PDA

View Full Version : Free Will: Vice-Presidential Edition


Bloggingheads
03-16-2008, 07:48 PM

piscivorous
03-16-2008, 09:58 PM
Will

I wonder if you realize that your doctrinaire and jingoistic rantings about southerners actually might piss off some of us that do live in the south.

bjkeefe
03-16-2008, 10:35 PM
Pisc:

Agreed. That was an irritating overgeneralization, even as seen by a Northerner. I think you're well with your rights to take offense at that.

I thought this entire diavlog was a perfect example of the dangers of winging it. Given the obvious lack of preparation by Will, I'm surprised more stupid things didn't leak out of his mouth. (Come to that, though, some of the Wilkinson family anecdotes did threaten to cross the McArdle Line.)

It was a real shame. The topic could have made for a fascinating hour and I'm sure Jeremy could have told much better stories, given better questions. Will usually does such a great job preparing for these diavlogs. I'm not sure whether he thought appearing with a friend would make up for not having read the book; if so, it didn't. The whole thing came off as an insult to his guest and his audience.

Oh, well. As Keith Richards has said, you can't have good days without having bad days. Today's diavlog made the rest of the episodes of "Free Will" very good days.

bjkeefe
03-16-2008, 10:57 PM
rcocean:

Interesting thoughts. Some follow-up questions:

o I might stipulate that "free marketers" are small in number, but don't you think they have a fair amount of clout, especially in the pocketbook, nonetheless? And given the likelihood that the economy is going to be the most important consideration for most voters, along with McCain's less than impressive credentials here, wouldn't someone known for fiscal smarts be helpful?

o Regarding your hope for a VP nominee with a strong anti-immigration outlook, don't you think such a viewpoint is also appealing just to a fringe group? I mean, few Democrats and not that many moderates share this attitude, and there are plenty of Republicans who don't either, or at least, don't see it as a high priority issue. Given that McCain is going to have trouble rallying Bush's base, wouldn't choosing a running mate who stood principally for an issue of narrow appeal be less than optimal for him?

o Do you really think McCain would pick another senator as a running mate, even leaving aside the first two considerations I asked about? I don't. Any senator with name recognition is almost certain to have baggage that would be easy to use against the ticket, especially if McCain wants to keep his maverick image going.

Wonderment
03-16-2008, 11:35 PM
Regarding your hope for a VP nominee with a strong anti-immigration outlook, don't you think such a viewpoint is also appealing just to a fringe group? I mean, few Democrats and not that many moderates share this attitude, and there are plenty of Republicans who don't either, or at least, don't see it as a high priority issue.

I expect McCain will push himself further rightward on this issue and won't need the help of a hardcore nativist VP.

For years I had dismissed anti-immigrant sentiment as a combination of xenophobia (particularly anti-Mexican racism) and goofy chauvinism. But that doesn't really explain why it has surged over the past few years.

Why blame the Mexicans for everything now?

This sudden fury of turn-of-the-century xenophobia caught even old timers like McCain off guard. He never anticipated how pissed the base would be over his "pro-amnesty" views, which just a few years ago passed for moderation.

As we saw with Euro-fascism, it is economic crisis and displacement of rage and frustration that foments racism.

The recession, the immense multi-trilion dollar horror show of Iraq and the creeping realization that global warming will have devastating consequences combine to make scapegoating immigrants an irresistible distraction. Since it's hard to get any traction targeting blacks, Jews or even Arabs anymore, the war on "illegals" provides a nice cover for old-fashioned bigotry.

bjkeefe
03-17-2008, 12:07 AM
Wonderment:

I think you're right about the increase in profile of this issue -- nothing like hard times to boost the search for scapegoats, no matter how obvious it is that an entirely other group (http://www.whitehouse.gov/) is mostly to blame.

Still, though, I find it hard to believe that this is an issue of decisive importance to a significant number of voters. I suppose it could be argued that certain states might be swayed if they're about even on other things, but I don't see McCain having any worries about winning Arizona or Texas, and I don't think Mickey Kaus has enough like-minded friends to make the difference in California. Florida, maybe, although I have no real feel for this state's attitude on the issue.

