Democrats & Liberals Archives

Grace Under Pressure in Politics: Who's The Real Agent of Change?

I came across this, taking a stroll through the Blogosphere: some heckler asked Obama some rather pointed questions about race relations. Barack Obama then proceed to answer the question rather effectively, blunting his objections. But that wasn’t the whole story!

The rest of the story came to me when I looked at the New York Times political blog. It seems that there was a rather vocal set of people from a rather radical African Communist group, who were essentially calling Barack Obama a stooge of the capitalists, aligned with the greedy pigs.

Obama could have let them simply be shouted down, but that's not his style. And its a good style, if you can think on your feet. Bush and Rove's political operation did plenty to defeat Democrats, but in the end, it only served to make them stronger, because there was no middle ground with the GOP, and those the GOP alienated either sat things out or went to those who still wanted moderates and free thinkers around. Republicans note with a certain self-assuredness that some of the Democrats who are winning elections are conservatives, but they're kind of missing the point. The point would be, sincere accommodation yields stronger political power than alienating attempts to marginalize those who don't toe a political line.

The Republicans look rather derisively upon Obama's open-arms approach to politics, but what they don't realize is that beneath what they may see as a touchy-feely exterior is a blunt psychological reality: if you want to get past people's defenses, the first step is not to be the one sowing the seeds of discord. It's served him well. One of the most powerful political couples in recent Democratic Party history threw the kitchen sink at him, and still he won. That is strength it doesn't pay to underestimate, and his outreach to those beyond his strongest supporters is part of it.

Now we've seen the McCain Campaign's approach. They're trying to set Obama as the empty suit, as the false prophet, as a guy who's just a bit (well maybe more) out of his depth. But who really is out of his depth? Age and experience do not necessarily translate to wisdom and competence.

McCain is the fellow who did a rather interesting interpretation of the Beach Boy's Barbara Ann, altering it to suit what seemed to be a geopolitical military policy. He's attacking Obama on personal grounds, not even bothering to try and make his own candidacy, his own policies equally captivating. Very likely, he can't. As much as he threw that red herring out about earmarks, he's been a Washington operator for the last 25 years, and it seems that when faced with a daunting primary run, he didn't stay true to his pre-primary positions, but instead turned himself into a Bush clone. All of a sudden, Iraq was a success, the tax cuts weren't irresponsible, and the radical fundamentalists preachers he once excoriated suddenly were his best friends in the world. The old Maverick seemed to believe that being a maverick wasn't good enough for today's politiics.

But then that smug young whippersnapper came along and managed to do everything he thought impossible. He went in there and broke records on small donors. He refused PAC Money, refused lobbyist's money, and pretty much kept his campaign clear of them. McCain had a bit of a problem. He'd neglected to tell anybody this, but this enemy of the corruption in Washington was right in the thick of a campaign literally run by them.

Obama is what McCain wants to be, just as JFK was what Nixon wanted to be, and would always envy.

The real question here, is who is more ready to handle events as they come, to deal with situations that are novel, not suited to some orthodoxy of ideological faith? Who managed to overturn the conventional wisdom in his own party, and wrest the nomination from the once inevitable candidate?

In November, we will have to chose between a man who styles himself a Maverick, but buckles to a broken party's platform, or the man who actually challenged the power structure in his party and won. Since this election is so much about change, why go with the man who can only promise change, rather than go with somebody who's already brought it? If all that experience hasn't made a better candidate of John McCain, why should folks vote for him?

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at August 3, 2008 8:48 PM
Comment #257608


excellent post!!

Posted by: Carolina at August 4, 2008 8:22 AM
Comment #257612

The revolution will not be televised, so I missed it!!! What revolution? The Ron Paul Revolution? Huh?

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 4, 2008 10:25 AM
Comment #257613

Once again, Stephen, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

Thank you!

Posted by: Marysdude at August 4, 2008 10:31 AM
Comment #257618

I will chime in, agreeing with Carolina and Marysdude.
The outcome of this contest is going to make some percentage of the populace unhappy, whichever way it ends. It is just refreshing to see Obama face issues and taunts and teases with cool determination. The literacy is a bonus I personally feel pride in, coming from one who may well represent us on the world stage again.
Long time, no see, dude….good to see you back.

