Stand by for a McCain Administration

Sealpresidentialcolor The following is analysis, not advocacy.

Barring a poor performance in debate or a sudden disclosure of grossly damaging information, it seems to me that the presidential election outcome is now clear.

Obama made a fatal error in not putting Hilary Clinton on the ticket.  She is strong in parts of the country where he is weak and will remain weak.  Her presence on the ticket would have reassured some who might have made a difference.  The unfortunate truth is, as I have said before, that there remains a lot of racist sentiment in parts of the United States.  It is vice that will not name itself, and it certainly is not all in the South.  Appalachia generally, the Mid-West, the Great Plains, and the Mountain West are full of it.  Polling has revealed this clearly for all those who do not indulge themselves with wishful thinking.  Obama’s obvious status as a member of the intelligentsia exacerbates that prejudice in the "minds" of many.  In addition, Sarah Palin’s appearance on the ticket as "just plain mom," churchgoing, ill informed and earnest summons forth a new demographic.  That demographic is women who are; not feminists, who cling to traditional values and for whom she is a shining justification of their own lives.  In the context of "corporate" politics, and the long standing close red/blue division of the country, these things add up to "a win."

John McCain will be the 44th president of the United States.  His need to feel the equal of his "fathers" will be assuaged for at least a few months.  Sarah Palin is likely to succeed him as president.  He is elderly, fragile, physically much abused in life, choleric, and seemingly in decline.  His belligerence grows.  He is under the influence of the Jacobin neocons who know no limits to the possibility of the fulfillment of their dreams.  Who can say where that influence will take us?

Governor Palin is yet unreadable.  Charles Gibson’s first interview with her established that she is teachable, or at least coachable.  Gibson tried rather hard to test her.  Some of it was ridiculous.  "What do you think of the Bush Doctrine?"  Come on, Charlie.  That’s just chicken shit.  You probably had to look that up.  More interesting were her responses to the questions about NATO membership for the Ukraine and Georgia.  She was unreservedly in favor of that, and, in response to a question as to whether or not it might be necessary to fight Russia over these places she provided her seemingly coached high school Civics class answer.  She said it might be necessary to fight Russia.  This was later modified somewhat by the rest of her "catechism" answer,  She said that it would not be necessary to fight Russia if such things as sanctions or diplomacy worked to dissuade the Russian aggressors.  She has a great deal of "catching up" to do.  People spend their whole lives studying the subject matter that she must master if she is not to be a menace to the world.  She needs to have someone explain the consequences implict in the acronym SIOP.  Perhaps she can "catch up."  Perhaps she will be a kind "Princess Hal," a marvel for us all.  I do not imply that she drinks or carouses.

In the context of a McCain/Palin Administration, the division of the next Congress becomes very important.  Not much is being said about that.  There has been a kind of assumption that the Democrats will increase their majorities in both houses.  That is a result for which to pray (or whatever you do).  A veto proof majority in the senate would be a good thing.  It would be a bad thing for any party to have as much power as the republicans might have otherwise.  The McCain/Palin ticket might have more coat tails than has been thought.  pl

This entry was posted in Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

84 Responses to Stand by for a McCain Administration

  1. lina says:

    I pray to God/Allah/Vishnu/Odin you are wrong.
    I agree with Matt Damon. This is like a bad Disney movie (but I can’t change the channel).

  2. Camille Paglia, a revisionist feminist, has an article posted in SLATE discoursing on Sarah Palin as representing a new kind of feminism, specifically the frontier woman role model, strong, independent, fearless yet protective of her own and caring. Who knows but the swing to McCain seems driven by white women, not racism. The problem I have with all this is that we have had almost eight years of the gunslinger, and now wonder what of a “Maverick” administration followed by the wilderness Princess. The rest of the world KNOWS how important the US election is to them. Weird things may be going on in the 50 state elections being separately held for the Presidential election in November. Novel twists leave possible last minute changes in votes, from new or revised data, or as in Ohio from the first use of election day registration. Whatever happens, the world and US look like a possible very different future from what a Clinton or Romney Administration might have led to. Are we so desperate as a NATION willing to roll the dice? Ignoring blissfully knowledge, competence, experience, and proven judgement. POSSIBLY!

  3. lina says:

    Re putting Hillary Clinton on the ticket: I don’t know how that would have helped with the racist vote. Was Sen. Clinton as VP supposed to talk them out of their racism? Vote against their racist leanings? I don’t get it.

  4. Dave of Maryland says:

    You are more optimistic than I am.
    You ran a picture of McCain greeting Palin at the airport a week or two ago. There was a noticeable golf-ball sized growth in his left jaw.
    Ask the campaign, they’ll say it’s benign, but that’s what you’d expect they’d say. Whatever it is, it’s untreated, since removal means wiring John’s mouth shut, and chemo is physically debilitating. Either would end his candidacy. The earliest treatment could start is post-election day, but how much of Senator McCain will be left by then?
    Sarah Palin >>is<< the next president. God help us! You say she is unreadable. Not at all. One poster mentioned Obama as a Leo a week ago. Which is nice, if simplistic. (Bill Clinton is a Leo. Big deal!) I do this stuff for a living. Sarah Palin has a very tight Sun-Mars-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius. Saturn & Mars get together for a few days every two years. Once in every four or five meetings, the Sun joins them, which is to say that what Palin's carrying around happens once every 12 to 15 years or so. It's as mean-spirited & as nasty as it gets. Which is exactly what she's shown us.

  5. S.D. says:

    Sadly, I cannot disagree with this take. Not that the Dems could have withstood the neocons, but at least one could hope that they would not embrace them.
    It has been a really long 8 years. Can someone name just one Foreign Policy success?
    I begin to think I now know what it is like now to live in a banana republic. Sad.

  6. Pan says:

    I’m not as pessimistic as you, yet. I think Obama can remount an affective offense against McCain/Palin by emphasizing he is running against McCain, not Palin. Get Hillary and Bill to go all out for him and blitz those states that he needs. Use Hillary to directly attack Palin as a sham feminist. Let Palin answer directly to Hillary. Offer Hillary a prominent role in the Obama administration, such as SecState. He needs to recover from the mistake of not picking Hillary as his Veep.

  7. Leo Lane says:

    Republicans in Congress now are only 3 points behind Democrats in the latest USA Today/Gallup survey.

  8. PS says:

    My analysis is that Obama picked a VP to help govern — and succeed him, if needed –and McCain picked one to win the Presidency. I am sure that the combination of Obama, a Clinton who thought she won, and a Clinton who used to be POTUS would make for more drama than the best West Wing episodes.
    The irony is that the candidate more likely to need a successor — assuming the Secret Service continues to do its job well — thought least about the requirements for succession.
    I am not so sure that Hillary would have strengthened the ticket. I know too many with a real aversion to Hillary who are planning to vote for Obama.

  9. bstr says:

    The Gibson question on the “Bush Doctrine” was hardly a fowl attempt to trip up Palin. Please see the James Fallow’s blog in the Atlantic as argument against that position. Also the new “Attention Sara Palin” button must be seen. It clarifies the historical precedence of the campaign.

  10. Twit says:

    If you’re right, then, hopefully, the silver lining will be a Democratic Party chastened enough to actually produce a coherent vision of modern America to vote for. Enter the ‘Virginia Caucus’ of Jim Webb and Mark Warner?
    On Sarah Palin, I think a big part of her appeal is that she talks like a ‘winner’ and people like winners, even when they are total losers (the same was true of Bush).
    On the racism of the American electorate, the relevant sentiment is with closet racists, not the David Duke crowd (who won’t vote Democratic anyway), and they are only coming out of the closet because Obama is not actually offering people something to vote FOR (instead of just against). In other words, racism is definitely a factor for some, but Obama could easily have overcome that.

