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January 26, 2012


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Obama's speech did what it was designed to do: frame the presidential debate in terms advantageous to him. It was a variation on the Gabby Giffords pep rally from a year ago - we're one big American family, we look out for each other, and our best days lie ahead.

Mitch Daniels' rebuttal was an astonishing exercise in chutzpah. W's budget director presided over disastrous tax cuts, costly wars taken off budgets, and a major new entitlement program (i.e., a huge giveaway to Big Pharma), said Americans didn't need help and didn't want any. This was an easy Obama win.

Our national discourse tends to fantasy if not outright insanity. What we're debating is how to get back to some wonderful status quo ante when Americans were prosperous and gas was cheap. Those days are no more coming back than our manufacturing economy. We spent the last of our inheritance in a disastrous housing/credit bubble. There are no new bubbles waiting to lift the yachts and dinghies of "hard-working Americans" crashed on the rocks of an epic bust.

Obama wouldn't tell us this even if he understood the scope of our crisis. You win with optimism, not cold showers and undressed spinach salads. If we disagree about seemingly everything, that's what happens when consensus reality begins to fail. We're a nation of blind men describing to one another an elephant we just touched. The consensus here is that the beast needs an austerity program but with tax incentives for companies that hire veterans.

I'll vote for Obama for two reasons. One will be the Supreme Court. The other is harder to define but it has something to do with the wish for a soft landing. If the future seems like a beast slouching to Bethlehem, I'd prefer we greet it as calmly as we can. We may be blind but we're still responsible.

How do you tell when the President is lying?

Why, when his lips are moving!!

I'll be writing in Ron Paul's name on the ballot, just as I did in the last election.

Off to the salt mines. Adios.

Did he propose that we double the capital gains tax, or did I miss something?

If he actually campaigns on that, get ready for Total War with Wall St.

"a power grid that wastes too much energy"

Thank you for pominently including this in your list. I would only remind your readers that the waste is not only in the antiquated grid itself, but also in the great opportunity costs that have been lost to entrenched energy regimes.

Everything since Reagan is political theater. None of it is honest or helpful. We are owned. I will not vote for a Republican or Democrat ever more.

Usually the simple answers are satisfying but false, but not in the current case. The GOP has morphed into the Neo-Confederate Party, with all that implies.

Jan playing well in Chandler? Perhaps.

Better options include Mesa, Apache Junction or Queen Creek. Peoria would be an excellent choice as well.

Walter writes:


"I'll vote for Obama for two reasons. One will be the Supreme Court. The other is harder to define but it has something to do with the wish for a soft landing. If the future seems like a beast slouching to Bethlehem, I'd prefer we greet it as calmly as we can. We may be blind but we're still responsible."


There are far more than two reasons. And I'll give you my short list when we get closer. But as for your number 2, it is subsumed by a simple and vital moral choice: The lesser of two evils.

I am always a tad shocked when people remonstrate:" I'm sick and tired and tired and sick of having to choose the lesser of two evils".

Excuse me?

That's life. Get over it. Life is a broadband of evil, lesser evil, lesser good, and good.

Choosing the lesser of two evils is making a powerful choice for a better future. One should be thankful one has that choice to make. There are plenty of other places and other times where that option isn't even on the table. In fact I argue, choosing the lesser of two evils is one sure way to get into heaven.

So yeah, I'm voting for the lesser of two evils. Proudly so. It is the morally correct thing to do. And in fact, in a few days, I'll be making my first campaign contribution to that end...

Evil - any republican

Lesser Evil - Obama

Lesser good - Ron Paul

Good - Teddy Roosevelt clone (or Superman)

Jan Brewer captain of the cheerleader team for the Republican National Committee. It may play well in Peoria for Republicans, but it will no doubt also be broadcast on Univision. Wicked racist white witch of the west harassing Obama.

The State of the Union speech demonstrated the moderate to conservative nature of Obama. Given the frequent characterization of Obama as a "socialist", it would be entertaining to see this country's reaction if a leftist or liberal president were actually elected. The oligarchs, of course, would never let that happen in the US.

Just a note: A great deal of interesting feedback late in the day (Walter Hall, pSf, Phx Planner) which I've only just now seen in the "Sunny Delusions" thread.

I've just tried to post a substantive reply (I think you'll find it interesting and informative) but, as is more usual than not these days, the software here will not allow it to appear even though it says it has been posted. It should appear after an indeterminate delay, courtesy of our host Mr. Talton, whose saintly patience is appreciated. (I just hope he moves from Typepad to a better package.)

Scorpions for Breakfast was ranked #285,568 on Amazon a couple of days ago; it's currently at #10. And yet we wonder why politicians worship at the altar of photo ops and sound bites.

"That's life. Get over it." - koreyel

Did no one else see the strange irony in this?


