2012 U.S. Presidential Election

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby folkhero » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:10 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:I was referring to the actual people who actually sit in the parking lot of my polling place, 300 feet from the door, passing out literature. Isn't that relatively common?

Edit: Obviously not for minor positions, but for city council to state and national elections there's always someone there handing stuff out.

At my polling place, the parking lot isn't nearly big enough for that. Closest thing to that I've seen is people holding signs on the road that you have to drive past to get to the parking lot.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby nitePhyyre » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:29 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:the whole idea of a democracy is that everyone is allowed to cast a vote, no matter why they're casting the vote they're casting.
No, it isn't. That's silly. casting a vote is not the whole idea of democracy. It is not the point of democracy, it isn't necessary for democracy, nor is it sufficient for democracy.

Casting votes is one of the many methods to available to us to achieve democratic goals. It is not democracy in and of itself. Casting votes can even hinder democracy:
The 20th Century Italian thinkers Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca (independently) argued that democracy was illusory, and served only to mask the reality of elite rule. Indeed, they argued that elite oligarchy is the unbendable law of human nature, due largely to the apathy and division of the masses (as opposed to the drive, initiative and unity of the elites), and that democratic institutions would do no more than shift the exercise of power from oppression to manipulation.


From the very first paragraph of wikipedia's entry on democracy: "Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy allows people to participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws." Does voting for a candidate that has a 'funny name' do anything to give you a say in the proposal, development, and creation of laws? No, it does not. Ergo, therefore, it is not a democratic concept.
Does voting for a candidate that has the same opinions as you about the proposal, development, and creation of laws give you a say in the proposal, development, and creation of laws? Yes, yes it does. Therefore, it is a democratic concept.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:37 pm UTC

How did we get on the topic of funny names? I have become hopelessly lost in this conversation.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:44 pm UTC

Maybe he's referring to other ways we can affect our government like lawsuits, protests, and petitioning the government. Or he's just read Marx and likes his ideas, w/e.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby nitePhyyre » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:29 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:How did we get on the topic of funny names? I have become hopelessly lost in this conversation.
From this post: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=89949&start=1040#p3175759
DSenette wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:I think the word disenfranchise is being tossed around too liberally here. That word means someone's right to vote is being infringed upon. Honestly, discriminatory hurdles, while wrong, are not disenfranchisement unless they prohibit people from voting. And if you include absentee and early voting, it is absurdly easy to vote if you give 2 shits about it.

So I don't think my proposition is bad at all. I'm keeping people from voting for people who they have literally never heard of before they walked into their polling place, and I'm reducing the amount of noise in the democratic process.

but, isn't even the idea of voting for people whose names sound funny to you, still inherently democratic? i mean, what makes one reason to vote for someone better than another? like, objectively?
And 'funny names' is just stand-in for 'any inherently stupid reason for voting'
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Darryl » Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:05 pm UTC

So, while not every accusation of politicizing a tragedy is accurate (e.g. mentioning FEMA's role in the Hurricane Sandy cleanup will be yelled about by the right as "politicizing"), I'm fairly certain we can safely say that Romney is attempting to manipulate the recent hurricane for political gain.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby DSenette » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:01 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:How did we get on the topic of funny names? I have become hopelessly lost in this conversation.
From this post: http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 0#p3175759
DSenette wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:I think the word disenfranchise is being tossed around too liberally here. That word means someone's right to vote is being infringed upon. Honestly, discriminatory hurdles, while wrong, are not disenfranchisement unless they prohibit people from voting. And if you include absentee and early voting, it is absurdly easy to vote if you give 2 shits about it.

So I don't think my proposition is bad at all. I'm keeping people from voting for people who they have literally never heard of before they walked into their polling place, and I'm reducing the amount of noise in the democratic process.

but, isn't even the idea of voting for people whose names sound funny to you, still inherently democratic? i mean, what makes one reason to vote for someone better than another? like, objectively?
And 'funny names' is just stand-in for 'any inherently stupid reason for voting'

so? we don't let stupid people vote? a "no-Bronies allowed" rule maybe?

not allowing people who want to vote just to be dicks to vote is similar to not allowing people who can't read to not vote. it's obviously not the same but it's similar. the reason that someone is voting shouldn't be what you're talking about here.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:19 pm UTC

*twitchy twitcha twitch*

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:30 pm UTC

Darryl wrote:So, while not every accusation of politicizing a tragedy is accurate (e.g. mentioning FEMA's role in the Hurricane Sandy cleanup will be yelled about by the right as "politicizing"), I'm fairly certain we can safely say that Romney is attempting to manipulate the recent hurricane for political gain.

