Category Archives: Prez Politics 2008

Meanwhile Michigan Dems are on the verge of helping…

…Rush, Ailes and Rove finish of the last remant of moderation in a wolf’s clothing that the GOP had.

Democrats will help win Michigan for the man who would install the Pope and Focus on the Family as America’s chief executives.

PPP has Santorum in the lead:

Much has been made of Democratic efforts to turn out the vote for Santorum and we see evidence that’s actually happening. Romney leads with actual Republican voters, 43-38. But Santorum’s up 47-10 with Democratic voters, and even though they’re only 8% of the likely electorate that’s enough to put him over the top. The big question now is whether those folks will actually bother to show up and vote tomorrow.

Jan 20, 2008

When I was a child in 1960’s Topeka, Kansas I was very attuned to the centenary of the American Civil War. My father was a civil war buff and his father-in-law, George Robb, was too. To me that war was all about slavery/race and what it meant to be an American citizen. The schools I attended had just been newly integrated by the Supreme Court in the famous case overturning the Topeka School Board’s racial segregation.

When my family moved into our new home on Mulvane Street it was next door to the house my Mother had lived in. That home had also been newly purchased and occupied. Their youngest daughter announced to me that she didn’t want to have anything to do with “niggers.” I was probably 9 at the time, starting second grade, and she was 4 or 5.

I collected stamps and each year of the early sixties there was a new postage stamp commemorating a key battle of each Civil War year Shiloh, Gettysburg, Antetim.

As I thought about how long black americans would have to wait before a real color blind society took hold I anticipated that progress would proceed at the same pace. It had taken 100 years from the end of the Civil War to get to integrated schools (some integrated schools). That was about 4 generations. I expected full equality to take as long meaning I’d have to live to be one hundred before it happened.

Fifty years have passed since I pondered that timeline and today I’m 58. We aren’t there yet but today when I woke up on vacation in Florida in the same time zone as Washington D.C. where crowds of jubilant people are congretating to note the inauguration of a “black” American President I noted that the light filtering in my window matched the dim light in the television images of huge crowds thronging the Capital Mall.

This is the first time in my life that we will have a President younger than me. His mother could have been a neighbor – a white woman from Kansas just like my Mother. Her son Barack was born almost exactly one hundred years after the start of the Civil War. I was ten. It was not only “unthinkable” back then for a white woman to bear a black child it was illegal in a dozen or more states for a white woman to marry a black man. Now her son is President of the United States fulfilling that old saw that any child could grow up to be President.

To say I’m proud to be an American is a woeful understatement. This is a great day and in my heart I’m part of that crowd on the mall of the nation’s capitol.

I

Voter 23

Claudia and I went to vote and got to Pilgrim Congregational at twenty minutes before the polls opened at 7AM. The heavy fog from yesterday had completely cleared and the temperature only required a light jacket.

We chatted with friends until the voting began. There were twice as many election officials as usual and I put my ballot in the counting machine by 7:07. The machine registered me as voter 23 for our precinct. We had time to go home and read the paper and finish our coffee before Claudia had to go off to work.

I had given my daughter a call last night to remind her to vote. She planned to do so early this morning too and take her year-old son with her to the polls – probably for his advice.

From the Christian Science Monitor

I recently heard the Monitor is about to become a weekly. My Dad used to subscribe to it. Too bad.

I’ve tried not to spend too much time on the Presidential campaign and my strong presidential preference because I didn’t want to alienate folks who wanted to keep up with the latest on Let Duluth Vote and the Red Plan. But I can’t resist linking to this column in the Monitor.

Can you imagine this in Russia?

I found this video of McCain at the recent Al Smith dinner on a blog with the headline “The McCain we used to love.” I take the point but as a former McCainiac I had a different thought – wouldn’t it be great if the rivals in democratic elections all across the world could set aside their rivalry like this on the eve of an election?

Supporting Obama with trepidation

My fiercest debating adversary is Vic. He keeps sending me information to deter me from voting for Obama. I posted one fairly persuasive piece a bit ago. He’s sent me another item that’s worth considering.

It ends with the comment, “The bottom line is that I support John McCain. With trepidation.”

In the same vein I could say I still support Obama with trepidation. I think that unlike McCain, Obama actually understands some of the columnists tricky economic worries. I’ll agree that the folks who will elect Barack will expect him to enforce uncompetitive policies that could hamstring America’s and the world’s economy. On the other hand, I fervently hope, his campaign backed as it has been by a non-Democrat Party groundswell will give him much freer reign from party and particularly Union orthodoxies than other Presidents like George W Bush. Bush hewed to far too many wrongheaded ideological principals – both those of Dick Cheney and James Dobson. I voted for W in 2000 without any trepidation never realizing how incompetently he would preside over the Country. Maybe now that I’m on the verge of becoming an old man I should start viewing every candidate for the Presidency with trepidation. You know, “The greates thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Of course, blissfully ignorant complacency ain’t so great either. We let the financial community think they could have their bad debt forgiven by the government. Oops! Under a President Obama we daren’t let American citizens in general think the same thing. Apropos of this was a very interesting parenthetical assertion in the column worth considering:

(It is one of the great myths of 21st century that the Bush tax cuts made the tax code less progressive; the opposite is true. If you are in the bottom 38% of taxpayers, you now pay zero income tax—and therefore have an incentive to support any spending bill that comes down the pike.)

The Mother of all bailouts

I think I agree withRobert Reich on the latest proposed bailout.

As a Republican I’m very supportive of free enterprise and the “invisible hand.” But as a student of history and human greed I took to heart early the lessons of the unregulated Stock Market Crash of 1929. Glass Steagall gave us good protection. It was killed by Senator Phil Gramm in 1999. He’s the McCain advisor who just called American’s whiners.

