Thursday, March 6, 2008

Starr Wars II: Attack of the Drones

Today, one of Hillary Clinton's spokesmen, Harold Wolfson, compared Barack Obama's statement that he's going to be more critical of Hillary's record to the Whitewater investigation headed up by Kenneth Starr.

Yeah. It doesn't make sense to me, either.

Naturally when something like this happens, I look to talk radio's big guns, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck to see what they think was the motivation. I didn't find anything on Rush's website where he talked about it, but I did get to see the lovely collection of Club Gitmo wear. I listened to Hannity and he was still on the "Obama's racist Pastor" kick in between chats with guests. And Beck? I'm not sure it hit early enough for him to comment on it today, so I went 0 for 3 with the guys who get paid to comment on this sort of thing.

When I started thinking about it at first, it seemed rather disjointed. Who even remembers that much about Ken Starr these days besides the Clintons and their followers? Ah, but there's the rub! It comes down to this election, but not in the way you think.

Right now, Hillary could win the Democratic nomination by virtue of securing enough super delegates. With Obama starting to try to get Hillary's super delegates on his side, she knows she'll have to retain as many as she can while trying to attract as many of Obama's super delegates as possible. So, her campaign brings up an old boogeyman in the form of Ken Starr, hoping the super delegates who remember him flock to her to protect her from Obama's attempts to...well, to campaign against her.

The potential pitfall to this is if Democrats start to think about how weak a comparison Wolfson made. Seriously, asking about Hillary's tax returns as a means to suggest she's not being completely open about herself is akin to Ken Starr's investigation into Whitewater? That's a bit of a stretch, even for someone enamored with the prospect of a former First Lady becoming President. At some point, you can't play the "victim card" and have it work. This is one time when it definitely doesn't work when you really think about it.

Of course, you never can tell when something will work. Who would have thought Hillary crying would have helped her win New Hampshire?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rubbernecking at the Societal Freak Show

Have you ever seen "The Moment of Truth"? If you haven't, it's a game show on Fox that puts contestants on a polygraph, ask them questions ranging from benign to highly personal, and then ask them some of the questions they've answered previously to see if they're telling the truth on camera for a chance to win $500,000. And the toughest questions are saved for later on, as you might expect.

And let me tell you, it's uncomfortable to watch.

I'm not the type to force people to do my bidding (because if I did, Jessica Alba would be here and the blog would not matter), but I seriously want people not to watch this show. I'm sure there are people who would appreciate digging deeply into the psyche of the contestants, but some things should not be seen on television. This is way too real, even for reality TV.

Of course, Fox will say that they're only giving the people what they want. If they're right, we're much further along in our social disintegration than I thought. Where have we put our compassion for our fellow human beings? Seriously, this is the kind of stuff that would fall way into the TMI section if people volunteered this stuff on their own.

Perhaps more disturbing than the invasion of privacy that "The Moment of Truth" is the fact that these people are willing to destroy their lives and the lives of loved ones for money. I'm a capitalist, but even I have limits. When people's lives get destroyed in a pursuit of money, it becomes that much more important that we don't give our consent, silent or overt. Have we become so corrupted as a society that we take a perverse joy at watching the pain of others?

In a way, we've always been like that. As wonderful and moral as we think we are, we all have darker influences that creep into our minds and hearts from time to time. It's a part of human nature, but that doesn't justify our actions. We can and should strive to be better than our baser natures. "The Moment of Truth" should only be on the air for one more moment before being filed away like the bad show it is.

Of course, that would mean we'd have to stop rubbernecking long enough to make that notion a reality.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Rethinking the War on Terrorism

It's been going on 7 years since 9/11, putting us on a course that put us in a war against global terrorism. Since I don't think anyone else is doing it, I figured I'd give some thought to how well the war on terrorism is going.

In the aftermath of 9/11, America took a bold step forward to challenge the terrorists, one I still agree with wholeheartedly. Yet, as time has passed, that bold step has been turned into a baby step. We're still fighting the terrorists as we should be doing, but I don't think we really think about the importance of that fact on our daily lives. President Bush, to his credit, told us that it would take a while to win, but we didn't get that. For many Americans, a long time is two weeks.

Like it or not, we got spoiled during the 90s. With the Soviet Union falling, we were the lone superpower in the world, so we did what seemed logical at the time and started to scale back our military operations and retool our thinking. With these actions, we became insulated with a false sense of security while another global threat on the horizon waited for its time to strike. And strike it did.

Once we saw that we weren't as safe as we thought, we woke up for a time. Ah, but with time, political spin from both major parties, and a shortening attention span or perspective on history, many Americans either forgot we were fighting the war on terrorism or merely disregarded it like a year-old advertising slogan. Once this started happening, we started losing the home front in the war on terrorism.

If you were to ask the average American on the street today whether we were winning or losing the war on terrorism, I honestly think the majority would say we were losing. Why? Although we haven't done everything we should be doing (like securing the borders and using more realistic standards for airport security) to combat terrorism, we're at least in the game. That's a step in the right direction, but we need more than a step. We need to be willing and able to fight the terrorists where they are and tell our international critics to sod off.

Unfortunately, we're not doing as much of either as we need to in order to be serious about fighting international terrorism. We're so concerned about fighting the "right" war that we're giving up ground to those who don't share our sense of battlefield fairness. The terrorists can and will use our freedoms and adherence to preserving them where we can against us. In short, while we squabble over whether to shut down Gitmo or whether the PATRIOT Act should be repealed, we're taking our eyes off the terrorists who want us dead.

We're past the point where we can point to one President or another as being to blame for our lack of readiness on 9/11. Looking at the past is only useful as a tool to know what not to do in the future. Instead, we should have our eyes fixed on our eventual goal and the path to get us there.

Yes, dear readers, we need to rethink the war on terrorism, not whether it was a worthy undertaking, but whether we're really fighting it as well as we need to do to survive. And if we're not, we need to figure out how to make it happen so that we do. Our nation's protection, and the protection of the world for that matter, isn't a political football to be tossed around during an election year to help one candidate or another. We need to take the war on terrorism seriously, and that requires us to do some serious rethinking about it to ensure that we're taking it as seriously as required to win it.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Clinton-zuma's Revenge?

One of the stories that isn't getting as much play in this election cycle is how Hillary Clinton's campaign has been attractive to Latino voters. At this point, it may be a moot point.

Or is it?

Think about it for a moment. Democrats have been setting the stage for illegal immigrants to be given the same voting power as we do. Thanks to Motor Voter (an initiative that allows people to register to vote at the same time they get their driver's license, thanks to...Bill Clinton), illegal immigrants can register to vote. With attentiveness at polling places being less than Britney Spears at a parenting class, nobody's checking whether these folks are legitimate. They're too busy trying to get the all-Spanish ballots, after all.

Now, consider the fact that there are millions of illegal immigrants streaming into this country. That's a pretty big voting bloc, one that won't be ignored by a candidate as savvy as Hillary. (And, yes, that's even counting the blunders she's made with campaign staff and finances.) But you don't have to be a political guru to look at illegal immigrants and the Latino voters who love them as a potentially powerful political force.

Hillary has done a great, yet understated, job at attracting these voters to her campaign. Then, the question becomes whether these voters would go for Obama if Hillary were to drop out or not win the nomination. If they're anything like the other voters on Hillary's side, their loyalty will be fierce. That will deprive Obama of millions of votes in an election where Democrats are hoping to get the White House back. Every vote that Obama loses will put him that much more in the hole when going up against someone who might be able to draw on the center-right crowd Obama's hoping to get.

In short, if things play out like they have so far, Obama may win the nomination, but lose the general election, thanks to Hillary Clinton working to get the Latino vote. Then, in 2012, Hillary has a ready-made voting bloc that only she will be able to deliver.

Montezuma's Revenge is kinder than this.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley and the State of Conservatism

With today's passing of William F. Buckley, arguably the father of conservatism as we know it today, there are a lot of column inches being spent in tribute. This won't be one of them, not because I don't think Buckley is worthy of a tribute I wrote, but because I don't think I'm worthy to write one.

Instead, we need to look ahead at where conservatism goes from here. It's morbid, but it has to be done. With Buckley's death, conservatism has lost one of the guiding voices and minds of the movement. This leaves conservatism in a bit of a lurch at a time when the debate over its heart and soul needs to be lively.

Who can we look to as the new standard bearer? Rush Limbaugh? Sean Hannity? Glenn Beck? Michael Savage? They and their talk radio brethren can help to fill some of the void, but they fall short. This isn't a knock against them by any means. It's a testament to the impact Buckley had on conservatism as a whole. I'm sure the "next Buckley" is out there somewhere, and we will need him or her now more than ever because there are people attempting to reshape it in their own image.

Granted, everybody on the right will have a different view on what constitutes a conservative ideology, and that's fine to a point. However, what we're seeing right now isn't a difference of opinion; it's a radical redesign of conservatism. When self-styled conservatives start supporting big government, overspending, and the erosion of property rights, that's where I draw the line. Those folks are no more conservative than Cindy Sheehan is. Yet, that's what we're being presented as "conservative" by those looking to water down what conservatism is.

With Buckley's death, true conservatives now have a lot of ground to make up. But as long as there are people who believe in smaller government, lower taxes, and respect for the individual over the state, Buckley will live on.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Coming Apart at the Seems

If no other lesson can be learned from Election 2008, it's that one cannot count on appearances as an indication of possible success.

