Election roundup

My apologies to my readers who are anxious to read my analysis of Steven Spielberg’s A.I. I’m getting to it. In the meantime, these three articles on the McCain campaign caught my eye and express my feelings much better than I could. All three are worth clicking through to.free stats

Josh Marshall:

All politicians stretch the truth, massage it into the best fit with their message. But, let’s face it, John McCain is running a campaign almost entirely based on straight up lies. Not just exaggerations or half truths but the sort of straight up, up-is-down mind-blowers we’ve become so accustomed to from the current occupants of the White House … John McCain is running the sleaziest, most dishonest and race-baiting campaign of our lifetimes. So let’s stopped being shocked and awed by every new example of it. It is undignified. What can we do? We’ve got a dangerously reckless contender for the presidency and a vice presidential candidate who distinguished her self by abuse of office even on the comparatively small political stage of Alaska. They’ve both embraced a level of dishonesty that disqualifies them for high office. Democrats owe it to the country to make clear who these people are. No apologies or excuses. If Democrats can say at the end of this campaign that they made clear exactly how and why these two are unfit for high office they can be satisfied they served their country.

Andrew Sullivan

So far, he has let us all down. My guess is he will continue to do so. And that decision, for my part, ends whatever respect I once had for him. On core moral issues, where this man knew what the right thing was, and had to pick between good and evil, he chose evil. When he knew that George W. Bush’s war in Iraq was a fiasco and catastrophe, and before Donald Rumsfeld quit, McCain endorsed George W. Bush against his fellow Vietnam vet, John Kerry in 2004. By that decision, McCain lost any credibility that he can ever put country first. He put party first and his own career first ahead of what he knew was best for the country … McCain made a decision that revealed many appalling things about him. In the end, his final concern is not national security. No one who cares about national security would pick as vice-president someone who knows nothing about it as his replacement … McCain has demonstrated in the last two months that he does not have the character to be president of the United States. And that is why it is more important than ever to ensure that Barack Obama is the next president. The alternative is now unthinkable. And McCain – no one else – has proved it.

Hunter at Daily Kos

Crooks. That’s the only word for it. There’s no noble or higher purpose here, there’s nothing admirable about it, not even in the most brutal, Machiavellian sense. They’re liars. They’re crooks. It is taken as a Republican given that anything that can gain power is justifiable, regardless of how loathsome it is or how depraved the fabrication … If we welcome open, direct lies into our political discourse, it’s not political discourse anymore — just the oratorical equivalent of an organized crime ring. McCain knows he can lie through his teeth and almost nobody will truly call him out on it — at least, not compared to all the people who will hear the lie. That’s been the strategy for every election involving the old Nixonites, from then until now, and there’s no chance it’s going to go away until there is a price to be paid for being a nationally televised liar. So when’s that going to be?


16 Responses to “Election roundup”
  1. Anonymous says:

    I hate it when I agree with Andrew Sullivan.

  2. samedietc says:

    since you’re about to talk about A.I., maybe this is a good time to ask: do you have a theory/working principle about adaptations?

    I’m only asking because… well, because if I weren’t here asking, I’d be reading right-wing blogs and my head would explode.

  3. I am so confused and frustrated by everything pertaining to this election and to the American political process in general.

    The Conservatives have a built-in mechanism of believing that everything The Other Guys say is dirty lies, smear tactics, etc, while meanwhile Their Guys are the ones saying all the worst, most unbelievable shit. I just don’t see how We can Win. And I’m a fucking Canadian. I’m not even allowed to vote in Canada, much less down here. I can do no good. (And I’m still waiting for my green card; there’s no way I can get anywhere near citizenship before this election jag)

    It has nothing to do with facts or truth or ideas or change. What’s it all about? Is it just about belief? The guys putting up my roof believe that Sarah Palin is aces and that Obama is a lying, deluded sack of shit? I don’t even know. I woke up glad that the Large Hadron Collider didn’t devour the universe, but I don’t even know.

    • pseydtonne says:

      The simple answer: emotions.

      Most Americans tune out the facts and respond to the most emotional candidate. The stiffer dude loses. The more stiff dude is assumed to be lousier television and thus isn’t what these emotional sacks want to see each night for four years.

      It doesn’t matter what either sack of protoplasm says: it’s how the sack says it.

      Palin is stirring up all sorts of emotions, many of which are sadly in the groins of Americans. They want a fellow redneck in charge and that’s what Palin is or at least conveys.

      Obama needs to make a strong response and cannot sit back. It’s been too quiet from his side during this week. The conventions are over and the real work must start.

      Obama can do emotions. Let’s see ’em, dude! Oh, and while you’re at it — how about some actual campaign platforms?

    • Todd says:

      Every day that Swiss physicists don’t instantaneously destroy the universe is a gift.

  4. shocka says:

    The naysayers of Obama keep falling back on the same idiot rhetoric. Yes, Obama is making a lot of the same promises politicians have always made. Better healthcare, more jobs, lower taxes, all that. But this isn’t a case like John Kerry, where you got the feeling he just wanted to be president because of the prestige it would give HIM personally – not only does Obama sound like he believes what he’s saying, he seems like he could actually accomplish a lot of it.

    No, he doesn’t have a ton of experience. He doesn’t know how to play the games yet. He doesn’t know what deals need to be made to keep from getting perpetually cockblocked by Congress.

