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Bloggingheads
02-11-2008, 06:22 PM

Wonderment
02-11-2008, 10:30 PM
The Angela Davis argument for the abolition of prisons is predicated on acknowledging the unspeakable horror of our judicial punishment system and its unacceptable effects on the incarcerated, their families and their communities.

Just as we came to acknowledge the horrors of child labor, slavery and torture (sort of), we need to see that the caging of human beings is also barbaric and categorically immoral.

Davis is not saying we never need to protect society from certain offenders; she wants to find better ways than permanent caging to do so.

Going at the problem by simply reducing the world record (and rising) US per capita incarceration rate does not really get to the heart of the matter any more than reducing the number of cotton plantations in the South would have got to the heart of the slavery problem.

Steps on the road to abolition of prisons:

Abolition of the death penalty

Abolition of Life without Parole

Abolition of victimless crimes like drug possession

Abolition of torturing prisoners via punishment in "the hole"

bkjazfan
02-11-2008, 10:36 PM
Mark is one sharp guy. As far as the subject of crime and punishment goes he knows his stuff. Thank you BHTV for having him on.

dawnfather
02-11-2008, 10:53 PM
Glenn makes an argument against nominating Obama.
Mark responds effectively.
Glenn makes a different argument against nominating Obama.
Mark responds effectively.
Glenn makes yet a different argument against nominating Obama.
Mark responds effectively.
...


I thought the Mark/Megan episode was really interesting and engaging.

Jay J
02-11-2008, 11:02 PM
I enjoyed seeing Mark Kleiman on before and I'm glad he's back, and I always enjoy Glenn Loury...

So Mark's desire for a President that's "eloquent" is overwhelming and Glenn prefers someone with "policy expertise."

Can we dispense of this narrative please?

All other things equal, Hillary's experience would tip the scales for me. But all other things are NOT equal.

Mark's points about Obama's achievements speak toward the meme that Obama is somehow an empty suit. And talk of Hillary's mis-steps on Health Care in the 90's and her Iraq (and Iran) votes speak to the fact that her experience apparently didn't serve her well in those situations. I suppose the idea is that she learned from the 90's debacle, which is sort like learning from your failures, which is fine, but it isn't like, a notch on your belt on a feather in your cap.

The rest basically falls out like this:

*We need a paradigm shift in foreign policy. John Edwards voted for the war, but at least he said unequivocally that it was the wrong move. Hillary has been splitting hairs on what she personally meant by her vote, and has shown enthusiastic support for the surge at the SOTU address (which may be working by military standards, but it isn't achieving its stated goal) and she voted with the Bush Administration on Iran. So either she's triangulating on this stuff to avoid looking weak in the general, or she really is kinda of a hawk. Either way, Obama openly opposed the war before it started, and he didn't go along with Bush on Iran. The signs point toward Obama being the candidate that can change the horrible course we've been on for the past 8 years, at least in terms of how we deal with the rest of the world.

*The Health Care Debate is really a microcosm of how Hillary on the one hand, and Obama on the other deal with economic issues. I find left-wing support for Obama heartening, because I want him to win, but Obama really does appear to be less of a Doctrinaire Democrat when it comes to the economy and the tools government uses to bring about desired results. Greg Mankiw has said that most democratic economists prefer Obama, and Hillary's health care mandate and her ideas to freeze interest rates for 5 years to deal with the subprime crises show a willingness to propose pretty blunt tools to deal with problems with may require more finesse.

*We can't predict the future or how America will react to a black candidate. But all signs right now point to Barack Obama being the better candidate to face John McCain. Polls have shown it pretty consistently, and Obama's appeal to independents also points in a favorable direction for Obama.

There are REAL reasons to support Barack Obama aside from his eloquence or inspirational qualities. Just because many of Hillary's supporters prefer experience and many of Obama's supporters are inspired by him doesn't mean we have to accept these things as the fall-back reasons for supporting one candidate or another. The fact that Obama is inspiring is a bonus for me because it brings many people into his campaign, but it does bode well for his ability to govern persuasively, which is a tangible reason to support Obama.

piscivorous
02-11-2008, 11:21 PM
The sum and substance of Obama's campaign so far, and i will admit I haven't really paid that great of attention as an independent if FL I am disenfranchised in the primaries, "Everything must be different!".

At an earlier time there was a messianic candidate with great rhetorical and oratorical skill that preached the same message. In that candidate's native language it was "Alles muss anders sein!". Please don't get carried away with indication of the comparison it is stylistic only.

Jay J
02-11-2008, 11:32 PM
piscivorous,

Barack Obama has ideas, just like Hillary Clinton has ideas. Obama tends to get things right regarding the use military power, and his ideas on the economy seem pretty consistently nimble, or at least subtle, compared to Hillary's ideas.

The purpose of my post was to point to a couple of things that should cause us to think twice about the Obama as inspiring-only story. There's only so much you can say on the campaign trail about the specificity of your policies. But each time they tangle with one another, Obama seems to come out fine.

So while I can see how you would come away with the idea that Obama is offering no more than a vague "everything must change" campaign, my assertion is that there are tangible reasons to support Obama, so we can't argue on the point if you simply say that you have a different impression than me.

