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Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
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Time For Other Countries To Keep Their Pie-Holes Shut
2008-09-12 12:23
by Scott Long

I have been embarrassed by the reign of King George since he was elected in 2000. When people from other countries wondered how America could choose such an incompetent leader, my only response was that his Democratic challengers either weren't so great themselves (Kerry) or ran very flawed campaigns against him (Gore). I am not one to give the general populace a ton of credit, but I do think that the Democratic party has been run by a lot of elites who are tone deaf to many Americans. Bill Clinton came from Arkansas and had campaign advisers like Begala (Texas) and Carville (Louisiana) who were not Washington insiders. They had good instincts on what the average voter connected with. As his world tour demonstrated, Obama is extremely popular around the globe and I can just imagine the insults that will be thrown the United States' way, if he is not chosen. This is hypocritical.

If someone doesn't vote for Obama, the issue of racism will come up. That is unfair. It is a reasonable question to ask if Barack Obama has the experience to lead this country. His resume is great for a person of his age, but it fails in comparison to everyone he ran against in the Democratic primary and now that he is up against McCain. I am not surprised that he has started to falter in his campaign, as this is the first time he has ever really gotten any serious heat. When he won his senate race, he ran practically unopposed, as the Republican threw in the whackjob candidacy of Allen Keyes, after their initial primary winner had messy divorce details wreck his political career. Despite how some portrayed it, the other Democratic presidential candidate's (including Hillary) treated him with kid gloves, as the most damaging word that can be used at a Democratic candidate is racist.

Going into this election cycle, Obama seemed like a dynamite Vice Presidential candidate, preparing himself to take over the top spot the next time it came around in 2012 or 2016. He obviously made the right decision, because he won, but it reminds me of a college basketball star who leaves early, ends up being a lottery pick, but doesn't have the career he could have had because he needed a little more seasoning. Considering the dismal polling that President Bush has, Obama should be doing much better, but he is still a mystery to a lot of people. Like them or not, people knew what the Clinton's were all about and they had been through enough tough political races that they would have spent little time on the defensive, unlike Obama, who doesn't have good street fighter instincts. As McCain mentioned last night at the Forum both candidates attended, politics is a tough game.

Now I'm not naive enough to think that race won't play a factor in the election. On Obama's side, he has pretty much locked up all Black voters. While Blacks vote in strong numbers for whoever the Democratic candidate is, this election will break all records for Black turnout. Is this a racist occurrence? I'm not saying it is, but I do think it could qualify under some people's version of the definition. In regards to white voters, there will be some who will not vote for him because he is Black. I doubt many of these same voters would have supported Hillary, but there is a group of voters who would have went with HRC that you can't classify as strictly racist just because they won't pull the lever for Obama. Many Americans have little or no experience dealing with Black people. When you have never had a friend, let alone a boss who was a person of color, it isn't surprising that they might vote for the guy (McCain) that they feel like they know. Is this a racist occurrence? I'm not saying it is, but I think under some people's version of the definition. In this particular election, the issue of race takes on a whole new dynamic and it is a tricky one to define.

Now here is where I come to the countries that are mainly made up of Anglo-Saxon's. You know the one's who will judge us harshly if McCain wins. How many people of color have they ever elected to their top job? How many people of color have they had even represent one of their major parties. I can't think of one person of color who fits this description in the history of France, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, etc..... Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is the case. If Obama loses, it will be hypocritical for foreign citizens to sling arrows our way. Having Barack Obama reach this level is a major achievement and says something about how enlightened our nation is, considering that only 13 percent of the US is Black. I am deeply concerned about the anger and despair many Black Americans will feel if Obama loses. I will have some understanding of this feeling, considering the racism that many of these citizens have felt on a personal level. What I won't have any patience for is someone from another country leveling this charge at the US.

So now let us all hold hands and sing we are the world.

2008-09-12 12:53:53
1.   underdog
The world will judge us harshly if McCain is elected because it will be the third consecutive time we've elected a dangerously, recklessly bad president with questionable judgment. The world has a right to be worried because America is still one of the most powerful, important nations in it (though thanks to our deficit to China, our trillions of dollars in deficit in general, our quagmire of a war, our ailing economy and our sagging reputation, arguably not the most powerful nation any longer) -- and with four more years of the same dangerously reckless foreign policy it could affect them as poorly as it does us.

