February 6, 2008

Just as Hillary reveals that she's loaned her campaign $5,000,000 of her own money...

Obama lets it slip that he's raised $4,252,184 in the last day. And here they are facing the coming weeks needing to fight for every delegate all over the country.

ADDED: But the money is flowing into the Clinton campaign too.

85 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

Althouse,

You seem somewhat smitten with Obama. I understand that "Change" and lofty talk about solving this and solving that including world hunger and AIDS can be quite exciting, however;

Doesn't your BS meter at least wiggle when Obama has never explained how he will accomplish any of that change or even pay for it?

Ann Althouse said...

"Doesn't your BS meter at least wiggle when Obama has never explained how he will accomplish any of that change or even pay for it?"

1. They all BS. At least he does it well.

2. I consider it a plus that he can't by his own sayso put all these plans in place.

3. He might heal some wounds.

The Drill SGT said...

Unfortunately, the President can do lots of things on his own sayso, among those things Obama has promised include:

- Unilateral withdrawal from Iraq
- Bomb Pakistan
- Summit with Muslim Leaders to understand their grievances

Henry said...

I'm encouraged to like Obama by Paul Krugman grousing that the man isn't radical enough. Not like Hillary, you know.

If you consider that what makes a president is how they adapt to unexpected circumstances, Obama's evidence of character matters more than legislative fantasies, no matter how detailed.

Henry said...

Drill Sgt. - The Iraq promise is what will keep me from voting for Obama, even though he seems more personable and engaging than any other primary candidate left in the running.

Eli Blake said...

Well, Henry

It's the Iraq thing that will keep me from voting for McCain, Romney or Huckabee. So there you go. The reasons that were ever stated for being in Iraq:

1. WMD. There are none.
2. To get Saddam. He's been got.
3. To bring Democracy. OK, they had elections, and the pro-Iranian guys won, and the rest of the country hates it so they have gridlock in their parliament, just like we have. Done.
4. To fight terrorists (though there were practically none there when we went in): Did it ever occur to you that the only terrorists that al-Qaeda sends into Iraq are those they accept, or for that matter, even expect or maybe even plan to lose? That way they don't have to worry about us doing much about them where they don't want to lose. And in the meanwhile they can recruit twice as many around the middle east by using our continued presence in Iraq to 'prove' their contention that the U.S. plans to occupy muslim lands. Besides, haven't we heard over the past year about how the surge has practically destroyed them? So why not declare victory now when we can legitimately do so?
5. Oil. So that's why the price has almost quadrupled since Bush took office? We will save more oil when the CAFE standards go up than we'd have ever gotten from Iraq anyway.
6. So those who died won't have done so in 'vain.' What? Not only are we pouring good money (about a trillion dollars so far) after wasted money, but you also support pouring good soldier's lives after those Bush callously wasted with a harebrained war?

Any other reasons why you think we should stay in Iraq?

Drill Sgt.

You neglect to mention that Obama only said he'd bomb Pakistan if there were reliable intel about the specifics of where bin Laden is. You seem to forget that it was bin Laden who we were originally trying to get, then got sidetracked (dare I say, sidelined) by the stupid and useless adventure in Iraq.

Simon said...

Ann said...
"He might heal some wounds."

This is a fairly commonplace assertion by Obama supporters, yet one that honestly baffles me, could you expand on why you particularly think this?

Simon said...

The wording of my comment immediately above way a little tortured because I couldn't find a good way to phrase the point that either didn't belittle and disrespect others who've made it, or that didn't seem obsequious. But to put much too fine a point on it, there aren't many who I respect who've made that point, and none that are in the upper ranks of people I respect so much and really hesitate to disagree with lightly have. So I'm really surprised to see that observation by you, here, and wondered if you could expand on it. I don't mean it to be "explain yourself," just as a request to expand on what's turning the wheels.

Elliott A said...

I don't see how meeting with someone legitimizes their behavior. An in person meeting might help the enemy understand the President's resolve. Despite the anti-Reagan folks comments to the contrary, his asking Gorby, to his face, "Let me tell you why we HATE you!" is what Gorby says was the key to believing Reagan was brutally honest and was trustworthy. Obama might get his opponent to understand his position. However, the Iraq withdrawal thing is disastrous in the extreme. I won't be a suicide voter if Obama is the candidate.

Verso said...

Doesn't your BS meter at least wiggle when Obama has never explained how he will accomplish any of that change or even pay for it?

This is basically a myth. He's got more detailed plans that you could probably stand on his web site. I think the reason for your impression is (1) it's the chosen media narrative, and (2) he doesn't bog down his speeches with a lot of detailed wonk-speak. That's part of the reason his speechs are more inspirational and effective.

Verso said...

Drill SGT said: things Obama has promised include:

- Unilateral withdrawal from Iraq
- Bomb Pakistan
- Summit with Muslim Leaders to understand their grievances


Bomb Pakistan? You're referring to his statement that if he had a bead on Osama bin Laden, he'd take him out, right? Would you expect the president to do otherwise? Are you a Republican who is soft on terrorism? Soft on Osama bin Laden?

