Friday, August 29, 2008
You are absolutely on point that the most important aspect of the Palin pick is what it tells us about McCain's judgment. Picking a VP is one of the first serious, consequential decisions of a presidential candidate. It is somewhat like a parent choosing who will be the guardian of their child in the event of death. The VP isn't just some vote-grabbing machine - it is the second-highest Constitutional office. For JM to offer this slot to someone with such meagre credentials, whom he hardly even knows is a sign of serious character disturbance.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
ANDREW SULLIVAN ARTICULATES HOW I FEEL ABOUT THE LAST 2 DAYS. QUITE DEPRESSING:
She started out a little dull and a little self-obsessed. But then she rallied - a little. "No Way. No How. No McCain" was a good line. And the Twin Cities analogy was a great little riff on Bush and McCain. But I have to say her speaking style, although much improved over even a year ago, is still a little flat. When she's passionate, she has little inflection. When she's quieter, she's a little drony. The "keep going" theme, moreover, was a little unnerving. A thinly veiled threat?
But actually, I don't have much more to say. The aim of this speech was to talk her own supporters into supporting Obama. Since I find it really hard to understand why anyone would have supported Clinton over Obama, I'm not the best judge of how it went down. The response on television from the crowd seems to have been everything Obama would have wanted. To my mind, however, it was an average performance, not a slashing attack on the Bush-Cheney record, nor a rousing rallying cry for Obama, nor a very insightful analysis of the country's problems. There was virtually nothing about foreign policy. She did what she had to do, tell her voters to back Obama. But she gave nothing more.
So far, only Michelle Obama has rescued this convention from being dreary and distracted.
Maybe they are waiting for Biden and Obama. But watching this convention so far, I don't get the feeling that these people have lived through the same eight years as I have. I may have aired more anti-Bush passion on this blog - written by someone who endorsed the guy in 2000 - than I have heard from these speakers so far. Unless you understand how terrible the wounds of the last eight years have been, you do not understand the urgency of the Obama candidacy. I worry that that hasn't been put across forcefully enough so far. Clinton didn't do it. She did the minimum, adequately. I just don't know if it was enough.
MCCAIN: You know, could I just mention to you, Jay, and a moment of seriousness. I spent five and a half years in a prison cell, without—I didn’t have a house, I didn’t have a kitchen table, I didn’t have a table, I didn’t have a chair. And I spent those five and a half years, because—not because I wanted to get a house when I got out.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Again, Andrew Sullivan is right on:
Leaving aside all the necessary gaming of how this affects the election, what does the selection of Biden tell us about Obama's potential decision-making as president? This is the second big decision of the national campaign (the first was opting out of public financing). I'd say it suggests a serious, adult attitude toward the enormous burden that the next presidency will be, especially in foreign policy.
We've learned how disastrous a vice-president can be, in the current administration. No vice-president in American history has done as much damage to national security, constitutional integrity and the moral standing of the United States as Dick Cheney. Biden has aspects of the Cheney pick - he's older, more seasoned and more adept at foreign policy than Obama. But no one imagines that Obama would delegate - and all but abdicate - critical decisions to Biden the way Bush has to Cheney.
Nonetheless, it seems obvious that Biden speaks his mind frankly, and would have real heft and independence in the office. He knows enough that foreign leaders call him in international crises. That reassures me, as we face some grim days in the coming years in the war on terror.
This strikes me, in other words, as a pick for a candidate who is already very serious about governing - and making calls that forgo a campaign buzz for the sake of the country if he wins. Putting country first, you might say.
The more I think about it, the more I like it.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
In terms of the simplistic appeals that have passed for political discourse in this country since Reagan, I would say that McCain certainly won last night. Does that mean he can win the general? Actually, at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if he did.
I watched the forum in the context of linking earlier in the day from your site to the Bill Moyers interview with Andrew Bacevich. Bacevich's main point about America seemed to be that all of our problems today - whether it's the mess we've gotten into with Iraq, or our dependence on foreign oil - basically stem from the same source: That we've become accustomed to expecting something for nothing. And in this respect, it was telling that only Obama, in his answer to the question about taxes, said No, we can't keep doing that. I'm sure you've seen the movie Idiocracy, but if you haven't, you should definitely Neflix it, and fire up the DVD.
