Saturday, March 29, 2008
Why Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill are full of it. Oh, and Chuck Hagel will be Barack's running mate.
If Scahill and Klein were truly serious about desiring an end to the Iraq War, then they would have aligned themselves with Obama the day after Hillary averred that she and John McCain had "crossed the commander-in-chief threshold." Such a declaration was a euphemism for willingness to wage war against Iran. By putting herself in the same philosophical mold as McCain, Clinton let it hang out there for all to see.
If Scahill and Klein were intelligent, then they would be advocating for Senator Clinton to drop out of the race and for Senator Obama to choose Chuck Hagel as his running mate. An Obama-Hagel administration would have the public mandate and political agility required to negotiate an end to the misery in Iraq.
Senator Clinton has already shown how impervious she is to public pressure. If Scahill and Klein don't see this then they are demented.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Early on, I mistook Hillary and Bill Clinton's obstinate defiance as a marker for their own particular psychological defects. But over at Jack and Jill Politics, Rikyrah has nailed it. Folks who say that there is no difference between Democrat and Republican are wrong. The Republicans had there own version of Obama in the form of Mike Huckabee but he was quickly marginalized in favor of a candidate who enjoyed less enthusiastic support but wasn't a threat to their pecuniary interest like Governor Huckabee and didn't arouse the tensions associated with Mitt Romney's Mormon faith.
On the Democrat side, Barack Obama's ability to outmaneuver Hillary Rodham Clinton poses an existential threat to the dominance of her ultra rich supporters. For what is the value of being a multimillionaire if an upstart politician can circumvent you and gather more money by appealing directly to voters? What is the use of controlling a traditional media outlet if a politician's supporters can use the Internet to reach the masses without filters and counter skewed portraits?
What has traditionally been marketed as a democracy has really been a carefully fashioned product given to the public and called a choice. Sometimes the leash guiding the voter is bypassed in favor of direct control the way it was in 2000 with Bush versus Gore. But you can't do that more than once a generation so for the most part we're gently led toward our heart's desire. The money men and women have divided their purses fairly evenly with a modest tilt toward Republicans.
But a renaissance of democracy and open source input has challenged this approach. It was only through Youtube that Ron Paul was able to moderately overcome obstacles to getting access on network and cable television. And Obama's political capital is derived in great measure from his skillful use of the Internet. That does not obviate the truth that Barack has been carefully vetted and has his own crew of embedded insiders.
There is a difference, however, between a realist willing to accommodate a new and more inclusive and transparent order with a revanchist unwilling to give up a lost cause based on political infighting and brokered arrangements suited to the era before the blogosphere. Despite all the talk about enfranchising the voters, Hillary and her supporters are seeking to do just the opposite at this summer's convention. But let's hope that not too many accept the largess Hillary's closest friends. After all, they were willing to drop $12 million on Michigan and I'm sure they'll bring their wallets with them to Denver.
Monday, March 17, 2008
America promises liberty and justice. But achieving one often comes at the expense of the other. In a country as conservative as the United States, when the aims of liberty conflict with those of justice, power elites usually decide in favor of liberty. Senator Obama himself testified to this when he said that the decision he regrets the most was voting in favor of congressional intervention in the Terri Schiavo case. The Illinois senator did not act on behalf of justice for a brain damaged patient. Instead he advanced the cause of media savvy cultural conservatives who saw the case as a proxy for anti-abortion interests.
In a vigorous exercise of geopolitical spelunking, Temple3 has been connecting the stalactites of Black American history with the stalagmites of African experiences. His ability to cross boundaries of ethics, science, history, and political economy has inspired me to see connections between the Pastor Jeremiah Wright imbroglio with African attempts at decolonization.
Since the days of William Jennings Bryan, progressives have usually tattooed social justice with racialism and nativism. Whether it was anti-immigrant or anti-Catholic sentiment, popular advocates for the lower classes usually entertained some degree ethnic or racial hierarchy and exclusion. Even in this current season, John Edwards, the only candidate to speak boldly about class divide, also alluded to the notion of his being the most credible Democratic candidate by virtue of being a white man who could appeal to rural voters. Oddly enough, his wife simultaneously expressed the Ferraro gene by saying that Mr. Edwards was disadvantaged because he is a white man.
