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PM Carpenter, your host. Email: pmcarp at mchsi dot com.
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February 21, 2008



This essay scares me. If national unity is our primary desire, a Hitler or Gandhi will do equally well. I hope we are lucky.


What really "scares me" smchris is your apparent inability to understand what Carpenter just said. There is nothing scary in electing a popular president. What - division, party rancor, years of delaying dealing with critical problems - none of that scares you. It's time people got over this juvenile obsession with political paralysis of the best America can do. It's time to wake up and realize that this is one nation, one society composed from a great deal of diversity that needs to find new ways of accomplishing important tasks. Cranky 18th century thinking no longer works in a 21st century reality.

U.S. citizen

A Nation Divided Can Not Stand...Abraham Lincoln.
Don't underestimate the power of solidarity, the power of hope, the power of the people.

John Petty

What nonsense. There is no such thing as "post-partisanship." We are still in the same 50/50 country we've been in for twenty years, and that will not change even if St. Obama should be elected. He will soon find that either he will fight for Democratic principles, in which case the GOP will fight him tooth-and-nail, or he will be irrelevant.

Will B

Spot on PM – good analysis and one of the best reasons to suggest an Obama administration.

Note to 'smchris'; the actual name of this country is “The United States of America” - cynicism for the sake of cynicism is a failure of imagination, and cynicism created by failure is despair (but I presume on your politically affiliation here).


Disclaimer: I no longer have a dog in this fight.

However, I think Clinton's remarks have been misinterpreted. Clinton has been around government to know how it works--or doesn't work. She knows that "working with Republicans of good faith" will only work if you can find some of them. Most of them aren't in office in good faith. Most of them are either Falwell's "stealth candidates" or economic ideologues who have been proven wrong but won't let go or are simply corrupt and will fight a Democrat every step of the way because corruption made them such a comfortable life.

Obama's pledge to work with that party scares the hell out of me. It harkens back to the days of Carter, when he was criticized from both sides for trying to please everybody and didn't realize what was going on until there were so many daggers in his back as to make him damaged to the point of unelectability.

I hope I am wrong on both accounts, but I hoped I was wrong about Bush, too.

Like I said, I don't have a dog in this fight. However, Clinton seems the more sanguine of the two when it comes to the political climate in Washington.


As much as I want to hope that Obama can live up to being a landslide president, I cannot actually do so. Unlike Hillary, he has no track record of substance to indicate what his actions are likely to be, but his business connections leave much to be desired. Bernard Weiner of the Crisis Papers notes ( that both Obama and Hillary are funded by the same corporate interests as Bush and McCain, so the legitimate question to ask is: what is really going to change? Going along to get along doesn't qualify as change, nor as qualification for higher office.

And what of the lower-level races? Do the Democrats see the need to focus attention there? Without a serious turnover in the makeup of the Congress, the Republicans will continue to run things from the minority side of the aisle.


Looks to me Warpster that you do have a dog in this fight. I am not going to pretend how difficult the decision was for me and how all of the candidates would make a good president, but. . ., and how there are no good Republicans or independents, and how we all must support a recycled first-lady who truly recognizes the sordid political realities that prevent neighbors, friends and co-workers from trying to bridge artificial and falsely imposed ideologically differences. I am not going to do any of that. I am simply going to say that a candidate who wants to return civility to the conversation and allow people to talk to EACH OTHER again is the candidate who deserves support from every earnest American and that candidate is Barack Obama.


Seems PM has the right idea.

Warpy: I cannot imagine that anyone who gave junior a benefit of a doubt could have anything to add to this thread. Mr. Obama may or may not be the answer, but what the hell has Hillary done that adds to her resume? Let us remember that she voted to authorize junior's WAR in Iraq. Now there is something.

To me it is real simple. No more Bushes and no more Clintons and no more empire. I want someone new with half a chance to make some changes for the better. But hey, who knows, it could all be a huge gamble. What have I got to lose besides my retirement - which is fast whittling away anyway.

Get a grip America and cast off the fear mongers - put them back under their rocks and allow us our time in the sun.


