Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
So many readers seem to be feeling it. I have too. But remember what we're dealing with here: last fall, no one gave Obama a chance. It was always a very long shot. When I wrote that Obama piece, Clinton was ahead by at least 20 points and it wasn't budging a jot. Every pundit also expected the classic Clinton-Giuliani set-up for 2008: the perfect boomer red-blue battle. It didn't happen. The Republicans, from a smaller and demoralized base, gave us McCain. And the Clintons have lost the mathematical chance of winning the nomination by any fair means. The change has already happened.
Obama is a freshman senator; he is 46 years old; he is African-American; he is a liberal - even if he is very gifted in talking to conservatives. He has taken on the biggest brand and machine in American politics, the Clintons, and won. If you didn't think this would be an uphill struggle, you've been deluded. Of course, race will not go away; it will come back again and again and again. Of course, generational resistance will not go away: Obama is a big leap for the over 50s for all sorts of reasons. Of course, the usual Rovian tactics will be used against him - brutally. He does represent real change - culturally, politically, and in terms of global politics. Politicians who represent real change do not win easily; they usually require a real crisis to rise. That's how RFK and MLK emerged - in crisis, after being smeared (sometimes with a grain of truth) and finally assassinated. That's how Reagan and Thatcher emerged. We forget how their chances were considered flimsy for so long.
Obama is still in this; and the Wright fiasco gives him a chance to remove this cloud and address it again. He has the most votes, the most states, the most money, the most new voters and the most delegates and the most Senators on his side. This is no time for a failure of nerve - on the part of the Obama team or his supporters.
The only way past this is through it. And it's not just up to Obama; it's up to those of us who see him as a vehicle for real change.
I'm have mixed feelings about this.
Part of me wants to cheer Barack for growing a pair and responding (as I would have if I were him) to what was clearly Wright throwing him "under the bus" (which Obama did not do to him).
But part of me is afraid... Very afraid... of the potential fallout from this both in some parts of the black community (where folks agree with Wright's assessment of America), and the voting populous who may see this as pandering to get poll numbers and vote totals to rise.
As a blogger called "Scientific" recently pointed out on TPM, Wright did Obama a disservice of the highest order in his recent comments...
Ever heard the crab-in-the-barrel syndrome? Put a bunch of crabs in a barrel. As one draws closer to the top of his barrel, nearing his escape, one of the other crabs would reach up and pull his fellow crab back down. Another one goes up, another one comes down. This process continues until someone rescues all of them, or they die in the barrel.
For this reason, I'm done with Jeremiah Wright. Barack Obama should be, too.
Overall, I'm pleased with Obama's response.
Even if this tanks his candidacy, he showed fortitude and integrity.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Other than ensuring the Greatest Show on Earth will continue, does it matter that Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama Tuesday in Pennsylvania by nine-plus points? Barack Obama is the nominee.
No matter how many kicks the rest of us find in such famously fun primary states as Indiana and South Dakota, it's going to be McCain versus Obama in 2008.
I believe the cement set around the Clinton coffin last Friday. The Obama campaign announced it had received the support of former Sens. Sam Nunn of North Carolina and David Boren of Oklahoma.
Both are what some of us nostalgically call Serious Democrats. They represent what the party was, but is no more: sensible on national security, spending and middle-class values. Obama receiving their imprimatur is like hands reaching out from the graves of FDR, JFK and LBJ to announce: "Enough is enough. This man is your nominee. Go forth and fight with the Republicans." Make no mistake: Superdelegates with sway took notice.
Barack Obama has effectively won the nomination.
Every pundit, analyst, and blogger who has done the math (I'm not even going to bother including links because there are simply too many of them) all come up with the same reality:
Hillary. Can't. Win.
It has now gone from an improbability to a mathematical impossibility for her to surpass Obama in pledged delegates, popular vote, or states won.
Even if she were to include Florida.
As Keith Olbermann pointed out on Countdown last night...
even if she included Michigan as well (where Obama wasn't even on the ballot), she would only be ahead in the popular vote by about 100,000 votes.
