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Attorney, Private Practice 2000-present Former Senate Legal Counsel 1994-2000, Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature Chief Consultant, 1985 Northern Marianas Constitutional Convention

Friday, October 24, 2008

Closeting Palin?

Seems the idea of Sarah Palin in the klieg lights and intensity of the O'Reilly Factor puts an icy knot in the stomach of the McCain campaign. Recently, Bill O'Reilly himself had this to say on the subject:

The problem with Palin is that for some reason Palin has not been on my program, and we've invited her many, many times. They seem to be frightened of putting Sarah Palin out. That's all I know. I don't know her, I don't know what her ability is. I know that she's excellent in front of crowds, but they keep her in front of the choir. They're not bringing her out into the independent precincts. They're keeping her off programs like mine where 20 million would people would see it.

An interview with me and Palin would be as big as my interview with Barack Obama. They're keeping her away. So you tell me again, what are they doing?

From what I’ve seen of her out in public she is a tremendous performer. Whether she has enough to sway independents, which is what they have to do to win the election, I just don't know.

Now why are they are so jittery about putting her on with someone so obviously pro-Republican as O'Reilly? Could it be they are concerned that an appearance on the same show with the smart, slick O'Reilly will display -- in an incontrovertible way -- just exactly how stupid she really is?

I guess there are some things even a brand new $150,000 wardrobe from the Republican National Committee can't dress up.

Joe the Plumber

Here's the new McCain-Palin ad Dick Morris says will close the gap between McCain and Obama in the next couple of days -- or, if it doesn't take hold, Obama will blow out McCain and take 40 states.

Nonsensical tripe!

But even more to the point, notice how overwhelmingly negative it is?

It's not just again' him, it is downright caustic. Obama is not just one of those slimy "socialists" with their hand in your pocket, he is dishonest! All that in just 30 seconds!

Well, since ol' Joe has become such an important symbol these days, how about some hard facts on the guy? Well, as it happens, Hot Air has the skinny:

Wurzelbacher registered as an apprentice with the Ohio State Apprenticeship Council in November 2003, according to Dennis Evans, spokesman with the Department of Job and Family Services. Records show his training, which was sponsored by A & W Newell Co. of Toledo, should have been wrapped last year.

“We don’t have a record of completion,” Evans said. “All we know is that he registered in the program and has gone through to the point where we should have record of completion, but we don’t.”

And that’s not the only record that’s missing from Wurzelbacher’s file. He doesn’t have a plumbing license required by the city of Toledo to practice, according to a staffer with the Toledo Division of Building Inspection. Wurzelbacher, who now works for Newell Plumbing & Heating Co., said the owner, Al Newell, has a plumbing license and that “because he works for someone else, he doesn’t need a license.”

But even that’s not true, according to the Toledo Division of Building Inspection. Wurzelbacher can’t legally do plumbing work without a license, regardless of his boss’s certification.

Hotline's got the story too.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Jostling for Congress -- CNMI Delegate Roundup

In January, the CNMI will be represented in the halls of the U.S. Congress for the first time. Whomever we elect November 4 will vote in committee and rub shoulders with the 435 representatives from the 50 states as well as the other nonvoting delegates from Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands.

More than anyone else, our delegate will be the CNMI's face in Washington, DC. In committee, our delegate will have the opportunity to engage in the typical, or traditional, horse-trading and log-rolling that oils the political machinery -- and potentially could influence any national policy.

It is a matter of leadership ... and judgment ... wisdom ... communication ... understanding of the issues ... initiative ... creative, innovative thinking ... respect for all ... courage ... independence from conventionalism ... self-liberation from traditional island politics ... commitment to service above self.

With just 17 days to go until the election, it is time for us all to take a good, hard look at the candidates and get informed.

