You Americans…

Folks, I’m from Canada. Like the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, your civilization puzzles and frightens me. I don’t really understand your Congress, or your system of checks and balances… because, as I said – I’m just a caveman Canadian! My primitive mind can’t grasp these concepts.

But there is one thing I do know… and that is, that I cannot believe that the USA is about to decide that it should be McCain vs Hillary. What is wrong with you people?!?


  1. Then again, so long as we never need hear the name Huckabee again I can probably sleep at night.

  2. It’s true they don’t have a cool name like Diefenbaker.

    But as much as I dislike McCain and Clinton (both) I’d take either any day of the week over Trudeau or Chrétien.

  3. That is a **** good question.

  4. Sad. Isn’t it? It makes me rather despondant.

  5. In our defense, sir Steve, we still might decide that McCain vs Obama is best. Regardless of what one thinks about the specific politics or personality of either of them, that race could be incredibly interesting. Neither candidate is adored by his respective party’s establishment, and both have a ton of appeal to independent voters. That could mean a transformation of the current political landscape, putting many traditional Red or Blue states back into contention. Both candidates (though my sense is Obama more) could potentially construct new political coalitions that transcend (I was really hoping to get through this without using that word! oh well…) traditional left/right fault lines ala Ronald Reagan.

  6. I too am feeling more than a tad despondant about the prospects for this fall.

  7. Brad: “we still might decide that McCain vs Obama is best”

    I agree, that would be an improvement over how I think things are looking.

  8. On the bright side… (I’ve been trying to cheer myself up)

    McCain favors more action on global warming.
    He won’t continue the anti-science tendencies of Bush
    He (and probably to a lesser extent Clinton) will maintain the war on terror in a pragmatic fashion.
    Either he or Clinton are apt to get more done with the Europeans.
    He won’t feel obliged to pander to Evangelicals on various issues.
    He is a fiscal conservative – or at least moreso than Bush.
    He is more able to work with Congress.

    So it’s not a total loss.

  9. Clark, you’re not cheering me very much here.

  10. p.s. I just saw this great post by Dave, and I wonder if there is a correlation.

  11. I should add that his fiscal conservative bonafides are a bit iffy. The Club for Growth, a big fiscal conservative group, put him at the bottom of the pack a few months ago. Still, he’s better than Bush.

    And, given the US system, neither Clinton nor McCain are apt to do a whole lot of real damage domestically and either are apt to clean up some of the messes of Bush without going overboard.

    Obama, as much as a I like him as a person (why couldn’t Romney have had his personality?) scares me politically. I can see him acting on ideology like Bush did and shaking things up way too much like Bush did. Right now we need someone who can calm the changes, make adjustments to the Bush excesses, without making things worse. As much as I hate to say it, Clinton probably is the best for that out of any of the Republicans who ran or the Democrats who ran.

  12. #8 Clark now I am really depressed.

    Steve, know of any condos for sale in Canada?

  13. non-mormon-observer says:

    Anyone is better than Bush…My heart skips a beat just knowing he is leaving next January. Let’s face it on the Dem side Hillary is the establishment candidate. I am on the Dem Exec. Committee in my County and I went to our HQ the other day to pick something up and Hillary’s campaign signs and lit were plastered everywhere (normally local committees at the County level don’t endorse Pres. candidates during primaries)…I am not anti-Hillary…I am just pro-Obama..and I must add I am happier knowing that on the other side there might be a Romney or McCain instead of a Huckabee or Thompson…(or worse a Cheney:) both moderate Republicans by any stretch even though the former has been polishing and brandishing a “proud member of the conservative right” card since Iowa…I think he bought it on E-bay…

  14. Here you go Darrell.

  15. non-mormon-observer says:

    Or I should say since he left Mass.

  16. I’m not thrilled about the prospects of a Clinton-McCain general election (I’m an Obama man, myself), but in the event that it does happen, at least we’d have two candidates who have disavowed torture coercive interrogation techniques.

    That is a small victory for the U.S.

  17. amen, Andrew

  18. There was a time in my life (I was more conservative, McCain apparently less so) when I would have voted for McCain. Circa 1999-2000, a McCain presidency might have kept me in the party a little while longer (MAYBE). Now he has shifted in all the wrong directions on all the wrong issues.

  19. What’s funny Steve is that I’ve wanted to go to both Baffin Island and Iceland for vacation for years…

    As soon as the chocolate business won’t go to pot if I leave on a long vacation I’m there. I hear the ice climbing in Baffin Island is incredible!

    Andrew, regarding torture, both were pretty careful in their wording. Clinton in particular. She basically was indicating she’d do it if she felt it was warranted but wouldn’t make it a general policy. That’s basically the Bush position however the way it was communicated under Rumsfeld made it seem like it was acceptable. But I’d be very surprised if either McCain or Clinton didn’t, for most Al Queda big wigs, do exactly what Bush has done with the CIA.

  20. Andrew, no doubt! Although we’d also have two candidates who voted in favor of the war in Iraq…

  21. Gah. Shoot me now.

  22. We used to deride Russia because it had a single candidate in its election. Yup, really stupid and futile. We have two candidates! whoopee. Also really stupid and futile. We the most loathsome and unfair primary system in the world. It is sheer power politics where two corrupt parties control who we can vote for.

