McCain vs. Obama: The cognitive difference

Reading some of the e-mail responses today from those who did not like our McCain endorsement, and thinking about what those complaints had in common with some of the feedback I’d already gotten here on the blog, I suddenly arrived at the simplest theory for explaining the difference between McCain supporters and Obama supporters.

This is going to seem not only simple, but painfully obvious — but it didn’t occur to me until today to put it this way. Here goes:

  • McCain supporters are all about his record, NOT about what’s happened in the campaign.
  • Obama supporters are all about what we’ve seen in the campaign.

No, this doesn’t explain everything. For instance, for some of those on the right who never liked McCain before, but will vote for him because of Sarah Palin (rather than in spite of her), it’s about the campaign. And for those who will back Obama because of Joe Biden are looking at Joe’s record.

But for an awful lot of us who are swing voters, who are neither of the left nor the right, my little epiphany explains a lot.

It certainly explains why there’s such a divide between me and those who just can’t understand (at least that’s what they keep saying) why I don’t even get into the such subjects as Sarah Palin in the endorsement. Basically, I’ve watched McCain over the years, and have liked what he actually does in office. If I didn’t have that to go by, I’d probably be for Obama, too. There’s no question that Obama is the better campaigner, far better at presenting himself in a positive light than McCain is. McCain the campaigner has been a pretty sad spectacle, compared to his proven record in office.

And that’s a good thing for Obama, because the campaign is about all the voters have to go by with him. Basically, there’s that, and the fact that he picked somebody with the experience he lacks to be his running mate, and that’s it. And because it IS about that for Obama supporters, they just don’t get how it’s not all about that for ME. But for me, what’s happened in the last few months (or even, for those focused on the general, the last few weeks) can only have a limited impact upon an impression based on a decades-long record.

Would it make y’all happier if I said that I’d be with you if it were all about (for me) Sarah Palin, or McCain’s message in his recent ads? But for me, it’s actually about having been right about Iraq (which is a genuine point of disagreement between me and some of you), and the demonstrated ability to work across the aisle on judicial appointments, the willingness to take huge political risks to act intelligently on immigration, years of fighting against the undue effect of money in political campaigns, and so forth. Not to mention having proved he puts "country first" in ways that few living men have, in ways so profound that it vastly outweighs the carelessness about his country’s future that so many see in his choice of Sarah Palin.

So it is that I can laugh at Tina Fey’s send-ups of Gov. Palin, but endorse McCain — something that seems to perplex some of y’all no end.

58 thoughts on “McCain vs. Obama: The cognitive difference

  1. Lee Muller

    McCain supporters are about getting government off their backs so they can create wealth and new jobs.
    Obama supporters are about dividing up the wealth others created, for a handout, because they don’t want a private sector job.

  2. jfx

    Interesting method of sidestepping what may be an uncomfortable question for you, Brad:
    “What do their two campaigns tell us about the leadership, vision, character, and potential of both men?”
    You seem basically to be conceding that your endorsement of McCain had absolutely nothing to do with his campaign at all, and that, essentially, there’s nothing Barack Obama could have done in this long grueling campaign to win your endorsement.
    OK, that’s perfectly your right. But then, what’s the point of a campaign? Why even have ’em? If you’re going to freeze your assessment of a candidate based on the past, and not take a measure of the candidate in the light of the present historical moment, and critically assess how he behaves when the pressure of NOW is on him, that doesn’t seem so responsible and far-sighted.
    I’m sure I, and many readers, would be curious to know your honest feelings about the actual McCain of this 2008 campaign, rather than your idealized totem of years gone by. I’d be curious to know whether you really think the McCain you’ve come to admire over the years is really the same guy who’s been calling the shots in this election year. I’d be especially curious to know whether you think Lieberman was McCain’s real choice, overruled by his campaign managers in favor of Palin. Why would the career maverick go limp for the base at such a critical moment? Isn’t that a character and judgement issue?

  3. p.m.

    Gee, jfx, the point is, outside the campaign, there’s NOTHING about Barack Obama that makes him electable.
    There’s no record of he did this to help so-and-so, or he got this bill passed to accomplish thus-and-such.
    It’s all about what a wonderful speaker he is, not what a wonderful leader he’s been.
    Where leadership is concerned, McCain wins. Where speaking is concerned, Obama wins.
    Sorry, but actions speak louder than words.

  4. bud

    But for me, it’s actually about having been right about Iraq….
    For those of us, probably a majority of voters, who adamently disagree with this statement we can be against his campaigning AND his record. I suspect there are more in than camp than Brad is willing to admit.
    Doesn’t this disprove your claim that you really didn’t know who you were going to endrose all along? By your own admission you now agree that the McCain campaign, Palin and all, was poor and Obama’s was excellent then you were locked in from the start.

  5. phillip

    Bud and jfx, you nailed it. There’s nothing Obama could have said or done in this campaign that would have made any difference, so the endorsement might as well have been published the moment it became clear last spring that McCain was the presumptive GOP nominee.
    By the same token, McCain could do or say just about anything and take any policy position and by Brad’s logic it would make no difference. I wonder just how farther McCain or his running mate could have gone in their rhetoric before Brad would actually say, hey, this is maybe getting a little dangerous or is not in the best interests of our nation.
    If McCain is really this person that you believe him to be, Brad, then it truly is monstrously tragic that he chose to run a campaign that cast him in a very different light. He seems to have lost the center, to have lost independents. If he is this person you think he is, why did he run a campaign designed to disguise that fact?