Where did he call for a "summit with Muslim leaders to understand their grievances"?

The Drill SGT said...

Verso,

I did read the plan. got it on my desktop now. It seems full of pablum to me. for example:

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Obama will make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a key diplomatic priority. He will make a sustained push – working with Israelis and Palestinians – to achieve the goal of two states, a Jewish state in Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security.


unlike Carter or Bush 41 or Clinton, or Bush 43?

that isn't a plan, that's a wish for peace.

Verso said...

Simon asked, could you expand on why you particularly think this

I obviously cannot expand on why Ann particularly thinks this, but doesn't it seem reasonable that a black president could help to heal a lot of the racial division in America? I think an Obama presidency would be inspirational and motivating to black Americans. I think the symbolism of a black president would be worth 10 Affirmative Action programs and would give a lot of blacks the feeling that they really are invested in this country. It could finally help to end the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow which have been the defining characteristics of the American experience since the first slaves were brought to this continent in the early 17th century.

Verso said...

Drill SGT: Are you a Bush supporter? Did you vote for him twice?

If so, why are you asking how Obama is going to pay his proposals? How could any Bush supporter care about fiscal responsibility? Furthermore, Obama has said he'd let Bush's irresponsible tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy lapse, which is more fiscal responsibility than we've seen in 8 years of Republican misrule, and more fiscal responsibility than any Republican candidate is promising. Except McCain, they all subscribe to the magical theory that tax cuts lead to increased revenue.

Simon said...

Verso: that's an interesting way to look at it - but I'm not sure that the issues that divide America today have a great deal to do with race, as such. I think the things that divide us are questions of morality, of class, of policy and politics.

Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but I do rather like the idea of screwing that tiny racist faction; I tend to think that for every consensual interracial coupling God kills a klansman, and for that reason I heartily encourage those who are given to promiscuity to be biracially promiscuous. But it seems to me that race is no longer a significant enough dividing factor in this country for Obama to "heal some wounds" (as Ann put it) that are really relevant. Of course, I should be clear that I ask the question because I ant to know what she thinks not with any hope of talking her out of it or intention to try.

Pogo said...

doesn't it seem reasonable that a black president could help to heal a lot of the racial division in America?

Not per se.
The cultural divide is large, the interests entrenched, the gain from continued balkanization too great for one man to unify.

Unless.

Unless he should abandon discrimination by race and promote discrimination by merit.

I just don't see that happening in the bland phrasings from Mr. Obama.

MadisonMan said...

I think he could heal wounds, or wound heals, because he's not a Clinton or a Bush. Neither is the likely Republican Nominee. But this commentary thread is about the Democratic nominee.

And I'm done shoveling for the night. Hooray!

Ann Althouse said...

Plenty of people who voted for Bush are dismayed at his economics. You vote for the better person, and you can't get everything you want.

I think Obama presents a special opportunity to draw large numbers of disaffected or apathetic citizens into shared goals. I must say I thought Reagan's "Morning in America" was embarrassingly empty and naive at the time, but I'll bet many of you who think Obama's got nothing were impressed by that back then.

Pogo, I think Obama is making a very substantial step away from traditional racial politics. He has great potential for making many Americans think differently about race.

As for how he would deal with national security and economics, I get the sense that despite his "most liberal" rating, he is a moderate and practical man who thinks before he makes his choices and who is not in the grip of ideology.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"And I'm done shoveling for the night. Hooray!"

Y'all have snow?

Simon said...

Ann said...
"You vote for the better person...."

That's certainly true, although cynics would perhaps invert it and say the lesser evil rather than the better person.

"I think Obama presents a special opportunity to draw large numbers of disaffected or apathetic citizens into shared goals."

Goals such as...?

"I must say I thought Reagan's "Morning in America" was embarrassingly empty and naive at the time, but I'll bet many of you who think Obama's got nothing were impressed by that back then."

I was four.

Ann Althouse said...

The "shared goals" I'm thinking of have to do with fostering a good and productive and society — in which children are well-educated and people work diligently, support families, and refrain from committing crimes and doing other destructive things. It's not complicated.

Simon said...

It's not complicated to state, perhaps, but how it's achieved is quite another matter!

Ann Althouse said...

So I take it you've accepted the answer to the question "Goals such as...?"

I think those goals are things that are achieved by inspiring people and making them feel motivated and hopeful about trying to contribute to society in a positive way.

Verso said...

It's not complicated to state, perhaps, but how it's achieved is quite another matter!

True. Admittedly a lot of this is kind of nebulous. It's almost a spiritual thing, rather than a detailed policy thing.

I think the idea is that people who feel on the margins of society, who feel like they aren't included in the American Dream and have little or no hope, would suddenly feel differently; they would feel included instead of excluded. People who have never felt represented would feel like finally they were being represented.

