Monday, October 13, 2008

I couldn't have said it better myself

Well maybe I could... but I'd just like to thank Mr. Leonard Pitts Jr., whoever you are, for writing this.

My favorite excerpt is as follows (I added the bold btw):

First, let's concede the obvious: Every politician wants to be seen as Everyman or woman. That's why every primary season brings the curious sight of millionaires in plaid shirts wandering through county fairs eating fried things on sticks. It's why Hillary Clinton hit that bar and Barack Obama went bowling, badly.

In that sense, Sarah Six Pack is nothing new. The "g" droppin', moose shootin', eye-winkin' hockey mom has plenty of antecedents. But there's a difference. Those antecedents were smart, wonkish people pretending to be one of us. Sarah Palin "is" one of us.

And by "us," I don't mean you, necessarily, or me. I mean the lowest common denominator us, the us of myth and narrative, the us of simple mind, the reactionary, ill-informed, impatient with complexity, utterly shallow us.

You think that's mean? Go back and look at the Katie Couric interviews again. Or the Charlie Gibson interview. I don't know about you, but I want a vice president who can identify Supreme Court rulings she disagrees with. Or define the Bush Doctrine. Or name a newspaper. Or — heck, I'm not picky — construct an intelligible English-language sentence.

Even many of her most ardent admirers no longer dispute that Sarah Six Pack is, shall we say, incurious. What's striking is how little that seems to matter. A McCain spokeswoman suggested before the vice presidential debate that it would be unfair to question Palin, "a woman who could be president," too closely on foreign policy. And when thinking conservatives (remember when the adjective was not necessary?) like Kathleen Parker and David Brooks declared Palin unfit for office, they were shouted down by their ideological brethren. Parker got e-mail she called "vicious and threatening." Brooks was dismissed by another pundit as a "conservative intellectual."

You're left to wonder when intellectuals — thinking people, for goodness sake! — became the enemy. Are we to regard unthinking conservatives (will that adjective soon be superfluous?) as the only true conservatives? Indeed, the only true Americans?

I think he brings up an excellent point, one that encapsulates most of my qualms with the Republican VP candidate. Not to mention her statements at the rally in Florida in which she overstated Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers. Yeah, the one where someone shouted "kill him" and Ms. Palin just kept on talking. (I tried to find a clip of it on Fox News, but strangely enough, there wasn't one to be found.) All that Fox News asserts is that it is not known whether or not the person who decried the statement was referring to Ayers or Obama. Or that Palin heard said comment.

I found an interesting report from Democracy Now on this rally which can be viewed here. I realize that this organization is more left than right, so I'm sure there will be some of you that will disagree with the report in it's entirety, and go with the Fox News idea that Palin neither heard the comment, nor was it intended for Obama at all.

But I'm getting tired of the mud-slinging. I realize that I have developed a personal bias for Obama, but that does not mean that my criticism of the McCain campaign is not factual or valid. I want to develop a respect for McCain. He could be the next president. But in all of the research I have done, I can't bring myself to. Sure, there are shots being taken by both sides; after all, it's politics. But the Obama campaign has been careful on what they say about its opponents. And after seeing Michelle Obama's incredibly astute and classy interview with Larry King, there was no bashing of Sarah Palin, nor John McCain, nor his replacement wife (who called Obama's campaign "the dirtiest campaign in history") anywhere in the interview. It was refreshing. That's kind of woman I want in the White House. Yes, I realize she is not the one running for president, so don't you think it would have been tempting for her to call her husband's opponents out on the insults they've been slinging? I think it'd be difficult to demonstrate such restraint. Cindy McCain obviously struggles with it.

I think this is probably my last post of a political nature because I am growing weary of it. I am expending too much energy defending my opinions to people who have already made up their minds. Who have hopefully examined the facts and respectfully disagree with me. I emphasize "respectfully." I realize that some of you out there fear the president that Obama will be as much as I fear the president that McCain will be. I don't know how that's possible, because honestly, no one has given me a great reason why McCain would be a better president. I would welcome that. Because I'm curious. And because maybe it'll help me look past his campaign's insulting treatment of Mormons (whilst running against Mitt Romney) and of Obama and see the policies underneath.

But I'm not holding my breath.

13 comments:

Ashley said...

I can't in good conscience vote for McCain. Or Obama. I agree with most of what you said, but I really think it is a moot point. Obama is going to win. It's not really even a contest anymore.

