ID:48490
 
Keywords: politics
I started this as a reply to jmurph's recent comment on my post criticizing McCain's sex ed ad, but figured it's worth more visibility.

But first, a thanks to the recent commenters on the political posts here -- people have been thoughtful and I've had my opinion tweaked and refined by the discussion. Only one comment deletion, for a person attempting to perpetuate a stupid myth about Obama (one more instance and said person will be banned).

Now on to the subject of this post. Ann Althouse is a pretty well-known blogger who in 2004 wrote an influential post (near as I can tell, it put her blog on the map) called "How Kerry Lost Me".

Now, her son, an ardent Obama supporter who is still committed to voting for Obama, has posted, "How Obama lost me".

Here are the points he makes -- read his post for his explanations of each:

1. "It's not surprising that they get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy towards people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations."

2. His answer about "evil" in Rick Warren's Saddleback Forum.

3. Saying he would personally meet with dictators in his first year without preconditions.

4. I think he got a bad rap for supposedly flip-flopping and moving to the center immediately after he clinched the nomination, but his timing and PR could hardly have been worse.

5. The Palin pick seemed to catch them utterly by surprise.

6. Does Obama have a problem with "policy specifics"? Yes and no...

7. As much as I hate to admit it, there's a lot of truth to the "He's all about speeches, not ideas" critique.

8. His take on race has been disappointing.
7. As much as I hate to admit it, there's a lot of truth to the "He's all about speeches, not ideas" critique.

No! Change is a big idea! CHANGE!
I think not enough attention has been given to the point that of Obama's specific-to-him ideas, his ideas have been incredibly bad. That idea that kids and teens who are already overloaded with an incredible, enormous, soul-crushing load of mostly useless homework, should be forced to spend even more of their miniscule free time on community service, is appalling. Or as I'm more fond of saying, rock stupid.

Frankly I wish he'd have the brains and the guts to stake out the opposite position: That Federal funding is denied to schools that overemphasize homework as a stopgap to make up for lousy in-class results.
Lummox JR wrote:
That idea that kids and teens who are already overloaded with an incredible, enormous, soul-crushing load of mostly useless homework, should be forced to spend even more of their miniscule free time on community service, is appalling. Or as I'm more fond of saying, rock stupid.

I hope you're being sarcastic. I'm a teenager and I can safely say that teenagers now days NEED community service of some sort to keep them from being thugs and useless fucks in the future. It actually makes people appreciate more and gives them something constructive to do.
Yarrow said...

Me, I'm just a voter. I really could care less about the numbers buttressing a particular policy initiative. What I want to know about my candidate: general policy positions, governing philosophy, temperament, curiosity, intellectual capacity, character, human warmth and empathy - "soft" factors maybe, but far more compelling, I think, than Clintonesque wonkery. It's the "composite view" thing... Maybe my failure to sympathize with your disillusionment stems from my never having been illusioned - I never saw the big convention speech, I didn't particularly follow his career; in fact, what really sold me on him was an unflattering, "bubble-bursting" article in Harper's, which demonstrated to me that he seems to embody the rare paradox of a pragmatic ideologue, a man with principles who can also see the bigger picture. So I fully recognized and long ago accepted that he will disappoint me on many issues, but in aggregate he could get a lot done, especially with the backing of a Democratic Congress (one which in no way resembles the ideologically fractured and contentious party of the Carter era - people who make that comparison are just partisans who can't distinguish history from propaganda). So you've come to the conclusion that he's just another human being, with attendant frailties. Well, I guess it's a mistake ever to elevate a person so high in the first place - just makes the inevitable comedown that much more depressing!
1. "It's not surprising that they get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy towards people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations."

I live in South Dakota, this is a pretty good way of describing many people out here.

2. His answer about "evil" in Rick Warren's Saddleback Forum.

Don't know what the answer/question was, but said Forum was horrible anyway for other reasons.

3. Saying he would personally meet with dictators in his first year without preconditions.

Oh god, we might try diplomacy with nations we disagree with? BLASPHEMY!

4. I think he got a bad rap for supposedly flip-flopping and moving to the center immediately after he clinched the nomination, but his timing and PR could hardly have been worse.

Sort-of agree with this one.

5. The Palin pick seemed to catch them utterly by surprise.

Palin is such a horrible excuse for a VP-Pick that it caught everyone by surprise

6. Does Obama have a problem with "policy specifics"? Yes and no...

Ever watch his Policy speeches, or read his Platform? No? Then there is no reason to complain about that.

