Monthly Archives: January 2008

Counting Delegates

Not including Florida and Michigan, I’m looking at the following totals, barring last minute surprises, based on the latest polling:

Clinton ~1000 delegates
Obama ~700 delegates

That resolves nothing. In fact, going at that pace, it would likely be April before anything is decided. There are some late surges for Obama, but they are coming a bit too early, and they aren’t surges from, say, 50 to 70, but rather, even ‘em ups. It reminds me of New Hampshire.

There are good arguments for getting this over with, and good arguments for letting these two battle-test each other for a while. Obama could wrap this up with if he can keep that surge going and add Edwards and Richardson’s endorsements.

I don’t think a MoveOn endorsement will help him. Activist liberals have already sided with him (non-activist liberals and self-identified “very liberal” folks have not, however) and MoveOn is perfect GOP bait.

So, it’s not looking like Super Tuesday will resolve anything delegate wise on the Dem side, and Obama seems to have plenty of money.

It's Over.

The only scenarios where Obama stays competitive is as follows:

Edwards endorses Obama before 2/5 and
Richardson endorses Obama before 2/5 and
Hillary makes a big mistake before 2/5.

-or-

Al Gore endorses Obama before 2/5

Otherwise, on the strength of her Latino and women’s support, and that of the people who actually vote (i.e. older voters) she runs away with this on Super Tuesday, and cleans up enough for the majority in the next couple of weeks, with Maryland or Virginia putting her over the top.

This is going to leave a lot of people with their dicks in the wind. For all of the complaints of dynasty against Clinton, no one even pointed out that the Kennedys’ endorsement of Obama comes from a dynasty. Sibelius’s chance at advancement is over, and the Daschlites will have to continue to be pussies in the Senate.

I’m not sorry for them in the slightest.

The Failed Presidency; Hillary Haters

Once again, the Clinton haters are pushing me to love them even more. I was, at first, a skeptic of Bill Clinton’s presidency. I supported Jerry Brown in the 92 primary, and honestly didn’t feel that George Bush I was a terrible president.

It’s hard to think about 1992–which might as well be an eon ago. The Democratic left was even more pervaded by identity politics than it is today, and the party’s coalition itself was falling apart. The Republican ascendancy, based on libertarian ideas but powered by evangelical voters, was one of the best acts of leger-de-main in political history.

It left people like me with no where to go. But, sure enough, Clinton won me over, slowly but surely. And the single largest factor was how he stood up to relentless criticism accusing him of everything from being the antichrist to simply not belonging in Washington. He was able to govern effectively and win political battles in the trenches against the best-funded most aggressive political demons in our history.

The Democrats that have come after him have failed miserably. That spineless pussified bunch of “decent” men–the pre-2001 Al Gore, Tom Daschle, Richard Gephardt, John Kerry–did not have the balls to fight the Republicans and their messiah, Bush II. This group rose like a pink phoenix from the ashes of the pre-Clinton Democrats who were similarly cowed and ineffective in the face of Ronald Reagan.

And now that same party is in a pitched battle, between one whose message is one of conciliation and unilateral disarmament towards an enemy that cuts off every hand offered in peace and turns every extended olive branch into pulp.

The other? She offers a purely political, tough as nails alternative. Though she may not offer policies that liberals love, she offers the spine that Democrats desire.

And the more they hate Hillary, the more I love her. It means she’s doing something right. It was the same with Bill. For all of his failings, for all of the things that did go wrong in his administration, he held the line against the vicious enemies that were storming the gates.

Can you imagine if Paul Tsongas was president when Gingrich came to power? To this day, we might have a prime minister instead of a president.

Chances are this whole thing will be resolved in one week and we can quit fussing. Whichever way it goes, I’m in until the end. Go Dems.

This has to be the least significant SOTU in my memory. The news coverage was ample, but miniscule compared to past norms. The media, if by nothing else, has realized that the interest shown in the primary elections reflects a desire to be rid of Bush, which they have failed to notice despite his terrible approval ratings.

No matter who is elected in November, the story of my generation will not be the story of what happened on September 11, 2001. Instead, it will be what happened on December 12, 2000.

