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Conservative in Liberal's Clothing?
January 28, 2008 7:07 PM   Subscribe

Obama--A Conservative Hope? Despite running for the candidacy of the Democratic party, Barack Obama should be the great hope of conservatives—both in the US and Europe.
posted by John of Michigan (175 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
What are you trying to prove here?
We already know this. Obama is trying to unite everybody.
My father, a former Bush supporter now supports him. My mother, a former Clinton supporter now supports him.
posted by ooklala at 7:13 PM on January 28, 2008


The Democratic party is a centrist one, so it is unsurprising that major Democratic candidates have some conservative views.

Wouldn't it be cool if there were a real Left in American politics?
posted by DU at 7:15 PM on January 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


Hmmm. Why am I thinking this post will soon disappear?

Because it's got a certain je ne sais quoi about it?

Oh, wait. I do know: it's got a certain "one-link, no-commentary politicsfilter" about it.

posted by pineapple at 7:16 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it be cool if there were a real Left in American politics?
posted by DU at 9:15 PM on January 28 [+] [!]

Eponysterical.
posted by pineapple at 7:17 PM on January 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


I didn't read this as trying to "prove" anything. It was just an interesting article; thanks.
posted by Tlogmer at 7:19 PM on January 28, 2008


I support him. He's a little wet behind the ears for this job, but he is smart and charismatic, and he is the opposite of the partisan rancor which has infested politics of the Bush/Cheney era. He's no conservative though. That is pretty funny. All the candidates with a chance, either party, are pretty close to the center, but Barry is no conservative.
posted by caddis at 7:19 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


By the way, who watched GW in his last gasp state of the union speech? One thing I can agree upon with him is his pledge to veto any budget that doesn't cut earmarks by 50%. Brilliant (and I mean that in the British sense).
posted by caddis at 7:24 PM on January 28, 2008


Of course any democrat contender is a conservative. Especially from the POV of Europe (which, in this case, could be shorthand for "anywhere but the extraordinarily conservative US").
posted by pompomtom at 7:25 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it be cool if there were a real Left in American politics?

Hey, you have that Nader guy.

yeah, I know
posted by Artw at 7:26 PM on January 28, 2008


From the article:
Aside from his positive message of unity, there are a number of things concerning Obama which appeal to conservatives, not least his appreciative attitude towards traditions and his understanding of the importance of learning from history. In her ambitious New Yorker profile of Obama published last May, Larissa Macfarquhar writes that Obama was critical of his parents and grandparents for breaking up from their respective communities and moving to other towns and countries. They allowed themselves to be seduced by the American dream of individualism and mobility, something which to Obama seems "credulous and shallow." To Obama, the abandonment of their surroundings in Kenya and Kansas to start anew somewhere else seemed, writes Macfarquhar, "a destructive craving for weightlessness." Freedom has a price, and this is shattered communities and loneliness.
While I suppose this might describe a certain brand of radical social conservativism, it doesn't have much in common with "conservatives" in mainstream U.S. politics, so I'm not sure how you could call it 'centrist.'

If these are his real views it's a pretty big black mark in my book. Was that the point of the article? A sort of damning-with-faint praise attack via a conservative media outlet? (I'm not familiar with Prospect Magazine; it describes itself as having "a mature, educated, affluent and discerning readership" which sounds like code-words for conservative, but I'm not clear.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:40 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Hey, you have that Nader guy."

You mean that crowd was only burning an effigy?!
posted by mullingitover at 7:41 PM on January 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


Wouldn't it be cool if there were a real Left in American politics?

Wouldn't it be cool if our politics couldn't be reduced to two choices, Left & Right?
posted by Argyle at 7:46 PM on January 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


"that Nader guy"? check out with those who have worked for Nader and you will see how Left he is! He is anything but "left" for those that earn a living working for him
posted by Postroad at 7:46 PM on January 28, 2008


Yes, We Can!...

...delete this post.
posted by empath at 7:56 PM on January 28, 2008


xkcd endorsed Obama
posted by empath at 7:58 PM on January 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Indeed it would be cool if, as Argyle states, American politics were not a bipolar (in all senses) choice between Left and Right.

It woudl be cool, for instance, if one could hold a conservative natural and political philosophy and a liberal practice.

That's what the article claims for Obama. It calls him conservative because he believes all change involves loss. He is this philosophically conserviatve, even though he supports liberal practices.

As for me, I am a Conservative Liberal Socialist.
posted by Topkid at 8:00 PM on January 28, 2008


His first mistake is in categorizing Andrew Sullivan as "conservative". I sure don't know where he got that idea. If he's using an article by Sully as an example of what American conservatives are thinking, it's no wonder his conclusion is so far off base.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:01 PM on January 28, 2008




Wouldn't it be cool if there were a real Left in American politics?

Wouldn't it be cool if people could stop lazily equating the presidency with "American politics?"
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:03 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it be cool if there were a real Left in American politics?

Wouldn't it be cool if our politics couldn't be reduced to two choices, Left & Right?


Wouldn't it be cool if we had politics?
posted by treepour at 8:06 PM on January 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Wouldn't it be cool if there were a real Left in American politics?

Wouldn't it be cool if our politics couldn't be reduced to two choices, Left & Right?

Wouldn't it be cool if we had politics?


Wouldn't it be cool?
posted by dismas at 8:07 PM on January 28, 2008


Wouldn't it be cool if there were a real Left in American politics?

Wouldn't it be cool if our politics couldn't be reduced to two choices, Left & Right?

Wouldn't it be cool if we had politics?

Wouldn't it be cool?


Woul-

[eaten by zombie Eugene V. Debs]
posted by Iridic at 8:10 PM on January 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


THe National Review folks have said good things about him, Bill Kristol has said good things about him, George Will likes him, David Broder and David Brooks like him. They won't endorse him and they won't vote for him, but I don't you'll get the demonization you had directed at Clinton. Fox News will be hysterical, of course.
posted by empath at 8:11 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it be cool if people could stop lazily equating the presidency with "American politics?"

Are you insinuating that there is a real Left in American politics?

Where it it? It's not present at the federal level, in any of the branches. There are no truly Lefty states either, not in the International sense.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 8:11 PM on January 28, 2008


Wouldn't it be cool if there were a real Left in American politics?

Like communists in Congress? No, that sounds ghastly.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:15 PM on January 28, 2008



Are you insinuating that there is a real Left in American politics?



Depends on whether or not your notion of "Left" is a fixed or a relative term.
posted by thivaia at 8:21 PM on January 28, 2008


Wouldnt it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldnt have to wait so long
And wouldnt it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong?
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:22 PM on January 28, 2008 [7 favorites]


As an American conservative, I am grateful to the American Prospect and Swedish liberal Johan Wennström for explaining to me what is in my best interest.
posted by Slap Factory at 8:24 PM on January 28, 2008


So today Sebelius, Kennedy, and Topkid endorsed Obama?
posted by LarryC at 8:26 PM on January 28, 2008


It's amazing watching this presidential race from a non-american POV. Obama seems SO different to anyone who's run before- which is obviously a testament on just how dramatically Bush/Cheney/Rove have fucked thing up.

We've just had an election in Australia, and it was fascinating to see just how near to each other the candidates were. Any point of different was seen almost as an unmanageable risk to victory.

I've very worried that Obama is too different, seen as too inexperienced (wtf that means anyway )and people will vote a Republican with gubernatorial experience.
posted by mattoxic at 8:27 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, flagged.
posted by LarryC at 8:29 PM on January 28, 2008


Won't it be GREAT when Rudy gets his ass handed to him tomorrow night?
posted by vrakatar at 8:29 PM on January 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


I've very worried that Obama is too different, seen as too inexperienced (wtf that means anyway )and people will vote a Republican with gubernatorial experience.

Didn't we just try that? Twice? A Republican with gubernatorial experience didn't let his complete lack of qualifications and experience stop him...he and some fat, bespectacled balding white dudes got us into this mess. Shouldn't we be running to embrace the complete opposite of that?
Come to think of it, maybe the wrong Obama's running...we should all be voting for Michelle Obama.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:40 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Argyle writes "Wouldn't it be cool if our politics couldn't be reduced to two choices, Left & Right?"

As long as there's winner-take-all elections, this will never happen. Want choices? Demand instant runoff.

Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America writes "Like communists in Congress? No, that sounds ghastly."

Indeed. Jesus is my health care plan!
posted by mullingitover at 8:44 PM on January 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


THe National Review folks have said good things about him, Bill Kristol has said good things about him, George Will likes him, David Broder and David Brooks like him. They won't endorse him and they won't vote for him, but I don't you'll get the demonization you had directed at Clinton. Fox News will be hysterical, of course.

Just wait till he's running against someone who isn't Hillary Clinton.
posted by null terminated at 8:46 PM on January 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Barack Obama should be the great hope of conservatives

Only so long as that "great hope" is that Obama throws all non-white, non-Christian, non-gun-totin', non-wealthy American citizens under the bus — followed by Obama himself — as soon as he gets elected.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:57 PM on January 28, 2008


So if this post isn't appropriate here, can someone suggest a site that might point me to things like that? Because that article - wholly apart from any supporting material that may or may not have been added alongside it - gave me more to think about than about the last 50 posts I've seen here, and I'd like to find a place that could find things like that and point me to them.
posted by Naberius at 8:58 PM on January 28, 2008 [7 favorites]


The two party duopoly in this country sucks ass. It would be nice if we alloted some seats in congress to proportional representation, rather then district-by-district.

But, uh, I don't see that happening.
posted by delmoi at 8:59 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I endorse Barack Obama.

Now, let's close this mother down and move the convo over to puke & cry's place.
posted by mumkin at 8:59 PM on January 28, 2008


Naberius writes "So if this post isn't appropriate here, can someone suggest a site that might point me to things like that? Because that article - wholly apart from any supporting material that may or may not have been added alongside it - gave me more to think about than about the last 50 posts I've seen here, and I'd like to find a place that could find things like that and point me to them."

http://del.icio.us/tag/politics
posted by mullingitover at 9:01 PM on January 28, 2008


can someone suggest a site that might point me to things like that?

