A Previous Message Repeated, Slightly More Forcefully
Posted on September 8, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 213 Comments
Dear Democrats, liberals and the like:
(tough love comments hidden behind the cut)
I know it’s a lot to ask at the moment, but could you possibly please stop publicly losing your shit all over the goddamn place? Honestly, it’s embarrassing. Did you really not know that coming out of the GOP convention, the GOP candidate might have a poll bounce? Likewise, were you somehow surprised that the GOP might try very hard to make this campaign about something other than actual issues? Did you expect them to try to run on the last eight years, or even pretend that they own them? What the fuck is wrong with you?
No, seriously: What the fuck is wrong with you? The GOP picks a woman VP 24 years after you do, for the same goddamn reason you did (a contentless call to shore up a shrinking base), and you act like you’ve never seen this movie before? I just don’t know what to say to you about that. Also: squirting yourself messy over a vice presidential candidate. Good fucking gravy, how off the fucking script can you possibly get. For God’s sake, she’s scandal-plagued Atwater spawn from a state with the population of Fort Worth, Texas, whose job it will be to work the lights of the Naval Observatory for four years. She’s a walking, taking advertisement for how easily placated religious conservatives are at this moment in history. She doesn’t walk on water, unless it’s frozen and the moose she’s hunting has wandered out on it. So will you please focus.
Please accept that this contest is going to be close. Please accept that you will have to fight for it tooth and nail. Please accept that the GOP will feast on every single fucking instance in which you show even the slightest hint of entitlement to the presidency. Please accept that the GOP SOP is to win by any means necessary, and that they’ve cultivated an entire generation of political strategists and media lackeys who can’t think in any other way, and whose allegiance to the party is reflexive and far stronger than their interest in things like facts. Please accept that the entire thrust of the GOP strategy between now and November is to keep knocking actual issues out of the political news cycle. Please stop acting surprised and resentful about any of this. The GOP will crush you — again — if you keep doing it. For fuck’s sake, they’ve played you exactly the same way since the 2000 election. Will you please exhibit a learning curve. You’ve been here before.
Now, again, please: Take a nice, deep cleansing breath, center yourself, have some tea, and get a goddamn grip. It’s going to be a long two months and if you’re all going off the rails at the slightest hint that this election is not, in fact, a pro forma coronation, it’s going to be even longer still. And you know what? As long as the next two months will be for you, it’ll be nothing like what the next four years will be like if you don’t calm down, get your shit together, and fight like you mean it. So settle down. Get some perspective. Focus.
Thank you for your attention.
A quick note to everyone:
My patience for nonsense is very thin today. Do not tempt me to delete messages.
Which is to say: Keep your comments far more polite than I just was. Or else.
I thank you in advance for your cooperation.
You don’t let us have ANY fun…can’t we at least make fun of her hairdo among ourselves??? I bit my lip soooo much during my coffee klatch yesterday…
I’m not sure what the problem with her hairdo is; it’s a fairly attractive way for her to keep it out of her way. And also, yeah, not really much of an issue, I’d say.
Please accept that the GOP SOP is to win by any means necessary, and that they’ve cultivated an entire generation of political strategists and media lackeys who can’t think in any other way, and whose allegiance to the party is reflexive and far stronger than their interest in things like facts. Please accept that the entire thrust of the GOP strategy between now and November is to keep knocking actual issues out of the political news cycle.
The same as the Democratic strategy. After following every election since Eisenhower’s first win, I am thoroughly sick of all political parties.
Thank you so much for saying this. Now I hope that people listen.
Couldn’t have said it better myself, John.
It is interesting to note, though, the way in which McSame has been so thoroughly overshadowed by his running mate.
OK, this is as close to outrage as I get. If I get the chance to ask the GOP-VP candidate one question, it’s:
“As vice president, you will have excellent access to health care for you and your children. Should all working mothers, all mothers of children with disabilities, or all children have that same access to health care?”
The more the Democrats freak out, the more of the Republican “marginal base” starts to become engaged as well. For all the wrong reasons.
I occasionally find it useful at times like these to remind Democrats that they haven’t gotten more than 51% of the popular presidential vote in more than 40 years (or more than 60 years if you ignore the Goldwater self-immolation). This is in spite of the fact that Dem positions commonly poll much better than Rep positions. Acting entitled to leadership seems very odd, given that dynamic.
Oh man. John, do you know how you could make my day? You could make a video or audio recording of you reading the above post and put it up on your blog. Feel free to bleep out an expletives you don’t want your daughter hearing. But… please?!!!
Secondary suggestion: whenever there’s an expletive, replace it with something like, oh, “wiggle” or “fruitbat.”
“Ohmygodwe’regoingtoloseAHHHH!” is a more useful attitude for turnout than the calm assurance that we will win this election no matter what, so I can live with my teammates on the left occasionally losing their minds.
That may be, but if you lose your shit every single time things don’t go your way, the laudable effects eventually wear off, I’d say.
John, what if people LIKE losing their shit all over the goddamn place?
If losing shit all over the goddamn place swings the election, then that’s even more reason to lose shit all over the goddamn place.
Who could ask for anything more?
I’m not a fan of Senator McCain, although I’m a right leaning sort of a guy, but I have been mightily amused at the reaction of some of the Obama supporters. While I had noticed a lot of negative comments from GOP supporting sites the last few months when they had assumed-rightly so- that this would likely be a bad year for the party, I didn’t quite see the level of hysteria that I see among some of the Democrats today now that the race appears to be a tossup. I really don’t get it. Democrats might think that Obama is something new and different, while GOPers might declare that McCain is the ONLY MAN WHO CAN SAVE US. The reality is that they’re both political insiders who, maybe, support at least some of the same views as you, which is why you end up supporting them.
If you’re candidate is ahead, keep pushing whatever’s working. If he/she is behind, try something different. Giving into fatalism and despair is just stupid, regardless of whom you support.
My favorite captioned photo at Pundit Kitchen is
I tend to think that is a good response.
The wood shed is now open.
JJS beat me to it. “…win by any means necessary, and that they’ve cultivated an entire generation of political strategists and media lackeys who can’t think in any other way, and whose allegiance to the party is reflexive and far stronger than their interest in things like facts.” is basically the description of, let’s see, every political party in the history of the world since the concept was invented. If you give me some time, I’ll go check my Cicero biography, as I’m pretty sure I can find some examples in there.
“Never interrupt your enemy while he is busy making a mistake.”
Well, you’re trying to. Stop that! Let them dissolve in their own incompetence. If they can’t pull their act together by now, can the country really survive four years of Obama-Biden?
Which is why I thought Obama’s “I’ve been called worse on the basketball court” comment a few days ago was perfectly pitched.
Two things about the polls…. we’ll start to see what people really think when we get some debates. And I really wish polls would force the undecideds to choose. “Undecided” is not an option in the voting booth, so I don’t get why the polls don’t do a followup with the people who initially pick “undecided” in the first place forcing them to choose.
@rickg Because “undecided” means “not going to vote”.
Your friends are not losing it because they are being played by evil republicans. The evil republicans can only wish that they had even a fraction of the genius you ascribe to them. Rather your fellow liberals are waking up to the fact that Obama can’t close this deal. He couldn’t close out Hilary in the primary and now he has no idea how to win the general election. He has terrible political instincts ( today he announced that he will extend the Bush tax cuts to avoid harming the economy).
It is the same feeling you get when in the second quarter of a football game you realize that your team is not going to win because your quarterback doesn’t “have it”. It’s painful to watch.
you have my sympathy
rickg, some polls do that, but most don’t, and the reason is that they’re just not as accurate as the ones that leave undecided in.
You see, undecided absolutely is a choice at the ballot box, and one that, up until recently, one that I was quite likely to make at the top of the ticket. There’s also the fact that undecideds, quite likely end up not wanting to wait in line and actually vote.
Oh, and I’d like to disagree with John here. Liberals, keep doing exactly what you’re doing. Not only will it hurt your candidate, but the popcorn sales might single-handedly save the American economy.
Indeed, who the hell care about democratic pundits: at least Obama got his shit together. I really loved is response to the whole Palin thing (basically ignoring her and reminding everyone she wasn’t the one he was running against for president). It shows he can stay calm and take some rather than panic about every single little thing.
Thank you babe – very well said!
And Zoe’s War? Made me cry. Twice. Bastard.
Part of it at least is the old (but relevant) cliche: “One heartbeat away from the Presidency.” She could be worse than Cheney might have been. [ducking and covering]
“Rather your fellow liberals are waking up to the fact that Obama can’t close this deal.”
Well, I certainly do understand why it’s in your interest to believe this, Drew. But, you know. That’s crap. Obama isn’t the problem, here. He’s handling it fine, as far as I can see. Everyone else, on the other hand, needs a frosty beverage.
I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but your government has just taken into public ownership – ie, nationalised – two of your major financial institutions, issuing promissory notes for $12000 out of each and every one of your pockets, and so far as anyone can tell in the outside world, none of you care.
The USA has declared Chapter 11 protection because your creditors just pulled the plug, and you’re frothing at the mouth about Sarah Palin?
That old Greek saying seems more applicable by the day.
@22: Obama has remarkably calm the last week or so over the Palin business. The rest of the Democratic chattering class, however, is running into the wall like the marching band past Kevin Bacon. Delightful, for my money, but not very clever.
oops, not directed to 22, but to 20.
You appear to be making the erroneous (and somewhat foolish) assumption that the things I write about here encompass the totality of my thoughts about what is going on in the world.
Likewise, you seem to be making the error of assuming that people keeping to an assigned topic in a comment thread are not likewise thinking about other things outside the comment thread.
Everyone should calm down, take a deep breath, and realize that someone who does not agree with you is not necessarily either stupid or evil.
I think there are people who are annoyed that the election is close, given how poorly the current office holder has performed, and one of the people running has said, inasmuch as he’s said anything, that he liked how things were run so much that he’d keep on governing that way. Except, maybe, even more so!
Is this the “Loving Mallet of Correction” you mentioned last week? Or perhaps just its close cousin?
If you’re happy with Obama then so am I.
However your post has raised some disturbing questions.
If the democratic base is flipping out over a small swing in the polls, what happens if Obama loses?
Are we talking riots and recounts?
Will we finally get to use our Y2K rations in the basement?
Will Cindy’s beer distributorship be able to handle the surge in volume?
Thanks, John. One of my mailing lists has a certain poster who doesn’t seem to have a rheostat on his emotions. It’s either rapture or disaster with him. He’s been running in all directions at once about Palin ever since the announcement.
Going to link here, if that’s okey-doke with you.
Be my guest.
Dude, you still have Y2K rations? Every good survivalist knows you’ve got to rotate your goods.
Historically? Congress continues rolling over for whoever’s living at 1600 Penn-Ave, bloggers get all frothy, and the country continues a slow decline into irrationality the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Galileo was forced to recant.
Of course, that’s likely to happen if the Democrats win, too.
(Having a bitter day…)
I’m thinking Obama still has a decent chance. He’s got a rather large war chest, and we’ve yet to see the debates.
Delurking to say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. You said this way better than I could. It drives me batshit crazy to hear my liberal friends foam at the mouth, even though we share the same ideological point of view. I’m going to point them towards this post with a firm but loving hand and hope they get the hint. If that doesn’t work, I’m getting out my duct tape and paddle.
I’m finding myself abnormally concerned about this election. I mean, the previous two got to me, but this one has really got me by the balls. And not in a good way.
I have been forbidden from discussing it at the breakfast table. Lunch and dinner will soon follow.
It’s gonna be a frothy one. Everyone needs eye protection fo sho.
The “Omigod, it’s time to panic!” reaction puts me in mind of Captain America from “Generation Kill.” And I share the enlisted Marines’ general disgust at that bullshit. When it’s time to fight, it’s time to stop being a hyperactive dipshit and get down to business, not run around wildly with your frickin’ gun in your hand spewing nonsense at the top of your voice. Christ, I’ve been a Democrat my whole life, and I still want to slap half the fellow Dems I meet.
Wouldn’t that happen anyhow if Obama /wins/?
#18 & #19, no, undecided means you’re having a hard time picking between the Giant Douche and the Turd Sandwich. I have until Nov and I plan on using as much of that time as I like to make a decision. I’ve voted in every election since 1988 and I usually don’t make the decision until late.
Granted, this election is a bit easier than most.
