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Not the Most Important Election
2008-09-11 23:38
by Scott Long

I was watching Bob Schieffer on Charlie Rose. I have always found him a thoughtful, classy observer of politics, which is something that is in short supply in the media world we live in. Schieffer spoke to how he believes both candidates are quality men who he would feel comfortable with as President. I know this won't be a particularly popular sentiment here, but I feel the same way. I did not feel that way in the 2000 campaign, as I felt Bush was intellectually lacking and I didn't recognize who Gore was much of the time. In 2004, I knew that Bush was intellectually lacking (to say the least) and Kerry never seemed Presidential to me. I realize that both candidates have great policy differences and I'm aware that they would take the country in very different places, but I am comfortable that both will be a much better President than the idiot we have had in the job for the past 8 years.

Now I know this statement will create derision from the partisans that believe only their side is correct and I understand it because I felt the same way about Reagan and Dubya. I like McCain and Obama on a personal level and I have great respect for their personal backgrounds, which I think will inform their decisions in a positive manner. Sure McCain used his daddy"s and grandfather's name to sail through Annapolis, but the experience he went through as a prisoner of war is what informs his life more than anything. I don't believe that being a prisoner of war is an automatic qualification for being leader of the free world, but McCain has went against his party enough and has many personal connections with Democratic senators that he could get some important legislation done. Obama is a much bigger unknown, but he has the greatest potential of transforming the world that any President has ever possessed coming into the job. His life is one that is unique on many levels and I believe gives him great insight into parts of society that are rarely represented by this country.

Neither are perfect men. Hey, there are very few of us. I know that the most strident on each side will make you believe that this is the most important election of all-time. It isn't. In hindsight that happened in 2000, as a Bush presidency has been an abject failure on so many levels. The demonization of both men running I believe is unwarranted on most levels this time around. Be passionate about who you support, but keep in mind that we will better off whoever we choose. At least this is the way I look at it.

2008-09-12 04:41:26
1.   williamnyy23
Of the bat, I think it is a little crass to refer to the President as an idiot, but to each his own. Whether I agree with a man's politics or not, I wouldn't be so ready to label him an idiot unless I thought my resume could stack up with his. Also, I think history will be a lot kinder to Bush than it appears now, but we'll have to see about that.

I also think you comment about McCain benefiting from his daddy's name is kind of silly. After all, McCain turned down an early release that was offered because of who his father was. Think about that for a second…after years of torture and solitary confinement, John McCain refused to be released, subjecting himself to almost 5 more years of torture. If that action alone doesn't SCREAM honor and integrity, then I don't know what does.

Your most head scratching comment, however, is the suggestion that Obama has "the potential of transforming the world that any President has ever possessed coming into the job"? You can't be serious? Putting aside the transforming roles of the founding fathers, Lincoln, the two Roosevelts and Reagan, what about Obama and the current state of the world makes you see that potential? I realize that Obama has carefully crafted an image as a knight in shining armor, but I don't really think world leaders are going to buy into that image as much as some of the U.S. electorate. Instead, they will likely warm up to him because it will present an opportunity to get the upper hand on a young and inexperienced U.S. president…kind of like some world leaders felt about JFK.

Putting all those considerable difference asides, I think your main point is dead on: this is not one of the most important elections in a long time, unless you base that statement purely on symbolism. Personally, I think John McCain does have the chance to be a very good president, while Obama seems more likely to be party man whose idealism will overshadow very little legislative action (just like the first term of Clinton). Still, the reality is that the next four years will likely bring about little "change", which in politics is an often used, but rarely defined word. In the primary season, I argued that McCain and Obama were the best two choices because they would yield candidates that most people wouldn't hate, which I thought was important after 16 years (Clinton and Bush) of having about 40% of the country revile it's President. I still think that's the case, but it would be a shame if a nasty election season changed that perception.

2008-09-12 05:54:44
2.   D4P
I wouldn't be so ready to label him an idiot unless I thought my resume could stack up with his

Along those lines, I've been thinking about how weird it is that to get a job as a professor or a doctor or a lawyer or a (fill in the blank), you actually have to meet certain standards (e.g. relevant education, experience, competence, etc.).

