Obama Takes on Outsourcing

Hey folks – I’ve been overseas for the past few weeks so I haven’t been totally on top of things on this side of the pond. Still, I can say for sure is that over there, they’re generally rooting for Obama to win the election.

Unfortunately, electioneering brings out some of the whackiest, most populist, and thus must economically-deranged policy proposals from otherwise intelligent candidates. Obama – for all his credits – shows that he’s not immune to the bug; this time taking on outsourcing

Barack Obama on Monday made an aggressive pitch at Ohio’s blue-collar workers by proposing a “Patriot Employers” plan that would lower corporate taxes for companies that did not ship jobs overseas.

…Mr Obama’s plan would lower the corporate tax rate for companies that met criteria including maintaining their headquarters in the US, maintaining or increasing their US workforce relative to their overseas workforce, holding a neutral position in union drives among their employees and providing decent healthcare.

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p> Democrat economists rightly ridicule the idea -

…”I would say that this plan is borderline unimplementable,” said a Democratic economist in Washington. “It is also puzzling. Normally presidential candidates only come up with plans that are unrealistic when they are losing. But Obama is now the favourite.”

There are a bunch of reasons lotsa Desis are gaga over Obama ranging from shared policy positions on Iraq and healthcare, to his JFK-esque charisma, and perhaps at the fringe, dare I say, a vague sort of non-white racial solidarity.

It’s worth noting, however, that in the last quarter century few things have impacted real lives back on the Desh more dramatically than the global embrace of free trade – contributing to an estimated 100M lifted from poverty in India alone. And for all the inconsistencies in execution, the US has been the driving force in this global revolution. Unfortunately, penalizing corporations and backtracking on NAFTA / WTO, while perhaps mere election rhetoric over here, create dangerous precedents in other countries that are far more sensitive to populist swings.

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108 thoughts on “Obama Takes on Outsourcing

  1. Bush’s problem 1) Out of Control Domestic Spending — Then how can you support Obamasan, who proposes a Global Poverty tax and national health spending. If domestic spending is your concern,Obama is pretty much a tax-and-spend guy 2) harrier miers – bush screwed up 3) Kosovo – Clinton’s fault not Bush.

    Camille, Reagan and W did not run PURELY as change candidates. W did not promise “hope-change-hope-change”. W promised change with his compassionate conservatism but did not potray himself only as a change candidate.

    I’m not sure the comparison even matters, though, since you seem to believe that the rich are entitled, by virtue of their wealth, to more incentives, more breaks, and more benefits than other, less affluent, citizens

    When did I ever say that. I just said the rich should not bear the burden for another’s poor choices or bad luck. Everybody should share the burden equally. Taxing the rich is not the solution.

  2. He has spoken his conscience, even when it wasn’t the popular thing to say – Iraq for eg.

    He spoke against the war when he was a state senator and no one was paying attention to an obscure state senator. It is easy to be righteous when there is nothing at stake. The state however was paying attention to Obama’s vote when in state legislature a bill on trying juveniles as adult was being voted on. Instead on taking a tough position Obama chose to vote “present” (instead of a “Yes” or a “No”) thus avoiding taking any tough stand .

  3. 52 · RandomDude Bush’s problem 1) Out of Control Domestic Spending — Then how can you support Obamasan, who proposes a Global Poverty tax and national health spending. If domestic spending is your concern,Obama is pretty much a tax-and-spend guy

    No worries, my friend–I’m not voting for Obama!

    2) harrier miers – bush screwed up

    Yup!

    3) Kosovo – Clinton’s fault not Bush.

    Heh–ok, I’d say both, though you’re right that Clinton set the problem up by buying into the myth that the Kosovo Albanians were little angels.

  4. 53 · RC said

    He has spoken his conscience, even when it wasn’t the popular thing to say – Iraq for eg.
    He spoke against the war when he was a state senator and no one was paying attention to an obscure state senator. It is easy to be righteous when there is nothing at stake. The state however was paying attention to Obama’s vote when in state legislature a bill on trying juveniles as adult was being voted on. Instead on taking a tough position Obama chose to vote “present” (instead of a “Yes” or a “No”) thus avoiding taking any tough stand .

    Agreed fully. He was a state senator and said what his constituents wanted to hear then. He feeds his myth of being upstanding by deflecting any real talk on his positions, but his track record so far doesn’t really support that myth. He generally seems to have positions aligned with my personal views (oh my god! the most liberal senator!), and he’s definitely an amazingly gifted politician, but to expect some real kind of change from him is a stretch, I think. Unless he bucks his go-along get-along track record and uses his wild popularity to push for a genuinely liberal (for lack of a better word) agenda. But I’m not holding my breath.