Good, solid commentary. Screw David Gregory, MSNBC should hire Scalzi!
PS: It is nice seeing Democrats flip out because we’re winning, though.
Query: how much of the Democratic hysteria is based on the realization that there’s a chance they’ll have screwed up for the /third time in a row?/ And this time with an inarguably highly charismatic candidate to boot?
John, I agree with everything you say about both Democrats and Republicans. However, I honestly can’t see how what you say about the Demorcats isn’t also true of Republicans, or how what you say about the Republicans isn’t also true about the Democrats.
The only real difference I can see at this point is that Obama’s inexperience at campaigning has led him to not step on his own people when they “lose their shit” when he should. In the last week, his people have done his campaign more damage than McCain’s have, because McCain’s campaign mangers have had the sense to just STFU and let the Dems lose their shit.
Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with either candidate’s ability to lead effectively, which is extremely suspect for both, so far as I’m concerned. Neither will have the ability to overcome the rampant corruption in Washington, and neither will have the slightest ability to bring even the moderates of the other side together. Neither has any hope of being more than a placeholder, hopefully standing in the way of Congress doing too much damage, until we can find a true leader (if we ever do).
It’s a pity Ross Perot killed any chance for a third party for at least a generation. We’re certainly ripe for it.
Don’t wake them up….
I’m for the other side..
It’s not just Perot. There have been demonstrations that if a serious third-party challenge springs up in the American political system, the Democrats and Republicans will actually /team up/ to prevent it from making any real dent in the system.
Aspen, Colorado’s infamous Freak Party incident comes to mind…
[reads original post and starts laughing]
Very well said, Scalzi. This is a tight race. It’s probably going to stay a tight race. The Repubs’ handicap is a candidate who isn’t a real conservative, plus their association with President George W. Bush. The Dems’ handicap is a candidate who isn’t ready for the national stage and a platform of “change” that sensible people understand will probably just recreate the economic and foreign-policy disasters of the Carter administration. The two handicaps just about cancel out, as they should, and neither candidate is likely to win in a runaway.
Perhaps the most amusing thing about the Sarah Palin pick is that the left is responding just as McCain wanted. I believe he had two goals in mind when he picked Palin: shore up his support on the right, and drive the Obama campaign and its lefty base batshit crazy. He’s succeeded in both goals. The crazier you guys get, the better it will be for him and the worse it will be for your side. So keep right on getting crazier, guys. Personally, I don’t see why you’re so worked up: you may lose this election, but your victory in the next one is essentially guaranteed. All those freshly-amnestied-to-citizenship voters will vote D in 2012 and give you complete domination of the government, freeing you to turn this into the Union of American Socialist Republics. So what’s your beef? Patience, my lads. Patience and slow subversion is the way of the Sith. Simply bide your time, and your enemies will hand you victory without a struggle.
Ooooh, look. A pretty butterfly.
What is a politic, anyway?
Amen! Thank you for that intelligent, but blunt commentary. I hope the right people get the message.
Polls are a few hundred people nationwide. They’re a statistically valid sample for the popular vote.
We don’t elect the President by popular vote. To give us an accurate picture of how the election is going, a poll has to go state-by-state, and total the electoral votes.
Since a statistically valid sample doesn’t vary much according to the size of the sampled population, this means that 50 times as many people have to be sampled. This costs a lot more, which is why polling organizations generally don’t do it.
This is why I’m not panicked yet. I am going to send Obama some money though.
you have near perfectly summized my whole problem with the dems…as in we go bat-shit crazy over the insipid crap but never worry about the real problem (like cheney being a demon) i just wanna whack dems when i hear them complaining about Palin…deal and then move forward, don’t shoot yourself in the foot and then jump in poison ivy. witnessing these innane displays makes me vote republican. knock it off!
a dem’s primary goal at this point in the campaign is to make reps look bat-shit crazy and lay off palin or soccer moms will start a phone tree and then we are all screwed
How are you today, a little techy i think hmm. Why is it that when the right attacks the left on their BS (non-issue related bs) that they are trying to knock down the issues, but when the left does it, they are just fighting fire with fire.
But i know thats not what your saying, i just thought it was a day for rhetoric, thought id have my go. I dont really have a dog in this race, other than you know being a member of the free west, id really rather it not go a man who has no diplomatic or pollitical experience outside his own party. Thats right im one of those nosy Aussies who has is smelling utensil firm stuck in your buisness. Why? Because american pollitics scare me poopless. You guys are it, your are the pig potato, Poh-tat-oh even. You are the last western super-power (shhh france we still like you, but you know… you’re just not super anymore.) What happens to you _WILL_ happen to the rest of us, you are the model that nearly all the western world follows whether they admit it or not.(thats right france, england, and Australia im looking at you 3)
So yeah im a little freaked out over the last 8 years, and where it up to me id love a change of government over there, but its not likely to happen, because now Obama has to face the old man and while McCain might be a conservative, hes also an astute politician.
He’s also talking about real change for America, trailing re-education plans for our of work factory workers and retargeting your finicial goals to industries that america still leads in, and targeting new and emerging industries like the bio-comericial industry, and the new space race.
So for what its worth from an over-seas admirer. Mcains your man, regardless of the pollitics he plays, or maybe even because of them.
p.s sorry for spelling punctuation it my early morning and im doing this inbetween actual work.
Following Xopher: http://electoral-vote.com/
Current state-by-state polls show an electoral college of:
with VA on the fence.
Things will tighten up between today and 4 Nov. That’s inevitable. But a national poll three days after the Republican convention doesn’t say anything one way or the other about this. And meanwhile, three other national polls just came out, showing that even the Palingasm was unable to build a lead for McCain.
On the other hand, if freaking out brings the Scalzi Mallet of Loving Correction, I say: Mission Accomplished!
*Take a nice, deep cleansing breath, center yourself, have some tea, and get a goddamn grip.*
Just don’t forget to take your own advice, John – you’re no good to us if you have a coronary. They don’t like you searching for a wi-fi connection in intensive care…
“She doesn’t walk on water, unless it’s frozen and the moose she’s hunting has wandered out on it. So will you please focus.”
And this is why I love you.
How in the heck are we gonna burn off all those extra calories unless we gibber about nonsense though, John?
Not to mention the commentators? Think of all the dead space on the cable news shows if people acted rationally and thought through things before they spoke!
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JOHN, THE POOR ANALYSTS!!!
Several, nay DOZENS of news commentators would be jobless, creating a cascade of firings that would reach through mainstream media like a plague, forcing us to turn off our televisions, and read a book, which…
Oh, wait, you might like that very much. Nice try. Sneaky, sneaky.
*Grabs a Powerbar, resumes running around like a headless chicken*
“She doesn’t walk on water, unless it’s frozen and the moose she’s hunting has wandered out on it. So will you please focus.”
As a matter of fact, she can even drive her big ol’ F350 pickup truck on that dadgum ice too.
While I would admit that getting all fizzy, over poll results that the pollsters have already admitted are adjusted by “hypotheticals” that strongly favor McCain, is dumb.
Admitting the likelyhood of a wish to ‘keep it close’ in order to sell eyeballs and keep the CW that it is close so that it would be easer to the steal another one without major outcry = not so dumb.
Learning from the ’04 campaigns to quickly respond to contentless smears and relentless lies is also not so dumb.
bat shit crazy dems are why i have defected and go libertarian. stop letting the republicans win
Kyle @ 19
Undecided might mean “I am not going to vote,” or it might mean “I think they both have such excellent qualifications that I just can’t make up my mind” or “Once again, the American political system has made me choose the lesser or two evils, and I am not yet sure which one that is.”
Sometimes I know who I will vote for far ahead, and other times I don’t decide until I walk into the polling place. You must remember that lots of people vote for individuals, not parties, and so we often take longer to make up our minds.
The scarier people are the ones who claim they always vote but never do, and so get included in polls when they probably shouldn’t be. They always confuse predictions.
The national polls make good press but they don’t mean much because we elect by a state by state electoral system; you have to look each state then total up the electoral votes to see who is actually in the lead.
This site: http://www.electoral-vote.com/
Tells the story. Obama is absolutely spanking McCain in electoral votes. It hasn’t been close since June.
John, I think I can safely say you’re not the only one who’s unhappy with the Democratic Party’s response to Gov. Palin’s candidacy. See, for example, “the WIZARD, fkap,” with this missive: It’s Over, We’ve Lost.
It’s gotten to the point where Obama himself has tried to call the attack dogs of his party to heel…and the attack dogs aren’t listening. It’s Palin Derangement Syndrome at its finest.
Now, as a Democrat-turned-Republican myself, I have long been dismayed by the behavior of those on the Left. Among other things, it makes the people on our side lazy; after all, why hold serious discussions on the issues, when you just have to say, “Vote for us, or you’ll get those wackjobs”? We need a Loyal Opposition, and one that is not demonstrably insane.
I would say: If you, like The Wizard, are a liberal or Democrat who doesn’t approve of the vitriol currently being vomited forth across the land by the true moonbats, then START SPEAKING OUT. Denounce these people as the trolls they are. Let the world know that their views are not your views. Take back your party from the moonbats that have gained control of it.
Remember: Silence gives consent. And, if you let yourselves be represented by the likes of the Kos Kiddiez, you have no one to blame but yourselves.
(Some of the above copied from my comment to The WIZARD’s blog)
What bugs me is that McCain’s camp appeared to mess up badly by nominating a scandal-ridden, underqualified VP candidate and by saying things that would seem calculated to annoy everyone but their conservative base – and were rewarded instead of whacked for it. I’ll live, but it’s a puzzlement and a disappointment for me.
As I said elsewhere last week – I don’t understand humans sometimes.
Chris @62 and Cisko@54,|
I wouldn’t put too much stock in electoral-vote.com’s numbers, a huge chunk of the polls they’re using are absolutely ancient in political terms. Very few are taken after both conventions.
Real Clear Politics has more recent polling data, and currently has it as:
Or when all the leaners are forced to commit
This will obviously change, but matches fairly well with InTrade’s prediction markets.
Perhaps the hysteria is because Obama is pulling out the youth vote in massive, massive numbers.
Young people are passionate, and impatient, and simply don’t have much perspective or comparison. For many, this is their very first ever election. And all they see is their guy is taking a beating and isn’t he responding as quickly as they’d like.
Still – I like your words (despite their harshness), and I think it’s a good message. And, yeah, I’m one of the shrieking panickers – even though I’m an old battleaxe of 41. I am beyond disgusted by the last 8 years, and I am simply terrified at the prospect of 4 to 8 more years that would likely be even worse. Terrified.
I don’t understand why everyone is freaking out. The National polls MEAN NOTHING. Look at independent state polls at http://www.electoral-vote.com. If the election were held today, Obama would win with 301 electoral votes! (270 to win)
The blue states will stay blue, the red states will stay red. It’s all up to the battleground states. And according to the numbers, Obama only needs Ohio to pull it off.
Obama has 2 months, $200 million plus, and an army of dedicated volunteers to pull it off. I’m expecting Obama to knock McCain out during the debates.
I realize we need to stay focused and work hard to make sure Obama wins. But freaking out over every little thing doesn’t help. Stay calm, stay focused, and keep working to help Obama. We are going to win this thing. It won’t be easy, but we WILL win.
Failure is NOT an option!
Question: Do you want the people who couldn’t see the Sarah Palin VP candidacy coming, even though she was mentioned on several conservative blogs, and flew to Arizona to meet with McCain, responsible for National Security? What kind of intelligence information are they going to supply the Commander-in-Chief? Just asking.
Seems like all of these remarks preceded the Obama-Biden campaign’s new TV ad today (all assertions accompanied by on-screen references to news stories):
“I’m Barack Obama, and I approve this ad. (cue western-style guitar plucking)
(Voice-over) They call themselves Mavericks. (whip snap; guitar stops)
Whoa. (‘WHOA’ title on screen)
Truth is, they’re anything but.
John McCain is hardly a Maverick when seven of his top campaign advisers are Washington lobbyists. (head shots of each)
He’s no maverick when he votes with Bush 90% of the time.
And Sarah Palin’s no maverick either.
She was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it.
Politicians lying about their records?
You don’t call that maverick.
You call it more of the same.”
Obama himself campaigned today just as straightforwardly, in more detail, calling out the obvious lies. This sort of quick forceful response is unquestionably a better effort than Gore or Kerry ever made in similar circumstances.
