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Personally On the Juice
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Why My Super-delegate Vote Goes to Hillary
2008-04-26 11:18
by Scott Long

My guess is that those who gravitate towards writing blogs are politically similar to those who are journalists or those who have chosen to go into to into the entertainment field. (actors, screenwriters, musicians, etc.) When you choose to go into a creative field, I don't think it's a stretch to say that you are someone with a large ego---someone who thinks that their talents need to be consumed by a larger audience. By being filled with such an ego, these creative types are less likely to want to be part of a large group or subscribe to some type of religious or political dogma. When you are of the persuasion I listed in the sentence before, you are usually pretty liberal politically.

I have come to these conclusions because it not only seems to be a pretty logical step, but also because I fit the hypothesis I have offered up. Where I differ with most of my creative, outsider types is that I have not fallen in love with the candidacy of Barack Obama. Before I get into why I haven't fully embraced him, let me discuss how I believe the majority of the blogosphere, mainstream media, and Hollywood left has given Obama a mostly free-ride during his meteoric rise.

There has been a steady clamor from the traditional and non-traditional media that Hillary Clinton has run a bad campaign. I disagree, as Barack Obama appeals almost perfectly to the 3 largest groups of Democratic primary voters. Far-left liberals, White elites, and Blacks. The first 2 groups have always had a tortured relationship with the Clinton's, as Bill's Presidency was marked by many moderate politcal positions. Along comes Barack Obama, a Black candidate for President who can assuage the White guilt for the first 2 groups, while nearly getting almost every tally from Black voters. Considering that these 3 groups are the most powerful blocs on the state and national level, it is not surprising that Obama has dominated the states that have caucuses.

The 2008 Democratic campaign started off perfectly for Obama, as Iowa is a caucus state which borders Illinois. It is not a state like most in the Midwest, which is economically-driven by manufacturing jobs and thus it's economy isn't doing that badly, as Ethanol has been a big boon for Iowa coffers. Obama also had the advantage of having John Edwards in the race, at the time, who I think took more voters away from Hillary. (I say this because the majority of populist voters have went Clinton's way since Edwards dropped out of the race.) When Obama won so decisively in Iowa and Hillary finished 3rd, it was a sign to Black voters that if he could dominate in a lily-White state, he could win the Democratic nomination. After Iowa, Hillary's support in the Black community went in free-fall, to the point now where Hillary is getting voting totals from Blacks like Dubya received versus Kerry in 2004.

The mainstream and non-mainstream media has spent most of the Democratic campaign being much tougher on Hillary. I understand this, as she was seen pretty invincible by the political experts and in the role of front-runner, you generally will take the most shots. Not until the race was for almost over, Ohio, did the mainstream press start to really dig into Obama's past and expose some issues about him that will definitely be key facets of the General campaign. Before this though, the MSM pundits and blogosphere spent most of it's time ripping the Clinton's for running a horrible campaign.

Ever since the first time the topic of would Hillary Clinton end up being the next President, I was always of the opinion that she couldn't win the General election. I just never thought she was likable enough and had too high of negatives. At the beginning of the race for the Democratic nomination, I was an Edwards supporter, as I felt he spoke most honestly about the issues I care about and was the candidate who I thought could most easily win the General. Considering the makeup of voters in the Democratic primary/caucus, he stood no chance against the well-funded campaigns he lost to, though. When Edwards bowed out, my super-delegate vote window reopened.

Obviously, Obama is the far superior speaker, but I have been impressed for the most part in the way Hillary has stayed within herself, rarely succumbing to the natural reaction at political rallies of raising her voice over a cheering crowd. (Better known as the Dean-scream.) Hillary is at her most likable when she smiles and offers up her cackle for a laugh, as it humanizes her and makes her seem less like the ice queen she has been portrayed as. Sure the whole beer and shot appearance she made in NW Indiana recently seemed less than genuine, but I think it was a positive for her, as for a core group of voters it made her appear less like an elitist. I know this stuff shouldn't matter, but just like seeing Obama fail so miserably bowling, it does make an unconscious impression on undecided voters. Considering that Hillary and Obama have very few policy differences, these type of personal qualities mean a lot more than you might hope they do.

Until Saturday Night Live did their debate parody of Tim Russert and Brian Williams fawning all over Obama and being much tougher on Hillary, there was little discussion of how much of free-ride Obama had gotten during this campaign. Still, the majority of the political blogosphere made little of it and nothing like how apeshit they went when Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolous went hard at Obama. The liberal left doesn't have someone with the power of a Limbaugh or Hannity, but the closest they do have are Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Arianna Huffington, Markos Mousilitas (Daily Kos), Air America radio hosts, etc. All of them have been strongly supporting Obama since his Iowa primary victory. I can't name one major political pundit who has publicly supported Hillary. They have used many of the same arguments against the Clinton's that the right-wing conspiracy types did in the past. It has been really amazing to me that they have been this strident in their support and condemnation of the Clinton's, especially since the 2 candidates policies are practically the same.

These liberal media figures have claimed that the Clinton's have run a dirty campaign against Obama. This is where I strongly disagree. Considering how close the race has been and what is at stake, I think the tone has been mild. This is where the political correctness of the Left really hurts the Democratic party. When Bill Clinton mentioned after the South Carolina primary that Jesse Jackson had won it in the past, it was a legitimate point. The reason Obama won the state was because of Black voters. Sure Obama has won the majority of states, but I think there is a legitimate argument to be made that his victories have come in states like South Carolina where the Dems have little chance of winning. Considering that John McCain has appealed greatly to moderate voters in the past, states like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida will be even more important than usual.

Obama's detached style is cool to the hipsters, but for people in the Industrial Midwest, who have seen there standard of living plummet, it has a hard time registering. Despite her claims to the contrary, it is hard to see how Hillary will really try to fix the problems of free-trade agreements considering that it was her husband's administration who were their biggest champions in the Democratic party. Even with this fact on his side, populist voters have shunned Obama for the most part as he just doesn't offer up much in the way of concrete plans on the subject. If you like it or not, these type voters will determine who become President. They have went strongly for Hillary, in almost every key swing state. I believe this has happened because despite the NAFTA-like agreements the Clinton administration pushed through, 1992-2000 was a lot better time for the middle-class than what they have experienced over the last 8 years.

The biggest joke to me has been the concept that Bill Clinton has hurt Hillary's campaign. Let's first establish that major reason she is a Senator and the only reason she was the Democratic front-runner for this election was because she was married to Bill. I've always thought of the Clinton's with this analogy. Have you ever had a party and when you were considering who to invite you were on the fence in inviting a couple because let's say the guy was the life of the party, but if you wanted him there, you had to take his not so fun wife as well. This is how I've always looked at the Clinton's. I always respected Hillary's intellect, but not until the past couple of months did I see much human warmth. Bill Clinton has gotten Hillary to this point, as his charm and charisma opened doors that I doubt she could have went through by herself.

Hillary's main message has been that she is most ready to takeover the job. I thnk it is completely legitimate. She does have a better idea of what the job entails than anyone running and she has the benefit of Bill being there as her Co-President. This is the biggest reason I have been swayed towards her. Considering the absolute disaster that the past 8 years have been, our country doesn't have the time for on the job training. While I don't agree with all of the Clinton's policies, I am confident in their track record and have a good idea of what Hillary's cabinet would look like.

While the concept of what Barack Obama would bring to the White House is exciting, I have a lot more questions with him. The idea that he would bring less partisanship to Washington is empty from my point of view, as his political record is more liberal than Hillary and he has done little in connecting with Republican politicians. This does not seem like a good recipe for bringing people together, especially when you add that many of these Senators see him as someone who has risen to stardom without having earned his political tenure. I don't think that should be a prerequisite, but I do think it will hamper him from the beginning in pushing through any real major policy changes.

