Thursday, September 11, 2008

A (video) tale of two campaigns...

1. We have very serious problems to address -- can we stick to those, no matter how entertaining the sideshow may be? here

2. A candidate divided, or perhaps confused... here.

Have a look, and spare me the usual blah-blah-blah about how supporting one candidate makes you a "partisan" whose perspective must necessarily be a double-standard. Please indulge me and consider for one moment the possibility that there may be a very real difference in leadership skills and integrity this time around.

20 comments:

sideon said...

The McCain campaign is counting on personality being the issue instead of national issues being issues. As long as Obama keeps the focus on national issues we'll all be fine, but as soon as society falls for the Britney Spears and Paris Hilton-type of scandalous "news" stories, then we're all screwed.

GREAT video links.

the chaplain said...

Good links. It's odd that McCain wants to focus on personalities, considering that his personality is about as appealing as a wet dish towel. But, he has no choice, because his policies are even less appealing than his personality.

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks Sideon and Chaplain!!!

I agree, the Republicans want to keep the campaign focused on personality instead of on the real issues. I think the main point is to try to convince people that this election is just the same fluffy circus show as always, in hopes Republicans will figure they might as well continue to vote their familiar identity.

It may work.

As obvious as the choice appears, now is not the time to get complacent: the election is far from won.

to young people especially: This election is about the future and about whether we're capable of making changes that need to be made now or whether we can afford to keep coasting in the wrong direction for another four years (we can't). That means this election is about you, so get ready. Young people usually have very low voter turnout (since it's difficult to figure out how to get registered, especially if you've recently moved to a new place), and the Republicans are counting on you to blow off this election and stay home. Show them what you're made of by getting registered today (if you're not already), and help your friends to do the same. I've sent away for my absentee ballot. :D

to everybody: Consider contributing to Obama's campaign if you haven't already. I haven't yet, but I will soon.

mxracer652 said...

There is honestly no difference in leadership skills or integrity between either McSame or NObama. They're both professional liars & PR image men.

Both have shitty public policy, both will keep wasting money in Iraq & pork handouts, neither live in reality.

This ticket is worse than a Charles Manson/Oprah Winfrey choice.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey MxRacer652!!!

Well, I guess I have to congratulate the noise machine, then, because clearly their strategy of convincing people this election is just another episode of the fluff circus is working.

I have participated in a number of elections over the past decade or so, and this time is the first time I've been presented with the opportunity of voting for a true leader who is willing and able to take a hard look at America's problems and work to tackle them: Barack Obama.

But if you've been lulled into complacency and given up, then go ahead and stay home.

Eugene said...

But first let's listen to what Jackie Mason has to say! True, Obama is about as empty a suit as they come. Then again, McCain is a "maverick" on all the wrong issues. And the blowhard, resume-padding Biden versus the novice Palin? Call it a draw.

I don't go in for the paranoid style of American politics, as Eric Hofstadter called it. Or, to use my sister's metaphor, the winter king. Talk about your blasts from the primitive past! Kill the old king and crown a new savior to take our sins upon himself and make us all rich and happy! Yeah, right.

McCain or Obama, nothing's going to change much. Like the federal budget, what's actually "discretionary" is a drop in the bucket. The only truly consequential election in the past 200 years was Lincoln/McClellan, and in 1864 at issue was the viability of the United States and 600,000 dead lying in our back yards.

At greatest risk are the Democrats. The Republicans screwed up badly and have nothing to lose. Mark Steyn is right. A decade and a half ago, conservatives self-destructed in their mad dash to tar and feather Clinton. Now the left is dooming itself to repeat the past instead of learning from it.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Eugene!!!

Right, just keep telling yourself that there's nothing in particular at stake this time, when this election is largely a referendum on the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war, and of claiming the right to capture foriegn nationals and hold them without trial and torture them. Or that totally trivial point about how much of the finite-and-diminishing oil reserve the U.S. economy needs to survive, or the effects of climate change. That's nothing. Right, let's just keep on coasting.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to take the pessimistic route like the previous two comments, but I'm going to mention something else:

The reason that it doesn't matter who gets elected is because the government and the nation are broken beyond repair. Or, in the words of the late, great George Carlin, "This country was bought, sold and paid for a long f*%$ing time ago. You have no choice."

