packbat: Headshot looking serious and superimposed on the Gettysburg Address. (gettysburg)
Hat-tip to [ profile] circuit_four here: HuffPost: GOP Senators Refusing To Work Past 2PM, Invoking Obscure Rule.

...two things.

One: Key Republican Senators apparently (a) don't care about doing their job, and (b) believe the Democratic Senators do, and therefore (c) are willing to enforce a work stoppage to make the Democrats do what they want. This does not reflect well on the Republicans. The first metaphor that comes to mind is if a police department decided to blockade the fire station in order to get their 'support' for changes to the city budget.

Two: How stupid are the Senate rules, anyway? You can't make Senators actually filibuster, you can't make Senators actually work more than two hours a day ... this is not how governance happens.

Politics is an important, valuable activity - but this ain't.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
As you know, I am an Obama supporter. But I am also a Republican, and I am a Republican because I don't believe that good governance comes from single-party rule.

As a Republican, then, I am disappointed - no, repulsed - no, horrified by the McCain campaign of recent months.

I am not going to discuss policy. Many policy positions of the Republican Party are unsustainable, but that is not what needs addressing.

What needs addressing is "Who is Obama". What needs addressing is "William Ayers". What needs addressing is the robocalls, the angry rallies, the cresendoing drumbeat of hate, hate, hate that is engulfing what was once a political party, not a conspiracy to seize power.

McCain, Palin, you are contributing to the destruction of your party, to the cost of everyone for whom that party means more that a new bumper sticker every four years. If for no-one else but them, do not do this. Fight with honor. Make us proud.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Just finished watching the debate. Initial impressions: McCain performed above my expectations, but that pretty much adds up to "it was close". What it comes down to, though, is the facts.

Just to look up the first thing that comes to mind: according to transcripts, and ABC's blog agrees, McCain is simply wrong about Kissinger - he does support high-level talks without preconditions. Now, I don't care about errors like "Kennedy was out of the hospital before the debate started" or the Eisenhower letters thing, but if there are other significant points like Kissinger's stance on which McCain was simply and directly wrong, it matters.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
The House Republicans maybe actually did the right thing.

One group of House GOP lawmakers circulated an alternative that would put much less focus on a government takeover of failing institutions' sour assets. This proposal would have the government provide insurance to companies that agree to hold frozen assets, rather than have the U.S. purchase the assets.

Rep Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the idea would be to remove the burden of the bailout from taxpayers and place it, over time, on Wall Street instead. The price tag of the administration's plan to bail out tottering financial institutions — and the federal intrusion into private business matters — have been major sticking points for many Republican lawmakers.

Seriously, this greatly reduces the immediate cost to the government (an immediate cost which, I remind you, would be coming straight out of the budget deficit) while having a similar probability of putting a dam on the runs on these banks which cause the problems. (After all, if the government will pay back your investment if it collapses, rushing in to withdraw the funds while they still exist is no longer necessary.) Given that the only reason we're considering throwing $700 000 000 000 at this in the first place is because Paulson's staff wanted to name a really large number, why should we stick to any variation of this plan-to-have-a-plan?
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
As a member of your constituency, I am writing to offer my encouragement as you work on the bailout plan recently proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. I am aware that you are under intense pressure to get something done, but as I know you know, there are few worse things that can be done than blindly throwing money at a problem. Therefore, I want to tell you: do not give in, do not give up, do not give even in the smallest degree unless you can secure this plan with all the controls that it requires.

Thank you for your time and trouble,
Robin H. D. Zimmermann


Sep. 20th, 2008 08:32 am
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Hat tip to [ profile] baxil for the link: Paul Krugman just got a link sent to him (how many layers of indirection am I up to?) of a little piece John McCain submitted to go in Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries.

As the man says, you might want to sit down for this.

I would also allow individuals to choose to purchase health insurance across state lines, when they can find more affordable and attractive products elsewhere that they prefer. Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Eight years ago, a man ran for President who claimed he was different, not a typical Republican. He called himself a reformer. He admitted that his Party, the Republican Party, had been wrong about things from time to time. He promised to work with Democrats and said he’d been doing that for a long time.

