Tuesday, December 9, 2008
My first impression of Blagojevich came years ago. I was in Lincoln Park and noticed that the guy jogging towards me was, in fact, the governor. He was alone. He didn't need security back then. What struck me though was the way he looked around, as if he was taking note of all the people who recognized him. And when someone showed a sign of recognition, his face glowed. This was a momentary experience as he ran by, but it always stayed with me. My first thought was "Boy is that guy big on himself."
I voted for him the first time, mostly because I am a Democrat and I thought he sounded sincere and intelligent. Four years later, I skipped his name on the ballot and left it blank. Now I think about that first impression years ago, that little smirk on his face, that cocky little 'look at me' gloat. Little bastard. Who's smirking now?
Friday, November 21, 2008
I think funerals should tell a story, and too often they are reduced to touching or funny soundbites strung together as poor representations of one's life. Too often the minister doesn't know the deceased or doesn't know them well enough to do most of the talking. I realize these are religiously based rituals, but why do we insist on hearing mostly from a stranger when family and friends are the true vessels of truth?
The minister today told a few short stories, but they revealed very little about who this woman was. I kept thinking, "She lived for a hundred years! Can't you think of something better than that??" What I did learn was that she was a deeply religious woman, a woman of faith and family, and a kind and caring person. She was always there for everyone else. I suspect her greatest gift was always being present in a steady, reliable way for everyone. And her family counted on that from her. Always there. It explained why her four children (all 70 years old or more) were talking brightly at the beginning of it being a blessing, and were sobbing like forlorn children at the end. Always there was no longer there. Can you imagine having your mother with you, strong in body and clear in thought, until you are 70 years old? I both envied them, and felt touched by their sorrow.
All this to say: think about what you want people to say about you at your funeral. Will anyone really adequately put you into words? Does anyone truly get you? Does anyone know your passions, your loves, your feelings to the core? If not, why not? If not, maybe you should leave a few hints in your own words.
Ethel's life was summed up in words she wrote in the front of her Bible:
What I have, God owns
What I need, God provides
What I give, God multiplies
Rest in peace, Ethel.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Published: November 13, 2008
Be happy, dear hearts, and allow yourselves a few more weeks of quiet exultation. It isn't gloating, it's satisfaction at a job well done. He was a superb candidate, serious, professorial but with a flashing grin and a buoyancy that comes from working out in the gym every morning.
He spoke in a genuine voice, not senatorial at all. He relished campaigning. He accepted adulation gracefully. He brandished his sword against his opponents without mocking or belittling them. He was elegant, unaffected, utterly American, and now (Wow) suddenly America is cool. Chicago is cool.
We threw the dice and we won the jackpot and elected a black guy with a Harvard degree, the middle name Hussein and a sense of humor - he said, "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher."
The French junior minister for human rights said, "On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes." When was the last time you heard someone from France say they wanted to be American and take a bite of something of ours? Ponder that for a moment.
The world expects us to elect pompous yahoos and instead we have us a 47-year-old prince from the prairie who cheerfully ran the race, and when his opponents threw sand at him, he just smiled back.
He'll be the first president in history to look really good making a jump shot. He loves his classy wife and his sweet little daughters. He looks good in the kitchen. He can cook Indian or Chinese but for his girls he will do mac and cheese. At the same time, he knows pop music, American lit and constitutional law.
I just can't imagine anybody cooler. Look at a photo of the latest pooh-bah conference - the hausfrau Merkel, the big glum Scotsman, that goofball Berlusconi, Putin with his B-movie bad-boy scowl, and Sarkozy, who looks like a district manager for Avis - you put Barack in that bunch and he will shine.
It feels good to be cool and all of us can share in that, even sour old right-wingers and embittered blottoheads. Next time you fly to Heathrow and hand your passport to the man with the badge, he's going to see "United States of America" and look up and grin.
Even if you worship in the church of Fox, everyone you meet overseas is going to ask you about Obama and you may as well say you voted for him because, my friends, he is your line of credit over there. No need anymore to try to look Canadian.
And the coolest thing about him is the fact that back in the early Nineties, given a book contract after the hoo-ha about his becoming the First Black Editor of The Harvard Law Review, instead of writing the basic exploitation book he could've written, he put his head down and worked hard for a few years and wrote a good book, an honest one, which, since his rise in politics, has earned the Obamas enough to buy a very nice house and put money in the bank. A successful American entrepreneur.
The last American president to write a book all by his lonesome self, I believe, was Theodore Roosevelt, who, on graduation from Harvard, wrote "The Naval War of 1812," and in my humble opinion, Obama's is the better book for the general reader, but you be the judge.
Our hero who galloped to victory has inherited a gigantic mess. The country is sunk in debt. The Treasury announced it must borrow $550 billion to get the government through the fourth quarter, more than the entire deficit for 2008, so he will have to raise taxes and not only on bankers and lumber barons.
His promise never to raise the retirement age is not a good idea. Whatever he promised the Iowa farmers about subsidizing ethanol is best forgotten at this point. We may not be getting our National Health Service cards anytime soon. And so on and so on.
