Saturday, March 1, 2008

T Minus 325/324 Days

"Ann and I will carry out the equivocal message to the world: Markets must be open."

-Swearing in Ann Veneman as the Secretary of Agriculture, March 2, 2001

Obama's 3am Response

Shit. That was fast.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Music Break! Ben Folds

Clinton's Kitchen Sink

Well, first the 3am phone call:

Obama's response? "We've seen these ads before. They're the kind that play on peoples' fears to scare up votes. Well it won't work this time. ...We've had a red phone moment. It was the decision to invade Iraq. And Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer. George Bush gave the wrong answer. John McCain gave the wrong answer."


Then this laughable senario:

...The Clinton camp, playing off of a memo it had sent to reporters earlier in the day, insisted that if Obama was unable to pull off a four-for-four day in Tuesday's primary, it would signal "buyer's remorse" with his candidacy as well as "interest in having this campaign go on, at least to Pennsylvania" (which votes on April 7).
Of course they say this knowing they have a sizable lead in Rhode Island and only a 2 point lead in Ohio after losing the lead in the latest Texas polls. So does this mean that if Clinton gets smoked in Ohio, Texas and Vermont, but wins in RI, she's still contending? "I don't anticipate that that will be an outcome," said [top Clinton aide Howard] Wolfson. "I'm much more optimistic than that scenario being presented."

Is this all they got? Hillary Clinton's worst mistake was actually paying big money for the advice of, and listening to these mooks.

Naomi Klein: Islamophobia - Updated

Klein has a great article in the Nation Magazine regarding the Obama Muslim smear tactics and questions not the right of him to challenge the false allegations, but the silence by Obama and others in condemning anti-Muslim racism. If the attacks were smearing Obama for being, oh, let's say Jewish, would there be outrage? You bet your AIPAC ass there would be!

Hillary Clinton denied leaking the photo of Barack Obama wearing a turban, but her campaign manager says that even if she had, it would be no big deal. "Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely."

Sure she did... The obvious difference is this: when white politicians go ethnic, they just look funny. When a black presidential contender does it, he looks foreign. And when the ethnic apparel in question is vaguely reminiscent of the clothing worn by Iraqi and Afghan fighters (at least to many Fox viewers, who think any headdress other than a baseball cap is a declaration of war on America), the image is downright frightening.

The turban "scandal" is all part of what is being referred to as "the Muslim smear."...

...Occasionally, though not nearly enough, Obama says that Muslims are "deserving of respect and dignity." What he has never done is... denounce the attacks themselves as racist propaganda, in this case against Muslims.

...Obama has the power to be more than [a] victim. He can use the attacks to begin the very process of global repair that is the most seductive promise of his campaign. The next time he's asked about his alleged Muslimness, Obama can respond not just by clarifying the facts but by turning the tables. He can state clearly that while a liaison with a pharmaceutical lobbyist may be worthy of scandalized exposure, being a Muslim is not.

UPDATE: Good follow up by a Nation reader-

02/28/2008 @ 4:28pm

While Naomi Klein's point is well taken--being called Muslim should not be considered a slander--I think she is not giving enough credit to Obama, nor is she putting these false rumors in the proper context.

In terms of Obama's response, he has not just said that Muslims deserve respect, he has also--on a number of occasions--spoken out against the scapegoating of Muslims, along with the scapegoating of immigrants and gay people. While not an explicit repudiation of the notion that being called Muslim is a slander, it is pretty darn close.

And in terms of the context: the subtext of these rumors about Obama's religion is that he is a "Manchurian candidate" who supports Islamic extremism and terrorism. This is also the subtext of the stories about the Nation of Islam, Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground and Obama's supposedly "racist" church. The claim that he is Muslim is rarely made in isolation from these other claims, and therefore should not be considered in isolation from this broader--truly slanderous--context.

Amanda Armstrong
Chicago, IL

T Minus 326 Days

"I thought how proud I am to be standing up beside my dad. Never did it occur to me that he would become the gist for cartoonists."

-Newsweek, February 2000

Thursday, February 28, 2008

William F. Buckley Dead at 82

NY Times: William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died on Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 82.

NPR: William Buckley later regretted some of his positions — such as his unyielding opposition in the mid-1960s to landmark voting rights bills. But Buckley took pride in seeing his influence spread as the modern conservative movement took hold.

Thanks for the legacy you leave behind, Bill.

The Racist Base of John McCain

This from Josh Marshall yesterday on TPM:

Don't insult your intelligence or mine by pretending that John McCain's plan for this race doesn't rely on hundreds of Cunninghams -- large and small -- across the country, and the RNC and all the GOP third party groups, to be peddling this stuff nonstop for the next eight months because it's the only way John McCain have a real shot at contesting this race.