But to be a "leader of the free world" (or a "vice leader of the free world"), beyond being born in the US and being old enough, there are virtually no standards or qualifications you must meet. All that you need is sufficient funds to get on the ballot, and then sufficient popularity (relative to your opponents) to get voted in. That's it.

I know a lot of people who automatically assume that, if a person has been elected into national politics, s/he must necessarily be more intelligent/qualified/competent etc. than "the rest of us". I reject that notion completely.

And I agree with Scott that McCain is better than Bush. I think he's decided to make himself more Bush-like during the campaign than he actually is, because he thinks he needs to do that to get elected. (His VP choice says a lot in this respect). If/when he gets elected, I think he'll move further to the left, though I don't know where he'll end up. That being said, it's at least theoretically possible that Palin will keep him more to the right than he otherwise might have been.

The good news if Obama wins: the better candidate will have won, and the country will ultimately be better off for it.

The good news if McCain wins: Bush's party will have to pay for Bush's incompetence, and won't be able to blame Bush's mistakes on Obama. Because you know that if Obama wins, all of the problems Bush has caused/exacerbated that his supporters are either ignoring or spinning in a positive direction would all of a sudden become huge problems that Obama would be blamed for. This would be a huge relief for Bush supporters, who must be getting tired of denying his utter incompetence.

2008-09-12 06:55:28
3.   jgpyke
"if Obama wins, all of the problems Bush has caused/exacerbated...would all of a sudden become huge problems that Obama would be blamed for"

Just like Bush bore some of Clinton's mistakes as his own. I'm no fan of much of what Bush has done (and for very different reasons than those on the left--e.g., my objection with NCLB goes to first principles and constitutional mandates rather than the poor execution of the program).

I agree with williamnyy23 that history will likely be a lot kinder to Bush than we may expect. I don't like the continuation of the vast expansion of govt, particularly the imperial presidency that FDR ushered in (why that guy has gotten virtually a free pass on all his failures is beyond me, although you can cover a multitude of sins by defeating Hitler and Tojo, I suppose).

I also disagree with the concept that Bush is unintelligent. Of course, a lot of this goes to what your definition of intelligence is. I am a firm believe in Spearman's g, the concept that there is a measurable general intelligence. Naturally, this is controversial (esp. to people who have no training in psychometrics or education--witness the unfair outcry at Murray and Herrnsteins's book, "The Bell Curve," mostly from people who never read it. I recommend it highly, b/c it is very easy to read and completely fascinating, even if you disagree with the premise that intelligence exists and is heritable. But I digress). But if you think IQ scores and standardized tests measure intelligence, even somewhat, to give rough comparisons between individuals, then George W. Bush is undoubtedly much more intelligent than a good 90% of the American population (based on Bush's standardized test scores and acoording to people who actually do this kind of work for a living). What does this mean? Nothing. I think Americans tend to conflate [my fave word this week] public speaking ability with intelligence. And then tend to think that is someone makes policies they don't agree with, then that person must be unintelligent.

What is kind of funny, though, is that IQ is supposedly a completely discredited notion...unless we're talking about Republican candidates for office. Then, all of a sudden, it has meaning again. But if we're talking about other arenas, the cries are for "multiple intelligences" and "emotional intelligence" and other alternate forms of "intelligence" that make people feel good about themselves.

The Palin pick was very smart. McCain was not a favorite among actual conservatives. I would rather have Fred Thompson or Huck, both of whom know how to work the camera and a crowd (which I think makes a president interesting, if nothing else). But McCain is the NYT favorite Republican. Liberals, imagine Joe Lieberman as your prez candidate, and you can feel our pain. He's Captain Amnesty, Gang of 14, etc. But the Palin pick allows McCain to balance the ticket (in more ways than ideologically), bring in a fresh face, steal the mantle of change, control the news cycle, ignore Biden to go 2:1 on Obama, etc. It may pay off.