    McCain? Not on your life. Hillary? Give me socialism or give me death Hillary? Yeah, like this is really a choice?

  23. imho-
    If it’s McCain versus Clinton, McCain will win. If it’s McCain versus Obama, Obama will win. Now if it could possibly be Obama versus Romney? Then we’ll have a real election, and regardless of my politics, I won’t cry when it’s over.

    However, I do have a lot of family in Canada. Maybe Grandma will let me move in…?

  24. what bugs me is that Huckabee is staying in the race to draw votes away from Romney, so he can be McCain’s vice president…. Very annoying…

  25. And then some right wing nut job will assassinate McCain so we’ll have a President Huckabee after all. You read it here at BCC first!

  26. Sam Kitterman says:

    I understand there are clips of McCain stating we should remain in Iraq for another 10 years and someone said, how about 50 years, McCain saying that’s good too.
    Given same I am really REALLY afraid McCain will actually turn out to be far far closer to Bush than we would ever want.
    And yes, I’m an Obama man too.
    If McCain is in as president, my wife has already told me she’ll be happy to to retire in Southern Germany and leave the States behind.

    Sam K.

  27. What would be really interesting is if we had a “none of the above” option on our ballots. If “none of the above” won, then both parties would be required to bring forward new candidates for a new election 3 months later.

    Although, on second thought, Bush would be in office that much longer…

  28. Ok, I’m gonna get shot for this but…

    Why does everyone hate McCain so much?

    I was formerly undecided favoring Romney, but I’ve been a bit disappointed with Romney and am now firmly undecided. I’m not an expert on McCain’s history, which I understand has been rocky in terms of his relationship with conservatives. But as far as his recent and current positions, here are the points people make against him:

    1) He opposed the Bush tax cuts. True, but he says he opposed them because they were the wrong tax cuts, not because he opposes tax cuts in general. He says he had his own tax cut plan. Now, we can debate about whether he was right to oppose them, but is a conservative obliged to support every tax cut, even if he believes it is the wrong tax cut?

    2) His immigration plan. True, it didn’t provide for securing the border before giving benefits, which was a fatal flaw. But at least he actually tried to do something, instead of just talking about it. And he has now changed his view. (Romney supporters, don’t even tell me that’s not valid)

    3) His temper. Well, he’s the only republican leading national polls against democrats, so apparently he’s controlled his temper enough to make some friends.

    4) McCain-Feingold, on grounds that it’s a violation of free speach. This one I don’t know much about. But again, we all can agree that our political system is too focused on money. His plan might not have been best, but again, at least he tried to do something. Maybe someone can explain this one more to me and why it was horrible.

    For me it comes down to this. When I vote for president, I’m not voting for a set of policies, I’ve voting for someone who will lead. I’m becoming more convinced that Romney may not be that person (I won’t go into why for now, I’m more interested in why McCain isn’t that person for you all).

    Ok, so there’s my questions. Please don’t judge me for asking questions. I’m honestly asking and honestly looking for answers. If you attack me for asking, that will just push me more toward McCain. So I ask again: Why am I, a conservative, supposed to hate him?

  29. #27: McCain has indeed said we could be in Iraq for a long time. He’s made the argument that we have been in many areas in the world for a very long time. As long as there aren’t casualties, Americans don’t seam to care much how long we are there. That’s his argument. It actually makes sense to me. How is he wrong?

  30. Steve Evans says:

    Mike L., how about being old as hell?

  31. Steve, age is worth considering. I’m not saying he’s the perfect candidate. But age alone doesn’t warrant the hatred.

    And, from what I understand, conservatives hated him long before he was old.:)

  32. For the first time in my life, I might not vote. McCain/Huckabee simply scares me. I’d even vote for Clinton if that were the only other option.

  33. I’m with Brad and others here–Obama is certainly not out of the race. I’m could see a McCain-Obama race in the works.

  34. What is wrong with you people?!?


    You need to ask that question after the current White House occupant was once elected after being once appointed?

  35. Guy’s got a point, Steve.

  36. Hooray for McCain!

  37. I don’t think the race is over by a long shot. (Also, why does it bug me to see Clinton singled out for first-name identification? Just one of my little quirks …)

    I’m totally invested in Obama. I’m thrilled that a candidate so smart and so optimistic and so capable of inspiring people has a real chance at becoming our president. This is the first time in my adult life (I’ve voted in five, no, six previous presidential elections — yikes) that I’ve been genuinely excited about voting FOR someone, as opposed to feeling that the other candidate needed to be stopped.

    I’m disappointed in Romney. I’m sure most of you read Peggy Stack’s story a couple of weeks back on his years as a bishop and stake president in Belmont. I could have voted for that guy.

  38. sister Blah 2 says:

    Steve, you should put up a poll–the bloggernacle presidential primary–I would be VERY curious to see how that turns out.

  39. Mike L., how about being old as hell?

    Of course we did trust a 97 year old to run the one true church.

  40. sister Blah 2 says:

    #27–Actually it’s worse than you remember–the question asked about being there 50 years, and McCain offered the figure of 100 yrs:

  41. McCain is the best serious presidential candidate in a long time. He actually knows things…and adopts policy positions with some relationship to reality. And though he clearly could in the most literal sense (and frankly, probably did in rather non-consensual way), he’s not a fire eater–look at his work on immigration, gang of 14, everything.

