Saturday, March 29, 2008

what will Hillary do?

A lot of talk has been centering lately on when--or if--Hillary Clinton should drop out of the Democratic race.

I wrote not too long ago that the Democratic race for the nomination was going to last until Denver. I am not backing away from that now.

As long as Jeremiah Wright is still garnering attention--and he is, since Obama felt it necessary to talk about him on The View this week--Clinton should not quit.

Until the Rezko testimony is complete (it's been on hiatus for the last couple days), she should not quit.

As long as the issue of delegates from Florida is unresolved, she should not quit--heck, she almost CAN NOT quit. To some degree, Michigan's delegates fit into this category as well, but Florida is the key here.

As long as Obama keeps making demonstrably false statements in his appearances--like saying McCain called for 100 years of war when he clearly didn't; like saying "I have sponsored Senator Chris Dodd's legislation creating a new FHA Housing Security Program, which will provide meaningful incentives for lenders to buy or refinance existing mortgages" when the legislation itself hasn't been introduced (notice the past-tense of his action statement)--she should not quit.

But most importantly, as long as she looks to win any further contests--and that looks like a given in the BIGGEST future contest, Pennsylvania--she should not quit.

Many people are starting to worry about the fracture in "the party" that further campaigning may cause. They are assuming that the party that Clinton cares about is the Democratic party, headed by party chair Howard Dean.

Sorry, folks, but you will be disappointed. The party that Clinton (or "the Clintons") care(s) about is the Clinton Governing Party, an organization that her husband put together 15-odd years ago.

And face-to-face combat is what they do best.

Obama ain't seen nothin' yet.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

flip a coin--either way is a loser

In his big speech yesterday, Sen. Obama said the following, as reported by Powerline:

I can no more disown [Jeremiah Wright] than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

Which drew the following response from Scott Johnson, also from Powerline:

Even amid the false equivalencies and obvious evasions of his speech today, Obama's misuse of his grandmother seems to me a striking sign of poor character.

I think that Johnson's words may qualify as the understatement of the week.

Obama's use of his grandmother in this context is--AT BEST--a classless move without equal; it is, at worst, an unbelievable lie that once again shows how much he plays politics by the "old" rules rather than by some new, transcendant purpose.

Let's first give him the benefit of the doubt, and let's say that this grandmother DID occasionaly say some really tasteless things that left him agape. First of all, why do we need to know this? Why does he say this at all? Is he so desperate to make his "spiritual advisor" look like a product of the times in which he was raised that he's willing to expose this clearly ugly part of a woman that is supposed to mean so much to him? It begs the question: what WON'T he say to cover his butt? Is there anything he holds sacred other than his own aspirations?

BUT it gets much worse than that! If she did say these things, and he--as a youngster, or at least as a younger man--responded by "cringing". . .then WHY OH WHY would he CHOOSE, in his adulthood, to sit in the presence of a man who says equally racist things? (I assume they are at least equally racist, given the depths that Wright plumbed) If he cringed way back then, why wouldn't he have even stronger reactions as an adult who, as he would have us believe, has learned the destruction of such words?

I am left with but one answer: because racist comments coming from a black person didn't offend him in the same manner as racist comments from his white grandmother.

And THAT makes him a racist, too. Period.

The ONLY other things I can think of is that his grandmother DIDN'T utter such horrible things.

Which makes him a liar.

OR maybe the grandmother DID say some horrible things. But rather then cringing--and learning--then, maybe young Barack didn't react to those words from his grandmother, foreshadowing his non-reaction to the words of wrong-way Wright.

Which makes him a liar.

So either this man is a liar or a racist who doesn't show any loyalty to people who he should probably show some loyalty towards--all while showing loyalty to a person that makes pronouncements that are remarkably outside the bounds of civil discourse.

Either way, Obama doesn't look like such an upstanding man after his performance yesterday.

In fact, he looks so much worse. Not only is his stature damaged, but he (and his team) look like amateurs--with a capitol "A".

What kind of idiocy does this man surround himself with that he was allowed to go onstage and say these things?

Is this the kind of judgement we'd accept from our President?

Friday, March 14, 2008

what did you know, and when did you know it?

