Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thoughts on the Two Unities

I live on the other side of the planet, so my thoughts are coming a little later than everyone else’s. I watched the Youtube clip of the Clinton-Obama unity rally. Well, let me correct that. I watched the first 19 minutes.

My first thought was that they were both good actors or that the affection they shared was genuine. It was great seeing Hillary on stage and I loved it when she admonished the crowd for passing on the opportunity compliment her youth. I also enjoyed listening to her bash John McCain.

Some things I didn’t like included the crowd scream “Obama” during her speech and hearing her repeat Obama’s campaign slogans—“yes we can” and “change you can believe in.”

I liked that Senator Obama began by thanking Senator Clinton, but that was as much as I listened to. I haven’t been able to watch him give any kind of speech since his race speech in March. After he began speaking, I closed the tab and moved on to something else.

This event could not have been easy for Senator Clinton. As a Clintonista who remains loyal to Hillary, watching her give this speech was difficult. I know that rallying around the nominee is the right thing to do. I know it. It’s not easy, but it is the right decision. That’s what I keep telling myself. My head and the woman I admire so much are telling me to support the nominee and that's what I'm doing.

However, as "cute" as this event was, I didn’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling at the end (of course, I didn’t watch Obama’s speech, but that probably would have made me feel worse). For me, the event was a step backwards. The sight of Hillary on that stage saying “change we can believe in” made me sick. If she is going to go around the country campaigning for him, if she is going to send emails to her supporters asking us to support him, if she is going to ask her donors to donate to his campaign, if she is going to reach out and work for him, there needs to be reciprocation.

Barack Obama is the nominee. Under the rules of our party, he won fair and square and I accept his nomination as legitimate. However, it bears noting that he barely won. 49% of the Democratic primary voters voted against him. The day after the infamous Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) meeting, Hillary won Puerto Rico. The day he clinched the nomination, she won South Dakota. She is not an also-ran like Chris Dodd, who didn’t make it out of Iowa, or Bill Richardson, who dropped out after New Hampshire.

Unity is not going to be the Clintonistas burning their Hillary signs and opening up their wallets for Senator Obama. If Senator Obama wants to unite this party for the fall election and for governing the country as president, he needs to acknowledge that Hillary is a force in the party. He needs to include her and her supporters rather than demand submission. That means hiring her staff. That means asking his donors—all of his donors—to give money to her campaign. (Why should we open his wallet for him if his people won’t do it for her? Being the nominee is enough to get my vote, but not my money.) That means giving her a prominent role at the convention. That means no more bullshit reminders that she's not in charge (ie: the RBC meeting where he stole four of her Michigan delegates). Only if such concrete steps are taken will many of us feel invested in the nominee of the party.

There are some who think it’s not that important. Some people think that enough of us will "get over it" and vote for Obama that it isn't necessary to reach out to the Clintonistas. Some think we need to just shut up and go away. They love to quote polling data and projections from

But I would remind everyone that Bush had low approval ratings four years ago at this time. He was presiding over an unpopular war and he was on the verge of becoming the first president since Herbert Hoover to shed jobs on his watch. In 2004, even after the lessons of 2000, "anybody but Bush" was not enough to put Kerry over the top.

In 2008, we have an infinitely more talented nominee (no offense to Sen. Kerry), but we also face a GOP nominee who is more respected that George Bush. We have a huge financial advantage, but we face opponents that have tricks up their sleeves and decades of experience smearing Democrats.

I am very confident that Senator Obama is going to mop the floor with McCain this fall, but a united Democratic Party makes that task much easier. We don't need to have our butts kissed and nobody is expecting apologies for the rough campaign. What many of us expect is that we will be included rather than coerced.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The McPanderer Strikes Again

In 2000, John McCain went to South Carolina to campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in the midst of a debate over whether the confederate flag should fly over the state capital building. In the run-up to the primary, McCain and the other GOP candidates, when asked about their views, said that it was a local matter and that they should not weigh in. Democrats Al Gore and Bill Bradley came out against the flag.

After John McCain lost the South Carolina primary 52-43, he came out against the flag and confessed that he had secretly opposed the flag, but declined to speak out because he didn’t want to lose the primary:

"I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles. I broke my promise to always tell the truth," said the Arizona senator.

The “maverick” pandered to prejudiced voters in order to win an election. Is history repeating itself?

