January 16, 2008

"Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America."



"He tapped into what people were already feeling, which is that we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."

70 comments:

XWL said...

He denigrates big government expansionism of the 60s and 70s, praises Pres. Reagan, and (slyly) compares Pres. Nixon to Pres. Clinton.

This won't sit well with a big swathe of Democratic voters, ought to be fun to watch the reaction.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, TPM obviously edited this clip and put it up to hurt him, but it makes me like him. "Entrepreneurship" is a good word that Democrats should say more often.

Revenant said...

It never occurred to me that someone put this clip up to *hurt* Obama, but I guess that makes sense. It makes me like him more, too.

He doesn't exactly praise Reagan, though; he just cites Reagan as being more of an agent of change than Clinton was. I think most reasonable Democrats would agree with that, even if they don't think all the changes were good ones.

XWL said...

Seems like there's some doubt as to whether or not he is praising Reagan in this.

The 'progressives' can't believe their ears, so they have to spin it in a way as to not be praise for Reagan. Anyone not filled with hatred towards conservatism would hear this as unequivocal praise. Others would equivocate, cause that's what they do.

Interesting.

Did Sen. Obama mean to piss off the left side of his party while increase the appeal to whatever Reagan Dems and moderates are left within the Dems?

Is he hoping to attract Republicans in a general election contest?

Does he feel safe abandoning the 'progressive' base (judging from the reaction at TPM, many in that base consider any kind word towards Reagan to be abandonment, they have issues), because he thinks Sen. Clinton will begin fading (and Sen. Edwards has no chance)?

Very interesting.

("Sister Souljah moment", possibly?)

Honest admiration for Pres. Reagan seems so unlikely a motivation for his careful choice of words and putting Nixon and Clinton in the same sentence.

Palladian said...

Definitely makes me like Obama even more. Funny how tone-deaf the TPM zombies are.

Hope Obama doesn't take on boat-anchor John Edwards as VP running mate.

Ann Althouse said...

I think in context -- and tactically -- his point is that being an "agent of change" has a special quality. Reagan had it and he has it too. It's a fight against Hillary for sole control of the "change agent" position. It's about transforming the way people think about things. I think he's not talking about the direction, but defining what it means to change direction.

XWL said...

He did mention the failure of big government in the 60s and 70s directly, and I think the positioning of Nixon and Clinton in the same sentence is very significant.

He's not being specific of what kind of change he'd introduce, but he's being pretty specific about what kind of change he would not introduce, and that in of itself is important.

Tim said...

""Entrepreneurship" is a good word that Democrats should say more often."

Agreed, but they can only lie so much and get away with it, as the concept runs head first at high speed into the brick wall of Democrat tax and regulatory policies. "Entrepreneurship" means making someone richer; the only virtue of that from the Democrat world view would be the tax squeeze, else they'd adopt entrepreneur friendly policies, which we all know they simply cannot do.

AJ Lynch said...

Obama does not need to attract the far left - he already has them and will get more when Edwards drops out. That is why he did better in more liberal Iowa than New Hampshire.

Obama needs to attract more of the Reagan Dems who supported Hillary in New Hampshire hence this soundbite to bring back conciliation and to show he, like Reagan, will not be disagreeable even when he disagrees with you.

Simon said...

Reagan changed the trajectory of America through concrete actions, not the least of which was standing up to a hostile foreign enemy (which Obama won't do) and putting one of the most gifted jurists in the Supreme Court's history in chambers at 1 First Street NE (which Obama certainly won't do). Not for Reagan this kind of amorphous, fuzzy "our differences don't matter" line.

Ann Althouse said...
"Yeah, TPM obviously edited this clip and put it up to hurt him, but it makes me like him."

You think Talking Pointe Memo wants to hurt Obama?! It had seemed to me that their prevalent attitude towards him - in keeping with the leftosphere generally - was the sort of "trial by blowjob" you humorously alluded to in a previous Bloggingheads with Amba.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

When I see "TPM" I always think "Total Particulate Matter" which is also known as 'tar' in cigarettes.

Hey, is Obama still smoking?

AJ Lynch said...

Hey Ruth Ann:

I can never remember what TPM stands for. Now, because of you, I will never be able to forget it could be Total Particulate Matter :).

Middle Class Guy said...

Ronald Reagan was a man in the right place at the right time. He not only had a message for change, but he was able to communicate that message in a positive, easy, and likable way. Obama is similar. He is the different candidate, and a candidate for the time. He does not preach hatred, directly or indirectly. He and his website tell us what his is going to do in plain language. I like him. I probably will not vote for him, but I respect him.

