The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Why I didn't post Obama's accomplishments

Someone said that I'm such a fan of Obama that I can't see his flaws. Hmmm. Could be true, but I'd say that it's more likely that I consider his balance of strengths and flaws better than any other current candidate for the office, and there are some aspects of his candidacy that interest and inspire me (for obvious reasons.) I didn't respond to the bait to list his accomplishments as a senator for a specific reason.
I could go to his web site and cut-and-paste the long list of stuff, but then what would happen? Those of conservative bent would attack it, those of liberal bent (who support him) would defend it. Demands for a list of
Palin and McCain's accomplishments would be made. The same thing would happen. That crap is happening all across the Internet. Why repeat this here? Rather, I'll give you a chance to attack my reasoning, beliefs and values. That would seem to be more to the point. I AM NOT TRYING TO CONVINCE ANYONE OF ANYTHING. JUST DESCRIBING MY OWN PROCESSES. NO FLAME WARS, PLEASE.


Doesn't it make sense that I would back him, given that
I think that:

1) The Iraq war is the greatest foreign policy blunder of my lifetime.

2) George Bush is the worst president of my lifetime. (and no, this isn't purely ideological. I didn't feel that way about Reagan or Bush Sr.)

3)Experience isn't the issue, and never was. CAPACITY is the issue. Experience is merely an indicator of capacity. If you KNEW someone had the capacity, you wouldn't care about their level of experience. And if someone had the experience, but had lost the capacity (due, for instance, to senility. No, I'm not making a dig) you wouldn't care about their experience.

4) I consider running a campaign to be executive experience--if you build the machine from scratch, and don't inherit it from your father.

5) If a local schoolteacher battled her way to National prominance, survived twenty debates and countless interviews, motivated millions of people to donate money and countless Washington insiders said that they were favorably impressed by her savvy and capacity, and won the nomination--I would consider it a Cinderella story, and cheer her on.

6) I consider that he ran at a minimum 5% handicap because of race. This makes his accomplishment all the more amazing to me.

7) I recognize habits of thought that I myself cultivate and admire.

8) I consider him balanced in all three aspects: physically fit, financially successful, happily married.

9) As an isolated tactic, the Surge seems to have succeeded--but that doesn't make it a good idea as part of an overall strategy. As I said, the cost in lives and treasure has not, in my mind, been worth it. Still, if the violence is dying down, I very much want to see something positive come out of this clusterfuck. If my uncle squandered the family millions buying a donkey, yes, I would take that donkey home. Doesn't mean I think the purchase was a good idea, even if it turns out to be a damned fine donkey.

10) I have no problem with Biden. If Obama wants to float high above the fray, it makes good sense to have an anchor. Hillary on the ticket? I would have gone for it, but white males, already frowning about the situation, would have been even more disaffected I think. A Washington outsider? How much change do you think America can take at one time? The goal is to get elected. He already represents a STAGGERING, historic amount of change. His partner needed to be safe and "conservative" in comparison, or he would have had no chance at all. He was going to be attacked by the Right no matter WHAT choice he made, so this argument is pure b.s. to me.

11) The Reverend Wright situation doesn't bother me. One goes to church to contribute to the community, as well as receive. This was the community he chose to serve. Anger is a mask over fear. If you heard tremendous anger from Wright without asking

a) did he represent his constituancy and

b) if they are so angry, what have they, historically, to fear?

you are at least unconsciously assuming that they are somehow different from you. My position is that no, they're not--you would have felt the same, had you had their experience of America. I believe that like me, Obama has the perspective on human nature and world history to avoid the tunnel-vision us-themism that creates racism on either side. It makes sense to me that he would want to make the dream of America, the best dream that has ever existed on this planet, work more equally for all her children. I can see that because I have known countless intelligent, hard-working, law-abiding black people who have expressed similar frustrations and fears--those fears masked with anger. I get it. If he avoided black people who felt that way, he would have only white people around him, constantly whispering "see? there's no problem! You made it! Come on...admit it. There's something just a little wrong with them..." just as I have whenever I've been in Conservative Republican gatherings. If I hadn't experienced that, I'd probably be a Republican myself.

##

There is more there, but those are the basics. Feel free to attack me: I'm a grown assed man. As to his flaws,

1) Lack of resume. Of COURSE I'd like him to have a deeper resume. I would consider his accomplishments PRIOR to the primaries roughly comparable to Palin's, given the relative number of his constituents and hers--except that his education far exceeds hers, of course. But again, if Palin had entered the primary and excelled, I would be cheering her on. Wow! What a woman! But if, for instance, he had NOT been in the primary, had never been on the national stage, and Clinton (for instance) had chosen him as a running mate...I'd wonder about her judgement.