I read your comments above about the role of race in 2008, and you may be right that it is no longer the major issue it once was (though I would disagree). But even if racism itself is no longer a problem, there is obviously a crisis in the black community, for whatever set of reasons. I think an Obama presidency could go a long way towards ending that crisis.

Maybe it's just a pipe dream. But I'd rather pursue an optimistic pipe dream than policies based on raw hate (anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-many others), Social Darwinism, or ever expanding warfare. To me, it's almost a contest between the forces of Light and Dark.

Verso said...

Y'all have snow?

Almost a foot here in Michigan! I was out driving around in it this afternoon and it was a lot of fun, if not completely dangerous. I went to pick up some produce and when I left the store, I cleared off my windows only to have them completely covered within the few seconds it took me to get into my car. Had to roll down all four windows just to navigate out of the parking lot! :)

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"So I take it you've accepted the answer to the question 'Goals such as...?'"

As a matter of policy, I don't disagree with anything Ann Althouse says. :p

"I think those goals are things that are achieved by inspiring people and making them feel motivated and hopeful about trying to contribute to society in a positive way."

Sure. But that's at a very, very high level of abstraction - and at that level of abstraction, no one disagrees. The difficulty is that the level of abstraction at which everyone disagrees isn't sufficiently specific to decide any meaningful policy question. So, for example, there isn't a single sane person in this country - let alone those who are set in opposition to Obama in elections this year, Hillary or McCain - who disagree that children should be well-educated. The divisive question isn't whether children ought to be well-educated, it's what "well-educated" means and how that's achieved. That's where people are divided - isn't it? For example, are school vouchers the way to improve our childrens' education? It's certainly the way to improve some individual chilren's education, but then what do you do with the schools that vouchers drain money from, that threaten to trap poor students in a cycle of poverty? And is that any of the federal government's business in the first place? Those are the sort of questions that are really useful and interesting, but they aren't answered merely by the exhortation that we have a "shared goal[]" that children should be "well-educated" as a prerequisite to "fostering a good and productive and society."

Simon said...

Verso, I thought you were in Madison for some reason; drop me an email sometime this month, I have to be in Ann Arbor for the FedSoc student symposium next month, if I'm driving near you I'll buy you a coffee. :)

Maxine Weiss said...

"Fashion is something that is acquired by looking at a lot of different fashions".

"Your eye is automatically drawn to the thing you like best".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5cS07X06VY

Lawgiver said...

He has great potential for making many Americans think differently about race.

Would you say the same thing if Collin Powell was running for president? Does he have some secret super power that other black politicians don't have? Seems a bit naive to me.

Mitch said...

When we think about healing wounds, we need to think bigger than just US [U.S.].

Don't forget that a crucial argument against the West by Osama et al is its injustice – against the poor, against minorities and against non-Christians. Remember that one of the key pillars of the Islamist agenda is discrediting democracy; that a lot is stacked against the ordinary man. Remember that the voter problems experienced in Ohio and other states in the '04 elections got a lot of press outside of this country as proof that the US is no better than any other country. Combine that with the usual suspects [a speck in Cuba comes to mind] and we have lost a lot of moral high ground that both liberals and conservatives have used and NEED to argue the case for liberation, empowerment and democracy throughout the world.

For Obama - a biracial man who has been exposed to many modes of thought, including Christian, Muslim, Asian, African, European, Midwestern, American – can rise up and be POTUS is a unmistakable argument that the system does work, however flawed that it is. Obama's election CHANGES the conversation about the US and how our system WORKS. I wonder if Osama's tone will change if Obama is elected.

Personally, I don't mind Hilary and electing a woman as POTUS would be an amazing achievement. But Hilary and Angela Merkel are pretty similar to me – strong capable women that prove that women can be as dull as men. I personally believe that electing Hilary will not significantly change our relationship with the rest of the world as would an Obama victory.

I would also like to point out that Bush/Cheney had some pretty scary POV's regarding the balance of power in this country, with the power weighted very heavily in favor of the president. I fear that Hilary will use that additional power in favor of liberal ideas but not work to equalize that balance. I'm hoping that Obama, Constitutional specialist that he is, will right that very obvious and dangerous wrong.

So when I hear 'heal wounds,' even though I am the son of Afro-Caribbean immigrants, I'm not thinking just black and white in this country, as powerful as that is. I strongly believe that Obama is what this country needs to change our perception in our interconnected world. Our lives in the West depend on it. Hilary posing as Bush Lite will only get us so far.

Mortimer Brezny said...

What a friendly, deliberative thread.

I tend to think that for every consensual interracial coupling God kills a klansman, and for that reason I heartily encourage those who are given to promiscuity to be biracially promiscuous.