Do I think an Obama presidency dooms us somehow? I dunno. But I do know that he's a lot less "transformational" when he's pulled off message and not on the teleprompter. Hillary handed McCain that playbook from the primaries, and I remember thinking back in March this very thing. Obama is easily rattled and loses the luster very quickly when he's forced out of his A-game. But I will say his A-game is an excellent one, and if he can get it back, he'll win. But the mistakes his campaign has made are legion, and I have little reason to believe he will right the ship.

One last thing about McCain and the "sailing though Annapolis" quip (great pun, BTW). A third gen Navy man would be hard pressed to fail. I am sure he got a lot of hazing and flack, prolly more so than others, precisely b/c of who his people are. But at the end of the day, they would drag him through if they had to. Annapolis is in the business of training leaders, and I think he's done OK.

2008-09-12 07:10:01
4.   williamnyy23
2 Not having to meet certain requirements seems some what American to me. I would hate to have the presidency determined by going to an Ivy League school, for example. Of course, George W. has not only done that, but also ran his own compannies as well as one of the nation's largest states. So, I'd imagine he'd meet every criteria if a requirement for experience was established. As much as some like to portray Bush as an idiot, it sure seems like he has accomplished quite a bit.

Also, if an experience requirement was enacted, the candidate whom you think would make a great president might not be eligible.

2008-09-12 07:29:00
5.   lentnej
When I tell my oldest son, "never underestimate your opponent" I like to use George W. Bush as an example. People who called him an idiot and dismissed him are going to realize in 2009 that the man accomplished practically all he set out to do: get Hussein out of Iraq, raise the price of oil, de-regulate large sections of the banking industry, and move the judicial system to the right. You can disagree with what he's done and point to obvious mistakes and even misdeeds but he and his friends have had success by their own measure.
I agree with Scott- a victory by either man would be fine with me because both men seem like decent, thoughtful men.
Another reason why I can't get excited about the election is that the near future promises to be frought with problems bigger than any one man can solve. I don't see the economy, energy crisis or our environmental problems getting any better over the next four years. I'd bet on catastrophe before I'd predict a bright future.
2008-09-12 07:42:48
6.   jgpyke
5 I liked what you had to say until your foil hat blinded me with the statement that it was a Bush goal to "raise the price of oil."
2008-09-12 07:48:22
7.   williamnyy23
5 6 I agree...even if you hate Bush, I really don't see why one of his goals would be to raise the price of oil.

I agree with your main point, however. There seem to be a lot of bumps ahead in the world...the next President is going to have to really role up his sleeves...simply being an advocate for "change" wont be enough. In many ways, this is kind of like 1980 all over again.

2008-09-12 09:16:30
8.   Scott Long
I really liked lentnej point. I am a realist and that is why the whole change argument sounded kind of hollow on the domestic agenda. The Republicans explosion of spending during the 2000-2006 period has left us in deep shit, much like what Bush 41 had to deal with when he took office. (At least Reagan could point to the explosion of the budget being partially the Democratic congresses fault.)

My use of the word idiot was pejorative in nature. I don't think he is stupid, but I do have contempt for his lack of intellectual curiosity and especially the imperial presidency that he has run. (Much worse than FDR---where are his fireside chats. More like Nixon, but much worse than him, as well.)

I also agree that McCain will be more moderate than he is running. I will explain why I think an Obama presidency has the potential to be transcendent in the next couple of days. I am not saying it will happen, but I do think there is great potential on the international front.

2008-09-12 09:20:25
9.   Penarol1916
What 5 got wrong and 6 and 7 missed as the real error in the post was the fact that de-regulation of the banking industry happened almost entirely before Bush's time. The only large banking legislation that I recall over the last 8 years is the toughening of bankrutpcy standards. In fact, I'd say, what we are seeing right now is the beginning of the re-regulation of the banking industry.
2008-09-12 09:38:36
10.   George Y
Scott wrote: "the experience he went through as a prisoner of war is what informs his life more than anything."

It's too bad McCain never talks about that.

