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Politics

sadface
I haven't made a political post in a long, long time.

I'd make one now, except just thinking about it depresses me. I was not happy about the results of the midterm, needless to say... and I am even less happy, if possible, about this "compromise" that Obama has made with the GOP on taxes. From where I sit, it smells more like capitulation than compromise. Give a lot, get almost nothing.

Obama is the most intelligent president we've had since Jimmy Carter... and, sad to say, he is looking more and more like Jimmy every day. A good man, but not a good leader. At least not so far. He doesn't seem to have the stomach for a fight. We need another FDR, another JFK, another LBJ. NOT Jimmy II. (And, yes, I know, Obama has accomplished some important stuff. But so did Jimmy. Camp David accords, remember?)

Yeats was writing about his own time in "The Second Coming," I know, but sometimes I think he was prescient:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

And could that rough beast whose hour has come round at least be... Sarah Palin?

No, please. Tell me that's just a bad dream. Somebody wake me up.

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Comments

( 200 comments )
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gonzo21
Dec. 15th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
My feeling for it is that Palin is about the only candidate the Republicans could nominate to run, who ~can't~ beat Obama.

So in a sense, we should maybe hope that they will be dumb enough to go with her.
malegrim
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
I agree. Palin doesn't scare me half as much as Huckabee, Romney, or Pawlenty.
(no subject) - gonzo21 - Dec. 16th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Ryan Harkness
Dec. 15th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
It'd be Cersei running the Seven Kingdoms all over again
Where's a Targaryen princess when you need her???
missysedai
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: It'd be Cersei running the Seven Kingdoms all over again
celticblood05
Dec. 15th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC)
Look, I'm pretty much on your side with everything you believe in politically, but this friendly fire coming from people on my own side aimed at Obama is insane. He bought jobless benefits for people who really need them with this compromise, something he had no chance of getting otherwise. He also promised to work bipartisanly and takes that promise very seriously. I think its one of the reasons he was elected.

I can see the argument that he doesn't like political fighting, but if I had to point at a reason for that, its likely he's still shell shocked over the stuff he had to deal with in the health care debate. And I'm not just talking about the purveyors of lies on FOX news, I'm talking about the people who stopped paying attention the second the public option was gone, as if this wasn't a debate that had been going on for 100s of years and everything was going to change automatically.

I say, cut Obama a break, give him a bit of leverage and a chance to recover for a spell, then see if he's willing to throw some punches.
malegrim
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:22 am (UTC)
Me, I'm waiting to see what he does when the deadline for extending the debt ceiling looms. I can buy the argument that he was using this opportunity to extract as much as he could from the lame-duck Congress. The big showdown is still to come.
(no subject) - eeepeeep - Dec. 16th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC) - Expand
Uh, Really? - m0beus - Dec. 16th, 2010 01:40 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Uh, Really? - decarlso2000 - Dec. 17th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zemiron - Dec. 16th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC) - Expand
"He bought jobless benefits" - alwaysoptimistc - Dec. 16th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: "He bought jobless benefits" - celticblood05 - Dec. 16th, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: "He bought jobless benefits" - sam_crecelius - Dec. 16th, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: "He bought jobless benefits" - malegrim - Jan. 12th, 2011 01:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - taskboy3000 - Dec. 16th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Devil's Advocate Anyone??? - hotcarnut - Dec. 17th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Devil's Advocate Anyone??? - celticblood05 - Dec. 18th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Devil's Advocate Anyone??? - sir_umm - Jan. 7th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - geekavenger - Dec. 21st, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
forbiddenkisss
Dec. 15th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)

And could that rough beast whose hour has come round at least be... Sarah Palin?


Oh lord I hope not. I would cry.
eeepeeep
Dec. 16th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
So would a goodly number of libertarians and conservatives. She may be good for the movement because she gets people energized, but beyond being a keynote speaker at an event she is not of much use.

