Up to Date: Morone on Health Care

James Morone on Pres­i­dents and Health Care — Chair of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence at Brown Uni­ver­si­ty, talks with a local KC radio host about Nation­al health care and the Pres­i­dents who have tried (or suc­ceed­ed, in the case of LBJ) to pass it. It is in the sec­ond half of the show, so you might just skip to it, but total­ly fas­ci­nat­ing. He was so inter­est­ing they end­ed up tak­ing just one call.

Photos, Front Pages, and Secrets of the Campaigns

There’s a lot to read out there post elec­tion, about the dys­func­tion­al McCain cam­paign work­ings (imag­ine them run­ning the coun­try), about Oba­ma’s plan (to be patient, appar­ent­ly), about the future of the GOP (no future for you!), etc. But I found a cou­ple of things I like best so far:

Two more since lunch:

Post Election Wrap

First, and I feel I need to get this off my chest: Boo-ya!  Take that, Per­ma­nent Repub­li­can Major­i­ty.  In your face.

Okay, thanks.

We watched CNN most of the night last night, except for one peri­od of time between when they called Ohio and they called the Pres­i­den­cy, when the CNN pun­dits clear­ly knew Oba­ma had won, but were not being allowed to say so.  Most salient dur­ing this peri­od was when John King tried to show how McCain could­n’t win by giv­ing him every sin­gle state left in the Union and show­ing how it did­n’t add up to 270, when instead he could have just added Cal­i­for­nia, Ore­gon, and Wash­ing­ton to Oba­ma’s total and shown how he had more than 270.  I got so irri­tat­ed by this (I actu­al­ly felt insult­ed by them) that I switched to ABC’s cov­er­age for half an hour or so.

But dur­ing our stay with ABC we only got to hear Cok­ie Roberts once, and George Will less than that, and frankly, see­ing George and Char­lie and Diane each at their Com­mand Sta­tion™ made me yearn for CNN’s crowd­ed Island of Opin­ion™, so we went back.

One of the best cov­er­age com­ments of the night came from James Poniewozik on Time’s live­blog of the event, “God, switch­ing over from the fran­tic cable news to Shields and Lehrer con­vers­ing on PBS is like lis­ten­ing to the Ents talk in The Lord of the Rings. Pon­tif­i­cate faster!”

From stuff I’ve read, it seems none of the Nets had the cojones to call it ear­li­er than the poll clos­ings on the West Coast.  Which I guess is okay, giv­en the need to get vot­ers out for Prop 8 in Cal­i­for­nia.  But real­ly, every­one with half a brain and ele­men­tary math knew it was over.  The Time live­blog not­ed the lack of a Tim Russert, a Big Dog, as they char­ac­ter­ized him, able to buck the con­ven­tions and call it ear­ly.  RIP, Tim Russert.

As for what I thought (beyond my pithy one-lin­er at the top of this post), I had a cou­ple of very ran­dom thoughts as I got ready for bed last night.  I Twit­tered one of them, but I’d like to expand on it a lit­tle.

My boys are 2 and 5.  The two-year-old sees Oba­ma signs in yards (and on my chest) and declares “Rock Oba­ma!”  But the five-year-old under­stands enough to know that Mom­my and Dad­dy were eager to see Barack Oba­ma win.  For my birth­day he drew me a pic­ture of Barack Oba­ma (in a rock­et, I think, I’ll have to find it and post it).  He was hap­py this morn­ing when I whis­pered to him who had won, and gave him a great big hug.  But who am I kid­ding, he does­n’t know what the Hell is going on.  But I do.  I know that he will grow up in a world where black men (men, I real­ize, not women) know that they can be Pres­i­dent.

The world is bet­ter.  In a small, tiny way, I have made it bet­ter.  For my chil­dren.  Damn.

Then, as I was falling asleep, I thought to myself, what is Oba­ma going to do with his web site?  Will the White House site be turned in to a bul­ly pul­pit like barackobama.com?  That would be all kinds of awe­some.  All kinds.

Election resources for the weary and overloaded

I have been look­ing for the eas­i­est way to under­stand what is going to hap­pen tonight as the polls begin to close.  These are the resources I am mar­shalling to my defense:

  • Run­down of what to look for tonight — Tae­gan God­dard­’s awe­some sched­ule for tonight, when the polls close, what to look for each hour, and what it all will mean.  This is by far the best thing I have found (bet­ter than Josh Mar­shal­l’s, because it is short­er, by a lot), and I will be print­ing it out.
  • Google’s elec­tion results map — Hard to know if it will be help­ful until the results start com­ing in, but I hope it will be a good place to go to bask in the Blue glow.
  • All pur­pose drink — So many ways to enjoy your alco­hol.