2) He plays politics. How many times have I said that I HATE politics? I hate what people do to get into office--they have to bend and duck and weave and almost break their backs. They have to shade their comments, knowing that anything they say can be taken out of context and used as a weapon against them. Since everyone has to do this, the question isn't whether he does...it is whether he can do it and keep his soul. So far, I haven't seen a decision that strikes me as out and out cynicism, although I do see decisions that I don't fully understand. Unless I am willing to reject the entire political process, I have to groan, sigh, grit my teeth and say "that's just the game."

Anyway, that's the core of my thinking, first draft, without revision. It annoys me when I occassionally hear Democrats speaking of Obama in Messianic terms, but then it annoyed me when I heard Republicans speaking of Reagan or Bush that way--and I did, both before and after their elections. Some people just pray to be rescued. That ain't me, Babe.

53 comments:

Mike Ralls said...

I really don't have a problem with you believing any of what you wrote above. I agree with some of it, and I disagree with more of it, but it's when you make statements that this election is over, Obama is going to win for sure, McCain has jumped the shark, etc etc, that I think you are on such shaky ground that you need a wake up call. Because I think reality will give you one and that it would be in your best interest to have some intellectual frame work to fall back on when your predictions become in variance with reality.

I could be wrong too, maybe I'll be the one who's predictions are vastly out of line with reality, but I've studied politics for a long time so if Obama gets over 50% of the vote I can go, "Huh, Obama has done what no Democrat in 44 years has done. What were the factors that made this election different?" and try and fit it in with my knowledge of what matters in elections. I'm not making my predictions based on love (or my vote for that matter), whereas I think you are and that's a good way to get your heart broken. I've seen countless people throw their love to a candidate for the first time and it hasn't ended well. "Put not your faith in princes."

Frameworks are important. I'm guessing you didn't know that no Democrat in 44 years has gotten a majority vote, so if Obama doesn't get a majority of the vote you might think it is more unusual than is the case. Or if Obama's numbers peak after the convention and drop afterwards (as is the normal case for Democrats) you might again think it a more unusual event than it is. Those are important facts which you should be aware of if you want to predict how the election is going to go.

You seem to be basing how you think this election will go on your own personal beliefs and values and mood, and that's just not a very good judge. It's a fine way to determine how _you_ will vote, but not so much on how the other 100+ million voters will go.

Mike said...

On a side note, this is how I feel most of the time;

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/the_end_is_not_for_a_while.png

registered independent said...

Hi Steve,

I am an independent who bitterly regrets voting for Bush eight years ago. I could see that he was not that bright, but I thought that would be okay since he would surround himself with capable and competent people.

Needless to say, my reasoning was proven spectacularly wrong many times over. I have learned from my mistake and will never again vote on anything other than intelligence and character. It trumps specific positions and party platform. It does absolutely require mental brilliance to do a good job as the president. Right now Obama is the only one who measures up. He towers above the rest, even Biden, who appears to be smarter than McCain but not by a huge margin.

Republicans like to talk about how bright Palin is, but there is really nothing to substantiate this claim. She can stand on a podium and deliver a rousing speech. So what? My pastor can do that, and he is a mental midget. Can Palin prove her intellectual mettle in any other way? What articles has she written, if any? Any op-ed pieces? Any opinions at all in written form so we can at least assess her grasp of basic grammar? I know too many people who can talk up a storm and yet have nothing of substance that they can express through written words.

While Palin's brain power is an unknown, her lack of experience is not. Here the Republicans are strenuously stretching reality when they say she has more executive experience than Obama and Biden combined. Well, George W. Bush had this kind of executive experience too, yet there can be no doubt he is an unmitigated disaster.

I have learned from my mistakes and will not repeat them. If my fellow Americans cannot do the same, then I don't see much hope for the country.

suzanne said...

I think there is
and will continue
to be
a huge amount of republican/conservative
rationalizing
about the choice of Palin
it's all about
reducing
cognitive dissonance . . .

so you fellas go on
with your bad selves

suzanne said...

if any of the things coming out
about Palin and her family
were coming out
about Obama

e.g.,
if he had an out of wedlock pregnant teen age daughter

you better believe
the Reps
would be on it
like white on rice

Mike Ralls said...

> 1) The Iraq war is the greatest foreign policy blunder of my lifetime.<

Just so I'm clear here, you really think that Iraq was a bigger blunder than the Vietnam War?

Dan Moran said...

The Palin choice is looking better with each passing day.

"I really hope McCain did his homework," said David Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush. "I cannot stifle a growing sense of unease that he didn't."

