Monday, March 10, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

I’ve been meaning to post something on this for some time now but got tied up in the Alberta election and the 20,000 ALLEGED “gates” that have hit the Harper government. I’ve been drifting towards one of the horses in the US Presidential race for a while and I made it “official” a few weeks ago by adding the supporter button on my facebook page. I don’t want to call it an endorsement because:

a) I reserve the right to flip flop faster than John Kerry on this one
b) I’m not voting in the race and not an American
c) I’m neither an expert who has followed this closely nor a vacuous celebrity
d) I’ll leave it to Ian Brodie to try and influence this race

All this is, is me saying who I’d vote for if I lived in the States (or Guam!).

I was a big Gore supporter from the start and, once he decided not to run, I’ve been bouncing around from candidate to candidate – from Edwards to Clinton to Richardson to Obama to Clinton to Obama to Clin...there may have even been a few hours when I was eagerly anticipating the Vilsackian era, although I was probably drunk at the time.

I’ve tried looking at the policies but, after eight years of George Bush, the Democrats are all looking pretty good and, par consequence, pretty similar. I think Hillary’s plan for universal health care would be a huge leap forward in the right direction. Richardson had the best resume. I admired John Edwards trying to make poverty an issue. And I think Obama is the best suited to end the war in Iraq.

But, at the end of the day, I’ll be honest – I’ve pretty much chucked policy to the wind. I’m not sure I particularly care which President would be best for Canada or even who would make the best President. So long as they don’t pronounce it nu-cu-lar, or go Alan Alda (Canadian Bacon Alan Alda that is – I’m down with West Wing Alan Alda as the President) on our ass, I’m cool.

Really, it came down to one thing. Looking at the world wide political stage – especially the Canadian political stage – there are so few politicians who can actually inspire. I mean, seriously, look at what we have right now coast-to-coast – it’s depressing. Even people who I like, from Dion to McGuinty, just aren’t capable of that. Back in Alberta, only 4 in 10 eligible voters bothered to cast their ballots because they were so disenchanted with their options. So the fact that Barack Obama has been able to inspire millions of people and engage them in the political process just says a lot about the man. Maybe he won’t change politics, but the mere fact that he could, to me, means it’s worth taking that chance.



  • He's so inspiring that... he's barely beating Clinton.

    I still don't get it.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 8:56 p.m.  

  • Millions of new voters have come out to vote in the Dem primaries Jason, a lot of it it due to Obama. Look at Texas, look at plenty of the "red states" where Democrats were endangered species. T

    And you do a disservice to Clinton by saying what you did. She's a strong candidate as well... many US pundits have said anyone else BUT Clinton would have folded against Obama a long time ago.

    By Blogger Oxford County Liberals, at 9:47 p.m.  

  • @Jason Cherniak: The fact that a black junior senator from Illinios with an African name is challenging the well oiled Clinton political machine and making them so desperate they have resorted to desperate measure including republcan style fear mongering is a testament to his inspirational skills.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:12 p.m.  

  • "He's so inspiring that... he's barely beating Clinton."

    Yes, because she is such a lightweight in the Democratic Party. Before Obama burst on the scene, Hillary was "the" Democrat, nobody could draw a crowd like her, nobody could raise money for the party like her. In 2004, when all the Democratic candidates attended the Jackson dinner, it was Hillary that got the best response, more people came out to see her than Kerry, Dean, Edwards, she was the star and she wasn't even running. Hillary might not be a fan on activist sites like DailyKos, but the base of the party absolutely adores her, which is why she continually comes off the mat. No slight whatsoever to say Obama is barely beating her, in fact it is quite astounding, given where the race was in December.

    By Blogger Steve V, at 10:12 p.m.  

  • I knew a smart cookie like Calgary Grit would come to his senses!

    I'm Obamafied!

    Calgary Grit: there is nothing stopping you from jumping on the Obama train at


    By Blogger DivaRachel, at 10:27 p.m.  

