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November 12, 2008 04:37 PM UTC

Wednesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and the establishment of the new, constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism.”

–John C. Calhoun


103 thoughts on “Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Can be found here.

    Many of you seem baffled as to how anyone can simply not absolutely HATE Sarah Palin.  Paglia seems to capture some interesting observations on this:

    … reporters have been too busy playing mini-badminton with every random spitball about Sarah Palin, who has been subjected to an atrocious and at times delusional level of defamation merely because she has the temerity to hold pro-life views.

    How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the State University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don’t know their asses from their elbows.

    Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology — contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

    1. Inevitably with a story that the media cannot leave alone editorials start appearing to decry the obsession. And they’ll have exactly zero effect. For whatever reason Sarah Palin is still a celebrity even though the campaign is over and she’s being treated by the media as it does any other celebrity like Paris Hilton. Every tiny thing analyzed until the analysis itself becomes the story and facts are ground down into irrelevance.

      This is not a Liberal Democrats thing, this is the same old media thing. This is why I read my news rather than watching TV or listening to the radio. That way I can skip the repetitious non-stories.  

    2. that I don’t know where to begin.

      I don’t “hate” Palin. Hate is an emotion I reserve for those who do harm to myself and those whom I love, and Palin has done no such thing. But I do feel disdain for her.

      I’m not disdainful of Palin because she’s from Alaska. I’m not disdainful of her because she speaks with a funny accent. I’m not disdainful of because she’s an average student who bounce around several middling public colleges. (Hell, I was an average student at a middling college – some people are late bloomers.) I’m not disdainful of her because of her working class background.

      I’m disdainful of her because she’s a hypocrite. She claims to be a reformer but a) helped herself to an orgy of shopping at donor expense and b) apparently can’t get out of Alaska fast enough for higher office, leaving the important work of “reform” unfinished. (Anyone who thinks Alaska is now squeaky clean can buy a bridge to nowhere from me.)

      I’m disdainful of her because she’s ignorant. Governor of Alaska for two years and she doesn’t know who the PM of Canada is. Can’t answer softball questions from Katie Couric. Doesn’t know world geography.

      I’m disdainful of her because she seems to think that skating along on her good looks is good enough reason to be VP or President. Um, no.

      I’m disdainful of her for these substantial reasons, not for anything so superficial as her background.

      1. She speaks like a valley teenager:

        “I’m like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door,”

        Well, you know, like, I mean, whatever.

        She may excite the base with a few winks but she’s definitely not presidential material.  

        1. It’s to the Dems’ advantage that the GOP hold up inexperienced “reformers” like Palin and Jindal as their future. (Note: I think Jindal is a lot smarter and more qualified for higher office than Palin, but if he decides to abandon the work of reforming Louisiana for it I’ll be there to point out the flaws in his “reformer” tag such an action represents.)

          1. they should run Palin in 2012. She’ll get trounced.  

            But the part of that which bothers me is that she dosen’t belong there.  Someone with great intelligence, judgement, vision and achievements should be running to lead this country, not someone as vacuous as Palin. She dilutes the prestige of the position by merely running for it.

              1.    And at the time everyone thought that Ford was stupid.  But looking back over what the GOP has run for the White House over the past 30 years, Ford looks like Albert Einstein!

                  God, I hope Palin is the nominee in four years!  (And I hope Lamborn is her running mate.)

                1. many things, Fidel, but dummy is not among them. If he governs as smart as he ran this campaign, he will rank among the great ones.

                  And, unlike Clinton, I don’t think he will squander his capital on personal foibles.

                  1. when I mean dummies in the Oval office I am speaking of Bush and Palin exclusively.  Look how the first dummy did and judge how the second dummy would do based on that.  And when I say it I mean dummy in terms of anti-intellectual, non-reading, anti-consensus building, incomplete homework, one-way “deciders”.

                    As for Obama I have very, very high hopes for him, which most of us do.  Thats’ why I voted for him, caucused for him, volunteered for him, and donated to his campaign.  He has a lot of Americans looking up to him, including me, but he has an enormous plate to deal with as well.(Iraq/Afghanistan/Economy/healthcare/Russia/bailouts,etc.) However, I think he has more intelligence in his left toe that I’d ever hope to have, so I think we got the right person for the right job this time.

