Saturday, March 29


An irony of all ironies.

If Condi Rice were on the Republican ticket, we could compare the level of respect accorded to her by Republicans with the now infamous Democratic pastime of denigrating, ridiculing and hating the only serious female presidential contender we've ever had. And why have we never had a serious female presidential contender? Oh yeah, because we live in a culture that has a long history of denigrating, ridiculing and hating women.

Republicans would never stand for the media to treat Rice or any other woman on the Republican ticket with the vile disrespect showered on Hillary Rodham Clinton. Democrats have benefited from and all but begged corporate media to insult Hillary, and thus all women, with daily barrels of misogyny. With Condi Rice on the ticket, I'm guessing sexism becomes a firing offense at MSNBC. And I'm guessing Rush Limbaugh begins to look like a sensitive and gracious gentleman next to sexist thug Bill Maher.

Why am I a Democrat? I forget.

Just saying ...

No, not "sexism," just IOKIYAR. It's okay to be black or female if you're a Republican, and while one mustn't note the number of blacks and women in the Democratic Party without conflating them to "identity politics," one's recognition of the number of blacks and females in the Bush administration is fair and balanced. It enables one to point out how noble are the Republicans to promote and advance the few minorities/women they appeal to, while Democrats are the inheritors of a legacy of pandering. That's the view of the right.

The view of the left seems to be, we honor our minorities but see no problem with belittling, demonizing and slandering our MAJORITY, which is FEMALE. Unless, of course, they belong to the Village standard for women-who-belittle-and-demonize-other-women in order to be admitted to the BoyZ Club, the fringe membership, that is, allotted to "women who know that their place is to (publicly at least) agree with and worship the Boyz."

Geez, is it really that obscure to the Democrats Who Matter, that women are increasingly angry about the wanton sexism and misogyny that have been revealed on the airwaves and in the campaigns this cycle? I mean, we've grown to expect this kind of thing from Republicans, but from the Democratic Party? It's become increasingly clear that the party of the little man really means it -- THE MAN, not the woman.

I'm getting so tired of this s**t that each day I pledge to myself that I'm going to take a break from it all, focus on family and work (which is overwhelming but satisfying) and get some little peace and sleep on a regular basis. And every day, something convinces me anew that this is a battle worth fighting, for our national security and standing in the world, and for our American culture and the well-being of our people.

Whatever the outcome, the issues of gender and race have finally risen to the level of a national conversation -- among voters, if not pundits. I'm finding it more possible than ever in my lifetime since the 70s, for mixed audiences to address race and gender in our talks without embarrassment. There's often passion, and some heat, but at least we're TALKING. That's a positive result from this presidential race that has nothing to do with the Republicans or John McCain. We're witnessing within our own party attitudes that we've covered up and denied for years, we're pointing them out to one another, and, I have to hope, that at some point we're going to deal with, and overcome them.

Otherwise, we'll just be the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.

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As for the so-called "threat" by Hillary supporters to Nancy Pelosi regarding her statements on the role of superdelegates, the letter they wrote which "implicitly raised the possibility that they would withhold donations to the DCCC unless Pelosi changes her tune ..." -- well, I don't think that just because the letter-writers stated that they were "strong supporters" of the party that it can be fairly construed that they were implying they'd withhold future funds.

But so what if they were? What is the purpose of MoveOn and other organizations if not to collect donations that may be used for political leverage? And I had already informed MoveOn some time ago (after they endorsed a candidate, Obama) that I will not be making any further donations, hosting no house parties, etc. on behalf of MoveOn because I didn't choose to support their candidate. Instead, I have donated to repeatedly and support Hillary. Isn't that my prerogative? Isn't it theirs?

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Surprisingly, from the all-Obama-all-the-time Huffington Post comes this opinion in favor of letting the primary run its course, a demonstration of a reasonable faith in the democratic process.

Nervous Democrats fearful they will never get back to the White House want peace now, a release from the tension, move on to the 'big one' with McCain. Sorry, but it's not going to happen. And that will be just fine. Because when a winner does emerge, after Pennsylvania, or Puerto Rico, or maybe at the end of August on the last day of the Democratic Convention in Denver, Democrats will get over licking their wounds pretty quick in order to start licking their chops in anticipation of knocking off McCain. And then things will really get down and dirty -- just as they have in every election for the past 225 years.

The simple truth is, if Hillary succumbed to the screeds of WWTSBQ? many of her supporters WOULD be bitter about the Michigan-Florida voter disenfranchisement and about the premature calls for her to drop out of a so closely fought race, and I don't doubt that some of them (though probably less than now say they might) would refuse to vote for Obama or transfer their vote to McCain. But after a fair fight, with all votes counted, we will accept the Democratic nominee. And I believe Obama's voters would do the same.

