Obama Flying Too Close to the Ground

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Barack Obama’s appeal is based on the perception that he somehow stands above ordinary politics. He has managed to build this image by having no significant record to analyze and by being a media darling. At his staged events, backed by the Oprah chorus, he floats above the fray. But increasingly his deceptions are pulling him down to earth.

Factcheck.org is calling Obama on some of his deceptions. For example, he bragged that he did not accept any money from oil companies. While that is technically true, it really makes no difference. By the same measure, Obama took as much money form oil companies as George Bush and Dick Cheney put together. If you don’t believe me, read the factcheck article. You will notice that I spun the facts. Obama, however, spun as much as I did, but he just didn’t tell you about it.

Obama keeps repeating the deception about John McCain wanting to fight a war in Iraq for 100 years. Factcheck.org caught him on this one too. I am not sure Obama is trying to be deceptive on this, however. I think it might just be that he does not have the experience in international and security affairs to know that he is wrong.

It will be interesting to see how Obama does when he gets a little more scrutiny. He does extraordinarily well in the Oprah style format. Whenever you see him on the news he is backed by his chorus and is both posing and answering his own questions. The media gives him a free ride. When they briefly treated him like an ordinary candidate during the Wright scandal, he didn’t come off so well. Maybe it is a case of ADD. He evidently sat though 23 years of racist hatred and didn’t hear any of it.

So Obama is descending to the plane of ordinary mortal candidates. He is just a little slicker than ordinary folk. He is the cool kid frat boy.

BTW – I started this posting with the famous quote: “O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Most people have not heard the rest of the poem. The last two lines apply to Obama. “But when we’ve practiced quite a while, how vastly we improve our style.” The man does have an angelic style, but angles break their wings when they fly too close to the ground.

Posted by Jack at April 2, 2008 5:04 PM
Comments
Comment #249701

“Halliburton major business segment is the Energy Services Group (ESG). ESG provides technical products and services for oil and gas exploration and production.”

-wiki

Of course Cheny didn’t take money from the oil companies, he IS the oil company. It is hard to pay yourself from your own pocket. Even McCain recognizes the abuse from the Republican side regarding contributions having a hand in politics. Your oh so righteous leader (Cheney, the real president) has scammed us all, and for what? You can’t take the money when you die, to buy off Jesus

Posted by: angrymob at April 2, 2008 6:13 PM
Comment #249705

angrymob,

Is that an excuse for Obama or are you saying he is just like Cheney?

Posted by: confused at April 2, 2008 7:40 PM
Comment #249708

What desperation by Republicans to devise even nonsensical critiques of their opposition. Jack says in a classic straw man argument: “Barack Obama’s appeal is based on the perception that he somehow stands above ordinary politics.”

Obama is a politician, is running for political office, in a political campaign using the tools and resources of politics with great accumen to become the odds on favorite to win. And Jack is going to attempt to define Obama’s appeal as apolitical.

It is a laughable and desperate straw man indeed, Jack. Such sour grapes over not being successful at bringing the anti-Bush down. It’s OK, though, we understand your article’s sense of desperation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 2, 2008 8:48 PM
Comment #249713

Jack speaking of spin “He evidently sat though 23 years of racist hatred and didn’t hear any of it.” Isnt this based on a few sermons not 23 years of sermons? Do you have any proof to back up your claim of 23 years?

“Maybe it is a case of ADD” Jack as someone who has lived with ADD for many years I dont see the humor in falsely accusing someone of having a case of it as you attempt to make whatever point it is your trying to make in that paragraph. :)

Posted by: j2t2 at April 2, 2008 10:24 PM
Comment #249716
And Jack is going to attempt to define Obama’s appeal as apolitical

And we all know how wrong it is to try to define someone else’s views as something other than what they say they are, right?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 3, 2008 12:10 AM
Comment #249717

The media is giving him a free ride! Wow, what a better place to argue from than “Obama is telegenic, well spoken, intelligent enough to impress people in the public and the media.” At least if you want to exclude that Reverend Wright thing. And their assistance in drawing attention to baseless rumors about his religion. And all that attention to Rezko. And that complicity in the vetting process, and making Hillary seem like a viable candidate despite the vast unlikelihood of her nomination, given delegates and whatnot.

You’re right. Perpetual perpetuation of innuendo, dogwhistle controversies and rumors is the media getting the pillow of liberal bias nice and read for Obama.

As for 23 years of racist hatred? Did you get that from Sean Hannity, who condones the same behavior in a black pastor so long as he’s aiming it at the blacks themselves? Who samples a few minutes of commentary from three decades, and considers himself an expert on Jeremiah Wright’s character?

As for the campaign finance? This argument works best if the candidate you support hasn’t take more money from the same industry.

According to the same site, he gets about 45 times more money from retirees than from the oil and gas companies. he gets 25 times more money from educators, and 11 times more from those involved in IT. His total contribution from lobbyists, dwarfed by his other contributors in much the same way, is five times smaller than McCain’s.

Lets turn around and ask ourselves some honest questions here. Who were the top three recipients of that money? The Republicans, with America’s former Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani in the lead, and McCain accepting more money than Clinton, who accepts more than Obama. And guess who, in this election cycle, gets the most oil and gas money? Republicans, by a margine of 73% to 27%.

Meanwhile Obama gains 40% of his support from those donating less than 200. McCain only gains 25% of his support from this same class of donor.

So keep on talking about McCain’s greater integrity. And we’ll keep discussing how he and other Republicans fund their campaigns.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2008 12:38 AM
Comment #249718

j2t2

He was (as I recall) a member of that congregration for 23 years. Wright has been spewing hatred for a long time - maybe not 23 years, but a long time. I don’t have proof that it is 23 years, but we know that Wright has spread hatred and damned America; we know that Obama attended sermons there regularly. I guess Obama was not paying attention since he claims not to agree with that anti-American sewage. If I heard that kind of thing, I would not go back.

David

Obama’s appeal is not primarily political in the usual sense. He is not running on his record. He does not sell issues; he sells hope and HE is the hope.

He has no record, no competence. His claim to fame is that he says that he would have voted against Iraq if he had been in congress and if he had to vote.

In the same factcheck.org site, you will find how few bills in the Senate he has co-sponsored. I think only one of them has actually become law.

Obama supporter will say that this is an unfair statistic, since Obama has not had much time to get experience. To that, I would say yes.

Obama hides behind what he didn’t do. He didn’t have a chance to vote against the Iraq involvement. He wasn’t in the Senate to vote against NAFTA. He didn’t vote for (or against) welfare reform. So we know what he didn’t do and what he says he would have done. We also know what he DID, and it ain’t much beyond sweet talk and faith healing.

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2008 12:44 AM
Comment #249719

Stephen

NOBODY gets money from oil companies. If you read the factcheck.org, you will find that it has been illegal for firms to give money to Federal candidates since 1907. The point is that Obama makes a big deal about not taking money from oil firms. Big deal! He is being deceptive and factcheck.org caught him.

Obama talks a lot about what he didn’t do. How many bills that became law did he cosponsor in the Senate? What are his accomplishments in national security? What is his experience in the economy?

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2008 1:21 AM
Comment #249727

David R. Remer,who is this “we” that you have obviously been appointed to repesent in their views? You know,the ones who “understand your article’s sense of desperation”. Or are you self-appointed?

Posted by: t-bone at April 3, 2008 5:28 AM
Comment #249728

t-bone, ‘we’ is those who get a chuckle out of the GOP’s desperate measures and their propensity to shoot themselves in the foot when given power or their friends in the face if given a loaded weapon.

