Friday, August 29, 2008

Off Topic: My 15% about the Presidential Election

Sorry, I know a post like this is not why you come to My Blog Utopia, but it is a Friday and there isn't much ecommerce news, so I thought I would make some politcal observations: (I'll probably tie some of it to eBay somewhere)

The 2008 Presidential election is historic and interesting for a number of reasons:

Age and Experience:

  • Two Senior Citizens are running - McCain (72 today) and Biden (66 in Nov.)
  • Two 40-somethings are running - Obama (47) and Palin (44)
  • Two Senators with over [25] years in national politics.

So the experience/no experience issues are cancelled out. There is enough experience to go around for both parties and BTW, when is someone in their 40's considered young :)

Barriers Broken - It is about time that we have a black presidential nominee and a female nominee for VP (on the Republican side) -- It only took, nearly 250 years to change that whole dynamic.

No Experience vs Four More Years of the Same - These two mantras need to be jettisoned from the debate -- both of them are silly and obnoxious. (Of course they are easy to say so they will continue until we are sick of them.)

No Experience:

  • JFK was 43 when elected president in 1960 after 13 years in politics. Obama is 47 and has been in state and national office for 11 years.
  • Sarah Palin (the presumptive Republican nominee for VP) has been in politics for 16 years, many of those years in an executive position as Mayor and Governor; unlike the other three Senators in the race.
  • Besides, their are two seasoned old-geezers in the race that have plenty of experience.

4-More years of the Same - Anybody who follows politics should know, that when the Republican party is concerned about McCain's less than conservative views and his willingness to work across the aisle, that comparing him to President Bush is just plain silly; but it does make for a good chant.

  • McCain agrees with the President on some things and doesn't on other things. He's called a "Maverick" by most journalists and pundits: "A maverick is a person who shows independence of thought or action, a non-conformist or rebel." source Wictionary. How can you call someone a "Maverick" and then say it will just be 4 more years of the same stuff?

Change! - Take it from eBay sellers, change is not always good or enjoyable. Obama, and the Democrats mention change constantly and the message fits well with the "4 more years of the same" slogan, but honestly, in the 30 years I've been voting nothing much has ever changed in politics. Change for change sake is foolish if you don't have a well thought out plan -- here comes the eBay bit -- eBay management is all about change and look at the turmoil in the marketplace.

  • True "Change" comes over time, not by speaking it into existence or wishing it would happen.
  • True "Change" comes through pain and heartache not through slogans and wishes.
  • True "Change" needs to happen when things are going well, not when things are going poorly, because "change" should never be reactionary, it should always be well thought-out and planned.
  • "Change" for "Change" sake does nothing but shuffle the deck and leave the real problems for another generation.

I agree much needs to be changed in this great country, but it needs to happen first with the political parties. What is the old saying "nobody changes until they are forced to", just because that saying is true doesn't mean it should be. I want well thought out considerate changes that help all Americans. I don't see that happening with either candidate, but I'll take my chances with the Maverick, because that is "just how I roll".

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Just my 15%


Snarky said...

What, no recommendation for America Classic and New America?

Randy Smythe said...

Snarky, I'm a Republican where do you thinks I lean.

Classic America has some major issues, but New America scare me a bit.

Thanks for the laugh, though. I spit up my drink when I read that.

allbusinessauctions said...


You are a true American!

A very reasoned and reasonable observation in this post.

Cool heads prevail, keep up the great work on that front!

Tom O. said...

Well written, Randy.

While I remain a right leaning conservative I'm also a father of two young girls. I'm enormously proud of the accomplishments of Hilary Clinton and Barock Obama. They have advanced the ball for women and minorities in this country.

History will be made this year and it's exciting to watch.

Anonymous said...

Don't agree with your choice for president but that's what makes America great.

Randy Smythe said...

Anonymous, yes that is what makes America great.

If each of us will open-up just a tad to a different POV we might actually find a way to make change happen.

Thanks everybody for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Boy, Randy I usually think you make good sense in your observations. But I could not disagree more about your Republican point of view politically. And because the economy has suffered greatly due to the current policies of this horrendous administration, you have lost credibility with me with your latest post.
I will still read your blog, but I wish you would not have admitted your political leaning; very disappointing...

Snarky said...

