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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

OTP- August 2012: The Leader Post: New stadium won’t have same appeal, says Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee

“Building a new stadium down the street does not work unless (Ron) Lancaster spilled some DNA in the lot where they’re going to build the new stadium,” he added. “You have to refurbish (Mosaic Stadium). You’ve got to can all new ideas you might have and use the sacred ground. Fenway did that and that is why Fenway is loved. The new Yankee Stadium isn’t the same as it used to be.”

The former Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos pitcher will not be running for the vacant mayor’s position in Regina later this year. With his opinion on the new stadium, he wasn’t sure he would garner many votes anyway. But that is nothing new to the former member of the Rhinoceros Party. Lee ran on the Rhino ticket in 1988 for president of the United States. Not surprisingly, he didn’t make the ballot in a single state. He said one of the high-ranking members within the party gave him a six-pack of Molson Canadian and asked him to run for president.

“I adhered to their funny philosophy,” Lee said. “My campaign slogan was ‘No guns, no butter. They’ll both kill you.’ And I only campaigned in federal prisons where I knew they couldn’t vote, and I only accepted a quarter in campaign contributions.”

With it being an election year in the U.S., Lee said he is all in for the re-election of Barack Obama.

“The only time (Mitt) Romney opens his mouth is when he needs to change feet,” Lee said of the Republican nominee. “If Obama does lose this, which I can’t see happening, then it’s because of a lady in Florida who works for Jeb Bush and Diebold, the voting-machine company. If Obama even comes close to losing this election, it’ll be fraud.”

Guess what, its the new OT politics thread!

Tripon Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:04 AM | 5975 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: boston, politics

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   1. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 07:23 AM (#4197829)
If Obama even comes close to losing this election, it’ll be fraud.”


Yep, because Obama is the messiah and incapable of doing anything wrong, and if you disagree with that you're a racist hate- mongering redneck.
   2. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: August 01, 2012 at 08:07 AM (#4197841)
Guess what, its the new OT politics thread!

No, it's not. Next!
   3. tfbg9 Posted: August 01, 2012 at 08:14 AM (#4197842)
Thanks for the Game 7 two out blooper pitch, you drunken goofball.
   4. Swedish Chef Posted: August 01, 2012 at 08:18 AM (#4197844)
Surely the Canseco thread blows this thread away as the basis for a new politics thread. Wouldn't it also be deeply unpatriotic, almost treasonous, to base a politics thread on a Canadian article? Oh yes, it would.
   5. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 08:30 AM (#4197846)
Hey now Canadians have politics too. Sure it is extremely polite politics, but it is politics.
   6. Lassus Posted: August 01, 2012 at 08:36 AM (#4197848)
Bitter Mouse beat me to it, but I'm fine with a thread about Canadian politics. It would certainly give Rants a chance to improve on whatever #1 was.
   7. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 08:43 AM (#4197852)
It is OT (even for an OT thread) but have you folks been following the electrical blackouts in India? A coworker of mine is heading back there soon and his whole state is without power. Over 600 million people total were without power, which is just crazy.
   8. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 01, 2012 at 08:45 AM (#4197853)
This thread does not say "OT-P." Thus it is not the new politics thread.
   9. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4197855)
#6 - Saying that fraud and vote rigging is the only conceievable way for Obama to lose is literally insane, and delusional. Obama is a war-mongering, freedom-killing con man, and pretending any different is just that - pretend. Romney would be no better though. If I were to vote, I'd spoil the ballot.
   10. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 01, 2012 at 08:58 AM (#4197860)
I guess if we need another thread of people making furious hate-filled political rants, it would be better to have it in a Bill Lee thread than anywhere else. He's been on a book tour for The Wrong Stuff for almost 30 years now. Nobody else except maybe Kinky Friedman has been interviewed more times in my lifetime while accomplishing absolutely nothing other than publicity stunt after publicity stunt.
   11. formerly dp Posted: August 01, 2012 at 08:59 AM (#4197861)
Obama is a war-mongering, freedom-killing con man,


You're so freaking cute when you talk like this.
   12. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 08:59 AM (#4197862)
#9 - You are conflating two things, Obama election prospects and Obama as president. Bill Lee is a bit silly (though I like the line "The only time (Mitt) Romney opens his mouth is when he needs to change feet") but he is talking about election prospects (at least from the snippet I see).

Of course there is a bit of a link between Obama president and Obama candidate, but still. I admit I also like your line about: "Obama is a war-mongering, freedom-killing con man". Obama is more warlike than I would prefer, but he is extracting us from various wars we were in and has started fewer wars than the previous president did. I assume freedom killing is Health care related. Con man though? That one has me puzzled.

Bottom line is that people who think Obama and Romney are the same have a very limited perspective. The two parties have a few areas of agreement but very few (I admit they are areas I tend to disagree with both though).