In 2004 and in 2006, Senator McCain voted against an amendment to ban gay marriage. He argued that the amendment violated the principles of state’s rights, the right for each state to govern itself without federal interference. He steadfastly maintained his opposition to same sex marriage (couched, of course, in support for “traditional marriage”), yet opposed these amendments.

In 2006, he came out in support of an amendment in his home state of Arizona and even cut a TV ad in support of the effort. That amendment was so extreme, forbidding any legal recognition of same-sex couples, that it became the first such amendment to fail at the ballot box.

Now it’s 2008 and John McCain is running for president again. How much does the principle of state’s rights matter to McCain? How important is it that states set their own course without interference from Washington DC?

Today, Senator McCain emailed this statement to Protect Marriage, the group behind the effort to end gay marriage in California:

"I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona. I do not believe judges should be making these decisions."

Why the sudden willingness to interfere in state affairs? Could it be troubles with his own Republican base? For John McCain to have any chance of winning the White House in November, it is believed that he absolutely must hold the state of Ohio.

Yesterday, at a meeting with evangelical leaders in Ohio, he was told that he needed to tow their line if he wanted a shot at the White House. From Phil Burress, the bigot activist who led the anti-gay marriage movement in 2004:

"We told him that if he didn't come out and share his pro-family stances on these issues, then he can kiss Ohio goodbye," Burress said. "We can't deliver his message for him."

Shortly after the meeting, McCain issued his statement to Protect Marriage. He was also reportedly heading to North Carolina for a meeting with Rev. Franklin Graham, son of respected evangelical leader Billy Graham. He is also reportedly reaching out to Dr. Dobson, who has repeatedly stated that he will not vote for McCain because he doubt's the maverick's conservative credentials.

So it's another election and another local issue in another tough state for the maverick. This time he speaks out. Is this a principled stand? Maybe. He regretted not having spoken out in South Carolina in 2000. Or is this shameless pandering, a statement issued to appease his evangelical supporters in an important swing state? The Ohio evangelicals were certainly pleased with his actions. From the LA Times:

And, according to participants, he indicated that he would take seriously their requests that he choose an anti-abortion running mate and would talk more openly about his opposition to gay marriage -- a pledge he carried out later in the day by endorsing a ballot measure in California to ban gay marriage.

"It was obvious there were a lot of changed hearts in the room," said Phil Burress, who led Ohio's anti-gay-marriage ballot measure in 2004. "We realized that he's with us on the majority of the issues we care about."

So, is history repeating itself? Let’s hope so. In 2000, when the "maverick" pandered, he lost.

Unity... In Unity

In case you missed it...

Barack and Hillary together again... Ah, music to my ears! And this time, they're working together to beat McBush & the Rethuglicans! Wasn't today's "unity" event wonderful?

And btw, can anyone say "O/C Dream Ticket"? I told you so... ;-)

We're Back... FINALLY!!!!

Hey, everyone! I'm so thrilled to be posting again over here! We've had a rough 24 hours here at C4O, but it looks like we've survived.

Basically, you didn't see us here yesterday because the "Spam Police" here at mistook us as "spam", and we were locked out of our own blog until they noticed that they made a HUGE mistake. But now, we're up and running again. We're back... Horray!

So please, consider this an open thread. Talk about whatever you'd like. And hopefully sometime tonight, I'll have some news from the Clinton-Obama Unity Rally in Unity, NH, to share with you. :-)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What Can He Do?

When I posted my unity diary at MyDD, I was asked about what Senator Obama can do to reach out to Clinton supporters. These were my suggestions:

1. Rehabilitate Bill Clinton. His reputation took a huge beating and we believe that he was attacked unfairly.

2. Hire some Clinton campaign officials to prominent positions.

3. I don't understand the technicalities of this, but there as been talk about allowing Hillary's name to appear on the first ballot at he convention.

4. Assure that Hillary gets a prominent speaking role at the convention.

5. I would like to see him offer her the VP so she can turn it down. That would be EXTREMELY helpful. I really don't want her to be VP. The only thing is that I read that if he offered it, she feels like she would HAVE to take it or otherwise she would get blamed if he lost.

6. Email his supporters and ask for help in paying down Hillary's debt.

What are yours?

Good News on the Unity Front

The AFL-CIO officially endorsed Barack Obama yesterday, bringing another important progressive organization on board. In addition, new polling data shows that Democratic voters are beginning to come together. Less than three weeks after Hillary suspended her campaign, more than half of her supporters have decided to support Senator Obama, while nearly one in four are supporting Senator McCain.