Here they are in ballot order (with links to their websites and other sources providing insights into their candidacies):

Ballot #1: John Oliver Gonzales (Bolis)
Ballot #2: Chong Won
Ballot #3: David M. Cing (former Tinian Senator)
Ballot #4: John T. Lizama (former Superior Court judge)
Ballot #5: Pete A. Tenorio (incumbent)
Ballot #6: Luis P. Crisostimo (incumbent Senator sitting illegally)
Ballot #7: John H. Davis
Ballot #8: Gregorio C. Sablan (Kilili)
Ballot #9: Felipe Q. Atalig

Note: Some may question why I list Washington Representative Pete A. Tenorio as an "incumbent." This is because that is precisely what he is. Unlike Senator Luis Crisostimo, Pete A's term does not expire after "the term of the office sought" begins (CNMI Constitution, art. VIII, sec. 5). U.S. Public Law 110-229 and Article V, Section 2 of the Commonwealth Constitution make this clear.

Section 711 of U.S. Public Law 110-229 provides:
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall be represented in the United States Congress by the Resident Representative to the United States authorized by section 901 of the Covenant To Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America (approved by Public Law 94–241 (48 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.)). The Resident Representative shall be a nonvoting Delegate to the House of Representatives, elected as provided in this subtitle.
(emphasis added)

The Commonwealth Constitution provides:
The term of office of the resident representative shall be ... four years. In the event that the United States confers the status of member or non-voting delegate in the United States Congress on the resident representative and such status requires a different term, the term of office of the resident representative shall be that required by such status.
Section 712 of U.S. Public Law 110-229 provides:
The Delegate shall be elected— ... at the Federal general election of 2008 and at such Federal general election every 2d year thereafter ... [and] ... [t]he term of the Delegate shall commence on the 3d day of January following the date of the election.
Thus, Pete A's term as Washington Representative, nominally slated to expire in January, 2010, was, pursuant to Article V, Section 2 of the Commonwealth Constitution, truncated, by U.S. Public Law 110-229, to expire January 3, 2009. On that date, the office mandated by Article V of the Commonwealth Constitution is redenominated as CNMI Delegate (or, more precisely, Resident Representative aka CNMI Delegate), as expressly mandated by the people of the CNMI in 1985 by ratifying Constitutional Amendement No. 24.

That makes Pete A an incumbent in this delegate election.


Some other links of note:

John H. Davis: A vision for a self-sufficient CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Oct. 9, 2008)

Saipan Tribune (Oct. 11, 2008): Economy, power crisis top priorities of delegate bets

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Talking substance

Contrast this with the vacuity and "below the belt" punching of the McCain-Palin campaign of late . . . .

Slash and burn -- the domestic terrorism of the McCain campaign

In what the Huffington Post is calling "the voguish idiot question du jour," the mega-money Republican media machine (aka Fox ["Faux"] News) has been operating full bore to try to sell the American public the idea that Barack Obama is a closet terrorist -- or at least a "fellow traveler."

It seems John McCain has nothing more substantial to offer the American people than conjuring up chimeras -- a Tom Riddle (aka Voldemort) kind of pastime.

It isn't really just the Faux News disinformation and propaganda machine taking this tack but the entire Republi-Cain political apparat. Sara Palin -- whose capacity for reasoning and judgment barely aspires to attain the lowest common denominator of the 300 million residents of the United States -- is the point person, but Republican and "conservative" shills and operatives are out in force.

It is more than a bit much, and Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs finally employed turnabout to reveal the result of applying to Fox meta-propagandist Sean Hannity the same standard and "logic" he had been deploying against Obama.

Look around, you'll see what I mean. There's a rich vein of character-revealing conduct out there -- a treasure trove of indirect truth just waiting to be mined . . . in the body language of politics . . . the flow of electronic media . . . and the dew drops on the worldwide web.

Watch this fight on The View.

On the topic of domestic terrorism, it occurs to me that Timothy McVeigh was a Palin-style Republican . . . and then there is that small matter of the Alaskan Independence Party of which Sara Palin and her husband Todd were members as recently as 1994: Alaska First -- Alaska Always . . . "the fires of Hell are glaciers compared to my hate for the American government" John Vogler, AIP founder.

And don't miss this review of McCainonomics and "the people behind the curtains."

On character, Jared Bernstein asks:

Why does McCain want to be president? Those who have followed him for years don't recognize his agenda, his tactics, his positions (e.g., the great populist regulator!). How could a man of seemingly deep conviction morph into this caricature? His campaign is empty, with no spiritual or intellectual core; its tactics have devolved into a series of crass surprises and Hail Mary passes.

and then concludes:

I get Obama in this regard. To get the country back on track, to reconnect middle-class living standards and growth, to rein in market fundamentalism, to rectify a series of unjust and even fatal policy choices, to restore America's standing in the world, he seeks to implement his change agenda.

