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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2008-01-04 06:25
Subject: [politics] The Iowa caucuses
Security: Public
Location:Nuevo Rancho Lake
Mood:thoughtful
Music:me being busy
Tags:politics
I don't have a lot to add to the news stream and commentary available on every medium right now. For what it's worth, here's my viewpoint:

Democrats

I've been uncomfortable with Hillary for a long time. My sense of history would love to see a woman run and win. I'm just not sure Hillary is the right woman. She's not a liberal-progressive, rather she's running from the post-Reagan Centrist playbook. That makes her a conservative in historical terms. And her name on the ballot would be the most effective fund raising and get-out-the-vote tool the GOP could possibly have. Bashing her in the press and in the punditosphere would be all too easy, because those scripts have been in the drawer since the early 1990s. Edwards is still in the race, and he represents perhaps the most genuinely progressive thread in the campaign. His mere presence draws the others to the left. Obama, well, I'm not completely comfortable with some of his stands, but he represents significant change. Sometimes that's good. He certainly tweaks my sense of history. He'll also be harder to attack than Hillary, because while naked misogyny is fairly acceptable in our mainstream public and political discourse (especially if the woman's name is Clinton), naked racism in the mainstream is fairly hard to pull off outside of talk radio. Note that Obama's had Secret Service protection for a while. There's a lot of individual white conservatives out there with guns in their hands and Truth in their hearts for Team Obama to be concerned about.

Republicans

Guiliani tried to out-Bush Bush. McCain's Straight Talk Express has long since gone all pretzel logic. Ron Paul is the same brand of idiot as Ross Perot, from that school of thought that makes Bush neocons look like stone-cold realists. As for Romney, I've been the most worried about him, because he has the combination of media presence and money that makes for electability in a drooling stooge, viz Reagan. Huckabee's victory in Iowa is the Republican party showing its true colors. And good for them, quite frankly. Instead of an Establishment baby in a cowboy hat like Bush 43, their front-runner for the moment actually stands for all things the Republicans have pretended to stand for in the post-Nixon era. As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Of course, I'm fairly certain the GOP power brokers will work hard to crucify him over the next few rounds, but that's politics, baby.

The Electoral Process

Neither party's "front runner" ran in front. We didn't get Clinton on the [D] column, nor Guilani or Romney in the [R]. However this shakes out, I think it's good for everybody. I'll be keenly interested to see what happens in New Hampshire next week.
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S-47/19-J
User: shsilver
Date: 2008-01-04 14:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
nor Guilani or Romney in the [R].

There was really no chance of Giuliani in the R column since he essentially conceded Iowa several months ago to focus on New Hampshire. McCain also pulled most of his resources out of Iowa, but maintained enough of a presence to actually poll reasonably well and almost unseat Thompson from his perch at third.

One of the things that Huckabee has going for him is that he is the only viable Evangelical candidate. Giuliani, McCain, and Romney are trying to portray themselves as more centrist so any moderate Republicans are going to be splitting their vote between them

Not really sure who is voting for Thompson. Perhaps those who believe that a membership of Hollyweird should be back in the White House.*

*And I do find it odd that for all the railing Republicans do against actors getting involved in politics, nearly all the actors who have held elected office are Republicans: Murphy, Reagan, Eastwood, Bono, Schwarzenegger, Grandy.
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Danny Adams
User: madwriter
Date: 2008-01-04 14:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
>>And I do find it odd that for all the railing Republicans do against actors getting involved in politics, nearly all the actors who have held elected office are Republicans: Murphy, Reagan, Eastwood, Bono, Schwarzenegger, Grandy.<<

Ah, I just had a lovely flashback to Rush Limbaugh once ranting on his show about Warren Beatty after Beatty commented that he was considering a presidential run over--because Beatty was an actor with no political experience. Thanks for the memory. :)

Edited at 2008-01-04 02:45 pm (UTC)
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
Danny Adams
User: madwriter
Date: 2008-01-04 14:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
>>Note that Obama's had Secret Service protection for a while. There's a lot of individual white conservatives with guns out and Truth in their hearts for Team Obama to be afraid of.<<

