Snarky Behavior

Entries tagged as ‘politics’

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
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

“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
Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

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
Tagged: , , , , , ,

The Logical End of the Republican Party

September 10, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Ezra Klein notes:

“Republican politicians have to evince, at the least, a deep sympathy for [creationism in schools and the willful effort to ignore the evidence on man-made climate change], and many soak in applause from forthrightly echoing them. I can think of some unpopular, and maybe even unwise, beliefs that afflict the left, but I can’t really think of anything in the same category of proud, even aggressive, know-nothingism.”

We had a discussion in my Quantitative Methods class today about the framing of scientific issues; particularly, we discussed how the right had managed to mobilize against the consenus of science which supports anthropogenic causility in observable climate change.

You see, the right is very good at taking a scientific issue and turning it into a policy issue.  A policy debate can be filtered through the news media, which is constrained by objectivity, and moreover has a vested interest in seeing a debate rather than a consensus. 

So you end up getting a Hardball style format on an issue where 100% of people (who actually know something about the topic and aren’t being paid off by the coal lobby for dissenting science) happen to agree.  And so the public thinks there’s a fifty-fifty split, and climate change gets thrown into the realm of “debatable public policy.”

Well sure… the policy is debatable.  But the science isn’t. 

Look: the left gets a bad rap for being “elitist” and looking down their noses at Christian Conservatives who cloak their willful ignorance in faith.  What the left SHOULD be getting a bad rap for is refusing to get into the mud with the Republicans.  For smugly being content with the self-assurance that they are justified in their knowledge of rational science, and refusing to engage the simpletons in a more emotive (read: effective) way.

The existential threat of our time IS NOT ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM.  IT IS GETTING BAKED THE FUCK OFF THE EARTH. 

Moreover, I don’t see how the Republican Party can sustain itself on lies in an information age.  That was the original point of this post.

Categories: Opinion · Snarky
Tagged: , , , , , ,

Things That are Shady:

June 11, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Illinois’ 4th Congressional District

Perhaps the most notable case of gerrymandering in Illinois is in 4th Congressional District in Chicago, currently held by Luis Gutierrez. Shown in the graphic in this article, District 4 (in black) snakes around within Chicago and almost completely encircles District 7, currently held by Danny Davis. The districts were drawn in this manner in order to create a Hispanic majority district (4) and a black majority district (7). While some people feel that in drawing majority-minority districts such as this creates better representation for people in that the minority voters can elect a person that not only represents them along party lines but represents them physically, districts drawn in this manner are likely illegal and they do a disservice to democracy. Examples of other gerrymandered districts found in the United States, most of which are majority-minority districts, can be found in the table within this article.

Categories: Uncategorized
Tagged: ,

Riding Coat Tails

February 8, 2008 · 2 Comments

Let’s frame our political options in the following way, shall we?:

The Republican Party is fractured. The big tent is folding in on itself.

Conservatives, social progressives, fiscal hawks, and the establishment are fighting for the “soul” of the party.

Most Republicans are luke warm on the candidate they have chosen for themselves, John McCain.

McCain therefore represents the candidate who is least likely to lose an electoral blowout, and save the most seats (and face).

McCain’s appeal lies with independents.  Pundits would have you believe he is therefore more a viable matchup against Obama, who also appeals to independents.

Obama appeals MORE to independents.  And he appeals to his party base.  He wins.

Not only does he win, but he brings more Dems into the fold…  Republicans are less likely to “hedge” against Obama… that is, they’re less likely to vote for a Democratic president and a Republican Congressmen.

If Hillary’s the ticket, right-center independents hedge against the perceived establishment.  Gridlock ensues.  No clear mandate is achieved.

Hillary’s coat-tails are far shorter than Obama’s.  She’s not a better candidate against McCain, no matter what conventional “wisdom” might tell you.

Forget the polls.  The fact is, the next President will be a Democrat.  They have too much momentum, too much money, and too much George W.

The real question becomes: who carries the party further?  Who carries the country further?

If you frame it this way, the choice is clear.  Obama for President.

Categories: Uncategorized
Tagged: , , , , , ,

It’s Time for a 21st Century Theory of International Relations

December 18, 2007 · 5 Comments

Last Monday’s lecture in my Conceptual Foundations of International Politics class was taught by Professor Jeffry Sachs.  He is a cheerleader and an optimist and certainly has some ideas worth listening to.

