Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Big 2012 US Election PAS Thread

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  • Grant McDougall,

    I'm certain I saw someone in the Obama crowd last night wearing a t-shirt saying "99 Problems, but a Mitt ain't one".

    The music geeks here will get it...

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Sofie I appreciate Obama’s qualified achievements on a number of issues, but on foreign policy he appears every bit as beholden to vested interests as most hard-line Republicans. I can’t accept that advances in health care, gay marriage, tax equitability or drug law reform are acceptable tradeoffs for a perpetual war economy,

    They’re not irrelevant either. And I would strongly debate that Obama’s foreign policy is indistinguishable from Bush’s. The PNAC crazies had the keys to the car for a long time under Bush. He sent John Bolton to the United Nations.

    The “Obama doctrine” still treasures the projection of force, still endorses American exceptionalism, but it’s not actually insane – it’s just American foreign policy. I mean, a trade-off compared to what? What was the actual alternative on offer?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18654 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I know it’s not needed for a result, but when can we expect a final tally from Florida?

    I don't think they're allowed to start counting special votes until 10 days after the election (ie, people have 10 days for the special votes to get to Florida, after that they don't count).

    So maybe Monday week they'll have a final result? Assuming no recounts etc.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6157 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ah …. xkcd.

    How do you justify spending hours of TV time on a subject that is a forgone conclusion ... pretend it isn't forgone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3253 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Interesting to have not seen or heard any mention of the passing of Amendment 64 (legalising marijuana in Colorado) in our local news feeds. It's quite a big deal I would have thought.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    How do you justify spending hours of TV time on a subject that is a forgone conclusion … pretend it isn’t forgone.

    Although ... I'm not sure that a future where elections are forgone conclusions is actually all that healthy either.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18654 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Michael Savidge,

    Interesting to have not seen or heard any mention of the passing of Amendment 64 (legalising marijuana in Colorado) in our local news feeds. It’s quite a big deal I would have thought.

    It's going to be fascinating to watch. Obama was far more liberal on marijuana reform as a senator and a candidate than he was as president. Where will he stand when federal and state law drive head-on into each other?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18654 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Although … I’m not sure that a future where elections are forgone conclusions is actually all that healthy either.

    It wasn't a foregone conclusion. If there are 9 elections where someone is a 92% to win, there's a greater than 50% chance at least one of those elections will see an upset. But which one, or will it be two, or none :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2990 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I mean, a trade-off compared to what? What was the actual alternative on offer?

    The possibility that the trajectory around whistleblower persecution would alter?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2990 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    The possibility that the trajectory around whistleblower persecution would alter?

    Under Romney?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18654 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    It wasn’t a foregone conclusion. If there are 9 elections where someone is a 92% to win, there’s a greater than 50% chance at least one of those elections will see an upset. But which one, or will it be two, or none :-)

    I understand that. But there are interesting implications to democracy passing through a saturated research environment. At what point do you start to get feedback loops? How much of an impact does being told what's very probably going to happen, or what everyone else thinks, or what you care about, have on individual choices?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18654 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The “Obama doctrine” still treasures the projection of force, still endorses American exceptionalism, but it’s not actually insane – it’s just American foreign policy. I mean, a trade-off compared to what? What was the actual alternative on offer?

    Neither party offered an alternative to pursuing the Vietnam war, yet the protests accelerated and arguably hastened its end. You seem to be arguing against any kind of concerned citizen activism beyond involvement with political parties and voting.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3353 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    If there are 9 elections where someone is a 92% to win, there’s a greater than 50% chance at least one of those elections will see an upset.

    Hence the Heidi Heitkamp result

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 850 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Neither party offered an alternative to pursuing the Vietnam war, yet the protests accelerated and arguably hastened its end.

    Actually Nixon promised to end the Vietnam war and it got him so tangled up that trying to find ‘peace with honour’ possibly extended it.

    It didn’t help that by 1968 the Democratic Party had screwed itself into knots on the issue and didn’t present a particularly viable alternative. If Bobby hadn't gone and gotten himself shot....

    Since Nov 2006 • 6157 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Although … I’m not sure that a future where elections are forgone conclusions is actually all that healthy either.

    Based on sports reporting (where the change has already happened), there will be a generational change of pundits informed by their guts to pundits informed by the stats and their guts.
    A bit like sports teams vs. sports pundits, both campaigns have been using extensive data analysis for a while but the pundits are a generation behind, though this cycle the republican data (their ORCA project) seems to have been contaminated by the way their volunteers were choosing what data to feed into the system at the start of the process.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Neither party offered an alternative to pursuing the Vietnam war, yet the protests accelerated and arguably hastened its end. You seem to be arguing against any kind of concerned citizen activism beyond involvement with political parties and voting.

    No, I'm not. I can't see where I did that at all.