Only once since the Second World War has the same party won the presidency in three consecutive elections – 1988 – and the winner that year was the incumbent VP of that unaccountably popular ex-actor. So I would continue to put my trust in David Axelrod et al., at least for the present.
I am befuddled by your repeated accusation that Republicans ignore policy and issues in favor of… campaigning. Well, not so much by the accusation that Republicans do it as the implication that, by comparison, Democrats are angelic intellectuals attempting earnestly to share their policy papers with Joe Q. Public while Republicans distract the hapless voters with razzle-dazzle.
Both sides engage in what is essentially demagoguery; it’s a fact of political life. That doesn’t mean politicians don’t care about the issues, or that they don’t have a clearly outlined position on just about anything you can think of. Well, maybe not Bacon Beans. But that’s probably a good thing.
I also found this line interesting:
“Did you expect them to try to run on the last eight years, or even pretend that they own them?”
You know, it’s odd – I see McCain attempting to redirect the Republican party away from Bush, away from the last 8 years. Shouldn’t this be something for Democrats to be happy about, at least in private? I fully expect anyone left of center to relentlessly attempt to lash McCain to Bush like a cannon on a storm-tossed frigate – publicly, anyway. And perhaps it’s all just political maneuvering on McCain’s part. But try as I might, I just can’t be that cynical. Obama keeps asking the nation to essentially give him the benefit of the doubt; to stop this de rigeur questioning of motives that infests cross-party dialogue. And he’s right.
“I see McCain attempting to redirect the Republican party away from Bush, away from the last 8 years.”
It’s not my fault you can’t read a voting chart, August. Or that you believe that someone who votes with the president 90+% of the time is somehow in the process of “redirecting” the GOP away from Bush, particularly when he’s having as his VP the sort of evangelical sop that plays to the party base, i.e., the people Bush has been playing to with his domestic policy for two terms. Likewise, there’s a term I would use for someone who believe this represents actual change, or even “redirection,” but I suspect you wouldn’t like it very much. Suffice to say that if McCain was serious about change or redirection, at the very least Palin wouldn’t be on the ticket.
But John, the circular firing squads were just getting ready to commence.
And, speaking as a Republican, I will say that Sen. Obama has done a fine job of dealing with the last 10 days… His campaign appears to be filled with idiots. Seriously, if the candidate has to correct his handlers more than once — and I’m pretty sure Obama’s now in the hundreds — the staff are incompetent.
My honest opinion is that the best thing to do is give Dem big shots the loudest megaphone possible and let them be themselves. Seriously, Howard Dean and Harry Reid could screw up the processional at a one car funeral.
But, yeah, my Democratic friends, don’t panic. My faith in Dem pols to screw themselves is only rivaled by my faith in Rep pols to screw the pooch. [So do us a favor and keep shouting. It keeps all the cameras pointed away from Maverick and Ice Queen.]
Sorry. Clarification to paragraph 3.
My honest opinion is that the best thing for Republicans to do…
I agree with #9 about the audio blog version of this.
I also agree that yelling “The Sky is Falling!” every time a leaf falls from a tree will inoculate people against the times when they should be concerned and act. So, yeah, chill out and save your breath for the real crises.
“particularly when he’s having as his VP the sort of evangelical sop that plays to the party base”
That fundamentally misunderstands this pick, John. As anyone who’s paid any attention to McCain over the years knows, he values his Maverick/Outsider status highly, above almost everything else. So no matter what, his pick for VP was going to have to feed that. As such, Pawlenty, Romney, etc., were never really in the running. It’s fairly obvious that there were only two names on the list, Sarah Palin and Joe Lieberman. And Palin was chosen because she earned her political wings fighting corruption in the Republican party. Any benefits in the evangelical base were just bonus.
If I had to guess, the decision tree basically was ‘Obama picks Hillary, McCain picks Lieberman, else McCain picks Palin’.
As far as the snarky comment about voting charts go, you’re better than that John. Surely you understand that the vast majority of votes simply don’t matter to a candidate. I don’t have the specific statistics at hand, but I’d bet that when Jim Jeffords switched parties he went from voting with the Republicans something above 50% of the time to voting with them 0% of the time. Did his views so sharply change overnight? No, of course not. He just switched the votes on all the matters he didn’t care about from one party line to the other.
What’s important if you want to analyze a candidate’s voting record is to look at the issues where the candidate went against the party line, because you know those are the issues he cares passionately about. And when you look at that on McCain with any objectivity, you see someone who has repeatedly gone against his party on high profile votes. That’s why a bunch of us on the right can’t stand the man.
“Please accept that the GOP SOP is to win by any means necessary, and that they’ve cultivated an entire generation of political strategists and media lackeys who can’t think in any other way, and whose allegiance to the party is reflexive and far stronger than their interest in things like facts.”
If we actually want the campaigns to engage on the issues, then you need to address the issues and not simply harangue the other side. Whether we agree or disagree with them, the members of the other party are not soulless automatons bent on impoverishing the world and its people.
Everyone wants essentially the same things: peace, prosperity, and decency. Where everyone differs is on the best way to get those things.
If we demonize the opposing party, if we think that the opposition is inherently morally corrupt, then we’ve stopped debating on the issues as well. The only way to get the campaigns to address the issues, is to address the issues ourselves. As a man with a pulpit, you are right to use your pulpit to call the campaigns to task.
But so long as we embrace name-calling, we can only expect the campaigns and the parties to do the same.
Can we still make fun of the Ruby Stilettos? Or call her the mediocre witch of the Northwest?
Democrats: Remember, all you have to do to make everything return back to normal is click your heels 3 times and say “There’s no place like Nome. There’s no place like Nome…” until the closing credits roll.
This is just about the first election campaign where I’ve had FUN and actually ignored the issues, since the only way I would not vote Democrat in this election is if the Republicans failed to field a ticket at all. In that case, I’d vote Libertarian as the party most likely to roll back the ridiculous paranoia of the past 6 years. (Yes I know the paranoia existed in 2001, but I would say that back then at least 80% of us were thinking “It’s not paranoia if they actually ARE out to get you.”)
I’d still vote Libertarian if I thought Obama would easily win my state. But sadly, it’s Florida, and my vote might actually make a difference here. It’s more important to me to keep the major parties in rough equilibrium with each other so that they have the power to keep each other in check, rather than vote for the party that would probably do the most to get rid of the “pay to play” nature of the executive and legislative branches.
McCain used to refer to Palin’s fan club, correctly, as “agents of intolerance”. Now that he needs them to go out and put up lawn signs, they’re apparently A-OK. I wonder how long it will take him start setting up federal funding for Jews for Jesus.
“That fundamentally misunderstands this pick, John.”
Well, no. It is fundamentally at odds with his official story, perhaps, but that’s not my problem. At this point, McCain’s “maverick” stance is complete crap, and the idea that she’s been brought in as a reformer is a silly fiction no one outside of the McCain camp has to pretend to believe. The Palin pick is an explicit acknowledgment that McCain needs the religious conservative vote. You can pretend the pick means something else, but I’m not obliged to switch on that particular reality distortion field.
“If we actually want the campaigns to engage on the issues, then you need to address the issues and not simply harangue the other side. Whether we agree or disagree with them, the members of the other party are not soulless automatons bent on impoverishing the world and its people.”
I’m not aware of saying that they are, and I invite you in the entry to show where I have. I was speaking specifically of the GOP’s political strategists and media lackeys, which is, of course, why I said “political strategists and media lackeys,” and not, say, “all GOP members.” Before you lecture me on what fundamental courtesy we should all owe various party members, do me the courtesy of reading what I write, not what you think I have written.
This should cheer you up:
I seriously wonder just how many “undecided voters” actually exist. The people in my office pretty much decided months ago. The Republicans don’t really like McCain, but will vote for him anyway, and the Democrats have generally always favored Obama, even before Clinton conceded.
Among my circle of friends and family, I don’t know _anyone_ who is undecided at this point. I don’t get worked up about this crap because Ive already made my decisions and I’m pretty sure most other people have too.
So what, exactly, is the point of all the campaign shenanigans now? I understand that the candidates are expected to campaign but is there really such a large block of voters left up in the air to make campaigning worthwhile?
McCain is totaly a maverick … in the “loose Cannon”, “guy that gets everyone else killed” kind of way.
On an entirely different note, I love the Crowded House lyric on the masthead.
The thing I’m sick of is every time I mention Obama’s name on my blog (and I already decided I’m voting for him months ago), I get a comment to the effect of “OMFG! The bigots have one. McCain’s only trailing by 7 points!”
Um… Lemme see. That would mean our guy is…
Of course, I am unburdened with ideology, so I was not bothered by the possibility of a McCain presidency until the book banner came along. Now I’m just not worried she’ll be manning the lights at the Naval Observatory.
(Think she or Biden will go on The Daily Show and tell us WTF that man-sized safe Cheney has there is for? ‘Cuz, people, that’s just frakking creepy.)
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve posted this at my wordpress and livejournal. Folks need this kind of would you just calm the fuck down already kind of whack to the head.
“I understand that the candidates are expected to campaign but is there really such a large block of voters left up in the air to make campaigning worthwhile?”
In McCain’s case, he needed to firm up the base; I suspect there were a fair number of religious conservatives who would have been content to sit out this election who will now vote thanks to the appearance of Palin on the ballot. That could make a difference in a state that will be close, such as Ohio. Beyond that I personally know of a few voters who haven’t made decisions yet, so they’re out there. Personally, speaking, however, I’m like you; I’ve known who I was going to vote for for months.
“the bigots have one.”
Should be “won.” Sorry.
*Must hold it in!*
*Don’t make the Scalzi mad!*
Sorry, I can’t hold it in anymore1
Tee, hee, hee, hee. I love seeing them lose their shit.
Well said, Adelheid!
John, I’m not sure if that was your intention, but you seemed to label three completely different groups with the same brush:
the feet-on-the-ground campaign Obama workers
The pundits make their bucks out of “the sky is falling.” Screw-’em.
The Obama marketers, at least the people creating the national TV commercials, have done a really crappy job over the last month or so. It’s the economy, stupid. Where’s James Carville when we need him?
The feet-on-the-ground Obama campaign workers are still working hard and are generally not panicking. We’re registering lots of people to vote; that’s our focus until October 6. We believe in Obama. We aren’t taking the electoral advantage for granted, and we’re not panicking over the latest Gallup poll either.
I’ve been working as a part-time volunteer for Obama in Western Pennsylvania. Beaver County was the first stop for Obama/Biden after the Democratic National Convention. While there’s strong union support here (and maybe more registered Democrats), it’s also a fairly conservative area. We are working for every vote, and we won’t stop working until after election day in November.
[with chips, salsa and coke zero]
Aw, John, you’re ruining all my fun…
I like watching the Dems, liberals et al go all batshit over someone they think is unelectable because of all the “scandals.” If they really thought that Palin is such a bad choice and can only hurt McCain, then why aren’t they pleased his choice because it helps them win?
Then again, you probably enjoyed us mourning McCain’s nomination.
To be clear, Cassie, I don’t think Republicans/conservatives should not be enjoying the schadenfreudtastic thrill of watching certain liberals/Dems assploding all over the place. By all means enjoy the show and be sure to rate them on style and form. I just wish personally that these libs/Dems were not so determined to assplode at this point.
[Deleted for being a word-for-word repost of some dude’s blog post. Dude, don’t just cut and paste. — JS]
“No, seriously: What the fuck is wrong with you?”
Well, I think you pretty well nailed it over four years ago, and maybe it’s time to replay the classic “I hate your politics” entry on Whatever X:
“The attention spans of poultry; easily distracted from large, useful goals by pointless minutiae. Not only can’t see the forest for the trees, can’t see the trees for the pine needles. Deserve every bad thing that happens to them because they just can’t get their act together.”
Laurie Mann…hey, thanks for being a volunteer and getting the vote out! We stopped by the Obama HQ to get lawn signs on Sat. and the place was bopping! It was very heartwarming and positive!
Keep up the good work!
(You must be one of those Community Organizers, hey)
Really? I can rate them?
If you must!
Drew @ 84 Your error is in assuming everyone is a party loyalist and will vote straight ticket for their party. A great many people are not registered as republicans or democrats.
Millie @ 69 Don’t be too sure. Democrats were positive that the entire new youth vote would go to Humphrey in 1968 (they are open and idealistic and ……) but instead most voted for Nixon. The lesson: Don’t take anybody for granted. People are individuals, not lemmings of one monolithic group or another. Any statement like “all … will vote for … ” is wrong.