Posted by: janedoe at August 4, 2008 12:36 PM
Comment #257623

I’m not back…just dropped by to say howdy…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 4, 2008 1:51 PM
Comment #257626

BHO and JMcC are not the only people running for POTUS. The best thing that could happen this year would be very large votes for 3rd, 4th and No Party candidates. Why haven’t there even been any nominating conventions for the duopoly yet? Saving there money for media buys closer to the election?

Really smart people, some of them on the Sunday morning talk shows, know two things. One is that BHO’s support is soft and unreliable. The other is that he will be screwed if the economy pickups before the election.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 4, 2008 2:24 PM
Comment #257630

I just have to ask this at the risk of being attacked by assorted “mongers”. What pride does a person feel in supporting a potential candidate whose notoriety comes from smacking a Capitol cop???
Sorry you can’t stay dude…..

Posted by: janedoe at August 4, 2008 3:15 PM
Comment #257634

“supporting a potential candidate whose notoriety comes from smacking a Capitol cop???”

janedoe, that’s the trouble with relying on the ignorant news media. First of all, people should smack cops more often. Especially cops that target specific persons based on their race, or their desire to have the General Counsel (no background check John anthrax Caulfield, also responsible for harrassment of individuals who have gone through the process of filing grievances. ) fired, because of pretended difficulties in recognizing one of only about a dozen black female congresswomen, when it is their job to recognize members of Congress. They’ve never had any trouble recognizing drunk congressmen, newly elected members, or white female congresspersons.

Rosa Parks was such a bitch. When they told her to get up and move further back, she should have just done what she was told.

“sorry you can’t stay dude…”, I don’t even know what you are talking about.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 4, 2008 3:49 PM
Comment #257636

Guess I was right and the first “monger” has shown up.

Wow Ohreally, looks like the proverbial nerve has been struck. And it looks to me like you’re having a problem deciding just who, and what you want to hate. And your comment about cops and their targets certainly is diametrical to your final comment relating to Rosa Parks.

Rosa Parks was such a bitch. When they told her to get up and move further back, she should have just done what she was told.

The comment to dude wasn’t directed at you, just as it wasn’t the first time I commented to him.

Posted by: janedoe at August 4, 2008 4:12 PM
Comment #257637

Ohreally, your comments are nonsensical when you are so inflamed. And you failed to answer the question I asked? What qualifications and history does she present that is appealing to you?

Posted by: janedoe at August 4, 2008 4:17 PM
Comment #257640

janedoe, you keep straying further and further off the topic, which is how peachey keen and wonderful BHO is or isn’t, even when he wonderfully blows his nose, or stylishly brushes his shoulder, or slyly gives the finger to an opponent.

Cynthia McKinney is one of a number of people who are the real versions, of many of the thing that BHO pretends to be, or is advertised as being. Cynthia McK is a real experienced Congressperson, who really grew up in the Civil Rights movement, just as other people were real community activists, not carpetbaggers who came to Chicago when Harold Washington was mayor, when real estate prices were low, and became properous through deals with developers, or other real state legislators, who actually wrote the bills that BHO was later credited with introducing, when he was running for the US Senate, against opponents (Blair Hull and Jack Ryan) who dropped out because of accusations in their sealed divorce papers that BHO’s handlers really thanked the media for publicizing for BHO’s benefit.

You haven’t struck any nerve, and I am not inflamed, but I am glad to have an opportunity to “monger” about reality, as opposed to the fictions that keep being written about BHO the graceful, who hasn’t actually done much of anything in his entire life, except benefit from the perception that he is the kind of person some people would like to have, in whatever the next higher political office was that was available for David Axelrod and the Strategy Group to make money in promoting him, when he never actually did anything in the previous office that he held.