And on a personal note, c.l. hanson, I am one of those young people, and I certainly am going to stay home on election day. You spoke of the future, and I admire your passion. I truly wish I could be that optimistic. But regardless of who gets elected in November, the next four years are only going to see things get worse, and the four after that will be even worse than the previous four. The Bush years were only a harbinger of things to come, and as they say, it's always darkest before it goes pitch black.

I, of course, blame my parent's generation, the people who reaped the benefits without doing any of the work. The Baby Boomer philosophy has always been to grab what you can by any means necessary and then check out early enough that you don't get stiffed with the bill.

Pretty soon, they'll be dead, and my generation will have to deal with the list of problems that they so carelessly and selfishly fobbed off on us. And it's an impressive list, mind you. The worst part about it all, though, is that I don't think we're up to a task of that magnitude.

And you expect me to head to the polls with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step, knowing that any future I have left involves shouldering that kind of responsibility?

Thanks, but no thanks. I'm staying home on election day, as will so many of my peers for the exact same reason. The way I figure, the less we participate in a system that has systematically alienated us - both now and for the future - the faster that system will collapse on itself and we can start from scratch.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Anonymous!!!

You may well be right. I haven't entirely given up hope yet, but sometimes I do think the system is broken beyond repair and things will only get worse. I guess we'll find out...

C. L. Hanson said...

p.s. As the Iran example shows, just because a bad system collapses, it doesn't mean that people will succeed in building something better out of the chaos. An Obama victory would at least demonstrate some kind of shared willingness across the country to cooperate and face the reality of the problems ahead. This shared willingness would represent a base to build on, whatever happens.

C. L. Hanson said...

p.p.s: Even if the government and nation are broken beyond repair, I still don't think encouraging its demise through allowing the worst possible leaders to get elected is a good strategy, for a couple of reasons:

1. As civil liberties roll back, even basic information gets harder to diffuse. There are plenty of relatively stable countries that have fairly draconian censorship, and it could happen in the U.S. If we want to see the next generation down making good decisions and acting in their own interest (regarding energy and the environment), we need to keep communication lines open so the general population can have the information they need.

2. If the U.S. economy were to hit a major bump, McCain or Palin might easily decide that the solution is to invade/attack another country. China, India, North Korea, etc. aren't necessarily going to continue to stand back if they start to get the idea that the U.S. is an aggressor nation whose leaders can't be reasoned with. Seeing New York or L.A. get nuked would certainly not help anyone at all. Obama is far more likely to have the skills to keep us all out of WWIII, and the American people are far more likely to regain the sincere sympathy of people around the world if they elect Obama than if they give GWB's policies the stamp of approval by electing his chosen successor.

Gilbert Le Blanc said...

I read this post after reading your post on invisible assumptions.

There's plenty of information on the Internet for people to make a rational choice between Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain.

To quote from an esteemed blogger, "But, ultimately, this is less a question of binary thinking than it is a question of which part did you think was the important part? One man's baby is another man's bathwater, so to speak."

In other words, which programs do you believe are important for government to provide? What do you think are important government functions? What do you think are constitutional government functions?

Some people can rationally support Senator Barack Obama, based on what they've seen and heard.

Some people can rationally support Senator John McCain, based on what they've seen and heard.

Some people can emotionally support either candidate.

It all depends on what's your baby, and what's your bathwater.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Gilbert!!!

Very true -- my presidential choice is strongly based on my own particular values and expectations. I can clarify them a bit for you, if you're curious:

I think civil liberties and human rights are of critical importance. I value honesty and integrity in a leader, and I think that in order to get as close as possible to that ideal, the government needs to be accountable to the people and act transparently and openly (with this openness backed up by a free press that takes its responsibility to the people seriously).

And I think the United States as a nation has to start thinking seriously about the future. For an explanation of the whole theory, please read the articles I've linked to in the post A future for everyone's favorite species?.