Compared him to Hillary Clinton or John Edwards, he is the most likable and the most viable. I also liked the entrepreneurship remark. I believe that he is the most centris of the three candidates.

I do not believe the voters are looking for the day one experienced candidate or the candidate that will amputate the hand that feeds them. They are looking for something new. Obama offers that. The Republican candidates can learn something here.

Nels said...

Consider: Reagan was a popular California governor; Independents make up 20% of California voters; Independents can vote in the Democratic primary but not in the Republican primary; and over a fifth of the Democratic delegates up for grabs come from California.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

AJ Lynch: Well then my work here is through.

*Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

Eli Blake said...

Nels:

Excellent point.

I've wondered about the trajectory of the California Republican party. Over the past 20 years or so it's been suicidal, to be perfectly blunt about it. And the closed primary puts that in stark perspective, with independent voters in that state clearly being welcomed by the Democrats and only by the Democrats. It's as if the California GOP is bound and determined to always be the minority party there. In fact the only major electoral success they've had there in years has moved so far to the left that most of the time he sounds like a Democrat with a bad accent.

Ruth Anne:

So that is the worst thing anybody can say about Obama? That he is a (shudder at the thought) smoker? Then again, in today's P.C. society that is about the worst thing you can say about anybody.

Simon said...

Eli Blake said...
"Ruth Anne: So that is the worst thing anybody can say about Obama? That he is a (shudder at the thought) smoker?"

It is not, as I think I've made clear in comments passim ad nauseum.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Both Reagan and Obama restored their parties to greatness by heralding a radical realignment that remade the party in the image of its best principles.

rcocean said...

Impressive. Why would the Democrats vote for Hillary! when they've got this guy?

And the California Republican party was killed by mass illegal and legal immigration. The white middle class has been fleeing the state for almost 20 years and been replaced by a massive wave of asian and hispanic immigrants.

Whether these immigrants will become fans of low taxes and limited government is doubtful. But in any case, California will be a blue state for a very long time. Thanks Jack Kemp & Bill Bennett!

PatCA said...

So the true heir to the Reagan mantle is a Democrat?!

This election just gets curiouser and curiouser. I like it.

Of course, "Entrepreneurship" to a Dem means a designated minority business aided by various tax breaks and other governmental privileges and incentives...but a girl can dream.

Revenant said...

The white middle class has been fleeing the state for almost 20 years and been replaced by a massive wave of asian and hispanic immigrants.

I wonder what percentage of Asian immigrants are Democrats, though? The ones I know are mostly right-wing -- either they are Vietnamese refugees who dislike the Democrats for abandoning the country to the Communists, or they are military veterans (or children of military veterans) from the Philippines.

But maybe Asian-Californians are mostly Democrats; I have no idea.

Maxine Weiss said...

The Orientals are definitely Republican, but they aren't politically active at all. They have no influence---those Orientals. Very passive.

The Mexicans scream the loudest and have the most power. And, their all Democrats.

Cubans are Republicans, but that's Florida.

Middle Class Guy said...

Mike Huckabee: My name's Mike Huckabee, what's yers?

Sherriff Andy Taylor: I'm Sherriff Taylor, and I've been a lookin for you.
Mike Huckabee.: I didn't do nothin'. Gotta go!

Mike Huckabee: It's me, it's me, it's Mike Huckabee!

Mike Huckabee: If a duck stood still you could catch him by the bill.

Mike Huckabee: I don't chew my cabbage twice. And you ain't heard the last of Mike Huckabee!

Mike Huckabee: If I'd seen you coming, I'd have known what to do. I'd have rais'd both arms and woved at you!

Mike Huckabee: No hunt. Beware. Open and closed. No credit.

Mike Huckabee: No coffee, tea, or punch, thank you.

Mike Huckabee: I ain't talkin'. I ain't talkin'. The more you're askin' the more I'm balkin'.

Mike Huckabee: She called me a "creasture"—I ain't no "creasture"!!!

Mike Huckabee:What? I passed it—I didn't heave it!

Charlene: Okay, Mike Huckabee...Serenade away.

Mike Huckabee: Awright, listen... (He accompanies himself by slapping a large can.)
Old Aunt Mariah, jump in the fi-ah,
Fire too hot, jump in the pot,
Pot too black, jump in the crack,
Crack too high, jump in the sky,
Sky too blue, jump in canoe,
Canoe too shallow, jump in the tallow,
Tallow too soft, jump in the loft,
Loft too rotten, jump in the cotton,
Cotton so white she stay there all night.

Matthias said...

