06 November 2008

A Quote to Ponder

Thanks to the great bloggers at Hullabaloo for posting this quote. I think these words express what Progressives hope to achieve in the upcoming years.

"Politics is not left, right or center ... It's about improving people's lives."

-Paul Wellstone, Election Night 1990 acceptance speech

04 November 2008

Dixville Notch

Obama has scored his first victory. The Dixville Notch, New Hampshire votes have now been counted:

Obama-Biden 15
McCain-Palin 6

Let the landslide begin!

The Day Has Finally Arrived

The following post was written this week by a fellow blogger named TBogg. I think much of what is written is what many of us are feeling now. More to follow if all goes well tomorrow--and it will.

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself but I have a confession to make. I'm in my fifties and I never thought that I would see an African-American elected President of the United States in my lifetime. I just didn't think we had it in us but it appears that we have most assuredly come a long way.

I remember when I was nine years old, sitting in the back of my parents car getting ready to leave Torrey Pines State Beach when they announced on the radio that the authorities had found the bodies of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner; I remember it as distinctly as I remember when JFK was shot. The announcer called them "civil rights workers" but I didn't know what a civil rights worker was. I thought he was calling them "civil service workers" which, to my nine year-old mind, was like a postman or the guys who picked up the trash. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to murder them. Later, when I understood who they were and what they were doing, I understood it even less. Murdering someone just because they were trying to help people register to vote? I couldn't comprehend the hatred of a people who could think that way. I just knew that they were vicious and they were stupid.

Later, when I was in the eighth grade, I read Les Miserables in class and I came across this: "There are souls that, crablike, crawl continually toward darkness, going backward in life rather than advancing, using their experience to increase their deformity, growing continually worse, and becoming steeped more and more thoroughly in the intensifying viciousness."

...and I realized that I knew exactly the type of people Victor Hugo was writing about.

Now, forty-four long years later, I will have the opportunity to vote for (and more importantly, so will my daughter who has already cast her vote in this, her first election) an African-American for President of the United States. The same type of "person" James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner lost their lives for; not so they could become president some day, but simply because it was their right to participate and have a voice within their own country.

I won't say 'what took us so long?'. I'll just say that I'm glad to be here to see this day come.

07 October 2008

McCain Falls Flat Once Again

Senator John McCain put in yet another dismal performance in this evening's debate with Illinois Senator Barack Obama. McCain--shown at left responding to a question about health care--was supposed to do well in this "town hall" debate style. After the debate, a McCain spokesperson said that the Arizona senator is considering asking for a totally different format in the final contest.

In addition, the McCain camp has also suggested new rules for the November election. McCain, a novice Scrabble player, wants all states below the Ohio River to have "triple word scores" regarding their electoral college votes--except for Florida because it lies so close to that country controlled by the evil Castro brothers. So Georgia would now have 45 electoral votes; South Carolina 24; Alabama 27, Mississippi 18; and Texas would have over 100! The McCain campaign says this is only fair since Obama has the elite, liberal media on his side. "We simply want to level the playing field" said Senator McCain in a press release given to Fox News after tonight's debate.

The Obama campaign had no comment.

21 September 2008

I Have To Meet My Professor

This Tuesday, Sarah Palin will be meeting with Dr. Henry Kissinger. Palin is trying to prepare herself for the upcoming vice-presidential debate, while also attempting to learn something (anything!) about foreign policy and the world. Who better to talk to than Kissinger.

I would just love to be at this meeting. Quick, what words come to mind when you envision this duo: mismatch, asymmetrical, or maybe lopsided?

Here are just a few of the the things I would interested in knowing:

1. Does Sarah Palin even know who Henry Kissinger is?

2. Will their accents clash?

3. Did she have to email first to find out about Dr. Kissinger's office hours?

4. What the hell is Palin going to do when Kissinger starts pontificating about Metternich and the Congress of Vienna? Will she take notes like a good undergrad, nod off, or ask Henry if this will be on the test?