One of the things Sachs spoke to that I really had been waiting to hear all semester is that “it’s time for a 21st Century Theory of International Relations.”  It’s so true.

When historians are evaluating the Bush legacy, and America’s history at the turn of the century, they will be harsh not for any specific policy decisions undertaken, but the principles under which those decisions were made.  And the principle that will be criticized most harshly will not be the naive presupposition that democracy can be exported by force.  It will be the more dangerous assumption that our global society can be managed unilaterally.

Think of it this way:  when you see advertisements today like the following:

palmolivedm2711_468x478.jpg

You are somewhat appalled (or ironically amused) by the quaint anachronism implied by the advertisement.  This is because we’ve redefined cultural norms of a woman’s role in society.  We’ve read the Feminine Mystique, we’ve experienced a cultural “movement” to the extent that such previously established cultural norms now seem dangerously retrograde and unsophisticated.

Now consider the following:  In a 2004 article for the New York Times Magazine, Ron Suskind interviewed an aide to the Bush White House:

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

It’s only been 3 years(!) and this quote ALREADY seems out of touch (with the reality they’ve created!)   The only thing that remains true from this quote is that solutions have, and will always emerge from the judicious study of discernible reality.  Empires create problems that empires cannot solve.  And problems exist outside of the control of empire, which is why empires inevitably dissolve, either by overreach, or overreaction.

We need a 21st century of international relations that teaches those Americans in power that a unilateral American empire is an unsustainable reality.

We need a theory that is based on the discernible realities of the problems we face in the 21st century, that are far different from the problems of the 17th, 18th, 19th and even the 20th century.

We need a theory that recognizes that a liberalized, open, global economy is the new reality for all of the world, and states must adapt accordingly or suffer the consequences of adhering to “quaint anachronisms.”

We need a theory that recognizes that the world is adding 90 million people per year, that we might already be at carrying capacity, that we are on the possible brink of a Malthusian catastrophe.

We need a theory that recognizes what  Jared Diamond teaches: that societies which destroy their own resources destroy themselves, and that today we are a de facto global society sharing global resources.

We need a theory that  stops relying on a theories of balance of power between states, and one that looks at non-state actors.  One that studies asymmetric gaps in capacities, instead of evaluating the capabilities of a single country.  One that redefines the idea of sovereignty, that universalizes the principles of human rights, that establishes and regulates the norms of global capitalism.

In the 21st century, it makes more sense to look at the galactic federations of science fiction than it does to look backward at the Holy Roman Empire.  And we have the capacities of reason, of predictive forecasting, of logic, and of history to guide us.  What we lack is the political leadership, and a progressive , normative, academic consensus.  So get on it people.

Categories: Uncategorized
Tagged: , , , , ,

Dropping Knowledge: Stating the Obvious

November 26, 2007 · 1 Comment

oil map of world

One thing I’ve learned studying IR Theory is that most decisions at their core are based on the theory of structural realism. That is to say, at a minimum all states make decisions to ensure their survival, and that states with greater capacities will seek to increase their capabilities (also known as “power maximization”). Great powers constrain each others’ maximization pursuits, resulting in what is known as a “balance of power.”

In today’s world, the key to power is oil. This point tends to get vastly understated in the discussions we have about current affairs. For example:

1. When we talk about the rising cost of oil (which is now flirting with $100 per barrel), we tend to neglect two important facts: first, that the price elasticity of demand for oil is extremely inelastic. That is to say, it doesn’t matter how much oil prices drop or rise, the quantity demanded remains the same. As President Bush said in this years’ State of the Union Address: “Our nation has an oil addiction.” And it’s not just our country, although we’ve got it the worst. It’s a global addiction.

Second, addiction by its very definition implies lack of control. Which brings us back full circle to the original point: whomever controls oil, controls the world. From the perspective of industry, this is because the factors of production of almost every sector include components that are sensitive to oil prices. These price sensitivities can have a direct impact on cost, as in manufacturing, or an indirect impact (via transportation costs), as in technology. And every sector has varying degrees of energy costs. So the more sensitive an industry is to oil prices, the more power whomever controls the oil supply has over that industry.

From the perspective of the consumer, rising oil prices are also felt directly (at the pump and airport), and indirectly, by both a constrained budget set (more money spent on gas means less for movies, clothes, etc.) and by the increased prices for consumer goods (the costs of which are passed along by producers). You know what they call the combination of rising prices, low interests rates, and decreased purchasing power? Inflation.