I'm willing to believe that some people's values and personal axioms may lead them to support McCain. Using the word "rational" for that choice may be a bit of a stretch. And it might be interesting to see you trying to explain the logic of this choice to your future great great grandkids who will be living with the consequences.

mxracer652 said...

CL,
My own personal opinion is that Obama can't or won't make the changes necessary to ensure long term viability of the US. (Ex: Obama just voted to dole out $300 billion to Big Agribusiness under the guise of "farm bill". Fail.)

This is true of most presidents, as they are lucky to get 5% of what they say they're going to get done actually accomplished.

I'm with anonymous, seniors & the baby boomers have pretty much ran this country into the ground & there's really nothing that we (young voters) can do to change that. I guess that's where the jaded attitude comes from.

I wish there was something that could be done :-/

Gilbert Le Blanc said...

Chanson said, "I think civil liberties and human rights are of critical importance. I value honesty and integrity in a leader, and I think that in order to get as close as possible to that ideal, the government needs to be accountable to the people and act transparently and openly (with this openness backed up by a free press that takes its responsibility to the people seriously)."

I can't argue with that. As far as the press, my opinion is that you have to read a wide political spectrum of news and opinion to get most sides of an issue. Even news, as conservative news outlets cover the kinds of stories that interest conservatives and liberal news outlets cover the kinds of stories that interest liberals.

As far as opinion, the Internet has a wide spectrum of political opinion. :-)

I have no doubt you're passionate about Senator Barack Obama. I have tried to discuss passionate subjects with you on ExmoSocial in the past. I'm not anxious to try again.

I don't believe that the future of mankind on the planet is as dire as you posted. Certainly, we should conserve and not be wasteful of our resources.

I went and looked up rational in the dictionary, just to make sure it meant what I thought it meant. Here's the entry from the Merriam-Webster online definition:

Main Entry:
1ra·tio·nal Listen to the pronunciation of 1rational
Pronunciation:
\ˈrash-nəl, ˈra-shə-nəl\
Function:
adjective
Etymology:
Middle English racional, from Anglo-French racionel, from Latin rationalis, from ration-, ratio
Date:
14th century

1 a: having reason or understanding b: relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason : reasonable (a rational explanation) (rational behavior)

2: involving only multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction and only a finite number of times

3: relating to, consisting of, or being one or more rational numbers (a rational root of an equation)

— ra·tio·nal·ly adverb
— ra·tio·nal·ness noun

I meant definition 1b, agreeable to reason. There are rational reasons to support Senator John McCain. You may not like them, but that doesn't make the reasons irrational.

As far as my values and expectations towards government, I prefer a government that is a bit humble, that doesn't believe government is the solution to all problems, and considers the will of the people, as regards to immigration and trade, as more important than the Ivy League theorists.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey MXRacer652!!!

I can hardly argue with your pessimism, it's probably well-founded. All I can say is that giving up will make it worse. It's easy for extremists to organize themselves, and hard for ordinary people to do the same. Working together to elect Obama can form a very real basis for cooperation that can start things moving in the right direction. Electing McCain can potentially make things far worse.

If you don't believe me, keep in mind that since the election of GWB, things have gotten far worse than I could ever have imagined: torturing people without trial and a new "doctrine" that the one country can choose to invade any country it sees as a threat -- and the public outcry in America has been no more than the squeak of a mouse. If things are degenerating, that's all the more reason to fight it tooth and nail. Things really can get worse. Totalitarianism has arisen gradually in places where the people never thought it was possible.

Hey Gilbert!!!

Well, you've given me a definition of rational, but haven't quite explained how it fits your choice, particularly with regards to the will of the people and your absurd presumption that it's Obama who's the out of touch élitist and not McCain.

Re: I have tried to discuss passionate subjects with you on ExmoSocial in the past. I'm not anxious to try again.

I thought that might be you. ComputerChairTraveler, right? As I recall, you were arguing that supporting gay rights is some sort of "bigotry against Christians" and when pressed on the point, you explained that you didn't think interracial marriage should have been legalized either...