The poll found 53 percent of the Democrats who favored Clinton for the nomination two months ago now backing Obama for president. That's an improvement from April, when only 40 percent of Clinton supporters said they would back Obama over McCain.


Twenty-three percent of Clinton's backers picked Republican John McCain over Obama. Of the rest, 16 percent were undecided, 5 percent were for independent candidate Ralph Nader and 3 percent said someone else.

Things are definitely headed in the right direction, and tomorrow’s joint appearance in Unity, NH should be beneficial. However, comments like this from Obama surrogate and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius are not helpful to the unity effort:

Sebelius also said she's not worried about McCain’s effort to woo women angry over Hillary Clinton's loss in the primaries.

"I think the notion that women who supported Hillary Clinton will honor her by voting for John McCain is really lunacy," she said. "There couldn't be a larger difference between what Hillary Clinton thinks is important and where John McCain is."

But Sebelius acknowledged that some of her own supporters who backed Clinton were upset with her for choosing Obama. Other Obama allies, such as Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, have faced a similar backlash.

"There are people who initially were quite unhappy," Sebelius said. "I'm sure that will be there for a while. All of us were torn."

The Obama skeptics are not lunatics. They are not bad Democrats. Their anger—and mine—is justified and nobody should take lightly the task of reaching out to these Democrats and bringing them on board. I have said this before and I will say it again. Democrats underestimate the task of uniting the party at their own peril. When Senator Obama said that we would “get over it” once we learned that Senator McCain was pro-life, he was sadly mistaken.

Many Clintonistas, the contributors at this blog, for example, lost some good friends when we jumped onto the Obama train. We made the jump because we felt it was the right thing to do and we are making efforts to reach out to other Clintonistas to bring them on board as well. Nobody should make light of this effort. There are people who are willing to come back, but they aren’t budging until Senator Obama and the DNC reaches out to them and takes their concerns seriously. Nobody expresses this better than my friend Alegre:

No one here has made a secret of the fact that we're pissed at the DNC for the way they pushed their chosen candidate on us, ignored the attacks on Hillary, and stole delegates from her and overrode the wishes of the voters in Michigan at that charade of an RBC meeting in May.

The DNC's trying to play down this anger and the media are ignoring it altogether. But it's there and the DNC ignores this anger at their own peril. They and Obama need to take some serious steps now to start to repair that damage.

First step is to stop disrespecting Hillary at every turn.

So next time you get a funding appeal or call to action from the DNC, let them know why you won't be helping them out - and what it will take to win your support, your money, and your boots on the ground for them again.

And make sure you cc Howard Dean on the reply...

Seriously - they need to hear from us you guys. Don't let them cruise along thinking we'll "get over it" if they organize a few picnics or rallies.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Will You Please Help Me Help Barack & Hillary?

(Cross-posted at MyDD)

OK, I need to ask you all for help. I'm in need of major help now. You see, I have some friends that need some help so that they can make a HUGE difference in our country very soon. Will you please help me help them?

Well, I'm sure now you know who I'm talking about. Barack Obama needs our help now. We're approaching the ned of the fundraising quarter, and it would be great if we push Obama over the top and give him another record-shattering flood of money so that he'll be ready to crush John McBush and the GOP this fall. Will you please help me help Barack?

Oh wait, and will you also please help me help Hillary Clinton? Hillary still has campaign debt to retire... And the sooner she retires this debt, the more time she can spend making sure Barack wins. Will you please help me free Hillary from this debt?

And finally, will you please help me help my favorite local Democratic women running for Congress? As you very well know by now, Future President Obama will need as many allies as he can to make the progressive agenda we want happen. That's why I'm asking you to help my wonderful Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez help Debbie Cook, the fantastic Huntington Beach, CA, Mayor now running for Congress to defeat one of the craziest Rethuglicans currently in Congress. Please, if you can, help us Southern California Democrats send more awesome Democrats to Congress to help President Obama?

We're approaching the end of the second quarter, the first half of 2008. We only have four more months between now and November to make an impact for Democrats. And while I'm pretty confident now about Obama's chances of winning this fall, we now need to make sure he will have long enough "coattails" to send a flood of new Democrats to Congress so we can get our agenda done. (And by the way, another great place to send money to make this happen is the DNC... Long live the 50 State Strategy!)