Matt Yglesias' blog is a great spot for intelligent liberal commentary, and it has comments. Talking Points Memo is a great blog/news site and has comments on a few different sub-sites (election central, and TPMMuckraker). Andrew Sullivan's blog actually linked to this article in the past, Sullivan is a conservative who really dislikes the bush administration.
posted by delmoi at 9:04 PM on January 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't wait until he's president, and I can rant against all his conservative positions.
posted by Balisong at 9:10 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Indeed. Jesus is my health care plan!

Haha, no. Fuck that Jesus guy. My health care plan is "not being poor."
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:12 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Won't it be GREAT when Rudy gets his ass handed to him tomorrow night?
What you don't seem to understand is that 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11.
posted by Flunkie at 9:15 PM on January 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


who watched GW in his last gasp state of the union speech?

I missed it. Did we get an update on his manned Mars mission?
posted by kirkaracha at 9:23 PM on January 28, 2008


"You mean that crowd was only burning an effigy?"
posted by mullingitover at 1:41 PM on January 29

Eeeeeek!
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:28 PM on January 28, 2008


No update on Mars, but I got a kick out of * him referring to the telecomm companies that he is demanding be absolved of legal responsibility for spying on us as "companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America".

*: then I wept
posted by Flunkie at 9:29 PM on January 28, 2008


If your universe claims that politics is too polarized, but refuses to acknowledge that anybody on your side is to blame for that polarization.. then that says something about your worldview.

The Republicans who like Obama now will then declare that he's to blame for the attacks that will be launched on him.
posted by RobbieFal at 9:30 PM on January 28, 2008


Haha, no. Fuck that Jesus guy. My health care plan is "not being poor."

Yeah, fucking poor people. They deserve to get sick and suffer. Especially the people who get sick, then can't work, then lose their jobs and health care, and then become poor. Those are the people who suck the most!
posted by delmoi at 9:36 PM on January 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


"tired of seeing their country torn apart by fierce arguments between the Bush and Clinton camps"

hahahahahahahahhaahhahahahahaha

I couldn't read further. Seriously.
posted by joseppi7 at 9:40 PM on January 28, 2008


Yeah, fucking poor people. They deserve to get sick and suffer.

That's pretty harsh. There's no need to hate the poor. They have it bad enough already, don't you think?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:42 PM on January 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama's response to the State of the Union. Not as exciting as his South Carolina Victory Speech, but still pretty good.
posted by delmoi at 9:43 PM on January 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


RobbieFal writes "The Republicans who like Obama now will then declare that he's to blame for the attacks that will be launched on him."

He will never be embraced by the Limbaugh crowd. But, really, no Democrat would be, so it doesn't matter. He actually starts to look better when they attack him, because they don't have anything of substance. He has the potential to pull a lot of people over who lean conservative but sort of hover in the middle. Those were Bush voters for the last two elections (and Clinton before that, and Reagan before that), and some of them aren't proud of their Bush vote anymore. Anyway, you can't run as a Democrat trying to win over the core of the Republican Party - the Democrats have made that very mistake more than a few times, but it's not a good idea. Obama does have the potential to bridge the divide somewhat, but he doesn't have to pander to the Republican's base, and they have a certain respect for him. Clinton is more polarizing than her husband. Still, a hell of a lot smarter than Bush, but who isn't?
posted by krinklyfig at 9:48 PM on January 28, 2008


believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America

This sounds like something they're going to be charging people with in some tribunal xx years down the road.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:49 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


here are a number of things concerning Obama which appeal to conservatives, not least ... his understanding of the importance of learning from history.

Yeah, because the current crop have done such a great job of that.

Also: Andrew Sullivan is totally a conservative.
posted by papakwanz at 9:54 PM on January 28, 2008


Yeah as an outsider, it's also struck me how impressive Obama is, and most importantly how little baggage he seems to carry compared to all the other candidates I hear about. I mean, you know they're all in somebody's pockets, Democrats and Republicans alike, any any statements they make about unity, and non-partisanship, are purely to put a shine on their image. But with Obama, those sort of statements shine like honest idealism, which is a hell of a lot better than trying to polish a turd.

And maybe this article is correct in regards to his policy on health care in the US - I see plenty of evidence on Metafilter (even in this here thread) that suggests that, yes, culturally, Americans aren't ready for the idea of free, universal health care. Still too scared of the government, too scared of concepts like "socialism". This may make him more conservative, but if he's fighting to become the leader of a conservative country, maybe it shows how well he's reading the mood of the citizens. Good luck to him.
posted by Jimbob at 9:56 PM on January 28, 2008


Naberius: I'm pretty sure you want http://www.andrewsullivan.com

He's by far the most interesting political blogger on the web. (Yes, even when he is incredibly, mindblowingly wrong about an issue).

Other recommended thoughtful bloggers: Josh Marshall, Matt Yglesias, Kevin Drum, Glenn Greenwald, Steve Clemons

Just avoid the hyperpartisan mydd/kos/atrios/firedoglake crowd who are fucking tiring to read, even when I agree with them.
posted by empath at 10:07 PM on January 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


If these are his real views it's a pretty big black mark in my book.

I'm taken aback by this statement, and would be interested in an explanation as to why you might think so. I honestly don't get it -- there's nothing that I see in the quoted paragraph that seems anything but clear-eyed realism to me, regardless of whether it's (in the non-political sense) a small-c conservative sentiment or not.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:38 PM on January 28, 2008


My I second (or third) Andrew Sullivan. I don't agree with him on many things, and he has been wrong plenty of times, but he actually TALKS ABOUT BEING WRONG which is just so refreshing. Also, his writing is light-years beyond just about every other blogger out there, including professional journalists and authors.
posted by lattiboy at 11:11 PM on January 28, 2008


In Europe, liberal means right wing and conservative means left wing, kinda damages your credibility getting that wrong.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:59 PM on January 28, 2008


I would vote for Zombie Eugene Debs in a heartbeat.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:00 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


In Europe, liberal means right wing and conservative means left wing, kinda damages your credibility getting that wrong.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:59 PM on January 28 [+] [!] No other comments.


Pardon?

Which Europe are you talking about?
posted by Happy Dave at 12:05 AM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


The one to the left.
posted by Dr. Curare at 12:25 AM on January 29, 2008


The other left.
posted by Dr. Curare at 12:25 AM on January 29, 2008


My health care plan is "not being poor."

That used to be mine too. Funny thing, the more you depend on "not being poor" to get adequate health care, the more quickly you become poor.
posted by wendell at 1:22 AM on January 29, 2008


there's no way Conservatives would vote for a Negro
posted by matteo at 1:22 AM on January 29, 2008


what topkid said. It's weird to read Burke and his ilk and then listen to one or two speeches by any of the modern American conservatives who claim to inherit their philosophy.
posted by nangua at 1:34 AM on January 29, 2008


He's too interesting to get the democratic nomination.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:44 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Which Europe are you talking about?

The Europe in which 'liberal' and 'conservative' are indicators of economic, not social, policy.
posted by goo at 1:44 AM on January 29, 2008


pompomtom writes "Of course any democrat contender is a conservative. Especially from the POV of Europe (which, in this case, could be shorthand for 'anywhere but the extraordinarily conservative US')."

Not "anywhere". He's not a conservative by Japanese standards.
posted by Bugbread at 3:28 AM on January 29, 2008


goo writes "The Europe in which 'liberal' and 'conservative' are indicators of economic, not social, policy."

"Liberal", in the Euro sense, represents liberality in the sense of freedom of market. Free market = liberal market = liberal. Conservative is the opposite of that. Conservative fiscal policy = reigning in market freedoms/excesses. So Europe is definitely far more leftist than the US, but when it comes to being more liberal or more conservative, you need to clarify if you're using the British or American definitions of the words, which are quite at odds.
posted by Bugbread at 3:32 AM on January 29, 2008


"that Nader guy"? check out with those who have worked for Nader and you will see how Left he is!
He is anything but "left" for those that earn a living working for him
posted by Postroad at 10:46 PM on January 28 [+] [!]


welcome to the real Left, posty.
posted by jfuller at 3:57 AM on January 29, 2008


Obama is my candidate, too, but isn't the whole problem that we vest so much hope in one person to fix it all? Don't think there's much chance in effecting any positive change until big money is rooted out of the process. Until then, I'll hope that soaring rhetoric can change a few minds.
posted by psmealey at 4:06 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


A rule of thumb for me is that liberals are against welfare, socialists are for welfare, and conservatives are for corporate welfare. In Europe, of course.
posted by froghopper at 4:07 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


bugbread: touche.
posted by pompomtom at 4:07 AM on January 29, 2008


he actually TALKS ABOUT BEING WRONG which is just so refreshing

It may be refreshing, but you can only do it so many times before you lose credibility. Sullivan is at his most effective when he is speaking out passionately on issues that concern him personally, but on matters of policy he gets it wrong more often than not. I enjoy him as a media personality but it's hard to put much stock in what he writes.
posted by psmealey at 4:23 AM on January 29, 2008


I don't think I've read a bigger pile of horseshit than the linked op-ed in weeks. "The conservative blogosphere is currently flowing over" with positive comments about Obama? Because conservative bloggers are oh-so-weary of "the standard ideological fray" and partisan politics?

And people are taking this seriously?

Look, I hate to break it to the more delicate among us, but at least part of the reason conservatives are creaming their pants over Obama is the understanding that there are an awful lot of white voters who absolutely won't vote for a black man for president, which is a huge plus for the otherwise shitty Republican field. Oh, those voters will tell pollsters they'll vote for Obama, sure, but when it comes down to it they'd vote for a white rock over a black human any day. Conservative commentators at Fox, etc., understand this very well. They're loving the chance to take the high road now, knowing full well how difficult Obama's going to have it in the fall. To think those commentators aren't going to work that angle to win the White House is almost unbelievably naive.
posted by mediareport at 4:32 AM on January 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


So, wait. The GOP wants Obama to win so that they can exploit the country's latent racist to defeat him. But, by the same token, they also want Hillary to win because they have the playbook on her and ultimately because of her negatives, she's unelectable. So, which is it? Both?
posted by psmealey at 4:46 AM on January 29, 2008


As for Obama and the right wing commentators, I'll second everyone who says "wait until his opponent isn't a Clinton".

