That Other Thing

I’m in the category of people who were mildly infatuated with Barack Obama a year ago but figured he’d run into the buzzsaw of the Clinton machine and get shredded like carnitas, which I suppose goes to show what I know about politics.

As you might expect, I’m happy with this presumptive nomination; for many and varied reasons, I think Obama is the best candidate out there. I also think he’s a generational candidate, like JFK or Reagan, and a historic candidate, for obvious reasons. But to be blunt about it, the latter two of these mean a whole lot less to me than the former. I have the luxury of being able to say that Obama’s ethnicity is the least interesting thing about him to me, and whether he’s a pivotal political figure in American politics is for history to argue about. Here and now, in 2008, I think the direction he wants to move the country in is a better one than the direction McCain does, and that is both necessary and sufficient for my vote. Obama as icon is all fine and good, but I’m more interested in him as president.

As for Hillary Clinton: As last night’s “I’m no conceding yet” speech shows, her original sins are hubris and entitlement. Clinton and her pals (and her husband) all assumed the nomination was hers to lose, and then went out of their way to do just that. If there’s a memory of the Clinton campaign that I will take with me from here on out, it is of her and her flunkies trying to explain how she was really ahead, as long as you looked at all sorts of various metrics that didn’t actually count. This is the thing that soured me on her as a candidate: So much time wasted on trying to convince people she was winning, rather than spent actually winning. We can argue whether Obama caught a break or two (or five), but at when the dust settled he did what mattered to secure the nomination in the real world: He got the delegates. He ran a reality-based campaign, which is why he’s the presumptive nominee.

The rumor is Clinton’s now bucking for VP (one does remember that point in the primary in which she offered the position to Obama, despite the fact he was ahead in the delegate count, which was an annoying example of her imaginary-world strategy) and while unlike many Obamamites I don’t think this is THE WORST IDEA EVAR, neither do I think there’s anything in it for Obama. There’s the idea that Clinton has so poisoned the well that there’s no way her people will pull the lever for Obama unless she’s VP, but you know, there’s a lot of time between today and November, and Clinton really needs to ask herself what she gets by throwing a spanner into the legitimate candidate’s machinery. It’s in vogue to suggest that the Clintons only think about themselves; I sort of doubt it, but now is a fine time to test that theory.

In any event, come November, I don’t think there will be much of an issue, at least, not among the Democratic voters who neither have a conscious nor unconscious inability to vote for a candidate who is black. Why yes, Appalachia, I am looking at you, although if we’re going down that racial road I suspect the number of black Americans who vote who won’t vote for Obama can probably be counted on a single pair of hands. Voting for or against a candidate based on skin color is not a strategy I endorse, but in this case I suspect those that do vote that way will cancel each other out — or, actually, will trend Obama’s way.

What I do think Obama has the potential for that McCain doesn’t is in motivating millions of new and/or formerly indifferent voters to head to the polls to vote for him. Obama will motivate black voters, but it’s clear he’s also motivating younger voters as well, and while one must always be careful in predicting the youth vote (which went for Nixon the first time 18-year-olds were Constitutionally assured the vote), hip, 40something multi-ethnic Obama’s aesthetic and platform has some natural advantages over that of cranky, 70something John McCain’s. And it doesn’t hurt Obama that McCain is following the least popular president in modern history, whose policies he’s generally supported.

It doesn’t mean Obama should simply walk right into the White House — the race is statistically tied now and I think it’s going to be reasonably close through most of the actual campaign. And we all know that the GOP doesn’t mind bringing out the knives. But if this long primary season has showed us anything, it’s that Obama keeps his eye on the prize, and is far harder to knock off target than many of us believed at the start of all of this. I suspect and hope he will be the next President of the United States because of it.

161 thoughts on “That Other Thing

  1. Although I’ll likely vote McCain (not that it matters, I live in California), I talked to Obama a couple of times when I was at UofC Law and like the fellow. I have many friends who tooks classes with him and think either the world (liberals) or very well (conservatives) of him. Will he be a good President? Who knows? But I’m hoping for a campaign between adults and I think with these two fellows might be a good and useful one.

  2. Actually, I reserve Obama/Edwards for the worst possible ticket I’ve heard mentioned. At least Hillary would be capable of playing the attack dog that being VP sometimes calls for.

    Not that I think Obama/Clinton is a good idea. I just think it’s the penultimate worst idea.

  3. HELL YA!!!!! Go Barack!!! I am so stoked that he got the nomination and am looking forward to the change thats coming!

  4. I watched all 3 speeches last night beginning with McCain’s. His was kinda pathetic. I’ve had more people in my living room. The laughter seemed canned. The average age was about 102. The energy was non-existent.

    Compare that to Obama’s Speech in a packed stadium of about 20k with another 15k standing outside and I think it’s a no-brainer who is going to be President this time next year.

    Obama is a rockstar.

    McCain is the choir who performs at the local nursing home to people who have lost their hearing.

  5. Uhhhh, John, have you ever talked to the people who worked in Europe while Clark was in charge? There *is* a reason why many military members did not support him before and that will probably hold true now as well.

  6. I’m told that, back in 1960 (wasn’t alive then) that JFK and LBJ did not personally like each other, and had campaigned hammer-and-tongs against each other. We know how that song ended.

    I suspect that Obama and Clinton are both pragmatic and ambitious enough that she’ll get whatever she wants. Having said that, she may decide that she’d rather have a cabinet post (State?) vs. the VP slot.

  7. Christopher Robin:

    Actually I know a few personally, who seem positive about him. I certainly allow not everyone’s opinion is the same. In any event, I don’t think he wants the job.

  8. I listened to part of McCain’s speech while I was waiting for the polls to close in SD. I didn’t think it was that bad. Better than some I have heard from national figures. Then I was distracted for a while, and when I came back Hillary was talking about herself. I thought she was going to concede, but she didn’t.

    As for the November election, there seems to be a great deal of “The voters will never go for the guy I don’t like.” Don’t be too sure. Elections have been lost with that attitude.

  9. I rather take the known constant of proven competence (McCain) rather than take a risk on greatness (Obama) at this particular stage in our national history. That being said, I do think Obama is the best orator that we have had in a long while and I would give the guy the benefit of the doubt coming in. Still, I am sticking with my choice (McCain) from 2000.

    As for VP picks for Obama, I would prefer that he take Bill Richardson. Successful governor and former United States Rep to United Nations and former Secretary of Energy, he would balance out my largest concerns about Obama (inexperience and lack of ‘hard’ foreign party expertise)..potentially enough to sway me to vote for the guy if McCain picks poorly. Additionally, given Obama’s perceived problem as being ‘elitist’, I don’t imagine that it would hurt to line the Latino vote behind him.

  10. I suspect those that do vote that way will cancel each other out — or, actually, will trend Obama’s way

    There’s no way to parse that which doesn’t amount to calling the vast majority of blacks in America a bunch of racists.

    I mean, think about it: the African-American population of the country is only about 13%. For the race-based voting to trend in Obama’s favor, the percentage of black racists must be 6.5 times higher than the percentage of white racists. Also, this pretty much caps the number of white racists at 1-in-8, while the incidence of black racists can be as high as every single one.

    Perhaps this isn’t exactly the kind of racial environment an Obama supporter should be cheering.

  11. “Proven competence”? You’re kidding, right? Plus Obama’s been in elected office for quite a long time. I don’t think that phrase means what you think it means.

    The McCain of 2008 is, sadly, NOT the McCain of 1998. The Maverick is no more.

    I read Obama’s book (The Audacity of Hope), and I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t *really* looked at Obama to do the same. There are some great ideas and insights in there. I was originally a Richardson fan, but it became obvious fairly quickly that he wasn’t a good campaigner, and that he’d never even get the nomination, much less win in the general election. The more I researched Obama, the more I liked what I was finding out.

    If you want experience, then you should think about what kind of practical experience any person has going into the White House. Neither one has run a country before, but I guarantee you Obama has VASTLY more experience on the ground to see what’s going on in the country of 2008 than McCain ever had. Anyone going into the White House has to pick their advisors well, and Obama’s campaign success shows he knows how to put together a great team.

    I can’t *wait* for the debates. Obama’s gonna murderize McCain.

  12. In any event, come November, I don’t think there will be much of an issue, at least, not among the Democratic voters who neither have a conscious nor unconscious inability to vote for a candidate who is black. Why yes, Appalachia, I am looking at you, although if we’re going down that racial road I suspect the number of black Americans who vote who won’t vote for Obama can probably be counted on a single pair of hands. Voting for or against a candidate based on skin color is not a strategy I endorse, but in this case I suspect those that do vote that way will cancel each other out — or, actually, will trend Obama’s way.

    It does make me wonder about all the racists who plan to vote for McCain and what they’ll do if he does select Bobby Jindal to be his running mate.

  13. Clinton’s campaign annoyed me in oh so many ways, but I think my biggest problem has been the obvious power grabbiness of it all. Even now she hasn’t conceded. It just annoys me that she won’t gracefully bow out even though the numbers are obviously against her. But, honestly, I suspected her whole deal was about power when she stayed married to her husband after all the b.s. with “I did not have sex with that woman.” She was obviously pissed about it, but “stayed by her man”.

    I also damn near choked on her attitude that she “understands” the American middle class. Since when was this woman EVER middle class?

    Just…GAH! Concede and go away. PLEASE.

    (No, she doesn’t irritate me at all; why do you ask? ;))

  14. Gerrymander:

    “There’s no way to parse that which doesn’t amount to calling the vast majority of blacks in America a bunch of racists.”

    Sure there is. Most obviously, there’s a difference between voting for someone because they’re of your ethnicity, and voting against someone specifically because they’re not. The first doesn’t necessarily make you racist, the other kind of does.

    I will grant you, however, that the black folks voting for Obama solely because they can’t stand the fact that McCain is white would be just as racist as the folks voting for McCain because they can’t stand the fact that Obama is black.

  15. I’m not going to believe he’s the nominee until Clinton says, “Thanks, I’m done and will now go to Martha’s Vineyard for a few months to get my head together” or words to that effect. I think she’s gonna keep pushing for the veep slot, and when she doesn’t get it (because her being on the ticket will fire up voters who would otherwise stay home ’cause they’re turned off by McCain, and she’s too blinkered to see that), she and her surrogates are going to make Obama’s life hell with leaks and whispering campaigns, all to pave the way for Hillary 2012: Mayan Boogaloo.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  16. I can’t quarrel with your hope, but I think Obama’s chance at being the next President of the United States is not much better than yours or mine. Consider the following:

    1. He’s one of the most left-wing Senators in the Senate.

    2. He is the most verbally bumbling presidential-level candidate since Dan Quayle. This would be more apparent if the media weren’t so enamored of him; the Republicans won’t let it slide the way Hillary had to.

    3. His long-time connections are radioactive.

    4. He’s been getting regularly thumped in the polls AFTER being recognized as the probable nominee.

    Hillary couldn’t afford to go after him the way that the Republicans will; they don’t need the black vote and they’ll turn the Hispanic vote against him. By the time they’re done with him, even a very liberal white male may not wish to vote for him. Assuming the Democratic superdelegates allow the craziness to stand – the very thing they were created to stop in the first place – this may actually be a crazier nomination than Bob Dole or Michael Dukakis.

    I don’t actually think it makes any substantial difference who wins, I’m mostly just marvelling at the Democratic Party’s ability to shoot itself in the head when presented with the White House on a silver platter. All they had to do was the obvious, but apparently that was just too easy.

  17. Chris @8

    Are you suggesting, a la Oliver Stone, that LBJ had JFK killed and that Hillary may do the same? I may not have many kind words about Hillary these days but that is evilness on a whole new level.