5. Will she bring an atlas or a small globe just in case Kissinger mentions a place she has never heard of?

6. Will she ask Henry if he has ever shot a moose? What will be his response?

7. Will she question his policies regarding Vietnam, Chile, Allende, or East Timor? Okay, maybe not.

8. How long will it take before Kissinger realizes that this teaching session is a lost cause?

18 September 2008

Say What?

Earlier this week, John McCain suggested that Sarah Palin "knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States." He added that "we all know that energy is a critical and vital national security issue."

Finally, we have that important foreign policy link we have been looking for. She can see Russia from somewhere in Alaska, but it's her energy knowledge that makes her national security ready.

I do have this question though, is there a person in the country....anyone at all, who actually thinks Sarah Palin knows more about energy than anyone else in the United States?" Should a presidential candidate be able to say crap like this? There should be some sort of law.

Is there any evidence at all that she knows anything about energy or energy policy? She lives in Alaska and there is oil in Alaska. So maybe, just maybe, she has some thoughts and opinions on energy. But the most knowledgeable person in the country?

Well, judge for yourself. Here is what she said in an interview this week about oil, energy, and drilling. If you can figure out this gibberish, let me know.

Oil and coal? Of course, it’s a fungible commodity and they don’t flag, you know, the molecules, where it’s going and where it’s not. But in the sense of the Congress today, they know that there are very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first,” Palin said. “So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it’s Americans that get stuck to holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here. It’s got to flow into our domestic markets first.

What she said!

17 September 2008

A Nation In Decline

I think this country is in real trouble. We can't face our problems, and we refuse to even acknowledge the serious situation we are in. Instead, we flaunt our flag lapel pins, boast about what a great country we used to be, pray about everything, and try to divert attention by blaming people and groups who have nothing to do with these issues.

Case in point #1--John McCain has absolutely nothing to say about our serious economic problems. Instead of facing the truth, however, McCain has decided to spew some irrelevant crap about the soundness of the American worker. Yes, make sure to say something nice about an important segment of the population so they can feel good about themselves. In the meantime, offer the country no solutions. That's real leadership.

Case in point #2--Weren't we all so proud of the Republicans when they yelled "drill, drill, drill" in moronic unison at their convention? Let's not deal with the oil and energy problems in this country, that might make the public uncomfortable. A better idea is to have them believe there is a simple solution, drill! Now everyone is happy, no one is offended, and the public can sleep easy.

Obvious case in point #3 that has been going on for years--Instead of talking about our incoherent foreign policy, our inability to understand the world, and our immanent defeat in Iraq; let's just prattle on about those brave troops. The bigger questions surely aren't important, we need to make our people feel good about themselves.

My questions are these: first, are the American people so insecure and fearful that they can't even discuss social, political, and economic problems? And second, when are the people going to demand that these issues be considered?

I don't know who should shoulder more of the blame? But I think the public must ultimately force the politicians to debate these issues. What are we afraid of, that sacrifices will have to be made? Yes, that is going to happen, probably sooner rather than later.

This is truly a sad time to be an American. We have lost respect around the world, our economy is in shambles, a middle-class life is becoming impossible, and foreclosures, exorbitant health care costs, job losses, and poor education standards have become the norm. Yet, we still have not demanded that our current and future leaders address these issues.

Wave those flags, pray, support those troops, and talk to the kids about WWII: all our problems will surely go away!

25 June 2008

I Need To Get A New Hobby

I have often referred to myself as a political junkie—but things are getting out of hand. Let me explain. My friend Ratso Rizzo and I have been spending most of our waking hours debating and critically examining potential running mates for Barack Obama. I think the two of us have personally vetted about 40 candidates thus far. The fact is, we are spending way too much time on this topic. But both Ratso and I are political junkies. Sitting at a coffee shop discussing these sorts of topics is what we do.

If this was as far as it went, I would be happy admitting to just some minor social and personal problems. But the other night, I think my subconscious tried to warn me that I was in some deeper trouble. I had a very clear and vivid dream about George Smathers. That’s right, George Smathers. No one else in the entire fucking country is dreaming about George Smathers--just me. What happened to the days when I dreamed about big-breasted cheerleaders, or playing third base for the Mets? I guess that was back when I was sane. No, my imagination drums up George Smathers.