  6. jfx

    p.m., effective leadership is an amalgam of many positive traits, some substantive, some superficial. The point I’m making about the John McCain of the present historical moment is that he seems sorely lacking in some of those crucial LEADERSHIP qualities that we need in a President, and didn’t get with Bush.
    Here’s a few examples of the qualities I think are important:
    -The ability to lead and inspire one’s own party.
    -The ability to lead and inspire beyond one’s own party.
    -The ability to inspire young people.
    -The ability to inspire confidence domestically and abroad.
    -The ability to keep a clear head during heavy stress.
    -The ability to communicate effectively across all forms of media.
    -The ability to treat issues fraught with complexity and ambiguity pragmatically according to context and the wise counsel of experts rather than rote ideology.
    -The ability to face a broad spectrum of the press frequently, handle tough questions, and keep coming back for more.
    (I’ll note on this last point that Obama had the balls to do an interview recently with Bill O’Reilly….but I still haven’t seen McCain grow the cojones to sit down with Keith Olbermann).
    You’ll notice I didn’t list a bunch of clinical policy positions or ideological touchstones. It seems to me that the qualities that make a great President are not the same qualities that make a great Senator. Leadership at the highest level requires a strong stomach for ambiguity.
    Senator McCain has been, in many respects, an admirable Senator. I think he should stay in the Senate and keep working hard there for as long as he is able. But I do not think he has been a very good Presidential candidate this year, and I do not think he has run a very competent or honorable campaign.
    What I’m looking for in a President is a competent, pragmatic manager of our nation’s government, who can also project that same competence, along with a disciplined optimism, to the country.
    There are aspects of Obama’s biography and persona…substantive like his experiences in grassroots political activism and academic and professional treatments of Constitutional law…and superficial like his oratory and brand marketing…that lend themselves well to practical leadership.
    You see, I don’t believe that Obama is the two-dimensional leftist ideologue that people like Lee Muller smear him out to be. And I think the fact that he’s really NOT that kook-fringe socialist nutbag is the main reason why the attacks and smears don’t stick. They ring hollow when you read up on the man with a critical mind instead of swallowing the latest hate email in your inbox.
    I think Obama’s an ambitious pragmatist, an ethical intellectual, and a born leader. I think his route to leadership happened to be a liberal one, which is what can sometimes happen when you’re a child of mixed cultures with a funny name and an advanced education. But his moves on things like FISA and middle-class tax cuts give a strong peek at his true pragmatist stripes.
    Coming back around to what all that has to do with McCain and the campaign…well, again, where is the leadership and visionary magnetism from McCain right now? Where are all the Democrats crossing the line to stand with him? Except for his old pal Joe, the flow of cross-party endorsements is all going the other way. Why is that?

  7. Randy E

    Outstanding point about Brad’s dismissal of the campaign, jfx. I want to add to this.
    First, the campaign involves a very large number of employees and a huge budget – hundreds of millions of dollars. Obama, as CEO, showed great management, leadership and vision. Hillary’s lack of leadership was revealed after the primaries. McCain’s lack of discipline and his impetuous selection of VP reveals alot about his leadership.
    Second, how Obama has demonstrated judgment in the face of adversity and tremendous scrutiny speaks volumes. Under the glare of the 24/7 news cycles, McCain’s flaws, which were easily hidden while he was in the senate, became painfully obvious. McCain’s “suspension” of his campaign, his “drill baby drill” and tax holiday solutions, and the let’s buy all the bad mortgages at original value provide insight into a McCain presidency – not pretty.
    Finally, Reagan was hailed as the Great Communicator and republicans routinely cite him as a great example of leadership. Funny how such an ability is dismissed out of hand now that it’s a democrat who communicates so effectively. An ability to establish a vision is a part of the definition of leadership – get people to buy into a common goal.
    We have campaigns for a reason, which is profoundly evident now that Obama will be elected.

  8. phillip

    The State is pretty lonely out there in the McClatchy world, I think it’s them and one paper in Bradenton that endorsed McCain, the others have all gone Obama.
    The State’s bigger brother up the road, the Charlotte Observer, endorsed Obama Friday. Let their words answer Brad’s don’t-tell-me-anything-new-about-McCain-cause-I-wanna-remember-the-Mac-that-used-to-be-in-the-good-old-days position:
    “We don’t know what happened to that John McCain. In his pandering to the political right on some issues and his impulsive selection of a woefully unprepared governor as his vice presidential candidate, McCain has created doubts about his judgment that did not previously exist, and exposed how his reputation as a maverick can seem more recklessness than courage. In doing so he has frittered away confidence in his ability to deal with a discouraging array of problems that will confront the next president.
    By contrast, Sen. Barack Obama’s inexperience in executive matters constitutes less of a concern than ordinarily it might. His intellect, his calm, rational approach to difficult issues, his coolness during the heat of debate and his sense of humor and humility offer something millions of Americans have yearned for in national politics – the ability to examine issues thoughtfully, to listen to competing interests and to develop solutions that more closely meet the needs of all.”

  9. jfx

    Dead on, Randy E.
    It is profoundly ironic that McCain, who once wistfully dubbed himself a “foot soldier in the Reagan revolution”, is being out-Reaganed by Obama.

  10. Claudia

    Astute and far-sighted posts, jfx and Randy E. The two of you wrote so eloquently I have nothing further to add, except, maybe… ditto.

  11. just saying

    In other words, you were so open during your internal debate to choose a candidate, that it didn’t matter at all what they actually did or said (short of a felony) during the campaign?
    “Sure, he’s lying now, but that’s only temporary.”

