Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words


I took this picture at Facebook today. Hillary Clinton, who dropped out of the race two weeks ago has 8,040 more supporters than John McCain. Senator Obama, whose competitive primary ended more than two months after John McCain has more than one million supporters, nearly seven times as many supporters as Senator McCain.

Why is John McCain losing the "Facebook generation"? It could be the 100 years of war. It could be his non-existent energy policy. Regardless, McCain is losing the youth vote.

What does this picture to say to you about the state of this race and the future of this country?

Help Spread the Word about John McCain

Full Disclosure: I am backwards technologically.

There is a great post at MyDD on polling data that shows that our efforts to make the case against John McCain are working:

Obama - 62% favorable to 26% unfavorable
McCain - 49% favorable to 37% unfavorable (A drop from 54 in last poll)
Clinton Supporters' view of Obama - 70% favorable to 18% unfavorable.

But there is still plenty of work to do and there is something that we on the blogosphere can do to help. Every time you type John McCain or McCain in a post, diary, comment, whatever, link to one of nine stories about John McCain’s conservative positions on issues like abortion. This story at TalkLeft explains why these stories were chosen and how creating all of these links will help. Basically, our goal is that when people type “McCain” or “John McCain” into a search engine, these stories will appear on the results page.

I created a word document with the hyperlinks and I copied and pasted them into every comment, diary, and post I wrote on internet. A few days ago, StudentGuy pointed me to a website that created a widget (yep, don’t know what the hell that is) that will make it much easier. You just add this link to your bookmarks and every time you write a post or comment, click on the bookmark and it adds the hyperlinks for you! Another widget from this website is responsible for the “Real McCain” links on our blog.

So visit these websites. Add the tools. Spread the news that John McCain is not a maverick or a moderate and that we need to keep him in the desert where he can enjoy fresh air!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dishonoring Hillary !! [Updated]

by linfar cross posted at mydd coyotebytes

[UPDATE--I have now been thrown off Hillarysvoice, a site owned by Alegre. Dissent, it seems, is only a quaint idea to someone who has made so much about her abuse for dissenting with others!]

Does anyone care about Hillary anymore?


A website whose reputation and business quadrupled when it backed Hillary Clinton's candidacy is in the-- Resurrect Hillary business now.


No that's wrong. It is in the Screw Obama Anyway You Can business now.


A well-known blogger has created her own website to promote Hillary's candidacy--well, until the end of  August anyway. But by then the website will be up and running. Front page positions are available Yoohooo.


But while these voices are clamoring, Hillary is facing a silence as bleak as any she has ever known. So before we move along, this is for Hill:



Now, about mydd, the website  that provided a home to the famous blogger mentioned above after she famously marched out of dkos--well, gosh, it has been a big Hasta la Vista, Baby! I used to wonder why this blogger didn't care if she had 3 diaries on the rec list, all put there by her private army of backers on call to rec as requested? I guess because her commitment to mydd was temporary, a  soapbox that's all. Who cares if they were nice to you, and took you in when you marched away from the other guy?


Hell, for all I know mydd has said, `Hey, terrific. Go for it. More the merrier.' I guess that would be taking the high road.


And I do know by now that I should definitely throttle this tendency to think of  this place as a community. Don't lecture, me, ok?  I know it is silly. People come and people go. On any given day only a handful of people who have posted before will do so again. And I know that people who get banned come back under new names and then do the same creepy stuff all over again.


When I first came on this site, Seymour Glass was here and YellowDem. My next love was Undiesided.[These are just names that came off the top. My favorites might not be yours, so chill, ok?] I remember liking them--through their diaries-- a lot. And then I got to know so many other contributors, all Clinton supporters; they are mostly all gone now. And so many of them seem to hang out now at these these old pro-Clinton, now hate-Obama sites.


The truth is everywhere I look I see these people creating websites to tear down Barack Obama and promote Hillary Clinton's candidacy--still. They are also endorsing John McCain.  It actually looks like a huge cottage industry. And they promote each other. A happy family.


And then there are those of us who are doing as Hillary asked. We are supporting the Democratic nominee. There is no reputation to be made, no crusade and no drama. Just people playing by the rules, doing as Hillary requested and loving all she stands for-- still.


I read yesterday that Hillary is taking an extended vacation. She will return if necessary for crucial votes in the Senate, and party leaders are backing her on this. I also read somewhere that to be defeated in a close run for the nomination, or for the Presidency itself, creates a depression like no other.


Who doesn't remember when Al Gore grew a beard and wandered the world? Other  candidates like Gary Hart, who battered her endlessly during the primary campaign, have offered advice in Huffpo, no less. I'm sure she felt cared about by that one. But as was intended, I read it. And between Gore and Hart and McGovern, Ferraro, Mondale and Dole-- who have all written about it, there is no question that Losing the Big One is devastating. They all say that "It" is the Hardest Loss.


Of course Hillary didn't lose the Presidency. But you see, she did. The Democratic nominee will win the White House this year. You can take that to the bank. And she was campaigning for the nomination  for 18 months. It had to take an enormous toll. Acceptable if you win--a terrible burden when you do not. And then there is the pressure of such a campaign. As Ed Pilkington who traveled around the US interviewing failed Presidential candidates writes in the Guardian:


As I meet more members of this exclusive club I realise quite what an ordeal presidential candidates go through - they are subjected to afflictions that can reasonably be compared to torture: sensory overload; ritual humiliation; strangers invading your body space at all hours of day and night; disorientation; sleep deprivation.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/

mar/29/uselections2008.usa


I know people say she has faced up to hardship, disappointment and loss before. And so she has. But I cannot help but wonder how it feels to Hillary to see all these people who say they support her, ignoring her last request. Making a business out of defying her--all in her name.


Of course, maybe she doesn't see it at all. Who knows for sure?


What I do know is that Hillary is more than a candidate, more than an icon, and more than a political platform. She is also more than the candidate to back if you didn't and still don't  like Obama. Hillary is a person. When Emily Malcolm, founder of Emily's List, said recently  at a panel on sexism in the media that Hillary told her breathlessly in New Hampshire

Emily, I am the first woman to win a Presidential primary.
My heart ached like someone had slugged it--hard.  Because it was true, and no matter how many more primaries she went on to win, the media never, ever talked about it.


I know it  is hard to be a standard bearer for a cause, and icons can be lonely. She certainly became my hero.  I have never been so proud of being a woman as I was when watched Hillary Clinton in those 22 debates. Would I have liked more of that--you betcha. Would I have loved to see a woman put her female's hand on the  Bible and swear to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic--God yes. I think I would have liked this as much as many African Americans will like it when Barack Obama puts his hand on the bible on  January 20,  because he will. I do not think he can lose. [I am not saying, by the way, that I won't like it when that happens. What I am saying is for many African Americans it will be exceedingly, and then exceedinly again, Special.]


I also wish with all my heart now that Hillary would be his Vice President. I expect that is not to be either. Either way  I am doing my best to support the nominee. And in the meantime I think about Hill. I look at all the people who I used to think of as my friends who are bashing Barack and promoting her still. And when I read about her extended vacation, I think, `they are not helping her.' They don't really care about her. She isn't a person to them. She is a business, a cause, a means to drive traffic to a  website. She is a claim to fame.