I don't think I know anyone who wants her to be president. (that said she draws much more fire than she should from the media and blogosphere. Stop giving her more attention than she deserves)
:) - Mike Bowen - Dec. 16th, 2010 10:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
manheor
Dec. 15th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
And what's the answer?
Hi, George. Spanish reader and writer and a few quotes in your blog.

Yeah, we need a leader. But is enough with only a leader if we keep this system moving?

I don´t know what you think, but I believe that every rational person, and you probe in your books that you are more that rational, see that the real problem lays in the system itself.

The bottom line is: the most of money are ruled but the fewer people.

And all the problems, economical, international, even religious lays in this injustice.

If we can´t fix these leak, if we can think that our occidental full bellys (and not every occidental bellys) needs to get in fit in order that others can eat, we can do anything.

But the leak will grow.

We need something more that a leader.

We need an V.

Is the time to do something radical that probe people that we aren´t only wheels that move the system. We are people. We think. We can change everything with only say this day was the last. Enough.

And the pitty thing is that almost everyone realiced when they are with himselves. But in the moment of act, we fail, we shut our mouths and we keep the injustice raping all that is good in our nature.

And that makes me very sad.
paulwoodlin
Dec. 15th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

I hope that cheers you up. It helped me.
indigofan
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:10 am (UTC)
I loved this. :)
(no subject) - oosabeansaladen - Dec. 16th, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
coscaram
Dec. 15th, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
The idea of Sarah Palin "slouching towards Wasilia" is rather frightening. She's reminding me of Andy Griffith, in A Face in the Crowd.
Mitt Romney seems to be taking the "appearing presidential" road. I am not a fan, but will give him credit for intelligence. I just think that he changes his stripes a little to easily.
m0beus
Dec. 16th, 2010 01:34 am (UTC)
Mitt Romney
Funny thing is, I'm pretty sure that if I got to meet Mitt Romney I'd dislike him, and I'm a lifelong liberal. . . but I think he'd be a very good President. He's a great organizer (see 2002 Olympics, from train wreck to triumph in one year) and he actually seems like a moderate guy (mandate for purchasing health care in MA? From a Republican?). And he's got experience as chief executive of several large institutions, a hole in Obama's resume that seems, in retrospect, much larger.

Also, from a pragmatic point of view, seems like the only way anything is actually going to get done is under a Republican president. The current Republican legislators are sheep, terrified of the Democrat Wolf and unwilling to break from the safety of the flock. The Dems have more courage, and would support reasonable proposals from a President of the other party.

Course, if current politics proves anything, it's that intelligent moderates are not welcome in Washington.
(no subject) - indigofan - Dec. 16th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
mamculuna
Dec. 15th, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
The only comforting thought I can suggest (and loyal fans want you comfortable!) is that things looked pretty bleak for Clinton around Christmas 2004, but he managed to pull it out of the spin. So it's possible for Obama, but does he have the will to do it? I would like to give him a week or two with Tyrion as drill sergeant.
arthursdp
Dec. 16th, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
Clinton, 2004 ? err... 1994 I presume ?
dizzy34
Dec. 15th, 2010 10:54 pm (UTC)
I typically lean conservative on most issues but Sarah Palin is appalling to me. We don't need another celebrity president but it seems the country craves this crap.
janetlin
Dec. 15th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
Well, there certainly is a lot of "passionate intensity" going around. It's scary, really, the things people will get so hyped up about.
mjferro
Dec. 15th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
Hard pill to swallow...
This is the sort of thing that Democrats always do, but more as a result of pragmatism than weakness, I think. I hate the deal and think borrowing from my kids to give millionaires a tax break is a ridiculous idea. But at the same time, raising taxes on the middle class really could put a dent in our already slow recovery; not to mention the hurt the unemployed will feel once benefits are taken away.

