Campaign update

2008/10/28 at 11:03

This is the local Obama supporters whom I mentioned in this blog post.
(Personally, I think the sign thing is a non-issue. Slow news day.)

Wardrobe malfunction

2008/10/23 at 14:33

Over at the National Review, Jim Geraghty defends Sarah Palin’s $150,000 wardrobe purchase by pointing out that Barack Obama wears $1500 suits.
Using the data in the Obama article that Geraghty conveniently links to, I did a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation and came up with this:
Palin's vs. Obama's new wardrobe
Damn statistics!

A conservative endorses Obama

2008/09/22 at 09:42

Former publisher of the (conservative) National Review Wick Allison endorses Barack Obama. He starts off with his definition of ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’:

Conservatism to me is less a political philosophy than a stance, a recognition of the fallibility of man and of man’s institutions. Conservatives respect the past not for its antiquity but because it represents, as G.K. Chesterton said, the democracy of the dead; it gives the benefit of the doubt to customs and laws tried and tested in the crucible of time. Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and always ready to test any political program against actual results.
Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of “oughts.” We ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether it works or not. It is a doctrine based on intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.

Allison follows this with evidence that Bush and McCain do not fulfill this definition of conservatism:

But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work.

Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.” It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.
This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.

Finally, and most importantly, Allison explains how Obama exemplifies his conservative values (emphasis added):

Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. . . But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.
Most important, Obama will be a realist. I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally. The crucial distinction in my mind is that, unlike John McCain, I am convinced he will not impulsively take us into another war unless American national interests are directly threatened.
[A]s a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe [conservatism] is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama.

This is a view of conservatism that even this dyed-in-the-wool liberal can appreciate.
(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Sarah Palin nightmares

2008/09/19 at 20:58

Eve Ensler writes, in part:

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God’s plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin’s view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, “It was a task from God.”


2008/09/15 at 14:35

A comment from a MeFi thread:

Factors in the Democrat’s favor this year: a disastrous economy, an unpopular war, an incumbent president with a 30% approval rating, far more money and better organization than the other side, a candidate who is charismatic, smart, accomplished and eloquent, an opponent who is old, out of touch, disliked by a large portion of his own party and a Washington insider when people want change.
Factors in the Republican’s favor this year: the Democratic candidate is black.
Result: the race is dead-even.
No matter who wins, you can learn a lot about America just by looking at where the race stands today.

Lie to me

2008/09/15 at 10:52

Not surprisingly, John Scalzi nails something I’ve been thinking a lot about: dishonesty in political campaigns:

[T]he McCain campaign is the reductio ad absurdum of the GOP strategy that “facts are stupid things” — and that from the simple realpolitik point of view that winning isn’t just the important thing, it’s the only thing, it might be onto something. It’s a campaign that will lie and continue to lie when called on its lies because as far as it can tell it’s being rewarded for doing so.

It’s entirely possible that McCain campaign will benefit from a critical mass of people — and not just dyed-in-the-wool, will-vote-Satan-into-office-if-he-wears-a-flag-pin Republicans — who have been primed by years of intentional and structural undermining of the legitimacy of fact, to accept bald-faced lying as just another tactic; people, in other words, who know that they are being lied to, know the lies are being repeated in the face of factual evidence, and know the campaign knows it is lying and plans to continue to do so all the way to the White House… and sees that sort of stance as admirable. Can you blame McCain for taking advantage of this dynamic? Well, quite obviously, you can, and should.

Go read the entire post.

Who’s ‘elite’?

2008/09/04 at 10:58

John McCain’s claims that Barak Obama is ‘elite’ are old news now. As we’ve heard, his credibility for making these claims is brought into question by his marriage to a multimillionaire, not knowing exactly how many houses he owns, and saying that earning $5M per year constitutes his definition of being rich.
However, I just read an article that contained some McCain biography, and I learned that his claim to being ‘elite’ goes well beyond a fortunate marriage. Some excerpts:

He was a privileged, but rebellious scion of one of America’s most distinguished military dynasties – his father and grandfather were both admirals.

Through Ross Perot, [McCain] met Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California.

Meanwhile McCain moved to Arizona with his new bride immediately after their 1980 marriage. There, his new father-in-law gave him a job and introduced him to local businessmen and political powerbrokers who would smooth his passage to Washington via the House of Representatives and Senate.

You learn something new every day.

Shortest Newsweek cover story ever

2008/08/15 at 15:05


Politics as usual

2008/05/05 at 10:05

From former labor secretary Robert Reich‘s blog:

Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Listen to Economists
When asked this morning by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos if she could name a single economist who backs her call for a gas tax holiday this summer, HRC said “I’m not going to put my lot in with economists.”
I know several of the economists who have been advising Senator Clinton, so I phoned them right after I heard this. I reached two of them. One hadn’t heard her remark and said he couldn’t believe she’d say it. The other had heard it and shrugged it off as “politics as usual.”
That’s the problem: Politics as usual.

(Via Fred Clark)

Obama and hope

2008/02/05 at 09:56

Yesterday, I explained why I’m supporting Barack Obama for president. Well, Patrick Nielsen Hayden endorses Obama for the same reasons, but he expresses his thinking more eloquently and in more detail:

I’m for Obama knowing perfectly well that, as Bill Clinton suggested, it’s a “roll of the dice”. A roll of the dice for Democrats, for progressives, for those of us who’ve fought so hard against the right-wing frames that Obama sometimes (sometimes craftily, sometimes naively) deploys. Because I think a Hillary Clinton candidacy will be another game of inches, yielding—at best—another four or eight years of knifework in the dark. Because I think an Obama candidacy might actually shake up the whole gameboard, energize good people, create room and space for real change.
Because he seems to know something extraordinarily important, something so frequently missing from progressive politics in this country, in this time: how to hearten people. Because when I watch him speak, I see fearful people becoming brave.
That’s not enough. But it’s something. It’s a real something. It’s a start.

(Via John Scalzi)