2. If I lost you above, I shouldn’t have. Go back and read it again. I’m just stating the obvious here. The first point was meant to establish just how important of a position the global control of oil is to whomever can secure it. Take a look at the map above. You see how little oil Europe has? China? The US? India? The less oil a country has, the more it is willing to give up to get oil. The more globally integrated oil is within consumption and factors of production, the more dependent consumers and producers become on oil.

Now take a look at this map. Notice how many US military bases are in the Middle East? You think that’s a coincidence?

3. The logical “next steps” everyone seems to recognize, especially given the environmental considerations of oil, is the pursuit of “alternative” sources of energy. There is of course some game theory to this though. Even if there were a cost-effective substitute for oil (and there most certainly is not, at least yet), the transition costs of adopting that alternative source across sectors would be enormous. And the countries that undertook such an enterprise would be buried by the “cheaters” who continued to use oil (and at an even lesser price due to drop-out of demand). No, oil is a fixed commodity, and unless we find some form of global governance to ration it (highly unlikely), it seems the race is on to squeeze the orange and horde the juice before its all gone in the next 25 years or so.

In the meantime, there is evidence to believe that the financial markets are grossly distorting the price of oil by placing a premium on the political risks associated with its extraction. Based on global supply and demand, it is argued that the price should not be any higher than $60 per barrel. Speculative trading creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, where oil rises to $100 because traders spread unsubstantiated rumors that China and India are insatiable, or Nigeria/Venezuela/Iran are unstable. The consumer ultimately suffers here for the reasons mentioned previously, including inflationary risks, and even risks of recession.

All of this information is extremely relevant when we consider the following foreign policy “debates.”

1.)  Iran and Nuclear Energy– Notice how much oil Iran has?  Notice how much they consume?  It would be economically advantageous if they were to consume nuclear energy and maximize foreign oil sales.  When hawks argue about Iran “obtaining nuclear weapons,” they’re really pushing an agenda that says “Iran holds the potential to leverage and balance the oil oligarchy, and once they obtain nukes we can’t foment a regime change.”

2.)  “Democratizing the Middle East”– The so called “Bush Doctrine” is a fanciful liberal justification for a realist policy.  Oil rich countries really only have two options:  1) illiberal autocracies (Saudi Arabia) or 2.)  illiberal democracies (Venezuela).  The distribution of wealth obtained from a natural resource is complicated in state systems because the citizens of the state feel entitled to the financial windfalls in some form or another.  Elites must either find their power base internally (by implementing fiscally irresponsible, short-term, socialist programs) or externally (by charging rent to the United States in return for a strong military presence or other forms of foreign “aid”).

3.)  Iraq — With the above point in mind, the US objective has become to contain the sectarian violence within the confines of Baghdad.  Let politics play out on a political stage, but keep the pipelines flowing in the fringe regions.  A true power-sharing constitutional government isn’t possible as long as the US is present: because the emergent elites are reliant on the US for security provision, they will never have popular support, and vice versa.  Not to say the US prefers a disorganized central government, only that it benefits from one.  Our presence is justified for as long as there is insecurity.

So that was my Thanksgiving dinner conversation with my parents to justify my expensive Ivy education.  No solutions provided, only a survey analysis.  My stepmother thinks that Hillary will have solutions to these problems.  I introduced her to Mark Penn, the next Karl Rove.  She’s no longer so optimistic.

Categories: Uncategorized
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

Dropping Knowledge: Rentier States

October 15, 2007 · 2 Comments

“Dropping Knowledge”… where I laymenize an important aspect of social science.

A rentier state is a government that derives all or a significant portion of its national revenue from the rent of its indigenous resources to external clients.  It is a term most commonly applied to oil rich countries (such as Saudi Arabia), which grant access and management of its petroleum deposits to the United States (or the UK, Russia, etc.) in return for a “rent.”

Rentier states are inherently undemocratic.  You see, the geo-political distribution of natural resources makes certain areas extremely profitable, by random chance.  If the states themselves lack the privately developed technology and infrastructure to efficiently extract and distribute their resources, they must (or are otherwise coerced to) outsource such activities.

