Sunday, March 30, 2008

al-Sadr issues Wake-up Call to Bush, McCain and the GOP. So Much for the "Surge"

"The Iraq war is a success," they continuously boast. "The troop surge is working," they arrogantly brag. President George Bush, in denial, lying or both, regurgitates the spin often in a desperate attempt to salvage his reputation and his legacy. Sen. John McCain has made his support of the war and in particular the surge the cornerstone of his 2008 Republican presidential campaign. McCain, when discussing the U.S.'s additional troop build-up, is smug and cocky for "getting it right." But after six days of violence and bloodshed which has left 400 dead and hundreds more wounded, Shite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, head of the Mehdi militia, has issued a very clear wake-up call to these lying, delusional war-mongers. It's become painfully obvious that it's been al-Sadr's six month truce with the U.S and the Shite-run Iraqi government of Nuri-al-Maliki, and not this bogus "surge," that's quelled the violence since September. The renewed violence among rebel militias and the government's forces since last Tuesday shows just how vulnerable the country is, with raging hatred and out-of-control violence percolating just below the surface, despite the 20,000 additional soldiers Bush dispatched last Summer. It's al-Sadr, not Bush or McCain, who holds all the cards there. He can start and stop the violence on a dime, proving once and for all that the success of the surge is pure Republican myth.

Since his militia-men took to the streets once again, an estimated 200 people have been killed and 500 wounded in Basra; over 100 killed in Baghdad; and another 100+ killed in the South. And now al-Sadr's called for another cease-fire. But the big question is, just how will McCain and the Busheviks spin this past week's carnage in the face of their surge-success rhetoric? And will the neutered mainstream media allow the lies and deceit to continue unchallenged as they have since March 2003? And what will the Democrats do to take down McCain, who's built his entire campaign on this grand illusion? It's time to expose him, Bush and this fantasy for what they are: the great big lie.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Can Someone Please Explain....

How is it that Sen. Hillary Clinton has the reputation of a highly shrill, polarizing, divisive, unliked, self-serving narcissist who's single-handedly destroying the party while Sen. Barack Obama is calm, cool, collected and lauded for his incredible ability to inspire, unite and bring together the masses...yet they are separated by a mere 2.5% in popular vote and by just 8.5% in delegates. Seems to me that, judging by the facts and not partisan spin, they appeal to voters virtually equally. I guess love is blind. As is the mainstream media.

Kudos to the Obama camp for creating the most overblown myth since "War hero John Kerry can't protect us from terrorists but the draft-dodging Alabama-AWOL George Bush can...."

The Gore Bandwagon: Larry King Hops on Board

As the Democratic primary season continues with harsh bickering back and forth between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the reality is setting in that the only thing these two presidential hopefuls have done successfully is divide the party straight down the middle. So polarizing are they that recent polls show that about 25% of their supporters will vote for the Republican presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain in the November general election if their candidate loses the nomination. Given Clinton's rich past and high negatives, combined with Obama's Tony Rezko and Rev. Wright controversies, the issue of their electability is being weighed now more than ever. Throw in misogyny and racism--two huge factors than many liberals refuse to acknowledge and accept--and some Dems are starting to wonder if their chances to recapture the White House are slipping away once again to the more organized, focused and united GOP. And it's frustrating as all hell. Yet some would rather stick their heads in the sand and pretend the problem doesn't exist and hope it goes away, but unfortunately that's not how life works.

As I wrote Friday, one solution to save the election is for the party to put someone else at the top of the ticket who could/would truly unite the party, like former vice president Al Gore, with Obama as VP. This deal could also include Clinton as Secretary of State. Let's get real here. Gore has the absolute best chance to beat McCain. His political credentials are unparalleled: he's a Vietnam Vet who's served in Congress, the Senate and eight years as veep. And he's recently added Nobel Peace Prize and Oscar-winning Global Warming documentarian to his already-impressive dossier. Plus, he's squeaky-clean. Not a skeleton in his closet. Consider that he already won the popular vote in 2000, and as many believe the electoral college as well, and it's hard to imagine how The Goracle wouldn't sail straight into the Oval Office. As his VP, Obama would likely be the most valuable running mate in the history of presidential politics, bringing a groundswell of blacks and young people into the process. As for Clinton, given how many of her Senate colleagues have already deserted her, and there's likely more to come, returning to that Chamber in the Fall could be a very icy, uncomfortable experience. Running the State Department could very well be an attractive out for her. Gore, Obama, Clinton. The Repugs would shudder in their boots over this winning combination.

The Gore discussion has been gaining so much steam that broadcasting legend and political sycophant Larry King said on Mark Simone's Saturday morning syndicated radio program that as this contest heads closer towards a brokered convention, the name to watch is Al Gore. Facing the prospect of a loss in November, he said, party officials and super-delegates could push aside both Obama and Clinton and make Gore their choice. I suspect that as the Democrats' primary saga continues to unfold, there'll be many a pundit to voice the same solution. Who really knows for sure just what kind of deal may already be in the works--being very privately negotiated as we speak--to ensure the party's victory in the Fall. Stay tuned. This show is far from over...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Can Al Gore Save Democrats?

The infighting among Democrats is at a fever pitch. Neither Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama has convinced enough voters to give them the minimum number of delegates needed to win the nomination. That's an inarguable fact. We all need to digest it and accept it. For the first time in 55 years, and no matter what happens over the next five months, Democrats will head to their August convention with no clear nominee. So, what we'll possibly have is a brokered convention if the heated contest doesn't somehow end sooner, which is not likely. Clinton vowed this week to stay in until at least mid-June, and possibly all the way to the end. Is there fallout from this protracted battle? Maybe so. Polls indicate that as much as 25%-30%of Clinton/Obama supporters will vote for the GOP's Sen. John McCain in November if their candidate is not the nominee. Pretty scary stuff.

What happens next for Democrats? It's unlikely Clinton or Obama will exit the race anytime soon, and it would appear that the Dems' chances of winning the White House--once an almost sure thing given the war, the economy, and voters' overall desire for change--might be evaporating fast. Desperate measures for desperate times? Consider this prediction from Democratic consultant Joe Trippi in April 2007:

"I may be the first idiot foolish enough to say it out loud, but we could be looking at something unheard of in the modern era, someone going into convention with only 30%-40% of delegates....What could happen is that we're headed for a brokered convention.... Polls are all basically in dead heats. Not one is going to blow out the other....If they keep this pace up, they'd have enough money to go all the way. I never thought I'd say this in modern politics that it's possible to have a brokered convention...fighting it down to the last state."

Quite prescient of Trippi. But wait, it gets better: "If there was a brokered convention going on, that Al Gore coming in and winning the nomination could be how that plays out."

Al Gore to the rescue? I like the way Trippi thinks. And, as anyone who knows me and has read this blog for the last few years knows that having Gore as our nominee is something I personally think would be incredible for Democrats and for the country as a whole. Is it fantasy at this point? Perhaps. But, like Trippi said, we're also talking about an extremely unusual election. It's quite possible that anything and everything can and will happen as we head towards Denver. Is there a scenario where the powers that be--superdelegates and various party officials--can persuade the former veep and each other that the only way to salvage our chances in November is with, hypothetically, a Gore/Obama ticket? With an offer to Clinton as Secretary of State perhaps? Would this be fair? Sure. Neither Clinton or Obama will have "won," so, anything's possible now. Is it viable? Hell yeah. A Gore/Obama/Clinton slate would not only unite the party, but blow past the aging, out-of-touch war-monger McCain in the general election.

Could this be the moment Gore truly waited for? The opportunity for him to watch the candidates cancel each other out--as I've written about countless times--and step in as the "draft" candidate prior to or at a chaotic convention? To become the nominee without having to endure the extended rigors of a contentious primary season? A fantasy indeed. But if the current Democratic blood-letting doesn't end at some point with a a viable outcome which unites voters, come November it could be a nightmare.

