Re: More mopey.

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Sorry dude. This is going to be a very close election. It's all about demographics - over 60 versus under 40. All identity politics.


Posted by: Adam | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:25 AM
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Somehow I read the post thinking the title was 'More money.' It did pretty well as a fundraising appeal.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:25 AM
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The worst part (aside from losing) will be when Obama loses as a coward. I supported Obama as someone who looked like he wanted to change the bogus narratives of American politics. How is it possible that McCain's foreign policy "expertise" has gone essentially unchallenged?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:26 AM
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2: That new site your name links to is awesome, btw.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:29 AM
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I've been getting August 2004 surfing flashbacks. It's like the Obama people only have a two-year memory.

I've always been suspicious of Obama's conciliatory message. He seems to have sold a lot of his supporters on an end to the politics of viciousness, as though he could wave a magic wand and make it all go away.

A lot of Dem pros are thinking this way, as reported by Josh Micah Marshall, for example.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:31 AM
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His first general-election negative ad was not bad for a start, I think, a hopeful sign. There's so much stuff to pound McCain for that if they're willing to start going negative in August, hopefully they'll have disseminated a lot of the really juicy stuff by November.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:41 AM
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I feel the same way. I've been going around thinking things like "Well, since McCain doesn't care about any issue except wars, maybe he'll support some policies that people actually want, like Nixon did."

But no...why would he do anything different from Bush? If he gets elected there will be no way anyone could think that someone's policies play any role in whether they get elected or not.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:42 AM
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[soothing voice] Everything's going to be OK. ....Its going to be OK. ...Obama is going to announce a female running mate today...with super powers...landslide win...don't worry...don't panic...don't crawl under your desk and suck your thumb [/soothing voice]

(Trust me on the crawl under your desk thing; it doesn't help)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:43 AM
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I prefer to believe this analysis, you gloomy Gusses.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:44 AM
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You know, if Obama does lose, the choice to spend money on tv advertising in Alaska probably will not look like it was such a bright idea.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:50 AM
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Our economic collapse will only get worse between now and 2012, so maybe nobody wants to be in charge then. On the other hand, if it's also a global economic collapse, will the president really be blamed? And then there's the Supreme Court.

My point is, democracy doesn't work.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:52 AM
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If McCain wins you can all help me decide which charity Ari has to contribute $40 to. I doubt that will make any of us feel much better though.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:53 AM
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12: here's my vote


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:54 AM
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NORML!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:54 AM
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Wait, I meant NAMBLA. They qualify as a charity, right?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:55 AM
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I met with a campaign street organizer who's been working on the primary-to-general transition for Obama's campaign. I started to ask her a question about McCain's negative attack ads and she interrupted me (Pfffft). She made it sound convincing that the election is entirely about voter registration/mobilization.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:57 AM
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Why not combine the two? Donate to NORMBLOG.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:57 AM
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A lot of Dem pros are thinking this way, as reported by Josh Micah Marshall, for example.

Is that supposed to be a reason to second guess Obama's strategy?

I think he's waiting for later in the election season, when he can see the whites of their eyes.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:57 AM
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It is August, remember, onlky August. But I must say that heaing about this Reuters poll where McCain now has a 5-point lead (it is a Zogby thing & he does tend to suck, however) first thing this morning has not done much for my mood. August , it is only August.

But Heebie is right, I cannot even abide thinking about waking up to President-elect McCain. I hate myself, my country and my species.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:58 AM
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Obama is going to announce a female running mate today...with super powers...landslide win

I, too, think he should pick Hillary.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:03 AM
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I think he's waiting for later in the election season, when he can see the whites of their eyes.

All gloom aside, I actually agree with this. Obama hasn't been politically dumb so far, and his campaign has clearly made a conscious decision that he should lay low - as Cokie pointed out, he even left the United States to go on vacation in Hawaii.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:08 AM
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I was bicycling through Elrosa, MN (pop. ~300) when I ran into two canvassers for some liberal cause (AFL-CIO sponsored). I agree with the Obamans that a ground game is important. The Democrats seem to have deliberately neglected that before 2004, and are only now catching up.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:10 AM
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My worry is that B. Hussein O. will be elected and then spend the next four years endlessly compromising with the nastiest elements of the GOP. If we get another right wing justice on the Supreme Court due to McCain, that's one thing. If it's due to Obama, I'll be pissed off enough to switch to the Greens, if not abandon political participation entirely.

Sadly, Obama seems to have problems with partisanship in and of itself, as opposed to just that kind of partisanship that interferes with passing broadly popular legislation.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:10 AM
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Sadly, Obama seems to have problems with partisanship in and of itself, as opposed to just that kind of partisanship that interferes with passing broadly popular legislation.

What are you basing this on? Mark Schmitt wrote a piece where he described Obama as using the rhetoric of non partisanship to push broadly popular liberal policies.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:16 AM
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BG, it looks like he's doing the same thing Democrats always do, using finesse to the exclusion of muscle. Sometimes you just have to confront and smash the other side. You even have to be willing to lose an occasional battle within a long campaign.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:22 AM
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spend the next four years endlessly compromising with the nastiest elements of the GOP

That certainly has been the Democratic strategy for some time now.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:25 AM
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If we get another right wing justice on the Supreme Court due to McCain, that's one thing. If it's due to Obama, I'll be pissed off enough to switch to the Greens, if not abandon political participation entirely.

If pigs start to fly, cars are going to have much bigger and smellier shit stains on them, so we're all fucked anyway in that case.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:25 AM
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My worry is that B. Hussein O. will be elected and then spend the next four years endlessly compromising with the nastiest elements of the GOP.

My worry is that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow. I think the degree to which Obama collaborates with/capitulates to the Right is going to be a function of the overall political climate - which I'm actually middlin' optimistic about.

But in any case, if Obama is elected, I wouldn't fret about the Supreme Court. The last thing that the Money Right wants is an anti-Roe majority on the court.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:28 AM
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18: whites of their eyes

Racist!

Actually, that is what I am hoping for as well, and I do have greater confidence in Obama to actually be working on that. I do think the Georgia War thing was a wrinkle that did Obama no good. (And why McCain did not get enmeshed in the "presumptuous" narrative from his actions and words on that ... nevermind).

The Repub convention theme is going to be "country first". They must go right at McCain's character. Attack the strength.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:29 AM
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The worst part (aside from losing) will be when Obama loses as a coward.

No, the worst part will be when McCain and his Veep, the Lord Humungous, after draging Obama through Washington in chains, force him to KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!

Oh, Jesus. I'm inclined to think that the analysis linked to in #9 is a more likely prediction, but I don't know. But what good are predictions of utter doom two months before the election in a race that's still Obama's for the taking?

I'll be pissed off enough to switch to the Greens, if not abandon political participation entirely.

You can do both!


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:32 AM
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Time to wear my "coaching" hat.

People! Perspective please.

Realistically Obama is a step in the right direction, and every journey begins with a small step, but his election will only be one step in a very long journey.

Alternatively McCain's election would be one step in the wrong direction, but also one step closer to rock bottom and drastic changes.

Life ain't a sitcom that gets resolved in twenty three minutes or a movie that gets resolved in (ideally) just under two hours so they can get more showings in a day.

Win, Lose, or Draw we live to fight another day.

Evey day we fight the good fight, win or lose.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:36 AM
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They must go right at McCain's character. Attack the strength.

"Liar" or "crook" or "dumbass" ain't gonna fly.
Call McCain a "coward." Doesn't have to about Vietnam, find some other narrative that can be twisted to show cowardice.

Ya know, what makes me sickest about the blogosphere is the interminable posts countering McCain's bullshit with facts and reason. After eight years of Bush, there are actually respected people who still think the truth will set us free.

McCain gained ten points and spiked Obama's negatives with blatant lies. He was called on them publicly by the MSM, and it didn't help.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:39 AM
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Alternatively McCain's election would be one step in the wrong direction, but also one step closer to rock bottom and drastic changes.

I remember that argument from 1980.


Posted by: DonBoy | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:41 AM
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4: Thanks heebie! I'm going to do a new one every day until the election.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:41 AM
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mcmanus speaks truthily.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:41 AM
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I'm feelin' ya. I've been in a low-grade depression since FISA. Since then, I've looked hard at Obama's foreign policy and found it rather militaristic. I haven't figured out how he's anti-war while proposing an overall troop increase of 100,000; among other things.

But, of course, McCain clearly wants to revive the Cold War plus bomb people at places yet to be determined. And his economic and health proposals will kill more people here.

To 26, I just finished The Dark Side. What really has my hate on is the account of an inter agency group of principled Bush admin people putting together anti-torture, due process proposal that Rice works a Cheney end-round that eventually reaches the Supreme Court.

A favorable decision is followed by Congressional passage of the Military Commissions Act reversing much of that Supreme Court decision. Practice for the FISA legislation, I guess. And those giggling over Kucinich's impeachment hearings leaves a president with the authority to bomb Iran, or where ever, before he leaves. But I guess the Democratic Congress has already supported an Iran attack, though.

In the end, outstanding Democratic primary turnout along along with Republican fatigue will offset the Diebold effect and Obama will win solidly.



Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:45 AM
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31:Win, Lose, or Draw we live to fight another day.

Obama won't, not if ZOD! tears his still beating heart from his chest and eats it. Which is pretty likely in my estimation.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:46 AM
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I started to ask her a question about McCain's negative attack ads and she interrupted me (Pfffft). She made it sound convincing that the election is entirely about voter registration/mobilization.

Not to downplay the importance of GOTV, or to overplay the importance of one campaign worker, but it's talk like this, the elevation of tactics over strategy, that makes me nervous. It may well turn out to be true, especially in a year that should by most indicators favor the Democrats, but I really don't want to hear it.

At the moment I'm also feeling a little wary of arguments that deploy metaphors ("rope-a-dope" and so on) to justify the Obama campaign's behavior. It's certainly true that it's only August, the conventions haven't happened, lots yet to go with many people not paying attention yet, etc. But it's also possible to get a little too cute with these metaphors and begin thinking that they really describe the situation more than they do.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:48 AM
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I've been mopey for months and y'all just called me crazy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:49 AM
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36:I haven't figured out how he's anti-war while proposing an overall troop increase of 100,000

Anti starting wars doesn't mean anti winning them once they are started. The best way to win in both Iraq and Afghanistan is to deploy more than enough resources to completely dominate the enemy *and* to build domestic institutions that will be stable and responsive to the concerns of the populace. Once the institutions are in place, you pull the troops. It's the latter part we're currently hosing in Iraq. In Afghanistan it's both.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:53 AM
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I've been mopey for months and y'all just called me crazy.

