The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

Barack Obama Speech: “A More Perfect Union” on Racism

By Nathan Schmitt

Barack Obama speaking on race in Philadelphia, PA at the Constitution Center on March 18, 2008.

I haven’t decided who I’m voting for yet as this campaign has been ridiculous, on all sides, to say the least. However, I very much appreciate Barack Obama’s willingness to talk about race in a mature manner. There hasn’t been much maturity in politics or the news media lately.

March 19, 2008 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Race Issues, Video | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Primaries

By Nathan Schmitt

I thought it might be helpful, since I haven’t posted in awhile, to show that I’m alive and give a little bit of useful information at the same time.

As you probably know, the 2008 Presidential Primaries have begun and the processes in Iowa and New Hampshire have already taken place. Here are two helpful sources for Primary data that may help keep you informed in this lengthy process.

CNN has a very well organized page on the Primary results. If you click the states in the picture under the headline “Follow the Primaries and Caucuses,” you will be taken to a data summary of that state.

MSNBC’s page is less organized with respect to hard results but it is better for keeping up with current stories relating to the Primaries.

P.S. The headline picture is intended to put the whole process in perspective. Interpret it as you’d like.

January 9, 2008 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election, Nathan Schmitt | , | Leave a comment

Last Night’s Democratic Debate: Hyperbolic Reporting

By Nathan Schmitt

Before last night’s debate, MSNBC along with other networks raised hype (Note: they update the article so it is now in the past tense) about the Democratic candidates ganging up on Hillary Clinton. The word “attack” came up many times in many articles but this seems to be a bit of a misrepresentation. First, here are some examples:

Moments later, the tone changed as [Barack Obama] launched the first of a series of attacks on Clinton, claiming the 2008 presidential race ‘requires us to be honest about the challenges that we face. It does not mean, I think, changing positions whenever it’s politically convenient.’“(1) (emphasis added)


John Edwards of North Carolina zeroed in on Clinton’s vote for a congressional resolution that declared Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.

That vote, he said, cleared the way for President Bush to invade Iran.

‘I mean, has anybody read this thing?’ Edwards asked. ‘I mean, it literally gave Bush and Cheney exactly what they wanted.’” (2)

Then continued to say,

The contention over the Iran resolution was the sharpest disagreement in a debate that saw Clinton, D-N.Y., come under a gang assault from a field of rivals hoping to chip away at her commanding lead in national polls.” (2) (emphasis added)

Now, it is almost impossible to argue that the news media–especially mainstream–has not become increasingly theatrical in the past few years, presumably for the sake of viewership. This seems acceptable to a degree from the perspective of the free market as well as news media organizations “as businesses” with corresponding interests. And, indeed, it can be argued quite well that this theatricality (hyperbolic misrepresentation in this case) does not harm public discourse in most cases. This may well be true. In most cases…

Despite the seemingly trivial nature of this particular instance (“gang assaults” or “attacks” on Hillary Clinton) it seems to point to a much more important and fundamental issue: the distinction between legitimate argument of ideas and personal attacks of character.

Very rarely do candidates within the sphere of debate attack others on a personal level–certainly considerably less than the media reports. This is a pretty big statement considering how much candidates’ “personal attacks” seem to come up in the mainstream media. Here is the distinction I think is imperative to make if one is to begin to analyze this national debate effectively:

Personal Attacks: Attack the worth of a person as a human being and are intended to debase their unique personality.

Ex: “I do not respect this person. He/she is a fundamentally evil person.”

Argument of Ideas: This includes any arguments intended to criticize those aspects that a person presents or doesn’t present to the public that are of substantial (in terms of qualitative content) concern to the issue at hand.

Examples of this range from criticizing positions on the war, to campaign money fund raising, to a person’s honesty.

I should also specify that questions of honesty are not personal attacks because they do not intend to devalue a person as a person, but rather to question their qualification for a specific position of responsibility.

In any case, it seems that the media would benefit the people to honestly make this distinction, though it seems slight, because such issues are the foundation on which we base our decisions about who will be the next leader of our country.

October 31, 2007 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election, Debates, General Discourse, Hillary Clinton, Nathan Schmitt, The Media | , , , | Leave a comment

UPDATED: Tonight’s Democratic Debate: Live Streaming (Video)

By Nathan Schmitt

Democratic presidential candidates debate
Tonight’s Debate LIVE (Click Here)

Above is a link to tonight’s democratic presidential candidates debate.

UPDATE: The “live” link is no longer active because the debate has ended. MSNBC has yet to upload tonight’s debate to streaming video, so until then, here is the next most recent Democratic debate from October 9th.

October 30, 2007 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election | , | Leave a comment

A Political Calendar: The 2008 Election

By Nathan Schmitt

This is pretty useful: a calendar of politics with respect to the 2008 Election including campaigning dates, debates, caucuses, etc..

October 30, 2007 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election, Nathan Schmitt | , | Leave a comment

The Candidates (Part 3): Barack Obama (Video)

 By Nathan Schmitt

Full interview with Sen. Obama
Interview with Sen. Obama: Video (Click Here)

The third of “The Candidates” series: Illinois Democrat Senator Barack Obama. Here are his congressional voting records.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Nathan Schmitt | , , | Leave a comment

The Candidates (Part 2): Ron Paul (Video)

By Nathan Schmitt

The second of “The Candidates” series: Republican Texas Representative Ron Paul. Here are his congressional voting records.

October 28, 2007 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election, Congress, House of Representatives, Nathan Schmitt | , , | Leave a comment

The Candidates (Part 1): Dennis Kucinich (Video)

By Nathan Schmitt

From now until the 2008 presidential election, we will be running interviews of the candidates in which they outline their beliefs and positions on relevant issues.

The first of the series: Democratic Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich. Here are his congressional voting records.

October 28, 2007 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election, Congress, House of Representatives | , , | Leave a comment