PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts

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  1. McCain/Palin can still win the Presidential race but all of the hate mongering and fear tactics won’t do it.

    Here is what they need to do: Come out with a clear plan of what they will do to fix the economy. Come out with a clear plan of how they will keep the United States safe. Be specific on how they are different than the Bush Administration.

    Here’s what they need to stop doing: Stop using a small part of Obama’s tax plan to say “Obama will raise taxes”. He can do the same thing but chooses to take the higher road. He could say “John McCain will raise your taxes” and not mention that it it’s part of the health care plan. They need to stop all the hatred at rallies and denounce people who claim Obama might be a terrorist, especially when McCain has ties to many other people that are friendly with Ayers and this message is not sticking. Finally, he needs to hide Palin somewhere in a bunker and not let her come out until the race is over. The more she speaks the more dumb she looks and the more she contradicts herself and her moral beliefs.

    Comment by Dylan Chambers — Sunday, October 12, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

  2. Well, as you said, Steven, the fundamentals were always going to favor the Democrat, especially one not named Clinton. And McCain was always going to be the best candidate the Republican party could offer, because a reputation for independence and “difference,” once established, is hard to shake.

    But ultimately, his predicament is not about the kind of campaign he has run or his choice of running mate. It is about the fundamentals, which have only become more fundamental as this fall has progressed.

    “Turning point,” indeed. We are the point where the realistic question is just how close Obama gets to 400 electoral votes as more and more turn his way.

    Comment by MSS — Sunday, October 12, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  3. This is why we need to scrap political parties.

    McCain is losing not because he is McCain and Obama is Obama. He is not losing because Obama has better policy plans.

    McCain is losing because a political party links him to George Bush, and that party is really unpopular because an economy based on 2 if not 3 decades of bad fiscal policy finally came to a head a month before the election.

    That’s it; that’s all the system is. We might as well save ourselves the hundreds of millions of dollars next time (we need to in order to cover all of the socialist spending policies we’ve enacted in the past few weeks) and just roll dice to decide who gets the crown.

    Imagine how easy that would be. It would be the same thing driving the process - pure chance. We’d wind up with the same product, some weak and ineffective leader who can’t stand on his own two feet and needs a gang (or political party, if you prefer) to get somewhere. We’d save ourselves all this pointless (except as an academic exercise) debate and discussion. We’d save tons of money, fuss, and bother. I might even be able to go to McDonald’s and order a quarter pounder in peace without some jerk turning the conversation into politics. “So, what do you think Obama would do to the price of ground beef?”

    Now, if you took out the parties - there would be absolutely no reason for this economic news to impact the race so heavily, because there wouldn’t be some useless organization linking McCain to Bush. All that angst would be directed at Bush. There would be a firewall separating the incumbent president from the guys who are running, and that would allow for us to make a fair choice.

    The reason we need political parties is the same reason that bullies always have flunkies. They stay on top on the strength of a group, not their own. Our politicians are no different. Obama is like that. McCain - I used to think he was different, but now I realize I was wrong. He’s a party man, just like Obama on the other side.

    The whole system is damaged beyond repair. We should have a vote of no confidence and start over before things get really bad, before there is a violent and total implosion of our economic and political institutions. We need to re-boot the constitution. That’s the only hope this country has.

    Comment by Captain D — Sunday, October 12, 2008 @ 7:20 pm

  4. The thing is, of course, that if McCain and Obama were both “independents” they would still have pools of supporters doing the same kinds of things.

    And while I would like to see some serious constitutional reform, I really think that you are being far more pessimistic than is warranted.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Sunday, October 12, 2008 @ 7:41 pm

  5. My pessimism is not merited?! You know, Doctor, the more you invest in something, the more you stand to lose. I hope you’ll read this post. It’s more than just a bitter tirade, really it is. A lot of other vets think like me. Maybe it will help you understand my - our - pessimism.

    I’m a veteran of multiple wars. I have had a bad brain injury, serious anxiety problems, and have spent time as an inpatient in a mental health hospital. I’m on 8 psychotropic medications and a pain killer. I’m addicted to some of them, but hey, it’s better than going 9 days without sleep, you know? I have a touch of PTSD and mood swings that resemble bipolar disorder, but are organic in nature (connected to the brain trauma). I have shrapnel in my legs that can’t be safely removed, and when I walk it causes pain. I usually don’t stand to take a leak; it hurts too much. It’s better to sit. Can you imagine what it’s like to simply go to the bathroom and have to be reminded of what you gave - what you saw - what you did - and then go out into the world and have people trash-talk it?

    My pessimism, Dr. Taylor, is well-earned. I lost my career, my ability to work (likely for the rest of my life)and a lot of my friends serving the civilian leadership of this country. I did this because it’s our tradition. The military doesn’t call the shots; our civilian officials do. I respected that.

    I’m starting not to. I’m starting to feel like they are using us - all of them, democrat and republican - and that they don’t appreciate us. The veterans health care system sucks. My benefits are always one examination shy of being yanked away from me; I nearly starved when I was discharged from the army and it took over two years for them to settle my claim; during that time I had no medical care for my injuries, no compensation for my disabilities. Had it not been for family, I’d have been on the street. I’m scared all the time because I should be.

    And I’m starting to feel like these people - these guys who stand on the pulpits and tell us bold-faced lies - do not deserve what I gave them. They don’t deserve the pain I feel doing simple tasks like walking my dogs and cutting my grass. They don’t deserve the feelings of loss that come with remembering holding one of your soldiers - one of your friends - in your arms, telling him he’ll be all right, and watching him bleed to death. I’ll never forget the first soldier I watched die. I held him. He bled out through a femurol artery. I was covered nearly head to toe in his blood. It was three days before I could get a decent shower. In the mean time I simply couldn’t get all of his blood out of my hair, out from under my finger nails. I remember thinking about his dead body, which was evacuated on a Blackhawk, kept thinking about how I had all that blood on me, that used to be part of him.