Palin was a tactical choice; she served her purpose. She energized the base and gave McCain a fighting chance, one last chance that ultimately did not succeed. But either way, her ultimate purpose has been achieved so I don't know why everyone is getting their panties in such a twist over her. The vice president just really does not matter all that much.

lauren said...

i respectfully disagree with you on the point that the vice president doesn't matter. cheney mattered. a lot. in an awful way. and regardless of what the vp is actually supposed to do/not do, the fact of the matter is that this position is not one that such a vacuous person should occupy. and palin's idiocy matters because she conceivably could become president. not to mention the fact that she didn't earn it.

but i'm fine to agree to disagree on that point. i'm just loving how involved you are with prop 8. keep up the great work. i'll be voting for it in spirit.

Kenna said...

Since I feel quite intimidated by your comment Ash, and your post Lauren, I will just say this:

I don't know what the hell is going on anymore. I'm writing my own name on the ballot.

That's right.

ME.

Although I know I in no way, shape or form can do what the president does, I cannot in good conscience vote for either of them.

Anonymous said...

Obama: Days in Senate 173 =(not much experience)

Palin:Govenor and Mayor =(Not much experience)

It is better to have someone who is second on the ticket with less experience, then the person first on the ticket! Maybe that is just me though.....

lauren said...

to anonymous: when bringing up the argument of inexperience, one must not only look at the length of each person's political tenure (you're completely disregarding the seven years Obama worked as a state legislator by the way) but at what they have done in that amount of time. (all of which i could write a completely separate post about, and some of which i have addressed in previous posts.)

the bottom line is that i feel much better about the policies and commensurate experience of the obama/biden ticket than of the mccain/palin ticket. i feel that the obama campaign has been quite straightforward about its positions, and has maintained a level of class and professionalism that the mccain campaign is entirely devoid of.

that's the cliff's notes version. but there it is.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, and he (Obama) was a community organizer. Wahoo.

You know, I didn't learn much more about either candidate last night in the final debate. It was the same stuff over and over (Obama, in particular, is beginning to sound like an infomercial, but whatever). Does Obama's affiliations with these radical groups and people have NO affect on you, whatsoever? It may have nothing to do with his policies and plans for our future, but WHO that kind of person that sits behind that desk at the White House is, matters to me. I heard his defense yesterday, I've read both sides, and frankly, it's too shady, and that, alone, creeps me out. Creep factor A.

With that said, McCain was not my pick in the primaries. Frankly, I was not too fond of him. But up against Obama, I love McCain more and more every day. Lastly, I agree with the previous anonymous comment: "It is better to have someone who is second on the ticket with less experience, then the person first on the ticket! Maybe that is just me though....."

And how about late term abortions, voting present? What kind of coward votes present? Right--I heard his defense there, too, and that was a load of BS. And his healthcare plan? Freaky.

Altogether, there's nothing that makes me like this man or his plan. I realize he has a better shot at the office, and that's just too bad. But I won't stand down.

As for Palin--a Washington OUTSIDER. That's what we need. Giver her a chance.

lauren said...

To anonymous #2:

I agree that last night’s debate was nothing earth-shattering or new; it wasn’t really meant to be. After two debates, there isn’t a lot more that can be said. But it again showed the juxtaposition of each candidate’s temperament. McCain became increasingly agitated and condescending, and Obama, though I’m sure he was thoroughly irritated (at times you could tell), demonstrated the calmness that we’ve come to expect from him. I like that Obama is able to keep his composure and at least the appearance of patience with an opponent who has sunk to new lows (and brought up arguments that Billary already completely exhausted in the primaries) to try to compensate for the ever-increasing gap in the polls.

From all of the reading I have done about him, from all of the debates and interviews I’ve watched, I sincerely believe that Obama is a good man. Not a perfect man, but one that is honestly trying to better our nation. Can he do it? I hope so. Do I think that McCain presents a more effective plan to do so? I do not. (And this is after inundating myself with Fox News for a painfully long period of time.)

Unfortunately, I don’t perceive McCain the same way. I really gave him a shot, but was really bothered at the way he conducted himself in the primaries. It disappointed me so greatly. He disrespected my beliefs and my religion because it happened to be the religion of one of his opponents (and yet most of my fellow Mormons will vote for him) and palled around with Huckabee, who was even more disrespectful to my religion. I also do not respect a man who has an affair and leaves his wife (a wife who raised his children while he was suffering in Vietnam) for another woman upon his return from war. And I do not respect a man who allows his advisors and running mate to engage in a smear campaign (laden with loaded words like "terrorist") against his opponent. After all of this, I do not and cannot think that McCain is morally superior to Obama.

