Category Archives: 2008 Presidential Election

But does Israel support an Undivided Jerusalem?

The context for this, flub, of course:

The Weekly Standard
“Um, let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s.”

is another far more serious one, where Obama may or may not support an Undivided Jerusalem. Whatever his ultimate position, he certainly didn’t know what those words meant when he said them.

Obama’s inability to speak English (as opposed to read or memorize speeches) may help him in domestic politics. Bush’s certainly has: where a misstatement by Gore would immediately be assumed to be a lie, a misstatement by Bush was just another example of the “legacy kid” screwing up. So I’m not surprised when the “affirmative action kid” screws up. Both are below-average in terms of abilities or experiences of our recent Presidents, and both were given their party’s nomination because of a politically correct heritage.

Still, many of my liberal friends have pointed out that George Bush’s mishandling of the English language hurt our ability to transmit our messages to others in the world. Obama’s mishandling of English will do similar damage.

The Audacity of Political Calculation, Part III

And also, free trade.

From CNN Fortune:

“Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA “devastating” and “a big mistake,” despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.

Props to Eddie of Hidden Unities, who first warned me that I shouldn’t listen to Obama’s words, but rather expect him to do what he needed to do to win.

I get less worried about Barack “Bush III” Obama by the minute!

An X-Prize for Battery Life?

This is a very cool idea from Senator John McCain:

My Way News – McCain offers $300 million for new auto battery
PHOENIX (AP) – Sen. John McCain hopes to solve the country’s energy crisis with cold hard cash.

The Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting thinks the government should offer a $300 million prize to the person who can develop an automobile battery that leapfrogs existing technology.

The prize would equate to $1 for every man, woman and child in the country.

In a speech being delivered Monday at Fresno State University in California, McCain is also proposing stiffer fines for automakers who skirt existing fuel-efficiency standards and incentives to increase use of domestic and foreign ethanol.

The $300 million bounty on a new feat echoes the Ansari X-Prize, a financial award given to the first successful commercial spaceflight. Indeed, McCain’s plan is similar to the official Automotive X-Prize, which would give a far smaller amount to the creator of an environmentally-friendly car. I don’t know whether the Ansari X-Prize’s success would translate into better car battery life, but it seems that the downside is small and the upside is great.

Still, an “X-Prize for Electric Cars” should be only part of a broader push to get us better technologies. Other approaches include granting permanent residency to foreigners to graduate with PhDs at U.S. R-1 research institutions, as well as abolishing affirmative action. (So far neither candidate has pledged to do these things.)

Why not to support Clinton

As someone who who has been generally favorable on Hillary Clinton, as long as social issues aren’t involved, David Brooks’ warning of the ability of the presidency to magnify character flaws was an interesting read.

The short of it: the Presidency makes your worst traits more pronounced and more serious. Therefore, Presidential candidates should not be chosen on the grounds of who would do best, but who is least likely to do very badly.

Certainly a warning for the Hillary supporters out there.

John Kerry and/or Bob Shrum slam John Edwards

Shrum, R. 2007. Kerry’s regrets about John Edwards. Time. May 30, 2007. Available online: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1626498-2,00.html.

I can’t imagine a more personal attack than this:

Kerry talked with several potential picks, including Gephardt and Edwards. He was comfortable after his conversations with Gephardt, but even queasier about Edwards after they met. Edwards had told Kerry he was going to share a story with him that he’d never told anyone else—that after his son Wade had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home, laid there and hugged his body, and promised that he’d do all he could to make life better for people, to live up to Wade’s ideals of service. Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, as he told me later, Edwards had recounted the same exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two before—and with the same preface, that he’d never shared the memory with anyone else. Kerry said he found it chilling, and he decided he couldn’t pick Edwards unless he met with him again. When they did, Kerry tried to get a better personal feel for his potential number two; as rivals for national office since 2000, shortly after Edwards had entered the Senate, the two men hadn’t spent a lot of time together. Kerry also wanted a specific reassurance. He asked Edwards for a commitment that if he was chosen and the ticket lost, Edwards wouldn’t run against him in 2008. Edwards agreed “absolutely,” as Kerry recalled him saying. If Kerry had shared this at the time, I would have told him what I did later: it was naive to think he could rely on a promise like that. Unlike Joe Lieberman, who’d been plucked from relative obscurity by Gore, Edwards had made his own mark in the primaries. He was ambitious—and if he saw his chance the next time, he was likely to go for it.

Depending on who is lying, either John Kerry, John Edwards, or Bob Shrum seems to be one of the worst human beings in the world.