On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute. We're very pleased to announce that one of last year's grant recipients, Cynthia Wade, just won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject for "Freeheld." We are proud of Cynthia and to have supported this film. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us continue to achieve our very important mission.
Thank you.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What Obama and Clinton Can Do to Unite the Party

In the wake of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy, Sen. Barack Obama took to the podium and delivered the speech of his political career. It was a heartfelt, sincere and thought-provoking address on race relations in America. And it worked. Since this critical discourse, Obama's momentum appears to be surging if current polls are any indication. Now it's time for another well-timed, forthright, brilliant speech. For this one, Obama must share the stage with his rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and issue an impassioned plea to Democrats. The gist of it should be something akin to:

Obama: "Good evening America. We stand before you as the two candidates vying for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president. As many of you know, we have been engaged in a very intense, often bitter campaign. There have been moments where we've made seemingly angry statements directed at each other, and our two camps have certainly traded barbs and added fuel to the fire. There have indeed been times when one side clearly has offended the other. It's be a long, hard, frustrating, stressful and hotly contested struggle. Only one of us will eventually win.

Clinton: Regardless of what you've seen on the campaign trail, each of us has the utmost respect and admiration for the other's experience, dedication, qualifications, patriotism and ability to lead this great nation of ours. We believe that either of us would, on every measurable level, serve our country better than our Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, whether it's in dealing with the war, the fight against terrorism, the struggling economy, health care, education, and in transcending partisan politics so that we can unite Americans under the common goal of living in peace and prosperity.

Obama: Our battle for the nomination may continue in the weeks and months to come. That's politics. This year we have a close race for the first time in 50 or so years. And that's ok. That's ultimately good for the country. The ability to hold free and open elections is the bedrock of our Democracy. But make no mistake about one very important fact: that no matter who stands before you at the Denver convention in August, as the party's eventual nominee, the other will be standing right beside him or her. And we stand before you today pledging that 100%, unequivocal support.

Clinton: If Barack is our nominee, I will do everything in my power, everything humanly possible, to help him win the presidency. I will campaign long and hard for him, and I will dedicate whatever resources I can to ensure his victory.

Obama: And if Hillary wins, I will do exactly the same for her. We stand before you today united. United in our ultimate support for each other; united in our goal to defeat John McCain in November; and united in our commitment to our party, to you, the American voter, and to our great Democracy. And we implore you to do the same. We cannot do this without you. All of you. You can support Hillary or myself until this contest results in victory for one of us, but when that day comes, we need you, our party needs you, America needs you, to move beyond the emotions and tensions raised in the primary campaign and unite alongside with us. I say to my supporters, if Hillary wins, you must vote for her in November against McCain. While she and I have some personal and policy differences as Democratic candidates, one thing I am certain of is that, against John McCain and the Republicans, we are of equal mindset. Our values, our goals for America, our commitment to the poor and middle classes..the students...the sick...our the same. It is unwaivering. We share the same respect for the Constitution and protecting your civil liberties. We want to end the Iraq war and not let it drag on for 100 years as McCain suggests. I say to you, my supporters, if you believe in me and what I stand for, then you must vote for Hillary in November if she becomes our nominee.

Clinton: And I agree with everything Barack just said. I say to my supporters, no matter the outcome of this primary campaign, no matter if I lose and Barack wins, you must support him. You must stand with me as I stand beside him in our collective fight against the Republicans. We cannot afford four more years, and possibly eight, of a Bush-like Republican administration. We must stand together, united, come November.

Obama: The successful future of our great nation--the achievement of peace and prosperity--rests with Democrats. The survival of our party this year, and in years to come, now rests with you. Again, we stand before you--as political opponents in the current primary contest--but as a brother-and-sister-in-arms--in the November general election. Together, we can unite the party and America, by standing together with you, our supporters. Come November, we again implore you to please join me and Hillary in supporting the other, no matter who wins. Thank you."

It's time we hear a speech like this from the candidates. It would be historic in nature, and do wonders for party unity.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Tide Continues to Turn Towards Obama

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday evening strongly indicates that the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton is losing much of whatever steam it's been managing to previously hold onto. Conversely, Sen. Barack Obama, in the wake of the Rev Jeremiah Wright and Bosnia controversies, has managed to gain appreciable momentum. HillaBamaDramaRama continues.

The poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday, and compares the results from March 12th. Below are the poll's key findings.

-Negatives: Clinton has jumped to 48% from 43%. Her negative rating is now bigger than her positive (37%). By contrast, Obama's negative rating sits at 32% against his 49% positive. He was previously at 51% positive/28% negative

-Obama vs McCain: Obama up 44%-42%, from 47%-44%.

-Clinton vs McCain: McCain has pulled ahead 46%-44%. Clinton previously had held a 47%-45% over the Arizona Senator.

-Obama vs Clinton: 45%-45%. This is significant, since Obama has come even for the first time. Clinton had held a 47%-43% lead.

-White Democrats: Clinton leads 49%-41%, down from 51% to 39%.

-Blacks: 51% have positive views of Clinton, down from 63%

-Women: Clinton dropped to 44%-42%, from 51%. This is significant, as women have previously been a major part of Clinton's core constituency. If she continues to lose women, she's history.

-Overall values: 52% said Clinton doesn't have the background or values they identify with, against 50% who say Obama does (but 57% said that the GOP's presumptive nominee John McCain does).

But most disturbing is that 20% of both candidates supporters said they will defect to McCain if the other candidate wins. This is truly incredible, and quite frankly, suicidal. This sort of angry revenge-voting will be disastrous for the party come November. (I will write more on this Thursday).

While I have been calling for the campaign to run its natural course till the end, it's becoming clear that for Clinton, the pressure is intensifying. Though she vowed on Wednesday to remain in the race for three more months, she must have a very strong showing in Pennsylvania April 22nd, and her polling must stabilize, or she will be likely exit then.

On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute. We're very pleased to announce that one of last year's grant recipients, Cynthia Wade, just won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject for "Freeheld." We are proud of Cynthia and to have supported this film. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us continue to achieve our very important mission.
Thank you.

The Nader Effect: 2000 All Over Again?

Firebrand consumer activist, progressive and political spoiler Ralph Nader recently announced that he'd be once again running for president in 2008. Nader, who siphoned away precious votes from Al Gore eight years ago, has been widely accused by many Democrats as having cost the former VP the election, and in the process giving America eight disastrous years of the Bushevik administration. But a recent Zogby poll indicates that we could be looking at 2000 all over again.

In the poll, the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain (AZ), leads Sen. Barack Obama by 44%-39% and Sen. Hillary Clinton by 45%-39%. But what's troubling is that Nader, with eight months to go until the election, took 5% in the McCain-Obama match-up, and 6% in the McCain-Clinton contest. In both match-ups, 11% surveyed said they were either not sure of who'd they'd vote for, or, that they'd vote for someone else.

So what's the significance of all this? According to Zogby Research President John Zogby, "The messages to Democrats are clear. Number one, Nader may win enough support to get into the general election debates. Number two, what could be at risk is support among several key constituencies that the Democratic Party candidate will need to win in November, notably younger voters, independents, and progressives."

The last thing Democrats need in this already historically close, contentious race is the resurgent presence of The Spoiler.

Breaking Down the Obama Myth

There's an incredible, yet unexplained, phenomenon in politics that simply baffles me. It's neither based on history, fact, logic or rational thought. It's largely propped up by infatuation and, in some cases, hysteria. It's the notion that Sen. Barack Obama is "the great uniter," bringing together America. The great healer. The one with the message that's resonating among so many diverse voters. The candidate Americans are clamoring for in their collective quest for change. There's only one problem with this perception: it's patently untrue.