On that day, the Supreme Court chose to ignore democracy. On that day, the trajectory of our national history was changed forever. Instead of continuing to move forward from the firewall that Clinton held against the barbarians, the barbarians looted the country. And we will spend the rest of our lives trying to get back to December 12, 2000. We may never succeed.

Sibelius to Endorse Obama

She’s the logical choice for his “unity” center-right idea, and, as much as Hillary probably needs a black man on her ticket, Obama needs a white woman.

So, the prophecy is fulfilled. Of course, I’m not going to read too much into Obama’s win in South Carolina.

If you seriously think that Bill Clinton is losing his mind and doesn’t know what he’s doing, then you can join the likes of Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Bob Livingston, Paul Tsongas, Henry Hyde, Ross Perot, and George Bush I, all of whom he pwned.

Sure, he sounds strident, but then Hillary gets to play good cop. Plus, I know we’re all infused with our liberal guilt, but to pretend that blacks aren’t voting for Obama on the basis of his race in large numbers is just plain ignorant. They are and they admit it.

So, unless the rest of America sees South Carolina, a place that can’t decide to take down the confederate flag, as its leading edge, then I don’t think this changes the race much. We’ll see the post-South Carolina polls in the 2/5 states.

We Drink Iraq's Milkshake

Motivation is divined from results. Stated reasons for actions are often obtuse or false. Even the intent a man convinces himself he is acting on can just be mental gymnastics. Outcome reveals purpose.

Supposedly, the slog is better in Iraq — somehow, the two dead several wounded per day is salutary now — and the war has fallen from public attention. If the change of tactics have revealed better battlefield results, they have not clarified America’s purpose for invading and remaining in Iraq.

Explanations for our presence in Iraq are like claws on a snow crab. One grows and gains pinching relevance only to be torn off and thrown into a vat of seasoned boiling water, and then another metastisizes in its place. The Saddam/OBL subterfuge was the greatest scam in American history and an utter failure of our collective critical thinking skills. The “freedom ringing” prose was a pose. The result of the Patreus puppet show was a promise to just stay, just stay. Even snarky lefty ruminations don’t bear out. If Iraq II was an Oedipal desire for Generalissimo Bush to complete Papi’s business, then mission truly accomplished. If it was just to kill Saddam, then no need to hang further.

The most obvious and meticulous result of the occupation has been to put an American petro-corporate presence in Iraq’s oil fields. Even when the war is over our bases will likely remain vigilant watch over the crude gold. In this measure, and in this measure alone, has the Iraq misdaventure been effective. Even Alan Greenspan has said so in plain language.

I’m sure you will agree that many key figures in the Bush junta are oil men (and women) through and through. Is Iraq War II the ultimate Daniel Plainview exercise – a viscious resource grab just because commeupence is the only catharsis for festered venom? The tactics seem the brainchild of a score of Plainviews, but the mental gymnastics are more utilitarian. Oil may or may not be peaking, but I posit that the days of simple and affordable oil are over. Crude is ever harder to extract and ever more in demand due to the fast industrialization of China and India. If Iraq’s oil is earmarked for America into the future, then America can maintain more of the cheap (compared to everywhere else) oil that has been the starstuff of our growth and empire over the last century. Perhaps, the Bush junta, in its surreal deluded idealism, sees oil as so important that securing more of it is worth any deceit, any amount of death, and any squandered treasure. Of course, that this all profits the industry that incubated the Bush junta is proof positive of its purity.

Iraq War II is a tactic. It addresses a genuine problem but is the wrong tool for the job. We cannot bomb our way out of our sustainable energy problem. We can only invent a path through it. This is much more difficult than either side of the American polity seems ready to admit. Sorry Enviros, but sticking wind turbines and solar panels everywhere will help a tad, but it won’t magically solve everything. The ethanol consensus is more of a perversion from Iowa’s kick off caucuses than a solution. All that is for certain is that, if you were going to spend a trillion dollars on the sustainable energy problem then RD&D and bold experimentation is an infinitely wiser outlay than Iraq War II.