It does seem like Obama will end up getting the nomination, but the race is close enough that Hillary has had every right to push the process through until all the states get a chance to vote. Unless McCain pulls back some from his Hawkish stance on Iraq, I just don't see the Democrat losing this election. Now if McCain did offer some type of plan which included a sensible exit strategy, I think he could be tough to beat, especially in these swing states where Obama has not connected with Hispanics, older voters and single moms.

I've been waiting for Obama to sell me on why I should want to support him, but as stirring as some of the rhetoric he offers up, I just can't get past the feeling that his coronation might be 4 to 8 years too early. I'm sure I will still vote for him, as McCain's war politics and keeping the Bush tax cuts permanent I believe will keep us going on the disastrous path we have been going towards this whole decade. I just think that in the place our country finds itself, Hillary Clinton provides a better bet to put us back on the right track. I guess this declaration will keep me from hainging out at Hollywood parties or get a gig writing for the Huffington Post, but I have to follow what my head tells me is right. I have a lot of elitist traits and have no problem being called on them, but I guess my childhood growing up the son of a poor millworker (oops, that is John Edwards stump speech) poor factory worker has left me with a populist spirit.

Comments (64)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-04-26 11:52:19
1.   Jose Habib
"When Bill Clinton mentioned after the South Carolina primary that Jesse Jackson had won it in the past, it was a legitimate point. The reason Obama won the state was because of Black voters."

So black voters shouldn't count or something?

The reason Hillary won some of the states she won was because of straight up racism. But nobody can come out and say that, so they say "Obama has trouble appealing to blue collar white voters."

2008-04-26 12:20:53
2.   Scott Long
If you want to play the race card, let's do it. Both candidates have very similar political positions. More than 90% of Blacks have supported Obama in most of the primaries. Even though only 12 percent of the population is black, Obama looks to have a great chance to become the next President of the US. No other major industrial nation I can think of has democratically elected a person to its top job who belonged to a race with such a small percentage of the population. Sure there are Whites who won't vote for a Black person and in the general it will grow much higher, but how is it that Blacks have voted at such an enormous rate for Obama, especially when he's going up against a candidate who's husband did more for Blacks than any other President outside of maybe LBJ?

Most people vote for who they are most comfortable with. Some vote out of pure racism. It cuts both ways.

2008-04-26 12:22:37
3.   Scott Long
Uh maybe I should throw Lincoln in the discussion of who helped Blacks most, but I stand by the rest of my point.
2008-04-26 12:29:17
4.   Jose Habib
Both candidates have groups who voted for them overwhelmingly. Why single out African Americans? I could just as easily say Hillary won the states she won because of white women over the age of 70.
2008-04-26 12:41:46
5.   JMK
An honest question: How exactly did Bill help African-Americans? I've heard the argument that with welfare reform he hurt inner city communities more than he helped them.
2008-04-26 12:56:41
6.   Zach the Ripper
I think that if you are going to put both candidates in the same box as far as policy goes, then you need to take a closer look at BOTH of their positive and negative personal qualities.
One important fact you're ignoring is the festering hate on the part of the Right for all things Clinton. This is the elephant in the room HRC supporters are ignoring.
Obama has much a much higher 'likability' rating and much lower 'negativite' rating. It's hard to find a Republican that 'hates' Obama, and on the other side it's easy to find a Democrat that really dislikes Hillary. That says a lot right there.
Plus, PR is real and Obama is like an overflowing chalise of good PR to the world.
2008-04-26 13:02:08
7.   Scott Long
Look at the fiscal measure which showed lower-income Americans moving up the ladder more than ever during his administration. I know there were other factors involved than just Clinton, but he did have a major part in the process.
2008-04-26 13:17:48
8.   Scott Long
I think as he starts to get more real scrutiny, the attack on Obama will grow strong, as his voting record is very liberal. His negatives will continue to rise, as he is just starting to be vetted. (Jesus to I hate that word. sorry.)

In regards to world-wide goodwill, I agree and think having a Muslim sounding name is an advantage. It's not like the Clinton's don't have a great reputation around the country, as well.

2008-04-26 13:50:09
9.   Zach the Ripper
I agree the Clinton's do have some positive name recognition outside the US, but the other side of that coin is our Democracy will look like a pointless sham when we have just two families running the ship for two decades.
I guess if we changed our foreign policy to 'anything but communism' we wouldn't look like such hypocrites when we try to change other people's governments.
2008-04-26 13:59:58
10.   Zach the Ripper
Regarding Obama's future negatives, the dude is in the cream of the Harvard alumni crop and he choose to begin his ascent to king of the world by becoming....a southside Chicago community organizer?
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is sitting on the board of a profit first, good jobs for Americans second company, Walmart.
While admittedly Obama will lose a little shine between now and November, Obama will always look like the better person when you juxtapose their careers and the ways they chose to make America a better place for every citizen, not just Walmart's shareholders.
By the way, I really do enjoy your writing here, I think this is the first time I've disagreed with your message. Peace.
2008-04-26 14:08:58
11.   Lexinthedena
So Obama's blackness garners him votes because liberal whites feel guilty? So guilty that when anonymously casting thier votes that can't bring themselves to vote for the white candidate? Obama's appeal extends beyond race which is why he has created such a movement around him. He represents far more change than he will actually bring, but your diagnosis of his success is backward. Maybe I'm being reductive about your article, but I think it's pretty off. Hilary is quite hawkish and I don't expect that to change just because she apologized for her informed support of this war.
2008-04-26 14:41:11
12.   Scott Long
I was against the way we went into Iraq and was slammed for it when I used to bring it up in a public forum on a nightly basis. I appreciate that Obama would have voted against the war, but in the district he was in it wasn't going to cost him votes. If you remember the atmosphere of the time, I understood why politicians were sheep-like in their support. Now if you were supporting the war in 2005, I have a different point of view. Most dems have come around, sadly it took a long time, but the country took a long time as well.

I knew I would get ripped here for my support of Hillary, as I have not read one major or blogger or pundit who supports her, despite her having most of the same stances on the issues. I am going with the devil that I know.

I have no argument to the point that having 24 years of the 2 families controlling the Presidency. That really bothers me. This is why I wish Obama connected with me more. I think he would be wise to announce who would be part of his cabinet. It might make some of us who question what an Obama presidency would be like would feel a lot better.

I could care less if he went to Harvard. The whole Ivy League success deal has been pretty hit or miss.

I believe Hillary has come off much more Hawkish than her natural instincts because she knew that men would never consider her if she didn't come off tough. This might be an issue that negatively impacts her as president, though.

2008-04-26 15:00:44
13.   Scott Long
By the way, I appreciate the dialogue. In Liberal circles, you almost never run into someone not supporting Obama, unless it is a feminist. I thought I would throw out a differing point of view to help some of you have a little understanding of why some still favor Hillary. I know you think it puts me in the voting bloc of women named Pearl and Gertrude, but it is the place I find myself in.
2008-04-26 17:27:43
14.   williamnyy23
As a conservative Republican, I am enjoying the Hillary/Obama battle royal. The best part is that not only are they beating each other up, but it really doesn't matter who wins. Quite frankly, the Democrats couldn't have picked two other candidates more difficult to elect. Hillary is easily the most disliked, while Obama has so little experience to go along with an extremely liberal voting record. If I was John McCain's advisor, I'd tell him to take a lpng vacation and come back in October.

As for your hypothesis, I was always fond of the one that concluded that creative types were more likely to be liberal because they live in more of a fantasy world :)

2008-04-26 17:46:00
15.   Scott Long
Yeah, creative liberal types do live in a fantasy world. Of course, republicans live in the reality of electing a complete failure as Prez, then giving him carte blanche to run the country into the ground. As PM Dawn sang...Reality Used to be a Friend of Mine.
2008-04-26 18:15:16
16.   Zach the Ripper
I'm not really too worried about McCain, especially if Obama gets the nod. McCain couldn't even beat out the worst president of all time, and now he is 8 years older and even more senile. Oh yeah, I forgot he is 'a Maverick'. Nothing turns out conservatives to vote like kick-ass presidential sounding nicknames.
2008-04-26 18:29:24
17.   Longone
The most important quality of a leader is the capacity to inspire. And Obama is by-far-and-away the most inspiring of the remaining candidates.