I guess the problem is that there's often no room for pragmatism in politics. What makes sense can look weak and hurt macro politics. I guess the skill is to know when to fight the political fight and when to bend principal and compromise. Did the President make the right decision? I'm not sure, but I do know it was a hard pill to swallow and may place us in a weakened position in the future...even it was the right decision in the hear and now.
liamtheruiner
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
it's an ugly system that puts a person in the position where they can be good or effective, but not both.
maldis
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
The NY Times would have us believe Obama has maneuvered the Republicans into putting forward one of the more progressive legislative packages of the year.
teatime777
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:15 pm (UTC)
re: politics
slouching toward bethlehem indeed...
kc_gamer42
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
Hey, we agree
My condolences on the Mid-term, but voters are voters, and for whatever reason, a majority did not like what has happened for the last two years. A lot of Democrats were angry because Obama was not liberal enough, so they stayed home. The Republicans were up in arms over a lot of the big ticket issues that the Democrats put through with their majorities and White House control.

Either way, we have what we have, although, the Republicans still don't have any say at all until next year. This "lame duck" session has been fun to watch. BOTH sides seem to be too focused on blaming each other for problems instead of presenting solutions. Until we get some adults in Washington to take responsibility for the mess we are in, I am afraid that the situation will continue to get worse.
crocobar
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
I always thought that Bill Clinton is as intelligent as a president can get, no matter how questionable his other qualities are. Wouldn't you agree?
abcdelg
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
ummm no
Mr. Martin, I really did not want to post on this, but i felt so strongly about what you said I even made an account. I love your books and I can't wait for the next one my I just can not stand liberal ideals. Obama is a smart man, but many of his and liberal ideals are just wrong and against our founding fathers whole ideas on what America should be. However, I am not saying that all Republicans are right about everything. I also think that Sarah Palin is a very smart and good woman, and I really wish you would not talk about her. I am soooo very glad about the outcome of the elections because I hope that the people of the United States are realizing that things like earmarks, overspending, high taxes, big government, and almost all other democratic ideals are comepletely, forgive me, but stupid.
grrm
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
Re: ummm no
Actually, almost all our founding fathers were liberals.

Well, okay, not Alexander Hamilton. George Washington was a moderate and a pragmatist.

But Jefferson, Madison, Sam Adams, Ben Franklin?

All liberals. All very intelligent. Part of that "elite" the conservatives like to rag on.

(As for Sarah, whatever she may be, she is hardly smart. She has demonstrated that many times. She acts as though ignorance is a virtue).

As for "earmarks, overspending, high taxes, big government," etc... those are not "democratic ideals" or even liberal ideals. Republicans have contributed to every one of those, in some case more so than Dems.
Re: ummm no - hopnutjester - Dec. 16th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - abcdelg - Dec. 16th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - m0beus - Dec. 16th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - inizitu - Dec. 16th, 2010 02:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - indigofan - Dec. 16th, 2010 03:22 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - prodigal - Dec. 16th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - blackrevenant - Dec. 16th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - dalimar2 - Dec. 16th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - grrm - Dec. 16th, 2010 01:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - dalimar2 - Dec. 16th, 2010 02:04 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - lordbrand - Dec. 16th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - blackrevenant - Dec. 16th, 2010 04:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - grrm - Dec. 16th, 2010 05:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - blackrevenant - Dec. 16th, 2010 06:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - grrm - Dec. 16th, 2010 06:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - blackrevenant - Dec. 16th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - grrm - Dec. 16th, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - blackrevenant - Dec. 16th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - vargskinnsz - Dec. 16th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - blackrevenant - Dec. 17th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - evil_lep - Dec. 17th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - decarlso2000 - Dec. 17th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - blackrevenant - Dec. 17th, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - haggis_bagpipes - Jan. 30th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - arthurtonypark - Dec. 17th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - blackrevenant - Dec. 17th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - Jason Kenney - Dec. 17th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - decarlso2000 - Dec. 17th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - joncrushercrusa - Dec. 16th, 2010 05:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - shakauvm - Dec. 16th, 2010 08:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - dalimar2 - Dec. 17th, 2010 02:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - protonjack - Dec. 16th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - archon27 - Dec. 18th, 2010 09:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - kc_gamer42 - Dec. 16th, 2010 03:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - proudbronco - Dec. 16th, 2010 04:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - Larry Enscore - Dec. 16th, 2010 04:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - sledgehammer44 - Dec. 16th, 2010 07:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - Joseph Jacobson - Dec. 16th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ummm no - palaeologos - Dec. 19th, 2010 04:46 am (UTC) - Expand
dch4
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
While I'm a conservative (of the libertarian variety), I can't see Palin mounting a run for the Presidency. It is far more likely for the candidate for the Republicans in 2012 to be Romney or one of the current Governors.
(Deleted comment)
gonzo21
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Politics
That whole sorry wikileaks business rather demonstrated to me that the new administration was coming from more or less the same place as the old administration. :(
Re: Politics - Mike Bowen - Dec. 16th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
missysedai
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
Your observations are, as ever, apt.
dalimar2
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
Actually
The compromise was the smartest thing Obama has done since he was in office.

