Archive for August 2008

If McCain is So Anti-Celebrity

August 29, 2008

Why did he choose that sassy woman from Will and Grace to be his running mate?

Just kidding. I kind of like Palin’s style as a mom, but I do not like the fact that she does not see my family as equal to hers. I don’t know much about her (which ironically is also what Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the most senior Republican woman in the Senate who did NOT get picked as VP said about her today).

Here is what the Baptist Press says about her:

Palin has expressed strong opposition to gay rights. Besides supporting the same-sex-marriage ban, she also said, during her 2006 campaign, that she disapproved a recent Alaska Supreme Court ruling that the state had to provide spousal benefits to same-sex partners of government employees.

While Palin later signed legislation that enforced the decision, she said she would support a ballot initiative that would effectively overturn the court ruling by banning gay spouses from state benefits.

“When you can’t even support giving our community the rights to health insurance and pension benefits, it’s a frightening window into where she stands on equality,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the gay-rights group Human Rights Campaign, in a statement denouncing the Palin choice.

A little bit of a Della Disingenuous, she’s also one of those people who talks about how she has “gay friends” and then promptly supports legislation against them.

Palin said she’s not out to judge anyone and has good friends who are gay, but that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment.

Elected officials can’t defy the court when it comes to how rights are applied, she said, but she would support a ballot question that would deny benefits to homosexual couples.

Long story short, she was probably picked to appease the Focus on the Family crowd and the “white working class” voters who would have supported Hillary, but could never vote for a black man.

One funny note. Patrick Sammon leader of the gay Log Cabin Republicans was quoted as being excited about her! I e-mailed him to find out why. His response was:

Check out the 365gay.com article on our web-site-describes her as
“moderate” on gay issues. Gotta run.

Clicked over there. Nada. Gotta run, indeed.

I did watch her acceptance speech (McCain looked like he was waiting to see the principal). She’s well-spoken. Obama-Biden shouldn’t make the mistake of underestimating her, especially when it comes to energy policies.

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Obama Takes One Giant Step Closer

August 29, 2008

Had a great time watching Obama’s speech and the rest of the final night of the convention’s festivities with Conor and Mike.

Obama’s speech did everything it needed to do. It was well crafted, persuasive and he came out swinging. But Charlie Rose interviewed two Harvard classmates of Obama’s who said something that was even more powerful in its ability to strengthen my conviction that I want him to be president. They said many things, but one comment stuck out to me. I didn’t type the exact quote, but it went something like this:

“It frustrates me when I hear people talk about what a great orator he (Obama) is, because what struck me as his great skill was that he is such an incredible listener.”

I don’t know if I can even explain all the reasons why I think a president needs this quality nearly more than any other. It shouldn’t surprise me that someone who is running this incredible of a campaign listens well. There’s no other way he could get done what he gets done if he didn’t. They went on to say how much he valued the voice of people who disagreed with him and talked about his incredible understanding of the law, which are also important. But the listening thing is what stuck with me.

Speaking of getting things done, I was totally impressed with the Mile High Stadium event. Getting 84,000 people checked for security and into a stadium for a political rally and starting ahead of schedule is nearly inconceivable.

I was always a fan of the idea of having the event in such a large venue since “open to all” is what Obama’s campaign is about. But even more importantly, Colorado is a swing state, and what better way to spread his message than by inviting them to this important historical event.

What about all the hoopla at the end? The fireworks, the action flick music, the confetti cannons? At first I actually found myself worried about how the Republicans would spin it. But just as I had the thought, another part of me said, “I love it. It’s biggity, big, big, and it feels good for America to be big in a way that doesn’t require bombing someone. It’s the way I want to see America again-vital, expansive, energetic, proactive, innovative, creative, committed to powerful ideals, and fun!

Am I looking for bounce in the polls? Maybe a little, but I think any gap will close again. This race is going to be work. And as Hillary said the other night, every vote counts and there isn’t a moment to lose.

Hillary’s Speech and Her (Potentially) Shiny Future

August 27, 2008

Here’s the speech from the DNC last night:

On PBS, David Brooks (conservative columnist for the New York Times) called it the best of her career. I’d agree. I’ve never been that impressed with her past speeches (A’s for content, but B-‘s for delivery, which has a tendency to be stiff and uninspiring). But last night? She was fired up and feisty, and it’s about time we got a little ninja in the Democratic party.