I am also lin­ing up my favorite polit­i­cal blogs (warn­ing, par­ti­san­ship ahead!) so I can roll in the hay, as it were, and enjoy, sweet, sweet revenge.  And, you know, all the heal­ing and stuff the coun­try needs, etc.  

That Prince­ton Band thing is an inside joke I will nev­er explain.  Sor­ry.


There should be lit­tle doubt as to whom I would like to see crowned as Pres­i­dent tomor­row (prefer­ably just after 8:30 pm, Cen­tral). Barack Hus­sein Oba­ma, is a man I believe in. A smart, con­fi­dent, emo­tion­al­ly secure, lov­ing man who will be only good for this coun­try. Cou­ple that with his oppo­si­tion, an man behold­en to all that is bad about US pol­i­tics the past eight years, and who would be ter­ri­ble for Amer­i­ca, not to men­tion the world, and the choice should be clear.

But this is what impress­es me the most about him: his raw intel­li­gence, his astound­ing com­pe­tence, his unfail­ing stead­fast­ness. Even The Econ­o­mist, in (grudg­ing­ly?) endors­ing his can­di­da­cy, said this about his sup­posed inex­pe­ri­ence, their biggest prob­lem with him:

But the excep­tion­al­ly assured way in which he has run his cam­paign is a con­sid­er­able com­fort. It is not just that he has more than held his own against Mr McCain in the debates. A man who start­ed with no mon­ey and few sup­port­ers has out-thought, out-organ­ised and out-fought the two might­i­est machines in Amer­i­can politics—the Clin­tons and the con­ser­v­a­tive right.”

Damn straight.


Palin era to last one week?

So, when Sarah Palin was announced last Fri­day, I almost imme­di­ate­ly turned to my wife and said, “Would­n’t it be fun­ny if they did this just to get the news cycle away from Oba­ma and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­ven­tion, then pull a switch at the Repub­li­can Con­ven­tion next week?” I’m espe­cial­ly inter­est­ed because Sam Brown­back, Sen­a­tor from KS, is sup­posed to put Pal­in’s name into nom­i­na­tion.

Now, I’m not say­ing this was their plan all along, nor am I say­ing that this will hap­pen, but with all the un-vet­ted bits spilling out of Sarah Pal­in’s past this week­end, I would not be sur­prised. Cor­rup­tion, incom­pe­tence, inex­pe­ri­ence… it real­ly sounds like they did­n’t both­er to check on her before pulling the trig­ger (as it were). Like all they did was look at a pho­to of her. The Democ­rats have clear­ly made the deci­sion to just get out of the way and watch Repub­li­cans implode.

But real­ly, can you imag­ine the Repub­li­can First Cou­ples eat­ing din­ner togeth­er? I mean, John and his “soul­mate” would be fine, but what would Cindy and the First Dude talk about?

The Master Plan of David Brooks

I’ve always felt that I should dis­like David Brooks more than I do. He’s the erst­while con­ser­v­a­tive foil to E.J. Dionne on NPR, Offi­cial Con­ser­v­a­tive at the New York Times, and rel­a­tive­ly recent neo­con gad­fly-lite. I don’t like his ideas, but he’s always seemed so mil­que­toast that I haven’t been able to get up a good head of steam about it.

Well, last night I had an insight into the David Brooks Mas­ter Plan. While watch­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion on PBS, where Brooks was one of the talk­ing heads, he stat­ed that in order to counter the Demo­c­ra­t­ic mantra pair­ing McCain and Bush, in order to sep­a­rate him­self from Bush, McCain’s only pos­si­ble choice for Vice-Pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate is now… wait for it… Joe Lieber­man.

(Not the first time he has sug­gest­ed this, thanks Wikipedia.)

To which any self-respect­ing Demo­c­rat, and even the still-ardent Hillary sup­port­ers, can only say, “Hell yeah!” You’re wel­come to him, and good rid­dance. I can’t think of any deci­sion John McCain could make that would please me more.

And that brings me back to the moti­va­tion of David Brooks. Since there is no way an intel­li­gent, artic­u­late, clear-think­ing indi­vid­ual can believe that McCain-Lieber­man (the Mup­pet Show!) would be a suc­cess­ful tick­et, he must be a secret Lib­er­al work­ing behind the scenes to push this idea, to secure the elec­tion of Ned Lam­ont, to encour­age Lieber­man’s recent par­ty-bust­ing com­ments, hop­ing that this comes about, thus secur­ing the elec­tion for Oba­ma-Biden.

Go Brook­sie!

DNC Day 1: A different kind of First Lady

There’s not much to say about the first day of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion except to note that Michelle Oba­ma will be a very dif­fer­ent kind of First Lady. And thank God for that.

