The best thing I learned today is about the socialist ticket here in America. Brian Moore is the socialist party candidate for president. The best part about it? His wife is a banker. “She’s very independent minded,” he says, and “She’s a capitalist.”
Monthly Archives: October 2008
Elections are about managing many things: images, strategies, rhetoric, the media, your own campaign, and probably about 2000 others. Yet, all of these support what the campaign is actually (supposed) to be about: ideas. Yes, the personality of the candidate matters, too, but we actually know so little about the men and women we vote for, that image trumps actual personality.
This morning marks two weeks before America votes. But, I believe, this election was decided in the last week of September.
If you can remember, before three debates and robocalls and Joe the Plumber and Colin Powell, John McCain led in almost all the polls during the middle of September. Then, the fateful last full week came. Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson began urging a bailout of U.S. financial institutions, based largely on futures trading. They saw the bottom falling out of the financial system, banks unwilling or unable to loan, and the economy grinding (quickly) to a halt. President Bush supported this idea, as did the democratic congress, and Barack Obama.
As Letterman has continued to remind us, McCain ‘suspended’ his campaign to get the bailout passed in Washington. Now at this moment, both presidential candidates had their hands tied. Both needed to show action on the bailout. Neither wanted to be linked too closely with an unpopular President.
This bad week for McCain (the same week as the infamous Palin-Katie Couric interviews) got worse when nothing moved on the bailout while he was in D.C. Yet, I think McCain’s bigger mistake was supporting the bailout in the first place. Yes, he had to show that he was doing something during this campaign season. Sure, the media pointed out how he seemed to be ‘lurching’ from one idea to another. But, the problem for McCain is: this is largely true.
McCain, with his later suggestion to freeze government spending, was really hitting on a range of economic philosophies. Obama, as we know, supports more liberal economics. He wants government to (help) provide solutions. A bailout, for someone with liberal economics, makes complete sense. The government should help, as it should help the poor and middle class, too.
McCain, on the other hand, supported this liberal philosophy of a bailout, but he still wanted to keep some classically conservative ideas (such as spending freeze). Unfortunately, he’s not really making any argument about what type of relationship the government should have with the economy, he was acting both liberal and conservative. If he had stayed with classically conservative ideas, refused the bailout and pointed to fixing the deeper systematic problems in our system, he would have at least a cogent argument. He would have espoused clear and straightforward ideas: the classically conservative ideas.
Unfortunately for McCain, this is where the bottom fell out. The polls, already beginning to move, swung about a quarter point a day for Obama (very big movement) until the middle of this month.
Naturally, the election is still not over. Although, McCain needs a bigger swing now than Obama had from the end of September to mid-October. (With two weeks left, McCain needs to gain ground more quickly than Obama did during his run earlier. McCain needs a decisive popular vote win, since Obama has a commanding lead in the electoral college. Remember, voting for a President is really 51 separate elections.) I have spoken with very few people who don’t see positives and negatives in both candidates. But, the must for McCain, now, is a unified message, and one that doesn’t rely too heavily on negative attacks. I think, economically, he needs to clarify his conservative ideology and and make a more compelling argument for cutting national debt, and letting the free-market system work itself out. Because, in the end, he can’t have it both ways.
Oh, yeah. There are other issues at play in this election, too. But, more and more Americans are voting on the economy (we generally vote our fears in the ballot box) and the economic trouble signaled the end of McCain’s lead this fall.
Finally, I came to these conclusions by asking myself what I thought about McCain’s economic principles, and not understanding them through his actions. Agree or disagree, Obama has the clearer argument, in line with liberal principles. In an election, the clearer argument will always win. These are just one person’s thoughts. Feel free to disagree and comment…I’ll do my best to reply.
Okay, so here’s the latest video I put together for EHCC. The church didn’t play it quite the same, as they have an uber-talented music leader, so they put live music over the end. But, enjoy…
So. I’m in this place where, once again, I feel a little nervous about our future. Brooke is pregnant and this brings an added feeling of responsibility and, sometimes an added feeling of anxiety. I’m finishing grad school in May and Brooke is due to give birth in April and I want and need to be our main provider, financially speaking. Yet, even before this, The Gathering continues to be a question mark and I wonder if I’ll have a job come January.
Too often I forget that God’s posture toward me is of love.
I know the economy is struggling and I wonder if it’ll affect my job search. I saw this morning that the LA Times cut 75 workers, that EBay cut 10% of its staff. I wonder how many more writers will be out there in 3 or 6 months, competing against me for the same jobs. I step into this wonder and look at the darkness of the unknown and feel the weight of providing for a family, like a heavy backpack cutting into my shoulders.
I had a conversation with my wife’s step-dad this past July. I don’t know if this makes him my step-father-in-law or if it simply gives me two fathers-in-law; it does not matter. I remember sitting with him on the sun-porch, and he spoke words of love and truth into my life and Brooke’s life. This man, with his doctorate, successful in a variety of areas in life, spoke about how Brooke and I have intellect and talent and personality. He said that this is rare, and we should be thankful, but we should also be confident. Employers, he said, are looking for people like you.
I don’t say this to brag but to show my blindness, my lack of trust.
I think of how I forget God’s posture toward me is a posture of love. I think of that evening on the sun-porch. I am reminded of what God has done in my past: the family he has given me, the opportunities, the wife, the house, the car, the parents-in-law, the baby growing in her belly, the good job. I’m reminded of that evening because it reminds me to trust: God has given me talents and I see the world in a way slightly different than anyone else on earth. We all do. I’m reminded because He has opened doors before and he will again. His attitude toward me, you see, is one of complete love. He is not urging me to fail but to succeed, to use my talents in a way that brings a little slice of redemption to this world. A little slice of hope. A little slice of courage.
When I forget that God’s attitude toward me is love, I sometimes remember that sun-porch. Not that God will swing wide doors to financial riches, but he will provide what we need. He will take my talents and use them.