Remember January 2008? It was almost 2 months ago, but it's seen the coming and going of the dreams of some of the people we thought we be locks for their respective parties' nominations. Hillary Clinton seemed to have the money and the political machine to waltz to the nomination, as did Mitt Romney. Now, the latter is out and the former is all but out.

It seemed Mike Huckabee and John McCain were also-rans who no one would vote for in a million years. Now, both are still in the race, as is Ron Paul.

Barack Obama seemed like a long shot to take on Hillary. Now, he's whupping up on her like a child getting spanked for taking a cookie from the cookie jar before dinner.

Bill Clinton seemed like an invaluable asset for Hillary's campaign. Now, he's pretty much seen as 3/5 of the word (and you can guess which three letters I'm referring to).

It seemed that the Clinton political machine was well-oiled, well-funded, and well-schooled on how to win. With recent reports of how much Hillary spent early on because she and her campaign felt the nomination was all but hers, it's clear all three notions were not based on anything but wishful thinking or an overestimation of her abilities.

Modern politics is all about projecting an image to the voters. Yet, as we've seen so far, image is a poor substitute for reality. As we get closer to narrowing down our choices for President, it would be good for us all to remember that.

A New Post from Stella Rondo

Now that it looks like Hillary Clinton may be swept aside inthe presidential race, let’s look at this story’s larger implications.

Hillary was supposed to be a different kind of woman. THE Woman, the woman who would change the rules of history, who would smash the ultimate glass ceiling and enter history as proof positive that America has put its sexist past behind it and would enter the new century with new enlightened progressive leadership.

And yet, who would have heard of Hillary Clinton had it notbeen for her husband? She had a modest career as a lawyer, but nothing that a lot of lawyers haven’t had - time in a firm, cranking out the billable hours. So yes, she had some minor accomplishments on her own, but her appearance on the public scene really came with the election of her husband as governor of Arkansas. She was not lieutenant governor, nor was she a member of the governor’s cabinet. She was the governor’s wife, and as much as she may have chafed against that role, she succumbed to it for his good and, she hoped, ultimately her own.

She claims 35 years of experience “advocating” for her pet concerns. But what she calls “experience”, most women would just call “living”. What she calls “advocating”, most women would just call “talking”. Being a mother confers nothing unusual either. It is something literally billions of women have done throughout history, many with much less education and money and in more trying circumstances than she. Fighting for the rights of someone unfortunate is something that many women do frequently and without fanfare, often on a volunteer basis.

Maybe there was a devil’s bargain between Hillary and Bill. If she would overlook his personal foibles and just sacrifice for him a little longer, he would help her get what she wanted- the ultimate political prize. But it’s gone terribly awry. Surprising, considering how for years we all have heard how Hillary is smarter and shrewder and craftier than even Bill.

Which raises the specter of the Awful Truth. When all is said and done, Hillary Clinton has turned out to be just another woman who got her power the old fashioned way. She slept with it, and she married it. And her story is one of the oldest in the world. She sacrificed her life for the sake of a man, expecting love and reward in return, and was instead passed over for a younger model. A younger male model, no less.

What ultimately is extraordinary about Hillary Clinton isthat for all her protestations of experience and vision and sacrifice and service, how very, very ordinary her life really has been.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hope 2.0

He's young, attractive, and articulate. He makes crowds go wild with his energy and sheer charisma. He seems to have come from obscurity to the spotlight. Some even say this candidate for President is sexy!

Yep, that Bill Clinton from 1992 was quite the candidate.

If you thought I was referring to Barack Obama just now, that's not by accident. In thinking about Obamamania recently, I flashed back to "The Man from Hope." Back then, it was Bill Clinton who was trying to convince the electorate that we needed change in this country. He offered much of the same high-minded dreams that Obama is today, and got much the same reaction. In 1992, Bill Clinton was the candidate for change.

Now, in 2008, Barack Obama is repeating the success that Clinton enjoyed in 1992. Obama is hopeful, optimistic, and running on the notion that he can bring about the change this country needs. Whether that's because of who he is or merely an attempt to copy what worked in the past, I don't know. But what I do know is that it's working again, and this time Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton are the ones resisting the change.

A nice twist of fate to say the least. One of the "co-Presidents" who got into the White House preaching for change is now saying change isn't all it's cracked up to be. And they're the ones trying to beat back the challenge of someone who thinks change and hope are worth fighting for.

And who says this election is boring?

Friday, February 22, 2008

When Is A Sex Scandal NOT A Sex Scandal?

Thursday saw the revelation of a sex scandal involving Republican front-runner John McCain. Nine years ago, it's rumored that McCain was having an affair with a female lobbyist in exchange for his support on certain telecommunications bills in the Senate. And, because Americans are like 13 year old boys when it comes to sex, we focused on the sexual side of the scandal.

Of course, that's not the real issue at hand here. The issue isn't sex with a lobbyist; it's sex with a lobbyist. Let's not forget it was John McCain who made his name as a maverick by bucking his party on lobbyist influence on legislation. As it turns out, the "Straight Talk Express" doesn't talk so straight when it comes to lobbyists. He's been connected to telecommunications lobbyists since the mid-to-late 90s, so this "latest" scandal is nothing new. The sex thing? That's new, but it's the parsley garnish on the blue plate special: for looks only.

So, when is a sex scandal NOT a sex scandal? When it involves John McCain and a lobbyist.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Maybe It's Us

The recent shootings at Northern Illinois University have brought a lot of issues to the forefront. As we look for solutions or reasons why the shootings happened, we'll go over the usual culprets. But there's one that we always seem to overlook.

Maybe it's us.

Yes, we're not the ones who gave the shooter the gun or bought the bullets. We aren't the ones who pushed the shooter to take the actions he did. We aren't the ones who made Northern Illinois University a "gun free zone." Most of the people reading this have no direct connection to the shooter or his actions.

But indirectly, we might have an impact we don't see. Our society has gotten darker since the early 90s, and, no, I don't pin this on Bill Clinton's Presidency. Clinton's ascension was a symptom, not the cause. Thanks to a combination of a seemingly sound economy and the lack of a known enemy, we had no real concerns, so we did what most people would do: we started looking for ways to make our own lives better. And what we did was loosen the morals a bit, make greed and excess cardinal virtues, and let the end all and be all of our existences ourselves.

Now, consider that at the same time we were becoming me-monkeys, there was a corresponding rise in communication technology. Personal computers, online services, cell phones, text messaging, and other advances have made it possible for people to become dehumanized. Also, don't forget the rise in use of video games, especially violent games like "Doom" and "Grand Theft Auto." Again, symptoms, not the cause.

So what is the cause? The environment we created and have not thought through in our rush for bigger SUVs, more expensive coffee, and faster downloads of internet porn. In building up our castles, we have made the walls so strong that few other people can get inside. That creates an echo chamber where the only voice we hear is our own, and the only one we feel answerable to is ourselves.

Could the Northern Illinois University shootings have been prevented by someone breaking through the shooter's personal barriers? I'd like to think so, but it's only speculation at this point. By ignoring our fellow human beings and their needs, even if it comes with a slight inconvenience for us, we make our world a little darker, which only drives some even further inward. What would change this condition?

Maybe it's us.

A Party Divided

Back in 2003, I wrote a column titled "The Impending Democrat War" where I observed how the Democratic Party was starting to come apart at the seams because it had become a loose coalition of special interest groups jockeying for position and power. Now, we're seeing it blowing up in front of our faces with the current rifts in the Democratic ranks.

It shouldn't be such a surprise, though. Modern politics has become less about picking the best man or woman for the job and more about cults of personality. Read the message boards or listen to the chatter among politically-minded people on the left and you'll see and hear the factionalization of the party. If you're a Hillary supporter, you're full-on for Hillary. If you support Obama, he is the only one you'll consider. If you're a Mike Gravel supporter, you're some of the loneliest people on the planet.

To be fair, Republicans have the same problem, but on a smaller scale. There really aren't that many special interest groups within the Republican side, but those that are there can be just as nasty as what we're seeing on the Democratic side right now. Ask John McCain.

The factionalization of the parties is a double-edged sword. Having to appeal to a wider audience than just a few party faithful helps in the general election when you're having to try to pull votes from voters other than the party faithful. On the other hand, the more factions you have, the more people you have to try to bring into the fold...and the more people you can torque off if you don't say and do exactly what they want, or at least pretend like you will. It's a mixed bag, but it's one that both major parties have accepted as a fact of political life.

But it's that fact of political life that is destroying the Democratic Party as we know it. Put simply, neither Hillary nor Obama will be able to unite the party after one of them wins the nomination. When emotions are running as high as they have been in Election 2008, factionalization can lead to a weakened national effort.

The unintended consequences of this impacts the Congressional races this year. Republicans have to defend more seats than Democrats do, but if the emotions of the national race bleed into the Congressional races, we could see Democratic candidates who back Hillary be opposed by Democratic candidates who back Obama sparring for the nomination and then having to try to court those same voters in an attempt to win, which may not be possible. Many Republicans may win in November simply because they didn't have to put up with so much in-fighting.

Either way, the Democrats are faced with a dilemma. Either they have to force a change in their party, or it will be destroyed. To be honest, I don't see them being able to pull up out of this death dive because they're too focused on the short term goal of winning the White House to see that winning the White House but losing the party is a pyrric victory. But it may take a pyrric victory or a crushing defeat for cooler heads to prevail.

