February 18, 2008

Why I'm voting for Obama in the Wisconsin primary.

I said I was going to write this post, so I'd better do it. As I said, I want to do an archaeology of the archive and trace my response to Barack Obama as I did to John Kerry in an old 2004 post called "How Kerry lost me." I've already said that Obama made a good impression on me when I first encountered him (when he spoke at the 2004 Democratic convention), but that I condemned all the Democrats who voted against John Roberts (and that included Obama).

Let's continue. This will have to be very selective, because there are over 200 posts tagged "Obama," and a blog post can't be too long.

On December 11, 2006, I quoted Obama saying: "I think to some degree I’ve become a shorthand or symbol or stand-in for a spirit...." I liked him for saying that. It was honest. I thought he'd have become something specific, and I'm amused to see that I added: "Wouldn't it be funny if he didn't?"

By April 2006, I was sick of hearing people marvel at what a good speaker he was and called him a "gasbag":
I hear a tired-sounding man, who rambles on and on.... [I]f I didn't know who he was and that there was a crowd there, I would picture an old man slumped in an armchair, expatiating for the benefit of anyone unlucky enough to be within earshot. It's formless stream of consciousness. Oh, there is that theme of hope. The stream swirls back there at predictable intervals.
By July 25, 2007, I was saying that it had become clear that Hillary Clinton was the best Democratic candidate. That was right after the debate where Obama answered "I would" to the question: "[W]ould you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"

In the beginning of August, I was annoyed by Andrew Sullivan's effusive support of Obama as the candidate who would rid the young of the older "traumatized" generation:
This isn't an argument that Obama would make a better President than Clinton, but it's not a mere outburst of emotion either. He's saying that Obama will make a better candidate than Clinton, because he will -- by his faith -- inspire belief. That sounds rather dangerous, evocative of the worst things that can happen in politics. We need analysis and reason too, and I think Obama can only go so far exciting people with "the audacity of hope." The debate the other night showed how he can fall short, going for the hopeful, inspiring idea when Clinton comes forward with the more seasoned, mature, realistic analysis.

And which approach, in fact, betrays more fear that Americans are "know-nothing" "rubes"? I think the simplistic talk of hope, playing on the emotions of the listener, shows less respect for the intelligence and sophistication of the voters than a more complex, realistic presentation of the issues.
So I was leaning strongly toward Hillary last summer. But I wasn't agonizing over the Democratic race. I favored Rudy Giuliani.

In November, I was traipsing around San Francisco, and I just happened to stop to take a photo of a photo of Obama in the window of a hat shop. The proprietor, an older black woman, came out and engaged me in conversation:
[S]he wanted to talk about Barack Obama. Do I like him? Yes! I think he's a good man, and that he would be able to do a lot of good. I added, "But I kind of like Giuliani." That was okay with her, it seemed — so long as I don't like Hillary.
Of course, I didn't like Hillary. Anyone who reads this blog knows that. But I still could easily picture myself voting for her. I don't like politicians and I don't need to like them. I just try to pick someone who can do the job well enough. I keep my distance.

Then I commented on a story about Michelle Obama, who was asked why there isn't more support for her husband among black voters. She said: "What we're dealing with in the black community is just the natural fear of possibility... I think that it's one of the legacies of racism and discrimination and oppression."

Obama just seemed bland to me around this time, and I was needling him to attack.

Then came Oprah Winfrey:
[S]he presents Obama as an embodiment of our political, religious, and psychological needs. I'm saying "our," even though the presentation is strongly aimed at black people, because I don't lose the sense that she is speaking to the country as a whole....

She tells us some people think that Barack Obama ought to wait. She equates that with the old message that black people ought to have waited for equality. In this rhetoric, to tell him he should wait feels racist. But Oprah never accuses anyone of racism. She never even mentions the name of the rival who wants us to think that she is ahead of him in line. Oprah keeps the positive message in front. This is inspirational. Barack Obama is The One, so allow him to emerge into his rightful place, and we will all be fulfilled, saved... and — why not? — well governed.
Did Oprah get to me?!

I think I was hanging back, observing, commenting, but also slowly bonding with Obama. Then, he won the Iowa caucuses, and it suddenly seemed that he was going to win the nomination. With the real possibility at hand — and the prospect of finally being done with Hillary — I got a little excited about the idea of Obama winning. But I had my distance.

I was reading Carl Bernstein's "A Woman in Charge," and I identified with something Camille Paglia wrote:
Paglia supports Barack Obama "because he is a rational, centered personality who speaks the language of idealism and national unity." This is similar to what Andrew Sullivan said — and, frankly, similar to some things I find myself thinking from time to time... when I'm not talking back to myself about what a disastrous delusion that might be.
Shortly thereafter, that video provided emotional massage.

I was impressed by the characterization of Barack Obama as a "once-in-a-generation" possibility, and by the fact that it sounded like quite an understatement to me.

