The Obama Campaign raised $10 million since last night. The McCain campaign raised $1 Million.
Jon, this is what I’m talking about.
The obvious rebut, you already know. McCain’s money raising is ALMOST over (and trust me it wasn’t $1M).
It is GREAT that Obama has extended the web fund raising tech – it is AWESOME.
But it is silly, for you to publicly sour grapes the ass whooping that Palin lady handed down, by talking about how it energized her opposition.
There is a happy middle ground for analysis, dontcha think?
Morgan- Palin energized the base, just like Pat Buchanan did in 1992 and we all know how that turned out. She also energized Obama’s supporters and for that I’m grateful.
Death by Talking Points would be more like it. You really are into flair over substance Morgan. But then, that is your style.
Ms. Palin’s threadbare grandiosity was weak and, were it not so pernicious, laughable. The ditto people in the audience were deeply moved. She definitely believes god has put her in this position to be an example, only by being so filled with deceit, she is being a terrible example.
Look, anytime that many liberals get it that wrong – it is pretty much an ass whooping. Seriously, they are back on their heels. Even watching MSNBC, the SMALLEST station, but the one Jon chooses to watch, they are licking wounds rhetorically.
In two days, three days, they will be back – I don’t dispute that. Ass whooping was a throw away line, she gives good speech. It is what it is.
What ass whooping? Getting the choir excited doesn’t qualify in my book. Look to the independents that McCain/Palin need to win and their reactions ranged from unimpressed to repulsed. Not attracting a needed demographic while energizing your opponents is weak.
Nearly 2 million more women were watching Palin than men, Nielsen said.
It was calculated, and canny. Getting the base riled up was the critical first step, the campaign is lost without them. Moving forward they can move left and pander with abandon, and the base will understand that it’s all in the name of getting in the White House. Few outside the faithful will remember the convention activities.
Conservatives aren’t nearly as interested in the Presidency as they are in the nomination of supremes, and they believe this election is a fight with generational consequences. It’s going to be dirty, and bloody.
Here we go again, new data that proves Jon jumped off the handle:
“In the last two days, the Republican National Committee has taken in $17 million, a campaign aide said.”
It would be SO great if Obama just said he will balanace the budget no matter what got cut.
Supporting a pro-life ticket to keep there from being credit card spending on social programs for the elderly is a horrible choice.
Morgan, why don’t you take the pitch to those who are in a better position that we are to do something about it?
I don’t think balancing the budget is a bad idea, but your Repub friends don’t seem to agree with you.
I like how Palin’s and Guilianni’s speeches were all about responding to Obama talking points.
(Nobody even talks about McCain’s speech – and he’s the f’ing candidate!)
Republicans are in effect showing that they really don’t have anything new to offer.
“Good change” vs. “bad change”? – Implicitly admitting that Obama is on point with his message of change? How is that a good sign for Republicans?
Picking a woman VP? – Implicitly admitting that the Democrats have are the ones stepping up to the present. Dems represent progress in this election. All the Reps can do is try to mimic.
I can go on, but I think we all know what everyone (including Reps) knows now – they have lost.
Not just this election. They’ve lost any grip on the hearts and minds of America (and on any issue that actually means something).
I’m sorry for Morgan and his like – the cognitive dissonance they will have to deal with in the coming years is mind-boggling.
McCain did have one line in his speech that caught my attention: he promised the most open and transparent administration in his history. THAT would be a real change.
Armand, Obama is as short on substance as the rest. Words about Change Hope or Us Vs Them, it’s the same kind of rhetoric that kept the Kingfisher in office in Louisiana. It’s all populist rhetoric. It’s Billy Graham in blue jeans.
We are seeing Symbolic Campaigns for emotional vectoring just like a movie. It’s scripted and tight but there is nothing subtantial. It’s fairy dust.
We have sixty days left. If we are as smart here as we like to think we are in this comment section, we should be hammering out The Deal: the agenda and goals that we would vote for, not the man with the halo, the man with the wounds, or the woman with the coif and smile.
The Deal is what matters. I don’t care who administers it as long as they are competent. They get four years and then we get another choice of choices.
LOL. I have a cousin in love with Armand Assante.
Dude, I swear I’m 60/40 on the election. Plus and minuses with each short and long term.
Rick, I’m selling balance the budget here, BECAUSE liberals have to be ones to push for a Balanced Budget Amendment. It is the ONLY way, they are ever going to get to start the programs they want to start. I see no other alternative.
Eventually, I’m going to bring Jon around, and he is going to become THE advocate for a Balanced Budget Amendment. He will be the spokesman. He will set his people free, and save future generations from this Keynsian gamesmanship BS.
