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Obama's Victory Speech: Sounds like a President

Like France, but unlike the Ireland or the United Kingdom, the United States combines the job of Head of State and Head of Government into a single person. A citizen can disagree with governmental policy proposals of Barack Obama, just as a citizen could disagree with the the policies of Ronald Reagan. But there is no reasonable doubt that Reagan did an excellent job in his role as Head of State. A patriotic American can appreciate the good work of a President as Head of State, even while disliking much of the President's work as Head of Government. Senator Obama's victory speech in South Carolina suggests that he too might be an outstanding Head of State.

Loophole1998 (mail):
Great Speech! My views are libertarian, but you've hit the nail on the head why Obama is appealing (notwithstanding his policy views). He is an inspiring and intelligent candidate, which I (personally) can't say about many of the others (except for maybe McCain). I would be proud to have him represent our country.
1.26.2008 11:20pm
MarkField (mail):
I thought his speech after Iowa was even better. Which is saying something.

No matter what your politics, I think you have to agree that the man can really give a speech.
1.26.2008 11:23pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
I watched as well. I will admit I was thinking "The Republicans had really better hope that Hillary beats this guy." Even if she does, I don't think Obama is going away. The first time I ever heard him speak my impression was "This man is going places."
1.26.2008 11:31pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
Agreed with the above. And given how crummy the last eight years have been the arguments for voting for Republicans you don't love sound... not so great.

If I thought the guy had even just adequate instincts on federalism and national defense, I'd be campaigning for him. As it is, I don't think he needs my help.
1.26.2008 11:35pm
Vernon R.:
As an Iowa Republican who was merely curious about Obama this past summer, I went to watch him speak and was blown away. Given that McCain wasn't competing here I swapped my registration to Democrat to caucus for Obama for precisely the reasons you cite. I'm not with him policy-wise, but I would be proud to have him lead our nation. I can't say that about Clinton or any of the GOP candidates, save McCain. And I even have reservations with McCain...

I got my wife to see Obama on a last swing through the state. After experiencing him first hand she dumped Clinton for him. His abilities are incredible, especially in person.
1.27.2008 12:04am
Cornellian (mail):
I first saw him when he spoke at the 2004 Democratic convention and I had basically the same reaction as the other commenters. Something along the lines of "wow, what a great speaker" and "that guy is going places."
1.27.2008 12:06am
U-M '07:
Barack is all hat (albeit a nice hat) and no cattle. His claim that he is uniquely suited to end partisan rancor in this country is at best naïve if not foolhardy. To be sure, he is hard left on every important issue and has neither stated intentions to compromise nor built a record of compromise.

I hope his voting in IL to allow abortion providers to kill babies who survive late-term abortions isn't part of his plan to bring us all together.
1.27.2008 12:28am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
I agree his Iowa speech was moving. Missed the speech tonight but sounds like it was also quite moving.

I think there is little difference between him and Clinton policy wise and I disagree greatly with those policies.

I have never voted for a democrat presidential candidate in my entire life, but if McCain is the republican party nominee I will vote for Obama and would vote even for Clinton, because that is my only way to register my refusal to let McCain get away with his tactics of stabbing conservatives in the back time after time on major issues while thinking smugly to himself that conservatives will have to vote for him in the end because they have no where else to go.

I won't just stay home and not vote I will go out and vote for someone whom I believe will be horrible policy for the country just to stick it in McCain's eye.

I think McCain has shown himself to be a liar and political hack in this campaign. We all know he still agrees with Ted Kennedy on immigration, border security, and amnesty. He is as likely to give some speech about bringing the country together while appointing super liberals to the supreme court than he is to appoint a real conservative to the supreme court.

Finally, the thought of goober (Linsey Graham) following McCain into the executive branch is enough to make me vomit.

So unless its Romney or someone else for the republicans I'll be voting democrat for the first time in my life. I also believe no matter who the republican presidential candidate is out of the crop out there competing that the democrat candidate Hillary or Obama will be the likely winner.

Says the "Dog"
1.27.2008 12:31am
Gilbert (mail):
I think this sums up the choice in the Democratic primary. All the candidates say "change," but there is one kind of change that Obama can offer that Hillary can't:


"We are up against decades of bitter partisanship that caused politicians to demonize their opponents instead of coming together to make college affordable, or energy cleaner. It's the kind of partisanship where you're not even allowed to say that a Republican had an ide, even if it's one you never agreed with. That's the kind of politics that are bad for our party, it's bad for our country, and this is our chance to end it once and for all...

We are here tonight to say that is not the America we believe in. ... This is a battle in our own hearts and our own minds about what kind of country we want and how hard we're willing to work for it."


It's just too late for Hillary to make a similar pitch.
1.27.2008 12:37am
TerrencePhilip:
Obama is indeed Reaganesque- he exhibits the same kind of effortless charisma. But young people don't vote in significant percentages and Obama is moving on to states with smaller black populations. Old people vote in droves and they are solidly for Hillary. Like a lot of people though I think she and her husband have shamelessly debased the Clinton brand; I am glad these last several days of Clinton mudslinging ended with a very solid Obama win.
1.27.2008 12:41am
Truth Seeker:
If Obama and Clinton tear each other apart as they have been, I wouldn't be surprised if the supporters of the loser of then stayed home in November and hoped their candidate had a better chance in 2012 against the Republican winner of 2008.
1.27.2008 12:49am
Truth Seeker:
Before everyone gets all excited by Obama's charisma, remember he's a left-wing extremist and that even Hitler had charisma.
1.27.2008 2:11am
Robert S. Porter (mail):
I don't really think that François Fillon would appreciate you saying that Nicolas Sarkozy is the Head of Government. The French governmental system is semi-presidential system and though the prime minister is of less importance than that of a parliamentary system's, he is still the "Head of Government". Additionally, the prime ministerial position has been gaining more power as of late. For this reason I don't think it's quite fair to compare the US and French systems.
1.27.2008 2:34am
Verruckt:

Before everyone gets all excited by Obama's charisma, remember he's a left-wing extremist and that even Hitler had charisma.


Left-wing extremist? What on earth are you smoking? And can I have some?

Reductio ad Hitlerum and Godwin's Law notwithstanding, please provide some evidence of this alleged left-wing extremism.
1.27.2008 2:48am
OrinKerr:
Truth Seeker, I'm with Verrukt. Although you can keep what you're smoking.
1.27.2008 3:08am
NatSecLawGuy:
I hate going on the record on political candidates this early in the election . . . but I couldn't agree with you more Mr. Kopel.
1.27.2008 3:17am
John Robert (mail):
Talks a good game comes to mind, kind of like a preacher. I'm going to hope I'm impressed with someone that will keep up up and down down.
1.27.2008 4:07am
Richard A:
I find it amusing that so many folks are smitten with a man of such little experience based primarily on his ability to string together pretty sentences. Politics as entertainment, I suppose. The senator is probably a nice guy. Probably honest. And he's obviously intelligent. Okay. Nice guy, honest, smart, great public speaker. How many other of the 301,139,947 American citizens possess those attributes? The number is probably in the tens of thousands. This is not to recommend Hillary, however. She is a decidedly strange individual. And we have hundreds of thousand of those too.
1.27.2008 4:08am
Lewis Maskell (mail):
Charisma and charm, while useful in a leader, is no indication at all of the quality of the leader.

In all political systems charisma and charm play a role, I think that would be undisputed, even in systems like the modern Chinese communist Party, or in mediaeval monarchies, or what have you. But democracies seem to be especially exposed the dangerous thing that is a leader with great charisma.

