Saturday, November 22, 2008

Idiot of the Day: James Kirchick (for arguing that Obama has abandoned the Netroots)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Writing in the New York Daily News, TNR assistant editor James Kirchick, long an obsessively angry critic of (liberal) bloggers, argues that Obama is "already angering some of his most devoted followers on the party's left wing." Yet the only example he gives is Obama's support for Lieberman, hardly a centerpiece of the Obama pre-presidency. While it is true that many liberal bloggers wanted Lieberman to be given the boot, including me, and that some took it personally, as if Obama were directly attacking the netroots, it's just not that important a move on Obama's part, and, as many of us suggested, there were good reasons for it. Obama wants Liberman's vote, and wants to be, and to be perceived to be, inclusive, and if Lieberman proves to be an unrepentant thorn, he'll be dealt with accordingly. To suggest, as Kirchick does, that this one issue an Obama slap of the Netroots' face is simply ridiculous.

But, then, Kirchick's piece is one long smear of the Netroots. For example, he suggests that the Netroots -- and, indeed, everyone who wants to see an end to the Iraq War -- want to "[abandon] Iraq to Iran and Al Qaeda," as if that's the only alternative to the withdrawal of U.S. troops: if you don't support the war, Kirchick implies, you're with America's enemies. You expect to see such a stupid argument in the pages of The Weekly Standard and on Fox News. It is simply embarrassing that Kirchick is an editor at TNR, a magazine I admire a great deal and read frequently. In terms of the war, all he spews is the usual right-wing nonsense.

Kirchick, as bitter as ever, thinks that the Netroots (though he only names three: Kos, Jane Hamsher, and David Sirota "don't matter". America is more conservative than liberal, he remarks, repeating the common post-election refrain, pushed by the right and repeated ad nauseam by the mainstream media, that America is a "center-right" nation. Basically, Obama's "left-wing supporters" are merely "petty, vindictive and small."

If anyone is "petty, vindictive and small," it's Kirchick, and he proves it here -- yet again.

But the question needs to be asked: Has Obama abandoned his liberal supporters?


Consider, for example, his job-creation plan, outlined in his radio address today. It is an aggressive, liberal plan. (Indeed, ss Cernig rightly notes, it is very much based on "the ideas of his progressive base.") Furthermore, with Tom Daschle as his HHS secretary and health-care czar, it is clear that he intends, according to Ezra Klein, one of the more prominent liberal bloggers, "to pursue comprehensive health reform." And since the election, lest we forget (for Kirchick seems not to care) he has repeated his Netroot-friendly commitments to end the Iraq War and to combat global warming in a serious and meaningful way, including through the progressive cultivation of alternative energy sources.

To be sure, Obama will have some non-liberal foreign and military policy hawks around him, including possibly Robert Gates at the Pentagon and James Jones as his NSA, but it's not like his administration will be like Bush's, or that it will be intentionally anti-progressive. If anything, it will be diverse and dynamic, with a great deal for the Netroots to like, including Hillary at State. (Hillary is more hawkish than Obama, yes, but she was supported by many top liberal bloggers, including Taylor Marsh and Melissa McEwan.)

Finally, consider what Obama's likely attorney general, Eric Holder, said in a 2004 speech to the American Constitution Society:

I believe that we have the capacity as a nation to meet all of these challenges. But the answers to these problems are not to be found in the conservative agenda that relies on what are already old proposals and tired rhetoric.

The solutions are contained within a new, dynamic, progressive movement that has the ability to inspire and motivate the people of this nation in the way that progressives have in the past.

So Obama has abandoned the Netroots and will govern from the center-right, eh? Hardly.

The only think Kirchick's piece proves is that he's an idiot.

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Remembering THE GAME ... Harvard Beats Yale 29-29

By J. Thomas Duffy

While they meet for the 125th time, today's Harvard-Yale match-up plays second fiddle to something bigger.

It is the 40th Anniversary of THE GAME.

Yeah, you're reading that right ...

Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29.

This was back in the waning days of Ivy League football that still mattered in the national scene.

Both teams came into the game undefeated, but the high-powered Bulldogs were the favorites, led by future Dallas Cowboy Calvin Hill and star quarterback Brian Dowling (more on him below).

Yale was kicking the Crimson's butt, and late in the game, with a 29-13 lead, driving down the field for another score, Mr. Destiny sprinkled his dust over Harvard Stadium, and it was just a matter of minutes for history to unfold.

From The Bleacher Report:

Looking across the stadium, I saw hundreds if not thousands of white handkerchiefs waving as the poor-sport Yalies taunted us. Dowling and his minions were unwilling to settle for a thumping. They wanted a humiliation.

Yale started marching down the field. Again. Some fans adjourned at this point for local bars—the Yalies for raucous celebration, the home team supporters to cry in their beer.

Only 14 yards away from a fifth touchdown, the Yale fullback fumbled. So down by 16 with 3:34 remaining, Harvard had the ball.

By this time, Harvard’s backup quarterback, Frank Champi, had taken over. With a third and 18 on the Yale 38, he was sacked, but the ball dribbled out of his arms on the way down and a Harvard lineman—the immortal Fritz Reed—picked up the lonely spheroid and thundered to the Yale 15.

Two more Champi passes and Harvard scored with 42 seconds left in the game. The two point conversion failed. Okay.

So now Harvard would lose, but would not be humiliated. But wait—a flag.

Yale was called for pass interference. On the replay, Harvard fullback Gus Crim rumbled in for a score.

Everyone in the stadium knew that an onside kick was coming, but that did not stop Harvard from recovering it. No one was leaving now. The white hankies had disappeared.

Champi marched the team down to the Yale eight yard line.

Three seconds left.

Hike. Scramble.

As he was hit, Champi threw off the wrong foot. Vic Gatto, the first 2000 yard rusher in Harvard history, gathered it in.

No time left. Yale led 29-27. Champi, the backup, recalled, “I thought, ‘We’ve come this far.’ I was very confident. It was inevitable.”

And so it proved. After the field was cleared of fans, Champi hit burly tight end Pete Varney, later a major league catcher. Game over.

Harvard had scored 16 points in 42 seconds. Brian Dowling failed to come off the field with a victory for the first time since sixth grade.

I don’t remember a whole lot after that. And I don’t remember my date’s name. But I think I learned more in that game than I did in my freshman year classes.