  18. VD:

    Well, and of course, this is why we have campaigns. Mind you, I suspect being “one of the most left-wing Senators in the Senate” is less of an impediment at this point in time than voting 95% with the policies the least popular president in modern history, and as last night’s McCain speech shows, he’s no great gift to orataory. Likewise, McCain has more than enough skeletons in his closet and somehow generally never managed more three quarters of the GOP primary vote even when he was the only candidate still running. So it’s fair to say each candidate has his challenges to overcome.

  19. I don’t mean to turn this into a further discussion of what does or does not constitute racism, but could we just clarify exactly what circumstances allow a white Democrat living in a southern state to vote for McCain without being a racist? As you say, John, people of conscience can disagree.

    Also, I think you’re stuck on the other part. Whites voting for McCain because he is white and blacks voting for Obama because he is black are the same thing. Sure, you can phrase it as whites voting against Obama because he’s black, but the contra can also be framed. If there’s no room for race in white voters’ decision, there’s no room for race in black voters’ decision. At least, that’s my understanding of the MLK vision ‘where people are judged on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin’. I get the ‘our guy made good’ angle, but I think everyone is helped by sticking to the character argument (and there’s plenty for and against both candidates) without tossing in the pre-emptive racism bomb.

  20. Nope, I am afraid that I am not kidding. Lets review the bidding…

    Obama: Corporate Lawyer (9 years), Illinois State Senate (7 years), United States Senate (3 years).

    McCain: Naval Officer (23 years), US House of Representatives (6 years) United States Senate (22 years)

    As far as the point of experience, I would argue that McCain’s experience in governance is on paper greater than Obama. Additionally, he served in numerous leadership positions in his pre-political life while Obama was merely an assoicate attorney. As far as being results based competence, you don’t get elected 6 times without pleasing at least 51% of the voters. I would like to see your basis for ‘vastly more experience for 2008’? I am not arguing that he is more ‘hip’ or more ‘with the times’ but where is the results or the indication of vastly more experience?

    I would disagree with the assertion of the ‘maverick’ is gone. McCain has argued against the party grain on at least two major issues in the past two terms alone (Immigration and Campaign Finance Reform). Backing your President on some issues (War and Security) does not make him a sell-out anymore than it makes the people that voted for Bush in two elections idiots or evil.

    I am simply saying that I am not going to give Obama a free-ride because the guy can give a good speech like so many of the Obamite true-believers are wont to do. I have heard a lot of bromides about looking ahead and how the war is bad and change or how he would be the guy that is going to talk to the naughty countries of the world, but I have heard precious little plans on how he is going to actually GOVERN! Where are the plans? Where are the figures? Where is the strategy for dealing with other nations? Where is the plan to get us out of Iraq without compromising security or recent gains?

    Look, I am seduced by Obama like everyone else. I think his speech on race a few months ago was one of the best pieces of political oratory that I have ever heard. Comparable with Lincoln (my favorite president by far). If he gets elected, I will be excited and sincerely wish that his performance matches his rhetoric. However, I exist in the real world where a speech is just a speech and given my regard for experience and for John McCain’s record, Obama has to prove that he is ready for my vote than me giving it away to him. Running a good campaign doesn’t a good President make…after all, the current President ran a text-book campaign that netted him the prize. Twice. Until Obama can show me something more, McCain gets my vote.

  21. Responding to #20 above:

    You’re saying that Obama is “the most verbally bumbling presidential-level candidate since Dan Quayle.”

    ?????????

    Actually, wouldn’t that distinction go to Dubya? He can’t say “My name is George W. Bush” without flubbing it. And I believe he was a presidential-level candidate before he became, you know, President. ;-)

  22. @20

    1. If you think that Obama is way left, you are obviously seeing him through a Republican reality filter. Example: abortion rights != left-wing. Ask the European Communists.

    2. Have you seen Obama give a speech? Nuff said.

    3. Unless you have him agreeing with Rev. Wright on the record, I don’t think so. Hagee cancels out Wright, your move.

    4. What polls? Versus whom? On what day? On what topics? Was it a real poll or a push poll?

    Anyways, your points are weak at best.

  23. Clinton really needs to ask herself what she gets by throwing a spanner into the legitimate candidate’s machinery.

    That is totally obvious – if she’s not VP, she absolutely needs Obama to lose if she ever hopes to be President. What does she have to gain from supporting him? Nothing. What does she have to lose from sabotaging him? Nothing.

    What I do think Obama has the potential for that McCain doesn’t is in motivating millions of new and/or formerly indifferent voters to head to the polls to vote for him.

    Depends on how many people you think would stay home for Hillary vs. McCain that will come out for Obama vs. McCain. I think a lot of people will hold their nose and vote for McCain in order to stop Obama who would be indifferent to a Hillary win.

    I like Jim Webb as Obama’s VP.

  24. Re: experience. I can’t imagine why anyone would vote on that basis in this election. Why would we want a 70-something whose years of experience primarily lie in helping to create the very political nightmare we’re in today?

  25. 1. He’s one of the most left-wing Senators in the Senate.

    No, he isn’t.

    2. He is the most verbally bumbling presidential-level candidate since Dan Quayle. This would be more apparent if the media weren’t so enamored of him; the Republicans won’t let it slide the way Hillary had to.

    Your logic does not parse. If the media let it slide for him now, why would they stop?

    In any case, I dispute your conclusion. Obama hasn’t had that many substantial gaffes, certainly no more than Clinton “I was under fire in Bosnia” or McCain “Let’s stay in Iraq for 100 years.”

    3. His long-time connections are radioactive.

    No more so than McCain’s.

    4. He’s been getting regularly thumped in the polls AFTER being recognized as the probable nominee.

    This one’s a howler as in both the national polls and the state by state polls, Obama’s currently winning.

    electoral-vote.com is a useful site for this.

  26. VD @20

    Consider the following:

    5. He has a proven anti-gun record, and I can’t think of any candidate that was as anti-second amendment as he is having actually been elected.

    Gore (for instance) wound up losing his home state, a number of swing states, and the Presidency due in large part to his anti-gun positions.

    Kerry was also perceived as a gun grabber.

    True, Obama may be able to obscure his past record. And he may even do it by selecting a pro-NRA, Webb who not only has a concealed carry license but also carries.

    The problem is, those of us who are sensitive to second amendment issues won’t be fooled. And those who aren’t probably don’t care what his position is on guns.

    There are issues on which I believe Obama is too weak to be President: Foreign Policy, economics, etc. But there are those who see these same positions as strengths.

    But the gun issue is usually a killer and it spans these political and economic divides.

    Even in Vermont, for a Socialist like Bernie Sanders to get elected he has to be pro-gun. The only time he came close to losing his seat was when he got perilously close to an anti-gun position.

  27. What does she have to lose from sabotaging him? Nothing.

    Sure she does. She sabotages him in 2008 and the Democratic Party won’t touch her with a ten-foot pole in 2012.

    On the issue of experience, I offer Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Enjoy.

  28. Haven’t read the other comments yet so don’t know if anyone’s said it.

    But one thing I wonder about the polls is if they are adjusted demographically. The pollsters know how certain demographics have turned out in the past, so when they take the poll, they weight certain demographic answers higher than others.

    So if the demographic vote pattern this year is significantly different than past years…all the polls will be wrong…unless they predict accurately the change in vote patterns.

  29. Brett@23: Whites voting for McCain because he is white and blacks voting for Obama because he is black are the same thing.

    No, actually, it’s not. In general, blacks voting for Obama is more like veterans voting for McCain—expressing “here’s a candidate who shares my experiences and I believe he will stick up for my interests.” People vote like that all the time, and no one challenges it.

    I’ll allow that black Republicans suddenly voting Democratic just to vote for Obama might be about the same thing as white Democrats refusing to vote for a black man. Despite what John said, there are more than 10 black Republicans out there.

    But there’s also a difference between not voting for president at all because you are a white democrat who can’t get behind Obama for whatever reason, and voting for McCain in order to block Obama.

  30. VD@20: I realize that “Obama is a serial gaffe artist” is the current Republican talking point du jour and so any partisan is required to talk it up as if it’s this new idea he just encountered (and I say this with no malice: both sides do it, it’s how the game is played), but I have to say:

    …really? That’s the line you’re taking? Again, really? Have you heard this man talk on the stump?

    You’re going to have to do better than that, I think.

  31. Frank@#30: The problem is, those of us who are sensitive to second amendment issues won’t be fooled.

    You’ve already been fooled, given what you’ve stated in your post.

  32. John @ 18: Most obviously, there’s a difference between voting for someone because they’re of your ethnicity, and voting against someone specifically because they’re not. The first doesn’t necessarily make you racist, the other kind of does.

    I strongly disagree. Discrimination based on racial traits is still racial discrimination, be it for or against. This is especially true in binary cases such as Clinton v. Obama or McCain v. Obama. An explicit selection based upon one skin color is an explicit selection against the other.

  33. David @ 29: No, he isn’t [one of the most left-wing Senators in the Senate].

    The non-partisan National Journal disagrees: “Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was the most liberal senator in 2007, according to National Journal’s 27th annual vote ratings. The insurgent presidential candidate shifted further to the left last year in the run-up to the primaries, after ranking as the 16th- and 10th-most-liberal during his first two years in the Senate.”

  34. John, you didn’t really mean to say that because I’m a white male living in the South — okay, you said Appalachia — that if I don’t vote for Obama, it’s only because I’m racist, did you?

    I’m much more incensed about the middle class bitterness crack from a very privileged man who is now the presidential candidate of his party. I’d also like it if he had more seasoning at the national level of government than he does, but Lincoln certainly didn’t have that when he became President, and he did a pretty fair job. Especially for a Republican, don’t you think?

  35. You are of course entirely free to disagree, Gerrymander, but your logic in this case is not good, not in the least because there are more than two presidential candidates on the ballot, not to mention you choose to ignore another alternative, which would be to not vote for the president at all if one’s personal choice were not on the ballot. In essence, a vote for Obama is not, in fact, a vote against McCain. It’s a vote against non-participation.

    Eddie:

    I’m not aware of saying that every white person who voted for Clinton (or against Obama) in Appalachia did so because they are racist; there were other reasons to do so. Based on exit polling, however, it is fair to say Obama’s race was a factor in at least some of the voting.

  36. My 10 cents is that anyone looking to punish Obama for having the gall to beat Hilary Clinton should do some hard researchin into Mcain’s stances on the war, abortion, death penalty and oh the fact that he spent the last 8 years being Bush’s buttboy.

  37. As a long time resident of Phoenix, I think I know a bit more about McCain and his history than a lot of people out there. As an Admiral’s son and a man who dropped an injured wife so he could latch onto a meal ticket to bankroll his political ambitions, he has never had to learn what life as a normal person is like. Maybe this is why he could do things like help engineer the passing of the Torture Bill and be a major player in the death of habeas corpus (just to pick a couple of high points out of a long line of tone deaf legislation). Or maybe he is just still getting even with all of us who didn’t get shot down.

  38. Sure she does. She sabotages him in 2008 and the Democratic Party won’t touch her with a ten-foot pole in 2012.

    She does sabotage him, and she has a shot at 2012. Four years is a long time, she can mend fences!

    She doesn’t sabotage him, and she loses not only 2012 but also 2016.

    The Clintons deliberately sucked all the oxygen out of Kerry’s campaign, and that may well have been the difference between victory and defeat in 2004. Look for more of that if she is not on the ticket this year.

  39. In all honesty, Obama is a *great* public speaker. With that in mind, however, he is absolutely horrible in a debate setting and had better avoid the “townhall” meetings that McCain wants or he will be hurting badly in the polls. I am not sure if it is a lack of good “coaching” thus far or if he was just told to “back down” to look nice or something but if he doesn’t learn how to debate very quick, he is going to lose.