Most of you don’t know who he is so let me explain. George Smathers (picture below) was a United States senator from the state of Florida from 1951 to 1969. He wasn't a particular memorable statesman. He is probably best know for being a friend of President Kennedy--and the two of them might have spent some time chasing females. There is really no reason a sane individual would dream about Smathers—unless one did nothing else in his life except think about electoral votes in Florida and Ohio, running mates, and those sorts of political things.

I suppose Freud would say that since there are no current Obama running mate possibilities from Florida, my historian-subconscious reverted to past politicians—a nice trait to have I guess. And George Smathers is who my mind dredged up. I suppose he would help carry the state for our side. Maybe I need to get out more—or talk more about the weather, or the opera, or baseball.

If I have any additional dreamlike running mate ideas--I will let you know. Actually I was thinking that Winfield Scott Hancock would really help Obama. He is from the right state (Pennsylvania) and he was a war hero (fought at Gettysburg). Just thinking.....

19 June 2008

My Trip to the Diner

I went to my neighborhood diner today for lunch. You know the place, a family business that’s been around since the Taft administration....all-you-can eat fish on Fridays, and great milk shakes too.

Well, today's hostess looked like Flo from Mel’s Diner—maybe just a little heavier, but the same mannerisms—she might have even called me “hun” when I walked in the door.

I was sitting near the cash register so I could hear Flo talking to one of the regulars. This guy appeared to be about 65-70 and was probably drinking his 37th free coffee refill of the day. Flo said to him, “I hear they’re trying to stop this off-shore oil drilling. We better do it; I need my gas prices to come down.”

The gentleman (we’ll call him Sam, he looked like a Sam), responded by saying, “Yes, we need the oil that’s out there. It might take 2-3 years to see the benefits though.” To which Flo responded, “That’s alright, we need to get it now.” (Clearly I wasn’t taking notes—but that’s close to what was said.)

Now I was totally intrigued by this conversation. These were two regular folks that are probably being hurt by the $4.00 gallon gas prices. Flo and Sam want gas back at $2.00 a gallon. And I am going to assume that these individuals believe there is a solution to this problem. Yes, off-shore drilling could be it. There is oil out there in the ocean—we need to get at it. Just let those oil companies drill and my gas prices will drop.

When I see and hear people like Flo and Sam I get worried—worried that they are prime targets for fear and political demagoguery. And when I hear the misinformation thrown around about off-shore drilling, I really get scared. Flo and Sam believe in this solution because they have to believe it. If they don’t, if they instead chose to see how complex and nuanced this energy crisis really is—it would be pretty damned depressing.

The Republicans play on these fears and I think this is an issue they will try and exploit in the next 5 months. John McCain is going to say he will lower the price of gas. Yes, he will be lying—but people like Flo and Sam need to imagine that this crisis might be short-term.

But we know it’s demagoguery. Today’s New York Times editorial said it best, “It’s was almost inevitable that a combination of $4-a-gallon gas, public anxiety and politicians eager to win votes or repair legacies would produce political pandering on an epic scale.” (Read the whole editorial if you have time, it's very informative).

The Times labels the Bush drilling proposal a “dumb idea” that is “cruelly misleading” and sites the Energy Information Organization as estimating that if the off-shore coasts were opened, “prices would not begin to drop until 2030.”

I hope Senator Obama and other Democrats are ready to take on this pandering. They need to be prepared because the public wants to believe there are ready solutions. We should be honest with them—but sometimes, that isn’t the best political solution is it?

Flo and Sam's conversation also made me think about my immediate response. Should I have said something, should I have given them a copy of the New York Times article which I had with me? Probably neither would have been a good idea. The St. Paul diner crowd don’t need a lecture from a liberal college professor.

But it does make me want to keep blogging, and talking to people when I have the chance, and educating students and the public on these knotty issues. Sometimes the solutions aren't what Flo and Sam want to hear, but I think they can accept the consequences if talked to honestly. At least I hope that's the case.

11 June 2008

A Female Veep--But Not Hillary?