We just chalked it up to the rectal bleeding, Brock. It would make anybody mopey.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:54 AM
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Ya know, what makes me sickest about the blogosphere is the interminable posts countering McCain's bullshit with facts and reason.

I hear ya, but you know what's even sicker? When sensible people bitch about people unethically sliming McCain - as in, "Obama shouldn't go there because it's wrong." As though there could be something wrong with character assassination of a Republican in the context of 2008 America.

For example, check out Kleiman's blog at the end of the post titled "McCain's Saddleback deception" - the paragraph that begins with four of the most inauspicious words in the English language: "I agree with Megan ..."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:56 AM
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I'm still pretty confident. For most voters (and particularly for most undecided voters), the campaign hasn't really started yet. When it does, we have such a huge visual advantage from McCain's being a sad, baggy old man. On the issues as they're going to play out for those voters who are still in play, McCain doesn't have any strong positive issues other than war, and the war isn't popular any more. People are sick of Iraq (the whole bullshit "but the surge was a success!" thing? I don't think people who aren't news junkies know the surge happened, much less how it purportedly turned out. What they know is there's still a war going on.), and bored with being scared of terrorism -- only really politically engaged lunatics are currently worried about the restored Caliphate eating the world. So McCain hasn't got one strong positive issue in his favor.

On the other hand, I've predicted ten of the last two Democratic victories. So what do I know?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:57 AM
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I'm still pretty confident. For most voters (and particularly for most undecided voters), the campaign hasn't really started yet. When it does, we have such a huge visual advantage from McCain's being a sad, baggy old man.

Are we still scheduled to have zero head-to-head debates?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:58 AM
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You're all nuts, other than apo. Obama's going to win this one. The media has an incentive to make the campaign look closer than it is, because "old corpse dude obviously losing to rising political superstar" doesn't make for an exciting race. But when you look at actual numbers, Obama's leading in the polls, leading in money (by a LOT), and McCain has never come close to catching up. The convention's coming up next week, which is going to give Obama a lot of free press and a decent bump, after which McCain will try to steal his thunder by... what? Naming Joe Lieberman his running mate? Good luck with that one, John. McCain is a dead man walking, and the GOP knows it - look at all the Republicans who aren't even bothering to show up at the convention this year.


Posted by: Name Withheld | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:00 AM
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31: Jesus, Tripp, do you think we're talking to 12 year olds? I've been seeing mostly backward steps my whole adult life. Nixon --> Reagan --> Dubya is a pretty chilling 40-year run. Carter, GHWB, and Clinton were just speed bumps.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:02 AM
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I wrote that before I saw LB's comment.


Posted by: Name Withheld | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:02 AM
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I don't think people who aren't news junkies know the surge happened

I feel pretty confident this isn't right, unless you've got an extraordinarily broad definition of "news junkie" (something along the lines of "person who occasionally watches or reads the news").


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:03 AM
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Obama won't, not if ZOD! tears his still beating heart from his chest and eats it. Which is pretty likely in my estimation.

The thing is this isn't really about Obama. We need to stop pinning all our hopes on one person or even one political party or even on politics itself.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:03 AM
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I wrote that before I saw LB's comment.

Don't think that's going to keep me from harassing you about your insufficiently individual pseudonym, Withy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:03 AM
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46: Was it John Mitchell who said "This country's going so far to the right you won't even recognize it"?


Posted by: Name Withheld | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:03 AM
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50: Better?


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:04 AM
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Everyone click on Neil's site. I'm sorry I ever called him an act utilitarian.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:05 AM
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I'm mopey, and I'm not even suffering from rectal bleeding. I have yet to see any reason to believe that the country that re-elected Bush won't elect McCain.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:05 AM
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You're all nuts, other than apo.

NEW HOVERTEXT!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:07 AM
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I'm not even suffering from rectal bleeding.

Come on down to NC for a visit and I'll take care of that for you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:08 AM
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46:

I share your perspective regarding politics since the early seventies. So, from our perspective, what would you say? Following me around carping about whatever I say doesn't really do much.

Are you stalking me, or do you play internet critic with other people too? Have you noticed that our pattern is I say something and you cut it down? I don't recall criticizing anything you've said until after you come after me.

Criticizing is easy but it adds little to the conversation and it sets a negative tone.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:09 AM
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52: Much.

48: Oh, you might get some recognition of 'surge' as something relating to the Iraq War. But the "the surge made everything all better" narrative is one that you have to be pretty involved in the news to have much of a sense of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:09 AM
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But when you look at actual numbers, Obama's leading in the polls

This has been true for a while, but also see the link to the new Zogby poll in Stormcrow's 19.


Posted by: NickFranklin | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:09 AM
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We need to stop pinning all our hopes on one person or even one political party or even on politics itself.

It also helps to know that things will certainly get better, but just not in your own lifetime or that of your children. Take the long, altruistic, philosophical view.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:11 AM
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McCain's Saddleback deception

That one could have been dynamite. Forget even mentioning whether he "cheated" or not, he basically lied to Rick Warren in a church when he replied to Warren's "cone of silence" reference at the beginning of his interview. The McCain campaign realized how bad that could look and that is why they came out with guns blazing. He shaded the truth in front of people who do not go for "shade"; I think the Dem response went wrong by going for the further implication of cheating. Most people (and pundits) would not care about McCain's little white lie, but the real churchy voters would.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:11 AM
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53: Thanks, and no need to apologize, Emerson -- you were right about that one.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:12 AM
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I have yet to see any reason to believe that the country that re-elected Bush won't elect McCain.

This country barely re-elected Bush, at a time when it wasn't nearly as sick of the war as it is now, against a candidate who wasn't nearly as smart a campaigner as Obama. In 2004 Bush outraised and outspent Kerry, and was polling above him or even with him for much of the campaign. In 2008 Obama has consistently outpolled McCain from the start and has raised far more money than McCain has seen. Add to that the fact that three quarters of the country wants to end the war now. Four years does actually make a difference.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:13 AM
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It also helps to know that things will certainly get better, but just not in your own lifetime or that of your children only when the human race has been wiped out.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:14 AM
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But the "the surge made everything all better" narrative is one that you have to be pretty involved in the news to have much of a sense of.

Sorry, but I just don't think this is true. In fact, I think it's more likely you'd have to be pretty involved in the news to have much of a sense of how false this is. "The surge made things better" is exactly the line that has been served to the low information voters over the last few years. "If only we'd done it sooner, and done more, like McCain wanted, we'd be done with this war already" is the line they're getting now, and will continue to get over the next few months.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:15 AM
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Most people (and pundits) would not care about McCain's little white lie, but the real churchy voters would.

Doubt it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:16 AM
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59: Right, but again, it's Zogby. I'll worry when McCain's leading in a few polls that don't have a history of being bizarre outliers.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:16 AM
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Like all Democrats, I'm gunshy. A lot of objective things favor Obama, there are many good things about Obama, but 40 years of history makes me pessimistic. Essentially, the only way I can come up with an optimistic reading of political history during my adult life (since 1967) is to decide that I've always been wrong about everything.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:17 AM
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Semi-related, here's the text of a chain email that was forwarded to me yesterday:


London Sunday Times

Investor's Business Daily editorial board ask, 'What would happen if the U.S. won a war but the media didn't tell the American public?
Apparently, we have to rely on a British newspaper for the news that we've defeated the last remnants of al-Qaida in Iraq .'
London 's Sunday Times called it 'the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.' A terrorist force that once numbered more than 12,000, with strongholds in the west and central regions of Iraq, has over two years been reduced to a mere 1,200 fighters, backed against the wall in the northern city of Mosul.

The destruction of al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) is one of the most unlikely and unforeseen events in the long history of American warfare. We can thank President Bush's surge strategy, in which he bucked both Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington by increasing our forces there instead of surrendering. We can also thank the leadership of the new general he placed in charge there, David Petraeus, who may be the foremost expert in the world on counter-insurgency warfare. And we can thank those serving in our military in Iraq who engaged local Iraqi tribal leaders and convinced them America was their friend and AQI their enemy.

Al-Qaida's loss of the hearts and minds of ordinary Iraqis began in Anbar Province , which had been written off as a basket case, and spread out from there. Now, in Operation Lion's Roar the Iraqi army and the U.S. 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is destroying the fraction of terrorists who are left. More than 1,000 AQI operatives have already been apprehended.

Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin, traveling with Iraqi forces in Mosul , found little AQI presence even in bullet-ridden residential areas
that were once insurgency strongholds, and reported that the terrorists have lost control of its Mosul urban base, with what is left of the organization having fled south into the countryside.

Meanwhile, the State Department reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has achieved 'satisfactory' progress on 15 of the 18 political benchmarks - a big change for the better from a year ago. Things are going so well that Maliki has even for the first time floated the idea of a timetable for withdrawal of American forces. He did so while visiting the United Arab Emirates, which over the weekend announced that it was forgiving almost $7 billion of debt owed by Baghdad - an impressive vote of confidence from a fellow Arab state in the future of a free Iraq.

But where are the headlines and the front-page stories about all this good news? As the Media Research Center pointed out last week, 'the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 were silent Tuesday night about the benchmarks' that signaled political progress. The war in Iraq has been turned around 180 degrees both militarily and politically because the president stuck to his guns. Yet apart from IBD, Fox News Channel and parts of the foreign press, the media don't seem to consider this historic event a big story.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:17 AM
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65: What Brock said.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:19 AM
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A lot of objective things favor Obama, there are many good things about Obama, but 40 years of history makes me pessimistic.

The way I reconcile this is I assume Obama will win, and I assume that he will suck.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:19 AM
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Maybe it's just tactics, but Obama's ground game is blowing away McCain's. McCain made a huge improvement in August and is now only trailing Obama's voter contacts 35 fold (improved from losing 567-fold in July.) McCain's shooting his wad on August advertising- he has to because he needs to use up all his primary money by September- while Obama's spending on organizing and local ads.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:24 AM
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The Democrats seem to have deliberately neglected that before 2004, and are only now catching up.

Thinking about that now, I wonder to what extent that was an old legacy of the political coalition of the 70s when it made sense to let individual politicians have their own regional machines (either in the South or in Chicago) rather than trying to build up an explicitly national groud game.

For most voters (and particularly for most undecided voters), the campaign hasn't really started yet.

