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October 25, 2008

Political Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Radley Balko wants his fellow righties to vote for Obama.

* The Northern Agrarian thinks that real conservatives should vote for Ralph Nader.

* Nathancontramundi spends a few minutes with Ron Paul.

Hey, a thought? Given what we've seen of (and learned about) Obama and McCain over the last few months, are we still pleased that it was Ron Paul who received a campaign-ending tar-and-feathering? Of these three guys, which one is the cleanest politician? Any opinions about whether it's a pure coincidence that the cleanest pol was the one who was driven out of the race?

Hmmmm ....



posted by Michael at October 25, 2008


The rhetoric on both sides in the presidential campaign has just gone wild.

Every morning, I awaken to both sides predicting the end of the world.

The cable networks are in a panic.

The idea of voting for Obama, as Balko suggests, to punish Republicans is appealing. This suggests that Obama is a form of punishment, which I don't doubt.

Given the nature of the political process, I do not think that Ron Paul would present an alternative. You need to raise $1 billion to run for president. What does that do to you?

I'll be glad when this election is over. I'm sick of the hysteria. They wild hysteria of the left over Gov. Palin has been particularly awful. She won't abort her children! Damn that woman! What a rube! Doesn't she know that hip people live out their sex lives on stage at some off-Broadway production?

Dick Morris weights in with an equally hysterical column today predicting that Obama will take us down the road to hell and socialism. This is pretty funny in light of Bush's nationalization of much of the financial sector.

Are we really as crazy and polarized as the media storm indicates, or is everybody just making money off the ranting and posturing?

Please God, I want it all to end.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on October 25, 2008 8:57 AM

I've still got my Ron Paul stickers on my truck. They're going to stay there so that a year or two from now miserable voters can reflect on what they elected.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on October 25, 2008 10:25 AM

I do enjoy these moments when I heartily agree with ST.

On the one hand there is little reason to cheer for any of the 4 Republicrat candidates for President & VP; on the other hand the hysterical (both wildly panicky and uproariously funny) attacks their supporters are aiming at each other are so ludicrous and over the top ... especially since both parties are complicit in all the woes we face today.

The one silver lining may be that both Obama and McCain have expressed some (admittedly tepid) support for Instant Runoff Voting. We need a means of breaking the lock the two major parties have on the reins of governmental power.

Posted by: Chris White on October 25, 2008 10:30 AM

The Ron Paul phenomenon was a sham from the start. Ron Paul's biggest base of support was on sites like Digg and Reddit. Look at those sites today and you will see a string of hagiographic stories about Obama and bile spouted against McCain and [especially] Palin. One obvious example of these sites leanings is the Ashley Todd ("B") story, which didn't receive any attention until it could be used as a way to attack McCain supporters.

So lets not be gullible. These websites did not go from from being 24/7 Ron Paul supporters to 24/7 Obama supporters and McCain/Palin bashing. The sites overwhelmingly did not support Ron Paul, rather, they saw him as a useful tool to promote and dropped him as soon as he was no longer useful.

Posted by: Obvious on October 25, 2008 12:08 PM

A week ago, I happened to be channel surfing and saw a Ron Paul speech on C-SPAN and noticed that he was addressing the John Birch Society. Lie down with kooks, come up smelling kooky.

Ron Paul, apart from his kooky leanings, newsletters, etc. is an unremarkeable libertarian candidate. Every four years the Libertarian Party runs a presidential candidate and receives about a half-million votes.

Ron Paul did slightly better for a short time because he was included in Republican primary debates, received some media attention and attracted some the support of single-issue anti-war fanatics from the left and right when Iraq was still the major issue on the table.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on October 25, 2008 8:46 PM

You know, Chris, when I argue with you, I really am arguing with my old self... just as I said.

It makes me furious that I once believed that stuff.

Where we differ is our perception of people. You continue to believe that something outside of people accounts for our screwed up politics. I am quite convinced that it is the very nature of people that causes our political distress.

For instance, it is virtually taboo to suggest that the current "credit crisis" is the fault of the people who borrowed. I know people who refinanced their homes several times and ran up huge credit card debts simultaneously. They were, of course, encouraged to do this by the government and the media. I still see their current dilemma as their own fault.

It appears that liberals are about to get their chance to run things. I predict that the result of this will be that everybody will be completely fed up with liberals in very short order.

As the old saying goes, we get the government we deserve. The problem we are confronting is ourselves, not some abstract system that needs tinkering. In my view, all attempts by the government to fix things only make things worse.

And, no, I don't think that a third party will change things.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on October 26, 2008 12:26 AM

Ron Paul is the one candidate who has repeatedly been proven right whenever there was a factual issue at stake. Who was not surprised at the stock market crash and the housing meltdown? Who voted against the Gramm Leach Bliley Act? Etc., etc.

Posted by: Lester Hunt on October 26, 2008 3:02 AM

Maybe I'm stating the obvious here.

I'm aware that Bush and McCain don't have the credentials of Goldwater and Reagan. However...

A ballot-box is notoriously insensitive to motivation, nuance, ambiguity, layers of meaning etc. If you vote for a leftist candidate, it interprets your vote literally...and gives it to the leftist candidate. The ballot box doesn't care about the real you. It just thinks you're Soros or Oprah, and gives your vote to The One.

Many conservatives here in Australia decided to nuance-vote Labor last year. They elected a prissy essay-talker called Kevin. Kevin! He says things like: "We must build and construct...", accompanied with much lip-scrunching and brow-knitting. Rich missus. Control freak. Big on symbolism, spin, conferencing, enquiries, international-anything. All that.