    I suffer a lot. I don’t tell a lot of people about it. I don’t complain about it often. But I suffer more than most Americans will ever suffer in their lives.

    And I appreciate guys like you - most of the time - but before you tell me my pessimism is not merited, maybe you can hear me out about what my investment was.

    You see, I invested everything in the Constitution - in my oath to it. And I did my part. I faced things that would turn most men white. There were times that I thought I would die, and I was OK with that. I was ready to die for the Constitution, for what the leaders appointed over me by the Constitution said I should do. There is nothing I would not have done for them - because to me, by doing that, I was serving the Constitution. A noble cause. That, Doctor Taylor - that is what I invested. I don’t expect everyone to do the same.

    But, don’t you think it’s reasonable for someone who did make that kind of investment to be horribly hurt by the current political climate? Don’t you think it’s reasonable to think someone who invested everything - and lost almost everything - might feel a bit pessimistic about the direction we’re heading as a society?

    I see the Constitution, for which I would have gladly died, and for which I suffer every day, and will suffer every day for the rest of my life, erroding. I see our leaders not following it. I see the media all but burning it. I see the way of life that it promises decomposing.

    When I sit here, my legs aching, my heart pounding, spirit all but dead to the world, and think that the best we can come up with is Barack Obama and John McCain - yeah, I feel pessimistic. I feel like it wasn’t worth it. I feel like we might as well just roll the towel up and go home - the day at the beach is over. I feel like our leaders - our Congress, our president - they don’t deserve what we gave them.

    I don’t know what your investment in this was; but if you’re not feeling pessimistic, I suspect you didn’t invest you life, your physical safety, and the lives of all of your very best friends. I suspect the system did not take most of those things from you and leave you a broken, battered husk of the man you once were, with only memories to keep you going, memories that get dustier every year.

    I don’t begrudge you that. Really, I don’t.

    But again - before you tell me my pessimism isn’t merited - consider, please, what I’ve already lost, what these guys have taken. Consider what it looks like from my end.

    From the chair I’m sitting in right now, here in Georgia - the picture is very bleak.

    Comment by Captain D — Sunday, October 12, 2008 @ 11:22 pm

  6. Captain D:

    I certainly cannot speak to your personal sacrifice and circumstances, nor would I attempt to do so.

    I was referring simply to the notion that the “system is damaged beyond repair” and the like. You seem to saying that it is all about to utterly collapse around our ears. Perhaps it is, but for all out problems, I don’t think that it will.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Monday, October 13, 2008 @ 6:42 am

  7. The big secret is out. Politicians and the media were hiding the fact that American households have a net worth of over 56 trillion dollars. That is more than half the household wealth of the world. Those statistics come from the Federal reserve Flow of Funds Summary Statistics Second Quarter 2008. If there was a way to get the hoarders of those bucks to go on a long shopping spree the recession in the U.S. would quickly end. But our politicians fear talking to those idle saving account owners and their potential to stimulate our economy, they would rather increase the national debt than anger millions of cheap voters. Consumer spending determines the health of the economy not inflationary government handouts. Until some miserly Americans start digging into their over loaded bank accounts and start spending money our recession will continue indefinitely.

    Comment by New York — Monday, October 13, 2008 @ 7:32 am

  8. New York:

    That is just not going to happen. My family believes in living below its means. We don’t borrow what we can’t pay back. We have no household debt (not even a mortgage), and we have cash in the bank - enough to live on for over a year without changing our quality of life. If we had to, we could stretch it longer. We also have assets we could tap (in our IRA’s and a second home, and life insurance dividends that have accumulated since my birth) if we needed to.

    And it’s not like we are big-time CEO’s. My wife is a middle school teacher and I am an army veteran on a disability pension. We have wealth because we were making quadruple payments on our house while our neighbors were cashing out their equity to buy a plasma TV. We have wealth because while our neighbors were taking out loans to buy a new luxury SUV, we were content with a compact car and a basic pickup truck, neither of which have power windows. Our cars are both more than 10 years old. The biggest TV in our house is a 25-inch CRT bought in 1996.

    Our income makes us a middle middle-class couple. There is NO REASON why the rest of the middle class could not have had the same security that we have. They got themselves into their own dilemmas by not exercising spending discipline; failing to save money; and borrowing beyond their means.

    As a member of the middle class who acted responsibly his entire adult life when it came to money, I am totally opposed to anything that the government does to “relieve the middle class”. The people who borrowed and spent beyond their means, and artificially drove up the economy on a credit bubble are now receiving what psychologists call natural consequences. Make a bad decision, live with the results.

    Call me miserly if you want to - but I’m not losing my house, nor has this economic “crisis” had any impact on me. If anything, it’s been a benefit to me because I planned for it by saving over the years instead of spending like there was no tomorrow. For me, the price of gas is lower - and the only thing you’re going to see me open my checkbook for is to buy under-valued stock mutual funds for my IRA.

    I sure as heck am not going to go buy a new car “for the sake of the economy”. The people who spent more than they could afford to spend should have to suffer. They made their beds, they now need to sleep in them.

    My bed is cozy. I’m not sharing it, and if anyone tries to force me to do so, you’re going to see my assets quickly disappear into a foreign bank account. The responsible among us should not have to pay for the poor judgement of everyone else.

    You’re not getting a nickel from me if I can help it.

    Comment by Captain D — Monday, October 13, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

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