The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the GOP/Tea Party. We support President Obama and the Democratic agenda and seek to preserve the Senate majority while taking back the House. But we're also not afraid to criticize the left when necessary.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Lingering Electability Issue


Ok, so I've fallen a bit out of love with Hillary Clinton, but that doesn't mean I am now in love with Barack Obama. While she's lost me on the character front, I still have issues with him in terms of overall electability come November 4th.

An interesting thing has happened this week. With sort of an "a ha!" giddiness, many Democrats--presumably hard-core Obamakins--have been sending me a link to the Election Projection website which indicates a 293-245 electoral vote lead for the junior Senator from Illinois in a head-to-head against the GOP's presumptive nominee John McCain. Now while the site gets to this prediction by making very broad assumptions about who will win what in the general election, I decided to tally the states Obama won versus those that Hillary won (FL/MI not included) using the site's own red/blue gauge. The results should give super-delegates, and Democrats overall, serious reason for concern. Here's how Obama's past and projected victories in the Democratic primaries stack up in the general election according to the Election Projection website:

IA--weak Dem
DC--solid Dem
NH--mod Dem
NV--weak GOP
SC--strong GOP
AL--strong GOP
ID--solid GOP
ND--solid GOP
Del--strong Dem
UT--solid GOP
Kan--solid GOP
CT--sold Dem
Ala--solid GOP
CO--weak Dem
GA--strong GOP
MN--strong Dem
Ill--solid Dem
NEB--solid GOP
LA--mod GOP
WASH--strong Dem
Maine--strong Dem
MD--solid Dem
VA--weak GOP
HA--solid Dem
Wisc--weak Dem
VT--solid Dem
TX--strong GOP
Miss--strong GOP
MO--weak GOP
NC--mod GOP
Ore--strong Dem
SD--solid GOP
Montana--strong GOP
Wyoming--solid GOP

Only 44% of the above are in any way considered Democratic states. Now take a look at the states Clinton has won:

NM--Mod Dem
OK--solid GOP
Ark--solid GOP
AZ--strong GOP
Tn--mod GOP
Mass--solid Dem
NJ--strong Dem
NY--solid Dem
CA--strong Dem
OH--weak Dem
PA--mod Dem
Ind--strong GOP
WV--mod GOP
RI--solid Dem

Hillary's blue states total 57%. So the inference Election Projection is making is that, in terms of the electoral college, none of this really matters, and that Obama will win the general simply by picking up Clinton's big, key blue states come November despite likely losing half or more of his primary states. That's a pretty big overall leap. Let's just hope they, and the Obama supporters, are correct. Judging from all the latest polling of head-to-heads against McCain, and of the key swing states, I'm not so sure.

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, May 25, 2008

Hillary, Hillary, Hillary. An Open Letter to the Former Future President


Dear Hillary:
What happened? No really, what the fuck just happened to you? I can't for the life of me figure out how a once-promising presidential campaign--a sure thing for Pete's sake--turned into a pathetic embarrassment? You've had such a head start in this quest to occupy the Oval Office. I mean, literally, you and Bill have been planning it since at least January 1993 when he became president. Was there a more plausible, natural, inevitable scenario than you following in his larger-than-life footsteps? And Chelsea after you? The Clinton Dynasty. Has such a regal ring to it, doesn't it?

But then 2008 rolled around and something terrible happened. Both you and Bill lost that famous mojo. It started in Iowa, where you were all but certain to win. Everyone, including yourself, anointed you the Queen of the Ball before the dance even began. And then you lost. Some inexperienced kid named Barack Obama came out of nowhere and stole your thunder. And then you sat down and cried. In front of the cameras, and the good folks of New Hampshire felt sorry and gave you their state. And just like that The Comeback Twins came back yet again. Never count out a Clinton, huh?. Ahh, but then came February. Damn February. The junior Senator from Illinois, that pesky Kid, won big on Super Tuesday--despite your pickups in NY, NJ, CA and a few others--and later in the month racked up an impressive string of eleven consecutive wins. Ouch. That's when the chorus of "Hillary Should Quit" calls officially began. But you'd have nothing of the sort. This was a battle, and you were in it till then end. And we admired you for it.

March was much kinder to you, as was April and May. You won big key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, and trounced The Kid in Appalachia. You even managed to obtain more delegates and popular votes in these three months than The Kid. But the "Hillary Should Quit" calls kept coming, weighing you down and casting an ominous cloud over your campaign. The endorsements kept going to Obama too (Richardson, Edwards, etc) and the super-delegates began to flow to your opponent in anything but a trickle, until he had more of them than you. Many even started to desert you, switching their allegiance. But you pressed on. Even with Bill out there accused of playing the race card and pissing off as many people as he once impressed, especially in the black community. To many, perhaps the "first black president" wasn't so black after all.

Then there were the many boneheaded comments you made. You remember, like the time you basically said that while you and the GOP's presumptive nominee, Sen. John McCain, were tough enough and experienced enough to be commander-in-chief, Obama merely had "a speech." Didn't you realize how that irresponsible blunder would come back to haunt the party in November? Or how about the one where you told everyone that the "hard-working whites" won't vote for Obama. Honestly, Hill, with all those fancy degrees and years of elite lawyering, didn't you realize that some things were meant to be privately thought but not publicly voiced? And so the "Hillary Should Quit" calls continued unabated. Yet we were still in your corner.

You vowed to stay in the race and fight until the very last American exercised his or her inalienable right to vote. You vowed to fight for women everywhere. To be a role model for young girls. To show them that women can be just as tough, just as resilient, just as determined, just as ambitious and just as successful as a man. Your campaign was no longer merely about becoming president. It became a lesson for the history books. A paradigm-changing feminist movement. And we applauded your determination and stuck by you.

