Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

08AMA goes to the gym: stop the presses! has a great piece on the media's Obamessiah worship today. It's by rogue conservative Glenn Beck, a guy I really respect even when I disagree with him.

After some great mockery of the AP's July 17 piece on Obama's gym habits (have they mentioned that McCain is old?), Beck writes:

Of course, anecdotal evidence that Obama probably polls somewhere around 95 percent with members of the media has been around for years, but now there are some actual statistics to back it up.

According to the Tyndall Report, a service that monitors the three network news broadcasts, ABC, NBC, and CBS have spent a total of 114 of their national airtime minutes covering Obama since June. They've spent 48 minutes on his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain.

And then you have the almost embarrassing way the media have gushed over Obama's trip to the Middle East. There were 200 requests for the 40 press seats available on Obama's plane, and all three top network anchors (Katie Couric, Charles Gibson and Brian Williams) made the trip and are broadcasting live from each country Obama visits.

You can't buy that kind of publicity. And neither could McCain.

McCain made a trip to the Middle East in March and didn't have to worry about finding seats for any network anchors, because none of them wanted to go. And while Obama was flying from country to country this week in a plane packed with celebrity reporters, McCain flew to an event in New Hampshire. After his Boeing 737 landed in Manchester, he stepped out onto the tarmac and glanced at the one reporter who'd bothered to show up. Yes, one.

And then you have the print media's fascination with Obama. He's been on the cover of U.S. News and World Report, GQ, Rolling Stone, Us Weekly (twice), Time and Newsweek (a combined 12 times) and will soon be on the cover of Men's Vogue for the second time. To be fair, Men's Vogue also did an in-depth story on John McCain but, strangely, a photo of McCain didn't make their cover.

Why the disparity? According to Men's Vogue deputy editor Ned Martel, there's a simple explanation: Obama "is what is called in the magazine world an 'interest driver.' " Translation: Obama sells magazines.

I don't criticize any individual for supporting Barackstar. There's a lot to like; there's a lot I like, as a matter of fact. I think he'd be a really interesting presidential candidate--in 2012 or 2016, when he actually has enough experience and knowledge of foreign policy to be qualified for the job. But anyone, anyone, who thinks the national news media isn't drowning in their own drool over him is either blind, completely partisan, or so in love with the Obamessiah themselves that both forest and trees are just a blur of green.

It's not just McCain supporters who see this; can I get an amen from the Hillary folks? Hope-ama captured the imagination and attention of influential media figures who have worked tirelessly (and for free) to appoint him the Democratic candidate, and who are now working just as hard to assign him the presidency. All this is happening despite a serious lack of experience and even greater dearth of specifics, all of which apparently doesn't stand for much if you can speak well and look presidential. Perhaps we should be voting for Kevin Kline, who played the president in Dave. Or Michael Douglas from The American President. Oh, wait, he has to be black. Fine, Morgan Freeman from Deep Impact. Any of those three gentlemen have, honestly, not much less foreign policy experience than Obama does.

A balanced view of Barack Obama's foreign policy statements, viewed in the context of the past half century of history, reveals a man who is either criminally naive, dangerously ignorant about the politics of the Middle East, or lying through his teeth about his plans in order to get your vote. In today's telepolitical climate, I'm pretty certain it's option three. In today's telepolitical climate, I'm pretty certain it won't matter a bit as long as the TV coverage remains as unbalanced as it has for the past year.

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  • At 7/24/2008 3:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...



  • At 7/24/2008 5:11 PM , Blogger Scott Wichmann said...

    "Oh, wait, he has to be black??"

    Boy, you and Mister Beck are just filled with outrage over this horrible state of affairs. "Too much media coverage, darn it all!! I wish they'd get this smart black guy off of my TV!!"

    The first presumptive African-American nominee in the history of this country, and he gets too much pub for your taste.

    Well, in my mind-- so does Brett 'friggin' Favre.

    What are you, an eighty-five year old in a nursing home eating cream corn bitching at Alex Trebek because he's reading the questions too fast??

    Here's an idea-- change the channel. Don't buy magazines. It isn't just Obama, you goober-- it's the state of what passes for journalism these days. Talk about two whiners with absolutely nothing to bitch about-- Glen Beck should have you on the show tonight!!

