Why on earth is this appropriate to dig up? Would you run for president or veep if you knew that everything you had ever done before in your life would be dug up like this?
You’re ensuring that no one decent ever runs for president.
Well, I’m flattered you think I have that much influence. :)
I think you’re wasting a lot of energy on a loser of an argument. Neither history nor human nature is on your side. The exploitation of private human fallibility for political gain is as old as this country, and probably a lot older than that. The rumors of Thomas Jefferson’s liaisons with Sally Hemmings were printed in Federalist newspapers of the time. The Anti-Federalist papers slandered Alexander Hamilton for being born out of wedlock (as if a bastard was somehow unqualified for building the Coast Guard) as well as his indiscretions with a married woman who later blackmailed him. Whether or not such discussions were appropriate was completely irrelevant — it is human nature to gossip, to communicate the salacious, and you have as good a chance of stopping that as you do eradicating the housefly.
I’m sitting here watching the Cowboys roll over the Browns at the moment, and it strikes me how much political discourse is like football. There are lots of plays in your playbook, often chosen to exploit the other team’s weaknesses. You can run a “not enough experience” route or an “elitism” handoff. There’s the Sarah Palin trick play. You can throw a pass to any particular policy issue. But then there are the unsanctioned things that happen on the field, like spitting in a guy’s eye during a scrum or calling his mom a whore, trying to induce him to throw a personal foul. This is all part of the game.
You can argue that we should raise the level of political discourse in this country — I’m all for that and will back you on it. Hence, my applauding you for starting this little side tumblr. But if you’re going to call the low speak “inappropriate” and argue that it has no place in politics, you’re going to get nowhere, and might even miss out on some opportunities — good, honest, civically responsible opportunities — in the process.
Biden dismantles the GOP.
Obama on O’Reilly. Facing tough questions. Not a coward.
I thought he did a nice job. I’d like to see McCain interviewed by Olbermann.
because everyone loves graphics of how words are used in politics.
Jeff Miller explained why he thinks Non-Libertarians should vote Libertarian. This post and previous posts contain the standard Libertarian strawman about how Democrats all want equality of outcome and how anybody who knows math would rather have a bigger pie than an evenly distributed pie. Wouldn’t it be better to have a bigger pie than a pie cut into even pieces? That way everybody can get more and the world is happier and some libertarians don’t need to think any more than that.
According to this argument, the democrats in general, and Obama specifically, don’t care how big the pie is, so long as it is evenly distributed. In essense, they say, the Democrats want to take your monies, waste a lot of it, and give the rest to lazy people. This would be a pretty damning accusation…if it in any way resembled the truth. The fact is, nobody anybody takes seriously is arguing for an equality of outcome. They all understand that there will be some significant differences in wealth—and that doesn’t bother them.
In fact, nobody is even arguing for a full equality of opportunity. If some schools are good and some schools are great—that’s just how it is. Some are born more able than others—and in our capitalist system, we’ve accepted that they’ll get a bigger share of the pie than others. If your parents are wealthy and want to help you succeed, you’re in a better position than if your parents leave you bleeding in a trash can. A lot of people would love to get as close to equality of opportunity as we can—but ultimately, it’s unclear how it would work practically.
So the idea that Obama is in favor of some radical form of wealth redistribution is silly. It does not bother him that some people will be incredibly rich. That’s the American dream, right? But what about the other end? What about those who work as hard as they can and due to some complex chain of events out of their control end up with nothing? This is not about making sure everybody gets an equal sized slice of the pie—just about making sure that everybody has a reasonable chance at having a slice of the pie. It is about making sure everybody is at least as well off as they would have been in a primative hunter-gatherer situation. Forget equal opportunity—this is about some minimum chance at some opportunity. This is about making sure that people don’t get ground to pulp in the gears of our quasi-free market.
And libertarians should support this effort for a few reasons. First, it might help you sleep at night. If you’re really going to pay your own way, you need to take care of all the bystanders you injure in your rush to the top. This includes doing something about the kid born with no fingers because of the pesticides used to grow your bananna. The market is way too complex for you to track down everybody hurt by your purchasing decisions—but both the harm and responsibility are real and some kind of collective effort to cure both should not be optional.
But if you’re the sort of libertarian that doesn’t care who you harm, so long as you can get away with it, you should still support efforts to ensure that everybody has a minimum level of opportunity. Those people ground to pulp in the gears of the market seriously gum things up. Crime rates go up. Incarceration goes up. We need to use a growing percentage of our resources just to keep things stable.
Obama, unlike many on the left, consistently favors the minimum intervention to get the job done. He doesn’t like stupid inefficiency—including the stupid inefficiency you get from crushing poverty. Unlike many of the country’s leaders, he is not negligently or willfully blind to the problems faced by the country. He wants to represent all of the country—not just the priviledged parts. But he consistently chooses the least coercive methods to accomplish these goals. He is fully aware of both the benefits and the pitfalls of the free market. He isn’t one to manage the market like one would manage a company. Rather, he’s more inclined to clean up the messes it leaves behind and put in place whatever minimal safeguards are necessary to prevent them from happening in the future.