Saturday, September 20, 2008

As If You Need More Reasons to Vote Obama

Frank Rich's column tomorrow is a winner, including such gems as this:
For better or worse, the candidacy of Barack Obama, a senator-come-lately, must be evaluated on his judgment, ideas and potential to lead. McCain, by contrast, has been chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, where heclaims to have overseen “every part of our economy.” He didn’t, thank heavens, but he does have a long and relevant economic record that begins with the Keating Five scandal of 1989 and extends to this campaign, where his fiscal policies bear the fingerprints of Phil Gramm and Carly Fiorina. It’s not the résumé that a presidential candidate wants to advertise as America faces its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. That’s why the main thrust of the McCain campaign has been to cover up his history of economic malpractice.


MFRML said...

OK, if we are going to play the blame game for past actions, let's make it equal opportunity, shall we? There is more than enough blame to go around on both sides of the aisle and on both end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The much-loved (by Democrats, anyway) former United States President, William Jefferson Clinton, was on "The View" the other day and gave a remarkably candid and honest assessment of the current financial crisis and his own role in creating it. I can't quote him exactly, so I won't. I'm sure if you YouTube it, you can find it. (My wife Tivo-ed part of it and has since deleted it). And don't forget that Robert Rubin, the justifiably lauded former Democratic Treasury Secretary under Clinton, was a former Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs. If you're handing out blame, make sure he gets a large piece of the pie . . .

Back to Bill Clinton . . . most interesting thing to me during the interview was that he heaped a lot of praise on both Obama AND McCain, saying (and I'm paraphrasing here) that it is very sad that many Americans feel that the best way to support their own candidate is to tear down the opposition.

For once, I actually agree with Bill.

FWIW: I happen to think that Obama is a good man, with intelligence combined with an ability to convey sense of honesty and integrity that neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton could ever have done. I also think he's too liberal AND inexperienced to be President of the United States, and I'd much rather have John McCain in the job. I also happen to know a lot of Democrats who similarly feel that McCain is a truly great and honorable statesman who is too conservative for their tastes. All of us are glad that despite the obvious policy and personality differences that are going to happen during a presidential election, that both are good men with integrity. And in the coming years, that will be as important as anything else.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I'll buy blame to go around, but not to an equal degree. Facing a Republican Congress, Clinton signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagell Act, which meant, for example, that banks could own brokerages. I would apportion the blame about 65 to 75% to the Republicans.

I don't buy McCain as a great statesman, myself, though I am not going to dig up the piles of material I've seen where he lacks integrity.

As far as Obama as a liberal - he is a centrist. Like Clinton, he would govern to the right of Richard Nixon, to put political trends of the last 40 years into perspective, and way, way, way to the right of LBJ.

MFRML said...

You're entitled to your opinion, of course, about McCain or anything else. That said . . . Disagree with McCain about his politics, his style, his choice of VP, but his integrity? Really?? The main has demonstrated personal integrity in ways the no one could be reasonably asked to do so. Whatever may be in your piles of material allegedly demonstrating a lack of integrity, it will pale in comparison to his years in the Hanoi Hilton. (Mind you, that’s just MY personal opinion . . . )

If you have a problem with McCain’s integrity, one would perhaps assume that it would be difficult for someone to also consider Obama a man of integrity, since he promised -- PROMISED -- to take public money, then conveniently broke his promise when it was to his advantage to do so. Do I personally still think Obama is a man of integrity? Generally, yes. Do I think that that the move proved he is also an ambitious politician willing to change his mind whenever it suits him just like any other politician? Yes. Absolutely yes. Does this demonstrate a lack of integrity? To some extent, yes. But I don't think it will matter -- whoever was going to vote for him will still do it, and those that aren't will add that shinging example to their pile of material showing where Obama lacks integrity -- but of course, Obama doesn't have but a few years of actual political experience, so the pile is going to be a bit smaller, isn't it ;-)

Integrity and politics are very strange bedfellows. I'd be very curious to see what politicians, if any, you'd consider to actually have integrity.

