Archive for the ‘politics’ category

Bailout Shenanigans

September 26, 2008

Tristero over at Hullabaloo has an insight about the bailout BS:

This isn’t about obstreperous Republicans blocking a needed financial bailout because it doesn’t fit some whacked ideology. This is about a campaign bailout. McCain’s campaign bailout.

It’s about winning elections, not governing a country. This, of course, creates problems, since the winner has to actually, you know, govern.


Good column on Obama

September 24, 2008

From Nicholas Kristof in the NYT:

Here’s a sad monument to the sleaziness of this presidential campaign: Almost one-third of voters “know” that Barack Obama is a Muslim or believe that he could be.

In short, the political campaign to transform Mr. Obama into a Muslim is succeeding. The real loser as that happens isn’t just Mr. Obama, but our entire political process.

What is happening, I think, is this: religious prejudice is becoming a proxy for racial prejudice. In public at least, it’s not acceptable to express reservations about a candidate’s skin color, so discomfort about race is sublimated into concerns about whether Mr. Obama is sufficiently Christian.

The result is this campaign to “otherize” Mr. Obama. Nobody needs to point out that he is black, but there’s a persistent effort to exaggerate other differences, to de-Americanize him.

Comments suggesting that Obama is, in fact, Muslim, a terrorist, the Antichrist, or anything else so stupid will not be published.

… Noting, of course, that it would be perfectly OK if Obama was Muslim.

h/t cnd

"Why the Press Can’t Report the Campaign"

September 9, 2008

Ezra Klein is a very smart person:

I think one aspect of the modern press that doesn’t get enough attention — either among folks in the media or folks critiquing it — is the transition from the fundamental scarcity being information to information being in abundance and the fundamental scarcity being mediation. For instance, the attitude on display in this Marc Ambinder post is fully understandable if you take a newspaperman’s attitude towards the whole thing. If everyone got a newspaper once a day, and there were eight political stories, and all of them were different each day, and one of them had pointed out that Palin actually did support the Bridge to Nowhere, then the press would indeed have done its job. The job was to report the story, and they reported it.

But cable news and blogs and radio sort of changed all that and now there’s too much information, and so consumers largely rely on the press to arrange that information into some sort of coherent story that will allow them to understand the election. And the press assumed that role — they didn’t create some new institution, or demand that the cable channels be credentialed differently and understood as “political entertainment.”

Similarly, if the press reports something and never mentions it again, the public knows to forget it. It’s not important. If they mention it constantly — “I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it” — they know it is important. The job of the media, in other words, is now to also emphasize the right parts of the story. [emphasis in original]

This requires deciding what matters.

That last sentence is both true and a substantial problem. It’s also partially why I read lefty political blogs – I have found something that filters information in a similar way I do, and considers similar things important, thus saving me from either dedicating all of my free time to sifting through the news or remaining even more ignorant.

To be clear, the reason it’s a problem is that the is often based not on, say, information about either policy or instances of lying on the part of candidates, but around the idea of politics-as-game, or even around what the friggin’ reporters simply find interesting. In other words, the filters used are often terrible and not conducive to deliberative democracy.

Go read the rest. It’s not long.


September 5, 2008

Sometimes he’s just on:

Can the super-rich former governor of Massachusetts — the son of a Fortune 500 C.E.O. who made a vast fortune in the leveraged-buyout business — really keep a straight face while denouncing “Eastern elites”?

Can the former mayor of New York City, a man who, as USA Today put it, “marched in gay pride parades, dressed up in drag and lived temporarily with a gay couple and their Shih Tzu” — that was between his second and third marriages — really get away with saying that Barack Obama doesn’t think small towns are sufficiently “cosmopolitan”?

Can the vice-presidential candidate of a party that has controlled the White House, Congress or both for 26 of the past 28 years, a party that, Borg-like, assimilated much of the D.C. lobbying industry into itself — until Congress changed hands, high-paying lobbying jobs were reserved for loyal Republicans — really portray herself as running against the “Washington elite”?

Yes, they can.

Read the rest.

More Palin Fallout

August 29, 2008

Basically, read Atrios; that guy is f’in sharp:

Republican on MSNBC is arguing that Palin has much more experience than Joe Biden because all he did was run committees in the Senate.

By this logic Palin has much more experience than John McCain.


Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention was seen by more than 38 million people.

Nielsen Media Research said more people watched Obama speak than watched the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing….

Also almost twice the number Kerry got in 2004. Number does not include PBS or C-Span. Nor does it include those who streamed it over the web.



I’ll admit a bit of a pause on Palin for two reasons: 1) Don’t know much about her and 2) The selection of a woman by McCain requires some careful thought about potential criticisms which inadvertently wade into misogynist territory. Already we have questions asked about her which wouldn’t be asked of a man by the media, and I want to avoid going anywhere near there myself.