Clinton and Obama are almost identical ideologically, and both outclass McCain.

Forget the TV rhetoric that's pointless.

I for one do not want to waste anymore time and money in Iraq.

And, it's the economy stupid...

2008-04-26 19:17:52
18.   Penarol1916
My biggest problem with Hillary has been that she has completely let me down in the one area where I thought she was unimpeachable, competence. She has shown in her campaign that she values loyalty over competence, which was also the worst sin of the Bush administration. Solis-Doyle and Penn ran her campaign into the ground and were not kicked earlier (Solis-Doyle after her terrible job in Hillary's re-election campaign versus a a nothing candidate) and the complete lack of preparation or strategic thought by anyone associated with her campaign. Personally, I'm not all that enthusiastic about anyone left. Why couldn't Biden or Dodd have caught fire, or Evan Bayh have an actual personality?
2008-04-26 19:35:55
19.   chris in illinois
I'll try to weigh in more in depth later, but here goes:

Why do we continue to talk about experience?? There is no job on Earth that can remotely prepare anyone to be the president. We can only eliminate people from consideration via previous presidential examples i.e.- Male cheerleaders, guys named 'poppy', you get the point...

2008-04-26 20:15:48
20.   Scott Long
I can't disagree with Penarol about Solis-Doyle, but I don't think Penn was as bad as you classify him. Obama connected early with all the Move-on people and then added almost all black voters. That is a winning ticket in most caucuses and a tough bloc to beat in many primaries. Since Solis-Doyle left, Hill has run a pretty tight campaign, IMO.

Chris, I do think Hillary (through Bill) has experience in what the job is like. Considering the financial disaster we are in and military disaster we are in (closely correlated) we need someone to go in there hitting the ground running. If I knew more about how Obama (who has no executive experience) was going to approach the job versus I will bring Change and Hope, I would be more enthusiastic.

Call me a cynic, but I think there are more important qualities in a President than having the ability to inspire. I'm not saying it doesn't have its importance, but in the fractured political system I think inspiration in this office is next to impossible to keep going. Especially considering his politics are very liberal. And this comes from someone who is liberal on social issues.

2008-04-26 20:45:06
21.   Jose Habib
I'm with Penarol - it's about competence.

Hillary Clinton started this election with every single institutional advantage she could have, and blew it all, for no good reason, to a first-term senator who simply out-organized and out-hustled her.

Obama didn't have some kind of inherent advantage in caucus states. He just strategized, organized and motivated his people better.

Bush thought we'd be welcomed with flowers after invading Iraq - Hillary thought this election would be over after Super Tuesday. Arrogance instead of planning.

2008-04-26 20:47:06
22.   Jose Habib
Also, what executive experience does Hillary Clinton have?
2008-04-26 22:39:15
23.   Scott Long
She has Bill Clinton in the white house. Obama has raised way more cash during the election than Hillary. Ultimately, if he wins, he wins, but the idea that Hillary had all these advantages ended as soon as Iowan went with Obama. All of the major liberal media pundits support Obama. This is important. Obama has run a great campaign. THis doesn't mean that Hillary has done this.

...Bush thought we'd be welcomed with flowers after invading Iraq - Hillary thought this election would be over after Super Tuesday. Arrogance instead of planning...

Come on, are you really comparing the inanity of Bush and the quagmire he instituted with the campaign of Hillary Clinton? This is the kind of attack shots at her that the Daily Kos and the Huffington Post has laid out since Iowa. Guess what, if she would have won Iowa, most likely she wins the whole thing and these groups would have been falling all over themselves supporting her.

2008-04-27 00:12:41
24.   joejoejoe
Your post has a lot of stimulating detail so I'm going to go just rattle off a few points of comment on this campaign in no particular order.

- Obama does much better in the Plains states, Moutain West, and Northwest. These states are generally NOT part of the media narrative but they count just as much as 'Rust Belt' states. Obama does much better in Virgina as well.

- Lefty columnist David Sirota speculated on why Obama does poorly in states like Ohio and offered up a "race chasm" chart as evidence. In states with between 6% and 17% black population, Obama does worst. Both Clinton supporter Gov. Ed Rendell and Obama supporter David K. Levdanskyd, a state Rep. in PA, comment in support of Sirota's theory.

- Obama does well in lily white states where race is not part of everyday politics and well in states with a significant number of black voters. Winning 90% of 1/5 of the vote is hard to overcome except in the current "voting rights" states which are to this day under DoJ supervision to ensure that voting laws do not discriminate against black voters as they have in the past.

- Hillary Clinton REALLY blew it by not competing in the caucus states. It's cute to blame Patty Solis-Doyle but I 100% pin that decision on the candidate herself. It's likely Bill Clinton who offered up the single stupidest strategem of the campaign -- that caucus states don't matter. In '92 Bill lost almost all of the caucuses but knocked out his opposition on Super Tuesday.

- The Democratic Party is something like 57-59% female. Hillary Clinton's supporters who vote on gender are in every state while Obama supporters who vote on race are NOT in every state. That's advantage Hillary in my book.

- Obama spent years in a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago working across from an incinerator and within a mile of the oldest Ford plant in the nation. More than ANY candidate in recent history Obama has direct experience with working people. Those people were overwhelmingly black but they were working class people. The great question of this election is whether Obama can demonstrate to white and white immigrant working class voters that his work with black working class voters is equally applicable to their lives.

- Hyde Park is an academic community and the Obamas are by any reasonable definition an elite by income and education but Hyde Park is also a typical urban neighborhood with a median household income almost exactly the same as the US average. That means for every family like the Obamas there are many families BELOW the median income that they live with and encounter every day. The same cannot be said of Chappaqua, NY.

- Obama has co-sponsored and passed arms control legislation with GOP Sen. Lugar and ethics legislation with GOP Sen. Coburn. As a Senator who spent the first two years in the minority party with a Republican President that is a good record in my view. He hasn't done much in the Senate since he's been running for President but he's no worse than Sen. Clinton or Sen. McCain on that count.

- Superdelegates have overwhelmingly broken towards Obama if you discount the initial number of superdelegates Sen. Clinton got very early in the race

- Democratic superdelegates are never going to break against the candidate who got more delegates under the DNC rules, got more votes under the vague popular vote count. Vague because MA and WA state have the same population but have dramatically different vote totals based on the type of election they held, one caucus, one primary.

- Superdelegate Brad Henry, Governor of Oklahmoma, just endorsed Sen. Obama AFTER his loss in Pennsylvania. Obama lost OK by 24 points to Clinton. That should tell you something about how superdelegates feel about Clinton. Clinton has been on the ropes in several instances and could have used a flood of superdelegate endoresments. She's never produced them. Politicians are always going to have their finger in the wind but if this Jeremiah Wright stuff didn't knock out Obama most think nothing will. Obama is even with McCain in national polls and well ahead under most EV scenarios.

- The center of gravitity of US politics is shifting west. The GOP is very strong in the South but with a message that resonates less and less outside the region. Obama is well placed to expand the map and help elect House and Senate candidates.

- Clinton's concentrated strength in a few states is good for Clinton, not great for the Democratic Party. Superdelegates remember two terms of Bill Clinton but they also remember losing the House and the Senate on his watch.

Good discussion all around. I'm a big Obama supporter who lived and worked on the South Side for many years (Archer and Halsted) so I have many apolitical personnel reasons for identifying with Obama. To the extent that I can be objective, I think he's far and away the best candidate for President in my lifetime. If anybody has specific issue questions or questions about Obama's history I'm pretty well versed in his record so I'll do my best to answer from a supporters point of view if anyone wants to hear it.

2008-04-27 05:44:22
25.   chris in illinois

Thanks for responding in such detail. My sister went to U of C and lived there for six years after graduation. VERY interesting neighborhood, diverse in a multitude of ways.

