Preparation

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | No Comments

I think I just found out how ill-prepared I am for taking on the task of covering the Independents who are running for President this year.  Take a look at this page to find out why.

That’s a lot of Independents/no party affiliation people, even if you took out all the 3rd-party people mixed in.  So, I have more work to do than I thought.

The problem is that Vote Smart seems to have a rather loose system of identifying your party affiliation.  There are people on there who are listed as “Independent”, “no party affiliation,” and “none.”  Then there’s a couple who have nothing listed at all in that column.  Finally, some of the “Independents” have few or no details listed, making it hard to profile them.  I don’t want to do it, but I’ll have to leave these people out…unless of course they happen to see this entry and want to send me information!  I’m here to profile you, people, free of charge!  Email me, hint hint hint!

Another issue is that some people who are listing themselves as “Independent” are really members of one of several Independent parties in the U.S.  The New American Independent Party is the one I’m seeing most often.  The thing I need to consider is whether this qualifies the candidate for Independents Week, or whether I should consider it just another party.  Although I understand the purpose behind it, officially, it is just another party.  My inclination for them is to leave it until I get to 3rd parties, and that is probably what will happen.

So, a bit of planning needs to be done.  I will start this weekend with a profile, and continue on.  However, I do this Independents Week will turn into Independents Weeks.

 

McCain Birthplace Story Ridiculous

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | One Comment

What is this stupidity at the New York Times regarding stories about John McCain.  First it was the affair story that had no solid backing.  Now it’s this story about McCain being born in the Panama Canal Zone bringing up questions about his Presidential eligibility.

What a stupid story.  McCain was born to someone who was serving in the military of the United States.  He certainly couldn’t do anything about that, so why should he be prevented from trying to lead his country?

So, yes, McCain should be able to run.  It shouldn’t even have been a question that was brought up, and McCain certainly seems to have enough precedent to his favor.  Four other people have had similar questions brought up, and all had rulings in their favor, or no question was brought up.

The bigger question is the ‘natural born’ clause in the Constitution.  Now, I understand the reason for having it back when it was created.  They certainly didn’t want England to try and sneak in someone or something!

Well, these days, when nobody’s about to be questioning our country’s right to exist, is it still needed?  I say, if someone has committed themselves to this country so much that they become a citizen, why should it matter?  We’re certainly not going to have someone as President who hasn’t proven themselves whether as a Congressperson or a Governor, or other political position (it just isn’t going to happen, as I’ll discuss in my Independents Week entries).

So, if they’ve committed themselves, why not let anyone who’s a citizen on this country become President?  Call me one to be against the Constitution if you wish, but I think there’s some people in this country who could make a difference.  Except they can’t, because they’re not natural-born citizens, just citizens.

What say you?  Retain the natural-born clause, or should it be removed?

 

Independents Week Update

Posted by Mike Merritt in Dymersion on | No Comments

Just a quickie before I hit the hay…

Sorry about this delay.  This is important to me to feature those candidates who are not getting the national spotlight.  However, life must come first, and life commitments are calling.

Going to do my best to start it up tomorrow!

 

Democratic Debate – “Live Blogging”

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | No Comments

As live blogging as I can get, anyway.

Wrap-up: I thought the debate started off lopsided on the questions for Clinton.  However, not much later tough questions were asked to both, and it stayed this way throughout.

I thought some of the answers were rather bland.  Except the the heated mini-debate on healthcare, no real zingers here.

I don’t think Obama made any mis-steps, but neither did Clinton make any real steps forward.

I think, and some people seem to agree on this already, that it was basically a tie here.  I don’t know if it’s going to hurt or help either candidate.

Well, that’s all for tonight.  I’ll see you tomorrow!

10:31pm: What question must the other answer?

Obama: She’d be great as the nominee. I’ll be better for President because I can do and have done stuff.

Clinton: I’ll be better because I’ve done a lot for a long time.

Me: So, basically the same answer. Also notice how neither actually answered Williams’ question?

10:26pm: Clinton on worst vote: “I should not have taken this country into Iraq.” She is ready to lead, having exp. on both ends of Pennsylvania Ave.

Obama: I didn’t stand up and stop Congress from interfering into the Terry Schaivo situation. Whoever is nominee will be ready to help.

Me: Can’t expect much else here.

10:22pm: Clinton: Russia’s successor handpicked. Bush has had an incoherent policy toward Russia. We’ll be meeting with him, but Putin will be the decider.

Obama: Clinton says it right.

Me: Eh, what else can they say?

Obama: Kosovo? If Russia tries to help Serbia, we’ll “talk.”

