Thursday, June 26, 2008

Who are These People Who Bear Arms?

More educated people that I have labored over the meaning of this grammatically strained sentence:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Seems that the question comes down to, who are the "People" referred to here....the individual states regulating their militias, or the individual inhabitants in those states? Because if it's the former, then today's decision by the court would be a blatant misreading of the Constitution.

It's not surprising that the gun lobby would want judges to read the "People" as not being the States regulating their militias against the federal government, but the customers who buy guns. After all, we are a more consumerist society than ever before, and if what we want to consume - guns, alcohol, drugs, sugar - kills us, well, it's our right to kill ourselves, as long as companies can make a profit while we do it.

One must wonder if the Federalits and anti-Federalists drafting our Constitution would ever have in their wildest dreams thought that these words could be interpreted to mean that States can have no power to combat lawless citizens murdering other citizens with high-tech guns in their towns.

So ponder this: if only the draftees of the Amendments had copy-edited their grammar, we might not have to live in a gun-totin', high-murdering society presided over by the NRA....

UPDATE: looks like some other writers agree with me - the only way the Hillier decision has merit is by abandoning strict Constututionalist interpretation. Welcome to postmodernism, Mr. Scalia.

The Fist Bump Heard Round the World

This is what will win Obama the election.

I want a President who fist-bumps. Don't you?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why Does the Media take James Dobson Seriously?

Who is James Dobson?

He's at radical, far-right religious zeaolot with a large following. "Focus on the Family" is essentially a right-wing religious cult. He's not even a preacher but a right-wing radio personality with a cult following whose real motives are power and money.

The fact that he blasts Obama's nuanced views on the Bible is like the leader of the KKK coming out against Arlin Specter for being a Jew who killed Christ. Yeah, that's a surprise.

What gets me about this is that CNN titles its piece, "Top evangelical leader." I wish the mainstream media would stop giving this guy a pulpit. If they had opened the piece saying "Radio personality posing as religious zealot exploiting right-wing religious cult for personal gain blasts Obama," I wouldn't have had any problems with the reporting.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Overlooked VP Choices - McCain and Obama

Prompted to do some more digging by one of my readers, I find it's time to amend the top ten VP choices for both McCain and Obama.

First McCain. My reader points out the overlooked female governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. I concede: a good choice, with few downsides. Only problem: I didn't know know who she was. Does anyone who doesn't live in Alaska? A canny female choice that would play well with all sides of the party...but I don't see her delivering any states. I'd put her on the list in place of Colin Powell: for an outside the box pick, Palin makes more sense than Powell. (And while we're at it, bump Pawlenty up to #3 - word on the Sunday talk shows is that McCain has already chosen him. Of course, word counts for nothing...but there's no such word about Sandord or Blunt, so that puts Pawlenty at the head of that small pack.)

As for Obama, somehow, I've left a few favorites off my list, such as James Jones, Bill Nelson, and Jack Reed: apparently the Obama VP vetting team has been meeting with them (along with a couple others I didn't have on the list, Tim Kaine and John Kerry....)

With Florida in play, let's put Senator Nelson on the list - probably a good reason to bump Daschle off it at #10.

As for James Jones, a retired Nato Supreme Commander from Missouri, the vetting, there, seems to be serious. I guess this is who we're getting as the "from the miltary" guy rather than Clark. Don't know anything about Jones' stump, but he delivers Missouri and brings the military cred. Let's give him Clark's position at #9.

All the rest don't seem likely to me, for various reasons (Kerry, well, that reason should be obvious.)

BTW, scuttlebut seems to have Sebelius moving up the list. Nothing definitive, but as Hillary supporters begin to gravitate toward Obama (and McCain fails to pick them up), the logic that he needs her becomes less and less effective. Let's swap Sebelius and Hillary, giving Sebilius #5 and Hillary #8.

If we don't have any picks by July 4th, things will have changed enough to issue new lists....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Speculating on the Republican Vice Presidential Selection

Since we had the Democratic Veep speculations, only fair to do the Republicans. Who will McCain pick as his Vice President?