What was the lesson? Keep trying no matter what the odds. Never give up. Never.

Yale Coach Carmen Cozza later said, “That tie was the worst loss of my career.” But it was the banner headline across the front page of the Crimson—the Harvard student newspaper—that best captured what we had witnessed: “Harvard Beats Yale 29-29.”

Yes, it was only a tie game, but it was treated like the Super Bowl (which most of the preppies from Harvard and Yale consider the game anyway).

Brian Dowling?

He later became the inspiration for the "B.D." character in Doonesbury, being a classmate of Garry Trudeau.

Harvard also had a bit of future star power, as well.

Before he became the man wearing black, playing left guard for the Crimson in THE GAME was none other than Tommy Lee Jones.

And that headline?

The Saga of a Great Headline - The genesis of “Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29”

Editor’s note: As the clock ticked down to the 117th Harvard-Yale match-up, Alan Schwarz, senior writer for Baseball America magazine, filed this story.

It was supposed to be easy. Asked by American Heritage magazine to select the most overrated and underrated newspaper headlines in history, I knew the winners immediately. The Chicago Tribune’s “Dewey Defeats Truman” 1948 banner took the overrated category because, after all, it gained its immortality simply by being wrong. Meanwhile, the underrated headline would be one that appeared wrong, but was deliciously right: “Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29.” Somebody at the Crimson, with only one little word, had brilliantly captured the essence of the Harvard football team’s legendary comeback (16 points in the final 42 seconds) to tie Yale in November 1968. I would find that somebody.

Deliciously right ... Indeed.

Bonus Bulldog-Crimson Riffs

YouTube: Harvard beats Yale 29-29 (1968)
(Note: Poor Audio on this clip)

Quad Q&A: ‘Harvard Beats Yale 29-29′

Man of the moment - In 1968, Champi seized opportunity

'68 is still the one most remembered

The Harvard-Yale Game, Through the Ages

Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 ...Forty years ago, it wasn't only a game

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

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November 22, 1963

By Mustang Bobby

Friday, November 22, 1963. I was in the sixth grade in Toledo, Ohio. I had to skip Phys Ed because I was just getting over bronchitis, so I was in a study hall when a classmate came up from the locker room in the school basement to say, "Kennedy's dead." We had a boy in our class named Kennedy, and I wondered what had happened - an errant fatal blow with a dodgeball? A few minutes later, though, it was made clear to us at a hastily-summoned assembly, and we were soon put on the busses and sent home. Girls were crying.

There was a newspaper strike at The Blade, so the only papers we could get were either from Detroit or Cleveland. (The union at The Blade, realizing they were missing the story of the century, agreed to immediately resume publication and settle their differences in other ways.) Television, though, was the medium of choice, and I remember the black-and-white images of the arrival of Air Force One at Andrews, the casket being lowered, President Johnson speaking on the tarmac, and the events of the weekend - Oswald, Ruby, the long slow funeral parade, "Eternal Father, Strong to Save" - merging into one long black-and-white flicker, finally closing on Monday night with the eternal flame guttering in the cold breeze.

I suspect that John F. Kennedy would be bitterly disappointed that the only thing remembered about his life was how he left it and how it colored everything he did leading up to it. The Bay of Pigs, the steel crisis, the Cuban missle crisis, the Test Ban Treaty, even the space program are dramatized by his death. They became the stuff of legend, not governing, and history should not be preserved as fable.

I never thought I'd be old enough to look back forty-five years to that time. And according to NPR, sixty percent of Americans alive today were not yet born on that day. Today the question is not do you remember JFK, but what did his brief time leave behind. Speculation is rife as to what he did or did not accomplish - would we have gone in deeper in Viet Nam? Would he have pushed civil rights? Would the Cold War have lasted? We'll never know, and frankly, pursuing such questions is a waste of time. Had JFK never been assassinated, chances are he would have been re-elected in 1964, crushing Barry Goldwater, but leading an administration that was more style than substance, battling with his own party as much as with the Republicans, much like Clinton did in the 1990's. According to medical records, he would have been lucky to live into his sixties, dying from natural causes in the 1980's, and he would have been remembered fondly for his charm and wit - and his beautiful wife - more than what he accomplished in eight years of an average presidency.

But it was those six seconds in Dealy Plaza that defined him. Each generation has one of those moments. For my parents it was Pearl Harbor in 1941 or the flash from Warm Springs in April 1945. Today it is Challenger in 1986, and of course September 11, 2001. And in all cases, it is what the moment means to us. It is the play, not the players. We see things as they were, contrast to how they are, and measure the differences, and by that, we measure ourselves.

(Previously published, with minor edits, on November 22, 2003 at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Reaction in Review (Nov. 21, 2008)

A week's Reactions that deserve a second look:


By LindaBeth: "Social institutionalization of heteronormative families" -- our resident scholar explores our culture's promotion of certain kinds of families as "normal;" favoring them, while disfavoring other types that somehow do not qualify.

By Creature: "Hillary says yes" -- (Perhaps) Creature's opinion is probably similar to several of us who blog here, a bit mixed but generally positive.


By Michael J.W. Stickings: "You are what you blog" -- link to a fun website that claims, according to Andrew Sullivan, to be able to analyze a blog and determine its (Myers-Briggs) type.

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Waxman takes over key House chairmanship from Dingell" -- This post lays out several reasons why this change in Committee leadership is such a positive development.

By Carl: "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right" -- Carl confronts the Left's upset with the potential appointment of a national security team that is not absolutely anti-war.


By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Al Qaeda, Obama, and "House Negroes" -- Michael's important post on this subject is a very thoughtful and incisive read on the release of al-Zawahiri's video statement.

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "BREAKING NEWS: Tom Daschle to be both Health Czar and Health and Human Services Secretary" -- Good piece that helps explain why Daschle's complex cabinet arrangement will be advantageous for U.S. health care reform.

By Carl: "Remembrances" -- Carl's beautiful, moving and rather personal piece, about the naming of NYC's Triborough Bridge after the late Robert F. Kennedy, is a must read.

By Capt. Fogg: "Past imperfect" -- Fogg gives us a brilliantly written rebuttal on the subject of Carl Rove's argument for imposing conservative dogma, with a dubious claim it "should absolutely never be compromised." (Read the comments).


