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Author Topic: Who should become the next US president?  (Read 32421 times)

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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #100 on: March 22, 2008, 02:19:10 PM »

Quote from: 551

Everyone says this, but I have to ask, when did Bush have the same? Did he ever have a specific plan?  

I think you can see what Bush was essentially about in some of his pre-911 agenda items, especially his tax cuts. He's really the most ploddingly conventional of Republican politicians: reduce high-end tax rates; investment and growth follow; everybody's better off. There is probably a grain of truth in this, and anyway if you leave your tax rates comparatively high the money just goes offshore, but I'd prefer tax cuts to go to the middle classes myself. They're most likely to invest in homes, spend the cash on consumer goods, or invest it in the form of education for themselves or their kids. This is all to the good. Tom Daschle and the Senate Democrats insisted on this during the fight over the 2001 round of tax cuts, and I think they were right.

Politically, he was utterly ordinary, too: his electoral strategy simply consisted of rounding up the Republican base with post-1980 boilerplate, and offering a few goodies to sway suburban voters in swing states like Ohio and Florida. ("No Child Left Behind," etc.) Karl Rove is considered a masterful political tactitian, but that strategy is in fact the simplest and most obvious one to use if your base is the numerically larger one.

But please go vote: whatever I think of Hillary Clinton's miserable tactics (and noticeably self-dramatizing posturing), I'll still go vote for her (nose definitely held if not held high) because she could well achieve some things. Another Clinton presidency probably won't be any more edifying than the first, but she's intelligent and capable- even likable, according to some, when she isn't performing for the cameras.
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harihead

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #101 on: March 22, 2008, 03:20:51 PM »

Thanks, Geoff. Perhaps I didn't see Bush spell out his platform because he didn't need to; everyone already knew what he wanted to do. Thank you for the great summary.

Yes, I will vote for whatever candidate the Dems put forward. I like your phrase: nose definitely held if not held high. I'll be thinking that when I cast my ballot (of course, never knowing if that vote will count, the way the voting machines are rigged).

Oh, Thomas Jefferson. If you could see us now...
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alexis

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #102 on: March 22, 2008, 03:39:16 PM »

Quote from: 551
  
   ...   We have _got_ to get private interest money out of our government...
 

I know you were just abbreviating, it's really not that simple of course. We all agree that one of the major flaws of the political system is the apparently unfettered and exclusive access that big donors (corporations and the like) have to Congress and the President, indeed to government at all levels.

But each of us are citizens, each with our own "private" interests. What if my uncle wants to keep a proposed highway from running through his  farm, one that has been in the family for generations? The highway happens to be $trongly $ponsored by the consortium of small oil refiners in the southern part of the state looking to reduce their transportation costs. They don't give a hoot what properties the highway goes through, or the damage to the way of life building the highway will cause - it's just a simple dollars and cents issue to them.

As it turns out, one of the candidates on the election ballot is also strongly against the higway, so my uncle contributes to his campaign, and actually organizes many other like-minded property owners to contribute as well. Then when the candidate is elected (yipee!), my uncle's group hires someone with experience in government to work to get on the legislator's schedule and convince him to make it a priority to block the legislation funding the highway. This person my uncle's group has hired, yes a lobbyist  :D (angry2) , even buys ads on local TV and radio in the legislator's district, to sway people against the highway. My uncle invites the legislator to his farm, (transportation at my uncle's expense), shows him around and takes him hunting, to show him a way of life that would be lost if the proposed highway is not blocked.

My hypothetical uncle is a "special", or "private", interest, as are his partners in that effort, as we all are. So, yes, we all agree buying legislators' votes by corporations is wrong and immoral.  But we have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater in terms of allowing democracy to work as intended - citizens having access to legislators, and legislators voting to reflect the will of the people. Likewise, not all money spent in the process is inherently evil, as maybe the examples above show.