BTW, I'm not carried away with indignation, but what exactly is the relevance of the comparison you mentioned?

piscivorous
02-11-2008, 11:39 PM
I think that I would like to see some more substance his speeches, in stead of the go read the position papers, because in the general election there will be considerable posturing and if Obama lets the republicans frame the the issue debate he will forever be playing defense. It is hard to win playing defense and change for the sake of change is not aways beneficial.

Jay J
02-11-2008, 11:57 PM
Fair enough.

But when Hillary gets specific, she doesn't usually say anything that sways me. So I would say specificity for the sake of specificity isn't automatically good either. I haven't seen Hillary get specific in ways that I find persuasive, and Obama asked her to get specific on how she plans to enforce her health care mandate, and her answer wasn't very specific. Her excuses for voting to give George W. Bush the authority to go to war have been pretty specific, and pretty underwhelming. If you're comparing Obama to some Platonic ideal candidate you have in mind, then I can't really say much to sway you. But he's running against Hillary Clinton, and it seems to me that the idea that Hillary has more substance relies in the fact that she's been around government longer, and this doesn't seem like a good reason to think she's more substantive, even if she is temperamentally more wonkish.

On what will go on in the general election, I think from 2000 and 2004 we've learned that the general voting public doesn't respond as much to specifics as they do to the broad strokes. Al Gore and John Kerry had all sorts of ideas, facts, and figures, and George W. just stayed with his trusty mantras, and he won. Obama is rhetorically gifted the way Bill Clinton is (though Bill Clinton may also a bit of the wonk in him) so I just don't foresee him being backed into a corner by John McCain

Eastwest
02-11-2008, 11:58 PM
MK's rave-a-thon for Obama which went on tediously for nearly a half-hour before GL finally euthanized it was amazing to listen to.

I enjoyed listening to both sides on that one, but GL clearly had logic and clear thinking on his side, whereas MK was arguing on the basis of religion, rather like a wide-eyed disciple of a fresh-faced faux-eloquent self-proclaimed messiah. With all due respect, one has to ask what this man's been smoking. The General Election's likely to be a horrible awakening from what sounds like nothing but uncritical delusionary dreaming.

On crime control, it appeared that GL's frustration over the high numbers of low-end "life-style" incarcerations was eroding his position on the logical high ground. Even against the bad taste of the first half of Diavlog, I found myself tilting back slightly towards the law-enforcement "tuning" of MK (even as over-sold as they were) in preference to any of Angelas Davis' "abandon incarceration altogether" stratagems. Obviously a combo of MK's approach and the rejiggering of education to deal with "first causes" makes the most sense.

Worth listening to, sure, but gad, MK's endless commercial for BO had me looking for a bucket to lose my cookies into. The prospect of yet another "on-the-job-training" presidency makes me shudder. MK, like BO, both come from the school of "car salesman" political rhetoric wherein pronouncements need not have any particular grounding in reality (a paradox, given the "Reality-Based Community" MK purports to represent).

Always like listening to GL. Seems to be almost always clear, concise, realistic, and pleasant to boot.

EW

Jay J
02-12-2008, 12:01 AM
Eastwest,

So if Obama wins, you'll be supporting John McCain in the general?

He's got allot more experience.

piscivorous
02-12-2008, 12:06 AM
I agree that there is a balance that must be struck but it may not have been either Vice President Gore or Senator Kerry were too issue oriented but just a couple of piss poor candidates.

Foo Bar
02-12-2008, 12:13 AM
Professor Kleiman says that to the best of his knowledge Illinois is the only state that requires videotaped interrogations. Actually, although Illinois was the first such state, eight states plus D.C. now have that requirement. (http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=15132) A nitpick, perhaps, although I think the fact that several other states have now followed the lead of Illinois magnifies the significance of Obama's achievement.

Wonderment
02-12-2008, 12:16 AM
I enjoyed listening to both sides on that one, but GL clearly had logic and clear thinking on his side, whereas MK was arguing on the basis of religion, rather like a wide-eyed disciple of fresh-faced faux-eloquent self-proclaimed messiah.


I admit it was kind of creepy to see the portrait of the Saint hanging on the wall behind Mark. Reminiscent of the Pope, Ché, JFK and MLK in idolatries gone by. (Barack, you are no MLK.)

I think selling Obama as a holy man is starting to backfire. Eloquence is one thing; cult of personality is quite another.

I think his handlers will calm down, however, once he finally puts the stake through the Clintons' heart. Since he and Clinton agree on so much, the personality sweepstakes will determine the nomination. But once it's an election against McCain, it will be about clearly differentiated positions on the issues.

Jay J
02-12-2008, 12:17 AM
Ok, but like I said before, the polls putting Obama up against McCain look better for Democrats than polls which show Clinton against McCain, and Obama has shown an ability to attract independents in his campaign.

Gore and Kerry may not have been the best candidates, but it's not like John McCain is going to hammer Obama or Hillary with his wonkish skills.

The only signs we have right now should lead us to the warranted belief that Obama will do better in the general. These aren't ideal epistemic conditions, since there are variables we can't take into account. But right now the signs we have seem more persuasive than worrying about how specific he gets compared to Hillary, particularly since Hillary got Iraq wrong and continues to get it wrong on Iran. Hillary will struggle to distinguish her position from McCain's, since he's been very critical of the implementation of the war too, so she'll look either indistinguishable or she'll look like a flip-flopper. And I wonder how the health care mandate will play in the general election once the GOP gets their hands on it? Geez, they'll bash her over the head with that one, socialist Hillary Clinton and such will be the talk, and so much of the country already hates her...