  40. Chris @24:

    Let’s not throw out Obama’s community experience, which is a real eye-opening experience on the ground in Chicago, and which I’m particularly excited about a President having. Also, I believe he taught Constitutional Law (or at least lectured on it), which is something I would hope conservatives would realize. Obama knows what’s going on in this country and the world right now, and the things he’s written and said show this quite clearly.

    McCain, on the other hand, doesn’t know what’s going on in this country, much less elsewhere in the world. On the major talking point issues of the current times, he’s got no clue – no clue on the mortgage crisis, and certainly no damned clue at ALL on the Middle East. How a man running for Presiden’t doesn’t know the difference between Sunni and Shiite, who Al Qaeda is, where they are and why, is really quite beyond me. All he can do is state things like, “We’ll have to agree to disagree,” and “I’ll be the terrorists’ worst nightmare.” That’s pathetic. Is that all his vast experience can bring to the table? It appears that way.

    Let’s talk about his ‘Maverick’ status now: his experience as a POW used to make him against torture. Well, he’s destroyed that image. His work on the McCaign-Feingold campaign finance reform was great (though not nearly enough), but now his campaign is in apparent violation of that! Do you like the ethics this man has shown on the issues supposedly most important to him (based on how much time he’s talked about them, anyway)? How about not supporting the new GI Bill? McCain has destroyed any moral high ground he once had.

    re: plans

    Not that McCain has talked about any plans other than being the terrorists’ worst nightmare, either, mind you, but do you really expect specifics from any politician on a podium? Is that the only place you’re getting your information on the candidates from? If so, please don’t bother to vote for either one of them until you’ve done some real research. If you’d actually care to do even the minimal amount of research (like, say, visiting a candidates’ website – http://www.barackobama.com/issues/), you might learn answers to some of your questions. I would also encourage you to read Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope,” to get insights into how this guy thinks.

    You say you’re seduced by Obama like everyone else, but you seem to be spouting nothing but Fox News talking points, which makes me rather suspicious, especially when you start talking about how Bush got into the White House by running a ‘text-book campaign’.

  41. Haven’t folks figured out yet that whoever the Democratic nominee is, the Republicans will brand them the most liberal Democrat in the Senate/House/Kiwanis Club? That’s just the way they play the game: go for labels, and avoid troubling specifics.

    And does the National Journal have some kind of official standing in these matters? Isn’t citing them just a variation on, “I saw it in a magazine”?

  42. On reflection, Mister Scalzi, it makes perfect sense that you, a science fiction writer, would support Obama. His entire platform is skillfully written science fiction.

    He thinks he can rewrite the laws of physics to produce energy sources that don’t need to be pumped, mined, generated, or otherwise produced or transported; they’ll just magically appear where and when we need them, no messy infrastructure required.

    He thinks he can rewrite the laws of both physics and chemistry to produce energy sources that operate completely cleanly, without producing any kind of waste or pollution at any stage in the generating process — not even in the manufacturing of the devices used to gather or generate that energy.

    He thinks he can rewrite the laws of human nature so as to transform violent tyrants, thugs, and criminals into peaceful, neighborly, law-abiding folk who respond well to plaintive wails of “we don’t like what you’re doing, will you please stop? Please please please? Pretty please with sugar and cream and a billion-dollar bribe on top?”

    And he thinks he can arbitrarily eliminate the basic economic law of supply and demand, by restricting the supply of such staples as energy and food, then imposing price caps on those products. This while he’s also jacking up taxes to unheard-of heights and thinking that won’t stifle economic activity.

    Any Snow White wannabe who believes that dreams can be transformed into reality simply by wishing hard enough will have no trouble voting for Obama. Those of us who live in the real world where TANSTAAFL applies will want nothing to do with him or his fairy-tale politics.

  43. he is absolutely horrible in a debate setting and had better avoid the “townhall” meetings that McCain wants or he will be hurting badly in the polls.

    Such a debate would be Nixon vs. JFK revisited. Obama would win the beauty contest regardless of what was actually said, so it would be a net plus for him.

  44. Wolfwalker:

    “On reflection, Mister Scalzi, it makes perfect sense that you, a science fiction writer, would support Obama.”

    Heh. Try that argument with John Ringo.

    As for the rest of your argument: eh. Not seeing it in Obama’s actual positions, so I’ll chalk it up to you having an allergic reaction to anything to the left of “Kill them all, let God sort them out.”

  45. wolfwalker – your arguments are amusing, in that ‘over the top rightwinger / all I listen to is Fox News talking points’ kind of way.

    Raise taxes to unprecedented levels? Where did you GET that? And how is this worse than spending money we don’t have on an illegal war that actually harms national security? Somebody’s gotta pay the bills, sometime, and the only way that’s going to happen is to actually raise some money. I love how Republicans paint themselves as the party of fiscal responsibility, with their record of fiscal insanity.

    You also seem to equate alternative energy (which is real technology, right now) with breaking the laws of physics. I suspect your knowledge of said laws seems shaky, at best. I used to be a reporter dealing with the energy industry, and I assure you, we have the technology (and have for years now) to make massive changes in our energy industry. I’ll give you one guess as to why that’s not already happened. (You won’t find the answer on Fox News, though.)

    If you listen to what Obama says in longer talks (where he can go into more detail than your typical stump speech), or read his (second) book, you’ll find that he has a very practical view on these things.

    Repeating the Republican mantra of Democrats as ‘spendocrats’ neatly sidesteps the historical fact that government spending almost always goes up WAY more under Republican Presidents than under Democratic ones, and that the previous Democratic President was the first one to actually reverse the increasing spending trend. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your beliefs.

  46. I know this isn’t a political blog, but a few of you here really take political ignorance to a new level. It appears that you don’t know the first thing about the candidate.

    1. Obama is easily the most left-wing member of the Senate. He has a 95.5 Liberal score from the National Journal. Socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont is only at 93.7, and that right-wing reactionary Ted Kennedy at 76.2. His American Conservative Union life rating is 8. His mean rating from 8 left-liberal groups including the ADA, the ACLU and CDF is 98; McCain’s is 17.

    2. Rather like some preachers, Mr. “57 States” has a tendency to say very stupid things very well. In the general campaign he will get absolutely hammered with the stupid things he spouts with regularity. “We are the change that we have been waiting for” may fly with college students, not so much with adults paying mortgages. McCain certainly is a horrible speaker, but then, that’s not part of his “Straight Talk” appeal so it doesn’t matter. Do you think McCain challenged Obama to 10 debates because he fears Obama’s magic speechifying? He wants to get Obama talking in public and often.

    3. Hagee doesn’t come close to cancelling out Wright since he wasn’t anywhere nearly as close to McCain as Obama’s spiritual father was to Obama. Also, regardless of what you think of them, Hagee’s positions are much more popular than Wright’s. The more important point here is that Obama’s Trinity problem isn’t just Wright, but his long history with the entire church. He should have quit before he started his campaign; the Republicans are going to paint him like a Black Panther in bed with Louis Farrakhan. And Michelle Obama is potentially a problem here as well, she’s clearly capable of committing an own goal at any time.

    4. The VOTING polls. As in, the one’s that Hillary has been dominating since Obama became the prospective nominee. The Democratic leadership is terrified about how bad it looks for Obama and while it appears unlikely, I wouldn’t be surprised if they attempted to find another way around the delegate process by the time the convention rolls around.

    5. Guns was a good point. I realize it may be tough to accept, but most Americans won’t vote for potential gun-grabbers.

    6. Democrats sans Jewish support don’t tend to fare well. That’s why Obama was pitching AIPAC today, but I rather doubt withdrawal from Iraq is on their table.

    By the way, I’m not a Republican. I think Obama would be a far more entertaining president than either Clinton or McCain and is probably less immediately dangerous for the country than McCain. I truly don’t care who wins, I’m simply observing that Obama is a very weak candidate for President and is nowhere near the shoo-in that any Democrat with a pulse should be following the eight-year debacle of the Bush ’43 administration.

  47. And does the National Journal have some kind of official standing in these matters? Isn’t citing them just a variation on, “I saw it in a magazine”?

    ACLU gives Obama a “lifetime score” of 86% – not the highest but higher than Clinton (76%) or Kerry (83%) or McCain (22%).

    ADA gives Obama a “liberal quotient” of 75% for 2007, McCain 10% and Clinton 75%. Other Senators are in the 95-100% range. (Obama hit the big 100% LQ in 2005 and 95% in 2006, perhaps more telling.)

    So, maybe not the most liberal… but pretty darn liberal.

  48. I used to be a reporter dealing with the energy industry, and I assure you, we have the technology (and have for years now) to make massive changes in our energy industry.

    You mean nukes, right? I’m all for it!

  49. #53: So, maybe not the most liberal… but pretty darn liberal.

    But don’t Republicans tell us not to trust the ACLU? Or should we only believe them when they say something that suits the Republicans? I’m so confused!

    And it’s interesting that the ADA (ABA?) sees Obama as becoming less liberal with time, while the National Journal claims he’s becoming more liberal. Is it possible–and, hey, I’m just spitballing here–that “liberal” means different things to different people, with sufficient variation in opinion that it’s essentially meaningless as a label? Why yes, I believe that’s possible!

    #47: I’ve concluded that your opinion of what Scalzi thinks is decidedly less interesting and accurate than Scalzi’s opinion of what Scalzi thinks.

  50. JJ –

    Nukes should certainly be a part of it, though preferrably pebble bed design, rather than the normal water-cooled monstrosities we have been using. Too bad the Chinese are the only ones with a decent design (I’ve heard of reliability problems with the South African team’s work). Pebble bed reactors solve some very big problems with nuclear reactors (can’t melt down if high-temp gas cooled (great story on this one), more modular in design – the Chinese one seems to be deisgned for 200MW ‘modules’ rather than big 1-2GW monsters, gas-cooled means it has no necessity to be near a water source, thus solving siting problems (and which make a meltdown on a water-cooled one so much more dangerous with the possibility of groundwater contamination). Also, the Uranium is already IN a sort of containment system, the pebble, though I’d not rely on that as the only containment for the waste, it’s certainly nicer than storing your waste in barrels outside of the plant (you know, by the river you had to site your plant near). Ugh.

    But aside from nukes, we have had the technology for quite some time for a mix of alternative energy sources – solar, wind, hydro, etc. No one technology will replace what we use – but we also don’t USE ‘one’ technology. We use coal, oil, natural gas, and hydro already, so I don’t understand the need to replace many technologies with one. I’m also a big fan of CSP (concentrated solar power) over photovoltaics, and there is some movement on some projects in the US southwest using that recently.

    Lots of tech already exists, and lots more will be proven after the current tests going on (like some of the tidal projects recently installed and currently being installed) for the next few years, like floating wind turbines and wind turbine ‘kites’.

    The last I heard of it (I left the reporting biz 2 years ago), there was a gigantic high voltage DC line proposed to run from north Saskatchewan to (possibly) the Phoenix area, which would run through some very sparsely populated but high-wind areas of the U.S., which would allow for lots of potential wind sites to be hooked up to the grid. I think that’s a potential 10GW project, though I’m not sure how much of that is wind, as the last I heard, they were also talking about new coal plants adding to that load.

  51. If Obama is very liberal, great, we need it after so many years of radical Christian/pro-War leaders in power.

    Sadly, two terms of Obama would only have the potential of returning to equilibrium, in a ‘worse-case scenario’ (as rightwingers define that, like liberalism is something BAD). If it weren’t for liberalism, we’d still have slaves, etc, so just keep arguing for conservatism.