You parsed and nuanced and molded the process to fit your end-goal of ultimately snagging the nomination from the grip of The Kid by convincing the super-delegates that you had the better narrative. That you were the more electable candidate. Since neither you or The Kid would end the campaign with enough pledged delegates to win, in an effort to make your case even more compelling, you threw as much shit up on the wall as you possibly could in the desperate hope that something would stick, ie that you had more popular votes; that we should re-seat Michigan and Florida's delegates; that only you could win back the Reagan Democrats. At this point, while we continued to support you, we grew a little leery of your motives and a tad weary of your disingenuousness.

No matter how many "Hillary Should Quit" cries we heard, we still believed in you and went along for the ride, no matter how bumpy. We defended you wherever and whenever we could. Like Bill, we made excuses for you, and chalked up your blind ambition and your regrettable gaffes to long days, late nights and the general stress of the campaign trail. We vowed to support your valiant fight till the end, right along with you, no matter how taxing it became.

And then the unthinkable occurred. When asked last week by South Dakota’s Sioux Falls Argus Leader newspaper about all this "Hillary Should Quit" nonsense, you said: "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don’t understand it." Jeez, Hillary, are you out of your fucking mind? Even if you didn't mean it, to suggest that as a justification to stay in the race, Obama could be assassinated before the primary season is over, is perhaps the most shocking, shameful, morally reprehensible thing you could have possibly ever said. How could you? Do you realize that with that one comment you threw away whatever shot you may have had to fulfill your dream of convincing, brainwashing and/or bullying the super D's into handing you the nomination? How could you implode like that? It was a despicable act of desperation and, quite frankly, it was pathetic. With that one reckless opportunistic blunder you not only threw away the campaign, but your legacy as well. A once valiant warrior, you are now just a sad footnote in history. An embarrassment. I suspect you will never recover politically from your monumentally insensitive RFK comment, made in the very same week that Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor.

And so I can no longer support this destructive campaign of yours. It's time for me to say "Hillary Should Quit." You have taken your insatiable hunger for the presidency too far. You've let so many of us down. You will not be president. You will not be vice president. It's time to step aside and let the Democratic Party and the nation heal, ultimately with Obama as our nominee and hopefully our president as well. It's time for something different. You just convinced me that America needs more than politics as usual, especially your kind. I am so disappointed, Hillary.


To our readers...
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.

Friday, May 23, 2008

An Angry McCain Shows Just What Type of Dirty Campaign He's Running. Somewhere Karl Rove is Smiling


Sen. Barack Obama took to the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday over a GI Bill co-sponsored by Vietnam veterans Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Ne). What followed was an in-your-face indication of the kind of dirty campaign Obama faces from Sen. John McCain, the GOP's presumptive nominee.

The Senate passed a $165 billion bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it includes the $51 billion GI Bill which expands education benefits for veterans. The bill passed 70 to 26 (25 Republicans, 48 Democrats and 2 independents) and will go before the House for final approval after the Memorial Day holiday.

The bill does not have the support of the White House, and it's expected that President Bush will veto it. And it is not supported by McCain, who was not present for the vote yesterday because he was out stumping in California. In opposing the measure, McCain is at odds with almost all of the major veterans' rights groups including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and VoteVets.org. Given his status as a Vietnam vet and decorated war hero, it's truly unbelievable how he could oppose increasing veterans' benefits. But crazy things happen in an election year.

Speaking to his Senate colleagues, Obama criticized McCain for not supporting the measure:

"I respect Sen. John McCain's service to our country. He is one of those heroes of which I speak. But I can't understand why he would line up behind the president in opposition to this GI Bill. I can't believe why he believes it is too generous to our veterans. I could not disagree with him and the president more on this issue."

In response, McCain issue a terse, angry, confrontational and ad hominem, off-message statement attacking Obama's patriotism and lack of military service, a theme you can bet is going to be his mantra for the next five months:

"I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did....Perhaps, if Senator Obama would take the time and trouble to understand this issue he would learn to debate an honest disagreement respectfully. But, as he always does, he prefers impugning the motives of his opponent, and exploiting a thoughtful difference of opinion to advance his own ambitions. If that is how he would behave as President, the country would regret his election."

Nice framing job, John. It's more of the same Rovian tactics we've come to know and hate these past eight years. Don't support the Iraq war, you say? Well then you must be against the troops. This sort of convoluted nuancing is straight out of Karl Rove's playbook. What McCain was essentially saying Thursday was, "you're against my vote? Then you're attacking my patriotism and military record." Additionally, the suggestion that Obama has no right to criticize McCain, or worse, discuss the merits of a veterans' benefits bill because he himself never served in the military, is both preposterous and offensive. Does McCain need to be a trucker in order to discuss and vote on a transportation bill? Does he need to be personally insolvent in order to discuss and vote on a bankruptcy bill? Does need to have been molested as a child in order to discuss and vote on a bill protecting children from predators? His logic is ridiculous.

And what about the shameless hypocrisy in McCain's fiery diatribe? Has he forgotten his blind, unconditional support these past five years of major war-mongering hawks like Bush, Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Pearle, who never served a day in the armed forces yet took it upon themselves to send 4000 U.S. troops to die in battle?

McCain's temper is legendary, and he's famous for flying off the handle at the drop of a hat. Certainly, his vitriolic reaction to Obama's very respectful comments was overly dramatic and highly overblown. Obama did not impugn McCain's integrity or military service. He went out of his way to recognize McCain's patriotism, something his petulant opponent chose to attack instead. What Obama criticized concerned McCain's position on this bill and his lack of support for it, not his personal character or service to his country. Might McCain be just a tad too sensitive? Defensive? Insecure? Angry? To use McCain's own words...If that is how he would behave as President, the country would regret his election.

