Saturday, July 5, 2008

Throwing Hillary Under the Bus.

When Hillary Clinton conceded several weeks ago I was sad. I truly wanted her to win the Democratic nomination and become the president in January 2009.



Since that time we have seen the PUMA movement take hold. Which for those living under a rock, stands for Party Unity My Ass. I am not going to get into a diatribe about them because in some ways I understand what they are doing and somewhat how they are feeling.

- Disappointed that Hillary will not be the President in 2009? Okay.

- Don't agree with some of his policies? Okay.

- Reviled at his campaign's tactics during the primary? Okay.

- Think Hillary would have been the better candidate? Okay.

- Dislike Obama? Okay.

But you know what? THE PRIMARY IS OVER.

And for those that are thinking of voting for McCain? Stop and think what you are doing -you are throwing Hillary under the bus. Everything she stands for has very little to do with the Republican party ideals and voting for them would be a slap in her face. Yes - a slap.

As my good pal Kysen wrote:

But, opting not to vote?
Voting only downticket?
Writing in Hillary?
Seems a bit like holding one's breath to get one's way....but, at least it is not sullying Hillary's name.

So for the love of god - if you cannot vote for the Democratic nominee - people may not like your decision but will understand it. But DO NOT betray Hillary and everything she stands for by voting for McCain.

Avoiding Temptation

This has been a very challenging week for a former Hillary supporter now working for Obama. Many of the progressive blogs I found difficult to read during the primary because they were so pro-Obama have been very critical of Obama's positions this week on FISA, the death penalty, late-term abortion, handguns, etc. I have had to struggle hard with the temptation to say, "I told you so," and to eagerly search for the next trenchant criticism, enjoying the vindication of my trepidations about Obama.

I firmly believe all Democratic presidential candidates need pressure from the progressive wing of the party. Yet I am suspicious of my eagerness to jump into the fray. Part of my Catholic upbringing was the exhortation to avoid the near occasions of sin. I am an Anglican now, not a Catholic, but I do understand what they were warning against. For example, the day Obama clinched the nomination and I switched my support to him, I stopped reading the Hillary website and some of the pro-Hillary blogs like Confluence, which have been taken over by PUMA. I have avoided any PUMA blogs or posts, and refused as moderator to approve their comments on my Obama groups.

It distresses me that no one is trying harder to make McCain take responsibility for Bush's high crimes and constitutional violations. Criticisms of Obama's FISA position should attack Bush's abuses in more detail. I need to keep reminding myself that I have always been to the left of the Democratic presidential candidate and disappointed at their move to the center. My commitment to Obama is still very new, so I don't feel confident of my ability to dialogue with PUMA's for example without catching some of their Obama hostility.

In the last week, I have been spending more time reading blogs critical of Obama than working for Obama online. This week I plan to go to two local Obama organizing events; I hope I get back on track. Please don't misunderstand me. I do feel it is vitally important to fight against the FISA bill. I just know that for me too much Obama criticism will dilute my still tentative enthusiasm and commitment.

What Patriotism Really Looks Like



(Proudly cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama, Democratic PartyBuilder, and MyDD)

Is it just me, or is there something truly special about the Fourth of July holiday? I know, I know, it should be special to all of us because it's when we celebrate what our nation is about. I guess I'm just blessed that I'm able to see and experience this holiday in a special way.

It's fast becoming a tradition for me to march with my local Democratic Party in the world-famous Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade. And when I march with my fellow Democrats in the parade, I notice something amazing. I also noticed this afterwards, when I was working with local Barack Obama volunteers on voter registration.

You know what it is?



This is what true patriotism looks like. Yes, I'm serious. We love our country so much that we woke up at the crack of dawn to navigate around messy freeways and closed streets to show up. We love our country so much that we saluted all the brave troops that love our country so much to fight for it and defend it. We love our country so much that we value our community here and we participate in civic activities like this one to continue making our nation a better place to live.

Oh yes, and we love our country so much that we stayed after the parade to register new voters. Oh yes, and we also stayed to inform current voters about the upcoming election. Yes, we love our country so much that we become involved in politics. We do activities like this, and we work our you-know-whats off to ensure we elect good people to office who will honor what this nation is all about.

You know, so many people just think of patriotism as a superficial gesture. I don't. Despite what many would say, Democrats like me truly are patriotic. We love this country so much that we get involved, and we stay active so we can see real results and real progress for America.That's why I marched in the parade yesterday. That's why I registered new voters for Obama. That's why I'm an active Democrat.

OK, that's the end of my rant... Now you can enjoy the rest of my photos! ;-)














When I Think Of New Politics...

(Cross-posted at MyDD and DailyKos)

As a Clinton supporter, I think I had it wrong for a long time.

I heard Obama supporters talking about a new kind of politics - a kind which incorporated hope and change. For some reason, I decided this was a silly notion; I scoffed at Barack Obama's message: It was too idealistic, too vague. What did "Vote Hope" really mean? How had Obama rallied such a massive base of support around the nebulous concept of "hope"? Maybe that's part of what used to frustrate me - I simply didn't understand. Did his supporters believe his campaign would always stay positive? Every politician has to fight back against the opposition. They all get down in the mud, so didn't that make Obama just another typical politician?