Should Obama get the Democratic nomination I confidently expect that they will immediately turn on him like rabid wolverines. It's their only schtick: viciously attack anyone who isn't a Republican, and I see no reason for them to change now.

They've already got the shadow narrative ready to roll out: Obama is secretly a militant Muslim and his first act as president will be to declare Islam the state religion. Not that the Very Serious conservative commentators will ever say that outright, it'll just be the subtext of the vicious, vaccuous, and villianous crap they will say outright; and, of course, they'll *quote* people who say that. "Obama denies being a secret Muslim plant who hates Jesus, but our guest commentator tonight claims otherwise! We report, you decide!"

I'm also one of those people who finds Obama's constant drivel about "unity" to be annoying in the extreme. It isn't as if its been us Democrats who have been preventing unity, that's entirely the fault of the attack dog Republican party, and again I see no reason to think that things will magically change just because Obama is president.

Republican Senators, who in this most recent session have aready exceeded the previous record for fillibustering (and there's more of the session to go! If the keep up at this rate they'll have nearly three times the prior record number of filibusters) won't suddenly say "gee, President Obama says we need to unite, so I'll stop being an obstructionist thug", no, they'll dig in even further.

Wanna know why there's such a partisin divide? Look at the *actions*, not words, of elected Republicans. Take President Bush, remember his "uniter not divider" speech? Remember how the very first thing, the top priority, the most immediate action, taken by Bush as he came into office was to lie (via proxy of course) about the outgoing Clinton team trashing the White House? Who is to blame for the partisan divide again?

So, when I hear Obama talking about playing nice with the Republicans, I hear him saying "I don't have the will to fight those thugs and my presidency will be marked by continuous surrender to their every whim."

And, the worst part is, that I support him for president and, if the nomination is still in question by the time the Texas primary rolls around, I'll vote for him. But he needs a spine transplant.
posted by sotonohito at 4:48 AM on January 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


What I want to know is: How is Obama going to stop the people who are responsible for the tone in Wahington from turning him into Jimmy Carter? The problem is that there is part of the establishment that wants a broken Washington! How do you fight that? It's like fighting the terrorists! You have to be perfect to succeed; it's easy to grind washington to a halt. The Movement Conservatives have done it. It's a monumental task to do anything, without it being totally eviscerated or co-opted, like the Medicare drug benefit. In this climate, if there is national health care, it will be totally ineffective and profitable to the healthcare establishment.

Obama has to say to the American People, "If you really want to see something done, give the Democrats a huge, House of representative majority and more than 60 Senators, and we'll see what we can do to change politics and the tone, and solve some problems. If you don't like what we do, throw us out in 4 years!"

Then, they need to pass single-payer healthcare, get a sane foreign policy, stop trying to polie the world, and treat other legitimate regimes as partners, reduce the size of the military to that necessary to combat the muslim extremists, and then pursue them rigorously and legally, etc. etc. and then see what happens!

We've had almost 28 years of conservative dominated government in the US, where the government has decided to hand power to a elite group of businessmen, and it seems like we should try something different, because there are some problems that are not getting solved. Perhaps we should govern for the common good for a while, to fix these problems, before we go back to trying to get rich.
posted by JKevinKing at 4:48 AM on January 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


So, which is it? Both?

I didn't say anything about the GOP, psmealey, which, in case you haven't noticed, isn't a monolithic bloc. The linked analysis (and I use the term loosely) ignores the history of racism on the right completely. I'm correcting for that.
posted by mediareport at 4:55 AM on January 29, 2008


Granted, Mediareport. I was not crtiquing you, I was just testing the idea that both views represent the convential wisdom, and maybe they're both right, I dunno. Maybe neither can beat Romney nor McCain.
posted by psmealey at 5:05 AM on January 29, 2008


Well, for what it's worth, I think either of them could beat any of the Republican field. I've been surprised, though, at the Democrats I meet who don't even want to talk about the fact that Obama's going to have to deal with white voters who don't feel comfortable voting a black man for president. And that's *before* I point out that some of those white voters are going to be Democrats.
posted by mediareport at 5:33 AM on January 29, 2008


What you don't seem to understand is that 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11.

I'm copying this from dailykos, but here goes: 9iu11ani
posted by oaf at 5:40 AM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


That used to be mine too. Funny thing, the more you depend on "not being poor" to get adequate health care, the more quickly you become poor.

That's clearly false, and I can only wonder what motivated you to say it. If you want to continue to advance this claim, you're going to have to at least posit a mechanism.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:53 AM on January 29, 2008


I'd agree with the conceit that Obama is a moderate; however, I find it hard to believe that he's conservative.

But after 7 years of Bush, our expectations have been lowered so greatly that an honest moderate like Obama looks good compared to the dishonest moderate of Clinton.

Now, I'm so disillusioned with the Democrats as a whole that I'm voting Green next election, but if Obama was president, that wouldn't be bad, and, of all the "viable" candidates, it would be the biggest step in the right direction.

However, I'm still supporting Kat Swift.
posted by BrianBoyko at 6:00 AM on January 29, 2008


I was all gung-ho for Obama, swept up in the anti-bush's msg thinking it sure would be nice to have someone that sounded smart in the Whitehouse but I dug a bit deeper and determined that

a) He wants me to pay Social Security on everything I make (it's currently capped)
b) He seems to be all for perpetuating the ludicrous farm subsidies and pushing corn/ethanol
c) His health care plan just doesn't seem as good/complete as Mrs C's.
d) The whole Christian thing is a bit of a turn off for me (but was never a deal breaker)

So as much as I personally don't like Mrs C, I flipped because overall I like her actual policies more than I like his. I consider myself relatively well informed, but it sure is easy to get shwoosed along by the marketing and ignore the ingredients...
posted by zeoslap at 6:09 AM on January 29, 2008


they also want Hillary to win because they have the playbook on her and ultimately because of her negatives, she's unelectable.

at least she's not black
posted by matteo at 6:09 AM on January 29, 2008


So sayeth Chris Rock,
The whole country's got a fucked up mentality. We all got a gang mentality. Republicans are fucking idiots. Democrats are fucking idiots. Conservatives are idiots and liberals are idiots.

Anyone who makes up their mind before they hear the issue is a fucking fool. Everybody, nah, nah, nah, everybody is so busy wanting to be down with a gang! I'm a conservative! I'm a liberal! I'm a conservative! It's bullshit!

Be a fucking person. Listen. Let it swirl around your head. Then form your opinion.
posted by chunking express at 6:12 AM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Obama is so inspiring!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:13 AM on January 29, 2008


Wouldn't it be good to be in your shoes even if it was for just one day:
Wouldn't it be good if we could wish ourselves away.
Wouldn't it be good to be on your side
The grass in always greener over there.
Wouldn't it be good if we could live without a care*

*Special thanks to Mr. Nik Kershaw - now I know why I've been dragging this song around in my head for years.
posted by spinturtle at 6:23 AM on January 29, 2008


why is this still here?
posted by saulgoodman at 6:33 AM on January 29, 2008


So, wait. The GOP wants Obama to win so that they can exploit the country's latent racist to defeat him. But, by the same token, they also want Hillary to win because they have the playbook on her and ultimately because of her negatives, she's unelectable. So, which is it? Both?

The latter. The GOP wants Hillary to win because they know that Republican voters loathe her, as do some Democrats and even some undecideds; they would rush to the polls to vote against her.
posted by pineapple at 6:37 AM on January 29, 2008


My I second (or third) Andrew Sullivan. I don't agree with him on many things, and he has been wrong plenty of times, but he actually TALKS ABOUT BEING WRONG which is just so refreshing.

How silly the olden days of journalism were, when people naively thought that if a journalist was constantly wrong about every single thing they wrote about, rather than celebrating how amazing them always being wrong was, they fired him and hired a good journalist.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:42 AM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Argyle, how about Ron Paul?

No, I'm serious though. I don't like his views, because I happen to think extreme free-market capitalism is a terrible, terrible idea. But on civil liberties, he's far left (by today's standards).


Just wait till he's running against someone who isn't Hillary Clinton.

Like Romney? The Republican governor of Massachusetts?

Or how about Clinton v. Romney? Should I vote for the Centrist, pro-choice, Democrat, or the centrist, pro-life, republican?
posted by gauchodaspampas at 6:44 AM on January 29, 2008


I'm also one of those people who finds Obama's constant drivel about "unity" to be annoying in the extreme. It isn't as if its been us Democrats who have been preventing unity, that's entirely the fault of the attack dog Republican party, and again I see no reason to think that things will magically change just because Obama is president.

they won't change at all, and i think obama actually know this - the thing you're missing here is that so far the republicans have been able to use their divisive strategy and fool a good many people into thinking that it's the other side that's being partisan

obama's strategy is to make the republicans show their divisiveness by refusing to cooperate with him - to make them into the obstructionist party

i'm not sure that will really work, but there's more thought behind the strategy than you're giving him credit for
posted by pyramid termite at 6:49 AM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


It isn't as if its been us Democrats who have been preventing unity, that's entirely the fault of the attack dog Republican party

sotonohito, does this not strike you as bullsh*t? Seriously, read it again and tell me you really think this.
posted by rockhopper at 6:56 AM on January 29, 2008


so i guess single link op-eds are okay now? then open the floodgates.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:01 AM on January 29, 2008


I can't wait until he's president, and I can rant against all his conservative positions.

Precisely. And we probably will at some point. But now is not the time for cynicism. It is apathy that elects the worst guys into office, and now is an excellent opportunity for would-be cynics to be motivated to realize - not realize "Know what, I can actually vote for the black guy" or "Know what, I can actually vote for the woman" but simply "Holy shit, I can vote!".

