Monthly Archives: March 2008

Time To Go, Hillary.

Bill Richardson is right. It’s time to unite the party.

(Gov. Richardson is often right. If he had half the speaking ability of Obama, he’d win in a landslide.)

Obama survived Pastorgate. It looked iffy there for a minute, as some really bad polls came out at first. It looked like Obama might have Spitzered. And this was a legitimate fear–after all, he’s never really had to face a tough election challenge. He certainly has now. Sure, the Republicans will go tougher on him, but it’s pretty clear that there won’t be any surprises there. It will be a crypto-racist equation of Obama with Arabs. (Crypto-racist in that it’s a proxy for his blackness and not strictly an anti-Arab racism.)

Hillary is tied with Obama if the Florida and Michigan delegates don’t get to vote. I believe that is a disgusting miscarriage of democracy–the will of the voters is supposed to be paramount. Obamites can’t argue that out of one side of their mouth–against Superdelegates–and then talk about “rules” with respect to these states. It’s sickly hypocritical.

But, reality is reality. Without those states, Hillary isn’t winning. Richardson will hopefully start a flood of Superdelegates calling it for Obama, which could make the remaining primaries academic. Sure, that would be the Superdelegates swaying the race, but they’re going to have to do that anyway.

If Obama had continued to slide from Pastorgate, I think Hillary would have had a case to stay in, but the numbers are stabilizing. April is right around the corner.

Game on.

Thanks Bill…

But you could have learned a thing or two about timing. Had you endorsed Obama say a week before Texas and campaigned you could have helped put Obama over the top there and ended the pointless primary feud.

Timing is crucial. Hillary should have run for President in 2004. Similarly, Richardson’s delay substantially lowered the impact of his endorsement. That lack of instinct is one reason he did not make it out of divisional play and why Hillary won’t make it to the championship round this year.

Blogger Anecdotes About "The Speech"

I admire Obama for his candor, and I think that he made the best of a bad situation by dismissing his pastor’s remarks–especially since those remarks do in fact contradict Obama’s message as well as his own identity. How can we unite anyone if we’re breathing fire at them?

Yet he didn’t completely throw his pastor under the bus. I admire that.

Whether I think that was the best thing to do politically, I’m not sure. Time will tell. But, again, as has been the case since the keyboard kommandos switched from Edwards around Iowa (We’ve always been at war with East Asia!) it’s Obama’s supporters, not his own doings, that are ludicrous.

Flipping through the usual lefty blogs this morning, I read a bunch of anecdotes about how well middle America received Obama’s speech. I read how clever it was to do this in order to deflect the muslim “smear.”

It might have been a scene from a happy ending of a movie, yeah. But in the rough and tumble world of politics, this was done because his poll numbers were slumping, not because he thought now would be a good time to talk about race.

This, quite frankly, was not the response I wanted to see. I wanted to see Obama blast someone for talking about what his pastor said and go on a very long litany of odious things that McCain’s “spiritual advisor” said or advocates. C’mon Barack — if you’re people are telling you what they’re telling me — that it’s “mathematically impossible” for Hillary to win, then let’s go.

Let’s get in the game, Mister.

The Many Stages of Generalissimo Bush

Stage I was “Warren G. Harding” Bush — a mealy-brained corrupt patsy for big business who would have been long dead or in jail if not for the outrageous fortune of his birth. After 9/11 this gave way to Stage II: “Generalissimo” Bush — a hate-based fear and smear fascist-lite that terrified and hectored his way to power and a war for oil in Iraq. “Warren G. Harding” Bush did not disappear here, by the way, there is something corny about all fascistic types, it’s just that Generalissimo Bush was predominant at this stage.

Somewhere oh around 2005 a tipping point occurred in which enough American’s recovered their critical thinking skills and Generalissimo Bush gave way to Stage III: “Late LBJ” Bush — a pathetic cheerleader for a gone war (though I sense that this Bush did not share LBJ’s private sadness over the death he had wrought). “Late LBJ” Bush has been surprisingly effective at killing the clock on his war so as to stick his replacement for “losing it.” More is the pity.

“Late LBJ” Bush has recently given way, incredibly, to “Herbert Hoover” Bush — an almost implausibly disconnected smiler for an economy that is close to careening into near ruin. Bush’s happy dancing is far more disgraceful to the office of the president than any fluid exchanges that Bubba participated in. His insistence on doing nothing of substance in the face of crisis is an echo of Hoover. Where Hoover was actually making a principled if dramatically incorrect stand, however, Bush seems sanguine.

Just when it seems that the case for Bush as the Worst President in American history could not be any clearer he finds another awful archetype to mimic.

Two Weird Primary Themes

If you’re Barack Obama, you have to be laughing right now.

