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The Iowa Caucus
2008-01-03 09:15
by Scott Long

For the first 21 years of my life, I lived in the state of Iowa. Since most of the readers here are from the Coasts, I thought I would give you a little background on the people who will be having a major impact on who ends up becoming the next President of the United States.

Iowa is a very homogenous place. More than 94% of the people are Whiteys. The more important part about its ethnic makeup is you are pretty much the same type of person, as long as English is your first language. (Less than 4% of Iowans are Hispanic.) People don’t wear there ethnicity on its sleeve, which is why the food generally sucks. If you want to experience exotic cuisine, go to Applebee’s. The positive tradeoff is that there is little crime and most people get along with each other pretty well. The stress levels are pretty low, as traffic reports don’t truly exist, except in the state capital of Des Moines and the Quad Cities.

Iowans rank number 1 overall in SAT scores and number 9 in ACT scores, so there is a real tradition of emphasizing education. This goes along with the homogenous theme of the state, as there isn’t as big of range between the highly educated and uneducated that occurs on the Coasts. It generally has the highest high school graduation rates in the nation. The similar levels of education are probably why there is also a smaller gap in wealth than what I’ve experienced in the rest of the country.

During my formative years, citizens of the state were not as caught up in pop culture as most Americans, but with the advent of cable television and the internet, people under the age of 30 dress the same way as people do on the coasts. While classic rock still rules the airwaves in Iowa, it isn’t that much different in most other major American cities, at least if you don’t include Hispanic stations.

While Iowa is a more religious place than is the case with you heathens who live on the Coast’s, it is not a real bible-thumping type of place. The citizens tend to keep their religious feelings to themselves..

I’m sure from the info I have listed, your stereotypes of Iowans are still pretty much intact. Here are a few things I would mention that you probably wouldn’t guess. The state is bordered by the Mississippi River (East side) and the Missouri River (West). The topography is rolling hills in the majority of the state. I have traveled extensively and it’s my belief it is the least flat state in the Midwest. While not as beautiful as upper Midwestern states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota, it still has some gorgeous places, especially by Dubuque.

While agriculture is a major part of the overall economy for the state, most Iowans have no experience with farming. I have never touched a pig that wasn’t packaged first. I’ve never milked a cow, though I am pretty familiar with the general motion which is needed. The only time I’ve ever picked corn is out of a basket in the grocery store. While it is true that Iowans have farms surrounding them, most of them work the same type of crappy job that people in the rest of the country have to do.

Hopefully that gives you a little bit of an idea of what Iowa is like. I’m sure most of you hate the idea that this state (and also New Hampshire) has so much say in what ends up happening in our political process. Sure Iowa is filled with a lot of old white people in rural areas to have this much impact on national politics, but some state has to be first and I don’t think there are too many others that would serve the Nation much better. The citizens are well-educated and take their civic duties seriously. The state is generally a toss-up state, as no party seems to ever control it. I do think one important thing about the first caucus or primary state is that it should be small enough that the candidates have to deal with rural voters and not just market themselves to a major cities. By being forced to press theflesh on a daily basis, it causes these politicians to have to answer specific questions and not always stay on message. For all the negatives of the process, this is one of the good things about the Iowa caucus.

Now let’s get to the strange world of the caucus. My last year in Iowa, I went to a caucus and was for Bruce Babbitt (look him up) who didn't have the magical 15 percent needed to be eligible in at my site. The next step is for the people that are representing the candidates who are over 15 percent to tell you why you should come over to their side. This will be the case in most precincts in Iowa, with the Big 3 candidates trying to sell the Biden, RIchardson, Dodd, etc fans to come over and join them. Yeah, I know it's weird, but it really makes politics a much more interactive experience. Kind of like the Wii of political voting.

Here is my hypothesis of how the Iowa caucus will turn out. I haven't lived in the state since 1988, but I think I have a good feel for how the state works. Here are my capsule comments.


Barack Obama- He is the slight favorite, according to the polls. Didya notice what I wrote earlier about the state having very few citizens of color? When Obama won the senate race in the neighboring state of Illinois, he was running against a complete wackjob, Alan Keyes, who seemed to share only one trait. The same color skin. I know many of you are uncomfortable with the discussion of race here, but it is the most interesting feature of this caucus, as it will show if white people who most likely have had limited, at best, exposure to black people, will choose him over 6 other white candidates. Add to this, that the state is typical of the Plains states, with the average age of the citizens skewing older and I really question if the youngest person in the race can deliver the numbers he needs.
My personal beef with Obama is that he speaks in broad generalities about change and a new direction, but rarely do I hear him discuss what he will do to make this happen.

Hillary Clinton- Believe it or not, Hillary is doing better in Iowa than I expected she would. Considering that Iowans are bombarded by politicians and their ads during most of 2007 and you can really get sick of people. I always thought that this would be the downfall of Hillary, as no matter how substantive she is on the issues, she just doesn't wear well. The former first lady has done a great job overall of modulating her voice to not get into the shrill register that is an easy place for her to visit. Her wishy-washy answer on immigration during a debate in November really slammed the brakes on the inevitable belief that she would be crowned as the Democratic nominee. Let's be honest: The only reason she is in the position she is in is because the 22nd Amendment doesn't allow Bill to run again. He is also the only reason she has anywhere close to the amount of support that she has, as a vote for her is hopefully a vote for him. Our Democratic system is great, but the 22nd Amendment needs to be fixed, as the person I'm guessing 60 percent of the country would vote for is ineligible. If I was to tinker with the amendment, I would allow a 2-term President to run again, after an 8 year hiatus. Just thought you would like to know.

John Edwards- When I initially heard John Edwards speak on one of the Sunday news programs in 2000, I thought the guy was the Ken-doll that many still portray him as. By the time he started his first run for the Presidency in 2004, I changed my mind on the guy. He is one of the most charismatic politicians of my lifetime and the heartbreak of losing a son and his wife's battle with cancer gives him a depth that doesn't exist in a lot of other men who look like him. He has become much more liberal in his politics this time around, which was the only position for him to run in. No matter what the Right tells you, Hillary has followed the Clinton gameplan on being a moderate Democrat on most issues. Obama is harder to describe politically because he rarely freaking talks about concrete issues, but his constant stump speech of wanting to bring both sides together sounds like moderate politics. In his past, Edwards was right there in the Moderate camp, which is what you would have to be to win a Senate campaign in North Carolina. There is no way you could run as more moderate than Hillary or Obama in the caucus and win, so Edwards has tried to outflank them to the left on economic populism.