The euphoria among some Democrats over Obama's ability to connect is terribly misguided and based on pure myth. This irrational exuberance is part of what some consider the Democrats' "problem" right now as we head into the primary season's fourth month without a clear victor. While I'm sure this piece will not make me too popular with about half of the Democrats out there, the other half will like it just fine. And that's my whole point. Because the simple truth is, Obama, unlike Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dukakis, Carter and others before him, will not achieve the minimum number of delegates to win the nomination. He will be the first front-running Democratic candidate in modern history to go to the convention not having convinced enough voters to support him. Let's be real people, Obama has not united the party. Has not brought Democrats together. Just the opposite. Both he and Sen. Hillary Clinton have divided Democrats virtually straight down the middle. Obama's message has resonated with the rich, the educated, the progressives, blacks and white males. Hillary's connected with the traditional Democratic base: the poor, middle and working well as women, seniors and hispanics. And neither has been able to successfully penetrate the others' territory. Yet no one is really looking at the landscape from this perspective. So much Messianic-like praise is being lavished on Obama and, quite frankly, it's just plain undeserved.

While some Democrats believe we are in the most exciting presidential race in decades, others view it through the lens of misogyny, racism and Debbie Downer-like negativity. They say that this protracted battle between Clinton and Obama is ripping the party apart. I could not disagree more. Let's keep the proper perspective here. We are not in this battle because of Hillary Clinton's narcissism or her sense of entitlement, as some claim. We are in it because it ain't freakin' over yet. Because both Clinton and Obama have so far failed as candidates. Failed to reach the necessary majority unlike every Democratic nominee in decades before them. Failed to craft a universally-accepted platform. Failed to unite. Therefore, we're in this hotly contested race because Obama and Hillary each present a viable candidacy to only half the party. How then that Barack Obama has this JFK-like mythical aura surrounding him is truly puzzling.

There's also the belief among some that the Clinton/Obama slugfest is giving the GOP's John McCain the uncontested ability to campaign for the November election and gain ground with voters. If only this were true. If only Americans focused on the election eight months in advance. That's another fantasy. Want a dose of reality? Go into your workplace tomorrow and take an informal poll of 20 random people across socio-economic lines. Ask them what John McCain did last week. From some, you might get "John who?" And from the others, I think you'll be presently surprised.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

BosniaGate: Why Our Political System is Bankrupt

For me, it started with the crucifixion in the late 1990's of Bill Clinton by Newt Gingrich and his venomous GOP lynch mob that culminated in the former president's highly partisan impeachment. That watershed moment over some very foolish sexual indiscretions forever changed the political landscape. Since then, politics has become a literal cesspool. Quite frankly, I'm sick of it. Sick of all the ad hominem attacks; the hypocrisy; the sexual scandals; the lies; the deception; the corruption. All of it. Politics was always a dirty game, but today it reeks. And there's universal culpability, from the politicians, the media and among voters themselves. What matters most today in politics is everything that truly doesn't matter at all.

The new "scandal" to break this week involves Sen. Hillary Clinton's revisionist history over her 1996 trip to Bosnia in which she described her arrival as something akin to traveling down Vietnam's Mekong Delta at the height of that war's violence. Instead, CBS film footage of that landing indicates it was more like the Easter Parade, complete with a smiling, clearly safe, Clinton being read poetry by an 8-year-old on the tarmac. The only bullets she's dodging are the ones this week over this obvious embellishment. Watching the Tuesday morning news shows, it's clear that BosniaGate is all the media's talking about. They're feeding on it like starving leeches. It's the OJ trial all over again. But are they talking about Clinton's major policy speech yesterday on easing the mortgage crisis? Nah. Who cares about all that economic junk anyway, right? The credit crunch, the hemorrhaging stock market, record gas and oil prices, inflation, What really matters to most Americans, what will really change their lives, is BosniaGate, right?

To be sure, a politician as smart, savvy and possessing a brilliant legal mind as Hillary Clinton clearly was lying about her brush with death. No doubt about it. Are we really to believe she simply mixed up her trips? Just how many times in her life/career has she had to duck to avoid sniper-fire? Seems to me that's not something you'd easily forget. But here's my question: so what? I am no more shocked over her truth-stretching as I am over Barack Obama's claim of having no idea that his 20-year pastor and spiritual advisor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is guilty of making incendiary anti-American, anti-Semetic speeches. The Democratic front runner from Illinois is another extremely bright, opportunistic politician with a Harvard Law degree. It's truly hard to fathom that in 20 years he had no clue whatsoever that Wright was fanning the flames of hate with his highly controversial sermons. But again I ask, so what?

Hillary's Bosnian fantasy, and Obama's memory lapses over Rev. Wright, are not the central issues facing Americans today. They are not going to put food on our tables. They are not going to provide us with health care coverage. They will not lower gas and home heating fuel prices. They will not help educated our children. They will not put Americans back to work. They will not stop global warming. They will not end the Iraq war. They will not secure the country from terrorist attack. We need to stop obsessing over this garbage as if it actually has any relevance in our daily lives.

When we start demanding of our politicians, and of the media, that they focus on what truly matters--policy--maybe then will the political landscape change for the better. But until voters stand up and shout "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore," we're simply going to get more of the same salacious, sensationalistic crap rammed down our collective throats.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Obama Surges in New Poll. It's Hard to Argue his Inevitability

After a long, difficult week in Democratic politics, it would appear that Sen. Barack Obama's momentum is back on track following his universally lauded speech on race and his endorsement by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. According to Gallup's daily tracking poll, Obama regained his lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton by 48% to 45%over the weekend. The week before, after the Rev. Wright scandal broke but before Obama's speech, Clinton pulled ahead with a 49%-42% lead...her first lead in about 7 weeks. The week before, Obama led 50%-44%. What a roller-coaster.

But kudos to the junior Senator from Illinois. He addressed the Rev. Wright controversy head-on, and it worked. It's another painful reminder of what Sen. John Kerry didn't do in 2004. Maybe if he had been as honest and forthright, he'd be sitting in the White House right now instead of the reckless cowboy we've been saddled with (pun intended).

While I've been saying, and still believe, that it ain't over until it's over, and that the race, and Hillary's quest for the presidency, should be allowed to continue without the divisive bickering back and forth between warring Democrats, it's becoming harder and harder to fathom just how Clinton can pull off a win without some major new Obama scandal surfacing. But I'm not ready yet to call for her exit, which is a bit premature. We need to see the outcome of the April 22nd Pennsylvania (188 delegates) primary and May 6th contests in Indiana (84) and North Carolina (134) before calls for Clinton to quit become truly reasonable and justified. If the facts on the ground at that time point to a clear Obama path to victory, her exit at that time would give Obama over three months before the convention to begin his campaign against the presumptive GOP nominee, Sen. John McCain.

To be sure, should Hillary quit the race in May and throw her full support behind Obama, as her supporters are assured to do, we would have party unity against the Repugs six months before the general election. Let's give both candidates, and the process, time to evolve naturally. It's much better for the party that way.

On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute. We're very pleased to announce that one of last year's grant recipients, Cynthia Wade, just won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject for "Freeheld." We are proud of Cynthia and to have supported this film. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us continue to achieve our very important mission.
Thank you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Simple Question for Democrats

Why is it that Sen. Hillary Clinton's voters would unequivocally throw their collective support to Sen. Barack Obama were he to become the Democratic nominee for president, but his supporters would not support her if the outcome is reversed? This is not only a supposition of mine, but one acknowledged by many analysts and journalists including Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham and political pundit Peggy Noonan speaking on Sunday's Meet the Press.

