Archive - 2008
Like many (most?) of us, in the last few days I've come to the point of really being ready for this presidential campaign to be over. I'm feeling pretty good about my candidate's chances, but I must admit I'm still quite nervous about it. No matter what the polls say, I think I'm going to have a bit of pleasant surprise when (if) Obama is elected. In the mean time, as you might have noticed, I'm doing a political purge via a few blog posts regarding what I've been thinking about lately concerning the election. Tonight, it's McCain's robocalls.
Recently McCain took some heat from the liberal media (in this case, Fox News) about the hypocrisy of not only sliming Obama with robocalls but hiring the same firm to do it that was used by the Bush campaign to slime McCain in the 2000 primaries. If you're not familiar with that story from 2000, you can read more about it in a NY Times article from last year (link). An few excerpts:
A smear campaign during the primary in February 2000 here had many in South Carolina falsely believing that Mr. McCain's wife, Cindy, was a drug addict and that the couple's adopted daughter, Bridget, was the product of an illicit union. Mr. McCain's patriotism, mental well-being and sexuality were also viciously called into question.
People in some areas of South Carolina began to receive phone calls in which self-described pollsters would ask, â€œWould you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?â€
It was a reference to Bridget, who was adopted as a baby from an orphanage in Bangladesh and is darker skinned than the rest of the McCain family. Richard Hand, a professor at Bob Jones University, sent an e-mail message to â€œfellow South Caroliniansâ€ telling recipients that Mr. McCain had â€œchosen to sire children without marriage.â€
Literature began to pepper the windshields of cars at political events suggesting that Mr. McCain had committed treason while a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, that he was mentally unstable after years in a P.O.W. camp, that he was the homosexual candidate and that Mrs. McCain, who had admitted to abusing prescription drugs years earlier, was an addict.
Here's the video of McCain being asked about employing those same robocallers:
Back in 2000, McCain said:
I promise you I have never and will never have anything to do with that kind of political tactic.
Now, McCain makes the excuse, without coming right out and saying it (because the 2000 smears were so nasty that they don't want to name them), that the smear from 2000 about McCain having an illegitimate black baby is "far different" and "dramatically different" from McCain now insinuating that Obama sympathizes with domestic terrorists. Really? I don't think so. McCain defends the robocall as "accurate", but we all know it's not really about a few dry facts - it's about implying that Obama is a terrorist sympathizer. That is downright nasty and is NOT far different from what happened in 2000.
Notice that McCain also continues to claim that at the last debate Obama refused to repudiate the statements that Congressman John Lewis made in which he expressed his view that McCain and Palin have been "sowing the seeds of hatred and division" at their rallies in a fashion reminiscent of George Wallace (read a sympathetic take on Lewis' statements here). That's ridiculous too. I watched the debate and heard the repudiation myself. From the debate transcript (link):
OBAMA: I mean, look, if we want to talk about Congressman Lewis, who is an American hero, he, unprompted by my campaign, without my campaign's awareness, made a statement that he was troubled with what he was hearing at some of the rallies that your running mate was holding, in which all the Republican reports indicated were shouting, when my name came up, things like "terrorist" and "kill him," and that you're running mate didn't mention, didn't stop, didn't say "Hold on a second, that's kind of out of line."
And I think Congressman Lewis' point was that we have to be careful about how we deal with our supporters.
MCCAIN: You've got to read what he said...
OBAMA: Let -- let -- let...
MCCAIN: You've got to read what he said.
OBAMA: Let me -- let me complete...
SCHIEFFER: Go ahead.
OBAMA: ... my response. I do think that he inappropriately drew a comparison between what was happening there and what had happened during the civil rights movement, and we immediately put out a statement saying that we don't think that comparison is appropriate.
And, in fact, afterwards, Congressman Lewis put out a similar statement, saying that he had probably gone over the line.
The important point here is, though, the American people have become so cynical about our politics, because all they see is a tit- for-tat and back-and-forth. And what they want is the ability to just focus on some really big challenges that we face right now, and that's what I have been trying to focus on this entire campaign.