When Obama was in Springfield, he'd occasionally come into the bookstore in which I work---I was impressed by what he read and what he asked us for. I didn't know who he was at the time, saw him at the 2004 Dem convention and did a double take.

While our state government might be a trainwreck (for both parties), I'm extremely pleased with Obama and Durbin as our senators. What's the procedure for replacing Obama in the senate when he whips old man McCain in November??

2008-04-27 06:57:46
26.   Ken Arneson
"If I knew more about how Obama (who has no executive experience) was going to approach the job versus I will bring Change and Hope, I would be more enthusiastic."

To me, Obama keeps saying "Change and Hope", because those are the words that have emotional resonance, but the real difference that Obama brings is Transparency.

If Obama had the exact same policies as Dubya with the only difference being that he brings to the White House a new tradition of Transparency rather than Secrecy, that alone will improve the nation considerably in the long run.

Our economic system derives its strength and stability from transparency laws, and many of its weaknesses/crises are from a lack thereof. Give the people good information, and they will make good decisions. I believe the same concept applies to politics.

Obama believes in Transparency. Bush, obviously, does not. And I'm pretty sure that Secrecy is embedded in the Clintons' bones, as well.

2008-04-27 07:29:07
27.   jgpyke
"When you choose to go into a creative field, I don't think it's a stretch to say that you are someone with a large ego---someone who thinks that their talents need to be consumed by a larger audience. By being filled with such an ego, these creative types are less likely to want to be part of a large group or subscribe to some type of religious or political dogma. When you are of the persuasion I listed in the sentence before, you are usually pretty liberal politically."

Wow. I think I need some chest-waders, the BS is so deep. Liberals are truly part of a large group and a political dogma, yet they constantly try to claim they are not.

Where the massive ego part comes into play is that these elite liberals are so enamored with their wisdom and how much smarter they are than the unwashed masses, they are convinced that their policies are the best for everyone else. "If only an enlightened oligarchy could run the world," they dream, "then global warming would cease, and all wars would end, and we could pick dandelions naked and sing kumbaya with Bin Laden." So forget that we have yacht-riding plutocrats of the left telling, with their "two Americas" or their $12K electricity bill or their carbon footprint or how they can barely make ends meet on $500K/yr after paying their Harvard student loans or can get a sweetheart deal on a piece of property...etc...what matters is that the rest of us are the jerks who need to listen up.

I am only scratching the surface here, but at its core, the elitist/Marxist wing of the Democratic party has a lot to answer for. When Obama was asked point blank by Charlie Gibson about cap gains tax and payroll taxes and their impact to the middle class, Obama said he would raise both. He is so boxed in by his redistributionist ideology that he ignores the hard data about the impact taxes have on revenues. This is just one example of egotistical thinking, where the liberal worldview stands athwart data to the contrary, yelling, "Stop!"

Anyway, this post is rambling, and I can't even follow it. Sorry. Whoever offers me less taxes and a stronger dollar will get my vote. I am not hearing that from anyone yet. And I don't expect to hear it from either of the liberals. And I won't hold my breath for Captain Amnesty to do anything to help me either.

Don't vote! Your vote doesn't count! It doesn't mean anything! They're all the same.

2008-04-27 07:50:52
28.   Suffering Bruin
FWIW, this Californian voted for Obama. I based my decisionon what he got done in Illinois and I thought he spoke to my needs far better than Clinton did. I will be very interested in who John Edwards endorses, if he endorses anyone. I know that John McCain is the wrong answer for America and I know that the Democrats will not be running against McCain as much as they will be running against the MSM (see ABC debate).

All that said, the post I'm most moved by is right above mine. That person your sitting next to at the ballgame or in the theater or at a table in a fast food joint is seriously pissed off and not without reason. The level of anger directed at all things political has never been higher in my lifetime (44yrs. of age checking in). Some might see jgpyke--a person whom I've disagreed with politically on this very site--as rambling, if not paranoid. He's got my sympathy because frankly, it won't take much to get me going in the opposite direction.

I'd prefer to work towards consensus. When candidates start invoking the founding fathers into their speeches, just know that consensus is what those old white guys had in mind and they were right. We are becoming farther removed from consensus building and not without reason but it's tragic all the same.

See, jgpyke? You're not the only one rambling.

2008-04-27 10:38:30
29.   jgpyke
Nice post, SB.

BTW, my last paragraph was sarcastic. Just channeling Tracy Jordan.

Also, I was ready to vote for Obama (believe it or not) until a few weeks ago. He's a lot less charismatic when he's pulled off message, which is easy to do, apparently. And he's proven to be Sir Skeletons-O-Plenty. That's why we don't elect people in March but November, I guess.

Why would I vote for Obama? Hope? Change? The dream of a post-racial society? The prospect of keeping the Clintons out of power? Yes, all of the above and more. Would it be "voting against my own interests"? Yes, it would. But that's what winners do: get you to vote against your own interests. Unfortunately, I think the radical left would have us on a road to serfdom faster than you can say "cap and trade."

2008-04-27 12:25:59
30.   bokonon42
Doesn't seem like Obama is being particularly transparent about free trade. Even if you believe him, that he didn't send a staffer to tell the Canadians that he was just kidding about screwing them over, I don't feel confident that he's saying what he means about it (this could be wishful thinking, though).

Clinton's playing the same game, and G-d only knows where McCain will end up on just about any economic matter (I'm not sure he knows where he'll end up on half of them). But it's still irritating.

Not that it matters. Democrats have some self-destructive tendencies, but they're not going to pick the candidate with fewer votes over the one with more. I don't think even the Clintons are good enough at bribery to overcome that. If there were more novelty super-delegates, she'd have a chance; but almost all of those people need to continue having a career after this election. And nobody likes Clinton enough to sacrifice his career for her.

2008-04-27 15:14:33
31.   GaryG
I find the argument that Hillary has momentum to be somewhat misleading. I mean, the Obama campaign was organized to do well in caucuses and smaller states and the calendar has worked to position Hillary as the comeback candidate. What if Pennsylvania happened in February and the 11 state run of Obama victories happened in April? Then who would have momentum?

The Democrats have always been the party of fairness and so if in a one second before midnight rule the super delegates go to Hillary to give her the nomination there would be a perception of the supers overriding the will of the people. I'm not saying (just cos I'm an Obama supporter), that it wouldn't be legal or fair, but that it would create a perception of unfairness which would backfire big time on the Dems.

2008-04-27 15:19:29
32.   chris in illinois
I can see where jgpyke and sufferin' bruin are coming from. At this point I'm more interested in the 'devil I don't know' (Obama) than the Devils I do. I do not know where Obama might take us, perhaps some fresh circle of hell, but I know that McCain is merely some latter day Bob Dole (a candidate whose number is simply 'up') and Clinton is the embodiment of mendacity.

I'll take 'door number 3'(Obama), not knowing whether or not I find a car or a case of Turtle Wax. McCain appears to know less about the economy than the collective mind of the juice and even if I thought Clinton would be worth a damn, she's going to spend the next four years fighting off the Limbaughs and OReillys of the world.

I'm prepared to take a leap of faith and hope that Obama isn't business as usual; jgpyke, you should appreciate that.

2008-04-27 18:45:34
33.   jgpyke
Funny, Chris. I can dig it.

I agree completely with the "devil I don't know" philosophy this time around. And without does the Clinton smear machine, we could remain blissfully ignorant of Obama's flaws.

There is something I hadn't mentioned before about why I liked Obama, and it's the same reason I like McCain in 2000. For a brief, shining moment, it felt like we actually had a say-so, a chance to elect someone instead of having the Establishment Candidate(s) shoved down out throats. Time magazine ordained W as "our next president" around 1998, and that pissed me off. So when McCain looked like he had a chance, before his anti-Christian meltdown and other missteps, it was exciting.