Instead of disecting the reasons this video is up, I'd like to take a moment to say that I think this is a really sharp observation on the part of Sen. Obama.

It speaks of a man who has looked closely at history and drawn some very keen points from it. I can't stand his voting record, but it seems that every time I watch him talk I'm impressed.

dick said...

I was impressed by the oratory of Mario Cuomo but the man was a terrible governor and there is no way I could ever have supported his policies.

JFK was a great orator but all the things he is given credit for were the result of LBJ knowing where the bodies were buried. Who would Obama have to tell him that? Surely not San Fran Nan or Harry Reid.

Danny said...

Maxine, David Duke is calling and he needs his stereotypes back.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Reagan changed the trajectory of America through concrete actions.... Not for Reagan this kind of amorphous, fuzzy "our differences don't matter" line.

Oh, Simon, you are so wrong. There were some concrete details, and he deeply cared about a very few things that were non-negotiable, but there certainly was one hell of a lot of intentional fuzziness as well. There had to be, because of the make-up of the congress. He would never have been so immensely popular if there hadn't been. Ronald Reagan was also successful because he was never afraid of changing his mind when necessary, or admitting that that was exactly what he was doing, and because he never much cared who got the credit as long as the job got done.

rcocean said...

Next up, Maxine calls AA's "Negroes" and labels Mexicans "Our little Brown brothers from South of the Border".

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Ann, it seems to me that Obama made a good point and a good pitch for himself in the process. He is defintely the most Reaganesque of all the candidates running in personal style on the stump and potential for dramatic psychological shift in social thought if elected. [Simon: Your strenuous objection is anticipated and noted.]

Unfortunately for Obama, short of routing Clinton on February 5, his fate is looking grim. Unlike the GOP, almost 20% (796) of the 4049 delegates to the Democratic Party national convention were already chosen before any votes were cast. These super-delegates are members of the DNC, Congress, governors, etc. About 35% of those have declared their intentions: 60% for Clinton, 28% for Obama and 12% Edwards. In the end, Clinton probably ends up with an extra margin of between 200 and 300 votes as a result. That's 5-7% of the total, which means Obama will have to have defeated Clinton by almost 10% overall in the primaries to overcome it. He very well may, but the numbers aren't looking good at the moment. Strange, in that sense he's looking Reaganesque as well, the Reagan of 1976, denied the nomination by the machinations of the party elite who arranged for the seating of a more compliant Mississippi delegation.

Verso said...

TPM obviously edited this clip

I didn't see any edits. It looked like an unedited and uninterupted sequence of tape, to me. Josh Marshall is actually very moderate.

Revenant said...

About 35% of those have declared their intentions: 60% for Clinton, 28% for Obama and 12% Edwards.

By my count, that means that only 60% of 35% of 20% of the delegates -- i.e., 4.2% -- have declared for Clinton. 2.1% for Obama, 1% for Edwards. An addition 14% have, for some reason, refused to declare for a candidate yet, which seems to bode ill for Hillary given that she's been the presumptive front-runner (and DNC establishment candidate) for ages now.

That leaves plenty of room for Obama to come out ahead, especially if he does even slightly better than Hillary in the coming weeks.

Verso said...

I just watched that tape again, and again, it looks totally unedited to me. It's 1:01 of straight, unedited tape.

The analysis is also interesting at the TPM web site.

"Obama is also making an argument about the readiness of the electorate for change, comparing today's desire for a new direction with the electorate's mood in 1980. In this context, Obama is presenting himself as a potentially transformational figure in opposition to Hillary, who, Obama has been arguing, is unequipped to tap into the public's mood due to her coming of age in the sixties and her involvement in the political battles of the 1990s."

Plus: It's a clever dig at Bill and Hillary.

Amir said...

Edward simly has to bow out of the race....after SC. His comments are noted. Polls will change substantially after Edwards departure in favour of Obama.

Verso said...

XWL said: judging from the reaction at TPM, many in that base consider any kind word towards Reagan to be abandonment, they have issues

Palladian said: Funny how tone-deaf the TPM zombies are.

You guys must not actually be reading the comments. They seem to be running at least 1:1 in favor of what Obama said, and the overwhelming majority of those who disagree are doing so because they are attached to other candidates and acting as partisans, not because they disagree with his remarks per se. The commentary over there is at least as thoughtful as anything written here or on any other blog populated by reasonable, intelligent people.

Several examples of comments from TPM:

"I find this a very strong argument from Obama."

"Absolutely correct."

"As usual, everything Obama says is true"

"I think that Obama is right"

"It is actually a brilliant point he is making"

"He makes a good point."

