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January 04, 2008


Your last point is right on. I just watched his speech, and while I'm still voting for Edwards at the end of the month, I have to say, he is really, really good. Those cadences were dead on, and the message was a solid one. I'm still not sold on the "reach across the aisle" rhetoric--I want to stick a boot in some Repulican butt because of the last 12 years--but if Obama can pull it off, and can help grow the pie, then I'll certainly applaud the whole way.

Who forced Africom into creation? It was a foreign policy move, not for DoD.

If they admit it, they're out.

Well that's certainly an encouraging analysis.

Er. Not really very coded, is it?

Here’s what I’ve been able to garner from the news:

1. Obama is for ‘change’.
2. Edwards is for the ‘middle class’.
3. Clinton is for ‘change’ but in order to effect ‘change’, you need to have ‘experience’.

Congratulations to Obama; he’s got my vote too.

But this whole 2008 election is like a bad combination of the Twilight Zone and the Wiggles. I hate to break it to the candidates, but we have an accrual deficit of $70 trillion (T), growing by $3 trillion (T) per year. For comparison, after 5 years, we’re still in the ‘B’s in our effort to help ordinary moms and dads in Iraq. The Republicans are no better than the Democrats. You can only print so many dollars before the cost of borrowing goes through the roof.

This election means nothing. The candidates continue to pander to the electorate instead of facing the very real crises facing us. But they have to pander. It’s universal suffrage and it’s terminal. Free health care for everybody, free college for everybody, tax cuts, we’ll pay your mortgage. Blah. Blah. Blah.

And then the credit card gets cut up. Ka-Boom.

"For one, he speaks with the cadences and phrase repetitions of black preachers"

I wouldn't put *too* much weight on that as being 'code'. It's an effective speaking style for those who can pull it off. (And white kids buy most rap music anyway.) Does anyone not prefer it to the more common Accounting Seminar style?

He does it well, and it's effective. Unless he can switch to Steve Jobs Keynote style, complete with Reality Distortion Field®, he'd be nuts to do anything else, regardless of any racial subtexts.

But this whole 2008 election is like a bad combination of the Twilight Zone and the Wiggles. I hate to break it to the candidates, but we have an accrual deficit of $70 trillion (T), growing by $3 trillion (T) per year. For comparison, after 5 years, we’re still in the ‘B’s in our effort to help ordinary moms and dads in Iraq. The Republicans are no better than the Democrats.

Well, since the Republicans are the ones who built the dealt and led us into Iraq, it'd be kinda hard for them to be better than the Dems. But anyway....

" I'm still not sold on the "reach across the aisle" rhetoric"

Don't think about the Republicans in office, think of the significant numbers of Republicans who are disgusted with the party and its politicians. They're worth reaching across to, if Obama isn't making substantive policy accomodations. Campaign rhetoric isn't that important, and doesn't control what Congress would be able to investigate in an Obama administration.

I'd like to see the Bush admin in chains, but I think I'd prefer if an Obama administration focused on undoing all the damage, some obvious some hidden, in the Executive branch and its agencies and their policies. Fixing it will take a lot of work and an persistent and aggressive debugging approach.

Bush hacks infest the government like gnawing termites doing massive damage, most of which is entirely legal for them to do.

Let Congress do investigations, throwing the high-ups to the DOJ as necessary and possible for prosecution.

The President isn't the only person up for a vote. Support Congressional candidates who would support meaningful repairs and restrictions on the executive through Constitutional Amendments.

Incidentally, my brother in CT, who for a long time was a minimally politically engaged, pro-war Republican-leaner recently mentioned he wanted to register as a Dem in order to vote for Obama.

He won't, because he's kinda glib about politics, but I was impressed anyway.

Then again, he recently mentioned the PNAC as if it was a new discovery for him, so perhaps he's getting some depth.

Is it too early to hope that someone I can feel good about voting for might have a chance?

I'd better not jinx myself.

