Snarky Behavior

Entries tagged as ‘2008 election’

I voted!

November 4, 2008 · 1 Comment

…and it felt so good!

I have a lot to say about how convoluted the procedure was but suffice it to say that there are efficiencies to be had in the process.  I also didn’t get an “I voted” sticker and I’m pretty heated about that.

Categories: Neato
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Palin and the Polls

October 3, 2008 · Leave a Comment

I’m in Iowa at my parents house, and watched the VP debate with my Stepmom.  We watched on Fox News and I was yelling at the television the entire time, incredibly flustered with Palin’s refusal to a.) answer questions and b.) offer specifics.

Most of all though, I was flustered to see how well she was performing.  After watching her interviews with Katie Couric, I was expecting her to get trounced.  Not being able to name a single Supreme Court decision besides Roe v. Wade?  Not being able to recall the name of another US Vice President in history?  Why wasn’t the moderator pressing her on her answers?  Where were the follow-ups?

After the debate, I conceded that Palin “won,” in the sense that she won the expectations game.  The guys on Fox (Kristol, et al.) were creaming their trousers over it.  I complained (loudly) to my Step Mom that a.) these men had no, zero, zilch respect for Sarah Palin (the soft bigotry of low expectations) and that b.) identity politics is going to destroy our democracy in the long run, and it’s hard to be sympathetic to mid-to-low class Americans when things go badly if these are the leaders they’re going to vote for.

But I was INCREDIBLY heartened to see the polls amongst undecideds indicating that Biden had indeed “won” the debate, even though Palin was more “likable.”  It reminded me that even though Palin was the more impressive orator, Biden had the more impressive argument, and in the end, that’s what people cared more about.

It’s good to know that in the aggregate, good ideas triumph over bad ones, and sound sense triumphs over cockamamie.

It’s also important to remember that if/when Obama wins this thing, the educated class doesn’t celebrate this as a triumph of elitists/educated class over philistines/working-class, but simply GOOD IDEAS over BAD ONES.

Remember, in an information age, the logical end of the Republican party is near.  You can’t sustain yourselves on lies.

Categories: Neato
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“Not I,” said the leadership

September 30, 2008 · 2 Comments

There are two basic children’s stories of ideological propaganda that defined the Cold War:

The first is the Communist tale of “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” While perhaps not a great fit with Communist values, the moral of the story is “it is best to prepare for times of necessity,” and the preparations are made by a colony doing equal work to ensure equal provisions.

The second is the Capitalist tale of “The Little Red Hen.” This story highlights the behaviorial economics of the free-rider problem; that is, nobody is willing to exert personal effort that exceeds their derived benefit from that effort, even if collectively, everybody is better off.

Well, right now we have a crisis that requires collective effort to address.  The market fell off 700 points yesterday, and that’s not even a sound indicator of how bad things are due to the SEC ban on short-selling.  The lending markets are absolutely frozen, because we have ZERO political leadership willing to do what’s necessary.

Who will lead this bail-out?

–”Not I,” said the President, who refused to use the bully-pulpit to twist the arms of the House Republicans.  “I’m already unpopular as it is.  I don’t want to do any more damage to the party.”

–”Not I,” said John McCain, who refused to rally his party around a bipartisan effort.  “I don’t really understand the issue, and I’ve staked too much politically on being perceived as decisivie on the politically popular side of this issue, whatever it may end up being.”

–”Not I,” said Barack Obama, who was gaining popularity as the economy tanked.  “I don’t want to introduce presidential politics into delicate negotiations.  This needs to be bi-partisan so we share the political fall-out.  Otherwise I’m staying arms-length away.”

–”Not I,” said the House Republicans, who were getting angry calls about bailing out Wall Street.  “My constituents vote on emotion — we’ve cultivated them that way.  And right now, they’re angry.  I’m not sticking my neck out any further with this administration… I don’t care what the long-term consequences may be.  Let’s wait until after the election.”

–”Not I,” said Nancy Peloisi.  “The Republicans double-crossed us.  After all the concessions we made on a bill we didn’t want, they promised the votes, and didn’t deliver.  I’m not letting our party take ownership on this… it’s way too unpopular.”

So who’s going to be the Little Red Hen here?  Who’s going to say, “Then I’ll do it”?

