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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Tired, Vagrant Thoughts And Questions

Maybe Hillary Clinton's sole reason for suspending instead of ceding is that technically she can still raise campaign funds? Does anyone know for sure what the law is?

If you believe in omens and synchronicity (which I really don't), do you take it as an omen that Big Brown, rumored to be a sure Triple Crown winner, slumped in last over the finish line? The reason I asked was that this is the first indication I've seen that Ann Althouse has a deep interest in horse racing so I was searching for another explanation for the posting. The jockey's line "He was empty. He didn't have anything left."

If you are a diehard believer in the wisdom of the marketplace, do you believe that it is significant that Intrade is 61-36.3 favoring Obama over McCain? See the index at Intrade, and be prepared for volatility!

Note: It is not a good thing when your opening speech of the general election campaign is so controversial that you have to deny part of it the same day, which Obama did. WaPo does a good job of glossing over this, but the bottom line is that it was a real blunder and an unforced error. It also appeared an acutely political one. I realize that the conventional wisdom is that you have to run for the Democratic nomination on the left and then return to the center for the general election, but Obama seems to be lunging for that center so fast that he is tripping over his own feet a la the three stooges.

On Iran, still from the WaPo article:
In essence, Mr. Obama promises an improved version of the Bush administration's three-year-old strategy of offering, in conjunction with European allies and Russia, economic and political favors to Iran in exchange for an end to its nuclear program and threatening it with sanctions if it refuses. Mr. Obama would have the United States join the Europeans in having direct discussions with Tehran, and perhaps he would agree to bigger incentives. In exchange, he would seek European and U.N. Security Council support for far tougher sanctions than the Bush administration has obtained -- such as a ban on Iranian gasoline imports, which is probably the strongest measure available short of war.
Whoa! Whoa! This is hardly an improved version of the Bush strategy, because that is not a step short of war, that is war. Iran has very little in the way of refinery strategy; this is forcing them to the Tojo options - surrender or attack quickly, before you lose the ability to do so. Does Barack Obama understand what the hell he is talking about?

He could be a super secret wily genius who is trying to ensure that the Israelis deal with the problem so that he has plausible deniability on this tetchy problem given his earlier statements. He has called Israel a "constant sore", and certainly Iran is one too. Notably, Iran's support for the Lebanese Hezbollah, which recently got control of some key transport decisions and basically got control of Lebanon's government. So such a strategy would probably put Obama in a position in which at least one "constant sore" was severely weakened. It would certainly shuffle the mideast cards.

But if that is true, the man is hardly a dove of peace. Indeed, it is a cynical and brutal strategy if it is a thought-out strategy, and it is also quite reckless.

Or he could just be a glib, thoughtless person with no real concept of what he's doing and the tendency to speak to his audience, weaving an appealing story line a la Wright. If so, I'm scared. It's like loading an AR-15 and handing it to your five year old to play with.

In fact, either way, I'm scared, and I have the very strong feeling that I will be showing up at the polling place in November with a barf bag in my hand. I'm sure it will be a unique experience for the poor voter next to me, as I select McCain and upchuck. Better a senile old geezer who knows caution in war than a reckless fool or megalomaniac.

As a side note to this whole issue, Iran is supposed to have at least 14 tankers full of crude off its coast. The official explanation is that they are waiting for a better price at the refinery. I have some skepticism on that score; they might be worried about having their oilheads bombed and be keeping these as a backup.

The MoM Mood can best be expressed pictorially:

If I were a betting man, based on Obama's unforced errors, I'd bet about 5:1 on Obama being a "glib, thoughtless man with a narrative" rather than "super secret wily genius". He no sooner pandered to AIPAC than he walked back half of what he said within two days. The Young Orator seems determined to supply the Grouchy Old Man with all the ammunition he needs.
I just finished reading "Pure Goldwater".The negative selection among our political class is so extreme now that I nearly despair.I will be stuffing my nostrils with vick's whichever candidate I vote for.
"In exchange, he would seek European and U.N. Security Council support for far tougher sanctions"...what would he do if (as seems likely) no such support was forthcoming?
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David, I'm not sure he's thought of that. I'm guessing John is right.
I may take bets on MOM being in the hospital by election time under care for being stressed out.

It's best to chill out and make tomato sandwiches with fresh tomatoes until about 6 weeks before the election. That is about the time the common US voter will take interest. What will they see at that time will determine the election.

Obama's strength is speaking and organization and not panicking. Yea there will be blunders and so on - baring Jesus Christ running for president, there are going to be errors.

Obama may really screw up or maybe John will lose his famous temper or drop on stage from a senior moment or worst.

We do not elect perfect presidents just ones we think can do the job.

INHO, the issue is beyond party or person and the great political cycle of the US is turning against the conservatives and GOP because they can no longer solve problems. Heck the dems could just about put me up a pres on a platform of tomato sandwiches and I'd win. The cycle is that deep against the GOP.

If you read the history of FDR, you find a very flawed president was elected instead a very intelligent , thoughtful and experience sitting president. The question is can Obama govern. The evidence is that he can.

You do not defeat a generational political family without credible abilities. By all that is holy, Hilary should have won. Only chance put her against the cycle and a credible opponent.

So the final cut has been made, and the die cast. The wave, fate, history, age and a discredited worn out political philosophy is on one side. It don't really matter what is on the other side.
"So the final cut has been made, and the die cast. The wave, fate, history, age and a discredited worn out political philosophy is on one side."

You mean liberalism as the spent force? It has been about 40 years since it came up with something new so I guess you are right.

I also guess that's why you are hoping for someone more progressive so he can run against liberalism?

Or did you mean neo-conservatism? Or ???

Respectfully, I have to take issue with your comment, "The question is can Obama govern. The evidence is that he can."

The greatest issue is that NEITHER candidate has any demonstrated ability to govern. To be a Senator, yes. But the great unknown in this election is that it's akin to choosing which frequent flier we want to pilot the aircraft -- based on what they ordered for dinner. Can either do it? Hell if I know.

Of the three/four candidates who were seriously in contention, the only one with ANY experience in governing was Huckabee (no, not an endorsement. But we had 1 non-practicing lawyer/senator, 1 corporate lawyer/leader's spouse/senator, 1 navy flier/senator, and 1 preacher/governor.) Any evidence from the first three of governing ability?

Comparisons with FDR are specious; FDR was a State Senator, Ass't Secretary of the Navy, and Governor of NY. That's a track record of governance.

But can Obama or McCain (or Hillary, for that matter) govern? Who knows? Realistically, is there anything to make a judgement upon?

Sorry for a hijack MOM. And all the best Vader -- I wish there was some evidence (good or bad).
What hijack? Your comment is exactly why I wanted candidates with governor's experience, and it's a big part of why I am so upset about my choices!

One of the biggest post-war economic changes is coming up, and that's the transition of the boomers into retirement. The stresses that this will place on the budget are immense.

Not only don't we have any evidence that either of the candidates can govern, we don't even have any evidence that either have seriously thought about this. I've been through their websites. I've read speeches. It doesn't sound like either of them have a clue.

It hits on the next president's watch, and just blows away most of the available fiddle room.
And you wonder why the governors aren't running? Any governor with a clue will steer a wide course around the 2009-2012 presidential election cycle. Best to stand clear of the wreck and then move in when the people are ready to deal with the problem.

One of the tragedies of America is that the bulk of the people are not prepared to deal with a problem until it hits them upside the head with a clue-by-four. Y'all best be ready to duck, because nobody's swung a clue-by-four this big at the American people in nearly 70 years.
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