Morgan – why is credit card spending on social programs so evil ….and credit card spending on Iraqi social programs recommended?
…and Len – an ‘open and transparent’ McCain administration sounds a whole lot like Bush’s promised ‘compassionate conservatism’ – it’ll never happen.
Not to mention that Obama has been talking about transparent government since the beginning of his campaign.
Len, Please, please stop repeating your tired assumption that the Obama campaign is “short on substance” until you’ve done some homework. I’ve watched your work in the thread that wont die, and know you are just too damn bright for that to be the only opinion you can hold.
Go to the Obama campaign site, and download “The Blueprint for America” PDF and take the time to read it. Pay attention to the fact that in addition to the 57 pages of substance, it references a mass of specific addition position papers that have their own five to eight pages of additional specific detail. All told their are several hundred pages of specifics. So much so that the majority of people will be overwhelmed, and need it translated into smaller bites. But I expect more of you, Len, and don’t give me that lame excuse that your dog ate the URL. Not buying it.
Think! The PRIMARY function of a manager or an exec is to gather good people then set the tone for them to be passionately productive. The “issues” section of Obama’s website proves he has those skills. No other administration has come with such a transparent and well planned agenda. Is it overambitious? Damn straight, but oh my, if one tenth of it gets accomplished we will have a different nation.
Then, just to “Fair and Balanced” (trademarked, and yes you should be ashamed of yourself Murdoch), go to McCain’s web site and compare them. Not just in volume, but in the very substance you seek. It’s ironic, but McCain has actually done more on his site than any prior Republican campaign, but it’s just totally eclipsed by the “Blueprint”.
The respective URLs are:
Jon, I suggest elevating this to it’s own entry. People really need to do this, especially those who have made up their minds. I just did a mass mailing to the folks I know in the Disabilities community pulling out the specifics of both side, because, as I’ve said, the gut is going to say to the families with disabled kids, “She’s one of us.” and that is such a sad, sad wrong impulse. You can’t be for the disability community and want to extend the tax cuts. End of story. It takes years struggling, preferably as a single parent mom (the majority of dads bail) before you KNOW what it’s like to try to get supports. Trust me, Palin hasn’t had any taste of that yet, and given her position I doubt that she ever will. Not to say that she wont be a good advocate, but she really isn’t going to have the right perspective, and the risk is she will advocate more cake for the good folks.
As an insider, I can tell you that every person with a disability, every family member of a person with a disability needs to read the Obama campaign’s position paper on disabilities and Autism. Because they will know that it’s pitch perfect in terms of their real needs. Someone has taken the time to research the key priorities, and respond with specific proposals that are so spot on, rather than with platitudes, there’s just no contest. And you know, with the promise of favorable congress their is a good chance for the majority of them being enacted. Hell given that so many are policy directives that don’t need funding it’s going to be an huge improvement even if Congress can’t cough up a dime.
And he has been extremely substantitive when talking about transparency in government. He has said, for instance, that he would put the health care reform hearings and negotiations on C Span. All involved interests will be at the table- the insurance companies, the AMA, the pharma companies, and he wants it all televised. He says you will be able to watch your representatives in action, and if they do something you don’t like, you can call them up. “But,” he says, “you have to watch.”
Responsible democracy. Personal responsibility.
Please do, as Ken says, elevate this to its own entry. This is important. To state that Obama lacks substance is to ignore some easily attainable facts, and we know what ignoring leads to.
Thanks for the link Ken,
I’ve had the same feeling. This guy spent years immersed in Constitutional Law, developing his ideas on governance in conjunction with the fundamental framework in which those ideas would need to take form.
No surprise that the party which has engaged in more Constitutional vandalism than anybody has seen in living memory is keen to skirt this basic fact, and the essential grounding for the agenda that Obama has developed.
“Responsible democracy. Personal responsibility.”
Yes. A transparent government without an audience that responds honestly is a naked emperor.
Ken, my point is this: neither of us knows who will win this election and don’t be sure you know who I will vote for. I don’t know yet.
But in the last sixty days, forge the Deal. Yes, I can get the URL but I’m listening to YOU. Pick the two points that you’d have to have in The Deal. Argue with me or Morgan until we agree. I don’t think either party is offering me much this time that is new or different. The right is right that the left is leaving the same talking points on the table. The left is suspicious and mistrusting of the right and so it goes.
Spy Vs Spy. It’s MAD. What me worry?
Push both sides until they begin to converge on The Deal. Make them both negotiate. Make them both bid for your vote not with your own dollars but with their own commitments. Then hold their feet to the fire. I mention McCain’s transparency because it is a sign of change. It means the real grassroots campaign is working.
