Category Archives: 2008 Presidential Election

Good girl

Sarah Palin is good looking.

Because she is inexperienced, she will be an “establishment candidate” like Barack Obama.

The McCain is turn fairing compliments and criticisms into identify politics “gaffes,” relying on the fact that Sarah Palin is a woman to generate criticism of those who criticize her.

In other words, McCain has taken a page from Obama’s playbook.

Like the pick of Palin itself, this ad only makes sense in the context of successful modeling of this approach by the Democratic Party.

Let’s Mock the Cripple

The Onion‘s greatest book, Our Dumb Century, is a fake retrospective of 100 years of front pages of a fake newspaper. The Onion is imagined to have historically been a far-right newspaper, and one if its attacks against President Franklin Roosevelt supposedly was, “Why does our joyless President never dance?” The joke, of course, is that only a clueless, cruel, or both campaign would use a serious physical disability as an attempt to score campaign points.

The Obama campaign proves that life imitates art — or at least that their campaign imitates satire.

First, the disability

The Corner on National Review Online
McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain’s severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes. Friends marvel at McCain’s encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He’s an avid fan – Ted Williams is his hero – but he can’t raise his arm above his shoulder to throw a baseball.

And now, the joke:

No wonder Obama has panicked.

Further meditations on Biden and Palin

Courtesy Patterico and Andrew Sullivan, the stage is being set by some commentators for Joe Biden to drop out for “medical reasons” and be replaced on the Democratic ticket by Hillary Clinton

Now, Biden would not be a terrible Vice President, and Hillary would be a threat to Obama once they are elected. Still, Hillary Clinton is a good politician, so replacing Biden with Clinton on the Obama ticket would be all for the best. It would signal weakness in the Obama camp — but I think everyone’s figured out that Obama is in trouble now.

On the Republican side, I still have my suspicions about Sarah Palin serving as Vice President.. but she seems to be an effective campaigner.

Plus, Sarah allows McCain to hammer with this sort of ad:

Before McCain’s pick of Palin, only Barack could get away with that sort of touchiness.

Don’t like science? Then call the scientist a racist

I received some flak for criticizing Obama’s comments on science, because of his (apparent) support for getting rid of foreigners who take STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) jobs in the United States.  I’m not a fan of either candidates science proposals — other than Obama’s nativism, I have said that Obama’s positions are a wash with McCain’s.

Obama’s view of human biodiversity science is similar to a creationist’s view of evolutionary science: he is against it for philosophical-political reasons.  This comment, from when Obama was a community organizer, demonstrates, highlights Obama’s view:

Gene Expression: Barack Obama on The Bell Curve
Now, it shouldn’t take a genius to figure out that with early intervention such problems can be prevented. But Mr. Murray isn’t interested in prevention. He’s interested in pushing a very particular policy agenda, specifically, the elimination of affirmative action and welfare programs aimed at the poor. With one finger out to the political wind, Mr. Murray has apparently decided that white America is ready for a return to good old-fashioned racism so long as it’s artfully packaged and can admit for exceptions like Colin Powell. It’s easy to see the basis for Mr. Murray’s calculations. After watching their income stagnate or decline over the past decade, the majority of Americans are in an ugly mood and deeply resent any advantages, realor perceived, that minorities may enjoy.

I’ve talked about Obama’s connection to pseudo-scientists before.

Incredible (for McCain)

Strings of good luck can’t last forever.  But this has one sure lasted a long time for McCain.  Clues of the out-of-touchness of the national media only help the McCain camp, as they alienate Americans from the Establishment’s childless norms:

The Weekly Standard
From the New York Times:
In the press galleries at the convention, journalists wrinkled their noses in disgust when Piper, Ms. Palin’s youngest daughter, was filmed kitty-licking her baby brother’s hair into place. But to many Americans — including some I talked to in the convention hall — that looked like family church on Sunday, evidence of good breeding and sibling regard.
HT: NewsBusters

Elsewhere McCain is at 48%+ on intrade, and has quite the lead against Obama.

A while back, people were calling McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin as VP a hail-mary pass.  It wasn’t.  It was a statue-of-liberty play.  Much easier to execute than a statue-of-liberty, it requires only the cluelessness ot the opposition to work.

And Obama’s pick, in retrospect, is politically quite clueness.  (If substantively sound for a Democrat).