Now, I've read through the posts and caught up to the present. Have I traced a journey? There is no clear narrative arc as there was in "How Kerry lost me." It's just a slow warming. And we're only at the primary, so there is much still to happen.

There is also the corresponding arc of my reaction to Hillary Clinton, which you can see some of here. As I said above, I haven't liked her, but I pictured myself voting for her anyway — back when she was inevitable. But Obama's growing power allowed me to cast off my resignation. And along with his growing power — after that win in Iowa — came her phony emotional ploys, the garish emergence of Bill Clinton, and the racial insinuations from the Clinton campaign. That drove a wedge into my neutrality, and my opinion broke for Obama.

84 comments:

MTfromCC said...

Just because somebody is inspirational does not mean he is superficial. Barack Obama is a man of substance who has shown poise, cool, gifted communication ability and deeply underated executive skill in this campaign, much more so than either Clinton or McCain. You are calling it right.

Donald Douglas said...

Et tu, Althouse?

American Power

Palladian said...

So, as is usual with supporters of Obama, nothing at all about his policies. It's just about him.

Change. Hope.

We're doomed.

Simon said...

Ann said...
"I condemned all the Democrats who voted against John Roberts (and that included Obama)."

I don't think that's inconsistent with a vote for Obama here, because Hillary voted against Roberts too. Since you have to vote for one of the other (or choose not to participate, which I sense isn't an option you regard as viable), the vote against Roberts subtracts equally from both sides and thus becomes a nullity, does it not?

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Makes sense to me. (BWDIK?)

Après moi le déluge, I fear.

Simon said...

Palladian said...
"So, as is usual with supporters of Obama, nothing at all about his policies. It's just about him."

Is that right? With most supporters of Obama, is it not really about them?

Ann Althouse said...

Well, Palladian, it's between Hillary and Obama and I don't think their policies are significantly different. The Republican race is sewn up.

Eli Blake said...

I voted for Obama two weeks ago in the Arizona primary (though it is a state that Clinton won, and it is also John McCain's home state.)

What I like about Obama is that his ideas are post-twentieth century.

For example, his college plan. If you want to go to college, you can still pay your tuition as you do now and nothing will be different. But if you would prefer to serve in any of numerous capacities (everything from the peace corps to teaching in a public school) for a period of two or three years after graduation, then the government will help you pay for school and not emerge with tens of thousands in student loan debt to saddle your career.

Or, his health care plan. He aims to create a national risk pool that will allow insurers to offer health insurance to everyone at an affordable price that will cover all people (as opposed to the exorbitant prices you pay now if you are a cancer survivor or have a chronic illness, for example.) But you still have the right to NOT buy it if you want to.

Both of these plans avoid both the pitfalls of twentieth century liberalism (mandates on individuals, free handouts with nothing expected in return, or government displacing private enterprise) but also the pitfalls of conservatism (waiting until the 'market' solves problems like lack of insurance and college costs on its own will, even if successful, take so long that millions of people will be too old or dead to be benefitted thereby.)

As I said, solutions for the twenty-first century.

BJK said...

For example, his college plan. If you want to go to college, you can still pay your tuition as you do now and nothing will be different. But if you would prefer to serve in any of numerous capacities (everything from the peace corps to teaching in a public school) for a period of two or three years after graduation, then the government will help you pay for school and not emerge with tens of thousands in student loan debt to saddle your career.

Let someone else pay for it....the ultimate Post-twentieth-century solution.


I look forward to reading the "Why Obama lost me" topic after the debates, BTW.

Fred said...

Very interesting read, thanks for sharing this Ann!

Greg in Madtown said...

Palladian said...

"So, as is usual with supporters of Obama, nothing at all about his policies. It's just about him."

I can't see how one could come to that conclusion after reading this post. It's not about him, it's about her. Althouse has out-"Colberted" Colbert. It's not an endorsement. It's the introspection of a positivist.

That said, I love the story's ending. See you at the polls tomorrow, where I'll be voting for Obama.

Palladian said...

Oh, you're probably right Ann. I just find the whole tone of Obama's campaign really off-putting. You seemed to be irritated by it very early, I wasn't irritated by it until fairly recently.

But then, it's not like the alternative is particularly appealing, so I understand. There's no reason to vote Republican in the primary, at least in Wisconsin.

I couldn't vote in my state's (NY) primary since I'm not party affiliated, though it wouldn't have mattered anyway. There wasn't too much doubt about who would win here.

Palladian said...

Is it possible to be an anarcho-conservative?

Andy said...

We might as well mention the real reason Althouse is voting for Obama in the Wisconsin primary (or, more accurtately, is saying that is what she'll do): so that when she votes for McCain in November she can pretend that she is some kind of McCain Democrat.

This is all positioning for the anti-Obama vote in November.

dmschloeder said...

I'm for Obama because he's electable, pure and simple. We've all read the phrase that, "nothing could galvanize the Republican Party like a Clinton candidacy"...and it's true. There is an irrational, but palpable hatred out there of anything Clinton. Of course, polls can be wrong, but Obama has consistently and progressively out-polled Hillary against McCain.