In the 60s the Democrats were handing the Republicans their heads until Richard Nixon gave an acceptance speech with themes he borrowed from George Wallace. It was evil but it revealed the mechanism, the feedback control. They converge to win.
It does us no good to call each other morons. McCain is right: America wants us to quit shouting at each other. Palin got 37 million viewers because she is a change from the shrews that have become the voice of feminism. People like her. Why?
Until you drop the dogma and learn the pragma of politics, you lose. Our party system is a class war unto itself. We can change that. That is what we must change.
But forge The Deal. The Deal is not Republican or Democrat, right or left. It is the compact. It is what we agree to want. It is desire. It is hope.
But it is not talk. It is a list of goals, and it bloody well better not be a long complicated list. It has to Clear. Provable. Provokable. Proportional.
Tell me, Ken: pick two. Children with disabilities? Natch. My wife is a special needs teacher. So is Cindy McCain. You have three allies if you can trust them.
Reform? Natch. Palin is a reformer and so is McCain. So is Obama. You have three allies if you can trust them.
That’s two. What else? Make a Deal.
Don’t make this about leaders. Make it about The Deal. Then push both sides toward it until they converge.
THAT will get it done.
Ken- Is the suggestion that we “crowd source” the respective positions of the candidates on a separate string, or that we talk about the disabilities issue?
“we “crowd source” the respective positions of the candidates on a separate string,”
Do that. Make it easier to read.
That’s where Obama loses the audience (and so did Cindy McCain: get out the hook!).
Hmmm. What if we took the two acceptance speeches, laid them side by side and stripping out the Spy Vs Spy, mined the essential points, gave context properties, and then see how far apart they are?
That seems like a great idea, but why won’t you take a look at the “Blueprint” that Ken linked us to? It is a valuable document.
“I don’t think either party is offering me much this time that is new or different.”
With all due respect, that is simply not true.
The brand name of the United States has undergone a terrible beating in the last eight years. Our stock has plummeted, literally and figuratively. Senator McCain does nothing to reverse that trend. In fact, with the choice of his running mate, he reinforces it. He has lowered us deeper into the hole.
We cannot be a country run by people who talk about heaven while creating Hell on Earth. It is hard to consider these sanguine people pro life.
Obama, on the other hand, completely changes the polarity of our relationship to the rest of the world. There is no more powerful thing the United States could do at this point in time, no more powerful message we could send, a message of change, than to elect Obama.
I have, VBM, but as Clinton said, it can come down to choosing between someone who can deliver half and someone who can’t deliver. I’m not trying to piss in the soup. I’m trying to balance grand plans vs gotta have soon schedules.
Inspiration is good. Planning is better. Execution is best of all.
Remember, I’m not a Republican and I loathe the Bush administration. I loathed them from day one. I fought them where I could and it cost me because I was working for a company that benefitted enormously by them. Two years ago, I did the scene in the opening of The Prisoner, tossed my badge down and walked out.
For a year, no job. Small town, bad vibes, became an untouchable, consumed all the consumables. One day the dog is dead, I have cancer, and the money is gone. A week later, I have a job, a diagnosis that says I get to keep going for awhile, and then I bought another dog.
In other words, no matter how dire this looks, after the election life will go on. We’ll go on. So my advice right now is to get the best Deal possible for your tribe. The world may speak ill of us but they admire us and imitate us. We are still a good people and a powerful people. We quit taking care of business and we let ourselves succumb to irrational fears then voted in an idiot. See Germany. It happens when the old become afraid and the young too bored to bother.
These things we can fix. What bothers me about Obama is his supporters. They don’t support him. They worship him. That’s scary and it’s wrong.
Obama will neither complete us nor save us nor will McCain. That halo stuff is bull. We have to do this ourselves. Obama doesn’t inspire me. I come from the Deep South where orators such as he are a dime a dozen. I come of a generation that learned the hard way to beware leaders regardless of their calling card.
Neither does McCain but I know him better. Neither does Palin but she’s easy on the eyes and has resume cred.
I don’t believe any of these people are evil, nor do I buy into the End Of The World As We Know it spin. In fact, I’m impressed that we are voting for people who have flaws publicly. Maybe we are maturing, waking up to the fact that we don’t need saints, we need competence.
Cynical? Maybe. But not without hope. My hopes are bolstered by seeing how much you care, that you did read that information, that you do spend time trying to convince me and that if this all goes South, you might still keep trying. Cynicism is a simple lifestyle that values results over presentation. The Hippies Were Cynics. They were also in love with life and as they have become aging children, want it to sing to them again, but they’ve forgotten how to sing so they are calling on the old singers. They watched the counter-culture become the over-the-counter culture and didn’t fight that hard enough.