But, as Keith also (brilliantly) noted, the only way to make Michigan remotely fair would be to give Obama the "Uncommitted" votes that would rightfully be his.
This would put him back in the lead in the popular vote.
At this point she is merely pulling a "Huckabee" and hanging on for a "miracle".
Which, even people of faith know wont happen.
The only conceivable path to the nomination for her is for the superdelegates to foolishly decide to defy all logic and wisdom by essentially voting for her against the collective will of the people.
Which, of course, will piss off scores of voters and lead to a guaranteed loss in November at best.
Barack Obama is now the presumptive democratic presidential nominee for 2008.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Whatever you think of Louis Farrakhan is irrelevant here.
The fact is, the Clinton camp has painted Jeremiah Wright's praise of Farrakhan as tremendously negative, and has hammered Obama for his association with Wright.
Yet another shining example of Hillary's hypocrisy.
Shame on you Hillary! You must now denounce and reject Ed Rendell!
Monday, April 21st, 2008
My Vote's for Obama (if I could vote) ...by Michael Moore
I don't get to vote for President this primary season. I live in Michigan. The party leaders (both here and in D.C.) couldn't get their act together, and thus our votes will not be counted.
So, if you live in Pennsylvania, can you do me a favor? Will you please cast my vote -- and yours -- on Tuesday for Senator Barack Obama?
I haven't spoken publicly 'til now as to who I would vote for, primarily for two reasons: 1) Who cares?; and 2) I (and most people I know) don't give a rat's ass whose name is on the ballot in November, as long as there's a picture of JFK and FDR riding a donkey at the top of the ballot, and the word "Democratic" next to the candidate's name.
Seriously, I know so many people who don't care if the name under the Big "D" is Dancer, Prancer, Clinton or Blitzen. It can be Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Barry Obama or the Dalai Lama.
Well, that sounded good last year, but over the past two months, the actions and words of Hillary Clinton have gone from being merely disappointing to downright disgusting. I guess the debate last week was the final straw. I've watched Senator Clinton and her husband play this game of appealing to the worst side of white people, but last Wednesday, when she hurled the name "Farrakhan" out of nowhere, well that's when the silly season came to an early end for me. She said the "F" word to scare white people, pure and simple. Of course, Obama has no connection to Farrakhan. But, according to Senator Clinton, Obama's pastor does -- AND the "church bulletin" once included a Los Angeles Times op-ed from some guy with Hamas! No, not the church bulletin!
This sleazy attempt to smear Obama was brilliantly explained the following night by Stephen Colbert. He pointed out that if Obama is supported by Ted Kennedy, who is Catholic, and the Catholic Church is led by a Pope who was in the Hitler Youth, that can mean only one thing: OBAMA LOVES HITLER!
Yes, Senator Clinton, that's how you sounded. Like you were nuts. Like you were a bigot stoking the fires of stupidity. How sad that I would ever have to write those words about you. You have devoted your life to good causes and good deeds. And now to throw it all away for an office you can't win unless you smear the black man so much that the superdelegates cry "Uncle (Tom)" and give it all to you.
But that can't happen. You cast your die when you voted to start this bloody war. When you did that you were like Moses who lost it for a moment and, because of that, was prohibited from entering the Promised Land.
How sad for a country that wanted to see the first woman elected to the White House. That day will come -- but it won't be you. We'll have to wait for the current Democratic governor of Kansas to run in 2016 (you read it here first!).
There are those who say Obama isn't ready, or he's voted wrong on this or that. But that's looking at the trees and not the forest. What we are witnessing is not just a candidate but a profound, massive public movement for change. My endorsement is more for Obama The Movement than it is for Obama the candidate.
That is not to take anything away from this exceptional man. But what's going on is bigger than him at this point, and that's a good thing for the country. Because, when he wins in November, that Obama Movement is going to have to stay alert and active. Corporate America is not going to give up their hold on our government just because we say so. President Obama is going to need a nation of millions to stand behind him.