It was reported last week in the national media that Hillary Clinton would simply not accept another woman on the ticket as Barack Obama’s running mate. If she wasn’t the choice, then Obama would have to select a man.

I am not sure of the accuracy of this report, but the political dilemma is worth discussing. If Senator Clinton still dreams of being the first female president of the United States, it would not be in her interest to have a competitor. And even if Obama loses in November, his running mate would become, along with Senator Clinton, a strong contender for the 2012 election. That would set up a pleasant situation—two women heading the list of possible Democratic presidential candidates. Nothing wrong with that.

If (or should I say when) Obama wins in November we will have a different situation. The nation's first female vice-president would immediately become the heir apparent to President Obama--although 2016 is a long way off. Clearly however, Hillary Clinton’s chances of becoming president would decline precipitously.

But what will the Clinton supporters think of a different women being named Obama’s running mate? In my opinion, they would be unable to criticize this choice even if disappointed. Would they deny another female a spot on the ticket? Even if Clinton is not the choice, wouldn’t it still be remarkable to have an African-American/female team? Much of Clinton’s campaign would be validated to a great degree and her supporters would have to feel some amount of satisfaction.

Finally, could Clinton stop Obama from selecting a female? I suppose she could put enough pressure to do just that. But what if the word got out? It would simply reinforce an image of Hillary Clinton as a selfish and ruthless politician who cared only about her own self-interest—not the party, and not the feminist movement. No, she simply cannot make this demand. If discovered, her future role as a party leader would be diminished severely. Even her chances of running for president in the future would be damaged.

The fact is, this is the perfect time to select a female running mate. Hillary Clinton has opened the door for a woman to be selected immediately. Obama needs to take advantage of that opening. Yes, it would probably end Clinton’s presidential hopes—but her chances are slim anyway. The Clinton 18-million would have to be supportive. And finally, it would give an opportunity for a number of Democratic women (and Republican women also) to run for president in the next few election cycles.

History will give Hillary Clinton credit for making this situation possible now. This might not be what she had in mind--but it isn't a bad legacy. Now Barack Obama must make the next move.

McCain Means Anti-Choice

As a yellow-dog Democrat myself (that’s a party loyalist who would even vote for a yellow dog if it were running on the Democratic ticket), I sincerely hope that the Hillary Clinton supporters will ultimately decide that a vote for Barack Obama is their best choice in November. While I understand that emotions are running high, it still comes down to policies in the end. Will we be better off with Obama or McCain?

I anticipate arguments being made to Clinton supporters trying to convince them that Obama is a much better option--and I would like to do my small part in this post.

We need to all remember that the next president will probably appoint several Supreme Court justices. Who do we want making those critical selections? I made this same argument to Obama supporters back in February when it looked like Clinton might be the nominee. Even then, I believed all Democrats had to support the eventual nominee to advance our policy initiatives (even though both candidates were squishy centrists), and to take back the Supreme Court. At that time, some belligerent Obama supporters were threatening to leave the party if Clinton was the nominee—so our current problems might have been the same no matter who won the nomination.

So let’s look at a few articles regarding McCain’s views on abortion and a woman’s right to chose. This first selection is from McCain’s own website. It’s difficult to misinterpret these words. The bold highlights are mine.

Overturning Roe v. Wade
John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned
, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench. Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat. However, the reversal of Roe v. Wade represents only one step in the long path toward ending abortion. Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion - the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby. The pro-life movement has done tremendous work in building and reinforcing the infrastructure of civil society by strengthening faith-based, community, and neighborhood organizations that provide critical services to pregnant mothers in need. This work must continue and government must find new ways to empower and strengthen these armies of compassion. These important groups can help build the consensus necessary to end abortion at the state level. As John McCain has publicly noted, "At its core, abortion is a human tragedy. To effect meaningful change, we must engage the debate at a human level."

This next short selection is a response to a Clinton supporter who plans to vote for McCain in November. Froma Harrop claims that McCain is really a moderate on the choice issue--buying into the maverick label that McCain is still attempting to utilize. Kevin Drum in the Washington Monthly utilizes a Steve Beren column and they both take Harrop to task.
McCAIN ON ABORTION....One of the inexplicable side effects of John McCain's maverick reputation is the number of people who believe — or, perhaps, desperately want to believe — that he's basically pretty moderate on abortion rights. Columnist Froma Harrop is one of them.

