Tuesday, January 08, 2008

a happy valley cookie-cutter political narrative

roommate's friend comes in as i'm watching the new hampshire primary results.

him: "oh flip. clinton won? i do not want her to be president."

me: "why?"

him: "she's totally dumb and i disagree with almost everything she is for."

me: "such as?"

him: ....

me: ....

him: "i dunno. it's hard to explain."

me: "well there's gotta be something you can point to."

him: "i just don't like her."

me: ....

him: "oh crud. romney lost to mccain!"

me: "why do you want romney to win?

him: "everything romney stands for are the same as the things that i do."

me: "like what?"

him: "well... just everything."

me: "such as?"

him: ....

me: ....

him: "i just really like him."


  1. The Silent Observer1/09/2008 12:35 AM

    Yikes. I agree, the levels of political discourse in Happy Valley are pathetic. At least in other parts of the country people can come up with one or two illogical, irrational, or otherwise bogus reasons for voting the way they do.

  2. If it weren't for his weak lack of evidence for support I could dismiss his inability to disagree with Clinton b/c she has no answers for any problems other than health care. Its hard to disagree with someone who doesn't have an opinion.

    This election is difficult b/c there is not great answer. Obama is lacking experience, Hillary sucks, Romney can twist things, Guliani is not the man, etc, etc. I wish I could amalgamate the good of many candidates into a single perfect candidate.

  3. I liked what Clinton had to say about getting the U.S. out of Iraq. I thought she took in to account a number of things that Obama and Edwards hadn't considered. I also like her stand on illegal immigration better than Obama's. Having said that, I wouldn't vote for Clinton, because their family is circumventing the system to obtain 8 more years of power. It's an abuse of the system. Just like it's not right for the Bush family to be in power for so long.

    Obama is way too far to the left for me. If he ends up being the dems candidate, the GOP will have an easy time bringing his views to light. Because right now, most of the people who are voting for him don't know his positions. They just see a charismatic young candidate who is extremely likeable. I couldn't help but root for Obama, even thought I vehemently disagree with most (not all) of his positions.

    Even though the GOP is wrong on the war in Iraq and some civil rights issues, i still go along with most of their government and economic issues. I'll continue to study, but it's likely the GOP will get my vote.

    DAMMIT, I forgot! I'm Canadian, and I can't vote anyway. Forget everything I just said.

  4. My problem with Clinton is that her policies are (and historically have been) miserable failures. I don't EVER want to hear "my candidate" say "I have million ideas, America just can't afford them ..." America currently can't afford Social Security or Medicare/Medicade. So before any new ideas, lets fix the ones we are already trying to use. America can't afford the current debt load we are in, so before implementing any new ideas (which will entail some government beaurocracy to oversee it) let's be able to afford it - and NO raising taxes anywhere (rich, middle, poor) isn't the answer. Also there are questions about her past. It's shady and covered with strange coincidences but I've always gone by the adage that if it looks like a duck and it sounds like a duck, it even walks and talks like a duck - chances are; it's a duck.

    Obama I don't know anything about. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't followed him, but I know nothing about his policies. He's never really given a straight answer on anything. His biggest asset that I like the most - he's new (hopefully not same old politician) - is also his biggest weakness - I don't know squat about his policies and don't have a good deal of history to see how leans on important issues. I could be missing something obvious, but right now he's the candidate that says "vote for me because I'm not {fill in name}" not "vote for me because I will do {fill in policy}"

    The number one reason I like Romney (note there are things I don't like - this is the number one thing I do like). He's a business man. I've always thought of government as a business. They are there to fulfill a role. Romney has proven time and time and time again that he can run a VERY effecient company. He thinks differently than any other "politician". I think Romney will set up America with the best shot to reduce debt/deficet. I think he's the best qualified to revamp and correct the sinking ship that is Social Security and Medicare/Medicade. He's probably also the one that will get the best solution for "national healthcare" on the table. I like his business style approach to the issues.

    Loyd - I didn't proof this, I wrote it in about 5 minutes off the top of my head. Before you decide to tell me how wrong and uninformed I am - keep that in mind. I realize this isn't an exhustive list - just some quick thoughts I've been keeping in my brain! :)

  5. The number one reason I like Romney (note there are things I don't like - this is the number one thing I do like). He's a business man. I've always thought of government as a business. They are there to fulfill a role. Romney has proven time and time and time again that he can run a VERY effecient company.

    I'm not sure the managerial/business analogy for government (of which Romney is so fond) is entirely on point. Bush, our first MBA President, hasn't proven himself to be a remarkable leader. Note that I do not believe that it is Bush's business sense is ultimately responsible for his failures as President, nor do I doubt that Romney would be a more competent and efficient leader than Bush. But I'm still not convinced that the "business" approach to politics and governance is best. For instance, I don't think Romney's managerial expertise will be sufficient to ensure competence in foreign policy or domestic social issues.

    Anyway, as for the original post--

    Sounds like a number of "political discussions" (if that's even an appropriate description) I had in Happy Valley. However, I've also spoken with self-proclaimed liberals who were equally uninformed. Unfortunately, the phenomenon isn't confined to conservatives, Mormons, or Happy Valley.

    Of course, it's not that Hillary's likability is irrelevant. Personality, in addition to the issues, is a defensible standard against which to weigh the candidates. In Hillary's case, I think her personality is indicative of her political philosophy, which does tend towards polarization. I just don't see her being willing to compromise on big issues, which could ultimately impede badly-needed reforms (especially if Congress passed back into Republican hands at any time during her presidency). Like so many politicians, she doesn't strike me as real or sincere. Despite her recent embrace of the "change" slogan, I see her perpetuating the existing political atmosphere.