If McCain really wants to repudiate this stuff, he can start with the Tennessee Republican party which
dished all the slurs and smears about Obama being a Nation of Islam-loving anti-Semite, just today.
That's right. McCain supporters in Tennessee are painting the worst picture of Obama because they know it's the only chance they have to beat Obama in the general election. It's only going to get ulgier as this race is still young, but I don't think the American people will stand for it this time.

(H/T Bob Cesca)

Ralph Nader Needs To Shut Up And Just Go Away - Updated

On Sunday, February 24, 2008, three days before his 74th birthday, Ralph Nader announced his presidential bid on Meet The Press. Happy birthday, Ralph. It is the fifth* time that Nader is running for President, previously running in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004.

I've rewritten this post in my head multiple times since Sunday waiting for my anger to subside else my post be a swear-filled rant probably topping most previous entries. Ralph Nader needs to go away. Just shut up and go away.

Don't misunderstand. Nader is an admirable man, with great credentials. His consumer advocacy is second to none. He's founded over four dozen non-profit organizations that are funded by most of his net worth according to the FEC disclosure report in 2000. Taking on the automobile industry on safety at a time when the car was king was stunning.

But one question must be asked: why does someone who has no chance of winning the highest office in the land, and I mean ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE, why would that person run again and again and again?

You can make a case for running once or twice. But this is Ralph Nader's fifth attempt at the Presidency. It's become a sad, sad joke. The power of his convictions has overtaken the rationale of his thinking. And call me cynical, but the only reason I think Nader is running is to fill his egotistical need to be in the spotlight and feel wanted.

Nader's fourth attempt in 2004 netted him a total of 463,653 votes, for 0.38% of the popular vote. Nader replied to this in filmed interviews by pointing out that, "Voting for a candidate of one's choice is a Constitutional right, and the Democrats who are asking me not to run are, without question, seeking to deny the Constitutional rights of voters who are, by law, otherwise free to choose to vote for me."

That's all well and good, Ralph, but the 2004 presidential election was up to that point, the most important election this country had ever seen. All you did was muddy up the waters. 0.38% of the popular vote is not viable, so why do it?

On principle, sure, you want to get your message out there. Here is what Nader's website states the issues are this time around:

- Adopt single payer national health insurance
- Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget
- No to nuclear power, solar energy first
- Aggressive crackdown on corporate crime and corporate welfare
- Open up the Presidential debates
- Adopt a carbon pollution tax
- Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East
- Impeach Bush/Cheney
- Repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law
- Adopt a Wall Street securities speculation tax
- Put an end to ballot access obstructionism
- Work to end corporate personhood

Well, it all sounds great, doesn't it? Even liberal radio talk show host Mike Malloy, when speaking of Nader's candidacy, has said that this is what the Democratic Party should have been, this is what it was gearing towards 30 years ago and we have strayed. I agree with him. But I also believe we had a Ralph Nader in this election. His name was Dennis Kucinich, and he went about his candidacy in a serious way, attempting to put his name on the ballot of every state, out there stumping on the campaign trail, trying to make his voice heard long before Nader emerged from the ground looking for the sustenance of the spotlight.

If Ralph Nader was serious about actually helping third parties or independents become viable, then why is it we hear nothing from Nader for three and a half years? Then suddenly, his coffin lid opens, he rises from the ground, dusts himself off and feeds on the egomanical blood he so desperately craves. His first official run was in 1992. That's sixteen years - SIXTEEN YEARS! - that he could have been working to make a third party legitimate and a contender, instead of eye-rolling laughable.

When asked by Tim Russert about the possibility of preventing a Democratic victory in 2008, Nader responded, "Not a chance. If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, and emerge in a different form."

On that, Nader and I can agree. But you have to ask yourself: if this is what Ralph Nader truly believes, then why bother entering the race?

UPDATE: Correction- This is Nader's third official run for the presidency. According to Wikipedia - In 1992, Nader stood in as a write-in for "none of the above" in both the 1992 New Hampshire Democratic and Republican Primaries. In 1996, Nader was drafted as a candidate for President of the United States on the Green Party ticket during the 1996 presidential election. He was not formally nominated by the Green Party USA, which was, at the time, the largest national Green group; instead he was nominated independently by various state Green parties (in some areas, he appeared on the ballot as an independent).

T Minus 327 Days

"Can you smell the money?!?!?!"

-Happy Birthday Jack Abramhoff, former lobbyist and indicted embezzler

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Obama Wears Traditional American Dress

In the aftermath of the latest attempted smear of Barack Obama (showing him wearing the traditional Somali nomadic cultural garb, now called the "dressed" photo), Clinton denied knowing anything about where the photo came from during the CNN Ohio debate, assured debate watchers that she was sure it didn't come from her campaign and that if it did, those responsible would be held accountable. Obama, taking the classy, high road took Clinton at her word and let the matter drop.

However, in a daring move to diffuse the "photo" smear to those that would be prejudiced against it, Obama wore traditional American cultural wardrobe consisting of a "suit and tie."

