Tuesday, March 4, 2008

democrat for a day

i noticed a number of blog posts today from friends who noted that they voted. would anyone actually blog or announce to the world that they didn’t vote? maybe there should be stickers for non-voters - "i'm a slack & did not vote." we are all like little kids walking around with our “i voted” stickers. actually i was sporting one too until it blew off my shirt during my run home from the voting spot i'm assigned to. why was i running home from the voting spot you wonder? well it was freezing this morning in austin – 36 degrees out when i woke up (note: it is supposed to reach 80+ degrees tomorrow – texas weather for ya). anyhow, i was supposed to swim this morning but i couldn’t bare another morning of getting in/out of the pool with weather that chills you to the bone. so instead of swimming i hopped on the trainer for a hour & a half at the house & then i journeyed outdoors for a 30 minute jog in the neighborhood. on my way home from my run i swung by my voting spot (elementary school 3 blocks from our house) to vote for obama. yep, i was the only dude standing in line in my workout clothes – luckily it was still a bit chilly outside so i hadn’t really broke much of a sweat.

it felt good to finally play part in our democratic election system. i’m 30 & admitting to all of you that this is the first time i’ve ever voted. not only was i voting for the first time, i declared myself as a democrat for the first time too. it’s exciting here in texas – it’s been a long time since our vote has mattered. this election is very important for a lot of folks & with the election being so close between clinton & obama our vote will most likely decide who the democratic nominee will be.

in texas we have both a primary & a caucus – sort of confusing & actually a bit frustrating because you have to vote first in the primary & then show up to vote again in the caucus. your vote at the caucus is supposedly the one that really matters for the presidential election. as i approached the desk filled with sweet ole 60-somes i was asked to declare myself as a democrat or republican. i laughed & said (for the first time ever) i suppose i’m a democrat. just like that i was branded. a sticker then spit out of this machine with my name on it & in BIG bold letters above my name read DEMOCRATIC PARTY. wow, just like that & i’m a democrat… all my life i thought i was a conservative republican & now as i vote for the first time in my life i’m a democrat.

i was then handed an invite to tonight’s caucus (see pic) & then directed to head over to the “machine” to place my ballot. i quickly selected obama for president (fingers crossed – no clinton please) & selected “no selection” for all the local positions. i can vote for obama, but to vote for more than one democrat in a day would have just put me over the top :) baby steps right?


Jeremy said...

It should be interesting how this all plays out. From what I understand it's nearly impossible for Hillary to win with out pulling in a bunch of Super delegates, but if the primary is decided by super delegates after the majority of Dems chose Obama you are going to have one fractured party.

In that scenario McCain beats Hillary hands down. She really just needs to drop out, but she won't. Too much sense of entitlement in the Clinton household.

-- Jeremy

Brian Kirk said...

my girlfriend, kristin, said all the conservatives in her office were actually voting yesterday for hillary. the thought being that if hillary is up against mccain then mccain will kick her butt, but if obama is running against mccain then there is a good chance that obama will win. sort of smart strategy by the conservatives i suppose. in fact i was told today by a co-worker that rush limbaugh was telling the conservatives to vote for hillary in the primary elections.

so they are hedging that mccain will beat hillary. if the conservatives really can't stand hillary you would think they wouldn't risk letter her win enough votes to even having a chance.

we'll just have to wait & see...

Jeremy said...

Even more of a reason the Dems needs to close ranks and get ready for the big fight.

Anyway... you're right we will just have to wait and see.