7. As much as I hate to admit it, there's a lot of truth to the "He's all about speeches, not ideas" critique.

No ideas? Not only is that wrong just by going by his own words, but in his stint in the senate, he has already came up with/backed ideas/bills, including putting the federal checkbook online, (Which Palin recently said was her idea)

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/18/ palins-transparency-proposal-already-exists-in-dc/

8. His take on race has been disappointing.

Boo hoo. Racism still exists. Get over it.
AnNoYaNcE.FaCtOr wrote:
I'm a teenager and I can safely say that teenagers now days NEED community service of some sort to keep them from being thugs and useless fucks in the future.

In high school and junior high, community service would be more useful than homework.
AnNoYaNcE.FaCtOr wrote:
Lummox JR wrote:
That idea that kids and teens who are already overloaded with an incredible, enormous, soul-crushing load of mostly useless homework, should be forced to spend even more of their miniscule free time on community service, is appalling. Or as I'm more fond of saying, rock stupid.

I hope you're being sarcastic. I'm a teenager and I can safely say that teenagers now days NEED community service of some sort to keep them from being thugs and useless fucks in the future. It actually makes people appreciate more and gives them something constructive to do.

Yeah, because doing lawn work sure does build character! Seriously, 35 hours of community service for confirmation was enough. I would like to use my 1-2 hours of free time every day to do something fun.
Venom Development wrote:
1. "It's not surprising that they get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy towards people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations."

I live in South Dakota, this is a pretty good way of describing many people out here.

Obama forgot Rule #1 of politics- people don't want to hear the truth; they want to hear what they want to hear.
It describes alot of people in alot of places. That's why they got mad. See, in politics, it's not a good idea to blame the voters, even if it is correct. That's why you don't hear much said about people not bothering to read their loan docs or do research in this whole subprime meltdown. Nah, just blame the lenders, sellers, etc.

And Obama has to walk a careful line. He already appears "uppity" to many ignorant voters as a highly educated, eloquent black man. If he goes one step too far, he is now the "angry black man" of their nightmares. That's why the Reverend Wright issue and this were played so much even though angry extremist white preachers are pretty much the norm with the fundies (except they blame America's moral decline instead of its policies). Of course, if he dares point any of this out, he is "playing the race card".

There are many solid policy reasons why someone may not vote for Obama. Unfortunately, in many regions people who would otherwise agree with his policies will vote on "other factors".
Some kids may need community service, Big, but I suspect they're the ones who are gonna end up serving it anyway. Better to just put actual civics back in the curriculum and teach it as a class. The homework problem has gotten huge and it's getting to the point of spawning a huge national backlash. Compounding that with mandatory volunteerism won't help any.
Lummox JR wrote:
Some kids may need community service, Big, but I suspect they're the ones who are gonna end up serving it anyway. Better to just put actual civics back in the curriculum and teach it as a class. The homework problem has gotten huge and it's getting to the point of spawning a huge national backlash. Compounding that with mandatory volunteerism won't help any.

Anarchy! I like your spawning nation backlash idea; power to the people! I really want less homework, though
Jmurph wrote:
Obama forgot Rule #1 of politics- people don't want to hear the truth; they want to hear what they want to hear.

Yeah, what the hell is up with Obama telling it like it is? I'd rather be lied to just so I feel better.

McCain/Palin ∞!
SuperAntx wrote:
Jmurph wrote:
Obama forgot Rule #1 of politics- people don't want to hear the truth; they want to hear what they want to hear.

Yeah, what the hell is up with Obama telling it like it is? I'd rather be lied to just so I feel better.

McCain/Palin ∞!

Pretty much that, I love the way that Republicans play Identity politics.

Obama: Rose up from lower-middle class roots, tried to help inner-city Chicago,then went on to teach constitutional law, and beat Alan Keyes with much less name recognition: Elitist.

McCain:Son of Admiral McCain, drank his way through high school and academy, and only got through because of his father. Crashed 4 navy planes, and tried to get his COs to let him bomb civillian targets and Russian boats nearby. Eventually was shot down, taken as a PoW, returned (Unlike many PoWs :( ), left his wife who waited for him for a richer woman, and ran for the Arizona senate with nothing but his PoW experience: Down-to-earth

As I've said before, it's The Philadelphia Story all over again. McCain comes from a privileged background but he's no elitist--as a POW he even refused to cash in on that background and suffered terribly for the sake of the other men with him. Obama did come up from nothing, but he did it by riding the Chicago political machine--one of the filthiest, most corrupt bastions of old-boy politics in the world--and has since proven himself by his own words to be an elitist.