I know some of you will say, 'Mike, what have the Democrats done to deserve our vote?' That's a damn good question. In November of '06, the country loudly sent a message that we wanted the war to end. Yet the Democrats have done nothing. So why should we be so eager to line up happily behind them?
I'll tell you why. Because I can't stand one more friggin' minute of this administration and the permanent, irreversible damage it has done to our people and to this world. I'm almost at the point where I don't care if the Democrats don't have a backbone or a kneebone or a thought in their dizzy little heads. Just as long as their name ain't "Bush" and the word "Republican" is not beside theirs on the ballot, then that's good enough for me.
I, like the majority of Americans, have been pummeled senseless for 8 long years. That's why I will join millions of citizens and stagger into the voting booth come November, like a boxer in the 12th round, all bloodied and bruised with one eye swollen shut, looking for the only thing that matters -- that big "D" on the ballot.
Don't get me wrong. I lost my rose-colored glasses a long time ago.
It's foolish to see the Democrats as anything but a nicer version of a party that exists to do the bidding of the corporate elite in this country. Any endorsement of a Democrat must be done with this acknowledgement and a hope that one day we will have a party that'll represent the people first, and laws that allow that party an equal voice.
Finally, I want to say a word about the basic decency I have seen in Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton continues to throw the Rev. Wright up in his face as part of her mission to keep stoking the fears of White America. Every time she does this I shout at the TV, "Say it, Obama! Say that when she and her husband were having marital difficulties regarding Monica Lewinsky, who did she and Bill bring to the White House for 'spiritual counseling?' THE REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT!"
But no, Obama won't throw that at her. It wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be decent. She's been through enough hurt. And so he remains silent and takes the mud she throws in his face.
That's why the crowds who come to see him are so large. That's why he'll take us down a more decent path. That's why I would vote for him if Michigan were allowed to have an election.
But the question I keep hearing is... 'can he win? Can he win in November?' In the distance we hear the siren of the death train called the Straight Talk Express. We know it's possible to hear the words "President McCain" on January 20th. We know there are still many Americans who will never vote for a black man. Hillary knows it, too. She's counting on it.
Pennsylvania, the state that gave birth to this great country, has a chance to set things right. It has not had a moment to shine like this since 1787 when our Constitution was written there. In that Constitution, they wrote that a black man or woman was only "three fifths" human. On Tuesday, the good people of Pennsylvania have a chance for redemption.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Now, Clinton surrogate Lanny Davis stoops to a new low with his blatant fanning of the Rev. Wright flames (considered by many, black and white, to be a "dead horse" at this point) in the Wall Street Journal today.
Davis' FUD (obviously aimed at superdelegates), raises questions that either no one is asking or, more probably, no one cares about.
Indeed, the national and state polls reflect the "non-issue" status the Wright flap has been relegated to in the minds of voters.
Obama leads by nearly 7 points in the national average, and has been steadily closing the gaps in states that were believed to be easy victories for Clinton.
The real irony is that the recent decline in Clinton's poll numbers had nothing to do with the Obama campaign.
Rather Clinton and her subordinates have shot themselves in the foot successively over the last few weeks.
Mr. Davis has chosen (unwisely) to raise the Wright specter in a desperate attempt to take the attention off of Hillary's recent cavalcade of blunders, missteps, and outright lies.
Sorry Lanny, it wont work. The public is on to you and your not-so-fearless leader.
The voters are simply not that stupid, and are bound to be insulted by your assumption that they are.