                    No pressure or anything !  With all the crap sandwiches he is going to have to handle, if I were him I’d concede to McCain and demand a recount 🙂

                    1. And, if we’re all lucky, the Lord will show her a door she should walk through, and it shouldn’t hit her in her beauty queen ass on the way out.

        1. but the door swings both ways.

          Remember, almost 70% of Americans dislike Palin. Do you that many are “liberal democrats”?

          But here’s the real story:

          The McCain campaign, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the appropriate response to this and other apparent displays of bias was to go to war against the press – and we all saw how well that worked out. It may be that unfair coverage of various sorts is just baked in the cake for Sarah Palin from now on. But if she wants to run for national office in the future, trying to charm the “elite liberal media” into changing how it covers her seems like a savvier bet than just complaining about its bias.

          It has to do with her 2012 run.

          1. All I know is how I feel and how many of my GOP buddies (and buddettes) feel about Palin.

            I couldn’t give two shits about McCain if Palin’s not on the ticket.

            1. I don’t know about his source, but CNN reports, “Forty-nine percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Wednesday have a favorable opinion of the woman whom Sen. John McCain picked as his running mate this year, with 43 percent viewing her unfavorably.”

              Those numbers are worse now than before as the article goes on to note.

              Meanwhile McCain’s are improving since the election. And her numbers were only an insignificant one point ahead of McCain’s during the campaign. (Source: Boston Globe Politics Blog)

              Anything can happen, but I suspect that Palin will remain someone who excites the Republican base and leaves most people outside of it cold.

                1. I’ve noticed that there are always around 10% of either party that does not like a particular candidate. Or at least I cannot think of any candidate who got much over 90% of base support.

                  Conversely it would be notable if a candidate got less than 80% of base party support.

                  Some Republicans like Obama.

    3. hopefully we’re finally over our nationwide anti-intellectual streak for a while but certainly Palin and her fervent supporters are going to try their damnedest to keep it fresh.  Clearly Paglia wants to keep that hate flowing, and he’s backed up by blathering heads on radio and TV.  Fortunately the Gingrich types are starting to come out of the woodwork on this, maybe drive some sense into the rest of the party.

      Kristoff nailed it a couple of days ago:

      Anyway, I don’t begrudge Palin at all for her politics, her style, her ambitions, or even for her naivete about the process.  What I do begrudge her mightily for is what I begrudge any politician for: trying to stoke some tribalism us-vs-them sentiment based on being “smart” or “intellectual” or “elite” or whatever.  Is so fucking divisive it kills me.

    4. …I thought she faded away long ago.  She and Andrew Sullivan need to escape together to a remote island and live a happy, crazy, motor-mouthed life — away from sane people.

      1. He’s still following Palin around trying to “prove” that she didn’t give birth to her son.

        He’s lost it.

        What didn’t you like about Paglia’s piece?

        1. Paglia is claiming that all opposition to Palin is solely espoused by Liberal Democrats and based solely on Palin’s anti-abortion views. Puh-leaze! Read a poll, Camille!

          1. http://politicalticker.blogs.c

            (CNN) – Just a week after this year’s presidential election, 2012 buzz may already be swirling around Sarah Palin – but a new national poll suggests just under half the American public holds a favorable opinion of the Alaska governor, with nearly as many viewing her unfavorably.

            Forty-nine percent of those questioned in the survey released Wednesday have a favorable opinion of the woman John McCain picked as his running mate. Forty-three percent view her unfavorably.

            And perceptions of Palin seem to be dropping.

            “In early September, just after the GOP convention, her favorable rating among registered voters was 57 percent, and only a quarter of all registered voters had an unfavorable view of her,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. Now, Palin is less popular than vice president-elect Joe Biden, with a 64 percent favorable rating, or ticket-mate John McCain, who is seen favorably by 61 percent of the public.

            Doesn’t mean this will prevent her from running, ever again. However, the 43% who view her unfavorably aren’t just Liberal Democrats — as folk like Camille Paglia ought to know.  

    1. Is Camile Paglia, who also said in the editorial:

      Eat dirt, you sour Clintons, who said Obama was “unelectable.” Obama’s 8 million vote margin over his Republican opponent — miraculously sparing us endless litigation and chad counting — was an exhilarating testimony to his personal gifts and power of persuasion. And the formidable Michelle Obama, with her electric combo of brains and style, is already rewriting first ladyhood. The warm partnership of the Obamas (wonderfully caught by the camera as they disappeared offstage after his victory) has set an inspiring standard for modern marriage.