I don't mean to say that coming out of the Chicago machine makes Obama corrupt by default, but rather that it says something about his character that he could use it so effectively, and his ties to that machine have not been probed in anywhere near enough detail. As to elitism he's actually put to words the way he looks down on rural people. Obama is a George Kittredge for our day, the five-cent edition of Sidney Kidd. I'll cast my vote for C.K. Dexter Haven any day.
Yep, can't have any of those darn elites running things. I also pick my doctor based on whether I'd like to have a beer with him and my mechanic on how much we have in common. ;-)

So, working the Chicago machine = bad but taking bootlegger money to get office = okay? And how is opportunist better than elitist? I thought we were supposed to be a meritocracy. So somebody who achieves might actually be better than someone who doesn't. But that's the problem, Obama may be better than someone (say a voter...) who wasted his life drinking and womanizing and never went anywhere, because Obama actually educated himself, succeeded and remained loyal to his wife and kids but he sure can't *say* that or even *think* that because then he's an evil elitist. Unless, of course, he is a Republican spouting family values or patriotism. Then it's okay. Even if he has cheated, is secretly gay, is a pedophile, etc.

And McCain may not have cashed in on his rep as a POW, but he sure did when he got back. Still is. But, as my father says (a combat vet of Viet Name), being a POW is a terrible thing and a great sacrifice, but it doesn't qualify you to lead. Many men made great sacrifices in that conflict. But that was decades ago and what a man has done with his life since then is more relevant.

Not all Chicago politicians are Daley. Not all vets are Audie Murphy. You have to look at the individual. Don't you think the Repubs would have dragged out any dirt on Obama by now? And what about the filthy Republican national machine? McCain is fortunate the Dems don't play as rough as the Repubs do or they would be dragging McCain's liquor money links to bootlegging and some of Arizona's worst crimes out there to smear him. They would attack the fact that he dropped wives to marry younger and richer. They would post his outbursts in the Senate as proof he isn't stable or a man to be trusted. Heck, the Repubs assaulted like that in the 2000 primary. Heck, they even lied about a black baby to stir up racial ghosts! But the 2008 Dems don't follow that script. Instead, they are sticking by and large to policy. If anything, Obama's political weakness is he is so concerned with keeping it clean that he misses the fact that American politics is all about the lowest common denominator. Some of the polish has come off, but they are still running on the high road. Which may end up costing them the election.
Frankly I think the Republicans have dragged out dirt on Obama, at least what little they could get the media to air. The media has been giving Obama an extraordinary pass on things that would merit further investigation were it anyone else--like his relationship to Bill Ayers. I bet if a lot more Americans were aware of that he'd feel some heat over it, but the media stays mum.

It's that media silence that has allowed Obama's Chicago connections to go incredibly unexplored. I'm not saying he's gonna emerge covered in filth from such a journey into his past, but that the media's job is to vet this guy for President every bit as thoroughly as they have with McCain. They haven't done so. The public is left with many many unanswered questions about Obama's political career, and this is kinda important since he has so little experience to draw on where we can take a good look at his record. What little there is of his record is rather hard-line leftist, which is troubling for independent voters.

But at the bottom line what I'm saying is, I get the distinct impression from his own words that Obama looks down on rural voters and specifically people who hold strongly to religion or their 2nd Amendment rights. I get no impression from McCain at all that he looks down on anyone. Which candidate respects their prospective constituents more? Obama conveys himself as a snob; when he tries otherwise he ends up making embarrassing gaffes. McCain conveys himself as an imperfect politician but one with a willingness to stand up to his own party on issues he believes strongly about. In spite of my differences with both candidates I find more character in the latter.
Let's see:

- Obama has a long-term relationship with an unrepentant terrorist.

- Obama is actively obstructing investigation into his ties with said terrorist.

- Obama's campaign actively works to shut down radio shows with guests discussing things Obama doesn't want discussed.

- Obama got a very questionable real estate deal from a shady Chicago character (when the press actually did bring this up, Obama refused to talk to the press for over ten days).

- Obama wasted tens of millions of dollars when he was actually put in charge of something.

- Obama and Biden not only voted for the Bridge to Nowhere, they insisted it should continue when given a chance to back down.

There's plenty o'dirt...but as Lummox says, the mainstream media just isn't very interested in exploring it.

Humorous thing...today's headline on the CNN news site is "Biden, Obama helped keep 'Bridge to Nowhere' alive" -- wow, who knew!?!

