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Barack Obama has chosen Joseph Biden as his Vice Presidential running mate.
Comments? Views? Opinions?
I was convinced earlier that my first choice, Tim Kaine, was a terrible idea when it was pointed out to me that "Obama-Kaine" is phonetically too similar to "Oh Boy McCain." So "Obama-Biden" dodges that bullet.
Although on that score maybe he should have picked Romney - Obama-Romney's got a nice ring to it. (I assume McCain will now pick Romney.)
Biden -- I'm not excited, but I think it's a reasonable choice. He's supposedly got high approval ratings among the kind of Democrats and Independents where Obama could use help (most importantly older voters). He's willing to go on the attack. Most importantly, he's reasonably qualified to be president.
Safe choice. Old white guy long in government.
I was hoping for Al Gore or Hillary Clinton.
Won't change my mind--still voting Obama.
I am unfortunately reminded of the contrast between Dukakis and Bentsen.
What? Nobody asked Joe, that non-partisan extraordinaire? Or is it that he has already promised that dance to Johnny?
He's the guy who plagiarized a Neil Kinnock speech and bombed out of the 1988 race, isn't he?
I meant Joementum, not Joe Biden. Too many Joes around.
He was a safe choice ---experience, gravitas, male. I'm sure the corporatist wing of the Democratic party is ecstatic.
For me, Biden still has to do a lot to atone for his support of the awful 2005 bankruptcy bill.
I think it's a brilliant choice. Yes, I was mad at him for the Credit Card Company Welfare Act, but he's the Senator for Wilmington, Delaware, after all. But I'd be hard pressed to find any politician at the national level I wasn't pissed off at for something.
He's my kind of Democrat, actually, even with his flaws.
He shoots his mouth off, often effectively.
I think he's the perfect "Obama is one of us, so quit screwing around with the appalling notion of voting for McCain, for chrissake" choice.
Thank God Obama didn't cave to pressure and pick an old white guy! Oh, wait....
Actually, I have no idea who this Biden is. I'd vote for Obama even if he chose Sauron as his running mate.
Biden makes a decent Tommy Lee Jones to Obama's Wil Smith.
Alex @ #1: If we're looking at running mates' names for the phonetics of it all, I'm not sure Biden is a good choice either. I'm sure those people who try to equate Obama with Osama will have a field day trying to associate Biden with Bin Laden. (To all of which I say "ugh.")
Looking at Biden as an actual person, I have to admit I have very little idea what he stands for. I'm sure that will change over the next few days, though, regardless of whether I look him up or not, because I listen to the news a lot.
Really. I'm surprised. Not displeased, because Biden does supply the things I think Obama lacks. But I think I'd fallen into the 'Biden can't win' trap. Can the Democrats win by running two candidates who don't apologize for being smart, well-informed, and competent?
Could someone please wander over to the LJ and fix the html over there.
NEWSWIRE--Barack Obama has selected U.S. Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware as his intended vice-presidential ticket-mate.
Using track as a guide,
Judge the running mate's stride
As he sprints between north and deep south:
Can he dash down a phrase,
Trot it out where it pays,
Yet avoid running off at the mouth?
Light verse, ripped from the headlines
I'm ticked off at Biden for his racist comments. He was the one who made that "first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean" remark, after all. He also made a remark about having to have a "slight Indian accent" to go into a Dunkin' Donuts or 7/11. Those things left a bad taste in my mouth about him.
On the issues, he's all right. Some things I don't like, more things I do.
I really wanted Hillary Clinton for VP, but I've been cheerleading either an Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket since the very beginning.
Anyway, I should have known anything I want in politics is automatically impossible. Obama won the primary, but immediately embarked on a campaign of disappointing me, so that was pretty much a wash -- I got the man, but not what I'd wanted out of him. Oh, he's still a thousand, a million times better than McCain. I think of him like Bill Clinton -- Clinton disappointed me so many times that I actually cast a protest vote in 2000. Given that I was 18, given that I was a pretty naive idealist, that's what spurred the protest vote -- but the disappointments were valid. Yet I would re-elect Clinton instantly if it were physically and constitutionally possible. Disappointment at centrist compromises is still miles better than the kind of clstrfck we have now.
But, you know. I was inspired. I thought maybe we actually had a chance to make something good happen. Now it's going to be the same old same old.
I think I'm going to go re-read "Conscience of a Liberal" and cry because the only person who actually gave a shit about politics transforming anything is dead.
(In case it wasn't obvious, this particular rant is not solely or even mostly caused by the selection of Biden. It's been building up for a while and the selection of safe, centrist white dude for VP just kind of opened the valve.)
Oh, and my boyfriend had signed up for the text message. It arrived at 3:30 AM. He said his reaction was "You're texting me at 3:30 AM to tell me it's Biden?" (As Digby says, if it wasn't Jesus Christ or Elvis, it would've been a letdown. I would add Hillary Clinton and Al Gore to that list, and maybe the spirit of JFK.)
Really, the 3:30 AM text was not a good move. We're all about Obama in this household, but my boyfriend had to get up for work at 5 AM. Might work for college kids, partying before the start of classes.
God, I've become such an old fogey.
I'm going to go have some coffee and breakfast and see if I feel better after that.
Caroline -- Biden is to the left of most of the Dems who ran (except Edwards and Kucinich). They're all centrist.
Very few of us, maybe the youngest of us in here, maybe not, will ever live to see the progressive United States of America we'd all love to see. For a long time, that was a very great disappointment to me. I mean, jeezus, I get one life on this planet and I have to use it all up living in a time when most of my progressive values are dissed by my country?
But I'm over that now. I'm not going to live to see it. Sorry about that, Mike.
And so my choice is to give up, or deal with it and do the best I can right now to help bring about, maybe a little sooner than otherwise, the world I want to see.
It's been freeing. I don't have to get depressed or Oppressed by the constant set-backs.
Biden isn't perfect. But he's pretty damned good.
Even if he is a 62 year old white guy.
I invite all of you who are thinking "what a disappointment" to go read up on Biden's personal story. I don't know about you, but I've got a tremendous amount of respect for the guy. He's a good Democrat who is perfectly capable of (and, my guess is, enthusiastic about) helping Obama move the ball down the progressive field a few yards ("and a cloud of dust").
More than that, I respect him as a human being who has seen a lot more of the good and the really bad that life has to offer than I will probably ever see.
I was hoping he'd pick Hillary. Purely for his own self interest.
By which I mean that the kind of right-wing nutjob who'd think the country would be better off without an 'uppity' president would balk at handing the job to a woman. And especially to a woman named Hillary Clinton.
Having an Old White Guy Veep reinforces the 'handing the country back to the right folks' vibe such a guy would get.
 and all y'all know what I mean by that.
 my own choice for a second person plural would be ye, but I'm speaking transatlantic here
 Although I'm trans-pacific at the moment, being in Hong Kong.
 Unlinked footnotes are usually a key indicator that I'm straying into alt.fan.pratchett territory.
Nina Katarina @ 11... Biden makes a decent Tommy Lee Jones to Obama's Wil Smith.
Or a decent Kevin Kline to Obama's Wil Smith. Which would make Kenneth Branagh into John McCain, alas.
::boggles:: He's a freaking plagiarist!
I can't believe the Democrats are seriously making me consider voting for McCain. ::head, meet desk::
I don't like him. I never have liked him. But, you know, I voted for Joe freaking Lieberman for VP in 2000; I guess I can stand this.
Caroline, #17: Really, the 3:30 AM text was not a good move.
Maybe it was a compromise with the media.
"Sure, you don't get to learn my VP pick before the hoi polloi... but how about if I send the text in the middle of the night, when you guys are very nearly the only people checking their cell phones?"
Fine choice, not perfect. A bit to the left of most of the Democrats who ran this year, thankfully. The guy makes mistakes, but tends to owns up to them with less bullshit and artful dodging. Biden, Sharpton and others continue to be heavily criticized and dismissed for small mistakes or gaffs made early in their careers, and it's nice to see someone like Biden being taken seriously again.
I remember in 2005 or so--before McCain shelved those parts of his head that were level--when there was buzz around a possible Biden-McCain ticket, I was interested.
But I was secretly hoping for a surprise choice in Madeleine Albright. Ah well.
ADM @ 18, oh, I know. Obama himself is centrist. I'm just grumpy about the whole thing this morning.
I was convinced earlier that my first choice, Tim Kaine, was a terrible idea when it was pointed out to me that "Obama-Kaine" is phonetically too similar to "Oh Boy McCain." So "Obama-Biden" dodges that bullet.
Obama bin biden.
As a 60 yr. old white guy myself, I'm very disappointed in Obama and his Choice in Biden. His last chance to get my vote was to select Caroline Kennedy...Now I'll vote Green with Cynthia McKinney...at least she shares my values and this country is certainly goin' down the tubes, anyway.
Erik @27: Oh, fuck.
I would have been happier if he'd picked someone who wasn't a corporate tool. However, what else can you expect when the inside-the-beltway consultants move into a campaign?
(I would have been a lot happier if he'd picked Dean.)
Oh yeah: for those of you who are saying you'll vote for McCain because of this:
Take another look at that choice, because McCain is Bush on steroids, with the steroid side effects hitting. Even Biden as VP is better than that possibility.
Castration equipment time... 51% of the population is FEMALE. This does NOTHING to promote the interests of people without testicles.
How does Yet Another White Male reduce the alienation felt by so many women regarding the nomination of Barack Obama and persuade them to vote for Obama, rather than staying home or voting for eight more years of the abominable "leadership" currently in the Executive Branch of US Government?!
And what were Biden's votes on FISA, Samuel Alita, Mr Roberts, the reworking of Medicare such that it was a giveaway of taxpayer money to the drug companies, etc.?
#22 harmonyfb: I can't believe the Democrats are seriously making me consider voting for McCain. ::head, meet desk::
Nobody's making you consider voting for McCain. That's you making yourself consider it.
If you are going to consider voting against the best interests of the country, at least take responsibility for your own actions.
PJ Evans @ 31 -- THANK YOU! (Papawhale, you should be listening here)
And honestly ... As much as I hate corporate tools, Biden represents Delaware. I think, considering the population there, there's an argument to be made that he's voting his constituency's interests. I may not like those interests, but I wouldn't be surprised or offended if the representative for District whatever in Utah tended to vote for things Mormons support.
I see that this thread has already gotten acquired a I'm-not-TOTALLY-happy-with-the-Democratic-ticket-so-I'll-go-vote-for-someone-who's-sure-to-lose-and-thus-will-help-elect-McCain-but-at-least-I-vote-my-principles post.
Serge, I don't care so much about the voting Green post, I'm more worried about the voting McCain post above that one.
Yeah, I used to think it was the Corporate Media, or Corporatism in general, or Religionism, or Racism or Homophobia or Sexism or a bunch of other stuff that kept progressive causes down. Now I see it's our own almighty consciences.
Don't get me wrong. I think having a conscience is a great thing. I even have one myself, on occasion.
But then, you know, there's politics in the United States of America.
Paula Lieberman @ 32... On the other hand, a Democratic white guy is better for women than a Republican white guy. And frankly, a Democratic white guy is better for women than a Republican woman would be. How many women are in positions of power in the current Regime? Oh, and did you know that, in French, 'régime', as in 'régime de bananes', can mean 'bunch'? How appropriate for that assemblage of simians in the White House.
I Am Not An American, but... AFAICT, Biden's a fine choice. He's experienced, smart, and can play the role of an attack dog well, allowing Obama to look high-minded and presidential.
Did people truly think that Gore would get the VP slot, by the way? He's already been there and done that. And I honestly think he's much more valuable as an "elder statesman" type, free to campaign about the climate change without being beholden to anyone else's policies and politics (as would happen if he became Obama's VP).
I'm with Jane Yolen. Right now, there is very little Obama can do to prevent me from voting for him. This isn't to say that he should try. This whole "run to the right" thing is so unseemly. It's not like he was particularly liberal to start with.
Either Clinton or Gore would have been more interesting. However, I doubt either of them were interested in the job. Gore finds himself with more influence now as a former VP than he had as the sitting VP. Hilary Clinton will undoubtedly become either the Majority Leader, a Supreme Court Justice, or both (not simultaneously, of course) someday. Either one sounds more interesting than being VP.
Alex Wilson #25: But I was secretly hoping for a surprise choice in Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Albright? The woman who, when asked how she felt about her policies having killed over half a million children in Iraq, said she thought "the price was worth it"? No thanks.
Caroline #26: Obama himself is centrist.
Obama is firmly a rightist. Just because the population in Washington is drastically skewed to the right doesn't mean our language has to be. I mean, good god, when Biden, who supported the 2005 bankruptcy bill, can be described as being to the left of most of the candidates from the supposedly liberal party, there's something severely wrong.
Michael Weholt #37:
Perfect is the worst enemy of good, and sticking to ideological purity even at the expense of actually achieving anything is a common problem with politics.
Caroline @ 36... Yeah. Then again, neither kind of vote would do us (ad the US and Earth) much good.
I wasn't referring to my vote. My vote is stuffing my nose with filtration plugs in my nose etc. etc. and voting for Obama who I am highly unethusiastic about, because the prospect of a McCain Presidency I regard as anathema.
I was referring to the women who have publically said that they are thinking about voting for McCain, some of them even further alienated to be actually campaigning actively for McCain, in anger at the media promotion of Obama over Sen Clinton and the caucuses and delegates going for Obama over Clinton even where the primary voting had Clinton with a majority in the state, and in Obama getting the nomintion.
They were furious at there not being a woman on the ticket, and there still not being a woman on the ticket, what alleviation is there for their fury? The big swing vote group that helped put the Schmuck in office and helped keep him there (paired with the election tampering of a partisan Supreme Court and vote fraud in Ohio respectively) was female voters, who'd voted for Gov. Clinton to become President Clinton over a second term of Noxious-vegetation-the-first* and voted Bill Clinton a second term as President also.
There are some EXTREMELY vocal women who have formed pressure groups promoting McCain, who claim to be bitter about Hillary Clinton not being nominated, and a male nominated instead. A woman in second place on the ticket would likely have not only neutralized their claims that the Democrats have disenfranchised women and rely on the work of women but only as workers and never give them actualy positions of authority and control, but would have perhaps caused the disaffected women, to promote a Democratic ticket with a woman on it.
That is, with claims that the Democrats exploit women's work and fail to give them the recogition and positions of power women deserve based on dedication and work, an all-male President/Vice President ticket is strong evidence supporting the veracity of the claim. If there were a woman on the ticket, however, the claim would lose a large amount of its credibility.
* There is a tradition in my ancestry of not Naming the Evil Ones. My father and grandfather made a pair of ENORMOUS wooden "greggers" --noisemakers--used in Jewish services on Purim, to help blot out the name of the villain in the Esther story--the service leader or assistant serves as example for all the schoolkids who each has a small metal one, there are gears inside and swinging them rotates the head of the device making LOTS of noise to blot out the villain's name.
It is a very ancient tradition, to do the following things: not speak the name of the miscreant, use a term of opprobrium to refer to the miscreant, blot out the name of the miscreant. This is only for miscreants of severe and pernicious offense--I think that the current occupant of the White House and because of his tenure, is father also, belong to that category.
Using a Name invokes the spirit of the Named. I'm not all that certain, the entity in the White House isn't demon-possessed....
Michael Weholt @ 37... I thought it was all those things you mention that got in the way of progressive causes. As for cconsciences, well, like you said, this is politics, and politics are about compromises, and I'll never get my ideal candidate, and neither will any of the people around here so we compromise. Is 'compromise' a bad word, a stain on one's soul?
Atticus Finch: Do you know what a compromise is?
Scout: Bendin' the law?
Atticus Finch: [slightly bemused] Uh, no. It's an agreement reached by mutual consent. Now, here's the way it works. You concede the necessity of goin' to school, we'll keep right on readin' the same every night, just as we always have. Is that a bargain?
If Atticus Finch can withstand compromises, I can.
ethan @ 41
Heck, Biden's to the right of most of the party members. The consultants and the other folks who actually make the decisions for the party are all from that inside-the-beltway zone where they've lost touch with reality. They think that having no daylight between the Democrats and the Republicans is a good idea, even with guys like Nader getting votes by saying 'there's no difference between them' (and there really is a difference: look at the list of speakers for the two conventions).
It is said, with how much accuracy I do not know, that Alf Landon was persuaded against choosing the then-governor of New Hampshire, Styles Bridges, as his running mate in 1936 because of worry that the Democrats would start singing "Landon Bridges falling down."
Biden and "plagiarism":
Whenever Biden used the speech, he cited Kinnock, and the emotional power of the words were magnified by the fact that the words could apply to an American Senator and a British MP along with many people in the audience. But one time, Biden forgot to cite Kinnock when he read the speech, and Michael Dukakis's campaign slammed him for it. Shortly thereafter, someone dug up an old record showing that Biden had been accused of plagiarism in law school, though conveniently ignoring the fact that Biden had been cleared of any wrongdoing. By the time Biden refuted both charges, the damage had been done, and Biden had been forced to quit the race.
I suggest that all Obama supporters should try extra-hard over the next ten weeks to remember that his first name is spelled "Barack," not "Barak."
Both names are equally respectable, but "Barak" comes across to many people as just a little bit more exotic and foreign, which is why the Republicans are making that "mistake" just as often as they can get away with. Accordingly, the spelling reference on our posting form has been amended.
I can definitely work up some enthusiasm for an outcome which gets both of them off of the judiciary committee.
Serge @ #45: I thought it was all those things you mention that got in the way of progressive causes.
They do, sure. But not insurmountably so. We've seen in poll after poll that the American people are far more in favor of progressive causes -- single-payer health care, ending the war in Iraq, public education -- than they are in favor of conservative values. Just the other day I saw an astonishing poll that the majority of Americans now feel that religion should be kept out of politics.
It's all there waiting for us on a big, fat dinner plate. All we have to do is acknowledge that we need to work incrementally (albeit as fast as we can) toward snatching up that tasty and nutritious meal.
All good things come to those who WORK for them.
Or, at least, a lot of really bad things come to those who don't choose to work for the best good they can get.
"the only person who actually gave a shit about politics transforming anything is dead"
Caroline @ 16: I think I'm going to go re-read "Conscience of a Liberal" and cry because the only person who actually gave a shit about politics transforming anything is dead.
Yeah, I miss Paul Wellstone, too.
Paula @ 32:Castration equipment time... 51% of the population is FEMALE. This does NOTHING to promote the interests of people without testicles.
Really? I don't have testicles, and I have no trouble distinguishing which team of candidates will promote my interests. Then again, I missed the memo that explained why I had to prefer Clinton over Obama based on my gender and hers.
OK. Holding self back by main force, and Not. Going. There.
Paula, Biden wrote the Violence Against Women Act, and he and Barbara Boxer pushed it through the Senate. How good a bill is it? Check out all the nasty things Rush Limbaugh has to say about it. The right wing hates it. Here's a diary at Daily Kos about the Act. Biden may be an old white guy, but he's only 4 years older than I am. And yeah, he's done things I don't like, but hell, I've done things I don't like. I think he'll do.
Belatedly, I feel I should expand on my rather terse #52.
What I meant was: Caroline, I think I can make a pretty good guess about what Paul Wellstone, author of Conscience of a Liberal, would have said to your silly claim that only one person ever cared about "politics transforming anything." I think Wellstone would have told you to stop whining and organize.
Also, stop insulting every other living progressive by claiming that only one person was ever up to snuff. I mean, what a thing to say.
By the way, my grumbling should not be taken as an incitement to do something silly with your vote. If you live in a state that matters, for the love of god please vote for Obama. I don't, so I'm not, but if I did, I would.
Paula@32: "And what were Biden's votes on FISA, Samuel Alita, Mr Roberts, the reworking of Medicare such that it was a giveaway of taxpayer money to the drug companies, etc.?" Well, Google tells me...
Biden voted against the FISA changes.
Biden voted against confirming Alito.
Biden voted against the Medicare drug-benefits fiasco.
That last link has a bunch of useful summaries and linkages, by the way. My take: He's bad on abortion rights, mediocre on overall budget priorities, better than I'd realized on civil rights this decade and apparently actually learning something, fairly good on corporate oversight except when it's industries funding him, okay on crime and justice (and as with civil rights, seems to be learning), ditto on the War on Some Drugs, okay on education, pretty good on energy, quite good on the environment, ditto on family issues (in particular, strong on parental leave protection and more attention to domestic violence), so-so on foreign policy apart from war (learning, but more slowly than in other areas), very good indeed on trade (willing to back trade agreements that actually have environmental and worker protections with teeth in them, and not otherwise), so-so on gun control, very much better than I'd realized on health care, remarkably good overall on national security stuff with a few glaring failures to complement a generally strong record, not especially good on immigration though slowly drifting toward sanity, very good on labor, decent on social security, pretty good on tax policies and priorities, remarkably good on tech policy and infrastructure.
So, with a few minutes' searching, I find that there's a lot to like about Biden despite his supporting a vile, unjust war and toadying to the credit industry. I actually feel substantially better about his selection than I did last night.
I mean, I want an administration prepared to launch investigations and then impeachments and war crimes trials. But I already knew that Obama wasn't going to do that. And I already knew that his advisors will be pushing him away from peace and justice on that front. Biden doesn't actually make that any worse and turns out to be in favor of a bunch of things I am on other fronts. Very much making the best of an awful situation, and I remain unenthusiastic about the whole campaign...but there are things to approve of in this guy's history, and he may actually help prod an Obama administration toward good works it might otherwise neglect.
Biden's vote for the War in Iraq is why I am not voting for the Obama/Biden ticket. I made a pact that I'd never vote for someone who illegally put America into war. Biden & Clinton both voted in support of the military authorization.
I am going to be voting for the Cynthia McKinney & Rosa Clemente, the first all-female, all woman of color ticket in the history of the United States. As least the Green Party isn't trying to be centrist.
Al Giordano has an excellent post (as usual) up at The Field:
Wherein he addresses the "plagiarism" issue:
Biden had, on previous occasions, credited the Brit, Neil Kinnock, with the words, but on subsequent moments did not. "Plagiarism" was the charge - hardly the kind of thing that would have sunk a candidate today, but in 1988 - when a less politically savvy public didn't understand that most politicians don't write their own speeches - it was devastating. Biden dropped out of the presidential contest and didn't enter it again until last year. But by then it seemed more a Last Hurrah; a kind of revival tour for a one-hit wonder pop group from the 1980s.
Yet the words in that 1988 speech were essentially true, if not original. He was the first Biden to go to college. He did descend from coal miner country. This was a man with the class resentment that comes naturally to being born from below. And as the national media vetting process will disclose in the coming days, after 36 years in the US Senate, he's still one of the poorest US Senators: he never availed himself of the back-door personal enrichment techniques that most of his colleagues - Democrat and Republican - have utilized. Beyond class resentment, he retains a sense of class solidarity. His wife since 1977 never went into Washington lobbying: she remained a public schoolteacher.
Next graf has info I was unaware of:
Biden has also lived personal tragedies that would have splat most people like watermelons tossed from the sixth floor of a Wilmington tenement: between his first US Senate election in 1972 and being sworn in, his first wife and three small children were in a gruesome car accident. Mrs. Biden and his daughter died, his two boys were wounded, and he became a single father. Biden never quite entered the Washington DC culture so seductive to his peers: commuting from Delaware to DC, always coming home at night.
Another plus is that since Biden has run for President before, the corners of his closets have been pretty well explored already.
Further down in Al's blog, there's a post about how Senate committee posts shift if Obama-Biden wins and JB becomes VP:
Suffice to say, Yeah, I'll take that!
Patrick, you're right. I was in an awful mood this morning. Your terseness helped snap me out of it.
Update: further poking around indicates that Biden plagiarized in college, in 1965, roughly a third of a 15-page paper. A 1987 New York Times article has him talking about it.
The campaign speech thing still strikes me as a load of nothing; just some crap that was thrown against the wall. Now it's washed off, but everybody only remembers that it was there. Maybe I should regret voting for Dukakis, who threw it, only I still remember who he was running against.
RSW @ #58: Biden's vote for the War in Iraq is why I am not voting for the Obama/Biden ticket.
Unlike some Democrats I could name, Biden over year ago said he effed up in voting for that war.
I made a mistake. I underestimated the influence of Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the neocons; I vastly underestimated their disingenuousness and incompetence. So Bush went to war just the way the neocons wanted him to--without significant international backing.
I hope to god you have the luxury of living in a state where the election isn't going to be close.
Expanding on #60 -- you're quite right, that is a ridiculous thing to say. I can only explain that I've been feeling down in the dumps about the possibility of real change, and Wellstone is one of the only voices I've heard that actually made me feel hopeful. I was indulging in some rather bitter hyperbole and yes, it was silly.
I really do appreciate the way you always say "Snap out of it and fight." Seriously. Can I hire you to call me on the phone once a day and say that?
46, P J Evans,
They think that having no daylight between the Democrats and the Republicans is a good idea, even with guys like Nader getting votes by saying 'there's no difference between them' (and there really is a difference: look at the list of speakers for the two conventions).
That's a nice rhetorical device you've got there. Mind if I play with it?
The mental image that goes with "no daylight between" for me, does like this:
That's a particularly accurate image, and an unsurprising one. Dem's are centrists, and ceding ideological territory to the right is one of the reasons we got stuck with Bush. If we want to move our country to the left, we're going to need a bigger boat - er - I mean we'll need a viable leftist political party we can villify so we can close the gap with them too.
Michael Weholt @ 51... All good things come to those who WORK for them. (...) Or, at least, a lot of really bad things come to those who don't choose to work for the best good they can get.
Or sometimes you work your butt off and you get nothing but grief for it, or it works out and you aren't recognized for it.
On the other hand, if you don't work toward something, it's untoward to complain if things don't work out.
So, of course, you keep trying.
Like Mickey Mouse.
(But I've always prefered Donald Duck.)
Biden more than passes my litmus test: he's not just against torture, he's disgusted by it. And he thinks waterboarding is torture.
The soft bigotry of low expectations R us.
I've been voting since 1980. Since then, I have never really felt I was voting for the candidate I wanted (except for caucusing for Kucinich in a primary). Instead, I have always voted for the best choice, because dammit, the other one has always been worse. Carter may not have been perfect, but I knew he was better than Reagan.
Anybody who does not want to continue the fiasco that has been the last 8 years cannot afford the luxury of voting for anybody other than Obama. A vote for a third-party candidate, or an abstention, is a vote for McCain, plain and simple.
On the subject of the vice president, my opinion is pretty much the same as the opinion of Cato the Antifederalist...
"The establishment of a vice-president is as unnecessary as it is dangerous. This officer, for want of other employment, is made president of the senate, thereby blending the executive and legislative powers, besides always giving to some one state, from which he is to come, an unjust pre-eminence."
—Antifederalist Paper No. 67.
What do you think of his age? 62 already, he's probably not going to be in a position to run for President once Obama (hopefully) completes two mandates, which means:
1) he won't have an interest in backstabbing Obama or producing that terrible "Dem split on issue X" media narrative much loved by Joe Lieberman and FoxNews.
2) the next Dem candidate will be free to position himself without the sort of baggage that a VP can have (like Gore in 2000).
So all in all, it's a good choice: safe enough for the corporativists, leaves Barack free to be the "good cop" on progressive issues without seriously risking anything.
Nina @11 and Serge @21
No, no, Obama is Wil Smith, Biden is Tommy Lee Jones - and McCain is the giant cockroach they have to defeat!
Magenta Griffith @ 70... McCain is the giant cockroach
...which was played by Vincent d'Onofrio.
But I was secretly hoping for a surprise choice in Madeleine Albright. Ah well.
It'd be terribly awkward to nominate somebody for Vice President who isn't eligible to be President. She was born in Czechoslovakia.
Here's a post about Biden's work against domestic violence: What you probably don't know about Joe Biden. Not that he's perfect, but this seems like a very good reason to support him.
I'm always a bit confused by the idea that Nader is on the left. He really isn't. Not in his chosen outcomes (I think pretty much everyone would agree that the contradictions have been heightened enough for anyone who's paying attention to see a difference between the extremism of the two parties. Somehow Ralph still doesn't), and not in a great many of his positions. He's appallingly bad on choice, he kept his mouth firmly shut in the runup to the war (granted he did write that one OpEd piece in the WaPo about getting a baseball team for DC), and the guy who was too pure for Gore hangs out with freaking Grover "date rape" Norquist.
When I'm feeling kind, I think all those tuna fish lunches have given him a mercury problem. Pretty much all the time I think he's determined to punish Democrats for not taking him seriously enough.
Sadly, he's decided the best way to do that is to do whatever he can to keep Republicans in office, and to hell with the most vulnerable people in our society who can't afford to use government as a way to settle scores.
People whose hearts are on the left don't do that, JMO.
Re "Republican women": Coulter? *shudder* (I still think that if that's what Republicans mean by a strong woman, it's no wonder they're so anti-.)
I am deeply afraid that we can't afford any "protest votes" this time. (See recent polls claiming McSame would win on economic issues (????!).)
I am increasingly certain that anyone who casts a "protest vote" for McCain will be guilty of treason. I don't say that lightly: it's a serious charge, but McSame is seriously a disaster trying its hardest to happen to the US. Don't!
Incidentally, speaking as a Brit, I'd like to note that I think you dodged a bullet by avoiding ending up with Hillary Clinton on the ticket.
I think the USA is long overdue for a female chief executive ... but not the second coming of Margaret Thatcher (who put back the cause of women in British politics about a quarter of a century, single-handed).
I was hoping for Bill Richardson. Why the old white dude when he could have had the dynamic, youngish, somewhat Hispanic dude? Biden's not a bad guy, though he has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth (wasn't he the one who did the articulate black guy gaffe when he was talking about Obama?), but... I was hoping for something more interesting.
On the other hand, if it had been Richardson, I can just see all the far right white guys turning purple and screaming, "Look! Blacks and Hispanics! They ARE taking over!" Maybe that's why Biden was the safe choice, I dunno.
