Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 19, 2008
POLITICS: A Word of Advice To Senator Barack Obama

Although Senator Obama has been married long enough that he ought to know this already:

When a woman is criticizing you, it might not be such a good idea to suggest that she is in one of those periods when she is feeling down, and that's why she's doing it. Because, you know, sometimes that doesn't go over so well.

Just a thought. Pass the popcorn.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:29 AM | Politics 2008 | Comments (38) | TrackBack (0)

My favorite scene in Mystery Men, a comedy too often overlooked (it's funny as hell, rent it); when the loser superheroes (William H. Macy, always brilliant, Hank Azaria, also always brilliant, and Ben Stiller, always annoying) have to interview new heroes to build up their group, one of them is this woman with a Fran Drescher voice, who says, "I'm PMS Avenger, I work 5 days a month. Anyone got a problem with that?"

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at February 19, 2008 11:12 AM

How ironic that conservatives are implying that Obama is being too "un-PC" given that they spend their lives going into apoplexy if anyone brings up race or gender into a political discussion. Here's a quote from McCain that you can add to the mix, "I will hate the gooks for the rest of my life". Now, one interpretation is that he's simply referring to his captors, an interpretation that I'm sure the Crank jumps all over. Another interpretation is that his comment is purely racist, admittedly with a mitigating subtext. If McCain's captors were black and we substitute the N word for gooks, would there be any doubt? But I certainly agree that we should pass the popcorn, cuz I'm liking my guy's chances more and more.

Posted by: frank at February 19, 2008 12:05 PM


To use your IF...If they had done to McCain what his real captors did, he might be forgiven his sentiments, don't you think? Your guy's chances revolve around an ability for saying absolutely NOTHING quite effectively. Maybe we are a country of nitwits and we deserve what we get, but I'm bettin' not.

Posted by: Phils57 at February 19, 2008 5:55 PM

Phil: Did you actually read what I said? I mentioned the mitigating subtext of McCain's remarks, which otherwise are racist on their face. Obama's remarks on the other hand are sexist only if you make a serious of negative assumptions, which of course cons arent willing to apply to themselves in other contexts....i.e., Rush Limbaugh referring to Hillary's male supporters as "Castrati". And any country that would elect Bush twice has got a lot of "nitwits" to use your term, but thankfully folks are smartening up a tad. Obama's positions on every political issue are both public record and well known; the "vagueness" challenges to his candidacy are about as uncompelling as the "age" challenges to McCain's.

Posted by: frank at February 19, 2008 7:38 PM

"Obama's positions on every issue are both public record and well known"-really-you actually believe that? Is that why when you ask people to list Obama's accomplishments or qualifications they look at you like a German Shepherd wondering where the ball went. The public record argument sort of comes up short when you have a candidate who 'mistakenly" voted incorrectly what 6 or 7 times during his career as a State Legislator and then "voted" present on a whole bunch of hot button issues. I wonder what the media response would be to a conservative Republican who voted "mistakenly" numerous times. Of course, he basically has no record as a US Senator that he can point to, other than being rated the most liberal member of the Senate-sort of hard to be "uniter", what ever that means,when you are the definition of an ideologue.

What is finally beginning to come out in the media after months of obfuscation is parts and pieces of his record and guess what it is standard issue ultra -left-such as support for partial birth abortion, support for driver's license for illegal aliens (sort of interesting how Hillary gets mauled for talking favorably about this and he gets a pass), voting against a bill protecting homeowners from being sued by burglars they shoot in their homes, his standard liberal anti-gun record, and just this week voting against the FISA bill supported bya bi-partisan group 68 senators (that really helps showing how strong and mainstream you are on Foreign Policy/Defense issues). The Republicans are going to have a field day with all of this.

He is an empty suit, with no executive experience and a very thin legislative record. He is at the height of getting good press right now-he is only going to go downhill from here. He speaks real nice, but says nothing. The Democrats are going to have buyers remorse if they go with this guy.The bloom will be off the rose very soon.

Posted by: dch at February 19, 2008 8:42 PM

Conservatism is done!
It has failed EVERY TIME it's been tried: 1890s, 1920s, 1980s and 2000s.

It's a loser people, and it is SO obvious to ANYONE paying attention!

Unless the Conservatives want to tell us the S&L Crisis, caused by the Conservative ideology that we shouldn't regulate financial institutions, worked out for the vast majority of American citizens.

I'll say it again: I was born at night, but it wasn't last night.