    There are things I vehemently disagree with Obama about (His flip-flop on FISA & retroactive immunity, for one) and the congressional and senate democrats as a whole are a total disappointment in every way. But Obama is none of the slimy BS you just tried to paint him as. You'd vote for him in 2012?? really?? Oh really?? I bet. Not in a million kajillion years.

    (By the way, I read that article in STYLE's back page too. Why don't you get some ideas which are, you know, YOURS??)

    Funny, with your penchant for casually tossing out the word 'Criminal' to describe people, places, things and ideas that don't
    sit well with you(Darwinian Evolution is 'Criminally Bad' Science-- Obama's platform is 'Criminally Naive') That is, except when they are, you know, actually criminal (Mr Bush's Warrantless wiretapping, Torture, rendition, Illegal Preemptive war founded on demonstrably falsified and fabricated intel, etc) It would be interesting if you ever criticized the Bush Administration for anything, on your blog, like ever. (oh, right-- he's not tough enough on immigration. Other than that, he's a total success, but he's the victim of a Liberal conspiracy to paint him as a bad leader.)

    You know, since we're speaking so honestly and openly without our political blinders on. Your 'Radical Moderate' platform views is largely Bush-free when it comes to doling out criticism. Bush rules!!...Yet Obama will have us all eating out of the same pile of rice in the center of town. What a joke.

    As for being 'Criminally naive??' and 'Ignorant of foreign policy??' Dude, Mr. McCain just got his recent Anbar-awakening-surge timeline completely bass-ackwards, then he talked about the "deteriorating state of affairs on the Iraq-Pakistan Border"... Those two countries of course, being separated by-- IRAN!!

    ...But boy, I tell you, that Obama-- what a dangerous, polyanna-- a liberal elitist who thinks he knows it all!! We don't want no smarty pantses 'round here, no sir!! We like 'em accessible and highly mistake-prone!! They can do whatever they like, Long as they project an old, moneyed, and-- most importantly-- lily-white image of strength!!

    Has Obama made lame jokes about "Bombing Iran" (to the tune of the beach boy's 'Barbara Ann' What juvenile crap) or US cigarette exports "Killing Them (Iranians) Faster"?? McCain has!!

    Gee, how very Presidential, Senator McCain!! You've obviously got that 'Diplomacy Thing' down pat!!...Oh, I know , Andrew, you've got problems with McCain too, but this Obama guy is just plain too dangerous.

    And black.

    Never Mind that the Iraqi government strongly endorsed Obama's withdrawal timetable last week while 'Mr. Mc-100-Year- Occupation' was trotting out his tired 'Democrats want us to lose'

    Yeah, Obama has horribly underdeveloped foreign policy skills... yet he already has the Iraqi PM on the same page with him. What a danger to the children of the free world.

    Come to think of it, you're right-- Americans get too much of Obama's six-pack, and not enough coverage of McCain's idiotic off-the-cuff blather that embarrasses his campaign daily...

    But of course, you're a fair and balanced blogger, and that was the next point you were about to make, no?? The "McCain's-gaffes-get-no- real-public-criticism" Take??

    Let's hear how you really feel about that one!!

    I'm out.

  • At 7/24/2008 10:18 PM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    For my part, while I have no trouble with watching Barack Obama on television and do believe it's true that the media have become genuine sycophants in their support of him, I can understand the historical significance of his campaign. It's understandable there would be more coverage of him, though I would only argue it's for all the wrong reasons. As an American of mixed racial heritage myself (my maternal grandmother was half Shawnee), Obama's race is no issue to me. Scott, I would argue that labeling political conservatives racist is both wrong-minded and as divisive as the racism we both abhor. I am a political conservative on the basis of my belief in capitalism, not socialism, as our preferred economic model for government support.

    It is exactly that belief in capitalism, and that our government should play a key role in both supporting and defending it, that I would take exception with Mr. Obama. On a personal level, I really like the man. I not only like him but I respect him. Look, I get stressed by my manager job for a health insurance company web support department; I cannot imagine the pressures of running for president. Through it all, Mr. Obama's intelligence, optimisim and genuine LEADERSHIP have been apparent to me. I have the utmost respect for that.

    In the end, though, I'll have to make a choice when I vote. Are these the two I'd choose as my finalists? Probably not...though while I would definitely consider voting for Obama, Scott, I would not in a hundred lifetimes even CONSIDER voting for Hillary Clinton. I've never seen a more duplicitous, self-serving, pandering, hateful, and evil political operative than that woman. Richard Nixon had NOTHING on that woman. So, when she was finally beaten back into the hell hole she crawled out from, I breathed a sigh of relief.