Isn’t that what leadership is supposed to be?  Or is our politically system that handicapped?

Categories: Opinion
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September 16, 2008 · 1 Comment

The importance of VA

The importance of VA

PLEASE forward this post to anyone you know who lives in the DC/VA area.

People get caught up in the horse-race of a campaign, but we tend to forget (until the last few weeks and days) that it is the so-called “swing states” that determine political outcomes.  Our electoral system is arranged as such that Barack Obama could possibly receive the post popular votes in the history of our country, and LOSE the election because of the composition of electoral votes.

If you go to RealClearPolitics, you can see for yourself:  John McCain has a clear lead in electoral votes for states that are considered “out of play.”  Barring some campaign catastrophe, those states and their votes are done and counted for, leaving only the following “toss-up” states up for grabs:

Obama 207, McCain 227, Toss Ups 104  |  No Toss Ups: Obama 273, McCain 265
Solid Obama     Leaning Obama     Solid McCain     Leaning McCain     Toss Up
State Obama (D) McCain (R) RCP Average RCP Status 2004 2000
Colorado (9) 47.3 46.7 Obama +0.6 Toss Up Bush +4.7 Bush +8.4
Ohio (20) 45.1 47.3 McCain +2.2 Toss Up Bush +2.1 Bush +3.5
Michigan (17) 47.2 45.2 Obama +2.0 Toss Up Kerry +3.4 Gore +5.2
Pennsylvania (21) 47.3 45.7 Obama +1.6 Toss Up Kerry +2.5 Gore +4.2
Virginia (13) 48.0 48.0 Tie Toss Up Bush +8.2 Bush +8.1
Nevada (5) 44.6 45.6 McCain +1.0 Toss Up Bush +2.6 Bush +3.5
New Mexico (5) 47.0 44.7 Obama +2.3 Toss Up Bush +0.7 Gore +0.1
New Hampshire (4) 48.0 44.7 Obama +3.3 Toss Up Kerry +1.3 Bush +1.3
Minnesota (10) 49.0 44.3 Obama +4.7 Toss Up Kerry +3.5 Gore +2.4

Now, if you distribute the votes based on the current margins (which is unwise… that’s why they’re “toss-ups,” after all), you get the map above:  Obama -259, McCain -266… and 13 votes remaining.

If you’re bad at math, I’ll save you the suspense… they’d put Obama over the top.  Without them, he loses.

And where do those 13 votes come from?  Well, from the state of lovers, of course!  Virginia!

Currently Virginia is a dead-heat.  That means EVERY SINGLE VOTE IS IN PLAY.

IF YOU CARE ABOUT THE NEXT FOUR YEARS, IT IS YOUR CIVIC DUTY TO GET OUT THE VOTE.  You may have never canvassed before, but now is a great time to start.  It’s much less painless, and far more rewarding, than you might assume.  And research shows that door-to-door canvassing is by far the gold standard in Get Out the Vote efforts.

There are 50 days left in this election.  PLEASE make time in the next few weekends to go door to door in Virginia.  Sign-up to canvass here.

Categories: Opinion
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A Potential Positive Externality of Climate Change

September 10, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Regarding yesterday’s post:

Empirical evidence suggests that weather has a weak correlation with voter turn-out.  Maybe a tornado or two in the rural areas of swing states could help the cause.

Rain would be disastrous though.  Light precipitation discourages left-leaning voters on the fence… probably because they rely on urban transit to get to the polls.  A good reason to register now and vote absentee.

Categories: Neato · Snarky
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Memo to the Palin Camp

September 5, 2008 · Leave a Comment

I’m going to share something with you that I learned from former Secretary of State Warren Chrisopher:

You see, Mr. Chrisopher taught a class I was in at UCLA called “International Hot Spots.”  It was a competitive 20 person seminar in which we debated US foreign policy in a number of important geopolitical situations around the world.

One day in class, we were discussing the history of Iran and Iraq, and the US government’s subversive role in their border conflict.  The debate was intense, and we were really laying into one another, before Mr. Christopher stopped us abruptly:

“I need to tell you all something before you continue.  Some of you in class are pronouncing the names of these countries incorrectly, and it completely subverts your argument and makes you appear unknowledgable.”