#8 - Hmmmm. maybe it could be retroactively changed. Speaking of Romney it has been a very short while but I already miss the excitment of waking up every morning to find out what he screwed up on his trip around the world.
   13. Lassus Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:02 AM (#4197864)
Con man though? That one has me puzzled.

Politician. Ipso facto.

Actually, Rants, aren't you Canadian? That's what I meant about #6. Do you have any strong feelings about your own country's politics?
   14. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:03 AM (#4197866)
I guess if we need another thread of people making furious hate-filled political rants


Hey now the last one had name calling and outright Clintonian style lying also! But there was some real political discussion there too. I would rather talk world politics though, more to learn.
   15. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:09 AM (#4197872)
Con man though? That one has me puzzled.

Politician. Ipso facto.


But the way it is called out, it sounded like he was a con man above and beyond. I guess the fact that Obama is such a centrist pragmatic left/center Democrat who runs crazy efficient but drama free campaigns (and an overly cautious drama free White House) keeps fooling me. I totally get hating him (well not really, but I am not into hate), but acting like he is an empty suit with nothing there always strikes me as bizarre.

He is many things, but con man (other than the normal politician flavored) is not one of them.
   16. Swedish Chef Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:11 AM (#4197874)
I would rather talk world politics though, more to learn.

More to be depressed with.

Just a thought about it though: Doesn't it behoove the organizations that were dead set against against interventions in Yugoslavia and Libya to speak up and loudly praise the international community for their perfectly spineless handling of Syria?
   17. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:13 AM (#4197876)
See, despite that fact that Obama ramped up Afghanistan (which, btw, now has an annual opium production 31 times what it had in 2001), went to war in Libya, ordered ongoing drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, sent troops into Uganda, the CAR, the DRC and South Sudan, is about to get into a war in Syria, has written EO's authorizing the extrajudicial killing of SUSPECTED terrorists, presumably ordered (certainly stood by) the TSA to expand their warrantless searches to bus stations, train stations, and highway check stops, people are somehow affronted by the idea that someone would call him a war monger or a threat to freedom.

I said Obama and Romney are the same, yes. They are both scumbags, which is enough similarity for me to consider them the same.
   18. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4197878)
Actually, Rants, aren't you Canadian? That's what I meant about #6. Do you have any strong feelings about your own country's politics?


Yes, I'm Canadian. Our situation is not good. Stephen Harper is Putinesque in the level of control and fealty he demands from his underlings, I mean Cabinet Ministers, and backbench MPs aren't allowed to say anything at all. Harper has taken a lot of credit on the international stage for the relative stability of our baking sector, but that rests with the previous government.

And Bitter Mouse, maybe its just me, but for a politician to run a campaign as if he's the second coming of Bobby Kennedy, only to continue with the Washington status quo, makes him a con man. He promised major change, a whole new attitude, openness and fairness - none of which has even remotely come to pass. I know, its all the Republicans in Congress's fault.
   19. GregD Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:23 AM (#4197882)
relative stability of our baking sector
won't someone please think of the cupcakes?
   20. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4197883)
people are somehow affronted by the idea that someone would call him a war monger or a threat to freedom


Hey on the things you listed I agree with you to a degree, so I was not offended. I would much rather less war and less blatent disregard for civil liberties (two of my least favorite things about Obama). He is still less warlike than the previous president, and he has never hid from the fact he is relatively hawkish from a foreign policy perspective.

However, someone will end up as president, and the choices are Obama and Romney. Obama might be relatively hawkish, but he is drawning down the war machine on various fronts and has called for cuts in defense spending. Romney has a much more aggressive posture (example: Iran) and wants to greatly increase defense spending.

Both can be more militant than you want and there can still be a better and worse choice. There are no perfect candidates - you go to the ballot box with the candidates you have, not the candidates you wish you had.

On the civil liberty front, extrajudicial killings and such - I got nothing.
   21. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:26 AM (#4197886)
Good one Greg.
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4197888)
Afghanistan (which, btw, now has an annual opium production 31 times what it had in 2001)


You say that like it's a bad thing, man.
   23. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:28 AM (#4197889)
I said Obama and Romney are the same, yes.


Pretty much ... but only one wears magic underwear!
   24. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4197893)
You say that like it's a bad thing, man.


Its great for the CIA!
   25. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 09:33 AM (#4197896)
Rants,

Politicians run campaigns to get elected. I admit I am not sure how much of the "hope and silliness" Obama personally believed. Still the policy positions his campaign put out and his actual talking points were always pretty centrist Democrat. The fact people bought into the hype is, I think, some what on them. Anyone paying attention knew how Obama would govern. Anyone who thought Obama would (or could) bring comity to DC is a moron.

The GOP has some of the blame for a lack of policy compromise. They have been one of the most obstructionist ever. But Obama has been very cautious in dealing with that reality and other Democrats have not really woken up to the obstruction except very slowly. There is plenty of blame to go around.
   26. booond Posted: August 01, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4197918)
I admit I am not sure how much of the "hope and silliness" Obama personally believed.