So enjoy the afterglow of the election awhile longer. We all walk taller this fall. People in Copenhagen and Stockholm are sending congratulatory e-mails - imagine! We are being admired by Danes and Swedes! And Chicago becomes The First City. Step aside, San Francisco. Shut up, New York. The Midwest is cool now. The mind reels. Have a good day.
h/t to Di
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I mean, think about it. If Keith Olbermann is still finding reasons to be outraged on a daily basis during the Obama administration, we've got a problem! And what's Jon Stewart going to poke fun at? Biden gaffes? Cute puppy stories? I know we've all worked and prayed and begged for this day to come, but don't we run the risk of being bored?? What will we write about? What will fill the blogs? What will we be angry about?
Oh, I know. People like Rush Limbaugh and Fixed News will give us a little grist for the mill, but I just don't think it will be the same. Is it possible that we will look back at this time as both excruciating as well as exciting? Will we grow nostalgic for righteous indignation?
Or will we finally get to exhale, relax a little, let our guards down, trust our leaders and love our government as well as our country without reservation?
Maybe it won't be the best time for dissent. But hopefully, it will be a great time to be an American.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Another angle on this is that Lieberman may be threatening to leave the Democrats, but he won't find a lot to cheer about if he goes further over to the dark side. He will likely not get any chairmanship, will be in the minority party, and will have even less clout than if he stays with the Democrats and gives up his chair without a whimper. So, for good reason, many Dems are saying "Let him go!"
Bottom line is that the Dems may not need his vote if we pick up another Senate seat. With Maine's moderate Republican senators, its likely that they would support President Obama on moderate issues, and would break the Republican's threats for filibuster. They both saw which way the wind is blowing, and doubt they will repeatedly vote against their constituents wishes on major issues like the Iraq war and the economy. Lieberman may have just threatened his way into irrelevance.
The white boy at this rally in Manassas, VA had an Obama sign and the black boy didn't. The pictures capture the story as they figure out how to solve the problem. Even these little guys got Obama's message.
(Photos taken by Nida Vitudis, 17 yrsold)
Click on photo to enlarge.
Bloggers everywhere are calling for readers to contact their senators and recommend Lieberman lose his chair. Its certainly tempting to punish the turncoat. Its also tempting to be and act better than him and model bipartisanship, by accepting an apology from him. But now Lieberman and McConnell (R-KY) are making noise about Lieberman joining the Republican caucus. That kind of talk makes it tempting to kick him to the curb.
But remember the old saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? Perhaps there is wisdom in keeping Lieberman where the Democrats can keep a close eye on him, so to speak. If he proves to be less than an effective Independent/Democrat, I assume he can be booted from the Democratic caucus later. Perhaps it is better to have Lieberman owing something to the new President rather than watching him spearhead the opposition on the other side. Whatever President Obama decides to do (because I have to assume Harry Reid is not acting completely without higher counsel here), will be very telling. Yeah, there's a big part of me that wants to see the traitor walk the plank, but the more mature part of me wants to see if real political reconciliation can work, and wants to see if President Obama can use it strategically to move his agenda forward.
Friday, November 7, 2008
What right wingers don't want you to think about is that the definition of "centrist" has actually moved to the left from its original meaning. We talk openly about race. We talk openly about the options of gay marriage vs civil unions. We voted to approve medical marijuana in some states. What part of this sounds "centrist"? Is there anything "centrist" about electing an African American liberal, Democrat to the highest office in the land at one of the most critical times in our nation's history? That's what we just did. Sounds more like progressive thinking is becoming the norm, that is, "progressive" is the new "centrist".
Won't it be nice to have a President who actually taught the Constitution and knows it backwards and forwards? Someone who is more Andy Griffith than Barney Fife?(apologies to the late, great Don Knotts whow as a comic genius)
Thursday, November 6, 2008
- A national physical fitness and good nutrition program for kids, run in the schools, with awards given to kids much the way President Kennedy's program did.
- A neighborhood beautification volunteer corp that works in every city or town that wants to join, designed especially to re energize depressed or deteriorating communities.
- A national infrastructure renovation/construction program that would also revitalize the national parks buildings and structures.
- An immediate commitment to build wind farms in the west within 6 months.
- A bailout of American car companies who meet strict guidelines for more fuel efficient cars, with a further commitment to alternative fuel vehicle options within 3 years.
- A nationwide call for citizen energy conservation, with tax credits for smaller ticket items and recommendations for improved conservation.
- A freeze on mortgage foreclosures for 6 months.
- Increased emphasis in the public schools on math and science, with a special emphasis on computer technology.
- Close Guantanamo.
- Undo the Patriot Act.
- Focus on a nation of shared responsibility. Expect citizens to be responsible for themselves, their money, their children, etc.
More to come...your ideas and comments are very welcome!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
THANK YOU, GOD. CELEBRATE EVERYBODY. BE SAFE. HOPE IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS OVER.
AND WE HAVE OUR COUNTRY BACK.
We have our country back.
God Bless Barack Obama and the country he now leads.
The pulse of the nation is now beating from the heart of the midwest. Sounds strong, doesn't it?
Its time for all of the Republicans to spin the future before McCain's carcass is even cold. Alex Castellanos (Republican pundit) just summed it up, "All we need is 9 votes on the Supreme Court and we could pull this thing off." :) Not this time, pal.
