 PM:

I got used to calling Hillary Clinton "Hillary" because, well, for eight fairly formative years, "Clinton" was somebody else. Hearing her referred to as "Clinton" was just jarring. That said, it *is* a bad habit and I've been trying to break myself of it.

#297 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 07:44 PM:

Stefan Jones @273

I'm starting to doubt it. Introducing Romney's surprise dropout at CPAC, Laura Ingraham called out (and got big cheers for calling out) that proud moment when they shanked Ford for not being Reagan and handed the White House over to his opponent.

I think quite a few of them want to see McCain fail, for the fundraising they get to do as outsiders, for the long-term fundraising if liberal justices get into the court, for the chance to keep hold of the reins within the party, to have the Democrats holding the bag when things start to go really bad, and because if you saw the smile on McCain's face when they booed his speech at CPAC, if he gets all that lovely new unchecked executive power in his hands he's going to make them pay for the last eight years.

Of course, they don't represent the rank and file of the Republican party any more than the cop-killer bullet leadership of the NRA represents hunters who join to get cheap insurance, and there aren't all that many of them.

They do disproportionately hold the purse strings, and the base really can't afford donations these days, what with gassing up the SUV to get to and from the exurbs and all.

#298 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 08:52 PM:

#276 Steve C.: Now that's a fascinating way to think about it, in terms of the Senate! Will make an enormous difference no matter who wins the presidency, and the House is harder to get all neep-y about. Checking wikipedia, "Democrats possess a field advantage in 2008, needing to defend only 12 seats, while Republicans must defend 23. In addition, five Republicans and no Democrats have announced that they are retiring. The open seat gap between the parties is the biggest in 50 years."

There are 51 people caucusing with the Democrats in the Senate, so they need 9 more to have a filibuster-proof majority. Any gain will mean far less reliance on that slime Leiberman.

The Democrats are looking to place senators from Louisiana, Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, and Oregon. They're looking good to pick up one spot from Virginia. (This allows me to hope that Collins of Maine will stay in office, because she seems like one of the good ones.)

How Obama did in each of those states's Democratic primary, according to CNN:

Louisiana: primary this Saturday
Colorado: Won, 67%
Minnesota: Won, 67%
New Hampshire: 2nd, 37%
New Mexico: Tied, 48%
Alaska: Won, 75%
Maine: primary this Sunday
Mississippi: primary March 11
Oregon: primary May 20
Virginia: primary Tuesday the 12th

I'd expect Louisiana and Mississippi to go for Obama, and maybe Virginia.

It looks like if the Senate is a major deciding factor for you, Obama is definitely the choice, because he's head and shoulders above Clinton in several of the states where Democrats have a chance at picking up Seante seats: people there like him more, and will hopefully come out and vote for him, and also for the Democratic Senator.

#299 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 08:54 PM:

will shetterly @ 295... I wonder if The Prophecy qualifies as a lesser-of-two-evils story, with Christopher Walken as Archangel Gabriel who has risen against God. Satan? He's sitting that one out and instead runs a night club in LA. (And guess who plays the Foul One? Viggo Mortensen.)

#300 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 08:56 PM:

About HRC being referred to as Hillary... I never saw that as a sign of disrespect. More like Cher or Vera-Ellen or Madonna. But that's just my opinion.

#301 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 09:24 PM:

Huh.

I guess the Washington Caucuses are going to mean something after all.

I just got a robo-call from former governor Gary Lock for Hilary Clinton.

#302 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 09:28 PM:

Madeline @ #298, "Collins of Maine will stay in office, because she seems like one of the good ones."

Regrettably, no. She consistently talks a good game but falls into line with McConnell and the rest of the hard-core SOBs when it comes time to vote. There are a few exceptions, but not very many.

#303 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 10:02 PM:

#287 ::: Lori Coulson

Constance Ash @259:

From Wikipedia:

Because the Constitution does not set forth any qualifications for service as a Justice, the President may nominate anyone to serve. However, that person must receive the confirmation of the Senate, meaning that a majority of that body must find that person to be a suitable candidate for a lifetime appointment on the nation's highest court.

So, you see, Bill doesn't even have to be a lawyer.

Thanks, Lori.

Though, really, the very idea of someone playing judge and justice and having any law study is appalling.

Love, C.

#304 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 10:22 PM:

As it happens, the early Justices were not graduates of law schools, but instead were admitted to the bar after successful completion of their apprenticeships. From the Supreme Court history site, "Although the Supreme Court of the United States has never had a non-lawyer as a Justice, there are a number of state courts with non-lawyers on the bench.

