shimajiro comments

Posted in: Obama victory sets off jubilation across U.S. See in context

Romney is widely viewed as someone who could handle the economy. He's conservative, and with him coming from Massachusets, with deep roots in Michigan, he could quite possibly carried either or both of those states.

He certainly would have had more appeal to a segment of the social conservatives - although not necessarily evangelicals like Huckabee who loathe the Mormons - but would he have had as much appeal as McCain to independents and disaffected Democrats. I don't think so. McCain had crossover appeal.

It would have been tough to overcome the first black nominee regardless.

I would agree that there was, if anything, a reverse-Bradley effect going on among whites and that black turn-out was exceptionally high. That said, I think Obama's victory had more to do with the political climate - and Obama's huge spending advantage. Let's not forget that. What proportion of the five percentage points that separated McCain and Obama in the popular vote do you suppose can be attributed to the fact that Obama outspent McCain by 2-1 or more?

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Posted in: Comedians sharpen claws for Obama presidency See in context

Perhaps the Democrats, in their zeal to muzzle mostly right-leaning talk-radio hosts, will reinact the Fairness Doctrine as some among their ranks seem to hope.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairness_Doctrine

I can't see why they would spare the mostly left-leaning comedians, playwrites and documentarians the same even-handed approach to the regulation of speech.

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Posted in: Obama victory sets off jubilation across U.S. See in context

Well, I would have preferred that McCain had won but my hat's off to Obama and his team. His campaign raised prodigous amounts of money in both the primary and general and the candidate himself stayed on message and comitted relatively few gaffes.

I'm proud of my country for having elected its first black president and wish Mr. Obama well. I just hope he chooses not to indulge the protectionist wing of his party or pass card check legistlation. Such actions could only exacerbate the economic malaise.

All in all, I think John McCain ran a creditable campaign. He did well to win 47% of the vote given the state of the economy, Bush's unpopularity and the unbalanced media coverage. I don't think any of his competitors for the Republican nominsation could have done as well.

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Posted in: Obama vows not to question anyone's patriotism See in context

But it's the republicans that cried when he didn't wear the trinket on his lapel.

Actually it was Obama who, over a year ago, took the affirmative step of stopping to wear the flag pin and ostentatiously explaining that he had done so because it "became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security."

I think it is unreasonable for him or you to expect that he would not attract attention (and some criticism) for having done so. He was, afterall, criticizing others who continued to wear patriotic badges.

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Posted in: Obama vows not to question anyone's patriotism See in context

Betzee -

Shima, I simply think McCain looks a bit silly denouncing Wesley Clark's criticism of his record and how it relates to his ability to serve as president when he never denounced a personal smear campaign which finished his chances back in 2000.

I don't recall, didn't he?

If you make your military record an asset then it's fair game for others to question that or, more precisely, "fill in the details."

Clark's effusive praise of Kerry's military service four years ago is in stark contrast to his current criticism of McCain's military service.

John Kerry's mistake was in leaving out his anti-war activities, maybe the only principled stand he took in his career, leaving him vulnerable to the swift boat campaign.

That and making certain mistatements of fact about his tour of duty and assuming that only those of his former comrades who held a high opinion of him would be heard.

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Posted in: Obama vows not to question anyone's patriotism See in context

Betzee -

LOL. Rather than simply agreeing with me that Sen. McCain is, in this one respect at least, admirable, you go into considerable length casting aspersions on elements of his party and then, lest anyone get the idea you might have gone soft on the Republican candidate himself, throw in a criticism to boot. Priceless. Don't worry, Betzee, no one would ever mistake you for a McCain supporter.

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Posted in: Obama vows not to question anyone's patriotism See in context

adaydream

I wasn't saying that you said anything of the such. I was just tagging onto your post.

You were trying to associate me with beliefs I do not hold. I asked for evidence, suspecting (correctly, it now appears) you had none.

I was only stating that there are those who would judge a person because of as trinket he may or may not be wearing.

Clearly, there are such people - Obama among them, depending upon what day you ask him - but not I.