      No one knows whether Obama will move to the center or veer hard left. Perhaps even he doesn’t know. But I have great optimism about his political instincts and deftness. He wants to be president of all the people — if that is possible in so divided a nation. His natural impulse seems to be toward reconciliation and concord. The big question will be how patient the Democratic left wing is in demanding drastic changes in social policy, particularly dicey with a teetering economy.

      Now, if Paglia also thinks Palin is hot, she’s that much more astute in her observations.

      1. I don’t always agree with her, but I like to take her column in and mull it over a bit. Not ignore it.

        Of course, I was joking in my comment above. But there may be some truth to it, as well…  

  2. as I scan my favorite blogs before I get two little girls dressed and ready.

    From Cafe Hayek – “Fannie and Freddie Haiku”!

    A couple of examples (yes, I know it’s not conventional Haiku):

    Fannie and Freddie

    Private Gains. Public losses.

    Whose idea was that?

    Laissez Faire market

    Speculate don’t produce

    Bubbles burst loudly

    Market performance

    Socialist shackling

    Prediction inevitable

  3. Alaska should finish counting votes today.  Ted Stevens could end up losing.  There are still so many votes out there that Don Young’s 17,000 vote margin could disappear. They say up to 90,000 votes are still left to be counted. They only had a little over 200,000 counted on election day.

    Minnesota certifies its results today. If Franken picks up more ground it could be a very interesting recount.

        1. Like it or lump it, my third-party source was dKos, which basically summed up some Alaska Elections information and a story in the Anchorage Daily News.

          The latest update: Begich cut Stevens’ lead by 2/3 already, with only 26,000 votes reported so far.  Begich is now down only 971 votes, and some preliminary analysis suggests the early returns were in some of the most Republican districts.

          Begich is looking good.

            1. By three votes, we might lose the senior felon in the U.S. Senate.

              actually if he wiped out a 2700 stevens lead with 40 k counted, the final 9 k might put him up 500 or so, assuming the begich ratio holds.


              1. In addition to the 9,000 we’re supposed to see today, there’s another 38,000 to be counted on Friday, apparently from mostly pro-Begich regions.

                Three votes is entirely too close to restore respect to Alaska.  I’m hoping they can pull it above 1000 at least, and preferably 3000+.

                It’s too bad Don Young hasn’t had his day in court yet; he’s just as crooked and deserved to go just as much.  Apparently it actually takes a conviction to oust an Alaska politician.

          1. 53,000 votes were counted today.  Somewhere north of 36,000 remain to be counted on Friday.

            According to dKos, the next target for Begich is to get outside the 0.5% recount margin, or about a 1580 vote advantage.  Begich picked up about 4000 votes today, so it’s certainly possible.

  4. In some sense even in a 100% capitalist system losses would be at least partially public rather than wholly private. This is because we have allowed the growth of limited liability companies. This means that when a company goes out of business the owners or investors can push off some of their losses onto creditors, employees, and suppliers instead of having their personal property seized to satisfy the debts. The mismanagement of a company would not directly pull money from the treasury in a unmixed capitalist system, but it would have negative impacts upon tax revenue and the general public.

    This isn’t to say that companies should be bailed out. It is just pointing out that there is no such thing as a loss or a gain that does not impact the people around it. It is all a question of degrees and percentages rather than absolutes.

    1. As you correctly state, there is no such thing as entirely private exchanges in a capitalist (or any other) system, because most or all exchanges involves externalities, costs and benefits borne by those who are not parties to the exchange. There are positive and negative externalities in any choice: Do you let private financial institutions fail on their own merits, and thus maintain market discipline, or do you bail them out, and thus open a parachute for the financial system that isn’t quite big enough to slow our free-fall as much as we’d like to? In the end, all we can do is our best cost-benefit analysis, calculating in the probablities involved in uncertainty, and make our choices accordingly.

      Of course, there are complications: Who is making the calculation, or selecting from among the various calculations? How do we, or even they, know which calculations are most accurate? And how, amidt all of these information costs, does the public know it’s not just being swindled by an Ol’ Boys Club?