Finally, say what you want about the items above...if they applied to McCain or Palin, how much front-page coverage do you think each would get?
You ever think that maybe, just maybe, the Ayers thing got so little play on any outlet (even FOX) was because there wasn't much there? The media has played soft with both candidates- conservatives complained for years how McCain got glowing coverage even as he shafted the party. Media likes a good story- Obama was energetic and interesting, McCain, not so much. Then Palin shook things up. That's one of the reasons some Obama supporters got so riled at her- her newness stole the spotlight. Saying that McCain and Palin involved in similar things is laughable. Palin made the Bridge a central part of her gubenatorial run and has stated she will not cooperate with investigations in "Troopergate" (although recently they have backed away from that). McCain has ethics problems dating back to the S&L collapse. Welcome to politics in America!

I get the impression that McCain is a temperamental man with a my way or the highway attitude who looks out for himself and his political career before much else. Obama is thoughtful and calculating, with a record of following the "family values" that rural America claims to support. Obama never called his wife a c**t in front of colleagues and never told a fellow senator f*** you. Don't get me wrong, I disagree with both on a whole lot of policy (McCain might as well be a Democrat). So, both are going to spend waaaay too much. I see Obama as having more integrity and someone I would trust to make more reasoned decisions. He also puts an appealing face on the US that could go a long way to improving international relations. I don't like that it lets the Dems control Congress and the executive, but that means they are going to have a tough election if the national situation doesn't make some improvements.

Plus, I am sick of junk Supreme Court appointments like Thomas, Scalia, and Alito (though I think Roberts was solid) pushed through for ideological reasons yet terrible when it comes to judicial temperament and analysis.

Reasonable minds can disagree, though.
The idea that there's nothing much to report about the Ayers connection is ridiculous. Ayers has said repeatedly that he doesn't regret his actions and feels they didn't go far enough. Obama chose to launch his political career in this man's home. That deserves more press than it's gotten, and I think far more Americans would care about this if they knew about it.
Jmurph wrote:
You ever think that maybe, just maybe, the Ayers thing got so little play on any outlet (even FOX) was because there wasn't much there?

Since there's nothing there, I look forward to Obama releasing all records related to Ayers and the Annenberg Challenge so we can clear that up, and for him to tell his people to stop shouting down radio shows that attempt to discuss this topic. He's the one who keeps this story alive (among the non-mainstream media, that is).


The media has played soft with both candidates- conservatives complained for years how McCain got glowing coverage even as he shafted the party.

Do you characterize the ongoing inaccurate character and career smears of Palin as playing soft? Can you point to any political figure in modern history to have gotten such short shrift in the media?


I see Obama as having more integrity and someone I would trust to make more reasoned decisions.

Reasoned decisions is up for debate -- very liberal decisions, yes. His response to Georgia was downright naive and scary, while McCain's was reasoned and wise (Obama apparently agreed, since he then adopted McCain's position). Likewise, Obama's response to meeting any leader any time without precondition was naive and scary. Likewise, his statements about invading Pakistan were naive and scary. He simply doesn't have the experience on these matters to know how to react.

On integrity, I simply see nothing that indicates he has a lick more integrity than McCain, and everything to indicate McCain actually believes in some things and refuses to budge on them, where Obama appears to believe in nothing enough to stand up for it against any sort of opposition. Heck, he trashed rural America for being anti-trade, when a major aspect of his pre-nomination platform was being anti-trade (that's okay, he was against trade before he was for trade).

Obama trashes rural America for not being tolerant of people who are different than them while he trashes people different from him...apparently he doesn't realize the irony.

He says:

"The one thing that I want to insist on is that, as I travel around the country, the American people are a decent people. Now they get confused sometimes. You know, they listen to the wrong talk radio shows or watch the wrong TV networks, um, but they?re, they?re basically decent, they?re basically sound."

He talks about bitter clinging to guns and religion, while playing up his alleged religious background and refusing for months to disassociate himself from his disgusting pastor.


He also puts an appealing face on the US that could go a long way to improving international relations.

Other countries would like him, yes. For a while, anyway.


I don't like that it lets the Dems control Congress and the executive

That alone keeps me from being able to vote for him. Pelosi and Reid are chomping at the bit to do lots of really bad stuff, and historically it's a disaster when the executive and legislative branches are controlled by the same party.

Heck, I'd be much less reticent to consider Obama at least an option if the Congress were to be Republican.


Plus, I am sick of junk Supreme Court appointments like Thomas, Scalia, and Alito (though I think Roberts was solid) pushed through for ideological reasons yet terrible when it comes to judicial temperament and analysis.

Judicial appointments might be in his favor. I will say that Scalia was a perfectly appropriate appointment, while Thomas certainly wasn't, and I don't know enough about Alito.
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