Politics - General
Chatting will be enabled around 8:30, until then feel free to comment on questions you'd like to see or expectations for the debate. Some obvious questions:
1. For Biden: You strongly criticized Obama's lack of experience during the primaries. What makes you now consider him qualified to lead from day one?
2. For Palin: You've repeatedly stated that you said "thanks but no thanks" to the "Bridge to Nowhere." How do you reconcile that with your earlier support?
3. For Biden: You voted in favor of the Senate bailout bill. What provisions in that bill protect the taxpayer from simply paying for the mistakes of Wall Street?
4. For Palin: Senator McCain opposes drilling in ANWR while you support it. What would you tell him to change his mind?
5. For both: How do you think the US should handle Iran?
6. For both: What do you view as the proper role of the VP?
Edit: liveblog moved below the fold. Thanks to everyone who joined us, and apologies for those who were unable to due to technical difficulties over which we unfortunately had no control.
Eat Your Cats and Dogs
Joel S. Hirschhorn
Promoted by Brendan
In my original post on the subject of "Bear DNA," I explained that Sen. McCain ridicules spending $3M on "Bear DNA," but:
- Sen. McCain voted in favor of the expenditure .
- It ain't $3M; it's $4.8M over the past 5 years , and the purpose of the $4.8M expenditure was to obtain actual scientific information about just how endangered grizzly bears are in northwestern Montana.
- The study showed that there are "2 1/2 times the number of bears previously estimated," and we can therefore revisit the regulations that impose $25,000 fines on farmers who mistakenly shoot grizzly bears or do so to protect their land.
Some obvious questions for tonight's debate, which was intended to highlight foreign policy but will probably touch on the financial sector meltdown:
1. For Obama -- weren't you wrong about the surge, and doesn't that undercut your claim of superior judgment on Iraq?
2. For McCain -- a majority of Americans view the Iraq war as a mistake. Are they wrong? If so, why? If not, do you regret supporting it?
3. For Obama -- would you initiate a draw-down of troop levels in Iraq if commanders advised against it? If not, how long would you delay?
4. For McCain -- how would you define victory in Iraq, and what specific steps would you take that Obama would not to bring it about?
5. For both -- what is your plan to produce stability in Afghanistan? How do you intend to pursue al Qaeda along the Pakistan border?
6. For both -- should countries like Georgia be offered NATO membership?
7. For both -- what is your plan to deal with the immediate threat of companies failing? How will you prevent such instability going forward?
Add your own suggestions in comments, as well as any discussion about the debate before, during, and after. We will put up a liveblog beginning around 8:30 ET, come chat as you watch. Edit: liveblog moved below the fold. Further edit: initial factcheck now online.
Our Republic Raped and Still No Revolution!
Joel S. Hirschhorn
Here Obama's 10 Worst Ideas .
Here's McCain's 10 Worst Ideas .
I think they are generally on the mark though I have some quibbles.
On Obama's, I'm not so sure how bad Number 4 is. Meeting with the Iranian President, by itself doesn't seem so bad to me. However, FP adds that Obama said he would do this "without precondition". Perhaps THAT isn't wise. I'm not sure. But according to a Carnegie Endowment expert on the matter:
I'd heard about this survey a while back. And now, it's done.
Hat tip to Tyler Cowen for alerting me to the results.
I am actually as surprised as Cowen, a libertarian independent like me, that the polls were as close as they were on a general level considering the personal politics of Economists to skew "liberal" (despite that, as a group, those liberals tend to skew "Right" compared to others in Academia)
Obama won the general vote by a count of 59% to 31%.
According to an article by Amer Taheri in Monday'sNew York Post, "Obama Tried to Stall "GIs" Iraq Withdrawal."
According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.
"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.
The source, Hoshyar Zebar, claims that Obama tried to undercut the current POTUS in the hopes that Obama could dictate the Iraq policy if elected POTUS.
"This election is not about issues," said Davis. "This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates."Washington Post
So once again this election won’t be about the issues from the Republican standpoint. I’m shocked! I can’t understand why they wouldn’t want to run on the issues. We haven’t had a campaign debate about the issues in the last 20 years. The Republicans have gradually moved the electorate away from the issues and have made each election a referendum on some social issue beginning with the Nixon southern strategy. At that point it was a referendum on law and order and the civil rights movement. At which time the American voting public voted resoundingly against progress.