Anyway, I don't see any good reasons to think Hillary is better positioned to go against McCain than Obama.

piscivorous
02-12-2008, 12:17 AM
I also believe that he said it was passed "unanimously" implying very very broad general support. So how much credit Senator Obama accrues for getting this obviously bipartisan issue passed is exactly what?

piscivorous
02-12-2008, 12:25 AM
I am definitely not trying to make a case for Senator Clinton, while I don't hate her, I have absolutely no respect for her and she would never get my vote. As an independent I am willing to consider Senator Obama but I am not willing to put in the effort a this point in time as he may not be the candidate.

Foo Bar
02-12-2008, 12:25 AM
Piscivorous:

Check out the Charlie Peters Washington Post piece (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/03/AR2008010303303.html) that's also linked in the upper right-hand corner. The bill initially was opposed by Governor Blagojevich, the police, and many others from both sides of the aisle. Ultimately it passed unanimously, but it didn't start out with such broad support.

Eastwest
02-12-2008, 12:30 AM
Re: JJ's:
So if Obama wins, you'll be supporting John McCain in the general?
No need to be so quick-draw on the condescension. I've been watching politics quite closely since the mid-sixties and know the difference between high-flown outsider rhetoric and savvy insider understanding. Obama needs to serve an internship before he tries to fly this spaceship. There's just no room for newbie errors in the current unprecedently perilous international crisis atmosphere.

(McCain is really a bad joke. One need only think of his farcical stroll through a Baghdad market proclaiming the restored security in Iraq.)

Never thought I'd advocate voting for anybody and everybody with a "D" next to their name on the ballot, but if ever there was a year to do, this would be it. Truth is, I'd like best to see a Clinton-Obama ticket with Hil at the top, Barack as VP, and Bill knowing to keep a respectful distance, but still being listened to very, very carefully for the high degree of savvy he is indeed able to contribute.

EW

piscivorous
02-12-2008, 12:31 AM
I wasn't necessarily talking about the support of that political organizations and politicians of IL. It is where my father retired and I have a strong fundamentalist brother and a stanch liberal sister, that still live there, and this is probably the only political issue in 30 years that they agreed on. But I will read the article.

Eastwest
02-12-2008, 12:34 AM
RE: Wonderment's:
I think his handlers will calm down, however, once he finally puts the stake through the Clintons' heart.

Actually, it will be statistically impossible for BO to knock out HC before the convention, the place where it will finally be decided.

On the personality cult phenom, we agree. It's really creepy and it anesthetizes clarity.

EW

Jay J
02-12-2008, 12:35 AM
Sorry Eastwest, but I found your description of Obama pretty dismissive and patronizing, particularly since I put forth an effort to say why I find substantive reasons to support Obama, only to have the narrative repeated as true by fiat, so I didn't see myself as being particularly quick on the draw.

I tried to give reasons for why I think the narrative of "Clinton as wise, Obama as newbie" is bunk.

If your response is that you've simply been around a long time and that you can just tell the difference, well there's nothing to argue about I guess.

Eastwest
02-12-2008, 01:15 AM
RE: JJ's -
If your response is that you've simply been around a long time and that you can just tell the difference, well there's nothing to argue about I guess.
Actually, I said that my perception was based on close observation, not that it was a function of surmise from a distance. (There's a large qualitative difference in the trustworthiness of the data thus elicited.)

So, yes, close observation of the data yields the irrefutable truth that, bright and promising as he may be, BO has no inside experience at these matters. He's got the potential to be a quick study, but there's just not the room for error this time, due to the incredible number of errors committed by our last "on-the-job-training" president, George Bush, who, fortunately doesn't warrant being compared to BO in any other respect, this because GB is an intellectual dwarf. (But of course, it was a similar absence of critical thinking that resulted in his being "elected" [debatable, I know] in the first place.)

So, no, there's nothing to "argue" about. "Argument" is a function of "heat," not light, and as such advances nothing. Especially true, as in the present case, where one would be arguing with wide-eyed uncritical converts of the latest cult religion.

I am open to "discussion," however, but am on deadline, so probably won't have that much more to offer tonight.

Peace,
EW

Jay J
02-12-2008, 02:12 AM
Argument, in the colloquial sense, is pretty combative, I suppose. But in context, I think it's pretty clear that I mean argument as the process of giving reasons for why you believe what you do, and analyzing the reasons the other side gives. A discussion where the sides disagree but give reasons to try to persuade the other side is also argument.

I respect the fact that you have a deadline, maybe we'll pick up the conversation later.

For now suffice it to say, if someone leaned heavily toward Obama's relative modesty in using government to intervene bluntly in the market, at least compared to Hillary, and saw that Hillary voted to authorize the War in Iraq and has yet to learn the lesson based on her support for the Bush Administration on Iran, this is NOT the same thing as being swept away by Obama's charms. We could disagree over the importance of the policies, but to simply act as if Obama's only appeal is sentimental is dismissive and inaccurate.