Me too, except I'd have to go with "growing sense of pleasure," myself. If McCain had tried I'm not sure he could have found a clearer example of abuse of authority than Palin's attempt to have her former brother-in-law fired.

Dan Moran said...

Mike,

I've studied politics for a long time so if Obama gets over 50% of the vote I can go, "Huh, Obama has done what no Democrat in 44 years has done. What were the factors that made this election different?"

Democrats have won three of the last four Presidential elections. While it's not impossible Obama will lose this one, it's not the way to bet. I've been trolling my Republican friends for months trying to get someone to offer me even money on the Democratic vs. Republican candidate -- can't get any to pony up.

Mike Ralls said...

*sigh*

Winning is not the same as getting over 50% of the popular vote. I won't be that surprised if Obama wins. I will be surprised if he does it with over 50% of the popular vote because no Democrat has done that in 44 years.

Dan Moran said...

*sigh*

Winning is winning. Isn't that what you were talking about? Because if you were digressing into an interesting but irrelevant mediation on statistics, perhaps you could say so ... :-)

Anonymous said...

Steven

Please explain to me your reasoning as to how Iraq could possibly be a bigger blunder than Vietnam!

Do you have a well thought out position for this idea?

If you do, please enlighten me.

Otherwise I'll have to conclude
you feel that your dislike for Pres. Bush gives you license to say any damned silly thing off the top of your head.

PLEASE explain in a way that someone who does not hate Pres. Bush can understand.

John M.

Dan Moran said...

John M.,

PLEASE explain in a way that someone who does not hate Pres. Bush can understand.

And how this works is Steve explains it and you say, "Nope, doesn't work for me?"

Anyway ... Viet Nam didn't have oil; no one thought that Viet Nam was a war initiated by a cabal intent upon Empire. While a dreadful war and a terrible mistake, Americ's reasons for getting into it were broadly virtuous.

Iraq was a power and oil grab by puppets of the oil industry. The world didn't judge America terribly harshly for Viet Nam; it has and will continue to for Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Okay Dan.

You explained it in a way that a "Bush hater" does.

You say "empire" "cabal" "oil grab". The usual left wing crap.

You say the world did'nt judge us harshly? Were you not alive, in a coma, or on drugs during the sixties?

Questioning my motives for asking the question is also kind of standard.

It might astound you to know I was originally against the war, but got over it when it was'nt as bad as I thought it would be.

Anyway, I'm still waiting for the non-Bush hating explaination, or maybe one with fewer buzzwords at least.

John M.

Kukulkan said...

1) The Iraq war is the greatest foreign policy blunder of my lifetime.

I'm young enough not to remember the Vietnam conflict. You get no disagreement with me that invading Iraq was a phenomenal mistake. So what. We made a mess. We're Americans -- we clean up our messes. Sen. Obama wants to leave our mess (a dysfunctional Iraq) in the Iraqis' laps. That's the easy way out -- not the American way.

2) George Bush is the worst president of my lifetime.

The only qualifier I have is that Pres. George W. Bush is the worst President of my lifetime. Pres. George H.W. Bush wasn't horrible.

3)Experience isn't the issue, and never was. CAPACITY is the issue.

I cannot disagree strongly enough. Who would you rather drive a Ferrari while you were a passenger: (1) a sixteen your old boy with lightning reflexes; or (2) a middle aged mother of 4? The President of the United States needs experience. Anyone running on a major party ticket is going to have the capacity. Moreover, candidates who have experience have a track record voters can examine in order to evaluate the candidate's judgment. Judgment is different than experience or capacity. I believe that one of the reasons Sen. Obama has been so successful is the fact that he has virtually no track record. He cannot be criticized on the basis of his judgment because we don't know how he would act when faced with a crisis.

4) I consider running a campaign to be executive experience--if you build the machine from scratch, and don't inherit it from your father.

Umm. I'll politely disagree.

5) If a local schoolteacher battled her way to National prominance, survived twenty debates and countless interviews, motivated millions of people to donate money and countless Washington insiders said that they were favorably impressed by her savvy and capacity, and won the nomination--I would consider it a Cinderella story, and cheer her on.

I'd want some basis to believe that she would exercise good judgment when faced with difficult situations.

6) I consider that he ran at a minimum 5% handicap because of race.

His race caused him some handicap in the Democratic primary and it also provided some advantages. I don't know how those balance out. I do know that Sen. Obama's race will unfortunately be a bigger factor in the general election than it was in the Democratic primary.

7) I recognize habits of thought that I myself cultivate and admire.

You've mentioned this before. A wholly valid reason for your appreciation of him as a candidate.