  • CG,

    I am stunned you haven't joined McCainia. You're right though, can't wait to replace a guy who says nu-cu-lar with a guy who's going to call up the president of Canada just as soon as he takes office!

    plus ca change?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:29 p.m.  

  • Jason,

    I'll explain it to you:

    Clinton would lose really badly to McCain while Obama will just lose to McCain. Right now, good Liberals are always left with choosing the least losingest option.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 10:32 p.m.  

  • "Clinton would lose really badly to McCain while Obama will just lose to McCain."

    Somebody isn't paying attention. At all....

    By Blogger Steve V, at 10:41 p.m.  

  • Whoever the nominees are, I'm glad the November presidential election is shaping up to be a real, across-the-board election, and not simply a "who can win Ohio and Florida" election. (And I'm glad it's looking like a McCain vs. Obama matchup - don't believe the venomous rhetoric from their opposition, these guys each represent pretty significant change for their respective parties, something America desperately needs).

    The shakedown of early polling is pretty interesting, too. Just looking a some early "McCain vs. Hillbama" polls, Obama does better than Hillary against McCain on a national level, but he does considerably worse in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania. And it looks like Florida might cross the void from "swing state" to "red state" this cycle, as McCain consistently leads polling there by 5 to 10 points. Additionally, McCain mind-bogglingly outpolls both Clinton AND Obama in Connecticut. Meanwhile, long-time Republican fortresses like the Virginias and Kansas are increasingly being seen as in play (if Obama is nominated), with swing-y states like Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada looking likely to go Dem.

    This election is gonna be a political nerd's wet dream, that's for sure.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:20 p.m.  

  • .. as opposed to hacks like Jason Cherniak who just makes us all the more cynical about politics.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:11 a.m.  

  • The talk of change is nothing new. President Bush talked about doing things differenlty if he was elected and we all saw how different he did things. I'm not sure what makes Obama qualified to be President except for a few years as a United States Senator. He lacks foreign affairs experience and governing experience. His own advisors make it clear on issues like NAFTA and the War in Iraq what he says on the campaign trail is going to be very different from what he would do if elected President.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:30 a.m.  

  • “Clinton would lose really badly to McCain while Obama will just lose to McCain.”

    The triumph of hope over reality!

    Look at the difference in turnout (2x) and fundraising (5x). Look at the long record of GOP disasters, deception and doublespeak. Yeah, right!

    After eight dark years of Republican rule, Americans need HOPE!

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:23 a.m.  

  • A few months ago Clinton was supposed to win this handily; now she's only just barely being beaten...

    By Blogger Glen, at 2:57 a.m.  

  • "Look at the difference in turnout (2x) and fundraising (5x). Look at the long record of GOP disasters, deception and doublespeak. Yeah, right!"

    Turnout may be a sign of something but fundraising numbers are only for the candidates. The RNC is still easily beating the DNC in fundraising.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:23 a.m.  

  • As a US taxpayer (who doesn’t get to vote), I have to say that after almost eight long years of creepy fear-mongering TERRA alerts, two stunningly pointless wars that have resulted in the needless death of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, the displacement of millions more along with tens of thousands of killed/wounded soldiers at a cost of untold billions of dollars, the ruination of America’s position in the world and total destruction of any “goodwill sentiment” towards the nation, the naked Fed-sanctioned rapine and monetary idiocy that’s now plunging America into a near-Depression, astronomical debts and trade deficits beyond belief, reactionary Christofascist infiltration of key posts throughout the government, shameless cronyism and corruption, mind-boggling incompetence resulting in disastrous mismanagement of the most essential functions of public administration, sanctioning of torture and wiretapping of citizens, countless breaches of constitutional law and unwarranted acquisition of executive powers, together with what might be described as all around catastrophic stupidity from top to bottom, I would vote for a Proctor-fucking-Silex® toaster if it was the head of the ticket for the Democrats.

    If I could, that is. Which I can’t… Damn.