At any rate, I think a strong xenophobic message will alienate far more moderates and possible crossover lefties than it will gain. And don't forget how many Republicans -- the business owners and agricultural interests, for example -- have no interest at all in upsetting the current applecart.

rcocean
03-17-2008, 12:17 AM
a) To repeat: these libertarians (Beloved on BHTV) have no where else to go. Are they going to donate to Obama? And the Wall Street money men aren't stupid, McCain will give them Treasury no matter what. He's no Huey Long. So why should they care about the V-P? Note: I'm not talking about the Libertarian "reason magazine" types who support Ron Paul. These people comment on BHTV but have no clout.

o Why do you think Americans favor illegal immigration or open borders? Read the polls, its the exact opposite. The minority that does favor illegal immigration is Democrat to the core. These people won't vote for McCain in any case. If McCain nominated Sessions or Coburn he would signal to his base that he really IS a conservative and won't push Amnesty or illegal immigration.

o I consider McCain a 72 year old self described "maverick" who is arrogant and willful. Like his idol TR, I could easily see him throwing politics aside and in the interests of "good government" and putting his tonto Graham or even Leibermann on the ticket.

bjkeefe
03-17-2008, 12:45 AM
rc:

It's more than a bit of an exaggeration to claim that many people are in favor of illegal immigration. My point is that not too many people see the problem as one of overriding performance.

Also, I wouldn't equate the free market Republicans with libertarians. Sure, they both want a hands-off policy regarding their fiscal games, and both favor lower taxes, but they're not often eye-to-eye on many other issues.

However,

I consider McCain a 72 year old self described "maverick" who is arrogant and willful.

it does seem we have at least point we can agree upon.

razib
03-17-2008, 03:44 AM
...so after will's admission about his racial identity, have to ask: quatroon or octroon?

marsbars
03-17-2008, 05:46 AM
I thought this entire diavlog was a perfect example of the dangers of winging it. Given the obvious lack of preparation by Will, I'm surprised more stupid things didn't leak out of his mouth. (Come to that, though, some of the Wilkinson family anecdotes did threaten to cross the McArdle Line.)

hahah..!! The McArdle family members would do well with a little less publicity. Will, on the other hand, could benefit from bringing back his domestic partner on--the very first diavlog he did together with Kerry Howley was the most interesting one, not in the least because she was speaking most of the time.

Thus Spoke Elvis
03-17-2008, 12:04 PM
I'm surprised that neither blogginghead mentions the person who I think would be the most obvious VP choice for Obama: Sen. Jim Webb for Virginia. Let's look at the assets:

1.) Southern white male -- Sad but true, if you to want to put the South in play, you're going to need someone that looks and talks like Webb.

2.) Conservative Democrat (and former Republican) -- Obama has a pretty liberal record. To assuage the fears of independents and moderate Republicans, it's good to have a more conservative person on the ticket for balance. The fact that Webb is a former Republican makes Obama's appeals for bipartisan cooperation seem more genuine.

3.) Impressive national security credentials -- Obama's biggest weakness is lack of experience on national security issues. It's not that voters don't necessarily agree with his positions, but that they aren't sure he has the experience necessary to be a good Commander-in-Chief. Webb is a decorated Vietnam vet and a former Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration. Like Obama, he is also a long-standing opponent of the Iraq War. Unlike Obama, however, his opposition carries with it the authority of experience. Jim Webb is the perfect guy to counter John McCain. Not only is his level of national security experience comparable to that of McCain (in fact, it's arguably more impressive), but he has the added benefit of having a position on the Iraq War that is shared by most voters.

4.) Gives off a bad-ass, straight-shooting aura -- The value of this quality should not be underestimated. It's easy to forget now, but Dick Cheney was an asset to the Bush campaign in 2000 and 2004 because he seemed like a tough and serious person. People who have concerns that Obama will be overly idealistic and naive would likely feel a bit more comfortable if a guy like Webb was acting as Obama's right-hand man.

As a Republican, an Obama/Webb ticket strikes me as unstoppable. In fact, even I as a conservative would seriously consider voting for them. Actually, maybe that's the reason Jeremy didn't mention Webb in the diavlog...

bachwards
03-17-2008, 12:57 PM
Most of the base will bite the bullet and turn out for McCain anyway. Those obsessed with illegal immigration, though also quite prominent on the internet, are about as relevant as libertarians in the real world.

Bloggin' Noggin
03-17-2008, 01:26 PM
Good suggestion. Webb can pull some of the bad-ass Scotch-Irish vote from McCain. Of course, the danger would be in pulling a Democrat out of a seat that could so easily go the other way. But it's possible that it would be worth it.

