Broken promises

Stoller has a list of all the broken promises from the 2008 platform. He sums up thusly:

These aren’t just broken promises, these are all broken promises that have to do with the economic and political rights of the relatively powerless. Privacy, union rights, debtor’s rights, activist rights, etc – they were promised tangible stuff, and didn’t get it. It looks like the Obama campaign will get a bounce from the convention, because the convention is well-organized and a good show. Just recognize that this show in 2008 had nothing to do with the ultimate policy that was enacted, and it’s likely that the 2012 convention will see a similar outcome.

Virtually Speaking Science tonight

Virtually Speaking Science – Wed – 6pm pacific/9 pm Eastern.

NBC Science Editor Alan Boyle (Cosmic Log) talks with theoretical physicist Sean Carroll about the Higgs boson and Sean’s new book:

Sean studies the theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation, learning about fundamental physics by studying the structure and evolution of the universe.

Alan wrote about an earlier episode here. Produced in cooperation with MICA. Listen live and later: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtually-speaking-science/2012/09/06/sean-carroll-alan-boyle

Scaling Mt. Ambivalance

Ed at Gin and Tacos:

It is possible that I am projecting my own considerable ambivalence and malaise toward this election, although I’m fairly certain that it has some basis in reality. An incumbent with a 45% approval rating is being challenged by a Massachusetts Mormon with no definable position on any major issues. This feels like an election to be tolerated, endured, or trudged through. Even the most zealous partisans appear to be drawing their enthusiasm mostly from hatred of The Other Guy rather than genuine fondness for their own candidate.


There are many problems with the idea that Obama won in 2008 because of a surge of new young and/or minority voters, principally the fact that Obama won every single demographic except white males over 40. While participation among young, black, or Latino voters did rise, he succeeded because he convinced a lot of the people who always vote to vote for him. You don’t win Indiana as a Democrat simply by turning out a few more college kids. This is relevant because lower turnout won’t necessarily imply bad news for Obama. Instead his problem is that the white lower-class voters that he managed to win in 2008 appear to have gone Full Teabag since then and they’re unlikely to support him again.


Attempts at analysis aside, the most outstanding feature of this election so far seems to be how little attention we are paying to it as an electorate. My personal feelings are much closer to “Let’s just get this goddamn thing over with” than any genuine curiosity or excitement about the outcome. The faithful of the respective parties are already decided. Undecideds are few and uncertain to the extent that they dislike both candidates. Sprinkle this whole mess with millions (billions?) of SuperPac dollars that will be blown on annoying, sub-moronic advertising and you’ve got yourself a fine recipe for a campaign we will all be doing our damnedest to ignore while the candidates and media go through the motions.

‘Carrying our bags’

I don’t know if you’ve seen the report that Teddy Kennedy made his final decision to support Obama after Clinton told Kennedy that Obama was someone who “a couple of years ago, would have been carrying our bags.”

When I heard that, I knew right away what Clinton meant. Because every campaign is filled with, and every politician is surrounded by, bright, ambitious young men who will do anything to get ahead, including serving as gofers. Yes, they do indeed carry politicians’ bags. I know that type of person well.

And what makes the racial spin on the story even less credible is that it would have been completely counterproductive. You really believe Bill Clinton, trying to persuade Teddy Kennedy to endorse Hillary, was actually whining to the liberal lion of the Senate that Barack Obama should still be a Pullman porter? Nah, not buying it. Clinton is known for his gaffes, but not this kind of gaffe. Nope.

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