Not to mention who would be a heartbeat away from being Commander in Chief should the poor-in-health McCain win the election.

So while I totally understand resentment Americans may have at people in other countries telling us what to do - or the perception of that at any rate -- since that's never been something we Americans have been comfortable with, I also don't feel their concerns about this election can be dismissed so easily.

Also, how is Obama starting to falter in his campaign exactly? If you're looking at a few polls this week, keep in mind those polls skewed toward more republican voters, polls in general use outmoded statistical acquisition (how many people under the age of 30 get polled? how many own land line phones anymore? etc) Still, if polls show it's a dead heat or McCain slightly ahead, accurate or not, I hope it's a wake up call. And since he appears to be back on the attack today, after being sort of bludgeoned for a week of lies from the GOP, I'm withholding judgment on whether he's "falthering" or it's just false perception.

At any rate, regarding people in other countries, I do appreciate your post here -- I think this is a provocative issue and obviously a sensitive one for some Americans. But I disagree with your previous post's point that regardless of what happens this election we'll be better off than we were with Bush. No, there is a good chance we'll be as bad off or WORSE with a McCain presidency, and a lot of people here and abroad are understandably worried about it.


2008-09-12 12:55:09
2.   underdog
PS: Whatever happened to baseball posts on The Juice? ;-)
2008-09-12 12:55:17
3.   The Hawk
Ah, more grist for the mill!
2008-09-12 13:06:47
4.   Scott Long
Considering McCain's history of being castigated by the right wing for not being step with them at all times, it is hard for me to see where any liberal can say he would be worse than Bush. Maybe since he had his name on the the flawed but well-intentioned McCain/Feingold, which Obama has decimated with his massive fund raising it could be something you wouldn't like.

McCain has rated well when it comes to the environment and even sponsored a bill with John Kerry trying to raise fuel standards on cars. The guy is no chicken hawk like Bush and Cheney, as he truly understands the horrors of war and has a son which is serving this country.

I don't plan on voting for the guy, but to say he will be worse or even close to as bad as Bush from a democratic perspective is hyperbole.

2008-09-12 13:16:08
5.   Xeifrank
I don't think the countries you mentioned want Obama to win because of his race, or will criticize us for not electing a black President if McCain wins. I think most if not all of these other countries feel closer to the stances of Obama and the US Democratic Party. They feel they will have more influence/power/sway in the world if Obama were elected. If they do end up calling us racist for electing McCain, then you will be correct, but I really doubt that will be the case (non fringe).
vr, Xei
2008-09-12 13:48:49
6.   underdog
4 Look, I used to tell people, "Oh I don't mind McCain as much as the rest, he sometimes fights back within the GOP and yadda yadda" -- but I'll tell you something, I've seen McCain speak a number of times, even in person, and I've seen him change his mind a million times, I've seen him say some really scary things, and I've seen more recently how the whole "maverick/straight talk express" thing is an utter folly. Still, I had hope like you that he wouldn't be so bad, but now he's basically given himself over to the "Dark Side" (cue Emperor's March music from Star Wars, enter Karl Rove and company). Then you hear all his blather about special interests and lobbyists are in trouble -- except 7 of his key campaigners are lobbyists -- and then you hear he's going to turn the economy around but doesn't know how to use a computer or email, and honestly, it's like one thing after another from him.

If you want to argue that he's not nearly as dense as Bush, I will of course agree with that, but that doesn't prevent him from being a recklessly, dangerously out of touch candidate. He can take his seven homes and live in them for all I care; I don't want him in the White House.

I know conservatives -- more traditional conservatives, not right wing conservatives -- who told me they find McCain "frightening," on a personal level. My g/f's dad who is a lifelong republican who voted for Bush twice and now -- to our shock -- finally admits he did "a poor job running this country, and was an awful president" has said he may vote for Obama because he doesn't trust McCain as far as he can throw him.

All I'm saying is, he's not as dumb as Bush, but he's just as dangerous. I feel very strongly about this so I'll stop arguing about it.