I believe that this type of economic populism will resonate after the obscene money grab by the top 1 percent of earners facilitated by the Bush tax cuts. It is true that globalization is here to stay, but the Lou Dobbs idea that NAFTA trade agreements have been bad for America in the long run seem pretty apparent, considering we manufacture very little and a large portion of our population is stuck in lower-paying service jobs. This also goes along with the Dobbs-type position on immigration. Until the age of 12, I lived in Newton, Iowa, which was proud to be known as the home of Maytag appliances. Like many other long-time American iconic brands, Maytag began struggling over the past years, trying to compete with cheaper labor in Mexico, China, etc. and ended up being bought out by competitor Whirlpool. After the buyout, Whirlpool announced that all the manufacturing jobs would be shipped out, leaving Newton just another Flint, Michigan like the one portrayed in Roger and Me. If you don't think an economic populist message will not work this time, you have spent too much time in Silicone Valley or the boardroom of an Investment Bank. See the elections of 2006 in the state of Ohio on how this issue has turned a generally more Republican state sharply into a mostly-Democratic controlled government. The massive distribution of wealth to the rich under Bush has created an atmosphere ripe for a Teddy Roosevelt-type who waves his fist at corporate greed. This doesn't just resonate with just Democrats and Independents, but with a portion of the Religious right, as some of these people have woken up from their slumber and realize that the Rove strategy left them with less money in their pocket. See the rise of Mike Huckabee for more proof.

I have not seen one pundit on television who predicted Edwards will win, but I think he will win by a couple of points in Iowa. Actually, I think the Iowa Democratic caucus system, where you have to stand up and announce you are for a candidate gives Obama the only chance of him winning. I have a hard time believing that the least experienced major candidate I can ever remember (Obama) would be able to win a national election, especially considering that when voters get into the booth with complete anonymity they vote at a higher percentage of who looks more like them, black or white. Obama might win the Iowa caucus and might even win the Democratic nomination, but I'm afraid that when it comes to being President, his lack of experience and the color of his skin will keep him from winning. I know I'm not supposed to say that, but it is what I believe. I think polling is off some on Obama because of these factors.


I've run out of time in trying to get up my thoughts on this group. Really quickly I'm predicting Huckabee will win. Despite Romney's money and far superior campaign structure, he has not worn well as time has went by in Iowa. Actually, I think McCain could have won Iowa, but his stance on Ethanol he knew gave him little chance, so he has concentrated his efforts in New Hampshire.

Comments (72)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-01-03 10:21:35
1.   Schteeve
Loved this post Scott.

I think business weilds to much power to let a candidate really enforce a populist agenda. Not sure if that's good or bad, I guess it depends who you are.

And you might be the only person I have heard of who agrees with my assessment that Obama is a nice looking dude, with cool talking points, and neat catch phrases who NEVER EVER EVER says anything of substance.

2008-01-03 10:33:44
2.   Penarol1916
I'll disagree with you on a few points:

- Obama has over 10 years in elected or appointed political offices, Edwards and Hillary each have only 6.

- We already have too much of politicians catering to rural populations. Rural counties and states are already substantially over-represented in both houses of Congress, why give them another electoral advantage over people in metropolitan areas who are severely under-represented and under-empowered. Just look at how much federal funding goes to rural areas versus metropolitan areas, and this isn't even on a per capita basis. The amount of power rural people have in our political processes is sickening.

- My last point is that no, NAFTA and free-trade agreements are not the obvious long-term disaster that you seem to think they are. It is much more complicated than you seem to make it. Your point that they have fomented economic populism is true, but that doesn't mean that the people who believe it are right.

2008-01-03 10:45:26
3.   Eric Enders
"I have a hard time believing that the least experienced major candidate I can ever remember (Obama) would be able to win a national election"

I'm not necessarily disagreeing, but doesn't Obama have essentially the same amount of national political experience that Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy did?

2008-01-03 11:02:42
4.   Penarol1916
3. I believe that he has more than Lincoln did, with only two years in the House, but less than Kennedy, who spent 6 years in the House before becoming a Senator.
2008-01-03 11:16:32
5.   Eric Enders
Here's the elective experience of some prominent presidents compared to that of Obama. This was compiled from Wikipedia so it carries all the usual caveats.

T. Roosevelt
State legislator 3 years
Police commissioner 2 years (I'm assuming this was an elected position)
NY State governor 2 years
Vice president 6 months
Total = 7 years, 6 months

U.S. Representative 6 years
U.S. Senator 6 years
Total = 12 years

State legislator 12 years
U.S. representative 2 years
Total = 14 years

State legislator 6 years
U.S. Senator 2 years
Total = 8 years

2008-01-03 11:31:57
6.   Penarol1916
By the time Obama would become President, he would be a Senator for 4 years, giving him ten years total experience.
2008-01-03 11:36:04
7.   JL25and3
Newton still produces the best blue cheese ever made by an appliance manufacturer.
2008-01-03 11:38:23
8.   Ken Arneson
Let's use baseball metaphors!

Esteban Loaiza and Jason Schmidt have more experience than Chad Billingsley. Jamie Moyer and Adam Eaton have more experience than Cole Hamels. Carlos Silva and Jarrod Washburn have more experience than Felix Hernandez.

Billy Beane says, "I'll always take talent over experience."

There are times in the success cycles of an organization when you want the reliability of an experienced veteran, and there are times when you want to take a risk on an extremely talented youngster. Most scouts would probably agree that Obama has far more raw talent than any of the other candidates. The statheads might point out that the sample size on his statistical record is pretty small, and it might be a mistake to rush him to the big leagues so soon.

The question is, is America at a point in its success cycle where the payoff on rushing a huge talent to the top is worth the risk?

2008-01-03 11:51:17
9.   Ali Nagib
8 - I think one interesting question is how the "success cycle" of America relates to demographic issues, particularly the Baby Boomers. One of the key points distinguishing Obama is that, if elected, it will be because a huge number of Boomers will for the first time vote for a President that is distinctly younger than they are.

I know every baseball fan (at least the ones that didn't pick it up in adulthood) has had that moment when you look at your favorite team's roster and realize that the hot new star is younger than you are. I don't think this has a huge impact on people's baseball fandom, at least in the short run, but I do think in the longer term there could be some interesting connections.

I was also going to do a comparison to the team with all the grizzled old vets finally giving way to the younger talent, but I didn't like it as much. There's something there as well, though, I believe.

2008-01-03 13:21:08
10.   Scott Long
I like the discussion here.

Let me address Penarol in saying I don't disagree with either of his points. The problem with doing a national primary or even starting with a larger state is that the candidates with the most money (or at least massive popularity) will end up the winner. No chance for a Huckabee to rise. It is already enough that way, so with all the problems with Iowa having too much power in the ultimate choice, I haven't seen another one that works much better.