There's one woman I'd love to see in that office, and that's our own Darlene Hooley, representative from Oregon. She's dynamite, but she's also retiring, dagnabit.
As for Hillary, where I want to see her is on the Supreme Court.
Mark Wise #8: For me, Biden still has to do a lot to atone for his support of the awful 2005 bankruptcy bill.
Well, at least Biden voted against FISA 2008, unlike Obama (who, as far as I know, is unrepentant about that hideous gaffe).
Dean might have been ok (I'd have been ok with it, I don't know if Dean would, and I don't know who would replace him in the Party structure).
Gore... not gonna happen, and I'd be against it. It smacks of people who want Gore for Pres saying, "hey, he can pull a Cheney and be the real power," which is so not what we need.
Clinton... I don't know. There is something to be said for a woman on the ticket. There's also the sense that it's not being done because he thinks she's the best candidate, but to pander to all the people saying, "you have to pick a woman,", as well as giving a slight air of illegitimacy to his candidacy
(Digression) Honestly, the, "We are entitled, because we are women thing," sort of annoys me. It was a campaign. not an annointment. She ran, she did well; she lost. Losing is one of the risks, no one is entitled to be the candidate; just ask Leiberman (the way she, and Obama, handled Lamont didn't endear me to them, though I thought Obama did things better, but I digress. It was a factor in my not being happy with her as a candidate).
Would I like to see a woman in the White House? Sure. But not because she's a woman, rather because I believe in her a politician and a representative. I've never been truly of the opinion that Hillary Clinton represents what I want. Obama is closer. Dean is Closer. Edwards (among the lot) is closest.
Gore might be the best, but he, quite reasonably, isn't running.
Just being female (black, handicapped, possessed of invisible illness, etc.) isn't enough. I'm sorry that Clinton isn't what I want to see in office. I'm even sorrier that my not thinking so gets me excoriated as a woman hater, who doesn't care what they think(end Digression)
Politics is what it is. Having an older, white, "respectable" VP bothers me, because I am afraid the folks who don't like the idea of blacks in power will balk (even if subconciously) at having a Statesmenlike™ figure being bossed around by a black man. On that note I don't see it as a good idea.
But, to be honest, I don't see anyone on the national stage who could fill the role, who is female (I can't see Clinton sitting in the wings as VP. I don't think that sort of enforced second fiddle suits her, and I suspect she wanted to be asked, and would have turned it down.
So we have Biden, and we make the best of what we've got, which is all we ever get to do, because none of us has what it takes to stomach the years of shovelling crap to get to where we are positions to have to make the compromises needed to get elected to the national stage.
To #62 Michael Weholt:
A mistake that has caused thousands of deaths is not worthy of vice presidency. Biden voted to illegally give Bush the power to go to war and that is supposed to be excused with a simple "my bad"? When politician "eff up" they ought to be voted out, not given a promotion. Unlike Obama, Biden, or McCain, Cynthia McKinney was at the anti-war rallies before the war started. That is leadership that I believe in and that's leadership I will be voting for. Watching the media ignore her candidacy is truly amazing and shows just how controlled the American political system is.
Guys, I'm sorry. I've just realized that all of this crap I said isn't really about politics at all; other stuff is going on that I hadn't realized was upsetting me until just now, and the upsetness came out this way. No, I'm not sure how you can be upset by something and not know it either, but it is possible.
Please disregard what I've said in this thread, except for the part where I said Patrick was right, because he is right. I'd be happy to have it disemvowelled, not because it's flamey but because it's just stupid, irrelevant and inappropriate.
Carry on with the relevant conversation.
Caroline@81: I think that's true for a lot of us these days. Good for you for recognizing, and thanks for saying, but I hope you don't beat yourself up too much about it.
This is a very deeply discouraging election, with deeply discouraging implications, and it's easy for that to tangle up with all kinds of stuff.
Microscopic nitpick here: Will Smith. Wil Wheaton.
(I'd have preferred Barbara Boxer for Veep, but that wasn't happening.)
#74 ::: julia
I'm always a bit confused by the idea that Nader is on the left. He really isn't.
Ooops! Sorry, that post was in no way intended to be an endorsement of that man. That was sloppy thinking on my part, confusing the positioning of parties with their actual positions. Mea culpa.
Hmm. With all this talk about those itching to go third party, I find myself hoping VotePair starts organizing again this year. Poor substitute for something like instant runoff, but it's something.
In 2004 I voted for Kerry over my preferred candidate Cobb, and a Kerry supporter in a non-swing state agreed to vote for Cobb (no way of verifying that he did, but it's not like Cobb was one vote shy of taking either state...). I did Gore it in 2000, and, while Obama's not a perfect candidate for me, I will be voting for him without holding my nose. Hell, this independent might even send money to a major party candidate for the first time in his life.
In this choice I'd say that Obama is making an appeal to older white male democrats; he seems to be working on breaking the hearts of the young progressives who swept him to the nomination. Biden is not "change". Oh, he's not the worst, though also not the best*. He is at least a strong environmentalist. But he's an old white guy, whose major source of campaign funding* ($4.9 million) is lawyers and law firms. The second-largest source is financiers of various sorts (perhaps $2 m, depending on how you add it up). Issue positions. He's Catholic and waffles on abortion. (Women's vote? We don't need no stinkin'...oh, yeah, maybe we do.) Voted for bankruptcy "reform" (hmmm, guess the money from the financiers made a difference.) He's tough on crime, a drug warrior, and a foreign-policy hawk.
What I don't see in any of the choices and positions Obama has made is anything that's going to help him face the storms that his Presidency will weather--it's same-old, same-old all the way.
Ethan #41: "Madeleine Albright? The woman who, when asked how she felt about her policies having killed over half a million children in Iraq, said she thought "the price was worth it"? No thanks.
I didn't like her much either at first, due to this and some other things she said and did, mostly early in her term (and I think she said the above before she was even Secretary of State). But Albright's also someone who has admitted and learned from her mistakes (both while she was Secretary and after), which is something I value quite highly in government officials, much moreso than unbelievable stubbornness in fear of being labeled a flip-flopper. Absolutely not a perfect choice, but I like her better than most of the Democrats who ran for president this cycle.
Now, it's kind of a moot point, because she wasn't born a U.S. citizen (and couldn't be VP), but about that specific remark: "I must have been crazy … As soon as I had spoken, I wished for the power to freeze time and take back those words. My reply had been a terrible mistake, hasty, clumsy, and wrong … I had fallen into a trap and said something that I simply did not mean. That is no one’s fault but my own."
Randolph, that's what discourages me the most. It seems immediately obvious to me that the Republican machine will pick up where it left off in 2000 when it comes to sabotaging a Democratic administration, and there seems to be no preparation for this in the Obama campaign. I want a full Democratic press back against Republican dirty tricks, abuse of procedure, and all. I'm not holding my breath waiting, though.
I liked this comment by Caroline, above:
Disappointment at centrist compromises is still miles better than the kind of clstrfck we have now.
That kind of sums up how I feel about the upcoming election. Bush I and Clinton had many ugly flaws as people and leaders, and pushed a great many bad policies. But the last eight years have been something very different.
I often wonder how much of the last eight years is explained by W's inability, how much by his advisors, and how much by circumstances beyond his control. And I sometimes see W as a kind of tragic figure, like if a hardworking janitor somehow found himself drafted into being the chief of cardiology at the local hospital. W is apparently a pretty decent man on a personal level--faithful to his wife, done with his long-ago drinking and drug problems, with close friends and trusted advisors of all races and genders. He's just deeply unsuited to be president. The janitor would probably get fooled by reiki true-believers and magic vitamin con-men. W fell to neocon true believers and Chalabi.
I worry about Obama's lack of experience and his ideas, but at least the guy's clearly bright enough for the job. Biden looks to be, as well. The last eight years suggest that this might be kind-of important.
David Brooks and others of the nationalcrimesyndicate wanted Biden, and now they're glad they got what they wanted.
If a politician makes a mistake, I want him to admit it, and I want him to work to correct it. That should be enough. If he's on my side, I'm not going to ask him to beat himself up and spare his opponent the effort. And if he's on the other side and he admits a mistake, it's a miracle.
I would have preferred he choose a woman, at least partly as assassination insurance; my choice would have been Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. But what's done is done.
And I'm afraid my first association to Biden is an old song by Murray Porath ("...he quoted Neil Kinnock, he / Wasn't too finicky / About giving credit, and so he went down"), but some of the links above seem to have addressed that issue adequately enough to reassure me. He's not a bad choice, just not my ideal one.
All told, it's not going to make any difference to my vote come November; we simply can't afford 4 more years of BushCo policies if we want to have anything left that resembles the America of the 1990s by 2012.
RSW @ #80: Biden voted to illegally give Bush the power to go to war and that is supposed to be excused with a simple "my bad"? When politician "eff up" they ought to be voted out, not given a promotion....
Like I said, I hope to god you don't live in a state where the election will be close. For your sake, really. If your vote, and your campaigning for McKinney, in any way helps McCain get elected, your actions will be the moral equivalent of voting with those Democrats who made the mistake of voting for the war.
Given what appears to be your harsh and unforgiving nature, I don't know how you'll be able to live with yourself.
As for Gore -- he chose Lieberman as his vp -- Lieberman that the rest of us knew was a plant and really one of the other side.
He isn't even pretending any longer. Lieberman's starring at their con this year.
He'd already been vp and his judgment still got him picking somebody who undercut him and the party at every opportunity.
It appears Gore's judgment is much better with climate change and technology and other important issues, than it is with character.
Andrew #72: "She was born in Czechoslovakia."
(sorry, I missed your post). What, nobody likes surprises anymore?
Minor point, doesn't change anything here: I believe birthplace is not actually a requirement for President or VP (McCain wasn't born in the States IIRC). The wording of the Constitution is they have to be born U.S. citizens.
Either way, you're correct. Albright is ineligible. But if the Republicans ever change the law so Schwarzenegger can run, I do hope the Democrats put Albright up against him.
Bruce Baugh at 88: That's right. We need to remember what the first months were like in the Clinton administration. Remember those nicely wrapped presents waiting under the White House Christmas tree, with Waco and Somalia on the inside? Remember the bipartisan effort on health care reform, and on ending discrimination against gays in the military? Those days are coming again. It's also important to keep in mind that the Democrats learned absolutely nothing from the experience. They are going to make all the same mistakes, only this time they will try even harder. Be sure to say this often, and where Republicans can overhear you.
Albright isn't a native-born citizen. Running with Albright would mean running with someone who isn't qualified to be president.
I'm a big Sebelius fan. It looks like the answer to "What's the Matter With Kansas?" is that at the time, Sebelius was only beginning to work on it. But that actually makes her a bad choice for VP, strategically, because she could do so much more for her state and for the nation by gaining and holding a Senate seat.
Alex Wilson: McCain (it seems) isn't actually qualified, under the letter of the law, but that's not stopping people.
This, however, (qualifications for VP) has been hashed before (when Bill Clinton's name was being tossed about), and the answer is, the VP is required to be qualified for the office of the president.
So Albright is out.
I'm hoping Sebelius runs in 2016.
Mike, Terry: Yes, Albright is ineligible, as has been mentioned. Thanks.
Terry, McCain is eligible, I believe. IIRC the importance of birthplace is a common misconception; Constitutionally, it's birth-citizenship that matters.
The Constitution does not allow a person who is not eligible to be President to be considered as a candidate for Vice President. Albright is not eligible to be President; therefore she is not eligible to be Vice President.
Oddly, the term-limiting amendment only says that e.g. Bill Clinton can't RUN FOR POTUS. I think it means he could run as Veep and take office if the POTUS resigned, but it's politically impossible, so we don't have to worry about the exact meaning of the wording.
RSW, your first two comments (at least under this email address and according to my search of the site) on ML are both in this thread, and both designed to get people to "vote their conscience" which is a meme we've discussed at length (and most of us have discarded). Your email is not a personal one, but a generic address for info at something called vote truth oh eight dot com.
You sure smell like astroturf to me.
And the media ignore Cynthia McKinney because she's (apparently) irrelevant to the final outcome. They'll start to pay attention to her if she looks like she might make a difference (unlikely).
Caroline, #81: I think you (and most of the younger people who voted for Obama's "change") have a perfectly reasonable beef with the man. He promised "change" and let you think it was the change you wanted. Older progressives have fewer excuses--we know that if progressive promises aren't spelled out in detail they haven't been made. I bet there's a lot of angry older women right now, too. Obama seems to figure he can win without the progressive vote. He's flirting with the young voters. The choice of Biden is an indication, that, once elected, Obama will go home with the rich old white guys with the money* and I think you've every right to be angry about it.
My attitude...well, I'm very tired of how the USA treats its progressives and intellectuals. So I think the thing to do, once Obama is elected, is hold his feet to the fire, all the while holding off the radical right. He's going to face problems which conservatism isn't able to address--he will need progressives. So, quid pro quo, let us therefore insist on space in the coalition. And continue to work on getting votes in the House and electoral reform.
#86 ::: Randolph:
Is there any handy place to check on what young progressives are actually saying?
As for Biden being a drug warrior, this is bad, but I suppose it's the way to bet with major US politicians.
Any ideas about what it would take to end the war on drugs, or at least slow it down?
Is there any way to get have non-evil airport security on the platform?
This is definitely good news/bad news. On one hand, Biden is vastly superior to the other two on the reported "short list" (Kaine and Bayh), either of whom would have been an unmitigated disaster.
On the other hand, Obama bypassed two vastly superior choices in Wes Clark (whom he and the soi-disant "centrist" leaders of the Democratic Party allowed the Republican attack dogs to chew up and spit out without a word of support) and Kathleen Sebelius.
On the gripping hand, John Edwards would have been a terrific choice if his actions hadn't made him unpalatable to the majority of Americans.
Overall, I can live with Biden.
Alex Wilson (#101): Terry Karney's referring to this argument.
To massively simplify it: the statutes in place at the time of McCain's birth gave citizenship to the children of US citizens born "out of the limits and jurisdiction
of the United States." The argument is that the Canal Zone was out of the limits, but within the jurisdiction; jus soli doesn't apply as it wasn't incorporated territory, and jus sanguinus must be in accordance with statute (which wasn't in effect for the Canal Zone at the time of McCain's birth).
The change necessary to apply jus sanguinus citizenship to Canal Zone births was passed in 1937, after McCain's birth.
Chin's argument there is that since it was retroactive, McCain wasn't a citizen at birth and therefore not a "natural born Citizen" per the Constitution.
My take is that a "strict constructionist" judge, like Scalia claims to be except when deciding Bush v. Gore, would have to rule him ineligible. According to McCain's own website, he would agree:
As President, John McCain will nominate judges who understand that their role is to faithfully apply the law as written, not impose their opinions through judicial fiat.
Birthplace is important because of the 14th amendment to the constitution. I'm not anything resembling a constitutional scholar, but I don't think the constitution goes into specifics on all the other qualifications, which it seemed to have left to interpretation by court-precedent.
The NYT cited how McCain was given citizenship by a law conferring it on anyone born in US-controlled Panama. But according to the scholar it cited, it doesn't actually say anything about retroactively conferring native-born status.
I don't think pursuing this avenue to disqualify McCain would leave Obama a lot of slack to conduct his business with any kind of casualness, but the status of McCain's citizenship still seems open to judicial interpretation.
Paula Lieberman #32: After reading your comment about promoting the concerns of people without testicles, I'm reminded that Michelle Malkin -- who I believe is a woman -- has been urging Senator Obama to 'grow a pair'.
There is nothing which would make me not vote for Obama this year. All these worries about low-probability events and symbolism when the truth is: if McCain is elected, the Supreme Court will be gone as a last protection of minority rights, let alone reproductive rights.
There is no-one who could have been chosen VP who would have excited my interest (well, maybe George Clooney); the people I like best have already said no, publicly, repeatedly (Al Gore) and people I like for symbolic reasons are inelligible (Albright) or have no experience in elected office (Caroline Kennedy). This election matters too much to let my ego get in the way of the clear necessity to get the Republicans out of the White House.
Obama could have seriously lost me with his VP pic, but not gained much. He didn't lose me.
That said, I find I have something to add which hasn't been pointed out here:
One of the things we want from Obama is to use the newly-increased Democratic majority in Congress to ram a metric buttload of legislation through Congress asap. The VP is President of the Senate. A well-liked veteran like Biden can be a material asset to the Obama Administration.
That said, can we move on the the imporant question?
The economy is in the toilet. The war is in the toilet. The budget is in the toilet. etc. So why is Obama polling a lead in the low single digits??
I should have amplified: I don't think (irrespective of the actual laws) McCain ought to be disqualified. As I understand the nuts and bolts of the arguement, other applications of that law have made distinctions about those born in the canal zone, which ought (if the Supremes should deign to hear it) make someone with the, professed, views of a Scalia rule McCain isn't eligible.
On a tactical level, I hate it. Maybe in April, when the race was open it might have been ok, but now... it looks to be gaming the system; it's a Republican sort of trick.
It would also put Obama in the painful position of needing, effectively, to campaign for McCain, lest his candidacy be seen as somewhat illegitimate.
There are more pressing issues. What would, perhaps be awful is for a VP we can't stand (der Leibermouse) to be put into office by the effects of such a claim be ing settled againat McCain; after his (God between me and the devil) election.
Thanks for the clarification Christopher, Mike.
And apologies for the wistful mention of Albright temporarily derailing the thread.
don delny @64
You have your calibration off:
The pirates who have hijacked the Republican Party (not to be confused with honest Republicans, wherever they've been hiding) do NOT get to define themselves as "the Center."
The Clintons are what used to be called "moderate Republicans". (cf. "Rockefeller Republican")
Neil in Chicago: He's black? The Press likes, "the maverick"?
The war is in the toilet, but it's going better than it was. Bush, et al, have pulled some of the rug out of the anti-war by setting a timetable (which has lots of outs to prevent it actually coming to pass).
McCain is using class warfare.
The race isn't really about policy, but brand.
The race isn't really about policy, but personality (and the press has Obama as an effete who doesn't know what it's like to be an, "average joe", but John, "The Maverick POW" McCain knows how to throw a mean BBQ.
I could go on, but that's probably enough anger-making for the moment.
#112 Neil in Chicago: So why is Obama polling a lead in the low single digits??
Because you aren't working hard enough. None of us are. We've got, by far, the better candidate (now, candidates). We know that. We just have to convince the rest of our fellow Americans of it and once we've done that, Obama/Biden wins by double digits.
In related topics, PLEASE get everyone you know to vote. We're a nation that seems to be composed 100% of opinionated people, but less than half can be bothered to vote. Every election cycle, I hear several otherwise-intelligent folks explain that they didn't bother for some reason.
These are the candidates, many/most know who they'll vote for in 2.5 months, start dunning folk to know their polling place, make sure they're registered, ID is current, etc.
Regardless of politics, how about we work toward having most of the populace actually involved in its governance in some small way? From there, we could (shock!) hold elected officials accountable and other foolish "representative" delusions.
Unfortunately, most of my coworkers are Republicans (or crypto-Republicans; cf. the one who always votes Nader), and health issues (of a sort) mean my socializing has been pretty much limited to online... and primarily to places like ML where people are liberal, intelligent, highly motivated, and do vote (because I strongly prefer such people... and I suspect the majority of folks here are the same way. Not to mention that I suspect most of the people who read my LJ are the same). Which means I'd be preaching to the choir.
(This doesn't mean I won't say it, just that it's pointless to make it a major operation.)
Meanwhile... anyone else terrified that McSame might pick Cheney in a bid to reel in the neocons who are so unhappy with him?
Randolph @ 86: "He's Catholic and waffles on abortion. (Women's vote? We don't need no stinkin'...oh, yeah, maybe we do.)"
Waffles on abortion? I've been looking up things about his record, and while I'm just starting to look, what I'm seeing is that he voted No on prohibiting minors from crossing state lines to obtain abortions, voted No on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions, and voted Yes on measures to fund reduction-of-teen-pregnancy programs concentrating on education and contraception. For a start, that's looking like a commitment to support the rights of women -- and particularly YOUNG women, some of the most vulnerable ones. He's also voted against keeping the ban on abortions on military bases. (I hadn't realized that there is a ban on privately funded abortions at overseas military facilities!) The main reason he has a low (36%) rating from NARAL (National Abortion Rights League) seems to be that while he supports a woman's right to abortion, he does not support "partial-birth" abortions, and he does not support public funding for abortions. I may disagree with him on those last two things, but I do have a lot of respect for a pro-choice Catholic who explains the line he is walking as he makes his votes.
Besides, NARAL are the folks who endorsed Lieberman over Lamont....
What's really illuminating, in my opinion, is the rating Biden got from NRLC (National Right to Life Committee, the big "pro-life" clearinghouse and coordination center). Their scale goes as follows:
85%-100% - pro-life stance
16%-84% - mixed record on abortion
0%-15% - pro-choice stance
If Biden did have, as you say, a record of waffling on abortion, one might expect him to be in that 16%-84%, right?
Nope. NRLC rated him at 0%.
Personally, I think the whole-hearted rejection of Biden by the right-to-lifers says a lot more than a NARAL score of 36%.
That's what this woman thinks, anyway.
A vote for McKinney is not a vote for McCain, no more than a vote for Nader in 2000 was a vote for Bush. Only a vote for McCain is a vote for McCain. A vote for a protest candidate in our current two-party environment has exactly the same consequence for the nation as a whole as not voting at all: other people get to make the decision for you.
We've got, by far, the better candidate (now, candidates). We know that. We just have to convince the rest of our fellow Americans of it and once we've done that, Obama/Biden wins by double digits.
With you 100% on this, but I have to confess I'm at a loss for tactics. I know people who plan to vote for McCain over Obama on the grounds that Obama is "arrogant". How can we use facts and reality to overcome that kind of blindly emotional decision-making? There are lots of people out there who cast their votes based on prejudice, or spite, or media narratives...
He also voted against the "global gag rule" that prevents aid from being allocated to foreign family planning organizations that provide abortions (even from their own funds), counseling women on abortion, or advocating abortion rights.
To Xopher (#102 & #103)
The "vote their conscience" meme might have been discussed at length here on ML, but its important aspect of democracy regardless of political affiliation.
Most people on this thread have stated that Biden wasn't their top choice, and I am saying that he was a horrible choice not worth voting for. There is only one anti-war presidential ticket and its not Obama/Biden or McCain/X.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting a different result. But voting in the same career politicians, like Biden, is not going bring "change" that Obama has stumped for. Rather it will just bring more of the same: more corporatism, more war, and more environmental destruction etc.
People can use that same analogy and say voting third party is also insane, but at least its a principled choice that is based on an attempt to change the status quo. There has to be people willing to shake things up or nothing is ever going to change.
Moreover, the majority of Americans DON'T VOTE, so if you have people voting who they believe in, one cannot shame them for voting their conscience because most people are not even going to vote at all. When America has 85% turnout it will be when there are more political parties running candidates and as long as the two parties continue to prevent third parties from entering into the political arena you'll continue to have a poor turnout.
Basically, Obama's rallying call for "Change in Washington" is now a lexical flipflop because change does not come from career politicians. It comes from people willing to change the status quo and not represent the banking cartel of America located in Delaware. It comes from people who have the leadership and moral fortitude to not vote for an illegal war.
I don't pretend to create astroturf, rather I am saying, wake the f*ck up and see that Obama just screwed his progressive base by selecting a career politician that supported the war.
I am happy that I do live in a location that will have McKinney on the ballot, yet I am still saddened by the fact that the two capitalist parties of America work aggressively, just like Obama's first political campaign, to keep competition off the ballot-- even at the expense of democracy.
Don't pick nits. Any vote against McCain, but not for Obama effectively is a vote for McCain.
*snerk* Obama just almost introduced Biden as "the next President"
On the contrary, please discourage the kind of people who are swayed by 30 second attack ads, weird internet rumors, or other goofy sh-t from voting. Uninformed, uninterested voters add noise to the system at best, and add easy marks for the Roves of the world at worst.
If you aren't quite sure which candidate is which, or whether Obama might secretly be an Islamic fundamentalist atheist extremist Black Christian, or which countries we're fighting a war in, do your patriotic duty this election day: Stay the hell home.
Since you're new here, allow me to introduce myself. I'm a moderator here. I'm the gentle one, the big softie that lets things go on too long before shutting them down.
The "vote their conscience" meme might have been discussed at length here on ML, but its important aspect of democracy regardless of political affiliation.
It is one choice, to be placed opposite "tactical voting". This has been discussed ad naseum, ad flamae bellum*, and ad absentem vocalum† around here, and we are not doing it again unless you have something new to say. We're not a democracy primer; we're a community that has already thought through the tensions inherent in this issue.
I don't pretend to create astroturf
And yet you appear with a Green party email address and a Green party line. You're threadjacking. The alternative to astroturf, in this case, is comment spam.
This blog does not exist for you to come and push your candidate without reference to the topic of the thread or the tone of the community. It does exist so that people can come and be interesting‡. I strongly suggest that you start doing so.
* flame war
† absence of vowels
‡ All forms of metrical rhymed verse are inherently interesting, by the way.
"Arrogant" is another dog-whistle replacement for "uppity." Absent evidence to the contrary, I submit that calling Obama "arrogant" is coming from a racist position, and I don't know how to counter it.
(By and large to the group, thanks, I'm feeling some better about Biden than I was this morning.)
I can't imagine McCain being dumb enough to pick Cheney, given his approval ratings.
One issue I wish were discussed widely is how McCain's age affects his likely time in office if elected. For example, what are the rough odds that he'll survive his full first term? What fraction of healthy men his age suffer serious age-related decline in mental function in the next few years? (And remember, he's liable to be under the kind of pressure that grays the hair and bends the back of much younger, healthier men.)
This is very important to ask, given the evidence that Reagan, in his second term, was almost certainly suffering enough from Alzheimer's to have justified handing over the government to Bush I, and that his advisors and wife just propped him up and kept nominal power in his name. I'm not crazy about the imperial presidency, but I'd at least like to have the guy with the job actually know what is going on around him.
Among other things, McCain's age makes his VP choice incredibly important. A Dan Quayle type pick would be terrifying.
RWS @ #123:
I don't believe you've adequately addressed Xopher's concerns about your rarity of posting in here and your email address and its connection to something called "vote truth oh eight dot com". Until you do that, I don't think it's worthwhile to engage you to any great degree on the points you press. There's too much astroturf around and so I think you should help us understand how Xopher is wrong in his "sniff test".
Obama is not dumbing down his vocabulary and image to appeal to "everyman." He's not afraid of coming off as an intellectual. IMO, that's the source of the "arrogant" claim. He probably can't run away from that intellectual image, either--it's part of the whole life story that makes him appealing.
Just FWIW, I'm pretty sure calling "dogwhistle" at every attack on Obama is neither going to convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you, nor help Obama's cause much.
Albatross #129: Local newsradio reports that the short list for McCain's VP choice is down to two: Mitt Romney and Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty. Each of those has plenty of weaknesses for the Dems to exploit (if they ever find the cojones to go after the Republicans). Pawlenty, especially, would be fun to advertise against, given that it was his tax cuts and refusal to spend adequately on maintenance and inspections that caused the collapse of the I35W bridge.
Slw J Plgs Bdn - rrgnt, brsh, cln nd rtclt, srl-plgrzng, Dnkn-Dnt-frqntng, ltst, grndstndng, nrcssstc, mn-sprtd, crbrl wltrwght nd cnsmmt DC nsdr. Wht ws B thnkng?
Thank you, John, Fitness Austin* (first time commenter) for neatly summarizing the more borish Republican talking points.
BTW, do your coworkers know that you're using their goodname to bloviate in public forums? That's kinda unprofessional.
Yes. My response to the idea of McCain picking Cheney is basically "pleasepleasepleaseplease..."
Unfortunately Cheney appears to have roughly the same probability of being the pick as Jeb Bush does...
Charlie Stross @ #134: #133 smells like spam to me.
Yeah, same here, I guess.
I don't understand how these people aren't completely ashamed of themselves.
Ooh, I wants Romney, I does, we does, precioussss. One old out of touch intemperate really really rich white guy and one middle-aged really really rich Mormon plastic-faced dog-torturing white guy. It's my birthday and we wants it.
I've been to the web sites of those people that Paula speaks of, the ones who want to destroy Obama and get McCain elected. The majority of articles and comments there are weak on rational thought and strong on deep, purely emotional reaction. The bitterness and hatred run through everything. Somehow they have come to think that they could work hard to destroy the current Democratic ticket's chances of winning this election and then come back in 2012 and get Senator Clinton nominated and elected. Why would they think this could possibly work? Do you think they wouldn't try and trumpet their contribution to Obama's loss if that's the way things worked out come November? Do they really think it wouldn't be remembered? In addition not once are the negative consequences of a McCain presidency mentioned. It's like getting a man elected who is roughly 85% in agreement with Bush on the issues is just fine with them. Yet they claim to support the policies of Hillary Clinton.
And frankly, I just didn't see the flood of sexism, name-calling and other negativity towards Senator Clinton that they claim to have seen from the Obama campaign. When asked for specifics somehow they consistently fail to provide evidence.
Color me thoroughly unimpressed with those people and convinced that Obama will persuade the rational former Clinton supporters to vote for him and Biden. The others are hopeless.
Well, I did ask for opinions...
#140 abi: Well, I did ask for opinions...
Heh. Asking for them was hardly necessary, I should think... Surely you knew you were going to get them whether you asked for them or not.
Michael Weholt @137:
in case you hadn't noticed, Republicans no longer have any concept of "shame". Just check the news for the past several years for all too well documented proof.
Also, in general: it may be the Klonopin withdrawal speaking, but for some reason not related to my feelings about Biden, today I'm absolutely terrified that McCain will win despite everything. Maybe it's just the cumulative effect of the reactions I'm seeing all over to Biden, and the recent Pew poll claiming that a majority of people think McCain has a better handle on the economy, and the steady ramping up of barely-"disguised" racism by the Republican slime and FUD machines, etc.
