In the video below a pair of CNN talking heads ask a college Democrat and Republican their opinions as to who'd they like as their candidate for president, and what they think is the top issue of the campaigns.
The Democrat Rachel Moore was president of the LVC College Democrats and is also a member of SAFE (Student Action for the Earth) and HyPE (the History, Political Science and Economics Departmental organization), She also interned for the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee, and worked on political campaigns for Ed Rendell, Bob Casey Jr., and John Kerry.
When asked the question - "Who do you support for president?"
I’m going to say having been the idealistic betting candidate I would say Ron Paul has the chance, idealistically. As far as the top tier candidates I don’t really think they stand for what traditional conservatives believe in. You have Giuliani out there who is really anti-gun Republican, who is going to lose a strong base, especially here in the south. And then Mitt Romney kind of flip-flops on his issues. John McCain I think is pretty much just out. We need a strong, solid conservative.
The studio response is sarcastic and intolerant.
When asked the same question - "Who do you support for president?" Rachel Moore says:
I’d pick a Democrat! ... all of the college Democrats, you know, we’re so behind just winning a Democrat in 2008. If you look at the Republican candidates, I mean, the Democrats are such a diverse group. And all the Republican candidates, every one of them have said they would commute Scooter Libby. They said that they would stay in Iraq and turn it into the next Korea. And all of the Republican candidates – "
She's interrupted, and the ensuing chaos and derision from the television studio has to be seen and heard to believe.
Whatever happened to the ideal of journalism being: to report the news? When did actors get equal time against their interviewees?
The top two political questions on the minds of the interviewees were good ones. Morales:
My most important issue is probably going to be Social Security. I think that’s an issue that’s really facing our generation. That my generation is pretty much going to be completely robbed of those funds that were put into the government. We really need to get students to focus on that issue and make that the forefront for the 2008 election.
my most important issues are the ones from the Democratic Party, are the environment, making sure there’s proper support on student aid, and universal health care for all, and among other things. We can’t really be pegged to one issue at this point.
I've omitted the CNN commentary because, well, it was so ludicrous as to not be worth printing. See the video above if you can stomach it, or read the transcript.
The ladies on camera here are to be commended for not losing their cool and cussing out CNN, as I did. Maybe they did, later.
some statistics on the geographical distribution of those interested in Ron Paul
Due to my dissatisfaction with the MSM polls, I dug a bit more into google analytics today regarding the hits to my blog regarding Ron Paul. Here's the breakdown by state:
Pretty interesting. Fascinating how the 2nd largest total of unique reads (461) came from New York, the home state of the leading candidates of both parties. I also dug a bit more into where the blog hits came from:
I also found that over a third of my regular non-Paul reads this month came from a funny piece I'd written years ago about chair hanging sex. None of my other serious pieces come even close. I sure hope those readers go away satisfied, as that idea never turned into the career I'd humorously hoped for. Sigh.
The most interesting piece of data I've seen today regards the number of people that list their employer when making a campaign donation. What the author calls The Corruption Quotient is here.
And, if you care about the entire series of articles in this thread about the election, not just this little piece of it, click here
I am publishing this data because they are the closest thing to an accurate poll of readership and interest that I can assemble and a hell of a lot more accurate than any other self selecting poll I can think of. I did some further analysis to see where in the US the readership came from, here.
My reaction? Wow. People are really motivated about Ron Paul. I got over 30 comments on my reluctant conversion, and some good points were made. I didn't know about how the Interstate superhighway system came to be, for example, and I got a steer to some excellent reading material.
Few stayed long enough on my blog to read anything else (roughly 1 in 4 clicked on another link). I still hope that I could get people on all sides of the issues to put away their axes and try to come up with constructive answers to my top 10 questions for America, but I'll keep plugging away at that, on my own, I guess.
Probably the most comprehensive, well researched and heavily linked 4 pieces about Ron Paul's negatives that I know of was published at the Daily Kos (1, 3)
I'm still working through those articles. There are some potentially good points made, but far more research and thought is required on my part before coming to a conclusion. I'm still reading. I for sure don't think Ron Paul is doing himself a disservice by ignoring this sort of stuff.
The Kos author certainly wears his biases on his sleeve. As the fence sitter I am, I would be better persuaded by reading a piece with less adverbs and adjectives and more facts.
People of any political persuasion that use dialectic of "left vs right" or "far left and far right", lose me every time. I would really, really, really like to convince people that are trying to argue coherently about politics to frame their arguments in terms of the Pournelle Chart or something similar.
The Kos series depends heavily on descriptions of the content of a copy of a newsletter called the “Ron Paul Survival Report”, during 1993, which Paul claims he did not write. In particular, some racially insensitive comments about Rodney King in that newsletter offended many.