‘We’ is a whole lot of folks breathing a sigh of relief that this GOP nightmare in American history is finally over. :-)

Smile with it. You can’t change history, what else is left to do?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2008 5:53 AM
Comment #249729

Jack absurdly claimed: “Big deal! He is being deceptive and factcheck.org caught him.” because Obama does not spend his campaign speech time outlining the 10’s of thousands of professions from which individuals belong who have donated to his campaign.

If that is deceptive, you have a very different dictionary than me. In my dictionary Obama is being efficient, as no one would give him air time if he listed just 10% of occupations of his donors.

Reality check! Yes, individuals working in the oil industry contributed to Obama’s campaign, and individuals from the chemical, teachers, insurance, medical, and librarian industries as well, and thousands more other occupations are represented in his donations. No doubt some tree hugger named Jack contributed to John McCain’s campaign as well. Is McCain deceptive in not reporting at every speaking engagement that WB Jack contributed to his campaign? :-)


All the candidates are fully aware that all their contributions from individuals identifying their employers will be public record. Therefore, it is illogical to claim Obama was being deceptive. He could not be deceptive on hiding this information if he wanted to. There is this little organization called the Federal Elections Commission that, with the force of law, wouldn’t permit it. And FactCheck.Org ensures some of the public will be made aware.

No deception anywhere.
Nice GOP try at spin and spittle, though.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2008 6:06 AM
Comment #249730

Jack said: “He [Obama]is not running on his record.”

Really. I swear I heard him campaign on his record of successful election to state and U.S. Senate. I know he mentioned his record on Iraq many times, and his participation in the Ethics Reform bill which passed. Of course he is running on his record.


“He does not sell issues;”

Really? Is he not selling an exit plan for Iraq. Is he not selling a plan for children’s universal health care coverage? Is he not selling a plan for education investment and middle class tax breaks and increased taxes on the very wealthy? All sound like issues he is selling to me.

You must be prejudiced. Why else would you have not listened to what he has to say, or having listened, failed to hear his words?

Good old GOP try though, Jack, to influence with misinformation and an abject lack of logical construction. (I don’t hear Obama’s issues or record, therefore, Obama hasn’t any - never mind that I don’t listen or read anything that Obama has to say because he’s a Democrat.)

Gotta love the humor value of such partisan impairments to rational thought, deliberation, and critique.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2008 6:18 AM
Comment #249732

You’re trying hard David, But Jack is winning this debate. You can’t slam others for taking contributins from oil company employees and not expect the same. It is fun watching you squirm though.

Posted by: BOHICA at April 3, 2008 7:22 AM
Comment #249733

‘I swear I heard him campaign on his record of successful election to state and U.S. Senate.’

That sure makes a whole lot of people qualified to be President.

‘I know he mentioned his record on Iraq many times, and his participation in the Ethics Reform bill which passed.’

Iraq record? Same as Hillary’s?
Participation? Which party leader brought him along?

‘All sound like issues he is selling to me.’
‘Obama is a politician, is running for political office, in a political campaign using the tools and resources of politics with great accumen to become the odds on favorite to win.’

So. The best experience, to become president, is being a salesman and politician.
No wonder we never end up with the RIGHT PERSON for the job.

Who was your first choice for president David (and other Obama supporters)? Back in the beginning.



Posted by: confused at April 3, 2008 7:45 AM
Comment #249735

Okay David

The man won elections to the state and the U.S. Senate. That is more than I have done in politics, but not very much. After that he participated in an ethics bill and he claims that he would have voted against the Iraq authorization IF he had the opportunity. It is a short record and not very distinguished.

Re oil companies – Obama specifically said that he did not accept money from oil companies. He implied that others did. Let me publicly declare that I have never received a penny from oil companies and I would never vote for a politician who took money from oil companies. Obama and I agree on this. So does/did every American politician since 1907. So Obama’s bold declaration is as empty as his other rhetoric.

Re Iraq – he claims he is for defeat and will run away quick as he can, BUT he says he will leave a strike force. Since I know he has no experience in civil-military affairs, I figure he must have gotten that “strike force” name for a movie he saw. If we could figure out what that movie was, perhaps we could understand his plan.

I saw one of his advisors on TV today. He was asked about this tax on the wealthy. He refused to say what he meant by wealthy. At what income level would taxes go up and by how much? Since you know so much about Obama, maybe you know that answer. Is there enough money there to fund all his new programs?

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2008 8:12 AM
Comment #249737

Jack-
Sole originating sponsor, I think is the criteria the Factcheck people used. I think sometimes they hairsplit and ignore underlying content and intent, in the understandable quest to appear unbiased. If we include bills he introduced and were co-sponsored by others, the count goes up considerably. A Kossack who looked into this found the following:

Senator Obama has sponsored or co-sponsored 570 bills in the 109th and 110th Congress.

Senator Obama has sponsored or co-sponsored 15 bills that have become LAW since he joined the Senate in 2005.

Senator Obama has also introduced amendments to 50 bills, of which 16 were adopted by the Senate.

He’s got quite a record in the Illinois Senate as well, so this notion that he’s a lightweight is a political distortion at best.

Let me tell you what his selling point is: he seems very capable of renegotiating political realities. Somebody commented in a book I am reading currently that while Clinton was a great politician, that he lacked creativity. When I read that, it seemed a rather apt description of Clinton politics. They were never looking to change America’s politics. America’s politics for the last two generations has been part and parcel of what got them in power and kept them there.

People are sick and tired of that situation. Barack Obama is not seen positively because he is hope, but because people believe he has a better capacity than the Clintons to terraform American politics and survive the change in the environment.

The fact he is the front runner and almost presumptive nominee instead of Clinton should tell you right off the bat. had the CW held, she would be the clear nominee by now.

He is within single digits in the polls matching him against Clinton in a state that’s got a significant amount of the Reagan Democrat vote. This is the case a week or two after the Reverend Wright controversy dominated the media. He has expanded his lead in that time. There’s even an outlier poll in Pennsylvania already that has him winning!

He’s also maintained a more positive tone, been more gracious. To go back to the Wright Controversy, he barely got a chip off of him in the likeabilities, while Hillary’s dropped into the basement at the same time.

Don’t underestimate him. He is defeating the Clintons at their own game, and you of all people should know how difficult that is. He’s picking up new superdelegates left and right now, including that of Lee Hamilton of the 9/11 Commission.

Meanwhile, have you looked at your candidate yet? Obama’s increasingly earning the support of his party, while McCain’s party is a burden to him. He has to please the different fragments of a now minority party that have come over the tenure of the current president to absolutely hate each others guts. If he tries to please them too much, he runs the risk of alienating independents. If he plays too much to the center, his hard right supporters will abandon him.

Obama will have no such problem. Bush has done us all the massive favor of uniting the party in our opposition to any continuation of Republican leadership in the White House. Even those who don’t particularly like Obama will vote for him, just to fend off McCain.

As for experience? Leadership skills are more important. Just ask the founder of your party. He brought his rivals into his cabinet to advise him. He made use of other’s abilities. He won a war and reunited the union. Experience is no measure of the ability to do great things. We have some very experienced people in Congress, who have time and time again failed us. We want somebody who can begin America’s recovery on day one, not somebody who might vacillate on important issues or worse yet continue the current debacles for ideological reasons.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2008 9:00 AM
Comment #249739

Obama hides behind what he didn’t do. He didn’t have a chance to vote against the Iraq involvement. He wasn’t in the Senate to vote against NAFTA. He didn’t vote for (or against) welfare reform. So we know what he didn’t do and what he says he would have done. We also know what he DID, and it ain’t much beyond sweet talk and faith healing.

