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.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mike Huckabee, Wrong for the White House

I'm not a big fan of Mike Huckabee, mainly because he's using religion as a political tool to get him votes. Granted, Republicans and some Democrats have been doing that for years, but since I came back to my Lutheran roots, I'm a bit more sensitive to how politicians have used religion, and Huckabee is a master at it. But, fortunately, his future as a Presidential candidate is dimming quickly.

And you can thank Stephen Colbert for it.

For those of you unfamiliar with Colbert's work, he's a comedian who has a show on Comedy Central, "The Colbert Report," where he's parodying Bill O'Reilly. For those who are in on the joke, it's hysterical. For those who aren't, it's confusing because you don't know if Colbert is being serious. (And for the record, it's not that tough to figure out if you're savvy.)

After hearing some of the clips of Huckabee on "The Colbert Report," I can't tell whether he's in on the joke. The tone of his voice suggests he's confused like he's not sure where Colbert's coming from.

What does this have to do with the White House? Plenty. There will be times when a President will deal with people who are less than honest with him or her, so it's important that the President be smart enough to figure out the truth from the lies. Granted, people can be deceived, as George W. Bush has been with Vladimir Putin in particular, but it should be a rare occurance. What does it say about Huckabee that he can't tell whether Stephen Colbert is pulling his leg?

It says to me that he's not qualified to be President.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Temperature in Hell Today: COLD!

It's rare that I defend Bill and Hillary Clinton because I disagree with them on so many levels, politically, socially, and morally. But every so often a situation comes up and I put my objections aside to defend them.

The recent flap over comments Bill and Hillary made that seemed to diminish Barack Obama and African-Americans in general is one such time. After reviewing the statements made, such as Bill calling Obama's media image a "fairy tale" and Hillary saying it took a President to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, some African-Americans have taken offense and said it's a pattern for the Clintons.

As much as I find the Clintons being the victims of having the race card played on them enjoyable in a schadenfreude kind of way, I have to say it's not right. To connect the Clintons' statements to a "pattern of racism" is weak at best. I'm not saying they've done all they could to promote and defend civil rights, but I don't think they're real racists. They're more of "accidental racists" like people who tell a joke in mixed company but don't know they're in mixed company. If anything, they've been conscious of race to an extreme, usually for political purposes, but conscious all the same. That should not be discounted in this situation at all.

Something that troubles me about this is how many pro-Obama people are jumping on the "Clintons are racists" bandwagon. Obama himself isn't the one raising the subject and has, in fact, worked to break down the walls between whites and blacks by trying to appeal to and comfort both. When Joe Biden made his awkward comment trying to praise Obama, Obama took it as it was intended, not as some have interpreted it. With this situation, Obama and his campaign, by and large, have not seen fit to fuel the fire.

But some of Obama's surrogates have, including one Jesse Jackson, Jr. That creates a problem for Obama in that it makes it look and sound like Obama is a race hustler by virtue of the statements of those defending him. Making comments that deflect the issue will only take you so far, but there will come a time when an explanation will be due and you will have to make a definitive statement.

For Obama, that time is coming up with the South Carolina contest. The South is an area where some racism still exists, but so does an atmosphere of racial hyper-sensitivity. People don't want to be called a racist (except for the racists, of course), so they're willing to do anything it takes to make African-Americans like them. This becomes a political boon for Obama, but it could become a political boondoggle unless he completely disavows the notion that the Clintons are racist and publicly takes his surrogates who believe the Clintons are racist to task. After running with a message that encourages racial unity, the last thing Obama needs is a bunch of race hustlers undercutting that message.

So, Satan will be cruising online for some long underwear, thanks to me. You're welcome, Satan.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Campaign Quick Hits

Things have been happening fast and furious the past couple of days, so here's a quick rundown of what's going down.

- Hillary wins New Hampshire...sorta. People are trying to get their heads around the polls being wrong about Hillary losing New Hampshire. That doesn't matter. What matters is that the media may have had a bigger hand in it than we realize. Forget cries of voter fraud and Hillary's tears, what helped her the most was the media helping her campaign lower expectations so any showing above Mike Gravel would be seen as a major victory. Plus, the media need a horse race, given that they've spent the better part of a year and a half covering the 2008 campaign. If Obama ran away with it early, the media would be out of a story, except for the Republicans (and we all know how much the media love the Republicans, right?). So, with a little work, the media helped Hillary overcome Obama's win in Iowa.