Anonymous, you're actually surprised that someone who's preached to leave the eBay marketplace alone also supports the political party that wants to leave the market alone?

Randy Smythe said...

Anonymous, there is no need to agree on everything.

I hope you can still consider what I write based on the merits of the post not on my politics.

Randy Smythe said...

Snarky -- I love that handle -- I like to think of myself as a Maverick. I'm an independent thinking Republican. I won't tow the company line if I think its wrong.

John said...

Thanks for your post and insight. I would get all into it on a deep level but for now I will leave it at this. George Bush has not made me feel very "comfy" with republican leadership. The dregs of his spying on American, war for I dunno what? and streams of lies, misinformation and shotty intelligence have just turned me way off on Repubs for prez.

I am independent in business, life and politics, so I am one of those who have waited to make a choice for sometime, but given the two tickets so far?!? McCain is just old, boring and out of sorts. I like him and respect him ... you know, like I want to give him a hug and some warm milk, but as the new CHANGE leader? There does not seem to be much new in what he has said so far.

The choice for me as an independant and as a person who deals with employees and suppliers from many different countries really becomes clear when I hear them (friends inside and outside our borders) speak with hope that Barack become the new change leader of the "free world". It is extremely exciting and rare to have a person in our midst that can move people to action w/o all the old school mechanics of politics, but pure God given ability to be a leader among men and woman.

To have someone, in a President, that makes leaders of the world fall at his feet, just to shake his hand and get next to him and hear the words he speaks is a feat that I have NEVER seen in my 40 years on this earth. To take that ability to inspire and challenge men and woman to do better and change this country, its future, our scorched earth policies and the glass ceiling of politics is un-matched! That is a good position to have the head of our country be in IMHO. I want to be back in touch with the world, I want America respected again. I want us to be great once more. That is what I want!

You are correct, this is historical, and America is at a crossroads. I am afraid that the wrong choice this time could possible seal the fate of this great country and we should all sit back and think about where we need to go cause this is our destiny TODAY. This is NOT a simple my side your side, this is going to be the future of America forever. Choose wisely for this might be our only chance for change.

"That is my 2 cents and it is overpriced!"

Oh and P.S. I would not make eBay the "champion" for change, like they are good at it. Why not make Amazon's 3rd party platform the champion for change, you seem to like their changes? ;-)

Randy Smythe said...

Thanks John,

See, this is the way politics should be handled. A simple debate where there is a little give and take.

Now, for the record, just because I'm a Republican, doesn't mean I follow lock-step with all that Bush has done.

I just remember throwing an idealistic Jimmy Carter into a number of crises in the 70's and what the results were. I fear some of the same problems with an idealistic Obama.

I kind of view McCain as a caretaker to get us through the tough stuff.

Anonymous said...

WELL SAID, JOHN. The fact that Meg Whitman has aligned herself with McCain speaks volumes.
More of the Bush-Cheney "Let Them Eat Cake" mentality.

ms.pat said...

"Anybody who follows politics should know, that when the Republican party is concerned about McCain's less than conservative views and his willingness to work across the aisle, that comparing him to President Bush is just plain silly; but it does make for a good chant."

Well...all I'm hearing is that McCain voted along with Bush 95 percent of the time in the past few years....that, and calling his wife the "C" word in public was enough for me. I'm voting for OBama and proud of it! We need a change - a BIG change because as Obama so rightly said of the past 7 years under Bush "America is better than that!"

I hear all the silliness about democrats raising taxes...absolutely oblivious of the deep debt the republicans put us in with this ridiculous war for oil! That tab has to be US! Its OUR bill.

Anonymous said...

Did he really call his wife the C-Word? That's intolerable!

Randy Smythe said...

Well, I can see I have the minority opinion here, at least of those who have commented.

Please re-read my post without the emotion attached to it.

Given the options in the current environment, I would rather take my chances with a Maverick like McCain than an idealist like Obama.

Anonymous said...

I was at Mile High Stadium in Denver, last night, supporting Obama/Biden.

After spending 7 straight hours in the crowd, I've concluded that lots of Republicans are crosssing the line and voting for Obama. Polls won't show it, but its there.

Randy T

Tony P. said...

"True "Change" needs to happen when things are going well, not when things are going poorly, because "change" should never be reactionary, it should always be well thought-out and planned."