    At some point you would hope the American people would get beyond black vs. white, young vs. old, pro-life versus pro-choice and start making a decision based on these two men's positions. And right now, though John McCain is far from sexy and lacks the immense charm of my commander-in-chief, Ronald Reagan, I agree more with his positions on fighting terrorism and defending our capitalist interests than I would agree with Barack. Do I want troops in Iraq for 100 years? Of course not! Do I believe he McCain really meant that? No - though presidential candidate miscues get amplified tremendously, and I would argue that McCain's mistakes get more press than Obama's.

    Here's my view of the world folks: In place of the threat of communism, now defunct thanks to Mr. Reagan, we have the threat of terrorism creating economic anarchy. The airline industry nearly crumbled in 2002; uncertainty over possible terrorist attacks led to lowered investment and depressed market conditions, and a lower stock market as a result. Mutual funds comprised of stocks are THE source of America's wealth and our generation's (and future generations') retirement plans. My 401K plan IS my pension; meeting with our financial planner, Carol and have been advised not to even consider Social Security into the equation (advice we had already factored in before meeting with an advisor).

    Islamic terrorists know full well that taking down the American government (or ANY government not supporting extreme Islam views...let's face it, they hate Europeans as well) will not happen through their terrorist activity. But disrupting our ECONOMY is the way to create anarchy.

    I choose not to live my life in fear. I choose hope and optimism. But I'm realistic. I believe in fighting terrorism to the very end. I've seen it in the Olympics, in 1972; I had just arrived at my first duty station in Germany for the Air Force in 1983 when I heard about the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut; my Air Force specialty included making color autopsy photos of terrorist bombing victims of a Red Army faction attack in Frankfurt; and then there's the USS Cole, and the '93 WTC attack, and of course September 11th...and I've missed quite a few.

    We are a capitalist country and our wealth depends upon free enterprise to create all the things we enjoy in our modern lives today as well as creating a future for our old age and for our next generation. All this depends upon our commitment to crush terrorism around the world. I will vote for the candidate I believe most strongly supports that position. Right now that looks to be John McCain. If Mr. Obama can persuade me otherwise, he has my vote.

  • At 7/25/2008 2:15 AM , Blogger Scott Wichmann said...

    You're absolutely right, Frank,-- In rereading what I wrote, I was wrong to infer racism on the part of Andrew or anyone else-- I wrote in a huff and should have had a more judicious sense of the impact of those words. Yet it is something I feel very strongly about, because
    to a certain segment of society, that's what it boils down to: The old white guy versus the black quasi-muslim sounding liberal elitist. (and to be fair, there are many who will vote for Obama just because he's black)

    I apologize if that part of my criticism offends, which I'm sure it did.

    On the other hand, though, you completely dismiss McCain's "Gaffes" as as though they are nothing to worry about. do you seriously think that a guy who jokes-- in public-- about bombing innocent people should be considered presidential material?? Given the launch codes and all?? Really?? These aren't just one-time things we're talking about, man!! McCain thinks this shit is laugh-out-loud funny!! The guy doesn't know the difference between Sunni and Shia in Iran or Iraq (or what countries they border)and yet he's the one who will best protect us?? How, exactly??

    Seriously, Frank-- I think you skipped over that part of my criticism of McCain!! those are four instances (not nearly 'overblown' enough, if you ask me) that, if committed by Mr. Obama, he'd be nailed to the wall by the right as not having done his homework and not being serious about the job.

    As for economic terrorism, we don't have to worry about the terrorists doing it-- we've done it to ourselves!! We gorged ourselves on the subprime mortgage market and we're in debt to the eyeballs, yet here comes MR GOVERNMENT CHECKBOOK to bail out the entire banking and Mortgage industries. That's pretty Rooseveltian now, isn't it?? The government has it's hands moving everywhere trying to plug the leaks caused by the private sector's irresponsibility... And this a 'Conservative' administration?? It seems to me like the government treasure chest is some kind of wall street change purse!! Who are we kidding here??

    The Conservative principles I admire are based on the idea of personal responsibility. The banking and mortgage industry showed no responsibility at all, extending credit wherever they could, and now the whole economy is in shambles just so a few wall street fat cats could make an extra billion.