In Athens, just a few years before their eventual surrender of 404 BC, they sent a fleet out that won a remarkable victory at Argusinae. Following the battle there was a storm, and many Athenian sailors died, particularly the ones whose ships had been damaged or sunk in the battle. After the fleet arrived back home a number of demagogues whipped up a public fury about this, to buttress their own political position, and the commanders of the fleet wound up being executed. It was only later that the Athenian populace realised that they were nailing their own coffin.

Charisma, and demagoguery (and I think Obama is a demagogue), has the potential to be very dangerous in a democracy. It is not a combination I like, and it is slightly disturbing to see how many people, including Dave Kopel it seems, can be seduced by the rarity of good rhetoric.
1.27.2008 4:08am
BerkeleyBeetle:
I rather agree with Lewis Maskell. In a system where the Heads of Government and State are the same person, I wonder just how "outstanding" having an "outstanding Head of State" is. A person who exudes charisma can get folks to like him regardless of what he says, even if he says nothing at all, which a lot of people think they've seen in Obama. It can become a shield against criticism, and allows a president to get away with things a less charismatic president would have been pilloried for. I would much prefer a president who had no choice but to crawl through his presidency on the power of his policy ideas and implementations alone, where nobody would rush to his defense simply because they liked him.
1.27.2008 4:11am
Thoughtful (mail):
Do you guys realize you're describing Bill Clinton in 1992?

I completely agree, Barack O. can mesmerize crowds, and would be great to have over at your next cocktail party, and I can understand why ladies in the crowd might want to throw panties, but this attitude of "Well, of course I disagree with every single one of his policy positions but I'd be proud to have him represent my country" is bizarre. Would you say of a well spoken and charismatic but incompetent physician, "I disagree with all of his diagnoses but I'm proud to call him my doctor"?

Having said that, I agree it would be less embarrassing to choose a President for the next four years who was capable of actually speaking coherently. But compared to our current office-holder, ANY of the people running fill that role.
1.27.2008 4:48am
Baseballhead (mail):
The senator is probably a nice guy. Probably honest. And he's obviously intelligent. Okay. Nice guy, honest, smart, great public speaker. How many other of the 301,139,947 American citizens possess those attributes?
How many people running for president possess those attributes? So far, I count ... one. After tonight, I've decided to drink the kool-aid and contribute to the Obama campaign. He'll be the first Democrat I've ever contributed anything to, and I'm feeling pretty good about my decision.

(Special thanks to David Bernstein's hackery for making me take a closer look at Obama.)
1.27.2008 5:28am
LM (mail):
Thoughtful said,

Do you guys realize you're describing Bill Clinton in 1992?

Hardly. As a liberal who liked Clinton as the Head of Government and hated Reagan as same, I never mistook Clinton for the dignified, personally admirable Head of State Reagan was and Obama would (and I hope will) be. It's not just oratory and brains. It's character.
1.27.2008 6:17am
LM (mail):
To put it another way, I was jealous of conservatives that they had someone like Reagan they could be inspired by and feel proud of. I've voted for every Democratic candidate for President since 1972, and Obama would be the first I feel that way about.
1.27.2008 6:24am
LM (mail):
... but if it's stirring oratory you're after, Obama was in fine form last week at the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
1.27.2008 6:39am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
truth seeker: "[Obama's] a left-wing extremist"

The cleverly-named truth seeker is determined to perform an inadvertent public service by vividly demontrating what Obama was talking about when he mentioned the "bitter partisanship that caused politicians to demonize their opponents."

TS represents the dwindling, helpless remnant of Bush's base, which reflexively labels anyone slightly to the left of Cheney as "a left-wing extremist" indistinguishable from Mao.
1.27.2008 7:59am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
richard: "I find it amusing that so many folks are smitten with a man of such little experience based primarily on his ability to string together pretty sentences."

I find it amusing that so many folks say this after being exactly the folks who were smitten with a man of little experience who also couldn't manage to construct a sentence.

Most people, even those who can't think, speak and write very well, probably understand that those three skills tend to be closely related. Most people also probably understand that having a president who can think clearly would be a welcome change.

"Nice guy, honest, smart, great public speaker. How many other of the 301,139,947 American citizens possess those attributes?"

That's not the relevant question. The relevant question is how many of the people currently running "possess those attributes." The answer is zero, or very close to zero. As baseball said.
1.27.2008 7:59am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
lewis: "Charisma and charm, while useful in a leader, is no indication at all of the quality of the leader."

Let the revisionism begin. The time has now come to shred the zillions of articles that have been written celebrating the way Reagan's "charisma and charm" were an indispensable aspect of his alleged success as a leader.

"Obama is a demagogue"

Don't you think a true patriot would be less genteel and simply call him "a left-wing extremist?"

"But democracies seem to be especially exposed the dangerous thing that is a leader with great charisma."

Now you tell us. Where were you in 1980, when we needed you?

berk: "I would much prefer a president who had no choice but to crawl through his presidency on the power of his policy ideas and implementations alone, where nobody would rush to his defense simply because they liked him."

Now you tell us. Where were you in 1980, when we needed you?
1.27.2008 7:59am
Public_Defender (mail):

Before everyone gets all excited by Obama's charisma, remember he's a left-wing extremist and that even Hitler had charisma.


Comments like this are why I think Obama will win. The shrill left said pretty much exactly the same thing about Reagan, and he seemed to do OK.
1.27.2008 8:07am
MDJD2B (mail):

Let the revisionism begin. The time has now come to shred the zillions of articles that have been written celebrating the way Reagan's "charisma and charm" were an indispensable aspect of his alleged success as a leader.

Aren't his policy ideas as important as his charisma? If you look at what he's saying, he wants to bring us all together to implement the poicy goals of the left wing of the Democratic party.

A friend of mine says that intelligence is a vector and not a scalar. The same thing can be said of charisma. Without going into Godwin's Law territory, the use to which the charisma will be put is as important as the charisma itself.
1.27.2008 8:13am
liberty (mail) (www):
Wow. I am scared and confused by so many comments here.

I heard the speech last night but I thought you all must have been referring to something else- at the time that I heard it, I was just thinking "what fluff" and that he was not actually saying anything, "but change change change, I'm so great, I can bring change", and "I'm winning, isn't it great, I can bring change"...

He just sounded like a politician with a preacher's tone to his voice.

And you all fell for it?

I just started playing the video to see if maybe I missed the good part, but so far as I can tell, its the same speech that I heard last night. Devoid of policy proposals, devoid of opinions about America that might inspire or bring people together, devoid of actual substance of any sort - just empty calls for change.

And you intelligent, well educated and opinionated folks eat it up? Why?

Its scary because it means populist rhetoric void of reason can still rile the smartest of crowds-- and that is exactly how the worst of the worst climb to the top in a democracy. --- I am not saying Obama is the worst of the worst, note. Just that the same phenomenon which is working on you guys could also work to bring the very worst to the top.
1.27.2008 8:30am
seadrive:
I disagree with the general tendency to discount the experience value of Obama's years in state government. Some time in the trenches can be a good thing.
1.27.2008 8:53am
Tim Dowling (mail):
Here's the Caroline Kennedy endorsement of Obama from the NYT. The sentiment is similar (though not identical to) to Mr. Kopel's.