--- Simon Dodd, assistant professor at a liberal arts college

I suppose the proper word isn't "shame," but Hillary Clinton is certainly lacking in something if she's gotten to the point at which her inevitable campaign that would necessarily blow out Obama by Super Tuesday has to inject her personal fortune into it to stay afloat -- Romney-style -- and her staffers are going without pay -- Guiliani-style, while the inexperienced hopemonger is winning more states and more delegates and raising more cash, but she refuses to consider, you know, dropping out. She's literally willing to have Michigan and Florida seated after their delegates were stripped and have those delgates as her margin of victory at a brokered convention rather than pay attention to the motto that cheaters never win and winners never cheat. Whatever that something is that she lacks, it doesn't bode well for the country if she becomes President.

Blake said...

Althouse is a Confucianist.

B said...

1. They all BS. At least he does it well.

Oh that's a GREAT standard to elect someone to the highest office in the land for four years. No thanks.

2. I consider it a plus that he can't by his own sayso put all these plans in place.

And that's different from any other candidate because . . .


3. He might heal some wounds.

Not enough, sweetheart, not enough. And not the kind you think.

At the end of the speeches and celebrations, it all boils down to what he practices. With Barack Hussein Obama it's the same old tired failed liberal policies, wrapped with a shiny new ribbon.

Ralph said...

Almost a foot here in Michigan
Michigan isn't prosperous enough to be swamped with Mexicans as some parts of the country have been. We're not completely anti-immmigrant, but it's been too much too fast the last 15 years, and few signs of assimilation. Why low income workers and union members support open borders is beyond me.

At least "Morning in America" had nearly four years of actual "Change" behind it. Unfortunately, it led to drift in the second term. So Bush ran on a real second term agenda that went nowhere.

Ralph said...

I should say private-sector union members. I know why the government unions like it.

rhhardin said...

I suppose if you loan your campaign $5M, it gets repaid later. It's not as if campaign donations become their personal money, unless they're caught.

Ralph said...

I'm sure Hillary will charge her campaign 1000% interest, after all, we know from the 90's that the Clintons aren't really capable of personal avarice.

Michael_H said...

The spaces on the left and right sides of this post contain the list of Obama's accomplishments during his tenure as senator from Illinois.

No candidate, Dem or Rep, has less experience than Obama. He is Chauncey Garndener; a blank slate onto which moonbats of all persuasions can write their hopes.

Elliott A said...

The blessing of the blank slate is that the moonbats climb aboard along with everyone else. Maybe on the topics we all agree need to be addressed, but differ on the how, Obama could use the popular support to finally get something going. Energy, health care, social security, etc. On subjects such as Iraq, we'll live with the consequences. If his plan there is a disaster, the republicans will retake the congress in 2010. At least sustantive plans on the domestic front will be in motion. If we could build an atom bomb in 4 years or put a man on the moon in 9, we can get off foreign oil in 10 and at the same time own the technologies which will make us teh transportation leader of the world again. We can get some plan to stop the lunacy of our health care system (I am part of it so I know firsthand it is lunacy).

Of course, I still couldn't vote for him because he is too liberal and I wouldn't like the USSC justices he would appoint. Still, he may be uniquely suited to accomplishment.

George said...

Who says that Obama's donation numbers are accurate?

What's the source? The Obama campaign?

Hah.

It's all about manipulating expectations and perceptions. He's pretty good at it, and that's no fairy tale.

Pogo said...

Obama could use the popular support to finally get something going. Energy, health care, social security, etc.

This is precisley the problem, believing fervently that government is the solution to intractable problems.

More, government's prior 'solutions' on all 3 matters got us into this mess -or exacerbated it- in the first place. It's like rehiring the same contractor who built the leaky basement to fix it.

What makes you think that, despite all evidence to the contrary, government has the slightest goddamned idea what to do that won't make things even worse than they already are?

Social Security is a growing debacle precisely because the US Government designed it. If Obama represents more governmental solutions, the economic downfall of America is surely at hand.

ricpic said...

Obama won't have to summit with Muslim leaders to understand their grievances, he is a Muslim leader.

Elliott A said...

Pogo- Unfortunately, mega projects cannot be undertaken by individuals. The government has the unique ability to link thousands of researchers into a project by giving them money. The government has the ability to get all parties in the health care mess to try to right the sinking ship. I don't want the government fixing anything, just facilitating the process and providing money where necessary. The president has the ability (the right president) of rallying the masses to assist in the effort.

In reality, the government has no energy plan, health care plan or social security plan. That is the crux of the mess. They push something down a hill and then let it roll uncontrollably and also prevent anyone else from doing anything. (e.g. drill in ANWAR)

MadisonMan said...

At least those two sources of money are coming to Wisconsin to spend it. Maybe they'll spend so much that the taxes gathered will solve the looming budget shortfall here in the Badger State.

Prof Althouse, are you sorry you're missing the snowiest winter season on record here in Madison?

Middle Class Guy said...

Her staff is also going unpaid for a month. The last person to borrow money and not pay his staff was Rudy. Right before he dropped out.

fstopfitzgerald said...

Gail Collins nails the Republicans in the Times today.

