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May 27, 2008

Comments

Worth noting that both of the candidates attracted back almost exactly 50% (assuming no shifts in self-identification, which is a lot to assume) of their party's voters saying they were undecided or leaning the other way.

Bryan's casual assumption that an Obama loss would be due to racism may not be valid. Obama has some serious weaknesses that may not be reflected in the models, including:

-- Remarkable lack of experience (even less than George Bush in 2000)
-- Very liberal voting record.
-- The improving situation in Iraq
-- Lack of military experience, via service or through active involvement on the Armed Serices Committee.

This last item seems particularly important when the country is at war.

--Remarkable lack of experience (even less than George Bush in 2000)

George Bush had 6 years experience as a Governor before his inauguration.

Obama will have 4 years in the Senate and 8 in the Illinois legislature.

--Very liberal voting record.

Obama scores in the middle among Senate Democrats, overall. Maybe you could cite a few of the "very liberal" votes he's made that people might object to?

--The improving situation in Iraq

I'm not sure what improving situation you're talking about. There's no progress politically, Iran continues to gain influence over the Shiite areas, Turkey has invaded the Kurdish region, and the weekly civilian death toll in Iraq has begun rising again after dropping in the latter half of last year.

The number of civilian deaths reported by the Iraqi government for April was 969, the highest since August, when 1,773 were recorded killed. At least 28 Iraqi soldiers and 69 policemen also were reported killed. Officials at two hospitals in Sadr City alone said they had received 321 bodies in the last month.

--Lack of military experience, via service or through active involvement on the Armed Services Committee

Lack of actual military experience didn't hurt GWB, and Senators don't automatically get committee assignments just by asking. Obama serves on the Foreign Relations, Homeland Security and Veteran's Affairs committees, which should have him covered.

Jinchi -- responding to your points:

1. It's a matter of opinion how much to value experience in a state legislature. Evidently you give it greater weight than I do.

2. According to National Journal: "Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was the most liberal senator in 2007, according to National Journal's 27th annual vote ratings. The insurgent presidential candidate shifted further to the left last year in the run-up to the primaries, after ranking as the 16th- and 10th-most-liberal during his first two years in the Senate."

One of his liberal votes that I would object to was being one of only 22 Senatros to vote against the confirmation of the superbly qualified John Roberts.

3. I don't think that civilian casualties is the best way to measure success in a war. E.g., the week when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed was rapidly followed by our victory in WW2.

Any number of sources are reporting the improvement in Iraq, such as this article from USA Today.
The Iraqi army has finally reached the point where they can take the lead in battles. The result is that thn number os US casualties in Iraq last week was the fewest in the entire war.

4. I think GWB botched the occupation of Iraq. He allowed an ineffective plan to be followed after Saddam had been overthrown. It took several years until he switched to a more effective approach. I cannot prove that a President with greater military experience would have made better decisions, but it's certainly a possibility.

1. It's a matter of opinion how much to value experience in a state legislature. Evidently you give it greater weight than I do.

I didn't weight it at all. I merely posted the numbers. But the overlap between Governor and State Legislator is much higher than the overlap between either and president.

2. National Journal's rankings are ridiculously cherry picked numbers. In a Senate that includes Ted Kennedy and Russ Feingold, Obama is nowhere near the most liberal.

3. The Iraqi army is extremely corrupt and filled with members of rival militias and the Maliki government is closely tied to the Iranian regime. Their goals are not the same as ours.

4. You seem to be suggesting that the invasion of Iraq itself was a good idea, it was simply botched. I'm sure that anyone who believes that agrees that Obama is a poor choice compared to McCain.

But I'm pretty sure you're in the minority.

Jinchi -- Responding to a couple of your points:

Obama may not be the most liberal Senator, but his voting record is way over to the liberal side. It's not just the National Journal that rates him highly liberal. E.g.,

-- He has a 95 percent liberal rating from Americans for Democratic Reform, a liberal advocacy group that ranks all members of Congress.

-- When the New York Times political blog compared their lifetime scores of some Presidential candidates, they came up with the following ranking:

Senator Barack Obama..................84.3
Representative Dennis Kucinich.......79.4
Senator Christopher J. Dodd ..........79.2
Senator Hiliary Rodham Clinton ......78.8
Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr...........76.8

I'm undecided on whether the invasion of Iraq was a good idea. For me, it depends on how it comes out. At the moment I'm fairly optimistic because enemy attacks are at a 4-year low, American deaths are way down, and the Iraqi Army is having success against the Mahdi Army and against Al Qaeda in Iraq.

FYI - the NY Times was reporting the "ideological rankings" released by National Journal, not their own independent "rankings".

In reality, both Obama and Clinton are nearly identical and are only slightly more liberal than the average liberal in Congress (while McCain is slightly more liberal than the average conservative in Congress).

Oh, and BTW, there are no conservative Democrats and no liberal Republicans (in terms of voting records) in Congress at this time. Seriously.

Quiz - who did National Journal label as "the most liberal Senator" four years ago?

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