It took me a very long time to formally "come to Obama," and an even longer time to understand his message of hope. I was looking at it the wrong way - I was trying to turn hope into something concrete and measurable, and I'd forgotten that some things can't be clinically analyzed or quantified. Hope isn't a static or tangible thing because it means something different to everyone. I do have hope for a new type of politics and a new kind of president in Barack Obama. I have faith in his ability to win the general election. He believes in the 50-State Strategy, and he perfected and implemented it with remarkable efficacy during the primaries. I have no doubt he'll use similar tactics in the fall as he makes the GOP fight for every stronghold. I have faith in his ability to govern and lead. He built his phenomenal campaign from the ground up and, with the help of his enthusiastic supporters, turned it into an unstoppable force.

He understands the true meaning of modern, people-powered politics. The sum he raised from small donors was unprecedented, and since signing up at his website, I've begun to understand why his supporters always felt so involved in his campaign. The number of emails which arrive in my mailbox from various listservs is staggering. (Of course, that's partially my fault for signing up for multiple groups and selecting the "receive all emails" option.)

Savvy politician though he is, he still isn't of the same mold as most of the other presidential candidates. Obama made a pleasant impression on me at one point during the Nevada debate. When Tim Russert asked him for his greatest weakness, I remember feeling that his answer was almost endearing:

I ask my staff member to hand me paper until two seconds before I need it because I will lose it. And my desk and my office doesn't look good. I've got to have somebody around me who is keeping track of that stuff. And that's not trivial; I need to have good people in place who can make sure that systems run. That's what I've always done, and that's why we run not only a good campaign, but a good U.S. Senate office. - Barack Obama

That was the first time Barack made me laugh - not because his answer was stupid, but because it was so painfully honest. As for my candidate and John Edwards? They gave beauty pagent answers. They each took one of their strengths and carefully crafted them into weaknesses:

I think weakness, I sometimes have a very powerful emotional response to pain that I see around me, when I see a man like Donnie Ingram (ph), who I met a few months ago in South Carolina, who worked for 33 years in the mill, reminded me very much of the kind of people that I grew up with, who's about to lose his job, has no idea where he's going to go, what he's going to do. I mean, his dignity and self-respect is at issue. And I feel that in a really personal way and in a very emotional way. And I think sometimes that can undermine what you need to do. - John Edwards

So I have tried to create opportunities, both on an individual basis, intervening to help people who have no where else to turn, to be their champion. And then to make those changes. And I think I can deliver change. I think I understand how to make it possible for more people to live up to their God-given potential. I get impatient. I get, you know, really frustrated when people don't seem to understand that we can do so much more to help each other. Sometimes I come across that way. I admit that. I get very concerned about, you know, pushing further and faster than perhaps people are ready to go. - Hillary Clinton

Hearing their answers, I experienced just the faintest sense of disappointment. As much as I adored them both, it struck me that their responses were very... old Washington.

Obama created a unique environment at his rallies and events. He created an atmosphere of unity and trust so complete that people were willing to pass their own babies through the crowd to reach him. The first time I heard about it, I was slightly appalled until I saw the gentleness and meticulous care with which his supporters handled other people's children. It's a scene I watched with no small amount of wonder and amazement.

Baby surfing!

Hillary Clinton inspired me because she showed me that a strong woman can do anything. Barack Obama inspires me because he showed me that the American Dream is still possible, still viable, still within reach. His story is inspiring: A young man, half white, half African American, who was brought up by a single mother who understood the meaning of a financially strapped existence - and yet, he defeated Hillary Clinton in the primary and is poised to become the first African American president of the United States. He has said that his story wouldn't be possible in any other country on earth. He is the ultimate embodiment of the American Dream. By a strange and poignant coincidence, he will be formally nominated on August 28, 2008, the 45th Anniversary Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have A Dream speech, and through that nomination, part of Dr. King's dream will become a reality - a reality which will be reinforced when Obama triumphs in November. If a victory like that won't put you on the hope train, I can't imagine what would.

So maybe his candidacy means something slightly different to everyone, and in my case, Barack Obama gives me hope because he is a symbol for those of us who long ago lost faith that the American Dream was still alive. Finally, I think I'm fairly certain I understand what the slogan "Vote Hope" really means.

I've Been Away

I've been away for the last three weeks. I took a course at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota and decided to take a vacation from politics. I didn't have television or radio, and St. John's is a very rural campus, so I was far away from dailies. My only political activities were to keep track of the electoral college estimates and occasionally go and recommend a diary at MyDD.

I get a lot of email related to politics, and I occasionally looked at it to see what people were thinking. It seems that the Senator from Illinois has done what I would have hoped the nominee of the Democratic Party would do: he has reached for the center. I congratulate him. He rises in my estimation. The United States is slightly more conservative than it is liberal, and in a democracy, that is enough. I hate FISA. I think the faith-based grant program betrays the country's foundational principles. I think the death penalty is an abomination. NAFTA clearly has hurt American workers. I disagree with Obama on every one of these positions, and I applaud him for taking them.

Politics is a very dirty business. I will turn 50 in November, and I have seen more than my fair share of Democratic losses. The most successful Democrat of my adult lifetime, Bill Clinton, demonstrated that for a Democrat to win in this country, she or he has to reach toward the center. That is what Obama is doing, and in doing so, he is proving to me that he is the best politician we have nominated in a long time.

To my dissatisfied fellow progressives, let me assure you that victory is a lot sweeter than purity. Half a loaf of bread is better than starvation.

PUMA Power?

Well, I honestly can't say I'm surprised. In a span of only one month, Obama clinched the nomination, Hillary conceded and endorsed him, she rallied her supporters and donors behind him, the appeared together at a unity rally, and then Obama pissed it all away with his great leap to the center.