What do you think about the argument being made over at EK's and MY's sites that, in most cases, the narrative of the campaign is set by the convetion and the post labor-day campaign doesn't change much (and that 2000 was an exception to this generalization)?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:31 AM
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69, 70: I realize I keep on refining this, but (a) I really think you're underestimating the number of people who aren't paying attention at all, and (b)Doesn't the ignorant, low information version of the surge come off as "we won, so we can come home now"? To the extent it's an uncomplicated victory narrative, it means that McCain's only issue, the war, is something that's not important going forward. What McCain needs the surge to be is support for a narrative that says that the war is very important, and the surge has brought victory within reach, but we haven't quite won yet, and McCain will win but Obama won't. And that's kinda complicated and requires a lot of attention.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:33 AM
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Winger church people are moralistic but gullible, and a lot of them think that politics is intrinsically evil, so anything goes. They hate liberals and McCain is clearly the lesser evil.

One possible exception: when Republicans are involves in organized vice, or when they deliberately deceive the Christians themselves -- e.g., when Ralph Reed recruited the volunteer efforts of anti-gambling Christians against one group of gamblers on the behalf of a different group of gamblers who gave Reed tons of money.

But even this didn't have the explosive effect that it should have, though it did crimp Reed's own career. his is not the kind of story about Faith that gets relayed and amplified ad nauseum by the liberal media.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:34 AM
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"we won, so we can come home now"?

McCain might campaign on a version of that. Nixon was the peace candidate in 1968 and 1972.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:37 AM
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McCain might campaign on a version of that.

He hasn't even feinted in that direction yet, has he? I know he gets to flipflop all over the place without people calling him on it, but that'd be a big one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:39 AM
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74: I really think you're overestimating how logically consistent this narrative needs to be.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:40 AM
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Somewhat off-topic, but since 69 brought up email forwards: If a relative forwards you a piece of particularly nasty racist humor, are you justified in never speaking to said relative again?

This relative is not anyone to whom I owe filial duty; in fact it's someone whom I'm likely to see only at funerals and family gatherings. But still, it's someone I was close to growing up. I'm really pissed off about this.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:42 AM
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Here is the EK post I was thinking of.

Ezra takes the position of "don't panic" and "wait until after the conventions" but I find Petey's first comment at least somewhat convincing.

I still feel personally confident that Obama will win, but I don't agree that this part of the campaign is meaningless, and I am starting to think it will be a closer election than I would like.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:42 AM
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I find Petey... somewhat convincing

Ah! There's your problem.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:45 AM
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You're all nuts, other than apo.

Oh, I fully expect Obama to win--I have a hard time thinking that, when it comes right down to it, a majority of the electorate is going to go into the voting booth and decide that more of the same is just what's needed. And it's true that Bush barely beat Kerry (or Gore, but that's another matter), and Obama's a far more gifted politician than the previous nominee and running under more favorable circumstances. He should win, no doubt about it. But if he doesn't, blah.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:49 AM
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78: It's not so much logical consistency, as emotional consistency. McCain needs the war in Iraq to be scary and important (actually cheerful and happy -- like, if Iraq was suddenly a functional democracy with working services and levels of violence comparable to those in Japan -- would work too, but that's not available). The "surge made everything better" story is, on an emotional level, a "so you don't need to worry about Iraq. It's fine." story. But McCain needs Iraq to be a big important deal, because he doesn't have anything else particular to run on.

Thinking that the surge made everything better and that Iraq is still the biggest most important issue out there seems inconsistent not on an intellectual level, but on a gut level, to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:50 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:50 AM
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And I should say that my comments above were mostly a side quibble with LB about the surge, and were not meant to suggest what I think will be the defining features of the election. I'm actually feeling better about this election by the day. Obama's major negatives seem to be both not that bad and old news. And he does have a lot of positives (including gobs of money).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:51 AM
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77: LB, McCain has come out in favor of an early withdrawal, which will be possible because victory (whatever that means) is on the horizon. Even Bush has said this. Here's one unsympathetic summary of the way the Republicans are playing this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:54 AM
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I find Petey... somewhat convincing

Ah! There's your problem.

Yeah, hopefully.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:56 AM
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I wish I could somehow convince myself to stop paying attention to the campaign, but I keep checking the RCP polls several times a day.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:56 AM
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83: No one is claiming that the surge made "everything better", LB (except possibly that chain email in 69). They're saying that it helped, that it was a step in the right direction, that it proves this war in "winnable", that we just have to devote the right resources to it and, mostly importantly, elect wise and experienced leaders who know how properly to fight a war, instead of cowardly arugula-eaters who will withdraw our troops and surrender to Al-Qaeda.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:57 AM
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That the 'Surge was successful' is hard to dispute if your metric is American deaths. But the Surge tactics used- disarming Baghdad Sunnis last summer allowing ethnic cleansing then followed by building miles of walls partitioning remaining Sunnis and Shiites- is less well-known. That's what the administration calls stability.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:06 AM
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heebie is right (old news I know) in 4, and Emerson is also right in 53. Neil's site is wonderful.

I'd love to see a series of independent commercials - or a series of Saturday Night Live sketches, for that matter - along these lines. And if Stiglitz's $3 trillion figure is an exaggeration, well, that makes it even better!


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:06 AM
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79 - have you considered replying with an objection to the racism and an explanation of why you object?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:08 AM
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89: (Obviously, I'm arguing on a 'seems to me' basis here, with little or no actual knowledge of how the people I'm talking about are really thinking. This has never stopped me before, though.) See, that argument seems too subtle for someone who's not really, really engaged. McCain can't use the surge to say "The war's over, we've won!" because it isn't and we haven't, and if he did just say he was going to declare victory and go home, he'd lose his issue.

So he's got to use the surge to say "The war's winnable, if we just keep fighting!" And at that point, unless you're all into the specifics, it's not anything different from what's been said daily for the last five years, which has always been "The war's winnable, if we just keep fighting!" alternated with "We've already won!" There's not a low-information basis for distinguishing between surge-based "This war is winnable!" and pre-surge "This war is winnable!" I don't see the surge swinging much, if any, weight with anyone who wasn't already firmly in the administration's camp.

Change of subject: Whatever happened to the inevitable end of the surge because we were going to run out of troops? Have troop levels gone down without my noticing or what happened there?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:15 AM
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I'm basically in agreement with LB, whose argument I take to be: In the absence of a national emergency, the Republicans suffer politically.

George W kept his wars going and was re-elected. He learned a lesson from George HW, who made the political mistake of winning his war.

The problem is, the Republicans have available to them a lot of different ways of creating a national emergency. And they've got an ally in bin Laden, who knows the side on which his bread is buttered.

What happens if we introduce American troops into Georgia? Or American bombs into Iran? What happens if bin Laden does a video endorsement of Obama? I don't know the answers to these questions, but you can bet the Republicans are focus-grouping it, and the mullahs are mulling.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:26 AM
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I guess there's a relevant comment to be made about this site that heebie and Emerson have graciously encouraged people to look at.

I've been disappointed at how Obama has let McCain control the debate. There have been a number of moments -- Phil Gramm's 'mental recession', for instance -- where Obama passed up an opportunity to hit McCain hard. I can't think of a single memorable Obama ad since the general election campaign started. And with Obama telling his big donors not to give to attack-dog 527 groups, we don't have enough aggressive players on the field. (There was supposed to be a $40 million 527 led by David Brock devoted to beating the crap out of McCain, but it died when Obama told his donors not to give money.)

I had the 'War or Car' idea for a few months, but the big thing that motivated me to get off my ass (or actually, sit on my ass) and start the blog was that Obama was really sluggish about pressing important points. Points like 'The opportunity cost of the Iraq War is mindcrushingly gigantic.' War or Car tries to make that point in a quick, fun way that will stick with people. When it goes viral, it'll make the point unforgettable to all internet-connected Americans and anyone who reads their journalism, delivering several contested states to Obama! Or, anyway, that's the lottery ticket that I'm buying. I think it's worth an hour or two per day of figuring out how much weird shit costs and trying to slap together pictures with zero Photoshop skilz.

But in general, it's time to step up with whatever auxiliary message assistance we can offer. If you see a fledgling 527 ad that's really good and they need cash to put it on the air, pass it around and stuff. I think Obama probably wins even if our side stays as passive as it's been, but the probabilities can be way better.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:29 AM
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BTW, any suggestions from you clever people about how I could improve the site will be appreciated.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:32 AM
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Aravosis is worried.

I agree that we shouldn't panic, but the feeling of deja vu is getting to me. I did not expect Obama to run a weak campaign, but so far he is.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:33 AM
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94: "On the tenth day of Ramadan, my true love gave to me: Ten mullah's mulling."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:33 AM
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I can't think of a single memorable Obama ad since the general election campaign started. And with Obama telling his big donors not to give to attack-dog 527 groups, we don't have enough aggressive players on the field. (There was supposed to be a $40 million 527 led by David Brock devoted to beating the crap out of McCain, but it died when Obama told his donors not to give money.)

What? Why would Obama do that?

This is very distressing.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:36 AM
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Bunch of theories but I don't know for sure, Fatman. Here's a Politico article about what happened.

A DC buddy who works for a campaign finance nonprofit told me a story about a woman who showed a hard-hitting web ad to one of the Davids (Axelrod or Plouffe, I can't recall) of the Obama campaign. David says, 'That's a good ad! Who did that?' And the woman tells him, 'Somebody who can't get funding after you told your donors not to give to 527s.'


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:43 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:44 AM
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What? Why would Obama do that?

Obama wants to control the message. He doesn't want the dirty fucking hippies getting out of hand.

I'm not even sure this is the wrong approach. Republicans can Swift-Boat, but if a Democrat tried it - including Democrats not affiliated with Obama - the media would be all over Obama's ass.

I suspect Obama figures that if he's going to get blamed for negativity, he might as well control it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:45 AM
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You mopey moes have to stop. My mental health isn't up for serious bad news. I'm only listening to Apo from now on.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:46 AM
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99: I thought it was because they want to control the message. They have, I assume, a specific plan of attack, and want to see it followed.

I continue to think that you'll have to wait until mid to late September before you'll see Obama and the rest go on the offensive.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:46 AM
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99: To keep complete control of the message, and in particular to avoid a confrontational campaign. Obama seems committed to some kind of era of good feeling and working both sides of the aisle.

There have been several hints from the Obama side that he feels no special tie to the blogosphere or to any of the new non-party movements that have popped up over the last few years. His own organization is internet-based, but we're not part of it. My guess is that he plans to take over the DNC, root out the Clinton people, and merge his people into it. Pure guess, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:47 AM
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Basically I'm praying for Obama not to screw up the election, and then I'll expect to go into some kind of opposition.

I think that the only thing we can do any more is support primary challenges to Blue Dogs, and do general public education on specific issues. We'll have no leverage with President Obama.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:50 AM
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93- The Surge levels are down from full Surge, but not to pre-Surge levels.

McCain has been calling the Surge as a means to permanent occupation all along. Obama's proposed policy is not too far off, actually. He supports 'residual forces' that he won't commit to withdrawing by 2013. And he hasn't spoken out against permanent bases.