But we do know what the republican led legislature did. And the outcome of their irresponsible dealings are certainly nothing to be proud of. Your man McBush has supported republican policy 85% of the time during the Bush reign. The latter is not indicative of a man with answers or good sound qualifying experience. It says only that he is good for a continuation of failed republican policy.

Simply because Obama had no direct influence in your mentioned legislation does not make him incapable of understanding the nuances of these programs. If anything the lack of personal influence makes it possible for him to hold a more objective and honest view. It also makes him less likely to to be involved with the corruptive side of these programs. I think it a good bet that Clinton and McCain most likely have personal ties which might get in the way of an honest approach to the associated problems.

You are really reaching here Jack. Your attacks on the character of this man really show just how shallow your views are. Your attempts to lower everyone to the despicable level of an experienced politician say that you really do not hold to or expect a high level of standards for politicians.

Once again I will gladly accept a person of better character, less experience, more compassion and true desire than that of one with more experience who merely represents more of what is wrong.


Posted by: RickIL at April 3, 2008 9:33 AM
Comment #249740

Jack said: “It is a short record and not very distinguished.”

Bingo! Now you got it. His supporters don’t trust the old entrenched lot beholding for reelection to the wealthy special interests and lobbyist employers. In fact, most of America doesn’t trust that lot as evidenced by Congress’ approval ratings, not to mention Bush’s.

So, if the people want someone new, someone less beholding to entrenched power players, someone willing to take on those special interests and entrenched power players, they have their candidate in Barack Obama.

If the status quo is to your liking, go with McCain. Want the middle road between the two, go with Clinton. Want to protest them all, go with Ralph Nader.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2008 9:46 AM
Comment #249742

Stephen, trying to get Jack to accept Obama’s facts and history and merits is like trying to sell Obama to the KKK. Far as I know, Jack is not a racist, but, his prejudice against all things Democrat are well documented in all three columns here.

It is more efficient and economical to simply dispel Jack’s myths, errors, and misrepresentations.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2008 9:52 AM
Comment #249743

David

Why don’t we just throw darts?

Okay - you think Obama is best qualified to be president because he never did anything of particular merit.

Why have any politician at all? We can certainly find a good looking, well spoken man who has done absolutely nothing - sort of a Big Lobowski “Dude”. By your calculus, this guy - having done nothing wrong and beholden to nobody - is the most qualified.

The new slogan - The Dude for President. He never did anything you can criticize.

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2008 9:55 AM
Comment #249744

Stephen

As I said to David, just go with the guy with no experience. I did not count up his votes. I read the factcheck.org. It is not partisan and makes sense.

David

Race is not an issue for me. Just so you know Wright is a racist. Those are the kinds of idea you want to look for to identify the type. Democrat is not a race. There are policies favored by Dems. I supported some (like Clinton) when they made sense. I know that now Dems are great Clinton bashers, so this no longer impresses, but I am not responsible for the changes in the Dems.

Obama’s record (such as it is) is the most liberal in the Senate. Liberalism is silly and discredited. That is why liberals almost never call themselves liberals anymore. They rebranded as progressives.

Obama is against free trade. He wants to flee from Iraq. He wants to regulate the economy to a much greater extent. The only things I like about him are his charm and his policy toward global warming (although McCain has a better chance of solving this problem). The more I learn about Obama, the less I like about him. I suspect that will be the case with many non-liberals. He is good looking and attractive. Behind that…not so much.

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2008 10:05 AM
Comment #249746

RickIl said to Jack: “Your attempts to lower everyone to the despicable level of an experienced politician say that you really do not hold to or expect a high level of standards for politicians.”

Jack in fact does not hold high expectations for or standards for politicians or government. Think about it. If you voted Republican and believed that government was little more than an instrument to wealth and power for a privileged few as demonstrated by Republicans these many years, wouldn’t you try to blame both government and politicians with the same brush regardless of the politicians party or platform? That is called a political parry to deflect criticism away from the politicians one elected.

Also note that if one can paint the politicians as the culprits, the voter is off the hook. How convenient an abdication of responsibility, don’t you think? And you hear it all the time from Republicans these days in the conservative think tanks, on the talk shows and in the blogs: “Well, the Republicans I voted for weren’t real Republicans or Conservatives.”

Are Republicans who voted for Bush not once, but twice, and now distance themselves from his performance that easily duped or, just so irresponsible as to deny having played the all crucial role in reelecting him to continue screwing up the Republican reputation and historical record?

I suspect the former, for the majority of Republican voters of lesser education and means. The latter for most of the rest. But, its just a guess based on my neighbors discussions.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2008 10:08 AM
Comment #249749

David,

I know you don’t like losing a debate, but in your struggle to overcome, you are critizing the messenger. ” Jack in fact does not hold high expectations for or standards for politicians”

Keep trying.

Posted by: BOHICA at April 3, 2008 10:31 AM
Comment #249753

Jack

Just to clarify is this thread about Obama’s credibility or his stance on issues?

David & Jack & Steven

To me all of you guys have missed the point. Why debate about the fact that no one can take money from oil companies. Obama’s position on taxing oil companies on their windfall profits was the most interesting thing I read when I followed Jack’s
provided link.

Obama says “I dont take money from Oil companies.” to show that he will follow through on his proposed tax deal to ease pressure on American’s at the pump. Do you agree with that or not?

Obama says he has never changed his position on Iraq, because the Flip Flop issue killed Kerry in ‘04.

The issues are Economy and Iraq. This whole thing about the phone ringing at 3am is a terror tactic. Clinton should be ashamed of this and so should anyone that uses this kind of attack.

IMO, you both moving further and further away from consequencial topics.

Posted by: Jason at April 3, 2008 11:08 AM
Comment #249754

*consequential

Posted by: Jason at April 3, 2008 11:10 AM
Comment #249757

People supporting the O candidate should try to use substantive arguments if they are trying to persuade others. Cynthia McKinney is a better speechmaker than O, just not as smooth in delivery. Co-sponsoring a bill among a dozen other co-sponsors is a nonsense issue. The O candidate is ahead in the primaries, primarily because of the Affirmative Action aspect of proportional representation. The O candidate is also the A A candidate. Democrats are generally in favor of it, we will find out later whether or not the country is in favor of it.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 3, 2008 12:25 PM
Comment #249758

Jack-
Experience is only good when learned from. Otherwise, it is only the opportunity to perpetuated habitual mistakes. Even almost twenty years after the Keating scandal, McCain keeps such close ties with lobbyists and Washington insiders that he’s got them leading his campaign. Even three or four years into the debacle of the Iraq war, Hillary Clinton was still willing to let herself be buffaloed into backing the Bush adminstration in its quest to enter another war; adding to the irony, here too the evidence for this scare turned out to be questionable as well.

So what have these people learned? Experience is about what you learn, what you’re willing to learn. Sometimes having more experience, just means having more baggage and preconceptions.

So why am I willing to take the risk?

One, he is undeniably one of the most charismatic candidates in a long time. He is intelligent, well-spoken, able to speak in nuances and still speak plainly. How a person communicates speaks volumes about how they think.

Two, he’s willing to take advantage of opportunities beyond the scope of the Democrat’s political base. This is not merely nice to have, this is important to have in a candidate, especially since the current generation of Democrats are particularly ambitious in their aims: undoing your president’s terrible legacy. We don’t see the merit in settling for a more experience but also more doctrinaire and unimaginative politician. We want somebody in charge who can actually change the political equation, not somebody who’s going to try and settle into business as usual when our backs are turned.

Three, he seems to be a particularly intelligent person on the issues, somebody who can and will learn. He also seem willing to listen to advisors, and not settle into this groupthink mentality that’s saturated the Bush administration.