Even if she were to squeak through the general election, hers would be the most contentious, unproductive presidency in American history.

A vote for Hillary is, at worst, a vote for McCain...and, at best, a vote for a continuing downward spiral of our country.

While Sen. Clinton is horribly deficient in inspirational leadership, she's great at public policy yeomanry. She's a highly-qualified, methodical policy wonk. She'd make a great Majority Leader in an Obama presidency.

Cedarford said...

Ann Althouse said...
ricpic, I don't see it that way at all. Obama is probably the smartest and most thoughtful of the candidates.


Romney and Tommy Thompson were probably the smartest and most thoughtful of the candidates. They are gone.

The smartest recent Presidents were Nixon and Bill Clinton. But it appears that the Presidency is one place where someone can be "smart enough" by having only average intelligence but excel by being a good judge of character, a ruthless executive that weeds out fools, and having vision (FDR, Reagan).

I prefer Obama over Hillary because of some simple things not entirely her fault.

1. I can't stand her shrill braying voice. She's the Billy Mays of this years crop. I hear her, I change the channel. But I found McCain, Romney, Obama, even Slick and Huckabee - bearable or better to listen to. It took me 4 years to be so sick of Bush I never wanted to hear him again, and I can't imagine voting for the grating Hillary whose voice I hate on day one.

2. I do not want anymore nepotism and dynastic politics infecting America at the highest level. John Quinct Adams was bad enough to convince 19th century voters that dynastys sucked and should be avoided. Bush apears to have made the 21st century contribution to ensuring that nepotism and dynasty fall into disfavor again.

That said, Obama is full of it. There might be some real talent and ability there, but all I hear is vague, vapid preaching by a guy as likely to be a silver-tongued black con artist of no executive ability selling snake oil, as a future leader.

Scrutineer said...

dmschloeder: While Sen. Clinton is horribly deficient in inspirational leadership, she's great at public policy yeomanry. She's a highly-qualified, methodical policy wonk.

Brad DeLong on HRC's policy wonkery:

"My two cents' worth--and I think it is the two cents' worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994--is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life. Heading up health-care reform was the only major administrative job she has ever tried to do. And she was a complete flop at it. She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn't smart enough to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care Czar role quickly."

Read the rest.

hdhouse said...

Thank you Ann. Thank you for voting after thinking it through. How good this republic would be if we all cast our votes after reflection and over time.

I see palladian snips as usual and i find his remark of 11:33 to be both banal and insufferable. what is it with the good folk who inhabit blogland that they are all for evolved and reasoned choices as long as the choice agrees with their world view..otherwise it is met with a sarcastic snipet..churlish and on face sillytalk.

go vote your vote. voters answer to no one. candidates answer to everyone.

AllenS said...

Michelle Obama:
“For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,” she told a Milwaukee crowd today, “because it feels like hope is making a comeback.”

When the Clinton gets done with Michelle, she'll be wishing she was in a different country. Does she sound like first lady material?

This could be the end of Obama-mania.

Beldar said...

I don't think you'll regret your vote, Prof. A.

I just don't think you'll repeat it in November. I expect your thinking to continue to progress as you re-weigh various data points and assimilate new ones. Ultimately -- as when you reacted so strongly to his profoundly naive debate statement about meeting unconditionally with the leaders of wicked countries who'd use those meetings for propaganda value and legitimacy, debasing the coin of genuine and mature diplomacy -- your affinity for Obama's youth, charisma, and ability to inspire will be outweighed by doubts about whether he could recover from the inevitable series of catastrophic blunders he'd make as president.

It's okay if you're not there yet. But I still predict you'll come around.

rhhardin said...

The Hardin-Obama Plan : Put teachers in national service and make them teach people free.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

If the choice is Obama vs. Hillary, and one is left-of-centre politically, there's no real choice to be made -- Obama is by far the superior candidate.

And the idea of Obama is wonderful -- his success would shut up a great many of the destructive political forces of the country (Al Sharpton, I'm looking at you). And having a black president is something that we're definitely ready for, which would be a great help for American culture. The learned/willed helplessness of a part of the population could be better fought.

As for the reality of Barack Obama, presidential candidate -- well, that's something entirely different. And that's a conversation to be had during the campaign for the general election.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

(By "the idea of Obama", I mean not his ethnicity, exactly, but his call for a clean sweep and a post-ideological candidacy.)

Michael_H said...

At the rally in Milwaukee, Obama caused the blind man to see, the lame to walk and three people arose from the dead. He fed the multitudes with bread and smelt, and all was good with the world.

I am a follower of his blessed example, and will vote "present" today, as he has done so many times in the past.

The future is today! There is hope in the future! Leave the past behind! History is, like, so yesterday! He has a plan! He has a plan for everything!

