Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Follow-Up: Obama vs. McCain/Palin/Economy

Many thanks to Wretchard for linking to my previous post, and also thanks to all the commenters both at his site and mine. I would like to reply to some of the issues raised by the various comments:
  • My religion & background: I was born in India, came to America, when I was three, and am from a Hindu family. I would consider myself religious, believing in God, trying to read and grapple with scriptures, and attending our religious functions and festivals regularly.
  • Am I a misogynist because I oppose both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin being anywhere near the Presidency?: This I must take exception to. I gave my reasons for opposing both of these in previous posts, and those are my reasons. I will elaborate on Sarah Palin below. But would I oppose a woman for President just because she is a woman? Of course not. If Sen. McCain genuinely wanted a female Republican, he could have picked Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Condoleeza Rice. If he needed someone young and very attractive, how about Michelle Malkin (is she >35 to pass the age threshold?)? Personally, I was hoping in August McCain would pick Bobby Jindal who is much more accomplished than Sarah Palin and who I predict will do much more in Louisiana than she has ever done or will do in Alaska.
  • Obama's Record vs. his words: This is a fair criticism, that I focus more on what Obama says. He has little national legislative record of note or accomplishment. He has been a party line voter most of the time in the Senate. As I noted, ordinarily I probably would have gone with McCain based on his honor, service, tax policy, record of bipartisanship, experience, and toughness. But I believe the issues I raised about McCain-Palin are serious ones.
  • Am I anti-religion or anti-Christian? As noted above, I am not anti-religion. But I do value the separation of church and state, both because the state can corrupt the church and doctrines of religious infallibility can destroy state policy. And as a scientist, I do think creationism should not be introduced into school science classes, and I have legitimate worries that Palin, either as a VP, future President, or future Republican nominee would further that cause. To digress, I think God created evolution and we should all leave it at that - the evolutionists who claim evolution contradicts God and the creationists who just blind themselves to all evidence that contradicts their claims are just plain stupid. The latter to me is the greater danger as they are far more numerous and destroying science education would condemn generations of students to not understanding how antibodies are generated in the body, how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, how drugs targeting epidemics can be generated by selective evolution in vitro and in vivo, and yes, how species share common ancestors. But to summarize my position, I do believe faith and reason are like a pair of shoes - you can go farther with both than just one.
  • Am I pro-Islamic fundamentalist?: This is frankly amusing. Please see my essay vault
- Myths of 9/11:
- Questions on the Quran I and II
- So called liberals need to face facts
- The only root cause
- Free Speech, Slavery, and Islam
- Defining a Religion
- Self-determination?

There are many others in the essay vault that may be of interest to the commenters

On Sen. McCain, I have great personal respect for him and would love to see him as a Secretary of State in an Obama administration - as a liberal hawk, his idea for a "League of Democracies" is nice (to self-promote, I tabled an idea for a Democratic Nations Against Terrorism Organization in this essay in 2006), and his toughness vis-a-vis Russia would be good to have, and it would be rich to have him be the point man on robust diplomacy with Iran. But his odd lack of focus on Pakistan and pretending its military is an ally is long past counterproductive; Pakistan is more of a failed state now after 7 years of Republican-backed military dictatorship. And Pakistan, along with Saudi Arabia, is the the real incubator of evil - let us remember Omar Sheikh, who beheaded Daniel Pearl, and had a key financial role in the 9/11 plot, has still not been extradited to the US. Let us remember AQ Khan who ran a Nukes R Us for years (kudos to the Bush administration for at least impeding his operation and hopefully shutting it down - we don't know because he remains at his home in Pakistan). Let us remember Pakistan's airlift of Taliban and likely al Qaeda fighters from Kunduz in the fall of 2001. And let us remember Pakistan's firing on US helicopters and allied soldiers just weeks ago despite our $11 billion in aid over the last 8 years.

On Obama vs. McCain on the economy, yes there are many unknowns on the economy. But Obama's team of Volcker/Rubin/Summers/Buffett gives confidence in hoping for a Clinton economy redux while McCain's team of Gramm and Fiorina gives considerable worry as to 4 more years of Bushonomics.

On Gov. Palin, several conservatives - George Will, Kathleen Parker, David Frum, David Brooks have noted charitably her frank inadequacy. Why did I say she is not bright or curious? George Bush may not pronounce words properly, but his sentences are understandable. The Couric interview shows she cannot string together sentences coherently or logically. And I don't think it's condescending to question the adequacy of the intelligence of someone who states she is ready to be a hearbeat from the Presidency who went to 5 colleges in 6 years to wind up with a journalism degree to become a sports reporter, and is now reported to believe dinosaurs and humans coexisted because she has seen footprints in dinosaur tracks. As far as curiosity, I would bet serious money that prior to this campaign, she has never read the National Review, Wall Street Journal, or the Weekly Standard, or any publication of substance outside of Alaska. I would even bet she has never read Belmont Club or LGF. Maybe she has not read them even during this campaign. So to put her in a Vice-Presidential role is plain irresponsible.

Notes on the Economy:

I hope yesterday's vote results in a better bill. I did not claim to be an expert in finance (I specifically noted I was not), but wanted to share what I felt were good ideas (and gave credit to those from whom I derived the ideas). I do not think McCain delivered his party, and to criticize Obama for injecting partisanship when it was McCain who stole the show last week is a bit rich. Anyway, I still think the key ideas I noted (suspending mark-to-market, buying equity stakes, restricting golden parachutes, using net worth certificates, buying and restructuring the underlying troubled mortgages, bringing back the trading tax while cutting long-term capital gains tax) are sound ones. And I still think the House Republican's plan for a government backed insurance plan for bad assets seems to me to be a setup for Fannie Mae meets AIG in the future. As for overall budget ideas (these are somewhat old), please see the following:
Focusing on Domestic Issues


At 12:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Ambati,

Your hopes for a "Clinton economy redux" are DOA should Obama get elected. The Clinton economy you long for rested on two things, neither of which now exist: the "peace dividend" after the West's victory in the Cold War and the Republican Congresses Clinton was forced to compromise with after 1994.

Your attitude toward Governor Palin is misogynistic. Deny it if you will but the reality is obvious.

Vote for Obama if you will. Your stated reasons for doing so have lessened my intention for voting McCain/Palin not one whit. Indeed, your arguments have strengthened my resolve.

When I was voting in my first election I made the sad mistake of voting for Jimmy Carter. I look back on it now with the rueful acknowledgment that that young and inexperienced people often make mistakes. I learned from my error, however, and have not voted for a Democrat Party candidate since.

If Obama gets elected and you find yourself with a serious case of buyer's remorse, remember this story. It might help you to console yourself for having made--and loudly proclaimed--such an egregious error.


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