There is a fixed amount of money out there, if you're in favor of higher taxes you inherently must believe that that money would do more good in the hands of the government rather than in the hands of private individuals and businesses. If you really believe government spends money efficiently I have a $10,000 toilet seat to show you. Even if you believe Obama's own math his stimulus bill spent hundreds of thousands of dollars PER job it created or saved. That is if you believe his math.

Furthermore, when these tax cuts were first enacted the federal government actually had an INCREASE in tax receipts, they made more money, despite lower rates, because the lower tax rates spurred economic growth.

The 700 billion cost of this package, as such, is static accounting. It assumes that the money will go out and be stuffed under a mattress and not used in the economy. We know that won't happen, and in the end these extensions (don't call them cuts, they're not) will probably pay for themselves through higher economic growth.

If you don't want to help out millionaires and billionaires, well. I die a little inside everytime Obama says that. My taxes would have gone up, I am not a millionaire. I have a 10 year old chevy, and my wife drives a 5 year old saturn. Our house is 2200 square feet. We do have both HBO and Showtime, and an HD TV, are we that luxurious? That kind of talk, "billionaires and millionaires" is pure hyperbole.

The fact is, the top 5% of earners in this country pay 80% of the federal tax burden. So, if that isn't "fair" enough for you, what is the fair share? 100%?

The bottom 40% of people pay 0 net income taxes. Did you know that? I worry about what happens if that gets to 50%, what if 50% of people in a country do not pay to support the government? (yes, they would still pay sales and property taxes to support local and state governments). If you pay no money to support the federal budget, why would you bother electing a politician who controls spending? I worry about that trend.

If you just don't like the inequalities that our meritocracy has produced, you can't tax the rich into pauperhood or somehow help the poor by harassing business owners. The metaphor would be beating someone with a stick while screaming "Hire someone, expand your business, buy equipment." You can't force equality in our system of government or in a free economy. If you want forced equality, it exists in some pretty bad places I'm sure you're glad you don't live in.



One thing not mentioned often is the dividend and capital gains tax rates. Had a deal not been reached it would have literally crashed the stock market, which affects everyone with a pension, a retirement account, as well as most nonprofit foundations, school endowments, etc. The image of a stock market investor as only the rich is old fashioned.

If the taxes would have been allowed to rise everyone who had a gain in a stock or any other asset would basically get a 10% bonus for selling it in the next couple weeks. All that selling pressure would have tanked things pretty hard.

Additionally, you know in your heart of hearts that when you tax something you get less of it. Thats why liberals like gas taxes and carbon taxes and fatty food taxes even now. So what happens when you tax investment? You get less of it.

Do we really want less investment in our economy? Will that create jobs?

IMO the only bad thing is the unemployment benefit extension. 3 years is not a temporary measure. It is welfare masquerading as a job program, the system is abused and gamed every day. Even Paul Krugman, the nobel prize winning economist (and liberal) of the New York Times has written that such long unemployment benefits create a disincentive for people to find work.