But Hillary is bigger than they are, and she cares about the well being of this country as much as anyone I have ever seen on the public stage. Hillary inspires me now, no less than she did throughout the entie campaign, because  unlike so many of her so-called supporters, she will do the right thing. And then she will go private, as she already has done, away from the clamor and cameras, to a lonely beach somewhere or maybe into the privacy of her own home. Alone--or not. But certainly with God. And with her beating heart safely tucked away, out of reach from all those who would sell it for their own advancement.

McCain: All Whine, All the Time.

(cross-posted at MyDD)


I'm surprised John McCain hasn't exhausted himself with his incessant harping on the need for ten town hall meetings, to which Obama has no real reason to agree. Much to his delight, he's found something new to whine about: Barack Obama's supposed "flip-flopping" on the public finance issue. He has called Obama's reevaluated stance on accepting public financing "Washington doublespeak", but let's not forget, McCain was sorta, kinda, maybe against public financing before he was for it. McCain's decision to use public financing has always been contingent on the Democratic nominee and exactly how much s/he could raise. Knowing the disadvantages the GOP faces in 2008, he's been trying to trap Democratic candidates into accepting public financing for months. Now that he realizes what a fundraising juggernaut Obama has become, McCain must be feeling pretty bitter that Obama has decided not to accept his proposal; with nothing he can possibly do to catch up to the Democratic nominee in donations, McCain is trying to get as much leverage as possible out of Obama's decision.


Okay, John. Would you like some cheese to go with your whine?



Watching John McCain attack another politician for flip-flopping is almost surreal - it difficult to determine whether he's forgetful, dishonest, or engaging in some form of political doublethink that most normal people could never hope to understand. This is a man who has flip-flopped on defense spending, the estate tax, Bush's tax cuts, his first term budget pledge, medical marijuana, FISA, investigations into the handling of Hurricane Katrina, various environmental issues, immigration, torture, social security privatization, a gay marriage amendment, and (most recently) offshore oil drilling. Yet, he expects voters to overlook his issue-based acrobatics and focus instead on Obama's decision to forgo public financing. Oh yes, for shame, Barack - changing your mind on an issue which is unimportant in the eyes of most Americans. If only our nominee could be as admirably consistent and unfailingly honest as the straight-talker.


Oh, wait... nevermind. All aboard the Flip-Flop Express!



The fact is, most people are either opposed to public financing, or just plain don't care. 46 percent of Americans would prefer that campaigns be funded solely with private money, whereas only 22 percent fully supported public financing. In 2006, approximately 7% of taxpayers designated the requested $3 on their tax returns to fund the system.


Obama would be foolish to accept public financing. As of May 21st Obama had raised a staggering $268,000,000, much of it from small donors, and that number will only go up as we prepare for the general election. As Hillary urges her donors to back Obama, his fundraisers have estimated that Clinton fundraisers could raise between $50 million and $75 million for his GE campaign. This doesn't include Hillary's small donors, many of whom will now make donating to his campaign a top priority. With all the flip-flopping McCain has done and all the money he's taken from lobbyists, he has little room to complain about Obama's principles. If Lou Dobbs and the Republican nominee want to gripe and allege that refusing public financing isn't "Change you can believe in," then they can have at it. Obama sent out an email Thursday saying that,


. . .the public campaign financing system allowed "special interests [to] drown out the voices of the American people" and ask[ing] his supporters to "declare our independence from a broken system."


And as Rep Rahm Emanuel has pointed out,

Obama has "more than realized the objective of public financing" by setting up a system to accept small donations over the Internet. . . . "It has given the American people a voice in our political process and has forever changed politics in this country by inspiring record numbers of Americans to participate in bringing change to Washington."


How many voters honestly plan to base their decisions on the sort of petty silliness McCain is promoting? This isn't a winning issue for him, and I expect he realizes it. But since he has so few other winning issues, he'll just run with it and hope it earns him a couple hundred extra votes. Maybe he thinks that if he confuses the voters enough, he'll be able to flop his way right into the Oval Office, but if the Republicans think we're going to allow voters to forget his dizzying political gymnastics, then they've got another thing coming.


John McCain: Same old politics, a little extra whine.



Sierra Club Endorses Obama

In another sign that the progressive movement is rallying around the Democratic nominee, the Sierra Club announced that it will endorse Senator Obama for president today:

The Sierra Club said Thursday it will endorse Democrat Barack Obama for president, a decision it said was made easier by Republican John McCain's support this week of repealing a moratorium on offshore drilling and expanding nuclear power.

"The contrast, which was already pretty sharp, just got razor sharp this week," the environmental group's executive director, Carl Pope, told The Associated Press. "At the end of the day, John McCain just signed up with the Bush policy of giving the oil industry what it wants."


Yesterday, atdnext analyzed John McCain's record on the environment and found that the myth did match the reality. Today, the Sierra Club will come out and confirm what atdnext argued so forcefully, that John McCain's commitment to the environment changes with the political landscape.

The Media Don’t Get It

Another masterpiece from the Washington Post:

Since Clinton conceded to rival Obama in the Democratic race on June 7, there has been endless speculation about the intentions of her disappointed female supporters.

Would they refuse to support Obama? Not vote in November's presidential election? Or worse, throw their support to Republican McCain?

What I most take issue with in this article is the phrase “disappointed female supporters.” The media are attempting to turn this group into a bunch of emotional, irrational, over-the-hill feminists.

First, there are a number of men among the Hillary Clinton supporters who have not gotten behind the ticket. The founder of PUMA (Party Unity, My Ass), Will Bower, is male, as is the operator of the much maligned NoQuarter, Larry Johnson. Hillary’s coalition was made up of large numbers of men, including this one. Many of those not (yet, hopefully) supporting the ticket are also men.

Second, this isn’t about disappointment. Many Clinton supporters, myself included, believe that the media and Democratic Party leaders put their thumbs on the scale for Obama.

On March 8, Rasmussen released a report indicating that 59% of Democratic voters believed that superdelegates should support the winner of the popular vote, in the event that the pledged delegate leader was not the winner of the popular votes. Only 25% of Democratic voters and 32% of Obama supporters believed that the nomination should go to the pledged delegate leader if he/she did not win the majority of the popular votes.

That data, many of us believe, is the reason that Senator Obama refused to get behind re-votes in Florida and Michigan. Many of us interpreted his silence, as well as the silence of party leaders, as acquiescence.

Just six days later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told George Stephanopolous:

"If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what's happened in the elections," said Pelosi, "it would be harmful to the Democratic Party."

SNIP

"But what if one candidate has won the popular vote and the other candidate has won the delegates?" asked Stephanopoulos.

"But it's a delegate race," Pelosi replied. "The way the system works is that the delegates choose the nominee."

Given that Senator Obama had, by that point, amassed a pledged delegate lead that would be nearly impossible for Senator Clinton to close, that was an indisputable nod to Senator Obama.

Despite the Rasmussen polling data, the narrative in the media was that popular votes did not count, that Senator Clinton had no chance to close the pledged delegate deficit, and that she should drop out of the race:

Here's another first: the press's unique push to get a competitive White House hopeful to drop out of the race. It's unprecedented.

Looking back through modern U.S. campaigns, there's simply no media model for so many members of the press to try to drive a competitive candidate from the field while the primary season is still unfolding.