I’m not going to vote based simply on stands on the issues, which may change as the real world intrudes on the viability of campaign promises. I’m going to vote for the person who seems best capable of adapting to difficult situations, who seems to able to deal with challenges in novel and courageous ways.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2008 12:35 PM
Comment #249763

jack,
I really love you sometimes!!!
You said:

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.But when we’ve practiced quite a while, how vastly we improve our style.”

Ain’t it the truth - but you might not want to throw stones - Bush’s pot is as black as anyone’s

Posted by: Linda H. at April 3, 2008 1:43 PM
Comment #249765

David

I believe government is limited in what it CAN do and should do. The Republicans since 2000 have not behaved in the ways that would make that better. BUT the Dems promise even more government and more regulation.

I am disappointed in how Republicans behaved, but I do not want to go over to those who PROMISE to give us even more.

You are right that I do not have high expectations for politicians. They are politicians. The system REQUIRES compromise and is essentially a zero or negative sum proposition. Politics should be used sparingly for that reason. Obama and Clinton both are actively promising to politicize large swaths of the economy. That is what they think is good. I disagree.

Re Bush as president – we has a choice between Bush and Kerry. I still think that Bush was a better choice. My choice in 2000 was John McCain. I voted for him in the Virginia primary in 2000 and contributed to his campaign. He was not among the choices for president in 2000 or 2004. Now he is. I think McCain would have been better than Bush and I think he will be better than Bush and now I am looking to the future.

BOHICA

David is right in his characterization of my opinion of politicians as a class. I will nuance that a little. I do not think politicians are bad as individuals and there are better and worse among them. However, the system of politics is extremely limiting and corrupting. It has been such since at least the time of Solon, Cleisthenes and Pericles. Our founding fathers wisely limited the role of government in general and the Federal government specifically. A little government is good and necessary. A lot is bad.

Obama and Clinton promise to make government bigger and more intrusive. They claim that they will somehow make it work better and be honest. If the junior Senators had more experience and sense of history they might know better.

Jason

I wrote the original post re Obama’s credibility. He knew he was being misleading re oil companies. He also knew that most Americans, especially his supporters, would not know about the true situation so he could get away with it. The thread moved a little to his positions. I don’t mind.

Stephen

McCain learned from the Keating scandal that even the appearance of connections can cause trouble. That is why he never asked for earmarks and never rewarded anybody for support as both Clinton and Obama have managed to do in their short careers.

Linda H

Please see what I wrote to David about Bush and McCain. I still support Bush because he is still our president. I no longer care to defend him in general. He is in the past and I am facing the future. Although I don’t think Bush was particularly deceptive. My take on him is that he was – in fact – too forthright. He could have learned a little slickness from Bill Clinton.

BTW - I had never heard the second half of that poem. Never knew there was one My wife sent me a “poetry calendar” and that one came up.

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2008 2:36 PM
Comment #249769

Jack-
Earmarks are a red herring. If he’s involved with lobbyists, he can let them write all the bills they want to, support all the legislation they want to, and never write a single earmark. In other words, he can be corrupt through regular channels, and leave this lack of earmarks out there to cover for everything else.

Besides, wasn’t that scandal supposed to be a wake up call that was supposed to drive him to become a champion of campaign finance reform? How come this great champion of Campaign Finance Reform can’t do what Obama did and foreswear PAC money?

See, this is the beauty of Barack Obama’s fundraising model: it is a distributed safety net for taking political risks. If Barack Obama starts beating up on the oil companies, and folks there shut off the spigot, he’s not doomed. Hell, before he even asks for it, people online might organize some fundraising, and he’ll more than make up for the loss.

The worry with campaign finance is the dependence on special interests, and with 40% of his donors being folks giving less than a hundred, he can go back to the well time and again should any special interest shun him.

Can McCain do the same? No. He’s invested himself in the PACs rather deeply. Obama’s an individual donor funded candidate. Additionally, McCain tried something real cute with campaign finance to get a loan, and it looks like he might end up either forced to go for public financing, or brazenly forgoing it in order to beat the well-funded Obama.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2008 3:16 PM
Comment #249774

Stephen

Do you have any indication - ANY - that McCain sponsored bills written by lobbyists? How much can any particular lobbyist or PAC contrinbute to any candidate? Do you really believe someone like McCain is in politics for the money?

Re public funding - McCain said long ago that he would use public financing in the general election if the other candidate would too. Obama is no longer interested in public financing for elections. He prefers to deploy his big money.

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2008 4:10 PM
Comment #249777

An article from the AP setting the record straight on Obama’s church

Okay, so is it a racist church?

The church proclaims itself “unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian.” It supports charity work in Africa, gives some of its ministries Swahili names, uses Africa-themed decorations.

People familiar with Trinity compare its emphasis on African culture to the way some Catholic churches play up Irish or Italian roots. And they emphatically reject the accusations in widely circulated e-mails that the church is separatist or turns away white members.
“That’s such a bunch of hooey,” said Hoffman, who is white.
She tells the story of a group of young Germans visiting the church. Wright met with them before the service and prayed with them in German, she said. Later, he delivered part of his sermon in German and the choir sang in German.
“To me, it’s a testimony that this is not a church that rejects people of other cultures and races,” she said.

Okay. But is it some radical fringe church?

Trinity is a predominantly black congregation in a mainline, mostly white denomination — the United Church of Christ. Its 8,000 members include politicians, doctors, lawyers and other leaders on Chicago’s South Side.

[…] Friends urged Obama to consider joining a church, often mentioning Trinity. Mike Kruglik, a co-worker at the time, said joining helped Obama connect to the local pastors who were vital to his organizing efforts and that Trinity, where many professionals were doing community work, was a logical choice.
“It was very well within the mainstream of the community. It wasn’t radical at all,” said John Owens, another organizer who worked with Obama at the time.

But Reverend Wright was some sort of radical, wasn’t he?

She and others say Wright is far from the hothead he may appear to be in video excerpts. They describe him as a serious biblical scholar who thinks carefully about issues.

“Wright is one of the most respected pastors in the African-American church in the United States,” said Kellman, who nevertheless says Wright “blew it” in a few sermons.
Pfleger, one of Chicago’s most outspoken members of the clergy, said Wright and Obama are similar in their intellectual approach. “They examine things, they study things. They are not quick to make judgments,” he said.
Wright’s sermons, even when they included strong critiques of racism and inequality in America, were always grounded in the Bible, church members said. Wright sometimes used harsh, painful language, his supporters acknowledge, but mostly he was well within a black tradition of emotional, social commentary.
“It’s just speaking a different language to a slightly different culture,” said Dwight Hopkins, a Trinity member and a theology professor at the University of Chicago, “and I can see how someone in the suburbs in the high Episcopal church would see those snippets as angry.”

But they could be wrong, right? Wright was the leader of the church, wasn’t he, controlling everything?

“When Barack joined the church, he wasn’t giving his allegiance to Wright. He was joining a community,” Kellman said.

Trinity, like other United Church of Christ churches, relies heavily on the membership to make decisions through boards and committees, he added. Even as senior pastor, Wright did not single-handedly control Trinity’s direction.

In my experience, when a story falls apart on multiple levels like this, it’s not accidental. It’s because somebody either worked with a reckless disregard for the truth, or a knowing disregard for the truth.

Politicians in this race are looking to overwhelm people’s rational minds with fear and loathing for their opponents associates, and by their association, weigh that person down.

The question here is who is getting tangled in the deceptions? Not Obama. There are others who have not set their own houses in order tangling themselves up in the usual kind of political dishonesty.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2008 4:28 PM
Comment #249779

The Kossackers seem to think that it is worthy of note, that a newly elected senator gets his name on a bunch of bills as cosponsor, when he is running for POTUS, to help inflate his resume. Gullible much?