And from the way it looks right now, Democrats are in for one or the other sooner than they think.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What If...

Marvel Comics used to have a regular series titled "What If?" where they took important storylines in their characters' comics and figure out what would have happened if something else had happened. Watching the current struggles within the Democratic Party, I decided to do my own little "What If?" And it starts in 1996. What if Bob Dole had defeated Bill Clinton?

The Dole Presidency would be one term, but it would be significant in a couple of ways. First, assuming the world situation remained the same, he would have taken Osama Bin Laden when he was first offered and not refused him on the basis of a lack of legal grounds to hold him. Dole's anti-terrorism policy would not be as broad or as detailed as the current policy is, but it wouldn't pass up a chance to take out a known terrorist leader. Second, Dole would not have sent troops into Kosovo, which would have saved America money and prevented us from helping Islamic terrorism. Would 9/11 have still happened? Maybe, maybe not. But Dole's Presidency would have been much stronger than Clinton's real second term.

Dole's 96 victory would have had another impact: it would have knocked Bill and Hillary Clinton, and possibly even Al Gore, out of the political arena. This would have prevented Hillary from being elected junior Senator of New York State, and Bill would have been relegated to also-ran status. Gore might have stayed in for a bit longer, but probably would have dropped out and started working on his global warming presentations a bit earlier. The loss of these three individuals alone from the Democratic side of the aisle would have a monumental impact.

During the Dole Presidency, the Republican-led Congress would drift towards the center to match Dole's more moderate views. Without a Clinton impeachment to deal with, Republicans would pretty much have kept things going the way they had been, which would have accellerated their fall from power as it occurred in reality in 2006. Conservative voters would be marginalized and moderate to liberal Republicans would be taking over.

Critical mass for the GOP would occur in 2000 when it would be Bob Dole running against Bill Bradley. Bradley's progressive populism would be more of a match for Dole and Bradley would win going away. With him, the Democrats in Congress would move in Bradley's direction, leaving the Republicans in a tough spot. Even with Newt Gingrich rallying the Republicans and the conservatives, the party loses control of Congress and ends the 1994 Republican Revolution.

Bradley's first term signals a change in the way Washington, or at the very least the President, does business. The American public gets a sense that the Democrats are once again the party of the little guy, not just in rhetoric, but in deed. The infighting we're seeing now within real Democratic ranks would be mostly contained and not that big or that often. With the Republican Party in disarray, the Democrats would have a solid grip on Congress yet again.

Then, 2004 rolls around and President Bradley would face up against either a moderate Republican like John McCain or a moderate Republican running as a conservative Republican like George W. Bush. In either case, Bradley wins again, continuing his progressive populist message. After all, people would be comfortable with the idea, so why change? Bradley's success, in turn, inspires a state Senator from Illinois to throw his hat into the ring in 2008. And that man becomes President Barack Obama.

Granted, this is a combination of assumptions, guesswork, and a little political knowledge, but it's interesting to try to figure out how one election could have such an impact on an election 12 years later. What I predicted would have happened is not perfect, nor would it have come to pass. But I am open to suggestions or points that I neglected to factor into my thinking. As it stands, though, 1996 was a year that could have changed the political environment forever if one event had turned out differently than it had.

And Now You Know Why

It's no secret that my opinion of Congress is lower than Mini Me's insole, and it's been that way for a long time. When you look at the history of the Senate and the great names who have walked the halls of the Capitol, the current crop of Congress Critters just don't measure up.

Nothing showcases this more than the recent House hearings about steroids in baseball and the Senate being pulled into recent issues involving the National Football League. We have grown adults in the U. S. Senate actually getting involved in such things as whether the New England Patriots' last regular season game should only be seen on the NFL Network for the love of Pete! Now, they're getting involved in whether the New England Patriots videotaped opponents and whether Major League Baseball players have used steroids and then lied about it.

Am I the only one wondering what issues aren't being covered by Congress right now?

It's not like they couldn't find work to do for the country if they really wanted to. If they can see the "need" to get involved in professional sports issues, I'm sure they have the power to get involved with issues that matter, like saving Social Security or reforming the tax code. You know, stuff that might actually help people?

I think the real reason Congress is getting involved in professional sports issues right now is because they know they can't handle the big issues facing us. Being a politician, especially a Senator, requires significant ego. When you put yourself out there as a politician, people you intend to represent will expect solutions from you. When you can't produce those solutions, it will make you look bad, maybe even make people want to vote against you in the next election. So, it becomes important for the politician to appear to be doing something, anything, that will make him or her look like a leader.

That's why these professional sports issues are tailor made for the House. They can appear on camera, point their fingers at the perps, shame the perps, and watch the electorate respond. But the downside to this is that many Americans are wondering why the Senate's even getting involved with the other issues on our minds. It seems to be a flight of fancy to average Americans dealing with real issues, as well as proof that Congress in general is out of touch with the average American, and the poll numbers reflect how little Americans regard the "good work" the Senate is doing.

I can't speak for the rest of the country, but I can say that I object to Congress sticking its nose into these professional sports issues for a much more basic reason. These are sports we're dealing with here, and the fans have already spoken up about these and other sports issues. In short, we're doing the real work, and our outrage will be heard and felt by Major League Baseball and the NFL in ways Congress don't understand. These are our games, and we want them back. And no stuffed suit in Washington can get them back for us.

And now you know why I have such a disdain for Congress in this case, and in general.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A New Factor in Election 2008?

In an earlier blog post, I noted that Hillary Clinton's 2008 Presidential chances could be tied to how well Nancy Pelosi lead the House of Representatives, and I still think it may have an impact. However, there is something else that came to mind the other day that might have equal, if not more, influence.

If current trends continue, either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, and John McCain will be the Republican nominee. What do all three have in common? They're all U. S. Senators. It's rare that a Senator becomes President, but with this election cycle of strange and unusual events, it's par for the course.

Since the front-runners/prospective nominees are all from the Senate, the Senate's approval rating could have an impact on each candidate. If the Senate is seen doing something constructive (yes, I know it's the Senate we're talking about here, but let's say for the sake of argument it happens), it would buoy the poll numbers of any of the three I mentioned. Furthermore, if that positive change is lead by one of the three, their poll numbers skyrocket overnight. The downside to it is if the Senate does nothing or does something seen as destructive. Then, the Senate would be the last place Obama, Clinton, and McCain would want to be seen. And taking the lead on a controversial or unpopular piece of legislation? Forget about it!

It's not written in stone that the Senate's approval ratings will definitely impact the 2008 Presidential race, but it would be foolish to disregard it out of hand. Regardless of how you feel about them, the three candidates or presumed candidates are all politicians at heart. They will calculate the impact of certain speeches or certain events and spin accordinly. But, they can't escape the fact that they're all from the same branch of government, and if the Senate goes down, they, too, will go down.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I'm Not Ready to Make Nice

With Mitt Romney dropping out of the Republican race and the remaining Republicans being no real threat to the ascension of John McCain to the nomination, it seems to be pretty much a done deal. McCain sensed this, so he tried to mend fences with the rank and file Republicans at the CPAC convention yesterday. You know, the same rank and file that he's held in such low regard for years?

Now, McCain and his supporters are calling for unity within the Republican Party to try to bring the various factions together to win the White House. Some have bought in, saying it's better to vote for McCain than to let Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama win the White House and choose Supreme Court Justices. Others, like me, are not so easily swayed. I'm in the position I was back in 1994 when I came to a point where I couldn't support Bill Clinton anymore because there were too many things to overlook to continue supporting him.

With McCain, it's 1994 all over again. Whether it's McCain-Feingold or voting against the Bush tax cuts for reasons that have nothing to do with spending cuts or lying about Romney supporting timetables to get out of Iraq, McCain has stabbed the Republican Party in the back so many times the elephant is looking like a pin cushion.

But we're supposed to hold our noses and vote for McCain because he's a Republican and would prevent Hillary or Obama from winning the White House. If you believe this, let me ask you something.

If McCain were a Democrat instead of a Republican, would you be as forgiving of his duplicity?

Somehow, I don't think you would.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Super Tuesday: The Aftermath

Super Tuesday was make-or-break time for Democrats and Republicans. So who got made and who got broken?


- Hillary Clinton. Say what you will about Hillary, she pulled out some big ticket victories on Super Tuesday, and even came from behind or near behind to do it. That includes a win in California, where Hollywood has been less than thrilled with Clinton in recent years. Although she barely beat Barack Obama in the delegate count for the contests yesterday and Obama has taken the lead in the delegate count, she's still seen as the frontrunner, which gives her a boost over her rival.

- Barack Obama. The fact he stayed competetive with Clinton in many states and managed to get 8 fewer delegates than she did shows Obama is a real threat to the Clintons...and to the Republican candidate. The Democratic nomination may still be up in the air after Super Tuesday, but Obama's performance last night guarantees he will be in the hunt for it for a long time yet.

- John McCain. From also-ran to front-runner. At this point, the "Straight Talk Express" is pretty much unstoppable, due in no small part to what appears to be backroom deals with Mike Huckabee's campaign to be a block to Mitt Romney. But he also seems to have built a coalition of liberal and moderate Republicans who want a change from the way the GOP has been run in recent years. To them, McCain represents both change and promise of victory in November.

