Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bugs and Obama

Great piece by JJ Sutherland on Weekend Edition. The page has a link to a clip for "Long Haired Hare" as well -- not the best of the Bugs oeuvre, but not bad: Bugs at the Hollywood Bowl in a feud with an opera singer.


Created the files for Devlin's Razor and Terminal Freedom. Dave Aitel's out of town, so it won't be up on Immunity for a few days yet, but it's coming. (I may change the copyright notice anyway before he gets back, and reupload all those files.)


Been an interesting political season. It looks like Obama may be on the verge of running away with the Democratic nomination -- I think this is a sign of real optimism on the part of Democratic primary voters. If primary voters were more concerned about the general election, they'd elect a more apparently moderate nominee, presumably Clinton. Instead they're going with an unabashed liberal for the first time since Mondale. (Dukakis was a liberal, but he was embarrassed by it; there's no sign Obama is.) I think the calculation with Obama is that he can beat whoever the Republicans throw at him, so no need to fall back to the safer, general-election candidate -- which is what they did with Kerry, four years ago.

It's been a long time since a liberal with convictions was on the national political stage. It'll be very interesting to see how Obama does, and in advance, here's hoping he doesn't get on any small planes any time soon.

I used to vote Republican occasionally, though I haven't done it in the last decade. The modern Southern-based, evangelical Republican party does nothing for me, and the small government, avoid-foreign-entanglements, protect-the-Constitution crowd has ceased to hold any sway in that party, except for genetic sports like Ron Paul. There's no Democrat in the top 4 (Richardson, Clinton, Obama, Edwards) I wouldn't vote for over any Republican, including Ron Paul, who I personally admire.

I think Republicans are going to have a hard time going forward. (Which might draw me back to them, if some of their positions change; historically I'm prone to voting for losers....) The country is growing darker and as whites decline to a sub-50% portion of the population, the Republican Party's either going to grow increasingly irrelevant, or it's going to shed the hardest-core nativist wing of its party, find some way to do business with Latinos, and build a new coalition. Because the old coalition's dying....


Sean Fagan said...

The polls I've seen -- take them for what little they're worth -- show McCain edging out Obama. And it looks like McCain is likely to win the GOP side of NH. We'll see later tonight.

Obama's got lots of problems. But he's a very good speaker, and he's definitely intelligent. My big concern is whether he'll fight. That, it turns out, is what annoyed me most about Kerry -- he simply didn't fight for the win.

The best thing I can say about Hillary is that she will fight. Other than that, she's almost a Republican. A moderate one, though, so I can vote for her. (And if McCain hadn't decided to go pandering and hypocritical, I would have been willing to vote for him.)

Obama talks a lot about hope. And, unlike the other side of the aisle, when he does so, he's talking about including more people. Not hope that we can destroy this group, or root out that group, or get things back to what they used to be.

Huckabee terrifies me, except for the fact that he seems to terrify a large group of the GOP. So Huckabee vs. Obama will probably go to Obama. Huckabee vs. Clinton will go to Huckabee. (And to follow up on a comment above... why is the GOP so blind that they can't see that Hillary is very nearly one of them?)

Dan Moran said...

The polls I've seen (it's been some weeks) had Obama edging out McCain. Not that it matters, so early -- 10 months is a really, really long time.

Hillary's my first choice specifically because she is moderate Dem. It used to annoy me dreadfully when Bill Clinton said things I agreed with. Because he was saying what the polls told him to say, and they happened to match what I really thought should happen, as often than not. If Bill Clinton ever had a moment of hard-core conviction, I missed it.

Huckabee terrifies Republicans because he's economically liberal, not because he believes the world is 6,000 years old. The latter belief is not a drawback in modern Republican politics, unfortunately.

Steve Perry said...

Oh, I'm pretty sure Bill had a few moments of hardcore -- he just wasn't convicted of 'em ...

Shawn said...

I can agree about Billy, while failing to see why so many people have a problem with it. You're in a nominal democracy. Elections are still based on what worked 200 years ago, but technology has given you much better ways of understanding, and doing, what people want done. If you truly believe you're in office to represent the people, why not choose to follow what your experts say they want?

Shawn said...

sorry, I hit post too soon.

The fact that he was doing it for other reasons, or that often the peepul aren't playing with a full deck, doesn't change the fact that it's also the most democratic approach to governing. Too many people treated it as a bad thing because he was listening rather than because idiots were talking.

J.D. Ray said...

Well, it's tomorrow already, and the winners were Clinton and McCain. Taken together with the Iowa caucuses (which, frankly, I don't understand very well), I would say that nobody knows what's going to happen, other than it's going to be either Huckabee or McCain against either Clinton or Obama. Edwards will be someone's second man, you can bet on that.

The thing that scares me about all three of the Dem frontrunners is that they're so focused on either healthcare for everyone or jobs for everyone. It's a nice idea and all, but the first one is expensive, and the last one isn't really the government's business. And if the government spends a bunch of money subsidizing businesses so people will have jobs, where does the money for the healthcare come from? Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

How about we convince Steve to run for President? Then he can implement the three (mandatory) service corps from the Confed, and we can get away from being a welfare state while keeping everyone healthy and employed. Oh, yeah, we'll need machine guns with explosive rounds to complete the picture...

Sean Fagan said...

Healthcare for everyone, from what I've read, is actually a bit cheaper than what we've got now.

The big kicker seems to be single-payer. Medicare has that, and has worked really well.

Since she's very nearly a Republican, Clinton is going after the health companies, and offering them various subsidies in exchange for insuring everyone. This appeals to them, because they can charge lots of money, and essentially continue business as they have been. (You can probably tell I'm rather skeptical of this approach.)