8) I consider him balanced in all three aspects: physically fit, financially successful, happily married.

Given your beliefs, again a wholly valid reason for your appreciation of him as a candidate. I also appreciate this about Sen. Obama.

9) As an isolated tactic, the Surge seems to have succeeded--but that doesn't make it a good idea as part of an overall strategy. As I said, the cost in lives and treasure has not, in my mind, been worth it.

I'm not entirely sure what your point is here. Sen. Obama was against the surge. The surge (and more importantly the integration of Iraqi tribes into the peacekeeping mission) has been phenomenally successfully. Part of the reason America doesn't know how successful it has been is because the main stream media stopped paying any attention to Iraq. The surge may allow us to withdraw the majority of our troops without leaving Iraq a mess.

10) I have no problem with Biden.

On January 3, 2008, Biden placed fifth in the Iowa caucuses, garnering slightly less than one percent of the state delegates. Sen. Obama did not want a running mate that took any attention away from Sen. Obama. He chose a running mate who was emphatically rejected by the Democratic Party. I've listened to several discussions by pundits regarding this nomination. None of the Democratic pundits was excited by this choice. It was an unobjectionable choice. It's like serving chicken at a wedding.

11) The Reverend Wright situation doesn't bother me.

Given that you somehow believe Sen. Obama chose to be a member of Rev. Wright's congregation, chose Rev. Wright to marry him and baptize his children, and compared Rev. Wright to his uncle was solely because of Sen. Obama's desire to contribute to the community as a member of Rev. Wright's congregation, your lack of reservation makes sense. For me, it really sticks in my craw that Sen. Obama defended a man who asked God to damn America. I understand Rev. Wright's disappointment with many events that have taken place in America. I condemn those same events. However, in my mind, those are the very reasons God needs to bless America -- so that we can continue to improve and be a shining beacon for the rest of the world.

Frank said...

Dan Moran

Democrats have won three of the last four Presidential elections.

I must be misunderstanding you.

Let me see:
2004 Republican
2000 Republican
1996 Democrat
1992 Democrat
1988 Republican
1984 Republican
1980 Republican
1976 Democrat
1974 Republican
1968 Republican

40 years of elections. Three Democratic wins.

1 in the last three election cycles. 2 in the last 4.

What am I missing?

I've been trolling my Republican friends for months trying to get someone to offer me even money on the Democratic vs. Republican candidate -- can't get any to pony up.

I'm not a Republican but I'll take your bet.

Not only do I think McCain will win, I think he will win with more than 50%.

And not only that, I think that Democrats will lose seats in Congress.

So, I'll bet you a book of your choice that McCain wins in November.

Sucker.

(caveats apply because I am not going to spring for some rare book whose only copy lies in the hands of some reclusive monk at the top of the Himalayas, but I trust you're a reasonable fellow)

Marty S said...

Steve: This 5% disadvantage you keep talking about doesn't make sense. Start withe the assumption that 10% of the non-black population wouldn't vote for a black person. What percent of these belong to the democratic party. if its about a quarter then after adjusting for the percent black in the population you are left with a little over 2% disadvantage. Now subtract the gain he receives from overwhelming black support and he is at worse even and probably at an advantage.

Dan: Have you bothered to look at Palin's former brother in-law's record. There would be more reason to go after a governor for not having this guy fired than for going after him. I can't understand how someone with his record was still on a police force. If you want to go after Palin there are a lot better arguments then that one.

Frank said...

Dan Moran

Iraq was a power and oil grab by puppets of the oil industry.

So where is all that oil that was grabbed. Which company owns it?

Oh, and why didn't we just make a deal with Saddam? Why didn't we just say, "Yo, Saddam. How would you like that UN embargo lifted. We can do that you know. The Price? Oil. How 'bout it old chum?"

You know, RealPolitik.

Worked for generations...

Frank said...

He cannot be criticized on the basis of his judgment because we don't know how he would act when faced with a crisis.

Well, we know that if Obama had been President we would have left Iraq to al Qaida. He argued and voted against "the Surge" saying it was doomed to failure. He argued and voted for a retreat from Iraq that would have occurred during the height of the sectarian violence.

And BTW, we know that if Biden had been President, he would have imposed upon the sovereign nation of Iraq the division of the country along sectarian lines. He would have forced the relocation of people based solely on their religious affiliation.

Don't know how that would have worked with mixed marriages....

But hey, old Joe is a wiz at Foreign Policy so he would have thought of something.

Frank said...

For me, it really sticks in my craw that Sen. Obama defended a man who asked God to damn America.

And given his association with William Ayers, I'd say it's looking like a pattern.

Marty S said...