So let's get on with it. The fair fight, I mean. Count the votes. All of them.

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Talk about a 3 a.m. call. James Wolcott intrudes upon the primary season to remind us that we still have a president, GWB, who has some months to go before he can cease causing the United States and the world a vast amount of grief.

"Adm. Fallon's (forced?) resignation was the last warning we are likely to get of an attack on Iran. It does not mean an attack is certain, but the U.S. could not attack Iran so long as he was the Centcom commander. That obstacle is now gone.

Vice President Cheney's Middle East tour is another indicator. According to a report in The American Conservative, on his previous trip Cheney told our allies, including the Saudis, that Bush would attack Iran before the end of his term. If that report was correct, then his current tour might have the purpose of telling them when it is coming.
The purpose of this column is not to warn of an imminent assault on Iran, though personally I think it is coming, and soon. Rather, it is to warn of a possible consequence of such an attack. Let me state it here, again, as plainly as I can: an American attack on Iran could cost us the whole army we now have in Iraq."
I've been dubious on the prospect of preemptive strikes against Iran, mostly because I didn't believe that the Bush administration would want to risk plunging the American economy into the abyss, a risk carrying an even greater probability today given the implosions in the credit markets, plunging consumer confidence, and foreclosures turning neighborhoods into squatters' havens. But the recklessness of the Bush administration with other people's lives can't be underestimated, and men who fancy themselves on a mission may give military action one last roll of the dice, convinced history will thank them later for their bold decisiveness. They've paid no price for their folly thus far, so why fear any future reckoning? Bush will hire some ghostwriter or biographer-whore to compare him to Harry S. Truman and find peace in the consolations of posterity, though peace may be come dear if the destruction of the American army ends up on his debit sheet.

We're already faced with such a muck as a result of this disastrous administration. But we can't assume that Bush/Cheney and the neocons don't have one last good one in them. Things can get worse before they get better.

Hillary has proven herself the master of domestic policy, dwarfing Obama and simply withering McCain in any comparison of her knowledge and the seriousness of her detailed proposals with their own. To some extent, that message has penetrated voter awareness, though many accept the "there isn't an iota of difference between [Obama and Clinton] their policies/stand on the issues" meme. Oh yes, there's more than an iota, and Clinton's are superior.

What hasn't been delivered by the MSMedia is the message that she is the choice of a slew of our most prestigious retired flag officers, including two former Joint Chiefs of Staff, to be Commander-in-Chief.

In these critical areas, it is clear to us that Senator Clinton is the candidate best qualified to be our nation's next Commander-in-Chief.

We believe that she has real understanding of the military through her diligent service on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She has worked tirelessly to ensure our men and women in uniform are properly trained and equipped to be sent to battle. And she has fought to make certain that they are treated with dignity when they return home. We have personally and closely observed her respect for our armed forces, and she has earned their respect. And ours.

These military leaders have surveyed the field and have endorsed Hillary Clinton over John McCain and Barack Obama. She has their confidence that when the next inevitable crisis occurs, she's ready to lead, and lead in the right direction. They, better than most of us, know that the World After Bush will still have to contend with the damage he's inflicted, and that includes not only cleaning up the mess in Iraq but handling the increased threats to American national security both at home and abroad that will be the undoubted result of the mistakes made over the past eight years. And they've concluded that Hillary is the best one to lead us.

Think about it. These people are products of the military machismo culture. They are, many of them, senior citizens, of a generation that accepted the role of women as primarily domestic in nature -- even when employed, the ones to run for coffee while the men settled the issues of the day. Yet they view a woman, a singular woman named Hillary Clinton, to be best qualified to lead our armies and navies, to provide for our national security. It's mind-boggling. And it speaks VOLUMES about her character that they have come to such a conclusion. It's an amazing and fascinating news story that nobody's covering.

But then, it's not too hard to understand why. It flies in the face of the media affection for John McCain as a war hero, and therefore his image is more to their liking:

MATTHEWS: "Let me explain why a lot of guys like McCain. He served his country in ways that none us cannot imagine serving this country. I think that gives him a moral edge over a lot of us and we show it."

I think the opinion of a few dozen distinguished military leaders weighs more with me than that of a bunch of effete, elite talking heads.

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Friday, March 28


Paul Krugman on "Loans and Leadership." Krugman examines the recent statements of the three presidential candidates on the mortgage crisis:

The moral is that it’s important to take a hard look at what candidates say about policy. It’s true that past promises are no guarantee of future performance. But policy proposals offer a window into candidates’ political souls — a much better window, if you ask me, than a bunch of supposedly revealing anecdotes and out-of-context quotes.