  11. Jose says:

    Way to early for such a prediction because we still have insufficient data for analysis.
    Race leans to McCain but in the beginning of the year Hillary was unbeatable, McCain was finished and Obama was unknown.
    Events changed rapidly to our current situation.
    I always said this race was about Ohio, if Obama where to “surge” on that state plus Colorado and New Hampshire he will still win.

  12. Scott says:

    I agree with your point about racism. I have friends and family members who hem and haw about why they won’t vote for him, but it’s clear why. Sad, but true. I am optimistic about the “get out the vote” and the newly registered voters.

  13. Walter R. Moore says:

    Too funny. Want to predict some lottery numbers and hurricane landfalls while you’re at it?

  14. Patrick Lang says:

    I can’t predict “Monte Carlo” outcomes. Ask me to predict something that has antecedents.
    I have had this discussion with many who would accept Professor Taleb’s thesis that the past is useless, intuition is egotism and the futire lies without our ken.
    Try me. I will tell you if I know enough to make a “guess.” pl

  15. Shrike58 says:

    If McCain acts the way I think he will, with ill-throught-out confrontations with so-called rogue states, we might just get the next general war. There won’t be much to worry about after the fall-out settles.

  16. Walrus says:

    I think it’s too early to tell, and, believe it or not, I’m optimistic about Obama.
    My view is that Obama and Biden have yet to work out how to counter Palin, but November is still a long way away and anything can happen.

  17. ked says:

    I believe that the most telling factor in a Pres election outcome is the electorate’s perception of their personal financial condition & prospects. The perception-formation that matters takes place in the last 2 or 3 weeks of the campaign. We are not yet there. It is possible that McCain’s Sarah-bump has already hit its high water mark, & that it is a receding tide from here forward (are all Frontier Princesses comfortable with speaking in tongues, Creationism, banning books & special holy status for special Christians?). There are numerous events (esp self-inflicted ones) that might accentuate / accelerate that recession (like, more recession).
    It isn’t clear to me that Hillary would’ve helped much where it matters most, & some significant negatives (voter perception wise) are undeniable.
    Sarah may help in close-outcome red/blue states – places where an army of Pentacostals & Evangelicals will help get out the choir. McCain will gain votes that might otherwise have sat out, but mostly in states where he was the likely winner anyway (the solid, sorry South – but I love it anyway).
    The polls that focus on “likely voters” may prove amiss this season (as they did in the Dem primaries) due to the enthusiasm that Obama generated among first time, younger, & dissaffected voters. Of course, this potential must be balanced against GOP strengths in voter & vote suppression (both legal & “extra-legal”).
    To overcome racism (not isolated to any region in the US, but matters more someplaces than others) Obama will need to work very smart, very hard & have a bit of luck/fate on his side.
    It’s America, anything might be possible.

  18. TomB says:

    Seems to me the remarkable thing that’s being overlooked is what a poor campaign Obama is running, which at some point might say something about how he’d do as President too.
    By all the usual measures and etc. (due to the war, “right track/wrong track” poll numbers, the economy, gas prices, etc.) he ought to be at least 10% points ahead of McCain, and maybe even more.
    As someone has said, given the circumstances, if the Dems can’t win huge in this environment they ought to get out of the politics business.
    Yet Obama seems unable to even think up a new punch on McCain (other than just the bland statement that’s he’s just a clone of Bush), much less land one. And yet given McCain’s long public history and what’s he’s done during same, the volume of material out there negative on him is just staggering. (The Keating business, stark flip-flops, pandering to the Fundamentalists, pandering to special interests in Arizona and elsewhere, and etc., etc.)
    Meanwhile, McCain just benefits from Obama’s refusal to so define himself given that one of Obama’s obvious big hurdles was that he was such an unknown quantity. So staying that way doesn’t seem all that smart to me at least.
    I.e., Obama is not only failing to try to define his opponent, but he’s even failing to define himself.
    I still think he is going to win, but he sure is running a very poor race so far at least.
    P.S. And while I favor Obama over McCain I think the racist thing ought to be put in fair context: While of course some small percent of non-Black Americans are going to vote against Obama due to his race, with him likely garnering 90%+ of the Black vote surely a chunk of that is due to race voting too. While clearly more understandable, that still don’t make it right.

  19. Big Al says:

    “Fatal error” is MMQ’ing.
    Obama and Clinton were fire and oil. She tried to mobilize her base with “you know what to do” John Birch’isms, and she lost, poorly. Besides, having an also-ran in Hillary on the Democrat ticket would have mobilized the entire ReThug base, even their expats and their dead!
    With Biden, Obama has a chance. Hillary? None.
    You absolutely must not confuse personalities with politics! Rovian politics will always be superior. SwiftBoat politics will always be superior. It’s, as you say, “in our blood”, and in our institutional elitism.
    But don’t count out the Democrat machine just yet. Obama has organized the greatest machine in US history, and built the largest campaign fund.
    Your conclusion might better have been, if ANYONE can win, Obama can, because if McCain/Palin win, they’ll murder all the innocents and bury all the evidence, as Bush/Cheney already have with gwot.con, credit.con, now commodities.con, and we are all $12T poorer.
    $13T with DHS:FEMA:Big Oil reconstruction of Houston.

  20. Andy says:

    The arrogance and overconfidence of the Obama campaign amazes me. I think maybe they’ve drunk a bit too much of their own campaign rhetoric. It seems they were planning their entire campaign around the “McSame” meme of linking GWB with McCain. My sense is that in making their VP calculations the Obama campaign decided, as the new face of the party, that the Clinton’s would not be a necessary element to victory – that “McSame” would be enough. With that plan disrupted by the Palin pick, it seems pretty obvious the Obama campaign had no plan “B” and were expecting to win by running against Bush.
    As a result we see Obama meeting with President Clinton hat-in-hand, and notice how quiet Hillary has been the last two weeks? It will be interesting to see what price Obama will have to pay to get the Clinton’s out in force for him. If things should turn around and Obama wins – provided the Clintons can be persuaded at this point – Hillary may well be some kind of shadow VP. No doubt the Clintons are assessing the costs and benefits of simply letting Obama crash and burn in order to pave the way for another Hillary run in 2012….
    Despite all that, I think there is an opportunity for the Obama campaign to recover as there is still a lot of time left before the election (not to mention the debates yet to go), so I don’t share Col. Lang’s confidence level…yet.

  21. Andy says:

    Wow, it may be worse than I thought. I just watched the latest Obama ad. Someone should tell the morons in his campaign who ran this ad about the 20% of the US population who’ve never used email or a computer before.

  22. Paul says:

    Sarah Palin is a spoiled princess who will eventually get on your nerves. An RC-cum-Pentacostalist speaks volumes to me.
    It is too early to hyperventilate about polls and pundits. Back in 2000 Howard Dean was the man; in 2007 it was Hillary. Are we to believe that a two-week swoon will overwhelm the country?
    Those mostly toothless, uninsured and ignorant “Joe” white guys (they work in factories) who would never vote for a black guy will not vote for McCain either; he promises nothing but tough talk and more war.
    The Republican party is a white man’s club with a few women thrown in. Once they elevated Condi, they acted as if she never existed. Republicans have wealth, pensions and health insurance so sickness, tight family budgets and retirement is never a concern. Their main goal in life is to hoard money for themselves. Conservative principles? Rubbish!
    As stupid as the American public is, they know when they are being sodomized.
    Obama will win and it will not be close. There are too many disenfranchised whites, blacks and hispanics.