It will be difficult for anyone to mitigate the partisan divide in D.C., but Obama and McCain offer the best hope of doing so.
1.27.2008 9:08am
solon (mail) (www):
Liberty,

I gather that you have no idea about the purpose of a victory speech. I primary victory speech is epideictic address that seeks to gain and sustain adherents to a particular type of values within a community. Epideictic addresses concern praise or blame.

It is not a deliberative speech (course of action) and, hence, it is "devoid of policy proposals." To argue policy at the time would show no recognition of the immediate situation.

As far as your comments that the speech was "devoid of actual content," the focus on the speech is the differentiation between an Obama administration and a Clinton administration, since this is the primary for a specific party. Reread the middle section of the speech which the differentiation occurs.

You may not adhere to Obama's views or the views of the Democratic party, but to argue that the speech is just "fluff" and only contains "change, change, change," shows a very poor understanding of the speaking situation and of the speech.

Further, to make appeals to audience that they can accomplish goals is not "populist rhetoric devoid of reason." An important part of Obama's message focuses on empowerment: that people can take control of their lives and their political institutions. It seems to be a rather "conservative" argument in terms of contemporary standards, yet it is appealing to many who believe that government does not hear their voice, that there are many problems with our political institutions, AND that something needs to be done about it. He asks that citizens take part of this transformation, in a way that Kennedy and Reagan did, and to make sure that the government is theirs.

Yet, personal preferences do blind...
1.27.2008 9:31am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
MDJD2B: "Aren't his policy ideas as important as his charisma?"

Now you tell us. Where were you in 1980, when we needed you?

liberty: "the same phenomenon which is working on you guys could also work to bring the very worst to the top"

Your warning is a bit late. The Bush presidency tells us everything we need to know about the processes which "work to bring the very worst to the top." Maybe it's time for some reflection regarding why those processes worked so well on "you guys."
1.27.2008 9:39am
PersonFromPorlock:
So, are we going to have a reprise of 1992, when the Democratic candidate enthused for "change" and the media enthused for "change" and carefully didn't ask "change what?"

Buying a pig-in-a-poke is a bad idea, even if it's in a new poke. Obama may indeed be an excellent person for the presidency (and that's not a small point) but a few specifics would be nice, too.
1.27.2008 9:48am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
I caught Obama's speech in a rerun late last night. Not nearly as good as Iowa in my opinion but better than New Hampshire which was merely average.

The speech provided clear insight into the policy preferences of Obama. It was a laundry list of let me buy your votes with other people's money pablum that is common to the far left (little different from Hillary's policy preferences I'm sure). Government programs and spending for nationalized socialized medicine, more money for teachers unions that are the single biggest cause of decline of the quality in public school education, higher minimum wage to throw more minorities out of work and make them dependent on Obama/Democrat leaders, even a new government welfare program to pay mortgages for those who never paid back a debt in their lives but somehow got a mortgage during the easy money days on the promise they were making a new start of their lives (and surprise surprise won't or can't keep that promise either).

God I sure hope the republicans don't nominate McCain because I would hate to have to vote for either Obama or Hillary. Then again I'm getting older and it will be the future of their children and your children and grand children that get screwed over by such policies and changes in basic government functioning.

Says the "Dog"
1.27.2008 9:54am
MDJD2B (mail):

Here's the Caroline Kennedy endorsement of Obama from the NYT. The sentiment is similar (though not identical to) to Mr. Kopel's.

I found this interesting. I have long (in other forums) compared Obama to Kennedy, and would point out that JFK's inexperience led to an immediate cluster of foreign policy disasters, suh as the Berlin Wall and the Bay of Pigs. Krushchev figured he could push even further, and we got the Cuban missle crisis. Kennnedy's domestic policy got nowhere until the year after his death.

There is something to be said for choosing leaders with a significant record of achievement, and to select people who have actually run something larger than a campaign staff in their lives. Merkel,Putin, Hu, Sarkozy, and Brown all spent many years in significant political or administrative roles before they were chosen to lead their respective countries. These are the people the next president will go up against, and they won't be impressed by good looks or the ability to deliver a good speech.
1.27.2008 9:57am
SenatorX (mail):
I'm kind of amazed that with the democrats having this election pretty much in the bag considering Bush's approval rating they manage to field two highly partisan candidates(don't Hillary and Obama have like 98% partisan ratings both?. Also having either the first women or first black president gives the republicans an edge with their base and to top it off they are both Senators.

As much as the republicans loathe the two democrat candidates I have to think they are going to be handed a chance to victory that they probably don't deserve. I'm not sure though which democrat candidate the republicans want to go against. They both seem pretty matched to me in regards to driving certain voters to the republicans.
1.27.2008 10:07am
jab (mail):
It's interesting reading the comments from those claiming Obama doesn't have enough experience... GW Bush had just finished his first term of governor of Texas, a state where the role of governor is relatively weak compared to most other states... prior to that, he was an owner of a baseball team that daddy's friends bought for junior, and he lobbied aggressively for the city to pick up the tab (higher taxes!) for a new stadium... is this the experience you're talking about that Obama lacks? Please... as jukeboxgrad said above, "Now you tell us... where were you in 2000?"
1.27.2008 10:16am
DontHaveAnAccount:
It amazes me all the charges that are thrown around—ie, Barack is the only possible uniter! vs Barack is a partisan commie hack! The truth of the matter is, we don't really know. The closest thing I can see is his partisan voting record: (very interesting links to me)


109th congress: partisan voting records

110th Congress partisan voting records
1.27.2008 10:26am
liberty (mail) (www):
Solon,

I just read the transcript and you are correct. The middle does have some substance, I'd forgotten about that.

From "The mother who can’t get Medicaid" to "put an end to a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged."

And you are correct that I forgot about it mainly because I disagree with all of the implied populist policy proposals in that section.

Still, I think that people here (above) are reacting not to the policy part but to the empty part, and that is frightening. Because they tend to disagree with the policy part, but rather than be the opposition, the ideological and scientific voice against the populist policy proposals, they fall for the empty populist slogans and would let him steamroller through a huge expansion of government.
1.27.2008 10:29am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
person: "a few specifics would be nice"

The book is here. The web site is here.
1.27.2008 10:36am
zennie62 (mail) (www):
Before all of you get too caught up in Senator Obama's speaking skill, I point out that he is a better legislator than Senator Clinton or Edwards and the stats prove it:

See: Obama Outworks Clinton
1.27.2008 10:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
junk: "let me buy your votes with other people's money"

Which is supposedly worse than 'let me buy your votes with your kid's money.' What the GOP calls tax 'cuts' aren't 'cuts.' They're deferrals. Likewise for the new "stimulus package."

I'm waiting for someone to explain why borrow and spend is responsible, if tax and spend is not.

"it will be the future of their children and your children and grand children that get screwed over by such policies"

Exactly.
1.27.2008 10:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
senator: "having either the first women or first black president gives the republicans an edge with their base"

It's helpful that you're so candid about it.

That element of the GOP "base" was never going to vote D anyway.
1.27.2008 10:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
liberty: "let him steamroller through a huge expansion of government"

This is not really the place to cry over what the GOP let Bush get away with.
1.27.2008 10:37am
Pug (mail):
I was just thinking "what fluff" and that he was not actually saying anything

Mr. Liberty must believe that in his acceptance speech after a huge win Obama should have given a detailed account of his economic stimulus package or his six point plan to eliminate poverty or something.

Obama is striking a chord that many Americans want to hear. Only the hard core partisans on each side are happy to have the constant demonization of the other side continue. They've grown disgusted with the nasty, brutal politics of both sides, vividly represented by the Clintons.