It would be good for the truth if somebody out there, on any side, would actually go and photocopy more of these newsletters and put them up on the web. According to At least one issue is preserved at the university of Wisconsin. Maybe more copies survive.
The Kos also relied heavily on an interview with Paul published in the October, 2001 issue of the Texas Monthly. It's behind a paywall. I invested 12 bucks in a subscription, and read that article on Dr No for myself. It was 12 bucks well spent. I also emailed the author of the piece and asked him to remove the paywall. The full content of Paul's statements on this matter were:
In spite of calls from Gary Bledsoe, the president of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP, and other civil rights leaders for an apology for such obvious racial typecasting, Paul stood his ground. He said only that his remarks about Barbara Jordan related to her stands on affirmative action and that his written comments about blacks were in the context of "current events and statistical reports of the time." He denied any racist intent. What made the statements in the publication even more puzzling was that, in four terms as a U. S. congressman and one presidential race, Paul had never uttered anything remotely like this. When I ask him why, he pauses for a moment, then says, "I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren't really written by me. It wasn't my language at all. Other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around. I think the one on Barbara Jordan was the saddest thing, because Barbara and I served together and actually she was a delightful lady." Paul says that item ended up there because "we wanted to do something on affirmative action, and it ended up in the newsletter and became personalized. I never personalize anything."
Some quotes from that article the kos author omitted are:
Back in his quiet, high-ceilinged office in the Capitol, the dreaded Dr. No turns out to be something different from the gun-toting, fire-breathing, right-wing militia nut his opponents would have you believe he is. Instead of a libertarian Genghis Khan, I am talking to a friendly, slender man with graying hair, wearing a standard-issue chalk-stripe suit. He would strike you as a kindly, crinkle-eyed, slightly absentminded family doctor, direct from central casting. In fact, he is a doctor, a prominent obstetrician in Brazoria County who has delivered four thousand babies, a good portion of those while serving as a congressman. He is answering, in a patient and good-natured way, a question asking if he thinks the federal government has become too powerful. "I think it's a police state that is absolutely out of control," he says placidly, eating a modest lunch of canned soup and a white-bread sandwich at his desk. "We have eighty-three thousand federal officials carrying guns. Every regulation that is made, every federal law that is written, is done with the idea that there is a gun waiting right there to enforce it. If you don't pay your taxes or follow the regulation or use your land exactly as they tell you to, if you cut down a tree you're not supposed to or fill in a ditch, a gun will come and take your money, take your land, or put you in jail. Everything that is done up here is based on a gun. It's an armed state. It has gotten so big already, it's going to be hard to stop." He pauses, then smiles and says, "You know, I'm for gun control. I want to get the guns out of the hands of the bureaucrats."
What launched Paul into politics were two distinctly un-Misean actions taken by President Richard Nixon in 1971: He intervened massively in the U.S. economy by establishing wage and price controls, and he took the country off the gold standard. For Paul, these actions were unthinkable exercises of federal power. We all have our moments of clarity. His epiphany came on August 15, 1971. "I remember the day very clearly," he says. "Nixon closed the gold window, which meant admitting that we could no longer meet our commitments and that there would be no more backing of the dollar. After that day, all money would be political money rather than money of real value. I was astounded."
For reasons that even he cannot quite explain, in 1987 Ron Paul became the Libertarian party's candidate for president of the United States. Though his positions on most issues are identical to those of the Libertarians (abortion being the main exception), Paul admits that this was a strange, almost Sisyphean move, considering his prospects for victory. "I probably invested close to a year," he says. "It was a lot of time and effort. Sometimes I had some ambivalence about how productive it was."As it turned out, it was hugely productive but not in ways that Paul could see then. Though he got less than one percent of the vote in the 1988 presidential election, he managed to unite a vast network of true believers—not only staunch Libertarians, but also anti-gun control folks, fiscal conservatives, home-schoolers, right-to-lifers, school prayer advocates, isolationists, and people who generally felt that the U.S. government was veering out of control. Their financial support would become a key factor in Paul's return to congressional politics.
Getting confrontational, remaining deadly serious about debt
Ordinarily I'm a quiet, unassuming guy. Really. My current outbursts are caused purely by a lack of surf to take out my aggressions on. I prefer to work together with people on a common quest for understanding.
Instead I went back and read the Oct 21, 2008 republican debate transcript, and watched the video, twice, to try and see some sign of sanity in the Republican party. While putting myself through this torture I wished, like the vodka pundit, that I'd kept a bottle open during the debate and the replays, or watched the red sox, or done anything else but worried about the future of the USA.
The popular Redstate blog just banned Ron Paul participants. Almost amusingly, they did it based on the idea that their site is private property. Where news commentary becomes private property, I'll admit, is a grey area, but I note that sites like slashdot.org tolerate a great deal of controversy and have implemented a comment moderation system that is both effective in eliminating trolls and democratic – a technological solution to a real problem.
