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The most important reason to support Barack Obama for president
Posted: 11 January 2008 08:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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retrospy - 11 January 2008 08:30 AM

I am a little fed up with partisanship.  I think it has gotten to the point where it bogs down the political system and progress is few & far between.  Unfortunately, it is a popular view to choose a side and stick to it, which has lead to a decline of moderates in the house & senate.  In the past, moderates have been able to band together and make the difference on partisan issues.  They are sort of the grease in the political machine.

Or the gum that fouls the works, depending on your viewpoint. 

Moderates continue to wield considerable power, as evidenced by the “Gang of 14” deal that squelched a showdown in the Senate over the “nuclear option” of Republicans to bar the use of the filibuster for confirmation of nominees.

The strengthening of the parties (prompted to a considerable degree by the Republican-dominated Congress that formed under Clinton) was done in part to fray the power of moderates, for moderates tend to wield disproportionate power the way our political game is played.  They tend to “sell” their swing votes, in effect, and the organization of the legislative body makes it easy to cut all sorts of deals for pork projects.  Pork provides most of the grease that moderates use to move the machinery of government.

Our Congress shouldn’t be able to cut these deals that involve hunks of the federal budget in secret.  The Republicans were no better than the Democrats were while in the majority, and the new Democratic majority has reformed pork by making it more secretive thus far.  Most likely neither party will act decisively on the issue until the electorate begins expressing unmistakable displeasure with that process.  Though I’m skeptical of Obama’s ability to effect real change in the government (the president isn’t all that powerful when it comes to the activities of the legislature, so even if Obama is sincere in his intentions he’ll have his work cut out for him), he did co-sponsor a bill that helps the electorate track pork spending.

Do people think we are on the verge of one political party becoming dominant or that this division will persist and moderates could play an important role again?

Both the Democratic and Republican parties are made up of motley coalitions at present; the infighting in both parties has produced suggestions that a realignment is imminent.  That said, the parties are polarized for fairly good reasons.  Both have now glommed onto the idea that the judiciary is a partisan battlefield, for example.  A big issue like that makes party politics pretty much necessary. 

Even if a realignment occurs, I don’t see the polarization going away until one side is ideologically defeated.

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Posted: 11 January 2008 08:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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retrospy - 11 January 2008 08:30 AM

Hillary Clinton is also a great leader; the difference is that their plans are tuned in slightly different ways.

I think the difference is more than that. As much as I admire her, I can’t see Clinton inspiring people the way Obama does. Her compromises of principle, and her repeated tacking to the middle for purposes of political triangulation, have been too frequent and too visible. Barring a miracle rarely seen in politics or life, that reputation is too cemented in the public mind for her to become the kind of leader that Obama already is.

Politics is largely a function of public perception. Whether this perception is fair to Clinton or not; whether Obama is open to similar charges or not—- those things are secondary to what the public thinks they see. The public sees Obama and thinks JFK and MLK. The public sees Hillary and thinks Bill. Don’t get me wrong. I like Bill too. He held the fort during a politically disastrous time. But some of us are daring to think maybe we can restore a more a idealistic and progressive politics, with real and positive effects.

It is always easy to say “it can’t happen, those are false hopes.” People said that about civil rights, too, but as a result of idealists and activists, African Americans no longer ride in the back of the bus, and one African American may actually be elected president this year. Say what you like about those of us who grew up in the 60s; in our youth we stopped a war, changed national attitudes on race, gender and sexual orientation, and sent two presidents packing. Those gains are real, and despite the country’s backlash against the civil rights movement (which is what the Republicans’ southern strategy is), it looks as though we have held them. Most people don’t want to admit it, but in many ways the vision expressed in John Lennon’s “Imagine” has won some major victories—- not as many as we would like, but major just the same. In politics, if enough people believe, idealism becomes reality.

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Posted: 20 January 2008 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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I am supporting Obama, so far only with what money I can afford, essentially for the same reasons described by Andrew Sullivan in the cover article in December’s Atlantic Monthly.
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/obama
While I disagree, along with everyone else here, with Sullivan when it comes to religion and god beliefs, I think his points in this article are profound. 