By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Obama picks Eric Holder as attorney general (maybe)" -- The pros and cons of the possible appointment, from Michael's and other bloggers' viewpoints.

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "BREAKING NEWS: Dems vote to let Lieberman keep committee chair" -- To quote,"Lieberman should have been given the boot . . . simply more trouble, and poses more risk, than he's worth."

By Mustang Bobby: "Jonestown" -- On the occasion 30th anniversary of the Massacre at Jonestown, Guyana, Bobby writes movingly, with sensitivity and out of his own experience of covering the story.

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "British newspaper reports Hillary will be secretary of state" -- Michael's well-reasoned arguments for the Clinton appointment draw on his experience with parliamentary governance pairing rivals.


By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Genocide and chaos in the Congo" -- As Michael concluded, "We all need to pay more attention to Africa and to what's going on in the Congo (it's not just Darfur that's suffering).

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Vetting Bill, considering Hillary" -- Michael opens this week's discussion of whether Hillary?, with a look at how the major players on the team might feel about her as Secretary of State.

Special Bonus/series update by Michael J.W. Stickings: "The failures of Krazy Kristol; or, why he should be fired from the NYT" -- If you've loved Michael on Karzy Kristol, you'll love his argument for why Kristol's contract for (poorly written) newspaper columns should be dropped.

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Social institutionalization of heteronormative families

By LindaBeth

In sociology, one of the things we investigate is how the social forms we take as given are actually particular socio-cultural, historical forms. Another aspect of sociological analysis is how ideologies guide the shape of our social institutions, as well as the way our identities are formed, as particularly races, sexed, gendered, and as people of particular sexual identities. One thing I encounter in teaching introductory sociology is how we often assume that the way our society is set up is the only option--or that it is the necessarily best option. I think part of this comes from American arrogance that "we" do everything right and we do it the best--the whole "envy of the world" bit. No more do I see this than in talking about the family.

"Families come in many forms." Yes, this is what we say, but does this hold true in terms of our institutions, representations, and social supports? There is a difference between merely accepting diversity and supporting a diversity of families. The latter sees families as a system of supports that can take several forms, conferring legitimacy to many types of families and accounting for those valid and differentiated families when creating or reforming social policy; the former sees one type of family as ideal, and that there are others that exist, but their existence stems from an individual flaw (being pregnant-while-unmarried, divorce, cohabitation), and that no one really wants to have or should be encouraged to have "those" kind of families.

I also talk a lot about how dominant identities and exclusionary thought become institutionalized in our society--ie institutionalized racism sexism, and heterosexism. The idea behind something being "institutionalized" is that these -ism ideologies are carried out even if no one actively is discriminating, or hating, or believing the ideologies; such institutionalization also means that our society compels particular (appropriate) behaviors by making some practices and identities more valid and viable than others. This happens by the way our society and its institutions are structured, taking a particular group or way of thought as the norm (privileging marriage, and excluding homosexuals from it), or by building damaging assumptions about particular groups into our social practices (i.e. racial profiling).

Our society is marriage-centric, and as marriage is becoming less the rule while remaining the expectation, our society continues to be couple-centric (see the blog Onely for an excellent anti-heteronormative perspective on life). The heterosexual married couple continues to be the assumed, ideal family, and any option types of families and they are responsible for dealing with the consequences of their non-normative family. We may individually define our families in particular ways, but they are not socially or legally recognized as such.

I've been kind of vague so far, but I'm setting this up to propose a list I have been thinking about of how our society might be organized differently if single parent families, rather than two parent ones were the assumption for adults. In other words, we would assume that all adults, with or without kids, work; adults working would be the "norm" and adults being expected to fill traditional gender roles would not be.

  • we'd have universal daycare or graduated tax credits for daycare expenses, since we would never assume that an adult should stop working to care for their kids, thereby ceasing earning an income.
  • we wouldn't give a tax break to married couples for their spousal dependent, a dependent who provides for the family the advantage of unpaid labor and/or childcare that single-adult families still have to do by either paying for it or by provide for themselves. (i.e. currently, a two-parent family and a single family each earn the same income. The two parent family pays less in taxes than the single parent family does--via having an extra dependent to deduct--and has the benefit of not having to pay for child care, which the single-parent family not only pays more in taxes but also has to pay a pretty penny for child care so that they can work at all.)
  • spouses wouldn't be able to take advantage of their partner's health care.
  • your sexual relationship to the person with whom you'd like to adopt a child would be irrelevant.
  • we'd have the same per capita work hours requirement to receive welfare services.
  • we'd offer tax deductions for rent, not just for mortgages*
I know there are more, but these have been on my mind.

I think it's clear, but some might wonder what's wrong with having a family norm and with having people take responsibility for having kids only when "they can afford to", with both time and money considerations. Why shouldn't they have to "pay the price" for choosing to be a single parent, or for "parenting-while-poor"? The idea of having universal child care seems at first to giving some people a hand-out--an undue advantage over others; but the fact that we don't have it means that in our society, we expect that certain adults should work and certain ones shouldn't, and by not accounting for the necessity of child care, we are privileging those families who have an at-home parent. The fact that single parents are supposed to suffer for their choice while two-parent families are benefitted by theirs demonstrates that our approach to social policies and structure privileges only one form of family.

See, it's all a matter of perspective. When you take what works for one type of individual or family and generalize it to what should work for everyone else by having all your social systems and institutions operate as if that was how everyone lived, you institutionalize "family" as being about marriage and heterosexuality; the possibility of setting up family that has nothing to do with sex or sexuality at all is an option that is beyond the realm of thought. Lisa Duggan argued several years ago in The Nation that only when civic (marital) status is detached from rights and benefits can we free choice of family form and conceive of families that work outside the logic of heteronormative, gender-role-based families.

From Duggan's article "Holy Matrimony":

The right wing's fear of a "slippery slope" suggests some ways that this eclectic array of statuses might move us in a progressive direction. Kurtz himself, citing Brigham Young University professor Alan Hawkins, sketches out what is to him a distasteful scenario:
Consider the plight of an underemployed and uninsured single mother in her early 30s who sees little real prospect of marriage (to a man) in her future. Suppose she has a good friend, also female and heterosexual, who is single and childless but employed with good spousal benefits. Sooner or later, friends like this are going to start contracting same-sex marriages of convenience. The single mom will get medical and governmental benefits, will share her friend's paycheck, and will gain an additional caretaker for the kids besides. Her friend will gain companionship and a family life. The marriage would obviously be sexually open. And if lightning struck and the right man came along for one of the women, they could always divorce and marry heterosexually.