Maybe they are now, and Obama is the Big Kahuna. That’s ok with me. I cheer for it. I wish I could get on the bus with them.
I can’t. Not until I know where that bus is going and I’m sure the guy driving has good maps and is sober.
But keep the faith. People don’t really fight for big causes. They fight for the person on their left and right. McCain is right about that. Obama is going to discover that.
Frankly, I think Obama is going to win. And just as frankly, I think he is going to fail.
It would be nice to drop the fight and just dance. I’d dearly love to be somewhere with “hair falling all around me” and a beautiful day ahead. It was simple.
Then is not now. That is why this thread keeps going. Some of us who did dance are working our way up to the Last Waltz, and we want it to be a worthy one. We want it to be for the ages. Then it’s your turn.
All you get out with is what’s in your heart. All you leave is what is in theirs. Sentimental but true.
Len-Like many others here, I’ve been drawn to your story through your contributions to the “Cranky with the Culture” string that won’t die. So on this last post I was right with you up to the line “get the Best deal possible for your tribe”. And then you lost me for the rest of the post.
I almost don’t know where to start. How about “we let ourselves succumb to irrational fears then voted in an idiot”? Well if that’s not a description of what we did in 2000, 2004 and could do agains if we voted for McCain-Palin, I don’t know what it is. Yes, I thought of Germany last night, but maybe not in the way you meant, because for me the last two days were an exercise in Martial DoubleThink. See-
So then you go on to say that the emotion of Obama supporters scares you. And you were not scared by the culture warriors screaming for Palin?
Then you say Palin has “resume cred”. I find this really hard to believe. My resume is thicker than hers and I would never think of running for office.
As to the Neo-hippies. We want you on the bus. You have knowledge and experience and are a lot more eloquent than Stewart Brand and saner than Neal Cassidy. I think you are wrong that “people don’t really fight for the big causes” . I guess this is where Morgan and I part ways. I’ve said we are in an Interregnum. The old king (Bush/Cheney neoconservatism) is dead but the new king has not been crowned. As Gramsci said “The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum there arises a great diversity of morbid symptoms. ”
If we seize this moment, which you rightly realize is”for the ages”, then we can leave a better world to our grandchildren. But I promise you, a vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin will change nothing and you will regret it til the day you die.
Will Li at The Angiogenesis Foundation very well may be able to help.
I don’t expect this to be understood. You may have to accept it on faith or just reduce it to the value of local effects that extinguish three moves into the future. I’m not important.
I don’t see the polarities on a line. I see a manifold of potentials, a game of pachinko where one ball turns left or right, and a cascade follows.
It’s a description of why I hang back. We have been fooled before, will be again, and too often, the good guys become the bad guys and so on. See the last post on Hebb effect. We are The Prisoner, we are McGoohan’s character pounding our fists on the table of our bosses, finding ourselves in the Village, and suddenly having to rely completely on our own sense of reality to make decisions. The rule of the Village won’t do. It is too easily gamed. The same techniques of semiotics used to game the music industry are being used to game this election.
Do you remember what he said to the Young Man in the last episode?
“Don’t put yourself out.”
For that reason, I hang back and keep pushing on all sides of the conversations watching to see if they will converge on common cause. I don’t see the world as Us Vs Them or Good Vs Evil. I am fatigued unto death with the dyadic relationships where some lose and some win.
Cultural evolution is fast because it is transient. Morgan doesn’t really know Nixon or Hendrix. He’s seen their footprints in the vinyl grooves the way we see dinosaur footprints in sand become rock. He guesses about them being dinosaurs. We know they were really road runners from hell.
The slow deep frequencies of behavior that are the power modifiers of our evolution are not easily modified. Iraq is ugly but predictable. Afghanistan is a result of our own walking away and leaving a society destroyed thus opening the door for the Taliban. Once into Iraq, as Powell said, we broke it so we own it. We have to finish it and then we have to face up to the consequences, that Maliki will sell the oil to China.
That leaves us with no other rational choice but to reduce our dependencies. Notice that even as Obama has moved toward the center or Bush’s policies (see FISA, off-shore drilling, etc.) McCain is moving toward the left’s positions on change, energy, the economy.
It is all of a single piece with large attractors. If we want to influence its evolution, we play on all the scales on all the instruments at different times. Just as the 60s is a lagrange point in cultural history, your blog topics are acting as lagrange tropes, pulling in first one attractor, the one to which you have the most affinity, but because it challenges other attractors, it is pulling in opposing points of view. Over time, they are becoming more similar than different.
Why? We are enjoying each other. Affinity is not opposition, but attractor domains and from time to time, a body orbiting one falls over into the other. It is chaotic but self-organized; purposeless but emergent.