Americans have always been suckers for a positive, optimistic message. I think many of them really would rather be part of one great country instead of one Lebanon-style faction. I've never understood why that is so hard for so many politicians to figure out.
1.27.2008 10:50am
Gilbert (mail):
a) The speech was not all fluff, though if you only watched the first few minutes you would think it was. His substantive point was that we (all) need to be willing to allow differences in opinion without discounting them as illegitimate or turning to demagoguery.

b) Obama _should_ be much more appealing to conservatives than Clinton, and is much less partisan if you would just take the time to compare their proposals (start with health care).

c) The experience thing is just a red herring, and we all know it. I'm not sure what kind of credentials you get from being the wife of the President, but I think it far more telling that in that benign position Hillary Clinton managed to piss off half of the country while at the same time failing to make any progress on her pet issue.

Anyway, I'll take the credentials of a state legislator and community organizer than those of first lady hands down.
1.27.2008 10:51am
MnZ:
I object to people saying that Obama is far left. The truth is that we don't really know since he does not have much of a policy track record on the national level. In fact, I believe that this is precisely the reason that he is running now. The far Left, Liberals, and Moderates are all inclined to believe that he is one of their own.

It will probably take running against a serious Republican opponent to figure out where he is on the spectrum. (Obama represented a ultra-safe Democratic district in Illinois. Alan Keyes was the most "serious" Republican challenger that he ever faced.)
1.27.2008 10:57am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
"It will probably take running against a serious Republican opponent to figure out where he is on the spectrum."

I think it's interesting to notice that whoever the GOP picks, there are many serious Republicans who are going to claim he's not a serious Republican.
1.27.2008 11:12am
Terrivus:
Junkyardlawdog:

"I have never voted for a democrat presidential candidate in my entire life, but if McCain is the republican party nominee I will vote for Obama and would vote even for Clinton, because that is my only way to register my refusal to let McCain get away with his tactics of stabbing conservatives in the back time after time on major issues . . . ."

I'm sure you'll be very proud of your moral stand when, because of people like yourself, an elected Obama or Clinton nominates (and gets confirmed) a liberal Supreme Court Justice -- quite liberal, if, as polls suggest, the Senate becomes more Democratic -- who will do far more, and more permanent, damage to your "major issues" than McCain ever could as chief executive.

Who would you rather have addressing your "major issues" on the Supreme Court: a Roberts or a Reinhardt? Please keep this in mind when you head to the ballot box this November, as there will almost certainly be one, if not two, vacancies on the Court in the next four years.
1.27.2008 11:13am
jab (mail):
Terrivus said:

Who would you rather have addressing your "major issues" on the Supreme Court: a Roberts or a Reinhardt? Please keep this in mind when you head to the ballot box this November, as there will almost certainly be one, if not two, vacancies on the Court in the next four years.


Thank you. I am a liberal Democrat who was going to vote for McCain if it was a Clinton-McCain match-up because I utterly despise the Clintons and want to see then squashed permanently... and Obama would do much better in 2012 after the country goes to hell with a 3rd Republican term...
So maybe you brought one vote back to McCain, but you just scared me back to Clinton. Funny how that works.
1.27.2008 11:24am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Just so you're on the same page as everyone else, Jukeboxgrad, SenatorX wasn't being "candid" when he accused republicans of being racists... he was trolling. Have you really never read any of SenatorX's posts before? Was it just convenient to assume he was a republican baring his soul?
1.27.2008 11:27am
dearieme:
Gentlemen, Ladies, the case for taking a wild punt on Senator BHO is that he is Senator NC i.e. Not Clinton. What a stroke of luck that we was also right about Iraq.
But a nation capable of electing Slick Willy and W is, alas, capable of electing Hellary.
1.27.2008 11:47am
sbron:
Re: "left-wing extremist"

I don't think this definition makes sense anymore. Obama is more accurately characterized, along with Clinton, McCain and the current President as a Multiculturalist. The same criticisms Mark Krikorian makes of McCain in the NRO article below can equally be made of Obama.

http://tinyurl.com/yullcu

1. Racial preferences -- check, Obama supported the U. Mich. points systems. 20 points for the "right" race, only 12 points for a perfect SAT.

2. Open borders -- the Senator marched with illegal alien protestors in Chicago.

3. Bilingual education, opposes English as an official language -- Obama made his feelings clear during an early debate.
1.27.2008 11:50am
therut:
I do not think he is a great speaker. He whines and talks with his chin and nose in the air. But he is also ignorant. He wants to ban all semi-ayot firearms. This hopefully just shows ignorance of firearms or he is very leftist. I hope ignorance. I do not want an ignorant or leftist President. He is to the left of Hillary. No way will I support him. When is he going to tell us what he really thinks instead of preaching fairy tales.
1.27.2008 11:51am
Houston Lawyer:
Reagan was not only a great orator, he had spent decades defining his vision and communicating that vision. If Obama has a vision other than enacting every democratic proposal put forth over the last 20 years expanding the influence of the federal government, I haven't heard it.

If Obama is elected I foresee an overreach on the scale of 1992. Obama is no Reagan.
1.27.2008 12:05pm
SenatorX (mail):
Daniel-It doesn't surprise me that you would say something like that about me. It was long ago, back on an I.D. thread I think, that you classified in the "don't bother reading this fools comments" bucket. I doubt we agree on much.

Anyway I was referring to conservatives not being fans of change rather than being racists. You are the ones that leave out the gender of Hillary and focus on the race of Obama. Projection anyone?
1.27.2008 12:15pm
anon123123:
MnZ wrote: It will probably take running against a serious Republican opponent to figure out where he is on the spectrum. (O'Bama represented a ultra-safe Democratic district in Illinois. Alan Keyes was the most "serious" Republican challenger that he ever faced.)

O'Bama has never faced a serious Republican candidate but I do remember his one loss against a Democrat. O'Bama's first national campaign was for Illinois 1st (H.R.) against Bobby Rush, a Chicago political legend who may be one of the few people in the city with more job security than Richard Daley.

I remember the election well because Bobby Rush hired a band I was playing in at the time for some fund raiser. (This was, gulp, a long long time ago, before the end-of-innocence known as law school.) Which of course raised the question, why did Rush even need a fundraiser . . . this was Bobby Rush, did he even have an opponent?

I asked this of one of the Rush organizers, who related this story: apparently when the Rush campaign workers, who were usually paid, made the circles to poster district churches at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings, they would consistently find that O'Bama's supporters, who were unpaid, had already been through and left by 6:00 a.m.

I'm not sure of the veracity of the story, of course, but I can't imagine why she would make that up. And what a great concrete example of what some have written about in this thread.

To get back to the main theme here though, what makes me excited is that all of the remaining legitimate options for presidency incorporate education as part of the public persona. I don't think George W. Bush is a common man. In fact, given the alliances one has to build to become President, I think we can be certain that he has exceptional intellect. But for whatever reason, he has cast himself as a simple man on the international stage -- your buddy in arms. And, although I can't argue with the tactic's effectiveness in terms of public support, I think it is damaging both as a national role model and as a figure head of international opinion. I don't think any of the remaining candidates, Republican or Democrat, will turn their backs on education as part of who they try to portray themselves publicly.
1.27.2008 12:51pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Sorry... you're right... your post implied that "the republican base" is sexist too. Wouldn't want to short you by leaving that out.
1.27.2008 1:04pm
Public_Defender (mail):
<blockquote>
Reagan was not only a great orator, he had spent decades defining his vision and communicating that vision. If Obama has a vision other than enacting every democratic proposal put forth over the last 20 years expanding the influence of the federal government, I haven't heard it.