    But I did take issue with your view that Obama's foreign policy has been "indistinguishable" from Bush's, and that "advances in health care, gay marriage, tax equitability or drug law reform" -- all of them to some degree the fruit of citizen activism over years -- are "trade-offs".

    Given that Romney's foreign policy stance seemed relatively similar to Obama's, just worse (especially on military spending), what was the alternative to the trade-off? Informing everyone else they're being "pathetically grateful" just seemed patronising in the circumstances.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18654 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong, in reply to Russell Brown,

    How much of an impact does being told what's very probably going to happen, or what everyone else thinks, or what you care about, have on individual choices?

    And further, what does focussing on these questions do for democracy? I guess that as a way of guaging people's reaction to policy, polling serves the democratic process. But I genuinely wonder whether saturation coverage of poll results and trends, both here and in the United States, reduces engagement with actual policy platforms.

    On a related note, I was interested to see Karl Rove being poleaxed last night after his questioning Fox news' early call of Ohio for Obama. Despise his politics I might, but I thought his point was perfectly valid given the information that he had to hand. Nor did I see spit flying from his mouth, as was implied in the Guardian's coverage of the event. It's always interesting to see how powerfully worldviews can shape what people actually see. Across the political spectrum.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 126 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Under Romney?

    Should I have said "the possibility"?

    Maybe Romney would have gone back to (or toward?) Bush levels of persecution? Maybe. Because I don't think Obama is, so even the possibility has something going for it.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2990 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to John Armstrong,

    And further, what does focussing on these questions do for democracy?

    Well, from U.S. polling we known that 80% of voters made up their minds more than 60 days before the election and so were unmoved by the debates/Sandy/Trump/etc. I think it would be a good thing for democracy if discussions around the election were grounded in the reality of the situation, rather than rating gaining high-drama narratives.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 850 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong, in reply to David Hood,

    grounded in the reality of the situation, rather than rating gaining high-drama narratives.

    Yup.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 126 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    "advances in health care, gay marriage, tax equitability or drug law reform" -- all of them to some degree the fruit of citizen activism over years -- are "trade-offs".

    They're only trade-offs if they're accepted as such. I believe we'd be a lot better off today in NZ if a section of the supposedly progressive left hadn't treated the anti-nuclear legislation as a reason to accept the social inequities created by Rogernomics. It happened, and it's a major reason for the malaise in today's Labour Party.

    Given that Romney's foreign policy stance seemed relatively similar to Obama's, just worse (especially on military spending), what was the alternative to the trade-off? Informing everyone else they're being "pathetically grateful" just seemed patronising in the circumstances.

    If being concerned that we lose sight of the kind of goals that Obama once appeared to stand for is patronising, then guilty as charged. That certainly wasn't my intention though. Just because the world economy seems as firmly welded as ever to military spending and war doesn't mean that we can't continue to oppose it.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3353 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I was almost hoping Romney might win, the reason being that when (as is likely) a major setback occurs to the US, such as a banking crash, the doctrinaire craziness of the right would be exposed.

    (A situation where Romney refused a bailout, resulting in the collapse of the retail banking system for several weeks, food riots, a dollar freefall, etc). That might convince the USians that they're doing it wrong (it might even drive the less-insane states into secession, seeing themselves as better off as a small country than part of a huge failed state. See Estonia).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4410 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to John Armstrong,

    On a related note, I was interested to see Karl Rove being poleaxed last night after his questioning Fox news’ early call of Ohio for Obama.

    I didn’t see that but I thought some of the early calls were way too early in such a tight race and when voting hadn’t closed in many states. I was switching between CNN, Fox and BBC with HuffPost on the net to try to make sense of it. (Not much Fox because it makes me want to throw things at the TV. Where do they get those Foxbots?)

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2568 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The “Obama doctrine” still treasures the projection of force, still endorses American exceptionalism, but it’s not actually insane – it’s just American foreign policy.

    When you say 'Obama doctrine', I'm not sure I know what it is?

    I'm not well enough informed anymore, but I do think it worth noting that in the '08 primaries and election, slate magazine carried a number of pieces analysing Obama's emerging foreign policy position including that he'd engage with America's enemies, potentially without "pre-conditions". This piece in particular I thought was significant. It quotes Obama as saying:

    I would [be willing to meet with those leaders], and the reason is this: The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them—which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration—is ridiculous. … [Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy talked with Soviet leaders because] they understood that we may not trust them, and they may pose an extraordinary threat to us, but we have the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.

    Later, the same journalist, Fred Kaplan, also wrote a glowing piece about Obama's 2009 new beginings speech in Cairo.

    Kaplan, also seems to put great significance on 2009 handshake with Hugo Charvez. Again, repeating the notion that Obama's point of difference was/is a willingness to engage.

    If this is the "doctrine" you mean?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2193 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Just because the world economy seems as firmly welded as ever to military spending and war doesn't mean that we can't continue to oppose it.

    This.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/22/us/politics/22costs.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

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