Here is an article you really won’t like, even though it was published by Huffington, about BHO , and the Democratic Party. I won’t even bother posting another link to anything pointing out BHO’s B.S. on getting out of Iraq, but I understand that The View reran his appearance there this morning, and those videos are readily available for his fans to watch.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 4, 2008 5:10 PM
Comment #257658

Ohrealy, I don’t believe I’m the one straying, when you posted your defense of 3rd. or 4th. party candidates. When asked why you supported said possibilties, you threw back a filibuster-ique reply and added a two month old post about Obama that isn’t even applicable today. Never mind….we get it. .

Posted by: janedoe at August 4, 2008 8:07 PM
Comment #257660

janedoe, thanks for reminding me not to bother responding to anything you write.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 4, 2008 9:15 PM
Comment #257665

ohrealy, janedoe-
Settle down. Don’t make me pull this thread over and swat you two. ]=-{

Kidding. ;-). But behave.

Honestly, You can talk all about the duopolies and all this other stuff, but the fact of the matter is, the two main parties remain main mostly because with one vote, and a majority or plurality winning, any cluster of common political interest that splits its vote, even if its a majority cluster, will tend to lose against the clusters that remain the most together.

If those who are center to left, even if they are the majority, don’t unite, a Republican gets elected. In the case of 2000, a particular obnoxious and historically disastrous one. Same thing going the other way around. Clinton benefited from the flight of right-wing independents to Perot.

Long story short (I know mine can be lengthy) two parties become the leaders in any system where simple majorities and pluralities determine the outcome.

However, that can become more complicated, if we take things on a congressional level. The key there is, third party congressional candidates need a support base. We can pretend that one day, a green or a Libertarian just gets elected, but that’s not what actually happens. In truth, Democrats and Republicans win lots of elections because they have the infrastructure in place to win it.

If third parties are to reshape the map, they should find the weakest places, and start peeling back party support.

Even so, something should be kept in mind: compromise will become a major element of all this. Many third party folks have fantasies of purity and and hard-hitting obstruction of corrupt party policies. The problem is going to be, that the same rule that applies to elections, that a majority split into opposing factions loses, will apply in many votes

Which is to say, if they try to be pure on every issue, they’ll give more power to the side that does remain cohesive.

I think in the end, whatever route people take, Obama is right: we are the change we’re waiting for. Whoevers in charge, we can be passive enough that the politicians ignore us with impunity, or we can make sure they know where we stand, and we can make sure that as many people as possible stand the same way.

But we can’t pretend like it’s all out of our hands, at least not if we want a government that works.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2008 10:06 PM
Comment #257670

You have to dumb down the idea of “grace under pressure” to a pretty extreme level if you’re looking at how somebody responds to a heckler at a campaign rally.

Was this really some moment of extreme adversity in the life of Barack Obama? A moment of profound crisis which required Obama to rise to the heights of his leadership abilities?

One would need to have a pretty thin resume indeed for his supporters to see a great accomplishment in parrying the claims of a radical African communist.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 5, 2008 12:11 AM
Comment #257676


I hear your pain. I too admire Senator McKinney and feel she has been targeted because she is seen as being uppity (which we know is a no-no for black people) and a B——. IMO this is because she holds people accountable and asks the questions the democratics and republicans won’t ask. Anyway, I use to be a died in the wool democrat but lean much more toward the green party now. With that said I am still throwing all my support behind Barack because he stands the best chance of breaking the GOP grindlock. We have to do that first before we can look toward ever having a more democratic system that allows for more than two parties. Only when we allow other parties to debate and the media treats other presidential candidates equally will we have a true democracy.

IMO we can not afford to throw votes away this year-for the life of our country we MUST get the republicans out of office.

Posted by: Carolina at August 5, 2008 7:58 AM
Comment #257679


You have to dumb down the idea of “grace under pressure” to a pretty extreme level if you’re looking at how somebody responds to a heckler at a campaign rally.

No, I don’t. I’m not telling people this is the greatest example of his cool. It’s an example, and a minor one at that. But it’s symbolic of his approach. This is not a guy who keeps protestors in “Free Speech” zones. This is a guy who can give them straight answers and still look good doing it.

Was this really some moment of extreme adversity in the life of Barack Obama? A moment of profound crisis which required Obama to rise to the heights of his leadership abilities?