Me: Clinton not going to be let to reply on it? Meh.

10:19pm: Me: Good answer on the ratings, Obama. I don’t think it’s a liberal vs. conservative thing. People like John McCain should be for it. Shouldn’t he?

10:13pm: Clinton: “There’s a difference between denouncing someone and rejecting support.”

Obama: “I’ll reject and denounce.”

Me: Zing!

10:08pm: Obama doesn’t want Farrakhan’s support. Denounced him many times.

Now Tim is asking about Obama’s pastor, esp. on Jewish support.

“I have some of the strongest Jewish. I’ve supported them, they’ve supported African Americans. We love each other, man!”

Me: Good answers here.

Sorry, had to go sign up for community service…

9:42pm: Someone’s about to call him John McCain. “If they want a partnership for protection of stability in the region….” and stops there!

Me: Yet, he speaks against what John McCain has now clarified. Difference???

Now, Clinton: Withdrawl within 60 days. He talks the talk with Afghanistan, but doesn’t do anything when he chairs the subcommittee with authority over it.

Obama: We’ll cooperate with allies, but act if there’s a threat.

9:40pm: And he comes back: “She was for Iraq before she was against it.”

And, I’m loving it, and so are millions of fangirls, I’m sure: “PAHHHK-ISTAHN”

“I did not say I’d bomb them. Only if we had info on Al-Queda, and they won’t help us.”

9:38pm: Come back to Clinton late, but: “He’ll bomb Pakistan, and meet with dictators. FEAR HIM!”

9:35pm: Foreign policy: Obama brings up “100 years” again. Stop it!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and I love his pronounciation: Paaahk-istahn. Which may be right, according to Wikipedia.

Anyway, he basically says: Given the past seven years, my inexperience makes no difference.

9:33pm: On not getting the 200,000 jobs, Clinton says: I didn’t have the President I wanted. I’m not going to speak on job making, since I don’t know much about it, except to say: See globalization.

9:26pm: Clinton says we’ll be out of NAFTA unless we renegotiate the agreement. I think Clinton’s been put on the defensive unfairly, here. She’s been getting all the tough questions, and Obama’s been the responder so far.

Me: Wait…there we go. A little tougher. He brought up a thing that Obama said about NAFTA. Maybe it’ll be a little more fair?

9:22pm: Oooh, Obama goes on the attack, saying Clinton was for NAFTA before she was against it.

9:18pm: Clinton’s not happy she got the first question, and has on past debates, too. Doesn’t like NAFTA, notes where it’s worked, and where it hasn’t, like in New York. I’m sure you know the debate so I won’t bore you, but lost jobs to overseas, etc.

9:12pm: Clinton finally comes out and says she or her top staff didn’t authorize the photo. A little late perhaps, but finally she says it. Ok, then, back on my consideration list for you.

Now they’re talking about how their nearly similar healthcare plans are different. Clinton explains why she would require everyone to be on her plan and how Obama leaves out 15 million or something, and Obama says he doesn’t want to fine people who don’t want it. They want to keep on it, and won’t let the mods move on.

Me: I think both have good points, but I think Obama’s reasoning is better. By the way, I’d love to know who these “experts” they both keep talking about are.

 

Post-Kneejerk

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | No Comments

After this morning’s knee-jerk reaction from me about the release of the Obama photo, time for a little more analysis.

The campaigns are heating up.  This weekend, Clinton was blasting Obama about a leaflet questioning her healthcare plan forcing everybody to opt-in.  Today, Obama was blasting the Clinton campaign for the photo, which we still don’t know for sure whether it came from there, says Clinton spokesman, Mo Elleithee:

“We have over 700 people on staff. I don’t know if someone on our staff sent it out or not,” Elleithee said. “If someone on our staff makes the point that we are treated differently by the press than Sen. Obama, we agree with that sentiment. We don’t think there’s anything wrong with this photo. Sen. Clinton has herself, while traveling abroad, dressed in traditional, local dress. And there’s nothing divisive about that.”

He also tried to push back at Obama: “We think it is wrong for the Obama campaign to say that this is divisive photo. It’s not a divisive photo.”

If I was Clinton’s campaign manager, and if they find out for sure it was someone on the campaign, I’d start sending out warnings that tactics such as these will not be tolerated, and they are grounds for dismissal.  Same with Obama’s campaign manager, just to show that any retaliation on basis of unconfirmed reports like Drudge’s.

So, Clinton’s saved from a strike off the consideration list.  Still, I think the nomination race is only going to get dirtier before it gets cleaner, and despite not liking it very much, it shall be fun to see and analyze.

