Category Archives: politics

effective, perhaps not efficient

Cost per vote:

Obama: $11.21

McCain: $5.52

Based on $750M in campaign donations for Obama (66.9M votes) and $238 (donations) +$84 (public funds) getting 58.3M votes for McCain.

As for the $30M surplus that Obama’s campaign generated, I say let him keep it.  I mean personally, not rolling it into the next campaign or anything — if you can win and not use all the money, you should get a performance bonus.  Maybe only half — send an email to the 4M people on his donors list and tell them they can get some money back if they apply (or send them all Starbucks gift cards or something), adding up to $15M, and then he keeps the other $15M.

Under my plan, if you lose the election, you don’t get this option.  You can’t bag the popular vote and take home a big stack of cash.

Actually, given that taxpayers shelled out $84M for McCain’s losing effort, I think Obama should donate the $30M to the Treasury or FEC or whoever wrote the checks to McCain.  Then when he inevitably raises taxes, he can at least say that he’s leading by example.

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catching up on Canada

I am now more up to date on Canadian political affairs than I have been in many years. Thanks to Neil Macdonald (what a great Canadian name) up there at the CBC:

My dear American neighbours,

I see the political crisis in Canada has finally made it into the Washington Post’s Foreign Briefs column.

So, anticipating a flood of interest from all of you at the dog run in the morning, let me try to give you some idea of what’s happening up there.

A few weeks ago, we had an election in Canada, a couple of weeks before yours, actually. A political party known as the Conservatives won.

Well, sort of. They didn’t win in the sense that most of you understand winning. I’ll get to that in a second.

They also aren’t what most of you would consider conservative.

Entertaining and informative — get yourself up to date here.

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overheard

omg.  I’m dying here.

“he picked a woman for vice-president thinking we’re stupid and we’d vote for a woman.  and it was just a white woman.  I mean, why didn’t he pick… oh, what’s her name, uh… Conda-lay-lay”

and no, she wasn’t saying it like Condi is her friend, she said it like she really didn’t know what Ms. Rice’s first name was.

“and I was disgusted when that person in the crowd called Obama an arab and he said, ‘No No, he’s not an arab’, like being an arab was a bad thing or somethin’…”

ugh.  the woman called Obama a Muslim, which was clearly trying to tie him to muslim extremists and terrorists.  what should McCain have done?  if he didn’t refute her comment right there and then, he would have been perceived as condoning it…

I need a set of in-ear noise-canceling headphones before this cubical-hell drives me batty.

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interesting thought as 100,000 (and Oprah) gather to hear Obama speak…

“The darkest moments in world history have occurred during the confluence of a bad economy and a charismatic leader.”  Tim Slagle

not that I’m expecting the worst, but then nobody expects the worst at moments like this — they’re too wrapped up in the Audacity of Hope and Change they can Believe In.

they’re calling it Obama-palooza.  meh.

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game changer?

I know the night is early and there are a lot of votes out in California, but I’m looking at Obama 13,786,707 — McCain 13,533, 528 as the popular vote stands right now.

That’s Obama’s 49.9% to McCain’s 49.2%.

Sure, the electoral college is 174 (Obama) to 69 (McCain), but where is the big landslide?  Where is all the rejection of the Republican party?  Where is the mandate for Change?

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voting zen

it’s a kind of eeiry, peaceful feeling, knowing that you’re voting for the loser.  no need to go home and fire up CNN + Politico and breathlessly wait out the evening.  knowing that you didn’t just choose between the lesser of two evils, and that no matter whether it’s a blue landslide or an upset for the ages, you have four years worth of “I didn’t vote for that guy” in your back pocket.

the gentle self-delusion that I’ve “voted on principle” is still fresh.  both candidates had substantial parts of their platforms, and especially their rhetoric, that made it impossible for me to consider either one less undeserving than the other… a sample:

To both men I say, to paraphrase Gordon Gekko, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

GEKKO TIMEOUT:

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed — for lack of a better word — is good.

