Archive for February, 2008

Disarray on the road to the White House

Senator Hillary Clinton just does not seem to understand the position she is in, or maybe she does and it is merely hubris that is keeping her in the race. Pundits all across the networks have noted that if Sen. Obama had lost 11 straight primaries, he would habe left the race graciously a long time ago. But that is not the Clinton way.

Senator Obama is doing phenomenally well in his quest for the White House, and after winning 11 straight primaries they momentum does not seem to be letting up. Statisticians are putting him in a dead heat with Senator Clinton 8 days out from the primary, and he seems to have no where to go but up. The Clinton campaign’s efforts at smearing the Obama campaign are failing as even Maggie Williams can’t control the campaign or the media.

The Clinton campaign needs to fold up quietly and let the Obama campaign pull the full resources of the Democratic Party to hit hard against Senator McCain.

Just today Senator McCain told reports that, “Americans will judge my candidacy first and foremost on how they believe I can lead the country both from our economy and for national security. Obviously, Iraq will play a role in their judgment of my ability to handle national security.”  With McCain’s positions on Iraq having been clearly published in recent weeks, it is no surpirse how the Democrats should and will approach their campaign against Senator McCain.

That leaves only how quickly can the Democrats form together and move back the Clinton/Obama race. The steps for that are as follows: someone needs to tell Senator Clinton to leave, Senator Clinton leaves, Obama finds a running mate, and the race is on.

But who can tell Senator Clinton that her time is up? Columnist Robert Novak notes that Ted Kennedy, who is the clearest example of a party elder is out because of his ties to the Obama campaign, but if not the liberal lion than who?

Al Gore would be a logical choice, but his ties to the Clinton campaign in the past, and the potential bad blood between the two families could tarnish that. Nancy Pelosi? Howard Dean? Both aren’t strong enough. Regardless the Democrats need to firm up the calling committee and tell Hillary to go home.

That leaves the running mate for Senator Obama, and my money is firmly on Tim Kaine. Kathleen Sebelius would be a great choice, but I’m not sure if the Democrats feel completely comfortable running an African American and a Woman, as sad as that is. However, Tim Kaine is no second string candidate to Sebelius. He is a strong candidate with experience as a governor and a history with one of the legendary families of Virginia, by way of his wife.

The Democrats need to firm up quickly, so they can decide on a running mate for Obama and start exposing the world view of John McCain as a relic of the past.

What a beautiful night

Barack Obama has swept the Potomac Primaries with resounding victories. It’s just amazing, but it pales in comparison to the speech that he delivered tonight in Madison, WI.

Obama’s Potomac Victory Speech

Today, the change we seek swept through the Chesapeake and over the Potomac.

We won the state of Maryland. We won the Commonwealth of Virginia. And though we won in Washington D.C., this movement won’t stop until there’s change in Washington. And tonight, we’re on our way.

But we know how much farther we have to go.

We know it takes more than one night – or even one election – to overcome decades of money and the influence; bitter partisanship and petty bickering that’s shut you out, let you down and told you to settle.

We know our road will not be easy.

But we also know that at this moment the cynics can no longer say our hope is false.

We have now won east and west, north and south, and across the heartland of this country we love. We have given young people a reason to believe, and brought folks back to the polls who want to believe again. And we are bringing together Democrats and Independents and Republicans; blacks and whites; Latinos and Asians; small states and big states; Red States and Blue States into a United States of America.

This is the new American majority. This is what change looks like when it happens from the bottom up. And in this election, your voices will be heard.

Because at a time when so many people are struggling to keep up with soaring costs in a sluggish economy, we know that the status quo in Washington just won’t do. Not this time. Not this year. We can’t keep playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expect a different result – because it’s a game that ordinary Americans are losing.

