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The Biden Pick:

Others will have a lot more to say about Barack Obama's choice of Biden than I do. For now, I will make just three brief points. First, as with most Veep picks, we should focus more on Biden's potential as a possible future president than on his possible impact on this race. As of today, Biden has become a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2012 (should Obama be defeated this year) or 2016 (if Obama prevails in 2008).

Second, it seems to me that Obama's choice of Biden reflects confidence among Democrats that they are going to win this year and don't need any boost from the VP pick to do so. Biden is not particularly charismatic, won't enable the Democrats to win any states they wouldn't take otherwise (Delaware is a Democratic lock anyway), and is just as liberal as Obama (therefore with little ability to attract moderates). Virtually his only political assets are his being a white male (which might perhaps reassure some traditionalists or relatively mild racists), and his having more political experience than Obama. There are many candidates that Obama could have chosen that would have brought greater electoral advantage, such as Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana (a well-respected moderate who is more charismatic than Biden and might have put a traditionally Republican state in play).

Third, the choice of another very liberal senator as veep is one more sign that Obama has little intention of moving to the center anymore than is absolutely necessary to win the election. The selection of a prominent moderate such as Bayh or former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack might have been of some small reassurance to people like myself who fear a vast expansion of government should Obama win the election and get the chance to govern with a strong Democratic majority in Congress.

In fairness, even if Obama had picked a moderate, I would still put more faith in the power of divided government to stem the growth of the state than in the potential influence of a moderate veep. This year, the only hope for divided government is a victory by McCain, no matter how flawed he is in other respects. However, not all libertarians and pro-limited government conservatives are as committed to that view as I am. Some of them are supporting Obama or are at least open to doing so. It is perhaps of some note that Obama decided to deny us even the modest hope that could have created by picking a moderate veep who could have been expected to press for centrist policies.

Ted Frank (www):
The only way Biden becomes a leading contender in 2012 or 2016 is if tragedy strikes a President Obama and elevates Biden to the White House.

It's hard to see Biden beating Clinton (or Obama!) in a 2012 race to challenge the incumbent McCain; and in 2016, Biden will be 73, and if McCain doesn't win in 2008, we're not going to see another 70+ presidential candidate in my lifetime.
8.24.2008 3:17am
burntbeans (mail):
in what sense is bayh more "charismatic" than biden? please go back and review biden in the primary debates, and look at bayh in his few televised speaking appearances: he's a bit milquetoast.
8.24.2008 3:22am
Ilya Somin:
It's hard to see Biden beating Clinton (or Obama!) in a 2012 race to challenge the incumbent McCain; and in 2016, Biden will be 73, and if McCain doesn't win in 2008, we're not going to see another 70+ presidential candidate in my lifetime.

I don't think that over 70 candidates can be ruled out. The public doesn't seem to care about age that much. And if McCain does well without actually winning, his candidacy won't rule out future candidates of that age, just as Bob Dole's failed candidacy in 1996 didn't hurt McCain's chances this year.
8.24.2008 3:30am
Mitchell Freedman (mail) (www):
Ilya needs to get out more. Biden supported the Iraq War in the beginning at least. He also carried water for credit card companies when "Deforming" not reforming bankruptcy law. Biden is a reliable corporate oriented Democrat when it comes to matters of economics, which ought to warm most business-oriented libertarians.

The fact that Biden supports abortion rights and may be moderately pro-gay rights does not a real liberal make...even as he also voted for the Defense of Marriage Act to supposedly "protect" marriage only between a man and a woman.

I am glad Obama chose Biden because our corporate media love a guy who supported the Iraq War and supports big corporations--just like them. In a just world, he should have chosen Kucinich.

At least Obama and Biden won't torture people. But I keep forgetting: Most libertarians are more afraid of government instituting national health insurance than torturing people...
8.24.2008 3:34am
Splunge:
Ilya needs to get out more

Mmmmmm...nope. I'm going to say it's you that needs to get a clue.

Biden is a reliable corporate oriented Democrat when it comes to matters of economics, which ought to warm most business-oriented libertarians.

That last phrase would describe me pretty well, and I think Biden is a boring liberal doofus and I respect Obama about 40% less for choosing him. I'd look at Obama with more interest had he been ballsy enough to pick Hillary, or thoughtful enough to pick a governor (Sebelius, Vilsack), or daring enough to pick someone completely off the wall (a black physician, entrepreneur, or corporate VP).

"Change" my ass. He made about the safest, most boring and least imaginative choice he could've. The air has gone out of the tires on this bus.
8.24.2008 3:47am
Suzy (mail):
I suspect Biden was picked more because of how he balances and affects Obama's image, and for how the two men personally get along. Yes, he's another liberal senator, but against Obama's relative youth and tendency to seem cerebral and aloof, Biden is an older and saltier character. Obama wants to take the high road in rhetoric, but Biden will let the criticisms of McCain rip. I suspect the hope is that this will do more to pull in the demographics they're worried about slipping away to McCain, than will picking a VP from any particular state or someone blander but more centrist.

If you're the Obama campaign, you don't want someone bland next to him, reinforcing the image of Obama as just a talker. You need someone who gets fired up and makes Obama seem cool and commanding in contrast.

To me, Biden's record is a mixed bag. Some good things, some disappointments. His arguments against torture and illegal wiretaps were pretty inspired, the past few years. But he has also been responsible for some intrusive and heavy-handed legislation. I'm still holding out to see if McCain picks someone interesting. That could really change the game.
8.24.2008 3:48am
DerHahn (mail):
Suzy is right, it's about image.

Obama picked probably the only person who can provide the kind of faux gravitas that looks good on the surface without immediately causing people to think the ticket should been inverted (Bensten/Dukakis).
8.24.2008 3:56am
musefree (www):
I am one of those libertarians who is hoping for an Obama win.

I don't like Obama's policies. But I dislike McCain's more. I guess it depends on which freedoms you hold more important. It also depends on what you think about foreign policy and the Iraq war. I think these are issues on which libertarians can legitimately differ.

Anyway, regarding Ilya Somin's post, I disagree with his contention that Biden will bring no electoral advantage. Obama is winning only three-quarters of democrats. Most of the dems who are not supporting him are older, blue collar voters. They are not economic moderates. They have not embraced Obama for various reasons, most importantly because they think he is inexperienced, especially in foregin policy. Biden will be a huge asset in this regard. He will help Obama win at least some of these guys. And if that happens, Obama is going to win. Don't forget that he really needs only one of Florida, Ohio, Colorado and Virginia to put this thing away.
8.24.2008 4:04am
Nels Nelson (mail):
I'm one of those voters who doesn't care much about the politics and policies of the vice presidential candidates, as long as they meet a basic level of competency. Would I panic if the president died, or would I feel the country was in experienced hands until the next election? Cheney and Lloyd Bentsen were great picks for me, while John Edwards and Quayle were quite the opposite. Biden seems qualified enough that I can check off that box, ignore him, and focus on Obama.
8.24.2008 4:20am
jgshapiro (mail):
Ilya is missing the main reason Obama was picked: the difference in foreign policy experience between Obama and McCain. It began coming into sharper focus after the Russia-Georgia debacle and I think Obama wanted to mute that line of attack by putting someone with a lot of foreign policy experience on the ticket. In that vein, perhaps only Nunn or Richardson would stack up to Biden of the short-listers. I presume Nunn was ruled out because of his role in DADT and Richardson was ruled out because it would inflame the Clinton block.

The Dems also seem to think that Biden can pull in the lunch-bucket crowd (read: Reagan Dems) that Obama was having so much trouble with in places like PA, WV and OH, but I suspect that Biden is too liberal and comes across as too much of a bloviator to do that effectively.

Ilya is kidding himself if he thinks Biden is the front runner for 2012 or 2016. If Obama loses, Hillary will again be the front runner for 2012. If he wins, Biden will be too old to run in 2016. More likely, Biden's advanced age is comforting to Obama in the same way that Cheney's age was to Bush: it is the fact that Biden won't be a presidential contender in the future that appeals to Obama. That is one major distinction between picking Biden and Clinton.
8.24.2008 4:40am
Cornellian (mail):
Ilya is missing the main reason Obama was picked: the difference in foreign policy experience between Obama and McCain. It began coming into sharper focus after the Russia-Georgia debacle and I think Obama wanted to mute that line of attack by putting someone with a lot of foreign policy experience on the ticket.

A couple of editorials in Europeans papers are saying Biden owes his selection to Vladimir Putin.
8.24.2008 5:06am
iambatman:
Prof Somin, did it ever occur to you that [insert name of red-state Democratic politician] is less "liberal" (however you are choosing to define that, but let's assume it's not the same baffling methodology you use for "charisma") than Biden or Obama not out of any deeply-felt ideology but because [insert name] has to win elections in a red state?

On the flip side of that coin, Mitt Romney is apparently inclined towards a lot more red-meat conservatism than he indicated to MA in 2002.

Either that or he's somehow disingenuous. But I don't see how anyone could think that of Gov. Romney!
8.24.2008 5:06am
Simon Kardner (mail):
or daring enough to pick someone completely off the wall (a black physician, entrepreneur, or corporate VP).

If Obama had chosen Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, that would have been an interesting way to focus the election on economics. The real value of Biden is threefold. He can rip McCain to shreds on foreign policy without McCain coming back with an inexperience charge. He appeals to the Democratic voters Obama is having trouble energizing without offending independents or a core constituency. He forces McCain to pick an older VP who is neither a foreign policy maven nor military man, lest McCain be left open to attack on the economy. The economy is the most important issue in this election, according to public polling.
8.24.2008 6:12am
superdestroyer (mail):
If you are depending on divided government to limit government growthy, you are not going to get your wish. Considering that less than half of the kindergarten students are white, the Repubicans have no long term prospects for staying relevant in politics. A better quesiton would be how the U.S. will function as a one party state with identify groups inside the Democratic party functioning as the dividing lines in politics.
8.24.2008 7:18am
Perseus (mail):
he should have chosen Kucinich

I agree, but, unfortunately, Senator Obama isn't that stupid.
8.24.2008 7:49am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
super:

Considering that less than half of the kindergarten students are white, the Repubicans have no long term prospects for staying relevant in politics.