The thing is, democratic societies detest foreign management of domestic resources (see: Venezuela, Bolivia), and will take steps to “socialize” their industries, directly tax the exports instead of charging rent to foreign entities, and redistribute the wealth domestically, for a much bigger return.  But democratic management of a single resource economy naturally entails a heck of a lot of fighting over “who gets what, and why.”  And government industries are never as efficient as private industries in terms of production, so global trade organizations (OPEC) get antsy when a member state isn’t hitting its productive capacity.

The most efficient governmental arrangement for single-resource economies is therefore the rentier model… small, authoritarian leaderships (Saudi royal family) that placate domestic population by subsidizing EVERYTHING (except, generally, higher education, since educated elites tend to challenge authority).  The tax costs “flow” through the rent charged to Americans for pumping out oil and establishing military bases in the region for security purposes, and no taxes are levied domestically.  The royal family invests the majority of its staggering financial resources back into US securities, which solidifies the dollar and keeps oil demand and prices high.

This brings up a couple important issues:

1)  Some “experts” like to state that Islam is incompatible with democracy.  Bush is actually right when he says this is false (just look at Indonesia).  It’s actually more likely that democracy cannot exist without a diversified economy.  The less access there is to economic opportunity, the less people are involved in the management of the economy.

2)  Democracy is about sovereignty, about the population making decisions based on the Wilsonian principles of self-determination.  If you look at Iraq, you have two major obstacles:  the first is the introduction of a political power struggle between rival populations (Sunni and Shia).  Sunnis are keenly aware of their minority position in Iraq and refuse to participate in a political framework that is illegitimately stacked against their interests.   Shias are a minority within the greater Muslim world and subscribe to a cultural narrative based on resistance to oppression and illegitimate authority.  Even if Shia leadership wanted to achieve stability under the watchful eyes (and guns) of the US, they would continue to be undermined by Iran, which has no interest in seeing a successful secular Shia-dominated democracy as a neighbor, because that would intensify domestic pressures for reform.

The second obstacle to self-determination is that clearly, the preferred interest of Iraqis is American withdrawal, if not now (in the short-term), certainly in the medium- and long-terms.  Iraqis are well aware that the Persian Gulf war resulted in the construction of permanent bases in Saudi Arabia.  And Secretary of Defense Gates has stated publicly that the US “has historically had a strong presence in the region, and we will continue to have a strong presence in the region, and it’s important for our friends, and those who might consider themselves our adversaries, to recognize that.”

The US would prefer for the political outcomes of Iraqi democratic elections to be friendly governments that actively engage in rentier relationships to assuage the masses and ensure their positions of power.   But the Iraqi population will never recognize a pro-US business government as legitimate.  We live in an Age of Information where covert regime changes or puppet governments are really, really hard to achieve.  In the meantime, as instability and civil war rage on in Iraq, the US is quietly consolidating four major bases around the strategic oil regions in the country.

3)  That last point is the most telling.  For all of the gum flapping that goes on about “the principals of liberal democracy” and “freedom,” we tend to get distracted from the realist perspective — that control of Iraq means control over the second largest oil reserve in the world.  Always keep in mind that oil is a finite resource whose price rises with scarcity.  It’s one thing for Saudi Arabia to sell oil at (relatively) competitive prices now… it’s another thing entirely for the US to be rationing the last drops of oil in 20 years, at monopoly prices (don’t forget about Alaska!).  That means the potential for wealth and global power… power over everyone who is addicted to oil… is assured to whomever controls Iraq and the Persian Gulf.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news to some, but that means the business and military pressures are too great on the executive branch of the US government to expect a withdrawal anytime soon, unless Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul magically win their primaries.  The US army/state department did not spend billions of dollars on bases and the world’s largest embassy to come home any time soon.

4)  With all of this in perspective, it’s important to recognize why Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize.  The real “Inconvenient Truth” isn’t necessarily that global warming is a real threat per se… I mean, that was already pretty obvious.  It’s that oil consumption is behind global warming, and that oil demand makes actions like the war in Iraq profitable.  By raising awareness about an ancillary (but still primary concern) of global climate change, Gore is indirectly calling for the necessity to research and develop alternative sources of sustainable energy that would compete with coal, oil and natural gas, making those resources’ price demands more flexible, and reducing the profit incentive of military control and domination of them.  Hence the “Peace” rationale in the Nobel Peace Prize.