First, Harrop is willing to gamble, but pro-choice Democrats have to know better....[Harrop] concludes that McCain's voting record of complete and total opposition to reproductive rights for nearly a quarter century is insincere, and once in the White House, he'll suddenly transform into a moderate. This is sheer fantasy.

Second, McCain is going to great lengths to prove how completely wrong Harrop really is. Indeed, McCain is telling anyone who will listen that he'd be even further to the right than Bush on this issue, subtly criticizing Griswold, and by extension, the very notion of a right to privacy.

And third, it's utterly foolish to narrowly focus the inquiry to the Supreme Court. McCain is practically desperate to stack the court with more far-right justices — his active support for Bork wasn't an accident — but if we take a more general look at McCain and women's issues, we see that McCain will maintain the global gag order, supports the court's ruling on Ledbetter, has expressed no interest in civil rights protections for women, and has voted against everything from requiring health care plans to cover birth control to international family planning funding to public education for emergency contraception.

McCain tends to use soothing, nonconfrontational language when he talks about social issues, but his actual record on abortion is about as hardline conservative as you can get. A lot of moderates who like McCain seem to be averting their gaze from this and trying to persuade themselves that it's all just politics and the real McCain is a lot like them: not a big fan of abortion, maybe, but not really extreme about it either. Unfortunately, it ain't so. If McCain gets into office, his record is pretty clear: he'll do everything he can to reduce or eliminate access to abortion, starting with poor women and working his way up.

Finally, the Christian Science Monitor chimed in a few months ago on McCain’s possible judicial nominees. It is clear what kinds of judges McCain will appoint.

A particularly sore point has involved McCain's alleged liberal perspective on selecting federal judges, especially for the Supreme Court. But on this score, conservative fear is misplaced. A careful reading of his statements and his Senate record shows that McCain's "maverick" approach bodes quite well for those who cherish a conservative judiciary.

The senator has carefully repeated the conservative Republican Party mantras regarding federal judicial appointments demanded of all viable GOP candidates. For instance, McCain has praised President Bush for selecting justices "who strictly interpret the Constitution." And he observed that "one of our greatest problems in America today is justices that legislate from the bench."

He has pledged to appoint jurists who construe the Constitution and legislation, rather than make social policy or assume the role of judicial "activists." Indeed, one critical line of McCain's Super Tuesday speech was a clear, direct appeal to the GOP base: "I am a Republican because I believe the judges we appoint to the federal bench must understand that enforcing our laws, not making them, is their only responsibility."

McCain has also made the standard promise to name Supreme Court justices who share the perspectives of Chief Justice John Roberts as well as those of Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas.

When some conservatives attacked McCain for remarking that he was reportedly troubled because Justice Alito "wore his conservatism on his sleeve," he set the record straight: "I will try to find clones of Alito and Roberts."

McCain may be less ideological than certain conservative Republicans would like. Nevertheless, his record suggests that they should not be concerned. In fact, McCain might rectify or temper the accusations, recriminations, divisive partisanship, and paybacks that have plagued the selection process by cooperating with Democrats, who may enhance their Senate majority in November.

19 May 2008

It's a No-Brainer

This is a relatively easy call. Hillary Clinton would be a near perfect vice-presidential candidate for Barack Obama. Shall I formulate a list?

-a proven vote getter
-tough (would obliterate Iran at the wink of an eye)
-has already been vetted
-good campaigner
-will generate crowds, enthusiasm, and turnout
-can raise huge sums of money
-experienced (can and will answer any phone at 3:00 am)
-geographical balance
-gender and racial balance: a true revolutionary ticket, let's not forget that
-age balance
-the candidates agree on most issues
-will savage any Republican Veep candidate in a debate--I can't wait to see Hillary and Pawlenty go toe-to-toe, any guess on who will win that one?