Didn't matter how much he believed but how much voters believed. If you promise rainbows and unicorns after eight years of war and blight, the public will eat it up. I don't think he was a snake oil salesman. He outlined the product reasonably well but the messaging attached to that product promised more than any president could deliver, especially one with an opposition party who worked harder on his demise than on the country's problems.
   27. squatto Posted: August 01, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4197919)
Harper has taken a lot of credit on the international stage for the relative stability of our baking sector, but that rests with the previous government.

BC bud is the best.
   28. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4197927)
#26 - I really like your post, but I disagree a bit in that I think it does matter how much he believed. If he believed what he was selling then he is not a conman but is naive. If he did not believe what he was selling then he is a conman.

But in total I think you are spot on and said it better than I did.
   29. tshipman Posted: August 01, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4197955)
Re: Hope & Change:

This is hard to tell. On the one hand, Obama inherited a huge mess that probably prevented meaningful changes in transparency or openness. On the other hand, the initial staff were all former pros from the Clinton years, who could reasonably be expected to behave like they did when they were in office the last time.

I think ultimately, H&C was probably never going to be a realistic outcome of the Obama administration, and it probably meant something different to O than it did to the rest of the country. O has always been about intelligent public policy rather than big, sweeping changes. This probably helps to explain the relative lack of scandals.
   30. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4197976)
George W. Bush ran on the claim that he would be a compassionate conservative. Bill Clinton promised a bridge to the 21st century. George Bush Sr. stood for a thousand points of light. Ronald Reagan committed himself to morning in America. And some are peeved because hope and change proved to be a little vacuous?
   31. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4197989)
Of them all Bill Clinton actually delivered. But yeah, great point Mr. Bubble.
   32. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4197994)
Best headline I have seen in a while:
Flash: Mitt Romney's tax proposal favors the rich


   33. booond Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4197995)
George W. Bush ran on the claim that he would be a compassionate conservative.


Torture not compassionate enough for ya?
   34. dlf Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4197999)
It is OT (even for an OT thread) but have you folks been following the electrical blackouts in India? A coworker of mine is heading back there soon and his whole state is without power. Over 600 million people total were without power, which is just crazy.


I spend 1-3 months a year in India and am heading back there in 2 weeks. Fortunately, this next trip is to the Southern part of the Country (Bangalore and Panaji) where this power outage hasn't been felt. I am always amazed that with such a rapidly growing economy, and industrius population, the infrastructure is absolutely horrid. I am not suprised in the least that more than half a billion people were without power for an extended time due to a grid failure.

Back to politics ... did you know that it is illegal to sell liquor in India on election day? I was shocked to learn that. A good bottle of bourbon is the only way that I can make it through most U.S. elections.
   35. Greg K Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4198002)
I could actually use a refresher on Canadian politics, having been out of the country for a few years...

And colour me blown away that the Regina Leader-Post would ever get posted on BTF. Actually, colour me blown away that the Leader-Post still exists. I recall people at the University of Regina Journalism School not bothering to look for work there on the assumption it wouldn't be around much longer.

Hopefully there's a backlash against how Harper is running things and we establish some kind of MP independence. The assumption of strict party discipline is my biggest problem with Canadian politics.

EDIT: It's also kind of cool that Bill Lee knows who Ron Lancaster is.
   36. booond Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4198003)
And some are peeved because hope and change proved to be a little vacuous?


People are optimistic. It's not a bad thing until they run into marketing.
   37. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4198005)
George W. Bush ran on the claim that he would be a compassionate conservative. Bill Clinton promised a bridge to the 21st century. George Bush Sr. stood for a thousand points of light. Ronald Reagan committed himself to morning in America. And some are peeved because hope and change proved to be a little vacuous?


No, no, the problem is that it wasn't vacuous enough. 'Hope' is good, but anyone can look around and see nothing much has changed since 2008. Plus it invites unwelcome questions such as 'what exactly do you propose to change?' that require a person to carefully word his response so as to avoid actually promising anything measurable.
   38. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4198006)
Back to politics ... did you know that it is illegal to sell liquor in India on election day?


Pretty sure that used to be true in Arkansas back when I was living there (through 11/01), at least while the polls were open. Might still be*.


*Apparently not, judging by the Wikipedia listing of alcohol laws by state, but evidently it's still the case in Alaska, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Utah & West Virginia, & was until 2007 in Oklahoma.
   39. just plain joe Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4198010)
Back to politics ... did you know that it is illegal to sell liquor in India on election day? I was shocked to learn that. A good bottle of bourbon is the only way that I can make it through most U.S. elections.


I assume you are being facetious; it is illegal to sell liquor while the polls are open in the U.S., at least everywhere that I'm aware.