He cleared his throate and enunciated the next words VERY clearly.

“It is not I-raq and I-ran.  It is Ear-raq and Ear-ran.” He tugged on his ears, to emphasize the point.

Someone needs to pull on Sarah Palin’s ears, because she’s grating mine.

Categories: Snarky
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More on Palin

August 29, 2008 · 3 Comments

via Wikipedia…

Palin was selected as the runner-up in the 1984 Miss Alaska contest.  Runner-up!  That’s classic.

She has five kids, the youngest of which has downs.  She had  her youngest son at the age of 44 (which I consider irresponsible but hey, it’s not my body), and pre-natal tests indicated he had an additional chromosome.  This will energize the right to life discussion, undoubtedly.  What a dumb distraction.

She won the 2006 Gubernatorial election with… get this… 114,697 votes!  Really?  I’m pretty sure more people vote in Irvine for freaking mayor.  Now she’s a heartbeat away from running the country?

Look, John McCain has led a hard life.  He’s 72 years old… far older than Tim Russert or Bernie Mac or anyone else you want to point to who died unexpectedly.  Maybe it’s rude to suggest, but the relative odds of him dying in office are MUCH higher than say, Bush, Clinton or (especially) Obama.  If he dies, we’re now being led by someone with 2 years of governance, and presumably ZERO foreign affairs knowledge/experience?

As an American, with a rooting hedged interest for the best possible candidates from each party, I am uncomfortable with this pick.

Categories: Opinion
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Sarah Palin

August 29, 2008 · 1 Comment

My friends…choosing a woman makes sense, but methinks the vetting process of Kay Bailey Hutchinson must have gone terribly wrong.  It’s hard to attack Obama for being inexperienced when your own Veep has less than 2 years in a major political office.

Alaskan politics is about oil, and an Alaskan VP means drilling in ANWAR.  All of the eggs are now in the “lower the price of gasoline” and “reduce dependency on foreign oil” baskets.  Let it be remembered that Hillary Clinton tried this approach, and lost.

I’d like to think that Americans are more intelligent, and that their problems more substantial, than to vote on the promise of cheaper gas.  And if not, I’m willing to forfeit this experiment in democracy for good.

Categories: Opinion
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August 26, 2008 · Leave a Comment

From the Washington Wire, about John McCain’s appearance with Daddy Yankee:

Many in the press corps joked about the intersection of the song (with its lyrics, when translated into English, are: “She likes gasoline,” he says. “Give me more gasoline!” a woman responds) and McCain’s energy policy. In fact, Washington Wire is told the phrase has nothing to do with the traditional meaning of gasoline.

And courtesty of Urban Dictionary:

1. gasolina
New spanish slang meaning Sperm (Skeet)

Comes from the reagetton song “Gasolina” by Daddy Yankee

Te encanta la gasolina

As Inigo Montoya tells The Great Vizzini in The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it does.”

Categories: Snarky
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Joe Biden

August 25, 2008 · 1 Comment

I know some friends who were disappointed with the choice of Biden, but I really like the pick.  I think (and I could be mistaken) that the disappointment was more strategic than ideological… it’s unclear how a Senator from Delaware helps in key swing states, with the possible exception of Pennsylvania.

Still though, Obama’s perceived weakness is the 3am emergency, and there’s nobody in Congress with more knowledge and experience on foreign affairs than Biden.  Not that this helped John Kerry… but I think Biden has a way about him of assuring his expertise and leadership on issues without carrying the ivory tower stigma:

Now, it’s relatively easy to rip into a one-trick pony like Giuliani, but as Joe Klein reports, Biden can take it to McCain as well:

Biden called me in June to express his amazement that McCain continued to insist that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the leader of Iran, even after I pointed out–during a press conference–that the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei controlled Iran’s foreign policy and nuclear program. McCain’s response was that the “average American” thought Ahmadinejad was Iran’s leader…and Biden proceeded to jump all over that in a subsequent interview with Think Progress:

I don’t want an average American as president. I have great respect for average — average Americans don’t want an average American president of the United States of America. I want someone above average. I want someone who knows what they’re dealing with. And it surprises me that John didn’t understand the complexities of the power struggle going on in Iran right now.

Categories: Opinion
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