    But he’s also not a candidate that tons of people are lukewarm about. This isn’t 2000, and a vote for the lesser of two zeroes. This isn’t 2004, when the candidate who could have effectively challenged Bush was pushed out because he was “unelectable.”

    Obama may not be able to lean on Congress himself, but he can inspire Americans to put pressure their representatives from the other side. He’s reaping the whirlwind that Howard Dean sowed in 2004, the connection directly between a candidate and the small supporters, rather than the big money. No one was excited about John Kerry. No one was excited about George W. No one was excited about Al Gore. No one was excited about Bob Dole, Bill Clinton or George Bush. But people are excited about Barack Obama, and that’s already one change he’s made to the system.

    The thing that most impresses me, though, is that while the McCain ads and Republican talking points are all about how bad Obama is and how we should be afraid of him, Obama’s ads are more about what he hopes to achieve than why John McCain is a bad person. He’s looking at the distant future of our country, not the near future of his own party.

    Other than supporting offshore drilling, I don’t have a clue what McCain’s policies are. Why? Because every one of his ads is some variation on “Obama is popular and therefore you shouldn’t vote for him.” That tells me nothing. No, wait, that’s not true: what it tells me is that McCain either doesn’t HAVE positions, or doesn’t want to talk about them, because he knows they’re not what America needs right now. His choice for VP is blatant pandering, both to the ultra-conservative base and, even more, to the Clinton supporters who plan to vote out of spite for some imagined insult.

    Obama is making lots of promises? I’ll take a man who’s full of big dreams over a man who’s ashamed of his own stances any day. McCain is just the latest figurehead of a Republican powergrab, and he’s skirting the issues in the hopes that no one will notice.

    We’ve had eight disastrous years of someone working solely for his own benefit (whether that’s specifically his OWN benefit or the benefit of his party as a whole). It’s time for a leader who remembers that his job isn’t to consolidate power and ensure a bright future for those who agree with him, but to make AMERICA a better place than it was when he inherited it.

    So, Obama. He may not be the most exciting man ever to run for the office of the president, but he’s already demonstrated an ability to make change that no other recent candidate has; and if he could manage that in the primaries, what could he manage in the Oval Office?

    If nothing else, you have to ask yourself, “with four years of Obama, will America end up worse off than it is now?” Do you really think he could do anything to significantly HARM this country? No, I don’t think he could.

    We already know what we’re going to get with McCain: the same bad policies that haven’t been working for years. And yes, that kind of predictable safety appeals to a lot of people. But me, I’m a lot more interested in a potential greatness than a pretty much guaranteed mediocrity.

    If everything goes poorly for President Obama, well, we’ll probably be right where we are now as a nation. But if even half the things he wants to do go right? We’ll be MILES ahead of where we find ourselves, and that’s something to strive for. To be PROUD of. Meanwhile, best case scenario for McCain is that we keep sliding slowly down the slope we’ve been on for two terms now; worst case, things go to hell even faster.

    • Todd says:

      “So, Obama. He may not be the most exciting man ever to run for the office of the president…”

      Only in my lifetime.

    • clayfoot says:

      Obama is running as a Democrat with a Democratically controlled Congress. He hardly needs to be the great organizer that he is, as Bush so aptly showed us in the first four years. IMO, the scariest thing about an Obama presidency is that Congress will give him everything he asks, and federal spending will be off to the races again. At least, we might expect that McCain will veto some spending, just to maintain his Republican party cred.

      • shekb says:

        “Off to the races again?” Give me a break. As though spending hasn’t exploded in the last eight years, PLEASE.

        • clayfoot says:

          Duly stipulated. “Continuing the races” might be better. What I’m remembering is Bush’s veto record the first four years, when the Republicans controlled Congress. There weren’t any. Bush rationalizes that he didn’t need to veto bills when his friends controlled Congress. In recent history, the only time the federal deficit has ever decreased (or gone into surplus) is when different parties controlled the White House and Congress. Since the Democrats will continue to control Congress, an easy way to stem the tide of federal spending is to elect a Republican to the presidency. From that perspective, it’s actually heartening to me that McCain has voted with the Republicans 95% of the time, and frightening that Obama has voted with the Democrats 85% of the time. It means McCain would achieve that holy grail of federal spending: Gridlock.

          • shekb says:

            The political reality does not reflect the perfect logic of an “If then” statement. The democratic congress, for instance, caves to Bush at every conceivable opportunity. Besides, the Norquistian idea that government spending is the root of all evil and its elimination would have nothing but beneficial results is utopian at best and plain wrong at worst. There are evil ways to spend money and there are good ways to do it. As long as we’re going to spend, why not do good (because it’s actually evil, blah blah blah…I don’t buy it, and I’m happy to agree to disagree on that point).

          • sorceror says:

            Since the Democrats will continue to control Congress, an easy way to stem the tide of federal spending is to elect a Republican to the presidency.


            Isn’t it split that way already? And aren’t you now facing the worst deficit and debt since the Clinton years &#8212 or indeed, ever?

  5. pirateman says:

    Sorry, I’m a bit drunk. And by “a bit”, I mean “Totally and completely”

    Hey Todd, here’s a question that blends Film and Politics that you might like.

    How do you think that the movie industry, based upon the last 8 years of movies, have reacted to the Bush Administration and everything that’s come along with it? I only ask because I feel like there were a bunch of movies in Bush’s first term (3 Kings comes readily to mind) which really talked about or dwelt upon the fact that the country’s leadership was a bit fucked.

    Do you think that the last 8 years have had an influence? And if so, what?