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Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Right Side of History

From the NYT 09NOV08 about why a lot of conservatives have embraced the Obama election:

The presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said she was hard-pressed to find a similar moment when the tone had changed so drastically, and so quickly, among so many people of such prominence.

“I don’t think that’s happened very often,” Ms. Goodwin said. “The best answer I can give you is they don’t want to be on the wrong side of history, and they recognize how the country saw this election, and how people feel that they’re living in a time of great historic moment.”

I'm glad I have been on the right side of history, not only with this election but for most of my adult life. I'm glad I was opposed to the war in Iraq from before the beginning. This is just one of the advantages of being well read; I am not blind-sided by history, whether it is in the making or in the recent past.

So the Obama transition team is obviously talking about what problems they would like to address upon taking the reins. Their debate is over whether it should be health care, the environment, or energy self-sufficiency, or perhaps all three. What the fuck did the Bush presidency do upon taking control of the White House? In 2000 they lowered taxes for the richest Americans and in 2004 they tried to turn Social Security over to the bastards we are now bailing out. Which side of history do you choose?

I firmly believe that Obama could easily be the best president in our history. I base this belief partly on the fact that we have had so few good presidents, and partly on the belief that by taking office during such a troubled time he has so much that he can accomplish. Only history can tell (and those writing the history). I am confident that I am still on the right (left) side. I pity the people who are angered by the Obama victory, the people who can't enjoy this moment and wish all the best for our new president and what he may do for our country. I am dumbfounded by those individuals who believe that Bush was anything but a total disaster for our nation and the world.


As I said to a friend today: If you can't be positive now then when the fuck can you be? Obama has a tough job to do and will no doubt disappoint many from time to time. But what is great is that America, and particularly its young people, my generation, has chosen positivity and progression.

-- Tom

It took us a while to do it but yes, we have chosen the right path. I wish it had been in 2004. How anyone could have picked Bush over Kerry is a mystery to me. Obama learned from Kerry's mistakes. He was tougher than Kerry and quicker to respond to the Republican slime machine.

-- leftbanker

Some good comments, Obama certainly has his hands full but people should get behind the guy not bring him down.

-- Paris Apartments

I've also noticed that the conservatives are walking a fine line right now. I think as long as Obama doesn't do anything really stupid (sex scandal etc.) I think he is going to have a lot of support from both sides. You get the feeling that republicans are at least going to give him a chance instead of attacking him from day one like Clinton. They know they fucked this country up and are really unpopular right now. Also, from a political standpoint, what republican in his right mind (including Bush) wants to be the guy bashing Obama right now... it would be political/legacy suicide (although we all know what Bush's legacy is going to be: "Worst President of All Time")

-- Catch-23

And I'm with you that he could go down as one of the best presidents of all time ... Don't you kind of get the feeling that will find a little more room up on Mt. Rushmore for him.

-- Catch-23

With such a blank slate to start with, (e.g. nothing to show so far), how could he ever be seen as being wrong on ANYTHING?

Greatest ever? Has he EVER put his life on the line for this Nation? NO.

Has he ever risked his all for something other than his own ideals? NO.

How can you even project this person who has yet to serve a day in office as the "best ever"? What about our Founding Fathers? What about Lincoln? Good grief, there were a few that didn't perform well in office but to go ahead and crown Obama as the heir apparent to the "greatest ever" is shallow.

In no way am I defending Bush. Heck, I can't stand him, but for crying out loud, so many of you have swallowed every drop of the Obama cool-aid that we may never recover from the so called recovery of Bush.

Don't label me as a "blind Bush supporter right-wing nut jobs". I am far from it. But I certainly did not support Obama and his lack of experience that he is bringing to the office. I will support him as our elected President, just as I supported Bush while he was in office. My voice is not muted, but I am, and always will be able to form my own opinion and I refuse to submit or succumb to either side that tries to ram down my throat a liberal or conservative slant. Balance, negotiation, and sacrifice is key.

-- Kelly W.

Greatest ever? Has he EVER put his life on the line for this Nation? NO.

Has he ever risked his all for something other than his own ideals? NO.

I didn't know these things were prerequisites for the presidency. I'm glad you don't like Bush because as a president he was a complete disaster. I know that the right wingers like to brand everyone who voted for Obama as some sort of brainless robot but that's just not the way it works for liberals. If Obama screws up, the liberals will be the first to let him know. One of the reasons that Bush was such an incredibly awful president was that conservatives supported his every lousy move. I happen to think that Obama has the right characteristics to be an extremely effective leader. This whole lack of “experience” tack is pretty lame. Dick Cheney had all the experience in the world on paper and he turned out to be a loathsome vice president.