? The CNN story your story quotes says the supplies are going to an American Red Cross warehouse in New Jersey. So... the supplies are probably going to New Jersey. Worst case, they somehow make their way back to Ohio, where they were donated in the first place. Which is to say that I doubt Ohioans would be outraged to find that their supplies went to other Ohioans.

Regardless, Romney is trying to politicize this, but he's going to have a hard time keeping up with Obama, who right now is painting himself as a strong and compassionate leader.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby bentheimmigrant » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:44 pm UTC

Alternately, Obama is being a strong and compassionate leader.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:50 pm UTC

Tea Party Poll-Watchers Set Sights On Latino Community

So apparently it's a thing again to go in mass to voting stations and randomly tell people that they can't vote. Hopefully, laws like the one Texas is using to keep out the UN will be used to round up each and every one of these people and throw them in jail.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:57 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:Alternately, Obama is being a strong and compassionate leader.
The funny thing is, the best way to paint yourself as a strong and compassionate leader is to be a strong and compassionate leader.

What do you call it when someone misrepresents themselves as a strong leader so well that they're indistinguishable from a strong leader? Let me put that another way: What do you call a liar who lies so well that they're no longer lying?

(Just to clarify, I'm basically agreeing with you)

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby omgryebread » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:04 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:Tea Party Poll-Watchers Set Sights On Latino Community

So apparently it's a thing again to go in mass to voting stations and randomly tell people that they can't vote. Hopefully, laws like the one Texas is using to keep out the UN will be used to round up each and every one of these people and throw them in jail.
Those are Americans protecting us from fraud, while the UN watchers are Europeans interfering with our democracy. Right?
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby lutzj » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:07 pm UTC

Darryl wrote:So, while not every accusation of politicizing a tragedy is accurate (e.g. mentioning FEMA's role in the Hurricane Sandy cleanup will be yelled about by the right as "politicizing"), I'm fairly certain we can safely say that Romney is attempting to manipulate the recent hurricane for political gain.


Of course he is. So is Obama (although the accusations that he inserted campaign slogans into FEMA statements are just silly). To not politicize the hurricane would seem heartless for either.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:13 pm UTC

lutzj wrote:
Darryl wrote:So, while not every accusation of politicizing a tragedy is accurate (e.g. mentioning FEMA's role in the Hurricane Sandy cleanup will be yelled about by the right as "politicizing"), I'm fairly certain we can safely say that Romney is attempting to manipulate the recent hurricane for political gain.


Of course he is. So is Obama (although the accusations that he inserted campaign slogans into FEMA statements are just silly). To not politicize the hurricane would seem heartless for either.
Yeah, but let's put it another way: In this case, Obama's politicizing is competent. Romney's politicizing is incompetent.

I mean, if I am to take this article at face value (should I?), Romney should be firing some of his staff over a gaff like this. This is just terrible stuff. This is not what good, effective politicizing looks like.

At least I hope not. I would be very disappointed if this sort of behavior provided more positive publicity than negative publicity.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:23 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:Tea Party Poll-Watchers Set Sights On Latino Community

So apparently it's a thing again to go in mass to voting stations and randomly tell people that they can't vote. Hopefully, laws like the one Texas is using to keep out the UN will be used to round up each and every one of these people and throw them in jail.
Those are Americans protecting us from fraud, while the UN watchers are Europeans interfering with our democracy. Right?


