Tag Archives: 2008 elections

Hillary Clinton and the VP Post

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I thought Hillary Clinton would be the wrong choice for the VP spot on the 2008 Dem ticket.  She may, indeed, be the inevitable choice, but I don’t think that she would be the most productive one.  Let me elaborate.

The HIllary haters have their list of anti-Hillary-VP reasons all lined up.  They’ll start with the fact that former President Clinton will have access to the White House again and he will, as a former President, have full security clearance.  There could be quite a tango going on among the former President, the VP’s office, and the Oval.  I certainly think that Obama has the grace and he has recently shown the fortitude to handle that situation.  But it would be a distraction.  And President Clinton is, as we have seen, most notably in the SC primary, I think, a loose cannon.  While I’m not a card carrying member of Hillary Haters Anonymous (no, I don’t think it exists), even I’m not sure I want him wandering around the world speaking for the White House.  I don’t think he has it in him to stay on message.

The Hillary haters will also mention that she ran her campaign so poorly that she hasn’t shown the creds necessary to be an executive.  There were huge budget shortfalls and staff infighting.  She came into a race that there was no way she could lose, with the Clinton name and some really talented folks who had already run and won successful political campaigns.  She sewed up the traditional high rolling Democratic fundraisers and donors.  And in the face of all that, she lost.  And her behavior in losing, up until that speech yesterday, was not worthy of the former First Lady. 

There are certainly some great reasons to name her as VP, the greatest of these, and probably the reason most VPs are picked, is the votes she brings to the table.  The theory, of course, is that those who voted for her in her primary campaign will also vote for the Obama / Clinton ticket.  She will “bring” women, Hispanics, blue collar voters.  There will certainly be a portion of her supporters so bitter that she did not win the primary that they will stay home or vote for McCain in protest.  But they’re so crazy we can’t worry about them. 

I think, however, that Obama can find another candidate who will bring at least one or two of those sections onto his ticket and who will make, in the process, a less divisive VP.  In the meantime, here’s my number one reason for Senator Clinton not getting the VP nod:  she needs to stay and the Democratic party needs for her to stay in the Senate.

We have not begun to see what Senator Clinton is capable of in the Senate.  She is, no matter what one may think of her, a powerful woman.  She can negotiate, she can bring people together.  By all accounts, she is very warm and vibrant in person.  She is intelligent, no doubt.  She is a true policy wonk, getting into the details and embracing the solutions.  I love the White House and fully acknowledge the importance and power of the Presidency.  But the Congress and, more specifically, the Senate is where things get done, folks.  With President Obama in the White House and tough, like minded Democrats, like Senator Clinton, in the Senate, we could actually make things happen in America.  We might start recovering from the darkness we’ve been living in.  We might end this stupid war.  We might prevent an attack on Iran or recover from whatever damage Bush manages to incur with Iran over the next few months.  We might make some inroads with our struggling economy.  We might help our kids recover from the disastrous No Child Left Standing, er, I mean, No Child Left Behind, Act.  And the healthcare thing?   I can’t think of a better Senate ally than Senator Clinton.  That one’s gonna be hard, people, and she knows how to make it happen.

I’m not saying that she won’t be chosen for VP.  And if she is, I will support that choice as ardently as I have supported Senator’s Obama run for the nomination.  But I will be surprised if she is chosen, I will suspect back room machinations.  And then I’ll move on.

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CNN’s Pointed Gestures

**Update:  CNN has removed the offensive part of the video from the piece.  Congratulations to Media Matters and all who wrote to CNN and its advertisers!** 

**Update:  Media Matters has picked up the story here:  Still not funny:  CNN again associates Obama with Bin Laden.**

In the interest of fair play, today’s media rant goes against CNN.  In an unbelievable piece of gutter journalism, they have a video up called “Pointed Gestures.”  It’s currently linked from their homepage.  Go check it out.  I’d link to it if I could, but the web wizards over there are proving too smart for me as any link to their video page turns up a random video instead of the specific one.  Here, however, is the significant part via YouTube:

First, CNN does what Chris Matthews had to apologize for over at MSNBC.  That is, they reopen the Lewinsky deal and have Hillary saying “thank you” as she points to Monica, essentially insinuating, as Chris did, that Hillary owes her political career to that scandal.  Given that CNN usually offers Clinton sided coverage, we’ll see if the Clinton campaign raises the same sort of outrage over this.