    Obama? When he’s not reading a prepared speech, he’s just a stuffed shirt. Being the ‘great black hope’ (the reference here is to the perrenial ‘great white hope’ in boxing) has hurt him–he’s been put out way to early. He would have been better off waiting 4 or 8 years.

    And Hill? well,I wouldn’t trust her with matches, let alone gasoline.

  42. Steve Evans says:

    Guy, don’t get me going about that one. The missus made the same mistake twice.

  43. Steve, my brother-in-law is Canadian. And he has whisked my sister right out of this country.

    You have asked a fundamental question. And of course, I appreciate it that BCC allows the token fundamental preacher to comment from time to time.

    1). Our country has an ego problem that is higher than the mile high city out here in the Rocky Mountain West.

    2). America’s Christianity(ies) are a joke. Can the world take America’s Christianity serious anymore?

  44. Steve Evans says:

    Todd, what’s this “anymore” stuff? The world never took American Christianity seriously. But it’s going from tolerated to mistrusted to feared.

  45. Cathy (38) Hillary has been singled out for first-name identification for years and her campaign obviously likes it. (My mom and sister both have official Hillary bumper stickers.) Here in CA, Swartzenegger goes by ‘Arnold.’ It’s branding. Not sexism. (I think.)

  46. Clark (#8),

    The idea that McCain is a fiscal conservative is a joke. Regulations cost money too – and the type of global warming regulations McCain supports are estimated to cost the average household ~$1,000 a year to start with and go up from there. Electricity prices would double by 2050.

    Assuming a 2.7% increase in energy efficiency per year, a cap and trade program compatible with the Kyoto protocol will reduce economic output in 2020 by 5.2%. That means that each U.S. family of four will have a income in 2020 that is $10,800 lower if a cap and trade bill is passed.

    And all this for what? To attempt to mitigate a 23 inch projected rise in the sea level a century from now.

    Our self proclaimed fiscal “conservative” proposes massive federal involvement in the economy that will make all of us poorer and sicker than we would be otherwise for no benefit whatsoever other than scoring points with the environmental gloom and doom crowd.

    The real question is when did enviromentalists become such overweening illiterates? On global warming, they are either stupid or dishonest or both. Zero population is the answer my friend – without it, the rest of us will die…

  47. #45

    It makes me brokenhearted that I personally would not be just adding to the mess.

    And it makes me pray that Christ would shine through me more than I often allow.

  48. I mean stupid or dishonest with regard to the economic tradeoffs, not [so far as I can tell] the raw science, of course. The integrity of science that projects a 23 inch sea level rise a century from now is purely an academic question. It is the economics of trying to “do something about” this imaginary crisis we should all be concerned about.

  49. I’m voting for Ralph Nader. Again.

  50. #50- My husband does. Every time.

  51. Before the California debate last night I took the opportunity to watch the recent Boca Raton debate, which I had not been able to catch. Watching that, I can really see why McCain has his supporters. But he still seems shifty to me.

  52. Arguing which political candidate is better or worse is like arguing the relative merit of different types of animal feces.

  53. #45, hear hear.

    #44, 48 — Give me one good reason why Americans or anyone else in the world should take American Christianity seriously. (Beyond the broader issue of taking America seriously at all anymore — see excellent recent NYT Magazine article on Waving Goodbye to Hegemony.) People who actually hope for WWIII (aka The Rapture) should probably not be taken seriously…or have their finger anywhere near the proverbial button.

    If God or Jesus would grant me one wish, I swear I would ask that religion and politics be kept separate in the US — no faith talk from candidates offered or asked for. (My second wish would be for them to add an 11th commandment: Thou shalt stop asking WWJD [and using your hypothetical answers to that question like a club with which to beat each other into submission] and use the brains God gave you.)

    I think McCain is too old (and I also think he will sooner rather than later unfortunately die of the melanoma that has plagued him). From that standpoint alone, he’s not a good bet. I’m an Obama fan…and still hoping.

  54. I was hoping the Caveman Lawyer would be as good as the Geico Cavemen.

  55. Gotta love democracy.

  56. I think McCain is too old

    Of course, Mormons just LOVE youthful leaders…

  57. Andrew/Brad/JNS,

    Can you tell me where HRC has disavowed coercive interrogation techniques? Her position, as outlined in this interview with the editorial board of the New York Post, is basically a restatement of the Bush/Cheney position. The interview took place just over a year ago on October 11, 2006. Perhaps she has renounced that view in the meantime, but I would like to know when and where.

  58. Steve Evans says:

    Ronan, someone else already pointed that out. I, too, think age is a factor in electing a leader. Our religious gerentocracy has its failings, imho, although it’s inspired.

  59. Sorry, it was the NY Daily News, not the NY Post, and this is a better link.

    Here’s the nutshell:

    She was asked about the “ticking time bomb” scenario, in which you’ve captured the terrorist and don’t have time for a normal interrogation, and said that there is a place for what she called “severity,” in a conversation that included mentioning waterboarding, hypothermia, and other techniques commonly described as torture.

  60. Stephen,

    Are you saying I should read all the comments before I post my own? Bah!

