Ben Buchwalter


Friday Brain Dump

There is A LOT to talk about this week! Let’s start with…… Obama! (who else?)

  • Fresh off successfully passing of the economic stimulus bill – Obama’s first Presidential priority, Obama has started to focus on foreign affairs. This week, Obama visited Canada and promised to send 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan. I am not sure how I feel about this. Sometimes I wonder if a progressive must advocate for one war (Afghanistan) in order to oppose another (Iraq) with legitimacy. Obama will likely feel some resistence from more liberal congressmen and senators about this decision. I wonder if it’s a mistake to deliberately engage in something as messy as Afghanistan. Clearly, the primary objective of the Obama Presidency is to turn the economy around. If he does this, Obama will be re-elected. If he does not, Obama will write another book in four years. Presidents are often forced to engage in foreign affairs to the detriment of their pet objectives. But why do it willingly? Hopefully we can walk (fix the economy) and chew gum (fix the world) at the same time.
  • Senator Patrick Leahy’s call for a truth commission to investigate the wrongdoings of the Bush Presidency seems to be gaining traction. I was initially skeptical of this idea. Why spend time and effort looking backwards when we have so many important things to do? But I think I’m coming around. I am legitimately disturbed by the Bush administration’s tacit approval of torture and general abuse of the Presidency. Holding him accountable and those who help devise the scheme could restore respect to the Presidency and improve American credibility worldwide.
  • It looks like Kathleen Sebelius – the popular Democratic Governor of Kansas – is the top choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, the position intended for Tom Daschle. Though I like Sebelius, this is a mistake. In fact, it’s a mistake because I like Sebelius. She was a huge favorite to win the Senate seat being vacated by Sam Brownback in 2010. Kansans love her strong moderate record in the conservative-leaning state. Sticking her at HHS could secure the Kansas seat for another Republican wacko. This dilemma leads Chris Bowers to ask, “Are Cabinet Positions Better than Statewide Office?” The answer seems to be yes.
  • The New York Post is run by idiots. That’s not any sort of new or original conclusion, I just thought it should be said. The ultra-conservative paper’s first response to the racist cartoon it ran this week was to condemn civil rights leaders like Al Sharpton for grandstanding and seeking attention on this issue. Classy. The paper’s second response was to issue this non apology. Whether or not the cartoon was intended to be racist, its incredibly stupid and offensive and requires a genuine apology.
  • Check out this map! Cool idea for regional high speed train lines. Via Rachel Maddow’s twitter page.
  • Matt Cooper says the Democrats picked crappy replacements in IL, NY, and DE. Bennet in Colorado is alright, though. I said this once too!
  • As you all know, this weekend is the Oscars. I am very excited, as this is by far my favorite award show. And I like award shows. Nate Silver has predicted the winners based on his highly successful method for predicting the 2008 election. Also, the Times’ David Carr has predicted winners. Both call Slumdog Millionaire the clear winner. While it was a good movie, it wasn’t as great as Milk. You heard it here, Milk will win best picture. Best Actor is the hardest category. Penn or Rourke? Though Sean Penn was probably better, I’m going to say Rourke. Everyone loves a comeback. Also, Danny Boyle (Director), Winslett (Actress), Ledger (Sup actor), and Cruz (Sup actress). On other categories, Benj Button and Slumdog will nearly sweep. Dark Knight for sound categories.

Buchwalter OUT!

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Here’s my take on your points:
1) Afghanistan: correct…he’s trying to show he’s not a wimp but will be a total mess
2) Leahy: incorrect…will be divisive at a time when LaHood and Holder are causing stupid divisiveness
3) Sebelius: incorrect…Obama needs a strong cabinet now and she’s solid
4) NYPost: correct
5) Map: who cares
6) Cooper: he’s right. Bunch of ninnies
7) Oscars:
– nice try with Milk but it’s a Slumdog kind of year
– Best Actor: not Rourke…foreign press liked him so rank and file americans won’t go there
– Others look pretty good but don’t think Benj Button will win anything

Comment by cbuckbuchie

Three things.

First, I think you’re underestimating how powerful it would be to have six(+?) years of a Democratic senator in Kansas. You’re absolutely right that Obama needs a strong cabinet – especially one that will be easily confirmed. But my hunch is that he could find someone else great for the HHS spot.

Second, I like the map because building the country’s infrastructure is a good way to create a lot of jobs while providing an essential service.

Finally, your argument about Rourke is essentially the reason I think Milk will win. The foreign press has slobbered all over Slumdog – so Americans will want to go a different direction.

But then again, it does seem to be tilting in the ‘Dog’s favor.

Comment by Ben




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