Pastor Wright's pronouncements are the latest inducement for mainstream America to emerge from its state of oneirism. With the unpleasant reminders in such proximity, it is doubtful that the United States could ever follow Germany in actively recovering suppressed memories of past violations. Indeed, as a settler nation, America is the model for South Africa's white citizens who use appeals to liberty and individual responsibility to counter government mandates to improve material conditions of apartheid's black victims.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
I've written before that the Democratic Party is in the middle of carefully extirpating Bill and Hillary Clinton. The time for gentility is over.
Every Congressional Black Caucus member must publicly repudiate the Clinton campaign's race baiting tactics. They don't need to endorse Senator Obama but they must announce the withdrawal of their support from Mrs. Clinton. The time for expressions of regret and sorrow on the part of Senator Clinton is far gone. She has crossed the commander-in-chief threshold established by previous aspirants to the office such as Stephen Douglas, Strom Thurmond, and George Wallace.
Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi must publicly announce that the Clinton campaign's forays in this area of casting aspersions related to Senator Obama based on race and religion is not reflective of the Democratic Party. Senator Obama, in turn, must deliver a keynote address on this recent turn of events and give his supporters a reason to support him. Endurance can be sustained for just so long before turning into apathy and unconcern. I know that this is politically risky, but Obama needs to put forth a vision that sets straight the vertigo coming from the New York senator.
I'm in the middle of composing letters to my congressional representative, senator, and governor, all of them white supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton, expressing my firm conviction that if Senator Clinton is the Democratic nominee, then my wife and I will never vote for any Democrat, even Jesus, ever again. Mrs. Clinton has turned a sober and inspiring moment that I was enthused to share with my six year old daughter into a tawdry affair more suitable for Jerry Springer or Maury Povich. She is unworthy of our votes.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I think I have it figured out. The Democratic Party is in the midst of performing an appendectomy on itself. Hillary Clinton is a vestigial remnant that has become toxic and threatens the body politic. Although no longer significant in a productive sense she remains a dangerous presence.
Last weekend Barack Obama proved his worth by lending his not too inconsiderable influence to help the Dems capture Dennis Hastert's old congressional seat. The winner, a newcomer to politics, is a former physicist who came upon wealth and was by all accounts not a charismatic figure or gifted speaker. If Barack brings those kinds of trophies and he's not yet even POTUS just think what he could do in high office. This net gain came at the expense of Republicans. It's fair to say that Hillary Clinton could never replicate this feat in her state of New York.
In the zero sum game of partisan politics, this is the essence of power. While Hillary fights tooth and nail for the party's nomination with her NCAA level skill, Barack Obama is using his professional talent to become President of the United States. He goes into states where he is not favored and meets with constituencies that are not natural allies. He issues direct but respectful challenges to John McCain and unlike Senator Clinton doesn't provide the opposition a thick portfolio of his weaknesses.
Obama is gold backed currency to Hillary's overextended Mastercard. Her career in public life is effectively finished. Do not expect her to return to Washington after her term runs out. She is threatening to cost the Dems millions of dollars that they would rather spend on contesting against Republicans in the fall than holding elections in Florida and Michigan after they forfeited their rights and just to prolong her slim chances. Barack certainly doesn't need this to prove his legitimacy and neither does the DNC.
This is definitely not something that one does if one expects to return or be invited back. I now believe that Mrs. Clinton doesn't care for the Senate. Her time there was just an attempt to show that she wasn't really all that bad before taking a swipe at the White House. We all know better now.
Hillary is through with public life. The Hill reports that Clinton and RNC attacks on Obama appear coordinated. The Huffington Post and DailyKos have both pivoted noticeably against Clinton: calling foul on her endorsement of McCain and noting her odd switch on Obama's fitness for leadership by suggesting he would be an excellent VP. The New York Times's recent piece on her inner circle also suggests a person unprepared for greater responsibilities than she currently holds.
There is mass outcry against Geraldine Ferraro's incredulous comment about Obama being advantaged over Hillary, the wife of a recent President, because he is black. Hillary has reportedly revamped her website to appear more like Obama's. The suggestion for voting by mail in Florida is denounced even by Florida Democrats. (Obama was reported as receiving no votes in certain Harlem districts.) The recent Elliot Spitzer bombshell is the last nail in the coffin. Not only did he endorse Senator Clinton, but the prostitute issue raises up uncomfortable memories of Bill's dalliances. The Spitzer scandal is particularly disadvantageous to Hillary because it gives the media beasts fresh meat and decreases their incentive to prolong the illusion of a Clinton resurgence.
