Monday, April 28, 2008
It is actually funny and pathetic. And it detracts from the righteous core message that Wright has historically conveyed from his pulpit. I happen to believe that Wright overwhelming speaks the truth from his pulpit. He gives voice to a perception that is held by many. It needs to be listened to. Obama said as much in his Constitution Hall speech on race.
It appears clear to me, however, that Wright is jealous that the young Barack Obama, whom he guided and counseled when he was a young man, has now eclipsed his elder, former spiritual mentor. This is a classic phenomenon. The young protege who learns the ropes from the older mentor, must as he matures, find his own way in the world and break from his mentor. That transition is a difficult and troublesome one. It is a time when jealousy and irritation over the protege's success can cause the mentor to be hurtful. The mentor always sees greatness in the protege, which is one reason the relationship begins in the first instance. The mentor knows that the protege will soar. But, is only human to see base emotions surface when the protege soars beyond the mentor's reach.
How Obama deals with this latest Wright flare up will say much about the man. I have a notion about how it should be handled, but I will hold back on that until we see the response of the man I believe should be our next President.
Friday, April 25, 2008
We hear endlessly about Reverend Wright. We hear about the flag pin. The latest includes press articles indicating that the media is no longer enamored of Obama. One writer in the New Republic (who probably wasn't born in 1972) has now compared Obama to McGovern in taking up the Clintonista unelectable argument.
We continue to hear about the straight talk from McCain. The press drinks that kool-aid nonstop. More on that later, as I am convinced that McCain is the polar opposite of straight talk. Straight talk is nothing other than Rovian framing, in the same category as War on Terror, WMD and Family Values.
The press doesn't give focus to the really big stories. The big stories are the hundreds of thousands, even millions of new voters that the Obama campaign has brought into the political process. The big story is the young people excited about voting for a leader for the next generation. The big story is about changing the politics as usual landscape in Washington, DC.
The press has a difficult time digging deep and being thoughtful. And today, I am sick of it.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.
If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in
On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.
If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”
By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from
Mr. Obama is not blameless when it comes to the negative and vapid nature of this campaign. He is increasingly rising to Mrs. Clinton’s bait, undercutting his own claims that he is offering a higher more inclusive form of politics. When she criticized his comments about “bitter” voters, Mr. Obama mocked her as an Annie Oakley wannabe. All that does is remind Americans who are on the fence about his relative youth and inexperience.
No matter what the high-priced political operatives (from both camps) may think, it is not a disadvantage that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton share many of the same essential values and sensible policy prescriptions. It is their strength, and they are doing their best to make voters forget it. And if they think that only Democrats are paying attention to this spectacle, they’re wrong.
After seven years of George W. Bush’s failed with-us-or-against-us presidency, all American voters deserve to hear a nuanced debate — right now and through the general campaign — about how each candidate will combat terrorism, protect civil liberties, address the housing crisis and end the war in
It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind when they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Campaign finance is a perfect example. McCain has been an alleged champion of campaign finance reform. He even has the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002) to his credit. The most noteworthy part of that bill, from the layperson's perspective, is the requirement of "I approve of this message," language. That restrains third parties from running ads in support of a candidate.
McCain, however, recently engaged in activity which played fast and loose with campaign finance laws. He borrowed money from a bank in Maryland in December of 2007 and pledged as collateral for that loan Federal funds he would receive if he remained in the race. In other words, even if his campaign had tanked in late December and early January and he had lost New Hampshire to Guiliani with no hope of resurrection, he would have had to stay in the race to get the Federal money to pay back the Maryland bank. That entire episode is being investigated but the chance that anyone will notice is unlikely. And, at that point, no one knew that Cindy McCain was extremely wealthy.
The evidence of McCain's absence of straight talk is overwhelming. They include his position on Bush tax cuts, staying in Iraq, Pat Robertson, Reverend Hagee and a host of others.
The Straight Talk Express is a fraud. It is nothing other that clever framing designed to mislead the American voting public.
Obama will win by a significant margin in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Given the demographics and the population array in the rest of the state, Clinton will win Pennsylvania by approximately 5 to7 points. That is my midday prognostication.
It doesn't matter. She will pick up 10 or so delegates. She will pick up as much as 200,000 popular votes. She will claim victory. But, it doesn't matter.
Obama will win North Carolina by as much as 15% and will more than make-up the 10 delegates Clinton will gain in Pennsylvania. Indiana will be tight and could go either way. Thereafter, Obama will pick up Oregon and Montana and more than a majority of the remaining delegates.
