Obama's “Change” Will be a Leftward Swing, Not a Fundamental Shift

A large part of our sitting legislators and our current president are in office because they made promises of reform, change, taking back Washington, etc.

“We need fundamental change in this country, and that’s what I’d like to bring.” When Barack Obama said these words during the final presidential debate, he was talking about the “failed policies … we’ve seen over the last eight years.”

There is a lot to say about Bush's failures. But I don't hear a fundamental shift in the way business is done in Washington from Obama, just a cyclical pendulum swing back to the left.

Obama is making the most of the dissatisfaction Americans feel toward Bush. But the need for change in our government goes much deeper than a switch to the other party can fix. When most of our latest batch of reformers won their seats, they got stuck in the same quagmiric system the previous agents of change found. This is not an eight-year-old problem.

But Obama wants us to think he's different. Has he shown that in the time he's been in the Senate? In what ways has he taken on corrupt Washington politics? I can't think of one. If you can, please let me know.

If Barack Obama is elected, he will have little incentive to make good on his promise of “fundamental change”. If he starts implementing liberal policies, people will be excited for a while because he's not Bush. If troops start coming home, people won't care much what is happening in Iraq. Approval ratings won't wait for that fundamental change, and soon it will be just another forgotten campaign slogan.

Now add that to a one-party government. On NPR October 27, Jonathan Rauch, senior writer for National Journal, explained why this leads to non-representative government and alienation of the other half of the country. The president is pressured to play to the middle of his own party, not the middle of the country.

Contrastingly, McCain knows instituting fundamental change is the only way forward he has open to him. He won't have the benefit of being able to do everything the opposite of how Bush did it. He'll have to act competently to impress us. There is no reason to doubt that he would continue reaching across the aisle just as he has in Congress. Since McCain doesn't owe his nomination to any right wing segments of the Republican party he has no reason to push a right wing agenda, he'll be everyone's president. In fact, Jonathan Rauch (see link above) argued that if Democrats want real progress on climate change and health care, they are better off with McCain.

But, if you want to be the "change" candidate, someone else has to be the status quo. One of Obama's favorite campaign lines is that electing McCain would be a third Bush term. This kind of attack works because, as it has so often been said, this is a Democrat's year. But the claim doesn't hold water. McCain has denounced the Bush Administration's failed policies in much more risky settings than Obama has. McCain blasted President Bush's handling of the Iraq war, for example, in the Republican primary debates.

More importantly, what most people dislike about Bush is not his conservatism, but his bully politics and ineffective leadership. There is no reason I know of to expect McCain to follow that example.

McCain has a whole career that shows he isn't another Bush. Although our government is now more polarized than it has been in since reconstruction (see Poole link below), McCain has consistently led collaborative bipartisan efforts to craft good and significant legislation such as election financing reform and climate change bills. Is it incidental that one of his strongest supporters was the Democratic vice presidential candidate eight years ago?

If you want a fun yet objective view of how the candidates are prone to vote (in a simplified linear format), Keith Poole et al. have statistically rated Obama, McCain, Hillary Clinton and George W Bush on a liberal-conservative continuum based on their voting records. Obama and Clinton are nearly equally liberal on the left wing of democrats. McCain is rated as a moderate republican. Bush is comfortably right wing. They call McCain's voting along the continuum “erratic.” I take that to reflect the fact that McCain worries less than most about whether a good bill falls on the liberal or conservative side before he votes for it.

Barack Obama has promise as a leader, he just isn't erratic. I would like him to show us, as a senator, what he means when he uses the word “change” before we elect him president. Right now, what this country needs is a new collaborative approach to government, not a liberal preponderance of power in the same old system.

Posted by Mark Montie at October 28, 2008 9:30 PM
Comments
Comment #268649

Mark
Many Americans have seen the conservatism of Ronald Reagan in action this past 30 years and it has failed these people and our country. The conservative principles may sound good to many and many may think self reliance is a conservative principle only. It is not, it is an American principle.

The borrow and spend philosophy of the conservatives has failed us with continuous deficit spending. The cut taxes and start a war philosophy of the conservatives has failed us with a doubling of the national debt The smaller government philosophy of the conservatives paved the way for bigger and corrupt government under the republicans, and again has failed this country. The fiscal responsibility philosophy … jeez, trickle on voo doo economic policies, what more needs to be said. It has failed this country and the people of this country.

Lets face it Mark its long past time for the conservatives of this country to come to grips with their many failures. It is time for conservatives to put the attitude in check, quit the name calling, fear tactics, half truths and distortions and be willing to work with the rest of us to turn this country around. To continue with the failed policies of the conservative movement will not serve this country well it is time for conservatives to give more than lip service to this country it is time to work together to solve problems. If conservatives cannot find it with in themselves or their philosophy to do such at the very least they need to get out of the way, stop the obstructionism of the past 2 years, and let others unite to bring this country back from the conservative abyss we have seen this past 30 years. More of the same is not the answer it is the problem. McCain is more of the same. Of course that is just my opinion.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 29, 2008 12:25 AM
Comment #268652

First, stalk of cyclical returns of the pendulum annoy me, and I make a policy of hunting down all those who employ that cliche. ;-)

Truly, though, things are more complex than that. Had the Republicans been wise enough to moderate themselves and their behavior, they might have kept power for some time.

But the Republican Party of the late 90’s wanted to know. It fumed bitterly at the interference that six years of Clinton ensured. No more letting the lefties get in the way.

It turned out to be a Wiley Coyote slingshot into the cliff wall, with a broken-off section of the cliff dropping on them from above for good measure. The Republicans pushed their agenda so hard, America was inspired to push back. Trust me, dissatisfaction with elected officials is not what gets a Party clobbered two elections in a row. The shape of the electorate has changed.