If Obama is elected I foresee an overreach on the scale of 1992. Obama is no Reagan.
</blockquote>

Obama does as well as Reagan "defining his vision and communicating that vision." It's just a very different vision. And just like Reagan was able to communicate a very conservative vision in a way that persuaded many liberals to vote for him, Obama communicates a liberal vision in a way that draws support from many conservatives.
1.27.2008 1:07pm
Titus Pullo:
I find it hard to believe that a poster on this website would get all weak in the knees for Obama. What about principles? Do they mean anything? Are you suggesting the right and/or libertarians should just roll over and play dead for this guy? Of course if he is president I will wish him luck and support him as the leader of the United States. BUT, I will oppose his pro-abortion, high tax, anti-capitalist, crypto-Stalinist agenda.
Also, back in the 80s I don't remember my liberal friends saying: "Well, I disagree with Reagan on everything but he's so dreamy I'm glad he's president!" I remember them saying things like "Damn! Hinckley missed!" or "He's really very stupid and is controlled by Haig and Schultz, those evil geniuses!" It's only in retrospect (and now with Reagan safely dead) that liberals allow the general admiration of Reagan to go (generally) unremarked.
1.27.2008 1:20pm
Justin (mail):
"crypto-Stalinist"

::giggle::

It's like words don't mean anything anymore.
1.27.2008 1:46pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Terrivus:

I'm sure you'll be very proud of your moral stand when, because of people like yourself, an elected Obama or Clinton nominates (and gets confirmed) a liberal Supreme Court Justice

Terrivus, your concern above was answered in my original post from which you quoted as follows:


I think McCain has shown himself to be a liar and political hack in this campaign. We all know he still agrees with Ted Kennedy on immigration, border security, and amnesty. He is as likely to give some speech about bringing the country together while appointing super liberals to the supreme court than he is to appoint a real conservative to the supreme court.



I don't trust McCain to appoint conservative judges. He's just as likely to appoint liberal judges. I don't trust McCain to secure the border. He is an open border advocate with totally open border super liberal advisers like this fruitcake Hernandez on his list of advisers (see Michelle Malkin's blog for more on Hernandez if you like). McCain has shown himself to be a liar and a panderer by spinning his lies of reform regarding border security, etc. He doesn't believe what he says and doesn't mean what he says. He's a short little munchkin who is no friend of conservatives, free speech, or the security of our country.

Further, if conservatives don't take a principled stand against a McCain nominee (should he be the nominee) then they will forever be marginalized in the republican party because they will have shown themselves perfectly willing to support the republicans who stab them in the back because they have no where else to go. Its the nowhere else to go arrogance of McCain that must be stopped. He nor any other republican must be allowed to lie to the party promise one thing on major bedrock issues and do another.

Yes if McCain is the nominee I will vote for a democrat whom I dislike intensely just to stick it in McCain's eye. Its what he deserves and what the republican party deserves if they allow this back stabbing little munchkin of a liar to become the party standard bearer.

I would rather be stabbed in the front by an avowed enemy than stabbed in the back by a lying little munchkin pretending to be my friend. So I will vote democrat and take one in the gut rather than vote munchkin and take one in the back.

Says the "Dog"
1.27.2008 1:49pm
Baseballhead (mail):
Reagan was not only a great orator, he had spent decades defining his vision and communicating that vision.


Reagan spent decades trying to achieve and communicate his vision. I'd argue, however, that his vision was pretty much complete by 1964, when he was stumping for Goldwater with his "Time of Choosing" speech. That's the speech that made Reagan governor of California and, eventually, the POTUS.

Obama's in his mid-40s (from Wiki, 46 years old), he's been in elected office a decade, and was the Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago. He was president of the Harvard Law Review. He may not have been in Washington very long, but let's not pretend he's a small child with only an embryonic concept of how the country should work.
1.27.2008 1:57pm
Baseballhead (mail):
Reagan was not only a great orator, he had spent decades defining his vision and communicating that vision.


Reagan spent decades trying to achieve and communicate his vision. I'd argue, however, that his vision was pretty much complete by 1964, when he was stumping for Goldwater with his "Time of Choosing" speech. That's the speech that made Reagan governor of California and, eventually, the POTUS.

Obama's in his mid-40s (from Wiki, 46 years old), he's been in elected office a decade, and was the Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago. He was president of the Harvard Law Review. He may not have been in Washington very long, but let's not pretend he's a small child with only an embryonic concept of how the country should work.
1.27.2008 1:57pm
Observer:
Alan Keyes is also an incredible, charismatic speaker. I wonder if the commenters who believe that this is such an important quality are also considering supporting him?
1.27.2008 2:12pm
Truth Seeker:
Yes if McCain is the nominee I will vote for a democrat whom I dislike intensely just to stick it in McCain's eye.

But then you are telling the democrat that you like him/her and telling McCain that you prefer someone more to the left! By voting for a 3rd party candidate you are telling them both you don't like them.
1.27.2008 2:12pm
Observer:
"By voting for a 3rd party candidate you are telling them both you don't like them."

JYLD should vote for the Constitution Party if McCain or Giuliani is the nominee.
1.27.2008 2:43pm
seadrive:

I'm waiting for someone to explain why borrow and spend is responsible, if tax and spend is not.


Put it down to Arthur Laffer. He noted the technical possibility that lower taxes could result in higher revenues. Republican politician used it as an excuse to cut taxes with no assurance whatever that it would work as desired. However it's argued, deficits increased during both Reagan and Bush.

To be fair, Democrats tend to raise taxes and spend money based on similar vague ideas.
1.27.2008 2:45pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Truth Seeker, I will vote for the democrat and not McCain because I want to make sure McCain loses. If I vote for a 3rd party candidate I'm not doing everything I can to make sure the lying munchkin loses.

Observer, not familiar with the constitution party or its candidate. I'd definitely consider a third party candidate if they had a chance to win.

Says the "Dog"
1.27.2008 2:55pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
There is nothing wrong with reducing marginal tax rates which has in all cases to date resulted in increased (usually vastly increased) total revenues to the feds as well as resulted in the wealthy paying a higher percentage of total taxes than before the marginal rate cuts. The fact that it brings in more revenue to the government is well demonstrated. The fact that it spurs economic growth is also well demonstrated.

Sadly what is also well demonstrated is that BOTH the democrats and the republicans will take the increased revenues and spend them and then spend some more on top of that. That's what happened during Reagan's years and what happened during Bush's years.

Also, don't forget that Reagan agreed to 2 or 3 tax increases (rollbacks of the original 81 tax cuts) during his 8 years trying to get the deficits down, and these tax increases did not work. The answer being that congress took all the revenues that came in and then spent even more on top of that. Cuts in increases in spending were portrayed as cuts in real spending by the democrats and their cohorts in the mainstream media.

What's wrong with tax and spend versus borrow and spend, is that tax and spend is worse for economic growth and jobs, etc. What's wrong with that question is that it forgets the way things SHOULD be which is tax less AND spend less.