Obama’s affiliation with Bill Ayers and with ACORN does not bother me. Why? Because I don’t think Obama’s association with Ayers can in any way be construed as an affiliation (which would denote a sense of agreement or collusion) with a terrorist, nor do I think that he is in league with ACORN to defraud the United States government.

Let’s address Ayers first. I think last night Obama did a GREAT job explaining this. Here is an excerpt of what he said:

“In fact, Mr. Ayers has become the centerpiece of Senator McCain's campaign over the last two or three weeks. This has been their primary focus. So let's get the record straight. Bill Ayers is a professor of education in Chicago.
Forty years ago, when I was 8 years old, he engaged in despicable acts with a radical domestic group. I have roundly condemned those acts. Ten years ago he served and I served on a school reform board that was funded by one of Ronald Reagan's former ambassadors and close friends, Mr. Annenberg.
Other members on that board were the presidents of the University of Illinois, the president of Northwestern University, who happens to be a Republican, the president of The Chicago Tribune, a Republican- leaning newspaper.
Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign. He has never been involved in this campaign. And he will not advise me in the White House. So that's Mr. Ayers.”

That seems pretty clear and straightforward to me. I’m not sure what you heard last night.

Insofar as ACORN is concerned, here is a great excerpt from FactCheck.org (see http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/factchecking_debate_no_3.html) concerning the exact nature of ACORN and its issues:

“McCain made some dire claims about a liberal group he said was out to steal the election: McCain: We need to know the full extent of Sen. Obama's relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.

It's true that the voter registration wing of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now has run into trouble in several states. ACORN employees have been investigated and in some cases indicted for voter registration fraud. Most recently, more than 2,000 registrations in Lake County, Ind., have turned out to be falsified.

But does this constitute "destroying the fabric of democracy"? More like destroying the fabric of work ethic. There's been no evidence that the ACORN employees who submitted fraudulent forms have been paving the way for illegal voting. Rather, they're trying to get paid for doing no work.

Dan Satterberg, the Republican prosecuting attorney in King County, Wash., where the first ACORN case was prosecuted, said: Satterberg: [A] joint federal and state investigation has determined that this scheme was not intended to permit illegal voting.

Instead, the defendants cheated their employer. ... It was hardly a sophisticated plan: The defendants simply realized that making up names was easier than actually canvassing the streets looking for unregistered voters. ... [It] appears that the employees of ACORN were not performing the work that they were being paid for, and to some extent, ACORN is a victim of employee theft. The $8-an-hour employees were charged with providing false information on a voter registration, and in one case with making a false statement to a public official. ACORN was fined for showing insufficient oversight, but it was not charged with masterminding any kind of fraud.”

To those who would say that Obama has not been as forthcoming about this issue as would be preferred, I say give it a rest. It’s not an integral part of Obama or of his campaign, and he probably wants to, I don’t know, actually talk about that issues that are facing Americans, rather than become entrenched in a moot point.

Of course you weren’t too fond of McCain in the primaries. My guess is that you wanted Mr. Romney for president. And McCain was definitely as condescending and mocking to Romney as he is to Obama. That behavior doesn’t sit well with me. And even if you weren’t for Romney, you viewed a preview of how McCain was going to run his campaign… resorting to a bunch of pot-shots and half-truths whenever he became the least bit threatened. It probably didn’t sit well with you either. I have a hard time seeing how it would site well with anyone, really.

Concerning late term abortions and voting present: first, it is important to note that abortion is largely a STATE issue. This means that each individual state sets the tone of its abortion practices and laws. I live in a state that is overwhelmingly pro-life, as I am. And the last time we had a democratic president, I’m pretty sure he didn’t try to kill all of the unborn babies in the nation. That being said, do I like the fact that Obama is pro-choice? Of course not. Do I think that his views are going to adversely affect the abortion laws that are already in effect, when issues such as the economy and foreign policy are in the immediate forefront? I certainly do not. This is why I can vote for Obama and still sleep at night.