Anthony Damiani: I'd say it's more coded than you might think. When I (a white Obama supporter) heard that line the first time around I missed the racial layer of meaning, since the line also applies quite well to the dramatic progress that the Obama campaign has made since he announced his candidacy last year.

I think there's another aspect to Obama's bipartisanship rhetoric that differentiates it from traditional "feel-good" BiPa messaging. In politics today, the two most polarizing words are "Bush" and "Clinton". Nearly anyone with even a small preference for the left or the right has a strong positive or negative emotional response to these two names. I may be projecting, but I believe a lot of people fear that if Clinton wins the presidency, we'll get 4-8 more years of rancor directed at the her personally rather than at her policies. Obviously this will affect her ability to govern but I think most people are even more concerned about the plain ugliness and shrillness we'd have to witness.

In other words, it's as if he's saying "Vote for me because my last name isn't Clinton. Partisan Republicans might not like me, but they freakin' hate Hillary! If politics feels like it's gotten too personal, try ending this cycle of alternating Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton presidencies. Hey, we might even get to start acting like grown-ups again!"

And really, I think there's a lot of truth in that sentiment. If you consider that for a quarter century, we have had both a Bush and a Clinton simultaneously holding major elected office -- and for the majority of that time a Clinton or a Bush has held the presidency -- it's easy to make the argument that a Bush AND Clinton free government might somehow translate into a more civil political landscape.

OK, OK... before anyone gets on me.... you're right, there wasn't a Bush in office between '92 and '95, but we doubled up on them between 1999 and 2007 with Jeb, so there!


Is it too early to hope that someone I can feel good about voting for might have a chance?

I'd better not jinx myself.

I'm deeply attracted to John Edwards' rhetoric, as I believe this country could do with a great deal more class warfare, and I'd like to see it finally change, for the first time since 1936, back towards the interests of working people.

But I've also propagandized for United States Senator Barack Obama for quite a while.

And I have to note that if this is a person whom people as diverse as Hilzoy, Sebastian Holsclaw, myself, and you, you, and you -- even though you and and you feel absolutely differently -- and you, you, and you, are unsure -- can support, I think there's something important there.

I repeatedly drafted and revised some sort of cautionary post/rant and then realized: wait a sec. Part of dealing with depression is working to engage with good news when you have the chance. And wow, Obama did a bunch of things really right, most particularly in getting out the vote among people who haven't been voting. That makes me really happy. I am very pleased indeed by a lot of the news out of Iowa, and will hope for more in the future. Cautionary stuff can wait - I have reasons to be happy, and would like to be, so...I am.

"I have reasons to be happy, and would like to be, so...I am."


Obama’s bipartisan rhetoric should be understood as an offensive political weapon rather than Broderish high wankery

It's both. Wonder how the wave of new voters will feel three years from now...

publius: While I agree with you generally that Iowa doesn’t/shouldn’t matter, I think that in Obama’s case it matters very much. It’s all about that cascade bit…

A lot of people in the other 49 states who might have wanted to vote Obama for whatever reason but were resigned to voting for HRC as the stronger candidate (because there’s no way a black man could possibly win in racist America) now have good reason to reevaluate. If he can clearly win in mostly white Iowa…

He now gets days of serious media attention as the media plays up the fact that mostly white Iowa went for him, which serves to convince other people he actually is a viable candidate. Race does come into play here, but in a good way this time – the fact that he is black mattered not a bit and that will be the story for at least a few days.

And I think this was a body slam for HRC (which I couldn’t be happier about) that puts the final pin into her air of inevitability. She’s far from done, but this has got to leave a mark. She’s no Bill.

And on the other side, the GOP continues to be its own worst enemy by going for the Huckster.

I think it was a very good day for the Democrats.

Which is my long winded way of saying: All you liberals/progressives/Democrats quit whining and be happy for at least one day. ;)

More than anyone else, Obama has "Obama Republicans" just like Reagan had "Reagan Democrats." The victory in Iowa is evidence of that.