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Posted in: Obama vows not to question anyone's patriotism See in context

Betzee-

So you're saying we should trust McCain will do what he thinks is right after he's elected to office?...It would have meant taking on the GWB administration...

He's long been an outspoken proponent of banning torture and closing Guantanamo. As you suggest, his position didn't win him many plaudits (or votes) in the Republican primaries. McCain deserves credit for taking a principled stand that was unpopular within his own party.

He could have delivered those Republican votes in his capacity as a Senator.

He'd have far more influence as president and leader of his party.

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Posted in: Obama courts conservatives with new faith program See in context

A week or so ago when Sen. Obama was being criticized by one evangelist or another for comments he had made about faith in America, I had the opportunity to hear a lengthy excerpt from the speech in question (i.e, the one the evangelist was criticizing) on the radio. I was very impressed. Among other things I was happy to hear him acknowledge that there is a place within our society for godless heathens such as myself and that believers cannot expect non-believers to be persuaded by policy arguments grounded in faith. Good on him, as they say.

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Posted in: Obama vows not to question anyone's patriotism See in context

Betzee -

Yet when McCain, presumably based on his own experience as a POW who was tortured, speaks out against torture he runs up against the party line.

Only Nixon could go to China, as the saying goes. IMO, McCain is better positioned to champion detainees rights both because his personal experience grants him a measure of moral authority and because he's better positioned to deliver Republican support/votes for desirable legistlation that most Democrats will, in any case, support.

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Posted in: Obama vows not to question anyone's patriotism See in context

Betzee: Yet when McCain, presumably based on his own experience as a POW who was tortured, speaks out against torture he runs up against the party line.

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Posted in: Obama vows not to question anyone's patriotism See in context

adaydream -

He started wearing his lapel flag pin again because people like yourself judge someone's heart and patritism based on trinkets worn.

That's the kind of gratuitous ad hominem I have come to expect from people who lack a good argument. I trust you will be unable to substantiate your charge by producing any statement of mine that would suggest that I equate trinket wearing with patriotism. For in fact, I do not.

Not the truths that he speaks. <

Do you suppose, now that he's taken up wearing a flag pin again, that Sen. Obama still thinks that trinket wearing is an inauthentic expression of patriotism? Personally I doubt it and wonder to what to attribute the change. Does he lack the courage of his convictions or is he just willing to do anything to get elected? Your comment suggests you believe it is the latter. Could be.

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Posted in: Obama vows not to question anyone's patriotism See in context

Silly stuff. After 9/11 Sen. Obama, like many other Am. pols, took to wearing a flag pin on his lapel. Sometime later he stopped wearing the thing and himself made a campaign issue of public displays of patriotism by desribing flag pin-wearing as a sign of inauthentic patriotism. Now he's taken to wearing one again - and criticizing pols (like his earlier self) for questioning others' patriotism.

Although I have my doubts about his wife, I think Sen. Obama is admirably patriotic - but, given his recent flipflopping on the issue, I think it's a bit rich for him to be lecturing others on the subject now.

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Posted in: EU lifts Cuba sanctions See in context

Oops - I had intended for my post above to begin: "The US should support Cuba's economic integration...

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Posted in: EU lifts Cuba sanctions See in context

The US Cuba's economic integration both to improve the sorry lot of Cubans and because it will tend to undermine the Castro brothers' authoritarian regime.

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Posted in: McCain disavows aide's comment about terrorism See in context

If the Pew polls are to believed most foreigners back Obama in the General so perhaps they'll refrain from attacking the US between now and election day rather than give McCain a boost. But seriously, it's difficult to predict how a major attack would affect the election.

In any case, the comment was irresponsible and McCain was right to distance himself from it.

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Posted in: Obama details plan to tax excess oil company profits See in context

Taka,

I'm all for ending subsidies of all kinds - including those for corn ethanol aand other green energies (which Obama supports). But I'd oppose caps on salaries or profits. I'm afraid unintended consequences will leave us all worse off. We have only to look to Venezeula to see how quickly the unintended consequences of well-intended, socially-minded government economic reforms have run a nation's economy into the ground.