 

Defining the Political Center: Problematic

Posted by Mike Merritt in Politics on | No Comments

I basically wrote this blog post while commenting on one at another site.

The problem with liberal, conservative, moderate; left, right, and center, is that they are very largely subjective terms that often change. What’s liberal now may be considered extremely liberal in 20 years. What’s conservative now may be considered extremely conservative in 20 years. Or is could be the other way around.

Heck, even the definitions of what is a conservative, for example, has changed. I’m only 21, so I might be getting some of this wrong, but the old time conservative considered themselves fiscally responsible, and relatively willing to let the economy to get on of its own accord. Now you’d be hard pressed to call the Republicans of today (and especially the Bush administration) conservatives if all you based their membership to that ideology on was economics.

What they spend their time on has even changed. For the conservatives in 2004, it was the value issues, while they might have focused more on taxes 20 years ago. For the liberals, it was the environment and the war, while 20 years ago, it might have been the death penalty and welfare, lets say.

So, center is largely defined by where those two are. In my opinion, it seems that both left and right have moved more toward the extremes since I began following politics, possibly leaving a larger gap for the center. Perhaps that’s why some of the so-called moderate sites seem either more liberal or conservative, because there’s more area for them to cover.

I’d like to call attention to what Jason, the author of the entry on that site says. I also wrote a blog post on this issue not too long ago. He mentions that maverick Republicans like Hagel are called moderates while maverick Democrats like Lieberman are called “neocons or traitors”. I mostly agree with this analysis, though I’d argue that depending on who you ask on the right, people like Hagel and McCain would be called liberals or party traitors just as much. I think I might be argued with on McCain, given his support for the war, and I’d say that both have different focuses in their maverick attitudes. Note McCain and torture.

I’d propose that centrists or moderates describe themselves as people who take things on an issue by issue basis and decide where they lie on them.  Maybe this will turn out more right or more left, or perhaps balanced somewhere in the middle.  That’s how I’d describe myself, anyway.

So, to wrap it up, I think that a moderate or centrist is defined by where left and right are, and think that at this point in time, centrists simply have more territory to cover. Also consider that old time mantra, that what was considered very liberal 200 years ago (end of slavery, anyone?) is considered a very moderate view now. So, these things change over time. Finally, keep in mind that 150 years ago, the Republicans were today’s Democrats on many issues and the Democrats were today’s Republicans on many issues.

 

Independents Week

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008, Politics on | No Comments

No, not Independence Week. That doesn’t come until the first week of July. This is Independents Week, a whole different roll of gum.

Starting tomorrow, and for every day this week (it may go longer depending on how many people I find), I will be profiling Independents who are running for President. As a non-affiliated voter myself, I can understand how Independents who are running find it frustrating that they don’t receive the media attention afforded to an Obama or a Clinton or a McCain. Heck, even Ralph Nader, that perennial candidate for President, is an Independent who’s getting some media attention. I’ll be getting to him last, as he’s known so well, and as long as he remains an Independent by the end of the week. Who knows, the Green Party could pick him up again by then. I’ll eventually be getting to the third party candidates.

I’m going to have to make a decision on one or two of them, as they may call themselves Independents, but are actually part of a party with “Independent” in its name, which really is affiliating yourself with a party when you come to think about it. It’s not the same as running on your own, with no party affiliation.

So, I’ll profile them, give an idea of their history and what they stand for. I’ll then give my own opinions on the candidate. Ultimately, however, it is for you to decide. You may find a new favored candidate, or perhaps my profiles will re-affirm your choice in one of the major party candidates.

Why am I doing this? Because nobody else is doing it. Even I’ve been mostly covering the major party candidates, and it is two of them which I currently like. So, I hope to turn the tide a little bit, and inform you of who else is out there.

It may also perhaps change my favored candidate, since I’m really starting to get sick of both parties. So, tune in tomorrow for the beginning of Independents Week here at Dymersion.

 

Obama Photo

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008, Politics on | No Comments

Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report isn’t someone to consider in the eyes of many, especially if you’re liberal, but the aftermath of his report is causing waves of fury, especially if you’re an Obama supporter.

This morning, Drudge put up a photo of Obama dressed in traditional Somali garb during a visit to the country in 2006.  Worse yet, he pinned the circulation of the photo on Clinton campaign staffers.

No matter who actually did it, this is bad for Clinton, and the aftermath of the event is worse than the actual circulation of the photo itself.  In their response to the charge of putting up the photo, seen here on Politico, the campaign says:

Enough.