Leftists. Yuck.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on October 26, 2008 7:40 AM

ST – Given the economic crisis is a worldwide phenomenon, with stock trading indices down by huge amounts from Tokyo to the London FTSE; given that nations such as Iceland are facing bankruptcy; is it really such a leap to suggest that the problem is systemic and lies more within the regulations and oversights (or lack thereof) of the financial service industry than it does with the consumers of those services? While there is certainly plenty of blame to be shared by consumers, the root of the problem still seems to lie with the cozy relationship between politicians and the industry. When credit card companies cold call clients to convince them to borrow sums well beyond prudence or mortgage companies push products that have inherent flaws, which is more culpable, the company or the consumer? I say the company.

As long as we accept that our political choice is limited to the two major parties, both complicit in the problems and beholden to corporate lobbyists, then we accept there is no solution and we'll keep getting the best government money from the entrenched elite can buy. Call me naive and idealistic, but I will continue to suggest that we, as voters and consumers, can and should do more to improve the problems we face. As consumers we can, for example, spend our dollars with local businesses rather than international corporations. As voters we can demand more and better choices than the Good Cop/Bad Cop parties bent on maintaining the status quo.

Posted by: Chris White on October 26, 2008 9:19 AM

FWIW, I have posted my own endorsement here.

Posted by: Lester Hunt on October 26, 2008 12:27 PM

An excellent point by about the literal nature of the voting ballot by Robert Townshend above.

My plan is to vote for neither party. I will not vote for Obama because of the un-American repulsiveness of everything that his side represents, particularly in this election. But I will also not vote for McCain, because I don't want to validate the Karl Rove strategy of allowing the Republican Party to drift left.

Posted by: PA on October 26, 2008 12:57 PM

Borrowers and lenders are complicit in this crisis. ST is right about human nature, which is why wise regulation should act as a stop gap to rampant greed, on both sides of the table. Fallible humans can, in moments of clarity, construct wise law to reign in our very human impulses. This does not make the legislators any better than us, we all know what's good for us, it's just sometimes difficult to live up to that ideal when given an opportunity.

As for the thread topic, I'm fairly happy with the Obama/Biden ticket. I've never looked for salvation from politicians, so the fact that neither person sends me into political ecstasy does not bother me in the slightest.

Posted by: JV on October 26, 2008 2:03 PM

My view of humans is that we each have within us the capacity for all human traits, from the capacity for evil of the sociopath to the capacity for self-less altruism. How a given individual will act in a certain situation is impossible to know, not even to the individual, before the situation arrives.

We deal, therefore, in statistical probabilities and assumptions drawn from an endless variety of sources. We exist in social communities with overlapping social, legal, and religious constructs designed to channel behavior.

A question that has been discussed and debated, presumably since language reached the sophistication to allow discussing and debating, is free will versus fate or predetermination. I find the free will side the more compelling.

With those as givens I believe most humans tend to follow the behavioral channels set up by the social community in which they function. Given reasonably stable channels that reward honesty and punish theft, most will opt for the former. Like channels of water the force of the flow can be diverted or a soft bank may erode opening up new side channels. Changes in these behavioral channels come about based on a nearly infinite array of changes in external and internal conditions.

So, rather than saying, fatalistically, humans will act badly and there'd nothing we can do about it, so I'll get mine and hope to die with more toys than the next guy, I ask (to paraphrase a cliché), "What can I do to bring about in reality the ideal I envision?" Knowing that it is impossible to achieve doesn't alter anything; the process of attempting to achieve something is enough.

Given the practical choice between McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden, I'll vote the latter. That said, I resent that my decision is based as much on a practical calculation recognizing a vote for any ticket other than one the two major parties will, essentially, be a wasted vote, one moreover that increases the likelihood that the ticket I least prefer will be the actual beneficiary of my decision. So, I will continue to make Instant Runoff Voting the main plank of my own personal political platform.

Similarly, my distrust and disgust with the distorted, bastardized version of global super capitalism we've found ourselves living under leads me to buy local whenever possible. Again, I am well aware how many times this will be impossible, but it doesn't lessen the satisfaction felt each time it is possible. Every carrot I buy from Chris or dozen eggs from Richard is a small victory.

Posted by: Chris White on October 26, 2008 4:55 PM

Even though I'm a fascist racist CANADIAN, I'd vote with Chris for Obama. McCain was my hero in 2000, but he's got nothing left now. The Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for the upcoming debacle...they could have chosen Mitt Romney.

Now that would have been an interesting race: Obama vs. Romney...

Posted by: PatrickH on October 26, 2008 9:04 PM

If Romney picked a half-way decent running mate, he would win against Obama. Hell, if McCain picked a half-way decent candidate (like, say, Romney), I'd be a lot more worried. Although I'm nowhere near confident as the past 2 elections are all too vivid for me.

Posted by: JV on October 26, 2008 9:57 PM

JV, unless there's a Bradley Effect of epic proportions on polling day, there's no way McCain could overcome his deficit through electoral chicanery. I have no sympathy for the stolen elections truthifying about 2000 and 2004, but that kind of thinking was only possible because both races were close.

Unless I'm misreading America, and the polls are distorted by the Bradley Effect, Obama looks set to win by at least eight, maybe ten, with electoral college ratios at 2-1 or higher.

Posted by: PatrickH on October 27, 2008 12:19 PM

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