January 4, 2008 archive

Holy Shit – David Brooks makes a good point!

I never thought I’d see the day, but David Brooks just made a point that made me slap my head and wonder why it didn’t occur to me before.  I dunno how he did it.


And Americans are not going to want to see this stopped. When an African-American man is leading a juggernaut to the White House, do you want to be the one to stand up and say No?

I don’t see that many will.  I don’t see how they can.  I thought the story from here was going to be “How will Obama blow it?”  But what I see coming is different, after reading those words.  The good story, and the only one nearly anyone can get away with, is the coronation of an American legend-to-be.  And if that is true, then the Obama campaign we’ve all maligned is actually a work of brilliance.  Because he hasn’t said anything that can really offend anyone.  Who wants to speak out against hope, against unity, against healing divides, much less to do so against a candidate whose very candidacy is a testament to the kind of progress this nation has made?

Indeed, is this displayed in any way better than by the pathetic nature of Paul Krugman’s swipe at Obama in his column today?  (As an aside, I am taking great satisfaction in watching Krugman’s unraveling as a columnist, which is clearly a result of the loss of his dispassionate eye for the truth as an economist which got him the gig in the first place.)  How, after today, can you possibly see anyone truly getting away with going after Barack Obama as “shallow”?  If he is shallow, then the entire American mythos is shallow (which may well be true, but not something anyone in politics can sell).

It is a dirty game, and I have no doubt that Sen. Clinton can play it as well as anyone.  But I’m having a hard time seeing how she can take Obama down.

(With the caveat that while all of this is somewhat interesting, I still don’t believe it particularly matters.)

Obama: A Cup of Nothing

‘I won’t tell you what you want to hear, I’ll tell you what you need to know.’

Gee, sounds like the worst of both worlds to me.

Not true. Tonight, when the aspiring leader of the free world declaimed: ‘I’ll tell you what you need to know’, my blood ran cold. Executive authority? Vive le roi!

Matt Yglesias purrs. Others squeal with delight. I, on the other hand, don’t like Obama; and I don’t like what he says.

And until he wins the nomination, I get to tell folks here why.

If he wins the nomination.

How do I loathe Obama? Well, actually it’s not that simple.

I’ve taken the measure of my hostility towards Obama and discovered a great deal I do like in the candidate.

I respect Obama’s intellect and his accomplishments. I respect his commitment to family and community. I respect his commitment to building a bright future for himself and for his family and community. ‘Nuff said.

How did that speech go?  “…in small towns and big cities you came together as Democrats, Republicans and Independents…”  Did I hear that right? Republicans are awarded second-place mention in Obama’s victory speech? Gee, I wasn’t aware that Republicans won anything in Iowa when Obama finished ahead of Edwards and other committed Dems.  

But Obama isn’t kidding. Obama appeals to Republicans, actively, as he did in Iowa tonight. And if you like the idea of climbing into electoral bed with the Andrew Sullivans and George Wills of the world: good news! Sullivan and Will are already there, with Tweety! Andrew informs us that NRO is chirping an Obama song, too.

Bill Bennett watched the Iowa results and shocked pundits by assuring his all Wall-Street buddies that Obama represents no threat whatsoever? Huh? I thought die-hard Republicans are supposed to paint the Dem winner in shades of red or pink. But Bennett, a career bible-thumper and gambler of long experience, looks hard at Obama…and likes what he sees. Bennett’ message is un-mistakable: upper-income voters should have no problem pulling the lever for Obama. Big Pharma doesn’t have a better friend than silly Sully. Sully’s giddy support for Obama and antipathy for universal health-care should be enough to worry folks. Clearly, many are too busy hoping.

If accountability matters to you, if you believe strongly that those who lied America into the war must be punished, if you believe corporate America is a threat to your freedoms, your income, your health and your job, you may want to think carefully before putting the forgiver-in-chief in the White House.  

Obama may win the nomination. That’s when critics like me get to STFU and commit to burning the Republican house to the ground. But if folks decide to follow a man who doesn’t scare Bill Bennett, don’t be surprised to discover some of the worst criminals are standing next to you inside the Dem tent before the match is struck.


Iowa Wrap-up

Realistically, the Iowa Caucuses are a ridiculous measure of the electorate. It’s a massively flawed system in an absurdly unrepresentative state. But none of that matters. What matters is how the media spin it, and what happened tonight will be easy for their simplistic framing: Obama won big, Hillary sputtered to a weak third place, not even breaking 30%. Edwards really needed to win, and didn’t.