As for voting “present,” I’ll use an excerpt from the NY Times which states, “In Illinois, political experts say voting present is a relatively common way for lawmakers to express disapproval of a measure.” This article gives the example of a crime bill that came before the Senate that sought to increase penalties on young offenders. Obama “said there was no proof that increasing penalties for young offenders reduced crime, though he acknowledged that the bill had fairly unanimous support… ‘Voting present was a way to satisfy those two competing interests…’ [and] ‘If he voted a flat-out no… somebody down the road could say Obama took this vote and was soft on crime.’” (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/us/politics/20cnd-obama.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2) But this example I have provided will not impress you I am sure; you have already made up your mind that this voting history will in some way inhibit the progression of this nation.

The reason you don’t like "this man or his plan" is pretty obvious. You’re a conservative, a Republican. But do you really know McCain? Since you were so apt to bring up Obama’s alleged foibles, how do you feel about the Keating Five scandal? Or do you know what that is? I think that whole mess is a lot more disconcerting than that of serving on an education board with Bill Ayers. How do you feel about the fact that McCain has drastically altered the focus and timbre of his campaign in the last few months? Where do you think some of his ignorant supporters get their ideas that Obama is a terrorist? Just listen to his cute little VP to be. She's definitely not doing anything to stop them.

Palin is a whole other disaster that I’ll address briefly (since I’ve already expended way too much energy discussing the idiocy of this woman). First of all, she is not qualified to be the Vice President of the United States. Let’s look at the most recent reason why: Troopergate. A bi-partisan panel found that Gov. Palin “unlawfully abused her power as governor by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper… [and was] in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain.” (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27105917/) I don’t think she’s a woman of much character, to be brutally honest. Besides the aforementioned, I’ve already focused on many reasons why.

There you have it anonymous. You have hidden under your anonymity, which is fine. I obviously do not have the same luxury. I’m sure you will disagree with most or all of what I have said here, but I don’t really care. These are the facts as I see them and how I have interpreted them. And I feel confident with my choice.

Anonymous said...

I have read your entire response. I was tempted to stop when I remembered that I, too, can perform a Google search and pass off the results as pseudo intellectualism, but out of respect to your effort, I went ahead and finished it.

This is where you may expect me to come back with quasi-research of my own, ad homen attacks by the dozen and a manifestation of my disdain for any man who can run on the principals of social equality, while his brother digs through Nairobian dumpsters for his next meal (Oh wait he’s only a half-brother, so let the sucker starve).

Quite frankly, I don’t think I have enough energy to argue the proven value of conservative principles in government, with someone who refers to Republicans as “John McCain’s ignorant supporters.” I am sorry that I see a pattern in Obama’s behavior and associations that is more than questionable. I am sorry that I do not have the blind idealism to believe that redistributions of wealth are patriotic. I believe that philosophy needs to stay in Sherwood forest with the Merry Men (Speaking of hiding out in a forest, I wonder where Jeremiah Wright is these days? Madagascar? Mauritius?)

I am sure that anything I write to you will be met with anger, resentment and then quickly dismissed by one of your verbose responses dripping with sanctimony. Perhaps the blood is already rushing to your ears as you calculate your rebuttal.

So at the risk of over simplification and the possibility of being accused of heuristic simplifications, I would simply like to remind you that one of the founding principals of this country was “No taxation without representation,” not “representation without taxation.” That’s what the Boston Tea Party was all about (feel free to add that to your list of Google searches for the day).

95% of people will get tax money back under Obama’s plan. Oh wait, over 40% of them do not pay any taxes at all, anyways. Only that evil 5% of tax payers will be taxed at higher rates, oh wait, they already pay well over half of the taxes collected. Well then, I am at least glad that we will redistribute their wealth and give it to the poor masses. Oh wait, we are in a bear market, they have no more wealth. (And is it not worth mentioning that the massive sell-offs in the stock market could be the result of investors being keenly aware that they will probably never see such low capital gains rates again?)

I don’t know why we are debating this. You obviously feel strongly that Obama’s tax plan is the socially appropriate thing to do.
Hey I’ve got an idea. Assuming arguendo, that his tax plan is fair, why don’t you test it. Why don’t you quit reading your blog, walk over to the office of any one of the partners at your company, and demand your fair share of their wealth right now. Tell them that it is “the neighborly thing to do,” as Obama is so fond of saying. Get them to give their wealth to you now, so that you can save the IRS the trouble of going after it later. After they give you their money, remind them not to forget to higher additional workers at the office, to fight the nation’s unemployment rates.