  5. Except the Iraq War, what can you blame Bush for.

    Not even that. If there was one thing that went wrong with the Iraq War, it is just that the war offensive was so wildly successful that the post-war started sooner than he expected. He would have been better served by getting somebody like Brownie or Chertoff to manage the execution of the war, would have gone at a more relaxed pace then.

  6. But as Walter Mondale would say “Where is the beef”?

    interestingly, gary hart was on cbc radio this evening and the discussion centered around the parallels between 1984 and 2008.

    The similarities

  7. a young upstart going toe to toe with an establishment candidate.
  8. the establishment candidate (mondale) vastly favored by the superdelegates.
  9. the young upstart (hart) favored by independents, young voters and people who have not voted in the past.
  10. the establishment candidate deriding the upstart’s youth and lack of experience.
  11. the young upstart winning 7 of 9 states at the equivalent of supertuesday in 1984

    The facts
  12. Hart won ohio.
  13. at the democratic convention, the superdelegates all sided with mondale.
  14. reagan won. all the young voters, independents decided to stay home or not vote for mondale. they were disillusioned by what they felt was a subversion of the democratic process.

    The differences this time
  15. the Internet – any questions on obama’s stance on any issue need not go unanswered. in stead of an 8 second window to put out a flashpoint, obama can point people to barackobama.com.
  16. campaign coffers – obama has vastly more funds than hart ever did.

    Hart’s take on this.
  17. Obama’s going to take both texas and ohio.
  18. hillary will stop hitting the campaign trail but will wait for the campaign to come to the convention. the hope is that obama will trip up in the months leading up.
  19. He spoke against the war when he was a state senator and no one was paying attention to an obscure state senator. It is easy to be righteous when there is nothing at stake.

    You can’t have it both ways. First you blame him for not having experience, and then, when i point out something he did right, it doesn’t matter what he said at that time because he was a junior senator. In that case, nothing matters. Years ago, people speculated he would be a presidential candidate and it mattered what he said and did during his senator years. If all you need is years of squatting in washington, there are plenty of senior senators, but guess what they are not running, nor they have a chance to win. Experience matters, but that is not the only thing. When you see an exceptional talent – read ‘Audacity of Hope’ when you get a chance – carefully crafted thoughts and analysis, you will probably come to the same conclusion that experience is not the only thing.

    RandomDude, we are in different planes if you consider that there is nothing wrong with Bush other than Iraq and there is nothing worth discussing, IMHO.

    Instead on taking a tough position Obama chose to vote “present” (instead of a “Yes” or a “No”) thus avoiding taking any tough stand .

    You should understand better what ‘present’ means in Illinois. It practically means ‘no’ since you need majority ‘yes’ votes to have the legislation pass. ‘present’ normally means the bill needs modification before approval. This is a well used practice, but hillary has used it to malign obama’s candidacy.

  20. Not even that. If there was one thing that went wrong with the Iraq War, it is just that the war offensive was so wildly successful…

    The death of a million people from an unnecessary conflict is just an oversight. nice.

  21. You should understand better what ‘present’ means in Illinois. It practically means ‘no’ since you need majority ‘yes’ votes to have the legislation pass. ‘present’ normally means the bill needs modification before approval

    He voted ‘present’ far more than his party cohorts. Read the articles in my comment #56.

    Personally, I don’t care about his lack of experience, but whatever experience he does have does not show any unique courage.

  22. 57 · Rahul If there was one thing that went wrong with the Iraq War, it is just that the war offensive was so wildly successful that the post-war started sooner than he expected. He would have been better served by getting somebody like Brownie or Chertoff to manage the execution of the war, would have gone at a more relaxed pace then.

    Heh–good one! In all seriousness though, the Bushies really did do a good job of overthrowing Saddam quickly, and they did sincerely believe (they were wrong on this, obviously) that Iraq was a kind of “middle-class” “bourgeois” Arab country (they were misled on this, though I’m not trying to excuse their idiocy) by Chalabi, who has a PhD in math from U. Chicago (and Obama taught at U. Chicago–hmmmmmm….) that they could set up a legitimate and healthy government. The latter has turned out to have been a spectacularly stupid surmise, but believe me, they did think it would work.