If you want to argue that Conservatism is a viable ideology, you're also arguing that a failed ideology like Socialism is viable ideology to be argued for as well.

Posted by: Robert in BA at February 19, 2008 9:13 PM

More lame commentary on Obama. Where's the substance?

Posted by: Mark at February 19, 2008 10:03 PM

Oh, you wait. I've got a pretty thick file already.

Posted by: The Crank at February 19, 2008 10:38 PM

Robert, what do you thiink Obama and Hillary are arguing for? Every position they have articulated are clearly Socialist. As for Conservatism, it has lead to the most prosperous times in our histories. What goes wrong is when it is tinkered with. That is what happened in the 30's, 90's and continues today.

Posted by: maddirishman at February 20, 2008 5:02 AM

Daryl, I also liked Mystery Men.

Simply thinking of the Blue Raja -- who wasn't blue -- or The Shoveler makes me laugh. It was one of those so-stupid-it-was-funny movies. I thought I was alone in liking it; glad to see I have company.

Posted by: Mike at February 20, 2008 7:26 AM


What series of negative assumptions must one make? This is a political campaign...I'm shocked, shocked to find that a political campaign might have subtexts! Obama, smart man that he is, just might have the ability to engage his primary opponent with such "aplomb", no? It seems as though you think no Democrat would stoop so low. Perhaps it was an unfortunate choice of words and that's the convenient excuse but, be that as it may we can sit back and enjoy the volleys, subtle or no, between the two. Who's got the popcorn?

By the way, Obama's positions (the very few he has) are not well known, particularly by his own. Chris Matthews last night asked an Obama supporter at the Houston rally(a state senator I believe) to articulate ONE specific thing he's done. The response? Crickets....from a state senator! The "Obama as Savior" tour, coming to a state near you!

Posted by: Phils57 at February 20, 2008 11:36 AM

Please tell us all the things GWB had done leading up to his presidency. Feel free to leave out the military dodging, business wrecking, coke snorting and alcohol abuse. Yes, I would love to hear about GWB's books, literary prowess and worldly accomplishments. Please regale us with his lengthy resume.

Posted by: jim at February 20, 2008 12:03 PM

"As for Conservatism, it has lead to the most prosperous times in our histories. "
Because maddirishman says so. That's good enough for me. Sure I could look at all the problems associated with rampant Conservatism (the S&L crisis, the current economic crisis, The Crash of '29, etc) and see it as a loser, but if maddirishman says "no", then case closed!

I'd believe him over my lying eyes any day. (snark)

Posted by: Robert in BA at February 20, 2008 12:53 PM

Well, he was twice elected governor in one of the largest states in the country at a time when his state's legislature was controlled by the other party.

Posted by: Alex at February 20, 2008 1:43 PM

So, his sole accomplishment is being elected. Elected to a state with a part-time legislature where the governor is the 6th most powerful individual in the government. Wow. I am deeply, deeply impressed. Clearly he had a tremendous resume that the "empty-suit" Obama could never hope to emulate.

Posted by: jim at February 20, 2008 1:49 PM

I seem to recall that in 2000, he cited as one of his best examples of Presidential leadership the fact that he fired Bobby Valentine. :)

Posted by: Jerry at February 20, 2008 2:16 PM

An intellectually honest conservative won't attack Obama on "vagueness" grounds; rather they will admit that they oppose him because they've reviewed his record and found his positions to be unacceptably liberal across the board. But to condemn him for giving fantastic message speeches that are light on policy content really just means you disagree with his policy views, which you know darn well. You didnt oppose Reagan's tremendous oratory that focused on broad themes because in the end you shared his policy views. Reagan and Obama are alike in their ability to energize people into political participation in a positive way, which frankly is half the battle. And in the end can it be said that one "knows" McCain's positions on anything? He was against the tax cuts, now he's for them. He supported immigration reform, now he opposes it and focuses upon border security. He opposes "earmarks" but champions the safety net welfare state for the elderly. He, like most, wets his finger and sees which way the wind is blowing.

Posted by: dante at February 20, 2008 2:50 PM


But the problem with the sweeping rhetoric is that a lot of it deals with "change" and "bipartisanship," that he offers some kind of reprieve from the partisan bickering of the last, well forever. That would indicate that he was somewhere in the center, when in fact he is very far to the left.

The other problem is that I'm confident that a lot of the people who are so enraptured by him have no idea what his policies are because they're just listening to the feel-good speeches and caving to peer pressure. That's not Obama's problem, it's actually an asset to him.

