Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Monday, February 04, 2008

If you're going out to vote tomorrow, please support Obama. Choose the future.

Quick list of reasons:

  • Obama's detailed technology platform is pretty much perfect.
  • He is much stronger than Clinton against any republican challenger.
  • His policies are phrased so that they don't terrify republicans but still provide the same benefits as Clinton's.
  • He is capable of convincing people of things, not just tacking effectively toward the polls.
  • He is capable of disarming powerful interests (in all senses of the word), not just warring with them.
  • He is endorsed by Lessig, XKCD, and danah boyd.

When I was [at the World Economic Forum] in Davos, I expected everyone to be pro-Hillary and anti-Barack because of the whole "experience" thing. I was shocked to find that this was not the case at all.

Most foreign diplomats and companies thought that Barack would be much better at negotiating with foreign powers than Hillary. They all knew that the candidates would have huge advisory teams that would help them understand what was going on. Even though Hillary knew more people already, they felt as though Barack would be more effective. (And most were extremely worried about how Bill would overshadow anything with Hillary... another sad reality.)

Before Bush II, the U.S. had only once -- in its entire history -- seen the son of a former president elected himself: John Quincy Adams, in 1824, and there were 3 intervening presidents between him and his father.

Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton would be without any precedent at all, and you can rest assured that the dynastic pattern is not a coincidence. Looking objectively at other countries, a dynastic government seems -- even when democratically elected -- to indicate weak institutions, unsophisticated voters, and a cloistered and ossifying inner circle.


Arnomane said...

I am not very much amused by the US primaries theater.

Just an example: The candidates (regardless which party) point at random positions in their audience just in order to fake a personal relationship. One of the best examples that defaces this is an image of one of Obamas kids that points somewhere and looks somewhere else.

And I honestly can't stand this all american stars and stripes fetish. I am sick of it.

So can you do me a favour? Just don't spread such things on planet Wikimedia. Ok?

(A random German Green)

Milos Rancic said...

I want to know political positions of Wikimedians. But, I realize that some people, like Arnomane, may be annoyed with such posts...

A couple of months ago I realized that Planet Wikimedia and Open Wiki Blog Planet may and should be used differently. Planet Wikimedia is about Wikimedia-related things and it should be rarely used for things not related to Wikimedia. At the other side, Open Wiki Blog Planet may be used more broadly and I don't think that anyone would say anything against political posts while they are reasonable.

Also, for example, I don't think that posts related to free software are of interest of Planet Wikimedia, while I am sure that OWBP should be used for blogging about interesting pieces of software. And so on...

The difference may be described as: Planet Wikimedia is our PR, while OWBP is for us.

So, you may do one very easy thing: make a tag "owbp" and add feed from this tag to the configuration of OWBP (instead of, I suppose, "wiki" or "wikimedia" tag). When you want to tell something to us, use only that tag. When it is about Wikimedia, use both tags.

BTW, while I am politically far of any kind of representative democracy, I hope (and think) that Obama will win. I think that it is an important step forward for people from USA; including the fact that he would be the first elected African-American president of USA.

Ben Yates said...

Arnomane: I'm pretty sure I've made one other political post in the 3 years I've been running this blog. Sorry if this one annoyed you, but what are you talking about? Stars and stripes? You won't find anyone less into that flag-waving bullshit than I am, so I'm a bit offended.

I just requested to have my main feed removed from planet and a couple subfeeds added instead, so hopefully it'll be better.

Ben Yates said...

Also, keep in mind that I have to consider a bunch of different audiences every time I post, and that planet is only one of those. Obviously if I had intentionally posted this to advertise to people reading planet, it would have been really stupid. That's not what I did.

Draeton said...

Read Krugman's opinion in today's Times: it doesn't seem to me that Obama's healthcare plan will come as close to Universal Health Care® as Hillary's.

Ben Yates said...

I did see the column, and it was a bit concerning. But --

we already have programs that make health insurance free or very cheap to many low-income Americans, without requiring that they sign up. And many of those eligible fail, for whatever reason, to enroll.

There's a whole universe concealed in "for whatever reason". Krugman throws up his hands at the idea that people can be convinced to get insurance without mandating it -- but there are specific reasons people don't sign up for free insurance that could help them. Usually, I think, it's because they don't know about it; the people who need the programs most are usually the least connected to the main stream of of the political tributary system. That's a solvable problem.

I really do have nothing against people being required to get health insurance from a policy perspective, but Obama at least understands that it's a poison pill politically.