Now Americans are now largely supportive of blood for oil. And the biggest reason this administration is calling out Iran for possible (probable?) bombing is that it geopolitically justifies American presence. Obama's hard-line posturing also supports this.

So whether the war is 'winnable' or 'won' is largely irrelevant now. It likely always was.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:51 AM
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If it's 'control the message' versus 'have aggressive surrogates', I'll take the latter. Control is overrated -- it's easy for your top-level allies to know what has to be done, even without coordination.

And I don't think the playing field here is quite as uneven as football suggests -- at least, I can't think of any direct evidence on this issue.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:52 AM
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You know, if Obama does lose, but we pick up Ted Stevens's seat and other important congressional seats and governorships, the choice to spend money on tv advertising in Alaska pursue a 50-state strategy probably will not look like it was such a bright idea.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:53 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:55 AM
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As far as effective Dem 527s go, I recall VoteVets doing some excellent work in the 2006 elections.

Do you remember that ad that starts with a soldier shooting a gun at two mannequins in army gear? And one of the mannequins has a hole through the belly and the other is okay? And the soldier tells you that George Allen voted against giving the troops the bulletproof vest that actually stopped the bullet? Anyway, it was a pretty awesome ad, and the Republicans howled a lot about it to no effect.

Give me more of that.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:00 AM
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Calm down, people. Obama's already running negative ads.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:00 AM
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92: I just replied very tersely: "Please do not forward racist humor to me". The image was completely awful - there was nothing subtle about it - I don't think further explanation is in order. I'm so fucking ashamed of my family.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:05 AM
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113: That seems like the best response.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:12 AM
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I'm only listening to Apo from now on.

If you want Obama to win, you should send me $100.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:19 AM
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Neil is an act utilitarian?!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:20 AM
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I called him that, and I don't believe he denied it. I may have called him an act consequentialist.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:22 AM
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This changes everything.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:24 AM
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109: I take your point, though I'm both not sure I agree with it entirely and, to the extent I do agree, not sure it conflicts with what I originally wrote. The money Obama spends on ads in Alaska (or Indiana, to pick another state typically unlikely to go for a Democrat in a presidential election) doesn't prevent the Alaskan Democratic Senate candidate from raising/spending money, or other Democratic organizations geared toward electing Senators and other officials lower on the ticket from doing the same. Surely those efforts are more important in getting congressional seats and governorships into Democratic hands than ads for the Presidential candidate. That's part of why I wrote about his ad spending specifically and not the broader idea of the 50 state strategy, which is certainly related but not exactly the same. And I'm a little baffled that you didn't choose to strike out my first words, "if Obama does lose"; I'd love to have more Democrats in office at all levels as well, but it seems to me that the first duty of a Presidential nominee's campaign is to elect said nominee President, and failing to do that makes it, well, a failure--one that may have some silver linings, perhaps, but nonetheless.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:25 AM
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116: Yeah, I'm kicking it old school.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:27 AM
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116: Yeah, I'm kicking it old school.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:27 AM
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Because you know, Bentham always double posted.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:28 AM
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"Father Emergon" sounds like a schismatic Greek Orthodox priest.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:30 AM
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JL: What you say is somewhat persuasive, except that it's been the Dem strategy for some time and has led to no coattails, a weak party, and a Democratic Congress at cross purposes with the Democratic President (and ultimately a Republican Congress). It strikes me as a textbook example of self-defeating rationality.

I supported the 50%+1 swing-state strategy until Kos et all convinced me that the 50-state strategy is far superior. At this point I'd probably compromise on a 35-state strategy, but the swing-state strategy is horrible.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:40 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:46 AM
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I supported the 50%+1 swing-state strategy until Kos et all convinced me that the 50-state strategy is far superior. At this point I'd probably compromise on a 35-state strategy, but the swing-state strategy is horrible.

I can't speak to whether or not the swing-state strategy is effective, but it does have a certain cynicism and cheapness about it. I could easily imagine the negative effects of being perceived as cynical and cheap outweighing the theoretical efficiencies of concentrating on swing states.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:49 AM
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112: Having seen about 5 of the Obama negative ads, the DHL ad strikes me as the best one. But as far as I know it's only running in a small corner of Ohio where it's really salient. The ad bashing McCain's ties to oil companies is pretty good too, just because it's focused and it makes a clear point.

But the other 3 - the celebrity ad, the one that complains about McCain's negative campaigning, and one that tries to work in a bunch of different attacks all at once - seem like the product of a campaign that doesn't have a clear idea what negative points it really wants to establish, or whether it really wants to go negative. And I have a hard time seeing what negative point about McCain a viewer would really remember from them.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:52 AM
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119: My point is that it's more than a silver lining. Winning the presidency matters enormously. But win or -- ZOD forbid -- lose, Obama's campaign will give us an enormous boost in down ballot races.

Having a filibuster-proof Senate and more governorships and winning, say, control of the Texas lege so that we can roll back Tom Delay's fucked-up redistricting, matter enormously, too, and lay the groundwork for a long(er)-lasting move from red to blue. That's the real importance of the 50-state strategy. Otherwise, it truly would be pointless to spend a dime in many red states, not just Alaska.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:55 AM
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You know, Neil, that act-utilitarianism was invented just to make utilitarians look stupid.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:02 PM
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129: true, but genetic fallacy.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:03 PM
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Dale Jamieson on Act utilitarianism:

This seems so obvious that I sometimes (darkly) wonder who invented act-utilitarianism, when, where, and for what purpose. As a theoretical construct it has its uses, but the idea that a utilitarian moralist must embrace a psychologically impossible doctrine on pain of inconsistency is to misunderstand the very project of moral theorizing.

Clearly Bentham and Mill were strangers to this doctrine. They were promiscuous in their application of the principle of utility to acts, motives, rules, principles, policies, laws, and more besides.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:03 PM
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The last paragraph in 131 was supposed to be a part of the quote.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:04 PM
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What you say is somewhat persuasive, except that it's been the Dem strategy for some time and has led to no coattails, a weak party, and a Democratic Congress at cross purposes with the Democratic President (and ultimately a Republican Congress). It strikes me as a textbook example of self-defeating rationality.

Hm, I'm not sure I was arguing in favor of a 50% +1 strategy, just that you better make sure you do, in fact, get at least 50% +1. I only said that the decision to do so on the part of Obama's campaign by spending money on ads in Alaska (or other states normally red for Presidential purposes) would look bad if a victory didn't come, which strikes me as essentially banal.

I just erased a long paragraph going into more detail because I have work to do and don't have time to comment more, so I'll just end with this: I don't think the election of John McCain would prove or disprove the importance of a 50-state strategy for the Democrats, but it'd sure be a comment on the Obama campaign.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:14 PM
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And I don't think the playing field here is quite as uneven as football suggests -- at least, I can't think of any direct evidence on this issue.

Equivalence is tough in these situations. It's easy to support a more general proposition - that Democrats get a rougher ride in the media than the Republicans. But I suppose you're looking for direct evidence that Democratic attacks are treated differently than Republican attacks.

Here's what I would propose as direct evidence: John McCain, straight out, said that Barack Obama is knowingly working on behalf of America's military enemies in order to win election: "It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign." He said this repeatedly, and the media has yawned. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

I can't even imagine a circumstance where a Democrat could get away with such a thing - and I mean a Democrat unaffiliated with the Obama campaign. If, say, Bill Richardson said something like this about John McCain or George Bush - say, that they aren't very interested in defeating al Qaeda because it's politically advantageous to have OBL out there - then Obama would be rejecting and denouncing so fast your head would spin. And he'd need to, because the media would hound him about it until he did, and wouldn't even weigh the possibility that it might be true.

Four years after Jerome Corsi made "swift-boat" into a verb, he was back on the front page of the Washington Post with his new Obama book - and McCain has largely skated on being held accountable for this. No rejections or denunciations from him. Meanwhile, actual journalistic treatments of McCain's record are ignored in the media. This is not a coincidence.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:19 PM
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Why does he say it's psychologically impossible, rob? I can think of a few possible things he'd mean, but which is right?

(I may go to bed before I see the answer, if so, apologies.)


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:20 PM
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football, here's a link to the VoteVets 527 ad that I reference in 111. As far as I know this worked out very well for Jim Webb and the Democrats, even though the Republicans screamed bloody murder.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:26 PM
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135: He just runs through the litany of usual reasons: lack of time, cognitive power, will power, information, etc. More importantly any attempt to turn yourself into an act-utilitarian decision making machine conflicts with all the mechanisms and practices that humans have evolved to actually promote the greatest good, practices like promise keeping, etc.

Its all in the essay "When Utilitarians Should be Virtue Theorists."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:32 PM
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So, Lieberman is speaking at the GOP and Giuliani is delivering the keynote? I either have to avoid it entirely or get some mushrooms.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:35 PM
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GOP convention, that is.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:36 PM
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I think the standard response is something like: "Act utilitarianism isn't a decision procedure or a measure of your virtue as an agent. It's just a criterion for which acts are best. Feel free to use whichever decision procedure you like. Act utilitarianism just tells you where the resulting act is on the goodness scale among possible acts you could've done."

ok, bedtime, but I promise I'll continue when I wake up.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:42 PM
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I think the standard response is something like: "Act utilitarianism isn't a decision procedure or a measure of your virtue as an agent. It's just a criterion for which acts are best. Feel free to use whichever decision procedure you like. Act utilitarianism just tells you where the resulting act is on the goodness scale among possible acts you could've done."

ok, bedtime, but I promise I'll continue when I wake up.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:42 PM
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Utilitarianism isn't majoritarianism, and neither view implies the other. I say this only to squelch rumors that I've been double posting for dark majoritarian purposes, and to respond to 140.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:44 PM
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Three thoughts:

1) Apo, LB, and Sir Kraab are all right, for each of the reasons they cite.

2) It's very early to go negative. And that's all McCain has done -- to very, very little effect. Sure, I wish Obama hadn't gone bodysurfing in August. The optics smacked of the Kerry campaign. And sure, it hasn't been a great month for him. But going this negative this early for McCain is a telling sign about his campaign. Which leads me to...

3) Is there anyone here who thinks that the public's perception of Obama has ossified because of McCain's ads? I sure don't. The Denver convention will really matter; Obama's running mate will really matter; the MASSIVE ad blitz in September will really matter. Until then, relax.

Just as a throwaway, people do think that the Obama camp knows that it often thunderstorms in Denver in the late afternoon/early evening in August. Yes, the storms usually pass by the time one would be giving an acceptance speech, but still...