by Jan Hartman (Posted on Melissa Harris-Lacewell's blog):
1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has “evolved,” yet he’s continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1
2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain “will make Cheney look like Gandhi.”2
3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3
4. McCain opposes a woman’s right to choose. He said, “I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned.”4
5. The Children’s Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children’s health care bill last year, then defended Bush’s veto of the bill.5
6. He’s one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a “second job” and skip their vacations.6
7. Many of McCain’s fellow Republican senators say he’s too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: “The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He’s erratic. He’s hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”7
8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8
9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his “spiritual guide,” Rod Parsley, believes America’s founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a “false religion.” McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church “the Antichrist” and a “false cult.”9
10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10
1. “The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day,” ABC News, April 3, 2008
“McCain Facts,” ColorOfChange.org, April 4, 2008
2. “McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq,” Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008
“Buchanan: John McCain ‘Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,’” ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008
3. “McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill,” ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008
4. “McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned,” MSNBC, February 18, 2007
5. “2007 Children’s Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard,” February 2008
“McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion,” CNN, October 3, 2007
6. “Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady,” Associated Press, April 3, 2008
“McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,’” Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008
7. “Will McCain’s Temper Be a Liability?,” Associated Press, February 16, 2008
“Famed McCain temper is tamed,” Boston Globe, January 27, 2008
8. “Black Claims McCain’s Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: ‘I Don’t Know What The Criticism Is,’” ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008
“McCain’s Lobbyist Friends Rally ‘Round Their Man,” ABC News, January 29, 2008
9. “McCain’s Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam,” Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008
“Will McCain Specifically ‘Repudiate’ Hagee’s Anti-Gay Comments?,” ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008
“McCain ‘Very Honored’ By Support Of Pastor Preaching ‘End-Time Confrontation With Iran,’” ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008
10. “John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record,” Sierra Club, February 28, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
From Carib World News:
Former President Bill Clinton touched down in Puerto Rico yesterday, hoping to drum up support for his wife`s race for the White House. But on the ground, there is a growing swell of support for Hillary Clinton`s rival, Barack Obama.
Bill Clinton may be hoping that his promise on behalf of his wife of jobs to residents on the U.S. dependent territory would resonate with voters going to the June 1 poll. But ahead of the former President`s visit, former Governor Rafael Hernandez Colon joined the growing group of leaders jumping on the Obama bandwagon.
Colon said he endorsed the candidacy of Barak Obama, (D-Ill), because Obama's opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton, (D-NY), co-sponsored U.S. Senate legislation favorable to statehood for the island.
Speaking to the Latino-Latin American Studies Program at Syracuse University, Hernandez Colon cited a controversial bill introduced into the U.S. Senate in 2006 by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fl) and Ken Salazar (D-Colo), calling for a referendum in Puerto Rico. Hillary Clinton co-sponsored the measure which was opposed by Hernandez Colon, a former three-time governor and the elder statesman of the Popular Democratic Party. A similar bill is currently going through the U.S. House of Representatives and is also opposed by the PDP.
`One thing that was clear to Congress from the beginning: Puerto Rico was not destined for statehood,` Hernandez Colon was quoted as saying in Syracuse. `American nationalism and cultural identity regarded us as an alien culture. Therefore, Puerto Rico was not named an incorporated territory... destined for statehood. We would belong to, but not be part of, the United States.`
Meanwhile Pedro Pierluisi, the candidate of the New Progressive Party for Resident Commissioner in Washington, also announced that he met with Obama in Philadephia last month to pledge his support for the Illinois senator. He released a photograph of the two and a statement by Obama regarding Puerto Rico.
Friday, April 4, 2008
MSNBC reports (via AP):
Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared Thursday to deny published reports that she told New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson that Barack Obama cannot win the general election. But her campaign aides later said the New York senator had misunderstood the question.
"That's a no," she said at a news conference when asked if she had made the comment to Richardson, after saying she wouldn't discuss details of their discussion.
"We have been going back and forth in this campaign of who said what to whom and let me say this, that I don't talk about private conversations but I have consistently made the case that I can win," Clinton said.
Spokesman Mo Elleithee later said Clinton had misheard the question and thought she was being pressed anew on whether she'd be willing to disclose what she'd said to Richardson, who eventually endorsed Obama — and not her — for the Democratic presidential nomination.
"Senator Clinton was simply reiterating what she had just said — she doesn't talk about private conversations," Elleithee said.
Hillary Clinton's chief campaign strategist met with Colombia's ambassador to the U.S. on Monday to discuss a bilateral free-trade agreement, a pact the presidential candidate opposes.