And that change should not be underestimated. If nothing else, Obama’s already catalyzed that fundamental shift, starting with that extraordinary keynote speech, which helped give the Democrats a new vision of their politics, to his support of Senatorial and House candidates in 2006, to his massive invasion of Republican territory and all the attendant coat-tails he brings with him. He has also brought minorities and young voters into the process in increasing numbers and proportions.

As the old 80’s song goes, one thing leads to another. Even if he’s an uncontroversial centrist from the day he’s elected on, His election, and election of more Democrats will, in the end change the political dynamic of the country.

But I’ve looked at the guy long enough to know that while he’s often cautious, he also moves, when he gets moving, with a pace and a force that catches his opponents off guard. Anybody who’s doubting his political skills needs to take a look at the electoral map. Obama is not to be underestimated.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2008 12:59 AM
Comment #268654

Voting Deadlines

Most of the states require an absentee ballot request to be made by October 24th. You can click on this link and request your absentee ballot.

www.StateDemocracy.org

Check your States Deadline Date at http://bostonnewsdesk.blogspot.com/2008/10/apply-for-absentee-ballot.html


Posted by: shally at October 29, 2008 2:40 AM
Comment #268661

I believe that Obama will become the next President; here is a look at his first four years (one can only pray that he will only be a single term President)… No humor intended. Comrade Obama will be the most liberal and pro-socialist President the US has ever seen, or imagined. “Everyone wants to live at the expense of the State. They forget that the State lives at the expense of everyone.” Frédéric Bastiat
Amazingly enough the pitch that works from sea to shining sea for Obama has been his Socialist themed speeches peppered with “Us versus the rich”, “The rich people deserve to pay” and in Bidens words The rich have the Patriotic duty to pay more. “The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others. Never under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weakness, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects - his laziness, incompetence, improvidence, or stupidity.” Henry Hazlitt
The Dems will own both houses, so we will see some historical actions. After all “Democracy is the road to socialism.” Karl Marx
• Democrat Barney Frank wants tax hikes on the most successful people and companies. “In a higher phase of communist society… only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be fully left behind and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” Karl Marx

• To look like he is not anti-military Obama will place funds in to the VA system, especially for our troops returning home with mental illness issues. Obama will keep troops in Afghanistan until he states that the environment is untenable, dangerous and not winnable.

• Kerry, Reid & Pelosi are talking new bail outs, hand outs and massive federal spending. A return to infrastructure investments will create a new government agency putting disenchanted people back to work in mid grade level jobs to put America back together, bridge by bridge. This will happen because corporations will increase layoffs due to increased taxation. Govt employment will be the new society corporation. “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of the public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress… Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.” - James Madison, 1789

• Unemployment will hit 10% - 12%

• Minimum wage will be lifted as will the temporary state of unemployment benefits, these will be mandated to be permanent, or until a time when the Govt can provide training for those that cannot or will not work. “Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” - Thomas Jefferson

• Amnesty for 12 - 20 million illegal aliens will be enacted allowing an increased amount of pro-socialist movements (subsidized, food, housing, training and education for Americans to learn Spanish) to occur in Border States, that have no rights granted to battle illegal immigration. “Subsidies create more of whatever is being subsidized.” Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. “I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me and yet assure others that I am sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means - except by getting off his back.” Leo Tolstoy

• A request will be made by both houses to make illegal aliens (from Latin America) them citizens so the US Govt can register them to vote. The difference of course is that folks that came from overseas will be placed at the end of the line in spite of the fact that they have to pay heavy bucks for the 7 year wait program that most green card, working immigrants face. “It is easy to be conspicuously ‘compassionate’ if others are being forced to pay the cost.” Murray Rothbard

• Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado & Arizona will no longer be battle states as the number of lower income immigrants will saturate the state with basic labor capabilities. The increase of foreign born immigrants will require significant subsidies for housing, food, and employment. Welfare will grow at an alarming rate. “Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody.” Calvin Coolidge

• Border security will become a complete joke, and a non-issue, America will have an open border with Mexico’s population, a population that desires Obama’s welfare for anyone willing to cross the border. It only takes an illegal alien a week to state in perfect English “I got rights!”

• Taxes will be raised on the top 5% of wage-earners, who now carry over 60% of the U.S. income tax burden, and tens of millions of checks will be sent out to the 35% of wage-earners who pay no federal income tax. “Redistribution of wealth will make everyone happy!” “Spread it around.” OBAMA “We’ve got to make sure that people who have more money help the people who have less money.” “The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.” Vladimir Lenin

• Socialism will become more vogue than ever in today’s hall of academia; the social experiment will also increase the number of grants for an exploration in stipend liberties. What if we limit competition, then less people will lose! “It is true that liberty is precious - so precious that it must be rationed.” Vladimir Lenin

• Social Security taxes will be raised on the most successful among us, and capital gains taxes will be raised from 15% to 20%. The Bush tax cuts will be repealed, and death taxes re-imposed. Tax the rich, tax the almost rich, tax people that can spell rich! “There is no limit to taxation if the benefits derived from public services by society measure up to the cost in taxation which they have to pay… Theoretically, there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed.” - Barak H. Obama (Sr.), in “Problems Facing Our Socialism”, in the “East African Journal”, July 1965.

• The words most used during Obama’s presidency will be “Fairness & Equality” “Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” Alexis de Tocqueville

• Two or three more liberal activists will be named to the Supreme Court. U.S. district and appellate courts will be stacked with “progressives” & “anti-elites” “It is not the function of our government to keep the citizens from falling into error; it is the function of the citizens to keep government from falling into error.” Fred Moore Vinson, Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, in American Communications Association v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 1950

• The constitution is deemed as a flawed charter (according to Obama) will require changes as the document does not allow enough Government intervention in banking, housing, education, healthcare and the capitation of wealth. “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated [in the U.S. Constitution].” - Thomas Jefferson [see Article I, Section 8]

• Special protections for homosexuals will be written into all civil rights laws, and gays and lesbians in the military will be invited to come out of the closet. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” will be dead.