Not that I ever expected much more than superficial attempts at party unity. Obama's meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus on June 19 betrayed his strategy for party unity--tell them that McCain is pro-choice and they will "get over it:"

According to Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., Obama then said, "However, I need to make a decision in the next few months as to how I manage that since I'm running against John McCain, which takes a lot of time. If women take a moment to realize that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it."

According a CNN Poll released on Friday, that strategy has been a miserable failure thus far. While the number of Clinton supporters planning to vote for John McCain has fallen, Obama's support among Clinton voters has fallen from 60% to 54%.

In early June, 22 percent of Clinton supporters polled said they would not vote at all if Obama were the party's nominee, now close to a third say they will stay home.

In another sign the wounds of the heated primary race have yet to heal, 43 percent of registered Democrats polled still say they would prefer Clinton to be the party's presidential nominee.

That number is significantly higher than it was in early June, when 35 percent of Democrats polled said they preferred Clinton to lead the party's presidential ticket.

From the beginning of the campaign, Senator Obama has assumed that Clinton supporters would be a lock for him in November:

"I am confident I will get her votes if I'm the nominee," Obama stressed. "It's not clear she would get the votes I got if she were the nominee."

My repeated statements to the contrary have been dismissed, or met with accusations of bitterness or being a concern troll. This poll clearly shows that work needs to be done, and it's not just Clinton supporters "getting over it." For tips on party unity, perhaps the Obama campaign should take a look at the pledge at I Own My Vote:

I stand together with Hillary Clinton’s 18 million voters to demand that Senator Obama and the Democratic Party:

* Bring us together by seating 100% of the Florida and Michigan delegations in Denver with 100% of their votes, allocated in accordance with the popular vote of each state.
* Bring us together by adopting policies on the Platform Committee that Hillary Clinton has championed.
* Bring us together through reform of the primary and caucus system to reflect the basic principle of one person/one vote.
* Bring us together through outspoken denunciation of all gender bias, racism and other forms of discrimination.
* Bring us together by fairly and respectfully including Hillary and her supporters at the Democratic National Convention in Denver by, among other things, placing her name in nomination for President, conducting a roll call vote, and providing her a prominent speaking role during prime time on August 26th, the 88th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

I own my vote. It does not belong to any party. It does not belong to any candidate. It does not belong to any mob that would impose its will on me. Only I can decide how to use my vote, and I can decide based on any criteria I choose. Therefore I pledge not to give my vote to anyone who does not earn it.

I don't agree with the PUMA movement, but as the Clinton supporters continue to be taken for granted, I've begun to wonder if I would have been better off signing the pledge and sitting on the sidelines for a few months. Perhaps so many of us rushing to support the nominee have made the Obama campaign a little over confident. Hopefully, this poll will make Senator Obama realize that he needs to work on his own party before he starts pandering to the evangelicals.

Friday, July 4, 2008

So You're Voting for McCain?

If you're going to vote for a Republican, you need to learn how to think like a Republican. I can think of no one better than the late great Ann Richards to explain this to us. Ann Richards meant a lot to Hillary Clinton. During the primaries, the Clinton campaign posted this tribute to her:

Who else could better explain than Ann Richards? How to Be a Good Republican:

1. You have to believe that the nation's current 8-year prosperity was due to the work of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, but yesterday's gasoline prices are all Clinton's fault.

2. You have to believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all on their own.

3. You have to be against all government programs, but expect Social Security checks on time.

4. You have to believe that AIDS victims deserve their disease, but smokers with lung cancer and overweight individuals with heart disease don't deserve theirs.

5. You have to appreciate the power rush that comes with sporting a gun.

6. You have to believe...everything Rush Limbaugh says.

7. You have to believe that the agricultural, restaurant, housing and hotel industries can survive without immigrant labor.

8. You have to believe God hates homosexuality, but loves the death penalty.

9. You have to believe society is color-blind and growing up black in America doesn't diminish your opportunities, but you still won't vote for Alan Keyes.

10. You have to believe that pollution is OK as long as it makes a profit.

11. You have to believe in prayer in schools, as long as you don't pray to Allah or Buddha.

12. You have to believe Newt Gingrich and Henry Hyde were really faithful husbands.

13. You have to believe speaking a few Spanish phrases makes you instantly popular in the barrio.

14. You have to believe that only your own teenagers are still virgins.

15. You have to be against government interference in business, until your oil company, corporation or Savings and Loan is about to go broke and you beg for a government bail out.

16. You love Jesus and Jesus loves you and, by the way, Jesus shares your hatred for AIDS victims, homosexuals, and President Clinton.

17. You have to believe government has nothing to do with providing police protection, national defense, and building roads.

18. You have to believe a poor, minority student with a disciplinary history and failing grades will be admitted into an elite private school with a $1,000 voucher.

Concern Trolling 101

I have a confession to make. I'm not a Clinton supporter turned Obama backer.

I'm just a lowly concern troll.

And yet, I'm a diabolical genius because I tricked nearly all of you. Naïve fools! But don't worry, I'm going to tell you how. I wouldn't want you to make the grave error of mistaking concern trolling for genuine support ever again. For all you Clinton supporters out there, let this diary be your guide to concern trolling. Obama supporters are all 13 years old, so even though I'm sitting here, flat out telling them I'm a concern troll, they still won't get it. Their young, puerile, undeveloped minds still won't process it - kids have poor reading comprehension, you know, and they all have ADD nowadays, anyway. Thank god we're all old, wizened, spinsters. So pull up a chair, put your 30 cats in your lap, and read carefully.