It’s a game where lobbyists write check after check and Exxon turns record profits, while you pay the price at the pump, and our planet is put at risk. That’s what happens when lobbyists set the agenda, and that’s why they won’t drown out your voices anymore when I am President of the United States of America

It’s a game where trade deals like NAFTA ship jobs overseas and force parents to compete with their teenagers to work for minimum wage at Wal-Mart. That’s what happens when the American worker doesn’t have a voice at the negotiating table, when leaders change their positions on trade with the politics of the moment, and that’s why we need a President who will listen to Main Street – not just Wall Street; a President who will stand with workers not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard.

It’s a game where Democrats and Republicans fail to come together year after year after year, while another mother goes without health care for her sick child. That’s why we have to put an end to the division and distraction in Washington, so that we can unite this nation around a common purpose, a higher purpose.

It’s a game where the only way for Democrats to look tough on national security is by talking, and acting and voting like Bush-McCain Republicans, while our troops are sent to fight tour after tour of duty in a war that should’ve never been authorized and should’ve never been waged. That’s what happens when we use 9/11 to scare up votes, and that’s why we need to do more than end a war – we need to end the mindset that got us into war.

That’s the choice in this primary. It’s about whether we choose to play the game, or whether we choose to end it; it’s change that polls well, or change we can believe in; it’s the past versus the future. And when I’m the Democratic nominee for President – that will be the choice in November.

John McCain is an American hero. We honor his service to our nation. But his priorities don’t address the real problems of the American people, because they are bound to the failed policies of the past.

George Bush won’t be on the ballot this November, but his war and his tax cuts for the wealthy will.

When I am the nominee, I will offer a clear choice. John McCain won’t be able to say that I ever supported this war in Iraq, because I opposed it from the beginning. Senator McCain said the other day that we might be mired for a hundred years in Iraq, which is reason enough to not give him four years in the White House.

If we had chosen a different path, the right path, we could have finished the job in Afghanistan, and put more resources into the fight against bin Laden; and instead of spending hundreds of billions of dollars in Baghdad, we could have put that money into our schools and hospitals, our road and bridges – and that’s what the American people need us to do right now.

And I admired Senator McCain when he stood up and said that it offended his “conscience” to support the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in a time of war; that he couldn’t support a tax cut where “so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate.” But somewhere along the road to the Republican nomination, the Straight Talk Express lost its wheels, because now he’s all for them.

Well I’m not. We can’t keep spending money that we don’t have in a war that we shouldn’t have fought. We can’t keep mortgaging our children’s future on a mountain of debt. We can’t keep driving a wider and wider gap between the few who are rich and the rest who struggle to keep pace. It’s time to turn the page.

We need a new direction in this country. Everywhere I go, I meet Americans who can’t wait another day for change. They’re not just showing up to hear a speech – they need to know that politics can make a difference in their lives, that it’s not too late to reclaim the American Dream.

It’s a dream shared in big cities and small towns; across races, regions and religions – that if you work hard, you can support a family; that if you get sick, there will be health care you can afford; that you can retire with the dignity and security and respect that you have earned; that your kids can get a good education, and young people can go to college even if they’re not rich. That is our common hope. That is the American Dream.

It’s the dream of the father who goes to work before dawn and lies awake at night wondering how he’s going to pay the bills. He needs us to restore fairness to our economy by putting a tax cut into the pockets of working people, and seniors, and struggling homeowners.

It’s the dream of the woman who told me she works the night shift after a full day of college and still can’t afford health care for a sister who’s ill. She needs us to finally come together to make health care affordable and available for every American.

It’s the dream of the senior I met who lost his pension when the company he gave his life to went bankrupt. He doesn’t need bankruptcy laws that protect banks and big lenders. He needs us to protect pensions, not CEO bonuses; and to do what it takes to make sure that the American people can count on Social Security today, tomorrow and forever.

It’s the dream of the teacher who works at Dunkin Donuts after school just to make ends meet. She needs better pay, and more support, and the freedom to do more than just teach to the test. And if her students want to go on to college, they shouldn’t fear decades of debt. That’s why I’ll make college affordable with an annual $4,000 tax credit if you’re willing to do community service, or national service. We will invest in you, but we’ll ask you to invest in your country.