Good point. Another aspect of the same point, and another indication the GOP has no future: young people strongly favor Obama. Age is one of the most solid predictors of preference in this election. The GOP is dying, literally.

A better quesiton would be how the U.S. will function as a one party state with identify groups inside the Democratic party functioning as the dividing lines in politics.


I think the US has been effectively "a one party state" for a long time. I think I'm not alone in feeling this way. This sentiment is reflected in the (relative) success of candidates like Ross Perot and Ron Paul. I think congress's current approval ratings are also a reflection of this sentiment. I think the very existence of someone like Joe Lieberman is a reflection of the underlying phenomenon I'm talking about, that the two parties are surprisingly alike (especially in the sense of being subservient to corporate interests). What's the proper name for him, Republocrat?

So maybe we can look forward to some kind of very fundamental realignment, with one or more new entities filling the space where the GOP used to be.
8.24.2008 10:18am
Mitchell Freedman (mail) (www):
Splunge,

VPs are about symbols. The corporate media pundits and reporters on television and radio love symbols. They don't know anything about public policy. That's why the Biden choice made sense. And compared to other Democrats Obama could have chosen, Biden's choice was a further tip of the hat to those who don't want any real revival of New Deal politics.

Perseus,

Thank you for impliedly realizing that Obama's choice has put some pressure on McCain. You are correct that Obama is not stupid and therefore did not consider the outside the corporate media pundit political universe such as Kucinich. You did not provide my full sentence which began "In a just world, Obama should have chosen Kucinich." The phrase "In a just world" is the important modifier to the second phrase, and I was merely showing Ilya what Obama would be doing if he was not pushing hard back toward what the corporate media calls "the center."

The questions I ask the folks around here are these: Does Pawlenty do anything for McCain since it's easily spun as an old guy choosing a VP who is Obama's age? What does Mitt bring in terms of religious right turnout compared to all the nasty things McCain and Romney said about each other in the primary? Does a Huckabee scare off the remaining women who are economically conservative, but love them their abortion rights--talk about symbolism? McCain may have to be bold with General Petraeus, but he is one of the most politically oriented generals since MacArthur, and "winning" a "surge" while not solving a political problem (beyond his pay grade anyway) does not put him in an Eisenhower category. If anything, a general makes young folks who detest a draft come out in droves this November for Obama.

At least those are my thoughts from a guy does get out and about from time to time...
8.24.2008 10:41am
MQuinn:

he should have chosen Kucinich

I agree, but, unfortunately, Senator Obama isn't that stupid.


Ha! Hilarious, and accurate!


Considering that less than half of the kindergarten students are white, the Repubicans have no long term prospects for staying relevant in politics.


This statement makes an unsubstantiated and far-fetched assumption: that only whites are Republicans. Maybe on average that is true, but it is not always the case, and it could easily change. For instance, many conservative positions appeal to minorities (e.g., on average African Americans are pro-life) and thus we could easily see the GOP's ranks grow with non-whites.
8.24.2008 10:42am
superdestroyer (mail):
MQuinn,

The Congressional Black Caucus is the most liberal group in Congress followed closely by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. It is a myth that blacks and Hispanics ever vote based upon conservative beliefs. Most blacks have probably never voted for a Republican and blacks are not voting at the same rate as whites. For the Hispanic voters, they are 75% Democratic voters if you do not count the Cuban voters in Florida.

Even Asian-Americans have starting voting Democratic at the 65% rate.

The real quesiton is whether any conservative party or politiciasn could ever appeal to non-whites and the answer is definitely no.
8.24.2008 10:57am
Houston Lawyer:
I keep hearing about all of this foreign policy experience that Biden has, but for the life of me I don't know what it is. I've been paying attention for the last 30 years since I turned 18 and would have to say that Biden is known for nothing other than shooting off his mouth.

McCain won't be aiming for Biden when he talks about foreign policy experience, and most people will know it. The only upside I see is that the media will be forced to spend time on Biden's outrageous statements that it would otherwise use on Obama's.
8.24.2008 11:01am
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Some very poor logic on display here. It's true that "young people strongly favor Obama", though not all that many can be bothered to get off their butts and vote for him. And it's semi-true that "The GOP is dying, literally": Republicans, being generally older, are statistically more likely to die before the next election. What jukeboxgrad has forgotten is that those young Obama voters, like previous generations of the young and foolish, will (most of them) grow up. In the process, large numbers of them will turn Republican and vote Republican for decades before they die. Republicans have been replacing their dying voters with converts for decades, and there's no reason to suppose that that will stop any time soon. Immigrants have also been assimilating and becoming more conservative for decades, and there's no reason to suppose that non-white immigrants will be immune to that process, either. Some ethnic minorities, e.g. Cuban-Americans, are already heavily Republican. It would be foolish to presume that others will not follow them.
8.24.2008 11:06am
Anderson (mail):
What "centrist" policies does Prof. Somin fear won't be pursued by Obama-Biden?

What "liberal" policies does he fear will be pursued?

Glib talk about "centrists" and "liberals" is pretty meaningless.

The Democrats want lower taxes for the lower &middle classes, correspondingly higher taxes for the wealthy, universal access to health care, and a less clumsy/belligerent, more diplomatic foreign policy.

Which of those does Prof. Somin imagine that most Americans are opposed to?

Really, people -- if you're not going to vote for a Democrat, just say so. Don't pretend that the Democratic candidate in question isn't "centrist" enough. Bill Clinton was as centrist a Dem as one could wish, and it didn't stop him being pilloried as a LiberalLiberalLiberal!!!
8.24.2008 11:34am
Shertaugh:
IS:

Maybe you could explain what you mean by "liberal" versus "moderate" versus "conservative"?

What are the multiple litmus tests for each category? For example, pro-life v. pro-choice? There are so-called conservatives who are pro-choice. Or is it your position that only conservatives are pro-life and anyone who is pro-choice is either moderate or liberal?

Where would Tim Kaine fall? A moderate? Maybe in Virginia. But in New Jersey, he's a conservative.

So please tell us what you mean.
8.24.2008 11:34am
Joe Kowalski (mail):

What jukeboxgrad has forgotten is that those young Obama voters, like previous generations of the young and foolish, will (most of them) grow up. In the process, large numbers of them will turn Republican and vote Republican for decades before they die.

There is a certain amount of truth to this, but partisan id among those under 30 has shifted from basically even at the end of the Clinton Administration to about 60-40 for the cohort that's come of age under the Bush administration. While the republicans will undoubtedly get a lot of these people as they mature and the memory of the Bush admin fades, they are starting out from a pretty big deficit.
8.24.2008 11:35am
JosephSlater (mail):
Ilya:

What would your reasoning look like if applied to Bush's pick of Cheney. Cheney is not charismatic, he came from a state (states?) Bush wasn't likely to lose, and he certainly didn't send a signal that Bush was going to be moderate. Added gravitas, perhaps? Ironic if so.
8.24.2008 11:42am
mad the swine (mail):
"Considering that less than half of the kindergarten students are white, the Repubicans have no long term prospects for staying relevant in politics."

"The real quesiton is whether any conservative party or politiciasn could ever appeal to non-whites and the answer is definitely no."

So is this because the Republican Party is inherently racist and anti-minority, or because non-whites are inherently racist and anti-white? Neither assumption reflects well on you. Look, (and forgive me for generalizing), African-American voters, by and large, are devoutly religious and intensely socially conservative. Hispanic voters also tend to be devout and socially and economically conservative; as a matter of fact, 46% of male Hispanic voters supported Bush in 2004.
I don't know much about the overall religiosity of Asian-Americans, but culturally they place a very high value on individual effort and achievement, which would tend to push them towards conservative politics. There are two reasons Republicans fail to get non-white support: (1) the Democrats have done such a good job painting Republicans as anti-minority, and (2) the Republicans have simply written off minority voters, embracing the Democratic frame in order to win white votes. Neither of these problems are irreversible, as long as the Republicans remember that conservative policies are good for everyone in America, not just white Christians, and sell their policies accordingly...

As for Biden: Prof. Somin's assertion that Biden is 'just as liberal as Obama' seems to be using 'liberal' as a fact-free slur, unrelated to actual political positions or job performance; it reminds me of that study group, whatever it is, that 'coincidentally' shows whichever Democratic senator is ahead in the polls to be the 'most liberal member of the Senate'. Biden is a foreign policy hawk; he supported the invasion of Iraq and, while criticizing Bush's conduct of the war, has been equally critical of liberals who think that we can just pull out of Iraq without winning the war and stabilizing the country. He's a hardliner on national security - he's claimed, and with some justice, that the Patriot Act is only a revamped version of the expanded government surveillance authority he pushed for after the OK City bombings in '95 - and is seriously tough on crime. He is, in fact, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress; to call him 'very liberal' is to strip the term 'liberal' of all meaning.
8.24.2008 11:42am
r.friedman (mail):
Biden makes a good veep candidate for a number of reasons -- local appeal in PA, Catholic -- but I think his biggest contribution will be to hold McCain to his Senate positions -- "I've known McCain for a long time, in all the times we've talked about X, in coming up with the wording of the Y bill, John never mentioned Z as he's doing now." It doesn't promote Biden for the presidency -- everyone knows who got the public support.
8.24.2008 11:45am
Ltrain181:
"people like myself who fear a vast expansion of government should Obama win the election and get the chance to govern with a strong Democratic majority in Congress."

It's hard to imagine anyone "expanding government" further and with more deleterious effects than Bush, Cheney and their yes-men in Congress and on the Supreme Court. Patriot Act? New FISA law? The false category of "enemy combatants" and the exclusive executive right to determine the fate of such persons? Political litmus tests for judicial appointees to serve the Executive's will?

Mr. Volkh, your concern is misplaced. It sounds like what you actually object to is an expansion of government for the benefit of the poor, the uninsured, the young, and the non-white.
8.24.2008 11:46am
Dave N (mail):
While not a true Churchill quote, it does support Dr. Weevil's position.

"If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain."