If only we can elect him, we can see his plan! One happy day, the gates will open and his plan will be revealed and all be welcomed into that happy time in the future when we will be free of worry,

Yes, no worry because he has a plan. Our health will be cared for, our work will not be necessary. Our tuition will be free and our mortgages will be low-interest. Our day-care will be free, our gasoline prices low, all be cause he has a plan that will be revealed when he ascends to the throne.

LutherM said...

Your choice fits with your residence in the People's Republic of Madison.
Hillary is clearly the wrong person; Obama does seem bright enough - but being President is the wrong place for on-the-job training.
It's a damn shame you don't like a war hero, a man ready to be Commander in Chief on day one, John McCain.

rhhardin said...

A centered personality preserves the complexities, without the extremes. Most of the complexities live in the middle.

Women love complexities.

Whereas a guy abstracts from complexities : either a government takeover of all charity is needed, or the free market has to take care of it all.

Hence the demographics.

Obama's task is to allude to retained complexities without ever hitting on any solution, any solution being a hated extreme.

Once he's President, his task is to get rich.

rhhardin said...

Obama as smart.

I think that's from a double meaning, too.

He dresses well (and no strange costumes!).

And the head meaning of smart.

The one pulls in the other, as if they were the same.

Nixon was smart and thoughtful, but with only the head meanings in play. Nobody said it spontaneously from the contextual meanings.

And there's the clean and articulate tendency, meaning not like other blacks.

Stephen said...

Women, weaklings & others are drawn to confident men.
Women & weaklings will confuse confidence with entitlement.

cokaygne said...

For the Wisconsin primary voter Obama-Clinton is the only game in town. Your choice is the correct one. Clinton cannot win the presidency. Someone needs to tell her that in order for Democrats to get on with the general election campaign.

Feminists are complaining about a glass cieling in the presidency, but what is happening is that Hillary Clinton, who rose in politics because she was Bill Clinton's wife, is going down because she is Bill Clinton's wife.

I would like a return of Bill Clinton's policies to the White House along with people like Bob Rubin and Larry Summers, but not a return of Bill Clinton. The worst aspect of Hillary Clinton's campaign has been its use of surrogates, especially Bill, to racialize the Obama campaign with cracks about Islam and cocaine and comparisons with Jesse Jackson.

Obama's greatest virtue is that he has not returned those attacks in kind. Although the party-line liberalism of his voting record and lack of realism in foreign policy are troubling, he has shown a lot of character and willingness to learn from people like Ronald Reagan, and that is what voters are looking for after the last 16 years in Washington.

McCain has even more character and has shown it throughout his career. One may not like his positiions on campaign finance and abortion, but we know that we would have character in the White House and leadership abroad from someone who knows first hand what our enemies can do if he is elected.

Now it boils down to Obama's youth, mingling feelings of hope and immaturity, against McCain's age, mingling feelings of respect and potential for incapacity. McCain'd choice for vice president will be absolutely crucial because that person might well fill out the remainder of McCain's term of office.

rhhardin said...

Here are a couple of excerpts in support of astrology , one from Vicki Hearne and the other from Douglas Adams, that strike me as resembling the Althouse arc, and perhaps showing how it's often justified, in a calm-down-and-wait sort of way.

The task is to characterize it, rather than dismiss it.

John K. said...

Palladian said... "Is it possible to be an anarcho-conservative?"

Absolutely. Of course, a lot depends on what you mean by conservative. My favorite anarcho-"conservative" bar none was Albert Jay Nock. I like very much, e.g., his admiration for Henry George as one of "America's very greatest men," combined with his sense of the absurdity of trying to enact George's proposals through the political process. Keep in mind that Nock's intellectual autobiography was titled "Memoirs of a Superfluous Man."

On the Georgist single tax, Nock said this:

"The single tax impressed me as the most equitable and convenient way of paying the cost of such matters as can be done better collectively than individually. As a matter of natural right it seemed to me that as individually created values should belong to the individual, so socially created values should belong to society, and that the single tax was the best method of securing both the individual and society in the full enjoyment of their respective rights. To the best of my knowledge these two propositions have never been successfully controverted... Probably I ought to add that I never entered on any crusade for these beliefs or sought to persuade anyone into accepting them. Education is as much a matter of time as of anything else, perhaps more, and I was well aware that anything like a general realization of this philosophy is a matter of very long time indeed. All experience of what Frederick the Great called 'this damned human race' shows beyond peradventure that it is impossible to tell anyone anything unless in a very real sense he knows it already; and therefore a premature and pertinacious evangelism is at best the most fruitless of all human enterprises, and at worst the most vicious. Society never takes the right course until after it has painfully explored all the wrong ones, and it is vain to try to argue, cajole, or force society out of these set sequences of experimentation.... But while I have never engaged in any controversy or public discussion of these matters, or even in any private advocacy of them, I have spoken my mind about them so freely and so often that it would seem impossible for anyone to mistake my attitude towards them."