It paints in stark satirical terms exactly the America Bacevich's describes, positing a future dystopia where the citizens of our fair land are too stupefied by consumption to deal with existential threats. I used to think that if McCain won, it would be because of race. I don't doubt that race remains a factor, but I'm beginning to think that if he did win, it would also be because - for all his talk of what he would have done after 9-11, calling the nation to sacrifice - he's still promising the same old something for nothing. He's certainly not laying out what the real cost of his geopolitical posturing would be.
More and more, November seems to be shaping up, above all, up as a referendum on the American people‹-on what we collectively are prepared to take responsibility for. If McCain wins, we'll deserve him.
INTERESTING EDITORIAL . . .
By FRANK RICH (NEW YORK TIMES)
Published: August 16, 2008
What is widely known is the skin-deep, out-of-date McCain image. As this fairy tale has it, the hero who survived the Hanoi Hilton has stood up as rebelliously in Washington as he did to his Vietnamese captors. He strenuously opposed the execution of the Iraq war; he slammed the president’s response to Katrina; he fought the “agents of intolerance” of the religious right; he crusaded against the G.O.P. House leader Tom DeLay, the criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff and their coterie of influence-peddlers.
With the exception of McCain’s imprisonment in Vietnam, every aspect of this profile in courage is inaccurate or defunct.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
August 13, 2008 Issue 44•33
BOONEVILLE, KY—Barack Obama's once-commanding lead in the polls slipped to two points Monday, continuing a month-long slide that many credit to the recent appearance of the Democratic candidate's heretofore unknown half-brother, Cooter Obama.
"What worries me is that McCain's eagerness for more conflict in the world - pushing Russia and China into a corner - is not in the best interests of the United States. It may be moral; it may be exciting; it may provide the great national purpose McCain thinks we all need to feel. But it ignores the hard trade-offs involved, and perpetuates the whole with-us-or-against us bluster of the last eight years. We need more of that? More enemies? Less diplomacy? More conflict?Count me out."
OH SO REFRESHING TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE AMERICANS OUT THERE WHO SEE THROUGH THIS BULLSH*T!
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
Thursday, August 14, 2008
According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Obama has six times the financial support from soldiers deployed overseas as McCain. The data only counts donations over $200. It would be a good idea for the press to ask McCain (or, better, Lieberman) why he believes this is so.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
THERE'S HOPE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY UNDER OBAMA. . .
By Douglas W. Kmiec 8/11/2008
The new language in the Democratic platform suggests that some important lessons have been learned on all sides. Democrats have learned that they are not really proponents of choice if there is inadequate funding for pre-natal care, maternity leave, and adoption services. Once that is acknowledged, the Democrats can do what they do best - employ progressive thinking to poke the façade of corporate America that pretends to be family-friendly, but then does very little to accommodate women who choose to contribute their talents both at work and at home.
FIND THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=28865
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Mon Aug 11, 2008 at 07:45:50 PM PDT
A poll released today from Public Policy Polling shows Obama holding a slim lead in Colorado.
Public Policy Polling [pdf]. 8/5-8/7. Likely voters. MoE 3.2% (7/14 results)
Obama 48 (47)
McCain 44 (43)
McCain leads just 48-46 with white voters, while Obama has a 51-36 edge with Hispanics. Both candidates are polling in the mid-80s among folks within their parties while Obama is leading 50-35 with independents.
I STRONGLY RECOMMEND SENDING THIS LINK OR SULLIVAN'S LINK TO ALL YOUR "BUDDIES." YOU'LL SEE WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. . . ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING. . .