Same thing with the junior senator from Illinois. Everyone ordained Hillary years ago. Hell, they've been saying it and writing books about it since 1999 or so. I was happy to see Obama zoom past all her bullxit. Maybe he can recapture that.

At least until the 527 groups come out to play.

2008-04-27 20:25:55
34.   Scott Long
33 comments into this discussion and some of my point has been proven. Not one person has defended Hillary. Not one has even had a positive comment about her.

It is amazing to me that the Dems here rip what was accomplished during Bill's presidency, but then, most liberals always felt uncomfortable with the moderate elements of his agenda. What major economic issue could Obama reach over the aisle on with Republicans? I just don't see it.

For 2 years of my life, I lived in government housing and food stamps. Despite this experience, I thought the changing of the welfare system that Bill pushed through with the Republicans was a good program. I think that Hillary would be more likely to do something like this than Obama, even it was done for politically calculated reasons.

I can see why Obama is a very attractive candidate. I guess what I don't understand is the way most of his supporters slam Hillary as being some kind of she-devil, when her policies are almost identical.

I don't think that Hillary should win, if she doesn't win the popular vote among dems, but the notion that she should drop out when she is this close to Obama is wrong-headed.

Maybe it is because I live in Indiana and perform in rural areas in addition to major urban areas that I have a differing view. I doubt many of you even run into someone who has a differing view than pro-Obama. Chris generally runs into similar people that I do, but Obama is his senator and worked in Springfield, so I think this is one time that I might have a more diverse experience. I'm not saying this makes me more informed on my choice, just that I don't have most everyone in my circle rooting for the same team.

Polls mean little at this point in regards to running against McCain. I really think many of you underrated the goodwill people feel for the guy. If the elderly and Hispanics vote for him in big numbers, he could win. These groups have been lukewarm to Obama, so far. After the past 2 elections, I don't think dems should get too overconfident in their candidate for president. I have seen it blow in our face and then our country, after Bush squeaked out the past 2 elections.

2008-04-27 21:52:25
35.   Ken Arneson
"I doubt many of you even run into someone who has a differing view than pro-Obama."

Um, I think a large chunk of us Toaster members live in California. Hillary won California.

I haven't run into the she-devil sentiment from Dems around here. The only people I know who feel that way about her are Republicans. Most Dems I know like both.

But because their policies are identical, you have to decide between them on other criteria.

There is however, an elephant in the room, one question I keep hearing from my friends on both sides, that never comes up in the media: why didn't she divorce him?

And because it's not asked or answered, people make up their own explanations.

I want to see a poll breaking down the vote based on why the voter thinks Hillary stood by her man.

2008-04-27 22:54:17
36.   Hugh Jorgan
"Let's first establish that major reason she is a Senator and the only reason she was the Democratic front-runner for this election was because she was married to Bill."

Your words...
Even though Obama doesn't have "experience", the perception is that he has done it all on his own.
If your experience consists of you being part of the problem, then why bring that back again anyway?
The overseas perspective is pretty much siding with Chris in Illinois...go for the new guy. WTF, it can't be as bad as the last guy. Besides if Obama is sh*t, just boot him out in 4 years.
The amazing thing for us from overseas was not that you voted in Bush the first time(even though he cheated), it was that you voted him in twice!
There's a very old saying that goes, "you get the government you deserve"
However in saying all that, I don't think you can go too wrong with Hillary.
Please don't let it be McCain. You'll be lucky if he sees out the term. Seriously, how can anyone consider voting in a 72 year old man who's been left in the 20th century.

2008-04-28 04:55:49
37.   chris in illinois
First, let me state that if the choice here was Hillary or the shrub again (I do know that he can't run again---I did make it through eighth grade) I'd run out and get a Hillary tattoo on my ass if I thought it'd help. Since, as Scott has said, Obama's and Hillary's policy positions are so similar other considerations have to be taken into account.

The easiest answer to Ken's question as to why she never divorced him is simple: Even back in 1996 she had her eye on the presidency. Why would she separate herself from her shot at history---you don't think that she isn't aware that the first female president will be remembered for hundreds of years?? It takes a lot of ego to think you might be a good candidate for president---I don't think Obama is a selfless Buddha, but Hillary has added the irritating aspect of entitlement to the mix.

I think a lot of people have been turned off by her intimation that she deserves to be president for what she went through as First Lady---the philandering and the constant attacks from the right. How does one separate her contributions to the country from her husband's?? What exactly did she do as First Lady to be able to claim the 'experience' tag (other than dodging sniper fire, of course)?? The answer seems to be "I lived in the White House".

Maybe I'm naive and maybe I've got my history wrong, but I'd wager that Lincoln wasn't plotting his ascent to the White House in 1848. I don't think that Washington sided with the Revolutionaries so he could be the founding father a dozen years later. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't want a president who has been lusting after the job half of their life.

Wanting, desperately to be president isn't a particularly good qualification for the job in my opinion.

2008-04-28 09:24:08
38.   Todd S
28 From someone who is not a Democrat or Republican, I disagree with you on consensus. My best result is gridlock.
2008-04-28 14:12:30
39.   kylepetterson
Not to sidetrack anyone here, but has anybody heard about the possibility of Coors Light getting the independent nomination? I am a big supporter of his "Frost Brewed" policies and that fact the he promises he "won't let you down". How can you argue with that? My only concern is his brother-in-law Zima. I'm pretty sure that dude's gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
2008-04-28 15:07:02
40.   williamnyy23
34 I think you hit the nail on the head as far as Hilary's many people hate, not dislike, but hate her. She was more vilified than her husband, which is saying something. Again, as the only conservative in this discussion, I am rooting for Obama to win the nomination even though I think he'd make a more formidable candidate (although I think both choices are pretty weak) and a worse president. The reason for that is I enjoy listening to Obama to speak, whereas my stomach turns every time I see Hilary. If Hilary is nominated, that disdain will drive conservatives to the polls, even if they are less than inspired by McCain.

I think you also raised good points about McCain. Even though he isn't my favorite Republican by far, he has a solid reputation and is likeable, especially among more independent groups. Many polls show him running even now, which I believe is a very good sign for him. Any Democrat should be starting this election with a huge lead. Unpopular incumbent parties generally tend to start the election season deep in the hole, but McCain is already on equal footing. Not only do I believe that McCain's competence will gain him support, but the bloom is likely to dull on the Obama rose, especially as his positions are fleshed out.

Basically, I see Democrats as having major problems with both candidates. Obama is too liberal and inexperienced AND will have to overcome the implications of race (the demographics are much more challenging in the general election than the primaries), while Hilary has a huge disapproval rating.

My question is why didn't the Democrats just nominate another Bill Clinton? Had they done that, the election might have been a formality.

2008-04-28 15:15:04
41.   williamnyy23
38 I am right with you. For the most part, I go along with the axiom that the government that governs best, governs least. I don't want both parties cooperating and reaching consensus on every issue. Principals drive good policy, not compromise. Gridlock is the genius of the founding fathers. Consensus should not be so common that its value is diluted.

I also disagree with the sentiment in 28 . I don't think most Americans are the Jimmy Carter style malaise disguised therein. Obama was already burnt for trying to make that agument.

2008-04-28 16:30:16
42.   jgpyke
"why didn't the Democrats just nominate another Bill Clinton?"

Mike Huckabee could have been the next Clinton. If the Dems didn't purge every pro-life sentiment from their midst, Huck could have run as a Dem. As has been discussed here before, he really is an old fashioned southern democrat in many ways.

2008-04-28 17:20:33
43.   Scott Long
I liked Edwards, Biden, and Dodd better than Hillary and Obama. These 2 were the frontrunners because they were able to raise money. The Clinton's had the FOB contacts to milk, while the rich, liberal wing of the party have been writing checks for Obama for a long time now.

This idea that Hillary should have easily won this thing has another hole in it. Obama has raised more money. He's been outspending her more than 3 to 1 in the rust belt and getting his butt handed to him. The idea that he can make up for it in the West has a big hole to me, as McCain is from Arizona. Obama better win Mid-south states like West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas, as McCain I think will pose a problem in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Especially if he moderates his stance on Iraq.