Until this election cycle, journalists simply did not consider it to be their job to tell a contender when he or she should stop campaigning. That was always dictated by how much money the campaign still had in the bank, how many votes the candidate was still getting, and what very senior members of the candidate's own party were advising.


After the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, I accepted the fact that Hillary would most likely not gain enough of a popular vote lead to convince the superdelegates to support her, especially when the media were declaring her dead. It seemed to me that the narrative was working against her and that it was impossible for her to change narrative.

When the Rules and Bylaw Committee met at the end of the May, I did not expect a game-changing outcome, but I also did not expect the farce that came out of that meeting. Halving Florida’s delegation was fair, as was halving Michigan’s. But giving Obama four of Hillary Clinton’s pledged delegates was a slap in the face. That backroom deal was about sending the Clintons a message: “Piss off.” By that point, it was clear that Obama would be the nominee and that those four delegates would have made absolutely no difference. They did it because they could. Not because it was fair.

Now that the process is over, party leaders are making some efforts to reach out to the Clinton Democrats. Party leaders are now singing Hillary’s praises and Gov. Dean has finally acknowledged the sexist media coverage that Hillary faced.

For many, it’s too little, too late.

The DNC furiously canceled a debate with Fox because it ran the infamous Obama madrassa smear. Where was the DNC when Chris Matthews said Hillary got elected because Bill cheated on her? Where was the DNC when David Schuster said that Hillary was “pimping out” Chelsea? Where was the DNC when Keith Olbermann said that someone needed to take Hillary into a room and only he should walk out? Where was the DNC when a CNBC outlet store at Reagan International Airport began selling the nutcracker? Where was the DNC when Ken Rudin compared Hillary Clinton to the Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction?

Now they respond to overtures from Senator McCain by reminding Clinton supporters about McCain’s record on abortion and other issues, something that we have done at Clintonistas for Obama.

These public statements now come across as pandering: “Come now, dearie. I feel your pain. But if you don’t vote for Senator Obama, John McCain will control your fetus.”

In the end, the superdelegates had the right to choose whomever they wanted. They chose Obama. I think it was an unwise decision, but that is their right. For many of us, with party leaders and the media pushing their thumb on the scales and with Obama supporters like Jesse Jackson Jr. recruiting candidates to challenge Hillary’s African American supporters in Congress, it seems as though that decision was made under duress. But at the end of the day, they made their decision. It was a close election and it could have gone either way. I see Obama’s nomination as legitimate, and I have no problem supporting him.

I have made the decision to support the ticket because I personally have too much to lose if anybody other than the Democratic nominee is elected. It is not out of the loyalty to the Democratic Party, because I have none. It is not because I identify myself as a Democrat, because I’m a registered independent. It is not because I am such a great admirer of Senator Obama, because I am not.

It may be easy to call the Clinton Democrats who haven’t joined me in the Obama camp “bitter,” “dead-enders,” or “Republicans.” It certainly is easier to dismiss their indignation as sour grapes than it is to address their frustrations.

Senator Obama has my vote, and I’ll be doing everything I can to convince other Clinton Democrats to do the same. In the meantime, I would encourage my fellow progressives to see the Clinton Democrats for the good, loyal Democrats they are and treat them as such.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hey, Bush & McCain: Why The Thrill of the Drill?



(Cross-posted at MyDD)


Recently, there's been plenty of talk by Republicans like George Bush and John McCain about lifting the federal ban on offshore oil drilling. They claim that because gas prices have become so high, it's time for us American to stop being worrywarts and embrace the thrill of the drill. They claim that a good way to start bringing down gas prices is by drilling for more oil domestically.


But hold on, just how wise is the Bush-McCain plan to open up our coast to more drilling?



So how much of an effect will offshore oil drilling have on increasing supply? And how much of an effect will it have on making our nation more energy independent? Let's see...

Actually, all this coastal drilling won't do much to affect anything. You think I'm kidding? No, it really won't.

First off, we're running out of oil... FAST! There's only a finite amount of oil on this planet. And pretty soon, there simply won't be much left. Don't believe me? Believe this guy.



And secondly, we're running out of time to deal with the climate crisis! And really, how are we creating a cleaner energy future by drilling for more oil? We need more renewable energy, not more fossil fuels. Saving our planet is just too important for us to ignore.



And finally, this whole scheme for offshore drilling is simply impractical. We would not be seeing any "benefits" of increased supply and lower prices for many years to come. And finally, production of this new oil may end up being so expensive that we may never see any benefits of lower prices at the gas pump.

When we really examine the situation, it becomes easy for us to see that this "idea" to open America's coasts to offshore oil drilling is simply stupid. It's economically impractical. It's environmentally disastrous. It's the wrong way for us to go on building a secure energy future.

I mean, really... Do we want this just off our shoreline?



Now do you? I didn't think so. Thank Barack Obama for doing the right thing and supporting real efforts to create a cleaner, greener, better energy future.

Another Thing I'm Doing to Help Future President Obama

(This is something I originally wrote for The Liberal OC a while back. I'm posting this here now because I think it's important we remember that President Obama will need a LOT of help to implement a truly progressive agenda. And btw, this is also at MyDD. Enjoy!)

You know, there's so much that we'll need to do as a nation to get back on the right track. We have a war to end, and economy to fix, a climate and a planet to take care of, people to start caring about again. The Bush-Cheney era is finally nearing a close... So now, we must think about how to put all that misery behind us and move forward in a new direction.

And you know what? We actually have an opportunity down here where I'm at in Southern California to start moving our nation in a new direction. Not only can we help send Barack Obama to the White House next year, but we can also change Congress by replacing the incumbent Bush-Cheney dittohead with someone who will work her hardest to make our government work for us again.

Debbie and grandsonOK, I guess you know by now who I'm talking about. Debbie Cook is running a strong campaign to unseat "Crazy Dana" Rohrabacher and restore some sanity to the 46th District. Rohrabacher may have been able to get away with ignoring the needs of the people while voting in lockstep with the far right Bush agenda before, but he won't be able to get away any longer.

Debbie Cook is a respected community leader who, unlike Rohrabacher, has been working hard for her constituents. Whether it's protecting the Bolsa Chica Wetlands or protecting our ocean water or leading the effort to prepare Southern California for climate change, Cook can be counted on for real results. And at a time when we can't wait on bringing out troops home from a messy occupation, making our economy work for working class people again, taking on reforming a health care system in critical condition, and taking care of the global climate crisis that threatens to destroy the Planet Earth we call home, we need people in Congress like Debbie Cook who won't hesitate to find solutions to the problems we're facing.

But hey, Debbie Cook can't do any of that if we don't help her win this year. That's why it's critical for us to get involved and help a great local Democrat take back the 46th. Here's what we all can do to make it happen: volunteer and contribute. By doing what we can to help, we're not only turning a formerly red SoCal Congressional District blue... We're also doing our part to take back our country.

We have a unique opportunity this year to make real change happen in this nation. Barack Obama is an amazing Democrat who will do so much to put this nation back on the right {er, left ;-) } track this year. But still, he can only do so much on his own. Obama will also need great Democrats like Debbie Cook who will work with him to implement a truly progressive agenda that will take our nation in a new and exciting direction.