TwinSwords
02-12-2008, 02:17 AM
WTF? I've heard a number of bloggingheads say in the past that they are encouraged to argue, but come on, this is ridiculous. We don't need fist fights and shouting matches to enjoy BHTV. The Klieman / McArdle conversation was one of the most enjoyable in recent memory. It's preposterous that someone criticized it for not being contentious enough.

Why doesn't BHTV drop this dumb demand and allow people to engage in edifying conversation?

Eastwest
02-12-2008, 02:45 AM
RE: JJ's -
to simply act as if Obama's only appeal is sentimental is dismissive and inaccurate.

I believe I noted that BO is bright and has the potential to be a quick study. Still, he's got no relevant experience. That's not deduced via surmise. It's just the facts. But this is getting tedious. We'll have to agree to disagree.

EW

brucds
02-12-2008, 08:26 AM
Since the unhinged "cult of personality" line reared it's not-too-bright head above, I have to say that the Clinton years - which were disastrous for the Democratic Party - were the closest thing to a "cult of personality" I've experienced in American politics. Because of policy incompetence (health care reform morphing into "HillaryCare" by HER own amateurish appropriation of the issue) and a string of mini-scandals that finally produced - again, largely self-inflicted by Clintonian narcissism - a jackpot of (fool's) gold for a GOP bent on strangling the political process, we Democrats spent the better part of the nineties (after health care reform was mismanaged) defending "the Clintons" while listening to Bill recycle Ronald Reagan's talking points in order to rescue his Presidency and deal with a resurgent Republican congress. Now we're asked to trust that it will be better this time around. (This campaign certainly hasn't provided any evidence.) The truth about Hillary's "experience" - leaving out unconscionable foreign policy stuff like her vote to authorize Bush's war and her vote against the landmine ban - is that asking Senator Clinton back to "get health care reform right" this time around is about as appealing to this voter as asking Don Rumsfeld back to take another crack at the occupatioin of Iraq.

brucds
02-12-2008, 08:55 AM
It's unfortunate that Kleiman didn't take on Loury's grumblings about Hillary's policy "expertise" where they are weakest - at the heart of this dumb idea that Hillary has a long record of either good judgment or great success in the field of issues and policy. Health care reform became politically toxic for fifteen years after her first crack at it and on the most critical issue of her tenure as senator - Iraq - she was disastrously (and cynically) wrong. The woman didn't even read the National Intelligence Estimate - which conservative Dem Bob Graham saw through and said so. How is that kind of gross incompetence not a dealbreaker? Must be some "cult of personality" around the Clintons that blinds Democrats to just how mediocre and subordinate to personal political calculations their record on policy consistently is.

The "cult of expertise" is bad enough - but the truth is that when it's come to crucial issues facing the country, Clintonism doesn't even consistently rise to that level. A positive argument can be made around the '90s economic policy, but that pretty much boils down to not screwing things up by allowing crackpot ideology to drive tax policy. At this juncture, we need to do better and I know that Obama's team can at the very least match Clinton's in necessary expertise.

The "hope" is that he can move the game beyond the current set of calculations and predictable Beltway tug-of-war by reaching out and undermining the GOP narrative at the level that Reagan undermined liberalism's. Obama MIGHT be able to do this. There's no chance in hell of Clinton doing anything more than her husband did - which is figure how to govern reasonably effectively on the terms already set for them. The truth is, that's Obama's WORST case, given his obvious talents, his first-rate advisory team and his demonstrated history of better judgment on what I consider key issues than Hillary. It's inconceivable that an Obama administration would initiate a policy debacle like Hillary's clumsy stab at health care reform as First Lady. The Obama narrative isn't going to be about Michelle coming forth a decade later and promising to get their key reforms right the second time around. Trust me on that one.

rigger
02-12-2008, 09:29 AM
I too was ready to turn off this discussion. But since I was avoiding homework, I kept going. And was extremely glad I did. Mark made good points about Obama, but I wanted more meat, not just another bag of potato chips. So Kudos to Glen for "euthanizing" (nice word choice EastWest) that vein.
The discussion on incarceration was exactly why I listen to BHTV--take a subject, get a couple of knowledgeable and passionate debaters, throw in some real facts from real studies, and let them twist the idea around until we get to see it in differently. It is high time we rethink our penal/incarceration system. Are we punishing, rehabilitating or just warehousing criminals? Sure the idea of 24/7 location monitoring seems big brotherish, but given the choice between living a monitored life or living an enclosed life, I think I would prefer the bracelet. Hey, our cell phones perform the same function, and we pay for that privilege every month.
Mark's point about immediate consequences for violations is spot on--our justice system is only navigable thanks to expert legal practitioners. When we are caught up in a web of filing motions, wavers, docket schedules, preliminary hearings, the process of arrest and conviction is thoroughly muddled. I am not advocating drum-head justice, I just think the complexity of the system is a befuddlement to the average criminal. If we want the threat of punishment to be a deterrence, then insist on a bunch of paper shuffling before anyone actually does anything, the threat has no teeth. Unless you are like me and can't abide paperwork.

uncle ebeneezer
02-12-2008, 01:09 PM
Wow!! Brudcs, you just hit the nail on the head as far as the way I have been feeling for quite some time. A.) I just don't see the "expertise" that Hillary claims in her record or her decisions as a Senator. B.) I'm throughly sick of being told by the party "elders" that Obama is a flash in tha pan, hasn't done his time, is too green etc. It's condescending the way that the "youth" is always condemned as a problem because they don't get out and vote, and then when they start coming out in droves for one candidate (something that Dems have been hoping for for years) then they are derided for picking that has a little bit of flash to go with a good amount of substance as well.