  23. and he’s definitely an amazingly gifted politician, but to expect some real kind of change from him is a stretch, I think.

    Good point. Even on getting completely out of Iraq, in one of the debates he was not ready to take the position that US will be completely out. The impression that came out of it was that both Obama and Clinton would let US troops be in or around Iraq (although in small capacity) for 12 years. Dennis Kucinic and Bill Richardson were more anti-war than Obama during that phase.

  24. He voted ‘present’ far more than his party cohorts.

    from what i remember from the debate, that was 130 times out of 4000+. That is not bad at all… NYTimes conveniently leaves that out – oh i forgot, they had endorsed Hillary!

  25. Heh–good one!

    I wish I could take credit for that one, but I believe that the claim was actually made by one of the Bushies, maybe even the Decider-in-chief himself. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the exact words so I am unable to google for it.

    believe me, they did think it would work.

    Bush also believes that intelligent design is a theory in the same sense as evolution. Bush is fundamentally incompetent as his track record as a businessman shows, and he surrounded himself with a bunch of arrogant ideologues and incompetent yes-men who led with opinions, rewrote facts – be it science or economics or whatever else, and ran roughshod over the system of law. The Iraq war is a bigtime manifestation of both of these failings, but the subverting of NASA, EPA, the Justice department etc. are all examples of the entire country being held hostage to hare-brained ideology above all else.

  26. from what i remember from the debate, that was 130 times out of 4000+. That is not bad at all… NYTimes conveniently leaves that out – oh i forgot, they had endorsed Hillary!

    Hillary only voted ‘yes’ on one pro-Iraq war resolution, no? Surely, that shouldn’t count against her.

    (I don’t think Hillary is a messiah, but what I object to is the deification of Obama as an idealist and somebody who has always fought for principle, however difficult the fight was – something which I don’t think has even the slightest basis in fact.)

  27. 65 · Rahul Bush also believes that intelligent design is a theory in the same sense as evolution.

    Look, can we be honest here? I think that the likelihood that Bush or Jindal believe in intelligent design as opposed to evolution is about 0%. Have you ever met any of these high-level Republicans? They are way too well-educated to hold that view. It’s similar to whether Hillary or Obama are really against NAFTA–uhh, I’d vote on no, b/c they’re not dumb. So, why do you try to posture in a way that it “freaks you out” that Bush or Jindal seek votes by catering to some dumb people who believe in intelligent design over evolution, but it apparently doesn’t freak you out that Hillary or Obama are seeking idiots who haven’t caught up on the benefits of free trade as definitively shown 100′s of years ago (yeah–there are some weird academic incentives to dis-prove the benefits of free-trade, but–I think we can forecast how well those are going to look in 30 years–i.e.–really dumb).

  28. From what i remember, hillary had two chances – both times she did the wrong thing, until the tide started turning. First time, she even mentioned that she hadn’t read the resolution correctly. If i had time, i would dig up the records, but not now.

    And there is a big difference between voting on Iraq resolution vs the case you mentioned in Illinois legislation. I don’t consider Obama is a messiah either. You have to expect a certian amount of opportunism from politicians and it is always about who is less evil. You cannot go on thinking everyone is the same, it is NOT. There are marked differences between the candidates and you will see it when you dig deep. I happen to see more ideals that resonate with me in Obama than Hillary.

  29. “…who haven’t caught up on the benefits of free trade as definitively shown 100′s of years ago..”

    There is no such a thing as free trade or absolute free market. Nobody is against the idea of globalization or trade. But, it is not by screwing its own people. Regulation is part of any system – we are only talking about the extent of it. Arent there states within U.S that try to have incentives for keeping the business within the state itself? Ultimately it has to benefit the people and if it hurts people they have to take steps against it. U.S cannot remain only as a consumer society, while cheap goods and services are good, you also need jobs. Look at the dumps created in places like Detroit and you see that a large section of America is hurting and the leaders have to look into it. You cannot go on chasing the cheapest labor while hurting your own population. And on the trickle down theory about rich spending and making poor people’s lives better, i don’t buy it. I would mch better like those poor people having btter paying jobs and the rich taking in less profits.