So are you ready to join me in taking action? There is a saying that I always remember: "Think globally... Act locally." For many of you (especially those of you also in the SoCal area), we have a chance now to take that to heart. :-)

AFSCME Endorsement Open Thread

"The economy is not working the way it should be, and that's going to be the goal of an Obama presidency — to make sure we've got bottom-up economic growth instead of the kind of tired, worn-out, trickle-down ideologies we've been seeing for so many years. [...] I'm going to meet with corporate CEOs sometime next week to hear from them about what they think we need to do to make the economy more competitive. [...] But I want everybody here to understand the reason we wanted to organize this is that if our economy is not benefiting the average person ... then it's not doing its job." - Barack Obama


This is why both Hillary Clinton and AFSCME (the nation's largest public service workers union have endorsed Barack Obama. We all now see that the stakes are too high for us to stay on the sidelines. We need to take back the White House and take back our country!

“Barack Obama is a proven fighter on the issues our members care about most, such as ending privatization, providing state and local fiscal relief, fully funding and supporting public services and the workers who provide them, and guaranteeing that everyone in our country has access to quality, affordable health care they can count on. [...}

“We can elect a champion for working families or we can elect John McCain and have four more years of George W. Bush’s disastrous policies. [...] When you look at McCain’s record on the issues instead of his rhetoric on the stump, it’s obvious that he’s just another Bush. McCain and the high-priced lobbyists who run his campaign promise us four more years of destructive economic policies at home and 100 more years of occupation in Iraq. We need a change now.” - Gerald McEntee, AFSCME President


Consider this an open thread. Let's talk about bringing progressives everywhere together behind Obama. :-)

The McCain Myth: The Economy & Fiscal Matters

As we've all heard, John McCain is described by the corporate media as a "maverick" and a "moderate". And for some reason, we are actually expected to believe this BS. One major example is with economic issues.

We've been told that McCain isn't an extreme right-wing ideologue who messes with working people and only promotes tax cuts for the super-rich to solve everything. And once upon a time, this might have been true. But as seasons change, so has McCain.

Let's take a look at McCain's current economic proposals. Let's examine how Mccain has gone from Bush critic to "Bushonomics" lover. Let's examine what McCain is actually planning to do as our next President. Do you believe me now?

Just like Bush-Cheney, McCain's economic proposals are nothing more than tax cuts for the ultra-rich, unnecessary corporate welfare, and laissez-faire deregulation that undos the regulatory system that has made American capitalism so strong. The kind of "change" McCain is talking about on the economy isn't the kind of change we want. Rather, he's just relying on the already discredited "supply-side economics" to justify screwing over working-class people some more.


So are you convinced now? John McCain isn't our friend on the pocketbook issues that matter to us so much these days. He won't do anything about unemployment. He won't fix our broken trade regime. He won't forego additional needless tax cuts for the ├╝ber-wealthy to help struggling working people. He won't protect Social Security from dangerous privatization schemes. He's simply another Republican pandering to Wall Street while he ignores the cries for help on Main Street.

Oh, and before I go, let me show you these videos. When I saw them, they helped me see the big picture. And yes, they also shoe what John McCain is all about. Do you want this guy deciding how to steer our economy?




Gay Marriage in Norway!


From the Associated Press:
Gay couples in Norway will be granted the same rights as heterosexuals to marry, adopt and undergo artificial insemination under a new equality law passed Tuesday.

Norway's upper house of parliament voted 23-17 in favor of the gender-neutral marriage law on the same day that gay couples were marrying in California.

The law replaces 1993 legislation that gave gays the right to enter civil unions similar to marriage but did not allow church weddings or adoption. It takes effect Jan. 1.

Norway joins Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, South Africa, and Spain as the only six nations in the world where gays and lesbians are allowed to marry. California recently began allowing gays and lesbians to marry as a result of a court decision. The state of Massachusetts passed a gay marriage law in response another court decision. Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, these marriages do not get any of the 1,138 benefits, rights, and protections afforded to married heterosexual couples.

Since this is an election season, let's review where the candidates stand on this issue. The research on John McCain--analyzed by atdnext last week--uncovers some very uncomfortable facts. Although John McCain voted against the federal anti-gay marriage amendment, he signed a petition for a referendum on an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Arizona state constitution. Senator McCain seems to believe that states should be allowed to make their own decisions on gay marriage. So while he opposed the federal ban, he supported the state ban and even cut an ad:



He discussed his personal views at the Hardball College Tour in Iowa in 2006:

"On the issue of gay marriage, I do believe, and I think it's a correct policy that the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, a marriage between man and woman, should have a unique status. But I`m not for depriving any other group of Americans from having rights. But I do believe that there is something that is unique between marriage between a man and a woman, and I believe it should be protected."

In this video, McCain explains that while he doesn't have problem with gay marriage, in that he doesn't have a problem with the ceremony, the marriage should not confer any rights.



If that doesn't send a chill down your spine, maybe this will. In the fall of 2007, a judge in Iowa struck down the state's ban on gay marriage. Fox News wrote this about his response to that ruling:

Republican White House hopeful John McCain called the ruling "a loss for the traditional family."

"I have always supported the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman," he said. "The ruling of the court only reinforces my belief that we must have a president who is committed to appointing strict constructionists to the bench."

Last week, I discussed the polling data for Senate races and the history of judicial nominations. Given the likely make-up of the Senate in 2009 and the Democrats’ history of capitulating to Republican presidents, electing John McCain will ensure that he will follow through on his threat promise to appoint more “strict constructionist judges” to the Supreme Court.

Senator Obama has a much gay-friendlier position. He discussed the importance of same-sex couples receiving the same benefits of marriage as married heterosexual couples at a 2007 forum on gay issues sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC):



This week, Jack Trapper (ABC News) asked Senator Obama about his pledge to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, in light of the California Supreme Court decision. Would he reconsider his position in light of this ruling?

"No," said Obama. "I still think that these are decisions that need to be made at a state and local level. . . . As president, my job is to make sure that the federal government is not discriminating and that we maintain the federal government's historic role in not meddling with what states are doing when it comes to marriage law."

Asked "does it bother you, what California is doing," Obama again answered, "no."

Given the very painful personal price I am currently paying for our nation's marriage laws, I cannot in good conscience do anything but join Hillary and support Barack Obama.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

John McSame

Great news today from The Fix at the Washington Post. For months, even before the end of the primary battle, Democrats have been working hard to make the case the John McCain is running for George Bush's third term. New polling data indicates that the message is beginning to stick:
It's hard to miss the message. And, according to a new poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News voters are internalizing the message. Thirty eight percent of those surveyed said McCain would take the country in a "new" direction, while 57 percent said a McCain administration would mostly keep America on the "same" course.

In a New York Times/CBS poll conducted earlier this month, 43 percent of respondents said McCain would "continue Bush's policies," 28 percent said McCain would be less conservative than Bush, and 21 percent said McCain would be more conservative.

Given the current mood in the country, this can only be good news for Democrats. Last month, a Washington Post--ABC News poll found that Americans had their gloomiest outlook since 1992 when Americans elected a man from a town called Hope. A record 82% of Americans feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

When I heard that the Obama campaign was moving much of the DNC's political and organizing operations, I was justifiably concerned about the party becoming so entangled with the campaign that it was unable to act independently of Senator Obama. If, however, this move and other efforts to limit independent efforts by 527s keep Democrats on message, the campaign could be setting us up for a big victory in November.