2008-01-03 13:37:20
11.   Penarol1916
10. That is a different argument, which I don't really disagree with. Although, New Hampshire isn't THAT dominated by agriculture and provides the same advantages. I'd think you could use Kentucky, Nevada, which is being used early this year, and a few other states as well.
2008-01-03 13:40:21
12.   hoppystone
All I know about Iowa is that the one time I was there, in Des Moines in 1990, I drove past a record store. They had a huge poster in the window celebrating The Beatles album, "Sgt. Pepper's...", and the poster said, "It was 20 Years Ago Today...".

Sgt Pepper came out in 1967. Unless my math is off, they were kinda 3 years late with this campaign. Does that sum up Iowa pretty well, or no?

2008-01-03 13:40:40
13.   Scott Long
To the issue of Obama, he's been on the national scene for a lot less time than Clinton and Edwards. Edwards ran as president and was the VP candidate. Hillary has been under the spotlight for a long time. Edwards faced his issue the last time, as he was the young, less proven face on campaign trail.

I think it is great that Obama ran, as he has brought a new perspective to the race. He also needed to raise his profile, which he has done so well, without any real major gaffes. If he loses, he is still the overwhelming favorite for 2012 or 2016.

I just think it is a little too soon for him to win a national election, especially while our country is stuck in the quagmire which is Iraq. I'm not against the guy, I just have been underwhelmed by his substance, much like Schteeve. As much as I've brought up race and youth being a potential negative in a national race, it has served him remarkable well in the Iowa caucus, as Biden and Dodd have been far more substantive, but have never gained traction, as they were not a sexy story for the media to cover. The media from the beginning have fantasized about the story between Obama and Clinton. Only the charisma and strong running style of Edwards has kept this from being the race the media has craved.

It seems like many of the establishment media has been planning on a Clinton or Obama versus Guliani race, with Bloomberg as the 3rd party candidate for awhile. Keep this in mind when other parts of the country think the East coast media has a bias.

2008-01-03 13:42:36
14.   doppelganger
Our Democratic system is great, but the 22nd Amendment needs to be fixed, as the person I'm guessing 60 percent of the country would vote for is ineligible.

Scott, do you really think so? Isn't the "royalist succession" in American politics (Bush/Clinton/Bush/etc) already bad enough without even further stagnating the system by eliminating a major restraint on political power?

2008-01-03 13:48:37
15.   doppelganger
On the talent vs experience issue, I think that if we have learned anything from our current President, it is that when a President has to learn foreign policy "on the job", it's not going to be pretty.

If we are lucky, the Pres. will have good advisors, and learn quickly. Bush seems to be finally figuring things out now, but we wasted a lot of time while he was learning, and it wouldn't be a good idea to elect someone with a similar lack of experience.

2008-01-03 13:56:32
16.   Penarol1916
13. But what did Edwards do in the last 4 years that made him any more prepared to be President? Being on the national scent, to me, is not the experience you are looking for. Bill Clinton had 0 years on the national scene before he became President, and I think it worked out okay.

In the end, it doesn't matter to me much, I think we actually have a pretty good bunch of presidential candidates running this time around. The only ones who aren't joke candidates that I would hate as President are Huckabee, Giuliani, and possibly Edwards.

2008-01-03 14:39:28
17.   Ali Nagib
15 - The whole POINT of George Bush's original candidacy wasn't that he had great ideas, but that he was the "CEO" that would pick such a great team of "experienced" Cabinet members that it wouldn't matter that he was an idiot personally. So we end up with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft et. al. who had "political experience" up the yin-yang who managed to not only prove their complete inadequacy but force the few members of the administration who weren't incompetent to compromise themselves in order to serve "the Party." (e.g. Colin Powell)
2008-01-03 15:38:32
18.   jgpyke
"The massive distribution of wealth to the rich."

Ugh. Do you really think this?

Can you explain how wealth is "distributed"? Was there some sort of line we are supposed to wait in to get our wealth handed to us? What is this distribution you speak of?

Everyone benefited from the "Bush tax cuts." Everyone. It is always better to allow people to keep the money they earn than to concentrate it in the hands of a confiscatory government. We need less state, not more.

2008-01-03 17:30:42
19.   joejoejoe
18 jgpyke - click the links below to see 1) the historical trends of income distribution from the non-partisan CBO and 2) a graphic showing how many people make what in the U.S.


In the past decade and a half almost all of the growth in incomes has occured in the top 5% with the top 1% doing better than they have ever done since 'The Guilded Age' and the time of Robber Barons. You can argue whether that's a good or a bad thing and you can argue about how much the policies of the Clinton administration are responsible when the trend started. But you can't argue that that the distribution is getting more skewed towards a small number of people at the top of the scale.

One case study would be Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli who departed the company with a $210 million dollar severance package after 6 years in which the shareholders of Home Depot lost money. You can say the "free market" dictated Nardelli's pay but if you do so then you have to admit that sometimes markets are NOT rational and that people can come together in government to come up with solutions to check the worst abuses within the market.

2008-01-03 17:46:56
20.   Scott Long
jgpyke- Yes I do believe there has been a massive shift in wealth over the past 8 years. I would first argue that many of us didn't benefit from the bush tax cuts in the long run, as our deficits continue to explode, as bush has exploded the role of government with defense spending. You cannot do both in a time of war, a massive tax cut and a massive escalation of spending.

If you give a person who makes 500,000 dollars a year a tax break for the same rate as someone who makes 50 thousand a year, who is it going to benefit more? The cut in the capital gains tax or not cutting taxes on dividends gives guys like Larry Kudlow a complete woodie (adding and inch to his already impressive 3 inches?), but it has a real impact on very few Americans. I know the argument that why should someone be double-taxed, but my argument has been that no one forces you to put money in the stock market. The biggest financial lesson I've learned so far in my life is that it takes money to make money. I have money in the stock market and it has made me some money. I have money in the market as I know there is no better place to earn long-term gains on my money. I think the rates we had before were important to keep, as we need revenues to deal with the burgeoning crisis occurring in Social Security. I don't believe in supply side economics, because I've never heard anyone in the past 25 years who believes that it works who isn't a right-wing conservative.

Put me in the George Herbert Walker Bush camp on that.

Don't even get me started on how are we going to create a health plan for uninsured Americans, if we continue to cut taxes while waging a quagmire in Iraq. I can tell you as someone who is self-employed, with a daughter with special needs, I'm pumping about 20% of my income into health costs. I'm not asking for a handout, but the uncapped explosion of health costs which has occurred under republican rule is reprehensible and I suspect it more than anything will be the downfall of the republican presidential candidates, this time around. Well, unless some incompetent windbag like John Kerry is running again. Phew, last time I checked everyone running on the Democratic side this time around are superior to Kerry. (I'm not including the Captain of the Starship Enterprise from Ohio, as he doesn't count on my radar.)