Let's say that Petraeus gives him some cover and recommends a pull-out of some troops in October. All of a sudden, McCain doesn't have that albatross around his neck.

Once again, let me state that not one of the liberals here has had anything positive to say about Hillary and has been reverential in their views of Obama. This election could be one of those popular vote goes one way, electoral college goes another way. I preached this message with Gore and Kerry and I think Obama has some of the same problems that these 2 had. Sure he is more charismatic and eloquent, but McCain appeals to moderates more than Bush did, so he must count on the new voters that are supporting him.

In a McCain-Obama match-up, it is really a battle between 2 groups. Old people vs new young voters. Also, Obama would need to shore up his support with Hispanics, as McCain has always done well with this particular bloc.

Finally. If you were curious, if Hillary loses Indiana, she should drop out of the race.

2008-04-28 19:51:00
44.   spudrph
Great, great, and mostly civil conversation.

I was an Edwards supporter too, but they closed my polling place, so I didnt get a chance to vote for anyone.

If I had my druthers, ( I havent had any since I got married) I would have Obama win the nomination and the presidency.

I don't dislike Hillary, and I also don't understand the antipathy she gets.

But to me, she has gaping negatives, and I just don't see his at all.

I don't think the ABC debate was criticized because it was tough on Obama, it was criticized because it was stupid. Flag pins and caustic reverends are not going to stop terrorists.

I don't buy the experience argument about Obama. I just don't. There is no such thing as experience to be President of the United States. It's not like anything else.

I also don't see what's so wrong with Reverend Wright's comments. 50 years ago, it was socially acceptable to hang black men from trees in parts of the United States if they looked at a white woman. That's not something you "get over".

Did Wright say anything untrue, other than the AIDS rumor (which was widespread for a time in the 1980s)?

27 - I don't even know how to begin.

"Whoever offers me lower taxes gets my vote."

Really? And how exactly are we going to pay off the debt?

When you decry liberals as having a dogma, and then turn around to say that anyone who cuts your taxes gets your vote, that sure sounds like a dogma to me.

And you drag out the standard trope about Gore's house (which he retrofitted), Edwards' money (which he earned), and Obama's house (which he owned up to and apologized for). There is nothing contrary or hypocritical about any of this.

What I'd like to know is how your hard data explains the soaring surpluses of the Clinton years. How your love for data explains conservation being only a personal virtue, or how your lack of dogma and love of rationality explains invasions of Middle Eastern countries that didn't attack us.

Liberals believe the world would be better if we improved the environment and treated people like human beings and respected the Bill of Rights, well.....uh.....because it would. Not because the dogma says so, but because human reason, decency and thought says so.

But I know those aren't things conservatives are comfortable with. Reality has a well known liberal bias.

2008-04-28 20:26:25
45.   chris in illinois
Once again, let me state that not one of the liberals here has had anything positive to say about Hillary and has been reverential in their views of Obama.

Well Scott,

I don't have much positive to say about Hillary, that's true---she's like an old ballplayer who has worn out his welcome but refuses to leave. Hillary doesn't seem to know that her poor play is hurting the team and that's part of why I really can't stomach her at this point.

Other salient points:

I. Voted wrong way on Iraq war.
II. Got job as Senator in a state that she'd never lived in because of who her husband is.
III. Has no executive experience and has been in elected office less time than Obama.
IV. Is probably the one thing that can unify the Republicans.

There are others, but it comes down to this: I may agree with her policies, but I don't trust her to do the right thing. I only expect her to do right by herself.

2008-04-29 06:46:32
46.   jgpyke
44. "she has gaping negatives"

Hence the need for Monica. (Ba-dum-dum.)

"When you decry liberals as having a dogma, and then turn around to say...that sure sounds like a dogma to me."

I never said I didn't have a dogma. I am just tired of liberals claiming their own purity and objectivity.

"And you drag out the standard trope about Gore's house (which he retrofitted)"

Is his Gulfstream solar now? I could point out a zillion more, if you really wish. So tired.

"Edwards' money (which he earned)"

Of course he did. Shadily, I might add. In figuring out who benefits from "two Americas," try researching what an S-corp is. And then tell me he's not a hypocrite. What's is available AND used by him to dodge payroll taxes is not available to the rest of us. Is it all legal? Of course. Does it sound like the horsexit that it is when he spouts off about fairness, et al.? Yup. Look it up. Do your own DD. And then when you've figured it all out, please contact me so I can set up an S-corp to dodge my taxes, too. That would be wonderful.

"and Obama's house (which he owned up to and apologized for)."

Oh....he apologized, huh? Well, that clears up everything. I guess he's just like the rest of us then.

"There is nothing contrary or hypocritical about any of this."

Oh, no. Nothing at all.

Wow. Just wow. You are a true believer. You are Lonesome Rhodes' wet dream.

"'Whoever offers me lower taxes gets my vote.' Really? And how exactly are we going to pay off the debt?"

I don't care. Lower taxes = shrinking the size and scope of govt. You, OTOH, wish to have the govt flex its control over every aspect of life. It's just b/c you happen to agree with these aspects that makes it less unseemly to you. For now. But once such powers are in place, they don't go away easily. "Oh, but warrantless wiretaps are great if they're for polluters!" Or whatever.

"What I'd like to know is how your hard data explains the soaring surpluses of the Clinton years."

"Soaring surpluses" mean nothing if you don't actually do anything to reduce public debt with them. Besides, it's a bit of a shell game that you liberals love to trot out all the time.

Where are the data, you say? We'll start with the public debt on Clinton's inauguration day and then look at every year between then and his leaving office. I hope you're sitting down. The cognitive dissonance between your carefully constructed "reality" and the hard data is about to punch you in the gut:

01/20/1993: 4,188,092,107,183.60
01/20/1994: 4,500,676,535,249.79
01/20/1995: 4,796,537,934,595.60
01/19/1996: 4,988,397,941,589.45
01/21/1997: 5,310,267,076,516.85
01/20/1998: 5,495,525,658,807.45
01/20/1999: 5,623,807,213,463.02
01/20/2000: 5,706,174,969,873.86
01/19/2001: 5,727,776,738,304.64


Wha??? How can that be?

To quote another site: "Welcome to the world of reality. The reality is we NEVER had the budget surplus during the Clinton Presidency that causes liberals to swoon and wish for the days of old while having orgasmic rages. We ran a deficit EVERY single year and increased the public debt. The budget may have shown a surplus on paper, but after you add in supplemental spending packages, interest on the existing debt (which is part of the budget) and other after budget expenditures you can see that EVERY year we ran a deficit."

So, Spuddy, it's time to retire your beloved "surplus" argument. Or just keep holding your fingers in your ears, screaming, "Nananananananana."

2008-04-29 07:30:26
47.   chris in illinois
As someone who has run into the buzzsaw of jgpyke's research (and learned something from it), take it like a man spudrph (unless of course you're a woman) and choose your words more wisely.

That being said, I'd like to see those figures for 2002-present and while we're at it, how about 1981-1992? I'm all for a smaller government, too bad there isn't a party out there in favor of it.

One last note, lots of us liberals have no illusions of 'purity' or 'objectivity' and most of us don't believe that government can solve all ills. We do believe some regulation is necessary; I don't know, health codes seem to have been a good idea---if the free market had it's way, we'd still have chickens shitting in the corners of some of the bars I've been into. Mandating vaccinations seems to worked as well---any pals die of polio lately?? I can go on and on, but these coercive measures had to be enacted against stiff opposition. Some of us know that sometimes the few have the right answer and that occasionally the few must rule the day.

Can that idea be abused?? Of course. I do not think that government always has all the answers, I do believe that sometimes government intervention is the answer which is why it pains me to watch shrub and his coterie of profiteers purposefully demolishing the idea that government has any value by their willful incompetence. It upsets me that a tool at our society's disposal to help fix things that are wrong has been deliberately dulled for profit and partisanship.