“Before you lecture me on what fundamental courtesy we should all owe various party members, do me the courtesy of reading what I write, not what you think I have written.”
Does that mean all you have written, or just what you would like to select?
“I’ve never made any secret that I distrust the GOP to such an extent that I tend to think that people who register Republican have some sort of unfortunate brain damage that keeps them from thinking clearly — but to be clear, I don’t like any of them.”
“But that would require Republican voters to grow spines, and let’s just say I’m not optimistic about that. If the modern Republican party has succeeded in anything, it has been in transforming its members into the human equivalent of rats at the feeder bar, jamming their buttons down with the unthinking mantras of “Democrats Don’t Have Values” or “The Other Guys Would Be Worse,” as if much of anything could be worse than the “values” that this administration has displayed. The fact that the modern GOP can get so many of its voters to elect people whose politics are so manifestly divergent from their party’s traditional positions shows where its focus truly lies, and how indoctrinated and/or uncritical modern Republican voters are. The Democrats also prize feeder-bar voters, of course. But they’re not currently wrecking the joint.”
My point isn’t that you shouldn’t have these opinions, or even that you shouldn’t air them. You don’t like Republicans; you think they’re idiots. That’s fine. But you can’t say that members of the GOP are “the human equivalent of rats at the feeder bar” and then expect your calls for everyone to focus on substantive issues to be taken seriously. Well, OK, you can expect it, but it won’t happen.
I don’t say this just because I think we should all be nice to each other and have a dance around the maypole, I say it because you’re right. We should be focusing on the issues. We should be asking tough questions like, “Why do you think a revenue-neutral tax increase makes any sense?” or, “Why do you insist on tax cuts without spending cuts?”
What we shouldn’t be asking is, “Why are you such a brain damaged moron?”
Thanks for eloquently saying what a lot of people are feeling. Everyone should know by now the Republicans were bringing their “A” game. This is McCain’s last shot at the big chair, and all the stuff in Alaska that is so nettlesome to Palin goes away if they win. They take this serious, because life for them gets more difficult if they lose. I think a lot of the issues with people losing their shit is the same as when ‘someone is wrong on the internet’ (thanks xkcd).
I get a sense of Destiny from Obama’s campaign, with a capital “D”. This is history happening right before our eyes, win or lose. If Obama wins, my son will live in a different world than I do, hopefully.
If McCain wins, well, we are overextended militarily; our army and enemies know this. If the rhetoric doesn’t tone down and we start talking to other countries like they matter, one of these nations may feel like they need to prove it to us.
I wasn’t really assuming party loyalty — even those people I know who are registered independent have pretty much made up their minds.
I think John is right: the campaign now is more about firming up the base(s) and getting people to actually vote than it is convincing undecided voters.
I lied a little bit: I was pretty much ignoring most of the campaign B.S. that’s been flying around for the past month, but the commentary on Palin is starting to get to me. This morning I heard a report on NPR where some women were criticizing Palin for accepting the VP nomination because she’s got too many responsibilities as a mother.
I’m a feminist. I’m more of a feminist than my wife. So my initial reaction was to get angry because I feel that Palin should work, govern, be the vice president and do pretty much anything she damn well pleases whether she’s a mother or not.
On the flip side, her particular brand of doing whatever the hell she wants is sending the message that mothers can work so long as they don’t ask for reasonable accommodations like, you know, leave. Her example, and more importantly her voting record on things like programs for teenage mothers, indicate that she has little understanding of what most working mothers AND WORKING FATHERS really need.
Paid maternity and paternity leave, better pay for day care workers and somehow at the same time more affordable day care, and more family-friendly employment policies are all areas where the Republican ideal of laissez-faire government have failed. The party of “family values” is not very family friendly.
Okay, now I’m done until November.
Telling people not to lose their shit because it’ll cause certain defeat is problematic, because it’s a collective action problem; the situation is unstable. I’m just one guy; if everyone else is freaking out what can I do? I can’t stop them. I already saw all this coming and told everyone not to freak out on a couple of popular blogs early on Wednesday, and they did anyway, so if this is how you lose I guess we’ll lose.
But I don’t actually think that. I find that the best antidote to freaking out is looking at the electoral picture, as many others have said.
Of the states Kerry won in 2004, the only ones at all in play are New Hampshire and maybe Michigan; in addition, Obama’s got a solid lead in Iowa. As long as he doesn’t lose Michigan, he’s within 10 electoral votes of a win.
McCain’s solid states add up to considerably fewer electoral votes. To win, McCain needs to almost run the table of the remaining Bush states. All Obama has to do, besides holding Michigan, is keep him from doing that, and the polls are still close in several; Obama has decent shots at Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, and maybe even Florida, and a surprising number of the smaller Western red states (NM, NV, MT, the Dakotas). Palin might hurt him in the West, but if he can swing Virginia or Florida it’s all over–he doesn’t even need Ohio.
Is the Obama campaign on top of this electoral map? Of course they are; they’re not stupid, they’re the opposite of stupid.
All through the primary campaign, the media narrative was that it was really close, and it was in absolute terms–but for most of the race, the fact was that Obama’s chance of winning was large, because they knew exactly where to concentrate effort. Same here.
I like how you selectively quote me to make it seem as if I’m saying something other than I’m not. For example, this quote here:
Makes it seems as if I don’t like anyone who votes GOP. However, the whole quote is:
So the quote is about how I don’t like political parties, not members of the GOP.
Patrick, dishonestly quoting me in such a transparently stupid manner (do you think I actually don’t have access to my own archives?) gets you shunted into the moderation queue. Congratulations. You get out when I’m convinced you’re not going to try any more penny-ante shit like this.
You can start by apologizing to me. E-mail will be fine. If you don’t feel like apologizing, either for misrepresenting me or for at the very least doing a piss-poor job of paying attention to what you’re quoting, you don’t have to bother coming back to comment anymore.
More to the point, if you have to make your argument by misquoting me, you don’t have much of an argument.
To quote an old bromide:
“Plan your work, and work your plan.” If the Dems could stick to that and not get the ping-pong paddle every time the GOP volleys one over the bow, they will impress far more voters.
I can read a voting chart just fine, thanks, and I’m familiar with all the major talking points on each side.
The problem with pointing out the 90% figure is that it ignores which votes those were, and what they were for. McCain is a Republican, and no RINO, but if you examine that 10%, there are some big ticket items there that he paid for politically, and continues to do so despite flip flopping back on, for example, tax cuts. He is demonstrably unafraid of standing up to his own party when he wants to. The big question becomes, when is that?
McCain says that he recognizes how Republicans screwed up by spending too much. Yet he apparently wants to keep cutting taxes. On the other hand, he has consistently railed against pork, earmarks, etc. during the last ten years. He voted against the Medicare prescription drug benefit enacted by a Republican Congress and signed by Bush. These are campaign promises backed up by a history of action.
When I talk about “change” or “redirection” from the standpoint of the Right, I of course do not mean all the same things an Obama supporter does. But I think there is at least one thing we have in common – a recognition that the fiscal profligacy we’ve witnessed up until now has to stop. The short and long-term repercussions of this single issue are, to me, far more important than any other single issue on the table right now. If we didn’t have McCain on the Republican ticket, Obama’s promises to balance the budget might almost convince me to vote for him… if I weren’t so afraid of all the massively expensive projects he wants to enact.
I’m not sure why you keep harping on the Palin-Evangelical connection so much if we’re talking about issues. If abortion and gay marriage are hot button issues for you, McCain is almost worse than Palin, judging from his voting record and statements. Palin’s appeal is twofold: cultural rather than strictly religious: a heartland vs. coastal elites sort of thing… and as added “maverick” fiscal conservative credibility.
Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree here, trying to debate this with you, given the level of animosity toward the right on display. Then again, you did say you’re a bit grumpy today. I just can’t resist a blog full of intelligent liberals willing to have a – hopefully – rational discussion.
Patrick@102………Well said and illustrated/cited. The nebulous rhetoric and cultic aura of whatever political flavour has almost completely trumped the issues and good logical debate for many years now…but then the easy way is the way of most of my fellow USA-ians today. Facts and issues and proof…too hard, tedious and requires knowledge, logic and discriminitory thinking….hard and pricey ; ranting, raving, vilifying, 15 sec. sound bites used as mootable facts, ad hominem or slippery slope fallicies…easy and priceless.
As you suggest, people of all sides of the issue need to make IT the focus and content of their comments; if a writer has just essentially called the other side stupid, says they hate them, and goes on and on with vitriol, sarcasm, and personal attacks—–and then asks them the issue questions like you asked —-or if they realize that wind power MUST have non-wind backup of equal capacity to meet “still(er)” days accrued peak demands and how to deal with that redundancy—-which will have the most probable response ? I think we know—issue buried and response equally emotional and non-enlightening. But, as a much earlier poster correctly said—such is the long history of politics………
Since Patrick’s been punted into the moderation queue for, in fact, doing a piss-poor job of quoting, you might want to rethink that comment.
“When I talk about ‘change’ or ‘redirection’ from the standpoint of the Right, I of course do not mean all the same things an Obama supporter does.”
Heh. This is clear enough. For my purposes his variances are not sufficient.
I get that Obama would be a pretty good president, and that John McCain is really doing his best to both pander to the faithful and still pretend to be a maverick, but jeez, giving one party all of the marbles again… I can’t do it. I see that as the big error of ’02-06: not having an effective opposition. We’ll just have the same problem in the other direction, and with the senate dangerously close to a supermajority.
John, in at least one of your posts, you say something that could be interpreted as meaning that you believe that you know what McCain is thinking better than he does. I’m sure that’s not what you mean, since that would be silly, and you’re anything but silly. Especially when you’re in a bad mood. But someone who isn’t completely stupid or insane could possibly see that in at least one of your posts.
I comment on this merely to note the irony of something like that in the comments on a blog entry in which you implore Democrat bloggers to not “lose their shit” so much.
Also – and let me make it clear, this is a joke – perhaps you should try decaf.
I think I hear I demonic laughter in the background. Oh wait, it’s Hillary.
John……..I really tried to do that as I read your #107—-and respectfully submit that I have this problem: A political party is an amorphous “thing” that is nothing and can do nothing and can be nothing of itself—-it is the people in it and their philosophies and actions that give it life and presence—-so I believe one can only be logically seen as attacking those people that make the party whatever it is. I also hope I am not quoting out of context—-but I believe you give credence (sp?) to my belief in your own words in your #107 “complete” quote on the “brain damaged” people who belong to a particular party—-and not to a brain damaged party—which, of course is impossible for a non sentinent “thing” to be. To me, that is like saying General Motors Corporation is responsible for lagging in hybrid vehicles and ostensibly be safely seen as attacking an inanimate monolithic “thing” —-when we all really know we are attacking the GMC people that did a lousy job of managing a problem that was better forseen by other makers. So, I guess my problem is being able to separate the “inanimate thing” from its “working parts” ?
I don’t drink coffee.
To be clear, I have no idea what McCain is thinking much of the time, which is something I think most people can say, including from all appearances McCain himself, from time to time. Should it appear to you that I seem to be saying I know what he’s thinking, you may assume I’m trying to model his thinking. Whether I am succeeding, of course, is amply open to debate.
I’m not following you. I’m not aware of saying the GOP — the entity — is brain dead; I am aware of saying that I tend to think people who register Republican must must have brain damage. Leaving aside any suggestion of hyperbolic writing (because as we know I never do that), even if I say I think that people who register Republican must have brain damage, it does not follow that they actually do. Likewise, in the context of the entire article, in which I disavow all association with political parties, it’s clear that I don’t think especially highly of registering for any party, so those who register Republican at this point are only marginally worse off than those who register for any other party. I don’t like political parties, and I think being part of one is not something people should do in a general sense. My man George Washington was right on this one.
Personally, I’m just looking forward to the Veep debates, because I think it’s pretty clear already that Biden is going to kick her “hasn’t really been paying attention to Iraq, but knows we’re doing God’s work there” butt.
Palin’s a punchline. One that looks good in a tailored suit, granted, but still a punchline. As far as I can see, the only way for her to stop being a punchline is if McCain (a) wins and (b) dies.