Of course. Being an American citizen automatically gives you the authoritigh to harass, misinform, and discourage voters who doesn't remind you of yourself to protect the integrity of voters who remind you of yourself. Being a foreign menace negates all authority and invalidates any invitations.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Triangle_Man » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:41 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:
omgryebread wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:Tea Party Poll-Watchers Set Sights On Latino Community

So apparently it's a thing again to go in mass to voting stations and randomly tell people that they can't vote. Hopefully, laws like the one Texas is using to keep out the UN will be used to round up each and every one of these people and throw them in jail.
Those are Americans protecting us from fraud, while the UN watchers are Europeans interfering with our democracy. Right?


Of course. Being an American citizen automatically gives you the authoritigh to harass, misinform, and discourage voters who doesn't remind you of yourself to protect the integrity of voters who remind you of yourself. Being a foreign menace negates all authority and invalidates any invitations.

You know, for a country that values 'freedom' and 'liberty' so much, America really seems to hate Democracy.

Or at least it does when it doesn't work in 'their' favour.

Put another way, this is what happens when you turn Politics into a Sporting Event with Winners and Losers.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:10 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:Alternately, Obama is being a strong and compassionate leader.

Regardless, he's looking the part in front of hundreds of cameras a week before the election. I can't fault Romney for trying his best to do the same.
The Great Hippo wrote:I mean, if I am to take this article at face value (should I?), Romney should be firing some of his staff over a gaff like this. This is just terrible stuff. This is not what good, effective politicizing looks like.
Did he get bad press? The CNN article wasn't bad. The conspiratorial blog was, but I wouldn't call that bad press as much as standard conspiratorial blog fare. Most of what I've heard has been "Obama and Romney both cancelled campaign events and did stuff to help out," so pretty neutral.
Triangle_Man wrote:You know, for a country that values 'freedom' and 'liberty' so much, America really seems to hate Democracy.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:33 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Darryl wrote:So, while not every accusation of politicizing a tragedy is accurate (e.g. mentioning FEMA's role in the Hurricane Sandy cleanup will be yelled about by the right as "politicizing"), I'm fairly certain we can safely say that Romney is attempting to manipulate the recent hurricane for political gain.

? The CNN story your story quotes says the supplies are going to an American Red Cross warehouse in New Jersey. So... the supplies are probably going to New Jersey. Worst case, they somehow make their way back to Ohio, where they were donated in the first place. Which is to say that I doubt Ohioans would be outraged to find that their supplies went to other Ohioans.

Regardless, Romney is trying to politicize this, but he's going to have a hard time keeping up with Obama, who right now is painting himself as a strong and compassionate leader.


Except that the Red Cross doesn't accept individual hard item donations. They only take cash (or credit, or debit, or blood). So either the warehouse is breaking the Red Cross' rules, or Romney is lying.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:35 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I mean, if I am to take this article at face value (should I?), Romney should be firing some of his staff over a gaff like this.


I don't think Romney would recognize a gaff even if it was tied to the roof of his station wagon.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Triangle_Man » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:19 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:
Darryl wrote:So, while not every accusation of politicizing a tragedy is accurate (e.g. mentioning FEMA's role in the Hurricane Sandy cleanup will be yelled about by the right as "politicizing"), I'm fairly certain we can safely say that Romney is attempting to manipulate the recent hurricane for political gain.

? The CNN story your story quotes says the supplies are going to an American Red Cross warehouse in New Jersey. So... the supplies are probably going to New Jersey. Worst case, they somehow make their way back to Ohio, where they were donated in the first place. Which is to say that I doubt Ohioans would be outraged to find that their supplies went to other Ohioans.

Regardless, Romney is trying to politicize this, but he's going to have a hard time keeping up with Obama, who right now is painting himself as a strong and compassionate leader.


Except that the Red Cross doesn't accept individual hard item donations. They only take cash (or credit, or debit, or blood). So either the warehouse is breaking the Red Cross' rules, or Romney is lying.

Well, if the warehouse is breaking the rules, than that means that the relief items are going to go to some use, right?

...But honestly, Romney is not really revealing himself to be a 'decent person', si?
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Garm » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

He's revealing himself, again, as a desperate political opportunist with boundless ambition. He's been running for president for almost ten years. I'm amazed that he's this bad at it.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:53 pm UTC

Garm wrote:He's revealing himself, again, as a desperate political opportunist with boundless ambition.