With all the heated talk back and forth about uniting/dividng the party, what we need is for all Democrats to come together in November behind whoever is our nominee.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why the Clinton/Obama Race Needs to and Will Continue

Ok, out of appreciation and respect to my readers who clearly disagree with my position on the battle between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clionton, I will attempt once more to demonstrate the only things that matter right now in this race: facts. After this, I will no longer engage in the back and forth debating over Hillary's right to stay in the race and her supporters' right to see this through until the end. I will continue to blog about what I see on the campaign trail, and readers are free to debate amongst themselves on the message board. I've clearly demonstrated my objectivty here, and have stated my position repeatedly. So, while I know the following indesputable facts might mess with the fantasy, here they are again to ponder nonetheless...

Fact #1: The party requires 2025 delegates to win the nomination, not 2000, 1900, 1800 or 1700. That number exists for a reason. If neither candidate achieves that level, neither candidate wins. The party does not have a "whoever has the most delegates wins" system.

Fact #2: The party instituted the super-delegate system over 25 years ago to serve as the decision-making body in the event no one reaches the minimum, or "wins." The super D system exists to handle contested situations exactly like the one we have now

Fact #3: Obama and Hillary are separated by just about 2% in popular vote

Fact #4: Obama and Hillary are separated by just about 10% in delegates

Fact #5: Hillary has won most of the big Democratic must-win states for the general election. Obama has not.

Fact #6: the latest polls show that Obama has lost appreciable ground among independents. Neither candidate will win anything without a majority of independents

Fact #7: a new Franklin & Marshall College poll in Pennsylvania shows that among voters in that state (whose very significant primary is April 22), Obama's unfavorability rating has increased from 16% to 25% from mid-February

Fact #8: a new USA Today/Gallup poll has Clinton with a 49%-42% lead over Obama. Just over a week ago Obama led 50%-44%.

Again, these are inarguable facts. One can choose to ignore them, spin them or wish them away. But what you can't do is refute them. That's the beauty of facts. And it is precisely these facts that keep Clinton in the race.

And now for little closing editorial, although it essentially is fact as well: As harsh as this may be for Obama's supporters to hear and grasp, he will not reach the 2025 minimum because he will not have convinced enough Democratic voters to vote for him. Because he clearly has not "united" the party. Because he really only has roughtly half of the party behind him. Certainly no mandate, and no justification whatsoever to expect Clinton to back out at this point. The battle between him and Hillary rages on--much to the chagrin of him and his supporters--because the race is so close. If it weren't, none of us would be wasting any time on it, and Hillary would have dropped out long ago. What we have is a heated race. Some claim that Hillary's dividing the party by staying in the contest. I call it Democracy in action. She has a right to run, and voters have a right to support her without being vilified by the opposition for being divisive, un-American, un-patriotic and racist. This kind of bullying is not what the Democratic Party stands for.

I think it's pretty presumptuous and arrogant (not to mention incredibly naive and unrealistic) to feel someone's breath on your neck as you dash to the finish line and then turn around and demand that they exit the race so you can "win."

A final thought to the Obama supporters: you are certain of his inevitability. You feel it's a slam-dunk that his lead is convincing the super D's to support him. You repeatedly claim that "it's over." If so, then why not let it play out till the end? Why are you so against letting the process--the one laid out by the party over 25 years ago--run its course? Why are you repeatedly calling for an early end? Perhaps it's because you're not that confident after all? That you worry that somehow the process may result with Hillary as the victor? In sports, one team could be down by a zillion runs/points and the game still plays until the end. As Yogi Berra aptly said, "It ain't over till it's over." It's time to accept that.

A Question for the Obama Campaign

I'd really like to know one thing: why has Sen. Barack Obama's campaign released to the press an old photo of his pastor, the highly controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright, with former President Bill Clinton at the White House during an annual prayer breakfast 10 years ago? What's the point here? Obama's camp appears to be acknowledging how damaging its candidate's relationship with Rev, Wright is and is trying to minimize the fallout by showing that the Clintons have sidled up to him too, as if that one-time encounter at a routine event somehow establishes the same kind of irresponsibility as Obama's 20 year intimate relationship with the firebrand preacher. But what's more troubling to me is this: isn't Obama supposed to be above this sort of tactic, which looks and smells like a smear? Isn't this the same type of dirty politics he's been decrying throughout the campaign? I'm sorry, but Obama wants to play it both ways, and that's a bit duplicitous.

There's something else I wanted to comment on. Listening to Air America Radio Friday evening a female caller was gushing about how Obama "has united this country in a very special way." As Bill Clinton would say, this is yet another myth about Obama. The 100% undeniable fact is that the Democratic Party is virtually split right down the middle, in half, between him and Hillary Clinton. Say what you want about Obama. He is extremely bright, charismatic, talented, dedicated, capable and has much integrity and a clear ability to inspire. Personally, I could easily support him should he be the nominee, and I think he'd make for a terrific president, as would Clinton (by the way, my support for Hillary is quite narrow over him; consider me at 51-49). But not only has Obama not united the entire country, he's far from uniting Democrats. I can admire, respect and appreciate the excitement that Obama brings to many (and I share that excitement on many levels), but let's be real. That excitement starts and stops with just 50% of Democrats. And as we know from the latest polls and trends, Republicans are not going to vote for him, and he's losing appreciable ground with independents. I really wish Democrats could just put aside their love for a second and be able to keep things in their proper political perspective.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What Gov. Bill Richardson's Endorsement Means for Obama

A lot is being said about New Mexico's Gov. Bill Richardson's endorsement Friday of Sen Barack Obama in his bid to win the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Personally, I think there's two truths to this action. The first is that, in a few Democratic inner circles, Richardson, with his Hispanic heritage, is perceived as a valuable election card. That he's now behind Obama certainly would raise the likelihood that the Illinois Senator could benefit within the Hispanic community as a result. But the more realistic fact here is that Richardson is relatively unknown throughout the U.S., even among rank and file Hispanics. Which is precisely why he garnered about 1% of the vote before being forced out of the race himself. I think Democrats are really kidding themselves to think that among average Americans Richardson's Obama endorsement will amount to much of anything. Endorsements in general mean very little. Just as Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean in 2004 fell on deaf ears, as did Ted Kennedy's failure to help score a Massachusetts victory for Obama, endorsements do little more than get a few political junkies and party officials excited. Just walk down Main Street America and ask them who Bill Richardson is and you'll likely get "Bill who?" If universally known party luminaries Gore and Kennedy's thumbs up achieves nothing, Richardson's nod to Obama is not even worth discussing.

Cheney's Audacity of "So"

The unmitigated arrogance that's emanated from the White House since before the Iraq invasion has been absolutely infuriating. It started with all the lies and deception in justifying the war; the sheer post-invasion-planning incompetence of the Busheviks; the now-infamous "we will be greeted as liberators" and "Mission Accomplished" delusions by VP Dick Cheney and President Bush respectively; the myriad distortions of truth and reality during the prosecution of the war; false claims of progress and success at every turn; and a swaggering insistence to this very day that, despite every Bushevik claim being untrue, that the war was justified and worth it.

And in one of those classic throw your shoe at the television moments that we've unfortunately come to experience in abundance from the Busheviks, Cheney displayed a heretofore unseen level of arrogance and a disdain for the American people this week while discussing the war. While in Amman, Jordan, the curmudgeonly Dr. Evil was interviewed by ABC News' Martha Raddatz, who reminded the five-deferment Vietnam draft-dodging coward that "Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting."

"So?" Cheney answered.

"So?" replied Raddatz incredulously. "You don't care what the American people think?"

"No," Cheney said. "I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls. There has, in fact, been fundamental change and transformation and improvement for the better. That’s a huge accomplishment."