Greed is right.

Greed works.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Greed, in all of its forms — greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge — has marked the upward surge of mankind.

And greed — you mark my words — will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

where was I…

  • Obama: “McCain wants to give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas”; technically true, but an unintended consequence and not something McCain is trying to reward companies for doing*.  Kind of like how Obama’s ‘tax breaks’ are going to go to murderers, drunk-drivers, and rapists — those are unintended consequences, like wind farms (ostensibly good) killing birds (not so good).
  • McCainFeingold.  Still shaking my head over that one.
  • Obama’s tax breaks — call me a skeptic, but I don’t believe 95% of Americans are getting one.  I’ll let you know when I file my 1040 in April 2010; but I’ll bet you I’ll be paying more (as my top marginal rate and as a percentage of total income).  Obama’s commercials even said “95% of Working Americans” at one point, and I’ll bet Working Americans will be re-defined as they see fit (ie. working-class, not working=employed).
  • the utopia of “Green Jobs” (both candidates) — I posted on this before.  And something tells me I’ll be throwing something at the screen when I hear about Green Jobs during the victory speech tonight.  A pox on both their houses.
  • the scurge of “Foreign Oil” (both candidates) — the oil market is a global one, and discriminating against foreign oil makes about as much sense as discriminating against foreign cars, electricity, timber, anything.  And before you call me crazy, yes, there is plenty of ‘foreign’ electricity in the United States — from the same place that is the #1 source of imported oil (Canada; I know, this beat is getting old, isn’t it?  but it’s true…)
  • Obama: “I will make college affordable for every American. Period.” — if college is worth the investment (cost/benefit-wise, and I don’t think it is for everyone), people can find a way to finance it.  There are more financing options, and just alternative options (online, etc), available today than there has ever been before.  State schools and community colleges can be real bargains — but everybody wants to talk about how many million dollars it costs to put a kid through Harvard…

and #1 (shared)

  • Obama: “Barack Obama will make health insurance affordable and accessible to all” — again, with the “I can unilaterally make all things affordable AND accessible” line…  and you wonder why people call him a socialist.
  • McCain: “Better Care, At Lower Cost, for Every American” — I know they differ in the details, but every bit as grandiose and unrealistic.  Where is the straight talk?

Alright, this is getting less and less zen every moment, and I realize it’s all too late to convince you to change your vote.  Besides, I’ve got to go — only 2 more hours before the polls close and I lock-down in my CNN/Politico stupor.

* although if you could demonstrate that it’s an area where the US lacks comparative advantage, I would actually advocate tax breaks to actively ship those jobs overseas… it’s time we focus on what America does best, and not on industries that are little more than baggage from the Agricultural and Industrial ages…

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McMarginalized

you know that thing people sometimes say, when they’re trying not to sound racist or bigoted, that only makes them sound vaguely racist/bigoted as well as kind of hokey and old-fashioned… they say something like:

I don’t care if you’re white, black, yellow, orange, purple, whatever…

because sure, there are yellow people.  and when they refer to the Orange, I can give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that they’re referring to the faketan set.  but then they have to say Purple, and we all know there are no purple people.  not on this planet anyway.

so I heard a soundbite from McCain this morning, where he encouraged everyone to get out and vote:

“Republicans, Democrats, libertarians… vegetarians — whatever!”

right, because libertarians are about as viable as a constituency as vegetarians.

probability that I’d vote for McCain —
yesterday:  20%
as of this morning:  0%

[update:  turns out he’s used this phrase more than once, going back as far as the 2000 campaign.  but I was shocked, SHOCKED, when I heard it this morning…]

[update2:  the old fart is back on SNL tonight on their Election special… doesn’t he know that won’t get him any votes?  doesn’t he realize they’re making fun of him every second he’s on their show, behind his back, without him seeming to realize it?  it’s agonizing — almost worth a sympathy vote– NO NO, he’s not suckering me into a sympathy vote…]

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