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Archive for November, 2007

The Republican Presidential Debate

Posted by Brian on November 29, 2007

I worked up the courage yesterday to watch the Republican Presidential debate. HEre are a few thoughts:

  • I find it funny how they stand up there and rail against out of control spending and a bloated government as if the government was run by some shadowy, unknown agency. The current state of affairs is the result of a Republican administratiion, and the people who applauded all this talk about curtailing spending and shrinking down the size of the government are the same people who voted for Bush twice.
  • Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter might as well have been in the audience… neither received much attention.
  • I find Ron Paul to be a real novelty. It’s as if he was frozen back in the early eighties and was thawed out recently only to discover that his party, formerly the party of Reagan and Goldwater, has mutated into some ugly charicature of its former self. He’s what a  conservative used to be, before the party was hijacked by the Christian right and the neo-cons.
  • I had a very bad impression of Mitt Romney due to his constant efforts to weasel out of a question (such as his last question about the confederate flag). However, he does strike me as a politician who just might have been genetically engneered. He’s tall, handsome, and has nice hair with just a  touch of gray on the sides, giving him an air of wisdom.
  • I’m sorry, but Guiliani just comes across as creepy. In light of his personal background, I don’t understand why he is doing so well among the republican voters.
  • I had a very good impression of Huckabee. He came across as very calm and thoughtful, which serves him well when standing side by side with all the other angry candidates.
  • McCain didn’t do very well in my eyes. It’s kind of sad, in a way, since back in 2000 he seemed much more fiery and ready for the office. Unfortunately, he feel victim to the Bush/Rove slime machine and hasn’t been the same since. I did, however, appreciate his criticism of waterboarding, another issue that Romney tried to weasel out of. 
  • As for Fred Thompson, I really have no idea. Nothing about him or his candidacy strikes me as particularly interesting.
  • The Weekly Standard isn’t happy with CNN’s choice of questioners: “So, a good night for for the lowest denominator, a bad night for the GOP. America got to see a vaguely threatening parade of gun fetishists, flat worlders, Mars Explorers, Confederate flag lovers and zombie-eyed-Bible-wavers as well as various one issue activists hammering their pet causes.” I didn’t watch the Democratic You Tube debate so I wonder if we saw a similar parade of odd characters.
  • Michelle Malkin is enraged (but of course) over the “plants” who asked the questions. And here I thought all Americans were invited to send in videos with question.

UPDATE: I got this email from Red State this afternoon:

RedState is calling for CNN to fire Sam Feist, their political director; and David Bohrman, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer of the debate.

During last night’s debate, which CNN billed as “a Republican debate, and the goal was to let Republican voters see their candidates,” CNN either knowingly or incompetently allowed hardcore left wing activists to plant questions and Anderson Cooper willingly gave one of those activists a soapbox so he could harass the Republican candidates about military policy.

Simple googling would have revealed these left wing activists.  

Had CNN done its homework, this would not have happened.  They either willfully let it happen, or incompetently bungled it.  Either way, heads should roll.

Likewise, we hope one or more of the GOP Presidential candidates will call for a do-over debate on substantive policy issues.

You can read our Directors post here. 

Apparently, they had no problem with Bush’s cousin running the election desk at Fox News back on 2000, but I digress.

Anyway, I don’t understand the hubbub here. Was it in the rules somwhere that those asking the questions needed to be republicans? Obviously, if that point was in the rules or guidelines somwhere, then perhaps they have a case. If not, I don’t think CNN has any sort of special opbligation to vet each and every submission to make sure the individual is not a fucking liberal who hates America and wants the terrorists to win.

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Amusing Fact of the Day

Posted by Brian on November 21, 2007

You may remember a post I did in February on the Conservapedia, the good conservative’s answer to the liberal Wikipedia. Nine months later, the site is still growing. But what matters most to its readers? Here’s a list of its top 10 most viewed pages:

Main Page‎ [1,905,973]
Homosexuality‎ [1,567,653]
Homosexuality and Hepatitis‎ [517,046]
Homosexuality and Promiscuity‎ [420,633]
Homosexuality and Parasites‎ [388,084]
Gay Bowel Syndrome‎ [368,875]
Homosexuality and Domestic Violence‎ [363,315]
Homosexuality and Gonorrhea‎ [331,539]
Homosexuality and Mental Health‎ [289,117]
Homosexuality and Syphilis [265,300]

No wonder so many republicans politicians find themselves mired in gay sex scandals… they literally are obsessed with homosexuality.

Via Balloon Juice.

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Stop the presses!

Posted by Brian on November 19, 2007

Newsflash! From the New York Post (via Salon):

The New York Post reports this morning that Rudy Giuliani is “trumpeting his leadership in the wake of 9/11 in campaign mailings to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

That may not be news to you, but it is to the Post, where reporter Carl Campanile explains: “While Giuliani’s supporters have long boasted about his performance after the attacks, he himself had not, until now, mentioned it as prominently.”