But we should not get complacent. Looking at the daily tracking polls, Rasmussen has Obama up 45-41 and with leaners are added in, Obama is up 48-45. Obama is carrying 79% of Democrats while McCain is carrying 85% of Republicans. Among independents, Obama is leading 46-41. Even though Obama is not doing as well amogn Democrats as McCain is among Republicans, he still holds a (statistically insignificant) lead. Efforts to unite the party must begin continue.

Other polling data has found a big opening--and a big potential weakness--for Demcorats. A report just released by Rasmussen indicates that impression of both candidates are fluid:

In December, before the Iowa caucuses launched Obama’s successful campaign for the nomination, the Illinois Senator was seen as politically liberal by 47% of voters nationwide. By April, that number had grown to 54%. Today, 67% see him as politically liberal including 36% who say he is Very Liberal.

A similar pattern is seen for John McCain. The presumptive Republican nominee was seen as politically conservative by 31% of all voters in December, by 41% in April, and by 67% today. Just 19% say he is Very Conservative.

Given that John McCain has been in the public arena for some time, these are stunning numbers. They indicate that public attitudes toward the so-called Maverick have not hardened and that Democrats have the opportunity to shape his image just yet.

These numbers also indicate that Senator Obama is just as vulnerable. Indeed, Rasmussen issued a report last week that showed that 41% of voters believe he does not have enough experience to be president.

We are starting strong, but we have our work cut out for us. Just in case you forgot, this is the mentality that we are fighting against:

T-shirt designs from a conservative website echoing the arguments that VRWC is making right now.

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Good News Open Thread

Hey, everyone! Have you seen today's numbers from Electoral-Vote.com and FiveThirtyEight.com? Both show Obama trouncing McBush in the electoral vote! 538.com has it at Obama 334 to McCain 204. Isn't that awesome?

OK, enough of my good news... What's yours? Got any good headlines to share with us? Or good vibes from the blogs? Share with me... I'll listen!

Consider this an open thread. It's all yours! :-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Republican Values

Are these your values?







Vote McCain! Support Republican Values!


The McCain Myth: Environment & The Climate Crisis

Laguna 9

As we've all heard, John McCain is described by the corporate media as a "maverick" and a "moderate". And for some reason, we are actually expected to believe this BS. One HUGE example is with the environment and the climate crisis.
We've been told that McCain is "pro-environment", and that he understands the severity of global warming. But upon further observation, this whole notion of "McCain the Lovable Greenie Maverick" comes into question. Just how "maverick" is he on environmental issues?


When he actually judge McCain's actions against his rhetoric, he falls short. Go ahead, take a look at what McCain has actually proposed this year. Why won't he even support the Warner-Lieberman "Climate Security Act", the most watered down and pro-polluter climate change bill currently in the Senate? And why won't he even propose to do as President what the Lieberman-Warner bill proposes? McCain's current "plan" would set in place a very weak cap-and-trade system with hardly any mandate to lower carbon emissions, no guarantee of 100% auctioning of carbon credits, and no plan to build a "greener economy". McCain currently opposes the Boxer-Sanders plan in the Senate that most climate experts believe is the best legislation in Congress now that's tackling the climate crisis, and his proposals fall far short of what Hillary Clinton proposed as a Presidential Candidate and what Barack Obama is proposing now.


And wait, it gets worse. In case you haven't heard, McCain now supports offshore oil drilling! Now how the heck does offshore drilling lead to a cleaner and greener energy future? Oh yes, and if McCain didn't look like enough of a pushover for oil companies, get a load of this: He recently announced that he opposes any windfall profits tax on Big Oil that would help raise the revenues needed to invest in real clean energy solutions! Now how in the world is that "eco-friendly"?! I don't get it.

So go ahead, compare and contrast what McCain thinks on environmental issues to what Barack Obama thinks. Don't you see a rather BIG difference? McCain talks tough, but doesn't deliver. That's why the League of Conservation Voters gives McCain a lifetime green score of 26%, a full 70% lower than Obama's lifetime score of 96%. Now who really sounds like the earth-friendly candidate in the race? Need we ask Al Gore?

For me, for "The Goracle", for Hillary, for the environmentalist community... For all of us, the answer is clear. John McCain may be better on environmental matters than much of his Republican Party, but he's still not much different from Bush & Cheney. He's all talk, but little action. And when we have an entire planet in peril, we don't need any more nice talk... We need real action.

Who the Hell is Psychodrew?

When discussing our blog on MyDD yesterday, I received the following replies:

Clintonistas for Obama is not a blog by Hillary supporters. It is paid for and created by the Obama campaign.

Brain washed Obama Cult followes assume we are all stupid. They are wrong.

They are in for the shock of their lives in November.


Stop this charade.

You are not a Clintonista. You are a paid Obama blogger. You are not fooling anyone.

I won't identify the commenter, as I'm not sure if this person is a Clintonista or a Republican troll. You can read the thread here. However, I realized that in setting up this blog, we perhaps missed one essential step.

While some of the others are better known in the blogosphere, I am a relative newcomer. I've been reading blogs on and off since last summer, but I didn't jump in and start posting my own diaries at Daily Kos until this past January. For those who doubt my credentials as a Clintonista, I invite you to read some of what I wrote:

In “Why Xerox Matters,” I argued that Hillary was justified in questioning the authenticity of Obama’s message at the debate in Texas in which she referred to his borrowing passages from his supporter’s speeches as “change you can Xerox.” In “A President Who Understands Me,” I described why I became a Hillary Clinton supporter:

Time and again throughout her life in and out of the spotlight, both as a politician and the spouse of a politician, Hillary Clinton has had to choose between was it best for herself and what is best for others. She has made difficult choices, putting her husband, her daughter, and her country before herself. Attacked from the right for being too unconventional, attacked from the left for not being unconventional enough, Hillary has been remained committed to one principle—public service is about putting the interests of others before oneself.

SNIP

When I see Hillary, I see somebody who has faced similar impossible choices. She has faced them because she is a woman, she was criticized for them because she was a public figure supporting her husband's career, and yet she soldiers forward. To me, that is inspiring. For the first time, I have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who understands people like me, people who live at the margins of society, people for whom there are no easy choices. That is why I am supporting Senator Hillary Clinton. That is why I hope you give her another look. That is why I am standing by her no matter where the campaign goes this week.

In “Some Inconvenient Findings for Obama,” I discussed polling data which showed that the majority of Democratic voters—including Obama supporters—felt that the super delegates should support the winner of the popular vote rather than the winner of the pledged delegate lead:

The other inconvenient finding is that, in the event that one candidate wins the most popular votes while the other candidate receives the most pledged delegates 59% of Democratic primary voters believe that superdelegates should support the candidate who receives the majority of the popular vote. Only 26% believed that the superdelegates should go with the winner of the pledged delegates.

I went on to argue that Obama was “dragging his feet” on re-votes in Michigan and Florida because of this polling data. I got clobbered, CLOBBERED in the comments.