It seems to me that "special interest" has come to mean nothing more than a derogatory term to be applied to a group of people whose political views we disagree with  (the unsaid to follow of course is: "burn her"!). Where I work, the majority of the people (or at least the loudest) are radical right Republicans, and so Fox News is on in the lunch room. I hear the bubbleheads there talk about money that the "Environmental Special Interests" or "Anti-War Special Interests" spend, with the same disdain/hatred we may talk about "Big Oil" or the NRA.  It's too simple to tar everyone we don't agree with with the same brush, calling them a "special interest" . All the candidates, Obama and Clinton included, are guilty of this type of pandering, apparently having low expectations of their supporters ("Let's toss them red meat here, they'll cheer loudly at this point of the speech").

The hard part is precisely defining at what point the process moves from reasonable into sleazy. The candidates don't seem to address that very often, and as long as their constituents don't hold them to task, they never will. Our responsibility as citizens is to make our government better (like life in general, complaining about it while doing otherwise doesn't carry much weight). Voting for the candidate who comes closest to the ideal, and then working with them and the process from there, seems a good place to start.
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Alexis

Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #103 on: March 22, 2008, 03:42:04 PM »

Quote from: 551
(of course, never knowing if that vote will count, the way the voting machines are rigged).


You'll be fine if you're not in Florida! ;)

By the way, have a look at Maureen Dowd's Bushworld: Enter At Your Own Risk. It's culled from her NYT columns. Not the last word on W's presidency, of course, but better than most and definitely readable (sez the shamelessly partisan Democrat).

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harihead

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #104 on: March 23, 2008, 10:12:41 AM »

Quote from: 568
It seems to me that "special interest" has come to mean nothing more than a derogatory term to be applied to a group of people whose political views we disagree with  
I agree, which is why I tried (and failed!) to use a different term. I enjoyed your example of citizen involvement in government. I tried (along with the rest of the neighborhood) to get a highway rerouted from going in back of my house. No luck. We all showed up-- all of us-- and it was, "Sign this piece of paper to say you're protesting, but the deal is done and you're getting this road whether you like it or not." Most of us sold and got out before the highway went in. It just ruined the town, cutting it in two. So it's a double-edged sword; you have to have enough people to make your protest meaningful, but you get too many and suddenly you're a "special interest" and not representing the citizen population anymore. Tough call!

Geoff, thanks for the reference to Maureen Dowd's Bushworld. I'll give that a look.

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BlueMeanie

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #105 on: March 23, 2008, 12:58:16 PM »

Quote from: 551
Did you ever see a more incompetent attempt at follow-up than the United States' arthritic response to Afghanistan? Except Katrina; we couldn't handle Katrina either and it was right here.

This was either hysterically funny, or tragically sad. Let's mobilise the military to deal with the after effects of a hurricane, and nobody shows up. I bet Iran are quaking in their boots!!
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #106 on: March 23, 2008, 05:01:17 PM »

All the candidates, Obama and Clinton included, are guilty of this type of pandering, apparently having low expectations of their supporters ("Let's toss them red meat here, they'll cheer loudly at this point of the speech").

Pandering takes more entertaining forms, too: in Ohio, Clinton was playing Dolly Parton's '9 to 5' at her rallies and dropping her 'g's' (as in thinkin', goin', etc.). It seems to me her campaign was running TV ads that tried to make her out to be just another workin' girl, too. All conjured up by her campaign team after feeding a whack of demographic reports into a computer, of course. Mitt Romney, whose campaign tried and failed with just this sort of focus-grouped nonsense, must be banging his head in frustration.
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alexis

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #107 on: March 23, 2008, 11:42:34 PM »

Quote from: 551
... I tried (along with the rest of the neighborhood) to get a highway rerouted from going in back of my house. No luck. We all showed up-- all of us-- and it was, "Sign this piece of paper to say you're protesting, but the deal is done and you're getting this road whether you like it or not." Most of us sold and got out before the highway went in. It just ruined the town, cutting it in two. So it's a double-edged sword; you have to have enough people to make your protest meaningful, but you get too many and suddenly you're a "special interest" and not representing the citizen population anymore. Tough call!

...