    I think age is a factor in the case of the presidency because it’s a matter of democratic election and one would worry that the bloke you vote for might not see it through (or go dotty). Because of this, McCain’s VP is a major issue.

    I would warn the Yanks against a cult of youth, however. Tony Blair began one over here and now every politican wants to be cool and hip like Tony (was). Gordon Brown is doing badly (partly) because he looks so knackered.

    In the case of the Mormon gerontocracy, I think it’s a tad unfortunate and can hardly be what Brigham had in mind, but it’s not that important as the church seems to run very well even if the president is senile (cf ETB).

  61. Tanya Spackman says:

    Obama for President!!!!!!!

    (If Clinton wins, I’m considering ritual suicide.)

  62. Ronan, was there ever a good-looking PM before Blair? Survey says: no.

  63. Benjamin Disraeli was a real hunk.

  64. This is why we should have preference voting in every American election with more than two candidates.

  65. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 47 If those numbers are right, please sign me up Mark. Where do we start sending our $1000 per year to avert a 23 inch sea level rise in our grandchildren’s lifetime? Guess I should make the check out to Al Gore. :)

    re: 63 Actually, I thought Maggie Thatcher was kinda hot.

    But back to the original question: What is wrong with you people?

    This is something my friends and I have mulled over for years. Many of us have mused about how we might have moved to Canada or Europe to raise our families if we had known earlier in life how things would turn out in the U.S. Instead, most of us just fled to uber-liberal enclaves (NYC, LA, etc) where things are mostly just fine, truth be told. Are day-to-day living conditions really that much different for the average person in Vancouver vs Seattle, for example?

  66. Robert Peel was nothing special but check out his wife, Julia.

  67. Mikey, day-to-day in Vancouver is nicer. It’s a fair city, with far better Chinese food than Seattle.

  68. annahannah says:

    I changed parties to vote for McCain in 2000. I don’t think I favor him now. And he wouldn’t get assassinated…he’ll die. If Huckabee is VP…NO!!! I have waited to make a choice til I see if there IS a choice by the time Ohio gets to vote in March. Using “Hillary” distinguishes her from “Clinton”, although the way they’re campaigning they look conjoined. As Romney said, “Who wants Bill Clinton in the white house for 4 years with nothing to do?” She is way smart, but too calculating for me. I think Obama vs. Romney would be extremely interesting.

    Also, the electoral college should just die. It is an antiquated system. It lets people who don’t win the vote in numbers win by “electoral ballot”. Just one primary, all parties, on the same day.

  69. Bill- I’ll thank you to keep such smut to yourself next time. What if my husband were to unwittingly happen across such a provocative picture?

    Oh, and I’m going to see Obama this weekend. He’ll get my vote hands down.

  70. Having lived on the Gulf Coast before a 23″ raise is pretty huge. And the idea it will only happen in a century is misleading since it won’t suddenly all happen a century from now. The bigger issue is the change in weather patterns which can cause global turmoil and war.

    Putting it as $1000 per person is a bit misleading since it would likely end up as a tax on various companies for the most part.

    Consider the cost of the Iraq war as a point of comparison. Resolving much of the global warming crisis is cheaper!

  71. It’s true, her seductive power is undiminished after 180 years.

  72. RE: 47 “Electricity prices would double by 2050.”

    Gasoline prices have tripled in ten years.

  73. And, once coal and oil stocks can’t keep up with demand they will increase in price probably by an order of magnitude. I have confidence that we’ll be turning to alternative fuels by then. I’ve a lot of hope for new methods of producing alcohol based fuels (ethanol or methanol) although there are still huge problems. (Methanol in particular tends to reduce engine life by at least half) Hydrogen coupled with solar and wind production would be nice but there are even bigger problems there.

    The probability that McCain would pick Huckabee as running mate is close to nil. I can see him possibly strong arming Thompson though.

  74. #69: I can’t think of anything worse than a national primary (ok, there are worse things, but you get my point). If you think money plays too big a role in politics now, just wait until politicians don’t have a chance unless they are very wealthy or know a lot of wealthy people so that they can buy tons of national airtime. That doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

    Actually, I think our current system, while imperfect, is not that bad. You have a few representative states to weed out those who shouldn’t even be running, and then a big primary day with 2 major candidates on either side to choose from, and then a few states to follow up in case the race is still too close to call.

    Living in WI, I understand what you are saying about that it’s likely we won’t have much a choice, but think of it this way: If it’s still close, our vote will be even more important. It’s like being chief justice, in a way. I wouldn’t want to vote too early, because then your vote might be worthless. Think of all the Iowans who voted for Huckabee. Their vote is pretty much worthless now, except for making it more difficult for Romney.

  75. I hope it’s a decision between McCain and Obama, too. I like Obama, but I’d be okay with McCain, even if he is a republican. He has an understanding of war that I hope would lead him to actually put the necessary resources into fighting in Iraq. I really think we either need to go in and do the job right or just get out entirely.

    As for you fiscal conservatives out there, what is so terrible about collecting taxes for the purposes of creating public goods, including roads, police and fire departments, and educational opportunities for everyone?

  76. Ethanol isn’t a good solution. Not only does it require that we turn our food into something inedible, but there isn’t actually enough arable land in the country to produce sufficient ethanol to sate our transportation needs. It’s at best a short-term solution. Increasing efficiency and using and implementing better public transportation will do far more to decrease our dependence on foreign oil than replacing oil with ethanol.