  • The first step in becoming a good concern troll is lying your ass off for about three months. Painful as it is, you're going to need to start complimenting Obama. Say he's a good candidate (a lie), talk about his good policy positions (bigger lie), and mention how cute he and his kids are together (EPIC LIE!). That's the key - praise the whole family, even though you're afraid of them because they're dark. I know this is hard, so pop a few pills and develop Percocet habit if you have to.

  • Now that you've got a few Obama supporters trusting you and thinking you're a decent Clinton supporter, you need to start consistently defending Obama. No matter what happens, you've got to have his back (publicly, anyway - privately, you're still hoping his campaign implodes). Brush aside all the faux scandals, even if you're cheering on the inside. Even though you know Obama viciously shot Hillary the finger, PRETEND like you think it's absurd! Granted, giving someone the finger means "f*ck you," which implies that Obama wants Hillary to be raped, but laugh about it, anyway!

  • Don't just defend Obama, defend his associates (like Wright), too. Pretend you respect Black Liberation Theology, even though you don't because black people are, as I said, often quite dark. Black Liberation Theology is frightening and uppity, but put aside your fears. Remember, you're safe in your home with your army of cats, and you had your dad record the message on your answering machine so that people would think a man lives with you. Black folks can't hurt you there.

  • Here comes the hardest part: Criticize your own candidate. Yes, you read me right. You're going to have to call Hillary out sometimes, even though you secretly approve of everything she does. Even if she wiped her runny nose on Obama's suit sleeve and stole his cufflinks, you'd still think it was totally cool, and you'd send her a massive donation as a reward. This is especially difficult because Hillary is GOD. But still, you're a great actress, so pick an issue, and agree with the Obama supporters when they criticize Hillary.

  • Pretend you don't watch Hillary at all her rallies and then go out and buy matching pantsuits. I know you do - we all do it - but you've got to pretend. That's the key.

  • Now you need to criticize other Hillary supporters. This sucks, and it's hard, but you need to call them out when they go after Obama harshly. They're right, of course, Obama is a secret Moozlimm!1!!!11!! But hey, ya gotta make some sacrifices. Piss other Clinton supporters off because it'll benefit you in the end, when you finally begin trolling.

  • When Obama supporters go after our girl, try to respond calmly. Fly off the handle occasionally, but not every time. If you're finding this difficult, there are several steps you can take. If by some miracle you still haven't entered menopause, go take a Midol for the vicious mood swings brought on by your raging periods. If you have begun menopause (very likely), go take your estrogen supplements and antidepressants. That should help you with your moodiness, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.

  • When Obama wins the nomination, give him your blessing - supposedly because Hillary endorsed him, and he supports the same policies you support - but secretly keep on hating him. By this point, you've got most of the Obama supporters fooled, but you're not quite finished...

  • Join a group of Clinton supporters supposedly dedicated to getting Obama elected. Naturally, you're all plotting against him in secret, but few people will guess that because Obama supporters are infantile kids who still play with their food and gnaw on their gum wayyy too loudly.

  • Now write several diaries in defense of Obama. Attack McCain as much as possible, even if he's better than the crappy Democratic nominee. Also attack PUMA (a courageous and productive movement).

  • Donate to the Obama campaign. I know this is tough because you're all poor and uneducated, but you've GOT to take this step! It legitimizes your "support". It's all for a good cause, so when you get this email in your inbox, try not to vomit:

Dear * * *,

Thank you for your generous donation of $50.00.

Your gift will be immediately put to work building a campaign to change our country and our politics for the better.

Looking for more ways to get involved?

Head over to My.BarackObama where our growing set of tools puts the future of this campaign in your hands:

On My.BarackObama you can:

- build your own profile and connect with supporters near you

  • find or create your own local or national group

  • create your own personal fundraising page and track your progress

  • find events near you or plan your own

  • chronicle your campaign experience on your own blog

There will be much more to come in the weeks and months ahead thanks to your support.

Thank you again for your donation.

Obama for America

  • Now that you've fooled at least 90% of the Obama supporters, commence trolling! Write a diary criticizing Obama on one or two of his positions! It will help if you choose a stance (like the FISA compromise) that at least 16,000+ of his real supporters are also angry about! This is very clever, and you are full of win. To make sure you keep fooling people, be sure to praise Obama a great deal during that same concern troll diary. Contrast him with McCain and talk about how much better Obama is. This is another lie, but don't worry about it. Lying rules, and you're awesome at it.

If you take all of these steps, you'll soon become a successful concern troll just like me! If any Obama supporters managed to read this entire diary, please ignore what I just said and go back to your video games. Take your Ritalin and get out of my hair (which smells like cat litter because I have a million cats, which keep breeding because I can't afford to spay and neuter them because I'm so stupid and broke). Clinton supporters, remember that we're all WINNARS, and take satisfaction in knowing you've tricked most of Bambi's cult followers. A few geniuses will figure out your game, but that's very rare. For the most part, you win. Now go feed your cats. They're starving.

This is you... after your big WIN!11!!!!1!

And one final note:

Go McCain!

McCainomics: 2+2=5

Taylor Marsh posted this video of McCain flipping and flopping and spinning his past statements on his lack of expertise on economic affairs.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Silencing Dissension.

Last week this blog was locked by Blogger. The following message was provided:

Dear Blogger User,

This is a message from the Blogger team.

Your blog, at, has been identified as a potential spam blog. You will not be able to publish posts to your blog until we review your site and confirm that it is not a spam blog.


The Blogger Team

To unlock, a code had to be entered to request an editorial review from a live person, which took four days.

I also would like to preface that C4O's mandate is as follows...