I have read Obama's blueprint for change on his website and it is just as detailed and pragmatic as any other candidates. Is it pie-in-the-sky? Sure, but no more so than anyone else's. After reading it I came away thinking, "this guy and the people who helped him put this stuff together, would be great for leading this country." Wonky knowledge is great, but my belief is that the office of President is more like managing a baseball team. The big decisions are important, but just as important is the ability to (yes I'm going to use the word) "inspire" your players to get the job done. Obama seems to have this quality in spades, as is evidenced by the broad appeal he has with Independents, youth, educated whites and african-Americans. Even if Hillary does get past McCain, I don't see much chance of her inspiring anybody beyond her loyal followers and Dems.

Anyways, kudos again for the great post. Though the "sainthood" of Obama from his supporters and the media does get to be a bit much, I think the response of completely writing off the qualities that spawned it is equally short-sighted. Change does happen. People do initiate it. Thinking that a good president could make major positive changes to the whole game, is not delusional. After all we've seen what a bad one can do in the other direction.

Bloggin' Noggin
02-12-2008, 01:40 PM
Good points, brucds. The main point of experience is that it should be a sign of greater judgment and competence. But Hillary's appeals to "experience" are often promises to do better next time because she's learned from her mistakes rather than a record of solid achievement.
I suspect Hillary would be competent, as maybe you do not, but I have to say the appeal is underwhelming: "In my last job, I brought down the entire computer system and millions of dollars were lost, but I was in the job for many years and you learn a lot from your mistakes!" wouldn't work very well as a pitch to be promoted in business.
Just because Hillary was the one who made the mistake, it doesn't follow that she's the only one that could learn from it.

kevinjudd
02-12-2008, 01:48 PM
I find the argument that Obama will not draw the kind of withering criticism that Hillary will is short sighted. It reminds me of John Kerry's argument that he was the one who could swing Republicans away from the Chickenhawks because of his war record. The reality was that most Republicans were not persuaded.

Hillary brings in baggage among conservatives because she's been in the limelight for a number of years; Barrack is new. By the time the Conventions are over, whomever is the Democratic candidate will be criticized. By that time Obama will have his positions clarified by the party platform, and his past will have been thoroughly vetted. At that time, many people will be surprised that Obama is coming under scrutiny.

We need to choose candidates whom WE want, not candidates who are acceptable to others.

Podger
02-12-2008, 02:03 PM
One point that was not mentioned when talking about the possibility that decriminalizing drugs would simply shift a crisis in crime to a crisis in public health is that regulating drugs that are now illegal includes the ability to regulate their potency. At least for some "softer" drugs, this should alleviate any concerns of a potential public health crisis.
Podger (http://www.podger.net)

brucds
02-12-2008, 02:04 PM
"I find the argument that Obama will not draw the kind of withering criticism that Hillary will is short sighted."


I don't hear that argument being made, except as the Clinton campaign's straw man when the electability issue is raised. The argument is that a high percentage of people ALREADY have bought into some "withering criticisms" of Clinton and they're not likely to change their minds. Another argument is that soem of the "withering criticism" of the Clintons is at least partially justified. But the argument regarding Obama isn't that the right won't throw everything they've got at him, but they're going to have to make it stick the first time around. I'd also argue that his "positives" on the level of personality, life choices, family life, relative personal probity, etc. will make it at least a bit harder for the mud to stick. It's also - having read recently a rather disturbing story about Bill Clinton, his foundation and some magnate getting oil contract favors from the Kazhak dictator after the famous Clinton schmooze - a bit of a stretch to assume that there will be no new "eruptions" , Bimbo or otherwise, to feed the media during a Clinton campaign and presidency. I have just wasted too many hours of my life having my Democratic nose rubbed in that crap. I'm over it and I'm over "the Clintons."

bjkeefe
02-12-2008, 02:48 PM
uncle eb is a ...

Obama seems to have this quality in spades ...

... racist.

;^)

uncle ebeneezer
02-12-2008, 02:55 PM
Kevin, i don't think anyone is naive enough to think that the Republicans are going to give ANY Democrat a free-pass in the election (or their presidency for that matter, should they win.) But comparing Obama to Kerry doesn't seem very usefull. Different times, different state of the country, the war, the GOP, and most importantly Obama is a different person than Kerry. Kerry's lackluster response to the GOP attacks seemed to be a crucial part of what lost him the election (and remember that as awful as his campaign was, he still only lost by 1 state.) Although Obama certainly still needs some practice at deflecting attacks, he seems to be getting much better at it (thanks Hillary) and may just have that rare ability to smoothly step-aside when his opponent takes a swing, making his opponent look ever more the fool. Reagan had this move down pretty well.