Meanwhile, the Republican far right has fallen into a remarkable snit over John McCain’s march to the nomination. Rush Limbaugh is virtually gnawing his own ankle in rage. By co-authoring legislation with Democrats, Limbaugh ranted, McCain was working with “threats to the American way of life as we’ve always known it.” James Dobson says he won’t vote if McCain is the nominee because of infractions ranging from failure to back a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to “foul and obscene language.” Ann Coulter claims she’d support Clinton “because she’s more conservative than he is.”

Once again, the reason for everything terrible about American politics for the last 20 years becomes clear. These people are nuts.


In the immortal words of Michael Kinsley --

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Pogo said...

mega projects cannot be undertaken by individuals.

False. The entire market for computers was done by individuals. Google was started by individuals. Entire cities were formed by individuals without previously being 'planned'.

Lack of central government planning is not the same thing as chaos. Instead, spontaneous cooperation abounds in the capitalist system, leading to the best method for distribution of scarce resources. there is simply no evidence that the governemnt has any greater success at saving for old age or providing health care unless you consider mediocrity a success

Mediocre results and progressive economic decline, are the hallmark and history of goverment planning.See The Soviet Famine, The US Great Depression, the Johnson Welfare subsidies, see Urban Renewal, see NYC Rent Control, see The Chinese Cultural Revolution, see the Cuban Economy, see the Venezualan economy, see the US Ethanol effects on food prices, etc., etc.

That is, history teaches that, aside from defence, some infrastructure, property protection, and public safety, the majority of mega-projects cannot and should not be undertaken by governments. If the issue is even raised of a mega-project, one should immediately ask "Your premise is mistaken; what makes you think a mega project is a solution, much less the solution?"

Justin said...

Simon said ...

Sure. But that's at a very, very high level of abstraction - and at that level of abstraction, no one disagrees. ... So, for example, there isn't a single sane person in this country ... who disagree that children should be well-educated.

Maybe Obama can heal some wounds by reminding us that, in the end, we do have a shared goal. So often politics devolves into "My side is right and your side is evil." For example: "My side wants the country to be safe and secure, and your side wants to [give in to the terrorists / go to war with anyone who looks at you funny]." Neither side seems willing to admit that the other side wants the same thing, they just have different ideas about how to do it.

By framing the issue at a sufficiently high level of abstraction that everyone agrees, we can start with common ground. When was the last time any policy conversation started with common ground?

In the end, we all want the same things: freedom, security, prosperity. If we can just remember that our political opponents want those same things too, then maybe we can start discussing how to achieve these goals instead of throwing mud.

Roger said...

With respect to Senator Clinton dipping into her cattle futures pot, can any lawyer/commenter tell me if it would be legal for the Clinton Foundation to lend the Hillary's campaign money? Under what IRS code does a foundation fall? I don't think they are 527s or 501C3s, but really dont know.
I do know Bill has been raking in foundation donations from his humanitarian work in Kazakhstan.

Henry said...

Eli - I realize the divide on Iraq.

My focus is on the future.

We are never not going to be involved in the middle east.

At the moment we are heavily commited to supporting a country that is fairly wrecked, but has an opportunity to move forward as a midly-sectarian, somewhat free counterweight to the radically repressive regimes that surround it.

If we walk away, we lose that opportunity.

If you don't think that opportunity is worth fighting for, think forward to the next middle east crisis. There will be another some day, no matter what we do. When that happens, I want us already to be present, in a stable Iraq, than lining up, once again, with the lesser evil of the day.

Zeb Quinn said...

I must say I thought Reagan's "Morning in America" was embarrassingly empty and naive at the time

But now you're coyly admitting how wrong you were?

Middle Class Guy said...

One of the articles relating to the loan estimated the Clinton fortune at 40-50 million dollars- mostly from Bill's speaking fees and consulting work.

There are probably laws that prohibit charitible foundations from contributing heavily to political campaigns. There tax status could be compromised.

fstopfitzgerald said...

Pogo said:

there is simply no evidence that the governemnt has any greater success at saving for old age or providing health care unless you consider mediocrity a success

Right. Social Security -- which essentially ended povery among the
elderly forever -- is an utter failure.

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
-- Dwight Eisenhower, 1954

Ike should have only lived to see you idiots go down in flames in November.

Fen said...

Any other reasons why you think we should stay in Iraq?

Yes. Reforming the Middle East is the only long term plan on the table for marginalizing radical Islam. Give young arab males an alternative to jihad. Consider the influence West Berlin had on the Warsaw Pact and the fall of the Soviet Union.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Maybe Obama can heal some wounds by reminding us that, in the end, we do have a shared goal.

I doubt Obama's mystical powers are great enough to convinve the Left that we have shared goals.

And electing a black man to "heal" racial differences is a crock. The black community's wounds are self-inflicted, racism is just an excuse trotted out to mask their shame. Obama can't heal that, only feed into it.