That doesn’t happen if we tear out the space itself. That is why Morgan is important. He is part of what keeps the space from becoming flat, stable, unchanging, …. Dead.
And that is what is needed. Once past this election, the needs will be the same regardless of who gets to cut up the pig. It isn’t the faces that I am interested in; it is the effect they have on the space, the co-occurrent effects that will shape the behaviors to come.
Thanks VBM. Very interesting reading. I will take that up with my MDs.
You are very welcome, Len. Some of the doctors in Alabama might be skeptical of this field of medicine, but I have seen powerful cures come from this treatment. I have seen anti-angiogenesis treatment shrink a tumor the size of a grapefruit in the side of a man’s face to nothing, among many other good results. (It works on liquid tumors as well.)
All tissue, even diseased tissue, requires a supply of blood. By cutting off the blood supply, the tumor either stops growing or begins to recede.
Molecular biology is leading the way into the medicine of the future. There is usually about a twenty year lag between the advent of a new treatment and its implementation. Will Li and his group are working to shorten that gap.
len – no comment in particular except to say thanks for a wonderful set of insights.
The biggest one is that there really is one, unified field. People may have differences about how to operate within it, and to which ends of myriad dichotomies they’d rather default. But the bigger picture that’s emerging is, simply, that we’re all in it together, and any outlook or agenda that fails to take this into account will struggle in finding a connection to the greater good, and gaining the support of those who are starting that’s what really matters.
Thanks Alex. I’m not sure we have to go as deep as quantum physics. It may be the Hebb model does have implications for cultural evolution. It could explain why some have unusual sensitivities to culture and others are almost dead to it. There is a suppressive effect and an organic polarization. In other words, the left/right political polarities origins are both organic and media-driven..
I’d been thinking about that and serendipity strikes. There was a program about brain fitness today on PBS narrated by none other than Peter Coyote that described the Hebb theories though they date to around 1947 and I’ve encountered the model before.
The universe laughs at us outright.
“…forge the Deal. Yes, I can get the URL “….but I’m listening to YOU. Pick the two points that you’d have to have in The Deal. Argue with me or Morgan until we agree>
I don’t understand “forge a deal” Len. So I’m going to go with “But it is not talk. It is a list of goals, and it bloody well better not be a long complicated list. It has to Clear. Provable. Provokable. Proportional. Tell me, Ken: pick two….”
Okay — I pick ethics and Morgan’s Balanced budget, but I’m going to break it into two entires cus this is going to be one big honker. It has to be by the nature of the challenge.,
First Act: Resolved, what the Obama position statements say he will attempt to accomplish are clearer and more specific, and have more hope of resulting in results than what the McCain camp is offering.
I pick this one because you say that openess and ethics would be improtant to you when you said: “McCain did have one line in his speech that caught my attention: he promised the most open and transparent administration in his history. THAT would be a real change.”
Their statements of what they intend to do about restoring ethics to politics……
———- quote ———-
Lobbying and Ethics Reform
Seal the Pork Barrel: Among the most glaring abuses in Washington is the willful setting aside of taxpayer dollars for the pet projects of special interests, often through last minute additions to appropriations bills. Pork barrel spending is an insult to taxpayers, a waste of public resources, and an abdication of our leaders’ responsibility to be good and honorable stewards of the public treasury, for the benefit of all Americans, not just a few.
Too often it appears that elected leaders use the treasury as a campaign kitty, channeling taxpayer dollars for pet projects to preserve incumbency rather than to meet national needs. John McCain has been a tireless warrior against wasteful spending, and one of the few leaders who has the guts to challenge abusive Congressional earmarks and the pork barrel politics that grip Washington. John McCain understands that, fundamentally, wasteful spending is an issue of ethics.
As he pointed out recently as part of his longstanding, principled, and often lonely vigil against pork barrel earmarks in Congress: “Earmarked dollars have doubled just since 2000, and more than tripled in the last 10 years. This explosion in earmarks led one lobbyist to deride the appropriations committees as favor factories. The time for us to fix this broken process is long overdue.” As President, John McCain would shine the disinfecting light of public scrutiny on those who abuse the public purse, use the power of the presidency to restore fiscal responsibility, and exercise the veto pen to enforce it.
Stop the Revolving Door and Restore Ethics: America deserves and demands a government that serves the country, not itself. Most people believe that elected leaders are more interested in the perks and privileges of office than in public service, and that too often the special interest lobbyists with the fattest wallets and best access carry the day when issues of public policy are being decided.
John McCain has fought the good fight against the practices that alienate the public from their elected leaders. He has fought for public disclosure of those who lobby lawmakers for a living, and to prohibit them from providing gifts to elected officials.
