Cognitive Mileage

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

I subscribe to John McCain’s newsletter to see what they are telling their supporters. I also respond to these newsletters when I feel they are misleading.

John McCain’s Newsletter:

As you know, both Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are touting outrageously expensive and unrealistic universal health care plans – a government monopoly over health care.

My Response:

McCain, governments can be publicly regulated. Private oligopolies can’t. They just keep screwing us over and there are so many of them that if you smash one of them, it doesn’t make much of a difference. Allocating all of the accountability into a single place (the government) can only increase our chances that all Americans are covered fairly. We will all stand up and criticize and fix the same system instead of each of us taking on individual battles with individual companies with no coherent overall unity.

Also, if government-funded health care were such a problem, then why aren’t people in Canada, the UK, France, Sweden, and Norway (some of the most affluent nations in the world; the pound and the euro beat the dollar, my friend) complaining about it?

The only possible reason I could think of you promoting a plan like this is if you are getting incentives from private insurance companies towards your campaign.



I subscribe to John McCain’s newsletter to see what they are telling their supporters. I also respond to these newsletters when I feel they are misleading.

Obama recently made a comment about small-town Americans being bitter:

It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

He later realized that this was worded poorly and prone to distortions. He clarified the statement to mean:

So I said, well you know, when you’re bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community. And they get mad about illegal immigrants who are coming over to this country.

In today’s edition of McCain’s newsletter:

These hard working men and women aren’t “bitter”. They love their country, their faith, their family and their traditions.

My response:

I think you are wrong, Rick. My father lives in a small town in Kansas. He sounds thoroughly disillusioned with politics. He doesn’t really trust McCain, Obama, or anyone else to actually deliver on the promises they make about their presidency. For too long he has seen presidents enter office and not deliver on their promises.

These people may love their country. But they don’t believe in its politics. If my father votes for John McCain it will not be because he actually believes McCain will do something positive for America. He would probably vote for McCain based on religious preferences and because McCain is the most conservative of the three candidates. And that is exactly the point that Obama was making.

Hillary Clinton was also milking the comment for all that it was worth. Obama’s humorous and fairly light hearted synopsis of her reaction can be found here.

I subscribe to the Hillary Clinton newsletter to see what they are telling their supporters. I also respond to these newsletters when I feel they are misleading.

In today’s edition, they said (and have said similar things on many occasions):

We face an opponent who has a virtually unlimited war chest, who is breaking records to spend whatever it takes to win.

Here was my response:

This is very misleading. You make it sound like Obama is a millionaire dropping millions out of his own pocket to win. Obama has a virtually unlimited “war chest” because Obama has an unprecedented amount of supporters making small donations. This isn’t one man trying to blaze his own way with his own money for the sake of personal conquest ; it is someone standing on the shoulders of over a million enthusiastic financial supporters. Obama hasn’t spent a dime of his own money for his campaign. You, on the other hand, have spent $5 million.

So, in short, I resent the fact that your emails constantly paint Obama like some rich fat cat who is using his money to bully you. He has more money because more people support him. He’s winning more delegates because more people support him. If he wins the race it will be, you guessed it, because more people support him.

If you want to stay in the race until you have officially and unequivocally lost, that is your right and I respect you for fighting. But you would have more dignity if you would just admit upfront that Obama is winning because he is doing a good job. Not because he has some unfair personal “war chest”; not because he is using “words” to mislead people. But because he has a genuinely good plan for America, because he inspires people, and because people feel he genuinely understands their dreams, their needs, their struggles, and their concerns.


I subscribe to the Hillary Clinton newsletter to see what they are telling their supporters. I also respond to these newsletters when I feel they are misleading.

This Monday, they were arguing for Michigan and Florida delegates to be seated in the Democratic Convention:

It’s the American way — everybody counts in this country.

Here was my response:

The problem, Maggie, is that when these people voted, their states did it specifically and intentionally against party rules. For that reason, supporters of candidates other than Hillary (and indeed, probably many Hillary supporters) probably stayed home. When their states decided to break party rules, these people probably counted on their votes not being counted. And so they, understandably, probably did not want to waste their time and energy due to the uncertainty of their vote being counted.

So this was not a fair contest. In Michigan, Hillary was the only candidate that was even on the ballot. Now if I am an Obama supporter in Michigan and I know Obama is not on the ballot, what am I going to do? Am I really going to go vote “undecided”? That’s not my real position: I have decided on Obama. So my voice is, essentially not heard.

So at least for Michigan, you are mistaken: if you count Michigan Hillary votes, you are, in effect, silencing Obama supporters in Michigan by not giving them any delegates. That is not fair.

The only way to be fair is to ask for a revote in these states and let both Hillary and Obama campaign there.