I also expect Obama to pick up some noteworthy superdelegates in the next couple of weeks.
So, as it has for many weeks, the math favors Obama. There is no plausible way the Clinton can win. She continues to pray for a Hail Mary success. Her only hope is that Obama goes in the ditch. That is unlikely.
This process has been good for vetting Obama, but it has had the effect of undermining the lofty position the Clinton's have enjoyed.
As a friend mentioned yesterday, the real race for President is between Obama and Clinton. That person believes that McCain will implode before the election. More on that later.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
This must be the most ridiculous proposal in my recent memory. It also shows how utterly out of touch John McCain is from the realities of life in America.
This is one of those policy proposals, so common in Washington, DC, which is literally pulled out of someone's ass. There is no analysis whatsoever. No doubt the conversation was something like, "Wow, the voters will really like that! It will reduce the cost of gasoline. John, that is brilliant. That is really Presidential!"
It also shows that McCain continues to dwell in some sleepy corner of the 1950's. It is Ozzie and Harriet time. Hey, let's go on a summer vacation and drive to the shore. Let's pack everything in the station wagon and go visit Grandma and Grandpa. Let go see the Great Smokey's. How about Zion National Park. Whoopee!!
The cost to the federal highway trust fund of McCain's funny proposal is $10 billion dollars. That is enough for 40 bridges to nowhere.
It is nice to see that McCain is a leader in setting a course for the nation to achieve energy independence. Let's encourage more gasoline usage by reducing the price through abandoning the federal tax. How ludicrous!
Unfortunately, as the policy makers in Washington, DC know all too well, the public is typically too stupid to understand the nuance behind political grandstanding. At least 30% of the voters think we found WMD in Iraq and that Saddam was behind the destruction of the World Trade Centers.
So, let's put a chicken in every pot. Let's help everyone feel good. Let's drive more this summer and drive this nation further into the toilet!
Friday, April 18, 2008
Sam Nunn also endorsed Obama, while Clinton picked up the king of earmark pork, Pennsylvania Congressman Jack Murtha.
While I truly believe that endorsements do not matter (other than Springsteen's) it is interesting to me that senior professionals, who have known the Clinton's for many years are gravitating to the new entrant, Obama. What do they know? What has been their experience with the Clinton's. Do they have policy disagreements? Unlikely that as they all preach from the hymnal of Democratic Party orthodoxy.
I believe that it must be personal. It must be something in the manner, style, and personality of the Clintons. I believe that those who have known them for years (except those who have hitched their wagons to the Clinton star) don't like them. I think there is something very unlikeable about the Clintons.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Stephanopoulos, former Clinton factotum, and now wealthy ABC newscaster and bloviator (the real evidence of transition is Architectural Digest. Similar to Carville, Stephanopoulos has had his Manhattan home featured in AD) showed his smarmy elitist side. And, of course, he is a not so closeted Clinton supporter.
My gut tells me that by and large the public doesn't give a shit about these debates. The Clinton advantage in Pennsylvania is narrowing. Colbert is holding forth in Philadelphia which will give us the real news on the Pennsylvania primary. Tuesday night he was great, especially his interview with Michelle Obama. He asked her if she was an elitist who grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth. She responded that she grew up on the South Side of Chicago and had four spoons at her home. When her Dad got a raise, they got a fifth spoon.
Stephanopoulos has a silver spoon now, thanks to leveraging his tenure with the Clinton administration.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Dear Friends and Fans:
Like most of you, I've been following the campaign and I have now seen and heard enough to know where I stand. Senator Obama, in my view, is head and shoulders above the rest.
He has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next President. He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that's interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit. A place where "...nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone."
At the moment, critics have tried to diminish Senator Obama through the exaggeration of certain of his comments and relationships. While these matters are worthy of some discussion, they have been ripped out of the context and fabric of the man's life and vision, so well described in his excellent book, Dreams of My Father, often in order to distract us from discussing the real issues: war and peace, the fight for economic and racial justice, reaffirming our Constitution, and the protection and enhancement of our environment.
After the terrible damage done over the past eight years, a great American reclamation project needs to be undertaken. I believe that Senator Obama is the best candidate to lead that project and to lead us into the 21st Century with a renewed sense of moral purpose and of ourselves as Americans.
Over here on E Street, we're proud to support Obama for President.
Monday, April 14, 2008
If you don't like the law, or if you think it is ill-conceived in its language, interpretation or application, you have recourse. You can lobby the legislature to change the law or you can petition the courts to find it violative of some clause in the constitution. You have recourse.
