Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 25, 2008

THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND.... We talked earlier about Wisconsin nurse Debra Bartoshevich, a former Clinton delegate who is now appearing in McCain campaign ads. It's hard not to wonder what on earth she's thinking.

This afternoon, however, we actually got a better sense of the answer. At a Denver press conference this afternoon organized by Republicans, Bartoschevich, who claims to be a pro-choice Democrat, was asked about her concerns about reproductive rights under another pro-life Republican president.

"Going back to 1999, John McCain did an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle saying that overturning Roe v. Wade would not make any sense, because then women would have to have illegal abortions," Bartoschevich said.

This is surprisingly helpful. I've wondered why a pro-choice Democrat who cares about women's rights would even consider a conservative Republican with an abysmal record on women's rights. It turns out, the answer is pretty straightforward: she's terribly confused.

McCain did, in fact, say in 1999, that he "would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade." It was a reversal from his previous position, and soon after, McCain reversed right back, denounced Roe, vowed to overturn it, and assured voters he would lead an exclusively pro-life administration, arguably slightly to the right of Bush/Cheney.

Indeed, Sarah Blustain had a great item in The New Republic recently, explaining just how serious a "zealot" McCain is on the issue of reproductive rights.

During his political career, McCain has participated in 130 reproductive health-related votes on Capitol Hill; of these, he voted with the anti-abortion camp in 125. McCain has consistently backed rights for the unborn, voting to cover fetuses under the State Children's Health Insurance Program and supporting the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which allowed a "child in utero" to be recognized as a legal victim of a crime. He has voted in favor of the global gag rule, which prevents U.S. funds from going to international family-planning clinics that use their own money to perform abortions, offer information about abortion, or take a pro-choice stand.

There's a reason McCain has a zero rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. The 1999 quote was just a cheap ploy, intended to make McCain appear reasonable. He's not -- when it comes to women's rights, he's nothing short of a nightmare.

Last week, Slate's Dahlia Lithwick had an excellent item, explaining that a key component of McCain's campaign strategy is fooling women into thinking he's not a staunch opponent of reproductive rights. Lithwick argued if McCain can "keep [voters] in the dark," he might "snooker voters into thinking that his abortion views are centrist," when that's obviously not the case.

As of this afternoon, the scheme appears to actually have fooled a couple of Democrats, who regrettably don't know better.

But here's a fun little test, to see who's right. Ask the McCain campaign if Bartoschevich was accurately describing John McCain's current position on abortion rights. It's a straightforward proposition: she said McCain believes "overturning Roe v. Wade would not make any sense." Does McCain and his team agree with this assessment? Or is Bartoschevich & Co. under a false impression?

We're waiting.

Steve Benen 3:52 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

Apparently the McCain camp did quite a good job of muddling the issue given that one of the big stickig points for SoCons has been McCain's supposed squishiness on "life" issues.

If he's fooled the GOP I think we can forgive poor Debra.

Seriously though, why is the idea of a hillary supporter backing McCain hard to get? Hillary was always center left. Obama was further left. McCain has a history of presenting himself as center right.

That leaves Hillary supporters with a "six of one, half dozen of another" split as far as which of the remaining candidates is closest to their views (or just as meaningfully, which *appears* closest to their views). Now a good portion will go to Obama due to Hillary's endorsement, and another portion will go to Obama because they just won't vote R. Some portion though is going to go McCain. It may or may not be big enough to matter but there will be some.

And that's not actually irrational when you consider the political arrangement of the candidates.

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Bartoschevich is a sad little person seeking her 15 minutes. Fox will give her hours.

Posted by: steve duncan on August 25, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see the names on the checks sent to "Nurse" Debbie's public relations company.

Posted by: bwick on August 25, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

If he's fooled the GOP I think we can forgive poor Debra.

I can't. This person suffers from criminal stupidity.

You almost wish McCain could be elected King of Wisconsin--what, Russ? You think that's a bad idea? Now you say so!--and we could watch Debra try to live her life under that regime.

Posted by: shortstop on August 25, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Some people want to be fooled. Check out any of this deadender Hillary sites (you know their names) and you'll find them in droves.)