OK, so let me provide a summary of how I'd like you to help me help Democrats this year:

- Donate to Barack Obama!

- Donate to Hillary Clinton!

- Donate to My Congressowman's ActBlue page for SoCal Democrats!

- Donate to the DNC to Keep the 50 State Strategy running strong!

So will you help me? Will you help Barack? Will you help Hillary? Will you help Democrats win? I look forward to working with you for victory. ;-)

Hillary 2.0

(Cross-posted at MyDD)

When William Jefferson Clinton was elected president, I was still a young girl living with parents who were determined (especially my father) to instill in me a love for the Republican Party, and a sneering disdain for Democrats in general. I grew up around Right wing radio and Fox News (first launched in 1996). I was supposed to detest Bill Clinton and scoff at his wife. I remember when Hillary made her infamous "baking cookies" remark and did her amusing impression of Tammy Wynette's accent. I remember because I giggled delightedly and beamed at her - and because my father chastised me immediately. But I liked her, and I couldn't help it - and at the time, I liked Bill even more. When my father asked me who I wanted for president, I told him I wanted "the friendly one," much to his dismay. As the 1992 election results rolled in, I sat directly in front of the TV with an irrepressible grin on my face, while my parents emitted exasperated sighs from the other side of the room.

For whatever reason, the Republican party never appealed to me - something about it was offensive, and despite my father's best attempts, I never embraced conservative values. I had the  upbringing of a conservative, the "bleeding heart" of a liberal, and the defiant mind of an Independent, but I would be lying if I pretended that a certain amount of Republican propaganda didn't seep into my head. I would sit in my father's office and play computer games or read as Rush Limbaugh'a barking rants spewed forth from the radio. As a result, I eventually came to strongly dislike Hillary Clinton; Bill seldom bothered me, but his wife... she was just so cold and, well, bitchy. Even as I rejected my parents' conservative beliefs, I couldn't help disliking her, and my annoyance became so deeply ingrained that when she first began her run for the presidency - approximately 14 years after I'd first laid eyes on her - I shook my head and turned up my nose at her candidacy. She was cold, she was calculating, she was bitchy, she was dishonest, she was power hungry: She was the one candidate I could rule out at the beginning.

It took me a good while to warm up to her, and when I finally realized the source of my animosity, I was rightly horrified. She'd been demonized by the Right - perhaps even moreso than her husband - and I'd inadvertently bought into it. What's worse, I'd bought into it on a sexist basis: The Right had painted a strong woman as a bitch, and I'd silently nodded, as had much of the rest of the country.

And now we have another strong woman for the Right to attack. They long ago began the process of vilifying Michelle Obama, and it's largely because she's as strong, affluent, and brilliant as her husband. If we think Hillary was demonized, we haven't seen anything yet; Michelle will be fighting a two front war - she will be attacked on both her race and her gender. (Canadian gal has written an excellent analysis on the sexism Hillary and Michelle have faced.) They will try to demean her and reduce her to nothing more than an angry black woman:

"I want to pick up on something that James said about the "angry black woman". Now look at the image of African American women who are on television. Politically, you have Maxine Waters of California, a liberal Democrat. She's always angry, every time she gets on television. Cynthia McKinney, the former congresswoman from Georgia was another angry black woman. And who are the black women you see on the local news at night in cities all over the country? They're usually angry about something. They've had a son who's been shot in a drive by shooting, they are angry at Bush, or something. So you don't really have a profile of non-angry black women. . ." - asshole Fox guy whose name I don't know

Well, our racist, sexist Faux friend backed off that last statement a moment later, when one of his buddies pointed out that Oprah isn't particularly angry: "Oh, yeah, Oprah, there you go." Apparently, Oprah Winfrey is the only African American woman in this country who isn't angry (but don't forget black - they're all black!). This is one of the worst forms of discrimination because it's subtle enough to slip under the radar of those who aren't paying enough attention, and the phrase "angry black woman" just screams "uppity". The Faux correspondent's disdain for black women who are upset about their children being shot is shocking - I suppose the conventional wisdom is that African Americans should smile, shut up, and accept their misfortunes like good little negroes. God forbid black people should criticize Bush - only white folks are allowed to do that.