In this case, recent trends seem to be the opposite for McCain as they are for Obama. As McCain's numbers slowly sink, he needs someone on the ticket that can deliver key states. He's got plenty of advisers: what he needs is a politician that will deliver the White House.

Trending Up:
Charlie Crist
Mel Martinez
Matt Blunt
Mitch Daniels
Debora Pryce
Rob Portman
Tim Pawlenty

Trending Down:
Colin Powell
Condoleezza Rice
Lindsey Graham
Bobby Jindal
Kay Bailey Hutchinson
Rudy Giuliani
Joe Lieberman
Haley Barbour

Treading Water:
Mitt Romney
Mark Sanford
Mike Huckabee
Michael Bloomberg

Tied for #1. This week's events puts Charlie Christ up there as front-runner along with Mitt Romney, who's had the #1 spot for months. But in recent days, Florida may be starting to trend Obama. That's bad news for McCain, who needs to lock up those 27 electoral votes that he was counting on. Christ is the go-to guy if you want to put Florida in your pocket. Only problem, right-wing conservatives suspect the single Christ may be secretly gay, or possibly flamboyant. Not that there's anything wrong with that.... But McCain hasn't shown much stomach for crossing the cross-bearers, who pretty much have veto power over this pick.

So that leaves the other #1, Romney. Romney's economic credentials and cash still look like the best thing out there. But can Romney deliver any of the states that McCain doesn't already have in the bag? Better still - could McCain stand having him hang around the White House? And those right-wing Christians aren't all too thrilled about him either.

That brings us to #3: Mel Martinez. If you can't get a Governor, get a Senator. Actually, he's perfect: delivers Florida. Appeals to Hispanics. Makes history on the ticket. Wait a second. Wait a second. He was born in Cuba? Damn..... Guess this was a fake-out.

Ok, so the alternate #3: Matt Blunt. The telegenic young Missourian would do a lot for the McCain campaign - not the least of which would be to get it out of the senior citizen's ward. The 11 electoral votes of Missouri aren't nearly as important as being anointed by this bellwether state, which has voted for the winner in every Presidential election in the last 100 years, save one. Blunt's naval background and fiscal conservative credentials would also give team McCain the "junior McCain" he'd no doubt love to have around in case the old ticker goes on the second term. Only problem: Blunt suddenly announced he wasn't running for re-election this January when the odds started to look like they were against him. With the odds starting to go against McCain, can he afford a pessimist on his team?

#4: So maybe go for the preternatural optimist: Mark Sanford. The South Carolina governor has been auditioning for the VP spot for a few weeks now. McCain might decide he's been making a better case for McCain than team McCain has. South Carolina may be in McCain's camp, but he could use a local boy to bring NC back into the fold. If the right nixes Christ and Romney, the chances for Sanford look better and better. The problem: unlike Christ, Sanford didn't throw his weight behind McCain with an endorsement before the S. Carolina his hard campaigning for the spot now might seem to some a little AWK-ward. And while he passes the religious-right sniff test, this conservative, eco-friendly "new south" good-old-boy may not be the favorite of the Neo-cons in McCain's inner circle.

#5. In which case, McCain may decide to look north, to Tim Pawlenty and Minnesota - another state that may be swinging into reach as Florida swings out. Pawlenty could be the inside man: he's already friends with McCain, has been smartly playing down his prospects (which is the right way to play them up), and McCain could easily decide that the best way to balance his southwest charm is with some gee-wizikers Midwestern friendliness. Problem with Pawlenty: seems he recently made an awkward semi-sexual joke about his wife. Golly Jeez, those Republican's is sure sensitive about sex. (And letting a major bridge collapse in your state sure doesn't help.)

#6: Colin Powell. OK. Seems unlikely. But desperate times call for desperate measures. IF McCain wakes up to the deep unpopularity of the war, a pick from left field like Powell could be a bet to shake up the board. It could do just that: negate the historic race issue and nuance McCain's positions on Iraq. The next day could see an entirely different electoral map in play. The problem: it would send his inner circle of neo-cons into a tizzy. And Powell has no ground organization or money, two things McCain could use more of. So this is definitely a whistle in the wind.