There are exceptions to that generally-correct idea. When things are going "horribly poorly" in a particular direction, a Change is mandatory.

Such as, when your pants are on fire, it is best to Change direction and run towards the pond (and not towards another fire).

Also, if the fire was 'set', intentional or otherwise, any corrective actions can be viewed as 'reactionary', but that doesn't lessen the importance of making those corrective actions, As Soon As Possible.

Firefighters are 'reactionary' individuals, as are legal Prosecutors, emergency room surgeons and others. They are all "after the fact" re-actions to dire circumstances.

Our circumstances are beyond dire. We - America - are on fire, being tried and in need of extensive surgery. I want someone that realizes that and does have a Plan. That is my POV.

True Change, with plan details:

(no ebay ideas were bashed in this comment. no negative emotion, either. given a few days, and beers, i'd have Randy chanting 'Change'. :-)

Randy Smythe said...

Well, at least we are having a civil debate, though I feel like a lone voice in the wind.

It would take a lot more than a few beers.

"The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know"

I've already lived through this once and during these trying times, I don't want to take a chance with another Jimmy Carter.

Does anybody remember odd/even gas days? The Iran hostage Crisis? I don't want to live through those days again.

Stefan said...

Wow, popular post Randy!

Just remember, if you're gonna blog about politics, things can get rough, so be careful!

It's a tough time right now, and lots of people have very strong opinions. I'd just hate for you to lose any BlogUtopia readers over your 15% on a non-ecommerce related issue.

I could care less myself, I'm all for healthy political debate. I'm just saying...

I do like the "America Classic" idea though!

Randy Smythe said...


It would be very sad if I lost readers because I expressed my opinion. I thought that was what made this country great.

It looks like free speech is only free when it conforms to the listeners viewpoint.

Yeah. I'll go back to the regular posts on Monday but this experience has been eye opening.

Tony P. said...

"... in the 30 years I've been voting nothing much has ever changed in politics.
I agree much needs to be changed in this great country, but it needs to happen first with the political parties."

For 35 years I've gone into that booth and I wholeheartedly agree with what you wrote Randy. In my post above, I basically 'showed my vote' and it is based upon all that I have read (heard and seen, to a lessor degree).

But, no matter how much I want to hope that that plan comes to fruition (and works just as intended), I will say this...

I'll believe it when I see it.


Yep, I remember the Carter years. Spent my $50 rebate on gas! To be fair, the first gas crisis in 1973 was the time of odd-even tag days.

I found a gas station that didn't give a chit - call me BAD! I had a 2-door Fairlane 500 with a 18 gallon tank!!! Course, I was a college kid and could only afford $5. But - but - but, that was good enough for 6 gallons.

For the BIGGIE... do you remember that the gas pumps only went up to 99-cents and when gas went over a dollar/gallon, they set the pumps at half-price? A sign told you that you owed TWICE as much as the pump displayed.

Talk about throwing gas on a fire. Pizzed off peeps, being told they owed twice what they thought they did. Guess what my part-time job was then? Go ahead, make a guess?

Randy Smythe said...

Tony, I agree with your there. I have little faith in politics at all. So I would say if Obamma wins and his plan works I'll admit it.

I kind of compare it to my feeling about the eBay changes :) If it works I'll eat crow, but I don't think it will.

As for the Carter years. I was a whipper-snapper in 73 and couldn't drive but in 79 at least in California we had the odd/even days. That was a pain.

Tony P. said...

My oldest 'bestest' buddy is a diehard Republican. I grew up with this guy - known him since we were kids playing 'kick the can'.

We had one helluva 'spirited' conversation last night at a restaurant. I accused him of showing up (he lives outta town) just to make me miss Obama's speech. I think we scared the waitress, a bit.

My regard towards ANYONE and everyone isn't solely based upon their political views. Sometimes, that may not be easy, but taking such a stance would make me a shallow individual.

Everyone has a right to their opinion and a right to voice it. 'specially in America! That is a beautiful thing. Really. Sometimes that means the opinions differ. Still beautiful.

I'll keep reading and posting.

ms.pat said...