- Bill Richardson drops out...and nobody notices. Actually, some people did notice, but it wasn't like Richardson was burning up the polls. He was far enough back that his dropping out of the 2008 race was not a matter of if, but when. I will say this: he did have some of the best commercials out there, Democrat or Republican. The only time I laughed harder at a political ad was when Ron Paul tried to convince people he was a "real conservative."

- John Kerry endorses Obama. Is he doomed? People are abuzz with the talk that John Kerry endorsed Barack Obama and what impact it would have on the 2008 race. Before we can think of the how, we have to think about the why. Some see it as a passing of the torch, while others see it as a way for Kerry to get back in the limelight in an attempt to help boost his reelection chances. Personally, I think it's akin to what the Democrats did regarding debating on Fox News. Nobody wanted to be the first big name to do it, but once John Edwards did, everybody did. Watch for Democrat Senators to line up behind candidates en masse soon.

- John McCain, Unplugged. Winning in New Hampshire gave McCain a much-needed boost, but where does he go from here? Not very far, if his victory speech is any indication. He looked old, tired, and unmotivated, and his attempt to latch onto Bill Clinton's "comeback kid" line from 1992 was laughable. Watch him to fade quickly now that he's met his goal of winning New Hampshire, which is pretty much like buying up Baltic Avenue in Monopoly.

- Romney in a "must win" in Michigan? Once again, the talking heads are whispering that Mitt Romney needs to win Michigan or else he's dropping out. (Aren't these the same talking heads who said Hillary would be out after New Hampshire?) One first place finish and two second place finishes plus a delegate count lead means Michigan is not a "must win." Sure, he'll want to win because his dad was Governor of Michigan, but if he pulls off a second or third place finish, he's not finished.

- Huckaboom to Huckabust? But Huckabee might be finished if he doesn't start winning. He took third in New Hampshire, but it wasn't even a close third. People think he'll do well in South Carolina, and he very well may, but what's next? His chances of being competitive after Super Tuesday are getting dimmer with each passing day that people aren't talking about him. And right now, he's barely attracting more attention than Janet Reno wrestling Madeline Albright in chocolate pudding.

And finally...

- Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden drop out. After getting a whopping 0.5% of the vote in Iowa, Christopher Dodd announced he was dropping out of the race for President. And true to form, Joe Biden copied Dodd.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Hampshire, the Aftermath

A night of surprises in New Hampshire leads to another blog post about the winners and losers in the aftermath.


- Hillary Clinton. She needed a win and got it. It wasn't nearly as decisive as it could have been, but any victory you can walk away from is a good one for Hillary. But I wouldn't read too much into the "stunning upset" angle because it was so close.

- Barack Obama. A second place finish in New Hampshire wasn't what he was looking for, but by keeping it close (2%), he established himself as a real candidate, not a flash in the pan. Combine this with the number of Hollywood liberals looking to back him and Obama comes out a winner.

- Mitt Romney. A second place finish is also good for Romney for 2 reasons. First, he's still getting delegates. As long as the people who manage to beat him in these high profile primaries fail to impress in other primaries and as long as Romney continues to get second place, it won't matter how many second place finishes he gets.

- Rudy Giuliani. Again, he pulls out a decent showing (4th place) in spite of not campaigning that much in New Hampshire. As much as people have questioned his strategy, to date, it's turning out to be a pretty sound one.

- John McCain. He was in a similar position as Hillary Clinton. He needed a win to remain viable, and he won, but...


- John McCain. won't matter. McCain still trails in the national polls and in the polls in the upcoming caucuses and primaries. One victory does not constitute a comeback, especially when it was pretty much a fait accompli. Come back when you stun the Republican field after New Hampshire.

- Mike Huckabee. Remember how the media fawned over Huckabee and said the Iowa Caucuses would propel him to the Republican candidacy? It propelled him all third place in New Hampshire. And it wasn't even close. Romney beat him by TWENTY POINTS, and he only beat Giuliani by 2%. The Huckaboom...has become a Huckabust.

- John Edwards. A third place finish out of a race that is essentially a three person race for the Democrats. And it wasn't even close (20%). At some point, Edwards is going to realize that he's third banana in this situation and will either waste money to stay in or get out and hope for a VP slot.