  30. 67 · rob said

    65 · Rahul Bush also believes that intelligent design is a theory in the same sense as evolution.
    Look, can we be honest here? I think that the likelihood that Bush or Jindal believe in intelligent design as opposed to evolution is about 0%. Have you ever met any of these high-level Republicans? They are way too well-educated to hold that view. It’s similar to whether Hillary or Obama are really against NAFTA–uhh, I’d vote on no, b/c they’re not dumb. So, why do you try to posture in a way that it “freaks you out” that Bush or Jindal seek votes by catering to some dumb people who believe in intelligent design over evolution, but it apparently doesn’t freak you out that Hillary or Obama are seeking idiots who haven’t caught up on the benefits of free trade as definitively shown 100′s of years ago (yeah–there are some weird academic incentives to dis-prove the benefits of free-trade, but–I think we can forecast how well those are going to look in 30 years–i.e.–really dumb).

    rob, I think you value “education” too much. There are professors and mathematicians with PhDs who are staunch believers in ID, so “education” is not a vaccine against dumbness. My evaluation of these people depends on an entire track record, not just individual statements. Bush has gone on record multiple times essentially stating or implying that his presidency has been ordained by God, and so are his various acts. Jindal has elaborate pieces describing how Catholicism is the only true path and that unbelievers will burn in hell. So, yes, I do think they believe in intelligent design at a doctrinal level. And in the Bush case (even if I give him the benefit of the doubt about ID, as you do), there is a clear and expressed disdain for “science” and “books” and all that nonsense, and while I don’t know of any federal actions pushing ID, this culture of ignoring scientific facts has definitely had a significant impact on NASA and the EPA at the very least, and a culture of appeasing evangelicals, even if it is a cynical political ploy, has led to the administration being packed with these religious nuts.

  31. Look, can we be honest here? I think that the likelihood that Bush or Jindal believe in intelligent design as opposed to evolution is about 0%.

    Yeah, my favorite passage from Machiavelli’s The Prince (I paraphrase): while the Prince must not be too religious, since excessive religious sentiment will prevent him from doing the cruel things necessary to stay in power, the Prince must always appear to be religious…for then he will have the goodwill of the people, his most powerful weapon.

  32. Camille: this Freudian slip of yours clearly demonstrates you’re suffering form neocon-envy. The only cure is to have an affair with Paul Wolfowitz

    Clearly :) What can I say? Somewhere in my bleeding liberal heart must be a soft spot for compassionate conservatism.

    Reagan and W did not run PURELY as change candidates.

    I may not have been alive for the first Reagan election, but I’m pretty sure that they both ran PRIMARILY as change candidates (whether this was a change in foreign/domestic policy or a change in the way Washington works or conservatives are seen). It’s not accurate to say that Obama has offered no policy prescriptions; he just doesn’t tend to offer them in his stump speeches. That’s a stylistic difference at the campaign-level, not a substantive difference in actual policy measure, proposal, etc. All I’m arguing for, here, is some intellectual honesty.

    interestingly, gary hart was on cbc radio this evening and the discussion centered around the parallels between 1984 and 2008.

    khoof, Obama has also won WAY more primaries than Hart did and generally performed stronger than Hart even in states where he lost. I don’t know that the comparison between the two candidates is similar except for the role of superdelegates.

    He spoke against the war when he was a state senator and no one was paying attention to an obscure state senator

    I’m amazed that this is so easily brushed away. I see plenty of small time local politicians catch flak for airing or taking action on opinions seen as unpopular at the national level. It doesn’t make their efforts any less noteworthy. I’m not saying we ought to make a hero of Obama, but I don’t think we should just ignore the content of his stance (that he opposed and opposes the Iraq War). Just because the majority of the country thinks it’s a bad idea in 2007/08 doesn’t mean Illinois’ voters did in 2002-03.

  33. The first paragraph in my previous comment was a quote from rob’s comment.

    Also, as for free trade, I don’t see Bush and co. rushing to end farm subsidies or other barriers to entry (remember the ban on steel imports right before the West Virginia elections). So, yes, while the dems (Obama, Hillary etc.) are definitely more pro-labor, I don’t think they are the sole vanguards against the last century of economic thought.

  34. And in the Bush case (even if I give him the benefit of the doubt about ID, as you do), there is a clear and expressed disdain for “science” and “books” and all that nonsense, and while I don’t know of any federal actions pushing ID, this culture of ignoring scientific facts has definitely had a significant impact on NASA and the EPA at the very least, and a culture of appeasing evangelicals, even if it is a cynical political ploy, has led to the administration being packed with these religious nuts.