2008-04-29 07:57:26
48.   jgpyke
Well said, Chris. I tend to the extreme in my posts, but I get what you're saying re: regulation, et al.

Funny you should bring up the public debt for the other presidencies. The govt uses a fiscal year that ends on 9/30 for this kind of stuff. In terms of dollars (as opposed to just using percentages, for example), the two Bushes did the most damage. In his 4 yrs, Bush I increased out public debt by about $1.8T. It took Clinton--and Reagan--twice as long to do about the same damage. Bush II will have doubled that damage (no surprise there). So I guess the single biggest characteristic of the Bush presidencies could be their fondness of increasing public debt at a vastly accelerated rate over their contemporaries. Or something like that.

BTW, you have to go back to Harding/Coolidge to be able to name a prez who came out ahead on this thing. And Franklin Pierce before that.

2008-04-29 08:29:46
49.   chris in illinois
Frankie Pierce?? Barbara Bush's ancestor??


Well said, Chris. I tend to the extreme in my posts.......well, I've never succumbed to being outrageous or extreme in my postings.

2008-04-29 08:52:51
50.   JasonO

Bush "ran the country into the ground."

1) The Iraq situation was a disaster until Petraeus was installed. The Civil War was a disaster until Lincoln installed Grant: McDowell, Burnside, McClellan, et al almost gave the confederacy enough time and victories for European recognition, arms and financial aid.

2) You said it perfectly: Presidents take credit and get blamed for economic conditions, but they have marginal economic impact. Every pundit and economist agrees that the current economic problems are a direct result of the subprime crisis.

What's the subprime crisis? Answer: Relaxing lending requirements to loan $$ to people who are credit risks, who subsequently did not pay!! As my Grandma used to say: "Hell's Bells, Margaret!!"

Who could have seen that coming!!?!?

Q: Who was 100% on board with the push to relax these lending requirements starting in 1999? A: Leading democrats (Clinton, Maxine Waters, John Conyers, et al) who wanted to "extend the American Dream to all segments of society."

Every part of the political spectrum has fingerprints on this one, Long.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-04-29 09:35:46
51.   chris in illinois
50 You only mentioned a few of Bush's disasters, so I suppose that you can explain away Katrina, Torturing, using the justice department for political purposes, Scooter Libby, Spying illegally on American citizens, squandering international good will after 9/11, that the war would 'pay for itself', Having no real plan for the occupation of Iraq, Awarding a multi-billion dollar contract to Halliburton in Iraq, which then repeatedly overcharged the government and serving troops dirty food, going to war without body armor for the troops, Allowing several members of the Bin Laden family to leave the country just days after 9/11, some of them without being questioned by the FBI, Opposing the creation of the September 11th commission, which the President now expects "to contain important recommendations for preventing future attacks.", Denying documents to the 9/11 commission, only relenting after the commissioners threatened a subpoena, Telling Americans there was a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, Siding with China in February, 2004 against a democratic referenda proposed by Taiwan, a notable shift from an earlier pledge to stand with "oppressed peoples until the day of their freedom finally arrives.", Instituting steel tariffs deemed illegal by the World Trade Organization – Bush repealed them 20-months later when the European Union pledged to impose retaliatory sanctions on up to $2.2 billion in exports from the United States, Running up a foreign deficit of "such record-breaking proportions that it threatens the financial stability of the global economy.", Issuing inaccurate budget forecasts accompanying proposals to reduce the deficit, omitting the continued costs of Iraq, Afghanistan and elements of Homeland Security, Claiming his 2003 tax cut would give 23 million small business owners an average tax cut of $2,042 when "nearly four out of every five tax filers (79%) with small business income would receive less" than that amount, Passing tax cuts for the wealthy while falsely claiming "people in the 10 percent bracket" were benefiting most.", Moving to strip millions of overtime pay, Not enforcing corporate tax laws, Not lobbying oil cartels to change their mind about cutting oil production, Under-funding No Child Left Behind, Breaking his campaign pledge to increase the size of Pell grants, Not leveling with Americans about the cost of Medicare – the president told Congress his new Medicare bill would cost $400 billion over ten years despite conclusions by his own analysts the bill would cost upwards of $500 billion over that period, Letting business associate David Halbert, who owns a company which stands to make millions from new discount drug cards, craft key elements of the new Medicare bill, Underfunding health care for troops and veterans, Gutting clean air standards for aging power plants....

I could go on...let's just agree that Mr. Bush isn't going to challenge Lincoln, FDR or Washington for our "Best President Ever".

2008-04-29 11:08:41
52.   JasonO
Your list of "failures" (in quotes because your criteria are entirely subjective) could easily be duplicated by a hyper-partisan from either side (like you) who carefully reads the partisan blogs/magazines.

Of course the contention that Bush is 100% to blame for all of these "failures" is specious and invalid, I'll just take the first. Katrina:

The city of New Orleans, State of LA and the Federal Gov't = 33.3% blame to each.

1) The tens of billions of dollars of congressional appropriations (for 3+ decades since Betsy) to specifically make the city withstand a Cat. 5 storm...used for everything but by state and city officials. Google the Times-Picayune's multi-part story on this subject.

2) The absence of a state/city evacuation or basic preparedness plan...they knew it was coming for 72 hours.

3) The FEMA late response, which according to Bush critics is the only "failure" relating to Katrina.

But that's my point: If it happens on a President's watch...they get the credit or the blame.

If I were as rabidly eager to score points as Chris in Illiois is, I would say that we're not even 10% of the way to the 50,000 dead resulting from Johnson's decisions in Vietnam. War over a lie?

WMD: CIA, British Intelligence, many statements in congress by members of both parties: All confident in the belief that Iraq had WMD. After Hussein had used them on his own people. Considered at least suspicious by the completely non-political UN. (wink) Not that UN officals were being bribed by Saddam using oil-for-food $$...oh, wait, they were.

Gulf of Tonkin: Despite a declassified NSA report that quite possibly NOTHING happened August 2-4, 1964, Johnson uses this as an excuse to deploy 500,000 troops (vast majority were drafted) into South Vietnam by 1968.

War over a lie?

2008-04-29 12:11:42
53.   jgpyke
FDR...for our "Best President Ever".

Even FDR's actual record can't challenge his (undeserved) reputation. That guy did more lasting damage to the Republic than anyone else in the last century, save Wilson.

2008-04-29 12:43:54
54.   scareduck
I've been waiting for Obama to sell me on why I should want to support him

He voted against the Iraq war, and Hillary has voted for it. Voting for McCain will be voting for eight more years of the Likud party, er, Bush foreign policy.

2008-04-29 12:46:31
55.   scareduck
54 - ... and it's hardly clear that, based on her record or public statements, that Hillary would be any better.
2008-04-29 15:05:19
56.   chris in illinois

First, 53 , I just threw out some names that typically come up in that sort of discussion. He's certainly not in my top ten (if I had such a list)...I also agree that Wilson left a lot to be desired.

Secondly, 52 , I took down my poster of LBJ a long time ago...the fact that he went to war over a lie doesn't have anything to do with Bush's mendacity. I was presenting Bush's lousiness as a president as a fact, not as a partisan swipe at GOP politicians. Bush is not alone in his lousiness, many politicians are lousy, many are democrats and many are republicans.

Bush is not 100% responsible for Katrina. I do think that FEMA's 'response' is what you'd expect from a president who placed cronyism ahead of competence when appointing government officials (of course lots of agencies are incompetent---they are being run by incompetents). I do not hold Bush 100% accountable for the tiny sample of mistakes that I listed earlier, but he is partially responsible for all of them.

I suppose you could accuse me of trying to score easy points, but it's hard to stay silent when someone questions what billions of humans consider to be a "sky is blue" sort of statement: Bush has been a lousy president.

Do you really think that he's done a good job as president?? Really??