A good analogy for Obama would be Oklahoma’s defense against Boise State.  It should have worked.  Most times,  it would have.

Waiting for Presidents to die

I’ve said before that Biden’s best benefit is foreign policy experience and Palin’s is her hotness, so I don’t substantively disagree with Tom:

Easy to imagine McCain as president (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog)
And I have a real problem with that, when you’re talking a 72-year-old man with significant health issues. To me, it was simply a disrespectful choice, hard to square with putting country-before-self thinking. She simply isn’t the best the GOP has when it comes to accomplished, experienced, maverick women. Snowe? No discussion. Hutchinson? No discussion. But Palin strikes me as a very partisan, non-mainstream, poorly equipped choice for the most important job in the world. McCain dies his first year in office: does Palin strike you as the best we could do as his replacement? I just can’t see doing that to America.

The angle about the death of Presidents and inexperience is interesting.  Tom points out that in a McCain-Palin administration, we’d be waiting for a stress-induced stroke to give the office to someone with only a few years of executive experience.  Likewise, in an Obama-Biden administration, we’d be waiting for a sniper’s bullet to give the office to someone who has more than a few years of legislative experience.

Meditation on Biden and Palin

Not sure how much I agree with Spenger’s analysis, but it’s the best-thought-out I’ve read so far of Joe Biden (Obama’s pick for Vice President) and Sarah Palin (McCain’s pick for Vice President).    

My own thoughts have been based on Biden’s and Palin’s relative accomplishments.  Joe Biden would have gotten us out of Iraq and destroyed our enemies there (that is, won) years earlier.  Sarah Palin is hot.   I get the benefits of both, though both candidates could have done more by thinking outside the box.  If Obama wanted someone who really knew foreign policy, and was right on both Russia and Iraq, he should have gone with Hillary Clinton.  If McCain wanted a hot woman, but one who at least had a husband who could coach her on the right things to say, Hong Le Webb would be the perfect choice.

Spenger’s reaction, though, is deeper…

Asia Times Online :: Asian News, Business and Economy.
McCain doesn’t have a tenth of Obama’s synaptic fire-power, but he is a nasty old sailor who knows when to come about for a broadside. Given Obama’s defensive, even wimpy selection of a running-mate, McCain’s choice was obvious. He picked the available candidate most like himself: a maverick with impeccable reform credentials, a risk-seeking commercial fisherwoman and huntress married to a marathon snowmobile racer who carries a steelworkers union card. The Democratic order of battle was to tie McCain to the Bush administration and attack McCain by attacking Bush. With Palin on the ticket, McCain has re-emerged as the maverick he really is.

The young Alaskan governor, to be sure, hasn’t any business running for vice president of the United States with her thin resume. McCain and his people know this perfectly well, and that is precisely why they put her on the ticket. If Palin is unqualified to be vice president, all the less so is Obama qualified to be president.

McCain has certified his authenticity for the voters. He’s now the outsider, the reformer, the maverick, the war hero running next to the Alaskan amazon with a union steelworker spouse. Obama, who styled himself an agent of change, took his image for granted, and attempted to ensure himself victory by doing the cautious thing. He is trapped in a losing position, and there is nothing he can do to get out of it.

Obama, in short, is long on brains and short on guts. A Shibboleth of American politics holds that different tactics are required to win the party primaries as opposed to the general election, that is, by pandering to fringe groups with disproportionate influence in the primaries. But Obama did not compromise himself with extreme positions. He did not have to, for younger voters who greeted him with near-religious fervor did not require that he take any position other than his promise to change everything. Obama could have allied with the old guard, through an Obama-Clinton ticket, or he could have rejected the old guard by choosing the closest thing the Democrats had to a Sarah Palin. But fear paralyzed him, and he did neither.

In my February 26 profile, I called Obama “the political equivalent of a sociopath”, without any derogatory intent. A sociopath seeks the empathy of all around him while empathizing with no one. Obama has an almost magical ability to gain the confidence of those around him. Perhaps it was the adaptation of a bright and sensitive young boy who was abandoned by three parents – his Kenyan father Barack Obama Sr, who left his pregnant young bride; his Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetero; and by his mother, Ann Dunham, who sent 10-year-old Obama to live with her parents while she pursued her career as an anthropologist.