    I was going to chime in that Bush chooses a lot of other (seemingly not directly related to ID) methods to push his overarching agenda. This includes defunding many areas of scientific discovery, banning research in other areas, replacing positions that require scientific neutrality with religious demagogues, and curtailing the impact of institutes designed to promote the public good through scientific inquiry. There have been a few notable and positive initiatives under the Bush administration, but they are the exception, not the rule.

  35. 70 · Rahul Bush has gone on record multiple times essentially stating or implying that his presidency has been ordained by God, and so are his various acts. Jindal has elaborate pieces describing how Catholicism is the only true path and that unbelievers will burn in hell. So, yes, I do think they believe in intelligent design at a doctrinal level

    Look, I’m trying to speak to you one-to-one in blog-commentary that is very interesting, but hardly likely to influence any election–you are a smart guy and I love your comments on SM, but you are just being tendentious if you insist that the real Bush or Jindal believe in this nonsense. Look at Manju’s comment in #71. I give the Democrats the benefit of the doubt when they’re pandering to idiots–look, Bill Clinton, to his credit, did NAFTA, and now Barack and Hillary are claiming to be against it, though they really aren’t….So, anyway, the Republican’s are a lot smarter than you’re giving them credit for–they need to bottom-feed for votes, sure, but so do the Dem’s.

  36. Guess who Obama has as his foreign policy advisor? Zbignew “The Grand Chessboard” Brezenski. This is the guy who advocated aggresive US intervention in the Caucasus for oil. But I thought the liberals were “no blood for oil” types.

    Camille, Both Reagan and W had previous experience in the executive level. So Reagan and W could be believed. Again my problem with Obama is, he has nothing to back up his statements with.

  37. 74 · Camille This includes defunding many areas of scientific discovery, banning research in other areas, replacing positions that require scientific neutrality with religious demagogues, and curtailing the impact of institutes designed to promote the public good through scientific inquiry. There have been a few notable and positive initiatives under the Bush administration, but they are the exception, not the rule

    .

    Yeah, Bush is kind of appalling on this set of issues for me, but–why are you optimistic that the Democrats will be better? They have their own set of bizarre concerns. They are hardly some sort of utopian pro-science party.

  38. but you are just being tendentious if you insist that the real Bush or Jindal believe in this nonsense.

    About Bush, I don’t need to read the tea leaves and I don’t even really care about his opinions on ID itself, his actions on science speak for themselves (as both Camille and I have noted). Jindal – I have presented a lot of evidence that he’s a doctrinaire believer, and there is no evidence to the contrary, so, why should I believe otherwise?

    Look at Manju’s comment in #71.

    Sure, I wasn’t immediately worried that Fred Thomson is religious because he claimed he mosied on over to church whenever he visited his mom in Texas (of course that dude was probably too lazy and slept in on Sundays anyway), nor do I think most other politicians are that way. Just because a politician claims he is religious doesn’t immediately make me believe that he is.

    So, anyway, the Republican’s are a lot smarter than you’re giving them credit for–they need to bottom-feed for votes, sure, but so do the Dem’s.

    I am not making nor have I made any claim that Republicans are dumb in general, but Bush? C’mon! Really, there’s no percentage in arguing any smartness of any sort on his part (except maybe in playing exceptionally dumb) – and yes, I believe that there is some serious religious insanity in there, but I don’t think I even need to gaze into that crystal ball, his actions speak far louder than anything else. Jindal might be an exceptional technocrat, but as far as his literalism in religious beliefs, yes, I find him truly scary. I am willing to be proved wrong on the latter count, but there needs to be credible evidence on that count.

  39. why are you optimistic that the Democrats will be better? They have their own set of bizarre concerns.

    I am genuinely curious – what is your worry on this front either in terms of stated beliefs or past actions? (Yes, PC-ness in academia definitely has stifled enquiry on certain topics, mostly in the humanities, but that is different than a political agenda)

    Honestly, I think (or at least, hope) that McCain could make things better on this front – it is only the evangelical crazies like Bush or the Huckster that are wingnuts, although the Dems might be more likely to take these actions, if only to actively undo Bush’s legacy.

  40. 79 · Rahul I am genuinely curious – what is your worry on this front either in terms of stated beliefs or past actions?

    Well, too much protectionism on the economic front–if you expose the US to foreign competition, the US does well–but–I don’t want the US to become fat and happy.

  41. Well, too much protectionism on the economic front–if you expose the US to foreign competition, the US does well–but–I don’t want the US to become fat and happy.