2008-01-03 17:48:08
21.   Scott Long
Triple Joe is right on the money about how the money is being distributed.
2008-01-03 18:09:07
22.   walbers
the whole experience issue is highly overrated. Dubya was supposedly experienced when he took office and look what he managed to do. Capability is what i'm looking for and, frankly, i find Obama's supposed lack of "experience" refreshing. he's saying the right things to me. rgds, will
2008-01-03 18:11:24
23.   TFD
To *18*s point...this is what I love about these discussions, someone with absolutely no facts on their side can say 'hey we've all gotten richer' (basically his point) even though every normal economist, tax authority, or person with one iota of financial acumen know otherwise.

up/down, black/white....this is what got us eight years of 43. ayn rand lives! objectivism! no government! yeah!

History of the world = infinity
Ayn rand, jgpyke, and such acolytes... = 0.

I say scoreboard.


2008-01-03 18:45:40
24.   jgpyke
TFD, I'm not sure you're point, but anything less than flaming progressivism doesn't gain much traction here. It's a leftie-lovefest...always has been. I remember when Will literally cried actual tears when Kerry lost.

Socialism is a completely failed ideology, TFD, consigned to the dustbin of history. Scoreboard.

2008-01-03 18:54:37
25.   jgpyke
What's always funny about conversations like this is that they are basically held by white males of above-average intelligence, with above-average education levels, and above-average incomes...deciding what's best for everyone else.

The hallmark of progressivism is elitism. Think about it. It's true.

2008-01-03 19:59:15
26.   Gagne55
Well, Scott said Obama and Huckabee would win and he sure was right!!!
2008-01-03 20:13:04
27.   Scott Long
I thought the tax rates under clinton were great. Had a historic stock market runup without cutting dividened rates. Streamlined the government in a way that reagan and bush couldn't match, combined. It wasn't perfect, but a hell of a lot better than the supply side bullshit.

Explain to me how you can fund a never ending war and cut taxes.

2008-01-03 20:37:04
28.   Ali Nagib
28 - Pray that the Chinese will extend our $1 trillion loan another trillion or $32. Hey, did you know that Mexico has made it into our top 10 debt holders?

2008-01-03 21:16:04
29.   Scott Long
Wanted to comment on the talent over experience. I agree, but my response is that Obama has great stuff, but lacks a strikeout pitch for me. He never speaks to concrete points, just I believe in change. I hate that type of political bullshit. I really want to get excited about Obama, but I just need more from him. Obviously I was wrong on my old home state and my guess I have once again underrated the American public and their desire to hear broad generalities. He will be hard to stop, unless he makes a big blunder. It will be interesting to see how he does as a front runner. Since Hillary has a hard time going negative and staying likeable, so I suspect he will continue to do well.
2008-01-03 21:27:03
30.   Scott Long
I will mention I was on the money on Huckabee. I doubt he will win the nomination, but I think he is the obvious choice as Vice President, if Romney doesn't win. He is a key figure for Republicans to be able to hold their christian conservative base and since McCain and Guiliani are moderate enough that his populist style wouldn't seem completely strange. If you haven't been paying attention, Huckabee is a lot more than just a Pat Robertson-type who got a bunch of fundamentalists to support him. He is the wittiest guy I have ever seen run for president and his message is the most inclusive I have heard from the party.

Romney is a spoiled douchebag. I would like to hear Wolf Blitzer come up with that type of analysis.

2008-01-04 03:39:55
31.   Yu-Hsing Chen

Could we REALLY be looking at a black president? WOW.

2008-01-04 06:35:10
32.   jgpyke
"Not only does the bottom quintile contain fewer adults of working age, but each adult, on average, works fewer hours during the year than does his counterpart in the higher-income quintiles. On average, working-age adults in the bottom quintile worked about half as many hours during the year as did adults in the top quintile. The combination of relatively few working-age adults and low levels of work per adult contributes significantly to the low income levels in the bottom quintile."

"if the annual work levels of working-age adults in each quintile were hypothetically made equal, the income ratio of the top to the bottom would fall to $2.91 to $1.00."

I wouldn't want to confuse you with the facts, but here goes:

2008-01-04 06:39:57
33.   Penarol1916
Just wanted to take a break from the political talk to ask Scott if the Big 12 North is still overrated.
2008-01-04 07:49:40
34.   JoeyP
I'm shocked how anyone could ever vote for Democracts when it almost always includes higher taxes than if the GOP was in office.

Please, if the choice is having more money in my pocket---or more money taken out---I'm going to want it in my pocket.

Rising health care costs Scott--isnt the fault of the Govt. Its called the free market system and the price is set by supply/demand. If you want the Govt to set price controls on products, you end up with shortages and then everyone loses out. Its exactly how these idiotic liberals that have no concept of economics want to place price controls on world commodities like Oil---it cant be done. Then they blame the president for the price of oil---again stupid. Have any of these people ever taken a finance or economics class?

There's nothing more defeating than the concept of progressive taxation because it penalizes achievement. It encourages people to do less, because the more that they do the more that is taken away from them.

And Scott, please change your buzzwords for Iraq. Even the staunchest liberals are accepting that the surge has been a success and the US is now merely a peace keeping force. Its not a "quagmire".

2008-01-04 08:23:51
35.   Penarol1916
34. There is very little in the studies of what has actually happened that shows that all but the most egregious of progressive taxation encourages people to do less.

As for more money in your pocket, what does it matter if you have more money in your pocket if the dollar is becoming less and less valuable everyday in large part because of the public debt, caused in part by the tax cuts.

As for blaming the President for the price of oil, I mostly agree with you, it is irrational, but the fact is, one of the functions of government is to help step in when there is a market failure, such as the lack of investment in alternative energy because it is not yet economically feasible, the lack of economic punishment for externalities inflicted by overconsumption of oil, and so on.

2008-01-04 08:40:18
36.   jgpyke
35. That's the crux of the left in a nutshell: bemoaning the lack of economic "punishment." A bunch of nanny-state scolds, you are.
2008-01-04 08:46:43
37.   Scott Long
I will not change my buzzwords like quagmire. As McCain said recently, we might need to be their for another 100 years. Petraeus has done a good job, which I thought he would, but we simply cannot afford to play police force for this country for the next 5 or 100 years. We have severely damaged our military by wrecking families of servicemen who have to do tour after tour to sit in a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. The bigger issue for me is one of fiscal responsibility. We are spending an enormous amount of money in Iraq and there seems to be no end in site. Think of what that money could have went to?

Really protecting our borders.

Having the proper military strength in Afghanistan and putting more forces on their border to try to put pressure on the Taliban which is in Pakistan.

Properly funding a top notch program to develop real alternatives to our oil.

On the subject of government and health care, I'm not speaking of socialized medicine for adults, like guys like you want to call it, but building a program where people not covered can pay into a health program like the one I'm guessing covers you. (No one I have ever met who doesn't have health insurance has told me they think we don't need a program like this, it's just people that already have health insurance like I'm guessing you have.) Noted liberals like Mitt Romney understood the problem we had, which is why he created a decent program like it in the state of Massachusetts, when he was governor.