2008-09-12 14:04:16
7.   cult of basebaal
0 screw that:

"who cries for the children?

I do."

2008-09-12 14:20:04
8.   Schteeve
I think most people who opine on politics don't really know too much about what they are saying. For instance the first poster in this thread says that if McCain wins it "will be the third time we've elected a dangerously recklessly bad president." Can you please offer proof of McCain dangerous presidency? Or are you just being histrionic and aghast because that's the thing to do?

Scott, I find you post, especially the first two paragraphs wonderfully grounded, clear headed and sober.


2008-09-12 14:47:01
9.   jgpyke
If Obama loses, how many years of stern lectures will we have to endure from high-minded MSM folks, telling us how "racist" we are? That's the thing I look forward to least about Nov. 4.

If Obama wins, we better finally have the post-racial country we all want, dammit! I want all the race hustlers to disappear. Dream fulfilled. Period. (I would even argue that the dream is already fulfilled, regardless of what happens in Nov.)

I suppose it's our country's shameful past that forces us into all this handwringing. FWIW, we would have already had a black president if Colin Powell had run in 2000.

2008-09-12 14:55:18
10.   underdog
If I had the ability to step into the future, I could show you proof of a dangerous McCain presidency, but, no I don't have that ability. I thought it was a given I was making a point about how there are reasons to fear a McCain presidency. It's fine to disagree, but I could definitely give you proof of McCain's recent history if you care. That's enough for me to go by. But yes, voting for a president is a guessing game to a certain extent. I was pretty sure Bush would make a bad president based on the things he said, and his record in Texas, but I wasn't completely sure. I prayed I was wrong. If McCain's elected, I pray I'm wrong about him, too. I love this country too much to wish it harm.

But this is based more on just a feeling.

I know there are people who feel this way about Obama, too. I'm not an "Obama-maniac" who expects nothing but hearts and flowers if he's elected. I just trust him, he's already surrounded himself with people I trust and respect, they have a specific plan for a lot of things I think ail this country and I haven't heard many specifics at all from McCain other than insults about Obama or vagueness.

I find what I'm trying to say here very real - if you don't agree with it, that's of course your choice. But to denigrate my feelings about McCain as "histrionic" are insulting, frankly.

2008-09-12 15:31:27
11.   D4P
On Obama's side, he has pretty much locked up all Black voters

I'm not saying that's untrue, but if it is true, why is Obama doing so poorly in the so-called "Black Belt" states of the South? I know there's a bunch of white conservatives there, but those states are so Red right now that something just doesn't compute.

2008-09-12 16:30:39
12.   jgpyke
What's the Black Belt?

SC - 30%
GA - 30%
AL - 27%
MS - 37%
LA - 32%

There is no black-majority state. Not even close. Granted, these states have 2-2.5x the natl. average, but I'd hardly call them the Black Belt. Maybe for Dem primaries...

2008-09-12 16:40:15
13.   Scott Long
These states gave Obama the major advantage in the Democratic primary. This was what Bill Clinton was discussing in NC with his Jesse Jackson comments. What he said was accurate and for that he was labeled as being racist. Just like these comments turned off some Obama followers to the Clinton's, it turned me off some to Obama, as it was a fair assessment of how these states were not going to be important in the general.
2008-09-12 16:58:19
14.   jgpyke
HRC made that point--about winning states that are actually in play--but she ran out of time. She made too many mistakes, such as the hubris of her staff thinking that Super Tues would seal it. At the end, no Lezak for her: she ran out of pool.
2008-09-12 18:11:30
15.   Andrew Shimmin
Might be a good idea to lay off the McCain computer thing. It's difficult for people who can't type to use a computer and it's not his fault he can't type.

When I was in the seventh grade, our career day speaker was a court reporter. He put me on the spot, demanding that I ask him a question (mostly to demonstrate his transcripting abilities), so I asked if his industry wouldn't be made obsolete before our class graduated from high school, because of speech recognition software. He was not amused. But, it turns out I was the sucker, for thinking speech recognition would work. It still mostly doesn't.

2008-09-12 20:17:34
16.   jgpyke
In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate's savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. "She's a whiz on the keyboard, and I'm so laborious," McCain admits.