Randy politics and religions are two topics that can get pretty hot and heavy. You need to consider that when you blot about either one :-)

To annonymous way up there. Yes, indeed, the "C" word McCain called his wife was well publicized. I believe it was preceeded by the word "tramp" or one just as bad starting with a "T".

Randy Smythe said...

I think that is exactly what makes America great.

Politics is not what MyBlogUtopia is about so I will continue to blog about stuff that matters to online sellers, no matter what their political affiliation.

Though, as you know, I've kind of called for a moratorium on bitching about eBay through the holidays.

You know as well as I do that won't last very long.

Tony P. said...

Dang! I meant to write:

I jokingly accused him of showing up (he lives outta town) just to make me miss Obama's speech.

nadine said...

Hey, Randy, I'm with you on this one! I'm not hopeful about how much change can be accomplished - the government is nothing if not resistant - but in my book you have a much better chance electing a ticket of two reformers who actually have some accomplishments to their name, than going for the "nothing but air" ticket.

To Ms. Pat, I say, don't get suckered by partisan statistics. McCain has voted "90%" with Bush because the vast majority of Senate votes are do-nothing proclamations that get passed unanimously.

When it comes to important issues, McCain has broken with Bush as often as followed him, e.g., the surge, immigration, campaign finance reform, torture, global warming, ANWR, etc. All big issues, some with big bills whose name begins "McCain-" and ends with a Democrat's name.

McCain has driven Republicans nuts these last eight years. He earned his "Maverick" status. Sarah Palin has also actually passed reform legislation. She killed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere". Barack Obama voted for it.

Barack Obama talks a good game. But his track record is ZERO on reform. Show me something he has reformed, anything. He's a product of the Chicago machine. He's a protegee of Bill Ayers (who gave him leadership of the Annenburg Challenge project and helped launch his state senate run) and Mayor Daley. Obama has the most liberal record in the Senate. He never crossed the aisle on anything. When asked in the Saddleback forum to show a bipartisan action, Obama had to resort to claiming that he had worked with John McCain - which he did for less than a week before reneging, which earned him a stinging rebuke from McCain. This, he claimed as his bipartisan act! If McCain had heard that answer, the whole audience would have seen steam coming out of his ears!

Everybody who says Obama is "True Change" shows you a speech or a position paper on his website. Because there is nothing else. Literally nothing. He's a stealth candidate and I think he's trying desperately to hide how far left he really is. That's why you keep hearing about his "community organizer" stint but not his record.

And as for Joe Biden, all he can do is raise the hot air quotient. Not even the Democrats think he has gravitas. But what the heck, he has seniority and he's a nice guy, and he's been on the Foreign Policy committee forever. You know who put Biden on the ticket? Vlad Putin.

Don't just listen to the speeches. Look at the records.

nadine said...

Re experience: the 1961 Vienna Conference was a disaster which caused the Cuban Missile Crisis, which damn near caused WWIII.

No, I do not think that JFK is a great example of why it's okay to hire a Kid President, though having survived, he did learn on the job.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm all for Obama. I think it will be great for our country to have someone the rest of the world can like and respect in charge. Some will say that we shouldn't care about the rest of the world, but we all have to share this planet and I think we'll do better without Cowboy George type attitudes toward everyone else.

I'm a independent and tend to vote about half and half each way because there isn't a party that completely suits me, one that supports low taxes, personal freedom (i.e., no government poking its nose into people's personal lives, relationships, and bedrooms), pro-business, and pro-environment. I usually end up choosing my candidates based on where they stand on the issues that are most important to me and how well I believe they'll do their jobs. This time, that means Obama. For the record, I voted for 'W' the first term, Clinton before him, and George Sr. before him.

America would be pretty boring if we were all the same, don't ya think? :-)

Henrietta said...

Balanced centrist post Randy with the tinyest tilt.

Not reading anybody else, y'all are entitled to your opinions.

McCain I would have voted for in a New York minute 10 years ago. Hair trigger temper, ugly marital issues and all. He has changed. Say one thing vote another. Vote and then make speeches saying he didn't. Enough already of that with Dubya, either McCain is a liar or early senility and I don't know which is worse.

Sarah Palin has a good track record, her political career has been at city and state level, is she fit to be president if McCain keels over?

As Randy pointed out Obama is not young at 47. Biden is a good old carthorse, is he fit to be president? I would rather have seen Richardson in that spot.