#7: Brings us to Rob Portman. What does he have going for him? He's from Ohio. McCain needs Ohio. What doesn't he have going for him? He worked for W. Bush. McCain doesn't need Bush.

#8. Or perhaps Deborah Pryce. What does she have going for her? She's from Ohio. She's a woman. What doesn't she have going for her? Nothing. Literally: there's nothing else. If being a woman from Ohio was enough, my mother would be on the ticket (hey, she's the same age as McCain - why not?)

#9. Too bad we don't have more politicians from Ohio, huh? Wait...there's Mitch Daniels. He's from that state next door: Indiana. What's the story with him? Same as Rob Portman. B-U-S-H.

#10. So that brings us to Mike Huckabee. Darling of the conservatives. A true politician, a real campaigner. Could deliver...Arkansas. Yeah, like that's useful. Let's face it, at this point, where are the Evangelicals going to go, Bob Barr? I think the Huckster scares McCain a he should.

#10b. Lindsey Graham. So what has happened to the good old mainstays of the Republican party? Well, when you're a 72-year-old going against Obama, you need to shake up the ticket with the young exciting bloods and new faces, the Crists, Pawlenty's and Sanfords. Picking one of your old Senate buddies just doesn't seem...exciting...enough. But if any of these guys can hang on to the Top 10, it's probably Lindsey. I know, I know, technically he's 11. But he deserves to be on the list, so I put him here.

So who didn't make it into the Top 10?

Condoleezza Rice - would be nice...if only she didn't have that little problem with her resume: B-u-s-h.

Bobby Jindal - could be the next Blunt or Pawlenty. But Louisiana isn't really in play...and Blunt and Pawlenty are the current Blunt and Pawlenty.

Kay Bailey Hutchinson - she gets mentioned a lot, but I don't see it. I think McCain would rather put Clinton on the ticket. ( that I mention it....maybe I should have her on here.....)

Rudy Giuliani. Oh, come on.

Joe Lieberman. Wasn't there talk of this same ticket last time, only in reverse? I wouldn't put it past traitor-Joe, but it was a fever dream last time, seems like one this time too.

Haley Barbour. A party favorite. But McCain doesn't need his baggage. Would probably be the best thing he could do to quickly sink the ticket.

Michael Bloomberg. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Wait. Do you think? No....ha ha ha ha ha ha.

The Obama Dabloon

Interesting: David Brooks sees Obama as being as skilled a politician as I do.

But where I mean it as praise, for Brooks, it's ominious.

Guess it's a question of Obama in the eye of the beholder: are you looking forward to a skilled politician taking over the White House for a change, or are we gotten too used to the ineptitude we have?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pulling Away...

Just in a matter of the last three days, Obama is pulling ahead significantly in swing-state polls.

Probably a result both of Hillary "dead-enders" waking up to the reality of McCain's continued uninspiring, base-shoring campaign (What is McCain doing? Is this guy brain-dead? he should be radically distancing himself from Bush policies now while those Clinton voters are making up their minds - proposing aid for working mothers, money for education and healthcare, etc - he could shore up the base later...where else would they go?) and also as I said, Obama coming off a stellar political week.

So maybe my prediction of a close race is wrong...we should know by July.....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Did This Man Ruin A President's First Term?

Right now, Obama is leading McCain in national polls by 4%. Given his great ground game, financial/volunteer advantage, and enthusiasm of his base, he should be able to grow that lead by two or three percentage points by November, as undecideds break his way. But barring any other major campaign revelations on either side, there's little else that will change that dynamic come November.

So at this point, mid-June, it's looking like Obama will win with approximately the same margin (or slightly better) as Bush did in '04. That would be a decisive victory, but not a landslide.

