Wednesday, January 30

:: Temper, Temper

Barack introduces a new campaign theme: arrogance.
Barack keeps making rookie mistakes. Oh, let us count the ways:
  • the multiple "do-overs" (meeting with dictators; violating Pakistan's borders; single payer health care; and so on).....
  • the hypocrisy (condemning Edwards for 527 support even though he get 527 support; condemning Hillary for taking money from Hsu when he as taken money from Rezko; condemning everyone for letting lobbyists help his campaign even though he does the same; condemning the Clintons for raising the "race card" while he's campaigning as the second coming of MLK down south; condemning Clinton for not standing up for principles when he ducked four abortion votes to avoid criticism; saying you oppose entrenched Democrats but embracing Ted Kennedy"; and so on).....
  • the coded sexism (Hillary was holding "tea parties," decrying racism, anti-semitism and homophobia but omitting misogyny, Hillary won a "beauty contest" in Florida).....
And then there's the arrogance. The first famous instance was Barack's sarcastic "you're likable enough" in the New Hampshire debate. His rude body language - turning his back slightly to Hillary and only conversing with John Edwards during the South Carolina debate - was less noticed. Comparing himself to MLK certainly offended me - Barack hasn't put in a fraction of the work and has taken none of the risks that man did.

But Barack has outdone himself in the last two days. We know about his snub of Florida's voters, who had the audacity to not vote for him. In a move seemingly designed to alienate the 850,000 people who voted for Hillary - voters he would need to win the general election - he declared that respect for the Party's arcane rules about the timing of primaries was more important than letting Flordians' voices be heard.

Dumbest of all (arguably, I admit) is what the media is calling "the snub." This refers to the incident before the State of the Union Address, when Barack purposely turned away from Hillary to avoid shaking her hand. I read about it, I saw the series of New York Times photos, and thought it was petty, but not a big deal. Then I looked at the video footage I found here.

The video footage captures the incident much more clearly than the overhead photos. Check out the rude look on Barack's face, and how close he was standing to Hillary when he turned his back.

A different angle, with silly football game graphics. But Hillary nails it with her response. She strikes like a cobra (in other words, she's the opposite of John Day-Late-And-A-Dollar-Short Kerry.

Whoopie is not happy. (But really, how can anyone stand to watch this show??? Yikes, how annoying they are).

The comments from Obama supporters about "the snub" are really funny. These are from Marc Ambinder's blog at The Atlantic, which used these videos - so the evidence was right there..... but look at what these geniuses came up with:

There's the "he was just being polite" approach: And seriously, Obama wanted to give Hillary and Kennedy space. This is more a polite gesture than some dramatic moment. - Posted by mikeVA

There's the "she started it" approach: Also, HRC is capitalizing on this moment. She reached for TED KENNEDY'S hand, NOT Obama's. - Posted by jsc2008

There's the "its all a conspiracy" approach: "There are some in the media who are actively trying to slander Barack Obama as an ungracious boor snubbing poor innocent HIllary. The only person in the media who is giving this its proper context is Maureen Dowd,who gives the whole story in her Wednesday column...The rest of the media is involved in an insidious, under the radar campaign to stop Obama's momentum with a manufactures controversey. These corporate media institutional vioces must rescue Hillary for the sake of their profits for the next 4 years that will be much higher under the circus of Billary than the unity of Obama." - Posted by RKA

That last one was particularly good... and they're still spinning.
Read more!

:: Health, Rights - 1; Men in Funny Hats, - 0

Imagine living in a country where public health matters are decided without interference by a gaggle of old men wearing funny hats....

Agence France Presse -- English January 29, 2008
Brazilian carnival-goers to get access to morning-after pills


The Brazilian city of Recife is to distribute morning-after pills to women during carnival after public prosecutors on Tuesday rejected a Catholic Church lawsuit claiming the initiative promoted sex and provided abortions."

"The pill has no abortive effect, as the archdiocese claims, and its distribution is in no way an incentive to have sex," the prosecutor who made the decision, Ivana Botelho, told AFP.

On top of its legal defeat, the church has come under fire from the Brazilian government for attempting to sway public health policy.

"The (Recife) mayor's office is right and the church is wrong, again," Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao said Sunday, as the issue was coming to a head.

"The morning-after pill is used with medical guidance and is a matter of public health, not religion," he said, adding that he believed the church was alienating youths with its stance.

The archiocese for Recife, one of the Brazilian cities most famous for its wild carnival celebrations alongside Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, on Monday lodged its suit with the public prosecutor's office.

It was seeking to block the distribution of the contraceptive during this year's pre-Lenten carnival, which begins on Friday and runs to Tuesday of next week.

The verdict allows Recife officials to go ahead and hand out the pills from stationary and mobile health posts which will also provide medical consultations.

The municipality says its aim is to "guarantee the sexual and reproductive rights of women who have been victims of sexual violence or who have had a failure of contraceptive methods."

Morning-after pills must be used within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse. They work by blocking fertilization.

According to the newspaper Pernambuco, the archbishop at the center of the storm, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, is not prepared to back down on the issue, and had threatened excommunication to any church-goers who use the pill. Read more!

Friday, January 25

:: That Ol' Time Religion

In Nevada he channeled Reagan; in South Carolina, he was Huckabee...
Be all things to all people - that's how you win a race. Or head up a cult. One of those. Lately, in this environment, its getting hard to tell the difference.

Obama - our smooth, cosmopolitan Cool Black Friend took on a very different aspect in South Carolina. Out was the grade-school-in-Indonesia / high-school in Hawaii / Harvard Law Obama; in was the Ol' Timey / Son of the South / Baptist Obama.

I give you the following:

He has adapted his stump speech to reflect the familiarity his audience feels. He makes more references than usual to his church-going -- "I praise an awesome God" -- and places more emphasis on having been raised "without privilege," by a single mother…

He loosens up his lingo as well, with just enough irony and self-awareness to avoid accusations of pandering. In Dillon Wednesday night, he smiled when an audience member cried out "That ain't right" in response to a disingenuous claim he said Hillary Clinton had made, and then he ran with it, telling the speaker that she had nailed it.

"That is not just 'isn't right.' That 'ain't right,'" he said with a grin. "There are some things that 'isn't right' but then there are some that 'ain't right.'" The crowd roared. "You know what I'm talking about," he added. Mocking a Clinton answer that, he said, smacked of Beltway-speak a moment later, he said, "In Washington, that's how they do." That got a big laugh, and he said it again with a grin. "That's how they do!" In Kingstree, he urged his audience to help with voter turnout Saturday by saying, with a smile, "I not only need you to vote, I need Cousin Pookie to vote. I need Ray-Ray. We need to get some folks to show up that haven't been voting."