    By Blogger Red Tory, at 5:21 a.m.  

  • Oh yeah... Sorry, I got carried away there.

    Go Obama!

    Hillary... puh-leeze. You might as well vote McBush for all the difference that would make.

    By Blogger Red Tory, at 5:26 a.m.  

  • "But, at the end of the day, I’ll be honest – I’ve pretty much chucked policy to the wind."

    So are we gonna see "But, at the end of the day, I’ll be honest – I’ve pretty much chucked policy to the wind. I am supporting Justin Trudeau" sometime soon...

    sorry Dan, too easy...

    By Blogger Anthony, at 6:12 a.m.  

  • Inspiring ?

    An excellent orator, but pretty much an empty socialist shell.

    God help America and the Canadian economy if BO gets in in Nov.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:43 a.m.  

  • Jason - Hillary's still a very strong candidate, with a massive organization behind her. Given that no one really gave him a chance in this race, beating her is pretty impressive.

    Heck, even Trudeau needed 4 ballots to get LPC leadership in '68, and Bobby Kennedy might not even have won had he not been killed.

    And, no, that does not mean I'm hoping on the Justin Trudeau train anytime soon ;-) Obama DOES have a pretty good track record and some firm ideas to back it up.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:18 a.m.  

  • chucker; Yeah, McCain's not bad...I was SO hoping one of the Republican duds like Romney or Huckabee would win the nom.

    If it is Obama-McCain, that's gonna be one heck of a race to watch. Especially compared to Bush-Kerry in '04.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:19 a.m.  

  • If Obama gets the nod, then watch McCain bring on a female minority VP running mate.

    McCain ain't Bush

    Just like Iggy ain't Dion or Rae.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 11:25 a.m.  

  • cg -

    agreed. The race will be alot of fun to watch, however it turns out.

    But let me share something with you because I know it doesn't translate into liberal:

    John McCain is very inspiring to us right-wing fanatics. I think he's a terrific speech-maker - not so much for the veneer of oratory, but for the content.

    It will be "Yes We Can" versus "Yes I Can". Can't wait.

    ps. Romney/Huckabee would have had me swinging Democrat - not quite Obama left, but maybe Clinton.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 11:32 a.m.  

  • "...female minority VP running mate."

    You mean Condi Rice? The NSA during 9/11. Yeah! That'll make me sleep better.

    Anyway, McCain will need a Southern running mate to satisfy the fundamentalists.

    Moreover, Rice is useless as a political strategy against a black man running for the top job.

    Well done Art! True to form!

    By Blogger JimTan, at 11:49 a.m.  

  • If Obama wins, McCain's already lost the african american vote...although I could see him going with a female VP. Of course, the conventional wisdom is that he needs to shore up his SoCon base with a southern governor.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:12 p.m.  

  • but the african american vote isn't the issue, CG - he's lost that mostly by being a republican. Rice would allow McCain to go after Obama hard and not have Obama-fanatics calling it racist - which, to be fair, will be much too tempting to say.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 1:05 p.m.  

  • "If Obama wins, McCain's already lost the african american vote."

    I'm pretty sure we can say he wasn't going to win the African-American vote regardless. Besides, if he's going for a minority as his VP, picking a Hispanic would be far more politically sound.

    "Of course, the conventional wisdom is that he needs to shore up his SoCon base with a southern governor."

    If that's conventional wisdom, then conventional wisdom is wrong. Democrats may be excited about the possibility of a big southern breakthrough, but I frankly don't see McCain losing any southern states at all (not even Florida or Virginia), regardless of who his running mate is. Yes, his running mate should be somewhat SoCon (many seem to forget that McCain's pretty SoCon himself), but I think McCain needs someone with a bit more "economic appeal." The upper midwest looks like it's going to be the biggest battleground in this election, so any "shoring up" of republican strongholds that McCain does should be secondary. Indeed, if he needs to shore up his base so badly that he needs a southern governor as VP to win the election, then I'd say he was probably going to lose regardless.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:15 p.m.  

