Politics Archives

October 1, 2006

The Mean Season

I’m actually going to give Chris Wallace a bit of a break on the whole Clinton Goes Postal thing. I’m not entirely buying the notion that Clinton’s explosion wasn’t staged. I suspect Bubba had been waiting for an opportunity to let the fur fly, and the smirking Wallace was looking for an opportunity to let him. I think both men did what they wanted to do, and my intelligence is a bit insulted both by Wallace’s claims of surprise and the Clinton camp’s phony outrage.

It’s just the mean season. And it’s going to get meaner. The GOP seems to be against the ropes (Rep. Mark Foley's stupid, stupid, stupid dirtymail with some pimple-faced page being the latest example), but I believe in the magic of Karl Rove, whom I believe to be a political warlock. This smells like a GOP rope-a-dope, like the balance of the apparently damaging NIE report (or, perhaps an updated NIE report) will be released in the ninth hour, and we’ll all feel good about Iraq again, or they’ll announce bin Laden’s capture (of course, my cynicism suspects they’ve had him all along).

The Democrats., being as dumb and clueless as ever, seem to be phoning it in, confident of a November GOP bloodbath. They’re more or less letting Clinton lead the charge (which makes a kind of sense since he’s their biggest name), but Bubba isn’t running for anything. And Rove likely salivates every time Clinton speaks because, every time he does he points out how much less eloquent and effective Hilary is, that Hillary is little more than a shell for Clinton Term 3. she’s the LaToya Jackson (okay, maybe she’s the Janet, but I don’t think Janet can sing, either) of the Clinton camp. Worse, I can’t name any other prominent Democrats running.

Even worse, the Democrats continue to stagger along without presenting any believable alternative to the Bush Crazyman Doctrine (is it just me, or does Bush seem ever more crazed and desperate every time I see him? He reminds me of Anthony Hopkins in the third act of Nixon). By now, the Dems should have come up with their own version of the GOP Contract With America, a comprehensive and feasible list of reasons we should give them power. It seems like every Democrat is running on the platform of I Am Not A Republican, which, honestly, is good enough for me, but I don’t have much confidence things will change much regardless of who wins in November.

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March 9, 2008

40 Acres And A Mule

The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has found yet another strategy to employ against Senator Barack Obama. A pernicious and truly sinister attack that might just be their most effective ploy yet: selling the Democratic voters on a Clinton-Obama ticket. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton have been all over the media these past days openly speculating about Barack Obama as a running mate, which, on the surface, seems like a fig leaf to Obama if he’d just end his annoying and time-consuming wins (Obama won in Wyoming today and, as it turns out, won Texas—see following). But this is no fig leaf so much as it is a Trojan horse.

Floating Obama-as-veep accomplishes a number of things, all good for the Clintons: (1) it puts Obama on defense, forcing the senator to all but publicly declare he won’t take the veep slot if offered, which thereby frees Hillary from having to officially offer it, something she would surely loathe to do but would be forced to do should she win so closely a contested race. By floating it out there, she gets Obama on record as not wanting it, which helps her with the black vote when she doesn’t offer it to him. (2) It puts Obama in the Little Brother category. “And here’s my little brother, Barack.” Should Obama even obliquely engage her in this business, he’s finished as a serious candidate, as it positions him, viscerally, as Number Two in the minds of the voters. Obama cannot engage her about this, which forces him to either ignore her altogether or reject this nonsense on the merits, which brings us back to (1).

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March 12, 2008

Rush Hour

CBS's The Early Show just had Geraldine Ferraro on, where they gave her, maybe, a minute to talk about her recent statements re: Barack Obama. Look, I don’t know enough about Ferraro's statement to have an opinion whether they were racist or not, but the CBS hack job was blue journalism at it's worst. I mean, they should have bumped something to make room for her--the issue is way too divisive and complex to be compressed into 60 seconds, the interviewer stepping all over Ferraro as she tried to form a coherent statement.

A win for Ferraro, I think, because the interview (conducted by a black reporter) seemed terribly biased. One of the reasons I don’t watch morning coffee clatch shows: they try and shove too much in. The constant rushing of Ferraro made ME nervous and anxious.

Now they've moved on to Elliot Spitzer and why his wife stands by him. They have all the time in the world. It's a relaxes, drawn-out conversation.


March 13, 2008


Go get 'em, Keith.

March 14, 2008

Dream Team

I got it. I know how Obama can stop Hillary in her tracks. Definitively. Permanently. If he really wants to stick it to her:

Join McCain's ticket.

McCain/Obama crushes Hillary like a bug. McCain loses the conservatives, but so what. The Libs really don’t *hate* him the way they hate Bush, and nobody's really buying his "I'm a conservative" claims.