He has fought for greater transparency regarding the official activities of lobbyists, disclosure of those who arrange for lawmakers’ travel, and require members to pay full charter rates when using corporate aircraft.
He has fought the “revolving door” by which lawmakers and other influential officials leave their posts and become lobbyists for the special interests they have aided.
He has fought for an independent ethics office in Congress to help restore the public’s faith in the integrity of the legislative branch.
Democracy is Not for Sale: The American people have been alienated from the process of self-government by the overwhelming appearance of their elected leaders having sold-out to the big-moneyed special interests who help finance political campaigns.
As John McCain has said, “Americans believe that political representation is measured on a sliding scale. The more you give the more effectively you can petition your government.” It is no coincidence that the most influential lobbyists with the greatest access in the nation’s Capitol are also the most prolific political fundraisers, and that incumbents attract money in far greater volumes than most challengers.
Most Americans understand that competitive elections in a free country require money. Since campaigns require spending funds to communicate with voters, they know we can never take money completely out of politics, nor should we. Americans have a right to support the candidates and the parties they endorse, including financially if they so choose.
But what most Americans worry about profoundly is corporations or individuals with huge checks seeking the undue influence on lawmakers that such largesse is intended to purchase. That is why John McCain has fought to enforce long-standing prohibitions on corporate and union contributions to federal political parties, for sensible donation limits, disclosure of how candidates and campaigns are funded, and the diligent enforcement of these common sense rules that promote maximum public participation in the political process and limit opportunities for corruption.
John McCain understands that in America the people are sovereign, and deserve a political process worthy of the sacrifices that have been made by so many to keep us free and proud. As President, John McCain will see to it that the institutions of self-government are respected pillars of democracy, not commodities to be bought, bartered, or abused.
————- end quote ————–
Now Obama’s camp (because each campaign is not a single man but the early stages of an administration).
——– quote ———–
Lobbyists Write National Policies: For example, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force of oil and gas lobbyists met secretly to develop national energy policy.
Secrecy Dominates Government Actions:The Bush administration has ignored public disclosure rules and has invoked a legal tool known as the ‘state secrets’ privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.
Wasteful Spending is Out of Control: The current administration has abused its power by handing out contracts without competition to its politically connected friends and supporters. These abuses cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year.
Shine Light on Washington Lobbying: Centralize Ethics and Lobbying Information for Voters: Obama will create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format.
Require Independent Monitoring of Lobbying Laws and Ethics Rules: Obama will use the power of the presidency to fight for an independent watchdog agency to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics violations so that the public can be assured that ethics complaints will be investigated.
Support Campaign Finance Reform: Obama supports public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. Obama introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and is the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) tough bill to reform the presidential public financing system.
Shine the Light on Federal Contracts, Tax Breaks and Earmarks: Create a Public “Contracts and Influence” Database: As president, Obama will create a “contracts and influence” database that will disclose how much federal contractors spend on lobbying, and what contracts
they are getting and how well they complete them.
Expose Special Interest Tax Breaks to Public Scrutiny: Barack Obama will ensure that any tax breaks for corporate recipients – or tax earmarks – are also publicly available on the Internet in an easily searchable format.
End Abuse of No-Bid Contracts: Barack Obama will end abuse of no-bid contracts by requiring that nearly all contract orders over $25,000 be competitively awarded.
Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.
Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending: Obama’s Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.
Bring Americans Back into their Government
Hold 21st Century Fireside Chats: Obama will bring democracy and policy directly to the people by requiring his Cabinet officials to have periodic national broadband townhall meetings to discuss issues before their agencies.
Make White House Communications Public: Obama will amend executive orders to ensure that
communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public.
Conduct Regulatory Agency Business in Public: Obama will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can watch these debates in person or on the Internet.
Release Presidential Records: Obama will nullify the Bush attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult.
Free the Executive Branch from Special Interest Influence: Close the Revolving Door on Former and Future Employers: No political appointees in an Obama administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.
Free Career Officials from the Influence of Politics: Obama will issue an executive order asking all new hires at the agencies to sign a form affirming that no political appointee offered them the job solely on the basis of political affiliation or contribution.
Reform the Political Appointee Process: FEMA Director Michael Brown was not qualified to head the agency, and the result was a disaster for the people of the Gulf Coast. But in an Obama administration, every official will have to rise to the standard of proven excellence in the agency’s mission.
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Yes, it may all be BS, but I chose to look at it as statements of intention. For me there is no question which set of intentions are more specific and more appealing.
Act Two: Balanced Budget. Okay, here there is a difference right up front: McCain’s camp directly says it’s going to balance the budget by 2013, and to their credit they offer specifics, with Obama it’s implicate that that is the intent, but not called out. Morgan can rightfully say that Obama doesn’t address entitlements. But, then McCain’s says they will target entitlements promise, but don’t say anything more specific than personal accounts.