As if the current crop of politicians and news sites on either side had any understanding of science or technology, or any interest in allowing alternate viewpoints. Hey, redstate! The code to slashdot is free and open source, you can just use it – I know, to you, that that might sound a bit socialist – but implement it or something like it! Don't shut your readers and writers down!
I can't vote for Hillary Clinton, primarily because I'm strongly opposed to a hereditary aristocracy in America. I'd be against another Bush, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower, or Roosevelt for the same reason.
So, after sitting on the fence for a while, hoping someone better would show up, wishing that McCain didn't resemble Bernie, wishing that I could just drown my anger in drink or women or song... I just donated some money to Ron Paul.
I feel a little better about things, not much though.
Unlike some other paulites, I merely believe that he's pulling in the right direction, and that he (and I – and all citizens) deserve a voice in America. Also unlike some Paulites, I'd prefer that after losing in the primaries, that Paul sticks to what he's been saying - that he won't consider a 3rd party run - and go back to congress where he can continue speaking truth to power.
I would like Ron Paul to try to explain what a local government should do, and how, rather than what the federal government shouldn't. Most arguments I have with a libertarian start with “I live now in what some might call a libertarian paradise, and the roads suck. What would you do about that?” and go downhill from there.
The persistent allegations about Ron Paul's connections to a hate group really bother me. However it's a rare politician that can control who they shake hands with, and it's harder still to control who supports you - especially when you are not into top down control in the first place. I will pay close attention to further developments in this allegation, because it does worry me.
Paul's paranoia regarding a North American Union I find hard to take. Actually, on some days, I think adding the US to the rest of the Americas – voluntarily, as in the EU – would do a lot of good for most everybody - South Americans and Mexicans in particular - Imagine a CAFTA-esq treaty enforced between California and New York and you'll see what I mean. I'd rather have a voluntary association of states than an empire. On other days I remember the period 1850-1872....
But all these are nits compared to the egregious faults of the other candidates.
I remember back in 96 or so, when polygamous sexual behavior almost brought down President Clinton. Today, with most of the top candidates for president known for extra-marital affairs, it's no longer an issue for the MSM. It still is for me!
Frankly, when I see the squeaky clean and airbrushed Mormon Mitt Romney I feel a bit sorry for him - as he's one of the few that actually adhere to WASP morality in this election. As shown by the successes of the show Big Love, now in a third season - and of the other politicians in the race - polygamy is IN!
The sexual practices of Romney's religion were completely quashed years ago by a vile overapplication of government force. One saving grace of the current debate over gay marriage is that almost nobody advocates something as extreme as the Edmunds Tucker Act which both heavily fined and denied Mormon polygamists the right to vote, among other things.
Ron Paul also adheres to conventional morality. He has had a stable marriage for 50 years. His position on abortion is stellar from my perspective - he's against it (I'm not) but all he proposes to do is remove this contentious issue from the federal realm, and return it to the states, which is far less invasive than what all the other candidates propose.
The marriage and abortion issues bore me. I don't feel these problems need to be solved at a federal level. They don't cost me anywhere near as much money as war, debt payments, social security and medicare do. Abortion and Marriage are just weapons of mass distraction used to distract us from the real federal priorities set down by the constitution.
And Ron Paul? He came in a distant 4th. He evidently didn't clearly hear his first question, and didn't answer it directly, and every other question he turned into a statement about how reducing our commitments abroad would allow us to pay for better social programs at home. He got thrown a softball question about how and why he had refused medicare payments and the associated paperwork and despite that perfect chance for a homily story that could touch hearts - he turned that question, too, into a foreign policy question. I would have liked him to have answered his questions more directly. He stumbled over the question of a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, but pulled himself together at the end:
"This should be a religious matter. All voluntary associations, whether they're economic or social, should be protected by the law. But to amend the Constitution is totally unnecessary to define something that's already in the dictionary. We do know what marriage is about," Paul said.
Guilliani said that marriage is also a civil matter and got a laugh by saying he'd performed 210 marriages in NY but wasn't sure if they were all between a man and a woman.
Mitt Romney said:
"The status of marriage, if it's allowed among the same sex individuals in one state is going to spread to the entire nation. And that's why it's important to have a national standard for marriage," he said. "My state's constitution was written by John Adams. It isn't there."
Mike Huckabee said:
"When our founding fathers put their signatures on the Declaration of Independence, those 56 brave people, most of whom, by the way, were clergymen, they said that we have certain inalienable rights given to us by our creator, and among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, life being one of them. I still believe that,"
I can't help but remember that Sam Adams and John Hancock were basically smugglers who would have been hung had the British caught them. And that they would have hung with the priesthood. And that I would have been glad to have hung with them all.