  23. mlaw230 says:

    The tone in the media indicates that Obama is losing ground, but I don’t think so.
    The Media takes its cue from the polls but these polls seem skewed to me. Is there anyone in “the house” that knows whether these samples are at least the same mix as before the conventions? Drilling down at least at Gallup the percentage of Republican respondents appears to be about 10% higher now than in the pre- September samplings.
    Is this djusted/accounted for? Is it significant?

  24. bcw says:

    the democratic party can not win presidential elections because there are more red states than blue.

  25. Fred says:

    My analysis of Palin is this: Knows correct answer when told (by the neocons).
    Based on my experience living in 7 different states from New England to the Midwest your analysis of racism in America is accurate. Obama has great appeal among the under 30 voters, yet I believe he’ll need to increase their turnout by about 200% to make up for the racist (conscious or not) portion of the vote. I believe your assessment of Palin’s appeal to many women is also accurate, but I have to pose some questions: how many of these women you mention now vote and for which party? Is the crossover significant and in which state. (It is the electoral college vote that counts). The current Palin bias reminds me a great deal of the original appeal for Bush. The general approval of his performance to date is 29%. I wonder if that will also affect the Palin appeal.
    I honestly can’t give a good analysis of an Obama/Clinton ticket. I believe I get too much in a flux over a belief in her effectiveness countered by the thought of the ‘right wing noise machine’ that would certainly come out in full force if she had been on the ticket.

  26. Antifa says:

    You show your imperial stripes again, mon Colonel.
    Your lifelong, Regular Army devotion to Cold War thinking has you evaluate everything in terms of the United States versus Them. Ideally, Them means Russia, but really Them is anyone who doesn’t welcome America’s boundless, inchoate desire to dry hump every other nation on this round planet, and bomb the ones that resist. For lo, they have no right to resist, since our intentions are the very best. Honest they are.
    That’s the business you’re in, Pat. Showing American businessmen how to get in there and stick it to the nation of _________________ most efficiently.
    You offer three threadbare opinions as to why McCain must surely win, and in the same breath you see him dead and gone, with Sarah the Cypher in the sacred seat atop the greatest nation ever, proving herself eminently ‘coachable’ as she proceeds to put the Russkies in their place. Your glee at this prospect positively reeks of Buck Turgidson’s salty brow. No doubt you see yourself prominent among the worthies who will be coaching Madame President.
    Your opinions as to why McCain must win are simply wrong.
    1) Hillary would bring along as many negative demographics as positives. A lukewarm campaigner for Obama, she is already planning a run for President in 2012, and she and Bill are fighting to keep some control of the Democratic Party. Besides, in purely practical terms, there is no way she and Obama could ever share the White House. It would be a house divided. Such houses fall.
    2) You bring up quiet racism against uppity black men who talk real smart and somehow get a hold of more money and education than us white boys — c’mon, that has been a central part of Obama’s Electoral College calculations for years, since before you ever heard of him. It’s not something new and potent because you just thought of it. Yes, it is quite real, but it is also well measured and accounted for by the Obama campaign. Bringing this up as if it is a sudden show stopper is the logical equivalent of saying, “Ya know, them tires on your new car are going to wear out on you, brother. Nuthin’ you can do about it, either. Sixty, seventy thousand miles, and it’s over. I’m just sayin, it’s hopeless . . .” A slick bit of concern trolling on your part.
    3) Sarah Cypher attracting the votes of church-attendin’ 1950-ish apron-wearin’ well-meanin’ Plain Jane Moms by the millions is a real public response, but so is those same Moms looking at their husbands and themselves out of work, the price of food, gas, clothes for the kids, mortgage, car, and college savings. These same Moms are thinking to themselves that electing a well-meanin’ Church Lady who knows zip about addressing these daily financial terrors is beyond dumb. It’s too retarded even for trailer trash to swallow.
    This election will hinge on the economy, not on new wars, old surges, personalities, identity politics, and not on your purblind desires for a new Cold War with Russia to make the world feel right again. People will enter the voting booths in eight weeks with Lehman Brothers long gone, with WaMu and Wachovia and Wells Fargo sunk or sinking, and with maybe a few other national banks failed.
    This means there will more than likely be a taxpayer bailout of the FDIC before Election Day, so that no American voters lose their savings accounts. That will scare the shit out the voting public, and neither John nor Sarah will have anything intelligent to offer.
    Colonel, as always, you see an America that can continue screwing over the whole planet, meaning well the whole time. You want feel good people in the White House who will feel good about dictating economic surrender to other countries, or else. You can identify with well meaning people like that, and get behind them. OO-rah. Go team, go.
    In a nutshell, you are of the old school that insists on inflicting America’s domestic policies on the world, and calling it foreign policy.
    If you should ever stray from the cloistered world of think tanks and consulting companies sucking the public teat in the shadow of Washington, DC’s alphabet agencies, you will discover a very different country than the one you think is out here.

  27. jonst says:

    Think you overestimate Hillary. Think you underestimate how much the GOP base loathes her.
    Think Obama will get an dramatic increase in the percentage of Hispanic votes. Bush got 40% in 2004. I would bet 15% this time to the GOP. Dramatically larger black vote as well.
    However, Obama has to stop, if it is in him, being so reactive. If he does not, or, more likely, cannot, he will lose.
    Finally, Palin is unteachable. She is only interested in learning what confirms her inclinations. She is very much like Bush in that way. And she is, I believe it will be proven financially corrupt, at heart.

  28. Mongoose says:

    A melancholic thread indeed. After watching events unfold over the last few weeks I’ve come to a few tentative conclusions. I was never a great admirer of Bill Clinton but the one thing that I did admire was his willingness to do what he needed to do to win–a trait too few if any politicians in the Democratic party have possessed over the last few decades. The pathetic attempt by the Obama campaign to go “hard” at McCain with the “out of touch” commercial released today is but one example. At best, it’s a weak swipe. In short, Obama-Biden need to put some meat on the bones of their critique of McPalin. Perhaps a commercial from the primary season w/McCain laughing when a member of the audience asks him how the Republic party is going to beat “the Bitch” in November. It’s clearly impossible to end or neutralize the Republic party’s ability to play the media like a Stradivarius generating the daily “controversy” over some bizarre “issue.” It’s as if the Democrats have no clue how to put someone on the defensive. Now’s the time for some witty, viciousness politicking. The point is simple–do what you have to do to win the election. Maybe pulling out the stops won’t lead to a Democratic victory in November but if it doesn’t occur, as the Colonel argues, the McPalin’s will be taking their oaths come January 20, 2009.

  29. Patrick Lang says:

    In re Antifa’s nonsense above, it is a common failing in the Arab World for people to be unable to distinguish between a forecast and a desire. pl

  30. Jay McAnally says:

    After enduring the last eight years of idiocy in what must be a parallel universe, the thought of four – or eight – more is almost too much to bear.
    Yet, regrettably, I’ve been on the page you’re turning for about a week now…
    Damn it Colonel! Do you have to be right all the time!
    Jay McAnally

  31. Duncan Kinder says:

    While standing in line at the post office today, I was behind a lady who had a copy of the Wall Street Journal, the banner headline of which concerned the Lehman Bros. bailout.
    We agreed that the situation was “scary” and that, if too many more of these bank failures take place, it really won’t matter who gets elected president.
    We have spent a lot of time on this blog, and properly so, considering whether the United States might face a “Suez moment,” when a foreign creditor puts the squeeze on us, to our detriment and probably that of Israel as well.
    But I am beginning to envision another, perhaps more disturbing scenario. That we would face a “Richard Whitney moment.”
    In the 1929 crash, Richard Whitney bought up large blocks of stock in order to restore confidence in the market. However, this revival collapsed and off we were to the Great Depression. Witney’s failure to restore confidence discredited the notion that unregulated capitalism would work – giving rise to the New Deal approach instead.
    A Richard Witney moment for the government would occur should the government attempt to prop up the failing banking system but fail.
    And that really would render who is or is not president largely moot.

