Tuesday, November 4, 2008

YCP's Token McCain Supporter Postmortems the election with minimal sour grapes...

I'll try to keep the sour grapes to a minimum, but the trendy thing to do appears to be to postmortem the election and what happened and what this holds for the future, so here goes.

By the time this gets published, we will know for sure. Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States. For that, I'm going to offer an opinion probably not seen by too many internet commentators who voted for McCain.

"Congratulations, and I wish President-elect Obama the best of luck and I hope that we look back on Obama's presidency as a time of great success and progress."

"Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?" says everyone who knew me as a firebrand conservative for most of the last 8 years. Don't worry. I'm still the same man (maybe centering more on social issues), but for a good portion of the last 16 years, the loyal opposition has been taking almost excessive delight in a President's failures. It's one thing to capitalize on political advantage, but at times this has turned into near-morbid sport. He's the President of the United States and while I may profoundly disagree with him, and personally think he's a dick from our brief meeting a few years ago, he should get the full respect the office deserves. It would be a welcome change.

With these pleasantries aside, there's two things to dissect. 1) How did Obama win/McCain lose? and 2.) What does this hold for the new Democrat government and the Republicans, who only four years ago were an electoral machine and are now in the political wilderness.

It would have been a historical rarity for the GOP to win three consecutive Presidential Elections
Obama won in large part to his qualities that have been documented at length. His great bio, charisma, message of change and unity, and frankly, a year that seemed destined to go for the Democrats. The same party holding the White House for 3 consecutive elections rarely happens. The Republicans did it in 1980, '84, and '88, but before that, you have to go back to when the Democrats held on for 5 election cycles from 1932 to 1948. In the entire history of our country, one-party control of the White House for more than 8 years has only happened 5 times.
John McCain didn't know who he was, or at least didn't trust himself well enough to run his own campaign.
Obama also was helped by the fact that frankly, the Republican Party was out of ideas. John McCain famously rebuked Obama in the debates by saying, "If you wanted to run against George Bush, you should have run four years ago." I found that fitting and ironic, since McCain's campaign largely relied on the same issues (Terrorism, taxes, social issues, etc.) that President Bush ran on four years ago. Perhaps if McCain wanted to run this kind of campaign, he should have run four years ago. It was regrettably a very conventional campaign for a very unconventional candidate. When I say unconventional, I mean that McCain is largely viewed as a moderate Republican, yet the power in the Republican party is still controlled by the far right.

Enthusiasm for McCain in his party was low. I personally did not vote in the GOP primary, but I can't say I would have voted for any of them. I flirted with voting for Romney but I probably would have voted "None of the above" or "They all suck" in. Obama or Hillary seemed unstoppable voices for change, and McCain was the old stalwart who had been waiting in the wings for the past 8 years. In many ways, I think McCain's campaign is also similar to Bob Dole's 1996 campaign. McCain got the nod in the primaries I think largely because it was viewed as "his turn." Just like Bob Dole in 1996, he would serve as the party's sacrificial lamb in a race that probably could not be won.

By contrast, Obama is viewed by many as a centrist, yet his record shows the opposite. McCain was never really able to craft a "bumper sticker" message beyond "Country First" which sounded more fascist or propagandist than anything else or "Prosperity. Reform. Peace." which isn't so much a campaign slogan as a bare minimum for Presidents. We expect Prosperity, reform, and peace as a ground floor that Presidents need to do before we can even begin talking about who did a "good" job as President.

This inability to craft a coherent message was only magnified by his reputation as one who would buck the party on key issues. While this endeared himself to independents, it alienated the base who were angered with McCain's votes on immigration, taxes, and McCain-Feingold. McCain found himself hated by the base for his votes on more social issues and hated by the left through his association with President Bush and his votes on things like the Troop Surge and Iraq.

John McCain's inability to win over his own party boxed him in when picking a potential Vice-President
What this eventually did was box McCain in on his options when trying to pick a running mate. It's well-known that McCain would have preferred to pick his good friends Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman, but both are pro-choice and that would have further driven away what little of the social conservative base he had left. With Obama being only the second major party executive branch candidate to NOT be a white male (Geraldine Ferraro '84), McCain needed something to make his race "historic," and with few minorities in positions of national prominence in the Republican Party, this meant picking a woman. To mollify the base, he had to pick a pro-life woman, and to keep up his attacks on Obama for never having had any executive experience, McCain needed a woman who had served in a prominent political role.

If you were to make a list of the number of 1.) Republican 2.) Pro-Life 3.) Women 4.) Who were either current or former Governors, Cabinet Secretaries, or Senators and 5.) not part of the current Bush Administration, the list comes out to not much more than 2 people: Gov. Sarah Palin, and former Commerce Secretary Barbara Franklin. Lots of people said McCain took a gamble with Sarah Palin, but politically, he didn't have a choice and unfortunately she was out of her league.

While she started out by winning over social conservatives that gave McCain a lead in most state polls around Labor Day, her inability to handle tough questions doomed McCain with moderates and undecideds who viewed her as terribly unqualified and dopey-folksy. This in turn reflected poorly on McCain's judgment in picking her. McCain, Palin, and a good deal of the Republican party only made things worse by decrying "gotcha" journalism. While I can see their point, the kid just called up from Double-A doesn't get to complain when the pitcher is throwing harder and faster than he's used to. If you want to play in the majors, you have to be able to hit big-league pitching, and Sarah Palin while a promising prospect was probably another two election cycles away from being ready for the Big Show.

By contrast, all Obama had to do was pick a boring old white guy to be Vice-President and there's PLENTY OF THEM in Washington.