Liberals have been claiming the imminent demise of the Republican Party since 1964--if not earlier. I remember hearing the same predictions in the 1970s, in the aftermath of Watergate. Winning 7 of 10 Presidential elections since 1964 certainly is an interesting way to go about "dying."

The reality is that our system is such that there will likely always be two political parties--the more conservative of the two being the Republican, the more liberal of the two being the Democratic. I do not believe the demographic shifts that others haved cited guarantee the political hegemony they believe it will.
8.24.2008 11:49am
Dave N (mail):
I realize that when I said something was "not a true Churchill quote" people on this site naturally first thought of Ward. I was, of course, referring to Winston.
8.24.2008 11:54am
Norman Bates (mail):
If you average the voting scores of Obama and Biden using any Senate vote scoring scheme of any liberal or conservative group that maintains such a scheme, you discover that this average voting score is to the left of any but a very small number of extremely partisan democrats. Yet Obama has consistently tried to portray himself as a reasonable bipartisan uniter rather than the extremely left-wing party hack he actually is. The Biden choice confirms his hackdom. Ultimately it will not play well in the US, whose electorate is quite conservative by any standard on most wedge issues.
8.24.2008 11:59am
Joe Kowalski (mail):

I do not believe the demographic shifts that others haved cited guarantee the political hegemony they believe it will.

I agree. But these demographic shifts are going to mean that the Republicans will likely be out of the majority for a few cycles, that they will have to embrace a certain amount of economic populism (see the so-called "Sam's Club Republicans"), and they are going to have to get back to being a "party of ideas" as opposed to the anti-intellectualism that's run rampant through the party in the recent years.
8.24.2008 12:04pm
superdestroyer (mail):
mad the swine,

If is humorous to claim that a demographic group that has an illigetimacy rate of over 75% are social conservatives. If you look at issues such as receipt of government payments, public sector employment, lifestyle issues, and crime, blacks will tend to be liberal Democrats. Do you really think that a conservative party can talk about small government and then support affirmative action, quotas, and minority set asides?

Also the 46% Hispanic vote number was discredited by reporters for the Houston Chronicle. President Bush running as a favor son from Texas and having a brother who was the sitting governor of Florida actualy managed to get less than 40% of the Hispanics vote. The last time I looked, a 20% lost in an election is a rout.

Many black and Hispanics live in political districts that are so overwhelmingly DEmocratic, that the Republicans do not even bother to run a candidate. The Republicans attempts to pander to blacks and Hispancis from Michael Steele to illegal amnesty have results in the loss of more white votes than was gained from minorities.

If you have a plan to get large amounts of minority votes for Republcians, they will pay you millions. Many have tried and all have failed.

The Asian-American community is generally uninvolved inpolitics but they realize that the Republicans are the minority party and have little effect on policy. The Asian-Americans come from cultures with large governments and where fortures are made getting around the government. They are not natural conservatives.
8.24.2008 12:06pm
Carolina:
Biden is nearly the anti-libertarian.

Radley Balko at the Agitator Blog has a pithy summary of some of Biden's horrendous positions and votes here.

Some of the lowlights: creating the federal drug czar position, drafting the assault weapons ban, and the ludicrous RAVE act.

Any Libertarian who was considering supporting Obama has to be thinking long and hard now.
8.24.2008 12:22pm
SirBillsalot (mail):

I agree. But these demographic shifts are going to mean that the Republicans will likely be out of the majority for a few cycles, that they will have to embrace a certain amount of economic populism (see the so-called "Sam's Club Republicans"), and they are going to have to get back to being a "party of ideas" as opposed to the anti-intellectualism that's run rampant through the party in the recent years.


Joe Kowalski:

Please make up your mind. Should the Republicans embrace economic popularism, or be a party of ideas?
8.24.2008 12:22pm
PLR:
Another stuffy old bird for the Democratic ticket (see Muskie, Bentsen).

Oh well, it's still a Harvard educated lawyer against a son of admiral who wanted to bomb North Korea in 1994 (!), send ground troops to Serbia in 1999 (!!), bomb bomb Iran at any time, and ratchet up the troop presence and bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, McCain has Randy Scheunemann to tell him what to do about Georgia. Yeah, let's spend some capital on a sparsely populated country in the Caucasus with multiple active border disputes.

At least we won't have to see stories about how voters in the Red South will react to a ticket of a black man and a white woman. They can freely vote for the dumber candidate without that issue coming up.
8.24.2008 12:27pm
Richard Riley (mail):
Like other commenters, I am surprised that Ilya Somin thinks Bayh is more charismatic than Biden. I find Bayh very gray and colorless.

I think Obama accurately perceived that using a VP as a favorite son in order to bring the running mate's own state or region into his column doesn't work any more, if it ever did. I think what Obama wanted from Biden, aside from (a little) foreign policy cred - Biden is kind of a doofus, hardly the second coming of George C. Marshall - is to strengthen the Democrat "brand" of the Democratic ticket. If anything pulls Obama into the White House this year, it will be the fact that he is the candidate of the party to which the incumbent president does NOT belong. So in that sense, picking a long-serving blue-state Senator reinforces that this is the DEMOCRATIC ticket and that's what voters can pick. From that perspective, somebody like Biden with all his flaws is actually a tactically better pick than a Democrat from a red state, like Bayh or Kaine, whose "Democrat" bona fides are necessarily more diluted.
8.24.2008 12:28pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):

Please make up your mind. Should the Republicans embrace economic popularism, or be a party of ideas?

Note I said a "certain amount" of economic populism. I don't believe that the party engaging in an effort to address the economic concerns of the lower &middle classes beyond just pushing tax cuts, tax cuts &more tax cuts is mutually exclusive from actually engaging in a data driven debate about ideas as opposed to writing such activity off as egghead intellectualism.
8.24.2008 12:43pm
mad the swine (mail):
"Please make up your mind. Should the Republicans embrace economic popularism, or be a party of ideas?"

Economic populism is an idea. Maybe not a good one, but an idea :P

"Biden is nearly the anti-libertarian. "

This is absolutely true. Which, ironically, makes him more conservative than a lot of the 'libertarian' posters here.

"If you average the voting scores of Obama and Biden[...]"

Why would you do that?

"Do you really think that a conservative party can talk about small government and then support affirmative action, quotas, and minority set asides?"

Do you think that the only way to attract minority votes is through bribery? The pathologies crippling black communities are a result of (a) poverty and (b) Democrat welfare policies, which hurt African-Americans most because a much higher percentage of African-Americans are, in fact, poor. Not coincidentally, conservative philosophy has a solution for both those problems. But you can go ahead and claim that African-Americans are too stupid, corrupt and immoral to ever vote Republican. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy...

"Many black and Hispanics live in political districts that are so overwhelmingly DEmocratic, that the Republicans do not even bother to run a candidate."

This is a profound mistake on the Republicans' part. But on a libertarian blog, I shouldn't have to expound on the benefits that come from competing in even an unwinnable race...
8.24.2008 12:52pm
Blar (mail) (www):
Norman Bates (and Ilya Somin), you should take a look at Lewis &Poole's left-right classification of Senators based on all roll call votes. In the 110th Senate, they rank Obama as the 10.5th most liberal Senator (since he was tied with someone for 10th/11th), Biden was also 10.5th, Bayh was 30th, and McCain was 94th out of 101 - but you should remember that this was during the primary campaign when Presidential candidates missed a lot of votes (Bayh was there for 383 out of 388 votes, but Obama &Biden only had 239-240 each, and McCain only 165), which often makes them look more extreme. So take a look at the 109th Senate: Obama was 21st, Biden 29th, Bayh 28th, and McCain 100th out of 101. In the 108th Senate: Obama wasn't in the Senate, Biden was 33rd, Bayh 42nd, and McCain 96.5th out of 100. In the 107th, Biden was 26th, Bayh 43rd, and McCain 57th out of 102. So it looks like Obama is just a bit left of the center of the Democratic party in the Senate, Biden is about in the middle (or perhaps slightly right of center), and Bayh is somewhat right of the center of the party. McCain has been towards the far right of the Republican party in the Senate, although a few years back he was at the far left.
8.24.2008 12:56pm
corneille1640 (mail):

The reality is that our system is such that there will likely always be two political parties--the more conservative of the two being the Republican, the more liberal of the two being the Democratic. I do not believe the demographic shifts that others haved cited guarantee the political hegemony they believe it will.

While I suspect both parties, qua dominant parties, are here to stay, I don't think it's safe to say that the Democratic party will always be the liberal party and the Republican party will always be the conservative one. Things change and constituencies migrate from one party to another over time.
8.24.2008 12:57pm
superdestroyer (mail):
corneille1640,

No demographic group has migrated in over forty years when Southern whites began migrating to the Repubican Party. The Democratic Party has just managed to grow the groups that naturally support it: non-whites, government employers, academics.

Any green/social democratic party that would split off of the Democratic Party after the collapse of the Republican Party would be just as white as the current Republican Party and face the same demographic disadvantages.

Americans should look at states like Maryland, Mass, Illinois, and California to see the future. As a state becomes more diverse, it becomes more Democratic voting.
8.24.2008 1:04pm
Cornellian (mail):
The reality is that our system is such that there will likely always be two political parties--the more conservative of the two being the Republican, the more liberal of the two being the Democratic.

Things used to be the reverse, with the Democrats being the conservative party and the Republicans being the liberal party. The issues of the day change over time, and the positions of the parties on those issues, and along with that the meaning of "liberal" and "conservative" changes as well.
8.24.2008 1:07pm
SirBillsalot (mail):

Things used to be the reverse, with the Democrats being the conservative party and the Republicans being the liberal party. The issues of the day change over time, and the positions of the parties on those issues, and along with that the meaning of "liberal" and "conservative" changes as well.


Beyond that, of course, it is always possible for parties themselves to die out. But even if that happens, another party will step into the shoes of the former and provide a voice for dissident points of view. Cf Whigs and Republicans, etc. The idea that any one party will have hegemonic control through universal agreement with their ideas is a pipe dream. Even countries that have attempted to formally become one party states develop factions that over time become separate parties in all but name.