We agree with Hillary Clinton, we support the progressive values she supports, and we share her dedication to making this nation better... That's why we support Barack Obama for President! :-)

The locking of the blog puzzled the group that posts there, and personally made me suspicious since C4O is the furthest thing from being spam. So I decided to investigate this a bit further. What I discovered was shocking and disturbing to be frank.

My investigation began with a Washington Post article that exposes that the Obama smear emails originated on Free Republic. No shocker there. Freepers have been leaders of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy since its inception and full of smears, slime and innuendoes, especially about the Clintons.

But after the article was published, a Freeper, charged that the WaPo reporter has exposed the identity of anonymous posters in the past, and the WaPo article also “exposed” ordinary people who dared to think the rumour was important, but who denied being involved in the spamming.

The author is quite paranoid about it:

The article Mosk wrote today purports to be about efforts to track down where the ‘Obama is a Muslim’ allegations began. However, it is actually a warning shot across the bow to opponents of Obama that they will be tracked down and exposed for speaking ill of the Obamessiah.

While it literally pains me to agree with a Freeper, is this what is going on? Shutting down free speech online? Finding the name and address of people who post anonymously on websites? Reporters harassing them and exposing them to ridicule? I am embarrassed to say that I have witnessed behaviour akin to this on 'progressive' blogs as well.

Which brings me back to C4O. It seems that there is a concerted effort amongst a group to shut down political criticism of Obama.

Blogger offers readers the opportunity to flag blogs as spam or complain about objectionable content. And apparently someone has been using this to shut down blogs that are perceived as critical to Obama.

Several sources, including Blogspasm report that several blogs that have been shut down by Google that are critical of Obama, and the suspicion is that Google is being manipulated to shut down the opposition.

Now no one could think that the Obama campaign is promoting such deeds, but when people attack and try to shut down sites critical of a political candidate - we all have to worry.

Is this really what some people have become, bullying and intimidation to fall in line with what is 'acceptable' discussion?

Take a Deep Breath, Count to 10

(Cross-posted at MyDD)

Some of you are going to be surprised to see these words coming from me, and I implore you to read the entire diary before you begin throwing flames.

I've been defending Obama at every turn since late March. I defended him against the people who were using Wright to attack him; I defended him against bittergate; I scoffed at fingergate. I defended him until I pissed off at least half the Clinton supporters on this site. I made myself pretty unpopular with people I once liked, but I didn't care. I felt I was doing the right thing by defending him because I thought it likely that he'd become the nominee. I was trying to be fair, attempting to be moderate. I probably spent more time criticizing Hillary than Obama because she was my candidate, and I held her to a higher standard. So through my efforts to remain rational and speak in measured tones, I gave Obama the benefit of the doubt - always - for approximately three months. I stuck my neck out for him on MyDD and in my personal life, much to the displeasure of my Hillary supporter friends and my Republican parents (who came to grudgingly respect my admiration for Hillary, but felt nothing but disdain for "the empty suit"). I defended him and didn't mind doing so. I kept my doubts to myself.

But I'm profoundly upset right now, and I refuse to lie or mask my disappointment.

I think I dealt with Hillary's loss well enough - publicly, at least. I was optimistic and enthusiastic about Obama. I gave him my full support the second Hillary endorsed. I knew Obama was a good Democrat who would lead the Party with honor and govern with principle. You can never trust a politician 100% of the time, but I put a lot of faith in him. Hillary clearly believed in him, and I believe in her - so I gave Obama all the trust I could muster.

And he betrayed me.

He betrayed my trust.

In fact, I can't help thinking he betrayed his own country.

Yes, I realize it's nothing personal. I realize he can't cater to people like me all the time; no politician can win an election by speaking only to the "fringe lefties". But his lurch to the center seemed so abrupt and so violent; when he announced his support for the FISA compromise, I felt like the ground had been pulled out from beneath me. I was shocked - where had his principles gone? Where was the new politics of hope and change? Why was he pandering, why was he compromising? Didn't this sound a great deal like the much-decried triangulation of the 90s?

Senator Feingold put it best:

"The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation. The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the Presidents illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home. Allowing courts to review the question of immunity is meaningless when the same legislation essentially requires the court to grant immunity. And under this bill, the government can still sweep up and keep the international communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with no connection to suspected terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect against abuse of this power. Instead of cutting bad deals on both FISA and funding for the war in Iraq, Democrats should be standing up to the flawed and dangerous policies of this administration."

And Obama capitulated. He caved, he folded, he buckled. I've been an Obama supporter for less than a month, and I already felt disillusioned and angry. I hadn't pegged him as the sort of politician who would pander and "compromise" quite that much. And where did I get that impression? I got it from his stance on the gas tax holiday. I slammed Hillary on that issue because as far as I was concerned, it was shameless pandering. It may have sounded good to the uninformed, but it was a terrible idea. I respected Obama for opposing it; he'd voted for it in the Illinois state legislature, came to the conclusion that it didn't work, and ultimately took a principled stance against it. For once, I felt he'd outshined Hillary. As a result, I came to the conclusion that he was less likely to pander to the masses.

I was wrong. FISA, faith-based initiatives... disappointments of epic proportions. I was furious and disgusted. One of the things which made me angriest was the knowledge that, had Hillary become the nominee and taken the same positions, the vast majority of the Left would have gone on yet another witch hunt. Of course, Obama is (rightfully) taking a metaphorical beating from his own supporters. Some of them are taking it a little too far. A few are withdrawing all support. People are withholding their funds and even asking his campaign to refund previous donations (and from what I understand, he's doing it).