• The homosexual marriages that state judges have forced California, Massachusetts and Connecticut to recognize, an Obama Congress or Obama court will require all 50 states to recognize. OBAMA “I opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying.”

• A “Freedom of Choice Act” nullifying all state restrictions on abortions will be enacted. America will become the most pro-abortion nation on earth. Abortions will be the right of every woman and pubescent seeking one, no matter the trimester, therefore late term abortions will be deemed as a medical DNC. OBAMA “…I’ve got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

• References to God and Christianity will be removed due to the fact that the US is no longer a Christian only nation (statement repeated by Comrade Obama). The fact is that a majority of people in the US consider themselves Christian, according to the CIA world fact book 51.3% are Christian, 23.9% catholic, 1.7% Mormon and 1.6% “other” Christian, 1.7% Jewish, .7% Buddhist, .6% Muslim & 18.7% as unaffiliated or none.. I would say that the majority (over 50% are Christian). This will at a minimum provide the ACLU, atheist and agnostics with a plausible sigh of relief… Great Quote for Liberals… “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. ” Karl Marx

• Affirmative action — hiring and promotions based on race, sex and sexual orientation until specified quotas are reached — will be rigorously enforced throughout the U.S. government and private sector. “What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don’t like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don’t expect freedom to survive very long.” Thomas Sowell “Equal rights for all, special privileges for none.” Thomas Jefferson

• Universal health insurance will be enacted, covering legal and illegal immigrants, providing another powerful magnet for the world to come to America, if necessary by breaching her borders. Healthcare after all is a God given right! “The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.” Daniel Webster

• Taxation to pay for Universal Health should use the UK as a model, the NHS required a VAT tax, luxury taxes, an increase in consumption tax (Gas, Electricity & Natural Gas) as well as a 14% increase in taxes for their little nation. The average tax burden for Germany, France & Denmark is 48% for incomes above $60K USD, 55% for incomes above $100K and 62% for incomes above $200K USD. Each of these countries have subsidized education (under graduate and post graduate), as well as Universal Healthcare. “It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights - the ‘right’ to education, the ‘right’ to health care, the ‘right’ to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery - hay and a barn for human cattle.” P.J. O’Rourke, in a speech at the Cato Institute, 6 May 1993

• With Universal healthcare foreign born physicians will increase, in the UK under NHS the UK born physician make up less than 11% of physicians (they are called consultants over there). US physicians will slide over to private practice as they will not be able to make a living working under the capitated environment and will no longer be allowed (Denmark, Spain, Italy & Japan) to make pharma decisions for patients. The saturation will give way to new business ventures for over educated clinicians that need not practice medicine, paying off $200K worth of education will be relegated to Govt financed educations. A Govt mandate will allow only a set number of new clinician positions to be made available for use. Overages will become redundant (see NHS 2002, 2006, 2007 & 2008. NHS is a perfect model for what will happen if Universal health is adopted. A hybrid plan is being adopted as rates of malpractice mount and a lack of technology has required increasing bed counts. IN the US bed counts have gone down even though patient population has gone up, this is due to technology, which will no longer be an option as medicine will be governed by bureaucrats rather than doctors.

• A federal bailout of states and municipalities to keep state and local governments spending up could come in December or early next year. “I place economy among the first and most important virtues and public debt as the greatest dangers to be feared… We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude… The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the disposition of public money. We are endeavoring to reduce the government to the practice of rigid economy to avoid burdening the people…” - Thomas Jefferson

• Additional bail outs will occur for the US auto industry, and another investment will occur as cars made in the US will be required to meet strict mileage & pollution guidelines. This will cause additional layoffs, and unions will require re-training and education at the tax payers expense, as large companies will become Govt shells (see Airbus, owned by European Union, see SwissAir, Sabena, Air Italia.. Air travel will be like Amtrak).

• Obama believes that he can tax America to prosperity, a foolish notion. “Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer.” Ludwig von Mises

• Airlines will become regulated, after a bail out is required by US Air carriers.

• Obama will allow the UN to elucidate American military actions; this will attenuate our ability to follow through with existing treaties and alliances.

• A terrorist act will occur killing hundreds maybe thousands of Americans and foreign nationals (we are diverse after all) and will be blamed on the Republican party for treating the world so unfairly during Bush’s two terms as Pres. Obama will be tested, per Biden and he will show a lack of will, as well as a lack of leadership to impose upon any military situation. (Not unlike Clinton, the guy never learned how to salute his detail that flew him everywhere, even Gomer Pyle knew how to salute)

• The right to bear arms will be crippled by new complicated laws, regulations and higher levies on the manufacturers of these weapons. “We don’t let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns?” Joseph Stalin “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.” Mahatma Ghandi “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!” Adolf Hitler, 1935

• Obama will be given carte blanche by the media ABC, CBS, NBC, Reuters, BBC, MSNBC & CNN will have made him out to be Kennedy but with more height. “The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.” Vladimir Lenin

• Obama will receive no respect by the military and the pentagon will be deemed as a plague upon our society. Military personnel as well as civilian contributors will lose their positions due to cut backs so social programs can be front and center… Who needs a military? Military is deemed as over rated, will be under funded, denigrated and under manned.

• Obama will also enact the prison humanity act, allowing convicted criminals to vote, the death penalty will be repealed by the US Govt as being cruel and unusual punishment for killers, rapist and cannibals with lucrative book deals, and HBO specials. “Crime is a product of social excess.” Vladimir Lenin

• Sweden will award Obama the Nobel Peace Prize for avoiding all conflicts and not reacting to any terrorist act, he will condemn them of course, but no military action is warranted, as violence begets violence. “Can a nation be free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot.” Vladimir Lenin

• Obama will not be a centrist, and he will embark upon a mission to support financial class warfare to share the wealth that people worked hard to attain. “Mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property owners and exploited; and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division; and from the antagonism between poor and rich means abstracting oneself from fundamental facts.” Joseph Stalin

• Unions will be forced upon Wal Mart, and large companies, there will be no choice, organized labor or no labor. “Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries, unite!” Karl Marx

• The first trillion-dollar deficit will be run in the first year of an Obama presidency.