If American taxpayers are going to have to pay off the bad debts of the rich then let’s make sure its taxes on the rich which pays off this most unwelcome financial burden. Barack Obama will tax them not John McCain.

This will mean that a President Obama will have a lot less money to play with but that’s the price we all have to pay for granting the wishes of the regulation-hating GOP

The most compelling reason to vote for McCain

The reason? Its divided government and this persuasive argument for it and a McCain Presidency comes from George Will. I agree with George but I will almost certainly vote for Obama.

I hate the idea of “card check neutrality” which is absolutely undemocratic. It will come to pass under Obama. I’ve long felt that the power in union management has tilted too far out of balance in management’s favor. Republicans have turned the NLRB into a toothless regulator making it very difficult for unions to legally unionize businesses. As terrible as ccn is, it is a swing of the pendulum. Someday when common sense and its negative effects on the economy kick in it will be scrapped or modified. It will hurt our economy but so do farm subsidies.

As for the “Fairness Doctrine, well, George has a good point here to. You could call it the regulation of political speech or in other words “political censorship.” Its very Big Brother and kind of like the, AHEM, Patriot Act.

Against George’s call for divided government I must consider:

The Christianization of the GOP
McCain’s health and possibly muddled thinking
Sarah Palin
His take no prisoners campaign
His primitive faith in the maxim “My country right or wrong.”
Obama’s nuanced understanding of the increasingly complicated and hostile world that we have gracelessly and unnecessarily offended

Is Palin a Poser?

As a thirty-year Republican pushed to the margins by a Party which has made abortion its first test of loyalty I’m struck by this question about the Party’s latest heroine:

“An interesting debate has been going on out of the media limelight. Sarah Palin’s decision earlier this year to have an amniocentesis to determine if her unborn child had Down Syndrome is not uncontroversial among pro-lifers. I’d be curious to find out from women readers, especially pro-life women readers, what their views of amniocentesis are, and how common it is for totally principled pro-life pregnant women to consent to having them. The reason for the debate is two-fold: a) if you are not considering an abortion, there isn’t much point in having an amniocentesis; and b) much more important for a pro-lifer, an amniocentesis poses a small but real risk to the life of an unborn child. According to the Christian News Service:”

Palin also believes in contraception contrary to most in her religous wing of the GOP. I agree with her. As a young Mother who gave birth eight months after she eloped I think that’s a very rational decision on her part. But its not part the Party line.

Sarah

I can’t help liking Sarah Palin at the same time I’m appalled at the prospect of her being one-heart-beat-away from the Presidency.

This is a charitable post from someone who is rooting for her. He says in part:

“If Palin’s smart – if she’s the politician I hope she is, rather than an Alaskan Goodling with snazzy glasses – she’ll push back against this tendency, and try to use the next two months as an opportunity to define herself substantively as something more than a careful memorizer of the briefing books she’s handed.”

I for one am not that confident that she is as good as Ross Douthat hopes and the more I see of the McCain ads the less straight I hear in his talk. If Palin remains simply a “me too” then she’s worse than Dan Quayle.

Still on a McCain kick

This post quoted an ad for a property that John McCain is selling. It begins:

“Former home of Sen John & Cindy McCain. Situated on over 2.5 acres. Totally remodeled in Old World style complete w/7 bedrooms in main house & 6 bedrooms in guest houses. . .”

What I find interesting about the ad, again unremarked on, is the first sentence. I know that ownership by movie stars and famous people make property more desirable and enhance its value. Maybe listing the owner’s name to jack up the sales price is just good business. On the other hand, the Midwesterner in me who still prizes humility and, if you can believe it, reticence is surprised that the McCains would allow their names to be advertised so conspicuously. They hardly need the money. John is reported to be the third richest US Senator. When his wife earns her share of the sale of Budweiser to a Belgian conglomerate her profit will be worth a heckuva lot more than the McCains will realize by selling their names in a real estate deal.

The courage to divorce

I’m a former McCainiac from 2000 and a current Obamacon. I like John McCain and will not be crushed if he becomes our next President. However, because of my current enthusiasm for Obama, which has settled down a bit lately, I’ve been more willing to cast a skeptical eye towards McCain. This is human nature. We all want to validate our prejudices. This morning a few random mouse clicks led me to an aspect of McCain’s self image that has gone unremarked on.

In his recent Saddleback Church interview John McCain was asked what his greatest failing had been and he instantly said it was his 1979 divorce. It took place a few years after his return from Vietnam. His wife, now an ex, had been injured and disfigured in a traffic accident while McCain was a prisoner of war. He evidently lost interest in her very quickly upon his return.

I agree with McCain. This divorce is a blot on his reputation but more troubling to me is his comment about it in one of his many autobiographies. He puts his divorce in a very different light than he did at Saddleback.

“Today, in our excessively psychoanalyzed society, sharing one’s secret fears with others takes courage. So does escaping a failing marriage.”

*Source: John McCain and Marshall Salter, Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life, page 14.

So, according to McCain, while his divorce was his greatest failing it was also a sign of his courage. Yes, he abandoned his injured wife and children to marry a rich, young, woman who has made it much easier for him to realize his early political ambitions. That analysis is right up there with the Cowardly Lion’s explanation of the word. “Courage. It puts the ape in apricot.”

Loyalty to one’s nation is admirable and John McCain, like the 600 or so other survivors of the Hanoi Hilton, has it in spades. But another oath: “for better, for worse, for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health” took a back seat to his vanity and ambition. I’ll keep this in mind every time one of his ads pop up and impugns Barack Obama for being an arugula loving, media darling.