-- leftbanker

Experience to serve in the Oval office should be a requirement. Otherwise, when your VP comes in with more experience than the POTUS, you get exactly what we had for the last 8 years. A puppet in the top seat, with the puppet master in the VP role.

Otherwise, if all you need to be elected is to be either a liberal or conservative, then something is wrong when our only choices are the ones we have had recently.

And yes, a candidate for our top office should have some experience in putting our Nation's goals, on a national level, ahead of their personal goals.

So far, I have not seen any history of his willingness to do the hard stuff that would have given him some enlightenment to gain the experience he needs for the office.

-- Kelly W.

Obama is a better choice than Bush or McCain and certainly much better than the idiot Palin. I think he's the best candidate we've had in my lifetime.

-- leftbanker

You must be very young, indeed. Obviously you have not heard Obama speak much off script and you certainly have NEVER heard him challenged by the media during the entire campaign. His most common word is "uhhhhhh". Clinton was much more able to speak intelligently than either of the Bush's, Cheney, or Palin.

As for Palin. You have yet to study her totally. There is much more there than just what you have seen by Katie Couric's ignorant interview when she was dumbfounded about the type of news sources that exist in Alaska. Heck, that would be no shallower of a question than to ask you what you read in over in Europe to stay abreast of world events. Palin has been an outstanding governor for Alaska and is highly respected by her constituents in the state, both left and right. Something the media overlooked from the start when they wholeheartedly decided to project a slant of her as some kind of backcountry Hick. Not much different than how they portrayed Bill Clinton when he first ran from the state of Arkansas.

The best choice out of the candidates during the last election was certainly Hillary. Hands down a better qualified candidate but unfortunately too many from the right AND left just couldn't get past the fact she is a woman.

But I will leave you alone. I have better things to do than try and debate you long distance.

-- Kelly W.

Sorry Kelly, not only is Sarah Palin a moron, she is an anti-intellectual like our current president. As vice president she couldn't do too much harm but as commander in chief she would have been a disaster. Have you heard her talk? She isn't a well-educated adult, not by any means.

I wasn't against Hilary but in the end the best man won.

-- leftbanker

Actually I have heard her talk. She is my current governor and she has done a great job for the state of Alaska. The press has simply minimized her and drawn an incorrect caricature of her that the majority swallowed. Hook, line, and sinker.

And yes, you are right, as VP she wouldn't do that much harm. But I do have grave concerns about putting a person in the Oval Office with no qualifications of any kind, where he CAN do a lot of harm. A continuance of the last 8 years under the cloak of being a democrat is, I am afraid, what we are in for. He has no executive experience and has never been tested or challenged on a national or global scale other than his worldwind trips for the election campaign.

A couple of years as a professor and a senator do not make a quality candidate. He has yet to be properly vetted for the office.

As for the best candidate? Time will only tell, but I doubt he will ever be the best in our history based upon what we have seen from him so far.

-- Kelly W.

You gotta love the Palin apologizers. Really? This business of her 20 months of “executive experience” being worth a damn is beside the point. Barack Obama is like 100 times smarter than her, intelligence is far more important than experience. As Bill Clinton said to the chagrin of many Obama supporters, “…no one is ever really prepared to be President.” It sounded bad at the time, but he was right. Nobody has POTUS on their resume, but the smart ones make a go of it, the dumb ones start land wars in Asia.

As for going down in history as one of the greatest president of all time, I was just being a little silly with my post election euphoria. Only time will tell I guess. Bush fucked the country so many ways it may be beyond Obama to do much anyway (you like how I’m already blaming Bush for Obama’s failures!!!) Yes, I have drank some of the Obama Kool-aid … mmm, try some … but why not? Is it so wrong to have a little hope that the country might be getting back on the right track? If Obama ends up being a huge disappointment, I’ll puke up the Kool-aid. Why did it take seven years for republicans to start criticizing Bush when he was the same terrible president on day one that he is today?

And by the way: Leftbanker is like 100 years old

-- Catch-23

I'm half that. And how old will I be when you will be able to kick my ass? I have two words for you: 1,000 push-ups!