Oh my gosh, that is just horrible! As much as we like to think we have some rights, in the end if the government wants something, it will be satisfied. I remember hearing about an example of eminent domain (that term makes it sound so majestic!) recently where a town basically evicted a whole neighborhood, stating they needed the land for public use, sorry guys! They then went and SOLD IT TO A CONDO DEVELOPER! When they were sued, they said well, just because the condo developer got rich doesn't mean it was the wrong thing to do. Needless to say, the original inhabitants were not amused. I think this one went all the way to the Supreme Court (a.k.a. "Bushworld"!), does anyone remember how it turned out?
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Alexis

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #109 on: March 24, 2008, 03:48:24 PM »

Quote from: 1161
Did you mean Kelo v. New London from 2005?

http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/domaindebate.html

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/24/scotus.property/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30314-2004Sep17.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/08/nyregion/08domain.html?scp=2&sq=kelo+suzette&st=nyt


Yes that was it, thanks!

I remember now that David Souter, not one usually considered part of "Bushworld" (aka US Supreme Court), actually voted for this bizarre interpretation of eminent domain. He has a house up in Maine or somewhere, and I remember that the people in his small town tried to get the local city council to vote to "acquire" Souter's property for the "public benefit" of the town. It never did ultimately come off, I wonder if it made any impression on him or not...?
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #110 on: March 24, 2008, 05:30:34 PM »

Quote from: 568

Yes that was it, thanks!

I remember now that David Souter, not one usually considered part of "Bushworld" (aka US Supreme Court), actually voted for this bizarre interpretation of eminent domain. He has a house up in Maine or somewhere, and I remember that the people in his small town tried to get the local city council to vote to "acquire" Souter's property for the "public benefit" of the town. It never did ultimately come off, I wonder if it made any impression on him or not...?


It was in New Hampshire, actually. As I'm sure you know, the state motto there is "Live Free Or Die," and you mess with those people at your own risk.

Scroll down to the "Personal" section here; there's a line or two about it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Souter



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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #111 on: March 27, 2008, 12:09:24 PM »

Too good not to post:


<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/8BfNqhV5hg4&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed>

I'm going to miss the Clintons when they're finally gone.

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Sondra

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #112 on: March 30, 2008, 10:41:06 PM »

I think the Democrats or screwing themselves right now. Too much double talk going on. Obama trying to defend his affiliation with his minister and yet somehow pretend he didn't know he felt that way all those years? And Hillary was pretty stupid for the I was fired on lie. What was she thinking??? I hope they get it together soon. This is disheartening and the Republicans are loving it.
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #113 on: March 30, 2008, 11:31:32 PM »

Quote from: 216
This is disheartening and the Republicans are loving it.

You bet. I haven't got the polls handy, but according to this morning's Meet The Press (the Brooks-Beinart segment), McCain's positives are now in the sixties and independents, who had been leaning heavily Democratic, are now tilting Republican. In straight up electoral matches, McCain edges Clinton and Obama comes out slightly ahead of McCain. This at a time when the incumbent Republican president is at historic lows in the popularity polls, the economy is sliding, and we are stuck in a war nobody knows how to end. Hillary Clinton is threatening to fight all the way to the delegate credentials committee at the convention if necessary. As the old joke goes, the Democrats' idea of a firing squad is to form a circle.
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #114 on: March 31, 2008, 05:23:29 AM »

My favorite non-story of the campaign:


Senior Democrats Mull Al Gore's Nomination

By Tim Shipman in Washington
Last Updated: 2:02am BST 31/03/2008

Plans for Al Gore to take the Democratic presidential nomination as the saviour of a bitterly divided party are being actively discussed by senior figures and aides to the former vice-president.

The bloody civil war between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has left many Democrats convinced that neither can deliver a knockout blow to the other and that both have been so damaged that they risk losing November's election to the Republican nominee, John McCain.
 
Former Gore aides now believe he could emerge as a compromise candidate acceptable to both camps at the party's convention in Denver during the last week of August.

Two former Gore campaign officials have told The Sunday Telegraph that a scenario first mapped out by members of Mr Gore's inner circle last May now has a sporting chance of coming true.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/03/30/wuspols130.xml


The sources are all former Gore retainers, you'll notice. ;D
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harihead

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #115 on: March 31, 2008, 02:12:36 PM »

Geoff, stop depressing me!!!!