The area of health insurance that I do believe is shameful for our country is how we don't provide health insurance for all children in this country. On this subject, I'm all for any comprehensive program, if you want to call it socialized medicine or not. Are schools socialized education to you? Some basic services should be provided to all children. I have went broke over the past 2 years trying to keep up with my daughter's medical costs, but I have hustled enough extra work to stay just above water. I'm not asking for a handout and don't expect the government to give me health insurance, as I think able bodied adults should have to take care of themselves, but I do think children should have comprehensive insurance in the US, and I think adults who don't have it should be able to be grouped into a program like the one Romney came up with.

2008-01-04 08:51:56
38.   Penarol1916
36. It's not nanny-state scolding, it is enforcing costs of your actions on others in a way that the market fails to do so. A factory polluting the air imposes costs on the rest of society that cannot be recouped through the market. Failing to understand that there are certain circumstances in which the market fails to distribute everything efficiently in every circumstance, particularly in the short-term is just as naive and stupid as failing to understand that government action in the economy tends to lead to host of negative unintended consequences.
Also, your straw arguments are growing very tiresome. Just because someone is not Hayak does not make the Myrdal or even Marx, which is how you've been painting everyone who even remotely disagrees with you.
2008-01-04 09:26:04
39.   Todd S
I don't want to get into a long disussion here, but on the issue of tax/wealth gaps being a big problem, here's a synopsis of a counter-argument:

I am a Libertarian (which I hope is different from your label of "right-wing conservative"), and I believe that supply side economics works. It would work even better with less federal spending, as you and several posters allude to above, Scott.

I hope this doesn't come off as a contentious post. But it should be apparent that I'm going to disagree on fiscal issues with most of the readers of/posters on this blog. (But will agree with most on social issues.)

Here's a question-or rather two. Huckabee is the only candidate who supports a national retail tax (marketing name, "Fair Tax"). Do you think that gave him significant support in Iowa? The press is largely ignoring this as a factor. And secondly, what do you guys think of the Fair Tax plan? ( for details)

I give Scott credit for predicting that Edwards would do well in Iowa. Finishing ahead of Clinton is a big accomplishment.

Oh, one other thing: I like the 22nd Amendment.

2008-01-04 10:35:43
40.   Scott Long
Todd- I happen to believe that a sales tax is the best plan as well.. I don't believe in a flat tax. I'm all ober the place on issues, as I don't believe that there should be a child credit rebate, but once children are on this earth we should make sure they get quality schooling and health care. This mindset I guess makes me a liberal to some. As long as we can give welfare to corporations, we can do the same for children.

I think huckabee's support is a lot wider than christian conservatives. Your buddies at the club for growth (top tax fighters) have done everything they can to wreck huckabee's run, just as they did for mccain in 2000. They are always for the establishment candidate who will be in the pocket of big business. Dubya has been their wet dream.

Penarol brings up an important problem with globalization. By opening markets completely, you are asking companies who produce products in this country to have to compete with other nation's companies who don't follow enviromental standards or have safety standards for their workers. Much for the same reasons that most of corporate america has embraced immigration (cheap, sometimes undocumented workers) it has loved globalization because it doesn't have to deal with those pesky US regulations in creating products. Unfettered capitalism is not a world I want to be part of. Take a look at the pictures of Pittsburgh under Carnegie's rule. This is just one of the many reason why regulation is needed.

I'm thumbing this out on my sidekick, so I'm just ranting away. hopefully this makes sense at least to all the masses of leftist that hang out here, which from the comment section on this topic shows are a hearty group of 2. I get tired of the whole everyone is liberal at the toaster mantra. I live in a suburb in indiana that is 90% republican. My rep is Dan Burton, who shot melons in the backyard to try to prove that the clinton's killed vince foster. I voted for Dick Lugar for senate. My favorite politician is Chuck Hagel, as I respect him as a man, even though I disagree with many of his views on the issues.

2008-01-04 11:30:10
41.   JasonO
Some corrections necessary:

1) Long, Clinton did "a great job of streamlining government" because his ass was kicked in the '94 midterm elections after HillaryCare, Waco and Don't Ask Don't Tell among other landmines. He did a great job of signing the vast majority of GOP produced budgets and other successes like Welfare Reform. He was center-right domestically because he needed to win in '96.

2) To others in the comments, if you do not see the danger (both on this specific issue and in general) in the federal government deciding what the "fair" distribution of income is, then you need a refresher course on the concept of "liberty."

3) The federal budget deficit has decreased by over 100 billion from 2004-2006. Rather than looking at the budget deficit in the abstract, it's often helpful to look at this deficit as a % of overall GDP.

If you're worried about this in 2008, you will commit suicide when you look at the projections as entitlement spending explodes in the next few decades. This isn't Al Gore alarmist bullshit..This is the #1 problem facing this economy and no politician will have the balls to do anything about it until the problem explodes.

I take that back: Certain politicians want to compound this problem now with nationalized health care. It's already started piecemeal with "Medicare prescription drugs for seniors" a few years ago. Advertised cost in 2003: 400 billion. Projected cost now for the next decade: 1.2 trillion.

It's only gonna get worse.

2008-01-04 12:17:41
42.   Penarol1916
40. I disagree with you about globalization. That's not really what I was saying, I speaking more abstractly about costs born by societies by certain actions that the market currently does not account for. Different regulatory regimes are good as different societies can tolerate different actions from their employers and that is not necessarily a bad thing. That is how they can start to grow their economies to the point where the people care about the environment and worker treatment as opposed to where their next meal is coming from. Now the problem is, how do you get the firms that impose environmental costs on the rest of society in these countries to compensate society, and even the rest of the world, that is a question that is not limited to globalization.
2008-01-04 13:19:00
43.   Todd S
Scott, you may be right on the liberal/conservative poster ratio. I guess I fell into the trap of remembering the disagreements more than the agreements. (May also be left over from the previous incarnation of the blog over at the All-Baseball site. Also may be that I have a faulty memory.)

I would argue that it doesn't matter what 90% of the people around where you live think. I sure hope not since I'd hate to be associated with my Congressperson on most issues (Buyer).

2008-01-04 13:30:41
44.   Penarol1916
I'll put my Congressman up against yours. Lipinski had his dad, a 20+ year congressman run in the primary unopposed, while the son of a political friend ran unopposed in the Republican primary. Then his father retired from Congress immediately after winning the primary and then somehow the son was picked by a mysterious group of Chicago Democrats to succeed his father as a candidate in a joke election. The thing that sickens me is that nobody even cares, I hate Chicago politics.
2008-01-04 14:01:03
45.   Todd S

Wait a minute, I thought we were supposed to think our Congressman is da bomb compared to everyone else. That's why Congress has such a low approval rating and a high incumbency retention rate, right? Don't you and I have it backwards?