Regarding "conservativism," Nock found its essence summed up in these words of a certain Lucius Cary, Viscount Falkland: "Mr. Speaker, when it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change." Nock went on to say: "Very well, then, the differentiation of conservatism rests on the estimate of necessity in any given case. Thus conservatism is purely an ad hoc affair; its findings vary with conditions, and are good for this day and train only. Conservatism is not a body of opinion, it has no set platform or creed, and hence, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a hundred-per-cent conservative group or party.... Nor yet is conservatism the antithesis of radicalism; the antithesis of radical is superficial.... The conservative is a person who considers very closely every chance, even the longest, of 'throwing out the baby with the bath-water,' as the German proverb puts it, and who determines his conduct accordingly. And so we see that the term conservative has little value as a label; in fact, one might say that its label-value varies inversely with one's right to wear it. Conservatism is a habit of mind which does not generalize beyond the facts of the case in point."

Mitch said...

“Barack Obama is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.” --With apologies to Richard Condon

EnigmatiCore said...

"anarcho-conservative?"

By definition, wouldn't this only be possible in a land that already has almost no governmental power?

That sure as shit ain't here.

EnigmatiCore said...

"voters answer to no one"

Voters may answer to no one, but they definitely answer to history.

Just thought I would throw that out. I am glad Obama is getting the Althouse vote.

Bakerman said...

Just a thought:

Michelle Obama: "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country," she told a Milwaukee
crowd today -
http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/02/pri...

Others should appreciate her suffering the very country that brings her now to the steps of the White House. Think of the rotten luck, the racism, the lack of opportunity and education she and her husband endured to rise from the ashes of abject despair. And to which they will return if Barack does not become president.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Once he's President, his task is to get rich."

Oh, please.

No President has wanted the job "to get rich." None. Not George Bush. Not Bill Clinton.

They may want fame. They definitely want power. They probably want to change the country and the world to be more like they would want to see.

But people like George Bush, or John Kerry (who obviously didn't win) or Ronald Reagan were all fabulously wealthy to begin with. Bill Clinton wasn't hurting. Jimmy Carter was well to do.

I guess though that in your imagination these men were all just greedy. That's a diseased worldview.

EnigmatiCore said...

I see a talking point. You know some group of supporters somewhere sees an opportunity or a vulnerability when on every thread one sees the same story posted, as Bakerman just did.

It never dawns on them that if the story was as big as they seemed to think, they wouldn't have to spam it everywhere. It would get around all on its own.

Mr. Forward said...

"Women, weaklings & others are drawn to confident men."
stephen

You sure about that?

Mitch said...

Barack Obama: A Human Hallmark Card For President? By John Hawkins

"The Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality." -- Paul Krugman

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/JohnHawkins/2008/02/15/barack_obama_a_human_hallmark_card_for_president

The Drill SGT said...

If Obama is such a bipartisan hope spreading, bridge building moderate, point me to the list of legislation he has passed in the Senate working across the aisle with the GOP? Or even bills he has sponsored? My take is that he votes of the left of the Dems and is in the pocket of Unions on most topics.

The GOP right wing may rightly object to McCain's positions on issues, but he seems far more prepared than Obama to actually do something with the other party. Some of the Evidence:
- Gang of 14 on judges
- McCain Feingold
- McCain Kennedy
- anti-pork
- pro-ethics
- etc

show me a similar Obama bill?

George said...

It sounds as though you are not so much for Sen. Obama as you are against Sen. Clinton.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Yes, Obama is pretending to be what McCain actually is.

But it's a darned good persona.

Mitch said...

"Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine, but demonic." Pope Benedict XVI.

Obama, Radical Mentor Saul Alinsky, And Marxist Liberation Theology

http://foro.univision.com/univision/board/message?board.id=wqba&message.id=29676

MadisonMan said...

I followed a similar trajectory as Professor Althouse. It seemed like we were doomed to Hillary! and I was resigned to sit back and think of England. Obama and McCain are a fresh Spring breeze clearing away the winter of Clinton/Bush.

I'm hopeful about the general election, if McCain and Obama are the candidates. Neither one causes the gut-wrenching reaction that GWBush did in 2000 -- with good reason, I will add in retrospect: what a wretched administration! The only candidate that gave me a similar reaction this time around was Giuliani, and he's gone back to hanging around with crooks.

My opinion is that neither McCain nor Obama will be as bad as their partisan opponents fear. I could be delusional, but I don't think I am (but then do the deluded ever think that?). If McCain or Obama are the candidates, I think the Republic is on the right trajectory.

Roost on the Moon said...

Another semi-famous law professor, Standford's Lawrence Lessig (the Creative Commons guy), has made a 20 minute video on why he's "4Barack".

somefeller said...

I'm voting for Hillary in the Texas primary, but this trajectory is a sensible one. Also, one thing I'll say in Obama's favor (which I saw on another blog) is that he can allow for Republicans who are disgusted with this Administration to have a face-saving climbdown. Such people might find voting for Hillary to be a bridge too far, but Obama would be acceptable to them, at least for this election. I'm not sure if that adds up to enough people to win an election or outweighs other advantages Hillary has, but it's worth something.