2008-09-12 09:47:45
11.   UVaDodger
0 The 2000 election was more important than the 1860 election? Really?
2008-09-12 09:54:47
12.   williamnyy23
9 Excellent point...most of the banking deregulation that people cite for playing a role in some of the current economic troubles (without even considering the economic gains) were enacted by President Clinton. It would have been nice for Bush's legacy to have that on his accomplishment list, but President Clinton deserves the credit.
2008-09-12 10:11:06
13.   The Hawk
Ha yeah the last three elections have all been called the "most important" ...

No offense to anyone, and I agree with the sentiment, but isn't saying either candidate will be better than the current President setting the bar awfully low?

A few months ago I would have agreed in general that both would make a decent president. However the last few weeks have really soured me on McCain. I feel he's betrayed his own principles and certainly has dragged the campaign overall into the mud with the blatant misleading ads he's run of late ... This lipstick on a pig thing has just disgusted me and it's pretty disappointing.

When I see him standing behind Palin as she gives her speech, he looks like a man who's sold his soul.

2008-09-12 10:16:09
14.   cult of basebaal
12 excellent point, the economic gains i've gotten from riding SKF up and down like a rented mule have been most enjoyable.
2008-09-12 10:16:31
15.   The Hawk
10 Zing!
2008-09-12 10:16:32
16.   The Hawk
10 Zing!
2008-09-12 10:16:32
17.   The Hawk
10 Zing!
2008-09-12 10:31:09
18.   CharlesFosterKane
Um, I don't know how confident you can be that the country will be better off with McCain.

His temper and more aggressive military outlook than Bush--especially when American interests are not at stake--could crush the economy and continue to make us unsafe.

And let's not forget the man who wrote his economic plan, and long time friend, is Phil Gramm who is more responsible for the housing crisis than anyone else.

2008-09-12 10:41:36
19.   Penarol1916
13. Frankly, the only thing I even want out of this election anymore is for it to just become completely disgusting. I want Obama to accuse McCain of being pedophile because of the ad attacking his support of a bill to teach kindergarterners about bad touches. I want McCain introducing hookers who say Obama and Ayers used to pay them to double team them while they discussed which public buildings they wanted to blow up. I want Obama to produce evidence that McCain used his wife's beer distributorship money to fund a large international drug cartel and that his support of comprehensive immigration reform is really so that his drug mules can continue to travel between Mexico and the US more easily. I want McCain to accuse Obama of persuading Rezko to buy that piece of land next to his house, so that he could afford his house by promising to sacrifice one of his to Baal on his behalf.
2008-09-12 10:52:59
20.   Penarol1916
18. My dad used to teach economics at Texas A&M with Gramm. Said he spent pretty much the whole time building up political connections to start running for office and was pretty much an empty suit. Said his wife was among the most brilliant economists he had ever met.
2008-09-12 10:54:54
21.   Shaun P
0 ". . . but keep in mind that we will better off whoever we choose."

I can think up a few hypotheticals that prove your statement wrong, Scott, but a McCain-Palin win frightens me, so others' mileage may vary.

However, one problem in assessing this race is that too much attention is on the person at the top and little more. But its the people they surround themselves with - not just their running mate, but the folks they'll fill all those Executive Branch positions with - that count as much as that one person, if not more. The President has the last word, but one person alone can only do so much.

2008-09-12 10:57:27
22.   The Hawk
PS That multiple post wasn't my fault! I swear
2008-09-12 11:00:41
23.   Scott Long
Ok, I guess I can go with the notion that 1860 was more important. I should have said in my lifetime.

Here is where you could argue 2000 was more important.
The president won losing the popular vote. Instead of trying to honor the fracture of the country in even a small way, he was as partisan as any president has been that I can remember.
At a time when he had an opportunity to bring nations together, he sent our country basically on a unilateral invasion of Iraq, a quagmire that we are stuck in for as long as my eye can see.
At a time when he could have asked the American people to sacrifice for the greater good, he told them to go out shopping.
At a time when energy independence should have been a major focus, he practically ignored the concept until the Dems took over the Congress.

