Hey, Hillary.

How well did suing to change an admittedly bogus election scheme work for Al Gore?

Situations like this show the need for reform, but they very rarely apply to the current situation.  Obama wins.  Why won’t his site take money specifically for the general?

Reinventing Liberal Policy

What we’ve always tried to do here is challenge a failed liberalism. Failed in the sense that it has failed to win. Most, but not all, of the Democratic Party’s failures over the years stem from packaging less than issues, but they have been dead wrong on a few major issues, as has the liberal intelligentsia.

You see, the political power behind liberal ideas is not proportionate to its support. Why is this? It’s because too many people at the bottom of the economic ladder see liberals spending a lot of energy on interest groups that don’t help them, or so they think. In other words, I think I’ve fully come around to Thomas Frank’s position in What’s The Matter With Kansas.

The fracturing of the New Deal coalition occurred long ago. It’s not an error to correlate that fracture with the inclusion of blacks. The self-spiting enablers of the conservatives see that it’s rough all over, and they aren’t getting any help so why should anyone else? I’ll vote for people who stand up for my church or what property rights I do have.

It’s hard for educated, bookish people to fathom, but the truth is, fancy ideas on both sides of the spectrum will never carry the day–not in a democracy.

In order to realign that political power–the sheer number of people suffering economically–with the majority views requires something major that helps everyone. For a long time, I’ve felt that that should be universal health care.

It would let people work more freely, and let employers off the hook for the responsibility. It would probably also cost a lot less and let employers raise wages. People would see that government can work, and can work for everyone. As the old lady said, don’t let the government meddle with my Medicare.

Medicare is extremely popular and extremely efficient. It would restore the concept of government as a possibility in the minds of many kitchen table voters.

And getting those voters to vote in their own interest again is what it will take for another true realignment.

Because Hillary Clinton has now failed twice to bring us universal health care, Obama must reengineer his faulty health care plan to be truly universal, with subsidies for the poor.

Conservatism is like a cancer. You can cut out the big tumors, like the presidency, or even the control of congress, but as long as the small cells fester throughout the body, the tumors will reappear. It is often only when the body is dying does it accept radical enough treatment to eliminate the smaller cancers.

That means we have to put abortions, identity politics, gay marriage, and even some environmental issues to the side for a moment. If we don’t, we will never prevail on those issues, because the cancer will still exist, and will rise up to stop those issues from progressing again.

But it also means the Republicans must put tax cuts and frivolous wars on the side as well.

All of this may sound a little radical at this point, but if you look at what the economy is about to deliver to us, I have a feeling this won’t sound so strange in 2009.


There was a debate? I didn’t realize the primaries were still going on.

Seriously–we’re down to talking about who supported NAFTA when, and minutia of the Iraq withdrawal. If that’s all you’ve got left, charisma wins. Every. Single. Time. Obama’s healthcare FUD (“Hillary’s plan will make you buy it even if you can’t afford it is universal”) isn’t doing a damn thing.

NAFTA was a mistake. But it’s easy to forget how good it sounded in the early 90s to most people. First and foremost, it was a reaction, in the post-Cold-War world to the looming economic power of the European Union, and the still lingering fears of Japanese dominance.

Let’s not forget that the only major politician to oppose it was Ross Perot, who, ironically, seemed like it was in his own company’s interest to oppose.

Furthermore, I’m not even sure that NAFTA matters that much. The GATT/WTO etc. agreements are having a much larger effect on our economy (China and India aren’t in NAFTA) and I’m not sure how easy it is to separate the effects of one from the other.

Unfortunately for both Clintons, the verdict on NAFTA was in a long time ago. The empirical results of these trade deals are that they make everybody poorer except multinational shareholders. Sure, on paper in the university, they sound great–something straight out of classical 19th century economics–everything is most efficient when each country produces what it’s most efficient at producing and trades the rest. That’s Ricardo, I think.

But that’s not even close to what these deals are like. My high school U.S. History teacher said, “a free trade deal is one page ‘no tarriffs’ the end. this is 900 pages.” Yup.

We have to hem and haw about environmental and labor protections, but god forbid there aren’t draconian intellectual property laws.

We need international trade. That’s not the problem. The problem is that the system isn’t just “anti-American” it’s anti Americans.

NAFTA is a fair criticism of Clinton, just like the AUMF vote. But what’s interesting to me is that there are so many things that we unquestionably wrong that Clinton did that weren’t only arguably wrong in hindsight. (Yes, yes, I know that a lot people predicted Iraq and NAFTA would be winners–I’m talking about things that aren’t perceived that way.)

Take for example, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which gave us Clear Channel and expanded the Murdoch empire–take the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, done to allow CitiBank to form up into Citigroup, which lead directly to the Enron scandals (and other investment banks promoting “shit” stocks), which were just like the problems in the 20s before the Glass-Steagall Act that broke the House of Morgan. No claim of hindsight required there. There was a precedent.

What about the “Defense of Marriage Act.” Maybe that was something Clinton negotiated, but in 1992 he made agenda item #1 gays in the military. (Obama could score tons of points on this because in the intervening decade the public opinion has changed so much, but it would open him up to the McClurkin issue again.)