"And he's right! ... I am delighted that Obama has taken Bill head on because too many Democrats want this election to be all about Bill"

"The point here is that Reagan started something bigger than any other president in recent history, which is what Obama is saying we need for OUR side, and he is completely right. He is completely right about the Clinton record (I'd say he was actually too positive about Clinton's record), and he makes a damn good distinction between the options on the table"

"Of course, Obama is right"

"that was a brilliant and not an accidental view"

"Brilliant.
Brilliant.
Brilliant.

Obama stands out like a tall horse in a field of cows."

"The Clinton's have met there match--and then some. "

"He is right."

"He's fucking with Hillary and it looks like he's enjoying himself. This is the most clever political tidbit I've seen in a long while."

"correct ... 'Obama Republicans.' I like the sound of that."

"wow this comment section is full of obama supporters"

It goes on and on like that for pages. True: there is substantial disagreement with what Obama said, too, but that's natural: Politically active people make commitments, donate time and money, volunteer, and become attached to their preferred candidates. Within the Democratic party ranks, there are Hillary partisans and Edwards partisans who are going to try to diffuse the impact of anything done by their opponents.

The only real point is that the characterization of TPM commenters is unfair and inaccurate.

Verso said...

His comments are noted. Polls will change substantially after Edwards departure in favour of Obama.

Good point. Let's hope that happens soon. I'm really hoping Obama can pull this thing out.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Your numbers are correct as far as they go, Revenant, but there is ample evidence that the party establishment is heavily pro-Clinton (as the numbers already publicly declared show) and little reason at this point to believe that those percentages will be substantially different once all cast their vote. True, Obama could secure all of John Edwards supporters, an unlikely prospect, or a near-crippling win over Clinton somewhere, and start a run for the exits, but that, too, is looking increasingly unlikely.

Almost half of the states voting on February 5 are expected to have substantial numbers (ranging from over 30% to 100% of the electorate) of absentee or mail-in votes. In many of those states in the past, up to half of those votes arrived almost a week before election day. In the absence of any dramatic news since the availability of those ballots (over a week ago for most), there is no reason to assume that the votes being cast are substantially different than current polling indicates. The Nevada caucus on the 19th could make a big difference, but the South Carolina primary is not until the 26th. It seems to me that everything continues to point to a very tight delegate race, where Clinton's significant advantage among the unelected party elite could prove pivotal.

John Stodder said...

I remember that Reagan harkened back to FDR and JFK much more often than Nixon, Eisenhower and Hoover. So this strikes me as a winning move.

Here's the difference that I'm not sure Obama can address. Reagan ran on an accumulation of ideas developed by fellow conservatives for 20 years prior to his election. The conservatives had a long list of important ideas, as well as some basic goals like prevailing in the Cold War and lowering taxes.

Where's the 20-year buildup of ideas for Obama to bring into the White House? What are his basic goals? What three things should we expect to see changed if he's elected? The tragic thing is, the Democrats don't seem much more intellectually coherent now than they were in 1988.

Obama might get elected because of his great skills, his bio, and the nation's hunger for leadership. But he'd have the chance to be a great president if he had the courage of some specific convictions. It's not too late, but it'll be difficult with a snarky candidate like HRC nipping at his heels.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

True, John. Reagan also had years upon years giving hundreds of chicken dinner speeches where he honed his craft before he even stepped into the political limelight. (The only other modern politician I can think of with similar experience is Bill Clinton, although almost all of his was in the minor-league political footlights. About the same thing, I guess.)

As to your point about the failure to incubate ideas over time, I agree that is a serious problem for the Democrats, who apparently spent their years in the congressional wildnerness trying nothing new and learning even less. Fortunately for them, the GOP is itself teetering over the abyss of both moral and intellectual bankruptcy.

The fact that there doesn't seem to be any there there in Obama's policy pronouncements, or at least in his presentation of them, makes me believe that he is not-ready-for-prime-time. I do think he has the potential and the ability to be a great president, but it seems to me he has chosen the road well-travelled towards the sufficient or the mediocre at almost every opportunity.

I wonder if it is the result of being a relative neophyte on the national stage.

(John, when I saw this: What are his basic goals? What three things should we expect to see changed if he's elected? I really did laugh, because my immediate response was to think of Gray Davis. Once he got elected, there was no point, was there?)

Cedarford said...

Smart comment by Obama. Most Americans are too young to have known JFK and his hagiography has given way on the Left to Saint Martin doing everything.