For the first time, I could both imagine her as president and be excited about it. Now, that’s a powerful speech. And assuming her primary shenanigans don’t blow it for Obama (more on that later), I think she will have a chance. I saw some evidence that her loss this time around could free her up to be reborn into the tougher, funnier, more self-confident version of herself, the way Gore was after 2000. Only, unlike Gore, she could still make a run for the presidency if she wanted in 2012.

By the way, kudos to whoever finally got her soundtrack right after all these years. Ditching Fleetwood Mac for edgier, grittier and funkier stuff– inspired! I cannot begin to explain why Lenny Kravitz and The Kinks work with a bright peach colored pantsuit, but it totally does. And thanks Hillary, I’ve been trying to make ‘electric peach’ happen for years! Oh, and I loved the lipstick graphic “Hillary” signs. Where were these PR people when you needed them?

A couple of columnists said she stopped short of endorsing Obama. Someone will have to explain to me what part of “Barack Obama is my candidate!” isn’t an endorsement. If they expected her to refute early primary ads that said Obama wasn’t ready for the presidency, they don’t know the Clintons very well. The first rule of being a Clinton: never apologize for that thing you did. And the ad was evidence of a less than stellar run campaign in the first place. She had the wrong folks on board.

A lot of Hillary supporters had their eyes opened when she challenged those who would vote for McSame rather than Barack with this:

“Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?”

The sad answer is that a few of them were in it just for her, or else they are using her to hide personal racism, which they can’t even begin to talk about. But those people are not true Democrats anyway, so we’ll just let them pick up their marbles, which evidently fell out of their head, and go home.

The true Hillary supporters will vote for Barack, and here’s why:

America’s Future Is at Stake – Progressive Democratic policies trump the neo-con war zone into which our country has devolved.

Helps Clinton the Senator– Putting McBush into the White House hamstrings Clinton and every other hard-working Democratic Senator from getting anything done. Putting Obama into the White House frees Clinton up to continue her good work at a record pace.

Supreme Court Justices – If McMansions is elected, his Supreme Court appointees will set everything Clinton has worked for back decades for decades to come.

Sets up a Clinton Presidency – Clinton ran and she ran well. She learned a lot in this primary, which she can use for a presidential run in 2012. Consider Obama’s administration an assist. And they can learn a lot from each other over the next eight years.

Not Voting for Obama Hurts Clintons Future Chances of Being President – Listen up PUMA’s, if Clinton’s fingerprints or those of her supporters are on an Obama loss, you can bet there are people just as small-minded who will get the Clinton Flu come election day 2012. They will be the same people who stayed home when Kerry ran.

But Clinton said it best:

“We are Americans. We’re not big on quitting.

But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.

We don’t have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.

Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.”

Sometimes I Fantasize That I’m A Republican

August 26, 2008

It’s true. At election time I fantasize about what it must be like to be a Republican. The Republicans’ National Convention will be as predictable, stale and colorless as a low-fat muffin from Starbucks, but in some ways that is what will make it beautiful. When the RNC begins, you can bet that every delegate will be on the same page, of which there will be only one.

Contrast that with what I heard on Washington Journal this morning from two Clinton supporters, both women and delegates to the Democratic Convention. They will support Obama in November but want the opportunity to cast their vote for Clinton at the convention. One of the Clinton supporters said something like, “That’s what the convention is for. It is an opportunity for us to vote and express ourselves.” (Sigh.)

I love Washington Journal because random Americans call in to the guests and you never know what you’re going to hear. One guy called to say, “I don’t get it. The convention is like the Super Bowl. The coach is putting players on the field and these people think this is the time to change quarterbacks?”

And there you have them, the two diverging points of view: convention as “self-expression” vs. “full-on game.” That split in thinking is what causes Democrats to limp around at election time.

I’m all for self-expression, but I believe selecting the quarterback is what the primaries are for. In these days of ubiquitous public television coverage, the convention is for presenting the package, a carefully selected and beautifully wrapped package for America’s voters to use to make their decision in November. Republicans totally get this. You’ll never see them airing their dirty laundry on national television unless Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi is standing at the door with a cut hickory switch.

The candidates get precious few opportunities to hammer election messages home to the public. They have the convention, the debates and whatever visits to constituents they can squeeze in before November 4th. That’s it. The rest is spin. I hate to see some Democrats waste a tank of oxygen whining about how democracy didn’t go their way instead of getting behind their candidate, whose policy positions are much closer to their preferred candidate’s than McCain’s! As my friend Jackie said to me last night, it’s time for Clinton’s supporters to put on their big girl panties and move on.

