Monday, June 30, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Taken right across the street from the court house:

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (2)|
By Steven L. Taylor

Some lunchtime funnies: Click.

Via Chris Lawrence‘s shared items.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Politico: Romney tops McCain veep list

Surprising many Republican insiders, Mitt Romney is at the top of the vice-presidential prospect list for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). But lack of personal chemistry could derail the pick.

“Romney as favorite” is the hot buzz in Republican circles, and top party advisers said the case is compelling.

I have to wonder, however, how anyone can know that Romney is on the top of McCain’s veep list, despite whatever the “hot buzz” may be.

The article suggests that a key reason that Romney may be appealing is because of his alleged ability to raise money:

McCain sources tell Politico that they believe Romney could raise $50 million in 60 days. One close Romney adviser said it could even be $60 million.

The operative theory there being that there are a lot of loaded Mormons for Romney to tap. We shall see.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (8)|
By Steven L. Taylor

John Aravosis at Americablog asks, in a headline, Honestly, besides being tortured, what did McCain do to excel in the military? stating “It’s not “nice” to ask the question, but it’s actually a pretty good question.”

Ok, I will grant that being a POW does not equal direct preparation for being President of the United States, nor does it tell one anything about the person’s military record prior to capture, but I fail to see how bringing it up in this way is a) much of an argument or b) damaging to McCain.

There is little doubt that this particular portion of McCain biography is powerful and generates sympathy (reasons enough for political opponents of McCain to leave it alone). Further, because he withstood the torture that was unleashed upon him, and refused to be released early as well as refused to be used as a tool of North Vietnamese propaganda,1 all speak to strength of character, which certainly is evidence of leadership potential, and therefore a possible reason why he should the whole affair can be seen as an argument for his readiness to be the President.

Beyond that, having been a soldier in tough times might make him more empathetic to the plight of our soldiers currently in battle, and having been tortured should make him more prone to refuse Bush administration policies in terms of prisoner treatment. As such, this slice of biography is no small line in the resume that he is proffering to the American people.

As such, I am sure that the McCain campaign is ecstatic that supporters for Obama are going around raising the question of McCain’s military service.

And the Blogosphere isn’t the only place that the issue is being raised. General Wesley Clark is also bringing it up, as he did on Face the Nation this weekend (source: the Politico):

“I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.”

To be fair, is anyone saying that being shot down is what makes McCain qualified? Not only is that a simplification, it has (like the Americablog post noted above) the potential to simultaneously make Clark look bad for seeming to be dismissive of McCain’s war record while reminding people of that record. None of this is smart politics.2

I concur with James Joyner: “it’s a dangerous game for him [Obama] to send out surrogates to minimize McCain’s service.” And while Obama may not have known that that was what Clark was going to say, the bottom line is that that Obama campaign need to try and control the message that their allies are spreading, especially in major venues like the Sunday shows.

Ben Smith at the Politico looks into some examples of this issue here: Some on left target McCain’s war record.

I can see, at this stage, nothing fruitful for the Obama camp coming from attacks on McCain’s military service. The only thing that is vaguely useful for them is that Viet Nam was a long time ago, and it may underscore McCain’s age. However, there are plenty of other ways to do that. They also have to remember that the reason that John Kerry’s military service was a viable avenue for attack is what Kerry did after he returned from Viet Nam. Kerry’s antiwar activities retroactively tainted his military service in the eyes of many. McCain’s tenure as a tortured POW practically sanctifies his military service. As such, Obama and his allies would be wise to forget using it as a fruitful route for critique.

  1. Yes, there was at least one anti-American statement that McCain made after being tortured, but he also took beatings when he refused to do other such statements. Further, the fact that he refused early release if his fellow captives where not also released demonstrated a great deal of character. He refused special treatment that he could have received because his father was an admiral. []
  2. As a side note, bringing up McCain’s lack of executive experience (“he hasn’t held executive responsibility”) doesn’t exactly help Clark’s preferred candidate, either. As such, more “unsmartness.” []
Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (9)|
Sunday, June 29, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Here’s the deal: when it comes to statements made in public by a politician, if that politician’s supporters (or really, anyone) have to come back and defend a comment by “what he/she really meant was…” it was a poor statement.

To wit: McCain’s gasoline comment noted in the previous post.

Also, a note: it is possible to comment on how a comment will play in the public without endorsing the way that comment is being interpreted. I have noted several times when I have posted something along the lines of the previous post and people proceed to tell me how the interpretation in question isn’t fair or that the speaker didn’t mean what I am saying they meant. If one pays attention, I am not normally endorsing a particular interpretation but commenting on the political significance (as I see it) of the statement.

Politicians make any number of statements that can be unfairly used by the opposition. Just because I can see how that statement can be so used doesn’t mean that I endorse that meaning. The sad fact of the matter is, the meaning of a statement (and its broader context) is usually not what really matters. What it sounds like to the casual listener (especially if it is commercial-worthy) is more important in terms of the political salience of the utterance in question.

It would be nice if that wasn’t the case, but nonetheless, that’s the way it is.

(Another recent example of me trying to address how something will play to the public, but having some of the commenters miss that point is here).

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (3)|
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the OC Register‘s Total Buzz blog: Total Buzz’s Q&A with John McCain

When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?
Oh, I don’t remember. Now there’s Secret Service protection. But I’ve done it for many, many years. I don’t recall and frankly, I don’t see how it matters.