He's running as a uniter, but his politics are just as divisive as his opponents', if not more so. He's done a magnificent job of using the public's policy apathy to his advantage.

Posted by: Joel B. at February 20, 2008 3:20 PM

Reagan is a ludicrous comparison, like comparing Hideki Irabu to Walter Johnson because they both had good fastballs. Reagan spent 16 years laying out his ideas in exhaustive detail by 1980 (when he ran a very substantive campaign), he'd been gov. of the nation's largest state for two terms and had run an issues-oriented national campaign in 1976, and by 1984 he had a 4-year record as President. You want to compare Obama's hollow rhetoric to Reagan, I suggest you go on YouTube and check Reagan's 1964 "Time for Choosing" pro-Goldwater speech, which was much plainer in its advocacy of specific policy goals and philosophy than what we get today from Obama. And that was when Reagan was a political novice. Or go read the book of Reagan's radio commentaries from the mid-70s, where he delved into arcana like the Law of the Sea Treaty in depth.

As to Bush and Texas, sorry jim, but being the Governor of a large state for 6 years is still a bigger job and better prep to be POTUS than being a Senator for 4. I don't have time to go back here through Bush's initiatives in office, but Wikipedia, which is hardly a right-leaning site, summarizes some of the things he got done without a lot of formal power in office:

As governor, Bush successfully sponsored legislation for tort reform, increased education funding, set higher standards for schools, and reformed the criminal justice system. ... Bush used a budget surplus to push through a $2 billion tax-cut plan, the largest in Texas history, which cemented Bush's credentials as a pro-business fiscal conservative.

Bush also pioneered faith-based welfare programs by extending government funding and support for religious organizations that provide social services such as education, alcohol and drug abuse prevention, and reduction of domestic violence. ...

In 1998, Bush won re-election in a landslide victory with nearly 69 percent of the vote.

Anyway, I would like to ask you: Are you arguing that Obama's inexperience is not a problem because Bush proved that you can be a good president without a lot of experience? Seems to me that since you have been griping about Bush's background for years on this site, you might show some consistency here.

The core critique of Obama is not that he has no ideas, it's that he sells nothing but pure wind because he does not have the courage to lay out in more detail his actual agenda, which is as far to the left as any presidential candidate since at least McGovern and possibly Henry Wallace.

Posted by: The Crank at February 20, 2008 3:28 PM

I should add one more thing that strikes me from that Wikipedia writeup: Bush's Texas record was actually an excellent predictor of what kind of domestic agenda Bush would pursue in DC: tax cuts, neoliberal education reform, faith-based initiatives, tort reforms, and disinterest in small-government-conservative approaches to trimming programs and spending. Bush hasn't been 100% consistent with his Texas record but the philosophy and the priorities were pretty clear to anybody who paid any attention. And that fed into the detailed policy-paper approach Bush took to the 2000 campaign, notably on taxes, education, faith-based initiatives and his prescription drug plan. On domestic policy, Bush told us what he would do and he did it.

Posted by: The Crank at February 20, 2008 3:36 PM

No, my point is that, as has been pointed out here innumerable times, that you and those of your ilk do not care, really, about the statements you make about Dem politicians if in fact the same is true of GOP Inc. pols. You can argue all you want Bush was a tried and true thing but the fact is he was THE definition of an empty suit. I have not once argued for Obama's credentials here. I am merely pointing out that your alleged problem with him is that of inexperience, lack of policy, etc. when Bush was the same, if not worse. You just trusted that Bush would bring along daddy's mates with him and so you really didn't give a flying f*** that Bush couldn't bring much, if anything to the table. The same holds true now. You don't give a damn whose President as long as they come from GOP Inc. you are fine with it. They could run Barney Fife as long as he had (R) next to his name. The thing is, this is no big accusation. Hell, we'll take anyone that isn't Bush and we'll take pretty much anyone that isn't a minion of GOP Inc. It's the high and mighty tone that is off-putting. It's the policy of the party(ies) you and nearly everyone else is interested in and you really don't give a damn whether BO is experienced or not. He could be the most experienced guy on earth and that wouldn't do it for you. Just come clean.

Posted by: jim at February 20, 2008 3:45 PM

1. Did you just completely miss my discussion of Bush's actual Texas record?

2. You may recall I had a word or two in this year's GOP primaries about a candidate I found insufficiently experienced for the job.