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:49 PM
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136: That ad is pretty sweet, but as I said above, equivalency is tough and I don't think Jim Webb's behavior in Virginia has much bearing on what a Barack Obama or a John Kerry or an Al Gore can do nationally - or what their surrogates can do.

Webb is a weird case - an ex-Reagan Navy secretary with a kid in Iraq, for heaven's sake - and local/regional media are much less corrupt than the national media. By my reckoning, there are too many differences to make this a useful example. YMMV.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:51 PM
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I can't even imagine a circumstance where a Democrat could get away with such a thing - and I mean a Democrat unaffiliated with the Obama campaign. If, say, Bill Richardson said something like this about John McCain or George Bush - say, that they aren't very interested in defeating al Qaeda because it's politically advantageous to have OBL out there - then Obama would be rejecting and denouncing so fast your head would spin. And he'd need to, because the media would hound him about it until he did, and wouldn't even weigh the possibility that it might be true.

Indeed, when Wes Clark made the anodyne comment that John McCain's military service wasn't really as a strategist or a commander -- he led a flight squad but wasn't, e.g., running a tanker division -- and didn't really add up to qualifications for foreign policy expertise or the presidency, the media jumped down his throat for days.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:54 PM
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Yes, the storms usually pass by the time one would be giving an acceptance speech

And sometimes the clouds break and sunbeams fall right on the podium. That'd be awesome.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:55 PM
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You can make it happen, Jesus, I know you can.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 12:58 PM
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I'd be afraid of an equipment malfunction. What if I had the thing turned up too high and vaporized him?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:01 PM
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Coming to your local theatre: "Jesus II: The Fatal Klutz"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:05 PM
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What if I had the thing turned up too high and vaporized him?

Martyr time! More virgins for him. And President Bayh for us.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:08 PM
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Hey Neil, just a quick couple ideas for the site:

Using data from here, you can show that $3 trillion will buy all the tea in China every year for the next 1,400 years (annual crop of 1.05 million metric tonnes, estimated 2007 year end price of $1.95 per kg given recent price increases).

And given that a Fabergé egg just sold for $18.5 million not too long ago, I decided to calculate how much it would cost to hold an entire Olympics where all the flying targets for skeet and trap shooting events are Fabergé eggs. Given the number of competitors in each event at the Beijing Games and the number of targets used in each event for the prelims and the finals, a total of 16,275 targets are required for the 5 olympic moving target events. At a price of $18.5 million per egg (or other equally aerodynamic work of art), we could hold about 10 olympics using such targets for $3 trillion. (of course, this is impossible since only 69 such eggs were ever produced, but that's why other comparable works of art are substitutable)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:09 PM
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151: I sense synergy among us.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:11 PM
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of course, this is impossible since only 69 such eggs were ever produced

That's small-time thinking. What you've really got is a perfect make-work program, a latter-day WPA.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:19 PM
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151: Perhaps as a startup we could get someone to donate a Faberge egg to the next Olympics for this purpose, just to rouse interest in the concept.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:21 PM
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Here's my particular problem with this election.

I'm actually feeling reasonably good about the American public at large right now. It took us a while, but we've really turned very decisively against this war, and against starting any new ones anytime soon. (It won't last, but it's a good moment.) Even those of us with good health care for ourselves are likely to recognize that others are in need and that the existing system truly cannot do the job. Each year, more and more of us realize that gay marriage is a good idea. And so forth and so on.

I'm also not, when I pause to refresh my memory by checking vote results, very down on most Democratic representatives. They get steamrollered into awesomely stupid and sometimes evil junk from time to time, but most of the Democrats in Congress actually do vote reasonably well most of the time. They need some jerks flushed, of course, but it's manageable stuff.

The problem I have is with the Democratic leadership and the management of the mass media establishment. These folks have bought entirely into the exoteric Republican story - they believe that Republican claims about American voters are true, and go on from that to derive the position that capitulation is what preserves them any share at the table. And they seem utterly impervious to shame, as thoroughly so as Cheney et al. With their Republican allies, they've reinforced all the structures that make direct challenge hard and added in a bunch of new position-preserving features.

If we could have a verifiably honest election, with votes counted and verified and all groundless challenges rejected at the outset, I am quite sure that Democrats would win. But we won't get that. We don't have elections that come anywhere close to, say, UN standards for verifiable fairness. We have a mass media that spreads Republican lies, and Republican liars willing to do whatever it takes to challenge results they don't like, and Democrats who won't protest effectively at all about voter harassment, voter roll purges, and the like. And since the Republican machine mantra is "Whatever we can get away with", we'll get all the cheating of 2000 and 2004 as the baseline, plus whatever innovations they have in mind for this time.

And I think that they can indeed get away with stealing an election with a gap of 5-10%, once the months of campaign manipulation are done.

And I don't have a damn idea what to do about it besides supporting the usual suspects.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:26 PM
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Shorter Bruce: Karl Rove is Keyser Söze.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:30 PM
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Neil - by rough calculation, 3 trillion is enough to build 70,000 lifesize statues of George Bush made out of solid gold. Or one statue 240 feet high. The height isn't as impressive because of the inverse cubic scaling w.r.t. volume.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:33 PM
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$3 trillion is enough to send every household in America a check for roughly $30,000.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:40 PM
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JP: Actually, if I thought I'd be even more depressed, or depressed differently. It's precisely because I think he's not anything like Keyser Soze that I'm angry and sad. We have evidence to back up the supposition that when Democrats do push back against the lie machine, they win. Not all the time or anything, but often enough to make it worthwhile. The refusal to act in the face of this evidence is what really pisses me off.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:41 PM
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Oh, and since it's another great concept:

You could buy every single little girl in America between the ages of 5 and 9 a pony, and cover all its boarding, feed, vet, and the riding/care lessons for the pony lifetime of 25 years.

Given:
About 10 million little girls in America (circa 2000)
Pony purchase price of $2k
Monthly feed and boarding cost of $600
Annual $3k cost of lessons, vet bills, etc.
(sources for pony costs here, here, and here)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:42 PM
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Three trillion foot-long subs laid end-to-end would circle the equator nearly 23 times.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:44 PM
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To clarify a bit: Not only is Rove (and his ilk) not Keyser Soze, he's not even close. His tactics only work with the kind of complicit media we've got - a news establishment that did real investigation and reporting on, say, one Republican claim in 4 or 10 would probably be enough to show how much the whole thing rests on lies and bullshits. Ditto if there were Democratic leaders willing to speak plainly, honestly, and with supporting evidence even occasionally. The Rove style depends on having opponents who see themselves as too good to get dirty and/or too nice to want to upset people further and/or too bought to feel comfortable challenging the lies that help pay them too and/or whatever, just as it does on reporters who won't consistently check anything.

Some years back I read several accounts of the Mafia's rise and fall, and ran into the idea that organized crime's one big advantage is people willing to resort to violence first and keep it up longer. But it only works when victims don't feel at liberty to go to the cops, which is why the Mafia's efforts to take over actually legit businesses seldom went anywhere for very long. They're one-trick ponies who found a niche where the trick works. That's exactly how I think of the Republican machine's approach to campaigning.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:45 PM
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Apo: And how many of those tubs will get rings?


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:46 PM
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The standard estimate for the total amount of recovered gold in teh World is a cube 60 feet on a side.

60 feet cubed = 2.16 x 10^5 cubic feet = 6.11 x 10^9 cubic centimeters

6.11 x 10^9 cc x 19.3g/cc [approximate density of gold] = 1.18 x 10^11 grams

1.18 x 10^11 grams x USD 26.10/gram [current price of gold] = 3.07 x 10^12 USD, or three trillion dollars


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 1:57 PM
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159: 162: I was rally just riffing off your closing of, besides supporting the usual suspects.

But if you recall, most of the Keyser Söze thing was just reputational. So in that sense, it is a bit like Rove. You know for all the disdain Rove and ilk surely have for Dems, I am sure they secretly reserve their most vicious contempt for the media lapdogs who enable them.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:00 PM
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151 and 160 are both great.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:02 PM
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151 - You could construct a half-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty made of solid gold (the SoL weighing 225 tons and gold at $811 a troy ounce) with enough money to give every person in America a buck for the ticket to see it.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:03 PM
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half-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty made of solid gold (the SoL weighing 225 tons

Who means the relevant scale to be weight, when they say "half-scale"?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:05 PM
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Moping is an excellent pastime, but it remains true that the outcome of US Presidential elections is broadly predictable based on underlying fundamentals, and those trends predict an Obama victory. Fundamentals do a significantly better job predicting who will win than polls.

The fundamentals might be improving for McCain (the drop in the price of oil will probably improve the state of the economy before the election), so if you want to be mopey, I recommend that.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:06 PM
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Drive more for Obama!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:07 PM
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Yeah, it's all those hippies encouraging us to bike and use mass transit that made the price of oil go down. Good job, hippies! I hope you like President McCain!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:16 PM
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As I understand it, Obama's position on 527s is consistent with his position on campaign finance reform. But since he never got an agreement with McCain on 527s (or really seemed to try for one) he probably told donors not to give more for reasons of message control than reform.

Having a filibuster-proof Senate

is still not a veto proof one. And control of the executive departments is a much bigger deal than I think most people realize. Foreign policy and supreme court appointments get almost all of the attention.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:17 PM
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A half-scale statue of liberty would be one-eighth the volume. Gold's density is 19.3 grams/cc or 0.62 troy ounces/cc, for a cost of $502/cc. As long as the volume of the SoL is under 47808 cubic meters, you could have a half-scale replica, in solid gold, for under three trillion.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:21 PM
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Of course, that ignores the cost of transporting the gold, working it, paying the workers, renting or purchasing the site, security (that's a lot of gold), etc.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:24 PM
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SoL

Democrats should eschew the abbreviation. It's mainly Republicans who favor posting an icon on our border to inform immigrants they are SOL.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:32 PM
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Of course, that ignores the cost of transporting the gold, working it, paying the workers, renting or purchasing the site, security (that's a lot of gold), etc.

Yeah, I was going to point out something similar to Neil about painting the moon red, but I didn't want to be accused of being a little bitch.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:34 PM
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I was going to point out something similar to Neil about painting the moon red

Couldn't we just enslave the moon people and force them to paint it for free?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:45 PM
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For 3 tril you could replace every leaf on every tree in Central Park with a dollar bill, for the next 576 years.

Sources:
Trees in Central Park
Average number of leaves on a tree


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:45 PM
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...