But the most important consideration here goes to votes: simple arithmetic. Will Hillary bring Obama any voters? And the answer is a resounding yes! These two fit together like an electoral glove (whatever that is). We have seen Hillary taking the rural white votes in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. These are just the voters Obama needs to court. Granted, some of them might go to McCain, but Clinton will surely keep many of them for the ticket in November. She will also help with women and older voters.

What is the downside to this ticket? There are actually very few important things.
-Obama would win New York without Clinton on board
-there is the Bill problem, someone would need to watch over him.
-sick of the constant Clinton drama
-this would seem a politically calculated selection, which might initially hurt Obama with young, idealistic voters
-there are still skeletons in the Clinton closets
-might energize some Republican voters
-Clinton's Iraq vote
-both from the senate
-there have been some mud thrown during the campaign that would probably be used by the Republicans in an attempt to divide the ticket

The biggest problem in formulating this union would be egos. These two senators probably don't like each other very much. I doubt either one wants to do much to help the other. But I think this ticket could bring us a landslide win in November. If the political operatives can just show each of them the potential benefits of this ticket--we are in for a fun and frolicking fall campaign.

I would still vote for Obama if he selected Bayh, Nunn, Sebilius, Richardson, Clark, Webb, Biden, Dodd, Edwards, or Napolitano. But I don't see any of these choices really bringing much to the ticket. And indeed, Obama might still win in November. But an Obama-Clinton ticket would be a rock-star partnership. With Hillary on the ticket I doubt we would spend another long evening waiting for a few states to report--it would be over early.

Historical Interlude
After JFK selected Lyndon Johnson as his running mate at the 1960 Democratic convention in Los Angles, there was gloom and doom in the Kennedy camp. One key advisor told the future president that this was “the worst mistake you ever made” predicting that Kennedy would spend the entire campaign apologizing for adding Johnson to the ticket.

The following weekend, while sitting around the Kennedy compound still wondering if they had done the right thing—old Joe Kennedy entered the room and said, “Don’t worry Jack, in two weeks everyone will be saying that this was the smartest thing you ever did.” Papa Joe Kennedy was right. Say what you want about Johnson's future mistakes—the point was to win the 1960 election. And Johnson was a great help in putting together a narrow victory.

And when a few Obama supporters are angry that he has picked his main rival, some wise individual will go up to him and say, “Don’t worry Barack, in two weeks everyone will be saying that this was the smartest thing you ever did.”

And it will be: Obama-Clinton in 2008.

16 May 2008


Dear Right-Wingers, Republicans, and other assorted jingoists,

It would be nice if you actually knew something about history before bringing it up. It really makes you folks look like fools. I do realize that most of you think intellectuals are evil people who don't attend church on Sunday and refuse to wear flag lapel pins. But most of us honestly try to understand an issue before we engage in a debate.

Now let's talk about appeasement. Your President Bush mentioned the word during a speech in Israel this week--which immediately led all of you conservative screamers to label Barack Obama an appeaser since the Illinois senator has said he would talk to Iran and other so-called "enemy" nations.

Let's be honest, you folks have no idea what the word actually means, and you don't understand one thing about the historical context. It's just a word you throw around because you think it is supposed to frighten liberals.
Here is how Paul Kennedy defined it: "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the resort to an armed conflict which would be, expensive, bloody and possibly dangerous."

Avoiding armed conflict--now there is a novel concept. But in reality we all know the word gained negative connotations when our friend Neville Chamberlain (pictured above) continually met Hitler's demands during the lead up to World War II. When Chamberlain basically gave away Czechoslovakia to get "peace in our time" the policy of appeasement was forever tarnished. How many times have we heard about this infamous 1938 Munich agreement?

The Bush administration has learned what from Munich?
1. Don't give up anything to evil dictators for they will always want more.
2. Build up your military to such tremendous might that the evil dictators won't even dare ask for anything.
3. If the evil dictator even thinks about making demands, blow the fuck out him.
4. Then spend more and more money on the military so appeasement will never be an option just in case some sissy liberal does get elected.
5. Take all money out of social programs and spend it on big, hard, stiff penis weapons.