The MIT study seems like a strong point, but unless you've read it yourself, we have to take Krugman's word that it "broadly resembles" Obama's plan. There's another potential universe of disagreement concealed within "broadly resembles". (Er. And Krugman's angling for a high-level Clinton administration post.)

If Mr. Obama gets to the White House and tries to achieve universal coverage, he’ll find that it can’t be done without mandates

From what I've read, Obama's pretty much surrounded himself with economists and policy experts. He doesn't lack any information that Krugman possesses.

draeton said...

Obama at least understands that it's a poison pill politically.

This is my problem with Obama. We're a country in need of working solutions--not platitudes, and triangulated policies that solve nothing. You've got to be at least as wise as Solomon to be the next President: chopping the baby in half satisfies neither party.

If mandates are the only road to UHC, I want a candidate who will forcefully advocate for what works. Truth be told, I'm inclined to believe Krugman (despite his partisanship), because he has been correct about many other things, in the past. I don't suppose he would lie about such an essential point--whether the MIT study situation resembles Obama's plan--when mandates are the fundamental difference between the two plans.

draeton said...

One other point:

Everyone who wants healthcare has access to it, the emergency room. That's not the problem.

Ben Yates said...

I don't think Obama's cutting the baby in half; he's cutting to the heart of what scares republicans about Clinton's healthcare plan. It's not like republicans are afraid that people will be healthy, happy, and non-downtrodden. They're latched onto specific elements of the plan that don't even register as details on the democrats' political radar.

If you can convince them you're not a crazy totalitarian, which they seem to think clinton is, you're halfway there. Example: there was a conservative on the jon stewart show talking about how scary it was that clinton wanted to run educational videos at the dmv about breastfeeding. (Liberals everywhere: "huh?") To him, it was the state taking control of the most private elements of life -- he got the impression of giant Orwellian monitors. Socialism of the type found in the USSR acronym.

Meanwhile, it's obvious to every liberal that "takes a village to raise a child" doesn't mean the government's going to come into your house and dictate the rules of baseball-tossing; it means that children can't be raised well when they don't have enough to eat, or when there are no teachers to teach them. What seemed like obvious-bordering-on-banal to democrats became crazy totalitarianism when heard by republicans.

I don't understand it, but Clinton has a talent for pushing all the wrong buttons.

draeton said...

I don't understand it, but Clinton has a talent for pushing all the wrong buttons.

I understand: You're giving them (Republicans) the benefit of the doubt. That Hillary Clinton is a figment of conservatives' imaginations. In their circles, the Clintons are murderers, pyromaniacs and thieves. No matter how benign her actions, Republicans will always see shades of Faust in them.

No matter which candidate is inaugurated in January, they will fight tooth and nail against any and all liberal reforms. Believe the play-nice, unity, bipartisan rhetoric, if you will, but that's a one-way street. Compromise is for Democrats.

Arnomane said...

@ben yates: I am not against party politics in blogs in general. I just think that we keep it better off Wikimedia (and I see that you consider how to do that, which is good).

Concering my anger. This is a bit deeper and has nothing to do with you personal and nothing you can be made responsible for. I was just in anger that I even have to read about it on planet Wikimedia and just critized the whole general issue.

I just don't like how much money is being burned in US primaries for nothing but PR. Everytime more money goes into it and everytime PR tricks count more than anything else.

I just lost the hope (after Al Gore, Howard Dean, John Kerry..) that a reasonable person without dangerous believes (that replace reality) can emerge from such a PR machinery and win US presidency.

Who is going to stop that spiral? I see none.

Ok I shall care about my own country. We have our own troublesome elected politicians and our own wired political system, too. But at least the whole world isn't forced to participate...

Ben Yates said...

arnomane: you might feel better knowing that most americans are leaning democrat now that the utter catastrophe of bush II has become apparent to them.

draeton: You've been reading too much Kos. :P Did something suddenly change in 1992 to cause the repubs to quadruple their hate for all dem. candidate thereafter? No. It's something specific to the clintons. (Not their fault.)

One only has to see republican pundits (talking to a republican audience) praise obama to understand that he doesn't inspire the same hatred. Or are you going to argue that republicans spend their entire public lives singlemindedly focused on projecting a false message to democrats?

Draeton said...

Or are you going to argue that republicans spend their entire public lives singlemindedly focused on projecting a false message to democrats?

"We're going to destroy Social Security to save it." - Random Republican