However, since I generally disagree with their approach to government, I do like it when liberals engage in this kind of thinking. Hubris presages overreaching and disappointment.
8.24.2008 1:23pm
MadHatChemist:

However, not all libertarians and pro-limited government conservatives are as committed to that view as I am. Some of them are supporting Obama or are at least open to doing so.


Anyone who supports Obama CAN NOT be considered libertarian. Obama is as big government as they come, and getting out of Iraq does not necissarily quate with a "libertarian" foreign policy (whatever that is spun to mean).

If anything, Obama will be open to putting the U.S. under the eye (and thumb) of various international and supranational organizations -- and that isn't very good for limited government advocates.

To put it bluntly (for both sides of the issue), Iraq just isn't that important.
8.24.2008 1:31pm
corneille1640 (mail):

No demographic group has migrated in over forty years when Southern whites began migrating to the Repubican Party. The Democratic Party has just managed to grow the groups that naturally support it: non-whites, government employers, academics.

You're quite right as far recent history is concerned. I'm just saying that it's hard to predict the future, the pattern you note in CA, MA, IL, MD notwithstanding.

I'm not so sure that the support of the constituencies you mention, "non-whites, government employers, academics," is all that natural. Their support may shift as the policies of the Democratic party (and the Republican party) change.

It's quite possible I'm wrong. Maybe each party's stance and constituency are set for all time. But I still contend that we don't know what will happen in 20, 40, or 100 years.
8.24.2008 1:35pm
superdestroyer (mail):
SirBillsalot, about half the states in the U.S. funciton as de facto one party states where election are decided inside the Democratic or Repubican Primary. It is more likely that as the Repubican Party dies off, that the former Republicans will migrate to voting in the Democratic primary and may have some effect on policy. However, since the black and hispanic district will grow in number that will probably be better than white majority district of returning the same people to office for decades, they will become the centers of power.

Also, historic references are of limited value since almost all previous campaigns were about white voters and specifically white male voters. In the age of national media, it will be hard for another national party to develop considering that even the Republicans are no longer a national party.

And last, if anyone in their 20's is interested in politics, they will most suredly be a Democrat. The newest voters can see that being a Republican means having no say in policy. What would any current Democratic politican want to leave control of trillions of dollars of government spending to move to a new party and give up having a say in policy.
8.24.2008 1:37pm
Lior:
@Prof. Somin:
people like myself who fear a vast expansion of government


An expansion greater than under the Bush-Cheney ticket? Expansion of the Federal Government is part of the platform of both major US parties. It is a core ideology of both of them. While it still has meaning in individual House and Senate races, this criterion has no meaning in the presidential election.
8.24.2008 2:57pm
SirBillsalot (mail):

SirBillsalot, about half the states in the U.S. funciton as de facto one party states where election are decided inside the Democratic or Repubican Primary.


True, but the reason for that is districting, which creates local majorities. You can't pick one group and make it that majority everywhere by using districting.

It is more likely that as the Repubican Party dies off, that the former Republicans will migrate to voting in the Democratic primary and may have some effect on policy. However, since the black and hispanic district will grow in number that will probably be better than white majority district of returning the same people to office for decades, they will become the centers of power.



Unless you have in mind a totalitarian state, I think it is more likely that any hegemonic super-party will split. The people who are elected for decades will sooner or later be challenged in the general election. Maybe the clallengers won't call themselves "Republicans" but who cares what they call themselves (or even less, what race they might be, or what their grandparents' national origin might have been).
8.24.2008 3:07pm
DiverDan (mail):
I really think that V.P. Candidates can do very little to help a Candidate - they can only hurt. Obama had no hope of getting my vote anyway; Biden, with his miserably partisan history on the Senate Judiciary Committee and his role in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, as well as his role in sheparding through that abomination of a Bankruptcy "reform" Bill (who knew that Congress appreciated sarcasm so much as to use it in naming their legislation?), didn't hurt Obama with me, but it may well hurt with others. If there were a Democrat that I viewed as marginally more acceptable than McCain, a Biden pick might well have killed any chance that I'd go that way. Frankly, I don't buy the claim that Biden shores up Obama support on ares like Foreign Policy - if you are worried enough by the Georgia-Russia Conflict and Putin neocolonialism in Western Asia to make it a priority in your voting choice, why should you believe that (a) Obama will actually TRUST Biden's advice, AND (b) Biden will provide better judgment than McCain. You have to believe both strands to get Obama even with McCain on foreign policy, and I'm not too sure about EITHER.

As for McCain, who already has my vote (tentatively), he can't win it with a V.P. Pick, but he can lose it if he goes with someone like Huckabee to throw a sop to the Religious Right. Sorry Huckabee, but a man who believes in the literal truth of the Genesis myth, and refuses to believe in evolution is either too stupid or too narrow minded (or both) to ever get my vote for President or Vice President. That kind of pick by McCain might drive away lots of voters who otherwise are frightened by the prospect of an Obama presidency.
8.24.2008 3:19pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
1) IMO Biden has no future due to his overt elitism and disdain for ordinary people. He so reinforces Obama's existing tendencies in this regard that IMO his selection as Obama's running mate would have been fatal were it not for the fact that you can't murder a man who has already successfully committed suicide. Biden's elitism and obvious disdain is a deadly serious flaw in any candidate for any elective office, but particularly for national office. He won't even be Vice-President. IMO Bayh would have been a much better choice.

2) IMO Biden's selection does not so much reflect a decision by Obama's camp that they are ahead as it was for damage-control purposes among Democrats. Biden may have seemed, in their eyes, the least divisive and least dangerous choice for the Democratic base. IMO they are trying to solidy the Democratic base behind Obama and Biden's selection least impairs that process.

3) I agree with Professor Somin that Biden's selection signifies an Obama campaign policy decision not to slide towards the center, but IMO that is more a matter of how they think the Democratic base will see it. Specifically they are worried about the lefty portion of that base not showing up in November. I.e., Biden's job is to whip up the Democratic base, particularly its lefties, with inflamatory attacks on McCain while Obama himself slides towards the center and appears Presidential by contrast. I.e., Biden is to fill Spiro Agnew's role in the Nixon administration. Bear in mind that Agnew was a moderate Republican governor of Maryland and obediently changed his spots to seem a Republican attack dog as Vice-President.

Overall, though, I repeat my comment from yesterday in a related thread that Obama's selection of Biden dramatizes how tone-deaf Obama and his top people are to the perpception that Obama is elitist. They just don't see it. And this will kill them in November.
8.24.2008 3:40pm
Cornellian (mail):
There are two reasons Republicans fail to get non-white support: (1) the Democrats have done such a good job painting Republicans as anti-minority, and (2) the Republicans have simply written off minority voters, embracing the Democratic frame in order to win white votes. Neither of these problems are irreversible, as long as the Republicans remember that conservative policies are good for everyone in America, not just white Christians, and sell their policies accordingly . . .

Hey, great plan. From now on, whenever Tom Tancredo speaks to a group of Hispanics, he should end with "now despite all that stuff about immigration, you should support me anyway because I oppose abortion. Thanks for coming out today folks."
8.24.2008 3:53pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Ilya needs to get out more. Biden supported the Iraq War in the beginning at least. He also carried water for credit card companies when "Deforming" not reforming bankruptcy law. Biden is a reliable corporate oriented Democrat when it comes to matters of economics, which ought to warm most business-oriented libertarians.
Uh, this isn't DailyKos; you can't just throw out buzzwords like "bankruptcy reform" and expect people at the VC to nod like lemmings and buy into the mantra that it's an evil-corporate-capitalist-bad thing. (Sheesh; how did liberals decide that the Bankruptcy Code of 1978 was handed down from Sinai as the optimum law and any changes to it were therefore sacrilege?)

And hint: libertarians are free-market-oriented, not "business-oriented." Big difference.

But I keep forgetting: Most libertarians are more afraid of government instituting national health insurance than torturing people...
Well, the former is permanent and affects 300,000,000 people.
8.24.2008 3:54pm
MarkField (mail):

Well, the former is permanent and affects 300,000,000 people.


The latter is kind of permanent too. You could ask John McCain about that.
8.24.2008 4:04pm
MQuinn:
superdestroyer,

I agree with everything you said while you were critiquing my post! Your points, however, do not undermine my position.

My point was that there are several holes in the argument that (1) there are fewer whites in kindergarten than there used to be and therefore (2) the GOP is doomed. Namely, there are many non-whites in the GOP, and there are several divisive issues on which non-whites side with the GOP. For instance, African Americans typically are against abortion, here. Further, African Americans are against same-sex marriage at a higher rate than other voters, here. Also, the above argument fails to account for the fact that some change in circumstances could drive people toward the GOP (e.g., immigration will continue to become more divisive, which will likely drive more people, including non-whites, toward the GOP).

Also, American continues to be one of the more religious countries in the West, which bodes well for the GOP. We should also keep in mind that the GOP was previously considered dead, but then suddenly experienced a "revival" that has only recently faded (probably due to the current President's unpopularity and not necessarily due to dissatisfaction with GOP positions).

I know that there are more democrats than republicans, and I also know that the ranks of republicans have shrank during the past eight years. Again, my critique is only with the following line of logic: (1) fewer whites equals (2) the GOP will be gone soon. The second doesn't follow from the first, as was suggested above.
8.24.2008 4:07pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Well, the former is permanent and affects 300,000,000 people.
To clarify: it's not that socialized medicine is worse than torture; pound-for-pound, torture is far worse. It's that the actual comparison is not pound-for-pound.
8.24.2008 4:07pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Obama may have though that his pick of Biden was "safe." It's my opinion that the Biden choice reinforces an image problem that is Obama's greatest weakness.

Many people think that Obama's biggest problem is inexperience. I disagree. I think his biggest problem is his image as an arrogant snob; a rock star candidate with disdain for the "bitter clingers." It why McCain's Spears/Paris Hilton ad was so effective. And it's a problem that's as big inside the Democrat party as outside.

Here are some comments from Democrats on a left-wing blog:

I honestly can say that I am not nearly as upset with Senator Obama as I am with the Obama supporters, especially online though some of the real life ones here could use a few lessons in humility, respect and fair play.

I have my issues with Obama, but his "supporters" are 100x worse.

