Dependable Erection

Thursday, September 04, 2008

No shit, Sherlock

Some headlines from my news feeds:
Palin mocks Obama, readies Republicans for McCain
Palin Assails Critics and Electrifies Party
Palin takes battle to Democrats
Palin wows Republicans
Sarah Palin storms convention with prime-time speech
Palin comes out throwing punches

Democratic response?
"The speech that Governor Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bush's speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we've heard from George Bush for the last eight years. If Governor Palin and John McCain want to define 'change' as voting with George Bush 90% of the time, that's their choice, but we don't think the American people are ready to take a 10% chance on change."

He praised her delivery but said the speech lacked substance. He also said that some of the criticism of her smacked of sexism and was “over the top, totally unfair.”

On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Mr. Biden, the six-term Delaware senator, said, “It was a very skillfully written, very skillfully delivered speech. But there was not a word about the middle class or health care or how people are going to fill up their gas tanks or a single word about how we’re going to get our kids through college.”

All week Mr. Biden and his presidential running mate, Senator Barack Obama, have been avoiding any criticism of Mrs. Palin that could be seen as personal. Mr. Biden has not questioned her qualification for the vice presidency, saying on Wednesday night that he intended to treat her “with respect.”

“I mean that sincerely,” he told an audience at a high school in Sarasota, Fla., “She is a governor of a state. She warrants respect. The only thing I have to find out and you have to find out are what are her views. I have made no judgment as to whether she is qualified or not.”

Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. The woman just came out and kicked you in the balls, and the best you can respond with is there wasn't a single word about health care? Or that it was too partisan? She warrants respect? You haven't made a judgment yet? She just spent 45 minutes calling your candidate "unfit" to hold the office, and you haven't made a judgment yet?

Holy fuck. Of course it was partisan. And i'll tell you what. Obama/Biden need to start developing some partisan cojones of their own, because if they keep running a campaign of "respect" for their opponents, we'll all be sitting here in four years wondering why our health insurance premiums are still going up, and we can't afford to send our kids to college. People care about those issues, but they vote for the candidate that comes across the strongest. New politics is great and all that, but one thing it has in common with old politics: you gotta win the election first.



  • Still think she's going to have to quit the ticket?

    I predict, only half in jest, that Slow-Joe Biden will develop unspecified "health issues" and "with great reluctance" have to leave the Dem ticket. Hellooo Hilary. And goodbye Obama.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:21 AM  

  • One of my readers took me up on my wager, and i will most likely be paying that bet off tomorrow.

    The election remains Obama's to lose.

    If he keeps running his campaign out of the Dukakis playbook, he may just do that.

    On the other hand, i'll take up your offer of a wager on Biden dropping off the Democratic ticket to be replaced by Hillary. Name the bet.

    By Blogger Barry, at 11:39 AM  

  • Cf. "half in jest".

    Biden quitting is just as likely as Palin quitting ever was. Which shows how deranged that whole line of thought was in the first place. But keep on trying.

    Why should Obama attack Palin when he's got the media willing to do that for him. You realize that all the crap flung her way did was to ensure that everyone was watching her hit it out of the park last night?

    In terms of this year’s conventions, the preliminary rating for NBC’s coverage last night is higher than any other night of the convention on the broadcast networks, including Sen. Obama’s nomination acceptance speech on Aug. 28.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:49 AM  

  • As someone who's politically-tuned in, registered independent, and considers himself a moderate (as does my wife), I watched Palin's speech, expecting to actually find out a little bit about her and her stance on actual issues.

    Instead, my wife and I both sat stunned, mouth-agape at the over-the-top attacks on Obama's biography, attacks on people who choose to serve their community and knee-jerk GOP talking points from 8 years/4 years/6 months ago piled up, while Palin repeated the already-discredited claims about the Bridge to Nowhere and tax cuts.

    This speech may have energized the GOP base, but it turned off moderates and independents -- or, at the least, two of them. (But I'd say we're pretty typical -- my wife was a registered republican until this year.)

    That, and the whole Rudy in front of the lower-Manhattan skyline thing was pretty creepy (as were his oddly-timed, ghoulish laughs).