The other interesting thing was that about 95% of the voters at my polling place were bypassing the available touchscreen machines in favor of waiting in another line for paper ballot voting booths. Its pretty clear that people are cherishing their right to vote this time, and they want their vote to be counted. While that's always been true, of course, its never been so important. What an unbelievable day.
Ten more hours.
Monday, November 3, 2008
After 8 minutes of answering questions, I understood better why some polls read one way while others clearly show different trends. I never thought a robotic call could disagree with me, but this lady actually paused and asked me 'was I sure I wanted to vote for Obama?'. Maybe this was their way to make sure I'd hit the right number, but it sure sounded like she was doubting my choice. There was another question that asked if I thought Obama would be a big "tax and spend" liberal? (I answered 'no'). They may have regretted calling this liberal in a conservative Republican county. The questions were clearly designed from a conservative perspective, and seemed to want a particular response. Sorry to disappoint:)
The Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs
Santa Fe Reporter, New Mexico
Madison Capital Times, Wisconsin
Huntington Heral Disptach, West Virginia
The Columbian, Washington
Pasadena Star-News, California
Aspen Daily News, Colorado
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia
Raleigh news-Observer, North Carolina
Providence Journal, Rhode Island
Joplin Globe, Missouri
Canton Repository, Ohio
New Haven Register, Connecticut
Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming (Cheney's hometown paper)
And too many more to name!
One more day.
(h/t to Di N.)
Ah yes, kindred spirits in the limitless quest for self promotion. Joe has actually surpassed McCain in crowd appeal, which is probably why McCain has tried to co-opt Joe as a surrogate, rather than have yet another rival spokesman(read Palin)vying for the adoration of the angry rabble. Problem is, Joe is as dumb as a stump and wouldn't know a socialist if he kicked him in his proletarian ass. And McCain is even dumber for being the filling in this bull**** sandwich.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
As for other races, Liddy Dole is history. You don't "bear false witness" in North Carolina and get away with it. People are pretty serious about that kind of thing there and Liddy would know that if she spent more time in her home state. Shame on her.
Mitch McConnell will barely scratch out a victory in Kentucky. SNL, er Franken, will win narrowly in Minnesota (don't laugh, those folks voted Jesse Ventura for governor!) Chambliss will eke out a victory in Georgia, thanks to all "his people" (whitey). Udall will win in Colorado and will emerge as a strong leader in the Senate over the next few years.
Other races are more predictable. But this is the year we have to win, so nothing is predictable. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the year that Democrats resist the urge to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Just keep breathing.
Two more days.
Oct 30th 2008
America should take a chance and make Barack Obama the next leader of the free world.
IT is impossible to forecast how important any presidency will be. Back in 2000 America stood tall as the undisputed superpower, at peace with a generally admiring world. The main argument was over what to do with the federal government's huge budget surplus. Nobody foresaw the seismic events of the next eight years. When Americans go to the polls next week the mood will be very different. The United States is unhappy, divided and foundering both at home and abroad. Its self-belief and values are under attack. For all the shortcomings of the campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama offer hope of national redemption. Now America has to choose between them. THE ECONOMIST does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly(italics added): the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America's self-confidence.
Read the rest at:
And if you want to see how the rest of the world would vote, if it could, check out this site:
But today was a little different. People driving by saw us canvassers and honked their support. Others stopped by in their cars and asked us for details about how to register late (which is legal in Wisconsin where they have 'same day' voting). Of course there were a few irritated folks, but the general feeling was one of hope. People were smiling with anticipation. These are people who don't look like they've had a lot to smile about or hope for for a while. Suddenly, all of us total strangers were sharing in something much bigger than ourselves. How often can you say that?
Two more days.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Assuming Obama wins what are considered "solid blue" states right now, he will have a solid 238 delegates. Those states are:
Here are some possible options:
[PA 21 or OH 20 + VA 13= 33/34]
[PA 21 or OH 20 + CO 9 + NV 5 or NM 5= 35]
[NV 5 + CO 9 + NM 5 + VA 13 = 32]
(Note: This doesn't even include Florida, North Carolina, Missouri or Indiana!)
The point is twofold. Obama can actually win without Florida, Ohio or Pennsylvania. If he takes any one of those, its virtually impossible for him to lose.
But only if you VOTE.
In case you hadn't noticed, this isn't a pissing contest. Leave it to a former bodybuilder to reduce this to body parts instead of intellectual ability, temperament, character and judgment. But don't despair, Arnold. If you're really nice to Maria, maybe President Obama will still invite you to a friendly game of one-on-one at the White House basketball court and kick your little girlyman ass!
(Or he can just embarrass you at the beach)
CRUSH THEM. I must confess, after the last 8 years of Bush's ignorance and Cheney's arrogance, and the Republican's general tendency to act as if they have cornered the market on righteousness, I do like the sound of that. But if that's all we do, then we are no better and no different from them. Perhaps a football metaphor will work here. Every team has a linebacker that explodes through the line and decks the quarterback or running back from the opposing team. And sometimes, after he's pulverized the other guy, he reaches down and helps him up, and they continue to play. That's what we need to do: pulverize the other side and leave no doubt who is the victor, and then reach out to them when it is done.