And this:

But they are stepping up the effort now that the campaign has hit South Carolina and soon turns to other southern states where religion is so important to voters... campaign representatives blanketed South Carolina churches Sunday with literature that touted Obama's Christian faith.

One piece features photos of Obama praying with the words "COMMITTED CHRISTIAN" in large letters across the middle. It says Obama will be a president "guided by his Christian faith" and includes a quote from him saying, "I believe in the power of prayer."

A second piece, which like the first doesn't mention the Muslim rumor, includes photos of Obama with his family and a caption that says they are active members of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. It explains how as a young man Obama "felt a beckoning of the spirit and accepted Jesus Christ into his life."

And this:

The community gymnasium here on this town's dilapidated south side was jammed with locals. Barack Obama kept them waiting three-quarters of an hour, but there was other entertainment.

The candidate, when he finally arrived, carried with him a message of racial pride to the largely black audience. "Some people say . . . African Americans can't do it," he observed. "I'm one of those people who, when you tell me I can't do something, that's when I decide I'm going to do that." The audience thundered and called back with shouts of "Yes!" and "That's right!"

The scene -- a celebration of African American culture and achievement -- highlights the extraordinary revision of Obama's image here as he campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination...

Immediately before Obama took the stage, the woman introducing him made an explicit case for racial pride. "Our Latino brothers have integrity, our Indian brothers have integrity, our Caucasian brothers and sisters have integrity," she said. "God didn't anoint one set of people to have standards and not everybody else. This is why we are attracted and drawn to Senator Obama."

When Obama spoke, many of his lines were the same -- "I decided to run because of what Dr. King called the fierce urgency of now" -- but this time audience members cheered his every sentence with shouts of "yes." As he went along, Obama made some slight adjustments to his usual speech....

The homey phrases poured forth: "No, Lord! . . . It's the same old okey-doke. . . . Prayin' to Jesus with my Bible." He then took the audience on a tour from the American Revolution to slavery's abolition to the civil rights movement. "They marched in the streets, they sat in at the lunch counters, they suffered fire hoses, they suffered beatings, dogs were put on them, but they didn't turn back," he said, to thunderous cheers.

The tour through history led, of course, to Obama's candidacy. When he decided to run, "I believed that the American people . . . weren't as divided as our politics suggest, that black and white, Latino, Asian -- everybody wanted to move forward," he said. "If we could just join our voices together," he continued, "there was not a problem that we could not solve and no destiny that we could not fulfill."

And this - check out the photo:

Maybe for California he'll transform into Cesar Chavez. Or back into Reagan. Hey! Maybe for New York he can try on LaGuardia.

I CANNOT WAIT for Super Tuesday.
Read more!

:: "The Daily Dish" (of hot, steaming crap)

Andrew Sullivan stars in his own horrorshow: "I Am Moron."

Who would have thought that celebrity gay blogger Andrew Sullivan would ever find a point of agreement with Saudi fundamentalists on a social issue?

Long story short: Sullivan's latest column argues that Hillary's candidacy violates the spirit and intent of the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. That's the one that limits a President to two terms of office:

We also confront the issue of the 22nd amendment. I don't like it, but it's there. In fact, we may have the 22nd Amendment to thank for our current predicament. Bill Clinton should have been able to run for a third term in the full light of day under traditional democratic rules. Instead, we now have to grapple with re-electing him to a third (and even fourth) term via his wife. Yes, they narrowly fit the letter of the Constitution, but they sure do violate its spirit and intent.

Because, as the Saudis know so well, wives are not individual people. They are simply an extension of their husbands (or fathers, or oldest male relative). Legal rights apply to the man of the house; the little lady falls under his jurisdiction. Women don't need identity cards or passports, because it would be redundant - they are already listed as part of the nearest male's collection of chattel. And running for office? If you have a husband / father / brother in office, its redundant as well. You belong to him; he's an office-holder; therefore if you were elected to office it would mean your owner is occupying two political seats. And that just wouldn't be fair now, would it?

But maybe Sullivan has a point with regard to Constitutional intent. The 22nd amendment was added in the 20th century, but if you think about the Framers' Intent (cue dramatic music) you'll remember that they saw no reason for women, or slaves, to have the right to vote. Why bother, when they would only be reflecting their master's will? To allow a man's property to vote would be to violate the principle of 'one man, one vote.'

And so, in America's greatest throwdown on the role of women in society in the last thirty years, Sullivan enters the fray riding an enormous pig - a sexist pig.

Bareback, of course.

*photo, left: Andy and the pig he rode in on

Read more!

Wednesday, January 23

:: How She Move

An off-hand sexist comment about Hillary
turns out to be my last straw.
Behold my fury.
The setting:

I have become dependent on the website I love that site. It has poll numbers. All the poll numbers. It has great analysis. It has none of the bombast that makes sites like Politico unbearable. The pollster who runs it, Mark Blumenthal, seems like a really good guy. He shares - for free - expertise that we used to have pay a lot for, and even after paying, sometimes didn't get (Mr. Garin). It doesn't have a very active comments area, but the comments that are posted are usually very brief and on topic. Active campaigning (Ron Paul Rulez!) is discouraged.

Now, join me as I relive my brief foray beyond the brink.

The trigger:

A totally ordinary post about the latest South Carolina poll numbers. Several comments were posted, including this one, from a fellow named "Joseph":
I think ultimately the votes will tell. There is still a considerable amount of racism and sexism in the south so I guess we'll just see which is more prevalent. I like Obama myself, as I've never seen Hilary as qualified as anything except a sellout in the cause of women having their self respect. She only stayed with Bill because her political boat would sink without being able to be towed by his political tug boat.

I've pretty much had it with anti-Hillary folk insulting huge swaths of women... this is in fact a peeve of mine with regard to Obama supporters. They seem to think that proclaiming, for months, at the top of their actual and virtual lungs, that Hillary is against change and akin to GWB, is not "negative," and they generally won't acknowledge that this is divisive messaging that is insulting to Hillary supporters, namely me. But more importantly, the god damn frigging omnipresent sexism! Anyway, I tried to be good:

To Joseph, who wrote: "I like Obama myself, as I've never seen Hilary as qualified as anything except a sellout in the cause of women having their self respect. She only stayed with Bill because her political boat would sink without being able to be towed by his political tug boat."

It sounds as though you think any woman - or man, I presume - who sticks with a spouse after infidelity has no self respect. That's very insulting to an awful lot of people who have gone through a wrenching situation not (generally) of their own making. Just fyi, keep this in mind the next time you say this. I'm sure you don't mean to be insulting, but people can take this sort of thing awfully personally - particularly older women, for whom divorce was greatly stigmatized, especially if there were children, and who might have had limited employment opportunities, less ability to borrow money or get credit, etc.