The good news is that he will not mate with anyone but his wife, his kids will never be criticized, nor his wife as that would be deemed as racist. The individual will be banished as being selfish whereas the collective will be aggrandized. I fear any quasi patriot that states that the US Constitution is flawed; Our Constitution insists that America, in its treatment of people, honor simultaneously such opposites as agreement & disagreement, sameness and difference, oneness and pluralism, freedom and security.

“Abundance was created not by public sacrifices to ‘the common good’, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance - and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.” Ayn Rand

Posted by: Shallow_Intellectual at October 29, 2008 3:04 AM
Comment #268667

Shallow_Intellectual-
You have many points here, but one argument, and that is basically that the Democrats are socialists, (nay, communists!) who are going to destroy the country.

Then you go on and quote Ayn Rand. Let me put this plainly: not everybody can get what they want. Your variety of unbound capitalism and Lenin and Stalin’s version of unbound communism both tried to do that, but no system can make everybody a winner. That’s not what Obama’s promising anyways.

He’s promising what people want: business bound to more rules of the road so these kinds of runaway disasters don’t happen. And after years of a tax policy which consistently feeds more money to those who already have it and don’t spend most of it, people want something of their own, and Obama’s promise of a widespread tax cut funded by a restoration of the old tax code for the rich, leaves most folks rather unsentimental about the rich getting soaked. It’s not like he’s setting a top rate of seventy percent.

But of course, what you fear in Obama is his breaking of the back of Republican power. For the first time in thirty years, the Republicans no longer have the presumption of superiority on a number of issues, nor the likelihood of dominating at least two of the three branches.

And you folks will say and do just about anything now to avoid that. If you’re just saying what you’re saying, save some dignity and ditch the rhetoric, because it just makes you look silly to most people, or just poor sports. If you do believe what you’re saying, please do yourself a favor and get some perspective. Life in the Republican echo chamber has loosened your grip on what’s really going on. It’s time to look at the world for yourself.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2008 8:01 AM
Comment #268668

Mark

What you are missing in your consensus here is that the people of this country are no more enamored with the republican party in general than they are with GW. The last eight years, and one can fairly argue the last four years of Clinton, have been a GOP group effort in showing how not to govern a country. GW and the GOP worked in unison to create a foolproof lockstep entity that marched to only one tune and answered to no one. McCain’s record does not indicate that he was not part of that march. They, in their very real arrogance insured their own demise. At this moment in time the GOP has one huge shadow hanging over them. It is the refusal to accept accountability. Until they can do that they will not be viewed as a party that is ready to abandon failed policies.

The last few months have shown us all the real McCain. Almost every notion I held about him prior to this election run has been wiped away and replaced with mostly negative views. The man is not the type of person who should be given the right to run a country. He has not run a wise or respectable campaign. He has not made good choices or exhibited a steady demeanor other than being steadily erratic. He has not shown foresight, insight or an ability to be mentally quick. Mix those lack of qualities with his horrible choice for VP and you get a recipe for disaster. I think our country has had enough of disaster these last eight years.

Posted by: RickIL at October 29, 2008 8:43 AM
Comment #268678

It would have been nice in the midst of all this to have ever, even once, seen real conservatism. Democrats say we have because there were Republicans in charge. But there was never a conservative majority. Never more than 40 in the Senate, with a bunch of liberal Republicans who would have been Democrats in the South making up the balance.

We’ve always heard how hard-hearted conservatism was supposed to be when no one has seen it function. On the other hand world history is replete with witnesses to the results of liberalsm set free.

I, too, think he will win. After that he’d better be good because he and the Democrats who run things with him will be the media’s pet albatross. They bought him. They invested their reputations in him.

If he goes down, he’ll take them with him.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 29, 2008 10:33 AM
Comment #268682

Oh Lee come on the compassionate conservative lead the charge and the Congress was full of people running on the conservative philosophy as espoused by the great one himself, Ron Reagan. It was a failed philosophy that let you guys down not the people who executed the philosophy. On paper it sounds good in the real world it falls on its face as a political philosophy. All hat no cattle.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 29, 2008 10:44 AM
Comment #268685

Shallow
Have heard your talking points for the last sixty years. They are empty warnings with hollow yelling.
In fact, it is the Republican party of today which is not the same of ten years ago.
The voters are of no account to the Congress that is now in office.
The laundry list can go on and on and the only way to return Washington to any form of sense is when the new President is elected to have a new Congress.
No one should be re-elected.
A new House and a new one third of the Senate.
Our mantra should be
Re-elect no one.

Posted by: S. Hollahan at October 29, 2008 11:36 AM
Comment #268686

You know I actually believed Bush when he said he was a compassionate conservative, was against nation-building, a uniter not a divider? It’s not that Bush didn’t know what appealed to people - it’s just that he never really believed in any of those things.

Anyway, ANYONE would be MASSIVELY different from Bush, who has ruined this country. He has personally ruined the lives of several people I know with his policies. For me, never voting Republican again is very personal decision.

Posted by: Max at October 29, 2008 11:47 AM
Comment #268689

Lee Jamison-

It would have been nice in the midst of all this to have ever, even once, seen real conservatism. Democrats say we have because there were Republicans in charge. But there was never a conservative majority. Never more than 40 in the Senate, with a bunch of liberal Republicans who would have been Democrats in the South making up the balance.