Levi Woodbury, named to the Supreme Court by President Polk in 1851, was the first Justice to have formally attended law school[1]. Prior to this, all Justices had gotten their training through apprenticeships, similar to the British system. The apprentice system was in common use through the first century of the Supreme Court’s history, and James Byrnes in 1941[2] was the last Supreme Court Justice trained through apprenticeship. " (Link here)

Although Bill Clinton has not practiced in law, he's had the education and at least passed the bar exam once. In my humble opinion, he could certainly hold his own -- intellectually -- against Scalia if not others. I'm not arguing that he should be a SC Justice, only that he could be.

#305 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 11:36 PM:

I want Huckabee to mount an independent bid for the White House.

How do we convince him to run?

#306 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2008, 11:48 PM:

I can't see nominating Mr. Clinton to the supremes. Or-- do we have to do Anita Hill/Monica Lewinsky all over again?

re 296: Same here. Tho' it's a bit odd: Constance Morella and Beverly Byron were always "Connie" and "Beverly", but Barbara Mikulski has always been "Mikulski".

#307 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 12:12 AM:

I may have to switch to supporting Clinton after all. She has one advantage: all her dirt is known. Obama may take a serious hit from this: “Nobody’s Hands Are Perfectly Clean in Politics” If so, can Obama give his votes to Edwards?

#308 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 01:32 AM:

Will, 307, it's not pretty, but it doesn't look like a death blow or anything. He did work with a slime ball. These things happen. Hillary has similar baggage. Her campaign gave back $850,000 because the person who raiseed it was a wanted criminal. Just how did he get on staff, anyway? Lawyers get into these sorts of scrapes -- especially if they're playing with housing rehab. That's incredibly filthy even for the straightest of them. It's a story that might grow some legs, but there's no reason to be suddenly switching sides. You know all of Clinton's dirt, so it doesn't impress you. Try to weigh Obama's in the same way you do Hillary's.

#309 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 02:00 AM:

Lydy, not to worry. I won't switch sides until the polls say Clinton has a better chance of beating McCain than Obama does.

I do hope you're right. At this point, the Dems will suffer if the rest of the contest is rocky. At least, I think so. Some wise people are saying part of Kerry's problem was that he was anointed too quickly as the candidate, so he wasn't properly tested. But I think McCain is already busy shoring up his base. The Dems need to do the same.

#310 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 02:14 AM:

Lee, #281, when there's a group of people and the men are referenced by their last names and the women by their first names, it's belittling the women. It's using their child names and not their grownup names.

Lori & fidelio, and if, when you get Social Security Disability, you have private disability insurance and SSA reduces your award because of that, years later SSA will send you a large envelope requiring you to justify the work income from the private disability company. In addition, the given phone number will always be either busy or unanswered. :::mutter mutter:::

#311 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 05:00 AM:

#310 ::: Marilee, ditto. When speaking of the Dems, it's not hard to say Barack and Hillary, but even that's not necessary. The context usually tells people which Clinton you mean.

And on that note, I'm bowing out of Making Light. Here's hoping for a Democrat who can beat McCain this year, whoever that may be!

#312 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 06:48 AM:

Lori Coulson @ 287 [quoting the ever-reliable Wiki]: Because the Constitution does not set forth any qualifications for service as a Justice, the President may nominate anyone to serve.

Unless of course the Religious Right decides your nominee is insufficiently pro-life; then all that talk of "Every nominee deserves an up-and-down vote" flies out the window and you don't even make it to the floor...

Madeline F @ 298: I've read that Mark Udall was already a favorite to take the retiring Republican Wayne Allard's Senate seat, so with Obama pulling more votes than the entire number of Republicans who caucused, things look pretty promising in Colorado.

#313 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 09:44 AM:

Hmm... I suppose one way of avoiding the "Candidate A wins, but the Superdelegates give it to Candidate B" debacle would be to simply do away with the superdelegates and reduce the number required to be "first past the post". I wonder if that is possible? (I'm not the first to think of this, of course.)

These numbers are all just guesses, but if 2025 delegates are required to win the nomination, then I assume there are something like 4049 (including superdelegates) at stake. If there are 796 superds available, subtract those and you get 3253 regular delegates available. Half of those (+1) would be 1627 required to win. I think the AP count of current delegates (not counting MI and FL) are: Clinton: 832, Obama: 821.

You know, when they were setting up this monstrosity, I could see the Bosses keeping the superds in reserve to make sure (cuz the People can't be trusted, see) that Some Nut didn't get the nomination. But clearly both candidates are good, neither candidate by any reasonable definition is Some Nut, so they ought to just sh*t-can this whole superd@rubegoldberg contraption and dodge this lurking calamity from the get-go.