In a narrow sense, the women and children in this arrangement would be better off. Yet the larger effects of such unions on the institution of marriage would be devastating. At a stroke, marriage would be severed not only from the complementarity of the sexes but also from its connection to romance and sexual exclusivity--and even from the hope of permanence.

Gee. Sounds good. Then consider how such arrangements might benefit women, children and others even more substantially. What if there were a way to separate the tax advantages of joint household recognition, or the responsibilities of joint parenting, from the next-of-kin recognition so that such rights might go to a non-co-resident relative, a friend or a lover? And what if many benefits, such as health insurance, could be available to all without regard for household or partnership status? The moral conservative's nightmare vision of a flexible menu of options might become a route to progressive equality! That could happen--if all statuses could be opened to all without exclusions, allowing different kinds of households to fit state benefits to their changing needs; if no status conferred any invidious privilege or advantage over any other, or over none at all; and if material benefits such as health insurance were detached from partnership or household form altogether (federally guaranteed universal healthcare, for instance, would be far more democratic and egalitarian than health insurance as a partnership benefit). Meanwhile, the "sanctity" of traditional marriages could be retained and honored by religious groups and families, according to their own values and definitions.

Indeed, perhaps the state can get out of the business of policing our sexual and gender norms by defining civic status as adults who register various economic dependencies, with indifference to sexuality and gender!

In one way, we are an individualistic society, in that we are atomistic--more guided by self-interest and what's "fair" to me than in the great good, as well as expecting the nuclear family to bear the burden of being responsible for all aspects of adult life and relationships. In another sense, we are not individualistic, because so many aspects of society assume an ideal family form that is supposed to replace the individual upon becoming an adult. It seems to me that as a society, we'd be better off supporting individuals and their decisions about the way they want to fashion their life commitments and relationships (sexual or otherwise), rather than catering to one specific template, and then blaming non-traditional families for their struggles that is actually created by their lack of support in our marriage-centric society.

One thing that I liked about Obama is that he seemed to understand the effect of our institutions and social organization on the degree to which individuals are able to be "successful" or to make desired choices. As we begin thinking about our social policies and why they are the way they are, one important question to ask ourself is "whose interests does this policy/this way of doing things serve?" One thing I can say is that universal health care would go a long way toward opening up the possibilities for life arrangements.

*I realize many single people own homes, but my educated guess is that singles and childless couples, not to mention lower class people, disproportionately rent as opposed to owning. I also realize that this tax break has just as much, if not more, to do with post-WWII economy-boosting housing initiatives, and the "American Dream".

(Cross-posted to Speak Truth to Power)

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Hillary says yes

By Creature

Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the next Secretary of State.

Good? Bad? Who knows. My initial positive reaction to the pick has been tempered somewhat by the media circus that followed (and, may I stress, media circus, as in media created and driven). Personally, I think Hillary is a hard worker, as evidenced by her time as senator, and drama-free as such a worker. I do not believe Bill will be a distraction either. Was he as Hillary preformed her senatorial duties? I think not.

I am still a bit concerned with her hawkishness, but if you take her appointment as bad cop to Obama's good then maybe I can get around her tendency to support a harder line.

Overall, Obama is the president and Hillary will support her president. Of this I have no doubt. Honestly, I smell a peace prize in her future and I think this is what Obama is betting on.

Update: A Hillary spokesperson says the report of Hillary's acceptance is premature. OK, so maybe the drama is not all media driven.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)


Just a quick word. I think this is an excellent move on Obama's part (as well as Hillary's), and, like Creature, I'm confident they will make an effective foreign policy team. For more, see my "Team of Allies" post, as well as this follow-up.


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In the year 2012, the Republicans...

By Michael J.W. Stickings

If you're already thinking ahead to 2012 -- and, honestly, who isn't? -- check out Chris Cillizza's post at The Fix on "ten Republicans to watch."

The big names, of course, are Palin, Romney, and Huckabee, but only Romney makes the list, and rightly so. As I have said before, I think Palin's star will fade markedly over the next few years. Huckabee will continue to be a leading figure among the theocrats, but I suspect Republicans will go for old-fashioned pro-market economics in 2012, not radical social conservatism. Romney has the business-oriented bona fides, but of course he just isn't all that trusted among Republicans, and certainly not among conservatives, as we saw in the primaries. He'll have the will, the money, and the organization, not to mention the Mormon Church, which proved its influence in the Prop. 8 vote in California, but I think both the party establishment and grassroots activists will look elsewhere.

There are some interesting names on the list, but, to me, the stand-outs are Eric Cantor, Mark Sanford, and John Thune. Jindal, a party celebrity, is at the top of the list, and conservatives certainly seem to like him, but he strikes me as one of those figures who will always be the future of the GOP, never the present (to borrow that fantastic line from The Contender: "You're the future of the Democratic Party, and you always will be," President Evans (Jeff Bridges) tells Governor Hathaway (William Petersen)). Given how Republicans like to scare up public fear of the Other (e.g., Obama as somehow un-American), it would be interesting to see how they would respond to a serious run by Jindal, but they're likely to go with someone more typical, not a "new face."

Cantor, being Jewish, is an Other, too, but, as I wrote back in August, he's got a lot going for him. Meanwhile, Sanford and Thune are solid conservatives who have already made names for themselves on the national scene. Thune, like all senators, will suffer from being just one of 100, while Sanford is the new chair of the Republican Governors Association. (Note that Bush had the solid support of Republican governors for his 2000 run, as this 1999 article by Margaret Carlson at shows. It helps to have them behind you, and, in a few years, if not already, they may prefer Sanford to Palin.)

Others will emerge, of course, but, as of right now, I'd say Cantor, Sanford, and Thune are the ones to watch (with Sanford most of all). That is, when you're not still watching Palin.

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Pardon at the slaughterhouse: The obliviousness of Sarah Palin and the killing of turkeys

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As you may have heard already -- and you may even have seen the clip -- Sarah Palin (you know, the governor of Alaska), pardoned a turkey and then gave an interview to a local TV station with turkeys being slaughtered in the background.