  • “Indeed, if he needs to shore up his base so badly that he needs a southern governor as VP to win the election, then I'd say he was probably going to lose regardless.”

    Sounds about right! The GOP is on the defensive after eight horrible years. From 9/11 to the subprime mess, the GOP government has been an unmitigated disaster.

    Obama’s main economic thrust is centered on the Iraqi War. It has to be ended in order to use the money for domestic programs. Bearing in mind the historic fiscal deficits, there would have to be hefty tax increases for the middle class (as well as the high rollers) if the war went on.

    Obama could justify the end of the Iraq occupation by concentrating American resources on the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. After all, it is bin Laden’s group that is keen on attacking America and Europe.

    McCain is hoping to win the independent vote with his credentials on experience. Unfortunately, the swing states are swinging against the Iraq War. McCain remains a supporter of the Iraq War and a fiscal conservative. How will he resolve it?

    Huckabee was reminding McCain that he mustn’t assume that the fundamentalist camp will support him in November. How will McCain protect his base while asking for independent votes? Will he appoint conservative judges if elected president?

    Obama may not win the southern states, but McCain will be forced to expend resources and opportunities defending his rear.

    It doesn’t mean that McCain will lost. It means that the guy on the defensive has to be so much better than Obama. Has McCain got it?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:43 p.m.  

  • All Obama need to do is swing one red state (i.e. West Virginia is trending Democrat in recent years)in the general election. I can't see any of the blue states swinging McCain's way.

    By Blogger truegrit, at 3:30 p.m.  

  • truegrit, if you look at SurveyUSA's recent poll of 30,000 people in all 50 states, McCain swings Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan, and the election is essentially a draw at this point - and this is before the Republicans attack Obama's weak spots.

    Clinton couldn't attack Obama on policy because she agrees with him largely. However, McCain does not have that problem. Obama's electibility argument is based on his ability to attract independents, which is a lot easier if the election is framed around "do you like George Bush or not".

    As for ending the war in Iraq, if you followed Obama's war of words with McCain, Obama said he would send in US troops to fight Al Quaeda if they were in Iraq. McCain said "I have news for Barack Obama, Al Quaeda is in Iraq". Obama's response, like a good politician was to say that there was no Al Quaeda there before the war. Fair enough - but he didn't answer the question: is he going to withdraw or not?

    Truegrit, firstly, West Virginia might be an easy take for Clinton, but not the champagne left coalition of Obama. Secondly, WV is worth 5 electoral college votes. If you are taking 2004 as your baseline, Kerry lost by 35 electoral college votes.

    Secondly, why do people focus on Obama's strength with independents, while ignoring his weakness in the base? I've seen a poll showing that the number of Democratic party switchers in the event of an Obama win would be larger than under a Clinton win. Obama's weakness among hispanic voters, moreover, harms his chances is the many battleground states with large hispanic populations - and forces him to play defence in California (McCain's recent announcement was that he was going to put CA in play).

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 4:04 p.m.  

  • Actually a lot of red states are becoming swingers - Arizona and Colorado are two I can think of.

    Even the major Texas cities have become more Democrat in recent years. Dallas used to be a strong Red county, but has swung in the past few elections.

    I guess I am the only one who thinks McCain is a weak candidate here. Personality, rather than policy matters more to Americans. They elect who they want to have over for dinner. McCain and Clinton would be close, but McCain and Obama wouldn't be.

    By Blogger toujoursdan, at 4:05 p.m.  

  • I think the most interesting thing that will happen if Obama wins the nomination is the media is going to have to invent a bunch of buzz words for age. I mean, after a McCain-Obama debate they're not going to want to say "Next to Obama, McCain looks a billion years old. He'll probably die soon." They're going to have to come up with a polite way of saying that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:41 p.m.  

  • toujoursdan,

    McCain would be a lot more fun for dinner than Obama.

    First, McCain is a hard drinking party man who is very funny.