  12. Karen McLeod

    My problem with Sen. McCain (I voted for him in ’00) is precisely that he has not shown the honesty/morality that led me to vote for him then. He has, with Gov. Palin, pandered to the far right. And it has cost him almost everyone else. Given what I’ve seen in this election year, I can’t vote for him, and I’ve got to wonder why you can. I know his history, but I’ve got to deal with the person that presents now.

  13. Lee Muller

    Notice how “jfx” and “Randy E” never mention any substantive policy of Obama.
    The only thing they can say positive about Obama is his soft voice, how well he reads a teleprompter, how he inspires the ignorant masses with platitudes, etc.
    An empty suit for airhead followers.
    Obama’s actual platform is so odious to real Americans that his campaign dare not compare it to McCain-Palin. So their entire campaign consists of vicious personal attacks on McCain, Palin, and anyone who dares challenge socialism, like Joe the Plumber.

  14. Norm Ivey

    You worded it better than I could have, but you should since you write for a living.
    I agree with the difference you cite. For many of us Obama supporters it’s the vision and direction that Obama has crafted during his campaign that matters, not where John McCain has been and what he has done. But it’s more than that as well. Two wars, economic turmoil, corruption in the White House, an uncertain energy future, an inequity in health care, and a tarnished world image finds America in crisis. 20th century history shows that the Democratic party has the market on ideas that move us forward and out of times of crisis and how to propose and implement bold plans. They understand that we have a responsibility to leave a better nation for the next generation. McCain’s experience bears little evidence that he knows how to move us out of this mess. His actions during the campaign only make that plainer. Republicans have only cutting taxes and reducing spending to offer. We need more than that this time. Experience tells me that Reps won’t do either (Reagan and Bush 43 increased spending tremendously and Bush 41 increased taxes–counter to what they claimed to support).
    I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.-John Wayne
    I hope that however things turn out next Tuesday that we can all at least share that sentiment.

  15. h

    Just imagine what would happen if The State(less) endorsed Obama instead of McSame: huge loss of advertising money, huge cancellation of subscriptions. Just the way it is. For shame, but money before civics is the way of capitalism. (duh, last 30 years of deregulation…)

  16. Lee Muller

    Gun sales are up 10% already over 2007.
    Gun sales in suburbs up 60% since Obama was nominated. The middle class is getting ready for Obama socialism.
    – source: BATF excise tax records, and FBI background check volumes.

  17. Marie V

    Reading the above confirms that the current Republican talking point has boiled down to the allegation that Obama is a Socialist and wants to share the wealth of the nation with its people…What a terrible shame…After this Republican Administration Lead by President Bush announces on the election eve that the Country is broken and that his recommendation is to lead the country to actual socialism with the partial nationalization of big banks – I find it amazing that anyone can blame Democrats or Obama for wanting to share Taxpayer’s money with Taxpayers…
    Tonite’s news reported that these same recipients of our Tax money, the Banks, have set aside HUGE bonuses to be paid to Bank Employees probably from Taxpayer’s money – but heaven forbid that we, the taxpayer who put our money into the Government to get shared services and to fund things we could not have otherwise like hospitals, roads, etc. get money back…That would be socialism…
    Sometimes I wonder what Republicans use for brains…

  18. george32

    if all these people who love mccain now had voted for him in 2000, he might have won our primary. now karl rove is scaring them against obama, they are for mccain. we still are showing the effects of our horrific education system in creating a great mass of sheep to be frightened. read the anchorage, alaska paper’s endorement of obama for a less fearful viewpoint. that is the largest paper in a traditional-not formerly segregated-republican state.

  19. p.m.

    OK, jfx, credit where credit is due. The endorsement you gave Obama above makes a much better case than Bolton’s in The State. For this blog, your writing was high speech.
    But (and I’m trying to be civil), for all the apparent qualities you attributed to Obama, not one came with an illustrative example.
    I’ll agree that Obama appears to have the potential to lead with grace. But leading a nation is much more difficult than leading a campaign when the mainstream media is bending over backward to help you.
    Why have I yet to hear so much as an anecdote to indicate what Obama’s leadership has accomplished? Why has no one from his past or present come forward to praise him for his help?
    Why, for that matter, when Brad read the man’s memoir and wrote “Barack like me,” did no event from Obama’s past surface then, either?
    I mean, the man’s in his 40s, and so help me, I know nothing about his past other than he taught constitutional law, served as president of the Harvard Law Review, lived in Kenya, Hawaii and Indonesia in his youth and worked as a community organizer in Chicago before serving in the Illinois and U.S. senates for one term each.
    What communities did Obama organize?
    What laws did he review?
    Who are his old friends and where are they?
    The only answers I have are his associations with Jeremiah Wright, Father Pfleger and Bill Ayers, and I need a lot more than those three and Barbara Walters saying he’s “sexy” to give credence to a presidential candidate.
    By the way, Olbermann or no, McCain appeared on The View. The girls weren’t nearly as nice as O’Reilly was to Obama.
    But I’m not just singing a partisan song. I’m serious. Bush II was governor of Texas; Clinton was governor of Arkansas; Bush I was director of the CIA; Reagan was, well, Ronald Reagan; Carter was governor of Georgia; Nixon was vice president; Johnson was vice president; Kennedy had PT 109 and a high-profile family; Eisenhower was a WWII general; Truman was vice president; and Roosevelt served four terms in the White House.
    All those presidents’ pasts had specifics. Why doesn’t Obama’s?
    When all I know is Wright and Pfleger and Ayers, I really need some references to go with the campaign resume.