- Mike Huckabee. He stands no chance of winning, but his actions have put him in a position where McCain owes Huckabee for being a firebreak against Romney. That will help him get a place at the table when McCain starts putting together the ticket or if he gets a chance to put together a Cabinet.


- Mitt Romney. Romney needed to win big to stay viable, and he didn't. But what's more maddening is that the Romney campaign didn't do more to break up what is now seen as the McCain-Huckabee coalition and the media's lack of coverage of Romney's victories. At this point, McCain has a commanding lead and I don't think Romney can pick up enough steam to run the rest of the states to be the nominee. If there is any upside to this, it may set the table for a run in 2012, provided McCain either loses in November or does so horribly that the GOP wants to dump him.

- The Republican Party. This may seem a bit melodramatic, but I don't see how the Republican Party can win in November. I've said that the only way the Democrats can win is through the nomination of John McCain, and lo and behold, that's what Republicans seem to be willing to do. Even with the internal problems being ignored by the Democrats, the Republican Party's problems are only beginning, and they will be magnified by the media.

- Talk radio. The jury's still out on how much talk radio's anti-McCain sentiment hurt Romney, but knowing the mainstream media, it won't matter because they'll say talk radio hurt Romney and proved how ineffective it has become. It's total spin, but it cannot be denied that talk radio may not have done itself any favors prior to Super Tuesday. Ideologically, they were being consistent with their beliefs, which is admirable considering the man they were criticizing has been anything but consistent. From a public relations standpoint, though, it will prove to be a boondoggle for so many talk radio hosts to go after McCain and fail to move the electorate like they used to do.

As promised, I'm going to step away from these types of blog posts at this point because things are pretty much settled for the Republicans and going to be settled for the Democrats soon enough. Now, I'll go back to my true strong suit.

Writing blog posts making more references to "Gigli" than there were people who actually saw the movie.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Why Democrats Want McCain to Win the GOP Nomination on Super Tuesday

It's conventional wisdom that the Democrats won't have a clear-cut front-runner coming out of Super Tuesday, but that John McCain could sew up the Republican nomination with enough victories. And no one is cheering more for McCain to wrap it up tonight than the Democrats.

Before you start emailing me wondering what I've been smoking and where you can score some for this weekend, there are a number of reasons why Democrats are hoping McCain does well enough to knock out Mitt Romney. Here are a few of them.

1) Democrat surrogates can start undercutting McCain. We've already seen the initial stages of the attempts to derail the "Straight Talk Express." The Hill and the Washington Post have already published pieces talking about how McCain isn't exactly Mr. Popular in the halls of the Senate. If McCain takes a commanding lead in the delegate count after tonight, watch for more of those stories to come out.

2) More face time for Democrats. Once the Republican nomination is pretty much determined, the media have no need to pay attention to the presumed nominee as much as they did during the campaign. With the Democrats still battling, the media have an easy choice to make. Follow the fighting and reject the Republican.

3) A Republican crisis of conscience. It's no secret that McCain's as popular in the GOP as Michael Moore at an all-you-can-eat buffet. If he's the nominee, the Republican base will have to struggle with voting for the party's nominee or voting their conscience. Given the number of Republicans who have said they won't vote for McCain under any circumstances, an extended time to mull over this situation will cause many Republicans to stay conflicted and break up the current Republican Party as we know it.

4) More time to paint McCain as corrupt. This could go under the first point, but it deserves its own spot because it's one of those things that could destroy McCain's Presidential hopes. Look back at McCain's history in Congress and you'll see a lot of questionable actions that could easily be turned into an attack ad by the Democrats. And just like with the negative news stories mentioned earlier, don't be surprised if some of these stories of corruption start to leak out "all of the sudden."

5) Gives McCain more time to mess up. Give any politician enough time and they will screw up. Whether it's a big problem or a small gaffe depends on the circumstances. If McCain's the nominee and he messes up, I guarantee the media will be there to cover it, analyze it, spin it, and repeat it for days on end. If McCain wins the public relations side of the primary process tonight, the countdown clock towards McCain's screw-up will start.

6) The big question: Can McCain be "swift boated"? Since the 2004 election, Democrats have been looking for an opportunity to nail a Republican with what they perceive that Bush did to John Kerry. With McCain, Democrats will have the chance to get one back for their side. McCain's military hasn't been delved into yet, but trust me Democrat operatives will be, looking for anything to sink McCain.

There are probably others that I didn't mention, but it's clear that Democrat strategists are rubbing their hands together and hoping John McCain makes short work of the rest of the Republican field on Super Tuesday.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Twain Said It Best...

If you listen to segments of the media, it doesn't look good for Republicans and conservatives right now. Some say the Reagan Revolution is dead. Others say conservatism in general is dead. Some say talk radio is losing its influence and is going to be dead. Of course, the American left has been saying this for years, but when you have conservatives saying and believing it, should we take it seriously?

Not so much.

To me, the power of the conservatives has always come from the people. Ronald Reagan touched many people and still is a motivating force in their lives. That's why the Republican candidates were falling over themselves to try to claim the "Reagan Republican" mantle early on. The fact it's not talked about right now is not proof that the Reagan Revolution is dead. When you have Barack Obama talking at least somewhat positively about Reagan as a transformative force in politics (and getting attacked by Democrats for it), it's clear the spirit of the Reagan Revolution is alive and well.

Whether conservatism is dead is another situation where people may be jumping to conclusions. After Election 2006, many people made the mistake of assuming that Democrats winning meant the country was moving to the left. In some races, you could make that argument, but in a good number of races, it was a Democrat running on a more moderate to conservative issues that tilted the balance in those races. The new Democrats in the House especially were more conservative than the Nancy Pelosi wing of the party, which made for some interesting votes to say the least. So, conservatism isn't dead, either.

That leaves talk radio. To say talk radio is on the verge of demise because of what some have said is its declining influence is to ignore the facts. The Republican candidates know talk radio still has some sway with the people or else they wouldn't appear on their shows. When Rush Limbaugh talks about supporting Mitt Romney and people talk about it, talk radio is still relevant. When Mike Huckabee goes after Sean Hannity in speeches, talk radio is still relevant. When Glenn Beck gives air time and space in his online newsletter to the candidates, talk radio is still relevant. When Democrats take time in their speeches to attack talk radio hosts, talk radio is still relevant.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the demise of the Reagan Revolution, conservatism, and talk radio have been greatly exaggerated. It is wishful thinking to think that the outcome of a single election or a single set of circumstances would derail these movements. No matter how much the left and some segments of the right want the Reagan Revolution, conservatism, and talk radio to wither away and die, it's not going to happen anytime soon.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

If Brattleboro Wasn't Enough... Berkeley, California, has to prove that they're just as asinine as Brattleboro, Vermont, is.

By a vote of 6-3, the Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday to tell a U. S. Marines recruiting station in the city that it "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders." Along with that, the Council voted to determine whether its law against sexual orientation discrimination could be applied to the Marines because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Oh, and it gave the green light to anti-war group Code Pink to protest in front of the recruiting station as a means of disrupting the Marines' jobs. In fact, the Council gave Code Pink a parking space in front of the recruiting station once a week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting from noon to 4 PM once a week.

Okay, where do we begin on this one? There are so many problems with the City Council's decisions that it's hard to pick a starting point. So, let's start with their proclamation that the Marines aren't welcome in Berkeley.

The big question that has to be asked here is what harm is being done by the Marines recruiting station. Does the mere presence of such a station created a hostile environment or promote illegal activity? Contrary to what the Berkeley City Council and the Code Pink crowd believes, it doesn't. Being against the current war effort is not a grounds for preventing Marines from recruiting people to serve on the basis of public nuisance.

However, it can be argued that Code Pink's activity does create a hostile environment by inviting the harassment of the Marines and other people in the neighborhood. The story from the Contra Costa Times website has a quote from a business owner who said the Code Pink protestors were are "aggressive, take up parking spaces, block the sidewalk with their yoga moves, smoke in the doorways, and are noisy." Hmmm...sounds like Code Pink is violating more than a few laws there and is much closer to a public nuisance than the Marines are. Sounds to me like the public in the area disagrees that the Marines are the unwelcome ones.

Next, we have the "don't ask, don't tell" policy being seen as discriminatory. Well, I hate to break this to you, Berkeley City Council, but the Marines didn't come up with that policy. That was initiated by the federal government by one William Jefferson Clinton. The Marines, in this case, are following a lawful order issued by the Commander In Chief, i.e. the President. The Berkeley City Council can urge that this lawful order be changed, but it cannot bring a legal remedy against the Marines for a violation of civil law. And considering the Council is focused only on the Marines and not the entire U. S. military (who must also follow "don't ask, don't tell"), the Council's focusing on the Marines could be considered an attempt to intimidate or harass, which could be against the law, but it certainly hypocritical of the left in Berkeley.

Then, there's the Council granting Code Pink a parking space and a free sound permit. Considering no other group might be allowed those same accomodations, that is certainly a violation of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law. Would the Berkeley City Council be so nice as to allow a pro life group to set up shop in front of an abortion clinic and give them a free parking spot and a free sound permit? I doubt it. But it should be pointed out that pro life groups have been targeted for restraining orders requiring them to be well away from abortion clinics, and the American left has seen nothing wrong with it. A double standard, mayhaps? Most definitely, and an unconstitutional double standard at that.

