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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Can you say "President McCain"?

The pessimist in me just knows that the Democratic Party is going to screw this up royally.

Comments (28)

Change is coming. Don't lose hope :P

Before you anoint McCain president, you might check out the front page of tomorrow's New York Times.

Obama may not be the new Kennedy, but McCain certainly is the reincarnation of Barry Goldwater.

McCain certainly is the reincarnation of Barry Goldwater.

But without the charm or personality.

Or even the same chance of winning.

McCain is going to owe Hillary a big thank you when they're both back in the Senate this time next year. McCain gets to find out exactly how negative he can go on Obama without spending a single dollar or sullying himself in the process.

Can you say "President McCain"?

I wish, I wish, I wish it were so...

But I've got a sinking feeling that the Obama cult of personality is going to persist and hand him the nomination.

And then we'll really be in trouble, 'cause that cult of personality is likely to actually bring out the youth vote, and that'll be the end of President McCain.

End of the world? Not hardly. But a President McCain with what will surely be a Democratic Congress would be a far, far better thing for the country than Speechy McSpeecherton "running" the show.

Not least because in 2012, having lost the previous election with a moderate Republican candidate (and no significant new moderate leadership on the horizon anyhow, as far as I can see) there's no telling what sort of freak show the Republicans would nominate. Yikes.

That's probably the biggest service one could do for the country now, as I think about it. Get a moderate R to win an election, and you'll get more moderate Rs in the future. Defeat a moderate R, and you won't see another one for a long, long time. Alas.

It's really too soon to say this, but what the heck: Stick a fork in Clinton, 'cuz she's done.

Her own supporters are saying lately she has to win both Texas and Ohio to remain viable... and I just learned something today that tells me she's not gonna win Texas. (Maybe a draw there, but no big win.)

It turns out that Texas has a really odd method for choosing pledged delegates. They hold a primary and a caucus on the same day: any party member who votes in the primary is eligible to attend the caucus in the evening. About 2/3 of the delegates are chosen by the primary, the rest by the caucus.

The Texas primary delegates are divided into weighted primary districts; apparently most districts have four delegates but some have other amounts. In each of those districts the delegates are awarded proportionally. This means a candidate has to get over 62.5% of the vote in a district to split the delegates of that district 3-1. With a lesser margin, the delegates in these districts go on a 2-2 split. The recent polls in TX show Clinton with a very slight lead, like 50-45. If true, that means most districts will split delegates evenly: a slight lead in popular votes will probably not translate to a similar lead in primary delegates.

With a pretty even split among the primary delegates, the caucus is likely to be significant in determining the statewide outcome. And one thing that's been consistent so far in this race is that Obama kicks Clinton's ass in caucuses, where enthusiasm and organization matter more than anything else. He has only lost two caucuses so far - in NV and NM - and those were both close and early. His margin in every other caucus but IA has been crushing, from 59-40 in ME to 80-17 in ID. One can reasonably expect that Obama will pull in at least half of the caucus votes, and probably more.

So it'll be really hard for Clinton to get a big win in the primary portion, and whatever win she gets in the primary is likely to be offset in the caucus. Clinton will have to fight hard to pull a small win or even a draw in Texas, and a clear win looks completely out of the cards for her. (Heck, even if she wins the popular vote in Texas she might still walk away with fewer delegates.)

If what her advisers are saying about her needing clear wins in both TX and OH to remain viable is true... she's probably toast.

"Cult of Personality"? "Speechy McSpeecherton?" Just (empty) words.

Words as empty as Obama.

We've tried OJT with the last two idiots we sentenced to the White House.

You'd think the electorate would have learned over the last 16 years that OJT and the presidency should not be combined.

Just (empty) words.

Were you referring to Jack's terms or Obama's speeches?

McCain...moderate? Not exactly.
However, this story by the NYT is either the truth or McCain is lying. NYT is going to have to come up with real proof or they will be printing a rectraction and paying damages.
"straight talk", we shall see.

Just (empty) words.

Oh, sure, I'm familiar with the recent theme of Obama supporters claiming that the "cult of personality" charge is a fabrication of the MSM. But I came to that conclusion on my own before I heard anything about it elsewhere.

I have no doubt that there is a core of Obama supporters who could tell you exactly what his positions on the issues are, and why they think those positions are the best for the country.

But the actual excitement about the guy seems to center overwhelmingly on style over substance. People just like the way they feel when he talks. They like his "message" of hope and change.

They couldn't tell you what Obama hopes for, or what he would change. He never really says in his speeches, and that's about all most people know about him. He's quite eloquent and seemingly passionate about what he says -- but there's just no "there" there.

The whole "empty vessel" thing is so amazingly apt in this case, more so than I can remember in my political life. Obama is like a living Rorschach test -- people see in him what they want to see, and since they are projecting their own wants into him, naturally they think he's the right guy for them.