Forbes magazine. May 29, 2000.

Another meme bites the dust.

2008-09-13 06:00:07
17.   TFD
Scott....dude....McCain being hated by the reactionary right does mean he won't be AS BAD as 43, but that's like saying McCain will be better than a street urchin...well yeah!

But....he is conservative and will lead to 4 more years of nutty wars/tax breaks to the filthy rich/and general movement back to reagan era (the market will decide)...Freddie Mac anyone?

Anyway, yeah he won't be the historical train wreck that 43 has been, but he'll be low-to-midland POTUS at best. And Obama has the CHANCE to be Top 5. Granted chance, but it is a CHANCE. Cannot be said for the old geezer McCain. Let's all give greatness a chance - - it's been so long.

2008-09-13 11:51:49
18.   Scott Long
I agree with your sentiments, TFD, though I believe McCain has the potential to reform social security which I don't believe could happen under Obama. I just have a problem with the wild charges being thrown at both of them. Really this election should come down to issues. If you believe in a more active military/lower taxes for the top 5%, etc, (McCain), if you want a scaling back of military aggression/return of Clinton era tax rates, etc.(Obama). I think both are quality people that is my point.
2008-09-13 13:06:43
19.   jgpyke

Be careful what you wish for: "if you want...Clinton era tax rates"

A quick pop over to and a search for the PDFs for Tax Tables from 2000 and 2007 will reveal the following.

If your AGI is 50K, married filing jointly, Clinton required $8,307 of your earnings. Bush required $6,721. That's a difference of almost $1600.

Or, to put it another way, what are you currently spending $132 per month on that you don't mind doing without and would rather pay to the IRS?

And these numbers don't even include the expansion of the child tax credit, which was only 400 under WJC and is 1000 under GWB (per child).

Do the math, Scott. Do you really want a return to Clinton era tax rates?

2008-09-13 15:39:09
20.   Scott Long
I'm not as good as the economics as you are but I ask the question. If everyone in this salary range paid 1600 dollars less per year in taxes, while at the same time people in the upper brackets paid tens of thousands of dollars less and we massively exploded the military budget and we added an enormous entitlement prescription drug plan, all while the Prez never pulled his veto pen out when the Republican congress added one pork project after another... how does that compute. Oh yeah, it creates the biggest explosion of debt ever by the government in our countries history.

I'm not sure I buy your numbers, but even if they are true, I will take them if it means that we get back to some type of fiscal sanity.

2008-09-13 15:48:32
21.   jgpyke
I agree: it doesn't compute! My solution, though, would be to scale back spending. To be completely honest, I do not have extra income to give in taxes. Not out of a lack of desire alone: we just don't have that kind of money.

I'm not sure I buy your numbers

WTF? Why would I make that up?

2008-09-13 17:33:15
22.   Andrew Shimmin
Pretty exciting to see a guy who's at least sort of a lefty longing to return to the days of Silent Cal. I can dig it!

2008-09-14 02:12:27
23.   joejoejoe
Obama actually does better in regions that are homogenous and white than he does in areas that have a small but significant black population. It's not racial unfamiliarity that hurts Obama with white voters, it's racial tension. Once the percentages rise to larger (but still non-majority) levels Obama does great with white voters who live in diverse communities. Google 'David Sirota + race chasm' for a more detailed explanation.
2008-09-17 13:35:17
24.   Tangotiger
Canada had an openly-gay member of parliament, from 1988-2004. (Svend Robinson)

Canada just elected a female Muslim member of parliament. (Yasmin Ratansi)

We also had an aboriginal as a member of parliament. His name escapes me.

Canada would have no problem with a woman, or black, or whatever as head of the country. It would not be an historic event, with the media tripping all over itself to talk about The First.

That doesn't mean that Canada can't call racial-bias on America. And racial-bias and racist are two different things. Racist is about intolerance and prejudice. Racial-bias is required to be racist, but being racially-biased doesn't mean you are racist.

This statement for example: "this election will break all records for Black turnout. Is this a racist occurrence? " This is a racially-biased occurrence, and not a racist occurrence.

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