The election was finally decided on an issue completely out of the hands of either candidate, but McCain swung for the fences and missed.
When the market crashed in early October, McCain appeared to be throwing one more hail mary pass by announcing he would suspend his campaign to return to Washington to work on a bailout package. At first, this appeared politically brilliant. If a deal could be worked out, and Obama sat on the sidelines, McCain could trumpet his leadership in a time of crisis. If Obama didn't join him in DC, he could say McCain was putting country first and Obama was putting campaign first.

It was here that McCain made a tragic underestimatation 1.) of his own weight with a Democrat-controlled Congress most of whom is rooting for Obama to win and was in no hurry to help McCain in any way, and 2.) with the bailout bill's immense unpopularity with the rest of the country.

Obama took a hands off approach rather than risk being burned. The best thing John McCain could have done would have been to vote AGAINST the bailout. Then McCain could have campaigned on a free-market, populist, "throw-the-rascals-out" campaign across areas of the country hit hard by bad economic times like Michigan and Ohio. By voting for the bailout, McCain opened the door for Obama to declare the financial crisis the work of Bush and McCain, even though Obama voted for the same bill that McCain did. McCain was handed a lifeline in the form of Joe the Plumber, but by then it was too little too late, and by the end of the campaign, had become a national punchline.

What's Next for the Democrats
So the Democrats now have control of both Houses of Congress and the Presidency for the first time since 1992-1994 and only the second time since 1968 (the other time was 1976-80). The media has largely commented on how Obama has taken the Democrat party from the ashes and created a new ruling coalition in the vein of FDR or John Kennedy. I'm not entirely sure this is the case. America remains a center-right country, despite its recent swing to the left. Polls asking Americans how they view their own political beliefs over the past eight years show a consistent 60% of the country either views itself as "Very conservative" or "Somewhat conservative," while the other 40% views itself as "Moderate" "Somewhat Liberal" or "Very Liberal."

The Democrat government would be wise to heed this, and the lessons of 2006. After the 2004 elections, the Republicans had retained the White House. President Bush had received (at the time) the most votes of any Presidential candidate in history. The Republicans held on to both houses of Congress and stretched their margins. They were a political dynamo, and then...like all power does, it corrupted them. Republicans swept into office in 1994 on a message of reform and change and passed a wish list of legislation they'd been waiting to pass for a long time.

But in the end, they bought into the power and culture of Washington, just as the Democrats had before, and I promise just as the Democrats will now. Maybe it will take two years. Maybe it will take 10, but the Dems will be out eventually.

While this may appear to provide incentive to pass as much of their wish list legislation as possible before the political winds turn against them, one need only heed President Bush 4 years ago saying, "I have the political capital and I intend to spend it." In the 2005-07 Congress, the Republicans tried to ram EVERYTHING through. Judicial Nominations, Social Security Reform, Supreme Court Appointments, Tax Cuts, Pork Barrel Legislation of every kind, thinking they had a mandate. In reality, on the national level, we are very much a 51/49 country. Maybe this year we are 51/49 Democrat, but Obama's election, which was anticipated to be a landslide, should not be interpreted as anything close to a mandate. He's already going to be starting out with half the country pissed at him because they voted for the other guy. Obama ran on a message of bipartisanship and these people either said, "No thanks" or "I have little reason to believe you." While supermajorities may create parliamentary desires on the left to pass as much legislation as they can with little or no opposition, this would be an unwise choice, and could lead to a role reversal in two years, where the dominant party traditionally loses seats, and it's where it all went wrong for the Democrats in 1994. The Democrats would only win one national election between 1992 and 2006 (Bill Clinton's re-election bid in 1996).

What's next for the Republicans
Or as I would put it "Dude, where's my party?" As I said earlier, the Republicans lost because they stopped being the party of new ideas. Who even cares if the ideas are wrong? Let elections sort that out. But keep coming up with new ideas and fresh faces. Just to give an example, let's examine the Keynote speeches at the parties' conventions the past three election cycles. This speech usually slots an up-and-coming member of the party.

Year............RNC Keynote.........DNC Keynote
2000 .........John McCain...... Harold Ford Jr.
2004 .........Zell Miller........... Barack Obama (Now President)
2008 .........Joe Lieberman ...Mark Warner (Now a Senator)

Who is the future of the Republican Party? Who are they going to put up to run against President Obama in 2012? Two of the last three conventions, the Republicans' keynote speaker; their up-and-coming shooting star was a Democrat! The way I see it, there are three roads the Republicans can take from here.

1.) Nominate an established party man and make the same "experience" argument again. This approach favors candidates like Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney is destined to fail. Who has more experience in being President than a sitting President? With that in mind, I am convinced that these men, though respected have missed their chance to be President. Both will have been political nobodies for at least four years (or in Rudy's case, 11) by the time the next election cycle rolls around.

2.) Refashion the party by playing to your strengths. This would likely revolve around policies designed to help "small-town" familes. The Republicans' largest base of power is in rural areas. This sort of approach could favor candidates like Mike Huckabee and even Sarah Palin, should she decide to mount a serious challenge in 2012. However, by then, I feel the newness will have worn off, and Palin will be back in Alaska, and Huckabee will be hosting his Just-Like-Letterman-Only-Not-Funny-And-Creepier talk show on Fox News. This approach is also destined to failure as not only are more and more Americans moving into urban areas, but more Northerners from traditional Democratic bases of power are moving into the South and West (traditional Republican bases of power).

3.) Get back to the party's roots. I mean....WAY BACK. Like....1860s refashioning, or at the very least, 1994. With Obama's projected tax hikes and new spending, the Republicans seem to be in perfect position to reclaim the mantle of the party of small government. Social issues should be presented only in a matter that is coherent with the philosophy of limited Federal government. 2nd Amendment, Free Speech, Less Federal Bureaucracy in Education. For this change in philosophy from the NeoCons, a new, fresh face will be needed. It need not be someone who is unknown on the national scene. I personally have been a fan of Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) for a number of years and have thought he would make a good Presidential candidate. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) could also hold potential. I'd also like to give a shout-out to my old boss, Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL). Figure as long as I'm throwing out names, I'd add him in there. Govs. Charlie Crist (R-FL) or Bobby Jindal (R-LA) might also be interesting options. If the Republican party refashioned itself as a fiscal conservative, socially center-right party, they may have the backing to win and govern again.