Also, its really a pretty bad thing to define a woman solely or primarily by her marriage. Are we saying Giuliani, McCain, etc. have sold out men with their marital behavior? Are we saying they shouldn't be president primarily because of their marital conduct? Of course not. We recognize them as multifaceted individuals, even if we disagree with their politics.

Well, same goes for women, my friend. Each of us is defined by more than just our relationship to a man. As it happens, Hillary is a US Senator, which makes her at least as qualified for the office of President as Barack.

Last, I'd like to suggest that you shouldn't purport to know the interior motives of anyone who is part of such a long term relationship. Especially someone you don't personally know.

I hope you take these comments as no more than an attempt to share a different perspective.

Joseph replied:

To reply to Ciccina, I didn't really find it necessary to expand my point, but Hilary isn't one of these classic examples of a woman who would face shame and social dismissal because of divorce. She seems to me to be a woman who continues with a marriage of political convenience for the sake of her own political career. Their child, Chelsea, is grown and has her own life now so I don't think she's staying with Bill for her sake.

It may be that they have this undying love for each other, speaking about Bill and Hilary, but I don't think this is the case. Certainly, a respect and a truce of sorts, but that would be the majority.

I wouldn't presume to make assumptions about other peoples reasons for staying with someone who cheats on them. I've stuck it out myself once so would not be inclined to pass judgement on someone for doing so.

A question to ask yourself though, would a divorced wife of the former President Bill Clinton have suceeded in her bid for office in the New York senatorial race? Not to say that she wasn't qualified as she would seem to be at least well qualified for a senators position if judged by the character and intelligence of her counterparts. I simply don't like people who stay together out of political expedience and use their relationship as a mechanism by which to attempt to win elections.

As for the other candidates, I think each individual can vote or not vote for who they choose for whatever reasons they have. Guilianini was a bit of a disgrace to office pre-9/11, but came out of it all dipped in gold. Would I vote for him? Unlikely, unless he was facing Hilary. Then it's the lesser of evils.

Character assasinations don't work if everyone whose voting only voted based on a person's political merits. We already know how effective these types of tactics can be though.

I personally, find that the character a person displays in their personal life "almost" inevitably leads to the character with which they will conduct themselves in their business or political life be it in the open or behind closed doors.

I recognize your response as a diffrent opinion and only offer this as an expansion of my own original cliff noted opinion. :)

Hmm. Not really what I expected. Mixed messages there. He totally didn't get it. A commenter named Paula di Lauro (paesan!) picked up on this:
So, in a post about the latest poll numbers, we get the following remarks:

"I like Obama myself, as I've never seen Hilary as qualified as anything except a sellout in the cause of women having their self respect. She only stayed with Bill because her political boat would sink without being able to be towed by his political tug boat."

"I simply don't like people who stay together out of political expedience and use their relationship as a mechanism by which to attempt to win elections."

"Would I vote for him (Guiliani)? Unlikely, unless he was facing Hilary. Then it's the lesser of evils."

And, of course, the writer goes to some lengths to persuade us that he's neither a lame sexist, a Republican shill, or a pathological Clinton-hater. No, just another of those terribly virtuous folk who live to tear the scales from our eyes when it comes to the Clintons, especially Mrs. Clinton.

She was far pithier than I was, or would be.

The next relevant comment was from a fellow named Henry, who had posted a long (but not as long as mine! I win!) comment speculating about what would happen next with South Carolina poll numbers, actual votes, and subsequent bounce going into Super Tuesday. He was not happy that no one had addressed his points. He wrote:
First, Re: Paula di Lauro (above),

Yes, and we also get comments actually analyzing the poll numbers, such as mine above. But apparently it's more important for you to highlight these comments that you deride than those which you purport by inference to prefer. Then you proceed to make broad cynical assumptions about what you feel are someone's intentions.

How unfortunate all of this is for the relevant discussion at hand.

He then restated the high points of his previous comment. Apparently the irony of criticizing someone for their "broad cynical assumptions about what you feel are someone's intentions" in response to a comment that was noting someone's broad cynical assumptions about someone else's intentions was lost on Henry. Still, I felt kind of bad that he was ignored, so as usual I picked out the parts I disagreed with and replied with the most respectfully candidate- neutral language I could muster:

Dear Henry,

I thought your post was intriguing, but I didn't feel I had anything to add to it. But this would have been (and now is) my response.

With regard to: "it would seem that much of Clinton's voter base is composed of less [politically] educated folks who are supporting her because, to grossly over-summarize, they recognize the name the most and remember Bill Clinton with some relative fondness."

As surveys of likely voters go, my guess is that voters over "a certain age" can compare the regimes of Reagan / Bush I to Clinton and know what a difference the Clintons made. Even though you acknowledge this as a gross oversimplification, I still think its way too reductive to call this name recognition + relative fondness. In my case, this is a politically informed, considered (albeit disagreeable to many) position. By contrast, the twenty-something Obama supporters, who became sentient (as I like to say) in their teens, can't compare the Clinton years to the economic depravity and asocial zeitgeist of the 80s (IMHO, of course). To them the Clintons are year zero, the pre-existing status quo. So in that sense one might say that they are less politically educated than older Clinton supporters.

Further, Obama's supporters skew upper income, so you could hypothesize that they are more insulated from the impact of income inequality, lack of health care, loss of jobs - hell, even on reproductive rights, its lower income women who pay the price of the anti-abortion "chipping away" strategy (24 hour waiting periods, driving rural providers out of business, defunding Planned Parenthood); for upper income women who periodically publish their anti-Hillary opinions in Slate, for example, its more of an esoteric issue. So one might say that upper income voters are *less* politically educated in terms of the true impact of policy positions; the evidence for this would be their failure to assign the appropriate value to pragmatic, if prosaic, policy solutions (again, IMHO).

Which is just to say that there are a lot of ways to interpret the numbers.

re: "On the other hand, it seems that as people become more knowledgeable of who Obama is as a candidate and a person (or the same for Edwards), they see him as more relatively attractive compared with Clinton."

Again, I differ. I don't want to harp on Obama here but I'll point to two items making the media rounds right now, post debate: his statement about supporting universal health coverage paired with the video clip of his 2003 AFL speech, and the meme that *both* candidates are now mudslinging (which undermines the message that his is a "different" kind of politics). The latter puts Obama in a real bind - as every errant child knows, "she started it" will only take you so far, and "I have to stoop to their level to win" isn't a great message either.