I was at my parents house the night that clip was playing, and I'm usually able to ignore the fact that they're watching Fox. When we heard that racist bile spewing forth from the TV, however, my mother's jaw dropped, and my father said, "Maybe we could watch the Clinton News Network... just this once." Frankly, I was pleased with how embarrassed they were by their favorite network's "fair and balanced" commentary. There are decent, intelligent Republicans who refuse to condone such bigotry, but it's easy for this sort of racially charged rhetoric to subconsciously creep into the minds of the young, ignorant, or uninformed. And let's not forget that Faux thought it was perfectly appropriate to put the racist/sexist caption, "Outraged Liberals: Stop Picking On Obama's Baby Mama," beneath a clip of Michelle:

That's right, those silly liberals are always outraged, aren't they? Maybe it's because they're offended by outrageous displays of sexism and racism, like the time Mr. Fair and Balanced himself passively suggested we start a lynching party to hunt down Michelle. Ahhh, nothing more appropriate than a fair and balanced lynching remark. I realize there's a certain appeal in denying BillO the satisfaction of knowing he's "gotten under our skin," but there's also a certain amount of danger in allowing comments of this nature go unchallenged. The aforementioned remarks were made long ago, and if you didn't express your outrage then, it's rather late to do so now. In the future, we mustn't let our outrage go unspoken or unacknowledged. We must raise our voices loudly, with reason and composure, and decry the bigotry which will follow Michelle Obama for the next eight years. Speak out against hate, speak out against propaganda, speak out against injustice. Clinton supporters, we defended Hillary against sexist attacks, and Michelle certainly deserves the same consideration. A sexist attack on Michelle is an attack on all women, a racist attack on Michelle is an attack on all African Americans.

Just as Hillary became an icon to so many Americans, so will Michelle (many would argue that she already has). She will be yet another powerful First Lady that the Right loves to hate, and for that alone she should be applauded. There is no doubt that the Right will treat her just as they treated Hillary, but like Hillary, I believe Michelle will rise above it. They are both women of great intelligence, character, and influence, and Michelle will stand as strong in the face of adversity as Hillary always has.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

So Now He's a Bad Christian?

I really wish the VRWC would make up their minds already. Last week, it was the terrorist fist jab. Today, he’s bad a Christian, this smear, via the Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family. Dr. Dobson resurrected a 2006 speech by Senator Obama on the need for progressives to reach out to people of all religious faiths, including the traditionally Republican evangelical Protestants:

But what I am suggesting is this - secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognize some overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country. We might recognize that the call to sacrifice on behalf of the next generation, the need to think in terms of "thou" and not just "I," resonates in religious congregations all across the country. And we might realize that we have the ability to reach out to the evangelical community and engage millions of religious Americans in the larger project of American renewal.

Here is the offending passage:

And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let's read our bibles. Folks haven't been reading their bibles.

According to Dr. Dobson, Obama was “dragging biblical understanding through the gutter” and “distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own…confused theology.” Apparently, there is only one good way to read the Bible. That’s bad news for the millions of Christians, myself included, who believe that Dr. Dobson’s selective interpretation of the Bible is a distortion of Jesus Christ’s message of love, forgiveness, charity, and tolerance.

Of course, distortion is a tool regularly used by Dr. Dobson. In December 2006, Mary Cheney, daughter of Vice-president Dick Cheney, announced that she and her partner of 15 years were going to have baby. The right wing religious groups that have supported the Bush administration, who had been able to overlook Mary Cheney’s homosexuality up until that point, reacted with disgust and outrage. Dr. Dobson responded by writing a guest column for Time in which he argued that being raised in a home with same-sex parents was harmful to children:

With all due respect to Cheney and her partner, Heather Poe, the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father. That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child. But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development. The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy--any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl.

The social-science evidence he cited was conducted by Dr. Kyle Pruett and educational psychologist Carol Gilligan. Both experts were outraged that Dr. Dobson attempted to use their research to discredit same-sex parents.

From Dr. Kyle Pruett:

Dr. Dobson, I was startled and disappointed to see my work referenced in the current Time Magazine piece in which you opined that social science, such as mine, supports your convictions opposing lesbian and gay parenthood. I write now to insist that you not quote from my research in your media campaigns, personal or corporate, without previously securing my permission. You cherry-picked a phrase to shore up highly (in my view) discriminatory purposes. This practice is condemned in real science, common though it may be in pseudo-science circles. There is nothing in my longitudinal research or any of my writings to support such conclusions. On page 134 of the book you cite in your piece, I wrote, “What we do know is that there is no reason for concern about the development or psychological competence of children living with gay fathers. It is love that binds relationships, not sex.”