Sorry I wrote a book, I'm tired of my non-millionaire self being demagoged for thinking lower taxes will boost the economy (note, even Obama says they will).

I will agree with you on one thing. Sarah Palin is poison, I hope she sticks to TV and stays out of washington.
malegrim
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:28 am (UTC)
Re: Actually
"Furthermore, when these tax cuts were first enacted the federal government actually had an INCREASE in tax receipts, they made more money, despite lower rates, because the lower tax rates spurred economic growth."

In what bizarre reality are you living? The cuts may have spurred a small amount of growth, but they were still a massive net negative on the budget--they're the main reason the Clinton-era surplus turned into the huge deficits of the Bush years, even before the economy imploded.
Re: Actually - dalimar2 - Dec. 16th, 2010 01:40 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - malegrim - Dec. 16th, 2010 10:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - dalimar2 - Dec. 16th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - malegrim - Dec. 16th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - lordbrand - Dec. 16th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - m0beus - Dec. 16th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - blackrevenant - Dec. 16th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - m0beus - Dec. 16th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - blackrevenant - Dec. 16th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - m0beus - Dec. 16th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - m0beus - Dec. 16th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - dalimar2 - Dec. 16th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - dalimar2 - Dec. 16th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - dalimar2 - Dec. 16th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - m0beus - Dec. 16th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - dalimar2 - Dec. 16th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - m0beus - Dec. 17th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - rharris528 - Dec. 16th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - dalimar2 - Dec. 16th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - sevgiinsani - Dec. 17th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
chas_
Dec. 15th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
As someone who has been out of work long enough to be on the extension program, let me say this: I am no fan of Obama, but I do appreciate that he did something to make sure my family and I had a roof over our heads next month and my kids can get something for Christmas. The situation is clear that the Republicans would never pass the extension without conceding on the tax cut extensions.

Seriously, I've had it up to here with people moaning about the tax cuts and ignoring the fact that Obama still supported 2 million Americans. Would you be complaining as loudly if he had refused to concede and left the rest of us 2 million twisting in the wind? Or are we disposable, able to be ignored since many of us are now slipping into poverty?
dalimar2
Dec. 16th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
How long should "temporary" unemployment insurance last? Until you get a job offer providing for equal or better pay than your previous job?

Do we really need 3 years?

If you've really been out of work for 2 years and have really tried to get a job, any job, even ones you might consider beneath you, and have worked day and day out trying to find a job. I feel sorry for you, it sucks, but I don't think most people are in that situation.

In anycase, consider moving. Many areas of North Dakota have more job openings than people, so I hear.

I personally feel that unemployment should be temporary, with a defined end date, otherwise, as Paul Krugman says, it is a disincentive to look for work.
(no subject) - inizitu - Dec. 16th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sledgehammer44 - Dec. 16th, 2010 06:41 am (UTC) - Expand
tormentedartist
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
I think that Obama needs to get the people behind him like he did when he was running for office. I really am sad that you think of Obama as Jimmy II because a lot of people hate him. I also think that he was/is a good man. Unlike Reagan, who was actually a horrible president. And if you think otherwise then you should take a look at the deficit that he left the country among other things.

The GOP is much better at getting their supporters behind them even if they have to tell a bold faced lie to do it.
void777
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
I think hard times make hard people. Seems to me that people like JFK and FDR always come into being when times are at their worst (the great depression, WWII). I feel corny referencing your books, but we are summer children. We haven't hit the real hard times yet, but we need to suffer them. I mean what level of catastrophy is necessary to truly impliment the change of an administration that has been developed and entreched for the past 20 or 30 years (perhaps even longer)? As intelligent as Obama is, it takes a certain degree of stupidity to actually fight those odds with the voracity needed to win. But still, it seems to me that people like Obama and Palin come and go, but the human race always seems to keep going. We'll survive this.
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