Attendance by the adviser, Mark Penn, was confirmed by two Colombian officials. He wasn't there in his campaign role, but in his separate job as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, an international communications and lobbying firm. The firm has a contract with the South American nation to promote congressional approval of the trade deal, among other things, according to filings with the Justice Department. (See the related article.)
Clinton strategist and public-relations specialist Mark Penn, pictured here after a Democratic debate in New Hampshire in January, met this week with Colombia's ambassador to discuss a bilateral trade deal.
Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, Mr. Penn's campaign-consulting firm, received more than $10 million in payments from the Clinton campaign as of the end of February, according to federal election filings.
Mr. Penn declined to comment. Howard Wolfson, communications director for Sen. Clinton's campaign, said in an email that "Mark was not there on behalf of the campaign" and referred further questions to Burson-Marsteller. "Sen. Clinton's opposition to the trade deal with Colombia is clear," Mr. Wolfson added.
A Burson-Marsteller spokesman didn't return calls or emails seeking comment.
Clinton campaign strategist Mark Penn said Friday it was an "error in judgment" for him to meet with the Colombian ambassador to advocate for a free-trade agreement Hillary Clinton has said she opposes.
"The meeting was an error in judgment that will not be repeated and I am sorry for it," Penn said in an issued statement. "The senator's well known opposition to this trade deal is clear and was not discussed."
The meeting, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, occurred Monday. Penn appears to have been acting in his role as chief executive of the international communications and lobbying firm, Burson-Marsteller Worldwide. The Colombian Embassy hired the firm to help achieve congressional approval of a bill allowing free trade with the country — a proposal Clinton has sharply criticized.
Clinton chief strategist Mark Penn "met with Colombia's ambassador to the U.S. on Monday to discuss a bilateral free-trade agreement, a pact the presidential candidate opposes. Attendance by the adviser, Mark Penn, was confirmed by two Colombian officials. He wasn't there in his campaign role, but in his separate job as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, an international communications and lobbying firm. The firm has a contract with the South American nation to promote congressional approval of the trade deal, among other things, according to filings with the Justice Department."
Also this unrelated gem...
Appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night, NBC’s John Boxley reports, Clinton managed to joke about her Bosnia misspeak, saying: “It is so great to be here you know, I was afraid I wasn’t going to make it… Why? Yeah, I was pinned down by sniper fire.”
Apparently she thinks her blatant lies are funny now.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Hillary Clinton’s lead in the Pennsylvania Primary is shrinking.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Pennsylvania shows Clinton leading Barack Obama by just five percentage points, 47% to 42%.
For Clinton, her fifteen-point advantage in early March over Obama has evaporated.
Support for Clinton slipped from 52% early in March, to 51% in mid-month, 49% a week ago, and 47% today. During that same time frame, support for Obama has increased from 37% to 42%.
I had (still have) my doubts about him winning PA, but he's closing the gap a lot quicker than I expected.
A key Hillary Clinton supporter appeared to be a bit off message during a recent interview with a Canadian radio station.
"If I had to make a prediction right now, I'd say Barack Obama is going to be the next president," Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said in a Canadian public radio interview this weekend. "I will be stunned if he's not the next president of the United States."
group of prominent Pennsylvania Jews endorsed U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in advance of the state's April 22 primary.
In a letter to the state's Jewish community, some 60 Jewish politicians, rabbis and community leaders dismissed concerns raised about Obama's commitment to Israel, praised his response to the controversial statements of his pastor and urged them to support the Illinois lawmaker in the Democratic primary.
Among the signatories were two Jewish Pennsylvania legislators -- Reps. Josh Shapiro and Daylin Leach.
"Senator Obama has earned our respect and gratitude because of his support for traditional Jewish values and his commitment to a peaceful and prosperous Israel," the letter said.
The letter also lauded Obama's recent speech in which he repudiated the views of his controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., and compared support for Obama to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel's famous description of marching for civil rights in Selma as "praying with his feet."
"We have each chosen to pray with our feet and stand with Barack Obama because he is sensitive to the issues of the Jewish community and a stalwart supporter of Israel," the letter said.