But I don't get McCain. I hope the country doesn't get him either.

Friday, September 19, 2008

John & Sarah

Here's a hauntingly realistic spoof of John McCain courting Sara Palin for his running mate . . .

Here's the YouTube page.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bomb Iran

We've all heard of John McCain's twisted version of the old Beach Boys' song Barbara Ann. Here's the original McCain:

Here's somebody who can actually sing, and with the lyrical creativity to come up with more than two words:

And here's a fun piece, a musical skit, a McCain-Bush spoof, with another full version, done on the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war, March 19, 2008 war protest:

And here's the MoveOn ad:

Here's one truly scary version:

Finally, here again is John McCain himself, on let's "Make it 100!":


Word has it that John McCain picked Sara Palin to be his running mate after meeting with her only once. Once. Just once.

They say Maverick John goes with his gut. Tough guy, goes with his gut. So why does he really need to know someone who would be next in line to be commander in chief? Just go with the gut, pick a buddy, and rush the enemy.

Why not make all major national and international decisions the same way?

Because its reckless (and foolish), that's why.

Stay in Iraq 50 years? Make it a hundred!

We know what John McCain's gut reactions are like. Asked about how to deal with Iran, he couldn't resist launching into a twisted rendition of the old Beach Boy's song Barbara Ann.

Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb Iran.



We have had enough arrogance and recklessness in the White House.

Vote Obama-Biden.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Should McCain dump Palin?

I have written that John McCain's choice of vice presidential candidate was probably a colossal blunder. So should he dump her before the convention and irredeemable damage?

If he wants to have any shot at all at victory in November, probably not. He's already in a Catch-22.

In 1972, George McGovern chose the then junior Senator from Missouri, Thomas Eagleton, to be his vice president. This was a bad choice in that McGovern did not realize that Eagleton had been clinically depressed in the past (and successfully treated with electroshock therapy). Choosing Eagleton was a minor mistake, however. The major mistake was dumping him and picking Kennedy brother-in-law Sergeant Shriver as surrogate.

McGovern could have weathered any storm generated by Eagleton's history of "mental illness" by focusing on Eagleton's success in facing his illness and enduring treatment. At the same time he would have earned significant credit for letting reason rather than policial expediency govern his decision, and for heightening national awareness and understanding of depression.

Technically, McGovern did not "dump" Eagleton; he accepted Eagleton's offer to withdraw. Under the circumstances, however, public perception was -- justifiably -- that McGovern failed to stand by his veep choice. Thus, in a very real sense -- perhaps the truest sense -- he "dumped" him.

Some say the offer to withdraw was made at McGovern's request -- which would be a quite literal dumping. McGovern made this decision despite a Time magazine poll showing 77 percent of respondents were unconcerned about Eagleton's medical history.

For his part, though, Eagleton was eager to be the vice presidential candidate, and his failure to let McGovern (or anyone else) know of his past before he was named for veep was called, by McGovern in a 2007 interview with the New York Times after Eagleton's death, "an incredible cover up."

Eagleton died early in 2007. From his entry into politics at 27 (election as St. Louis circuit attorney) to his retirement from the Senate thirty years later in 1987, Eagleton never lost an election. During the final twenty years of his life, according to the New York Times, he "remained passionate about public affairs" and "was outraged by the Iraq war." In a 2006 letter, he pleaded with former President Bill Clinton to "forgo 'the traditional silence of an ex-president in wartime' " to oppose the war.

Incidentally, I was active in McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign.


Sarah Palin, gun-toting former beauty queen mother of five; devout Christian; ardent anti-abortionist; union member; wife of commercial fisherman, one-eighth Yu'pik Eskimo, 2,000 mile "Iron Dog" snow machine champion, and production operator (on leave) for British

Photo credit: AL GRILLO / The Associated Press
Anchorage Daily News

Petroleum (BP) Todd Palin; fiscal conservative; former mayor of Wasilla, AK (2005 pop. 8,471 est.); two years experience as governor of Alaska; supporter of arctic drilling -- has been chosen to be John McCain's running mate.