I know that the plural of anecdote is not data, but it is worth something personally that my father - who has never voted for a Democrat in his life - is willing to vote for Obama over any of the Republicans.

I don't think I missed the code. Growing up in St. Louis meant all I heard was key phrases in the style of MLK, jr.

And the second Obama opened his mouth... that's what caught my attention. Dear God, this man speaks like MLK.

And I doubt it's a mistake. It's not a bad thing, but I'm sure it's somewhat rehearsed (or learned), too.

So... when does RACE enter the race? It will. It has to. Surely America isn't that unified that we can just overlook the Overcoming that is now more of a reality.

Oprah will make sure that we don't.

Er. Not really very coded, is it?

Exactly. I don't think oblique-heck, they were almost direct-references to the civil rights movement is code. And the missed point here is that such words speak to most of the country, just not African Americans. They speak to me and I'm a white conservative! And I don't think all those white voters in Iowa found the reference at all muted in their ears. That race was not an issue is a triumph for Americans of any political stripe.

Now let's see about New Hampshire . . .

(2) they are more credible messengers because they haven’t been on the national scene.

Neither have much credibility in this regard. I'm not sure how a lack of national exposure automatically translates into credibility.

Obama gets an A for expressed attitude, but he votes the party line (97% on one count), a number higher than all but five Dem. senators. While he was a junior senator and not on the good committees, etc. etc. etc., voting the democratic party line is hardly an indicator of bipartisanship "credibility." While I like what he says in that regard, I remain skeptical.

Mark Kawakami is right at this point in the race: the biggest plus for him beyond his rhetoric for bipartisanship is the fact he is NOT CLINTON.

A few observations, thoughts and one anecdote.

Obama's win, particularly by both the margin and the broad spread across virtually every demographic, is startling.

Again, not so much because he won, but because it was by a very significant margin and he did it by winning virtually every demographic category, including women (supposedly Hillary's strength) and even union households (supposedly Edward's strength).

OCSteve's point is important in terms of the cascade effect. This is particularly true in the African-American community where he and Hillary have been virtually deadlocked for a while. Much of the opposition to Obama, or more correctly support for Hillary, was based upon the unelectability of an African-American. Iowa may put some of those concerns to rest and give Obama a major boost in that portion of the electorate.

I always find it amusing when people criticize Obama for being a moderate, right of Clinton, Democrat. Based upon actual record, this is questionable if not downright false. Yes, he may acknowledge that many conservatives (different from Republicans) have concerns and they are worth talking about, but his value system and solutions are quite progressive.

But what reaches into the Independents and Republicans who are attracted to him is that he is willing to dialogue and listen, even though not necessarily agreeing either with the level of concern or proposed solutions.

People want to feel they are recognized and not taken for granted. This is a need that Obama (and to some degree Huckabee) respond to.

On the Republican side, I think the biggest surprise was Thompson's showing. McCain's surge was supposed to lift him to a solid third place, but he ended up behind (though marginally) Thompson. Those who are anti-Huckabee (almost every establishment Republican) may well end up split between Thompson and McCain when Romney stumbles. Or, conversely, they may well divide themselves enough that Romney will be able to pull off New Hampshire, without which he is so much dead meat.

Anecdote time. My Army son arrived in town last night for my other son's wedding. Although they live in Illinois, they are right outside the Quad Cities and get Iowa television. They are very relieved that the Iowa caucuses are over so they can watch televison again. Just as significantly, although in general he is far more conservative than I am, when he saw the results he pumped his fist in the air and said "Go Barack!"

I would have thought he would be more interested in the Republican primary since he falls into Huckabee's religious realm (his mother considers him the apostate as we are Catholic), but he told me that he could never vote for Huckabee unless Hillary was running. Not all evangelicals want a theocracy.