McCain is quickly showing his true colors, despite for years presenting himself as above the fray of dirty politics. He offers himself as a candidate who wishes to run a more respectful, honest campaign, yet his actions of the past few weeks--including the incendiary remarks about Obama and Hamas and Iran appeasement--demonstrate that McCain's number one strategy is to lie to and deceive Americans over the issue of Obama's patriotism, or lack thereof. That Obama is a weak-kneed liberal who hates his country, hates the military, and who is the favorite-son of terrorist groups and the rogue nations who sponsor them. It's clear that McCain has no problem whatsoever saying whatever he feels he needs to say to attack Obama's character and patriotism in order to win in November.

This is just the start. It's going to get real ugly as November gets closer.


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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's Over. But Let's Just Hope We're Only Talking About the Democratic Nomination


"I'm never giving up, and I'm never giving in." That was the promise delivered Tuesday night by Sen. Hillary Clinton in her victory speech after having won the Kentucky primary in a 35% landslide. But as expected, she lost to Sen. Barack Obama by a solid 16% margin in the Oregon primary. The bottom-line? It's over. Chappaqua or bust. The proverbial fat lady has just sung her final note. While she may indeed fight until the very (no longer bitter) end, which she should for many reasons, the heretofore valiant campaign of Clinton, with this week's contests, unofficially comes to a close. The only thing that could have saved her was an upset in Oregon.

Welcome to 2008, the historic year in which a black candidate will represent one of the two major parties in the general election. Gives you goosebumps, especially when you think just 40-odd years ago blacks were being sprayed in the streets with high-pressure fire hoses, or refused service at "white-only" restaurants, or worse, beaten and killed simply for being black. America, we've come a long way, baby. Or have we?

Obama faces a mountainous uphill battle if he expects to become the 44th president of the Unites States. True, he has won many states, attracted many new voters into the process, and has a unique message of hope and change that's clearly resonated with many. But the simple truth is, America is still quite a racist country, as evidenced by the exit polling in Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio...states with large swaths of rural, blue-collar, white working class voters. Half of Kentucky's Democrats say they will not vote for Obama in the general election if he's the nominee. Similar numbers in the other states. About 20% say race is the factor. The other 80% are likely too embarrassed to publicly admit their racial prejudice.

Which is why Obama has a problem. A big problem. Kentucky and West Virginia are not the problem directly. As they did in 2000 and 2004, they are sure to vote red in November. But, what's significant, and can't be ignored, is that these states are a microcosm of key swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. States that Obama must win in the general election if he's to become president. Even NBC's Tim Russert, the well-respected pundit who weeks ago declared that it was over and that Obama would be the nominee, said that Tuesday's results "means Senator Obama has a lot of work to do." And the million-dollar question is, can he do it? Can he win over the so-called "Appalachian" voter? Can he pick up the white working class between now and November? Can he convince people who didn't vote for him because he's black to vote for him against the GOP's presumptive nominee, the very white Sen. John McCain, in November? I'm not so sure Obama can overturn centuries of deep-rooted racism, generations of racial intolerance, in just five months. I'm not so sure Obama will "automatically" pick up Clinton's supporters once things "settle down" after he's officially nominated...which is the picture his campaign and his supporters like to paint.

I still fear the scenario I first laid out weeks ago: that voters will give landslide victories to the Dems in the House and Senate, giving them an even greater majority, while putting the 'more experienced, moderate, battle-tested, tough-on-terrorism war-hero' McCain in the White House as a practical balance of power. I hope I'm wrong. I don't think I could stomach another heartbreaking presidential election where the Dems masterfully snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


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.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

There'll be "Race Riots" in The Streets?


And there you have it. The mother of all race cards. The thing that so many Democrats have quietly feared but haven't actually voiced. But one conservative pundit, Michelle Bernard, has been the only talking-head so far who's had either the bravado or the stupidity--I'm not exactly sure which--to actually say it out loud.

Appearing on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews Monday night, Bernard was part of a roundtable group discussing the Democratic primary battle between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama. Near the program's end the conversation turned to the likelihood that Obama will end up with a majority of delegates Tuesday, and what impact that would have on the remaining unpledged super delegates in closing out this rancorous nomination process. Bernard boldy predicted: "Hillary Clinton's gonna become the Ron Paul of the Democratic Party. There is no way the super delegates can take this away from Barack Obama. There will be race riots in the street if he wins enough super delegates..." And with that supremely irresponsible, reckless, race-baiting comment she was abruptly cut-off by an incredulous Matthews as he closed the show.

Bernard, president of the Independent Women's Forum, a conservative women's group founded in 1992 has, for some reason, become as ubiquitous on MSNBC as Matthews himself. She appears almost nightly on Hardball, and can also be found on the cable network's other political programs. First of all, she's a conservative, but is rarely if ever introduced as one. Next, she consistently showers Obama was such effusive on-air praise and support that one has to wonder whether or not there's some ulterior motive in play. Bernard's no dummy. She studied philosophy and political science at Howard University and received her law degree from Georgetown. It's at least fair to ask if Bernard's secret mission, suspected of so many other right-wingers in the media, is to promote Obama so feverishly because they believe they'd have a better chance of defeating him in November rather than Clinton?