In short, the Berkeley City Council overstepped its bounds, ignored the laws on the books, and violated the Constitution's equal protection clause. And all because a majority of the City Council is against the current war effort. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a clear abuse of power. I hope the Marines stay put and turn the legal dogs against the Berkeley City Council, or at the very least that enough citizens are outraged at this that there would be a massive wave of anti-incumbancy fore each and every member of the Council who voted in favor of this travesty. Failing that, perhaps there would be another mechanism to address this situation, like if the city's laws allow for the impeachment of City Council members.

Either way, I'm reminded of a line from a Stealer's Wheel song.

Clowns to the left of me
Jokers to the right
Here I am
Stuck in the middle with you

Given the clowns in Berkeley and the jokers in Brattleboro, VT, I'm glad I'm stuck in the middle of the country.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who I'm Endorsing for Republican Nominee in 2008

I've finally come down off the fence. After much soul searching and deep thought, I've decided who I will support to be the Republican Party's nominee to be President.

John McCain.

Do I agree with his politics? Nope.

Do I think he's qualified to be President? Absolutely not.

Does he strike me as being a leader on foreign and domestic issues? Nah. In fact, I think John McCain being elected President would be the biggest mistake in our history. So, why am I supporting him?

For a while, I supported Fred Thompson. He dropped out of the race. Then, I supported Rudy Giuliani. He dropped out of the race. Being the smart guy I am, I noticed a pattern forming: the candidates I support drop out. So, if I wanted to keep John McCain out of the White House...I had to support him.

With that, I firmly throw my support behind John McCain for the Republican nomination and the Presidency! Go Big Mac!!!!!

Spoiled Brat(tleboro)

There are times I read the news and shake my head because I can't wrap my head around why people do the things they do. The latest head-shaker came from the town of Brattleboro, Vermont, where a petition circulated to arrest and detain George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for crimes against the Constitution if they ever set foot in Brattleboro. The problem: even if passed by the town Select Board, the petition has no legal standing. So, why do it?

The same reason many modern liberals do extremely dumb and pointless things: to "make a statement."

I can understand what some citizens of Brattleboro are trying to say. They're upset that Bush and Cheney have, according to them, treated the Constitution like Bill Clinton treats women, according to me. However, the petition is suggesting a legal action for something that is subject to debate. Personally, I don't think Bush and Cheney are guilty of crimes against the Constitution and I have yet to see a credible accusation that they have. When you seek a legal remedy for a crime, you can't have debate; you have to have evidence.

This is where the Brattleboro petition falls flat, but it doesn't matter to the petitioners because they're more concerned about "making a statement," which only requires the act of "making a statement" to be successful in the minds of the modern left. Yet, the statement loses something if nothing comes of it. If I say I'm going to win the lottery and never play, then my statement means nothing. The fact that the Brattleboro petition can't be legally enforced and it utterly absurd at its face should tell you everything you need to know about the "statement" being made.

But there is a plus side to this. I can cross Brattleboro, Vermont, off my list of potential vacation spots. I can stand a lot of modern liberal stupidity, even on vacation, but even I have limits.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Florida, the Aftermath

Second verse, same as the first...


- John McCain. With his win in Florida, he went from being an also-ran to being a serious contender for the Republican nomination. The media seem to have crowned McCain, and the voters are paying attention to this. The combination of his military service and his moderate politics make for a candidacy that seems to be able to draw voters from multiple sources, which might just be enough to take the nomination.

- Hillary Clinton. Although nothing was at stake for the Democrats in Florida due to them moving up their primary date and being slapped down by the national party leadership, Hillary walked away with a decisive win. It may not be enough to put the racial element of the Democrat campaign behind her, but it will give her the same media credibility that McCain's getting.

- Hispanic voters. The Clinton campaign is proving that the Hispanic vote is worthy of note this election cycle, as we all should. This is one reason neither major political party wants to do anything about illegal immigration; they both hope to tap into this relatively undiscovered voting bloc. Hillary's campaigning in Nevada and Florida shows she's serious about doing just that with impressive results thusfar. Don't be surprised if Democrats and Republicans start to make more overt gestures towards Hispanic voters than they did in the 2004 election.

- Mitt Romney. Although he took second in Florida and did not win any delegates, he remained close to McCain, losing by 5%. Cold comfort, I know, but it speaks to the strength of Romney's campaign. He may not win every contest, but he continues to come in first or second in most of the contests so far. Super Tuesday will determine his fate, and he will need to line up some victories to stay in the hunt.

- The media. It's no secret who the media are supporting for both major party's nominees, and with Florida, they were able to become king-makers, if only for a state. With that kind of power, watch for them to flex it right before Super Tuesday to seal the deal for McCain and Hillary.


- Rudy Giuliani. Florida was his firewall, and it may prove to be his Waterloo. He had his best showing to date, beating out Mike Huckabee for third, but it was not the outcome he expected. Nor was it the victory or near victory he needed to stay viable. When you get blown out by 21% in a state you could have won, it's time to reconsider whether you should be in the race.

- Barack Obama. Obama came in a distant second to Hillary in Florida, but the reason he's on the list of losers out of Florida is because he took Hillary at her word when she promised not to campaign in Florida. Even though there was nothing at stake, it was still a naive move to believe Hillary wouldn't campaign, given her strategy and desperation. It gives her more credibility in the media, which will undercut Obama's chances somewhat. Given time, it can derail his Presidential chances.

- Mike Huckabee and John Edwards. Still sliding towards oblivion, and still not doing well enough to stay near the head of the pack. These two are put together because they're getting forgotten in their respective party's two-person races. They're not generating the buzz they were able to after Iowa, and with each new primary or caucus, they're falling further and further behind.

Now, onto Super Tuesday!

Monday, January 28, 2008

John McCain: Unbeatable or Untested?

I've been paying a bit more attention to John McCain in recent days, mainly because I keep hearing how McCain is the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton. His supporters say it, Democrats say it, and the media are saying it. But is it true?

The McCainiacs would say so, based on national polling data that show McCain beats Clinton in a one-on-one race. I hesitate to call that definitive evidence of a McCain win because it's based on a number of as-yet unestablished assumptions:

- McCain is the Republican candidate
- Clinton is the Democratic candidate
- The election is being held now
- McCain and Clinton have had one-on-one debates
- McCain and Clinton have run campaign ads against one another

None of these has been written in stone or even Silly Putty yet. That's why it's rather premature to say McCain is the only Republican who can beat Clinton. There's a good 9+ months before Election Day and there are a lot of things that can happen between now and then.

And those are things I just can't overlook. Until McCain can show the world that he's capable of being President, I'm not ready to call him unbeatable yet.

Where Will the Bush Hate Go?

The town of Brattleboro, Vermont, will be voting on a measure that, if passed, would allow them to detain and prosecute George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for war crimes should they ever come into Vermont. Supporters of the measure typically use the same lines we've heard since the beginning that the Iraq War is an "illegal war" because the UN Charter does not allow for pre-emptive attacks on a sovereign nation. (Of course, nothing's been said about the other pre-emptive wars that have occurred prior to the Iraq War, but that's not the point.) Reading the message board on the subject in the Rutland Herald got me to thinking.

What happens to the Bush haters after he leaves office?

A lot will depend on the lead-in to when Bush leaves office. Bush has less than a year to be President, and every day that passes by closes the window for impeaching him a little bit more. At this point, the Congressional Democrats does not have the public sentiment behind them to push for the impeachment of Bush and/or Cheney. Unless Bush does something that gets the entire country behind an impeachment action, it's unlikely an impeachment will happen.

This will, of course, get the Bush Haters even more angry. Considering these folks are already pretty angry to begin with, the lack of an impeachment will push their hatred for Bush to all new levels. The question then becomes what will they do with that abundance of hate. That's the wild card in all of this.

Hate makes people do insane things. Remember the guy who tried to run down Katherine Harris with a car in 2002 as a form of "protest" against her role in the Florida recount? I get the feeling that some Bush Haters may take their hatred to that same extreme. Not all, mind you. Just the ones who will be pushed beyond the callback point. Thankfully, those folks are rare today, and I think it will be just as rare should Bush leave office without being impeached.

There is another possible target for the Bush Hate: Congressional Democrats. There is a line of thought within Bush Hater circles that the Democrats in Congress who have not moved to impeach Bush and/or Cheney are just as guilty as Bush and Cheney. Should Democrats retain control of the House and gain legitimate control of the Senate, the Bush Haters may turn their hate against the Democrats who failed to act. In an already fractured party, such a move would further the decline of the Democratic Party as we know it. And if you don't think it's possible, let me remind you that "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan is running against Nancy Pelosi for her seat in Congress using the same mentality that I just referenced.

The other possible outlet for the Bush Hate is far more disturbing. There is always the possibility that the Bush Haters will internalize the hate, which will only hurt the Bush Haters. Whenenver you swallow as much hate that has been expressed against Bush, it has lasting physical, mental, and psychological effects, and none of them good. Unless they find a way to release all of that hate, it will eat at them, damaging relationships with others.

George W. Bush has been one of the most polarizing figures in American politics, and as we've seen with people who hated Bill Clinton, that hate doesn't go away when he leaves office. How it is dealt with will determine how far the Bush Haters will go with their unresolved hate. For the sake of the country, let's hope they find a peaceful resolution.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

South Carolina - The Aftermath

You know the drill. Winners and losers from South Carolina's Democrat primary.