Partial coke to gef - it is still against the law to sell liquor while the polls are open in Indiana for sure. If you happen to drive past a liquor store or tavern here on election day you will see people starting to line up outside, waiting for 6:00 PM when the polls close and they can start selling booze.
   40. Greg K Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4198015)
Is it illegal to vote while obviously drunk?
So long as you're not doing anything that would otherwise get you arrested for disorderly behaviour.

   41. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4198018)
I assume you are being facetious; it is illegal to sell liquor while the polls are open in the U.S., at least everywhere that I'm aware.


As I just posted, apparently that's actually pretty rare, or maybe it's just a matter of local rather than state proscription.

But yeah, in general, maybe because of where I grew up (a dry county, as it happens, next door to another dry county where I went to college), I'm sort of shocked that anyone would marvel at that. Some people lead intriguingly sheltered lives, I guess.
   42. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4198019)
So long as you're not doing anything that would otherwise get you arrested for disorderly behaviour.


Being obviously intoxicated in public will usually get you arrested even if you're not doing anything notably disorderly at the time. The police tend to take a very much 'better safe than sorry' approach to that kind of thing. I imagine they would crank that approach up to eleven on Election Day.
   43. bobm Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4198022)
[7]It is OT (even for an OT thread) but have you folks been following the electrical blackouts in India? A coworker of mine is heading back there soon and his whole state is without power. Over 600 million people total were without power, which is just crazy.

Over 1 billion had no power, but for 300 million or so, it was just another Tuesday.
   44. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4198025)
Is it illegal to vote while obviously drunk?
So long as you're not doing anything that would otherwise get you arrested for disorderly behaviour.


My understanding, based probably on nothing in particular, is that such laws stem from the apparently common practice many decades ago of getting certain people falling-down drunk & then dragging them from polling place to polling place to vote for the candidate of the liquor supplier's choosing. Supposedly, that could've led to Edgar Allan Poe's final, fatal drunk ... though I gather he was discovered in the gutter on the first Sunday in October, which would seem to cast doubt on that scenario.
   45. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4198027)
OK, I'll be the technical jackass: Poe may have been drunk when he died, but he was generally drunk all the time and probably didn't die of alcohol poisoning. He appears to have been stricken with all sorts of exciting diseases.
   46. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4198032)
Agreed. Though there's the following summary of the "Cooping" theory of Poe's death --

Coincidence or not, the day Poe was found on the street was election day in Baltimore and the place near where he was found, Ryan’s Fourth Ward Polls, was both a bar and a place for voting. In those days, Baltimore elections were notorious for corruption and violence. Political gangs were willing to go to great extremes to ensure the success of their candidates. Election ballots were stolen, judges were bribed and potential voters for the opposition intimidated. Some gangs were known to kidnap innocent bystanders, holding them in a room, called the “coop.” These poor souls were then forced to go in and out of poll after poll, voting over and over again. Their clothing might even be changed to allow for another round. To ensure compliance, their victims were plied with liquor and beaten. Poe’s weak heart would never have withstood such abuse. This theory appears to have been first offered publicly by John R. Thompson in the early 1870s to explain Poe’s condition and the fact that he was wearing someone else’s clothing. A possible flaw in the theory is that Poe was reasonably well-known in Baltimore and likely to be recognized.
   47. Steve Treder Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4198038)
My understanding, based probably on nothing in particular, is that such laws stem from the apparently common practice many decades ago of getting certain people falling-down drunk & then dragging them from polling place to polling place to vote for the candidate of the liquor supplier's choosing.

Not necessarily getting them falling-down drunk. Simply providing free booze in return for votes, early and often, was the deal.

The 19th century was AWESOME.
   48. zonk Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4198041)


My understanding, based probably on nothing in particular, is that such laws stem from the apparently common practice many decades ago of getting certain people falling-down drunk & then dragging them from polling place to polling place to vote for the candidate of the liquor supplier's choosing. Supposedly, that could've led to Edgar Allan Poe's final, fatal drunk ... though I gather he was discovered in the gutter on the first Sunday in October, which would seem to cast doubt on that scenario.


Many states still have election day blue laws -- I believe Indiana still does, at least it did about 10 years ago when I was still bartending in the state... Can't sell liquor - even at a bar - until the polls close.
   49. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 01, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4198043)
The 19th century was AWESOME.


Now they just give them food stamps.
   50. Ron J2 Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4198057)
Hopefully there's a backlash against how Harper is running things and we establish some kind of MP independence.


Almost precisely zero chance of this. First of all, the party as a whole does not have fond memories of the rebellion against Diefenbaker (and has strong institutional memories of those days).

Of greater import, the party leaders hold an MP's career in their hands. If the party leader won't sign the nomination papers, they can't run for the party (regardless of how the riding association feels about the matter). One or two MPs have been booted from the party and run successfully as an independent, but in general your career is over if the party leader so decides.
   51. Greg K Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4198065)
Almost precisely zero chance of this.

Oh well, a guy can dream.
   52. booond Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4198068)
Now they just give them food stamps.


Or tax breaks.
   53. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4198073)
Re: #47--
George Washington lost his first political race, but then won his second. The only substantive difference was that he started handing out free booze. The rest is history.
   54. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4198080)
If I could still drink, perhaps I would still vote.
   55. Swoboda is freedom Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4198083)
Honest to goodness, the bars weren’t open this morning
They must have been votin' for a new President or somethin'

X
   56. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4198095)
OK, I'll be the technical jackass: Poe may have been drunk when he died, but he was generally drunk all the time and probably didn't die of alcohol poisoning. He appears to have been stricken with all sorts of exciting diseases.


Poe died of rabies.
   57. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 01, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4198112)
I've read a couple of accounts of rabies lately (in Pamela Nagami's Bitten: True Medical Stories of Bites and Stings & Berton Roueche's The Medical Detectives), & ... that would not be my first choice of ways to go. Or my 50th, for that matter. (Not that I actually keep a list or anything.)
   58. dr. scott Posted: August 01, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4198121)
Well we vote all the time in San Francisco, and I drink all the time, and I have yet to run into any issues, so Im guessing its not a law here.

Mexico, however, is a dry country for 3 days during thier election. Sadly, the only time Ive been to Mexico was on election day. Streets were empty.
   59. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 01, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4198126)
It's probably not coincident that the original vampire myths had the lifespan of the undead flesh eater running about 30 days, or pretty much the time it takes rabies to kill the infected.
   60. formerly dp Posted: August 01, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4198193)
Though there's the following summary of the "Cooping" theory of Poe's death --


We watched John Cusack's Poe last weekend (not an experience I recommend, but my wife and I were bored), so I know how he really died.

FWIW, Baltimore looks like it was a far better place to live in the mid-nineteenth century than it is today.
   61. CrosbyBird Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4198254)
However, someone will end up as president, and the choices are Obama and Romney. Obama might be relatively hawkish, but he is drawning down the war machine on various fronts and has called for cuts in defense spending. Romney has a much more aggressive posture (example: Iran) and wants to greatly increase defense spending.

This is one of the reasons the two-party system is so problematic. In order to avoid the more distasteful candidate, you essentially must either throw your vote away or endorse the less distasteful candidate. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any reason to avoid the extremes because it's not like there's a consequence.
   62. booond Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4198260)
Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any reason to avoid the extremes because it's not like there's a consequence.


Both want to avoid the extremes but Romney feels he has to continue to massage them. Obama's not heading left, he'll stay as close to center as possible.
   63. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4198271)
The way things are set up in the US I don't see a third party becoming relevant any time soon, which is a bit unfortunate. Instant Run Off voting (which is in place in some places) is a good start to breaking the hegemony of the two parties. Sometiems I wish for more choices than I have, it is why I strongly participate in the primaries - that is how you can influence at least one of the parties (the one you vote for).

The two party hegemony is especially bad when they come to agreement leaving one basically no options (other than long term primary type options). You can over time influence a party - the Republican Party has been very thoroughly shaped over the past twenty years far to the right of where it was, and as a consequence the Democratic Party has also shifted a bit right as well.

Of course in a representational democracy almost no candidate will exactly represent anyones views, so you are always going to have to make priority judgements. Heck I have even voted Republican twice (Once the Democrat was clearly corrupt as heck, the other the Democrat was a well meaning loon and the Republican was a sensible moderate - who was later essentially booted from the GOP for being such).
   64. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4198274)
Obama will stay right of center, because the entire point of Romney leaning out to touch faith with the crazy wings of the right is to move the window as far right as possible.
   65. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 01, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4198295)
Well the point is to try to win the election and the assumption is it is a base election. The only way Romney keeps his base excited is to reach out to them.

Obama is trying to excite his base by playing the populist card, but frankly it is weak sauce, because he really really isn't a populist kind of guy.
   66. SteveF Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4198302)
The problem with the two party system manifests itself more in the legislature than anywhere else. The primary system tends to generate more extreme candidates on both sides, creating more difficulties at reaching compromise and consensus.

Look at how much trouble Obama has had at passing legislation in spite of having had at least a 58% majority in both houses his first two years. Part of that is the fillibuster problem, and part of that is Obama's political inexperience/legislative ineptitude, but how hard should it be to compromise enough to get one or two republican senators on your side? When the two sides are as far apart as they are (polarized to a far greater degree than the US population), it's apparently quite hard.

Here's a tip to members of both parties. If you want to see your presidents actually change the direction of the country (without invading other countries), start electing legislative lifer types instead of governors and half-term senators who lack the political experience, relationships, and skill to pass legislation.
   67. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4198306)
Obama's not heading left, he'll stay as close to center as possible.

Except for his convenient election-year "evolutions" on gay marriage and amnesty.

The way things are set up in the US I don't see a third party becoming relevant any time soon, which is a bit unfortunate.

People are always claiming to want a serious third-party option, but what would a winning third-party platform look like? With the internet, it should be easier than ever to organize such a movement, but no serious third parties emerge. Hell, the Constitution Party managed to get on the ballot in all 50 states — and then struggled to find a candidate.
   68. Steve Treder Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4198316)
The problem with the two party system manifests itself more in the legislature than anywhere else. The primary system tends to generate more extreme candidates on both sides, creating more difficulties at reaching compromise and consensus.

Yes, the gerrymandered "safe" districts yield distinctly polarized, paralyzed legislatures.

Here in California we finally passed a law changing the way state legislature primaries are run: now, the primary is open, and the top two vote-getters in the primary face off in the general election, even if they're from the same party. If this works as intended (and of course we'll have to see if it does), it would provide an incentive for candidates to run toward the center rather than pandering to the base on either side.
   69. Lassus Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4198318)
People are always claiming to want a serious third-party option, but what would a winning third-party platform look like?

This is a good question. Unfortunately, it will probably look like a like of Ron Paul clones.

If it's something else - it's going to have to be a bizarrely unexpected and I'd say actually unpredictable groundswell of right place, right time, insanely strong leadership.
   70. booond Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4198321)
Except for his convenient election-year "evolutions" on gay marriage and amnesty.


Both poll for the majority. Neither are liberal ideas they cover the center.
   71. booond Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4198322)
The only way a 3rd party can compete is to have a billionaire or billionaires fund it.
   72. Steve Treder Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4198328)
Both poll for the majority. Neither are liberal ideas they cover the center.

Exactly. The notion that Obama is, ever was, or is ever going to be a hard-core liberal is pretty rich.
   73. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4198331)
The way things are set up in the US I don't see a third party becoming relevant any time soon, which is a bit unfortunate.

People are always claiming to want a serious third-party option, but what would a winning third-party platform look like?
You can't have a third party under the structures of American democracy - with district-by-district representation and first-past-the-post rules in all elections, a third party is by definition either a stalking horse for one of the other two parties or a party attempting to destroy one of the other two parties and become one of two dominant parties itself.

Now, if we had a parliamentary democracy, any number of third and fourth parties would arise. The Greens would do well. An anti-immigration party would be successful. You see a Friedman-Bloomberg party for centrist elites. A movement like the Tea Party would probably have become a party rather than seeking to gain as much control of the Republican party as possible. An anti-globalization / anti-free-trade party could get somewhere. Maybe some socialists.
   74. Kurt Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4198333)
This is a good question. Unfortunately, it will probably look like a like of Ron Paul clones.

Kudos, Lassus. You might be the first person I've ever seen opine on what a third party should do to be successful who hasn't said "coincidentally, I believe a successful third party would agree with me up and down the line".

   75. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4198341)
Hell, the Constitution Party managed to get on the ballot in all 50 states — and then struggled to find a candidate.


The sweet spot for a 3rd party in US politics is not in the weeds of the far right. The GOP covers the far right. The only real space for a 3rd party in the US would be a real liberal/democratic socialist party on the left. The Dems abandoned any true leftist theory decades ago.
   76. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4198348)
Y'all saw the Brookings / Union paper on Mitt Romney's tax policy? It's a fun bit of wonkery.

As background, Mitt Romney has been extremely secretive about his tax plans. He has made clear really only two things:

(a) his tax plan will be revenue-neutral, not cutting revenue to the government, and
(b) his tax plan will cut rates on working income by 20% across the board and eliminate taxation of capital income

He claims that he can square this circle by eliminating loopholes in the tax code. He has yet to specify a single loophole he would close. He has yet to identify a single way in which he would actually raise tax revenues in order to avoid blowing a hole in the budget.