Nixon is remembered as a competent, but personally flawed and ruthless President. Who was thrown out by the then-powerful media in the pre-Internet days as revenge for persecuting people who sympathized with an enemy more lethal than Al Qaeda.

But people remember Reagan. Directly or through their parents as the guy that turned "malaise" around.

Very good simple meme. Obama is of the same good, master communicator quality of Reagam. Hillary knows her briefing sheets, but she is as Clintonian as Nixon was Nixonian.

rhhardin said...

He comes off as a guy on the take, issuing an empty statement to reporters.

He has sort of a script trajectory, with constant course corrections.

hdhouse said...

"He has sort of a script trajectory, with constant course corrections."

that means the he thinks about correction and refining. that means also that he doesn't decide something and when its not working, keep "staying the course". the world is full of leaders who head off in the wrong direction and keep going.

there is nothing wrong with change and adaptability. its natural selection..adapt or fail to survive..no magic there unless you believe in creationism.

Ann Althouse said...

Verso, I didn't mean to suggest that there are edits within the clip, only that this is a clip from a larger context. This was chosen because it's very interesting -- and for some, inflammatory -- but it may be mediated by the surrounding material or the question. Did he bring up Reagan or did the interviewer? Did he go on to say something bad about Reagan? Did he explain that he's speaking about changing the trajectory but that, of course, he means to change the trajectory to the left, while Reagan changed it to the right? We don't know? I looked for a transcript when I put up the post but didn't find one.

George said...

His first sentence is a bit disingenuous.

Surely he would not be running for leader of the Free World if he did not see himself as a singular individual.

Also, interesting to read the measured responses above, perhaps reflecting the conclusion of a hand-held "feelings thermometer" study published in today's Wall Street Journal:

"The bottom line is that there is simply no comparison between the current hatred the extreme left has for Messrs. Bush and Cheney, and the hostility the extreme right had for Messrs. Clinton and Gore in the late 1990s....

In the end, we have to face the fact that political intolerance in America -- ugly and unfortunate on either side of the political aisle -- is to be found more on the left than it is on the right."

Conservatives don't hate Obama, he just makes them feel sleepy.

Verso said...

Ann,
Thank you for the clarification; I see your point. I also was unable to find a transcript, however they did provide a link to the full interview, for anyone who is interested. I'll have to make a point to watch this later. I'm curious whether this comment by Obama was planned -- a deliberate dig at Bill and Hillary and a conscious attempt to appeal to the political center, or if it was simply a spontaneous expression of Obama's true feelings.

Simon said...

Mortimer Brezny said...
"Both Reagan and Obama restored their parties to greatness by heralding a radical realignment that remade the party in the image of its best principles."

I see no evidence that Obama is "heralding a radical realignment" rather than kowtowing to one in progress to get its vote.

rcocean said...
"Impressive. Why would the Democrats vote for Hillary! when they've got this guy?"

Because she's a credible President and he isn't.


Verso said...
"I didn't see any edits. It looked like an unedited and uninterupted sequence of tape, to me. Josh Marshall is actually very moderate."

I can't speak to the question of whether there were edits, but even if MArshall is "actually very moderate," isn't that just all the more reason for him to help Obama's effort to be portrayed as a moderate, the "liberal lion in centrist sheep's clothing"?

Doug said...

Because she's a credible President and he isn't.

So basically what you're saying is that she gives you a nice strong "presidenty" feeling, and Obama doesn't?

Interesting. And I thought we liberals were supposed to be the emotional, unthinking ones.

Verso said...

Simon,
I don't know if Marshall has any secret motives to help any given candidate, but your question did remind me of this recent post by Josh:

"DEAD EVEN

"As you know we keep pretty close tabs on polls here at TPM. And I can report that in our informal reader-email-based poll of readers who think we should come clean with our covert support of Obama and readers who think we should come clear with our secret support of Hillary, the numbers are running at about 50%-50%."

Verso said...

By the way, Simon, I have a question for you, if you would be so kind to offer your expertise.

How was it that the Bill of Rights came to limit state authority? As you know, for example, the first amendment says "Congress shall make no law...", which by my amateur reading doesn't restrict state governments. So, why can't Michigan establish a state religion, or limit free speech, etc?

cokaygne said...

I think the answer to Verso's question is Amendment XIV, but I'm not a lawyer.

Anyway, Obama continues to impress. This election seems to be hanging on the question of whether we need a visionary president or a COO. The Clintons are flubbing this question.

