Since we're telling stories, I'll tell a few anecdotes from a left-of-Republican perspective. (My immediate circle tends Democratic or Libertarian. The following are outside the circle.)
Case (1) Older lady (90ish) in the local garden club (New York State), who I discussed politics with for an hour. Lifelong Republican. She was tending towards voting for Obama (a few weeks ago). The primary issues were (a) McCain's age and medical history (b) McCain's choice of Palin. She thought McCain was showing his age and didn't seem sharp enough to be president, and was worried that Palin might become president. She thinks Obama is smart and reasonably careful and conservative (small c) in his outlook.
Case (2) Pennsylvania family. Lower middle class, some working two jobs. Reasonably well-informed. 3 claimed to be voting for Obama, one for McCain. Worried mainly about the economy and wanting some change from the last 8 years. The McCain voter in the group thinks McCain will be better for the economy, and the others think Obama will be better and that McCain will continue Bush policies.
Case (3) Aunt in her 90s in Virginia. Lifelong Republican family active in the local party org, and I believe she's a lifelong Republican as well. She is (a) worried about McCain's age and health and (b) does not think Palin is qualified (except in the constitutional sense) to be president. Believes that it is good that Obama will be willing to talk with our enemies.
The takeaway is that for these people, the usual left/right talking points didn't resonate much. They were looking at character and competence and behavioral style, and trusted their own observations of debates and other unscripted appearances more than other stories from the media.Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 2.11.2008 @ 15:12
One problem is that Democrats don't want to pass a Bush-approved bailout bill on their own (they're getting the same floods of calls and letters opposing a bailout).
If they have to pass it on their own with no political cover from the Party Before Country wing of the House Republicans, they might as well add features that make it more palatable for their constituencies.
Bring some Republican support on board, and the "poison pills" will largely vanish.
The single most useful thing McCain and Obama could do would be to publicly sign in blood (metaphorically) that they support and will vote for a (specific, low-priced) bailout bill. Or alternatively that they do not support it and will vote against it.
(Obviously I believe that there is a genuine severe problem and that a bailout will problem soften the impact substantially.)Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 26.09.2008 @ 13:56
Marginally related, A Conservative for Obama by Wick Allison, a former publisher of National Review. It starts out:Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 17.09.2008 @ 21:16
"THE MORE I LISTEN TO AND READ ABOUT “the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate,” the more I like him. Barack Obama strikes a chord with me like no political figure since Ronald Reagan...."
FALSE! Barack Obama was rated by National Journal as the most LIBERAL senator in the US Senate in 2007.
Really??? More liberal than Bernie Sanders (Socialist)? Than Russ Feingold? See this reasonably non-partisan
analysis of National Journal's rankings.
I've been too lazy to do it but would not be surprised if a similar methodology ranked John McCain as the most conservative Senator in 2007, due to the same factor, a large number of missed votes.
As far as your assertion that BObama will deep-six his campaign promises after he is elected, well, that is simply an assertion. I call him center-left because he has instincts for compromise that are clearly represented in his platform, like an anemic "universal" health care plan. (Hillary's plan at least was politically brave.) There have also been Senate votes that were center votes, like the FISA update "compromise", and the tort reform vote.Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 17.09.2008 @ 17:32
...but I do agree the premise that an Obama election will most likely cause a deep recession.
Examine the list of US recessions. If I'm reading it correctly, since Wilson, all recessions/depressions have started during Republican presidencies. I'm a fairly partisan Democrat, but correlation is not causation here IMO. In some cases blame could be assigned to the previous administration, e.g. I wouldn't blame the severe Volker recession on Reagan, the dot-com bubble burst during Clinton's presidency, the real estate bubble burst during GWBush's presidency, etc. Since BObama is a fairly center-left candidate with a slate of center and center-left policy proposals, I wouldn't worry much if I were a Republican. Even the lack of gridlock is unlikely to be as much of a problem as it was under the GWBush + Republican congress - Democrats are famously good at bickering amongst themselves and not nearly as disciplined at voting the party line as Republicans have been for the past decade and a half.Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 17.09.2008 @ 15:26
The fact that both sides in this debate over Obama’s ties – or lack of them – to the Machine have ammunition for their arguments should tell you a lot about how Obama has managed this sticky, complicated relationship over the years.
The plus side is that BObama's political skills have been honed by working 1/2 in and 1/2 out of the Chicago machine.
A guy who can pull this off is a guy who stands a better chance negotiating and working with dodgy world leaders like Putin. (The Chicago machine is not unknown outside the U.S.) Obama has said as much, though I can't find the quote. (Something about don't assume he can't do rough politics.)Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 24.08.2008 @ 16:18
Either naive or a commie. Which is it?
Neither. I saw the clip that Dan Riehl linked (probably out of context but no matter). My interpretation is that Obama was saying that China is looking more and more like a capitalist's paradise, implied subtext (*) that America might want to start thinking about spending $100 billion a year on infrastructure rather than on stupid non-productive enterprises like unnecessary wars. Nothing about approval of methods used by the Chinese, which are commonly known to be reprehensible. (The Chinese are strong on no-regulations, no-unions, and eminent domain. One-party rule simplifies bribery - no risk of bribing a loser.)
Obama could have and probably should have clarified his statement though.
(*) "subtext", you might ask. Well, Obama is clearly rather bright and clearly has fearsome political skills. The "empty suit" narrative is silly. An empty suit would have been destroyed by Hillary in the primary.Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 24.08.2008 @ 16:02
Obama made the questions look hard, they conclude that they were hard. It’s pretty bad when a candidate for President makes softball questions look hard.
Well, for starters, given the venue, they were mostly T-Ball questions for McCain, and more like dodgeball questions for Obama. Obama pretty much answered every question, but McCain did not actually answer some of the questions, instead regurgitating the closest stump talking points. Talking points are fine, but they came across as a panderfest after a while.
Also, Rick Warren pulled one at the beginning, no evidence that it was deliberate. The first question asked was different for Obama and McCain. From the rickwarrennews transcripts,
Obama was asked:
WHO ARE THE THREE WISEST PEOPLE YOU KNOW IN YOUR LIFE AND WHO ARE YOU GOING TO RELY ON HEAVILY IN YOUR ADMINISTRATION?
McCain was asked:
FIRST QUESTION IS WHO WERE THE THREE WISEST PEOPLE THAT YOU KNOW THAT YOU WOULD RELY ON HEAVILY IN AN ADMINISTRATION.
Obama was asked a two-part question. McCain was asked a one-part question. Post-forum commentators did not notice, just wondered why Obama mentioned his wife and grandmother.Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 19.08.2008 @ 19:05
Oops, cut and paste error. Obama rebuttal.Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 16.08.2008 @ 12:31
It's probably worth mentioning at least in passing the official Obama campaign rebuttal. It's about 40 pages, mostly point-by-point rebuttal, in some cases quite convincing.
Evidently, they told a few fish stories of their own in rebutting the nutcase:
ed.Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 16.08.2008 @ 12:29