The Conservatron nominee will surely hype how things are “better” in Iraq and appeal to every tribe’s reflex of not wanting to lose a war. If the pathetic Bush Patsy and Iraq dead ender John McCain beats out Mittens and Hucksterbee this may be the centerpiece of the campaign. Whoever the Democratic nominee is, he or she must be ready to state the truth: Iraq War II is a battle for energy. It doesn’t matter how “well” it may be going now; our soldiers are valiant, but no army can win an Energy War. Bring them home and fund Representative Jay Inslee’s “Manhattan Project for Renewable Energy” instead.

War Crimes

So, say there’s a Palestinian state — if they declare war on Israel (almost a certainty that they will at some point)–is Israel obligated to keep their infrastructure working?

That seems to be the world opinion on this matter. Israel always has to justify its existence and its actions–meanwhile, the rest of the world (the United States included) operates on a much lower level of culpability.

This is not to say that Israel is a squeaky clean operator. Some of the actions perpetrated in its name have been quite horrendous. But after the shit this country pulled after 9/11 — which is something that Israelis just live with — it’s hypocrtical to always demand that they behave perfectly.

Both left and right have serious consistency problems with their views on the Middle East.

Whither Edwards? Obama and Krugman.

The most un-talked about story in the primary, with all of the attention paid to the horse race and crossfire between Obama and Hillary is the narrative of John Edwards dying on the vine.

Edwards run in 2008 began on the day he agreed to be John Kerry’s running mate in 2004. Edwards was the late anti-Kerry in 2004, which is when he began to attract more progressive voters, most of whom had supported Howard Dean.

After the 2004 election, Edwards showed up in Iowa, practically before Bush was re-inaugurated. If I’m not mistaken, he announced his candidacy very early on, and took his “two Americas” theme to its logical progressive conclusion.

The problem is, Edwards served only one term in the Senate, and has done nothing but campaign since 2003 (and wind up his Senate tenure). And he did not show himself to be a hard-attacking running mate, something that I believe Kerryites have not forgiven him for.

But in this primary season, where the last minute rushes of support have been critical, I am still without an explanation for why Edwards, who finally began to crystallize support on the eve of Iowa (and who finished a close third) has simply fallen apart since.

Sure, the media hasn’t paid much attention–but that’s what happens when you finish a distant third in New Hampshire, and finish with a 4% showing in Nevada. Markos Moulitsas has pointed out that Edwards fatal mistake may have been to take public financing–but his rhetoric almost forces him to.

But why did he do so poorly in New Hampshire? I doubt it’s because the populist rhetoric doesn’t sell there. Can he just not compete on star power with Obama and Clinton? And the 4% showing in Nevada? That can’t be the culinary workers. They stabbed Edwards in the back because he has been the only candidate to be so profoundly pro labor, and endorsed Obama, only to see many of their members vote for Hillary.

Is it because he’s unexperienced? No, he has more experience than Obama, at least at the federal level, plus he’s run a national campaign before. Is it because he’s a white man in an identity politics orgy? I don’t think so.

I think it’s because Edwards, like Kerry, still bears the stigma of a loser. Everybody knows we should have won in 2004, and Edwards’s failure to do anything about it is probably why, even when we cheer what he has to say, we don’t want him to be the messenger.

Edwards probably also won’t be chosen as VP again–so what realistically can he do with his delegates? Release them? Endorse Obama, which realistically could create a brokered convention?

The first thing Obama did that really turned me off to him, fatally, it turns out, was to attack Paul Krugman. Since then, he’s started down the road of selling out the progressive base by appearing with homophobic preachers, raising Social Security “problems” that don’t exist, saying not so nice things about labor, and, just to prove that he truly does accept the Beltway narrative, he has now praised Ronald Reagan (and in the same breath dissed Bill Clinton, of course).

His campaign relies on the “electability” argument, which never fails to produce the least electable candidates (Dukakis, Mondale, Kerry, or, if you like your men in the bathroom stall, Bob Dole) and the belief, relying on the present state of things, that the right wing hates Hillary so much that they will come out to vote against her.

Well, I don’t deny the latter, but I’m quite sure that by the time they are finished with Obama plenty of people will turn out later to vote against him.