We can perpetuate the same lazy memes we've been mulling over for the last odd seven years and keep typing into these boxes how screwed up America is, or we can, just this once, let go our learned helplessness and, I know this sounds crazy, but just dare to dream and vote at least on the assumption that change is possible. You very literally have very little to lose.

It's up to you, guys.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:09 AM on January 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


zeoslap writes "So as much as I personally don't like Mrs C, I flipped because overall I like her actual policies more than I like his. I consider myself relatively well informed, but it sure is easy to get shwoosed along by the marketing and ignore the ingredients..."

How much do you think a Clinton administration would be able to accomplish, with obstructionist tactics on the right? I think Obama has the potential to get a lot more done, just because there won't be nearly as much resistance to his policies.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:11 AM on January 29, 2008


I flipped because overall I like her actual policies more than I like his.

In Chicago, we had a saying: if you don't like the weather... wait a minute.

Which HRC policies do you like? The ones that she's currently stumping for, or whatever mish mash she'll be supporting after she hits a few bumps in the road?
posted by psmealey at 7:16 AM on January 29, 2008


omgbama
posted by Stynxno at 7:22 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


> If these are his real views it's a pretty big black mark in my book.

I'm taken aback by this statement, and would be interested in an explanation as to why you might think so. I honestly don't get it -- there's nothing that I see in the quoted paragraph that seems anything but clear-eyed realism to me, regardless of whether it's (in the non-political sense) a small-c conservative sentiment or not.


The problem I have -- and I don't know if it's really representative of his beliefs or not, so I was just speaking to the hypothetical if it was -- was with this part:
They allowed themselves to be seduced by the American dream of individualism and mobility, something which to Obama seems "credulous and shallow." ... Freedom has a price, and this is shattered communities and loneliness.
That seems pretty close to 'ah, just fuck it, stay home.'

I think that when you look back on our history in this country, that 'The American Dream,' tawdry as it may seem, is a major driving and unifying force. Regardless of how often it may be ridiculed, I think it, in some form, is why a whole lot of people get up and slog through the workday at some crappy job somewhere. They do it because they think there's a chance to improve their condition through work. Without that belief, I'm not sure our society would last long. People work much harder for that hope of something better down the road -- misguided or not -- than they do for their actual paycheck, in many cases.

I'm not a big fan of creating sacred cows, but I think the whole 'American Dream' concept is pretty close, because it's the only thing we have. There's nothing else that holds the U.S., as a nation, together. We don't have, as some other countries do, thousands of years of basically unbroken history of living on the same patch of land. (Until the Bush administration's regrettable decision to start using the term, the word "homeland" was not a major part of the American cultural lexicon.)

One of the strengths of the U.S. system is that at its core, it's a relatively simple idea that just about everyone understands, at least on some subliminal level, and at least as an ideal if not necessarily in practice.

Obama seems to be calling this "credulous and shallow" which in my mind amounts to calling the entire concept of America -- of a basically egalitarian meritocracy -- credulous and shallow. While that's certainly a legitimate opinion to hold, it's not what I'm looking for in a leader. I'd like someone who's less cynical than myself.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:29 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


sotonohito writes "They've already got the shadow narrative ready to roll out: Obama is secretly a militant Muslim and his first act as president will be to declare Islam the state religion."

And who will buy that? Freepers? Hannity's America?

I don't think that will stick. They've already tried it.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:31 AM on January 29, 2008


Kadin2048 writes "That seems pretty close to 'ah, just fuck it, stay home.'"

No, it's an emphasis on building strong communities, rather than living your life as an isolated person or family, jumping from town to town, according to careerism. You really think Obama wants to emphasize apathy? The American Dream doesn't only consist of following the top dollar, wherever it leads you.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:35 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rockhopper Nope. Doesn't seem like bullshit in the slightest. I try not to write things I think are bullshit.

Like I said, the *very*first* thing the incoming Bush administration did was lie, repeatedly, at length, viciously and in great detail, about the outgoing Clinton administration. That was priority one for Bush. Nevermind all that crap about being a uniter, there was an opportunity to slime a Democrat with lies and that was just what they did. And that set the tone for the entirity of the Bush jr. years.

Democrats won't capitulate to the every whim of the Republicans? Attack like rabid wolverines, call them terrorist lovers, call them traitors, compare them to Hitler on dozens of occasions [1], get a proxy to write a book claiming that Democrats are all closet fascists.

On September 12 of 2001 Bush found a nation united, a nation ready to make sacrifices, a nation ready to set aside bickering and do what needed to be done. And what did Bush do with this amazing outpouring of goodwill? Did he set aside his own highly divisive partisan plans? Did he get down to the hard but necessary work of rooting out Al-Qaeda? Did he take that goodwill and use it to harden America for the painful transition away from oil supplied by his good friends the dictators of Saudi Arabia? Naah, of course not. He used the period of goodwill to push every radically partisan objective he had, pissed away valuable time in responding to Al-Qaed militarially so that when he *finally* did use military force they'd all escaped, and then he pushed for a war with Iraq of all insane places.

The entireity of right wing radio (a truly gargantuian force) is nothing but bitter, vicious, partisanship, as are the legions of journalist/fanatics employed to write op-ed pieces. It started back with Clinton's blowjob, and its escalated ever since.

How can we blame anything but Republicans for the partisanship? They're the ones constantly, unrelentingly, attacking.

On topic

Right now I'll argue that the single most important thing the next president will be doing is appointing Supreme Court justices. For that reason alone I strongly urge all of the "ugh Clinton" and "ugh Obama" and "ugh Democrats aren't any different from Republicans" types to vote Democrat this election cycle. Right now the conservative wing of the Court is mostly populated by younger people, people who will be holding on to their seats for decades. The liberal wing, which ain't very liberal, is mostly populated by people who will be retiring, or simply dying of old age, during the next presidential term.

THe real question is, do you want a Republican to appoint 7 out of 9, or possibly even 9 out of 9 Justices? I know Clinton ain't all that great, and as I said I'm not an Obama fan either. But I'll vote for a purple assed baboon, as long as he's a Democrat, this cycle for one reason and one reason only, the Supreme Court.

If even one more "liberal" Justice retires and is replaced by a Republican the Court won't merely lean conservative, it will outright become the Judicial branch of FOX news and the Cato Institute. We can't afford that as a nation. I lothe the Clintons, the very thought of Terry McAuliffe back in a position of power literally turns my stomach, and if Sen. Clinton is elected then she will install McAuliffe in a position of power. But I'll live with that to save the Court. The few remaining liberal Justices have held on during the Bush years, but they likely can't keep hanging on another four years.

Save the Court, vote Democrat. There really is a difference between bad and worse.

[1] And, of course, when a Democrat dares to return the favor, viciously attack the Democrat for being a vile partisin thug and express horror that *anyone* would ever compare their opposition to Hitler. Apparently one of the requirements for being an elected Republican is the inability to remember events that took place more than a week ago. Because, let me repeat this, Republicans have been compairing Democrats to Hitler for years.
posted by sotonohito at 7:35 AM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


sotonohito writes "Rockhopper Nope. Doesn't seem like bullshit in the slightest. I try not to write things I think are bullshit."

But all of your examples are of Bush. Democrats have been divisive as anyone, although they try to put on a nice, unifying message, so they can't be too obvious about it, they just get their surrogates to do it. You hear the stuff that Bill Clinton is saying lately? You hear the stuff that you're saying?

"How can we blame anything but Republicans for the partisanship? They're the ones constantly, unrelentingly, attacking."

Yeah. Make my point for me.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:42 AM on January 29, 2008


Sheesh people!
The article is interesting because of what it says about what the conservative Brits think about US politics, and how the Brits view what it means to be a Democrat or a Republican here in the US. Which leads me to think that when Obama claims that his presidency will change the way that the world sees the US, that he's right. Whether you like it or not, many people here in the US and around the world perceive the Democratic party as one that is anti-religion, anti-family, and anti-community. So a Democratic candidate with strong faith in his God who realizes that true faith means having doubts and questions, and believes that the core of faith constitutes a moral compass for doing good in the world and changing people's lives for the better, a Democratic candidate who believes that families (whatever form that they may come in) are crucial to the healthy development of our children, and a Democratic candidate who believes that strong local communities are important for the protection of the weak and the development of a strong nation, well, hell yeah, is a radical change in the way that the Brits see US politics.

Compare that against someone who believes that a promises and pledges can be broken as long as you don't actually cross the line (it's a closed-to-the-public private fundraiser, wink wink). Well, it reminds me too much of "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," (blowjobs don't count as real sex, wink wink) and all I see is four more years of bickering and political impasse while our country smolders.

Anyway, if you're not sure whether Obama is a liberal or a conservative in terms of his social and economic policies, do some freaking homework. He's more "left" that Hillary Clinton ever will be.
posted by jujube at 7:56 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


krinklyfig - My hope is that the Dems will get a strong enough showing that either candidate will have a decent chance of actually getting something done. I refuse to vote for someone because the oh so scary right might do x, y or z.

psmealey - I think it's a better bet to vote for the person whose current views reflect my own rather than hope the other guy will changes his later on.
posted by zeoslap at 8:06 AM on January 29, 2008


zeoslap writes " krinklyfig - My hope is that the Dems will get a strong enough showing that either candidate will have a decent chance of actually getting something done. I refuse to vote for someone because the oh so scary right might do x, y or z."

Me, too. That's why Obama gets my vote. Clinton is running on "vote for me 'because the oh so scary right might do x, y or z.'" Obama is running on "vote for me because we need to move forward."
posted by krinklyfig at 8:13 AM on January 29, 2008


[me] "How can we blame anything but Republicans for the partisanship? They're the ones constantly, unrelentingly, attacking."

[ krinklyfig] Yeah. Make my point for me
Wow. So, from your POV, observing that Republicans are unrelenting in their attacks on Democrats is evidence that Democrats are evil partisan thugs? Can you see how wrong that is?

