Doug Lerner reports from Tokyo and St. Louis, and points beyond…

Posts tagged ‘Election 2008’

Thoughts on the Inauguration

Well, I’m not going to stay awake while they all have lunch, so I guess I’ll have to see a recap of the parade on the news tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be up in time for the inaugural balls.

I can’t believe Chief Justice Roberts messed up the oath of office!

I thought Obama’s speech was “ok”. Typical Obama rhetoric. A little disjointed. If *I* were the speechwriter I would have book-ended his statement at the beginning about there being a nagging doubt that America is in decline with a declaration that he has no doubts that America is on the rise. But nobody asked me. 🙂

I watched some MSNBC live streaming before going into the next room to watch the main event live on CNN on a regular TV. I really haven’t watched MSNBC much before and was surprised to see how it is true what people say about them being “in the tank” for Obama. They don’t even pretend to be unbiased.

For example, one person commented that, “it must be a bittersweet moment for Bush considering all the calls for change” and the anchor said, “Bittersweet? The Bushes must feel like the Romanoffs today. ”

After he repeated the Romanoff comment the other co-anchors tried to get him to back off of that. Apparently that was a bit much even for MSNBC. 🙂

But they were basically completely in the tank for Obama. The anchor was even saying Bush probably would not be revisited in history as an interesting president. I don’t think history will treat Bush well, but I doubt he will be ignored. He made so many disastrous decisions it would be hard to ignore him.

Andrea Mitchell was trying to get NY Governor Paterson to say who he selected to replace Clinton. He was saying he didn’t want to distract from today to say who he decided on and Mitchell basically ignored him and asked, “so do you think Caroline Kennedy will be a good senator for NY?”

MSNBC did pause from demonizing Bush and promoting Caroline Kennedy to say the park department doesn’t make crowd estimates anymore because of controversies about them.

The only good commentator on MSNBC was the historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin, who always is a reservoir of presidential information and comparisons between Lincoln and Obama.

I switched to CNN a bit after that to get a better view on a regular TV, but also it seemed CNN at least tried to be balanced in describing what was going on.


Proposed Inaugural Dance
Congressional Committee Debates Merits Of Proposed Inauguration Dance

Pigs and lipstick?

This from the McCain campaign is over the top:

Obviously Obama was taken out of context and was referring to issues and not Sarah Palin herself. But it was an unfortunate choice of phrase considering her famous “lipstick” joke, which got a lot of play.

But Obama really has to make it clearer what he means by change. In the context Obama was speaking, he was saying that McCain and Palin do not represent change. It is still not clear to me why Obama does represent change. He doesn’t exactly have a record for bucking his party or reaching across the aisle. As far as his record goes, he’s always been pretty much a by-the-book Democrat.

The level of discourse in the campaign needs to rise. And Obama needs to explain himself more clearly. Dumb stuff like this gets press and youtube play and nobody cares about the original context anymore.


The gender card

This one is funny – from the Daily Show.


Abortion, Sarah Palin, the Bushes, the McCains and Barack Obama

Both Laura Bush and Cindy McCain apparently disagree with Sarah Palin on abortion in two respects:

1. They both disagree with her position on banning abortion even cases of rape and incest. John McCain and George Bush disagree with Palin on that too.

2. They both disagree with overturning Roe v Wade (even though both their husbands, and Sarah Palin, are in favor of that).

So if you were making a list of Republicans and their range of views on abortion and Roe v Wade it would look like

Overturn Roe v Wade:
George Bush-yes, John McCain-yes, Laura Bush-no, Cindy McCain-no, Sarah Palin-yes

Allow abortion to protect the life of the mother:
George Bush-yes, John McCain-yes, Laura Bush-yes, Cindy McCain-yes, Sarah Palin-yes

Allow abortion in the case of rape or incest:
George Bush-yes, John McCain-yes, Laura Bush-yes, Cindy McCain-yes, Sarah Palin-no

It seems that both Laura Bush and Cindy McCain, even though they say they are in the “pro life” camp, when it comes down to specifics are actually in the “pro choice” camp.

While Sarah Palin is off in an extremist anti-abortion world of her own.