Friday, October 31, 2008
"The ER is the most Marxist building in the modern American hospital. By law, it treats anyone who decides to bleed in the waiting room, no matter their ability to pay, thus fulfilling the 'From each according to his ability' requirement. It parcels out medical attention based on severity of condition rather than thickness of wallet, thus fulfilling the 'to each, according to his need' requirement. It's a socialists redoubt in a capitalist system."
If (the media) convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to
call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don't know what the future of our
country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions
without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.
Her understanding of the Constitution is, of course, about as sophisticated as her mastery of Alaska's ethics code. The First Amendment also says that the "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." (Italics added) Oops. Guess she didn't get briefed on the last part!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Part of the problem here is not just that Goldfarb is peddling smears, but that both Goldfarb and Sanchez operate under the assumption that Khalidi is an anti-Semite, when neither has offered evidence to support that assertion. This is an old Rovian tactic of peddling a lie and telling it over and over again, until the truth or non-truth of it is no longer even considered a legitimate question.
change (I have to appear fair and balanced)
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Two things were interesting, though. She actually said at the beginning that there is a big difference between McCain and Obama on the energy issue. She said that the Obama administration would continue the policies of relying on foreign oil. What planet has she been on the last 2 years? This is patently false and she knows it. Its another one of those Rovian lies that the McCain campaign tells everyday, hoping that the uninformed masses will believe it as truth, because its said over and over again.
The other point, albeit a small one, is that she mispronounces two pretty important words. She insists on parroting Bush and saying "nuc-u-lar" instead of properly pronouncing it "nu-clee-ar". She also repeatedly mispronounced "infrastructure" as "infastructure". Is it too much to ask that our country's leaders sound smart, even if they're ignorant buffoons?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
October 27, 2008
By Amanda Coyne
Much is being made of the McCain campaign’s mishandling of Sarah Palin, and of Palin’s recent rebellion in the face of such mishandling.
First, she challenged McCain’s decision to pull out of Michigan. Then, in an interview with Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, she said that McCain would support the 2008 Republican Party platform, which opposes stem cell research and supports a constitutional amendment banning abortions with no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. The problem: McCain supports stem-cell research and opposes a constitutional amendment that does not make exceptions for cases of rape and incest.
On the stump yesterday, she talked about her wardrobe, which she wasn’t supposed to do. She dissed robo calls while McCain was defending them, had an impromptu press conference, and is, according to a CNN story, generally playing the part of a “diva.”
All of this leads many to conclude that Palin is setting herself up to blame the McCain camp in the face of a big loss.
In the coming weeks, many in Alaska won’t be surprised if Palin starts to subtly allude to those “good ol’ boys” who are running McCain’s campaign; the ones who made her wear fancy clothes and tarnished her image by keeping her from the press. It’s a familiar Palin-refrain.
As the conservative Voice of the Times columnist Paul Jenkins put it in a column about Palin: “She is an opportunist always looking for buses with lots of room underneath, lots of room for all the political bodies.”
But Palin is working with professionals now who will not go quietly under that good bus, and they seem to be prepping for a fight. In addition to the diva comment, the CNN story cited two sources inside the campaign who defended her handling. They said that she simply was not ready to meet the press. “Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic,” one CNN source said. The other source said it was “hardest” to get her “up to speed than any candidate in history.”
Monday, October 27, 2008
So what does he do? After he fails to advance further in the military due to injuries from captivity, he eventually gets elected to the Senate, and goes about pissing people off on a regular basis because he really loves the fight. He calls himself "maverick" but one could just as easily call him a "contrarian". He wants to see himself as a warrior and creates situations where that will be his role. So here we are now, in the 11th hour of the presidential campaign, and McCain is reprising his earlier mantra "I choose to fight!". In a way, its all he knows. When he talks about winning in Iraq, we all know what he's really talking about. He's still fighting another war in another time. Only this time he wants us to give him the power to play this out on the grandest scale of all. For me, that's a bit too much to ask to assuage one man's battered ego. We've seen that play the last eight years. We know how it ends---badly.
Yesterday at a rally, he started coughing in mid-sentence. Maybe he has a cold. Maybe its no big thing. But between the twitching left eye, constant blinking, inability to read a prepared statement without stumbling, and poor memory he looks more and more like someone who has no business in any decision-making, much less being the heir to Bush's "decider" role.
I know how to
Joe the plumber
anyone's first name followed by "the----"
and any word that ends in "ing" and is pronounced "in' "!
Got any more? Let me know and I'll add them.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The fact that these kind of mental stumbles keep happening to McCain is more than a little concerning. Yes, we all forget a name or misspeak on occasion, but this guy is supposed to be on his game all the time, right? Especially when on Meet The Press! (h/t to Amy L.)
In what can only be seen as a rather right-winged bias, Barbara West assails Biden with questions that imply both her opinion and how he should be answering. He doesn't bite and he doesn't get angry--regardless of what right winged bloggers are saying. See for yourself. Does he look incredulous at the bias or enraged? You decide.