The Obamaites are fervent, to be sure. They act as if people who support Hillary are selling out, and their man is the true progressive. I guess they trust him. I have no reason to. Hillary is a known quantity, and, amounts to essentially the third term of the best Republican ass-kicking politician in my lifetime, who managed to govern effectively with a Congress that impeached him.

I would have voted for Edwards if he was viable, all of that notwithstanding, because he gave me a reason to. Obama hasn’t.

UPDATE: Apparenlty, I’m not alone. Liberals have been breaking hard for Clinton, and MyDD suggests that the Reagan comments cost Obama Nevada.

Edwards is toast.

With 67% reporting in Nevada, John Edwards has only 4.4% of the delegates. This will be perceived a worse than it really is, and I think he will become irrelevant.

I may be mistaken, but wasn’t it Kucinich’s failure to get 5% somewhere that blocked him from the debates?

I’ll post-mortem him once it’s final. I think America will be ready to hear what he has to say by November, but maybe he’s a little early.

Please Explain.

Why is getting 55% in a 3-way race bad? Sure, 40% voted “uncommitted” because their candidate wasn’t on the ballot. The idea that those people really were voting for “uncommitted” and not for Obama, Edwards, or any of the other candidates is an insult to everyone’s intelligence–I mean, it’s not like Michigan is a red state full of morons. (;

33.33333334% is a win in a 3-way race. 55% is–even considering the elements there–a solid win.

Look–I’m making no secret of my support for Hillary Clinton. I’m a 90s kid. If the radio started playing Pearl Jam again and the Clintons were back in the White House, I would be a happy man. After all, the Clintons are the only Democrats to consistently kick GOP ass since LBJ.

Still, I’m not going to cry if she’s the nominee. I like Obama and Edwards fine. But I’m calling bullshit on this Chris Matthews spin that people are “rejecting Hillary Clinton” or, as in Iowa “two thirds are rejecting Hillary.”

It’s called a three-way race. Two thirds rejected everyone. And in Michigan, the majority voted for Teh Hillz. I’m not sure who decided she had to get 60% for it to be a win. Again, one third plus one is a win in a three way race.

Gotta say though, looks like they might be trying to make a ticket after last night.

Mitt's Scary Crowd; Voting on Iraq

Bravo to Mittenz for winning Michigan. It looks like we might have brokered convention goodness on the dark side. If Fred Thompson can win South Carolina, and Rudy 9iu11iani can win Florida, we can start seeing that get more and more likely.

Bravo to Mittenz for going on the air right in the middle of Johnny Walnut’s concession speech, squelching him like a bug.

But, and I don’t say this lightly, Mittenz’s crowd seemed like a bunch of cultic robots. They screamed loud even what he said was stupid. They immediately worked themselves into a responsive liturgy at his prompting. Mittenz is a cult–he doesn’t stand for anything except himself–and you know who forms the backbone of that cult.

I most certainly do not want this man in the White House. I prefer my religious nuts to be of the mainline denomination kind.

Anyway, the internals of the results should make it quite clear than unless McCain gets a winning number of delegates, he won’t be the nominee (does the GOP have superdelegates? If so, he needs a supermajority).

—-

I had said that I couldn’t support anyone in the primary who voted for the AUMF. But, I’m inspired by Barack to hope for the future, so ignoring for a moment who did what when in the past, I’m looking to the future.

Based on last night’s debate, there’s no substantive difference between the candidates on the future of Iraq. I still don’t think President Hillary or Edwards would have invaded Iraq, and I still don’t believe that Senator Obama, if he had been in office in 2002, would have voted against the AUMF.

Given that, it sure makes it hard to vote for any of these three on the basis of their Iraq record.

There’s also very little substantive difference on their proposals for the economy, but I believe Edwards would be most likely to avoid future NAFTAs.

WaPo's Cohen: Obama Hates Jews (Riiiiight)

I knew it was only a matter of time until Clinton or Obama were labeled as the primary’s official Anti-Semite®. Now Obama got the ball rolling by hanging out with ‘recovering gays,’ but the Democratic primary’s circular identity politics firing squad has now taken on everyone except Latinos.