And you know what, I hear it from people I know in real life--friends.
I don't know why Obama inspires this arrogance in people. Maybe it was always there.


Whenever I hear or read "why are X voters so stupid?" I just blink. That doesn't work as an electoral strategy.

At one time I thought that McCain would be the candidate in the most trouble with the "base" of the party. It looks like I was wrong.

So what's Biden's image? How about that of a blowhard in love with the sound of his own voice and convinced of his intellectual superiority. So much so that he tells a guy who asks him a question: "I think I have a much higher IQ than you do." And then proceeds to lie about his academic record.

So we have two people heading the Democrat ticket so in love with themselves that they are destined to die in their own arms.

Yeah, that will attract the people in flyover country.
8.24.2008 4:40pm
Dave N (mail):
Americans should look at states like Maryland, Mass, Illinois, and California to see the future. As a state becomes more diverse, it becomes more Democratic voting.
I can cherry pick states too. Florida, Texas, and Nevada are among the fastest growing states in percentage growth of population. Texas is close to being a one-party state (at the state level). In both Florida and Nevada, Republicans are certainly more than competitive (both states have a Republican Governor and one Republican Senator, as well as majority Republican congressional delegations).

Actually, when I see the Netroots demanding ideological purity for the Democratic Party, I see more conservative Democrats being pushed towards the Republicans.

The organization and structure of both national political parties is such that neither faces either imminent or long-term demise. Politics ebbs and flows--as do the fortunes of political parties.
8.24.2008 4:45pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
The latter is kind of permanent too. You could ask John McCain about that.
Permanent for the individual; I was talking about a permanent policy. As Social Security demonstrates, once such a program is implemented, it's well-nigh impossible for a subsequent administration to eliminate it, even if it wants to. (And as Medicare demonstrates, it most likely won't even be willing to try.)
8.24.2008 4:49pm
Hoosier:
Dave N--Minn. is also growing--one of the few in the region that is. And it is "trending Republican."

And having said that, I'd like to see the GOP appeal more to Hispanics. The question that I have about Hispanics is one of history: Will they be more like the other Catholic groups who have immigrated to the US, and moved from Dem to GOP as they get more education and move into the middle classes? Or will they be more like Af-Ams or Jews, who don't "Republicanize" in great percentages as they move up in SES?

I must admit that I'm NOT interested in hearing anyone's predictions at this point: It's just way too early.
8.24.2008 4:51pm
Hoosier:
DiverDan:

What's Romney's take on Creationism? I know that LDSs *tend* to be creationists. But the ones I know accept evolution by natural selection. So I don't want to guess at Romney's position.
8.24.2008 4:55pm
superdestroyer (mail):
DAveN,

The problem with the netroots is they only care about white Democrats. They are willing to tolerate anything from non-white politicians.

Also, it makes more sense for a moderate to run as a Democrat since they will automatically get the vast majority of non-white votes. Thus, you have blue dog Democrats but no equivalent for the Republicans.

The Democrats currently have about 125 Congressmen running for election unopposed. No Democratic Senator is at risk of losing in the general election. As the demographics of the U.S. change, the Democrats will get to the point were more than half of the house races are locks. Why would anyone inside the Democratic Party walk away from such dominance. It makes more sense to stay in the party and fight in the primary election.

If you look at the loss of Rep. Albert Wynn in Feb during the Democratic primary, you will see the future of politics. He lost ten months before his term was up to a more liberal opponent. He immediately resigned instead of hanging around ten months. The victor, Donna Edwards,immediately started planning her transition since she is at no risk of losing in the general election. Since there is no chance that a third party will spring up in Prince Georges County Maryland and since the Repubicans have zero chance of appealling to black voters, Donna Edwards can probably keep the job as long as she wants.
8.24.2008 4:56pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):

Biden's elitism and obvious disdain is a deadly serious flaw in any candidate for any elective office, but particularly for national office

I'm not sure if this is well written sarcasm or if you are serious. David Brooks of all people praised Biden in his column on Friday as being a down to earth &about as un-elitist as you can get and still be a Senator. Perhaps you have some other evidence to support your claim?
8.24.2008 5:18pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Dick Morris is arguing that Obama made a safe but not very good pick with Biden. Much better to have picked another woman. The renowned gender gap has mostly disappeared, and that is not good for the Democratic ticket. Obama should be running at least 10 points ahead with women over McCain, and only has a point or two. If he had picked a non-Hillary woman, most of the women backing Hillary would have ultimately switched over, leaving the Clintons fuming but impotent.
8.24.2008 5:19pm
Cornellian (mail):
One useful point for fans of Delaware corporate law - Biden as VP might just be in a position to stonewall further federal encroachment on state corporate law.
8.24.2008 5:24pm
BT:
Hoosier.

The way Hispanics will view the GOP in the future is how they are treated by the GOP today. IMO this is the same situation that the GOP found itself in Chicago and other big cities in the 40s &50s with Poles, Slavics, etc. The GOP drove these groups (who were natural allies) to the D's because of an outwardly hostile bias towards them (anti-immigrant views, etc.) If the GOP is going to listen to the Pat Buchanans of the world, then you will find a 10 to 15% steady R vote of Hispanics with the overwhelming majority going to the D's. I hope that doesn't happen.
8.24.2008 5:29pm
Dave N (mail):
The Democrats currently have about 125 Congressmen running for election unopposed.
I have not seen that number. I would agree that there are at least 125 seats where Democrats face no significant Republican opposition, but that is a very different statement.

I looked up the numbers for those who ran unopposed by the other major party in 2006, using Michael Barone's authoritative Almanac of American Politics 2008 as my source.

There were a total of 31 Democrats and 4 Republicans who ran unopposed in 2006. However, of those 35 Congressmen, only 7 (6 Democrats and 1 Republican) also ran unopposed in 2004.
8.24.2008 5:30pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
One big reason that the Democrats cannot look at a permanent large majority is that they don't have viable economic policies. With the exception to some extent of Clinton and Kennedy, they haven't since the Great Depression, which their policies deepened and lengthened. Obama's proposals, if fully enacted, would likely drive us into a significant recession, likely akin to Carter's malaise.

I see the Republicans having two major problems. First, there is fatigue with George W. Bush, his Administration, and the War on Terror.

Secondly, esp. after Gingrich left, many of the Republicans in Congress acted like Democrats, crowding up to feed at the public trough. Notable here were DeLay, Lott, and Stevens, but they weren't alone. If your politicians are going to be corrupt, you might as well go with the Democrats, since they do it so much better, and feel your pain while at it. My view, and that I think of many others, is that until they can make a credible claim for cleaning up Washington, D.C., they don't deserve power.
8.24.2008 5:31pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Joe Kowalski

Biden is a down to earth guy? You mean the Joe Biden who told a questioner "I think I have a much higher IQ than you do."

By the way, "appeal to authority" is one of the principal logical fallacies.

And for a laugh, it's only been a few hours since Obama named Biden to his ticket, but apparently making racist comments is a "strength" is you are Biden.
8.24.2008 5:33pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Correction: making racist comments is a "strength" is if you are Biden
8.24.2008 5:37pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
immigration =/= illegally crossing an international border



Hey, great plan. From now on, whenever Tom Tancredo speaks to a group of Hispanics, he should end with "now despite all that stuff about immigration, you should support me anyway because I oppose abortion. Thanks for coming out today folks."
8.24.2008 5:46pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Joe,

There are lots of web sites with Biden's top ten gaffes, but all seem to have this one in common:

Joe Loves Joe
One of the most overlooked episodes during the 1987 collapse of Biden's campaign was a snippet of footage captured by C-Span in which the Delaware senator, in response to a question about where he went to law school and what sort of grades he received, delivered this classic line: "I think I have a much higher IQ than you do."

8.24.2008 5:56pm
MarkField (mail):

As Social Security demonstrates, once such a program is implemented, it's well-nigh impossible for a subsequent administration to eliminate it, even if it wants to.


You say this like it's a bad thing.
8.24.2008 6:01pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
Not to bring facts into the superdestroyer fantasy but it only takes 2-4 years for a "dying" party to be revived.

For instance, in from 1975 to 1977 there were 61 Dem senators and over 290 Dem reps. In 1980, the GOP gained the senate and gained 50 reps.

In 1993, the Dems had 57 senators and 258 reps. In the 1994 election, the GOP regained both houses. It had been 50 years since the GOP had the House.

A recession or a failed policy proposal can cause even the strongest party to lose ground.
8.24.2008 6:03pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):

Biden is a down to earth guy? You mean the Joe Biden who told a questioner "I think I have a much higher IQ than you do."

Which proves he has a tendency to speak more bluntly and rudely than is advisable in politics. Whether it proves he is an elitist is another matter. You're going to have to demonstrate a bigger string of behavior to show that a guy who commutes into DC on the train each day and has a working class background, not to mention the 99th lowest net worth of any sitting senator believes that he is inherently smarter &better than everyone else...
8.24.2008 6:04pm
Brian K (mail):
I'm not sure if this is well written sarcasm or if you are serious. David Brooks of all people praised Biden in his column on Friday as being a down to earth &about as un-elitist as you can get and still be a Senator. Perhaps you have some other evidence to support your claim?

you mean you don't know that all democrats everywhere are "elitist"? while all republicans are just like the average joe and the fact they are millionaires with >=7 houses doesn't change that one bit.
8.24.2008 6:13pm
Hoosier:
"while all republicans are just like the average joe and the fact they are millionaires with >=7 houses doesn't change that one bit."

ALL of them, huh?

Then where the Hell are my other 6 houses?!
8.24.2008 6:17pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Joe Kowalski,

Consider Jeremiah 5:21:
"Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not."

Thomas Chalkley put it in 1713:
"There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know."
8.24.2008 6:18pm
Hoosier:
"Biden is a down to earth guy? You mean the Joe Biden who told a questioner "I think I have a much higher IQ than you do."

Which proves he has a tendency to speak more bluntly and rudely than is advisable in politics. Whether it proves he is an elitist is another matter. "

I take that more as sign of insecurity about his academic background, and perceptions of his intelligence. He's very touchy about perceived insults and slights. I just can't understand this, coming from a guy who has been in the Senate as long as he has. But LBJ was also like that. So what can one say about personalities?
8.24.2008 6:20pm
loki13 (mail):
Holsinger,

I can play!

