New York Times Endorses Obama

October 24, 2008 at 7:25 am | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

The New York Times joined almost every major newspaper in the country this morning when it endorsed Barack Obama for president of the United States. Starting by pointing out that “this year the nation’s future truly hangs in the balance,” The Times goes on to methodically and logically justify its endorsement.

The editorial discusses the candidates’ positions on the issues: the economy, national security, and the Constitution and the rule of law. It finds Mr. McCain wanting in all those issues, takes him to task for his demonstrated poor judgment, and concludes that Mr. Obama can and will start the long hard process of healing the country.

Whether you support McCain for president or are undecided—and even if you support Obama—I urge you to read this magnificent editorial. You will find it educational, and very persuasive.

The editorial can be found at


Endorsement Day

October 16, 2008 at 7:00 am | Posted in Economy, Energy, Politics | Leave a comment

In North Carolina the voting has already started. It has probably started in other states too (check your Board of Elections) and we’ve found early voting a very convenient way to vote. But before you go to the polls, educate yourself on the philosophies and positions of the candidates, and on their style as well. Try to ignore the truth-twisting attacks launched on their opponents by both campaigns. Make up your mind, and vote for the candidate you believe will be best for you.

The Curmudgeon has done that, and we are endorsing Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States. There are many reasons.

Leadership and Executive Ability

Although Senator Obama has little executive experience, his campaign is well organized; a smooth running machine that has suffered few of the mistakes, missteps, and personnel problems we have seen in Senator McCain’s campaign. From the start Obama has been in command of his campaign, and he has attracted strong and skilled people to his flag. When he went overseas he was statesmanlike, thoughtful, and charismatic. During the current economic crisis he was quietly effective in getting a plan adopted, without the phony campaign suspension and flailing of the McCain campaign. That tells us Senator Obama has leadership ability and executive skills. Senator McCain does not.

The Ticket

Senator Obama carefully selected a running mate who has years of experience in the Senate, specifically in foreign affairs. Senator Biden’s skills will complement Senator Obama’s skills, and Biden’s knowledge of the Congress will help Obama to make the changes he wants to make. Senator McCain picked a running mate who brings nothing to the ticket except extreme conservatism. Clearly lacking in the knowledge of foreign and domestic affairs it takes to advise the President—let alone assume the office—she is a drag on the ticket. Worse, her selection shows Senator McCain’s tendency to shoot from the hip: his campaign did not vet her, and we suspect he regrets having chosen her because of the scandals that have erupted. The Curmudgeon believes we need a President with a steady hand, backed by somebody who can, if necessary, step in and take command.

The Philosophy

Senator Obama is a Liberal—possibly too liberal. But his philosophy supports and defends the people. He recognizes that it takes money—sometimes government money—to get businesses to invest in the long term good of the country. He realizes that the government must supply a safety net for those who cannot feed, clothe, or house themselves, and must also get them trained and into good jobs so they can become contributors to the society. He understands that it is beneficial in the long term to invest in good education and in universal health care, because a healthy, well educated population is vital to the country’s success. On the other end of the scale he understands that the United States must work with other countries—our friends and our enemies—to provide a secure and prosperous environment for all of us. He knows that we cannot work effectively, internationally or on domestic problems, unless we take the moral high ground and work within our Constitution instead of pushing it past its limits.

The Issues

We agree with Senator Obama’s positions on the issues. His energy plan will result in independence from foreign oil through the development of alternative, clean, energy sources. It will help reduce global warming And developing and producing the energy will provide thousands of jobs.

Senator Obama’s economic strategy will provide thousands more jobs repairing and renewing the nation’s infrastructure, and provide incentives for corporations to keep jobs here in the U.S. His additions to the bailout plan will protect the taxpayers by ensuring that the tottering financial sector pays back what it borrows from us, and will help mortgage-holders to keep their houses. And he will rebuild the structure, dismantled over the last decades, that restrains the financial community from getting too greedy and from predatory practices.

The Obama healthcare plan will provide coverage for virtually every American. In addition to the health insurance plans offered by employers, Obama’s plan would provide a single-payer system similar to Medicare that, for an affordable premium, would protect those who do not have other coverage—or who prefer his plan to the other coverage they have. And his plan would prevent people from being turned down for pre-existing conditions by any plan.

Senator Obama’s foreign policy will substitute diplomacy for sword-rattling rhetoric. He believes, as do we, that engagement and coordinated action among allies can accomplish more, at less cost, than military action. Military action is on the table, and is sometimes necessary (as in Afghanistan) but it is a last resort. Obama plans to extract us from Iraq as quickly as possible—maybe within 18 months. The Bush administration, growling and euphemizing with frustration, has recently adopted a similar plan. Obama would attack terrorism by going after Bin Laden where he is, on the Afghanistan border, by ensuring the security of our ports and borders, and by doing everything he can to improve the image of the United States in the minds of the world’s people.

The Conclusion

The election we’re holding in November may be the most important of our lives. Depending on the outcome, the United States will continue on the path it’s on now, or will change to a path that will return to the middle class the prosperity it has lost, return to the United States the moral leadership and stature it has lost, and provide us all with the security we have lost. We urge you to vote for Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.


October 15, 2008 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Economy, Politics | Leave a comment

In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times of October 14, Tommy McCall, former Graphics Editor for Money Magazine, pointed out that since 1929 the Republicans and the Democrats have each been in power for about 40 years. Since the Republicans are known as the party of big business, with the philosophy that what’s good for big business will “trickle down” to the rest of us, McCall wondered whether the Republicans were good for the stock market.

He did some research, and found out that if you had invested $10,000 in the S.& P. stock market index, under Republican administrations only, your investment would have grown to $11,733 as of Friday October 10. When he excluded Herbert Hoover’s administration, under which the stock market tanked in the infamous Great Depression, your $10,000 investment would have grown to $51,211.

But if you had invested the money under Democratic Administrations only, it would have grown to $300,671. That’s a difference of $249,460.

Maybe we could call the Democratic philosophy “trickle up” economics.

McCall’s graphics make a powerful visual statement of the information. For the full story go to . Op-Chart: Bulls, Bears, Donkeys and Elephants

Apologies to my Faithful Readers

October 13, 2008 at 7:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You may have noticed a paucity of curmudgeonly prose lately, and the Curmudgeon apologizes for that. Life has been intervening: a trip to the Frozen North, which coincided with the arrival of our newest grandson, a visit to Mystic Seaport Museum that turned out to be more nostalgic than we would have believed, the economic crisis, the election, and other things. We feel like the donkey standing between two piles of hay, unable to decide which to eat—except in this case there seem to be dozens of piles of hay. <sigh>

The Curmudgeon promises to write about these things in the near future. Thank you for your patience.

The VP Debate

October 3, 2008 at 5:44 am | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Everybody was waiting for Sara Palin to fall flat on her face as she has in her TV interviews. She didn’t. She actually did very well, and she deserves praise for her performance in a tough situation.

The problem is that it was a performance. She recited the well-rehearsed lines some McCain staffer wrote for her and used her carefully choreographed gestures, although her smile looked phony and it was embarrassing when she winked at the camera.

But she got through it.

Joe Biden was remarkably restrained, refusing to respond to the barbs Palin threw at him. He made no gaffes. He clearly knew what he was talking about, and he made his points forcefully and briefly.

Who do we want as vice president? Do we want a person who impressed everybody by not being a total flop, or a person who knows, and can articulate, both foreign and domestic policy?

Senator Biden won hands down.

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