    Likewise, one of the reasons why I am opposed to Romney is his personality (in addition to my disagreement with him on several issues). Seeing him flip-flop, stretch the truth, bend over backwards to appeal to the religious right, and generally do and say whatever he thinks is necessary to garner votes, raises some red flags about his integrity.

    Back to Hillary. I think that a number of people's dislike of her is solely based on her personality (or their perceptions of it, anyway), even though they may claim to disagree with her on the issues. For instance, I've spoken with Republicans who would consider voting for Obama while claiming that Hillary is too "extreme" or "too liberal" for them, apparently without realizing that Obama's voting record may be more liberal than Hillary's. (Perhaps because Obama known for speaking of unity, he is perceived as being more moderate.) Similarly, I think the fact that Latter-day Saints share a common religion with Romney leads too many of them to assume that he best represents their values and interests, without looking more closely at his politics.

    So, while candidate personality may be relevant to voting decisions, I would hope that voters would take a closer look at things.

  6. Bush, our first MBA President, hasn't proven himself to be a remarkable leader

    Sorry, but I feel that...

    1)an MBA
    2)heading a fortune 500 company and turning businesses that bleed money to cash cows

    ...have an eternal chasm between them.

  7. Carson,

    While George W. Bush's business career may not have been as long or illustrious as Romney's, both of them attended Harvard Business School. George Bush didn't just get any MBA, and to imply that he's without managerial sense is probably a stretch.

    In any case, your point doesn't address my argument. I recognized that Bush's major failures aren't attributable to his business background and that Romney would likely be a more competent leader. My argument was that conceptualizing government and nation as one big business may not be appropriate.

    It's been pointed out that Bush's business training at Harvard is apparent in his presidential leadership style (see here, for instance). Some praise his business mindset (see here), while others criticize it (see here), but I don't think there's a question that Bush's business background has had an imprint on his presidency. Romney is very straightforward about his belief (which Bush impliedly shares) that managerial expertise transfers into competent political leadership.

    While a business background may be an asset in certain areas, I disagree with the idea that leading the country is akin to what a CEO does. The scope of responsibility is so much broader, and both the stakes and purposes of government are fundamentally different from those of a major corporation. To believe that business success will guarantee political success doesn't account for the wide gap between the two realms, in my opinion. So while Romney's business skills may be far and above those of Bush, their approach to governance is apparently quite similar--and it's that approach that I disagree with.

  8. I am very excited that the candidate that best represents my Mormon values (Obama) is winning. For those who only know about him from the generic and shallow (even when praiseworthy) representations coming from the mainstream media, it would be well worth your time to dig deeper and read his books.

    As for Brother Romney, the irony abounds. It's like a morality tale. Politician is moderate and reasonable, if overly business-centric. Politician becomes ambitious. Politician changes nearly all of his views to maximize electability. Politician panders to the far-right evangelical base while selling out his own faith. Politician is betrayed. Politician loses.

    Politician and his community re-evaluate (hopefully) who they are and return to more consistent and Christ-like ways.

  9. I think you may actually be on to something here. It seems this is becoming more common - voting for the person you like the best, or who is coolest, funniest, etc. We could call it the American Idol effect on politics which is turning the election into a popularity contest.

  10. The Silent Observer1/13/2008 1:01 PM

    Hey Joe, it's good to see you do pull your head out of Obama's ass every now and then to come up for air, but I think you've got the wrong idea encouraging people to look more deeply at his politics. Obama is a candidate that talks a good game and you only find out how well he "represents your Mormon values" when you scratch the surface. Luckily, most people won't bother.

  11. s.o., i was going to say that it was good to see you back, but then you gotta be all mean (that's my job). i don't know too much about that particular bill, but i'm thinking there is more to it than this guy is presenting.

  12. S.O.,

    I've missed your astute commentary. How's the intern going with Sean Hannity?

    I enjoyed your source from a right wing news outlet. I don't know if you've heard, but there's an email going around that says Obama is a radical Muslim manchurian candidate who refuses to pledge allegiance to the flag and wants to destroy America. And I believe every word of it because I read it myself.

    For those who are interested in the truth, Barack Obama is pro-choice but would like to see abortion limited through education and access to birth control. In other words, like Mitt Romney for the first 50 years of his life, he wouldn't choose abortion for himself and believes they should be rare, but that ultimately it is the woman's choice, not the government's.

    Personally, I am pro-life except in cases of rape, incest and the mother's life being in jeopardy, but I also am willing to give those who are pro-choice the benefit of the doubt in most cases and assume they don't stay up at night thinking how much they love killing babies. I'm also not a one issue voter; there are so many other moral and ethical issues one has to take into account and it's doubtful you'll ever agree 100% with anyone.

    One day maybe s.o. will grow up and learn that real research requires more than looking up information on partisan websites.

  13. The Silent Observer2/07/2008 1:13 PM

    Classic Joe! Maybe instead of putting words in my mouth and casting aspersions on the sources, you can respond to Obama's very own words that are quoted within. They are a far cry from your perception of his pro-choice stand, and yours and Mitt Romney's for that matter.

    The point of my earlier comment was that Obama is among the most liberal politicians ever to aspire to the presidency, but luckily for him he doesn't come off that way. His liberalism is only apparent when you dig deeper. So my advice to you is to let people fall for the inspiring speech-giving, bridge-builder Obama rather than the babbling idiot debater, fetuses-aren't-people Obama.


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