    Obama is not funny at all.

    Second, McCain is an optimist .

    Obama is a depressing sort who's always railing about how bad things are in America.

    Third, McCain won't hog the conversation with 45 minutes monologues about how he is a political messiah.

    Hosertohoosier has it right:

    Obama has not yet faced an opponent who will skewer his policy ideas. McCain will do the skewering merrily.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 4:46 p.m.  

  • truegrit, if you look at SurveyUSA's recent poll of 30,000 people in all 50 states, McCain swings Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan, and the election is essentially a draw at this point - and this is before the Republicans attack Obama's weak spots.

    Thanks for twisting the facts. That poll shows Obama winning in Michigan. That poll also shows that the election would not be a "draw" as you mention it but a relatively easy win for Obama who would take 280 electoral votes. That poll also shows that when Obama is brought into the the equation the traditional GOP red states like Texas, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina (all of whom make up a significant number of votes) which in the recent history have had absolutely no hopes for the democrats suddenly become swing states. That poll has now been refined further to include the margin of error and how strong the support of the candidate is on this site which shows that if an election was held today Obama would have an 88 electoral vote advantage over McCain with a potential of further gains in these swing states.

    Clinton couldn't attack Obama on policy because she agrees with him largely. However, McCain does not have that problem. Obama's electibility argument is based on his ability to attract independents, which is a lot easier if the election is framed around "do you like George Bush or not".

    That is not something in favour of McCain; that is his problem. In the last year or so McCain has flip flopped his position on many issues like torture, abortion and even the war to bring them inline with Bush doctrine. That is a deathblow for him as the democrats will portray him as Bush Jr. His recent comments on Iraq just further strengthen that argument. He cannot draw a contrast in their policies without coming off as another Bush. On top of that after getting Bush's endorsement he has also brought the bush gang including people like Karl Rove to work for him which further lends credulity to the arguments are making right now and will be making in November.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:19 p.m.  

  • Looking at it from the wrong end...

    Obama has some promise, but a Democrat win will not make the Iran based attacks on the West through Hizballah - Hamas via rocket showers into Israel go away.

    Nor will it help stop Osama and his Taliwags from breaking into Pakistan*s Nuke toy box.

    The terrorists are cheering for Obama, by the way. Careful who you support just on socialist principle. = TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 7:31 p.m.  

  • Looks like some of the heavys on SmallDeadAnimals are outlining how A by-election with Rae as winner can lead to Rae as Leader and send Dion and Iggy packing..

    An interesting tip for CG readers.

    Some may recall my suggesting here that Bob Rae is your naturally skilled leader of promise. = TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 8:36 p.m.  

  • Nick, considering polling error, an Obama McCain contest is a draw, if Obama is only pulling 280 electoral college votes. You need 270 to win.

    If Obama lost Michigan (where he is ahead by 1% in that poll, as you pointed out), or Virginia, which is projected to be a tie, he would lose the election.

    Considering the margin of error on those polls, Obama's advantage over Clinton in terms of electoral college votes is negligible (it projects Clinton would win 276-262). In her case, Pennsylvania is a must-win (she is ahead by 1% there).

    What does this mean? Despite Obama being at the crest of an insurgent campaign against a woman hated by the right and left alike (not to mention the press), who has been unable to attack him on the issues (where he is considerably to the left of most Americans), all he can do is eke out a tie with McCain.

    Some people have said McCain will take heat for flip-flopping. A few things on this. Firstly, that already happened when his campaign died in the summer. Secondly the "McCain is a flip-flopper case" like his alleged affair is pretty thin. He is against rescinding tax cuts he voted against and he supports building a border fence in addition to comprehensive immigration reform (a fence Obama supports as well). He didn't flip-flop on abortion - he has always been pro-life. As for torture, he proposed the torture bill that Bush is now ignoring. He is opposed to the new bill - but I'd love to see Obama go after him on that.

    Is Obama weak on the issues? Lets see now...