The media is simultaneously cutting you tons of slack on some things, and coming up with a new “gotcha” moment on other every few days. Today, we hear more about his non-non-threatening black pastor. It kinda sorta fits the theme of his wife saying this was the first time she was proud of America–the pastor said “god damn America” or something. This is all supposed to be Too Black for America, or something.

Back in January, one of my number one anxieties about Obama was that he would end up like Spitzer (though I didn’t have the name for it then). But no one seems to be able to come up with anything that delicious on the man.

Apparently, he is as corruption, sex, and criminally clean as politicians get. Since that’s what the media is looking for–not his voting record, his substantive positions, etc.–and they aren’t finding anything, it’s getting to the point where these continued attempts to scandalize him are failing–especially with the sharp Spitzer contrast.

(Of course we all know this isn’t really the media, it’s HITLERY!)

So, in the end, Obama will emerge as the Democratic candidate, having addressed one of his top three drawbacks in the primary, while McCain gets no ink.

Blowout.

Swallow not Spitzer

I’m not going to make a ridiculous post about how Spitzer shouldn’t have to quit blah blah.  Get real.  He’s done.

But I hope when he resigns, he points out that he’s doing something that neither David Vitter nor Larry Craig did.

Fuck The Methodists and the Presbyterians

The pro-choice, pro-gay, anti-war United Methodist Church, which is a cunt hair away from being in communion with Lutherans and Anglicans, is gearing up to divest from companies that do business with Israel. You see, they’re liberals about everything, apparently, except Jews.

That in and of itself isn’t the problem. The problem is that they haven’t divested from Israel, it’s that they haven’t divested from other countries that do worse. Applying different standards to Israel because it’s Israel is ipso facto anti-Semitic.

If I were alive in 1948, I might or might not have supported the creation of the Jewish state. I really can’t say; but throughout my entire life, it’s been there. The people there are there. Removing them is a classic instance of two wrongs not making a right.

This comes on the heels of the Presbyterian Church having a spokesman telling Jews in the diaspora to “get a life” because they are over involved in Israeli politics. Many Jews I know don’t obsess over Israel because of some abstract covenant in Deuteronomy, but because they have family there. Just as the Arab families who are concerned often have actual family members there. This was after their foot-in-mouth experiment with divestment themselves, reversed in 2006 after a two year attempt.

I’m not so sure that these Protestant groups have skin in the game–I think it is they that only see Israel on an abstract, religious level.

I’m off on the left wing on many Israel-Palestine issues, but I refuse to apply different standards to Israel–or to allow others to–just because it’s Israel. If there wasn’t at least a little bit of anti-Semitism going around here, why wouldn’t this be focused on any of the other dozen or so countries that are gross human rights violators?

Probably because it ain’t PC to pick on Muslims–but Jews are fair game. Always have been.

UPDATE: I got so caught up in the preface here that I forgot my point. These organizations together represent the last vestiges of mainline Protestantism in the US. They are dying because they are living a contradiction. They are trying to reconcile their members’ liberal social views while still trying to feed them their opiate. It can’t work that way.

Pauline Christianity is simply an exercise in getting in to heaven. Either you do the things that get you in, or you don’t. If you continually redefine those things, they utterly lose meaning and undermine the entire purpose of the religion.

So, call yourself pro-choice, pro-gay, ordain women ministers, do all of that shit in your boring churches and all at the same time hate the Jews and you wonder why no one is coming anymore.

UPDATE II:  This post still doesn’t make sense.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that they are trying to create an environment in a church for people who are contemptuous of religion.  They are contemptuous of all religions, but they go to church out of habit.  That contempt is shown in their antagonism of towards Israel and the American theocracy (which is fine, but they don’t do jack against as churches.)
Unfortunately most strains of Christianity are constitutionally devoid of the ability to contain people who don’t like religion.  The people who do like it go evangelical.  The people who remain behind try to engage their liberalism through faux-christianity, which ends up twisted into anti-Semitism, because Jews are, as ever, an easy target.

It's Still Over.

I’m seeing 57-41 as the score in Ohio.  I don’t know what the delegate proportions are, or what the results in Texas will be, but it’s still over.  You can play all day long with the delegate calculations, and it just won’t add up.

The variables are the Superdelegates, Michigan, and Florida.  Obama is going to need around 300 Superdelegates to win the nomination if there are no big surprises.  Before we get into whether a million votes are “invalid” because some the “rules” were broken says they aren’t before turning around and dismissing the rules about Superdelegates, including the nonpersons in two vital battleground states for Hillary, it doesn’t change the math much because she just needs that many more to get the majority.
My best outcome is for Hillary to use her clout to get her healthcare plan in the platform.  Barring an Obama implosion, it’s still over.

