Considering Republicans For An Obama Cabinet

The Politico reports that, “California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in an interview aired Sunday that he would be open to the idea of serving as energy czar in a Barack Obama administration.” This is all hypothetical as no position has been offered, but a liberal Republican such as Schwarzenegger is the type of Republican which would make sense to include in an Obama administration. The Politco observes:

A Schwarzenegger appointment would add even more star power to a hypothetical Obama administration, and would allow Obama to make an appointment from across the aisle that would not upset his core supporters.

It probably would not upset his post-partisan core supporters but some long-time Democrats might not go along. I find via Memeorandum that Pamela Leavey at The Democratic Daily does object. Seeing this objection to Schwarzenegger raises a question in my mind about support or opposition to California politicians.  Pamela, at least back in the days when I worked with her at The Democratic Daily , did seem to support Diane Feinstein. She is a Democrat that, while certainly not as bad as Lieberman, is one which I think the Democrats would be wise to get rid of. Between her right wing record on civil liberties issues and her support for Bush’s Medicare policy she has not been a Democrat who I would see any value in voting for (beyond backing her over a worse Republican opponent).

Living far from California I am certainly not as aware of all the specifics of the positions held by either Feinstein or Schwarzenegger but I have a hard time seeing how someone could support a conservative Democrat such as Feinstein and oppose a liberal Republican such as Schwarzenegger. While there might be some specific examples, in general I do not see that overall Feinstein is any closer to liberal Democratic positions than Schwarzenegger. In both cases I am sure there are positions where I would agree and disagree, and therefore I would not care if either wound up in a cabinet position dealing with an area where I agreed with them. To support Feinstein and have such a blanket opposition to Schwarzenegger can only be based upon pure partisanship. Hopefully reducing such knee jerk partisanship will be one of the accomplishments of Obama.

Pamela also writes:

It’s incredibly far-fetched that Obama would even consider Schwarzenegger for the role of “energy czar” when there’s a wealth of Democrats far more qualified than Schwarzenegger. Of the top of my head, Schwarzenegger doesn’t hold a candle on environmental issues to Democratic Party environmentalists like Al Gore, John Kerry and Barbara Boxer.

Perhaps our views on Feinstein aren’t as far apart as she does pick the better of the two California Senators.  I doubt Gore would be interested in the  position. Kerry would be a fine choice but I would prefer to see him as Secretary of State, or possibly even Attorney General.  Energy policy might actually be a good position for a  liberal Republican to  help develop a bipartisan consensus, so the appointment of Schwarzenegger does actually sound like a reasonable choice.

Areas of Agreement Between Obama and McCain

Back in February, when I became pretty confident that the general election race would be between Barack Obama and John McCain, I called this a Triumph of The Independents, And of Reality Based Voters. The candidate from each party which most attracted independents (and centrists) appeared to be winning while the Republicans were unable to find a candidate who supported the most extreme of the views they have promoted over the past eight years.

The Los Angeles Times look at the areas where Obama and McCain agree. Both support ending the federal ban on funding stem cell research. They quote John Isaacs, an arms control advocate, of finding common ground between the two and coming to this conclusion:

“It debunks the common view that Obama is the most liberal Democratic senator,” Isaacs said. “And it debunks the view that McCain is really the third Bush term.”

They find other areas where their views are similar:

On immigration, faith-based social services, expanded government wiretapping, global warming and more, Obama and McCain have arrived at similar stances — even as they have spent weeks trying to amplify the differences between them on other issues, such as healthcare and taxes.

The article does overlook some significant differences on these issues. Obama’s position on faith-based social programs takes steps to preserve separation of church and state which McCain disagrees on, making it a mistake to say the two agree on the issue. McCain’s support for cap and trade sounds similar to Obama’s view on the surface, but McCain’s program is far weaker. The article is inaccurate in claiming that Obama’s views on Iraq have come any closer to McCain’s. The fundamental disagreement remains that Obama understands that our presence in Iraq is part of the problem and supports leaving while McCain is willing to remain in Iraq for one hundred years.

The article is also inaccurate on their positions on FISA. While both supported the compromise, they came to the compromise from different perspectives. Democrats such as Obama who supported the compromise saw this as an improvement over the status quo and desired to reduce even further the ability for the government to engage in warrant-less wiretapping, along with opposing the retroactive immunity. Republicans who supported the compromise would prefer that some of the restrictions not be included. In a democracy two different groups might both vote for a compromise bill, but that does not mean that their views are the same. Obama and McCain will likely handle this issue far differently if elected. Obama would be far more likely to respect the rule of law in ordering wiretaps, and would be far more likely than McCain to have previous abuses investigated.

Another area where the two do have similar views is immigration:

Although those issues are not prominent in the campaign debate, the candidates are also converging on the major issue of immigration — to the surprise and delight of immigrant advocates and businesses who depend on their labor.