Which brings me to the latest big debate: how should we respond to the mortgage crisis? In the last few days John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have all weighed in. And their proposals arguably say a lot about the kind of president each would be.
Mr. McCain, we’re told, is a straight-talking maverick. But on domestic policy, he offers neither straight talk nor originality; instead, he panders shamelessly to right-wing ideologues.

Mrs. Clinton, we’re assured by sources right and left, tortures puppies and eats babies. But her policy proposals continue to be surprisingly bold and progressive.

Finally, Mr. Obama is widely portrayed, not least by himself, as a transformational figure who will usher in a new era. But his actual policy proposals, though liberal, tend to be cautious and relatively orthodox.

Do these policy comparisons really tell us what each candidate would be like as president? Not necessarily — but they’re the best guide we have.

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Thursday, March 27


While Hillary is being pilloried by the media, blogs and the Obama camp for exaggerating, misremembering or misspeaking about her arrival in Tuzla, Mark Halperin reports on a few "mistruths" told by Barack Obama (more than 10 times in the past few months):

1. Called himself a law professor (he's not and never has been)
2. Claimed credit for nuclear leak legislation that never passed
3. Said his mother and father fell in love amidst the turbulence of Selma (he was conceived four years before)
4. Fellow organizers say Sen. Obama takes too much credit for his community organizing efforts.
5. Claims "nobody had indications Rezko was engaging in wrongdoing" -- yeah, like "nobody ever imagined planes flying into the WTC"
6. "Was forced to revise a critical stump line of his on Saturday — a flat declaration that lobbyists ‘won’t work in my White House’ after it turned out his own written plan says they could ..."
7. Inflates newspaper comments on his healthcare plan
8. "Sen. Obama said ‘I passed a law that put Illinois on a path to universal coverage,’ but Obama health care legislation merely set up a task force.”

There's more, but you get the picture. Most or all of these are typical of politicians inflating their resume when campaigning. But since the Obamas have suggested that Hillary is dishonest and lacks ethics, it's only fair to hold his own words and deeds up to the light, no? This little incident, in particular is quite revealing:

After weeks of arduous negotiations, on April 6, 2006, a bipartisan group of senators burst out of the "President's Room," just off the Senate chamber, with a deal on new immigration policy.

As the half-dozen senators -- including John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) -- headed to announce their plan, they met Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who made a request common when Capitol Hill news conferences are in the offing: "Hey, guys, can I come along?" And when Obama went before the microphones, he was generous with his list of senators to congratulate -- a list that included himself.

"I want to cite Lindsey Graham, Sam Brownback, Mel Martinez, Ken Salazar, myself, Dick Durbin, Joe Lieberman . . . who've actually had to wake up early to try to hammer this stuff out," he said.

To Senate staff members, who had been arriving for 7 a.m. negotiating sessions for weeks, it was a galling moment. Those morning sessions had attracted just three to four senators a side, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) recalled, each deeply involved in the issue. Obama was not one of them.

That wasn't a "misstatement," an exaggeration, or anything like it. Obama plain-out tried to attract media attention for himself for an accomplishment he had not even contributed to.

Yeah, he's a breath of fresh air!

UPDATE: Via Jeralyn, the U. of Chicago has clarified Obama's status as a Lecturer there. Facts are facts, folks, so Obama is justified in calling himself a "professor."

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Another insight into Hillary's work ethic. (H/T to The Democratic Daily.

When she was first lady of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton did not just organize tea parties (contrary to what passes now for “common knowledge”). She had heard of a Bangladeshi economist who had introduced a great idea to help people out of poverty in Bangladesh and she thought his ideas might help the poor in Arkansas. The economist was Muhammad Yunus and the idea was microcredit. She was instrumental in introducing Yunus to Bill Clinton and they developed a program of microcredit in Arkansas. Yunus mentions her in every one of his books (with photos).

This is why I want Hillary to be president. Because I want a president with intellectual curiosity, looking around the world for the next good idea to solve problems.

As a resident of Arkansas during Bill Clinton's governorship, I witnessed Hillary's efforts to improve education in the state. She visited communities across the state, held hearings, listened, investigated other school systems and programs from a wide geographic range (including abroad), and presented a slate of workable proposals to address the problem. That's the way she works.

Unlike the current occupant of the White House, Hillary has an indefatigable curiosity. She researches prodigiously, actively seeks to master a subject and listens to a broad range of "subject matter experts" before developing concrete strategies for improvement. It's a mark of character that she's exhibited her whole life. And it's exactly what we need in the next president, who will have her hands full trying to correct the numerous and massive mistakes W has made. Hillary has been thinking about and exploring solutions her whole life. She won't have a learning curve as the newly installed POTUS. And I can't wait to see all the new ideas she'll put forth.