  32. ISL says:

    bew: Electoral college votes do not correspond to the number of states.
    I currently see this election as too close (it should not be!!) to call. Unknowns are many:
    1. Yes, the evangels will come out, but how many will vote for McCain? – only 1/8 the population is evangelical – conservative, and most were going to vote McCain no matter what. What fraction of them are registered and will show up at the polls?
    2. The unprecendented number of newly registered, young, unpollable voters.
    3. How many polled white pro-Obama voters will vote race?
    4. Given that economy is almost always the trump card, how many of #3 will stay home.
    It seems to me that people will lie to pollsters about race also lie about not voting.
    Finally, Obama ran a very careful primary campaign against Hillary which showed a very careful strategy of using the system. The US does not have a popular vote for electing a president. A careful electoral college strategy could swing things.

  33. ked says:

    “…it is a common failing in the Arab World for people to be unable to distinguish between a forecast and a desire.”
    …one might add, or a command.

  34. Mark Logan says:

    I think it’s likely. Two
    plausible things I see that could upset it: The Rovian tactics finally wear thin, perhaps by them overplaying that hand, or the possibly that Obama will pull from a large group of “unlikely voters”. I would not be terribly surprised if Palins shine wore a bit
    as well. The press tends to grow tired of their favorite toys rather quickly.
    I suspect we haven’t heard the whole story on why he didn’t pick Hillary yet, but that may stem from my own puzzlement as to why he

  35. Cieran says:

    I certainly agree with your analysis, and appreciate that it’s not advocacy. Being able to predict the future is a value-free proposition (it’s what science is ideally all about), but one’s desires for the form of the future are another thing altogether.
    Where I part company with you is here:
    I have had this discussion with many who would accept Professor Taleb’s thesis that the past is useless, intuition is egotism and the futire lies without our ken.
    I don’t believe this is what Taleb’s thesis is about… he doesn’t tell us we can’t know the future nor does he reject all lessons of the past (and especially those empirical lessons that often manifest themselves as intuition)… in fact, his advice is about gleaning just enough knowledge from the past in order to avoid becoming a sucker in the future, and thus losing one’s shirt (or nation, or world, or whatever) when confronted by an uncertain world.
    And that’s how he predicted the economic messes of the LTCM debacle in 1998, and the currently-ongoing train wreck that we refer to as “the credit crisis”. His analyses were in the same spirit as yours, including the presence of other observers who mistook the value-free results of his analysis for advocacy, and thus took his predictions very personally.
    And thus I believe that Taleb’s “prepare for the future enough to avoid becoming a sucker” message is exactly in the spirit of your posts here, i.e., seeing enough of the possibilities the future holds to start making plans to avoid the downside risks of the worst-case scenarios.

  36. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    What does Palin-McCain in the White House mean for US foreign policy for the next 4 years?
    McCain is a Neocon follower in the “Scoop” Jackson mode. Palin is a hardline Fundamentalist whose orientation is Neocon-ish.
    Four more years of Neocon neo-imperial foreign policy?
    1) new US Cold War with Russia, 2) tightened “strategic alliance” with Israel? A recipe for profound international instability.
    But, major powers and medium powers are not going to go along with it, IMO. There will be new “arrangements” and “adjustments” and the US will likely be the (very) odd man out.
    The US, as a declining power and culture, may attempt to lash out further as per Iraq and Afghan wars. But Washington will be constrained by other powers who will increasingly resist the delusional geopolitics of the wholly decadent American foreign policy elite. The “New American Century” of the Neocons and the Neo-Mackinder geopolitics of Brzezinski and minions/wannabees have crashed and are burning.
    Consider the new international dynamics the Caucasus situtation has given rise to:
    “Amid the flurry of diplomatic activity in Moscow last week over the Caucasus, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took time off for an exceptionally important mission to Turkey, which might prove a turning point in the security and stability of the vast region that the two powers historically shared…..
    “In the post-Cold War scenario, Washington has been mounting pressure on Turkey to renegotiate the Montreux Convention so as to progressively convert the Black Sea into a preserve of NATO. Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria are NATO countries; the US has military bases in Romania; the US is hoping to induct Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. Therefore, Turkish resistance to the US entreaties regarding renegotiating the Montreux Convention assumes great importance for Moscow….”
    “The complete failure of Cheney’s mission to Baku would appear to have come as a rude awakening to Washington that Moscow has effectively blunted the Bush administration’s gunboat diplomacy in the Black Sea….”

  37. mo says:

    I don’t know whether Antifa is in the Arab world since all his/her references seem to point to the fact that they live in the US. However, stating that it is a common failing in the Arab World for people to be unable to distinguish between a forecast and a desire is slightly generalised. It would I think be more accurate to say that Arab leaders have spent so long stating desire as forecast that people both in and outside the Arab world confuse the two.
    Antifa’s problem however seems unable to distinguish forecast from not just desire but of intent.
    As an outsider, I cannot say what effect Hillary would have had on the vote, but I do think her being on the ticket would have been a cynical ploy that would have gone against Obama’s message.
    But as an outsider, it also seems to be that Obama is, so far, running a very poor campaign and seems, since the conventions, to be on the back foot.
    I am from one of those nations that get bombed on a regular basis because we choose to resist, and while I have no real knowledge of what he teaches American businessmen, rest assured that reading his blog and the posters on his blog was and has since been a pleasure. I’m not entirely sure what Imperialism you are talking about; Fiercely patriotic? Yes, and devoutly religious and possibly slightly wary of me and my kind, but his blog is successful because he does not mix his national pride with the wanton destruction of imperialism. Do you not notice the distinct lack of right-wingers hanging about?

  38. Tim says:

    The continual denigration of Sarah Palin’s abilities and intelligence is another excercise in pro Obama elitism. Sarah Palin is one of fifty very good politicians who hold the title of Governor – Senator, not quite so exclusive. Wake up Democrats!

  39. VietnamVet says:

    This has been a truly depressing week. Just like the Scream ended Howard Dean’s campaign and the Swift Boat slime sank John Kerry’s run for President, corporate media is laying out a full barrage of John McCain lies against Barrack Obama to protect their tax cuts.
    The only hope is that in the next two months the internet and personal contact can circumvent the media to bring the facts to the voters. The Cassette Tape brought down the Soviet Union by circulating the truth so can e-mails bring down the Republicans.
    The United States is on the brink of bankruptcy and fighting two endless wars that cannot be won. John McCain is an ancient hot head. Sarah Palin is George W Bush on estrogen. Painful as it is, the Democrat ticket is the only one that perhaps can save America from its looming disasters.