Clearly, there's a reason why his name is Dick. From the weeks and months leading up to the war, he and his inept boss have been a couple of reckless cowboys who clearly had no friggin' idea what the hell they were talking about. And this colossal military fiasco of theirs has cost us $500 billion and 4000 U.S. soldiers' lives. And when asked to respond to the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans want an end to the war and don't think it's worth fighting, Cheney essentially held up his middle finger and issued a great big fat Fuck You to us all. So much for of the people, by the people, for the people.

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Thank you.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama Campaign Hits Another Snag. Do New Polls Spell Trouble?

It appears the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama has been appreciably impacted by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy, raising new questions about the Illinois Democrat's electability against presumptive Republican nominee John McCain in the November presidential election. New polls indicate that Obama could be in real trouble not only in a head-to-head with McCain, but that Democrats could be shifting back to Sen. Hillary Clinton in the current fiery Democratic contest.

In the most significant turnaround, a new CBS poll shows McCain now leads both Obama and Clinton among independent voters. Just a month ago Obama maintained a 10 point lead over McCain in this highly coveted group but now trails by 8 points. Most pundits agree that the outcome of the general election could hinge upon which candidate captures the support of independents.

And in another major turnaround, a new USA Today/Gallup poll shows that Clinton has regained her lead over Obama for the first time in almost two months. The survey, taken after the Rev. Wright scandal broke but before Obama's major speech on race this week, has Clinton with a 49%-42% lead over Obama. Just a week ago Obama led 50%-44%. As to the potential impact of Obama's much-heralded speech, Gallup's Jeff Jones said "the initial indications are that the speech has not halted Clinton's gaining momentum as she led by a similar margin in Tuesday night's polling as compared to Monday night's polling."

In the general election, Gallup showed McCain leading Obama 47%-43%. As recently as a week ago Obama held a 50%-44% lead over the Arizona Senator. But the CBS poll had Obama ahead 48%-43%, a drop from his 50%-38% lead last month.

Something else to consider: while Obama's favorable ratings remain largely unchanged at 44%, there's been a significant drop in undecided views to unfavorable views, to 30% from February's 23%. And he's also lost ground with male Democratic voters.

As I've been saying for weeks now, there's a whole lotta time between now and the August convention, and it's abundantly clear that HillaBamaDramaRama will continue, with both candidates swinging in a momentum pendulum. So my point is, no one poll is an indication of anything. Obama could very well sail from here on in, or his campaign could implode. Same for Hillary. But again, as I've also been saying for weeks, this historic contest is far from over.

All things considered, it still appears Obama is the odds-on favorite to snag the nomination, but Democrats would be remiss to ignore the challenges he's facing as indicated by these new polls. For Clinton, she really needs to score a political hat trick in order to grab the prize in August: a big win in Pennsylvania April 22; a lead in the popular vote; and more scandal such as the contentious speeches of Rev. Wright. Well, Pennsylvania has and continues to look very favorably for her, and Obama clearly has been negatively impacted by Wright. The question is, can she somehow pull ahead in the popular vote. If she does, and she remains close in the pledged-delegate count, then she stands a very good shot of convincing the super-delegates to support her...especially if she continues to gain in the polls against a continued drop in support for Obama among independents and males. Her 'electability' narrative could be quite strong at that time, and that could really shake these elite party officials into ultimately coming over to her side.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

McCain Doesn't Know Shia From Shinola

On his "Gee, don't I look like a Commander-in-Chief" tour in Iraq, presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain said something that made him look anything but. He showed that he's either a liar, or woefully misinformed, or getting senile. He warned to reporters that Iran is sponsoring al Qaeda terrorists in their fight against the U.S. When pressed, the crusty old Repug added that it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." As anyone with an ounce of Middle-east/Arab history knows, Iran is a Shiite country and al Qaeda is Sunni. And the two hate each other. So, his trusty war-mongering sidekick Sen. Joe Lieberman, at his side, leaned in, whispered this sweet nothing into his ear, and McCain said whoops...I made a boo-boo. "I'm sorry...the Iranians are training extremists, not al Qaeda," he said.

So what's the real shocker here, that McCain was trying to lie to Americans about who we're really fighting over there? Duh! He, Lieberman and Bush have been doing that for years. That McCain was trying to distort the truth should come as a surprise to no one. His entire campaign is built on the Iraq war and his support of the surge. And his main strategy is fear; keeping Americans afraid so that support for this debacle continues. The other day he said "if we pull out the troops, al Qaeda wins." The Repug neocons have been morphing Iraq and Iran into al Qaeda since the 9-11 attacks.

But what this should demonstrate to voters is that McCain's integrity is lacking. That he's a liar. or, if we giove him the benefit of the doubt and he's not intentionally deceiving Americans, then his understanding of of one of the most complexes ethnic struggles in history, in a violent part of the world, renders him unprepared to be president.

Monday, March 17, 2008

New Poll Shows Big Uptick for Obama. Picks Up 9 Iowa Super-Delegates. Florida Decides Against Do-Over. His Momentum's Back

Ok, so Sen. Hillary Clinton's putting up a good fight to stay alive in the 2008 Democratic race for president. But, following some appreciable big-state losses recently, the momentum has clearly shifted back to Sen. Barack Obama.

A brand-new CNN/Opinion Research Corp poll released Monday has Obama leading Clinton 52%-45%. This is an impressive lift from last month's Clinton lead of 49%-46%. It would appear that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy, the "monster" blunder and the Tony Rezko scandal have not impacted the campaign much, if at all.

Even more good news for Obama. Over the weekend Iowa held its county convention re-caucus where he picked up an additional nine delegates while Hillary lost one. These were primarily previously-committed John Edwards delegates.

And late Monday Florida's Democratic Party decided against a do-over, dealing a potential huge blow to the Clinton campaign, which had hope to eventually pick up the Sunshine State and the majority of its 210 delegates.

So, is Hillary done? While the odds are against her, she's still in this battle. A new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows Clinton ahead of McCain 51%-46%. The fact is, Americans never re-elect a political party during a recession, so both Clinton and Obama look good this November against the ancient GOP relic Sen. John McCain.

Conventional wisdom says don't rule out Hillary just yet. On ABC's Good Morning America Monday, former President Bill Clinton gave the following analysis: "If Sen. Obama wins the popular vote then it'll be easier, but if Hillary wins the popular vote but can't quite catch up in the delegate votes, then you have to just ask yourself which is more important and who's more likely to win in November...and I don't know that it'll be an easy decision, but that's what leaders sign up for." Again, if neither Obama or Clinton reaches the required minimum 2025 delegates to win the nomination, then Bubba's right in that the super-delegates will have to survey the entire landscape, not just total delegates, in deciding the fate of both candidates....and the party.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The True Definition of "Party Unity"

In response to several clearly spirited comments on my message board of late, here's a little civics lesson for my Obama-supporting Progressive friends: In the United States we have these pesky little things called elections. In these contests for president, which occur every four years, both the Republican and Democratic parties hold primaries and caucuses. At inception, several different candidates typically run. Our citizens then vote for whoever they prefer until one of these candidates in each party wins, and by win we mean they reach the minimum number of delegates (elected by voters to represent them at the conventions) required by each party (not some arbitrary number they come up with when and if they happen not to reach the minimum). Then, the two winners face off in the general election, along with any Independent/third party candidates who've made it onto the ballot. And I know this is once again very annoying, but Americans get to vote for who they prefer once more. So, let's summarize how our great Democracy works: we hold elections, candidates run, Americans get to vote for whomever they prefer, and then we have a new president.