That makes him a great politician, but it hardly qualifies him as a "leader". In a system of direct democracy (more or less), however, it's usually the better politician who wins, rather than the better leader.

Ah, well. We pretty much get what we deserve, I suppose, unfortunate though that may be.

As for McCain, yes he is a moderate Republican, who unfortunately has been pandering to the right wing of his party to try to shore up support. Not for nothing is he considered a RINO by the establishment. What, he once dared to vote against a tax cut? Heresy! He doesn't think that we should ship all brown-skinned people South of the border? For shame!

That establishment is why I am no longer a Republican myself. And the fact that McCain has had to pander to them may end up costing the Republicans the election anyway.

And the NYT story is about McCain aides from 2000 worrying about the appearance of impropriety that year. And, McCain's reluctance to follow his advisor's suggestion to mitigate that appearance.

McCain's camp has apparently been providing documentation to the NYT for months (they've known about the story for that long) to demonstrate that McCain was not influenced by his relationship with the lobbyist, whatever the nature of that relationship may have been.

I don't think the NYT was lying, there was nothing substantial enough in the report to call an actual lie.

In my politicians' speeches, I prefer abstractions to lies.

"They couldn't tell you what Obama hopes for, or what he would change. He never really says in his speeches, and that's about all most people know about him. He's quite eloquent and seemingly passionate about what he says -- but there's just no "there" there."

Have you actually been LISTENING to his speeches?

Here's a link for you:

And here's some excerpts so you don't even have to click:

"And if you already have health insurance, we will lower your premiums by $2,500 per family, per year. And if you can't afford it, we will subsidize your care, and we will emphasize prevention so we have a health care system instead of a disease-care system.

And we won't do this 20 years from now or 10 years from now. We will do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States of America. "

"So I want to -- I want to take away those tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. We're going to give them to companies that invest right here in America.

And we're going to rollback those Bush tax cuts that went to all the wealthy people, and we're going to give tax cuts to ordinary families, people who are making less than $75,000. We will offset your payroll tax.

Senior citizens who make less than $50,000, we want to say to them: You don't have to pay an income tax. You're already having a hard time making ends meet.

We want to promote trade and we embrace globalization, but we also want our trade deals to have labor standards and environmental standards and safety standards so our workers aren't undermined and our children aren't playing with toys based in lead paint. That's the change we want.

And I will raise the minimum wage not every 10 years, but to keep pace with inflation, because if you work in America you should not be poor. And that's a goal that we should set for ourselves when I am president of the United States of America." is a good place to start some actual research if you genuinely want to see what the Dem candidates have done and stand for.

"""We've tried OJT with the last two idiots we sentenced to the White House..."""

Not to dismiss previous idiotic presidents, the only ones who don't endure some OJT at the White House would be second term incumbents. If actual qualifications were the only factor in politics Bill Richardson would have locked it up long ago.

Have we been so steeped in fear by the rethugs that we fear to hope? Let the cynics criticize the messenger, this skeptic will remain on task to elect an agent of change, while there still remains a glimmer of hope. Tonight's debate will be scintillating.

Dave -

I agree with you about Richardson, I felt the same about Biden. Neither one had a chance in the wacky world of "feel good" candidates in the my party's caucuses and primaries.

Oddly, both Richardson and Biden are my party's equivalents of Poppa Bush.

While the R's current front unner has served long in the Senate, he, like Eisenhower, has an awful large quotient of ''feel good" and "safe Grandpa" who incidently was a military hero.

We seem not only to be electing in the "Year of the Rat", but perhaps picking from some rodents as well.

It used to be that a moderate Republican was the kind we had a lot of in Oregon--Mark Hatfield, Bob Packwood, Norma Paulus and Wendall Wyatt. John McCain is light years to the right of these folks.

As for the experience factor:

Eisenhower was a total political novice, and it turns out, a pretty damned good president.

JFK had about the same level of experience as Obama (if you don't count Obama's years in the state legislature). Nobody knows what Kennedy's legacy would have been, but he got the ball rolling on civil rights and poverty issues.

LBJ: Immensely experienced, able to push through the civil rights and poverty programs, but got us bogged down in Vietnam. So experience doesn't lead necessarily to better judgment.

Nixon: Also a great deal of experience, and until Bush the worst president in my lifetime.

Ford: Experience, but not much to show for it.

Carter: Very little experience in government, lackluster president, but not as bad as most pundits think.

Reagan: Fair amount of experience, very successful in getting his agenda accomplished, which, on the whole, was very good for rich people and very bad for everyone else.

George H.W. Bush: No president has had more experience in government than Bush I, and he was pretty much a flop.

Clinton: Not much experience, did pretty well given that he had to deal with a highly partisan Republican Congress most of his presidency.

Dubya--Very little experience, but more important, very little intelligence or moral integrity.