Today, she appeared with Elizabeth Hasselback and spoke for 4 minutes about her $150,000 wardrobe after Hasselback brought it up in her introduction. Now its safe to say that the last thing the McCain folks want her talking about is another one of their blunders. But there she was, going off message. The message itself is not so damaging, because most people have already formed an opinion about it. But the fact that she's spending valuable campaign time and face time with the voters talking about it is the miscalculation. This is the true mark of an amateur campaign.
Maybe Palin recognizes how poorly this thing is being run. Maybe she thinks she can do a better job without her handlers. Perhaps. But I think this is where her naivete catches up with her. I don't think she knows enough about big time politics, nor do I think she knows how the rest of America (outside of her select religious right) thinks--the real America, if you will, to exercise wise judgement.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I remember even less from 2004, except that I was depressed for weeks.
So, as bloggers (including myself) go nuts about Palin and her wardrobe, the McCain staffer attack hoax, McCain's left eye twitch, Joe Six-pack, Joe the Plumber, Biden's gaffes, right wing rage, "he's a Muslim", "he's a socialist", Reverend Wright, Bill Ayres, Trig, Piper and Track, and on and on and on, I wonder what will remain at the end of this campaign.
Funny how a campaign season can be parsed ad nauseum by the press and pundits, but then, when its over, they all find some neat and tidy conclusionary statement to explain it all, as if they knew all along that this was the way it would go. You can almost smell the press begging for a closer race so they have more exciting things to talk about.
I hope that what we remember is the beginning of a shift back to the America we once knew and love, that was once respected in the world. I hope we remember a landslide so convincing that no amount of bogus voter registrations by Acorn can sully the victory or question the intent of the American people. I hope it is the greatest voter turnout in American history.
I hope that Palin fades into the woodwork and is recalled as an interesting oddity, like Ross Perot. And I hope McCain decides to retire after his term expires. And has a nice long life at his Sedona ranch with his wife. All of that might be worth remembering for more than a few years... or at least until the next election :)
Friday, October 24, 2008
probably David Brooks, depending on the day
Julie Nixon Eisenhower
Gen. Tony McPeak
Lilibet Hagel (Chuck's wife)
Alison Goldwater Ross
All of these people are registered REPUBLICANS! Most have never supported a Democrat and most have either served or are serving in Republican administrations or write for conservative Republican papers, magazines or blogs. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Rush Limbaugh, most of them are white.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Now they're attacking David Brooks for calling her "a cancer" on the Republican party. They're drawing comparisons to Ronald Reagan and basically saying its the "elite Republican media" as well that are skewering Palin.
Now they've brought in Jonathan Capehart from the Washington Post to say "this race isn't over". The need for all of them to spin this thing in favor of McCain is amazing. Joe Scarborough's need to have his opinion justified is insatiable. And unfortunately, at the expense of better political t.v., the crew around him is compelled to agree with him. So, when Joe sets the agenda, like any good Republican campaign, they follow the talking points instead of having livelier debate. Bottom line: don't disagree with Joe. "I LOVE that woman!" Joe concludes about Palin. Mika agrees. After that statement they agree that Bill O'Reilly is right about what he says about the women on "The View" taking themselves too seriously. I guess its not okay for a group of women to have a serious political discussion, but everyone needs to lockstep it with Joe Scarborough. Hmmm....
"There is a beating heart of conservatism out there" Peggy Noonan just announces as her reason that this election is not over. She identifies the country as "center right". I think this country is centrist, but certainly waivers when it comes to social issues. Most people want legal abortion even if they don't agree with it. Most people are for some form of gay marriage. Most people want government protections that go beyond what true conservatives want. The country is not center right. In the last election, the voters that voted were center right. And look what happened when we let them choose our president.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
"...Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama today was a real sledgehammer blow to the already staggering McCain campaign...The General showed he still knows how to launch a brutal offense. Powell's remarks were an across the board indictment of the McCain campaign."
By Kathleen Parker
Christopher Buckley’s endorsement of Barack Obama — followed by his abrupt departure from the back page of the magazine his father founded, National Review — has caused a ripple of contempt from the conservative Right.
Nay, make that a tsunami of hostility. An avalanche of venom. A cataclysm of ... well, you get the idea. People are mad. Good riddance, they say, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.Let us proceed, gingerly.
I am not a passive bystander to these events. Buckley is a friend, as are other members of his family, especially Uncle Reid, with whom I have worked for several years. National Review is home to many friends, and its online editor, Kathryn Jean Lopez, kindly subscribes to my column. Like Buckley, I have enjoyed a decent fragging for suggesting that Sarah Palin excuse herself from the Republican ticket.
What gives here?
What does it mean that the right cannot politely entertain dissenting opinions within its ranks? What, if anything, does it portend that Buckley The Younger has bolted from the Right, even resigning from the family flagship? Some have opined, ridiculously, that Buckley — son of the famous William F. Buckley (WFB) — was merely seeking attention...So why did he do it? Because he had to. It’s in his genes. True believers of whatever stripe too often forget that the men and women who create movements are first and foremost radicals...Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, the younger Buckley said: “I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me.”