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:45 PM
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Couldn't we just enslave the moon people

We don't need to enslave them. They will greet us as liberators.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:56 PM
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For $3 trillion, every American could buy nearly 5,000 bottles of two-buck chuck (at California prices).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 2:57 PM
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Dinner for everyone at the French Laundry! (If I recall Ogged correctly, it was ~$400 a person, which when multiplied by 6.5 billion leaves enough over to buy a drink or two afterward.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:06 PM
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For $3T you could fill every swimming pool* in the USA with gasoline 3 times over (even at current prices)

Alternately you could fill every swimming pool 30% full with premium organic olive oil.

I need a better example of a liquid that costs ~$14/gal

*Avg pool volume 25,000 Gal.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:14 PM
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I need a better example of a liquid that costs ~$14/gal

Two-buck Chuck at outside-of-California prices comes close.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:16 PM
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Could you build everyone a pool and then fill it with gasoline?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:18 PM
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All of you are failing to appreciate how the Iraq war has ennabled us to be the kind of country that can paint the moon red. Without the war, it never would have even occured to us.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:19 PM
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Hot spiced cider, at retail bulk prices


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:20 PM
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179, 125, 110, 101, 84: Hey, blankface, you're annoying. Pull a read and become a real commenter.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:25 PM
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become a real commenter.

Not allowed.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:30 PM
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Some background on 179, 125, 110, 101, and 84.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:30 PM
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Are we painting the moon red before or after we burn Reagan's face onto it with a giant laser?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:31 PM
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I reject any association of the ToS with read. Come back, read!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:35 PM
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178 needs to be supplemented with information about the evergreen/deciduous ratio in Central Park.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:42 PM
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Read commented at The Weblog recently.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:43 PM
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And control of the executive departments is a much bigger deal than I think most people realize.

You don't have to convince me. I'm a broken record on the subject when dealing with Greens, hippies, Naderites, DFVers, and 'independents.' I'm all about the agencies.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:50 PM
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)|

So glad to see CNN running a story warning people not to push for pay raises. If you get paid well you could be fired or worse. Better to be satisfied with what you have peon, and not ask for more. Gak!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:51 PM
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That's outrageous, and the "amanda" story just makes me think that her higher-ups were idiots with no institutional memory.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:59 PM
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Theda Skocpol on our worst nightmare

Damn damn damn damn damn.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 3:59 PM
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Theda Skocpol on our worst nightmare

Damn damn damn damn damn.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 4:00 PM
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I'm all about the agencies.

God, yes. The Labor Department doesn't get much ink, but it's important. It is largely forgotten nowadays that there was a time when the Labor Department viewed its function as helping workers.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 4:01 PM
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197. Yeah, if they had agreed to pay her that rate then they thought that her work was worth it. Things change, but that's not an argument for not looking to get paid more.

I gagged over the last lesson too. Better to earn a dollar a year doing what you love, because that's true freedom. Yeah, freedom from food, clothing and shelter.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 4:09 PM
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Walt@169: "Moping is an excellent pastime, but it remains true that the outcome of US Presidential elections is broadly predictable based on underlying fundamentals, and those trends predict an Obama victory." This does squat against fraud.

The UN has a bunch of criteria for investigating vote fraud in elections it supervises. One of them is divergence of more than a few points with exit polls. In both 2000 and 2004 the US had results that varied a lot more. (I've forgotten the numbers, but researched this back then.) And nobody in Democratic leadership or the mass media suggested that there might actually be wide-scale fraud to investigate. It was all just, oh, gosh, look, exit polls don't work anymore when they run against Republican wishes.

I feel entirely certain that if the Republican machine steals an election that the fundamentals say should have gone to Democrats, the entire mass of mainstream commentary will about how we've entered a new age where the old predictabilities no longer apply.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 4:29 PM
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What's a DFVer?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 4:43 PM
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Don't Fucking Vote


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 4:48 PM
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Skopcol said that Biden would work as a VP. Please, no. I live in a safe state. I might not be able to vote for the ticket if Biden is on it. It's too bad that the VP and P nominee aren't on separate lines. That way I could vote for Obama and refuse to vote for Biden.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 4:56 PM
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Of the four most mentioned, my ordered preference would be Biden/Sibelius (tie), Kaine, and Bayh a distant last, but I'm not excited about any of them.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:01 PM
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I used to be a DFVer nonvoter. I still haven't voted in a presidential election. (In 2004 I messed up and missed the absentee ballot request deadline. As a result, Kerry won with only 89% or so in my district.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:03 PM
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What's wrong with Biden? Is it that he's from Delaware?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:04 PM
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Bankruptcy bill, I believe. He's from Delaware, after all.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:05 PM
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Also voted for the war.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:06 PM
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So, he's from Delaware, ergo he had to vote for the bankruptcy bill. I wouldn't hold that against him.

He would (probably) be too old to run for president after 8 years of hypothetical Obamadministration, so his actual policies may be secondary to his value as a surrogate.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:11 PM
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So, he's from Delaware, ergo he had to vote for the bankruptcy bill.

Quatsch. He could grow a penis.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:12 PM
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Lest I be suspected of pretension, I only said "Quatsch" because I think I've been saying "bosh" too often.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:13 PM
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Biden neutralizes Obama's advantages without a corresponding boost somewhere else, except on the 'what the press thinks of national security'. That'll last two seconds, and then they'll go with Lieberman's view.

Indeed, when Wes Clark made the anodyne comment that John McCain's military service wasn't really as a strategist or a commander -- he led a flight squad but wasn't, e.g., running a tanker division -- and didn't really add up to qualifications for foreign policy expertise or the presidency, the media jumped down his throat for days.

And this is the problem, and not anything else. In that situation, you jam it right back down their throats. FUCK YOU, ASSHOLES, is the only useful response.

Never ever ever ever back down on the truth... back down on mistakes, real misunderstandings, whatever, but never back off the truth. That's how the other guys get away with lying, because they then own how truth is defined.

Unfortunately, Obama seems to be playing for the DC crowd.

max
['A mistake.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:13 PM
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He didn't just vote for the bankruptcy bill. He sheparded it through the Senate. He basically represents MBNA. I don't think you should be allowed to call yourself a Democrat if you voted for that bill.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:18 PM
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He really did have to vote for the repugnant bankruptcy bill. But he didn't have to vote for the war. And he didn't have to spend a career making gaffes -- often racially charged gaffes -- that leave me thinking he's a really lousy choice. I'm not sure how it is that he had a great zinger in one of the debates ("a noun, a verb, and 9/11"), and many people have forgotten that he's not a disciplined campaigner. Yes, he's well schooled and very confident on foreign policy. But that doesn't matter if you say a series of stupid things that keep you from getting elected. Anyway, he's not going to be the one. So, much ado about nothing.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:18 PM
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I believe that Biden is able to speak forcefully in a convincing way.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:18 PM
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I believe that Biden is able to speak forcefully in a convincing way.

And my mom thinks he's hott! Whatever.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:21 PM
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It looks like our window of hope closed rather quickly. Apparently we're not part of the core constituency.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:26 PM
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He really did have to vote for the repugnant bankruptcy bill.

Okay, yes, he's from Delaware and etc. But isn't BG correct to assert that he didn't merely vote for the bill, but actually played a significant role in drafting the legislation? It's a truly disastrous bill, which goes against some of the core principles that Democrats are supposed to stand for in the first place.

The choice of a VP who is basically owned by Citibank doesn't exactly fit with Obama's 'no more inside-the-Beltway-lobbyist-politics' message.

(Of course, there aren't a whole lot of viable candidates who fit with that message, and probably whoever Obama chooses will be objectionable in some way or other... ).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:29 PM
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He should pick ME!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:30 PM
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I wouldn't sell you leftists down the river, and I'm great on camera.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:31 PM
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Plus, I can be relied on not to use racially-charged idioms.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:31 PM
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He should pick ME!

Ari's mom thinks you're hott?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:31 PM
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or racially charged idioms.

Ari's mom knows I'm hott.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:33 PM
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So real quick, what are the Democrats' core principles?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:33 PM
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MC, I think Biden would be a terrible choice. But I also think that the peculiarities of serving in the Senate make it very hard for any long-serving Senator to escape some horrid entanglement like the Biden/MBNA unholy alliance. Again, though, people should feel free to think he's an unsuitable candidate for any number of reasons. Because he is.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:34 PM
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Choosing Biden would undoubtedly bring the "clean and articulate" awkwardness back to life, too.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:36 PM
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On the other hand, as VP Biden probably won't do as much harm in domestic economic policy as he can do in the Senate.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:37 PM
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It's totally unfair that Obama can text me to tell me his VP choice, but I can't text him to say OMG BIDEN SUX.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:41 PM
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But I also think that the peculiarities of serving in the Senate make it very hard for any long-serving Senator to escape some horrid entanglement like the Biden/MBNA unholy alliance.

Yeah, I know. I do think it's a difficult question how much responsiblity/blame to assign to the individual politician, how much to assign to "the system" in which he is embedded (yeah, I guess I should say "he or she," but at the moment I'm not inclined to play along with the fiction that increasingly it's also she, because in the US, it just isn't...). I don't like the position that doesn't acknowledge any individual agency at all. But I also think it's naive to believe that with enough courage or character or whatever, a Senator can successfully operate in the actually existing Senate as some sort of maverick free agent.

The one thing I will say in favour of Biden as VP choice: the media seem to take seriously his foreign policy expertise credentials. And since this is one area where Obama is quite vulnerable (even though, or sadly, perhaps because, McCain is in fact a war-mongering nuthead), this is not a trivial issue. But I think he's an appalling choice, basically. And given how much was made of Hillary Clinton's war vote during the primaries (which vote I always opposed, btw), for Obama to choose anyone who voted for the war would make a pretty serious mockery of his claims to anti-war candidate status.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:57 PM
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That's why it occurred to me today that maybe Obama should pick Harry Reid. He's from Nevada (and the West), he's a crook, and he's terrible in the Senate, which means him being VP would help everyone. Also, he's older than Obama, and is therefore likely to die sooner, so he wouldn't be President.

max
['Makes as much sense as Biden does.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 5:57 PM
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Reid's voice is too quiet. There was actually a story about how unusually quiet his voice is for someone whose job involves a lot of talking* on the Senate floor.

*Talking that people need to hear: procedural stuff, occasional speeches that actually matter. Not like the Senators who might talk a lot when most people aren't in the room.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 6:02 PM
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Isn't the "appalling choice" question on the table "which" rather than "whether"?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 6:03 PM
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Is Richardson even being considered? Or does that make the slate too brown?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 6:06 PM
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Whay I love Sausagely despite everything:

Not only is Russia on the march beyond Tbilisi to Ukraine, Finland, and substantial swathes of Poland but that's not even the transcendent issue of our time. And North Korea's nuclear program is "the greatest challenge to U.S. security and world stability today" but that's not the transcendent issue of our time. And Islamism is the transcendent issue of our time, but not a serious international crisis or an especially great challenge to U.S. security and world stability. Now of course there's no way to make sense of that, because it's not supposed to make any kind of sense. McCain just thinks that overreacting is the right reaction to everything. It's a hysteria-based foreign policy.