I remember hearing a few years ago that Colin Powell decided not to run for president because of racist death threats made against his family. I don't know if that was truth or rumor, but it wouldn't have surprised me--especially since he was popular enough that a Powell presidency was well within the realm of possibility.
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User: dirkcjelli
Date: 2008-01-04 15:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
... more likely, he didn't run because he was involved in announcing "we had to destroy the village to save it."
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International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
User: nick_kaufmann
Date: 2008-01-04 15:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The conservative establishment hates Huckabee, which makes me like him more.
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Jay Lake: politics-rifleman
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-01-04 15:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:politics-rifleman
I'm kind of there with you, except then when I actually look at Huckabee he makes Cheney seem sane.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
User: ex_chrisbil
Date: 2008-01-04 16:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Intense
"Edwards is still in the race, and he represents perhaps the most genuinely progressive thread in the campaign."

Thank you! Amen to that. I've been reading about him with the most interest throughout the whole campaign, and genuinely hope he's a contender. Re: what you said on Hilary... I couldn't agree more. A woman is just as within her rights to run, and just as within her rights to not be the best candidate, and she is just that: not the right candidate. Mostly for the reasons you said.

As for Huckabee, well. He makes sense sometimes, which is worrying, but then he talks religion... he's done good things (the diet thing shows some character, at least) and he's been weird. The religion. Again. Haha. Do you remember meeting my ex-girlfriend in Saratoga, Jay? She was one of the top students of her state (good ol' Arkansas) some years back, and went for dinner at his and his wife's place. She is *not* a fan of him.
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chessdev
User: chessdev
Date: 2008-01-04 16:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Good summary. I think you're right with what you've written here.
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Bob
User: yourbob
Date: 2008-01-04 16:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have a minor problem with your post.

You use everyone's last name to refer to the candidates, except one.

How come?

Why not Mike, Barak, Rudi, John E., John M?

It's a minor irritation I find in the news stream quite often. And yes, I'm aware that her campaign does that too. I still find it showing a difference in respect.

Am I being overly sensitive? (that's my real question)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-01-04 17:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm aware that her campaign does that too.

That's precisely why I'm doing it. It's how she refers to herself. To me, that's the mark of respect, in following her lead.

The only other candidate I don't refer to by surname is Ron Paul, only because of the potential reader confusion.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2008-01-04 17:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Good analysis. I've been an Edwards person for a while, with Obama my second. Hillary--she's not my choice for the first woman President. I have too much hanging over from my past in the Democratic Party during the early Clinton era to support her, and she's a solid DLC candidate, which means she's a conservative Democrat. Based on things I saw when I worked for Jerry Brown in the primaries in 1992, the Clintons are not above some nasty pieces of Democratic party infighting (which did no good for the Party in the long run, and in my opinion left the Party a mess when Bill was done). I'd really like to see Hillary out of it, and perhaps see her as Secretary of State in a Democratic administration.

Huckabee's victory sets the stage for my personal nightmare ticket on the GOP side, though--the Huckabee/Guiliani combination. I'm definitely worried about Guiliani because I think he's dangerously repressive. Romney? I think he's gonna choke.

I could be wrong, though.
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2008-01-04 17:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
> Huckabee's victory in Iowa is the Republican party showing its true
> colors. And good for them, quite frankly. Instead of an
> Establishment baby in a cowboy hat like Bush 43, their front-runner
> for the moment actually stands for all things the Republicans have
> pretended to stand for in the post-Nixon era.

In what way? In previous posts, you've accused Republicans of abandoning every principle except tax-cutting, and as governor Huckabee was happy to raise taxes: http://youtube.com/watch?v=_pLOC4krZI4

While Huckabee is conservative on social issues like abortion and gay marriage, he's more of a populist on economic issues. That's why the Club for Growth has been hitting him hard. Thompson and Romney are the candidates whose positions best match the post-Nixon standard Republican positions.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-01-04 18:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
you've accused Republicans of abandoning every principle except tax-cutting

Which I consider to be pretty self-evident. The GOP in its in current form is not even remotely a party of principles. All you have to do is compare the party's stated positions with the reality of its behaviors in power, and the personal behaviors of its leadership. (I'm not all that enamored of the Democrats either, but they are the far lesser of the two evils.)