The GOP thought they'd have a cakewalk against Clinton, but Obama should give them nightmares. It is not that he's trying to say he is Reagan in the policy sense. There's too much of a conventional liberal record for that. It is that he seems to understand that what the country hungers for is neither a restoration nor a final victory for either side in the Boomers' civil war. On the GOP side his only credible opponent would be McCain, or maybe Giuliani if he could somehow find a way to convince voters that his administration of NYC was more than just 9/11 heroics.

Problem is that no candidate seems to have a stated vision. Obama's message is "trust me because I understand that we have to go beyond the sterile partisanship of the last 25 years." To his credit, McCain has a record of struggling against that partisanship, although not always in ways that I would agree with. Giuliani can claim to have transformed NYC before 9/11, but he can't seem to get out from behind 9/11.

Moose said...

I still can't tell if he's pandering or if he's getting some kind of messiah complex.

Obama is going to falter as President as Congress is not going to go along with his "Change" agenda.

I'd rather have an old hand in there who knows the ropes than Mr. Smith goes to the White House...

Simon said...

Verso said...
"By the way, Simon, I have a question for you, if you would be so kind to offer your expertise. How was it that the Bill of Rights came to limit state authority? As you know, for example, the first amendment says 'Congress shall make no law...', which by my amateur reading doesn't restrict state governments. So, why can't Michigan establish a state religion, or limit free speech, etc?"

I'm rushing out the door to a meeting, so I can't give this all the treatment it deserves, but let me quickly say you're thinking along exactly the right lines - you might want to read a case called Barron v. Baltimore, which tackled that very question in 1833 and noted that the bill of rights only binds the state governments. But then the fourteenth amendment was adopted, and it is held to "incorporate" at least most of the Bill of Rights. I have a post here and a comment here that briefly touch on the issue, but in essence there are two different ways you could approach it. My view - shared to some extent by Hugo Black, Akhil Amar, etc. - is that federal rights enforcable against the federal government are the priveleges and immunities of citizens of the United States, and so the Fourteenth Amendment made those rigths - all of them - applicable against state govenrments.

However, as I put it here
"this view, to put it mildly, has not prevailed; rather, the Court has incorporated its favored parts of the Bill of Rights (and anything else that has taken its fancy) by way of 'substantive due process,' the premise that anything the court deems to be 'implicit in "the concept of ordered liberty" ... [is] enforceable against the States through the Due Process Clause,' a catalog which at any given time may (or may not) include some, all or none of the protections of the bill of rights, depending on whether the Court is exercising its 'boundless power under "natural law" periodically to expand and contract' those protections...."

Middle Class Guy said...

Maxine Weiss said...
The Orientals are definitely Republican, but they aren't politically active at all. They have no influence---those Orientals. Very passive.


It depends on what one considers political activity.

The most important question regarding oriental political activity- do they vote? If they vote in any numbers, that is all the political activity required.

Simon said...

Doug said...
"So basically what you're saying is that she gives you a nice strong 'presidenty' feeling, and Obama doesn't? Interesting. And I thought we liberals were supposed to be the emotional, unthinking ones."

No, I'm saying that relative to Obama, she comes across as honest. I don't want to repeat myself, but she and Obama have more-or-less the same substantive beliefs, but the difference is that Clinton will tell us "we're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good," while Obama's pitch is, roughly-speaking, "you know, if you think about it, we're all one nation, so really you're just taking something of yours and giving it to yourself. By the way, our disagreements don't matter, because I'm going to make you all feel good about being one nation while doing whatever I like anyway." I'm not saying that Clinton's honest - I have no intention of voting for her - I'm saying that relative to Obama she feels honest and trustworthy. You stick with the Doctor who tells you "this is going to hurt," not the one who lies to you and says "this'll only sting a little."

Doug said...

while Obama's pitch is, roughly-speaking, "you know, if you think about it, we're all one nation, so really you're just taking something of yours and giving it to yourself. By the way, our disagreements don't matter, because I'm going to make you all feel good about being one nation while doing whatever I like anyway."

That's an awfully casual interpretation coming from someone who was very recently laying into other commenters for putting words into Hillary's mouth.

Look, it's obvious I like Obama and you don't, and we can just agree to disagree on that. I'm not going to spend a lot of time or energy trying to change your mind. But it seems like someone as bright as yourself should be able to attack Obama using stuff he's actually said and done, rather than quotes and interpretations you pulled out of thin air.

Verso said...

Thank you, Simon. That's very helpful.

Bruce Hayden said...

So,what happens if Obama wins a majority of the elected delegates, but then loses the nomination due to the Super Delegates beholden to the Clinton machine?

The Super Delegates are a holdover from Democratic machine days, and, indeed, their existence can be seen as just that, retaining the machine(s).