In short, I believe Obama has far greater potential than any other candidate to help the U.S. raise our level of political discourse, and also to improve our decimated reputation among both friends and enemies abroad.  I care far more about those broader issues than any specific policy ideas.  Policy details advocated by candidates never resemble what eventually plops out of the legislative sausage grinder anyway.

In many ways, I admire Hillary and I voted for Bill twice.  However, if experience was the primary qualification neither she nor Obama would be truly viable candidates.  Also, Hillary (not to mention Bill and his zipper) drag a train load of baggage that would hamper her (them?) in office.

AND a Hillary nomination, unlike any other event I can imagine, would once again unify all the nuttiest fruit pies in the Republican party, not least the imbeciles “of faith.”  Votes for Hillary, to my mind, have the effect of rejuvenating the Republican base - possibly enough to make a Baptist preacher or a guy who wears magic underwear our next president.  For reason’s sake, haven’t we had enough of that sort of thing?

Among the other Republicans, well, I won’t get started, except to say that John McCain has the endearing trait of not being barking mad.
How’s this for a slogan - “John Mc Cain - Not Insane!”

My vote and my donations - and my hopes for America for the near future - are with Obama.

[ Edited: 20 January 2008 08:07 PM by Trail Rider ]
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Posted: 21 January 2008 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Trail Rider - 20 January 2008 07:58 PM


AND a Hillary nomination, unlike any other event I can imagine, would once again unify all the nuttiest fruit pies in the Republican party, not least the imbeciles “of faith.”  Votes for Hillary, to my mind, have the effect of rejuvenating the Republican base - possibly enough to make a Baptist preacher or a guy who wears magic underwear our next president.  For reason’s sake, haven’t we had enough of that sort of thing?

What, you mean Harry Reid?

Among the other Republicans, well, I won’t get started, except to say that John McCain has the endearing trait of not being barking mad.
How’s this for a slogan - “John Mc Cain - Not Insane!”

Quite inappropriate without a hat-tip for
George Papoon.

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Posted: 21 January 2008 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Probably Harry Reid wears “the Garment,” too.  I am not impressed by Senator Reid for that and other reasons.
But he isn’t running for POTUS, is he?

The Papoon thing is a joke, of course.  I hadn’t heard of it before. 

While I’d disagree with him on many things, John McCain is neither a joke nor a cynical, dishonest, nut job, unlike each and every one of his Republican primary competitors.
For that reason, I feel that “not insane” is at least worth a grin as an under-the-table motto for the McCain campaign.
Also, I like rhymes.

Of course, like everything else you read on the internet, all the above is one person’s opinion.

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Posted: 21 January 2008 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Trail Rider - 21 January 2008 08:04 AM

Probably Harry Reid wears “the Garment,” too.  I am not impressed by Senator Reid for that and other reasons.
But he isn’t running for POTUS, is he?

Right; I was wondering where you’d had enough of that sort of thing before (since we haven’t had a Mormon any closer to the White House than Harry Reid).

The Papoon thing is a joke, of course.  I hadn’t heard of it before.

It’s an old Firesign Theater (comedy troupe) thing.  Same folks were responsible for the “Nick Danger” series. 

While I’d disagree with him on many things, John McCain is neither a joke nor a cynical, dishonest, nut job, unlike each and every one of his Republican primary competitors.

You can’t complain about cynicism or dishonesty after voting for Bill Clinton, can you?  Not without a pang or two of regret, anyway.

Ron Paul is the only nutjob on the Republican side (unless I’m forced to count Alan Keyes).  Not even quite enough to balance the Kucinich-Gravel twosome.

For that reason, I feel that “not insane” is at least worth a grin as an under-the-table motto for the McCain campaign.
Also, I like rhymes.

Fair enough.  smile
Just wanted to acquaint you with the history just in case you hadn’t been inspired by Papoon.

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Posted: 21 January 2008 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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Interesting momentum for Obama

Republicans defect to Obama camp
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article1752381.ece

Giuliani’s Daughter supports Obama
http://www.slate.com/id/2171730/

Bush’s Spiritual Advisor backing Obama
http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/01/20/bushs_spiritual_adviser_backing_obama/1049

The introduction to Michael Shermer’s new book “The Mind of the Market” gives a simple explanation for why this kind of system and snowball effect are so effective.  It is turning out to be an interesting read.