You can’t see me shake my head, so just think of me doing it symbolically here. For years, you guys advertised your candidates as conservatives, especially here in what (I believe) is our common home state. Everybody had that word on their sign. I don’t think what you saw in our state was an isolated incident.

Republicans defined themselves as conservative. Maybe in a technical sense, taken from a Goldwater/John Dean sense, they weren’t conservative, but by the time you guys were through with yourselves, Republican meant conservative, and conservative meant Republican. With a record of important votes going party line, I think the argument that there were some pure souls is dubious.

But don’t act like the Real Conservatives weren’t getting something of what they wanted with the Rise of Reagan. Don’t act like they weren’t cheering on the defectors from the left, Reagan’s Evil Empire stance, or the Republican takeover of Congress. You folks poured every bit of derision you’re now focusing on each other on your common enemies. You didn’t care that much thirty years ago that your party was allying itself to religious conservatives or to Wall Street Supply siders.

It’s only now with this political collapse, unimaginable by most eight or even four years ago, that suddenly there weren’t real conservatives to lose in the House and Senate, that the majority you had wasn’t truly conservative.

As for their victory? I have never observed the media to be hesitant about going after Democrats. Obama’s mainly gotten the media off his back by being objectively successful. I’m sure if a policy vote fails or something else bad happens, there’ll be plenty of coverage to suit. The media’s never rested its credibility on one party or another, with a few exception. Only a network like FOXNews would find its fortunes sinking, because only they tilt their whole newscast to the right, only they were founding by partisan operatives.

Trust me, Obama will not be given a free ride. You’ll probably be the first there to quote them when they report a failure from him.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2008 12:31 PM
Comment #268697


Just like the Republicans, the Democrats are owned and controlled by wealth. What more needs to be known.

Shallow_Intellectual: Do you have an explanation for why capitalists and corporations would bankroll socialists or communists?

One of the biggest and most successful lies told in my lifetime is that liberals are socialists or even communists. Hell, they aren’t even progressives.

“Mark”

“What you are missing in your consesus here is that the people of this coutry are no more enamored with the republican party in general than they are with GW.”

The part of the consensus that liberals don’t seem to be able to grasp is that the people are no more enamored by them than they are the republicans. As is well known that 40% to 45% of the people know for a fact that their vote doesn’t count.

To garner a great victory, the liberals need only to secure the vote of 26% to 30% of the people. Perhaps even less if third party candidates get a share of the votes.

When Obama talks about fundamental change, everyone should know by now that he is primarily talking about change from republicans to democrats.

When McCain talks about change, he means don’t change from republicans to democrats.

Change is a word used rhetorically by politicians to encourage foolish voters to support them.

So, when you here a candidate of either the republican or democratic parties talking about change, you should keep in mind that both parties are bankrolled by the wealthy and their corporations.

Posted by: jlw at October 29, 2008 1:54 PM
Comment #268700

its time for a change.
Barack Obama?

a definite change.
but is that a reason to give him your vote?
listen to what he says and how he says it.
something just isn’t right. then you look at what he wants to do. our economy is a wild roller coaster right now. how does obama want to rescue it? by taking steps towards socialism.
do you want the government spending your money? i dont. raising taxes on the middle class, that’s us. take our money and they get to choose how to spend it. i don’t think so. i am an american.

Barack Obama.

47 years old, only 7 years of experience in the state legislature
and a weak 3 years in the united states senate.
how is he qualified
to be the most powerful man in the world? i doubt he is. at one time i was on the bandwagon for obama, but a little research does wonders and ill stick with party lines.

Vote John McCain.

the man with the plan.
he knows what hes doing.
hes the right man for the job.
and for all you who say he doesn’t represent change. that would be the reason Sarah Palin is his running mate.she is a true soccer mom, a red blooded american who understands.
she is the change, not shady like barack obama.

Rock The Vote! ‘08
John McCain, man with the plan.
Sarah Palin, coming of change.

Posted by: Michael Bolduc at October 29, 2008 2:13 PM
Comment #268729

jlw-
The trouble with your approach and attitude is that in any system where cynicism is the general feeling and hopelessness is the order of the day, those preaching the selfish pursuit of one’s self interests carry the day. If you can’t do anything about your situation, you might as well vote your selfish desires.

There’s also this notion that somehow the party’s are equal. I will not insult anybody’s intelligence here by suggesting that my party is perfect or always heading in the right direction. Instead, I will say that circumstances have lead them to be less trusting with ideology, more trusting of results.

Another thing: this BS notion that one’s vote doesn’t count is one of the leading causes of it not counting. You see those voting counts on election day? It isn’t strict population or anything that leads them to turn red or blue, though that helps. It’s those that turn out.

And what do the polls indicate? Democrats are turning out in numbers they haven’t before, and if the polls are to be trusted, they will take states they haven’t taken in decades. A year ago, these votes would be written off. Today they might change history.

And it’s no small change. There is so much about this country that might not have gone the way it did if the Bush administration hadn’t been elected. I can understand people being skeptical of the Democrats. So am I, and most Democrats! There’s nobody out there harder on most Democrats than the Democrats themselves!

I don’t know what your plan is. I know what Obama’s is. The least it will do is give us the chance to turn the corner. The alternative is trusting the fate of this country to a party that has consistently chosen to further its agenda rather than face its mistakes and address this country’s problems. If you want to mourn the fact that you don’t see real progressives out there, then answer this one question: is it easier to get a foothold for a progressive movement with the Republicans still able to trip it up at every turn, or will you have an easier time doing it with the country firmly in Democratic Party hands?

Michael Bolduc-
It’s funny to see how much you swing around that dead cat of a word: socialism. I don’t think you’d know it for real if somebody fish-slapped you with it. And how are you justifying this charge? By appealing to his middle class tax cuts. I see, when we give this free money to the rich, it’s capitalism, when the average person gets it, it’s socialism or communism. Mister, that’s called economic elitism. If changing tax rates is class warfare, is it alright when it’s done to benefit the rich, but socialism when it goes to the lower brackets?