Okay, you can depress me. I'm really enjoying your political commentary. This p*sses me off: "The bloody civil war". Democrats fracturing in all directions is not what we need more of!

I blame Clinton and her all-consuming ambition for the degree of division we now have. I don't think she wants so much to do good for the country as to do good for Hillary. Can we call back the Founding Fathers and have do-overs?
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #116 on: March 31, 2008, 03:05:25 PM »

Quote from: 551


I blame Clinton and her all-consuming ambition for the degree of division we now have. I don't think she wants so much to do good for the country as to do good for Hillary.


I've actually made at least some effort to try to keep an open mind about the Clintons despite all the evidence, but after that Bosnia business I came to the same conclusion Peggy Noonan did the other day in the WSJ:


Getting Mrs. Clinton
March 28, 2008; Page W18

I think we've reached a signal point in the campaign. This is the point where, with Hillary Clinton, either you get it or you don't. There's no dodging now. You either understand the problem with her candidacy, or you don't. You either understand who she is, or not. And if you don't, after 16 years of watching Clintonian dramas, you probably never will.

That's what the Bosnia story was about. Her fictions about dodging bullets on the tarmac -- and we have to hope they were lies, because if they weren't, if she thought what she was saying was true, we are in worse trouble than we thought -- either confirmed what you already knew (she lies as a matter of strategy, or, as William Safire said in 1996, by nature) or revealed in an unforgettable way (videotape! Smiling girl in pigtails offering flowers!) what you feared (that she lies more than is humanly usual, even politically usual).

But either you get it now or you never will. That's the importance of the Bosnia tape.

Many in the press get it, to their dismay, and it makes them uncomfortable, for it sours life to have a person whose character you feel you cannot admire play such a large daily role in your work. But I think it's fair to say of the establishment media at this point that it is well populated by people who feel such a lack of faith in Mrs. Clinton's words and ways that it amounts to an aversion. They are offended by how she and her staff operate. They try hard to be fair. They constantly have to police themselves.

http://online.wsj.com/article/declarations.html


I'd just add that this is the Clintons as we've known them since 1992; Bill being the guy who made himself famous that year for claiming that he'd tried- but not inhaled, God forbid!- the weed.  ;D
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #117 on: April 07, 2008, 03:20:17 PM »

From this morning's New York Times. Kristol's best column for them so far, I think:


The Shape of the Race to Come
 
By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Published: April 7, 2008
I
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alexis

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #118 on: April 07, 2008, 04:01:32 PM »

I don't think Hilary's problem is that she wants this too much, to an "unhealthy" degree in some fashion. Her problem is that she can't hide it as well as the others in the race. IMO, nobody goes through the living torture of running unless they want to win very much. She's behind, she's desperate, her campaign is falling apart and she's sleep-deprived - all things guaranteed to let things pass through the "filters" that all the candidates try to keep in place at all costs.

Kristol doesn't impress me, given his track of support for policies aimed almost exclusively at enriching the very very most wealthy in this country at the expense of everybody else. Unsaid in his article is how Obama could paint McCain in more than one unflattering light:

1) "He's not who he says he is" - McCain actually has many documentable interactions with lobbyists that bely his squeeky clean image. Maybe the leopard really can't change his spots (can you spell Keating 5?).

2) "Military experience" - If that's what it takes to say we will stay in Iraq for 100 years, and to be clueless about the major alliances in the region ("Al Qaeda and Iran are working closely together..."), well give me less of that military experience please!

3) "Are you better off than you were before the McCain/Bush/Republican machine took over"?

Say no more!
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #119 on: April 07, 2008, 04:19:09 PM »

I'm not a conservative myself, and many of Kristol's other columns for the Times have left me cold, but as an assessment of how the campaign may go, I think there's a lot of sense in there.

Speaking of McCain, Frank Rich had a good take on him in yesterday's Times:


Tet Happened, and No One Cared

By FRANK RICH
Published: April 6, 2008

REALLY, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should be ashamed of themselves for libeling John McCain. As a growing chorus reiterates, their refrains that Mr. McCain is
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