The complaint his campaign made to the Nev. democratic party will keep alive in the press counter-examples of inappropriate behavior by overly enthusiastic Obama supporters (they must be 'fair and balanced,' after all). Also Rezko is being covered more, paired with the news that Obama's camp held on to some of that money until relatively recently. At a minimum this mishegas steps on Obama's message that contributions, subsequently returned, from Hsu or other nefarious evil-doers are evidence of Clinton's corruption / poor character.

Clinton's decision to walk away from SC is the ultimate in lowballing expectations. And Obama, by leaning so hard on imagery that implies he is the inheritor of Dr. King's legacy, has paved the way for a media storyline that says SC black voters "only voted for him because he was black" (which is just as insulting and demeaning as the "NH women only voted for Hillary because she cried" BS). But I guess the press would have gone there anyway, eventually. Either way, its wrong, but some people will hear it and that's not a positive development (for anyone).

Of course I can point to no data to back any of this up, thus defeating the purpose of posting these overly long comments in a blog dedicated to polling.

Bask in my wisdom, you three. Did you catch the reference to Kate & Frances? I enjoyed that.

But keep reading... I wasn't finished yet. I also posted the following, an outburst of the frustration that's been simmering inside me for months....
But while I'm at it...


Surely you can see Paula's point about the double standard?

No one says that McCain's decision to cheat on his first wife, a former model who suffered a disfiguring accident while he was in Vietnam, with a beautiful 17-years younger millionairess, whom he subsequently married with the knowledge that her socially prominent father would bankroll his political career, reflects poor character that proves he is unqualified to be anything but a spokesperson for selfish male behavior.

Further, no one even says that this is a major blemish to his character. Nor does anyone ever say that McCain got to the position he's in now because of his wife, though we all know how important early money is to a novice candidate. It wouldn't be out of line to say that without that early money and social support - because of the person he married - McCain wouldn't be where he is today - but no one ever says that about him, do they?

Almost no one says that Giuliani's appalling performance as a husband - the cousin-marriage, the tele-divorce, the galavanting around town like a priapic - dare I say it - ferret, proves he's unqualified to be anything other than the poster child for a freakshow. You yourself say you'd vote for him over Hillary because of her character - and Hillary isn't even the one who cheated!

Even Dr. King is said, by sources including David Garrow, to have cheated. No one says this invalidates his status as a paragon of morality - because that, after all, only concerns his marriage, not his public life. And lord knows that among those who believe this, no one, but no one, says Coretta Scott King lacked self respect because she stayed with him. What really matters are his civic contributions, his leadership, his ideas - not the alleged personal misbehavior.

Your claim to know Hillary's inner motivations doesn't wash. This isn't about your special insights into her psychology; its about the different value placed on the personal behavior of women relative to men.

This is what I mean by defining a woman - even a woman as accomplished as Hillary Clinton - first and foremost by how she relates to a man, while simultaneously defining a man by his achievements, not by his relationship with his wife / girlfriend / 2nd cousin. Which is patently sexist, and, in case it needs to be said, wrong.

This goes right along with all those disingenuous folk who claim Hillary has no real experience other than her time in the Senate. Because of course before then she was "just a wife," right? And wives never do anything important - they just fritter away their time pouring tea, right? Never mind her legal work in the area of children's rights. Never mind her accomplishments reforming education in Arkansas. Never mind everything she delivered for women as first lady, nor her work in establishing S-Chip. That doesn't count because she was "just a wife" and not an elected office holder.

Meanwhile, its okay to crow about Obama's time as a community organizer and "civil rights lawyer"; Edwards is praised for his prowess as a trial lawyer standing up to the big corporations; Romney is praised for his business acumen, or his executive hair, I'm not sure. None of which, except possibly the hair, happened while they held elected office.

That's the double standard in action; a pristine example of sexism.

Sorry to go on about this, but like homophobia, anti-semitism, racism, etc., I think there is value in confronting this sort of thing in situ.

I was pretty sure as I posted this that I'd probably get myself banned from for abuse of the comments section. But hell, its worth it, I thought, in the spirit of a thousand charred bridges. Luckily subsequent comments, so far, haven't called for my banishment.

But really, the freaking god damn fucking sexism is just unbearable. And not only that, but the invisibility of the sexism - i.e. the active and tacit support of it - is overwhelming. Have any of you noticed that when Obama talks about bringing Americans together, about how none of our hands are clean, he'll mention racism, homophobia, anti-semitism... and never sexism or violence against women? Please, correct me if I'm wrong, because I don't want to be right about this. Has anyone pointed this out? I'm asking this for real, because I can't bear to read Broadsheet and other feminst-ish sites lately.

Regardless of whether you prefer the policy positions of Edwards, Clinton, Obama or whomever, we are neck-deep in the biggest public throwdown on how our society judges women since 1973. And most of our feminist leaders - the old guard represented by Kate & Frances and the cooler-than-you "third wave" crowd - are completely AWOL. The groups, such as they are, are silent. Would it kill them to say that people of good will could disagree on the policy issues etc. of the candidates, but this sexism we will not abide? On one side of the divide you have women in the trenches - blue collar women, the women who shaped policy during the Clinton administration; on the other side you have our insanely sexist media and a sizable cadre of young and middle aged Democratic men who are supposed to be beyond this; and off to the side, babbling among themselves, the feminist dilettantes complaining that Hillary is either too mannish (Kate & Frances) or too girlish (Kate & Frances). It really makes me feel like I've wasted my time cohorting with some of these people.
Read more!

:: Where Have I Been

I've been neglecting you.
First, post-New Hampshire, I was just too excited to write anything worth reading. Then, I got too busy. And now here, weeks since the last post.

Who knows, the Canary may have lost its audience - all three of you!

Also - an announcement - a little bird has told the Canary that our beloved Buffy will be back in town this weekend. All hands on deck! Read more!

Tuesday, January 8

:: Comeback Kid, Part 2

Well, there will be time for us to analyze it tomorrow, but for tonight, I'm just savoring Hillary's surprising win in NH. I was so prepared to have NH break my heart again, and somehow they came through. Many kudos to Buffy for all her hard work getting those women out to vote - we know they were the backbone of this victory.

It's a real race now, and that's a good thing. Let's have the chance to really judge the candidates and decide who we think the strongest one is. I've made up my mind, but I'm glad for a true primary process on both sides - this is what democracy is all about. Let's not be in such a rush to cut it off too quickly.

Can't wait to hear Hillary give her VICTORY speech! Read more!

Monday, January 7

:: Hey! Kool-Aid!

All right, Buffy. You win. Pass the Kool-Aid. Read more!