Paul said...

it took me an hour to drive across town to vote in my precinct. believe me, i was not all delighted to be stuck in traffic to vote for someone less ideal like mccain but i did. of the three leading candidates, he's the more conservative i suppose. ok i will give him a C+ for conservative. i listen to quite a bit of conservative talk shows (rush's not one of them) and did hear from other radio hosts about rush telling conservatives to vote for hillary. i do not agree with rush's tactic. the purpose of voting is choosing who you believe will be the best candidate for president. why would anyone waste their one and only vote for someone they do not believe in such as hillary in fear that obama would have a better chance to beat mccain. polls might show that obama would beat mccain now but there is still eight months left before election. i initially thought mccain would face a more difficult challenge in beating obama over hillary. now i feel that the opposite is true. mccain would have a tougher fight against hillary. i believe mccain can actually beat either dem candidates by a landslide if he picks smartly his vp running mate (my fav's: colin powell, mitt romney, or michael steele-chairman of gopac). dems do not have a good combo team other than obama/clinton (or vise versa). that won't happen because neither can stand each other. both intend to add new federal spending over $800 bil in 1 presidential term (on top of existing spending). where is that going to come from...taxpayers. at a time of a slowing economy, i just don't believe that will fly with the majority of the public.

Eryn said...

i'm confessing right now that i'm not reading any of the other comments on your blog while writing my own.

anywho, congrats on the democrat brand! i kinda feel the same way, although i've voted before but didn't become a dem until halfway through college. it feels good to be thinking for myself for once!

i'm soooo hoping that hillary isn't the democratic candidate. republicans will be out IN FULL FORCE if she is and there is no way she'll be elected. she should realize this and bow out now!

GO ObAMA!!!!

Brian Kirk said...


doesn't it take an hour to get anywhere in houston :) you know what i think of houston...

colin powell - that would be a good strong running mate for mccain. do you think it wil happen. i haven't heard powell's name come up once. i think i might quickly swing back to the republican camp if powell was our #2.

walt forwarded me this editorial (Clinton's Math Problem) from newsweek: http://www.newsweek.com/id/119010. it basically says that while hillary doesn't have a chance to catch up with obama & that the longer she stays in the race she is only hurting the democratic by bashing obama along the way to what will be her eventual loss & possibly a BIGGER loss to the democratic party as a whole if she tears obama up so much that voters who would currently vote for obama switch to voting for mccain.

Paul said...

colin as vp. i doubt it. maybe cabinet member. (this is based on a colin powell interview in 2006) but dang what a team (two solid highly respected war hero veterans as commander and vice commander in chiefs that will bring the troops home with victory & independent iraq within 2 years of 1st presidential term).

interesting article from walt. i do not support hillary on how she (& obama) plans to solves america's issues but i do support her decision for her to stay in the race if she chooses to. she has that right much like huckabee had the right to stay in the race till the end. i wanted romney to win the republican nominee. had huckabee gotten out early in the nomination, there would have been a stronger chance his supporters would have chosen romney over mccain. who knew that huckabee would be one of two last men standing on the republican side.

the democratic party needs to find a way to unite regardless who wins, obama or clinton. their ideas are almost mirror images so it's actually based on personal preference. i am not sure how there will be unity since there is so much bad blood now from supporters on both sides from all this campaigning. it's going to happen regardless. if obama wins, many clinton supporter will cross over to mccain. but the same is true with mccain now being the republican nominee. many conservatives have opt to go with obama or clinton because they feel that he's back stabbed too many conservatives. to me, it's a wash. i think the idea is silly because voters who do that are actually backstabbing their own principle beliefs. i believe clinton should expose more about obama because so little is known about the man other than his great speeches and "hope" and "change". if there's any legitimacy to her bashings, then i'm sure it will have an effect on his popularity and votes. we're all too familiar with clinton calling obama out with his involvement with "slumlord" rezko.

Brian Kirk said...


does mccain's age bother you? i know it is his platform that matters. should he win the presidential election, he will be 72 when inaugurated. if he lives through his first term he'll be 76 when it comes time to run again.

again, i would suggest you switch your vote to obama because of his age - i'm just curious if his age bothers you. i suppose who he chooses as his VP is quite important as we may actual see this VP move up in the ranks given mccain's age.