One can only wonder, then, what sorts of margin's Obama would rack up if his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, hadn't gone ballistic on national TV back in May. If he had only kept his trap shut, the issues about his radical sermons could have probably been more convincingly put to bed. But as I've said, for a lot of people, by acting like the caricature that Obama's opponents were painting of him, as if intentionally trying to undermine Obama's chances, Wright's performance makes Obama look pretty silly for his association. What exactly motivated Wright, no one will know, but it looks like one thing may be clear: the performance might not have cost Obama his Presidency, but it will likely cost him his landslide.

And that's too bad. Because that means that Obama will come to office not with an overwhelming mandate, but only with the good wishes of a slim majority looking for a change. That makes a big difference in how far he'll be able to reach to accomplish his goals. And the rest of us may have to settle for a modicum of change, when we could have had a revolution....

Another State Liberated!

Marriage begins in California.

With each state, it becomes a little less of a big deal.

By the time New Jersey legalizes it next year, it's going to be a it should be.

Monday, June 16, 2008


This cat is smart.

Obama's father's day speech about absent fathers in the Black community may have been re-hashed Bill Cosby, and may have oversimplified the issue to some extent, but it was excellent politics.

This is Obama at his best: sensing the political timing and striking with just the right kind of rhetoric that speaks to the multiple audiences he's addressing. This is a true postmodern politician - not post-racial, but understanding how to chose and frames issues that resonate with multiple communities.

Timing and Rhetoric: coming off the hard-fought primaries, Obama has a lot of repair work to do. He has to demonstrate that he's not the same man as the characterized Reverend Wright of the blogosphere. He's got to remind people that he's able to reach across constituencies as well as able to talk about - and lead this country - on the issues of race (in a way that Clinton was rarely able to talk about gender), without them seeming like the "issues" of the campaign. What better time than father's day, when the speech will seem natural and not necessarily campaign motivated? What better rhetoric than to tackle the "dirty laundry" of the black community while also giving an inherently conservative speech about social responsibility? A speech that also reaches back to Obama's inherent campaign theme about this being a seminal political moment with "the people" in control of their destiny.

And he manages to tell his personal story - being raised by a single mother - to boot.

It seems that the speech has gone down well with independents - who may be starting to see Obama as the candidate least tied to his party's special interests. He's keeping positive stories about himself in the media, and doing it in unexpected ways that reinforce his core narrative. He's playing the game on multiple and reinforcing levels.

If you add in Obama's response to the flooding in Iowa, he's had a masterful week. Aside, perhaps, from the occasional debate letdown (which he's no doubt practicing as we speak), he plays this political game with all the rhythm and grace of a professional basketball player.

Compare this with McCain's traditional political lobbying of "tax and spend" and the forgettable Johnson flap - both of which Obama jabbed back at quickly and effectively negated- and you see why he's going to be the most formidable candidate against the Republicans that the Dem's have had in a while.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Home Run

Well, she did it - she came out with a speech that not only did everything she needed to to speak to her supporters and start to bring them over to Obama, she was gracious and eloquant. She actually moved me. This was the Clinton I originally was a fan of, and hadn't seen since South Carolina.

Everyone was left to wonder - if Hillary had been this good from the beginning, would she have won the nomination?

If she had been able to assess the real state of the political landscape and speak honestly about it?

If she had been able to address the hopes of women for her campaign and place them in proper context?

If she had been able to be respectful of her Democratic peers and still articulate differences with them?


Was the speech a tryout for the Obama ticket, as many in the press have claimed? Did she actually mimick Obama's style here in an attempt to ameliorate him? I don't know, but whatever she did, it worked...she delivered a classy speech and we all can only hope the rest of the campaign with McCain stays at this level (though if anyone saw McCain's speech on Tuesday, you realize there's a lot of ground there to cover...which is why he prefers debates).

But it does beg the question, why wasn't Hillary this good before? I think the speech showed that in fact, when Hillary started this campaign, she actually wasn't as experienced as she claimed. By then end, it was Obama who taught Hillary a thing or two about politics.

If she's learned from this, she'll only be a better politician because of it.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Clinton: "Congratulations and Support" for Obama

Clinton's letter to her supporters sounds pretty much like a concession to me.