    If you’re all for continuing to destroy our economy with an illegal, ill-conceived, ill-managed war that harms our national security by paying for it on CREDIT, then by all means, vote for McCain.

    If you’re for destroying some of the fundamental freedoms our nation was so proud of, like Habeus Corpus, no spying on citizens, etc., you definitely want to vote for McCain. (see this: http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/06/mccain-id-spy-o.html)

    The idea that McCain is for fiscal responsibility and a sane foreign policy is blatantly disproved by his recent record and current talking points.

    If anyone is taking a candidate on faith, it’s definitely the McCain fans.

    Obama fans are more HOPING that he can turn things around, though some of us have actually done research into his more detailed positions and think he’s the one with the good policies and ideas.

    However you cut it, McCain is no more for the traditional Republican ideals of smaller government, less government spending, or state’s rights than any Republican in the White House. They’re not even Republicans, really, despite what party they belong to. If you’re a Republican citizen, the last person you want to be voting for is a Republican *politician*, it seems, because they don’t seem to believe what you want to ascribe to them.

  52. I don’t necessarily find Wright worse than Hagee – Obama had more contact with Wright, but you don’t necessarily seek out your personal pastor for their political views. McCain specifically sought Hagee’s endorsement in a political context. Politically, Wright may have been more damaging, but I think they’re both mostly over now.

    In both cases, it’s a bit of a diversion, as the idea that either of them share their pastors respective lunacies is
    silly.

    It’s also way too early for poll-watching, and given that Clinton’s “comeback” has had less to do with Obama doing worse than with the demographics of the various states after February using those votes as some sort of “Obama is in trouble” metric is questionable. Obama would also today win a number of states (NJ and California, for example) that he didn’t when the voting occurred.

    His rather odd anti-gun position (in that he at least accepts it’s an individual right, but ignores the consequences of that) is bad, but he’s not really made it part of his platform.

  53. But don’t Republicans tell us not to trust the ACLU? Or should we only believe them when they say something that suits the Republicans? I’m so confused!

    Their target audience is not the Republicans. When a buncha liberals tell you who is the most liberal, with the intent of grading their performance for the benefit of liberal voters, seems like you oughta believe what they say.

    And it’s interesting that the ADA (ABA?) sees Obama as becoming less liberal with time, while the National Journal claims he’s becoming more liberal. Is it possible–and, hey, I’m just spitballing here–that “liberal” means different things to different people, with sufficient variation in opinion that it’s essentially meaningless as a label? Why yes, I believe that’s possible!

    If you go to the ACLU and ADA sites you will see that “liberal” has a very specific (and similar) meaning, in each case related to how they voted on the issues.

    In the case of the ADA rankings, I am not sure there’s enough data (just three years) to say that his LQ has meaningfully changed over time. And one could perhaps argue that in 2007, he wasn’t around for as many votes as he was in previous years (and would have been “more liberal” if he was), or he’s been trying to appear “less liberal” while running for President, or both.

    Tumbleweed, what one should also mention as a technology we “already have” is the improvement of efficiency and the reduction of demand.

  54. I have been, in the past, willing to use the guns issue as a litmus test, and have refrained from voting for candidates who, I felt, were insufficiently respectful of 2nd Amendment rights.

    And, yes, Obama is such a candidate.

    Do I care this time? No. I do not.

    Why not?

    Mostly because the Republicans, traditionally the party of refuge for 2nd Amendment purists, are no longer the party of refuge for anybody with a concern for the constitution and for our American republic. And John McCain, a man who did, in the name of political expediency, vote to legalize torture despite having suffered torture himself, is obviously not enough of a man of principle to restore the Republic. This time around, I’m voting for the Con Law professor.

    If we lose a round in the gun control wars because of it, well, that’s a cost that will pain me deeply. But Obama will have a lot of legislative priorities higher than that one, and I think the risk is acceptable considering all the other things that are at stake after eight years of astonishing misrule by miserable drooling fascistic fools.

  55. Tumbleweed @59 – as I’m sure you know, a lot of Republicans agree with you 100% that McCain does not favor the traditional Republican ideals of smaller government, less government spending, or state’s rights. Those Republicans just have to decide whether they’ll get less of those “good things” with McCain or with Obama.

  56. Efficiency improvements and demand reduction are definitely huge parts of what we can do. CoGeneration – using waste heat of existing industrial processes to generate power – can have a HUGE effect if the energy companies weren’t sending out teams to discourage industry from actually doing it (while simultaneously issuing press releases touting how great CoGen will be). I’m all for it, plus upgrading some of our transmission lines with DC, which is much more efficient over long hauls than AC. Compact Fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, etc. Energy efficient computing also seems to be one of the next Big Things (I’m keeping an eye on Computex reports this week). It looks like it’s all coming together at last, just a lot slower than many had hoped for.

  57. JJ –

    Well, they don’t seem to care about it enough to vote for anyone other than a Republican, if the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections are anything to go by. I guess ‘voting Republican’ means more than actually sticking to one’s ideals when it’s crunchtime at the polls. I’m not counting on lots of Republicans voting for Obama, but I’m hoping enough of them dislike McCain enough to just stay home. I have no problem with Republican apathy. :)

  58. I’m firmly in the Richardson camp for Veep. His strengths are exactly what Obama’s ticket needs.

    And Clinton lost me forever with five little words during her 60 Minutes interview back in March. She was asked about the scurrilous lies being spread via email about Obama secretly being a Muslim, and while she said she didn’t believe it–actually, her initial answer was very carefully worded and Wallace pushed her on it, IIRC–she had to tack on “as far as I know” to the end her comments. When I watched her do that, it was the most disgusting bit of nasty personal politics I’d witnessed. It’s one thing to try and pick and choose and twist your opponent’s stances on issues, voting records, etc. But the conniving, manipulative, repugnant and very deliberate choice of words showed me exactly who she was: someone for whom I would never, ever vote. She might as well have announced David Duke was her running mate.

    This is a bit ironic, since I did vote for her both in the primaries and general election during her first Senate campaign.

    (Good thing she won’t be in an election against the Shrub where I have a vote, since my head would clearly implode)

  59. @gerrymander: Did you even read the part you quoted?

    “Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was the most liberal senator in 2007, according to National Journal’s 27th annual vote ratings. The insurgent presidential candidate shifted further to the left last year in the run-up to the primaries, after ranking as the 16th- and 10th-most-liberal during his first two years in the Senate.”

    So 16th, 10th, and 1st over three years. Work out the averages, I’ll wait.

    @vd brings up the American Conservative Union. Let’s check them out. Hmm, Obama gets a 7%. vd mentioned that, didn’t he? How many Senators scored lower than Obama? Hmm, let’s check that out: 31 Senators scored lower (ie more liberal). Gee, vd didn’t mention that…

    (Here’s a partial list from the ACU. Senators who scored 0:

    Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
    Joseph Biden (D-DE)
    Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
    Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
    Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
    Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
    Richard Durbin (D-IL)
    Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
    Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
    Tim Johnson (D-IL)
    Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
    Herb Kohl (D-WI)
    Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
    Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
    Robert Menendez (D)
    Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
    Patty Murray (D-WA)
    Jack Reed (D-RI)
    Harry Reid (D-NY)
    Charles Schumer (D-NY)
    Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI))

    Sometimes the talking points are just embarrassing, but props to both of you for trying to keep a straight face.

  60. None of the three excite me. In fact, the past sixteen years of presidential politics has not excited me.

    You know what would excite me? How about the SF Ticket. Ringo and Scalzi! Or maybe Scalzi and Ringo! (We’ll let them do heads or tails with any clueless SFWA representative they can mutually choose to toss.)

    Now that would be a ticket I could get behind. Right now, a pox on both their houses.

  61. Tumbleweed,

    Dude, stating that a guy ran a text book campaign that got him in the White House twice is in no way agreeing with his politics or his performance. Given the disadvantages of the candidate and his vulnerbilities during the second campaign, the fact that you won twice is a credit to the organizational efficiency and effectiveness of his campaign strategy. And like I said, you missed the point I was trying to make. Running a good campaign doesn’t make you a leader (and BTW, absolutely despise FOX NEWS…and Move-On.org as well).

    Look, I have not read the candidate’s website. I watch the news (I tend to be a fan of CNN, NYTIMES, Christian Science Monitor, Economist), read the newspaper, listen to NPR, surf internet news & blogs on occasion and watch the debates/speeches. Nothing I have seen on any of those sources has led me to believe that Obama has a realistic plan formulated to deal with the things that he says our problems. On your suggestion, I did take a look at his website and while I noted more of his issues than any one place previously, the majority of the issues once again are bromides, not detailed, or naive. Strengthen the NPT by enforcing strong sanctions against nations that break it like North Korea and Iran? Already doing that and being subverted by China and Russia (do we enforce strong sanctions against them?). Reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050? How? Carbon-trading? Been tried and was routinely blasted at Kyoto. Why would the world accept it now, especially China? Amend NAFTA by working with the leaders of Canada and Mexico so that it works for American Workers?

    I will concede that there are a FEW ideas in there but those ideas are no more well-developed or articulated than those found on the website of John McCain. Given that, I have to look at record of performance and while it seems to me that you take a rather dim view of McCain’s record in the Senate, I happen to like what I see. His positions on immigration I have found to be brave, against the grain of the Republican Party, and keeping in the best spirit of the country. His position on Iraq is one I rather not agree with but is consistent with the realities of the current geo-political situation in my opinion. Besides, 75% reduction in enemy attacks in the last year at least partially vindicates his long standing position that President Bush opposed in 2003-2006 that a troop surge was needed to stabilize the situation. You have a point on Campaign Finance Reform, but I seem to recall Obama reneging on his promise of public financing his campaign (I guess when you have the edge on contributions, why would you give it up?); shame on both of them, but oh so realistic. McCain supports torture? Laughable..the guy led the charge in the senate against torture with the Detainee Treatment Act in 2006 and has called for the closing of Gitmo! Opposition against the GI Bill. Simplistic. He opposed breaking the long-standing precedent that you had to complete a four year tour in order to get full educational benefits (he was supported in this unaminously by the Joint Chiefs; it takes one year to fully train a Soldier and personnel manning strategy is generally predicated off a 3 year retention of that Soldier) and counterproposed a sliding scale based off years of service with full benefits at four years. I also find McCain’s positions on Trade (lowering Tariffs, restructuring tax burdens on companies, eliminating agricultural subsidies) to be more pragmatic and in line with America’s position in the global economy than the protectionist streak I see in Obama’s trade positions.

    Tumbleweed, it is obvious that you are an avid supporter of Obama and a true believer but I am not as easily convinced. McCain is not my optimal candidate. I have concerns about his age. I have questions about the ‘Keating-Five’ Scandal from way back. I don’t think McCain has sufficiently addressed Social Security Reform (an issue important to me). I find McCain’s opposition to Sex Education and funding of Contraceptives irritating. I am open to voting for Obama but I need to see alot more than a website and pretty speech.

    The issue I have with your position is that are interpreting my position as blind adherence to FOX NEWS bromides and in fact negating the fact that I may in fact have an informed opinion that is contrary to yours…in other words the same sort of attack tactics that your chosen candidate seems to be against. I have a choice between an impefect candidate whose known positions and performance who I know I could live with versus a ‘perfect’ candidate who has little record of actual government service who is a fine orator who may in fact be the next coming of JFK, or may be the Jimmy Carter. It is the known against the unknown and my apologies but while you don’t serve in the public eye for decades and not draw some fire or do things I find fault with, I’ll take the known versus the unknown at this point.