But let's get back to the main issue here. The issue of Bernard's incredible race-baiting declaration. The whole primary process has driven both Democrats and Republicans mad. Many have done and said things that make absolutely no sense, that is of course unless race is the underlying factor. Let's take the whole super-delegate issue, for example. As every student of politics knows, the super delegate system was implemented 25 years ago to give party leaders and officials the power to decide the election if no candidate obtains the required minimum delegates; to choose a nominee if they felt that the people were sending an unelectable candidate into the general election. This was prompted by the weak campaigns of George McGovern in 1972 and Jimmy Carter in 1980. The responsibility of this elite group would be to ultimately decide, in extremely close elections exactly like the current Obama/Clinton battle in which neither candidate will reach the required 2209 pledged delegates necessary to win the nomination, who gets to represent the party in November. Dems da rules, kids. I ain't makin' this stuff up.

But something very strange has happened in 2008. People are forgetting the rules. People are forgetting why super delegates exist. People are saying that Obama should get the nomination simply because, on the last day of primaries, June 3rd, he'll have more delegates than Clinton. Wouldn't life be grand if it were that simple. If all a candidate needed was "the most" delegates we wouldn't have a 2209 minimum; we wouldn't need or have super delegates. We would simply just play out all the primaries and award the prize to the one who leads the delegate count at the end. No need to assess momentum, popular vote, overall electability or anything else.

Now, I'm going to go out on a very big limb here and say that race is at the root of this 2008 willful forgetfulness. That the rules are being overlooked because Obama is black. Because Democrats, as a general rule, are so insanely obsessed with being politically-correct that they cannot stomach the thought of how they'd be perceived within the black community if Obama's anticipated coronation were to be overturned. That yes, in the incendiary words of Bernard, there might even be...ssshhhh...get closer, I don't want to say this too loudly..."race riots in the streets" if this happened. So as a result, we have a legion of Democrats, Obama supporters, party officials and pundits declaring for months now that "it's over" and that Clinton should exit and let Obama assume what's rightfully his....rather than go about the process as the party intended 25 years ago when it created the super delegate system.

Now I know the above supposition will not make me popular. In fact, some might even say I'm crazy....maybe even call me a racist for it. But ya know what's really crazy? It's the ridiculous notion that the super delegate system wouldn't be operating as the party leaders planned had this year's tight battle been between two white men such as Sens. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd. Would we be pounding the table in absolute, unconditional support for Dodd if perhaps he led Biden by 150 delegates at the end of the primaries, but well short of the 2209 minimum? Would all the media's talking heads be saying... "Dodd's ahead by 150 delegates...how could the super delegates overturn the will of the people...that's unjust!" Would party officials and the media be rushing to get Biden out of the race early so that the "rightful nominee," Dodd, could declare victory? Hell no. There'd be all sorts of back-room analyzing and maneuvering to decide which of these old white guys would be best to send into the general election against the other side's old white guy. And that would be it. Just as the party planned it 25 years ago. And there'd be no rioting in the streets. Unless of course, had Dodd lost, the Connecticut Starbucks crowd took to the streets and started pelting the police with their grande double-decaf whipped low-fat mocha lattes.

Will super delegates abdicate their ultimate responsibility and send into the general election someone who they might feel is not the best, most electable candidate because they fear the repercussions of the black community and the PC police? Will Democrats simply close their eyes, cross their fingers and hope for the best this November? Is losing in November more palatable perhaps than being labeled a racist, who overturned the "will of the people" or who may have even caused...race riots?

The simple truth is, Hillary Clinton, for all her warts and unpopularity, has certainly given super delegates a fairly compelling narrative. Technically, she leads in popular vote; she has won most of the big, core blue states; has captured the critical Democratic base of white working class, women, seniors, Hispanics and Catholics; and, since March 1, has racked up more delegates and popular votes than Obama. Now before the Obamacans start frothing at the mouth, I'm not saying that these facts should make her, not Obama, the nominee. I'm not saying it should materially change anything. What I am saying though, is that these factors should rightfully give pause to the super delegates, and the media, so that the process, and both candidates, can be fully flushed out and vetted before anyone is coronated. That we should at least let the system work as the party leaders planned 25 years ago before we have a rabid chorus of "quit" from everyone. Again, would all this be happening if the names were Dodd and Biden instead of Clinton and Obama? I suspect not. And that's a damned shame.


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.

Monday, May 19, 2008

For Obama and Clinton, Oregon Holds All the Cards


Ok, so if this were Vegas, the smart money would be on Sen. Barack Obama getting the nomination. In fact, even the most loyal of Sen. Hillary Clinton's supporters knows deep down it's gonna take nothing short of a miracle for her coronation to occur this August at the Democratic Convention in Denver. While there's still more primaries to go, and the race is indeed not technically over, it's pretty safe to say it's, well, over. That is of course unless something very interesting happens tomorrow in Oregon.

To be sure, Obama's facing tough challenges ahead if he cannot obatin the support of the white working class, Hillary's bread and butter. That said, if Obama becomes the party's nominee, he is certain to bring in millions of new voters this November. Inspired by his message of hope and change, young people and blacks have been turning out in record numbers to vote for him, and this support could possibly not only offset losses from poor and middle class whites, but could also help Illinois' junior Senator in redrawing the electoral map in key regions of the United States, particularly the South.

Despite her big win in West Virginia last week, Clinton is still viewed by most as having run out of steam. Though she continues to vow to fight till the end, that end could be very near. And Oregon holds all the cards. Oregon, which holds its primary Tuesday along with Kentucky, is split east and west among rural and urban voters respectively, but has been widely viewed as Obama-country for some time now. Like Washington, Minnesota, Iowa and others, it has many of the wealthier, more educated white "Starbucks" crowd that has been a cornerstone of Obama's success this year. As late as last week he led Clinton by 20 points, but new polls out today like Suffolk show that lead has dwindled to 4%. The RealClearPolitics' average has him up by 10% still, but that indicator is not updated.