    1. His healthcare plan claims to be universal but does not mandate insurance. This means that it will not reduce costs by getting healthy young people into the system. So more expensive and less universal than Clinton's plan.

    2. On the Iraq war he has not been pressed about what he will do about Al Quaeda's operations in Iraq. Yes he can blame Bush as a candidate, but it seems silly to pull out and then go back.

    3. He supports a mortgage interest deductibility scheme (the same scheme that blew the bank of the Thatcher government in Britain), and mortgage bailouts for the idiots that got sub-prime loans.

    4. He is against a partial-birth abortion ban. But at the same time, having voted present on a number of controversial issues has pissed off the abortion rights folks (Emily's List endorsed Clinton).

    When you add the Rezko trial to this, Obama doesn't look so insurmountable.

    "But his supporters are independents who win elections, and the base will vote Democratic anyway", you say.

    I say, don't be so certain of the base. Think about the main reasons one would support Clinton over Obama:
    1. You agree with her positions
    2. Experience
    3. Racism
    4. She's a woman
    5. She speaks to my blue collar self

    Only those in the first category would naturally prefer Obama to McCain. In the four others, number 4 is a wash and the other three favour McCain. Even among issue voters, Democrats that support keeping troops in Iraq would choose McCain over Obama, without Clinton as their first choice.

    States where this is happening? Well lets turn to surveyUSA again (granted, polls are wild and out there, but bear with me).

    Obama does do better in red states, but worse in many blue.

    Massachusetts - Kerry won by 25 points, Obama is ahead by 7.
    Michigan was won by 4 points, Obama is ahead by 1. New Jersey was won by 7 points, McCain is ahead by 1. Kerry won Pennsylvania by 3 points, McCain is ahead by 5.

    Obama is a candidate with a lot of potential, but he is hardly the safe winning candidate. He is in a statistical tie with McCain, as is Clinton, but his numbers are softer, and his vulnerabilities have yet to be exposed (as opposed to Clinton's that emerged as soon as she became a Clinton). The Obama coalition will explode - the question is whether it happens before the election, harming the Democratic party, or after, harming the United States of America.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 11:05 p.m.  

  • Doesn't really matter what anyone's position on the issues are but one ... the economy. More likely than not, McCain will charge that out of control spending got America into this mess and pledge to bring in the cuts that will get them out. Americans have bought that line before. And they'll probably buy it again.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:19 p.m.  

  • "The Obama coalition will explode - the question is whether it happens before the election, harming the Democratic party, or after, harming the United States of America."

    That’s merely your opinion. I certainly don’t respect it. Look at your bias about Super Tuesday. The fact is that Obama has won against Clinton every month of the contest from January to March. That’s despite Clinton’s advantage with women and Latinos.

    Obama is the vastly better politician. He has a simple, uncluttered and attractive proposition. He has an excellent organization, and a real movement. His campaign is the tactical master on the ground.

    You don’t look at the other side of the coin. Obama has weaknesses. So did Clinton, and so does McCain.

    The weaknesses are critical. McCain supports the war and tax cuts. How is he (a conservative) going to balance the budget? He is against torture. But voted against waterboarding.

    “Earlier today, ThinkProgress noted that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a former prisoner of war, has spoken strongly in favor of implementing the Army Field Manual standard. When confronted today with the decision of whether to stick with his conscience or cave to the right wing, McCain chose to ditch his principles and instead vote to preserve waterboarding:”

    So far, Obama has played nice against Clinton. In November, Obama will have a united Democratic Party and the gloves come off. That’s when the polling difference between Obama and McCain widens.
    Can you imagine a debate between Obama (President of the Harvard Law Review) and McCain?