Posted by: The Crank at February 20, 2008 4:03 PM

Crank, I notice you ducked my point about McCain's flipflopping entirely. That aside, you cant have it both ways and say that the core critique of Obama is that he "has no ideas" on the one hand, but that his "actual agenda is ...far left". Which is it? How do you know what his agenda is if he doesnt adhere to any principles behind it that are evident in his speeches and voting record? The simple fact is that you find him liberal, and so you oppose him. And fair enough for you to do so. But this nonsense that he is hiding his positions from the public is absolute horsesh*t. IF HE HAD 10 YEARS ADDITIONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE SENATE YOUR ARGUMENT WOULD CONVENIENTLY MORPH INTO "he's an insider he's part of the problem"; i.e, you'd attack him like you attack Clinton.

Posted by: frank at February 20, 2008 4:23 PM

Whatever, Bush could have been a coke and alcohol addict and you would have supported him. Oh wait, he was. frank is right. Just own up. You don't care. If anyone of those "insufficiently experienced" GOP Inc dudes had somehow nabbed the nomination you'd be all over them. Get over yourself. No one thinks you're not partisan. Why can't you just admit that under no circumstances, in no way shape or form, no matter his experience there is any way in hell you would vote for Obama? Face it, McCain could be drooling down his chin and hooked up to some serious IVs at this point and you would still go vote for him. Experience is irrelevent and you know it.

Posted by: jim at February 20, 2008 4:33 PM

Inexperience is just one more drop in the very deep bucket of reasons not to vote for Barack Obama, at least from the perspective of a conservative. Of course we're not going to vote for him, just like we wouldn't vote for John Kerry, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, or any other liberal politician.

But in the primary, it's not our decision, it's the democratic party's. All Crank and others are doing is pointing out that your shooting star here is woefully thin on experience, which could very well hurt him with swing voters in the general election. Obama may win both elections in spite of his inexperience, but that doesn't mean it doesn't matter.

Posted by: Joel B. at February 20, 2008 5:07 PM


Problem is, just about the entire stable of GOP candidates had real experience: think Governor. And it's not just experience, but what type, too.
It's a tad wiser to place the nation's trust in someone with Big Picture experience than someone who's done little more than try to get along with 99 other senators. What company would hire a CEO based on such a scant resume? McCain is not most conservatives first choice, but we'll defend him because he's all we've got.

Posted by: Phils57 at February 20, 2008 6:16 PM

See, rationalization all around. If you, or anyone, cared about experience you'd (we'd) be all hunky-dory with Bill Richardson. Face it, in a presidential election experience comes in dead last. Again, Obama could be the most experienced guy in the world. Y'all don't care. It is irrelevent. You're not voting for him no matter what. Just can that stuff. No on believes it from you. Just say what's true: You don't like his policies, you don't like that he's a Democrat so you're not voting for him. It's easy. I know the GOP has a seriously difficult time with reality but it is actually a fairly easy concept to embrace.

Posted by: jim at February 21, 2008 12:08 PM

Congratulations, Jim, on making a point that was already conceded (and obvious to begin with). What on earth are you trying to argue?

You're the one that brought up experience, the post and subsequent comments didn't mention it. But I congratulate you for keeping alive the unbroken streak of bringing up George Bush in a discussion that doesn't concern him in the least.

Posted by: Joel B. at February 21, 2008 12:54 PM

Yeah, Obama's experience has NEVER been brought up here. What an astute post. Joel, why don't you look at and read the 5th post on this very thread? Oh, somone brought up Obama's experience (or lack there of)? Nice try.

Posted by: jim at February 21, 2008 1:51 PM

Jim, you might consider rereading the post and the thread here. You seem to have spun off into some discussion with yourself that doesn't reflect the actual flow of the thread.

Keep trying, little soldier!

Posted by: spongeworthy at February 21, 2008 2:37 PM

It was a small part of a comment that actually did address the topic of the blog post. You ran down that bunny trail and kept screaming about it like it was the argument that Crank was making. It wasn't.

It's clear from reading the blog post and the first few comments that this was a discussion, first and foremost, of Obama's policy views, not his experience. Inexperience has never been discussed on this site as anything more than one entry on a laundry list of reasons not to vote for Barack Obama, the most important being his plans for domestic and foreign policy.

Posted by: Joel B. at February 21, 2008 2:58 PM

Yeah, seriously what happened to this thread. It's like the postmodern thread from hell.