No. Why does it have to be? Look, I don’t need to belabor the guy’s virtues. He lead a grassroots movement to overturn what was once the inevitably continuing dynasty of Democratic Party Politics. He kept his cool and did not strike back in kind as Clinton laid into him with her kitchen sink strategy, and kept his cool as the campaign drug out interminably, as the Clintons clung to the campaign with their fingernails.

This? This is just a reminder of that political skill which makes him such a promising candidate for us. Rather than have these people escorted out, he promises to hear them out, quiets them down, hears them out later, and successfully answers their provocative questions.

He could have gotten nasty, could have called for somebody to take these people out, or sat like a wimp as they disrupted his speech. But he took control of the situation without having to be aggressive about it.

One would need to have a pretty thin resume indeed for his supporters to see a great accomplishment in parrying the claims of a radical African communist.

You just had to get that “thin resume” in somewhere! I’m not trying to sell this as an epic achievement, just a minor example that reminds us why he’s overall preferable to McCain.

McCain has little patience. It’s barely August, and he’s already throwing the nasty ads at Obama. Even seasoned observers are surprised about how ugly and how fast McCain has gotten. When he’s challenged, he snaps back. This attack-happy approach is glad to avoid the issues, glad to avoid matters of substance, where Republicans this year can’t help but lose.

He could have been creative. He could have been a genuine leader rather than a timid worshippers of the GOP’s broken idols. Obama challenged his party’s status quo and won. McCain’s just played it safe, and even now he avoids the subjects that hold risk for him with his finicky base.

I don’t mind a short resume if I think I’m getting a better caliber of applicant. When a person’s as creative and dynamic like him, you don’t look the gift horse in the mouth. This is a guy who one of the top law schools in the country felt was qualified to teach their students about the constitution. This is a guy who has proven his leadership skills in organizing one of the quickest and most bloodless takeovers in Democratic party history. One year ago, Clinton was inevitable. Now he’s accepted her concession. You guys are looking to underestimate him at every turn, to tell yourselves over and over again that he’s just some swelled head in an empty suit. But whatever you say, when people see him, they will encounter a knowledgeable, cool-headed, graceful, eloquent politician who undermines all of those characterizations by showing up. He can handle tough questions and hostile opponents. Can your candidate?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2008 9:20 AM
Comment #257680

If getting the Republicans out of office is the “change” you are most worried about, then the only thing changing is the party.

Who’s the real agent of change? The voters. And until they start voting for what’s best for the country instead of the party, nothing will change. It will only get worse.

Great link and it hits the nail on the head. The left would do itself a huge favor by learning from it.

Posted by: kctim at August 5, 2008 9:48 AM
Comment #257704

you listen to too much right wing news. Check out your information. Obama is leading McCain with white male blue collar workers. This information was just released yesterday. Where do you get your information about him being to black for whites and to white for blacks- Rush, Billo, Sean and the likes-they wouldn’t know a statistic if it fell on their heads-and certainly have no ability to interpret any statistics they might trip over-they make stuff up.

Posted by: Carolina at August 5, 2008 12:25 PM
Comment #257708

Use your brainless…vote for McCainless!

Vote for the idiot who thinks drilling for more oil is the answer to our energy problem…

Vote for the fool who believes we can ‘win’ the dishonorable stupidity in Iraq…

This is the mensa who thinks the answer to our mortgage banking bust is to make permanent those pesky tax breaks for the wealthy…


Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 12:39 PM
Comment #257709


Maybe I am back, after all…thanks for the welcome.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 12:43 PM
Comment #257711


The fact is Mr.Obama has whites who think he is too black and blacks who think he is too white.Liberals who think he is too conservitive and Independents who think he is too liberal.White men will not vote for him,most white women will not vote for him.He has a lock on the young voter at this time but even they are starting to lose faith in him.

He’s got no more of a problem with whites than any white Democratic Party candidate, and in case you didn’t notice, African Americans went for him by a ten to one margin. Most of the problems that people predicted Obama would have with different demographics have not materialized. Some Demographics favored Clinton more in the primary, but that doesn’t mean they were going to tell Obama to take a hike in the general election. If you don’t believe me, check out Obama’s numbers among Hispanics.