Remember, there is no proportional representation in the electoral college.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 3, 2008 4:51 PM
Comment #249783

Jack-
Regarding public funding, Your candidate is in a bit of a bind. He told a bank, to get a loan for his campaign, that he would apply for public funding if he lost the primary and pay it off that way. Turns out, though, he doesn’t need to do that, so he’s trying to get out of public funding. Except, if he tried to get out of it now, it might not even be legal, and a determination would also have to be made as to whether it was even legal. That, and the fact that he’s spent more than he’s legally allowed to spend in the primary under that system.

Fortunately for him a controversy over the nomination of Hans von Spakovsky has sidelined the FEC. It seems like the Senate Minority leader is unwilling to seperate this man, who witnesses have accused of politicizing and manipulating enforcement of voting rights, and who was also involved in the Attorneys firing scandal, from the list of nominees.

As for Lobbyists? Well, if your Friends could just seem him now! Leaving aside the salacious sleaze factor, which most Netroots Left felt was thin and a distraction, recall that in the article in question, McCain wrote a strongly worded letter on behalf of the telecoms, which helped push through rule changes increasing the number of stations they could purchase. That was a priority of the lobbying corporation Iseman, the blonde who got too close, claimed. Once could be an isolated incident, but then…

Eight years ago, when McCain’s connection with Iseman alarmed his staffers, the most lucrative lobbying contracts won by Alcalde & Fay were with the cruise ship industry. In 2001 alone, Iseman’s firm received well over a million dollars from passenger ship companies and interest groups, which include local port authorities in Florida as well as companies such as Carnival Cruises. That year, the International Council of Cruise Lines paid Alcalde & Fay a fee of $990,600, by far the largest amount from a single interest that the firm has earned during the past decade. Iseman herself is a longtime registered lobbyist for Carnival.

It may be just a coincidence that around the same time, McCain became a dedicated sponsor of bills to deregulate the cruise and passenger ship industries, which have been hobbled for decades by protectionism and national security laws. Year after year, he promoted legislation that would have permitted greater freedom for foreign-flag cruise ships to operate in U.S. coastal waters, even while he occasionally scolded the cruise operators for persistent safety problems on their boats. During those years, he became known as the best friend of the port authorities, cruise lines and others seeking to rewrite laws dating back to 1886 that protect American ships from foreign competition.

And now, he’s running a campaign that has more lobbyists in it than the Giuliani Campaign and the Clinton Campaign combined. He’s absolutely surrounded himself with them. The people running his campaign are lobbyists. Either he’s become the Lobbyist equivalent of Dr. Doolittle, taming all these wild industry advocates, or he seems to be a politician very comfortable with being around lobbyists who keeps up appearances for the sake of being electable as a reformer.

Let’s be serious here. McCain went looking to the K-Street project, the defunct Republican Majority’s lobbying workshop, notorious for its special interest work to look up people to fund his campaigns. He’s not pure of the system, he’s part of the system, and he camouflages himself as part of a fiction he worked out as a counterbalance to the scandal that nearly sunk him.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2008 5:28 PM
Comment #249784

Stephen D., I am surprised Republicans haven’t drug out the utterances of Obama’s babysitters, car mechanic, and pharmacist yet. Must be saving those guilt by association cases for the general election, eh?

I live in a predominantly Republican County. I am served and even friends with Republicans. Does that make me a Republican or even a Republican leaner? Not by a very long shot. Yet, Republicans make that argument against Obama as if it means something. No one is electing Obama’s cobbler, insurance salesperson, or babysitter. Amazing how Republicans can screw up the simplest of things, and how Obama simply rises above their petty and illogical attempts to halt his rise.

One newscaster said yesterday, when people meet and listen to Obama, they are converted from the negatives they heard about him. Is it any wonder then, that so many Republicans refuse to hear his words, choosing upon the views of his auto mechanic, pastor, and babysitter instead.

Yet, some Republicans in the public eye are endorsing him. What a quandary for Republicans.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2008 5:29 PM
Comment #249786

How embarrassing:

Former constitutional legal counsel to two Republican presidents says:

I endorse Barack Obama for president of the United States. I believe him to be a person of integrity, intelligence, and genuine good will. I take him at his word that he wants to move the nation beyond its religious and racial divides and that he wants to return the United States to that company of nations committed to human rights.

And this from the NY Sun:

The Obamacans include a former senator of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee; a former senior Justice Department official under President Reagan and senior legal adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Douglas Kmiec, and a granddaughter of President Eisenhower, Susan Eisenhower.

The group one day may include Senator Hagel, a Republican of Nebraska, who has co-sponsored Iraq withdrawal legislation with leading Democrats. Asked yesterday on CNN whether he would endorse his party’s presumptive nominee, Mr. Hagel said he would base his support on the candidates’ positions on withdrawing from Iraq.

I await the standard retort, “but, those aren’t true Republicans”. As if there were such a thing other than people who register affiliation with and donate to the GOP.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2008 5:39 PM
Comment #249788

“a former senior Justice Department official under President Reagan and senior legal adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Douglas Kmiec” is also a virulently anti-abortion Ken Starr apologist and former professor at Notre Dame and Pepperdine. I went to grade school, high school, and college with this guy. He is apparently now following a new cult leader, or more likely, some right wingnuts are just mad enough at McCain to pretend to support anyone. else.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 3, 2008 5:59 PM
Comment #249792

ohrealy-
Think infrastructure. Think what it means to have coalesced an activist base in the midst of supposedly Republican territory. Put more states in play, and the cash-strapped Republicans have less to spend defending swing-states.

The key is to treat the Red State/Blue State distinction as an abstraction, one which has its origin in an election result some unfortunately took to heart as set in stone.

As for inflating his resume? He spent more years as a legislator than Clinton. He was working on community problems like closed Steel Mills long before NAFTA became a controversy. He graduated from Harvard Law, is a professor at the University of Chicago Law school (yes, I know his job title is Senior Lecturer, but the school says they consider them professors) and has so far managed to beat the Clinton political machine flat. That’s a resume that doesn’t need padding.

By the way, that list was self generated. Somebody went out there, and took note of the bills involved. The Obama campaign didn’t put that person up to it, they put themselves up to it.

Talking about Obama supporters like its a cult misses its real appeal: the Democratic Party as something beyond a priesthood of politicians, a genuine party of the people. Obama did what was at once a great risk and not one at all: he made outright appeals to what opinion polls had said Americans really wanted from their leaders.

So many Democratic politicians are still caught up in the cult of the Reagan Revolution, the world where to stand up as a liberal was to get cut down as an immoral commie welfare queen sympathizer, looking to tax and spend excessively at the drop of a hat. Even with the utter rejection of all that remains of that legacy, the Democrats remain timid, more interested in self-protection than the interests of the American people or the advancement of the party into a new future.

Clinton has shown most of the signs of being part of that old party, of being afraid of her own political shadow. Nothing is more symbolic of the self-defeating nature of her politics than the losses over the course of this primary. If she had competed state for state with Barack Obama, she might have won the nomination. Instead, she left too many contests in his hands, and focused only on her safe states.

The problem with the swing state strategy is the weight it puts on the electoral votes of a few states where the outcome is uncertain. We would probably do a lot better if we put more states into play, forcing the Republicans to compete for states they would otherwise assume safe. This serves two purposes: winning more states makes the swing states less critical, and it helps us to enter into new territory that expands our political dominance. The walls of the Swing State strategy serve to keep us confined, even as some would claim they keep us safe.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2008 6:24 PM
Comment #249803

David

Re- I await the standard retort, “but, those aren’t true Republicans”. As if there were such a thing other than people who register affiliation with and donate to the GOP.