The latest? Of course, the one, the only, from the Red Sea to Brooklyn, theeeeee Jews!

Shorter WaPo hack Richard Cohen:

Obama worships at the Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. That church’s minister, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., also publishes a magazine. That magazine gave Louis Farrakhan an award once. So, ergo, Barack Obama totally hates the Jews.

Now, I’m just waiting to hear how much Hillary hates the dirty Mexicans.

Repeat after me: Neither Obama nor Clinton (nor Edwards, nor Kucinich, Dodd, Richardson, etc. etc. etc.) are homophobic, racist, sexist, anti-semitic. None of them hates little girls, apple pie, or butterflies.

Tu B'Shevat: The Most Important Day Of The Year

Pop quiz? What is the most important day of the year? That answer depends on who you are.

If you’re Rudy, it’s obviously 9uilliani day. If you’re a devout Christian, you know that even though it looks like Christmas, Easter Sunday is the big one. Most people also seem to think that the big Jewish holiday is Chanukhah (lolcano!!!1!!11), but, in reality, there’s more or less a Jewish holiday for every 5 minutes of the day. The Judaism 101 answer, of course, is Yom Kippur.

If you’re a kid it might be your birthday or Christmas (oink, little consumerist piglet!), or if you’re a homo-repressed flag waiving Nazi, it might be the 4th of July, or any other day with an excuse to blow shit up.

But I have an entirely different answer, and it has to do with the times we live in. If this was 1861 or 1961, I would say our national spirit needs to think more about Passover; and any time during the Cold War, any holiday of any religion reflecting on peace would be appropriate.

But now, I would submit the most important holiday is one most people have never heard of. Colloquially “Jewish Arbor Day,” Tu B’Shevat (15th of the month Shevat), which occurs this year on January 22, is a holiday that is embodied by the teaching that humans must “be careful though, that you don’t ruin or destroy the world, for if you ruin it there is no one who will repair it after you.”

It is a day to remember our connection with and our dependency on the Earth. It’s a time for reflecting on humanity’s place on earth, and be humbled by it. If you’re like me and you don’t believe in the Man In The Sky(r), and nature is what’s holy to you, this is the day.

Tu B’Shevat even has a seder, or a ritual order, like Passover, where you get drunk on wine and eat a bunch of fruits and nuts. It’s the perfect holiday for anyone who lives near US-101.

The seder I have concludes with a reflection of 10 human plagues:

(1) Climate Change
(2) Deforestation
(3) Water Pollution
(4) Lead Poisoning
(5) Habitat Destruction
(6) Mountaintop Removal
(7) Radiation Poisoning/Nuclear Waste
(8) Factory Farming
(9) Overfishing
(10) Acid Rain

Maybe I’ve been on too many different prescription drugs over the last year, and too many drugs my whole life, but there is something criminal about destroying the planet, which teh Chrishtuns* thinks is fine since this world sux0rz and they are going to heaven.

Judaism, on the other hand, tells us that we’re here to repair the world; not exploit it, and that if there’s going to be a “heaven” or a “messianic age” that we have to build it first, and repairing the earth is the way.

Earth Day is fine, but it’s seen as a relic of the 60s. Tu B’Shevat is a chance to connect spiritually with the Earth (bordering on wiccan in its ways) that can appeal to broad swathes of people, who find themselves alienated by our clepto-consumerist captialism–and the fact that this comes right after Christmas makes it the perfect time.

* I don’t mean all Christians. There is a significant interfaith movement to preserve the environment. I mean the “In case of rapture — car’s yours” bumper sticker types.

Still, it goes back as far at least as St. Augustine’s City of God (5th Century) that this world is not worthy of much thought.

Obama: I Was Against Kerry Before He Was For Me

Ten millenia ago, on January 1, Obama had this to say:

In a speech this afternoon in central Iowa, Barack Obama seems to have widened his criticism of the politics of the past to encompass not only Hillary Clinton but John Kerry and Nobel Laureate Al Gore.

Making an argument for his electability, Obama said, “I don’t want to go into the next election starting off with half the country already not wanting to vote for Democrats — we’ve done that in 2004, 2000,” according to a person at the event.

But today Obama received Kerry’s endorsement. WTF?