He is running even with McCain now but in November each voter will be alone in the voting booth knowing this could be the biggest mistake they ever made.

The trend as of late, when people are in the voting Booth has not been favorable. McCain is having to compete with more than just Obama, but the movement that took him to the nomination.

Should I roll the Dice and Vote Obama or should I Vote with my brain and Vote for McCain? USE YOUR BRAIN VOTE McCAIN!!!

We’ve taken a chance on a Republican twice, and our country’s been dropkicked into the mud. We did our best to try and make your approach work. If we don’t take a chance on Obama, we’re not voting with our brains. We’re not going to do the same thing all over again, and expect a different result.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2008 12:50 PM
Comment #257713

If getting the Republicans out of office is the ‘change’ you are most worried about, then the only thing changing is the party.

Posted by: kctim at August 5, 2008 09;48 AM


Even if you really believe you’re right about both parties being do-nothing bad guys, we have to accept some givens, i.e., no third party can break in until it has established small precinct victories, established a recognizable masthead, and prepared an infrastructure…that ain’t happenin’ this year.

Getting the current rats out is the best option available.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 12:53 PM
Comment #257721


AMEN!! I said the same thing on another post but you put it much more elegantly.

Posted by: Carolina at August 5, 2008 1:10 PM
Comment #257724


Stephen is the one who’s read this thing correctly. He’s right about Obama, who has grace under fire, and is more likely to make more sane dicisions if the poop hits the fan (pretty elegant too!) than McPain, who tends to go off at the slightest thing.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 1:35 PM
Comment #257736

Third parties will not get established until the people get over their fears of “what if the other side wins?”
I do not vote that way, I vote for what I believe in.
And yes, I do realize expecting other people to do the same and vote for country instead of party is a pipe dream, but without that pipe dream, there is no point in ever voting again.

Posted by: kctim at August 5, 2008 2:26 PM
Comment #257743

And yes, I do realize expecting other people to do the same and vote for country instead of party is a pipe dream, but without that pipe dream, there is no point in ever voting again.

Posted by: kctim at August 5, 2008 02:26 PM


By this do you mean those of us who vote the lesser of two evils are not voting for the COUNTRY??? You sound like Cheney/Bush when they fabricate a reason for going to war. My wrong vote is just as much for my country as your correct vote is…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 2:56 PM
Comment #257744

The little circles on the right of the ‘Post a Comment’ section that asks if we wish to be remembered???? It does not remember me anymore. Is anyone else having this problem? Does anyone know what to do about it?

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 2:59 PM
Comment #257749

As was done with the reasons for going to war, you fix to one where there are many.

If out of fear, you vote for the lesser of two evils instead of who best represents what you believe in, you are voting for party, not country. Rather than voting for who you believe is best to lead this country, you are settling for one party over another.

Posted by: kctim at August 5, 2008 3:52 PM
Comment #257752


Hardly that.

When you vote for the lesser of two evils, you vote for the one whom comes closest to your views who has a chance to win.

I am inclined to vote for Obama, not because he is the lesser of two evils. I honestly believe that he, of those who are possible to elect, is head and shoulders above the rest. And, I am convinced that McPain-in-the-butt, is another Cheney/Bush. I’d eat someone elses poop before I’d vote for him.

Name a third party candidate who is electable that shares your views…I may change my mind. Barr (Clinton’s impeachment for staining a dress), Nadar (unsafe even at a snails pace), or Paul ( funny guy, with a great sense of humor)?

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 4:03 PM
Comment #257756

You have to preview it first, before it will remember you.

The system gives victory to the political factions that gather the most support. People want their votes to count. Those who aren’t simply interested in just self-expression for its own sake will weigh their alternatives at the very least, if not vote entirely pragmatically.

As long as we have a system where the plurality if not the majority wins, people will naturally seek to create the largest possible bloc of voters for their purpose, if they can. It’s only when they become convinced that their vote isn’t making the impression that they thought it was that they reconsider it. It doesn’t help that third party candidates:

a) typically do more to get the other side’s fellow elected the more support they get.

b) have almost never won.

