Blue State Views

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Drop Joe Biden? Utter Nonsense.

You've probably seen the arguments, made by people as different as Bill Keller of the New York Times and Ben Heineman at The Atlantic's website, that Obama ought to drop Joe Biden from the Democratic ticket and go with a different running mate this year.  These ideas are nonsense, as I'll explain more soon. 

Meanwhile, take a look at Joe Biden, in the video below, ripping into Romney.  What's not to like?  Go, Joe!

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Show Some Leadership, Mr. President!

What can one say?  Obama is a disappointment in so many ways.  For sure, he has been thwarted and blocked at every turn by cynical, grotesquely partisan Republicans who care not at all about the national interest. Republicans in Congress are among the most vile people on Earth. (How's THAT for moderate commentary?!)

But it's also true that Obama has failed to show the sort of leadership that so many of us expected of him.  Here is an interesting column in today's New York Times by Tom Friedman that makes a good argument to this effect.  (Please note that my typical reaction to Friedman is that he is a totally arrogant, Gingrichian — i.e., faux intellectual –  asshole who thinks he is god's gift to mankind, and I usually dismiss his putrid spooge.)  But he makes sense here. 

Also, see this rant by Chris Matthews (the MSNBC asshole whose arrogance is at least as bad as Gingrich's and Friedman's).  He actually makes sense here, too.

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Money for Clock Cleaning

See that steam coming out of McCain’s ears? [Photo by Don Davis at The Satirical Political Report.]  It makes a funny hissing sound.  Music to my ears.  Who do we have to thank for that?  Moneybags Obama.

Barack Obama’s decision to opt out of the public financing system for the general election risks short-term pain (tarnish on that reformer image?) for long-term advantage (he’s going to clean McCain’s clock).  Estimates emerging today on the amounts Obama could bring in: $300 million.  Maybe even $500 million!

I’m with those who say they see no "reason why public financing is somehow morally superior to hundreds of thousands of small donors."  So, I’m all in favor of Obama’s decision.  As the Chicago Tribune notes,

[T]he enormous fundraising strength he has already demonstrated in the
party primaries makes it likely he will now be able to wage a
presidential campaign on an unprecedented scale.

If Obama can continue his prior fundraising successes, his campaign
will be able to aggressively expand the electoral battlefield onto
ground previously held securely by Republicans, in states such as Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Montana.

There will be more field offices, more supporters ringing doorbells to
register voters and distribute fliers, more of the ubiquitous Obama
banner ads on the Web, and sustained barrages of television commercials
around the country.

The Republicans must be wetting themselves.  No wonder they’re looking for whatever deus ex machina they can imagine to lift their sorry asses out of this fix.  Bomb Iran, anyone?

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Gas Tax Vacation

Hillary Clinton today took Barack Obama to task for his opposition to the silly idea of a "gas tax vacation."

Here’s what’s wrong with politicians like Clinton and McCain:  they’ll say anything to pander to the voters (McCain’s ‘straight-talk" reputation, notwithstanding). [UPDATE: See Kevin Drum’s take on this demagoguery by Clinton and McCain.  FURTHER UPDATE: HRC’s proposal is the object of scorn from economists,  politicians with spines, and editorialists.]

is personally happy about the high price of gasoline.  But suspending the gas tax for a while in order to reduce consumers’ cost at the pump temporarily is sheer idiocy.  All it would do is encourage people to buy more gasoline and drive more miles, pumping more carbon emissions into the atmosphere, hastening the problem of global climate change — and increasing the demand for gasoline and, thus, the price of it.

Government policies ought to aim to get the incentives right: enlightened public policy  would raise the gasoline tax dramatically in order to increase the price of a gallon at the pump, thus discouraging consumption, discouraging driving, reducing demand, and ultimately, bringing down prices.  Our European counterparts do it.  I guess their politicians are not as craven as ours.  At least Barack Obama is not pandering to the voters on this issue. 

The next thing you know, Hillary will be sitting at a bar in rural Indiana, wearing a John Deere cap, and throwing back a tumbler of gasoline to show what a tough guy she is.  We can only hope.