Paul said...


mccain's age doesn't really bother me. if president, he would be a little over 2 years older than when reagan became president at age 69. obama's age does not bother me either nor does his short political career as a u.s. senate. reagan had less federal experience than obama when ronald first ran and lost in his republican primary against ford in '76. experience is a factor but overalll, age and experience do not really matter if the candidate carries ideas and how the ideas are executed are in line to the individual voter's belief. after all, a president has power (limited of course) to enforce or deny law into action. i also believe that how a president will act on issues can be indicated from his/her self beliefs, influence from others, past history/actions, and speeches.

the three remaining candidates do not differ much on major issues. they want to improve our sluggish economy, control govt spending, comprehensive immigration, better education, saving social security, better health insurance, climate change, veteran care, against anwr drilling, etc. i have listened to many obama speeches and debates and was very drawn to his charisma and conversational approach. then i had to ask myself what do i know about the man. i read his website, family, church, issues, experience, articles, etc and things started to surface.

i'll point out the areas to why i am not choosing to switch my vote to obama at this time. this is strictly based on mccain and obama (forget hillary & no vp's considered) and not in any order. i wish i knew a way to keep it in a short blog but unfortunately this might be your longest series of blog response...ever.

i. experience (source: http://www.thomas.gov/bss/d109query.html)
this link will inform what every senator has done during his terms. mccain has done alot during his 20 years in the u.s. senate. compare the number of bills and kind of bills passed in the u.s. senate and sponsored by mccain (100th-110th congress, 142 sponsored, 919 sponsored/cosponsored) vs obama (109th & 110th congress, 7 sponsored, 160 sponsored/cosponsored). mccain's numbers go in the thousands if you considered sponsored/cosponsored bills introduced in the senate. mccain's has done alot of public service work and reason why arizona picked him for 20 years.

ii. taxes & spending
while mccain and obama say they will control wasteful spending, obama (like most senators) has added wasteful spending with his earmarks...something mccain has not done in his track record. i also do not see how obama will pay for his future proposals without increasing more taxes to every american (http://www.gop.com/News/NewsRead.aspx?Guid=b9da7fc2-5aca-499e-bcf1-0ddfefffd00a). suppose we do not take the RNC's claim that obama would spend $865bil in new spending with only $459bil in one presidential term (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2008/feb/29/spend-o-meter-vs-truth-o-meter-part-ii/), then offsetting it down to out to zero new spending can be achieved by immediately withdrawing iraq (~$110bil/yr). if that is the case, i rather have a person like mccain who will cut wasteful spending to our current spending and allow u.s. troops to finish the job in iraq.

obama says he will eliminate 2003 bush tax cuts because they serve only the rich (myth#10 http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/bg2001.cfm); this means higher capital gains tax. how does eliminating the '03 bush tax cuts serve just the rich when over 60% middle-class american own stocks, bonds? mccain has consistently voted no against higher taxes across the board and i particularly like his idea to provide credits for more company r&d.

one thing that disturbed me about obama was his "global poverty act". he sponsored this bill and requested senate voting without floor debate. it would have placed the u.s. under u.n mandate to pay 0.7% of our gnp over 13 years ($845bil) to reduce global poverty by one half. a) u.s. is the most generous country providing money to hunger across the world today more than any other country combined b) what has the u.n. ever done for the u.s. c) u.n. had corrupt practices with the oil for food with iraq so can we actually believe our money will all go to impoverished countries d) u.n. members laughed when chavez/venezuela called bush the devil. americans are paying for income, state, sales, capital gains, gas, property, local, medicare, social security-all taxes and now a "global" tax?

iii. iraq
mccain does not want a 100 year war as obama/hillary/mainstream media has misconstructed mccain's words. (when asked about about bush's theory that u.s. troops could be in iraq for 50 years, mccain replied "maybe 100 years. as long as americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed, it's fine with me and i hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the word where al qaeda is training, recruiting, equipping and motivating people every single day."). leaving iraq in its volatile state could mean another terrorist nation like the palestine (hamas run) govt.