2008-01-04 15:31:35
46.   jgpyke
38. When I say that we shouldn't rely on the state so much, I get pegged as a Randian. So when you trot out your arguments to punish people, you are pegged a socialist. This is the game played at the toaster. I am not unique in this.

40. Scott, toaster posters are at least 75% liberal. joecubed, TFD, Penarol, Chris in IL, etc., etc., etc.

2008-01-04 15:33:39
47.   Scott Long
I'm not in disagreement that CLinton co-opted some of the contract with america ideas, but remember that his economic team was for the most economically moderate. (Rubin, Panetta, Tyson, Bentsen) Read Greenspan's book about Clinton's instincts on the economy. (Woodward did a good book on the Clinton economic team back in the 90's, as well.) He said he was the best president he dealt with and gave Clinton a lot of credit for how things went in the 90's. The 4 big factors I think for 90's success.

1. 41 tax cut gave Clinton the political cover to not to have to raise taxes on a major level to help turn deficits around.

2. The technological boom created massive wealth (tax revenues and stock gains) for the US, as we were in the lead on this sector.

3. Combo of republican congress and Clinton shrinking government.

4. Rubin, Greenspan, and Clinton worked so beautifully together in putting the pieces all together.

I was never for the Medicare plan which ended up being the Republican plan. I hated the Democratic plan even more. It was a political reach to pander to the elderly who are such a strong voting bloc. I hope the gains in voter turnout by the young for Obama will translate in the general, as I'm tired of the Senior Citizen set having so much control.

I come back to these questions about health care for those who want to let the free market "work".
*Why is it that Republican governors like Romney didn't believe that we could just let costs continue and have a portion of the uninsured continue to go to emergency rooms for their care, which cost way more than if they were insured?
*Do any of you go through a private plan yourself, as you can never really understand the spiraling costs of health care unless you are self-employed?

I have been beyond frightened by entitlement spending in the future, that is why I don't think we can continue to fund a war with no end for a group of people who are so splintered there is no way sectarian violence won't continue. I have more of a Greenspan view on deficits and the impending entitlement doom than I do thinking of how it is only about now and "hey, the deficits in comparison to GDP aren't so bad."

Sometimes government has to regulate business. Look at how the practice of high risk loans has exploded in the face of the financial industry and has had a severe blowback to the US economy. Recession? It is hard to see how that isn't on the brink considering the jobs report, consumer spending going down, and people losing massive paper losses on their homes and now it is trickling up to the stock market.

I hear all of you ripping me for my thoughts, but not once has your wonderboy Dubya's name been brought up. This Fu--nuts continues to leave his negative imprint on us like virus.

2008-01-04 15:36:59
48.   jgpyke
Fair Tax/national sales tax is a horrible idea.

1. Taxing consumption discourages spending. This, IMO, is a bad thing.

2. It encourages the black market.

3. It is patently regressive.

#3 is the biggest point, or should be, for the majority of posters here. It is a "tax cut for the rich" like we have never seen before. Example: if you spend 50K to keep the family afloat for a year but make only 50K, then 100% of your income is taxable. But if you make 100K and spend only 50K, then 50% of your income is taxable. The more you make, the less you're taxed.

Plus, the "fair tax" is actually a 30% tax, not 23% as touted:

2008-01-04 15:38:33
49.   Scott Long
It is really rare when TFD posts anymore. Just look at this discussion for an example of who are the posters. I don't care what percentage posts or reads, but to claim that you are some type of oppressed minority here just doesn't jibe from what I read.

I like how we have different points of view here. I learn from others viewpoints. This is my favorite part of this blog and why I occasionally put up a political discussion.

2008-01-04 15:48:23
50.   jgpyke
Scott--I didn't mean to claim victim status--just calling BS on your "there are only 2 liberals here" assertion.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-01-04 15:53:42
51.   jgpyke
"*Do any of you go through a private plan yourself, as you can never really understand the spiraling costs of health care unless you are self-employed?"

I have health ins. through my employer, which covers only me. I have to pay almost $500/mo to add my wife and one child. So I know all about spiraling costs. Every expenditure is a kick in the nuts. When you add what my employer pays plus what I pay, is $800/mo in the ballpark of your private insurance? believe me, I am getting no "sweet deal" just b/c I'm not self-employed.

"I hear all of you ripping me for my thoughts, but not once has your wonderboy Dubya's name been brought up."

Bush is a tax-and-spend liberal.

2008-01-04 17:01:05
52.   TFD
jgpyke...I didn't cry, and don't believe Will did either, but I could barely eat for a week; and how prescient I was. Even I didn't think 43 could be this bad. Idiotic foreign policy, tax/spend liberal, gut the constitution and federal gov't, institute mandatory right-wing religious zealots in the justice dept, etc... (I could go on.)

And as to 'liberal'...same as it ever was (here). I'm hardly a liberal, but in this libertarian-sphere of james-ian 'its all about the individual' I certainly do fall into the pro-government crowd - - as liberal as that is by today's standards.

I'm certainly past the point of reasoned debate as it relates to Cato/Heritage/Libertarian strains of economic analysis. It's all a ruse...same as Nader on the left. Ideals be damned, it got us all eight years of junior of which it will take 20-30 years to recover (and for thousands of families, never.)

Give me reasonable Republicans agaain - - Ike, 41, Teddy, etc. God those were the days.

Oh, and one more....that Obama what a communist!

So...isn't it good to have a heretic back amongst the mix?!

Yo, and dude, its chris in illinois...not Chris. ;-)

2008-01-04 17:03:10
53.   Scott Long
It was nice to see your sense of humor, jgpyke, at the end. Thanks for sharing your personal info. I think it helps inform your argument.
With my daughter having autism and asthma, it is mind-blowing how much I've spent on health care. I was always for universal health care for children and my passion on the subject has only grown since I've had my daughter. My wife used to have great insurance, but she had to quit her job to stay at home with my daughter because of her special needs. As I said, I'm not expecting a handout, but the spiraling costs of health care have to be addressed in some way.

Considering the current republican field you can't be too enthused by your choices, if you think Bush is a tax and spender.

2008-01-04 17:15:17
54.   chris in illinois
51 Well, you've finally convinced me....I've been wrong all along. W is quite simply the best president in the history of our country.

His handling of the Iraq situation (not a war) has been masterful, in fact, Peace-keeping mission is too 'UN' for my tastes...let's call it a 'sleep-over'. Those troops aren't in any danger, they're just sleeping over at their Islamic friend's place---no worries!!!