From Carol Gilligan
Dear Dr. Dobson:
I am writing to ask that you cease and desist from quoting my research in the future. I was mortified to learn that you had distorted my work this week in a guest column you wrote in Time Magazine. Not only did you take my research out of context, you did so without my knowledge to support discriminatory goals that I do not agree with. What you wrote was not truthful and I ask that you refrain from ever quoting me again and that you apologize for twisting my work.

With Obama actively reaching out to the evangelical community, this attack should come as no surprise. However, Dr. Dobson is no friend of John McCain, having recently repeated his pledge not to vote for him. CNN alluded to more personal reasons for Dr. Dobson having lashed out at Senator Obama. He was apparently angry at having been compared to Rev. Sharpton, whom many conservatives perceive as racist.

Regardless of his motives, expect Dr. Dobson and others to continue their attacks on Senator Obama and his family. With conservatives on the defense, unable to provide a positive image of America to voters, their only path to victory is on the road of fear and hate. He’s a Muslim. He’s a terrorist. He attended a racist church. His wife is an angry, black woman. She hates “whitey.” He wants to negotiate with terrorists. He’s a sexist who doesn’t respect women.

Be aware. Be ready. Fight back.

Note: During the primaries, I made it clear that I was unimpressed with the speeches that so excited Senator Obama’s supporters and I didn’t understand how those words qualified him for the presidency. However, as an Obama critic, I must acknowledge that this speech on religion is impressive. It is well worth a read.

Unity in Action

(Cross-posted at MyDD and The Liberal OC)

I didn’t quite know what to think when I first heard from my local Democratic Party about a "Unity BBQ" that happened last Saturday. How would Barack Obama fans and Hillary Clinton supporters get along now that Democrats have a Presidential nominee in Obama? And what else would happen? Well, I guess I wasn’t quite prepared for what was about to happen.


There were hundreds of Democrats from all over Orange County, CA, that descended upon Hart Park in the city of Orange around high noon that Saturday for the BBQ. There were Obama fans and Clinton fans all getting along, and all discussing how to win back the White House this fall while also helping local Democratic candidates here in OC. Oh yes, and there were even some Independents and Republicans who were fed up with the GOP nonsense and ready to join us all in working for real change.

Oh wait, and how could I forget the candidates?! Debbie Cook (46th Congressional) arrived early to let folks know about what she’s doing to beat “Crazy Dana” Rohrabacher this fall. Steve Young (48th Congressional) was there to show everyone how all Democrats benefit from local grassroots organizing. Bill Hedrick (44th Congressional) was there to let folks know that there’s not only one competitive race for local activists to get involved in. And of course, we saw many more local candidates for everything from the California State Legislature to city council and school board races. It was quite encouraging to see enthusiasm not just for Obama, but for all the downticket races as well.

Shortly after 1:00 PM, the speeches from the special guests began. Frank Barbaro and Melahat Rafiei from the OC Democratic Party encouraged us all to work our hardest to help Barack Obama win OC this fall, and to make sure he has strong enough “coattails” to carry local Democratic candidates to victory as well. Local Obama grassroots organizer Giovanii Jorquera thanked all his fellow Obama activists for all their hard work, and warmly invited Hillary Clinton supporters to join the team. State Assembly Member Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) responded to that call by declaring that he and other Hillary Clinton supporters will now work hard to help Obama win. Irvine Mayor Beth Krom reminded everyone again not to forget all the hardworking local Democrats who need our help to get elected and make OC a better place. And finally, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood) got everyone on their feet cheering “Yes We Can!” as she shared with the audience her own experience in George Bush’s Washington, and why Barack Obama is needed in the White House to start making real change happen.

After the speeches, the people grabbed more food, talked more with the local candidates, and connected more with each other. Everyone seemed enthused and energized as they all eventually left for home. All in all, Saturday’s event looked like a real success for OC Democrats.

Hopefully, all that energy and enthusiasm I saw on Saturday will remain now through November. And hopefully now, all OC Democrats realize that what holds us together is far stronger than what ever threatened to pull us apart. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and all the rest of us Democrats believe in a stronger America, in social and economic justice, in a sustainable future and a clean environment, in making the world a better place for everyone. Hopefully, we’ll all remember this as we work together for victory nationally and locally for November and beyond. :-)






Monday, June 23, 2008

Soft, Cuddly Wives and Mothers.