She makes no mention of delegates etc., so my interpretation of her parsing this thing is that there are some concessions she going to want at the convention, like perhaps a roll-call of the delegate vote: but with this language, I think she's making it clear that she's not leaving herself room for her to challenge Obama's legitimacy to the nomination.

That's what everyone needed to hear from her. There must have been teams of people talking to her, saying these were the words she needed to say, and soon. Now she's doing it.

As I said, she had till the end of the week to do this and still salvage her career. Seems she's squeaked in under the wire. But boy, she sure did give us all a heart attack.....

Hints of Veep

This is the third time I've heard Obama say that he considers who he selects as VP as being "his most important counselor."

So, if we're going to weight the VP odds, I'd ratchet up the chance that Obama will pick someone with many years of sage "experience" over delivering strategic states or voter demographics. So this, in my mind, means:

trending up:
Joe Biden
Chris Dodd
Sam Nunn
Wesley Clark
Evan Bayh

trending down:
Ted Strickland
Brian Schweitzer
Jim Webb
John Edwards
Claire McCaskill
Mike Bloomberg

treading water:
Kathleen Sebelius
Bill Richardson
Janet Napolitano
Tom Daschle
Hillary Clinton (she'd be trending up if she hadn't been pushing so hard for it this week)

So, where would I rank the likeliest top 10 as of today? Here's my list:

1. Evan Bayh. Except for the military creds, this one has it all: Clinton supporter, speaks to white-working class voters, both extensive Governor and Senate experience. Could unite the party and quiet the experience meme in one swoop. Contrast to Obama's polished style rounds out the ticket nicely. Wouldn't have put him at the top a few days ago, but the calculus moves him up there now. Only problem: does anyone know who he is?

2. Jim Webb. Still the odds on favorite (delivers Virginia, military, go-getter, etc.), but, as I say, trending down. Has he proven himself enough yet? Plus, does Obama really want another author on the ticket? Won't that lead to competing book tours?

3. Joe Biden. Could hardly think of anyone better to go against McCain on foreign policy and the war. Probably the smartest guy in the Democratic party. Problem is, he's from a little state called Delaware that only five people have ever actually been to (if you don't count incorporating there). It's a little like having the treasurer of Narnia on your ticket.

4. Sam Nunn. His experience and military cred looks great on paper, but there's a difference between experience and "old school." Obama wants to reach out to Republicans, but if he's going to put one on the ticket, wouldn't it be better to pick an actual Republican? Yeah, he's not Zell Miller, but I still don't know if he'll click all that well with team Obama.

5. Hillary Clinton. Yes, all the negatives have been discussed endlessly, but it could all look different a month from now. If she quickly quiets all the "pressure," she's still the next best choice: and as Obama says, "on the short list." Five is short. But...on second of today, it's still hard not to think that Hillary totally blew it with that horror show called the last month of her campaign. And that comment about Bobby Kennedy. That would make me the littlest bit nervous.

6. John Edwards. There may not be a lot of logic in this choice, but I think the two men admire each other. Obama would heed his counsel, as he is a "counselor." And Edwards can successfully go after Hillary's demographic. But he's already lost one candidate his election. That gives him a bit of a tarnish: It's a little like borrowing a used hanky.

7. Bill Richardson. He has a lot of fans and a good level of experience across a range of issues. Getting Hispanics excited couldn't hurt. Problem is, he's just not that dynamic. Unless Obama's looking for someone soporiphic to bring his crowds down after their Obama high....

8. Kathleen Sebelius. Not as experienced, but still a very tempting pick: cements Obama's "newWestern electoral strategy" and adds a different kind of perspective to the ticket. But Obama already has a more experienced woman to choose from, and people will ask, why not Hillary? Sebelius would have to have a secret-service detail to protect her from vengeful Hillarybots.

9. Wesley Clark. Trumps McCain's strongest suit: military experience. Problem is, the war is being overshadowed by the economy. As far as politics go, not as experienced as Obama needs. And if you thought Richardson was stiff.....