You cannot violate the law with impunity or ignore the law because, as a nation founded upon the sanctity of the rule of law, there will be repercussions. There will be consequences. Ultimately pressure will be brought to bear upon the applicable prosecuting attorney. A grand jury may be impaneled. Testimony will be taken under oath, and, if there was a violation of a criminal statute or law, you will indicted and charged with a crime.
It is pretty standard fare in America. That is how we work. The rule of law is our keel. It steadies us against excess and protects us in weather fare and foul.
The Administration of George W. Bush has violated the rule of law. A meeting of top officials at the White House approved the torture of prisoners held at Guantanamo and elsewhere. As Ashcroft said at the time of the meeting. "We should not be having this meeting in the White House. History will not judge us well." The participants knew they were violating the law. They have been covering their asses ever since. These are the very people who are supposed to be the ultimate upholders of the rule of law. Their mandate is to carry freedom's torch.
I am waiting for someone to have the courage to charge the participants (who include Cheney, Tenet, Rice and others) criminally. Bush was not at the meeting but acquiesced. He may be an accessory after the fact.
Interestingly, the participants may, like Pinochet, be charged in some foreign jurisdiction before ever running the risk of criminal charges in the United States. I have no doubt that they have all considered the risk of foreign travel once Bush is out of office.
His views are not elitist and were not condescending. They were factual observations that came from his experience on the hustings. The unfortunate reality is that working class small town America has voted against their self-interest for the past 25 years. They bought the Reagan brand of Republicanism. And they have become increasingly conservative, xenophobic and irrational in their embrace of guns and god. In America, however, as Barack Obama is learning, you have to be very careful when you speak the truth.
Since his remarks, he has been vilified by the the Clintonistas. They have just launched a television ad in Pennsylvania that continues the pattern of misconstruing the Obama remarks.
Republicans have jumped on the bandwagon, saying that the Obama remarks show how out of touch Democrats are with small town working people. F**k them.
It is the Republicans who have sent the sons and daughters of working class people to Iraq to die. It is the Republicans who took a hands off approach to financial sector regulation and sowed the seeds of the subprime crisis. It was the Republicans who provided tax breaks for the wealthy and increased the concentration of wealth. It was Republicans who governed the most corrupt administration in recent memory. It was the Republicans who put our service men and women in harms way through their criminal acts approving the use of torture. It was the Republicans who did everything possible to concentrate power in the Presidency. So F**k the Republicans.
And, Hillary Clinton, f**k you and your husband for giving the Republicans and John McCain a helping hand in attacking Obama and through your devious, self-absorbed and mendacious ways perhaps providing an opportunity for the Republicans to win in November.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
As the word has recently leaked of Hillary's love for guns and Jack Daniels neat, the butch contingent among her supporters have increasingly clamored for her to tell the complete story. Many of us could not understand why she stood by her man throughout that perjured tragedy.
Now, we know she was protecting her future plans for her own run for the White House. The nation could accept a blow job on the Arkansas bad boy Prez, but it would be quite another matter to accept that the First Lady was a hound dog herself. It would reinforce all the old stereotypes surrounding those who attended exclusive all girl schools in the 1960s and make the bad boy Prez more sympathetic.
No doubt the press will dig deep on this one. Hopefully they will dig just as deep on stroked out John and Cindy McCain.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
We have been enduring interminable speeches from every candidate for state, county and local offices. It is clear that someone who wants to be deeply involved in party politics has to be prepared for significant periods of brain death.
Initially, when I attended my local precinct caucus and became a delegate to the county convention I was excited about doing my part of my candidate, Barack Obama. Now that I have spent the better part of a beautiful spring Saturday sitting in a high school gymnasium listening to speeches which are all from the template of Democratic Party orthodoxy, I feel I have fulfilled my obligation. Everyone supports the working man and woman. Everyone supports choice. I am yawning after the 20th speech. It is like watching paint dry.
The important issue has been determined. Approximately 70% of the delegates support Obama.
I am now waiting to make my exit, but first we have to go through the final tabulation.
Stepping back a moment....it is really amazing that we are at an event where the choices for the Democratic nominee for President are between a woman and a man who happens to be black.
That is a result of many years of effort by many people. It is especially a testament to the efforts of the Democratic Party and its many members. We have much more work to do. Today, however, for a moment, we can celebrate what has been achieved.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
This morning I received some wonderful news. A dear long term friend of mine, a confirmed Clintonista and more particularly a certified FOB (remember those) called to tell me that he had attended an Obama fund raising event last evening in Washington, DC. He had previously maxed out for Hillary. He had no direct contact with the Clinton campaign other than a call from their finance people for more money.