Radical conservatives are still having an interesting time of it, though these days they are being mutilated by fellow “conservatives.” The well-fed Right now cultivates ignorance as a political strategy and humiliates itself when its brightest sons seek sanctuary in the solitude of personal honor. The truth few wish to utter is that the GOP has abandoned many conservatives, who mostly nurse their angst in private. Those chickens we keep hearing about have indeed come home to roost. Years of pandering to the extreme wing — the “kooks” the senior Buckley tried to separate from the right — have created a party no longer attentive to its principles. Instead, as Christopher Buckley pointed out in a blog post on thedailybeast.com explaining his departure from National Review, eight years of “conservatism” have brought us “a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance.”Republicans are not short on brainpower — or pride — but they have strayed off course. They do not, in fact, deserve to win this time, and someone had to remind them why.
This is the photo of the soldier that Colin Powell referred to in his comments on Meet The Press. His point, of course, was that there is nothing wrong with being Muslim, that American citizens who also happen to follow the faith of Islam have given their lives for this country. Something for everyone to think about when they throw around the word "Muslim" as if its a dirty word.
Photo by Platon appeared in The New Yorker.
Chicago Tribune (first Democrat endorsement for president in the paper's history)
Houston Chronicle (first Democrat endorsement for president since 1964)
The Salt Lake Tribune (backed Bush in 2004)
The Denver Post (backed Bush in 2004)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Chicago Sun-Times
The Kansas City Star
More to come....
It all came down to temperament and judgment. He pointed to McCain's handling of the economic crisis (his infamous "suspending" the campaign stunt) vs. Obama's calm and steadiness. He spoke about the choice of Palin as an example of poor judgment, while he supported Obama's pick of Biden for the "readiness" test.
What Powell also did was describe the "narrowing" of the Republican party. He made it very clear to more centrist-minded Republicans that this is no longer the party they knew. And he didn't let McCain off the hook with this shift, because its the McCain campaign that is accentuating this division on the campaign trail.
We'll see what a difference this makes. I think it grabs the headlines, causes some conservative soccer moms and NASCAR dads to think twice, if they were afraid to vote against their party line. Powell's words elucidate the problems with McCain and Palin. He flatly says that Palin isn't ready to be president. Bottom line: people of all parties admire Powell and trust what he says. That's worth something in the last two weeks of a campaign. Way to go, Colin Powell. A patriot to the end.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Nancy Pfotenhauer puts her foot in her big mouth. I have had second thoughts about this after reading other people's blog comments about it and talking with my partner, who was not offended by it. Here's my take: She chose her words poorly. I think what she meant was "traditional" Virginia not "real" Virginia, because, of course, the latter implies that NOVA is "fake" or "not real". Northern Virginia is different from the majority of Virginia, but you could probably argue that about lots of states that have a large metropolitan area. Is Chicago not the "real" Illinois? St. Louis not the "real" Missouri? Gary not part of the "real" Indiana?
One can argue that these cities are not representative of the state they are in, but its a foolish idea to state that they are "not real", which implies they are somehow not as genuine or as relevant. I guarantee that the votes in Northern Virginia will count just as much as those in the rest of Appalachia. The bottom line is that these words sound divisive, and given all the Republicans have been saying on the campaign trail, it looks as if she is trying to divide the state. Not the kind of message you want to hear from the campaign of a man who constantly promises to reach across the aisle. Is his campaign trying to say that they're the real Americans?
Friday, October 17, 2008
Rep. Bachmann (R-Mn) clearly is following her provided script by using the word "leftist" instead of liberal or left-wing, or Democrats, maybe? I'd love to see this woman lose her seat but the Dems have a guy named Winkelburger or Winkeltinker or something running against her. Sounds like a pretty leftist name to me.
Would the country's collective point of view be different? Could racism be the culprit? Ponder the following:
What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?
What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?
What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?
What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?
What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married? What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?
What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)
What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?
What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?
What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?
What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?
What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?
You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are? This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.
Barack Obama: Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations. Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
Joseph Biden: University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science. Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.) vs.
John McCain: United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899
Sarah Palin: Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism
Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world.
(h/t to Claire W.)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
One of the better moments of this last (thankfully) debate. McCain goes on from this point to roll his eyes, clench his jaw, and generally treat Obama with contempt. Once again, the people spoke afterwards in focus groups and went strongly for Obama. This was true of both Fox and CNN groups, much to Fox's dismay.
Obama did what he needed to do--hold his lead, keep his cool and make his points. McCain needed to hit a homerun, and instead, he hit another grounder to second and grumbled all the way back to the dugout.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
She claims the report "vindicates" her. She said that the investigation found "no unlawful or unethical activity on my part."
Her response is either astoundingly ignorant or downright Orwellian.
Page 8, Finding Number One of the report says: "I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act."
In plain English, she did something "unlawful." She broke the state ethics law.
Perhaps Gov. Palin has been too busy to actually read the Troopergate report. Perhaps she is relying on briefings from McCain campaign spinmeisters.
That's the charitable interpretation.
Because if she had actually read it, she couldn't claim "vindication" with a straight face.
Palin asserted that the report found "there was no abuse of authority at all in trying to get Officer Wooten fired."
In fact, the report concluded that "impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired."