Thus Spoke Elvis
03-17-2008, 02:34 PM
Good suggestion. Webb can pull some of the bad-ass Scotch-Irish vote from McCain. Of course, the danger would be in pulling a Democrat out of a seat that could so easily go the other way. But it's possible that it would be worth it.

Don't forget that Tim Kaine, the governor of Virginia, is a Democrat and will be able to temporarily appoint a Democrat to Webb's Senate seat. Virginia is trending purple. It has a Democratic governor and one Democratic Senator (Webb) already. Former governor Mark Warner is running for retiring John Warner's Senate seat, and should be another Democratic pick-up. Even if a Democratic replacement for Webb's Senate seat loses the interim election, the Democrats will maintain their Senate majority with the addition of Mark Warner. Plus, I think an Obama/Webb ticket puts many more states in play in the 2008 election, which in turn helps the Democrats' chances in Senate races in toss-up states.

look
03-17-2008, 04:08 PM
As much as I appreciate Webb, I think that for Obama to put him on the ticket would invite more questions about Obama's judgement. Webb is a hothead who was openly hostile to President Bush at a White House reception and has carried a loaded firearm in the Capitol. Additionally, in the 80s, he made comments related to the unsuitability of females for the military, or some such, which could alienate some female voters who would otherwise switch to Obama should HRC lose. Also, some possible talking points against McCain could be used against Webb.

david_d
03-17-2008, 07:26 PM
Biden makes sense for Obama--most of Webb's positives, plus few of the negatives. Biden's a guy who's not afraid to attack the Republicans, and he's not a guy who's afraid to actually show some life on the campaign trail. He's abandoned the pompous, gaffe-ridden windbag image of yesteryear and has become a formidable national figure. Plus, Delaware is a solidly Democratic state, while Virginia is promising but still a bit iffy on that score.

On an unrelated note, my response to the sort of reasoning of, "McCain needs to shore up his support among the free-marketers," is simply, "or what?" They're going to support Barack Obama? Granted, Obama has gotten a fair amount of donations from Wall Street, but McCain has already got the Republican base. The fact that he seems to think that he needs to go after the nuttiest of the wingers by embracing Hagee and those types represents a misreading of the public mood in my opinion. Even the Republicans that don't like him will vote for him--they'll hold their noses, but they will do it. Sarah Palin does seem less likely these days, but Bob Riley might make a good fit for McCain as well--they're both former supply-side acolytes turned critics who returned to the fold to save their careers.

bjkeefe
03-17-2008, 08:32 PM
look:

Nice to see you back. Don't be such a stranger.

Additionally, in the 80s, he made comments related to the unsuitability of females for the military, or some such, which could alienate some female voters who would otherwise switch to Obama should HRC lose.

Such as you, specifically?

Also, some possible talking points against McCain could be used against Webb.

Like what?

I am no fan of Webb for VP, although I can see some of the reasoning. Just curious to hear some more details from you.

bjkeefe
03-17-2008, 08:36 PM
david_d:

Biden makes sense for Obama ...

I often like Joe Biden, but were he added to the ticket, I already know the bumper sticker from the GOP: The Party of the Plagiarists.

Trying to stay ahead of the Rovian mindset aside, I don't see what Biden offers, as much as I personally think he's a smart guy and would probably be a good (attack dog) campaigner. He doesn't appear to have huge popularity or name recognition, he doesn't command a large state's electoral votes, and he doesn't go along with the notion of change that Obama is pitching.

uncle ebeneezer
03-18-2008, 02:50 PM
Here it is (transcript):

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/18/us/politics/18text-obama.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Draw your own conclusions but my 2 cents would be "FEARLESS! Absolutely fearless. An important discussion that is LONG overdue, and brought out with all it's complexities and nuance."

Thus Spoke Elvis
03-18-2008, 03:14 PM
I imagine that the next bloggingheads episode will be devoted to the speech (McWhorter already has a very positive review up at the New Republic), so I'll try to refrain from writing much till then.

The one thing I will say is that I was, more than anything, filled with a sense of melancholy upon hearing the speech. I thought it was a great, honest speech (though strangely I found the text more compelling than the delivered version) that made me like Obama more. I probably wouldn't vote for the guy because of genuine disagreements over policy, but I have strong respect for the man.

