Category Archives: Democratic Party

“No way. No how. No kidding.”

“…unfortunately neither Senator Clinton nor Harriet Tubman
is running for President.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In deference to Senator Clinton, her actual words in last night’s rousing speech before the Democratic Convention were, “No way. No how. No McCain.” It may have been good political theater, but unfortunately neither Senator Clinton nor Harriet Tubman is running for President.

Nor will political theater pay anyone’s bills or solve our nation’s many other problems. But I get it. The Democrats are psyching themselves up for the victory they want and anticipate in November. Good for them, and good for the Republicans who are up next.

So why do I feel so uninspired, so disappointed? I’ve thought about it, and the answer is that I’ve had it with form over substance, with the audacity of the presumption that I will be impressed, in any meaningful way, by all this hoopla and rhetoric.

On Thursday, Senator Obama is going to make his acceptance speech at the Denver stadium in front of 76,000+ supporters. His objective is to define his campaign as a bona fide movement, the scope of which transcends what any ordinary convention center can adequately accomodate. The arrogance of it all is unbelievable.

Does Senator Obama really think that hearing the roar and chanting of a stadium full of supporters will make his pitch any more substantive, any more convincing, that it will somehow make him better than his resume? Of course he does. He has to. Like all great magic, the trick is in distracting the audience from what’s really going on. This is the new politics, the “Change You Can Believe In” he’s promised.

As President, will Senator Obama be addressing the nation from The Oval Office, or from FedExFied, the new Redskins stadium? I’m just wondering if any of us can afford the price of season tickets.


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Hillary Doesn’t Approve

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No kidding. Hillary Clinton doesn’t approve of the ad the McCain campaign is running featuring her decidedly negative remarks about Senator Obama made when she was running against him for the nomination. She doesn’t approve, but then she doesn’t retract them either.

Her problem is that she was either purposing overstating Senator Obama’s lack of qualifications to be President, a/k/a “lying,” for those of us who don’t like to mince words, when she made those comments, mistaken, or telling the truth. Pick one.

The first choice strips away her integrity as a candidate and renders her endorsements of Senator Obama and criticisms of Senator McCain less than credible. The second choice suggests incompetence on the part of a very savvy, highly intelligent politician. The third, that she was right, is my personal favorite because it’s factually correct and is consistent with one of the core themes of her campaign, and Senator McCain’s as well.

The fact is, Senator Obama isn’t ready to be President. His resume for that position is all about “Career Objectives,” with pathetically little in the “Experience” section. Everyone knows this, that he’s inexperienced, even his most fervent supporters who believe that what the Senator promises so eloquently, the hope that he sells so effectively transcends the disadvantage of his having never tried and delivered on similar promises in the past.

For those supporting Senator Obama’s candidacy, hope trumps proven judgment and effectiveness. It’s a belief based on the notion that never having done something may actually make you better at doing it if only given the chance. It’s a premise that is occasionally true of newcomers who are not constrained by traditional notions of how things are supposed to be done, but does it work for the person we’re hiring to be President of the United States?

Senator Biden has the same problem with respect to his comments about Senator Obama when he (Biden) was running for President.

Will these people say anything to get themselves elected, or to serve their selfish political interests by supporting a candidate they clearly find deficient? (That was rhetorical.)

It may not be politically correct, but I’d prefer the truth: “Senator Obama is not particularly qualified to be President, but I believe an Obama/Democratic Presidency would be better for the country (and me) than another Republican administration. And here are my reasons why…” Wow, that feels so much better.


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Hillary Clinton: Does anyone really care about electing a woman President?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

“Why aren’t more women supporting the Clinton candidacy with something approaching the levels of black support for Senator Obama?”

In the midst of the most recent news about Pastor Jeremiah Wright, his preaching, publications and relationship to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton managed somehow to divert the attention of the media, and the electorate with it, by her confusion over conditions when she visited Bosnia as First Lady.  This had to be a moment of legitimate confusion.  To consider it purposeful misrepresentation, in light of how easily the facts could be checked, is ludicrous.  Not surprisingly, fraudulent campaigning is how the Obama campaign would have us see it, and the way the media tended to report it.