What are the Republicans thinking? What is John McCain thinking?

Palin has a 90 percent approval rating in Alaska. "Wow!" you say, "She must be great. Looks like a sure winning ticket."

Uh, slow down. Not so fast. Take a moment to think.

Personally, I think McCain just made a major blunder.

Alaskans love Palin. That means they will vote for Obama-Biden. They want Governor Palin in Alaska, not Washington, DC. McCain will lose Alaska. Guaranteed.

Alaskans are fed up with Republic an corruption in that state. The only reliable weapon they have against it is their Republican governor who has taken on her own party to clean up the corruption.

They only way McCain carries Alaska now is if Palin is found to have been culpable in the firing of her former brother-in-law, Mike Wooton, an Alaska state trooper (who allegedly threatened to kill her father). If that happens, the McCain-Palin ticket is dead in the other 49 states on account of the scandal.

A scandal for Palin will revive talk about McCain's own misuse of power crisis involving the Keating 5 and the national savings and loan crisis.

Joining McCain for the announcement last night, Palin invoked the "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling" Hillary Clinton declared in her June 7, 2008 concession speech and pompously proclaimed that she, with John McCain, will now crash through it.

Really? What is she betting on? That McCain will die soon after the inauguration? She is the vice presidential candidate. The Democrats have been there, done that. Remember Geraldine Ferraro of Mondale-Ferraro in 1984?

Crashing through the glass ceiling Hillary put 18 million cracks in? Palin did absolutely nothing to get on the ticket. She was merely anointed for the role (almost as bad as being installed by the Supreme Court like Bush-Cheney).

Does Governor Palin really think Hillary will stand quietly by while she expropriates her lines?

McCain solved one problem, and one problem only, by choosing Palin. He can stop worrying about the right wing of his party staying home on election day. They will come out for Palin.

But he has solved that problem at a huge price. He has lost what previously was seen to be his most potent weapon: his Barack is "not ready to be president" line of attack.

If McCain were to win in November, Sarah Palin would be a heartbeat away from the presidency. She has no foreign policy experience, no international relations record of any kind. She has never even faced the pressure and trials of a national campaign, let alone act on the world stage.

A vote for McCain-Palin will be a gigantic gamble for voters, a gamble that John McCain will survive his term of office.

Three a.m. phone calls anyone?

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Glorious Day

Today was a glorious day in Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, on the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for the presidency of the United States of America in front of 84,000 people. It was an occasion of profound symbolism, sending ripples around the globe, rattling stereotypes and potentially changing the image of our country forever.

Folks stood in line for miles to get into the stadium to see and hear Obama's acceptance speech.

It is now 67 days to the election.

Yahoo's Politico says Obama mastered his moment. Here are some excepts from that report:

Obama’s speech soared many times, but it always came back to earth. And it usually came back to earth on John McCain’s head.

* * *
You can accuse Barack Obama of a lot of things — and no doubt McCain will do so next week at the Republican National Convention — but you can’t accuse Obama of being a cream puff. He is ready to get it on, high road, low road, or middle road, against the Republicans.
Their greatest sin? Well, much of what they have told us about fighting terror, Obama said, has been fiction.
The Democrats have forced the Republicans to act radically (and desperately). It looks like John McCain will pick Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. To stay in the game, the Republicans have to follow the Democrat play book. So they pick a member of the other underrepresented class in an effort to counterbalance the Democrats' pick of Obama. They pick a young woman, in hopes of appealling to youth and women, a young woman with a record of changing things in Alaska. What radical transformations in American politics Obama is achieving!

So McCain's defensive strategy is to try to occupy the same space Obama and the Democratic Party have already staked out.

But is Sarah Palin prepared to take the 3:00 am phone call? Can she go nose to nose with Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail? You can bet Hillary and Bill will take her on.

Dr. King's entire "I Have A Dream" speech can be found here.

"Born in the USA" joins the Democrats' theme in proper form.

More INVESCO stadium pictures:

Photo credits: Yahoo! News

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Democratic Convention opens

The Democratic National Convention opened at 7:00 a.m. this morning (2:00 p.m. Sunday in Denver) with an interfaith gathering. The official opening gavel will be 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, Saipan time.