The whole Vietnam versus Iraq as worse blunder discussion is ridiculous on two levels. First if two people die agonizing deaths because of two different horrible diseases arguing which died a worse death is at best an irrational discussion. Second we have a long historical view of the consequences of one, while the other is still on going and we have no idea what its eventual consequences will be.

Christian M. Howell said...

All I can say is that I have never heard a political speech like the DNC acceptance speech.

I never carer who the President is since checks and balances really means checks received and balances accrued.

Listening to him I have to say that he will make a good President. He at least said the right things about education, energy and taxes. It's really time we cleaned up ALL our schools and used technology to clean the air.

It's funny; several reporters compared parts of his acceptance with the speech from The American President with Michael Douglas. The only comparison I can find is that he seems like a serious person.

I can usually tell when a politician is just talking and when he is trying to articulate ideas and ideals.

I might actually vote this time.

Josh Jasper said...

If one of the pastors at Obama's church is fair game, what about Palin's church?

I'm really looking forward to the (recorded and available online) broadcasts from her church getting some air time.

Remember Republicans, you folks started this guilt by association thing. If you think you get a free pass on Palin, you're mistaken.

Lets get her in front of some cameras, stick a mic in front of her, and have her answer questions about how a man who said

"I'm not going tell you who to vote for, but if you vote for this particular person, I question your salvation. I'm sorry." Kalnins added: "If every Christian will vote righteously, it would be a landslide every time."

or

"I hate criticisms towards the President," he said, "because it's like criticisms towards the pastor -- it's almost like, it's not going to get you anywhere, you know, except for hell. That's what it'll get you."

What sort of respect can the Democratic voters of America expect from someone who's pastor says things like that? Obama dealt with media attention about his controversial pastor.

Can Palin deal with the issue?? Personally, I think she'll fall apart under the sort of pressure Obama has weathered. I don't think she can take it. not because she's a woman. Hillary Clinton took similar pressure, and came through fine. Palin has no experience at it.

They're responding to any criticism of Palin as if she was some sort of fragile breakable crystal statue. She's got absolutely zero experience at being on a national stage, and answering unscripted questions from people who're not lobbing her softballs.

Non of us have seen her perform in that sort of arena. No one has any clue what her education level on world events is. It's going to come as a surprise to everyone. I'll bet it'll be an unpleasant surprise for the GOP.

All Biden has to do is go out into the world, answer real questions from an open invite audience, and invite her to do the same. It'll be fascinating to see what happens when someone asks her questions about the actual details of the Iraq occupation. She clearly knows nothing about it.

Is she one of those Bush type republicans who doesn't even read the news? Could be. The fun thing is, we don't know. Heck, McCain probably doesn't know either.

(source for quotes - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/02/palins-church-may-have-sh_n_123205.html)

Mike Ralls said...

> What am I missing?

I assumed he was saying the Democrats won in 2000.

Frank said...

Mike Ralls

I assumed he was saying the Democrats won in 2000

Oh. Of course. Silly me.

Mike said...

>Isn't that what you were talking about?

Specifically I was making referring to a comment I made in a previous post explaining the inherent weakness that Democratic candidates for POTUS have been in for the last 10 elections.

Steven Barnes said...

"it would be in your best interest to have some intellectual frame work to fall back on when your predictions become in variance with reality."
#
You've got to be kidding. I deal with my predictions not matching results all the time. It's the only way my theories of life have evolved. I did say "jump the shark." I don't believe I said "the election is over." Obama could make a mistake, and McCain could get back on track. Speaking about what I'm seeing right now.

Steven Barnes said...

I'm not basing how I think this election will go on my personal feelings. I am basing what I think I see happening now on my theories of human behavior. Making public comments about it puts pressure on me to make adjustments in my theories if they prove to be unpredictive. My heart can't be broken, because I just don't take this stuff as seriously as some of you guys. Politics just isn't where I hang my hat.

Josh Jasper said...

More lovely revelations from Palin's past

The founder of the Alaska Independence Party -- a group that has been courted over the years by Sarah Palin, and one her husband was a member of for roughly seven years -- once professed his "hatred for the American government" and cursed the American flag as a "damn flag."

Palin's background just keeps getting better and better.

Anyone still maintaining that she was really vetted?

Steven Barnes said...

Yes, I think Iraq was a bigger blunder--because it was a single decision, whereas the Vietnam war was a morass that we got sucked into over a much longer period, a series of small decisions leading to a huge shit-storm. At that time, we didn't have the experience to realize we weren't omnipotent (Korea? Once is happenstance...) but Iraq, we should have known better.

Steven Barnes said...