The only thing I will say is that you can criticize Obama for being both far left and vague. He has a far left voting record and the positions he has laid out in print are far left. (Which is fine in. It's not a crime to be far left. But the problem is he says he will be a uniter and he can't possibly be a uniter with those positions. Plus, when was the last time we ever had a true uniter? George Washington?).

But when he talks on the stump, he doesn't talk about his positions. And most people paying attention to Obama don't go past the stump speeches. So, they don't know the real Obama. As the spring and summer unfolds, and Obama is forced to start talking about his positions, or his positions are pointed out for him, it will be interesting to see what happens to his campaign. He's probably never going to more popular than he is now. We'll see if it is enough.

Posted by: Alex at February 21, 2008 3:02 PM

Threadjacking is not a new development around here. On the theory of GYODB, I reserve the right to refuse to respond to off-topic comments.

That said, I *do* think that both experience and accomplishments are a very important part of the qualifications for the job, and that's a big reason why I made a big deal of that issue in the GOP primaries, if you read my posts on Rudy, Romney and McCain, and my posts contrasting the leadership records of Bush, Cheney, Kerry and Edwards last time around. A similar thought is also a part, BTW, of why I ultimately came out against Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court.

My view is that the Democrats keep putting out there people who have too little experience or little or no relevant accomplishments, and I was appalled by the idea of nominating Romney precisely on the theory that *we're Republicans, we don't do this.* That doesn't mean we just line people up by years of service and lines on the resume, and it doesn't mean that any one qualification is essential, but it does mean that on the whole, experience matters in a job as big as the presidency. And it's ridiculous to take a legislator who has never been a public executive, never run a business, never been in the military, and hasn't even finished his first term in Congress and pretend that he's qualified for the job.

Sure: Obama's actual record, beliefs and proposals are the #1 reason for me to vote against him. But he's also baldly unqualified for the job, and I see no reason to refrain from pointing that out.

Posted by: The Crank at February 21, 2008 3:13 PM

spongeworthy, you are as funny as madirishman. Again, right wing humor shows itself to be as oxymoronic as jumbo shrimp. Joel B., total GOP way to avoid issues, "Hey, we said it, but don't respond to it asshole." Typical. Adding inexperience to a list where the first and biggest strike against him is DEMOCRAT is like creating a recipe for chocolate chip cookies and then mentioning you shouldn't use asparagus. It's assanine and unnecessary.

And just to make you all happy, GWB was also (and still is) unqualified for the job he holds.

Posted by: jim at February 21, 2008 3:49 PM

Jim, I'll bet you're the only kid on the bus they don't force a helmet onto. You're that thick-headed.

Let's try this your way: We intend to point out throughout the summer that you people are selling cookies made with asparagus. We conceded we wouldn't eat the cookies way up the thread. We intend to warn other consumers about your awful cookies.

Posted by: spongeworthy at February 21, 2008 4:08 PM

Whoo hoo! You must write for the Dennis Miller Show, you're so funny. The joke about retarded kids...priceless. When I was 10 that was awesome material. Keep it up.

Despite rumors to the contrary I did not bring up the experience theme in this thread. It was brought up. While others do not seem to think it is valid to compare resumes of potential pres. candidates to the current one (championed on this site), it does seem relevent. Crank can bring up all the stuff Bush did which essentially come down to cutting taxes and giving money to religious groups (Texas under Bush was bottom 10% of nearly every aspect of education one can name, quality of life (i.e. housing, police, etc.) and, well, y'all know what the environmental policies were like).

The funny thing is that you all take yourselves so seriously on this making you look like your defensive about your guy's utter lack of credentials to hold the job he does. The point is you don't think any Democrat is experienced enough (certainly Gore was more experienced than was Bush) because you hate their policies. Joel, you were the only one that flat our conceded that you don't care about Obama's (or ane Dem I assume) experience. You can talk all you want about the quality of our cookies, your problem is most people in this country would rather eat those than the trash your side trowels out so if I were you I might start training your palate up a bit.

Posted by: jim at February 21, 2008 4:52 PM


Are you a real person? Why would anyone be this angry in a post to an anonymous comment thread that is likely to never be read except by the participants?

Just wow.

Posted by: Steve Johnson at February 22, 2008 2:50 AM

Steve, you are also as funny as your compatriots on this site. Sorry you have a hard time with people who disagree with you and know how to articulate it. Now that you've posted you can (no doubt) get back to the business of bemoaning the liberal media (NYT) and how you all are once again the targets of one-sided journalism.

This time, we get to have the popcorn.

Posted by: jim at February 22, 2008 12:00 PM
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