The economy is great!!! Don't worry about the dollar, it's just taking a NASCAR know, 'come around the last turn in second or third and if ya slingshot it jus' right....victory..."

I could go on, but Scott, what's the use?? I'm with you, repeal the 22nd amendment and let's give W four more years!!! Clearly his leadership has been beyond compare, I was simply kidding myself all these years...once I was blind and now I can see....!!!!

What a fool I've been, clearly what America needs is more of W's leadership....I concede.




GOP chris in illinois

2008-01-04 17:22:14
55.   chris in illinois

If the requisite amendment cannot be abolished, any GOP candidate will do...obviously these are the men looking out for common Joes like me, I'm just embarrassed I didn't see it sooner. We need a return to the sane, balanced budgets that we had under Bush the elder...err, Reagan...wait....Nixon??? Someone help me out here, I'm new at being right...which GOP president had balanced budgets again??? I need to know in case any of those traitor liberals ask me.


2008-01-04 18:09:50
56.   Todd S
48 Not saying a national sales tax is a perfect plan, I just think it's a lot better than what we have now. As far as being regressive, are you aware that H.R. 25 (Linder's Fair Tax plan) includes a monthly allowance for basic necessity spending up to the poverty level? It's based on family size-not income.

Regarding the black market point you make, I guess I feel like you'll have tax evasion attempts no matter what system you put in place. Also, the Fair Tax (sorry...making no claims that it actually is fair-just using its trade name for expediency) would capture a lot of taxes that we're not collecting now: income on illegal activities and cash payments to employees.

As far as the rate, it is 30% using the current way that sales tax is calculated, but the 23% is quoted so that it is inclusive-like our current federal income tax (which is what it is supposed to replace). For instance, if you're quoting the 30%, do I get to say that I'm in the 33% tax bracket instead of 25%? It's the same amount either way-it just depends on what you use as the denominator. I think it's reasonable to use the same inclusive percentage as the income tax does now.

Another significant benefit is that it will transfer a lot of power to give corporate welfare away from Congress, which is why someone like Rush Limbaugh believes it will be impossible to pass. I think it will be difficult, but not impossible.

52 Cato is no fan of W. They've been critical of nearly all of his policies since he took office-with the exception of the tax cut. You and I disagree on the value of the economic analysis of Cato and Heritage; I'll leave it at that.

2008-01-04 21:40:40
57.   Scott Long
No tax plan is perfect, but I believe a national sales tax is the most fair. Of course, it is an economic theory that has never been tested on the level like it would be in our country and I believe there is no chance in hell that it would ever be instituted. It is a radical change, would change every way we collect money. Oh, pipe dreams.
2008-01-04 22:48:53
58.   be2ween
Just a little insight into the caucus: my folks still live in Newton IA. They drove to the caucus and coldn't find a place to park for miles. Turnout compared to the last election has sky-rocketed. After talking w/ them on the phone tonight, they told me that the Newton Daily News reported that Edwards won the democratic side in Jasper County by 3 to 1.
Edwards had visited Newton a few times, including on the day that Maytag closed it's doors. His message of tackling corporate greed, and healthcare for children struck home BIG TIME. (The race will be between him and Obama.)
Hillary has no core and no cohesive message.
Barack excited me in that he is getting young people engaged in the process.
The republicans aren't stealing this one. They're not even coming close. It's still going to be a trudge, but at least we'll have a glimpse of sanity again in our f'ing capital.
Good night, you princes of the toaster, you kings of the diamond.
Scott, God bless your kid, and thanks for the post.
2008-01-05 05:31:36
59.   TFD
Talk about crying....

i just shed tears reading chris; reminds me of days gone by in these here parts.

you da man.


2008-01-05 07:03:53
60.   jgpyke
I think Obama could be our next president, and I'm fine with that.

Edwards has no shot. This country just ain't buyin' his Huey P. Long schtick (for many, many reasons...chiefly of which being that this country really isn't bad off at his patent phoniness).

Hillary could win, but I hope not. It is not out of some Rush Limbaugh-style "Hillary is a socialist" fear but simple annoyance that there is nothing to her except a shrill Nixonian who will stop at nothing. The evidence is already there (from first lady travel office BS through the modern letting it "slip" by proxy that Obama is a "cocaine-dealing Muslim"). My stomach churns at the prospect of a Clinton-orchestrated general election campaign that we'll have to endure for the rest of the year. For those of you on the left, my feelings for that are like yours towards Atwater and Rove, if you can dig it.

But Obama has a style that plays well on TV. I also suspect that he would probably be a pretty conservative (small c) president in the sense that Bill Clinton was. Bill Clinton was actually fairly conservative in many ways, despite what the St. Vitus-dancing right says (he was an unmitigated disaster in foreign policy...but so is the current prez, according to most, but in a completely different way).

Romney is a robot. He is the Republican John Kerry. He is a northeast patrician and puppet of the corporate right. He would be an awful president.

McCain has no shot, despite the attempts of the cheerleading press to prop him up. Too old, too angry, too many positions that have pissed people off (amnesty, McCain-Feingold, etc.). I loved him in 2000, though.

Huckabee is interesting for many reasons. Unfortunately, the corporate right are doing everything they can to sink him (e.g., Natl. Review and their love of the MittBot). Huckabee is basically a Southern Democrat from a bygone era (Democrats used to be socially conservative, and I can't say that moving away from that has been a successful strategy for them.) A social conservative preaching economic populism is quite interesting to see in American politics. If the anti-Christian elements of the left could get past the fact that Huck is a guy who loves God, they would probably dig his other positions (fair tax, anti-smoking, etc.).

I don't know what to make of Giuliani except that he is another puppet of the corporate right. His main selling point seems to be, "I can beat Hillary." Whether or not that's true is another story. Oh, and 9/11. If you were annoyed by John Kerry's Walter Sobchek-like schtick of reminding people about Vietnam...

I like Fred Thompson, but he needs to start winning something soon. The "Fred is lazy" meme, while demonstrably false, has stuck in some circles. The corporate right has already backed Mitt or Rudy, so Thompson has had a rough go at getting the right's media support. But given the chance, he could be great at pulling together the various factions to win a general election. He can work the camera, too (not as well as Huck, but no one can).

I guess I forgot to mention Ron Paul, b/c I have only been discussing people who may actually think they could be president. He's the Kucinich of the right, a marginalized figure with some good ideas whose kookiness overshadows them. If he didn't get so into the black-helicopter/tri-lateral commission crap, I'd like him a lot more. But then he wouldn't be getting his millions from the nutroots.

2008-01-05 10:06:04
61.   Scott Long
Great breakdown of the race, jgpyke. Love the Mittbot line. He is John Kerry, isn't he?

I'm an agnostic who thinks prayer in the school is an issue I believe would be disastrous for our public schools, but I love Huckabee, the man. You are completely on that the guy is an old-time southern dem. Actually more liberal than most of them.