I don't know how Gore would have handled these issues, but I am completely confident our economy would have been in better shape and we wouldn't be sitting in a quagmire. I'm sure the Bush supporters will claim otherwise. It is all Monday morning quarterbacking at this juncture.

No, it is not repealing slavery through a civil war, but our nation is in a real bad place. In 2000, our nation looked to be in great shape. 9-11 changed things, as the Bush admin likes to always say, but a quagmire in Iraq, both parties rarely working together now, and a massive budget deficit didn't have to the collateral damage.

2008-09-12 11:12:17
24.   Penarol1916
23. Frankly, our economy has been headed in this direction for the last 30 years or so since Americans have been consuming more than they've been producing. Basically, we've been piling on too much debt for a while now, and it is finally coming home to roost.
2008-09-12 12:19:42
25.   jgpyke
a unilateral invasion of Iraq

This is where history will be kind to Bush, erasing the media's narrative of unilateralism and replacing it with actual facts.

2008-09-12 12:56:00
26.   Scott Long
I agree with penarol to a certain extent about how the transition into a global economy has hurt us in the long run, but at least under Clinton there was level of distribution in income that our deficit was manageable, despite the oncoming disaster which is baby boomers meeting social security. Under Bush's wild spending through his massive growth of government, we are bleeding out of every orifice.

Besides being pretty much the sole focus of Muslim hate since we unilaterally went into an Iraq, a country that we were better served by having a iron-fisted maniac at the helm...the war has been the biggest financial boondoggle going on in our nation. This is where McCain's point of balancing the budget by vetoing earmarks runs so hollow. These pork projects don't amount to squat compared to massive welfare project that is the Iraq war. The military has always been the worst government agency at wasteful spending and McCain seems to think we need to increase it. No matter who becomes President, we are stuck there for at least their 1st term because it will take that long just to get the equipment out of there safely.

What a mess. Now how do you jgpyke think that is something that Bush will be looked at positively by historians for?

2008-09-12 14:28:23
27.   misterjohnny
24 and others. I don't see our economy as being in that bad of shape. We were MUCH worse in the late 70's - staglation. Prices going up with no growth in the economy.

In the early part of this decade, we got the double whammy of the internet bubble bursting and 9/11. Yet the economy continued to grow. Standard of living is higher.

Now we are getting the double whammy of the housing market bubble bursting (anyone remember 1988?) and oil prices impacting the cost of everything. Yet inflation is still under control, and the economy has not gone into recession.

It is a little precarious, yet we are in much better shape than our politicians want us to believe.

Do we have issues? Of course. As a government we are overspending vs our income. We can solve that by cutting spending or raising taxes. Who you vote for will determine that answer.

Health care? Compare today's health care, even for those uninsured, with health care from 30 years ago. Worlds better. Also more costly. Progress has its costs. Somebody has to pay for that. Who pays for it will be determined by who gets elected. Maybe. More likely we will have more gridlock since there are no easy answers to providing lots of health care.
Alternative Energy? After you get past the hyperbole on both sides, our best solution today is nuclear. Nobody wants it in there backyard though. Or the waste, even though reprocessing has reduced the waste to a tiny fraction of what it was. So we get to talk about wind, solar, geothermal, etc. but none of them are really cost efficient, so it is a matter of sacrificing standard of living (in terms of spending more money on energy) vs the environment. Higher oil prices make alternative energy sources more competitive, but we still arent' that close to solving energy needs, and the guy we put in there won't be able to solve the physics and economics of the problem.

Iraq? We are in much better shape today than we were 3 years ago. Iraqi security force casualties are 1/3 what they were in 2005 and US killed are half what they were in 2005. Through August 194 servicemen were killed in Iraq. Compare that to Vietnam where 16,000 men were killed in 1968 and over 2,300 in 1971. In the end, despite the rhetoric, I believe Obama and McCain would probably end up with very similar game plans for Iraq. A slow draw down of troops as Iraqi forces build up. Despite the pleadings from the far left, Obama is too smart to pull everyone out quickly and have a civil war play out live on CNN.