My Republican friends, we all know these lessons are a crock of pure shit. This twisted logic has been served up in order to gut social programs and to scare the hell out of the public so they will vote for your side. Yet Munich has become part of American diplomatic terminology. I had a girlfriend once that basically demanded better and more expensive gifts every week. I didn't know what to do. Then I thought of Munich--I can't appease this bitch lovely young lady, if I do she'll keep asking for more and more. And she'll be in Poland before I know it. That's kind of how you guys think isn't it?

But let me tell you what appeasement isn't--and I don't expect you to understand.
-it's NOT appeasement if we talk to another nations
-it's NOT appeasement if we talk to nations which we consider enemies

-it's NOT appeasement if we diplomatically recognize nations which we might disagree with
-it's NOT appeasement to attempt to live peacefully in the world with other nations
-it's NOT appeasement to cut our military budget (a lot)
-it's NOT appeasement to be part of a community of nations
-it's NOT appeasement to recognize the importance of the United Nations
-it's NOT appeasement to acknowledge other religions in the world
-it's NOT appeasement to criticize Israel
-it's NOT appeasement to talk with Hamas--or any other group for that matter
-it's NOT appeasement to dream of making this world a better place
-it's NOT appeasement to turn the other cheek once in a while
-it's NOT appeasement to be opposed to war

Please try to understand your history before you level your swift-boat charges. President Obama will not be giving anything away when he talks to Iran and other enemies of the United States. Talking is simply the first step in making the world a better place. But you wouldn't understand that whole better place concept would you

13 May 2008

Hillary's Motivation and Pickett's Charge

Many have been asking why Hillary Clinton remains in the Democratic presidential race. It's fairly clear that she has little chance of securing the nomination without destroying the party in the process. She is behind in ALL relevant statistical categories: pledged delegates, superdelegates, states won, and popular vote. How about a graceful exit?

There are those who see Machiavellian political motives in all of Clinton's actions: she is maneuvering for the Vice-Presidency, she needs Obama's help to pay her bills, she secretly wants to wreck his chances so she can run in 2012. There might be other sinister conspiratorial theories--but I don't accept this sort of reasoning.

Generally speaking, I think political motives are often much simpler than the talking-heads imagine. Why is Senator Clinton still in this race, I think her reasoning is actually easy to figure out. Everything that Hillary and Bill have done since 1992 has worked (except that blow-job incident). Events have always broken their way, and they have rarely had to pay a large political price for mistakes. One could even say they have been invincible. And when you think you are invincible, that is what determines your strategy. Hillary Clinton still believes she is going to win this nomination. She cannot envision defeat--even though a defeat appears inevitable. And in fact, the Clinton history of the past 16 years serves to reinforce her current strategy: fight hard, spin, hang around, act as if events are going your way, smile.....and things will work out.

(now for the historians in the crowd) After Robert E. Lee sent George Pickett on his famous charge at Gettysburg, many later wondered how Lee could have made such a foolish decision (that's Pickett's dashing picture at top of post). Some historians have cited overconfidence on Lee's part--he thought he and his troops were invincible. And as Shelby Foote has pointed out, the first few years of the war actually did show that he and his army was nearly invincible. But invincibility doesn't last forever and it invites the obvious overstretch. For Lee, it was Pickett's Charge in July of 1863.

This is the Pickett's Charge of the Clinton years. This will be the race that didn't work out, no miracles, no last-minute breaks, nothing will save her this time. But the reasoning is understandable. When everything has gone your way time and time again--you develop a mindset that it will continue.

That's why she is still in the race. It's as simple as that.

11 March 2008

A Waste of a Good Governor

I actually don't think hiring a prostitute is anyone's business. And I believe there are more insidious ways for a politician to betray the public trust. But New York's Governor Eliot Spitzer is a dumb-ass. Paying for sex might be a private matter, it probably doesn't influence public policy, and the FBI could be doing more important things--but Eliot Spitzer is a dumb-ass.

Why do this? Why wreck a promising political career over something so trivial. I don't quite understand. I have no real moral qualms with Spitzer's behavior--I have stupidity issues though. I hope if he does resign, he doesn't blame it all on a momentary moral lapse. He should hold a press conference and just admit that he is a dumb-ass.

