Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More on the candidates...

Article tidbits for this week's 'toon:
  • I don't think you will see me seriously trash Obama any time soon (at least not with the contempt that I reserve for, say, Joe Lieberman). Upon reflection, while he was not my first choice, I definitely prefer him over Hillary and will enthusiastically support him if the alternative is a McCain/Huckabee ticket.

    I've been hesitant to jump on the "he's so inspiring," "he's just like Kennedy" bandwagon for exactly the reasons stated in the cartoon, but Robert Parry makes an excellent substantive point in favor of supporting him because of his oratorical gifts:
    ...another factor that plays to Obama’s advantage as the prospective nominee – when compared to Hillary Clinton – is that the Right’s powerful media apparatus and the Republican attack strategies appear less successful against Democrats with strong oratorical skills and the ability to inspire enthusiasm and passion.

    Over the past two decades when the Democrats have put up candidates who are competent but who lack pizzazz – think Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry – the Republicans have been most effective in leveraging their media advantages to damage the Democrats and deny them the White House.

    In contrast, Bill Clinton bested the Republican machine by exploiting his impressive speaking skills and by generating excitement and hope. Even though the Right never gave up trying to destroy President Clinton, his ability to communicate with the American people was always his saving grace.

    Edward Lazerus also points out:
    Sen. Barack Obama is a disciple of Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe and a constitutional scholar in his own right. Obama's intellectual roots, as well as his early career, are deeply grounded in the idea that progress can be achieved through law, including through the judicial process.

    How glorious will it be, after the last 8 years, just to be able to say that the person occupying the oval office is a scholar of anything other than Ms. Pac-Man.

  • I will, however, continue to poke Obama with a stick on issues where his positions bother me. Jen Sorensen points out some of the flaws in his positions on health care. Matt Stoller also talks about the problem of the Dems' squishiness on issues like the FISA bill:
    I don't want to diminish the utility of Obama and Clinton coming out against this bill. But at certain moments in history, principled clarity is what's required in a political leader. America is in a bad situation, and it's problematic that our leaders have and continue to betray us at all levels. I suppose clarity isn't required all the time, but it is surprising that neither Clinton nor Obama could offer clarity on such an obvious matter.
    Big business shouldn't be allowed to break the law. It's not a tough call, and it doesn't require caveats.

    (More on the FISA bill later.)

    Charlie Savage on the use of signing statements:
    ...while all the Democrats condemned Bush's use of signing statements, Clinton, Edwards, and Obama each said that they would use them too - just less aggressively. Obama said the problem with Bush's signing statements is not the device itself, but rather that Bush has invoked legal theories that most constitutional scholars consider "dubious" when reserving his alleged right to bypass certain laws.

  • Paul Krugman on the Republicans:
    What seems harder to understand is what’s happening on the other side — the degree to which almost all the Republicans have chosen to align themselves closely with the unpopular policies of an unpopular president. And I’m not just talking about their continuing enthusiasm for the Iraq war. The G.O.P. candidates are equally supportive of Bush economic policies.

    ...[for example]...

    Mr. McCain now says that he supports making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Not only that: he’s become a convert to crude supply-side economics, claiming that cutting taxes actually increases revenues.

No comments: