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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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   2501. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4210633)
Flip!
   2502. Tripon Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4210638)
Its a similar argument I heard defending the Koch brothers wealth, that even though they started off wealthy, they were able to increase that wealth on their own, so we shouldn't begrudge it so much.

Which is fine, but then I'd wish when people make this argument, they would also stop claiming that they're self reliant men. No they're not. They started off with an advantage that most of us don't get.
   2503. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4210639)
Not in so many words. But the "public service" he throws in quotes includes four years of serving as POTUS. I do not find anything off-putting about someone who has done that being worth $8-$12 million. And that excludes the other work he has done in the past and the two best-sellers he penned.


---

Obama made his money by selling books and doing speaking engagements. He basically made money off of his popularity, which a lot of people in show business do. He's famous for being the president, and at one time making a damn good speech at the 2004 DNC.

Its not like he made that money based on kick backs and bribery.


I don't know the answer to this, but didn't the millions of dollars from the books and speeches come after he became a "rising star in the party" post-2004 DNC? If so the riches are primarily due to his government service. As to the FU money Michelle has made since that time.

   2504. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4210647)
I think the key is whether the "rich person" has actually built something people can know and understand... I've read that Speilberg can be an enormous #########, but then, he's made movies people love and appreciate. I've heard stories of Oprah being less than friendly with staff, but yet again - she had a show people can love and appreciate. Jobs and Gates? Who hasn't at least used a computer? The Warren Buffetts are rarer - but he has a way of explaining his wealth accumulation in a way that people understand. Doesn't hurt that when Buffett talks about, for example, the fact that it's wrong for his secretary to pay a higher tax rate than him -- people hear a guy who A)understands that he has a "secretary" who is a "person", B) That he knows enough about her and her situation to understand that she's paying a higher tax rate than he is, and C) that he thinks that's wrong.

That last part is the key to much of the reaction. Buffett recognizes that the "infrastructure" (loosely speaking) of our country has enabled him to become rich beyond his wildest dreams, and he also realizes that without the bottom 99% doing most of the work, his upper 1% would amount to little or nothing. Someone like that is not likely to be seen in the same light that an essential parasite like Romney is, who made millions regardless of the fate of the companies that Bain acquired. All the risk was delegated to everyone else.

And of course while Buffett decries the absurdity that his secretary pays a higher percentage of her income in taxes than he does, Romney and Ryan are calling for even more "reforms" that would reduce the tax burden of their own upper 1% even more. That also doesn't sit too well with a lot of people, and it has little to do with "envy".

----------------------------------------------------

I'm not a fan of inherited wealth, so I'm not thrilled with that part of Romney's background. But I have a lot more respect for someone who makes $100 million in the private sector than I do for someone who makes $8 to $12 million via "public service."

If Obama pulls a Bush pere / Ford / Clinton / Gingrich after leaving office, I'll agree with your take on him. But up to now, his wealth is largely the product of those two books, not of $50,000 speaking fees and million dollar "retainers".
   2505. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4210651)
I don't know the answer to this, but didn't the millions of dollars from the books and speeches come after he became a "rising star in the party" post-2004 DNC? If so the riches are primarily due to his government service.
Thousands of terrible books are written by politicians each year. Obama didn't have a more distinguished public service record than any number of pols who made less money on their books than it took to write them.

Obama made tons of money because (a) he's a good writer and (b) he's a celebrity. His public service was tangential. You can dislike how celebrities who can write can make lots of money, but "making money off public service" obviously fails to explain what happened with Obama's finances.
   2506. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4210659)
Obama made tons of money because (a) he's a good writer and (b) he's a celebrity. His public service was tangential.


This is deceptive. He's a celebrity because of his public service, because liberals got all goose-bumpy when hearing him speak such that they treated him as a rock star.
   2507. Steve Treder Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4210661)
You can dislike how celebrities who can write can make lots of money, but "making money off public service" obviously fails to explain what happened with Obama's finances.

Yeah, but it feeds the narrative of "public = bad, private = good." Facts aren't necessary.
   2508. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4210662)
This is deceptive. He's a celebrity because of his public service, because liberals got all goose-bumpy when hearing him speak such that they treated him as a rock star.


And it was gauche for him to capitalize on his popularity by writing a book that there was a large market for?

What oddly anti-capatilistic sentiment.
   2509. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4210666)
And it was gauche for him to capitalize on his popularity by writing a book that there was a large market for?


You seem to have a hard time reading what people write. I commented merely that Obama's wealth has stemmed mainly from the fact that he is a public servant.

   2510. Lassus Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4210671)
You seem to have a hard time reading what people write. I commented merely that Obama's wealth has stemmed mainly from the fact that he is a public servant.

Yes, it was JOE who had a proiblem with it. Not Ray. Ray doesn't care at all. Like about Obama's birth certificate.
   2511. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4210673)
I commented merely that Obama's wealth has stemmed mainly from the fact that he is a public servant.


Ignoring the kinder, gentler part of your post, this seems too simplistic.

The wealth came from his popularity. The popularity came from his visibility. The visibility came from his public service. His success at getting elected to and capitalizing on the visibility of his public service came from his interesting backstory, charisma, and eloquence.

It doesn't go Politics + Book = Profits. You could just as accurately point out that his wealth is the result of his charisma and the work he put into coming up from poverty.

He's not worth $8-$12 million because he's a politician. He's worth $8-$12 million dollars because he's Barack Obama.
   2512. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4210677)
The way MCOA made it sound, Obama became a celebrity because he wrote books and was a public speaker, and then he decided give the country the gift of his public service.
   2513. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4210680)
Yes, it was JOE who had a proiblem with it. Not Ray. Ray doesn't care at all. Like about Obama's birth certificate.


Despite my failings, I understand that. Ray was in part responding to what I responded about to Joe. It is possible, under those circumstances, to address Joe's point in a response to Ray. Next time I will be more precise.
   2514. Lassus Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4210683)
The way MCOA made it sound, Obama became a celebrity because he wrote books and was a public speaker, and then he decided give the country the gift of his public service.

WTF point are you trying to make, if any?
   2515. Fanshawe Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4210685)
They would still pay for the stimulus, so even if you believe it has no net positive effect or is a net negative, forgoing it is a bigger loss.


If you really believe it's a net negative, than forgoing it is the only reasonable option. Now granted, I don't think Paul Ryan actually believes that the stimulus was a net negative, he just says things like that to make himself feel good.
   2516. Steve Treder Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4210686)
WTF point are you trying to make, if any?

There is none to be made. It's a lame attempt to disract from the genuine issue of Romney's megawealth in this campaign by saying, "But ... but ... Obama's rich too!"
   2517. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4210690)
Yes, it was JOE who had a proiblem with it. Not Ray. Ray doesn't care at all. Like about Obama's birth certificate.


I don't care how he made his money. I've commended Gore on being able to make millions on the backs of liberal lemmings with his climate change BS and the green corporate entities and initiatives he's formed to part the lemmings with their money.

But I do want the record to reflct that the lemmings who bizarrely became fixated with Obama, a nondescript public servant, are who made Obama which allowed him to make his money.

As to your birth certificate comment, do you have a point? I never thought there was an issue there, so if you say I did you're lying.

   2518. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4210692)
As to your birth certificate comment, do you have a point? I never thought there was an issue there, so if you say I did I did you're lying.


You seem to have a hard time reading what people write. He was legitimately defending you, seeing as how you stated earlier that you considered Romney's tax returns as much of a non-issue as Obama's birth certificate.
   2519. Tripon Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4210694)
I think he's saying that people shouldn't trade on their public persona. Like Newt Ginrich, Sarah Palin, or Rick Santorum.
   2520. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4210695)
You could just as accurately point out that his wealth is the result of his charisma and the work he put into coming up from poverty.

No, Obama wrote his memoirs long before he was a national figure, and the original printing of that book got about as much attention as Taylor Whatshername's children's book did before her email to the Padres.

Obama's political career might derive from his perceived charisma, but his net worth assuredly derives entirely from "public service."
   2521. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4210696)
I admire the stand people like Jeff Flake have taken against earmarks and other government spending, but long-term unilateral disarmament is dumb. It makes no sense for districts to keep sending money to D.C. year after year while getting $0 back. It's the equivalent of going to dinner night after night, ordering only a water, and agreeing to split the check with a person who ate a $100 steak and had a $200 bottle of wine.


Except, those districts wouldn't get "$0" back --

'Earmarks' tend to be a relatively small part of the general budget. The majority of federal spending is locked on specific targets when its allocated, not when it comes time to disperse via general programs. Granted, a good chunk of those 'specific targets' tend to be defense spending, debt servicing, and the like - but it's more like those districts are getting ~$0.75 back... and if we're going to go there -- hailing from one of the states that gets about ~$0.75 generally per $1 into the federal kitty (just like our awful blue state bretheren in California, New York, etc) -- well... I'm all for cutting off the welfare queen states like Alaska, Mississippi, Wyoming, etc if only to teach them a lesson about where the real welfare is.


EDIT: Here I was, already to damn someone for breaking the thread and it was me!
   2522. Swedish Chef Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4210697)
If you really believe it's a net negative, than forgoing it is the only reasonable option.

Really? If the stimulus is horrible and gives 50c in benefit on every dollar spent, you stand to lose 50c if you accept it or the whole dollar if you refuse.
   2523. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4210698)
Obama's political career might derive from his perceived charisma, but his net worth assuredly derives entirely from "public service."


So...his net worth derives from his charisma? We agree.

Also, "perceived" charisma? Is there any other kind?
   2524. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4210701)
Perhaps we should just cut to the chase --

I will gladly place whatever straight-up wager you like the outcome of the Presidential election...



MGL, is that you?

The following is meant in the greatest of respect, and is intended to be from the perspective of someone trying to empathize with the discussion rather than someone mocking

This is what I don't get about these political discussions. I get why various Obama and Romney campaign people have to make it seem as though their side is winning - their confidence has an influence on the vote.

What seems strange to me is the attitude among people who have no influence over the electoral results being so sure their guy is winning. I mean, whether you express confidence, or a lack of confidence in your horse winning has no influence whatsoever on the actual result, so it's not like conceding costs anything. Maybe I'm just too self-absorbed and prone to second guessing myself, but when the result you want to happen almost always matched the result you think is going to happen doesn't there come a moment when you are forced to re-evaluate your world view and examine how you are perceiving reality?

This really isn't meant to single anyone out, or even be limited to politics. It happens all the time with baseball teams too. Some fans seem convinced that their team is the better team and are perfectly comfortable with the fact that their desires and reality match up exactly. I think it's my conceptual inability to understand the concept of confidence, but this always intrigues me about these kinds of discussions. I'd be fascinated to hear a description of the thought process.
   2525. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4210703)
I'm curious --

Yes, Barack Obama's books ultimately sold well because he became a famous public servant...

Do Ray/Joe/etc feel its unseemly that Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity (or hell, Keith Olberman or Rachel Maddow) are extraordinarily wealthy? After all - while they're not elected, seems to me that the same applies -- Rush Limbaugh is rich solely because people listen to him bellyache about "government". Hence, I think it's fair to say that just like Obama is fabulously wealthy "because of government" -- so is Rush Limbaugh.

How does that all square?
   2526. Jay Z Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4210707)
I am going to get blasted for this no doubt, but here goes:

The great liberal movement of at least the last 50 years has been eliminating discrimination. We're all the same, right?

The problem is if we're all the same, then none of us is anything. We're 7 billion guppies in a giant school that can't be roused to do anything, because we don't have anything to play off of. And the million sharks or so just keep eating away.

Maybe that's not the best all of the time. You can be anything, but what should you be, other than rich? I really think that at some point society will need to re-factionalize again because progress sometimes comes with compare and contrast. Given the current direction, maybe the first re-factionalization would be a group that can gin up enough anti-socialization that it can be a cohesive raiding culture, like the Huns or Visigoths or something like that. I just see the one world society, market, government as being hell on earth.
   2527. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4210710)
The way MCOA made it sound, Obama became a celebrity because he wrote books and was a public speaker, and then he decided give the country the gift of his public service.
I really obviously didn't say that. My entire point is that the celebrity came first, and he wouldn't have made 1/10th of the money he made off his books if he hadn't been a celebrity.

I said Obama money off books because he's a celebrity, and secondarily because he's a good writer. His public service is a part of what makes him a celebrity, but it's really a small part. There are tons and tons of people who were equally or more distinguished public servants in 2004, when Dreams came out, who made extremely little money off books they wrote around the same time.
   2528. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4210711)
The great liberal movement of at least the last 50 years has been eliminating discrimination. We're all the same, right?
We are all equal. Equal in value, equal in dignity, equal in standing before the law. We are not the same. These are two entirely different things, and no one wants everybody to be the same.
   2529. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4210712)
The following is meant in the greatest of respect, and is intended to be from the perspective of someone trying to empathize with the discussion rather than someone mocking

This is what I don't get about these political discussions. I get why various Obama and Romney campaign people have to make it seem as though their side is winning - their confidence has an influence on the vote.

What seems strange to me is the attitude among people who have no influence over the electoral results being so sure their guy is winning. I mean, whether you express confidence, or a lack of confidence in your horse winning has no influence whatsoever on the actual result, so it's not like conceding costs anything. Maybe I'm just too self-absorbed and prone to second guessing myself, but when the result you want to happen almost always matched the result you think is going to happen doesn't there come a moment when you are forced to re-evaluate your world view and examine how you are perceiving reality?

This really isn't meant to single anyone out, or even be limited to politics. It happens all the time with baseball teams too. Some fans seem convinced that their team is the better team and are perfectly comfortable with the fact that their desires and reality match up exactly. I think it's my conceptual inability to understand the concept of confidence, but this always intrigues me about these kinds of discussions. I'd be fascinated to hear a description of the thought process.


A big part of it is just the standard internet "I'm right and you're wrong" silly posturing (i say this on my part... Joe can speak for himeslf).

However, I do disagree with the idea that it has no bearing -- 'momentum' in a campaign exists and you always want the perception to be that your guy is winning. ALWAYS. It only adds to the problems of your opponent - he gets questions about 'process'. Al Gore's earthy tones come up because the 'narrative' is that his campaign is stalled, so the press asks why his campaign is stalled, so he has to spend precious time denying his campaign is stalled, so eventually staff starts asking privately "is the campaign stalled", so eventually someone leaks the discussion, and voila... you're dealing with nonsense over the color of your tie. It's all about throwing the opponent off his game, putting him on the defensive, making HIM waste time on silliness while you keep firing away.

I will readily admit that there is SOME of that whenever the thread turns to horserace stuff...

Now, that said - I still think Obama is a 2 to 1 favorite/somewhere in the 60-70% range to win, so from my POV, it's just a smart bet.

As I said before, next to baseball - politics is my favorite sport... unfortunately, we don't have a real scoreboard - only a final score on election night - so you gotta argue what you can in the meantime.

   2530. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4210716)
This is what I don't get about these political discussions. I get why various Obama and Romney campaign people have to make it seem as though their side is winning - their confidence has an influence on the vote.

What seems strange to me is the attitude among people who have no influence over the electoral results being so sure their guy is winning.


I think that most objective observers agree that if the election were to be held today, Obama would win in the electoral college, which is the only vote that matters. Both online bettors and Nate's numbers crunching seem to agree on this, if not on the exact odds.

I also think that if either the economy tanks further or if the Obama campaign gets complacent, that lead could evaporate like the morning dew. I'm not sure where that would place me along your spectrum of partisan bloviators.

   2531. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4210720)
What seems strange to me is the attitude among people who have no influence over the electoral results being so sure their guy is winning.
For what it's worth, I don't really think Obama is winning. I think he's currently up a small step, but that's with all of the economic indicators at the best point they could plausibly be. Given that the election isn't today, and all the variance runs against Obama, I think it's about a 50/50 call right now.

So far, there's extremely little evidence that either the Romney or the Obama campaign has moved the needle one way or the other. By the numbers, the race has been terribly boring for several months. That makes, sense, too. The people who aren't decided aren't paying attention. The population of partisans has grown significantly in the past two decades, so the fight is for a smaller and smaller group of undecideds. You wouldn't expect the campaign to be moving the needle yet.

To make the point more strongly, I think that liberals here who are crowing over Obama's campaign are at least 80% wrong. His campaign hasn't caused a change in the polling of the race of any magnitude. You could twist around and say that you think Obama's campaign is well-positioned to build on its standing, that Obama has a message that should work in the future, but that's a different and entirely untested claim. The claim that either campaign is winning votes right now has been tested, and it looks mostly untrue.
   2532. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4210721)
What seems strange to me is the attitude among people who have no influence over the electoral results being so sure their guy is winning.

I'm not sure about anything. I've never described Romney as anything other than a very, very slight favorite, and that's only because I believe Americans have a long track record of voting their wallets. My position on Romney is sort of a saber-type thing, where I'm trusting the historical trends and larger principles over what my eyes might be telling me (and what other people's eyes are telling them).

but when the result you want to happen almost always matched the result you think is going to happen doesn't there come a moment when you are forced to re-evaluate your world view and examine how you are perceiving reality?

I both want Romney to win and believe Romney will win, based on current economic conditions, current polling, and the fact that Obama can't get to 50 percent in either the national polling or the battleground-state polling. I might end up being wrong, but I don't believe I'm fooling myself. It's not like this is Reagan vs. Mondale and I'm predicting a Mondale win. The Obama camp certainly isn't acting like victory is assured or that Romney is some inconsequential pest.

Putting aside the 2012 election, I'm a right-winger who lived in New York for the first 31 years of my life. There was almost always a wide divergence between what I wanted to happen and what I thought would happen.
   2533. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4210722)
However, I do disagree with the idea that it has no bearing -- 'momentum' in a campaign exists and you always want the perception to be that your guy is winning. ALWAYS.

Oh I totally agree. That's what I meant about Obama or Romney campaign officials. It just seems so weird to me that that would apply to an internet message board. Maybe I'm just underestimating the import of these discussions are. I treat these politics discussions as educational. I don't know a great deal about American politics, but I've learned a great deal over the past few years through BTF. For that reason I fully endorse the continuation of these discussions. Despite my sparse contributions I always read them and find them entertaining and endlessly informative.

But the idea that what anyone is saying in this thread is influencing election results...that just blows my mind.
   2534. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4210723)
You seem to have a hard time reading what people write. I commented merely that Obama's wealth has stemmed mainly from the fact that he is a public servant.


There's a slight of hand that Joe is playing here, that Ray is merely commenting on (but not as of yet explicitly decrying as the obvious propaganda that it is.)

Joe wants to say "Barack Obama is wealthy because he's a 'public servant.'" With full scare quotes on the public servant part. That's because Joe is a tool who lets his irrational hatred of everything non-Fox/GOP/TPer sponsored run over everything he says.

Ray is being Ray and picking the nits of a particular conversation in a way to make it less damning that his preferred tribal mates are being idiots.

Barack Obama is rich because of his skills as a speaker and his charisma as a person (that's what got him elected, and what made his books sell.) He's worth maybe $12 mil total on the merits of his own actions in the world.

Mitt Romney is worth something close to $250 mil total, based on the fact that he inherited an asston of money from his dad, played fast and loose with vulture capital games in the 80s and 90s (adding zero wealth to the actual nation in the process) and hid most of his earnings in tax loopholes.

The fact that one of these guys is getting hit for his wealth and aloofness and the other guy isn't is not particularly surprising.
   2535. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4210725)
I said Obama money off books because he's a celebrity, and secondarily because he's a good writer. His public service is a part of what makes him a celebrity, but it's really a small part.

"Really a small part"? Come on. Are we supposed to believe Obama would be this huge international figure if he had lost his 2004 Senate race and was still a back-bench Illinois legislator (or, gasp, was back to community organizing)?

Unless Obama reinvented himself in 2004, his charisma and writing skills had barely put $10 in his pocket over the first 40 years of his life. His credit card was infamously declined at the 2000 Dem convention, when he was almost 40 years old.
   2536. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4210728)
"Really a small part"? Come on. Are we supposed to believe Obama would be this huge international figure if he had lost his 2004 Senate race and was still a back-bench Illinois legislator (or, gasp, was back to community organizing)?


No, Joe. If Barack Obama were not a stupendously successful self-made man he would not be nearly so famous for being a stupendously successful self-made man.
   2537. steagles Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4210729)
2517. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4210690)
I don't care how he made his money. I've commended Gore on being able to make millions on the backs of liberal lemmings with his climate change BS and the green corporate entities and initiatives he's formed to part the lemmings with their money.

But I do want the record to reflct that the lemmings who bizarrely became fixated with Obama, a nondescript public servant, are who made Obama which allowed him to make his money.

As to your birth certificate comment, do you have a point? I never thought there was an issue there, so if you say I did you're lying.
wait, are you now arguing that climate change doesn't exist?

or are you arguing that it's unreasonable for al gore to make money off of his work in combating climate change?
   2538. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4210730)
I said Obama money off books because he's a celebrity, and secondarily because he's a good writer. His public service is a part of what makes him a celebrity, but it's really a small part.

Obama's financial upturn seems to me to be a combination of two factors above all: His compelling background story as expressed in his memoirs; and his opportunity to speak before the 2004 Democratic convention.

Without the opportunity to present that speech, he'd be today at best a Senator. But without his ability to take complete advantage of that opportunity, he might just be another Bobby Jindal.
   2539. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4210731)
"Really a small part"? Come on. Are we supposed to believe Obama would be this huge international figure if he had lost his 2004 Senate race and was still a back-bench Illinois legislator (or, gasp, was back to community organizing)?
It's a necessary cause, but a wildly insufficient one. There are hundreds and hundreds of national politicians, and even the top ten national politicians don't make very much money writing books.
   2540. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4210733)
The great liberal movement of at least the last 50 years has been eliminating discrimination. We're all the same, right?


We are all equal. Equal in value, equal in dignity, equal in standing before the law. We are not the same. These are two entirely different things, and no one wants everybody to be the same.


Right.

I think this really goes to the heart of the success that modern conservatism has had in defining 'liberalism'. I'd call it a strawman and just leave it at that, but the fact is - conservatives have been enormously successfully as painting this as liberalism's goal, and frankly - liberals have been utterly inept at responding.

For the record, I absolutely DO believe that some people work harder than others (I'd like to think I'm one of them) and I likewise think their reward should be greater compensation. I absolutely DO believe that some people are content to collect handouts - I just think they're a small minority. I absolutely DO believe some people cannot get a job because they put no effort into preparing themselves for and trying to get - but I think they're a small minority.

I wholeheartedly agree with the generally espoused libertarian cliche about "equality of opportunity, not equality of result" -- I just at the proviso of a civilized society owing its citizens a subsistence level existence to start and that "opportunity" is not currently equal, and that has a lot more to do with how our society handles things like taxes, compensation, etc than it does the liberal programs (be it affirmative action or various grants/assistance).
   2541. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4210734)
To make the point more strongly, I think that liberals here who are crowing over Obama's campaign are at least 80% wrong. His campaign hasn't caused a change in the polling of the race of any magnitude. You could twist around and say that you think Obama's campaign is well-positioned to build on its standing, that Obama has a message that should work in the future, but that's a different and entirely untested claim. The claim that either campaign is winning votes right now has been tested, and it looks mostly untrue.


I've been out for a week or so, but has that argument been made? I recall a lot of people pointing out that the polling is favoring Obama and that the electoral college is favoring him heavily.
   2542. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4210737)
Without the opportunity to present that speech, he'd be today at best a Senator. But without his ability to take complete advantage of that opportunity, he might just be another Bobby Jindal.


So, what you and Joe are saying to Obama re: his wealth, at heart, is "you didn't make that?"
   2543. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4210738)
I really obviously didn't say that. My entire point is that the celebrity came first, and he wouldn't have made 1/10th of the money he made off his books if he hadn't been a celebrity.

I said Obama money off books because he's a celebrity, and secondarily because he's a good writer. His public service is a part of what makes him a celebrity, but it's really a small part.


Laughable.

Nobody knew who he was until he gave the speech at the 2004 convention, after which, in fact that same night - I distinctly remember - he was immediately dubbed "the rising star of the party" by some of the network commentators.


   2544. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4210739)
wait, are you now arguing that climate change doesn't exist?

Oh, God, Phil-Pitt, don't start him down that road. (smile/grimace)
   2545. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4210740)
Unless Obama reinvented himself in 2004, his charisma and writing skills had barely put $10 in his pocket over the first 40 years of his life.


And lots of musicians are dirt poor until they go quadruple platinum.
   2546. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4210741)
Without the opportunity to present that speech, he'd be today at best a Senator. But without his ability to take complete advantage of that opportunity, he might just be another Bobby Jindal.

Heh. This actually matches up with the commentary of a friend of mine. (He's a bit more "in the know" when it comes to American politics). When we watched the 2004 Convention I had never heard of Obama, and he said "this is the guy the Democrats are grooming to be their next big presidential candidate". When I first heard of Jindal I asked him if he was a legit dude and he said "he's the guy the Republicans are grooming to be their Obama".

At least superficially it appears like Obama was a bit better at seizing the opportunity.
   2547. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4210742)
wait, are you now arguing that climate change doesn't exist?


Let me answer for Ray: No, he's claiming that Al Gore's statements, documentaries and general rhetoric on climate change is "BS," not that climate change doesn't exist. He won't go so far as to claim that.
   2548. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4210743)
Nobody knew who he was until he gave the speech at the 2004 convention, after which, in fact that same night - I distinctly remember - he was immediately dubbed "the rising star of the party" by some of the network commentators.


A lot of people knew who he was. The whole Jack Ryan Divorce Unsealing thing was a national story.

EDIT: And I should note that no one becomes a national figure until they've received a national platform. Obama used his as well as anyone could have.
   2549. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4210744)

Oh I totally agree. That's what I meant about Obama or Romney campaign officials. It just seems so weird to me that that would apply to an internet message board. Maybe I'm just underestimating the import of these discussions are. I treat these politics discussions as educational. I don't know a great deal about American politics, but I've learned a great deal over the past few years through BTF. For that reason I fully endorse the continuation of these discussions. Despite my sparse contributions I always read them and find them entertaining and endlessly informative.

But the idea that what anyone is saying in this thread is influencing election results...that just blows my mind.


I get what you're saying - and I don't think the great BBTF OTP thread moves a single vote... but it's part of the background noise of a campaign, a "hum" if you will. Marry it with a thousand other message boards, which bleed into a thousand more individual discussions offline, which eventually bleed into a thousand other media reports... and that's how it happens.

Going back to Gore's 'earthy tones' -- I could be wrong, but I don't think the Bush campaign ever suggested that the media ask about Gore's ties.

Again - I really do think that the disparity between campaign skills and performance has, at the moment, made the Obama campaign a measurable favorite... but whatever I can contribute to that little 'hum' in the background that might someday sprout into a narrative, all the better.
   2550. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4210745)
Nobody knew who he was until he gave the speech at the 2004 convention, after which, in fact that same night - I distinctly remember - he was immediately dubbed "the rising star of the party" by some of the network commentators.


Well, Ray, here's something to consider while you're laughing.

Barack Obama wrote that speech he gave in 2004. The one that catapulted him into the national eye, drove his name recognition, drove his political career, and led to him reaping massive earnings via his memoirs on the free market for literature in America.

Laughable, I know. A man, doing things he is good at and making money off of them. Not your sort of idea, obviously...
   2551. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4210746)
Nobody knew who he was until he gave the speech at the 2004 convention, after which, in fact that same night - I distinctly remember - he was immediately dubbed "the rising star of the party" by some of the network commentators.
Speaking at a convention != public service.

Obama is a great speaker, he was given an opportunity at the age of 40-something to give a big speech on national television, and he nailed it. What that has to do with "public service" you're going to have to explain to me. That Obama held office at the time was only a very small part of the reason he got the opportunity, and has nothing to do with how well he took advantage of the opportunity.
   2552. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4210748)
I am still curious whether political commentators' wealth is 'unseemly' for the same reason Obama's is...
   2553. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4210749)
Speaking at a convention != public service.


That's the slight of hand game Joe is trying to play. It's obviously untrue and noone with an even semi-working frontal cortex would buy into the idea.
   2554. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4210752)
Without the opportunity to present that speech, he'd be today at best a Senator. But without his ability to take complete advantage of that opportunity, he might just be another Bobby Jindal.

So, what you and Joe are saying to Obama re: his wealth, at heart, is "you didn't make that?"


In fact I'm saying (and agreeing with) exactly what Obama was saying when he made that "you didn't build that" comment. Which has absolutely nothing in common with the penny ante nitpicking points that Joe and Ray have been belaboring. All I'm saying is that he positioned himself to take advantage of his rare opportunity to present himself to a national audience. Without that opportunity, though, he wasn't likely to become president, or for that matter to have gotten all those book royalties. That's just a simple fact that Obama himself would be the first to acknowledge.

   2555. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4210756)
BTW - we really ought to note... Michelle Obama was an associate at Sidley Austin, while Obama likewise worked at Sidley (I think he only did a summer there, though). While Obama had served as a state senator and 'guest lectured' at University of Chicago Law -- I have a strong suspicion that had he never made that 2004 speech and just decided "enough of this politics stuff", he and his wife would probably be pretty fabulously wealthy by this time anyway.

Sidley's a pretty big firm with a lot of revenue, and both the Obamas had pretty strong resumes to make them into eventual firm rainmakers.
   2556. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4210761)
That's the slight of hand game Joe is trying to play. It's obviously untrue and noone with an even semi-working frontal cortex would buy into the idea.

Just because we haven't had an etymology* thread in a while...I think the phrase you're looking for is "sleight of hand", from the Norse word for craftiness.

*Just to mitigate my image as a pedantic prick, I always have to look up the distinction between "etymology", which I'm fascinated by, and "entomology" which I am disgusted by.
   2557. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4210762)
Without the opportunity to present that speech, he'd be today at best a Senator. But without his ability to take complete advantage of that opportunity, he might just be another Bobby Jindal.

Heh. This actually matches up with the commentary of a friend of mine. (He's a bit more "in the know" when it comes to American politics). When we watched the 2004 Convention I had never heard of Obama, and he said "this is the guy the Democrats are grooming to be their next big presidential candidate". When I first heard of Jindal I asked him if he was a legit dude and he said "he's the guy the Republicans are grooming to be their Obama".

At least superficially it appears like Obama was a bit better at seizing the opportunity.


Obama: Jindal = Fire: Firefly.

Hell, if Jindal weren't a loudly proclaimed Republican, half of his party would be demanding to check his papers.
   2558. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4210765)
Obama: Jindal = Fire: Firefly. Hell, if Jindal weren't a loudly proclaimed Republican, half of his party would be demanding to check his papers.

For a second I was about to head to imdb.com to see what made the TV show Fire so much better than Firefly before realizing you were saying something else.
   2559. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4210771)
the fact that Obama can't get to 50 percent in either the national polling or the battleground-state polling.

By definition, battleground states are the states in which the candidates tend not to hit 50%.
   2560. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4210773)
Just because we haven't had an etymology* thread in a while...I think the phrase you're looking for is "sleight of hand", from the Norse word for craftiness.


Yeah, I thought about which one to use for like, two seconds. Then I figured I didn't feel like Googling up the correct usage on a lazy Friday afternoon.

Today, in honor of Ray DiPerna, we drink dark and stormy's with Kraken.
   2561. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4210775)
BTW - we really ought to note... Michelle Obama was an associate at Sidley Austin, while Obama likewise worked at Sidley (I think he only did a summer there, though).


Yup. If the Obama's had stayed devoted to private practice they would be doing just fine. When I started at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, first year associates made six figures plus bonus, with yearly raises up to partner. If you think either Obama wouldn't have made partner, you know nothing at all about large law firms.
   2562. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4210777)
That Obama held office at the time was only a very small part of the reason he got the opportunity,
Speaking at a convention != public service.

How many keynote speakers at national political conventions are not only non-politicians but unknown non-politicians? Are you claiming Obama would have been just as likely to have been invited to give that speech if he was still a community organizer or an associate at Sidley Austin at the time, and/or if he didn't have national political aspirations?

After Obama had served as a state senator and 'guest lectured' at University of Chicago -- I have a strong suspicion that had he never made that 2004 speech and just decided "enough of this politics stuff", he and his wife would probably be pretty fabulously wealthy by this time anyway.

So we're to assume that had Obama not given that speech in 2004, he would have, at age 43, magically put his career into overdrive and made millions over the past 7 years, the last five of which have been the worst U.S. economy since the 1930s?
   2563. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4210778)

Unless Obama reinvented himself in 2004, his charisma and writing skills had barely put $10 in his pocket over the first 40 years of his life. His credit card was infamously declined at the 2000 Dem convention, when he was almost 40 years old.


I'll just re-emphasize what I said in 2555 -- both he and his wife had law degrees from ivy league schools. They both worked at one of the nation's premier law firms. As a consequence of those educations, they also had significant educational debt -- as most people not born into wealth do when they have 14 totals of private education between them -- but I find the idea that Obama/the Obamas would be or were 'failures' until the public till came along a little insulting.

When you compare that to say -- George W Bush -- well... come on...

I suppose Mitt Romney can make a little better case -- but hey, getting free ivy league degrees on dad's dime doesn't hurt your chances of success either.
   2564. robinred Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4210780)
Greg,

I think the best way to think in BTF Terms about the election stuff you are talking about is the baseball comparison. There is a lot of contextual data out there now about baseball teams and baseball players, and what we see a lot here at BTF is people focusing on the data that makes it seem better for their teams' chances and diminishing or ignoring the rest.

And if you look at this thread, you see that here. Kehoskie focuses on the numbers that make Romney's chances look better, and tends to diminish or ignore the rest, (notice how he always talks about Nate Silver's being a liberal, instead of just evaluating Silver's numbers) and some of the Dems do the same things on the other side. Doesn't mean anybody is wrong or dumb. Obama's approval ratings are not great, but there is a lot of data out there that indicates that he will win the Electoral College.

As for me, I mostly agree with MCOA. I think Romney picked Ryan because

a) Romney is a stiff, superrich, patrician, and Ryan is none of those things.
b) It simplifies the message: we have a business guy and a budget guy, so we are the guys to get the country's economy working again and to get the deficit under control, instead of these tax-and-spend liberal bozos over here. You aren't better off now than you were four years ago, so vote for us.

And, Obama/Biden's message will be simple, too: these are exactly the types of guys that got us into this mess in the first place, the mess that we are working our way out of: tax-cuts-for-the-rich GOP pols and superrich money guys, and now they want to dick around with Medicare and will do stuff to make it easier on the 1%. We are the guys who understand the kitchen table conversations, so vote for us.

As to who will win, I think Obama will win a very close race, but it could certainly change.

   2565. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4210781)
Obama is a great speaker, he was given an opportunity at the age of 40-something to give a big speech on national television, and he nailed it. What that has to do with "public service" you're going to have to explain to me.


Well, I'll allow you to explain it to yourself, since you just explained it in your very next sentence:

That Obama held office at the time was only a very small part of the reason he got the opportunity, and has nothing to do with how well he took advantage of the opportunity.


He held public office at the time. That's why he got the opportunity. As to why he got the opportunity over other politicians, and ran with the opportunity, well, maybe Biden was onto something:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," Biden said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."

   2566. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4210782)
BTW - we really ought to note... Michelle Obama was an associate at Sidley Austin, while Obama likewise worked at Sidley (I think he only did a summer there, though). While Obama had served as a state senator and 'guest lectured' at University of Chicago Law -- I have a strong suspicion that had he never made that 2004 speech and just decided "enough of this politics stuff", he and his wife would probably be pretty fabulously wealthy by this time anyway.

Sidley's a pretty big firm with a lot of revenue, and both the Obamas had pretty strong resumes to make them into eventual firm rainmakers.

I liked the parts of Obama's book where he talked about courting Michelle, but the rest was pretty much unmemorable pabulum.
M: "I can't date you, I'm your supervisor."
B: "OK, then: I quit. Now will you go out with me?"
WINNER.

Anyway, there is no evidence whatsoever that Michelle Obama was anything special as a lawyer. She got a job at a big firm, where she did IP law for four years before she became more of a fundraiser / board member person. Even a fourth-year associate in that situation is extremely unlikely to have ever seen the inside of a courtroom, or even to file a brief under their own name. She has not practiced law at any time beyond "big firm fourth-year associate." She proved to be very good at bringing in money, but her career seems so tied to Barack's at that point it's hard to tell how much of that is her, and how much of that is "wife of rising politician guy."
   2567. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4210784)

So we're to assume that had Obama not given that speech in 2004, he would have, at age 43, magically put his career into overdrive and made millions over the past 7 years, the last five of which have been the worst U.S. economy since the 1930s?


Ivy law degree (including head of the Law Review) + stint in the state senate (even as a 'backbencher') + lecturing at the very prestigious University of Chicago = yes, I think the Obama's would be doing just fine.
   2568. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4210785)
By definition, battleground states are the states in which the candidates tend not to hit 50%.

By definition, there would be no battleground states at all if Obama had been north of 50 percent in the national polls for the past six months.
   2569. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4210790)
He held public office at the time. That's why he got the opportunity.

No. There's nothing that says a party's biggest rising star at convention time has to be a public officeholder. It could be a prominent private citizen running for office in November. If he gave a great speech, lost, and wrote a memoir about his run for office, he would never have been an office holder, yet made a bunch of money off his political experiences.

I'm not going to trouble myself with the details, but Bill Buckley for NYC mayor in 1965 probably kind of fits this model.
   2570. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4210792)
I just see the one world society, market, government as being hell on earth.


Damn straight, but its being shoved down our throats as an inevitability anyway.
   2571. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4210793)
Anyway, there is no evidence whatsoever that Michelle Obama was anything special as a lawyer.


But she would have been a very, very special partner. Attractive, qualified, charismatic minority woman? No brainer. Someone else can try the cases, just make it rain.
   2572. Tripon Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4210796)
Hey, lets talk about how everyone makes money.
   2573. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4210800)
I'm curious, Joe --

If George W Bush had been born in Pisspatch, Texarkana and raised by a single mom rather than into the Connecticut Bushes -- hell, I'll even give this version of George W Bush a mixed race heritage, so he can have the advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that affords a person...

Where do you think he'd be today?
   2574. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4210806)
Yup. If the Obama's had stayed devoted to private practice they would be doing just fine. When I started at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, first year associates made six figures plus bonus, with yearly raises up to partner. If you think either Obama wouldn't have made partner, you know nothing at all about large law firms.


Actually, I do know something at all about large law firms, and I know that not everyone makes partner at them. WTF?

This is not to say that they couldn't have made partner; we'll never know, since they didn't choose that career track. (Although Michelle seems to have been kind of on that track at one point.) I'm sure they could have. But firms just don't magically make anyone partner; you do need to do something first.

How were they doing financially before Barack became a rock star? (I'm asking; I don't have the answer.) I presume they'd have lived comfortable lives if he wasn't anointed a celebrity (well, not that there is that much money in community organizing, but they're both smart enough to make a comfortable living on their own), but it is his celebrity status that took them into the 12 million range.
   2575. steagles Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4210811)
I'm curious, Joe --

If George W Bush had been born in Pisspatch, Texarkana and raised by a single mom rather than into the Connecticut Bushes -- hell, I'll even give this version of George W Bush a mixed race heritage, so he can have the advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that affords a person...

Where do you think he'd be today?
do you remember that tim mccarver anecdote, where he was on a bus in spring training, and bob gibson had an ice cream cone, and took a bite out of it, and then said, "i don't think i can finish this, do you want a bite?"

yeah, i kind of see bush's life being something like that.
   2576. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4210812)
But she would have been a very, very special partner. Attractive, qualified, charismatic minority woman? No brainer. Someone else can try the cases, just make it rain.

No question there.
I just always think it's weird when she's described as some kind of brilliant lawyer, when there's no evidence of that.
The same thing goes for BHO, of course - maybe he would've been a great civil rights lawyer, but nothing in his actual career suggests that he was anything special by the time he gave it up.

I should note that this isn't any kind of knock on either of them - heck, nobody was talking about Abraham Lincoln as one of America's Greatest Lawyers in the 25 years he practiced before becoming President* - but simply that it's important to distinguish between the actual practice of law, and all the "attractive / qualified / charismatic / minority" stuff. They would probably have been good at anything they put their minds to, and good for them.


* EDIT - I'm pretty sure Lincoln was the greatest lawyer who actually became President, and he was in fact a darn good lawyer for that place and time. He just didn't get the big ol' folksy barrel of awesomeness myth treatment until after he was elected.
   2577. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4210813)
I know that not everyone makes partner at them. WTF?


Not everyone does, but certain individuals are shoe-ins, provided they're willing to commit to becoming partner. The notion that Barack Obama, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES BARACK OBAMA, could not have made partner at Sidley Austin if he wanted to, is silly.

He chose, instead, to go into politics. Turned out pretty well for him, methinks.
   2578. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4210816)

How were they doing financially before Barack became a rock star? (I'm asking; I don't have the answer.) I presume they'd have lived comfortable lives if he wasn't anointed a celebrity (well, not that there is that much money in community organizing, but they're both smart enough to make a comfortable living on their own), but it is his celebrity status that took them into the 12 million range.


According to the financial statements from his time in the IL statehouse -- they were pretty thrifty... generally didn't carry a CC balance, had pretty hefty student loan debts (that were paid off when his first book hit it big after 2004) - but in all actuality, probably precisely the types of people who sort of fit in the crack between upper class and "rich"... the sort of people who probably do get jobbed by the AMT, etc.
   2579. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4210817)
Ivy law degree (including head of the Law Review) + stint in the state senate (even as a 'backbencher') + lecturing at the very prestigious University of Chicago = yes, I think the Obama's would be doing just fine.

Why is "stint in the state senate" included in that calculus? I thought the whole point of this was to show how Obama was, or would have been, a huge success without any of the "public service" aspects?

Until the media started swooning over Obama in 2004, he had substantially underperformed relative to his Ivy League creds. He may have underperformed by choice — i.e., the community-organizing business rather than Big Law — but it's a hell of a leap to claim that we'd all know about Barack Obama if he had decided politics were beneath him.
   2580. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4210819)
The notion that Barack Obama, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES BARACK OBAMA, could not have made partner at Sidley Austin if he wanted to, is silly.

Correct. Once you realize that "becoming partner" isn't something YOU do, but something the firm does FOR you, it becomes pretty obvious.
   2581. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4210821)
[I both want Romney to win and believe Romney will win, based on]... the fact that Obama can't get to 50 percent in either the national polling or the battleground-state polling.

By definition, battleground states are the states in which the candidates tend not to hit 50%.

By definition, there would be no battleground states at all if Obama had been north of 50 percent in the national polls for the past six months.


Since when is it ordinary for a candidate to hold a 51% plurality before primary season and maintain it for the entire election year? Obama didn't do it. GWB didn't do it, either time. Clinton didn't, either time. Bush Sr. didn't. Reagan didn't do it, including in 1984. Carter, nope. Nixon didn't do it, including in 1972. Using your standard, it's a marvel anyone ever gets elected.
   2582. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4210822)
Why is "stint in the state senate" included in that calculus? I thought the whole point of this was to show how Obama was, or would have been, a huge success without any of the "public service" aspects?


The fact that you are idiotically blind to the skill and intelligence required of public servants - see how I dropped the stupid scare quotes there? - doesn't mean everyone is equally dumb, Joe.
   2583. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4210825)

Why is "stint in the state senate" included in that calculus? I thought the whole point of this was to show how Obama was, or would have been, a huge success without any of the "public service" aspects?

Until the media started swooning over Obama in 2004, he had substantially underperformed relative to his Ivy League creds. He may have underperformed by choice — i.e., the community-organizing business rather than Big Law — but it's a hell of a leap to claim that we'd all know about Barack Obama if he had decided politics were beneath him.


Well, 'state senator' isn't really all that 'celebrity' -- I thought the discussion was more about public service as a vehicle to celebrity (and as such, riches). If he had left the IL State Senate, he wouldn't have been a celebrity -- but wouldn't it be something you'd put on a resume, and almost certainly, something a law firm would see as a good thing?
   2584. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4210829)
Not everyone does, but certain individuals are shoe-ins, provided they're willing to commit to becoming partner. The notion that Barack Obama, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES BARACK OBAMA, could not have made partner at Sidley Austin if he wanted to, is silly.

Wait, didn't liberals spend 8 years telling us that merely being successful as a politician means nothing about a person's actual intelligence or capabilities? I distinctly remember hearing allegations that the Ivy League-educated George W. Bush was little more than a dope who glad-handed himself to the Oval Office. Why are we now assuming Obama, whose pre-White House career was far inferior to Bush's, would have set the business world on fire?
   2585. The Good Face Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4210830)
We are all equal.


Ummmm...

Equal in value


No.

equal in dignity


Oh my no.

equal in standing before the law


Mostly, more or less.

These are two entirely different things, and no one wants everybody to be the same.


Hahaha. You're either lying to yourself or us with that one.
   2586. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4210837)
Wait, didn't liberals spend 8 years telling us that merely being successful as a politician means nothing about a person's actual intelligence or capabilities?


I agree. But political skills mean a lot more as a Big Law rainmaker than intelligence or ability.

Do not get me wrong here. I think Barack Obama is a substandard president. I also think the things that have made him successful in politics and in life are the exact things that would make him successful in private practice. I am being fairly cynical here. Even if Obama had been the worst lawyer in the firm, they would have found a way to leverage his charisma, eloquance, salesmanship and "handsome, well-spoken minority man" status into rainmaking ability.

He was a law firm's dream.


   2587. GregD Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4210841)
I should note that this isn't any kind of knock on either of them - heck, nobody was talking about Abraham Lincoln as one of America's Greatest Lawyers in the 25 years he practiced before becoming President* - but simply that it's important to distinguish between the actual practice of law, and all the "attractive / qualified / charismatic / minority" stuff. They would probably have been good at anything they put their minds to, and good for them.
I'm mostly agreeing with you, but Lincoln was a big figure in what was seen as kind of a legal backwater. He had handled more cases for the Illinois Central than any other attorney and he had supposedly been offered $10k to be chief counsel for New York Central. He was a very significant (and prosperous) railroad lawyer and respected there. Though Stanton had mocked and excluded him in the McCormick Reaper case.
   2588. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4210842)

Wait, didn't liberals spend 8 years telling us that merely being successful as a politician means nothing about a person's actual intelligence or capabilities? I distinctly remember hearing allegations that the Ivy League-educated George W. Bush was little more than a dope who glad-handed himself to the Oval Office. Why are we now assuming Obama, whose pre-White House career was far inferior to Bush's, would have set the business world on fire?


Maybe I missed it, but what precisely was Bush's pre-WH career?

Perhaps it's the liberal media's influence on me, but my recollection is that frat-boyed his way to 30, lost a House race, started an oil company (backed by friends of his dad) which went bust, then worked on his dad's Presidential campaign, then led a group that bought the Texas Rangers, who built a lovely new park on the state dime.

Precisely which part of Bush's non-political career is supposed to impress me?
   2589. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4210850)
Since when is it ordinary for a candidate to hold a 51% plurality before primary season and maintain it for the entire election year? Obama didn't do it. GWB didn't do it, either time. Clinton didn't, either time. Bush Sr. didn't. Reagan didn't do it, including in 1984. Carter, nope. Nixon didn't do it, including in 1972. Using your standard, it's a marvel anyone ever gets elected.

Is this supposed to be a rebuttal? Almost that entire list shows that incumbents who are under 50 percent face tough reelection battles. GWB barely scraped by in 2004; his father lost in '92; and Carter was crushed in '80. (Your claim about Reagan in '84 is dubious. He was never less than +10 in approval, with a high of +25, and he was a clear favorite throughout the campaign.)
   2590. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4210853)
Maybe I missed it, but what precisely was Bush's pre-WH career?


Joe wishes to equate cynicism over the worldly success of a guy born to privilege and wealth (Bush, Romney) over cynicism over the worldly success of a clearly self-made man (Obama.) It has nothing to do with logic or reason and everything to do with flying the right team's colors. If Joe were a Royals fan he'd spend hours explaining to you how much real value Jeff Francoeur brings to the team with his winning smile.

Ask him if Ronald Reagan was any more self-made than John Kerry.
   2591. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4210855)
I'm mostly agreeing with you, but Lincoln was a big figure in what was seen as kind of a legal backwater. He had handled more cases for the Illinois Central than any other attorney and he had supposedly been offered $10k to be chief counsel for New York Central. He was a very significant (and prosperous) railroad lawyer and respected there. Though Stanton had mocked and excluded him in the McCormick Reaper case.

Right, but describing him as a "railroad lawyer" limits the perception of his practice, which was much more "whatever comes in the door." He did a lot of property / railroad work - mostly for the railroads, but sometimes against them. He seemed unusually attuned to how important the issues being raised in those cases were, but not enough to make it the exclusive focus of his practice. He was good, but he wasn't, I don't know, Edward Bennett or Gerry Spence or somebody like that.
I'm basing most of this on my memory of the recent "Lincoln the Lawyer" book, which I recommend highly.

Favorite tidbit: Lincoln was a total slob, and his office was nearly always a mess. He and his partner kept a big bag crammed with random crap in one corner of the office, and the bag had a sign on it reading "If you've looked everywhere else & couldn't find it, try looking in here."
   2592. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4210856)
Maybe I missed it, but what precisely was Bush's pre-WH career?

Perhaps it's the liberal media's influence on me, but my recollection is that frat-boyed his way to 30, lost a House race, started an oil company (backed by friends of his dad) which went bust, then worked on his dad's Presidential campaign, then led a group that bought the Texas Rangers, who built a lovely new park on the state dime.

Well, Bush was flying fighter jets in his early 20s. Based on pilot salaries, that seems like a skill that would have translated out in the real world.

That aside, how many eight- or nine-figure business deals did Barack Obama put together before his Illinois legislature days?

It's comical that people who hate George W. Bush for political reasons can't even admit, ON A BASEBALL SITE, that he was a good, hands-on baseball owner. The post-GWB Texas Rangers look a hell of a lot better than the laughingstock pre-GWB Rangers.
   2593. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4210857)
Even if Obama had been the worst lawyer in the firm, they would have found a way to leverage his charisma, eloquance, salesmanship and "handsome, well-spoken minority man" status into rainmaking ability.

He was a law firm's dream.


I presume Obama is/was a good lawyer. But let's assume for the sake of argument that he wasn't. In well over a decade of practicing law -- and I am in the IP sector as Michelle was -- I have yet to run into a partner at a law firm who sucks as a lawyer.

Law firms do not make incompetent lawyers into partners.
   2594. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4210862)
How difficult would it have been to become a candidate for any political office in the Chicago-area? I mean I would imagine once you became a Democratic nominee it would be pretty easy, but to become the nominee it has to be pretty difficult.
   2595. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4210863)
Ask him if Ronald Reagan was any more self-made than John Kerry.


Actually, Reagan - I'd have given him... I mean, smalltown Illinois boy moves to Hollywood and stars in timeless classics like Bedtime for Bonzo? In a different age, he might become Zack Galifinakis or even Adam Sandler.
   2596. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4210864)
These are two entirely different things, and no one wants everybody to be the same.

Hahaha. You're either lying to yourself or us with that one.


Yeah, that one was pretty absurd. Liberalism pretends there are no differences between people; men, women, black, white, gay, straight. Etc.

The only "difference" they acknowledge as meaningful is rich vs. poor.
   2597. ASmitty Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4210866)
Law firms do not make incompetent lawyers into partners.


Define incompetent, I suppose. I worked with an attorney at K&E who was, frankly, not very good at corporate law. But he was a likeable, attractive, industrious man. The firm moved him to Pro-bono coordinator, where he became more or less a manager and outreach guy who helped set up pro-bono projects to help with morale and firm image. He did very well in that essentially non-legal capacity. A few years later he made partner on schedule and was one of the faces of the firm, doing presentations and other managerial/political things.

I was hyperbolic in stating that a firm would put up with utter dead weight. But there are plenty of ways a firm could use Obama's skills outside of the nuts and bolts of legal practice. On the recruiting trail alone he would be worth his weight in gold.
   2598. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4210869)
I'm curious, Joe --

If George W Bush had been born in Pisspatch, Texarkana and raised by a single mom rather than into the Connecticut Bushes -- hell, I'll even give this version of George W Bush a mixed race heritage, so he can have the advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that affords a person...

Where do you think he'd be today?

Is this supposed to conjure a parallel to Obama? Obama was raised by his white mother and white middle-class grandparents in Hawaii, not some Chicago slum. From the looks of things — and his steadfast refusal to release his college grades — Obama was afforded all sorts of opportunities in his early life.
   2599. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4210871)
It's comical that people who hate George W. Bush for political reasons can't even admit, ON A BASEBALL SITE, that he was a good, hands-on baseball owner. The post-GWG Texas Rangers look a hell of a lot better than the laughingstock pre-GWB Rangers.

I think Bush was a successful owner (as I said in another thread), but there are a lot of ways to judge someone's work in that role (profitability, team success, political wrangling, etc...) - and I can understand (though not accept) arguments against him.
There's also the idea that he only got that opportunity because of his familial/political connections - that it certainly wasn't because of his (relatively) meager financial stake... that would tie in with some of the talk of privilege that's come up in the broader discussion. But - you already know that...
   2600. zonk Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4210872)
How many eight- or nine-figure business deals did Barack Obama put together before his Illinois legislature days?

It's comical that people who hate George W. Bush for political reasons can't even admit, ON A BASEBALL SITE, that he was a good, hands-on baseball owner. The post-GWB Texas Rangers look a hell of a lot better than the laughingstock pre-GWB Rangers.


Seriously? You're arguing that having a wealthy father from a prestigious family makes it all that difficult to put together "8 or 9 figure deals"? I'm pretty sure Paris Hilton has likewise inked multiple "8 or 9 figure deals" -- I mean, she was instrumental in creating The Simple Life and it was a pretty big hit...

Am I to be impressed by Paris Hilton?
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