The Times without hesitation endorses Barack Obama for president.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Dear Red States...
We've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us.
In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii , Oregon , Washington , Minnesota , Wisconsin , Michigan , Illinois and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.
To sum up briefly: You get Texas , Oklahoma and all the slave states.
We get stem cell research and the best beaches.
We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom...or what's left
We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.
We get 85 percent of America 's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama .
We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the red states pay their fair share.
Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.
Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq , and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.
With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 percent of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.
With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clems on and the University of Georgia.
We get Hollywood and Yosemite , thank you. Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy b*****ds believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.
After Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama Sunday, it looked like things couldn't get any worse for John McCain on the endorsement score. Well, they just did. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has endorsed the economic stimulus plan supported by Obama and the Democrats. Having the Fed chairman say that Obama and the Democrats have the right ideas on the economy will surely be helpful to Obama even if he wasn't named explicitly. President Bush and the Republicans generally oppose the Democratic plan.
CNN is reporting that McCain is making those tough decisions that politicians love to talk about. According to CNN, McCain is abandoning Colorado (9 EVs), Iowa (7 EVs) and New Mexico (5 Evs). If Obama wins these three he gets 21 EVs. Add these to the 252 EVs Kerry won and he has 273 and becomes President. McCain's strategy at this point is to win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Nevada, and--get this--Pennsylvania. The first six are arguably swing states, but our three-poll average puts Obama 12 points ahead in Pennsylvania. McCain is effectively betting the farm on a state which looks like an Obama landslide. It is a strange choice. Colorado looks a lot easier than Pennsylvania. James Carville once famously said that Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama sandwiched in between. Maybe McCain is going to go all out to win the white working class men in the Alabama section of Pennsylvania. McCain can't possibly do it on the economy. What's left? Maybe run against the Wright/Ayers ticket? Any way you look at it, this has to be a desperation move.
by Tucker Carlson
Posted from Daily Beast
Republicans know the race is over. Only Democrats, so accustomed to failure, still believe Obama could lose.
Wondering if you're really a Democrat? Here's a quick way to find out: Given everything the Democratic party has going for it this year—the overwhelming financial advantage, the legions of new voters, George W. Bush—do you believe the Obama campaign could still somehow, in the final moments, find a way to blow it and lose this election?
If you answered yes, you're a Democrat.
Two weeks out, only the Democrats in Washington think Obama might not win. That's not the result of a scientific study, but instead the conclusion I've reached after many lunches, dinners and elevator rides with DC Democrats. Against all evidence, a good number of them have convinced themselves that John McCain is going to be the next president.
Republicans have no master plan for victory, no October Surprise. You'll never convince most Democrats of that.
Partly this is superstition, like throwing salt over your shoulder when you spill the shaker: predictions are bad luck. But it's also the voice of experience.
"We're the Cincinnati Bengals," says Jay Rouse, a longtime Democratic political consultant. "Democrats are used to losing, not winning." That's especially true at the national level, where in the past 64 years only a single Democrat has been reelected president. The last two presidential elections raised doubts about whether Democrats were capable of wining at all. "People are still traumatized by '04," says James Carville.
They shouldn't be. A mediocre candidate running against an incumbent in a time of war isn't likely to win under any circumstances; if anything, Democratic insiders were too quick to blame John Kerry for his loss. Circumstances all but doomed him from the beginning. The problem was, up until about dinner time on election night, few of Kerry's supporters realized that.
The shock stings four years later. "Democrats are losers," says one former Democratic campaign operative with sadness. "Don't underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," Obama himself told supporters last week. "Don't underestimate our ability to screw things up."
Give them a few drinks and many Democrats make remarkably self-loathing noises: we're disorganized, our interest groups are out of control, the rest of the country hates us. To these Democrats, Obama isn't really winning; the Republicans are losing. They fear fate could intervene at the last minute to change the course of the election.
It's the nightmare scenario, says Jay Rouse. "They're worried that Osama bin Laden is going to say, 'I want to have sex with Barack Obama.'"