I'm Looking Forward to an Orderly Election that Will Eliminate the Need for a Violent Bloodbath

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Election Night Predictions

With bad predictions a strong tradition in the Yellow Chair Family, I give you my 2008 Election Predictions, giving my best guess at predicting the outcome of the presidential race in all 50 states, as well as key Senate seats.

Presedential Race

Obama Wins 379 Electoral Votes:

California (55), Colorado (9), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), Georgia (15, my surprise pick), Florida (27), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), Indiana (11), Iowa (7), Maine (4), Maryland (10), Massachussets (12), Michigan (17) Minnesota (10), Nevada (5), New Hampshire (4, both districts), New Mexico (5), New Jersey (15), New York (31), North Carolina (15), Ohio (20), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (21), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Virginia (13), Washington (11), Washington D.C. (3), Wisconsin (10)

McCain Wins 159 Electoral Votes:

Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arizona (10, but this will be within 4 points), Arkansas (6), Idaho (4), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (9), Mississippi (6), Missouri (11), Montana (3), Nebraska (5, all 3 districts), North Dakota (3), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (8), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (34), Utah (5), West Virginia (5), Wyoming (3)

Key Senate Races:

Democrats fall just short of 60 seats

Mark Begich (D) defeats Ted Stevens (R)-I trust Alaskans to vote out that criminal Stevens, although I probably shouldn't put much faith in a state that gave us Sarah Palin.


Saxby Chambliss (R) vs. Jim Martin (D)-December run off as neither candidate tops 50 percent

Mitch McConnell (R) defeats Bruce Lunsford (D)


Norm Coleman (R) defeats Al Franken (D)-I really want Franken to win, but Coleman eeks out a close win on election day

North Carolina
Kay Hagan (D) over Elizabeth Dole (R)-Probably the biggest blowout of the group, as one of Congress's worst blow hards (Dole) finally gets voted out.

Upset Special:
Along with my pick of Obama taking Georgia in a surprise, I'm picking Dan Seals to defeat Mark Kirk in Illinois's 10th Congressional district as a result of a strong Democratic wave election.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Genuine Class....Jeremy's...Iron...

Because I really don't want to do my Moot Court brief even though it's due next week and I'm WAY behind, here's what you get if you rearrange the letters for the key players in this election cycle. Some are kind of telling.

"McCain - Palin"
- Calm in Panic (Oddly enough, his campaign a month ago was the exact opposite)
- L.A. Man Picnic (Not sure, but the evangelicals can't be happy with this one...)
- AM: Nap, Clinic... (At 72, this would probably be his morning schedule.)

"Obama - Biden"
- Babe Domain (Sorority skanks for Change?)
- Nabob Media (Nailed it.)
- Bad Mean Bio (He's a bad mother-shut yo mouth- I'm just talkin' 'bout Barack...)

"Joe the Plumber"
- Lo, be the jumper!
- Bleep her jot, um (Dunno, but sounds dirty)
- Job, the um, Leper? (Suffering taxpayers without health care?)

"Bill Ayers"
- Bare Silly (That more or less sums it up)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Top Drawer

If I weren't voting for McCain already, he'd have my vote won now. I found out that one of John McCain's lesser-known campaign promises is that if he is elected President, he wants the President to stand before Congress to answer questions about his policies, much like Prime Ministers do in parliamentary systems.

I generally don't like a parliamentary system of government because it tends to be instable (see Italy) and more prone to rash action than our system of government. However, I love this part of parliamentary systems. For those who have never seen Prime Minister's Questions, it is hilarious. Every Wednesday for half an hour, the British Prime Minister has to stand in front of Parliament and answer pointed direct questions from the opposition leader, and any MP who chooses to ask them. Robin Williams once described the process of British Parliament being "just like Congress, except with a two-drink minimum."

I'm not sure if it would work in the United States, but at the very least it's an interesting idea.

Part of the appeal of watching Prime Minister's Questions is hearing all the different accents that you get from just a country the small size of the UK. I'd love to hear some good ol' boy from Texas or Alabama just get up and grill the President on the latest failed policy. Jolly good.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The 10 Worst Political Ads of the Season

They're all here. Get your fill of Congressional candidates picking up dog poop, token appearances by their families, and songs, yes, songs written about them.

Kind of sad to think the stuff my TV has been bombarded with is the cream of the crop.

HT: Friend of YCP Monica

Not Healthy for Arteries or Economies

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Kodos

Pretty spot on piece from the Arizona Republic on why neither party deserves to win this election, and how pretty much every policy being articulated by both parties is a bad idea.

Also of note, the author's name is Rob Robb.

Desperate McCain appeals to dead pet demographic

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- In a bold attempt to narrow the widening margin between himself and Democratic Senator Barack Obama, GOP presidential candidate John McCain delivered a speech today appealing to dead pet voters, a demographic that many political insiders say will determine the election.

"I promise America this," announced McCain during a rally at a Daytona Beach dog show on Thursday, "that when I'm in the Oval Office, I'll see to it that all deceased pets will receive quality health care, a good education, tax breaks, and a decent cloud to live on."

The new strategy comes in response to reports that dead pets have registered to vote in record numbers this election, particularly in Illinois, New Mexico, Ohio, and Florida. Recent polls have indicated that dead pets represent one of the voting demographics with the highest percentage of uncommitted voters.