Rather than fight that, my suggestion is for third party folks to build up grassroots power in receptive places, and then start using the power they get as a bargaining chip to get third parties into the game on the local, state, and congressional levels. The key is to gain real power out there, not merely make statements. Obama didn’t just talk a good game about changing politics, he actually pulled it off in many ways, elevating registration, participation and small donor funding. He managed to wrest the party from the hands of those who had controlled it for a decade and a half. This guy can seriously talk about the changes he will enact, especially if he has coattails. There are plenty of people he did favors for, helped get elected.

You cannot build a castle of clouds and expect to stand on top of it one day. You must build your support, level by level, until that goal is achieved.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2008 4:21 PM
Comment #257761

I vote for the candidate who I feel will respect and support the US Constitution. Their “chance to win” does not enter into the equation.

No third party candidate is electable and I am still researching which candidate best represents my views.

Posted by: kctim at August 5, 2008 4:49 PM
Comment #257762


Thanks for the tip…

You are right about establishing a base before trying to fly. There can be exceptions to that, but the message and the messenger must also be exceptional (Bullmoose?).

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 4:51 PM
Comment #257764

I vote for the candidate who I feel will respect and support the US Constitution. Their ‘chance to win’ does not enter into the equation.

Posted by: kctim at August 5, 2008 04:49 PM


That’s one view, and I respect that, but it ain’t MY view. And like my vote is based on what I think is best for my country, my views on who to vote for and the reasons for voting should be just as respected.

You are having trouble finding an electable candidate. I have found one. We are different…that’s all, just different.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 4:58 PM
Comment #257765

Yes Dude, we are very different, but it is something I have become accustomed to. Hell, my wife is voting against Obama and there is nothing I can say to change that.

Posted by: kctim at August 5, 2008 5:24 PM
Comment #257766


I am voting FOR Obama, not AGAINST McPain-in-the-butt. Your wife is voting against Obama? Has she told you why?

My wife says she’s voting against him as well, but try as I might I cannot get her to tell me why. She was born in a tobacco field in North Carolina, and that might have something to do with it…I prefer to think she has a better reason, but…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 5:37 PM
Comment #257767

We have Marysdude back here, and I think I saw Rhinehold in another thread, so I would like to suggest that we have a quorum, although some good old timers are still missing and missed.

To S.D. et al, except DRRemer, the other parties are the only thing that can save us this year, and actually increase the probability of BHO getting elected. Babar should be his best friend now. Statistically, this year, 2008, is a bad number for Democrats. Truman and Jackson were the only Democrats ever elected in a year ending in 8. Democrats fare best after the census and reapportionment. The electoral college always favors the Rpblcns. Hayes, B.Harrison, and GWBush had fewer popular votes than Tilden 1876, Cleveland 1888(those evil 8s turned out a sitting President who was elected again in 1892) and Gore 2000. The best years for a Democrat end in a 2, the second best end in a 6, only because the guys elected in the years ending in 2 got reelected, and the third best end in a 4. Years ending in an 8 are too far away from reapportionment, favoring the choices of the electors in the smallest states, whose populations have double the influence in the electoral college.

People should vote for their favorite 3rd, 4th and No party candidates, wihtout fear for the duopoly. BHO supporters should look at Truman in 1948, who won in a four person race, including Progressive Henry A. Wallace. All you need is to get BHO to start thinking that he’s Truman. Good luck! IMO, The smaller parties have fewer ties to the policies of the past, and are the best choices in a country where we set up government agencies, whose missions are later sabotaged when the people who opposed creating them get back in power, and their funding is basically wasted, since they not only don’t do what they were set up to do, but end up doing exactly the opposite.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 5, 2008 5:46 PM
Comment #257768


By your data processing method of selection, you’d be better off in Italy. They have thirty or forty political parties…welllll, it works for them…but is there a computer strong enough to keep up with the best years to vote for whom?

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 5:55 PM
Comment #257771

Knew you couldn’t stay away, dude…. ;) we all need our fix.