Pretty basic stuff, huh? Yeah, but our Obama-supporting Progressive friends seem to struggle with all this. Seems they agree with only part of it...that only some of us get to choose their preferred candidates. The others, they demand, should like and vote for the Progressives' choice too. But if they don't, and the election gets too close, they then demand that the other candidate drop out so as to make it easier for the Progressives' candidate to win. And what's more, even if their candidate doesn't reach the minimum number of delegates, they say that's ok, let's just give it to Obama anyway since he's ahead. Of course, we all know they'd be arguing this position just as hard if Hillary were ahead but far short of the minimum, right? And when voters don't support Obama, they get attacked for being anti-American, Republican and of dividing the party. C'mon, that's not very Progressive, is it?

And they also get angry when bloggers like me actually write positive things about our preferred candidate, as if it's our job to subjugate our own preferences and write about the other sides' candidate. Yet, the irony is, my February pieces were extremely favorable towards Obama and quite negative towards Hillary, but these Progressives aren't concerned about objectivity. It's not balance they're looking for, but consistent, unconditional love for Obama. It's not ok to merely write negatively about Hillary some of the time, they want it all the time.

If you read some of these comments you'd think I, and anyone else who supports Hillary Clinton, is a subversive, treasonous traitor. See, I look at it quite differently. I'm just exercising my little old right to vote for whoever I please in the primary. Duh. And if my gal doesn't win, like the good Democrat that I am, I will passionately throw all my support (time, blogspace, money, etc) behind Obama and help him fight like an animal to beat John McCain which, call me crazy, seems the rational, logical, sane thing to do...especially since I am against the war, the Bush tax cuts, am pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, anti-guns, and want liberal Supreme Court justices, positions which McCain does not share with me or with Progressives, for that matter. Duh again. Now the Progressives, angry that we won't support their candidate right now or call her dirty or demand she quit even though she's a hair away from Obama, threaten to vote for McCain as punishment if she wins. My way or the highway is their campaign slogan. We fight for liberty, truth, justice and Progressive values for all, they self-righteously brag, but then would freely toss their precious votes to yet another war-mongering, small government, staunch conservative if they don't get their way in the primaries. Wow. Now that makes an awful lot of sense, doesn't it?

So, once again, we free-thinking Democrats say to our Obama-supporting Progressive pals....this is an election. And in these primary elections more than one person gets to run. And voters get to choose who they want, not who you want. And if our candidate wins, the sane thing to do is support her in our collective fight against Republican tyranny. And if Obama wins, we will of course back him with all we've got. Funny, that sounds an awful lot like party unity to me....

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What Else Didn't Obama Realize?

He didn't realize his business dealings with indicted Chicago real estate developer Tony Rezko constituted a conflict of interest. He didn't realize his pastor and spiritual advisor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, delivered hate-filled church speeches. Are we really to believe those assertions from Illinois' junior Senator, Barack Obama, a graduate of Harvard Law School and the first black president of its esteemed Law Review? Kinda hard for a magna cum laude Harvard law grad to play dumb, don't ya think? And is it not fair to ask the question, what else didn't Obama realize that might surface soon from his past?

Videos of Wright's speeches have surfaced in recent days in which he makes racist, anti-Semitic and anti-American statements. In one, he angrily declares that the United States brought the 9-11 attacks on itself due to its sponsorship of terrorism against Palestinians and others throughout the world. And Rezko, currently on trial in Chicago on federal corruption charges, helped the Obamas buy their home, and gave $250,000 in early campaign contributions (the Obama camp, btw, had previously understated this amount by $100,000).

To be sure, a lot of steam's been let out of the Obama campaign this past week. These two controversies have put the presidential hopeful on the hot seat, and both matters have serious legs. While Obama and his camp have desperately attempted to put them to bed, they're simply not going away.

For a candidate who's based his whole campaign on hope, change and personal integrity, these situations are causing Obama a lot of problems. Can you imagine the field day the Republicans would have against him in the general election? Can you imagine how vicious and personal their attacks would be? Think of what they'll do with Obama's admitted use of booze, pot and "blow" when he was younger. Throw in his clear lack of national and foreign policy experience and I seriously question Obama's electability. I'm not alone. A brand-new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has him and Hillary even at 45% against the GOP's presumptive nominee, Sen. John McCain. This is down from his 11-point lead over McCain just 16 days ago.

Obama's once inevitability is no more. With five months left until the Democratic convention in Denver, one or two more such controversies and Obama's ship could be sinked.

Enough is Enough

They want to squash the opposition. They are narrow-minded and intolerant of differing viewpoints. They engage in censorship. They are sanctimonious and holier-than-thou in their political preachings. They frame issues that result in wild accusations of unpatriotism, racism and divisiveness. Their arrogance and sense of entitlement knows no bounds. Republicans, you say? No. We're talking about Progressive Democrats supporting Sen. Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. Their aggressive, self-righteous behavior is starting to resemble the 2004-era Rovians so much so that we should probably start calling them Regressives. And it's getting pretty annoying. Enough is enough.

-I'm tired of their relentless Hillary bashing: what happened to "the politics of hope?" I don't think they even realize just how much they hate this woman. And it's a real ugly hate, filled with harsh ad hominem attacks.

-I'm tired of them whining about Hillary's "dirty politics:" they're hypocrites who support whatever their side does while crying foul at the Clinton camp. This is politics, and politics sometimes gets ugly. Should Obama win the nomination, what the heck are they expecting from McCain, Rove and the GOP...a Kumbaya-fest? If he can't deal with Hillary's supposed wrath now, he'll be eaten alive by the Rethuglicans.

-I'm tired of the calls for Hillary to quit the race: last time I checked, Obama and Clinton were running neck and neck, separated by about 2% in the popular vote and 10% in delegates. Hardly a groundswell of Obama support. Certainly no mandate. If Obama can't handle a good old-fashion hotly contested race (for Pete's sake, this is an election, isn't it?), then he should get out, not her. Doesn't make you look very presidential, or like much of a fighter, when you incessantly whine that your opponent should quit the race when you're in a virtual dead heat. And yes, it is a dead heat, otherwise none of us, including Hillary, would be here in this debate.

-I'm tired of being criticized for my support of Clinton as if Obama is the rightful heir to the throne; that he's the anointed one, undeserving of intense opposition.

-I'm tired of being accused of "acting like a Republican," and of "deserting my Democratic principles," just because I support Clinton.

-I'm tired of hearing Hillary and Bill Clinton accused of "acting like Republicans" simply because they understand how the game of politics is played and they play to win.

-I'm tired of the Obama camp playing the race card every time their candidate is put on the hot seat. Sorry, everything is not about race. Sometimes people are criticized simply for being inexperienced.

-I'm tired of the Clintons being called racists when they have a long history of loyalty and support within the black community.

-I'm tired of being called a racist myself because I don't support a black candidate, and because I strongly criticize his experience, ideology and/or campaign strategy.

-I'm tired of Obama's supporters acting like the friggin' PC Police. Stop lecturing me about what's right or wrong or what the Democratic Party stands for. It's obnoxious.

-I'm tired of being denied my right to have an opinion, and a preferred candidate, simply because it differs from that of the ObamaManiacs.

-I'm tired of the Obama camp playing dirty Rove-like framing games. You know how the Busheviks successfully employ the "If you don't support me in the war, you're against the troops" strategy? Obama's supporters do the same thing: "If you support Hillary then you are dividing the party."

-I'm tired of being censored by so-called progressive news websites who blatantly promote the campaign of Obama, even at the expense of reporting the facts. Now read my blog. Pretty pro-Obama in February, pro-Hillary in March. I call that objective. Unfortunately, objectivity is not the progressives' strong suit.

-I'm tired of progressives talking about "protecting basic tenets of the democratic party" as they do everything possible to prevent do-overs in Florida and Michigan and disenfranchise voters in those two key states. What are they afraid of, Hillary pulling ahead?