Next, CNN goes insane and has Obama point at Osama Bin Laden.  This is wrong on so many levels that I hardly know where to begin.  But I’ll try.  First, Osama Bin Laden should be off limits in this kind of piece by a legit news organization, no matter which candidate is involved.  The horror that that man inflicted on this country should make that clear.  That aside, if possible, CNN knows full well that the Obama campaign has had to fight hard against the rampant misconception that he attended a radical madrassa as a child.  In January of last year, CNN debunked the story themselves.  They found it important enough to debunk then, but now are fanning the flames of that falsehood by linking Obama and Bin Laden in this video.

I hope that you are as outraged by this video as I.  If so, please contact CNN.

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Mike Huckabee: He Just Gets Scarier

Remember when I told you that Mike Huckabee is one scary dude?  Turns out, that story wasn’t complete. 

Background:  he’s been endorsed by James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, the right-wing Christian organization that advocates such things as prayer in schools and corporal punishment.  They also have a rabid anti-gay agenda, as would be expected of such an organization, and have adopted the Love In Action platform in founding their Love Won Out conferences for “recovering homosexuals.”  Wonder if Larry Craig’s a member?  I digress.

Now, they’re moving on to another group that is “recovering” from its own evil:  Muslims.  An article this morning called, “Christian Right’s Emerging Deadly Worldview: Kill Muslims to Purify the Earth,” describes how three former Muslims, who have converted to Christianity, are being trotted out by groups such as Dobson’s Focus on the Family all over the country, including at such questionable venues as the United States Air Force Academy.  I’ll leave the ethics of having a Focus on the Family event at a US military academy for another time.  In the meantime, let’s focus on the message delivered at this event.  This group doesn’t just preach a kumbaya message of Christian transformation.  They preach a terror message which says that, “the only way to deal with one-fifth of the world’s population is by converting or eradicating all Muslims.” 

This message is not far from the one preached by Mike Huckabee, “who says that ‘Islamofascism’ is ‘the greatest threat this country [has] ever faced.'”  Wow, that’s some statement.  This from a Governor, with zero, zippo, nada foreign policy experience.  This from a guy who just admitted, on Meet the Press this Sunday, that he was against the Cuba embargo because his state of Arkansas wanted to sell rice to everyone.  But once he was running for President and talked to Cubans in Florida and was told that the embargo was actually a good thing, he became for it.  I’m not going to engage here in an argument over the Cuban embargo, I’m just saying that this guy has a very myopic view.  In the case regarding Islam, it’s myopia viewed first through right-wing Christianity and second through the rabid patriotism that Goethe warned against saying, “Patriotism ruins history.”  There’s nothing wrong with patriotism, per se.  There is something wrong with blindly believing that your country is right and good all the time just because you were born there.

Why am I still blogging on Huckabee when there is no mathematical chance, at this point, that he will win the Republican nomination for president?  Because I think he’s angling to get enough votes to force McCain to take him on as VP.  McCain is older and his body has been ravaged.  I wish him no harm or ill will, but there is, realistically, a better chance that he, more than his Democratic challengers, would face a situation where control of the country would be handed to his VP.  He might have to turn this country over to Huckabee.  Huckabee, who is part of a movement to convert or destroy all Muslims, including the 6 million or so who live in the US.  This isn’t tiddlywinks, kids.  If you think your vote doesn’t matter, think again.

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Following the money … and the scandal

The campaign finance news just won’t stop.  The $5m loan from Clinton’s “personal” money to her campaign is old news today, for the most part.  What people want to know now is where the money came from.  In a press conference yesterday, Barack Obama suggested that Hillary Clinton should release her tax returns and those of her husband, especially in light of that $5m “loan.”  Obama’s case:

“I’ll just say that I’ve released my tax returns. That’s been a policy I’ve maintained consistently. I think the American people deserve to know where you get your income from. But I’ll leave it up to you guys to chase it down,” he told reporters on the flight to Omaha, Neb., for a rally.

“I’ve disclosed my income tax returns,” he said. “I think we set the bar in terms of transparency and disclosure that has been a consistent theme of my campaign and my career in politics.”

One doesn’t have to go too far back in the future to remember a nice windfall for Bill Clinton in that Kazakhstan deal.  True, that particular $30m or so went to his foundation, but there is a long line of questionable transactions like these that just might make the Clintons hesitant to reveal exactly where their large fortune originated.