“The best news all year is that after competitive presidential primaries in both parties, we end up with nominees on both sides who get it on immigration,” said John Gay, an official with the National Restaurant Assn. who heads a business coalition favoring a legalization plan for undocumented immigrant workers. “That was by no means a certainty when the campaign got started.”

Unfortunately McCain has actually been all over the place on immigration when it came time to vote. He also used his influence to prevent an immigration bill from being considered this year to avoid having it become a campaign issue. While one businessman above might be happy with McCain, this has caused a number of headaches for businessmen in the tourist industry here in Michigan (and I assume elsewhere as well).

While not discussed in this article, yet another issue where the partisan divide is now decreased is over torture. At least in terms of rhetoric, McCain breaks from the Bush administration’s support of torture, but he has been less consistent when voting.

A race between Obama and McCain does have two candidates with views more attractive to the center than was the case four years ago, with McCain representing an improvement from the extremism of George Bush in some areas. The Republicans under Bush had moved so far towards the extreme right that they had no choice but to move a bit towards the middle to win any election, including primary battles among long time Republicans. While an improvement, McCain remains far to the right of center. leaving Obama as the better alternative for independents and centrists, as well as Democrats.

SciFi Friday: Journey’s End On Doctor Who For Russel T. Davies, Billy Piper, and Catherine Tate

Russell T. Davies brought together all of The Doctor’s companions from the past four years as he concluded his final regular season as show runner in Journey’s End. This post contains many spoilers and I advise those watching on the Sci-Fi Channel to hold off on reading until they have aired the episode.

The episode was written as a vehicle to bring together the various companions, and tie up at least one loose end. It concentrated far more on creating a series of big scenes as opposed to a really coherent story. There was a tremendous number of faults, from the Daleks not noticing their captives escaping to the earth being literally dragged through space. There were scenes of Daleks attacking the earth but it turned out that they were irrelevant once their final plans were revealed. There was no need to be attacking in this manner when, if their plan succeeded, all non-Dalek life would have been exterminated when the reality bomb was activated.

The cliff hanger from The Stolen Earth was along the lines expected but the specifics were different from what many predicted. The Doctor did not regenerate into a new form as he used the severed hand to the regeneration once he was healed. While the possibility of two Doctors being created was considered, it was a surprise to see both of them being in the form of David Tennant, with one being half-human. This did serve as a conclusion for the love story which gradually developed between Rose and The Doctor as Rose would now be able to have a half-human version of The Doctor who could both return her love and grow old with her. American audiences are now seeing Billie Piper (and quite a bit of her) on the Showtime series Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

Donna’s fate was not as happy. She had several minutes of glory as a Time Lord but she had to have her memory of her time with The Doctor erased.

Elisabeth Sladen has stated she believes this will also be the last time she will be appearing on Doctor Who, but she will be continuing on with The Sarah Jane Adventures.  The episode ended with Martha and Mickey leaving with Jack. Jack did offer Martha what he billed as a better job than returning to U.N.I.T. Perhaps Martha, and possibly Mickey, will join Torchwood following the death of two regulars at the end of last season, assuming Freema Agyeman’s new role does not interfere with this.

Next season David Tennant will be appearing in Hamlet with Patrick Stewart and instead of a regular season there will be four Doctor Who specials, beginning with the usual Christmas episode. Teasers airing at the end of Journey’s End reveal that it will feature the Cybermen. Being free from a weekly series, Russel T. Davies can move on to other projects, as he told The Daily Mirror:

“I have got about 27 ideas boiling in my head and that is the main reason why I’ve left,” he says. “I love Doctor Who and I never want to go off it or get bored. Right now I want to go and work on series five, but I know that means it is the right time to leave.

“I get a lot of people who want me to come and make a family drama for them. But having done Doctor Who I have done the best – anything else would pale in comparison.

“I have almost got to go and do adult stuff, something a bit cheeky or sexy.

“I will just see which thing comes to the front of my mind first and start with that.”

Least Favorite Elected Republicans of the Right Wing

I recently posted a list of favorite elected Republicans among conservatives as compiled by Right Wing News. They subsequently posted their least favorites. As I expected, John McCain did better on this list than on the favorites list. Many who made this list are some of the less objectionable Republicans, with several moderate Republicans leading the list. Ron Paul also barely made the list. I bet Michael Bloomberg would have ranked even higher if he hadn’t changed to an independent. Here are their least favorites:

14) Ron Paul (5)
14) Mel Martinez (5)
13) Michael Bloomberg (7)
11) Susan Collins (8)
11) Charlie Crist (8)
9) George Voinovich (9)
9) John Warner (9)
7) Lindsey Graham (16)
7) Larry Craig (16)
6) Ted Stevens (17)
5) John McCain (18)
4) Arnold Schwarzenegger (19)
3) Olympia Snowe (20)
1) Arlen Specter (23)
1) Chuck Hagel (23)