Ie, a politician.

He's been running for president for almost ten years. I'm amazed that he's this bad at it.


*shrug* He got the nom this time around. This is quite typically, really, and it's pretty common for candidates to run without getting the nomination before they get it. It seems fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:00 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Garm wrote:He's revealing himself, again, as a desperate political opportunist with boundless ambition.


Ie, a politician.

He's been running for president for almost ten years. I'm amazed that he's this bad at it.


*shrug* He got the nom this time around. This is quite typically, really, and it's pretty common for candidates to run without getting the nomination before they get it. It seems fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

It's only a trend in GOP elections IIRC.

Separately, natural disasters tend to be bad for presidents more often than not. Maybe because of bureaucratic red tape makes people blame the president.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:43 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:Except that the Red Cross doesn't accept individual hard item donations. They only take cash (or credit, or debit, or blood). So either the warehouse is breaking the Red Cross' rules, or Romney is lying.

And according to CNN, it's the first one. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

I imagine some staffer thought this was a good idea, and then had to scramble when he realized he had truckloads of blankets the Red Cross wasn't taking. But they got on the horn and found someone who would take it, so it worked out for everyone.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby natraj » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:56 pm UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:Except that the Red Cross doesn't accept individual hard item donations. They only take cash (or credit, or debit, or blood). So either the warehouse is breaking the Red Cross' rules, or Romney is lying.

Well, if the warehouse is breaking the rules, than that means that the relief items are going to go to some use, right?

...But honestly, Romney is not really revealing himself to be a 'decent person', si?[/quote]

either way, it means romney was being a douchebag. it would be very hard for the disaster volunteers actually doing useful work through this to process an influx of item donations when they are busy actually helping people. all this does is make more work for people who could otherwise be doing something useful; what the red cross needs at times like this is cash, not supplies. they have it down quite neatly exactly what supplies they need and already have people dealing with obtaining those exact things. this is just a publicity stunt that hinders, not helps, the real relief work going on.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:35 pm UTC

When does Hank Williams Jr. say "Barack Obama Does Not Care About White People!"

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby DSenette » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:06 pm UTC

natraj wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:Except that the Red Cross doesn't accept individual hard item donations. They only take cash (or credit, or debit, or blood). So either the warehouse is breaking the Red Cross' rules, or Romney is lying.

Well, if the warehouse is breaking the rules, than that means that the relief items are going to go to some use, right?

...But honestly, Romney is not really revealing himself to be a 'decent person', si?


either way, it means romney was being a douchebag. it would be very hard for the disaster volunteers actually doing useful work through this to process an influx of item donations when they are busy actually helping people. all this does is make more work for people who could otherwise be doing something useful; what the red cross needs at times like this is cash, not supplies. they have it down quite neatly exactly what supplies they need and already have people dealing with obtaining those exact things. this is just a publicity stunt that hinders, not helps, the real relief work going on.[/quote]
which is actually quite a big deal. that's kind of the reason the red cross doesn't take physical donations. because they've got a supply stream where they can just order the supplies directly to where there needed and they show up relatively sorted. instead of getting truck loads of crap that people didn't want in their house. now someone has to actually go check the condition and expiration dates on an ass ton of canned goods, check all the packaging to make sure the toothpaste hasn't been tampred with, etc... etc...
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Yakk » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:10 am UTC

The Red Cross cannot politically refuse donations from Romney. Take a look at that soup kitchen and how much shit it got in because it didn't want to be used for political purposes. And Romney has at least a 20%[1] chance of being the next president of the USA. You might not piss off someone that powerful, even if it means hurting your immediate relief efforts to sort donated physical goods.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Xeio » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:34 am UTC

Yakk wrote:The Red Cross cannot politically refuse donations from Romney.
"Oh yes, we'll take that, deliver them to this address. Uh, they won't say they're Red Cross, but trust us *place that takes goods donations* is totally part of the Red Cross, they're the black ops division."

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby natraj » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:03 am UTC

Yakk wrote:The Red Cross cannot politically refuse donations from Romney. Take a look at that soup kitchen and how much shit it got in because it didn't want to be used for political purposes. And Romney has at least a 20%[1] chance of being the next president of the USA. You might not piss off someone that powerful, even if it means hurting your immediate relief efforts to sort donated physical goods.