  20. JoeSixpack

    I’m all about getting over this silly election and going to California for my big gay wedding to Joe The Plumber.
    He may not be rich,but he is like,SO generously endowed;and OMG,he’s SO BRAWNY!

  21. jfx

    p.m., if you can make it through this monster write-up…
    …you’ll probably better understand what I mean by “ambitious pragmatist” and “ethical intellectual”, and how those two aren’t mutually exclusive in Obama’s case.
    Listen, we elected a Governor from Texas in 2000 who was from one of our deepest-rooted political families, with a “proven record of bi-partisan accomplishment”, brought him into office in good faith with a budget surplus and the good will of the world at his disposal…and *FLUSH*, he disposed of it all right. (Note: I voted for Bush in 2000….but not 2004.)
    We’re in virgin territory. There’s no clear litmus test for the Presidency. You have to earn it by communicating, and campaigning, and winning votes (this is why campaigns matter). It would be a shame if the only way a common citizen could become President is through previous incarnation as a Governor or VP. Luckily, that’s not how our Founding Fathers (with the help of a few reasonable tweaks along the way) designed the system.

  22. Randy E

    PM, Obama’s record includes
    working with Lugar on loose nukes – Lugar allowed Obama to use his name as an example of his bipartisanship efforts because of this
    google for government – bipartisanship effort that conservatives should love given the propensity of spending during the GOP administration’s drunk sailor spending (federal deficit not Palin’s clothing)
    Boosting support for troops rehabbing at Walter Reed Hospital – amazing that McCain was in office all these years but it was a freshmen senator was able to lead such legislation through the Senate
    Webb’s GI Bill that MCCAIN OPPOSED!!!!!!
    BTW, McCain gets low marks from various veteran organizations for his record on veteran issues (given the last two examples, it’s not surprising)
    Of course, Brad endorses him because he was “mavericky” in how he talked to the media and he opposed the bridge to no where that his running mate originally supported. Actually, I think Brad’s man-crush has more to do with the Iraq War than anything else.
    My question is why haven’t you taken the time to research Obama’s record, PM?

  23. Lee Muller

    Marie V ———–
    “Allegations that Obama is a socialist”????
    There is no denying that Obama is a radical socialist. We have his own words in writing, on audio tape, and on videotape, with other members of the socialist New Party, the Democratic Socialists of America, Communist Party USA, and the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party.
    Those banks you don’t like were run by Obama supporters, and set up, funded and looted by Democrats. Yet Obama gets away with denouncing “the banks” as part of his blaming “the Jews”.
    Randy ——–
    The rehab contracts for Walter Reed were bid while Clinton was in office, 6 years before Obama ran for the U.S. Senate.
    Obama’s record is mighty thin, mostly working with socialists like ACORN, Bill Ayers and PLO supporters.

  24. Lee Muller

    Democrats plan to kill 401-k plans
    Barack Obama and other radicals in the Democratic Party are calling tax-free contributions to
    401-k plans a “loophole” and readying legislation to end all employer contributions and
    individual pre-tax
    “We’ve invested $80 billion into subsidizing this activity,” he said, referring to tax breaks
    allowed for 401(k) contributions and savings”, said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif, chairman of the
    House Committee on Education and Labor.
    Rep. Jim McDermott, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, recently invited Teresa
    Ghilarducci, a professor at the New School of Social Research, to testify before a subcommittee
    on her idea to eliminate the preferential tax treatment of the popular retirement plans. In place
    of 401(k) plans, she would have workers transfer their savings into government-created
    “guaranteed retirement accounts” for every worker.
    The government would deposit $600 (inflation indexed) every year into the GRAs. Each worker would
    also have to save 5 percent of pay into the accounts, to which the government would pay a measly
    3 percent return.
    Did you get that?
    Tax-deferred investments are a “loophole” that “isn’t working” and is receiving a “subsidy”.
    Workers who saved would be forced to sell out of stocks at the bottom of the market, and deposit
    the cash into a government savings account.
    A 3% return on $10,000 yields $22,000 in 40 years.
    A 7% return from the stock market average yields $150,000 in 40 years.
    The amount of wealth which would be destroyed on the front end would be devastating to economic
    growth, and leave millions of hard-working Americans dependent on government retirement plan
    The majority of Obama supporters have no savings, and no retirement plans. They welcome taking
    money from “the rich”. This scheme has appeal to the reparations crowd as more get-back on “rich
    white folks”. But a lot of Obama supporters mean well and just have not looked beyond his
    rhetoric at what he and other Democrats are cooking up in legislation.
    There are lots of stories in the investment press, but none in the mainstream media.
    Investment News
    US News & World

  25. p.m.

    Why haven’t I taken the time to research Obama’s record, Randy?
    Because he, with $650 million in campaign contributions, has had plenty of wherewithal to tell me who he is and what he’s done.
    He’s the one running for president. It’s his responsibility to introduce himself to me, not the other way around.
    But all’s he’s offered is the nebulous promise of change and criticism of Palin-McCain.
    After listening to his speeches and reading one or two of them closely, I don’t owe the man even a trip to his website. He’s merely a master of saying nothing and making it sound like something. Why should I research someone who has already talked himself out of the possibility of getting my vote?

