Thank You, Ohio!

A mostly political weblog.
Nov. 2 2008 10:10 PM

Thank You, Ohio!

Props: If California's Proposition 11--redistricting reform--passes, that will be at least a partial redemption of Gov. Schwarzenegger's reformist promise , squandered in his disastrous 2005 "year of reform."  Prop. 11 doesn't apply to Congressional redistricting-- Nancy wouldn't allow it . It only applies to state officeholders. But it's a start. ... Drug policy expert Mark Kleiman is torn about Prop. 5, in theory designed to end incarceration of non-violent drug offenders. (He calls it a "crock," but might vote for it anyway).  ...  Race preference opponent Ward Connerly comes out strongly   against the anti-gay-marriage initiative (Prop. 8)--and without kausfiles' tortured legalism:

In an interview today with The Times, Connerly said he made the decision without telling the No-on-8 campaign consultants, and against the wishes of some of his political advisors.

"There are times when you have consider who you are," Connerly said.

Connerly, whose wife is white, noted that when he got married in 1962, "the government in many parts of our country did not legally allow us to do that. I have never forgotten that."

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Kevin Drum has generally sensible recommendations on the other California ballot questions. (The only one I'm torn on is Prop. 4, for Patterico's reasons .) ... 2:49 P.M.

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My Obama Hangup : My main hangup in voting for Obama today is his support of "card check" legislation that would eliminate the secret ballot in union recognition elections. That would be both a violation of democratic priinciples and a practical drag on the economy, threatening to spread Detroit/UAW-like inefficiencies while reviving the wage-price spiral of the '70s. 

If Obama wins, and Democrats gain the expected majorities in Congress, "card check" will be hard to stop. I'll even concede that it will be harder to stop "card check" under Obama than it would be to stop the equally significant, equally misguided "comprehensive immigration reform" under McCain . But there's still a chance--even a good chance. It's not easy to defend "card check" in public. Will Democrats want the public to know that carrying Big Labor's water was their first priority upon gaining unified control of the government? Press coverage won't help their cause. Some moderate Democratic Senators--Mark Warner?--might balk at cloture-time.

But suppose "card check" passes, and unions mount their expected organizing campaigns. If the new law has the expected semi-disastrous consequences, its impact will be partially self-limiting (unionized firms will lose business). And Democrats won't be able to avoid accountability for any economic deterioriation. It will certainly be a lot easier to reverse "card check" than reverse the impact of a failed immigration semi-amnesty. Misguided labor laws can be repealed (think Taft-Hartley). If a failed immigration law legalizes 12 million new Americans and attracts another 12 million illegals hoping to become legal, that will create irrevocable 'facts on the ground"--including millions of new voters and political support for further amnesty.

Isn't a focus on these discrete legislative issues inappropriate, given the grand election themes of war, peace, justice, liberty, hope and change? Not really. If you look at what Clinton actually accomplished in his 8 years, you could be excused for giving a prominence to the welfare reform of 1996--a prominence vastly exceeding the issue's coverage in the press. The same would be true of "card check," though I suspect with a different historical verdict. Both laws alter fundamental economic institutions, with consequences that tend to outlive presidencies.

Still, Obama's virtues outweigh the threat of this one bill. He promises to calm down the world in a way John Kerry, say, could not--and I supported Kerry in 2004 largely because of his global hatred-lowering potential . His choice of advisers, so far, is confidence-inspring. It's hard to predict what he'll do once elected--maybe he'll replace Jason Furman with Amiri Baraka. But all indications suggest he's a steady, inclusive, perhaps overly cautious and conventional leader. (Examples: Jim Johnson as veep-vetter, Joe Biden as VP--and: John Kerry,rumored to be Obama's Secretary of State. A Trifecta of Usual Suspects.) And don't forget health care.

Time to go vote for him. With hope, even. 10:45 A.M.

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Sister Sagjah: There was some sniping when Mary Battiata suggested an Obama victory might render unfashionable

heavy gold, medallions, below-the-butt denim, the whole hip-hop gangsta fashion habit.

"I think people passing a law against people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time. ... [snip] Having said that, brothers should pull up their pants. You are walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear is showing. What's wrong with that? Come on. There are some issues that we face, that you don't have to pass a law, but that doesn't mean folks can't have some sense and some respect for other people and, you know, some people might not want to see your underwear -- I'm one of them." [E.A.]

It's not clear anyone will pay attention to Obama on this. But it's not clear they won't. ... 12:44 A.M.

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Monday, November 3, 20008

Thank you, Ohio! Tomorrow, if all goes as expected, Democrats should pause to be grateful that John Kerry didn't get 70,000 more votes in Ohio in 2004 . What would have happened if Kerry had won? 1) He would have presided over a slow motion loss, or continuing stalemate, in Iraq . No way Kerry would ever have approved the "surge." 2) He would also have presided over the current housing and financial collapse that has both broken economic growth and, apparently, destroyed any chances of the incumbent party retaining the White House.  Democrats don't bear the main blame for this crisis, but is there any reason to think they would have prevented it? I can't think of one. We'd be looking at a Republican wave instead of a Democratic sweep. ...  7:46 P.M.

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The Tamar Jacoby Prize:   The Republican candidate for president seems poised to lose the Latino vote despite his longtime championing of illegal immigrant legalization. Some would argue this demonstrates the poverty of attempting to win the Latino vote by championing illegal immigrant legalization. (Maybe Latino voters, like other Americans, worry mainly about the economy, the war, and schools.)  But sophisticated policy journalists know this is plodding, linear thinking. The coveted kausfiles Tamar Jacoby Prize goes to the first writer to argue, as if it were self-evident, that McCain's abject failure pursuing a Rovian Hispandering strategy dramatically vindicates the Rovian Hispandering strategy. ...  I mean, that strategy must be right, because unless politicans are convinced of it, you know, there's not much hope of actually passing illegal immigrant legalization, which is bipartisan and therefore good. ... [ Offer void where applicable. Tamar Jacoby and members of her immediate family are eligible !]  3:34 P.M.