The Clintons have promulgated the notion of a brokered convention. They're stuck in the Sixties. The truth is that the convention is a coronation.
Nah, bruh. Hillary is done. She won't get re-elected to the Senate. She and Bill are engaged in a folie-a-deux, a mental disorder in which two close individuals share the same delusion. What the country is witnessing is the kind of mental breakdown that was observed by insiders while LBJ was losing Vietnam and Nixon was being strangled by Watergate. Such blunders, as Clinton's, are ill tolerated in elite politics. Supposed loyalists seek to evacuate and find shelter and enemies use the opportunity to strike back. Barack is the emerging sun and the Clintons are a setting moon.
The last minute attempt to smear Obama just as the general election is about to start has sealed the Clintons's fate. As a former president, Bill will always be accorded respect and by association so will Hillary. But they are effectively in the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter category. They will effectively become peripheral figures which you treat like distant relations that you encounter every so often at a cookout; force a smile, pat too aggressively on the back, and quickly excuse yourself to go to the punch bowl.
Hillary is a pitbull that will not let go and must be carefully euthanized.
Update 11:10AM EST:
This is a very, very dangerous and unsteady posture to assume. A classic Gulf of Tonkin move: create a provocation to incite Iran and turn to the American public and say, "See what they did?" And launch a 'just' war.
This is why people who say that there is no difference between Dems and Repubs or Hillary and Barack are wrong. The commander-in-chief reference that she dropped last week was a thinly veiled expression for willingness to go to war. That is why Hillary put herself and McCain ahead of Obama and why she will never be the nominee. Nancy Pelosi has practically ruled Hillary out.
There is some serious jockeying among the elites right now. The outcome is no longer in the voters hands. The Dems are in the tenuous position of extirpating the hawks in their midst. Hard to do this without disemboweling itself, to be sure. The chess match isn't just between the candidates but what they represent. The Dean and Pelosi wing will never countenance the Clintons. That is why Lieberman had to go and Hillary has to go. But you can't just expel them. This is Shakespearean drama being played out in real life: King Richard the Second(Clinton) versus Bolingbroke (Obama).
For anyone who still thinks that Hillary Clinton will be on the Democratic ticket much less the nominee, I say this just about ends her political career. She will finish out her term in the Senate and be a political version of Dennis Hopper. I just wish she cared more about her supporters and quit the race by the end of March, but at this point she is another gambling addict sitting at a blackjack table and doubling her bets despite mounting losses.
Monday, March 10, 2008
From the beginning Barack Obama has been running for President of the United States of America while his rivals were seeking the nomination of their respective parties. Such a sweeping approach provided Senator Obama with more bricks and mortar than his competitors from which to build a redoubt to fend off attack.
According to Richard Neustadt, a president's effectiveness comes from their capacity to create choices and enlarge their reservoir of influence. These abilities are derived from personal reputation among shareholders of power in Washington and public prestige enjoyed abroad within various constituencies, foreign and domestic.
Rising from the battlegrounds of February, Mr. Obama established an insurmountable lead. During a moment of candor, Bill Clinton acknowledged that his wife would have to respond with similarly overwhelming victories in both Texas and Ohio on March 4 in order to be viable.
After failing to do this, Mrs. Clinton has been waging a campaign to create the illusion of resurgence and circumvent her way to the nomination. She was all but pleading for the Democratic Party elites to do for her what the Supreme Court did for George W. Bush against Al Gore in 2000: ratify an outcome not supported by the numbers on the scoreboard.
The Republican Party egged on this drama and the mainstream media had an incentive in reinforcing this intrigue. It was a rare delicacy for 24 hour news beasts. But as time drew on, it became apparent that the nuclear fallout from the internecine struggle engaged by Hillary Clinton would lay the party apparatus to waste.
Indeed, Mrs. Clinton went so far as to practically endorse the Republican challenger over the potential and presumptive Democratic nominee, Mr. Obama. It seems that party leaders have finally said enough. Gary Hart emphatically denounced the maneuver by Senator Clinton as an unwise and inappropriate act which signals betrayal. And Tom Brokaw reported rumblings about a swing in uncommitted superdelegates to the Obama camp that essentially confirms the nomination for Senator Obama. With proportional allocation of delegates, even with victories in Florida and Michigan it is unlikely that Clinton could overtake Obama. The party elders surely recognize this and also are alert to the benefits awarded to Senator John McCain by such internal conflict among Democrats.