  40. Patrick Lang says:

    Mo et al
    I was wrong in thinking Antifa is in the Arab World. The “mon colonel” threw me off. I must be more careful.
    Antifa is campy retro for ANTI FAscist. Probably some goofy student in Europe. pl

  41. Jose says:

    A few comments if I may, IMHO:
    1. Don’t bash the Col. for expressing his opinion, when are in turn expressing your opinion. Simply childish.
    2. Hilary 2012, her fate is tied to Obamas, if he loses she will never recover the Black vote needed to win the Democratic nomination. Period. Nothing to do with the color of his skin.
    3. Obama isn’t losing because of racism, he is losing because his campaign is weak. 9 million in Florida where he never had a chance. Have you seen any of his adds?
    4. Why habe they focused so much on Caribou Barbie when the real target is McSame. Sort of equivalent to removing the 5th Special Forces Group (Middle East) from Afghanistan to fight the immediate threat from Iraq. Don’t lose focus, go for the kill.

  42. Jose says:

    Forgot to add, just starting “The Black Swan” which is really interesting read so far.

  43. Bobo says:

    Hopefully your analysis on this is as good, if not better, than your one on the price of Oil.
    Still view the racial rejection as from a group that normally votes Republican and will not have the effect perceived. Maybe wishful thinking but should he lose I would not want to see that excuse utilized.
    Now the use of the homonym Choleric was your cleverest point.

  44. Doesn’t this come down to some small percentage of voters who could vote either way, energized McCain voters, and the X factor of new Obama voters?
    Which is to say: most people have made up their minds and it is perhaps true we all cancel each other out.
    I also assume I don’t really want to know what has the undecideds in states of such ‘confusion’ or ambivalence.
    It certainly doesn’t reduce to one factor or even several. Fear of the unknown mat well trump an empty wallet.
    Also, I disagree: there’s not much time left.
    Also, some people enjoy being sodomized. This shouldn’t be discounted!
    McCain/Palin is offering a Republican ticket as the solution to Republican mis-rule. Hmmm, only in America.
    This is scary but I am prepared for a McCain/Palin administration. However, I am very curious, were it to happen, to learn whether the reformer’s transparency transforms into a cloaked ‘unitary executive.’

  45. Arun says:

    mlaw230, the best discussion I’ve found about that is at The key lesson from history is that it is too early to call the election. Dukakis once had a 17-point lead.

  46. David W. says:

    Well, the fourth quarter is just starting, so it seems to be premature to call the game already, especially since the Rs are riding the ‘Palin bounce,’ while the Dems and Obama supporters are on a bit of a down cycle, after the emotional rollercoaster of the Dem primary.
    While the R base basks in the pandering, the likelihood of McCain winning is enhanced quietly by another Karl Rove pet project, which is the gaming of the vote in key states, both by outright voting fraud, and by fraudulently trimming Democratic voting rolls. Lots of info on this at
    I agree with the title of this post, however–McCain could win *if* the ‘silent majority’ of this country stands by and doesn’t turn out to vote in large numbers. The Republican Campaign machine waxes fat betting on this country’s ignorance, greed and apathy.

  47. greg0 says:

    Sorry to disagree, but Obama is NOT Gore or Kerry. This campaign is just starting to get serious. I expect damaging revelations on a weekly basis from Rovian campaign managers and absurdly poor debate performances from both McCain and Palin.
    I will also NOT be ‘standing by’ for a McCain administration. I have a passport and will use it when necessary.

  48. SAW says:

    I recall a prognostication in this space that Hillary Clinton would be the next president. Indeed, I do!
    (Hope you’re wrong about this, by the way.)

  49. Patrick Lang says:

    Big Al
    I said before Obama made his choice that it would be a serious mistake if he did not pick HC. pl

  50. Patrick Lang says:

    I believe that your recollection is faulty. I early on endorsed HC but do not believe I predicted that she would necessarily win. Once again the difference between desire and prediction. pl

  51. flite says:

    I weep for my/our country.
    I once took the oath, frequently risked my life, and indeed lost some friends, all for my wonderful country.
    But sadly as pointed out, our country is not heading in a ‘wonderful’ direction today.
    Regardless, thank you PL for one man’s attempting to correct our wayward course.
    Today I am old and disabled (from long-ago wars), and afflicted with a few life-threatening illnesses that do limit my remaining years… so I shouldn’t necessarily care since I likely won’t be around … but I do, ‘damit’!
    For both my last dying memory of our beautiful country and its exceptional people that I once long ago fought for, and for my two adult children and their progeny, I expected better prospects for our Republic than I clearly see now in all this contemporary BS …. And as you PL so well identify and chronicle.
    God bless us all. May Providence eventually prevail.

  52. Duncan Kinder says:

    To follow through on my prior post about a potential “Richard Whitney moment” ( referring to the failed attempt of the 1929 President of the New York Stock Exchange to stem the Wall Street crash ).
    Consider the following NYT report of the stresses both the government and the banking industry are having right now to bail out Lehman Brothers

    One observer briefed on the situation described the session as a “game of chicken” between the government and the heads of the major banks.
    Bank of America, Barclays, and HSBC have expressed interest in bidding for Lehman Brothers, according to people briefed on the situation. But they have indicated that their bids are contingent receiving support from the government, just as it did with the rescues of Bear Stearns, and the government-sponsored agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
    But Mr. Paulson and Mr. Geithner made it clear to the company, its potential suitors and to the meeting participants on Friday that the government has no plans to put taxpayer money on the line. The government is deeply worried that its actions have created a moral hazard and the Federal Reserve does not want to reach deeper into its coffers. Instead, Mr. Paulson and Mr. Geithner insist that Wall Street needs to come up with an industry solution to try to stabilize Lehman Brothers and calm the markets.
    Still, some of the other Wall Street banks, facing billions of dollars in losses themselves, have resisted this approach. They argue that Lehman Brothers overreached and brought its current troubles on itself. If there are no bidders for Lehman Brothers, these banks say they can collect their collateral and liquidate the troubled firm’s assets. In this high-stake game, they may also be trying to call the government’s bluff, knowing that if push came to shove, it would provide financial support.
    Mr. Geithner, who led the session, firmly stood his ground. He told the banks that this was about fixing the system and preventing the crisis from worsening.

  53. patrick says:

    I think you may be right, unfortunately, Pat. The GOP’s identity politics and negative campaigning has worked, and Obama has either failed to respond or shot himself in the foot in doing so.
    I would hope that Mark Warner (former Virginia governor and likely Senator) runs against McCain or Palin in 2012. Warner is a southerner, from a working-class background, a former governor, and a self-made millionaire (he was an early investor in the cell phone industry).
    I think one of Obama’s biggest problems (the Palin nomination exposed it) is that upper-middle-class liberals, White or Black, are unpopular with rural and working-class voters.
    If the low approval ratings of the Democratic congress combine with a coattail effect from Palin with evangelicals, Congress could potentially shift back into the GOP column, which means that McCain could accomplish what he wants in terms of economic, energy and foreign policy.
    On the other hand, the Democrats are likely to at least retain the Senate; they probably will pick up 2 or 3 Senate seats (Virginia, Alaska and New Mexico).
    If McCain wins, a Democratic Congress could serve as a check on McCain and Palin’s more extreme and reckless foreign and domestic policy proposals. it could also mean, especially if the Dems have a small majority, chronic gridlock (like the Dems’ repeated failure to get the SCHIP extension) and consequent failure to solve economic, energy, health care and foreign policy problems.