Posted by: Delia on August 25, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't understand how people consider Hillary to be more "center" than Obama. Hillary was the one who wanted mandated single-payer UHC, Obama is all about compromise and increased subsidies of what we already have. Hillary was the one who proposed the more drastic removal of troops from Iraq, Obama has always called for a more measured approach. Hillary was the one who attempted to reframe her campaign with a populist message after she started losing in February. Discounting her DLC membership, what has she shown in the last year that makes one think the's more to the center than Obama?

Posted by: JS on August 25, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK
"Going back to 1999, John McCain did an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle saying that overturning Roe v. Wade would not make any sense, because then women would have to have illegal abortions," Bartoschevich said.

Wow, she's got better recall of McPOW's comments than McPOW.

Leaving aside whether she was "fooled" (and I think that's unfair, why can't she just be a liar or a conniving attention whore?) the real fun begins when the TalEvan rears up on its hind legs and bays like demented peekapoos. Camp McPOW will inform us Bartoschevich doesn't speak for McPOW, forcing them to clearly state their anti-abortion stance.

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on August 25, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

steve, i think your suggestion would be an excellent one if we had a press corps serious about informing the public.

Posted by: howard on August 25, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

This is a great opening for Obama. He can use this as a prime example of the fact that many of those who support McCain only do so because they don't understand his far-right policy positions. We need to get this in the hands of every network pundit who will comment on this story throughout the day.

Here's hoping that at least one of the networks tracks her down, confronts her with the truth, and shares her reaction on their coverage this evening.

I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: BH on August 25, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Curious how she had this tidbit at the ready.

Posted by: snoey on August 25, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

this seems a rather dangerous game for mccain to play considering the tepid support he has from those on the right.

at the same time, i don't understand why clinton supporters would vote mccain for reasons other than spite. what do they think they're going to get from a mccain presidency other than another shot for clinton in 2012? and if that's their goal, how united do they think democrats will be hehind her if obama loses and she gets the nomination four years from now? it's a loser's game.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on August 25, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'm beginning to think all the Hillary trolls might be secret operatives for Obama, since any discussion of the issues they say McCain does better will inevitably lead to discussions about McCain's flipflopping.

Bring it on, trolls.

Posted by: Racer X on August 25, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

I see they changed the logo for comments but not for comments preview. Who does your tech work, Caltrans?

BTW, you can use all the html in these comments that you could use at Carpetbaggerreport. They just don't mention it.

Supposedly the McCain campaign admitted that Nurse Debbie was the only PUMA delegate they could find. I'm going to remember that there are good income possibilities for becoming a delegate and then a traitor.

Posted by: bwick on August 25, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Though I will ask you if you think that what happened with McCain wasn’t that different from what happens at most every college thanks to legacy admissions."

Gotta agree with that. But there is another option: make an ad. Let's have an ad that shows McCain voicing his strongly anti-Roe views. And let's get Hillary to narrate it. Hillary's dead-enders may not listen to facts or reason, but they might listen to Hillary and McCain. Such an ad would also get great media play because Hillary plays a prominent role.

Posted by: fostert on August 25, 2008 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

OOps. Must have been copy and paste error.

"steve, i think your suggestion would be an excellent one if we had a press corps serious about informing the public."

Gotta agree with that. But there is another option: make an ad. Let's have an ad that shows McCain voicing his strongly anti-Roe views. And let's get Hillary to narrate it. Hillary's dead-enders may not listen to facts or reason, but they might listen to Hillary and McCain. Such an ad would also get great media play because Hillary plays a prominent role.

That's better. Don't know where that other quote came from.

Posted by: fostert on August 25, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

One advantage that McCain has in fooling people is that only people who believe that crap can believe that anyone can believe that crap.

Posted by: bwick on August 25, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously though, why is the idea of a hillary supporter backing McCain hard to get? Hillary was always center left. Obama was further left.

Uh, no. Not quite accurate. On domestic issues such as economics and health policy Clinton is arguably more to the left than Obama. It's really only on the war that Obama is demonstrably more "left" than Clinton.

McCain has a history of presenting himself as center right.

He may have a history of presenting himself as such --i.e. lying -- but in actually he's far right.


Posted by: Stefan on August 25, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary was always center left. Obama was further left.

