Posts Tagged ‘politics’

WTF is Obama thinking?

If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve probably heard, seen, or read that President Obama has nominated Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) to his cabinet as Secretary of Commerce.

In a word: Why?

This simply makes no sense, either pragmatically or politically. Here’s why:

1. Gregg’s economic ideas and policies as a senator are diametrically opposed to those of President Obama, the Democratic Party, and the majority of Americans. He is pro-corporations and anti-labor. There is no indication that he will moderate his positions in his role as Commerce Secretary.

2. The Democratic governor of New Hampshire, John Lynch, has said that he will appoint a Republican to fill Gregg’s seat in the senate to avoid altering the partisan balance of that deliberative body. This was one of Sen. Gregg’s conditions for accepting the appointment.

3. The Republican Party, its public mouthpieces, and its constituents have so far shown absolutely no regard whatsoever for Obama’s gestures at bipartisanship. All they do is cackle about how gullible he and the Democrats are for kowtowing to a party that has no other agenda right now but to obstruct the Democrats’ legislation and cabinet appointments.

So what the hell is the Obama administration doing? They won’t win any points with the Republicans, because the GOP isn’t playing the bipartisanship game; they won’t gain the filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate, because Gov. Lynch has pussied out and is covering his ass with New Hampshire’s conservatives by vowing to keep Gregg’s seat in GOP hands; and the administration is placing an ideological opponent into a key position of influence.

Please, Mister President, wake up and smell the coffee: this is politics, not a campfire round of “Kumbaya.” If  you, your administration, your party, and the people collectively gain nothing from a given option, choose another option. The time for offering olive branches to the GOP is over. Start playing to win, or the GOP will drink your fucking milkshake in 2010.

New York’s next senator?

I’m seeing reports on several political-news sites that Governor David Paterson of New York is set to announce on Friday who he is appointing to fill Hillary Clinton’s now-vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. While the major news outlets remain cagey, framing their reports in the cautious language of “signs point to,” the political chattering class says the governor will name…

Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, a centrist upstate Democrat who received a 100-percent approval rating from the National Rifle Association. (more…)

Bon Chance, Monsieur President

I spent this morning and early afternoon watching coverage of the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Had steak and eggs for breakfast. Kept the tissues nearby. Only wept twice — once before he spoke, again as he talked of Washington and his men on the riverbank whose snows were stained with blood.

I was pleased to hear President Obama (damn, I enjoy typing that) not only acknowledge non-believers as equals besides those of faith, but also repudiate the most heinous legacy of the Bush Years with this powerful statement:

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

May this truly mark the dawn of a new and brighter chapter in America’s history.

Welcome, Mister President. And good luck.

Why I Remain Afraid

All of the polls seem to be trending in favor of the Democratic Party in general and Obama/Biden in particular. So why do I remain deathly afraid that we’ll still awaken on November 5th to a McCain/Palin administration?

I have made political predictions before. I have been wrong every time. If I were a pundit by profession, I’d have the worst track record in the business. Therefore, I hope that I’m wrong this time, as well. Because this is what I am afraid we will be hearing on November 5:

  1. The Bradley Effect. All of Obama’s poll numbers, we’ll be told, overstated his support by roughly seven percent. I know, you’ll say that the Bradley Effect didn’t seem to be a factor in the primaries. But that was an intramural struggle between Democratic voters, and the sexism factor might have canceled out the racism factor. And as I watch McCain/Palin stoke the fires of racist hatred throughout the swing states, I fear that the Bradley Effect might be the cornerstone of their electoral-college strategy.
  2. The youth vote was a no-show. In the past several elections, pundits have crowed about how the Democratic candidate was hoping that his strong support in the 18-29 demographic would turn the tide. But then, on Election Day, only a minuscule percentage of those young voters actually showed up. They’re under-represented, we’re told, because they don’t have landline phones and can’t be polled effectively. Same story every two to four years. I suspect that on November 5, all those teens and twenty-somethings who crowd Obama’s rallies will be nowhere to be found.
  3. The Diebold Effect. There are still too many states and districts where electronic voting machines — built and programmed by companies that are all major Republican Party donors — have no voter-verifiable paper trails. Some that do have paper trails are in states that forbid the use of the paper records for recounts. And in every election since 2000, when these machines have malfunctioned, they have misfired in favor of the Republican candidate every single time. No electronic voting machine has ever been reported to have caused an error that benefitted a Democratic candidate. Not once. Ever. Anywhere. You do the math.
  4. Good old-fashioned Right-wing electoral fraud. Look for replays of the “Brooks Brothers Riot” that we saw halt the Florida recount in 2000. Look for poor and minority districts to suddenly be plagued by a shortage of voting machines, malfunctioning voting machines, shortages of paper ballots, and partisan challenges by Republican operatives looking to block Democratic voters. Be on the lookout for such classic dirty tricks as robocalls that spread disinformation to Democratic and minority voters about where they should vote, or threats of arrest for minor infractions like parking violations or speeding tickets, or outright lies like telling students that they could be arrested for voting where they attend school instead of where they are originally from.
  5. A Lazy, Corporatist Media. Our television networks and newspapers will be so focused on the horse race and the poll numbers, and so intimidated by the Right wing to present a fake appearance of “balance” in their reporting, that even when they stare into the face of all of these criminal abrogations of our rights as voters, all they will talk about is how “John McCain rallied his base” and “made a surprising comeback” that speaks to the power of “family values” and “his long record of patriotic service.” It will all be bullshit, but it’s all they’ll give us. Obama/Biden will protest the results, and the Right wing echo chamber will call them whiners, sore losers, etc., and shout them off the national stage.

I’ve been wrong every time before. Let me be wrong this time, too.

I am Spartacus..I mean, Joe Six Pack

Because I love following the herd, here is the link that all of you have already posted to the Copperwise blog post about “Joe Six Pack.”

It really feels like a postmodern “I am Spartacus” moment. Read it and pass it on.

And for the record, I am a progressive liberal, and I do like a six-pack of beer now and then. Like last night, with those tasty barbecued pork ribs I grilled up. Mmmm…ribs ‘n’ beer….

A prediction…

I’m going out on a limb here. I’ll try making a political prediction: Before the November 4 election, John McCain will replace Sarah Palin on his ticket.

It will probably happen just before or just after the VP debate on October 2.

Some excuse will be proffered, probably a variation on, “Governor Palin needs to spend more time with her special-needs infant.”

Rather than replace her with some well-known figure, McCain will choose another obscure female candidate.

Why? As Chris Matthews said on The Rachel Maddow Show, “razzle-dazzle.” Every time the poll numbers and the media narrative have turned against McCain, he has responded with a wild Hail Mary action to steal back the narrative.

Barack Obama’s acceptance speech electrifies the nation? Name Sarah Palin as VP.

The Palin novelty factor wears off and the economic crisis highlights McCain’s weaknesses? Faux “suspend” the campaign “for the national good.”

Now, as pundits and people seem to say that Obama was the winner of the first presidential debate, McCain’s numbers continue to erode in key battleground states, and the New York Times has just published an article detailing McCain’s troubling links to the gambling industry, it’s time for a new Hail Mary pass.

What would be big enough to change the media narrative again come Monday morning? Replacing his campaign manager with Rudy Giuliani? Maybe.

But if he doesn’t replace Palin before her Thursday debate with senate veteran Joe Biden, his campaign could be looking at a crippling gut-punch. What better way to forestall the pain than to have Palin recuse herself from the campaign on Wednesday, leaving no VP debate on the schedule?

Then all McCain has to do is pick another mystery Veep and let the media “run out the clock” for him, vetting this new cipher, giving him weeks of free air time, and all but shouldering Obama and Biden off the stage.

It would be erratic, insane, and unsettling. But in our ADD culture, it just might work.

I hope I’m wrong, and that McCain keeps this Alaskan Albatross around his neck, and that they lose.

But we’ll see.