Jon's first sentence:

Leave it to Jan Brewer to embarrass Arizona on any national stage...

Looks like that is the way this is playing out. The last paragraph from TPM's latest post on this issue:

Major Stanton said that kind of visit should be an honor for Arizona, not a partisan exercise. “I’m mayor of every person in my city, Democrat, Republican, independent, whatever,” Stanton said. “You’re in your official capacity at that point. I’m an ambassador for the state at that moment.”

That nails it. And just as Jon suggests that Mr. Obama "can be forgiven for reminding an electorate with short memories" that he got Bin Laden. So too Phoenix Major Stanton can be forgiven for making political hay by sweeping the loft clear of scorpions...

"(Maybe she can use that new book revenue to help her state buy back the capital it sold and now wants to buy back at a loss, because Arizona is run almost entirely by idiots.)"




La Bruja Blanca del Oeste Brewer plays the usual foil for the National Republican Committee against Obama at the expense of the citizens of Arizona. The theme now being developed by the right is that three years of unmitigated Republican obstructionism in Congress is actually Obama's fault. No shame at all.

More about the Brewer encounter:


OT but important...transit ridership in Phoenix continues growing at near record pace despite the recession, increased fares, and reduced service levels. Few cities, and none near Phoenix's size, come close to matching ridership gains: imagine if Phoenix had more rail (and commuter rail).


Back on task: I don't think any other state exists with such duality as Arizona. Comparing Stanton to Brewer for instance.

I would love to see Obama carry Arizona this year. Imagine the neoCon outcry and ensuing conspiracy theories of illegals voting.

PSF, it would be great to see Obama take Arizona. Wishful thinking?

Arizona is a deeply Red State and has voted Republican in every presidential election except for one since 1972. A moderate mayor in sea of red does not make for a dual state. Arizona's spiritual elder sister, Texas, has the blue city of Austin and the multicultural larger cities of Houston and Dallas.

Gypsy moth, Clinton won Arizona in 1996. McCain took AZ in 2008 with a small majority despite the fact that he was well liked in the state and from AZ. Stanton also isn't a moderate; he is a liberal urbanite who championed transit, gay rights, and the Hispanic community during his election campaign; one reason why minority communities (especially Hispanics) came out in larger numbers to support him.

The same is true of the Tucson mayor, Flagstaff, etc. Furthermore, the state is actually split down the middle with independents gaining the most ground. Historically speaking the most reliable voters are cranky, old white neoCons. That might have changed with the recall of Russell Pearce (the sponsor of SB 1070). The state electorate also voted to legalize medical marijuana despite state Leadership (Governor and Legislative Republicans) strongly opposing it.

The electorate also voted, overwhelmingly, to increase taxes on itself in order to pay for schools and social welfare programs; something that was ignored by Legislators. Republicans made drastic cuts to K-12 and to AHCCCS, eliminating coverage for childless adults: that too was approved by voters. Arizona was the only state that offered adult full coverage for adults. Republicans here have been ignoring the electorate and that could be their undoing.

I forgot to mention that Arizona has historically voted for Dems (Governors, Presidents, local officials) more often than Texas...as was the case with Clinton. Republicans also win with small margins of victories here, again unlike Texas, which tends to vote in Republicans in landslide victories.

Here is an interesting site; most polls have Arizona going to Obama. Romney would be the only candidate that could secure AZ for Republicans. There really isn't hope for Texas voting for a Dem anytime soon.



Jan Brewer is not sane.

Arizona voted for a Democratic presidential candidate one time in the past forty years. The current Arizona senators are Kyl and McCain, both ultra-conservative Republicans. Twenty years of Republican Joe Arapaio and of course there is Republican Jan Brewer.

The few Democrats elected in Arizona were not liberals. The love of handguns and the death penalty preclude that from happening.

Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Washington state, among others, offer or offered health coverage to low income childless adults.

Arizona was a Red State, is a Red State, and will always be a Red State.

Those middle westerners will unfortunately keep coming.

Unless it goes to Obama. It is a red state only because a certain segment of the population votes. The neoCon powerbase in AZ can only hang on as long as this playing field remains. If Latinos start voting similarily to whites, it is game over for our current Republican Legislature. Saying it will always remain a red state is extremely shortsighted given that the Latino growth rate far outpaces Midwestern migration to the state. I wouldn't call McCain an ultra conservative by any measure.

Correction: Arizona still covers low-income childless adults but is currently not accepting new applicantions for AHCCCS from these individuals. I hope the state begins processing applications soon; given the budget surplus and Brewer's claim that "Arizona has made a comeback." If this is so then surely we can fund healthcare for those in need. I hope the Medical Establishment is lobbying for new patient coverage if only to spare those individuals (and our state) from financial and health related dangers.

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