That is our calling in this campaign. To reaffirm that fundamental belief – I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper – that makes us one people, and one nation. It’s time to stand up and reach for what’s possible, because together, people who love their country can change it.

Now when I start talking like this, some folks tell me that I’ve got my head in the clouds. That I need a reality check. That we’re still offering false hope. But my own story tells me that in the United States of America, there has never been anything false about hope.

I should not be here today. I was not born into money or status. I was born to a teenage mom in Hawaii, and my dad left us when I was two. But my family gave me love, they gave me education, and most of all they gave me hope – hope that in America, no dream is beyond our grasp if we reach for it, and fight for it, and work for it.

Because hope is not blind optimism. I know how hard it will be to make these changes. I know this because I fought on the streets of Chicago as a community organizer to bring jobs to the jobless in the shadow of a shuttered steel plant. I’ve fought in the courts as a civil rights lawyer to make sure people weren’t denied their rights because of what they looked like or where they came from. I’ve fought in the legislature to take power away from lobbyists. I’ve won some of those fights, but I’ve lost some of them too. I’ve seen good legislation die because good intentions weren’t backed by a mandate for change.

The politics of hope does not mean hoping things come easy. Because nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened unless somebody, somewhere stood up when it was hard; stood up when they were told – no you can’t, and said yes we can.

And where better to affirm our ideals than here in Wisconsin, where a century ago the progressive movement was born. It was rooted in the principle that the voices of the people can speak louder than special interests; that citizens can be connected to their government and to one another; and that all of us share a common destiny, an American Dream.

Yes we can reclaim that dream.

Yes we can heal this nation.

The voices of the American people have carried us a great distance on this improbable journey, but we have much further to go. Now we carry our message to farms and factories across this state, and to the cities and small towns of Ohio, to the open plains deep in the heart of Texas, and all the way to Democratic National Convention in Denver; it’s the same message we had when we were up, and when were down; that out of many, we are one; that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; and that we can cast off our doubts and fears and cynicism because our dream will not be deferred; our future will not be denied; and our time for change has come.

Gore won’t endorse

gorethumbsup.jpg

CNN is reporting that former Vice President Al Gore will not endorse a candidate, preferring to moderate any discussion in the future between Senator Clinton and Obama.

The Clinton campaign can take a deep breath once again, as an endorsement from Al Gore for the Illinois Senator would hit the Clinton campaign hard.

It’s a shame, because a Gore endorsement would hopefully give some clarity to the Democratic race, as the Republican nomination fight is just about over.

Obama movement soars as the fantasy of the Clinton Era slowly slips away

Super Tuesday has come and gone, and Hillary Clinton proved much like the New England Patriots. What is the point of winning California (think perfect season) if you want win the most delegates at the end of the night?

Obama had an amazing weekend with important wins throughout the country, as he swept this weekends primaries. What does that mean for the Clinton campaign?

Trouble.

The Clinton campaign is bracing for the possibility that their former Vice President, Al Gore, will side with the Junior Senator from Illinois. They are scared, and they should be scared. Apart from Bill Clinton endorsing Obama over his wife the thought that the most prominent member of the Democratic movement in the 90s would endorse Obama over Mrs. Clinton is a dreadful character blow to Clinton.

What are they up against? The Obama campaign is raising an unheard amount of money from an unheard of amount of people. Clinton just isn’t.

Furthermore the Obama movement is becoming more than just political support. It is becoming a tremendous movement. Journalist Geoff Elliot notes: “Obama is part politician, part cult. Supporters wearing T-shirts with an Andy Warhol like pop-art image of his face testify to that. But then they – him – were once easy to dismiss until people realised Obama’s charisma was being matched by one of the most sophisticated ground operations ever seen. It is one that is outsmarting the Clinton machine. He’s marrying inspiration and cult with old-fashioned political grunt. ”

The Clinton campaign just does not have the same fervor. What else does the Clinton campaign have to go up against? In the small chance that Hillary wins the nomination, she may find herself without the large pool of voters that Obama was able to harness. Sen. Obama noted in a rally that while he feels that Clinton supporters would come out for him if he was the nominee, he doesn’t know if the same is true about his supporters for Clinton.