Um, what?

Obama and Clinton were so close in the primaries that you needed a monofilament blade to break their two platforms apart. People had to quibble on details to make a distinction between them on most issues. The one issue where they stood in stark contrast - the Iraq War - was not some grand ideological difference but a test of judgment on whether to trust the Bush Administration or not (where Obama showed the better judgment and Clinton got wrapped up in the DC reality inversion Beltway Bubble).

Obama isn't "further left" than Clinton - and any perception that he is just goes to show how much better his team was at marketing towards self-identified progressives/liberals. You can make the case that Ms. Bartoshevich might be ill-informed about Obama's status as being "farther left" than Clinton, but it would be a stretch to say that this is at all based in reality any more than McCain's status as a "center right" politician is.

Posted by: NonyNony on August 25, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

What has the Obama campaign been doing to bring the Bartoscheviches on board?

Posted by: rilkefan on August 25, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

"at the same time, i don't understand why clinton supporters would vote mccain for reasons other than spite."

Not all dems are progressives. A good portion of them aren't, in fact. Remember how (Bill) Clinton won in 1992. It wasn't by swinging left but towards the center (Perot's role didn't hurt). Dem light is a fairly popular brand, just as Reagan sold Republican light to the so called Reagan Democrats.

At the same time McCain has a long history of being portrayed as a party maverick and a centrist.

Additionally there almost certainly some who sincerely question Obama's capacity to sit in the White House (put me in that group). An essentially unknown who rockets first to a senate seat and then to a serious shot at the white house in essentially no time makes some people nervous. And, frankly, there are plenty of Obama supporters that haven't done their candidate any favors (John Cole, whom I otherwise like, leaps to mind).

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

re: "Last week, Slate's Dahlia Lithwick had an excellent item, explaining that a key component of McCain's campaign strategy is fooling women into thinking he's not a staunch opponent of reproductive rights. Lithwick argued if McCain can "keep [voters] in the dark," he might "snooker voters into thinking that his abortion views are centrist," when that's obviously not the case."

Luckily the vigilant media won't let McCain get away with that, right?

Posted by: bdbd on August 25, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

i get that sneaking suspicion that, just maybe, Nurse Debbie was a plant all along rather than a true Clinton supporter?

this all just seems too convenient, too irrational given her main issue, too set up.

but the Republicans wouldn't really manipulate the process like that would they? and even if they did, the press would call them out in a heartbeat, right?

right?

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 25, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

... Debra Bartoshevich, a former Clinton delegate who is now appearing in McCain campaign ads. It's hard not to wonder what on earth she's thinking.

Yeah, well, don't waste your time trying to figure it out. What's rational about a tantrum?

Posted by: junebug on August 25, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

So much attention being paid to such a small group of vocal morons.

Posted by: doubtful on August 25, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Wht does the McCain website say about the issue?

"John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned..."

http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/95b18512-d5b6-456e-90a2-12028d71df58.htm

Posted by: bubba on August 25, 2008 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

You betcha, Nurse Debra is as dumb as a box of rocks!

Posted by: bougie on August 25, 2008 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama isn't "further left" than Clinton"

Well as a couple examples take these rankings:

ACU (righty)
Hillary- 7.71
Obama- 7.67

ACLU (lefty)
Hillary- 76%
Obama- 82%

I had trouble finding Hillary's NARAL score but Obama had a perfect 100 for 2005-2007 so at the very least Hillary couldn't have been further left than he was on the issue.

Is it open and shut? Maybe not, but is there any question but that Hillary was campaigning in the mold of center-lefties?

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know if Clinton has released her email list to Obama's campaign? I've seen some HRC supporters complaining that Obama hasn't reached out to them with, say, an email. This assumes that HRC has forked over the info, which I'm doubtful of, since HRC first wanted to try to retire her campaign debt. But to Rilkefan's larger question, What has the Obama campaign done to bring the Bartoseviches on board, I think the answer is he's devoting two nights of the convention to the Clintons and he readily agreed to a roll call vote, and he has expanded his health care proposal so it is now the same as HRC's (rather than the *insignificantly* different as was the case before). I'm not sure what else he can do, save grovelling at the feet of the regular commenters at TalkLeft, but to do so would be dishonest and utterly humiliating and a sure path to defeat in the general election. I'm really clueless about what more he can do. Do you have any ideas? The HRC campaign unleashed what Nietzsche referred to as ressentiment. It's going to be hard to deal with this sentiment.