But even though I think it’s a waste of energy, I can understand why the **** is getting flipped. People really want to believe that their countrymen are rational, thinking adults with a concern for the general well-being of the United States. When a person like Palin can win her party a jump in the polls rather than a one-way ticket to wtf-ville, it’s hard not to lose just a little bit of faith in humanity. Like the creation museum, such a poll-bump is a testament to the fact that there are far more… ah, “reality challenged” people in this country than there should be. And that’s depressing.
Why do I get the feeling the Democratic Party will throw
this election,or the Diebolt will stack the deck.I just can’t
imagine they don’t have a counter to this 28 year old Republican game plan,and it seems to me they get their money from the same multinational corporations.
The smaller (not on the national stage) Democratic groups don’t seem to be panicking. Just today, on my college campus, I was reminded to register to vote (or to request my absentee ballot) by several Democrats on my way out of the dining hall. And they actually didn’t mention the GOP at all… just wanted to be sure I was registered!!!
What’s depressing is how many people fail to appreciate that there’s more than one way to have “concern for the general well-being of the United States.” For instance, those on the political right who are unable to understand democrats probably think of their faith in big government as “reality challenged.”
August @ 109
You state that McCain’s ‘anti-pork record’ (that I frankly have never seen in any form other than rhetoric) is where he seperates himself from Bush. Why then would he select as his VP a person who, in her short career, has been nominated 3 times as Queen of Pork?
Various @ multiple
Palin’s political mentor’s are (check the record folks) Newt Gingritch, Pat Buchanan and Ted Stevens. Reformer, puhleeze.
Pj @ 112
One of the reasons we ended up where we are, aside from republicans being unable to govern positively for the majority of the country, is the total takeover of all three branches for most of the last 8ish years. To even have a chance to fix things before it is too late, given the massive opposition from entrenched intrests, will take a minimum interference from the ‘dead-enders’. If you want a respectable chance to get real change, accept that it will take a big toolbox to build it with.
If I see one more person use the nickname “McSAme” I’m afraid my head will explode. For the love of all that is holy, in this time of great agitation and strife, can we just swear off PUNS?
I’m with you on this one, Chris.
“She was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it.”
Both Obama and Biden voted _for_ the bridge to nowhere.
“She was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it.”
Both Obama and Biden voted _for_ the bridge to nowhere.
Sorry, hit enter, too quickly. A link for the votes for the “Bridge to nowhere bill”:
there are plenty of entrenched interests on both sides. 2002-2006 was a love letter from Washington to corporate America and to the religious right. If Obama wins and 2009-2013 are not in fact a love letter from Washington to the unions and the green movement, I for one will be impressed by his real commitment to change.
Respectfully, I think you’re falling into the “nobody I know voted for Nixon” fallacy. You certainly underestimate how nervous the average Republican was in having McCain carry the party standard. Palin was a good choice if only because she signalled to the Republican party that McCain cared enough to get one of the younger rising stars of the party some national campaign experience. IMO, the only person I’ve ever seen give a speech comparable to Palin’s performance at the convention is Ann Richards’ speech in Houston in ’92.
You’re welcome to disagree with any of that, but please don’t assume that everyone who disagrees with your priorities is irrational. For example, I think that putting Joe Biden on a “change” ticket beggars belief, but I can see the rationality of putting a Senator with more time in office than McCain on the ticket.
And frankly, agree or disagree with his choice, Palin has already done more to help McCain’s fundraising and chances than any other pick he could have made. Even if she’s a drooling idiot when you unplug her from the teleprompter, she’d have to kill and eat a bald eagle using an American Flag as a napkin to hurt McCain at this point.
Finally, in politics it is axiomatic that the louder the shouting, the weaker the case. Remember how loud and shrill the Republicans were about Bill Clinton. The Dems sound the same way about Palin.*
*As Scalzi noted, we’re talking about the chatterati of party here. I don’t mean to imply that either Democratic candidate or any sizable amount of average Democratic voters are sounding shrill. I really do think Obama gets it, but his staff has mediocre to poor political instincts, and the party talkers for both sides are completely enamored with their own voices and have little sense of reality anymore.
@120: I’m not suggesting that nobody on the right has any concern for the well-being of the United States. I’m suggesting that thinking it’s a good idea to put someone like Palin in line for the presidency behind a man in his seventies shows a lack of concern for the well-being of the United States. A person who’s soundbite on Iraq is “I haven’t been paying attention, but I know we’re doing God’s work” is in no way qualified to assume the role of commander in chief.
I’m sure there are perfectly rational, thinking people who love this country who believe that the best thing for it is a fiscally and socially-conservative leader. There are certainly rational, thinking people who are going to vote for McCain in spite of his choice of a completely unqualified Veep. But the idea that there are people who are going to vote for him because of his choice of a completely unqualified Veep–well, yeah, that’s depressing.
I don’t drink coffee.
Then perhaps you should start. :)
To be clear, I have no idea what McCain is thinking much of the time, which is something I think most people can say, including from all appearances McCain himself, from time to time.
I think that accusing a presidential candidate of being literally feeble minded is one of those things that someone who doesn’t know you as well as we all do might possibly misinterpret as “losing your shit.” They’d be completely wrong, of course, and obviously so, but one can almost see how the slow-witted or neurotic might come to such a conclusion.
It’s about time you opened that can of “Whoop Ass”…..
Ya Can’t Fix Stupid…. on either side of the isle.
or of the opinion of the FEW….
Terry @ 130
“accusing a presidential candidate of being literally feebleminded” is simply an understanding of reality.
We have a man doing a very good imitation the sainted raygun in his second term: Can’t remember elementary geography, consistently repeats mistaken ‘facts’ in what is supposed to be his area of expertise, has his cell phone privilages revoked because “he always follows what the last person he talked to says”, picks a VP candidate without checking to see if she has creditability, governing style, history of relationships or cronyism issues, can’t talk about anything but being a P!O!W!, etc.
Yes, I do believe McCain isn’t bright and articulate.
PJ @ 120
Personally, after seeing the unions getting mugged since the beginning of Ronnie’s first term, I would like to see a change in the status quo there.
Mind tacking on that 90+% of this applies to both parties (in some cases with minor wording changes)?
All I ask for is a candidate who can count, and understands that the solution to massive debt isn’t more debt.
Re: no more nicknames….
Granted, McSame is, errr, McLame as far as nicknames go. But can I still call Obama (who I happen to support) Hopey McHopesalot? And can I still call Palin (who I happen to find awful on sooo many levels) Caribou Barbie?
One Day in the Office.
Man in suit: JOHNSON!! What the hell is wrong with you?? There’s brown goop on the walls! There’s brown goop on the ceiling! There’s brown goop in the goddamn conference room!
Johnson [eyes downcast]: I’m sorry, sir.
Suit: What did I tell you about losing your shit all over the goddamn place??!!
Johnson: I … I just … I can’t …
Suit: Shut up! You diarrhetic twat!
Meeks: Sir, I don’t think Johnson…
Suit: Can it, Meeks! Don’t you start with me. Not after that sphincter-slide you pulled at the trade show last week.
Meeks: But, sir!
Suit: And this goes for the rest of you: No more assploding!! If I see one more person assplode in this office, you can just say goodbye to your goddamn Christmas bonus!
As far as I can tell this FT article hasn’t been linked to on this thread.
Reading a lot of the comments on this page and even more of the assploding* lib/Dem commentariat elsewhere I get a huge sense of disdain/contempt by lib/Dems for the people they say they want to help. Even more than the ridiculous attacks on Governor Palin and the even more ridiculous lack of any pretense at neutrality by large chunks of the media this contempt is going to lose you an election you should have won. Obama, as a man, sounds OK to me and he has, for the most part, been handling the Palinmania just fine. I think he’s a typical shading the truth politician with dodgy deals in his past but then so is every pol including (surprise) Palin, but I believe he genuinely wants to make changes and I also believe that (duh) a lot of people are hacked off at the Bush government and want a change. So he ought to win easily (and probably be a total Carteresque disaster when he does but that’s irrelevant to this discussion).
He won’t win if he manages to surround himself with people who say essentially “Look you dumb hicks don’t vote for another dumb hick” Currently that’s exactly the impression I get.
Someone in this thread (Laurie Mann #92) wrote about how successful Obama was at signing up volunteers registering voters etc. The really big thing that the Palin pick did was energize a bunchaton of republican supporters to go and do likewise as opposed to doing the minimum. Since we’ve only had a week or so of Palinmania it is too soon to tell whether or not this effort will result in enough ground level campaign volunteers to have an effect but it may well do. Churches are very good community organizers. I’ll note that mocking Palin for her faith and drastically taking some of her statements re: creationism, sex ed, etc out of context are more likely to energise other Christians who fear that the godless liberals are (going to) persecute them than almost anything else.
Also in re 117. I’m pretty sure its Biden who’s going to look like an idiot in the VP debate. Just get the videos of the Alaskan primary and governor debates. Biden (D-MBNA) is going to come across like the sleazy blowhard he is and he is exactly the sort of inside politics pol that Palin is good at picking holes in.
*great word that I’ve never encountered before
FrancisT, anyone who thinks you can “Pray the Gay Away”, is sure that God told her to build a pipeline, and has no idea about Iraq but knows we are doing “God’s work” over there deserves to have her religion mocked, the same way people who blow themselves up because God told them to and kill innocent people or perform other terrorist acts because of God deserve to have their religions mocked. They are clueless rubes who care nothing for actual people and only want to hide behind their God and their rhetoric. Am I comparing Palin to a terrorist? Why, yes, in that they both adhere more to their religion than to ways to fix things by being empathic towards the other side.
As far as Obama saying “Look you ignorant hicks …”, that’s how you want to read it. He is actually saying, and has said it very clearly at least twice today, that if you like where you are and think Bush put you there vote for McCain. If you don’t like where you are and you want things to change then vote for Obama. It really is that simple.
All of that is besides the point – Palin is not actually being mocked, that is just a smokescreen for the Right to complain and shift focus away from the questions that should be asked to blame the media for asking the questions. I would say that, yes, I heard Olberman mocking her faith, but that’s Olberman, and while I enjoy listening to him, he really is not like anyone else in the media – on the left. I would say he has a remarkable resemblance to, well, everyone in the media on the Right. If you are really going to complain about how the media (read: MSNBC and Comedy Central, hardly The Media) are treating Palin, you need to harshly condemn FOX, CNN, Rush Limbaugh, etc. for their remarks about every Dem they can insult.
Geeze, everyone calls Dems crybabies for bringing up actual issues they need to be looked at and repaired, like election reform and voting machines, but no one cries like the persecution-complex afflicted Righties.
To those freaking out–you know what helps freaking out? Action. I was freaking out yesterday. I made 20 calls. The last caller I spoke to was an Obama supporter who said “keep it goin’.” This morning I was freaking out again. I drove down to the L.A. office and volunteered. Lots of people there were working hard for Obama, harder than I had worked. They were not freaking out. The Gallup poll (which is of “likely” voters, and this race will be filled with *unlikely* voters) did not come up in conversation once. People were busy, sure, and moving quickly, but no one there was losing their shit.
So go volunteer already. You’ll feel better. If you can spend an hour reading the blogs, which I do, you can spend an hour making calls.
And, with a nonpolitical comment:
For my purposes his variances are not sufficient.
reminded of me of this:
To the mines! tell you the duke, it is not so good
to come to the mines; for, look you, the mines is
not according to the disciplines of the war: **the
concavities of it is not sufficient;** for, look you,
the athversary, you may discuss unto the duke, look
you, is digt himself four yard under the
countermines: by Cheshu, I think a’ will plough up
all, if there is not better directions.
Hmmm. On second thought, John’s post is similar in tone and content to Fluellen. John, make your next post like Shakespeare. (I’d say, “Iambic pentameter,” but this isn’t.)
In reply to some of the previous comments (‘ignorant hicks’-related) here’s a question from overseas:
how on earth did it get to a point where large groups of people identify themselves with the phrase ‘ignorant hicks’??
Doesn’t that strike you as sad/worrying/dangerous (strike what does not apply) in itself? If you can lard the debate with extremely loaded phrases such as that one, if in fact it becomes acceptable to even be proud of being ignorant; well then I say all is lost.