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Oh, my. As so often happens, Gene Lyons gets it. And writes about it (emphasis mine).

Better that the voters of two critical swing states comprising close to 10 percent of the electorate be disenfranchised than that Obama’s inevitable nomination be delayed. Nobody’s expected to notice the main reason that Team Obama faulted every suggested revote plan: He wouldn’t stand the proverbial snowball’s chance of winning either state’s primary. Rather than face that unpleasant truth, his supporters proposed various compromises with one common denominator: that Obama be awarded delegates he hasn’t won. That this strikes them as reasonable reflects the deep unreality into which roughly half the Democratic party has fallen. Once again, with feeling: The votes belong to the voter, not the candidates. Oddly, it’s Sen. Hillary Clinton, who grasps that elementary democratic principle, who critics say feels entitled to the presidency. Meanwhile, TV pundits like CNN’s Jack Cafferty warn us that should Obama’s supporters be disappointed in their hopes, “you wouldn’t want to live in this country.” A more concise way of turning the November contest into a racial referendum can’t be imagined. Who will win that one ? Then what ?

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As I was talking to one of my 20-something sons the other night about why I was supporting Hillary and having a hard time even conceiving of backing Obama if he gets the democratic nomination, a couple of things occurred to me.

First, I sure have talked to a lot of young men lately who (including my son) say that if Obama doesn't get the nomination, it will have been "stolen" and they'll never vote Democratic (or at all) again. They don't really have any interest in any of the Congressional or other downstream races, it's just Obama that they care about.

(2) I've talked to a lot of other people who are Hillaryites who say, not that they won't vote Democratic again, but that they won't back Obama; they'll consider switching to McCain or simply sitting out the presidential contest.

Now obviously this isn't a "scientific sampling," but I sense something happening here that ought to be taken into consideration by super-delegates and the DNC. The Obamabots who are so fierce in their loyalties that they frighten the SDs and the DNC into thinking that Obama MUST be the candidate or we risk losing their votes in the GE, just might do as they threaten. But many of them wouldn't be voting for Democrats in other races anyway. Their loyalty isn't to the party, it's to a single iconic man.

On the other hand, Hillary supporters are primarily loyal Democrats who vote regularly and dependably, and to disenfranchise us would be a serious mistake. Get us mad enough and we might just bolt the party entirely, become Independents, or just get so disillusioned that we drop out of the political process for a while. The loss of our votes would hurt Democrats in downstream races, and the party at large. We're the bread-and-butter Democrats, the ones who've hung with the party for decades, and we're not pleased at being discounted in favor of newly-registered crossover voters or independents who cannot be relied upon to support the party through thick and thin.

I'm just saying ...

UPDATE: Anglachel has a beautifully written expression of our sentiments:

When A-list bloggers begin to lecture HRC supporters about having to grow up and not be infantile, they just dig themselves into a deeper hole, because they trivialize and mock our considered support for her. The arguments they offer up about her – duplicitous, hateful, cold, power-mad, disliked, criminal – are straight out of the Rightwing sewer, do little save undermine the validity of their own stances.

Then, there was the comment from Obama that he knew all the Hillary supporters would vote for him, but he didn’t think she could get his. What incredible offensiveness, to claim that he could take my vote for granted. It dismissed the fact that, were he to become the nominee, he would then have to ask for the support of those who had not selected him the first time around, and thus put in a position of providing reasons to vote for him to the people he casually dismissed.

Thus, among HRC supporters, the effect of this particular campaign has been to erode the legitimacy not of our candidate but of Obama. As polling shows, his presumption that he automatically inherited her supporters has been proved untrue, in great part because he assumed that no one could really support that “monster”.

The second issue, which is interwoven with the first and is, in my opinion, a far greater problem for the party as such, has to do with the treatment of rank and file Democrats who vote for Hillary. As shown in exit polls, these voters are the bulk of the Democrats who voted (as opposed to all who participate), people for whom being a Democrat is a part of their personal as well as political identity. Falling support for Obama among this group is a more recent phenomenon, one that he might have been reversing in mid-February but which is trending down with every poll. There is some anger here over the treatment of Hillary, but even more it is rejection of Obama himself as a candidate due to his own actions and statements. At a slightly deeper level, it is an upsurge of the latent resentment and distrust between the so-called “tracks” in the party – beer and wine – the shorthand way of identifying the significant social and economic and increasingly gender stratification of the Democratic Party.

