Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

We’re doing this to ourselves.

May 4, 2008

According to the Democrats, John McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years.


Bullshit.  Complete and total bullshit.  This makes a mockery of our system, it debases politics in our country and we’re doing it to ourselves.

I am an Obama supporter.  I think McCain is dishonest (which is bad), untrustworthy (worse) and stupid (worst).  However, he deserves to be treated fairly.  How can we rightfully complain about the misrepresentation of Senator Obama’s words if we let this misrepresentation of McCain’s words go unchallenged?

John McCain does not want America to be enmeshed in any conflicts anywhere, let alone want Americans dying in Iraq for 100 years.  John McCain is wrong in so many ways about Iraq and, for someone who claims foreign policy and national security as his strong suits, he is awfully ignorant about it.  John McCain is so wrong about foreign policy in general and the Middle East in particular that his statements don’t need to be caricatured.  They stand alone and should be attacked for the meaning behind them.  They don’t need to be distorted.

John McCain doesn’t want America to be involved in Iraq.  John McCain doesn’t want Americans to be dying there.  John McCain certainly doesn’t want American involvement to last 100 years.

John McCain thinks that being involved in Iraq is right.  He thinks that it is necessary.  He thinks that it is vital to our national security.  He is a dumbass and he is wrong about all these reasons.  We don’t need to claim falsehoods about his beliefs to beat him.  Give McCain the opportunity to explain his statements and let him hang himself with what he does believe.

We’re doing this to ourselves.  We play this game of “gotcha” politics, where every statement a candidate makes is pounced on and replayed endlessly in the old media (and sometimes the new).  Obama uses “bitter” and “cling” instead of “hurting” and “rely on” and he’s crucified in the media.  He’s accused of being elitist by a guy with 8 residences and a wife worth millions and the Clintons.

Unfortunately, we see everything through our own lens of pre-established prejudices.  Obama goes on Fox news and I try to rationalize it as “reaching out to a different group of Americans.”  Clinton goes on O’Reilly and I get outraged that she’s legitimizing a right-wing propaganda source.  That’s a disgrace.  I need to be assessing both Obama and Clinton by the same standards.  It’s just so hard, but if I don’t make the effort then I’m just as guilty as the media lackeys.  I’m doing it to myself.


A Response To Bob Herbert

April 26, 2008

Hi Bob,

Full disclosure at the outset, I’m an Obama fan.  I think he’s the best thing to happen to US politics in near on 50 years.

Anyway, I just finished your article “Heading Toward the Danger Zone” and I have to say, I’m quite disappointed.

I’ve become increasingly frustrated of late with what I perceive to be the lack of grounding in a lot of articles I see about the election.

In fact, re-reading portions of your article make me want to scream.  America needs better from people in your position.  You’re hurting America.

Let’s break down a couple of points you made.

Barack Obama is winning, so why does it look like Hillary Clinton is having all the fun?

Really?  I mean seriously Bob?  You really think that Hillary is enjoying this?  She’s about to lose the nomination for a job that she has wanted for at least 30 years.  She’s about to lose the nomination that she would have said it was impossible for her to lose prior to Iowa.  She’s having fun?  It might have been a figure of speech, but it was poorly chosen and misleading.  If you don’t think she’s crushed, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Democrats are filled with anxiety about their prospects in November.

Something that has been completely lost in the discussion about Obama’s electability, is the glaring contrast that Clinton is significantly less electable.  People are simply focusing on Obama’s perceived shortcomings right now because Clinton’s no longer matter.  She’s not going to be the nominee.

The Rev. Wright fiasco undermined the fundamental rationale of the entire Obama campaign — that it would be about healing, about putting partisanship aside, about reaching across ethnic and party divisions to bring people together in a new era of cooperation.

I can’t really tell what your angle is here but you are certainly part of the problem.  The Reverend Wright “fiasco” didn’t undermine anything.  To the extent that it had any effect at all, the Reverend Wright “fiasco” indicated *at most* how gullible and malleable the American public has become, due to the efforts of *people like you*, Bob.  Reverend Wright’s angry sermons, boiled down to endlessly looped sound bites, did a disservice, to Wright (first and foremost) along with every American who was subjected to them.  Incidentally, please watch the full sermons and write an article about whether you agree or disagree with the comments in context.  Imagine taking some risks as a journalist rather than trotting out this herd-mentality-tripe for a change.