RSW @58: As least the Green Party isn't trying to be centrist.
They're not trying to get elected either. I mean, you might as well just write in your favorite fictional characters; it'll have the same effect on the electoral process.
Now, if you live in a heavy blue state (as I do), or a heavy red state, it doesn't much matter. If you live in a battlefield state, you're helping the team you like least.
And @80: A mistake that has caused thousands of deaths is not worthy of vice presidency.
Not worthy of the vice presidency? Not worthy of "a bucket of warm piss"? WTF? You're going to cast a fanfic vote because you don't like the guy picked for the goes-to-state-funerals half of the ticket?
There are valid arguments that Obama is not sufficiently anti-war. He picked Samantha Power as his foreign policy advisor, and she's a strong supporter of military intervention for humanitarian causes (like Darfur). But the VP pick? The veep doesn't get to make those decisions (unless the prez himself is a potatohead, like Dubya).
If anything, an Obama/Biden victory does the anti-war movement a favor. Biden's currently chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. If he becomes vice-prez, he leaves the Senate, and that chair position goes to Chris Dodd, who also voted for the war, but has since been pushing to end it.
Here's another thing... I've been watching MSNBC all day and they've been pretty much ejaculating over Obama's picking Biden. Same for Biden himself.
Here we might have a guy in Biden who serves as a very effective counter to the press's fawning over Straight Talk John. They might even, in their newly blossoming love for Biden, get busy on the phony McCain and fall out of love with him in a way the famously short-tempered Senator McCain has never had to endure before.
To Abi #127:
Lets go back to my first comment @#58. It was completely in line with the topic at hand. I stated my disappointment with Obama's choice and stated who I was going to vote for because of this. I was not the first person on the thread to bring up McKinney (See #28).
My second comment (#80) was a defense of my first comment and directed at one commenter. I stated again why I was displeased with Biden and the importance of leadership. Still pertained to the topic at hand.
My last comment (#123) could easily be construed as threadjacking because I fully articulated my stance and used multiple paragraphs as opposed to a simple paragraph as I had done before. This was done because the commenter thought I represented astroturf, which I am not. So in my defense I further explained why Biden was a bad choice. Still within the topic at hand.
Now if people who uphold a different political philosophy are not wanted here thats fine. I'll go somewhere else and look back at the time I spent here with regret. If my quasi-anonymous name & e-mail bothers you, I understand. This alone does smell like astroturf. But I am not trying to redirect the thread or explicitly state that McKinney is better than Obama. My overall message has been the same: Biden voted for the war and does not represent a progressive ideology that many people on this website maintain.
I've read discussions on this website before and seen plenty of Democratic Party cheerleading, but for my first postings I decided to express a different viewpoint and now I am being treated as though I am trying to threadjack the discussion, which I clearly have not. I have not inserted links to websites, flamed anyone, or attempted to thwart the discussion in a different direction. Rather my participation was simply based on expressing my sadness that Obama selected a chump when he could have selected a woman or someone who actually voted against the war or someone who's not a Washington insider....
Obama said he'd bring change,
With Biden selected, that all seems strange,
I posted opinions here,
But now I defend them out of fear,
For I am not like the rest of you,
I vote my conscience through & through,
So what to do? Censor and moderate?
Or let someone with a different viewpoint into the debate?
I will not change my vote,
But I have no problems rocking the boat.
If change is going to come to DC,
Then you better make some noise with me.
Or that change you though you were going receive,
has only been empty words used to deceive.
[note: by writing a response in rhyme, I now feel that I have threadjacked the discussion and I apologize]
abi @ 127... I'm a moderator here. I'm the gentle one, the big softie that lets things go on too long before shutting them down.
RWS, I can't speak for abi, but I think the metrical rhymed verse goes a long way towards making ME say, "hey, stick around a while."
Just be aware that advocating the tactically unhelpful but ideologically pure vote *has* come up here before, a lot, and has frayed many tempers. Hence the Moderation Clue Stick being brought out early.
Out of curiosity, and perhaps bringing this back closer to the topic: is there someone Obama could have chosen who would have swung your vote Democrat, rather than Green?
More to the point, I think, is there someone Obama could have chosen who would have swung your vote Democratic... without also guaranteeing that Obama loses the election?
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain his soul, and lose the whole world?
RWS@146:by writing a response in rhyme, I now feel that I have threadjacked the discussion and I apologize
Check out some of the other threads. Rhymed verse (or even alliterative verse, if that's your thing) is almost always appropriate.
We don't talk exclusively about politics here . . . active threads just in the past week or so have included zucchini recipes, bawdy songs, an in-depth discussion of a 1997 incident of small-town domestic terrorism, bad language, and a moose festival.
David Bilek @ 149...
"Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?"
To Rikibeth (#148)
I must first state a typo in my previous prose,
I left out a T in one of the words, but I guess you figured that out, I suppose.
Who could make me vote Democrat?
I have a nice list of politicians to prove I am no brat.
These are the folks who voted against the war,
In my opinion, they are the ones we should adore.
They knew the Iraq war was wrong,
They knew it would be costly and long,
But Biden floated the administration's song,
And stupidly voted to keep "America Strong!"
He is a hawk and not a progressive,
On this point, I come across as slightly obsessive,
Alas, I vote with my heart,
But with Biden on board I don't know when "change" will start.
Now if people who uphold a different political philosophy are not wanted here thats fine. I'll go somewhere else and look back at the time I spent here with regret.
Oh, please don't start on that line. It's a slippery slope from that to the "my opinions are to brave and honest for your site" variety of flounce-out. And if you can post in rhyme, I'd rather you didn't flounce out.
If my quasi-anonymous name & e-mail bothers you, I understand. This alone does smell like astroturf.
Let's just say it puts the burden of proof on you. The fact that you are responding, and discussing, does help.
But I am not trying to redirect the thread or explicitly state that McKinney is better than Obama. My overall message has been the same: Biden voted for the war and does not represent a progressive ideology that many people on this website maintain.
That's only about half of your overall message. The rest is a "two party politics is broken, vote your conscience" argument. This is of course a fine stance to take, but it has been exhaustively (and exhaustingly) argued here, to no effect beyond the exasperation of all concerned.
So consider this fair warning that you are not on untrodden ground here. Most of the regulars reading this thread have gone, "Oh, no, not again." That's not a good reaction to start with.
ADM @ 125: Obama just almost introduced Biden as "the next President"
Which actually wouldn't be inaccurate, because, if he becomes Vice-President of the United States, Biden would also become (as Cheney is now) President of the Senate.
... that is to say, the officer whom both Senator Obama and Senator Biden are quite used to addressing as "Mister President" within the Senate chamber.
David Bilek @ 149, that'd be the NEXT question for RWS. I'd certainly find interest in teasing out whether or why RWS' ideal choice for Obama's VP selection would result in an Obama loss, before proceeding to whether there's another choice both tactically and idelogically acceptable.
I have very little emotional investment, here. I had some interest in the race back before Kucinich (yeah, I know) and Edwards were shut out; by the time my state's primary rolled around, it was Obama or Clinton, and I felt fairly coin-tossish about them, so I stayed home, knowing that when it came to November, I'd be equally willing to vote for either, although thrilled with neither.
Since I pretty much agree that the office of VP is worth that proverbial bucket of warm piss, my only interest in the VP pick is whether it helps Obama's chances of defeating McCain.
I can't honestly TELL if it does. The issues I hold dear are apparently so anathema to the media's idea of a good candidate that I despair of EVER hearing a presidential or VP hopeful speak them. I just hope that they won't take more away, and MAYBE make a little progress towards what I wish for while making appropriate media noises.
RWS @ 152: well put!
I have to agree, there are plenty of names on the voted-against-the-war list that I'd have been pleased to see. (Although I suspect they may do more good where they are.)
As passionate as you are on that issue, I am on the issue of reproductive choice. And even though I'm in what's considered a firmly blue state, my general nervousness won't let me cast a protest vote. My pessimism (see the "I am not a programmer, but..." thread) creeps in and says that in the end it won't matter at ALL... but I don't know whether to call it paranoia, cynicism, or tattered hope that leads me to say "if the true results are solidly and indisputably blue in my state, they may not make so bold as to steal it through fraud, but if the true results have a significant protest vote component, they may feel more empowered to tweak my state red rather than blue." And I would hate to feel I'd contributed to that.
I really don't find this tinfoil hat comfortable or becoming, but I don't seem to be able to take it off.
JESR, #111: Well said.
RWS, if you're really not a paid astroturfer, go read the last sentence of that post. Then print it out in 72-point type and paste it on your bathroom mirror and on your refrigerator. If your ego has a share in costing America this election, you will be made to take your share of the blame -- and that's a promise.
cmk, #128: Perhaps something along the lines of: "Arrogant? Isn't that what the Republicans are saying these days instead of 'uppity'?" You haven't accused anyone of being racist, only of being fooled by the Republicans. Tone of voice will be important here -- make sure you sound either neutral or mildly curious, not sneering.
If their response to this supports albatross' contention at #131, then you can go on to, "So he's smart. What's wrong with that? We've had 8 years of Everyman in the White House, and look where it's gotten us!" Followup: "Well, I at least will be happy to have a President who can really understand what his advisors are telling him." (Insert riff on the number of times GWB ignored/fired advisors who told him what he didn't want to hear.)
Lizzy, #138: That's the best laugh I've had all week, thanks!
I'm with #4 ::: Dave Bell@4 ... Who?
There's a reason why the political bumper sticker on my car says "Get Disappointed by Someone New". Biden is only part of it.
But the alternative is much, much, worse, and I don't, don't, most certainly don't, want that one to win.
(I don't think Clinton could have won without major changes to the way she runs - or doesn't run - her campaigns. There were mistakes even before 'Super Tuesday', and the choices in personnel and operations do give some indication of what kind of president you'd be getting.)
albatross @ 129
The number I heard was something like a 15 percent chance of not making it through the first term, based on his age and published health records. The ones they're still hiding would probably make it worse. (You have, I suspect, noticed that they don't talk about his mental health.)
#144 ::: Avram:
I don't know if it's just a habit of worrying, but I take Obama's choice of vice president quite seriously. There's a real risk that Obama will get assassinated. Damn if I know how to evaluate how high the risk is, though.
Nancy @162: Sure, but look at the context. RWS isn't arguing based on the actual positions he thinks Biden will take. He's arguing that this one vote Biden made five years ago (and has since admitted was the wrong call) has tainted him so that he's no longer worthy of the position. It's essentially a religious argument, based on the purity of Biden's soul.
Nancy Lebovitz, #105: "Is there any handy place to check on what young progressives are actually saying?" Well, Caroline is one, after all. Maybe RWS is another. And I've picked up on some other comments, but I haven't been keeping a list. Obama's own sites aren't likely to be very useful. Hmmmm. AKICITF... Hey, young voters (being under 30!) where do you-folks hang out? I also think the disappointment is likely to be progressive, as Obama keeps doing things that rub younger progressives the wrong way.
Elise, #120: see. He has also voted to ban intact dialation and extraction abortions, opposes public funding for abortion, and believes that life begins at conception. A lot of his abortion positions are pro-choice, but he's a bit rough around the edges on the subject.
Bruce Baugh, #57: "It seems immediately obvious to me that the Republican machine will pick up where it left off". Unh-hunh. Also there's all these big issues abroad now: the economy, climate change, foreign policy. The opposition is just going to have a field day, especially since Obama seems to be conciliating them.
Greens, passim: Being in the right does not, unfortunately, win elections; the US system is extremely hostile to people who do not vote for major-party candidates--see Poundstone's Gaming the Vote. My continuing stand on this, ever since I recognized the problem, is to vote strategically and work for electoral reform.
b>abi @ 153... Most of the regulars reading this thread have gone, "Oh, no, not again."
"Oh, no, not again."
"Oh, no, not again."
"Oh, no, not again."
And Digby, as usual, has some really sensible things to say about this. Biden is, indeed, not the worst.
re McCain's mental health (as I start to cut close to the bone).
He has PTSD. I say this because it's becoming more plain to me that I do to (and not just in the occasional... Shit I feel strange sort of way, but the all the way to the core sort of way).
It's mild, but it's screwing with my life. McCain had a much harder war than I did, and he is from a generation which has much less tolerance for admitting; and dealing with it.
WW2 vets got a long-trip home to cope with things; the company of people who've been there helps. McCain didn't.
Society was accepting of WW2 vets, not so much the Vietnam vet.
PTSD has always been with us (Soldier's Heart, from the Civil War). I don't know that I trust someone who seems to have some serious triggers to reactionary behavior in the White House.
This, of course, brands me a soldier hating defeatnik; slandering the service of everyone, and esp. McCain's time as a POW.
RWS: It's not that we won't tolerate difference of opinion. It's not just that we've trod this ground before (and more than once, and turned the soil to the very bedrock; and yelled at our friends, and cursed at our enemies [of whom, to be fair, we have few; and they usually self-declared], and come to tears of grief and understanding).
It's that we are as passionate as you are, and you are; here, in the minority.
Which is a tough row to hoe.
To be honest, you were saying Mckinny is better than all the rest, and that all who vote for a Ticket with someone who voted the wrong way on one vote (an important vote, but still only one), who thinks, reall, thinks torture is wrong, and who is popular with the press-corps that (for good, or ill) sadly shapes what we debate makes an Obaman candidacy an anathema to you are moral cowards (at least that how it read to me, but perhaps I am oversensitive (/humor).
All of which is fine, but don't be surprised if those of us who've been sung that song before aren't all that willing to encourage the choir.
And now I'll stop polishing my metaphors and go back to editing the book I ought to be working on.
Now, right now, is when people who want real challenges to the Democratic-Republican duopoly should be out getting involved in their local elections, and pressing for better voting methods at the local level. That's where change starts. The movement conservative machine spent literally a generation building up their base of support that way, from creationist school boards to anti-poor, pro-business zealots in city councils. It'll take time for alternatives to take hold, too, and more time the longer people with other ideas refuse to actually go where there's a possibility of change.
And while they're doing that, yes, they need to vote for the Democratic candidates for national office to slow the pace of rot relative to the Republicans.
These are not in opposition. These are both parts of a useful drive for political change.
Biden is, indeed, not the worst.
Biden is not the worst. Obama is better than McCain.
These are really low standards. On your stomach in the mud low. Is that the best we can do?
These types of arguments, in favor of a vote for/support for the Obama ticket just leave me cold. Obama can stampede quite far to the right, to try to get "moderate" or "center" votes - and if progressives will settle for him being merely not as bad as McCain, there is nothing to stop him from being a near mirror image of McCain.
Republicans don't take the far right for granted - they pay attention to their interests. If progressives let ourselves be taken for granted, then why should we expect progressive issues to be addressed?
We may have no where else to go. But that's no reason to leave us with nowhere to go where our concerns are taken seriously. Because if there is no where to go, we might as well stay home.
Randolph @ 164:
I don't find him "rough around the edges" on the subject. I see him as a politician who is up-front about his (personal, religious, moral) beliefs and who is pro-choice. He says it's a set of tough issues. I agree. If he's voting his conscience, then his conscience seems to be saying that safeguarding a woman's access to a legal and safe abortion, no matter what her age, is worth fighting for, no matter how much flak he takes from some of his anti-choice co-religionists. And I suspect he takes a pretty large dose, from them and from others of that ilk.
Sure, I'd like more. But I do acknowledge and appreciate what he offers, because it's significant. I hope it makes it easier for other people within various churches to similarly take pro-choice stances. We could use more of that. (Just like we could use more people willing to say, "Yeah, that vote for the war? I was wrong.")
He doesn't make me one whit less likely to vote for Obama.
Ursula@170: "Is that the best we can do?" Of course not. What we're doing here is (if Yog will pardon the metaphor) triage. A very deeply flawed process gave us a lesser of two evils. That sucks. But it is a less evil ticket, and it's worth voting for to keep the worse evil from getting more entrenched, while simultaneously supporting groups like Act Blue and Human Rights Watch right now and preparing this very year for the 2010 and 2012 races, individually and structurally.
Voting for Obama/Biden is on-the-spot emergency first aid. Prying open the Democratic Party for various constituencies to be better heard is a combination of surgery and physical therapy. There's a need for each, in its place.
Lee #158/ Avram #163:
I guess I'm the same thing as RWS, and we're just dickering over the price. Because if Obama had chosen John Yoo, or some outspoken Democratic advocate of torture in the war on terror, I'd be planning to vote for someone else, too. I'm not going to be bothered to get out of a warm bed and vote for gangster X over slightly nastier gangster Y. Thankfully, that's not the position we're in here. But I don't buy this reasoning of yours, which seems to me to imply that refusing to cast a vote for even a monstrous candidate would be wrong, if a slightly more monstrous one is running against him.
I'll admit this particular line leaves me pretty cold, too. It sounds exactly like special pleading from a member/supporter of a particular political party. "Go ahead and start your own party, but still vote for us instead."
Three guesses on when Democrats will encourage progressives (or Republicans will encourage libertarians) to vote for progressive or libertarian third parties, instead of urging them to vote Democratic to keep the Republicans out, or Republican to keep the Democrats out.
Albatross: I'm saying that it's smart to vote for the Democratic ticket this November while simultaneously helping with things that make it more likely that in 2010, 2012, 2016, etc., there will be better Democrats, alternatives built on better foundations than "gee whiz I wish I was preznit", or both. So, A. do what's at hand to do now and, B. work with others to make usefully better choices feasible in future tries.
I'm gonna bow out at this point, though. I'm repeating myself, and doubt I'm doing anyone any good. I'll chime in if I have anything fresh to say.
#167 ::: Terry Karney:
If it'll go into words, what symptoms of PTSD do you see in McCain? The only one I can think of is explosive temper.
#147 ::: Serge :::
Ahh, but she *is* the gentle one -- *she* did not put her father's skull into the bowling ball -- it was the guy at the pro shop who did that
Terry Karney, #167: Sympathies. McCain...I don't think he ever really healed after being broken in those prisons.
elise, #171: "I do acknowledge and appreciate what [Biden] offers [on abortion], because it's significant." And so do I. But it's not the whole story, unfortunately. In particular, IDE is most usually used to protect the life of the mother, and I find opposition to IDE problematic for that reason.
Ursula L, #170: Obama is extraordinary in many ways, and Biden likewise, though perhaps less so. They are neither of them "bad" people, in the sense that that is usually meant--they are people I disagree with. For the rest, see my #104 and #164. The only way we're going to get a field of minority choices on the national ballot is though electoral reforms, and that's what to concentrate on in the long term. In the short term, I'll continue to say that, while I do not agree with Obama, and he has consistently rejected the support of my political faction, he has my vote; he is far and away a better choice than McCain.
Nancy Leibovitz, #105: "Any ideas about what it would take to end the war on drugs, or at least slow it down?" My impression is that it is ending, but it will probably take another generation to see significant progress. Other than that, I don't know too much specific about the politics of the drug war; it disgusts me too much, and I concentrate on other issues.
Nancy: Explosive temper, of variable nature (see the not only unseemly, but massively overreactive time he called his wife a cunt, in public; and with recorders running). Sometimes he's fine, sometimes he's not.
Prickly reactions to comments about the war/his service (which is me reading into his reactions).
Avoidandce is a symptom. He's very unwilling to talk about it, for all that he's very willing to make use of it.
His sense of rightness on things which touch, even tangientally, on areas which might relate to his service/time a POW.
When I drag it out it's hard to explain, and part of it is me projecting. I (deep breath, this is hard to do) have some PTSD. It's taken me four years to realise it (though other people have been pretty much aware for at least three years, and maybe all four and a half in which it's been present).
His marriage fell apart, I'll wager PTSD is part of it. He is volatile. I'll bet he doesn't sleep much.
His arm doesn't work right, which is a reminder he can't avoid.
A whole lot of stuff is in play, but all in all, he has a mental condition which makes him somewhat unpredictable, in, and of itself I don't think that's a problem (people who know me seem to think me, fundamentally stable; even when I am being moody/volatile, we shall see what treatment manages to do, when I can get it; this is an ongoing process and I'm just starting it), but he doesn't seem aware of it/is unwilling to admit it.
That worries me, because his causitive event was worse than mine, and he's had a lot longer to internalise the protective measures.
But being president is a lot of stress, and that could make it worse.
Example of explosive temper.
I was at a LAN gaming group. Someone started to spout off on, "what needs to be done in a war zone".
The kid (maybe 25) had no idea what he was talking about. When I told him this, and that I had been in combat zones, and tried to explain why he was wrong, he got on his high horse and told me I was a clueless moron.
I exploded, I lost it. Started yelling at him. I am certain I was being profane. Friends (one of whom was in theater with me, another who hadn't been deployed because of asthma) had to tell me to go outside and chill.
I never would have lost it like that before the war. I don't know what I'd have done if he'd tried to push me away (much less actual strike me). I was physically numb, and overwound.
I had some coffee, took a walk in the night air and went back to the game. I also never said another word to him. Then again, my friend never invited him back either.
Caroline, #63, I have this on the bookcase across from the bed so I see it when I wake up. It helps get me out of bed; it might help you!
I would vote for Obama even if he picked Lieberman because McCain is too wrong -- rights, war, information, everything. But I think Biden is a reasonable choice and I'm quite happy that Tim Kaine and Jim Webb weren't picked because we need them here in Virginia.
Terry, the guy I share a cube with is like that. (Gulf War. Air Force, followed by army sergeant.) But he does his job well, and some of the people we work with *aren't* doing theirs well, and the software is buggy, so I just try to keep him from blowing up too much.
P.J. Mostly, in the temper dept., I am fine.
It's other stuff which is fucking me up. Coming to terms with being broken (in a specific sense) has been the hard part.
Now comes the trying to fix it part. That's going to be a different sort of hard.
Albatross @173, sure, and if Obama picked Dick Cheney as his running mate, I'd probably be booking tickets to Canada right now. But he didn't, and he didn't pick John Yoo either. He picked Joe Biden, who supported the war and then repented of it. Here he is a few months back, saying that staying in Iraq "is killing us". And last year, trying to get the 2002 Iraq use-of-force resolution repealed. Biden's not an outspoken advocate of the Iraq War, he's a former advocate who has demonstrably changed his mind.
RWS is arguing that Biden's vote in 2002 has irrevocably tainted him, regardless of his actions since, and the taint spreads upticket to his running mate, and he's responding by casting a symbolic vote for a ticket that has no chance of winning. That's not democracy, it's superstition.
Terry, thanks for your insight. We are honored by the gift of your experience and your openness. I hope that whatever treatment/support/comfort you have found provides healing. Peace to you.
Everyone is "voting their conscience". But the ones who make a big point of it are even more interested in voting their egos. Voting as a feel-good act, with special bonus Independent Thinking self-stroking.
I can accept voting for hopeless third-party candidates that is accompanied with an argument explaining why this is better for the country, short-term, long-term, whatever. I can respect many Libertarians on this ground, for interest, even while I profoundly disagree with them. Most of the Green party voters I've observed, though, seem to cast their votes out of disgust at the very idea that national politics is about consensus and compromise, refusing to taint themselves with anything less than purity. And most of them have been people who can evidently afford the consequences of the greater of two evils. It astonishes me that there are still people who can take this stand at this crucial point in our country. So far as I'm concerned, Green Party voters in the national election are as much my enemy as Republicans, and if the election is close and is lost, I will take it personally and hold it against them, and will not, I think, be able to forgive them as I forgave those who were friends of mine and voted for that pious fraud Nader.
Oddly, the term-limiting amendment only says that e.g. Bill Clinton can't RUN FOR POTUS. I think it means he could run as Veep and take office if the POTUS resigned, but it's politically impossible, so we don't have to worry about the exact meaning of the wording.
Setting aside your further, correct statement that this state of affairs is politically impossible anyway:
I think you have to read the Constitution in a willfully perverse manner to say that Bill Clinton actually can be elected VP. The 12th Amendment says you can't be VP if you are constitutionally ineligible to the office of President, so you'd have to argue about the difference between constitutional ineligibility to become President and constitutional ineligibility to be elected President.
It occurred to me that Clinton could conceivably be elected to some office lower than the Vice-Presidency in the succession line, then become President through simultaneous death or disqualification of everyone above him. However, the presidential succession law says that you have to "qualify" for the office to succeed to it, which leaves us back where we started with respect to the question of what that means--except that the presidential succession law is not part of the Constitution (which, I think, just says that such a law has to exist), so maybe it doesn't constitute constitutional ineligibility.
So I guess you could argue via the following sequence of events: that the presidential succession law could conceivably be changed by act of Congress to explicitly allow Bill Clinton to succeed to the Presidency from the office of Speaker of the House, and then Clinton could actually become Speaker of the House, and then he could succeed to the Presidency by the simultaneous death or disability of the President and VP, and since this series of bizarre and unlikely events could happen without an amendment to the Constitution, Clinton is not constitutionally ineligible to be President and therefore could be Vice-President.
But I sincerely doubt that any court would read the 12th Amendment that way, since (even though it predates the 22nd, and couldn't possibly take it into account) the idea is so clearly that the office of the Vice-President isn't supposed to be a loophole in the presidential eligibility rules. Using it to bootstrap some other baroque loophole into a much bigger one seems contrary to the spirit of the thing.
The "elected" language in the 22nd Amendment is, I think, actually there to allow someone who serves a partial term after succeeding to the Presidency to be reelected twice. This has never happened since the 22nd was passed, but I don't see any reason it couldn't.
I want to get better Democrats elected to office, not just more of the frequently-cr*ppy kind we already have.
Which is why I give money to the DNC, or to individual candidates I think will be good, but not to the cr*ppy ones, nor to people like the DCCC, the DSCC, or the DLC (which really isn't part of the Democratic Party, in spite of their name).
I feel sorry for McCain and what he suffered. But the stress he experienced and the damage it caused is not what I am concerned about. McCain was a crappy pilot who kept crashing planes. He was able to keep on as a pilot only because his daddy was an Admiral. He crashed planes before he was captured, and he crashed more planes after he came back. The only thing he had going for him was family connections. The parallels with George W. Bush are not reassuring.
Maybe his war experiences made him meaner, but even if they did, I think he always had it in him. And it doesn't change the fact that he has always been only semi-competent at best.
One good thing McCain did was work with John Kerry to put the POW-MIA issue to rest, and enable us to normalize relations with Vietnam. I hope that was a healing experience for him. But I don't think it indicates that he's qualified to be President. All he had to do was show up, and be a symbol for all those we lost. It's to his credit that he did it, but we need more than a symbol.
I'm in complete agreement with you on the current situation, and I'm planning to vote for Obama. I'm just responding to what I read as Lee's argument (but I may not have gotten it right) that when X is better than Y, there's no excuse for refusing to vote for X on principle because of X's stands or actions.
Craig R @ 178.. *she* did not put her father's skull into the bowling ball -- it was the guy at the pro shop who did that
But she who pays to have her father's skull put inside a lucite ball is even more guilty of the abomination. Of course, her dad had been bumped off by Geoffrey Rush, and any sin committed by he makes anybody else's pale in comparison.
#128--cmk--I think Lee is on the right tack, but I might refine that by saying "Isn't that what Rush Limbaugh says instead of 'uppity' these days?" I know quite few Republicans who aren't planning to vote for McCain, and some who could be persuaded, so I'm not going to use that label, no matter how tempting. Better to tie it to the Ace of Bloviation instead, and make it a non-partisan-seeming jab.
I'll also go along with the "I want a smart guy this time" routine. I'd even go so far as to point out that if Obama didn't admit he was smart he'd be a hypocrite. I'd also go on the attack and point out McCain's shortcomings, starting with the stories about his temper, his trouble remembering little details like how many houses he and his wife own, the way his first wife was treated (an issue which is supposed to have enraged Ross Perot), the number of lobbyists he has pulling his strings, the amount of dirt out there related to his in-laws' business interests, his age, general health, cluelessness about economic and technology issues, lousy economic advisors (Phil Gramm gets so much credit for the legislation that's enabled the mortgage meltdown), inablility to see foreign affairs except in terms of who do we fight, his lack of energy (one campaign event a day--can he stand the pace of the Presidency, really?), general out-of-touchness (read up on what becoming Miss Buffalo Chip at Bike Week in Sturgis entails, and ask yourself whether he didn't have a clue--and should have, or his advisors should have, or whether his opinion of his wife is so low that he would suggest her as a contender for that title).
You don't have to come across as an attack dog--use tones of anxious concern when you mention these things, and add "I'd rather have a smart young guy with a little attitude than a sick, confused, old one."
We don't want to spend too much time defending; this is like fencing with sabers--you can only score points when you're on the attack.
You'll also notice that my talking points aren't very progressive. There's a reason for that--I want to influence people who aren't used to thinking of themselves as progressives. Just because they don't know they are doesn't mean they might not like many of the same positions progressives do. They also can vote, whether they know they're progressives or not, and I'm greedy--I want every vote we can get by any legal means. Time enough later to teach people that they really are progressives. Therefore, I focus on McCain's negatives, which are not few and far between.
Saying, in tones of sincere concern, "Poor Senator McCain--he looks so frail and weary" is worth a shot, too. It's not rude and disrespectful to point out how much he's been through, and how much the mileage shows.
A lot of the people we need to reach are not people who like complex arguments, which are often hard to follow when spoken, if you aren't used to that sort of thing. These people can be reached by emotions, and I'm ready to play on them like the Mighty Wurlitzer in this cause.
Good god, but this thread got busy.
geekosaur #75: I am deeply afraid that we can't afford any "protest votes" this time.
In Rhode Island we can, trust me. If by some fluke it looks like there's an iota of a chance we might go to McCain here, I'll switch my vote from McKinney to Obama without thinking twice.
Alex Wilson #87: Regardless of what she meant to say in response to Leslie Stahl's question, she still murdered about a million people. That's not a mistake to be learned from, that's a mind-numbingly horrific crime against humanity.
Xopher #103: And the media ignore Cynthia McKinney because she's (apparently) irrelevant to the final outcome.