He’s right! The Clinton cult is smaller and getting smaller as the country seems to be growing weary of the bizarre tag team preformed by Mr. and Mrs. Clinton. People who were once positive they wanted Bill Clinton back in the White House now aren’t so sure.

So what is next for the Democrats?

John McCain is the heir apparent to the Republican nomination, as Mike Huckabee seems to be making a solid bid to be the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republicans. The Democrats need to have their nominee before the convention if they hope to be able to build the money and strength needed to bring the best fight against the nominee. Furthermore, the Democrats need to nominate Sen. Obama. Hillary Clinton, despite what she might say, has no hope against Sen. McCain. The credentials that she has run on throughout the Democrats primary battles will pale in comparison and for her to even utter them in a stump speech would just be embarrassing for the Democratic Party.

One hopes that after the Potomac Primaries and a few more primaries throughout the month of March, Sen. Clinton will realize she has lost the nomination fight and will bow out to give Senator Obama the time to keep building his momentum and movement, but considering the past behavior of Clinton, that cannot be assured.

Obama needs to keep winning, and pull bigger numbers to shock the Clinton campaign out of their election fantasy and back into the reality that Mrs. Clinton has no appeal to anyone except for liberals, and without the crossover appeal will have no chance of beating Senator McCain in the November election.

Also Mrs. Clinton, people have noticed you haven’t congratulated Senator Obama on his great weekend. Show some class, please?

The race for the White House firms up

Super Tuesday is only a few days away, and the constant polling is reminding us incessantly how close the Democrats are as they are going into the mother of all primary days.

But is it really all that close?

Clinton seems to be holding on, always, and holding on is all she seems to be doing.

She seems to always be on some form of the the defensive. While that seemed to help her in New Hampshire with her appeal to women who have been hurt by a man in some way, I’m not quite so sure the fears of New Hampshire women will translate into a big win on Tuesday.

For Senator Obama, the continuous push has people flocking to his candidacy. It’s amazing how people really are flocking. His fund raising totals for January recently came out, and they were phenomenal, but what has me really shocked is how people are physically coming out for Obama. Everyone wants a glimpse of the man who has promised hope and change for America. People are sick of the bizarre psychodrama that envelopes the Clintons wherever they go.

If Obama does as well as I expect, the next conversation will be running mates.

The names are already floating about: John Edwards, Kathleen Sebelius, etc. I would have to suggest Senator Jim Webb as the perfect running mate. Forget John Edwards, he doesn’t have enough widespread appeal to win anything and as sad as it is the country won’t elect a woman and an African-American on the same ticket.

The Democratic race will begin to form up after the Super Tuesday results come in.

As for Mrs. Clinton, well she certainly has no prayer in the general election. So even if she does somehow make it through the primary season and defeat Obama she will get swept in the general election. This is because the lie she has been harking on is her experience despite her lack of experience. All the Republicans need is John McCain to shoot down Clinton’s lie.

The Republican Machine is starting to form behind their candidate.

While Fmr. Governor Romney has made some surprising overtures to the Republican base, and is doing better than expected. John McCain really has claimed the high ground in the Republican race. The is important because even the Republican party is sick of the Rovian tactics that got them elected in 2000. I expect McCain to win big on Super Tuesday, and could see a formidable ticket in a McCain/Huckabee ticket. It has the sensible Republican/evangelical Republican balance that would be an attractive ticket for many Republicans throughout the spectrum.

And oh yeah, nice try John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani. Thank you for finally exiting the race. Ron Paul needs to take the hint and move out also, or maybe he will just stay in since he has no hope of a VP spot.