    There was a recent article in Scientific American that proposed we stop using fossil fuels for electricity production and instead pave a piece of land roughly the size of South Carolina with solar cells. Don’t think it’ll make things any cheaper (tellurium is required for the most efficient solar cells currently available, and it’s one of the rarest elements on the planet) but it’d be more carbon efficient.

  77. sorry for the environmental threadjack :)

  78. Clark (#73),

    I have news for you: Companies do not pay taxes, people do. Look up tax incidence in any basic economics text.

    The United Nations recently estimated that stabilizing global warming would cost between 15 and 20 trillion dollars over the next twenty years.

    The World Meteorological Organization says that “no firm conclusion can be made” with regard to whether there is any anthropogenic contribution to hurricane incidence.

  79. D. Fletcher says:

    In my entire adult life as a voter, I have never proudly voted for someone I wanted. I have always voted against someone I thought would be terrible.

    My Uncle Bob (senator Robert Bennett) has suggested that if it really came down to Hilary vs. McCain that he would vote for Hilary.

  80. Bill (#73),

    You are making the mistake of equating volatility with long term trends. Real 1998 gasoline prices were at historical lows.

    But not to worry, cap and trade regulations will increase the average adjusted price of a gallon of gasoline by an additional fifty to sixty cents (in current dollars) as well. We could be almost as effective by introducing lead into the water supply.

  81. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 68 I’ve heard that before. Gotta visit Vancouver sometime; it sounds great. Now Chicago vs Toronto is a more interesting comparison. But don’t get me wrong, I think you Canadians have the best of all worlds up there. It’s like a hybrid between the U.S. and Europe. Ideal.

    If McCain were to take Huckabee as his VP, I, I, I don’t know what I would do. That is just too scary for words, given McCain’s age and health concerns. But then again, we did survive Dan Quail…..

  82. Steve, even though I am American, I’ve been wondering the same thing for years. Some recent polling was reported on NPR’s All Things Considered that showed that most voters are making decisions based on individual characteristics rather than stands on the issues by the candidates.

    Thus, just speaking from the democratic side, the most qualified candidates such as Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and Bill Richardson never got traction.

    The thought of a McCain/Huckabee ticket is scary to me, and I find myself not thinking we are really going to have good choices, AGAIN. Last time we had some real choices was 2000, and look what that got us. Candidate Bush could not even name the leader of Pakistan during the 2000 campaign, and we see what that has morphed into.

    I’m finding a fondness for my ancestral home of Bornholm, Denmark.

  83. sister Blah 2 says:

    You have a few representative states to weed out those who shouldn’t even be running, and then a big primary day with 2 major candidates on either side to choose from, and then a few states to follow up in case the race is still too close to call.

    Um, I think it would be difficult to name even one dimension in which Iowa and New Hampshire are “representative.”

    But I completely agree that a national primary would be a disaster. First/early state status needs to be on a lottery or rotating basis.

  84. Steve Evans says:

    I’m surprised Biden didn’t have more support. He’s so clean and articulate.

  85. 84: Iowa, NH, Michigan, Wyoming, Nevada, South Carolina, Florida–at least geographically, that’s pretty reprentative. That’s a pretty good ethnic mix as well. And urban vs. rural.

    But I wouldn’t be against a rotating schedule either. But I don’t think it should rotate based on region, like some suggest, since that would not make the early states representative of the nation as a whole. But if they don’t rotate on region, that makes travel difficult on the candidates. Again, I come back to my opinion that the way it is now is not so bad, when compared to the alternatives.

  86. Steve,

    What do you make of the HRC situation in Canada? Is there any danger of an LDS Bishop or GA being hauled before these commissions for articulating church teachings on sexuality?

  87. Steve Evans says:

    bbell, no.

  88. The World Meteorological Organization says that “no firm conclusion can be made” with regard to whether there is any anthropogenic contribution to hurricane incidence.


    Mark D., I’d much rather we’d enacted a 50 cent tax on gasoline in, say, 2004 and invested the money in developing technologies to increase efficiency or replace gasoline with other fuels, especially having watched the price rise by $1 a year, with much of that increase going to Saudia Arabia. Gasoline prices are likely to continue to increase dramatically thanks to increasing demand and no increase in production capacity.

  89. cj douglass says:

    Don’t you get it people? Who ever gets elected to clean up the Bush mess – will fail. We need a Jimmy Carter to take the fall!

    In the mean time, Obama becomes more experienced and more influential without the pressure of the White House. Then after a short four years of progress(but displeasure) Obama comes in riding on the white horse to save the day. It’s brilliant!

  90. “Obama comes in riding on the white horse to save the day. It’s brilliant!”

    If Obama is the answer to the question initially posed in this post, then I think that we Canadians will have an even lessened understanding of Americans

  91. # 47: Zero population is the answer my friend – without it, the rest of us will die…

    I think with zero population there is no “rest of us.” Perhaps you meant zero population growth? ;)

  92. I think cj speaks a bit of truth. I believe we are electing a one-term president.

  93. Latter-day Guy says:

    Seriously? Obama? (“My Life in Politics: An 18 Month Journey”) After the Bhutto assassination his rhetoric was as frightening as Clinton’s or Huckabee’s. *shudder* He would be a foreign policy nightmare. Though I dislike McCain for a multitude of reasons (not so much for being old, but for being annoying. And crazy), I still think that he would do better than Obie.