He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. Luke 1:50

No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Luke 16:13

Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. Matt 19:21

I can haz se7en houzez and beez a kept man wid a pre-nupz when i ditch my ugleez wif?

(selective out of context Bbile quoting... it's fun!)
8.24.2008 6:30pm
Hoosier:
BT:

"IMO this is the same situation that the GOP found itself in Chicago and other big cities in the 40s &50s with Poles, Slavics, etc. The GOP drove these groups (who were natural allies) to the D's because of an outwardly hostile bias towards them (anti-immigrant views, etc.) "

But these groups began moving *toward the GOP* at exactly this time. Keep in mind Truman's concern about the Chicago Polish vote when at Yalta. The Cold War was a significant factor in bringing a lot of "White-ethnics"--i.e., Eastern Europeans--into the GOP camp.

I'm not sure that the GOP was notably anti-immigrant in the post-WWII period, as compared with the decade-or-so after WWI. Keep in mind that McCarran and Walter (of McCarran-Walter Act fame) were BOTH Democrats. True, Truman vetoed the MWA. But he was overriden by healthy margins in a Democratic-controlled Congress.
8.24.2008 6:30pm
loki13 (mail):
Hoosier,

I think it comes from being self-made, and hanging around all the eltists and those who received their positions, as the Beatles put, with a little help from their friends (families).
8.24.2008 6:32pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Not to get too far off topic, but I have seen comments like the one by Ltrain 181

It's hard to imagine anyone "expanding government" further and with more deleterious effects than Bush, Cheney and their yes-men in Congress and on the Supreme Court. Patriot Act? New FISA law? The false category of "enemy combatants" and the exclusive executive right to determine the fate of such persons? Political litmus tests for judicial appointees to serve the Executive's will?

I assume that Ltrain181 is sincere. And I'm always amazed by the historical illiteracy exhibited by statements like these.

I fault the teachers and professors for someone making a statement like this. It doesn't take any special knowledge; a broad reading of history is all that's needed.
Should they have been taught about the FDR administration somewhere along the line?

About not just appointing judges to the Supreme Court that were willing to go along with every law that FDR passed, but attempting to change the very structure of the court itself when certain judges resisted? Where's Bush administration's plan to get rid of some sitting judges by changing the number of judges on the court?

About FDR creating concentration camps for hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans and their families and children. Compare that to the Bush administration fear of "profiling" Arabs despite the fact that they have perpetrated every terrorist attack? So now we have strip searches of elderly white women just to make it fair.

About FDR's speedy trail and execution of German would-be saboteurs despite the fact that they never actually committed any acts of sabotage? And Bush gets beaten about the head and shoulders hourly about Club Gitmo where the prisoners are getting fat?

About the cult of personality created by the Roosevelt administration aided and abetted by Hollywood. A cult that is reminiscent of Stalin's?

Is there any effort at all to acquaint young people with the tiniest bit of history and realism about our government?

It's not Ltrain181's fault. He doesn't know any better. Do his professors?
8.24.2008 6:38pm
Hoosier:
loki--You may be right. But it is odd to think of Truman, Eisenhower, and LBJ as being in the same boat, and ending up in the same office.

Truman surrounded himself with bright, giften, educated men. Despite the fact that he was the only president in the 20th Century who never went to college, he was not intimidated. Nor did he feel the need to apologize for his shortcomings.

It never would have occured to Eisenhower that Ivy-educated advisors--the Dulles Brothers, Bobby Cultler, Bob Bowie, etc.--were "better and brighter" than he was. They were his staff. He was the president.

But then you have LBJ, who wallowed in self-pity. Who said that he'd never get credit for anything he did in foreign affairs as president, since he didn't go to Harvard. (Which was nuts.) And who felt the need to humiliate people who had a better formal education.

I'm not saying that Biden seeks to humiliate staff. I have no idea, but have never heard that he does. Still, a former SFRC staffer said to me this morning at breakfast that Biden has a "need to let you know what he knows." That's more like LBJ than like HST or DDE.

I'm not saying this makes him a bad guy. There are far worse sins one can find in a politician. But the Obama handlers better be ready, since McCain and co. know exactly what buttons to push to get an intemperate response ("My IQ is higher than YOU IQ") out of Biden.

The odd story that Richard Ben Cramer reported: Biden has Ivy-envy, like LBJ had. He once said something like "There's a river of power that runs through this country, and it flows through th Ivy League." And so he sent his son to . . . uh, Penn. Which suggested to me that he might not quite "get it" about the Ivies and the elite.

So, I still think Obama would have been better off choosing someone else.
8.24.2008 6:49pm
corneille1640 (mail):

Keep in mind Truman's concern about the Chicago Polish vote when at Yalta.

Was Truman at Yalta?
8.24.2008 6:50pm
Hoosier:
No, no. I meant Potsdam. Sorry.

When I think Polish Americans and the Democrats, I think "Yalta."
8.24.2008 6:51pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Joe Kowalski,

Which proves he has a tendency to speak more bluntly and rudely than is advisable in politics. Whether it proves he is an elitist is another matter. You're going to have to demonstrate a bigger string of behavior to show that a guy who commutes into DC on the train each day and has a working class background, not to mention the 99th lowest net worth of any sitting senator believes that he is inherently smarter &better than everyone else...



Speaking bluntly is a virtue. Don't know if commuting by train is, or a lot of Wall Street types would be virtuous. Ditto for the working class background. And the fact that his net worth is so low is a testimony to either poor planning or poor spending habits because if you save as little as he has after spending most of your life as a senator making six figures, I would wonder why.

Finally, the best part of the exchange with his questioner was omitted earlier. But since you raised the subject, I'll give you the full story.

Via Beldar:
The whole story appears in an NYT article by none other than E.J. Dionne. In addition to claiming he has a higher IQ than the questioner (unprovable either way without getting test scores for them both), Biden insisted that he had three degrees from college (when in fact he had only one, albeit that with a double-major.) He claimed to have been recognized as the "outstanding student" in his college political science department, when in fact he had only been nominated for an award (which he didn't win). Biden claimed to have had a full academic scholarship to law school, when he actually had only a half-scholarship based on financial need.

And most incredibly, at least to me, Biden also claimed to have graduated in the top half of his law school class. That was an incredible whopper, since he actually graduated 76th out of a class of 85 -- a class rank that reflected, but was not by any means the result solely of, the F he got in a first-year course after he was caught having plagiarized five times from a law review article in a class paper he submitted.

That plagiarism, of course, was dramatic foreshadowing to his plagiarizing from speeches of Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, Hubert Humphrey, and Robert F. Kennedy during his aborted bid for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination.
Aren't you glad you asked?
8.24.2008 6:53pm
Hoosier:
Sorry--For those who don't do diplomatic history--thus, for the *employed* people out there--Truman was worried about the Polish vote in Chicago largely because of perceptions that the Democrats--FDR and co.--had given away the store to Stalin at the Yalta Conference.
8.24.2008 6:53pm
Hoosier:
"And most incredibly, at least to me, Biden also claimed to have graduated in the top half of his law school class. That was an incredible whopper, since he actually graduated 76th out of a class of 85 -"

And so now you're gonna attack him just because he isn't great at math?
8.24.2008 6:56pm
loki13 (mail):
Hoosier,

I'm not disagreeing with you; it's not an attractive personality trait (assuming he has it from my armchair psychoanalysis). Call it the IQ/elite version of "short person" syndrome.

I do disagree with on Yalta. I think that FDR giving away the store is a (largely right-wing) myth that has been perpetuated. It's the old "fifth column" being "stabbed in the back" that always rears its ugly head in a variety of situations and countries. In short, the siituation on the ground was what it was. We weren't going to war again with the Soviet Union. See. e.g.
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/06/0081080

Whether you believe it or not, I find the new revisionism about Yalta (we gave it all away) frankly disgusting, on a par with the recent posts about how Reagan and "state's rights". Historical revisionism- not just for leftists (and Ward Churchill) anymore!
8.24.2008 7:09pm
whit:
for all his many faults, the worst for biden imo is his gun grabber stance. and that is not rhetoric. he has literally expressed that desire.

obama has a strong history of being agaisnt gun rights but has at least talked a good talk about "supporting the individual's right", although like the SCOTUS minority in the heller case one can apparently simultaneously be for an 'individual right' while believing that legislation that completely eviscerates that right is constitutional. it's a neat trick.

it's like saying one support the "constitutional" right to choice.

and then saying but of course the right to choice only applies to sub 14 yr old rape victims.
8.24.2008 7:23pm
Psalm91 (mail):
Terms that no longer have real descriptive meaning or factual basis but are used only as compliments or slurs, or so as to free the user from any burden of actual proof or explanation:

"liberal"

"tax and spend democrat"

"small/limited government conservative"

"liberal media/MSM"

"free enterprise/market conservative"
8.24.2008 7:24pm
Syd Henderson (mail):

Biden insisted that he had three degrees from college (when in fact he had only one, albeit that with a double-major.)



Moneyrunner43: Seeing as how Biden graduated from both the University of Delaware and the law school at Syracuse, he must have at least two degrees.
8.24.2008 7:24pm
Hoosier:
"liberal media/MSM"

So NYT is not a "liberal medium"? WaPo? New Republic?

How odd. They were last time I looked. Which was Friday.
8.24.2008 7:37pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
weevil:

It's true that "young people strongly favor Obama", though not all that many can be bothered to get off their butts and vote for him


You're precisely right, provided you ignore the fact that a significant number of them decided "to get off their butts and vote for him" in the primaries:

In 2004, voters aged 29 or younger represented 9% of the Democratic primary electorate, according to statistics compiled from exit polls. In 2008, that fraction jumped to 14%, representing a 52% improvement as a share of the electorate.


Young voters are indeed turning out in large numbers, by historical standards.

large numbers of them will turn Republican and vote Republican for decades before they die


Keep hope alive. Currently, lots of people who used be R aren't anymore. You should explain what you think is going to cause this trend to reverse.
8.24.2008 7:47pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dave n:

Winning 7 of 10 Presidential elections since 1964 certainly is an interesting way to go about "dying."