His foreign policy team is my concern. We're going to see the same diplomatic pattern: useless sanctions instead of war, devolving into harsh words instead of sanctions once war is off the table, devolving into endless talks instead of harsh words once sanctions are taken off the table. Obama will spend 4 years making us feel "better" about ourselves and leave the next President with a nuclear armed theocracy as our enemy.

Doug said...

No candidate, Dem or Rep, has less experience than Obama.

Pooh-pooh this if you want, but Obama was a state legislator for eight years and has been a U.S. senator for another four; Mitt Romney's governmental experience amounts to all of four years as Massachusetts governor.

Doug said...

Fen:

And electing a black man to "heal" racial differences is a crock. The black community's wounds are self-inflicted, racism is just an excuse trotted out to mask their shame.

So sayeth the fellow who was on here not long ago talking about how white men dating black women was a sure-fire way to get shot in the face. Suffice to say your position on race relations in this country carries about as much cred as Dick Cheney's knowledge of gun safety.

Roger said...

" Social Security -- which essentially ended povery among the
elderly forever...." Well, forever may be a bit overstated; more accurately "or until the pot of benefits run dry because there arent enough younger wage earners to make up the difference."

Although Ike's point is probably valid as President Bush found out when he tried to do something with social security. Entitlement programs are going to be difficult to change or reform until the crises loom a whole lot closer than they do now. I doubt if any of the current crop of candidates could effect reform of entitlement programs.

Simon said...

Justin said...
"By framing the issue at a sufficiently high level of abstraction that everyone agrees, we can start with common ground. When was the last time any policy conversation started with common ground?"

Sure, but then to have any coherency you have to get into nuts and bolts and the devil's in the details. Richard Posner's criticized legal writing that dwells on rote repetition of unquestioned and undisputed principles, and you're almost suggesting the opposite tack: put in more filler at the front. And presumably you think that'd be worthwhile because it'd dampen the tone of disagreement when we get down to the nuts and bolts, but it won't. If I debate Kim Gandy and say "Roe ought to be overruled; abortion ought to be always illegal in all circumstances at all times except to save the life of the mother," merely prefacing that position with the statement that Kim and I both believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness doesn't change the fact that we really disagree and have positions that cannot be reconciled. One side or the other is going to be winning at any given time until one side gives up. There will not be a Pax Roeana; we will not find a compromise that satisfies both pro-lifers and pro-choicers; and starting from an accurate but irrelevant point of agreement won't change that.

Compare the way that Obama talks about change with the way Newt talks about change. Now, I'd say that Newt uses change to open a conversation while Obama uses it as a punchline, but even if you wouldn't agree with that, you'd have to agree that they have very different kinds of change in mind. "Change" isn't a useful place to start; it's too abstract, it's not tethered to reality, and it's really only useful to get someone's attention. But then - unless you want to look alarmingly vapid - you've got to talk about what you think's broken, why you think it's broken, how we got to this point, whether it matters that it's broken, what the consequences of fixing it are, how you'd fix it, and why your solution is better than the other alternatives available. The moment you start talking about that, you're right back into the political fight.

Simon said...

Doug said...
"Pooh-pooh this if you want, but Obama was a state legislator for eight years and has been a U.S. senator for another four; Mitt Romney's governmental experience amounts to all of four years as Massachusetts governor."

I think relevant experience was implied by their point. So as you demonstrate, Romney has four years of experience and Obama has zero (as does McCain, for that matter). I'm not denigrating state legislatures -- that's the Supreme Court's self-appointed job for the last half-century --- but I am saying that being in a state legislature or being a community organizer no better qualifies you to be President than it qualifies you to be a polar explorer (increasingly a triathalon - hike, climb, swim).

Pogo said...

Doug said...
Fen: The black community's wounds are self-inflicted, racism is just an excuse trotted out to mask their shame.

So sayeth the fellow who was...


Instead, let's quote WEB DuBois
(The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study, 1899, New York: Schocken Books, 1967)
He concluded that if white people were to lose their racial prejudices overnight, it would not make much difference to the economic condition of most black workers. According to DuBois, “some few would be promoted, some few would get new places” but “the mass would remain as they are,” until the younger generation began to “try harder,” until the “idle and discouraged” were stimulated and the whole race "lost the omnipresent excuse for failure: prejudice.”
[cf Race and Culture: A World View By Thomas Sowell, p.90]

Paul Zrimsek said...

Has la Althouse given up the word "lent" for Lent? (/pedantry)

Justin said...

Simon said...

And presumably you think that'd be worthwhile because it'd dampen the tone of disagreement when we get down to the nuts and bolts, but it won't.

I don't know if it would dampen the tone, but I hope it would make the disagreement more constructive.

...merely prefacing that position with the statement that Kim and I both believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness doesn't change the fact that we really disagree and have positions that cannot be reconciled. One side or the other is going to be winning at any given time until one side gives up.