Giulliani got off a good zinger on Hillary Clinton:
"I've been very critical of her, but I want to tell her I agree with this one. Quote, Hillary Clinton, 'I have a million ideas; America cannot afford them all.' I'm not making it up. I am not making it up," Giuliani said to laughter. "No kidding Hillary — American can't afford you."
Fred Thompson, after being an unimpressive and slow starter all night, got in the last words of the night somehow. I just spent 5 minutes trying to recall what they were, then I flashed on that cialis ad I'd seen in the first segment, overlaid by the windows XP window. To close out the debate. .. Thompson said something about being the proud parent of his 4 year olds.
On the whole, as national debates go, it wasn't horrible. I think I'd rather have curled up with a hot woman, preferably one that believed in plural marriage, birth control, and voting with her feet. A good book would also have been preferable. I suppose I'm going to have to force myself to sit through more debates, lacking either of the above. Sure wish I could get some of my own questions answered.
Just as Ron Paul began to speak, a window appeared on the screen, and somehow, someone, made some changes to how the data was being displayed.
I hurredly took a few screen shots, but what actually was going on I can't tell.
Ron Paul's comments then ranked below the 50% line for the duration of what he had to say. What he had to say probably wasn't very popular but the duration and volume of the applause after he spoke seemed in line with most of what I'd heard today. WTF did fox news do? Does anyone have a higher quality feed or capture of what happened?
At no other time in the debate did such a window appear. There was an XP window on the screen for the first set of advertisements (about cialis) , which I found amusing, but...
I've noted elsewhere how much I like the msnbc poll, as it both educates and polls, and is at the same time, fair, and easy to understand. The candidates and issues are listed in alphabetical order; the results are shown in shades of green (good) to red (bad). I'd like the poll to also have a tab that showed the number of votes, and various other statistics (repeat votes, vote locations, etc), and for msnbc to publish its source code for this poll so it can be reused and re purposed– but I can't have everything.
The one thing I'd really like to have in that poll – and most others – is the ability to frame the questions myself in categories that I cared about, and for me to be able reach statistically significant numbers of people with those questions.
I'm tickled that 10 questions is trying to pull together a democratically created poll – but IMHO it's too little, too late. The questions need to be sent in via video, and uploading video from where I'm at is an exercise in tedium, even if I looked halfway good on camera. Still, I'd like to participate so I'll use this blog for my questions. Perhaps others will film questions like these.
My top 10 issues for 2008 at the federal level:
1)(Economy) The deficit
2)(Economy) The estate tax
3)(Economy) Alternative minimum tax
4)(Politics) Personal freedom
5)(Science) The space program
7)(Health Care) Health Care
9)(War) the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations
10)(Politics) Enhancing the internet
My top 10 election 2008 questions
If I had control of a polling system, or of a presidential debate of democrats or republicans, these are the questions I would ask. To keep the question short and fair, with a maximum amount of screen time for candidate answers, I might skip the first background sentences entirely, and just ask the questions. I don't want to be as guilty of framing the debate as others are, and I'm doing enough merely by framing the questions thusly:
3)(Economy) An increasing number of Americans are subject to the alternative minimum tax, rather than the normal income tax. What would you do about this situation?
4)(Immigration) How would you reform the H1B visa program?
5)(Space) The space shuttle is due to be retired in 2010, and the earliest a replacement is scheduled to come online is 2014. According to President Bush's Vision for Space Exploration, a return to the moon is scheduled for 2020. Do you think these dates are reasonable? Would you continue these programs as is? Cut the budgets? Increase them? Encourage private development of space vehicles? Go for the Moon? Mars? Or aim for the near earth asteroids?
6)(Politics) What, if anything, would you do about gerrymandering?
7)(Health Care) What percentage of the public's health care financing should go to drugs and what percentage to treatment?
8)(Freedom) How would you maximize freedom in America and the world?
9)(Internet) America has fallen far behind the rest of the world in internet deployment and speed. What would you do about that?
10)(War) How would you more effectively govern the occupied territories abroad?
I note that there are three places above where I do directly challenge the conventional wisdom while framing the question.
I can't contain my outrage at the size of the federal debt. I tried.
The Iraq war ceased being a war shortly after Baghdad fell, and became an occupation. I can't bring myself to call it a war anymore, and don't know how anyone can.
The depth of my space question represents my deep interest in science and space and my utter despair at finding a candidate that had ever talked about the issues there.
And perhaps it's a little unfair of me to hyperlink to the facts containing my assertions. (I haven't finished revising this posting to add all the hyperlinks I'd like to add, so please check back later)
I couldn't help myself but frame things that way, but I did limit showing my biases as best as I could. Hopefully that's good enough. I do have my own opinions on all these questions, and I will publish them in my blog over the next week. I look forward to any comments on the above, and hope that others will ignore the current framing of the national debates, ignore me, too - and formulate their own top 10 questions and publish them, in some format, somewhere.
Perhaps some answers - or better questions - will arise.