As for raising taxes, he’s been explicitly clear about what he’s going to do. 95% of Americans won’t see another dime. I know McCain’s pushed that canard about the budget resolution, but that didn’t have the effect of raising one solitary dime. McCain’s not going to tell you that. Instead he’s going to hope that you stick to the party line, scared by words like socialism.

If you want to know how Obama is qualified, listen for the leaks coming from his campaign. You won’t find any. He doesn’t hire the loudmouths and the blowhards. He hires the people who know what they are doing. And you don’t get several different answers out of him on a subject when one will do fine.

McCain has demonstrated he plainly doesn’t know what he’s doing. He pulled a stunt suspending his campaign, and then not really suspending it, Showing up at the debate, turning around, praising the bailout bill, taking credit for its success, watching it go down in flames, and then blaming Obama for supporting it, all in the space of a week. Is that your man with the plan?

This is a man who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut, who doesn’t know how to work with subtlety and reserve. He obviously didn’t know the minds of his colleagues, despite his boasts. Since then, his strategy seems to be essentially doubling down on his negative campaigning against his opponent, even though that’s done little to stop the hemorrhaging of his support, perhaps even aggravated it. As for Palin?

Palin not only isn’t read for office, she’s not suitable for it. She’s taken advantage of her citizens, taking ethically questionable perks for her family, and showing a surprising vindictiveness against those who don’t please her. It’s laughable that she’s somehow purer than Obama, who has done maybe one questionable thing anybody’s heard of to her several abuses.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2008 5:55 PM
Comment #268730

I agree that the Republican leadership over the last decade has helped dig it’s own grave. But the fact that Congress’ approval rating is lower than Bush’s is a reflection on the Democrats’ failures.

I don’t believe this election is a referendum on conservatism. What it comes down to is deciding who to blame more. You can only put one face in the middle of your dart board and for most people it’s Bush. So the Democrats win.

When Americans are sick enough of the system to say no one should be re-elected, it’s no wonder they would grab the newest guy on the scene and say, “You give it a shot.”

Obama is a talented politician; statesman, I don’t know. McCain couldn’t schmooze his way out of a paper bag, but his record shows swimming against the current. Not of the Republican party, but the whole messed up system. He plays the game, but he has done more to slow the widening of the political gap than anyone else I know of.

Posted by: Mark at October 29, 2008 6:05 PM
Comment #268732

Stephen Daugherty asked: “Is it easier to get a foothold for a progressive movement with the Republicans still able to trip it up at every turn, or will you have an easier time doing it with the country firmly in Democratic Party hands?”

Governments that go unchecked destroy themselves. Bush was very creative at shrugging off checks even with Democratic majorities in Congress. Now it’s caught up to him.

If the Democrats shoot for the stars with their liberal agenda and forget that half the people in this country aren’t headed the same way, they will end up the same way Bush did.

The remedy for a bipolar nation is an effective centrist government.

Posted by: Mark at October 29, 2008 6:27 PM
Comment #268760
It would have been nice in the midst of all this to have ever, even once, seen real conservatism.

Didn’t I see this same argument from communists not long ago?

It seems the Red column is given to fantasy these days as they are left with nothing positive to point towards. It’s really too bad. Conservatism has valid ideals, it would be nice if they recognized that it also encompassed balancing wealth and power with the middle class. They might even recognize an ally in a few Democrats, including Barrack Obama.

I remember R. Nixon’s speech about Checker’s the dog and the words about Pat’s cloth Republican coat. Perhaps that was typical phony Nixon speak, but it makes it kind of hard to explain Sarah’s $150,000 wardrobe. I wonder does it just not register with the right?

Posted by: googlumpugus at October 29, 2008 10:13 PM
Comment #268761

“But the fact that Congress’ approval rating is lower than Bush’s is a reflection on the Democrats’ failures.”

The approval rating for Congress is historically low in part due to the obstructionism of the republicans. While the dems may have a slim majority they cannot stop the minority party hell bent on damaging this country for political posturing and gain. The American people understand this and it appears will temporarily fix the problem next week. The other part of the problem is our 535 representatives deal with 17,000 lobbyist in DC.

“I don’t believe this election is a referendum on conservatism.”

Mark most people associate republican with conservatism. Bush was the compassionate conservative if you recall. Conservatism has grown this government, indebted our children for generations, engaged in nation building to the detriment of the security of this country and gave us the worst Congress in history the 109th lead by one of the more despicable conservatives of recent times Tom Delay.

Of course his counterpart Dr.Frist managed to keep up with Delay by way of his misdiagnosis of the brain dead Florida women on the floor of the Senate. We haven’t even touched upon the culture of corruption the conservatives in Congress managed to embarrass this country with during this recent reign of witches.This is just the tip of the iceberg Mark.

Other than workfare legislation passed in the early ‘90’s what good has come from the conservative movement and the conservatives we have elected to office? Shouldn’t that be a wake up call for conservatives? 30 years and 1 good bit of legislation.

My point for this and my last rant is this- it is time for conservatives to realize there political philosophy is good only in small doses and doesn’t fit the times we live in. It is time to move on, to forget the old ways and to work together as a country. To communicate with the other side, to unite not divide the Country as Obama says. IMHO in order for the conservatives to do this will require a healthy dose of reality and more so responsibility for their actions. That means no more pathetic excuses such as …well they weren’t real conservatives.