Obamites.

I’m getting this naive vibe off ‘em. Kinda like how I was in 96 or 2000. It’s powerful that these first-time people are out there, willing to contribute, but I feel like they just don’t get some of the on-the-ground realities of politics.

Whatever. Go Dems. All of ‘em.

Obama / Sibelius

That’s my guess. If she delivers Kansas, that would be a stunning blow to the Republicans.

Also on the short list should be Mark Warner of Virginia, perhaps Eliot Spitzer of New York, Brian Schweizer or Jon Tester of Montana.

But, I feel like he needs to pick a woman.

UPDATE: Wow, did I get ahead of myself! Maybe my vote will count this time!

The Fact Of Obama

Game. Set. Match. I’m calling it right here and right now. I’m not personally supporting anyone. I’m just acknowledging the inevitable. Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States in a landslide.

Forget policies or politics. The Fact of Obama is real and continuously supports itself. Years from now, it will seem so obvious that it always was Obama that no one will believe that people didn’t understand that right away.

It’s not hard for me to imagine a scenario in which I would be writing a blog post griping about the stupid Iowa caucuses and saying that it gives a disproportionate advantage, even amongst Democrats, to rural counties thereby skewing the whole process to be more conservative. Implicit in this argument would be that there is a slight anti-urbanism, if not, yes, racism inherent to our nominating process. Supporting evident: No black person has won the Iowa caucuses. There was a certain undeniable truth about my cynicism. The larger point is still correct. But that cynicism is no longer entirely truthful.

That’s important. The Civil Rights movement made it improper to beat people just for being black; made it illegal to deny person a job based on their skin color. Still, there is a lot of racism one can do short of flattening someone with fire hose spray and sicing junk yard dogs on them. A polite version of those things is — admit it Conservatrons — an elemental essence of the “Movement Conservatism” that has dominated the American Polity since 1969.

Thing is, I believe that many Conservatives are not truly racist and realize that the soft racism of the Conservatron ascent was merely a Lite version of the repugnant beatings. Seeing Obama become President means that a black person truly can become President despite having society aligned against him; thereby making that alignment not 100 percent bad. For better, or worse, or whatever, the Fact of Obama is a catharsis for these people, for this bizarre strain of guilty racism that reigns in our Zeitgiest.

The Fact of Obama plays into an NPRish version of similar identity issues. The last twenty-years have seen a tremendous increase in white ethnic pride. Many people are singing and celebrating their hyphenated Americanism whether it is Swedish lutefisk, Irish beers, or the prevalence of Jews in the entertainment industry. Any reconnection to immigrant roots must come in degrees. Many of us are slightly torn between the means of “acting” Jewish, Italian, Czech, or whatever and the easiness of being that part of us that is American generica. As annoying as it is to hear about it, the issue of Obama’s “blackness” is a catharsis for this set. By the same token, the Fact of Obama is how I feel when the nice lady at work didn’t know where to put my copy of the Origami Xmas tree ornament she was giving to everyone because I didn’t have a McJesus Day stocking posted to my cube. Let me put it this way, no Bush ever had to deal with a weird moment like that. Surely, Obama did. Incredibly, the Fact of Obama is a catharsis for this strain of identity issue too. This minor differentness that is – admit it liberals – one of the reasons for the whole white ethnic pride resurgence thing.

For blacks and other not white folks Obama is the first truly non-white guy to be president. That may not mean much, but you’ll no longer say it hasn’t happened before.

This also fits into the ethos of the soon to be predominant Boomer echo generation. The primary distinction of these folks’ condition is a sort of enforced meritocracy based on an entire psychology of self-confidence. Basically, I think we are dealing with a generation that does not like to see any type of person NOT, at some point, bring home the trophy. The unprecedented nature of Obama’s candidacy is a natural for the good-natured mediocrity of today’s younglings.