10. Tom Daschle. Yeah, he's got a big strike against him: being kicked out as Majority Leader. But there hasn't been a more ardent or loyal Obama supporter. And losing is one experience that Obama doesn't know that much about. But let's face it. Putting Daschle on the ticket is a little like drafting a linebacker from the coaching squad: you want a rising star, not a setting one.

As for special mention -

Ted Strickland - was in the top ten, but his sycophantic embrace of Hillary and equally sycophantic distancing from her is making him seem a bit creepy. His lack of experience is not going to be that helpful to Obama.

Brian Schweitzer - getting lots of blog press as a new, up-and-comer, but Obama doesn't need a second Obama. Plenty of other older and wiser heads for him to pick.

Napolitano and McCaskill - in the "women who aren't Hillary" category, Sebelius is the favorite. Arizona isn't in play, and remember that Kansas City is the swing vote in Misouri: Sebelius has a better chance of delivering Missouri than McCaskill would, and she could even bring Kansas along. Plus, Governor is better than Senator.

Bloomberg - makes great sense for Bloomberg. Makes absolutely no sense for Obama.

Chris Dodd - yes, he's trending up...just not high enough to get into the top ten. Let me see....was there one lonely fan who caucused for him in Iowa, or did he not even get that far....?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Fake Bus Stops for the Elderly

This is such a great idea...but for my Mom, we'd have to use a fake K-Mart.

The Snowe Effect

There are actually a number of great reasons for Obama to pick a moderate female Republican Senator like Olympia Snowe for the ticket:

1. Solidifies the "unify the country" meme.

2. Woman on the ticket neutralizes feminist backlash.

3. Pulls a Republican out of the senate and opens one more seat for a Democrat; which not only tilts the congress further toward a Democratic majority but engenders loyalty to Obama for the added help.

4. As below, it's probably the best favor Obama can do for Clinton as it paves the way for her to secure the nomination in 2016 (unless Snowe switches parties, which would be unlikely; and even if she did, she would not have the same pull amongst the Democratic voters).

5. Plays tremendously well in the appeal towards independents and cements Obama's "independent" credentials.

I can think of only one downside: McCain and the Republicans would realize all this too, and pressue Snowe to not accept.

If Obama Wanted to Do Hillary a Favor....

He would NOT put her on the ticket as VP.

Instead, he would nominate a moderate Republican - say, Olympia Snowe?

Or an older Senator like Lautenberg or Tim Johnson.

Basically, pull a Cheney maneuver - put someone on the ticket who couldn't possibly top the ticket in 2016.

Then, Hillary can do something more glamorous for the next eight years then still have her shot at the top.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Adults In the Room Speak Out

From the NY Times:

Rob Emanuel: “You don’t answer about whether you want to be about vice president unless there’s no doubt in your mind that he is the nominee,” he said, referring to Mrs. Clinton’s initial reluctance to congratulate Mr. Obama.

Walter Mondale: Mrs. Clinton and her supporters should pull back from even appearance of campaigning for the No. 2 spot; it could complicate a critical decision by Mr. Obama while undercutting Mrs. Clinton’s prospects.

Finally...the party steps in to stop the insanity....

Yes She Will...Or Will She?

Ok - less than three hours after I post that Clinton needs to concede and endorse Obama by Friday, we get the news that Clinton is planning to concede and endorse Obama on Friday.

Or is she?

The way CNN puts it, she will "suspend her compaign" and "back Obama."

But there's a world of difference between the two.

"Suspending her campaign" merely means she will stop actively campaigning, but hold on to her delegates (possibly in reserve for an August surprise?). This is exactly what we DON'T need.

What we need is for her to actually *concede*, or, as the New York Times puts it, "concede defeat, congratulate Mr. Obama and proclaim him the party’s nominee, while pledging to do what was needed to assure his victory." (including handing over her delegates.)

Which will it be?

At this point....only Clinton knows for sure.

She Still Has Time

until about Friday, to secure her legacy.

She didn't do it last night, or today. If she doesn't do it this week (endorse Obama), the opportunity will have been missed, and the process will move on without her.