Here's an outline of the schedule:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I'd 've never belived it if I hadn't seen it myself

Good God! Joe Biden for VP?

Here's what I just posted on Obama's website:

No way! What a terrible choice! He brings nothing to the ticket. He dissembles like it is drinking a glass of water. He is unoriginal and inauthentic. He repeatedly says foolish things, revealing his shallow character and intellectual vacuity.

He voted for the Iraq war and the PATRIOT Act's diminishment of the very liberties that make America great (and despised by our enemies). He displayed his latent, unconscious racism when he called you "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy ... that’s a storybook, man." He treated Anita Hill abominably in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.

He's an Eastern establishment liberal, the kind of guy who gives credence to right-wing intellectual arguments that liberals secretly aim to hold persons of color and the poor down through benefits and entitlements.

You, in contrast, have good solid Midwestern down-to-earth liberal credentials. You need this guy like you need an albatross around your neck in the equatorial doldrums.

UPDATE Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008, 2:39 PM: FOX has been in overdrive trying to spin Biden's selection to be vice president negatively and use it to reinforce the Republican "not experienced enough to be president" storyline. They have had talking head after talking head -- including former Democratic party pollster Pad Caddell expressing disappointment in Obama -- on saying Hillary Clinton would have been a better choice.

Let's be clear, of the serious contenders for the slot, only Hillary would have been a worse choice. If, for whatever reason, it boiled down to a choice between Senator Biden and Senator Clinton for the job, then Senator Obama clearly made the right decision.

UPDATE #2, Monday, Aug. 25, 2008, 12:06 AM: The Obama campaign sent out the text message announcing the selection of Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joseph Biden as the choice for vice president -- at 3:00 AM. The three a.m. phone call. There's pointed symbolism for you ... and karma for Hillary.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Take Action Now

Watch out for the finger on the button ....

Prevent another foolish, reckless war by President Bush. Sign the petition. Support S. Res. 356.
"Any offensive military action against Iran must be explicitly approved by congress." (S. Res. 356)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sobering clues to a McCain foreign policy ....

This week two senior members of Senator John McCain's presidential campaign staff were forced to resign amid revelations that their lobbying firm took in hundreds of thousands of dollars representing Myanmar's brutal military regime.

Nevertheless, McCain's campaign is still headed by Charlie Black, who ran a lobbying firm that represented war profiteer, private security force Blackwater Worldwide, Iraqi "leader" Ahmed Chalabi, suspected of widespread fraud, Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Zaire's Mobutu Sese Seko, and Angola terrorist rebel Jonas Savimbi.

Campaign co-chair Tom Loeffler used to represent Saudi Arabia.

These are documented facts and provide a sobering glimpse into what a McCain foreign policy would look like: coddling dictators, insensitive to untold human suffering, nasty and brutish, accepting of corruption, embarrassingly short of America's greatness.

Here are the sources:

"A Lobbying Firm and Its McCain Ties," MSNBC, May 12, 2008

John McCain's Lobbyist Connections," Public Campaign Action Fund

"McCain's Lobbyists in Trouble for Foreign Lobbying," Progressive Media USA, May 11, 2008

"McCain Aides Are Tied," New York Sun, May 12, 2008

"Obama Calls on Rice to Address Human Rights Violations in Saudi Arabia," November 19, 2007

"Saudi Arabia," Human Rights Watch World Report, 2007

has a somewhat tongue-in-cheek poll on what McCain ought to do about this situation. Join the fun and express your opinion here.

And, of course, we can all Vote for Change and participate in the revitalization of democracy in America.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bill Clinton on choosing candidates ....

"You better vote for the candidate who wants you to think and hope ...."

Okay, that was 2004, and we know how words can change in meaning. Right, Bill?

If Democrats were Republicans ....

Hillary Clinton on the democratic process and how she should win ....

Thanks to Eric Kirk of northern California's Humboldt County (from this former -- late '50s, early '60s -- Ferndale resident and Eel River flood veteran) who posted a comment here and whose blog brought this video to my attention.

Celebrating Hitler's birthday ....