    What is McCain’s record? Yeah, McCain is principled (most of the time). From wikipedia,

    “McCain made attacking the corrupting influence of big money on American politics his signature issue. Starting in 1994, he worked with Democratic Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold on campaign finance reform; their McCain-Feingold bill would attempt to put limits on "soft money". From the start, McCain and Feingold's efforts were opposed by large money interests, by incumbents in both parties, by those who felt spending limits impinged on free political speech, and by those who wanted to lessen the power of what they saw as media bias. McCain-Feingold garnered considerable sympathetic coverage in the national media, and "maverick Republican" became a label frequently applied to McCain in stories. He has also used the term himself. Initial versions of the McCain-Feingold Act were filibustered and never came to a vote. McCain also attacked pork barrel spending within Congress. He was instrumental in pushing through approval of the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, which gave the president the power to veto individual spending items. It was one of McCain's biggest Senate victories, though in 1998 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the act unconstitutional.

    In 1997 McCain became chairman of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee; he was criticized for accepting funds from corporations and businesses under the committee's purview. but in response said the restricted contributions he received were not part of the big-money nature of the campaign finance problem. McCain took on the tobacco industry in 1998, proposing legislation that would increase cigarette taxes in order to fund anti-smoking campaigns and reduce the number of teenage smokers, increase research money on health studies, and help states pay for smoking-related health care costs. Supported by the Clinton administration but opposed by the industry and most Republicans, the bill failed to gain cloture twice and was seen as a bad political defeat for McCain.

    McCain easily won re-election to a third senate term in November 1998, gaining 69 percent of the vote to 27 percent for his Democratic opponent, environmental lawyer Ed Ranger. In 1999, the McCain-Feingold Act once again came up for consideration, but the same failure to gain cloture befell it again. During that year, McCain shared the Profile in Courage Award with Feingold for their work in trying to enact their campaign finance reform, although it was still failing repeated attempts to gain cloture.”

    McCain is going to solve America’s problems? Yeah, right! He’s fine as a senator. But, the presidency is beyond his competence: echoes of George Bush Jnr.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:07 a.m.  

  • I love the barely beating Clinton comment by Jason.

    Elected Delegates (in %)

    Obama - 53.1%
    Hillary - 46.9%

    Since when is a 6.2% spread barely beating an opponent?

    For reference Jason, Dion beat Iggy by 9.6% of the delegates in a squeaker......

    For even better reference, since about 200 people stayed away from the final ballot at that convention because they could not stomach either choice, Dion actually won 52.3% of the highest number of possible voters that voted in any ballot at that convention. A full 4.6% of Liberals registered their disgust with Dion and Iggy by not voting.

    Dion actually only beat Iggy 52.3% to 43.3% with 4.6% not voting. Dion won the convention by a crushing 4.4%....that is barely winning Jason

    That 52.3% is lower than Obama's percentage of the elected delegates. The margin Dion won by is only slightly larger and is less when you take into account the large number of Liberals that did not vote for Dion..

    Barely beating....haha, good thing you are a lawyer and not an accountant.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:54 p.m.  

  • By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer

    CHICAGO - Democratic Sen. Barack Obama said Thursday that Sen. John McCain reversed his position on President Bush's deep tax cuts in order to win the Republican presidential nomination, one of his sharpest criticisms yet of the Arizona senator he hopes to face this fall.

    Criticizing GOP efforts to extend major tax cuts from Bush's first term and to eliminate the estate tax, Obama said: "These are all steps that John McCain rightly said were irresponsible when they first came up."

    "He made a decision to reverse himself on that," Obama told reporters as he flew from Chicago to Washington for a series of Senate votes on budget issues.

    "That was how, I guess, you got your ticket punched to be the Republican nominee," he said of McCain. "But he was right then, and he's wrong now."

    McCain has said he supports extending the tax cuts, which he initially voted against, because the economy is struggling and tax reductions offer some stimulus.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:13 p.m.  

  • It is strange to hear Obama an individual who tells the voters of Ohio one stance on NAFTA and the Canadian government a different stance to be attacking somebody else on their record.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:30 p.m.  

  • “It is strange to hear Obama an individual who tells the voters of Ohio one stance on NAFTA and the Canadian government a different stance to be attacking somebody else on their record.”