    Suffice it to say, after last night, I'm actually considering volunteering for the Obama campaign -- it seems like the GOP still aren't paying attention to everyday Americans' needs and concerns.

    BTW, is it just me, or was the crowd for the speech incredibly White, Male and Old (and cowboy-hatted)?

    (I'm a 29yo middle-class white male, if it matters.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:07 PM  

  • No shit, man. No shit.

    I mean, does the Obama campaign have not one single senior staffer who Gets It? Could they not find one single person from New York?

    By Blogger Marsosudiro, at 12:35 PM  

  • From today Gallup shows Obama picking up most swing voters.

    I expect Obama/Biden to shift the attention back to McCain and away from Palin. McCain is a big snore, 'my friends.'

    Palin actually does NOTHING to garner the swing voters for McCain, and only energizes the GOP fundie extremists. Oh, and energizes the Democrats. She surely sent the so-called PUMAS running straight back to the Democratic ticket.

    By Blogger Durham Bull Pen, at 1:20 PM  

  • Biden quitting is just as likely as Palin quitting ever was. Which shows how deranged that whole line of thought was in the first place. But keep on trying.

    there was quite an active market in the British bookmaking houses on Palin being off the ticket before week's end. I believe the odds dropped to 8-1 or some such as late as Tuesday afternoon. If Troopergate becomes the mainstream story that it has the potential to be, she could still be off by the end of the month. One thing Republicans know, though, is that the best defense is s good offense. Keep the other guys off-balance, and you never have to worry about being attacked on your own merits. Her speech last night may have insulated her from attacks on her character and judgment, as evidenced by not only the Troopergate issue, but also her attempts to have her local library ban books that she found offensive as mayor.

    If Obama hasn't learned the lessons of the past 40 years of presidential campaigning*, he could easily go the way of Mondale and Dukakis.
    I don't have any firsthand recollection of the two Eisenhower/Stevenson campaigns of the 50s, but i suspect they were not all that dissimilar to others i've seen. You know, war hero vs pointy headed liberal intellectual. No matter that poll after poll shows Americans have policy views much more aligned with Democrats than Republicans. We vote strength, not weakness, and as long as Democrats refrain from attacking Republicans on character issues, they come across as weak.

    By Blogger Barry, at 1:54 PM  

  • Disclaimer: I'm a Republican. How is electing Obama going to lower health insurance premiums? Help me understand this.

    Shifting responsibility of health care from private industry to public government is going to LOWER the amount of money you spend on health care? Do you really think that government is more efficient at doing anything than private industry?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:53 PM  

  • Ummmm, yeah.

    I've worked in private industry for the past 30 years.

    By Blogger Barry, at 4:40 PM  

  • Well I've worked both for the government and for private industry. Despite all the corporate insanity, the government wins hands down for stupidity and waste. Don't believe me? Go back and read your own posts about Durham's dysfunctional government. Do you really think that a private organization would still be in business if they performed that way?


    More wishful thinking. But keep on trying to desperately find something to smear her with.

    Meanwhile, maybe Obama can give us a full accounting of exactly what he was doing with Annenberg. Who he served on the board with. What they spent money on. Maybe Obama should go to UIC and demand those records be put on line so we can all see them. But he won't. Because there is something obviously very damaging there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:01 PM  

  • p.s. Pick your poll

    CBS Poll: McCain, Obama Tied

    McCain Closes Eight-Point Gap From Poll Taken Last Weekend

    (CBS) The presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain is now even at 42 percent, according to a new CBS News poll conducted Monday-Wednesday of this week. Twelve percent are undecided according to the poll, and one percent said they wouldn't vote.

    This is in contrast to a poll conducted last weekend, where the Obama-Biden ticket led McCain-Palin by eight points, 48 percent to 40 percent.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:06 PM  

  • Christ, Barry, have you forgotten last week's convention already? Have we already forgotten that Biden turned the knife with his "my friend John" routine? That Obama came out with the most aggressive and attacking acceptance speech I can remember in my lifetime?

    Of course they're not kicking right now. The press squabble over Palin is doing quite enough right now, why jump into the mix? Stay high above it, and once the dust settles, you put the knife in the way they did at the convention -- coolly, forcefully, and in a way that no amount of "but he's a POW!" and "quit beating up on the girl!" squeals can deflect.