That candidate was George W. Bush. Remember that? Remember the promise to reach across the aisle? To change the tone? To restore honor and dignity to the White House?

We saw how that story ends. A record number of home foreclosures. Home values, tumbling. And the disturbing news that the crisis you’ve been facing on Main Street is now hitting Wall Street, taking down Lehman Brothers and threatening other financial institutions.

We’ve seen eight straight months of job losses. Nearly 46 million Americans without health insurance. Average incomes down, while the price of everything -- from gas to groceries -- has skyrocketed. A military stretched thin from two wars and multiple deployments.

A nation more polarized than I’ve ever seen in my career. And a culture in Washington where the very few wealthy and powerful have a seat at the table and everybody else is on the menu.

Eight years later, we have another Republican nominee who’s telling us the exact same thing:
This time it will be different, it really will. This time he’s going to put country before party, to change the tone, reach across the aisle, change the Republican Party, change the way Washington works.

We’ve seen this movie before, folks. But as everyone knows, the sequel is always worse than the original.

Continued here.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

Is Sarah Palin a shrewd choice for the Republican Party, or is she a liability?

View other answers

It is too early to say definitively, but I am inclined to say she's a liability. Certainly, she will be absolutely a liability if McCain drops her from the ticket (cf. Thomas Eagleton), but even if he holds on to her, I think it will cost him.

Granted, she has some advantages. First, she completely killed the "Obama's acceptance speech" news cycle (which even intelligent commentators did not expect) - everyone is looking at the McCain campaign now. Second, putting a woman on a ticket gives the McCain campaign a chance to smear Obama for the misogyny of his followers. Third, the small fraction of Clinton supporters whose one issue was getting a woman in the White House (admittedly, they have a point - we're way behind the curve on this one) would be likely switch tickets to vote for her. Fourth, her 'anti-corruption' stance goes with McCain's.

Also, she's attractive to the social conservatives. Energizing that base is a good thing for McCain.

However, from what I can see, these advantages are well outweighed by the problems.

First, Palin's resume is so short that being president of the PTA makes the cut. This kills McCain's "experience" attack - and worse, makes it look like nothing but an attack, since McCain apparently doesn't care about it himself (cf. this CNN interview with a staffer). Further, given her lack of experience, Palin doesn't look qualified to be President (and quotes like this don't help) - given McCain's age, that's very, very bad.

Second, McCain clearly chose Palin in a rush at the last minute (and we have verification of this) and chose her without anything like sufficient vetting. She was a big gamble for his campaign, and anything negative that can be pinned to Palin is a negative that can be pinned to McCain's judgement - one of the key things he's running on.

Third, Palin has multiple negatives that can be pinned on her - from lies (distorting scientific reports) to corruption (it seems increasingly likely that she had Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan removed because he didn't fire her sister's ex-husband) to, possibly, disastrously unfavorable political associations (Alaskan Independence Party correction - only her husband was a registered member of the AIP). If any of the important accusations pan out, picking Palin won't merely seem hasty, it'll seem downright insane.

Oh, and if my own flist is any indication, the people who liked Clinton for substantive reasons are ticked off.

Now, I said it's too early to say definitively, but...
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Okay, as a liberal (and therefore interested) and a Republican (and therefore nearly powerless), a suggestion to the Democrats out there: can you all stop insulting each other, please? Obama and Clinton are very similar candidates!

Seriously. Go drink some tea, play Facebook Chess, write an eleven-hundred-word breakdown of McCain's total lack of a substantive energy policy - whatever. And whenever you feel tempted to complain about any of your allies, consider this: my party gave me two warmongers and a theocrat as the only viable candidates. You guys got off frelling lucky.

That's all.


May. 20th, 2008 01:19 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Hat tip to Jim Macdonald @ Making Light for the news -from the AP, Chicago, Monday, May 19th:

Republican John McCain accused Democrat Barack Obama of inexperience and reckless judgment for saying Iran does not pose the same serious threat to the United States as the Soviet Union did in its day.