So, Brookings took him at his word, and studied the tax code. In order to raise the revenues lost from the cuts to base tax rates, what would be the most progressive possible arrangement of other changes to the tax code, eliminating tax expenditures? And what they found, of course, is that there's no way to do (a) and (b) without a significant tax hike for the middle and lower classes.
Absent any base broadening, the proposed reductions in individual and estate taxes specified in Governor Romney’s plan would decrease federal tax revenues by $360 billion in 2015. These tax cuts predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers: Taxpayers with incomes over $1 million would see their after-tax income increased by 8.3 percent (an average tax cut of about $175,000), taxpayers with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 would see somewhat smaller increases of about 2.4 percent (an average tax cut of $1,800), while the after-tax income of taxpayers earning less than $30,000 would actually decrease by about 0.9 percent (an average tax increase of about $130) due to the expiration of the temporary tax cuts enacted in 2009 and extended at the end of 2010.
...
Specifically, it is not possible to design a revenue-neutral plan that does not reduce average tax burdens and the share of taxes paid by high-income taxpayers under the conditions described above, even when we try to make the plan as progressive as possible. For instance, our calibration of the upper limit suggests that even by eliminating tax expenditures ‘starting at the top’—where we combine the proposed rate cuts with complete elimination of tax expenditures for taxpayers with income over $200,000—after-tax income would still increase by 4.1 percent among taxpayers with income over $1,000,000 and 0.8 percent for taxpayers earning between $200,000 to $500,000. (That translates to a tax decrease of $87,000 and $1,800 for those two groups.) However, on average, after-tax income for taxpayers earning less than $200,000 would need to decrease by 1.2 percent, an effective tax increase of $500 per household. (Revenue neutrality would require eliminating 58 percent of total tax expenditures for these households.)
Now, of course, Romney doesn't actually plan to raise taxes on the middle class. What he plans to do is cut taxes without being in any way responsible about the fiscal outcome of his tax cuts (like Bush before him). But because he's decided to lie baldly about it, Brookings is entirely correct that unless you assume Mitt Romney is lying, you have to assume he plans to raise taxes on the middle class and the lower class in order to cut taxes on the rich.
   77. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4198351)
Here in California we finally passed a law changing the way state legislature primaries are run: now, the primary is open, and the top two vote-getters in the primary face off in the general election, even if they're from the same party. If this works as intended (and of course we'll have to see if it does), it would provide an incentive for candidates to run toward the center rather than pandering to the base on either side.
Of course it's not going to work as intended. It's not going to drive the candidates to the middle, it's going to drive the electorate to the fringes, and the center won't have anyone to vote for because only two candidates will be allowed on the final ballot. California ballot initiatives are always horrible — as a rule, I vote no on every ballot initiative every election — but that was arguably the worst of the worst in recent years, as bad as any of the anti-immigrant and anti-gay propositions.
   78. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4198353)
Both poll for the majority. Neither are liberal ideas they cover the center.

If a clear majority of Americans favored amnesty, Obama would have moved on it when he had a filibuster-proof Senate. He's just doing what Kerry, Gore, et al., did before him: Dangle the carrot to Latino voters while knowing full well that amnesty is D.O.A. for the foreseeable future.
   79. Steve Treder Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4198357)
Of course it's not going to work as intended. It's not going to drive the candidates to the middle, it's going to drive the electorate to the fringes, and the center won't have anyone to vote for because only two candidates will be allowed on the final ballot.

I don't know. My guess is it will work differently depending on the makeup of the district.
   80. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4198360)
Now, of course, Romney doesn't actually plan to raise taxes on the middle class. What he plans to do is cut taxes without being in any way responsible about the fiscal outcome of his tax cuts (like Bush before him). But because he's decided to lie baldly about it, Brookings is entirely correct that unless you assume Mitt Romney is lying, you have to assume he plans to raise taxes on the middle class and the lower class in order to cut taxes on the rich.

In other words, Romney is trying to win an election with the voters we have rather than the voters we wish we have.

Since "the rich" don't have enough assets, let alone income, to shoulder the tax burden alone, the U.S. simply can't continue spending like it is without everyone paying more. But any candidate who says that might as well fold his campaign and go golfing. Like the bankrupt Greeks and Spaniards who want more no-strings money from Germany, U.S. voters want more services without contributing anything toward the cost.
   81. Steve Treder Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4198363)
Brookings is entirely correct that unless you assume Mitt Romney is lying, you have to assume he plans to raise taxes on the middle class and the lower class in order to cut taxes on the rich.

But is there any conceivable reason to not assume Mitt Romney is lying?
   82. CrosbyBird Posted: August 01, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4198373)
People are always claiming to want a serious third-party option, but what would a winning third-party platform look like? With the internet, it should be easier than ever to organize such a movement, but no serious third parties emerge. Hell, the Constitution Party managed to get on the ballot in all 50 states — and then struggled to find a candidate.

I don't think there's enough difference between the two parties right now to leave room for a third-party to catch the middle.

One way that I could see something like this happening is if the Republican party splinters into two different parties. If the fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives become divided enough, I suppose it's possible even if very unlikely. A secular version of today's Republican party might be very attractive to moderates currently voting for Democrats. If Obamacare or similar policy becomes the nation's expected standard (much like Social Security is now), and the Republicans shift from fighting it to fighting to keep it from shifting closer to single-payer, that could also shift the debate to one that is friendlier to the right.

I don't think any true libertarian party will be successful (too fringe). It might be more libertarian overall though, because it would be less extreme on the regulatory side than the Democrats while less extreme on the individual human rights side than the Republicans.
   83. booond Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4198383)
If a clear majority of Americans favored amnesty,


55% Support Obama Work Permit Program
   84. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4198388)
Again, you can't have a third party in the American system. The incentives make it practically impossible.

A successful third party that takes its votes evenly from both parties will see the two major parties move to take over its issues and voters and crush it. See Perot, Ross.

A successful third party that takes its votes from one party more than the other effectively acts as a stalking horse for the party it's further away from. If the Greens started polling 10-20%, Republicans would win 75% of the House and Senate. This has never happened in modern American politics, though Nader's 2-3% in 2000 is probably the closest thing to an example of the actual effects of successful ideological third parties. You can't grow a party that will only hurt its ideological ally.