  94. If you want a fair election, our country needs to implement the Borda Count. That way, we don’t have all this wasting time doing primary elections and national party crap. I think both National Organizations are the spawn of Satan and should be abolished, but I digress.

    In essence, the borda count is a method where the people rank all potential candidates for a given position. Then, points are alloted to each ranking, i.e. 1st place gets 5 points, 2nd place 4 and so on. You can make the max number of points equal to the total number of candidates so that everyone running will get at least some points. Then, the candidate with the highest number of points wins the election. Yeah, the candidate might not be the majority winner, but he/she is surely the socially most desired candidate.

  95. annahannah, the thing is, everyone but Bill Clinton knows which Clinton is running for president. : )

    I think Clinton is too polarizing to be a viable candidate in the general election. The extreme antipathy toward her, although largely unwarranted IMO, can’t be ignored.

  96. Steve,
    I just remembered that your title makes me want to say:

    “You Americans…you’re all the same…always overdressing for the wrong occasions.”

  97. #92: “Zero population is the answer my friend…” is an allusion to a song from Saturday’s Warrior. Irony, my friend, pure irony.

  98. “In my entire adult life as a voter, I have never proudly voted for someone I wanted. I have always voted against someone I thought would be terrible.”

    #80, that’s EXACTLY how I feel. And, like Mike L, I’m still firmly undecided (and contemplating relocating to Canada – if it weren’t for that awful snow!).

    McCain is much too Washington Establishment to get anything done, I’m afraid.

    (And I don’t think that McCain-Feingold limits free speech). And I wouldn’t rule out Obama yet either.

  99. Last Lemming says:

    I’m surprised Biden didn’t have more support. He’s so clean and articulate.

    No, it’s Neil Kinnock who was articulate.

    (Actually, Biden was my first choice among this crop.)

  100. There’s a new single sister in our ward who’s an active campigner for Ron Paul. It reminds me of that last still shot in the movie “Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid”.

    *sigh* I’m disappointed in Mitt, too, but more because of his ham-handed delivery than anything. He doesn’t have the natural panache that could make all the difference. I think, as a result, the lesser man will take the GOP primary.

  101. Steve Evans says:

    My Biden reference was a bit of humor.

  102. McCain is too much Washington establishment to get anything done, I am afraid.

    I suspect rather the opposite is the case. Could a Democratic Congress find a friendlier Republican?

  103. I’m still firmly undecided (and contemplating relocating to Canada – if it weren’t for that awful snow!).

    That’s not a bug. That’s a feature.

    Although Utah is doing pretty good this year.

    Don’t you get it people? Who ever gets elected to clean up the Bush mess – will fail. We need a Jimmy Carter to take the fall!

    A year ago I’d probably have agreed. I don’t today. I think whomever is President will take credit for solving the mess.

    Ethanol isn’t a good solution. Not only does it require that we turn our food into something inedible, but there isn’t actually enough arable land in the country to produce sufficient ethanol to sate our transportation needs.

    Under existing methods, yes. There are some new technologies coming down the line that are very promising. GM in particular has some nice processes.

    I’ll completely agree that corn ethanol is a huge joke and nothing but a huge government subsidy to particular regions.

    I have news for you: Companies do not pay taxes, people do. Look up tax incidence in any basic economics text.

    Dang, then all those cheques I cut need to be reimbursed.

    But I understand your point. My point is that how it is meted out can’t be characterized by a per person fee anymore than the Iraq war can.

  104. Last Lemming says:

    My Biden reference was a bit of humor.

    So was mine.

  105. Steve, re the Biden joke, he would be great on Letterman’s “Great Moments in Presidential Speeches”, but perhaps not as fertile as our current sitting President.

    Seriously, though, there isn’t a single Republican candidate you’d want to take home and meet your mother, except Romney, perhaps. But I still wouldn’t vote for him.

    Clinton is actually less scary to me, but is such a polarizing figure that she becomes hugely problematic in a year that by all rights ought to be a walk in the park for Democrats. Of the two remaining Democrats, she is the most experienced, and I do feel that she would do okay. But true to form, all the candidates are running on three platforms: “The economy, stupid”; “immigration is evil and is destroying our culture”; or “I’m the only one who can save you from islamo-fascism”.

    In the final analysis, every president’s biggest challenges over the last 50 years have been dominated by foreign policy issues. Iraq and the war on terror have gotten all the attention while the Israeli-Palestinian crisis has festered, Putin has taken on tsar-like status in Russia, and China has become our most important trading partner. Not even the Canadians like us all that much.

    None of the current candidates make me feel warm and fuzzy at this point.

  106. Steve Evans says:


  107. I can’t resist. Here are the lyrics to Randy Newman’s great song, “Political Science” from about 20 years back. Sums up why we are so beloved as a country around the world these days:

    by Randy Newman, from _Sail_Away_

    No one likes us;
    I don’t know why.
    We may not be perfect,
    But heaven knows we try.
    But all around, even our old friends put us down.
    Let’s drop the big one and see what happens.