Based on the fact that many Americans are switching off the Oreiley’s and Hannities for the Olbermans and Matthews seems to indicate many Americans think it is time for a shift in policy, a fundamental shift in policy to the left of center as the right of center approach has been a disaster. Let Obama get us there.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 29, 2008 10:16 PM
Comment #268815

To put popularity ratings for Congress in perspective, all you need to do is think of the high marks after the ‘contract for America’ of ‘94. How long did it take for America to see the phoniness of that contract, and has the congressional popularity index ever gone back up since then?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 30, 2008 12:02 PM
Comment #268838

Mark-
Congress did not lose all its Republicans. I’ll tell you what’s sunk Congress’s approval ratings: the failure to see real change come out of it. But is that failure natural to the party, or an artifical imposition?

The answer, as it turns out, is that the failure has been engineered by the Republicans, obstructing at a record pace unmatched in history. Literally. I’m not being overly dramatic. They broke the record with a year to go. With a stubborn President and a stubborn GOP, there’s a reason that, despite the low numbers, the vast majority of the blame for all the inaction is going to land on the Republicans.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 30, 2008 1:28 PM
Comment #268856

Oh, for anybody interested, that Khalidi guy that the Republicans are making a big deal out of was most definitively not a PLO spokesman.

How can we tell? Because if he had been, he could not have spoken for the Palestinians in the conference in question, because at the time the PLO was considered a terrorist organization by the Israelis, and anybody with membership would have been banned from going. His very presence at the meeting meant he was not a PLO spokesman.

Then there’s that annoying little bit about McCain having given money to the fellow. But I guess that’s what happens when you throw muck at people. You get dirty yourself.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 30, 2008 2:45 PM
Comment #268889

Wow. Whining about obstructionists explains everything. “But mom! He’s touching me!” is what you’re going with? The other half of the story is that Democrats have been too scared of owning problems to stand up for anything.

The whole culture in Washington is corrupt, and it seems to drag down even the most well-meaning reformers. It is no surprise that the party that stands to make big gains in an upcoming election would want to point fingers at the opposition as the roots of the problem rather than focusing on the systemic problems. Democrats don’t want to risk their own sources of money and power.

You’re arguments aren’t to find a good compromise (the way our government was set up to work), but to plan a liberal binge. “Bush had his turn, now it’s ours.” But as you have so eloquently pointed out, that kind of government doesn’t do anything for America. This is not a recipe for uniting the country.

Before you start planning Woodstock 2009 at Obama’s inauguration, take into account that the next few years will likely be a much needed house cleaning time in the Republican party, and if the Democratic regime alienates the more conservative half of the country we could be having this same conversation the other way around.

Posted by: Mark at October 30, 2008 5:11 PM
Comment #268903

Mark,

Okay…if you clean house, maybe we won’t need this conversation next time…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 30, 2008 7:18 PM
Comment #268979

Opinion of a senior french blogger

Posted by: Nico at October 31, 2008 1:59 PM
Comment #269012

“The whole culture in Washington is corrupt, and it seems to drag down even the most well-meaning reformers.
Mark yes it is and perhaps it is not fair to blame either party. Perhaps it is the fault of us, we the people for allowing it to happen. But to solve the problem we the people will need to work together, united not divided, to accomplish this task. Mcain says he will do it himself, Obama says we the people must do it. Obama is right.

Now, the question is how do we accomplish this overhaul of the system? Off the top of my head here are my top five suggestions.
1. Lobbyist need to meet with our representatives in groups only. Committee meetings with all or most on the committee present. All lobbyist concerned with the issue at hand can meet to discuss the issues at one time.
2. No meals, travel, outings, junkets, golfing, sexual favors, etc. paid for by anyone outside of the government for all representatives.
3. A 5 year no lobbying clause for all representatives, cabinet and department heads as well as others in government.
4.Corporations cannot finance campaigns.
5. Public financing of elections. Anyone that wants to contribute can, to a general fund.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 31, 2008 6:25 PM
Comment #269043

J2t2,

I think you have some pretty good suggestions to improve the system. And I think this is exactly the kind of venue where these things should be discussed. I particularly like the public financing of campaigns. Neither corporations nor parties should be involved. What do you mean by a no lobbying clause? I also think better enforcement of these rules has to be addressed. I can’t believe it’s even a question whether Ted Stevens will be able to continue as a senator.

The solution needs to come from the people, I agree. I’ve thought about how citizens could go about doing that, too. We the people don’t have a lot of levers or knobs when it comes to actually governing, including the reforms you mentioned above. Voting is of course the most direct, but if the new people we vote in have to become immersed in the same sick system, it makes little headway on the systemic problems. Then what? We can write strongly worded letters to our congressmen and women. Right, that will show them. The final recourse the founding documents give the people is revolt. Have I forgotten any controls we the people have at our disposal?

In a system so well adapted to resist reform, it’s no wonder so many people have become cynical about their responsibility to vote. When I hear promises of change, I think, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” So for me, if someone within the system can show that he’s been able to keep his head out of it moderately well, that’s what gives me hope. That’s why I’m voting for John McCain.

Posted by: Mark at November 1, 2008 1:00 AM
Comment #269055

When did the American electorate become unable to use common sense when choosing their next President of the United States? Are we so easily manipulated that we vote for a candidate merely because of the color of his skin, for fear that we may be considered racist if we don’t. Do we choose a pro-military candidate to counter the fear that we may be considered unpatriotic?

As an Independent voter, I certainly realize that I am having to cast my ballot for the lesser of two evils and then hope for the best. I suspect that I will finally choose the candidate that has
made the least amount of promises that obviously cannot be kept.

This voter may not have a PhD in Political Science, but I certainly have had enough life experience to know that I will not be a patsy to the manipulation being practiced by either candidate.

Posted by: Shelia Ramos at November 1, 2008 9:38 AM
Comment #269057

“So for me, if someone within the system can show that he’s been able to keep his head out of it moderately well, that’s what gives me hope. That’s why I’m voting for John McCain.