Personally I don't care about Republicans or Democrats I care about America. I wish our elected representatives did too.

Randy Smythe said...


Yes, it would be boring if we were all the same. That's what makes this election so interesting.

A black nominee for president is a huge move forward and a female VP (for the Republicans) is equally as huge. The Democrats broke that wall years ago.

Foreign policy comes down to picking your fights. Bush basically fought everybody.


Nadine, I was 2 when the Cuban Missle crisis happend so I just forgot about that but that does underscore my concern for terying somebody new when the country is in bad shape.

All-in-all I think this has been a very civil exchange, though I won't post about politics again. I think this has been very enlightening for me.

ms.pat said...

Don't talk about gas around me. I'm an old timer and I can remember my dad stopping at the gas station - the pump price was 8 cents a gallon - then he spotted a station across the street for 5 cents a gallon and promptly took off for it with a big smile on his face. No shortages in those days and no end in sight. Well, there's an end in sight now and we need to take heed. One thing I know about gas - if it all suddenly dried up tomorrow we would have alternative fuels sooner than you could blink an eye. When you think of all the inventions that have been made in the past couple of decades alone...and we're still depending on the same old gas engine? That's ludicrous!

McCain's voting record is fact - not rhetoric or partisan politics.

Randy Smythe said...


I love this comment "Personally I don't care about Republicans or Democrats I care about America. I wish our elected representatives did too."

That is certainly the same position I hold, but since in our form of government there is a vote and we only have two choices. We all have to pick a side.

nadine said...

The infrastructure that supports gasoline distribution is non-trivial to replace. We could switch to natural gas, like T.Boone Pickens proposes, but it would take many 100s of billions of $ of investment. There has to be a good reason to do that - and of course natural gas is also a fossil fuel, despite the assurances of Speaker Pelosi to the contrary.

Only thing I know is that if you can read numbers, you know that wind & solar won't cut it by themselves. Nor will Obama's proposed $150 B investment (in what?!) be a magic fix.

But we have ample resources in the US - besides the wind & solar, we have huge untapped oil reserves, huger natural gas reserves, huger still coal reserves. Enough for centuries. And we have the knowhow and uranium to build hundreds of nuke power plants. We have the sources; the market demand is there now; only the laws and the political will stand in the way.

This should be a bipartisan plan. But the Democrats are hostage to the environmental lobby, which has frankly lost its mind, so they cannot say the word "drill" no matter how obvious the need. What, should we wait for Chinese rigs to park themselves off our coasts to take the oil? It's madness.

Randy Smythe said...

Nadine, yes, yes, and more yes. If we do not start drilling for our own oil in additional to all of the alternative options we will be fighting this battle for the next century.

This is my point. Change requires compromise, it requires deep thought, it requires hard choices, it requires more than just magically saying "I'm the agent of change"

McCain is not the far-rights chice, he is a Maverick and that is what is required during this trying time.

Independents will choose this President

Chad said...

Randy, this needs to be your new favorite web site for anything politics related:

Just the facts. No partisan propaganda.

It will tell you when a candidate isn't telling the truth, or is stretching it.

I encourage you to browse much of that, especially on the topics of the budget, offshore drilling, and health care

The_Cynic said...

There's not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties and the two media personalities they
flog. Whoever wins, the policies will be essentially the same, but with a different face.

The system is rigged, it is corrupt to core.

Voting for either of those is complete waste. Don't waste your vote on either of those two "choices". Vote 3rd party, Any 3rd party. Deny those crooks your consent.

David Yaskulka said...

Randy, I love your blog, even if I think your political analysis is flawed! :)

Senator McCain had a strong history of maverick voting, and was once the Republican I admired most. But that's an 8 year old picture.

Last year, according to the Congressional Quarterly's analysis of McCain's voting, he sided with President Bush 95% of the time. This year? It's 100%. Given 95-100% similarity, I think "Four More Years of the Same" is a fair assessment.

The middle-of-the-road League of Conservation Voters gave McCain the single lowest score in the entire Senate (0%).

I do fear that is more of the same.

Now, if he had chosen Meg on the ticket, where would that have left us all on this blog? ;) Seriously, thanks for the welcome digression, Randy. It's sure a worthy topic!