How ironic. She's such an animal lover, but the only thing she loves is killing them. And don't think she doesn't -- remember that prank call from a couple of Montreal DJs pretending to be Sarkozy? "Sarkozy" told her he hoped to go hunting with her, perhaps even to hunt from helicopters. She actually laughed when "Sarkozy" said he loves "killing those animals" ("take away a life, that is so fun"). Sure, she may have been laughing out of awkwardness, at least in part, but she obviously likes killing.

It's no surprise that Palin lacks a sense of irony and no surprise that she okayed the backdrop to her interview. I suppose in-your-face, blood-and-guts slaughter plays better in Alaska than it does in the "unreal" America, or at least in the world I inhabit. Maybe she thought she was just being folksy, that the whole slaughter thing is folksy, the sort of things "real" Americans like to do, or at least have no problem with.

Whatever the case, she seems, as usual, utterly oblivious.

If you want to watch it, HuffPo has the clip here. Please note, however, that it's extremely unpleasant -- and, for once, Palin isn't the most unpleasant thing about it.

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On the trail of transition

By Carol Gee

These are perilous times in the United States and around the world.

How is that for the understatement of the day, of of the week? Perhaps we understate the nature of the world wide economic crisis# in order to deal with it. In my former field of mental health care, we refer to this behavior as "minimization." So be it.

These are also perilous times in a way for President-elect Obama. The United States desperately needs leadership and our current president (OCP) has already checked out. Barack Obama correctly says -- and must live out the idea -- that there can only be one President at a time. In doing so things are getting worse.

The stock market fell to its lowest point in 11 years yesterday. Congress has left town until December. From Yahoo! News (11/19/08) we hear the latest from Terrorist #2: "Al-Qaeda No. 2 insults Obama in new audio message." To quote:

Al-Zawahri also called Obama — along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice — "house negroes."

And to make things worse, OCP and his administration are busily building a tall wall# of deregulation, lawless orders, veto threats and looting of the treasury for the very rich on Wall Street. If we did not know better, we could assume that the outgoing administration would rather see the country fail than help Democrats. Surely that could not be the case. To put the best face on OCP's behavior is to say that it is because there are ideological# and policy differences between the two political parties.

So what can our next president (ONP) do to lead during the next two months of transition? No matter who coming into his administration is announced, there is going to be criticism or cautious praise. For example, Glenn Greenwald does not like one of the President-elect's national security advisers. On 11/16/08, he headlined, "John Brennan and Bush's interrogation/detention policies." On the other hand, Glenn Greenwald on Eric Holder was fairly positive, as was Politico.

Can he do anything different than the plan he is already executing, or can he do more? And how can the rest of us help? Let us examine some possibilities:

  • Stop the leaks out of the Transition? I do not subscribe, for example, to the idea that the emergence of all the details surrounding Hillary Clinton's potential as Secretary of State is a terrible thing. It is a bit messy. But it is in a way, transparency that could be exercised on purpose.

  • Announce appointments more rapidly? It is probably not prudent, if the time required is going to cut into thorough vetting of the pending appointees. This transition team is already ahead ot the norms of former presidential transitions.

  • Exercise more formal leadership and decision making? In my opinion, it has been entirely wise and proper for Obama to resist substantive public discussion with other world leaders, and to send surrogates to policy making events staged by OCP. Obama is living out the rule of law, unlike his predecessor,"one President at a time."

  • Live up to the model of CHANGE as advertised during the campaign? People who oversimplify what has happened appointment-wise, fail to take another Obama value into consideration, EXCELLENCE. Change to me means ABB, anyone but George W. Bush. It should not be extended to mean anybody but those who served in the Clinton administration.

  • Listen more closely to the liberal left, allegedly his "base"? There were never enough liberals to former Senator Obama. Other constituencies helped carry him to victory. He won, based, among other things, of course, on his promises to unite the country, to change the way Washington works, and to govern in a bipartisan manner. Liberals will do just fine, swallowing a number of centrist policies.

  • How can the rest of us help? We can take the President-elect at his word that he wants feedback from those who may disagree with him. Eight years of governance via synchophant advisers, secrecy, isolation from public opinion, provided ONP with the self-confidence to ask us, "What do you think?" And when we run out of negative feedback, we could even throw in a kudo or two for what is well done.

Yes, this time of transition is perilous. Change itself is psychologically stressful . . . even positive change.# But, if we think back to November 1, 2008, things could be a lot worse. We could be in discussion about President-elect John McCain and Vice President-elect Sarah Palin (Alsaka's official turkey-pardoner).


Update on yesterday's post, "Military stays dominant in the field -- or not?" I got a timely e-mail from The Washington Independent on Susan Rice. It is by Spencer Ackerman and titled, "A Window Into Obama's Foreign Policy." The piece examines the manner in which President-elect Obama's chief foreign policy transition adviser, Susan Rice, might influence U.S. foreign relations during the upcoming years, if she joins the administration. I was happy to discover that my post turned out to be fairly prescient regarding some of the specifics.

Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are "betmo"* and Jon#.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Sign of the Apocalypse #57: Joe the Plumber's book deal

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It's been quite some time since we did one of these -- the last was in August, on Britney's hot new body (click here for more of them, or see the list over on the right sidebar) -- but it's not like there haven't been many signs that the Apocalypse is drawing ever closer. Obama's victory was a major counterforce, to be sure, but I doubt even he can hold back apocalyptic inevitability.

Anyway, with the election now behind us, it's time to broaden our attention once more, even as politics remains our focus, and to get back to informing you, our readers, of some of the various SOTAs that dot our landscape. And here -- election-related, wouldn't you know? -- is a doozy.


Remember Joe the Plumber? Well, he ain't goin' away quite yet. The NYT has the disturbing, if sadly predictable, news (in its "Arts" section, no less, which only adds to the disturbance):

Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, the presidential campaign fixture and John McCain advocate better known as Joe the Plumber, won't have to open his own plumbing business just yet: he has signed a deal to write "Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream." PearlGate Publishing, a small publisher in Austin, Tex., announced the book on its Web site, The book, which will be written with Thomas N. Tabback (whose novel, "Things Forgotten," was also published by PearlGate), will address Mr. Wurzelbacher's ideas about American values, and is scheduled for release on Dec. 1. In an interview with Fox News Mr. Wurzelbacher said he could have signed a deal with a larger publisher. "But they don't need the help," Mr. Wurzelbacher said. "They are already rich. So that's spreading the wealth to me."