Also, Palladian, there's a lot of people one can call anarcho-conservatives that you can look up. A certain wing of libertarianism can easily be described as anarcho-conservative, but they usually prefer to be called anarcho-libertarians. Murray Rothbard is one name to look up.

Dan said...

"For example, his college plan. If you want to go to college, you can still pay your tuition as you do now and nothing will be different. But if you would prefer to serve in any of numerous capacities (everything from the peace corps to teaching in a public school) for a period of two or three years after graduation, then the government will help you pay for school and not emerge with tens of thousands in student loan debt to saddle your career."

It would be better if it was, you know, ORIGINAL. My dad took advantage of a very similar plan back in the 50s called the GI bill.

The main difference between Obama's plan and the GI bill is that Obama's would give touchy-feely antiwar types the ability to go to school while not having to put their butts on the line (or do anything else particularly distasteful) for their country.

Thing is, Obama's plan will add to the diversity problem on campuses everywhere. You already can't swing a dead cat in a full circle on any campus without hitting an antiwar womens' studies or liberal arts major. How much worse will it be if all you have to do is spend a couple of years in the equivalent of summer camp?

Dan said...

"he can allow for Republicans who are disgusted with this Administration to have a face-saving climbdown."

I can only speak for myself, and in full disclosure I'm not affiliated with the Republican party. But I've voted Repub almost exclusively for the last several elections, and I voted for Bush for his second term.

As such, I'm honestly baffled by the notion that I need a climb-down, face saving or otherwise. Bush's spending habits REALLY suck. Obama's spending habits, if he is elected, will suck at least equally badly and probably much worse. Bush's foreign policy is fairly muscular. Obama's foreign policy would be a race to see how many tin-pot dictators and Islamofascists we can surrender to in the least amount of time.

I can't see how, if you're interested in foreign policy backed by anything but feel-good Oprah-isms a la the UN, you can vote for any of the remaining viable candidates but McCain.

Though if Hillary were elected, she might surprise us. I suspect she would be much more willing to smack someone back if they smack us than maybe she gets credit for. Probably more so than Bill, depending on her mood.

rhhardin said...

"Once he's President, his task is to get rich."

Oh, please.

No President has wanted the job "to get rich." None. Not George Bush. Not Bill Clinton.


I'm thinking of Obama. The sweetheart deal on his house is decisive for me. What you do when nobody's looking, as Michelle said, apparently not thinking.

Of course you have the cattle futures, so it may cancel, as to the primary. Hillary as a mafia wife isn't a bad analogy. It may work for Michelle too, but she isn't running.

Crimso said...

"I would like a return of Bill Clinton's policies to the White House along with people like Bob Rubin and Larry Summers"

I'd like to see a return of Larry Summers to Harvard.

Trevor Jackson said...

"The sweetheart deal on his house is decisive for me."

This sweetheart deal?

Doug said...

Obviously, as an Obama supporter myself, I'm pleased to hear this. But what I'd really like to hear is more about how someone who supported a petty, divisive authoritatian like Giuliani ended up so drawn by Obama's "unity" rhetoric. It'd be hard to find two more completely opposite candidates in this election.

John K. said...

I've got a proposal for anyone thinking of voting for the Democratic nominee in the general election. Since my vote for McCain and your vote for the Donk will cancel each other out anyway, let's agree to both stay home and save each other the trouble.

I'm hoping to make the same deal with thousands of Donks; and then threaten to vote for the Donk and make the flipside of the same deal with thousands of Republicans. Then maybe we'll see some real progress.

[Of course, I'll be damned if I'd vote for either McCain or the Donk nominee anyway.]

Thorley Winston said...


“For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,” she told a Milwaukee crowd today


You know even when I disagreed with some of my government’s policies or when people I didn’t like where in power at the time, I don’t think there was ever a time when I could say that I wasn’t proud of America. I didn’t think much of her husband’s refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance before but after reading Michelle Obama admit that it wasn’t until her husband was a front runner for President that she was proud of the United States, whatever dislike I had for the Clintons may soon be dwarfed by disgust for the contempt that the Obamas have for their country and fellow citizens.

Middle Class Guy said...

Cedarford said…
That said, Obama is full of it. There might be some real talent and ability there, but all I hear is vague, vapid preaching by a guy as likely to be a silver-tongued black con artist of no executive ability selling snake oil, as a future leader.

Can you please cite one politician who is not full of it? Can you cite one who is not vague and vapid, or a silver tongued con artist? Can you even cite one that is really honest? They all do the same thing. It is a sales job. They sell their stuff, we buy through our vote, which closes the deal. None of the candidates is any different in their methodology.

hdhouse said...
Thank you Ann. Thank you for voting after thinking it through. How good this republic would be if we all cast our votes after reflection and over time.