"Under my economic plan, the post-mortem tax will be repealed for all animals, and I will provide loans to all dead pets whose clouds are in foreclosure," added McCain. The plan will also allow deceased cats who are unsatisfied with their dry cat food to create an untaxed savings account that can be used toward purchasing Whiskas Premium with Heaven Crystals cat food.

Critics have received the plan with much skepticism, citing the difficulties created by the current financial crisis.

"I'm just not sure how some of the proposals are feasible, given the deficit accumulated in recent weeks by the banking industry bailout," says economist William Soderberg. "If the prices of corn and heaven crystals continue to rise, the tax-free cat food accounts could lead to drastic cuts in other government programs, including Social Security."

At the rally, McCain also spoke of homeland security issues. "We will stop at no length to hunt down and capture deadly terrorists both at home and abroad," McCain said to a chorus of panting and sack-licking. "Not only will they be brought to justice, but they will be miniturized and sent to doggie heaven to be chew toys for all the innocent puppies that have been slain by their malicious acts."

Senator Obama responded to McCain's appeals to dead pets at an appearance in Indiana, where the Democratic nominee trails by five points. "Bottomless water bowls, tummy rub vouchers, shinier halos--These are the same failed Bush administration policies that have hurt this country the last eight years."

Senator McCain plans to spend the rest of Thursday making appearances in Florida before traveling to Colorado on Friday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

YCP Brings the Funny

Even better than sports humor, on behalf of the fine folks at YCP I bring you the Wednesday funnies.

First off, we have the Onion's take on terribly inaccurate pollster John Zogby (who predicted a large Kerry victory in 2004 and has the current race in a dead heat).

To cap things for today, here's former McCain and Republican strategist Mike Murphy on everyone's "favorite" hockey mom Sarah Palin and her $150,000 shopping spree. Of particular interest to this poor bastard currently slaving away at Macy's:

What you sneering critics in the liberal MSM fail to see here is… a Jobs Program! Saks floorwalkers, cashiers, a team of sweating porters to haul the merchandise from the store to the motorcade… chiropractors to treat those porters. Sarah Palin knows how to create jobs!

Opening the Can of Worms

At the very least, an interesting editorial from the Boston Globe, a paper that recently endorsed Senator Obama, on why the "worst case scenario" of McCain's proposed health care plan might not be a terrible idea.

Asks questions I think both candidates are not being asked during this campaign for fear of the answer being politically unpopular.

I've long been an opponent to any sort of government-run health care, but at the same time realize that at present, the situation is not working for a lot of people. I'm not sure if I support this idea, but the writer's ideas intrigue me, and I would like to subscribe to his newsletter...

Wish I could Say I'm surprised

but I'm not.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Truth Exposed

A not so subtle message from the GOP over the past few elections has finally come to the surface, as apparently only "Real Americans" support them and liberal people like myself "aren't American." I guess having an intelligent, free thinking mind eliminates you from being part of today's GOP. Reading the writings from our forefathers like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin must be troubling for them, but I'd guess they must not be "Real Americans" either. For anyone that questions why I hate the fundies that have destroyed the Republican party, just wait for the evidence to keep mounting and my patriotism to continue to be questioned. The irony of all of this is that the fundies new hero Sarah Palin (and especially her husband) have ties to the Alaskan separatist party, so apparently they must have issue with the "Real America."

Where was THIS John McCain the last...uh, year or so?

John McCain roasts Obama, others at the Al Smith Dinner McCain starts at about the 7 minute mark, Obama starts at about the 23 minute mark.

Also - in an amazing twist, McCain is funnier than Obama (albeit with much better material), and whomever writes Obama's jokes should have been fired and replaced for the evening by either Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes or Seth Meyers. Come on, Barry, you know they'd all jump at the chance.

(Video courtesy C-Span's YouTube channel)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just for shits and giggles

Sarah Palin's completely ridiculous appearance on Weekend Update.

Ridiculous Sarah Palin Rap - Watch more TV Videos

Does Anyone Else Find it Ironic?

that McCain worked hard for the passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law, with the goal of creating a level playing field, yet he is now being outspent by Obama 3-to-1?

Whoops. Imagine that. Campaigns need money.

And supporters...

And viable candidates...

The Best Part

About our awesome new banner from Vinnie is that the picture of Al Franken is of him as Stuart Smalley.


Friday, October 17, 2008

What the Fuck?

Perhaps the greatest thing about the Drudge Report is the way in which the editor selects pictures to go with the sometimes unrelated headlines on the site. They're meant as attention grabbers, and are sometimes hilariously misleading or just plain baffling.

Case in mothafuckin' point:

Colin Powell might endorse Obama...developing...

Accompanying this headline?


What the headline should have said:

Powell to endorse Obama as new album drops Friday...developing...

The Exact Moment John McCain Realized He Hates Running For President

I think this lady worked in the cafeteria at my high school.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

King for a Day

Whoever wins, at least we know this guy will be taken care of:

A Note On Lobbyists and "Special Interests"

Too often in this campaign, from both candidates, I've heard some variant of the phrase, "I won't represent lobbyists or special interests or corporate interests, I'll represent the American people."

It always meets with roaring applause, since most people at rallies are not lobbyists. But the obvious question is never asked "Who do lobbyists and special interest groups represent?"

Well, if you are a union member, you have lobbyists working for you in Washington.

If you are a school teacher, you have lobbyists working for you in Washington.

If you own a small business, you have lobbyists working for you in Washington.

If you own a firearm, you have lobbyists working for you in Washington.

If you support expanded constitutional freedoms, you have lobbyists working for you in Washington.

If you are pro-life or pro-choice, you have lobbyists working for you in Washington.

If you are a farmer, you have lobbyists working for you in Washington.

