Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘dirty-hippie quasi-pacifistic vegetarian atheists

What’s Happening with MA-SEN?

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Pretty much everyone has now defaulted to “toss-up,” though there are some reasons for Democrats to hope. Josh Marshall matches my sense that renewed enthusiasm on the Dem side may have finally arrested Brown’s momentum, but maybe not in time. (More on that point, and the race in general, here.) Nate Silver tries to put a happy face on things with a post arguing that a blue-state effect could push Coakley over the top, and Chris Bowers has been pushing his own ad-hoc statistical method that he says proves Coakley is still the favorite. But this could all just be wishful thinking.

I’ll predict a Coakley win, but not a big one, and I’ll be pretty nervous Tuesday night. My only real comments about this fiasco are what I tweeted the other night: (1) The Massachusetts Senate race proves there is *literally nothing* Democratic Party leaders can’t screw up and (2) I feel like I, a nonreligious anti-military vegetarian socialist who doesn’t live in the state, could win a Senate race in Massachusetts if I were running as a Democrat. I have no idea how the Democratic leadership could let the Coakley campaign bomb this badly. Wake up, y’all.


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Everyone who’s still awake (Mark Ambinder, Think Progress, Ben Smith) seems to be running with the Biden news. I’m pretty lukewarm, to be honest—I don’t think Biden (D-MBNA) is an interesting enough choice to justify the anticipation that’s been built, and he doesn’t do what Kaine or Warner might have done for us in a major swing state. And Ambinder’s list of pros and cons hits a whole lot of big negatives:

Some liberals think he’s a bully who got the Iraq war wrong (although Biden did try to pass a less bellicose resolution.) . But I suspect that the general response from Democrats will be “Great choice.”

The criticism will focus on Biden’s 1987 plagiarism bout, his support of credit card companies (he pushed the bankruptcy bill that Dems now hate), his comments about Obama, his racial obliviousness (the comment about Indian-Americans in 7/11).

Yeah, that about covers it.

(Though it should be said this so-called “racial obliviousness” actually plays as something of a positive in this context. The Biden choice in this respect is Obama ceremoniously returning the race card to the deck; it’s a not-even-coded reassurance to white Americans that Obama isn’t going to get hung up on race.)

And Biden’s a pitbull, too, which will be nice for a change. His reputation for logorrhea is definitely a plus here as well—nobody will blame Obama when Biden inevitably runs his mouth off, because everybody knows that’s just what Biden does.

So while on balance I would have preferred somebody else, it’s not really an awful choice, and in any event I’ve said before that I’m not the target audience for just about anything that happens in American politics, which is as true of this as it will be of just about everything else Obama does between now and November.

(…unless it’s all an elaborate head-fake. No text yet…)

Written by gerrycanavan

August 23, 2008 at 4:55 am

The New and Not Improved Barack Obama

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The New York Times editorial today goes after the “new and not improved” Barack Obama. These reports of flip-flops are greatly exaggerated—why, it’s almost as if the corporate media were attempting to unfairly shoehorn a Democratic candidate into a well-established negative frame—and to whatever extent that he has shifted to the center, well, welcome to American Politics 101. Armchair Internet pundits would be well-advised to keep in mind a number of fundamental political truths:

* we just aren’t Obama’s target audience right now, and we need to learn to live with that;
* conservative media frames should never be embraced, even when you’re Really Mad about Something Totally Important;
* and, most importantly, the point is to win so we can actually accomplish something, not to be pure and perfect or to Prove That We Were Always Right All Along.

Once we’ve won, and have a Democratic majority in Congress, then we can hold Obama’s feet to the fire; for now, we have to fall in line and let the man do his job and get elected. That’s party politics. You don’t have to like it to recognize we’re stuck with it.

A little pragmatism, please.

General Election Preview (Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong)

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My demographic of dirty-hippie quasi-pacifistic vegetarian atheists (aged 25-29) has had pretty abysmal luck when it comes to preidential politics. Bill Bradley was my guy in the 2000 primary, and the first vote I ever cast for president was for Al Gore. I liked Dean in 2004, and switched to Edwards after Dean dropped out—and of course I voted for Kerry in 2004, with memorable results.

So I’m still a little bit surprised to find that my preferred candidate has somehow managed to actually win, and the Mets fan in me assumes that this is just the universe’s way of having a little bit of fun before things get back to normal.

But November, six months out, really looks like a landslide for the good guys. Chuck Todd’s preview at MSNBC’s First Read draws on polling and demographics to find a very favorable landscape for Obama:

Base Obama: CA, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, MD, MA, NY, RI, VT (153 electoral votes)
Lean Obama: ME, NJ, MN, OR, WA (47 votes)
Toss-up: CO, FL, IA, MI, NV, NM, NH, OH, PA, VA, WI (138 votes)
Lean McCain: AR, GA, IN, LA, MS, MO, MT, NE, NC, ND (84 votes)
Base McCain: AL, AK, AZ, ID, KS, KY, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY (116 votes)

If you head to or the RealClearPolitics swing state aggregator you find the same results. Throw NJ and MN at least into “Strong Obama,” and PA into “Lean Obama” (he’s ahead pretty significantly there), and you’ve got a map that has a resource- and enthusiasm-poor McCain forced to play defense.

So I guess what I’m saying is that it’s a very good idea to become emotionally invested in an Obama presidency that’s all but inevitable. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Disagreeing with Everybody

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Given the unseemly amount of Obama love that’s been passing through this blog lately, it seems worth it at this moment to link to a wonderful chart highlighting just one area where I wildly disagree with the man and anything he’s likely to do as president, helpfully provided by Ezra Klein.

This is a perverse and wasteful state of affairs. This is something that needs to stop.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 1, 2008 at 1:45 pm

In the News

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The media seems to be doing its damnedest to help Barack out for tonight’s debate: the front-page story of the New York Times looks like the gift-wrapped answer to the inevitable Rezko slur, while Good Morning America has video of Hillary Clinton sitting idly by on the board of Wal-Mart while the friendly megastore beat on unions.

It’s not all good news for Obama, though—The Washington Times reports that his commitment to the incredibly stupid Drug War is not especially iron-clad. For me that’s three wins for Obama, but as a dirty-hippie quasi-pacifistic vegetarian atheist I’m not the target audience for just about anything that happens in American politics.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 31, 2008 at 3:51 pm