If Barack Obama’s campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.

This is nothing more than an obvious and transparent attempt to distract from the serious issues confronting our country today and to attempt to create the very divisions they claim to decry.

We will not be distracted.

What’s missing from this response is an outright denial.  If they didn’t circulate the photo, what harm is there in denying you did it?  It would turn attention away from themselves and on to another source.  Perhaps an unaffiliated Clinton supporter, or even someone from the McCain camp.  Yet, their response is to essential say, “We won’t deny it, we just want you to forget about it.”

The whole situation is ridiculous, and it comes on the heels of the “Obama is a Muslim” emails that were circulating several months ago, and which some people still believe.  I think this blog post sums it up best in showing that a lot of our political leaders don traditional clothing on their visits around the world.  Even Clinton has done it before, as you can see.

Maggie Williams, Clinton’s campaign manager, is the source of the above quote.  So, if they really didn’t send it, I hope Clinton either reprimands or fires her.  It’s simply bad press to not deny something if you didn’t do it.  It’s even worse press to not come out and admit that you did, but try to ignore the situation entirely.

I must say, though, the next couple days ought to be interesting.  I wasn’t incredibly big on Clinton before, but was willing to accept her into the fold if she should win the nomination.  Now I have to say that if it can be proven beyond a doubt that it was her campaign that circulated this, she is completely off my consideration list now.

Fear mongering is a bad, bad way to run your campaign.  It’s a Karl Rove tactic, and not something you should be emulating.

 

YEEES!!!

Posted by Mike Merritt in Television on | No Comments

Ah, it has to be a sign that I watched an old episode of Sliders tonight, the pilot in fact.

Three years ago, I bought the first and second seasons of the show, and a year later, the third season.  Then I waited forever for the fourth season, but it seemed like it would never come.

Well, I sometimes like to read about series while I’m watching them, and went to the Wikipedia article on Sliders.  And what should I see when I get down to the DVD section?  That the fourth season is coming out on March 25th!  I know the fourth season is often said to be the beginning of the end for Sliders, but I don’t care, I want it.

Next month is going to sooo cool.  Stargate: The Ark of Truth is coming out on March 11th and Sliders Season 4 on the 25th.  Can’t wait!

 

Keeping Fair and Balanced on Obama

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008, Politics on | No Comments

I suppose that with my recent hits on the McCain and Clinton campaigns, I can hardly leave Obama out of the fun. As much as I like the guy, I’m not with him on everything he’s done in his run for the White House.

As much as Obama supporters will probably like to mention to me that he doesn’t play dirty “like McCain and Clinton,” there is something I don’t like Obama doing.

In every speech lately, he keeps bringing up the 100 years thing McCain said a few weeks ago. For those who don’t follow this campaign cycle as much as me, take a look at this YouTube video. For all those “tl;dr” people, I’ll be extra generous: McCain is responding to an inquiry someone has on what he thinks about what Bush said about the possibility for being in Iraq for the long haul, even 50 years. McCain mentions that he’d be okay with 100 years, and goes on to mention some places, like Germany and Japan, that we’ve been in for more than a decade.

Since then, lefty news organizations and commentators have been attaching their claws to the “100 years” phrase like a vulture tearing at a carcass, possibly trying to achieve the same effect. Unfortunately (in my opinion), Obama’s been going along with this, even after McCain has clarified his position further, as seen in this article.

I’m going to have to go along with McCain’s “they took it out of context” argument here. I think it’s pretty clear from the video what McCain means. He mentions Germany, Japan, and South Korea. All places we’ve been stationed, but not actively engaged in fighting, for many years. So, it’s pretty clear to me that’s what “100 years” means. Yet, in speeches after McCain had clarified his position, Obama was still using the phrase against McCain. He was bringing up the phrase at least as late as after his wins last Tuesday.

For someone who presents them self as the “anti-Washington establishment” candidate, Obama playing on that statement for so long is pretty Washington establishment to me. I’d expect such a thing out of Clinton (well, expect is not the right word, as she’s playing on the phrase too) or McCain, both Wasington veterans, but not Obama.

I feel like, in a general sense, and this isn’t just directed toward Obama, that all the candidates have varying amounts of demagoguery going on within their campaigns. Some candidates are worse than others, but in the end, it tends to be a lot more about style and presence than talking about the real issues.

I think Obama needs to change his tact, and stop calling McCain on something that’s he’s already clarified as the U.S. having done for many years (with two of his examples first starting under a Democratic administration). The longer he keeps it up, the more it starts to look like dirty politics.

 

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