I think that Obama has Hilzoy's gift for makinnghis points in a way that people who would normally dislike him can underrstand.

It is a whole different behavior pattern than Clinton's which, in the past anyway, has been to change her behavior to accomodate her critics.

I like the things Edwards says but i don't like the way hhe says them. He is doing a wonderful and brave job of pulling the Democratic party out of the Clinton/Beltway rut and I appreciate his efforts. hhe is moving the Overton window and I admire him for it.

However we need a candidate who can win the election and be a succesful President. Obama, with his ability to be true to himslef and us, without pissing people off unnecessarily, is, in my opinion, a better choice.

I wish some Edwards supporters, like the commenters on MyDD would be a little less pit-bullish. The constant carping and nitpicking and exaggerating is sympomatic i think of their lack of perspective, rather than sympomatic of some deep failing in Obama. There is a failure to understand that there is more than onne way to win.

Townhall had an article about Obama weeks ago. The article was written by a colleague of Obama's from the Harvard Review. She was a highly ideological conservative of the type primarily concerned about money (not sex) and she stated that she and Obama agreed on just about nothing. But shhe liked him. She said that he was always polite, always respectful, and that he neverbacked down from his liberal positions.

"Just as significantly, although in general he is far more conservative than I am, when he saw the results he pumped his fist in the air and said 'Go Barack!'"

There it is again.

The Republicans are no better than the Democrats. You can only print so many dollars before the cost of borrowing goes through the roof.

Look at the fiscal history of the United states over the last 30 years, and then explain how in the name of sanity you can say something like,"the Republicans are no better than the Democrats." What, do you think the Republicans are the party of fiscal restraint?

Woo-hoo! (Okay, my third-place prediction for McCain probably didn't come out, though the Republican results apparently *still* aren't complete, but it was close, and I'm happy that McCain didn't do as well as I predicted.)

The Republicans are no better than the Democrats. You can only print so many dollars before the cost of borrowing goes through the roof.

The Republicans have demonstrated that they are far, far worse than Democrats since Ronald Reagan began his huge spree of spending on things that he wouldn't collect taxes for.

I haven't updated my National Debt table, yet, for this year, but, in constant dollars, the national debt was roughly $2 trillion from 1950-1980. Reagan more than doubled it. GHWB added more. Clinton slowed the increase, but GWB went back to Reagan-level irresponsibility. The Republicans are spendthrifts, utterly irresponsible with the dollar. They claim to cut taxes, but, as Friedman noted, spending is taxes, either collected today or tomorrow. The Republicans are addicted to collecting taxes tomorrow.

I'm enjoying the moment.

The names Bush and Clinton are out of the headlines; hail Obama!

I'll take all the cadenced rhetoric I can get.

There has been no music in politics for far too long. "No new taxes", "Axis of Evil", Government is the problem" and all the rest of the poison has hung on like stale disco in platform jackboots.

That said, the Republicans I want defeated, and I mean ground to dust, include but are not limited to the hypocrites kneeling in airport bathrooms, sitting on corporate yachts, and sucking up fat contracts for nothing in Iraq.

I want Obama, should this moment have legs, to take on the true believers, the Jeff Flakes, the Mike Pences, and the rest of the righteous second wave of Gingrich revolutionaries who, because they have no personal foibles and are incorruptible, are the truely dangerous Republicans to the government of this Republic.

So, yes, Obama.

With Edwards as something in the cabinet.

And Hillary as a very Special Prosecutor to Whitewater and Monica every Republican plague of the previous 8 years.

On the other side, Huckabee won't last.

Then what? Romney? Oh, Christ, the one who appeared in Jerusalem and the one who appeared west of the Mississippi! We'll need the help of both if that guy gets anywhere close to the White House.

McCain will begin looking good even to the Republicans who hate his swarthy children.

But watch out for Ghouliani. The Beast lives.