Gilbert Le Blanc said...

Chanson says, "Well, you've given me a definition of rational, but haven't quite explained how it fits your choice, particularly with regards to the will of the people and your absurd presumption that it's Obama who's the out of touch élitist and not McCain."

I haven't give my choice for president. My choice was Mike Huckabee. I've just said that both Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama are rational choices.

Senator John McCain is a liberal Democrat. He's crossed the aisle on many issues in the last 8 years, McCain - Feingold one example. Senator Barack Obama talks like a radical leftist. It remains to be seen what Senator Barack Obama would actually do as president.

As far as the will of the people, what I said was, "...considers the will of the people, as regards to immigration and trade, as more important than the Ivy League theorists."

If you look at any public opinion polls on the subject of immigration and trade, the vast majority of the American public are against wide-open borders and free trade. The vast majority of the American people want controlled borders and fair trade.

As far as gay marriage, the majority of the American people are against that too. I didn't bring it up, but since you did, we'll see how California votes on Proposition 8 in November.

No, I don't accurately recall what I argued over 2 years ago without looking it up. I'm against granting the legitimacy of marriage to gays and lesbians. What they do in the bedroom is their business, not any of ours.

intj-mom said...

I used to have some admiration for McCain, but he's ruined that completely over the past several months. I do think that Obama has tried harder to take the high road and stick to issues. I was hoping McCain would be honorable and do the same. But he seems so desperate to win at this point that he's willing to compromise his personal integrity to do so. Which is so very disappointing.

I'm big on civil rights issues and health care access right now, so I lean more toward the dems in regards to that. And I really don't want to see any more conservative supreme court justices appointed in the near future. These are the main reasons I've decided to support Obama.

intj-mom said...

Gilbert: A democratic republic isn't just about majority rule. It's about protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority when necessary.

Even if a majority of Americans were really against gay marriage, it doesn't mean that they should be able to enforce their tyrannical opinion on the minority and deny the minority their civil rights. We went through all these issues back in the 60s, do we need to rehash eveything yet again?

Personally, I think the US should follow the examples of several other countries and get out of the whole marriage thing altogether. Just give out licenses for civil unions to people that give them the legal and civil protections/rights that the gov't gave in regards to marriage. Any two people who want to create a civil union can do it as long as they aren't too closely blood related.

People wanting to do religious marriage ceremonies could have an additional religious ceremony. Churches would be completely free to have whatever rules they wanted in regards to a religious marriage and not ever have to worry about the gov't possibly sticking their noses into the issue.

I think that would be the most fair solution for all Americans.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Gilbert!!!

Re: the vast majority of the American public are against wide-open borders and free trade. The vast majority of the American people want controlled borders and fair trade.

That's your strike against Obama -- that he opposes any kind of regulation on trade and immigration? I think his position is a little more nuanced than that.

And while we're on the subject of what most Americans want, note that most Americans don't want to continue to have the U.S. mired in that ill-advised (to say the least) adventure in Iraq, and they certainly didn't want to see that fiasco break the back of the U.S. economy with debt we can scarcely hope to ever repay.

Also, INTJ Mom is correct that the U.S. Constitution is designed to protect minority rights even when a majority wants to take them away.

Re: As far as gay marriage, the majority of the American people are against that too. I didn't bring it up, but since you did,

I beg to differ. You did bring it up when you said "I have tried to discuss passionate subjects with you on ExmoSocial in the past. I'm not anxious to try again." I was merely responding to your fond reminiscences of our earlier discussion when I mentioned the fact that (back then) you'd said that you didn't think interracial marriage should have been legalized when it was. That point stood out because the anti-gay crowd keeps trying to claim that their treatment of gay people is nothing like the bigotry of racism. Yet, coincidentally, those arguing for the one discrimination always seem to be the same people arguing for the other.

Hey INTJMom!!!

I agree about McCain taking the low road and destroying what respect he'd earned just to get ahead in the race.

p.s. to all: Here's a timely post about the candidates' economic positions: McCain’s Fantasy: “The Fundamentals of Our Economy are Strong”.