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MSNBC's "First Read" on how the early voting results seem to mirror its overall poll results:

One more thing: 30% say they’ve already voted, and those voters break [for Obama] by an identical 51%-43% margin.

Hmm. Is this breakdown in early voting really such good news for Obama? You'd think, given the enthusiasm gap between the two candidates' supporters, that Obama voters would tend to be early voters. That means the voters left to vote on election day will be the more undecided, more pro-McCain voters, no? The final results should be less pro-Obama than the early results. Which means if the early voting is 51-43, then the overall MSNBC poll showing a 51-43 Obama edge is off--and Obama is actually  less than 8 points ahead , no? Just asking!  ...  2:24 P.M.

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Greg Sargent is shocked by John McCain's "lying."** Those of us who opposed McCain's campaigns for illegal immigrant legalization--sorry, "comprehensive reform"--are maybe less shocked . McCain routinely lied during the immigration debate when it suited him --saying the illegals he legalized would "not be in any way rewarded for illegal behavior" (BS), that they'd have to go to the "back of the line behind everybody else" ( not the most important line ), and that he does "not support nor would I ever support any services provided to someone who came to this country illegally" ( BS he does and BS he did ). ... He got away with this serial dissembling because most reporters thought he was on the right and compassionate side of the issue. And, of course, that he got away with it may help explain why he dissembled in the first place--he knew he wouldn't be punished by the press if he deceived to get what he wanted. ... Now he knows he'll be punished, but he feels he has no choice (if he's going to get what he wants). ... That's a distinction, I guess. But not necessarily a moral one. ...

**--If the "lie" Sargent complains about isn't good enough for you, here's a better one . ... 12:26 P.M.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dept. of Heterodoxy : Anti-liberal, anti-Obama, anti -LAT blogger Patterico comes out against California's Prop. 8 , which would amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage (after the state Supreme Court ruled the constitution required gay marriage):

I am angry about the California Supreme Court’s attempt to take this matter out of voters’ hands, and part of me wants to support the measure just to flip the bird to the justices. Ultimately, however, I support the right of homosexuals to marry one another, and so I will be voting no.

I'm pretty sure I will too, for similar reasons. The problem is that if the state Supreme Court is sustained in creating this right, it will be inevitably tempted to create other, more problematic constitutional rights. ("Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don't contract them," says a man who may soon be in a position to insure this "expansion" picks up steam.) We'll wind up in a Rose Bird world in which almost all significant disputes involve contending "rights" and are therefore to be decided by judges, not voters. ... I'd vote for a ballot proposition that merely reversed the Court and kicked the gay marriage issue back to the legislature and the voters. But that's not what we're being asked to vote on. We're being asked to keep the matter out of the legislature's hands--just in the other direction. ...  P.S.:  Patterico got 267 comments. Those are HuffPo numbers, no?  ... P.P.S.: Patterico also supports California's animal rights Proposition 2.  Come home, Matthew Scully ! ...

Update:  Alert reader G.D. notes that the gay marriage issue was already out of the legislature's hands even before the Court ruling, thanks to Proposition 22, which amended the Family Code in 2000  to define marriage as man-woman only. Because it passed as an initiative statute, Prop. 22 could not have been simply overturned by the legislature. Prop. 22 was what the state Supreme Court overturned, declaring that it violated the state constitution.  Prop. 8--being voted on Tuesday--would write the gay marriage ban into the state constitution, thus overturning theCcourt. But--a big caveat--it would only take a majority vote on another constitutional initiative, in the future, to overturn Prop. 8. The California Constitution is easy! ... Which leads to G.D.'s implicit question: What's the big difference between the solution of merely reversing the Court decision--which would leave an initiative statute (Prop 22)  in place that could only be overturned by a majority of the voters--and Prop. 8's solution, which would leave a constitutional ban in place that could also be overturned by a majority of voters ? Either way, there's a ban, the state Court couldn't reverse it, but 50% + 1 of the voters could.  My answer:  I'm willing to vote to overturn the Court's decision, rendering the state constitution mute on the subject of gay marriage. I'm not willing to write a gay marriage ban into the constitution. I'm for gay marriage. I wouldn't vote for the statutory ban of Prop 22 either. Why ask me to do it-- especially if you could achieve the same practical effect by just reversing the Court's decision? ... And of course you could write an inititiative constitutional amendment that voided both the Court's decision and Prop. 22, leaving the issue for the legislature to decide. ... 10:38 P.M.

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Isn't it pretty clear that the reason Obama is contesting McCain's home state of Arizona isn't to humiliate McCain or because Arizona might actually be decisive (those scenarios are fairly complicated ) but as a media strategy to generate Election Week MSM stories about how McCain is on the defensive, etc.--stories that will demoralize Republicans and help Obama win the real battleground states? ... P.S.: It's working. On MTP , Tom Brokaw had "Arizona" at the top of his list of contested states, as part of a how-things-have-changed-for-McCain analysis. It's almost as if the MSM is playing along! .. . 8:46 P.M.

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Not over! At this point in New Hampshire, had Hillary even cried yet? No . ... [ Don't give McCain any ideas--ed. He's tried A! He's tried B. ...] ... P.S.: Remember that the Two Electorates Theory (those not following the election are less well informed than in the past) plus the Feiler Faster Thesis  (they can inform themselves very quickly at the last minute) =  Volatility and Unpredictability . ...  7:35 P.M.

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