What's worse, although Hillary issued a statement in February [many thanks to atd for finding it] in opposition to the FISA Amendment, she may now feel pressured to support the decisions of the nominee. I'd love to see her take a stand, show leadership, and join the effort to filibuster the bill; I fear, however, that she is locked in by her own powerful endorsement. She has promised to support Obama, and I believe she will - in every way. That means she'll probably take the stance that he took, she'll support his position. I half wonder whether she can keep fighting for us if she's busy fighting for Obama.

I didn't know what to say or do at first, but I've had some time to think now. It's true, we should hold his feet to the fire, but we shouldn't abandon our nominee or offer him our unmitigated scorn. I'll get back to FISA in a moment, but before Clinton backers crucify Obama over his support for faith-based initiatives, let's think for a moment. When aurelius said, "To hell with you, Barack," my initial reaction was an involuntary but emphatic, "Yes!" And then I remembered... Hillary has spoken out in support of them, as well. Disappointing, yes?

I think this is the thing that's so difficult for a lot of Clinton supporters. When I heard about Obama's stance on the FISA compromise, part of me wanted to scream, "SEE?!? WE TOLD YOU SO!!!" at the people who had been supporting him all along. I keep thinking, "Hillary never would have buckled like this." The truth is, I'm not sure what she might have done had she become the nominee. The second you start going toe-to-toe with the GOP, the game changes. Hillary might have disappointed me on FISA, too, and the fact that she supported faith-based initiatives is disappointing, no matter how I look at it. Now that Hillary's out of the race, it's very easy to say, "She would have made a better decision on this issue," whenever Obama screws up. It's easy to forget the times she screwed up. But I shouldn't forget because Hillary wasn't perfect, and Barack is a good candidate overall.

So for those of you who are angry, as I am, please try to remember that Obama is still a man of principle on many issues. For the most part, he believes in the things we believe in. He supports the 50-State Strategy. He has instructed the DNC to stop taking money from lobbyists. Polls indicate that offshore drilling is now favored by a majority of voters, but he hasn't caved - he stands in staunch opposition. He's taken a relatively unpopular but principled stance in favor of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. While he doesn't personally believe in gay marriage and isn't the gay rights champion I'd like him to be, he still wants to repeal DOMA and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Even Hillary didn't intend to repeal DOMA altogether, but Obama has called it "an abhorrent law." He and Michelle have spoken out forcefully against it. In a speech called "The Great Need of the Hour," which he gave at Dr. King's church the day before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this January, Obama addressed the bigotry he perceived within the African American community and stuck his neck out for the LGBT community, the Jewish community, and immigrant communities:

"For most of this country's history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man's inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays - on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity." - Barack Obama, Jan 20 2008 [huge thanks to psychodrew for finding this for me]

Now look at our other option - a man who flipped on offshore drilling, flopped on immigration, still supports DOMA and DADT, and lacks the courage to look Ellen DeGeneres in the face:

The differences between the two candidates are stark - like night and day - and we have a good candidate in Barack Obama. Do we want four more years of darkness under another Republican administration? Obama has pissed a lot of us off, yes, but let's not withdraw our support. Let's not abandon or abuse our nominee. I'm speaking especially to the Clinton supporters whose doubts are resurfacing, and to the Obama supporters who are suddenly realizing they don't know their candidate as well as they thought they did. Take a deep breath, count to ten, and channel your anger into something productive. Take action. Go join the "Get FISA Right" group on MyBO, which is now well over 15,000 members strong. (I recommend that you not select the option to receive all emails because I foolishly did so and received over 80 emails within approximately two hours yesterday. Select the "Receive a daily digest" option instead.) There are several steps you can take from there, including contacting the Obama campaign office, contacting Obama's Senate office, and contacting your own representatives. If you need help thinking of what to say when calling Sen. Obama and your representatives, go here for suggestions. Go to the "What else you can do" page, and you'll find a number of options to keep you busy. There are two petitions for you to sign - Harry Whirlit's online petition and Credo Action's online petition.

We have until July 8 to put some serious pressure on our nominee and our senators. Let's find out whether Obama was right. Let's see if we are the change we've been waiting for. But even if it doesn't work out - even if we can't change Barack's mind - he's still worth fighting for. Our country is worth fighting for, and even if I disagree with him often, I have faith that President Obama will do his utmost to bring safety and prosperity to this nation and its people. I trust he will get us out of Iraq, pass healthcare legislation, reform immigration, bolster our economy, fight for gay rights, and protect women's rights. Those things alone are change we can believe in, but somehow, despite his stance on FISA and faith-based initiatives, I'm reasonably confident he'll do better than that.

Declare Your Independence...

From illegal domestic spying!

What could possibly be a better way to celebrate the 4th of July than to ask our members of Congress to protect and defend the Constitution? Next Week, Congress will consider legislation that undercuts the 4th Amendment by ignoring our privacy rights, allowing for warantless wiretapping, and giving blanket immunity to telecom companies that aided and abetted the Bush Administration in violating the 4th Amendment. That's why we're making a special request here at C4O today.

Please read this important message from DFA Chairman Jim Dean and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). And please, ask your members of Congress to do whatever they can to oppose this "FISA compromise" bill that violates our privacy rights.


McCain Watch

The Huffington Post and have launched a joint project called McCain Watch. To recieve presidential news about John McCain that you won't find anyplace else, sign up at McCain Watch.