Posted by: Mark at November 1, 2008 01:00 AM”


Five reasons why McCain is still the problem not the answer.
1.Voted with Bush 90% of the time.
2.26 years and now he is “going to clean up Washington” how pathetic.
3.After McCains misrepresentations, half truths, outright lies and personal attacks do you really think he cvan unite? He has lost his ability to lead when he sold his political soul to Rove for the election.
4. Sarah Palin, need I say more.
5. The most damning thing about McCain is his inability to grasp the true problem facing the Country. He tells us he and he alone will clean up Washington. We all know this is not true. The solution is as Obama says when he talks to the people of this Country “with your help”.

Obama has managed to get his point across without the viscious attacks McCain needed. Obama is a uniter McCain is a divider. Look Mark, Bush used Rovian tactics while claimimg to be a uniter and as we know he turned out to be a divider. McCain has done the same exact thing and as such is a divider not a uniter. Does the statement “first time shame on you the second time shame on me” come to mind ?

Posted by: j2t2 at November 1, 2008 10:03 AM
Comment #269140

J2t2,

Some fair points. Here are my responses.

1. I’ve heard the voting 90% with Bush stat a lot, but never with any context. There’s a story behind every vote. Most often that has to do with party lines no matter who you’re talking about. My sources do have context. The Washington Times article (granted it’s a conservative paper) shows McCain’s history of crossing those party lines on key issues, with frames of reference we can use to compare the candidates, and McCain’s record speaks for itself.

2. If after 26 years someone has more will to fight a system than someone who’s only been there for three, that’s not too bad.

3. I have been disappointed with some aspects of McCain’s campaign, but I don’t think they defined the campaign. Much of what McCain has said he got from Hillary Clinton, not Karl Rove. Anyway, some of the blanket statements Obama has used to equate McCain with Bush could be considered vicious attacks.

4. Sarah – you’re right, let’s be honest.

5. Obama is a huge risk for America. Either he does what he says he’s going to or he doesn’t. If he can get both sides to come together and solve some major problems I’ll get on board. I just don’t see that happening when he gets out of campaign mode and into the White House for the reasons I gave in my original article. It seems at convenient times, Obama stops talking about uniting America and starts talking about how great it will be when liberals have free reign.

Posted by: Mark at November 2, 2008 2:25 AM
Comment #269153

Mark
Thank you for the comments.
In response
1. Yes this number is as useful as the numbers useed to determine that Obama is the most liberal Senator , the most lineral; candidate ever etc.
2. The point is -where has he been the past 26 years? Why during the 108th and 109th COngress did he not show his “maverickness” against the overwhelmong display of republican corruption? Where was he at when the unitary executive was reelected after whipping McCain. He joined the bad guys not helped to fight the bad guys within his own party. Why would things be different now?
3. Yes some could be considered attacks, accusing McCain to be a follower of GWB.
4. Agreed
5.Both could be considered a huge risk. Should McCain decide to continue the Bush years policies and lax enforcement of existing regulations. A war in Iran amongst others could be in the making under McCain. Liberalizing America a bit seems like a positive thing to me. After 30 years of predominately conservative policy and thought in this Country we have become divided. We have watched our middle class diminish in wealth, power and status. We have marched steadily towards the fascism known as corporacy. We have seceded rule to corporations and the elite moneyed class.
The SCOTUS will be important and depending upon who leaves and who is appointed to the vacancy will determine the rule of law for many years to come. I don’t trust McCain to make a good choice as he will need to keep the social conservatives in camp. A one issue Justic and SCOTUS will not be good for this Country.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 2, 2008 10:03 AM
Comment #269156

“most lineral; candidate”

should be “most liberal candidate”

Posted by: j2t2 at November 2, 2008 10:30 AM
Comment #269329

j2t2,

Liberalizing America seems inevitable, at least on the federal level. And honestly, I think it will be a good “change” provoking experience for the Republican party. What I think would be best for America is enough liberalization to bring the center of the government in line with the center of the country. Both candidates say they want to be uniters, Obama obviously more skillfully. The decision point for me, then, is not who makes the better promise, but who will be in a better position as president to keep it.

It would be a tragedy to have four more Bush years. But voting records and execution are two different things. Imagine the Iraq war without Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. I don’t know how the whole WMD thing unfolded, but I think we can trust either of the candidates not to take us to war based on faulty information. We may end up at war with Iran under McCain, but it won’t be half cocked.

I agree SC appointments have become much too political and divisive. And they will be as long as Roe v. Wade is the center of everything else in Washington. It’s maddening. Rather than wait for one side or the other to win over the SC, Congress can dissolve the contention with some good collaborative abortion legislation – another compelling reason for a balanced government.

Posted by: Mark at November 3, 2008 7:26 PM
Comment #269361

The most ignorant thing in that article is:
“Now add that to a one-party government. On NPR October 27, Jonathan Rauch, senior writer for National Journal, explained why this leads to non-representative government and alienation of the other half of the country. The president is pressured to play to the middle of his own party, not the middle of the country.” Talk about anger because the Republicans are dominated in the Senate, and soon we’ll have a President who will agree with them. In case you forgot, it was the American people who voted for the Dems, and if the PEOPLE of this COUNTRY want Democratic leadership then it is well within their rights to have it. How can anyone LOGICALLY state that the American people voted Democratic for both elections then claim that the “middle of the country” is the absolute middle? I could go on and on about how fallacious this thinking is, but it’s not worth it.

Posted by: Brent at November 4, 2008 1:26 AM
Comment #269368

>We may end up at war with Iran under McCain, but it won’t be half cocked.

Posted by: Mark at November 3, 2008 07:26 PM

Mark,

You mean when mccain selected Palin as a running mate he was Whole Cocked? And, you would trust this man to take you to war with Iran?

Posted by: Marysdude at November 4, 2008 7:01 AM
Comment #269423

Happy voting!

Posted by: Mark at November 4, 2008 2:46 PM
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