I guess there were 18 million Goldwater republicans who were oblivious to their detachment from reality too.

2008-04-29 20:15:21
57.   jgpyke
What's with the gratuitous swipe at Goldwater? If you have never read his book, "The Conscience of a Conservative," I recommend it highly. All Americans who like politics and want to understand how we got where we are should read this book. Check your local library.

Don't worry. It's short. And very readable.

2008-04-30 02:58:30
58.   joejoejoe
jgpyke - Your debt figures show a $1.54 trillion dollar increase from Jan '93 to Jan '01 under President Clinton with an annual increase in total debt each year. What you don't show is that the last year of a sitting President's budget isn't in his own term but in the first year of the NEXT President's term.

So the relevant national debt figures would be...

1/20/01 - $5,727,776,738,304.64
6/07/01 - $5,672,373,164,658.13

So from his inaugural until Bush signed his first tax cut (effective in '02) the last Clinton budget produced a $55 billion dollar surplus. The most favorable surplus numbers were 6/15/01, still under Clinton's final budget for fiscal year '01, where the budget surplus produced about a $95 billion dollar surplus.

Here are the Bush budget figures
01/18/2002: 5,922,321,839,074.39
01/21/2003: 6,387,841,175,651.97
01/20/2004: 7,006,834,072,435.49
01/20/2005: 7,613,215,612,328.37

In 4 years Bush increases the national debt more ($1.69T) than Clinton did ($1.54T) in 8 years. I know these figures need to be corrected for inflation but you can still see Bush (and his GOP Congress) is far, far worse on budgetary matters.

01/20/2006: 8,175,743,292,992.87
01/19/2007: 8,675,085,083,537.48
01/18/2008: 9,188,640,287,930.39

So Bush has increased the debt $3.26 trillion dollars in his 7 years in office vs. Clinton's $1.54 trillion in 8 years with Clinton's last budget year actually showing a surplus as I demonstrated above.

Republicans like to brag about low taxes but what they are really good at is borrowing money in their children's name.

JasonO - The State of Louisiana actually had an excellent evacuation plan during Katrina and evacuated more than 80% of the people in the evacuation zones. They implemented what is called rolling evacuation so that traffic generated from New Orleans didn't trap the people from the low lying outer parishes behind NOLA traffic. The so-called late call to evacuate New Orleans was by design. LA DOT had a brand new evacuation plan in place because of some massive traffic problems encountered during the evacuations during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and that new plan likely saved thousands of lives. "Failing" to evacuate 20% of the people as it was portrayed in the press was the worst kind of Monday Morning Quarterbacking.

A few weeks after Katrina when you would think Americans would be at their highest state of alert and most attuned to evacuation, south Florida managed only a 50% evacuation rate under mandatory evacuation orders for Hurricane Rita under Gov. Jeb Bush. I'm not blaming Jeb Bush but I live in Florida and can say first hand that 50% is about your typical evacuation rate under a mandatory evacuation.

2008-04-30 03:00:15
59.   joejoejoe
Note: Bush signed his first tax cuts on 6/7/01, that's why I picked that date.
2008-04-30 08:05:53
60.   jgpyke

I'm not sure what you're getting at. Are you saying that the small surplus that occurred in the five months after Clinton left office somehow erases the $1.54T he rang up before that? Not a great argument.

Regardless, Twain would love your cherry picking of the stats. Since it's easier to select a small period and cry "surplus!", why not go back a full year?

06/07/2000 - 5,645,678,929,300.91
6/07/2001 - $5,672,373,164,658.13

Cherry pick all you want, and you may certainly discover some little pockets of surpluses here and there. (I got paid today. So until I pay my mortgage, can I run around claiming I have a surplus?)

But like I said earlier, the govt actually uses a FY that ends on 9/30. I picked his inauguration day just for kicks. If you want it explained per the 9/30 tabulations, with charts and figures and such, see this site:

As for all the Bush stuff you mention, I guess you didn't read my post 48? Anyway, I never asserted anything about Bush or GOP fiscal responsibility, so feel free to keep knocking down your own straw men.

"Hey, that guy sucks, too!" isn't really a refutation of your own supposed saint.

2008-04-30 16:45:10
61.   joejoejoe
60 You posted stats showing a trendline that suggested Clinton never made a dent in the national debt and I broadened out the picture to show your suggestion was false. It was a small dent but a series of small events is how we got massive debt in the first place.

You say above, '"Soaring surpluses" mean nothing if you don't actually do anything to reduce public debt with them.'

Then when I show that the last year of Clinton's budget actually reversed the trend, you say 'Are you saying that the small surplus that occurred in the five months after Clinton left office somehow erases the $1.54T he rang up before that?'

I'm not saying that. I'm only saying that Clinton managed to reverse the his negative debt trend on his way out of office. There's no political gain in handing over a sound budget to your successor. You do it because it's the right thing to do. Bush is trying to SPIKE the trend he's established by undoing the budget game he played when he agreed to tax cut sunsets early in his term in order to get around the PAYGO laws that existed in 2001.

I'm one of the people Scott is describing as not having good words for either Clinton so he's not my saint.

My only purpose in engaging your comment was to use the same source as your debt figures, mention that the last year of a President's fiscal record is the first year of his successor, and "cherry pick" the date of 6/07/01 which just happens to be the day that Bush signed the bill that dramatically the tax policies of his successor.

I missed your post on 48 so my apologies. You make many of the same points I made about Bush's fiscal record.

I didn't mean this post as a defense of Bill Clinton, who I feel was mediocre in the extreme and in hindsight, no better (if not worse) than George H.W. Bush. I did mean my comment as a defense of Clinton RELATIVE to Bush II, who I feel is awful in the extreme. You basically made the same point in 48 so I shouldn't have gone looking for conflict.

I'll let the numbers I quoted speak for themselves.

2008-05-04 13:40:14
62.   spudrph

I concede that the total overall debt was not reduced during the Clinton Administration. I am sure that you did your homework.

What summarizes your whole argument, and indeed the conservative worldview and the American governmental philosophy during the last two administrations, came when I asked you how, after lowering taxes, you proposed that we lower the debt.

"I don't care."

That's the whole thing, George Bush's Administration and all of conservatism in three little words.

"I don't care."

Just carve it in stone above the George W. Bush Presidential Library's front door.

"I got mine, so f^&k you."

2008-05-05 20:11:22
63.   jgpyke
Ok, Spud--if you even care:

Cut taxes. Revenues go up. Cut spending. Revenues stay up. Pay debt.

It's pretty simple.

And please don't confuse Bush with conservativism. He's a flaming liberal. He never met a spending increase he didn't like. NCLB. Drug benefit. Shamnesty. Etc.

2008-05-05 20:24:34
64.   jgpyke
"I got mine, so f^&k you."

Better: "I went to school, took out loans to do so, worked hard at many jobs, and have EARNED what little I am able to call 'mine.' So f^&k you, Spud, for trying to confiscate it and give it to someone who didn't. I have a mountain of debt, bills to pay, and have calculated that the earliest I may possibly retire is age 63, IF I am lucky...and you want to tell me I owe the STATE more money? Eff that."

What summarizes your whole argument, and indeed the conservative worldview and the American governmental philosophy during the last two administrations, came when I asked you how, after lowering taxes, you proposed that we lower the debt.

"I don't care."

Nah, I do care about the stuff I care about. I don't care about the stuff you care about. And vice versa. Sorry for being glib earlier, but this is much more what I meant. To you, perhaps, the natl debt is some uber-issue...along with some other uber-issues, like abortion-on-demand or "global warming"...or whatever you give a xit about. To me, I have other priorities, like cutting the govt off at the knees. Starve the beast by taking away its food (i.e., taxes), get rid of ag subsidies, abolish federal agencies that have no purpose (e.g., Dept of Ed.), get out of the K12 funding business (which actually subverts the Constitution), etc.

These are "first principles." Your xit is secondary to me.

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