I understand why Republicans and Democrats see the nature of conventions differently. The key lies in the Democrats embracing of feminist ideals. What do I mean by feminist ideals? I mean the valuing of multiple points of view and dialogue with folks who are traditionally kept in the margins (women, ethnic minorities, working class, gay people, etc.). In fact, the reason I’m a Democrat is because of my party’s willingness to champion the rights and voices of the hard working but less economically powerful, and not just the “I’ve got mine” crowd.

But there is a time and place for debate. The convention is neither. Obama is our candidate. Yes, he needs to introduce himself to the world at the convention. Yes, he needs to talk to a lot of different people, especially to reasonable Clinton supporters. Yes, he needs to speak specifically about his policies and plans (though there is no excuse for Clinton supporters not to know that stuff already. Obama’s website gives you a good idea of what he is about, and it should look very familiar).

Obama will do all of these things very well because he is disciplined, organized and running a near perfect campaign. He knows how to get people who disagree working together in the same room. It’s one of his strengths and it will serve the American people well. I guess I can view the convention as an opportunity to show America how he works.

Blow to Obama: Don’t Dumb Down, But Do Sum Up

August 23, 2008

Charles Blow in the New York Times has some really good advice for Obama:

Earth to Barack: to Main Street America, nuance equals confusion. You don’t have to dumb it down, but you do have to sum it up.

Ironically, thoughtful, nuanced and measured responses don’t get a lot of attention in the world of undecided voters who you would think would appreciate more information. Don’t believe me? Just ask John Kerry.

What do people like? Bite-sized policy statements and responses, like one sentence; three words or less is even better.

It would be worth spending some of Obama’s war chest to hire at least one good writer who does nothing all day but sit around thinking up hammer responses to McCain’s stupid jabs and out of touch gaffes.

Let me take a stab at a few:

“The first debate is going to be a game of Country/Not-a-Country. I’ll give McCain Czechoslovakia, since he’s proven three times that he’ll never get that one right.”

Then for McCain’s inability to tell one warring religious group from another in a part of the world where our success depends in part on knowing the difference:

Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.”
Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”

How about something like:

“The good news about having Biden as my VP is that we won’t have to be on the same podium for my speeches in the Middle East.”

McCain’s disconnect from the world of technology and his continuing quest to own a home in every state:

“It’s a good thing McCain doesn’t have to worry about remembering which of his 7 houses he left his Blackberry in.”

As you can see from my less than successful efforts here, it’s a tough job. But someone needs to do it.

This Ad Is Running In Indiana

August 20, 2008

It’s about time.

And then there’s this from the DNC. I’m grateful for Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life.

That Saddleback conference was something. I don’t think I would have known just how flippant and removed McCain is from economic issues until I saw it. But I guess, according to McCain’s economic advisor, Phil Gramm who shows up in the video as well, that just makes me another whiner.

Is It About To Get Bloody?

August 19, 2008

WAPO says it looks like Obama is finally ready to take the gloves off to fight McSame’s libelous slander. At least Obama is hinting at it.

“I have to just remind people that it is true that, just as John McCain has embraced George Bush’s policies, he’s embraced his politics. And the same people who brought you George Bush are now trying to package John McCain.”

And packaging is about all we’re getting from McCain, but as we saw in 2000 and 2004 that was all a lot of people needed in a president.

But IMO Obama is going way too easy. I like the way the AFL-CIO fights. They sent out a flyer to unions with the following message (Brave New Films turned it into a video):

“McCain’s worth . . . over $100 million. . . . He owns 10 houses. . . . He flies around on a $12.6 million corporate jet. . . . He walks around in $520 Italian loafers,” the mailer states. “If John McCain lost his Social Security, he’d get by just fine. Would you?”

Ten houses! I’ve read about six (now it’s up to 12), but either way, has McCain ever heard of a little something called a hotel? If McBush’s Rove wannabes can make Obama seem more elitist than someone who practically owns a small state, well, my hat is off to them. And whatever happened to senators wearing Johnston and Murphy?

James Vega of the online Democratic Strategist puts out what may be the most compelling of reasons to shy away from McCain:

He said McCain has become “a pale, diminished shadow” of his former self, so desperate to win the election that he has sacrificed “his deepest principles and his personal honor” and allowed “men he once despised . . . to manipulate him.”

He despised the people currently running his campaign because they spread race-baiting lies about him while working for Bush back in 2000. Pale and diminished, indeed. I’d throw craven in there, too.