On March 15, tired of the negative atmosphere at Daily Kos, the Clinton bloggers, myself included, led by Alegre, left Daily Kos. Here is my comment pledging solidarity with the other striking bloggers. I have returned twice—once to post a unity diary that was somewhat well received, the other to research this diary.

I continued blogging at MyDD. I have attacked Bob Herbert for accusing Hillary Clinton of playing the race card in "Bob Herbert, Hypocrite" and in "An Outrage to All of Us," I criticized him for blaming Obama's poor showing among blue-collar workers on racism.

I also went after Senator Obama over NAFTA and Bittergate. In "Another Obama 'Mistake,'" I challenged his integrity. In "Where is the Outrage," I argued that if Obama were in second and in need of re-votes in Michigan and Florida, the media and the DNC would be treating the issue differently. I discussed the issue again after the Pennsylvania primary in "The Nightmare Scenario." In "...At the Expense of Everything Else," I argued that accusations of racial bias being hurled at the Clintons would devastate the party.

If anybody is still not convinced, then I point you to the most ridiculed and detested of all pro-Hillary sites, No Quarter, where six of my diaries from MyDD and Daily Kos were posted.

For the record, I absolutely stand by every single word I wrote. I take none of it back. Even if you disagreed with my analysis, nobody could dispute that I sourced all of my facts.

So how can I go from having written all of these critical diaries to supporting Senator Obama? For me, it's simple. It's health care. It's the war. It's gay rights. It's the economy. On all of the issues, if Obama loses, America loses. We had a tough primary fight and I am not happy--not at all happy--with the outcome. But the primary battle is over, and as my hero, the finest Democrat I've ever had the honor of voting for, put it:

I entered this race because I have an old-fashioned conviction that public service is about helping people solve their problems and live their dreams. I've had every opportunity and blessing in my own life, and I want the same for all Americans.

And until that day comes, you'll always find me on the front lines of democracy, fighting for the future.

The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States.

SNIP

You know, I've been involved in politics and public life in one way or another for four decades. And during those ... during those 40 years our country has voted 10 times for president. Democrats won only three of those times, and the man who won two of those elections is with us today.

We made tremendous progress during the '90s under a Democratic president, with a flourishing economy and our leadership for peace and security respected around the world.

Just think how much more progress we could have made over the past 40 years if we'd had a Democratic president. Think about the lost opportunities of these past seven years on the environment and the economy, on health care and civil rights, on education, foreign policy and the Supreme Court.

Imagine how far ... we could have come, how much we could have achieved if we had just had a Democrat in the White House.

We cannot let this moment slip away. We have come too far and accomplished too much.

SNIP

So I want to say to my supporters: When you hear people saying or think to yourself, If only, or, What if, I say, please, don't go there. Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.

Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama is our next president.

What Would Hillary Do?

Would Hillary approve of all this talk about voting for John McCain?



Hillary ran for president because she loves this country. She loves the United States of America and she doesn't want to see us fall behind. As she said, we need to "reverse" our course immediately. Would John McCain bring that change?

Factcheck.org examined Barack Obama's claims that John McCain is not the maverick he claims to be. According to their analysis, John McCain voted with the president 95% of the time in 2007:

The claim is true. According to Congressional Quarterly's Voting Studies, in 2007 McCain voted in line with the president's position 95 percent of the time – the highest percentage rate for McCain since Bush took office – and voted in line with his party 90 percent of the time. However, McCain's support of President Bush's position has been as low as 77 percent (in 2005), and his support for his party's position has been as low as 67 percent (2001).

So he voted against his party until he started running for president. Is that leadership "we can believe in?"



We here at Clintonistas for Obama have been trying to make the case that John McCain does not share Hillary Clinton's values. He does not support universal health care and his record on women's issues is delporable. This analysis by Factcheck.org makes clear that if McCain ever were a maverick, it ended when he began running for president. So these calls by McCain supporters such as Joe Lieberman to put "country before political party" reaks of hypocrisy.

Many of us are justifiably upset about the events of the campaign season, but supporting John McCain is not the answer. This is an argument Hillary has been making for some time:

"Anybody who has ever voted for me or voted for Barack has much more in common in terms of what we want to see happen in our country and in the world with the other than they do with John McCain," Clinton said on CNN's "The Situation Room."

"I'm going to work my heart out for whoever our nominee is. Obviously, I'm still hoping to be that nominee, but I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that anyone who supported me ... understands what a grave error it would be not to vote for Sen. Obama."

For many of us, myself included, casting a vote for Senator Obama will be difficult, but it is the right thing to do. The McPanderer doesn't share our values. I submit that he will toss us aside after we cast our votes, just as he abondoned his "maverick" voting record to win the GOP nomination.

Join Hillary. Vote for Barack Obama.

Monday, June 16, 2008

On Hillary's Future in the party

(This is cross-posted at The Symposium and myDD

About me: To be honest the last election cycle where I was a Clinton fan was in 1996. I adored Bill in 1992 when he ran as a change agent. However Hillary in 2000, 2006 never really appealed to me as I am a mid-west farm boy and New York is a long way away from the prairie both geographically and culturally. I am guessing because I tend to support insurgents played a big part in my support in 2008. I started off supporting John Edwards and then decided in February to back Obama. As at the beginning Hillary did a Rose Garden strategy which I am never fond of. I will admit that by May I was extremely impressed with her candidacy. I was invited to join by atd, and will contribute occasionally when my articles fit this blog.

So On Hillary's Future...

Despite my views I desperately want Sen. Clinton to have a prominent role in the party. In fact I have even donated to her and plan to again in July if her debt is not yet retired. I hold this position because I have come to realize the great political strength she has obtained. This would be the ability to neutralize the education factor. Since 2000 democrats have been labeled as a party of egg-heads and intellectuals. This is a great weakness in winning elections as the high school educated vote, while shrinking, is still a large block. These folks voted for Bush in 2004 and were barely won by Gore in 2000, however Senator Clinton was able to draw this cohort in not only the primary but in general election polling as well. Her appeals to the this class were viewed differently from other candidates appeals. Even John Edwards who was considered in the conventional wisdom as the candidate of the white working class, the traditional union folks, was not able to beat Hillary among this group in Iowa or any other state he competed in. Nate has an article about this here. Obama was only able to win this group when the race was a landslide (see Wisconsin). Her appeal to this group is close to unique among democrats as the other prominent national democrats like Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and Ted Kennedy all have great appeal to college educated democrats. (please note that I am not pigeon-holing Hillary's support as all high school educated folks but instead saying that she has great strength there that is not often seen in today's democratic party).

Now I honestly don't know if she would be able to get these cohort of voters to vote for Obama in the fall, but if she were able to; then she is the only choice to consider as veep. If Obama could even hold high school educated voters to a draw he wins in a landslide of epic proportions as he will dominate the college educated vote. However if Sen. Clinton isn't the VP candidate I hope that she has a very prominent role to play n the national stage.

No other democrat in today's party shows this great of strength among this cohort. Nate Silver over at 538 did a great run down of this:
538 The high school educated vote has been trending away from the democrats since Bill Clinton's presidency. To see proof that Hillary truly neutralized the education factor Nate also did this article. These graphs were prepared before Clinton hit her full stride but it is clear that she connects with the block of voters who have attained a high school education much better than Obama.