    As far as your one point about the ‘Audacity of Hope’, no I have not read it. Was aware of it and saw it on the book shelf in 2006 and why I was momentarily interested and my hand actually extended in that direction, I saw the recently released hard back edition of ‘The Ghost Brigades’ side by side with ‘Old Man’s War’ by some dour-faced looking dude by the name of Scalzi that I never heard of before and well here I am typing on his g**damm blog having to admit that I passed on Obama’s manifesto in lieu of pulp science fiction. That being said, I will make a deal with you. Please send me a copy here in Iraq (bundle it into a care package with non-buttered microwave popcorn. Support Your Troops) and I will purchase a copy of ‘Faith of my Fathers’ which I know for a fact is available at our tiny PX on my FOB and send to you. I will read it and write a lengthy response back to you with a honest commentary after the fact if you do the same.

    If you find my terms acceptable, I will forward my address to you.

    Regards,

    Chris

  62. 61: Their [the ACLU's] target audience is not the Republicans. When a buncha liberals tell you who is the most liberal, with the intent of grading their performance for the benefit of liberal voters, seems like you oughta believe what they say.

    A bunch of liberals? The outfit that Bob Barr is working with?

    This argument works only if we accept your assertion that the ACLU is a bunch of liberals, which of course they’re not. In fact, if political words had any meaning, people attempting to preserve the Constitution would be called conservative. And people who attempt to balance the federal budget would be called fiscally conservative. And so on. And people who attempt to destroy separation of powers and checks and balances would be called all kinds of things, but not conservative.

    But there’s still a moron-magnet value in Republicans calling their enemies liberals, so they’ll keep on doing it. I only hope that voters are smart enough to see through it this time.

  63. stating that a guy ran a text book campaign that got him in the White House twice is in no way agreeing with his politics or his performance.

    He barely squeaked past both times, and it was a textbook campaign? If you can only barely beat a lackluster candidate like Kerry, you really suck.

    This argument works only if we accept your assertion that the ACLU is a bunch of liberals, which of course they’re not.

    Yeah dude, whatever. [Rolls eyes]

    If the term “liberal” has any meaning, the ACLU is composed of liberals. Feel free to interpret that in a good way, if you prefer!

  64. Careful examination shows Obama isn’t noticeably more liberal than Clinton.

    Well yeah, and that’s exactly why anyone who supports Hillary should happily pull the lever for Obama, and vice versa! The contest for the Democratic nomination was never really about policy – the policy outcome would be the same no matter who won. That’s the best reason to choose the Pretty Pony over the Old Grey Mare, after all.

  65. JJ,

    Text book in the sense that he adjusted his strategy to cover for his weaknesses and appeal to his base in such a manner that it defeated two challengers in a national election. Margin of victory had nothing to with it, I am impressed he even won both times.

    Regards,

    Chris

  66. Mr Scalzi
    No offense intended here hoss… but I think you greatly underestimate the racism in this country.

    Have you noticed lefty columnists have now started calling him Barry?

    Do you seriously think the Teamsters are going to line up and pull the D lever for a black man?

    Never. Gonna. Happen.

    That said… McCain is a horrible horrible candidate. I mean it. The only thing worse the Republicans could’ve done would’ve been to dig up the corpse of Bob Dole… But its not going to matter… because the Democratic Party is nothing but a loosely aligned group of special interist groups that really don’t have much in common at all… well… I mean besides an affinity communism.

    The point is that Hillary could’ve kept that group unified.

    Obama splinters it.

    I predict the lowest turnout in election history… as the bases of both parties vote with their butts… by keeping them on the couch on election day.

    McCain wins… and yes.. I’m already shopping for a private island south of the hurricane zone.

    I’ll watch from afar thanks.

  67. I like Obama and Webb.

    About the Appalachia factor which do you think matters more, that he is black or that he is city folk?

    Jim Webb now there is a guy you could have a beer with.

  68. Chris @ 70 –

    A ‘text book’ campaign isn’t what I would call Bush’s campaigns in 2000 or 2004, unless you mean, “Say or do anything, no matter how despicable, to win.” If that’s what you mean, then yeah, the very definition of a text book campaign. And as JJ #73 above mentioned, if that’s the margin of victory you have over such incredibly lame candidates as Kerry and Gore, that’s not exactly a mandate for change.

    I mentioned Fox News because you seem to be using their unformed talking points about Obama like they’re established facts, rather than easily disproven misdirection.

    McCain’s Senate record has not been all that bad for a Republican … until his current run for the Presidency. It’s impossible to know whether his Maverick attitudes of previous years as a put-on, or the current attitude is a put-on to garner the far right vote, or whether he’s simply had a change of heart and lost a lot of brain cells, but either way, I can’t trust him. In 2000, I was wishing he was the Presidential nominee; I would’ve voted for *that* McCain over Gore in a heartbeat. That guy is either dead, or never existed; I’m not sure which.

    re: specific plans

    Did you download the PDF of ‘The Blueprint for Change’ from that URL? That’s as specific as any Presidential candidate can get, really. The President doesn’t get to put forth proposed legislation; he or she has to work with someone in the Legislative branch to propose it, you know. Anyone saying otherwise doesn’t know how the system works. The legislative details will have to be worked out with the Congresscritters he works with who will be the ones to actually put for real legislation. Despite what you may be used with with W,

    It’ll also be interesting to see what kind of D/R makeup the fall elections will bring to Congress as far as easily getting legislation through. The system is certainly designed to resist change, which has both good and bad points, and there are certainly still lots of hardcore old-time Democrats who are just as graft-concerned as the old-time Republican politiicans. Corruption is widespread across both parties. Change isn’t just coming to the Republicans, you know. Some old-time Democrats are going to find that out the hard way if Obama wins the Presidency.

    As far as my support for Obama is concerned, it’s something I came to _after_ I started learning about him. I was originally a Richardson supporter – and I’d still love to see him as either VP or, preferrably, SecState. I think Biden would be a great VP candidate, and I’d kill for Lawrence Lessig as AG (until a Supreme Court spot opens up). (Ret) General Wesley Clark as SecDef, and Richard Clarke as NSA. That’d be my dream team, I think.

    McCain’s judgement is something I have grave doubts about, plus his apparent refusal to find out the facts of what’s going on here and abroad, even (or especially) during a Presidential campaign, when you’d think he’d be educating himself on the issues. If he can’t be bothered to do that, why would anyone support him?

    You’re on with the book trade if you make it ‘Hard Call: The Art of Great Decisions’ instead. I didn’t read Obama’s first book about his dad, and I can’t say I’m all that interested in McCain’s forebears, either, but a book that talks about making decisions – THAT sounds like a relevant book about a possible future President. If not, I’ll probably just get it anyway; it’s under $11 at Amazon.

  69. Nate:

    “I predict the lowest turnout in election history… as the bases of both parties vote with their butts… by keeping them on the couch on election day.”

    Yes, that is precisely what you would expect given that the primary turnout (on the Dem side at least) was substantially larger in 2008 than it was in 2004. Which is to say, I think you are likely to be wildly, wildly wrong. At least on the Democratic side.

    “Do you seriously think the Teamsters are going to line up and pull the D lever for a black man?”

    As he’s won the endorsement of the Teamsters Union, why yes, yes I do.

  70. Beeler

    Its that he’s black… though the comments he made up in San Fran are definately going to come back to haunt him as well.

  71. Despite appearances, I can assure you Bob Dole isn’t dead yet.

    Liddy, fetch me my Viagra.

  72. “Do you seriously think the Teamsters are going to line up and pull the D lever for a black man?”

    Do you seriously think that no Teamsters are black?

  73. Do you think Obama passes the beer test as in “Is he a guy you could have a beer with?”

  74. Let’s say Obama does not get the nomination on the first vote, and after wrangling for vote after vote after vote the Democrats decide to go with a compromise candidate. And that candidate is a Democrat with a higher approval rating than most any other Democrat out there. Then considering their strengths, I think the best ticket the Democrats could offer would be McCain/Obama.

    It would be a great national reconciliation ticket after all the fussing and feuding of the past eight years. McCain has experience and gravitas. Obama is a dynamic speaker and a charismatic personality. Two terms under McCain’s tutelage would be great preparation for a presidential campaign in 2016. After eight years of an effective Democratic president the nation would be ready for another, and Barack Hussein Obama would have the experience and seasoning he needs.I

    t’s a win/win situation for everybody; the country has a presidential ticket people can rally behind, left and right have a candidate they can support, and the nation at long last gets an opportunity to get over the 2000 presidential election. For prosperity, security, and relief from mindless bloviating journodrones it’s…

    McCain-Obama 2008

  75. “Yes, that is precisely what you would expect given that the primary turnout (on the Dem side at least) was substantially larger in 2008 than it was in 2004. Which is to say, I think you are likely to be wildly, wildly wrong. At least on the Democratic side.”

    Well.. normally I am loathe to humiliate someone on his own blog… but you leave no choice. Let’s look and see how primary turnout predicts election outcome shall we?

    In 1988 no incumbant was running…

    23 million votes were cast in the democratic primary. 12.2 million votes were cast in the republican primary.

    Tell me… how did that work out again?

    In 1996 over 14 million votes were cast in the Republican Primary… the second most since 1972.

    Tell me… how did that work out?

    1996 on the Republican side is of particular interest… because as you should remember… The Elephants had plenty of momentum… Contract with America and all that… then came the bitter fight in the Primary where they lost it fighting amonst themselves.

    Sound familiar yet?

    If this isn’t getting through I can bring up 1980… when the Democrats got 18 million votes in the primary.. compared to the Republican’s mere 12.7 million.

    One last time… How did it work out?

    And yes.. I am well aware that there are black teamsters. That is irrelevant. The black community votes in a massive block already… and the Democrats win it in a slaughter every year. The point is… they already had those votes in their pockets… but they’ve cost themselves the votes of the racists out there.. and its my assertion that there are a lot more racists out there than y’all will believe.

  76. Nate, much as I hate to interrupt your attempt to humiliate Scalzi, I think you missed his point. (Possibly deliberately?) You predicted “the lowest turnout in election history.” (Which is clearly ridiculous: 2008 will have a lower turnout than 1800???) Scalzi pointed out that a high turnout in the primaries indicates that your prediction is wrong.

    So you turned around and showed him that a high Dem turnout doesn’t guarantee a Dem victory. That’s may be true, but it’s irrelevant to your original claim.

  77. Nate:

    “I am well aware that there are black teamsters.”

    Oddly enough, the endorsement is for the entire Teamster union, not just the black teamsters.

    “Well.. normally I am loathe to humiliate someone on his own blog… but you leave no choice.”

    I’m not humiliated in the slightest. Regarding victories: as they say in the securities industry, past performance is no indication of future performance. After all, if past performance was always a reliable indicator, the winner of the popular vote in 2000 would have won the election. As I’ve noted before, that’s why they hold the actual elections.

    Also, on second thought, what Jon Marcus said.

  78. and one last think Mr Scalzi… this “Historic” candidate… that’s the word you used right?

    Shouldn’t he at least know how many states are in the country he wants to lead?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7S5V2es9Dw

    Watch the video people. He actually pauses to think about it… then declares he’s been to 57 states.. and still has 1 to go! oh.. and that’s not including Alaska and Hawaii… which his staff “wouldn’t let him go to”.

  79. Let’s check them out. Hmm, Obama gets a 7%. vd mentioned that, didn’t he? How many Senators scored lower than Obama? Hmm, let’s check that out: 31 Senators scored lower (ie more liberal). Gee, vd didn’t mention that…

    And Obama also tied with Durbin for the most liberal in his average ratings from 8 left-liberal groups for his 2005 votes, in addition to that most liberal rating from National Journal for 2007.

    Don’t forget those!

    You appear to be trying to evade the salient point. Whether Obama is actually is the very left-most Senator that he became in moving left to beat Hillary, or, as I originally described him, merely “one of the most left-wing Senators in the Senate”, he is as far out of the American mainstream as an American politican can get.

