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Stop Making Blame Partisan

I’m really bored of hearing Fox News and Karl Rove try to mitigate blame away from Republicans after Obama’s State of the Nation Address.

From the Fox News “Fact Check”:

OBAMA: “Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.”

THE FACTS: This may be so, but it isn’t only Republicans who pushed for deregulation of the financial industries. The Clinton administration championed an easing of banking regulations, including legislation that ended the barrier between regular banks and Wall Street banks. That led to a deregulation that kept regular banks under tight federal regulation but extended lax regulation of Wall Street banks. Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, later an economic adviser to candidate Obama, was in the forefront in pushing for this deregulation.

Emphasis mine.

Obama didn’t mention the Republicans in that particular excerpt, and the author’s defensiveness seems misplaced. But Obama does frequently make implications about who is to blame for the mess he “inherited”, and about whose beliefs we are “rejecteing”.

In his piece, Karl Rove  picks up on Obama’s implied accusations, repeatedly questioning who exactly the President is blaming.

On Tuesday night, Mr. Obama told Congress and the nation, “I reject the view that . . . says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity.” Who exactly has that view? Certainly not congressional Republicans, who believe that through reasonable tax cuts, fiscal restraint, and prudent monetary policies government contributes to prosperity.

Rove is nit-picking the term “no role” here, and I understand that it’s a bit of an overstatement, but Republicans created this image for themselves.  Republicans push back on many federal fixes proposed by Democrats, and now they’re complaining about being type-cast. Yes, I believe that (in general) the GOP wants government to be all but absent from fixing society’s woes (“When my house is burning down, I want the market to decide whether the fire department should come save me”), but I have this belief because I listen to Republicans. Barack Obama does not need to plant these ideas in my head because I listen to people like Mr. Rove pushing them all the time.

But beyond that, over his entire speech, each time he did mention “Republicans” it was tightly coupled with the word  “Democrats”.  Obama is giving Republicans the opportunity to take part in what’s going to happen in his first term.  I think over the next four years we’ll see that the smart ones will take him up on it.

Rove story via The Heretik on Shakesville.

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Posted by on March 1, 2009 in Current Events

 

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A Nebraska Divided

There are two states that can divide their electoral votes in a presidential election:  Maine and Nebraska.  This year, Nebraska actually exercised this ability due to heavy Obama support in Omaha.  Thus far, however, I have not found a mainstream news source that reported this (CNN, for example, lists the state as being in the McCain column).

Thankfully, O’Foghlú just put me on to the awesome NPR electoral results map, which does report 1 out of the 5 Nebraskan electoral votes as going to Obama.

This is special.  Nebraska is strongly Republican, like always.  Not only did Obama swing all the swing states, he tipped the balance in a staunch republican stronghold.  I wonder how the election results would be different if all states could split their votes?

(for an explanation of the splitting system, see NPR)

Update: On closer inspection, I see that CNN’s election results do list the electoral vote breakdown for Nebraska.  I must have missed it earlier.  In any case, I like NPRs coverage better.  Note that you can also get the break down for the 2000/2004 elections by changing the URL.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2008 in Current Events

 

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Forty Days Left

White privilege is being able to dump your first wife after she’s disfigured in a car crash so you can take up with a multi-millionaire beauty queen (who you then go on to call the c-word in public) and still be thought of as a man of strong family values, while if you’re black and married for nearly 20 years to the same woman, your family is viewed as un-American and your gestures of affection for each other are called “terrorist fist bumps.”

Tim Wise, “This is Your Nation on White Privilege”

Everything I read about the presidential election at this point seems to have distinct and specific appeal for one candidate or the other. Each side is continually building it’s stockpile of attacks.  This ain’t a political scene, it’s an arms race. We often hear that the undecided voters will determine the outcome of the election, but sometimes I think the “undecided voter” is a bit of a cryptid.  Whose votes are really being fought over here?  Is the purpose of campaigning and debate to serve as more of a stop-gap measure to prevent attrition of a candidate’s (decided) supporters?  In any case, I love (identifying) double standards, and the Wise piece does a good job of that.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2008 in Current Events

 

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What a Waste of a Primary

The Daily Show seems to have portrayed the demographic game perfectly in this clip. The interviewees they show are clearly not cool which being politically profiled, and the piece is a nice tongue-in-cheek way of looking at something I was complaining about early this season.

Link via Feministing.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2008 in Entertainment

 

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Projection and the Will of the Electorate

“… voters are finally focused on who they think will be the best commander-in-chief…

… Now that senator McCain is clearly the nominee, democratic voters are taking their decision very seriously…”

– Hillary Clinton on Today, this morning

It’s a bit tiring to hear everyone (McCain, Clinton, Obama, the media, everyone) constantly explain why people voted for who they voted for. I believe many people have unpredictable reasons for voting the way they do, and to say that they voted for the candidate they did for a particular reason trivializes the complex set of issues underlying these elections. Furthermore, statements like this seem to imply that before, voters were not focused on who will be the best C.I.C., or taking their decision seriously. This isn’t directed in particular at Senator Clinton, rather I’m just bored of seeing this filter constantly applied to election results.

I know that candidates have to do this – it’s to their advantage to interpret their success as a portent of something larger, and then to project that interpretation onto our monitors and our brains.

But the media doesn’t have to do it (do they?). They don’t have to interpret every single voting block’s majority as a swing for a particular reason. When CNN tells me that voters chose experience over change yesterday in Texas and Ohio, I don’t want to believe them. It may be true that Clinton is correlated with experience, and Obama is correlated with change, but that doesn’t mean that votes for one or the other correlate the same way; and if they do correlate that way, there’s no way to deconvolute that from the affect of the media. Does this make sense?

Anyways, I’m often a big fan of controversy, so I’m not unhappy to see the nomination process carry on a bit longer.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2008 in Garbage In, Garbage Out

 

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