Saturday, January 5

:: The Double Standard Rides Again

Watch and wait... Hillary will get blamed for going negative, when Obama's people have been haranguing her non-stop. Somehow calling her 'the status quo', 'bush lite' and 'part of the problem' is fine... but calling Barack on it is wrong. Big cheers from the crowd for the guys putting the uppity lady in her place.

Nevertheless, Barack was put off his game immediately. John rose to the fight - he's good at this. For the first time I have an opinion about whether Barack or John would be the stronger candidate. Its John.

Oops. Gotta go. Buffy insists I eat something. More later. Read more!

:: Here we go....


Forget what I said - ABC is going the NBC route, though they are far less rude. The question directly pits hillary against obama. I just missed the whole answer because of a distraction named Buffy. sigh.

the crowd has been lethargic but for scattered applause when obama said "wealthy people."

ouch! Hillary slammed Obama head in concrete!


We're still on national security. Can't complain - this is a substantive approach, totally unlike NBC's debacle. This is turning into a low energy affair. Hillary throws a bone to ABC, referencing their investigative reporting. It probably won't help, though. They are assholes.

Hillary strikes a chord talking about "no safe heaven states for stateless terrorism."

Richardson pipes up to talk about energy pipelines.


Obama and Clinton are using the exact same tone - they both exude gravitas. Edwards just got caught smirking. He wants to let loose, but he's all control.


Hillary sounds very, very serious. She's defining the term experience, explaining our policy of the last two decades and summarizing what's been tried and what went wrong. Her voice has a steady, low tone. I'm sure she'll get dinged by some evil harpy like Dowd but I think she sounds fantastic - all gravitas, no saleswoman, as befits such a grave topic.

Richardson pipes up to make sure everyone knows he doesn't get it.


Richardson is going to send a high level envoy to ask Musharref to step aside. I don't know how anyone on the stage is keeping a straight face. Oh wait, Richardson remembered he's supposed to be living on this planet... no, he's forgotten again.


Obama is answering the first question - on national security - at length. He is clearly going for "substance" over rhetoric. I didn't grasp the details - my fault, not his. I'm starving and dehydrated.

Edwards started strong but is deep in the details thicket. The impact of his "go get bin Laden" statement might be lost by now. His statement about eliminating nuclear weapons got the first applause of the night.

oh god help me, its richardson's turn. Read more!

:: Liveblogging the Debate

I'm in New Hampshire, liveblogging the debate. I never thought I would do something so trendy. I fear for my very soul.

I'm in Milly's Tavern in Manchester, the room is packed, I haven't eaten all day - so if I start sounding screwy, that's what happened. Read more!

Thursday, January 3

:: The Right Wing Will "Gore" Obama

Kids - do not try this at home!
Its not unusual to see Obama supporters post comments like this:
Can it be that Obama’s message of unity and inclusiveness have an impact on the minds of potential voters? Can it also be that a candidate who refuses to be roped into a divisive conversations about race but rather talks about the need the address issues facing ALL Americans is actually getting through?
One can’t reasonably blame Obama for the ‘hype’ around him. What he brings to the table is an honest, non-manufactured, intelligent, and universally inspirational face to help rekindle a broken country. What’s so bad about that? His ability to bring folks together goes beyond the masses but should translate similarly to those that would conceivably work under and with him in government, where the real work is done — not unlike that of an effective CEO.

Part of the Obama mystique is the idea that he transcends race, party identification and other cultural lines of demarcation. He is the candidate with the audacity to hope that Americans will come together to solve our nation's problems. He has the unique capacity to unite black and white, Democrat and Republican, lion and lamb.

Perhaps I'm just far too bitter, but I predict that if Obama becomes the Democratic nominee it won't take long before he's seen as a divisive, race-baiting, polarizing figure. Unless you've got a couple of very, very unusual lions, the only time time you'll see them lying down with lambs is when they get tired of eating standing up.

I must clarify that I don't think Obama is a bad guy. I'm impressed by his ability to inspire. I believe he is motivated by the desire to do good. I want to see him continue to grow, continue to lead, and build a movement that stands up to the spiteful lies of the GOP.

But I must also add that at this point I do not trust him on women's issues and LGBT issues. Women's issues - which in this country is practically a euphemism for reproductive rights - and LGBT issues have always be stigmatized. In the interest of presenting a "balanced" picture, the press continually pits normal, common-sense groups like Planned Parenthood against whack-jobs from the Christian right, to give another example, pits normal, common sense groups like Human Rights Campaign or PFLAG against whack-jobs such as the Phelps family. The result is that perfectly reasonable opinions are framed as an extreme. Time after time, I've seen women's and LGBT issues thrown overboard in the interest of "bringing people together." I don't trust Obama not to go down that path. Historically, the Democratic party has stood for equal rights, with the tacit understanding that some rights are more equal that others.

Further, I am irritated beyond belief by his adoption of GOP talking points that will only make it harder for him to campaign later. That's a two parter -validating the GOP talking points is irritating, and knowing they will come back to haunt him is doubly irritating. He makes rookie mistakes. Maybe this is a generational issue, but I watched the Clintons get caught off guard by the viciousness of GOP and their allies. I don't want to experience it twice. She may stumble occasionally, but she doesn't set traps for herself to be caught in later. Obama, by vociferously denouncing the "special interests" he will need later on for support (for example) will be hoisted on his petard.

And this bring me to the electability issue. I do not believe that Obama is un-electable. I do believe - very, very strongly - that he is no more electable than any other candidate or former candidate. Not Gore. Not Biden. Not Dodd. Not Clark. Not Richardson. Not Edwards. And certainly not Clinton.

In all likelihood, Obama will not be able to campaign as the man he is. Instead, he'll wind up campaigning as the man the GOP tells us he is. And I am not just talking about the GOP distorting his image with Republican voters; nor am I talking about independent voters. I think this will happen with a sizable number of Democratic voters. If history is to be our guide, the GOP will turn his biggest virtue - his clarity of purpose and ability to bring people together - into his biggest weakness.

If a group of Democrats can be convinced that Hillary Clinton, a woman with a long list of accomplishments, is nothing but a trifling gold digger, believe me - a group of Democrats can be convinced that Obama is a hustling con artist and closet racist.

I further submit that a group of Democrats can be convinced that the billionaire owner of a corporate empire is the standard bearer of independence from "special interests" (Bloomburg).

Look at how one of John Edwards' strongest points - his advocacy for individuals wronged by powerful corporations - has been turned into a weakness ("greedy trial lawyer"). Some Democrats now talk about his success as if it were evidence of a character flaw.

One of Gore's most unassailable qualities was his honest, straight-arrow character. Yet the GOP convinced many voters- Democrats included - that he was a compulsive liar. Kerry's most unassailable quality was his patriotism and his record as a war hero. The GOP convinced many Democrats that he was a coward and traitor.