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Posted: 21 January 2008 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Nice links, retrospy!  I see I’m not the only one who checks the UK news, or are you a Brit?


Bryan,
My remark about “haven’t we had enough” was, perhaps too obliquely, a reference to “faith-based government” as practiced by, among others, the Chimp-In-Chief, Bush #43.

Regarding the cynicism and dishonesty of the Clintons, I absolutely agree with you that they are afflicted with a willingness to hedge and manipulate, but I’m not at all certain that they possess those traits in greater measure than most other politicians.  Bill, of course, is a study in how even an extremely smart person can be an absolute doofus.  (When I think of that, some times I feel better about my own foibles.)
 
I admire Hillary because her actions have long indicated desire to produce good results for the nation in addition to whatever her selfish desires may be, because she’s still standing in politics after all the years of vicious and unwarranted assaults upon her (not to mention world-wide public humiliation by her husband), and because through all that, she managed to raise a daughter who appears to be a healthy and decent human being. Not bad at all!

Most importantly, while I presume you’d argue the point, my view is that the cynicism and dishonesty of the Clintons is and has been primarily limited to personal matters (or matters that should have remained personal).  Conversely, the dishonesty, hypocrisy, and cynicism of those in power in the Republican party runs through and through their public policies and actions, in addition to their private lives.
If I start a list to illustrate, I’ll be here all day.

And we’ll also have to agree to disagree about which of the R prez candidates are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

So for my part, give me the Clintons, compared to any Republican, even the generally honorable Senator McCain, any day.
Even better, give me - and America -Obama.

Speaking of which, perhaps it has not escaped someone’s notice that our (Bryan’s and yours truly’s)  conversation here is exactly the sort of thing that Andrew Sullivan writes hopefully of an Obama administration being able to diminish.  For me, though, it’s tough - like many here,  I grew up during Vietnam and Watergate, Iran-Contra, and so forth.  Also, I was a New York City resident during all of Rudy’s tenure, including 9/11.  Rudy and cynicism and dishonesty?  Don’t get me started.  Maybe ask his daughter.

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Posted: 21 January 2008 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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retrospy - 21 January 2008 09:09 AM

Interesting momentum for Obama

Republicans defect to Obama camp
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article1752381.ece

Horrible story, typical of the worst misleading garbage from the mainstream media.  The story provided only one example of a former Bush supporter who supported Obama.

Have a look at his record of campaign contributions.  It tells the real story (hidden from you in the news version, unfortunately).
http://www.newsmeat.com/fec/bystate_detail.php?st=NY&last=bernstein&first=tom

For those who don’t feel like following the link to see for themselves, Bush is the only Republican Bernstein has supported among a long list of Democrats and Democratic causes.  Bernstein isn’t a Republican who switched to Obama.  He’s a Democrat who supported Bush.

Giuliani’s Daughter supports Obama
http://www.slate.com/id/2171730/

Bush’s Spiritual Advisor backing Obama
http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/01/20/bushs_spiritual_adviser_backing_obama/1049

The introduction to Michael Shermer’s new book “The Mind of the Market” gives a simple explanation for why this kind of system and snowball effect are so effective.  It is turning out to be an interesting read.

It helps underscore the motives behind the favorable attitude of the fourth estate when it comes to McCain-Feingold, no doubt.  wink

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Posted: 21 January 2008 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Trail Rider - 21 January 2008 10:34 AM

Speaking of which, perhaps it has not escaped someone’s notice that our (Bryan’s and yours truly’s)  conversation here is exactly the sort of thing that Andrew Sullivan writes hopefully of an Obama administration being able to diminish.

Good grief!  I sure hope not!  The two of us peacefully (without attacking one another) aired a piece of our differences while finding some common ground.

Give me an alliance made with an awareness of differences over a mere pretense of unity any day.

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Posted: 22 January 2008 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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Bryan - 21 January 2008 11:12 AM

Horrible story, typical of the worst misleading garbage from the mainstream media.  The story provided only one example of a former Bush supporter who supported Obama.