FYI, signing up for the email means that you will have to give your email address to both organizations.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

More of the McSame

I'm sure we all remember this image of George W. Bush, premarturely celebrating victory in Iraq on May 1, 2003.  Today, we got a sure sign from John McCain that intends to continue this policy of politicizing military affairs.

Yesterday, Dan Balz wrote a piece for The Trail that began with this question:
Why is John McCain in Colombia?
To Dan Balz, this trip just didn't make sense:
Obama's trip makes political sense. McCain's doesn't. McCain's strongest suit already is national security. Virtually every poll shows that Americans regard him as fully experienced on those issues. Voters may disagree with McCain's policies, which means there is an opening for Obama to challenge the presumptive GOP nominee on foreign policy. But demonstrating familiarity with foreign leaders or regional issues won't do much for McCain at this point. People assume he has that.
Today, we get the reason:
Today, we learn that John McCain was briefed on the raid by Colombian officials before the raid on Tuesday evening.  If this was the free-trade trip that John McCain claims it was, why did he take time out of these important discussions for a military operation that he, as a presidential candidate, not a representative of the executive branch, was not involved in.

While McCain does not try to bask in the glory of the raid, his allies and surrogates have not shied away from tying the successful rescue to the GOP presidential candidate:
"I think it was a sign of confidence of President Uribe and the defense minister in Senator McCain — and maybe in the two of us — that they were prepared to share this information last night, which was highly classified, " Lieberman said. "They were quite detailed about what they were trying to do, and thank god they succeeded."
From the Investor's Business Daily:
It's not absurd, however, to also think that FARC let go of its hostages knowing that Colombia was getting support from a fiercely committed potential U.S. president such as McCain, one who cared enough to visit the country and who knew firsthand what it was like to be held hostage in the jungle for many years by brutal communist guerrillas? It raises questions of a McCain Effect.
While John McCain claims the timing of his visit and the raid was coincidental, we know from experience that the Republicans have no qualms about politicizing foreign policy. I think the Boston Globe captured this perfectly:

Evening Open Thread

So what's happening? What am I missing out on? Talk to me. :-)

Party Unity or Victor's Justice?

After Hillary Clinton conceded and endorsed Barack Obama last month, she held a conference call with her delegates and encouraged all of them to support Barack Obama. All but two have pledged to cast their ballots for Senator Obama in Denver next month.

But for some Obama supporters, that's not enough.

It was widely reported in the news media this spring that Hillary Clinton's prominent African-American supporters were under tremendous pressure to abandon the former First Lady and endorse Senator Obama. From

African-American superdelegates said Thursday that they’ll stand up against threats, intimidation and “Uncle Tom” smears rather than switch their support from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to Sen. Barack Obama.

“African-American superdelegates are being targeted, harassed and threatened,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), a superdelegate who has supported Clinton since August. Cleaver said black superdelegates are receiving “nasty letters, phone calls, threats they’ll get an opponent, being called an Uncle Tom.

“This is the politics of the 1950s,” he complained. “A lot of members are experiencing a lot of ugly stuff. They’re not going to talk about it, but it’s happening.”

Although none of Hillary Clinton's African-American supporters believed that Senator Obama himself was behind the intimidation, one of his biggest supporters, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), hinted that there would be a price to pay for opposing Barack Obama:

He [Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-MO] said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois had recently asked him "if it comes down to the last day and you're the only superdelegate? ... Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?

"I told him I'd think about it," Cleaver concluded.

Jackson, an Obama supporter, confirmed the conversation, and said the dilemma may pose a career risk for some black politicians. "Many of these guys have offered their support to Mrs. Clinton, but Obama has won their districts. So you wake up without the carpet under your feet. You might find some young primary challenger placing you in a difficult position" in the future, he added.

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) switched his support to Senator Clinton after drawing a primary opponent in February. His opponent, Rev. Markel Hutchins, claims that his refusal to get behind Obama showed that the civil rights hero was "out of touch." In yesterday's New York Times, we learned that he is not the only congressman being punished for exercising his judgment and conscience in making his endorsement.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (NY-6) has drawn a primary challenger, Ruben Wills, who supported Barack Obama. Rep. Edolphus Towns (NY-10) faces a primary challenge from Kevin Powell, a community organizer who supported Barack Obama. Rep. John Barrow (GA-12), a conservative white Democrat representing a district with a large black population, is being challenged by African American State Senator Regina Thomas. Because this is considered a swing district, Senator Obama stepped in and endorsed Rep. Barrow. Apparently, Senator Obama was not offended that Rep. Barrow waited until after the Georgia primary to endorse his candidacy.

All of the challengers have sought to make an issue of the incumbent's delayed endorsement. Markel Hutchins, the challenger to Rep. John Lewis (GA) even copied Obama's website:

This primary election battle was historic and unique for many reasons. In the end, Senator Obama won the nomination. But it bears repeating that Hillary Clinton continued to rack up victories long after the media declared her dead, including a victory in South Dakota on the final day of the campaign. This party was divided down the middle and unity cannot mean one side making an unconditional surrender to the other. Each side needs to reach across the aisle to the other.

In the interest of party unity and the best interests of our nation, the Clintonistas for Obama have embraced Senator Obama's candidacy. We did this despite our own difficult feelings about the race and the nominee and the misgivings of many of our own friends. We have not shied away from criticizing the PUMA movement and Senator McCain. Indeed, atdleft and I collaborated on a series of articles to chip away at Senator McCain's image as a maverick and moderate.

In the interest of party unity, I call upon the Obama supporters to rally behind these embattled members of Congress. They should not be punished for exercising the independent judgment they are afforded under the rules of the Democratic Party, especially after they all pledged their support to Senator Obama.