If you are retired, you have lobbyists working for you in Washington.

If you drive a car, you have lobbyists working for you in Washington.

It is hard to find a policy position or line of work that is not represented in DC on some level. It could well be argued that Americans are better represented by lobbyists than they are by their own Members of Congress. While interest groups are not elected, they more specifically represent voters' concerns. You can't expect any member of Congress to be an expert on every issue facing the country. So they bring in the experts more closely associated with the issues to advise them on the best course of action for industry, education, labor, etc.

After the election, the only thing that will change is which lobbyists are thrown out and which ones are ushered in, and which ones move higher up the list in prominence in terms of getting their issues heard.

While there are occasional scandals like Abramoff, those are the exception, not the rule.

But the idea that a President (or any major political figure for that matter) won't listen to lobbyists or special interest groups is as absurd as it is false.

Let's all welcome Vinnie, an invaluable asset to this fine blog

Thanks for the kind words, guys. Yes, I'm finally joining this blog.

I figured I should start off with a little introduction. It's unclear to me where I stand politically, but I think it's somewhere between libertarian and radical socialist but mostly disinterested outside of entertainment purposes. Other than legalizing the ganj, I don't think I have a hard, passionate stance on any political issues, at least not as they directly relate to what the government's role is and/or should be. As far as I'm concerned, politics on the whole is mostly a big pissing contest that gives people with humungous egos a leg-up in banging younger women and a way to piggyback social changes occurring beyond the influence of policy so that they can take credit for them. No big news there.

Having said that, I do enjoy wasting time and making sport of things that people take too seriously to amuse myself. And if I'm convinced of one thing, it's that anyone who's super-passionate about getting their dude in office vastly overrates the importance of the legislative process. I could be totally wrong, but that's never deterred me from preaching the gospel before.

Anyway, now that I've joined the blog, I'm gonna try to run the show as I always do. First order of business: Can we do something about the generic template, guys? Isn't it bad enough that there's a hundred thousand billion soon-to-be-abandoned hack political blogs out there that we shouldn't at least try to make this one more visually interesting if we hope that anyone will give it more than a glance? Jesus, guys. I mean, seriously. Shape up. I'll get working on one of those crazy collage-style banners.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Obama and Chicago Politics

I've been seeing a lot of the new McCain ad about Obama's having been "raised" in Chicago's political scene and I've gotta say, they're pretty funny. Not funny ha-ha necessarily, but funny because, really - what the fuck do you expect?

It's Chicago politics. For Obama to come this far with only 'minor' political scandals attached to his name is pretty impressive. Being shocked by any of this is like having a crack baby and then being shocked when the kid grows up with a predilection towards addictive behavior. Personally, I'm impressed that there's no documented proof of Obama and numerous members of the Daley family tossing mob stoolies into the Chicago river on St. Patrick's Day.

Gives Whole New Meaning to "O Face"

When I first met Barack Obama in April 2005, politics aside, my first impression was that the guy was a huge dick.

Seems someone else agreed.

Hat tip to Friend of YCP The General.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Angry at Anger

I'm finding reporting by the media on the "anger" and "hatred" being "stirred up" at McCain rallies a little much. 1.) Because I think it's vastly overstated, and 2.) Because it's not just McCain supporters.

Now now, before anyone starts tossing around the R word, that's not what I have in mind. People who are voting against Obama simply because he is black or they think he's a terrorist or a Muslim have their own agenda and own reasons for voting for him. Those reasons are stupid, off-base, and as a common-sense conservative, I cannot disagree with them more. Personally, I think there's plenty of reasons to vote against Obama even if he was a white guy named Barry Smith.

First of all, it's a political rally! I've been to plenty of them, and let me tell you, it is probably the farthest thing from a rational discourse on public policy. You're not only there to root for your guy, but you're in a room of like-minded people who think your guy is the greatest and the other guy is the worst thing that could possibly happen to the country.

In that sense, it's more akin to a sporting event, where you cheer your own team and heckle the other side, regardless of accuracy. That's a given simply due the nature of the event. Many fans at a Cubs-Sox game are going to tell a .374 hitter that he sucks, despite his illustrious stats. Fans' labels stem simply from the fact that he is on the other side, not due to any specific attribute. CNN doesn't report on the "anger and hatred" being fomented when the Cubs play the White Sox, even though it's palpable in the air.

During the 2004 campaign I heard plenty of things that were not complimentary to President Bush or Senator Kerry that were in many cases far worse, and with far less veracity than what has been said at McCain rallies. Remember "Bush Lied, People Died" "Bush is a Nazi" and so on? It comes with the territory.

Second, anger cuts both ways. If we're going to have a rational discussion about...rational discussion in this campaign, let's mention all sides, like this McCain march through the Upper West Side of Manhattan. (Ignore the text overlays. That's not what I'm getting at, and at times is just as stupid as the Obama supporters in this video.)

Wow, that was a lot of kind, genteel, not angry, and perfectly rational political discourse. Nazi Germany? Boos? Middle fingers? Mindless chanting? The sad thing is that this is exactly what the Bill of Rights was written for...

Perhaps some mention on these protesters at a Sarah Palin event? I won't be posting the picture directly. For those with curious eyes, you can click here. In the picture, four people wear T-shirts where Gov. Palin is referred to as a derogatory term for women that rhymes with "hunt." Can you imagine the appalled media reaction if people had shown up at Obama rallies wearing T-shirts referring to the Illinois Senator by the N-word? How much press they would get?Regardless of what people think about Sarah Palin's qualifications or politics, those two examples are completely indistinguishable in my book. The "Obama is an Arab/Terrorist/Whatever" press firestorm is a perfect example of this, yet I don't see the tactless anger towards McCain and Palin getting nearly the same press.