We all know that no true republican would ever sink to the level of seeing any good in a person of liberal views. They would rather die in their own excrement than allow a liberal to open the outhouse door for them.

It seems to me that like the dem party of past they are having problems dealing with the reality that they need to find a new way. It is foolish stubborn pride that is the main obstacle to party recovery. Those who sensibly move beyond that pride will of course be branded as outsiders not in keeping with blind lockstep republican policy.

To go from what seemed a once almost invincible party to a cash strapped party of questionable character in such a short span must be devastating to them. In the meantime all they have to work with is a hope and a prayer that somehow the dems will make a bigger mess of the world than they did. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. I don’t have high expectations. Our problems are too many and too large to reasonably expect sudden change. I suspect that under the dems we will first realize a bit of regression and a little more parity in the rapidly widening class gap. Maybe even a bit of accountability. Isn’t that a novel idea.

Posted by: RickIL at April 3, 2008 9:23 PM
Comment #249805

Jack said: You are right that I do not have high expectations for politicians. They are politicians. The system REQUIRES compromise and is essentially a zero or negative sum proposition.

In view of your lack of expectations I would say that you have definitely picked the right candidate to fulfill your needs. However the words compromise and republican are not generally perceived as being synonymous.

Posted by: RickIL at April 3, 2008 10:09 PM
Comment #249807

RickIL,

Do you not, perhaps, see the extreme irony of your last two comments?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 3, 2008 11:35 PM
Comment #249808

Stephen

Please do not bring up the salacious sleaze again. There is no evidence that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John McCain had an illicit sex affair.

The public financing is very simple, no matter how we try to obfuscate. John McCain WILL abide by public financing if his opposing candidate does so. He said that long ago. So did Barack Obama. If they both keep their words, the election will be publicly financed. This is not a high priority for me, but it used to be for Dems, who now revel in money politics.

You are dealing with innuendo re lobbyist. You need to find an actual connection. I don’t think you can blame Obama for just being associated with people who you think are associated with bad behavior.

You know Democrats have nothing serious or else we would have heard about it. So now we are dealing in character assassination of an honest man.

David

Barack Obama advocates very liberal policies that will increase the intrusiveness of government. His policies and Hilary Clinton’s policies are very similar. I don’t support either and the more non-liberals hear about these policies and really listen, the less they will like them.

I don’t care which Republicans support Obama. Perhaps they like the sorts of policies Obama is pushing. Perhaps they like his looks. I don’t know. I don’t care. When I read Obama’s speeches and positions, I see a liberal and intrusive government. I don’t like that. Obama is a charming guy. I like Obama. I like the way he delivers the speeches. I just don’t like what he is saying.

RickIl

American parties are less ideological than those in most other countries, but they still have core ideologies. If a Republican becomes a liberal Democrat, we simply have a problem of definition. If a liberal Democrat decides to support less regulation, using market forces to allow choice and support a stronger policy in Iraq what happens. They kick him out of the party. Recall Joe Lieberman. Dems are not big on compromise either.

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2008 11:56 PM
Comment #249809

“You are right that I do not have high expectations for politicians.”

I know Jack; I’ve read your endless support for Bush for a few years now.

Posted by: Cube at April 4, 2008 12:39 AM
Comment #249812

Jack said:

“Obama and Clinton promise to make government bigger. and more intrusive.”

Than who? GW Bush? Is that possible? Somehow, I doubt even Bush’s new accolyte McCain will rise to Bush’s level of governmental expansion and intrusion.

That line is completely laugable , Jack.

Posted by: googlumpus at April 4, 2008 2:59 AM
Comment #249816

googlumpus

The government is too big. Bush helped it grow bigger. Obama and Clinton PROMISE to make it even bigger and more intrusive. If you didn’t like the growing government under Bush, you should not vote for more of the same (although with different justification) under Obama and Clinton.

Obama & Clinton have promised to raise taxes and expand the government. Our only hope - if they get elected - is that they are lying. Unfortunatley, I think that both Obama and Clinton will keep their promises of higher taxes to support a more intrusive government.

Posted by: Jack at April 4, 2008 5:23 AM
Comment #249818

Jack-
Do I detect a hint of panic? No, like I said elsewhere, he could have the Swedish Bikini Team stashed in his office and I could care less. Notice that I only mention the salacious innuendo to leave it behind.

The real news story there was his involvement in the Lobbying firm and the Telecom company they were involved with. The real closeness that makes this the scandal it is, is not that between a man and a woman, but instead that between a legislator whose cast himself as a foe of lobbyists, and a lobbyists. They could be as platonic as it is possible to be, and it would still reflect poorly on him, because he did what he did.

If McCain wanted public funding, he wouldn’t be overspending his limits or trying to fight the imposition of it. The fact that he planned to accept public funding if he lost the primary, but not otherwise makes him a poor advocate for the process. What kind of integrity is there in sticking the American people with his campaign debts?

And integrity is important. How many positions has he reversed himself on in order to win your party’s nomination? How many special interests has he kissed up to in public that he was excoriating before? Could it be that he’s cultivated a maverick image that the reality of his tenure doesn’t support?

As for people having a problem with liberal policies? I wouldn’t be so sure that the country that just handed the Congress to the Democrats has a serious problem with Liberalism anymore.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 4, 2008 7:45 AM
Comment #249821

Rhinehold

If you are referring to the lack of high expectations on my part yes I understand your question. I should say that I have very high expectations of all politicians. They are elected and payed by us tax payers to attend to the needs of this country in the highest degree of character. These are the lawmakers, the people who supposedly have the intelligence and integrity to faithfully enact good solid honest and important legislation. Jack says that corruption and politics go hand and hand and that it has pretty much always been that way. I personally don’t give a damn how it has always been. That does not make it right and is not a valid excuse to accept such behavior. Such acceptance simply makes it easier for it to exist. It is irresponsible to look the other way simply because, well, this is the way it has always been.

I do not have high expectations with respect to the speed with which improvements will be made under dem rule. I understand that any headway will be slow in coming simply due to the enormity of the problems facing our country. We have ignored the important issues for far too long in favor of less meaningful and easier issues. Republicans have shown that they do not have a grasp on the realities of what the American people expect of them. They have made a habit of pursuing self indulgent issues with the interest of party domination as their main motivating factor. They have not in any way resembled a party of the people for a few terms now. If McCain were to be elected then I would certainly have very low expectations of any change for the better.

Posted by: RickIL at April 4, 2008 9:29 AM
Comment #249825

RickIL
The Dems made a habit of pursuing self indulgent issues with the interest of party domination as their main motivating factor in the 90s and since 06. They also are guilty of being a party only for like minded people, the hell with those who have different beliefs.
So, why wouldn’t you also have a very low expectation of any change for the better if clinton or Obama are elected?

Why vote for just another change of party, when we all could be voting for a real change?

Posted by: kctim at April 4, 2008 10:22 AM
Comment #249826

I would put things this way: Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic condition. People, though, will take pain medication to make their lives bearable, and will not tolerate more than a certain level of pain if they can help it.

A learning disability is a chronic problem, too, often enough. Autism and Aspergers Syndrome don’t go away. But does that mean a person with these should be just left to the mercies of their natural condition? No. We should intervene early, to prevent the negative consequences of that condition from extracting their highest costs (I am a beneficiary of such early intervention, by the way.)

Human beings are fallible, can be wrong, can be immoral. But do we accept such things, or do we stage the difficult and endless fight to seek the correct way and to maintain honesty and integrity? The costs of doing otherwise can be high, especially when circumstances make the corrupt methods the only workable ones for dealing with the real world system.