I agree that we need to pick the candidate that WE want. But when I say WE I'm including Independents in the mix as well. Ultimately the goal is to get the best person to represent the will of Americans, not just Dems or Republicans. If WE means just Dems, then Hillary probably is the one. If WE means Dems+Inds, then it looks like Obama gets the nod. If WE means all Americans, well that's the $100M question that we're slowly trying to figure out. As an Independent my primary concern is getting the final answer correct regardless of which party provides the answer. That said, Hillary will get my vote if it comes down to it. I just hope she will actually read the NIE's she finds in the Oval Office.

piscivorous
02-12-2008, 03:01 PM
Not to defend Senator Clinton but the whole NIE thing is a bit over blown. If I remember correctly there were a grand total of 8 or was it 5 Senators that actually read it so she seems to be keeping company with the vast majority of our "informed" representatives and since she had 8 years experience in the White House throughout which she was probably appraised of the terror situation she probably had gotten tired of reading the same information time and again.

uncle ebeneezer
02-12-2008, 03:02 PM
I had a feeling that response was coming, though I assumed GarbageCowboy would have beaten you to the punch (no offense.)

Now you see why I'm not a politician. Careless with my words...and racism.

theis
02-12-2008, 03:14 PM
I think Glenn brought a knife to a gunfight on the incarceration issue. Mark brought research, novel ideas, and the studies to back them up, and Glenn came with his preconceptions and liberal goodthink. He does the same thing to John McWhorter in those diavlogs.

brucds
02-12-2008, 03:36 PM
"she had 8 years experience in the White House throughout which she was probably appraised of the terror situation she probably had gotten tired of reading the same information time and again."

Clinton didn't have a security clearance in her husband's White House.

Here's a piece that breaks down the NIE issue:
http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/few-senators-read-iraq-nie-report-2007-06-19.html

Perhaps it's a bit of demagogy to bring that NIE up, but it's in response to her campaign demagogy about her laser-like, detailed focus on the issues and the overwhelming case for her experience and expertise.

Jay J
02-12-2008, 03:49 PM
Everyday phrases like "agree to disagree" properly apply to things that are purely matters of opinion, like raw value judgments. I'm not saying I don't believe value judgments are important, actually values underlie just about every position a voter takes, whether they realize it or not. But it is true that when someone says they value freedom, and someone else says they value social cohesion, that's pretty much the end of the discussion.

But we're not dealing with something like that here, we're dealing with a quasi-empirical issue. I say "quasi" because these aren't ideal epistemological conditions. We don't know what will happen in a future Obama or Clinton administration, and the information we're privy to is mostly from an outsiders look in. BUT, one can still form warranted beliefs based on what we have to go on.

As has been very ably said already by brucds, Hillary Clinton's claim to superior experience is her years as First Lady of the United States (please don't tell me First Lady of Arkansas counts) and her time as a U.S. Senator. She was given responsibility for Health Care Reform very early in the Clinton years. It failed. Now it was a huge task to begin with, but there are reasons to believe that Hillary Clinton mishandled it. Left leaning economist Brad DeLong may qualify, as you seem to think you do, as closely inspecting at least one of the candidates. And here's his testimony:

http://pogopundit.blogspot.com/2008/02/coulter-delong-on-hillary-clinton.html

Now DeLong may be exaggerating, and this is anecdotal, but it does provide reason to think that Hillary botched it. Senator Chris Dodd said,

"The mismanagement of the effort in 1993 and 1994 has set back our ability to move toward universal health care immeasurably..." "We've known what the problems have been for nearly 15 years and what the solutions could be. What's been missing is leadership that knows how to bring people together and get the job done."

Perhaps she's learned from all this, but as Bloggin said, that's not really how claims to experience work. "Look! I failed in the past and learned from it" is not the same as pointing to a good track record. But even here, we can look to see if she has become more adept on the issue over the years...we can look at her Health Care mandate. She attacks Obama's plan for lacking a mandate. We shouldn't have to consult any deep policy papers to wonder how a mandate will help, other than by simply forcing everyone to buy a product we now know little about. Typical economics teaches us that when demand goes up, price goes up. Of course if a large university buys a health care plan, they are sorta buying in bulk. They get a lower price per subscriber since they're paying so much more of a flat amount of money and they're in a better negotiating position than say, a 'mom and pop' store would if they tried to buy health insurance for their employees. So when large groups of people are banded together under one organizational umbrella like a large employer, they can get pretty good prices. But when a bunch of individuals just go buying something, they don't get a lower price, they get a higher price. Pragmatically, Obama is open to the idea of a mandate in the future, but he would like to make it accessible for large numbers of people first, before we force EVERYONE to buy a product that we don't know the quality or price of. Here's a little something to chew on:

http://www.reason.com/news/show/124783.html

And here's a message about mandates from a few folks:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harold-pollack/universal-coverage-and-t_b_84386.html

Now Obama may not be able to get prices under control. But here's his shot at it, just scroll down a tad:

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/06/i_like_barack_o.html

Now maybe someone would say that Clinton and Obama are pretty close on health care and that their positions will end up looking pretty similar. I say Hillary is to quick to pull out the mandate, but some may not think this is a big deal. For me, health care is just a microcosm of her hasty approaches. Here's her "policy expertise" on display:

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=fda159ff-46c4-4d1b-9a4b-7b628d9fb8d0

Now, again as has ably been said by others, the major issue of Hillary Clinton's time as U.S. Senator was Iraq. I can confidently say she botched that one. Unlike John Edwards though, she seems to have learned little from the experience, judging by the credulity she displayed toward the Bush Administration on the Iran vote. Obama opposed the war from the beginning...and I find it fortunate that we have a Democratic candidate who opposed the war who can take on the GOP, it's time to have that argument.