The New Republic had an article on Monday outlining some of the Clinton’s shadiest donors.  They detail the donor and the amount of money involved and then rate both the sleaze factor and the damage to the Clintons.  Everyone is there, from Norman Hsu to Peter Paul to Marc Rich and everyone in between.  All told, the article lists 17 questionable donors.  To be fair, the article begins this way:

It’s not that we expect politicians to have squeaky-clean donor lists. You try running for office without, at one point or another, taking money from someone you probably shouldn’t. Even Barack Obama, Mr. Clean, has Tony Rezko. But the Frank Giustra-Kazakhstan-Uranium affair, blown open by The New York Times last week, serves as a reminder that the relationship between the Clintons and money has not always been lily-white. Here, a guide to the unsavory characters who have been associated with Bill and Hillary Clinton. 

And let’s be clear that Mr. Rezko also gave money to folks affiliated with the Clinton campaign.  It was pretty humorous when, after Mrs. Clinton attempted to go after Mr. Obama for his one quasi questionable donor in the face of her at least 17 super questionable ones, this picture of Mr. Rezko with the Clintons surfaced:

_rezko300.jpg

 I’d say that’s a pot kettle thing.

Since all of this money talk began, Hillary has been raising money.  She’s made an appeal to her donor base and the donations have rolled in to the current tune of just over $6m.  Unfortunately for her, Obama has once again outraised her by at least $1m and counting.

The money race shows that Obama will be in better stead in a run for the general election.  His folks aren’t even maxed out yet for a primary race; they’ll have a lot left to give for a general election.  He will almost certainly gain new donors, from the Hillary camp, independents, and some Obama-Republicans, which will explode his already fat coffers.  He will need all of this money to run a successful general camapaign (we can debate the much needed campaign finance reform later).  Hillary, however, won’t be able to achieve the same record setting funding.  I can guarantee you that Obama’s donor base will not be as generous with her.

Obama’s voting base will also not be as generous with Hillary.  And in the general election, much of Obama’s voting base could shy away from Hillary in the voting booth, as well.  Obama does very well with white men, a group which could very well vote for McCain in the general.  I’m getting ahead of myself and will save the bulk of this argument for another blog, but it was worth at least touching on here.

In the Wall Street Journal today, Peggy Noonan has a piece called Can Mrs. Clinton Lose?  Here’s an excerpt:

The day she admitted she’d written herself a check for $5 million, Obama’s people crowed they’d just raised $3 million. But then his staff is happy. They’re all getting paid.

That’s of course a reference to what I chronicled in an earlier post, that some Clinton staffers are working for free this month because the campaign is broke.  I won’t beat that dead horse.  But when the main stream media begins to notice, when the MSM begins to herald the end of a candidate, can the electorate be far behind?

 

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Wacky Washington

Washington state is one wacky place.  Most states have a primary or a caucus.  Washington state holds a primary and a caucus.  Huh?  I was confused, so I went to the Washington Secretary of State’s website and did some research.  Here’s the deal:

The caucus, for both Dems and Repubs, will be held this Saturday, February 9.  Voters appear, swear their allegiance to their chosen party, and caucus for the candidate of their choice.  For Dems, it’s essentially over, as this is the whole enchilada.  The Democratic party counts only the caucus results in allocating delegates to the national convention.

On Tuesday, February 19, a primary will be held, apparently to cover those voters who are not able to caucus because they’re working, ill, infirm, etc.  The primary, as mentioned, does not count at all for Democrats.  It does, however, count for Republicans.  Following the crazy math that is elections, Republicans allocate their delegates to the convention based on 51% of the caucus results and 49% of the primary results.  For both parties, you’re voting for the same candidates at both the caucus and the primary.

Any voter can vote in both the caucus and the primary, but cannot cross parties to do so.  A voter must swear her allegiance to the party in the caucus and then again in the primary.  Poll workers at the primary will have the allegiance lists from the caucuses to make sure no one is cheating.

Still confused?  Here’s the bottom line:

If you’re a Democrat:  Caucus.  The primary is a waste of time.

If you’re a Republican:  Caucus or vote in the primary.  Either way, your vote will count.

I hope this clears up the issue some.  No matter who you are or where you are, if your primary is yet to come … VOTE!

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