- Fred Thompson. After beating McCain in Iowa, he barely showed up on the radar in New Hampshire. If he's going to be seen as a serious candidate, he needs to place in the top three on a more consistent basis.

- Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel. Why are you two even in the Democrat race? Kucinich barely beat Gravel, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden in percent of votes cast for him, and the latter two aren't even running anymore! And Gravel coming in behind Biden in the vote count has to hurt. You guys aren't even also-rans. You're more like also-limps.

As it stands, after two "events" as it were, Obama and Romney are still the strongest of their respective fields, and no amount of spin and "upset victories" will change that.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mumia and Me

There are many adjectives that can be used to describe Michael Moore. Propagandist. Patriot. Liar. Hero. Well, I'd like to add one more to the list. Well, two more actually.

Amoral scumbag.

On August 9, 1995, Michael Moore was a signatory on a full page ad in the New York Times that said cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal deserved a new trial. To date, he has never denied doing it and has even made a joke about it in his book Dude, Where's My Country in a "satirical" chapter about how to start a conversation around the dinner table with a conservative relative. In an interview with Democracy Now, Moore said he didn't know if Mumia killed Danny Faulkner, but that he deserved a new trial.

Gee, Mike. If you don't know if Mumia killed Faulker, how do you know he needs a new trial?

Hope you enjoy backing a convicted cop killer who has never denied killing Danny Faulkner.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Four Campaigns at a Crossroads

Tomorrow is the New Hampshire Primaries. (Unless, of course, you read this tomorrow. Then it's today that's the New Hampshire Primaries.) Candidates on both sides are hoping for a good showing or even a win for their respective parties, but I see two Democrats and two Republicans who absolutely need to win in New Hampshire.

- Hillary Clinton This one's a no-brainer. Hillary's third place in finish and meltdown in the national polls are signs of a campaign in serious trouble. In short, she needs to stop the bleeding that has been going on since she flubbed the question about whether she supported giving drivers licences to illegal immigrants. A win in New Hampshire will help her look like she's back in the hunt for the Democrat nomination.

- John Edwards This one isn't so much of a no-brainer, but it is no less important to consider. John Edwards needs a win in New Hampshire to stave off the notion that he's an also-ran with good hair. At first blush, Edwards's second place finish in Iowa is impressive...until you consider he also came in second in Iowa in 2004. A lot of his success in 2008 was sewn in 2004, but he didn't get the job done in 2004. If Edwards doesn't do well in New Hampshire, if not out and out win it, he will have to deal with people thinking he doesn't deserve to be in the top tier of candidates.

- Mike Huckabee Again, it's a seemingly odd pick, given that Huckabee came in first in the Iowa Caucuses for the Republicans. Whispers on the ground have said that he spent a lot of campaign money in Iowa, but he hasn't picked up that many endorsements. Not every state will have a load of evangelicals willing to vote for him, so he'll have to come up with a way to keep up the Iowa Caucus momentum. A win in New Hampshire will validate Huckabee's campaign in a way that a lower finish just won't be able to match.

- John McCain New Hampshire is McCain's last stand. He won New Hampshire in 2000 and self-destructed. Now in 2008, he's facing a tougher challenge because of Barack Obama. Sure, McCain's big with the independents, but so is Obama. The key to McCain's success is whether the independents will side with McCain, who came in fourth in the Iowa Caucuses on the Republican side, or Obama, who came in first in the Iowa Caucuses on the Democrat side. And let me tell you, if the independents think Obama is more viable than McCain, McCain will be out of the race shortly afterwards.

Four campaigns, two political parties, one goal. We'll see who's left standing after the dust settles in New Hampshire.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A New Post by Stella Rondo

Mr. Edwards Goes To Washington

Wow! Did you hear the passion in John Edwards voice the other night at the Dem debate, as he railed against those evil corporate interests? I was about ready to march to the gas company with a pitchfork in my hand, weren't you? People seem to love wild expressions of unfocused emotion, don't they? Nothing gets the blood roiling faster than a good old auto da fe! Off with their heads!

But while populism has tremendous emotional appeal in this age of unfettered self expression, the sentiments behind it beg a few questions. For example:

1) Mr. Edwards, you mentioned a poor man who couldn't afford an operation for his cleft palate. You're a rich man - why didn't you just offer to pay it for him? For that matter, you could have paid for that poor girl's liver transplant too, no?

