Tag Archives: mccain

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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the politics of dancing

if you love our democracy, you must watch this video.  [sorry, can’t embed.]

http://view.break.com/592648 – Watch more free videos

[headline reference; watching that, I don’t blame the Russians for wanting to bomb us back to the stone age back in the 80’s.]

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“I learned this one from mom”

“it’s called: hold on a sec, I have to drink my caramel macchiatto and say good morning to your future president of the United States.” *

her official caption was: “Dad saying hi to me in the morning.”

“this is my So-Inspired-By-His-Vision-for-America-face (made more difficult by Botox):”

her caption: “I had the best seat in the house.” she was in the Straight Talk Express, sitting behind her father, looking out at the crowd.  no doubt the leather in the bus was a better seat than anywhere else in the arena.  also little doubt that the bus is sound-proof, the Starbucks has worn off, and she’d rather be elsewhere.

more insufferably boring captions (” “) at McCainBlogette.com.

* extended version: “it’s called: hold on a sec, I have to drink my caramel macchiatto and say good morning to your future president of the United States.  no, not the Muslim guy, the old guy. I’m on his bus. no, we didn’t hook up, he’s my dad.”

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McCain drawing retirement benefits — not sure where to begin

mrs.st4rbux just mentioned this to me this evening [via msnbc]:

McCain’s 2007 tax return shows Social Security benefits of $23,157 for the year, an average of $1,929.75 a month. He said he started receiving the payments “whenever I was eligible.”

McCain, who will turn 72 next month, was eligible to receive full-retirement benefits when he turned 65. In 2008, the maximum benefit for a person retiring at full retirement age was $2,185.

McCain reported a total income of $405,409 in 2007. As a senator, he is paid $169,300 a year. Last year, he donated $105,467 to charity, his return shows. […] McCain’s wife, Cindy, reported a total income of more than $6 million in 2006, according to the campaign.

I honestly don’t know what to think about this.  on the surface, it makes me mad.  it makes me mad that he is NOT retired and he’s drawing what is widely regarded as ‘retirement’ benefits.  but I guess the truth is that anyone can claim their social security benefits at age 62 and continue to work in whatever capacity they see fit.  it’s probably just incredibly rare for anyone in their mid-60’s — or 72 in his case — to have a $169,000 salary.  most people in that pay scale with decent retirement planning would have sufficient funds to quit working.  it makes me want to say that anyone with $400,000 in income shouldn’t be able to draw SS benefits… but

B.J. Jarrett, a spokesman with the Social Security Administration: “An individual does have the right to refuse his/her Social Security retirement benefit. However, Social Security is an entitlement program and an individual would essentially be forfeiting a benefit based upon contributions during his/her working lifetime.”

right — it wasn’t designed as a welfare program, and it shouldn’t be means-tested because it’s supposed to be the returns on their contributions over their work-life.  so I’m wrong to be mad — why wouldn’t he take the payout on his contributions over the prior 40+ years?  it would be irrational to refuse.  and, in effect, means-testing social security would be like means-testing my 401(k), saying I couldn’t withdraw it after 59.5 years of age if my other income was over a certain threshold.  there’s no way that makes sense.

but I’m still angry.  I think it’s because he could refuse his benefits, and if nothing else it would be symbolic gesture to show that he really believes the system is broken and is ready to sacrifice personally to help extend it.  a gesture that could go a long way when he asks others, as inevitably will, to sacrifice their benefits in order to maintain solvency.  maybe more than a gesture; it’s a chance to demonstrate leadership on the issue.

McCain reported over $100K in charitable contributions; forgoing an additional $20K wouldn’t be the end of him — not with Cindy’s $6M in yearly income (2006).  I’m not saying he should forgo it simply because he has the means (I’d never argue that), I’m just saying that $20K is a small price to pay to buy the moral high-road on this issue.  it’s chumpity-chump change compared to the television spots he’s going to have to buy to spin his current decision.

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Filed under dumbfounded, I believe the children are our future, politics, stupid government