-I'm tired of hearing progressives say they'll vote for McCain if Hillary's the nominee. I'm fed up with these ridiculous "protest votes" that, as in 2000, accomplish absolutely nothing but help a Repug, who stands against everything progressives and democrats believe in, get elected. This is the most misguided, convoluted way of "protesting" imaginable. It's these unfortunate protest votes that got us into the Iraq war, put Alito and Roberts on the Supreme Court, and allowed a dangerous fool like George Bush to take the controls. It's astounding to me that any allegedly sane, rational, intelligent Democrat would willingly help put someone like McCain in the White House.

-I'm tired of the progressives' incredible naivete. They're so caught up in ObamaMania that they're unable to recognize that the Obama-Clinton battle is just that: a battle. That the war will begin after one of them is nominated. There's a bigger picture out there that they fail to see: that the Republican Party is going to scratch and claw and fight like animals in order to retain power. Just wait till these Rovian thugs sink their venomous jaws into the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy. One can only imagine the despicable ads. Perhaps ObamaManiacs should stop patting themselves on the back for being so darned progressive and above it all and instead start looking towards November and the knock down drag out bloody war awaiting us all. We should all just agree to let Obama and Clinton duke it out however, and then throw our collective support behind whoever wins the nomination. You see, that would be party unity. Abandoning the party and throwing a childish protest vote to McCain is not. So who's dividing who now?

-I'm tired of Obama and his supporters ignoring the fact that the party requires 2025delegates to win the nomination, not 1900, 1800, or 1700. The rule is 2025, not "whoever has the most by convention time."

Regardless of what the ObamaManiacs claim, the race between Clinton and Obama is a healthy one, and is good for Democracy. There's nothing "new" going on here. No different than Howard Dean's aggressive tactics in '04. No different than John Edwards joining with Obama during those last debates to attack Hillary. Politics is a rough business, and anyone who thinks otherwise is incredibly naive. These two candidates have been locked in a fierce battle, and only one will survive. That's the way it works. And as the candid clips of them this week on the Senate floor clearly indicate, they're close and will remain friendly no matter what the outcome, and whoever loses will ardently support the victor's campaign against McCain so that Democrats, regardless of the nominee, can win. Obama supporters should follow their lead and do the same. Enough is enough. Quit whining, start fighting, and set your eyes on November.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

HillaBamaDramaRama: Both Candidates Now Dead Even Against McCain

What's happening here is inescapable: Sen. Hillary Clinton is holding her ground in a head-to-head match-up against the presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, while Sen. Barack Obama has been slipping precipitously. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday shows both Clinton and Obama at 47% against McCain's 45% and 44% respectively. For Obama, this is down from the appreciable 11-point lead he held on February 28th. And it should cause concern among all the Obama supporters who've been touting his electibility and inevitability. I'm sorry, but the latest trends are showing the momentum turning in Clinton's favor.

Are Democrats beginning to view her as the more electible of the two candidates? She's shown that she's a fighter, which is going to be a critical qualification for going against McCain and the Republican attack machine in the general election. To the contrary, Obama has appeared soft. His inability and/or unwillingness to get tough can be viewed among some voters as a sign of weakness; weakness that would be swallowed up by the GOP in a head-to-head against McCain. And as I've been writing about for a couple of weeks now, race is starting to play a major role in this campaign. Twenty percent of Dems surveyed say they'll defect to McCain if Obama's the nominee. Not a pretty stat, but a realistic one nonetheless. Let's face it, America can be a pretty ugly place wrought with racial intolerance.

Mississippi's Primary Results: A Wake-Up Call for Democrats

The headlines blare, "Sen. Barack Obama Wins Mississippi." Others declare, "Obama's Back!" and "Obama Momentum Continues." But what no one is brave enough to really address is the glaring racial divide that that state's Tuesday primary results indicate in the fierce battle between Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Mississippi, with its 33 delegates, is 37% black. More than 50% of Tuesday's voters were African-American according to exit polls. What's startling is that Obama picked up 90% of the black vote, capturing just 30% of whites. Clinton, therefore, won 70% of the white vote and just 10% of the state's black voters. This election was all about race. Black vs white. It speaks to the larger issue of whether or not white America--Democrats included--when it's done patting itself on the back for being so progressive, will truly vote to put a young black man, with virtually no national or foreign policy experience, in the White House. Last week's Pew Research survey showed a 20% defection rate among white Democrats to Republican presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain if Obama becomes the nominee. Hey, I don't make this stuff up. I merely report it. And if anyone thinks come November, against the historically ruthless GOP, that race will not be an even greater factor...well, I have some mountain-top property along the Afghan/Pakistani border I'd like to sell you....

Case in point: consider last week's outlandish, despicable remarks by Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King suggesting that terrorists would "celebrate" an Obama presidential victory. King pointed to Obama's opposition to the war in Iraq and his heritage in his scurrilous claim that the junior Senator from Illinois would put the nation at risk.

"I will tell you that, if he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaeda, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror," King regurgitated, adding that Obama’s middle name, Hussein, would stoke terrorists. "Additionally, his middle name does matter. It matters because they read a meaning into that in the rest of the world. That has a special meaning to them. They will be dancing in the streets because of his middle name." Such incendiary rhetoric is in abundent supply. The GOP attack machine is stacked with these venomous surrogates all too ready to go into bloody battle to ensure that Republicans retain power. And they will do so at any cost.

Which is why I'm incredulous over all the whining from Obama and his camp about Hillary's "kitchen sink" strategy of "dirty politics." If I were heading Obama's team, I'd be looking at Hillary's missives as boot camp; mere conditioning for the vicious onslaught that awaits him in a head-to-head against the McCain thugs. If the Obama folks think Hillary's playing dirty, they won't know what him 'em once the GOP says hello.....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Republicans Call for Spitzer's Resignation. What Hypocrisy

So here we have the holier-than-thou Democratic Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, building a career keeping us safe from bad guys, hookers and crooked Wall Streeters, and all the while he's out there spending $6000/hr on call girls (BTW, what exactly do you get for $6000? Can any woman really be that good?). Cries of condemnation and calls for resignation can be heard from the throngs of sanctimonious hypocrite Republicans across the land. The same hypocrites who have had absolutely nothing to say about Republican Senators Larry Craig (ID) and David Vitter (LA), both of whom have been embroiled in sexual scandal themselves. Vitter, like Spitzer, was linked last Summer to prostitution rings in both D.C. and New Orleans. He has been fully supported by his party and still serves in the U.S. Senate. Craig, the now-infamous "I'm Not Gay" alleged heterosexual who was arrested for attempting to pick up a male undercover cop in a Minneapolis Airport men's room, also still serves with his fellow Republicans' backing. No cries of condemnation here. No calls for resignations.

In a display of unbridled, shameless hypocrisy, the Republican Governor's Association (RGA) is aggressively calling for Spitzer's resignation, while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who sits on the group's four-member executive committee, continues to lavish praise and support on his crooked Senator.

"The Governor of New York should immediately resign from office and allow the people of New York to pursue honest leadership. The American people are tired of corrupt and hypocritical politicians," said RGA executive director Nick Ayers. "The Governor of New York is just another in the long list of politicians that have failed their constituents."

In response, Chris Whittington, Chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, said "...Louisiana Republicans, including Governor Bobby Jindal and state Treasurer John Kennedy, got together last month and hosted a fundraiser for Senator Vitter that raised him nearly a half a million dollars."

And this from Jindal: "While we are disappointed by Senator Vitter’s actions, Supriya and I continue to keep David and his family in our prayers. This is a matter for the Senator to address, and it is our hope that this is not used by others for their own political gain."

Too bad the Governor, like his Republican brethren, doesn't practice what he preaches down there in N'Orleans.

As for Spitzer, if naughty boys like Craig and Vitter can continue to serve, so should he.

