Friday, January 11, 2008

CC Picks a Candidate, Chapter One: Images and First Impressions

First off, Sniffle.
Goodbye, Richardson, candidate that I loved, Candidate who thought globally, Candidate who wanted to scrap "No Child Left Behind*," four-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, the man who had SAT ACROSS A NEGOTIATION TABLE FROM SADDAM HUSSEIN AND GOTTEN THE RELEASE OF TWO AMERICAN PRISONERS FOR CRYIN'OUT LOUD, not that anybody cared.**

Anyway, I am candidateless for the moment, so I'm going to start a series where I compare where the candidates stand on the issues. If I help myself figure out where I stand, great. If I help you, that's even better.

But first, my initial impressions of the candidates going in:

Honestly, I've never liked the man. His understanding of economics doesn't impress me. His assholishness about Hillary's crying (particularly given his own frequent use of his wife's cancer and his son's death) was a helpful reminder that sexism still does very much exist on the campaign trail. Seriously, he may not want an emotional woman's hand on the nuclear button, but I don't want the hand of a guy who proves his masculinity by being a bully either.

For the record, I do NOT think that an Edwards supporter should refrain from voting for him because he's not black and he's not a woman. But I think there are a lot of better reasons not to. And in fairness, I also don't believe in voting FOR Edwards because you think that Americans are too sexist and racist for a Democrat to win the white house any other way.

I get an asshole vibe from the guy. At the same time, I don't know that I want a man whose wife is dying running the country. Maybe I'm a bitch for that, but I'd rather not be speculating which role is getting short shrift, president or husband/father. And I'm going to be speculating that everytime there's a fuckup in the Edwards presidency while his first lady is dying. Again, maybe I'm a bitch for that.

He's really young. My inclination right now is to say "Go home, dude. Take care of your wife and get some experience and some class and I'll reconsider my position in four years."

But I still basically think he'd do a good job.

I'm not sure that Morgan Freeman has done the world a service by playing seemingly a billion "mystical and wise African-American man" roles. I think Obama has both profited and suffered from that stereotype. But at least people aren't making fun of him for crying and making a fuss over the fact that he has wrinkles and calling his laugh a "cackle"***.

I don't know about this guy, y'all. He has vision, but so did a Clinton circa 1996 and while Clinton did a good job, none of his visions came true and his experience sure came in handy. And honestly, Richardson's foreign policy creditials make Obama look like a Junior High School math club president by comparison. ((I know, I know, I need to let it go. But give me a freaking break, Obama cast some (admittedly) good votes on Darfur, while Richardson went to Darfur to negotiate for peace. He WENT TO DARFUR and got them talking. Didn't work that time, but still... I know, I know. Let it go.))

What I know about Obama seems fine, but that I know so much less about the substance of his views than I know the other candidates bugs me.

But I still basically think he'd do a good job.

I do think LBJ doesn't get the credit he deserves for the good he did. But that was still a stupid thing to say.

Moving on, the Clinton years were awesome ones in many respects. Again, people, largest peacetime economic expansion in the nation's history. I'm pretty sure we would STILL be electing Bill if it weren't for term limits.

My impression is that she's the only remaining candidate to have a truly global foreign policy, but I hate that much of her domestic policy has a populist "there oughta be a law" ring and I think she's way wrong on criminal justice issues.

As a former aspiring First Woman President candidate myself (age 4-8), I have to say that having the first Woman president be someone who more or less got the job because of her marriage annoys me. Because if she wins, she will have.

But I still basically think she'd do a good job.

Yep, the racist articles in his newsletter really sucked and show poor judgment. It was awesome to have someone out there getting people excited about the constitution. I hated some of his views, but I really liked other ones.

For the record, I don't think Paul was a racist and I still think the argument "Well, a guy whose probably lying said something bad about someone I don't like, so it must be true" is bizarre and crappy coming from liberals who are quick to accuse Republicans of believing in "truthiness."

Paul and I have similar taste in political enemies.

And I get that the man doesn't have a chance in hell. I'm going to look into his ideas anyway, if only to emphasize how similar the other three candidates really are.

And I don't know if he would have done a good job. But he would have been fun to watch.


I will continue the candidate comparison later/tomorrow with my first four-way examination of the issues.


*The remaining candidates want to overhaul it in similar-sounding ways. A comparison will probably be Chapter two in this series.

** I'm still mad at the American public for not watching Veronica Mars, and now they pull this?

***Having the most annoying laugh of anyone in history hasn't held George W. Bush back much.


PG said...

Paul has some good ideas, such as opposing a flag burning ban (Hillary Clinton, unfortunately, seems to think such a ban would be constitutional) and ending subsidies to the oil and gas industry. However, those ideas tend to be overrepresented online by his supporters, while his not-so-good ideas aren't as well known. I've stated my objections to Paul ad nauseum in the comments on this blog, but I'll abuse CC's hospitality some more.