- Barack Obama. In a word, OUCH! Obama ran away with the primary, getting 55% of the vote. Hillary? She managed to get 27%, but we'll talk about that later. The media chalked up Obama's victory to the large African-American turnout (which I will admit impacted the outcome), but there's more to it. Obama appeared to be above the fray while his opponents looked inept. In short, Obama looked Presidential.

- African-Americans. Democrats should be quick to note the turnout in South Carolina before they completely write off African-Americans as a voting bloc. Having watched the Clinton campaign in Nevada, I get the feeling they're willing to either take the black vote for granted or disregard it altogether in favor of the Hispanic vote. Bad move in either case if that's what they're doing. The turnout shows the politically astute that African-Americans are still viable and able to swing an election for one candidate or another.

- The Republicans. Yep, you read that right. The Republicans came out smelling like a rose because of the Democratic primaries. The Democrats found themselves embroiled in a discussion about race that they really didn't want or need at this point in their run for the White House, which gives Republicans a chance to set the record straight on their racial record. Also, Bill and Hillary Clinton's attacks on Barack Obama have backfired, which will give the GOP ammunition to use against Hillary should she become the nominee or a chance to appear to be race-neutral if Obama is the nominee and if the Republicans dont' even mention his race. And the nastiness of the Democratic race is making them look like children, which will only help the Republicans.


- Hillary Clinton. I know you guys wrote off South Carolina later in the campaign, but you should know better than to play the race card against South Carolina...where there are a lot of African-American voters. And the African-American voters are not lining up behind you like you may have assumed they did. The race issue isn't going away, mostly because you're continuing to use it, and it will continue to burn you like it did in South Carolina.

- John Edwards. Remember when I said earlier that the Democrats looked like children in the South Carolina primary? You, Johnny Boy, looked the most childish of all. The debate where you whined about not getting to field as many questions as Obama and Clinton made you look immature and completely non-Presidential. The fact you didn't get to field the questions should be a sign for you to drop out. Plus, now you know how Dennis Kucinich felt.

- The Democrats. Like I said earlier, Democrats didn't want to have this discussion on race right now, and with good reason. When you look at the past 40-50 years with an honest and objective point of view, you'll see Democrats have co-opted the history of the civil rights movement and adopted it as part of its own history. But African-Americans are starting to see what Democrats have done (and not done) for them and are looking at their options. That should make Democrats very scared. And having the race issue brought up for the past month or so doesn't help the Democrats at all.

Coming soon, Florida and Super Tuesday!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Stopping Global Warming In Two Words

Former Vice President and current blowhard on global warming Al Gore came out last week and said the damage from global warming is worse than anticipated. This sentiment was echoed by another celebrity on stage when Gore made this statement, Chicken Little.

Seriously, do we need more global warming talk when much of the nation has been experiencing dangerously cold temperatures in the past week or so? Seriously, does Al just not have the Weather Channel where he lives? And he should, considering he took the initiative in the creation of it, and I think he might have taken the initiative in the creation of weather in general, too.

As much as Al loves to talk about possible solutions to the impending global crisis, there's one he and his ilk haven't considered: enlightened self-interest. In short, people will tend to do what is best for them in the long run if given a choice because we all think we're the best thing since sliced bread. That, in turn, works out better for others, who are interested in themselves and will also seek out the best for them in the long run.

What does that have to do with global warming? Two things, really. First, enlightened self-interest would make it possible for people to want to combat global warming once they believe it's in their best interests. Remember when hybrids first came out? The demand for them wasn't too great...until oil prices shot up. Then everyone wanted a hybrid to cut down on the amount of money they were spending at the gas pump. That, gentle reader, is enlightened self-interest. The people who bought up hybrids did it to save money, but they also saved the environment as a secondary benefit.

Second, enlightened self-interest will tell you all you need to know about Al Gore and his crowd. Think about it. If the planet was really on the brink of an ecological disaster, enlightened self-interest would encourage people like Gore to consume less and conserve more. Yet, what is Gore doing to reduce his "carbon footprint"? Riding in private jets that guzzle gas like Ted Kennedy guzzles scotch, riding around in lines of cars to attend movie premieres and accept awards, and owning multiple mansions that use up the goods of the earth without giving much back. That alone should tell you Gore's full of hot air!

Instead of letting Gore and his friends dictate to you how you should live your life, think about what's best for you. Then, let enlightened self-interest take over. You'll do more to help the environment than Gore ever will.

A New Post from Stella Rondo

More Stella Rondo goodness for ya!

Satan Needs Longjohns, Part DeuxHaving checked outside my window for flying pigs, I sat down to reread an editorial in the Los Angeles Times today in which the author, a Clinton loyalist, hints that maybe, just MAYBE, he had been wrong about the Clintons. Maybe they were every bit as awful as so many conservative suggested they were. Of course that doesn't mean the obligatory swipes weren't taken at conservatives (Paula Jones is trash, Ken Starr is a hack, blah blah blah), but even the mere suggestion that they might have been WRONG is nothing short of earth shattering.

But here's the question to ask the Democrats. If you were THIS wrong about the Clintons; if, in spite of everything "we" told you about them, you refused to believe it until now when you can't deny the evidence any longer; if it is now apparent that you could not see what so many of us saw in them - the lying, the equivocation, the shading of the truth, and the personal lapse of character - if you can't see something THIS obvious, how on earth can we can we trust you to see ANYTHING? And suddenly the mindset of liberalism become crystal clear.

No WONDER you don't think Islamic radicalism is a threat. No WONDER you think high taxes are a way to grow an economy. No WONDER you think lack of personal responsibility is irrelevant one's life outcome. For whatever reason, call it magical thinking, call it wish fulfillment, - you CANNOT see the obvious. You CANNOT see the consequences of your actions. You think that because you are, well, YOU, it somehow insulates you from the reality of life.

You think that you can have children and raise them "just as well" without a two married parents. You think that the unborn are not human beings. You think that you can have sex with partner after partner in any variation possible and it's just another "lifestyle choice." You think it's "fair" that you can take someone's money and redistribute it to someone else. You think socialism just hasn't been implemented properly. You think that government is your father, mother, God, and Santa Claus all rolled into one. You think you can ignore the basics of education like spelling, reading, and history and navigate through life just fine just so long as you know how to put a condom on a banana. You think you can just GIVE people money and food and clothes and housing and health care, and they will be satisfied, grateful, prosperous, productive, and quiet.

That a (as a friend of mine puts it so eloquently) Clinton rumpswab can even entertain the thought that maybe the Clintons are nothing more than malignant narcissists is news indeed. And THAT represents true change.

With Friends Like These...

I've long believed that Democrats don't have much of a use for you after you fail them. The latest example is with 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry. Not only did he endorse Barack Obama, but he's gone after Bill Clinton for attacking Obama and abusing the truth, as he put it. Judging by CNN's message board on this subject, this has caused a firestorm within Democrat circles with a number of people wanting to dismiss Kerry's comments by saying he was a loser, so his opinion doesn't matter.

The problem Democrats face is that Kerry's opinion does matter. He is, albeit far later than some, accurately reflecting the mood of a good number of Democrats. They are tired of Bill Clinton and having to defend his dishonesty on relatively minor issues and now they're speaking out. It doesn't matter whether Kerry lost the 2004 election. His opinion is anything but irrelevant by virtue of the number of people he's echoing.

Of course, backing Obama would instantly make Kerry a target for criticism from the Clinton and Edwards camps. The Clintons would see Kerry's endorsement as a slap in the face because the Clintons believe themselves to be entitled to leadership positions and the party, at least up to now, have obliged. As far as Edwards is concerned, Kerry endorsing Obama is a slap in the face considering Edwards was Kerry's running mate in 2004. Although there was friction between the two near the end of the 2004 race, Edwards not getting Kerry's endorsement can be seen as a slight to Edwards.

As much as some grassroots Democrats have said the Democrats will cruise to victory in November, that victory may be undercut by the feuding going on within the party itself. Politics is personal, and with some of the personal slights, real and imagined, at work here, it will take a lot to put the party back together again.

Speaking as a former Democrat, I don't think it can be done because there are too many people in it for themselves. Washington, DC, is a city of agendas, political and personal, and the unscrupulous will do whatever it takes to advance those agendas, including stabbing people in the back. Although it was easy in the past to put aside past grievances, this year isn't shaping up like that for the Democrats. There have been too many personal attacks, too many times where the truth has been stretched beyond recognition, and too many unchecked egos.

And that's a recipe for defeat.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Most Dangerous Lies

With Bill Clinton back on the campaign trail, Democrats are getting to see the old Bill in action. Drawing big crowds. Fighting for important issues. And lying through his teeth.

Once upon a time, Democrats by and large didn't have a problem with Bill playing fast and loose with the truth because it served both his needs and the needs of the party (or at least what they thought were the needs of the party). Now, the lying from Bill...not so cute anymore. Now, some Democrats are talking about how outraged they are that Bill would lie on the campaign trail.

As much fun as it would be to say, "Gee, we've been telling you Bill's a liar since 1991," I just can't bring myself to do it (I mean, aside from saying it above). Having gone through the "falling out of love with the Clintons" stage in 1993-1994, I know where a lot of Democrats are coming from. After spending time and energy defending the man, I got to a point where I realized that Bill and Hillary are in this political thing strictly for themselves. They could care less about how the Democratic Party does, so long as their own objectives are met.

