Category Archives: 2008 elections

Frightening possibilities

I hadn’t thought about the possibility of McCain withdrawing from the presidential race before November — or not, in fact, securing the nomination at the Republican convention. Frank Dwyer’s piece on the Huffington Post today about just such a possibility does not seem unfeasible when given some thought. It could indeed be the one dramatic surprise move the GOP could conjure up to effectively compete against Barack Obama. Ultimately I break with Dwyer’s argument that Jeb Bush would be that surprise candidate. Different as he may be from his brother, Jeb, as one commenter points out after Dwyer’s piece, will now be tainted by the Bush name and have as difficult a time distancing himself from George W. as John McCain will have distancing himself from association based on their shared party (and positions). No, if such an 11th-hour surprise were to occur it would have to be a different name carrying the mantle. Those who don’t want to see it happen should nevertheless prepare themselves for the possibility.

Here’s Dwyer’s piece.


Obama and the “white vote”

Just saw this interesting post at Barack Oblogger. It’s a simple post, but it makes the point effectively. Despite the past week’s scuttlebutt over Hillary Clinton and “white, working class voters,” Barack Obama has won nominating contests in eight of the nation’s 15 whitest states (I’m trusting it’s quantified by a percentage of the overall population, the definition of whiteness or nonwhiteness — always somewhat frought — seems somewhat hard to actually hang a number upon). Results aren’t in yet for Montana (which votes June 3) or Kentucky, which votes tomorrow (along with Oregon). I think the vote in Kentucky  will be much closer than it was in West Virginia but still lean toward’s Hillary, but Obama has run away with the vote in mountainous, western states (and might I say, Republican bastions), so he’ll sew it up in Montana. I also predict he’ll blow Hillary out of the water in Oregon (also tomorrow), not in this list of 15 but still far from a bastion of diversity (not to mention a place where working class ideals have incredible mileage).

Not having been there for almost four years I still feel I can speak from experience that Maine, which tops the whiteness chart (and how!) is undoubtedly Obama country, and Mainers are so wicked far from elitist that it alone shatters the “working class” myth Hillary’s campaign touts.

Kudos to Chris Matthews! Has the world gone topsy-turvy?

This is unbelievable. Amidst all the brouhaha over George Bush’s attack on Barack Obama in the Israeli Knesset was this hilarious (if grating) exchange between Hardball-host Chris Matthews and conservative pundit Kevin James. I never thought I’d be admiring Matthews twice in one year, let alone one week, but it has happened as he seized on James’ ignorance of world history (see his criticism of Bill O’Reilly’s perspective on race in America for more).

Many people already realize the saddening lack of historical knowledge in contemporary society, but for this cheerleader of the Bush regime — ostensibly expected to be somewhat well-educated if he’s attempting to articulate a political position in the mainstream media — to so blatantly lack understanding of modern world history still shocks me. It just saddens me, it really does, because thousands of American students and families will continue to eat this tripe up, to make such basic arguments without even knowing the circumstance upon which they are basing their opinion. Ugh, I’m getting ranty and this video (it takes a couple minutes to get to the good/horrible part) speaks for itself, but it’s just outstanding. While I don’t personally buy the appeasement comparison, I’d hope at least those making the argument realize at the very least that Chamberlain’s appeasement policy allowed Hitler to annex Czechoslovakia (amusing note: While writing Czechoslovakia, for some reason, I typed Poland. Who’s the idiot now? The egg is on my face. Oh I can only imagine what comments I’d have received).

Anyhow, I meant to publish this Friday and now this has probably been all over the Internet:

Meanwhile, back in our galaxy

Alright, alright, yes, I am probably blogger No. 234,807,097,921 to link to this video today. But come on. How can you not resist The Empire Strikes Barack.


New York’s pot to San Francisco’s kettle

I’ll leave the debate about elitism in the presidential race to the drones and foot soldiers of the 2008 campaign, as well as the more articulate prognosticators on the 2008 election season (or is that too elite a wording?). Besides, so far, I’d say John Stewart probably said it best during the April 14 edition of The Daily Show when he reminded us the President of the United States of America is possibly the most elite position in the entire world (Hi, Yale grad, Skull & Bones member and son of a Bush; Hello Mr. Rhodes Scholar).

No, I’ll focus on a different hypocrisy among this deluge of hypocrisies surrounding these false accusations of elitism. Within Maureen Dowd’s New York Times op-ed on the subject she writes the following:

“Behind closed doors in San Francisco, elitism’s epicenter [Emphasis added], Barack Obama showed his elitism, attributing the emotional, spiritual and cultural values of working-class, “lunch pail” Pennsylvanians to economic woes.”

Who would have thought a Southern Californian like me would so readily stick up for San Francisco, but WHAT? A high-profile columnist and supporter of one of the most mainstream of mainstream politicians, writing for The New York Times, the “Old Gray Lady” of modern journalism, is calling San Francisco “elitism’s epicenter?” Penning a column for the pre-eminent publication in a city that claims to never sleep, dubs itself “The Big Apple,” acts as the arbiter of American fashion, the heart of global business, and acts as if it is the urban reincarnation of Jesus, Dowd still somehow believes San Francisco is the epicenter of elitism. Continue reading

Food for thought during the Potomac Primary

This debate of superdelelegates vs. the voting public is only going to become more interesting as the primary campaign lengthens. For the time being, I am actually encouraged that there is such a competitive Democratic primary. The sheer volume of interest in this election cycle is fascinating, and I feel fortunate that we live in a time when the general public seems genuinely motivated to affect significant change in our society. It doesn’t seem to be waning as the months continue, and it looks ever-more possible that every state will be relevant in the presidential nominating process (at least on the Democratic side).

Some might argue that the lengthening of the nominating process threatens the eventual nominee, and the possibility of a brokered convention could hurt the Democratic candidate’s chances. But I believe it does something different. It captures the fascination of an entire new generation of politicos and keeps the focus on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as the tremendous energy their campaigns represent.

I agree, for the most part, with this reflection by Rahm Emanuel’s brother on the completely undemocratic nature of superdelegates. However, I depart from his position that the delegates from Florida and Michigan should not be seated. While I believe that Barack Obama offers much more of a possibility for a fresh approach to the presidency, and Obama’s campaign has the most to benefit from not seating the delegates, it was wrong in the first place to penalize Florida and Michigan for deciding to increase the relevance of their primaries. Furthermore, it was wrong for the Democratic Party and the various campaigns that decided not to campaign in those states to continue to enshrine the exaggerated prominence of Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as Nevada and South Carolina, in the nominating process. Florida and Michigan are far more diverse states more representative of this nation than any of the early voting states. More importantly, though, this whole debacle re-inforces the fact that this country is in urgent need of instant run-off voting or, at least to begin with, one national primary day.

Yes, some might argue that seating the delegates would unfairly benefit the Clinton campaign because Obama (and other Democratic candidates) did not campaign in Florida or Michigan, but holding fresh elections in the summer would unfairly benefit whichever candidate has the most momentum at the time. Meanwhile, calling on one hand for the party to dismantle a tradition as anchored in the political status-quo as superdelegates, while on the other hand demanding that the status quo convention of the primacy of early-voting states makes no sense.

Finally, for just one more take on the superdelegate situation, Alternet has another interesting take.