And I don't hate Bush at all. I hate no one except Tobacco executives. I just think that as a single decision, Iraq was a titanic, singular blunder, whereas Vietnam was a series of small mistakes over multiple administrations. There was no "one error" that totally screwed the pooch there.

Mike said...

>I did say "jump the shark." I don't believe I said "the election is over."<

I'm pretty sure you said something like "the election is over" in a previous post or two because I remember some comment like that as being what lead me to make a bet with you over what % of the electoral votes Obama would get, but I have been unable to find that post in a few minutes of googling.

Steven Barnes said...

Ayers and Wright only seem like a pattern if you ignore the entire breadth of Obama's associations. No one has done a chart of, say, the 100 most important people in his life, examined their beliefs and actions, and charted them. Two people does not a pattern make, unless they are proved typical of the whole.
#
Lightning reflexes doesn't mean the capacity to drive. If one quantifies what those capabilities are (judgement? eyesight? Coordination? Courtesy? spacial relationships? Mechanical skills) and someone who has only been driving for a year has genius level performance at all of them, yes, I'd take them over someone with much more experience but less capacity.
#
5% is the dead minimum disadvantage I see. And that's factoring in the black tendency to bloc-vote, and the fact that the approximate 11% white ADMISSION of racial preference is probably rather low. I look at that old devil "black men not having sex in movies" as a measure of actual white aversion, remember. And factoring that informal poll result, I come up with about a 5% disadvantage. I'm trying to be fair. I'm very very tempted to consider the disadvantage much higher.

Steven Barnes said...

The Iraq Versus Vietnam discussion isn't absurd, as long as one is just saying: "this is how I see it at this point" and admit that with historical perspective that judgment may change. Only if one is dogmatic and says "this is TRUTH!" does it become absurd. Hey, guys...it's just blogging.

Steven Barnes said...

Mike--

I did take the bet about double digits, which makes it reasonable for you to say I said "the election is over." Not interested in squabbling over small things. I'll give you that point whether it was what I said or not. My INTENT was to say that I sense a real victory for the Dems this time, which is, functionally, like saying "it's over" whether I said it or not. But I look at it as a game, just as I look at much of my worldly existence as a game--not that it isn't important, but just that I decline to allow worldly things break my heart or upset my equanimity.
#
I think I did say that Bush Sr. did not strike me as an incompetent man at all. The comment about our current Prez relates to my sense that, without his father's record and rolodex and money, he would be managing a damned fine Wal-Mart somewhere. Maybe.

Frank said...

Steven Barnes

There was no "one error" that totally screwed the pooch there.

Can you say "Gulf of Tonkin"?

Frank said...

Steven Barnes

Ayers and Wright only seem like a pattern if you ignore the entire breadth of Obama's associations. No one has done a chart of, say, the 100 most important people in his life, examined their beliefs and actions, and charted them. Two people does not a pattern make, unless they are proved typical of the whole.

But...but...

Obama claimed he and Wright were not on the same page with regards to politics.

And Obama also claimed that Ayers was "just some guy who lived on his block".

Yet we find that Obama was the Chairman of the Board of Ayers "Education Reform" foundation (the CAC) whose intention was to address the ""education debt" that needs to be repaid by whites to people of color, in other words, reparations."

The Co-Chair was William Ayers.

Coincidence? And of course you are aware that this guy who just lives on his block hosted Obama's first campaign fundraiser.

And then there is Mike Klonsky, who worked for the Obama campaign, and was a protege of William Ayers.

What's more is he has been described as "one of the most destructive hardline maoists in the SDS in the late 60's who emerged from SDS to form a pro-Chinese sect called the October League that later became the Beijing-recognized Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)."

He received a $175,000 grant from the Ayers/Obama-led Annenberg Challenge to run the Small Schools Workshop that he and Ayers started in Chicago to push their school reform agenda.

Is that enough yet?

Tell me, why is Obama hanging with this crowd?

Just more data for people to ignore, because, you know, what Sarah Palin does with her kids while she's Vice President needs to be investigated fully.

Anonymous said...

Steven

We've been involved in Iraq since the early 90s. It's gone on thru three administations prior to Pres. Bush.

I don't see how Pres. bush's decision was that much different from Pres. Johnson's decision after the Gulf of Tonkin.

I Think there are to many threads going here. so maybe we can disscuss it after the election.

Oh, I did'nt say you were a Bush hater, I only asked for a non-bush hater explaination. See Dan's as an example.

John M.

Dan Moran said...

John M.,

You explained it in a way that a "Bush hater" does.

Well, I hate Bush, so perhaps that's not a surprise.

You say "empire" "cabal" "oil grab". The usual left wing crap.