Now, more than a few Democrats are seeing through the Clinton smokescreen and seeing them for what they are. In doing so, they're going to have to deal with the most dangerous lies of them all.

The lies we tell to ourselves to avoid reality.

A Nightmare Scenario for the Democrats

Fast forward to July 2008. By now, Hillary Clinton has more than enough delegates to win the Democratic Party's nomination for President, but she's not as well-liked as one would hope. There's another candidate who didn't get as many delegates and super delegates as Hillary, but did manage to fire up the Democrat base in a way few have seen since Bill Clinton: Barack Obama.

This poses an interesting question for Democrats. Do you go with who won the delegate count, or do you go with who won the popular vote?

This is a bad situation for the Democrats on two fronts. First, the fight that will ensue would be like a miniature Election 2000 with people picking sides and squabbling over details. Although it would be funny to watch Democrats who think Gore won because he won the popular vote arguing against Barack Obama winning the nomination for the same reason, it would ruin the Democratic Party as we know it.

The second front has to do with minorities and how Democrats react to them. There are a lot of white Democrats who will do anything African-Americans want out of a sense of "white guilt" where they feel guilty about being white and about what whites have done to African-Americans over the years. And what issue has started to blow up within Democratic Party ranks this election season? Race.

On the other hand, Democrats have also been proud that they've championed women's issues. They've long said that women are just as capable as men to handle big decisions. In fact, some have gone so far as to say it's past time for America to have a female President. Since Hillary Clinton is the only woman in the race right now, that puts her in a good position if the Democrats' logic on women holds up.

This sets up a problematic decision for Democrats: support Hillary getting the nomination and be seen as racist, or support Obama getting the nomination and be seen as anti-woman. A no-win situation no matter how you spin it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hillary's Charm Offensive

Barack Obama made a comment at the South Carolina debate about not knowing which Clinton was running for President. Although it was an off-hand remark, it was an astute one. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton are working on a plan to help her win the nomination and, possibly, the Presidency.

One of Hillary's most damaging weaknesses is her inability to really connect with people. She's tried any number of tactics to make herself appear more human, such as the crying incident in New Hampshire, but it hasn't really worked so well. On the other hand, Bill has a way with people that is amazing to watch. He captivates audiences with his words and mannerisms like no other politician, living or dead. (Of course, the dead politicians have to do a lot more to captivate an audience, what with the cries of "The dead have come back to life!" and all...)

What Hillary's campaign has done is split the Clintons. One does the actual hard campaigning (Hillary), and the other does the softer touch campaigning (Bill). This strategy can be effective if done properly and if both parties remember what they're supposed to do. When there are breakdowns, like Bill yelling at reporters or lying about Obama, it throws sand in the gears of an otherwise well-oiled machine.

Right now, the focus is on the question of whether Bill helps Hillary. Clearly, he helps her because he adds an element to her campaign that isn't there without him: likability. The gaffes and the attacks on Obama sting, but don't really hurt Hillary overall because there are enough Democrats who wistfully remember Bill's two terms in office to want him back there come January 2009. And putting Bill to work to stump for Hillary is one way to do it.

But there is a caveat to this. Bill needs to stop with the attacks on Obama and focus more on what Hillary brings to the table if he wants Hillary's charm offensive to be more charm and less offensive. The more Bill shows off his angry, darker side, the bigger the risk to Hillary's campaign. A jovial Bill is good. An angry Bill is not.

We'll see if Hillary's two-prong campaign approach will earn her the nomination, but I'm betting it will. And then, Hillary will get crushed in the general election, so it all works out in the end.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Fred Thompson Dropped Out of the Presidential Race

Fred Thompson announced today that he was dropping out of the Presidential race. I will admit that I was a Fredhead for a time, then settled on Rudy Giuliani. But, I still respected him for putting up with the crap of the 2008 Presidential election.

Still, I couldn't help but think there was more to it than just running low on money and support. So, in the spirit of David Letterman, I came up with the Top 10 Reasons Fred Thompson Dropped Out of the Presidential Race.

10) Received frantic calls from Mitt Romney asking him to drop out because Romney kept wetting his "magic underwear" by Fred's mere presence

9) He's cryogenically freezing himself to run in 3008.

8) He's going to be the next American Idol. Not hoping to be; GOING TO BE.

7) Volunteered to give toughness lessons to Chuck Norris

6) He was kidnapped and replaced by a badly-made French clone.

5) Lost a "Loser Leaves Election" match to Rudy Giuliani

4) His message was lost on most Americans because we couldn't understand Badass.

3) Come on. Have you seen how hot is wife is?

2) He didn't quit the race. The race begged him to stop running.

1) Couldn't stand being next to Ron Paul in the Republican debates without being able to clock him

Monday, January 21, 2008

If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. --- Martin Luther King, Jr., speech, Detroit, Michigan, June 23, 1963

Today, we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in our own ways. I was not fortunate enough to have seen Dr. King while he was alive, but he still transformed my life, and the lives of everyone reading this post right now.

King rose to prominence at a time of great social and political upheaval. Blacks in particular had been freed from the bonds of slavery, but they were still slaves to terror and racism. Dr. King sought to change that by conveying a message of hope and of duty. His words and actions put a mirror beside our culture, and we didn't like what we saw. Rioting, police using tear gas on people who only wanted to be treated as equals, beatings, protestors being knocked down with fire hoses. No, we didn't like what we saw, so we embarked on a path to change it.

Where are we now? Some would say we haven't made much progress at all, based on smaller details and numbers crunching. Others would say we've gone quite a ways, so far that blacks and whites can co-exist happily. I'm somewhere in the middle, but closer to the latter than to the former. African-Americans in this country have made tremendous strides and are rightly taking their places beside whites.

But we still have miles to go before we sleep. Gang violence, drugs, teenage pregnancy, school dropout rates, all of these and more have plagued African-Americans and continue to do so. And, unfortunately, those who speak out about these and other issues, they get branded as "race traitors" or maligned for "acting white." Yet, rappers and sports stars are glorified, no matter how horribly they act, because they're "keeping it real."

Yet, Dr. King's message resounds through the ages, giving hope and fire to anyone who cares to listen and take action. And as he stated in the quotation I quoted above, he was willing to die for his beliefs of racial equality. He may not have lived to see it and we may not have gotten there completely yet, but we're making progress nonetheless.

And that's keeping Dr. King's dream alive more than anything.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekend Winners and Losers

Yesterday saw the Nevada and South Carolina primaries. It didn't have a snappy name like Super Tuesday, so I'm calling it Kinda-Neato Saturday. And as you might expect, I have a few winners and losers from Kinda-Neato Saturday.


- Hillary Clinton. Hillary picked up another win in Nevada, making it two in a row for the former First Lady. What made this victory significant is that she was able to overcome concerns about her position on African-Americans, motivate Hispanic-Americans to vote for her (remember "No mother can be illegal"?), and pull off a win in the polls. However...

- Barack Obama. ... Barack Obama won the delegate count. (Don't ask me how because I don't understand it, either.) That's a victory for Obama because any time he gets more delegates than Hillary, it cuts into her delegate lead. Plus, the way he personally handled allegations that he was playing the race card nationally after the Clinton campaign made comments seen as demeaning to Obama and African-Americans. If the racial element of the Democratic race continues to be an issue, Obama's reaction will do more to make him look Presidential than any Democrat running.

- John McCain. Winning in South Carolina validates his position as a serious candidate. His campaign was written off as dead in the water before Iowa, and now he has two wins under his belt, which puts him one behind Mitt Romney in the total number of wins. He's still winning the more independently-minded votes for now, which continues to keep his head above water.

- Mitt Romney. He won Nevada and came in fourth in South Carolina, but time, momentum, and the delegate count are still on his side. The upcoming contests will play into Romney's strengths and undercut the very support base McCain has used to win New Hampshire and South Carolina.

- Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. I've lumped these two together to a) save space, and b) to point out how both needed a good showing in South Carolina to remain viable. Beating Mitt Romney qualifies as a good showing in my book. Huckabee drew on the evangelical vote to take second, and Thompson picked up the rock-ribbed conservative vote to take third.


- John Edwards. Is he even competing anymore? The media are already ignoring him for the most part to focus on Hillary and Obama. The best thing he's been able to do is come out first against Obama for saying something nice about Reagan, and that wasn't anything great because people liked Reagan. It's like coming out firmly against Snoopy. Pack it in, dude. Nobody's listening anymore.

- Rudy Giuliani. Any time you're ready to start running, let me know. You're getting beaten by Ron Flipping Paul, for the love of Pete! Waiting until Florida to make your big move appears to be backfiring because people are either starting to lose interest in your campaign or don't remember you're in the race to begin with. In politics, you need to be visible, and you're not that visible right now. The only way you can get back in is to win Florida, and that's becoming less likely with each new contest and each passing day.

- CNN. I was chatting with a friend of mine who was watching the CNN coverage of the South Carolina results and she relayed to me some of the things CNN's "political experts" were saying about the race. Thompson was in cahoots with Huckabee. John McCain's win in South Carolina helps him appear to be a real contender. CNN is the most trusted name in cable news. Laughter abounded repeatedly when I saw CNN repeatedly missing the target on what's going on with the Republican field. I'm surprised they didn't project that Dennis Kucinich won Nevada. If anyone from CNN is reading this, take a moment to realize that the "political experts" you have on air have nothing but air between their ears. Hire someone who knows something about me.