    McCain, on the other hand, is a moderate Republican that many conservatives consider to be a traitor to the party and a RINO. This puts him smack dab in the American center. Even if you know nothing else about the two candidates, it is obvious that the political spectrum is in McCain’s favor.

    Now, countering that reality is the massive anchor that is the Bush administration and the fact that conservatives and libertarians hate McCain. So, the significant question is this: despite the clear Democratic trend, can a moderate Republican attract draw enough independents and moderate Democrats away from one of the most liberal Democrats to make up for the hard right sitting it out and voting for Barr?

    I don’t see a black man named Hussein who has pissed off the Israel lobby and possibly kissed off the menopausal white women vote as well preventing that draw. Perhaps you do. But regardless, that’s the point around which this presidential election will turn… barring Team Clinton pushing Obama aside somehow.

  80. David @ 67: So 16th, 10th, and 1st over three years. Work out the averages, I’ll wait.

    It’s not the average which concerns me; it’s the delta. The most moderate position Obama had was in his freshman year as a senator. Since then, the NJ rating charter him moving ever leftward. I see no reason that trend would stop, were he to helm the Oval Office with a majority Democratic Congress.

    As for the ACU rating, I prefer non-partisan sources where possible. In this case, the National Journal provides one, and is reasonably transparent with their methodology. Even if they currently give an opinion you agree with, the ACU is still a paid lobbyist organization — and a conservative one, at that.

  81. (Sorry for the double post, accidentally hit “Submit” instead of “Preview”)

    Frank:

    You really believe there will be an uprising of the gun owners that will sweep Republicans to victory? Go on, pull the other one!

    You’ve been confidently predicting Democratic electoral disaster for years now, going back to when you were “Cool Blue.” Sometimes it sounded reasonable. But this sounds a lot more like wishful thinking.

  82. Shocking as it may seem… the Teamsters vote individually like everyone else. The fact that the leadership has endorsed Obama will have no effect at all on the members.

  83. VD – I don’t think being a pro-War candidate puts McCain anywhere near the center of current American leanings, but far, FAR to the right, at least one this particular issue. And though it IS only one issue, it’s the preeminent issue on people’s minds these days, as far as I can tell, along with the economy, on which he also has no clue. I prefer to judge a candidates positions by they positions they take (and recently, rather than ten years ago), rather than how a particular crowd of people view them. Who cares how far left or right a particular group views the candidates? What do YOU think of the candidates’ particular positions on each of the issues?

  84. strech @ 60

    Politically, Wright may have been more damaging, but I think they’re both mostly over now.

    Wright is a fugue whose theme will continually be repeated, in many variations, until coda in November. He thinks its over. You think its over, but it ain’t even close to being over. But fugues, especially the good ones, are like that.

    Tumbleweed

    I’m pretty impressed with how informed you think you are.

    Kudos!

  85. You appear to be trying to evade the salient point.

    Oh, please. I’m simply objecting to the mindless parroting of RNC talking points. The “he’s too radical for America” is simply an asinine trope that gets mouthed over and over again in every election, to be mechanically echoed in comment threads.

    The entertaining thing, of course, is that the same American Conservative Union ratings that had Obama as the 32nd most liberal Senator last year had McCain at position 68. In other words, the ACU thought him the 32nd most conservative Senator in the Senate.

    To the ACU at least, they’re mirror images of each other, both well within the mainstream.

  86. Nate:

    “The fact that the leadership has endorsed Obama will have no effect at all on the members.”

    Yes, the fact that organization endorsements have no effect on member voting is why candidates work so hard to get them, Nate.

  87. In this case, the National Journal provides one

    You know, someone actually looked at that:

    Here

    This was the National Journal that also discovered that John Kerry was the most liberal senator in 2003, just in time for the election. This was after he had been in 9th, 11th, and 20th the previous three years.

    Convenient.

  88. Frank – as well you should be. I think pretty highly of myself, you know! Amongst myself, I’m rated both first and last among liberal me and conservative me on every issue I polled myself on. My not wearing a flag lapel pin was initially very worrisome to the conservative me until the conservative me realized that I don’t wear anything with lapels.

    Exit polls, however, revealed that both liberal me and conservative me voted for me 10-to-1 in every state I voted in. That was only in the caucuses, though, so that doesn’t count, plus I’m in an latte-drinking elitest state (WA).

    I predict more me will come out to vote than in any previous election come November, though, so all bets are off, really.

  89. Adam @ 98 – I predict a run on hip waders. Better stock up now. Might wanna go for the full wetsuit, though, just to be on the safe side.

    ps Don’t forget the lapel pin.

  90. I predict the lowest turnout in election history…

    I’ll take that bet!

    Let’s put it into more precise language. I assume you mean “smallest percentage of people legally eligable to vote actually do vote, compared to any other Presidential Election in United States history.”

    I’ll put $1,000 on it not being the lowest turnout in election history. Are you in?

  91. “You really believe there will be an uprising of the gun owners that will sweep Republicans to victory? ”

    I don’t think they need one… but if the DC handgun ban is over turned by Dubya’s SCOTUS appointees… you’ll see a lot of hard core conservatives forgive Dubya for all his past sins.

    As always… democrats under-estimate just how important that 1 issue is to many many gun owners.

    There is no doubt that that 1 issue cost Gore West Virginia… which would’ve given him the election.

  92. @83: Do you think Obama passes the beer test as in “Is he a guy you could have a beer with?”<<

    Having had a beer with him (or, at least, with my drinking a beer while talking to him, I cannot vouch whether or not he had one or not), it is clearly possible.

  93. Dude… I wouldn’t bet 1000 bucks that the sun is coming up tomarrow. On the other hand… if I am wrong… and If I even remember I said that… or Mr Scalzi sees fit to remind me… I’ll be more than happy to come here and admit that I was wrong.

    I’ve been wrong before. I’ll be wrong again. It happens.

    The point is… Mr Scalzi’s claim that higher than average primary turnout is evidence of high turnout in the general election was shown to be bunk… and he pretty much conceded it as such.

    The democrats have a candidate they don’t really want. The republicans have a candidate they don’t really want. Do the math.

    People vote when they have something to vote for. This election is no choice at all. Its 6 of 1 half a dozen of the other.

    You want a white liberal elitist or a black liberal elitist?

    Yeah.. that’s a great choice right there.

  94. “Yes, the fact that organization endorsements have no effect on member voting is why candidates work so hard to get them, Nate.”

    No. They work for them because they bring headlines Mr Scalzi. They have no reliable track record of delivering votes. Check the union endorsements for Kerry.

  95. Dude… I wouldn’t bet 1000 bucks that the sun is coming up tomarrow.

    Really? ‘Cause, you know, I would.

    $1,000 is about my minimum for bothering to try to set up a bet that could actually be collected on five months from now with someone on the internet I don’t know, but I am always curious as to how willing people are to back up their sweeping predictions.

  96. Check the union endorsements for Kerry.

    You mean in the 2004 Presidential Election, which had the highest voter turnout rate since the voting age was lowered to 18?

  97. … the Teamsters vote individually like everyone else. The fact that the leadership has endorsed Obama will have no effect at all on the members.

    I agree. My late brother (who lived up in the state of Washington) was a union member and despite his union’s endorsements, he almost always voted Republican. There were and are many others like him. Despite what many may assume, labor union members are not a solid Democratic voting bloc.

  98. “You mean in the 2004 Presidential Election, which had the highest voter turnout rate since the voting age was lowered to 18?”

    Yes. The one where the unions all endorsed Mr Kerry… and then failed to deliver the votes of their members.

    It was also the one where 16 million democrats came out to vote in the primary… versus only 6 million republicans… right before Mr Kerry got his beat by an incompetent incumbant.

  99. VD – I don’t think being a pro-War candidate puts McCain anywhere near the center of current American leanings, but far, FAR to the right, at least one this particular issue.

    Unfortunately, it does. And if he throws in an invasion of Myanmar to go with Iran, he’ll have the pro-war left too. Remember, Obama was kicking around the idea of invading Pakistan not all that long ago. There is no anti-war candidate; Obama won’t pull out of Iraq no matter what he’s said. He wouldn’t have been bothering with AIPAC otherwise.

    What do YOU think of the candidates’ particular positions on each of the issues?

    This is a rhetorical question, right?

  100. Wright is a fugue whose theme will continually be repeated, in many variations, until coda in November. He thinks its over. You think its over, but it ain’t even close to being over. But fugues, especially the good ones, are like that.

    Oh, I know it’s going to get repeated and repeated by the Republicans, through the rest of the campaign and whenever Obama runs for office in anything in the future. I just don’t think it’ll do much more in the way of damage.

  101. American elections are not so much about convincing people to support you as they are about convincing those that prefer you over your polar opposite to vote at all (and discouraging your opponent’s from doing so).

    Clinton on the ticket would both mobilize Republicans who are blaze about McCain, and turn off Democrats. It’s hard to campaign on change with a straight face when your veep spent the primaries screaming “It’s *my* turn, damnit!”.

  102. It was also the one where 16 million democrats came out to vote in the primary… versus only 6 million republicans… right before Mr Kerry got his beat by an incompetent incumbant.

    Wait, so, your shocking piece of game-changing information is that more people bother to vote in contested primaries than uncontested ones? My god! If only we’d known!

    I think that Obama will probably win in the fall, but I’m not going to stand oracular on a mountain and declaim that my prediction is sure to come to pass. But your claim that people are going to sit around at home in unprecedented numbers this November is a fundamental misreading of the political mood of the country.

    It’s a big election. It’s a referendum on the neo-conservative doctrine, with a Democratic candidate who made his name by opposing the war and a Republican candidate who was the original diehard proponent of preemptive war and regime change. It’s an election on the teetering eve of what many believe will be a serious recession. It’s historic: the first time a non-white-male candidate has been nominated by a major party. It’s high-stakes, with the Democrats threatening to seize control of both Congress and the Presidency for the first time in, I believe, 14 years. And it’s an election that follows a groundswell in political interest and involvement that has built throughout George W. Bush’s contentious presidency.

    Who will win? I’m not sure. Like I said, I think probably Obama, but I wouldn’t be shocked if I were wrong. But the idea that it’s going to draw a record amount of people who just can’t bring themselves to get down to the polling station is nuts.

  103. “Wait, so, your shocking piece of game-changing information is that more people bother to vote in contested primaries than uncontested ones? My god! If only we’d known!”

    No. If you look up to the initial response to Mr Scalzi above you’ll see that I specificly mentioned contested primaries. The republican primary in 1996, both in 1988, and both in 1980.

    I just mentioned Kerry’s debacle to make fun of you.

    What I said was… people turn out to vote when they have a choice… when they have something to vote for.

    There is no choie. McCain and Obama are both elitist liberals. There is no decision to be made… that… and the simple reality of racism.

    Democrats don’t like to talk about it… but a lot of rednecks pull the D lever because that’s what their daddy did… trouble is… those same rednecks aren’t gonna pull that D lever for a black man.

    Then factor in that you’re talking about a black man that mocked them while hanging out with his hoity toity friends in Sodom… and well… you have a real problem.

    Never mind the fact that the man doesn’t even know how many states there are in the country he wants to lead… never mind that his wife emasculated him on national television.

  104. Let me start of by saying that I am a republican. Neither candidate lights my fire. Obama is intelligent and very well spoken. I question his experience level for the highest office. McCain I respect his military record and many of his ideas on campaign reform. I have no idea who I will vote for in November. They are going to have to really work to win my vote.