Using an arbitrary cutoff to polish the statistics is an interesting way to conduct an argument. Yes, it's correct to say the GOP won 7 of the last 10. But the following statements are also correct:

7 of the last 12
5 of the last 8
2 of the last 4

There's nothing magic about picking the interval you did, except for the fact that it looks a little better for you than the other choices. And the overall situation looks even closer to a tie when you take into account the closeness of 2000, where Bush lost the popular vote. And in 2004, he won only 50.7% of the popular vote. Not exactly a landslide (although lots of so-called liberal reporters called it a "mandate").

It's interesting to apply a similar analysis to congress. Dems controlled the House from 1955 to 1995. Then it was in GOP hands for 12 years. No one is expecting it to be back in GOP hands anytime soon. Exact same pattern in the Senate, except for the fact that the GOP ran the Senate from 1981-1987. From here.

Here's a related factoid. Dubya's party controlled the House for six years. The last president to enjoy that advantage was Truman. From here.

bob:

It had been 50 years since the GOP had the House.


40, according to this.
8.24.2008 7:48pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mad:

The pathologies crippling black communities are a result of … Democrat welfare policies… But you can go ahead and claim that African-Americans are too stupid, corrupt and immoral to ever vote Republican.


There's quite a bit of irony there. You're essentially claiming that blacks are too dumb to figure out that it's dumb for them to vote D. And then in your next breath you suggest that it's Ds who think blacks are dumb. Nice!

Anyway, I'm surprised there's been this much discussion about blacks and the GOP and no one has mentioned Lee Atwater and the Southern strategy.
8.24.2008 7:48pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
super:

Americans should look at states like Maryland, Mass, Illinois, and California to see the future. As a state becomes more diverse, it becomes more Democratic voting.


I think VA is a nice example of that dynamic.
8.24.2008 7:48pm
Dave N (mail):
Jukeboxgrad,

If you want to play games with statistics and say that 2000 and 2004 should not count, then perhaps we should not count 1996, 1992, 1976, 1968, or 1960 because they were either exceedingly close or the winner received less than a majority of the popular vote.
8.24.2008 8:14pm
VincentPaul (mail):
And Eugene V. Debs was pardoned by Warren G. Harding (R).
8.24.2008 8:28pm
MarkField (mail):

So NYT is not a "liberal medium"? WaPo? New Republic?

How odd. They were last time I looked. Which was Friday.


You neglected to account for the effect of political parallax. Oddly enough, I read the same sources on the same day and they were all conservative.
8.24.2008 8:43pm
Dave N (mail):
MarkField,

If you do not think the New York Times, in particular, but also the WaPo and the New Republic are not liberal, it says more about your political worldview than theirs.
8.24.2008 8:46pm
superdestroyer (mail):
I love all of the divided government types who argue

1. Republicans wander in the wilderness as a minority party.
2. ??????
3. Politics changes.

Of course all historical examples were before the voting rights act and involved white voters. An expansion of the voting rights act, a new fairness doctrine, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and expansion of AA and there is not return from the wilderness for the Republicans.

Given the demographic changes promoted by the Democratic Party, it might as well be change its name to the Institutional Revolutionary Party since the Democratic Party will have the same lock on power.
8.24.2008 8:50pm
Hoosier:
Parallax might explain it. I'm on Earth. Where are you?
8.24.2008 10:43pm
MarkField (mail):

If you do not think the New York Times, in particular, but also the WaPo and the New Republic are not liberal, it says more about your political worldview than theirs.


Well, that was pretty much the point of my previous comment. Tu quoque, though.

I'll say this -- all three gave essential support to the Iraq War, which I consider a defining issue, and the latter two still support it. The WaPo, in addition, continuously undermines Social Security (see, e.g., here). Again, that's pretty much a defining issue. TNR (or at least Marty Peretz) is very supportive of the Administration on most foreign policy issues, including torture.

But getting into a detailed analysis here wasn't my point. The point was that we all find in the media things that our own prejudices predispose us to find.
8.24.2008 10:44pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
There's nothing magic about picking the interval you did, except for the fact that it looks a little better for you than the other choices.
The reason he picked the interval he did is because 1964 was the absolute nadir for the GOP, which had won only 2 of the last 9 elections and had been blown out in a humongous landslide, and it seemed crazy to think that the GOP could rebound. Instead, it marked the end of Democratic dominance.
It's interesting to apply a similar analysis to congress. Dems controlled the House from 1955 to 1995. Then it was in GOP hands for 12 years. No one is expecting it to be back in GOP hands anytime soon.
Nobody was expecting it to be back in GOP hands in 1994, either.
8.24.2008 10:45pm
MarkField (mail):

Parallax might explain it. I'm on Earth. Where are you?


The baseline between CA and IN is plenty long enough.
8.24.2008 10:46pm
VincentPaul (mail):
This from another blog (not my work), but I had to share: "So Obama thinks a proven liar, intellectual thief and dummy is the perfect guy to possibly replace him! Well, he would know. And I'm sure the Republican press won't bother mentioning this at all..."
8.24.2008 11:25pm
Hoosier:
"The point was that we all find in the media things that our own prejudices predispose us to find."

Sometimes. But as a universal law of news-reading? Nope.

In any event, I have to admit that I'm rather Wittgensteinian about this. There are no "private languages"; no sensible meaning to the concept that "When *I* use the term 'conservative,' this is what it means."

In the "language game" (to use Wittgenstein's term) of American politics, NYT is liberal. If you say that it isn't, you must be conversing within a different game.

I'm just unclear on who the other players are.
8.24.2008 11:55pm
The General:
whatever. Obama still has no accomplishments to speak of that make him qualified or competent in the least to be president. Picking Biden just offers another chance to emphasize that. Whomever he picked wouldn't have changed those basic facts.
8.24.2008 11:56pm
ThinkNORML (mail):
by picking Joe "lock up Chong and his bong" Biden, Barack Obama basically just told the drug law reform community to kiss his ......

6-7-8% consistently for a few elections in a row can change the world.
8.25.2008 12:58am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dave n:

If you want to play games with statistics and say that 2000 and 2004 should not count, then perhaps we should not count 1996, 1992, 1976, 1968, or 1960 because they were either exceedingly close or the winner received less than a majority of the popular vote.


1960: Kennedy got 49.7% of the popular vote. Fair enough, tiny margin. Tinier than Bush's margin (50.7%) in 2004. But not quite as tiny as Bush's margin in 2000.

1968: If you want to not count it, that's OK with me. The winner was Nixon.

1976: Carter got 50.1% of the popular vote. Fair enough, same analysis as 1960.

1992: Clinton 43.3%, Bush 37.7%, Perot 19%. I don't see how this helps you. Yes, Clinton got less than 50%, but that was obviously on account of Perot. You want to claim Perot only stole votes from Bush? I don't think so. My vote is part of Perot's 19%.

1996: Clinton 50%, Dole 42%, Perot 8%. Same analysis as 1992.

In short, you're correct to point out that 2004 has to count if we count 1960 and 1976. But no victory margin on this list is small enough to match Bush's negative margin in 2000.
8.25.2008 1:34am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
So NYT is not a "liberal medium"?


They were so liberal they did a fine job of helping Dubya lie us into war (start here and keep scrolling).
8.25.2008 1:35am
Hoosier:
"My vote is part of Perot's 19%. "

Hey, no biggie. Lots of us were on drugs in the early '90s.
8.25.2008 2:22am
Careless:

And having said that, I'd like to see the GOP appeal more to Hispanics. The question that I have about Hispanics is one of history: Will they be more like the other Catholic groups who have immigrated to the US, and moved from Dem to GOP as they get more education and move into the middle classes? Or will they be more like Af-Ams or Jews, who don't "Republicanize" in great percentages as they move up in SES?

I must admit that I'm NOT interested in hearing anyone's predictions at this point: It's just way too early.

Too early? we have 4 generations of data on Mexican American families. How many more do we need?
8.25.2008 4:46am
Careless:

1992: Clinton 43.3%, Bush 37.7%, Perot 19%. I don't see how this helps you. Yes, Clinton got less than 50%, but that was obviously on account of Perot. You want to claim Perot only stole votes from Bush? I don't think so. My vote is part of Perot's 19%.

16 years later, we've got tons of analysis on this. 2/3-3/4 of Perot voters were Bush voters without him there. The election wouldn't have been considered close had Perot not entered.
8.25.2008 5:19am
Careless:
by the way, next time Jukebox claims he isn't a partisan hack, look there.
8.25.2008 5:21am
James Gibson (mail):
4 generations of data on Mexican American families. People like a person I know who traces his family back to the New Mexico territory before the Mexican American War. He neither speaks or reads Mexican or Spanish, he is college educated, and he is totally against Obama. Conservative, yes, Neo-con, no.

The Hispanic vote is primarily either new immigrant or those who are still first generation. The older generations, many of which have trouble associating with the new generations, tend to be conservative. All have in common however the fact that if their wasn't this immigration issue they would have very conservative views marriage, abortion, church and state, etc. They are not as monolithic as the Black community. Thus, if Mc Cain can remind them that he put forth the amnesty bill and a few of his more liberal views, and he gets a VP that is also in good standing with the Hispanics he can undermine Obama in that ethnic group. Besides, the Blacks and Hispanics in California have been at odds with each other for the last decade as the Hispanics have gone from number two minority to number one leaving the Blacks behind. They have reservations about putting a black in the presidency on the grounds he may try and turn back that ethnic clock.

Obama he has also now sided with a know super gun-controlists. As if he didn't already have trouble in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Even by the gun control movements shrinking minority numbers gun owners constitute a minimum of 60 million Americans. If you go by Gallup, its 90 million with half of all white males from 18 to 50 owning a gun. The NRA is just waiting for a Biden Gaff on guns to broadcast in all the southern, mid western and even western states.
8.25.2008 5:52am
Careless:
You might want to look up "anecdote" and "data" Mr. Gibson. The ugly facts about 3rd and 4th generation Mexican Americans cannot be waved away by you talking about some guy you know. Of course, the only real positive chance in the rates in this group from the first to fourth generation is in English competency. They peak, more or less, in education, income, etc in the second and third generation (and become far, far more criminal in the generations after the first).