Are you sure you have the causality right there? I mean, it's a vast oversimplification to say that McKinney's irrelevant to the outcome because she's not getting coverage, but the media climate in general in this country has a great deal to do with why third parties are irrelevant.
Neil in Chicago #112: One of the things we want from Obama is to use the newly-increased Democratic majority in Congress to ram a metric buttload of legislation through Congress asap.
Yes indeed. As quickly as fucking possible. I'm afraid that he's going to go at it slowly, by degrees, and therefore get destroyed, slowly, by degrees. He needs to pull an FDR and I sincerely doubt he will.
Avram, throughout, most recently at #185: A vote for the war was a vote for mass murder, and it was clear at the time that that was the case. I agree that Biden is now doing relatively better work, but I can definitely see the view that he's irrevocably tainted. If Charles Manson promised to stop forming death cults and killing people, would you let him out of jail? Or, for a less extravagant comparison, if McCain started talking and acting progressive now, would you want him for president?
Most of the Green party voters I've observed, though, seem to cast their votes out of disgust at the very idea that national politics is about consensus and compromise, refusing to taint themselves with anything less than purity. And most of them have been people who can evidently afford the consequences of the greater of two evils.
I don't know--at least they vote, so politicians can tell that they're there by the vote counts. That at least has some small chance of pulling a major party in their direction.
I know some people who refuse to vote at all because they regard the entire political system as irreparably corrupt and don't wish to legitimate it (and, before you say anything, trust me when I say they're way beyond being convinced to change their minds). The Green voters strike me as pleasantly civic-minded by comparison. Note, though, that if you go over to Crooked Timber and bash non-voters you will get into a spirited argument with some intellectual heavy hitters in the anti-anti-non-voting position, so this attitude is far from universal.
Scraps #187: Now my ego is afraid that you're mad at me.
albatross, #191: You're misreading me slightly. This year is a particularly critical election; so was 2004, and it went the wrong way, and most of us can now see exactly how catastrophic that was. Because of that, this year's election is even more critical, and "ideological purity" voting which could throw the country back to the BushCo wolves is -- or should be -- unthinkable. Under normal circumstances, I'd be far more in agreement with you.
"Voting one's conscience" in the teeth of clear evidence of what will happen given another Republican victory, in the starry-eyed belief that there's no difference between McCain and Obama because neither one is Your Perfect Candidate, is telling everyone else in America that you don't give a good goddamn about them as long as YOU feel good. Masturbatory voting, indeed.
I know some people who refuse to vote at all because they regard the entire political system as irreparably corrupt and don't wish to legitimate it
Can you not spoil your ballots over there? Differentiates you from the ones who couldn't be bothered to get out of bed/find out where the polling station is, at least.
Ethan @194: If Charles Manson promised to stop forming death cults and killing people, would you let him out of jail?
Is there any evidence that Manson has stopped being crazy?
Or, for a less extravagant comparison, if McCain started talking and acting progressive now, would you want him for president?
Now? Just three months before the election? Nah, I'd want a longer track record than that. And given how much of a warmonger McCain has been for his whole career, and his record of switching positions when politically expedient, I don't know that I could ever believe him as anything else.
Also, I hold presidential candidates to a higher standard than veep candidates.
Then there's the Clinton supporters (probably not many, but they're loud) who are still mad because she didn't get anointed crowned win enough delegates to get nominated, and they're saying they're now going to vote for McCain. To whom I wish to say, don't let the door hit you, and don't come back crying about how they won't give you what you think you deserve.
#75: I am increasingly certain that anyone who casts a "protest vote" for McCain will be guilty of treason. I don't say that lightly: it's a serious charge, but McSame is seriously a disaster trying its hardest to happen to the US. Don't!
Congratulations. I had not thought that there was anything one could say that could make me, even for a fraction of a second, even consider voting for McCain. But the above did.
I shan't, as it would be cutting off my torso to spite my face, and I must believe that the majority of folks who will vote for Obama would never stoop to deciding that people who could vote any other way are traitors. The name calling smells no better coming from people who vote my way than from people who don't.
--From a registered member of the traitorous Democratic party (according to many Republicans) who will like give aid and comfort to friends from the traitorous Republican party (according to far too many Democrats) when we win the election
Can you not spoil your ballots over there?
There are various ways. Writing in facetious names is the time-honored method.
Reading about the Bush Misadministration's latest assault on the endangered species act, about their new attempts to empower religious zealots to deny birth control, about the latest revelations of fraud and mismanagement in Iraq . . .
. . . screw ideological purity, the Republicans have got to go. House, Senate, White House. They have to go before they make "the government is the enemy" a reality by fucking it up so much that we're forced to agree. They can't be allowed to appoint more judges, or to staff more of the Justice Department with more Stepford Interns. They can't be allowed to foist more George Deutsches on NASA or Brownies on FEMA. They can't be allowed to continue to turn the military into a tool for Christian evangelism. They can't be allowed to continue to parcel off government and military functions to unaccountable, malignant contractors.
We're talking about an active, immanent, deliberate evil designed to subvert the rule of law, diminish science as a source of wisdom, and denature the very concept of civil society and a common good.
That shit has to stop.
albatross, you said back at #89,
I often wonder how much of the last eight years is explained by W's inability, how much by his advisors, and how much by circumstances beyond his control. And I sometimes see W as a kind of tragic figure, like if a hardworking janitor somehow found himself drafted into being the chief of cardiology at the local hospital. W is apparently a pretty decent man on a personal level--faithful to his wife, done with his long-ago drinking and drug problems, with close friends and trusted advisors of all races and genders. He's just deeply unsuited to be president.
When you say, "Done with his long-ago drinking and drug problems," I am reminded of what Xopher had to say (I think it was Xopher) some months ago about Bush acting like a "dry drunk."
And when you say, "A pretty decent man," I am reminded of how he mocked Karla Faye Tucker on her way to receive the death penalty.
[Larry] King, Bush said, asked Tucker difficult questions, such as "What would you say to Governor Bush?"What did Tucker answer? Carlson asked."Please," Bush whimpered, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "please, don't kill me."
Avram #199: Aside from the specific, admittedly exaggerated examples I named, do you understand what I was saying? Is there anything that would render someone irrevocably unacceptable to you? If the answer is yes, are you able to understand that Biden's Iraq vote would make him so to some?
Stean #203: Amen. Every frakkin' word. Print it, publish it, paste it on every shop window and every telephone and power pole from Key West to Vancouver.
Me #206: s/Stean/Stefan
Here's an interesting piece about Biden. I didn't know his first wife and baby daughter were killed in a car accident right after he was first elected to the Senate. He commuted DAILY back to Delaware to be with his young sons.
He's also one of the poorest members of the Senate.
#207: Actually, "Stean" is the second most common way I mis-type my own name.
The fist is "STEfan," which David Kyle tells me is an old term for "science fiction fan."
"Stean" sounds and looks like it should be a name.
fidelio @#193 Saying, in tones of sincere concern, "Poor Senator McCain--he looks so frail and weary" is worth a shot, too. It's not rude and disrespectful to point out how much he's been through, and how much the mileage shows.
Do you think we can get David Tennant to say those six words to bring down McCain's candidacy?
one place to check is http://community.livejournal.com/ontd_political/.
(note: I'm not an under-30. or even an under-40.)
#210: Oh, that's brilliant. Just say:
"He looks kind of tired."
"He should have taken a day off."
"Is he OK?"
Every time McCain's name comes up.
I didn't even know there was an ONTD Political. What in the world.
I hang out at (political blog-wise): Shakesville, Feministe, Feministing, Racialicious, Brownfemipower, Bitch Ph.D, Ginmar's place, Hullabaloo, Eschaton, less and less Pandagon these days, Talking Points Memo, Matthew Yglesias, and on occasion Sadly, No!
Terrifically frustrated with damn near all of them for various mutually exclusive reasons these days, though. Basically I feel like an outcast from everywhere, except maybe here, and today I haven't been doing a good job of not being one here.
I liked both Obama and Clinton from the beginning and still do like them both, and am still very confused and hurt about how it all turned into "YOUR CANDIDATE AND ALL HIS/HER SUPPORTERS ARE THE DEVIL INCARNATE" on both sides. (And please, no one waste my time trying to argue that only one side did that.)
I liked Obama originally, not because I thought he was some ultra-liberal messiah, but because I thought he was good at convincing people that their gut instincts towards more progressive policies were good and okay -- good at outreach to all the people who were voting against their own interests, good at making more liberal politics look like the rational, normal choice. I'm disappointed that he seems to be playing the roll over under right-wing attack game (see the FISA vote). I don't think that's the way to win, and it's personally disappointing to me as well, being as how that's why I supported him.
I'm quite frustrated too by the undercurrent of fantasy in some quarters that Hillary Clinton would've been a better progressive messiah. I deeply suspect that had she gotten it, I'd be just as disappointed in her now.
I wanted Hillary to get the nod for VP both because I loved them both from the beginning, and because I'd like to feel like the feminist blogosphere was a place I could turn to for sanity and support, and if she got the nod it might become that again. (The currently ongoing nasty fight about Obama has made it a place that's pretty much totally toxic for me. Not the fact that he is criticized, but the entirety of the ongoing fight on both sides, the constant insults, each side's complete dismissal of the other, in which I feel like I'm getting caught in everyone's crossfire since I don't hate either of them.)
So, that's this under-30 progressive. I don't think I'm very typical though. I'm a soppy sort who just wants everyone to get along, even when nobody seems interested in doing so.
Oh, and I come down strongly on the side of pragmatic voting, not idealist voting. And am getting pretty damn tired of being called, variously, a sell-out, a traitor to the progressive/feminist cause, or a naive boy-crazy chick who only wants to impress her boyfriend, because of it. Which doesn't change the fact that sometimes, like this morning, I get very disappointed-progressive.
Ursula L. @174:
Might be vs. dmnd well will be.
And as Bruce Baugh said, the only way to fix this is to start at the grass roots and work up. But the Republicans have spent the past 8 years doing their best to make working at the grass roots level harder; voting for them again is guaranteed to only make that worse, whereas with Obama/Biden there's some (maybe even a high) chance of success.
Think before committing yourself based on might-bes.
Yes. That. (Or as the kids say these days, "Word.")
(yes, I disemvowelled myself.)
Scraps @187 says Most of the Green party voters I've observed, though, seem to cast their votes out of disgust at the very idea that national politics is about consensus and compromise, refusing to taint themselves with anything less than purity.
Which leads me to wonder, as I do when my BIL goes off on a political tirade on the other end of the political spectrum: where do people live, who do they talk to, that they think that it is possible to get a sufficiently large number of people who agree 100% on the whole range of political issues, across the board? Or that it is possible to have an electible political candidate who one agrees with on every issue, always?
And also: in this sorry human state, who has not done something stupid and later regretted it? Who does not, in their own daily round, make frequent mistakes of varying magnitude, some of which could, with bad luck or bad timing, have life-altering repercussions?
I'm not voting for the lesser of two evils voting D this year: I'm voting for people with whom I mostly agree, who are no worse than the people who they defeated for the nomination, and who are certainly no worse than, say, the best presidents of my lifetime. That Obama is not utterly inerrant is a sad consequence of having to elect humans.
is there anything someone could to do lose my vote forever?
Yes. McCain did it when he arranged the, "compromise" on torture; and erased his own bright line about it being something the US never does.
First, it's wrong. He lost a lot of the respect he'd managed to garner when he didn't speak out against the swift boat boys. He was left with tattered scraps when he kissed Bush at the convention (which pretty much made the race close enough for the shenannigans in Ohio to matter).
He could have endorsed Kerry. He could have stood aside (assuming the mantle of statesman; above the partisan fray).
He didn't. He not only endorsed Bush, (a loyalty to Party display which calls his Maverick status), he embraced him, he kissed him.
He tossed his, "bipartisan" credentials into the mix for Bush. He has been a big supporter of Bush. He could say he was for universal health care.
Well he was for banking reform. He was for "campaign finance reform". He was also for accepting the limits of being publically funded, until he wasn't (and the whole public moneies to guarantee private loans, so he wouldn't need to take public monies, was really deft; and makes me certain he has the ethics of a loan-shark [I'd have said snakes, but I like snakes).
But, and this is the critical factor, he did a lot to get me to so loathe him. It took years of effort, some of it spent building a reputation for an honest man; and a staunch opponent of torture (about which I am really touchy) for him to get to the point that the posturing, and then betraying my fellow soldiers, was enough to make me never vote for him again.
Not for anything. He could be running for sewage inspector at the water reclamation plant and I'd say no.
But, had it been one vote, and he convinced it wasn't what it ended up being, and him then working to correct it, I'd have forgiven him.
So no, I guess there isn't one thing, standing alone, which would so excite me to never again consider him for any office, and see it as a taint which spreads to all who might be willing to work with him.
I guess I am not the stuff of which ideologues are made.
Caroline, I'm nearly 40, frequent a number of the same blogs, and share your sentiments and your frustration to a high degree.
Scraps @ 187: ... that pious fraud Nader.
May I suggest one minor wording change?
"... that pietistic fraud Nader."
(In the sense of excessively or hypocritically pious; "a sickening sanctimonious smile")
Ethan @205, what you're trying to get me to sign on to here is the idea that if a foolish opinion can be shown to be analogous to a non-foolish opinion, the former loses its foolishness. RSW cares more about how Biden helped enable the war six years ago than about the prospects for actually ending the war now. That's foolish. Analogies to serial murderers don't make it un-foolish.
Nancy, way back at #105: I'm cynically afraid that what it's going to take to get the War On Some Drugs scaled back to reality-based levels is nothing less than the deaths of the politicians (and a fair number of the voters) of our parents' generation. It's like the old saw about genuine scientific advance not happening until the older scientists die off. And even that may not help, if the next generation in line continues to accept laundered money from organized-crime interests to continue the effort. The latter are, after all, the ultimate beneficiaries of "get tough" drug laws.
Fidelio, #193: Hear, hear! And yes, your refinement of my approach is an improvement. Associate the label "arrogant" with hate radio, which will alienate the use of it from all but the most hopeless cases.
Also, quite seriously, McCain is looking very worn and frail. He's starting to remind me of my father in the last year or so before his death. That's a point which should be played up at every reasonable opportunity.
ethan, #194: Okay, that's a valid exception to the "no protest votes" argument. I keep forgetting to specify that I'm talking about cases in which it might actually do damage. Sorry!
P J Evans, #200: I have a recurring nightmare that McCain might have enough snap to choose a female VP candidate, in an attempt to pick up the "Hillary vote" -- especially now that Obama has selected a man. Fortunately, I think he's too old-boys-club to consider it. But I expect to see some strong Republican female candidates in 2012 on that basis, and one of them will probably end up getting the VP nod.
Lisa, #201: Yes, absolutely. Let's reserve the label of "traitor" for the genuine traitors and war criminals in the current Administration. Ideological-purity voting isn't traitorous even now, but unless you have a special situation like ethan's, it's extremely stupid and selfish.
Stefan, #203: And that's why it's stupid and selfish. Very well said.
Off on a different tack: Let's do some brainstorming about possible Democratic soundbites and campaign ads. I've got one trying to take shape in my brain which would go roughly like this:
[voiceover] In 2000, John McCain said [X]. (show video clip of actual quote)
In 2008, John McCain is saying [Y]. (where Y is the complete opposite of X; again, show video clip)
Repeat several times.
Message: Are you still voting for the 2000-model John McCain?
I think something like that would work well because McCain is still running on his "maverick" image from 8 years ago!
Also, is there an easy-soundbite way to tie McCain to (1) the recession or (2) the mortgage crisis?
Ain't no damned way I'm votin' fer McCain. He's too damned interested in killin' McAbel.
Avram #219: I'm not trying to get you to sign on to anything. I'm just trying to get you to understand that finding a vote for mass murder unforgivable is not actually crazy and stupid.
Lee #220: No worries. Like I said, the prospect of a McCain presidency terrifies me far more than the prospect of an Obama presidency, and if I lived somewhere that had an impact on the outcome, I would vote my ass off for Obama. My option to vote for someone I actually agree with on most things is a luxury that not everyone has.
(I continue to hide behind my pseudonym, because I was once far too open about my opinions and now Googleing my name brings up a frightful amount of stuff that I really wish I'd had the foresight to keep private.)
I just wanted to say to that Caroline @213 has matched the feelings of this thirty-year-old expat near-perfectly (right down to the blogs we both like to read, which is a little scary to me in a cool way). I'm finding it more and more frustrating to go to my favorite blogs lately, because there seems to me to be more and more shortsighted foolishness in the air. I'm really pleased to be able to come to Making Light and see the contrast in the comment sections (and in the main articles themselves). You people are wise, and you always make me think.
Scraps @ 187: Everyone is "voting their conscience". But the ones who make a big point of it are even more interested in voting their egos. Voting as a feel-good act, with special bonus Independent Thinking self-stroking.
I love you for that one.
Terry @ 184: Mostly, in the temper dept., I am fine.
It's other stuff which is fucking me up. Coming to terms with being broken (in a specific sense) has been the hard part.
Now comes the trying to fix it part. That's going to be a different sort of hard.
It's hard, but one can get good at dealing well with it. I've been working on dealing with PTSD for twenty-some years, with excellent help, both professional and amateur, in the precise sense of the latter term. Yes, as you say, coming to terms with being broken (in a specific sense) really is a big hard part. But (and I do not know if I can say this in a way that makes sense) the terms change over time. It's a pretty amazing thing, really.
Ethan @223, I'm not the one who said "crazy and stupid". I said "foolish" (much milder), and "essentially a religious argument", and "a fanfic vote".
RWS, on the other hand, is the one who said (@123) that voting for career politicians is "insanity". And furthermore, admitted that voting for third-party candidates is "also insane". Go right back up there and read it.
albatross @ 89: "And I sometimes see W as a kind of tragic figure, like if a hardworking janitor somehow found himself drafted into being the chief of cardiology at the local hospital."
I'm with you right up until the "hard-working" part. Rather, the lazy and mouthy janitor, who was always letting people know how much better he could do it if he were in charge.
Neil in Chicago @ 112: "That said, can we move on the the imporant question? The economy is in the toilet. The war is in the toilet. The budget is in the toilet. etc. So why is Obama polling a lead in the low single digits??"
I have a theory that it's a clever ploy by the Obama campaign to dispel the Arrogant Celebrity Frontrunner/Plucky Gen-yoo-ine Underdog narrative that had been building recently. Obama's lead had been so huge, it was inevitable that it would narrow at some point. Once that happened, McCain's fans in the media would all be breathlessly wondering if McCain could pull off an amazing comeback. Nothing energizes a constituency like rooting for an underdog--it might have turned out the right-wing base like nothing else could. At the same time, a huge lead might lull Obama's supporters into a false sense of security, especially unreliable voters like college-aged kids and other new voters. A massive turnout has always been key to Obama's electoral strategy.
Instead, the Obama campaign goes silent--Obama goes on vacation, and the campaign directs their energies into GOTV training and infrastructure building, not trying to get media attention. McCain gets the spotlight for a couple of weeks, letting the voters to get to know him a little better, warts and all. Especially the warts. Rumors begin to spread: Is Obama falling apart? Liberals freak out and redouble their efforts. The gap narrows, McCain's unfavorable ratings shoot up, and Obama has piles of cash and a ground operation to die for. He blazes back into the spotlight, hitting whatever weaknesses McCain's recent media glare has revealed, and rides rising polls right into November.
...or so I hope.
ADM @ 124: "Don't pick nits. Any vote against McCain, but not for Obama effectively is a vote for McCain. "
God forbid that I pick any nits, but this is patently wrong. Example: Obama has 20 supporters, McCain has 14. Five Obama supporters, shocked and appalled that he dared pick Biden, flee to McKinney. The votes come in, and Obama still wins. If they had instead fled to McCain, then McCain would have won. Votes for third-party candidates != votes for McCain.
abi @ 140: "Well, I did ask for opinions..."
=) I figured you were laying a honey trap, to keep the other threads clean.
Lee @ 221: "Let's do some brainstorming about possible Democratic soundbites and campaign ads."
The political ad I've been wanting to make for the past several months is very simple: Start with a tight shot of McCain's face in this picture, and then slowly pan out until you can see the whole thing. Have a treacly song about friendship (maybe something by ABBA?) playing in the background.
I can't imagine anyone voting for McCain after staring at that picture for fifteen seconds.
ethan @194 the media climate in general in this country has a great deal to do with why third parties are irrelevant.
No. First-past-the-post (intensified by the state/district system in the legislature and the electoral college) has everything to do with why third parties are irrelevant (unless they manage to eat or destroy or arise shortly after the destruction of an earlier major party).
On the other hand, fusion ballot systems (like in New York State) allow third (and fourth, and ninth) parties to thrive with little-to-no media coverage unless they manage something major (positive or negative -- the Liberal party got plenty of coverage when it was imploding). The WFP is an example of how to run a progressive political organization: no false piety ego-stroking purity candidates, but they're able to extract progressive action from Dems who need them in exchange for their endorsement. When I vote for Governor, I vote on their line and get exactly what I want out of voting.
As has often been said on other occasions, I wish my fellow correspondents would be slower and more deliberate in issuing accusations of "astroturf."
TNH pointed out long ago one bad effect of astroturf: it poisons the presumption of sincerity in civil conversation.
Please give newcomers the benefit of the doubt for a while longer.
If one errs on the side of "shoot first, ask questions later," one risks accusing someone who might be a sincere and worthwhile contributor.
If one errs on the side of restraint-- at least for a while or until there is strongly convincing evidence of astroturfmanship-- the consequences are less damaging, I think, to the Fluorospherian conversation.
I figured you were laying a honey trap, to keep the other threads clean.
I must say that your definition of "clean" is very elastic, considering some recent threads.
McCain was one of the Keating 5.... Savings & Loan Debacle Part I, under Daddy Bush. Part 2 is current... it was the exact SAME pool of greedy robber barons and their buddies and political cronies doing essentially the same things, a decade later....
McCain married Money. I wonder what all those anti-alcohol evangelicals thinks about the source of Sen McCain's affluent lifestyle--his rich trophy wife inherited what seems to be the monopoly distributor in the region she's from, of alcholic beverages. (I was thumbing through the Boston Globe on Aug 23). She's the head of the company apparently but rarely actually showed up live in person at executive meetings.
The income from the business and her inheritance otherwise get listed on her tax return, she and he file separate tax returns, and apparently hers get kept private, allegedly a pre=nuptial contract's involved. HOWEVER, pre-nups tended to be quite rare until quite recently--when did McCain abrogate the wedding vows of his first marriage getting hot and heavy with the woman who became his second wife?
(For that matter, I strongly doubt that he was sexually faithful to his first wife for all that long originally, if at all.... "I'm not married, I'm TDY" [Temporary Duty--military term for being sent off to other places sometimes for very extended periods of time, than the place one's stationed] was NOT an uncommon line.
abi @ 231: "I must say that your definition of "clean" is very elastic, considering some recent threads."
Well, there's a difference between filth, damn filth, and politics.
Paula: You may have missed this, but you demanded some answers about 200 posts ago, and I provided some answers, with links. I don't see any sign that you noticed this, but it's a busy thread, so I point them out again. Specifically, I provided citations for Biden's votes on FISA, and Alito confirmation, and a bunch of other stuff.
On 9/11, Biden was in a park across the street from the capitol building being leaderlike, saying over and over that we couldn't let this change America because that would be letting the terrorists win, that we had to show them that our way is stronger and better than theirs. (I was there. I witnessed this myself.) On 10/25 he voted Yea on the Patriot Act.
That bothers me, a lot. Probably not enough to get me to vote for McCain or Bahr, but I will still be thinking about it.
Terry, thank you.
Does anyone have a supported guess about how many Hilary supporters are talking about voting for McCain? They make attention-grabbing news, and I realize that in a close election a few thousand votes can turn it, but is it more like a few thousand? Tens of thousands? A hundred thousand?
On the other side, any feeling for how much support Bob Barr is getting?
I don't think Bush is a good guy who's out of his depth. On the other hand, I don't think he could possibly have known how out of his depth he'd be as president. I blame the people who knew him and let him get the nomination. And possibly the people who said, "He's not all that bright, but he has good advisers."
#220 ::: Lee:
Are younger people more likely to be opposed to the war on drugs? My impression is that the majority of the whole population is in favor of medical marijuana, the long sentences are losing traction, and there are increasing numbers of people in the justice system and a few in the media who are disgusted, but that no large part of the general public is opposed to the war on drugs. It isn't at all like the sudden shift on gay marriage.
About purity and voting: I was probably past 40 before I figured out what "politics is the art of the possible" meant. I'm using exact language here-- it isn't that I didn't agree with it, it's that I couldn't parse it.
On the one hand, I believe I've got some sort of not-quite-Aspergers. On the other, I'm inclined to think that something (Aspergers? narcissism?) which makes it extremely challenging to believe that other people are separate consciousnesses is very common.
What got me on to the idea was Temple Grandin's story. "Normal" people think of themselves as understanding people, but I'm inclined to think that normal people exchange signals which get them more or less into sync with each other. It's not the same as actual empathy or understanding.
Let's see... Political Group A exploits a bad situation to expand its power. With the help of accomplices who own the media thru which most of the People gets its news, it manages to tar as unpatriotic those from Political Group B who disagree. When the lies of PG-A finally catches up with it, the PG-B finally begins to respond and admits to its mistakes. What do some voters do? Having decided that the PG-B lacked courage and moral fiber, they say they are actually considering voting for the PG-A.
That makes a lot of sense.
I know what Harry Morgan's Colonel Potter would say to that.
Having decided that the PG-B lacked courage and moral fiber, they say they are actually considering voting for the PG-A.
A lot of people seem to vote for (their perception of) the person, especially for preznit. The party's just some dull background flavour, like pistachio.
Adrian Smith @ 238... People really think that the current messy situation was caused by Dubya alone and that he is an Anomaly and not representative of what the Republican Party is?
Maybe *some* people see him as a scapegoat who can take all the badness with him when he leaves office, leaving a lemon-fresh Maverick McCain to chase those pesky Iranian kids off the lawn or whatever.
I hope you realise I'm speculating here, trying to think of *something* other than race to explain why McCain's doing as well as he is.
Serge@239: I think that a lot of people who joined in the conservative movement machine when it looked unstoppable now very much wish to say that it's all Bush's fault, or all the fault of a handful of his advisors, or whatever. Now, I'm sympathetic to the fact that saying "I let myself be used, and should have known it at the time, because the facts were there and people were telling me about them" is no fun. And that's not a rhetorical ploy - I do sympathize, it is no fun, and the people who set up the machine and exploited a wide variety of more or less legitimate desires were and are bad people for doing it.
Just as more people claim to vote for winners than actually did, fewer people admit to supporting losers than actually did. I don't want to hound everyone down and administer purity tests until they break, but I also don't think that some kinds of mending can happen until people are willing to say "I blew it; I was part of the problem."
Serge at #239: People really think that the current messy situation was caused by Dubya alone and that he is an Anomaly and not representative of what the Republican Party is?
86% of the public think that "the country is on the wrong course". Simultaneously,
46% of the public say that they're ready to vote for John McCain.
The only way to parse this is that roughly 30% of the electorate think that we're "on the wrong course" and that voting for more Republican governance will somehow change this course.
Adrain Smith @ 240... One other explanation is that people are stupid and easily manipulated by whatever they hear.
The true function of the vice president, the reason we have the office defined in the Constitution, is as insurance. He's there to step in if the unthinkable occurs. A lot of people who I've talked to fear that Obama is more likely to be a target of assassins, simply because of who he is.
One of Bush's few smart decisions was going along with Cheney's command to pick him as VP. Nobody in their right mind would assassinate Bush to get President Cheney in name as well as fact. Joe Biden is no Dick Cheney (thank the gods). But he does have an F rating from the NRA, and a solid gun control record. Remember the youtube debate, where the guy pulled out a big frickin gun and asked the candidates "This is my baby. How will you protect my baby?" Biden heaped ridicule on the guy's head.
Biden has been in the Senate for 36 years, but still is the poorest guy in the building. There are a lot of ways he could have cashed in during that time - give a few speeches, set his wife up in a lobbying job. He didn't take them. He may be an old Washington hand, but I don't think he's been corrupted by it.
Bruce Baugh @ 241... My understanding, from some comments above, is that Biden essentially did admit to screwing up. Come to think of it, isn't that what Kerry did in 2004, with his I-was-for-it-before-I-was-against-it comment that got him tarred in an unflattering manner? (This assumes that there is a flattering way to be tarred.)
"As You Know" Bob @ 242... Some people manage to keep facts separate from each other, without ever drawing any links between those facts, especially if this threatens their beliefs.
Serge@243: One other explanation is that people are stupid and easily manipulated by whatever they hear.
I don't think we're supposed to admit that.
Adrian Smith... My apologies for misspelling your name above. I am embarassed.
#245 Serge: My understanding, from some comments above, is that Biden essentially did admit to screwing up. Come to think of it, isn't that what Kerry did in 2004, with his I-was-for-it-before-I-was-against-it comment that got him tarred in an unflattering manner?
The difference is we have had the intervening "discovery" that there were no WMDs, that we were manipulated into a bogus "pre-emptive" war, that the complete incompetence of Rumsfeld and his neo-con cohorts has cost us billions of wasted dollars and thousands of wasted lives.
Anybody who isn't, at this point, against it after they were for it has to be a complete idiot. The American people are against it after they were for it, so anyone who says the same thing is In The Mainstream Before They Were In The Mainstream.
I see several things going on that are currently keeping the race close. Among them...
1) Many voters still think that Republicans are inherently better on "security issues".
2) McCain still has an image (due in large part to continual media reinforcement) as a "maverick".
3) McCain continually plays up his personal history as a POW, not just to attract support directly but to act as a shield against criticism.
4) There's a tendency in much of the media to be worried about showing "liberal bias" and, as a result, be generally harder on Democratic candidates than Republican candidates.