As far as Obama goes, he’s off in a world of his own too, in the other direction. He blocked the Illinois version of the BAIPA (Born-Alive Infants Protection Act), which would protect babies who are unintentionally born alive after a failed abortion. The issue is that such infants were being “shelved” – ignored until they died after being born. As stated in a “Jerusalem Post” editorial, “Obama’s position essentially boils down to this: a woman who contracts for an abortion is entitled, one way or another, to a dead baby.”

Abortion is really an intractable issue. If you believe that human life begins at conception, it follows that abortion is infanticide and it is natural that you would want to prevent that. I can understand that if you believe that infanticide is taking place that it is too simple to argue that you, as a pro-lifer, are trying to force your moral views on others. It is more a case that you believe that something really morally, intolerably wrong is going on that affects another human being. That would be something that goes beyond personal privacy, or issues involving adults engaging in mutually consensual behavior. It would be more like abolitionists who fought against slavery.

If you believe that human life doesn’t begin at conception then you are more likely to take a so-called “pro-choice” view.

Religions don’t all agree on when human life begins. Some say at conception, some say “when the soul is invested” (some say at 40 days, some say later). Some people say when the fetus becomes “viable”. I believe even the Christian church has evolved different positions on this over the centuries, but I’m not a religious historian.

My conclusion? I said it is an intractable problem, so I don’t have an answer. I think it is more complicated than the slogans that both sides want you to believe. Thus we see Laura Bush and Cindy McCain straddling the fence, both claiming to be “pro life” while they are really “pro choice”.

I wish I understand Obama’s position more though. I am not able to follow the morality or humanity or logic in his line of thinking on the issue.



The GOP in all it’s diversity – this photo from page one of today’s New York Times.


Sarah Palin and the Alaska Independence Party

Read this entry on the Alaska Independence Party, which has promoted the succession of Alaska from the U.S. Note the entry on Sarah Palin, who apparently used to be a member.

A little “iffy” in the post-civil-war era for a vice-presidential candidate, I would think…


The real relevant question for Sarah Palin

Forget “Babygate”. It’s bogus and a distraction. I also think getting into a debate about Palin’s experience is a minefield that could backfire on the Obama campaign, because truth be told Palin’s experience compares well with Obama’s, and he is at the head of the ticket.

However, one relevant fallout from the whole episode is a very reasonable question to ask Governor Palin in a debate, or any upcoming interview:

“Governor – you have expressed opposition to sex education in schools and have promoted an ‘abstinence only’ policy to avoid unwanted teen pregnancies. Do you still feel such a policy is wise and effective?”



I’m not a McCain supporter by any means, but what on earth does Palin’s daughter Bristol’s pregnancy have to do with the campaign?

From what I’ve read, there was an ill-fated bloggers’ attempt to discredit Palin with an outrageous smear that she was trying to cover up Bristol’s pregnancy by falsely claiming to have given birth to her 5th child and that she was “really” the grandmother and not the mother.

To stop the smears, Palin ended up providing the actual facts about what the media should have left alone as a private family matter.

Palin did nothing wrong here. The bloggers show themselves to be muck-raking scandal mongers of the worst kind. And as for Bristol? What? Nobody has ever heard of a 17 year old becoming pregnant and marrying the father? Geez. Obama’s mother herself was just 18 years old when she was pregnant with Barack and married her first husband, Barack Obama senior. So what?


What to make of the Sarah Palin choice

Everybody is talking about McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his VP running mate.

I think it’s sort of straightforward, actually:

1. The right-wing Republican base seems delighted. So he has shored up his shaky base.

2. He is obviously pandering to Hillary supporters, and that will probably have very little effect because Palin and Clinton disagree on almost all issues. But anybody he drags away because Palin is a woman – even a few percent of disgruntled Hillary supporters – will just be extra gravy.

3. He took away the news cycle from Obama the day after Obama’s big climactic finish.

4. Palin is sort of a “maverick” like McCain likes to think he is. So maybe he saw something of himself in her.

So as just politics go, it was probably a pretty good move. I don’t see any downside. Strong Obama supporters weren’t going to be drawn to vote for McCain anyway. So shoring up his base and maybe grabbing a few wavering women voters won’t hurt him any.


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