In their futile and desperate attempt at a pyrrhic victory, Hillary has amputated herself from a newly emergent force in the Democratic Party and Bill Clinton has resigned his legacy to the dustbin of history. The only way to salvage what little capital they have remaining, the Clintons must announce their complete and total surrender to Mr. Obama before the Pennsylvania primary on April 22. Such capitulation must be accompanied by an enthusiastic and unequivocal embrace of Barack Obama as the new dauphin. The Clintons must exit gracefully of their own will or risk forceful ejection. Bill and Hillary must now ask themselves a question.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
"You won't see me as a vice presidential candidate, you know, I'm running for president."
-Senator Barack Obama
A Democratic victory in a special election to fill the congressional seat held by former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert is a sign of things to come, according to the party. Barack Obama’s campaign says it’s a demonstration of his electoral coattails.
First-time candidate Bill Foster, a physicist, beat Republican Jim Oberweis, a money manager and head of a giant dairy. The national Republican Party spent millions on his behalf.
Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Foster’s victory demonstrated to Republican candidates that “Senator (John) McCain, who campaigned with the Republican nominee, cannot save them from defeat this November against strong Democratic challengers, even in districts that voted overwhelmingly for President Bush.”
The race had shaped up to be a presidential face-off of sorts, with McCain stumping for Oberweis and Obama backing Foster.
“You may think you have to wait until November to vote for change. But here in Illinois, you can start Saturday March 8th. That’s when you can vote to send Bill Foster to Congress,” said Obama in a campaign ad for the underdog candidate.
In a statement released by his campaign Saturday night, Obama said "The people of Illinois have sent an unmistakable message that they're tired of business-as-usual in Washington."
Republicans dispute the characterization. “The one thing 2008 has shown is that one election in one state does not prove a trend,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Karen Hanretty said Saturday. “…The one message coming out of 2008 so far is that what happens today is not a bellwether of what happens this fall.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Hillary Rodham Clinton has singlehandedly disabled the Democratic Party for the next eight years. Her husband did a similar thing when he cost the Dems the Congress and later cost Al Gore what should have been a clear path to the White House. It took about ten years for Democrats to recover from the insult.
The Gettysburg moment of February 5 decided the outcome of the primary. Hillary could have continued running an issue oriented campaign. However, she not only attacked Barack on the issues but also his very nature. She cast doubts about Obama's religious affiliation, insulted his supporters as deluded fanatics, and in the ultimate act of betrayal, explicitly stated that John McCain is more qualified to be POTUS than Obama. In essence, HRC became the woman who agreed to Solomon's solution of cutting a baby in half to settle a custody suit. With such open contempt his supporters could never adopt her. It was almost as if she didn't think that she would need us in the fall campaign or actually believed her commercial depiction of the electorate as babies readily guided into bed.
The Dems can't recover. Barack was a resplendent JFK. The personal and racial attacks were sure to come in a general campaign. But to have a white female fellow Democrat slinging calumnies has prepared the nation for when the heavyweight, no condom wearing, straight ATM Republicans get into the mix. Without such preconditioning by HRC the nation would have probably been repulsed at such a spectacle, the way it was when Bill Clinton first dropped his turds in South Carolina.
As it stands, Barack is trying to win a bike with a flat tire. By not putting Hillary Rodham Clinton in check, the party elders as well as the Black superdelegates who held steadfast even as HRC's venom reached toxic levels fractured their party. HRC can't get the nomination without mass defection and Barack is a once beautiful suit that's emerged from the dryer after being laundered.
Needless to say, HRC is finished politically. She can never be a national figure. What she did can't be undone in the next election cycle four years from now and certainly not within the current one. To openly proclaim the legitimacy of the Republican challenger over Obama has sealed her fate and maybe Barack's.
HRC can't be the nominee because of the immediate exodus which would ensue. She can't be a VP because of the nature of her attacks. She can't really throw her support behind Barack without openly marinating in hypocrisy. The scorn she has heaped on Obama and his supporters is irrational to a degree approaching Faye Dunaway's portrayal of Joan Crawford.
Barack would need to craft a political version of Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods in order to win this thing. Chuck Hagel as VP would be a prerequisite for Obama to avoid becoming another Michael Dukakis. Such a bold maneuver could not only help retool and recalibrate the campaign, but revitalize the jes grew spirit which characterized Obama's ascent.