Steve Perry said...

I've believed for a long time that anybody who wants the job of President should be disqualified on that basis alone.

I think, like Children of the Corn, somebody should be selected at random and given the job, four years, then s/he's out and pick the next guy.

I mean, could an average guy on the street fuck it up any worse than Shrub?

Seriously, one of the reasons why, smart as he is, Obama isn't blowing my socks off is that smart isn't the key to doing the job, either. Bill was smart -- Rhodes Scholar smart, save when he wasn't thinking with his willie.

At least he left the place better than he found it -- Jimmy Carter was smart, too, and look how much good that did him, or us.

I don't even mind a crook, long as he is a clever crook who can get things done, and them things with which I agree ...

Just not another right-wing God-is-telling-me-what-to-do short-sighted war-mongering ijit, please and thank you.

If I had to pick one of the front-runners out now and install them, it would be Hillary. Too far left, too far right, not the best path right now. Middle of the road Democrat, that's my choice.

J.D. Ray said...

"It's going to be a long and stupid year."

Dan Moran said...

"The fact that he was doing it for other reasons, or that often the peepul aren't playing with a full deck, doesn't change the fact that it's also the most democratic approach to governing."

Yeah, except this is a Republic. You really can't do business with someone who has no shred of honor, no place he won't go. It's possible Bill Clinton had some core convictions, but you couldn't tell it by me. I recall once describing somebody (probably WJ Clinton) as a guy who'd have fit right in in the old Soviet Union, adapted himself cheerfully to the Politburo and found some way to compromise and get things done ... anyway, if that wasn't Clinton I was describing, it could have been.

"Too many people treated it as a bad thing because he was listening rather than because idiots were talking."

Well, unless my bona-fide centrism is a sign of idiocy, and who knows, maybe it is, I wouldn't go that far. I've described myself a few times as a conservative, small 'c,' and mostly I mean it -- despite being pro-gay marriage, pro-progressive taxation, and a few other typically liberal attitudes. But for the most part over the last two centuries, American society has worked ... not in the sense of being fair to everyone all the time, but in the sense of being an active, vigorous society that consistently evolved toward something better. And that core social structure -- a mostly free press, mostly fair elections, and the ideal of universal education -- is something that shouldn't be fucked with except under extreme duress. Modern "Conservatism," by contrast, is radical all the way down. For six years it had its free hand to do what it wished -- and blew up our deficit, funneled tax dollars to Christian religious organizations, denied global warming, alienated most of the world, started a war on a pack of lies so relentless as to be genuinely stunning, outed a CIA agent for pure political reasons, ran the federal government like it was la Cosa Nostra -- and all of this led by a wildly popular (among conservatives) fake cowboy who once mocked a woman he'd executed.

I despise Bill Clinton, but not with one tenth the passion I feel for Bush.

Still ... I wish Clinton had shown some damn spine. Once. Somewhere. About something.


Steve -- you know, of all the stuff I despised about Clinton, his appreciation of his own dick wasn't really on the list. I like mine, too. Whatever else was going on was between him and Hillary.

The focus on Clinton's dick did conservatives no good, back in the 90s. It's like the rape accusations by Juanita Broaddrick -- conservatives chanted that no president had ever even been accused of rape. Except that, as with so much else, this wasn't true; Ronald Reagan was accused of it, but until the Gingrich crowd decided no accusation was too vile to throw at Clinton, claims like that weren't repeated in American politics, without something like proof.


Worth reading.

"Could an average guy on the street fuck it up worse than shrub?"



JD -- great cartoon. Thanks.

Steve Perry said...

Something I've always wondered about -- how, if you are okay with such things as gay marriage, against starting wars, and tax breaks for the rich can you consider voting Republican?

One of the guys running for Prez doesn't believe in evolution, which I suspect you do, and seems to think that an Afghani is something you wear around your neck when it gets cold. The rest seem little better.

Every time I see a black woman Republican, or one who Hispanic, or gay, I shake my head in wonder. What is it these folks can find in the party of white rich men that calls to them?

What do you see there for you?

Dan Moran said...


Right now I can't consider voting Republican. They'd have to change before I'd cast a vote for them again -- it's been a decade since I voted for a Republican -- I voted for Dick Riordan for his second term, voted for Steve Cooley for DA. Riordan on the merits, Cooley because Gil Garcetti was the worst DA the universe had ever seen ...

"What do you see there for you?"

I'll tell you what I once saw there -- except I was wrong.

1. Respect for the Constitution. Turns out this was code language for "Keep your hands off my dick ... I mean gun ... and Christian Fascism is fine by me. Shut up. I'm going to tap your phones now."

But I liked the idea.

2. The ideal of small government. I'm paying about 50% of my income in taxes -- and while I live well despite 5 kids and the eternal court battles, that nonetheless seems like too much to me. (And having said that, I'm still pro-progressive taxation; better I and other well off people pay those taxes than the working poor.)

The amount of truly stupid crap the federal government gets up to is legendary. If you've never read the budget, you should do it once, as an excercise -- not the summary budget, the budget budget. It'll take you a long time but you'll be appalled at the number of things the government is up to for no damn good reason at all.

3. A "humble," non-interventionist foreign policy. The U.S. has no business stomping around the world shooting people who get in our way of oil. Or what have you ... there was once an isolationist wing of the Republican Party, currently represented by ... well, there's Ron Paul ... that said that unless America had been attacked, it was to stay home and not interfere with other people's business. That's lost, now.

To give you an example of a modern Republican I might vote for? Arnold Schwarzenegger, if he weren't such a pig of a human being.