Now this polling was done in April which was Obama's nadir. But imagine a democratic party that has people speaking not only to the college educated crowd (like Obama excels at) but also the high school educated crowd (which Hillary excels at). To you doesn't that seem like a opportunity to change the landscape and make this country a lot more progressive. By performing better among high school educated voters Obama could turn his projected dominating victory into a landslide of epic proportions. If this also had coat tails we could be looking at a Senate with 62 democrats (counting Sanders but not Lieberman) and a house with 300 democratic members. With that big of a majority we could have UHC, sign into law a card-check law, repeal the Bush tax cuts, reform NCLB. The sky is the limit for the change that could occur.

For recent history the democrats have ceded the high school vote. They have done almost well enough among college and post grads to win but not quite. Obama looks like he will perform better than Gore or Kerry among college educated voters, but by strengthening his position among high school educated voters the map would be a lot bluer.

I wasn't very receptive to her message in the primary but I hope that Hillary Clinton keeps the prominent position she has now. She connects to voters that agree with democratic positions, but don't typically vote democratic, the party would be a ship of fools not to look at her strengths and make sure that she is a leader on the national stage. If Obama doesn't pick her as VP, I will be a huge backer of her for Senate Majority Leader, she has proven in the past that she can work with republicans to get things done, and from that prominent position she could bring a whole lot of new voters into the party, combine that with the level of new registrations being done with Senator Obama's campaign and places like Georgia and Louisiana just might be in play. Or if she doesn't want that then I will be a backer of whatever she wants. The democratic party needs a voice like hers in order to become truly dominant.

If the democrats do this they can have their cake and eat it too and flip Karl Rove's dreams of a republican majority upside down.


Peace,

Student Guy

PUMA: Anti-Progressive, Anti-Democratic, Anti-Hillary

(Cross-posted at MyDD)

The more I hear about the "Just Say No Deal"/"PUMA"/"Stop Obama" coalition, the more perplexed I become. They say they're not aligned with the GOP, but many of them are explicitly out to elect John McBush over Barack Obama this fall. They say they're all out to "change" the Democratic Party after seeing what happened to Hillary Clinton, but they seem to think they can "change" the party by leaving the party. They claim to be standing up for "progressive" principles, yet they are now opposing the one candidate left in the Presidential Race who will work for the progressive cause when elected President.

So how exactly do we make sense of "PUMA"? Follow me down below to find out...

Ever since January, The Confluence has been a must-read for me. Back when it was a pro-Hillary blog, I loved to escape to this refuge from the nastiness present at major progressive blogs like Daily Kos. But over time, I've noticed a subtle change at this and other soon-to-be "PUMA" sites like No Quarter. Over time, my once favorite blogs became less pro-Hillary and more anti-Obama. And now, these sites have become just as nasty in their anti-Obama zeal as Kos was anti-Hillary.

But hold on, it isn't just the nastiness of "PUMA" that disturbs me. It's their self-defeating effort to "preserve progressive values". I mean, haven't we all complained about the ugly, misogynistic treatment given to Hillary by the media elite? So why should we now cheer on the ugly, misogynistic treatment now given to Michelle Obama? Haven't we all admired Hillary's hard work for universal health care, children's issues, women's rights, world peace, and so much more? So why should we now throw support to someone who opposes nearly everything that Hillary has fought so hard for?

Aren't there better ways for Hillary Clinton Democrats to channel the anger from the primaries? After all if we don't like what the DNC is doing, we can reform it. If we don't like what happened to Hillary, we can change the system to ensure no good Democratic woman suffers what Hillary has suffered through. If we want to promote Hillary's causes, we can elect a Democratic President & Democratic Congress to make sure we see progress on these causes. I just can't understand the "logic" of PUMA in focusing all their attention on stopping Obama and helping (directly or indirectly) John McBush.

Hillary isn't helped if we elect McBush. PUMA's efforts now will come back to bite them later. It will come back to bite them when President McBush kills universal health care, does nothing to make the economy work for working people, obliterates our Constitutional rights, destroys our civil rights, keeps our troops in the quagmire in Iraq, does nothing to actually make this nation more secure, ignores the climate crisis, and keeps this nation on the wrong track. Is this what Hillary would want us to do? Make this guy our next President?

I sympathize with all of those who are still hurting from Hillary's decision to step out of the race. I was crying as well. But when I really thought about it, I realized why she did it. Hillary cares about this nation more than her own personal ambitions, so she's supporting Barack Obama for President in order to make our dreams into reality.

So really, these "PUMA" folks need to stop and think before they carry on. What would Hillary really want us to do to support the causes close to her heart? What should we do as Democrats to strengthen our party? What should we do as progressives to ensure our nation moves forward? The answer for me is clear. And if "PUMA" actually still thinks what they're doing is pro-Hillary, pro-Democratic, and pro-progressive, then I think they're sorely mistaken.

{And btw, please join me in fighting the smears! :-) }

I Won't Be Coming Home Again

TalkLeft had an interesting post about a story in the The New Yorker, discussing requests by MSNBC executives to moderator Keith Olbermann to back off his sharp criticism of Senator Hillary Clinton:


At MSNBC, Phil Griffin was worried, and with good reason. The average “Countdown” viewer is fifty-nine years old, and forty-five per cent of the viewers are women, presumably Democratic—a fair description of a Hillary Clinton supporter. Griffin believed that Olbermann was beginning to alienate his core audience, and asked him to ease up a bit on Clinton, and possibly even make some conciliatory gesture to the Clinton camp.

Unfortunately, Phil Griffin is making the same mistake that many Democratic officials are making with respect to the presidential race. He assumes that angry Clinton supporters will just “come home”:


But, just as Obama must work to win Clinton supporters for the fall campaign, Phil Griffin has to repair a fractured audience base, a portion of which saw sexism in his network’s Clinton coverage and vowed to boycott MSNBC. Griffin knows that some of that anger is aimed at his star anchor. “It was, like, you meet a guy and you fall in love with him, and he’s funny and he’s clever and he’s witty, and he’s all these great things,” Griffin said of the relationship between Olbermann and the Clinton supporters among his viewers. “And then you commit yourself to him, and he turns out to be a jerk and difficult and brutal. And that is how the Hillary viewers see him. It’s true. But I do think they’re going to come back. There’s nowhere else to go.

I stopped listening to (via podcast, I live overseas) to Keith Olbermann more than a year ago because his anger became too much for me. At the end of every show, I was angry, frustrated, and pessimistic about the future of my country. Countdown was not my home before the election cycle and certainly won’t be returning to it. But MSNBC was my home. It has been my preferred new sources for many years and was the first news source I would check every morning.

I think that taking for granted that Clinton supporters will just flock back to Keith Olbermann and MSNBC is as unwise as Democrats assuming that Democrats will rally around the nominee. From E.J. Dionne, Jr at the Washington Post:


In a report released yesterday, Gallup found that where McCain was winning 85 percent of self-identified Republicans, Obama was winning only 78 percent of Democrats.

Yet Obama led McCain 48 percent to 42 percent in the survey, which was conducted June 5-10. Obama enjoyed a seven-point advantage among independents, but Gallup noted that even when independents were excluded, Obama still had a five-point lead because Democrats now outnumber Republicans 37 to 28 percent. When independents were asked their partisan leanings, the Democratic advantage reached 13 points.

