What did I miss?

By mw | Related entries in Barack, McCain, NAFTA, News

After a month-long holiday and blogging hiatus (Very good thank you – fishing in Michigan, eating and drinking to excess in France – It was great.), I am trying to get back into the swing of things. What better way to get up to speed than to immerse myself in Donklephant and other favorite blogs, and distill what I have missed and the lessons learned into a post. I think I’ve got it now:

Barack Obama is an ambitious politician who wants to be President. Barack Obama declared his previous statement committing to public financing of his Presidential campaign to be inoperative. He was forced into this, in order to combat the attacks coming from the Right Wing 527 attack machine that… ummm…. apparently does not exist. At least not yet. Oh – and also because he learned during the primary campaign that he can raise more money than God. This has distressed some of his supporters, who are concerned that Obama might superficially appear to the uninitiated to resemble a self-serving ambitious politician. I don’t know why they would think that. I mean, why would anyone think that a successful Chicago politician who cut his political teeth by clawing his way up through the precincts and wards of the bare knuckle Chicago Democratic political machine would turn out to be the kind of politician who will say whatever he needs to say to get votes and do whatever is politically expedient to get elected? No one would think that.

John McCain is an ambitious politician who wants to be President. Some of McCain’s supporters are also concerned, even though McCain reversed his position on the offshore drilling moratorium after learning that 2/3 of the electorate want to see the moratorium ended. They apparently fear that John McCain is not enough of a self-serving politician since he has not yet flip-flopped on drilling in ANWR. They have nothing to fear. John McCain has shown a perfect willingness to pander to the right, left, and center, say whatever he needs to say to get votes, and do whatever is politically expedient to get elected.

No really, Barack Obama is an ambitious politician who wants to be President. Some Obama supporters are concerned that by suggesting “NAFTA is not so bad after all, Obama might appear to be backtracking on his strongly expressed previously held position opposing NAFTA. Said position being exactly what he needed to say to win support in Democratic primaries, but no longer needs now that he superficially appears to be emulating every single winning Presidential candidate of the last forty years who moved to the center in order to win the general election. Their concern is that Obama fails to understand that he is not just an ambitious politician who wants to be President, but the leader of a glorious People’s Movement and Popular Uprising. Perhaps it will be easier for Progressives to deal with this turn of events if they do not think of Obama as reversing the NAFTA campaign promise he made to blue collar Democrats, but rather he is fulfilling the NAFTA campaign promise he made to the Canadians.

James Madison was right…
…when he wrote this in the Federalist Paper #51:

Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

Madison was explaining that checks, balances, and the separation of power in our constitutional government is needed to prevent the naked ambition of our less-than-angelic leaders from running roughshod over the freedom of the governed. Madison’s argument is equally applicable to voting for divided government, in order to ensure that single party rule does not undermine our constitutional checks and balances, as we saw most recently during the six years of Republican rule.

Full Disclosure: I knew that Madison was right before I took my blogging hiatus.

x-posted from Divided We Stand United We Fall

This entry was posted on Saturday, June 21st, 2008 and is filed under Barack, McCain, NAFTA, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Responses to “What did I miss?”

  1. TheMiddle Says:

    Wow, a lot of words saying precisely nothing anyone who reads this site haven’t known for years.

  2. mw Says:

    Thanks – I really appreciate the contribution of those succinct and highly meaningful seventeen words.

  3. TheMiddle Says:

    Phew! Knowing that you appreciated that will let me sleep well tonight. That of course with finally figuring out that all politicians are self-serving.

  4. Alan Stewart Carl Says:


    Glad to see you’re back. I’m sorry to hear you were forced to eat and drink in France. Such a shame. I hope you are fully back to a diet of hambugers and freedom fries here in the U.S. of A.

  5. mw Says:

    Not yet. I am afraid that I developed a real affinity for tortured duck and goose liver while I was there. I keep hoping to find a “Big Foie Gras Mac” on the value menu, but so far no luck. – mw

  6. Jim S Says:

    Absolutely. We need 4 more years of at least of 80% of Bush’s policies being continued in the White House. Not.

  7. Obloodyhell Says:

    > I am afraid that I developed a real affinity for tortured duck and goose liver while I was there

    I do not suggest you choose to comestibulate (lol) with the citizenry of Chicago, who are not free enough to partake of such things.

    > does not undermine our constitutional checks and balances, as we saw most recently during the six years of Republican rule.

    Uh, yeah. Which policies would those be?

    “Extraordinary rendition”? Specifically initiated under Clinton.

    “Wiretapping of International Communications”? Specifically initiated under Clinton (see “Tempest”).

    If you’re going to whine about GOP depredations on the Constitution, at least make sure that the Dems aren’t just as guilty. At least the GOP had an event, 911, to give credence to the notions, right or wrong.

    It’s one thing to ack that ALL politicians are the enemy of the people. It’s quite another to suggest that it’s only the GOP who sucks in this regard.

    P.S. we still have troops in: Korea, Japan, Germany, and “the former Yugoslavia”. Not directly relevant, but it’s still worth pointing out, since sooner or later I suspect an idiotic cry of “Get out of Iraq!” will be floated.

  8. mw Says:

    “I do not suggest you choose to comestibulate (lol) with the citizenry of Chicago, who are not free enough to partake of such things”.Obloodyhell

    Yes, I am aware of the ridiculous Chicago ban. Although I live in San Francisco now, I grew up in Chicago and retain my Chicago sports loyalties (Cubs in first place BTW!). The foie gras ban is an embarrassment. The French are aware and amused by the Chicago ban too. We stopped at a charming little shop on Isle Saint Louis called “La Petite Scierie” specializing in duck delicacies. The proprietor – Paul Duoys – prepares the foie gras himself from his 20 acre farm. He was a delight. We bought a couple of jars of preserved foie gras and asked about customs regs to bring it back. He assures us we can bring it back except – he turns and shakes his finger at us sternly – “You cannot take this to Chicago!” As we leave we take a picture outside of the shop, and a French woman walks by and exclaims sarcastically “Sacre Bleu! Americans buying foie gras! Heresy!” She then laughingly takes a picture of the foie gras eating Americans to preserve for posterity. We were greatly amused. Personally, I think the whole foie gras “PC” thing is complete rubbish. It is one thing for a vegan to criticize foie gras, but anyone who eats any industrial meat or dairy product like beef, pork, chicken or eggs, has absolutely nothing to say about foie gras as far as I am concerned. It is stupid hypocrisy.

    Regarding the rest – I suggest you read the post more closely, or my more recent post, and I think you will find it more balanced than you imply in your comment.

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