Posted by: tobie on August 25, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

In light of Steve starting here at a new site, would you Obama Camps and Hillary Camps please consider doing the same and put the primary fights to bed? Damn, it's like a bunch of 5 year olds at times, arguing over who is 'more liberal' or 'more left.'

Posted by: bubba on August 25, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

i get that sneaking suspicion that, just maybe, Nurse Debbie was a plant all along rather than a true Clinton -- zeitgeist, @16:46

My instinctive reaction was "no way", because she'd been Clinton's delegate. If other -- local and state -- conventions work the way ours did, a plant couldn't have slipped in. All our (district, sent on to the state)delegates are well known (ie their *past* party affiliation, their degree of being active, etc) to all all others, so some newcomer would not have been picked.

But, of course, I have no idea how other conventions pick their delegates. So, I had to consider your suspicion seriously (since I consider *everything* you say seriously). I checked to see whether Nursie Debil put her money where her mouth is.

You may very well be right. Debra Bartoshevich (no "c" before the first "h") a nurse of Wisconsin *did* contribute to Hillary. Quite a hefty sum, too, for a nurse: $651. But. That contribution wasn't made until the *second quarter* of 2008. If Nursie contributed anything before then (and the data goes back to 2004 election cycle), there's no record of it. Not to Hillary, not to any other candidate (Dem or Repub) and not to DNC. Which means that, either: she had never before contributed, or that she had contributed, but less than @200 in either election cycle.

Additionally, Nursie's zipcode is 2:1 Repub to Dem in its giving makeup both as to number of people and the amount of money given.

So, a plant has to be considered.

Posted by: exlibra on August 25, 2008 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what I can't get answers to, from any Clinton hard-liner -- I know two, they're also voting for Susan Collins for Senate.

1.)We're choosing a government leader, in addition to a ceremonial Head of State. So, tell me what policies, initiatives, plans, legislative proposals, programs -- not personalities not atmospherics -- will not or cannot happen under a presumptive Obama administration, by virtue of it being an Obama administration, and that would have happened under a presumptive Clinton administration, by virtue of it being a Clinton administration

And presuming there are answers to 1:

2.)Is delaying those policies, initiatives, etc. more positive on balance -- granting arguendo that Ms. Clinton wins -- that only the Clinton administration coming in 2012 can do, than the negative consequences of a McCain administration?

I don't get good answers to these questions. I usually get told I'm sexist, and don't understand.

Both of which may be true. But they aren't answers.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 25, 2008 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

"I usually get told I'm sexist, and don't understand."

Believe me, you aren't alone. I used to be a strong supporter of women's rights, but now I'm a sexist. And that change happened without me actually changing my views on anything.

Posted by: fostert on August 25, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

taking a shot at it...

"1.)We're choosing a government leader, in addition to a ceremonial Head of State. So, tell me what policies, initiatives, plans, legislative proposals, programs -- not personalities not atmospherics -- will not or cannot happen under a presumptive Obama administration, by virtue of it being an Obama administration, and that would have happened under a presumptive Clinton administration, by virtue of it being a Clinton administration"

I'm much more worried by what may happen under Obama than what can't. What I see in Obama is a pretty much completely untested politician who has come out of one of the most corrupt areas of the country, who is being catapulted at frightening speed to a position of extreme personal power. Not only that but he is taking office after Bush, who systematically worked to further the concept that the president can do whatever the hell he wants whenever he wants and everyone else, particularly civil libertarians, can go screw. And as a final "Oh crap" feeling, Obama is a charismatic speaker and a small but significant portion of his supporters really do speak of him with religious overtones.

That freaks me right the ^%$# out.

I do not need Jim Jones to have the nuclear football. And right now I have exactly no reason on earth to think that Obama is one iota more stable than the mayor of koolaide town.