More than any of us or our commentariot like to admit, America is vexed on issues of ethnicity, race and group identity. For too long this has been the energy the Conservatrons used to divide people who should naturally be opposed to their royalist economic agenda. The inherent badness of the Conservatron reign has released so many toxins into our polity that is has left America twisted and weird to the point that it’s scarcely recognizable. We’re the torturers for crying out loud! With each victory, the Fact of Obama provides a catharsis for this bizarre American identity angst and builds on itself. I believe that whoever the true Barrack Obama is long ago got out of the way of Fact of Barrack Obama. Obama’s occasional parsing, his absent votes, his subtle messages to Conservatrons like attaching Krugman are just ways to assure that no one gets too afraid of the Fact of Barrack Obama.

For policy fiends like myself this will transform into a true political moment if President Obama manages to extricate American forces from Iraq. Obama will have to direct this, and he’ll have to fend off the Conservatrons who are surely anticipating this as the moment to gut the Democratic uprising and turn back the clock to a reptilian Strength versus Weakness paradigm.

If Obama removes American troops from Iraq without causing chaos he will have delivered a fatal blow to Movement Conservatism. Still, President Obama will largely be a figurehead. It is up to a Democratic Congress to give him the correct legislation to sign. President Obama will sign a universal health care plan that covers everyone if the Democratic Congress delivers it to him. The size and make of the House and especially the Senate majorities, and their leadership battles, are the place to go for people who want to fight over the politics of the governing Democratic majority and not its personality.

Drop Out

Dear John & Hillary:

If you believe what you say, you will drop out if you don’t win in New Hampshire or South Carolina. You are falling like stones in the national polls, both of you. John: more people need to hear what you have to say about the middle class. Hillary: we need your savoir-faire, and that of your husband.

So, instead of wasting money on a kamikaze run against Obama, get behind him if you can’t mount a viable campaign. John, we know you aren’t a very good hatchet man, but Hillary–you would make a formidable one for Obama. Get out there. Let’s take back America.

There is no realistic electoral scenario that delivers the White House to the GOP in the absence of shenanigans. The question is, can we get a big enough mandate to get democracy resurrected.

Obama needs to be battle tested, yes. I’ve said as much. But with you and the rest of a unified, hungry, and popular Democratic party giving him support and a tailwind, he can make it through.

My $5 Goes to Edwards

My vote won’t count in the primary, but my meager ability to influence things goes to John Edwards. I don’t think he’ll win. But if he keeps plugging away he’ll keep Clinton and especially Obama honest about being a Democrat, even when that means confronting the Conservatrons and their monied backers.

Hopefully the thinning herd means that Richardson will be able to get a little “flavor of the month” attention. I’d like the race to be viable at least until February 5 so at least a few people vaguely of my ilk will have a say in the outcome.

Bloomberg? No.

If you look at Platinum Mike’s policies they are generally left-of-center and his Republicanism was always a matter of convenience. Then again, there he was in the summer of ’04 turning the tragedy of 9/11 into a photo-op for Generalissimo Bush and the Conservatron Hate Machine.

Once a Bush Patsy, always a Bush Patsy. Unforgiveable. And that goes quadruply so for John McCain.

Fear Huckabee II

What is this bizarre lust on the part of liberal columnists for supposedly “moderate” Republicans? Hucksterbee’s central economic plank is replacing all federal taxes with a national 23% sales tax and abolishing the IRS. This tax would be inbeded in every purchase and would somehow mean that a $100 item costs $130 instead of $123 “because $30 is 23% of $130.” Makes sense to me. I’m preparing my black market bananna stand as we speak.

According to Hucksterbee this sales tax will not be harmful to the poor, but a monthly rebate equivalent of the estimated amount that a poverty level family would spend will go out to all taxpayers each month, anyhow. Somehow, the administration of this monthly rebate will be done without an Internal Revenue Service. Memo to morons: the IRS does not create tax policy. They administer the tax policy your elected representatives make — even if it is one as absurd as Hucksterbee’s. Abolishing the IRS will do nothing more than destroy several thousand living wage jobs.

Between his troglodyte Creationist “faith” and his not even half-baked economic policy Hucksterbee is just as much of a Theocratic Royalist as Generalissimo Bush. Just because he’s amusing and a little annoying to Conservatron encrustations does not make him any sort of change agent or the vanguard of a less venal and hateful brand of Republicanism. He’s every bit as fake as Romney, only much shrewder.