Most progressives would agree that Hillary Clinton was on the receiving end of a great deal of sexism in the Democratic primary. This was mostly manifested in the media coverage of her as illustrated in the focus on Clinton's appearance, mannerisms etc. But almost as quick as anyone could say c-o-n-c-e-d-e, other troubling signs of sexism have surfaced in the campaign.

What has been disgusting is that we have reverted into the oldest stereotypes - namely that women should ONLY depicted as wives or mothers.

The responsibility doesn't just rest on the media, which I'll get to in a minute. The campaigns themselves deserve some of the blame as well. Do the Obama's and the McCain's want to play into the stereotypes of first ladies that are only sweet and cuddly? Is Michelle going to quit giving her husband the fist-bump because it comes across as too strong? Does Cindy have to submit any more of 'her' cookie recipes so people can relate to her?

Media stories breathlessly ask:

'Where do they buy their clothes?'

'What types of food do they cook?'

'Which one can be compared to Jackie O?' – they are wives and mothers. But guess what? Both are highly accomplished and intelligent women and are OTHER THINGS TOO.

In a New York Times article covering Michelle’s stint on The View, they further this meme:

Early on, Mrs. Obama was likened to Jackie Kennedy for her youth and fashion style, but lately, the strong and assertive African-American career woman is experiencing the kind of antifeminist hazing that Mrs. Clinton endured in the 1992 campaign when she made her “baking cookies” faux pas.

Mrs. Obama distanced herself from that model on “The View,” describing herself as a mother and not mentioning her law career or her views on policy.

The question is, how does mentioning her career or policy positions make her more palatable? Is the writer suggesting that America cannot handle a strong woman? Or that Michelle’s policy positions are unimportant?

This new focus on Michelle and Cindy’s hair and dresses comes right at the end of the gender-biased way the media covered Clinton's campaign. And instead of letting this go - AGAIN - we should be holding the media accountable for perpetuating stereotypes. If a white woman is strong, she's considered cold - as the coverage of Cindy has shown. If a black woman is strong, she's obviously angry - so go the accusations about Michelle.

While I am by no means trying to minimize both the beauty or personal accomplishments of these women, there is far more to them than those things. And seeing as how the 2008 election cycle thus far has turned conventional thinking on its head, this is an opportunity to change the way women - and first ladies - are represented. If we let the narrative about the potential first ladies converge on the role and status of the conventional "little lady" then we have lost the chance to reframe gender and marriage dynamics.

Hillary's Work Isn't Over Quite Yet

(Cross-posted at MyDD)

Hey, everyone! I just wanted to share with you all a special message I received today. I hope you appreciate it as much as I do.

OK, I'm pretty sure you've guessed by now that this message is from Hillary Clinton. She may no longer be running for President, but she still wants to work her hardest for us. She knows there's still work to be done to end the Iraq Occupation, restore our Constitutional form of government, solve the climate crisis, fix the economy, ensure everyone has quality, affordable health care, and do everything we need to do to put this nation back on the right {err, left ;-) } track. Oh yes, and she knows we'll all need to work our hardest this year to ensure Barack Obama is our next President so that all our dreams can become reality.

There's still so much work for us and for Hillary to do, but she can't join us if we won't help her. So if you can, please contribute what you can to help Hillary relieve her campaign debt. If you haven't done so yet, please thank Hillary for all her hard work and let her know you've got her back. And please, if you haven't done so yet sign up to be a part of Barack Obama's campaign so that we can make the vision shared by Hillary and Barack of a better, stronger America can truly become reality.

So please, take some time to check out Hillary's special message to us. And then, please go out and join Hillary in taking action. It's imperative for us to do so to save our country.

Now's our time. Today's our day. Seize it! :-)

Join Us at Facebook

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am a long time member of the Facebook Group Hillary Clinton for President - One Million Strong. That group has been taken over by the PUMA/Just Say No Deal wing of the Democratic Party.

I created a new group Clintonistas for Obama for the Hillary Clinton supporters who are supporting Barack Obama.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Obama's Gay Coattails?

Could Barack Obama’s ability to get out the youth vote help stop a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in California?

The conventional wisdom has been that gay marriage ballot initiatives have been good for Republicans. Many credit an amendment on the Ohio ballot in 2004 for George Bush’s narrow re-election victory. Although that assertion has not gone unchallenged:

Many analysts at the time credited a large turnout of social conservatives in Ohio as being responsible for Bush's razor-thin victory in the state. Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor at Hunter College in New York, has analyzed the Ohio election returns and concluded that was not the case.