Now, granted, McCain is well knwon to have a temper. And he's kind of a douchebag. I'm pretty sure a McCain presidency will suck balls. And yet I can't help but come back to the idea that I am pretty sure the words "nuclear winter" won't be involved. For the most part ditto all that for Clinton (she was no where near my first choice).

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

of course, the CNN poll showing the "Clinton Supporter" problem allegedly getting worse has been a big part of the mix of the Obama-Clinton coverage coming into convention.

so I finally find, in in this buried piece, the fine print:

The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all voters. For registered Democrats, it is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, and for Democrats who still support Clinton for the party's nomination, it is plus or minus 7.5 percentage points.

And they actually consider that newsworthy? That's not a poll - that's a guess.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 25, 2008 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Tlaloc, so I don't misunderstand, you're telling me John McCain is the peace candidate?.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 25, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Tlaloc, so I don't misunderstand, you're telling me John McCain is the peace candidate?"

No, McCain is the candidate of the Military-Industrial complex, which, you know, sucks. That said though the M-I is motivated by profit, and turning large swathes of the planet into cinder doesn't generally pay the bills.

The question is whether you want a predictable candidate who will suck or a candidate who is completely unpredictable (may be great or may be the worst ever). Ten years ago I probably would have been game for the gamble. Now I'm not. Maybe that's just me.

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Tlaloc, why so serious?

I think we have here a far too concerned troll, trolling here.

"Most corrupt areas of the country"? Well, fuck you very much Tlaloc. Mind sharing with the rest of us how you measured that? And some evidence please?

Oh, and please, please, please tell us how you came to the conclusion that Obama is no "no more stable than the mayor koolaide town"? What with McCrusty rattling sabers over Russia and Georgia, singing "bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran", and having an infamous nasty temper that even you pointed out.

Really, and yet somehow you come to the conclusion that it's the man whose managed to maintain an even keel through-out his campaign is the one we should worry about?

Better trolls, please.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on August 25, 2008 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Tlaloc, You didn't answer Davis X. Machina's question. You reiterated claims about Obama's personality and atmospherics.

The only policy issue I could glean from your comment was that you didn't like his vote on the FISA bill. I doubt you'll get much disagreement in this crowd. But there are two points that are worth mentioning:

1. We may not like FISA but it's been in effect since the 1970's. Hillary had no objection to FISA. Indeed she would have voted for the bill if the provision for telecom immunity had been taken out. She was right on this one.

2. Why would Hillary have voted for this FISA bill if there had been no telecom immunity? Because the bill doesn't gut the fourth amendment, as some people have claimed. It in fact explicitly states that the President cannot invoke either his executive power or war-time powers to override FISA. The FISA courts have the last word on whether the government is allowed to wiretap someone or not.

It would have been nice not to give telecom companies immunity so we could have (a) prosecuted them for illegal acts and (b) found out more about the scope of Bush's surveillance programs. But the argument or suggestion that Obama endorses the Bush theory of the unitary executive is ridiculous. And the objections I've read on many sites -- not this one -- show a surprising lack of knowledge about the actual bill, about FISA, and about the constitution.

If we claim to want specifics from our candidates, let's be specific ourselves.

Posted by: tobie on August 25, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

I do not need Jim Jones to have the nuclear football. And right now I have exactly no reason on earth to think that Obama is one iota more stable than the mayor of koolaide town.

Ah, I see. You're either (a) crazy yourself and/or (b) trolling for McCain points. Don't you think you should let us know that about yourself before we waste time reading your comments?

Because, c'mon, president of the Harvard Law Review, University of Law School constitutional law professor, Illinois state legislator, US Senator, devoted husband and loving father, always involved in his community, a life's history of hard work, dedication and achievement, often against seemingly insurmountable odds -- and to you that screams Jim Jones? Try and pull the other one, Charlie, Ok?

Posted by: Stefan on August 25, 2008 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

What I see in Obama is a pretty much completely untested politician who has come out of one of the most corrupt areas of the country,

Sometimes you have to admire the work, don't you, just kind of take a step back to admire the sleaziness? Note how there's no overt insinuation that Obama is corrupt, simply that he "has come out of one of the most corrupt areas of the country"....it's the usual Republican game of, ah, insinuendo.