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Monday, March 24


I'm mystified as to why prominent gay Americans such as John Aravosis would be so pro-Obama. Here's just a sample of John's previous posts about Obama's embrace of homophobic entertainer Donnie McClurkin. What has happened to make John so pro-Obama? He wasn't always.

I wonder if it isn't just a matter of wanting to be one of the Kool Kidz, like Josh Marshall and Markos Moulitsas, those intrepid Obamabots.

One of the first things Bill Clinton tried to do as president was to enable gays to serve openly in the military. That took a lot of guts, when it was obvious that the anti-Clinton armed forces (He tried to get a draft deferment, for gosh sakes! He opposed the Vietnam War!) would have a hissy fit. When Colin Powell and other top generals had that predictable swoon, he had to settle for the "Don't ask, don't tell" compromise, which was still an improvement over the past. Clinton's efforts to enfranchise gays into mainstream society could have, and effectually did, compromised his entire relationship with the military brass, which he knew was fragile at best. But he stuck his chin out nonetheless.

Some reward. Now Aravosis backs a candidate who promoted a gay-bashing entertainer to suck up to a fundamentalist South Carolina electorate.

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All day long, as I've bustled around at work, I've had the number 4000 imprinted on my brain. Four thousand of our military dead in Iraq. Eight times that number wounded, damaged. Even more times that number suffering from PTSD. Many more times that number members of families and loved ones of the dead, the wounded, the traumatized. And to add to that, from 80,000-600,000 Iraqis dead or damaged.

And the response of our president and his presumed successor, John McCain? To declare that more must die or be damaged in order to honor the sacrifice of those before them.

There is no honor in such a position. There is great honor in what our military men and women have tried to do in order to do their duty as their country has defined it. But there is only disgrace in what we have required of them. They have served with diligence in the worst of circumstances. We have not returned the favor.

There are so many issues in this presidential election cycle that are critical to our future as a people in the United States. But for me, the first and most important is to end our involvement in Iraq and to preclude any such future neocon misadventures. We cannot mend our international relations, fix our economy, institute universal healthcare, address climate change, or succeed in almost any of our progressive agenda items until that is accomplished.

Hillary Clinton is the most prepared to bring us out. She's been working on this issue thoughtfully, decisively. She has the confidence and backing of the cream of our military. They will eagerly work with her to find a solution for withdrawal from Iraq. They have publicly stated that she is best-positioned to end the war and to give them only missions that make sense.

Hillary Clinton must be the next president of the United States.

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Sunday, March 23


For Easter reflection.


I'm sitting here with my knees wrapped in heating pads, so for the first time since I can remember, maybe ever, I'll not be attending Easter services.

My last night's prayer (don't mistake me, I pray many times a day, but I can't fall asleep without a special conversation with God) was somewhat extended as I considered that today would be a celebration of Christ's resurrection. I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude as I was thanking God for the gift of faith, for his plan to rescue his creation from death and lead us to the light of love and mercy. As so often when I am doing all the talking, I began to feel him speaking back to me.

And the upshot of it is, I retract my pledge not to vote for Obama if he is the eventual Democratic presidential nominee. I support Hillary as much as ever, and hope that she will win this critical fight. But if she does not, I will not only vote for Obama, I will campaign for him. And this is the reason: my love for my fellow man. John McCain must not win. The Republicans must not win. I don't want to see any more of our military die in Iraq, and I don't want to see any more innocent Iraqis die at our hands. We must clean up this mess that George W. Bush has created, and McCain won't do it. I'm terrified of his quick-draw reactions, his ominous declarations that there will be more wars in our short-term future. So I'm in the mode of the old cheer, "Hillary, Hillary, she's our man; if she can't do it, Obama can."

I encourage you to do the same.

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Today's must-reads are both from The Left Coaster.

It's way too much for me to excerpt, so I'll just say they reference the manufactured controversy over Bill Clinton's remarks that I wrote about here, the offensively sexist remarks made by Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski that I mentioned here, and a great defense by Steve Clemons of Hillary's work ethic, her policy knowledge and passion, and her ability to get things done.

But I am convinced of something about Hillary Clinton's commitment to use every lever and every aspect of government machinery to push her legislative and policy work that I'm disappointed to say that I can't find as strongly in Barack Obama's profile. My concern has to do with the fact that as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations' Subcommittee on Europe, Obama has held zero hearings -- at least that is how the record appears to me.

After two terms of a president who's governed by relying on intuition and a phalanx of advisers who are eager to experiment with their theories, a president who vacations while the nation burns and goes to bed early, I prefer a president who leads from her own knowledge and experience and works exhaustively to advance the common good.

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