suppose u.s. troops left iraq with victory today, most returning home to the u.s., some deployed to afghanistan, iraq is stabilized, their economy starts booming, iraq is our biggest ally in the middle east, oil prices drop for the u.s., 30mil people are liberated and free. what would we think about bush then? it was a mistake on the u.s. to underestimate the efforts to stabilize iraq after saddam but i do not believe it was a mistake for overthrowing saddam. any of these "whereas" (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021002-2.html) constituted the u.s. to have attacked iraq at discretion. clinton attacked iraq in '98 without a declaration to use military force; he also attacked serbia (an u.s. ally in wwi and wwii) without a declaration to use military force.

aside, can we rightfully call bush a liar for getting us into this war about wmd? if we call bush a liar, then all dems and repubs in congress who voted for the war are liars too. so is colin powell, then secretary of state; he would be considered a liar. so is the american public since we heard the same central intelligence report. we are all liars, or we can all acknowledge the truth was that we received bad intelligence report on wmd. a lie is when you deliberately knew the truth. bush acting on false intelligence does not mean he is a liar. what is a lie when on u.s. dem senator (can't remember the name) recently stated that 1mil iraqi's have died from bush's war. there is not credible media that has claimed this figure. where are the mass graves?

there was a period in the iraq stabilization where i questioned whether america should stay to finish the job when u.s. was losing (~80-over 100) precious lives of u.s. troops in a series of violent months. no one wants war and none of us want another vietnam. iraq will not be another vietnam-the surge is working and troop deaths are an all time low for months now and there are strong signs of troops coming home with victory soon. if we leave iraq in 60-90 days if obama is pres, i believe that iraq will be another vietnam, not in terms of 58k u.s. deaths but 1.5mil civilian deaths after u.s. troops left vietnam. no one talks about the 1.5mil deaths as a result of socialism/communism in SE asia following the vietnam war.

(part ii: to be continued)
iv. personal affiliation & judgement
v. security

Brian Kirk said...

my friend - you should start your own blog! i love the feedback & you've opened my eyes to a number of good arguments.

no doubt that mccain has a proven & longer track record than obama & i'm with you on the tax cuts (as if "we" weren't taxed enough). why does everyone believe that giving more back to the lower income folks who will most likely just turn around & buy video games, DVDs, & other useless crap from walmart think that is what it is going to take to get our economy back on track? i do understand that the initial surge of dollars into the economy (spending) is helpful & will most likely result in some job growth (if folks are buying – someone else needs to be manufacturing. however, it's the dollars put into growing businesses, our stock market, etc. that have the long term advantages for *all* of us!

a quick comment back about the amount of dollars that the US provides for foreign aid… someone actually sent me an article recently about this. while the US gives the most amount of money for foreign aid - we also give the smallest percentage of cash to foreign aid compared to other countries.

keep the feedback coming bro!

Paul said...

good friend, Brian.

i had long intentions to respond so i better have some good materials for the elapsed time to our constructive arguments.

i have to say that i enjoy blogging thanks to you. my subject is pretty one-dimensional (you guessed it..politics). you create a tough benchmark with your well-rounded topics before i could consider being my own moderator :)