But the problem arises when they swing the nomination to the machine candidate. I expect that this may be even more aggravating in this case, due to the race angle. If Obama manages to win a majority of the elected delegates, I would suspect that many of the African-Americans voting for him would feel that the nomination of the first Black man for president was stolen from them by the Democratic Party machine. And that is unlikely to engender the sort of Black voting levels that have helped their party so much through the last couple elections.

It should be interesting.

Too many jims said...

You stick with the Doctor who tells you "this is going to hurt," not the one who lies to you and says "this'll only sting a little."

Republican vision of honesty: We are going to exercise fiscal discipline and cut federal spending by creating new federal spending programs and implementing the largst new entitlement spending in a generation. We'll tell you the cost of this new spending is not much but after the bill is passed and signed we'll let you know that, yeah, we do actually have to pay for it and it is a whopping bill. But don't worry you'll get your tax cuts. Because when you really think about it whatever your kids and grandkids might have is really yours. So we will mortgage their future and we will mortgage it, largely, to the one country that currently poses a real existential ecomonic, political and military risk to this country.

mark said...

Another possibility for invoking Reagan is that Obama is hedging his bets with an eye toward a potential VP role on the McCain ticket. National unity government and all that.. Or this too European a notion to have a real chance?

Simon said...

Blogger Verso said...
"Thank you, Simon. That's very helpful."

My pleasure. :) It very briefly sketches a dim outline of a really, really big, fascinating and important question, but the bottom line is that at time of writing, prevailing jurisprudence holds that the Fourteenth Amendment "incorporates" most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights against the states, but not all of them. Now, people like myself and Hugo Black would say that the court's gotten it wrong: by using substantive due process to selectively incorporate the bill of rights, the court has excluded rights that the Fourteenth Amendment does (under my conception of the priveleges or immunities clause, which the court rejected in the Slaughterhouse Cases) protect from state incursion, and created rights that it doesn't. For example, the court has not incorporated the Seventh Amendment's guarantee of a jury trial in civil matters; a judge following the prevailing view of incorporation would, one supposes, would consider whether the right to a jury trial in civil matters is so "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty" as to trigger a substantive due process requirement that states must provide jury trials (perhaps someone who actually buys this theory could clarify this point), whereas I would argue that the right to a jury trial in civil proceedings is a privilege of citizens of the United States in federal courts, ergo by operation of the Fourteenth Amendment it is a privilege that must be accorded citizens of the United States in state courts.

Of course, this would require me to overrule a lot of precedent and unsettle an awful lot of doctrine, so you really look for ways to avoid it (there's an exhaustive catalog of get-out clauses in Brandeis' Ashwander concurrence and Breyer's Leegin dissent is also useful for thinking about stare decisis). Unlike Justice Thomas and Judge Bork, the Scalian school of jurisprudence counsels adherence to stare decisis, but not rigidly so. So, by comparison, there's a reasonably good argument that as an original matter, the establishment clause is unincorporable, but to overrule a century of jurisprudence that has assumed otherwise, as Thomas has urged in a few cases now (without Scalia in tow), rather than treating it as water over the dam, seems a radical and unsettling step. I'm a conservative, not a radical, so I find the prospect of upsetting a conlaw applecart quite unappealing, but I don't see any way to reconstruct a principled jurisprudence that leaves the substantive due process approach to incorporation intact, I think on balance it does more harm than good, so I think that in the end, if push came to shove, I'd have to take go with the Admiral Farrigut approach.

This is something I could talk about for hours... LOL

Simon said...

Jim, you notice that mostly every Republican outside of Congress condemned them for those choices?

Mark, McCain's ruled out asking Lieberman to be his veep, so one assumes Obama is even less likely. I don't think a "national unity government" is a viable concept for the same reason that I find Obama so grating: because it misunderstands the reason why society is divided. Polarization exists because people really disagree on subjects that are really important to them and on which it's perceived that there has to be government policy. One can conceive of policy positions that really are a genuine compromise. On abortion, a valid compromise position would be to simply remove the federal government entirely from the picture: overrule Roe and let the states sort it out. But that compromise satisfies neither side for reasons that need not detain us. Likewise, on stem cell research: a valid compromise position might be that the federal government recognizes both the legitimate ethical concerns of opponents of embryonic stem cell research and the medical potential of stem cell research generally, and therefore, the federal government will robustly fund non-embyonic research, but on the other hand, embryonic research will be legal except where individual states choose to ban it. But that, too, won't be acceptable to many. And you can go right down the list of divisive topics. Even on subjects that are non-divisive where people agree that there's a problem, such as healthcare, people legitimately have different views about what is the correct response. It is not true, as Buchanan & Tullock explained, that forming a policy response is involves finding the "truth," that is, "some rationalist absolute which remains to be discovered through reason or revelation, and which, once discovered, will attract all men to its support." In other words, in the ordinary course of events, the entire concept of a "national unity government" requires one to disregard the central lesson of public choice theory: that there isn't a single, platonic "right" solution, and people really disagree as to what issues are problems and how they ought to be resolved.

hdhouse said...

trajectory hmmmm downward spiral? economic plunge? seems a good descriptor.