5) McCain is, with some success, running a variation of the same campaign that the Republicans have used for the last few election cycles: portraying the Democratic candidate as Not One of Us. The specifics differ, but the theme is similar.
(Race affects how the campaign is implemented, but the basic strategy is the same as in 2000 and 2004.)
(I'm actually fairly optimistic about the eventual outcome of the campaign. Obama has maintained a narrow lead during what is likely to have been a relatively favorable stretch of the campaign for McCain. And Obama's a better campaigner with a better organization and a more favorable campaign environment than Kerry had in 2004.)
Serge@248: Feh, typos, shmypos, think nothing of it. However - "embarrassed".
heresiarch @227 Ok, I should have said "is potentially an effective vote for McCain."
It might not make a real difference where Obama has a serious lead, because we have that whole Electoral College thing going for us. And that's still what counts for winning the election. But the popular vote counts in people's minds. And those third party votes become part of the spin of the post-election period. If McCain wins, I think it's more important to have a solid block of Obama votes than it is to have "not-McCain" votes.
Adrian Smith @ 251... Embarrassed. Not embarassed. Duy noted. (How embarrassing.)
Michael Weholt @ 249... True, but, if we keep requiring that people who screwed up must eat helping after helping of crow, that won't do any of us any good. Me, I supported Howard Dean in 2004. Remember how much flak he got for his straight talk?
Michael I@250: 5) McCain is, with some success, running a variation of the same campaign that the Republicans have used for the last few election cycles: portraying the Democratic candidate as Not One of Us. The specifics differ, but the theme is similar.
And I'm horribly afraid that race could turn out to be the trump card for the older white demographic for that purpose - and that the polls might be misleading.
Gah. I shouldn't try to post when I wake up in the middle of the night with a headache. I will (probably) be thinking about Biden's vote on the Patriot while I a NOT voting for McCain or Barr. I'd bang my head on the desk, but that would make my head hurt more.
Obama has a much bigger lead in the polls if you count by electoral votes, rather than popular votes. I have no idea why the polls up to now have always been on the popular vote, when that isn't what counts for actually getting elected!
Looks like we have a versifying Fluorospheran, not an astroturfer after all. The initial post looked pretty astroturfy, so I can't regret my challenge, but I'm pleased to have been wrong.
#254 Serge: ...but, if we keep requiring that people who screwed up must eat helping after helping of crow, that won't do any of us any good.
Agreed. But I don't think the thing with Kerry in 2004 was about being punished for eating crow. I think it was political manipulation which fed into the Republican narrative about him. People bought the entire narrative so they bought the "flip-flopper" bit.
In fact, eating crow isn't so bad, and a politician should be rewarded for doing it when appropriate. I don't think we as an electorate have a problem with that. I think we have a problem with buying into narratives that fit our prejudices. Or, idiocies, depending on how you look at it.
Michael Weholt @ 258... People bought the entire narrative
My understanding is that one of the GOP's favorite tactics is to attack their opponent using their own candidate's weakness. Dubya's military record was rather dubious so of course they set up the Swift Boat Liars to question Kerry's own record.
As for the GOP being better on Security Issues... One of my favorite panels at Denver's worldcon was "bleeding hearts who write military SF", with John Hemry, Elizabeth Moon, Joe Haldeman, and John Scalzi. I've seen a few panels on military SF and I've noticed that, if they have a mixture of... ah... political views, the loudest and most bombastic speakers are the right-wing ones, while our side tends to express its opinions in a quiet manner. I guess that the noisiest ape tends to be thought of as the best for the job of defending the group.
"As You Know" Bob, #242: The only way to parse this is that roughly 30% of the electorate think that we're "on the wrong course" and that voting for more Republican governance will somehow change this course.
I suspect some conservatives are working very hard to convince themselves that Bush is not really a Republican.
heresiarch, #227: Example: Obama has 20 supporters, McCain has 14. Five Obama supporters, shocked and appalled that he dared pick Biden, flee to McKinney. The votes come in, and Obama still wins. If they had instead fled to McCain, then McCain would have won. Votes for third-party candidates != votes for McCain.
The problem is that it can just as easily work like this:
Obama has 19 supporters. McCain has 15. Five Obama supporters flee to McKinney. The votes come in, and McCain wins.
I suspect that, despite everything, this will be another close election. This worries me.
RWS, #123: Basically, Obama's rallying call for "Change in Washington" is now a lexical flipflop because change does not come from career politicians.
Anyone qualified and able to run for President is a career politician by definition. Getting elected seals the deal: for the next 4-8 years, being President will be their career. The President does not have a day job.
If you want to vote for people who aren't career politicians, vote for city council or school board members, or state representatives, or even, sometimes, members of congress. But realize that, if they're any good, they'll be career politicians before long. In fact, if they're any good, you want them to become career politicians, because getting new, different, better career politicians is how you get change.
Nancy @ 236, it's my sense -- gauged by the sense of the comments at the blogs I listed above -- that the non-astroturfing PUMAs are, to a person, intending to vote Green (a few may not be intending to vote at all). It's my sense that those who talk about actively voting for McCain are all astroturfers.
There are several people I know and respect as progressives who are planning to cast a protest vote, but they are all intending to vote Green. I haven't met a single person whose bona fides I can establish who was actually a liberal Hillary supporter and now intends to vote McCain. I'm sure there are some outliers, but I think the numbers are very small. Thousands nationwide, maybe.
Probably there are a few Republicans who would've crossed over for Hillary but not Obama, but it's my unscientific hunch that those numbers are about equaled by the Republicans who will cross over for Obama but wouldn't have for Hillary, so I think that's a wash.
(Tangentially: Why why why why WHY can't we have Instant Run-off Voting in this country??? When I am Queen of the Universe that is the first thing I will do. I would only like to be Queen for a day, because absolute power corrupts absolutely, so there will still be a need for voting.)
I saw the post. I have also seen other posts.
Someone who puts his religion into law-making that goes inside the bodies of people who have other religious beliefs allowing, or in cases, REQUIRING, medical procedures he has voted to ban, is not someone I have warm fuzzies about.
(Jewish law the question isn't should a woman have an abortion when the pregnancy threatens her life, the question is, is an abortion mandatory or not? That very much goes against Catholic doctrine--and the Catholic doctrine is hundreds of years younger. The discussion on the topic in Judaism is extensive, and is a couple thousand years old as codeified in writing....)
Teddy Kennedy's Catholic. Compare his and Biden's voting records on national security issues and health issues.
Wesley @ 260... getting new, different, better career politicians is how you get change
When I was still living in California, they instituted term limits for state politicians. I don't think that worked out too well. If I'm wrong, I'll be gladly corrected, and will eat crow. (Speaking of which, the Skiffy Channel yesterday showed a movie called Kaw. I think it was about crows eating Mennonites. Not sure, though.)
Nina Katarina @244 -
One of Bush's few smart decisions was going along with Cheney's command to pick him as VP. Nobody in their right mind would assassinate Bush to get President Cheney in name as well as fact. Joe Biden is no Dick Cheney (thank the gods). But he does have an F rating from the NRA, and a solid gun control record. Remember the youtube debate, where the guy pulled out a big frickin gun and asked the candidates "This is my baby. How will you protect my baby?" Biden heaped ridicule on the guy's head.
If you really think "ZOMG, teh Vice President is a gun grabber" will stop some racist motherfucker from taking potshots at Obama, you need to take another look at Obama's gun control history. The man has exactly one thing on his record that suggests he has any respect at all for gun rights in America (the passage of the Vitter Amendment to the DHS appropriations act of 2006, which prevents confiscation of legally owned firearms during an emergency situation).
Thank you so much for maligning me and many other gun owners - including not only Republicans who are sick of their own party, but independents and Democrats* as well - who are going to be voting for Obama in the fall, however.
*Believe it or not, there are Democrats who own guns. Some of them even own Evil Black Assault Rifles, or Scary Handguns.
Lee @ 221
Keating 5 - the savings-and-loan bailouts. McCain was in it up to his eyeballs, and managed to get out with his reputation somehow intact.
There's also the house he bought so he could run for Congress in AZ, barely inside the district he was running in; look up 'Eldon Smith' in connection with that affair.
Also, he apparently did less than he could have for the MIAs in Cambodia and Laos; he helped cut off efforts to keep searching for them, even when there seemed to be credible evidence of their existence.
Pyre, thanks for the edit. You're right.
Ethan, I ought to have specified, as others have, that I meant Green voters in battleground states. (I still can't imagine voting for the Green Party as presently constituted, but if the vote doesn't matter to the outcome of the election, whatever.)
I hope people remain alert to the possibility of unexpected battleground states, and how vulnerable we are to the Republican vote-fraud system.
Serge @ 263
You're not wrong. We now have a game of musical chairs in state government. (Not that it's necessarily bad; we have some good elected officers in the right places this time around.) We really need to find a way to draw district boundaries that doesn't lock the seats in for one or the other party, though.
(Laugh of the year: Tom McClintock (wingnut R) represents a district in Ventura county, and is running for the seat currently held by John Doolittle (corrupt wingnut R), in Northern CA. Also he's been setting up exploratory committees for other elected offices for future years.)
Bob, #242; Serge, #243: Or the propaganda is very, very, very good. People are creatures of their environments. A really good mass media campaign can make just about anything part of the rhetorical environment.
Caroline, #261: "Why why why why WHY can't we have Instant Run-off Voting in this country?" We can, of course, if we work really hard on getting it. In fact, San Francisco is using it. (We used to have proportional representation in some localities, too.) I'd like to see a number of these systems tried at the local level, but it's going to be at least a generation before we see widespread implementation.
Serge, #263: I didn't say anything about term limits. You don't need term limits to get better politicians. You need people willing to vote for them in the primaries.
Once they're in, you then need to keep them for as long as they're able to do a good job. This is why I'm not a fan of term limits. (The exception is the two-term rule for the presidency. It's easier for a personality cult to grow up around a president than around senators or judges, who come in herds. Frequent change to the executive branch helps keep the position from sliding into pseudo-royalty.)
Scott Taylor: Speaking as progressive who owns guns... I didn't get that at all. The people who are single issue litmus voters (be it guns, drugs, abortion, taxes, what have you) are morons.
The idjit who wants to know how his, "baby" is going to be cared for is, at best, a dolt; at worst a fool who can be easily led by his gun to voting against all his other interests because of his guns (I know, otherwise progressive types, who hatd Bush, and voted third party because Kerry didn't like guns).
Not all attacks on morons are attacks on the groups they share with you.
Kerry said when he voted to authorize the Oval Office *@$OI(#@&&**# the option of military action in Iraq, that he was giving the benefit of the doubt to [the neocons and their willing figurehead] in their claims of Saddam Hussein having WMD that they claimed absolute proof of and their exhortations that the military option was a necessary option and would be a last resort, not an immediate carrying out of "as soon as the Senate approves, however begrudgingly and festooned with doubts and verbal reservations and attempts at moral constraint and direction to use all verbal negotiations means first, authorization we're going to invade Iraq!"
There was enormous pressure in the weeks after 9/11 to, one of the vernacular terms is , "Get with the program" and have the USA present a united front in the bandwagoned "War against Terror." There was an extreme case of "if you ain't with me you're against me" regarding "get onboard on the War on Terror, Amerika isn't safe anymore, let's go out and git the Terrorists and Saddam Hussein is the Real Evil Leader in complete Cahoots with Osama bin Laden and see Saddam has WMD and is going to WMD Israel and the USA and is a threat and menace...."
Any voices attempting to speak of reasoned consideration and analysis and research were slimed and shat on and defamed and deprecated and generaly belitttled and disenfranchised and disempowered and attacked by Karl Rove & machinery and Fux Noose as traitorious--the Plame Affair was unusual only in the level of damage effected and the stature of the victims and the level of pure poisonous vindictiveness that got publically uncovered, rather than staying swept under the rug of media complicity and silence.
Kerry announced his reservations at the time he voted to authorize military action in Iraq. His thinking involved the following things:
1) it was the office of the President of the United States of America requesting formally of the Senate the -option- of using military action as a threat, to get cooperation out of Saddam.
2) that #O$Y#OI$ in the Oval Office at the time didn't have the clear and unmistakable track record in the White House, at the time, of demonstrating complete intransigance [spelling...] and obduracy and refusal to accept as allowable input, input from anyone not complying with his values and attitudes and disagreeing with his policies and demands and attitudes... that is, all those signing statements that excepted anything in legislation that he objected to, all the other actions and words showing utter contempt and refusal to comply with the letter and spirit of laws and with anything in legislation he objected to, his fulsome claims of uncovering who outed Valeria Plame and punishing the perpetrator(s)...
2) Kerry had no concept at thetime of the depth of the [Oval Office inhabitant's] disdain for the US Constitution and Bill of Right and the rule of civil Law, as opposed to sectarian partisan religious favoritism and credo and fascist loyalties to profit and fellow oligarchs.
3) Kerry's perception at the time was the the [Oval Office inhabitant] was a person speaking in honesty and with truthfulness and honorably, whose intent for getting authorizing for military action in Iraq, would be using that authorization as threat and last resort, and would first use and exhaust all diplomatic and economic sanction options, and only RELUCTANTLY and after months of pursuing other option, MIGHT employ military force.
3) There was an enormous amount of public pressure, fanned by the Noise machine pushing paranoia and fearmongering, on senators to cave in and give the [Inhabitant] the authorization
4) Kerry's misjudgments included acceding to allowing himself the delusion that the [Oval Office inhabitant] was a "reasonable" person--
a) The Oval Office Inhabitant it turned out had never had ANY intention of following a path of diplomacy and using military force as a last and reluctant resort; he apparently went INTO the office with the intention of sending US troops into Iraq from the get-go, and was looking for excuses to get Congress to provide cover authorization for him to do so.
b) The Oval Office Inhabitant was not acting honestly and openly; he has presided over a regime that Orwell's novel 1984 in many ways falls short of. The display screen on the wall full of lies is reality, and the communications monitoring is in some ways even more extreme, though not at obviously present.
c) Continuing from b), the regime has performed all sorts of fraud in rewriting results and data in reports and on web-sites, withheld data and imposed censorship and gag rules and fraudulent rewrites in areas from salmon stock reporting in the Pacific Northwest to climated modeling results to efficacy of condoms for reducing unplanned pregnancy rates and reducing incidence of sexually transmitted diseases to placing Creationist claptrap fantasy junk "science" tract books in the science area of at least one federal bookstore (at the Grand Canyon) claiming that Noah's flood created the Grand Canyon
Anyway, Kerry under pressure acceded to signing the authorization bill, but said he would "be watching." I keep wondering WHY he did not leave his remarks when voting on that legislation--which remarks got aired in Massachusetts as being his Senate territory...- in his federal website.
Meanwhile, he has an opponent in the Democratic primary, specifically because he announced he was supporting Sen Obama and putting his vote for nomination to Obama, in advance of the Massachusetts primary, and counter to the way the vote actually went in the state. The opponent and the opponent's supported felt so strongly about the situation, that the opponent got the necessary signatures to go on the ballot against a sitting long-term Democratic Senator in Massachusetts.
I think that that's evidence of some of the anger involved in how Sen. Obama got the nomination--much of the anger is less that a black man got the nod over a white woman, than the political way that it got done in--with people feeling disenfranchised, disempowered, and disrespected, that their votes weren't getting counted and taken into account. Kerry pushing for Obama when the voters of the state in the primary went for Clinton, and when the Clintons had supported Kerry, angered a lot of people in New England. Massachusetts voters are the only ones whose votes count regarding Kerry retaining office, but the anger doesn't stop at the state borders.
There is also anger that Kerry voted all those years ago, for authorization of the Iraqi adventure initially.
That's one that I don't really hold against either Kerry or Biden--there was a lot of pressure and at the time it was mostly the stuff of conspiracy theory to seriously question and charge malfeasance and malice etc., regarding "Just what proof is there that there is any reality to the charges that Saddam has WMD?" the Executive Branch was making it a litmus test of trust in the US system, that the "proof" that the Executive Branch claimed it had, was real and credible--and that due to National Security considerations that solid proof couldn't be made public. "You have to trust us and questioning the Executive Branch on such matter is disloyal/treasonous/pandering-to-the-Terrorists-who-blew-up-the-World-Trade-Center-and-demolished-part-of-the-Pentagon-and-have-traumatized-the-US-public...."
Paula@262: The thing is that you didn't say anything like "No candidate this soft on abortion gets my trust." That's not an unreasonable thing to say. But what you posted about was Biden's position on Alito, FISA, and such. If they didn't actually matter to you, why did you bring them up?
Avram #226: I'm sorry, I don't know how to continue this without getting really cranky at your rhetorical style, and I like you, so I don't want to get cranky.
BSD #229: I don't disagree. I just think that the first-past-the-post system, while the major problem, is not the only one. For instance, if we had an honest media, I suspect that the two-party system would be divided between a party with something like the Democrats' platform and one with something like the Greens'*, since that split far more accurately reflects the real positions of the American population, at least according to multiple studies that have been cited in other threads here that I'm far too tired right now to track down but will later if asked.
*Obviously not exactly like those two, but something like them.
Scraps #266: OK, that's a relief. Regarding I still can't imagine voting for the Green Party as presently constituted, well, I'm not a huge fan of theirs at the moment, either, but I do like McKinney a bit, and of the presidential candidates she's by far the closest to what I would actually want. I know that a vote for her is more an endorsement of the Green party as it currently exists than anything else, but I can't think of a better thing to do, given that I have the luxury of not endorsing the Democrats, whom I find far more disgusting.
P J Evans @ 267... Ah yes, the musical chair... I also understand that, in the first years after the term limits kicked in, the legislature in Sacramento was made of many people who don't understand that, as was mentionned earlier here, politics is the art of the possible, and that consensus was something of a dirty word. I don't know if that has changed.
On the other hand, luckily there are Presidential term limits. And we can thanks the Republicans for that. Bwahahahahah!!!
Paula Lieberman @ 271... I'll confess that I didn't follow closely the details of the primaries, and how dirty they'd gotten. 2004 has left a bad taste in my mouth, with Howard Dean's campaign being described as a Cult, and his Democratic opponents basically doing the dirty work for Rove & Dubya. Would Dean have won? Maybe not, but he wouldn't have let himself be bulldozed over. The bottom line is that I stayed away from politics, aside from voting, after that. I would have gotten involved this year if any of thre candidates had roused my passion, but none did. Had Gore run, on the other hand...
One of McCain's tics that I would be inclined to ascribe to PTSD is his extremely cynical approach to politics that you can see so plainly in the thoroughness of his pandering and flip-flops.
When I try to imagine how his character could be so damaged by his military and POW experiences— that he could develop a powerful contempt for politics and politicians and devote the rest of his career to becoming body and soul the thing he obviously despises so much: a lying hack politician who could justify torturing helpless prisoners as a matter of official state policy— I have to admit that PTSD is probably the most plausible explanation that comes to mind.
Wesley @ 269... Oh, I know you said nothing about term limits. I was actually agreeing with you about career politicians. It's difficult for them to get better if they're not allowed to stick with one job for more than a short period of time. My apologies about the misunderstanding.
Pardon the lateness of this request; I know the thread has moved on.
Would someone more familiar with the history of this blog please link to the discussions about idealistic/conscience voting vs pragmatic voting? I know people don't want to get into the issue here, but as a young voter I have wondered what would happen if people weren't 'tricked by the 2 party system' into thinking that there were only 2 options, and what would happen if they saw all candidates on equal footing and voted accordingly. I think that this is probably very naive, and would very much like to see what the ML community has said on the subject.
Serge, & Adrian, 239-240: That's been my feeling for a long time -- that GWB was sort of the "anti-Teflon president", and that all the muck was simply going to stick to him, and the Faithful would just loyally vote for the next guy in line, confident that it would go back to "business as usual". It doesn't feel quite as much like that now as it did for a while, but there's still a lot of willful blindness about the degree of corruption in the Republican Party as a whole.
Terry, #270: Yes, and the abortion issue is even stronger than the gun issue for that. There are thousands of "little guys" who will vote against their own interests until they die of it, all because "the Democrats want to kill unborn babies." Combine that with a meme that submitting to misery on Earth gains you rewards in Heaven, and you don't have any argument which will budge them. This is one of the Republicans' most successful tactics, and has been for at least a generation.
Lee @ 279... The corruption within the GOP should strike 'them' as worse because the GOP is the Party of the Upstanding and Moral People, while the Democractic is the Party of the Degenerate Weirdos and so corruption should be expected from us.
As a moderate Republican, I'm actually happy about Obama picking Biden, since it will likely increase the chances of a Republican victory -- Biden doesn't seem like the sort of pick who would carry many votes for Obama.
Tony Zbaraschuk: Help me out here, as a (self-described) moderate republican you want McCain to win?
Please define for me the way you are using moderate.
Avedaggio: If all candidates were seen as equal, then things would be different. The problem is, they aren't. Even in a parliamentary system, they aren't (when was the last time a "minor" party was in charge of building a gov't in Canada, Britain, or Israel).
In a parliamentary system the minor parties end up being crucial partners in forming Gov'ts, but they don't really get to the levers of power in the same way "major" parties do.
I have not the energy (and my aplogies for copping out) to look up the older threads right now. If someone else doesn't I will find them and post the links.
Here's a couple, one is a lot shorter than the other (which means it has less).
Both, of course, wander a bit.
#221 Lee: What I'm thinking for a clip:
"How many houses does McCain own? Who knows? He doesn't know. But I'm not going to hold it against him. When you're that old and that rich, you don't need to know that kind of thing. Trouble is, with the economy that Bush left us, we need somebody in office who is sharp as a tack. Somebody who has actually worked for a living. Somebody who knows that money doesn't come from credit cards. That guy is Obama."
Two more threads to add to Terry's list.
These threads do tend to wander a bit, as Terry says.
Avedaggio: I'm sure it's probably in one of those 4 previous threads somewhere, but the key point to keep in mind is that a strong two party system is an emergent property of a first-past-the-post voting setup. Which two parties are the two major parties can change over time, but the fact that we have essentially a two party system will never change unless the first past the post system is itself scrapped.
"Moderate Republican": Someone who thinks that Democrats, while often wrong and misguided, are not corrupt traitors, and that sometimes it's necessary to work with them to get things done, and that sometimes there are some Democrats who might be better to vote for than some Republicans.
We might note that of the Republican candidates this year, McCain was probably closer to bipartisanship than most of them. (And that many of my usual sources of information lean towards the view "McCain: he may be a RINO, but at least he's a _R_INO." One reason -- not the primary -- I read stuff here is to see what the world looks like from a different political viewpoint than my own.)
Terry @ 284, 285 and Abi @ 288: Thanks very much for finding those for me! I'll go browsing them now.
David Bilek @ 288: Thank you for bringing the "first past the post system" to my attention; I'd never heard it put that way and reading about it has increased my understanding.
So you think McCain is Bipartisan, Democrats are, by and large, "wrong and misguided" (does this apply to all non Republicans, or just to Democrats), and that the first thing to pay attention to is the (R) behind someone's name (RINO is bad, but in Name is important).
That's interesting, but not what I asked. That's partisan. Fine. You had already told me you were Republican.
What I asked (or tried to) is, what is it about your beliefs which makes you a Moderate, not Extreme, or Liberal Republican.
That's what I want know.
Those views do matter to me.
Opposed Alito -- big plus
Opposed FISA -- big plus
Religiosity invading women's bodies and lives -- giant negative. He could have non-voted. He could have said that the Bill of Rights specifies freedom of religion and that people religions are owed the right to exercise their consciences on their own persons according to their religious values and not his. Instead he voted for death sentences by toxic pregnancy and State control of women's bodies and minds. Ahem.
Banking--Delaware rules. Ahem. This is NOT in the interests of the ordinary citizen of the United States of America as opposed to Corporate Amerika.
#262 ::: Caroline:
#271 ::: Terry Karney:
I'm a single issue voter, and that issue is opposition to torture. It may not speak well for me, but my ability to focus on politics is somewhat limited, and there aren't politicians who support other things I care about.
I believe torture is a very important issue, and I'm hoping that opposition to torture indicates some degree of decency that carries over to other issues.
McCain--promiscuous party boy even when at the US Naval Academy, and hypocrite about it...
"If you can't be good, be careful." He neither has been chaste NOR has he been supporting "carefulness." He is anti-abortion, anti-birth control, AND has a long history of personal non-chastity. He is a hypocrite. He has been a notorious non-practitioner of what he demands other people do. Remember the Congresscreep from Alabama who was also an involuntary guest of the Hanoi Hilton, who before the current regime hijacked the Executive Branch of US Government, tried to force federal funding to setup "chastity centers" ?!
I cannot comprehend how it is that someone rose to senior officer rank in the US Navy and had the temerity to stand up in public and regard "chastity centers" as being anything that would e.g. change behavior of any and all off-duty sailors who'd been off on sea duty from randy nookie-seeking to "chastity" when in port... it's human nature going back to some of the oldest writings extant about sailors and their behavior, and the subject of myriads of stories and songs including Barnacle Bill the Sailor, The Good Ship Venus, a bunch of songs collected by "Douglas Morgan" that he didn't get to entitle "Friggin' in the Riggin'," etc.
McCain has the integrity of "the Scottish regiment's used condom" from the old tacky joke....
Nancy Lebovitz: I appreciate (realy, I do) your passion on the issue, but that doesn't prevent people who want to exploit the issue from using it to gain votes, and then do that well, and other things terribly.
#295 ::: Paula Lieberman:
McCain hasn't been consistently opposed to torture.
Did you think he was?
Serge, #281: Sadly, it doesn't work that way. The Republicans are still seen as the party of the Upstanding and Moral People, and any corruption of individuals therein is just further proof of how strong the temptations of Satan are in this mundane world. What really breaks that frame of reference is Democrats, or liberals, showing what they (the little guys) consider to be virtues. There's no place for that in their worldview, and it completely becroggles them.
Lee, #298: It takes a long time to stop believing in institutions. People want so badly to see the order of heaven laid out in earthly institutions. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell that is a very rare and temporary occurrence, if it happens at all. But people want so badly to believe!
Nancy Lebovitz @ 237: "Does anyone have a supported guess about how many Hilary supporters are talking about voting for McCain? They make attention-grabbing news, and I realize that in a close election a few thousand votes can turn it, but is it more like a few thousand? Tens of thousands? A hundred thousand?"
As far as I can tell, the only people worried about Hillary’s “betrayal” are William Kristol, the McCain campaign, and “Democrats” who donated to McCain in 2000. That tells me everything I need to know about that particular political movement.
ADM @ 253: "Ok, I should have said "is potentially an effective vote for McCain.""
See, no. Still wrong. More example time: Obama has ten votes, and McCain has 9. One of Obama’s supporters flees to McKinney. And…they’re tied. Hm. The same voter flees to McCain. McCain wins! See the difference? At most, a vote for a third party candidate is potentially equivalent to half a vote--a tie breaker. Third-party votes still != votes for McCain.
Saying “Voting for X is equivalent to voting for Y!!!1” is stupid rhetorical pablum that accomplishes nothing but the irritation of the very people you’re trying to convince. It doesn’t even have the virtue of being true! So please stop.
Heresiarch #300 (and by extension ADM #253): Your examples are both fine, if you know what the difference is and how many "defect" where. The fact is that we don't know what the polling would be without third parties, and we don't know who will defect to whom, and what the result will be -- compounded by the electoral college.
So when the assertion is made that in a close race a vote not for one candidate is equivalent to a vote for the other, it's as likely to be true as otherwise, except for specific and special circumstances.
Can we move on, please, and find a way to defeat McCain and avoid a continuation of the ruinous Republican policies now in place?
*gets back out of the crossfire and listens to the smart, humorous, and wise folks here propose anti-McCain adverts with those qualities*
How to defeat McCain in 2008:
1. Recruit one or more progressive billionaires.
2. Use their resources to buy Premier Election Solutions and shut it down; hold sledgehammer parties to destroy all of their tainted election fixing equipment.
3. If any other electioneering technical corporations refuse to submit to immediate third party vetting of their equipment, implement hostile takeovers of all offenders and repeat the actions of Step Two as needed. For any privately held offenders, buy out the banks they use to finance their operations and immediately call in their debts; failing that, find some other way to crush them irrevocably.
4. Hold a fair election using paper ballots, with UN or other NGO election watchers overseeing to ensure fairness.
5. Congratulate ourselves on a job well done. Implement utopia in the first 100 days of the Obama Presidency.
6. Ta da!
Earl Cooley #302: *laugh* Thank you. I understand that your plan is only half in jest (if that much); I like it both seriously and not.
Personally, I've been advocating something similar with the media, though it would take enormous amounts of capital to acquire a controlling interest in even one national media outlet. Still, if even ONE reliable source could be counted on to be be consistently fair and not spout Republican talking points, it would advance the cause of democracy greatly.
(I should note that even if I had the charisma and political capital to lead such an effort, which I don't, I can't do so because my employer is an investment bank, and I would be hampered -- at best -- by compliance requirements.)
Salon has an interesting article* pointing out that in 2004, one of the big right-wing talking points against Kerry was that he'd *gasp* married money. Worse yet, he'd signed a pre-nup -- if his wife didn't trust him with her money, why should the country trust him with ours? Lots of quotations, with names and dates.
Guess which candidate that describes in 2008. Perhaps some people should be asked if they still hold by those opinions?
* Not trying to link it because when I went in to read it, Weird Shit happened and I had a hard time getting back out when I was done. Something at salon.com seems to react poorly with my Ultra-Paranoid security settings.
Lee, of course not. Kerry was a Democrat.
There is one thing I would like to mention that might be useful when looking at the records of what people supposedly said on the floor of Congress: the congresscritters get to "revise and extend" their remarks before the Congressional Record is printed. That means that the lovely speech you read there could well never have been spoken. There is no formal record of who was sitting in the hall at the time, so even a speech that was actually given could have been given for the sake of CSpan to an empty room. The only thing that can't be redacted is the record of actual votes.
Just so you know when you are referring to the CR as a source of info on the track records of legislators.
