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Dude, it's not that the questions were tough, but that they were silly. However, Biden did a wonderful job in dispelling the silly lies. Clearly that anchorwoman wasn't satisfied (and never will be, because she believes it with her whole heart). There are questions that are proper to ask, and then ones that are just silly, particularly the way the question is framed. Very amateurish.

As for Palin, well, sadly she's a diva and cannot see that her numbers are tanking not just for how she has been handled by Bush's minions, but that, well, she just doesn't cut it on the national stage. And she's gotta blame God that she looks like Tina Fey, because Tina Fey has been killing her image.

Oh and the other reason this "interview" was awful is that this same anchorwoman threw mere softballs at McCain when she interviewed him. In fact, she asked McCain why he didn't press harder on Obama on ACORN.

Silly and amateurish.

*As for Palin, well, sadly she's a diva *

Dan, that's kinda sexist, don'tcha think?

I didn't watch the Biden interview so I have no comments there. However Palin clearly is moving for 2012. I think she has no hope. Too much baggage and she better actually learn something about the issues. The talking point going around is that it's all due to how McCain's handlers prepared her and scared her. But I'm afraid I just can't believe that in the least.

2012 should be interesting though. I'm hoping Obama leads from a more moderate position. However I have no faith in Reid and Pelosi whom, I'm confident, will make the Republican's fall to corruption seem downright slow. (Remember all the promises about ethic reform 2 years ago? How much got implemented?)

Realistically it was going to be a hard and unlikely win for any Republican candidate this year. I really don't like McCain but I'll give him credit that he stayed competitive although I think that had more to do with some distasteful tactics (going against all the statements McCain had made in the past about campaigning and some of the few areas in which I'd once actually respected the guy)

My one hope is that all this will lead to some real reforms in the Republican party. And maybe some realigning of power. Of course many of us were saying that 2 years ago and the Republicans learned nothing...

Matt, "Diva" isn't a sexist term, is it?

Clark,

Given his background and the expectations of his supporters, I think the chances that Obama will attempt to govern like a centrist Democrat in his first two years in office (if elected) are almost nil.

With an Obama win the Chicago machine will be melded to the lion's den of Washington DC.
I havn't seen the Biden interview, I like the lecturing about "silly" questions though. Mind if somebody finally asks the empty suit who voted "present" 138 times what he'll really, really do as president before we vote?
Oh, my! I just asked a silly question!

Clark,

Are you going to give no credit (fault) to the media for Palin's demise? If anyone ever had any doubt that the media was biased I hope that those doubts are forever assuaged--worlds without end.

Clark,

(Remember all the promises about ethic reform 2 years ago? How much got implemented?)

There's a reason for this.

1. Republicans went on a strategy to undermine everything Democrats were trying to do.

2. The Democratic leadership were wusses who let the Republicans run them over.

Do I see that changing with a larger majority? No. Honestly I am highly disappointed with Pelosi and with Reid. I hope Murtha gets kicked out by his constituents as we do need new, fresher people in the House. Reid better start being that fighter he claims he was in the ring.

Matt,

Diva is not a sexist term. But it does hit where it hurts, at the image that Mrs. Palin is trying to rebuild, what with the awful introduction these past two months. Has there ever been a politician who went from such a high upon introduction to such a low? I can't think of one.

Mark D.,

I remember a story about Obama when he was on Harvard's Law Review in the 1990s.

The early to mid 1990s were really quite polarized over the affirmative action question and it was really hitting the university system in particular. Harvard was ground zero with various faculty appointment controversies, student sit-in protests... all that stuff. Harvard Law Review was directly in the firing line of all this when Obama was on it. The Law Review was extremely polarized along ideological and racial lines.

Obama kind of ignored that. He was one of the only members from the "liberal camp" who would even talk to the small handful of Federalist Society members (some of whom now work or have worked for the Bush II administration). He went out of his way to socialize with them when all his fellows were completely ostracizing them.

Eventually, Obama ran for Editor in Chief of the Law Review. He got the position, and several of the liberal black faction just expected that he would work to compensate for centuries of discrimination by appointing a lot of them to editorial positions.