The Michigan City, Indiana News-Dispatch suggests this may be the worst campaign idea ever. Tony Zirkle, a candidate for U.S. Congress in Indiana's 2nd congressional district, running on a platform of ridding society of prostitution, pornography, and the trafficking of "young, white women," recently spoke at a party celebrating Adolf Hiltler's birthday.

Zirkle said the meeting of the Nationalist Socialist Workers' Party was a "great opportunity" for him to "witness" his Christian faith.

Zirkle said he would also be willing to speak before "Black Panthers or Jewish Zionists."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rocking for Obama

Okay, these guys aren't Jake Shimabukuro or Jimi Hendrix, but they're pretty good. This is fun, and I like it -- probably you will too.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Stop the Fox virus

There's an epidemic of political smears that threatens to infect the mainstream media and undermine the health of our elective process. This video tells the story.

You can help fight this epidemic by signing a petition warning mainstream media to be more alert to the danger of compromised journalistic health. Sign the petition.

The video exposes the problem in a nutshell. But to fully understand the magnitude of the problem, consider the following:

Since June of 2007, FOX has spent months trying to smear Obama by associating him with selective quotations from Reverend Wright, as documented by the Media Matters watchdog group here, here, here, and here.

Senator John McCain calls televangelist Rick Parsley his "spiritual guide" and has accepted his endorsement. Here's what Parsley has to say about Islam and America:
I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam. I know that this statement sounds extreme, but I do not shrink from its implications. The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed...
Bet you didn't know that. That's because Fox and the mainstream media have given it scarce attention, despite the profoundly disturbing implications of a statement like that from the "spiritual guide" to the Republican presidential candidate. Mother Jones has the full story.

Senator McCain has also said he is "honored" and "proud" to receive the endorsement of Pastor John Hagee, who has said that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for homosexuality, Catholicism is a cult and the "Whore of Babylon", and Jews are to blame for anti-Semitism. Odds are you didn't know this either, because it has been almost completely ignored by the big networks. At the same time, those same networks were putting heat on Obama for having been endorsed by Louis Farrakhan even though Obama, in contrast to McCain, had fully repudiated Farrakhan and rejected his support.

Fox's latest stunt is to give heavy play to the story about the McCain campaign's suspension of a "low level" staffer who had distributed an unauthorized video juxtaposing Senator Obama with Reverend Wright delivering the most inflamatory comments available without context. The Fox hit job is complete with two Greta van Sustern online polls, one insisting that Senator Obama is hiding something about his relationship with Reverend Wright, and an earlier one showing that viewers overwhelmingly took the position that suspension was unwarranted. In other words, race-baiting is okay is the editorial policy of Fox News.

Note: The earlier poll I cannot now find on Greta's blog. In any event, Greta's polls all seem to be overwhelmingly negative on Obama if they deal with him.

Obama's Lincoln moment

The title of this post is not my own words and characterization but those of Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten as they appeared in today's Saipan Tribune Op-Ed pages. In his column Mr. Rutten recognizes Senator Obama's recent "More Perfect Union" speech as one of those seminal addresses that fundamentally change the way Americans look at an issue or circumstance -- on a par with Lincoln's "House Divided" speech on slavery in 1858, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" speech in the throes of the Great Depression.

As Mr. Rutten notes, one of the most remarkable things about this is speech is not only that he made it but that he wrote it himself, as did Lincoln a hundred fifty years ago. In other words, every word is Senator Obama's own -- his own ideas, convictions, sentiments, and principles.

Mr. Rutten's full column is well worth a read.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Powerful, Important Speech

Senator Barack Obama has delivered a profoundly moving and important speech. Senator Joe Biden, a former rival for the party's presidential nomination, called it powerful, truthful and "one of most important speeches we've heard in a long time"

It is a speech that has Republican political operatives and mouthpieces like Bill O'Reilly, straining, really straining, for a negative spin. Here's the Kathleen Parker effort, "Guilting America to the White House."

Even Senator Hillary Clinton is so impressed she almost sounds ready to concede the nomination to him:
"Issues of race and gender in America have been complicated throughout our history, and they are complicated in this primary campaign. There have been detours and pitfalls along the way, but we should remember that this is a historic moment for the Democratic Party and for our country. We will be nominating the first African-American or woman for the presidency of the United States, and that is something that all Americans can and should celebrate."
Watch the full speech for yourself:

Everyone should view this speech in its entirety. You can email it to friends, family, colleagues, business associates, neighbors, and others with this MoveOn.org tool.