Alex Wilson: as a practical matter, certainly, McCain will be treated as though he were eligible; and under current law, if he were born today, he would be.
But, oddly, people born in the Canal Zone were not automatically citizens at the time that McCain was born, even if they were born on the US military base to US parents. The law was changed after McCain was born to retroactively confer citizenship on children born in the Canal Zone to American parents.
This situation makes McCain somewhat different than Goldwater was; Goldwater had been born in the Arizona Territory, but was a citizen at birth.
Perhaps this will emerge as a bipartisan plan (McCain and Kerry sponsoring it) to get us out of our economic difficulties. The nation simply needs to marry well.
# 308 albatross
Kerry married someone who had already been a Senatorial Wife and Political Hostess--his wife Teresa inherited substantial funds from her late husband Sen Heinz who was a Heinz heir.
That is, he seems to have been as much as a prop for her, as she has been a prop for him.... their marriage provided both of them with benefits and situations in consonance with their desired positions--with the death of her husband Teresa Heinz lost the position of federal legislator's wife, while John Kerry was in a financial situation of expectations and aspirations exceeded actual income and assets.... also, a politically savvy and supportive spouse, is a huge plus for an ambitious politician.
Paula @ 309:
All of that in addition to, one presumes, their meeting and finding each other charming, attractive, sexy, endearing, loving and otherwise marriageable.
Terry Karney @ 271 -
Scott Taylor: Speaking as progressive who owns guns... I didn't get that at all. The people who are single issue litmus voters (be it guns, drugs, abortion, taxes, what have you) are morons.
Sure, and there are morons in both parties (and on both sides of the gun issue).
Well, in his defense, he could just be an inarticulate S-0-B who got caught up in the heat of the moment and said stupid shit. I don't know - although it's very possible he is, in fact, a dolt or a fool (or both).
That wasn't the attack. The attack was the implication that anyone willing to assassinate Obama would be dissuaded because of Biden's gun record - because naturally only people who actively follow the gun rights debate (on the pro side) might take a shot at him. Which is hogwash, and blatantly insulting (the fact that an assassin uses a gun does not make him a gun rights supporter).
The most - absolutely and by far away - likely scenarios where Biden has to take over (that doesn't involve an accident or illness) is either a delusional psychopath (Hinckly) or a White Power asstard. Neither of whom are going to give a *damn* about Biden's politics. One doesn't care because he isn't the president, and the other doesn't care because he's *white*.
I will admit to perhaps being a bit sore on the subject in general, having just had someone who has been a friend for some years let me know (in no uncertain terms) they never want to see me again, or hear my name, because they found out I own a gun (of any sort), which makes me anathema, apparently.
Scott, wow, I'd be sore too! Some people are just way out there, aren't they. I don't own a gun and I'm pro-gun control*, but I have friends who own guns and I haven't ostracized them. I might do that if someone owned a meth lab, but not for something legal to own. Actually if they owned tons of fertilizer and catalyst, I might. But mere gun ownership isn't an indicator of murderous or terrorist intent!
What a jerk that "friend" of yours must be. I'm sorry that happened to you.
*I believe criminals (including guys with a history of beating up their wives) and mentally ill people with a history of violence shouldn't be allowed to buy guns. I think regular citizens who are not in these categories should have a waiting period and limits on how many they can buy at a time, but should not be entirely prohibited from buying guns if they want them.
Scott, #311: Ouch. My sympathies; for all that my opinions about guns and gun ownership are probably far leftward of yours*, I do have friends who are actively pro-gun -- I don't consider it a litmus test in the way that I would consider, frex, someone being actively in favor of a comprehensive abortion ban, or mandatory Bible teaching in public schools. I'm sorry that someone you knew apparently does consider it that kind of litmus test.
* WRT home gun ownership, I agree with Xopher, and I also believe that there should be some kind of minimal-competency test for gun ownership, along the lines of the driver's license test. I am emphatically not in favor of concealed carry in public without (1) some demonstration that you are regularly at significant risk of attack (frex, taxi drivers or precious-stone couriers) and (2) a more rigorous proficiency requirement. The guy who daydreams about going Rambo on a mugger is much scarier to me than the mugger is.
Lee, while I agree with you, I don't want to get going on a whole gun-control thing. I know I kinda started it. Sorry.
My personal reaction to the announcement was disappointment. I really don't see Biden bringing in that much to attract outsiders; the best he does, it seems to me, is not repel the faithful.
Paula, back in 292 (and whoever's in charge-- can we please not have posts deleted a hundred entries downstream? Blank them or something, but there's a large section of this which is really hard to follow because the post numbers don't line up right): if you are really interested in maintaining the abortion status quo, then it's maintaining a Democrat-controlled senate that you need. Stevens cannot hold out forever, and if Obama is elected and cannot replace him, then it seems to me that the court will tilt enough as a court of eight to give back some regulation to the states. But in any case, trying to stand on the moral high ground (which is what you are doing) is only going to put you in the same valley to which you wish to condemn Republicans as a group. The reality about American political parties is that, while representing some fairly broad-brush differences in philosophy, they are also to a very large extent flags of convenience. Demonizing the Republicans is a Rovian tactic, and shameful. I don't think highly of the administration, but they aren't the root of all evil.
Xopher @ 314...
You shall pry my pun from my cold dead fingers.
("Serge, it's gun control. Not pun.")
(No wonder I couldn't find The Puns of Navarone anywhere on NetFlix.)
C. Wingate #315
I typed #272 instead of #273 for the reference... that sort of thing happens.
My vote in the fall won't much matter--Republican credibility in Massachusetts is somewhat more viable than the passenger pigeon here, and alternative party credibility has no more presence than stuffed and mounted passenger pigeons--there are a few around, but as regarding being electable politicians, the record's about what Will Shetterly's was running for state office.
Note that I am emphatically NOT a proponent of voting for any Republicans in this election.
I don't regard the Republican Party as "the root of all evil." I merely regard it as so pernicious corrupted and diseased and poisoned and resistant to reformation, that it might need staking out in the sunlight for redemption.... and anyone running under its aegis, is under automatic suspicion of collusion with traitors etc.
(and whoever's in charge-- can we please not have posts deleted a hundred entries downstream? Blank them or something, but there's a large section of this which is really hard to follow because the post numbers don't line up right)
People should quote the things they're responding to if a reference is needed, and use names instead of comment numbers. Responding only referencing comment numbers is always a bad idea. Even if the numbers don't get rearranged, it forces people to scroll back and forth, or makes it a dialogue between two people instead of a group conversation.
I also feel we oughtn't ask people who are maintaining a free conversation for our benefit to take more work to do it in a way other than the one they choose, when we can so easily not cause the problem ourselves by not relying on the comment numbers.
Scraps @ 318... I also feel we oughtn't ask people who are maintaining a free conversation for our benefit to take more work
This conversation is doing fine; I've read it but not done very much shepherding at all. Most conversations on Making Light do fine, because we have a good commentariat and good spam defenses (including the dread blacklist, if I may be crossthredz for a moment).
I do pay attention to thread continuity when either releasing comments from moderation or deleting them for any reason at all. I've even asked people privately to repost at the end of a thread if releasing their mid-thread moderated comment was going to screw up the numbering.
Please trust us not to arse up the conversation unnecessarily. Really. We do pretty much know what we're doing, and we're prone to thinking from time to time as well.
abi @ 320... we're prone to thinking from time to time as well
...must.. think... braiiiiiin...
On the upside the plagiarism thing is pretty weak (he cited the article the first time he quoted but not later, in law school; and he cited the author multiple times but did not cite it once in a speech in the 88 presidential race).
On the downside, he's pro-RIAA, and he was one of the advocates for the evil bankruptcy bill. I'm not happy with Biden. But as someone upstream said, I'd vote for Obama if his running mate was Sauron. The Supreme Court is balanced on a knife's edge, and the liberals are older & sicker than the conservatives. I really would like to keep Roe v. Wade, and some right of privacy.
#319, Scraps -
I don't like *just* names instead of comment numbers because I'm frequently brainfogged and find that pretty confusing, especially if someone is responding to a poster who has since said other things. Names and comment numbers both means that even if there's a deletion or held-comment release, I can go to the right neighborhood and find the intended post.
Quotes help this, but sometimes they seem excessive. For example, right now, when I figure which of your posts (and which part of the same) ought to be pretty clear from context.
I must say my favorite tactic is the rare individuals who put a link on the comment number. I've been too lazy to commit to that thus far.
RM Koske @ 323... the rare individuals who put a link on the comment number
This reminds me of the time Abi put a link in the period at the end of a sentence and she had to hit me on the head with a metaphorical mallet before I understod her hints as to where the link was.
Teresa's trick of using faux-links to add commentary to her posts (I don't think she's done it lately) baffled me for ages. "It looks like a link, but it doesn't go anywhere! What the heck?"
And re: my post #323, I meant to say, "...which of your posts I'm responding to..." (See? Brainfog.)
RIAA is Sauron!
I'd vote for a Waxman/Kunich ticket with extreme enthusiasm, were ther one....
I just walked into a corner grocery store with convention coverage on the TV. I sampled two minutes of Sunday-football muttering about McCain, the player who'll be so hard to beat. The sportscaster then handed the mic to Biden, who got into the World Wide Wrestling spirit of the thing immediately:
"We'll give them the devil."
Feh. That's what classic Republican voters already know about the Democratic Party: stubborn blusterers who don't address opposing candidates and points of view with facts and reason. "They may mean well, but they *are* the devil -- with those Quixotic blinders they wear that stop them from seeing the real world."
If Biden's going to be an "attack dog," I wish he'd insert some actual teeth when he bites-- facts that show how the Democrats will do better by people than McCain will.
People do use names and numbers to refer to previous posts; the problem is that numbers are needed to keep straight which post of a given person is referred to, because most people post more than once. And Abi, I don't understand why you're asking me to trust you, because such trust isn't going to make a thread easier for me to follow. If it isn't possible to replace a "bad" post with a placeholder, than tant pis and I'll just have to live with that.
Paula, to be honest, I do not see the distinction you make as being anything but one of degree. The Republicans are corrupt, and so are the Democrats, and where does that leave us? I do not agree with the implication that the Republican Party as a group is corrupt in a particular way which allows me to attribute that corruption to any arbitrary candidate on my ballot. Perhaps it is because Maryland is either more enlightened or just more perverse than other states, but I have found myself voting for the "conservative" Democrat Beverly Byron, and then later (having moved a few miles) the "liberal" Republican Connie Morella. I voted against Al Wynn (D) in the primary not out of any ideological conviction, but because he was a do-nothing who showed his true colors by abandoning his seat for a job with a lobbying firm as soon as he lost the primary. (I'd still be voting for Connie, but the Democrat-controlled state legislature gerrymandered her out of a job by attaching my part of Montgomery County to a solidly Democratic chunk of PG County.) Locally, the Democratic Party is perhaps nearly as corrupted as you claim the Republicans to be-- because it has been the dominant party since, oh, maybe 1865.
When I'm looking at the parties as a whole, I am inclined to say that both are pretty much bankrupt, because both are simultaneously ideologically and financially beholden. (The third parties are largely worse, because they are only ideological.) It's just more obvious with the Republicans right now, because they have the administration; and it's just more acceptable to lay it on the Republicans, because everyone can agree that Big Business Is Evil, in spite of the reality that the Democrats are surely as dependent on BB money. When it comes to pernicious corruption, maybe both parties are beyond redemption; but the only real hope for redemption is to wait for the Old Guard to die off and to vote for different people within the party frameworks in the meantime. When it comes to voting for the party instead of the person, then my impulse is to vote for divided government regardless of which parties are involved, because when party loyalty functions, that's the only way to keep them "honest" (for some value of the word).
New 30-second video ad from Obama linked at my place. It uses the photo heresiarch linked to in #229, along with a Sam Cooke song.
I'm saying trust me to preserve the numbering. I then gave an example or two of how I do just that.
Paula said in comment 317 that she made a typo.
Please consider that such things may be typos rather than moderator intervention, and not leap immediately to assuming we don't know how to preserve the continuity of the conversation. Or if you do, maybe take a slightly less peeved tone about it?
#328 C. Wingate
There have been several touchstone moments regarding the Republicans in the past eight at least years, including:
1. Sen Jeffords of Vermont, bred, born, and raised in the GOP, whose lineage as a Republican federal legislator went all the way back to the founding of the party, who said, "-I didn't abandon the Republican Party, the Republican Party abandoned me.-" (I don't recall the exact wording). Having been hung out to flap in the wind by Rove etc. as one of the last moderate Republicans of any sort of integrity in the US Congress, he quit the GOP, citing it as no longer the party of Lincoln etc.
2. The blocking actions against investigating all sorts of shenanigans
3. Acceding to "recess appointments" and other tricks
4. Acceding to the use of "signing statements"
5. L'affaire Plame and the failure to truly investigate....
Rep Waxman has persevered on despite all the roadblocks put in his way, to pursue as best he could investigations. Another Democratic member of Congress persevered with his objections to regarding what effectively was federally promoted slavery in the Marianas, which appalling conditions were promoted by the likes of Jack Abramoff and his congressional and Executive Branch and other Republican officials.
I am not saying that there hasn't been corruption in the Democratic Party--although while LBJ allegedly has his blackmail book (however, blackmailing someone as an adulterer if the person isn't tends to be difficult....) and Rep Wright landed in jail and don't forget the downfalls of Wilbur Mills and Adam Clayton Powell, I can't recall them being accused of covering up slavery and forced abortions of foreign nationals on US territory being presented as making products labelled "Made in USA" and claiming the factories as models for growth!
Who here has been saying "Business is evil"?! Arnold Feuerstein was hailed as a hero for keeping the workers of Malden Mills on the payroll despite the factory burning down... alas after the rebuilding he lost control of the company... he personally would financially have been better off to have taken the insurance money and bulldozed the plant instead of rebuilding and trying to regain the lost market share.... tax laws favored imports and the political campaign contributors.
Back in 2002 the only way startups could get money in software was by offshoring any substantiative work to India. The FACT that the Indian programmer who cost a quarter or less in salary was one-sixth as productive on the average, AND that ignored issues of language confusion, lag time of a half day between management in the USA and developers in India, etc., got totally brushed aside. Labor in India cost less per -worker- and the MBAs who at that time weren't in danger of having THEIR management consulting jobs offshored to cheaper labor, required the jobs be located in India....
Great. Now le Wingate uses French expressions in heez posts. Ce n'est pas impressionnant.
Repeating from an earlier post of mine, #328 C. Wingate
Repeating from an earlier post of mine,
Note that I did NOT say the Republican Party is irredeemable, or that there are no Republicans with integrity.
What I have observed, though, is that the corruption and arrogance and disdain and disregard of human dignity exercised by the leadership of the Republican Party, has caused an exodus of such people as Sen Jeffords and Robert [bah, blanking on his name, he's posted here a few times I think and works in the Washington DC area] who had had deep and abiding Republican roots and allegiances--before the actions of the party leadership and the policies so repelled and disgusted them, that they felt they no longer had any choice but to quit the Republican Party as people of integrity.
[trying again... ]
Repeating from an earlier post of mine, I don't regard the Republican Party as "the root of all evil." I merely regard it as so pernicious corrupted and diseased and poisoned and resistant to reformation, that it might need staking out in the sunlight for redemption.... and anyone running under its aegis, is under automatic suspicion of collusion with traitors etc. I don't regard the Republican Party as "the root of all evil." I merely regard it as so pernicious corrupted and diseased and poisoned and resistant to reformation, that it might need staking out in the sunlight for redemption.... and anyone running under its aegis, is under automatic suspicion of collusion with traitors etc.
Serge, play nice.
From Salon: Does air conditioning make people vote Republican?
(other stuff to be addressed later)
Lenny: No, what the Republicans know is the Dems are policy wonks. They are Al Gore, with his, "boring" speeches. They are Kerry, with his, "stiff delivery".
Both were savaged for daring to actually talk policy (Gore had to be the smartest guy in the room, overwhelming the audience with his mastery of detail). It's been eight years and I can still recall those attacks on Gore, and to a letter degree on Kerry (the whole "flip-flopping" issue was because he was adressing the policy, and why his mind changed).
The Republicans don't make those policy arguments. Obama will raise taxes, he's not ready to lead, McCain is a maverick; he'll, "Make Washington Work".
Not a damned bit of substance.
Yes, those are ads, but the talking heads who go out to carry the Republicans water are doing the same thing, "McCain not knowing how many houses he has shows he's more concerned with fixing things than paying attention to little things,", "Obama not calling for immediate attacks on Russia show he doesn't understand foreign policy."
That's the campaign they are running, and it seems to be helping their boy.
Well, we need to do some of the same. I'd like to see it more positive, have the negatives buried in comparisons the backbrain of the audience does, instead of being a blatant hit.
But negative, for all we say we don't want it, works. And Negative isn't about policy, it's about perception.
C. Wingate: I think the problem is you didn't notice Paula made a typo. Abi is saying (it seems) that you ought to be trusting them to do is already. I know that somethings I lost to moderation weren't released because they would screw up the numbering too much (it seems they come out of moderation where they would have been, and get the number they should have had; rather than dropping to the bottom of the list). I can't recall all that many posts being deleted entire (honestly, I can't recall any; the formula seems to be, "This is a placeholder text replacing crap we through away).
Moderator Dudes... Where's our Convention Thread??!!
I'm stoked... full coverage on MSNBC... it's like the old days... Yeah!
Terry Kearney, #337: what we probably need to do in response is paint the R's as just as smart, but evil. I've been saying for a while that W was the rich frat boy who talked you into doing all kinds of dumb things, and then left you holding the bag. If we can leave some substantial fraction of the public feeling like the Republicans are really smart con men--which has the added advantage of actually being true--we might be able to spike that line of argument.
abi @ 335... But of course.
Biden's record on the drug war and civil liberties. Not good.
On the other hand, all I've wanted is to get back to politics as usual. If Obama can do even a little better than that, I'll be pleased.
That's the link I meant to include in #341.
Michael Weholt @ 338... Where's our Convention Thread??!!
Well, the masquerade presentation I was in won Most Humorous. And I had a nice chat with Jay Lake and Robert Silverberg as we were all going down the elevator. I got the flu. And...
Oh, that convention...
So we can put this minor controversy to rest: somewhere in the subsequent rounds of this I did lose track of Paula's statement. But what prompted my first remark was that when I was going backwards through the posting, it seemed to me at the time that there was a whole run of misregistered comment references into which Paula's misnumbering seemed to fit. I'm tired, and I'm trying to adjust two time zones and three hours of sleeping time in two days, so probably I imagined all that too.
The rest will have to be let drop; I have to crash RSN and there's no time. Sorry.
Denver Post reporting the prevention of a possible assassination attempt against Obama.
Data points of possible interest:
My (dear and beloved) father is a Republican, of the small town business type. (The No-evolution/No-abortion wing of the party drives him nuts.) He is in Rotary, has friends all over the place, and has been talking politics all over the country these last few months.
I asked him what he thought about Biden. He said he's always kind of liked him, and everyone he knows thinks he's a stand-up kind of guy. Overall, probably the least offensive choice Obama could have made.
I asked if he liked McCain. No, not really. In fact, he's been talking to friends in Arizona, and they don't like him at all. Even the crazy people aren't enthusiastic.
However, McCain's the guy. At this point, it doesn't matter whether you like him or not. He's the one you have to vote for.
Given our perennial discussion of third party voting, and other conversations I keep having about the ways that Obama falls short of being vote-worthy, it seems to me that this is the main difference in the rank and file of the parties. Republicans vote for "the guy." Democrats make him earn every vote twice.
#346 Juli Thompson: Republicans vote for "the guy." Democrats make him earn every vote twice.
Drives me out of my effing gourd...
But Al Gore was actualy the winner in 2000, and for all we know, Kerry might have won in 2004. My subjective perception of an archetypical "rank and file" Republican attitude is based on the conversations I've had, over the years, with all the Republican bosses I've worked for. "The Dems want to help the poor, but they'll rob the businessmen to do it." "They want a level playing field for minorities, but they'll discriminate against those with true ability and merit to create it," "They use government to make laws that ignore the reality of the human condition, stifling the virtuous to legislate pet theories of how people ought to behave." And so on.
In times like these, I think Democrats might attract a number of votes by speaking the way Cory Doctorow does: constant nonstop logical arguments that combine firm political stances with promises of sensible, realizable action -- to convince people that abuses will be mitigated and quality of life improved under a Democratic administration. It was a complete turn off (for me, anyway) to listen to Biden playing into the Howard Cosell personality-football dynamic.
Lenny, what you said in #348 -- "constant nonstop logical arguments that combine firm political stances with promises of sensible, realizable action -- to convince people that abuses will be mitigated and quality of life improved under a Democratic administration" -- it sounds wonderful, but damn it, it doesn't work. Please understand, I would love it if reason, sense, and persuasion could carry the day, but few people truly wish to hear reasoned argument, nor are they persuaded by the promise of reasonable action. And really, why should they be? Politicians lie all the time about what they are going to do. Promises of sensible realized action? Please.
And yet, and yet -- I feel like Charlie Brown, handing Lucy the football one more time.
I'll add to Lizzy's comment that the Republicans have done really well at getting elected by appealing to the hindbrain and the gut-level feelings of voters. If voters were as rational and logical as a lot of people want to believe, the last eight years would have been a lot different. (Note that being good at going for the gut-level reaction is not a guarantee that the politician is any good at anything other than going for gut-level reactions!)
When it comes to voting for the party instead of the person, then my impulse is to vote for divided government regardless of which parties are involved, because when party loyalty functions, that's the only way to keep them "honest" (for some value of the word).
The problem there is that the Republicans only oppose the Democrats from the right.
There's this popular line of American liberal argument, from intellectually generous Sorkinesque types, that the US needs a viable, non-crazy conservative party; because liberals aren't going to be right about everything all the time, and someone needs to challenge them from the other side to make sure they don't go off the rails.
That's fine, as far as it goes. However, as a liberal, I tend to think of liberalism as generally correct (if I didn't think the ideology was correct it wouldn't be mine), and therefore liberals, other things being equal, are about equally likely to err toward the left or the right. That means that I don't just want a sane conservative movement, I also want a sane and somewhat politically effective radical left movement to poke at liberals' right-deviationist tendencies. (Also, as a more selfish reason, a strong American left would tend to neutralize the ridiculous notion that American liberals are themselves radical leftists!)
Unfortunately the US doesn't really have one except for tiny organizations around college campuses and in alternative media. And I'm not inclined to join them because, you know, I'm not actually one of them myself (not that there's anything wrong with that); I just want them to be around as a corrective in the same sense that I want there to be some conservatives. In practice I seem to end up importing my leftism from the UK via the Internet.
PJ Evans @ 350... If voters were as rational and logical as a lot of people want to believe, the last eight years would have been a lot different.
Yeah. Remember the jokes comparing Gore to Mister Spock? Mind you, I think that's who Gore identified with while his Harvard roommate Tommy Lee Jones was you-know-who, when Star Trek would come on. The bottom line is that Gore values intelligence and reason and look where that got him.
My son and I are seriously discussing making "Doesn't he look tired?" bumper stickers.
The bottom line is that Gore values intelligence and reason and look where that got him.
He won the popular vote and should also have (narrowly) won the Electoral College in 2000. He wasn't prepared to deal with the criminal conspiracy the Republicans pulled off -- the dispatch of thugs by Republican operatives to stop the vote count in Florida, the rigging of the voter rolls by Katherine Harris, etc. His mistakes (if you want to call them that) were not being willing to put the rest of his life on the line and underestimating the damage that would result from conceding the election. Kerry and Edwards made the same mistake in 2004, albeit, the odds of them prevailing in a legal battle over vote counts were probably smaller. Gore might actually have been declared the winner in 2000, if he hadn't given up.
Lizzy #349: Yep. It's hard to listen to reason when you're overwhelmed with fear, belonging, outrage, etc. Politicians and their advisors know that.
And a big part of the problem is that most voters aren't terribly informed, and aren't terribly interested in politics. The smarmy Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were apparently pretty effective, for example. Most political campaigns seem willing to run nasty negative ads with very little content. None of that would work with informed, dedicated voters. But the fact is, in any rational calculation that the McCain campaign can make, the folks posting and reading here aren't the target audience. That's not just because the politics here are strongly liberal, it's because most of the people here will almost certainly have made up their minds before election day, and those decisions will be solidly based on a lot of belief and thought that can't be shaken in an ad blitz just before the election. Thoughtful conservatives are similarly not going to be shaken from their convictions by 30 second attack ads, or by images of McCain as an old, sickly, somewhat befuddled man, or what have you.
The people those ad campaigns are targeted at are folks who are still not completely decided, who can be pushed to either vote McCain or not show up to vote at all (or vote Green or Libertarian or something). They're the folks that the whispering campaign about Obama being a secret Jewish Muslim extremist black Christian godless liberal atheist antichrist space alien are targeted at. For that group, reasoned argument isn't going to work, because that group is mostly bored to tears by that kind of political argument, I think. Oversimplified messages that go straight to the glands and bypass the mind work well, because subtle complicated messages will cause those folks to go turn off the TV.
That's a pity in many ways. A genuine discussion of what kind of foreign policy makes sense for the US, or how we ought to deal with our looming budget crises and mounting deficits, or what to do about failing inner-city schools, that would be really nice to see. And you can see it, just not from the candidates in any kind of in-depth discussion. Probably both men could have that kind of discussion, but not without turning off a lot of those swing voters, and certainly not without offending important interest groups they need to win the election.
 Did I miss any?
Bruce Adelsohn @ 301: "So when the assertion is made that in a close race a vote not for one candidate is equivalent to a vote for the other, it's as likely to be true as otherwise, except for specific and special circumstances."
I don't personally find arguments that might be true to be terribly persuasive, do you? What's more, this particular argument is more than a little infuriating--it treats the third-party liberal like they've become interchangeable with a right-wing nut. It's not exactly building an effective liberal coalition! There are any number of reasonable, effective, and/or rational arguments to be made to vote for Obama even if you have to hold your nose to do it. We don't need to make this unreasonable, ineffective, and irrational one.
"Can we move on, please, and find a way to defeat McCain and avoid a continuation of the ruinous Republican policies now in place?"
I am trying to find a way to defeat McCain. I'm not typing all this because I enjoy the sound of my (authorial) voice; I'm doing it because I think that accusing liberal third-party voters of being traitors to the cause is a really, really bad way of defeating McCain.
Linkmeister @ 329: That's nice!
Lizzy L. @ 349: "Please understand, I would love it if reason, sense, and persuasion could carry the day, but few people truly wish to hear reasoned argument, nor are they persuaded by the promise of reasonable action."
I think that more than a few people want to hear reasoned arguments--not close to a majority, but a significant minority. I am very worried that the lesson Democrats are going to take from the last several decades is that reasoned argument is pointless, which it's not. Reasoned argument is our edge: if we discard it to take on Republicans mano a mano on the field of gut feeling, we're going to lose. Abandoning that entire strategy in favor of high-minded arguments was a mistake we need to correct, but we can't correct too far the other direction. We need both.
Lenny Bailes @ 354... I think Gore hadn't realized how dishonorable these people were. Why Kerry made that mistake again 4 years later makes me wonder if he was paying attention in 2000. As for Gore, remember that, even when he was the veep, it wasn't unusual for liberals to call him Robogore.
Gore and Bush more-or-less tied in 2000, to the point that gaming the counting rules was enough to determine the election outcome. It wasn't an unambiguous win, or anything at all like one. And Bush was (and is) a weak candidate in many ways--he can't give much of a speech, he didn't have much relevant experience, he had no great accomplishments or sacrifices to show off (contrast with his dad, or with McCain). That suggests to me that Gore didn't run a very effective campaign, and also that Bush ran a very effective one.
Lenny: If reasoned argument were going to carry the day... Bush would have lost to McCain in SC, and the defeat of Bush in 2000 wouldn't have been narrow. Those few hundred of votes would have been thousands, and they would have been tens of thousands elsewhere.
And Kerry wouldn't have been in a tight race. Bush had shown himself to be the vapid twit he is so plainly now.
But that's not what happened. We have Tony Zbaraschuk at #289 saying moderate equals entertaining that some democrats might be worth voting for, and then following it with,
...many of my usual sources of information lean towards the view "McCain: he may be a RINO, but at least he's a _R_INO."
Those sources are unhappy with McCain because they see him as, "more bipartisan" than the rest of the Party.
That's not a group which think likely to be swayed by reason. Because they aren't looking at the man's record (party line, all the way; with oddities like the "McCain Amendment" where he gave the White House MORE than it asked for, and sold it as standing up to them), but rather at his party affiliation.
C. Wingate, #336, I read Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago about the 1995 heat wave and it's an excellent book -- a broad indictment of social attitudes and governmental policies toward the old and poor. (But I have AC and I'm not a Republican.)
Crap... I forgot to explicate. When a party's members are defining "moderate" as willingness to entertain voting for the opposition, rather than as a set of actual positions on issues; it's not really looking at issues.
I have a set of beliefs and values. If someone shares the, and wants to work for them I am willing to vote for them.
Up until eight years ago I included those in the Republican Party among those who might share those values. However the attitude I've seen on the part of those who belong to the party (i.e. talk about things I agree with, say they matter, and then vote against them, because The Party doesn't agree with them), have made it impossible for me to accept what they say.
Actions speak louder than words, and by their fruits shall ye know them.
The burden of action is on them. Until they can show me they will DO the things those who are claiming to be "moderate" in policy say they support, they don't get my vote.
JESR, #353: My partner will make you a good deal on a small run -- our practical minimum is 100, a lot fewer than most printers will tackle. info AT instantattitudes DOT com, after Labor Day (because he'll be at Dragon*Con).
I thought the postmortem consensus was that Gore probably did win Florida by thousands of votes in 2000, if they'd all been counted. But I don't want to belabor the point of his actually being the popular choice of the voters -- weak campaign, defenselessness against media sneering and all.