Since Obama's strongest appeal is that he is a moderate who will bring different kinds of people together, it won't take long for the GOP to have some Democrats believing he is a divisive radical with a hidden race-based agenda.

Here's how:

A GOP operative sifts through a list of his supporters, chooses one who once said something racially inflammatory, and sends it to Drudge with a demand that Obama distance himself from that person.

While Obama is on the defensive, the operative sends Drudge the name of a second Obama supporter who once made an inflammatory racial comment. Repeat.

At this point, if they haven't done so already, the mainstream press will report on the "growing scandal" involving allegations of racism. They'll use the Drudge material as their source. If criticized for participating in "smear tactics," watch the mainstream press claim they aren't causing the controversy, they're just covering it.

Wait for some well-meaning Obama supporter to write a blog post calling the controversy racist - after all, what white Republican candidate is ever asked to repudiate the ideas of one his suppoprters? The operative will then seize on that comment to say Obama is playing the race card to deflect criticism. Make sure all the GOP allies on the cable news channels and right-wing radio shows get the talking points.

When Obama explains that the blogger doesn't represent the campaign, the GOP allies reply in a jaded tone that "everyone knows" the blogger is a "secret operative" of the campaign. Nobody wants to say otherwise - they don't want to look "naive."

A chorus of pundits will speculate about Obama's "apology. When the campaign issues a statement, they will ignore or it parse the words to make it sound as if they agree with the statement. The operative will wait for the campaign to issue a clarifying statement, then send out the talking points claiming that small differences in wording mean Obama is flip-flopping or "backtracking."

At this point we will be stuck in the loop of the mainstream media covering the "turmoil" at the Obama campaign as they "reel from the allegations." Instant scandal. Instant "race problem." And most people - including Democrats - will have formed their impression without hearing more than a few words from Obama himself.

Now, this isn't rocket science. I haven't "discovered" anything and I don't have any special media expertise. I haven't been on a campaign payroll since 1995. This is just a matter of observing what's already been done to Gore, Kerry, Clinton and Edwards and drawing the obvious conclusion.

Its as easy as that. Again, it doesn't mean that Obama is un-electable. But he certainly doesn't have the advantage his supporters think he has.

Read more!

Wednesday, January 2

:: Yes, Race Will Be a Factor

Of course race will be a factor if Barack is the nominee - just as gender will be a factor if the nominee is Hillary.
Political reporter Matt Bai remarks, in blog post over at you-know-where, "In fact, on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, there’s been remarkably little discussion at all about Mr. Obama’s race, which 20 years ago would have been the dominant subtext of every word spoken about him." He wonders what impact, if any, race will have on Barack's support in the primary and general elections.

It got me to thinkin'.

I believe we aren't hearing race-based negativity about Obama because we're still in the Democratic primary. Most Democratic campaigns - most Democratic operatives - wouldn't fight that way if their lives depended on it.

But if Barack were the nominee in the general, I guarantee you all hell would break lose.

Remember that Bush in 2000 used racist messages against John McCain in South Carolina, and he's a man of no color whatsoever. Imagine what the same operatives would do this time around.

My guess is this: they'd start by finding ways to talk about "affirmative action," eventually leading up to saying that Obama - who doesn't have much experience and hasn't "paid his dues" - was trying to use his race to get "political affirmative action" in order to "cheat" his way into the Oval Office. There'd be lots of talk about how Obama only cares about getting ahead, about how ambitious he is (read: doesn't know his place).

The moment Obama would try to defend himself, the operatives and their media friends (Matthews, Williams, O'Reilly etc) would counter-charge that Obama is playing the "race card" because he doesn't think he should have to face tough questions, and that's he demanding "special treatment" because he's black. After another week or two they'd start saying its really Obama who is the racist, while the GOP is truly for equality because they don't believe in "special privileges" for anybody.

This is, after all, what's already happened to Hillary. First it was "she expects special treatment because she's a woman / she was First Lady" then when she countered, it was "she's playing the gender card to avoid criticism." Not too long after this you start hearing "she's the one who is the real sexist."

Unfortunately, this gambit plays well with a lot of people, particularly those who don't think of themselves as racist or sexist but do believe that civil rights activists and feminists want "special privileges" for minorities and women and are out to game the system to their own advantage.

Don't believe it? Check out the latest Maureen Dowd column, where she claims both Clinton AND Obama feel "entitled" to the presidency. The groundwork is already being laid.

I'm just as certain that the GOP will go racist against Barack as I am certain that they'll go sexist against Hillary. The Republicans don't have a really good nominee of their own lined up. They are going to have to work triple time cultivating the "anyone but" vote if they want to get their people motivated.

In this respect, no Democratic primary frontrunner has an advantage or disadvantage - neither Clinton, Obama nor even Edwards (the GOP has already started insinuating he's "swishy" i.e. the expensive hairdresser, the Breck girl comments, Coulter calling him a particular epithet). Things are going to get ugly no matter who is our nominee.

Of course, an attack like this would unify and energize a lot Democrats - myself included. Nothing would turn me into an Obama supporter faster than the first salvo of dirty GOP campaigning.

The only distinction I might draw is that I think Hillary's supporters know to expect this - I'm not sure Barack's supporters do. Read more!

:: Vive la Difference!

A comparison of the Clinton and Obama economic plans is... interesting!

God bless New York Times reporter David Leonhardt. His article, "Democrats: More Than Healthcare," gives us useful information on a substantive issue.

Leonhardt distills a philosophical difference in the economic proposals of each candidate. In his words, Mrs. Clinton prefers, "programs to encourage specific kinds of behavior, like tax breaks for college tuition, health care and retirement savings."
[Mrs. Clinton] believes in the promise of narrowly tailored government policies, like focused tax cuts. She has more faith that government can do what it sets out to do, which is a traditionally liberal view. Yet she also subscribes to the conservative idea that people respond rationally to financial incentives.
Mr. Obama, on the other hand, draws on behavioral economics, which "consider[s] an abiding faith in rationality to be wishful thinking. To Mr. Obama, a simpler program — one less likely to confuse people — is often a smarter program."

Leonhardt compares the each candidate's take on retirement savings:
[Mrs. Clinton's] retirement tax credit, for example, would match the first $1,000 saved by couples making less than $60,000. For those making from $60,000 to $100,000, the match would be 50 cents on the dollar. To Mrs. Clinton, these policies are more efficient than old-style bureaucracy and less expensive than across-the-board tax cuts.

