Obama and Attack Ads.

August 25, 2008

It seems to me that the tenor of commentary on Obama and attack ads has been shifting.  During the primaries he was questioned for not responding to Clinton’s attacks on him.  His grit and ability to withstand Republican attacks was questioned.  “You must defend yourself,” he was told.  As time passed Kerry’s failure in 2004 became increasingly attributed to his failure to respond to the reprehensible Swift Boating campaign.  His failure to articulate a rational response to questions about the war and the like was pushed farther and farther back in discussions as  Swift Boating became the explanation of choice for the  election results.

McCain predictably has launched attack after attack (in response McCain first for Obama attacking his wife by saying that they have 7 houses.  I learned from the Republican Party four years ago that Kerry had 6.  More recently McCain said these ads were caused by Obaba’s refusal to agree to the twon meeting debate format that he proposes.)

Obama does not let a day go by without responding directly to a McCain attack and pointing out its errors.  He does this while condemning the sleazy tactics that force him to reply.

But the Democratic breast beating continues!  Unless I am reading this wrong, Obama is no longer being admonished for failing to reply, but for failing to respond in kind.  Many Democrats seem to want Obama to out sleaze McCain!  This would pretty much rule out arguing against the end justifying the means.  Change is fine, but wait until you get in the White House before you try it.

I admit I have a healthy dose of political cynicism.  (I shutter to think what military adventures await us in October.)  Nonetheless, I have to say that my respect for Obama goes up as Democrats get more frustrated that he will not stoop deeply in his campaign.

Offshore Drilling

August 25, 2008

It looks like the Democrats are backing off their earlier position that there should be no offshore drilling.  I understand that this will not lead to an increase in oil production for 10 to 20 years and then the increase will have only the slightest effect on the price at the pump.  John McCain acknowledged this when he said that offshore drilling was important for “psychological purposes.”  What I would like from the Democrats is an explanation of why it is now appropriate to pursue this avenue.  Here is a map prepared by the Sierra Club showing presently available drilling sites that are not in use.

Since I wrote this I got a comment about how we need offshore drilling to lower gas prices.  There is a geovernment study concluding that new offshore drilling will not have that impact.  What am I missing here?

McCain’s Moral Position About Invasions

August 25, 2008

Much has been made of our loss of standing in the international community and our difficulty maintaining a position of credible leadership with respect to international peace. If you lived in the Mideast how would McCain saying that “in the 21st century nations just don’t invade other nations” sound to you?

FISA: After Retroactive Immunity

August 25, 2008

I heard a lot of talk about how the FISA bill would not absolutely block court cases for unconstitutional wiretaps. That of course was largely untrue and most of the pending cases will be dismissed because of the retroactive immunity granted by Congress. The Electronic Frontier Foundation intends to expand its lawsuit instead of dismissing it. It will now include the government as a defendant, a risky tactic, as sovereign immunity defenses have served in previous cases for the government to avoid responsibility.  Wired reports that the EFF may have documentation sufficient to get around the tactics the government has used to avoid disclosing what it did.  Once again our ability to find out what our government has been doing will depend on the integrity of the people involved in the clandestine activity.  If enough information is brought forward we yet be able learn through the courts what has been done to us.

The Washington Primaries

August 25, 2008

I’ll write more later but first a couple of quick comments on the primary results. Sam Reed, the Secretary of State was the pronounced favorite, which I thought was encouraging. Mr. Reed is the traditional sort of Republican, the Dan Evans sort of politician who subordinates party interest to public interest.

He is competent, ethical and trustworthy. He does not bow to the extremists who have taken over the state Republican party, people who seem to profess winning at any cost.

Our local Republican Party of course suffers from a disregard of the Constitution in its zeal to win, advocating the disregard of the 14th Amendment in its just adopted platform. It has been lock step with the Bush Administration in its position on FISA and the Administration’s disregard of the the 4th Amendment. The party sanctions the hate-politics of its attack dog the B.I.A.W. Sam Reed is cut out of better cloth.

The Attorney General’s race between the incumbent and John Ladenburg could not present more divergent styles. Our current Attorney General campaigns on tort reform using misleading statistics, then argues against this in politically popular cases such a Exxon Valdez, when political pressure mounted for a distressed property law here, he proposed legislation, then argued to the real estate special interests that the legislature was to blame for being overly protective.

Our Attorney General seems to be trying to appeal to everyone, while maintaining his corporate base and receiving substantial corporate donations.

His deficiencies as Attorney General are compensated for by adroit political maneuvering. He has launched, as of a few months ago, an email campaign, publicizing the “successes” of his office. This seems to me to be a highly questionable use of public funds.

John Ladenburg on the other hand is an adept administrator with a commendable track record as Executive of Pierce County. His rather low key style has served to resolve problems and issues that the incumbent uses to factionalize the electorate and drive people apart.