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Posted in: Obama details plan to tax excess oil company profits See in context

Taka:

Instead of taxing windfall profits, why not cut the oil company's subsidies? The point of taxing windfall profits is to get more money.

Now there's an idea.

Will Obama propose to prop up oil industry profits if they dip too low, one wonders? Would President Obama similarly manage the profits of other industries within an acceptable ban?

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Posted in: Phoenix lander confirms presence of ice on Mars See in context

Whatever else it may accomplish it has been a successful mission. It will be interesting to see what's suspended in the ice.

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Posted in: Obama says he won't take public campaign funds See in context

Thanks, Taka.

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Posted in: Obama says he won't take public campaign funds See in context

I'm not bothered by the fact that Obama is forgoing the public funds and seeking to fund his campaign privately or by the allegedly "obscene" amount of campaign cash he expects to raise - more power to him. [I don't like McCain's advocacy for contribution limits and he has shown a touch of hypocrisy by violating the spirit of campaing laws he helped to enact].

Nor am I especially bothered that Obama has broken his campaign promise. After a couple of narrow, hard fought losses to Bush, many Democrats will doubtlessly silently cheer his ruthless opportunism. I confess I could muster a grudging respect as well were Obama not so disingenuous about the reasons why he has broken his promise.

Surely the real reason is that when he made the promise he had no idea of his capacity to tap into a nigh inexhaustable reserve of private donations via the internet. In retrospect the promise was a tactical blunder. Cold political calculation now tells him that the PR hit he will take for his hypocrisy today will be more than offset by the financial advantage he will gain over McCain. He's compromising his (at least professed) principles to increase the likelihood he'll win.

Instead Obama implies that the corrupt system and his unscrupulous rivals have forced his hand. But that's just political spin. Yet one more example that Obama is not the change agent he professes to be. Not a new kind of pol, just same 'ol same old.

Obama said McCain and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and political action committees.

As if he and his party were not. Personally, the only attack ad I've seen in the General election cycle so far - just today in fact - has been one targetting (and shamelessly misrepresenting) McCain.

[Obama] secured the endorsement of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a political powerhouse union that was a strong backer of his former Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Earth to Obama, unions are every bit as much special interest/lobbying groups as the "corporations" whose motives you impugn with regularity.

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Posted in: Gay, lesbian couples rush to get married in California See in context

Some rights should never be up to the ballot box and that is why we have a judiciary to balance state and citizen interests.

I disagree. The judiciary should interpet and apply the law as it was intended by the lawmakers, not as they might wish it to be.

Some of the most controversial racial and voting rights issues would never have been won at the ballot - it took courageous and bold justices to make the call.

Almost certainly true - though in many cases the public support would likely have evolved in the same direction. But if the law only means what judges want it to mean rather than what they understand to be the intent of the applicable legislation, then the law means nothing. IMO, rule of law is much preferable to rule of men.

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Posted in: Obama rebukes McCain; says bin Laden free due to GOP tactics See in context

These are the same guys who helped to engineer the distraction of the war in Iraq at a time when we could have pinned down the people who actually committed 9/11,”

Obama should not assert speculation as fact. What's more America's best chance to secure or kill OBL would seem to have been when he was holed up in Tora Bora or shortly thereafter. That was well before the "distraction" of the war in Iraq.

The Republican argument proved less effective in 2006 when then Bush adviser Karl Rove said the Democrats had a pre-Sept 11 view of the world and Republicans had a post-Sept 11 terror attacks perspective. In November of that year, Democrats captured enough congressional seats to seize control of the House and Senate.

To the extent that Republican policies have been successful in safeguarding the country from terrorist attacks, they have ironically reduced the electoral potency of the security issue that has helped Republicans politically. If the situation in Iraq continues to improve and ther are no terrorist attacks before election day, then US voters will turn their minds to domestic concerns such as the economy and health care - areas where Dem policies are favored.