SO Sen. Obama is having a pretty bad week--if you read right-leaning blogs. I don't happen to think that he does, so he probably isn't all that concerned about how conservatives are playing up the Rezko trial and the heinous words of Obama's spiritual advisor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

BUT at some point in time--and this time it won't come from Chicago, is my guess--somebody is going to put the Senator on the spot. And it won't be difficult to do.

If this preacher's sermons are available for purchase--or in some other way available for the public--all we have to do is listen to something that the man has said WHILE OBAMA WAS IN ATTENDANCE.

And when that tidbit (or, more likely, those tidbits) come to light, there is only one question: how can you continue to congregate in this man's presence?

I'm not saying that patronage IMPLIES endorsement under normal circumstances--but this is different. We are patrons based on a number of reasons, and among those reasons is "the quality of the product." Now I don't know what "product" Obama is looking for from his religious practices, but I WANT to believe that racist, conspiracy-riddled rantings is not one of them. Why, then, does he choose to go where this man spews hate from the pulpit for all to see? What is it that this man, this preacher, is providing to Obama that he can't get somewhere else? And THAT is the question that I'm interested in having answered.

You know, I can't help but think that this is a huge opportunity for Obama. But opportunity cuts both ways.

If Obama truly is a uniter, then he needs to buck up and have a talk with this preacher, and get him NOT JUST TO STOP--that isn't NEARLY enough--but to apologize for his offensive remarks. THAT would show some real understanding of all Americans--and yes, it would finally show some leadership. That is an awesome opportunity for Obama--to take a hate-filled public figure and show him the errors in his ways. Wow!

But if this preacher doesn't apologize for his past wrongs, then Obama MUST "vote with his feet", and find a different minister to administer to Obama's faith. Period.

This is INDEED about Obama's beliefs--but not in God.

No, this is about whether Obama BELIEVES that America--for all its imperfections--is worth defending.

If he can't muster the strength to make a close personal friend stop and apologize for this nonsense, then how is he going to fare in his much ballyhooed "talks" with some of the biggest thugocracies in the world?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

it just keeps getting better

I just caught a little bit of a Neil Cavuto interview with Rep. Robert Wexler--yes, the same Rep. Wexler that is Obama's campaign chairman in Florida--regarding a Florida "re-vote" for the Democratic primary. I guess the Florida Democratic delegation to Congress has said that they don't want a re-vote to determine the candidate's representation at the convention in August; rather, they would prefer for the DNC, the state party, and the campaigns themselves to determine what would be a good representation for the candidates at the convention. Details available here.

I didn't think it could get much more entertaining, but apparently I was wrong.

So let me get this straight: rather than giving the PEOPLE any power whatsoever, the Democratic Congressional delegation thinks that the "leadership" of the party should figure out how to split up the delegates for the candidates?

And this is the same "leadership" that is responsible for the mess in Florida in the first place, right?

And this is supposed to AVOID disenfranchising voters somehow?

I guess the Dems just can't wait until Denver to see back-room deals--although I'm sure we'll see some there, too!

Wexler said two things that really caught my attention: a) that we (or they, or whoever) don't want to "rush" into anything and make a bigger mess; and b) that maybe we look to the national vote to somehow inform the delegate breakdowns for Florida.

To point a: the convention is in August, for crying out loud! Are you telling me you couldn't put together a satisfactory primary in 5 months? If so, I think that speaks VOLUMES for the competence of the party as a whole! And as for "avoiding" a bigger mess--hello! You just made one, when you took the right to vote away from the people. HOW CAN THEY NOT GET THAT???!!!

On point b: I would expect this from an Obama supporter--it was only a matter of time. Of course Hillary will NEVER support any influence on the Florida vote from national numbers that aren't favorable to her. She knows she's nowhere without the Florida delegates, and she isn't going to let them go very easily. How can ANYBODY not get that, either?

I don't know how to tell them this--not that they'd listen--but if you want any credibility as a "party of the people," there's no way out of having a redo. Period. Even no re-vote and no sitting of the delegates at the convention is a bad choice in this vein. You're just going to have to do it, plain and simple.

Seriously, there is no limits to the hypocrisy on display from these ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES!

Note to everybody: don't expect better service from Washington until you make better choices for yourselves.

the round of 12

For starters, let's talk about how unenthused I was about a show featuring the songs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They generally just aren't my style of music.