But the "Starbucks" crowd came aboard Obama's campaign early in the primary season, before the Rev. Wright implosion, before BitterGate, and before other controversies involving Obama and his wife (flag pin, pride, etc). Is Obama's hold on this group still as strong here in the middle of May? What if he loses Oregon tomorrow, or wins only by the barest of margins? What if the results show that Hillary gained on the Starbucks crowd, while Obama's support appreciably eroded? Would this enhance Hillary's narrative to the super-delegates? Would a measurable loss of support from one of his bread and butter constituencies--combined with his huge lack of support among the white working class--be just the watershed moment the super D's are looking for to convince them that she's successfully made her case that she's the more electable candidate against the GOP's Sen. John McCain? That Obama is the one who has truly run out of steam? That, even with his tremendous field operation, he could not win this state when he was previously up by 20 points? In this crazy election year, anything can happen. Oregon is expecting a record 65% turnout tomorrow. That makes things even more unpredictable. On the one hand, it's a safe bet that the youth vote will be a large part of that turnout. But, will Hillary's supporters be coming out in droves as well?

Now the flip side to all this is if, as predicted, Obama wins the state handily. If that happens, and he demonstrates that his core support has not diminished, then her narrative will not change from yesterday, and for all intents and purposes, the race is indeed over...as it certainly appears to be right now. Judging from how she has turned graceful in her campaigning these past couple of weeks, if she suffers a decisive blow in Oregon tomorrow, she'll likely just continue to quietly fade from the picture, or, perhaps finally quit her exhausting fight and go home to Chappaqua.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Holy Shit, What an Amazing Week for Barack Obama!


Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday lost by a 41% margin to Sen. Hillary Clinton in the West Virginia primary. By late Friday afternoon, he closed out one of the best, most exciting week's of his campaign. Ya gotta love politics.

Within 24 hours after his colossal loss to Hillary, his masterfully orchestrated endorsement by John Edwards served to erase this dismal performance in the Mountain State. Man, what a difference a day makes. And then came a mini-rush of delegates and super-delegates, including many previously pledged to Edwards.

That same day, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, in a surprise move announced its endorsement of Obama as well. NARAL had previously had a close relationhip with Hillary Clinton.

And then the unintended coup de grace came the next day, with President Bush's gift of thrusting Obama onto the world stage during his visit to Israel. Bush, never really known to actually do or say the right thing in his entire two terms in office, once again suffered from foot-in-mouth disease by comparing Obama to Neville Chamberlain, the late 1930's British Prime Minister whose policy of appeasement allowed Adolph Hitler and the Nazis to stormtroop across Europe. That was awfully generous of Bush to elevate Obama, while on foreign soil, to a level on par with the office of the president. Talk about instant legitimization. Bush made it abundantly clear that not only is Obama going to be the Democrats' nominee, but that two months before the Denver convention he's important enough to start attacking.

Bush's smear also gave Obama the opportunity to finally strike back hard and decisively against both Bush and Sen. John McCain, the GOP's presumptive nominee, who was all too happy to pile on this week and do some ObamaBashing of his own. It was great to see Obama come out swinging in his own defense, showing America that perhaps the toughness they've been wanting from him is actually there:

"I want to be perfectly clear with George Bush and John McCain and the people of South Dakota, if they want to have a debate about protecting the United States of America that's a debate I'm happy to have any time, any place, and that's a debate I will win any time because George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for." Amen, brother, amen.

Lastly, to close out the week, former GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee, while speaking at an NRA convention in Kentucky, responded to a loud crashing noise by joking to the gun-worshipping crowd that "That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off a chair. He was getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him, and he dove for the floor." Nice assassination joke from the God-fearing evangelical. Jeez, is this Republicans Gone Wild? If this reprehensible and irresponsible pandering doesn't garner heaps of newfound sympathy and support for Obama I don't know what will.


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.

Bush Officially Kicks Off GOP's Sleaze Campaign


President Bush has made so many utterly dumb statements during his eight years in office that K-Tel could compile a best-selling greatest-hits album. But nothing the Moron-in-Chief has said in the past is more idiotic, more outrageous, more offensive and more patently dishonest than his comments Thursday before the Israeli Knesset during his trip there to commemorate the country's 60th anniversary of independence.

Without any concern for historical accuracy or accusations of political pandering, Bush firmly injected himself and the White House squarely into the 2008 presidential campaign by attempting to further the myth that Democratic front runner Sen. Barack Obama would be weak on national security:

"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have an obligation to call this what it is: the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Shame on him. This sort of incendiary rhetoric coming from the President of the United States is dangerous and infuriating. It not only underscores just how despicably dirty the Repugs intend to play between now and November 4th, but it highlights the irony of the past eight years as well. The truth is, Bush/Cheney's foreign policy has done more harm to America and has weakened the U.S's national security more than anything. The invasion of Iraq has greatly invigorated and strengthened Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Al Qeada in their collective hatred and militancy towards the U.S. and Israel. And during Bush/Cheney, Osama bin Laden, the murderous beast who killed 4000 of our innocent civilians, has be allowed to roam the mountains of Pakistan, releasing more videos during this time than P.Diddy.

Bush's invoking of the Nazis and the Holocaust--just as he and the Rovians have conflated Iraq and al Qeada since the 9/11 attacks--is an insult to every Jew, Israeli and American. To stand before the Israeli Knesset on this most celebrated occasion to draw parallels between then-British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Adolph Hitler and Obama is nothing short of disgusting. To use the Israeli Parliamentary pulpit to spew this highly politicized partisan crap is a stain on the Oval Office and, to put it bluntly, a real cheap fucking shot.