Here is the complete text of Barack's "A More Perfect Union" speech, as prepared for delivery:

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at its very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters....And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is the true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Friday, February 29, 2008

McCain's MRAPs

This picture of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) touring an assembly line at defense contractor BAE Systems in West Chester, Ohio (near Cincinnati)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

was the lead photograph on TownHall this evening.

BAE Systems makes the Army's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP's) -- vehicles that are too big and heavy to be of much use in Afganistan, where the Taliban are resurgent and projection of American force is most needed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

White House Readiness

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann write:
Will [Barack Obama] be a good president? If he is half as skillful in serving as he has been in running, he can’t miss.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has been touting her experience as evidence she will be ready to act as the President must on "Day One." The theme begs the question of just what kind of readiness the Presidency requires of its occupant if the nation is to be well served. Morris and McGann have implicity answered this question, without directly raising it, observing that the "best evidence of Obama’s readiness to lead the nation is the ability with which he has run for president."

The most critical qualification for President is sound judgment, and Obama has it. Reviewing a number of "delicate questions and issues" Obama has faced in the course of the campaign, Morris and McGann demonstrate how the candidate has fairly consistently shown the "right feel" for how to handle obstacles and challenges.

Indeed. In a world of complexity and uncertainty, we need a President who can creatively find the right course through the application of sound judgment unbound from moribund mindsets of the past.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Just for fun

Giuliani and Edwards Rock Out!
Here, from a group called "barely politics" is an amusing play on the present status of the U.S. Presidential race. Wonder what they'll come up with now that Romney bailed?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Grassroots politics ... growing a movement

I thought I'd share with you excerpts from an email I received from Barack Obama today (no, not a personal email -- a campaign email) and especially some videos on, as Barack says, "what hope looks like."

Barack writes:

"In less than 24 hours, voters in South Carolina will head to the polls.

Before they do, I wanted to show you a bit about what kind of campaign we're running here.

When Michelle and I talked about my running for president, one of the core goals we both had for this campaign was to leave the political process better off than we found it.

Here in South Carolina, a state with a history of some pretty divisive politics, ordinary people have challenged conventional thinking about the process and built a statewide organization based on local community organizing and neighbor-to-neighbor contacts.

Our supporters -- men and women of all ages, races, religions, and backgrounds -- have come together around the idea that we are one people, invested in each other and in our common future."

* * *
"In communities across this state, people who have never been involved in politics before -- or who had given up on what they saw as a broken system -- have built something special.

No matter what the outcome tomorrow, our work here will have a lasting impact on those communities and on the Democratic Party for a long time to come.

We're seeing the same story play out across the country as grassroots supporters in 22 states prepare to cast their votes or turn out to caucus on February 5th."
* * *
"[After the South Carolina primary,] the spirit of the grassroots organizing we have done here -- of ordinary people taking back the political process -- will be apparent in thousands of communities across the country.

I believe more strongly than ever that this movement for change can do more than just win an election. Together, we can transform this country."

Here's one video of organizing in South Carolina:

You will find many more here, providing a sense of what the Obama campaign has built in South Carolina and all worth watching.

Ann Coulter hates John McCain

This is an interesting read ... Ann Coulter attacking a Republican. Ann writes:

"John McCain is Bob Dole minus the charm, conservatism and youth. Like McCain, pollsters assured us that Dole was the most "electable" Republican. Unlike McCain, Dole didn't lie all the time while claiming to engage in Straight Talk."

And it goes downhill from there. So head on over to the Republican Townhall.com for your daily dose of vitriol and learn why Ann Coulter hates John McCain.

If Hillary gets the nomination this way . . .

She'll lose the general election. That seems an awfully high price to pay just to be the first female presidential candidate of a major political party. And that she would also be the first former First Lady presidential candidate will only diminish the value an already hollow and pyric prize.

Many in the Democratic Party establishment are becoming concerned about the way that Bill and Hillary Clinton are engaging in distortions, dirty tricks, and race and gender politics in their struggle to win the nomination for Hillary.