    Not that I know which way the answer goes on this one, but is this true in practice as compared to the repubs? I have not seen the repubs hesitate to impose tariffs wherever it will benefit them politically. (Or are you including their general pro-labor/poor/middle-class stance – minimum wage, progressive taxation etc. – too in your “protectionism” umbrella?)

  42. 81 · Rahul Not that I know which way the answer goes on this one, but is this true in practice as compared to the repubs?

    Rahul, Interesting links–will have to look into this further. . . .

  43. OK, Rahul, I looked at those links–fair enough, the Democrats aren’t insane on trade, nor are the Republicans pristine one it, from a classical liberal perspective. Still, something like the resignation of Castro, with the left trying to make excuses for the horrible impositions that have put on the legitimate goals of the the Cuban people over the past 50 years, really gives me pause. . . .

  44. Random Dude, Samantha Powers is also on his foreign policy team with about a half dozen other human rights folks. Are “conservatives” monolithic in their foreign policy values or prescriptions? No. Why would you expect the same of “liberals” (your term)?

    With respect to Reagan/W: Really? Five years of experience as the Governor of Texas exhibits more “believable” experience than eleven years of legislative experience? I understand that Bush’s time in Texas and Reagan’s in California drew a lot of attention. In my opinion, this is certainly due in part to the fact that they adopted what I would consider a few key “wing-nut policies.” I don’t find it admirable to have presided over record high incarceration and execution rates in your state (when the crime rate was already steadily decreasing) or to tear gas and beat students anytime you disagreed with their first amendment rights to speech and assembly.

    I’m not arguing that the two chambers are equivalent — I understand that the the role of the executive differs tremendously when it comes to policymaking, etc. –, but it sounds like you’ve decided on a position despite evidence to the contrary. That’s perfectly fine; let’s just be honest about it.

    ::

    Yeah, Bush is kind of appalling on this set of issues for me, but–why are you optimistic that the Democrats will be better? They have their own set of bizarre concerns. They are hardly some sort of utopian pro-science party.

    If nothing else, I know the Dems have a much better record on a few science-related issues, including federal student financial aid, federal research monies, and generally “pro-science” policy positions (e.g., pro stem cell research, pro evolution). I’m not arguing that they haven’t defunded science initiatives (Clinton with NASA is a notable example) — research funding has been declining under both Democratic and Republican administrations for years –, but at least there is some idea that scientific inquiry is preferable to demagoguery, especially in health research, standards, and education.

    But it really depends on what are your trigger issues, right? For you, rob, it sounds like a laissez-faire approach to market/business regulation in the U.S. vis-a-vis the global economy is important. I’m concerned about the economy, but my focus is on domestic poverty/inequality and how it interacts with global poverty. To be clear, I don’t think either party has been very good about addressing poverty/inequality, but at least their funding priorities tend to align with what I value, namely a balanced budget, limited debt, well-regulated/governed financial markets, and adequate funding for key “safety net” programs.

  45. There is nothing wrong with that, but when tough decisions are to be made, Bill Clinton is not going to be next to Hillary always.

    I’m not so sure. If Hillary wins the nomination, there’s nothing to stop her from making Bill Clinton her running mate. He’s still very well liked, and could bring a lot of centrist Republican men to the Democratic side. And nothing pleases the feminists more than a husband reporting to a wife, in public service!

    M. Nam

  46. but you are just being tendentious if you insist that the real Bush or Jindal believe in this nonsense.

    Rob, let’s take it that both Bush and Jindal do not “believe in this nonsense.”

    Even so, their alliance of convenience with the Christian Conservatives produces some strange policies – such as silly restrictions on PEPFAR or research restrictions on frozen embryos. Others upthread have noted the additional deleterious effects on science and research.

    Just read this Bush speech given in praise of the hilariously-named Snowflakes adoption program, which promotes the adoption of frozen embryos. His endorsement and support of the Christian pro-life agenda could not be clearer. Moreover, the government’s overt involvement with a particular religious slant should be disturbing for true classical liberals, right (Lockeans especially, – see ‘A Letter Concerning Toleration’)? Not to mention the foreign policy moralism that is couched in Christian rhetoric.

    However, just when Bush appears to be scarily Christian, he abandons Christian egalitarianism and gives some poorly thought tax cuts to the rich, and does nothing about the Christian ideal of stewardship of the environment. I hope Jindal will emulate the sagely Bush in his delicate balancing of the interests of Christian right and the CEO Club. One moment a devotional Kathak, and the next a fierce and destructive Tandava.