Posted by: janedoe at August 5, 2008 6:20 PM
Comment #257772

But jeez, the puncture marks on my arm are legion…Ha! This place is kinda addictive…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 6:25 PM
Comment #257775

Marysdude, you were the first one one this side who brought up and complained vociferously about BHO’s connection to the Rev Wright and Trinity UCC, and I said that someone else must have stolen your identity, and defended Wright and his church on most counts. Now you’re going to vote for BHO? Is up down now?

Posted by: ohrealy at August 5, 2008 6:44 PM
Comment #257776

Mark Twain said something about there being lies, damn lies, and statistics. The Mathematics work against any group that divides its votes. Whether it works against it enough to scuttle an election for them is the open question.

Folks talk about a duopoly, as if third parties are an abberation, and the two parties have everything locked up, but many historic elections have third parties operating within them, often depriving one part or another of crucial electoral college strength.

What makes out system tend towards the dominance of two parties is our voting scheme: majority rules. Nobody wants to be in the minority, so different groups vie to be the larger of the two parties. Inevitably, there’s a first and a second place finisher, and if the factionalization is deep enough, Inevitably there will be two parties which win more often than not. The identity of the two parties, though, is an open question. Federalists, Whigs, and Republicans have all taken their turns. There may yet be another. I predict that the first third party to gain substantial ground will either be absorbed into one of the two big parties, partnered with it in some way, or will replace and absorb it. Any other outcomes are neither fish nor fowl, and no set of factions with similar ideas to one another will long function as separate entities. They’ll join forces, or people within the party will defect until the party has at least a forty percent share. Nobody wants to be the bridesmaid at every wedding.

Third parties will always have a tough time in a majority/plurality rules contest. That’s just the nature of the stresses put upon participants in the system.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2008 6:53 PM
Comment #257782

S.D., you are entirely wrong again. It’s the un and anti democratic electoral college that created the party system, and the problems associated with that. Search John Anderson’s writings on that if you are actually interested in the topic. The electoral college is every Democratic Presidential candidate’s greatest enemy, regardless of additional parties, search the National Popular Vote Movement if you are actually interested in that.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 5, 2008 7:32 PM
Comment #257792


Where did the Electoral College come from and for what reason, and has that reason disappeared? I don’t care who wrote about the evils of the ‘College’, until the reason for it no longer exists, it is needed. The need for it will go away when all Americans live in New York state and/or California.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 8:21 PM
Comment #257800

Marysdude, if you are a Democrat, the electoral college is your enemy and should be abolished. Most of the electioneering this year is going to be in a few swing states anyway, so quit worrying about CA and NY, when the 7 smallest states, with less than half the population, have the same vote as Illinois in the electoral college. It originated in an era before democracy, and the political party system most familiar to us originated as the monarchy party and the opposition, in an assembly where a total of 500 people controlled the votes of a whole country.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 5, 2008 9:24 PM
Comment #257803


The College is only my enemy if the process is abused. In our history, it has never been abused.

>The electoral college is also part of compromises made at the convention to satisfy the small states. Under the system of the Electoral College each state had the same number of electoral votes as they have representative in Congress, thus no state could have less then 3. The result of this system is that in this election the state of Wyoming cast about 210,000 votes, and thus each elector represented 70,000 votes, while in California approximately 9,700,000 votes were cast for 54 votes, thus representing 179,000 votes per electorate. Obviously this creates an unfair advantage to voters in the small states whose votes actually count more then those people living in medium and large states.

One aspect of the electoral system that is not mandated in the constitution is the fact that the winner takes all the votes in the state. Therefore it makes no difference if you win a state by 50.1% or by 80% of the vote you receive the same number of electoral votes. This can be a receipe for one individual to win some states by large pluralities and lose others by small number of votes, and thus this is an easy scenario for one candidate winning the popular vote while another winning the electoral vote. This winner take all methods used in picking electors has been decided by the states themselves. This trend took place over the course of the 19th century.

While there are clear problems with the Electoral College and there are some advantages to it, changing it is very unlikely. It would take a constituitional amendment ratified by 3/4 of states to change the system. It is hard to imagine the smaller states agreeing.