Senator Obama did his best with his speech on race in Philadelphia

“Did his best.”  That speech was simply a “good try,” was it Bob?  This might be where I start to get really angry.  This might be where you really start to disrespect the public.  A singular example of political honesty and personal intellect that the candidate penned himself and you dismiss it as a good try.  Perhaps if we had a Commander in Chief who could string together such a sequence of ideas, we wouldn’t have the blood of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis on our hands.  A speech where he was honest enough to speak about our racist heritage *and* the fact that affirmative action is institutionalized racism of a different bent should be lauded.  A speech where he drew attention to his mixed racial heritage in a storm of controversy about racial remarks should be respected.  A speech that treated the American public respectfully and, for a change, with honesty and openness should be held up as an example of what politicians can be.  A speech like that should not, Bob, be dismissed as a failed attempt.  To do so is beneath you and should be beneath all of us.

Your article can be summed up with this fatuous statement:

The big issue in this campaign is the economy and jobs. But if you were to ask most voters how Senator Obama plans to fight for them on this crucial matter, you’re likely to get a blank stare.

You see, Bob, the implication is that if you were to ask most voters about the plans of McCain and Clinton on the topics of the economy and jobs, you’d get an accurate policy synopsis.  And therein lies the problem.  You question his electability, Clinton’s is worse.  You raise up a bunch of (highly manufactured) controversies and gaffes.  Clinton and McCain both have more of them of greater significance and import to Americans than Obama does.  You finish with the vague idea that voters don’t know what Obama stands for, implying (wrongly) that voters have some detailed knowledge of the McCain and Clinton platforms.

Your article flows well but, from a content standpoint, it fails and fails hard.

Work harder.


Obama’s speech on race – CNN’s pathetic headline

March 18, 2008

After Barack Obama‘s brilliant, moving speech (video) on the issue of race in politics and America, I was interested to see what sort of coverage he’d be getting at the major news outlets.

Here’s what the genius brigade at CNN decided to run with:

CNN’s first attempt

This headline was quickly retracted in favor of one that far more accurately captured the spirit of the speech:

CNN’s second, much better attempt

Ah, sweet, sweet main stream media. Good job.

Democratic nomination – what happens next?

March 6, 2008

Okay, so estimates of Senator Barack Obama‘s current pledged delegate lead seem to be around 125 delegates. There are 12 contests remaining with a total of 611 pledged delegates up for grabs.

I posted previously about the Obama campaign’s accurate estimates of the March 4th results. I think it’s time to take a look at what they believe will happen next.

Vote % Pledged Delegates
State Date Delegates Obama Clinton Obama Clinton
Wyoming 3/8 12 60% 40% 7 5
Mississippi 3/11 33 62% 38% 20 13
Penn. 4/22 158 47% 52% 75 83
Guam 5/4 4 55% 44% 2 2
Indiana 5/6 72 53% 46% 39 33
N. Carolina 5/6 115 53% 45% 61 54
W. Virginia 5/13 28 43% 55% 13 15
Kentucky 5/20 51 42% 56% 23 28
Oregon 5/20 52 52% 47% 28 24
Montana 6/3 16 55% 44% 9 7
S. Dakota 6/3 15 57% 42% 8 7
Puerto Rico 6/7 55 45% 54% 25 30
        Totals 310 301

The Obama campaign thinks they’ll be beaten in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Puerto Rico.

The two largest remaining states, in terms of delegates available, are Pennsylvania (158) and North Carolina (115). Obama’s team believes they’ll split those two with an 8 delegate win to Clinton in Pennsylvania and a 7 delegate win to Obama in North Carolina.‘s most recent Pennsylvania polling data seems to indicate that a 5 point Clinton win looks about right for Pennsylvania. Likewise the numbers for North Carolina show Obama ahead by roughly the numbers listed above.

Adding Indiana into that mix with 72 delegates available means that those three states alone have well over half the remaining delegates. The predictions above show that there will be almost no change in the relative delegate differences.

So basically, as far as I can see, unless something monumental happens, there’s very little chance of Obama losing the pledged delegate race. The pledged delegate race will, in turn (and in this case almost necessarily) drive the superdelegate numbers.

I’m still waiting to read more about the noise I expect Senator Clinton’s posse to start making about the delegates from Florida and Michigan. I would be a lot of money that it’s a play she’s going to make. Assuming that Howard Dean and the DNC stand tall and stick to their rules, it would appear that Senator Barack Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee for President of these United States.