Uh-huh. Sure. He really close to go with a small publisher? He was really just being generous? (And taking the opportunity in the interview to slam Obama with that tired socialism refrain?) I have my doubts. I suspect the big publishing houses -- like many of the rest of us -- have had enough of him and realize that his time in the spotlight, which has, alas, far exceeded a mere 15 minutes, is over. At the very least, they must realize that he is simply not a profitable commodity, or at least not enough of one, even with the Coulter-loving mob that all-too-often propels right-wing wackos and extremists onto the bestseller lists.

I have no desire to spend any more time on the civilizational abomination that is "Joe the Plumber." We can hope that his book goes nowhere, not even to the remainder bins, but it is nonetheless troubling that he has managed to parlay his McCain-Palin-promoted mini-celebrity status into post-election prominence, however fleeting.

A Sign of the Apocalypse this surely is.

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Woodward and Bernstein meet Deep Throat

By Michael J.W. Stickings

If you're like me and you're fascinated by all things Watergate, and even if you're not, check out this article from The Press Democrat on a recent visit by Woodward and Bernstein to Mark "Deep Throat" Felt at his home in Santa Rosa, California.

Felt, 95, is in poor health and "has lost most of his long-term memory," but it's pretty amazing to see the three of them together at long last (in the photo, the man in the back is John O'Connor, co-author of Felt's biography -- if you don't know what they look like, that's Bernstein on the left and Woodward on the right), and it seems to have been a wonderful reunion.

Amazingly enough, Bernstein had never even met him before. Felt was Woodward's contact, after all, and Deep Throat's identity was only revealed publicly in 2005. If I'm not mistaken, only the two of them, along with WaPo executive editor Ben Bradlee, knew his identity.

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Minnesota Senate Recount -- update 1

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Democratic challenger Al Franken seems to be narrowing the gap, but there's still a long way to go. Here's the latest from the Star Tribune:

The U.S. Senate recount continued Thursday without major glitches across Minnesota, as tabulators and the volunteers watching them settled into an increasingly familiar routine of thumbing, counting and sorting.

With about 46 percent of the 2.9 million ballots counted by Thursday evening, the gap between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and DFL challenger Al Franken continued to close. Coleman was leading by only 136 votes, a drop from his unofficial lead of 215 that was confirmed Tuesday by the state Canvassing Board.

Of course, that number -- 136 -- doesn't mean much taken out of context. What matters is where the 46 percent of (re)counted votes are coming from. If they're coming mostly from Franken strongholds like the Twin Cities and the northest part of the state, then one would expect to see Democratic gains. And if that were so, then one could note, pessimistically, that Franken's gains seem to be too small at this point and that Coleman will expand his lead as the recount continues with votes from Coleman strongholds.

However, it looks like the votes have come mostly from pro-Coleman counties. Take a look at CNN's map, then at this updated county-by-county count at the Star Tribune.

Aside from in rural and otherwise less populous parts of the state, Coleman did fairly well in the counties around the Twin Cities, such as Anoka (48), Washington (62), Wright (0), Scott (0), and Dakota (27). The numbers in parentheses are the percentages of votes recounted in those counties. In contrast, Franken did well in Hennepin (42) and Ramsey (30), the counties with Minneapolis and St. Paul, respectively, as well as in St. Louis (36), the county in the northeast with Duluth. In other words, while Coleman should pick up votes around the Twin Cities, Franken should pick up even more from the Twin Cities themselves -- Hennepin and Ramsey are the two most populous counties in the state (Hennepin the most by a wide margin). (For a full list of Minnesota counties, with population figures, see here.)

This assumes, however, a correlation between county size (and partisan leaning) and recount adjustment, which may or may not be the case. Again, look at the Star Tribune's count. In Hennepin, Franken's gain is only 14 so far. Compare that to Dakota, the third biggest county. Though Coleman won it easily in the initial count, Franken has gained 32. Meanwhile, Franken has gained 39 in Ramsey and 19 in St. Louis. Coleman's largest gains so far are in Fillmore (14), in the southeast, Washington (13), and Anoka (10). There may not be an exact correlation, and there are obviously exceptions, but the gains are greater in the larger counties than in the smaller ones.

Of course, it's even more complicated than that, because what matters is what precincts within each county the (re)counted votes are coming from. I don't have those figures, but I will note that in St. Louis 36 percent of votes overall from 67 percent of precincts overall have been recounted. This suggests to me that the votes from the larger precincts -- perhaps those in Duluth, presumably Franken's stronghold within a stronghold, remain to be recounted.

And there is also the not insignificant matter of challenges. Earlier in the day, Coleman was well ahead, suggesting that his campaign was being far more aggressive. Nate Silver actually accused Franken of being "too nice":

Their incentive to do so might be as follows: whichever candidate leads at the end of the first phase of the recount process -- before the canvassing board reviews any challenged ballots -- will be able to claim some sort of moral highground. By being able to deduct ballots from their opponent's total essentially at will, the campaigns increase the likelihood that they will in fact lead at the end of the first-phase count with each additional ballot that they challenge.

As it turns out, Franken has overtaken Coleman on this front, 414 to 409. Given how close the race is, it is likely that the recount will be followed by an intense battle over challenged ballots.

According to Eric Kleefeld at TPM, the Franken campaign is "feeling good about the recount," both because the recount will be "[moving] into more pro-Franken precincts" and because, in the words of Franken's lead lawyer, many of Coleman's challenges are "clearly non-meritorious, and will not be upheld by the canvass board."

For an updated post on Thursday's developments, see Jerome Armstrong and Todd Beeton at MyDD.

And make sure to keep checking in with the Star Tribune.

And, of course, make sure to check back here for updates.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

You are what you blog

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Andrew Sullivan links to a site that, in his words, "claims to be able to analyze a blog and determine its 'type.'"

It apparently uses a blog's text to determine what "type" the blogger is -- or bloggers are, in the case of a group blog. An FAQ is here.

"By studying how people write," the site suggests, "we can get an glimpse of what is on the mind of the person and what is characteristic of the person - or, as in the case of a blog - what is typical of the role/persona used when writing that blog."

Okay, fair enough. It's just the old Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality assessment. But it's amusing.