    I am from Appalachia. Eastern Kentucky. I am the same age as Scalzi. I have no problem voting for a black man for President. I hear this from people all the time, “dumb hillbilly”, I find it amusing. The thing most people don’t seem to understand is that people in Appalachia are not all members of the KKK. Don’t get me wrong there are those people living there, just like they do everywhere people breathe air. Part of the problem is exposure. I graduated high school in 1987. In those twelve years of school I had no minority school mates. Everyone was “white”. My parents raised me not to care about skin color. When I went to college I was living with all races. I didn’t care. Still don’t. I work with many races at my job now. Just thought I would chime in on the subject. Didn’t mean to rant.

    By the way John big fan. Read your blog several times a day. Love your books. Looking forward to the new Subterranean book.

  105. Nate wrote: “evidence of high turnout in the general election was shown to be bunk”

    Er, no it wasn’t. You posted no turnout numbers for the general elections.

  106. I just mentioned Kerry’s debacle to make fun of you.

    I’m gonna go ahead and say that you mentioned it because you don’t understand either your argument or mine. Scalzi mentioned union endorsements as something that was likely to drive voter turnout. You said that Kerry got union endorsements. Kerry also got good turnout. Bush, as it turned out, got more.

    Does high primary turnout lead directly to high general election turnout? Not always, no. But as much as you’ve been trying to make this discussion about only primary versus general turnouts, what it’s actually about is your amusing contention that 2008 would have a uniquely low turnout. Which was, and is, nuts.

    Now, I probably should have just let it die when you wouldn’t put your money where your mouth is, so here’s my last response tonight: it’s going to be a big election. Listing off things that you think are negatives about either of the candidates won’t change that. Maybe you’re right about them being negatives. Maybe (though I think it’s pretty unlikely), a historically high number of people will vote for third parties. But in big, high-stakes elections, you see large voter turnout.

    2008 won’t be an exception.

  107. “Scalzi mentioned union endorsements as something that was likely to drive voter turnout.”

    You didn’t look nearly far back enough sugarbritches. I brought up the unions when discussing the race aspect.

    Try harder nextime.

  108. I think there are many issues out there that will draw in record numbers of voters. The makeup of the Supreme Court, for one.

    The idiot-in-chief has shown us how awful a candidate can be seated on the court. It is very scary to think who McCain might nominate.

    Civil liberties and reproductive rights are on the line, folks, like never before.

    This:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/03/health/views/03essa.html?bl&ex=1212724800&en=1ea29d67805b8c74&ei=5087
    is the best argument to preserve reproductive rights I’ve read in a long time.

  109. John, so do you think that the campaign will get ugly? I really can’t see a campaign that doesn’t have racist attack ads in it, as opposed to sexist attack ads.

  110. The most frightening thing I have seen is some die-hard Clinton supporters urging her (on her blog) to run anyway, as an independent. Wonderful idea! Almost a guarantee of President McCain

  111. Nate, make up your mind. Do Teamsters vote individually or don’t they? You proposed that they all vote as a bloc – a racist bloc. Then you admit that there are black Teamsters, but that doesn’t count because they vote as blacks, not as Teamsters. Or something. Now you’re arguing that Teamsters do whatever they want.

  112. Mythago:

    I’m not entirely sure Nate knows the point that he’s trying to make, other than that Obama’s blacky black blackness will doom him and probably everyone else, too.

    Andrew:

    I certainly do expect racist attacks on Obama, but to be honest I’ll be tremendously surprised if they come from McCain, whose own family composition suggests whatever his faults, racism is not one of them.

  113. Sheesh.

    My best friend is a redneck from Appalachicola Florida who *admits* he’s a racist redneck.

    He’s voting for Obama.

    He runs a tool truck and talks to a LOT of other racist rednecks. Some of them are voting for Obama in the fall, too.

    How’s that to turn all the preconceptions on their heads?

  114. After reading from 1to126, I thought it was about time to stop lurking and toss in a point or two.
    Mike @ 115 except it being 1976 and Nebraska, my experience was like yours. I now live in the Puget sound after a stint in the Navy, both things being about as diverse as they come. I’m generally a socially liberal, fiscally conservative, hopefully moderate kind of guy, but…

    I’m looking forward to voting for Obama. He’s the first Democratic nominee that I’ve actually gotten excited about since I first got to vote in “76. Sometimes the amount of experience or the voting record or the party isn’t a good enough answer. Sometimes you go with a gut feeling about a persons character.

    I like what I feel from this guy.
    Since I just turned 50 the other day, I don’t feel very gullible and don’t believe alot of the hype presented as fact by any “official” source. What I do believe is that a President can be constrained by the inertia of the policies and situations that he is left with when he takes over. He ain’t going to change our world overnight but I think he will try his best to move us in a better direction.

    Thanks for listening

  115. I have voted in 6 presidential elections, and each time I voted against the candidate I found the most objectionable.

    This time, after reading The Audacity of Hope, I am looking forward to actually voting for a candidate.

    That is all.

  116. Quite frankly, I don’t think it has mattered from day one which one of them won the nomination. I do not believe for one minute that a majority of Americans will vote for either a woman or a black man for President. Unfortunately, the Democrats are in for four more years of bitter disappointment. In fact, this election won’t be anywhere near as close as the last two. There won’t need to be any hanging chads counted in Florida this year. And John McCain will be the next President of the USA.

    That’s not what I want, but that’s what you’re gonna get.

    Sorry.

  117. More-of-the-McSame in 2008? McCain’s immigration policy isn’t that different from Bush’s. And despite the “maverick” appeal, campaign finance is not an issue that affects the day to day lives of lives of American voters.

    Not having a job that gives health care benefits, not having enough money to afford them, but earning just enough to not qualify for medicare is a huge issue.

    The occupation of Iraq is an issue.

    The economy and gas prices are a huge issue. Sy what you will, but deregulation and negligence towards hazards in the banking industry have been a hallmark of past Republican administrations. The actual catastrophes keep happening during Republican presidencies.

    The large amount of American female voters who’re attached to the rights granted by Roe v. Wade will realize that a McCain nomination will install judge who’ll overturn it.

    General hawkishness – Do we want someone who’d rather invade than talk? McCain sneered at Obama’s talk of diplomacy with belligerent dangerous nations. You’d think after the mistaken invasion of Iraq, people would prefer to err on the side of caution.

    And so forth, and so on. Outside of campaign finance reform, which Bush had no real worries about, McCain is a duplicate of Bush’s (failed, divisive) politics.

    Obama, on the other hand, has a record of actually unifying voters from the left and the right from his Chicago days. I’m betting that, now that he’s not needing to fight off Clinton, he can actually use some of those skills to peel off large portions of the moderate vote. If his campaign is skillful, they’ll tie McCain to Bush, and write off the 30% or so of the voters who’re still Bush fans. A good portion of those idiots think that Obama is a Muslim. It’s a stealth campaign that’s still going on in far right wing blogs, right wing radio shows, and fundamentalist churches.

  118. My best friend is a redneck from Appalachicola Florida who *admits* he’s a racist redneck.

    He’s voting for Obama.

    Growing up in Virginia (albeit NoVa), I recall that the people who were really troublesome were the ones who prefaced racist comments with “I’m not a racist, but”. This guy sounds like he has a handle on the forces operating in his head.

  119. The large amount of American female voters who’re attached to the rights granted by Roe v. Wade will realize that a McCain nomination will install judge who’ll overturn it.

    The female voters with a brain realize that this RvW ain’t never gonna be overturned in a million years and that efforts to persuade them that it might are just Democratic scare tactics. And that would be true even if there weren’t enough Democrats in the Senate to stop any such McCain nominee cold. So, as a reason not to vote for McCain, this one is simply absurd.

  120. JJ –

    The female voters with a brain realize that this RvW ain’t never gonna be overturned in a million years and that efforts to persuade them that it might are just Democratic scare tactics.

    The same non-argument can be made about the gun lobby:

    The NRA voters with a brain realize that gun rights ain’t never gonna be taken away in a million years and that efforts to persuade them that it might are just Republican scare tactics.

    Funny how that works, eh?

    I especially love the line of thought that equates ‘gun control’ with ‘taking all your guns, those dirty gun-grabbers!’ I’m all in favour of waiting periods, and preventing felons & the mentally ill from buying guns. According to the more rabid NRA people, I’m a “gun grabber,” who doesn’t believe in the 2nd Amendment.

  121. Tumbleweed, I agree with you to some extent – Republicans of course use threats to gun rights as a scare tactic to fire up their voters – but at the same time it is far easier to envision serious restrictions on gun rights than it is serious restrictions on abortion rights.

  122. JJ – I think that’s merely opinion on your part, and one I don’t share. Keep in mind that some form of gun rights are in the Constitution – abortion isn’t. Of the two, I think abortion would be more likely to be curtailed.

  123. jj- The female voters with a brain realize that this RvW ain’t never gonna be overturned in a million years

    Right, because all the coded promises by Bush to install judges who would is just… what? Not there? McCain is about the same as Bush in terms of who he’d appoint.

    I’m sorry, but you can assert that the moon is made of green cheese, or that this won’t happen if we get a conservative majority. The evidence is against you in both cases. Overturning Roe v Wade is not like amending the constitution. All it requires are the right (wing) judges.

  124. because all the coded promises by Bush to install judges who would is just… what? Not there?

    Who are those judges? What have they done, exactly, to curtail RvW? There has been exactly ZERO limitation on RvW in the last 8 years for all the huffing and puffing on the Left. McCain won’t do anything different, not least because he’s not as in thrall to the Christian nutjobs as Dubya is (rhetorically, anyway – for all the “coded promises” we sure haven’t seen a lot of action).

    Overturning Roe v Wade is not like amending the constitution. All it requires are the right (wing) judges.

    Didn’t I already say this ain’t gonna happen with well over 50 Democratic Senators? And that’s even if McCain wanted to make it happen, for which there is no evidence at all.

  125. There has been exactly ZERO limitation on RvW in the last 8 years for all the huffing and puffing on the Left

    Gonzales v. Carhart is just the most obvious example of how wrong that statement is.

  126. If you go to John McCain’s website, go to the Issues drop down menu, and select “Human Dignity & Life”, the first section is about wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade.

  127. The Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Carhart explicitly assumed that the principles of RvW applied! The most important language in the opinion does not substantively alter the scope of the right to choose, nor does it expand the right to life. In short, no limit on RvW.

  128. Marc G (and JJ):

    Specifically it says:

    “John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.

    “Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.”

    You know, if a presidential candidate has it as part of his platform to overturn Roe v. Wade, and specifically to appoint judges who will do so, one should take him on his word about it.

  129. People love superstars in all fields and because of that Obama will win big; maybe not a landslide, but by a wide margin; it ain’t going to be close

    Someone who can pack tens of thousands of people to listen to his speeches should not be underestimated.

    For this year McCain is the best candidate the Republican party could have put forward – in such a bad year that the Republican party managed to lose special elections in strongholds and will get wiped out in Congress, no “bring the base” Republican would have stood a chance – only by somewhat appealing to independents to vote for divided government, any Republican candidate stands the smallest chance. And against plodding,full of baggage Hillary it may have worked, but not against a superstar

  130. if a presidential candidate has it as part of his platform to overturn Roe v. Wade, and specifically to appoint judges who will do so, one should take him on his word about it.

    Except they always say that, and it never happens, so I for one stopped taking their word about it a long time ago.

  131. Scalzi @142: You know, if a presidential candidate has it as part of his platform to overturn Roe v. Wade, and specifically to appoint judges who will do so, one should take him on his word about it.

    So presidential candidates always keep their campaign promises? When did that start?

  132. JJ:

    “Except they always say that, and it never happens, so I for one stopped taking their word about it a long time ago.”