AGAIN THIS IS FROM ANDREW SULLIVAN:
What the Obama campaign has lost sight of, I think, and what it needs to regain control of, is the essential message of his candidacy. After the last eight years, we simply cannot risk a continuation of the same reckless, belligerent, argument-losing, ideological and deceptive foreign policy of the current crew. The damage that neoconservatism has done to America, to the Middle East, to democratic norms, to Israel's security, to civilized values and fiscal sanity is immense and deep. From his knee-jerk COld War posture over Georgia to his Rovian campaign tactics, McCain is simply too close to this disastrous record to contemplate. McCain's trigger-happy temperament, shallow understanding of the complexities and passion for military force as the answer to everything is the bigger risk. He is a recipe for more, wider and far more destructive warfare:
Imagine that Bush is a Democrat (not that hard when you consider his fiscal record). Now imagine that a Democratic president had presided over the worst attack on American soil in history, a far stronger Iran on the brink of nukes, and a resurgent, aggressive Russia, willing and able to invade and terrorize a neighboring country in part because the president long believed that its president was a good man, and had looked into his soul.
I think they would have impeached him a few years ago, no? He would be viewed as the Carter to end all Carters. But they are actually arguing that the man who has held no executive power these last seven years is responsible for the triumph of America's rivals around the world. And they describe everyone who is dismayed at Bush's Carter impersonation as leftist.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
THIS IS AN INTERESTING POINT AN OLDER READER OF ANDREW SULLIVAN'S BLOG MADE:
This SHOULD be a bigger issue. A commercial pilot cannot fly past 60.
Active Duty soldiers in the US military must retire by 62. Even Catholic priests must retire my 70 is some places or 75 at the absolute oldest. If a priest is unable to perform duties past 75, how can we expect a President?
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
“They think it is funny that they are making fun of something that is actually true… It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.” - Barack Obama, August 5, 2008
JUST IN CASE YOU'RE CONFUSED ABOUT THE "TIRE GAUGE" CONTROVERSY. KEITH OLBERMANN EXPLAINS THE SITUATION PERFECTLY:
Time Magazine - August 4, 2008
By Michael Grunwald
How out of touch is Barack Obama? He's so out of touch that he suggested that if all Americans inflated their tires properly and took their cars for regular tune-ups, they could save as much oil as new offshore drilling would produce. Gleeful Republicans have made this their daily talking point; Rush Limbaugh is having a field day; and the Republican National Committee is sending tire gauges labeled "Barack Obama's Energy Plan" to Washington reporters.
But who's really out of touch? The Bush Administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. per day by 2030. We use about 20 million bbl. per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right.
YOU CAN FIND THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1829354,00.html
Monday, August 4, 2008
Kevin Drum is impressed with Obama's ad:
More important is the basic message of the ad: McCain is in the pocket of big oil interests, just like the Bush/Cheney gang. As a one-off, this probably doesn't have much impact, but if it's a harbinger of things to come — and I assume it is — it holds huge promise. It's just like McCain's legendary series of flip-flops: on an individual basis they don't matter too much, but when you put them together into a coherent narrative they make a powerful story. After all, pretty much every McCain flip flop has a single source — changing his position to be more acceptable to the anti-tax, big business, Christian conservative base of the Republican Party — but nobody gets that unless you put them all together and then bang them over the head with it.
So this is, I hope, just a taste of things to come. If Obama bangs away on why McCain has flip flopped so much and who benefits from virtually every one of his changes of heart, it makes a great story. Stay tuned.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
THIS IS FROM ANDREW SULLIVAN:
Here you have the current message of the McCain campaign from no less an authority than Rick Davis:
"Only celebrities like Barack Obama go to the gym three times a day, demand ‘MET-RX chocolate roasted-peanut protein bars and bottles of a hard-to-find organic brew—Black Forest Berry Honest Tea’ and worry about the price of arugula."
They really played the arugula card? For all McCain's personal qualities, we're learning that the machine behind the GOP simply re-makes the campaign in its own Coulterite image. Instead of actually fighting on the core questions - how do we get out of Iraq with the least damage? how do we get past carbon-based energy? how do we tackle al Qaeda's new base in Pakistan and within the nuclear-armed Pakistani government? how will we reduce the massive debt bequeathed us by the Bush-Rove GOP? how do we restore the Geneva Conventions? - we are debating people's cultural insecurities and food choices.
The slow collapse of conservatism as a coherent governing philosophy is not unrelated to this. If you never want to fight campaigns on policy, why bother crafting any?