Posted by: Stefan on August 25, 2008 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, fuck you very much Tlaloc. Mind sharing with the rest of us how you measured that?"

You're seriously questioning that Chicago is *legendary* for political corruption? Seriously?


"Oh, and please, please, please tell us how you came to the conclusion that Obama is no "no more stable than the mayor koolaide town"?"

That's not what I said. What I said is I have no way of knowing that he is. That's exactly why we like people to have experience- so we have some basis by which to predict their behavior.


"Better trolls, please."

*shrug*
Someone asked a question, not my fault if you don't like the answer.

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Tlaloc, You didn't answer Davis X. Machina's question."

True, I indicated that the opposite question was the one that mattered (so far as I'm concerned).


"1. We may not like FISA but it's been in effect since the 1970's. Hillary had no objection to FISA. Indeed she would have voted for the bill if the provision for telecom immunity had been taken out. She was right on this one."

I'm having trouble following you here. Hillary voted against cloture. Obama said he would vote against cloture and then voted for. I think telcom immunity is a very bad precedent to set. That being the case as I see it Hillary made the right call whereas Obama not only made the wrong call but made it after explicitly promising to do the opposite. That his final position is one that gives more power to the the very position he is likely to end up holding doesn't reassure.

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

any a-hole that thinks Obama is more dangerous or irrational than McCain shouldn't be trusted with sharp objects. Sadly, by law, that alone doesn't preclude them the right to vote. Stupidity isn't a crime

Posted by: slappy magoo on August 25, 2008 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of who shouldn't have the nuclear football, let's see what the Republicans who've worked with McCain in the Senate over the years have to say about whether they want McCain to have access to the launch codes -- and remember when you read this, these are the guys on his side:

"[McCain's temper] ... would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger." -- Senator Robert Smith (R-NH)

"The thought of [McCain] being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me." -- Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)

"I decided I didn't want this guy anywhere near a trigger." -- Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM)

Posted by: Stefan on August 25, 2008 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

That's not what I said. What I said is I have no way of knowing that he is. That's exactly why we like people to have experience- so we have some basis by which to predict their behavior.

Dare I suggest that the history I posted above --i.e. Columbia grad, president of the Harvard Law Review, University of Chicago con law professor, state legislator, Senator, devoted husband and father, a life of hard work and achievement, pillar of his community, etc. -- might give you a few clues about who Obama is? You're seriously insinuating that all of this still means you have no way of knowing who he is? Seriously?

Posted by: Stefan on August 25, 2008 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Note how there's no overt insinuation that Obama is corrupt, simply that he "has come out of one of the most corrupt areas of the country"....it's the usual Republican game of, ah, insinuendo."

What it is is circumstantial. I don't make any specific charge of corruption because I don't know that Obama is corrupt. He might be everything his most ardent supporters claim.

Might be.

But I don't know the man, nor do I have any significant history of his by which to judge him so all that is left is to look towards the circumstantial issues such as background. Yes, coming from Chicago is a strike against because it does have a long and very sordid history of corruption. Does that mean Obama's corrupt? No of course not. But it certainly raises the chances.

If you find that kind of analysis scummy... *shrug*

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Dare I suggest that the history I posted above --i.e. Columbia grad, president of the Harvard Law Review, University of Chicago con law professor, state legislator, Senator, devoted husband and father, a life of hard work and achievement, pillar of his community, etc. -- might give you a few clues about who Obama is? You're seriously insinuating that all of this still means you have no way of knowing who he is? Seriously?"

Very much so.
In the first place I don't consider relentless pursuit of positions of power to be much of a character recommendation. The only thing I've heard about Obama's tenure at the HLR is that he was famous for never writing an opinion. That also doesn't sound great to me. That sounds like a person who is being careful not to let anyone know what he really thinks.

The claims you made that are factual (positions held) don't really help either of us to actually know the man. The claims that might help us to get some sense of the man (devoted father/husband) are unsubstantiated.

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

So to sum up, between (A) the candidate whom even his fellow Republican Senators say is demonstrably crazy, and (B) the candidate whom no one says is at all crazy, you think that B is the risky choice. I see.

Well, now that we know we can discount your opinion is anyone else up?