I confess. I believe there is a ruling class that sustains the two-party plutocracy running the nation for the benefit of the rich and corporate class. Their broad strategy is deception and delusion. Tactically, they use government, the mainstream media, the financial services sector, funding of politicians and the two major parties, and many other parts of the culture and economy to maintain their power and control.
As I've stated on several occasions, I find the resurgence of McCain and the GOP from the jaws of inevitable defeat to be simply astounding. In a way, the feeling is like when I, as a Phillies fan, watched the Red Sox improbable run towards a World Series victory when they were one out away from losing down 3 games to none to the Yankees in 2004. I was amazed. Not really sad, not really elated....just amazed. I was witnessing an improbable historic run.
As I watch McCain do nothing while surging ahead of Obama in the polls in a country that hates the Bush Administration, I'm intrigued.
I missed out on some otherwise excellent conversation about the Georgia-Russia conflict because I was in the middle of settling down in my new home, but I wanted to take a few minutes to weigh in on some issues related to American foreign policy, perceptions of Russia and perceived Russian imperialism, and the impact on the current presidential race. I couldn't agree more with John's diary on the matter, but I wanted to flesh out some of the political issues that are currently important to the region, as well as discuss some historical parallels that may be uncomfortable to revisit, but are nonetheless instructive.
Part of this is motivated by a roundtable discussion I attended this week on this very issue: the panel included historians, political scientists, and former NATO advisers. The most controversial statement was made by a political scientist who has lived and worked in Georgia, and who has no hesitation in comparing the current situation in Georgia to the Serbian conflict - although I disagree on some of the specifics and implications, which I'll note below.
I know that many people here are already actively involved in volunteering with campaigns. For those that aren't, I encourage you to give it a shot. It's fun, it's rewarding, and it really does make a small but concrete difference. Whether you support McCain or Obama or someone else, getting citizens interested in the election and motivated to vote helps strengthen our political system -- we all win. When citizens are apathetic or cynical, politicians aren't held accountable for their actions -- we all lose.
This isn't so much a diary as it is a special post. Following up on this recent diary I wrote about the Sarah Palin speech, I present a posting today by Democrat and economics professor Mark Thoma titled Do Democrats Need to Learn Some Respect? .
As we head into election season with rhetorical and hyperbolic guns ablazing, I find this short piece by Arnold Kling to be somewhat correct and refreshing.
Kling asserts that, for the most part, the difference is more rhetorical than anything else.
An article in the WaPo looks at a debate going on at the state level in RI over Medicaid spending. Its state budget bursting at the seams, the state legislature is embattled over what to do with Medicaid, which comprises about a quarter of state expenditures.
It is amazing to me how foolish politicians and the media types take us for. They would have us believe that the reason McCain picked Governor Palin for his VP was because he wanted to thumb his nose at conventional wisdom and display once again what a maverick he is. According to the narrative, he wanted to demonstrate his desire for change and desire to break with the Washington insiders whom he has been a part of for the last 25 years. Let’s be clear John McCain would pick Satan himself if he thought it would get him elected. His selection of Governor Palin was a desperate move by a desperate man.
And let's be clear : It was indeed a performance. These things always are.
She did well. Very well.
Now, I can disagree with a lot of what she said and for various reasons and still acknowledge that.
First of all, I disagree with her foreign policy tone. And no amount of rhetoric is going to change that. Not so sure how that plays with vast majority of undecided voters who are at best part-time status quo political spectators.
Some writing on Gustav that inserts another perspective on the ordeal.
A few days ago, Paul Krugman, in typically rabid partisan form had another NYT Op-Ed on Gustav and FEMA.
The standard fare: the wonders of government bureaucracy cannot work without proper leadership (Dems who care) and the GOP simply produced a self-fulfilled prophecy with the Katrina debacle....nothing more. IOW, good and effective government needs people who believe in it and it will work great.
In my spectator role of this upcoming election, I've been becoming and increasingly and quietly intrigued about what could happen and what it could mean....in much the same way that I watch the analysts discuss the prospects of the upcoming NFL season. Former pros turned "analysts" and journalists are caressing their collective chin while scanning a multitude of factors to make the bold claim...namely that Team XYZ, in spite of current perceptions, is the "team to watch" or the "team to beat". See below for video.