Says the "Dog"
1.27.2008 3:01pm
Ex parte McCardle:
I was reading along pretty placidly here until I reached anon123123's declaration at 12:51 that GWB "has exceptional intellect." Well, I think many of us would agree that he's certainly more than one standard deviation away from the median.
1.27.2008 3:24pm
Dodsworth:
It will be Romney v. Obama and Romney will go down in flames in November. Any pro-war Republican will lose. Under that scernario, I doubt that a strong third party can arise because both candidates are the types who can keep their bases in line.
1.27.2008 3:47pm
MnZ:

Any pro-war Republican will lose.


I wouldn't be so sure about that. In retrospect, anti-war but pro-surge is beginning to seem like the most responsible position. However, no one that I know of took those positions.
1.27.2008 3:58pm
Ben P (mail):

I wouldn't be so sure about that. In retrospect, anti-war but pro-surge is beginning to seem like the most responsible position. However, no one that I know of took those positions.


I'd partially agree with that. I could still see a potential "silent majority" type campaign get some traction, if perhaps not win.

I'm not sure who I'd vote for, but regarding the Iraq war I'm willing to vote for a candidate who at least recognizes the difficulty of our situation in Iraq. (Re: the catch-22 between our military efforts being able to provide physical safety, the Iraqi's actually coming to a political consensus, and the danger that political stability might well mean people we don't like coming to power.)


It may well be that the surge produces a good result, but it may also be the case that no matter how much physical safety we provide, political stability never comes or only comes at the expense of an actual coalition government in Iraq.


I think it's also notable that neither Clinton or Obama have proposed the "All out right now" strategy. (at least according to the position site I just looked at) Clinton proposed a plan that would have "most" troops out by 2013, and Obama was slightly faster with a plan that would have all major forces out by the end of 2010.


There's still the issue of a "date" but three or five years in the future is a significant amount of time.
1.27.2008 4:15pm
Truth Seeker:
I will vote for the democrat and not McCain because I want to make sure McCain loses. If I vote for a 3rd party candidate I'm not doing everything I can to make sure the lying munchkin loses.

So you're going to punish McCain and the country for his being too liberal by casting a vote that says he should have been more liberal. Now that's cutting off your nose to spite your face!

If you vote for a third party and McCain loses you tell him that's a vote he could have had if he was more to the right. Even if he wins it's telling his it's a vote he might get next time if he goes more to the right.
1.27.2008 4:17pm
Tom S (mail):
The surge will be over well before November.
1.27.2008 4:21pm
Cornellian (mail):
Alan Keyes is also an incredible, charismatic speaker. I wonder if the commenters who believe that this is such an important quality are also considering supporting him

I don't see the charisma and hearing Keyes speak on virtually any subject makes me inclined to doubt his mental stability so no, I'm not considering supporting him.
1.27.2008 5:57pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Truth Seeker, I just disagree. I think the republican party and McCain would both get the correct message from conservatives being willing to cut off their noses to spite their faces, for refusing to just go along to get along, for refusing to fall into the "they don't have any place else to go" trap.

Gary
1.27.2008 7:05pm
Dave N (mail):
Frankly, I hope Obama is the Democratic nominee (not because I will vote for him) but because if he does win, I think he, much more so than HRC, will actively work at uniting the country.

I agree he will be a very fitting President as Chief of State.

As a moderately conservative Republican, I am always a bit amazed at people like JunkYardLawDog whose hatred of John McCain approaches the pathological (just as pathological as both the CDS and BDS I also see).

Do I agree with McCain on every issue? No.

Do I think he would be a better President than Mitt Romney? Yes.

Do I agree with him on more issues than I do Barack Obama? Yes.

Will the world come to an end if Obama is elected President? No (though I worry a lot about Iraq if he does)

Will HRC be as polarizing as either the 42nd or 43rd Presidents? Oh, Yes. Definitely.
1.27.2008 7:07pm
LM (mail):
Titus Pullo:

It's only in retrospect (and now with Reagan safely dead) that liberals allow the general admiration of Reagan to go (generally) unremarked.

So the problem with Jimmy Carter's legacy is that he hasn't been shrewd enough to die?
1.27.2008 7:50pm
LM (mail):
Dave N,

Being a moderately liberal Democrat, I often have the analogous conversation with lefties who swear they'll vote for anyone but Hillary to protest all of her corporatist, neocon betrayals. If I didn't have a candidate I support on the merits (Obama), my second choice would be the Hillary-McCain contest for its bipartisan schadenfreude potential. I wonder if more liberals would vote for McCain to prove what a neocon Hillary is than conservatives would defect to HRC because they can't tolerate anyone as liberal as McCain? It would be funny if it wasn't all so unhinged.
1.27.2008 8:09pm
Justin (mail):
I wouldn't be so sure about that. In retrospect, anti-war but pro-surge is beginning to seem like the most responsible position. However, no one that I know of took those positions.

The surge hasn't worked. The decline in deaths doesn't correlate to the dates of the surge, but to the dates of the Sadr truce, which has nothing to do with the surge. If the Sadr truce ends, we'll be back to stage one.
1.27.2008 8:20pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Dave N,

I don't hate McCain. I just dislike what he has done, and I think he is a duplicitous liar. Rather than Hate McCain, I believe conservatives have to take the long view and that means defeating McCain now and suffer some short term losses in order to keep from becoming the taken for granted "blacks" of the big government bush/mccain/kennedy republican party.

Says the "Dog"
1.27.2008 9:13pm
ScottS (mail):
"There is nothing wrong with reducing marginal tax rates which has in all cases to date resulted in increased (usually vastly increased) total revenues to the feds"

WRONG.

Ideologues never learn -- they don't have to.

Just one (very big) example: the first round of Reagan tax cuts were rolled back on a bipartisan basis because revenues plunged.

Shifting capital to the private sector made sense in 1980. That does not mean that cutting taxes is good economic policy in perpetuity. Get over it already!
1.27.2008 9:35pm
Dave N (mail):
the big government bush/mccain/kennedy republican party.
And what Kennedy are you referring to?

Are you referring to former Congressman Mark Kennedy, who lost his race for the Minnesota Senate seat in 2006? Louisiana State Treasurer John N. Kennedy, who will likely be elected to a U.S. Senate seat this year? Or perhaps you mean Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is probably a registered Republican, but hardly involved in partisan politics?

I say this because if you are referring to Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy or any of his relatives, you end up sounding like an idiot.
1.27.2008 9:48pm
Dave N (mail):
And I am not counting Ted's nephew-in-law in California since a) he is not a blood relative; and b) his wife is a "Kennedy" only the sense it was her mother's maiden name.
1.27.2008 10:02pm
A psychiatrist who learned from veterans (mail) (www):
'Rich people don't want the poor to stay poor' and 'Republicans might be given credit for an idea' (presumably and not just be greedy) is pleasant rhetoric coming from a Democrat. I'm not sure though I want to ennoble those who bought the country manner without funds. McCain had the temerity to say we shouldn't just cut taxes and felt his 'need' for campaign money compromised him. I don't theoretically agree with his solution but Fred Thompson initially did. He now realizes the Reagan immigration solution of '86 won't fly and wants judges who won't legislate. Better the 'back stabber' I know than the
pied piper I don't.
1.27.2008 10:43pm
EH (mail):
It's getting shrill in here...
1.27.2008 11:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dan: "SenatorX wasn't being 'candid' when he accused republicans of being racists... he was trolling."

Righty blogs are full of posts just as shameless and transparent as his, posted by bona fide wingnuts. So I'd like to understand how your troll-dar works.
-------------------------------
sea: "Put it down to Arthur Laffer."