        1. But on the subject of being suspicious of the Bush administration’s economic motives, we are as of one mind.

          The trouble is that he’s still the head of government for the next two months. So though he’s a lame duck he cannot be entirely ignored.

          1. .

            you may not notice that the Bush Team is in high gear, filling the coffers, as it were, looting Fort Knox, whatever.  

            Today I see that loan sharks are getting their own bailout.  And you, Mr. Taxpayer, are becoming a “stakeholder” in AIG.



            1. If the credit card companies can’t survive on 12-29% interest plus fees, they don’t deserve to be in business.  Let them fail.  And yes, that includes Chase, who absorbed WaMu (and Countrywide?).

              Paulson and the Administration are misguided; at this rate it will be far cheaper to purchase every single troubled mortgage in the industry than it is to bail out the industry itself.  Shoring up the mortgage market will in turn shore up the derivatives markets, allowing us to untangle the derivative market mess at a reasonable pace.

              1. I bought a house that I could afford and made all my payments.

                Say my neighbor is a douche who bought abouve his head and plays Xbox and pulls tubes instead of paying his mortgage.

                He gets a bailout?

                1. The government buys troubled mortgages from lenders.  It does what it can to fix the terms on those mortgages to salvage them, and – since we’re in a recession – to work with the mortgage holders to get the debt repaid as best they can.  Those mortgages that it can’t salvage still go into foreclosure and the properties are re-sold.

                  This isn’t a “bailout” of homeowners – folks that are in over their heads due to truly bad planning will still wind up finding more affordable housing.  But it will stabilize the mortgage derivatives markets and some of the companies that over-invested in them.

  5. Joe Lieberman will not be punished.  He will not be kicked out of the Democratic caucus.  All of the pleas from the Daily Kosites is not going to make the Democrats do something crazy and kick Lieberman out or strip him of his Committee Chair. Senators Salazar and Dodd are leading the effort to keep Lieberman in the caucus.

    1.    Besides, the only real issue Lieberman voted with the Repubs on was funding the Iraq War, and that will no longer be much of a legislative matter since the incoming commander in chief is planning to withdraw troops.

        1. Unless they get to 62 or 63 Lieberman stays. Both Nelsons, Salazar and a few others are too unreliable to be counted on by Harry Reid.  Lieberman is actually fairly liberal on most domestic issues. Lieberman is also well liked by most of his Democratic colleagues.

          Actually if Daily Kos had not launched a campaign against Lieberman he may have had to eat a lot more humble pie and  taken a lesser Committee Chairmanship. Lieberman wants to stay in the Senate and run again in 2012.  If he switches side that is not an option.  Daily Kos going on the attack was the best thing that could have happened to Lieberman.  

          1. Polling shows the people of Connecticut know Lieberman’s deceived them and don’t want him back.

            And, BTW, you made Kos’s point for him: Lieberman can’t expect to win in 2012 if he switches sides.  He’ll caucus with the Dems and he’ll vote mostly with the Dems regardless of his chairmanships if he wants to get re-elected.  Give him a Chair that he’s likely to do a good job in, or give him some important sub-chairs.  Government Reform and Homeland Security are too important to let Lieberman squat on for another 2-4 years without doing anything.

            1. Based on seniority Lieberman gets to chair Homeland Security.  If, he is stripped of that he will leave the caucus.  They are not going to take that away from him. Possibly they will take away his subcommittee on Armed Services.  I know that everyone on the left wants to punish Lieberman because he whooped Lamont’s ass in 2006. It is not going to happen.  A hard lesson in politics. Blogs are a useful tool only at election time. After the election is over no one in the US Senate cares at all what Daily Kos thinks.

              1. He’s not a Democrat – he ran under the Connecticut For Lieberman party.  He has no party seniority.

                Why would he leave the caucus?  To get a minority appointment with a party he usually doesn’t vote with?

                Another hard lesson: at this point, Lamont’s loss is completely secondary to the fact that Lieberman constantly undermines the party.  He still gets credit as an “independent Democrat” on the talk show hosts, still rips down Democratic plans in the most public way possible.  If he wants to caucus with Republicans, fine.  We don’t get a filibuster-proof majority anyway, with him in or out.

      1. No-one – and Markos has said this explicitly – no-one is asking Lieberman to leave the Democratic caucus, nevermind kicking him out of it.