I guess my summary is I agree with Scott, this isn't that important of an election. It comes down to how you want to solve some of the problems that might be solvable. I think we are more likely to come up with compromise solutions with McCain in office, but in the end, the american economy will continue on, because even after taxes are raised, the entrepreneurial nature of the US will continue to grow the economy and build jobs.

2008-09-12 14:34:47
28.   jgpyke
First of all, let me state that I am not a Bush koolaid drinker. I have had problems w/ Bush from the start, e.g., "compassionate conservatism." Even excluding Iraq, there has been a massive expansion of the fed govt, which I hate. The one thing I would have loved is for SS to be privatized. That was really a no brainer, and I still don't get the opposition to it (even Bush's pansyass partial privatization plan).

But as for Iraq, time will tell. I definitely disagree with the "unilateralism" tag, b/c it just isn't true. But for the rest, it really remains to be see. If a peaceful and democratic Iraq actually happens, then Bush will look OK a few decades from now. And if we can contain Iran as well, even better. Of course, it could go the other way completely. So I'll put my crystal ball away and admit that I really don't know.

Major wars cost lots of money. No one complains about how much they cost, usually, unless we lose. We'll see what happens.

A good friend of mine is going back to Iraq for his fourth tour coming in January. He wants to go back, insists we're winning. He wants to finish the job. And if there are a lot of guys like him over there, we will win.

2008-09-12 14:42:35
29.   misterjohnny
26 The income disparities are more a function of the global economy than anything else. NAFTA, which Clinton (and every other living president) endorsed, further exacerbated the problem. It moved jobs to Mexico and Canada. It also created jobs in the US. We are going to see a bigger disparity in income for the have's and the have nots because the have nots do not have the skills to be haves. And the jobs that those people had in the past have moved over seas. High school graduate? Work in the factory! Sorry, those factory jobs are in China.
Don't blame Bush for that one.
What is the solution? I don't see there is an easy one. Give more opportunities for people to become haves. That means good education. Problem is our public education system is hopelessly broken. Give poor people a way out, through vouchers. Good students come from parents who emphasize education (witness the high enrollment of asians in U.C. schools - the culture values education). But if you are stuck in a bad public school, it is a lot tougher to pull yourself up. Give the parents who care a way to opt out. Means test it if you want, I'm not saying you need to give money back to the rich who already send their kids to private schools. But give the poor a chance.

As for what history may say about GWB? Conservatives will regret that despite a Republican House and Senate all they ended up with is a perhaps temporary tax cut and some conservative Supreme Court justices. No fundamental reforms (Social Security, private retirement accts, health care) and a massive debt. That is not what they signed up for.
Liberals will point to the dead in Iraq. Only time will tell if it was worth it, I'm not that prescient to answer the question.
But the one thing historians can point to is that the people of the United States were not attacked after 9/11. How much did GWB contribute? Different sides will say different things, but that is something, when you consider the last 20 years of terrorism around the globe.

2008-09-12 15:56:10
30.   Scott Long
You know what is always consistent around here. The conservatives slam and the liberals slam me. One great thing at this site is that you have intelligent people on both sides of the aisle who contribute their point of view. Go to the comment section at the Daily Kos or Powerline and try to find any semblance of balance of discussion.

Here is where I think the economy is in worse shape than even in the 70's.
We didn't have an incoming social security crisis on the horizon.
Health care was much cheaper (not as good either, which is one of the reasons it is more expensive).
Personal debt levels are through the roof.
We were out of Vietnam by the time the time the recession hit in the 70's, so we weren't stuck paying billions each month for a war which has no end in site.
We produce very little in this country, so as was mentioned, if you don't have some kind of high tech type skill, you are probably going to be stuck in a low-paying service industry job. Large disparities in income are never the signs of a healthy economy.

In regards to a conservative who voted for Bush 2 times not trusting McCain. This is a positive sign for me when it comes to McCain. He also was the only candidate the Republicans had running for the job who could have had any chance of winning. It is because he can honestly say that he hasn't been a rubber stamp for Bush. Sure he is way more conservative than I would wish him to be, but he is more of a Goldwater republican which has its merits.

