The Other Side (OR Dangerous Assumptions)

September 6, 2008

Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has filled Matt Yglesias’ spot at The Atlantic, said something that made me think about Sen. Obama, and the political environment in Washington, DC.

My strength is in […] assuming that the people on the other side have their reasons also.

Sen. Obama has often talked about his willingness to listen to opposing opinions, perspectives, and thoughts. On it’s own, that sounds well and good, and I’m sure it appeals to conservative voters. But, I wonder how it will play in Washington, where Republicans seem to be more interested in uniformity than independent thought.

I certainly believe in the value of open dialog and discussion, but I just don’t see Republicans acting in good faith. You can see it in how they blindly adhere to President Bush’s policies, in how they constantly revert to the politics of fear and baseless personality attacks. I just don’t see the value in engaging with people whose positions seem to be based in ideology. It’s impossible to negotiate with them.

Discussion, dialog, conversation, negotiation, and compromise are all good things, and should all be part of politics. But we need our representatives to represent us in those proceedings in good faith, not as blind followers to a political ideology.
This, I think, is one of my larger concerns in an Obama administration. That, by committing to working “across the aisle” he’ll end up being pulled much further to the right than necessary. That, by assuming Republican politicians are operating in good faith, that he’ll willing cede ground towards a compromise that will not be reciprocated, and we’ll end up with half-ass solutions to the challenges we face.

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Assorted Thoughts (OR Changing Gears)

September 3, 2008

Rumor has it, the Republicans are holding some sort of large gathering right now… I’m pretty sure you can watch it on any major network. What I doubt you can see is any coverage whatsoever of the emerging police state around the aforementioned large gathering.

I don’t know this for sure because there’s a family tennis rivalry to watch tonight, and the much anticipated NFL opener tomorrow. Essentially, the world has provided me with ample excuse to not watch the Republicans espouse, with astounding enthusiasm, policies, philosophies, and ideas with which I completely disagree.

For example: tonight’s theme is “Prosperity.” Just think about that for a minute. The same party that has presided over 2 recessions in 8 years, that has pushed policies to encourage the creation of the housing bubble which has lead to trillions of dollars of lost wealth, that continues to endorse economic policies that will further exacerbate the gap between the “haves” and “have nots”, that same party is going to talk about prosperity? Seriously?

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Other random thoughts:

– The biggest win for Sen. McCain with his VP selection is that no one is really talking about him, his unpopular policies, cranky personality, or his uninspiring candidacy. Even if the news is mixed about Gov. Palin, there certainly isn’t a lot of negative talk around Sen. McCain (outside of his apparent lack of vetting his VP selection)

– Google has release a new web browser. Wil is uncertain about the EULA. My thoughts are mixed. But, the comic that tells the back story of the browser is very cool.

– In my never ending quest to find the media play that best fits my needs, I have currently settled on WinAmp. MediaMonkey had its perks, but the Library navigation was always a bit cumbersome. When playing with Linux, Amarok seemed best, but it’s not yet the complete package. By the same token, neither is Songbird, but it seems oh-so-close to being a simple media player/manager. Not a do-everything-and-make-your-breakfast application. I’m going to keep an eye on that one.

– In other software news, the free MagicDisc portion of MagicISO is really handy. Anyone who deals with .iso files on a regular basis should download and install it right now.


Consequences (OR Feeding the fire)

August 25, 2008

Remember back when Sen. Clinton was saying, in an effort to win a nomination that was essentially lost, things about Sen. Obama that were right out of the Republican play book? Remember that we were concerned about the ammunition that she was providing to the right wing noise machine?

Well, it’s started. Via Ambinder.

SCRIPT FOR “Was She Right?”

ANNCR: Who has the experience to govern our nation?

Sen. Clinton: “Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign. I will bring a lifetime of experience. And Senator Obama will bring a speech he gave in 2002.” (Source: CNN 3/8/08)

ANNCR: Barack Obama. He gives a great speech. But Americans must ask ourselves: should we elect the most inexperienced presidential candidate of our times? Or was she right? The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”


Huh? (OR What does the left look like?)

June 9, 2008

Andrew Sullivan points to this story at The New Republic about conservative support for Sen. Obama. Sullivan quotes a few paragraphs, including this tidbit:

As the blogger Megan McArdle has written, “His goal is not more government so that we can all be caught up in some giant, expressive exercise of collectively enforcing our collective will on all the other people standing around us in the collective; his goal is improving transparency and minimizing government intrusion while rectifying specific outcomes.”

The author, Bruce Barlett, doesn’t link to a source, so I don’t have any context, but I couldn’t help, when reading this, thinking:

WHAT?!?

Collectively enforcing our collective will? What are we? The Borg? As I wander through the blogosphere, I’m learning how liberal I am, but the concept of an American collective has never crossed my mind. Seriously, are there any liberals in this country who think like that?

As I understand her reputation, McArdle is largely libertarian, and apparently thinks that any government is too much, but this idea that government is the collective enforcer, seems, well, silly.