  54. rj says:

    Jumping in here late… but I don’t know what you are basing your judgment on other than a pretty broad view of the situation. The polling data looks quite tied to me. There are only a few states that are in play. A lot comes down to Ohio. It’s way too early on Palin. She didn’t come off well with Charlie Gibson. She’ll do smashingly with Hannity, and the media will eat it up as usual. They can’t keep playing that trick — if she has to be shepherd and cosseted, the bloom going to leave the rose. McCain is betting a lot on the Palin hype staying strong. If it settles at all, he will lose a lot. At the moment it looks like he can’t even campaign on his own. In our political system, when does it help the leader of the ticket when he is overshadowed by the VP nominee? People might think he’s hiding behind her skirts. Certainly, it could go either way. Obama could use a little backup from Biden, for sure. Obama is going to stick to his plan, though just today they got a bit more aggressive. Remember, he was supposed to go down in flames in the primary too. And finally, some members of the media are starting to call out McCain on his campaign. It’a a long way from over.

  55. arbogast says:

    From “The Rail Splitter” to “The Brush Clearer” to “The Moose Dresser”.
    Americans don’t want to think and they sure as hell don’t want their politicians to be caught thinking.
    That’s what makes America so prey to parasites: drugs, financial manipulators, and international enemies.
    I suppose that asks the question: are China and Russia our enemies? The Chinese have lent us over $600 billion of our own money, so I guess they’re our friends. And Russia’s pulling out of Georgia. Maybe they are our friends.
    And maybe the earth was created 5,000 years ago.

  56. Yellow Dog says:

    While I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel, I do see an upside to a close race. I’m guessing that if a Republican win appears likely, that Cheney/Addington may actually permit the election to happen, rather than postponing it indefinitely in the interest of “national security”.

  57. Larry K says:

    The first several paragraphs of Antifa’s remarks suggest that she/didn’t read or didn’t understand the Colonel’s statement this was a prediction, not what he wished would happen. On the other hand, some of what Antifa says in her/his numbered points — that Hillary as VP nominee would have been both a minus and plus, that the Obama campaign is well aware of and has accounted for the quiet racism factor, and that Palin also is both a plus and a minus — is neither ranting nor nonsense, though some of the former is used by Antifa as wrapping paper.
    Larry Kart

  58. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Not saying it is Obama’s fault but…
    Republican strategists continue to toy with David Axelrod and therein lies the source of Democratic woes, in my opinion. A few weeks ago, Axelrod was heralded a political genius. I mean…who needs Hillary, right? Now, from the perspective of union workers, Axelrod’s strategic playbook increasingly appears to have drawn heavily from Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s classic, “The Little Prince”. Axelrod wanted all of us to feel just like the lead character in the book. Not sure that plays well in the Ohio Valley.
    I exaggerate, perhaps with the hope of placing the spotlight as much as possible on Axelrod, but is the “Little Prince” where Axelrod and company got the idea of “Yes, we can”? One wonders. Either that or maybe Axelrod, during those early political rallies, was trying to replicate a 1950’s children’s television show with a theme like, “The Little Train that Could” with everyone sitting in bleachers and clapping to some new mantra. Always good to take angst ridden adults back to childhood bliss, I suppose.
    At this point, Republican strategists must be grabbing their sides in laughter. And it is highly unfortunate because Republicans are all about employing “semiotics” to market nuclear war in violation of the 2007 NIE and on behalf of Hagee and you-know-who. Oh well. Win a few, lose a few.
    So what’s next? The Democrats can still win, in my opinion. But to do so, they need to just throw away the Axelrod playbook and start anew. It can be done. And the mainstream media now appears to have turned the focus towards issues.
    But any winning strategy will not come from Democratic political scientists who want to enlighten America by acting so condescendingly haughty and working from the proposition that “We want to help you because we are so culturally superior to you.” That, to date, is the Axelrod approach.
    And Sarah Palin, so far, is the perfect foil for Chicago style politics as well as Ms. Dowd ’s feminism, not to mention Hollywood. The more that triad strikes out at Palin according to their own cultural dictates, then the more that they are hoisted by their own petards.
    And just look at the results so far… wow. People are breaking towards McCain, not because of racism, but because they are revolted by the cultural arrogance of certain Democrats who think they are the “Little Prince” (Sullivan, in this instance) or “Little Princess” (Dowd, almost all the time). So if Democrats continue down that path, then odds increase that the Party will just go the way of Sylvia Plath. You can thank Sullivan and Dowd for leading the Democratic Party to the brink of self-destruction. And that part of the demise is not Obama’s fault. In fact, it is destroying Obama too.
    At least so far, top Republican strategists simply play the game better. They have more patience. They know how to hold back and then pop back hard. They seem very familiar with the work of Ernst Cassirer. So they can flip the issues to their advantage. Good grief…Democrats should be ahead by 20 percentage points, even factoring in “racism”.
    And with that in mind, Republicans would just love for Democrats to bring up the number one sensitive cultural issue in American society, if you catch my drift. It is lurking in the background and slowly making its way forward, as Democrats become more frustrated and refuse to look within. So Republicans are doing everything possible to press that cultural button, which of course is not hard to do.
    Then just watch ‘em flip the “issue” to their advantage, or at least try to do so. And my guess is that it may unfold sub textually, something like this: “You accuse McCain supporters of racism, what about you? Take a look in the mirror before you accuse McCain supporters.” And the Republicans apparently have the goods to make that point…big time. Very big time. They just are holding back, trying to lure the Democrats into a deadly trap.

  59. JohnS says:

    I have to disagree strongly with this analysis. You do not look at how the battle is being waged on both sides.
    As I’ve written earlier, the McCain campaign is more or less limited to an expensive media campaign, largely devoted to negative attacks (their truths have recently been called into question by the press: a problem). Their tactics are to keep the Obama camp off message by dominating the daily news cycle.
    The Obama campaign has made the decision to concentrate on their ground game: field offices throughout the country are staffed by veterans of the primaries devoted to registering new Dems and making sure they get to the polls in Nov. That’s where much of their money and efforts are being directed.
    So far, the Obama campaign has stuck close to their overall game plan, and have largely ceded the daily news cycle to the McCain Camp.
    Problems for Obama:
    He’s always playing defense now, and has gotten off-message. Obama needs that message because all his workers on the ground in the battleground states need something to sell. In the next two weeks, the Obama team needs to pay more attention to his media campaign, to take the offensive, or he begins to look like a punching bag going into the debates. Also look for strong surrogates like Hillary to hit battleground states in the Midwest and Bill in the west and southwest.
    Problems for McCain:
    His biggest is that in this election, is 8 years of George Bush. Voters vastly prefer the Dem’s policies/prescrioptions for change, which the McCain camp now evidently acknowledges is what voters this year are looking for. His negative attacks and domination of media cycles are designed to change the subject. So far he has been fairly successful.
    Also, the campaign has decided that McCain and Palin will campaign together in the battleground states. Obama and Biden can cover twice as much ground as they’re campaigning separately.
    The Debates. These will be game changing. Until they are just a memory, I don’t see how anybody can predict anything.
    As of today, (via, state by stae polls show Obama ahead by 243-224 with 71 votes tossed up. Those tossup states are: Montana, Nevada, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Virginia.
    I would not want to have to bet the ranch on this election as of this posting date. It’s still anybody’s game.

  60. Annie Oakley says:

    I agree that McCain will likely win the election. However, I have issue that you are blaming the fact that people in Appalachia and the South are racist for the reason why Obama will lose. Biden is a white man but that doesn’t matter but you admit that Hillary Clinton would’ve have certainly changed things. The problem is that the Democratic Party in general – even the white men – are viewed to be Northeast elitist, out of touch with middle America. The only person who was able to dispel this myth and convince the white working class voters that he was working for them was Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton would’ve been able to win this election even if she had picked Obama as her running mate. Appalachia would’ve still voted in overwhelming numbers for Hillary even with a black man on the ticket so Obama losing has less to do with racism and more with the perception that he is an elitist snob who doesn’t care about working class whites and their problems.
    After Obama loses, the Democratic leadership needs to be thrown out. I am a Democrat and I will be working towards removing Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean. The Democratic Party will continue to lose with these idiots in power regardless of who the next Democratic nominee will be in 2012.