But as has been the case with a lot of the "themes" of AI shows that I wasn't very thrilled about, the show itself ended up being pretty entertaining.

First, the hot ones: Chikezie, Carly and David Cook were really good. I enjoyed Chikezie's performance so much that I'm willing to put it in the top 10 of any performance I've ever seen on the show, and it wins my vote for best of the night.

Next, the disappointments: Syesha and David Archuletta. Syesha wasn't really "bad" as much as it was not one of her best; David was actually bad, forgetting the words early in the song and never really recovering. I don't think he's in trouble (read below)--he's got a fan base that will still vote like crazy for him--but this performance brought him back to earth. If he has another week like this anywhere else along the way, he'll be in trouble.

The "not hurting themselves" contestants: all the rest, except for. . .

Probably gone: Kristy Lee Cook. First, I'll take issue with Ryan's observation that Simon had given her bad advice by telling her to bring more country into her performances. She IS country, and she would be a fool to run away from that on this stage. Tonight, I think "more country" would have been fine; what we got, however, was so far beyond country that you'd have to call it country AND western (that's a joke, in case you don't get me or understand bad Blues Brothers references). It was a bad arrangement, plain and simple. It didn't help that she didn't sing it all too well.

I will be shocked if anyone else is eliminated tomorrow night.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Idol blogging returns!

FINALLY, it’s time for my long awaited Idol blogging to begin for the new season!

First, let me start by saying something entirely opposite what I have expressed in years past. I always thought I would LOVE to take Simon’s job on the show, and I actually thought I would be pretty good at it. Not quite as mean, of course--it’s not really in my nature--but if you could sell the idea of someone on that panel of judges having absolutely no credentials in the music biz, then I would be a pretty good fit. Or so I thought.

I totally take that back now. After watching Paula at work this season, I absolutely couldn’t tolerate sitting next to her. And she’s only been totally loopy once (last night). But she’s just so. . .so. . .so heck bent on not saying anything but taking 5 minutes to do it. Seriously, I don’t think I could do it, and I give props to Simon for not being even more impatient with her.

To tonight’s show: I think America got it ABSOLUTELY RIGHT in saying goodbye to Luke, Kady and Danny. I was torn between Asia’h and Kristy, but figured that Kristy would be seen through. Asia’h had real spunk and a lot of talent, and I’m pretty sure in past years she would have been a finalist--maybe even a top 6 kind of finalist. I was consistently disappointed in Kady--I really wanted her to blow up one night, and I THINK she had that kind of potential, but she just never brought it (as Randy would say). I was downright happy to see Danny Noriega go after I watched the disrespect he showed towards Simon on Tuesday. I know, I know, he’s young and he was being slapped around on national tv by --in essence--a bully. But it just so happens that bully knows an awful lot about the business that Danny was auditioning for. All I know is this: if I ever “interview” somebody and they act towards me the way that Danny acted towards Simon, there’s no way that person is getting a callback, regardless of how talented they were. I know Idol doesn’t work that way, but I am hopeful that many viewers were as turned off by his attitude as I was, and that‘s why he‘s on the outside looking in after tonight.

But on with the show, as they say. Here’s how I stack up the finalists.

Favorites (to win, not necessarily my personal favorites): David Archuletta, Carly, and Syesha. David is an incredible story--having almost lost his voice permanently when he was a kid--but he’s “grown up” (as much as a 17-year old has grown up) to have a good voice that stands out in the crowd. Carly and Syesha can really sing, so as long as they make good song choices they’ll probably have a spot deep into the competition.

Darkhorses: David Hernandez, Chikezie. Both these gents can really sing, and if they find their stride at some point down the contest, they will soar. Chikezie might have to keep his “playfulness”--which consists mostly of him inserting his name in the song that he’s singing--to a minimum, because I don’t know that America will have the tolerance for such hot-dogging. Idol’s never been won by “that kind” of personality (although Kat McPhee came close came two years ago).

Could go far: David Cook, Brooke. David is a good performer, although I don’t think he hides his love of himself very well. His performance this week was fantastic; if he pulls that off week in and week out--and he could--then he’ll be around awhile. Brooke won’t ever give a “bad” performance, so there’s potential for her to ride that a while--not to the finish, mind you, but pretty far.