Adding insult to injury, the GOP's presumptive nominee and Bush's fellow fear-monger Sen. John McCain hopped on the bandwagon just a couple of weeks after making his own highly inflammatory and irresponsible remarks about Obama and Hamas: "Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain," McCain said. Asked if he thought Obama was an appeaser for statements he supposedly made (but did not) about opening a dialogue directly with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, McCain danced around the question with: "I think that Barack Obama needs to explain why he wants to sit down and talk with a man who is the head of a government that is a state sponsor of terrorism, that is responsible for the killing of brave young Americans, that wants to wipe Israel off the map, who denies the Holocaust. That’s what I think Senator Obama ought to explain to the American people."

The hypocrisy in Bush's remarks is incredible, as he seems to be forgetting his own covert peace negotiations with Libya's brutal dictator and avowed terrorist Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the man admittedly responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Or what about President Richard M. Nixon’s cold-war reaching out to China, or President Ronald Reagan’s dealings with the Soviet Union? As President John F. Kennedy famously said, "Never negotiate out of fear, but never fear negotiation." Only a reckless, foolish cowboy swings first and talks second. But that's our Bush....brought to you by a 71% disapproval rating, the lowest in modern history.

Even if Obama said (which he didn't) that a U.S president should dialogue directly with the leaders of America's enemy countries, what's wrong with that? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right? There's a really big difference between talking and appeasement. Chamberlain greatly miscalculated during the period 1937-1939 when he pursued a policy of appeasement in an effort to contain Adolf Hitler by foolishly allowing the Nazi murderer to waltz through and occupy Czechoslovakia as part of the Munich Agreement. But merely talking with your enemy is not appeasement. Bush knows this, of course, but his appetite for pandering to America's Jews during a critical election year is just too insatiable. But will Jews in Broward Country , Florida and elsewhere buy this fear-mongering bullshit yet again? Who knows. But the impact on Obama, already under intense scrutiny by Jewish voters and evangelicals over Israel, could be significant, and is clearly becoming the Repugs' trump card in their effort to win in November. With 82% of Americans believing the economy's in recession, this is all the GOP has to run on. And it's a very familiar strategy, right out of the Rovian playbook: fear, fear and more fear.

In response to the overwhelming negative reaction to Bush's comments, the White House has issued a statement saying the president was not speaking about Obama. Yeah, right. Who the hell was he speaking about then? Just when you think Bush cannot possibly insult our intelligence with any more lies and deception, he opens his mouth and out pops another beaut.

Get ready, Democrats. The Repugs' sleaze campaign is solidly underway. You could almost hear and see Karl "The Wizard" Rove's butt peaking out from behind the curtain. And it's only going to get worse. Assuming Obama's the likely nominee, his fully gassed-up Swiftboat has just left shore. Rough, icy waters are ahead.


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, May 15, 2008

Appearance Today on Sirius Radio Channel 110


For those of you with Sirius Satellite Radio, please tune in today at 5:30 EST to "The Blog Bunker" political talk show on Indie Talk channel 110. I'll be interviewed for about 30 minutes on the 2008 presidential election, including the latest on the Democratic campaign between Obama and Clinton; Hillary's chances; the Edwards endorsement; the role of the super-delegates; McCain and the GOP; and more.

The Blog Bunker airs Monday-Friday from 5PM-6PM EST.

What Value Does the Edwards Endorsement Really Provide?


John Edwards, the former Senator from North Carolina, delivered what appeared to be a stinging blow to the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton Wednesday by finally publicly declaring his support for Sen. Barack Obama in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Ever since he unintentionally tipped his hat last week on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program and indicated his preference for Illinois' junior Senator, it became clear that an official endorsement was imminent. But what exactly does this mean for Obama? Does having Edwards' support, now, really mean anything?

Over the past few months, the anticipated Edwards endorsement, along with those of other key party leaders such as Al Gore, have become the subject of great mystery among the political punditry. But historically, and especially this year, such endorsements have provided little or no value to the candidates receiving them. While everyone sits on he edge of their seats waiting for Gore's decision, few remember that Howard Dean's 2004 campaign sank nearly the moment Gore gave his thumbs up. And what about Obama's campaign this year? Semi-manic table-pounding by select members of the Kennedy clan--including Caroline and Uncle Teddy--failed to deliver the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Are we also forgetting that, as a vice presidential running mate, Edwards failed to deliver for Sen. John Kerry the state of North Carolina, where he was raised and served as a U.S. Senator from 1998-2004? And before he dropped out of this year's contest in late January, he ran third in his birth state, South Carolina, behind Clinton and Obama...a state he carried in his 2004 bid for the White House. So since 2004, he's become less popular in the all-important South? Is it fairly safe to say that all the hoopla surrounding the Edwards endorsement might be a tad overblown? That in Obama's quest to win over the white working class, the uber-rich trial attorney with the $400 haircuts might not be the answer?

To be sure, Edwards' 18 delegates is indeed a bounty, and Clinton and her supporters would certainly love to have gotten not only Edwards' endorsement, but more so these much-needed delegates as well. But, there's no guarantee these delegates will automatically cast their votes for Obama simply at Edwards' instruction. That decision is theirs, not his. So it remains to be seen just what value, ultimately, this endorsement will truly bring.