Posted by: Stefan on August 25, 2008 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Tlaloc, what exactly would convince you? You say his being a good husband and father is "unsubstantiated." Michelle Obama vouches for him; who would know better?

On the other hand, McCain marital infidelity is very substantiated.

Havard Law, HLR, Tribe's RA, Prof of Con Law at Chicago - people who are rash and irresponsible simply don't get that list of opportunities. He has been in public life for a decade with no evidence of instability.

McCain jokes about "bomb bomb bombing Iran" and seems to actively pine for the Cold War.

Seriously, I ask: what are you looking for that you think is absent in the record? You seem to be setting an impossibly high bar as a pretense for some other reason to dislike Obama - you seem to be actively seeking a way to reject him (and, interesting enough, seem to be having problems finding it!)

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 25, 2008 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

"That's exactly why we like people to have experience- so we have some basis by which to predict their behavior. "

Experience can be negative, you know. Hillary's vote for the Iraq War, her sable rattling against Iran, and her screwing up of Health Care reform are certainly experiences. And they are the experiences that made me vote against her. As for John McCain, his experience consists of changing his views on every major issue except for abortion and war, where he has been consistently wrong. I only know where he really stands on two issues, and I strongly disagree with him. As for the rest, who the hell knows? He probably doesn't, or can't remember anyway. And the candidate I most associate with the phrase "Nuclear Winter" is John McCain. I can't think of a politician in the US that is more likely to start a nuclear war. He's Dick Cheney on steroids, but without the sharp mind. When I think of John McCain's foreign policy, I think of Slim Pickens' character in Dr. Strangelove.

Posted by: fostert on August 25, 2008 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Tlaloc, what exactly would convince you? You say his being a good husband and father is "unsubstantiated." Michelle Obama vouches for him; who would know better?"

Specifically of his being good father/husband? I'd probably have to know them personally. It's not exactly surprising that Michelle vouhes for him. Hillary didn't leave Bill. What does that mean?

But really that's besides the point. There are plenty of people who are good spouses and fathers but still aren't qualified to be president.

The problem here is a lack of public experience. I can't think of anyway to fix that except time, which we just don't have. So most likely I'll be sitting out the election. I can't imagine McCain making the kinds of changes that would make me willing to vote for him and i can't think of a way for Obama to earn the trust needed.

Que sera sera.


"Havard Law, HLR, Tribe's RA, Prof of Con Law at Chicago - people who are rash and irresponsible simply don't get that list of opportunities. He has been in public life for a decade with no evidence of instability."

He never had real power before becoming a US senator, and he's been doing that for far too short a time (and most of that has been running for president) to know what he'd do with it.

"Seriously, I ask: what are you looking for that you think is absent in the record? You seem to be setting an impossibly high bar as a pretense for some other reason to dislike Obama - you seem to be actively seeking a way to reject him (and, interesting enough, seem to be having problems finding it!)"

Consider Bill Clinton Circa 1992. He'd been governor of Arkansas for what, ten years? Something like that. He'd been on the national stage for near a decade. We'd had time to get to know what he was like with power. There were plenty of people out there that knew the guy had issues with women and abuse of power. That wasn't great but it was pretty much accepted as part of the deal.

You knew what you were getting.

When the lewinski thing rolled around you could slap your head about it but it wasn't really that big a surprise. And, as expected, his personal failings were fairly minor seeing as they only contravened his marriage vows (and possibly workplace fraternization rules).

See what I mean? Because we knew the guy, knew his failings we knew that they weren't that bad. Or at least not bad in a way that compromised the country.

He was a horn dog and trouble keeping it in his pants. Alrighty. I can live with that in a president.

What are Obama's failings? Not a clue, other than I suspect hubris might be high on the list. So either he's a perfect saint or we don't know what this guy is about. We don't know when the stress test comes how he will fail. I find that an unacceptable risk given the position and the circumstances.

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Experience can be negative, you know. Hillary's vote for the Iraq War, her sable rattling against Iran, and her screwing up of Health Care reform are certainly experiences. And they are the experiences that made me vote against her."

The specific experiences may be negative in our evaluation but the very existence of experience lets us know what to expect. You had the opportunity to vote against Hillary in an informed manner. You had the information available to know not only what she said but what she actually did.