    That seems like a marvelously stupid way to go about things, actually: Just assuming something won’t happen because it’s never happened before, especially when, in this case, the Supreme Court has in fact curtailed access to certain abortion procedures (its tortured logic tying it to Roe notwithstanding). If you are someone for whom a woman’s right to choose is an actual concern, you don’t vote for the guy who explicitly states he’s for repealing Roe v. Wade. Maybe he’ll get around to it or maybe he won’t, but if he’s not in office, the chances that he won’t approach 100% very quickly.

    Hugh57:

    If McCain is stupid enough to say he’s ready to peel back Roe, I’m stupid enough to take him at his word.

  133. Hugh @145
    So presidential candidates always keep their campaign promises? When did that start?
    Hey, you know… I never really thought about that.

    Here’s the new plan. Do not, under any circumstances, listen to the content of a presidential candidate’s commentary. His policy decisions are much better derived from phrenology. If you are not a skilled phrenologist, don’t know one, and do not have access to the candidate’s skull, you may be required to fall back on the lesser, 2nd-option. Listen to their political opponents, and their political supporters. Both of those groups probably have phrenologists at hand (and in the former case, they likely have ninja phrenologists, who can sneak into the candidate’s sleeping quarters, get a good read on the skull, and sneak out before the Secret Service notices anything amiss).

    Yes, let’s disregard candidates’ stated goals once and for all.

    And on a less sarcastic (and less stupid) note… there is a large gap between what a president wants to accomplish in their presidency and what they do accomplish. So far, no president has produced a SCOTUS which has overturned RvW. That doesn’t mean that several haven’t worked towards that end. It also totally disregards the aspects of incremental “person by person” change that occurs on the bench.

    As a final note, and definitely veering off topic… overturning RvW is not synonymous with the end of abortion rights. I, for one, think that abortion rights should NOT be grounded in the right to privacy, and in that way, don’t like RvW, and would like it overturned. I’d be much happier if that overturning happened following a legislative action protecting abortion rights…

  134. That seems like a marvelously stupid way to go about things, actually: Just assuming something won’t happen because it’s never happened before,

    Let’s put it this way. The GOP has been saying it wants to overturn RvW for 35 odd years now. It hasn’t happened. Not even close. One either has to believe that (a) the GOP is completely ineffectual as a political party, or (b) the GOP does not seriously intend to overturn RvW and is lying to the Bible Thumpers. Since we know that the GOP can, in fact, get elected and get legislation passed, we can rule out (a). But either way, there’s not much reason to believe they represent a threat to RvW.

    What seems marvelously stupid to me is taking campaign promises at face value, especially promises that the political party in question has never seriously tried to fulfill.

    Yes, let’s disregard candidates’ stated goals once and for all.

    You would be right to do so! As one historian has noted, “it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, as often as not, what presidential candidates say to get elected has absolutely no predictive power about what they will actually do as president.

    in this case, the Supreme Court has in fact curtailed access to certain abortion procedures (its tortured logic tying it to Roe notwithstanding).

    The logic is not tortured, it is straightforward. RvW does not guarantee a right to a particular method of abortion, and thus regulating the methods to exclude a particularly inhuman and brutal method does not impose an undue burden on the right of women to obtain an abortion. The Court did not alter the underlying doctrine of RvW, period.

  135. JJ:

    “What seems marvelously stupid to me is taking campaign promises at face value, especially promises that the political party in question has never seriously tried to fulfill.”

    JJ, if you don’t seriously think the Republicans have been working to curtail women’s choices in this area over the last couple of decades, you’ve really not been paying any sort of attention. And as we’ve seen, there’s lots of ways to curtail a woman’s right to choose what happens with her body which “do not alter the doctrine” of Roe. And if such erosion occurs, then it’s not at all impossible a revision of Roe would be in the cards, particularly if the Supreme Court is packed with the sort of judges who would be inclined to overturn it.

    So, yes, if you want to pretend that the GOP is not actually serious about getting rid of Roe in the long term, and serious about making it more difficult for a woman to have a choice in the short term, you go right ahead. But to repeat, it’s stupid, given the GOP’s history and intent on the matter, to assume that given the opportunity to replace a couple of justices, that Roe won’t be re-examined, and if not tossed out, severely curtailed. It’s also incredibly stupid to assume that just because the GOP hasn’t managed to do it before, that they won’t do it if it has an opportunity.

    If the GOP isn’t serious about it, they should take it out of their goddamn platform. Simple. Until they do that, I’m going to assume they’re serious about it. It informs my vote.

  136. That’s an awesome campaign slogan, JJ.

    “Vote McCain! He’s only lying to *other* people!”

  137. Well, and also, if he is lying about wanting to overturn Roe, and apparently everyone knows it, if I’m a cultural conservative, why would I want to vote for someone who is openly lying to me for my vote?

    The issue is not what it’s easily possible for a candidate to do in terms of his positions; the whole point of the structure of our government is that it’s difficult to do anything (and thus, difficult to do anything stupid). The issue is what the candidate says he wants to do, which will inform his policies and attitudes and puts him under obligation to kow-tow towards.

  138. Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito. One more vote would turn it 6-3, or produce a majority even if Kennedy would be OK with not overturning Roe v Wade.

    Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito would all overturn it in a heartbeat if they could.

    Please try paying attention to current news on the issue before you decide that you have anything relevant to say

    And also, you might want to come clean on your opinion on Ro v Wade. Should it be overturned? I don’t think so. Bush thinks it should be overturned.

    McCain thinks it should be overturned.

    Let me repeat that. John McCain wants to overturn Roe v Wade. You tell us not to trust him. I ave no personal reason to trust *you*.

    I don’t think you’re really in the fight for Roe v. Wade. I suspect you’d be fine if it were overturned.

  139. But beyond that, there’s torture, warrant less wiretapping, support of the PATRIOT act, and a whole host of other moral and civil liberty related issues in which McCain has no spine on.

    Here’s a man who was tortured, who then voted in such a way that permits torture. He did that after going on the record as being against it. Bush somehow convinced him that supporting the current administration on torture was worth it.

    If you can trust someone who’ll do that, you’d have elected Nixon *after* Watergate.

  140. Josh Jasper # 152/153

    EXACTLY. McCain would appoint judges, at all levels, who are not for reproductive freedoms, who will shred the constitution (habeas corpus, cruel and unusual punishment, right to not self-incriminate and privacy will be a thing of the past) and we would need several further presidents to clean up the mess. Mr. Obama will have his hands full just cleaning up after our current idiot-in-chief.

    Roe v. Wade is not set in stone. It is less protected than so-called “gun rights.”

    In full disclosure: Never had an abortion & don’t own a gun. I’m for reproductive freedom, and I don’t think all guns are wrong (assault weapons, armor piercing bullets and “Saturday night specials” don’t belong in the general population and I support limits on the NUMBER of guns a person can buy in a given time period) –my husband and son are hunters (we eat what they shoot) so you know where I stand on both issues.

  141. Some of my female friends have had abortions. One after being raped. No one I know, other than professional soldiers, police, and coast guard have ever needed to fire on another human being.

    I really do disagree with Obama on his second amendment policy. But I have to weigh it against the war, torture, an erosion of civil rights and privacy, foreign policy debacles, pro-choice issues, health care, and so on.

    People are free to be single issue, second amendment voters. I have absolutely no argument with that choice, and I don’t disagree with the idea that the second amendment ought to be important. It’s just not the only important thing to me.

  142. Josh Jaspers: It’s my impression that a lot of voters are in that position, suspending what would normally be exclusive concerns because the whole system is so badly out of whack right now. Patrick Nielsen Hayden commented at some point about “the restoration of normal politics” as a goal, and that seems right to me. We all have a stake in honest and competent administration even when the specific policies aren’t what we’d prefer.

  143. Honestly Roe vs Wade is the least thing to worry about McCain.

    10 divisions in Teheran and 5 occupying the Saudi oil fields are more like it – not that it may not be warranted in extremis, but McCain may do it sooner rather than later.

    With Obama the thing to worry is a Carter like implosion.

    My hope is that Obama will have the guts and do for energy what Clinton did for welfare. Force the Democratic party to allow building of nuclear plants, drilling anywhere and everywhere there is any possibility of finding oil, cut as much as possible the disastrous Ethanol subsidies, impose a minimum 4$ adjusted for inflation gas price using taxes, to prevent the reemergence of gas guzzlers when the oil price drops and rebate of those some money for useful things like gas/electric bills, not useless mall SUV’s. Not going hat in hand to the f..g sheiks, but neither sending 10 divisions there either…

  144. Scalzi @146:
    Hugh57:

    If McCain is stupid enough to say he’s ready to peel back Roe, I’m stupid enough to take him at his word.

    I’ll admit that my original comment about campaign promises contained a fair chunk of cynical snark, something I find myself possessing more and more of as I get older (I’m 51).

    Perhaps McCain is sincere in his desire to overturn Roe v. Wade, or perhaps he’s just pandering to the right wing of his party. Either way, any judicial appointments he makes if elected POTUS would have to be make it past the Senate (likely Democratic). Many candidates have made sweeping promises only to find it difficult or impossible, once elected, to make good on them. Just ask Bush the Elder (“Read my lips!!!”). Checks and balances are your friend.

    I, for one, very much doubt that abortion rights are going to be overturned in one fell swoop (short of a Constitutional amendment, which I also see as highly unlikely), although Scalia, et al. may find ways to chip away at them. Same goes for gun rights.

    Disclosure: Never had an abortion (obviously), nor a paternity interest in one. I also supported Obama in the Ohio primary and will continue to do so in the fall.

  145. Either way, any judicial appointments he makes if elected POTUS would have to be make it past the Senate (likely Democratic).

    That’s nice. What would be even nicer was if we had a President Obama, so we didn’t have to worry about the situation in its entirety.

  146. I get very tired of the assumption that conservatives are not only racists, but the only racists. I once asked an African-American coworker if Republicans were racists. He immediately said, “Yes!” Then he looked at me and said, “Except you.”

    I told him he blew it. He lost any credibility his commentary may have held by using an assumption to falsely paint an entire group of people only to exclude one of the group’s members he happened to know.

    #26 RobThornton said “3. Unless you have him agreeing with Rev. Wright on the record, I don’t think so. Hagee cancels out Wright, your move.” After getting around the condescension, I couldn’t believe you make that comparison. McCain is not a member of Hagee’s church. Hagee endorsed McCain as a candidate. Obama has been a member of a church for twenty or so years where Rev. Wright has been Obama’s self proclaimed spiritual advisor. Rev. Wright in this same time has preached a very anti-white racist message. Now tell me a person who claims to truly want racial equality will sit through that for twenty years while still claiming this racist preacher as a spiritual advisor without this dangerous rhetoric sinking in! Apples and oranges, my friend.

    Whenever someone wants to point a finger at a lap-dog media outlet for the evil Republicans, they condemn Fox News. Whenever someone wants to point a finger at a lap-dog media outlet for the evil Democrats, they condemn the rest. I think it is time more people really look at the biases. I’ve watched the last two Presidential campaigns in the media. Look at the photos of the two major candidates. This time is not quite so bad yet. Democrat: photos of candidate is from below, candidate is looking off into the future, usually arm is outstretched to draw the viewer along with candidate, looks very Presidential. Republican: goofy look on face, standing with hand in pocket or glove in mouth, stern or mean look on face, straight on view, generally unappealing photo.

    Check out simple headlines. Made-up ones: “McCain ad attacks Obama” and “Obama ad points out McCain position flaws.” Sure that’s obviously lame and contrived but the subtle distinction is there everyday in this nation’s papers and online news. Until all of the Fox News haters realize that Fox is the only major news outlet that chose to move their editorial position to the right of most of the others, the sooner you will see the rest for what they are: a mouth piece for only half of us.

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