That last one is very true. Some of the stuff I’ve read on lefty blogs has clearly crossed into misogyny territory.

Sarah Palin????

August 29, 2008

UPDATE: From Dover Bitch at Hullabaloo: “McCain got what he wanted and needed the most: Nobody is talking about the magnificent speech Barack Obama gave last night.”

That’s very much true. However, I wonder if the whole “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” trope is going to hold true on this.

Cody (via email): Whaaa?

Cody 2: “The producers of SNL must be scrambling to call Tina Fey, who must be thanking god for her good luck.” [Dennis agrees – the resemblance is striking.]

Melissa (IM): I totally didn’t expect it at all…this election is becoming more like a sitcom than reality. I’m reading feministing right now… trying to understand what the hell is happening 🙂

Atrios: “Proof that all the very well connected journalists know absolutely nothing.”

Andrea Mitchell (via Atrios): “The campaign has just given up the experience argument.”

Dave3544: So McCain is basically going after the Hillary vote. Giving up the attack on Obama for not having experience and going after the women. Doing so in the most craven way possible.

Adam Serwer at The American Prospect: The pick of Palin is dripping with transparent condescension, the notion that the enthusiasm behind Hillary was simply the result of her being a woman, that it had nothing to do with what she actually stood for, and in that sense it’s equally sexist. Palin is essentially a hard-right ideologue, and therefore nothing like Hillary as far as substance is concerned. It’s not very different from running Alan Keyes against Barack Obama in 2004.

Ann of Feministing: Let me say right off the bat that, overall, I think it’s great that Republicans have chosen to elevate a woman to this level — no matter what their motivations. I want to see more women of all parties involved in politics. But, as we stated over and over in the primaries, a politician’s gender isn’t everything. It’s merely one factor to be considered. And quite frankly, Palin’s political views suck.

Kevin Drum: And what I was thinking about was what a bizarrely contrived and calculated choice it is. I mean, aside from six years as mayor of Wasilla (pop. 6,715) — about which I’m sure we’ll be hearing much, much more — her political experience consists of 19 months as governor of the fourth smallest state in the union. That’s it… It’s hard to think of a more intensely cynical, focus-grouped, poll-driven, base-pandering VP choice in recent memory. Even Dan Quayle isn’t in the running. This is ridiculous.

Jill at Feministe (though it’s more about CNN than anything else).

Jonathan Singer at MyDD: “It has been forty years since someone as inexperienced as Sarah Palin has been put on a national ticket…”

Dennis’ co-worker: This was a reactionary pick, decided in response to the convention. Bad idea.

Dennis: The media is going to have a field day accusing the Democratic Party and its base of sexism because Hillary lost the nomination. Women (and some men) everywhere are going to rip their hair out in frustration, because the media, like McCain, doesn’t get that Hillary Clinton’s appeal is due to a combination of her policies and the fact that she is female. Palin’s preferred policies, as noted above, are not good for women. The media (and the McCain campaign) will fail to understand that women act in their own rational self-interest, and are not, in fact, led around by their uteruses. One almost wonders if this is a product of men being led around by their…. never mind.

Maybe more later, but I highly doubt it. On the plus side, I really like the name Sarah Palin, for some reason.

UPDATE: I removed the duplicate feministing post and added a new line from Cody. Also, I think Sarah Palin is an NPR correspondent or a movie star’s name: Too good to be true.

Tom Hayden: Obama Will Probably Lose

August 26, 2008

He says some interesting things, as usual:

There’s no need for so many police in Denver, Hayden says. “With Obama having opposed the war, there’s no real reason for demonstrations.” Hayden also feels that the “radicals of the 60s don’t get credit for what has happened for good in the Democratic Party.” He thinks there’s too much harkening back to 1968. “All this talk about ’68 because we have a fascination with round numbers,” he quips. “Our country is full of the wreckage of the 60s.”

Hayden observes that “there is a new social movement on a vast scale” centered right now in the Obama Campaign. “These young people will plant seeds for the next twenty-five years.” But they are “small-d” Democrats, Hayden says, and they are environmentalists and idealists. “They don’t want a war in :Pakistan!” And “if Obama loses, which I think he might,” Hayden says, nevertheless the Democratic Party will have grown bigger. As for Obama, “he is losing. He is gonna lose the electoral college.”

What do you think? Is he right?

The strange thing, I don’t really disagree with anything Hayden, but I still have this feeling Obama’s chances are better than Hayden gives him credit for. Today, anyway. Yesterday – and probably tomorrow – I’d say Obama has little to no chance.

Go figure.