Shrug. I also say "global warming," "evolution," "enormous deficits," "Katrina," "torture," "Gitmo," "outed a CIA Agent" ... you know, the usual left wing crap.

You say the world did'nt judge us harshly? Were you not alive, in a coma, or on drugs during the sixties?

Well, I was seven when the sixties ended, but no, the world didn't judge us as harshly over Viet Nam as it has over Iraq. They had polling back then, too. Most of the world understood, even if it disagreed the actual war, that Viet Nam was a part of the policy of containment directed at the Soviet Union since the end of World War II. They understood that the United States stepped into a civil war -- stupidly -- and tried to end it, rather than stepping into a country that wasn't fighting a civil war, and starting one, criminally.

Questioning my motives for asking the question is also kind of standard.

Oh, I'm not questioning them. When you started off by insulting Barnes, I pretty much knew what they were.

It might astound you to know I was originally against the war, but got over it when it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

It not only doesn't astound me, I fail to see the relevance of it to the discussion of whether the Iraq war is worse than Viet Nam.

Anyway, I'm still waiting for the non-Bush hating explaination, or maybe one with fewer buzzwords at least.

Wait on. :-)

Dan Moran said...

Frank,

So, I'll bet you a book of your choice that McCain wins in November.

Sucker.


One of us is. You're on. And yes, I suspect you of being reasonable too, for a given value of "reasonable." :-) $30 limit on the price of the book?

If you want a side bet on Dems losing seats in Congress, boy howdy, I'm up for that. Zero chance of that happening. You're optimistic over McCain -- you're just flat-out wrong over the House & Senate. Rs are going to lose seats. Book it.

Kukulkan said...

I'm with Dan that the Dems are going to grab seats in the Senate and the House.

Earlier this year (before it was clear who was going to win the nomination of either party) I made a $100 bet that the Dems would win the Presidency simply on the basis of fundraising. Sen. Obama is going to have a treasure chest multiple times larger than Sen. McCain. Dems are eager to vote for Sen. Obama. Republicans are willing to vote for Sen. McCain only if they hold their noses. This is going to result in a higher turnout for Dems than Republicans. Plus, Sen. Obama has got a whole generation of people involved in the political process that normally don't participate.

Frank said...

Dan Moran

$30 limit on the price of the book?

Yeah. Sounds good. And the winner gets to choose the book (If he wants)

If you want a side bet on Dems losing seats in Congress, boy howdy, I'm up for that. Zero chance of that happening.

Net gain/loss in all of Congress? That's my bet. We'll make it another book.

Kukulkan

Sen. Obama is going to have a treasure chest multiple times larger than Sen. McCain.

Well, that's not quite how it's working out. Yes, Obama has outraised McCain. But the Parties contribute too. So the Republican Party is raising way more than the Democratic Party. Which, kinda undermines one of your arguments.

Once the Conventions are over, so are McCain's fundraising activities: He gets Federal funds. Obama isn't done. He has to continue to fundraise which will be a distraction.

I'll also point out that since the Palin pick was announced, even more money has been pouring in.

The McCain campaign raised $4.5 million between 1 p.m. and midnight on the day Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was announced as McCain's vice presidential selection, aides tell NBC News.

The campaign raised an additional $3.5 million in the two days following the Palin announcment for a three-day total of $8 million, aides said.


Not bad.

Plus, Sen. Obama has got a whole generation of people involved in the political process that normally don't participate.

Yeah, we keep hearing that but it never materializes. I really hope Obama is not counting on it. Charles at Political Arithmetik did a great analysis of "the youth Vote"

Bottom line?

It turns out the those under 40 are underrepresented for their population size when it come to voting while those over 40 are overrepresented for their population size.

Charles says:
If you gave me a choice of being wildly popular with the young or moderately popular with the old, I'd take the old any day. They are far more reliable in voting, and while their population numbers are small they more than make up for it in over-representation thanks to turnout differences.

And as he shows, this is very consistent over time.

And guess which group McCain appeals to?

Dan Moran said...

Yeah. Sounds good. And the winner gets to choose the book (If he wants)

We'll work that out. Something considerate on both sides -- I won't mind if you buy me a conservative tome, as long as it's not "Conscience of a Conservative" -- I've got a copy already. :-)

Nor anything by Anne Coulter -- that would be cruel. And I won't send you Michael Moore ....

Side bet on Senate/House as well, accepted. If the net number of House+Senate members goes up for Rs, you win. If the net number of House+Senate members goes up for Ds, I win. If things stay the same, it's a push.

Anonymous said...

Gee Dan,

I guess your down to the old flame game. I insulted steven by asking him to give the reason for
his opinion. Hmmm.