This just isn’t true.  First, it didn’t say “former Bush Supporters” it said Republicans.  I’m not sure why only Republicans that are Bush supporters get credibility for switching camps.  Second, there were two to three former Bush Supporters who now supported Obama in the article.  Incase you didn’t read the article I listed the people this article claims, now support Obama.  I left out the McCain supporter who still supports McCain, but publicly endorses Obama’s message.

[quote author=“Article”] Tom Bernstein, went to Yale University with Bush and co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team with him.

Matthew Dowd, Bush’s chief campaign strategist in 2004.

John Martin, a Navy reservist and founder of the website Republicans for Obama.

John Canning, a “Bush pioneer” and investment banker who pledged to raise $100,000 for the president in 2004, has given up on the Republicans.

According to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, Obama and Clinton have vacuumed up more than $750,000 (£375,000) in individual contributions from former Bush donors.

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Posted: 22 January 2008 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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I watched the debate yesterday night. Actually I have been watching every move of the candidates in the whole race for the presidency.

I don’t know, but about Hillary, she is a very smart woman with great chances to win the racing. Still, to win the candidature is not a sign to be the best candidate. I have observed that the typical “home business” is in progress when we see Hillary crying and her husband intervention defending her in public to the point of him becoming part of the candidature.

What will happen if Hillary is elected president and an international conflict creates a chaos in US? Will Hillary cry again and Bill will take charge of the administration? wink

Yesterday’s personal debate between Obama and Clinton can be resumed as it follows.

debate1.jpg

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Posted: 22 January 2008 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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The best thing about the last 8 years is that it has showed us some “holes” in how our political structure operates. All it takes is one crisis and prayer, then we have the “patriot act.”
We need a government that will patch those holes and not expand the size of government. Senator Obama is not the man to do that.

Brandt

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Posted: 22 January 2008 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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retrospy - 22 January 2008 10:09 AM
Bryan - 21 January 2008 11:12 AM

Horrible story, typical of the worst misleading garbage from the mainstream media.  The story provided only one example of a former Bush supporter who supported Obama.

This just isn’t true.

Let’s see you back that up.

First, it didn’t say “former Bush Supporters” it said Republicans.  I’m not sure why only Republicans that are Bush supporters get credibility for switching camps.

Not my point.  I was pointing out that Bernstein was the only example given of (as the headline put it) Republicans defecting to Obama; Bernstein was a former Bush supporter.

Second, there were two to three former Bush Supporters who now supported Obama in the article.  Incase you didn’t read the article I listed the people this article claims, now support Obama.  I left out the McCain supporter who still supports McCain, but publicly endorses Obama’s message.

Let’s see how you did on the whole.

[quote author=“Article”] Tom Bernstein, went to Yale University with Bush and co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team with him.

That’s the one example to which I referred, and Berenstein has an extensive record of supporting liberals and liberal causes.

Matthew Dowd, Bush’s chief campaign strategist in 2004.

Although Dowd has yet to endorse a candidate, he said the only one he liked was Obama. “I think we should design campaigns that appeal, not to 51% of the people, but bring the country together as a whole,” Dowd said.

I “like” Obama.  Like Dowd, I am not endorsing Obama.  And I’m definitely not voting for the man.  You’re trusting that a reporter who described Bernstein as a Republican despite his extensive history of supporting Democrats is not using a misleading paraphrase.  You’re adopting the conclusion the reporter wants you to adopt. 

Turns out that Dowd is another Berenstein:
“A top strategist for the Texas Democrats who was disappointed by the Bill Clinton years, Mr. Dowd was impressed by the pledge of Mr. Bush, then governor of Texas, to bring a spirit of cooperation to Washington.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/washington/01adviser.html?ei=5090&en=5fb3ec40fbc14c40&ex=1333080000&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all

Whatever kind of mental gymnastics you need to do to turn somebody who “likes” Obama but hasn’t endorsed him into a “supporter” ...

John Martin, a Navy reservist and founder of the website Republicans for Obama.

Martin might be a real Republican supporting Obama, but the story merely described him as the founder of Republicans for Obama—as if that’s something a Democrat couldn’t do (Martin interned for Republican-turned Independent Jim Jeffords and received his political education at Columbia University).
If there aren’t two John Martins with a history of political contributions from White Plains, NY, then Martin may not be as conservative as he presents himself (as of now he has the benefit of the doubt).