  26. marie v

    Lee Muller says “Those banks you don’t like were run by Obama supporters, and set up, funded and looted by Democrats.”
    Based on my assessment of the Bush administration, we were heading to a true dictatorship by the Republican party. The party came into power with a surplus in the treasury – Thanks to President Clinton and the Democrats.
    During this current Republican administration under President Bush, our individual rights were eroded and removed, our treasury was depleted through a War of Choice in Iraq and other inappropriate spending including the effort with John McCain’s support (he stopped his Presidential campaigning to rush in to make sure the Republicans backed the bill which passed) to Nationalize Wallstreet and the banks, etc.
    Fortunately, those folks in the banks who personally give their money to a political party chose to give to Obama and the Democrats to try to “save the USA” for their families and the USA’s future. That is why Obama received more than McCain from individuals who worked in the bank.
    Obama wants to return taxes to the people who make less than $250,000 who pay taxes. This will strengthen and improve the lives of those who are actually paying taxes by providing health insurance and many other benefits that even countries with less resources than the USA already provide their people and you yet you call Obama a Socialist. Not my choice of a term for someone who is doing right, but is much better that term than Dictator which is where the country was heading. We were on the tract to a Republican Dictatorship.
    The Republican party gets to spend the last of the nation’s treasury and choose which banks and investment companies get $$…
    Yet, individuals in those banks and investment companies give the most personally to Obama…Should tell Republicans something…That it is time for a change in the Country’s Direction and it is time for Democrats to straighten things out again…

  27. p.m.

    Marie, you wrote above that you sometimes wonder what Republicans use for brains.
    Then you wrote, “Obama wants to return taxes to the people who make less than $250,000 who pay taxes. … yet you call Obama a Socialist.”
    Since it’s apparent from what you wrote that you don’t know what socialism is, I have a question for you:
    What did you use to wonder what Republicans use for brains? You’ve got me wondering.

  28. Lee Muller

    The mortgage crash was created by Democrats.
    Clinton never proposed a balanced budget, never signed a balanced budget, and never had a balanced budget.
    Clinton ran deficits every year, running up over $1.3 TRILLION in new debt, according to the official US Treasury website. For those who want it simple, Starbucks has a little newspaper on The Economy with a graph of the deficits under Clinton.
    FNMA and FMAC are government banks, created by FDR. Democrats converted them to semi-private agencies, using government money to guarantee mortgages sold by banks.
    Carter created new housing programs to give loans to blacks and others who did not have good credit. Bill Clinton expanded the program 900%. 5,000,000 illegal aliens got mortgages under the program.
    The boards are mostly packed with Democrats, like Jamie Gorelick, who paid themselves millions while issuing false financial reports, and being protected from regulation by Bush, by Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Barny Frank, Barack Obama, and Chris Dodd – all of whom received tons of cash and sweetheart mortgages from these agencies.
    Electing Obama will continue the coverup and looting.

  29. Phillip

    Marie, “use for brains?” The answer is that using brains is elitist!
    P.M, sounds like you define any degree of progressive taxation as socialism, that even the income tax itself is basically socialist. If you want to go to that extreme, then there’s no satisfying you, short of returning to the glory days of serfdom and Gilded Age plunder. John McCain: A Bridge to the 19th Century!
    The hysteria and hypocrisy in the equating of tax fairness with “socialism” is rampant on the right, more indication to me of the tattered state in which the once intellectually-proud tradition of conservatism finds itself on the eve of its massive repudiation by the American people.
    For example, one of the largest and most effective anti-poverty tools in the progressive taxation kit we use in this country is the Earned Income Tax Credit. This prime example of “socialism” was originally enacted in the Ford Administration and experienced its most massive expansion in 1986 under that most renowned socialist, Ronald Reagan.

  30. Lee Muller

    The graduated income tax is one of the basic tenets of Karl Marx, and Engels, as a means of destroying capitalist society.
    The EIT was actually the creation of Richard Nixon. He wanted to use a “negative income tax” to encourage the poor to work their way out of poverty, unlike the Great Society programs which discouraged work and marriage. It was put into place to offset FICA taxes, but the welfare programs were not abolished to go along with it.
    The EIT now offsets the FICA payroll taxes for a great many tax filers, 49% of whom pay no net income taxes.
    Now Obama is proposing a welfare plan to hand out checks of $1,000 to $10,000 to 60,000,000 Americans who pay no taxes, and calls it a “tax credit”.

  31. Brad Warthen

    I, too, wonder what Republicans use for brains. Of course, I also wonder what Democrats use for brains. And then I remember — by identifying with a party, they have all surrendered the responsibility to think. They’ve outsourced it. This frees them to spend what brainpower they have playing video games or balancing their checkbooks or whatever.
    Thanks for your comment, Norm. Folks, Norm gets what I’m saying.
    I had to unpublish a comment from “just saying” on account of naughty language.
    As for the comparison above to Reagan — I wish people wouldn’t do that. I didn’t like Reagan, not a bit. I found him off-putting. By contrast, I like Obama. Big diff. I don’t like it when McCain calls himself a Reaganista, but nobody’s perfect…

  32. Randy E

    Gee, jfx, the point is, outside the campaign, there’s NOTHING about Barack Obama that makes him electable. – PM
    He’s the one running for president. It’s his responsibility to introduce himself to me, not the other way around. – PM
    PM’s position is that Obama has done “NOTHING” outside his campaign to make him electable but pm won’t look at his record beyond his campaign. Nice circular logic – chicken lays egg and from the egg hatches a chicken…
    Well pm, I offered three excellent examples of Obama taking a leading role in bipartisan legislation. In fact, Obama has cited this work.
    On a side note, did Brad actually allude to a flaw in the McCain persona!?!? McCain likes Reagan so McCain is not perfect…but almost, apparently.