  61. Duncan Kinder says:

    Regarding how people in the Ohio Valley and Appalachia may actually view the election, it is always useful to consider the facts.
    One such source would be the Letters to the Editor of the Wheeling (WV) News Register
    Recent letters include such items as:
    Send McCain To Senate Again
    Obama Not Ready
    Obama Hype, Not Hope
    Obama Better on Taxes

  62. mary says:

    I and an army of HC supporters will be rejoicing as we pull the election lever for McCain Palin. Sarah was right: Obama will regret not putting Hillary Clinton on the ticket as his VP.

  63. Mark Logan says:

    Mary, Someone once said that before one goes to seek revenge, one should first dig two graves.
    To my thinking the key State
    is Ohio, and this is where the Palin crowd has tipped the scales, at least for the moment. I think he must win Ohio. Hillary would have really made a difference there.

  64. Mary says:

    Love your blog Colonel but I think you’re wrong. Obama did not get where he is by being stupid. He did not beat the Clinton machine by being stupid.
    McCain and Palin are vicious but I don’t think they are smart. Also, I think the media will turn on McCain as it was never intended that he win this election.

  65. Curious says:

    Sarah Plain – Hillary Clinton Skit on SNL (clip)

  66. I watched the Palin interviews.
    Anyone have a spare box of needles? Time to jab them in my eyes to relieve the pain.
    Lordy…we get what we deserve if she ends up our president some day.
    Well, if that happens, at least our empire will finally crumble and we can get back to what we were meant to be.

  67. Duncan Kinder says:

    Regarding the “Richard Whitney Moment,” which I have been asserting may very well trump the election ( or at least it’s significance )
    This moment would be to the effect that – like Whitney’s effort to reverse the 1929 stock market collapse – current efforts to manage the economy would simply be overwhelmed by events.
    According to today’s NYT:

    “You have to think of this like there is an epidemic going on — an epidemic of capital destruction,” said James L. Melcher, president of the hedge fund Balestra Capital, who has been bearish on the stock market.
    The federal government has taken an unusually activist role in the ongoing crisis. This spring, the Federal Reserve arranged a hasty rescue of Bear Stearns, the wobbly investment bank. Then last week, federal regulators took over the country’s two largest mortgage finance companies.
    At every turn, officials hoped that they had done what was needed to restore confidence in the markets, only to be greeted with another crisis.
    Policy makers have signaled that they are not willing to provide financial support for a takeover of Lehman, as they did with Bear Stearns. Unlike Bear Stearns, which lost many clients and its access to money markets in just a few days, Lehman has been able to finance its business, especially after investment banks were allowed to borrow directly from the Fed. But the quality of the securities it owns are still in question.
    The Fed and Treasury continue to insist that Wall Street firms find a way to rescue Lehman because their own companies might be next. But the Lehman crisis comes at a time when many of them are also short on capital. Entities that do have cash ready to invest, namely private equity firms, are not at the table.
    That is because regulators do not want those firms, which borrow money to buy companies, controlling major financial institutions that provide the financing for their acquisitions. Many foreign investors, for their part, are reluctant to buy now after having seen earlier investments drop sharply in value.
    The decision by policy makers sets up a crucial test for the financial system: Can the market resolve the panic by pairing Lehman with a willing and strong suitor, or will the company be forced to liquidate?
    Whatever the outcome, there is a growing consensus on Wall Street that the government may not be able to save every big firm whose failure would pose a risk to the system.
    “The too-big-to-fail mantra or concept or government policy is, in my opinion, off the table and we have to deal with that,” said David H. Ellison, president and chief investment officer at FBR Funds, a mutual fund company. “They are not going to save these companies.”

    Under these circumstance, in Palin’s favor, we might be able to assert that her moose-hunting experience actually is a credential in that she thereby has been engaging in a more productive activity than these financiers.
    On the other hand, we must also question the judgment and sensibility of anyone who would seek to go to Washington when she – unlike most of us – has a perfectly viable moose-hunting option in Alaska which she could pursue instead.

  68. John says:

    Thanks for your analysis, though we loathe where a Palin-cronies could take the country. The demos possible fatal flaw is putting good governance ahead of playing the high school student council election game. Demos continue over estimating the electorates’ intelligence. They would do themselves a favor if the demo HQ was moved to rural Missouri. Dowd was on to something when she wrote, Clinton v. Palin in 2012. Perhaps a Jeffersonian blood bath would be preferable to a Palin presidency.

  69. Bill McCann says:

    We are barely two weeks into September and the pace of events has only just begun to pick up. This is extraordinary theatre we are observing, fellow audience members. Stay calm. Watch closely. Laugh. Cry. Do not panic. We are barely into the first act.

  70. Larry K says:

    Perhaps too general to be germane to this thread, but I think that what follows underlies this election and much of what has led up to it; let the Colonel decide:
    From an interview with historian Walter McDougall, author of “Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era 1829-1877” (an excellent book IMO):
    “The … character of American spiritual impulses is unique [because] sectarian faiths shared the landscape with an even more powerful civil religion. That is a taboo subject, I know. That Americans pretend not to notice that their republic competes for allegiance with the God they worship on the Sabbath, that their civil religion must in fact be a higher loyalty because it is what guarantees the freedom of sectarian faiths, that their civil religion can in need command their treasure and very blood in ways their religious sects no longer can, that the creed and promise of their American civil religion in fact conflate the worship of God and Mammon: all those (and more) are unmentionable, indeed heretical, from the perspective of the civil religion.
    “Or, to put it another way, the Founding Fathers implicitly (or in Tom Paine’s case, explicitly) turned the idea of America itself into a sort of religion….
    “I don’t say this expressly in the book, so I am not stealing my own thunder to finish by listing four character traits the Civil War seemed to hard-wire into the character of Americans, traits they would display time and again during the 20th century. The first is a gay abandon insofar as the American people and political system invariably put off pressing problems until they cannot be ignored any longer. As a result the solutions prove exponentially more costly and less satisfactory than they might have been, The second is a collective amnesia insofar as the American people tend to forget or misremember their mistakes and ordeals out of cheerful optimism and a faith in the future born of their civil religion. The third is an amazing resilience insofar as Americans confidently rebound from the ravages of wars, depressions, and other calamities in a very short time. In that sense, having no room for tragedy in one’s culture is a plus. The fourth, to paraphrase G. K. Chesterton, is a nationalism with the soul of a church. For the United States, resurrected after the Civil War, purged old myths only to fuse its sense of national destiny even more inextricably with a cult of material progress disguised as a holy calling. That coalescence of Union and Creed, power and faith, rendered Americans uniquely prone to sanctimony, but also uniquely immune to cynicism.

  71. Art White says:

    The fantasy that racism only exists in the middle of the country and not in the big cities, New England and on the coasts is utterly laughable and clearly the conceit of white people with few black friends. This racism will not affect the outcome of the vote in safe blue states fortunately but the illusion needs to be addressed.
    All the major American cities are residentially segregated and the public schools even more so (I teach elementary school music peripatetically in NYC and have taught 1 white kid out of almost a thousand students in 3 years!), try and find a black entertainer performing in New Hampshire or Maine or look at prison populations around Chicago or Los Angeles say….racism is endemic to American culture, diminishing, but still rampant, even among ‘liberals’.