Self defense is not the same as attacking. Saying "hey, this guy is attacking me" is not, amazingly, the same as attacking.
posted by sotonohito at 8:15 AM on January 29, 2008


Obama seems to be calling this "credulous and shallow" which in my mind amounts to calling the entire concept of America -- of a basically egalitarian meritocracy -- credulous and shallow. While that's certainly a legitimate opinion to hold, it's not what I'm looking for in a leader. I'd like someone who's less cynical than myself.

That's one take, certainly. I personally see it as a message of realism: "yes, our common thread is the American Dream but it's time to realistically assess at what cost." The GOP has used the American Dream as an excuse to ignore the middle and lower classes for years, and that's certainly not the "egalitarian meritocracy" that I signed up for.

Cynical is in the eye of the beholder.
posted by pineapple at 8:21 AM on January 29, 2008


interestingly, enough not only is obama really just a conservative wolf in a liberal lamb suit as the title of this fpp so helpfully suggests, he's actually a white corporate raider in black-face! and get this election-season shocker: hillary clinton is a man, baby!

Cynical is in the eye of the beholder.

No, cynical is pledging not to campaign in a state, campaigning in that state anyway, and then seeking to retroactively get that state's delegates reinstated after victory seems assured.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:27 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how Hillary's recanting on her Florida pledge negates my comment about Obama's alleged cynicism in any way, but, okay.
posted by pineapple at 8:39 AM on January 29, 2008


sorry pineapple. i took your comment out of context. i didn't mean to negate your comment. i agree with it, actually.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:44 AM on January 29, 2008


Is it just me, or is the article stating essentially "Obama is well-spoken, a true uniter, and has a healthy, non-dogmatic view of ideology so he is therefore more of a conservative than a liberal"?
posted by maus at 8:48 AM on January 29, 2008


Is it just me, or is the article stating essentially "Obama is well-spoken, a true uniter, and has a healthy, non-dogmatic view of ideology so he is therefore more of a conservative than a liberal"?

That about sizes it up to me. And in some cases, the article just plain misrepresents Obama's positions to make its case.

For example, here's how the article characterizes Obama on healthcare:

Obama believes that the introduction of a government-run healthcare system, as in Britain or Sweden, would most likely be impossible in the US, because it is at odds with certain traditions in American culture.

Here's part of Obama's actual stated position on Healthcare.

Obama's Plan to Cover Uninsured Americans: Obama will make available a new national health plan to all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, to buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress.


That sounds a lot more like European-style government-run healthcare to me than Clinton's plan to require all Americans to buy private insurance (with tax breaks for lower-income families).
posted by saulgoodman at 8:57 AM on January 29, 2008


Mrs C's plan is more European because everyone will have coverage. Obama's plan just makes coverage available to everyone which is a different thing altogether.
posted by zeoslap at 9:08 AM on January 29, 2008


sotonohito writes "Wow. So, from your POV, observing that Republicans are unrelenting in their attacks on Democrats is evidence that Democrats are evil partisan thugs? Can you see how wrong that is?"

I think if you truly believe that only Republicans are responsible for divisiveness, then you're too much of a party loyalist to have a good conversation about it.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:10 AM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


a) He wants me to pay Social Security on everything I make (it's currently capped)

This is a point against Obama? You have got to be fucking kidding me. Currently, Social Security is insolvent, and people didn't like Bush's plan of letting lower and lower-middle class Americans spend their twilight years in penury. The alternative is to adequately fund it. This can be accomplished by turning Social Security contributions from a regressive tax, where the more you make over the cap, the less you pay as a portion of your income, to a flat tax. He's not even talking about making it a progressive tax, just a flat tax, which even arch-conservatives should agree is fair. What the fuck are you complaining about?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:34 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a point against him for me, yes.
posted by zeoslap at 9:51 AM on January 29, 2008


Why?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:52 AM on January 29, 2008


krinklyfig I'm pretty sure that means "I can't think of a refutation to your points, so I'll play the 'I pity you' card, and declare victory", yes?

As for Bill Clinton and his repugnant attacks on Obama, that has exactly nothing to do with Obama's spineless and innane talk of partisan bickering, and you know that perfectly well. When people say "partisan" they don't mean "disagreement within a party", they mean "disagreement between parties"; its certainly what Barack "Ronald Reagan was a god" Obama means. Nice try at a diversion from the topic at hand though.

Like I said, if the nomination isn't decided by the time the Texas primary rolls around, I'll be voting for Obama, and I'll work my ass off to get him (or any other Democrat) elected in the general election. But that does't mean I can't identify the drivel coming from the person I support as drivel. Personally I'm hoping Pyramid Termite is correct and its just a smokescreen, but I rather doubt it. Complete and abject surrender to the Republicans on any and all issues has been the Demoratic modus operandi for a bit more than a decade now, why should they change a losing strategy?

I'm also in favor of a primary challenge for the traitors Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. We don't need surrender first Democrats, and we damn sure don't need them running the frickin' party. I'm all in favor of a bit of partisinship from the Democrats, it beats the shit out of the milquetoast policy they've been persuing for the past 13 or so years. I want more, not less, partisanship from my elected Democrats, and that's why even though I support Obama I don't much like him.
posted by sotonohito at 10:01 AM on January 29, 2008


Well obviously for purely selfish reasons. I make a good chunk above the cap but living in the Bay Area I'm still not exactly flush with cash so that policy would have a direct impact on my amount of take home pay/discretionary income. I'm not relying on SS when I retire so to me it feels like I'm just throwing the cash away.

Don't get me wrong I don't want the streets filled with destitute old folk, but in that respect I think everyone having health care (which won't happen under Obama) is the bigger win.

I'd much prefer a policy that if you retire with over $X dollars then you don't get to collect SS at all.
posted by zeoslap at 10:06 AM on January 29, 2008


sotonohito writes "krinklyfig I'm pretty sure that means 'I can't think of a refutation to your points, so I'll play the "I pity you" card, and declare victory', yes?"

I can only repeat what I said before. It's blatantly obvious that both sides are partisan and contribute to divisiveness, as long as you're not beholden to one of them. Granted, the Bush administration was about the worst example in modern times, but that's because they were the dominant party. The Clinton era wasn't as bad, true, but the era of Democrat dominance in Congress was nothing if not divisive.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:19 AM on January 29, 2008


Don't get me wrong I don't want the streets filled with destitute old folk, but in that respect I think everyone having health care (which won't happen under Obama) is the bigger win.

what makes you think this is so? obama's stated position is this:

My plan begins by covering every American. If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums. That will be less. If you are one of the 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance, you will have it after this plan becomes law. No one will be turned away because of a preexisting condition or illness.

posted by saulgoodman at 10:25 AM on January 29, 2008


I'm not relying on SS when I retire so to me it feels like I'm just throwing the cash away.

That's why it's called 'Social Security', not 'I've got mine, Jack'. At least you won't deny it's for purely selfish reasons.

Personally, I'd like to see income treated as income. It would be nice if capital gains and dividends weren't taxed at a lower rate than income from payroll, and that would include SS contributions.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:33 AM on January 29, 2008


Haha, no. Fuck that Jesus guy. My health care plan is "not being poorhaving a shitload of money."
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:46 AM on January 29, 2008


I agree that capital gains should be taxed at the same rate as income, I guess the flipside is that you've already paid the income tax (inheritances excepted) on the money you turned around and invested so why should you get taxed twice on it.

With regards Obama's healthcare plan while he does state that 'No one will be turned away because of a preexisting condition or illness.' that doesn't mean you are covered; it just means that if you desire coverage you'll be able to get it. Which means millions of people will simply decide not to be covered.
posted by zeoslap at 10:47 AM on January 29, 2008


Why would Nazis have hope in Obama?
posted by BeerFilter at 10:52 AM on January 29, 2008


Slate had a nice summary of the healthcare mandate debate. Abstract: Kucinich's plan was the best practical approach to the problem; Clinton and Edward's mandates make for a cheaper plan at the cost of political salability (and since the plans are built for electoral appeal in the first place, they are in that sense divided against themselves); while Obama's plan has the least worst balance of pragmatism and practicality.

Clinton, Obama, and Edwards all have plans that would steadily enlarge the role of government health insurance. These are accommodations to political reality. I question the wisdom of including, within such an accommodation, a mandate that would render that accomodation unattractive to a large bloc of voters. If we're going to create a ruckus, better to do it in the service of a more comprehensive solution than either Clinton or Edwards has put forth. If we aren't, Obama's resistence to an individual mandate makes perfect sense.

posted by Iridic at 11:07 AM on January 29, 2008


If you want to continue to advance this claim, you're going to have to at least posit a mechanism.

RETURN BILL TO SENDER
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:17 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


krinklyfig

If it is true "that both sides are partisan and contribute to divisiveness." Could you please give concrete examples of Democratic partisanship, obstructionism and divisiveness?

It would do a lot more to prove your point than simply being dismissive towards sotonohito.
posted by uri at 11:20 AM on January 29, 2008


So, from your POV, observing that Republicans are unrelenting in their attacks on Democrats is evidence that Democrats are evil partisan thugs? Can you see how wrong that is?

I think this is a matter of perspective: if one identifies strongly with the Democratic party, this observation (that Republicans are unrelenting in their attacks) sums up the situation nicely, and the need to fight back is clear.

But I don't share that strong party identification. My vote is always specific to the candidate first, and then more generally about any party's views; I've voted mostly for Democrats (or third parties) because I most often agreed with them. But I've always been registered independent, because I never fully agreed with either major party (or any other), and always felt that party identification, and the practical structure this allows, only really made sense for the actual people in the races.

When partisan politics becomes ugly, people who don't party-identify (a substantial and growing portion of the population) mostly just see the fight, lack of productivity, and absence of care for the common good. It appears self-involved and after a while it doesn't matter who started it--a truism that the Republican party has been relying on; all that the rest of us see is the fight.