  33. bud

    It is fascinating to watch the ultra right-wing of the GOP implode. The Barbara West interview with Joe Biden was hilarious. This crazy, idiot right winger actually accussed Obama of being a Marxist to Biden. What the hell did she expect him to say? What an idiot. Of course this echos the moron right as exemplified on this blog by the likes of Lee Muller and increasingly Phllip. Hopefully this election will signal the end of any sway these crazies have over our electoral system. If the GOP wants to rebuild itself, for starters, they should jetison their radio talking heads like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and Savage. Then they can position themselves more to the center where there is actually some degree of thought going on.
    The Lees and Philips of the world could find a home in some obscure third party where no one would actually be affected. Then by the next election cycle we could have a real election between 2 reasonable candidates who differ on the issues but not in the tone of their campaign. Perhaps if McCain had rejected the right-wing fear mongers from the start he would have had a better chance.

  34. Randy E

    bud, West’s husband is a media consultant for the GOP in Flordia. Go figure.
    What I can’t wait to see is Palin in the 2012 GOP primary when she will have to face the media. There will be a long line of conservative writers waiting to pounce.
    It will be the MSM and the “Georgetown intellectuals” beating up on poor hockey mom. We’ll get the truth about Troopergate, her house built by a company looking to gain approval from the soon to be governor, and maybe we’ll find out what she actually reads.
    I predict the GOP has a long 8 years ahead as the Palin lead schism wreaks havoc. Of course, this will all be a non-issue for The State editorial editor because he’ll McCain selected her so she can’t be all that bad…

  35. Vic Stone

    Brad, you are talking about the person John McCain used to be. That person disappeared when he sold his soul to the religious right for their votes plus the corporations and the wealthy for their campaign donations. He was against the Bush taxcuts before he was for them. The same goes for his changing stand on offshore drilling. McCain was wrong about a war without a reason but right about the surge. What good is that when he doesn’t have an exit strategy.
    You still try to squirm out of the Palin fiasco. VPs are important when the candidate for President is 72 years old.
    Also, I’d never support anyone who called his own wife a trollop and a c— in public. People who do stuff like that are dispicable.

  36. p.m.

    I saw your examples, Randy. I already knew about Walter Reed, I have no idea what “google for government” means, and I’m glad to hear about “working with Lugar on loose nukes,” if that means what I think it does.
    I’m off now to Google “google for government” so I can find out what the dickens it is and contemplate whether the three things you mentioned seem qualifications enough to be president.
    But before I go, I want to ask one thing:
    How does Phillip feel about bud calling him part of the “moron right”?
    That would be the same Phillip, I think, who posted this quote from the Charlotte Observer, though bud never spelled his name the same way twice:
    “Sen. Barack Obama’s inexperience in executive matters constitutes less of a concern than ordinarily it might. His intellect, his calm, rational approach to difficult issues, his coolness during the heat of debate and his sense of humor and humility offer something millions of Americans have yearned for in national politics – the ability to examine issues thoughtfully, to listen to competing interests and to develop solutions that more closely meet the needs of all.”
    Doesn’t sound like something a moron right-winger would bring up to me, but, then, what do I know? After all, when I look at Obama, I see anything but a savior.

  37. p.m.

    Quickly my search bore fruit.
    From the website of the National Center of Policy Analysis:
    “Sen. Barack Obama, Rep. Ron Paul, Sen. Mike Gravel, Rep. Dennis Kucinch and John Cox … embraced the concept of “Google government,” by signing the Oath of Presidential Transparency to help taxpayers see where their money is spent.
    “By signing the oath, the candidates are promising, should they win the presidency in 2008, that they will issue an executive order instructing the entire executive branch to put into practice the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006.
    “That act includes a Google-like search tool that will allow taxpayers to go online and see exactly how their tax dollars are being spent on federal contracts, grants and earmarks.”
    Sounds like a good idea, but I need to know more. Now to see if I can discover why the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, whatever it entails in toto, needs an executive order to put it into practice, since this is 2008.

  38. p.m.

    Well, do tell. According to Wikipedia:
    “The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (S. 2590)[2] is an Act of Congress that requires the full disclosure to the public of all entities or organizations receiving federal funds beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2007. …
    “The bill was introduced by Senator Tom Coburn, for himself and Senators Barack Obama, Tom Carper and John McCain on April 6, 2006. … The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush on September 26, 2006.
    “On June 3, 2008, Senator Obama, along with Senators Carper, Coburn and McCain, introduced follow-up legislation: Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008.”
    So McCain sponsored the bill, too, and Bush signed it into law. Gee whillikers. I guess I can still vote for Bush III.
    Nice try, though.

  39. Lee Muller

    Obama’s very short resume:
    “Well pm, I offered three excellent examples of Obama taking a leading role in bipartisan legislation. In fact, Obama has cited this work.”
    That is because Obama has only had 3 pieces of legislation which he co-sponsored that passed in Illinois.
    Barack Obama began as an empty suit, a resume purposely left blank by a life of no accomplishment, and no work to criticize.
    Then, like a sealed barrel of toxic waste, his veneer rusted and out leaked his smelly friends: Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farakhan, Rashid Khalili, Percy Sutton, Tony Rezko, Khalid Monsour, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dorn, Michael Klonsky, and a library of his writings and talking about their radical socialist vision.
    His cult followers like his socialism, but are angry that anyone would say that Obama is “a socialist”. They dare not say what they like about Obama in public.