And then you go on to act as if pro-illegal immigration is wildly popular with this group.

Yes, the trend towards a massive Mexican+some other Latino voting block isn't good for black candidates, but it's lethal for small government types.
8.25.2008 6:33am
Hoosier:
"Too early? we have 4 generations of data on Mexican American families. How many more do we need?"


We need a substantial percentage moving into the middle class. My point was about the connection between SES and changes in voting patterns.
8.25.2008 7:46am
superdestroyer (mail):
the question is whether open borders and unlimited immigration will allow many second and third generation mexican-americans to move above blue collar work (based upon Texas it will not) but will it result in pulling down many middle class whites from the middle class to poverty. If you look at places with large numbers of poor mexican-americans, there are usually few whites. Can blue collar whites keep moving to avoid the impacts of open borders and unlimited immigration. It is obvious that blue collar and middle income whites will be too small a group to make any changes in the political arena.
8.25.2008 8:45am
Angus:

unlimited immigration will allow many second and third generation mexican-americans to move above blue collar work (based upon Texas it will not) but will it result in pulling down many middle class whites from the middle class to poverty.


How exactly is this supposed to happen? Middle class jobs usually require a college education, so I don't see how less-educated immigrants will compete for those jobs. So maybe you can tell me how immigration "pulls down" the middle class.
8.25.2008 8:55am
superdestroyer (mail):
Angus,

Many middle class jobs used to not require a college education. When you flood the labor market is illegal aliens and with the children of immgrants, employers will pay less. That forces everyone to want to go to college which means that the pay for entry level white collar jobs will go down because so many people will be applying for each job.

As was shown during the Clinton Adminstration, if you want pay to rise, then number of jobs on the market needs to exceed the number of people looking for jobs. Open borders and unlimited immigration makes the reserve happen.

Also, look at unpaid interships. They are increasing because the competition for white collar jobs keeps going up. In addition, graduate level degrees are required for entry level due to the large number of college graduates.
8.25.2008 9:35am
A.W. (mail):
Mmm, I would say Biden is a safe choice, but Biden's worst enemy has always been his mouth.

I would have preferred a Bayh or some other current or former governor who has been governor for a while (thus not Kaine)--you know, someone with actual administrative experience.

For McCain, i would say the man would be crazy right now not to pick a woman. Right when so many women feel betrayed by the Dems, it would be a coup on McCain's part. The republicans telling mccain to run to the right are wrong. As long as McCain keeps that center appeal, many dems will abandon the clearly unqualified Obama for him.
8.25.2008 9:48am
Angus:

When you flood the labor market is illegal aliens and with the children of immgrants, employers will pay less. That forces everyone to want to go to college which means that the pay for entry level white collar jobs will go down because so many people will be applying for each job.

Here's one think tank that concludes exactly the opposite -- that immigration helps the middle class by providing new buyers for goods and stimulating the demand side of job creation. http://www.drummajorinstitute.org/immigration/
8.25.2008 11:12am
Gummint Growthy (mail):
Mad Swine, who I concede is a bright, decent person with whom anyone would like to hoist a few, is just kidding himself about the potential of African-Americans as future Republican voters. The one "reality" that black people simply will not allow themselves to let go of is presumed white malevolence, meaning exclusion from private sector work. For black people, employment means public sector jobs, period. This means the Democratic party.
8.25.2008 3:26pm
Down from the Ivory Tower:

people like myself who fear a vast expansion of government should Obama win the election

How can any conservative say this and keep a straight face after the last eight years?
8.25.2008 4:00pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
A.W.,

IMO McCain will pick Romney now. Among other things, the GOP ticket would be best served by a straight man during the vice-presidential debates - someone whom voters would identify with as he just sits there and delivers an open-mouthed stare at Biden while Biden says the most amazing things out of total self-admiration.
8.25.2008 5:26pm
Hoosier:
For McCain, i would say the man would be crazy right now not to pick a woman. Right when so many women feel betrayed by the Dems, it would be a coup on McCain's part.

McCain/Blackburn '08
8.25.2008 6:20pm
TalkingHead:
Obama is to JFK (charismatic, but inexperienced and overrated) as Biden to LBJ (experienced senator who lacks some basic social graces).
8.25.2008 7:57pm
Smokey:
If the Kenyan Odumbo gets in with a heavy DemocRat majority, it's Katy Bar the Door with regard to the ravenous tax-suckers.

You think GWB was a big spender? With a 'Rat majority??

You ain't seen nothin' yet!


Word up.
8.26.2008 1:10am
Alan Jeffries (mail):
biden is not particulary charismatic? do you and i listen and watch the same joe biden?
8.26.2008 1:11am
Draconem:
Ilya, if you are worried about the growth of the state, in this election you should consider voting Obama. McCain is (amazingly I must add) proposing more spending than Obama. Below is a summary of the major proposals of the candidates based on the economic plans posted on each's website:

OBAMA

$160 billion health plan
$25-75 billion foreign aid
$18 billion education
$15 billion green energy plan
($10 billion defense spending)
($20 billion for ending Iraq war 6 months prior to McCain as Obama plans 16 month withdrawal whereas McCain likely to stay until 2011)

MCCAIN

$200-400 billion military (Foreign Affairs Nov/Dec McCain advocated return to cold war military spending levels, was 6% of GDP under Reagan, now at 3.7%, $13.84 trillion GDP)
$130 billion health plan (covers 17 million to 30 million less than Obama)
$15 billion energy independence
$10 billion missile defense
$10 billion for education
($30 billion pork spending)

McCain is proposing $325-$525 billion per year in spending increases, Obama $188-$238 billion per year. Given that, if you'd still think McCain will limit the growth of gov't compared to Obama, it appears you'd have to believe that the Democratic Congress will restrict McCains desire to spend like a drunken sailor on the military. That's a tenuous position to take considering the power of the president over the budget, executive orders, the signing of Bush's defense budgets by the Democratic Congress, etc..
8.26.2008 1:26am
Draconem:
The comparison of the health plans can be found here: tax policy center
8.26.2008 1:29am
Nathan Hall (mail):
Is Bob Barr not a viable candidate for those who'd like to prevent expansion of federal power? Unlike most Libertarian nominees, he's credible on a majority of issues and isn't pressing for any really radical policies except perhaps the end of the drug war. Rather, he'd bring to nearly every issue a libertarian outlook that is within the mainstream of one party or the other. School choice, lower and simpler taxes, private retirement accounts, careful withdrawal from Iraq, removal or prevention of federal interference with the states on gay marriage and abortion, and no federalization of the world's best health care industry. Nether Obama nor McCain can promise half as much. Plus, if you want to see chaos and gridlock in Washington, just wait 'till you elect a real outsider!

Your one vote won't decide this election, anyway, so the argument that he can't win shouldn't influence anyone. If you only vote when you think you're going to decide the winner, you should never vote anyway. So why not support the candidate who actually most represents what you want from a president? Why not work to overthrow the two party system, instead of just slowing down the demise of liberty?
8.26.2008 2:11am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier:

Hey, no biggie. Lots of us were on drugs in the early '90s.


You stopped after the early '90s? Why? Anyway, I've made some great decisions while high. Haven't you? Although I've generally avoided the drugs that Cindy McCain was using. Also, unlike her I never stole any.

Anyway, I like your point, that Perot's core demographic was pot-smokers. Who knew?
8.27.2008 1:55am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
careless:

16 years later, we've got tons of analysis on this. 2/3-3/4 of Perot voters were Bush voters without him there. The election wouldn't have been considered close had Perot not entered.


Which is it, 2/3 or 3/4? Let's assume the former, for a moment. The results, again, were this:

1992: Clinton 43.3%, Bush 37.7%, Perot 19%

If you take Perot's 19% and give Bush 2/3 of it (and give Clinton 1/3), this is what you get:

Clinton 49.6%, Bush 50.4%

Now let's try the other end of the range you suggested, and give Bush 75% of Perot's votes. This is what you get:

Clinton 48.1%, Bush 52.0%

So if I accept the lower end of your range (2/3), Bush's margin would have been 0.8%. You think such a result "wouldn't have been considered close?" Of course it would have been considered close.

If I accept the higher end of your range (3/4), then Bush's margin would have been 3.9%. I'm not sure I would call that close, but it's also not a landslide.

It turns out the crossover point is 65%. If you assign at least that many of Perot's voter to Bush, then he wins. Otherwise, he doesn't.

we've got tons of analysis on this


I'd love to see it. The only analysis I can find quickly says this:

the impact of Mr. Perot's supporters on the campaign's outcome appears to have been minimal. If Mr. Perot had not been on the ballot, 38 percent of his voters said, they would have voted for Gov. Bill Clinton, and 38 percent said they would have voted for President Bush


So it turns out your statement ("the election wouldn't have been considered close had Perot not entered") turns out to be correct: if Perot was not in the race, his votes would have split evenly, and that means the result would have been this: Clinton 52.5, Bush 46.9. You're right, that's not terribly close.

Anyway, if you want to claim that Perot spoiled things for Bush in '92, then you have to acknowledge that Nader spoiled things for Gore in 2000. Especially because Gore won the popular vote before you even take into account Nader's 2.7%. Surely 80% or more of that would have gone to Gore.

You recall that Bush won FL by 537 votes. Nader got this many votes in FL: 97,488.

next time Jukebox claims he isn't a partisan hack, look there.


I wish I knew what you were talking about. What's "there?" Did you mean to provide a link? I guess the name you picked for yourself is apt.
8.27.2008 1:56am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
drac:

Below is a summary of the major proposals of the candidates based on the economic plans posted on each's website


How dare you base an argument on actual data?

Speaking of actual data, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center figured out that there's a $2.8 trillion gap in McCain's economic plan. The gap is so obvious that the McCain campaign had to admit that he's been making statements that shouldn't be considered "official." In other words, "McCain may not speak for the McCain campaign." Inspires confidence, right?
8.27.2008 1:56am