People were shocked when he instead appointed 3 of the Federalist Society faction to editorial positions and gave only two to the liberal black faction (many of whom were really pissed at him).

You might say that, despite personal ideology, he was one of the most "bi-partisan" chief editors on that organization.

Now...

How will that anecdote translate to him as President?

Beats me.

But I would say it casts some serious doubt on your assertion that his chances of centrist governing are "nil."

Seth, I looked for the small print that said "My name is Barack Obama, and I approved this ad" notice at the bottom of your comment, but I didn't see it. Seriously, that story makes him look good.

Seth,

Do you have a source for that anecdote?

FWIW. One of my law partners is a former student of Obama at U of C, and he described Obama's teaching style as very balanced and nonidealogical.

Sure David, it's a part of Frontline's documentary on both McCain and Obama: "The Choice: 2008"

You can watch the entire thing here:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/choice2008/view/

Pretty good documentary. I think the Law Review story is in Part 3.

That Biden interview was ridiculous. I understand the claim that he should be prepared for tough questions, but Barbara West's questions were clearly antagonistic and based off of far-right republican talking points.

Dan, are you honestly saying it was Republicans holding up earmark reform? Come on.

I'll agree that Murtha needs to go and I'm excited that it looks like he will.

Jack, yeah I think the media's role in Palin's meltdown is vastly overrated. She was ill prepared and that wasn't the media's fault. There was bias there but more in terms of the media not covering Biden enough. Palin was given very easy interviews and couldn't hack it. Further because McCain picked someone most didn't expect two months of coverage were compressed into a few weeks which made it seem like she was being treated unfairly when she wasn't.


Seth, many have noted that many activists expected Obama to push their agenda while editing the Harvard Review whereas instead Obama pushed to have a good journal.

While I think some who keep trying to portray Obama as a centrist are clearly mistaken - he is an unabashed liberal - it's also clear he's a consensus builder. That will temper his liberal behaviors. Maybe not quite as much as having a Blue Dog Democratic in office. But it won't be the disaster some on the right are saying.

The bigger issue is, as I've said, Reid and Pelosi. I think it safe to say Obama won't be vetoing their liberal bills even if he might not push for them. The best one can say is that Obama is likely to recall the history of the Clinton initial 2 years and encourage the Congress to not risk blowback. It'll be interesting to see if the Congress listens to Obama. For better or worse (typically worse) the Republican leadership listened to Bush. I'm just not sure the Democratic leadership will let Obama control them in that way. There's too much expectation, especially on the far right, of what an Obama Presidency will hold. Almost certainly much of that is just as much projection onto Obama rather than representing Obama. (Just as many ridiculous fears by the right are projecting onto Obama)


"While I think some who keep trying to portray Obama as a centrist are clearly mistaken - he is an unabashed liberal - it's also clear he's a consensus builder. That will temper his liberal behaviors. Maybe not quite as much as having a Blue Dog Democratic in office. But it won't be the disaster some on the right are saying."

That's pretty-much the conclusion I've drawn about him as well.

Dan, are you honestly saying it was Republicans holding up earmark reform? Come on.

Yep. And anything they could get their hands on to stop or slow up. Obstruct any and every bill they could. Then they would blame the Democrats for not doing anything these past two years. Guess what? That was their game plan, and that's what they've accused Democrats of these past few months.

That's demonstrably bull Dan. I don't know where you're getting this from but Republicans were pushing for stronger reform and Reid blocked it in the Senate. Seen thisfor instance. (Sadly both Utah Senators went along with the Democrats on this)

McCain insiders on Palin the Diva: A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," this McCain adviser said. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."

I don't know if the term Diva is sexist or not, but a lot of people seem to think it applies to Palin.

I meant to provide the source for the quote in my last comment. Here it is:


http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/27/palin.tension/index.html

Let me get this straight:

McCain is accusing someone of not taking advice, not trusting the people she should be trusting, and posturing for the next Presidential election cycle?

McCain?