I don't find Obama's rhetoric to be spineless at all. Seems to me it could accomplish three things: it might actually change the tone of public discourse; as has been mentioned, it could frame the Republican party and media apparatus as the fractious children they are; and, perhaps most importantly, it will build his credibility in the public's perception, so that he will develop the authority to call his political opponents out on their attack politics.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:23 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


uri writes "If it is true 'that both sides are partisan and contribute to divisiveness.' Could you please give concrete examples of Democratic partisanship, obstructionism and divisiveness?"

Why? I don't play that game, sorry. That's the way I see it. It doesn't matter what examples I research and link anyway, because people who are partisan to the Democrats (or Republicans) will usually hear what they want to hear and ignore the rest. You can continue to believe otherwise, but I guarantee that most people from outside the Democratic Party feel the same way - not just Republicans, but independents like me and LooseFilter. As an independent, Obama is the only candidate I've ever really been excited about, and it's because of what As long as Democrats continue to believe their shit don't stink, they will continue to field poor candidates like Kerry, Gore and Hillary Clinton, and not understand how people outside the party see it - need I remind you, those (we) are the people that any candidate ultimately needs to convince, not the party faithful.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:34 AM on January 29, 2008


Damn. That was supposed to be "As an independent, Obama is the only candidate I've ever really been excited about, and it's because of what LooseFilter said. Forgot to close a tag or quote ...
posted by krinklyfig at 11:35 AM on January 29, 2008


I guess the flipside is that you've already paid the income tax (inheritances excepted) on the money you turned around and invested so why should you get taxed twice on it.

I've never understood this argument. It seems to be predicated on the idea that a tax on dividends and capital gains cannot be a progressive tax. What I mean by treating it as income is just that. If you make 500,000, or any given amount in one year, all of it capital gains and dividends, that should be taxed identically to someone who makes a salary of the same amount. I fail to see how that is somehow unfair.

A pensioner who makes 10,000 a year from capital gains and dividends is probably a lot better off than a senior who makes the same bagging groceries. If their income is taxed identically, I fail to see why the one who lives off investments is being treated unfairly.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:36 AM on January 29, 2008


I'm not hearing anything solid from Obama.....he speaks well and in the style of JFK. He can pump up the crowd....but other than declaring that change is needed....and we certainly need change....I'm not hearing what he intends to do.

Am I missing something?
posted by malter51 at 11:48 AM on January 29, 2008


The argument is that the money you use to invest has already been taxed at the income rate when you originally made it. So you lose X% in income tax when you make it, and then another Y% after you've invested it.
posted by zeoslap at 12:04 PM on January 29, 2008


Gore was a poor candidate? I suppose he didn't exactly get voters excited, but when it comes to policy, he consistently identified problems and proposed solutions before most politicians even recognized something was wrong.

He was right on Iraq, right on climate change; he was the voice in the wilderness when no one else in Congress saw the potential of the internet. Poor candidate? What would the world be like today if the Supreme Court had voted the other way?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:06 PM on January 29, 2008


I'm not hearing anything solid from Obama.....he speaks well and in the style of JFK. He can pump up the crowd....but other than declaring that change is needed....and we certainly need change....I'm not hearing what he intends to do.

Am I missing something?



well, there's this.

and then, there's also the fact that of all the candidates on the dem side, obama is currently the only one whose national health care proposal seems to open the door to establishing the public infrastructure needed to provide single-source national health care of the kind most voters would like to see ("Obama will make available a new national health plan to all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, to buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress.")

also he's pledged to get our combat forces out of iraq within 16 months (clinton, by contrast, has committed only to developing a plan within 60 days of taking office to get the troops out according to some as yet undetermined timetable). he's also promised no permanent US bases in iraq, in contrast to clinton, who doesn't address the issue in her official policy statements. compare the candidates' platforms for yourself on their campaign websites (obama's; clinton's). the policy differences are not insignificant.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:10 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Zeoslap, that only makes sense if you are being taxed on the whole value of your investment at the time of sale, and not the appreciation. Even then, what if you made the money you are investing through capital gains or dividends? Should people in that position never be taxed, or be taxed less than someone who works for a living because it will lead to them being taxed more than once from the same revenue stream? Is it unfair to tax collected rent because the landlord already paid taxes on the money used to buy the rental property? I fail to see why it's somehow unfair to tax money made through investment as if it was money made through labour.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:20 PM on January 29, 2008


His health care plan doesn't even come close to creating a single-source/payer health care plan, not even close. All it does is create a new plan that anyone can buy into. That's it.
posted by zeoslap at 12:21 PM on January 29, 2008


As far as "double taxation" goes, I find it fascinating that people whine about it WRT stocks and other investments, but ignore it in all other circumstances. I find this Tom the Dancing Bug comic to be a good example of the absurdity of the position.

Also, what about sales tax? I get money from my employer and that money is subject to income tax. Then, I spend that money on a candy bar and it (shudder, shock, horrors) is *taxed*again*.
posted by sotonohito at 12:27 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


That a fair point [ed]
posted by zeoslap at 12:29 PM on January 29, 2008


I'm impressed by Obama. My big fear is that if he's elected, there will be a nice honeymoon of indeterminate length, then he will get whacked with a crisis, or someone will find something to inflate or fabricate about his past, and he will be forced into defensive mode. The revealed chinks in his armour will be relentlessly prodded by the GOP muck-stirrers and they will do their best to make his inexperience and race a subtext.

If there's enough doubt about him created, the GOP may then gain the senate back in 2010 and they will have successfully boxed in Obama for the rest of his term, by which time the next GOP presidential puppet will have been potty trained and learned his lines.

Whether you despise them or not, you have to concede that the Clintons are political pro's and if HRC gets elected, they would play a better game.... which might mean that they could keep Democrats in power long enough to maybe get stuff done. That is of course assuming the Democrats actually want to get stuff done, and are not just in there cos it's "their turn".
posted by Artful Codger at 12:38 PM on January 29, 2008


I don't think you can vote based on your fear of the opposition. Pick the person you agree with the most and let the chips fall where they will.
posted by zeoslap at 12:47 PM on January 29, 2008


His health care plan doesn't even come close to creating a single-source/payer health care plan, not even close. All it does is create a new plan that anyone can buy into. That's it.

i don't completely agree. it does create a national opt-in plan, with subsidies for lower-income earners, which establishes a framework that might potentially be expanded upon in the future (unlike the other plans which are all private insurance-carrier based).
posted by saulgoodman at 1:20 PM on January 29, 2008


zeoslap I'm voting based on fear of the opposition. I don't actually like any of the Democratic candidates. Clinton brings people I lothe and dispise with her, Obama seems to be an appeaser, and Edwards talks a good game but has proven his spinlessness. That said I'll work my ass off doing GOTV and anything else I can to elect absolutely anyone the Democrats nominate. I'd even grit my teeth and work on behalf of Terry McAulffe if he wind up getting the nomination out of a brokered convention, and I don't think there's a living person on the planet who I hate with the same passion I hate McAulfee.

Why would I do that? Because I fear who the Republican candidate will install in the Supreme Court.

I'd rather vote third party for someone I can actually get behind. Or write in a candidate I like just as a protest vote. But the SCotUS is too important to lose all the way, and that's what'd happen if a Republican (any Republican) got elected.

Artful Codger While there's no doubt the Clintons have experience, I doubt quite seriously that they intend to do anything but maintain the status quo with it. They're both just moderate Republicans, and they'd do nothing to advance a genuinely progressive agenda.

krinklyfig Ah, the "you're too dumb to understand so I won't back up my wild claims" position. I thought better of you than that.

As for partisanship, I argue that it was a lack of partisanship that cost the Democrats the last two elections. People *say* they don't like negative campaigning, but its proven to be effective.

Yeah, Kerry was an awful candidate, but he lost because of two things: 1) the Bush team was masterful at getting new segments of their base to vote through the use of scare ads [1], and 2) a relentless campaign of attack ads. Attack ads work. They work amazingly well. Nothing works as well as attack ads.

Look at Max Cleland. A successful and relatively popular Senator, he was defeated not because he was too partisan, but because his opponent used every dirty tactic she could, including TV ads featuring photos of Cleland, Osama bin Ladin, and Saddam Hussain along with text claiming that Cleland was a filthy commiefaggot America hater.

The lesson to take away from the loss of Kerry and Cleland is not "be nice and don't ever get too partisan, people don't like that". The lesson to take away is: "be as vicious, vile, and nasty as possible, and attack your opponents where they seem strongest" [2]. That wins elections, time and again.

Now, for your homework, show me even one national level Democratic campaign anywhere near as vicious as the ones that succeeded against Kerry and Cleland. Either that or stop talking nonsense about the Democrats being nasty partisans who just have to be nicer to get votes.

[1] For example, in strongly pro-life areas proxies for Bush used automated calls that proported to be in favor of Kerry. As in "A vote for Kerry is a vote for abortion rights, make yourself heard". This played to the anger and fear of Bush's base and mobilized citizens who had supported Bush, but hadn't voted before.

[2] I base the "where they are strongest" on the fact that Kerry is a decorated combat veteran (and his opponent was a fratboy chickenhawk), and Cleland was also a decorated (and disabled) combat veteran (and his oppoent was a chickenhawk). And both of them were subject to astonishingly successful ads that directly attacked their military service, which you'd assume to have been one of their biggest strengths.
posted by sotonohito at 1:20 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


As for partisanship, I argue that it was a lack of partisanship that cost the Democrats the last two elections. People *say* they don't like negative campaigning, but its proven to be effective.

Partisanship is not the same thing as attacking someone's position from a principled position of your own.

Look at Max Cleland. A successful and relatively popular Senator, he was defeated not because he was too partisan, but because his opponent used every dirty tactic she could, including TV ads featuring photos of Cleland, Osama bin Ladin, and Saddam Hussain along with text claiming that Cleland was a filthy commiefaggot America hater.