Resolved: McCain’s position statements are more direct in calling out an intent to balance the budget, and offer specifics. Unfortunately these specifics (tax and mandate relief for businesses, banking the savings from a victory in Iraq, taking back earmarks granted in past legislative sessions, and a one year discretionary spending freeze) do not appear as realistic as Obama’s (reinstate PayGo rules*, rescinding tax cuts for the wealthy, restoring competitive bids on contracts over $25,000, trying to reverse corporate tax evasion, and ending subsidies to large corporations). Of the two shared claims (ending earmarks, and waste in government agencies) an online data base that publicly singles out earmark attempts (see ethics above) gives advantage Obama on that one, but it’s advantage McCain on the waste issue for wanting to revive the BRAC.
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Reforming Washington to Regain the Trust of Taxpayers
Bring The Budget To Balance By 2013
John McCain will balance the budget by the end of his first term. The near-term path to balance is built on three principles:
* Reasonable economic growth. Growth is an imperative – historically the greatest success in reducing deficits (late 1980s; late 1990s) took place in the context of economic growth.
* Comprehensive spending controls. Bringing the budget to balance will require across-the-board scrutiny of spending and making tough choices on new spending proposals.
* Bi-partisanship in budget efforts. Much as the late 1990s witnessed bipartisan efforts to put the fiscal house in order, bi-partisan efforts will be the key to undoing the recent spending binge.
In the long-term, the only way to keep the budget balanced is successful reform of the large spending pressures in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
McCain Policies Will Support Reasonable Economic Growth: Small business is the key to job growth. Small business will benefit from:
* Low individual tax rates – sole-proprietorships, partnerships, landlords and others are taxed under the individual income tax.
* Access to capital from low tax rates on dividends and capital gains.
* Minimizing expensive mandates – such as those for health insurance and pro-union initiatives like card check.
* Enhancing international competitiveness to keep jobs here; not abroad.
o A lower corporate tax rate.
o Improved investment and research incentives to ensure that workers have the most modern technology.
o Bringing the budget to balance, reducing federal borrowing, and controlling spending to reduce the burden on the economy.
Comprehensive Spending Controls: John McCain will institute broad reforms to control spending:
* The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction.
* A one-year spending pause. Freeze non-defense, non-veterans discretionary spending for a year and use those savings for deficit reduction. A one-year pause in the growth of discretionary spending will be imposed to allow for a comprehensive review of all spending programs. After the completion of a comprehensive review of all programs, projects and activities of the federal government, we will propose a plan to modernize, streamline, consolidate, reprioritize and, where needed, terminate individual programs.
* Take back earmark funds. The McCain Administration will reclaim billions of add-on spending from earmarks and add-ons in FY 2007 and 2008.
Bi-partisan Fiscal Discipline: A McCain Administration will provide the leadership to achieve bipartisan spending restraint equivalent to that in the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement between a GOP Congress and a Democratic President. In 1997, President Clinton and the GOP Congress agreed to balance the budget by restraining the growth in spending and cutting taxes over a ten-year period.
* With the same bipartisan effort today, with the federal budget that is now 70 percent larger, we could keep taxes low and still balance the budget by holding overall spending growth to 2.4 percent. Unlike Congress and the Executive branch in recent years, a McCain Administration will enforce the spending restraint to balance the budget and keep it balanced.
* A McCain Administration would perform a comprehensive review of all programs, projects and activities of the federal government, and then propose a plan to modernize, streamline, consolidate, reprioritize and, where needed, terminate individual programs. McCain could use the bi-partisan commission structure used for the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). Such a commission could be required to report to the President who would then submit the recommendations to the Congress for a straight up or down vote.
* A McCain Administration will review all special spending provisions to end subsidies to high-income individuals and corporations
Eliminating Wasteful Spending
Stop Earmarks, Pork-Barrel Spending, And Waste: John McCain will veto every pork-laden spending bill and make their authors famous. As President, he will seek the line-item veto to reduce waste and eliminate earmarks that have led to corruption. Earmarks restrict America’s ability to address genuine national priorities and interfere with fair, competitive markets.
Leadership, Courage And Choices: Reducing spending means making choices. John McCain will provide the courageous leadership necessary to control spending, including:
* Eliminate broken government programs. The federal government itself admits that one in five programs do not perform.
* Reform our civil service system to promote accountability and good performance in our federal workforce.
* Reform procurement programs and cut wasteful spending in defense and non-defense programs.