There is no inherently good system, no system invulnerable to being undermined. I would liken the defense against corruption and other problems in government to the operation of our immune system, a constant struggle between the recognition and prevention of corruptions of the system, and their persistence. Nobody just wakes up one day never to become ill again. Strains of corruption mutate, adapt to changing circumstances. As with economics, there are always those who want something of great value for little or no cost, and the quality of the system depends on vigilant alignment of rules to keep the game productive and honest to the reality of the system that must be managed.

The Republicans and Libertarians assume that corruption is often the cost of doing business, and that people should be left to build their resistance on their own. That, though, would be like returning to the sanitary standards and treatments of the 1800s, on the theory that our own immune systems should be the sole tool of defense. No, we should have vaccines, antibiotics, sanitary regulations, and vigilance in dealing with outbreaks and mutations of viral strains. It’s not a fight that we’ll necessarily win, but the alternative, as with economics and politics, is to absorb far too many unnecessary costs for far too little compelling benefit.

The key is to insist upon and actively work upon a system meant to manage these systems wisely. The debate should not be this one-dimensional red-herring of big government versus small government, but effective, productive government, versus corruption, bloat, waste, and toothlessness. If it takes a bigger staff to enforce rules properly, so be it. If having that big staff is costing too much, with no real added effect, we should be willing to reorganize or cut that staff. If streamlining regulation or deregulating altogether is what’s needed, we should have the courage to let go of the old order. If, on the other hand, the current regulations do not suffice, we should not let a corrupted state of affairs persist for ideological reasons.

Liberalism for me is not a blind love of big government, high taxes, or intrusive, overcomplicated. Liberalism for me is having a mature perspective on the relative utility of government, to be willin to both try things and admit when things fail, to both fight bureacracy where its necessary and help it where it will improve things. Rather than take a stereotypical approach to government, my angle as a liberal is to take a moderate, free-thinking approach.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 4, 2008 10:33 AM
Comment #249828

kctim

You will get little argument from me as to the values of the dem party in the 90’s. However you cannot deny that under Clinton there was much more in the way of compromise. Compromise has been virtually non existent under Bush. It has been the republican way or the highway under him. The slim margin between dem and republican legislators since 06 has allowed republicans to play the role of obstructionist. So we really can not say that the dems since that time have had a fair chance at proving their worth or that they have learned from past mistakes. Time will tell of course. Clinton I see as being the same frame of an old school politician. Nothing more than a bag of promises and an insurance that the more things change the more they will stay the same. Business as usual if you will. Obama is as I see it the only candidate with a true desire to change the way government operates. I feel he has the intellect, patience, insight and heart to pursue that end. He is in a nutshell, currently our only viable choice at putting an end to what ails our government.

I am curious, just what would that real change you indicate be?

Posted by: RickIL at April 4, 2008 10:47 AM
Comment #249829

Stephen D

Re- Rather than take a stereotypical approach to government, my angle as a liberal is to take a moderate, free-thinking approach.

Well said Stephan. The sooner our government and the people of this country realize that they will never have it entirely one way or the other the sooner we can get around to effecting much needed change. The current stalemate centered around foolish hatreds and vision limiting party pride is non productive and doing no one any good. We are a nation of American citizens not a nation of dems or republicans.

Posted by: RickIL at April 4, 2008 10:58 AM
Comment #249833

If a “senior legal adviser to Mitt Romney” who was teaching at Catholic U in DC, in between Notre Dame and Pepperdine, comes out for the O candidate, he may be looking at his record in Springfield on abortion, and hoping for more Roman Catholic, or at least anti-abortion, appointees to the SCOTUS. Many of the O candidate’s supporters consider abortion to be genocide. I don’t think anyone really knows this candidate, or what he will do if he becomes POTUS.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 4, 2008 11:53 AM
Comment #249835

RickIL
clinton1 only compromised when he had too and the Obama Dems are saying they want a candidate who will push their agenda rather than another who will compromise.

The dems have had plenty of time to prove their worth, but rather than fight, they are convinced they will win the WH in 08 and that it will be easier to push their one-sided legislation then.
Yes, time will tell, but IMO, they will begin where they left off and piss off a whole bunch of us again. Goodbye rights and goodbye money.

Obama will make govt bigger, and he thinks this will change how it operates? Sure he talks a good game about special interests groups and crap, but he is a member of one of the two largest special groups and he will cater to them and the hell with the rest of us.

IMHO, real change would be someone who works for all of the people instead of just the people who agree with him or her. Someone who knows its wrong to mess with rights they don’t care about, just as much as its wrong to mess with rights they do care about. Someone who doesn’t do what they think is best for all of us, but someone who does what is best for our country AND fair to all.
Running our country is not about pushing an ideological driven agenda, but that is what we will get, again, with Obama, clinton or McCain.

Posted by: kctim at April 4, 2008 12:16 PM
Comment #249838

S.D., the “activist base” has always been there in those states, it’s just that the media is being paid to pay attention. Hopefully their influence will increase enough in a few swings states, like Missouri, to help with the electoral college vote, but we are on the wrong side of the reapportionment curve. Incidentally, in this election, TX will be the most underrepresented state in the electoral college vote.

“closed Steel Mills” are closed pollution factories. I used to drive through that area when they were open, choke choke, and remember later when US Steel was importing fire bricks for the stacks, after the EPA started regulating, because we obviously couldn’t make those bricks here. There is plenty of land of little value on the south side of Chicago. They are doing a better job of transitioning in NW Indiana. If the steel mills reopened, the land will be worthless.

NAFTA is a joke issue. The H candidate is telling the truth, that we should look at renegotiating. The O candidate is being disingenuous. He knows that trade isn’t a one way street. Saudi Arabia has passed the Hubbert peak, and oil supplies from Canada and Mexico are going to be much more important in the future. NAFTA helps us there.

“outright appeals to what opinion polls “, in other words, media packaging. Did you see William Safire on the Daily Show the other day? Fake “fire in the belly?” You might have to log in now, they just changed the site:
http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=165388&title=william-safire
Who is going to write The Selling of The President 2008?

His resume is so thin that we are talking about being a communiy organizer as a qualification for the Presidency?

Posted by: orhealy at April 4, 2008 1:10 PM
Comment #249839

Stephen

Re the lobbyist/sex accusation, there is nothing to it. It is the typical Dem trick of making accusations w/o any basis and then speaking of them as fact. There is nothing there. If you guys have anything, bring it on. You are detecting not panic, but exasperation, BTW. I generally go with facts, not innuendo.

I agree that there is no evidence that Obama or Clinton have had sexual affairs with lobbyists. I have as much evidence for this as you have for McCain.

Re public funding – McCain made the offer. Obama rebuffed it. We could still do it for the general election if Obama wins the nomination and cares about public financing. I doubt he does, however. This is just another example of Dem hypocrisy. Public funding is what they scream about until it affects them.

Re liberalism – let’s see. The Dems that won in 2006 tended to act a lot like conservatives. If liberalism is making a comeback, let Obama and Clinton come out directly with their liberal policies. Maybe it will be a winner. Whoever wins the elections is the legitimate leader for the time in office and he/she can try to enact whatever policies they think best.

Re government and corruption – you don’t need corruption for government not to work well. Government has a problem of information processing. It cannot possibly gather and process enough information to plan a complex economy. Even if it could, it cannot implement them through the bureaucracies it must use to carry out its will. At each stage, information is lost and noise enters the system.

Western democracies have become prosperous by allowing more individual choice. Pre-modern societies and modern command and control economies allow fewer choices in return for – theoretically – more justice. Our Federal government is about as big as it can get w/o creating too much inefficiency. It is not a matter of good or bad leadership. It is a systemic problem. At some point any system gets too big.