Good point.
-------------------------------
junk:"What's wrong with tax and spend versus borrow and spend, is that tax and spend is worse for economic growth and jobs, etc."

That's true only if you take the position that "economic growth and jobs" for us matters, and "economic growth and jobs" for our kids doesn't. Here's the inheritance we're leaving them: a lot of bills that we should have paid ourselves.
-------------------------------
ben: "the danger that political stability [in Iraq] might well mean people we don't like coming to power"

It's too late to worry about that. Maliki has a track record as a terrorist. Something that's not mentioned much in the papers. That darn liberal media.
1.27.2008 11:32pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
It will be difficult for anyone to mitigate the partisan divide in D.C., but Obama and McCain offer the best hope of doing so.
And it's easy to see why liberals would want that, given that Obama is one and that Democrats are in the majority in both houses of Congress. But why would anybody who doesn't favor Obama's goals want to vote for someone who would "mitigate the partisan divide"? Partisan divide is a good thing, not a bad one.

Think of it this way: the DailyKos crowd throws a fit every time Democrats in Congress extend FISA in ways that Bush wants, support a continued expanded mission in Iraq as Bush requests, vote for resolutions condemning Iran as Bush wants, vote for a bankruptcy reform bill, etc. They don't cheer the Democrats who do this for bridging the partisan divide; they blast these people as spineless, if not as corrupt or as traitors. They correctly recognize that this talk about the evils of 'partisan divide' is just a smokescreen for wanting the opposition to roll over and play dead.
1.27.2008 11:50pm
LM (mail):
David,

Your reductive cynicism is sad. This may come as a surprise, but taking the popular temperature at Daily Kos and Little Green Footballs won't give you representative readings. There are plenty of us who value bipartisanship whether we're in the majority or not. We may be underrepresented in the blogosphere, but in the real world we're not all that rare.
1.28.2008 12:23am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Dave N.

I guess you never heard of the McCain/Kennedy amnesty bill. McCain is a Ted Kennedy republican in many ways. McCain-Feingold another such example.

ScottS, I'm afraid you are incorrect. Cutting the marginal tax rates in 1981 resulted in vastly increased revenues to the federal government. You can't stop the measuring six to 12 months after the enactment when the economy is coming out of the Carter years malaise, 17% interest rates, and a huge democrat induced recession. Things don't turn around on a dime, but lower tax rates brought the economy out of crisis, stimulated the longest economic boom in our history, increased employment in all age groups, tamed inflation.

Jukeboxgrad: You seem to be under the delusion that in tax and spend congress only spends the taxes that come in. If that were the case your statements would be correct. However, your statements are incorrect because that isn't what happens under tax and spend. Under tax and spend tax rates go up, congress spends all the tax money that comes in AND then spends more keeping the deficit just as large as before. Actually the deficit becomes larger than before because the tax and spend policy results in slower economic growth and a loss in tax revenues ultimately which contributes to higher deficits.

So the truth of tax and spend is that deficits remain just as high or higher, and the burden on the children and grand children is just as high or higher as borrow and spend. As I stated previously, borrow and spend is better than tax and spend because under borrow and spend the deficit burden to our posterity is no higher and actually lower than the tax and spend policies of democrats because borrow and spend doesn't run the economy down the way tax and still spend into deficits does.

I also stated above that the best situation, the one I think you are looking for, the one that doesn't burden our posterity is low tax AND low spending. However, that isn't an option under the current crop of BOTH democrats and republicans.

Tax and spend with huge budget deficits is worse than borrow and spend with huge budget deficits. The best is low tax and low spend with small to no budget deficits.

Says the "Dog"
1.28.2008 12:32am
David M. Nieporent (www):
I guess you never heard of the McCain/Kennedy amnesty bill. McCain is a Ted Kennedy republican in many ways. McCain-Feingold another such example.
I believe the technical definition of this is "loony." Yes, McCain is a 'maverick,' which is mediaspeak for 'sometimes sides with Democrats on an issue we care about.' (In contrast, a Democrat who sometimes sides with Republicans is not a 'maverick,' but is a horrible person who provides cover for evil Republicans. See Lieberman, Joe.)

But McCain has a strong conservative voting record throughout his career. Yes, McCain-Feingold is bad. Yes, I dislike it. But (a) voting for Obama is not going to send the message that you favor free speech in politics, and (b) it's one issue. Check out his ADA ratings; check out his ACU ratings. McCain is a conservative. Not a crazytalk "Ted Kennedy Republican."
1.28.2008 12:50am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Your reductive cynicism is sad. This may come as a surprise, but taking the popular temperature at Daily Kos and Little Green Footballs won't give you representative readings. There are plenty of us who value bipartisanship whether we're in the majority or not. We may be underrepresented in the blogosphere, but in the real world we're not all that rare.
Actually, I think you are. I think almost nobody values "bipartisanship." "Bipartisanship" is about process; virtually nobody cares about process, but about results. Of course it's nice when Obama says that conservatives shouldn't be demonized just because they're wrong. But conservatives aren't looking for pats on the head and a cookie; they're looking for conservative policies.

And libertarians like me love partisan fighting; bipartisanship generally means the worst of both worlds.
1.28.2008 12:53am
LM (mail):

And libertarians like me love partisan fighting;

Probably true of most with strong ideological or party affiliation. So I may well be an outlier in having a liberal Democratic bias while also believing that bipartisanship yields a whole greater than the sum of the parts. But 30-40% of Americans self-identify as independent. And I'm guessing they account for most of the substantial cohort of frustrated voters who feel the damage from partisan recrimination is outstripping the possible benefit of either side's policy proposals.
1.28.2008 3:59am
LM (mail):
... but you're correct about McCain. I was looking at the ADA ratings yesterday, and he's right in the mainstream of the conservative contingent, very close to Kyle. As opposed to, say, Snowe and Collins, who are orders of magnitude more moderate than McCain, not to mention the last real liberal Republican Senator, Chafee, who was more liberal than many of the Democrats.
1.28.2008 4:28am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
junk: "under borrow and spend the deficit burden to our posterity is no higher"

Right, because there's no difference between a national debt of $5.7 trillion (what Clinton handed Bush) and $8.8 trillion (what Bush is about to hand Obama). Aside from the small matter of about three trillion dollars, "the deficit burden to our posterity is no higher." Next up, we will discuss how war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.

"actually lower than the tax and spend policies of democrats"

Look at the data I cited and pay attention to which recent presidents added most to the national debt.
1.28.2008 8:10am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
david: "bipartisanship generally means the worst of both worlds"

In a way, I agree with you. In my opinion, we don't have a two-party system. We have the illusion of a two-party system. The same corporate elite that owns and operates the GOP also has a large ownership interest in the DNC. So we see a lot of posturing and 'opposition' that offers the illusion of choice, even though it doesn't amount to much. It's just another circus, like American Idol. In my opinion, this is why congress has such low ratings right now.

Huck and Paul have both done surprisingly well because they both have this exceedingly rare quality: they show some true independence from the corporatists. And one of the reasons Obama is doing as well as he is against Hillary is that he is seen as less of a corporatist then she is.

Meanwhile, Romney, the man who wants to be our second MBA president, is the perfect embodiment of a corporatist, even more so than our current Harvard MBA president. This is one of the main reasons Mitt doesn't have a chance in November.
1.28.2008 8:10am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Jukeboxgrad:

Clinton didn't have 9/11 and a war in Iraq contributing to his budget deficits. He also had the benefit of a republican congress that was acting like a conservative republican congress. Bush on the other hand is a big government non-conservative republican in most ways who was happy to cooperate with a big spending, lost their way, corrupt, and non-conservative acting republican congress.