I get the feeling sometimes that many ordinary voters, professional politicians, and pundits are looking for any excuse to find fault with Senator Clinton’s campaign.  Barack Obama has the temerity to defend his 20 year affiliation with the likes of Pastor Wright and walks away, figuratively speaking, unscathed.  If Hillary Clinton so much as burps in public, it’s breaking news.  She’s down two points in the polls.  Her campaign, so she’s told, is a losing cause.  Why not give it up for the good of the Party, and to make Howard Dean happy?  Democratic process is apparently only a good thing if it nominates Senator Obama without the mess of an open convention.

Whether or not he’s in the lead, Senator Obama’s affiliation, by close proximity if nothing else, to the opinions of Pastor Wright, his spiritual advisor until he became too much of a political liability, should have crushed him in the polls.  That he would claim to have been generally unaware of these offensive beliefs during 20 years of attendance is a ridiculous notion that laughs at the gullibility of his supporters, and mocks the lectures he continues to give us on the new politics of Obamism.  And yet the effect of all this on his standing in the polls was minimal, and only temporary.

What’s going on?  Is it Hillary or, heaven forbid, that she’s a woman?

It’s one thing to wonder whether there are men out there who, consciously or subconsciously, might feel uncomfortable having a woman President.  It’s another to ask the same question about American women in general.  My mother, sadly no longer with us, was a big Bill Clinton fan but would have never bought into the notion that his wife – however accomplished in her own right – or any woman should ever be President.  It was an idea that was, at best, on the periphery of her vision, limited as it was by the times of her upbringing.  I’ve got to wonder if there aren’t still remnants of the same mentality in women of my generation and younger.

Barack Obama has gone out of his way to remind us, at every opportunity, that he’s black.  He’s using his race in a way similar to how JFK used his Catholicism in 1960, to shame some voters, and galvanize others into voting for him.  (See my own “Channeling JFK” posted March 14.)  He wants people to vote for him because he’s black – black people because he is of the same color and shared experience, and white people because, to do otherwise, would be evidence of prejudice.

Don’t believe he’s using the issue of race?  Consider Senator Obama’s recent speech about race.  If I may borrow an observation from Professor Walter Williams’ recent column in The Examiner, the question to which the speech was supposed to be responding had nothing to do with race, per se, but with his long term affiliation with Reverend Wright.  (See “Quote of the Day:  “Is Obama ready for America?” posted March 27.)  Instead, what Senator Obama chose to talk about race, race, and more race.  Okay, I get it.  He’s an American of mixed ethnicity who identifies with the black experience while, at the same time understands all things white.  (I’m exhausted by his omniscience.)

So why isn’t Senator Clinton opting for the same strategy based on gender?  She’s also an American of mixed parentage – one man, one woman – who identifies with the female experience.  It’s perfect.  And haven’t women suffered their own struggle for equality?  Women are half the population.  Black Americans, only 13%.  Even considering that black Americans are almost universally Democrats, there are still more white women Democrats.  You’d think there would be no way she could lose.

Why aren’t more women supporting the Clinton candidacy with something approaching the levels of black support for Senator Obama?  Possible explanations include:  They’d love to support a woman, but not Hillary.  They believe it’s more important to nominate the right candidate than a one of their own gender.  The latter would be nice, but they perceive the differences between the two candidates to be too great in Senator Obama’s favor to vote their gender.  They’ve arrived, so to speak, and don’t feel like they have anything, in particular, to gain or prove by electing a woman President.  Or, yikes, a significant number of them are not all that keen on having a woman – any woman, not just Hillary Clinton – in The White House.

Maybe electing a woman President just isn’t that big of a deal after all.


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Second Thoughts: How Hillary Clinton Snatches Victory from the Jaws of Defeat

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

“Suddenly, it’s no longer just about the super delegates, but also the ordinary ones trying to do the right and the smart thing.”

 There’s a piece on the Politico website (dyn.Politco.com), published yesterday, that is called “The Clinton Myth,” the gist of which is that she doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of winning.  You should read the entire article, but here are the opening paragraphs.

One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.

Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.

Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory.  An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.

People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.

For the record, I am not writing this from my office on the planet Zork, nor am I an illegal alien of the technically correct type.  Also for the record, I think the Clinton campaign, which I favor, is in a world of trouble.  Yes, she needs to do really well in the remaining primaries, well enough to make the argument that she’s won in the states with the highest total electoral count, and would therefore be the more effective candidate to run against McCain – an argument that I suspect will weigh impressively upon super and regular delegates alike.