My Final Predictions

Based on nothing, just my gut:

Rhode Island: Clinton 52 / Obama 48
Vermont: Obama 68 / Clinton 32
Ohio: Clinton 51 / Obama 45 (4% Edwards/Protest Vote)
Texas Primary: Obama 50 / Clinton 49
Texas Caucus: Obama 55 / Clinton 45

At the end of the night Obama will end up with a few more delegates, but HRC will continue to battle on. I think too many undecided are loyal to the old Clinton brand or else will vote based solely on gender for Obama to win in RI or OH. I believe that just enough liberal whites in Texas will be turned off by the “3 AM” ad for Clinton to lose Texas. Vermont was never going to be close.

The only hope for an Obama sweep is that younger voters are undercounted in polling as no one under 30 has a landline; something that appears to have happened in other states.

A Lament for John Edwards

Where did you go, John?

Your absence forces me to defend a candidate who has lost, and who has gone off the rails more than once, and who took a position that I myself thought was prima facie disqualifying.  Your absence has sent throngs of your supporters into the arms of a man whose true intentions are opaque only to his followers.*  You wanted the troops home, and the trade deals dead.  You wanted universal healthcare, the key to progressive renewal.  What happened to you?
Was it your hair? Was it your Iraq vote? Was it the Kerry debacle? What was it? It certainly wasn’t that you didn’t give a good speech.  It wasn’t that your ideas were not our ideas.  I think it was something else–something even more ancient than the schisms of Vietnam and Monica.
* “Followers” doesn’t include all Obama supporters.  Just the kind foaming at the mouth over at DailyKos.

It's Not Race. It's Not Gender. It's Generation.

Twenty-seven months ago I wrote this:

Each whiny right-wing volley in the “culture war” is a proxy for desegregation. At times it feels that Iraq War II is the gestation of the encrusted masturbations of goofy Mellon-Scaife funded Conservatron think tanks: an attempt to fight Vietnam over again, but this time with no draft to involve anyone at the U and no pesky Fullbrights or Churchs to ask difficult questions. Meanwhile, the only response from the left is an inchoate kinda’ collectivist wistfulness that does not even excite a fifth of the population and leaves its supporters wishing that Bobby Kennedy and MLK were still alive.

Due to the demographic anchor of the Baby Boomers the rest of us are stuck in this mediocre trip where pragmatism concerning present problems is numbed by the din of ancient wars refought anew.

Our society must fixate its energies on the problems of 2068, not 1968.

Now consider the “substance” of the SBVFTs odious bromides in 2004. By smearing and obfuscating Kerry’s war hero status they gave people mental permission to fixate only on his war protesting. Where Kerry once embodied both sides of the split over Vietnam they left him with one. A later SBVFT ad is most telling: it is simply audio and still pictures of Kerry recounting American atrocities in Vietnam to Congress played over creepy music. This was effective, in my opinion, because for many Americans it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from Kerry’s testimony to “Hanoi Jane”.

The Conservatrons vitriol regarding Bill Clinton is spun from the same root. The “Clinton Wars” were all about the extent that a breath of marijuana once traveled down his throat, his uppity wife taking on policy tasks, his non-service in Vietnam, and over all McGovernism of yore.

In both cases the vehemence has nothing to do with substance or policy and everything to do with where one stood on a bevy of issues forty years ago. We recall the liberal, hippie, or progressive persons of this era because they produced most of the important cultural changes and created all of the good music. The results indicate that the political heft of the Boomers, however, tilts rightward. Republicans won seven of the ten elections between 1968 and 2004; and Carter’s meager victory in 1976 was more about Watergate than any fundamental change in America’s polity.

Swimming against this tide most Democrats have run “Chief of Staff” campaigns where they parrot policy proposals that polls show solid majorities favoring. Meanwhile, Republicans run “Presidential” campaigns that play on these antique divisions of a generation that has been staring at its own navel for so long that it’s head is coming out of its own asshole. (Bill Clinton ran a a hybrid of the two, but he still got an assist from Perot in ‘92)

When I read that Obama considers the Clinton/Gingrich melodrama of 1995 to be the reenactment of a dorm room war from 40 years ago, it seems that someone finally gets that it is this old pissing contest that is at the root of Progressives’ forty years in the wilderness. Obama is running a true Presidential campaign compared to Hillary’s standard Chief of Staff campaign, and as corny as the hope and unity talk may be and as much of a politician as Obama surely is, this is the precise opposite of and challenge to the divisive hate-oriented Presidential campaigns that Nixon created, Reagan sweetened, and Bush II brought to a nauseating nadir. Of course Obama is not perfect, but it does indeed take a rare person to pull this feat off (Kerry tried essentially the same thing and blew it) while being quick enough to counter the subtle race baiting and other win-a-newscycle strategies such as the Rove Playbook “red phone” ad that Team Clinton has done.