Just putting in time ‘til they’re booted: everybody else. My personal bet is that Kristy goes next week, but it could be anyone other than the top 3 I wrote about under “favorites”. For some of them, personality is the big downer: Ramiele can really sing, but she emotes about as well as my car; Amanda puts some spunk into her performances but then she seems to turn into a doll while the post-performance banter goes down. Amanda is really vocally limited, so song choice is very VERY important to her--and that will eventually prove a drag on her. Others, to ME, just don’t have the talent to go all the way: Jason Castro, who I thought totally screwed up a really really good song this week but I must’ve heard some other performance, is too thin-voiced; Michael Johns is too manic and doesn’t quite have the pipes. Both those guys have charisma in spades, so they’ll maybe go further than their voices alone should take them, but I don’t think either of them will crack the final 4, to be sure.

Check back for more as the weeks pass!

another round of horrible predictions

Okay, I’m going to take half credit for calling Texas for Hillary the other night. She won the one she had a chance to win--the primary--but I really did think she would win the caucuses too. Imagine if she had. . .

Speaking of imagining, let’s play a little game: what will the next 2 months hold for the Dems?

I think it is going to get remarkably bloody. This is going to be a real test for Obama, which I believe he will fail. He’s got to believe, to some degree, that last night’s results mean the end of the honeymoon for him. That’s not to say that the left doesn’t still love him. . .just that he doesn’t walk on water anymore. I heard a Democrat strategist last night say that people want to know if Barack can fight, which I think is exactly OPPOSITE of what the left wants to see. They don’t want to see politics as usual (if they wanted that, they‘d go for the proven fighters), they want to see him “above the fray”. But that strategy holds great risk for him, too, and I think THAT’S what the real take-away from last night is. Clinton took shots at his thin resume, and he countered with. . .well, he kept speaking. And he lost. And now Clinton’s lead attack dogs say they aren’t even close to the bottom of the well on similarly-themed ads. Will he keep taking these shots without returning the favor?

My bet is that no, he won’t. I don’t know if it will be the next attack, or the one after that, or just an attempt to get Rezko off the front page or what, but SOMETIME over the next 7 weeks he’s going to start swinging. I think it’s his only hope. Whither the “new politics” he speaks about, you ask? Well, he’s lucky about one thing: the left isn’t well known for consistency. Those who get the vapors about Barack--the ones who are fueling his ascendancy--will think that every shot Team sHrill takes at him is below the belt, and they’ll get downright crazy when he starts hitting back. Never mind that his appeal to moderates--to whatever level it exists today--will be all but shot. No, I think he pulls a rookie mistake and goes counter-message sometime over the next 7 weeks.

And you know what? It will help him heading towards the convention. He might win PA--he might not, I just don’t know right now--but when he and his entourage show up at the convention, undoubtedly WITHOUT enough delegates to have the nomination wrapped up, he will still be a rock-star in that crowd.

What about FL and MI? My bet--make that my hope--is that the Dems realize the best bet for them is to have a “do-over”. They can’t disenfranchise all those voters, and they certainly can’t seat delegates that nobody save Hillary really campaigned for. More money wasted on both parts, and do you know what the end result will be? Hillary will win Florida and Michigan will be approximately a wash. All that equals more mess for the DNC. Tee hee.

SO THERE WE ARE. . .in Denver. . .and it comes down to this: will Clinton, behind in the elected delegate totals, go down gracefully?

Bet you didn’t know I was a humorist, did you?

SERIOUSLY, there’s no way Clinton lets this chance, her ONLY chance, pass. And she won’t take second string, either.

You know, a responsible party HOLDING CONTROL OVER THE NOMINATION (which is, in essence, what the superdelegates give to the DNC), would tell Obama that he could really use another couple years of seasoning before he becomes their 8-year hope. “Take the Veep ticket,” they’ll say.

To which Hillary--despite the fact that the deal will give her the nomination--will say “uh, no.”

And this is all BEFORE Al Gore takes the stage. Not that he’s crazy, but who knows what kind of things he’ll take credit for.

SO WHAT HAPPENS? Well, the ensuing mess is so ugly, so tactless, and yes, so racially driven that just about every moderate is disgusted. Obama does eventually win the nomination--he has to, and the party, having failed to make the case to him that he can wait, will figure that out--but he and his party has zero credibility with the middle.