Hillary has effectively ended her chance at higher office. Yet I'm at a loss to understand why the leadership allowed her to wreck the party? Al Gore and John Edwards should have thrown their weight behind Obama after February especially when McCain was the presumptive nominee. Howard Dean should have been more vehement about strict adherence to the rules regarding Florida and Michigan. The leadership should have spoken to big money donors and told them to refrain from putting more money into the Clinton campaign, and given off the record comments to superannuated political reporters like Bob Woodward about the futility of a Clinton resurgence. It was as if the owners of the manor just stood by idly as a mad woman defecated in the kitchen without thinking that eventually they would have to eat there. The Dems are dysfunctional.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
"And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands."
- 1 Samuel 17:47
In the church revival atmosphere that surrounds Barack Obama, some have confused his King David for a prophet. Like David, Obama comes from humble origins and has a lyrical sensibility. But Barack, as the insightful A. Charles has observed recently, has also shown the determination and initiative which characterizes the successful insurgent. In 1 Samuel 17, we see the hero audaciously approach Goliath, a foe possessing technologically superior arms and a not unsubstantiated belief in his own prowess, with a simple sling and stones. David's youth and lack of combat experience is used against him by Israelite and Philistine alike.
However, David did have the experience of taking down a lion and a bear. While consensus may have considered it irrelevant to the campaign at hand, it did provide David with an immeasurable confidence in himself. Acquiring political maturity in Chicago has endowed Obama with similar fortitude.
The greatest generals like Hannibal, Grant, MacArthur, and Giap always take the bold and creative approach. Their triumphs are derived from a combination of personal bravado and the enemy's overly abundant aggression and narcissistic underestimation of their rival's capacity to endure and retaliate.
Hillary Clinton and John McCain have both expressed contempt for Obama's expertise that mirrors Goliath's derision of David. Mrs. Clinton, particularly, has defined herself as a watchful protective mother and the electorate as sleeping children. She will protect and defend us. We, the citizens, can go back to sleep. Mommy Dearest will tuck us into bed and put Barack Obama in his place.
Make no mistake. In this effort Senator Obama is taking on two foes with much greater resources. Bill and Hillary Clinton combine seductive charm, ruthless guile, and naked desire for power that is matched only by the Kennedy and Bush legacies. And Senator Clinton has issued a call which fails to acknowledge her challenger's proficiency at Muay Thai.
The Obama forces have promised to respond appropriately. Just like the shepherd David, Barack is an intimate of the wielders of power. He knows very well the landscape that he seeks to negotiate. He is no prophet willing to engage an opponent without tools and just God's word to back him up. Rather he is the principled statesman who chooses implements that he can apply skillfully to his advantage. Expect Hillary to be tutored by Barack in the intelligent use of force.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
"...the rest of them knew that the real power lay in letting the President come to them; the President could take care of rail strikes, minimum wages and farm prices, and they would take care of national security....a special elite, a certain breed of men whose continuity is among themselves. They are linked to one another rather than to the country; in their minds they become responsible for the country but not responsive to it."
-The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam
In the three-card Monte that is popular journalism, it is the underreported story that is of major significance. Just as the current struggle comes into focus, the nation is distracted by the Democratic primary campaign. Last Friday afternoon the Defense Department announced that Air Force awarded a $35 billion contract to Northrup Grumman. In addition to the timing of this release the Air Force minimized mention of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), Northrup's senior partner in the venture.
While the current engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, to say nothing of Israel's incursion into Lebanon last summer, have shown the limits of air power, the USAF has been asking for more money to ready itself for the challenges of the new century.
Across the board, Democrats and Republicans have declared righteous indignation. But the truth is that this deal was a long time in the making. After a first term marked by bold and provocative unilateral maneuvers, the G.W. Bush administration has worked aggressively to restore the mutual cooperation which has characterized the global North since World War II. An Obama presidency would complete the restoration.
For all his eloquence and charming embrace, Barack Obama has not rejected the Truman legacy of militarism. His list of advisors is a panoply of entrenched establishment figureheads. He does, in all fairness, have Samantha Power, the eminent human rights scholar, on his team. He talks about changing the mindset that led to the Iraq War.
Despite the protests of lawmakers and the good intentions of candidates, a consensus has been reached by shareholders of global power that countries are to be managed like businesses. Even the obstinate French have come around. Now the only ones left to convince are the American people.