    Hmmm! Sounds like your accusation is wrong. Naturally!

    Obama did say that he would renegotiate NAFTA in order to level the environmental and labour playing ground. He never said that he would cancel trade agreements in order to protect American jobs. Nor, did he ever talk to Canadian officials on the matter.

    Goolsbee, a professor in Chicago, visited the Canadian consulate in Chicago on an academic tour. He made casual comments during a chat. He was not briefing the Canadian Ambassador as an Obama emissary. The initial news report was false and damaging to Obama.

    What Goolsbee said was interpreted and reported to the Ambassador. Subsequently, the hot news was sent to Ottawa and leaked. However, what did Goolsbee say he said?

    “Report: Memo Says Obama Adviser Did Say Obama NAFTA Talk Was Political
    By Eric Kleefeld - March 3, 2008, 9:36AM
    Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee did characterize Obama's stance on NAFTA as being "more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans," according to a long memo written by a Canadian official that was obtained by the Associated Press.
    The memo contradicts initial suggestions by the Obama campaign that no such conversation ever happened — meaning that this story has suddenly taken a turn for the worse for the Obama campaign.
    But Goolsbee himself is disputing the memo's content, saying he never described Obama's stance on NAFTA as being simply rhetoric.
    "That's a pretty ham-handed description of what I answered," Goolsbee said. "A: In no possible way was that a reference to NAFTA. And B: In no possible way was I inferring that he was going to introduce any policies that you should ignore and he had no intention of enacting. Those are both completely crazy."
    The memo, however, suggests otherwise. "Noting anxiety among many U.S. domestic audiences about the U.S. economic outlook, Goolsbee candidly acknowledged the protectionist sentiment that has emerged, particularly in the Midwest, during the primary campaign," the memo says. "He cautioned that this messaging should not be taken out of context and should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans."
    The memo continued: "On NAFTA, Goolsbee suggested that Obama is less about fundamentally changing the agreement and more in favour of strengthening/clarifying language on labour mobility and environment and trying to establish these as more 'core' principles of the agreement."

    By Blogger JimTan, at 7:40 p.m.  

  • Paul Rogat Loeb wrote an article “Obama, Clinton and Hot Air, Mobilizer vs. polarizer? Who's more likely to confront global warming?” published March 11, 2008 on the

    Loeb contents that Obama (the mobilizer) is more likely to create a people’s movement than Clinton (the polarizer). In a sidebar, Loeb also compares Obama’s record (four years) to Clinton. Obama’s busy record can also be compared favourably with McCain’s.

    “No Edge in Getting Things Done
    As a U.S. senator, Hillary Clinton successfully co-sponsored bi-partisan legislation to protect bonuses for wounded veterans and extend family medical leave for wounded soldiers, while introducing a still-in-process bill to improve mental health services for seniors.

    In his four-year-briefer tenure as a U.S. senator, Barrack Obama secured major Republican support to pass a major transparency bill that publicly lists all organizations receiving Federal funds, how much they've received, and the purpose of their grant or contract.

    He's passed another that provides resources to seek out and destroy surplus and unguarded stocks of conventional arms -- like land mines and shoulder fired missiles -- in Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

    And together with Minnesota Democrat Senator Russ Feingold, he played a key role in developing and passing a law that eliminated gifts of travel on corporate jets from lobbyists to members of Congress and required disclosure of bundled campaign contributions.

    Even if you ignore his major achievements in the Illinois legislature -- like bringing police chiefs and civil liberties advocates together to craft and support a bill providing clear monitoring of police interrogations, and passing a bill extending health care to 150,000 state residents -- I'd say evidence of insider ability is a wash when comparing Obama to Clinton.”

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:22 a.m.  

  • If Obama wins the Democratic ticket, I'm predicting Obama/Richardson vs. McCain/Huckabee

    By Blogger James Bow, at 10:21 p.m.  

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