UK Election: What Kind of Change?

It was unusually sunny this morning at the Central London polling station when I voted in the UK General Election. If the steady stream of voters I saw is anything to go by, turnout looks to be high - up to 70 per cent from the 60 per cent turnout in 2005. There are many reasons for this... and not of a few of them connected to Obama's campaign in 2008, which not only re-energised my interest in politics (and the left wing blogosphere) but captivated the country. But the kind of change the British General Election has ushered isn't that obvious, as can be seen from thee front page the Murdoch-owned best-selling conservative leaning Tabloid this morning.



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(cross-posted at kickin it with cg and motley moose)

Over the weekend as total chaos broke out in Iran one wouldn't have known anything about it if they weren't on the tubes. As E.D Kain writes,

if I wasn't online, an avid blogger and reader of blogs, and if I didn't frequent the New York Times, I wouldn't know a damn thing about the phenomenon in Iran.  It would feel like just any other story from the "crazy Middle East." I wouldn't have seen images of the streets of green-clad protestors.  I wouldn't have seen the beatings or the fires or read the twitter feeds or the first hand accounts.  I wouldn't have seen the youtube videos.  And lest it be forgotten, the news most people receive if they receive any at all is from their televisions.

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What we do now

Ok, lets keep this simple. We're electing a guy, who will keep it simple.  Here's what we do now.

We vote. Any state that has early voting, go vote. Now.

And then, when Obama gets elected, its up to you. Because each of us will celebrate in different ways.

I'm going to light off fireworks.

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McCain Unleashes Well of Republican Hatred

Who knew that when you go around accusing Obama of being a foreigner, outsider, unpatriotic and basically a terrorist sympathizer Manchurian candidate it would unleash the frothing hatred that Republicans have been whipping up in the "base" all these years?

Just a few recent examples of hate-mongering run rampant:

Yesterday, John McCain delivered an unhinged anti-Obama diatribe in New Mexico, and when he posed a rhetorical question -- "Who is the real Barack Obama?" -- someone shouted, "A terrorist!" McCain paused momentarily, but did not comment on the remark.

[Cross-Posted at Why We Need Obama] [Digg It]

Also yesterday, Sarah Palin repeated one of her unusually stupid attacks, rehashing the nonsense that Obama "pals around" with terrorists. One man in the audience, responding to Palin's smear, shouted, "Kill him!" Palin also did not comment on the remark.

At the same Florida event, Republicans shouted abuse at journalists, hurling obscenities. The Washington Postreported, "One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, 'Sit down, boy.'"

and finally
And just to top things off, last night, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania announced its belief that Obama is "a terrorist's best friend."

As Steve Benen put it:
I expected Republicans to fight hard to win this year. I also expected them to ignore traditional norms, throw caution to the wind, and dispense with honesty and decency. But I didn't expect a wholesale descent into madness. These folks have just lost their collective minds.

Are McCain and Palin responsible for lunatics who shout insane comments at their rallies? Of course not. That said, when the Republican campaign, mired in desperation, deliberately stokes the fires of hate and fear, using disgusting lies to argue that Obama is literally dangerous, no one should be surprised when the far-right Republican base becomes frenzied.

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NRO's Kathleen Parker Shocked, Shocked! NRO Vipers Bit Her

[Cross-Posted to Why We Need Obama]

A steady stream of conservative writers and journalists have soured on Sarah Palin and have called for her replacement.  One of the first to lead the charge is Kathleen Parker, a writer for the ultra-conservative National Review Online.

As a result of Ms. Parker's call for Sarah Palin to leave the McCain ticket, she has come under siege from the "no-brain-just-gut!"red meat Republican base:

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and an idiot. Also, my mother should have aborted me and left me in a Dumpster, but since she didn't, I should "off" myself.

Those are just a few nuggets randomly selected from thousands of e-mails written in response to my column suggesting that Sarah Palin is out of her league and should step down...

That we have become a partisan nation is no secret. This week has provided a vivid example of where rabid partisanship leads with the failure of Congress to pass a bailout bill vitally needed to keep our economy from unraveling...

Such extreme partisanship has a crippling effect on government, which may be desirable at times, but not now. More important in the long term is the less-tangible effect of stifling free speech. My mail paints an ugly picture and a bleak future if we do not soon correct ourselves.

The picture is this: Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn't sound American to me, but Stalin would approve. Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different than one's own, then we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk. (I hear you, Dixie Chicks.)

Our day of reckoning, indeed, may be upon us. Between war and economic collapse, we have enormous challenges. It will take the best of everyone to solve them. That process begins minimally with a commitment to engage in civil discourse and a cease-fire in the war against unwelcome ideas.

Although I appreciate the tenor of her sudden plea for rational nonpartisan dialogue (oh-so-conveniently put forth now that she has come under attack), I would ask Ms. Parker the following two questions:

1.  How exactly do you feel you are holding to your ideals of 'civil discourse' when you continue to write for the rabidly ultraconservative National Review Online?

2.  How about some words of calm and conciliation when your unhinged colleagues put out another frothing article about Barack Obama filled with lies, innuendo and thinly veiled racism?

Leaving aside Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fox News in general, National Review Online is one of the most consistently fact-free partisan "Democrat Attack" media outlets out there today.  See for example a recent post from Ramesh Ponnuru personally attacking conservative Obama supporter Douglas Kmiec as a "silly and confused man".

Ms. Parker may suddenly be talking the conciliatory talk but she better start walking the walk.  A good way to start would be to associate herself with a less batshit conservative publication.  Until then, doesn't this inherent hypocrisy make her call for us to all ratchet down the partisanship sound just a little bit hollow?

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