Of course, we all know you don't have to be smart to hold high office. But Spitzer apparently earned a perfect score on his LSAT--he should have known better. President Bush, on the other hand, (a perfect example of a moron elected to a high of office) is simply not very smart. If I discovered that Bush hired a prostitute, I am not sure what my reaction would be. I guess it would at least keep him out of the Oval Office for a few minutes.

One more thing--Spitzer spent $5000.00 on this bimbo. What do you get for that price? Maybe I'm too old, but I can't imagine how one would get his money's worth from this tryst. Any ideas on this? Please let me know.

And maybe I shouldn't use the word bimbo for a $5000.00 prostitute. I should have more respect.

10 February 2008

Show This Picture Every Day

We need to show this pathetic and disgusting picture each and every day from now until the November election. We are not only running against John McCain, we will be running against McCain and Bush. We will be running against a third-term for George Bush.....or McBush or something like that (I will take suggestions on a name for this vile creature in the snapshot).

And if Democrats are afraid or hesitant to link these two clowns, we won't deserve to win in the fall. Forget this phoney bipartisanship crap--let's stick it to the Republicans.

Don't they look silly?

Mayor Daley Would be Proud

Okay my friends (I sound like John McCain don't I?), today we will have a lesson in "practical" politics. It's not that I don't respect high idealism--it's just that I would like to believe that it's useful to understand how this system truly works. Practical politics is neither good nor bad, it's just the way it is.

John Edwards, hero to many of us on the left (two Americas, poverty, New Orleans), is holding "secret talks" with both Clinton and Obama concerning an endorsement. What do you suppose this means--what are secret talks? Wouldn't you think that Edwards would decide who is the best candidate, and then endorse that person?

NO! Edwards will endorse who gives him the best deal. What the hell do you think they are secretly talking about? He wants something: the vice-presidency, supreme court appointment, attorney general, secretary of labor, ambassador to Kazakhstan.....I don't know, but he is negotiating for something.

When he gets what he actually wants, he will announce that he is supporting Clinton/Obama because that candidate cares about ending poverty and helping the poor. That will be bullshit, but the public and the press will lap it up. Just like Mitt Romney withdrew from the Republican presidential race to protect us from terrorists--or some crap like that.

John Edwards will endorse whomever promises him the most. I suspect he wants to be attorney general in the new administration--which would really piss off the corporations wouldn't it?

This is the way of American politics and it always has been--I don't blame Edwards one bit. Yet the public seems uncomfortable with these backroom, negotiated deals. Keep this lesson in mind when the endorsement "spin" hits the news early this week.

08 February 2008

Beware of High Expectations

I am writing this the evening before a critical five primary/caucus weekend. We all know that currently, the Clinton-Obama race is practically tied. Now the pundits and pollsters are saying that this weekend’s contests, as well as those next Tuesday, all decidedly favor Senator Obama. He could win the lions’ share of these next eight races and take a slim lead in the delegate count.

But here is precisely one of the areas where the Clinton camp has out-maneuvered Obama--the important Expectations Game. The way these next few races have shaped up, Obama has to win. Clinton can lose most, if not all of these primaries and caucuses. If Obama stumbles just a bit, it will be a perceived setback. If Clinton wins one (Maine possibly), she will have exceeded expectations (a Comeback Kid sort of scenario).

The Obama people desperately need to deal with this problem soon. They are letting expectations form the campaign narrative--and this has already hurt them. Obama tacitly allowed the public to anticipate a New Hampshire knock-out win over Clinton. And then last week, he failed to damper very high Super Tuesday expectations.

In a race this close, where a few delegates (or super delegates) can be swayed by perceptions, the Obama campaign needs to stop letting Clinton and/or the media write the script.

Louisiana: February 9 (primary)
Nebraska: February 9 (caucus)
Virgin Islands: February 9 (caucus)
Washington: February 9 (caucus)
Maine: February 10 (caucus)

D.C.: February 12
Maryland: February 12
Virginia: February 12

Hawaii: February 19
Wisconsin: February 19

Texas: March 4
Ohio: March 4
Rhode Island: March 4
Vermont: March 4