[1] FIve thirty eight


yeah, actually, they could. and often do. most of the time the red cross is pretty hardline about NOT being political and occasionally goes through some contortions to not be seen as political. also they have been around a long while before romney and will be around a long while after. the icrc and the ifrc both have done a lot more extreme things for the sake of Not Being Political than telling romney to give a financial donation like everyone else.

regardless it was basically a douchetastic move on romney's part. he is a useless human being.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:59 am UTC

DSenette wrote:which is actually quite a big deal. that's kind of the reason the red cross doesn't take physical donations. because they've got a supply stream where they can just order the supplies directly to where there needed and they show up relatively sorted. instead of getting truck loads of crap that people didn't want in their house. now someone has to actually go check the condition and expiration dates on an ass ton of canned goods, check all the packaging to make sure the toothpaste hasn't been tampred with, etc... etc...


This is true...but it's less of a problem with mass shipments. I really couldn't say how much of this was Romney forcing generocity upon the Red Cross, and how much of it is the Red Cross making a legitimate exception for something they actually needed. That said, past history does indicate that the RC is quite willing to say no to political donations, so the latter does seem somewhat more likely.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby omgryebread » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:13 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This is true...but it's less of a problem with mass shipments. I really couldn't say how much of this was Romney forcing generocity upon the Red Cross, and how much of it is the Red Cross making a legitimate exception for something they actually needed. That said, past history does indicate that the RC is quite willing to say no to political donations, so the latter does seem somewhat more likely.
Eh. If they only refuse donations to appear apolitical, then their best strategy in this case was to accept it. Refusing Romney's donation would have been seen as political.

Regardless of whether Mitt Romney's mass donation was useful in the absolute sense, it was totally useless in the relative sense. The Red Cross almost certainly has deep discounts they can take advantage of, rather than a bunch of consumers paying retail cost. People may buy unequal things that the Red Cross has to figure out how to distribute, so that rather than having 200 16 oz peanut butter jars, they have 100 16 oz and 150 12 oz. And they might not have needed peanut butter, but rather would have 50 blankets.

The annoying thing is that Mitt Romney is a smart man: he knows this. His campaign is staffed by people capable of running a national election in the world's second largest democracy and most sophisticated media market, people who are well qualified, and quite possibly will be high ranking officials in the executive branch. Everyone involved in the decision to do this food bank knew they were doing it in suboptimal way. Yet they proceeded, because gathering food gives some good photo ops. Why didn't Romney just ask everyone to forgo donating to his campaign, and instead donate that money to the Red Cross? Hell, I assume he could have said "donate your money today, and we'll donate everything to the Red Cross!" Because he now has some photos of him gathering cans, and because people would seperate donating an object like a can, from donating money, so they will both donate a can to Mitt Romney's food collection, and then donate money to what really matters for him: the campaign.
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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:18 pm UTC

Well, of course. Collecting cash for two purposes cannibalizes your own donations. Person X probably only has so much money available at the moment to donate. No matter how good the pitch, the dollar value can only rise so high.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Chen » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:45 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Well, of course. Collecting cash for two purposes cannibalizes your own donations. Person X probably only has so much money available at the moment to donate. No matter how good the pitch, the dollar value can only rise so high.


Not to mention people may donate existing things they have (cans in the cupboard, extra blankets etc). People can justify things like this because they weren't using them or the like. But they'll feel it in the cases where they have to actually take money that they were planning to use for other things and use it for donations.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Beltayn » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:36 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:This is true...but it's less of a problem with mass shipments. I really couldn't say how much of this was Romney forcing generocity upon the Red Cross, and how much of it is the Red Cross making a legitimate exception for something they actually needed. That said, past history does indicate that the RC is quite willing to say no to political donations, so the latter does seem somewhat more likely.
Eh. If they only refuse donations to appear apolitical, then their best strategy in this case was to accept it. Refusing Romney's donation would have been seen as political.