Yeah, but I think you're failing to adequately account for how dynamic the political reality is, sotonhito. There's a massive popular backlash against exactly the kinds of negative campaigning and character assassination tactics you're talking about. To ignore this sea-change in electoral sentiment would be simple-minded.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:31 PM on January 29, 2008


saulgoodman I think you are incorrect. Yes, in polls people always, always, say they hate negative campaigning. But in the polls people always say they watch educational TV, too. People lie in polls, especially when there's a socially acceptable answer. They know they're "supposed" to hate negative ads, and maybe they really do. But, when it actually comes to voting, they reward the people doing negative ads with votes.
posted by sotonohito at 1:49 PM on January 29, 2008


But, when it actually comes to voting, they reward the people doing negative ads with votes.

You may be right. Or I may be right, and there's been a significant shift as a direct backlash to the Bush admin's legacy in how the public responds to negative campaigning and dirty politics in general. It's a moot point. But either way, it's still a lot less risky to campaign aggressively on the issues--and what I mean by that is really aggressively calling out your opponents on their stated and demonstrated policy positions. That, to me, isn't even close to the same thing as partisanship, and I'd like to see more of it, so that real policy differences among the candidates can be brought to light and evaluated on their merits.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:55 PM on January 29, 2008


“...the policy differences are not insignificant.”
well said saulgoodman

Y’know, I’ve said pretty much everything stated in the FPP about Obama. He’s for change. But he’s for gradual, not radical, change. And people flip right the fuck out about that. “Oh, no Smed, we need radical change (that lasts only until the next administration or election cycle) so we can stomp the bad guy’s nuts again and prove how great *we* are” - whether the ‘bad guys’ are liberals, conservatives, Dems, GOP, whatever.
People gotta vote, for some reason, for ‘their’ guy, or ‘their’ agenda regardless of whether it’s good for them or the policies will help them. Same damn vibe that got Bush elected the second (well, first) time (hey, let’s piss off the liberals).

Even if he’s not the best candidate for the job - and I think he is - it’s an absolute boon for the Dems and for the country that he’s not as utterly powerful and influential as, say, the Clintons.
Anyone see that? Clinton gets elected it’s 8 more years of myopia - whether the policies are great or they’re crummy, it’s going to be domination a-fucking-gain. Just under a different party banner.
Unbelievable that I hear people calling themselves ‘liberals’ who are all for that (’course I hear self-avowed small government ‘conservatives’ arguing for more and more security spending, so I should be used to the b.s. storm).

Obama gets elected, he’s not going to be the party heavyweight precisely because he is the new kid. Which means more compromise. Which means more ideas get bandied about. Which means progress will be slower, but probably more sure because no one has all the cards and people gotta listen to each other to get anywhere.
I’ll take that over dominion by the Gemini Clintons any day. Even if their (her) health care system is swell. If there is even one thing wrong with it, who can say so?
We’ve seen where single party domination gets us. (Oh, but Smed, those guys are *evil.* Absolute power won’t corrupt the Dems) Uh, huh.

Not to mention the fact Rezko gets popped all of a suddne, his jail is revoked, just after Clinton brings it up in the debate.
Now I don’t mind giving Blagojevich as much grief as possible, but (for those of you who know WTF I’m talking about) I don’t like the idea of Stu Levine getting off for manufacturing some pipe dream about Rezko for political gain. Think Bill Cellini doesn’t want to put the boot in to Obama? He’s getting flak (Obama is) exactly because he wouldn’t play ball.
Now that’s Illinois politics, but Levine is a real POS and belongs behind bars (with Rezko) for extorting businesses and hosing the Teacher’s Retirement System. We’ve got enough problems in education in this state as it is.
But the timing of it is all screwy. And the big magillas walk while Rezko catches all of it - just to make Obama look bad.
Dirty politics is dirty politics, but this is going to foul up a lot of the works, and Illinois corruption is already growing mighty thick, we don’t need help from the presidential race pouring fertilizer all over it.

I mean, say, y’know three of the four federal guys who got killed at Waco were former Clinton bodyguards? Strange that. Know who drove Hale Boggs to the airport? Howabout that Vince Foster?
C’mon. It’s wrong when the GOPers do it, but Clinton plays that game, it’s ok? And against people in her own party no less?
*raspberries*
posted by Smedleyman at 2:01 PM on January 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


sotonohito writes "krinklyfig Ah, the 'you're too dumb to understand so I won't back up my wild claims' position. I thought better of you than that."

Yeah, mischaracterize what I said and then slap me with a personal insult. It's not worth it having these conversations with you, because you don't listen. If you want to play tit-for-tat, there are plenty of people who can do that. I'd rather talk ideas than prove who is more right, but you always want to do the latter.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:03 PM on January 29, 2008


zeoslap writes " His health care plan doesn't even come close to creating a single-source/payer health care plan, not even close. All it does is create a new plan that anyone can buy into. That's it."

It would be better than what I'm getting right now through my employer (which is actually pretty good, but expensive), and it would cost me less money.

Artful Codger writes "Whether you despise them or not, you have to concede that the Clintons are political pro's and if HRC gets elected, they would play a better game.... which might mean that they could keep Democrats in power long enough to maybe get stuff done."

I disagree. I think a Clinton administration would be dogged by one fight after another with the Republicans. Hillary is not Bill. She lacks the ability to pull independents over to her side, not even considering Republicans. They liked her pro-war stance, but that's about it, and now they won't even give her that much.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:04 PM on January 29, 2008


Spinturtle:

That would be because of the AWESOME.
posted by pompomtom at 2:44 PM on January 29, 2008


krinklyfig How can I talk ideas with you if you won't do anything to back up your claims? You've got one point: "Democrats are just as vicious in their partisanship as Republicans". That leads logically to the conclusion: "Democrats are too vicious and should back down a bit".

But your claim appears false, and instead of either showing that it is true with evidence, or admitting that you were wrong, you have instead steadfastly held that the claim is true, but refused to show any evidence to support it.

"Talking ideas" doesn't mean I just blindly accept everything you say, especially when what you say does not match my perception of reality. I see vicious, nasty, aggressive, hyper-partisanship in Republican campaigns against Democrats, I see it in Republican dominated talk radio, I see it in Republican dominated op-ed pieces, and I see it in the behavior of elected Republicans. Show me that I'm wrong and I'll change my mind. Blow me off and I get annoyed.

saulgoodman wrote: "But either way, it's still a lot less risky to campaign aggressively on the issues--and what I mean by that is really aggressively calling out your opponents on their stated and demonstrated policy positions. That, to me, isn't even close to the same thing as partisanship"

I'd like that myself, though I can hardly see how its anything but partisanship. You say "I have position X which is fantastic, my opponent disagrees with position X and advocates Y which is terrible". That's partisanship.

Speaking personally, I don't much like the politics of personal destruction. I only advocate it because I know the enemy will use it to great effect and we've got to counter it with something. Kerry showed us that trying to be above the fray doesn't work at all, you *must* respond, or you'll lose the election.

Personally, I'd be happy if the eventual Democratic nominee would do as you say and attack their opponent based on policy. But they've got to attack, simply saying "I'm great, see how great I am" doesn't work either. You must draw a contrast, and to do that you must attack your opponent, either on policy or personality or something. I'd rather the Democrats attacked based on policy rather than personality, but I just want them attacking based on something. Anything is better than their usual "ooooh, we don't dare attack, that would be mean and make the poor Republicans cry" routine.
posted by sotonohito at 2:54 PM on January 29, 2008


sotonohito: Either that or stop talking nonsense about the Democrats being nasty partisans who just have to be nicer to get votes.

I don't recall anyone saying that in the thread, that smacks of projection a little bit. Speaking specifically about Obama's strategy thus far in the campaign, I think it's also important to compare apples to apples: we're currently in a primary election, and Obama is running against other Democrats. It seems to me the ideal time--when all competitors are ostensibly on the same team--to raise the level of discourse. I believe, should Obama win the nomination, this will have the effect of allowing him to respond pointedly and directly to erroneous or fallacious attacks, by having built credibility as a positive candidate through the primaries.

I think it's a precarious position to assume that Obama's strategy through the primaries will be identical to his general election strategy.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:56 PM on January 29, 2008


Also, my read on krinklyfig's perspective (which he indicated was correct) was not that Democrats are just as vicious in their partisanship as the Republicans, but rather that, if you see the U.S. as divided between Democrats and Republicans, that perspective itself is the problem--not what you do with it.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:59 PM on January 29, 2008


Smedley dude, I so wish you were right. What a joy it would be to get up in the morning with the world's most powerful nation led by someone you admire and trust. Whose principles were actually that, not a smokescreen. Genuine change.

But I don't think it's possible in the current system. I don't see a sea change, I just see a nation of people doing essentially nothing, and waiting for the electoral system and time to wash GWB slowly to the horizon.

If there was a real mood of change, impeachment proceedings would have started. You couldn't book a wedding in DC cos all the rentable rooms have hearings and tribunals going on in them. Election primaries news would be on page 3. But no, it's business as usual, only with a shitload more debt, a nervous economy, and an ill-conceived war to clean up after. No-one's learned a thing, they're just moving on.

Yes, sotonohito, the Clinton's aren't bringing the system changes one would like to see. But I think a Clinton status quo would be alot better than what you have now. I fear an idealistic Obama administration that gets checkmated early. I would dearly love to be wrong about this, BTW.
posted by Artful Codger at 4:26 PM on January 29, 2008


BTW, closer to the thread title, the current GOP administration and genuine conservatism have about as much to do with each other as french fries have to do with France.
posted by Artful Codger at 4:35 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


As far as "double taxation" goes, I find it fascinating that people whine about it WRT stocks and other investments, but ignore it in all other circumstances. I find this Tom the Dancing Bug comic to be a good example of the absurdity of the position.

No, that comic isn't a good example of anything, and if the position is absurd, that comic certainly doesn't show so.

The comic ignores the fact that the relationship between the shareholder and the bank is radically different than the relationship between any other two people in the comic. I hesitate to say "ignore," because the depiction of the bank as a flesh-and-blood person appears to actually be an intentional misstatement.