Judging by what Bill's said, Paul's apparently dishonest about the history of marriage in America; he's definitely dishonest about the Civil Right Act of 1964 (by claiming that it enacted affirmative action and racial quotas); he wants to deport all visa-overstayers regardless of their individual circumstances; he wants to change the 14th Amendment to kill birthright citizenship; he supports "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"; he opposes anti-discrimination law on not only constitutional but also moral grounds.

I haven't mentioned it before, but he also wants to withdraw from the UN and NATO; he justifies requesting $400 million in earmarks by saying that otherwise "federal bureaucrats" would determine where the money went (if it's unconstitutional and market-distorting to have the federal government do any of this funding, why is Paul getting involved by picking specific projects to favor?). His stance on the First Amendment seems to be anti-incorporation (i.e., that citizens have no First Amendment rights against states, only against the federal government) and plays to the ignorant, e.g. by sponsoring a Constitutional amendment to protect the right to individual and group prayer in public schools -- even though no one has read the Constitution to say that individuals and groups *cannot* pray at school. (If we really want to increase prayer in school, we don't need a Constitutional amendment, we need more pop quizzes. Seriously, prayer *by* students always is permissible; the problems arise when students try to force it on other students, as in prayers over the loudspeaker at football games and graduation ceremonies. And contrary to the religious right's hype, the school cases often are brought by people of minority religions, not by atheists.)

Paul also voted in favor of legislation to ban particular abortion procedures, despite declaring that this area should be left to the several states. His argument that the "Partial Birth" abortion ban was necessary to offset Roe v. Wade doesn't make sense; federal legislation is no less subject to constitutional challenge than state legislation is. If a state had replicated Congress's process in passing such a ban, Justice Kennedy and four other justices would have OK'ed that too. He's opposed to the federal death penalty because of the mistakes that have been made, but apparently doesn't see those mistakes as a problem at the state level (even though the federal government executes very few people -- only three since 1963 -- whereas Paul's home state of Texas alone has executed 379 people since 1974). He supports the "Defense of Marriage Act," which creates exploitable inconsistencies within federal law.

I think it's great to get people thinking about the Constitution. I also think it's dangerous to misrepresent the Constitution and constitutional law. Someone who frequently refers to the 9th Amendment as a protector of states' rights is not my idea of a Constitutional guru -- Paul seems obsessed with the idea of states' powers to the exclusion of citizens' rights. See, e.g., his desire to repeal the 17th Amendment, which allows citizens to elect Senators directly instead of having this done by the state legislature.

Chalicechick said...

Honestly, I think Paul's kind of a dead issue anyway, but your objections are well noted.

I liked some of Paul's more mainstream views, and those seemed to be the basis of what he planned to do as President. I don't know where his views ended and the stuff one has to do to get elected in rural Texas began. And I didn't much care as long as he didn't do any of the weirder stuff as president, which I don't think he would have.

But anyway, with the stuff that came out about his newsletter, it's pretty clear that he's dead in the water.


Comrade Kevin said...

I think Edwards is a lightweight, pure and simple. Nothing he says impresses me and I get the feeling he isn't intelligent enough to be President. I can't take him seriously and I probably never will.

When Hillary showed her human side by crying I was not reminded of sexist stereotypes but instead reminded of how totally out of character a move it was for her. She hasn't come across as a particularly warm, sincere, authentic person and that's the reason why you saw a massive amount of criticism thrown in her direction. If we are wrong to think such things, we have certainly never been provided with many reasons not to.

Obama has not been criticized for his laugh, his wrinkles, or any overt emotional displays but he has certainly been criticized for other similar factors beyond his control like his level of education, his youth and inexperience, and the premise that he was somehow "not black enough" to be taken seriously by the Black community at large.

Granted, I agree with you---he does play off of the Sidney Poitier "Good Negro" stereotype but that just may be his personality. Hillary loses points for her personality and he gains points for his. That may not be fair, but perception is a powerful reality.

As for who would make a good president? The jury's still out on that for me. I'll only make that judgment based on their actions in office.

Comrade Kevin said...

I forgot Paul.

Paul holds too many right-wing position statements for my liking. He seems to be a fundamentally decent person, motivated by personal conviction rather than political gain. He caters to a small subsection of the GOP base that considers itself socially and politically progressive to an extent, but not nearly to the degree as the rest of the Democratic party.

Anonymous said...

Paul's views are pretty much his views. I've personally known a congressional staffer for him. He votes his conscience, and the Texas GOP establishment has tried to take him out in primaries more than once for some of his out-there views.

I also know someone who worked for an opponent of his in a congressional race who claims Paul's campaign started a "whisper campaign" about said opponent's possible Jewish ancestry, which makes me uncomfortable.

As far as Obama's positions, he actually has a pretty detailed Issues section on his website.

Stephanie said...

