YES. WE. DID.

November 5, 2008

Barack Obama is the next president of the United States.

By golly, it’s enough to make me believe in my countrymen again.

Thank you, America. Thank you for giving Barack Obama the chance to fix our country.

I could cry right now.

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On the eve of the election.

November 4, 2008

In these early moments of Election Day 2008, I’d like to offer some thoughts, perhaps some soothing to my fellow Democrats.

Most polls show Obama comfortably ahead, and we all know we can’t get comfortable, but there’s room for optimism.

Dixville Notch, N.H., population 75, is the first place to announce polling results in the United States. Dixville Notch hasn’t gone for a Democrat since ’68. Tonight, it went for Barack Obama, 15-6.

My friends (as John McCain would say), today is the day to believe in America. Today is the day to throw off the heavy cloak of racism that still haunts this country. Don’t be afraid, fellow liberals, of this “Bradley effect.” Believe in the power of the American people to correct the mistakes of the past eight years. Barack Obama is the last, best hope we have to fix this country, and no matter what attacks the Republicans throw at him, I think the American people know who’s gonna fight for them and who’s gonna just fight for power.

Barack Obama is the truth. Barack Obama is the future. Barack Obama is America. And so are you.

GET OUT AND VOTE.

First there was Sarah Palin with “Joe Sixpack,” an apparently extraordinarily fit ordinary American.

Now it’s John McCain with “Joe the Plumber,” who I guess from what was said is really wealthy, but John McCain really doesn’t want to let you figure that out.

It is absolutely laughable for John McCain to blast Barack Obama for negative campaigning, considering that I have NEVER, NOT ONE TIME seen a positive campaign ad put out by John McCain, and I’ve seen a lot of them. The “negative” ads that Obama puts out criticize McCain’s stances on issues such as healthcare and taxation. The McCain ads consistently assault Obama’s character.

John McCain is a stone-cold hypocrite, and that’s something that any Joe Sixpack should be able to see.

This thing I wrote!

October 13, 2008

I dunno if you guys noticed, but I do write things now and again. This weekend, I attended an Obama rally and the Flyers home opener, and wrote this article about it:

http://youthvote.washingtonpost.com/2008/10/12/obama_palin_fight_for_philly/

Yeah, the Washington Post (online). I am SO cool.

Republican Lie of the Day.

September 26, 2008

You know, I like the concept of the Republican lie of the day so much that I might just start another blog for that alone. 

To the point: John McCain has already won tonight’s debate.

No, really. Seriously. They already posted an ad that said McCain won a debate that hasn’t happened yet — a debate he didn’t even want to participate in (ostensibly because he wanted to work on a bailout solution, but more likely because he wants to avoid debates that aren’t in the town hall format). Oh, and it hasn’t happened yet.

I’m toying with the idea of live-blogging the debate, just because it promises to be just as damaging to the McCain campaign as Palin’s interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric were. 

Did you (yeah, you!) see Palin with Couric? Oh, boy, it was painful to watch. The fact (if it’s actually a fact) that the Russians would fly over Alaskan airspace if they decided to run combat missions in the United States and the fact that Alaska is next to Canada — these are, Sarah Palin feels, really legitimate foreign policy credentials.

The point: The McCain campaign will say anything, regardless of whether it’s provably or even possibly true.

When Barack Obama said, “They must think you’re stupid,” boy was he right.

Yes, I’m alive, faithful blog readers (both of you). I was in Europe, is my excuse.

While I was there, I had plenty of talks with plenty of my fellow cruise ship passengers on the topic of American politics and the sorry state our nation is in. Yes, we’re in the kind of sorry state where Sarah Palin, a purely politically motivated VP choice who brings absolutely nothing to the table, can give John McCain a big, although relatively short-lived, boost in the polls. Turns out that at least some of the American people finally noticed that she doesn’t actually know anything or have anything meaningful to say.

But that’s sort of the issue with our politics, then, isn’t it? People don’t vote based on information, but rather on vague soundbites and tidbits of misinformation that they get, for example, out of cable news (that’s right, Fox, I’m talking about you, but you’re not the only one). They vote based on what their preachers tell them, what their unions tell them, what the TV tells them, what the internet tells them. As a result, the American people have fallen into the miserable habit of not voting in their own best interests, and this is a problem. There is also a secondary (and surely related) problem, which is that many American people have become so disenchanted with the political system that they don’t turn out to vote.

But for every problem (except perhaps the Israel-Palestine conflict) there is a solution. Here is mine.

It’s necessary to preface the following with this: For my voting system to work, the government (probably the federal government) will need to invest in electronic voting machines for the entire nation. And when I say that we will need to invest in electronic voting machines, I mean three things: no outside contractors, no involvement of elected officials except to authorize and fund the program, and emphasis on the best possible security. Without these, there is no electoral system. That said, carry on.

All registered voters in the United States will receive in the mail a card with, for the sake of argument, 20 statements on it, in the style of this website. That is to say, the card will ask you for your position on these 20 issues — not race, religion, family, whether you’d like to have a beer with the candidate or any of the other meaningless claptrap that invades our elections — by having you to indicate whether you agree strongly agree, disagree, strongly disagree or feel neutral with regard to each and every statement. You can also indicate what issues (up to five, let’s say) are of particular importance to you. The (presidential) candidates get cards too; they submit their views before the election takes place. 