If they don’t go for this idea, that's okay, I have a plan B. Tell them that you’ll resolve it democratically with them over dinner. Make sure to invite 1 partner, 11 employees, and 8 homeless derelicts. When the bill comes, make sure that your boss pays for everything but the appetizers, and then critique him for not being a generous tipper. After dinner, put the original issue to a vote. Ask all of the people who should be entitled to the money in your bosses accounts and see what happens. If the majority votes against your boss, it must be the right thing to do. (If you're worried about what your boss may think, I am sure the New York Times will agree that this in an occasion where you are allowed to vote present).

You seem to have a propensity for reading the newspapers. I would only ask that you stop reading them for a few weeks and pick up any of the Federalist Papers written by the framers of this fine (not mean) country. On that note, I will sign this comment Philo-Publius, the ignorant McCain supporter (No sane person would subject their good name to the muck we call politics).

lauren said...

Philo-Publius: speaking of verbose responses dripping with sanctimony...

But no, I'm not even going to there. Because no matter what I write here, you will undoubtedly have something derogatory to say.

Which is easy to do under the mask of anonymity. You can say whatever you want, treat people however you want, without having to accept the culpability of your actions.

Just because someone disagrees with your principles doesn't mean that they're not intelligent. Just because someone chooses to back up what they say in a forum like this (so that certain anonymous people can't come back and say the statements therein are baseless and unsupported) does not mean that they are a "pseudo" intellectual. It means that smart people can disagree with you. And I resent the implication that because I have come to the conclusions that I have come to that I am in some way unintelligent. I never claimed you were unintelligent, nor do I intend to. I merely chose to answer your queries in the way I deemed best, to demonstrate to you the differences between our beliefs.

What I have no tolerance for is those who are so enmeshed in their own self importance or intelligence that they cannot and will not accept other people's opinions. You can disagree with them, certainly, but to discount them just because you're so convinced of your own correctness is disheartening.

I never said that all Republicans are the ignorant supporters of McCain; rather, I said that he has some ignorant supporters. I'm sure Obama has some ignorant supporters too. I am not one of them.

You have obviously substantiated the fact that you are a Conservative. I feel great about that. As a Conservative, you will vote for McCain regardless of whether or not you think he's the best man (out of the Republican candidates) for the job. Great. I am not a Conservative, nor am I a Liberal. I voted for Bush in the last election, because I truly thought he was the better man for the job. Despite the criticism he has received, and the nature of the last four years, I don't regret my decision. But I have chosen to maintain my independence because there are issues from both parties that give me pause. And this time, for this election, I am, for the first time, leaning left. Sue me.

But do not come onto MY blog and assert that because I disagree with you, or that because I don't have every word of the Federalist Papers memorized, that I am not intelligent, or that I haven't done my homework.

I have unfortunately become deeply mired in the muck that is politics, but at least I have the guts to identify myself and my beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Your mocking of community organizers diminishes people like Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

Blogdor said...

Lauren and Anonymous,

Bravo on your robust scuffle. I applaud both of you for having done extensive research in forming your opinions. I fundamentally disagree with both of you on some points because I fundamentally disagree with the major candidates. But you've done your research.

No American should be allowed to vote without similar prior research. No one should be offended or attacked because they differ in a well founded opinion. Even though I have my disagreements with both sides, neither of you threaten democracy, the Republic, or America with your political involvement. You do however threaten and offend roughly 100 million voters who vote based on what they've seen on just a debate here, or an interview there. Those millions upon millions of truly uninformed and frankly unintelligent voters are the ones that should be affronted in such a heated manner. Their non-opinions should be harshly rebuked. They should be the objects of criticism. Ultimately and hopelessly they are the ones deciding this election. Lets work on them, rather than the well informed and highly intelligent.

Lauren, great job. Obama's policies are highly suspect. But good job researching, forming and defending what you think.

Anonymous, mediocre job. McCain's stupidity, low blow tactics and personal follies are highly suspect. But come out of the closet. I'd love to read what you've written elsewhere. Keeping your name out of the mire is a pretty lame excuse if you really are politically inclined at all. It seems you are more afraid of reprisal and disagreement on your own blog or website. Don't be a sanctimoniously hypocritical.

lauren said...

thank you blogdor for respecting me in spite of the fact that we disagree on some issues. i thoroughly agree with what you've written here and appreciate the time you have taken to comment as such.

this is why you're one of my favorites.

Jami said...

I think anonymous is an Ass - take your hate somewhere else. L can share her views and you don't have to read it. My name is Jami and I am not anonymous!