i picked up a similar article that while the US does give the most amount of money for foreign
aid, our country also gives the smallest percentage. here's a website that provide breakdowns
of aids and % from leading countries (US ~$25bil in 2005, 0.17% GDP, http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Debt/USAid.asp). what the article chose not to list is the contribution of private generosity through American citizens, corporations, volunteer organizations in the US which accounted for another $95bil (4x) for a total of almost $120bil (US dept of state "US is largest donor of foreign aid, http://gpr.hudson.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=news_clippings). when we combine US federal plus private contributions, America contributes more than any other country and their private citizens in the world. that's after Americans are taxed the hell from federal, state, and local. Also note US pays 1/4 in UN dues and 1/3 of all peacekeeping costs. it also does not mention that US spends 4% of GDP on defense that provides security around the world including saudi arabia, germany, korea, japan, iraq, afghanistan and many other nations. when hillary/obama draws attention to their audience with $110bil/yr on the iraq, don’t get me wrong it is a large sume but it represents 4 cents of every dollar of our economy compared to 9% (9cents per $1) under Eisenhower and 6% under Reagan. i can live knowing it is only 4cents of every dollar if it is for our security. that's one of the primary roles of the federal govt-"to form a more perfect union, establish justice ... provide for the common defense..." as stated in the Preamble of the US Constitution. the Founding Fathers believed the fed govt was about overseeing the union of its states through limited power & size, not the big govt that it has come to be today. yet with social security, medicare/medicaid, govt education system, welfare (~ 50-70% of GDP) and other entitlements, it has gotten massively insane. there is good reason why the fed govt does not contribute so much of our % GDP to foreign aid. as ron paul states, fed govt has gotten too big and inefficient. govt agencies cannot do the kind of jobs that private charities do in helping people in need. plus govt foreign aid never effectively reaches to the people in need as would private money because there are so much middlemen and corrupt foreign leaders that only a fraction comes out in the foreign people (http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2006/tst050106.htm).

A prime example of fed govt inefficiency was Katrina. We saw how slow fema & fed govt responded. That is the reason why it was never intended for the fed govt to be the first response to natural crises like this. pure and simple, fema cuts checks. For decades, the fed govt provided funding to Louisiana to maintain the levies but funding went elsewhere and to corrupt leaders. It was the local and state’s agencies obligation to be first govt responses to natural disasters in their city/state. No one could possibly imagine the magnitude of disaster erupted from the broken levies. But we saw first hand how private corporations like fedex and eli lilly were able to respond quicker than local, state, & fed. In addition to their own bureaucrat, the fed govt was compounded with local & state red tape, it was not possible to ever quickly react. I remember listening to countless Katrina victims knowing it was their local/state’s failure to act & surfacing of corruption. But all we heard was it was bush’s fault through the media. When you listen to it enough, you almost start believing it is bush’s fault.

Now we have obama/hillary wanting universal healthcare. We are going to have the same inefficient govt that’s running social security into bankruptcy, running our medicare/medicaid that spends more than brings in, running our public (un)education system, running fema, and now manage our country’s entire healthcare system?…on one single idea that we have no idea will work yet we know the long track record of our fed govt’s inefficiencies? Has anyone waited in line at the us postal office lately, or the motor vehicles dept, or has ever seen the line at their local social security office? Why is it that democrats want America to follow so much like Canada, france, England & other european heathcare system? Claude castonguay, the father of the Quebec universal healthcare system, later adopted by the whole of Canada recently pronounced his country’s system a failure, and now urges American-style competition and pushes greater role by the private sector. Let’s look at some waiting periods in canada’s govt health system. The shortest waiting time among various specialties was for oncology (4.2 wks) while the longest was orthopaedic surgery (38.1 wks, over 9mths!). for CT scan, 4.8wks median(shortest-4.0wks in BC,Alberta,Ontario; longest-8.0 wks in Manitoba.). for MRI, 10.1wks (shortest-7.8wks in Ontario; longest-20wks in Newfoundland). For ultrasound, 3.9wks (shortest-2wks in Alberta & Ontario; longest-10wks in Manitoba, source:
england’s socialist labor party now favors privatization. In 2003, nearly 13,000 people died in the summer, mostly from simple dehydration. French health-care system simply stopped answering phones and ambulance attendants told people to take care of themselves. Massachusett’s universal healthcare signed by then governor Romney was a flop but at least it was a state attempt. I rather have 50 states each try a new idea than one massive overhaul by the fed govt to improve the healthcare system. America has the best healthcare system. Can it improve? Yes like everything else can improve. I never hear someone from America go to Canada or England to get treated under their healthcare system; it’s always the opposite.