I think reminding voters to try addressing identified issues with rationality (and consider the real outcomes of various courses of action) should trump a campaign approach that attempts to exploit ignorance and plays on fear. It may not be the easiest thing in the world to stay on top of this 24-7, in the heat of a Presidential campaign.
Displaying constant rationality may not be a sufficient campaign tactic. For one thing, if a rival candidate *is* succeeding in inciting fear, you need to convince people that you have a better way to address that fear than he has. I think Obama made a serious mistake in disowning Wesley Clark. That may be down to Obama's own fear (or the fear of his advisors) of being labeled unpatriotic. But it's also a demonstration (to me) of their campaign's inability to think clearly.
I don't think it would have hurt them to support Clark's logical assessment of McCain's military experience. That was a failure of courage, as well as of reason.
Wesley Clark--there's an interesting example. He came out and said exactly what the Democrats needed to be saying, but weren't: that being a POW isn't a qualification to be president. But the optics of it were bad, and the Obama campaign hung him out to dry. On one hand, that's typical Democratic cowardice: flee before the Republican machismo! On the other hand, it's an example of Democrats making decisions based on appearances and gut instincts, not on intellectual merits. If your model is that Democrats make the logical and sensible argument to a fault, this is quite an aberration.
This is interesting. I'll have to think on it.
Lenny Bailes@363That was a failure of courage, as well as of reason.
Presumably they took a moment to envisage the tsunami of sanctimonious how-DARE-you-impugn-this-brave-hero crap the Republicans would have thrown at them, thought for another moment about how they'd be able to respond to it effectively (bearing in mind that a lot of voters might well be reacting on a pretty visceral level) and chose discretion.
Part of the trouble is of course that reason is used against Democrats, hence "wonkish", "intellectual", "not one of us" etc. Somebody needs to reclaim the reptile brain here, poor thing's being abused.
Did I miss any?
Lenny@363 "I thought the postmortem consensus was that Gore probably did win Florida by thousands of votes in 2000, if they'd all been counted.
That's my understanding as well - a full state-wide recount would have resulted in a Gore win, but the smaller recounts being requested by the Bush and Gore campaigns would have all led to a Bush win. A bunch of media outlets (CNN, AP, New York TImes, etc) got together & sponsored a project to examine all the Florida ballots and that's the conclusion they came to. There's a paper documenting the results at the AEI (that link is to a PDF file).
The raw data from that project was at one time available on a web site that let you play around with various recount scenarios to see how they turned out. I can't find it now, it may not be online anymore.
The NORC (who ran the Florida Ballots Project) still has their data online, along with an Access database (click on the Data Files link at the bottom of that page). Maybe that database is what I'm remembering.
A Viet Nam vet excoricates McCain for trying to use POW as an excuse. Also worth reading because the vet is an impressively sensible person.
What the Republicans Could Learn From Hayek. Highly centralized organizations are stupid and brittle.
That's my understanding as well - a full state-wide recount would have resulted in a Gore win, but the smaller recounts being requested by the Bush and Gore campaigns would have all led to a Bush win.
And if everyone disenfranchised by being falsely identified as a convicted felon hadn't been, Gore probably would have won by more. That's the thing that really steams me--the messing with elections that's most significant generally happens right up front and in the open, by preventing people from even getting to the ballot box.
Matt McIrvin @370: That's the thing that really steams me--the messing with elections that's most significant generally happens right up front and in the open, by preventing people from even getting to the ballot box.
I haven't heard anything about it, but I'm hoping that Obama's supporters are being encouraged to get their photo IDs now. A NYS non-driver's ID card costs $5*; I would hope similar IDs could be got in other states. It probably won't be enough for all challenges, but it might be enough for some.
* Actually, when I got mine, I was charged $10 because the fee for driver's IDs had been increased. I was later refunded $5 because it was determined that the fee increase for driver's IDs did not apply to non-driver's IDs.
#369, Nancy -
I was a little confused by your first link - it contains a very good post about McCain's POW status, written by the woman who owns the blog, but no words from a veteran. The vet's opinions are here.
abi @ 366... Heh. That's the word I came up with. I'd suggest that great minds think alike, but this supposes (like Moses, erroneously) that yours truly has a great mind. Mine feels mined right now.
Matt #370: That's not my memory of the results at all. The link provided didn't lead me to any results describing who would have won under different recount scenarios, but the Wikipedia Article agrees with my memory. However, I don't have any better reference than that.
The Wikipedia article says that fine details of the recount rules would have changed the Florida (and thus national) results between Gore and Bush. It also repeats one of my favorite bits of irony from that story: Under the recount rules Gore favored, Bush would have won, but under the rules Bush favored, Gore would have won.
The "Bush stole the election" meme is great for self-congratulation and reassurance that We Are The Oppressed Good Guys, but judging from 2002 and 2004, it's not so good for making the changes in campaign strategy and behavior that help actually win elections. That's not to discount the fraud and smarmy campaigning carried out in some places by Republicans, but those things are mostly effective around the edges, in very close elections. You pretty much can't do anything with election fraud to save yourself, when the vote is 55/45 against you. But when it's 51/49, election fraud doesn't have to be implausibly large or powerful to change the election outcome. Similarly, monkeying around with the registration database ("Oh, look, we have come up with an objective formula for removing felons from the voting rolls that, by chance, just happens to get rid of twice as many Democrats as Republicans."), distributing fake "Democratic voting guides," etc., won't change a big loss into a win, but might sway things half a percent.
 Not to go all "a pox on both their houses" on you, but if you think those are only done by Republicans, I've got a bridge to sell you.
Yeah, Clark's comment struck me as a classic example of saying something that's true and obvious, and those two things make it more offensive to a lot of people. I wish Obama hadn't disowned the comment. But expecting moral courage or intellectual honesty from politicians is like expecting financial integrity from Nigerian widows that contact you by e-mail.
The other thing few people will say openly, for fear of the howls of outrage, is that McCain's recent gaffes ought to raise the question of whether he's suffering some age-related decline in mental function. We don't want McCain to end up like Reagan in his second term, with fading awareness of what was going on around him, being kept as a figurehead so that his advisors could keep power. That strikes me as a real risk.
PTSD might also be an issue worth exploring. But of course, that would also be outrage-inducing. Indeed, a major tactic for both campaigns this season is manufactured outrage for anything anyone says bad about them. It's a hell of a lot easier to shout you down and call you nasty names than to answer your arguments. It's also much more effective.
The thing is, edge cases have large effects in the US, because of the nature of the electoral college.
So, "minor" swings in balloting can (and apparently did) have huge effect in the US.
My favorite (for rueful values of favorite) piece of rhetorical shennanigans was this administration piously declaring the vote in Ukraine couldn't be accepted because the exit polls were at "such a discrepancy" to the released polls.
When the data for Ohio were even more markedly different the song was, "well that's just polling, and the Dems probably sent people to them to skew the results, so we have to trust the machines."
Another reason to like Biden: AEI war-lover Michael Rubin thinks he's too soft on Iran.
Heresiarch, 364: I, for one, think the Obama camp may availed itself of the pretext of what Clark said about McCain to muscle him out of their campaign for their own reasons - he was a Clinton supporter, remember.
I can easily see Obama making any or all of the decisions he's made as sincere expressions of his own philosophy, rather than as mere reactions to Republican provocation. I'd be less bothered by them if I thought they were only wrongheaded pandering.
Terry Kerney #167:
This is my first post here, so feel free to excoriate me. I spent my teenage years in Arizona, on a couple of different bases. McCain was my senator and my father was pretty high ranked. I've met him a few times - most recently for my Naval Academy interview before he gave me my recommendation letter (I didn't go to the Academy -- got a better offer elsewhere).
My father is also a Vietnam vet, with a nasty case of high-functioning PTSD. I saw it every day of my life and I know it well. I smell it pretty fast. (For lack of better analogy.) McCain smells like my father. But worse. Much worse.
I'm a shrink, but I'm not his shrink, so that's not a diagnosis. It's instinct, thirty years' close personal observation of Vietnam era PTSD, and a decade in the field. There aren't a lot of people I trust with 200,000 USAF personnel, that budget and the Big Red Phone, but McCain is #1 on my list of people I don't. It's fairly difficult to describe, but when in a quiet room with six people in 1991, when he wasn't all that important, he behaved like he expected the sixteen year old daughter of a fellow officer (who stood 5'2" and topped out at 105 pounds) to shoot him if given half a chance. (At the time, I liked him well enough.) Highly, excessively watchful, distractible. It was a 10 minute nothing interview that he did a hundred times a year and he was stressed. He hid it well, but I've seen my father do the same thing. Watching him on video since -- he's worsened.
He's also a thief (Charles Keating, Lincoln Savings, and the Keating Five -- if you don't remember, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keating_Five) and was more than willing to be bought. Thanks, I'm done. He's not a maverick (except in the air to ground tactical missile sense). He's an adulterer, and the late unpleasantness of the second Clinton administration says that's not acceptable in the President. Most of his behaviors are textbook PTSD. Impulsive, explosive, paranoid, not detail oriented, reactionary (in the sense that he reacts to situations rather than planning for situations). He's a tactical thinker, not a strategic one and the Presidency is a strategic job.
That's interesting. Do you notice that sort of thing a lot in people you interact with? My parents were trained as special ed teachers, and worked with kids and adults with various developmental problems for many years, and they'd often notice pretty subtle signs of developmental problems in kids. I'm curious if this happens with you, too--do you just occasionally catch the signs of someone with PTSD at the coffeeshop or something?
Is there any data on the performance of people with PTSD, given (for example) high-stress jobs, jobs requiring consistent concentration, etc? I have no intuition about how much of a problem this is likely to be for a president. Certainly, we've had a lot of combat vets at various levels of political and corporate power, and it's not obvious that being a combat vet is associated with being a lousy leader. But I have no idea what fraction of combat vets end up with the level of PTSD that McCain probably has, or how many manage to get into positions of great power.
I'm a shrink, but I'm not his shrink, so that's not a diagnosis.
Sounds pretty authoritative all the same.
The PTSD thing is out there to a large extent, but is anyone trying to work it into the ads? Perhaps by implication rather than directly - maybe footage of him losing his temper cutting to stills of The Button (or some cinematic substitute, apparently the real thing lacks impact) - music from Morricone (or a pastiche) - and then "November 2008 - do you feel...lucky?"
Could backfire, of course.
My suspicion is that trying to run ads that attack McCain for being a POW who was tortured by his captors is going to play very, very poorly. Indeed, in this election, one of the most interesting and unsettling factors has been the way the candidates were and are able to declare whole areas of inconvenient questions or comments off-limits. The Obama campaign can do this with race, the Clinton campaign with sex, and the McCain campaign with the whole war hero/POW story. All of those campaigns have benefitted from this, although there are surely a lot more folks who will vote against you for being black or female than for being a war hero and badly-mistreated POW. In the 2002 and 2004 elections, the Republicans also seemed to manage this with most discussions of the war on terror. Calling the puppet regime in Iraq a puppet regime was treasonous (because the Iraqis would never have noticed who was pulling the strings), raising issues about domestic surveillance or torture or secret prisons were "damaging national security", calling for an end to the war was "encouraging the terrorists to keep fighting."
The whole 24 hour news show phenomenon makes manufactured outrage much more effective. Those guys are looking under every rock for some outrage. If you hand it to them ready-made, they can be relied to run with it. And they do.
Along with that, there's this old, venerable, and completely poisonous idea for a democracy, that some true statements are too upsetting or offensive to be spoken in public, even when they're both true and terribly relevant. "How dare you." "You can't say that." "People need to watch what they say." etc.
John McCain came back from North Vietnam--physically... JOhn McCain--hero of a war 40 years ago. Today--memory lapses, judgment lapses, rages, and the Keating five corruption. Is John McCain fit for duty to serve as President? Part of him stayed behind in Vietnam. Can we afford to an emotional cripple as President?
My suspicion is that trying to run ads that attack McCain for being a POW who was tortured by his captors is going to play very, very poorly.
Well, if a lack of self-control is going to be smilingly indulged just because some of it might have had an external cause, it might be
Indeed, in this election, one of the most interesting and unsettling factors has been the way the candidates were and are able to declare whole areas of inconvenient questions or comments off-limits. The Obama campaign can do this with race,
What inconvenient questions about race have they actually managed to suppress/dodge? Overt racism is out, obviously, which has just driven McCain's people off into codes like "arrogant". There's hardly a sense in which Obama's race makes him unfit to lead in the same way McCain's putative PTSD might, even if I can imagine some of the demographic concerned being made far more uneasy by the former than the latter.
Arse, that wasn't what I meant, I thought the text displayed in the "Preview" section was posted, not what was in the current text box.
I was going to say "it might be useful to (again, implicitly) make comparisons with other times when Republicans have been less keen on making such allowances".
"McCain '08 - Affirmative Action for Irascible Geezers!" sort of thing...don't know how much ageism you can get away with these days, though.
Adrian, #381: footage of him losing his temper, cutting to stills of The Button (or some cinematic substitute, apparently the real thing lacks impact) - music from Morricone (or a pastiche) - and then "November 2008 - do you feel...lucky?"
I don't see that as an attack on McCain's POW status at all. What I do see -- and I think it could be very effective -- is simply pointing out that the man is unstable, liable to irrational rages, and do we really want his finger on the button? Nothing need be said about the cause, be it PTSD, incipient Alzheimer's, other age-related dementia, or simply a man with bad anger-management skills.
For a less-direct attack ad, how about this as a slogan: "Will your children have the chance to be better off than you are?" Back it up with pictures of closed factories, foreclosed houses, maybe even some numbers -- average wages as of 1988 and today, price of a gallon of gas and cost of a loaf of bread similarly. Let people see how their expenses have gone up while their earnings didn't. Not everyone is innumerate out there, even in the lower classes.
For a less-direct attack ad, how about this as a slogan: "Will your children have the chance to be better off than you are?"
Too generic/intellectual. Where's the reptile brain in all that? Left huddling on a frozen doorstep, that's where. Gotta bring the time horizon in. Children, hell, loads of stuff could happen by then.
Back it up with pictures of closed factories, foreclosed houses, maybe even some numbers -- average wages as of 1988 and today, price of a gallon of gas and cost of a loaf of bread similarly. Let people see how their expenses have gone up while their earnings didn't. Not everyone is innumerate out there, even in the lower classes.
It's still working on reason and neglecting emotion, IMO. I'm not sure everyone sees the president as being in particular control of the economy anyway, often stuff that happens in one administration doesn't kick in until the next. Admittedly Bush's tax cuts have a lot to answer for, and Clinton got a lot of credit for the nineties boom when most of what he did was stay out of its way...
albatross @ 375: "But expecting moral courage or intellectual honesty from politicians is like expecting financial integrity from Nigerian widows that contact you by e-mail."
I don't expect moral courage as much as I expect effective tactics--that's where Obama let me down. I hope there was method to his madness, and that Obama's strategy to disarm McCain's POW status is simply to let McCain ride it into the ground (which seems to be working), and thus was less than pleased when Clark unilaterally decided to make an issue of it. Also, I wonder how much Chris Quinones' point @ 378 had to do with it: maybe they were looking for a reason to sack him.
@ 382: "Indeed, in this election, one of the most interesting and unsettling factors has been the way the candidates were and are able to declare whole areas of inconvenient questions or comments off-limits. The Obama campaign can do this with race, the Clinton campaign with sex, and the McCain campaign with the whole war hero/POW story."
I think there's an important difference you're glossing over there: neither race nor gender affects one's abilty to be president, while being a PTSD-suffering POW does. Not to mention that McCain benefits politically from being a POW, while Obama and Clinton suffer for their oddness.
ConstanceZEdwards: Dear me. Why should I want to excoriate you? You make my case with far more authority than I did.
Abuse you for it? By no means. I should rather clasp you to my bosom.
Do you write poetry?
389: of course, Constance, he means "clasp you to his bosom" in a purely Pickwickian sense...
JESR #353 My son and I are seriously discussing making "Doesn't he look tired?" bumper stickers.
The only problem I can see with that is that you'd have to put McCain's name on them somewhere so that everyone would know who you're talking about. Some idiots would be sure to see the name as an endorsement.
joann, this is the same problem I see with my cousin's "Grand Oil Party" sticker; I suspect the design needs to include the McCain design motif and a lot stronger lettering than that one. As it is, there's a possibility of drowning in ambiguity.
Hers is next to "Bush Lied, People Died" so the neigborhood also influences meaning.
Name isn't necessary; just put the word "he" inside an elephant. (Likewise for JESR at 392). It cuts down the possibilities just enough to be obvious.
So, a couple of racists currently in Denver get themselves a sniper rifle and bulletproof vests and talk about how Obama should be shot, and the authorities decide that it's no serious threat because the are just "a bunch of meth heads". Since, as we all know, armed drug addicts aren't all that dangerous. In fact, the same law enforcement professionals who spent decades fighting the War on Some Drugs now seem to have suddenly decided that, other things being equal, being a drug addict means that you're less of a threat to other people. Funny, that.
I spoke to my mom today on the phone, and one of the guys at her construction company, Nabil, got arrested for outstanding traffic tickets and ended up in a jail cell with one of those meth-addled racists... Hopefully the feds never decide a guy named Nabil with terrorist contacts is due for rendition. Moral: don't ignore court summons.
Rahpael: But this guy sent a threatening letter to McCain and charges are already filed.
Mind you, he was already in jail when the letter was sent.
Pictures of a neighborhood in 1998 when Clinton was President, and in 2008, with the difference in things such as upkeep and Foreclosure and For Sale signs... and some animated graphs showing the poverty rate, versus the distribution of wealth and income in the country--AND a voiceover of,"John McCain doesn't know how many houses he has. He and his wife file separate tax returns. How rich is John McCain? John McCain isn't telling. John McCain claims to be in touch with the average American. John McCain had sex with his second wife, while married to his first wife. John McCain, censured by US Congress as one of the Keating Five. John McCain claimed he was tortured in North Vietnam, but voted for the American military to treat prisoners more harshly than the the North Vietnamese treated him! than he receives John McCain, hypocrite running for President. He folows the rule of gold, not the Golden Rule.
I'm wondering if the McCains' prenup was her idea. Because she doesn't want half her inheritance potentially in the hands of a nutcase ....
I'm finding out locally that there is a LOT of pro-McCain support, simply because there's a lot of single-issue (i.e. abortion) voters around here. It doesn't matter to them that McCain has publicly said he would continue every one of Bush's policies, or that he would do nothing about the economy, or oil (other than drill for more of it), or that he is showing he cannot even remember his policies from day to day, etc, etc.
No, to them all that matters is he said he'd overturn Roe vs Wade if he got the slightest chance to do so.
Then there are the others who feel that "Obama looks like a Muslim", and if we took our troops out of Iraq "they would come over here to get us".
These voters are immune to any kind of reasoned argument to vote for Obama, or why they shouldn't vote for McCain for that matter. They've made up their minds and nothing will sway them from it.
How did this nation get so stupid?
if we took our troops out of Iraq "they would come over here to get us".
Well, a lot of your troops have been treated pretty shabbily by your current administration. But you can't keep them overseas indefinitely just to keep them out of your own hair.
Matt McIrvin at #351
"... I don't just want a sane conservative movement, I also want a sane and somewhat politically effective radical left movement to poke at liberals' right-deviationist tendencies. (Also, as a more selfish reason, a strong American left would tend to neutralize the ridiculous notion that American liberals are themselves radical leftists!)..."
Which this lefty Brit thinks is brilliant - for 44 or 45 months of the four-year electoral cycle. But when the general election comes round please, please, please campaign and vote for the least-bad major party. And then go back to building the Left after you have had a few beers to celebrate the results.
Voting isn't about expressing your Inner Self or telling the world The Truth About Me, or encouraging the good guys and discouraging the bad guys. Its not a route to deep self-actualising spiritual fulfilment. Its a practical way of choosing which coalition of competing interests gets to hold the piggy-bank and the trigger. And some-one will whoever we vote for.
The problem is whoever gets elected really gets into government and really has some ability to do things that really affect real peoples real lives. Really. Not a lot of things and nowhere nearly as much as they like to pretend. Governments can do more harm than good, and they cannot bring about the millennium, or a Socialist paradise, or world peace, or even save the whale. But they can do some small amount of good, and some do more good than others. And they can do a great deal of harm, and some do more harm than others. Its not true that they are all the same.
So even if there are no good candidates, or if the best candidates are all going to lose we have a moral duty  to vote for the candidate likely to stop the worst ones getting in. We ought not to make the best the enemy of the good (or even the least bad) by doing a drama queen hold-out for the ideal candidate who isn't on the menu and refusing to support the flawed one that is.
In their last presidential election but one France had a choice between a crook (Chirac) and a racist (Le Pen) and decent folk had to hold their nose and vote for Chirac. In the recent kerfuffle in Britland about 42 days detention it was the right thing to do to vote for a Tory candidate. Hell, if the Taliban were standing against the Nazis it would be the right thing to do to vote for the Taliban (after spending your last dollar on a ticket somewhere with a near future of course)
In the USA if McCain really is worse than Obama/Biden and if only Obama has any chance of stopping him, then even if you don't like Obama you ought to vote for him. And not Nader or Cynthia Who? or Ron Paul or whichever loser makes you feel good about yourself in the polling booth. Just as over here in Britain I'm almost certain to be voting Labour in our next general election, despite all the shit.
 Sorry folks I am a lefty and a preacher and I am under a geas to use nasty words like "moral" and "duty". If I don't my hair will fall out and all the otters will run away.
Lin D on voting:
If you won't vote for someone because they aren't a perfect candidate and don't match all your views, then go out and run for office yourself, because you are your perfect candidate.
Here's an honest attack ad for you:
image: a big fancy house
voiceover: John McCain can't remember how many homes he has.
image: a modest house with a foreclosure
auction sign in front of it, family of Mom, Dad, and kids, with suitcases and cardboard boxes of possessions; little girl with shabby teddy bear in her arms in the foreground, crying
voiceover: Meanwhile, you're losing yours.
image: McCain and Bush together, all smiles
voiceover: John McCain and George Bush can't seem to remember how hard things have gotten for ordinary Americans.
images, quick cuts: gas pump, food prices, bills landing on a table one by one and piling up very quickly
voiceover: But you don't have the luxury of forgetting it for a moment.
image: McCain and Bush still all smiles at some formal-dress event, or relaxing somewhere expensive-looking
voiceover: John McCain and George Bush have done pretty well for themselves during the past eight years. But John McCain and George Bush have forgotten far too many Americans, young and old, who don't have life as easy as they do.
image: camera zooms in on crying little girl, who is clutching her teddy bear. Closeup on tearstained face, lost and bewildered look, utter vulnerability.
voiceover (voice gets firm and fierce): This November, let's remind them...(pause)... in a way they can't forget.
image: still of crying girl fades into black, and then big letters fade up on the black saying "VOTE OBAMA / BIDEN IN NOVEMBER"
Ken Brown @401
Thanks you, thank you, thank you, and to paraphrase and misquote Shakespeare most severely--
you are a heart of gold, of parents good, of fist most valiant; I kiss your dirty shoe, and from heartstring I love you, my lovely bully.
Seriously, folks--what he said. Read it and remember it.
That one works! They need to see it.
I'd change one line, the foreclosure ad, "their losing theirs" because people who aren't losing homes won't identify as strongly if it's cast as, "you."
So, how do we find a 527 to run it?
Were people getting foreclosed on and losing their houses during the Savings & Loan meltdown under Daddy Bushbucks? Wasn't that when when McCain got censured for being one of the Keating Five?
A single issue ad I'd like to see:
Cindy McCain's reaction shot to McCain calling her a c7nt in front of journalists and members of the public.
Something that dramatizes the many women's health issue bills and so on he's voted against enacting.
Voiceover, maybe more than once: "Does this man like women?"
Love, C. [the other Constance]
Terry Karney @406:
Blue America might be willing to air that -- contact info should be at Firedoglake.
Constance # 408
Perhaps "respect women" might be better than "like women." Sure he liked women, he had extramarital sex with lots of them....
Compare the attention given to John Edwards and his extramarital liaison, to the non-attention given to McCain's lack of chastity and his behavior to his wives. Unchaste donkeys in the livingroom get excoriated, elephants got left alone.... Even though the elephants are the ones loudly trumpeting off about Family Values and Chastity and such.
What does the ML aggregator of minds think will happen if Hurricane Gustav clobbers New Orleans and / or the Gulf?
The rethugsCON folks are very, very, very worried. If Gustav hits -- the cone is headed straight toward them at this time -- it is expected to hit Monday or Tuesday. Shrubbery and Vader are both scheduled to address their CON that night -- with both flying in to do so, and then back out again, with the Shrub at least, heading back for more vacay time at Camp David.
In New Orleans -- at least among those we hang out with -- there are deep expressions of bitterness that all the concern is political, rather than about them, the city, the region.
P J @ 405: Thanks! Nice to know I still have some of the chops. *grin*
Terry @ 406: I'd change one line, the foreclosure ad, "their losing theirs" because people who aren't losing homes won't identify as strongly if it's cast as, "you."
No, I made it "you" intentionally, because it speaks to the fears of those who are struggling to make that mortgage payment every month. It underlines the message "Under McCain, YOU RUN A REAL RISK OF LOSING YOUR HOUSE," which makes clear the direct consequence of Republican economic policy for working people. It doesn't hit anywhere near as hard if it's not "you."
So, how do we find a 527 to run it?
Dunno. Tell me where to send it, and I'll grant full rights.
Constance @ 408: I think that might be even stronger if you add one word to your excellent phrase, and make it, "Does this man even like women?" And, of course, it has to end with the lingering image of his wife's face.
Paula @ 410: Perhaps "respect women" might be better than "like women." Sure he liked women, he had extramarital sex with lots of them....
Which is exactly the reason to say "does he even like women?" It's the perfect setup to the response you had, which will be in the mind of every hearer... and you didn't even have to say it out loud in the ad.
John L #399:
I'll point out that there are a fair number of single issue voters on both sides of that issue. It's hard for me to see that it's a virtue on one side, and a vice on the other.
I think I understand your point, and mostly agree. But you also do need to take stuff further ahead than one election into consideration. If getting McCain into the white house in 2008 was the cost of getting much better candidates in the future, I'd probably go along. (But they have to be *much* better candidates.)
More broadly, it needs to be possible for the party of lesser evil to get some kind of meaningful feedback from the voters, to keep them from trying to be just marginally less evil than the worse party. So even though I think Obama is likely to have a better effect on the nation and the world than McCain, there are positions Obama could take which would convince me to stay home or vote third party. I'm glad he hasn't taken those positions, and hope he doesn't take them in the future. But, for example, endorsing torture or no-trial detention of citizens on the president's say-so will reliably lose my vote. Obama needs to know that--not that I'll stay home if he crosses my lines, but that many voters will, that if he betrays our principles and closes the evil gap too tightly in search of votes, some of the folks who would otherwise have voted for him are going to stay home or vote third party. I think politicians respond to incentives, and I'm in favor of giving them incentives to steer clear of the worst evils.
I suppose it's also worth considering the impact of your vote. My presidential vote in Maryland is not going to change the outcome of the election--if Obama loses Maryland, he's going to lose the presidential race in a landslide. This is generally knowable before you go to the polls, so a voter in Ohio or Florida may face a very different picture from one in California or Utah.
#411 - Paula
You're right. "Respect" is a better choice of words.
Though having sex with multiple partners is no guarantee that the fellow in question likes women. Often, very often, he doesn't.
It's always felt to me that if a man didn't like women he didn't respect them, and if he didn't respect them he didn't like them. So in this context like and respect have meant mostly the same thing. I'm not saying that's how it is for everyone, but that's how it feels to me.
Ken Brown @ 401 expands on ego voting with precision and full meaning:
Voting isn't about expressing your Inner Self or telling the world The Truth About Me, or encouraging the good guys and discouraging the bad guys. Its not a route to deep self-actualising spiritual fulfilment. Its a practical way of choosing which coalition of competing interests gets to hold the piggy-bank and the trigger. And some-one will whoever we vote for.
Yes, thank you, so very well put.
I don't recall many people losing their houses as a result, though some people lost savings (from having more than $100K (or was it less back then?) in an insolvent S&L). The thing I remember about this was that the S&L crisis was in the wind for a couple years, and that when it finally hit, the media story was all about crooks that looted the S&Ls. That made for a great story, but it's about 1% of the real story, and not the important part. The crooks were real, but they were parasites attacking a dying body (with help from one of the current presidential candidates), not the primary cause of the nationwide collapse of an entire industry.
Reporting on the collapse was inhibited by the fact that neither major political party had any incentive at all to encourage or assist in any in-depth coverage of it, because they were both in it up to their chins. And probably more inhibited by the fact that using phrases like "nominal interest rates" or "mismatched portfolio" on a TV news show would cause the airheaded anchor to pass out and the viewers to instantly reach for the remote.
albatross @414: When I was sixteen and HHH was running, I thought that a vote for Nixon was a vote for revolution. It didn't work then, it won't work now, and leftists voting for the bad guy is a (minor but I believe key) part of the incremental and disasterous rightward movement of the American polity in the past forty years.
And there is no mistaking it: the political center now is far to the right of where Nixon was in 1968. For all his well-examined and undeniable faults, his universal healthcare proposals were far closer to nationalized medicine than anything Clinton or Obama felt safe in proposing even in the primaries. It is the Nixon administration era environmental laws which the current crop of Republicans are most active in wiping off the books. Meanwhile, ideas which the RNC dismissed as "lunatic fringe" in 1968 are the stuff of the current platform. I am not saying that Nixon was by any measure a good president, or a good man, I'm just saying that compared to the current crop of Republicans he looks like... a relatively liberal Democrat.
I think the center on all kinds of issues has moved, and the parties have moved with it. Since 1968, the center has moved left (for some value of "left") on gay rights (was anyone remotely close to mainstream arguing for legal recognition of gay marriages in 1968?), the draft, racial equality, gender equality, abortion, birth control, and banning pornography. It's moved right on welfare (sort-of--we didn't get rid of welfare programs, but we changed them a lot), privatization (though that's swinging back the other way now), price controls and such, free trade, and taxes, homeschooling/school choice, etc.