For those of you in the know, you understand that call very well. The Clinton finance people were leaning on my friend, who had already maxed out for more money because they wanted to be able to show, at the next reporting cycle that they were raising lots of money. Now, of course, if my friend had given more money, because he had already maxed, his additional money would have been preserved for the general election and could not have been spent for the primary season. This is clever slight of hand that misleads the uninformed. You can contribute $2300 for the primary and $2300 for the general. If you contribute the full $4600, your candidate's campaign reports the $4600 and makes the coffers look full. But they can't spend half the money unless they win the nomination.
Long story short, the Clinton campaign has been aggressively leaning on their big contributors who have already maxed out. That strategy looks good on paper but it can backfire and did with my friend. He talked this morning about the arrogance and sense of entitlement of the Clinton campaign. As a long term supporter of Clinton, he felt taken for granted. He said he felt guilty going to the Obama event and writing a check for Obama. That was the same guilt felt by the abused spouse who leaves the abusive relationship. He will get over the guilt.
Friday, April 4, 2008
History is best told from a distance. The interesting thing about history is yesterday's loser can become today's winner. It depends on one's vantage point. With perspective, a win can turn into a loss.
Filled with hubris and run by neo-con nitwits who possessed a bizarre notion of a Pax Americana focused on bringing democracy to the far reaches of the globe, the United States proceeded, in the 20 short years since the wall fell, to be eclipsed in the global geopolitical and economic landscape.
Our hubris caused us to stretch ourselves too thin. We didn't pay attention to our knitting.
So what happened? We spent a trillion dollars on a silly, bogus war and exhausted and depleted our fighting forces. We created massive budget deficits. We created huge trade surpluses. We acted like a bully on the global playground. The dollar began a relentless slide in value (amazingly, a Loonie is worth more than a dollar).
The weakness in the dollar caused the price of oil to increase. The oil isn't marginally more expensive, the dollar is just increasing worth less. U. S. assets, pegged to dollars make this entire country look like the Dollar Store.
The result, Russian oligarchs and sovereign funds (or quasi sovereign funds, ie, Gazprom) are buying up U. S. assets. They bail out Citibank. They buy steel mills in the heartland. So, at the end of the day, I have to ask, did we really win the Cold War? We might have occupied center stage for a brief moment, but history, I am afraid, will see the victory as very short lived and ephemeral.
Quickly, the great American empire over-extended itself and fell into decline.
1968 was an extraordinary year. 2008 has many of the attributes of 1968. Politically, 2008 is an extraordinary year. Not unlike 1968. There is an unpopular war, promoted by an unpopular President. We have a charismatic candidate for President running against, in his own party, someone from the old guard. The public is dispirited and doesn't like the direction of the country.
In some ways, it seems we have come a far ways in 40 years. We have tremendous new technology and in the view of some, an enhanced quality of life in America. In other ways, we have not moved far at all. We have greater concentration of wealth today than we had in 1968. We have a prison population that has grown many times larger as a proportion of the total population. We continue to have citizens suffer from poverty.
The anniversary of Dr. King's death, however, is cause for reflection on the status of African Americans in America. While racism is embedded and institutionalized in many quarters of our country, in these past 40 years, America has shifted from a white bread culture to one that is truly multi-cultural. The manifestation of that is no where more dramatic than in the Obama campaign for the Presidency. Obama is a charismatic, intelligent leader, who happens to be Black. He is not a Black man running for President. That would not have been possible 40 years ago.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
When my daughter was six years old she rolled the ball between her legs and scored more than 37!
37 is ridiculous!! The guy threw gutter ball after gutter ball. I am so embarrassed. He is my main man. I am a fervent Obama supporter. The guy exhibits grace under fire. He is elegant and lionine and is wonderfully comfortable in his skin. But, he can't bowl.
Where were the inflatable bumpers for the gutters? They should have brought out the inflatable bumpers they use for the bowling birthday parties. And what about the ball? Maybe that 16 pounder was too heavy. Maybe they should have had him bowling with a 12 pound girls ball.
Memo to Obama Advance Staff. Never let your candidate bowl again. Please. I have been taking crap the past two days from my friends who still support Clinton. The assail me with that score of 37 and rock me back on my heels. It takes me a moment to recover and start squealing, "Bosnia, Bosnia! Better bowling than Bosnia!"
But, bowling is so central, that I am not sure that even Clinton's Bosnian prevarication outweighs a 37!