There is fear within the party that if Obama becomes the nominee, he might emerge from this fracas personally battered and politically compromised. Hillary and Bill then would have done much of the Republicans' job for them. Moreover, if Hillary is the nominee, the Clintons' tactics could alienate blacks from the party or at least its presidential ticket.

And make no mistake about it, Hillary and Bill have resorted to the most cutthroat kind of politics. The Clintons are airing a radio ad in South Carolina attacking Senator Obama's comments about Ronald Reagan made in a Reno, Nevada interview. They are continuing this attack despite the fact that every analyst that has compared the charges advanced by Bill and Hillary with Obama's actual words has concluded that this is deceptive campaigning.

In other words, it is, as Dick Harpootlian, a former chairman of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, called it: the "politics of deception."

Here's the truth. Here is the interview, with Obama's actual words:

As you will note, nowhere in here does he say anything about supporting Reaganite ideas of the type listed, scornfully, by Hillary:

"I don't think it's a better idea to privatize Social Security. I don't think it's a better idea to try to eliminate the minimum wage. I don't think it's a better idea to undercut health benefits and to give drug companies the right to make billions of dollars by providing prescription drugs to Medicare recipients. I don't think it's a better idea to shut down the government, to drive us into debt."

Yet that is precisely what the Clintons' attack ad suggests of Obama.

Incidentally, Senators Obama and Clinton both voted last year to name February 6, 2007 “Ronald Reagan Day.”

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's the economy, stupid!

Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post likes real world tests for political candidates. She says the latest, "and perhaps most revealing," of these tests is the candidates competing plans for an economic stimulus.

Who got the best grade? Well, Ms. Marcus began with President Bush because he's the President and that means "he sets the curve." She gave President Bush's plan a B-minus.

The best grade went to Barack Obama with an A-minus.

John Edwards managed a B-minus, tied with President Bush.

Hillary Clinton mustered only a C-plus.

John McCain led the Republicans with a D-plus, followed by Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee with D's. Rudy Guiliani did not complete the assignment.

Read her complete analysis here.

Clinton, Obama Clash at SC Democratic Debate

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Every candidate is following . . . Obama!

Mitt Romney finally got a win. In Michigan, duh!

How did he do it? Aw, shucks, you guessed it.

He did it by doing what every candidate seems to be doing since Iowa . . . by adapting his campaign theme to mirror Obama's.

Sure, Hillary Clinton admonished Obama for giving people "false hopes" . . . and at the same time made her theme more hopeful. Give me some time and I'll edit this to post something demonstrating this point.

Now, let's look at Romney. The Washington Post reports that Romney sharpened his campaign message in recent days to emphasize "the need for dramatic change in the way politics is practiced."

In his victory speech, he proclaimed a "victory of optimism over Washington-style pessimism." Sounds an awful lot like hope to me.

Guess what else? He "promised to carry his new theme into the rest of the primary states."

There's more. Obama long has been talking about "you" ... meaning the people ... his supporters ... everybody. He told us "your voice can change the world." Next it was Hillary, doing her pale imitation of the same. And now it's Romney. Here's a link to his speech (opens in new window).

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Whose hopes were false?

Here's Obama's response to Hillary Clinton's contention he has been giving people "false hopes."

Notice she said something about galvanizing people.

Stand by for the results . . . .

At the cusp in New Hampshire

Here are some last minute glimpses of the campaign and candidates on the eve of the New Hampshire polls, starting with a revealing look at Hillary Clinton as she responds to a question from an empathic supporter who asked how Hillary remained so upbeat and "wonderful" in the face of the grueling campaign pace and bruising competition:

Sorry, looks like I have to do this the awkward way.
(click here to view the video in a new window)

Here's a report on Obama's last rally before the primary:

Use of these WashingtonPost.com videos is frustrating. It appears only the first
instance on the page will work properly. The others will not complete loading
the player. In IE 7.0, the non-loading players are in some kind of annoying,
clicking loop that potentially can freeze up the browser, the tab, the
window, or perhaps even the machine. Sheesh! Click here to see
this video in a separate window.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Your voice can change the world . . .

This post on my Unity Movement CNMI blog is well worth a look. Go ahead. Barack Obama has got it right . . . he's an inspiration, a beacon of hope, a promise for America's future.