I agree, but I would ad this; how much better this republic would be if we could get past our hard core party affiliations or the and cast our vote in an objective intelligent manner versus along straight party lines. We get too wrapped up in our Conservative or Liberal ideologies that we overlook the actual quality of the persons we eventually elect.

rhhardin said...

said the Illinois senator's $1.65 million bid ``was the best offer''

The best offer is always the best offer. The question is when you take it.

The denial has to make some sense.

They took it when the crook bought the adjacent property as well.

Trevor Jackson said...

rhhardin,

Maybe I'm just dense here, but what do you think happened that was illegal or shady? Everything I've read indicates the deals for the house and the adjacent land were above board.

Here's another link to an interview with Obama's explanation in 2006.

tomb1 said...

Yes, in the Demo primary it's got to be Obama over Hillary.

And I strongly disagree with those who are against Obama because he's long on charisma et al. and short on policy.

I think we SHOULD vote for the person, and not the party or the policy -- who he is and what she believes in and what he/she stands for.

We should elect a President based on his or her character and integrity, since we'll never find a candidate who is in 100% alignment with our own policy preferences.

Yes, we should vote for character. Between Obama and Hillary, that's Obama.

But between Obama and McCain, that's clearly McCain.

Todd said...

To 8:51 Middle Class Guy, does the name Fred Thompson ring a bell?

Doug said...

Jesus Christ, Thorley. The Pledge of Allegiance thing? Seriously? P.T. Barnum extends you a warm welcome into the group of people who can be fooled all of the time.

The pledge rumor is debunked here.

rhhardin said...

It's a way of taking money that wouldn't be acceptable directly.

I'd suppose it's illegal directly, otherwise there'd be no need for laundering it.

section9 said...

It's my understanding that the Wisconsin Primary is open, due to the foolishness of Reform Politics. So.....

the Smart Republicans go into the privacy of their voting booths and punch the Democratic Primary Card for Hillary Rodham Clinton. As the Ghost of Richard Nixon said to the Ghost of Bebe Rebozo, a little mischief goes a long, long way in American politics.

Let Wisconsin Republicans bring the Vampirella of American Politics back to life. Let She Who Must Not Be Named and her Generation Me Husband continue their Bull In China Closet Campaign all the way to Denver. Let them trash the nascent "Know Hope" Consensus (which, let's face it, is just another Personality Cult) with their "Me First" Baby Boomer Narcissism.

It will be classic in Denver. Those two will be busy dumping buckets of Chinese PLA brown bag money on Superdelegates, intimidating others with compromising photographs of gay trysts, insisting that Michigan and Florida have an absolute right to both sit and vote in Denver. There will be renting of fabric, lamentation of women, villages burned to the ground, and the general gnashing of teeth.

She will absolutely be nominated, come what may. She will survey the wreckage of the Democratic Party in Denver, secure in the knowledge that it's her Democratic Party, not some Upstart's.

Remember, Republicans. You can make this happen! Do you really want to see nominated a Democrat who voted against John Roberts for SCOTUS? That's like voting for New Coke.

The Drill SGT said...

LOL

Let the bidding campaign begin

PLA Brown bag money versus Saudi Brown bag money.

Who as deeper pockets?

Only the super delgates know :)

amba said...

a silver-tongued black con artist

Cedarford, I can't begin to imagine what difference the color of the con artist makes. The color of the tongue, like that of the blood, is the same.

amba said...

An invitation: here and here's another ongoing wrestle with the Obamaphenoma. I am interested in the candidate -- a nice neutral way to put it -- but profoundly put off by the messianism, though I recognize it as a form of salesmanship and getting elected in this country is close kin to selling a product.

amba said...

It's a damn shame you don't like a war hero, a man ready to be Commander in Chief on day one, John McCain.

Lutherm, who said she doesn't like McCain? She voted in the Dem primary because McCain didn't need her vote.

Sometimes it seems people around here can't read.

amba said...

Michelle Obama: "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country"

All that means is that she doesn't like Republicans in power (typical Democrat) but had the good sense to be ashamed of Bill Clinton too. She was just barely reaching adulthood in the Reagan years, right? So her adult life has been dominated by Bushes and Clintons.

amba said...

Drill sgt., it's all here at Obsidian WIngs.

The obvious across-the-aisle example is Lugar-Obama (anti-nuclear proliferation) -- an urgent issue not many were working on.

Michael_H said...

I have hope. I believe in the future and the future will be better than the past. Yes, we can. Si se puedo!

Obama believes in the future. Obama is the future. I believe in Obama because I believe in the future and I have hope.

I believe Obama will get me Green Bay Packer season tickets. I believe Obama will shovel my driveway and walk my dog.

I'm going to faint.

To quote Obama: "If the glove fits, you must acquit fourscore and twenty years ago because this is a day that shall live in imfamy because the only thing we have to fear is fear itself! Tear down that wall!"

Man, he's awesome. Experience is such an outdated concept. It's time we move beyond experience to hope.

amba said...