Seth,

Senator Obama may be more diplomatic than most, but he is no centrist. Here is a very nice quote from a 2001 Barack Obama radio interview:

"The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical.

It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties.

Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf."

Note that he is faulting the Warren Court, the high water mark of liberal judical activism for not being radical enough, and in particular for not addressing "issues of redistribution of wealth".

Now suppose you are Barack Obama, constitutional law professor. In what part of the Constitution might you find a legal mandate for the federal courts to get into the wealth redistribution business?

--
Chicago Public Radio interview here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iivL4c_3pck

Mark, I don't read that as him faulting the Warren court. Looks like he is just making an observations to me.

After reading the comments here it is clear why our government is so dysfunctional. It is next to impossible to tell the difference between the Dems and Reps in the legislation they pass and yet the Dems will believe every negative lie about McCain or Palin and the Republicans do the same about Obama. Is there any rationality in American politics?

Mark, did you listen to the whole thing? The most cogent explanation comes from Volokh, who as a Libertarian has no love for redistribution. But frankly the way this is being spun by some on the right is ridiculous. (Also see Drezner - who is also no liberal although like me not happy with the current state of Republicans)

Geoff, he's not so much faulting the Warren court as saying that liberals shouldn't try to achieve their aims by the courts. That is the courts, in Obama's view, largely mirror public opinion, and thus aren't a good place to focus ones activism. (The opposite of how it is being spun)

Now there's no doubt that Obama believes in the notion of positive rights. But then that ends up being a fairly complex issue - far more complex than most believe. However that shouldn't be news. In the debates he explicitly stated that he thought health care was a right (whereas McCain said responsibility although I have a hard time figuring out the difference between the two). It's not like Obama is hiding his views here though.

Geoff J, only a commentator to the left of the Warren court would comment that it wasn't that radical because it didn't get into wealth redistribution. From the perpsective of everyone else it was extremely radical.

Obama continues a couple of sentences later:

"And one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, because the civil rights movement became so court-focused, I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which to bring about redistributive change".

He says that it was a "tragedy" that the civil rights movement neglected the activities that would be able to bring about "redistributive change".

Clark,

Yes, I listened to the whole thing. It is extremely obvious that he is talking about the best strategy to achieve wealth redistribution. He says that there are legal arguments that could be advanced to achieve wealth redistribution through the courts, but that they wouldn't be politically acceptable. And that is why he answers a question about the best place to do "reparative economic work" as follows:

"I am not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts".

"Tragedy" and "not optimistic" are value judgments, folks.

One thing about Palin being overlooked is this:

If McCain wins (a very big and unlikely if), Palin's ability to (apparently) invigorate the base will be one of the main reasons.

If he loses (the more likely scenario), she becomes just one of several dozen reasons he lost, and not even the main one. He was already on track to lose when he picked her, and no other choice would have done much of anything to the polls.

Sure, there were much better choices for VP out there, but none of them would draw the crowds she's drawing, and none of them would have been worth many points in the polls.

I don't think Obama will be the disaster that some are predicting. I do worry that an Obama victory will "validate" some of the worst impulses of the left (the "Sarah Palin is a C--t" shirts, the cries of "stone her" at Obama rallies, the "kick them when they're down and rub salt in their wounds" rhetoric at Daily Kos, etc.) but a McCain victory might actually be worse in those aspects since it might be seen as justifying the worst impulses of the right while driving the hardcore left into previously unknown levels of rage.

It's hard to tell. Regardless of who wins, the nation will endure. It will still be America, and the potential for 1994 like blowback will still be there.

People are taking this election way too seriously, methinks. Step away from the computer, take a few breaths, and tell yourself that regardless of who wins, God will make sure his plans works out. The transient politics of humans don't mean much when looked at from the perspective of eternity.

Although, I most likely will vote a straight Libertarian party ticket (hey, I live in Texas. It's going to go McCain. I also live in Austin, so nearly all the local elections will go Democrat - and in most cases the Democrats are running unopposed or only against a Libertarian. I might as well give the third parties some love and a chance at funding. I'd rather fight the hundred years war on the electoral system than worry too much about small battles along the way).

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