If that happens, Karl Rove will get all the credit, at least in Democratic circles. Rove’s too busy giving speeches and doing TV to pick up his dry cleaning, yet Democrats imagine he's having breakfast with Satan every Thursday at the Four Seasons to chart strategy.
No one's more confident in Republican efficiency than Democrats. It's almost touching, and totally unwarranted. In real life, there are no WMD: Republicans have no master plan for victory, no October Surprise. The operation is as disjointed as it looks. You'll never convince most Democrats of that.
Even those Democrats who understand the true, greatly weakened state of the Republican Party have grave doubts about ordinary voters. If you've been out to dinner in a blue state in the last six weeks, you've heard the argument: This is still a racist country. Once they get in the booth, they'll never vote for a black man. It's the Bradley Effect, etc...In other words, it only looks like 2008. Actually, it's 1956.
Except that it's not. If anything, Obama’s race has been a net political asset so far. We'll find out for sure on Election Day, but in the meantime I'd be willing to bet that Obama wins a larger proportion of white men than John Kerry did four years ago. It's a different country than it used to be.
The question is whether, even in victory, Democrats will come to understand that. In order to govern successfully, they'll need to.
Sarah Palin will be the hero of the Republican base should Obama win the presidential election
If Obama takes the White House on November 4th, Sarah Palin's next act will be "hero of the GOP base."
Exactly one half (50%) of our Online100 panel agree that the Alaskan governor will play a larger role in the national Republican party, even if the McCain-Palin ticket loses this year. However, only 16% believe she'll have a very powerful voice within the party and become a presidential nominee herself one day.
32% of the panel believe that her political status would turn negative since she would be part-blamed for the loss.
Across the political spectrum, the panel sees Palin's future as hero of the base, with 50% of the left, right, and center predicting this as her future role. However, the remainder of the left (44%) and center (42%) largely saw her political status turning sour in the event of a loss, while the remainder of the right (36%) saw her being very powerful in the future.
Some of our panelists qualified their answer by commenting, for example, that she will be "She'll be blamed for the loss (by some) and be a hero of (others) in the base." Another says, "Oddly enough she WILL be a cause for McCain's loss (if he loses) AND a hero of the base."
One of the left-leaning panelists believes "She'll be in play as a possible future nominee, and I can see her winning a Senate seat down the road, but many in the party establishment clearly don't think much of her."
A right-leaning panelist says that "Palin can go as far as she wants to. The 2012 nomination is hers for the taking."
Gallup Poll - World News Special Report
It is inherent in the American character to aspire to greatness, so it can be disorienting when the nation stumbles or loses confidence in bedrock principles or institutions. That's where the United States is as it prepares to select a new president: We have seen the government take a stake in venerable private financial houses; we have witnessed eight years of executive branch power grabs and erosion of civil liberties; we are still recovering from a murderous attack by terrorists on our own soil and still struggling with how best to prevent a recurrence.
We need a leader who demonstrates thoughtful calm and grace under pressure, one not prone to volatile gesture or capricious pronouncement. We need a leader well-grounded in the intellectual and legal foundations of American freedom. Yet we ask that the same person also possess the spark and passion to inspire the best within us: creativity, generosity and a fierce defense of justice and liberty.
Our nation has never before had a candidate like Obama, a man born in the 1960s, of black African and white heritage, raised and educated abroad as well as in the United States, and bringing with him a personal narrative that encompasses much of the American story but that, until now, has been reflected in little of its elected leadership. The excitement of Obama's early campaign was amplified by that newness. But as the presidential race draws to its conclusion, it is Obama's character and temperament that come to the fore. It is his steadiness. His maturity.
These are qualities American leadership has sorely lacked for close to a decade. The Constitution, more than two centuries old, now offers the world one of its more mature and certainly most stable governments, but our political culture is still struggling to shake off a brash and unseemly adolescence. In George W. Bush, the executive branch turned its back on an adult role in the nation and the world and retreated into self-absorbed unilateralism.