In conclusion, when reading reports of the anger and hatred stirred up at McCain rallies, 1.) Keep it in context, and 2.) Let's examine both sides. It's not just Dumbass McCain supporters who are "fueling the anger." There's a healthy dose of Obamaniacs in there too that are not getting nearly as much airtime. Report them both, but more preferentially, report neither, as neither deserves to be part of our national debate.

Sounds About Right

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Death of True Conservatives

One trend we have seen during this election cycle has been the seeming extinction of old time conservatives in favor of the neo-con movement that brought us eight awful years of W's governing (and in their perfect world would give us Sarah Palin as President of the United States in 2012). Even though I definitely lean to the left on all non-economic issues and will generally cast my vote for Democrats because of this, I greatly respect the old time fiscal conservatives who want smaller government (I was actually opposed to the Bailout Bill that Congress recently passed). However, today's neo-cons lack not only the intellectual capacity to deal with many of today's complex issues both here and abroad but also deviate away from the small government ideals that made their party (Repubicans) a legitimate alternative for those pocketbook voters who prefer smaller central government. Quoting Mike, the one conservative voice on our blog, about his thoughts during the Republican convention: "Those clowns in Minnesota do not represent me." For the betterment of this country, I hope that conservatives either shun the neo-con principles that have corrupted Republicans or break away from this faction and form their own party that gives a legitimate voice to people who may disagree with liberal policies but do not want to be boxed in as "stereotypical Joe Sixpacks."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It Would Be More Entertaining If She Dropped the ACTUAL First Puck

I imagine the McCain campaign feels Charlie Gibson, Gwen Ifil, and Katie Couric were too easy, she needs to be toughened up by the town where they booed Santa Claus.
UPDATE: Surprise! Palin received a Philadelphia welcome. I'll bet this comes as a real shocker to everyone.

Also, during the post-game interview, the host is quite possibly drunk.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Right is Wrong Again

Getting their asses kicked in the polls, the advisers to John McCain and Sarah Six-Pack have decided to brand Obama as someone who pals around with terrorists because of his connections to William Ayers. Except for the fact that Obama's relationship with Ayers consisted primarily of belonging to the same bipartisan Chicago organizations to improve education and the bipartisan charity Woods Fund of Chicago. Of course, the facts and neo-con politics generally do not together and discussing issues during a campaign remains a foreign concept to the radical right wing that has ruined the Republican party.

What would you have to say?

To get the instant-feedback-o-meters to hit 100 or zero?

I personally find this mode of surveying to be about the dumbest ever. If you get a group of evenly split voters, and take the results as an average, then naturally, there's not going to be much movement in the squiggly lines as everyone cancels each other out. Good comments will be slightly above average. Bad comments will go slightly below average.

With that in mind, here's what each candidate on each party's tickets would have to say tonight (or in any debate) to get the registers to hit 100% and 0%.
Barack Obama: 100%
"In my administration, I promise free everything for everyone. Not just free healthcare, but a lollipop at the end too. Hell, why not just at the end of doctor's checkups? Under my watch, we will give Americans the health care they need, but also free Tootsie Roll pops that they don't. Free candy for everyone!"

Barack Obama: 0%
"Yea, I knew Bill Ayers. He's my boy! We were actually working on a project back in the 70s to blow up the World Trade Center, but someone beat us to the punch. Those bastards. Never again..."

John McCain: 100%
"So this one time when I was in a North Vietnamese prison trying to reknit my tortured, broken bones with an American flag..."

John McCain: 0%
One last angry tirade laced with obscene profanity and pockmarked with unspeakable racial slurs directed towards Barack Obama, Osama bin Laden, and Ho Chi Minh.

Sarah Palin: 100%
Cocks head to side. Rapidly blinks eyelashes adorably.

Sarah Palin: 0%
"This one time, I done took down a polar bear from the back of ma truck with a shotgun! It was real bitchin'! Yeeeeeeeeeehaw!"

Joe Biden: 100%
Growing up in my blue-collar, working-class, Irish Catholic, lunch-pail, hard-working, rooting-for-the-Pittsbugh Steelers, small-town..."
Joe Biden: 0%
"What are you talking about? I never said Sarah Palin was unqualified because she's a first-term governor. I said she was unqualified because she's a woman."

Monday, October 6, 2008

September Madness

Given the current state of the market, gambling is actually looking like a relatively safe investment...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Voting for McCain and even I hate this asshole...even in kid form

"So, What, Specifically, Would You Say...You Do Here?"

All the focus on the election has got me wondering: what the hell is Bush doing these days? He's barely ever in the news, I haven't really seen him on TV since he went on to discuss the proposed bailout and he's got only 4 months left in office.

If he's anything like me when I've put in my two weeks notice at a job, his day looks a lot like this:

9:30: Show up to work, unshowered and unshaved.
9:30-11:15: Check email, catch up on new posts on Fire Joe Morgan, Deadspin and Drudge
11:15 - 1:00: Lunch with Condi Rice at Applebee's
1:00 - 1:45: Sit on the can, reading the Washington Post sports section
1:45 - 2:30: Check email
2:30 - 3:15: Quick nap to recharge batteries
3:15 - 4:00: Read movie trivia from IMDb
4:00: Head home and hit the couch

Please Explain This To Me

As a simple, handsome Democrat, I was confused about a couple of things Sarah Palin alluded to in the debate last night:

1. Conservativism in its truest sense (and not the Bush sense) is all about small, unintrusive government. That is - deregulation, low taxes and generally little interference from overreaching federal programs and policies. Now, in the wake of the current economic crisis, Republicans like Sarah Palin are placing the blame on...not enough regulation and oversight from the federal government?

