Monday, October 27, 2008

Could "liberal/feminist" policies help conservatives?

Our local columnist Stephanie Salter wrote anogher gem. I urge you to read it, article here.

She juxtaposes recent comments by Gov. Sarah Palin, the current "it" girl of social conservatives, with a former "it" girl, Phyllis Schafly. One decries Title IX, while the other credits it with her "upbringing."

Could "liberal/feminist" policies help conservatives?

Our local columnist Stephanie Salter wrote anogher gem

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Australians interested in Vigo County's bellwether rings

here is an article from an Australian newspaper. The reporter contacted me. Too bad she didn't get the right university.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Republican ticket and war

A quote from Senator John McCain: "I know how to win wars. I know how to win wars," McCain told the audience at a town hall in Albuquerque. And Governor Sarah Palin agrees: "What I want is a president who has spent 22 years in uniform defending our country," she said. "I want a president who isn't afraid to use the word victory when he talks about the wars we are fighting. I want a president who knows how to win the war and wants to win the war."

Who could argue with that?

I can. I want a president who can keep us out of war, who isn't so gung ho about them in the first place.

Which candidate is that? That candidate has my vote.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Would Bipartisanship Look Like?

Previously published in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, 10/15/2008

Dear Sens. McCain and Obama,

For the good of the country, both of you, please, stick to the issues and stop engaging in character assassination. Yes, yes, you can rationalize this poison as important, that the character and past associations of each be scrutinized. Both of you know this is bunk. Sen. Obama is no more a terrorist because of William Ayers than Sen. McCain is the Manchurian Candidate because he was a POW. And what is worse, it adds to the divisiveness and hyper partisanship that I bet our enemies count on when we face times of hardship, like during a multi-front war and the current economic meltdown.

Sen. McCain, a week ago you finally showed your true colors by facing a booing crowd of your own supporters and telling them that Sen. Obama is not Arab, is an honorable, decent, family man, who would make a good President, but that you would make a much better one. Sen. Obama, while your rally supporters are not yelling “treason” and “terrorist” about Sen. McCain, there are scurrilous and damaging misinformation on the internet by your supporters about Sen. McCain and his family. May I suggest that your “Fight the Smears” website include smears about your opponent, too.

How shallow you both sound in your campaigns for change. This campaign is looking like more and more of the same. But what boggles my mind is that it seems the both of you are playing chicken; the problem is when one of you blinks, its not damage to your campaign but to America. Maybe I don’t get it, but bipartisanship is more than just occasionally voting with the other side. It is also about recognizing our shared fate, something both of you seem to have forgotten or you would not engage in the politics of personal destruction. And forget about justifying it with “they started it.” Both of you are capable of stopping it.

Bipartisanship is a theme both of your campaigns embrace, then why not show it? Show the American people that you at least understand what it means and then act that way. One of you is going to be the next President of the United States. And one of you will return to the US Senate as a leader of your party. President McCain, would you like Sen. Obama’s help on your health care plan? President Obama, would you like Sen. McCain’s help on your energy policy? Or, are both of you going to engage in hyper partisanship to the degree that if one compliments the other’s wife, you will reflexively disagree with the compliment?

How can you, or let your supporters without correction, call each other “terrorist,” “unhinged,” and “dangerous” and then expect to work together? Moreover, aren’t you also hobbling the next President with these kinds of attacks? Is hobbling the President of the United States in this way a good thing for the country?

Here is what you should do. Call a joint press conference. Skip the part about who called first because it undermines your calls for service to country as you argue over who should get the credit.

Sen. Obama, after being deferred to by the more senior Senator, you announce that you are now embracing Sen. McCain’s health plan. And that either as President or as Senator you will work hard for its passage. Sen. McCain then announce that after three debates, that Sen, Obama has convinced you, that his energy policy is the best for America, and vow to fight for it as either President or Senator.

Sen. Obama, you next announce that after three debates, you are convinced that Sen. McCain’s veterans policy is the one to support and vow to help make it the law of the land either as President or Senator. Calling Sen. Obama’s raise, the gambler Sen. McCain calls Sen. Obama with “I support your climate change policy” and will work next year, either from the Oval Office of the Senate to make it law.

This is just four areas to agree upon. This is bipartisanship. This is recognizing shared fate. This means we both have a stake in not burning down each other’s house (otherwise called America). There are plenty of other issues to debate, but these are settled. It makes the debates seem real and that neither of you are ideologues. “Look,” doing that will introduce a little bit of certainty into an uncertain situation. And that, “my friends,” is leadership.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sarah Palin's response to the troopergate findings

It strikes me that the outsider is certainly acting like an insider with this kind of response: "The truth was revealed there in that report that showed there was no unlawful or unethical activity on my part." (in reponse to reporters).

This reminds me of President Clinton's famous, "depends on what is, is." (I'm paraphrasing).

I actually think if she was just honest about it, no one would care. But even her small town supporters are going to be put off by this.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Presidential Debate #2

Been a week since I posted anything...things are busy in the academic calendar.

Watched the debate last night, such as it was. I did not think there was any clear winner, though some of the focus groups that certain news organizations had set up seemed to lean McCain's way.

I did not like the format at all. The questions, I thought were predictable. They were questions of regular people who aren't paying much atetntion until now, so we wore over old ground again. Too much stuff that has already been heard.

Sen McCain's "maverick" proposal was good political theatre, whether it is good policy, I don't know. I thought we were essentially doing what he proposed, except instead of buying bad mortagages, we are buying bad paper. What difference to the financial markets that would make, i wonder. Could Secy Paulson do that with the 700B he already has?

On the atmospherics, I thought neither candidate did a great job of "connecting." This was supposed to be McCain's strength. As Chris Matthews (I think) predicted, there would be vet in the audience who would get to ask a question and sure enough, a CPO did, and Sen McCain acted exactly as the pundit other words, predictable. Later, I noticed, that CPO speaking comfortably with Sen Obama after the debate was over.

Two excellent questions: health care a right, privilege, or responsibility. Sen McCain did not hesitate and said responsibility (though I wondered what that really meant..) while Sen Obama, without hesitation, said right. And then the audience member who asked is health care a commodity? Neither candidate directly answered the question...but Sen McCain's answer was a clear "yes" to that question. Sen Obama's was more hedging (as appropriate to his view of it being a right) but certainly doesn't embrace the idea that health care is (or should be) a ocmmodity.

More on atmospherics: I think one of the punidts I was switching between last night noted that Sen Obama has a nice smile. Indeed, and I hear many women, including white middle aged women, what a good looking man he is. And he is. Sen McCain, though when he was young, perhaps was a good looking man..(seems most young men in uniform look good), is an older man and while he may be in good shape, I don't think many would agree that he is a good looking man...I mean, compare to Ronald Reagan, for instance. Indeed, I kept thinking that last night about Sen Obama...he is Reaganesque is many, many ways. And while I didn't care for that about him, I did say, I wish he was "on our side."

I don't know what to make of Sen McCain's "this one" comment. I think this is his sense of humor which tends to be sarcastic. Sarah Palin could pull that off and no one would think anything negative about her. Sen MCCain doesn't look Presidential when he does that.

Overall, as I said above, no winner last night. A draw, which means a win for Obama because he did nothing to turn the trends which seem to support him, while Sen McCain needed to do something. He tried with his bold suggestion for baling out homeowners with bad mortgages, but that will anger his base, which he absolutely needs to have any chance to win.
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