Keep an eye on the New Hampshire polls. The media want this to give Obama a big bump. It probably will. The size of his win in this massively flawed system in this absurdly unrepresentative state makes him the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Hillary polls far ahead, in later states, but that could quickly erode. The pressure is on her to do much better in New Hampshire. Even a close loss might not be enough. If Obama carries this big win into a second win, next week, he may be unstoppable.

It’s tough to see where Edwards goes, from here. He’s not polling well in New Hampshire or South Carolina, and he needed a big boost, to get any traction in either. He didn’t get it. His campaign is in serious trouble. Should he be out, after South Carolina, it will be interesting to see what his supporters do. None are more passionate. If they move as a bloc, they could make the difference.

Obama’s centrist strategy worked, in Iowa. It’s not popular with many die-hard liberals. If the only alternative turns out to be Hillary, where do they go? Obama also proved enormously inspiring to young voters. Should he win the nomination, they could help sweep Democrats into all levels of offices. Such a Democratic landslide could mean a much more liberal Obama Administration than many now fear.

In the end, though, this race is far from over. Bill Clinton was known as the Comeback Kid. We’ll now find out if Hillary has similar skill and tenacity. She won’t go down easily.  

Thoughts on the Iowa Bowl

Like many people, I have friends who attended the University of Texas.  And like most people who attended Texas, they are passionate fans of the Longhorns, the University’s sports, particularly football, teams.  And while, to them, every Longhorns game is important, none of them are as important as the annual matchup between the Longhorns and the Aggies, the team of Texas A&M.

This is not merely a Texas thing; one can find the same phenomenon in locations as disparate as Florida (the Florida Gators versus the Florida State Seminoles), Michigan (the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans), and California (the UCLA Bruins versus the USC Trojans).  And while these intrastate games have real significance occassionally, often all these programs are among the nation’s best, and have other more significant games on their schedules.  Yet the bitter rivalries between in-state rivals persist over generations, and often surpass the more significant games in importance to both the students and the players.

This does not, upon casual inspection, make sense.  There is not a vast or significant difference between the students of Michigan and Michigan State – both groups are generally made up of mostly kids from in the state, a similar percentage of out-of-state kids, nearly all between the ages of 18 and 25.  The players for both teams are also similarly made up – mostly black men from urban or rural backgrounds on scholarship, generally performing below the average academic level of their peers.  Stranger still, the students and alumni at each school have much more in common with their opposite than either group has with either team’s players, and vice versa.  

So why does the rivalry exist at all?

Iowa: Winners and Losers. w/poll

So, Iowans has gone to their meetings and the results are in.  With all of the analysis that’s going on, I thought I’d throw my 2 cents worth in.


writing in the raw: it’s one fucking thing

It’s not about a class war. Or Iraq. Or terrorism. It’s not even healthcare or New Orleans or the next Katrina-like disaster. It’s not collapsing bridges or trapped miners. Not abortion or gay marriage, civil rights or liberties. Tax cuts for the rich and what’s left in the treasury going to Halliburton? No, not that either. Predatory lending and sub prime markets crashing? Loss of income? Fear of job loss? Loss of worker safety protections? No no no no no no no….

It’s simply this: Our governmental infrastructure is broken… it’s dysfunctional. Further, the government of the United States of America has turned its back on its citizens. Hey. I have a novel idea. How about stopping those causing the dysfunction? Yeah. Like an intervention called IMPEACHMENT. We must demand Congress does its job and uphold the Constitution. Restore our freedoms and Constitutional rights damn it! Start with, first and foremost, enforcing separation of church and state and creating an earthquake-proof secular government. Then let’s get rid of thought crimes straight away. And torture and spying on US Citizens.

Because really, I’m thinking a government that condones spying on its citizens and dismantling due process as it outsources military, education, medicare et al is a government of men and women not interested in health care or education or the military. They are interested in controlling us and giving all those private contracts to their buddies. Cha Ching. We need our equilibrium back. We need to restore our country by rebuilding our governmental infrastructure. Forget 2008. If we want health care and collapsing bridges repaired, then we have to find people to send to Congress who will start the hard work of restoring the functionality of the United States government.

Don’t let them change the subject; the war goes on

That image, courtesy of the Defense Department, is just a reminder of what’s happening on the other side of the world as we count the caucus votes in Iowa.

Am I A Clown? Do I Amuse You?…….. Rated PG13

Pony Party… TITASS

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Well what do YOU think it’s about?

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