SNL actually hit this pretty well last week in a sketch about the Wall Street problems: Kristin Wiig, playing a Russian stripper says something to the effect of: "You Americans are so stupid. When economy is good you say no big government. When economy bad you say 'Help me big government!'"

2. Sarah Palin remarked a few times about how she was taken aback by the rampant greed on Wall Street that led to the current financial climate. She has apparently never heard of this guy:

Come on, Sarah. This movie came out in 1987. There's even a pretty famous scene in which one of the main characters gives a pretty famous speech about greed. And Wall Street. And Sarah - the title of the movie is WALL STREET.

Also, on a related note - please stop (and I mean everyone) with the "we need to get off Wall Street and focus on Main Street." It smacks of pandering and it's stupid because it really whitewashes over the fundamental role that 'Wall Street' plays in the economic situation on 'Main Street.' I'd like to hope (probably foolishly) that most people see how much of a stupid sound-byte oversimplification this is...

Let's Review

John Madden: Born in 1936
John McCain: Born in 1936

McCain and Madden: Names both contain 10 letters.

McCain and Madden: Both poorly impersonated by Frank Caliendo.

McCain and Madden: Both famous bus-riders

McCain and Madden: Both afraid of water

McCain: Combat duty begins in 1967.
Madden: Coaching career begins in 1967.
McCain: First Senate term begins in 1987.
Madden: First John Madden Football game debuts in 1988.

Madden and McCain: Both masters of the obvious, i.e.,
Madden: "Here's a guy who when he runs, he moves faster."

Madden: Handed out "nuclear turkeys" with as many as eight legs on Thanksgiving.
McCain: Favors increased use of nuclear power.

McCain and Madden: Both regular fixtures on NBC

Madden: "Boom! Tough-actin' Tinactin!"
McCain: "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Is It Just Me...

Or did it seem at times tonight that Joe Biden reminded you of someone trying to reason with a child that keeps asking the same ridiculously stupid questions? Or maybe a drunk. Yeah, more like a drunk.

Either way, Sarah Palin - you are laughably unprepared for the situation you've put yourself in. Enjoy your time in the spotlight, then go 'head and shuffle back to little ole' Alaska after Barry and Biden whoop that ass.

Also - congratulations to Mrs. Palin for being (I can only assume) the first VP candidate to use the terms "shout out," "back in the day" and "you betcha" in a nationally televised debate for the second highest motherfletching OFFICE IN THE UNITED FUCKING STATES!!!! WHY IS IT THAT YOU PEOPLE DON'T GET HOW MUCH OF A SAD COMMENTARY ON OUR COUNTRY IT IS THAT WE'RE EVEN CONSIDERING A PERSON WITH HER CREDENTIALS AS A VIABLE CANDIDATE?!?!?!?!?!?!


/blows brains out

/just kidding

/unless she wins

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Love You. Shhhh...

The Kids Are Alright, But Leave them out of it

By the headline, I mean not just in reference to the earlier media frenzy over Bristol Palin's pregnancy, that somehow was a reflection on whether Palin was qualified to be Vice-President. Regardless of how you feel about Palin's credentials, I think everyone can agree that her daughter getting knocked up really doesn't move the needle one way or the other.

Some political ads, web videos, and issues will use children, perhaps unavoidably (education issues, etc.), but not only do I find this highly inappropriate, but it genuinely creeps me out. For the record, it would creep me out if it was a batch of McCain-supporting minors singing his praises as well. That kind of shit is too North Korea/Hitler youth for my tastes.

There's no evidence that the Obama campaign was involved in the planning of this, but still. Who are these kids' parents (who I'm willing to bet are really the driving force behind this)? These kids won't even be old enough to vote for Obama's re-election....

Anyone else find this disturbing?

Not the idea of a nude painting of YCP's favorite Vice-Presidential Moose-hunter hanging over a bar in Chicago, but the commentary of the artist.

"Bruce Elliott, whose wife owns the Old Town Ale House, painted this nude portrait of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. He said his daughter, who does a good impression of the Alaska governor, served as model."

Wow, pumpkin, that's a really good impersonation....now get naked! Daddy's gotta paint!

I'm sure there's no issues whatsoever in that family. They're probably like the Cleavers.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

China Completes First Spacewalk

The internet is abuzz and accordingly so are we.

I think I speak for everyone here at YCP in expressing not only our congratulations, but also in welcoming China to 1965.

So, Wait...Who Won The Debate?

One of my favorite things about Presidential and Vice Presidential debates are the inevitable discussions that take place on every website, cable news show and newspaper column about "who won." It's a lot like ESPN's NFL Pregame show on Sunday mornings, because people try to draw wild conclusions from a really limited amount of evidence.

In tonight's case, as in most of them, there isn't a clear winner in the debate. There, I said it. No matter what CNN, Fox News, Drudge, Huffington Post or whomever tells you, nobody won and nobody lost this debate. I will say that I thought it was one of the more informative debates that I've seen in a while and I was impressed with each candidate's willingness to openly go after the other. Good stuff, but nobody won or lost the election tonight.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Campaign Ads For 6 Year Olds

These are from Cracked's weekly photoshop contest entitled, "Campaign Ads If 6 Year Olds Were Allowed to Vote." They're all pretty funny, but these struck me as particularly entertaining.

Also, this last one is hilarious no matter what side of the aisle you sit on:

McCain's Onside Kick

As probably YCP's token John McCain supporter, I only have this to say this morning.

Either the man is sheer fucking brilliant or he is batshit crazy. McCain has suspended his campaign in order to return to Washington to work on the mortgage bailout bill...a bill that largely seems doomed. McCain has asked Obama (and presumably Biden) to join him and postpone Friday's Presidential debate.