"Heal some wounds" is not the same as "everybody wins and everybody is happy". Of course there will still be disagreement. But if he can elevate the level of discourse to the point where pro-lifers aren't screaming "baby killer!" and pro-choicers aren't screaming "facist!", then I'd consider that a wound healed.

I do think, however, that abortion is one issue where we're not likely to see any kind of progress for a very long time, if ever. It's too emotional. And in the end it comes down to what people perceive as right and wrong.

But many other controversial issues (immigration, national security, social security) do have the potential to yield civil discourse. That is to say we have the potential to discuss these issues civilly. We just don't. Maybe a national political figure with significant influence over the conversation could act as a referee and keep all sides in check. I'm not saying Obama is the man to do it. But he is the only one who seems interested.

Lawgiver said...

fstop says,

Social Security -- which essentially ended povery among the
elderly forever


10% of those over 65 still live in poverty. Using your yardstick we haven't had any unemployement since the end of the great depression.

Simon said...

Justin said...
"Maybe a national political figure with significant influence over the conversation could act as a referee and keep all sides in check. I'm not saying Obama is the man to do it. But he is the only one who seems interested."

I doubt such a person could, I'm certain that Obama isn't the man to do it, and I don't believe he's remotely interested in it. Even if we accept your referee suggestion, it seems obvious that a refereee has to be someone who's credibly disinterested - which certainly isn't Obama! He doesn't want to end the culture wars, he wants his side to win them and the other side to stop getting in the way. Would you trust Richard Daley to referee a Bears-Giants game?

Michael_H said...

"Pooh-pooh this if you want, but Obama was a state legislator for eight years and has been a U.S. senator for another four; Mitt Romney's governmental experience amounts to all of four years as Massachusetts governor."

Tommy Thompson has more, way more, experience than does Obama. You wouldn't vote for Tommy Thompson to be POTUS, would you? Neither would I, and I like the guy.

Some people believe that having no experience is an advantage. You know, like choosing that really cool and hopeful-sounding senior in the UW Med School to perform brain surgery on your child.

Dumb, dumb idea.

fstopfitzgerald said...

People who voted for George Bush are dissing Obama for his lack of experience?

Irony is truly dead....

Ann Althouse said...

Paul, are you Canadian/British?

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

loan

PRONUNCIATION: ln
NOUN: 1a. Something lent for temporary use. b. A sum of money lent at interest. 2. An act of lending; a grant for temporary use: asked for the loan of a garden hose. 3. A temporary transfer to a duty or place away from a regular job: an efficiency expert on loan from the main office.
TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: loaned, loan·ing, loans
Usage Problem To lend.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English lan, lon, from Old Norse ln. See leikw- in Appendix I.
OTHER FORMS: loaner —NOUN
USAGE NOTE: The verb loan is well established in American usage and cannot be considered incorrect. The frequent objections to the form by American grammarians may have originated from a provincial deference to British critics, who long ago labeled the usage a typical Americanism. Loan is, however, used to describe only physical transactions, as of money or goods; for figurative transactions, lend is correct: Distance lends enchantment. The allusions lend the work a classical tone.

Simon said...

fstopfitzgerald said...
"People who voted for George Bush are dissing Obama for his lack of experience?"

Fair point - Bush had five years of gubernatorial experience under his belt in 2000, and he's been a rotten President on the whole (with some exceptions, of course - the decision to go into Iraq, notwithstanding its subsequent bungling; appointing Roberts, Alito and Bernanke). Fair to say, past performance is indicative of future returns until it ain't; still, there was at least good reasons in 2000 and 2004 to think that Bush would perform well, which there isn't with Obama, and certainly (and far more importantly) every reason to think Bush would be better than his opponents, and it's really the latter that's all-important. If John Kerry had run against the devil, I would have at least put in a good word for Kerry, and it seems clear to me that anyone in the GOP race - even Mike Huckabee, who I don't exactly like - would make a better President than either of the Dem candidates.

Simon said...

Michael H. - how's Gerald D.?

/jk

former law student said...

it seems to me that race is no longer a significant enough dividing factor in this country
Simon is black?!? Who knew?

How did Hillary get $5 million on a senatorial salary? She hadn't worked for pay for years before that. Was It Takes a Village (to Take Away Your Welfare Check) so popular?

drill sgt. Obama can pay for his plans the same way W. did: cut taxes for the rich and run up a huge deficit. Then he can draw up a budget that balances four years after he leaves office, by assuming a variety of unrealistically optimistic scenarios. No problem!

I'm curious about "unilateral withdrawal" from Iraq. Who is the other side in Iraq?

As a practical matter: we have only one Army, and it has been tied up in Iraq for longer than we fought WWII. We've already activated the Guard and Reserves, treating them like Regular Army forces. What if we have trouble in the Far East, or in South America? Who are we going to call up, the Boy Scouts? Bush did not build up the military's numbers in any significant way.

former law student said...