Clinton is waging a tough campaign and has vowed to fight till the end, whether that's June 3rd, the day of the last primary, or all the way to the Denver convention in August. But with each passing day, as more and more delegates and super-delegates tip Obama's way, it's going to take a miracle for Clinton to snag this nomination. But again, the jury is still out in terms of how much the simple math will ultimately play in the super D's decision-making. Let's give Hillary some credit, but not just for being a tough, resilient fighter. The truth is, her protracted battle against Obama, contrary to earlier concerns, has been great for the party. The Democratic campaign has dominated the news 24/7. The GOP's presumptive nominee, Sen. John McCain, is nowhere to be found.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Does Hillary Deserve the Nomination? It's Not the Math, Stupid


Sen. Hillary Clinton defeated Sen. Barack Obama by a landslide in Tuesday's West Virginia primary. She won by a 67%-26% margin, and picked up about 140,000 popular votes and about 20 delegates, thus narrowing Obama's lead to about 460,000 votes and 145 delegates. But let's be very clear about one critical point: no Democrat has won the White House without winning West Virgina since 1916. And Clinton won the state by capturing an overwhelming majority of white, rural and working-class voters...the party's bread and butter. Tuesday's results, when combined with those of other key states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Indiana, should scare the bajesus out of any sane Democrat. The simple truth is, without the white working class vote, Obama cannot and will not win the general election against the GOP's presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain.

But that won't stop the Obama camp and its legion of supporters from continuing to point to the math to justify their candidate's claim to the nomination. The math. That collection of seemingly decisive metrics that they believe so clearly gives victory to the junior Senator from Illinois. But it's not the math, stupid. The job of super-delegates is not to merely wake up on the first day of the Denver convention, check the newspaper for the latest delegate total, and cast their vote for who's ever in the lead. If choosing the nominee were that simple, we wouldn't need super-delegates. We'd have a very clear rule that says to win the nomination a candidate needs 2209 delegates...or the most delegates by the time primaries end. But that's not the current system. Rather, super-delegates are charged with the responsibility of selecting the most electable candidate, and the math is just one element factored into the equation. As former DNC chair and Clinton Campaign head Terry McAuliffe likes to say, "It's not over until a candidate gets 2209 delegates." If that doesn't happen, all bets are off.

When pundits and the Obama supporters use the math to bolster his position, you don't hear much about the pre-March/post-March math. But take a look at these stats: since March 1st, Clinton has won 400 delegates to Obama's 392, and 5,857,517 popular votes to Obama's 5,511,513. Pretty interesting, huh? Kind of changes the whole math myth, doesn't it? Truly puts everything in perspective, especially as argued by the Clinton campaign. Should the super-delegates, as the Obamacans would like, ignore what the numbers behind the numbers indicate?

It's important to note that, with the exception of his big win in North Carolina last week, Obama's campaign has been stagnant since he racked up an impressive string of victories in February. Since then, as the above data clearly indicates, the momentum has been all Clinton's. She's won the big key blue swing states, won both the delegate count and the popular vote, and held her own with impressive gains in polls against both Obama and McCain. She's clearly come into her own voice and connected with a critical part of the party's base, and has without question run a better campaign for the past three months. It's been she, not he, who's looked, acted and sounded like a winner. It's been Clinton, not Obama, who's impressed many on both sides of the aisle with her tenacity, resilience and ability to fight.

What about Obama's impressive early wins in states like Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota...where he not only won some key swing states, but also won the white vote? Well, the key word there is early. January and February--three and four months ago--is an eternity in politics. A lot has happened since then. Obama's campaign right now is in a virtual tie with Clinton as a result of his early and decisive victories. But they occurred before the Rev. Wright implosion. Before Bittergate, and the ensuing charges of elitism. It was before the country truly got to know Obama; who he is, and what he stands for. Is it a reasonable question to ask that, if there were do-overs in those states today, would he still win, and win as big? The results of some of the more recent primaries suggests not. And let's be sure about Iowa: Obama did not win core rural white, older voters as many claim. He won, as he typically has, with a younger, more educated, affluent constituency. The typical caucus voter.

To be fair to Obama, he has aroused tremendous excitement among Democrats heretofore disinterested in politics: the young and blacks. And he also trumps Clinton when it comes to Independents. All three constituencies could come out in record numbers and be critical in Obama's attempt to perhaps win without the core white working class vote....as well as women, Hispanics, Catholics and Jews. That's the million-dollar question, and this election, like none before it, could very well be the one where the map and the Democratic base, shifts in a highly unpredictable manner. But history proves otherwise, so it's a longshot. A longshot that a Democrat can win the general election without the historic base. Without states like West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

So what do the next few weeks look like? Odds are, Clinton will have another resounding victory in Kentucky next week, while Obama is favored in Oregon. But, could Oregon provide an upset for Hillary? What happens if the events of the past three months give that state's voters pause, pushing them into Clinton's corner? Wouldn't that be a sure-fire sign that Obama's in deep trouble? And then there's Puerto Rico, with it's millions of voters and 55 delgates. Hillary is predicted to win handily here. That leaves Montana and South Dakota, which at this point could go either way. Come June 3rd, when the last primary is over, the delegate count and the popular vote tally could be quite different than today, and Clinton's momentum could be that much greater. She could be ahead in polls against Obama and in a head-to-head against McCain. And when Michigan and Florida are factored in, which they surely will be soon, the overall picture could change even more dramatically in Clinton's favor. At that point, her narrative to the super-delegates could be very, very compelling.

As any statistician worth his weight will tell you, numbers by themselves mean nothing. It's all in the interpretation. It's not the math, stupid.


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.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Putting Cable News Under a Microscope


What's an avowed political junkie to do when he's knocked on his ass for almost two weeks with a debilitating ear infection and flu before a major election? While the doc had me on more dope than Keith Richards at Altamont, my drug of choice quickly became 24/7 cable news.