[Mr. Obama's plan] would instead require companies to deduct money automatically from their employees’ paychecks and place it in a savings account the employee owned. Employees could opt out of the program. But if they did nothing, they would end up saving money. It’s an idea that comes directly from academic research showing that savings rates have jumped when individual companies have adopted such plans.

I bet Mr. Leonhardt will catch all hell for not including Mr. Edwards in his article, even though he has corresponding information about his economic plan here. The next article in this series will look at the Republican frontrunners... Leonhardt had better start battening down the hatches if he plans to exclude Ron Paul. Read more!

:: The Dirty, Hidden Corner that Campaign Finance Reform Forgot

The New York Times has an editorial today entitled "Drowning in Special Interest Money."
My comment is simply this.
The New York Times editorial board forgot to mention one critical - and terrifying - way that a certain set of mega-rich individuals and their for-profit corporations operate behind the scenes to manipulate the outcome of every presidential election.

These wealthy individuals are part of a secretive, elite group. They represent only their own narrow personal and family interests. They are accountable to no one but themselves. They spend corporate money to achieve their agenda but are not subject to any kind of disclosure of quid pro quo, personal gain, conflict of interest, or coordination with candidates.

Every four years this shadowy group meets privately with each of the presidential candidates. Behind closed doors the supplicant is subjected to a battery of carefully crafted questions designed to elicit the degree to which he (or she) would adhere to the group's agenda. The meetings are closed to the public and to federal regulators.

Out of this degrading cattle call a "winning" candidate is chosen. The prize? Millions of dollars of corporate resources spent "educating" the public in order to sway their votes.

This group would protest that they represent the interests of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans and that they act only with the best, most civic-minded intentions. These are attractive words that the public is supposed to take on faith - because without federally mandated rules guaranteeing full disclosure and transparency, there are no checks and balances on their power.

Not surprisingly, this group spent millions of dollars of corporate resources lobbying to have their own type of group exempted from McCain-Feingold. Not surprisingly, the resulting law is silent about this form of influence peddling.

Who is this shadowy group of elite, wealthy Americans?

They call themselves an "editorial board." The New York Times Corporation has one - and there are hundreds, maybe thousands more of these corporate so-called "editorial boards" operating throughout the country, completely beyond the reach of federal regulation.

The special interests behind these so-called "editorial boards" argue that the first amendment protects their right to choose a winning candidate. But banning "editorial boards" would not silence the individuals behind them. They would still be free - just like any citizen - to voice their opinion. They simply would not be allowed to use their corporate megaphone to drown out the voices of their less fortunate peers. "Editorial boards" might howl that the Constitution specifically protects "freedom of the press," but surely the founders did not foresee a day when the media would be a multi-billion dollar industry and the simple printing press would be replaced by technology that would let a few members of the wealthy elite reach millions of readers at the touch of a button.

The only way to level the political playing field in this country is to ban all special interest influence peddling vehicles - especially the pernicious 527s, PACs and "editorial boards" that make a mockery of the principle of one man, one vote.

Only when private special interest influence is banned, and all candidates must meet requirements determined by incumbent elected officials in order to apply to a government-run committee for their sole source of campaign funding, will true democracy be achieved in this country. Read more!

:: 2008 and the Politics of Divorce

The language of hating Hillary belongs in a
divorce court, not a political contest.
First, a confession. I've been spending way to much time following the comments over at the New York Times "blog" devoted to the Iowa caucuses; for the most part, that's the material that informs my impressions.

Okay then.

I've noticed a distinct variety of Hillary-hating that seems to come mainly from people who purport to be Barack supporters. I say "purport" because I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of these nutters turned out be provocateurs deliberately trying to play up resentment against Hillary and Barack. Really, who knows.

The theme is typified by commenter "Denise":
[Hillary] lacks the qualifications for the job, and the only way she will get elected is to align herself with Bill. That’s just the life-long Clinton strategy that moves Hillary into a position for which she is not qualified.

Every time Bill moves up (think Gov of Arkansas), Hillary moves up with him (think Attorney General of Arkansas). Bill moves up again (think President of the US); Hillary moves up with him (think US Senate). See the pattern, women?

Consider what America got with the first Clinton co-Presidency:

• Granting Presidential pardons to buy Hillary’s election to the Senate. As a woman who made it on my own, Hillary’s need to ride Bill’s coattails and her sense of entitlement (as in “it’s my turn and Obama should wait his turn”) makes me doubt her capabilities.

• Hillary’s long-suffering marriage to Bill, enabling a lifetime of sexual trysts and trying to contain the Bimbo eruptions, gives me a President without the backbone to stand up to a man. Hillary claims to be tough enough to play with the boys when, in fact, she is unable to leave a cheating husband. How will she stand up to other male leaders who see this in “Mrs.” Clinton and walk all over her?

• Being married to a former President does not make one qualified to be President.
Here's another, from "MT":
I don’t think most of us are claiming that Hillary is not intelligent. My issue with her is that she has uses her intelligence repeatedly for personal gain while someone clearly loses. I am a professional female with two advanced degrees - I would like to see a female in the White House. But HRC is the complete opposite of the kind of female who furthers women’s causes (yes - I am sure by her words she will claim to have done more than her share but as with anything, actions speak louder than words).

1. She is where she is today purely b/c, whether one likes him or not (I do not), her husband is a master politician and has given her instant name recognition and “history” in this country. This is not to say that she would have accomplished nothing on her own but she would clearly not be where she is today without him. Riding on the coattails of a man only reinforces the stereotype that a woman cannot achieve success on her own.

2. She more than anyone else skewered the women that Bill Clinton pursued. Paula Jones was far from perfect but she was denigrated in the media while she sought her claim against him. Hillary was also in full attack against Jennifer Flowers. All these women had very little power and Hillary used her status and influence to degrade and intimidate them. Hillary could have chosen to stay out of all that but she was front and center in taking these women down. That is not someone who walks in solidarity with other women.

I am sure that in her mind Hillary is a feminist. But if we are to judge her on her actions, she has shown to be otherwise. Intelligence is not the only requirement for the presidency. She has shown herself to be a calculating, self serving politician. There is a reason she has such high negatives - there is no smoke without some fire.

It is time to move on. So that is why I am supporting Barack Obama - he has not only proven his intelligence(president of the Harvard Law Review takes some brilliance) but a look at the diverse political make-up of his supporters (I am a Republican) tells you that he has already done what he said he would do - he will unite this country.
I could share lots more similar comments, but then someone would have to kill me. Instead, here's a short take on the commonalities - with a pronoun shift, as addressed to a fictional judge:
  • Your honor, she hasn't worked for what she's got! I did all the hard work, and she just wants to cash in on the rewards. Please don't make me pay!
  • Your honor, she feels entitled to her lifestyle just because of who I am and what I've accomplished, with no help from her. Its not fair!
  • Your honor, she's a scheming, plotting, cold-hearted, calculating bitch. She doesn't deserve a cent!
  • Your honor, she'd be nothing without me!
This isn't the language of politics, its the language of an ugly divorce. Apparently a significant number of people out there are reviewing their personal psychodramas through the prism of national politics.