  40. Randy E

    PM, not only did Fox News not identify McCain as a sponsor, they questioned his position;
    Since these comments reflect such a basic principle of accountability, one is left wondering what Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, John McCain, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani have against providing taxpayers with details on how well their money is spent.
    Obama was out front on the Webb GI bill and McCain opposed it as well.
    McCain also voted against a MLK holiday but wanted a gas tax holiday and believed the “fundamentals of the economy are strong.” That’s quite the record on which to base a vote.

  41. Rich

    Hey, has any one of you ever been to one of our social-democratic allies in Europe (like France, Germany, or the Scandinavian countries) and seen how a mixed capitalist/socialist economy extracts the better elements of both socio-economic paradigms and provides their citizens a far higher standard of living than our own??
    The United States is a military behemoth saddled with a high infant mortality rate, a lagging educational system, weak health care, less disposable income (as opposed to the debt we have become accustomed to living on), and fundamentalist superstition that make us the laughingstock of the Western world.
    Obama was right. Too many Americans have poor health, low incomes, and high levels of ignorance as they cling to their ungenerous interpretations of Scripture and their firearms.
    It is time that we started thinking of intelligence, coolness under fire, articulate speech, and high levels of education to be qualifications for high office rather than just having held high office as in the case of McCain.
    McCain is an erratic frat boy; Obama is the former professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago. I will vote for intelligence in high office, rather than someone I could have a beer with after a day of hunting.
    I will vote for Obama. Fortunately, there are enough people who are tired of what the Republicans might do and just don’t believe their promises. They’ve had eight years to implement their disastrous policies. Why give them more??

  42. Marie V

    pm said to me “What did you use to wonder what Republicans use for brains? You’ve got me wondering.”
    My wonder is based upon how can so few under the cloak of Republicanism can convince so many to vote against their own best interests, I am astounded.
    If you consider that those who benefit under a Republican administration are normally people who find ways to milk the national treasury and not even pass the Taxpayers’ money back down the line through jobs in the US, and yet who use words like Socialism to scare folks into voting against their own best interests, I am astounded.
    I had believed that at the end of the Reagan administration, that people had finally figured that even Reagan and David Stockman who admitted Reagonomics was based on nothing, and did not work, that people had learned their lesson that money does not trickle down – but when given to the Taxpayers, will drive the economy because people need homes, furniture, cars, washing machines, etc. I thought we would never forget the lessons about corruption, John McCain and the Keating Five, but the State decided to endorse him anyway. What a shame.
    But, here we are again, with Republicans selecting leaders who will reward big business by nationalizing banks, financial organizations, auto makers, etc. and letting business move our jobs offshore, giving huge bonuses, denying people the right to keep their homes even in case of bankrupcy, denying women the right to appeal discrimination when they find out they are discriminated against, etc.
    Brad as an aside, I believe that people who are not Republican or Democrat or Green Party are middle of the roaders – you know what happens when you stand in the middle of the road – you get run over by both sides…Perhaps you need to create your own party…or choose the party that most closely aligns with your beliefs and work from within to make it better…

  43. Mark Jones

    I totally agree. McCain has to win and will win. He has the record to back him. Obama has an ability to sound pleasing –which is a skill every con man can boast.
    I find it very frightening that the media has downplayed the fact that we need to know WHO OBAMA IS! There is a lot of information available on the internet. Obama has a lot of unsavory connecitons that are alarming. He has been involved in violent attacks on innocent voters in Kenya. Obama has extreme left-wing views, which he is hiding.
    Obama was a MILITANT ACTIVIST for poor blacks. This did not involve teaching them skills and showing them how to get out and earn money and work productively. It involved stirring up envy, greed, anger in them so that they would fight to get more tax dollars from productive Americans.
    Obama stayed for twenty years in a “church” with a virullently anti- white racist pastor. I am white and I would walk out of any “church” that expressed that sort of venom against blacks.
    Obama does not represent poor blacks, whites, middle-class people, the rich. It is hard to see who he really stands for. He elicits love and support from everyone; but if he is elected, we will see that he does not feel love or loyalty for anyone.
    Obama will destroy America by taxing the middle class. The wealthy will not stick around to be abusively taxed by him; they will walk away. They are super mobile. The poor will not learn to be productive by getting bigger and bigger hand-outs.
    But don’t take my word for it, look it up. When people scream “Let’s trust him and have a change. We don’t care what kind of change it is.”, I think of a film I saw of a young woman struggling to survive in Russia. She meets a nice friend who tells her that he can take her to Switzerland where she can get a good job. She goes with him and is confined and raped continuously in Switzerland. She wishes to escape to commit suicide, but is unable to do so.
    Do not listen to Obama’s argument that if things are bad now, they can only get worse with McCain. They can get far far worse with Obama than anything you can imagine. He will kill initiative and productivity.

  44. p.m.

    Fox News said what, Randy?
    You listen to Fox News, and seven times you’ve been voted the Midlands Democrat of the Week?
    I listed the sponsors for the accountability bill, McCain included, every bit as much as your made-for-broadcast-media messiah, and Bush signed the bill into law.
    I could give an anteater’s proboscis what Fox News said, or the Onion, or The State.
    All that is not Obama is not evil, Randy.
    Please believe the work ethic outshines Rezko’s guiding light, Jeremiah Wright’s disciple, Barbara Walters’ sex object.
    Please. For the sake of our survival as a nation.

