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Remember, the Democrats went first... [Sep. 4th, 2008|08:35 pm]
The Democratic National Convention was first. Remember that.

Because if they had made their criticisms respectful, and based upon substance, after the Republicans had been nasty, you could cynically assume they were playing a nasty game, pretending to be "above the fray" when they were just as dirty as anyone.

But they went first.

So when the Republicans went nasty against Obama, suggesting that helping people in his community, winning jobs and job training for people was nothing next to big, important things like winning votes to be a small town mayor, it wasn't like the Democrats had a chance to choose to take the high road to make the Republicans look bad. No, the Republicans got to hear just about every Democrat say that they respected John McCain's service to his country... and then decided they wouldn't be equally respectful of the Democratic nominee.

Folks, the biggest problem facing this country right now is that, for some folks, everything is about the partisanship.

How many times did the Republicans talk about drilling for oil?

Do you remember when that whole "DRILL! DRILL!! DRILL!!!" strategy showed up? In June. Up until then, everyone agreed that offshore drilling was not quite ready for prime time, and that the minuscule amounts of oil we'd get from the ANWR weren't worth the huge amounts of environmental damage that would occur.

Even today, economics experts agree that we're talking about a difference of pennies a gallon, when gas is over $3.50 a gallon already. No, what would really help us is better gas mileage and better transportation infrastructure (more trains, especially - something like 40 ton-miles per gallon of diesel is nothing to sneeze at!), and a faster adoption of alternative energy sources. If we cut our gasoline needs, the laws of supply and demand tell us that the price will drop, and we'll also be using less of it... that's double the bang for the buck.

But the Republicans are still shouting "Drill! Drill!! Drill!!!"


Because the Democrats are opposed to it. Because the Republicans can turn it into a wedge issue.

Folks, if this had been going on for over a year now, that'd be one thing. But since June? Come on... show a little election year cynicism. This is a game, pure and simple.

So, on the one hand, you have people who, while fighting hard, are still showing respect for their opponents

And on the other, you have people who are trashing their opponent and playing games.

As I said, one of the biggest issues facing this country is that, for some folks, it's all about the partisanship, it's all about winning the game.

Both sides are promising to change that, but which one has shown that they're really trying? And which one has shown you more of the same games we've been seeing for the past too-damn-many years?

[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2008-09-05 12:06 pm (UTC)
I think it has a little to do with your perspective. I found the bits of the Democratic convention I watched so sickeningly partisan and full of cheap shots that I couldn't bear it. It was probably less partisan and the shots less cheap, objectively speaking, than it felt to me. But I saw the RNC as mild payback. [And don't forget, we started our convention after a weekend of seeing Sarah Palin accused of faking her pregnancy etc., and not entirely from the fever swamps unless you think Andrew Sullivan lives there.]

As for the community organizing that Barack Obama did, I would like to see a good exploration of it. I've had a little experience with community organizers in our neighborhood. Some of them genuinely want to be part of the solution, others are just looking for a job, and others are cynically building a political base.

Edited at 2008-09-05 12:08 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: calpatine
2008-09-05 12:51 pm (UTC)
I think perspective is kind of at the core of partisanship.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2008-09-05 03:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'd say that the Democratic National Convention was intensely partisan. I bet that every single thing said during the convention was intended to make Democrats look better than Republicans.

I believe that's why they hold conventions.

But saying "we'll handle the job better, because of this, that, and the other thing" is very different from saying "look at those filthy liberals!".

Re: Sarah Palin, yes, I grant, a few nasty people said a few nasty things about rumors that had been circulating in Alaska before the VP selection was made.

So, what, you're saying that if a few cranks make a few nasty comments, the Republicans are ready to go nasty?Well, I agree. They are. That was exactly my point.

And who did they go nasty against? Those few people who made those few nasty comments? No... they went nasty against their opponents, who didn't have anything to do with the nastiness, and had a room full of people cheering while they did so.

Just like the cynical drilling ploy; they're playing games.

As for questions about Obama's community organizing, again, that's the very point, yes... everything about him is seen as a cause for suspicion, and cynicism, everything is considered something to dig through, looking for a line of attack.

That is exactly the kind of thing that is killing this country.

Nothing your opponent says *can* be good; it *must* be attacked, with a nasty, ugly cynicism. And if it turns out that the attack was baseless (maybe Obama was a selfless community organizer who just wanted to help people), well, that just means it's time to go on to the next thing to dig through... it doesn't mean it's time to back off and feel a bit ashamed.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2008-09-05 04:06 pm (UTC)
I thought Obama's comments -- characterizing her as a mayor of a small town and completely ignoring the fact that she also was governor of a state with a $20 billion budget and 25,000 employees -- lets him open for several zingers, too.

We probably should agree to disagree and I should probably hold my tongue on your political postings. Neither of us will ever convince the other.

ETA: None of this is new. Some of the stuff the Democrats threw at Lincoln in 1864 was unspeakably vile and I imagine the stuff the Republicans threw back was equally unsavory, but as it happens I haven't seen any of it.

Edited at 2008-09-05 04:07 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: wyang
2008-09-08 01:11 pm (UTC)

FACT: Alaska is not a $20B state.

Your numbers are way off for Alaska's actual budget. I'm rounding to the hundred million for convenience (so the columns may not total), but the actual numbers are at http://www.gov.state.ak.us/omb/08_OMB/budget/08statewidetotals.pdf.

There is absolutely no way you'll see Alaska get to $20B in 2007 or 2008. Alaska's less than half that.

There's a fair amount of government budgetspeak involved. One thing has to do with "actual" versus "authorized" versus "proposed".

Actual budget is based on an accounting after the year has ended, and is an accurate measure of how much money was spent.

Authorized budget is based on what the legislature has passed in its appropriations bills. Actual expenditures don't necessarily match this, but it's usually pretty close.

Proposed budget is something that the Governor gives to the legislature, saying "this is how much I *want* to spend."

It unclear to me what goes into their general fund and what goes into the "other" category -- even so, the vast bulk of Alaska's state generated funds comes in the form of mineral rights revenue (oil and gas), investments on assorted government-managed trust funds, and endowments. How they split that up is unclear to me, and isn't obvious from my quick resad of their revenue sources documentation from the tax department.

FY2006 actual budget: $7.5B
funding sources:
General: $2.8B
Federal: $1.5B
Other: $3.1B

FY2007 funds (authorized): $8.8B
funding sources:
General: $3.4B
Federal: $1.8B
Other: $3.6B

FY2008 funds (proposed by governor's office): $9.2B
funding sources:
General: $3.6B
Federal: $1.8B
Other: $3.6B
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2008-09-08 06:52 pm (UTC)

Re: FACT: Alaska is not a $20B state.

Thanks. The perils of quoting from memory!
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