All you have to do is plug in your blog URL and -- presto! -- you're done.

Along with Andrew -- who plugged in various A-listers like Reynolds, Yglesias, and Hewitt and found it to be remarkably accurate -- other bloggers have been playing along. See, for example, Kevin Drum, James Joyner, and Stephen Bainbridge.

For what it's worth, The Reaction is an INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judging) blog:

The long-range thinking and individualistic type. They are especially good at looking at almost anything and figuring out a way of improving it - often with a highly creative and imaginative touch. They are intellectually curious and daring, but might be pshysically [sic] hesitant to try new things.

The Scientists enjoy theoretical work that allows them to use their strong minds and bold creativity. Since they tend to be so abstract and theoretical in their communication they often have a problem communcating their visions to other people and need to learn patience and use conrete examples. Since they are extremly good at concentrating they often have no trouble working alone.

Which I suppose is about right, taking me and the co-bloggers all together and considering what we mostly write about (which is politics). And I'd say that's a major part of my personality, though, of course, I don't write all that frequently at the blog about art, music, literature, food, and sports, all of which are important to me, nor does the blog include any of my fiction. The Reaction is only part of me, as it is only part of the co-bloggers.

Anyway, check it out.

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Waxman takes over key House chairmanship from Dingell

By Michael J.W. Stickings

From The Hill:

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) will become the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee after House Democrats voted to replace current Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.).

Waxman won 137-122 in the secret ballot vote.

Why is this important? First, because Waxman is significantly more progressive than Dingell. Second, and more specifically, because Dingell, long a major defender of the Detroit-based auto industry, has been an obstacle to aggressive efforts to address global warming. (And the bailiwick of this key committee includes global warming.) TPM's Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld have more:

This is big, big, big. In a victory for the Democratic left...

The defeat of Dingell is a major victory for environmentalists, removing a key obstacle to real energy reform just as a Democrat with climate change high on his agenda takes the Presidency.

Dingell, who first entered the House way back when Eisenhower was president, had been the head Democrat on this committee ever since 1981. But many of the more liberal members over the years came to view him as too friendly to Michigan's auto industry and hostile to environmentalists -- especially on issues like climate change and carbon limits.

It also shakes up Congress' seniority system and is yet another sign that the political momentum is squarely in the camp of aggressive Dems. Waxman played a lead role in staking out a far more aggressive stance towards the Bush administration than many other more cautious Dems would take.

Waxman used his House Oversight chairmanship to grill the administration over its scandals and incompetence, making him a hero to many Democrats and a viable candidate for change over Dingell.

Now his victory stands as a harbinger of just how much change is coming.

It's certainly a big, big victory for liberals and progressives, as well as for Nancy Pelosi (who was thought to be behind Waxman's bid).

But it's also a big, big victory for Obama, for Gore, and for all of us who consider global warming to be one of the most pressing issues of our time -- if not the most -- and who think that aggressive efforts in terms of developing viable long-term alternative-energy solutions and building a sustainable green economy are required if global warming is to be addressed in any meaningful way.

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John Kerry set to be new Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman

By Michael J.W. Stickings

John Kerry likely won't be the next secretary of state, but he will nonetheless be a major player in U.S. foreign relations:

More than three decades after he first appeared before the panel as a 27-year-old Vietnam veteran-turned-antiwar protester, Senator John F. Kerry will be named chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, giving him enormous influence over President-elect Barack Obama's foreign policy, according to congressional officials.

Kerry, who was elected to a fifth term from Massachusetts earlier this month, will be handed the gavel when the new Congress convenes in January, replacing Vice President-elect Joe Biden, the officials said.

Aides to Kerry said he is already laying out a broad agenda for the committee, beginning with new legislation to strengthen the United States' hand against terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan; provide oversight of efforts to end the war in Iraq; and seize what he sees as a new opportunity to curtail the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

I would be happy to see Hillary at State, but my preference all along has been Kerry, with whom I am closer in policy terms. Still, the better job for Kerry may very well be the one he's about to get. He won't be the star out on the international diplomatic circuit, and he won't have quite the profile of whoever gets State, especially if it's Hillary, but I have no doubt he'll be an effective chairman of a key committee and a major influence on Obama's efforts to chart a new direction for U.S. foreign policy.

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Military stays dominant in the field -- or not?

By Carol Gee

Conflicts large and small are going on around the world. The United States is underrepresented in some of them, and over represented in others. What is deemed to be in the national security interest will, in all likelihood, change with the Obama administration. However, just because the United States will have a new president in a couple of months, that does not necessarily mean much will change right away on the war fronts. The advice of military commanders will be heavily weighted in the decision making until the President gains his confidence and footing. What would happen if the new President and his advisers, with the help of thinkers who have studied jihadis closely and rationally, reevaluated the conventional wisdom about relative terrorist threats around the world, and redeployed our military forces based on new information?

If President-elect Obama sticks to his promise of getting out of Iraq, that may or not mean leaving completely. Criteria for troop draw-downs will probably depend on the degree of stability at the battlefronts. The definition of "stability" varies widely among the various stakeholders. It will depend on the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement, and whether a new administration has any flexibility to modify it. And it depends on what is going on at the benchmark times as they occur, in other words, the conditions on the ground. The commanders need to be able to withdraw the forces safely, both personnel and materiel. What if we took the Iraqis at their word that they would just handle whatever happened? And what if we were to declare victory there and move on to peace-making between the Israelis and Palestinians?

If President-elect Obama sticks to his promise of refocusing U.S. military operations into Afghanistan and the border areas of Pakistan, that probably means a trip to that theater for a lot of the soldiers, rather than a trip home. And it is doubtful that war fighting expenditures will go down appreciably in the near future. What is the new government of Pakistan came to believe that they had better clean up the tribal areas soon, or the United States would do it for them? What if the United States made an authentic and significant effort to substitute alternative cash crops for Afghan farmers in place of opium poppies?

And what if the balance of power between the influence of the Defense Department and the State Department with the President were to be adjusted for more soft power and less hard power. Would Hillary Clinton have the strength and wisdom to make such a fight within the administration? What if the rejuvenation of our alliances meant that there were much better uses of the United Nations and NATO? What would happen if our new President took a fresh look at Africa, seeing it as a large source of instability and of possibility. And what if AFRICOM were split into the separate elements of military and diplomatic/aid forces, and we put more of our money into non-kinetic helpers and teachers and aid workers?