Monday, March 10, 2008

HillaBamaDramaRama: Welcome to "Democrats Gone Wild"

I call it HillaBamaDramaRama. It's the traveling circus that is the 2008 Democratic nomination contest between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It's been mired by charges of racism and dirty politics, and it's turning into a major point of contention among normally congenial friends. The simple fact is, this race is splitting the party in half with the sort of vehemence not seen in Democratic politics since the 1960's.

I see it it my own relationships. There was a time when verbal sparring with my good pal Brian, a staunch conservative, was the extent of my political boxing matches. These days, I find myself increasingly engaged in Democrat-on-Democrat warfare. It's incredible, but I've not experienced this sort of passion and anger since 2004's Bush/Kerry main event. At first I thought little of it. Saw it as the standard-fare early primary season squabbling--jockeying for our preferred candidates' positions-- among the liberal intelligentsia. We're the ones who watch Hardball year-round and read the NY Times' op-ed page every day. We're junkies, and we think everyone cares about and follows politics as much as we do. But then we're brought down to Earth when we see people on Jay Leno who cannot name the vice president. Yet we're the geeks who know who Howard Wolfson, Bob Shrum, Ralph Reed and John McLaughlin are, and we love to mix it up and debate the landscape. But the debating has gotten intense, and it's pitting close friends who normally share ideology against each other as if we were crossing party lines. It's actually quite a fascinating phenomenon. As such, the party couldn't be any less unified. For the most part, those who like and support Hillary are not impressed by Obama and just aren't feeling the love. And those who back Obama seem to, well, hate Clinton. And I'm not exaggerating.

The intensity is so strong that many Democrats in both camps say they'll either vote for the GOP's John McCain or sit out the election entirely if the other candidate wins the nomination. And there you have the ultimate phenomenon: the steamy intensity of HillaBamaDramaRama has resulted in a new reality show: Democrats Gone Wild. They dislike each others' candidate so much that they'd rather go Red than support the other one. Whether it's rooted in sexism, racism, fear of the unknown or fearing the known, it's getting ugly and could likely cause Democrats the election if they don't start getting their act together.

Another phenomenon of HillaBamaDramaRama is the blurring of ideological lines between Clinton and McCain. The intensity of this primary battle has caused normally intelligent, practical people to utter things like, "There's no difference between McCain and I'm just gonna protest her behavior and vote for him." Huh? Wha? Does Hillary want to prolong the war? Bomb Iran? Overturn Roe v Wade? Outlaw gay marriage? Protect the gun manufacturers? Make permanent the Bush tax cuts? Appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court? How could anyone--any sane, rational Democrat--truly compare these two polar opposites? The only answer? HillaBamaDramaRama.... Democrats Gone Wild

On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Thank you.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Super-Delegate Debate: The One Question No One is Asking

So far the 2008 Democratic nomination process has yet to produce a clear victor, unlike the GOP, which will send Arizona Sen. John McCain to the general election in November. While some Democrats insist the crown belongs to Barack Obama and that Hillary should get out of the race, the simple fact is that both candidates are in a virtual dead heat. The junior Senator from Illinois leads in delegates by about 10% and by about 2% in popular vote. Hardly an Obama mandate, and certainly no justification to claim the nomination. But that's not stopping Team-Obama from insisting that come convention-time in August, if he's still ahead in delegates then he should be the nominee.

But here's what very wrong with that supposition: the party requires 2025 delegates to snag the prize. Not 2000, not 1900, not 1800 and not 1700, where Obama is likely to end up when the action moves to Denver this Summer. If it's as simple as giving the nomination to whoever has the lead by then, then why does the party have it's 2025 rule? Why then isn't the rule that whoever has the most delegates, not 2025, wins? Why is no one but me asking this question? Am I missing something? I think this is a very simple issue. If you get the 2025 needed delegates, you win the nomination. If you fall short, then the Super-Delegates must analyze all the critical factors of the campaign and assess the overall viability of each candidate. That's how the system is currently set up. Those are the rules. Why is it that the Obama camp can cry foul and accuse Clinton of attempting to change the rules (re: re-seating Michigan and Florida's delegates) but seemingly has no problem arguing against adhering to the 2025 minimum rule?

I think it's pretty arrogant for Obama and his team to essentially be saying..."We're gonna campaign long and hard to convince enough Americans to vote for us so we can get the 2025 minimum delegates to win the nomination. But if we fall short of that minimum, even several hundred short, then we're gonna claim the nomination's ours anyway as long as we're ahead." I ask again, if that's how it's all gonna work in the end, why have a 2025 minimum?

I'm sorry Obama fans, like it or not, both candidates are basically tied. Certainly close enough that neither of them can rightfully claim anything right now with five months to go until the convention. That's a lifetime in politics. And on April 22nd, the landscape can change even more, especially if Clinton wins in Pennsylvania, and wins big. For one thing, her winning streak of big Blue states will have continued; she could tie or even pull ahead on the popular vote; and she could appreciably narrow the delegate deficit. And if that's the case, the Super-Delegates' job becomes even more relevant. They must ultimately choose who is the most electable candidate, not merely who has the lead, especially a small one, in delegates.

To show just how murky the waters have become, former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle, on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, told host Tim Russert that the Super-Delegates will be hard-pressed not to follow the will of the people. That they could not overturn the American voters' wishes. But when asked by Russert if that would be the case should Clinton win the popular vote, Daschle back-flipped and said its the pledged delegates, "elected by the people," who should ultimately be making this decision. C'mon, Tom, would it really be going against the 'will of the people' if the Super-Delegates ultimately support the candidate with the most popular votes?

So let's get real here. It's time the mainstream media begins to ask the question....why have a 2025 minimum if simply finishing with a simple deleagte lead is grounds to claim the nomination? Until I hear a logical answer, and not one mired in partisan rhetoric, the issue is pretty black and white. No minimum, no nomination.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

What the Hell is Wrong With Democrats? Will They Really Vote for McCain?

Something very alarming is taking place. A great many Democrats--disillusioned with either/both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama--are threatening to vote for the presumptive Republican nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain....or even sit out the election entirely. And to that I say, What the f**k? I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. What kind of logic is it to vote for someone who is against everything you stand for? What on Earth would possess a Democrat to vote for this chilling reincarnation of George Bush? How could anyone who's against the war, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, anti-guns, anti-Bush tax cuts...who cares about the environment, education, health care, the elderly, the poor, for a candidate whose party's major platform issue is to make war and to reduce taxes for the wealthy?

But more and more, I am talking to family, friends, acquaintances and business associates who say just that: that they are leaning towards voting for McCain come November. And just take a look at many of the comments posted on this very blog. People who say things like "Unless Obama's the nominee I will vote for McCain." Good grief, man, do Obama and McCain really seem the same to you? Does it not mean anything that Obama has one of the most liberal voting records while McCain just the opposite? How is this a choice to you? What has gotten into these people? Didn't we learn enough from 2000's Ralph Nader "protest vote?" Do we really want to make another catastrophic blunder like that again and hand our nation--our standing in the world, our military, our economy, our education and health care systems, our children's welfare--over to yet another reckless elitist cowboy?

A startling Pew Research survey came out this week that showed an astounding 20% of white voters will defect to McCain if Obama's the Democratic nominee. What kind of Democrat would rather vote for a staunch conservative like McCain over a progressive Black like Obama? A racist one. And each and every one of them should be ashamed of themselves. And what kind of Democrat would vote for such a devout right-winger simply because they don't like Clinton or her so-called "dirty politics?" A naive one; one who is seemingly quite comfortable losing yet another election to a Republican. Can you imagine Republicans waging a protest vote? Nah, they're too busy winning. You'd think after eight years of the worst presidency in U.S. history that Democrats would do whatever they could to win. When will we ever learn.....

On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Thank you.