  45. Rich

    You know, I try not to pay too much attention to Bill O’Reilly and “Fixed News.” I prefer the New Republic, the Nation, the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Mother Jones, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. For local news I read the State every day. I particularly like the sports coverage and I leave the paper on the main table in my office at school for the kids to read. They often gather around it and have great bull sessions (I teach one class, distribute textbooks, and discipline juniors and seniors in a great high school in RSD2). I encourage them to have their own opinions and find their own voices. You should have heard them today argue passionately but respectfully the relative merits of the presidential candidates. It was awesome.
    For world news, I also read the Beaufort Gazette online (I lived there for 13 years). I wouldn’t think of reading the State for anything other than local and state government, sports, and features. The editors of the State are a timorous bunch afraid to contradict the powers that be. But if the reaction on these blogs has been any indication lately, a lot of us middle-aged, middle-class white people are fed up with Republican orthodoxy, racism, privilege, and the general ignorance that prevails in S.C. politics. I am not looking for the Second Coming (particularly since I am a firm non-believer), but I am hoping Obama will, by virtue of his charisma, help America find her way once again.

  46. p.m.

    A lot of us middle-aged, middle-class white people are fed up with political correctness and the never-ending cycle of unteaching the work ethic to a generation of people who want something for nothing, too, Rich.
    We’re pretty sure, our “orthodoxy” notwithstanding, that we don’t have a corner on racism or “general ignorance.”
    We discovered these things by listening to our school board, our teachers and our district administators demonstrate just how educated they aren’t and watching them waste money like confetti.
    And we just don’t believe anyone’s “charisma” can heal America, when what our country needs is a lesson in earning its keep, not “sharing the wealth.”

  47. Randy E

    PM, I challenge you to share how Obama is “unteaching the work ethic to a generation of people who want something for nothing” (PM’s words).
    I also challenge you to cite specific examples of “teachers wasting money” and “demonstrating how uneducated they are”.
    This sounds like Lee spouting off about the socialist institution we call public education and Obama the Mustlim terrorist.

  48. Lee Muller

    Obama has never held a real job himself.
    His career is one of a race hustler.
    Obama just sympathizes with Muslim terrorists, and pals around with them, like Rashid Khalidi of the PLO. All the Muslim radicals in the mideast are supporting Obama, and with lots of illegal donations, according to the Federal Election Commission.
    Obama is not a “Muslim terrorst”… yet.
    We’ll see.

  49. Lee Muller

    Illegal Muslim donations to Obama
    According to the FEC last week, Obama refused to hand over the names of 2,113,000 of his donors.
    Of the 335,000 unique donor names, 37,000 of them had over 100 contributions, many totaling $10,000 or more, which is illegal.
    Many people named as donors and checked by reporters said they had made one small donation or no donation to Obama. Their names had been used with untraceable cash cards from retail stores like Wal-Mart.
    The online store had a large suspicious activity, with $65,000,000 in “sales” but only $2,000,000 shipped according to sales tax reports.
    $32,500,000 of the online store sales came from Palestine, with untraceable cash cards.

  50. Threesons

    Our Democratic nominee for President of the United States of America, Sen. Barack Hussein Obama has the intellect, charisma, stamina, personality, respect and sophistication needed for the job. His opponent has had 25 additional years to demonstrate the same qualities and he has fallen short during this Presidential campaign. It was poor judgment for Sen. McCain to take every weekend off at his home in Arizona after his nomination. He should’ve been researching his potential V.P. running mate. During the entire Democratic Primary, McCain was in retirement! Suddenly, the day of Sen. Obamas acceptance speech, McCain threw Gov. Palin into the race. McCain, in his wayward attempt to attract Clinton supporters, shocked and insulted them with an unknown woman. Only a psycho would have thought Clinton supporters would allow this woman to cruise into the White House on the backs of Clinton supporters hard work and dedication! Gov. Palin didn’t put those cracks in that glass ceiling! She doesn’t deserve to be a V.P. running mate! For her to accept the nomination was a slap in the face of well known qualified career female politicians and business women! Palin should’ve rejected the nominee out of respect for those other individuals but, no, she’s too hateful and selfish to consider the detriment she’d inflict on all women. Palin is too ignorant of American sensitivity and it’s reflected in her talking points! She’s a fool to be reading such DIVISIVE, INCITEFUL, HATE MONGERING points in public and Alaska should impeach her as their Governor! Although Conservatives are excited to have her, Gov. Palin has rallied “skin heads”, proud racists and white supremacists! Even regular Americans are running out and buying guns because their scared of post election drama! Everyone’s “threatened” by “Anti-Americans” who don’t support Sen. McCain! Republican rallys do not reflect ALL of America! Where are the colors? Sen. McCain is no hero! His own admissions demonstrate his “absolute monarchy” within his first and present marriage! McCain admittedly was a bar hopper, a cheater, and he even considered running for the Senate seat in Alaskas District 1 BEFORE he bought a house there! Imagine the empty Senate seat being a Democratic seat; McCain would now be a DEMOCRAT wouldn’t he? Sen. John S. McCain is no Maverick! Get over yourselves! McCain is just a politician, slimy and self-serving who wants YOU to vote for him! He doesn’t give a darn about YOU!

  51. Threesons

    Amendment 1: Palin should’ve rejected the nomination
    Amendment 2: Even regular Americans are running out and buying guns because they’re scared
    Amendment 3: Arizonas District 1 BEFORE

  52. Lee Muller

    Obama is such a fascist that good, suburban Americans are buying guns to protect their families from the racist envy which Obama has whipped up.
    Police expect the Obama supporters to start rioting on election night, win or lose, because so many of them are just criminals.


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