Perhaps we should debate something over which we have a little control.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 9:51 PM
Comment #257805

Wrong again, states can choose to have all their electoral votes go to the winner of the national popular vote, hence the National Popular Vote Movement. Have a nice evening.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 5, 2008 9:55 PM
Comment #257810

Since that would limit the strength of each state and its influence on an election, hence the reason the movement remains a movement. I had a movement just a few minutes ago, with better results than the National Popular Vote Movement has had…or ever will have.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 5, 2008 10:20 PM
Comment #257856

My wife is just the average moderate really. She hates politics, worries about our finances and likes to be left alone. But after reading where Obama stood on the issues and his policies, she just said she did not want him in charge of the country.
Thats about all I’ll get out of her on politics, so I understand your situation with your wife.

Posted by: kctim at August 6, 2008 10:25 AM
Comment #257865

Back to the subject of the thread -

“Obama is what McCain wants to be, just as JFK was what Nixon wanted to be, and would always envy.”

Well said, Stephen. There’s only one problem - JFK was assassinated, as was Bobby Kennedy to whom Obama’s been compared many times. We’ve seen before what tends to happen when someone appears on the political scene offering real hope for change and a brighter future.

That’s what I fear - what will happen if some right-wing nutcase decides to ‘save America’ by assassinating Obama?

I don’t really want to start a discussion on this if only for the bad karma it might engender. It’s just a comment and only that.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 6, 2008 11:03 AM
Comment #257876

It’s an understandable fear. But I’d just as soon not give the nutjobs the satisfaction. They can kill Obama, but there will be millions more Americans who will see his dreams realized.

That is, if we don’t let others convince us that these dreams are impossible. Only when we’re willing to confront our problems head on, and with faith that people can and will come around, will we make headway. The other factions in our Democracy, whether they’re interested in holding us back, or simply seeing their policies carried out instead get there way because they keep on pushing for what they want. If we don’t do the same, we won’t see our efforts bear fruit as theirs do.

No, it would just turn fifty majority votes into only one. Same problem would manifest itself. The division of states into electoral college votes which are winner-take-all just makes things a tad bit more interesting.

But let me let you in on a little secret: beneath the skin of the main parties, there are all kinds of factions which can just as easily change sides or sit things out. The two main parties are in part an illusion, one which the leadership of the parties has to keep up by constant negotiation and appeasement of different sides.

Right now, the Democrats are doing a better job. The Republicans effectively sundered their ruling coalition. However, thirty years of political domination doesn’t just wink out of existence just like that. The rubble is going to have to settle again before we know the full shape of the change about to overcome the country over the next few decades.

And yes, we should look at things with that time-scale. I think the destruction of the Republican majority is going to open the floodgates on some societal changes that have been building up for the last few decades.

I think Obama’s part of that, regardless of his quality as a candidate. Part of his virtue as a candidate, though, is that he’s a lively, human presence, and a terrific organizer and leader. This makes his role easier, if he’s game enough to step into it. He made it easier by breaking with a lot of the DLC tradition that was locking the party in Reagan Years survival mode.

I think we’re going to see Democrats begin to relax into their newfound power, and then things will start heading back in the other political directions, as the pent-up desires of long-repressed parts of society are given their freedom.

I don’t know quite how this change will turn out, but it will come.

The third parties would have to exploit a general dissatisfaction to ascend, and they would have to do it from the ground up. However, the operative question will be whether the Democratic party activists get there first. People are looking for the shortest path for their political wishes to travel before fulfillment. Democrats will have the advantage of being established. The question is whether they’ll have the advantage of being seen as effective.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 6, 2008 11:54 AM
Comment #257916

“let me let you in on a little secret”, you are contorting and revising all of history to fit your conclusion that BHO is the man of destiny.
“a terrific organizer”, back in Imaginationland again? Organizer of what? You’re confusing the product and his packagers again. That would actually be funny, if it didn’t sound like more of the netrunts propaganda that we keep hearing. They’ve really learned a lot from Fux. Keep repeating it over and over again. “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”

Posted by: ohrealy at August 6, 2008 4:50 PM
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