Ann may have been influenced by Fenton Robinson:

Somebody loan me a dime
I need to call my old time used to be
Somebody loan me a dime mmm
I need to call my old time that used to be

Little girl's been gone so long
You know it's worrying me
Hey it's worrying worrying me

Simon said...

former law student said...
"[It seems to Simon 'that race is no longer a significant enough dividing factor in this country for Obama to "heal some wounds"'] Simon is black?!? Who knew?"

Non sequitur much? Of course, there's no reason why anyone should assume my skin color online - it can't be inferred from anything I've written here, and but for my username, I'd go further and suggest that it'd be a mistake to assume a commenter's gender. It's a trap I try to avoid - using gender neutral pronouns when it's not obvious from the name or other context. This is an issue on which -- I hate to say it here -- I think Jessica Valenti is absolutely right. Still, for the curious, there's a picture of me in Part III of this post.

Doug said...

I think relevant experience was implied by their point. So as you demonstrate, Romney has four years of experience and Obama has zero . . .

Well, you certainly have the right to your opinion. But in the sense that a state legislator has every bit as direct an effect on his/her constituents as those governors whose experience you apparently respect so much, the same responsibility to reach across partisan divides to broker compromise and get things done, and even more direct contact with their constituents, I'm not nearly as willing as you evidently are to dismiss Obama's state-level experience as irrelevant.

former law student said...

Non sequitur much?

Dude, it's pretty easy -- and empty, and meaningless -- for a middle-class white guy to say that race is no longer a significant dividing factor in this country. I mean, my shoeshine boy always flashes me a big smile when he sees me, so obviously we're in the age of post-racism.

Smilin' Jack said...

Ann Althouse said...
The "shared goals" I'm thinking of have to do with fostering a good and productive and society — in which children are well-educated and people work diligently, support families, and refrain from committing crimes and doing other destructive things. It's not complicated.


It's not Obama either. It's Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Simon said...

Doug, I think you're misreading me - I'm not dismissing Obama's experience because it's state-level, I'm dismissing it because it's legislative experience. And for that matter, I'm not even dismissing the value of legislative experience, in the abstract, I'm saying that legislative experience isn't really valuable or relevant to being a chief executive.

Simon said...

former law student said...
"Dude, it's pretty easy -- and empty, and meaningless -- for a middle-class white guy to say that race is no longer a significant dividing factor in this country. I mean, my shoeshine boy always flashes me a big smile when he sees me, so obviously we're in the age of post-racism."

Oh, I see where the confusion's coming from, you're just misreading my post. I didn't say that race wasn't a significant dividing factor, I said it wasn't enough of a dividing factor for the wounds to be sufficieintly in need of healing and susceptible to being healed by a black President. With that said, I will say that race isn't a particularly significant dividing factor. Take your shoeshine boy, for example. He's not a shoeshine boy because of his race, he's a shoeshine boy because of his class, or because of his (and his family's) economic status, or because of his education level, because of the culture he's in (hip hop culture traps white and black kids alike) and so on and so forth. It's a bad habit of mind to tye to race dynamics that have nothing to do with race. Race doesn't prevent anyone from doing anything in this country; that there are some people who can't do things who happen to be a racial minority doesn't mean that the disability is their race.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I agree with American Heritage about the okayness of "loan". But I'm not about to let that stand between me and a joke!

Mortimer Brezny said...

Race doesn't prevent anyone from doing anything in this country; that there are some people who can't do things who happen to be a racial minority doesn't mean that the disability is their race.

That may in some sense be true. The problem is that people who disagree will not be convinced other than by momentous events like the election of a first black President, and that those who are blind to the pernicious effects the vestiges of racism still have often ignore that their continual blindness is an impediment to those who are trying to participate as equals in society despite those vestigial effects.

Fen said...

"And electing a black man to heal racial differences is a crock. The black community's wounds are self-inflicted, racism is just an excuse trotted out to mask their shame."

Doug: So sayeth the fellow who was on here not long ago talking about how white men dating black women was a sure-fire way to get shot in the face.

Yes, shot by racist black men. Or are you one of those enlightened folk who insist blacks can't be racist...because they're black?

I'd ask the same of others here: why do so many assume that racism is about whites discriminating against blacks? Hell, even Obama's old church had a covenant that they would only patronize black businesses.

Fen said...

those who are trying to participate as equals in society despite those vestigial effects.

Like the kids who didn't get accepted to their college of choice because they weren't black?

Or the ones who didn't get hired by the Fortune 500 because they weren't black?

Mortimer Brezny said...

Like the kids who didn't get accepted to their college of choice because they weren't black?

I don't think it is possible to prove any such persons exist. Usually people who are in a position to have to make such a complaint have enough other problems with them that it could be due to any one of the other problems.

Your Fortune 500 example makes no sense.

Simon said...

Mortimer Brezny said...
"[Kids who didn't get accepted to their college of choice because they weren't black?] I don't think it is possible to prove any such persons exist."

How do Jennifer Gratz and Barbara Grutter grab you?