Perhaps this is why I’m observing the election coverage and the raging debates on the net/forums/blogs with a sinking feeling in my gut. I am really beginning to think that if it comes to another GOP term, democracy in the US will be eroded further to the point of no return…
The absurdity of some discussions in your news media is maddening: media that in any other country would be regarded as extreme-right-wing religious papers/channels are called “leftist” and liberal. Any comment on a GOP candidate is immediately denounced and followed by threats to their employer, while the even-more-right-wing channels can spout untruths about the Democratic side without anyone even noticing any more. Meanwhile, the politics themselves have never before been so clearly dictated by the big corporations (oil, most blatantly, of course, but also pharmaceutical and other giants). And how can you possibly expect the husband of one of the owners of such a megacorporation to be in any way independent? Especially since he’s caved in to the party line on so many occasions before?
A frightening prospect from where I stand.
I’m gonna presume that this call to action was accompanied by a big fat contribution to the Obama campaign? (Unless you’re maxed out already, in which case you’re excused.) Or maybe some volunteering time? ‘Cause it’s not just party members who are going to have a long four years if McCain wins.
I apologize in advance for my lack of understanding. I see myself as below average intelligence here, since I am a registered party member.
Regarding #107: It seems to me that you are saying that anyone registering in membership to a party is stupid, and GOP members much stupider still.
May I just point out: in our present political system that it is the stupid people you’re talking about that choose the candidates. That is, we registered people (of all parties) decide in the primaries who you crowds get to vote for.
I put forth the heretical idea that perhaps, choosing to register with a party might not be so stupid after all, since you get to help keep some of the REAL wackos out. And it’s free. Just show up and vote in the summer.
Fooo. I know there was steam whistling of out your ears when you wrote that, John, but that is one sterling diatribe.
A+ a gold star and a fresh juice-box for that screed.
“They’d be completely wrong, of course, and obviously so, but one can almost see how the slow-witted or neurotic might come to such a conclusion.”
It should be obvious to you by now I have very little concern what the slow-witted or neurotic think about me.
“It seems to me that you are saying that anyone registering in membership to a party is stupid, and GOP members much stupider still.”
That’s because you’re not reading what I wrote. But since this appears to be a general problem, let me clarify: I think political parties are stupid. I think registering to be a member of one, particularly the GOP at this moment in history, is stupid. It doesn’t mean people who belong to political parties are in themselves automatically stupid, although they might, in my opinion, be brain-damaged (it also doesn’t mean I will always think of the GOP as the worst of the lot). But as we all know, smart people do stupid things all the time, alas. If you can’t parse the difference between being stupid and doing stupid things, that’s not my problem.
“May I just point out: in our present political system that it is the stupid people you’re talking about that choose the candidates. That is, we registered people (of all parties) decide in the primaries who you crowds get to vote for.”
So what? Just because things are done a certain way and has been for years does not imply that way is the best way to do those things. Lots of things are done badly because it’s tradition to do it that way. As for keeping “the REAL wackos out,” it does no such thing. Real wackos, for example, can be easily appointed as vice presidents. Also, presidential ballot are not in fact limited to party members; a “REAL wacko” who is motivated enough and has both money and a competent ground operation can get on the ballot in all 50 states.
In any event, I recall voting in the primary this year while still being registered as an independent, so your thesis is wrong. Alternately, I don’t see a problem with registering as one political party or another for precisely as long as it takes to vote for a primary candidate one likes, and then changing one’s affiliation back to independent. One shouldn’t have to do this — it’s stupid — but I suppose that just points out how our system of choosing a president is not, shall we say, perfect.
Strange. I though everyone expected a post convention bounce. It’ll flatten out, and get back to where it was.
FrancisT, that FT article is just repeating the standard resentment-based “liberal elites hate you” attack that Republicans use against Democrats. There’s a grain of truth to it but no more than there is to any political stereotype.
Just to take one example, the vast majority of Democrats are religious, so the notion that they’re hobbled by sneering contempt for religion is kind of silly. Secularists concerned about separation of church and state tend to skew Democratic, but the Americans I know who do have sneering contempt for religion are as likely to be libertarian types who generally vote Republican as liberal Democrats, but somehow that never reflects badly on Republicans.
The media coverage also contributes to shit-losing. This WaPo article got linked from the front web page with a link that said “Poll: McCain Gaining Momentum”. If you’re a Democrat who just saw that CNN poll whose likely-voter metric game McCain a 55/45 national lead, you’d likely take that as a kick in the gut: “Oh my God, he’s doing even better now.” But, no, it’s just another weekend poll showing things tied up in a convention bounce.
So John… still think all those union men that happen to equate black folks with monkies are going to up and vote one into the presidency just because his name is under the Democrat button?
Its about time to face facts John. If he’s not in front of a teleprompter… Obama can’t open his mouth without shoving his foot into it.
I say this not as a Republican. Hell… I don’t even care enough to vote. I’m just pointing out that the Democrats have made the most disasterous strategical error since the Whigs bought the farm over a century ago.
Obama can’t win. Hillary could have.
“how on earth did it get to a point where large groups of people identify themselves with the phrase ‘ignorant hicks’??”
Probably something similar to how large groups of people in this country have come to identify themselves as ‘gangstas’.
One dash insular subculture, two pinches persecution complex, and voila.
I’m just pointing out that the Democrats have made the most disasterous strategical error since the Whigs bought the farm over a century ago.
Obama can’t win. Hillary could have.
Oh poo. If she’d gotten the nomination, right now people would be lecturing us about how the convention bounce means we should have nominated Obama instead, because Hillary Clinton has all that 1990s baggage and a longstanding Republican hate brigade and people think her voice sounds shrill, etc. etc. etc. And it would probably be just as wrong. It’s fundamental attribution error all the way down.
I would just like to second Justme@15’s recommendation of this picture.
Everybody’s so ANGRY. Wow.
physics geek – I suspect some of the difference may lie in the fact that the Republicans can look at Obama and know he’s a pretty decent, not really that radical, candidate, and find comfort in how deeply entrenched their values already are in the current legal and judicial system, and therefore have little reason to freak out about his possible win (apart from the religious wackos who think he’s Satan, but I like to think they are a world of their own).
On the other hand, many Democrats and independents, like me, believe that four more years of Republican rule could very well be an utter disaster. I mean, Utter. I mean, like, rights to privacy and due process in the gutter, economy and environment going down the drain, abortion and ignorant pregnancy rates rising, general health going down (have you compared our infant mortality rates to other developed countries’ lately?) poverty and unemployment higher, a bankrupt federal government in debt up to its ears, continued failure to produce things or teach our children how to be anything but consumers, dollar values at all time low, and quite possibly the US getting bombed (and maybe even with nukes) again in a couple years. Complete failure to look like (or be) an effective world power can do that.
Now I’m not running around like a chicken with its head cut off and I’m trying not to join in on the ranting, but I am very sincerely concerned. It’s hard to stay level-headed when it feels like you’re looking the self-destruction of your beloved nation in the eye and it’s putting on perfume and a pretty dress and calling itself Salvation and it seems like some people are actually listening to it.
“So John… still think all those union men that happen to equate black folks with monkies are going to up and vote one into the presidency just because his name is under the Democrat button?”
Could you point these union men out to me, Nate? See, most of the union men I know are not nearly as racist as you’re trying to make them out to be, and most of them are not so stupid as apparently you think they are.
And anyway, I suspect any “union man” who would be stupid enough not to vote for Obama because he’s black, they would have been stupid enough not to vote for Hillary because she’s a woman, so I figure among stupid “union men,” it’s a wash.
On the other hand, it’s interesting to see you imply that the natural home for stupid racists is the GOP.
But more to the point, Nate, don’t turn other people into racists for your own wish fulfillment purposes.
Your post is, as you said, a “message from overseas.” Wherever you happen to live, if I managed to misunderstand your country’s politics as thoroughly as you’ve misunderstood mine, you’d probably be insulted.
First on the “ignorant hicks” issue: Ever since Andrew Jackson was elected, claiming to be a “regular person” and not an “elite” has been a winning strategy. The spin from the right is that the Obama campaign things of the average American as an ignorant hick.
Second, “democracy in the US will be eroded further to the point of no return…” Please note that the next president will face a comfortable Democratic majority in the House, and potentially as much as a 57-43 Democratic majority in the Senate. If McCain wins, he’ll have to work with that majority in order to accomplish anything.
Third, the media. Any attempt to call the American media outside of Murdoch’s company “right-wing”” or GOP-supporting is a misrepresentation. MSNBC, to provide one example, had to re-arrange their anchors because their convention commentators couldn’t even maintain the illusion of fairness (Fox News can’t maintain that illusion either, but they’ve never HAD credibility)
Fourth, “Big corporations:” If you want to talk contributions and influence, the unions in this country flood the political scene with money to an extent that would make the corporations blush. Do corporations exert undo influence? Yes. Are they running the show? Well, let’s see: the United States has the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, so… I’m going to have to go with no.
Oh, and re: Oil Companies – please note that for at least the first half of this year, refineries were losing money. Companies that both extract and refine oil were able to absorb these losses with their profits from exploration and extraction, but refining was not a lucrative business to be in.
I just came here to say regardless of your leanings don’t be so disgusted by the loathsome, polarized, poo-slinging contest both parties have made this and every election since Carter / Reagan in ’79, because if you check out of the process the extremists on both sides have disenfranchised you and won. So hold your nose and pull that lever.
If you have a group of people for whom it is acceptable and expected to treat another group as “evil” oppressors or whatever, then of course some fraction of that group is going to lose its shit if it appears they might lose to the “evil” others.
This is a logical consequence of demonizing Republicans.
You can fix the attitude, or you can dance like marionettes. It’s your choice.
I choose popcorn.
“Could you point these union men out to me, Nate? See, most of the union men I know are not nearly as racist as you’re trying to make them out to be, and most of them are not so stupid as apparently you think they are. ”
Do tell Mr Scalzi… what exactly is your exposure to that kind of man?
I’ll tell ya mine… they’re my family. They were my neighbors when I was a kid. When I go back to ural kentucky, I still talk to them. My dad is a truck driver… a teamster. In short… I see them and talk to them every day. Now.. my dad is the kind of guy that turns red anytime he hears the word “nigger” used. Which is partly how I know what kind of reaction the teamsters are having privately. He tells me every day about some outburst or another that his fellow drivers are having about Obama being on the ticket.
That’s what’s so funny to me about the elite liberals. They have no idea how huge the gap is between them, and the vast majority of those who make up the democrat voting block.
These folks ain’t republicans John. They voted for Kerry… and Gore…. and Clinton… and Dukakis… and they absolutely would’ve voted for Hillary… because they figured Bill would be in charge in the background.
Keep your head in the sand if you will John. Personally I think an Obama presidency would be great fun… and I’m plenty confident that a McCain presidency will be horrible. I’m just pointing out… this is still a racist country.
I am a bit curious though… look at the economy. This country is going to fall apart big time in the next 4 years.
If your team is in power when it happens… who do you think is going to get the blame?
It would be wiser to hope McCain wins… so the collapse will be pinned on the Republicans… because to be brutally honest… they couldn’t survive it.
I don’t have time to get caught up in the comments today but I believe you are 100% on point John.
Good post. I call what you’re referring to the “Olbermann” effect. That is, some libs go so batshit over the top (rude, vulgar, histrionic, irrational, false analogies, et cetera) that they make Republicans appear calm, measured and rational in comparison. I mean, c’mon. You can’t find enough legitimate ammo against “Less Jobs, More War” John McCain?
As a conservative independent (Paulite / Paultard) who despises the current blockhead occupying the Oval Office- its one of the reasons I can’t stand liberal democrats. They make me reflexively defend Republicans with this sort of behavior.
Although it is quite comical to see Dems come out foursquare against gendor / racial quotas with the Palin pick. Who woulda thunk?
BTW – finished Last Colony, greatly enjoyed it- even if you had to go the human-alien kumbaya route at the end.
While not disagreeing with the general gist of your comment, I’d note it’s not the Democrats who formally made demonizing one’s opponent part of the party rhetorical strategy. See Newt Gingrinch on that one. There’s enough demonizing blame to go around.
It comes and goes within each party, as the ideologies and society as a whole go through an almost cyclical pattern.
Items beyond the scope of my comment were… beyond the scope.
Several people on this thread have mentioned the electoral-vote.com Web site. I would like to also recommend FiveThirtyEight.com. The guy running that site does baseball analysis for his day job, and he uses a more sophisticated statistical model, combining multiple polls of each state with national polls and demographic information to predict each state’s winner.