  47. Issues-Tissues. I maintain that people make decisions and then force facts around their decisions. Obama is sexy. Men want to be him. Women want to be with him. No wonder people are rooting for him*. We all want his ora(toria)l skills.

    I was there in 2004 when Obama gave that speech at the Democratic National Convention. I was 10 feet away on the floor and that was the most erotic moment of that election season. And when [his wife] Michelle came out to give him a hug she was all over him and so clearly turned on by that speech.

    *we love you mel

  48. 86 · portmanteau Even so, their alliance of convenience with the Christian Conservatives produces some strange policies – such as silly restrictions on PEPFAR or research restrictions on frozen embryos. Others upthread have noted the additional deleterious effects on science and research.

    Yeah, I didn’t mean to suggest for a second that b/c it’s pandering it’s harmless–pandering can wind up with very bad results indeed. I was just making the modest observation that, for what it’s worth, it’s pandering, not sincere belief.

  49. I am wondering what is behind the derision and scorn heaped on Obama and Obama supporters among Sepia Mutiny readers. Obama’s is Hoperah, his supporters are silly, think he is the second coming of Christ (I am paraphrasing) Haven’t seen either Hillary or McCain come under such scrutiny, why do they get pass?

  50. Obama’s is Hoperah, his supporters are silly, think he is the second coming of Christ (I am paraphrasing)

    The Hoperah and Christ memes are things he himself is pushing or implying by acting as if he is above it all. And no, I don’t think all his supporters are silly, nor have I said that, there are many articulate and smart ones, but there are many who are drawn to him purely because of the promise of hopiness and change, a promise that is not borne out by his record, and in fact is something he can claim only because his record is too scant for the charge to stick, at least so far. And I think they are being set up for a disappointment if he does make it all the way – what is called his nuance, non-divisiveness and acceptability to independents and moderate republicans is derided as centrism and accommodation in others.

    Haven’t seen either Hillary or McCain come under such scrutiny, why do they get pass?

    Yogi, I have said this many times in many other comments, but let me repeat it: Hillary’s pitch is not that she’s a harbinger of change or hope or whatever, and she gets a lot of flak for calibrating her positions for political convenience. I don’t knock Obama for pandering or “nuance” – I get that pols need to do that, I knock him for creating a public image primarily based on idealism when the truth is far from that (and I do find the haloing extremely distasteful). As for McCain, again I have said this in various other comments in the past, there is the same problem: The straight talk express got stuck in bullshit-town the moment he unhesitating embraced Falwell after rightly calling him an agent of intolerance in the previous go-around. Or his recent about-turn on torture. And many other commenters have made the same point too.

    As for getting a pass, it is Obama who has generally been given that by the media because this hope-change vs. establishment cynic shtick is a storyline they love. Let me reiterate: My problem with Obama is not that he’s a political opportunist, the problem is that he claims to be the farthest you can imagine from that, and in his own devious way, deflects attacks on his record as some sort of attack on the very notion of hope itself (This has been a potent campaigning force during bleak times before: probably the best recent example is Reagan’s morning in America nonsense).

    I have repeated myself on this representational dichotomy issue far too much across many threads, so I’m not going to belabor this further.

  51. I was just making the modest observation that, for what it’s worth, it’s pandering, not sincere belief.

    It’s not mere pandering when your entire framework of actions, not just talk, is aligned around this agenda (cf. Bush). And just as I don’t assume that a politician is religious just because he claims to be, I don’t think that it is reasonable to assume that a man is not a raving religious loonie just because he is a politician. Jindal’s writings about his coming to Catholicism and the meaning of being a Christian (as well as what he thinks of those not on this path) even when he was a student at Oxford and his later articles about exorcism and so on definitely seem to indicate that he is quite a fundamentalist believer – this is an expressed intensity of belief far more than the mere pandering of participating in gospel singing or ostentatiously going to Sunday service. And I think Huckabee is similar – I don’t think his belief in ID and Christian ideals is pandering, but comes from a genuine literal Christian belief. And I don’t see any evidence to indicate otherwise in either case.

  52. Still, something like the resignation of Castro, with the left trying to make excuses for the horrible impositions that have put on the legitimate goals of the the Cuban people over the past 50 years, really gives me pause. . . .