Too many jims said...

Jim, you notice that mostly every Republican outside of Congress condemned them for those choices?

So the elected Republicans are the problem. If it wasn't for the Republicans that get elected the party would actually stand for something.

Even among the current repulican field (wit the possible exception of Paul) who has put any flesh on the bones that is the "limited government". Has one of them said they would roll back NCLB, Medicare Part D or ethanol subsidies?

Jennifer said...

I saw a Valentine's Day card today at Target that had a picture of Obama on the front and said "What are you doing for Valentine's Day?" and then on the inside it said "Sex, chocolate and Barack n' Roll" or something... Maybe it didn't say chocolate...? I'm pretty sure it didn't say drugs. Anyhow, threw me for a loop.

Doyle said...

"Entrepreneurship" is a good word that Democrats should say more often.

Shoot me in the face.

Doyle said...

Also, are you so bonkers that you really think TPM "obviously" wants to "hurt" Obama? Who are they trying to help, then. Clinton? Edwards? Romney?

Blake said...

TMJ--

The Reps are very much their own worst enemy. As are the Dems. (As are we all.) But specifically in the case of the Reps, they said they had certain principles, and then those principles fell pretty fast against the backdrop of "Well, wait, now WE'RE in charge...why would we want to limit OUR power?"

The only guy running on what we're NOT going to do for you is Thompson, and I don't know if you can get elected that way. He talked about ending some of the subsidies in Iowa and I suppose next he'll be talking about cutting back Social Security in Florida.

Meanwhile, Maxine is right, in the sense that Asians, by-and-large, do not vote. However, she's wrong in that Latinos also, by-and-large, do not vote.

There are exceptions, GOTV type things that get a bunch of these groups to register. And, of course, the hispanics had a party for a while here (La Raza) and tend to have more vocal spokespeople.

But in my years of tracking them, hispanics and asians voted way less frequently than white and black voters.

mark said...

In other words, in the ordinary course of events, the entire concept of a "national unity government" requires one to disregard the central lesson of public choice theory: that there isn't a single, platonic "right" solution, and people really disagree as to what issues are problems and how they ought to be resolved.

Simon, that's fine when people stand on principles. McCain's history of compromises in the Senate suggests he doesn't, except of course when it came to Iraq. He might feel strongly enough on Iraq and security issues that he'd be willing to give up on many other fronts and do anything to be elected. Besides, in pure electability calculus, Obama on the ticket would make McCain a lot more electable in the national elections than Lieberman ever could. But could we stand the fun?

I suppose the other option is that he's trying to peel away enough independents and liberal Republicans to improve Hillary's chances in the general. But there's no way she'd pick him for VP, she can't stand men who overshadow her.

I just can't see any other reason for him to talk about Reagan. If it came to that, he could've compared Nixon and Clintons in some way without bringing in the Gipper, which only hurts him with a Democratic base in a way that's unikely to be fully compensated by independents and liberal Republicans. Though maybe he thinks he can get enough votes there to make the difference - his refusal to go all the way on health insurance mandates is partly a play for those "right-of-Stalin" voting blocks.

Ralph said...

embryonic research will be legal except where individual states choose to ban it.
I thought this was already true. Didn't California vote for $2 billion of state-funded research?

Revenant said...

I thought this was already true.

It is -- and, as Simon noted, it doesn't make people happy. The research supporters endlessly grouse that the federal government isn't pouring money into embryonic stem cell research (and blame Bush for causing countless avoidable deaths), while research opponents remain angry that the research is allowed at the state level.

To simply Simon's point a little -- when a third of the people demand X, and another third hate X, compromising on "sort of X, sort of not X" just results in two-third of the people being unhappy.

Revenant said...

Even among the current repulican field (wit the possible exception of Paul) who has put any flesh on the bones that is the "limited government".

Fred Thompson.

"Christ didn’t tell us to go to the government and pass a bill to get some of these social problems dealt with. He told us to do it."