It's possible for a third party to be so successful that it kills one of the two major parties and takes its place, as with the Republicans and the Whigs before the civil war. Otherwise, our system doesn't allow for third parties to be effective.

In a continental European democracy, you can have third parties because of proportional representation rules. So long as we have districts and first-past-the-post and the electoral college, we will not have third parties.
   85. Steve Treder Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4198389)
If a clear majority of Americans favored amnesty,


55% Support Obama Work Permit Program

I was gonna say: if only there were some way to find out.
   86. Steve Treder Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4198392)
You can't grow a party that will only hurt its ideological ally.

As I strove to explain to one of my nephews, who was fully on the Nader/Green bandwagon back in 2000.
   87. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4198393)
55% Support Obama Work Permit Program

I was gonna say: if only there were some way to find out.

Yes, a one-off poll proves that Americans favor a broad immigration amnesty. Absurd.

Obama makes noise about immigration when he talks to Latinos and only when he talks to Latinos. There's a reason for this.
   88. booond Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4198399)
Yes, a one-off poll proves that Americans favor a broad immigration amnesty. Absurd.


You have to look a little further. There are several polls on that page which show that between 54%-64% agree with Obama's "amnesty" policy.
   89. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4198403)
Yes, a one-off poll proves that Americans favor a broad immigration amnesty. Absurd.


One poll is more evidence than zero polls.
   90. Steve Treder Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4198404)
You have to look a little further. There are several polls on that page which show that between 54%-64% agree with Obama's "amnesty" policy.

Cue Joe moving his goalposts ...
   91. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4198410)
You have to look a little further. There are several polls on that page which show that between 54%-64% agree with Obama's "amnesty" policy.
The DREAM act is extremely popular. It's a relatively marginal issue that Obama selected because it polls well, and he talks about the DREAM act in front of lots of different audiences.

On the real issue of structural immigration reform, there is sadly no majority for anything that resembles a coherent policy, and the movements to demonstrate what an inhumane mess the current regime is haven't built support for actual reform. So we get the continuation of the current mess with at best marginal improvements around the edges, like the DREAM act. (And at worst, marginal moves to make things worse around the edges, like Obama's stepped-up deportation rate.)
   92. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4198416)
If Obama even comes close to losing this election, it’ll be fraud.”

Bill Lee appears out of touch with the state of the economy.

   93. booond Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4198421)
On the real issue of structural immigration reform, there is sadly no majority for anything that resembles a coherent policy, and the movements to demonstrate what an inhumane mess the current regime is haven't built support for actual reform.


We have no coherent policy because we allow idiocy, like self-deportation or walls, to enter the discussion when we should be talking about earned citizenship.

And at worst, marginal moves to make things worse around the edges, like Obama's stepped-up deportation rate.


He's enforcing the law.
   94. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4198422)
The DREAM act is extremely popular. It's a relatively marginal issue that Obama selected because it polls well, and he talks about the DREAM act in front of lots of different audiences.

If the Dream Act was extremely popular, it would have been passed by now.

On the real issue of structural immigration reform, there is sadly no majority for anything that resembles a coherent policy, and the movements to demonstrate what an inhumane mess the current regime is ...

There's nothing "inhumane" about the U.S.'s current immigration system. The U.S. will admit more legal immigrants this year than every other country on Earth combined.

***
We have no coherent policy ...

To the contrary, the U.S. has a very coherent policy. The problem is, millions of illegal immigrants have chosen to ignore it.
   95. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4198423)

If the Dream Act was extremely popular, it would have been passed by now.


I see someone has a dated view of how the Senate works.
   96. booond Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4198430)
The problem is, millions of illegal immigrants have chosen to ignore it.


Employers and consumers have chosen to ignore it.
   97. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4198431)
I see someone has a dated view of how the Senate works.

I see someone is unaware Obama had a filibuster-proof Senate for his first year in office.

***
Employers and consumers have chosen to ignore it.

Sure, but that doesn't mean the current system is "inhumane" or entitle the lawbreakers to "earned citizenship."
   98. Steve Treder Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4198433)
If Obama even comes close to losing this election, it’ll be fraud.”


Bill Lee appears out of touch with the state of the economy.

I don't know about Bill Lee's command of the state of the economy, but the 538 blog's current forecast gives Obama a 72.5% chance of winning if the election were held today, and a 69.0% chance of Obama winning on November 6th.

That's a lot of ground for Romney to make up in less than 100 days.
   99. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4198434)
I see someone is unaware Obama had a filibuster-proof Senate for his first year in office.
A policy that is popular with 55% of the electorate won't pass 60-40 in the Senate because the swing votes will represent districts that don't support the policy. Passing policy with a 60-40 requirement is extremely difficult.
   100. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 01, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4198435)

I see someone is unaware Obama had a filibuster-proof Senate for his first year in office.


I see someone is unaware that the filibuster-proof Senate was intact for exactly 7 weeks.
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