Even with the post-convention bounce, FiveThirtyEight.com is still giving Obama 60/40 odds of winning.
Nate @157: And yet, the Obama office in Richmond, Indiana was in the Teamsters’ Union Hall.
You don’t have to go to rural Kentucky to find racist a-holes. They’re everywhere. But claiming that it in any way tracks with Union membership is fallacious. There are union members who are racist as they day is long, and there are union members who will strike in solidarity with overseas union members who don’t look anything like them.
A second vote for fivethirtyeight. I find it to be a really interesting site. NB the editorial content has a left bent.
Just a thought.
It occurred to me this morning that perhaps the Republican Party chose Sarah Palin so they could throw her in as chum for the sharks. So far, it would seem that the strategy is working. The polarizing nature of this VP choice is grabbing so much attention that McCain might escape the necessary attention and scrutiny and slip behind the desk in the Oval before we know what’s hit us.
Well, speaking as someone who prefers to lose his shit rather than have it hanging about stinking up the place…
…no, I know what it means, it was a joke and I’m sorry.
I am probably as passionately concerned about the result of the American vote as anyone who actually lives in America. I don’t like what the Republican party have done with the planet I happen to live on for the past eight years, and I don’t believe they won’t do it again, and I want them stopped.
Someone said something like “we all want the same things; peace, decency and prosperity.” Which is possible, but some people want it for everyone and some people want it just for them and their friends. The acid test is how many of the former people are in which party, if any. To find that out, we need a Democratic presidency and a Democrat-controlled Congress at the same time. Once Obama has been in office for a few months, we’ll know whether his party still deserves support or whether it’s done what our Labour party has done and gone over to the other side where there’s pork. If that’s happened, then it really doesn’t matter which side you vote for.
I agree that political parties are a bad idea. How you get rid of them without getting rid of government I don’t know–and I’m not a libertarian, so I don’t want to get rid of government. To me, as long as a government has to exist, its purpose has to be to help and support everyone; that is, by current definitions, to be “liberal.” There doesn’t seem to be a lot of point in all of us paying all these people’s wages otherwise. So, to me, as long as there are parties, the most “liberal” one (or least “conservative”) is the one to vote for, every time. Others may differ, but if you vote for a party whose avowed aim is to funnel money into their own pockets and those of their friends while doing nothing for those in need, *when there is an alternative available*, then that is your decision and you are responsible for it. (And I know the above is a huge simplification, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fundamentally true.)
There will of course be good and bad people on both sides as there always are, and if you don’t like the particular one at the top of your chosen party, then that’s a shame, but I don’t know what you can do about it. Voting for the other party seems counter-intuitive somehow.
And what is all this about various people not being “ready?” Who on earth *is* “ready” for being the President of America? (I mean apart from Martin Sheen, obviously.) You find out if you’re ready when you get the job. There isn’t another like it, and there isn’t a reliable simulator.
Just my wibblings, feel free to disregard.
Dude you are one upset writer. relax. I dont give it shit what fucking candidate you like. I do like your sci fi stories. That’s all it matter. good bye to this website.
I am not voting for GOP.
Thanks for the slap on the face. I’m back together now. (I’m not being sarcastic either).
@165 I don’t think so. While I like McCain (or did when he had principles rather than party loyalty) I think the Palin choice is meant as a message about the future of the party. Like many previous VP choices she’s expected to possibly be the GOP’s candidate after McCain’s terms in office – thus signaling that while they’re content to have a “Maverick small government conservative” right now, they fully intend to go right back into the arms of the religious right afterwards.
John, your cluefulness and wisdom on matters politick these days leaves me in awe and wonder.
For those who need to calm down (whether unhappy liberals or just general frothing on the thread), tea can work wonders.
Maybe. I’m not sure which of Lieberman or Pawlenty (or both) that was primarily a stalking horse, kept in the game to keep attention away from Palin. Lieberman was a non-starter with the base; there would have been riots on the floor, and perhaps an attempt at nominating someone other than McCain. If Obama picks Hillary and McCain picks Palin, he probably loses, even though the right wing loves her, but earnest Tim Pawlenty couldn’t do electrifying if you plugged him in, and that’s what McCain needs. (I think that Pawlenty would probably be a very good president, he’s been a mostly-good governor; I don’t know if I’d like it though, as they live about a half-mile from here.)
John, I totally agree with you about political parties. I’d say that they should be banned, but they’d just go secret and then they would be even worse. There’s a political thriller there, I bet, with infiltrations and betrayals.
Sir, I must dissent.You said: “I’d note it’s not the Democrats who formally made demonizing one’s opponent part of the party rhetorical strategy. ” and then refer to Gingrich, placing the origin of knife fighting style politics, in your view, in the 80s.
Consider the 1964 presidential campaign.
The 19th century was even worse, but those parties. though the names remain, have little relation to the modern entities.
What, nothing about the Elizabeth May kerfluffle? Nothing about how the nominal placeholder head of government was running political ads well before the black lady sang and seems now to be running on a platform of “vote for us: we’re scary as hell but we promise we won’t get a majority”? Pffft. It’s like you people don’t even pay attention to federal politics.
Okay, I got sent here by a friend in an unrelated area netlife, (btw excellent post, I agree 99.99%) Your name looks really familiar; are you the same John Scalzi as was posting on asg-x?
Well Nate, I can’t speak to your family, but the AFL-CIO blog certainly makes no bones about who they endorse for a candidate. And I can’t help but notice that there are quite a few union members who actually happen to BE black, so the chance that they wouldn’t vote for a black man based solely on skin color is probably pretty low.
I have no doubt there are folks out there who won’t vote for Barack Obama based on his skin color. I also would like to believe there are a lot who will or won’t vote for him regardless of it. Perhaps that’s naive, but there it is.
Scott @ 124, 125, 126
Don’t you rather think that voting for a highway bill that contains $295 billion (with a ‘B’) in federal funds for our rusting infrastructure is a different kettle of fish altogether from lobbying for the $223 million earmark that said bill contains?
Personally I have found that many people just walk away from those who “lose their shit” over issues. I make an concetrated effort to sound reasoned and thought out before I open my pie-hole, especially when it comes to politics and religion. As soon as a person freaks out and starts name calling / ranting and spouting whatever random diatribe they can quote from rote, the audience tends to shut down.
On the other hand, when a person can keep their shit together and speak in an organized and well thought manner under fire the audience will gravitate towards that person even if they don’t agree.
For the speaker it’s kind of like being a recruit in the Marines. You have three or four big, mean, fire spitting Drill Instructors screaming incoherently into your ears and randomly throwing stuff around you, maybe even occassionally flicking your forehead with their rock hard finger nails or snapping the bridge of your nose with the brim of their smoky hats. In the midst of the melee you are required only two things, don’t flinch and answer the question that the most senior DI is asking you. That question being something as benign as “What is on the menu for lunch.”
If you can handle all of that explosive rage filled pressure and tell the Senior DI, “Sir, it’s chicken fried steak and mashed potatos with gravy, sir!” in a calm ordered voice without freaking out on him, you win….you get to pass to the next level.
If, on the other hand you panic and start screaming back at them to “Leave me alone! One at a time! I can’t focus!” then you lose. At best you get recycled, more likely you’re on the way…no glory…no brotherhood…loser.
The party that loses it’s shit loses the glory. Plain and simple.
This post was forwarded to me by a pal; THANK YOU!!
deCadmus @176. Yes, I do. But it does limit the extent one can be outraged at the earmarks. It’s just looks bad. Many of the people tweaking Palin on the issue clearly don’t know the particulars about the bill. Hell, I’d venure to say most Americans don’t know the particulars of the bill. A TV spot attacking Palin on the Bridge to Nowhere leaves the Obama campaign open to a response by the McCain campaign saying “…a bill which Obama voted yes and McCain voted no. Who’s really for change?” From where I stand, the Obama campaign is taking some missteps here. These missteps are caused by paying too much attention to Palin.
Though I despise both candidates, I have to side with McCain on this one. Voting the bill down, wasn’t going to stop the funding. It would have just made them start drafting it again.
(Aside: that money still went to Alaska, it was just earmarked for a different project.)
I had your post forwarded to me by a friend and I absolutely love it. It’s so true. I’ve been trying to talk my friends down for days, “Relax…”, and now I can just send them a link instead of restating the case over and over again.
Incidentally, you just won a new audience member in me. I’m heading over to Amazon now.
Scott @ 179:
We can agree on this: too much attention paid to Palin.
Outside of the VP debate, I’d be pleased if the Obama camp made no mention of her that wasn’t prefaced with the words, “McCain’s cynical and impolitic vice-presidential pick…” and suffixed with the phrase, “…or George Bush, with lipstick.”
You give McCain too much credit. The honest truth is that Palin almost certainly had the lowest negatives of any of McCain’s choices, the highest job approval rating, and was complementary to McCain as far as traits Republicans like.
The other problem with over-crediting one’s opponents is that one under-blames oneself. See Republicans vs. Clinton for details. This also has a cognitive-dissonance cousin that goes: “How can we losing to this asshat? They must be cheating!”
My ‘be’s are dying. I lost one in the 2nd to last sentence. Stupid Global Warming.
All I have to say is, I feel like the “Douche and Turd” South Park episode is relevant, yet again.
I could go off on a rant about gun control, and free health care, and fixing the economy, and the war in Iraq. In fact, I already typed out a long, 4-paragraph rant on just that. But then I deleted it. So I could say this:
Barack Obama and John McCain are politicians. They’re liars, cheats, and thieves, who have, can, and will screw the people at every turn. Each of them has promised things they would do, things that I agree with and disagree with. And I don’t think they’ll keep their promises. They like power, and they’ll say whatever they can to get it.
So that’s why I’m not voting this year, because my choices look rather similar. The only difference is the color of the party and the color of their skin.
Oh, and PS: Dear Democratic Party: if you’ll stop pandering to the paranoid housewives who want to stop gun violence, and let me buy as many high capacity magazines and guns as I can stuff in my closet responsibly, you’ll have my vote. Until then, I think I’ll sit in the middle of the fence, hang out with my Republican gun-buddies, and secretly roll my eyes at everything that’s not gun-related coming out of their mouths.
No offense, but I rather hope that the Democrats continue to lose their shit all over the place. It’s kind of fun watching them self-destruct like one of Jim Phelps’s tapes.
John @ 143 et al
I imagine I’m not the only one who signed up as a Dem for this reason. After watching the election fraud in ’98 and ’00 and hearing all the claims that “we had more registered voters and just needed fewer independents to win by 1/2%, really, trust me,really. Pay no attention to the exit polls.” I decided to switch from Independent to Dem to at least try to help put a spoke in -that- particular piece of idiocy.
“Could you point these union men out to me, Nate? See, most of the union men I know are not nearly as racist as you’re trying to make them out to be, and most of them are not so stupid as apparently you think they are.”
Nate @ #157
Do tell Mr Scalzi… what exactly is your exposure to that kind of man?
I’ll tell ya mine… they’re my family. They were my neighbors when I was a kid. When I go back to rural kentucky, I still talk to them . . .
That’s what’s so funny to me about the elite liberals. They have no idea how huge the gap is between them, and the vast majority of those who make up the democrat voting block.”
I do not consider myself either elite or liberal, but I tend to agree with Scalzi on this subject.
I was born and raised in West Virginia. I saw blue-collar racism then, and still see it now when I return for a visit – but I have always found that to be true of a small minority of the people, not the majority. My personal experience is that the percentage of racists is essentially what I have encountered among white collar workers here in Southern California – not that many.
Of course, my experiences may not be typical. However, a number of things tend to make me believe that they are. Among them is a chat that I had at Denvention3 last month with Eric Flint, the author/editor of the “1632” series of stories. We were discussing how the characterizations of small-town West Virginians in his stories are based upon the years that he worked in the small WV town that he used as the model for “Grantville” in “1632”. Among other comments, he mentioned that when he was there, the local chapter of the Mine Workers Union had only one black member – the President.
With best wishes,
– Tom –
OK, John, I’m not a Democrat and I know where my shit is but come on. I certainly hope Vice President Palin will be “work[ing] the lights of the Naval Observatory for four years.” But here’s a little factoid: Nine Vice-Presidents got a bump up the pay scale without winning election in their own right. Eight because the President died in office (four of them at the hands of assassins); and the ninth because Nixon decided to resign before he was impeached.