The likely GOP presidential nominee made the criticism Monday in Chicago, Obama's home turf.

"Such a statement betrays the depth of Senator Obama's inexperience and reckless judgment. These are very serious deficiencies for an American president to possess," McCain said at the restaurant industry's annual meeting.

For those of you who would like to add numbers to just how absurd this is, hilzoy has the analysis.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Being a liberal Republican, it is meet* for me to state my stance on Ron Paul.

I believe that Ron Paul would be a terrible President for the reasons cited here. Most prominently among these are:

  • The gold standard would lead to economic turmoil (not to mention devastate industries which use gold),
  • The abolition of the income tax would cripple the federal government,
  • A law to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on an issue is un-American, even when it is not explicitly intended to bolster prejudice,
  • Racism - be it against black men in DC or immigrants throughout America - is wrong, (edit: I cannot defend this claim; I withdraw it.) and
  • Undermining modern medicine would destroy millions of lives in the most brutal fashion.

Citations for Ron Paul's support of each of these are in the link.

* "Meet" meaning suitable, proper, appropriate. It's standard.


Jul. 17th, 2007 08:52 am
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
From Obsidian Wings, who got it from Think Progress:
M. President, my worst fears on this bill have been realized. We have just seen the Republican leadership again resort to technical maneuver to block progress on this crucial amendment.

It would be one thing for Republicans to vote against this bill. If they honestly believe that “stay the course” is the right strategy — they have the right to vote “no.”

But now, Republicans are using a filibuster to block us from even voting on an amendment that could bring the war to a responsible end.

They are protecting the President rather than protecting our troops.

They are denying us an up or down — yes or no — vote on the most important issue our country faces.

I would like to inform the Republican leadership and all my colleagues that we have no intention of backing down.

If Republicans do not allow a vote on Levin/Reed today or tomorrow, we will work straight through the night on Tuesday.

The American people deserve an open and honest debate on this war, and they deserve an up or down vote on this amendment to end it.

Given the Republican leadership’s decision to block the amendment, we have no choice but to do everything we can in the coming days to highlight Republican obstruction.

We do this in hopes of ultimately getting a simple up or down vote on this and other important amendments that could change the direction of the war.

All Senators will be welcome to speak their mind. Those of us who are ready to end the war will make our case to the American people. Those who support the status quo are welcome to equal floor time to make their case.

Let the American people hear the arguments. Let them see their elected representatives engaging in a full, open and honest debate.

Let them hear why Republicans are obstructing us on this amendment.

Whenever Republicans are ready to allow a vote on this most crucial legislation, we stand ready to deliver the new course that has been so long in coming.

As hilzoy points out, this is far from the first piece of legislation that has been threatened with filibuster by the current Republican caucus.

The members of this filibuster are not merely ignoring the concerns of U.S. citizens (including a majority of the members of their own party) – they are ignoring reality. There is an old saying a few of you might recall, that a government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. The government we are supporting in Iraq by all indications seems to lack just that consent. The United States should not prop it up any longer.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
I just don't know what to say.

I want to be suspicious of these articles, I really do. The VP has had such a complete reputation for being an operator, that it's creepy to see that rumor-mongering collaborated in an actual newspaper. They talk about how Cheney doesn't consider himself a 'power behind the throne', merely a 'detail person' as opposed to the President's generalities. I'm willing to believe the latter comparison – however smart Bush may be, he doesn't seem to be paying much attention to his job – but when the article goes on to describe what the VP accomplishes ... well, as a wise person once said, I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist.

As I said, I don't want to believe the articles. But there's no reason to think that the Washington Post would suddenly start catering to the delusions of the fraction of its readers who fear this administration. And the writers interviewed dozens (hundreds?) of people. So I'm faced with the thought that perhaps most of the evil associated with the past six years is specifically Mr. Cheney's responsibility.

(I read them in the paper, so I can't guarantee the Web version. Also, I read them when they were printed, so I can't guarantee my memory. Still.)


packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

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