2) Mr. Edwards, you complain about corporate greed. Does that mean next time you win a malpractice case, you'll only take 5% of the settlement instead of 25%, which would leave the victims with more money?

3) Mr. Edwards, you complain about how CEOs of gas companies and insurance carriers make horrendous salaries. When you cripple the profit making potential of these companies, will you up for the raises the workers will no longer get out of your own pocket?

4) Mr. Edwards, you seem to strongly imply that government should regulate the internal operations of business. As I understand it, that's also what happened in Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and the Soviet Union and those seem to be thriving and successful economies today. Which model do you think works best, the fascist, the Nazi, or the communist?

5) Mr. Edwards, you say you're for the "little man" and not the rich. Then why are you living in a 6,000 square foot house? Don't you know the number of poor people who could fit in your house, and why don't you offer to take some in?

I think I've finally figured out Edwards' game plan. He is continuously praising his parents and grandmother for the hard work and sacrifices and poverty they endured to make it easy for him, and rightly so. He seems to suggest that were it NOT for their hard work and sacrifice and poverty, he would not be where he is today. So what he REALLY wants is for the rest of US to be equally as poor and hard working and sacrificing as his parents were, so our children can have what he has today.And you know something? Were Edwards to get a hold of the presidency, that's exactly what would happen.

And THAT'S the Bottom Line.

Friday, January 4, 2008

How Huckabee Won

People across the country are scratching their heads after last night's Iowa Caucus victory for Mike Huckabee. The bulk of the analysis focuses on how Huckabee was able to attract evangelical voters (i.e. the dreaded "Christian right") to his message and get them to caucus for him instead of the other candidates. They're onto something, but I don't think they've gone deeply enough into the psyches of the evangelical voters to get at the heart of the victory.

Right now is a scary time for believers in Christ. At home, we seem to be straying further and further from something that even resembles a Christian nation. (Yes, I know, this is a bone of contention with some, but evangelicals by and large believe America is a Christian nation, so that point is key to understanding the Huckabee victory.) Abroad, there's a relentless enemy that wants to enslave or destroy America by any means necessary. Those are pretty big things to try to address for any person, let alone a Christian.

Huckabee didn't run a campaign that overtly played into that fear, but he really didn't have to. By reaching out to evangelical voters, he sent them a message: I understand your fear, and I will quell it. Then, human nature kicked in, and Huckabee found himself a devoted group of voters who propelled him to victory in Iowa.

Now, the question becomes whether Huckabee can duplicate that formula in other states. Personally, I think he can with some states in the Bible Belt, but whether it will translate into a Presidential candidacy depends on the remaining caucuses and primaries and whether he can build on his Iowa experience. With a clear win, he can expect money to come in, but money may not be enough. He's going to have to draw on the unspoken fear among evangelical voters to keep the momentum going.

The problem I foresee with this strategy is that not every Christian is an evangelical, and they aren't all afraid of the world around them. Speaking personally, I'm not afraid of society being so crass, nor am I afraid of Islamic extremists who want me dead. Once you get rid of that fear, you see Huckabee for the man and leader he is.

And that's what Huckabee is afraid of.

Iowa Caucuses - The Aftermath

As the balloons and confetti are being swept up and the candidates back up their campaigns to head out of Iowa, I thought it would be a good chance to review what happened and figure out the winners and losers of the Iowa Caucuses.


- Barack Obama: This was anything but a foregone conclusion, in my opinion. Hillary had the money, the name recognition, and the media blitz going for her, but Obama had the drive to win. After being down early (as every Democrat candidate was), Obama cut into the lead and once he got it, he never looked back. Also, when you consider the Democrat who wins the Iowa Caucuses tends to win the nomination, it's looking very good for Obama.

- John Edwards: Edwards ran into the same problem Obama did early, but came through with perhaps the most surprising finish of both major parties. It may not be much of a victory, but getting more votes than Hillary in Iowa is an accomplishment. Then again, it may not be much of a surprise, considering Edwards came in second in Iowa in 2004 behind John Kerry.