If our next president is as good as I think he is, he should be able to energize a new and sophisticated effort to rebalance the relative influence away from the military-industrial complex in the direction of smarter and tougher diplomatic interventions in trouble spots. What if the United States tried to become a true example of a free and open society, with a strong Middle Class whose children could, once again, hope to do better than their parents? Who knows what might happen to the millions now consigned to hopelessness around the world. Do I dream too much?

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

By Carl

I've been noticing a
disturbing trend arising on the left, practically ever since Barack Obama received the nomination of the Democratic party:

Antiwar groups and other liberal activists are increasingly concerned at signs that Barack Obama's national security team will be dominated by appointees who favored the Iraq invasion and hold hawkish views on other important foreign policy issues.

The activists are uneasy not only about signs that both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates could be in the Obama Cabinet, but at reports suggesting that several other short-list candidates for top security posts backed the decision to go to war.

"Obama ran his campaign around the idea the war was not legitimate, but it sends a very different message when you bring in people who supported the war from the beginning," said Kelly Dougherty, executive director of the 54-chapter Iraq Veterans Against the War.

To quote Captain Jack Sparrow when accused of cheating, "Pirate."


What makes this whinging particularly annoying are a few facts:

1) No one is really giving a good goddamn about the war anymore. It has become so little of an issue that the right wing warhawks, the guys who really want this war, are unilaterally declaring it is over.

Not that it matters much, of course, what a bunch of Cheeto-stained cowards who couldn't get up off their asses and pick up a gun and fight say, but the sentiment is appreciated by those of us who thought long ago the invasion was a horrible idea.

2) It's the economy, stupid.

And I'm not talking about just the stock market tanking or the housing meltdown or the impending depression that's sitting on top of Christmas like a fat bully.

Barack Obama sees what I see, and let me tell you, it's terrifying me.

I see 600 million angry young single Chinese men who don't have brides because of China's ill-conceived (pun intended) population control policies. I see 600 million angry young single Chinese men out of work for long stretches of time.

I see a half-billion starving people on the subcontinent of India and Pakistan, ripe fodder for Al Qaeda.

I see hundreds of millions of starving and angry Africans.

I see interest rates in Argentina of 30-50%.

In short, I see a lot of suffering and a lot of anger. Even change we can believe in only goes so far.

I'm not suggesting. I'm not hinting. I won't be as coy with this as I was with my stagflation predictions: we will be at war within the decade. History insists, and we are doomed to fail if we do not take this lesson to heart.

And since Barack Obama stands a very good chance of being president when that occurs, he needs to have a check on his ego around. He needs people around who are going to stand up and give him prudent counsel when war-like situations arise and help him determine which fights are worth going after and which we can avoid.

No one wants war, except a true warmonger. To call Hillary Clinton or Bob Gates, who has been surprisingly vocal in his assessments of the mess in Iraq, "warmongers" is hardly fair or accurate.

This is the hand we are dealt. The only alternative is to fold, and if we fold on this issue, Democrats may as well fold on everything else, because Republicans will run the show for millennia.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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Stupid Republicans

By Capt. Fogg

If we think the very rich are indeed different from you and me, it may not be much of a complement to them.

The talk around the Yacht Club these days involves a lot of snickering about Barak Obama and what "that man" will do to the economy. No, I'm not joking, but then neither are they. Perhaps
Malcom Gladwell is right that material success has as much or more to do with circumstances than with talent or intelligence. Take the fellow with a yacht worth far, far more than than Joe the Plumber will make in his lifetime; a fellow who thinks that we're seeing a "slowdown" that will "bounce back" shortly and a slowdown that has nothing to do with George Bush, a Republican congress, deregulation or the idea that debt has no consequences if you cut taxes and pour money down a hole. I have as much faith in his genius as he has in the notion that America's success has been the result of its Christian piety.

Obama, of course, will raise taxes. That's axiomatic because he's a Democrat. Raising taxes will harm the economy, they say, even though it would be as fair to say that a bullet will harm a dead horse and the economy has done better under Democrats since WWII. Supply-side economics will work eventually and even if it doesn't, even if the "slowdown" becomes a full blown depression, we have to keep making it easy for the Great Gatsby to keep the twin Diesels fed. Did I mention that Obama is going to ruin the economy by raising my taxes?

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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Napolitano picked for Homeland Security

By Michael J.W. Stickings

President-elect Obama has reportedly chosen Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to be Secretary of Homeland Security.

Napolitano, one of Obama's most prominent supporters during the primaries, has been a hugely popular and successful governor of a border state:

Arizona Demcratic Gov. Janet Napolitano has been chosen to serve as secretary of the vast and troubled Department of Homeland Security for President-elect Barack Obama, Democratic officials said. Napolitano is a border governor who will now be responsible for immigration policy and border security, which are part of Homeland Security’s myriad functions.

Napolitano brings law and order experience from her stint as the Grand Canyon State’s first female attorney general. One of the nation’s most prominent female elected officials, she made frequent appearances on behalf of Barack Obama during the campaign. She was reelected to a second four year term in 2006.

Though a Republican, Secretary of State Jan Brewer, will succeed her as governor, and though, as a member of the Cabinet, she may decide not to launch a challenge to McCain in 2010, I agree with Steve Benen that she's "a terrific choice."

For more, see CNN, which first reported the story last night. Again, nothing is official yet.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

McCain wins Missouri, nation goes berserk

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Well, the first part of that is true, not the second.

At long last, the presidential election is over. The last remaining state to be decided, Missouri, has been declared a win for McCain.

It's still unofficial, but CNN has called it: "According to the unofficial results, McCain won the state by 3,632 votes. The unofficial count shows McCain with 1,445,812 votes, or 49.4 percent, and Obama with 1,442,180 votes, or 49.3 percent."

Which makes you wonder: Is Missouri no longer the nation's bellweather? Before this year, "Missourians correctly picked the presidential candiate in every election dating back to the 1960 contest. Missouri got it wrong in 1956, voting for the Democratic challenger Adlai Stevenson, who lost the election to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Before that election, Missouri correctly picked the winner in every race for the White House dating back to 1904."

As for me, I'm just annoyed it's the one state I got wrong.


(No, not seriously. Let's just move on.)

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