I can think that, but I'd use 2-3 times more words saying that. And I'm not verbose.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 6:10 PM
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I'm really hoping for a surprise pick.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 6:23 PM
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The cite in 236 is hilarious, but the place I saw it pointed out that at this point a hysteria-based foreign and military policy is a real possibility. Ha ha.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 6:23 PM
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The cite in 236 is hilarious

Jesus, John, once you start citing your own cites, you have truly passed (if not surpassed) the point of no return on the rocky but rollicking road to meta-bloggerhood.

...ducking...


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 6:40 PM
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This would be the Harry Reid that continues to routinely honor Republican blocks and holds and other kung fu moves to interfere with legislation, while refusing to do the same for Democrats? The one who (last tally I saw) has spent more time criticizing his own party members by name than saying anything bad about specific Republicans, and who continues to defend Joe Lieberman as a fine Democratic ally? The anti-abortion one? Yet another no-regrets supporter of the AUMF?

Sure, that'd be swell. Ever so much better than Biden or whoever.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 6:41 PM
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Canadians are so fucking weird. I'll never understand them. It's the bears, I suppose.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 6:45 PM
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I think this link answers a lot of VP questions.

http://www.236.com/news/2008/08/20/if_they_imd_obamas_vp_prospect_1_8389.php


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 6:49 PM
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I'm really hoping desperately praying for a surprise pick.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 6:50 PM
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Surprise pricks come along when you least expect them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:01 PM
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I'm hoping for multiple surprise picks - each one more surprising than the last!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:01 PM
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It's the bears, I suppose.

Actually, it's the ice and snow (the routinely sub-zero temperatures for half the goddamn year, in other words), in combination with the collective memory of 1812, and how those f***ing Yanks tried to take over our land (oil/water/cedar shakes and shingles, which we had stolen from the First Nations in the first place, of course, but we tend to gloss over that point), and didn't we give those bastards a run for their money? [lovely people, the Americans, so friendly and so full of get-up-and-go, but NEVER TRUST THEM!!!]. We're superficially "nice," of course, and often quite shockingly wholesome in our appearance, but looks can be deceiving... We're basically a defensive and constitutionally suspicious-of-all-motives nation, and we probably resent you and fear you and yes, envy you, in equal measure, and probably more than you realize.

(Just between you and me and blogosphere, of course..).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:03 PM
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A Reid vs. Romney VP debate would be especially amusing. I'll bet they'd get very nasty with each other.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:04 PM
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I'm not aware of many instances of Reid dissing Feinstein or Pelosi. What are you thinking of, masked stranger?

EB: At the end it turns out to be Old Man Winters and a lamp with special filters.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:05 PM
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Never mind, I got trolled.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:05 PM
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collective memory of 1812

What's your point?

My goodness, you act as if you are some sort of Old World country, with grievances going back hundreds if not thousands of years. Grow up already.


Posted by: Andrew Jackson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:07 PM
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There are lots of downsides to Biden as a pick, but one thing I can say about him is that he's not as big a goddamn pussy as the rest of the Democratic party (I believe the term-of-art for this behavior in a Democrat in Washington is "gaffe-prone"). This is the man who once, in person, told Milosovic, "You are a goddamn war criminal, and I'm going to see you tried as one."

That said, seeing how Obama threw over Wes Clark for saying the obvious, I don't see any way Biden gets the nob. My current impression of Obama is that he's very cautious.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:15 PM
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What I want in a VP is comic relief. Biden has two additional points in his favor: the ability to talk uncondescendingly to lower-income voters (some of his stump speeches were really pretty good), and some sort of earned respect among the DC opinion leaders. That latter characteristic isn't nothing. On the downside, I don't particularly want Biden to be left to mete out just and measured revenge should Obama, um, be met with an accident. Nor do I want him to be making any policy whatsoever.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:39 PM
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Jackmormon nails it in 252.

I think Bostoniangirl is being unreasonable. Even from a strictly policy point of view, if Biden leaves the Senate, presto, there's a new "Senator from MBNA", who has zero seniority. An improvement! And the VP has no power other than what the president gives him. Cheney does things because Bush wants him to.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:45 PM
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Is Chris Dodd still on the short list? Dodd would be more than acceptable to me.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 7:59 PM
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Psst... President Jackson in 250: I was being all ironical and shit, with tongue firmly held in cheek...

(But who the hell cares, when Usain Bolt just broke another world record in the men's 200 metres!? [well, it was actually hours earlier, of course, but just broadcast on US network TV]. That guy owns the track, for real! So amazing.).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:01 PM
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For $3 trillion we could pay for the revolution and televise it, I imagine.


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:01 PM
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Canada and Jamaica were once united by codfish and rum.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:06 PM
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What's odd is that it was a single fish and just one bottle of rum. But they were really big.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:08 PM
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In that case it's not odd at all, is it?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:09 PM
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You had to see the fish, ben. Then you'd understand.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:11 PM
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What's odd is that it was a single fish and just one bottle of rum.

Yeah, funny that. Almost makes me think of the parable of the loaves and the fishes. Almost, is what I mean.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:14 PM
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It's the apocryphal parable of the rum and fishes. With a single cod and a bottle of rum, Jesus fed two marginal nations which would later bring us reggae and, uh, something else, I'm sure.

||
Alex Cora is warming up in the bullpen? WTF? This game sucks.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:16 PM
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Goddammit, Mary Catherine.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:17 PM
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What is odd is that although Ben is right that it was not an odd partnership, it was a prime one, too.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:20 PM
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Biden, along with Lieberman, totally dissed John Kerry post 2004 election in the New Yorker or somewhere. I think he called him a wimp. Does Biden actually know much about foreign policy? I'm no expert, but his analyses never sounded particularly deep to me.

We can tolerate Biden since he's from Delaware, but the party platform ought to have something in it opposing that bankruptcy bill, and there's no reason for someone who pushed it to be elevated to the vice presidency.

Is it unreasonable of us to be angry that Obama went back on his pledge to vote against a FISA bill with telcom immunity in it? I'm kind of tired of being reasonable where "reasonable" means capitulating on basic principles to appeal to the DC crowd. If he picks Biden, I'll be extremely disappointed in Obama. But of course, he doesn't need my vote. My state is as blue as they come, and there's no way that I'd ever vote for McCain.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:26 PM
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I have been pretty mopey all week, but Snarkout bought me a very cheering present of a collection of Batman's best Joker issues. What could be more cheering than the Joker? It includes both the intentionally great "The Laughing Fish" and the unintentionally great "The Joker's Comedy of Errors," aka "Boner Boner Boner."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:26 PM
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I'm going to make redfoxtailshrub wish she'd never heard the WORD boner!


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:29 PM
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I'm just worried about the boner the Joker is readying for YOU!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:37 PM
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....butt of jokes....

Heh.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:38 PM
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Goddammit, Mary Catherine.

'Slice o' bread in every bottle' is what one of my uncles once told me (at the breakfast table, actually: he would wake up at the crack of ten to noon each day, and start hitting it hard) of Labatt's Lager. Which I'm sure could be applied to Jamaican rum with a minimum of distortion. And then some of McCain's autobiographical statements sound a little bit fishy, if you know what I mean...Well, it all starts to fall into place, doesn't it?, and then things start to multiply in meaning, more or less, and it's almost like it was foretold by Jesus on the Sermon of the Mount. What would Our Blessed Savior drink? Or, what would He eat, that had been cedar-planked, with just a splash of lemon on the side?

(Probably the Dems' electoral chances would be greatly enhanced by a willingness to boldly go forth and travel these vast terrains of sheer biblically-inspired crazineess. I'm not saying there wouldn't be drawbacks, of course).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:39 PM
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Ask not for whom the Joker pulls his boner. He pulls it for thee.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:41 PM
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If Our Blessed Savior had to resort to auto-cannibalism .... now that'd be a fine kettle of fish, wouldn't it?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:46 PM
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In soviet russia, jokes are of butts!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 8:55 PM
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In soviet russia, , jokes jews are of butts! of customary jokes that make of them traditional village scapegoats.

Fixed that for you.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:09 PM
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It is arguable that if Biden hadn't voted for the bankruptcy bill, he wouldn't have been doing his job. The people of Delaware didn't elect him to display his moral courage; they elected him to represent them and their interests. Especially given that he's a Senator, and thus constitutionally intended to advocate for his (small) state against the tyranny of the majority. Not that it wasn't odious. Biden isn't my first pick (that would be Jerry Brown), but he's by no means my last.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:17 PM
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he's by no means my last

Well sure, there are a lot of people before you get to Zell Miller. But an Obama-Zell ticket would probably bring Hunter S. Thompson back from the dead, so it would have that going for it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:20 PM
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The people of Delaware, and the corporations headquartered there, aren't the same thing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:24 PM
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Or so the mullahs would have you believe.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:25 PM
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277: Trickle down, motherfucker. When your economy is as universified as Delaware I'd expect that concept to work.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:31 PM
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but he's by no means my last.

Yeah, well, lots of people and/or public figures might figure prominently on anyone's "by no means last" list. I mean, I'd vote for my own grandmother over Joe Biden, except that she's unfortunately dead (died at age 97, of pneumonia, and the doctor told us she had the heart of a woman twenty to thirty years younger).

It is arguable that if Biden hadn't voted for the bankruptcy bill, he wouldn't have been doing his job.

This is highly arguable indeed. It depends on how you define his job, of course. If your ideal-typical employment portfolio for Senator Biden has anything to do with his taking a pledge to protect the economically vulnerable against the predatory lending practices of the rich, I think it's fair to say he has failed quite miserably. Other job descriptions are quite possible, of course.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:37 PM
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279: And the voters of Delaware elected the legislators who passed those laws did they not? It's the Great Circle Jerk of Federalism, all in the service of the Invisible Hand, and remember "everyone has a share".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:40 PM
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And if Cheney hadn't subverted the Constitution, he too would have been remiss.

Comity!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:51 PM
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279: Yeah, ever since Reagan, the economic "theory" (if I can dignify it with that label) of the trickle-down has been so thoroughly vindicated by the facts on the ground in the practical realm of actual experience.

Lining up, waiting on the trickle down,
Something's up, taking time to get around.
Belly up! all the drinks are on the Crown,
It's just a matter of a trickle down.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:53 PM
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There are people in Delaware? Whoa. I thought there was just, like, IBM, a bunch of other corporations and a shitload of lawyers that commuted from Philly.