Coming soon, Super Tuesday!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Finally Have Something Nice to Say About Ron Paul!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, after months of mocking Ron Paul, I finally have something good to say about him. He's preventing John McCain from being seen as a viable first tier candidate.

John McCain's success is completely dependent upon attracting as many independents as he can. This is because he has blown any chance of getting many of the votes of other traditionally Republican voting blocs, like the evangelicals and the rock-ribbed conservatives, with his past antics. That leaves more liberal Republicans and independents to draw upon for support, and he fares well with them.

However, so does Ron Paul. So far, Paul's been drawing in double digits in the caucuses and primaries we've had so far. If Ron Paul were not in the race, most likely those votes would go to McCain since he more closely represents the Paulite voter mindset than do any of the other candidates. That acts as a drag on McCain, and when you consider even a ten percent uptick in McCain's numbers in some of the contests we've had so far, that ten percent or so that Paul is pulling in could have turned McCain from a media curiousity into a real political powerhouse.

So, on behalf of Americans who see that McCain is unfit to be President, I say THANK YOU, RON PAUL!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Barack Lieberman?

Recently, Barack Obama did something that is unthinkable in modern Democrat circles: he praised...Ronald Reagan. Within a day or two of Obama's comments that Reagan was an agent of change (which he was), Hillary Clinton and John Edwards came out and blasted him for it.

This sets up a possible two-prong strategy between Hillary and Edwards. I've long believed that the two of them have been working together behind the scenes to take down Barack Obama. Remember, John Edwards was the one who got Bill and Hillary's support in the 2004 primaries, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that they could be working together.

Especially considering they have a common foe in Obama.

The way I think they'll approach it is the same way Democrats approached Joe Lieberman since 2006. When Ned Lamont came into the picture, Democrats flocked to him to unseat Lieberman because he was anti-war, anti-Bush, and easily more liberal than Lieberman. At the time, and even today, the fringe left consider Lieberman to be nothing more than a Republican pretending to be a Democrat. Lieberman's voting record shows differently, of course, but nobody ever said the fringe left was playing with a full deck of cards.

You can already see a bit of this sentiment creeping into the campaign from Hillary and Edwards. Don't be surprised if one or both of them come out and question Obama's Democrat credentials, and don't be surprised if that puts a crack in the foundation that Obama's started building.

On the other side of this, I have to say it's sad that a Democrat can't praise a Republican like Reagan these days without being seen as a traitor. Obama shouldn't have to defend or clarify his statements to anyone. If he truly believes Reagan was an agent of change, he should have told Hillary and Edwards to sod off. Instead, he's trying to straddle the fence between Old Democrats and New Democrats to give him the best possible shot at winning his party's nomination. It's going to be tough, but it can be done.

Just ask Joe Lieberman.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cloning: Are We Ready?

No, you didn't accidentally click on the wrong blog. I'm actually going to do a blog post that doesn't have to do with the current election!

The FDA recently okayed the consumption of meat and milk from cloned animals. As big of a fan of science as I am, I'm a little scared at the prospect of having a Cloney Burger with some Vitamin DNA enriched milk on the side.

My trepidation isn't baseless, mind you. For a while now, I've been asking if we're socially ready for cloning, and so far I haven't been convinced we are. We're still in the "OH WOW!" phase of cloning where we're so busy figuring out what we can do that we're not figuring out what we should do. We've cloned animals and human body parts already, so it's not that much of a jump to clone human beings.

And once we do, we're going to open up whole new debates, and we're not ready to do the deep thinking necessary to tackle them. Do clones have souls? Are they elgible to vote or run for office? Have even one tenth of the people reading this thought about either of these questions? And how many more questions are there that have yet to be asked, let alone answered?

I also have a problem with the FDA making the call. Some people think this is one area where the federal government does good by us, but that depends on your perspective. How many drugs did the FDA say were safe to use before they got yanked because of unforeseen side effects? Of course, if you're a fan of taking drugs for years that will make you have a psychotic episode every time you hear a Rolling Stones song, then you shouldn't have a problem with the FDA. For those of us who happen to like living, we don't like it so much.

This is one area where privatization might be a boon to health care. Some people (usually the same folks who think the FDA is so keen) say if we let the free market take over this situation it will lead to big business being able to bypass the testing process. And if they did that, they would pay in the court of public opinion. If a company releases something that the public finds out is bad for them, the public won't keep buying from that company. Just ask Tylenol how much they suffered because someone tampered with the bottles. The free market isn't anarchic at all; it does have rules, and one of the biggest is DON'T KILL YOUR CUSTOMERS!

So, I think I'll pass on the cloned meat and milk for now, regardless of what the FDA says. I'd rather be safe than mutated.

Michigan, the Aftermath

You know the drill. Let's go over the winners and losers of the Michigan primaries.


- Mitt Romney. Don't listen to the media hype about this being a "must win" for Romney. This was a "nice to win" because Romney's father was the Governor of Michigan. Winning by double digits over the "surging" John McCain and running away with the delegate count leaves Romney in the catbird seat for the Republican nomination.

- John McCain. This was almost a wash for McCain, considering he won the Michigan primary in 2000. What nudged him into the Winners category is the fact that he was able to sustain some of the momentum from his New Hampshire primary victory. Whether he can sustain it...that's another question that will be answered in South Carolina and on Super Tuesday.


- Mike Huckabee. This really was a must-win for Huckabee after getting blown out in the New Hampshire primary. He didn't, and it wasn't even close. Another third place finish well behind the second place finisher, John McCain (14% to be precise).

- Hillary Clinton. She won the Michigan Primary, but it was a hollow victory. First, thanks to the national party stripping Michigan of its delegates, there was nothing at stake and Hillary didn't add to her delegate lead. Second, she didn't really run against any of her big rivals since they had already pulled out, leaving only the also-rans to run against her. And perhaps the biggest knock against her, she got 55% of the vote...but 40% of the people voting voted Uncommitted. You cannot count such a decisive victory against a weak field for nothing as a victory. It is nothing short of an embarrassment.

- Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. They're both in the same boat. They need to get their acts together and start winning, but neither one has lit up the primaries and caucuses yet. Granted, we've only had four contests so far, but when you consider Ron Paul tends to outpoll the two of them in the contests we've had, it's time to either get going or get out.

- The Democratic Party. For all of their talk about supporting the little guy, their decision to pull the delegates from Michigan because they moved up their primary was a horrible move. In effect, the national party rendered the state of Michigan politically impotent. And Michigan is full of people the Democrats claim to support. If voters remember this come November, Michigan may come into play for the Republicans, which might be just enough for the GOP to take a "blue" state.

- The media. After blowing the Democrat call in New Hampshire, they spent a lot of time trying to figure out what went wrong. It doesn't matter; their polls aren't worth that much anyway because they tend not to poll a significant number of people who will be voting. But in Michigan, they went completely nuts saying it was a "must win" for Romney. A guy who leads in the delegate count and has a win and two second place finishes in three contest needed to win Michigan? I know you guys are trying to create a horse race atmosphere, but you don't have to stoop to lying about the race to create it!

Coming soon, Nevada, South Carolina, and Super Tuesday! Then you won't have to see these posts anymore! :-)

Monday, January 14, 2008

What Color Is Your Donkey?

Watching the Democrat candidates for President right now is a lot like watching a demolition derby but with a lot more spin doctors. The African-American community is coming after the Hillary Clinton campaign for comments made that seemed to diminish the role of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the civil rights movement. Hillary's campaign is firing back, saying that Barack Obama's campaign is playing the race card. And now John Edwards's campaign is firing at Hillary's campaign over the comments.

At the heart of this situation, though, is a voting bloc that has traditionally gone Democratic: the African-American vote. Democrats have done a masterful job in keeping African-Americans on their side politically, but that may be changing. With people like Bill Cosby and Chris Rock making pointed, yet accurate, statements about the declining state of African-American culture in today's society, it's getting harder and harder for voters to ignore.

Part of the problem lies with the people who have stepped up to become self-professed leaders of the African-American community. People like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the late Johnny Cochran are or were seen as leaders who were looking to help African-Americans in any way they could. And these folks played this role to the hilt. Yet, when compared with their private lives, there's more than a slight disconnect. These self-professed leaders seem only to lead themselves to the promised land of money, fame, and power, leaving the rest of their people to fend for themselves. This should leave African-American voters wondering what's in it for them to vote Democratic if all they're getting is table scraps and false promises.

And this is a question the Democrats didn't want to have to answer at this point in time. With control of the White House and at least one house of Congress within their grasps, they needed a united front. What they've done, unfortunately for them, is create more division within their ranks. With Bill and Hillary Clinton leading the white liberal "we know what's best for your" contingent and Obama trying to pull together a coalition united in spite of their racial, political, gender, or religious differences, the Democrats are looking at a full-fledged race war of their own making.

Now, I'm a white guy from Iowa, so you can take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt if you'd like. I think it's time for African-Americans to choose, not which Democrat they want to back, but whether the Democrats deserve their votes in November or any other time. And unlike some, I won't presume to tell you what to think. I only ask that you do think and make the decision that's best for you and your race.