And somewhere in there, we had the huge shift of conservative Southern whites from the Democrats to the Republicans, with all that implied for civil rights policies/votes and the strange bedfellows of big business conservatives, libertarian/free-market types, and religious conservatives. (It's remarkable how little support for the moral intuitions of neoclassical economics you find in the New Testament.)
All this is just to point out that the situation is much more complicated than just some huge rightward surge of the country. How many high-tech workplaces in 1968 had lots of female and nonwhite scientists or engineers? How many states were carrying out gay marriages, and how many companies offered formal benefits to gay partners of employees?
 The draft and homeschooling/school choice aren't naturally left or right issues in the normal sense.
Ken Brown #401: Voting isn't about expressing your Inner Self or telling the world The Truth About Me, or encouraging the good guys and discouraging the bad guys. Its not a route to deep self-actualising spiritual fulfilment. Its a practical way of choosing which coalition of competing interests gets to hold the piggy-bank and the trigger.
Except that for the vast majority of Americans, this is exactly backwards. Every state on this map that's solid blue or solid red doesn't matter whatsoever, and the ones that are light blue or light red probably don't, either. The remaining twelve states will decide the election. They have a combined population of about 85 million people, as opposed to the total US population of about 305 million. So, assuming approximately equal distribution of voters in the population*, only a little over a quarter of the population's votes actually matter at all. The rest of our votes are precisely "expressing your Inner Self or telling the world The Truth About Me, or encouraging the good guys and discouraging the bad guys", no more, no less.
I live in Rhode Island, which I can tell you will go to Obama with pretty much 100% certainty. When I vote for "Cynthia Who?" as you so charmingly call her, it will influence outcome of the election exactly as much as if I voted for Obama or McCain or Ron Paul or Nathan Fillion or a tree or no one at all. My vote for President is not "a practical way of choosing" anything, and my voting for Obama thinking it will help him win would be just as irrational an act as voting for McKinney thinking it will help her win.
All of this, by the way, is assuming that any of our votes will actually be counted, which is of course a really terrible assumption to make.
*I have no idea how good an assumption this is, but for these purposes I'm sure it's good enough.
Constance 415: Though having sex with multiple partners is no guarantee that the fellow in question likes women. Often, very often, he doesn't.
You're absolutely right. A lot of men think liking chffl is the same as liking women, but they actually carry deep resentment toward them.
Ken Brown @ 401, and albatross @ 414:
To a degree unusual for even a USAian presidential election, large fractions of both major U.S. political parties appear poised to "sit on their hands" this year, out of intense dislike for their respective parties' nominees.
This is more than just the usual factional in-fignting, or the type of conflicts which arise because each party is actually a coalition of five to ten major (and mutually antagonistic) interest groups, plus many smaller ones. Rather, this development signals the deep (and very emotional) distaste for Obama and McCain among several of the current "core constituencies" of their respective parties.
This type of deep intra-party split is hardly unprecedented in recent Presidential politics: witness the insurgencies of Kennedy v. Carter in 1980, and Reagan v. Ford in 1976. (Any implications regarding the chances of the incumbent party's retaining control of the White House, under these circumstances, are purely intentional.) However, it is exceedingly unusual to see this mechanism operating so profoundly in both parties, during the same election cycle. That's a double "wild card" of a degree not seen in any U.S. Presidential campaign for over half a century.
Implications? If large blocs of both parties (including several which have traditionally supplied a significant fraction of their respective parties' get-out-the-vote organizing efforts) are AWOL this year, then any groups which can supply a replacement for this type of organizing function will be particularly valuable.
With a more-or-less evenly divided electorate, and in the absence of a truly widespread, visceral revulsion against one of the nominees (by likely voters including those who are not self-identified as party loyalists), an effective get-out-the-vote function is typically both necessary and sufficient for political victory. This year, we may have a very interesting opportunity to observe the competition between some rather different types of political organizing efforts: distributed v. centralized, top-down v. bottom-up.
Can you imagine this mindset?
James Dobbs & Comapany are asking their followers to PRAY for a rainstorm to rain out Obama's acceptance speech tonight.
In the meantime they are not asking their followers to pray that Hurricane Gustav not hit the Gulf and / or New Orleans.
That's what you're voting for if you're voting for McCain.
#421 ::: Xopher
You're right. That sort does their best to detach woman=person from even the idea of chiffl.
Not to mention their anger at women for 'owning' chiffl=sex-are sex, and denying same to them, the mens.
This species is more than bizarre.
Wait. I've conflated James Dobson and and Lou Dobbs.
And I guess they 'pulled' the plea.
And of course, it was supposed to be a joke.
heheheh. got it.
"Respect" may be a better choice of words to describe the precise objection to McCain's practices as we have seen them, but "like" is the stronger word for the ad, for all sorts of reasons.
Stop thinking about it from the perspective of tech writing and come at it from a different direction, that of "what response and what thoughts are we looking for?" Asking if he respects women is preaching to the choir, and a lot of the people who most need to hear it will tune it out automatically. Asking if he likes women... well, that stirs up a whole bunch of useful questions to which those raised in a right-wing environment have all sorts of interesting responses.
Seriously, I think there's an important thing there that you're not tuning in on. And it's what powers an ad that works, rather than one that can be dismissed as a simple "oh, those feminists/democrats/liberals and their 'respect' which is code for 'affirmative action' or whatever." Not to say that you couldn't write a great hard-hitting emotional ad using the word respect. But in this particular instance, it's the wrong buzzword. Though... hm, let me see. Well, if you took it from this angle:
image: John McCain calling his wife Cindy a ____, followed by a reaction shot of Cindy McCain's face (was she trying to hold it together and not react?)
voiceover: A man's wife deserves respect. Maybe John McCain doesn't get that.
image: sheet of paper headed "EQUAL PAY"; a pair of McCain-like hands reach out and rip it in half.
voiceover: Working women deserve respect. Maybe John McCain doesn't get that.
image: bill headed "FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT"; the pair of McCain-like hands, armed with a scissors this time, reach out and cut large chunks out of the bill
voiceover: The (whatever number) of American women who care for sick children, injured spouses, and elderly and disabled parents deserve respect. Maybe John McCain doesn't get that.
image: a ballot, with a female hand reaching out with a pencil toward the presidential choices
voiceover: If you're a woman who is over 18 and an American citizen (insert accurate language here), you have the right to cast your vote this November.
voiceover: Maybe John McCain shouldn't get that, either.
image: fade to whatever VOTE! or OBAMA/BIDEN slogan is the best one
That's how I'd do it, anyway.
albatross @355: The smarmy Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were apparently pretty effective, for example.
IIRC, the actual Swift Boat ad only aired *once*, for a value of "aired" = "ran as a paid advertisement". After that, the media happily splashed it around by treating it as a valid news story, running the ad for free as a lead-in to interviews with SBVfT members so they could expand on their insinuations and lies in far more detail that could've been possible in an expensive 30-second slot.
The shenanigans around the 2000 election were heinous-- not just the Florida electoral mudfight with staged protests by Banana Republicans specially junketed in from DC; the lead-in litany of all those parroted lying "lies" ascribed to Gore, esp. since so many of them were based on misquotations of factually true statements he *had* said (Love Story, Love Canal, "inventing the Internet" etc.). But it was the 2004 election that really broke my heart, with the media slagging Howard Dean as a madman and hyping up the Swift Boaters in the same vein of "teaching the controversy" about intelligent design.
I can't bring myself to vote anymore because I can't believe it will make any difference-- I might try harder if I lived in Ohio or Florida etc., but the SF Bay Area will lean left regardless.
#426 ::: elise
That's very good!
We can see this.
Here's a question.
Does it seem to you that it would be much more difficult for a wife to come up with a plausible excuse for her husband calling her a c7nt in public (or in private, for that matter!) than to stand by him when he's forced to confess to adultery?
albatross @ #419, the movement of "the center" was described here by either Joe Bageant or a correspondent of his (it's unclear whether his "anonymous political consultant" is actually Joe or a real person). I recommend the post to everyone, even though it will add cynicism points to every reader's already-high score.
albatross: I think (looking at the polling data, and the local issues) the nation has moved a trifle left of where it was in 1972.
But the parties have both moved right? Why? Because a couple of vocal minorities grabbed hold of bully pulpits, and some reactionary bastards decided to take advantage of it.
With the passive co-operation of the press (who failed their duties when they decided obejectivity meant no insertion of context) accepted the lie that they "favored" the left, the scope of public debate shifted.
We are told that something as simple as a fair day's pay for a fair day's work is practically communist and unamerican. The systems in place in what is seen as one of the most conformist, and right of center phases in our history (a progressive tax structure, and widespread unionisation, with inexpensive college educations) are radical leftist ideas.
I agree with that too, going back to those things would cause a radical (and I think for the better) change in the american society.
But it wouldn't be a drastic shift to socialism. It would be, in a scary way, a return to the world of the fifties with (we can only hope) the sensibilities of the modern age.
ethan: no, I disagree. 1: those 25 percent are the final few. If we were to go to a national plebesite, and Gore had won by 300,000 votes, would you say that one percent of the country were all that counted?
2: Those 38 states which, "aren't in play" aren't in play in part because a whole lot of people have given up. They see Calif. as being a dead lock for the Dems,and they stay home. If half of them turned out, for a single candidate, the results could be quite different (if half the people who never voted had turned up in the June election this year, that would have double the die hards who always turn out).
If they were all voting for a green, or Peace and Freedom, or Libertarian, some of them would end up in office (or perhaps in run-off elections). They would have dramatic effect on non-office issues. We (i.e. Calif.) might be able to fix our broken funding model (refuse to raise taxes, but authorise bonds, which are pair with tax monies... and remove money which might otherise be invested in taxable instruments).
Which is why the rest of those votes matter. And who/how the candidates for those state are chosen matters too. How would things be if Lamont, instead of der Leibermouse, were in the senate now?
I think this depends very strongly on which issues you're considering to be left/right.
On most economic policies, both parties moved right--remember, Nixon imposed wage and price controls, and Republicans were as content as Democrats with the CAB.
On social issues, both parties have moved left, to the extent that the religious right's positions which sound creepy and nutty now, would mostly have passed without much mainstream comment 40 years ago. (Think of the kind of hateful crap you sometimes hear about gays from the RR.) Recall that Supreme Court decision, in the 80s, that decided that antisodomy laws weren't unconstitutional, and why. Similarly, many commonplace comments on race and race relations, or on the "proper place of women" that would have aroused little mainstream ire 40 years ago are now instant opportunities to "spend more time with your family." That's true in both parties.
And on other issues, it's hard to define the direction of the move, but it's a move. Neither party is trying to bring back the draft (which both parties supported in 1968). Foreign policy supported by both parties is radically different now than before the end of the cold war, and I don't know how you'd describe the change. And on and on....
JESR @ 418: I am not saying that Nixon was by any measure a good president, or a good man, I'm just saying that compared to the current crop of Republicans he looks like... a relatively liberal Democrat.
Which is quite similar to the views expressed by more than a few members of the "Goldwater wing" of the Republican Party, at the time.
By any reasonable standards of political ideology, Nixon ws not an economic or political "conservative". And, although Nixon was definitely a member of the "anti-Communist" bloc of the Republican Party (a group generally allied with, but not identical in scope to, a broad but vaguely defined clustering of social conservatives), I don't see much evidence of his political career having been guided by any particular set of underlying principles, as distinct from more generalized personal ambition.
Remember, also, that in 1960 Kennedy successfully ran to the right of Nixon, on foreign affairs and defense issues. Try to imagine a Democratic nominee doing that today . . .
I caught some of the NPR coverage of the DNC last night, and was appalled at both the female interviewer, and a "journalist" who was claiming that Sen Clinton was paying lip service to promoting the candidacy of Sen Obama, and was really hoping that he would fail, that McCain would win, and the Sen Clinton would get to run again in 2012.
How vile and despicable can "journalists" get.... and how utterly vile and despicable the US alleged news media has become!
albatross, #419: And somewhere in there, we had the huge shift of conservative Southern whites from the Democrats to the Republicans
This can be dated pretty accurately to the rise of the Civil Rights movement in the late 50s and early 60s. The Democratic Party started courting black voters; Barry Goldwater made his acceptance speech, which was full of segregationist dog-whistles disguised as "states' rights" rhetoric; and like magic, the remnants of the old "Dixiecrats" were all suddenly Republicans... and they took their dirty tricks and corruption with them. People who say that the Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans are frequently thinking back to the days of the "yellow-dog Democrats" in GA, AL, and MS. But those people, and their spiritual heirs, aren't Democrats any more. They haven't been for close to 50 years.
The social moods are regards women having authority over the employment of their own bodies, is MUCH less self-determination than in in 1978/1978... ask me in person about the "child doll" because it was a rather libelous truth-based joke about someone-and belonged to a time which was MUCH less controlling of women's bodies by Society than today. 1978 not only were abortions NOT banned in military hospitals and by the healthcare for military dependents, they were available on-demand without questions and covered. The situation today is so grim that women have to travel at their own expense to the USA if overseas, to obtain from their own funding pregnancy termination no matter how dire the situation and how life-threatening apparently.
As for tolerance of homosexuality, prior to Reagan's holier-than-thou buddies it was quite arbitary and capricious, depending entirely upon the base commander and chain of command if they were making issues of it or not. There are people way back in those days apparently who served entire careers without being cashiered or career-harmed for it despite it not being a deep dark secret--but then those folks either seemed to have not run afoul of intolerant/intolerance-mongering commanders, or weren't officially noticed, or some other such overlooking or not noticing or considering it irrelevant and out of bounds to persecute.
Another factor--sexual exclusivity to spouse and chastity in general was anything but rare in the military. It was only with the arrival of female pilots that punishment on particularly female pilots for "fraternization" and extramarital sexual activities turned into "career-limiting activities."
Note that the person at the center of the NASA scandal some months back, was a separated or divorced two-timing male astronaut, who got reassigned quietly quite a number of weeks after the female astronaut's misbehavior hit the news, and after she had been condemnly and snickered at in all direction. The female astronaut was committing adultery, but the male one, with an ex- or separated wife already, was carrying on two simultaneous affairs apparently being dishonest with both women about the situation.
I'd be very surprised if married John McCain had been celibate while out around Southeast Asia before being shot down and spending the rest of the war as a Hanoi Hilton resident.
On the 27th of August, 1963 W.E.B. DuBois died in self-imposed exile in Ghana. He had gone there at the invitation of Kwame Nkhrumah believing that his seven decades of struggle for the rights of African-Americans had been in vain. That, in short, black Americans would not be able to achieve the rights of citizenship that he believed they deserved. That he, who had worked his whole life for equal rights for all Americans had done so in vain.
On the 28th of August, 1963, as the March on Washington was getting underway, word spread to the organisers that DuBois -- the founder of the Niagara Conference, one of the founders of the NAACP, author of major works of history and sociology, a man who had been the leading intellectual figure of black American life for two-thirds of a century (he was born in 1868, and received his doctorate from Harvard, the first African-American to do so, in 1895) -- had died the day before. It cast something of a pall on the event.
Forty-five years later, to the day. The political party that had upheld white supremacy for over a century. The party that precipitated the Civil War. The party that stood for the criminal doctrine of 'States' Rights', that meant that some citizens had rights and others had none, did something that DuBois would have deemed unthinkable and chose a man of African descent as its standard-bearer.
"Remember, also, that in 1960 Kennedy successfully ran to the right of Nixon, on foreign affairs and defense issues. Try to imagine a Democratic nominee doing that today."
I find it a bit easier to imagine when I think of a recent Democratic nominee who actually did something like that to get his current job. Joe Lieberman got his US Senate seat in Connecticut in 1988 by running to the right of the incumbent Republican, Lowell Weicker.
Lieberman's recent tango with Republicans has also largely been on foreign affairs and related issues. (On some other issues, he tacked left when his ambitions became national: his pronouncements on abortion, for instance, changed noticeably between his first Senate race in 1988 and his VP nomination in 2000; and they don't seem to have tacked back, even though his 1988 position would make him much easier politically for McCain to pick as a running mate.)
Ken Brown @401:
To be quite honest, if it's between the Nazis and the Taleban I won't be voting. I will be seeking political asylum somewhere that isn't about to declare Jews to be enemies of the state.
I have a vague recollection that it was $50,000 and subsequently raised in the aftermath of that crash; and Google seems to be agreeing with me.
Or the Old, for that matter: "you shall have an honest weight and an honest measure"; "you shall not levy increase (usury) on your brother"
Patrick way back up at #55.
I knew Wellstone. You're absolutely right.
#437 ::: Fragano Ledgister
Thanks for this reminder of how far and historic all this really is.
Fragano, Elise: Thanks to both of you. I've done two Lj posts today which link to this thread; one from each of you.
Constance @411 - What does the ML aggregator of minds think will happen if Hurricane Gustav clobbers New Orleans and / or the Gulf?
A question I asked a couple of days ago on the Open Thread, after then-not-yet-Gustav gave us a nice cool rainy day. Gustav still looks like the fist of vengeance heading towards Bush's lost city -- and I hear the replacement levees never got, actually, you know, finished.
It looks like it'll be Cat 3 when it makes landfall, but anything's possible, and of course, NOLA's not terribly likely, any more than anybody else on the Gulf. If it stays Cat 3, the levees will hold even if it does hit NOLA dead on.
But I guarantee you that the media will tell us how advantageous it is for McCain that the Democratic Congress has done nothing since Katrina to make ready. And a little vein will pop in the side of my head and I will die.
Sparking off the "doesn't he look tired?" thread:
As some of you know, I've been sporting various political lines in my email/Usenet .sig files since 2000. (Starting with "Make your vote count. Get your vote counted" and going on.)
I know that a .sig file is not a high-risk or high-effort venue for political activism -- as witness the fact that in seven years, only one person has expressed any outrage about it, and that was a known newsgroup troll. Nonethless, I want a fresh set of one-liners to sig for election season. If the ideas wind up being used for bumper stickers and lawn signs, all the better.
My current list:
"McCain: Don't you think he looks tired?"
"Obama: Because the government needs adult supervision"
"McCain: Did not spend five years in a Hanoi Presidential training seminar"
(Yes, I am willing to put McCain's name by itself into a line, without fear that it will be interpreted as an endorsement. If you don't think that'll play on a bumper sticker, put a big Obama logo on the side or in the background.)
o Vietnam wasn't a moral war, either.
o Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Vietnam, Iraq....
o So when does he volunteer for waterboarding, since he doesn't see it at torture?
o "Oh there are not fighter pilots in the States. oh there are no fighter pilots in the States, They are all on foreign shores, Making mothers out of whores, Oh there are no fighter pilots in the States!"
o Old soldiers never die, they just fade away--would McCain please retire already?!
o Veteran pensions do not constitute qualifications for being President.
o Did McCain ever have The Black Syph?
o How much command of anything but an airplane experience, did McCain ever have?
o What's an adulterer doing telling other people how to behave "morally" ?
o What a fine leader, does his wife give him an allowance, and lock him out of some of their houses, that he doesn't know how many they have?
o John McCain--run-around Screw...
o If your first spouse gets crippled, ditch her for a rich beautiful younger replacement!
‘My marriage ended because John McCain didn’t want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that happens...it just does.’
Some of McCain’s acquaintances [though]portray the politician as a self-centred womaniser who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to ‘play the field’. They accuse him of finally settling on Cindy, a former rodeo beauty queen, for financial reasons.
..the young McCain hung out with a group of young officers who called themselves the ‘Bad Bunch’.
His primary interest was women and his conquests ranged from a knife-wielding floozy nicknamed ‘Marie, the Flame of Florida’ to a tobacco heiress.
#443 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2008, 11:11 PM:
Constance @411 - What does the ML aggregator of minds think will happen if Hurricane Gustav clobbers New Orleans and / or the Gulf?
A question I asked a couple of days ago on the Open Thread, after then-not-yet-Gustav gave us a nice cool rainy day. Gustav still looks like the fist of vengeance heading towards Bush's lost city -- and I hear the replacement levees never got, actually, you know, finished.
A question I asked a couple of days ago on the Open Thread, after then-not-yet-Gustav gave us a nice cool rainy day. Gustav still looks like the fist of vengeance heading towards Bush's lost city -- and I hear the replacement levees never got, actually, you know, finished.
Our People in New Orleans are not really excited about dying for Their Sins. Nevermind.
The stoopid rethugs are even talking about postponing the rethugCON in case ....
Nobody's happy. Gads. It's horrible going through all this yet again.
First 9/11 a few blox below.
Then Katrina, with the long run-up.
And then the still going on.
And now, here we go again.
People in New Orleans are not pleased that their lives with or without Gustav are political manuevers when it is their lives, their heritage, their homes on the line.
Gads, I'm hoping. It's just like three years ago this week. Every night I go to bed with stomach clenched and wake up every morning the same way.
And in the background all I hear is that New Orleans doesn't deserve to exist.
Speaking of effective attack ads, surely something useful could be done with this:
McCain advisor says that being treated in the emergency room is the same thing as having medical insurance.
"So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care. So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved."
I only wish I were kidding. What is WRONG with these people?
ethan @ 420: "Every state on this map that's solid blue or solid red doesn't matter whatsoever, and the ones that are light blue or light red probably don't, either."
That's equivalent to saying that in a popular vote election decided 10,000,000 to 10,000,001 only the one deciding vote counted. As long as the election is in doubt, every electoral vote matters. Unless you'd be willing to turn over all the solid blues to the Republicans?
heresiarch #448: That's equivalent to saying that in a popular vote election decided 10,000,000 to 10,000,001 only the one deciding vote counted.
But in that case the one deciding vote could have been any of them. Any one of a million and one people could have chosen to vote differently and it would have affected the outcome. With the system we have, the hypothetical/metaphorical deciding vote will definitely not be cast by anyone in any of the safe states. It will be cast by the 25% of the country that's voting in the swing states.
Yeah, between that and the "nation of whiners" comment, they're offering the Democrats a long list of quotes for their ads, and reflecting a pretty unpromising view of the world, besides. Yes, ERs do function as insanely expensive free clinics of last resort. No, that's not something to brag about, though of course it is better than leaving poor people to die on the street corner in front of the hospital. The unintended consequences of this policy are dire, and often include a long wait in a crowded, dirty emergency room for seriously ill or injured people. There's also a whole phenomenon of private specialty hospitals being built with no ER, so they don't have to provide a free clinic of last resort to the world and then try to somehow get someone to cover the costs of the care.
I'm just pumped as hell that for the first time in my entire life Indiana is a swing state. Holy God, you cannot imagine what that says about the Republicans.
Constance @446 - sorry if I sounded callous about the fist of vengeance thing -- but when the 5-day projection showed that beeline for Louisiana, it was just the only thing that popped into my mind.
Now we've got TS Hanna thinking about a visit to the Sunshine State on the other side, and three nice, healthy vortices over the Sahara are earnestly talking about booking tickets, too. I'm sure it's because of gay marriage and the Democrats nominating a black man with questionable patriotism. Why don't those morons ever figure it's because of "Thou shalt not kill?" Beyond me.
I think you're entirely correct that the Republicans figure it's not worth the money to rebuild New Orleans -- not unless they can make it much whiter and more profitable, anyway. They came right out and said it, and then they proceeded to do it.
And nobody cares. That's what gets me, and I don't have thing one to do with New Orleans -- when it all went down, America just kind of shrugged and said, "Well, but they're not really America." We don't have to worry about those people. They're not really our kind. So why should we spend money fixing their city?
As long as Mardi Gras is shiny and Disney enough to sucker the tourist trade, that's all that really matters.
Anyway, I like watching tropical weather. It's probably a mental imbalance of some kind, but I watch storm after storm barrel right past Puerto Rico (we're a small target to hit) and kind of sigh. Stupid, really. But I'm a natural tourist who can't afford to travel right now, and if excitement wants to come to me, who am I to argue?
When we get a near miss, we're the ones out on the beach yelling at the magnificent huge surf.
The captive audience screen in the elevator was quoting an otherwise-anonymous 'McCain adviser' as saying that the GOP convention might be postponed if Gustav hits Louisiana.
They really don't want people to remember what they did last time (or, much more accurately, what they didn't do last time). Postponing their convention might not be the best wait to not-remind people, though.
Has anyone recommended moving their convention to the Superdome?
So much for McCain attacking Obama for his lack of experience.
As a friend of mine put it - I'm looking forward to watching the former mayor of Wasilla, AK debate foreign policy with Joe Biden.
But the neat thing about Palin is that now, whoever wins, America makes history this November. And I find that kinda neat. Shrewd move on McCain's part. Probably the only one. Let's hope.
Wow, this is going to be an interesting campaign season. Neither side can really call the others' choices into question: McCain will have a hard time hammering Obama for lack of experience or Biden for being an old Washington hand; Obama can't really attack Palin for lack of experience or McCain for being too old. Though Palin's competence and experience ought to become an issue, given the relatively high likelihood of her ending up in the top job when some age-related thing gets McCain. Anyone know much about her, rather than the crap we'll get when the rival spin-machines start spewing their crap?
All plausible outcomes of the election now involve huge firsts, either the first black president or the first woman vice-president. That's a big deal. My kids and goddaughter are growing up in a world where the president can be a Jew (2000), a black guy or a woman (this time), and that's a wonderful thing.
Albatross writes of Gov. Palin at #456:
Anyone know much about her, rather than the crap we'll get when the rival spin-machines start spewing their crap?
How would I identify information I have about her that didn't come from a rival spin-machine?
I don't know her personally, if that's what you mean.
Her Wikipedia entry has suffered 50 edits in the last 21 minutes...
albatross @453 - I meant to comment on this earlier and forgot, but ... damn. That's good.
My kids and goddaughter are growing up in a world where the president can be a Jew (2000), a black guy or a woman (this time), and that's a wonderful thing.
Whoa, steady on there, albatross. Let's not forget that no black guy, woman or Jew has actually been elected president so far, and it's perfectly possible that, in eight years time, that'll still be true.
Assuming no huge surprises (untimely deaths, resignations in disgrace, shocking victories by Nader or Barr, etc.), there will either be a black president or a female vice-president as of January of next year. The outcome of the Democratic primary this year makes it very clear that a woman is capable of being nominated by the Democrats. The tie in 2000 makes it very clear that it's well within the realm of possibility for a Jewish VP to get into office. And the fact that a black guy just got nominated by the Democrats demonstrates that this is possible. Combine that with the last three secretaries of state, the general makeup of the cabinets under both Clinton and Bush, and the current speaker of the house and majority whip, and top jobs in the government honestly appear to be open to everyone. That's a new and wonderful thing. In an 8-year span where we have not, as a country, had a great deal of progress to show of in most areas, this is something to rejoice about.
That clinic of last resort isn't free. My visit (about five hours) was an $8,500 bill, for an IV, some drugs, a CT scan and a bed.
If I couldn't pay/make arrangements, they'd have put a lien on my assets.
Helluva way to be insured, and only for immediate problems: No ongoing care, stabilise and discharge.
#451 ::: Michael Roberts
From the conclusion of the second chapter of The World That Made New Orleans: Spanish Silver to Congo Square (2008) by Ned Sublette, and which John Schaefer read on his daily music show, "New Sounds," today, the 'anniversary of Katrina::
As of this writing (August 2007), it's too soon to tell how the city will recover, and it's unclear whether there is sufficient protection against a future flood that might once again wreak havoc on the city. The French Quarter's still there, as are other historic neighborhoods. But what made New Orleans such an eloquent piece of living history wasn't only its elegant, termite-ridden housing stock. It was the people of the city, two-thirds of them people of color. The destruction of buildings in 2005 was fearful, but so was the loss of something intangible: African America took a terrible blow when the collective knowledge of black New Orleans was scattered to the four winds. Dispersing that population was like tearing up an encyclopedia in front of an electric fan. This book is dedicated to the pepople who are trying put that book back together.
Without that population, the living cultural history of New Orleans, and further than that, the political and cultural history of this nation, there never would have been Jazz, Louis Armstrong, Dr. John, and Rock and Roll, all the many other great, great music artists and music forms that made the twentieth century the century of this nation. Without them, in their cultural milieu, there will never be another musical genius on the level of Louis Armstrong, and thereby, never another chance for another period in which this nation can be great.
You probably know all that, John. I'm not trying to scold or anything. I hope Hanna won't hurt too many, or too much. I hope Gustav slows way down, that the speculations are correct of some that all those rivers of cold floodwaters from the midwest decreased the temps of the Gulf some degrees this summer.
It's not a good week for so many of us.
454, debcha, quoted:
"I'm looking forward to watching the former mayor of Wasilla, AK debate foreign policy with Joe Biden."
It's not "former mayor", really, from my point of view... it's "2002 mayor". RECENT mayor. Of a town 1/3 the size of my alma mater.
For some reason this reminds me of those Hollywood movies where every freem-ball player on the team gets electrocuted and the wacky misfits have to play.
Hope she's studying hard.
Paula Lieberman, #445, you think Cindy believes she has to stay skinny to stay married to him? Or is the money enough?
Terry, #461, I don't have all the payment records from Kaiser yet for my most recent visit, but what I do have shows that Medicare is paying less than a 10th of what the ER/doctors/machines want.
I had a friend who was constantly depressed and when she returned to New Orleans after Katrina, she killed herself. I'll always appreciate that she left her sister my edress so I'd know, but I'd much rather she hadn't done it. She said she just couldn't live without New Orleans.
BTW, The League of Young Voters.
Sandy B., #463: I'm having a bad feeling about Palin. I worry that sexism may be blinding us to someone who's fanatical, tough, and charismatic. The wingnuts are already singing rhapsodies about her.
Oh, and Palin is photogenic. (So is Obama.) Don't sell that short--it probably helped Kennedy win an election, back when.
Perhaps the Palin discussions could move to the Palin thread?