Never mind, I got trolled.

Well, that was self-trolled there. I was jesting in dead seriousness. I like Biden (I keep saying it, but it's true) and he'd be an ok President compared to McCain. But he's only likely to be President a lot later, he's actually pretty good in the Senate (compared to Harry Reid) and he'd probably be a good SoS. But if he's veep, he can't do any of stuff because, as John Nance Garner said, the vice-presidency is not worth a bucket of warm shit. Harry Reid will bring in a a state with 3 electoral votes that Obama might not win, unlike Deleware, and he might well affect the count in other Western States. He's probably not a good debater, but Biden doesn't help there because he's way too Eastern. And Biden would make the press happier, but Reid would probably make David Broder cream his jeans.

This time, why not the worst? Especially since Reid won't be doing anything for four years and then will hopefully helpfully die, and meanwhile Biden can run the Senate like I suggested four years ago.

Of course, all that thought exercise tells me is if Obama is gonna do something like that, he ought to pick Bayh, who apparently campaigned as a tree in Indiana, and was duly elected. Which means he's perfect for the job.

max
['O, the trolls and arrows of outrageous press coverage.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:55 PM
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Piss.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 9:59 PM
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Fiduciary Responsibility: it's not just for corporate officers anymore.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:09 PM
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286: You kid, but it's true. That I think that fiduciary responsibility is the Big Con of American society is irrelevant. The metaphor works.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 10:48 PM
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blankface
interesting, what's wrong with him/her and that people associate me with him/her
hi, all, i mean, good night
i'm glad to see unfogged is back, the last time i tried to read i couldn't access the page


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:21 PM
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read!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:24 PM
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i know, i know all the traditions :)
JPS!


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:28 PM
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read!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:36 PM
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288: I thought I recalled you beginning your commenting here by posting, in addition to random links here and there, nothing but comments containing the numbers of previous comments which themselves contained the numbers of previous comments (138 says "117," and 117 says "95," and so on). Much more clever than this dude, but similar. Was that not you?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:38 PM
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jms!


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:39 PM
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We were just congratulating your mighty judoka.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:41 PM
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read!
and
jms!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:57 PM
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yeah, thanks, we are all so so glad
there were big celebrations and people were really like genuinely celebrating
'the blankface' commenter maybe is trying to communicate something i supposed
i've never read his/her comments, just blanks, so feel like kinda sorry for him
but he is maybe very offensive if you chose to delete him always


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08-20-08 11:58 PM
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Especially given that he's a Senator, and thus constitutionally intended to

It is not at all clear that this is what the concept of representation meant to the framers. There's a whole long discussion of this in Wood's Creation of the American Republic, among other places. Senators and Representatives were supposed to have some independence and some room for judgments beyond a narrow mirroring of narrow local interests.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 12:34 AM
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The blankface commentator is very insulting and seemingly mentally ill. The only similarity to read is that he doesn't use capital letters and writes sort of free verse style.

Welcome back!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 6:23 AM
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Just wanted to thank everybody for the awesome suggestions above. They will -- at the very least -- inspire future posts.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 9:30 AM
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Sparta!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 9:36 AM
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It's hard to figure out the opportunity costs of Sparta's warmongering. it was the basis for their whole xociety.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 9:38 AM
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Fucking Christ.

Though McCain is widely perceived to to drawn first blood by attacking Obama's character, the official [discussing an upcoming Rezko ad] said that the difference between Obama's mocking McCain for his wealth and his shaky answer on the number of homes he owns was that McCain's charge "reflects an existential reality," where Obama's charges "attack Cindy. She owns the homes. I thought he said the wives were off-limits."

Via Ambinder.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 2:46 PM
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I don't think we need another politics thread, so I'll stick this hear. But I'd like it widely noted, please. Maybe MRH can put it on the predictions blog:

Wouldn't it be wild if the Obama camp succeded so entirely in getting us to write off the possibility of a Clinton VP, as a deliberate strategy to emphasize that he is really in charge? And then walloped everyone's sensibilities by bringing her in? I'd like to be on record as anticipating this crazy move, please. She would really attack the hell out of McCain, which would be nice.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 2:53 PM
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She would really attack the hell out of McCain, which would be nice.

That would be a nice change.

but I think that's a good idea, they could indeed be doing that. There continue to be morons commenting all over the liberal blogs saying "OBAMA CONTINUES TO REFUSE TO DO THE ONE THING THAT WILL GUARANTEE VICTORY -- ADD HILLARY TO THE TICKET." Sure, they are morons. but all this stuff about what morons will do in the voting booth is a self-fulfilling prophecy if enough morons are out there making it seem like a sensible idea.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 2:57 PM
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303: I'm on the record elsewhere as having raised this possibility days ago. Which is to say: I totally pwned you. And given your eternal rightness, I'm feeling pretty good about myself.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:04 PM
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Who would be worse: Evan Bayh or Hillary Clinton? I'm really at a loss.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:05 PM
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Split the difference, norminate Evan Clinton.


Posted by: pter | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:09 PM
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Norminating just says who ought to be picked.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:11 PM
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303, 305: Me too! I wanted to be on the record about this prior to the announcement, so I IMed rfts.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:21 PM
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I actually do not like Hillary Clinton and I don't like her hubbie either. (Sorry, kill me.) She'd be a better choice than Bayh, or Biden (or Reid, heh), in terms of actually geting elected. All of those people are problematic during an actual administration, but that can be dealt with later.

John Nance Garner for Vice-President!

max
['He's dead, but hey!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:23 PM
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And CNN is reporting that the announcement will come any minute? (According to MyDD.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:25 PM
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The word on the street is that it will be Evan Almighty.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:31 PM
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Yes, Fleur! Feel the hatred! Let it burn inside you!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:32 PM
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Get his wife to vote for Obama, and only tell him after the election.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:33 PM
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According to AP, Obama will announce his pick Saturday, via that text message thingy.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:34 PM
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But what should I do about my neighbor

You should treat him with magnanimity and charity in his defeat, and offer to send his children to reëducation camp.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:43 PM
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Fleur, try giving him presents of incredibly stupid anti-Obama bumper stickers. Then he will feel obligated to put them on his truck and look like a dumbass/racist.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:44 PM
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Fleur, it would give me an ulcer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 3:45 PM
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1) Sever ties with this person immediately. Really, you shouldn't let your children near the spawn of such an individual.

2) Festoon your house with all manner of Obama swag, including life-size cardboard cutouts of the candidate himself.

3) Fill a bag with dog crap, douse the bag in gasoline, drop the bag on your neighbor's front stoop, light the bag, ring the bell, run home.

4) Pour yourself a glass of excellent wine, drink, and enjoy the feeling of liberation that will fall upon you.

I think you should listen to at least three of the four suggestions above. You may choose whichever three you think will work best for you.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 4:21 PM
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My Mom was over during my initial rant, and she suggested that I buy some anti-McCain stuff to piss him off.

I like Mom!

I said, "Mom- the point is, it's just not right. It's okay to have material in support of a candidate, but it is not kind/right to use negative tactics against someone."

I don't think it's right to lie about someone, which is the one thing that's great about this election, McCrazy really is a (insanely wealthy, two-faced, lying, cheating, flip-flopping) maniac.

Oh my gosh- Am I a democrat or what?

Dear God.

Destroy them- Get down and dirty- Fight to the bitter end!!! Scratch, claw, blow facts out of proportion, make cruel jokes, just win the God Damn Election!

Groovy!

But what should I do about my neighbor, besides never invite him over again?

Hang Obama signs out front. Hang lots of Obama signs out front. Break out the Christmas lights and make an Obama sign that will shine in his window all night.

max
['Blinking Christmas lights.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 4:23 PM
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Have your kids convince his kids that Santa won't come anymore unless Obama is president.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 4:35 PM
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Have your kids convince his kids that that their father is a bad person, and Santa won't come anymore unless they put drain-o in their dad's Schlitz.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 4:38 PM
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Console yourself with the thought of his frustrated rage as Pres. Obama governs competently from the left for the next eight years. Enjoy the thought of his dismay and anger on election night as Congress gains Democratic seats.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 4:41 PM
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Console yourself with the thought of his frustrated rage as Pres. Obama governs competently from the left for the next eight years.

He will also introduce legislation giving your daughters ponies, I'm sure.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 4:45 PM
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What Megan said. (But also: put some dog crap on his porch. Or, better yet, dress up as Santa and convince his kids to poison him.)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 4:46 PM
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Fleur convince him you're going to steal his McCain signs. Let him catch you eyeing them in the dark of night. Stare contemplatively at his bumper holding rubbing alcohol and a scraper. Casually leave maps of his yard lying around, maps with "STEAL HERE" marked in red ink at the positions of the signs. Maybe he'll feel so threatened he'll cover his own porch with dog shit, to keep you away.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 5:13 PM
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I really like the Christmas lights idea. Maybe you could also get one of those glowing Jesuses, paint it brownish, and----this isn't a good idea, is it.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 5:23 PM
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Sorry about that.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 5:27 PM
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You're lying in bed, round about 1:30, during the dark of the moon, trying to go to sleep....

[bright red, white, & blue lights suddenly flash]
OBAMA
[they turned the lights on at 1:30?, 2...3...]
OBAMA
[Christ, this]
OBAMA
[Jeez, that was]
OBAMA
[Dammit, this is like Vegas...4...5...6...7...8... maybe it burned out...9...10...]
OBAMA
[AGH! {gets up closes curtains}]
OBAMA
[Gets back up, closes blinds. Back into bed. La de dah]
OBAMA
[I can't read it, but the light is coming through the shades!]
OBAMA

Cost 6-7 bucks. Three 100-bulb blinking Christmas light strings, one each red, white and blue. Put one third of each color in one string, and add three blinker lights. It'll spend most of the time off, but the interval should be pretty erratic, which is what you want.

max
['Ideally, you set the on/off control inside the house, so you can turn it on at random times.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 5:45 PM
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They should have everything you need here.

If you want to get a little fancier, I'm sure Knecht would be excited by the project of using an Arduino and maybe a pressure sensor to trigger the lights only when he's in his driveway.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-21-08 5:50 PM
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CNN says it's Biden.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-22-08 10:46 PM
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Yeah, CNN among others. We'll see if they're all right. My new mantra? At least it's not Bayh. Talk about the audacity of hope.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-22-08 10:49 PM
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My new mantra? At least it's not Bayh.

Catchy!

Well, I can think of worse picks than Biden, I guess. I was worried Obama would take that post-partisanship stuff seriously and choose Hagel.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-22-08 10:54 PM
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Catchy!

I'll probably print some bumper stickers.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-22-08 11:09 PM
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