On a political level, if picking Sarah Palin was a Hail Mary, this is probably the political equivalent of an onside kick. Call me cynical, but in a Democrat-controlled Congress, I can't imagine too many people in an election year willing to do anything to help McCain. So essentially, we are looking at a new bill that will most likely take through the weekend, rendering tomorrow's debate unlikely.

This naturally opens McCain up to somewhat specious charges of "being afraid of Obama," which I don't think is the case. I believe McCain has an honest desire to do his job as a Senator and get this thing done and if some political gamesmanship comes about as a side-effect, it's a bonus.

I personally hope to see a good bill passed AND tomorrow's debate go off as planned, That being said, a decently-sized slice of the electorate votes for President on stupid bullshit like "Who they'd rather have a beer with" or "Who's cuter." Perhaps the fewer number of times that McCain can look like a face-melting Richard Nixon next to Obama's JFK-like youth can only be a good thing.

Literally the only way this can work out for McCain is if SOMEHOW he manages to help broker a deal to get a bill through by Friday around 9AM, then can fly to Mississippi to prepare for the debate the rest of the day. McCain reinforces his "Country First" campaign slogan, shows he can work across the aisle to get things done in contrast to Obama's 96% party line vote, and constantly voting "present" on big issues during his time in what is probably one of the most ineffective state legislatures in the country.

Maybe in an ideal world McCain thought that Obama would be out of his league. By suspending his campaign and returning to Washington to do the nitty-gritty work of a Senator, Obama would have to do that for more or less the first time in his short Senate career. I was fortunate enough to meet Obama in the Spring of 2005 in Washington, shortly after he'd been sworn in, and I will tell you, the man was running for President THEN. McCain would be able to trumpet his leadership and Obama's absence (or indecisiveness/partisanship, etc...whatever happened) all the way to November.

However, even that unlikely situation is far from ideal. First off, the bill McCain was referring to is likely DOA. Second, even if the bill passes and doesn't meet with the approval of the electorate, McCain's time in Washington will have been for naught, and at the very worst look like political grandstanding.

So once again, watching this campaign, I'm sitting back and thinking "I hope you know what you're doing...."

The VP Candidate I Can Actually Relate To

First off, I'm certainly not talking about Mrs. October on the next NRA Swimsuit Calender. No, I am referring to Joe "Amusingly Placing Foot in Mouth" Biden. Yes, Mr. Biden has a penchant for making the occasionally awkward, if not well meaning comment (sound familiar to my friends). However, I think he actually works hard at his craft and has earned his spot on a presidential ticket. Maybe Biden picked the wrong Iraq War to back (not a bad idea to back it in 1991, a horrendously awful idea in 2003 and I said that back before it started). However, he was one of the Senators who actually believed it was a good idea to leave that bumbling idiot Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court. Also, unlike Mrs. Palin, who probably struggles to identify the Middle East on the map, Biden has spent many years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has an idea on how to communicate with foreign leaders (asking them questions other than their recommendations of favorite flavor at Cold Stone Creamery). So, even though there will assuredly be a few more instances when my man Barack Obama will want to take Biden in the back and slap some sense into him, I'd much rather have him a heartbeat away from the presidency than Mrs. Small Time Mayor whose too ignorant to realize Obama's deeds as a community organizer will far outweigh anything she has or likely ever will accomplish.

Irony, or Barely Interesting Coincidence?

This article (from a 'Channel 4,' though I don't know where although I know it's probably Europe or Canada thanks to clues like them using the word 'favourite') is a pretty interesting read. It's about the favorite (or, favourite) movies of former and current Presidents of the United States.

Obama picked the Robert Redford classic The Candidate (side note: cheesey pick, Barry) and McCain mentioned both the revolutionist biopic Viva Zapata and the family classic Bambi. I would assume, however, that Sen. McCain and Governor Palin don't quite see eye to eye on the message of the Disney classic. Unless there's a newly-released version from the Disney vault where the hunter proceeds to skin Bambi's mother and ride off with the carcass on his snow machine to a rousing climactic musical number composed by Phil Collins. In that case, I'm sure Ms. Palin is all for it.

Also - I found this interesting because I've always felt that you can get a pretty good idea about someone by their taste in movies and actors. Can you appreciate Dumb & Dumber while also enjoying classics like The Searchers and On The Waterfront? Then we're cool. Are you a fan of Renee Zellwegger and Ashton Kutcher that generally refuses to watch movies made before 1985? If so, let's never hang out or speak to one another.

As both a movie junkie and a dick, this theory also provides me with the means with which to judge people of whom I think poorly and to improve my own terrible self-esteem. Case in point: two of my favorite movies are Heat and Terminator 2, and accordingly, I fucking rule. For proof of this street being definitively two way, consider this:

George W. Bush has said in the past that his favorite actor is Chuck Norris and one of his favorite movies is Austin Powers. That's all the explanation you need to understand what's happened to this country in the last eight years.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Welcome, Motherfuckers

Welcome to Yellow Chair Politics. If you're reading this, you've either A: stumbled upon this blog randomly from a poorly worded Google search or B: been referred here from the mothership, Yellow Chair Sports.

I created this because I wanted to post some random thoughts about the election and politics in general, but didn't want to do it on our sports blog. The two shouldn't be mixed, in my opinion, since we already have a penchant for quibbling like children as it is on one blog.

I've invited some of the guys from YCS to join me here, and you'll get viewpoints from the left (me and Zuch), from the middle (Vinnie) and from the far, far, far, and hilariously ill-informed right (Mike). Just kidding, Mike.

For now, I've left the comments private, not because I don't care what you, the reader thinks (although I don't), but because I'm trying to avoid as many random flame wars as possible. If the other guys want to open them up, I'm cool with that too.

I can't really tell you how much I expect anyone to post on here, but I figured what the hell, let's give this a try.

Yellow Chair Politics: Keeping You Ill-Informed Since 2008