    More to the point, I haven't been watching the GOP this year (I barely watched the dem convention), but based on the coverage, with the shoe on the other foot, it looks like the GOP has had basically zero attack lines on Biden, and only the weakest of attack lines on Obama. (inexperienced, elite liberal, yeah, whatever.) With what I expect to be a complete bomb of an acceptance speech tonight, reaching almost Kerry-like depths (which delegates in house will still, of course, love), we come out of convention season with all the fundamentals still in Obama's favor.

    Dude, for once we have someone other than the Keystone Kops running our party's presidential campaign. Remember two weeks ago when people were feeling like Obama was dropping the ball? Just chill. It's going to be fine.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 5:19 PM  

  • Maybe I missed it, but did the 3 major networks show Obama's acceptance speech; did they show Biden's? I'll be interested to see the polls next week; Palin has got me scared.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:14 PM  

  • @Anonymous: Take a look at the administrative load numbers for Medicare. Medicare is the most efficient health insurance program in the U.S., since it spreads its cost over millions of beneficiaries. And it negotiates low rates with physicians and hospitals, which come poor-mouthing to Congress to get their rates boosted in response.

    Also, you avoid the moral hazard issue of young, healthy people not buying into the system by avoiding insurance purchases.

    Government-run health CARE might or might not be efficient, but government-run mandatory health INSURANCE sure has hell is.

    (Admittedly, the poor performance of our Republican president in executing a bloated-contract, profiteering war might have turned you off to the idea of efficiency in government.)

    By Blogger Kevin, at 8:19 PM  

  • anon - I'm sorry, I forgot to include this link.

    Seriously, if you think our current insurance driven health care system works, you're fucking nuts.

    My premiums have gone up from zero, with zero copays and zero deductibles in 1984, for full family coverage, to about $4,000/year, with an additional $4,000 out of pocket cap, for me, by myself.

    I don't know how people with young dependents do it anymore.

    Michael - if Obama/Biden wait till Sunday to start responding, it'll be too late. Think Dukakis/Bentsen on steroids.

    anon - Troopergate should be a big deal. Using your elected position to fire someone because of a personal, family issue is a violation of pretty much every municipal charter in the US. Of course, IOKIYAR, at least as far as folks like you are concerned. It's an anti-American attitude, but since nobody ever calls you out on it, it's no big deal, right?

    By Blogger Barry, at 9:14 PM  

  • Palin Speech Moves Independents

    Palin Speech Moves Independents: Results of two nationwide polls conducted by SurveyUSA show Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention on the evening of 09/03/08 has helped the McCain campaign.

    24 hours ago, independent voters nationwide were split on whether Palin was an asset or a liability to McCain's campaign. Today, by a 2:1 margin, independents say Palin is an asset. Overnight, the percentage calling the Alaska governor an asset to the campaign climbed 13 points; the percentage calling her a liability fell 17 points.

    The numbers are similar among moderates, who 24 hours ago viewed Palin as a liability by an 11 point margin; today, Palin is seen as an asset by an 18 point margin.

    Betting Line Changes: 24 hours ago, when asked if they would bet on Obama or McCain becoming president, Obama was a 16:15 favorite; today, it's flipped, and McCain is favored by the same ratio.


    The guy fired was a total fuck who had a long long list of fireable offenses including tasering a 10 year old. When those offenses are listed most people would agree that he had to go. It also explains the sister divorcing him.

    I tried real hard to not bring up Hillary firing the long serving and blameless WH travel staff so she could replace them with her own operatives but I failed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:16 PM  

  • Not Sunday. I expect the response to begin in earnest tomorrow.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 11:36 PM  

  • If that's the case, you'd think the director of the state public safety department would have been happy to fire the trooper in question.

    But he didn't. And that's why he got fired.

    Which is where the good part of the scandal is. The other part is Todd Palin using records from a divorce proceeding to initiate charges against the trooper in question in the first place.

    But don't worry. I know that for folks like you, things like this are never a problem. Any Republican malfeasance is actually just a case of doing what they are morally and legally obligated to do.