The vast majority of Obama supporters have no real idea what the man is about, only what he claims. I don't think I have to tell you what a politicians words are worth.

That's why history matters.

Hillary can offer all the excuses she wants for the AUMF but there's still the fact of her vote.


"And the candidate I most associate with the phrase "Nuclear Winter" is John McCain. I can't think of a politician in the US that is more likely to start a nuclear war. He's Dick Cheney on steroids, but without the sharp mind."

I very much doubt it. McCain has a personal temper and he's pandered disgustingly to the far right in order to seal the deal, as they say, but ultimately I think he's just a fairly simple guy. He thinks he's earned the right to sit in the big chair and he wants to do it. But he's pretty much bereft of any ambitions as to how to use the power that comes with it. He Wants to be top dog to be top dog, not because he's leading the pack to the promised land.

That's certainly not great, but he'd most likely be a dull kind of crappy president. Think GHWB. The biggest risk would be if his advisors were, well, Cheneys. Even then, considering a dem gain in congress and the huge mistrust of foreign wars I really doubt McCain could do much on that front even if he wanted to.

His age is certainly a concern though.

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Tlaloc, you were the one that first raised how he is as a husband and father. And of course you dont know McCain personally either - and even with all of his experience (of the kind you seem to count) his recent changes of position and approaches have surprised people who have known him personally for years.

you will never have certainty in your presidential choice. seeking it will always be a cop out. it is an illusion. all you can do is as much research as possible and then cast the vote that best promotes your views on the policies that are important to you. in this election, the differences are pretty stark - i can't imagine it being that hard to figure out who is closer to your views.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 25, 2008 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

An old saying applies here: never ascribe to anything else that which can be explained by human stupidity.

To put it as politely as possible, Ms. Bartoshevich isn't acting in a terribly bright fashion.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on August 25, 2008 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Tlaloc, you were the one that first raised how he is as a husband and father."

I was? I don't think so. Stefan raised the issue as part of the credentials for Obama (see his 6:18 post).


"And of course you dont know McCain personally either - and even with all of his experience (of the kind you seem to count) his recent changes of position and approaches have surprised people who have known him personally for years."

I don't know him personally no. But all of that experience is exactly why I'm confident that his recent pandering to the right is just that, pandering. We have a long history of knowing how he operates that all suggests he just isn't that sort. He's a braggart and a showboat and ornery. He's a bit militaristic. But he's nowhere near a Cheney.


"you will never have certainty in your presidential choice. "

Not absolute certainty no, but there are degrees of uncertainty and we all draw the line somewhere. You are unlikely to vote for someone just because I vouched for the guy. You'd rightly ask "Who the hell is this Tlaloc guy and why should his recommendation matter?"


"all you can do is as much research as possible and then cast the vote that best promotes your views on the policies that are important to you. in this election, the differences are pretty stark - i can't imagine it being that hard to figure out who is closer to your views."

I like a lot of the stuff Obama *says.* But I learned a long time ago to treat the words of campaigning politicians as nothing but oily smoke.

Posted by: Tlaloc on August 25, 2008 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

I like a lot of the stuff Obama *says.* But I learned a long time ago to treat the words of campaigning politicians as nothing but oily smoke. -Tlaloc

So you think both candidates are lying to you, only it's a noble thing when McCain does it, but a bad thing when Obama does it?

At least you're consistent.

Posted by: doubtful on August 25, 2008 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

I can't wait to see McCain nominate either pro-Choice Lieberman or female Condi Rice and scoop up millions of Clinton PUMAs!

Posted by: daveinboca on August 26, 2008 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

I can't wait to see McCain nominate either pro-Choice Lieberman or female Condi Rice and scoop up millions of Clinton PUMAs!

Mmmm, those "millions of PUMAs" are like killer bees. We keep getting the warnings, but they just ain't there.

Posted by: shortstop on August 26, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

If only Panama Jack McCoil could figure out a way to grant unborn fetuses the right to vote...

Actually, they're not citizens (yet) since they weren't born in the US, which is something he has in common with them.

Posted by: sac on August 26, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

http://pokemonc.digitalzones.com/martinivodkarecipe.html

Posted by: Victor on September 10, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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