Obama agreed with the Supreme Court ruling last week that detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have a constitutional right to challenge their indefinite imprisonment in U.S. civilian courts. McCain derided the ruling as “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

Obama and the SC are right to want to extend greater legal protection to the detainees. Even alleged illegal enemy combatants are due the presumption of innocence and due process.

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Posted in: Sarkozy announces French return to NATO command See in context

Welcome symbolism but the cut in troop strengh is the real news and that is to be regretted. Taken together with the limitations many European nations place on their soldiers' ability to actually wage war, cuts in troop strenght and spending endanger the alliance. It is becoming ever-more lopsided.

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Posted in: Gay, lesbian couples rush to get married in California See in context

While I think it would have been much preferable for gay marriage to have been legalized via the ballot box rather than legislated from the bench the result is still to welcomed.

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Posted in: Obama seizes on growing disapproval of Bush policies to differentiate himself from McCain See in context

...that ought be realized

"...that ought to be regulated" I meant to say.

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Posted in: Obama seizes on growing disapproval of Bush policies to differentiate himself from McCain See in context

Instead, Obama is perceived as the one best able to handle the economy, and has repeatedly shifted the debate in that direction.

Obama has done a better job of tapping into voter anxiety about the economy and has proposed more and more comprehensive measures to deal with the effects of the slowing economy and globalization but, IMO, his economic policy is the worse of the two major party candidates. Obama would undercut the one cylinder of the American economic engine that is still firing reliably - the export sector - by adopting protectionist trade measures. He would also burden U.S. companies with a higher minimum wage, more regulation and unfunded mandates. Finally, his education program offers little hope of improving worker productivity which is the only means by which the US will raise its standard of living over time.

He again criticized McCain’s proposal for a temporary halt in the federal gasoline tax.

The tax is a bad idea but, IMO, not worth the time that Obama devotes to it on the campaign trail.

It would “actually do real harm,” Obama said, by reducing revenue for road and bridge construction even as oil companies make record profits.

Unfortunately both Obama and McCain seem to buy into the idea that windfall profits and high CEO salaries are ill-gotten gains that ought be realized. It's not appropriate for governments to regulate the profitability or cost structure of privately-owned companies.

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Posted in: Gore endorses Obama See in context

Better late than never, I suppose.

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Posted in: Obama, amid criticism from McCain, says he will visit Iraq See in context

[Obama] said he told Zebari that he was encouraged by the reductions of violence in Iraq, but that as president he will carefully move to end U.S. combat operations in Iraq.

While the improving situation in Iraq may well allow for a quicker drawdown of US troops from Iraq that both candidates want, it would be unwise to make a rapid drawdown the overarching goal. A precipitous withdrawal of US troops at this juncture could lead to disaster for Iraq, its neighbors, the US and the wider world. Better, I think, for both candidates to study the situation there and avoid tying their hands with campaign promises they may later regret.

Last week Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the talks on the status of U.S. troops were stalemated, but Zebari told CNN television on Sunday that was no longer the case. He did not elaborate.

While it is understandable that Pres. Bush would want to take steps to sustain his policy beyond his departure from office and for the Maliki administration to desire a deal that would reduce uncertainty about what the election will bring, they should avoid committing their successors to a long-term policy. Let the American and Iraqi politicians campaign on the issue and seek mandates from their respective electorates.

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Posted in: Iraqi violence down See in context

The trends of the past few months have indeed been heartening. Here's hoping a virtuous and self-reinforcing cycle has set in.

In the meantime, Sunnis who once shunned politics are gearing up to contest provincial elections this fall.

The Sunni's partial boycott of the 2005 elections robbed them of political clout. Hopefully this fall's election will correct this imbalance and give the incoming government greater legitimacy in the eyes of Sunnis and provide them with a political outlet for grievances that have previously found expression in acts violence.

Despite the signs of progress, recent opinion surveys show that more than 60 percent of the American public opposes the war and believes it will end badly.

The presidential election could well turn on whether the positive trend in Iraq can be sustained and the degree to and speed with which the American public's - but particularly independents' - perceptions of the prospect for success there can change. Accordingly Dem and Republican partisans will be working overtime trying to shape such perceptions.

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