    We give them money,
    But are they grateful?
    No, they’re spiteful
    And they’re hateful.
    They don’t respect us, so let’s surprise them;
    We’ll drop the big one and pulverize them.

    Now, Asia’s crowded,
    And Europe’s too old.
    Africa’s far too hot,
    And Canada’s too cold.
    And South America stole our name.
    Let’s drop the big one; there’ll be no one left to blame us.

    We’ll save Australia;
    Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroo.
    We’ll build an all-American amusement park there;
    They’ve got surfing, too.

    Well, boom goes London,
    And boom Paris.
    More room for you
    And more room for me.
    And every city the whole world round
    Will just be another American town.
    Oh, how peaceful it’ll be;
    We’ll set everybody free.

    They all hate us anyhow,
    So let’s drop the big one now.

  108. FWIW,

    Why is everyone assuming that McCain’s got the nomination locked in? It’s still anyone’s race, at least on the Republican ticket. It’s about delegates, not states, and Romney is only behind McCain by 23 delegates, with plenty more delegates to be had in the coming primaries and caucuses. There’s a good link here that tallies it pretty well.

  109. McCain is pretty far ahead in most states coming up. Romney blew the debate. And McCain is picking up all the endorsements. There’s a small chance Romney could still put it out. But it gets smaller every day and was pretty miniscule after Florida anyway.

    Romney’s strategy basically consisted of winning big and the beginning by picking up the Evangelical vote. That strategy failed. Primarily, in my opinion, by his Kerryesque inability to communicate real resolve and sincerity. Plus he has no conservative bonofides. Had he been a conservative activist in how he’d been governoring the past decade it’d be a different story. Instead he always seems to take a position of convenience. Maybe they are sincere positions – but if so why does he seem to only real focus on them when he immediately needs the vote of some group?

    McCain’s definitely pandering and misrepresenting himself as well. But there are some key issues he’s been pretty firm on even when it was unpopular. Plus, to be frank, he’s got a lot of friends in high places and he’s the least of several evils. Romney is the outsider but blew it with his pandering which frankly turned off a lot of people (like myself) who were pretty open to supporting him.

  110. MattG, I would venture that the nomination’s not Ron Paul’s, Mike Hucakbee’s, or Rudy Giuliani’s at this point, but yeah, Super Tuesday is just around the corner. It’s certainly not decided, but barring really strange things happening, we’ll have a de facto nominee before Saturday the 9th, and the Washington State democratic caucuses, and the subsequent and equally meaningless primary a week or two later.

  111. What is wrong with us people? Well, I think we don’t vote on the issues at all – everybody says they are going to but when they get in the pollbooth, they turn their brains off and vote for whomever makes them “feel good”.

    Myself I think this election is fantastic – I mean, we have had the oldest candidate, the first serious black candidate, the first woman candidate, and a mormon candidate! What more is there to wish for except the first openly gay candidate? Or perhaps a scientology candidate?

    Or maybe we should open the election to canadians and elect Governor Granholm (Mi)!!!

    Anyway, I liked John more in 2000 but am still considering voting for him – I hate his health care stance – but at least he may do something for what I consider to be the real issues confronting not just Americans but the world – and that is energy/pollution and global warming. I prefer Hilary and Barack’s health care plans ( I am a physician) and could see myself voting for either of them –

    On energy – which I think deserves its own blog – I think grassoline has the best chance of actually turning into a win/win solution for energy. It is made out of switchgrass, can be produced in mass quantities (500 gallons per acre), can be grown on otherwise non farmable land, by small farmers (thus improving 3rd world economics), can be produced and used in ways that do not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, etc. There are a bunch of universities involved in this right now, and I think Tennessee is constructing a plant to mass produce millions of gallons.

  112. Romney blew the debate.

    I don’t know where that came from. Actually, the polled observers said he won the debate. Only the talking-head pundits said he came in second. In the end, whose opinion really matters?

  113. D. Fletcher says:

    Romney can’t run the country — he’s too good-looking.

    Really, if we want stuff done, we’re going to have to get Donald Trump up there.

    P.S. I couldn’t move to Canada because they pronounce “about” like “aboot” and follow each word with “eh.”

    Or you’re put in prison.

  114. It is quite sad when the only choice is really the lesser of two evils and other otherwise viable candidates are dismissed.

    Steve, by chance were you born in the US and then moved north as a young child? It’s too late to run for office this year, but there’s always hope for 2012!

  115. I couldn’t move to Canada because they pronounce “about” like “aboot” and follow each word with “eh.”

    D., not only that, but you have to eat round bacon, too.

  116. Hey Steve, how soon can my son-in-law sponsor me for Canadian landed immigrant status? He won’t be my son-in-law for 23 more days, but I may want to get a jump on things so I can be sure to be out of the U.S. by January 20, 2009.

  117. Hey, let’s quit knocking the country that gave us Neil Young, the Guess Who, Alanis Morisette, and…

    oh wait, Celine Dion. I take it all back.

  118. D. Fletcher says:

    Blame Canada! Blame Canada!