“If you look at county-level election returns, you see that Bush's improvement over his 2000 vote was greatest in the counties where the amendment didn't do well,” Sherrill said.

Regardless, some things have changed since 2004, most notably attitudes toward gay marriage. According to a Pew Research report, support for gay marriage increase from 32% to 38% from 2004 to 2008. While a plurality of voters (49%) still oppose gay marriage, that number fell from 56% in 2008. Younger voters, however, are even more amenable to marriage equality. Among voters 18-29, 52% support giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry (up from 46% in 2004). Only 40% of these voters oppose gay marriage (down from 46% in 2004).

In what Time Magazine has called the “Year of the Youth Vote,” could Obama’s ability to get out the youth vote defeat gay marriage amendments on the ballot in Florida, California, and Arizona? During the primaries, younger voters voted for Democratic candidates by more than a 2-1 margin and the share of younger voters increase from 9.4% to 14.3%.

In California, where a simple majority is needed for the amendment to become law, a 2000 referendum on gay marriage passed with 61% of the vote. However, a recent field poll found that support for gay marriage had risen to 51%. Some believe that a youth surge could help defeat the amendment. From the San Diego Union Tribune:

Polls consistently show younger voters having a more live-and-let-live attitude on gay issues than older voters, suggesting they would be more likely to oppose the marriage initiative.

“If the young kids come out and vote for Obama – and I think they will – that could turn it around,” said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political analyst at the University of Southern California.

In 2006, Arizona voters voted down and amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage, as well as any form of civil unions or domestic partnership. John McCain appeared in TV ad for a group promoting the amendment.

Groups are working now to put an amendment on the fall ballot, but some experts think that the Obama effect could help defeat such an effort again:

Polls in Arizona indicate that about 55 percent of voters are likely to approve a measure that bans just same-sex marriage, said Bruce Merrill, professor emeritus of communications at Arizona State University.

Still, Merrill said the Obama effect could spell defeat for the constitutional ban.

“I expect turnout to be much higher than it has been in the past, particularly with younger people,” he said. “That could make the same-sex marriage issue very close.”

Obama’s gay coattails could also help efforts in other states. In Florida , a 60% majority is required to amend the constitution. The most recent poll shows support at 58%.

I am among the Clintonistas who remains angry about the conduct of the Democratic presidential primaries, but I cannot ignore evidence—evidence such as the polling data cited in this post—which shows that supporting Barack Obama is the best possible outcome for myself and millions of other gay and lesbian Americans fighting for equality.

For those of you who aren’t yet ready to say, “Yes, we can,” and I count myself among you, please consider me joining in saying, “No, McCain won’t!”

MediaFail: Bolton Edition.

On Thursday, Fox News’s John Gibson had former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton on his radio show. They discussed Obama’s foreign policy. Bolton charged that “the best outcome” of an Obama presidency would be “a replay of the Clinton administration,” meaning “more embassy bombings” and “more World Trade Center attacks”:

GIBSON: The Obama team is going back to some of the old complaints about the war and the war on terror…that the left has been articulating for a long time now, and not really coming up with anything new.

BOLTON: Yeah I think honestly that’s an optimistic view of it, that it will simply be a replay of the Clinton administration. It will simply have more embassy bombings, more bombings of our warships like the Cole, more World Trade Center attacks. That would be the best outcome from that perspective.

Here's a listen:

Gibson failed to ask and Bolton declined to mention that the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon occurred during the Bush administration, while Bolton was serving in the Department of State.

Sunday Open Thread

Is it just me or does it really feel like Summer has now arrived? It's still morning here in "The OC", and the thermometer is ALREADY soaring past 80°F! Now please excuse me while I throw myself into the Pacific Ocean to cool off. ;-)

OK, but before I leave let me extend an invitation for all of you to blow off some steam in this open thread. What's making you red in the face now? A big chunk of Democrats (including, sigh, Barack Obama) capitulating on FISA? John McBush whining and screaming because he doesn't have the grassroots support that Obama does? McBush & the CReeps pushing to drill off the coast? It's OK to vent & cool down here.

And in a little while, I'll check back in. I'll even bring back some nice California Coast photos for you to enjoy. I know these last few days have been frustrating for us politically. That's why I'm stepping back now to take a breather and enjoy the scenery. Care to join me?

'Til later... :-)