Look, it is pretty obvious that Senator McCain (like Senators Obama and Clinton, to name two others) doesn’t pump his own gas. And the notion that he wouldn’t know the exact price the last time that a vehicle in which he was riding was filled is perfectly understandable (indeed, what are the odds that said vehicle was filled up while McCain was in it?).

However, this is a politically stupid answer, especially the last part (highlighted above). On one level, he’s right: it doesn’t matter if a given candidate can cite the exact price of a gallon of gas at any given moment in time. However, given the political saliency of the issue, it is entirely unwise to say anything that makes one sound indifferent or dismissive of the issue–even if the honest to gosh truth is that the next President is going to be able to do precious little to change the price of gasoline.

h/t: Think Progress

Update: If it makes Patrick Frey (see comments below also) happy, I will concede that the question was not about how much gas was the last time McCain was in a vehicle that was pumped full of gas, but the last time that McCain himself pumped gas. However, that really isn’t the point of my post and does not mitigate my basic point.

See also: James Joyner.

Also, the fact that this much splainin’ is necessary, proves the basic point I am trying to make here.

One last thing: I never thought for a moment that McCain didn’t know the basics of the price of a gallon of gas.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (21)|
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Times of London: Robert Mugabe’s thugs shout: ‘Let’s kill the baby’.

Beyond the hideous tale that makes up the headline, the whole piece is worth reading as it discusses organization of systemic violence against the opposition.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Mugabe claims ‘sweeping victory’blockquote>”The returns show that we are winning convincingly, that we have won in all the 26 constituencies in Harare, an MDC stronghold where we won in only one constituency in March. That is the trend,” Mr Mugabe said in footage broadcast on state television.

A shocking turn of events! I mean, who would have expected such an outcome given that his opponent had withdrawn from the race and given all the violence launched against the opposition?

All snark aside, the political battles in Zimbabwe are far from over:

In interviews published in British newspapers on Sunday, Mr Tsvangirai said he would push for negotiations with Mr Mugabe on a new constitution and fresh elections.

“We have the power to control parliament, and that is recognised even by Mugabe’s Zanu-PF… We must force a transitional agreement for a set time-frame and work towards a new constitution for Zimbabwe,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

“I am confident we can achieve that if international pressure keeps up,” he added.

Given the way Mugabe and his thugs have behaved over the run-off, I would say that is all rather optimistic (to put it mildly).

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
Saturday, June 28, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

To answer at least part of the question I asked about Uribe’s suggestion for a redo of the 2024 election, it appears that the goal is not to extend his term. Via El Tiempo: Repetición de elecciones presidenciales serían sólo para validar mandato de Uribe hasta 2024 (“Election Repeat Would be only to validate Uribe’s Term until 2024″).

Así lo explicaron asesores del mandatario, ante la confusión que generó la propuesta de éste de llamar a referendo para despejar dudas sobre la legitimidad de su período 2024-2010.


So explained advisers to the president in response to the confusion generated by the proposal for a referendum to to dispel doubts about the legitimacy of the 2024 elections.

The article goes on to state that he is not seeking to extend his term with this proposal and it is solely in response to the questions about the legitimacy of the amendment that allowed re-election by the Supreme Court of Justice.1

The line of the article is this:

La propuesta del Presidente, de proponer una ley para convocar un referendo, en el que a su vez los colombianos decidan si se repiten las elecciones del 2024, planteó más preguntas que respuestas


The president’s proposal [to hold the referendum] raises more questions than answers.

No kidding.

Indeed, Greg Weeks asks several, which include the following:

–If this goes through, would congressional elections also be repeated? This is what the president of the Congress suggests

I have no answer, but it prompts me to say: what a mess that would create. I suppose as one who studies Colombian elections I should applaud the chance to add to the number of elections I have to study. In all seriousness, however, this hardly seems a healthy route for Colombian institutions. There is no doubt that Uribe would win a confirming referendum, but electing a new Congress? What a mess.

–Does such a referendum have a legal basis?

Currently, there is no provision in Colombia law for a “redo.” However, what Uribe wants is a constitutional amendment to allow this action. Article 378 of the Colombian Constitution allows for the government to propose to the Congress an amendment in the form of a referendum which has to be approved by both chambers of Congress.2 The results of the referendum (if they approve the measure) are valid only if 25% of the electorate participate in the election. While this may seem like a low threshold, there was a package of reforms put to the voters in Uribe’s first term that largely failed to pass based on low turn-out.

–Even if it does, is it worth all the money, hassle, and confusion?3

I personally cannot see any justification for it. Not only would it be a waste of money, but it strikes me as an incredible perversion of the constitution to go about amending it for such a specific issue just because the President is angry at the Supreme Court of Justice.

–Finally, why does he make such a declaration at midnight? He needs a vacation.


Governing by fit of pique isn’t a good idea, let’s say.

  1. Specifically with the Sala Penal. []
  2. This is not, by the way, the only way to amend the constitution. []
  3. Yes, likely a rhetoric question, but since when has that ever stopped an academic? Or, for that matter, a blogger? And Katy bar the door for a bloggin’ academic. []
Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (4)|
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the LAT: Zimbabwe presidential election a farce, many say

“Many” meaning everyone except Mugabe and members of ZANU-PF, yes?

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
Next Page »

blog advertising is good for you

Visitors Since 2/15/03

Wikio - Top of the Blogs - Politics



Powered by WordPress