That being said, I think he's probably finished. First, there is no way the newscasts will capture the complexity and nuance of the speech, and it will be condensed down to small soundbites that can (and will) easily be misconstrued. Secondly, I fear that it will now be impossible to avoid talking about the race issue daily for the next few weeks, and I see that hurting, rather than helping, Obama. And that's a great shame.

uncle ebeneezer
03-18-2008, 04:04 PM
Elvis, I share many of your worries about the MSM, but I also think there's a possibility that the narravtive going forward won't be so much on race, but on his character and his honesty and willingness to go into a deep and complex issue. I think it speaks volumes about him and makes him all the more "Presidential" in my opinion. The MSM has a big part in defining the narrative, but the reaction of the people could trump that (for better or worse.)

I'm the type of non-flag-waving liberal that many people on the Right would demonize, but I can say fully that the sentiments of that speech make me proud to be an American. Whether the rest of America wants to hear these sentiments or not. We all have friends who are racists, or even are a bit ourselves. That's not the end of the discussion, it's only the beginning.

look
03-18-2008, 04:29 PM
Thanks, Brendan. I voted for Obama, so as I feel now, taking on Webb as a running mate would not be a deal breaker. Things that could be used against McCain are his volatile temper, maverick style, and the sort of judgement these factors would yield as president. I read a character profile of Webb once that stated he comes from stock that takes great pride in their 'pugnacity.' I think that a card that will be played in the general is that McCain most assuredly suffers from PTSD, which can contribute to the anger problem. (And, as an aside, radiation and chemotherapy can cause mental impairment.) As Webb also served in Viet Nam, it might be problematic to suggest McCain has PTSD without implicating Webb.

graz
03-18-2008, 04:44 PM
Here it is (transcript):

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/18/us/politics/18text-obama.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Draw your own conclusions but my 2 cents would be "FEARLESS! Absolutely fearless. An important discussion that is LONG overdue, and brought out with all it's complexities and nuance."

uncle ebeneezer: Hear! hear! face the fear. I won't guess how others will "hear" it or how the MSM will decide to play it. What matters to me is that he said it and it is on record. Partisans against will parse, followers will continue to support. But, it still represents a different approach to a much needed discussion that needs to move beyond denial and offered a public hearing. His speech offers the possibility that the dialogue might enter into the larger body politic. For better or worse.

piscivorous
03-18-2008, 05:43 PM
Here it is (transcript):

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/18/us/politics/18text-obama.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Draw your own conclusions but my 2 cents would be "FEARLESS! Absolutely fearless. An important discussion that is LONG overdue, and brought out with all it's complexities and nuance."

My conclusion after my second read of the speech

rightly offend white and black alike. Why were the so offended parishioners standing and applauding with the increasing virility drawing more and louder applause. If Senator Obama was offended, before this issue came to the forefront, there is no evidence of it offered anywhere.

Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? This is in direct contrast with Senator Obama's blanket denials that he was unaware of them until just before the Senator declared his candidacy for President which is in direct contradiction with Rev. Wright's accounting of why his invitation to speak at the Senator’s announcement of his candidacy was withdrawn. We can dismiss Rev. Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Rev. Wright made in his offending sermons about America -- to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality. It appears that it is Senator Obama’s camp that is simplifying and stereotyping Senator Ferraro' fairly obvious statement of reality.

One of the few truths he speaks about A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families -- a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. and then goes immediately into to the list, in somewhat less colorful and politic language, of victimization and guilt as the message of Rev. Wrights. The one difference is that he now includes every race and gender as victims.


This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naive as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy -- particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction -- a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people -- that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union. Yet once again I see no evidence either real or antidotal that he has done this in the particular area of race and anti-Americanism as preached by Rev. Wright so how I can I be expected to believe that he will be able “talk truth to power” and heal the scares and problems in America, much less to some of the more hard headed leaders of the world, when in 20 years he has failed to do so to one the power figures, in his life that we know of, in that length of time.

Senator Obama then slides back into the rhetoric of how we are all victims and ends with the typical political ploy of presenting a personal hero/victim emotional appeal. To me this issue is not about the tragic circumstance of Ashley life or anyone else’s’ life. It is about Senator Obama’s honesty and ability to lead in an area in which he professes such deep conviction. This episode should completely expose his abject failure to do so in the 20 plus years association with Rev Wright and the 16 some years as a parishioner of the Church.