Note: The economy is going south fast. I'll leave it to Bill to outline Armageddon. But suffice it to say, Tax Cuts will be placed front and center by George W. Bush.

Thing is, it's not Democrats Wall Street are afraid of. It's something happening financially that they can't put a number on.
Lots of paper, no pricing.

They created a monster made of funky paper and there is no one left to sell the stuff to.

Except us.

If there is anything Republicans love more than tax cuts during a prospering economy, it's a plunging economy to motivate even more tax cuts.

I'll put it another way.

When John Cole likes the Republican Party again, I'll be really worried.

I wish some Edwards supporters, like the commenters on MyDD would be a little less pit-bullish.

As an Edwards supporter, I have tried not to be pitbullish, but admit to having been completely exasperated at the self-fullfilingness of the default anti-Edwards position of so many Democrats. No matter what, the answer was automatically no no no no no. In another thread, someone told me I would have a better chance to convince people if I would just...whatever it was. The exasperation was there because, in fact, there was absolutely *no* chance of convincing, no matter what. It was beyond argument - heads I win, tails you lose. To me the Edwards campaign was like getting offered everything on a silver platter and having it turned down because the shape of the platter wasn't acceptable. It made me feel like we live in a deeply silly country. Maybe we do.

That said, congrats to Obama and his supporters. I didn't find his speech last night to be inspiring at all, but I guess I just don't get the phenom., and I suppose I'm glad so many others do. It's ironic that it is *Obama's* persona (mask) which is by far the thickest in this race, not the supposedly-slick trial lawyer's: consider the towering false modesty, the vagueness, the personality-cultish-ness. More than a touch of romance in politics scares me, especially at this moment. But Obama's a brilliant man and probably quite a good man, so I can't be very upset. I have always liked him a lot and still do. And what an excellent face to show the world compared to the current Oval One. I can think of many worse scenarios than taking a chance on Barack. And, thank god, HRC came in third, which is the most important thing of all vis a vis last night..

Oh publius, you're so wrong. And so right.

Yes, Obama *is* speaking in code. So many of his statements are simply too easy to read as either a call for political change or as a tie-in between an Obama victory and a new era of civil rights.

The thing is, I am POSITIVE that this is not intended for black audiences but for WHITE ones.

He speaks as a moderate but sends a coded message that is meant for young people and liberals. It's frankly brilliant because it speaks both to the more liberal Edwards constituency (of which I am a member) and the Clinton supporters eager to see a woman become President.

Kudos to him on this victory, btw. I think he'd make a great President of the United States.

I was blogging elsewhere (yeah... shame, shame) last night when the calls were made on the caucuses and the change in the tenor of the comments was palpable.

You could hear right, wing anti-feminist, anti-Clinton shells being ejected from heavy artillery, to be replaced forthwith with the racist rhetoric attacking Obama.

It was literally moments to the first salvo of "He's a Muslim... didn't salute... welfare... half-white... Islamic School....

How astonishingly cheap and empty the rhetoric, available at fire-sale prices wherever bigotry is sold... or even given away.

For this we fought those REAL wars?

Re: Obama's cadence

My husband, despite being raised by a nice socialist family in the Bronx, listens to right-wing talk radio. He finds it "refreshing" and "amusing."

He told me that recently they were showcasing Clinton's speeches given in the Northeast, the Midwest, and the South, and that the thing that really struck him was that she spoke with a noticeably different accent for each speech.

While Obama has chosen the MLK cadence, at least, from what I hear, he presents as the same character in all states.

Glad to hear that Clinton came in third. I'd be tickled to have Obama as a president. But I'm really liking Edwards' message, so I wish him good luck.

By the time the election rolls around, the smoking corpse that is Iraq will be number 2 in the publics mind.

Instead, unemployment, insurance, foreclosure, bankruptcy (personal, corporate, municipal), and inflation will be the preoccupation of the voter.

Look for a battle between Republican tax cuts and what...?

google ron paul. he will blow you away.


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