    There will always be Terrorism. But it's nice to see a Presidential Candidate (Mr Obama) who actually wants to catch Bin Laden and bring him to justice, and actually talks about making it happen!! Funny that almost 8 years after 9/11, this douchebag is still on the loose and yet Bush is 'Tough on Terror.' Even though Bush says "I don't spend a lot of time thinking about him." ...Oh, that's nice.

    I admire McCain's service greatly, as I admire and respect yours, Frank. But I feel very strongly that it is time for actual intelligence to replace bluster. I think there is a way to fight terrorism smarter and more efficiently than the way George Bush and John McCain envision doing it. Barack Obama so far has demonstrated that he has the capacity to understand a complex world and it's cultural --as well as geographical-- borders.

    Plus, he has nice abs. And his wife is making him quit smoking. I read it in the checkout line at the grocery store.

  • At 7/25/2008 10:42 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    That was WAY more vitriolic than I generally expect from you, Scotto.

    I never said I'd vote for Obama in 2012, I said something I've been saying for a year and a half: that's he'd be a very interesting candidate in 2012 when he actually has some foreign policy knowledge that doesn't come from his college textbooks.

    I would think that, as someone who supported Dennis Kucinich in the primaries, it would be as obvious to you as it is to me that Obama received ridiculous and unprecedented amounts of media slurping in the primaries. And yes, I believe it's partially because he's black. A white candidate with his credentials (or lack thereof) would be lucky to win a couple primaries, especially when he spent so much of his early campaign (not to mention his entire state government career) carefully revealing NO POSITIONS. Hillary's a pathological liar and flip-flopper, but Obama is a hider. He clearly doesn't want the American people to know his positions on anything controversial. That makes me incredibly nervous.

    I note that you have no defense against the facts of the matter Beck brings up: the 2.5:1 disparity in media coverage between Obama and McCain in June. I don't give half a crap if you like McCain or not (and I LOATHE him), there is SIMPLY. NO. WAY. that is ANYTHING resembling real journalism. Are you going to similarly have no problem some time in the future when the media falls in love with some candidate you hate and fear and hands HIM the keys to the kingdom? The danger is not necessarily Obama, it's the precedent this campaign sets for media coverage and dialogue in the future.

    I fear that Obama is forgiven for a vague and shallow campaign because of the "soft bigotry of low expectations." HISTORY IS NOT ENOUGH OF A REASON TO VOTE FOR SOMEONE. Yes, I want to see a minority president in my lifetime, but I want it to be because HE OR SHE IS THE BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB, not because of electoral affirmative action.

    I can't stand John McCain, but he has much more of a sense of who Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is and what he has promised to do to America (cleanse it and Israel with holy fire to awaken the Mahdi to bathe the world in blood) than does Obama, who has promised to meet with this genocidal madman without conditions.

    I've got nothing for you on the GWBA. I've been looking toward 2008 for two years, so spending a lot of time criticizing that particular batch of Washington criminals and incompetents, few of whom would be involved in the next administration, just isn't compelling writing to me. I haven't written much criticizing the incompetent criminals of the Democratic congress, either, so it's equal opportunity silence.

    Also, thanks for accusing me of intellectual plagiarism. I suppose it's impossible that two people with opinions you don't like might just agree with each other without stealing ideas.

  • At 7/25/2008 11:22 AM , Anonymous Phil Hamm said...

    Experience Smixperience. How much foreign policy experience did Jimmy Carter who was the first person ever to get the Arabs and Jews to even sit down at a table have? How much foreign policy experience did Ronald Reagan, whose foreign policy helped end the cold war, have? Not to mention Bill Clinton? Obama, serving in the Senate, probably has more foreign policy experience than any of the many former state governers who have been elected president in the last few decades.

    There's absolutely no way Mr. Obama or anyone's foreign policy can be as detrimental to the world's view of the USA as the current Mr. Bush.

    The number one thing a president has to do is pus good people in key cabinet positions, and I'm sure either of these two guys will do that fine.

  • At 7/25/2008 11:24 AM , Anonymous phil hamm said...

    "pus" should be "put". Unless of course the people in the cabinet have sores......

  • At 7/25/2008 1:36 PM , Blogger Dave T said...