Wonderment
03-18-2008, 07:06 PM
The video of Dr. Wright that Fox News has been looping for days now is the swiftboating of Barack Obama. The Wright smearing helps Hillary Clinton only a little bit, but it helps John McBomb a lot.

McCain's surrogates will be crafting disgusting ads with Wright clips in the fall. They are delighting in this spectacle.

These videos will continue to be used to scare white people with yet another caricature of a black man. Wright is Willie Horton.

Beautiful speech by Obama, but nothing that one wouldn't expect after reading his first book. Obama is light years ahead of Clinton and McCain in understanding and appreciating subtlety across the spectrum of issues (with the exception of gender issues for Hillary). He has a fine mind and great heart. That's unusual in politics. We'll see how it plays out.

Jeff Morgan
03-19-2008, 07:42 AM
I also feel that Webb is on the short list of highest-political-value-VP's.

Lott made a geographical consideration (http://www.bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9486?in=00:52:48&out=00:52:59), to go for the South, but if a geographical consideration is to be made, I think the "near West" is the way to go.

When I say near West I basically mean westward from the Mississippi, but not beyond the Rockies. Like the South, Republicans do well there. But I believe bigger gains can be made in the near West by Dems. They have been gaining.

And the difference between Obama and Hillary in this region is gigantic; he has the potential to actually swing them. (http://www.surveyusa.com/index.php/2008/03/06/electoral-math-as-of-030608-obama-280-mccain-258/)

I look at some of the states where he's losing and see such narrow margins in some of these states; I think about what he could use to get more electoral votes and congress victories down ticket.

This makes Kathleen Sebelius (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nHp90Z2NJk) a high-value VP candidate. Dem governor of red-state Kansas. She has the added benefits of white hair, and ovaries; both things many think Obama could use on his ticket. Sebelius' wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Sebelius).

Jeff Morgan
03-19-2008, 08:07 AM
I'm sorry, Piscivorous, what I have to say is inappropriate.

The way I think about this and other posts of yours, I can only describe with frontal lobe impairment (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010201070128.htm).

"gives rise to our capacity to feel empathy, sympathy, understand humor and when others are being ironic, sarcastic or even deceptive."

Despite the crudeness of this, I'm actually not saying this to be mean, but to express a criticism. I think you would be more effective if you considered this more when communicating your thoughts to others, as well as when you interpret what others say.

piscivorous
03-19-2008, 10:06 AM
I'm sorry, Piscivorous, what I have to say is inappropriate.

The way I think about this and other posts of yours, I can only describe with frontal lobe impairment (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010201070128.htm).

"gives rise to our capacity to feel empathy, sympathy, understand humor and when others are being ironic, sarcastic or even deceptive."

Despite the crudeness of this, I'm actually not saying this to be mean, but to express a criticism. I think you would be more effective if you considered this more when communicating your thoughts to others, as well as when you interpret what others say.

We all interpret things in a unique way based on our personal experiences and belief system. In all likelihood yours and mine are quite different. If you have a problem with my critique with Senator Obama's that relates to frontal lobe impairment (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010201070128.htm) I wish, along with criticism of my style, it would be nice if you would point them out. I would say that there are some here suffering from a mild form of Delusional Disorder (http://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/delusional-disorder) when it comes to their enthusiasm for Senator Obama bordering on denial of reality. But then again it's just an opinion.

uncle ebeneezer
03-19-2008, 06:39 PM
The whole thing is a freakin' farce. As an Atheist I can say that somebody says something that I find offensive in EVERY church, probably every day. McCain has blowhard's like Hagee and his "spiritual anti-muslim" advisor spouting all kinds of offensive things and yet (sound of crickets) from most of America. Hillary cozies up to AIPAC extremists who love to throw out "anti-semitic" comments at the drop of a hat. There are crazies associated with all of these candidates.

More importantly, the Commander in Chief is most notably required to serve as the top of the military branch. Judgements involving their church and some crazy preacher who speaks there, seem far less important than their judgement in cheerleading or authorizing 4,000 military deaths through ignorance (didn't read the NIE) or arrogance (believing one war in Afghanistan just wasn't enough.)

Even if Obama lied about his relationship with Wright, he is still the best candidate with the most vision. Nothing Obama has said or done in his career leads me to believe that he is some secret angry black panther in disguise. The guy got involved in church because he wanted to help the community. Not the other way around. To me there is nothing more noble.

But as Graz said "partisans against will parse".