Indeed, the presidential campaign has rendered McCain nearly unrecognizable. His selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was, as a short-term political tactic, brilliant. It was also irresponsible, as Palin is the most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory. The decision calls into question just what kind of thinking -- if that's the appropriate word -- would drive the White House in a McCain presidency. Fortunately, the public has shown more discernment, and the early enthusiasm for Palin has given way to national ridicule of her candidacy and McCain's judgment.
Obama's selection also was telling. He might have scored a steeper bump in the polls by making a more dramatic choice than the capable and experienced Joe Biden. But for all the excitement of his own candidacy, Obama has offered more competence than drama.
He is no lone rider. He is a consensus-builder, a leader. As a constitutional scholar, he has articulated a respect for the rule of law and the limited power of the executive that make him the best hope of restoring balance and process to the Justice Department. He is a Democrat, leaning further left than right, and that should be reflected in his nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a good thing; the court operates best when it is ideologically balanced. With its present alignment at seven justices named by Republicans and two by Democrats, it is due for a tug from the left.
We are not sanguine about Obama's economic policies. He speaks with populist sweep about taxing oil companies to give middle-class families rebates that of course they would welcome, but would be far too small to stimulate the economy. His ideas on taxation do not stray far from those put forward by Democrats over the last several decades. His response to the most recent, and drastic, fallout of the sub- prime mortgage meltdown has been appropriately cautious; this is uncharted territory, and Obama is not a master of economic theory or practice.
And that's fine. Obama inspires confidence not so much in his grasp of Wall Street finance but in his acknowledgment of and comfort with his lack of expertise. He will not be one to forge far-reaching economic policy without sounding out the best thinkers and practitioners, and he has many at his disposal. He has won the backing of some on Wall Street not because he's one of them but because they recognize his talent for extracting from a broad range of proposals a coherent and workable program.
On paper, McCain presents the type of economic program The Times has repeatedly backed: One that would ease the tax burden on business and other high earners most likely to invest in the economy and hire new workers. But he has been disturbingly unfocused in his response to the current financial situation, rushing to "suspend" his campaign and take action (although just what action never became clear). Having little to contribute, he instead chose to exploit the crisis.
We may one day look back on this presidential campaign in wonder. We may marvel that Obama's critics called him an elitist, as if an Ivy League education were a source of embarrassment, and belittled his eloquence, as if a gift with words were suddenly a defect. In fact, Obama is educated and eloquent, sober and exciting, steady and mature. He represents the nation as it is, and as it aspires to be.
One Cool Customer
While McCain shows how far he'll stoop, voters are discovering that whatever else you think about Barack Obama, the man is calm.
Posted from prospect.org
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
by: Sam Stein, The Huffington Post
John McCain's campaign has directed $175,000 to the firm of a Republican operative accused of massive voter registration fraud in several states.
According to campaign finance records, a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the RNC and the California Republican Party, made a $175,000 payment to the group Lincoln Strategy in June for purposes of "registering voters." The managing partner of that firm is Nathan Sproul, a renowned GOP operative who has been investigated on multiple occasions for suppressing Democratic voter turnout, throwing away registration forms and even, once, spearheading efforts to get Ralph Nader on ballots so as to hinder the Democratic ticket. Read Full Story Here»
"There is always a charge that socialism does not fit human nature. We've encountered that for a long time. Maybe that's true. But can't people be educated? Can't people learn to cooperate with each other? Surely that must be our goal, because the alternative is redolent with war and poverty and all the ills of the world." -- Frank Zeidler
John McCain hopes to revive his campaign by suggesting that Barack Obama is some kind of socialist.
The Republican nominee for president says that his Democratic rival's plan for stimulating the economy sounds "a lot like socialism."
"At least in Europe, the socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are up front about their objectives. They use real numbers and honest language. And we should demand equal candor from Senator Obama," the Arizona senator claimed over the weekend.
Asked if he thinks Obama is a socialist, McCain offers an insinuating raised eyebrow and a shrug non-response: "I don't know."