How much worse will it be if all you have to do is spend a couple of years in the equivalent of summer camp?

Dan, you ever been in an inner-city classroom? It's more like a prison full of midgets in full riot than summer camp.

Original Mike said...

I want to thank Michelle Obama for her comment that she is not proud of America. It made a difficult task, voting for Hillary this morning, much easier.

TheRadicalModerate said...

I really want to drink the Obama Kool-Aid. There's no question that government would be much more fun with Obama as President. But I am forced to remember that politics should be boring. Political drama makes for a good narrative (with improvement in media ratings and consequent increases in media revenue) but it leads to disastrous policy.

I hope that Obama is level-headed enough to be pragmatic if he's elected. He certainly seems to be. Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to vote in the Texas primaries. I'm leaning toward Clinton simply because she seems easier for McCain to compete against. On the other other hand, since there's about an 85% probability that the next President will be a Democrat, I'd much rather that was Obama. Decisions, decisions.

ZPS said...

Nice to see you making an informed, rational decision. I forwarded your vlog to my mother, a Hillary supporter, to try and show her that she wouldn't be betraying feminism if she switched her support to Obama. You are the same age and in the same demographic as she is.

Jarvis said...

I don't see how you can "condemn" Obama for his vote on Roberts. He explained it very clearly -- he believes that it is the province of a Senator to vote against a nominee if he profoundly disagrees with his views of the Constitution. You may not agree with that (I do), but certainly it is a Senator's prerogative to come up with his own criteria. He did not slime Roberts or condemn him personally; indeed, he went out of his way to praise him.

In fact, he went on Daily Kos and condemned the attacks on Democratic Senators, such as Russ Feingold, who voted for him.

Do I understand you to believe that a Senator should never vote against a highly qualified candidate, such as Roberts, even if he profoundly disagrees with his view of the Constitution?

Here's his post on Kos, for which he took a lot of crap even from the "moderates" in the liberal blogosphere, such as Kevin Drum.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/9/30/102745/165

Smilin' Jack said...

amba said...who said she doesn't like McCain? She voted in the Dem primary because McCain didn't need her vote.

Ann Althouse said...I haven't liked her, but I pictured myself voting for her anyway — back when she was inevitable.

amba said...Sometimes it seems people around here can't read.

Indeed.

James Williams said...

Based on his comments and the bills he has sponsored in the Senate Obama is a socialist who favors collective rights over individual rights. He clearly has a Robin Hood complex, and wants to take from the rich and give to the poor. I believe in free market capitalism, so I won't be voting for Obama. Besides, I'm offended that he thinks he can save my soul.

Simon said...

section9 said...
"Remember, Republicans. You can make this happen! Do you really want to see nominated a Democrat who voted against John Roberts for SCOTUS?"

That's pretty much a given, since both Obama and Clinton voted against Roberts.

The Harlem Ghost said...

Ann you have been conned ... he is nothing but a racisit and socialist wrapped up in a PC package ...

outback71 said...

While some of my friends express doubt that Obama is an unknown quantity, almost all note the problem with Hillary is that she is a known quantity. We know exactly what we're getting with her (and Bill)

cfbleachers said...

Obama is the New Millenium Candidate. As such he must adhere to certain groundrules.

1)Be vague, be vapid, "be" the vox populi.

2)Promote bills, promise change, accept checks.

3)Act Democratic, speak centrist, vote Socialist.

4)War-always against (no other thought necessary)

Big business-always against (no deeper thought necessary)

5)Find a victim, create a victim, exalt a victim.

6)Root causes-all roads lead back to USA, enemies of state were caused by our actions (see also, Blame Israel, snuggle up to enemies)

7)Act multi-cultural, (and sub rosa/sotto voce be anti-Anglo cultural), more the better if you can be multi-cultural. This will be hailed as tolerance, the hatred spewed by your supporters at Anglo-culturals can be "ignored" and fueled at the same time, this will never be denigrated as "intolerance"...since they/them are never victims, only perpetrators.

doctorfixit said...

He's a nice young fellow. We are all tired and cynical. We want to believe that there is a politician who isn't. This is when the worst happens, and we make decisions based on what we wished was true. Charisma will not resolve the conflict between freedom and power. We have a long struggle ahead, and we shouldn't allow ourselves to follow Pied Pipers.

doctorfixit said...

He's a nice young fellow. We are all tired and cynical. We want to believe that there is a politician who isn't. This is when the worst happens, and we make decisions based on what we wished was true. Charisma will not resolve the conflict between freedom and power. We have a long struggle ahead, and we shouldn't allow ourselves to follow Pied Pipers.

doctorfixit said...

He's a nice young fellow. We are all tired and cynical. We want to believe that there is a politician who isn't. This is when the worst happens, and we make decisions based on what we wished was true. Charisma will not resolve the conflict between freedom and power. We have a long struggle ahead, and we shouldn't allow ourselves to follow Pied Pipers.

doctorfixit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.