Reforming Entitlement Programs For The 21st Century
Reform Social Security: John McCain will fight to save the future of Social Security, and he believes that we may meet our obligations to the retirees of today and the future without raising taxes. John McCain supports supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts – but not as a substitute for addressing benefit promises that cannot be kept. John McCain will reach across the aisle to address these challenges, but if the Democrats do not act, he will. No problem is in more need of honesty than the looming financial challenges of entitlement programs. Americans have the right to know the truth and John McCain will not leave office without fixing the problems that threatens our future prosperity and power.
Control Medicare Growth: The growth of spending on Medicare threatens our fiscal future. John McCain has proposed comprehensive health care reforms that will reduce the growth in Medicare spending, improve the quality of care, protect seniors against rising Medicare premium payments, and preserve the advancements in medical science central to providing quality care.
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Increasing Debt: Under President Bush, the federal debt has increased from $5.7 trillion to $8.8 trillion, an increase of more than 50 percent.
Irresponsible Tax Cuts: President Bush’s policies of giving tax breaks for the wealthy will cost the nation over $2.3 trillion by the time they expire in 2009.
BARACk OBAMA’S PLAN
Restore Fiscal Discipline to Washington: Reinstate PAYGO Rules: Obama believes that a critical step in restoring fiscal discipline is enforcing pay-as- you-go (PAYGO) budgeting rules which require new spending commitments or tax changes to be paid for by cuts to other programs or new revenue.
Reverse Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy: Obama will protect tax cuts for poor and middle class families, but he will reverse most of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers.
Cut Pork Barrel Spending: Obama introduced and passed bipartisan legislation that would require more disclosure and transparency for special-interest earmarks. Obama believes that spending that cannot withstand public scrutiny cannot be justified. Obama will slash earmarks to no greater than what they were in 2001 and ensure all spending decisions are open to the public.
Make Government Spending More Accountable and Efficient: Obama will ensure that federal contracts over $25,000 are competitively bid. Obama will also increase the efficiency of government programs through better use of technology, stronger management that demands accountability and by leveraging the government’s high-volume purchasing power to get lower prices.
End Wasteful Government Spending: Obama will stop funding wasteful, obsolete federal government programs that make no financial sense. Obama has called for an end to subsidies for oil and gas companies that are enjoying record profits, as well as the elimination of subsidies to the private student loan industry which has repeatedly used unethical business practices. Obama will also tackle wasteful spending in the Medicare program.
Make the Tax System More Fair and Efficient
End Tax Haven Abuse: Building on his bipartisan work in the Senate, Obama will give the Treasury Department the tools it needs to stop the abuse of tax shelters and offshore tax havens and help close the $350 billion tax gap between taxes owed and taxes paid.
Close Special Interest Corporate Loopholes: Obama will level the playing field for all businesses by eliminating special-interest loopholes and deductions, such as those for the oil and gas industry.
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Footnote for PayGo (from Wikipedia entry)
In the initial PAYGO regimen, enacted in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA ’90), by statutory requirement, any increases in the deficit were to be offset by an across the board “sequestration” of programs. This means an automatic cut in non-exempt mandatory spending programs — this was calculated by the Office of Management and Budget at the end of the year.
These rules were in effect from FY1991-FY2002  and are widely seen as having assisted the US Congress in maintaining budget discipline. In FY 1991 the Federal deficit was 4.5% of GDP, by FY 2000 the Federal surplus was 2.4%.  Total Federal spending as a percentage of GDP decreased each and every year from FY1991 through FY 2000, falling from 22.3% to 18.4%. 
In 1998, in response to the first federal budget surplus since 1969, Congress started increasing discretionary spending above the statutory limit using creative means such as advance appropriations, delays in making obligations and payments, emergency designations, and specific directives.  While staying within the technical definition of the law, this allowed “emergency” spending that otherwise would not be allowed. The result was emergency spending of $34 billion in 1999 and $44 billion in 2000. In 2001 that amount jumped to $700 billion, most of which came from the 2001 tax cut (Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001).  In 2001 Congress began removing discretionary spending by statute from the PAYGO scorecard. Those amounts were $90 billion in 2001, $65 billion in 2002, $127 billion in 2003, $150 billion in 2004, $142 billion in 2005, and $144 billion in 2006. 
The PAYGO rules were allowed to lapse in the House and watered down in the Senate, which made it easier for lawmakers to approve President George W. Bush’s tax cuts and a Medicare prescription drug plan. The White House admitted that the Medicare prescription drug plan would not meet the PAYGO requirements.
So that’s my argument on two Len. Over to you.
Damn, my buzzkill mojo is working overtime. Must have put them to sleep with too much…. whatever.
Pithy, Ballweg, remember pithy.
I loved the post. I think your thinking is nearly matching the great sukrat’s cocept.
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