Yes, without closure from Clinton, it leaves the party anxious...that she will pull some trick at the convention, that she will still be lurking out there, a stealth Republican doing all she can to help McCain.

But as Hillary Rosen's piece demonstrates, the key Clinton supporters in the party aren't going to back her in any such power play. By the time August rolls around, if Clinton is still lurking in the wings, she will have become a pariah. That doesn't mean she couldn't still be toxic enough to throw the election, and she might still decide to do it...but she wouldn't be able to do it as a Democrat. Her future in the party would be over.

As other's have written, it's Obama's Democratic party now. What's Obama's next move? He's going to wait Clinton out. There's nothing motivating him to hurry, because - as a reader of Andrew Sullivan's blog so succinctly put it - the ball is in her court: If she doesn't endorse soon, she'll be seen as not worthy of negotiating with, and he'll ignore her completely; he could simply announce some other VP in July (perhaps a supporter such as Strickland?), which would demonstrate a necessary but reasonable gesture of reaching out, and after that they will simply move on. If she does endorse him, THEN they can talk and she secures a position for herself and her husband in a new administration, but something other than VP.

But if she comes out for him this week, she still has time to say, "listen, it was hard, I know I should have done it right away, but I needed to keep momentum up for my supporters." If she doesn't' do it this week, we know that all the sinister motivations being ascribed to her are true.

It's her move.....

What Clinton Wants

I just intercepted a note from the Clinton campaign to the Obama campaign:

Dear Barack:

You have 48 hours to deliver to Mrs. Clinton the following demands:

1. Renounce your nomination and declare that Mrs. Clinton has rightfully won the Democratic nomination for President.

2. You shall pay all of Mrs. Clinton's campaign debts and in fact, continue to completely fund the remainder of her campaign.

3. Mrs. Clinton's title, when elected, will be "Her Highness of The Known World and Beyond."

4. You are to place exactly 15,000 M & M's into a bell-shaped jar (the jar must be bell-shaped), provided there are no green M & M's, and deliver it to the Plaza Hotel at precisely 5PM on Thursday, June 5th. We repeat: THERE MUST BE NO GREEN M&M's.

5. You are also to bring Mrs. Clinton the head of Monica Lewinsky on a silver platter.

6. The platter must be enscribed: "To Mrs. Clinton, my clear superior and the only candidate in this election qualified to be President, love, Barack."

7. You are to make a suit out of the skins of Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh, then stuff Dick Cheney into the suit, then place Dick Cheney onto the flagpole outside the White House. If you are stopped in the process by any security personnel, you shall scream: "I am Barack Obama and I Hate America."

8. You shall retrieve from the Bush White House the broom of Mr. Bush. You shall bring Mrs. Clinton the broom plus the sawdust that remains after Bush disintegrates.

9. If you are not arrested performing tasks seven and/or eight, you must then renounce all future political life and move to Stumptown, West Virginia, where you shall open a 7-11.

10. If you leak this letter to the press or to the police, Mrs. Clinton will hunt you down and personally emasculate you, then kill you, your family, and your grandmother in Hawaii.

If these demands are not met within 48 hours of your receipt of this letter, Mrs. Clinton will instruct her 18 million supporters to kill your 18 million supporters, and then perform ritual Hari Kari. Then let's see who wins the Presidency.....



Tuesday, June 03, 2008

And When Shall We Plan Your Imminent Death, Sir?

I'm finding the cognitive dissidence between Hillary's scortched earth campaign/spooky comments about Obama's longevity, and her latest overture to be VP just too much to handle.

It's like that old saying:

I wasn't there.
And if I was there I didn't do it.
And if I did do it, I didn't mean it.
And if I did mean, it wasn't wrong to do anyway.

That seems to have been Hillary's strategy for her entire campaign....just keep throwing shit at the wall till it sticks.