Palin's response is the kind of political "big lie" that George Orwell warned against. War is peace. Black is white. Up is down.
Gov. Palin and her camp trumpeted the report's second finding: that she was within her legal authority to fire Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. But the report also said it's likely one of the reasons she fired him was his failure to get rid of her ex-brother-in-law trooper.
That's not "vindication," and surely Gov. Palin knows it.
Gov. Palin does have a defense. She could have said:
"I'm gratified that the report confirmed what I said all along, that I had the authority to terminate Walt Monegan as public safety commissioner.
"I absolutely disagree that I violated state ethics law. In repeatedly complaining about trooper Mike Wooten, Todd and I were not pursuing a personal vendetta. We were trying to protect the integrity of the Alaska State Troopers from having an arrogant, almost-out-of-control law-breaker in their ranks. Because the action we were seeking was in the public interest, not purely our personal interest, there is no ethics law violation."
Gov. Palin and her husband felt so passionately about Wooten because the case was so personal to them. Their passion blinded them to any other considerations.
They had no sense that the power of the governor's office carries a special responsibility not to use it to settle family scores. They had no sense that legal restrictions might prevent the troopers from firing Wooten. They had no sense that persistent queries from the governor's office might be perceived as pressure to bend state personnel laws.
Gov. Palin and her husband were obsessed with Wooten the way Capt. Ahab was obsessed with the Great White Whale. No Wooten, no peace.
Has Gov. Palin committed an impeachable offense? Hardly.
Is what she did indictable? No.
But it wasn't appropriate, especially for someone elected as an ethical reformer. And her Orwellian claims of "vindication" make this blemish on her record look even worse.
You asked us to hold you accountable, Gov. Palin. Did you mean it?
Bottom line: Gov. Palin, read the report. It says you violated the ethics law.
Let me be the latest conservative/libertarian/whatever to leap onto the Barack Obama bandwagon. It’s a good thing my dear old mum and pup are no longer alive. They’d cut off my allowance.
Or would they? But let’s get that part out of the way. The only reason my vote would be of any interest to anyone is that my last name happens to be Buckley—a name I inherited. So in the event anyone notices or cares, the headline will be: “William F. Buckley’s Son Says He Is Pro-Obama.” I know, I know: It lacks the throw-weight of “Ron Reagan Jr. to Address Democratic Convention,” but it’ll have to do."
Read the full post here:
Monday, October 13, 2008
He seems to be suggesting that its not enough to simply trade accusations and expressions of righteousness. Yes, it might be so that the Democrats have the upper hand right now because we don't have nitwits yelling "Kill him! and "Terrorist!" about McCain at Obama rallies. And its pretty obvious that Obama has been consistent in taking the high road throughout the campaign.
But is it enough to feel righteous indignation over those nitwits at rallies or the buffoons at FOX? They have FOX and now we have Maddow and MSNBC? Is that the best we can do? I sort of felt like Frum was challenging Maddow to rise above the obvious and have more intelligent conversations with people she may not necessarily agree with. That is the hallmark of truly intelligent, mature political discourse.
Much to my disappointment, she balked and kept reciting the line that she doesn't see it as the equivalent when the other side is yelling "Kill him!" She may have a point, but is that the only point to be made? Its certainly the easiest one to make.
Maddow is an extremely bright woman and can go toe-to-toe with the best of them. Wouldn't it be so much more enlightening if she did, for example, have Paul Wolfowitz on (as Frum suggested) and have an honest to God debate about their differences? I think she's up to it, and, what's more, I think the American electorate is hungry for an honest exchange of ideas. We're all sick of the partisan bullshit, and we're all guilty of it. Twenty-two days and counting.....
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Dear Old Golden Dog Days
By GAIL COLLINS
Published: October 10, 2008
I miss the good old days. Remember when the presidential campaign was all about oil drilling? That sure was fun.
I miss August. August was neat. The Dow was over 10,000 and nobody had ever heard of Sarah Palin.
Remember how we used to joke about John McCain looking like an old guy yelling at kids to get off his lawn? It’s only in retrospect that we can see that the keep-off-the-grass period was the McCain campaign’s golden era. Now, he’s beginning to act like one of those movie characters who steals the wrong ring and turns into a troll.
During that last debate, while he was wandering around the stage, you almost expected to hear him start muttering: “We wants it. We needs it. Must have the precious.”
Remember when McCain’s campaign ads were all about his being a prisoner of war? I really miss them.
Now they’re all about the Evil That Is Obama. The newest one, “Ambition,” has a woman, speaking in one of those sinister semiwhispers, saying: “When convenient, he worked with terrorist Bill Ayers. When discovered, he lied.” Then suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, she starts ranting about Congressional liberals and risky subprime loans. Then John McCain pops up to say he approved it. All in 30 seconds! And, of course, McCain would think it’s great. For the first time, the Republicans appear to have captured his thought process on tape.
The Republican campaign strategy now involves sending their candidates to areas where everybody is a die-hard McCain supporter already. Then they yell about Obama until the crowd is so frenzied people start making threats. The rest of the country is supposed to watch and conclude that this would be an enjoyable way to spend the next four years.