I don’t think Obama is that smart, but otherwise Spengler seems sensible.  Obama is a cypher, a man with few friends, few positions, few accomplishments, and (critically for a failure-avoidant political system) few mistakes.  Biden continues Obama’s “try nothing, do nothing, change nothing” politics.  McCain’s pick is riskier.

(Hat-tip to Kiddington and Instapundit.)

Obama’s 19th century view of Science and Technology

Courtesy gnxp, this question-and-answer with Barack Obama on science. Particularly, Obama focuses on “STEM” – the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields that fuel so much of our growth. Those who actually follow news on STEM, a set which does not include Obama, are aware of the controversial STEM extension to post-degree ‘internship’ work, which allows foreigners who graduate from American universities to work for up to three years in the United States without even having an H1-B visa.

Unlike vague hand-waiving on issues such as global warming, STEM immigrant and non-immigrant labor actually affects the United States economy right away, and causes compounding benefits of damages (depending on your view) in the years to come.

Given this, it’s obvious that Obama does not say a single word how immigration impacts Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. I know that in college Obama hung-out with marxists and hippies, but if he would have actually visited the STEM programs he would have seen how they essentially run on indentured foreign labor. Such a state of affairs has real consequences. Should it be expanded? Should it be rolled-back?

Not a word from Obama. Instead, we get vague calls for pointless great power conferences. How 19th century:

Sciencedebate 2008
I will restore U.S. leadership in strategies for combating climate change and work closely with the international community. We will re-engage with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the main international forum dedicated to addressing the climate change problem. In addition I will create a Global Energy Forum—based on the G8 5, which includes all G-8 members plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa—comprising the largest energy consuming nations from both the developed and developing world. This forum would focus exclusively on global energy and environmental issues. I will also create a Technology Transfer Program dedicated to exporting climate-friendly technologies, including green buildings, clean coal and advanced automobiles, to developing countries to help them combat climate change.

Barack Obama is the candidate of the past. If you liked eight years of George Bush’s style and want more of the same, vote Obama. Otherwise, vote McCain.

Obama’s Speech II

I already mentioned that Barack Obama’s acceptance speech was rhetorically brilliant but deeply dishonest.  One example of this dishonesty: Obama’s view on the ‘critical’ Afghan War.

A minor point, there – victory. It’s not a word that resonates with Democrats except at the ballot box.

Obama pledged to “finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban,” forgetting it was President Bush who took the fight to the enemy with Obama in opposition. The fight in Afghanistan isn’t over. But Obama failed to explain why, as chairman of a subcommittee having jurisdiction, he held not a single hearing on a theater of operations he now deems critical.

Someone else will have to take the risks for him, he’s got an election to win.

What the Heck Was I Thinking!?: Investor’s Business Daily Fisks Obama’s Speech.

Don’t worry if you’re confused — liberals will soon oppose the Afghan War anyway.

Another example of the dishonesty were Obama’s weird comments about being his brother’s keeper, when Barack’s brother lives in a hut.  I understand why Obama might cut his extended family off.  That’s part of the American experiecen even: breaking free of clan, abandoning traditions, and embracing freedom.

But for Obama to support big government policies by emphasizing the need for that sort of old-world community, only to ignore it (with very concrete negative effects for one’s own brother!): that’s deception.

What Palin says about McCain

Nykrindc’s summary of John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin is very in-depth, and highly recommended. Perhaps the most efficient comparison, however, is Tom’s, who contrasts McCain’s pick of Palin with Obama’s choice of Biden

Interesting difference in Veep choices (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog)
Again, a pretty bold call given the circumstances, suggesting a difference in leadership style: Obama will be more careful and McCain more bold.. So the flip-flop of party identities remains in tact: Clinton was more conservative (despite all the talk) and Bush was more radical (despite all the talk). I think Obama would end up being surprisingly conservative in leadership style (despite all the hype) and McCain more the radical (despite all the imagery). Social issues aside (the great mania of the Boomer generation), the politics remains upside-down compared to the GOP and Dem parties I grew up knowing.

This echoes something I said a while ago: John McCain is smart enough that he can make potentially dangerous decisions. For instance, what if this story is true?

Obama is not that smart (he appears to be on the same level as Sarah Palin but, as he’s much more arrogant, Obama will act as if he’s much dumber), and so was forced to rely on the establishment to choose his mate. He thus chose Mr. Establishment, Joe Biden. McCain is smart enough to make risky decisions.