Don't get me wrong. It's not that I think Obama has run a squeaky-clean campaign either. He's made questionable claims about McCain on more than one occasion. While we're on the subject of Obama's campaign, let me also recommend an article by Ruth Marcus that I read today (link). She observes, as many of us have, that Obama's promise of "a new kind of politics" (which, admittedly, it what first got me excited about him) hasn't really been demonstrated in his campaign (which turned out to be quite conventional). Honestly, I rationalize it as him having to do what he had to do to get elected, and I hold out hope that once elected he'll start walking the talk. Marcus throws some cold water on that view:
What evidence is there that a President Obama would govern differently than candidate Obama campaigned? Would a President Obama press policies -- on teacher accountability, on climate change, on trade -- that discomfit Democratic Party interest groups? Does he have the spine to stand up to the inevitably overreaching demands of congressional Democrats? Does he have some magical, Republican-whisperer ability to quell a political opposition that will be determined from Day One to frustrate his program and regain power?
Obama's closing argument offers reassuring words, undergirded by his evident instinct for consensus and pragmatism.
I know how he wants to govern. I'm not convinced he can pull it off.
Neither am I, but I can hope.
That's a question I've seen people asking lately. For example, here's a conversation I had on Facebook:
Below are some links that might help for anyone else asking that same question, but first here are a few of my reasons:
- I desire a foreign policy that is less bellicose and more reliant on international cooperation and diplomacy
- I support generous treatment of immigrants
- I believe that the policies of the Democrats are more likely to reduce the abortion rate
- I believe that we need to protect the environment and can't depend on "the market" to do it for us
- Though I realize this is a gross oversimplification, I feel more kinship with a party whose focus is on the poor and powerless rather than on the rich and powerful
- I am confident that Obama has a first-class intellect and temperament, qualities that are highly desirable for the job of president
How a Christian Can Vote for Obama (link)
Frank! As A Former Pro-Life Leader How Dare You Support Pro-Choice Obama? (link)
I'm Catholic, staunchly anti-abortion, and support Obama (link)
Pro Life - Pro Obama (link)
Interview with Donald Miller (link)
On the Campaign Trail in MI, IN, NC, VA and OH This Week (link)
From Reagan to Obama, a brief Political History (link)
Endorsing Obama (link)
My Support for Obama (link)
Why I'm Voting for Obama, and Why I Hope You Will Too (link)
Why I'm Voting for Obama (link)
If you're a Christian planning to vote for Obama, tell us why...
â€¦characterizing Obama's plan to tax the nation's top earners at 39 percent instead of 36 percent as socialist is absurd. Dwight Eisenhower taxed top earners at 91 percent. Richard Nixon taxed them at more than 50 percent. Even Ronald Reagan didn't lower the top marginal rate to less than 50 percent until the last two years of his second term. Were these Republicans secret socialists, too?
- Andrew Romano (link)
The Sunday-before-last my sister-in-law and I ran half of the Detroit marathon. Kevin got up early and drove us downtown. It was cold and in the 30s. Kevin let me borrow a jacket which kept me plenty warm after we started running. It was kind of strange at the start with thousands of people packed together like sardines waiting for the run to start. Several miles into the run, it hadn't really thinned out too much. As we crossed the bridge into Canada, we actually had to walk briefly because there were so many people trying to run through one or two traffic lanes. I passed Allison during a moment of high congestion and then didn't see her again as I dropped back to look for her. That was just as well since it freed me to take it at my own pace instead of hers (faster). Since it was my first long run, I didn't realize how much clothing would be left lying in the road as people discarded it. I didn't walk any except briefly at the water stops to guzzle the liquid refreshment. I slowed down quite a bit towards the end (a "competitive walker" even passed me at one point) and didn't really push it hard. I finished about as fast as I expected (2:14). By the way, the winner of the full marathon finished in front of me. :-)
Here are some photos:
A ruthless London bond trader finds his life upended when he inherits his uncle's French vineyard and then falls for a local restaurateur.
It was fairly bland but enjoyable enough. I give it 3 out of 5.