END GAME: McCain in a romp. Not a “Reagan in ‘84” romp, but enough of a romp to keep the White House in safe hands. And the best part of all is that Clinton is DONE on the Presidential stage, and Obama is so discredited as a “new” politician that he has to set about actually making a record for himself. And that will keep him out of Presidential politics for at least one more cycle.

And if the Congressional GOP can get their heads out of the their butts and just say “no” to pork, we’d take back the house and keep the damage in the Senate to a minimum.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

what is change?

So here I am. . .in Texas. . .on the eve of another big day in this election cycle. And here’s what I think:

I think Clinton wins here tomorrow.

Call it the effectiveness of the “3 AM” add. Call it the nuttiness of this state, where you can vote in both a primary and a caucus (yes, you read that right--two opportunities to have your voice heard if you want to spend your night that way). Or call it the racial game coming home to roost in the southwest. Anyway you cut it, I believe that Clinton’s “square area” supremacy over Obama (who will take the primaries in Houston and Dallas, as well as the caucuses in those two places--but that’s probably it in this remarkably vast state) will bring her a very very small victory tomorrow. But small is big enough for her purposes.

I have no idea how Ohio will shake out. But a Clinton victory in either of those two big states tomorrow will keep her going in the race for the nomination; a Clinton victory in both would really turn this thing upside-down. And it’s beee-youthful to watch!

All because she had the “audacity” to make a 3 AM phone call an issue. I find it REMARKABLE that her team--supposedly the best that influence can find--took THIS LONG to center in on that theme. But as is the case with most brilliant ideas, it looks obvious only in retrospect. Of course, if Clinton actually had any serious military people in her inner circle (if she actually "knew the military", as her ad purports), this ad would have been out weeks ago. You see, military leaders understand that dreaded 3 AM phone call in a way that only parents of teenagers can comprehend. It will be effective, however, with a wide range of voters, because everybody knows that a phone ringing at 3 AM doesn't mean good news.

You know, if I was an Obama advisor, I’d be “this” close to airing an ad that said this: “it’s 3 am. The phone is ringing. Answer this question: do you know where your husband is?” As horribly wrong as that would be, it would be at least as effective as whatever Obama has countered with.

Anyhoo. . .let’s get to the point of this post. You know, I find it amazing how localized mainstream liberal’s views are. Riddle me this: how is it that the President that spread Democracy to regions where it was a completely foreign concept 8 years ago is bedeviled as the “same old Washington business”?

President Bush is quite possibly the most proven change agent in Washington since. . .well, since I don’t know when. Of course, since it’s change that the Democrat’s don’t want to support, then it’s easy to forget about it, to discount it, or even to demean it. But the words of a man with absolutely no record of having the capacity to implement whatever his agenda of the week is--well, that’s “change we can believe in”.

I think, to some degree, that the emptiness of the words is starting to drag on Obama. It was always an article of faith of mine that the electorate would never elect such a newbie to the biggest office in the world, and I still stand by that. I also believed that the Dems would give Hillary her chance in a general election--but for the better part of the last month I started having my doubts. However, of late, I think the tide is turning her way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that she’s actually that much more substantive of a candidate than Obama--it’s just that she does have SOME record to point to, whereas Obama has. . .a good speaking style.

But I do regret that McCain won’t get a chance to pound on Obama in the general. Whereas Obama’s “I’ve been right on Iraq since day one” plays well to the left and the way left, I was very much looking forward to McCain taking that line in a debate and throwing it down Obama’s throat. Something like “Senator, I don’t hold you responsible for a vote you didn’t have a chance to cast in 2002, but there’s no way that you can say today that a vote against the surge was the right vote in 2007. A vote against the surge meant a vote against change--a change in tactics, a change in troop strength, a change that the American military men could believe in. In short, a vote against the surge was the wrong vote then, and it is still the wrong vote today, and in my opinion it shows your total inability to be the Commander in Chief of this great military.”

NOTHING would have solidified McCain’s support with the base so thoroughly, so completely, and so instantly.

And while it still may come to pass--this opportunity of opportunities to crush the politics of vacuity in a time of national peril--I think after tomorrow night we will be dealing with a whole different race on the Democratic side.

It couldn’t have happened to a more phony man, either.