    Wow -- I'm sorry I didn't know this debate was raging out here in the blog-o-sphere. I would have liked to chime in earlier but am happy that Scott has covered most of my substantive thoughts on most of the issues (I guess we "liberals" are all the same...) only expressed them more cleverly and with less bile than I would have. I will add a couple of thoughts though:

    Andrew, you started out talking about the media and then somehow transitioned into actual positions of the candidate. Judging people based on their media portrayal or coverage is a dangerous path. The 4th estate is its own beast and it is feeding the ravenous interest in the country for a young, dynamic candidate -- as it did when JFK was running. Rational people shouldn't let that sway their opinion. Not to piss off you Reagan lovers, but that senile old dog got by on "charm" (Frank's word) as much or more than anyone since.

    McCain similarly has skated by on his "maverick" status without people looking at his actual positions. He's hewn fairly close to the Republican mainstream and in the places he's been a true maverick (ex.: immigration), he has since "flip-flopped"...or should I say, modified his position. Andrew, you say that Obama "clearly doesn't want the American people to know his positions on anything controversial." I'd counter that McCain has done -- and continues to do -- just as much hiding. Most women don't know that he's anti-choice and he's been in no hurry to correct their impression.

    And I have to agree with the deep, deep irony in using "criminal" in describing anyone in comparison to the current administration that has flaunted the law with such blatant disregard and has been so incompetent while doing so that even the conservative Supreme Court keeps handing it its ass.

  • At 7/25/2008 2:29 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    Dave, I never actually transitioned into any of Obama's positions. I transitioned into the fact that the media spends more time talking about his abs and his charisma than about his positions or the serious lack of foreign policy experience he has in comparison with most of his competitors. I'm pretty sure the exact quote was: "All this is happening despite a serious lack of experience and even greater dearth of specifics, all of which apparently doesn't stand for much if you can speak well and look presidential."

    Unlike Phil, I think that experience matters a lot, not despite but because of the mess Bush has made. None of President Obama's advisors get to be there when he has the one-on-one meeting he has proposed with Ahmedinejad. And Obama has said a lot of things about the Middle East that betray a serious lack of history-reading, none of which he is being criticized for anywhere in the mainstream media. Maybe I would trust junior Senator Obama's foreign policy instincts better if he wasn't keeping his cards this close to the vest this late in the game. Maybe I would trust his potential cabinet appointments if he didn't have long associations with William Ayers (Weather Underground), Tony Rezko (extorted millions from Illinois teachers) and Rashid Khalidi (tied to the PLO).

    And please, before you list a bunch of shit McCain has done wrong, let me remind you that I AM NOT A MCCAIN SUPPORTER. I don't have conservative questions and concerns, I just have questions and concerns, and Obama is being held above question to a degree that no presidential candidate has been in my lifetime. EVEN IF I WAS VOTING FOR OBAMA, THAT WOULD CONCERN ME. And it should concern you too. THAT IS ALL I AM SAYING.

    You write "I guess we 'liberals' are the same" with irony, but my experience in conversation and on this blog lately is that liberals CAN be counted on to do the following:

    1) When I criticize Obama or anything Obama-related, they assume I'm a neo-con.

    2) When I criticize Obama or anything Obama-related, they treat me like a racist.

    3) When I criticize Obama or anything Obama-related, they attack McCain.

    4) When I criticize Obama or anything Obama-related, they criticize Bush.

    It's a wonderful example of self-fulfilling prophecy: point out that the general feeling on the left toward Obama resembles religious fervor more than anything intellectual--a point well made by the ultra-liberal Slate magazine months ago--and you get a vehement response resembling religious fervor more than anything intellectual.

    The great irony is that I've had a big progressive eye-opening on a lot of subjects lately; I'm leaning father left than I ever have.

    I maintain that experience is more important than hope in dealing with hostile foreign dictators and theocrats (see Kennedy and Khrushchev in 1961, where the Soviet leader was emboldened by his adversary's greenness, a situation that greatly exacerbated the Cuban Missile Crisis the next year). I maintain that I would have liked to see a more seasoned Obama run in 2012. I further maintain that a news media this far up a candidate's ass is bad for both parties.

    And if you'll read further, Dave, you will in fact find that I have indeed used the word "criminal" to describe the GWBA.

  • At 7/25/2008 2:37 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    Missed this quote of your, Dave:

    "The 4th estate is its own beast and it is feeding the ravenous interest in the country for a young, dynamic candidate -- as it did when JFK was running. Rational people shouldn't let that sway their opinion."