The statements will be created by an independent, non-partisan commission, and will include all the most pertinent contemporary issues, as decided by the commission. They will be clearly worded so as to avoid confusion. Finally, they will require approval by a bipartisan Senate committee where neither party has more members than the other and each party is represented by senators whose views are in line with their party’s platform (yes, Joe Liebermans and Zell Millers of the world, that means you’re out) — and the way we do this is that each party’s committee chair picks the committee representatives.

When the American people go to vote, they take their cards with them. They feed their cards into the voting machines. The voting machines calculate to what degree their views are in line with those of the candidates and display the proper match by percentage. You’re not required to vote for this person; it’s just telling you whose views and priorities are most in line with your own. Then you vote.

Here are the pros and cons of the system as I see them:

Pros:

  • Helps eliminate voter fraud by requiring voters to have the card, which contains identifying information.
  • Should motivate more voters to engage in research on the issues they’re not well informed about. I’m not so naive to think that it would make everyone do this, or even the majority of people, but “more than before” is a pretty good goal for the time being.
  • Lets voters know how they match up with the candidates on the issues rather than on meaningless “issues” created by the campaigns or the media.

The downside is that these statements can be vague; this is probably the biggest problem. If, for example, you had a question that went, “The United States should engage in offshore drilling for petroleum,” many people would say, “Oh, yes, reducing our dependence on foreign oil! Let’s do it!” But that statement doesn’t factor in that it’d be decades before the oil came out of the ground and that even then the potential supply is not very big. Of course, if you included all the details in the statement, things would become much too muddled and confused, and Republicans would of course object because the statement becomes worded in such a way that voters are inclined to indicate the Democratic view. So if you do it one way it’s not fair, but if you do it the other way, it’s still not fair. Problems like this will apply to issues such as taxation as well.

The best possible solution I see to this is to include some manner of pamphlet in the mail with the voting cards that gives verified, fact-checked numbers on every issue that requires it, and statements by the candidates on every issue that isn’t about numbers (or sometimes a combination of the two). And I do mean by the candidates, not by speechwriters or advisors. The most important thing, I think, is that the numbers are independently verified by expert economists and submitted to the public domain so that they can be rejected if there is a legitimate error. Factual accuracy is the top priority here. People can choose to read the pamphlet or not, but either way they’ll have all the facts there for the reading. What they do with those facts is their own concern.

So there you go. It won’t be easy to implement, and the political establishment in our country probably won’t like it, but this is, in my view, the best way to stimulate the American people to vote based on reality. It’s not exclusive like an intelligence test would be and it doesn’t force you to vote in any one way; it just lets you know where you’re at.

I think the American people deserve that.

John McCain’s campaign, fresh off putting out yet another idiotic ad that criticizes Barack Obama for being too popular (as though that’s not the goal of every politician, ever), was forced (I guess) to put out a response today to Mike Myers objecting to usage of footage from “Wayne’s World” — you know, the whole “We’re not worthy!” shtick.

Here’s what ol’ (real ol’) Johnny M’s campaign had to say:

Obama’s celebrity friends are bringing their considerable resources to bear in this election, hosting fundraisers at their estates in Geneva, offering advice on Middle East policy, and now threatening this campaign with legal action over our latest ad, “Fan Club.” The ad features kids talking about how “dreamy” Senator Obama is, how he brought a crowd to Taco Bell despite inclement weather, and how he is no less of an international superstar than U2 frontman Bono. Unfortunately, the final clip of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey doing their ‘we’re not worthy’ bit from Wayne’s World has spurred a celebrity backlash. Myers had his people call the campaign to demand that the video be removed from YouTube for copyright violation. Apparently, we are not, in fact, worthy.

Let’s just take a moment to hash this out.

The McCain campaign creates yet another nasty, sarcastic attack ad that takes aim at Obama supporters (you know… the American people) almost more than at Obama himself. The campaign uses, without authorization, footage of Mike Myers (not a McCain supporter according to anything I have heard), and Mike Myers says, hey, I don’t really want to have footage of myself in an ad for a candidate I don’t support. Somehow, the McCain campaign turns that into Myers “bringing [his] considerable resources to bear.”

Really?

So if, for example, Planned Parenthood decided to run a pro-abortion ad, and they used old footage of John McCain saying something to the effect of “we have to do what’s right for our families” in some totally different context, you (that is, the McCain campaign) are telling me that you would have nothing to say about it. You’d just let that ad run, making it look like you support something that you’re actually against.

Of course you wouldn’t. You’d be all over that. You’d cry nice and loud about how this election would be way fairer if people didn’t put words in your mouth, and how Planned Parenthood used this footage irresponsibly.

The McCain campaign at this point is just insanely out of touch with the American people — not to mention with reality.

But I’ll give them one thing: The statement they put out has one thing in it that’s absolutely true.

They’re not worthy.