I was speaking somewhat imprecisely with that remark about true colors. The Republican party has built its post-Nixon electoral fortunes (and arguably its post-Goldwater electoral fortunes) in substantial part on peeling away the old Southern white Democratic vote. This has been done through not-so-thickly-veiled appeals to racism, hardline stances on gun issues, radicalization of abortion opponents, and a general appeal to the Evangelical vote. To put it slightly more loosely, pandering to the Christian Right.

However, even with all this pandering, the Republican presidents since then have been Reagan, with no visible religious affiliation, Bush 41 with a tenuous one, and Bush 43, whose relationship to God seems to be whatever he thinks it is rather than through the lens of a denominational church. (And yes, I know he's nominally a Methodist.)

What Huckabee represents, to my view as a liberal-progressive, is the Evangelical vote asserting itself on the topline of the Republican ballot. The GOP has been eager to embrace the rhetoric of the Christian right for the last 30 years, and paid some lip service to the reality of its positions -- they're finally in danger of getting a presidential candidate who actually *believes* that stuff, instead of simply playing to the demographic. For party strategists with no personal religious investment, that has to be scary as hell, because they know a lot of the Reagan Democrats, political independents and heavily Catholic social conservatives in the Latino community who might vote for a fairly secular Republican are a lot less likely to turn out for Huck.

Basically, the GOP has ridden the Bible for years, specifically a very narrow interpretation that flirts with Christian Dominionism at its edges. The Bible is riding the party now, at least for a few days, and maybe right into the general election. That's the substance my comment about true colors.

Edited at 2008-01-04 06:44 pm (UTC)
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russ: quo vadis
User: goulo
Date: 2008-01-04 18:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:quo vadis
"Ron Paul is the same brand of idiot as Ross Perot, from that school of thought that makes Bush neocons look like stone-cold realists."

I agree he's got the frustrating naive idealism of libertarian free-market as a magic solution to all problems (in particular I'm skeptical how the free market will help problems like pollution). And of course you and he have different views on gun control.

But at the same time, his libertarianism makes him the most sane and intelligent IMHO of all the major (and not-so-major) candidates on many important issues that I know you and I both care about, e.g. ending insanity like the "war on drugs", dumping the Patriot Act, getting out of Iraq and stopping the president from having the power to get us into such messes so easily, privacy issues, gay rights, abortion rights, generally getting rid of consensual crimes that have no place in a supposedly free society, etc. To dismiss him as an idiot seems very simplistic and unfair to me.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2008-01-04 19:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Then again, after re-reading the old "Ron Paul Reports" (never heard any of THOSE mentioned in the election coverage), I for one am hard-pressed to find any other term for him so succinct yet accurate.

I also tend to agree with another commentator that I am shocked and ashamed that many of these men are serious candidates in a major party in my country.

-C. Daitz
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Patrick Nielsen Hayden
User: pnh
Date: 2008-01-04 23:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"Ron Paul is the same brand of idiot as Ross Perot"

Nonsense. He's a very different brand of idiot. You're just not paying very close attention to your idiot taxonomy.
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Joanne Merriam
User: joannemerriam
Date: 2008-01-05 07:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You really think Romney's electable? 'Cause most of the Bible Belt/Sam's Club Republicans I know think Mormons are pretty weird and would only vote for him if he was running against Hillary. (Here in Kentucky where I spent my Christmas vacation there were a lot of jokes about magic underwear.) Unless Hillary gets the D nom, I think Romney would result in a lot of people just staying home.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-01-05 14:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Would I vote for him? Not unless Bush were running as a Democrat on the other ticket.

Romney, like any Republican, needs the Bible Belt/Sam's Club Republicans to win the primaries. That's why he's flip flopped on all the God, guns and gays positions they hold sacred. That's his eye of the needle -- in the general election, that infinitely large money machine and presidential good looks make him quite electable, among swing voters, moderates, and unthinking independents -- it's the same people that made Reagan's election, for roughly the same reason. A slick, appealing campaign with a candidate who looks and sounds very much like a president. In the general, the BB/SC(R)s might stay home, they might vote for him, but they wouldn't risk their shot at Heaven by voting for a godless (D).
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