I'm with you on the Sarah Palin apologists. No matter what anyone says about her, I still have a bit of common sense left in me to realize that she's a fucking retard. Plain and simple. I know that W went to Harvard but don't try to tell me that's he is even remotely intelligent. I've heard the guy speak once or twice.

I love how I'm a cool-aid drinker for simply voting for Obama when the other side supported every moronic move Bush made as president. What are they drinking?

-- leftbanker

Part One:

I'm coming into this discussion a little late, but since Kelly W. and Leftbanker are both good friends who I respect about as much as anyone I know, I thought I'd throw in my two cents to the argument.

Last year about this time, I supported Barack Obama, but I figured--as did most Democratic voters--that Hillary was the likely nominee for the party. Had Hillary won both the primary and general election, I would be damn near as elated as I am about Obama winning.

But Hillary didn't win. Her campaign started out disorganized and lackluster, while Obama's was stunningly disciplined and inspiring, and by the time Hillary got her act together, the race was already over, but she dragged the primaries on, which I think helped Obama more than if Hillary had conceded after Super Tuesday when she was all but mathematically eliminated.

I think most progressive and liberal Democrats love Hillary and would have supported her as adamantly as they supported Obama.

However, I think two key issues about Hillary hurt her candidacy and neither had to do with her gender. First was her early and ardent support of the Iraq war, which alienated the anti-war faction of the party, and led many within the party to reject her candidacy for what they thought was her betrayal of her core supporters. Secondly, many Democrats simply did not wish to see another Clinton presidency and the associated three-ring media circus that the Clintons seem to drag in their wake, whether this is their fault or not.

-- mat

Part Two:

I think Hillary is way more experienced than Obama and is every bit his intellectual equal. However, Obama is a vastly superior leader. Just read the reporting on both campaigns done by The New Yorker and Newsweek, which are linked on my blog. Hillary had great difficulty controlling her most trusted and closest advisors on her campaign (especially her husband, whose shoot-from-the-hip behavior cost her South Carolina), which at times caused great chaos and disharmony. Meanwhile, Obama ran a tight ship where he was in charge and that his staff never forgot that fact, and because of this, his campaign staff was disciplined and focused. He often rebuked their advice and did what he thought was best, such as his speech on race in Philadelphia in March. This is the true measure of leadership and he showed this acumen throughout his campaign.

Meanwhile, Hillary couldn't even stop her husband from his stupid and illogical behavior during the South Carolina primary when he made race an issue and it cost her the primary there.

I have never in my life seen a more qualified candidate for President than Obama. His intelligence knows few peers, plus his ethical character is of the highest order. He is calm under pressure and isn't easily rattled. He's an idealist but also understands that democracy is about compromise. Most of all, he doesn't come from the elite class, but earned his way to the top through our meritocratic system as had Bill Clinton.

In fact he's a lot like Bill Clinton, who was also young and inexperienced in 1992 when he first ran, and who inspired young voters. However, I think Obama is of a much higher moral and ethical character than Clinton.

You will be hard pressed to find anyone as admiring of Bill & Hillary Clinton as I am, but I gladly chose Obama over Hillary because I thought he was the better candidate.

I think he proved it. It didn't take sipping from Kool-Aid to learn this. I am sorry, Kelly, but I have always been a man of reason who used sound rational thinking and an honest amount of skepticism to make up my mind about things. I have never followed anyone or anything blindly. And I sincerely think Obama could be the best President of my lifetime. As I said on my blog, if you review the Presidents in my lifetime, this isn't that high of a goal for him to achieve.

-- mat

Part Three:

And Sarah Palin? I will only say this about her: She's against a woman's right to choose. She opposes evolution and not only supports creationism, but also thinks it should be taught in public schools. She thinks global warming-- and the science that supports it overwhelmingly--is a liberal hoax. She opposes gay marriage.

I don't know about you, but that kind of unenlightened, anti-intellectual, anti-modernity type of thinking is downright dangerous to me. I don't care how wonderful the people in Alaska think she is, her thinking and ideas are out of step with a majority of Americans.

Kelly, I hope you know I would rather amputate my leg than insult you or think anything but the best about you and what you think. We're all entitled to our opinions in this country, and honestly what makes this country great is the diversity of opinions on any and all subjects. Leftbanker happens to be the best friend I have ever had, plus he's been my mentor all my life; his opinions and ideas have driven me longer than I can remember. He and I obviously differ on many subjects and ideas, but, then again, I don't know anyone with whom I agree more on most things than him.

-- mat

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