If she had bowed out of the race back in April or even mid-May, when it was clear she couldn't catch Obama but she *could* have hurt him if she'd chosen to, and had instead started shoring up his negatives then....well, then it'd be a different story. But now after doing everything in her power to fracture the party and hurt Obama's chances, she thinks she deserves to be on the ticket? It's mind boggling.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Obama/Bradshaw in '08

I think the way for Obama to solve his Clinton crisis and unite the party is to put Carrie Bradshaw on the ticket as his VP.

After having attending the "Sex and the City" opening weekend, I can affirm that Clinton's core constituency turned out in droves to see Carrie Bradshaw and friends take their revenge on their wishy-washy men and get their just deserts in the end. Just like the Clinton campaign, the motivations of the characters may not have made sense, and there was more pageantry than character growth, but the girls stayed loyal to the cause and never had to yield on their principals.

But where Clinton comes off as wonkish and false, Bradshaw gives us true feeling and the kind of unflappable, simplistic optimism that fits well with the Obama theme.

She also has the advantage of being fictional. And since Clinton supporters have shown that they're perfectly anxious to accept fictional precepts as campaign fact, Obama might as well give them a fictional character no one will be able to Swift Boat.

Spitting on Half the Baby

The DNC's Solomon-like decision on Saturday seems to have hit about as decent a way of resolving a fiasco as could be expected.

The delegates were reinstated but with half the vote. This was the Republican party's approach and probably should have been the punishment originally (didn't the DNC consider from the start that disenfranchising voters completely was a form of collective punishment that would eventually need to be rectified)? Better late than never.

Now that the votes DO count for something, how does the DNC interpret the vote? Obviously telling voters in those states (as well as candidates) that any vote would count for nothing...then later reversing the directive...creates a distortion of the actual vote, and the DNC was right to correct it as best it could.

The Florida vote no doubt underrepresents Obama, since he didn't campaign there, but there's no practical (or fair) way to determine that, so awarding those votes as cast was pretty straightforward.

The Michigan vote was going to need to be a compromise of some sort. Hillary only got 55% of the vote and she wasn't even running against anyone: so those delegates shouldn't just go to her automatically. Any compromise ultimately reflected a formula that would be controversial, but in attempting to create a formula of some sort the DNC basically admitted it had *cked up the vote in the first place and this was its most reasonable interpretation of what the voters intended.

It seems that Harold Ickes and Hillary's supporters would be satisfied with nothing less than Hillary getting a clean sweep of Michigan. But this willfully misrepresents that this is a vote for delegates, not for candidates: if 45% of Michigan voters SPECIFICALLY VOTED TO DENY delegates to Clinton, then they should be denied to Clinton. And there's little doubt now that there's no one else for them to support save Obama. The DNC could have seated those as specifically "uncommitted" delegates but doing so would have dragged out the indecision till the convention: yes, probably that would have been the most objectively "fair" thing but also, at the same time, the most politically suicidal for winning in the fall.

So in doing what they did, the DNC was both fair and protective of the interests of the Democratic party as a whole. In achieving this delicate balance to correct this misjudgments from last year, they acted like the responsible leaders they needed to be.

Ironic, then, that Hillary's supporters have decided to react like the most spoiled of brats. It strikes me that playing the post-decision game like she has - sending out Mr. Ickes to claim "theft" and righteous indignation - was not the most strategic thing for Hillary to do. Yes, counting uncommitted in Michigan undermines her argument about not counting them toward the popular vote (as if this tactic had any basis in reality either)...but surely she must recognize that the DNC has no stomach now to revisit this issue again. It just seems to me, at this point, Hillary would have more chance of swaying delegates if she were to support the DNC and stay focused on winning voters in Montana and South Dakota.

Instead, she's encouraging the sour grapes meme that, if left unchecked, threatens her entire political career. Because us voters in New York who love her will also never forgive her for scuttling our chances in '08. And in dragging it out, she makes it harder to envision any way that Obama could include her in an administration, let alone on the ticket. On Wednesday, she still has a chance to reign this all in and unite behind the Democratic candidate. If she doesn't do it then, then Hillary, alone, will have given an election that by all rights would be ours away to the Republicans. That's not just sour grapes: that's a poison pill.