A simple check of Hillary's Wikipedia entry provides enough material to verify that she is an intelligent, capable and accomplished individual - even if you discount all of her Arkansas and White House years. Yes - her pre-marriage years plus her post-White House years add up to more experience in public policy and public service than the entire careers of Barack and John.

Nevertheless, the hysterical, angry language keeps coming. It is simply not possible, these voices claim, to be a married woman and still be your own person. A married woman is a satellite of her husband. Anything different is profoundly, disturbingly wrong.

And things are only going to get weirder. Read more!

Tuesday, January 1

:: Why I Really Dislike Barack

Barack is looking worse every day.
Paul Krugman has a new item in his blog on the Obama campaign's use of GOP motifs. First Krugman pointed out the disingenuous and short-sighted way Barack talks about heath insurance mandates; this morning he notes Barak's increasing use of the term "trial lawyer" to imply that John Edwards is his moral inferior.

The use of GOP messages and techniques is a pattern of behavior that has come to define the man. In addition, he appears to fancy himself quite the moralist and the maverick. Its deja-Lieberman all over again.

I wonder how many have noticed that along with talk of "mandates" and "trial lawyers" he's used the right wing playbook on the question of "experience."

His campaign has busily tried to denigrate every aspect of Sen. Clinton's public service, going so far as to suggest her trips abroad as First Lady were nothing more than a series of tea parties. He regularly employs a double standard - his Senate experience is important, hers is meaningless - to his advantage.

It reminds me of the GOPs treatment of Sen. John Kerry's war record in 2004. Kerry started out as a war hero - he had the service record to prove it - but Bush, Cheney and friends assiduously hammered away at him until he came to be seen as a coward. Somehow Bush and Cheney - who never served - were seen as patriotic, while Kerry was seen as a traitor.

Now I am watching Obama's campaign try to transform Sen. Clinton - an intensely hard working and greatly accomplished person - into a gold-digger who chit-chatted her way through her adult life while her husband did all the heavy lifting.

Meanwhile, the question of what - if anything - Obama accomplished in his three years working as an organizer is left unanswered. His failed campaign against Bobby Rush, his maneuvering to get Alice Palmer and other candidates thrown off the ballot so he could cakewalk into his state Senate seat, and the twin implosions of Blair Hull and Peter Fitzgerald that helped pave the way for his U.S. Senate win are left out of the picture.

Any Republican campaign would chew him up and swallow him down like a Beagle on a snausage. Giuliani and McCain would mock and humiliate him on the security / terrorism issue. Huckabee would nail him on elitism and not seeming authentically "American." Romney would trump him on the economy, trade and business. It would be a debacle. Read more!

:: The Morning Read

What you need to know about the new Des Moines Register / Selzer poll on the Iowa Caucus, plus the Guardian takes feminism seriously - again.
Mark Blumenthal, aka "the Mystery Pollster," has done some phenomenal work analyzing and explaining the ins and outs Iowa Caucus polling. His latest post describes - in soothingly calm terms - the new results from what is considered by other pollsters to be the most reliable barometer of potential Caucus-goer opinion. Read it here.

There's a nice article in today's Guardian about Ann Lewis' role in the Clinton campaign. Nothing you don't already know, but a great example of what campaign coverage looks like when its free of the cynical, snider-than-thou attitude to which we've become accustomed. Its always refreshing to read about feminism in the Guardian - they take it seriously, something you almost never see in the US mainstream press (unless its some conservative take on why feminism is wrong, ala the New York Times' David Brooks and John Tierney).

Beyond giving me the warm fuzzies, a few points from the article - called "A Clinton Operative Plays Operator" - jumped out at me.

There's this quote, from Judith Lichtman, "I don't have to convince Hillary Clinton about the issues of importance to women and family."

My sentiments exactly. I don't trust John Edwards the same way, especially since part of his general election strategy would be to play on his potential Southern appeal. I certainly don't trust Barack Obama the same way, since his track record to date has been, shall we say, somewhat Liebermanesque (by which I mean that he appears to fancy himself quite the moralist, and, I suspect, who would enjoy playing the role of the man who "goes beyond party lines" to find "compromise"). The shorter version: Bill Clinton vetoed PBA twice without blinking, despite the poll numbers and the tenor of the press coverage of the issue. Were history to repeat, I am certain Hillary would do the same thing. I am not quite as sure about John, and I'm downright suspicious about Barack.

The author of the article writes "But much of the campaign's grab for women's support has been around amorphous nods to women and family issues... [that seem] based in a general idea of woman-ness that feels almost 19th-century in its simplicity."

True. Welcome to America, where the 19th century is still in re-runs. A good number of us are in thrall to capital punishment and torture, have a Dickensian attitude towards health care and social services, and believe Adam and Eve rode to church on a dinosaur*.

Oh, don't even get me started.

She also writes "When Lewis mentioned that the campaign has nurses reaching out to nurses, I ask which part of the (women's) nursing community is pro-choice versus pro-life. From her response, or lack thereof, one might think nurses are unconcerned by abortion politics (unlikely) or that women have a universal set of needs. Above all, the idea conveyed is that divisive politics don't play a part in candidate endorsements."

Um, no, I believe the idea being conveyed was that the question, though seemingly straightforward, didn't make sense in a strategic context. You target nurses with a "women" message because as a subgroup they are predominantly female. Because they are female and Democratic, they are also most likely predominantly pro-choice. But since all the Democratic candidates are pro-choice, at least on paper, it doesn't make much difference - if they are anti-choice and its a voting issue for them, they'll have to vote Republican (or not at all).

* I think the "Adam and Eve riding a dinosaur to church" line comes from the fabulous Tina Fey, though I can't find an exact reference. She is brilliant, isn't she? Read more!

:: Happy New Year

Does anyone have any good New Year's resolutions? Mine are the usual stuff...

  1. Get organized, or at least do something about those drifts of paper;
  2. Purchase (and use) a blackberry or sidekick (just to cut you off at the pass, I mean the T-Mobile variety, not Ricardo Tubbs or Donkey. Let's not get too crazy here);
  3. Exercise a little, it probably won't kill me (also maybe take a vitamin once in a while);
  4. Do my bit to elect our first female president; and
  5. Accelerate the feminist revolution.
That's it for me. How about you? Read more!