Or, if they can't do away with it at this point, they should all just stipulate they will go with whoever wins the regular delegates. There is *no way* that I can see for the party to do well in November if the superds hand the nomination to the candidate with few regular delegates.

#314 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 09:47 AM:

"few" should be "fewer", of course.

#315 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 10:36 AM:

Terry @305: I don't think Huckabee's the type; he strikes me as more realistic than that. You want a religious-right candidate to pull votes from McCain, you need somebody like Roy Moore. Or maybe James Dobson could be persuaded, since he's already publicly stated that he'll sit out the election if McCain is the nominee.

#316 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 02:12 PM:

Lieberman's been stripped of his superdelegate status to the Dem National Con. Zell-Miller bites ....

For those keeping score, 5 of the supers are supporting Obama, 1 is with Clinton and 5 are neutral. Lieberman was judged less than neutral coz he's campaigning for the other side.

Gads. What a system.

Love, C.

#317 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 02:53 PM:

Even more importantly, Constance, Lieberman is not a Democrat!

#318 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2008, 03:04 PM:

Robocall from Hillary Clinton herself.

Her phone voice is not as annoying as her crowd-working one, or something.

The radio just said that they've had to block the streets around Key Arena where Obama is speaking now.

#319 ::: j m mcdermott ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2008, 03:53 PM:

I am driving through, late in this discussion, with no time to filter through the 300+ posts already in discussion.

However, I just wanted to add that here is the moment in time where I threw my hat in the ring for Obama. Whilst reading this article, (http://www.slate.com/id/2178896/pagenum/2/) I read this line:

"If we're going to create a ruckus, better to do it in the service of a more comprehensive solution than either Clinton or Edwards has put forth. If we aren't, Obama's resistence to an individual mandate makes perfect sense." - Timothy Noah

Apologies for the late drive-by. 'Tis hellacious at my day gig at the moment, and I barely have time to breathe much less shout "OBAMA '08!" six times into a computer screen.

#320 ::: Phil Palmer ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2008, 06:23 PM:

Patrick-

I can't help but feel that I'm stuck at your "Barack Obama can kiss my ass" moment. I don't subscribe to the Obama=Blair view, but neither is he Dennis Haysbert or D B Woodside. And I have experienced far too many corporate restructures to believe that "unity" and "change" count for any more than "do as I say and be grateful that I'm even talking to you". What's left is a candidate who showed judgement - yes - but leadership - no - in opposing the war, and who has a tailored bargaining set of positions on issues that shouldn't be issues (like Net neutrality). I won't particularly mind if he becomes president, but my perception that America is in a steep and calamitous decline, whose fall will continue to shake the nations of the earth, won't be changed. (I think we are now only one metaphorical rifleshot to an Iranian border guard away from a major date in history.) I don't hate Oprah Winfrey by any means; but her endorsement of Obama has convinced me for Hillary. And I remember Teresa saying once, mockingly and ringingly, "You mean, it's easier to move than clean house?".

#321 ::: Phil Palmer ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2008, 06:35 PM:

Superdelegates-

I have been reading that in California, which is probably typical in this regard, proportional representation in the primaries means that it applies at the congressional district level, where the number of delegates depends on the number of registered Democrats in that district.

Bear with me.

In a large number of districts, that number of delegates is four. There are only five ways that four delegates can be divided between two candidates, these being 0-4, 1-3, 2-2, 3-1, 4-0. I assume that proportionality means these splits are evenly divided over the voting range. Thus for any outcome between 40% and 60% a candidate is going to get half the delegates from all these congressional districts.

So for any lead of less than 20% the superdelegates are going to be rather in control, innit?

#322 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2008, 05:24 PM:

Yes, it bothers me that we tend to refer to women in public life by their first names and men by their last names. I first noticed this while discussing Star Trek. Picard, Riker, Deanna, Beverly, Tasha, O'Brien, Kirk.... And therefore I kinda wish Hillary Rodham Clinton had stayed Hillary Rodham, to reduce the excuse of confusing her with her husband.

I chose to keep my name rather than turn into Sumana Richardson when I got married. I fully expect that, should I get into public life, I'll be known mostly by my first name or by some nickname, because both my first and last names are highly unusual in the US, but my last name's a terrible burden on a USian's tongue. Then again: Deukmejian, Rohrabacher, Issa, Inouye, Ros-Lehtinen....

Referring to Condoleezza Rice by her first name I don't mind as much because her first name is so infernokrusher awesome. Nancy Pelosi I mostly hear of as "Pelosi," though.

#323 ::: Carrie S. sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 11:53 AM:

Contentless comment, old post.

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