In 2004, Kerry carried 89 percent of the vote among self-identified Democrats, according to the network exit poll, but Democrats and Republicans accounted for equal shares of the electorate. President Bush won with an even larger share (93 percent) of supporters of his own party.

That was Friday. This is today:


Voters are closely divided between Barack Obama and John McCain in Gallup Poll Daily tracking conducted June 12-14, with 44% of national registered voters favoring Obama for president and 42% backing McCain.

SNIP

Although the margin between Obama and McCain is now similar to what it was in the last few weeks of the Democratic primary race, the structure of the race looks slightly different than at any other time this year as a result of the relatively high percentage of voters -- 15% -- not favoring either major-party candidate. This includes 7% of voters who say they are undecided and 8% who say they will not vote for either candidate (including 1% who volunteer they will vote for another specific candidate).

As a result, the percentages of Americans now supporting Obama and McCain are near the lowest seen for either candidate since Gallup Poll Daily tracking on the Obama-McCain matchup started in early March, and well below the high of 48% achieved by each at them at various times.

I submit that many of the 8% are Clinton supporters who won’t vote for Obama, but can’t bring themselves to support John McCain. These voters are up for grabs and John McCain has been making a major play for them:



At the beginning of this process, in January 2007, I promised myself that I would support the Democratic nominee no matter what. As disgusted as I am with the outcome, I am sticking to the promise and supporting Senator Obama. In a sense, I am “coming home” to the Democratic Party. But I won’t be doing the same for MSNBC.

Frankly, I don’t care if my not watching MSNBC has any practical effect on its ratings. For me, this is about my dignity. My candidate was drug through the mud—a victim of sexism and accused of racism and narcissistic ambition—while prominent Democrats stood silent, snickered, or sometimes, participated in the piling on. I’ll swallow my pride and support the party, but I’m drawing the line at where I get my news.

The behavior of the MSNBC “commentariat” was deplorable and they have largely been unapologetic about their behavior. In fact, Keith Olbermann excoriated Katie Couric when she suggested that sexism had reared it’s head in some of the coverage:



I may be forced to come home to the Democratic Party because there is no alternative that does not mean my acting against my own self interest. However, there most assuredly are alternatives to MSNBC, and the mainstream media need to be aware that dissatisfaction with the fourth estate is driving people to find and support alternatives. The internet has provided new platforms for delivering and discussing news. Thumbing his nose at those risks makes Phil Griffin--and MSNBC--as vulnerable as Democrats who assume that the Clinton supporters won't pursue their own at the ballot box.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

McCain's Position on Justice


The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled twice now that detainees held without charge at GITMO have rights to demand in civilian courts that their detention is justified. Last Thursday, the majority again ruled in favor of habeas corpus. Unbelievably, John McCain was against this decision.

Habeas corpus is one of the embedded, bedrock values of America known and respected across the world. That is, until the Bush administration demolished it in the form of the Military Commissions Act. John McCain thinks the decision of the highest court in the land is one of the worst decisions they could have made.
"John McCain,..... told a crowd of supporters in New Jersey Friday that the Supreme Court’s latest Guantanamo Bay ruling is “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”
McCain doesn't seem to understand the basic tenets of our Constitution, and that should deeply worry people. His reaction to a reinstitution of habeas corpus shows a deep disregard for the law and for civil rights.

Hillary Clinton, in contrast, said this in a speech in April:
"I’ll end the use of signing statements to rewrite the laws that Congress has passed. I’ll shut down Guantanamo, disavow torture and restore the right of Habeas Corpus."
She understands the value of the most basic laws allowing people to know why they have been incarcerated. So does Obama, who also stated that this was the right decision. Habeas corpus is a fundamental American right, and John McCain is apparently against it! Does he know the U.S. Constitution's suspension clause states:
"The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
Principles of habeas corpus are also embodied in the 5th, 6th 7th amendments to the Constitution. Habeas gives people the rights to know their accuser, to know what the charges against them are, and related Constitutional rights that guarantee the right to a speedy and fair trial. This means John McCain wants to preserve an unfair system of justice for prisoners, (and by proxy, for everyone).
"After first insisting that federal law clearly and unambiguously outlaw “torture,” McCain suddenly caved to White House pressure on the MCA, allowing the Administration to insert into the law a clause that effectively allows (and, indeed, legally buttresses the efforts of) the executive branch to implement torture as a means of interrogation.

Without McCain’s pander, there would have been no bad law for the Court to strike down last week."
Both Hillary and Obama voted against the Military Commissions Act. But McCain helped write it. It's clear that McCain doesn't respect the rights guaranteed to people by the Constitution of the United States. If that doesn't indicate what type of a president he would be, nothing does!

The McPanderer Feels Your Pain

Yesterday, the McPanderer held a virtual town hall (read: conference call) with supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton. I wanted to participate, but living overseas prevented me from being on the call.

As expected, Senator McCain rolled out token female supporter Carly Fiorina to offer empathy for Senator Clinton’s uphill battle in the campaign:

"Having started as a secretary and eventually become a chief-executive officer, I not only have great admiration and respect for Hillary Clinton and her candidacy and her leadership, but I also have great empathy, I must tell you, for what she went through," Fiorina said.

McCain himself went out of his way to offer her praise—something he didn’t do when she was getting beat up by his fellow Republicans during the GOP debates last fall and this spring:

"I respect and admire the campaign that she ran," McCain said. Every place I go, I'm told that Sen. Clinton inspired millions of young women in this country. And not just young women, but young Americans."

He also talked about his commitment to put more females in prominent positions in government:

"I have, time after time, urged my party look, we have a lot of women who are more than qualified, more than capable of governing this country," he said, citing Fiorina, former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as role models.

"At the end of my first term, you will see a dramatic increase of women in every part of the government of my administration," he said to applause.

Participants in the conference call town hall had to register in advance at Citizens for McCain at his website:


I didn’t participate in the conference call, but I’m sure that Senator McCain didn’t mention his position on fair pay, which I wrote about this week:

According to this report, although women only make 77 cents for each dollar a man earns, John McCain opposed legislation to make it easier for women to file equal pay lawsuits:

But earlier this year, McCain opposed critical legislation needed to advance women’s right to equal pay. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act responded to last year’s Supreme Court decision preventing Ledbetter from recovering damages for years of discriminatory pay. The Court required lawsuits to be filed within 180 days of the day the discrimination began, rather than within 180 days of the most recent discriminatory act—even if the victims of discrimination had no way to know they were being paid less at the time the discrimination began.

When asked about his opposition by a teenage girl, he said that the bill was too friendly for trial lawyers. He proposes to address the unfair pay issue by encouraging women to pursue more education and training. He also opposes increasing the minimum wage and nearly 60 percent of minimum wage earners are women.

I’m also guessing that he didn’t spend much time on views on abortion, summarized by atdnext last week. And I’m also guessing that he didn’t repeat his pledge to endorse “strict constructionist judges” to the Supreme Court.

John McCain is not a maverick. He is not a moderate. He is a conservative Republican who opposes abortion, universal health, and fair pay wants to pack the court with Justice Alito clones. His newfound concern for women is disingenuous and will end as soon as he gets what he wants from them—their votes.