Maybe the Republicans should have picked somebody else. I miss Mitt Romney. Sure, he was sort of smarmy. But when Mitt was around, the banks had money and Iceland was solvent. And, of course, when we got bored, we could always talk about how he drove to Canada with his Irish setter strapped to the car roof.
I miss the old George W. Bush. When he came out of the White House and made an announcement, you would usually think that whatever he wanted to do was a terrible idea. But at least you thought he could actually make the terrible idea happen.
I miss the old American public that was too busy shopping to worry about the state of the world. Now everybody is getting scared and weird. They’ve been racing off in great numbers to see “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” And nagging Target to take the Little Mommy Cuddle ‘n Coo dolls off the shelves because people think that when it gurgles you can hear the baby say “Islam is the light.”
I miss the old Cindy McCain. The one who used to go to rallies and sit huddled in the corner looking as if she thought the audience had a communicable disease. Now, she’s right up there on stage, standing behind her husband and making disgusted faces when he rails on about the opposition. And she’s started railing herself. (The family that rants together ...) Obama is waging “the dirtiest campaign in American history.” His votes on Iraq were votes “not to fund my son when he was serving.”
Remember when the McCains wouldn’t talk about the fact that their son was in Iraq? Oh well.
Maybe Cindy is trying to hold her own against Sarah, who is with John almost as much as she is. I miss the old guy-guy McCain who had so many male pals around he looked like a walking fraternity reunion. Now, he’s starting to resemble an ambulatory patient accompanied by female attendants on an outing.
Palin has been pressing the line that people don’t really know “the real Barack Obama,” and who could make the argument better than a woman who we’ve already known for almost six weeks? Really, she’s like one of the family.
We’ve gotten so close we’ve already learned that she didn’t actually sell the plane on eBay, didn’t actually visit the troops in Iraq and didn’t really have a talk with the British ambassador. As soon as we get the Trooper thing and Alaska Independence Party thing and the tax thing figured out, she’ll be an open book.
And she’s got a point about Obama. True, he’s been campaigning for 19 months and has been interviewed by everybody from “Meet the Press” to “Men’s Health.” Which would be O.K. if we were talking about somebody from a small town rather than, as a McCain campaign co-chairman noted delicately, a “guy of the street.”
Back in August, women politicians were afraid of going negative because it might have made them look too strident. Amazing, the things you wind up being nostalgic for.
More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on October 11, 2008, on page A23 of the New York edition.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Who's in the driver's seat of the McCain campaign? Anyone else feel like Palin is hijacking this thing with the Rovians? And what does that say about McCain's leadership?
Scared, white, conservative folks everywhere are searching their vocabularies for the latest and greatest way to label Obama with the obvious (he's black) without using the word that has
clearly fallen out of fashion. So they flail around for a while and, low and behold, they stumble upon some real beauts. "He's a socialist!" "He's a liberal!" (ooohhnnooooo!) "He's a terrorist!"
But the best one was seen today, at a McCain rally in Minnesota. Everyone was confessing their fears to McCain, begging him to rescue them from the great Democratic terror, and he decided this would be a great time to calm the rabble with reassuring words about what a decent guy Obama is. Watch and see if you think the crowd is really behind McCain:
Thursday, October 9, 2008
McCain supporters have decided for the sake of convenience to brand Obama as their 21st century Salem witch, and have deemed him a worthy receptacle for all of their own personal ills, failures, fears, resentments and regrets. Obama burning in effigy is, no doubt, coming soon to a "Country First" rally near you.
To say that McCain has lost his way would be a gross understatement. To see him and his faithful female sidekicks stoke the fires, is the most blatant example of how and why he is NOT fit to lead. He is either allowing the mob to lead him, or he is encouraging the mob to take him and his country down into the sludge, for the sake of his own ego.
McCain's claim to have the "steady hand on the tiller" is an absolute farce. The only person on either side who has been steady throughout this entire campaign is Barack Obama. Even when surrogates in his own campaign begged him to get angry, get tough, come out swinging, Obama remained steady. He is as unflappable as any man I have ever seen under fire. He seems to proceed with the calmness of a man who has already arrived at the destination, when everyone else is complaining about the stones on the road in front of them. His ability to see and describe the "big picture" is the very thing the Republicans mock, but it is also the thing they cannot envision with their own candidate, and they know it. In a word, they are jealous, and their egos are as bruised as McCain's. And McCain's solution for these people? Get mad and get even.
Obama, on the other hand, continues to stay on the high road. When his campaign has flirted with the negative snipes in ads, thousands of supporters and bloggers like myself have contacted the campaign demanding cease and desist. And they have listened. They are not perfect. Nor is he. But the contrast between hope and despair is so apparent now, that I almost feel sorry for these angry masses as they swirl around the cesspool of their own making.
(Tip of the hat to JumpyPants for Daishonen's quote)
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Thanks to KBR for the link!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
On the radio he sounded snippy, petty and sophmoric. On HDTV he looked like someone who has pulled a tight rubber mask over his head, followed by two inches of pancake makeup.
Between the shameful McCain-Palin Smear Express and this bumbling, tottering, snarky performance by McCain, the answer for undecideds is becoming all too clear--Obama, er, that one.