I was in the army during Vietnam so it's probably, a little more deeply ingrained in my memory than in a nine year old's (I did'nt get there till 72).

I'll let Steven decide when he's insulted, I'm pretty sure he can take care of himself.

As far as the non-Bush hating explaination, steven already gave it as requested :-)

John M.

Dan Moran said...

John M.,

Yeah, I'm not proud. I'll get into the gutter with anyone. But it's not personal. I don't even blame you for your evident habit of saying any damned silly thing off the top of your head ...

:-)

Frank said...

Dan Moran

Deal.

And I don't read political tomes and I would be as likely to read Ann Coulter as I would Michael Moore or Al Franken: which would be never. So it is unlikely that I would give you something like that.

If I were to recommend a book, it would be fiction or non-fiction historical.

But I generally find that recommending a book to someone is as much a waste of time as trying to convince someone of something in forums like this. The book would likely just sit on a shelf.

But I'd do it if you wanted.

Dan Moran said...

Like I said, we'll work it out. If you haven't read "Lonesome Dove," for example, I'd happily recommend that -- you'd like it. (Hell, if you haven't read "Lonesome Dove," I'll buy you a paperback copy just as a gift -- it's one of the great English language novels.)

Fiction is fine.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan

Why are you in the gutter? I'm still on the sidewalk.

:-)

John M.

Dan Moran said...

I'm rubber and you're glue. Or something like that. I do try to engage at the level people request.

Marty S said...

Watched Palin's speech last night. I thought she presented herself well and I liked the parts about who she was and who John McCain was, but could have done without all the swipes at Obama.

Frank said...

Marty S

Watched Palin's speech last night. I thought she presented herself well and I liked the parts about who she was and who John McCain was, but could have done without all the swipes at Obama.

I, on the other hand, thought they were right on target.

She's taken a lot of abuse since Friday. And she showed that she can play with the big boys.

On their turf.

Steve Perry said...

"She's taken a lot of abuse since Friday. And she showed that she can play with the big boys.

On their turf."

I think she stepped into the ring. Whether she has the moves to play with the big boys won't be evident until they start punching back.

And since she was trying to show how tough she is, she's given them leave to take the kid gloves off.

If she wants to argue foreign policy with Biden, she's gonna need more than a sucker punch, and I don't think she got a lot of experience in that arena up there shooting at Bambi's mother ...

Hal said...

"Please explain to me your reasoning as to how Iraq could possibly be a bigger blunder than Vietnam! ... PLEASE explain in a way that someone who does not hate Pres. Bush can understand."

First off, equating mere disagreement to "hate" is, to use a phrase of an earlier time, defining deviancy down.

But as to why Iraq is a bigger blunder than Vietnam... Vietnam was sold as a bulwark against a series of falling dominoes. In retrospect, those dominoes simply do not seem important now. Cambodia? Laos? Thailand has stuck with us from the beginning, and China has turned into... well, let's be charitable and say "friendly rival."

So even though Vietnam was a loss, that loss had far less impact on the region -- and the region itself was far less important to us -- than was feared at the time.

Iraq, on the other hand, is smack in the middle of a region of great strategic importance to us. Our performance has clearly diminished our standing with Turkey, a NATO ally. It's hurt us in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Even Iran, with whom we weren't friendly in the first place but we had reasonable hope of improvement with a rising generation, has largely been lost to us. Another ally, Israel, is far more credibly under threat today than when we went in.

More than anything, I think the real push for the operation came from Cheney and Rumsfeld, and I think their root goal was to prove that if only they'd had a chance to do Vietnam (and a war in general) right -- rather than inheriting it so late in the game when they were with the Ford Administration -- things would have been far better.

Instead, they got an object lesson in hubris, and on things being not as easy as they look.

Or, to cop some terms from Tom Barnett -- our force that deals with Hobbesian Leviathan threats is unsurpassed. Our force that deals with everything else (what he calls the SysAdmin force) still barely manages to tie its shoelaces. And it's that SysAdmin force that hasn't gotten the job done in both theaters -- mostly because the civilians don't value it, or find it sexy enough.

Hal said...

"I'm guessing you didn't know that no Democrat in 44 years has gotten a majority vote..."

No, I didn't know that.

Mostly because it's not true.

According to the official report of the Clerk of the House of Representatives (notes: a) that's a .PDF file, and b) "Since 1920, the Clerk of the House has collected and published the official vote counts for federal elections from the official sources among the various states and territories.").... anyway, according to the Clerk, Mr. Carter received 50.03% of the vote. Which isn't much of a majority -- but it still is one.

So it's been 32 years, not 44.