You know who predicted today’s results pretty well? The Obama campaign

March 5, 2008

I was just checking the predictions in the Obama campaign’s leaked delegate estimates and was floored. They nailed the hell out of it!

Here are their predictions:

    Vote % Pledged Delegates
State Delegates Obama Clinton Obama Clinton
Ohio 141 46% 53% 68 73
Rhode Isl. 21 42% 57% 8 13
Texas 193 47% 51% 92 101
Vermont 15 55% 44% 9 6

The actual numbers, or at least decent current estimates (taken from DailyKos) are:

Vermont (15 delegates)

Obama 9
Clinton 6

Rhode Island (21 delegates)

Clinton 12
Obama 8


Total (Nowhere near final)

Obama ~99
Clinton ~94

Ohio (141 delegates, punching in results with 97% reporting here)

Clinton 73
Obama 68

So as far as I can tell they were perfect on Vermont and Ohio, one delegate off in Rhode Island and maybe two delegates off in Texas?

Holy crap.

UPDATE: A couple of people pointed out that there are updated results over at DKos. These are different but not vastly different.

These are still not final numbers, since all counting of the Texas caucuses — stuck at about 35% — has yet to resume. But for now, Clinton has picked up a few delegates.

Vermont (15 delegates)

Obama 9
Clinton 6

Rhode Island (21 delegates)

Clinton 12
Obama 8

Texas Total (Nowhere near final)

Clinton ~97
Obama ~96

Ohio (141 delegates)

Clinton 76
Obama 65

So Vermont and Rhode Island are still basically as estimated. Clinton is doing a touch better in Ohio and Texas than predicted. All in all a bang-up job by the Obama prediction team 🙂

Texas and Ohio: Predictions

February 22, 2008

I’ll flesh this out a little later with some supporting details from around the place, but Obama is going to win both Ohio and Texas.  This means that in about a week, the contest will effectively be over and Clinton will concede the next day.

I’m prediction a Clinton concession speech some time on March 5th.

Too young to vote? Make a difference anyway.

February 18, 2008

So, you have a problem. You’re passionate about the upcoming election but you’re too young to vote. There is a really easy way to make a difference; influence your parents’ vote.

It’s a lot easier than you might think. Most people don’t pay a lot of attention to politics. Those that do often don’t think about it in the detail that you do. Most of them just don’t have time. Yes, your parents too.

So here’s the way to work it. Figure out a list of the issues that are important to you. Abortion, War, Economy, Terrorism, Civil Liberties, etc. Now research, in as much detail as you can, the positions of the candidates you’re interested in. Figure out which candidate you support and why. Figure out why you don’t support the other candidates. Figure out how to sell your candidate’s strong points and defend their weaknesses.

Once, you’ve done all this, engage your parents in conversation about politics. You’ll probably surprise them. Regardless, you will almost certainly be able to sway them, because it’s your future too. Most often, they’ll just be happy you’re interested enough to care.

Something most people forget about voting is that while your vote matters, what matters more is the influence you wield. Sway others to your side and your single vote (or no vote at all for kids) becomes two votes or ten votes or more. Start discussions with your friends, have them influence their parents.

Become an expert on the candidates and their policy positions. You become influential because other people won’t have the time or passion to do the same. Knowledge is power, have at it.

The next First Lady of the United States of America – Michelle Obama

February 17, 2008

Here’s another great excerpt of a speech given by Michelle Obama, wife of Senator Barack Obama.

She’s a powerful, inspirational, intelligent, passionate speaker.  It’s worth taking the time to search out more of her speeches.

She’s good.

A President does what’s right – especially when it’s hard

February 12, 2008

Barack Obama took time out of his busy campaign, obviously the most important contest of his life so far, to vote today on the Dodd ammendment to strip the FISA bill of retroactivity immunity.

Another Democratic Presidential candidate did not take time out of her busy campaign to vote.

A President should stand up for the American people. A President should do what’s right, even at personal cost and risk. Anyone can keep doing the things that are important to them, a President does what’s important to us.

He is Presidential. She is not.

Rant ends.

Obama sweeps!

February 10, 2008

Wins today in The Virgin Islands, Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington.  Awesome news.

Intrade has him back up to 62.5 vs Hillary’s 38.0.  Even better, Obama got more delegates today than his campaign had predicted.

Fantastic news all round.