As I lay I bed this past week with more fluid oozing out of my head than a sump-pumped Wayne, NJ basement after a rainstorm, I realized that my life would never be the same. I had officially hit bottom. Ive watched enough "Interventions" on TV to know that when the addict throws down the needle in disgust--as I have now done with the TV remote--that he's had enough and is ready to quit. It took one straight week of non-stop political commentary for me to finally realize how cable news had not only driven me crazy, but just how much it was negatively impacting politics as well.

When you watch MSNBC or CNN in very small doses, like anything, it's a healthy diversion and you may actually learn something. But watching as much as I just have, you realize what an endless, vicious cycle it is, regurgitating the same drivel to the point where the pundits' "analysis" becomes as recognizable as a midnight Rocky Horror screening. You begin to realize just how much time these people have on their hands to fill, because you're right along with them in real time. Do you have any idea what it takes to fill an entire day and night with inane chatter about two primaries? They give you the news once, and then discuss, analyze and regurgitate it ad nauseum. I don't know what hurt more: the ice pick-like stabbing pain in my ear or the sound of Joe Scarborough blathering on incessently about how Clinton's "gonna make history" Tuesday with two big wins.

Its no wonder how "scandals" like the Rev Wright controversy become the elephant in the room. It's because the "room" is a circus, and it's ringleaders are people like Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough, Keith Olbermann, Wolf Blitzer and George Stephanopoulos. They sanctimoniously decry the insignificance of these stories as they shamelessly ram them down our collective throats 24/7 to fill that gargantuan air time. The cable news media feeds on this crap like a hungry shark. Even those smallest of stories now becomes a "SomethingGate" that gets over-analyzed and beaten to death round-the-clock. And the networks have a never-ending supply of "experts" at the ready to dissect these stories to the point of exhaustion.

And the net effect of all this is that politicians get trapped in this bubble of sensationalism, as evidenced by the recent Pennsylvania debate where the first 50 minutes were spent on BitterGate, BosniaGate and Rev Wright. Or on last week's Meet the Press interview of Sen. Barack Obama where host Tim Russert dedicated a similar percentage of his show's opening to these same hot-button issues. Is it any wonder then why only about 16% of voters rank the Irag war as their #1 priority? Were it not for these 24 hour cable news networks bottom-feeding in an effort to fill time we might just have an electorate that could be focused on the issues that really matter, such as the war, national security, the economy, gas prices, anemic employment and health care. Instead, the networks parade in front of the camera every Tom, Dick and Harry who's ever worked in politics to micro-chatter about the most meaningless, National Enquirer-like drivel which in turn prevents these stories from ever dying. And it's a colossal distraction from what truly matters. But sadly, what truly matters is, well, dull. Not as exciting as Rev Wright and a lying Hillary on a Bosnian tarmac.

There came a point where I literally felt dirty watching so much of this garbage. I felt like an addict, knowing I was doing something bad, wrong, destructive...yet unable for a time to stop. And then the moment of truth came. Following Tuesday's Indiana and North Carolina primaries, I listened as analyst after analyst, pundit after pundit, blathered on about the results as if they actually knew something. As if anything they had said or predicted the previous day had any credibility or accuracy one day later. They were all wrong, yet no one owned up. They just kept spinning. The bottom line is, nobody knows anything. It's just opinion. And the polls clearly prove little either. They're all over the place. You can find a poll to substantiate any position. To support any claim. And that's precisely what takes place all day on MSNBC and CNN. Obama and Clinton surrogates making their biased cases why their candidate is the rightful nominee. The cliquishness of it all is sooooooo high school. This is the point where I decided I could no longer participate. News flash: this junkie's in rehab. From this point on, it's the NY Times and my nightly hour of Hardball and I'm done. Anything beyond that and I just might put a bullet in my head.

The one thing to come out of this past week that amazed me though is that Pat Buchanan never sleeps. Here's a guy who I swear was writing speeches for Woodrow Wilson, and he's on the tube at 1am and right back on "Morning Joe" at 7am. Maybe Buchanan's the only one with enough stamina to take that 3am White House call??


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, May 01, 2008

If I Were Advising Obama...


Since in my fantasy Sen. Barack Obama reads this blog and heeds my advice when dispensed (see 4/29 piece), I have another suggestion for the Democratic frontrunner. As soon as he can, before next Tuesday's Indiana and North Carolina primaries in fact, Obama needs to refute the potentially damaging "elitist" charge with the same honesty and bravado as his denouncement this week of his controversial pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Here's the gist of what I'd have him say:

"Over the past couple of weeks, stemming from a speech I gave in San Francisco where I unfortunately chose some wrong words to describe the frustration I believed small town America has with the current administration, I've been accused of being an elitist. Let's get something straight: I am not an elitist, in no way shape or form. To the contrary, I embody the American dream. I am living proof that a poor, mixed race young man, raised in a broken home by a single mother, can harness his intelligence, determination and ambition to attend, on scholarship, the finest schools in the country. And after graduating, rather than grab the huge salary that was offered me by the most prestigious law firms in the nation, I instead chose a life of public service. And here I stand before you as a Democratic candidate for president of the Unites States of America. Yes, living proof that the American dream is alive and well. This is not something to be ashamed of, but instead proud. I have become what every mother and father across low-income America wishes for their child. I am a perfect example of how the system can and does work. But make no mistake: I am not an elitist. Don't let anyone, especially my opponents, who've come from wealthy or prominent military families, tell you that I am an elitist. I may have fancy degrees, but I come from where you come from. I've lived where you live. And I understand what you go through each and every day. And I have fought for you ever since I began public service, and I will continue to fight for you as president."

C'mon, Barack...get this message out there and you just might win big on Tuesday.