        All the Progressive voices are asking – and Obama hasn’t said “boo” against this idea – is that Lieberman not retain control of two of the most important committees in the Senate where he’s done virtually nothing in the past two years.

            1. that he doesn’t want Liberman out of the caucus, but that he doesn’t care what happens regarding the committees.

              He basically gave Reid the go-ahead to strip Joe of his chairmanship duties. My question regarding that is what will Joe’s reaction be? If it were me, I would just leave the Dem caucus anyway.

                1. He’s about to lose his chairmanship duties, he’s hated by the left, and he couldn’t be the VP nominee of the Republicans because he’s too Semitic.

                  I also don’t know that the Connecticut voters wouldn’t re-elect him if he stayed independent, but joined the GOP caucus.

                    1. It’s mostly Iraq when it comes to policy disagreements.

                      I’m dismayed by the minority in the Democratic Party that spew hatred of Israel. A little anecdote about that:

                      When I was at the State Dem convention in the springs there were 9/11 conspiracy freaks trying to get a “real” 9/11 investigation into a plank of the party’s platform. They had a lot of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric in the material they were handing out to the crowd.

                      And it wasn’t a landslide vote against their crazy plank either.

                    2. WTF is anti-Semitic/Israel stuff doing in literature supporting a 9/11 re-investigation?

                      There’s a lot of stuff that it would be nice to know about 9/11 that wasn’t in the official reports; bringing Israel or even AIPAC into it isn’t necessary, helpful, or even appropriate.

    2. He’s not a Democrat.  He ran against a Democrat.  He campaigned for the Republican Presidential ticket.  He’s said a lot of bad things about Congressional Democrats and the Democratic ticket.

      And he’s been singularly ineffective in his chairmanships.  He has conducted not a single investigation into the Bush Administration’s handling of FEMA, or Homeland Security, or government misfeasance.

      If he wants to caucus with the Democrats, fine, but I don’t see a single reason why he should retain his chairmanship in his current committees.

      Salazar needs to spend less time defending his tarnished friends (Gonzales, anyone) and start defending the best interests of the country and the robust leadership of his party.

        1. There are people in the Senate and House who are not “far lefties” who nonetheless have the sense God gave a gnat to not support idiotic stances and detrimental people.

          I think we can manage both at the same time in a state with so many capable people.

          1. He can do more damage there than he has in the Senate.  I want someone at Int who is actually willing to put his/her ass on the line protecting the public lands from the relentless attack of extractive energy interests that is only going to intensify with declining supplies.  That’s not Salazar.

            1. Salazar also may be less problematic as part of a larger Dem majority where he can just follow along with leadership, contrasted with his position now as a swing vote in a closely divided Senate.  At least I can hope…

      1.    Salazar needs to move a little more to the left.  If nothing else, Boulder liberal Mark Udall’s win last week demonstrates that.  Udall ran better in places like Weld County than Salazar ran four years ago.  Doesn’t that say something?


          1.    I’m sure in 1934, many Repubs said that we can beat the Dems, Herbert Hoover is gone. Guess what?  It took 20 years for your party to exorcise that ghost.  (Granted, you now have Bobby Jindal who may be able to expedite your next exorcism.)

              The DCCC and DSCC won’t be shy in ’10 when it comes to reminding voters what a mess Pres. Obama inherited.

            1. Remember, Carter’s mishandling of Iran doomed him.  Funny how things come back around.

              I’m really counting on Obama to be more effective in that arena.

              1.    Right after the ’80 election, many of us Dems figured we’d be right back in the game in ’82 because Jimmy Carter wouldn’t be on the ballot.  And guess what?  Voters remembered him for the next 12 years.

                Palin/Lamborn ’12

                1. Hopefully the rivers running with chocolate and wine starting Jan. 20th will spread to Iran and the Mullahs will start a theater company to work out their angst against the Jooooooos.

  6. It now stands at 206 votes between them. That is 0.0085% of the total of 2,422,924 votes cast for the the two candidates. Yeah, no matter what Coleman says there needs to be a recount given how narrow a win this is.

    Nate Silver’s analysis is that 52.5% of the votes that were missed by the counting machines go to Franken then he’ll have exactly the 206 votes he needs to tie it. This race may be the equivalent of a coin flip if not a literal one. Minnesota is one of the many states that has a coin flip to decide it in the case of an exact tie.

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