John Canning, a “Bush pioneer” and investment banker who pledged to raise $100,000 for the president in 2004, has given up on the Republicans.

Democrats can’t give up on Republicans.  Neither can Independents.  Is that the implication?

Seriously, if Canning has really “given up on the Republicans” as the story says, then why is he still the president of Republicans for Romney (Goof-up alert:  Canning isn’t/wasn’t president of Republicans for Romney—Romney is.  I misinterpreted the data and didn’t realize my error until recently) (with his most recent recorded political contribution going to Romney to the tune of $1,300?
http://www.newsmeat.com/fec/bystate_detail.php?st=IL&last=canning&first=john

Starting to feel like the story sold you a bill of goods?

According to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, Obama and Clinton have vacuumed up more than $750,000 (£375,000) in individual contributions from former Bush donors.

Let’s just skip over the caveat, shall we?  wink

Some of the donations reflect the natural tendency of those with power to shift to the likely White House winner. Penny Pritzker, the staggeringly successful head of fundraising for Obama, voted for John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic candidate, but also donated that year to Bush.

Canning seems to be a perfect example of that, despite supposedly giving up on Republicans.

The story seems to have come after the story idea in this case.  A responsible reporter would not use this set of examples to assert that Republicans are defecting to Obama.  Martin is probably the best example in the bunch, but the story does not present him as a convincing example of a Republican switching to support of Obama.  Bernstein was the only one unequivocally presented in that light, and that presentation was a sham.

The story’s a turd, bottom line.

Are there real Republicans supporting Obama?  No doubt, but probably no more significant a number than the Democrats who supported Bush in 2000 and 2004 (I wonder if we can find a mainstream media story about Democrats defecting to Bush?).

This seems to be how they write that story:
Bush won Arkansas with 51 percent, snaring far more votes than might have been expected in hard-luck areas such as Mississippi County, where he got 41 percent to Al Gore’s 56 percent. Democratic Party leaders are concerned that many of their voters could defect to Bush.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26512-2004Jul3.html

Zell Miller got some ink:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A30173-2004Mar27?language=printer
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/01/politics/campaign/01zell.html?pagewanted=print&position;=

One more:
The Gore camp’s decision about how to deploy Clinton came amid several new national polls that raise warning signs about the degree of crossover support among Democrats for Bush. New surveys by the Gallup Organization Inc., independent pollster John Zogby and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press all showed Bush drawing between 9% and 14% of Democrats, while Gore garnered just 4% to 9% of Republicans.
http://archives.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/11/02/latimes.clinton/index.html

I guess I should run off and blog about the “warning signs” of Republicans supporting Obama.  In the tradition of objective journalism ...  smile

[ Edited: 03 February 2008 01:44 PM by Bryan ]
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Posted: 22 January 2008 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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Brandt - 22 January 2008 01:34 PM

The best thing about the last 8 years is that it has showed us some “holes” in how our political structure operates. All it takes is one crisis and prayer, then we have the “patriot act.”
We need a government that will patch those holes and not expand the size of government. Senator Obama is not the man to do that.

Brandt

Brandt, I don’t think the president can really do much about the problem you’re talking about.

The Patriot Act was duly passed because of public sentiment.  People wanted to give their government the (legal) power to go after terrorists.  It is precisely the democratic impulse that powered the Patriot Act, even if it may be said that large number of level-headed representatives thought the act was a good idea (I don’t see it as necessary to debate that point in this thread).  Make a change to make that sort of thing less likely and you’re going against popular sentiment (you’ not getting re-elected!).  In other words, you’re making the United States less democratic in the strict sense of the term.

I’ll agree with you to the point that a party committed to decreasing the autonomy of the executive branch (recall the rhetoric regarding the supposedly imperial Bush presidency) isn’t going to power that kind of change.  They are likely to act to erode the constitutional protections against mob rule to some degree, and the tendency toward mob rule is one of the ways you end up with legislation like the Patriot Act (or worse, without the admission that the PA is bad!).

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