That having been said, will someone please remember that elected Democratic delegates are not precisely required to vote for their state candidate on even the first, let alone the second and subsequent ballots.  According to section 12.J. of the Delegate Selection Rules, “Delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”  That’s it.  That’s all it says. They could have written the rules to say something like, “…shall invariably reflect the votes that elected the Delegate at his or her state primary or caucus,” but they didn’t.  “Sentiments” are subject to interpretation and tend to change during a protracted campaign.

Many delegates will be from states whose primaries and caucuses were months ago.  They and their constituents may be having second thoughts about Senator Obama’s experience, policies and personal beliefs.  Would Iowa and other early, Obama honeymoon states favoring his candidacy produced the same results had the Pastor Wright mess been raised before they voted?There are roughly seven months between the first primary and the convention, seven months of hard fought campaigning against a backdrop of important domestic and foreign events.  Obama supporters may have second thoughts, as well might early Clinton advocates.  If we had a national primary, with the convention soon thereafter, time wouldn’t be so much of a factor – but we don’t, and it is.

If Senator Clinton can survive the first ballot at the Democratic convention, and depending upon how the last 11 primaries go, she may have a real chance of winning.  Delegate support for both candidates will become fluid, and there’s no telling what could happen.  Suddenly, it’s no longer just about the super delegates, but also the ordinary ones trying to do the right and the smart thing.

Predictably, some Democratic Party leaders and other notables fear an open convention.  These are what I call “Tidy Democrats” who publicly abhor the clutter of real democratic process in favor of wanting to broker their own solutions by frightening us into thinking we’ll lose in November if we’re not polite to each other.  They miss the point, and need to be reminded who’s really in charge of their Party.

In a close and highly contested race, what’s the point of having a convention if it isn’t open?

As for Politico’s point about no one being willing to tell a Black candidate that strict adherence to the process for nominating a Democrat for President has denied him a victory, it’s a notion that sells Senator Obama and other Black Americans – “the party’s most reliable constituency” – short.  It presumes that their only reaction to all things is racial and, as such, insults their intelligence and sophistication as voters.  Of course, if I were Black, it would be nice to have someone who looked like me in The White House.  If it doesn’t happen this time, it will happen soon, quite possibly with a Barack Obama candidacy in 2012 or 16.  So what?  Hillary Clinton is a woman representing a full half of the population that has never held the same high office.  Whoever wins, this election is history in the making.

He may not like the outcome, but I suspect Senator Obama and most other Black voters would agree that it makes no more sense to give him the nomination because he’s Black, than to deny him the opportunity for the same reason.


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Will somebody please tell Howard Dean to “Butt out!”?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

My apologies to Governor Dean for the common language.  Perhaps it will help get his attention and that of others who can influence the DNC.

I’m a registered independent who tends to vote Democratic and supports the candidacy of Senator Clinton over both Senators Obama now and McCain in November.

Today Governor Dean announced that, if the nomination wasn’t settled by the convention, he would have to sit down with the two candidates and see what he could work out.

The Democrats may be having trouble picking a candidate, but isn’t that the purpose of the primaries and caucuses, and the convention?  This is democracy in action.  Who does he think he is to determine what’s best for the Democratic Party, let alone the United States?  He’s certainly welcome to his opinions, and to put them out there, but he’s only in charge of the DNC, not the party itself.  That would be one of those “We, the People” things.  Every once and while, too often I think, political leaders tend to forget who’s in charge of what, who works for who [sic] in the political process.  This is one of those times.

Governor Dean had three years since the previous election to make any changes he and the Democratic National Committee felt would improve the process – a national primary, for example, a uniform primary process in every state, changes to the Super Delegate system, whatever.  Now, at the last minute, he has the audacity to want to mediate a nomination about which over 27 million voters have so far expressed themselves.  Who asked him for help?  Some other party insiders and pundits concerned about how a free convention might impact Democratic chances of beating McCain?  That’s up to the people, the Democrats who have voted, and who have played by the rules.  I’ll give him credit.  Governor Dean is brazen in what has got to be a major example of backroom politics at its worse.

As if he were doing the party and America a favor, he says he’ll wait to bring the candidates together until after the primaries are done.  How respectful.

As to who will tell Howard Dean to butt out?  That would be me, and anyone else who shares my point of view.  I’m e-mailing this to the DNC, but, just in case, will whoever reads this please be sure he gets the message?  Thanks.


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