11 February 2008

Obama Conference Call

Continuing with the multimedia Obama day...

Democrats Abroad organized a conference call with the man himself. I fired up Skype and Audacity to share a copy with the masses, here's what you missed:

About what you'd expect, a focus on foreign policy issues over domestic, with a little "I'm one of you" thrown in for good measure. Nothing too shocking, but it was fun to be "on the phone" with Barack.

If I could have said it so well myself...

Coming from John Hodgman (you know, the "resident expert" from The Daily Show and the "PC guy" from the Mac commercials),

"...enjoy this if you like watching pointless confrontation become meaningful conversation."

If only I could imagine myself responding so well to such an aggressive line of questioning. I feel like the interviewer's intention at the outset is to show how little Obama supporters know about the realities of politics, that they're all emotion and no substance. Thankfully he talks to Derrick who says it like it is. Good job Derrick!

More substantively about the health care differences between Clinton and Obama, check out this post from Marginal Revolution. Prof. Cowen is a wickedly smart guy and, according to his Wikipedia entry, a "libertarian bargainer" meaning that he is "someone of libertarian ideals who is not so radical that he cannot influence the 'currently powerful'". The basic conclusion of the post is that, given the goal of cheaper health insurance and, insofar as mandates are competition-stifling, mandates do not achieve the primary goal. Don't forget the social cost of removing personal choice from the equation!

The MR post also goes to show the stable of intellectuals that have gravitated to Obama, here's the opening line, "Cutler is very smart, tenured at Harvard, arguably the leading health care economist, and yes he is an advisor to Barack Obama." What do I see as the main value in an Obama presidency? An analytical chief executive to weigh unpredictable issues as they arise, backed by an army of advisors representing the best in their respective fields, not political cronies from the 90's. In short, a return of intellectualism to the White House, not the bizarre fundamentalism of the past seven years nor the political gaming of the preceding eight.

05 February 2008

I voted!

In person, on a paper ballot, surrounded by Americans. Democrats Abroad organized a polling station at the American Cathedral in Paris for all of us overseas folk to take part in the democracy-fest of February 5th. That means that my vote counts, even though I'm from Michigan (whose delegates won't be counted at the Democratic National Convention). That said, there are only 3 delegates at stake for the expatriates but I am still (irrationally) content to be part of the process.

The New York Times was looking for pictures from polling stations so I naturally took it upon myself to take some. The results are up on the NYT page. Esther took the fifth in the series, it's my hand in the bottom right.

I'm going to sleep, there's no way can I wait for the results from California come in over here. Intrade has Obama and Clinton at a 50/50 tie and I about agree with that. My prediction is that this will continue well into March.

Everything else is going along well, I've been rather sick lately and busy with work, hence the thin posting. I've got some things to say, just not the time and motivation to get around to saying them. Hope you all are well.