Regarding left, right, and center: You are correct, of course, in saying that Obama is a centrist compared to LBJ (though his brand of Southern politics would shock most present day idealistic Democrats). That said, to say in present day terms that Obama is a centrist is a bit of a stretch for anyone outside the Bay Area to believe. Perhaps . . . Obama is centrist compared to Nancy Pelosi, who is centrist compared to the Green Party candidate who ran against her in the last election. But compared to Hillary or Bill or John Kerry or even Al Gore, Obama is more of a liberal.

To put in a related historical context: when Sandra Day O'Connor was nominated to the Supreme Court, she was considered a solid conservative (based on her records in both the Arizona state legislature and on the bench) with John Paul Stevens representing the center. And early in her term, she voted consistently with the so-called conservatives on the bench at that time (Rehnquist and White, for example). By the time she retired from The Court a couple of years ago, she WAS the center (judging by the number of times she represented the swing vote), and John Paul Stevens was easily the most or second most liberal justice on the court (the only more liberal justice perhaps being Ruth Bader Ginsburg).

So by that math, if Sandra Day O'Connor is a centrist in today's world, that firmly makes Obama a liberal by comparison. Not derogatory, mind you, just a statement of relative fact in today's national political scene.

So, Lisa, it's your blog, feel free to talk about politics as much as you want . . . but when are you gonna tell everybody what you thought of the opening weeks of the SFS & MTT? Did you go to any of the concerts?

Lisa Hirsch said...

McCain's integrity: he and John Glenn were almost the 6th & 7th members of the Keating 5, whom you might remember. There's this blog posting from Joe Klein about McCain's behavior just this week: http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/09/what_actually_happened_yesterd_1.html. Don't know if you caught Sarah Palin being interviewed with Katie Courcic, but he certainly showed poor judgment picking her for VP.

I go by left/right absolutes, not relative absolutes, by and large.

Politicians with integrity? Carter, Eisenhower (probably), Truman, Roosevelt (both), Bill Bradley, for starters.

I've already written about Simon Boccanegra (see sidebar for a link) and the one SF Symphony program I've attended (it was in SFCV's Music News column). I'm seeing The Bonesetter's Daughter on Sunday and probably catching the last Boccanegra tomorrow night.

Lisa Hirsch said...

P. S. I should read more carefully. McCain and Glenn were two of the Keating Five.

MFRML said...

FDR was undoubtedly a truly Great President (the way that Mozart was a Great Composer or Einstein a Great Scientist). I would say the man had a great deal of integrity. Of course, the man had a number of mistresses while married, most famous of which was Eleanor's own secretary; I'm guessing most people would agree would demonstrate a huge lack of integrity -- or maybe not.

So can integrity or lack thereof be compartmentalized, so that someone with severe failings in one area can have extremely high integrity in others? Either way, is it that important in voting for a President of the United States Food for thought.

Had read your Simon Boccanegra review already. Thanks, though. I was hoping to read your thoughts of the MTT/SFS concert with Dawn Upshaw, especially considering SFCV seems to have given that review to someone else.

FWIW: I would love to see Dawn along w/ Audra McDonald and Barbara Hannigan at the upcoming Opening Gala for Salonen's last season w/ the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Saw Dawn sing "No word from Tom" years ago with E-PS/LA-Phil at the Dorothy Chandler -- she allegedly was fighting a cold and still sounded ravishing. I can't imagine how awesome she'd sound healthy in Disney Hall. Alas, I can't afford the $$$$ Gala pricing so I'm gonna miss it the time, which is a huge bummer. Thankfully, I'm going to the first two sets of subscription concerts, so that almost makes up for it. Almost

Lisa Hirsch said...

Re Roosevelt and his affairs, I mostly don't give a damn who they are screwing. Also, if you believe the evidence that Eleanor was a lesbian....

Those were different times, and if the press knew about those affairs, they didn't publish about them. Today, John Edwards showed miserable judgment having an affair while running for or planning to run for president. He was my candidate and am I ever glad he lost.

I skipped the Bernstein thing. I have highly mixed feelings about programs that fall roughly into the MTT-self-aggrandizement category, and that was one of them, of the "my association with Lenny" category. The others are the various Thomashefsky programs and MTT-the-composer. I still haven't recovered from Island Music, a piece any composition teacher would have told him to cut by 40%.

Disney Hall, Dawn Upshaw: I'm coming down in January for La passion de Simone by the great Saariaho, and the other program that weekend.