The Conservatrons will do worse, but I’m confident but that the Fact of Obama – a black man as President of the United States – directly challenges the racism-lite that has been a Conservatron mainstay since Nixon. The Fact of Obama has already started a series of annoying but necessary conversations about the divisions, between blacks, Jews, Latinos etc. etc. Please explain how disenfranchised groups exploring how they have been divided from one another is bad for Progressivism. Please explain how energizing and mobilizing the huge Boomer Echo generation and getting them hooked on voting Democrat is bad for Progressivism.

I don’t begrudge anyone their HRC support, but the condescending sanctimonious nonsense about cults of personality and Kool-Aid drinking regarding Obama voters indicates her supporters do not recognize opportunity when they see it. Clintonites, liberals, progressives and all Democrats should be absolutely positively overjoyed and thrilled at the prospect of an Obama candidacy and presidency. It is a once in a generation opportunity to reverse the focus of America’s fundamental underlying polity away from a past that has been disastrous for Progressives towards a present and future that can only be better.

Fuck the 60s. Fuck the 90s. I am ready and eager for the 2010s.

Jesus Lies!

OK, so Obama or Pfuffle didn’t talk to the Canadian Embassy in Washington. THAT’S AN EVIL CLINTON LIE!

but part of the Obama campaign did talk to the Canadian consulate in Chicago saying that Obama’s anti-NAFTA speeches were just that: talk.

This is a retarded move for a candidate that is trying to overcome the presumption that he is all talk. Now we know even if he is saying something that it’s bullshit.

I guess it just depends on what the definition of ‘is’ ‘embassy’ is, right?

Oh, and he wants to make Chuck Hagel is SecDef.

I can feel the progressive movement, can’t you? Shit.

Obama is no progressive part 53

Bowers:

More on Obama’s transformative progressivism:
The scene is set for a tussle between the two candidates for the support of some of the sharpest and most independent minds in politics. Obama is hoping to appoint cross-party figures to his cabinet such as Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator for Nebraska and an opponent of the Iraq war, and Richard Lugar, leader of the Republicans on the Senate foreign relations committee.
Senior advisers confirmed that Hagel, a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran and one of McCain’s closest friends in the Senate, was considered an ideal candidate for defence secretary. Some regard the outspoken Republican as a possible vice-presidential nominee although that might be regarded as a “stretch”.

Hagel and Lugar are both rank conservatives. Despite Hagel’s support for partial withdrawal from Iraq, there is simply no way to describe either of them as centrist, much less progressive. Hagel’s lifetime score on progressive punch is 9.27 out of 100, while Lugar’s is 12.46 out of 100. Both of them are only very slightly to the left of the craziest wingers out there.
Obama sends out regular signals that he will govern in a very centrist fashion. Running Harry and Louise ads and appointing Bush Dog Jim Cooper as a spokesperson on health care make that obvious enough. His praise of Reagan and bragging that he is more bipartisan than the DLC also make that clear. He has no problem letting you know that he’s “not one of those people who cynically believes Bush went in only for the oil,” that he isn’t a “anti-military, 70s love-in.” He scolds unknown progressives for thinking that “every mention of God is automatically threatening a theocracy,” and reminded everyone that Social Security faces a crisis. Now, he is sending out signals that will be appoint Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar to incredibly powerful posts such as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense.
Here is the thing: what counter-indications had Obama given that he will govern as a progressive? I honestly can’t think of any. He clearly must be blowing some sort of progressive activist dog whistle, given the caucus and support he has received, but I haven’t heard the call. I get the “yes, we can,” bit about how large numbers of grassroots and redstate Democrats are rebelling against a Clintonista Democratic Party that takes them for granted. Further, the identity politics in play are somewhat obvious. I also think I get that, in addition to the activists and identity groups he has attracted, the third major component of Obama’s coalition are anti-establishment, but not necessary leftist, Democratic voters who also when for Bradley and Dean. Finally, in the contemporary political environment, looking like the outside is certainly an advantage. However, what I don’t get are ideological progressives who think that Obama is one, too. Outside of telecom policy, his policy platforms are pretty much center-left wonkish boilerplate, and his rhetoric is straight down the middle. In short, I just don’t see Obama as a transformative progressive at all.

If I am missing something, I don’t know where to look for it. Chuck Hagel as Sec Def is just the latest indication that Obama is more about placating High Broderism, Tim Russert and the Washington Post editorial board than he is about transformative progressive change. I’ll work hard to help elect him, but I also don’t intend to delude myself about what to expect when he becomes President.

I’ve been screaming and crying and yelling and grunting this for a long, long time.  No one listens, and now it’s far too late.