On the subject of him not knowing how to use a computer and not using email, I don't think it is a positive, but it is not vital when you are president. As long as the rest of his cabinet is fluent, what does it really matter? When you are president, you can tell whoever you want to call you or send you a fax and they will do it. It is not like he is running Apple or Microsoft.

Finally, when it comes to Iraq, I don't see any way in hell that they will ever achieve a successful democratic society tag. Sorry, but it was put together as 3 fractured, warring cultures who have too deep of wounds to consider coming together. Now think of the blood and treasure we have spent to try to make this neo-con experiment work. The money used in this war would have been a great start in putting together a comprehensive health care plan. I have never met one person, conservative or liberal who actually pays for their whole families health care that thinks we shouldn't have a system that works much better. If it isn't a comprehensive plan that was touted by Edwards and HRC, at least one like Romney put together in Massachusetts would be a good start.

Our near failure in Afghanistan just reflects even more on why we shouldn't have went into Iraq by ourselves. I do shows for troops all the time and I can tell you that I don't get the same gung-ho reflection from them that your friend has. It has left many of them broken, as continued tours is not what they thought they were signing up for, let alone the damage they are bringing to their families.

2008-09-12 16:50:13
31.   jgpyke
He also was the only candidate the Republicans had...who could have had any chance of winning

I still think Huck could have been extremely competitive. And having two very telegenic campaigners would have been exciting to watch. Thompson would have been a very Reaganesque figure and could have done well, too. The Republican field was fairly deep this year. Unfortunately, the way the primary system is designed, it was easy to lose if you made an early mistake (e.g., Rudy skipping NH and Iowa, Huck not trying harder in SC and foolishly focusing on FL instead).

he is more of a Goldwater republican

I'd be slow to offer that title. He likes to claim it, but I'm not sure it fits. Scott, I don't know if you're much of a reader, but you oughtta do yourself a favor and go to your library and check out Goldwater's 1960 book, "The Conscience of a Conservative." It's about 100 pages and written very plainly. Fascinating stuff, I guarantee.

I don't get the same gung-ho reflection from them that your friend has

I can believe that. My buddy James is a former student. He took my classes for all four years and was (1) a huge pain in the ass and (2) the smartest student I ever had. He is now a Capt in the Marines. So his perspective is one of command and intelligence (literally and figuratively: he's smart, AND he works in intelligence). I'm not refuting your statement or experiences, just clarifying his.

2008-09-12 16:56:52
32.   Scott Long
No way Fred Thompson could have had success as he was a painfully dull speaker. It worked for him as an actor playing a certain role, but he had little of the charisma Reagan had.

I really like Huckabee and if some news channel had some brains they would give him a show, as he is really entertaining. I just think the evolution issue would have doomed him as a candidate. I sure hope so, at least.

I know I was pushing the Goldwater comparison, but McCain is far from being a christian conservative type, which is what I was getting at. At this point the only book I really find time to read are titled "I've got a wocket in my pocket."

2008-09-12 16:57:48
33.   Andrew Shimmin
I was listening to the Bush 2002 SotU, the other day (there's this terrific site with mp3s of tons of speeches:; if you have any doubt that Obama's writers suck, twenty minutes there should clear it up; if that's your goal, though, I wouldn't spend the twenty minutes on Bush speeches). Part of the speech I'd forgotten was his pulling the same community service spiel that McCain and Obama have been pimping hard, this year. Anybody remember Freedom Corps? It still exists! In addition to asking people to not tank the economy over 9/11 (not a glorious sentiment, but not an impractical one, either), he wanted people to volunteer 2,000 hours to public service. And, instead of the usual theory of forcing kids to do it, he didn't exempt the golfing codgers.
2008-09-12 17:03:26
34.   jgpyke
I think what I liked about FDT is his sarcasm. We need more open and explicit sarcasm in the presidency. His speech in MN was weak, but I've heard him much better. Much, much better.

Maybe you can read some Goldwater when you hit the road.

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