If democrats had been in control the last 8 years, the deficits today would be even higher, taxes would be higher, the economy and tax revenues from the economy would be slower/lower but deficts would be even higher because the democrat definition of tax and spend is take all the taxes and spend them and then spend a lot more on top of that.

Says the "Dog"
1.28.2008 8:53am
Thales (mail) (www):
"more money for teachers unions that are the single biggest cause of decline of the quality in public school education,"

Just wanted to point out that Senator Obama supports merit pay for teachers in some circumstances, as well as reform of the "teaching to the test" huge waste of tax dollars and young minds that is No Child Left Behind.

"If democrats had been in control the last 8 years, the deficits today would be even higher, taxes would be higher, the economy and tax revenues from the economy would be slower/lower but deficts would be even higher because the democrat definition of tax and spend is take all the taxes and spend them and then spend a lot more on top of that."

You certainly don't know that, but it's a good talking point that I hope your party trots out in the fall: The last Democratic nominee supported pay as you go budgets (suspended under President Bush and the GOP congress), and the last Democratic president listened to Secretary Rubin and Alan Greenspan and actually practiced them (in connection with a GOP congress). Also note that President Kennedy (of all raging conservatives) actually reduced high marginal tax rates.
1.28.2008 11:10am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Thales:

If only there were some JFK and Scoop Jackson democrats left in the democrat party. Sadly there aren't any.

The current crop of GOP incompetent dinosaurs who bungled away their power have no standing and no credibility on the issue of spending. They have nobody to blame but themselves. That fact however doesn't make my statement that democrats are huge taxes and deficit spenders false. Clinton had a functioning conservative congress and the wake up call of 1994 to keep him in line. Bush and his fellow non-conservative spenders in the GOP congress had nothing to restrain their arrogant wasteful and corrupt spending.

Please don't take my statements as support for Bush on spending on the current crop of GOP congressional leaders. I have as much respect for them as I do McCain when it comes to spending.

Says the "Dog"
1.28.2008 11:35am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Thales, as for no child left behind. Union teachers teach the test because they haven't figured out how to teach math and science, reading, and writing. It is a result of their incompetence not the fault of wanting to measure results.

Things improve if you shine a light on performance. The way you shine a light on performance is to measure results. The unions don't want to measure performance because it will just serve to show how poor performers they have become.

The best way to improve education is through competition amongst schools that compete on the basis of results produced and reputation in the community. Unions of course oppose competition because it might mean competing against non-union dues paying teachers who get far better results on much LESS money per pupil. Obama's solutions are the typical democrat ones. Support the unions. Ignore what would really work. Decry measuring results because it makes people focus on the stuff that is broken. Throw more money at the union teachers for the same results or worse. Great plan. Its worked wonderfully so far. Liberals have in general been running the public school systems and teachers and teacher schools in this country for around 30 to 40 years. Its really worked well so far, so why not throw more money at the same people that have brought us the raging successes we currently enjoy. Brilliant Plan Obama.

Says the "Dog"
1.28.2008 11:41am
BillyBoy982:
Like France, but unlike the Ireland or the United Kingdom, the United States combines the job of Head of State and Head of Government into a single person.

Great comments all, however I must point out that France does not "combine[] the job of Head of State and Head of Government into a single person": the French Head of State is indeed the President (i.e., Nicholas Sarkozy), but the French Head of Government is the Premier, aka Prime Minister (i.e., Francois Fillon).
1.28.2008 12:02pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"Obama's solutions are the typical democrat ones. Support the unions. Ignore what would really work. Decry measuring results because it makes people focus on the stuff that is broken. Throw more money at the union teachers for the same results or worse. Great plan. Its worked wonderfully so far. Liberals have in general been running the public school systems and teachers and teacher schools in this country for around 30 to 40 years. Its really worked well so far, so why not throw more money at the same people that have brought us the raging successes we currently enjoy. Brilliant Plan Obama. "

Do you have any evidence for these claims about Obama's education proposals? I note that you did not address the point about merit pay for teachers, which Obama supports and the NEA and local teachers' unions oppose.

"The best way to improve education is through competition amongst schools that compete on the basis of results produced and reputation in the community."

I have seen no evidence that Obama would disagree, and he sends his own children to the University of Chicago lab schools, which score highly on both your criteria. No doubt he would like to spend some federal money on education, but I've seen no reason to think he is committed to throwing it at tried and failed bad ideas, or that he is a "typical" Democrat in this respect.
1.28.2008 1:30pm
Titus Pullo:
Justin:


"crypto-Stalinist"

::giggle::

It's like words don't mean anything anymore.


Or maybe you just need a dictionary.
So I guess you disagree that Barack is a crypto-Stalinist. Why not just say so? He is a progressive democrat--an agenda that is indistinguishable from Stalinism.
1.28.2008 1:50pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"He is a progressive democrat--an agenda that is indistinguishable from Stalinism."

Wow . . . I suppose if one slices the bread thickly enough, no interesting distinctions are visible. For starters, of course, progressive Democrats are generally understood not to advocate secret police, political prisons, eliminating the ability to petition the government for redress of grievances, eliminating private property, collective ownership of the means of production, a one-party state, nationalization of industry, spreading ideology by military invasion, forced assimilation of language and culture, or Lysenkoism in biology, to name just a few elements of Stalinism.
1.28.2008 2:24pm
Oren:
an agenda that is indistinguishable from Stalinism
Well, at least we'll get all that heavy industry back!
1.28.2008 2:40pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
nationalization of industry
Well, unless you count health care, where all Democrats want the government to take it over, and they just disagree about whether to do it incrementally or all at once.
1.28.2008 3:50pm
Baseballhead (mail):
Well, unless you count health care, where all Democrats want the government to take it over, and they just disagree about whether to do it incrementally or all at once.
Most polling shows about three of every five Americans prefer a government run universal health plan. If wanting universal health makes people "crypto-Stalinists", then we've got a lot of those guys running around. (Is it possible to be both crypto-Stalinist and reflective of voters' desires?)

Seriously, though, if people want to be a part of a plan like that, and joining isn't compulsory, why should I care?
1.28.2008 4:22pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Thales, in listening to Obama's post South Carolina speech his speech included words of praise and support for unions (i.e. throw money their way and don't work for things they oppose) increases in teachers pay (again throw money at union dues paying democrat poll working organizations) as a reward no doubt for all the good results they have been providing the nation's children. Not a single word about accountability, measuring results, competition, school choice, etc etc. Wait, he did mention measuring results and accountability in the sense that HE's AGAINST IT.

One thing is for sure. He'll want to spend lots of federal money just not on anything that will change anything because that would require taking positions opposed by the NEA.

Are those Chicago Lab schools FREE?? Or are they an expensive private school? The wealthy guilt ridden liberals send their kids to private school, but they fight as hard as they can to prevent the poor and middle class parents from being able to make the same choices as they do.

Says the "Dog"
1.28.2008 5:08pm
LM (mail):
Thales,

For starters, of course, progressive Democrats are generally understood not to advocate secret police, political prisons, eliminating the ability to petition the government for redress of grievances, eliminating private property, collective ownership of the means of production, a one-party state, nationalization of industry, spreading ideology by military invasion, forced assimilation of language and culture, or Lysenkoism in biology, to name just a few elements of Stalinism.

Nit picker.
1.29.2008 12:11am