Now, before the resident GOPers get their outrage on, I hope John McCain lives for a hundred years and dies in his own bed. But he could choke on a cocktail weenie at one of the Inaugural Balls too, so it kind of matters that the persons warming the bench is kind of competent. And I’d note that folks on the right (like David Frum in that well-known bastion of the liberal media National Review) isn’t particularly happy about Palin.
The 19th century was even worse
The elections of the 19th century make today’s look civil. Even considering Cheney’s attempt to re-enact the Burr/Hamilton duel….
Tully @ 189
True, but Cheney’s hunting partner survived……
Oh, bugger. “… aren’t particularly happy about Palin either.”
Perhaps you have a point as well, John. It’s pretty clear that sheer competence isn’t exactly high on the job description when it comes to the theo-con base, and the people who enable them. And I’m certainly not surprised that the Palin pick was a two-fer pander. But if people on the right aren’t actually going to start demanding better, then it’s only going to get worse.
And that’s not mean as a patronising sneer at every registered Republican. It’s a deliberate sneer at their alleged leadership. As I’ve said elsewhere, if McCain was that serious about putting a woman on the ticket, Palin is the best Republican woman out there? Don’t think so.
“Do tell Mr Scalzi… what exactly is your exposure to that kind of man?”
Are you aware where I live?
If you’re saying the union men you know are stupid racists, that’s fine. However, you clearly live somewhere I don’t.
thank you for the pep talk.
For all of my fellow liberals and progressives: if you ever thought that Obama was a shoe-in, you have now been thoroughly disabused of that notion.
If you are politically conscious and do care, I would advise that you do what I have done: Buy a case of Maalox, a case of your favorite whiskey (or whatever your drug of choice is) to get you through the campaign. Finally, purchase a football helmet so that, in the event this thing turns out badly, you and I won’t damage our heads beating them against the wall on the fifth of November. And, keep a bottle of champagne on hand for the equal possibility of it ending well.
This is my tenth presidential election. I have been around for six decades and can recall the first Eisenhower/Stevenson election in 1952. This is by far the most fascinating presidential election of my lifetime.
You should all revel in it, even as your stomachs may churn with anxiety. We have real choices in a time of crisis as great as any in my lifetime.
God, it’s just great to be alive right now.
I love the thread. So keep up the taunting Scalzi!
One more thing:
For those of you interested in how things will really turn out, follow the Iowa Electronic Markets at,
These types of future markets can often be better predictors that any conventional poll.
Well, daaaaamn, Scalzi. Now if that isn’t well put! Bravo.
@7: The federal health insurance plans provide pretty much zero coverage for developmentally disabled children, as is true of pretty much every insurance plan in the country. The exceptions are states with mandates for insurance companies to provide limited coverage, and even there loopholes exist. So the VP-in-waiting would probably answer your question, “They already do, and should have better.”
@4, 17, etc. – Tell me, how does one disagree with a democrat without trying to, “win by any means necessary?” I get so tired of this tripe! Isn’t there room for debate of ideas and values in this country? What’s the point of having freedom if you only value one point of view?
@160 – Sorry Mr. S, but I really don’t care who started it…this muckraking hyperbole-driven sound-bite quoting issue-clouding bullshit ought to be thought of as amateur hour by every thinking American, and BOTH sides are doing it right now. If the thinkers, writers, and philosophers of today (even the ones who are conservatives!) can’t talk about issues without demonizing each other and each other’s positions, what does that say about THEM…and our country?
I wish more people would read the writings of our leaders throughout history, especially in the 1600s. They debated ideas, not each others parentage, hobbies, or hairstyle. They had vision, ideals, hopes and dreams – not bitchslaps for people they didn’t agree with. And in the rare occasion they needed to dress somebody down they did it with style, class, and wit that is totally lost from political discourse today. Wish we could be like that now.
See, give it a day and my Republicans will figure out a way to screw the pooch. Taking offense at commonly used Americanisms like ‘lipstick on a pig’ is stupid and can only hurt the Republican cause. I swear, its like Charlie Brown and the f*cking football with these guys. Whining is not attractive.
Man up!(Whoops, can’t use that.) Grow up!
The irony about the bridge to nowhere business is that there actually was some justification for it. Ketchikan is something of a cruise ship port, and the bridge would have connected the cruise terminal to the airport. So the fact that there were only 20 residents (or whatever the number was) on the island was irrelevant.
The ‘lipstick on a pig’ line isn’t really worth the hoopla, but it wasn’t just a misinterpretation of a common cliche. The audience clearly got the innuendo and began laughing in the middle of it. Substitute another equivalent cliche, like “A zebra doesn’t change its stripes” or “a leopard doesn’t change its spots” and the audience would applaud afterward, but wouldn’t laugh and applaud in the middle, because the line isn’t funny except in the context of Palin’s “hockey mom” remarks.
That said, it’s sad that politics comes down to this. Either stick to the issues and leave the attacks out, or stop trying to pretend civility and using innuendo and doublespeak and go after each other in an NC-17 verbal cage match that would make Kevin Smith proud. That’s a debate I would shell out money to watch on PPV.
RIGHT-ON JOHN !
You are no doubt correct in trying to soothe the savage beast in every liberal’s heart, that all this media BS is to be expected…and NOT to panic…..But….
Its just IMPOSSIBLE to NOT get the jitters, when U realize the TRULY grandiose stupidity of most of the voting public, puppeteered by the churches, corporations, & media like they are.
Who can forget that first Kerry debate with Bush. When the cam would pan to W’s Alfred E Newman face after every Kerry salvo, the grinning ape surfaced unabashedly revealing his true nature, so that no one, with an IQ above 80 could fail to see what a sub-sentient being this was.
Yet the fucker won ! Admittedly via a fluke, but we dreamers have learned to be disappointed so many times, we just cannot believe we might be freed from this prison of mediocrity & stupidity anytime soon.
In fact, they did go after one another with scurrilous personal attacks, and that kind of political behavior was the foundation for the legal concept of libel and slander ‘per se’. (Accusing one’s political enemy of having the pox, for example.)
Its just IMPOSSIBLE to NOT get the jitters, when U realize the TRULY grandiose stupidity of most of the voting public, puppeteered by the churches, corporations, & media like they are.
Who can forget that first Kerry debate with Bush. When the cam would pan to W’s Alfred E Newman face after every Kerry salvo, the grinning ape surfaced unabashedly revealing his true nature, so that no one, with an IQ above 80 could fail to see what a sub-sentient being this was.
Damn voters. If only they were smart enough to vote smart like you.
If only they could see through all the smoke and mirrors and know that Democrats were truly the Good Guys.
Then we could get rid of that pesky “Democracy” thing and install an executive that would do what was best for “the people” regardless of what the unwashed masses thought because, well, we know best.
But it looks like once again those damn Republicans are going to steal an election.
CMP@200: No it wasn’t a “misinterpretation”. In the report I saw, it was just Governor Jane Swift — member of the so-called Palin Truth Squad — telling a big fat stinking lie. And I use the L-word, because I don’t believe she’s lived her entire life in a convent, free from the taint of spicy idiomatic English.
You know, John, I actually think Obama needs to “lost his shit” just a little bit and start hitting back at blatant lies. And if Palin apologists bitch about it, hit them where they live: You want to compare her to Margaret Thatcher — who was tough as nails, twice as sharp and never used her gender as an excuse to dodge an argument — walk the talk.
And someone who made a crack about the only different between “hockey moms” and a pitbull being lipstick, shouldn’t be quite that precious.
Obama and his enablers deserve the problem of Palin. The reason everybody is in a panic is because their guy is running on style and charisma and the Repugs just severely diminished his advantage there.
If, on the other hand, the Obama campaign actually stood for something they would have no trouble. Something like 80% of the country thinks they’re worse off than they were 4 years ago and that the country is headed down the toilet. The current republican president has something like a 30% approval rating. The banks are failing. If a democrat can’t win handily in this context then there is something wrong with the democrat.
I suspect we are victims of two phenomena. If your old enough to remember when ink jet printers first appeared on the scene, you remember that for a brief time, junk reports had a false air of importance. They looked like they had been typeset, and generally you don’t bother to typeset random collections of words. I think the same thing is happening in the realm of net “journalism”. Any dingbat can rant, and we assume that it deserves attention.
Add to this the fact that before the internet, zelots used to be diluted by the general population. Now it’s easy for self reinforcing communities of parochial views to form.
So we see an outrageous charge, and assume that it has a much broader constituancy than it really does.
So we conclude that “the left” is on a campaign to smear Palin. Or “the right” embodies intollerance.
I personally love the observation that when asked a question an authority will give you an answer, but an expert will say: “it depends”.
“it depends” doesn’t make for good press, or good slogans.
Nice. I came across this entry from a friend’s delicious links, and I’m glad I found it. What an excellent rant!
Frank, you are intentionally misrepresenting that comment.
He didn’t mention Dems or Repubs, he said Kerry and Bush, and lets be honest, Bush looks like a slightly brain-damaged bonobo thinking about flinging his shit.
Wow, he kinda acts that way too.
I’m sure at one time there were perfectly fine Repubs in government. But that time is past. It may one day come again, but first the thugs and morons who have co-opted our system need to be removed, charged with the crimes against humanity they have committed while in office, and jailed or executed as the case may be.
@202 – mythago, that’s probably fair, but look at the Federalist Papers for example. There’s a lot of political philosophy there, but did “Publius” (the irony that 2/3 of the trio could barely talk to each other kills me) try to convince folks to adopt the US Constitution by “dirty tricks.” They tried to educate and persuade…what a novel idea!
Mr. Joh Scalzi, GOH, would you mind telling the Loscon program chair, if asked, that you have no objection to me, a professional scientist and science fiction author, being on some panel or other? If so, see you in November. After doing over 25 panels for them, and my Physics professor SFWA member wife doing several, I have not been asked to for 15 years or so, and hate having to be only in the audience.
Second, is it okay if I repost this from PZ Myers’ blog? It amplifies my comment here, #210.
Posted by: Jonathan Vos Post | September 13, 2008 1:19 PM
I spent my first 16 years in New York City. To McCain and Palin, that is Sodom, and Washington DC is Gomorrah. Although ever since McCain cheated on his wife with the stripper known as “The Flame of Florida” he has no trouble preaching “family values” while living in one of his 7 houses nearest to Gomorrah.
Now I live in a town within 5% of the population of Galveston, albet we have earthquakes, forest fires, and copycat crimes from the Rodney King riots, instead of hurricanes.
Yesterday afternoon at the closest high school to my home, after I’d taught Homeroom, Chemistry, Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, there was an interesting conversation I overheard between two staff employees. One was on the signs that we are Last Times or End Times. The other was on how Angels are made of Light, but Satan is made of Fire. I like both of these staffers. One is sincere about family values, and may quit to spend more time with his 4 children, including the 1-month-old. The other can read Arabic and tell me things about Abrahamic religion that I did not know, while happily stocking the school library with donated books including a very fine Science Fiction section.
See what Fred Clark says on his blog about the single keyword in Sarah Palin’s nonanswer to dancing around her not knowing the definition of “Bush Doctrine” — the keyword is “worldview.” That codes for the far, far right evangelical focus on the war between churchgoing armies of God and the Satanic Liberal Pointy-headed-professorial minions of the Jew- and communist-dominated Media, against whom Sarah Palin declared war in her acceptance speech.
Small-town values? I like David Letterman’s take on Wasilla. “A town so small it only has one store: Bed, Bath, and Waaaaay Beyond. Pick up the book ‘Fun Things to do in Wasilla.’ It has one entry: ‘you’re doing it.'”
My original comment: if you put lipstick on a dinosaur, Noah still won’t let it on the Ark.
I am a republican and I like to throw the shit around once in a while too,so here goes.First of all,If you think that Obamma or mccain give a shit wether they win or not you must still believe in the easter bunny.These guys are in this thing for MONEY,and thats it. Wether they win or not both of them have already stolen more of their campain money then all of us idiots ever made, on this stupid internet together.Now when one of them wins,he win get to steal more. Now for some more shit.This election will be different from any election you ever voted for for the simple reason which is well known but is well hidden and tried to put aside.”RACE” oh I know that right now you saying that I am a racist son of a bitch, but I assure you that I`m not.This factor is going to be in play when the voting starts.A lot of the blue states which have been blue for years and years will all of a sudden become red and you will wonder ,what the hell happened.Sad to say but true.and that is no shit.
You sure called that one.