After the Afterglow

What happens to race relations after a black president? Do whites ever again acknowledge the existence of racism?

Is Obama prepared for the 24/7/365 onslaught from FoxNews?

If I can get satisfactory answers to these questions, the questions below, and some sort of apology to Paul Krugman, then maybe I can support this guy.

Until then, I worry.

Am I Wrong?

Is Obama’s rhetoric about unity for real? Iowa Dems say yes. Will we still say yes after 9 months of GOP smears? Doubtful.

Obama needs to convince me of three things:

(1) That his unity talk doesn’t mean unilateral disarmament;
(2) That he can take punches from Republicans; and,
(3) His lack of experience doesn’t matter.

Until then, my heart belongs to Edwards and my mind to Hillary and her machine.

P.S. Huckabee nomination = 350 EVs for Yellow Dog Dem.

Iowa Prediction

It’s warmed up in Iowa, so the high turnout models might be correct. If so, that means Obama and Huckabee win. Edwards will have to finish second to stay in the race, I think.

However, the dynamic of the big Feb. 5 primary day changes this year and makes the first two states matter less to those with big money, like Hillary and Romney.

UPDATE: Ultra-high turnout models appear to favor Hillary, whose ground game is amazing:

She said that there are 4,900 drivers (John Kerry, she said, had had somewhere between 200 and 500 drivers in 2004) and another 5,000 people willing to offer rides. There are more than 600 shuttles. And each Clinton field office has salt to melt the ice.

The Clinton campaign is opening day care centers across the state, including three in Des Moines, and has enlisted a legion of teenage girls to render their tyke-watching services.

Hillary isn’t showing me that she’s my ideological soul-mate, but she’s showing me that she’s got her shit together to win.

WTF Obama?

It’s taken a while, but one of the Democrats has finally offended me on substantive grounds, as opposed to my assessment of their chances or efficacy.

First Obama attacked Paul Krugman. He didn’t just disagree with Prof. Krugman, he put out a fucking oppo research sheet on him. This is the very triangulation he accuses Hillary of.

Second, Obama attacks John Edwards as a “trial lawyer.” Another Republican talking point! And it was done just as Edwards started going up in the polls. So, like a Republican, he attacks–that’s good, but using Republican talking points? It’s sick, but it’s also stupid. Last I checked, this is still a Democratic primary.

Third, his spokesman literally tried to assign a portion of the blame for Benezir Bhutto’s death to Hillary Clinton, because she voted for the AUMF. I will never forgive anyone who voted for the Iraq AUMF. Obama wasn’t in the Senate at the time. He was in the State Senate representing a Southside Chicago district I used to live in. When he was there, he was anti-war, because, well, probably 90% of the district was. On this record can anyone credibly believe he would have voted against the AUMF? Very few of his votes in the Senate have been that courageous. As for Hillary, any vote against the use of military she makes leaves her vulnerable because she is a woman. That explains her vote for Kyl-Liebermann. But if you seriously think Hillary would have invaded Iraq, or will invade Iran, you’re delusional.

Obama’s attacks on Hillary have also touched on Bill from time to time.

Fourth, he attacked Al Gore. (He also attacked John Kerry, but that doesn’t bother me). Except possibly for Bill Clinton, Gore is the most beloved Democrat by Democrats. So, again, it’s not only sick but stupid. Obama accused them of being too divisive. And as Brad DeLong points out, didn’t Gore win his election (at least popularly, and in truth in all ways)?

So, Obama has attacked all of the following people who are beloved to Democrats in this decade: Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Edwards, John Kerry, and Paul Krugman–and not just over disagreements, but with Republican talking points.

I sure hope Hillary shoves it up his ass th next time he accuses her of triangulation. Honestly, I think this also has to rule him out of the VP slot.

Edwards/Clinton
Edwards/Richardson
Edwards/Gore
Edwards/Sibelius
Clinton/Edwards
Clinton/Richardson
Clinton/Gore
Clinton/Ford (who is now less odious to me than Obama)

UPDATE:

Oh, I forgot Obama’s use of social security FUD and association with “recovered gay” ministers. This guy is something else, isn’t he?