    You guys are good at it, too, i'll give you that.

    By Blogger Barry, at 3:56 AM  

  • When people use the argument that private industry is more efficient and capable than government, I have to wonder if they've ever actually dealt with private industry. I've dealt with appalling levels of incompetence not only from health insurers but from Verizon, Alltel, Bank of America and many other corporate entities. My experiences with corporations have been much more riddled with problems than any dealings I've had with the DMV, post office, social security administration, police or IRS.

    It all boils down to individuals, not institutions. Sometimes I've had problems with institutional bureaucracy solved merely by encountering one individual who gave a shit. Whether that person was in a government office or a corporate one.

    By OpenID mrsdependable, at 8:42 AM  

  • I agree. Having worked in a publicly held corporation, a private university, a non-profit doing government contract work, and a public university, with a girlfriend who's spent two years working for the federal government, I have to say -- corporations don't waste less money than the government, they just waste it in different ways. Government waste usually comes from bureaucratic sclerosis, whereas the corporate waste I've seen comes in the form of managers and executives off on absurd power kicks, internal squabbling and power plays, backscratching deals between cronies, and of course, good old fashioned fraud.

    North Carolina's mental health system is a prime example of an instance where a government-run system has proven pretty conclusively to be far better than a private system. In 2000, mental health care was at least dependable and available, and although you might drown in paperwork, there was generally followup and the costs were predictable year-to-year. After Carmen Hooker Odum and a bunch of private sector loving legislators blew that up and replaced it with a system designed to respond to market forces, costs went through the roof, people started slipping through the cracks, and the system collapsed.

    Market forces are a valuable tool, but they aren't the panacea the Hayekians and the Thatcherites and the Reaganists believe them to be.

    (Oh, and as for Obama this is a pretty good start...)

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 10:32 AM  

  • As usual the Republican speeches employ the 3 R's--Rah-Rah and Ridicule. Frank Hyman

    By Anonymous Frank Hyman, at 12:10 PM  

  • After McCain's speech last night, I've actually seen a few quotes from Republicans wishing they could dump him and put Palin at the top of the ticket. Don't know how serious they were, but they said it...

    By Anonymous David McMullen, at 1:47 PM  

  • This is better, too. And it translates to a good headline:
    Obama: McCain focused on biography over economy

    By Blogger Barry, at 4:04 PM  

  • This is Republican Anonymous again. Fair enough, we can disagree on government vs industry.

    Back to Barry's original post, he implicitly drew a line connecting the event of electing Obama to having lower health insurance premiums. I don't see it.

    I see Obama's bullet point plan to lower costs on his website. I'm asking how is electing Mr. Obama going to accomplish this task better than our current health care industry? Obama's plan says nothing about $800 million stock options, so that's out of bounds.

    His plan calls to lower prescription drug costs by INCREASING competition but somehow lowering health care costs by DECREASING competition to just 1 supplier, the government. You guys are educated Democrats, so walk me through it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:07 PM  

  • Perhaps if you took the time to understand the difference between single payer health care and single provider health care (which is not the model being proposed as i understand it) you'd be less prone to make such ignorant statements.

    Unfortunately, even Obama is not calling for the establishment of single payer, at least not yet.

    By Blogger Barry, at 11:03 AM  

  • My premiums have gone up from zero, with zero copays and zero deductibles in 1984, for full family coverage, to about $4,000/year, with an additional $4,000 out of pocket cap, for me, by myself.

    I don't know how people with young dependents do it anymore.

    I'd like to see publicly supported health care if for no other reason than to kick the private insurance companies in the ass. They're completely out of control.

    We have no access to health insurance through an employer, so right now we're paying $2300/month (that's not a typo) for our insurance. How has the health insurance industry gotten so much power that this is allowed to happen?

    Stay high above it, and once the dust settles, you put the knife in the way they did at the convention -- coolly, forcefully, and in a way that no amount of "but he's a POW!" and "quit beating up on the girl!" squeals can deflect.

    I have complete faith that Biden can and will put the knife in when he has to. I sure as hell hope he does. Palin scares the hell out of me.

    By Anonymous Maura, at 12:38 PM  

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