    You know I love you, Dave, but this is one of the silliest things I've ever read. Since when do political candidates give a crap if the ballots are cast by "rational" people? If we had only rational people voting in the primaries, we'd be looking at a Kucinich versus Paul election, and we never would have seen Bush.

    The whole point of the media monster is to get money, and you don't get money from people who watch PBS and TLC, you get it from people who watch TBS and T&A. Joe and Jane Six-Pack's votes weighs as much in the box as your more erudite one does, and J6P's vote is much easier and less complicated to court. All you have to do is play on fear (Global warming! Gas prices!) or fear (Islamic terrorism! Gas prices!)

  • At 7/25/2008 4:45 PM , Blogger Dave T said...

    I'm sorry you haven't ever read anything sillier than my statements about the press, Andrew. [Insert dig about Bush's statements about the threat from Iraq before the war here.]

    What I was trying to say, albeit quickly and perhaps clumsily, is that I am not particularly concerned about who the media is fawning over and how much. Eight years ago, the media was fawning over McCain. Howard Dean was getting all of the press four years ago. I don't think there is a direct correlation between media coverage and political success. And I think complaining about how the press is behaving is beyond silly, verging on idiotic. I wish they'd stop covering young starlets like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and assisting them in trashing their own lives when they really don't need the help. I wish they'd leave Brad and Angelina alone, for heaven’s sake. Are they going to? Sure, right after Kucinich takes the Presidential oath.

    The press is fawning over Obama right now, but if he screws up, you can bet they’ll turn on him in a heartbeat. And the stuff he has gotten beaten up on – Rev. Wright, the friggin flag pin! – has been asinine. If Obama is being careful, I’d say he has every reason to be and that it actually shows prudent judgment.

    I have dyed-in-the-wool Conservative family members who wouldn’t vote for Obama if the press covered him 24/7 and insinuated he’d walked across the Mediterranean on his recent European tour. What I am saying is that “rational” people won’t vote based on who’s on the most magazine covers. That’s not to say that “rational” people won’t vote based on any number of other intangibles – who’s the most charming, who “seems” the smartest, who they trust more, who seems the most like a “regular guy,” etc. But it seems to me that a large swath of the American electorate votes based on predetermined predilections that are not swayed in any significant way by press coverage.

    Besides my facetious parenthetical dig, I have tried not to fall into the reactions you describe, Andrew, because I think you make an excellent point about the tendencies to react by attacking. But I also don’t understand what kind of reaction you expect given the statements you made in your original post that seem to argue that there’s a conspiracy going on in the media to anoint Obama president and that poses YOUR view of Obama as the “balanced” view (where you have the hubris to express a knowledge of the past half-century of history that is escaping anyone else who is supporting Obama). My simple response: I don’t agree with your conclusions or with how you arrive at them. Call me unbalanced.

  • At 7/25/2008 8:08 PM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    It's become quite a firestorm herein, and I've been out of the loop due to travel, so I'll just respond to a few of the above concerns:

    Scott - I can appreciate the concern about McCain's ill-fated jokes. It's perhaps my biggest area of concern about him. While Obama may have been more calculating, it's not enough for me to outweigh my concerns about his positions (yes Dave, we weren't going to get into that, I know)...still, aside from political positions we should use to weigh candidates and decide upon our votes, I find it alarming that Obama's race and the ignorance about his religion have been a real factor for many folks on the right (and realistically, for some on the left too). However, Scott, we agree completely on the mortgage crisis. It's one of the few areas where I see government didn't do enough to reign in free market forces gone awry.

    Dave - as for Reagan, he did indeed employ charm more than sheer intellect. I believe the same could be said of one Slick Willy Clinton, and of Mr. Carter as well. This is why these fellows were great politicians, if not great presidents among them (who was or wasn't is another debate). Having lived through most of the Cold War and seeing it won, though, I believe Reagan's true genius was in the knowledge that butter would BEAT guns: Capitalist-Democratic America could outspend Socialist-Communist Soviet Union. Ultimately their government and their threat crumbled under the weight of the arms race. The huge deficits under Reagan were quickly vanquished in the post-Cold War economic boom that followed.

    Fascinating dialogue guys, whether we agree on the points or not. Good stuff, good stuff.

  • At 7/25/2008 10:42 PM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    BTW Dave: I'm well aware that many folks don't share my reverence for Reagan. He's the only president in my lifetime I can say I truly loved. I wept when he passed. I'm pretty sure you didn't care for him as president (correct me if I'm wrong, I could be off base here), and I know many hold him in contempt. For me, though, I doubt another president in my lifetime will evoke anything approaching the same affection I had for Dutch. Believe me, I'm not alone on that one.