That’s funny. Rudy “9/11” Giuliani, Mr. America’s Mayor,  has not mentioned 9/11 “prominently”? Someone obviously hasn’t been paying attention…

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Some things are more important than freedom and democracy…

Posted by Brian on November 8, 2007

From today’s David Broder:

I found during a visit to New Delhi that happened to coincide with the crisis in the subcontinent that Indians were both puzzled and dismayed that the United States government seemed so ambivalent in its reaction to Musharraf’s actions. The Indian press reported, along with U.S. journals, that the Bush administration had sent urgent messages to Musharraf counseling him against the crackdown.

But when he ignored their advice and declared martial law, President Bush and the State Department offered only the mildest reprimands and immediately signaled a willingness to continue to support Musharraf and his regime.

To many here, that appeared as if democracy was less important to the American government than whatever help Musharraf might supply in fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

You’ve got to be a complete fucking idiot to believe that George W. Bush really and truely believes in spreading democracy and freedom around the globe.

Of course, he’s not the first president who can’t walk the walk, but I think the sheer blatantness of it all this time around is what is so shocking and dismaying.

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More on Iowa and New Hampshire

Posted by Brian on November 5, 2007

There was a letter i nthe locla Seattle paper yesterday criticizing David Horsely for the cartoon I posted in my previous post. The writer said:

It is unfortunate that Horsey must portray those obviously politically powerful influential states as crusty rural curmudgeons rather than the independent-minded people who live in Iowa and New Hampshire.

I’ve heard this before… somehow, someway, the people within the magical state boundaries surrounding Iowa and New Hampshire are supposed to be more independent, wiser, and more politically astute than the rest of us, which makes it only right that those folks have an inordinate amount of influence over the voting process.

So rather than put my trust in newspaper letters and anonymous posts on the internet, I decided to do my own research to get to the bottom of this.

My hypothesis is that the voters in New Hampshire and Iowa aren’t all that much diffirent than the rest of us and harldy deserving of the right to decided who the rest of the country gets to vote for.

Paul Waldman from Media Matters agrees, and wrote an essay called The Myth of the Rational Iowa Voter. A few key lines:

In the past week or so, lots of wise and serious commentators have started to say that Hillary Clinton’s victory in the Democratic presidential primaries is all but inevitable. She is repeatedly described as having “solidified her lead,” not only because of her strength in national polls, but due to the fact that she now leads in New Hampshire by a healthy margin and is in a virtual three-way tie in Iowa. And after all, we know Iowa and New Hampshire voters aren’t fickle like those in some other states. They’re serious and studious, applying their down-home common sense and refusing to vote for anyone unless they look them in the eye and get a sense of the person behind the politician.

If this is a typical election, somewhere between 6 and 10 percent of voting-eligible Iowans will bother to show up to a caucus. Yes, you read that right. Those vaunted Iowa voters are so concerned about the issues, so involved in the political process, so serious about their solemn deliberative responsibilities as guardians of the first-in-the-nation contest, that nine out of ten can’t manage to haul their butts down to the junior high on caucus night. One might protest that caucusing is hard — it requires hours of time and a complicated sequence of standing in corners, raising hands, and trading votes (here is an explanation of the ridiculousness). But so what? If ten presidential candidates personally came to your house to beg for your vote, wouldn’t you set aside an evening when decision time finally came?

But only one in ten Iowans can be bothered. Not only that, despite all the attention, Iowans know barely more about the candidates than citizens of other states, and don’t discuss politics any more than anyone else (unless something has changed since this research was conducted in 2000). Yet around 200,000 of them, possessed of no greater wisdom or insight than the rest of us, will determine who presides over this nation of 300 million for the next four years. The problem isn’t that Iowans aren’t like the rest of the country (95 percent white, for one). The problem is that despite the extraordinary privilege of having the next president grovel before them, they’re just as indifferent and apathetic as any other group of Americans.

So far, so good.

But then I read this study from the Pew Research Center on the 2004 election:

The likely participants in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primaries are far more engaged in the election than likely voters elsewhere in the country.

More than eight-in-ten voters in Iowa (82%) and 75% in New Hampshire are following news about the race very or fairly closely, compared with just over half of Democratic voters nationwide. Primary voters in South Carolina have yet to be drawn in to the campaign in the same way as these earlier states. Just 57% there say they are following the campaign very or fairly closely, not far from the national average among Democratic voters (52%).

And then there’s this NY Times article that offers some anecdotal evidence:

Yet there is something, besides the small size of the stage here, that sets these two states apart and that seems truer than ever this year. Iowa and New Hampshire voters display an uncommon command of issues, a sophistication about the contest and its candidates, an understanding of history and an eagerness to participate that clearly sets them apart.

And here’s a guy who is also frustrated with the whole stupid process.

The evidence is mixed, with some research showing that the folks in New Hampsire and Iowa really are super-voters. Other studies show they are just as lazy and apathetic as the rest of us. But even if we grant the former to be more true than the latter, could it not be the natural result of the constant attention and pandering these two states receive every 4 years from the candidates and the national media? And if so, wouldn’t it be best then to spread the wealth around so that other voters in other parts of the country can also develop this fine-tuned political sense?

This nonsense really needs to end…

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My thoughts exactly…

Posted by Brian on November 1, 2007

Horsey

I’m still not sure who decided that Iowa and New Hampshire voters were to have so much more influence over national politics than the rest of us. Why not have a a rotating system that gives different states in different regions a chance to go first?

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