Arguably the most experienced candidate elected -Buchanan, a one term failure. Arguably the least experienced - the 1 term Congressman from Illinois, who advocated the end of the Mexican American war -Honest Abe, who else. Go Bama

Roll back the tax cuts? Here are the facts in 2005: The top 1% wage earners paid the highest tax rate of 23%. A share of 39% of federal income taxes. The top 25% paid a share of 86%. The top 50% paid a whopping share of 97%. The bottom 50% paid 3% of the federal income tax. Nobody in government said life was going to be fair, they just said you started equal.

Nonny -

Kudos to you for your thoughts on Biden & Richardson. I liked both of them, esp. Richardson, but it's a moot point now.

And we only have eight more months to go...oy...

Every time I hear or read something from Obama I say ... "What???" Thanks for the quotes from his speeches, after you read them you basically say ... "What???" The man is clueless - he makes lots of promises but he has no idea how to pay for them. He has some ideas, but they are far from fleshed out and solid, they are what we in the software industry call 'vaporware' - lots of ideas and promises, no way to make it happen. He is a lot like software salesmen, "What is it that you want? Yeah, our software does that!" No it doesn't and it probably never will, there is no way to get from where we are today to where you are wishing to go. Geez, the man is nothing but hot air. I don't like Billary, but Obama is just words - a pathetic man.

John McCain is light years to the right of these folks.

Really? "Light years"? By what standard?

Seriously. Apart from the obvious abortion issue, I'm struggling to see "light years" of difference between McCain and the other moderate Rs cited.

The bottom 50% paid 3% of the federal income tax.

I was all ready to call BS on this shockingly fabricated statistic... except I'll be damned, it's actually correct:

IRS Data (Excel format)

Have you actually been LISTENING to his speeches?

Yes, some of them, though hardly every one of his campaign stump speeches. But my point wasn't about whether I know what Obama stands for, my point was that I don't think a great many of his more breathless supporters know what he stands for.

As for the specific "policies" helpfully highlighted in this thread... I think I have to agree with Native Oregonian that the more specific Obama gets, the more obvious it is that he is full of empty promises. Why doesn't he promise every child a pony while he's at it?

It would be laughable except that I honestly don't trust the public at large to understand how completely full of it he is.

Now, in fairness, this is not something that Mr. Obama is uniquely guilty of -- virtually every politician is full of empty promises. Clinton and McCain included, certainly.

But all this gushing over how Obama will bring hope and change and a new way of politics -- pure BS. He doesn't have any magic answers. Hell, he doesn't have any answers, period.

But he does give a good speech, which gets back to my original point. He's popular more or less just for being popular. He's the ultimate political fad. Especially among the young voters, who apparently don't want to be left behind all their peers on the Obama bandwagon. The same group of potential voters, by the way, who in general are more credulous when faced with feel-good sound bites that appeal to their as-yet untempered by experience idealism.

Great for Obama. Not so great for the future of the country.

Please, Mr. Wright, before you embarass yourself further with the inexperience pabulum, visit the Daily Kos hot link from Alan L. above.

Please, genop, re-read my comments. Do you see anything about "inexperience"?

My claims are simple:

1) A large number of Obama supporters (but obviously not all of them) seem to support him because of his personality/oratory skills, not because of any specific policy positions.

2) Because those supporters seem unaware of his actual positions, but get a generally positive vibe from him, they are free to project their own feelings on to him. I've heard countless claims from his supporters in the form of: "I really like Obama because I believe he's going to... " followed by whatever vague feel-good concept the supporter wants (fix health care, fix the economy, get rid of partisan politics, etc.)

3) Obama's promises are, at heart, really no different than any other politician. Except, perhaps, that the grander scope of some of those promises make them even emptier than most. (For example, we'll offset payroll taxes for people making under $75K? Does he realize that 75% of social security and medicare is paid for by the payroll taxes of people making under $75K? Where is that money going to come from, exactly?)

I did indeed follow the DailyKos link. And of course, anybody who has been in the Senate for any period of time is going to have a record, and that link is a fine summary of that Senate record.

Are you seriously suggesting that even a simple majority of Obama supporters are actually aware of that Senate record? I find that highly questionable.

Hence, the "cult of personality". Obama has generated undeniable enthusiasm among the electorate. I'm simply saying that the enthusasim is largely not apparently based on his record, or his stated policy goals, but rather on the personality of the man himself.

I do not disagree with your general premise, however, for those willing to review his record, the man appears to have far more substance than he is credited with. Perhaps his campaign needs to tout the fact that he has sponsored incredible amounts of legislation which attracted cosponsors and real interest by colleagues compared to Hillary's record. While dems have been thwarted in their attempts to improve this country, it's not for lack of trying, and Obama appears to have tried as hard as any to pass positive legislative change. What the "Kos" article proves to me is Obama walks the talk. That is reassuring regardless of the means by which he might prevail.


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