    It seems to me that many of Bill Clinton's supporters have the same sentiment towards him as I had for Reagan. I understand it though I don't share it. The one distinction I believe between folks like myself and those who are Clinton-philes is that I think many of the Friends of Bill don't understand the animosity so many millions of Americans have towards him. But, it's pretty small potatoes compared to the hatred aimed at his wife. (Is it true she actually has testicles? And that they're bigger than HIS???)

    One more thing Scott: Yes, Obama has the best abs since JFK. If Obama is inaugurated (pretty good chance of it...better odds than I'd have laid on Gore or Kerry), I would appreciate the fact that the man insists on staying fit. It would surely make the president more productive.

    Also, we've not talked about the prospective first ladies. Personally, I think BOTH of them are hot. In fact, I'm working out an elaborate sexual fantasy right NOW involving both of them. Perhaps there's a perverse blog somewhere where I can start a string about that??? ("Dear Presidential Penthouse Forum: I NEVER thought something like this would happen to an average voter like ME, but one night recently as I was strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue...")

  • At 7/27/2008 12:09 AM , Blogger Doug Jones said...

    Wow. Here I was, just noodling around among links on Dave's site, trying to get a feel for the different kind of blogs local artists do. My wife Harriett gave my a website for Christmas-- something I probably should have had a long time ago--to advertize my plays, classes I teach, and the copywriting, editing and proofreading services I offer. It's still under construction (with help from Robyn O'Neill), but check it out if you wish at

    Anyway, I suddenly stumbled from Dave's thoughts on theatre and Robyn's pics of children and Scotty's kind words for Liz Marks into this political firestorm!

    While everyone is entitled to his opinion, no one is entitled to be wrong about his facts. As they say when families get together for holidays, it's probably better if we don't talk about religion and politics. We all live and work in the same theatrical community. I'm not saying I'm never up for a spirited debate. But does it really serve any of us--either individually or as a community--to resort to vitriol in a format everyone with a computer can access, or to react instead taking a few deep breaths (better yet sleeping on it)and then responding?

    Color me naive. My website has blog capablities, and I'm trying to decide if or how to use them. I thought blogs by local theatre artists would be--mostly--about theatre. I can find this kind of anger just about anywhere else.

    My favorite quote, by a Jewish philosopher, is: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

    If you have any thoughts on my thoughts, please e-mail them to me at or via my website. I welcome them, but I don't want to be part of a firestorm--unless you really want to share them with everyone.

    Best wishes (sincerely),
    Douglas Jones

  • At 7/27/2008 8:55 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...


    Said vitriol has me determined to, again and permanently, swear off politics here.

  • At 7/27/2008 9:03 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    "I wish they'd leave Brad and Angelina alone, for heaven’s sake. Are they going to? Sure, right after Kucinich takes the Presidential oath."

    That was a great line, by the way.

  • At 7/28/2008 1:49 PM , Blogger Dave T said...

    Just thought I'd say that I've always appreciated the relatively civil discourse between people with very different views on your blog, Andrew.

    You might be interested in this study that just came out:

    Interesting quote from the study's author:
    "This information should blow away this silly assumption that more coverage is always better coverage,"

  • At 7/28/2008 2:46 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    David, that's a really interesting article. It's a bit vague on what qualifies as "tougher" or "negative" coverage, though. I can, of course, only speak anecdotally, but I can't recall seeing any of this negative commentary for Obama myself, though the rosy coverage seems to be less in the general than it was in the primary.

    I fear that Chris Matthews' "shivers up my leg" comment is going to be the eternal example of the media's relationship with Obama, regardless of anything else that might happen. That was a REALLY unfortunate statement.

    Also, over on the sidebar of that article are two interesting things: 1) "McCain has spot removed from his face" and 2) "Obama visits doctor to treat sore hip," which raises the questions: what the hell is wrong with McCain's face, and shouldn't it be the OLD guy who needs work on his hip?

    Also, this is an interesting article linked in the one you pointed out, Dave:
    The "media exposure by party" graph is interesting, though the fact that there's nearly three times as much coverage of Democrats as Republicans can largely be attributed to the fact that they're just much more interesting and entertaining.


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