Anonymous said...

cut and paste it, it's worth seeing this clip, only takes about a minute...he is from my home town, he is being sincere, its real.

Randy Smythe said...

David, I've actually really enjoyed this post and the following conversation.

As I said, this is the first Presidential election I've really taken interest in since 1976 and it is going to be closer than most people think.

One of the TV pundits said that the VP Debate in Oct. should be on Pay-per-view. I know I won't miss it. With attack dog Biden going after Miss Alaska

nadine said...

Let's hope for his sake that Senator Windbag keeps better track of his thoughts in debate than he has in committee hearings. Sarah Palin is a sharp cookie, with a background in broadcasting as well as politics, and has been a rising star in GOP circles for a reason. You get in her face, she gets back in yours. I suspect Biden may have his work cut out for him. Plus he must be careful not to look condescending.

Anonymous said...

Randy-- you said "I'll take my chances with the Maverick, because that is "just how I roll".

Did you do the same thing when you started selling on eBay? (take your chances?) And now that you're pro-Amazon, would it be fair to call you a flip flopper?

Ansgar-John said...

Good piece, but I am for Obama, follow this link, it might convince you as well.

Randy Smythe said...


She does look like she can take care of herself.


I may one day go back to also selling on eBay, when I think they've settled on a plan that works.


Obama, is like the "New eBay" for me, he may be a game changer but I'm not real confident.

nadine said...

Obama, is like the "New eBay" for me, he may be a game changer but I'm not real confident.

Amen, you'll do better looking at both of them through the record of their achievements than through their list of promises.

nadine said...

ansgar-john, I read the Marc Andreessen endorsement of Obama that you linked. All I can say is that Andreessen is easily impressed. Smart, normal, curious, not radical, and post-Boomer. Hey, good enough! who needs a track record? Why not give out the Presidency by lot among the graduating class of the Harvard Business School, while you're at it?

Plus Andreessen buys without reservation what to my ears is the ludicrous claim that Obama will change the world's perception of America just by virtue of "who he is" - a leftist with a Kenyan father.

Good gracious, such wishful projection, which confuses the world's Left with the world. The Left will coo, sure. But to the rest of the world, America will remain America, that baffling and too-powerful place. And to the Muslim world, whom the Left secretly hopes to placate with this choice, Obama will be nothing but a Muslim apostate, which is a very very bad thing. And if he thinks they will identify with Obama's brown skin, he must have missed the Egyptian cartoons of Condi Rice depicting her as pregnant monkey. Arabs despise blacks. Cf. the Sudan, Darfur.

Can anyone tell me why Andreessen has Lincoln Steffens' quote, "I have seen the future and it works." at the top of his blog? Is this supposed to be some kind of post-modernist irony? If so, it's too deep for me to deconstruct. Is he unaware that Steffens said this about the USSR in 1921, which was just after the Red Terror and the Civil War, and during the height of the Russian famine which killed millions of people? Could he really be that clueless? Or does it just sound good, so he doesn't care?

Ansgar-John said...

Andreessen isn't clueless, he knows his stuff, with Ning he has become incredibly successful yet again (earlier with Netscape).

nadine said...

ansgar-john, I give Andreessen all the credit in the world when it comes to technology companies and social networking, but that doesn't mean his expertise extends to politics and history.

To use an example we can all relate to here, I'm postive that John Donahoe is an extremely bright and compelling guy when you get him one-on-one. But it doesn't mean he knows how to manage the Ebay marketplace wisely!

To use the Lincoln Steffens quote without irony seems to me prima facie evidence of historical cluelessness, which is only confirmed by his gullibility buying the rest of Obama's message, which amounts to nothing more than: Trust me, I'm really smart.

Anonymous said...

Both guys have a better than average rate of listening to people. McCain seems to have a more realistic grasp of which problems need to tackled first; 'Obie' appears to think quicker on his feet. If Obama served no other purpose than to force Republicans to offer up their best guy then that's fine with me.

My guy (R Paul) got booted out a long time ago. Usually the old guy has the edge so McCain will probably be ushered in.

But what really matters is: do both candidates have the physical flaws necesarry for getting really skewered in editorial cartoons? The answer is Yes.

Anonymous said...

LOL I cant believe you went down this road! What's the next topic? Religion? Abortion? :) Kelly