BTW – the government itself is a special interest. Its officials and bureaucracies are self protecting and self perpetuating. Pump them full of steroids in the form of more power and regulation and they get bigger and more intrusive.

The U.S. Federal government works better than any large government in the history of the world. I am not saying it is bad. Think of how much oppression the governments of the old USSR or China employ and consider the bureaucracy building in the EU. But it suffers the limits of size.


RickIL

It is not the character of the politicians that causes the trouble; it is the character of the political system. Politics is a negative or zero sum proposition. It must impose the same solutions on everybody and does not allow for individual choices. We need politics to decide those things we cannot all agree about. It always has elements for coercion.

I prefer to limit the choices made politically. Whenever possible, I prefer to let individuals make free choices AND different choices. Some things must be decided collectively, but not most things.

Most politicians these days don’t know much else. Neither Obama, nor Clinton … nor John McCain for that matter has ever made anything or had to meet a payroll. They have never had to satisfy customers or navigate the difficult process of matching supplies with demands while trying to improve quality and satisfy regulations. It is easy to make rules for other people. That is what politicians do. The best politicians are circumspect about their power. Unfortunately, these kinds of honest guys tend not to get elected, since they are also circumspect about their promises.

The people of the U.S. can elect politicians who promise more intrusive government, more regulation and higher taxes, as Obama and Clinton propose. If they succeed, our country will become more like France or Germany. These places are okay. I like them both. But they consistently have significantly higher unemployment, lower growth and less opportunity.

Posted by: Jack at April 4, 2008 1:25 PM
Comment #249856

ohrealy-
It’s more than media attention, it’s results. We won back congress in no small part due to successful fights in the west we didn’t deign to engage in under the Swing State Strategy. We put serious attention into those places, and the screw-ups of the last few years have delivered us a number of key demographics.

Closed Steel Mills or Closed pollution factories, you need to recall that this meant dealing with people who were at economic disadvantage. It meant doing more than just sweet-talking these people and cheerleading them. It meant finding solutions for people.

Both candidates recommended renegotiating, but do you think a candidate who lets their campaign manager go negotiate on behalf of a foreign government for a trade deal while they’re trying to butter up people on being anti-NAFTA has much credibility?

As for oil, we’ve been getting most of it from this hemisphere for some time now. Our interest in Middle East oil relates to it’s price for us and for our allies in Europe.

The real question as far as resumes go is how does being a Governor and then a President’s wife add up to a beefier resume. Why else would she have gone with that ridiculous sniper story? Much of what she did was window dressing, in a job that was essentially unpaid, unelected, and in which she was not all that accountable to anybody.

About the only criteria by which this ends up on her resume is her visibility as a media figure. Is celebrity our main qualification for higher office? Do we want somebody as our candidate for whom policy was a hobby, or somebody for whom it was a job?

Jack-
If we must put things in terms of sexual innuendo, McCain is like a boy or a girl who makes a promise about abstinence and keeps it by having oral or anal sex instead of the traditional variety. Corruption and excessive relationships with lobbyist do not require earmarks any more than fornication requires the missionary position.

But beyond the metaphorical level of screwing the taxpayer in less obvious ways, I don’t care about McCain’s sex life. That you’re concentrating on this either shows that you fear its effects on religious right turnout, or that you really don’t want people to focus on what truly is the most scandalous part of the article, that he’s doing favors for lobbyists, despite his public stances against them.

McCain takes a public stance on public campaign financing, yet privately tries to wiggle out from under it, having set up a too clever by half scheme for getting the taxpayers to foot the bill if he lost the primary. As for Obama rebuffing the offer?

Well, McCain has committed himself to public financing, while not trying to commit himself. Meanwhile, Obama is not yet the candidate for the Democrats. And, at the same time, Obama’s raised virtually all his money from individual donors, while McCain has taken a third of his money from PACs, the very people he was supposed to consider evil and bad. In practice, Obama’s run a much closer campaign to the one McCain idealizes than McCain himself has. Hypocrisy is about doing things in a way inconsistent with your expressed views. Who has availed himself of PAC money and surrounded himself with lobbyists having decried both?

Central planning is not my idea of good Liberalism. That’s a relic of a time when people thought things could be centrally planned. At the same time, you don’t necessarily plan traffic on a freeway, but using laws and lanes you can at least keep the gridlock and catastrophic wrecks to a minimum. Western Democracies have prospered by creating a better feedback between those who direct the traffic, and those who are directed. In non-democratic governments, leaders, even the best ones, often let problems reach crisis levels before they do something useful about them. Pollution in China is an example.

Inefficiency and size are interrelated, but there are ways of making larger governments more efficient. The Republicans ideas for doing it seem to have badly backfired. We’re probably paying a whole load more for the privilege of having private interests run things for the military, than having them run it for themselves.

Efficiency lives in results, not in theories of what results will come about.

As far as this point you make to RickIL about people not having to enage the world like business owners have… I think that’s a flawed argument. Business owners are often narrowly focused on their own bottom lines, sometimes even on the numbers at a certain date and time. Government can’t afford to be so chummy and sympathetic that it loses it’s objectivity. For the rule of law to work, Governments must be willing to side against the bottom line. Otherwise, there’s one rule for the economic elite, and another for those who fall outside that group.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 4, 2008 9:23 PM
Comment #249862

Stephen

I used to have much more confidence in government than I do now. I used to look at what I WANTED to have done and saw government as an instrument to accomplish those things. But as I learned more about complex systems, I learned that government cannot do many of the things we want it to do and when we apply this blunt tool we often make things worse.

Government simply cannot use those distributed autonomous systems you refer to in the other article. We do not ALLOW it. Such systems create inequality as they create new relationships and rules. We do not allow our bureaucrats to make rules in response to particular circumstances. We cannot give them that kind of discretion. Do you want to extent that power to them?

Re the private sector, you have stumbled on the truth, w/o recognizing it. YES private sector people are focused on their own business and they make decisions based on their own bottom lines. They don’t know the details of everybody else’s business and they do not see the big picture. But they know their own business better than anybody else and when all the decisions they make are aggregated through the market, that knowledge and good decision-making is transferred to the bigger society.

Government cannot gather all that data and no human can understand it. Millions of individuals making decisions about their own business and their own lives is better than a government bureaucracy doing it for them.

The rule of law is the foundation of both democracy and the market. The rule of law is not flexible and that is why it is the rule of law. We apply rule of law to places where we cannot or do not want flexibility. But in order to live, we need places where we do have flexibility, where a couple of guys can make an agreement that affects them and then change their minds the next day. Government cannot do that. It cannot be that flexible. We will not allow it to be and if it was we would not have rule of law.

Posted by: Jack at April 5, 2008 12:50 AM
Comment #249956

Jack sez, with no trace of irony, “At his staged events, …”

No, no, really, Jack, he had free speech zones.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at April 7, 2008 2:38 AM
Comment #251470

Myself, I would take HOPE and CHANGE any day rather then a party in power that has an astronomical amount of support with 28 percent of the population in agreement. Now the present Fourth Reich adapting from the Third Reich will eventually be judged as was in Nuremberg. For now the minority rule over the majority and change will eventually be reintroduced back to past values.
The old political machines both Republican and Democrat have impregnated past American norms with cronyism and corruption. It is time for change and if Obama doesn’t deliver then just possibly the next person of hope can.
For now I will go with someone who gives you inspiration not a war of aggression or from Hillary, continual lies and old party politics.
Can anyone truly say everything in America today, economically, socially or politically is something to aspire to and does the world adore our meddling within the world?
Most conservatives will abhor Obama since Nationalism and being the world’s policeman is righteous while growing rich on wars follies.

Posted by: Nelson R at April 25, 2008 10:44 PM
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