    Rob, I meant to ask you earlier, could you amplify on this statements? I haven’t seen any mainstream dems espouse anything but the positions that will make sure they don’t lose the Cuban-American vote, much like the Republicans have been doing. As for actual actions, neither the Republicans nor the democrats have actually done anything tangible but retain pointless embargos, spending restrictions, and limits on the money that Cuban Americans can send home, so I don’t see any real differences between the two.

  53. “so I don’t see any real differences between the two.”

    speaking of Cuba, this is one area where Hillary has been far more guarded than Obama. She would not talk about relaxing embargos on Cuba for the exact same reasons that she is afraid of losing the cuban-american vote, while Obama has been advocating relaxing travel restrictions, cutting funds to anti-fidel propaganda etc. Again, another case where Hillary is only interested in securing her votes and continuing the status-quo, but Obama has a clearer vision of where the world should be moving beyond the cold war era. Last week’s newsweek, Zakaria talks about this exact difference in the way these two candidates look at the issue.

  54. And no, I don’t think all his supporters are silly, nor have I said that

    You sure had me fooled with comments such as the one below.

    And who would have thought that Hoperah might actually hedge or pander? Doesn’t he believe in change? After all, he was against the war in 2002 before he was maybe for it in 2004. (Ok, that was snarky for sure, but it was just too hard to resist. Believe me, I tried.)
    I knock him for creating a public image primarily based on idealism when the truth is far from that (and I do find the haloing extremely distasteful)

    I have no idea what you are talking about, what is haloing? and who is doing it? I have never heard Obama say follow me and I will lead you to salvation.

    Hillary’s pitch is not that she’s a harbinger of change or hope or whatever, and she gets a lot of flak for calibrating her positions for political convenience

    The rationale of her candidacy is 35 years experience, and she has been in the senate for about 7 years. Last time I checked 7 did not equal 35 (or may be she means dog years) I guess outright lies and shamelessness are better than haloing or whatever it is that you don’t like.

    As for getting a pass, it is Obama who has generally been given that by the media

    I was not talking about the media, I was referring to SM commentators.

    And if you are interested here is link to Obama’s legislative record.

  55. You sure had me fooled with comments such as the one below.

    Those comments were specifically about the way Obama positions himself, not about the intellectual ability of his supporters. There’s no need to take it personally.

    Last time I checked 7 did not equal 35 (or may be she means dog years)

    That would be 49 years then.

    I was not talking about the media, I was referring to SM commentators.

    Ok :)

    I have no idea what you are talking about, what is haloing? and who is doing it? I have never heard Obama say follow me and I will lead you to salvation.

    What, about how he is the new JFK, how analyst after analyst goes on about how he fills them with feeling but they don’t really know what he said, and so on and so forth? He is definitely a master of political rhetoric, there is no doubt about that, and that could actually be great if his p. And that would be fabulous if he didn’t promise some magical land of change, hope, and a whole new way of being when nothing in his record indicates that to be the case. There’s a fun and informative read on this on Slate.

    And if you are interested here is link to Obama’s legislative record.

    I am aware of Obama’s legislative record, I have not once claimed that he isn’t smart, but that is not what he is running on. And it is not a record of all positives: the nuclear bill has compromises, and galore, as the Times article describes, and his voting record is hardly uncompromising, for example in Illinois, nor are his statements on the Iraq war always “unnuanced”.

    Anyways, that’s really it from me on this.

  56. There’s no need to take it personally

    . I am not, it was not clear whether you were talking about Obama or his supporters.

    Last time I checked 7 did not equal 35 (or may be she means dog years)

    hmm… this dog ages more slowly than normal dogs, uses anti-aging products.

    I understand your reservations and you could very well turn out to be right but of all the three candidates left, Obama offers the biggest break from the current administration and that is what is attractive about him, to me at least.

  57. Rahul: All of the Cuban-Americans that I have met (without exception) told me they would never forget “The Bay of Pigs”. They blame J.F.Kennedy, and rightly so. This is the reason they said they would never vote Democrat to this day.

    This may change as their generation dies out and their grandchildren become of voting age.

  58. For those who think both Hillary and Obama are the same on cuban issue: See this from todya’s debate:

    “Clinton said she would refuse to sit down with incoming President Raul Castro until he implements political and economic reforms. Obama said he would meet “without preconditions,”"

  59. 93 · Rahul Rob, I meant to ask you earlier, could you amplify on this statements?

    Rahul, I had in mind, for example, this, but I’ll admit I haven’t canvassed things comprehensively (and admittedly Bertram is a Brit).