Clearly you are still grieving for Richardson. :) Perhaps he'll be a vp candidate?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that you said that Edwards was too young, but didn't say the same about Obama. (am I remembering that right?) Obama was born Aug 4, 1961, while Edwards was born June 10, 1953, which makes him more than eight years older. (Hillary was born Oct. 26, 1947.)

Chalicechick said...

My primary issue with Obama and Edwards is that neither has much experience.

Obama is younger, but became active in politics very soon after getting out of school. Edwards is older, but he was a trial attorney for 20 years.


ogre said...

what kim said.

Personally, I find "too young" to be an inane argument.

There's a constitutional requirement to have achieved a certain age (at inauguration, as I recall). Anyone who meets that is, by definition, NOT too young.

I seek to vote first for what I perceive as character--that gut sense from a candidate's record and behavior and affect that suggests to me what he or she will be like in office. The president gets to propose and argue for policy--and Congress gets to decide if it will be. It's an executive post--execute the law, implement, run things. So the question is what the "flavor" of the candidate suggests about the flavor of the administration.

It's why I won't vote for someone I think is slimy. Even if I like the policy views.

Then I look at policy because it's suggestive--but only that--of what the candidate would like to take on, and where we'd be going. But that's largely honed with an eye to media reactions, attacks from others, and looking electable.

In the end, the president needs to be someone who's reliable, honest, hard working, sincerely cares about the good of the People and will run an open and transparent administration. Because of the bully pulpit role, someone who's able to inspire is very appealing.

Paul's not one.

At the moment, I lean Obama, Edwards, Clinton, in that order, for the reasons above.

Chalicechick said...

(((Personally, I find "too young" to be an inane argument.)))

Then both Ogre and Kim will be pleased when you reread my post and see that I didn't make that argument.

The argument that I made was that both Obama and Edwards lack experience, especially foreign policy experience.

Electing a president with little foreign policy experience didn't work well for us last time.

IMHO, Ogre's description of his ideal candidate describes Jimmy Carter quite well.

Carter was a great guy, not so great a president. His intentions were awesome, but he didn't run the country particularly well.


Joel Monka said...

"I'm pretty sure we would STILL be electing Bill if it weren't for term limits." I doubt it- he never did reach 50% of the vote, remember. Absent Ross Perot, Bush the elder would have had a second term.

Anonymous said...

What is EBITDA/Employee (millions)?

Anonymous said...

You said, "He's really young. My inclination right now is to say "Go home, dude. Take care of your wife and get some experience and some class and I'll reconsider my position in four years.""
Having started the paragraph with "he's really young", the "get some experience" sounded like you meant life experience rather than political experience, and you didn't specify.

ogre said...

CC, that's a factually accurate statement. You didn't say Edwards is too young. But you pointed out his "youth" and the man's 55. Most places, he qualifies for a senior's discount now.

Go home and take care of his wife? His wife isn't in need of his care. She has a cancer, yes. It's slow. It's not likely to do anything for years, maybe decades, that would call for him to be tending to her--and he's a lawyer, not a doctor, dammit. What's he going to do? Worse, it's quite clear that she doesn't have any intention of taking to her bed and actively wants to be out there doing useful things herself and wants him to do the same.

As for foreign policy experience... there are very few venues in which anyone can get meaningful professional experience in the field. It's been a field in which presidents have sought and relied heavily on others for a long time.

What was Clinton's experience? (Bush senior has some claim--and didn't do a particularly brilliant job) Reagan's? Ford's? Nixon's?

Carter? Yeah, I suppose that's correct. His flaws were three-fold, I think. First, he micromanaged. I don't know where one would have gone to get an insight into that tendency, but it's a good thing to remember. I don't see that tendency in any of the three Democratic candidates at this time--but then, I'm not sure how to look for it. Second, he was unlucky--there's not a damned thing that any president could have done to alter the oil crisis with regards to OPEC. The effort to rescue the hostages failed through no fault of his, and then Reagan's campaign actively undercut efforts to bring about a resolution, for political gain. Third, he may simply have been too "good" or too "decent" a person for such a post. But I'm not persuaded that's a valid claim; still I list it.

I'm not ashamed that Carter was president. I wish I could say that about many of the other 20th century presidents. There are a few. Not many.

Chalicechick said...

FWIW, one of the things I loved about Richardson was that the man had sort of a global vision. He really seemed to see America in the context of the rest of the world.

If Edwards were intent on running for president, I wish that he had done something with the last four years that indicated an interest in the rest of the world*. Instead, he was a professor, worked for his own PAC and worked for an investment group that he ended up condemning after they started buying up mortgages in post-Katrina New Orleans and doing quickie foreclosures.

It's not like it would have been impossible for Edwards to GET experience and do some good.


*He was pretty much a figurehead on the one Council on Foreign Relations report that his name was on.

Claire said...

i was also a richardson fan. hope is not totally lost, i would love to see him as a VP candidate. i'm not sure how much hope i should have for that, but still.