She was artic­u­late, com­fort­able, lov­ing, steely, com­pe­tent and unafraid. And she was dar­ing. She seemed to adver­tise that she would take a unique path, sharply skewed from the clas­sic tea-and-com­fort First Ladies of the past (which I dare say Cindy McCain would embody), yet not so far as Hillary’s pol­i­cy-mak­ing Office-of-the-First-Lady. Michelle struck all the right notes, giv­ing a very polit­i­cal­ly astute speech, that, if it was seen, should go a long way towards mak­ing peo­ple more com­fort­able with the Oba­mas in the White House.

In oth­er notes: the kids were delight­ful, but real­ly, who gave them an open micro­phone? And Ted Kennedy, who has­n’t real­ly meant much to my polit­i­cal aware­ness, looked hale and hearty, but ter­ri­bly stilt­ed. Per­haps he is not real­ly well, just remark­ably far along the way to being so.

I’m look­ing for­ward to tonight.

Democratic Convention Review: The TV Coverage

So, we set the TiVo to tape the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­ven­tion on CNN. It start­ed cov­er­age at 5:00pm, so I fig­ured it would be the most com­pre­hen­sive. Sev­er­al hours into the replay, all I’d got­ten was Wolf Blitzer yap­ping for hours, John King play­ing “Mas­ter of the Map,” and a bunch of bit play­ers try­ing to get the scraps of air­time Wolf would throw out. Oh, and James Carville look­ing like he’d swal­lowed some­thing real­ly bit­ter (which actu­al­ly made me hap­py).

The “best team in pol­i­tics” rou­tine­ly talked over speak­ers (includ­ing Nan­cy Pelosi), only grudg­ing­ly allowed that peo­ple might want to see any of the video mon­tages, and then bitched ad nau­se­um about how the Democ­rats offered no “red meat” on this first day. Con­sid­er­ing that I don’t think the “best team in pol­i­tics” lis­tened to any of the con­ven­tion going on behind them, I’m not sur­prised they felt that way.

So, after a while of this, when we’d caught up to live TV (just as Ted Kennedy was end­ing his speech) we start­ed flip­ping around. We set­tled on two chan­nels, PBS, for unfil­tered cov­er­age (with just the occa­sion­al and well-placed explana­to­ry com­ment, like who that was on stage), and NBC, for polit­i­cal pun­dit­ry. ABC was a can­di­date, but I could­n’t take much of Diane Sawyer try­ing to be rel­e­vant again (where has she been?).

Tonight, we’ll watch PBS and NBC, and we may give ABC a chance again. But, and this is all I have to say on the mat­ter, poor Katie Couric. And is it just me, or is Bri­an Williams start­ing to turn into Peter Jen­nings? Look at him around the eyes. That’s not a bad thing.

How’s your Con­ven­tion Cov­er­age going? Do tell.

The Dems better not screw this up

I’m pret­ty sure I speak for most of us (lib­er­al, elite, hand-wringers) when I say, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty bet­ter not screw this up. My wife asked me just recent­ly if I was still con­fi­dent that we would win in Novem­ber. My answer? Not if Novem­ber were today. But I have con­fi­dence that the Dems will get back on their horse and fix what­ev­er has been ail­ing them the last few weeks.

Many of us are wor­ried because of the polls we see, trum­pet­ing gains and loss­es and slides and a tight race. But you can’t trust the polling num­bers you see, as each poll has a huge num­ber of vari­ables, and even CNN’s vaunt­ed “Poll of polls” can be mis­guid­ed. Of course, “nation­al trends” don’t mat­ter a hill of beans any­way, since elec­toral votes are gar­nered on a state by state basis. But I don’t have the time to check out each state poll as it comes out, so I do keep track of a cou­ple of aggre­gate polls for a Nation­al snap­shot. This one at Real Clear Pol­i­tics, and this one at Poll­ster.

These two graphs show a tight­en­ing of the race, too. Which leads to my… um, un-con­fi­dence.

I think Biden was the best choice among the unof­fi­cial can­di­dates for VP, but I won­der what might have hap­pened had Oba­ma announced a “change” can­di­date (like Tim Kaine) and then laid out a like­ly Cab­i­net make­up to assuage the “inex­pe­ri­ence” doubts. The ink is hard­ly dry on the Oba­ma-Biden signs (and I won­der what Joe thinks about being a light shade of blue?) and the Rov­ian machine has already begun to strike at the new strengths of the tick­et.

It is what we hate about the Repub­li­cans, but what we admire too. Real­ly, you know you do. It’s what we want Oba­ma’s cam­paign to start doing. Screw the high road, you can’t leg­is­late change from the high road if it goes off a cliff. I’d like to see the Dems fight for the chance to fix the coun­try. And I think we’ll see it. We’d bet­ter.

Also, let no one bring up “the new Joe-men­tum,” please. Unless McCain is so sil­ly as to pick Lieber­man. Then we can have duel­ing Joe-men­tum.