The bank is not a flesh-and-blood person. It's a juridical person owned by the shareholder. Its income is economically attributable to the shareholders as its earned. A dividend simply changes the form of the shareholder's interest (the appreciation on which has already been subject to the corporate income tax) from a profits interest in the corporation into cash.

To pretend that this is just like paying your plumber is idiotic. Your plumber doesn't own your income simply by virtue of your relationship as homeowner and plumber.

There's certainly plenty of room to debate whether there should be a corporate income tax, but that comic doesn't appear at all interest in an honest debate. It's apparently much easier to follow up a gross misstatement of fact with a snarky, poorly supported conclusion and call it a win.

As an aside, in my limited reading, Tom the Dancing Bug routinely makes extremely elementary errors to score political points.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:13 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd like that myself, though I can hardly see how its anything but partisanship.

Sotonhito: Here's what the handy-dandy dictionary says the word partisan means:

1. an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, esp. a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance.
2. Military. a member of a party of light or irregular troops engaged in harassing an enemy, esp. a member of a guerrilla band engaged in fighting or sabotage against an occupying army.
–adjective
3. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of partisans; partial to a specific party, person, etc.: partisan politics.
4. of, pertaining to, or carried on by military partisans or guerrillas.
Which one of these senses of the word do you regard as something our political process would be worse for lacking?

The problem is that all our political issues and processes have all been hopelessly confused with personal identity issues--we see our political views not as well reasoned positions that we should abandon or revise as needed to sync with reality, but as reflections of who we are as people. We don't support policies, we support particular candidates. The cult of personality trumps all.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:40 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks Kadin2048 for explaining your position a bit further. I see what you mean, but I tend to agree with krinklyfig and pineapple about that point: I don't think the intention is to denigrate the American Dream, but to look at it in a way that perhaps strips away some of the obfuscational romanticism that surrounds it, in order to make it a stronger reality for more people, rather than do away with it entirely.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:46 PM on January 29, 2008


When I read this thread, I imagine the voices of South Park characters.
posted by JHarris at 12:58 PM on January 30, 2008


“I fear an idealistic Obama administration that gets checkmated early.”

Maybe. But that’s the thing. It’s not about the man. Leadership is about motivation. There is a whole nation of folks doing nothing because they feel disenfranchised. Obama - again whether he’s the best guy for the job or not - is motivating people because they feel with him they are invested in the system.
It so happens that is *is* the best guy for the job, which is a really nice cherry on top.
There are more and more people turning out to vote and more people involved in the political process because of Obama.
That alone is well worth it. The fact that many of them are minorities - really nice cherry on top.

If he’s elected it will be an absolute turning point moment for the U.S. It will signal, in part, the strength of the minority voice in the U.S. and the decline of the ‘white’ majority. White folks have been losing numbers for a long time in comparison to folks from other ethnicities.
Obama as president would be a huge symbol of not only that, but would spark a realignment of how we think of ourselves. Precisely because he is not only black, but multicultural.
Wealth, power, all that, would be thought of as far more an ekumenical situation than it is though of now.
And, to go back to Machiavelli, someone runs things because the people think they run things. They stop thinking it, you stop running it.
So however good, bad or indifferent Obama and Clinton’s policies are in contrast - Clinton in no way represents the huge paradigm shift Obama does.

Even if their policies were identical (and they’re not) he’s vastly more a symbol of the future and how we should think of ourselves in the U.S. than Clinton is.

And I’ll add - it’s unfortunate Clinton comes with all the baggage she does.
If Obama wins, I’ll be pulling the lever for a Democrat for the first time in quite a while. Not because he’s a Dem, just because of who he is.

If it’s Clinton, to me, I don’t much care for her policies and she’s got a few things that are, for me, almost dealbreakers. But she also represents, a step back, a move to the past. As much as I’d like to go back to that past, I’m not sure how much of G.W. Bush’s policies she’s going to really roll back. Or allow to be rolled back.
Obama, hell, there’s going to be everyone and his brother trying to pull the rug out from under him and limit presidential powers as much as possible.
He doesn’t have to be a potentate. All he has to do is political aikido and let everyone throw themselves off balance.
Me, I like to see congress trying to whip the crap out of the president. Any president.
That it’s going to be a symbol like Obama means more people are going to be looking over the shoulder of their congressmen asking the kind of questions they didn’t ask about Bush the lesser because they thought they wouldn’t be heard. And maybe there will be some changes in congress that lead to lasting reforms (oh, less corporate influence in elections, say).

But either way, less emphasis on executive power is going to be good for the country.
That’s not going to happen under Clinton, whether she’s facing a dogfight or an easy ride or whatever.
And if the GOP tries to gut executive power while she’s in office God help the U.S.A. That would tear the country right up. (And I don't viscerally hate HRC. I don't much care for her, but it's nothing personal. But I'd like to see the executive build up of powers - especially the war powers - get backed off quite a bit, that trend's been a constant over the past handful of decades. Happened under Bill too. But I'd resist that. And then suddenly I'm 'buddies' again with the GOP - 'cause the diehard dems (like diehard anythings) refuse to see I object on principle, not on partisanship)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:12 PM on January 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sigh, politics. Right down to the "step back" phrase.
What we say in life (or on metafilter), echoes in medieternity (to misquote Marcus Aurelius).
Oh, not that I don’t love my own words. But people lift a turn of phrase and reiterate it as though the thing itself were of merit.
Still, that’s likely just ego talking. Common reasoning, all that.
“If mind is common to us, then also the reason, whereby we are reasoning beings, is common. If this be so, then also the reason which enjoins what is to be done or left undone is common. If this be so, law also is common. If this be so, we are citizens. If this be so, we are partakers in one constitution. If this be so, the universe is a kind of commonwealth.” - to properly quote Aurelius
posted by Smedleyman at 8:46 AM on January 31, 2008


*sigh* Is Obama conservative? No. (.pdf).
posted by rush at 11:11 AM on January 31, 2008


Hmmm. Why am I thinking this post will soon disappear?

Because it's got a certain je ne sais quoi about it?

Oh, wait. I do know: it's got a certain "one-link, no-commentary politicsfilter" about it.


Guess again, Pineapple. Those criteria don't apply when it's your favorite candidate being given the single-link, op-ed treatment.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:06 PM on January 31, 2008


Oh, quit yer damn whining already. Sheesh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:45 PM on January 31, 2008


Who's whining? It's just a statement of fact that the usual FPP deletion criteria don't apply whenever Pineapple's favorite candidate gets the single-link, op-ed treatment, which is as it should be.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:10 AM on February 1, 2008


Is this a conversation I'd have to be me to understand?
posted by pineapple at 7:41 AM on February 1, 2008


probably.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:18 AM on February 1, 2008


Sullivan is a conservative who really dislikes the bush administration.mediareport: I didn't say anything about the GOP, psmealey, which, in case you haven't noticed, isn't a monolithic bloc.

It's a bit colloquial, but technically, that's actually exactly what it means. I think that you meant that "conservatism" isn't a monolithic bloc.

saulgoodman: No, cynical is pledging not to campaign in a state, campaigning in that state anyway, and then seeking to retroactively get that state's delegates reinstated after victory seems assured.

Hey saul, how do you feel about Nader campaigning in Florida in 2000 after the Green Party asked him not to? Are you cynical about that?

sotonhito: [2] I base the "where they are strongest" on the fact that Kerry is a decorated combat veteran (and his opponent was a fratboy chickenhawk), and Cleland was also a decorated (and disabled) combat veteran (and his oppoent was a chickenhawk). And both of them were subject to astonishingly successful ads that directly attacked their military service, which you'd assume to have been one of their biggest strengths.

The Kerry backlash might have had something to do with that whole Winter Soldier thing. Because, you know, to some people, nominating Kerry based on his military service actually was pretty much the biggest insult imaginable. Specifically, many of the people whom that brilliant tactical move was supposedly targeting.

The Cleland thing, on the other hand, is distinct -- it should probably be read in light of the fact that the electorate was basically out of its goddamn mind in 2002. That struck me as genuinely ridiculous -- but the notion that Kerry was "strong" on security is just wrong. The fact that that narrative was accepted so readily by the Democratic Party as the basis for "electability" is kind of emblematic of the stupidity of the Party in many ways -- it was transparently meaningless, even patronizing, to assume that people would accept Kerry as "strong on security" based solely on the fact that he was a veteran.

Then again, that mistake is the same mistake that led to many of the Democratic Iraq votes in the first place. When you talk about "appearing" to be "strong on security" (or when that's the uncontroverted public narrative at any rate), it's not as if people aren't listening to that. What possible takeaway is there from "appearing to be" for something except, "We don't believe in this, but we're voting for it because (a) we're afraid it'll be used against us later, and (b) people are idiots and won't notice that we're saying exactly what we're saying right now"? It's a miracle that the Party hasn't been crushed utterly yet despite the fact that it still doesn't seem to collectively understand the problem with that logic. At least Obama seems to grasp this, but the fact that he's had to fight as hard as he has until this point (and that, as of this comment, his success is still very much in doubt) is sad indeed.
posted by spiderwire at 10:45 PM on February 1, 2008


That first line was supposed to read:

"Sullivan is a conservative who really dislikes the bush administration. ...recently."
posted by spiderwire at 10:46 PM on February 1, 2008


Hey saul, how do you feel about Nader campaigning in Florida in 2000 after the Green Party asked him not to? Are you cynical about that?

actually, i'm cynical in general about nader's campaigning. i think he should stop. he's embarrassing himself and doing harm to his own ostensible cause in the process. but instead of learning the bigger lessons about gore's loss, many dem's have focused to an absurd degree on scapegoating nader. which just completely misses the point of gore's loss yet again, and distracts from the real institutional sources of the dem's bigger problems. (not to mention alienating former nader supporters, by taking their votes for granted and perpetuating the idea that democrat partisans are arrogant and self-satisfied.)
posted by saulgoodman at 10:41 AM on February 4, 2008


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