Thompson has never appeared on the O'Reilly Factor which I heard BillO rant about last night. This doesn't seem like a good strategy to connect with republican voters.

One quibble I have with the Clinton commentary is the part about dirty tricks on Obama. The guy does have a Muslim name, a Muslim family background, and there are real questions if he did sell cocaine. My stance on youth and drugs is that I could give a rat's ass, but if it found out that he did sell it, that is one big rat. This stuff needs to be resolved now, because it will be explored in the general for sure. I will be really interested to see how he does as the front-runner, as I believe the media has given him a pretty easy go of it. In the Democratic party they won't allow you to evade the media, unlike the Republican party who have an overall hatred of the media.

be2ween- Thanks for the update on the Newton caucus. I was in Newton the night before for the first time in a couple of years and it really saddens me to know that so many of these people are scrambling around for crappy jobs after the Maytag debacle. I guess they can all work at the Racetrack! Loved the John Irving reference. He's my favorite author.

2008-01-05 12:07:58
62.   jgpyke
Thanks, Scott. Wish I had coined the Mittbot line, but I've seen it elsewhere (can't remember where or I'd cite it).

I get what you're saying about the cocaine and the Muslim thing, but it's the way that team Hillary lets it slip that is slimy. "Hey, I'm not saying B. Hussein Obama dealt coke, or crack, or sucked on that glass dick too much...all I'm saying is that the Republicans will bring it up later. Cocaine, cocaine, cocaine." Or Bob Kerrey's backhanded "compliment" about B. Hussein Obama having been to a madrassa or whatever. Or how they dug up his kindergarten teacher to rebut Obama's assertion that this isn't a lifelong dream for him. All of that stuff is transparent and silly.

BTW, has Huck made a statement about prayer in schools lately, reversing his earlier position that it should not be in schools?

From Feb. 2007: "Huckabee said he never could understand why so many people 'railed against (the absence of) prayer in schools when they didn't even pray at home.' … 'I felt it was not the schools' job,' he said, to teach his children to pray, but the family's. For himself, Huckabee quipped, 'I prayed in school every time I took a math test.'" (

I feel the same way, and I am a church-going, bible-believing Christian and former public school teacher.

Despite what a lot of people think, I really believe Huck could win a general election and could possibly be the GOP's strongest candidate. (Kos agrees...back in May...2006:

2008-01-05 16:18:43
63.   Scott Long
I guess since Chuck Norris is his big supporter and is pushing a prayer in the school program, I figured Huck was along on that idea.
2008-01-05 17:30:46
64.   chris in illinois
It's heartening to see that we all sort of agree on the school prayer thing...I always ask proponents if they'd approve of communion at school, but the Baptists always balk at that idea...

As someone who thinks that hell=Narnia, it does give me pause that the front-runners cite God too frequently for my tastes, but I try to remember that the pretense of being a Christian is a modern-day requirement for office and that even though a non-believer like Reagan could get elected, in 2007 you have to pretend a little at least in order to get elected.

I agree that Huckabee is the strongest GOP candidate, but he could easily pull a Dean and torpedo himself---his awkward attempt to have the press trot out his 'pulled' attack ads is a recent example.

Frankly, anyone but Guiliani would seem like the best president in History compared to the disaster that was W.

2008-01-05 17:37:19
65.   TFD
chris...nice Narnia blast. Oh...The Horror.

Scott, when did you become so reasonable, btw? I know it's tough when writing a blog, but how do you logically swallow trying to be understanding of such a lunatic fringe.

2008-01-05 22:34:07
66.   Scott Long
I think some of it has to do with being the only person on the banner. I try to let opposing views have a place to breathe. Being a natural contrarian makes it easier to want to explore the more unpopular side of an issue. I wish more Americans would adopt my style, as they might discover that just because it is popular (see going into Iraq for an example) doesn't mean it is always a good idea. Since I do sometimes vote for republicans and hate some dems (see Kerry) I think I have some validity on my views with my more conservative brethren.
2008-01-06 12:57:33
67.   chris in illinois
Despite what I frequently write, I like that fact that the 'Juice' isn't a lefty echo-chamber. Obviously, I'm liberal in many of my views, although I'd surprise a few people here on some others. What I do appreciate are the few right-leaning posters who challenge my ideas and generally support their positions with actual facts and ideas.

looking forward to a year of healthy political debate.

2008-01-06 14:45:47
68.   das411
Couldn't let this slide. You guys really think Mitt Romney = John Kerry?

Let's take a closer look at this, shall we?

Candidate A:
- MBA, Harvard Law / Harvard Business School, Baker Scholar (top 5% of graduating class)
- Consultant, then VP and later CEO of Bain & Company
- led successful turnaround as President/CEO of 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics
- Governor of Massachusetts, 2003-2007

Candidate B:
- BA, Yale, 76 grade average
- Served in Vietman before he was against it, 1966-72
- Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, 1982-85
- US Senate, 1985-present

Only post-2000 moonbat Democrats (which to your great credit, Scott, you do not seem to be....others here I'm not so sure) could possibly think candidate B would make a better Chief Executive than candidate A.

2008-01-06 16:35:54
69.   jgpyke
68. I think neither one would make a good prez. Kerry and the Mittbot are both NE patricians with important hair and no charisma. They both suck, and neither will ever be president.

Unrelated to that, does anyone think McCain would be a good prez? I was wondering if he could do his "porkbuster" thing as chief exec. Or would the lack of a line-item veto (which is unconstitutional anyway) keep that from happening? I've never given McCain much thought--has anyone here?

2008-01-06 17:13:17
70.   Scott Long
jgpyke hits the exact tenor I have in comparing Kerry and Romney. I would add that I do think Romney is more competent, but I give credit for Kerry fighting in a war he didn't have to. Romney seems like a guy who never had to get his hands dirty, except maybe ringing doorbells on his Mormon mission.

I have been a McCain supporter in the past and have said before how I would have voted for him over Kerry. (this has gotten me slammed many times by my dem friends.) I'm a fan of people who have substance in their offerings and are willing to take the tough question, even if I don't agree with it all. I also like his quick wit. Now his fanaticism about the Iraq War has moved me away from ever considering supporting him again, but I respect him as a man.

2008-01-07 09:47:11
71.   Todd S
Just wanted to drop a post to say, "Thank you" to Mr. Long and the commenters here. I really enjoyed this thread.

Oh, and as someone who actually fills out campaign finance reports, I would vote for every single candidate ahead of John McCain. Call me a single-issue voter if you'd like, but I do not trust McCain at all with regards to upholding Constitutional rights.

2008-01-07 12:08:08
72.   Scott Long
Bad news for you, Todd. Obama touts his efforts working with mccain on campaign finance reform.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.