Regardless of whether Mitt Romney's mass donation was useful in the absolute sense, it was totally useless in the relative sense. The Red Cross almost certainly has deep discounts they can take advantage of, rather than a bunch of consumers paying retail cost. People may buy unequal things that the Red Cross has to figure out how to distribute, so that rather than having 200 16 oz peanut butter jars, they have 100 16 oz and 150 12 oz. And they might not have needed peanut butter, but rather would have 50 blankets.

The annoying thing is that Mitt Romney is a smart man: he knows this. His campaign is staffed by people capable of running a national election in the world's second largest democracy and most sophisticated media market, people who are well qualified, and quite possibly will be high ranking officials in the executive branch. Everyone involved in the decision to do this food bank knew they were doing it in suboptimal way. Yet they proceeded, because gathering food gives some good photo ops. Why didn't Romney just ask everyone to forgo donating to his campaign, and instead donate that money to the Red Cross? Hell, I assume he could have said "donate your money today, and we'll donate everything to the Red Cross!" Because he now has some photos of him gathering cans, and because people would seperate donating an object like a can, from donating money, so they will both donate a can to Mitt Romney's food collection, and then donate money to what really matters for him: the campaign.


Romney is kind of trapped in a corner by his ideology here.

His entire political premise when it comes to things like this is:
-The Private Sector can do it better
-Anything the Private Sector doesn't do will be covered by private charities
-Big Government Agencies are ineffectual, because they are large Government organizations, as opposed to large private organizations, which are good. Because Free Market.


Things like FEMA are about as Big Government as you can get. At best, he can be agnostic on FEMA, which is a scale down from previously openly criticizing it and calling for it to be disbanded. He knows that wouldn't play well to lots of voters who are now being quite visibly helped by FEMA.

He can't do NOTHING, since he can't be seen as standing by like an asshole while Obama goes around acting the President.

So what does that leave? It leaves charitable giving.
He can't just donate money though, because that undermines the whole "big government organizations are inefficient with taxpayer money" spiel.
Hence, truckloads of cans and bullshit that Red Cross doesn't need or want.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:09 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Well, of course. Collecting cash for two purposes cannibalizes your own donations. Person X probably only has so much money available at the moment to donate. No matter how good the pitch, the dollar value can only rise so high.


Not to mention people may donate existing things they have (cans in the cupboard, extra blankets etc). People can justify things like this because they weren't using them or the like. But they'll feel it in the cases where they have to actually take money that they were planning to use for other things and use it for donations.


Hell, I do that. Just dropped a bunch of stuff off at goodwill the other day because I was moving, and I wasn't using it. The alternative was tossing the items, so the net cost to me was the short drive to drop the stuff off. It's pretty rational.

Beltayn, that doesn't follow, because the Red Cross is a non governmental organization. There is no ideological conflict with giving them money...it's simply a much more pragmatic tactic of wanting money for his own campaign.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Beltayn » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:23 pm UTC

Well, it just raises the question of "If you can just give a check for a lot of money to the Red Cross, and they are capable of using that efficiently, how exactly is FEMA incapable of doing the same thing, apart from the fact that it has Federal in the name and that gives you the heebie-jeebies?"

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:34 pm UTC

Beltayn wrote:Well, it just raises the question of "If you can just give a check for a lot of money to the Red Cross, and they are capable of using that efficiently, how exactly is FEMA incapable of doing the same thing, apart from the fact that it has Federal in the name and that gives you the heebie-jeebies?"


That's an ideological question about public and private. It's a pretty normal discrepancy between repubs and dems, and no conflict exists for republicans advocating big corporations.

They'd probably answer you with something about free markets that fails to actually describe a free market in any detail.

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Re: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Postby natraj » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:35 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This is true...but it's less of a problem with mass shipments. I really couldn't say how much of this was Romney forcing generocity upon the Red Cross, and how much of it is the Red Cross making a legitimate exception for something they actually needed. That said, past history does indicate that the RC is quite willing to say no to political donations, so the latter does seem somewhat more likely.


not much less of a problem. i am not speaking from theory, i actually work for the red cross and actually get involved in bulk distribution. this kind of thing is a giant pain. most especially when there is an actual huge disaster at the moment.
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