Obama's charisma is a bonus, and it lends itself to something more tangible, and that's his ability to appeal to independents, which we'll need in November.

I find left-wing support of Obama encouraging, but I think Obama is running to Hillary's right on domestic policy, and to her left on foreign policy, and this is just how I like it. I kinda of fancy myself a "New Democrat" but have been disenchanted ever since the DLC's lockstep support for the Iraq War, and their unreflective support for Joe Leiberman. I think I may be one of those "liberaltarians" that Brink Lindsey talks about, and Obama's approach on the war and economy seem to make him the best all-round candidate from either party for a person with my value judgments regarding policy goals and how to use government to achieve those goals. I'm in favor of Universal Health Care, but with the strictness of Hillary's plan, we may as well just go ahead and try single payer. If we stop short of that, then Obama's plan seems much more workable, and I find no reasons to trust Hillary on the issue beyond the merit (or lack thereof) of her policy position.

The Iraq War has been a complete disaster in many ways, and we're in need of a paradigm shift. Barack Obama may be able to bring this about because he was right in the first place, so his judgment was better and he can actually claim to be different than Hillary on the issue, who is either still triangulating by voting yes on Iran, or she really isn't enough of a break with the past 8 years of aggressive posturing toward the rest of the world. In any case Obama won't look like a flip-flopper when he debates McCain on the war.

I know you said you think that Obama is bright. But it's also admirable to address the best reasons the other side has to offer, rather than acting as if the lowest common denominator is representative of the substance of a movement.

Glenn Loury asserts that Hillary has the "policy expertise," which seems right now just like a raw assertion on his part. And in your first post you said that Hillary has "savvy insider understanding." But see, that is just an arbitrary assertion too. On the major issues that matter most, she's hasn't dazzled. So the argument boils down to something like "she's been around longer."

You also offered in your posts:

"The General Election's likely to be a horrible awakening from what sounds like nothing but uncritical delusionary dreaming."

Based on what we know about the numbers pitting Obama against McCain, AND the numbers pitting Clinton against McCain, and the fact that Obama is attracting independents (and this is not as questionable as a poll) to his campaign in higher numbers than Hillary, what do you base your general election worries on, seeing how the objective data point right now toward Obama as a stronger general candidate?

You also offered:

"MK, like BO, both come from the school of "car salesman" political rhetoric wherein pronouncements need not have any particular grounding in reality."

Ironic, it seems, since your assertions about readiness and what will happen in the general election seem based on things other than public justification. I've tried to give reasons, but how can I stand up to arguments from you like,

"Obama needs to serve an internship before he tries to fly this spaceship."

Or this ironic jewel,

"There's just no room for newbie errors in the current unprecedently perilous international crisis atmosphere."

I think we know all about errors regarding international issues...and it's not Obama that worries me.

Tara Davis
02-12-2008, 04:41 PM
I've got a nit to pick with each of you.

Glenn: It's not that white families are racist that they don't adopt black children from the orphanages. I've known many families who would have LOVED to have done so, and instead found themselves waiting for months to adopt Asian or Central-American children. It's very, very difficult for a white family to get permission to adopt a black US child. It's crazy, but that's the reality of the situation.

Mark: To say that drug legalization (specifically marijuana) doesn't make sense because it's not "the will of the people" is silly. More than half of your policy positions are things that the majority of Americans don't like. The whole point of political debate is to move people towards the positions that you feel make sense. Legalization makes a ton of sense, and it is up to those who recognize that fact, from William F. Buckly & Ron Paul on the right, to Al Franken on the left, to state that case and stand by it.

As for your hand-wringing about people marketing addictive substances... I've never once seen a commercial that forced me to do anything. I consume beer and wine because I find it enhances my meals and because alcohol is a pleasant drug to consume in social settings. If commercials were as persuasive as you claim, I would probably drink cheap American lagers like Budweisser and Miller, and mass-produced blended-vintage wines. But as I am a grown-up, making my own decisions about my own life, I drink beer that I make myself and a varied sample of table wines from around the world. Your insistence that advertisers lead us all around like sheep to indulge in various "vice" behavior is academic elitism at its worst.

TwinSwords
02-12-2008, 04:50 PM
More than half of your policy positions are things that the majority of Americans don't like. The whole point of political debate is to move people towards the positions that you feel make sense.
I believe Mark addressed this point by observing that legalization would harm most Americans, and it would therefore be difficult to persaude them to support it. I'd have to review the video to be certain, but that's how I remember it. Just as you said, Mark is attempting to move people towards positions he feels makes sense; and for the reasons he mentioned, legalization doesn't make sense.




As for your hand-wringing about people marketing addictive substances... I've never once seen a commercial that forced me to do anything.
Are you really going to take the position that advertising doesn't affect consumer choice or behavior? You've probably never owned a business, or bought any advertising, then. Why do you think corporations spend hundreds of billions advertising each year? Just for vanity?




