Posts Tagged ‘mccain’

The Candidates’ Spouses

June 12, 2008

Does the GOP’s strategy for winning include seeking the votes of woman? If so, would they really want to go on the offensive against Michelle Obama? Hasn’t our nation’s female electorate just demonstrated that, far from fearing strong, articulate, intelligent women, they actually prefer them? Doesn’t attacking Michelle Obama fly in the face of that, in addition to inviting comparison of the candidates’ spousal preferences? Do woman want a candidate who seeks as his spouse someone strong, articulate, and intelligent, or a candidate who seeks a woman who is dutiful, demure, and wealthy?

The primaries made me grit my teeth in anger. So far, the general has me gaping in confusion and wonder. This should be simple and obvious. But so should the last two have been…


Transportation Policy & Amtrak

April 9, 2008

In a time when airlines are failing, three-in-a-week, and canceling flights, which will likely lead to further rises in air travel costs; in a time when fuel costs continue to rise, causing havoc in nearly ever other sector; in a time when we’re recovering from a pro-highway Bush-appointed transportation secretary; in a time when we obviously need Amtrak more than ever, the Republicans have nominated John McCain, a man who has been one of Amtrak’s harshest critics in the Senate (despite finding it rather convenient), a candidate deemed “worse than Bush” on transportation policy, even by the right wing.

It’s clear that the “failed business model” of rail travel only fails up until the point when fuel costs make air and automobile travel prohibitively expensive. And we’re getting there rather quickly. In the holiday season, when snow storms strike on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, airports close but Amtrak keeps on running. Here in the northeast, Amtrak trains deliver passengers right to the middle of some of the nation’s most important centers of business & finance, law, politics, and academia: New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Philadelphia. And the train doesn’t dump you off at Dulles, or La Guardia, with another 45 minutes of cab ride to go, you are delivered to the city’s center. Those of us who work in the northeast and travel to/from these cities and want to be able to get something done en route, rely heavily on Amtrak.

So this is not a time to clamp down on Amtrak. If you’re pro-business, you’ll recognize that travelers in the nation’s busiest business centers rely heavily on Amtrak. If you’re in favor of diversifying our transportation “portfolio”, so that we’re not entirely reliant on air or highway, then you know we need Amtrak.

So where do the candidates stand?


Obama’s campaign has created a document—the Bluprint for Change—which clearly and concisely outlines his policies on the most important issues. Additionally, he has policy documents dedicated to specific issues, including a statement on transportation policy. In that, Obama specifically address Amtrak thus:

Obama believes we need to reform Amtrak to improve accountability. In many parts of the country, Amtrak is the only form of reliable transportation. In the U.S. Senate, Obama is a cosponsor of the Passenger Rail Investment and Innovation Act of 2007, a leading act to provide long-term federal investment to Amtrak. As president, Barack Obama will continue to fight for Amtrak funding and reform so that individuals, families and businesses throughout the country have safe and reliable transportation options.

Top marks for Obama.


I give Hillary high marks for her transportation policy, assuming she actually intends to follow-through on it. In addition to increasing efficiency standards for autos, she wants to spend $1B to increase passenger rail infrastructure, but keep Amtrak at its current (underfunded) levels:

Hillary believes that greater federal involvement is needed to maximize the potential of this transportation mode. She will increase federal investment in light rail by $1 billion over 5 years in order to help finance capital projects. These investments are in addition to the federal commitment to Amtrak.

Not bad, but not much there for Amtrak. B-


The McCain campaign’s website doesn’t mention transportation policy. Anywhere. In his “on the issues” section, he does specifically mention our space program and second amendment rights, but nothing on transportation. He has entire “issues” sections dedicated to “human dignity” (ie, his anti-abortion panderama and anti-gay-marriage rant) and again, one for second amendment rights. So, high marks for finding a euphemism for “anti-abortion”, but a failing grade on transportation policy.

Goole Search on the McCain site for the word “Amtrak”: no results.

Hillary More Polarizing Than Bush

March 18, 2008

I’ve posted recently on how the issue of race is a damaging topic to the Obama campaign, and how Hillary exploits this—either instinctively or, probably, as an explicit campaign tactic. For the past several weeks, as a result of Hillary’s efforts and those of other Obama-detractors, race has been the primary focus of the public discourse in the Democratic race. This doesn’t work in Obama’s favor.

One of the reasons I can’t stomach Hillary, outside of her ugly campaign tactics, is the fact that she represents more of the same bitter, partisan division we’ve seen since Bush won the nomination in the 2000 race… and before, when Bill Clinton was in office.

My distaste for the Bush administration stems almost entirely from its polarizing effect on us, the electorate. (Note: that’s just the source of my “distaste” for the administration. The source of my burning resentment is all policy-driven).

Hillary, hated at least as much by the right as Bush is hated by the left, continues the polarization that started with Bill and has become progressively sharper with every election since then. However, one can make the argument that she is even more polarizing than Bush, since she is determined to polarize her own party, as well as the electorate in general.

Every time I see her disingenuous smile, that fake laugh, I get the same visceral, angry feeling which had hitherto been reserved for our evil, corrupt, war-criminal president. If Hillary were the nominee, I still don’t think I could vote for McCain, but I honestly can’t see myself caring enough to go the polls for Hillary.

Extension of Race May Be Good For Obama

March 3, 2008

Nearly two weeks ago I asserted that Hillary should get out of the race if she failed to win a majority of delegates in the voting in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island this Tuesday March 4. For about a week now her campaign officials, fearing the worst, have been priming the press-pump with the idea that she might continue her campaign even if Texas and Ohio don’t fall her way. Today, that rhetoric is finally coming from Clinton herself, rather than her campaign officials.

The more I think about this, the more I think it might actually be good for Obama if Hillary stays in. Consider the following:

  • The spotlight would stay on the Democratic race

Every story that includes the word “Obama” increases national familiarity with him. Typically, increased familiarity has been good for Obama. And in a national election, if the name itself is more familiar the electorate will be more inclined to vote for him (or maybe more accurately, less inclined to not vote for him). If there’s anything we’ve learned from the current administration it’s that simply repeating something frequently enough can dramatically legitimize it.

  • If Hillary stays in, Obama can keep winning

The more he wins, the more he looks like “the” winner. By the time November comes around, America will be very used to seeing Obama win and election.

My instinct is to qualify all this by predicating it all on the fact that Hillary doesn’t destroy Obama with negativity, however:

  • Negative tactics by Clinton in the primary election, if they don’t kill Obama, make him stronger

In effect, Hillary’s negative campaign against Obama is stealing the GOP’s thunder. For the presidential election, all the lowest-hanging fruit of Obama vulnerabilities will have been used-up. By the time the McCain team gets to trot them out, they’ll be shopworn, diluted, weakened. And lets face it, creative as they are, there’s probably nothing a negative Clinton campaign can invent that the GOP wouldn’t eventually have thought of themselves.

So Hillary’s refusal to give up, especially if she keeps losing, could be good for Obama in the long run.