March 17, 2008

The Wright Stuff

I understand what he meant. I mean, heard in fuller context, yes, I do get what he was saying: that this country should be concerned about God’s judgment for many of the choices made by our political leadership. But, often, the words we choose to deliver our message can get in the way of the message itself. Myself being no shrinking violet, I certainly understand the phenomena of hoof-and-mouth disease. What startles me, what really gives me pause, is when the megalomania which is an occupational hazard of the office of Pastor becomes so grossly rabid that one of these loudmouthed, self-absorbed onions would allow his own selfishness to destroy not only his own credibility but derail the most uniquely productive African American social movement of this generation.

The Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr, former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, the Chicago megachurch where the Obamas have been members for 20 years, is well-known for his fiery rhetoric. Until this week, he *used* to also be known for his keen intellect. It is that very intellect that convicts him, now, as being, sadly, another out-of-control blowhard. Too many of our pastors fall to the temptation of self, are overcome by the beguiling influence of fame. Yes, pastors are supposed to be strong leaders, decisive men of courage and vision. But, in my experience, the congregation typically goes way, way too far in praising these guys, their loyalty to and respect for their pastor becoming a kind of blind obedience and, ultimately, worship.

And this is what we get: a man so self-absorbed, so greedy for attention and so completely in love with the sound of his own voice, that his ego supplants his intellect to the most shocking and gross extreme of possibly torpedoing the first viable black presidential candidacy. All Reverend Wright had to do was keep his mouth shut. And he couldn’t do it.

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March 18, 2008

Don't Go Away Mad

What's odd: halfway thru, I thought it was a home run.

Then he kept talking. And it got... I dunno... A little "speechy." I mean, for the most part it was friendly and personal enough that I didn’t take it for a political speech.

Then it became a political speech and I think the wheels came off the wagon. Maybe it's just me, but I think we'd all do better if we knew when to quit. 20 minutes into that thing and he had it all locked up. 37 minutes in and I'm scratching my head, wishing he hadn't started advertising himself. Oh, and the swing at Hillary/Ferraro was a mistake. He shouldn’t have even mentioned them. They should have been seriously irrelevant.

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Smarter Than Bill

Circ: If Hillary wins, she has to ask Obama to be her running mate if she intends to win a general election. If he wins, he needs nothing from her. He needs the moral equivalent of Lyndon Johnson to balance his ticket. Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, a Clinton supporter, comes close.

Clinton-Obama is not a balanced ticket. But she loses black votes without him. Absent that real risk, Obama is a terrible veep choice for Hillary. She needs A White Guy and a heavyweight. Obama-Clinton is an even worse ticket. He wins Hillary's voters and states without her--she doesn't.

This is why Obama is the stronger candidate. He's made himself indispensable. He comes to the general election a whole candidate in and of himself. Clinton does not. Which really isn’t her fault-- it's just the street logic of Obama's run.

Hillary's run actually *made* Obama run. She should have seen this coming. She should have known her making the historic case for a woman candidate threw the door open for, well, just about anything. Hillary actually *created* this Obama phenom, as many of the arguments and much of the enthusiasm her viability generates is directly applicable to him.

Obama *had* to run. Once he realized there was this opportunity, he had to step in and use Clinton's headwind to create an opportunity for him to play a key role in the nomination process. The very worst thing that could have happened would have been a key slot at the convention and positioning for a 2012 or 2016 run.

But something unexpected happened along the way: Obama started winning. I (and, likely, Hillary Clinton) never thought Obama's run was about 2008. I've always assumed it was about '12 or '16. But, because Clinton was so enormously successful early on, Obama strolled in, making use of the same arguments, the same our-time-has-come rhetoric, to make his own candidacy viable. Which changed the strategy from positioning himself for a later run to locking in the veep slot. I'm absolutely convinced Obama was running for vice president.

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March 21, 2008

Good Night & Good Luck

Keith Olbermann’s “special comments” may have started out as an Edward R. Murrow-esque thoughtful editorial, but over time they’ve simply become rants. Olbermann seems to be straining harder and harder to be both clever and salient at the same time, while, at the same time, losing the sober edge of Murrow’s piercing excavation of the issue at hand. Additionally, Olbermann’s now sophomoric disrespect shown to the president of the United States—a man I’m no fan of, either—seems to now be officially over the line, which tends to sap his rants of whatever small shred of credibility they once had. Much as I disagree with the president, he is, however, still the president. Criticizing him is easy to do (and great fun), but even I wince at how over-the-top Olbermann is now.

He seems to be devolving into self-parody, which presents a second wince when he co-opts Murrow’s “Good night and good luck,” sign off. I doubt Murrow would approve.

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