McCain is not really concerned about socialism. He is trying to suggest that Obama is somehow un-American.
Obama's no socialist.
But, as a Wisconsinite, I can't buy the basic premise of McCain's argument.
I grew up in a state where socialism was as American as my friend Frank Zeidler.
Zeidler, an old-school American socialist who served three terms as the mayor of Milwaukee from 1948 to 1960, died two year ago at age 93. His passing was mourned by Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, who recognized the gentle radical as one of the most honorable men ever to cross the American political landscape.
Zeidler actually ran for president in 1976 as the nominee of the American Socialist Party. In fairness, it was more an educational campaign than a serious bid for an office that the former mayor never really coveted. Like so many of the great civic gestures he engaged in over eight decades of activism, Zeidler's 1976 campaign promoted the notion that: "There's nothing un-American about socialism."
Campaigning on a platform that promised a shift of national priorities from bloated defense spending to fighting poverty, rebuilding cities and creating a national health care program, Zeidler won only a portion of the respect that was due this kind and decent man and the values to which he has devoted a lifetime.
Had Zeidler been born in another land -- perhaps Germany, where the roots of his family tree were firmly planted -- his Socialist Party run would have been a much bigger deal. Indeed, he might well have been elected.
In most of the world, the social-democratic values that Zeidler advanced throughout his long life hold great sway. Latin America has been experiencing a revival of socialist fervor in recent years. And virtually every European country has elected a socialist government in the past decade. Indeed, the current leaders of Britain and Spain head political parties that are associated with the Socialist International, of which Zeidler's Socialist Party was a U.S. affiliate. In the recent Canadian elections, the socialist New Democratic Party experienced a substantial boost in its parliamentary delegation.
In Zeidler's youth, America's Socialist Party was a contender. During the 1920s, there were more Socialists in the Wisconsin legislature than Democrats, and a Wisconsin Socialist, Victor Berger, represented Milwaukee in the US House. When Norman Thomas sought the presidency as a Socialist in 1932, he received almost a million votes, and well into the 1950s Socialists ran municipal governments in Reading, Pennsylvania; Bridgeport, Connecticut and other quintessentially American cities – including Zeidler's Milwaukee.
For millions of American voters in the past century, socialism was never so frightening as John McCain would have us believe. Rather, it was a politics of principle that added ideas and nuance to a stilted economic and political discourse.
For the most part, Zeidler and his compatriots campaigned along the periphery of presidential politics, especially as the Cold War took hold.
But they earned respect in communities such as Milwaukee, where voters kept casting ballots for Socialist candidates even as Joe McCarthy was promoting his "red-scare" witch hunt.
Years after he left the mayor's office, Zeidler's contribution -- a humane, duty-driven, fiscally responsible version of socialism that is reflective of the man as much as the philosophy –- was always recognized by Wisconsinites as a very American expression of a legitimate and honorable international ideal.
Zeidler was the repository of a Milwaukee Socialist tradition with a remarkable record of accomplishment -- grand parks along that city's lakefront, nationally recognized public health programs, pioneering open housing initiatives, and an unrivaled reputation for clean government -- that to his death filled the circumspect former mayor with an uncharacteristic measure of pride.
Because of its emphasis on providing quality services, the politics that Zeidler practiced was sometimes referred to as "sewer socialism." But, to the mayor, it was much more than that. The Milwaukee Socialists, who governed the city for much of the 20th century, led a remarkably successful experiment in human nature rooted in their faith that cooperation could deliver more than competition.
"Socialism as we attempted to practice it here believes that people working together for a common good can produce a greater benefit both for society and for the individual than can a society in which everyone is shrewdly seeking their own self-interest," Zeidler told me in an interview several years ago. "And I think our record remains one of many more successes than failures."
Would that John McCain – and, frankly, Barack Obama -- had the intellectual honesty to assess those successes, and the ideals that underpinned them. The candidates would not, necessarily embrace socialism. But they would recognize the absurdity of tossing the "S" word around as an epithet.