  72. Patrick Lang says:

    Art White
    Thanks for making my point. pl

  73. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Annie Oakley
    You make some very good points, in my opinion.
    If you want to dethrone Nancy Pelosi, you may want to suggest that San Francisco is one of the most “segregated” cities in America, much more so than parts of Appalachia, particularly in the work force.
    Historically, Californians quarantined Asians in “Chinatown” and Blacks were segregated way across the bay in Oakland. Forget the idea of those living “on the other side of the railroad tracks”. In San Fran they used a bay as a moat.
    And, of course, miscegenation laws of California were some of the most restrictive and severe in the United States.
    Good people everywhere, but there may exist in the American psyche a trait where people simply “project” outwards problems of racism instead of looking within. (And after looking within, then looking at one’s family, and then one’s neighborhood. )
    The opposite seems to occur. Just take a look at Howard Dean’s region. Some (not all) people sit in parlors in Beacon Hill and criticize all those unenlightened people of Arkansas, when Boston was about 25 years behind Little Rock when it came to school desegregation, and the resistance was just a fierce, if not more so.
    This kind of Beacon Hill outlook, of course, relieves the person from looking in the mirror.
    I am beginning to believe this national character trait has its source in the mythology that arose after the Civil War, which is beginning to look more and more like a War Between the States.
    After all, if you look at Illinois state law that preceded the Civil War, you will find that Illinois state laws were in place to prevent the “migration” of Blacks into the State. (according to Dilorenzo in his book, The Real Lincoln). No evidence exists, as far as I am aware, that this problem was addressed before Fort Sumter.
    Regardless, if you feel slighted by your Party, I can understand. And I just noticed that the Axelrod brain trust just altered their Obama slogan from “Change you can believe in” to “Change you need”? Looks like another possible disastrous move. If Democrats are not careful, I can just hear folks in the Ohio Valley saying to Pelosi, Axelrod, etc, “Who the hell are you to damn tell me what changes I need.”
    Pelosi does not appear to have the savvy or class of Eleanor Roosevelt. Howard Dean looks stuck in a time warp, as if he is at Exeter or Andover and it’s still 1910 in the “fly over states”. Your party appears on a road of some kind of self destruction. And it is unfortunate because Republican strategists are keen at marketing nuclear war at an unconscious level. I respect ‘em for their Ernst Cassirer kind of smarts but I don’t want any part of a Sherman’s March through the Islamic world.

  74. horace fudpucker says:

    “I think Obama can remount an affective offense against McCain/Palin….”
    Well, if so it had better happen soon. I haven’t seen anything from their camp that would indicate any kind of fight.

  75. Nancy K says:

    I don’t believe Mary is a Democrat and I’m not even sure she is a woman. Maybe I don’t want to believe that any woman could be so stupid as to cut off her own nose to spite her face. Let me get this right, because HRC wasn’t chosen as either the nominee or the VP, Mary is now going to vote for someone who believes the exact opposite of HRC. With thinking like that, no wonder our country is in such trouble.

  76. salsabob says:

    Last week marked the high tide for Repubs. Today marks the ‘discovery’ that the Repubs are “the party that wrecked America.”
    “”…you can’t just swindle and loot a society and walk away with the swag.” – Kunstler

  77. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    It’s not just Palin.
    McCain himself endorses the Fundamentalist Pentecostalist Rod Parsley:
    “You may have heard of Rev. John Hagee, the McCain supporter who said God created Hurricane Katrina to punish New Orleans for its homosexual “sins”. Well now meet Rev. Rod Parsley, the televangelist megachurch pastor from Ohio who hates Islam. According to David Corn of Mother Jones, Parsley has called on Christians to wage war against Islam, which he considers to be a “false religion”….
    McCain has called Parsley “a spiritual guide”…
    Parsley got the Ohio Fundis to go for little Bush in 2004 …remember Ohio in 04?

  78. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Prof Kiracofe:
    So McCain has made the transition from an upbringing at Episcopal High School to Ron Parsley? Would the good folks at “the Hill” on Quaker Lane approve of such?
    I sometimes wonder why the Episcopal Church does not take a public stand against the Rapture movement and issue such an Anglican declaration from the National Cathedral.
    Same with the Catholic Church from the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
    And, at some point, the msm must recognize the influence that the Rapture ideology has had on American politics. If we experience nuclear war — and odds are increasing we will — then the Rapture ideology was a proximate cause of this tragedy.
    Gershom Geronberg was one of the first to see its impact on US foreign policy. One would hope that the msm in America would have the courage to follow suit.
    Sarah Palin’s emergence could elevate the Rapture movement into a major campaign issue and basically turn it turned into a national referendum. But unfortunately the Democrats have a “Reverend Wright” problem and the Republicans deftly have juxtaposed the slogan of “Country First” against Wright’s soundbite of “g-d America”.
    Plus, if the Democrats begin to express opposition to the Rapture movement, then many who favor a undivided Jerusalem would turn against them.
    By the way, a bit off topic, but my “closest advisor” and I were in Lexington recently for a few hours. W & L had admitted her to law school years ago, but, lucky for me, she attended another law school. But on a road trip to Charlottesville about ten days ago, we decided to stop in Lexington and walk both campuses. We both have had friends and relatives who attended W & L and VMI over the years.
    Beautiful place. Best of the South. Never met students who were friendlier and more respectful. We were unable to enter Lee’s Chapel because we did not arrive in Lexington until after 5 pm. We grabbed a quick dinner at “The Palms” before heading to Charlottesville, outracing Hurricane Hanna. But as I say, best of the South. No doubt about it.

  79. fnord says:

    He might be getting saved by the economy. But I fear you are right. I think that will mean the end of NATO to begin with, four more years of this unilateral international cop routine is too much.

  80. robertlewis says:

    Likely Voters!, we should add but cannot all those who do not use stay at home telephones, land lines. the registration of millions of previous slackers has not been accounted for. they were fired up for Dean, but had their rug pulled out from underneath them in 2000. they have now come of age and are pissed off. they are not being polled. how do we know there are million of these new voters? they have contributed millions to Obama.

  81. rjj [(rees jones-jones) not the same poster as rj)] says:

    I don’t believe Mary is a Democrat and I’m not even sure she is a woman. Maybe I don’t want to believe that any woman could be so stupid as to cut off her own nose to spite her face. Let me get this right, because HRC wasn’t chosen as either the nominee or the VP, Mary is now going to vote for someone who believes the exact opposite of HRC. With thinking like that, no wonder our country is in such trouble.

    I think you are mistaken, Nancy K.. I believe Mary is a genuine Yoni-American.**, A large number of Democratic Yoni-Americans who will be voting for McCain this year. Some of these voters will do so in spite of, some will do so because of, and others would have have done so with or without Palin).
    ** the preferred and soon to be GAAC (generally accepted as correct) term.

  82. George says:

    Does the economic news of this past week affect your prediction?

  83. Patrick Lang says:

    I am thinking about the effect on the election of the ongoing economic crisis. I may wait until after the first debate to update my opinion on the outcome. pl

  84. I am thinking about the effect on the election of the ongoing economic crisis.
    That’s why I CYA’d my latest flip-flop with the “external forces” criteria…or whatever I said to that effect. Americans by and large don’t like Wall Street bailouts. Obama will support them as a necessary evil in response to GOP policy.

Comments are closed.