Now it seems you and I are thinking alike Mr. Carpenter. I would go further and say that Mr. Obama must go ahead and accomplish these things, and most of all, he must clean the criminals and nuts out of the government. Oh, Hilary could do all that, if she so desired and saw an advantage to it. Obama must do it, or he's finished. He will be putting himself in a hell of a spot, but if he doesn't know that's the spot he'll be in, then wow, I don't even want to think about it...


This crowd:

for instance, can't wait to work with Obama.

Obama should start by offering immunity for 60 days to federal whistleblowers, and let the prosecuting start! Trials of malefactors of great wealth (or political power) would be a nice diversion during the coming recession.


I repeat, I do not have a dog in this fight. I consider both candidates to be deeply flawed but either is preferable to another GOP.

I pointed out misgivings about Obama's idealism, something too many people find so refreshing they're blind to its flaws.

It's the classic battle between the cynical old timer and the idealistic youth. Both have strengths and both have weaknesses. Because I have polite misgivings about one, please don't leap to the conclusion that I am a fan of the other.

In other words, put the needles away. Their use here is inappropriate.

Wake me up when the war is over and it's time to vote.


Warpster: The truth is that they are both not ready for the job, just like every other first time candidate aspiring to the office. But they both are more or less equally capable of learning the job. So the questions to ask are 1) who will make the better choices, and 2) who will be more effective at persuading Congress and unifying most of the public.

The record shows that the answer is clearly Obama. His positions on Iraq, NAFTA, and health care are superior, and his tsunami of support predicts his future influence. Hillary is not as ready to govern as her rhetoric claims, and Obama is not as naive as her rhetoric asserts - at least that what my crystal ball says...


I suspect Clinton could get more things done given a continuation (more or less) of the current environment. But it is beginning to appear that, irrespective of the presidential race, the Democrats will add substantially to their numbers in both houses this November. So the new president, if a Democrat, could well have a veto-proof majority, in which case either candidate could accomplish a lot.

Who could hit the ground faster? I'd say Clinton. Who could marshall huge changes consistently across a four-year term? Based on charisma, probably Obama. A split decision. But Obama does bring vitality to the party, which is a plus, the way Schwarzenegger, for all his faults, brought populism to California.

Stars do tend to tarnish, however, and the big concern has to be whether presidential nominee Obama's star would dim in the fall, as he morphed into the establishment's choice for president -- and as the GOP aims its big guns at the big unknown and works hard to characterize him as a huge risk for voters.

Now I think that at this point voters may be starting to think that freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. That risk is all they've got to invest in, thanks to Bush and the modern GOP. But that's at best an X factor in this race. Irrational matchup: Safe and sound versus exciting and edgey. Young people go the latter route, older people nominally the former. But this year older people may be leading the charge for change.

There's your dilemma: Clinton's a known quantity, and toughened up already after years of political and media abuse. She is, I'd wager, underestimated in her eagerness to lead major reforms.

Meanwhile, Obama is seen as a change agent and a catalyst, but we don't know how deep that goes in his character, can't know (because he, himself hasn't been there yet) how he will react to the Beltway pummelings that will happen on almost a daily basis.

Nice problem to have, if you're a Dem. Not necessarily true if you're a progressive, but we have to start somewhere.


We're going to see the rerun of Bobby Kennedy this year. Obama has been named the star of the sequel. Obama is probably really in danger. This just in from Dallas:
Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

Several Dallas police officers said it worried them that the arena was packed with people who got in without even a cursory inspection.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because, they said, the order was made by federal officials who were in charge of security at the event.


The 60 vote closure rule in the Senate allows Bush to control the government without a legislative check. The minority governs now as the Electoral College handed the minority candidate the election in 2000.

dana hatch

Don't blame the 60-vote cloture rule for Democratic timidity. The Dems control which bills come to the floor and they never fail to bring whatever bill Bush tells them to bring. While Republicans vote as a bloc against all Democratic initiatives, enough Dems always cave in to give the Republicans what they want. It's enough to make you believe Reid and Pelosi are working for the other side.

Ian McGarrett

Umm. US citizen, that quote, "A house divided against itself cannot stand" is actually one of Jesus Christ's, quoted by Lincoln. Had Lincoln taken Christ's words to heart he might have realised that America was indeed divided, socially, economically, and culturally, and have negotiated a reconciliation or an amicable divorce. As it was Lincoln eventually shredded the constitution and plunged the United States into civil war.

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