The thing is, alternative energy sources are nowhere nearly as profitable as oil, even given the tremendous extraneous costs of financing strategic military bases around the world to protect the investments.  And the transition costs to adopting alternative energy sources would be tremendous in every sector, so oil companies can continue to pass the costs incurred from political instability and deeper, harder to get to reserves (i.e. the melting North Pole) onto the consumers.  I’ve read somewhere that the McKinsey Global Institute did an analysis of gasoline consumption in America, and found that demand wouldn’t significantly falter until the price went past $5.00 per gallon.  (I’m couldn’t find the exact report via a Google search, but hey, it’s midterms… give me a break).

The key of course is then electing leaders who are seriously committed to implementing policies of consumer regulation that prevent us from letting our aggregate demand get the better of us.  Individual conscience in the US is (generally) against empire, against war, against destruction of the environment, against global injustice.  But we speak with our wallets, we make demands through our purchases and consumption, and global suppliers react accordingly, even if the outcomes violate our individual consciences.

Categories: Uncategorized
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What I’m looking for in a candidate…

October 1, 2007 · 1 Comment


How I map on the political spectrum… slightly more authoritarian than the Dali Lama, slightly less communist than Ghandi.

Reader’s Note: The following blog post was written in early June. I may have spoken with many of you about Rohit and my intention to create a website based on the the ideas raised in this post. We both got extremely busy and were beaten to the punch by a site called selectsmart.com , which has all of the components I was looking for (minus a viral component… which is a HUGE letdown). Nevertheless, I suggest anyone looking for a good way to engage in the 2008 political campaign begin by seeing how they align with the candidates based on THE ISSUES they represent… and if you’re curious, I match with 1) Obama 2) Dodd 3) Bloomberg 4) Clinton.

In today’s political climate of defining labels, it’s always good to get a gauge of how well those labels actually define you. I tried the political compass questionnaire , and was somewhat surprised to see how far to the left I actually am on most issues.

This got me thinking…

In lieu of the meaningless ongoing primary debates, I would love to see candidates actually use their phony “profiles” on myspace or wherever to create a questionnaire like this. How great would it be if you could answer a slew of policy questions and see which candidate best matched your interests, based on their official policy positions?

This would serve two important purposes:

1.) I think there is a perception gap, especially for Edwards (who is much farther to the left than people assume, most notably on health care and labor), and Obama (whose stance on social issues is actually more conservative than you might think).

It would be great too if you had “make or break issues” that immediately took a candidate out of consideration. For instance, I would never vote for someone who didn’t unequivocally denounce torture.

Or if you could “weight” certain issues if you “strongly” agreed or disagreed with them: providing universal health care, choice for women, choice in education, bench-marked withdrawal in Iraq, etc. These are especially important to me.

And you could tackle potential wedge issues (which clearly will be immigration in 2008) by delineating the nuanced positions. Do you support guest worker programs? Amnesty? Conditional amnesty based on secured borders? Do you support civil unions? Gay marriage? Tax breaks for gay couples? Shared workplace benefits? Adoption?

2.) This would give the candidates free information directly from their constituents about what issues were most important. They could then tailor their messages to policy issues that speak to people instead of hew-hawing on the same talking points that are already losing their luster. The graph could map out three dimensionally and let participants know how the rest of America fell. And the coordinates of the candidates could drift over time as the debates rage on to see who really is steadfast and who is playing political gambit (HILLARY… COUGH COUGH).

Anyway, I don’t have the know-how to program this. Rohit, I’m looking at you here… want to design a beta version and pitch it to Obama?

UPDATE

So I was thinking more on this… why couldn’t we just make a site called politicalmatch.com or something? How great would that be? It would ask you an extensive survey of policy positions and then rank order the candidates based upon how “compatible” they are, or closely aligned, with your own ideologies?

That would take a HUGE step in leveling the horse-race money aspect of the primaries. You throw the media-managed “intangibles” out the window, and focus strictly on the issues. And it virtually eliminates the bully-pulpit aspect, which just results in a lot of head-nodding or hand-wringing anyway. Why not let people decide on their own how they feel instead of intimidating them with political BS?

Plenty of non-profits produce “report cards” that hold candidates accountable to their voting records (which, by the way, inherently benefits governors over congressman). That approach assumes that the subscribers to the organization (be it Sierra Club or Business Roundtable) are already aligned whole-sale with the mission statement of the particular organization.

Why not skip the third party altogether and let the voter discover for him or herself who best represents his or her particular multitude of interests?

Categories: Uncategorized
Tagged: , , , ,