Your insistence that advertisers lead us all around like sheep to indulge in various "vice" behavior is academic elitism at its worst.
Oh brother. It's not academic elites who are spending hundreds of billions on advertising; it's corporations — capitalists. Why don't you direct your attacks against the people who are spending a fortune on advertising instead of on people making the common sense observation that advertising works. If anyone is an elitist for believing in the power of advertising, I would think it is the people who are spending all that money buying it.

Wonderment
02-12-2008, 04:57 PM
Glenn: It's not that white families are racist that they don't adopt black children from the orphanages. I've known many families who would have LOVED to have done so, and instead found themselves waiting for months to adopt Asian or Central-American children. It's very, very difficult for a white family to get permission to adopt a black US child. It's crazy, but that's the reality of the situation.

He didn't say adopt. He said foster care.

Mark: To say that drug legalization (specifically marijuana) doesn't make sense because it's not "the will of the people" is silly. More than half of your policy positions are things that the majority of Americans don't like.

It's also a matter of basic freedom. If I want to smoke heroin, crack cocaine or marijuana I should not face a consequence of being put in a cage as a result.

piscivorous
02-12-2008, 07:58 PM
You will get no argument from me on any of those points as the quoted part of comment was irony to began with.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
02-12-2008, 11:05 PM
Ms. Davis,

You are right to raise the point that people attempting to adopt trans-racially in the U.S. may very well face some issues, but to give the impression that it is nearly impossible (which may be based on what you've heard from people you know) is not really correct either.

In fact, it is illegal for any federally funded adoption agency to deny an adoption based on race.

Still, there is no doubt that people seeking to adopt transracially may face resistance from particular social workers or agencies and of course may face social issues (concerns from both Blacks and whites about different identity issues for the child, etc.)

This is actually an excellent article from the NYT in 2006 talking about how things continue to change towards more acceptance of trans racial adoption. The article states that in 2004 26 percent of African American children adopted from foster care were adopted transracially (according to the article almost all by whites).

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/17/us/17adopt.html?ex=1313467200&en=13ef14e4fab5ae58&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

So, I would spread the word to all those interested in providing foster care or adopting children that are in need here in the U.S. to be persistent and don't give up easily. I would also encourage them to be sensitive to people's concerns and try to address them as well as thinking oneself about the issues that might come up for the adopted child in a still very racially conscious society about being of a different race than one's family.

harkin
02-13-2008, 10:24 AM
Theis wrote:

I think Glenn brought a knife to a gunfight on the incarceration issue. Mark brought research, novel ideas, and the studies to back them up, and Glenn came with his preconceptions and liberal goodthink. He does the same thing to John McWhorter in those diavlogs.

Exactly. The point that Mark made about people not realizing that cops can prevent crime as well as react to it illustrates the fallacy about race discrepancies in incarceration rates. There are more blacks in prison because more black criminals prey on more black victims.

uncle ebeneezer
02-13-2008, 01:40 PM
http://www.theonion.com/content/opinion/do_we_really_want_another_black

bkjazfan
02-13-2008, 09:12 PM
Why should Barak get specific when he is doing so well without doing so? It seems there is no clamoring from the public for him to do so. Then, if he does the policy wonks will start taking him apart.

Being a Joel Osteen/Creflo Dollar type politician is working for him and it looks like it could carry him to the White House.

piscivorous
02-13-2008, 10:39 PM
So far I would agree it is working just fine but it is bound to be as satiating as always eating broth with no stock. It satisfies your hunger but wears thin on the palate over time.

bkjazfan
02-13-2008, 11:20 PM
Granted, Obama's "change" rhetoric wore thin with me awhile ago but it seems to have captivated a great many people.

blufftoon
02-14-2008, 10:21 AM
how ironic, satire as irony.
or maybe that's what makes for a truly effective smear.

jackl
02-15-2008, 12:52 PM
Right on, Tara.

Professor Kleiman drives me nuts. He presents himself as an expert because of his UCLA professorship and something of a drug war "liberal" because he is opposed to the indefensible status quo. But his tepid recommendations for change just seek to make the indefensible system just a teesny-weensy bit little less like a jackboot in the human face, forever.

He is not for legalization, just for controlling people in the same way (because that is what the elites want) but with less collateral damage. "Fine tuning" the drug war, for instance. He would substitute little immediate punishments, like house arrest, for long periods of incarceration. He thinks this middling compromise would work for everyone, but he does not realize it would really work for no one, neither prohibitionists or the rest of us. Look how unresponsive the system is even letting the few unfairly over-sentenced crack addicts go free after years of incarceration and Waterboard McMukasey running around to Congress raising alarums about how federal judges are now going to go nuts releasing felons...lock your doors and hide your daughters!

seancrapola
02-21-2008, 10:30 AM
I don't own a gun because I have children in the house and guns scare me. However, both Loury and Kleinman believe that the 2nd doesn't guarantee the law-abiding citizens of this country the right to arm themselves--indeed that that they think it's a lousy idea and that, at least in Kleinman's opinion, Obama agrees with him that it is a lousy idea. If the 2nd Amendment doesn't guarantee a citizen's right to arm himself, then what does it do? I mean, if Obama doesn't think citizens have the right to arm themselves (or wants to parse the language to such an extend that the founders were speaking only of a "militia") then he should announce his intent to repeal the 2nd Amendment and replace it with something a little more to his liking. Of course, no matter what he believes, he's not going to say anything that will ruin him in the general election, so I guess it's a moot point.