Brian Kirk said...


have you considered running for a local position? if not, maybe you *should* consider politics in your future.

$ for $ i'm in agreement with you on what we spend on security. that doesn't bother me in the slightest. i'm also with you on what we give as a nation (both monetary & resource giving) to foreign aid & other nations.

i also agree with your points on katrina & how that was a local/state problem & not the fault of the bush administration. way too many things get pointed back at bush. given that he & his administration are such tools it has become all too easy for folks to simply point the finger back at them.

while i have very mixed opinions, as well as much confusion, about how to tackle healthcare i can't simply say that because the federal government hasn't done a good job at managing other responsibilities that we should simply stick the responsibility of managing healthcare on the state/local governments. the idea is to put folks into office that will resolve these inefficiencies that result in poor policies & wasteful spending. to suggest that healthcare should simply be handled at the state/local level is just a form of "passing the buck." we’ve got problems at the federal level that require fixing & we need the *right* people at the federal level to enact some effective change.

Paul said...

hi brian,

i appreciate your thoughtful idea in looking into local politics. my friend, i have too many skeletons in the closet that i wish to remain in the closet :)

i may look more closer into campaign volunteering. nowadays though, it is almost hard to tell the difference between both parties. a while back, i was listening to walter&johnson, they were interviewing someone who is starting an organization to help find the next presidential candidate in 2012. any natural born citizen can sign up (that leaves me out). they randomly put you in small groups (almost like focus groups) and the group votes on 1 person who thinks is best to be president. that candidate is grouped with other selected candidates. the process is repeated till there is 1 candidate left. i thought it was pretty cool hearing about it.

i am sorry if my previous response is perceived as passing the responsibility over to state/local govt on healthcare. not what i wanted to mean at all. both federal & state spend a large amount of their budget on public healthcare. i believe that the fed govt should have some role in public healthcare. however each state has different healthcare issues. for example, the southern border states (eg. TX AR CA NM), there is a much larger population of illegal immigrants than say N. Dakota which consumes billions of $$ on annual healthcare costs. since each state have different healthcare issues, how can we say that we just need one idea from either hillary or obama is going to work and we should allow them to spend hundreds of billions of $$ for their ideas, never tested and tried. wait a minute, hillary's proposed healthcare program is much like massachusett's universal healthcare program passed in 2006 under gov romney. it has large govt subsidies, employer mandates, penalty/fee if you don't purchase healthcare, but only massachusetts has 500,000 uninsured residents vs estimate 45mil in US. mass' healthcare is having big problems; their premiums are not going down but going way up! at least it was one idea that's tried and tested on a much smaller scale, a state-scale model. now say we have 50 small-scaled models each testing out a different idea. then one state finds a good working healthcare model for them. then another state decides to duplicate the same healthcare model and it works for them too. the process repeats itself until 50 states have somewhat a similar universal healthcare model. the universal state-scaled healthcare model, given its success across all states, gets overhauled into a federal-scaled universal healthcare program for federal & states. i know healthcare is way more complex than my elementary idea, but i hope you see my point. just like canada's universal healthcare was based on a smaller quebec healthcare program only canada just ran with it. it didn't give other provinces to test it out, duplicate success or find failures, and/or make any improvements. if i my general physician (gr) told me i needed to get an MRI, i could schedule one as early as the next day; in canada, the average wait is 10 weeks from gr to mri. the proposed healthcare programs laid out by hillary & obama are not different than canada, england, and france. if all these country's healthcare system are failing too and they're trying to go back and become more privatized like the u.s., why is obama/hillary wanting u.s. to follow similar path as these other countries did which we know the outcome. maybe the answer is not universal healthcare, or at least their proposed universal healthcare programs.

peace my friend.