T Minus 328 Days

"It's good to see so many friends here in the Rose Garden. This is our first event in this beautiful spot, and it's appropriate we talk about policy that will affect people's lives in a positive way in such a beautiful, beautiful part of our national - really, our national park system, my guess is you would want to call it."

- The Rose Garden, February, 2001

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

He May Be Totally Wrong, But He's A Dancin' Fool!

Maybe if I keep dancin', they won't eat me.

Bush's Comedy Routine

Please! Stop! I'm ... laughing too hard...can't... breath... HAHAHAHA!!!!!

President Bush predicted Monday that voters will replace him with a Republican president who will "keep up the fight" in Iraq. "I'm confident we'll hold the White House in 2008," Bush told donors at the Republican Governors Association annual dinner, which raised a record $10.6 million for GOP gubernatorial candidates.

"And I don't want the next Republican president to be lonely," Bush said. "And that is why we got to take the House, retake the Senate, and make sure our states are governed by Republican governors."

...."When I say I'm confident, I am so because I understand the mentality of the American people," Bush said. "And I understand the mentality of our candidates. And there's no question in my mind, with your help, 2008 is going to be a great year."

It certainly will be a great year... but for different reasons than Curious George thinks.

Clinton Campaign Gearing Up For Attacks On Obama

So much for Ms. "Real Change" actually bringing real change to Washington as she's claimed. It's just more of the same.

Huffington Post: The New York Times reports that the Clinton campaign is ratcheting up its plans to try and unseat Senator Obama as the presumptive frontrunner for the democratic nomination.

...Looking backward, interviews with a cross-section of campaign aides and sympathetic outsiders suggest a team consumed with frustration and finger-pointing about the apparent failure of several recent tactical moves against Barack Obama.
Looking forward, it is clear Clinton's team has only a faint and highly improvisational strategy about what to do over the next seven days. Simply put, there is no secret weapon.

T Minus 329 Days

"In all due respect, I'm not so sure it's credible to quote leading news organizations about - well, never mind."

- Third presidential debate, Tempe AZ, 2004

Monday, February 25, 2008

Obama Reacts To Photo

Plouffe said in a statement: “On the very day that Senator Clinton is giving a speech about restoring respect for America in the world, her campaign has engaged in the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election. This is part of a disturbing pattern that led her county chairs to resign in Iowa, her campaign chairman to resign in New Hampshire, and it’s exactly the kind of divisive politics that turns away Americans of all parties and diminishes respect for America in the world," said Plouffe.

...“Enough,” [campaign manager Maggie] Williams said in the statement. “If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.

“This is nothing more than an obvious and transparent attempt to distract from the serious issues confronting our country today and to attempt to create the very divisions they claim to decry. We will not be distracted.”

Just one question, Maggie: If there's nothing to the photo, then why did the Clinton campaign email it?

Why, Hillary? Why?

So after taking a deep breath and stepping back to look at the overall campaign situation and the history of the last couple of weeks, here's my take on the Clinton campaign going all out negative on Barack Obama: desperation.

1 - Obama has won 11 straight contests, beating Clinton by wide margins.

2 - Clinton going negative (but not all the way) in Wisconsin was viewed by their campaign as a boost for them. They've been quoted as saying the didn't lose by as much (17 points) as they thought they would.

3 - Her closing statement in the Texas debate was viewed by many as conciliatory, which probably prompted the Clinton campaign heads to work overtime to negate that view, else be perceived as giving up.

4 - The Obama mailers on health care and NAFTA caused Hillary's campaign to see red and go off the deep end.

Now, it's one thing to challenge Obama and call him out on it: "Shame on you, Barack Obama. It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public — that's what I expect from you... Meet me in Ohio, and let's have a debate about your tactics."

It's another matter entirely to mock his message and compare him to the second coming of Jeebus. And here, in my opinion, is where the flaw with Clinton's reactionary attacks get the best of her.

Does she not remember the painting of Howard Dean in 2004 as unhinged because of his overenthusiastic "YAAARRR!" during a rally that sunk him? Seeing the anger in her eyes (scary) reminds me of the Dean incident, not in seeming like a nut, but in how it may be perceived.

The latest polls show Obama beating Clinton or in a statistical dead heat in Texas and Ohio after Clinton had 20 point leads in both states just two weeks ago. The Clinton campaign is not conceding and actually turning 180° in the attacks, looking for a fight to the bitter end.

One thing's for sure: it's going to be a very interesting debate on Tuesday in Cleveland.

    Hillary Explodes With Mockery - Shows True Self

    How do you really feel, Hillary? Hillary Clinton mocked Barack Obama in her latest rally.

    Clinton: "You are not going to wave a magic wand and have the special interests disappear."

    Thank you Hillary Clinton for finally being honest and confirming what I suspected you believed the whole time while claiming to be the real change candidate.

    T Minus 330 Days

    "The Bob Jones policy on interracial dating... I spoke against that. I spoke out against interracial dating. I support the policy of interracial dating."

    - CBS News, February 25, 2000