  119. I have a semi-serious question for Steve: which two candidates would make him less dismissive of the U.S. electoral process? Obama and Romney? Edwards and Huckabee? Al Gore and Newt Gingrich? I’m a Romney supporter, as you know, but I don’t get the feeling you’re all torn up about Romney not winning NH and Florida. So which two candidates would be better than Hillary and McCain, in your opinion?

  120. Steve Evans says:

    Geoff, my ideal contest would be Obama vs. Romney. I’d welcome it. I’d support Romney over McCain, as I think he’s far more qualified to lead America out of imminent recession.

    As for Obama, he’s just so damned sexy.

  121. Steve, we may have a lot of crazies in US politics, but we’ve never had someone close to the center of power quite as buffoonish as Stockwell Day.

    Incidentally, speaking of recessions and things economic, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, endorsed Obama today.

  122. MikeInWeHo says:

    It’s true, there are plenty of scary and/or buffoonish politicians elsewhere in the world. The Commonwealth is littered with them. John Howard, anyone?

    The problem is, it just matters more when we put them into power in DC.

  123. Eric Russell says:

    I actually support Hillary because it’s going to make for great late-night comedy for the next four years.

  124. The McCain v Hillary election is really just to decide who gets to be president, and who gets to be VP. They just love each other way too much.

  125. I’m Canadian, too, and Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer cracks me up.

  126. “Hate the Canada; love the Canadian.”

    Didn’t I hear that in Sunday School at some point?

  127. I’m a firm believe in the idea of swapping countries for a decade. All Americans go to Canada to live, run existing businesses, institutions, and Canadian government. All Canadians go to the United States and do the same. What would happen?

    Canada would come to resemble the state of Maine – with one important difference: Montreal would look like Las Vegas. And the United States would take on many characteristics of the province of New Brunswick.

    E.B. White wrote a short story many years ago called “The Supremacy of Uruguay.” It contains many things that might happen should Canadians rule the world.

  128. #122: Paul Volcker led the fight to take the U.S. off the gold standard, leading to the greatest inflation since the beginning of the republic, then atoned for his mistake with twenty percent interest rates and the worst economic contraction since the Depression. Not exactly an economic record to be proud of.

  129. Almost as impressive as talking about irrational exuberance and doing nothing about it, or recommending that everyone continue to get adjustable-rate mortgages.

    Volcker’s brave non-political actions in 1980 gave us Ronald Reagan. Greenspan’s craven political actions led to two terms of George W. Who can be more proud?

    By the way, in #73 I am not making the mistake of equating volatility with long term trends. I didn’t equate anything. The juxtaposition was intended to point out that you don’t have any idea what electricity prices will be in 2050. You probably wouldn’t have predicted 10 years ago that the price of oil, then also at a historical low, would be trading nine times higher either.

    Please explain, however, what you were talking about with putting lead directly into the water. I wasn’t quite following the argument by that point.

  130. annahannah says:

    round bacon,eh?? too funny

  131. Mark D. #129,
    That’s a pretty shallow, context-evacuated caricature of Volker’s economic legacy. The belief that high interest rates and high inflation, as self-consciously chosen policy routes, are necessary evils in order to curb rampant unemployment is not exactly market-economics heterodoxy.

  132. Brad,

    I. I said Volcker lead the fight to abandon the gold standard. That doesn’t mean he intended record inflation, but it does imply he wasn’t wise enough or historically literate enough to anticipate the consequences.

    “Coinage is imprinted gold or silver, by which the prices of things bought and sold are reckoned….It is therefore a measure of values. A measure, however, must always preserve a fixed and constant standard. Otherwise, public order is necessarily disturbed, with buyers and sellers being cheated in many ways, just as if the yard, bushel, or pound did not maintain an invariable magnitude.”
    – Nicholas Copernicus, “Treatise on Debasement”, 1517

    II. The idea that the Federal Reserve would self conciously choose high interest rates in order to curb unemployment is positively ridiculous. They would choose exactly the opposite policy, if they were going to intervene at all.

    In any case, in August 1971, when Nixon (pressured by Volcker et al) abandoned the gold standard, unemployment was 6.1 percent. When Volcker became chairman of the Federal Reserve in August 1979, unemployment was 6.0 percent.

    He pulled the brakes on the money supply, and pulled them hard. Did this reduce unemployment? Hardly – three years later unemployment was 10.1 percent. It was five more years before unemployment was back to 1979 levels.

    It did stop the record 1970s inflation – an inflation we never would have had if we stayed on the gold standard in the first place. If the first rule of reserve banking is first do no harm, Volcker and the rest of the 1970s era monetary establishment were singular quacks.

  133. Stephanie says:

    First of all, we need to make it perfectly clear that Canada does not want all the Americans who have been threatening to move here ever since Bush took power. Secondly, I have never seen “round bacon”. Thirdly, not all Canadians talk with an Easterner’s accent. (You may be interested to know that many Americans sound like they have total hick accents. And I’m not talking about Southerners. Even in Washington State some people have these nice, thick, American drawls.)

    I don’t know what I would do if I had the misfortune of being American (well, technically I am 1/4 American, but we’ll consider that too small a proportion to be significant) and having to vote in an election. My favorite democratic candidate was Kucinich. But I am a member of the Green Party of Canada, so that’s probably not surprising.

    If anyone is interested in blindly finding out which candidate actually matches their viewpoints on the issues, there are several quizzes on the internet. Here’s one:

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