- Fred Thompson: Everyone was talking about Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and John McCain in the last couple of weeks, which left Thompson with an opening. When push came to shove, Thompson pushed his way into a third place finish, which is significant for two reasons. One, people had pretty much written him off after lackluster performances at the debates. Two, the Republican who comes in second or third at the Iowa Caucuses can win the nomination. (Just ask George H. W. Bush.)

- Rudy Giuliani: Yes, he came in a distant sixth behind Ron Paul, but consider Giuliani didn't really spend that much time campaigning in Iowa. Yet, he still got votes. His strategy is to win later states when other candidates may be scrambling for money or weakened from other election battles to fight back. Whether this strategy will work has yet to be seen, but winning even one vote in Iowa can be seen as a victory for Rudy.


- Hillary Clinton: Ouch! Spending all that time and money in Iowa, and you come in third? You're the Republican version of Mitt Romney with regards to underperforming in spite of the advantages you had going in. Of course, blowing off the press in the final week of the Iowa Caucuses and the other foibles you've made for the past couple of months don't exactly help you.

- Mike Huckabee: Wait! Didn't he win the Iowa Caucuses? Yes he did, but he's exposed himself as someone who might not be as honest or upright as we've been lead to believe. It doesn't really matter that Huckabee didn't spend as much money as Mitt Romney, the more we see Huckabee, the more he shows us a side of him that makes him appear less Presidential.

- Mitt Romney: A second place finish isn't normally a bad thing, but in Romney's case, it's a cause for concern. Much like Hillary, he had all the tools to win, but he lost his lead and his image of election certitude by letting Huckabee get ahead of him. Then, he didn't play catch-up effectively and wound up spending a lot of money and time to underperform. Romney needs to do better soon if he wants to keep going.

- Ron Paul: I've received emails from Ron Paul supporters, taking me to task for ripping into their candidate and telling me to get ready to eat my words. Well, the winner of so many straw polls early on...wound up fifth, which is where he usually winds up in polls and when the votes matter. So, to all you Ron Paul supporters who wrote me emails and told me he was going to be the big winner, let me say this: YOUR GUY CAME IN FIFTH PLACE!

- John McCain: Coming in fourth in the Iowa Caucuses is nothing to crow about, especially for someone who had the media talking about his "surge" in the polls in recent weeks. To have someone like Fred Thompson sweep by you, if only barely, in the polls to take the third place spot is a sign that it's just not in the cards for you. Feel fortunate that Iowans overlooked your campaign finance reform, voting against the Bush tax cuts, and immigration blunders.

I'll write more about the Iowa Caucuses on my website,, later. Now, I can enjoy peace and quiet not having to answer political phone calls and throw away junk mail.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Spare Some Change, Mister?

Change is inevitable. Just as inevitable is politicians talking about it in the hopes of attracting voters.

Yes, the very concept that propelled Democrats into control of Congress in 2006 is what is being talked about today in 2008. Barack Obama talks about change. Hillary Clinton talks about change. John Edwards talks about change (although in these cases, I'm not sure if they're referring to an alteration of the status quo or the change in our pockets.)

As much as we like to talk about the need for change, we never seem to answer the question why. Just because someone says we need to change doesn't mean we do. After all, that person could be crazy or drunk or Britney Spears, but I repeat myself. Without asking why change is necessary, all we're doing is letting our emotions replace our thinking.

Which is exactly why politicians talk so much about change.

I blame Ross Perot for this phenomenon. His whole strategy was mentioning "reform." He even named his party after it! But few people if any asked why things needed to change. This lead to not just one election run for Perot, but two, but also gave Pat Buchanan and Jesse "the Body" Ventura a place to go politically. But people ate it up, and still do.

You may not think things are going exactly right for the country, but before you buy into the notion that a change is necessary, remember not all change is positive. The Democrats in 2006 made all sorts of calls for change and won on that agenda. Then, when they got into power, they didn't make many changes, except to Congress's approval ratings, which went down faster than Bill Clinton's pants at a sorority party. And things haven't gotten much better since the change. And remember, Democrats have another year of leadership ahead of them. If you thought this year was bad, I can only imagine how much worse they'll get this year with an election and President Bush's last year in office. I guarantee there will be more mud slung than at a monster truck rally.

And remember, people voted for this.

Next time you hear a politician talking about how we need to change, there's only one change you'll need to keep your sanity.

Change the channel.