There is plenty in the Clinton presidency to use that doesn’t come up.

Oh, and here’s $5 that says Obama won’t repeal NAFTA.

And So It Begins

There was never any doubt that the spectre of a black man running for president would bring out the Conservatron crazies. Bush Patsy McCain has to denounce nonsense from talk radio hosts like Cunningham lest he lose any moderate/independent support. Each time he does though he pisses off the KKK-lite wing of the Republican Party.

UPDATE: Cunningham now says that he can no longer support McCain.

Don't be a Dick, Part II

Formerly immune, Democrats like Frank Rich have been thoroughly infected with Clinton paranoia disease.

After a lengthy, clever attempt to analogize Clinton’s primary campaign with Bush’s Iraq War (and therefore Clinton with Bush), Rich states the following:
What’s next? Despite Mrs. Clinton’s valedictory tone at Thursday’s debate, there remains the fear in some quarters that whether through sleights of hand involving superdelegates or bogus delegates from Michigan or Florida, the Clintons might yet game or even steal the nomination.
Give me a fucking break.
What quarters are those? Did “some people” think that? The tinfoil hat community?  The Mellon Scaife foundation?  Or the High Priests of the Cult of Obama? (Who suffer from Clinton Paranoia Syndrome in the same manner as the Scaifes.)
Clinton has lost.  Everyone knows it.  The polls in her firewall states, Ohio and Texas, show her either losing or not leading by nearly enough for it to matter.  Her campaign was a disaster, and it was because she used shitty advisers and didn’t have a plan to contest the election past New Hampshire.  
And so, as a result, she’s still some kind of bogey man that’s going to steal the election because she’s just like Bush?
Again, give me a fucking break.
To most people in America, comparing Clinton and Bush sounds mixing oil and water.  They are symbols of the polar opposites of American politics, not the same.  (Unless of course you’re an unreconstructed Naderite, which Obama people aren’t, right? See post below.)
The worst thing about Obama is his cult.  It’s not even really his fault.  He’s a great candidate that has the tools to succeed, but the rabid froth he instills in otherwise rational people both for him and against Clinton are something to behold.
You won, Barack.  Tell the High Priests to quit sacrificing Clinton voodoo dolls.

Nader Run Shines Light On Hypocrisy of Both Nader and The Cult

Howard Dean used to say that the “perfect is the enemy of the good.”

The younger you are, the more this sounds like a license to sell out; the older you are the more it sounds like wisdom.  Now, of course, everyone has their own definition of perfect, but the truth is that Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich probably stand for all of the values that unite Democrats, instead of emphasizing a couple, and compromising on the rest.  
So, with Obama the de facto nominee of the Democratic party, the guns have temporarily turned on Ralph Nader–and with partially good reason.  He doesn’t help.  (I think blaming him misses the point that the Republicans stole the 2000 election and they are the bad actors, but that’s an argument for textbooks now.)  If Nader wanted to destroy the conservative movement by letting it win, he accomplished that in 2000.  Conservatism is dead.  He doesn’t need to destroy the new liberalism too.
But Obama is the nominee in large part because he got people to believe that the perfect was not the enemy of the good.  (It is also evident that Clinton’s campaign could have been run a lot better.) It was a campaign that ran on the manic aspirations of many, partly created by the upchucking of Bush, partly by the zeitgeist, but mostly by Obama’s enormous charisma.
And all of this energy–energy that has been waiting to explode–is being poured into an engine that doesn’t even believe in universal health care.  It’s quite obvious why it never created a Clinton movement—this movement’s glue is largely opposition to Iraq.  But why it never fueled John Edwards I cannot fathom. (Or Kucinich)
Those candidates were running a truly progressive policy campaign.  Neither Obama or Clinton are.  Then comes Nader — he is.
It’s seems like, by deduction, we can reason then that the primary attraction of Obama is Obama, not his policies. (And the primary repulsion of Clinton is Clinton.)   There’s nothing wrong with that.  Indeed, it’s probably what we need to win.
But don’t fucking tell me it’s a progressive movement.

SUSA Electoral Vote Counts

Obama 322:216 McCain EV
McCain 282: 256 Clinton EV

This is Clinton count is clearly at her apotheosis, and gives McCain Oregon, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, which I don’t believe. Clinton is up 10 in Ohio compared to Obama’s 3, and is only down 6 in Florida to Obama’s 16. Clearly, Clinton is a better candidate in a swing-state strategy. If you give Clinton back the Kerry states, she wins. Too bad for her.

She basically acknowledged last night that she has lost, by refusing not to play nice. Obama also did a good job going after McCain, who is daily becoming more of a disaster as a candidate.

Again, what I find significant about this polling is Obama’s lead in Virginia. If you give Obama only the Kerry states and Ohio, where he has a tie according to SUSA, there is no way the Republicans can win, and they will, again, burn themselves up playing defense in Virginia.

I think if the election was tomorrow, I think Obama wins 325 EVs, Kerry+Ohio+Virginia+Missouri+New Mexico+Colorado+Montana+Nevada+Iowa.

The Western Strategy is interesting, but with Arizona out of play, it’s only going to be worth 22 EVs, or, just a few more than Ohio.