So what will it be for the Hillary Clinton superdelegates? Party unity or victor's justice?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Group at the DNC Partybuilder Blog

If you now support Obama for 2008, there is a new group at the DNC's PartyBuilder Blog.
Check out the link!    LINK >

In Defense of General Clark, James Carville

One of my favorite Clintonistas of all time comes to the defense of another fine Clintonista and Vietnam war hero, General Wesley Clark.

At the end of clip, Carville mentions the recent discovery that McCain has been cozying up to the group behind the Swift Boat ads in 2004. According to USA Today, the "maverick" has accepted $70,000 in donations from members of the group and their relatives.

So while John McCain is manufacturing outrage about an attack on his war record that never happened, he collects donations from a group that is responsible for one of the nastiest smear campaigns, leveled against a Vietnam war hero, in the history of presidential politics.

So much for leadership you can believe in.

Tuesday Strategy Session: Defending Wes Clark, Stopping "PUMA", Saving the Constitution

(Proudly cross-posted at Democratic PartyBuilder) Hey, everyone! I'd like to start a new tradition here at C4O. I want for us to do a weekly strategy session, when we can all get together and discuss some important action items. So are you ready to join me for our important weekly strategy session? First off, I want us to talk about the new right-wing smear campaign against a promiment "Clintonista for Obama" and good friend of ours, Gen. Wesley Clark. Because Wes Clark isn't afraid to tell the truth about John McCain's dangerous plans to keep our troops mired in Iraq indefinitely, the radical right is now having its friends in the corporate media trash the General. That's why VoteVets now has a peitition up for us to support Wes Clark. But still, what else can we do? Can you help me come up with ideas? In other news, Chris Dodd is asking us to become citizen co-sponsors of his amendment to the FISA compromise bill that would strip retroactive immunity from telecom companies that aided and abetted the Bush Administration in warantless wiretapping. What else can we do to support Dodd? What can we do to save our Fourth Amendment privacy rights? There's a great group up and running on "MyBO" (the Obama campaign's online community) calling on Barack Obama to do the right thing... How can we support their efforts? And finally... We just have to figure out a smart strategy to take care of "PUMA". One of our fabulous community members informed me about Yes to Democracy, a fantastic clearinghouse site where we can get the real facts about what the "PUMA movement" is all about. So what can we do to support their efforts to actually support what Hillary Clinton is calling for us to do? We now have a wonderful group of committed Democrats that's continuing to grow and flourish... But what can we do to take that to the next level? I'd love to have your input. OK, so do you need a quick review of our agends for this week's strategy session. Well, here goes: - Defend Wes Clark Against the Right-wing Smears - Save our Fourth Amendment Privacy Rights - Stopping the "PUMA Madness" Are to ready to help me do something? :-)

PUMA Open Thread

Atdleft posted his piece on HOUND vs PUMA at Taylor Marsh's Hot Topics Diaries page and I noticed the following response that is certainly worth some discussion:

The fact that HOUND was created shows that PUMA is no fringe group like people try and downplay it as...but an actual movement.

Otherwise why create another acronym based group to combat it if it's nothing?

So what do you think? Do we take this movement seriously? Most of the Obama people I've encountered don't seem to be worried. I've been labeled a "concern troll" for pushing back against words like "dead-ender."

We're Not Afraid Anymore

Yesterday, Gary Bauer wrote a piece for Politico in which he warns the vast left-wing homosexual conspiracy not to underestimate the power of homophobia in mobilizing sheep voters to the polls. In his article, he repeats the argument that anti-gay marriage amendments helped rally evangelical conservatives to polls to vote for homophobia and fear (George Bush). The argument that fear of gay nuptials pushed President Bush over the top is not without its detractors:

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.

Building on that flawed argument, Bauer argues that the recent California Supreme Court ruling will send angry voters to the polls not just in Florida, which has its own gay marriage amendment on the ballot, but also Ohio and Pennsylvania:

Polling, however, suggests otherwise. Only two states (Florida and California) will vote on marriage protection amendments in November. But a 2007 Quinnipiac poll found that homosexuality remains important among voters in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. No candidate has won the presidency since 1960 without carrying at least two of these states. In all three, a much higher percentage of voters (34 percent to 10 percent in Ohio, 28 percent to 10 percent in Florida and 28 percent to 11 percent in Pennsylvania) said they would be “less likely,” rather than “more likely,” to vote for a candidate who received an endorsement from a gay rights group. Importantly, these margins diminished only slightly among independents in each state.

Ok, so let's get this straight (no pun intended). In 2004, when gay marriage was not on the ballot in Pennsylvania (but was next door in Ohio), John Kerry won Pennsylvania by 2.5% and lost Ohio by 2.11%. In 2008, two years after Democrats in Ohio retook the governors mansion and ousted an incumbent Republican Senator, two years after Democrats in Pennsylvania ousted an incumbent Republican Senator, in a year in which the nearest gay marriage amendment is 900 miles away, John McCain is going to outperform George Bush in Pennsylvania and Ohio? Huh?

Earth to Gary Bauer. We're not afraid anymore. No more politics of fear. In 2002, the politics of fear gave Republicans control of the Senate. In 2004, the politics of fear gave George Bush a second term. In 2006, voters repudiated the politics of fear and gave Democrats control of the Senate. In 2008, voters will again repudiate the politics of fear and keep John McCain in the Senate, where he belongs.

If you have any doubt about what we think of your agenda, allow our nominee, the next president of the United States, Senator Barack Obama to explain. From his speech at the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in November 2007:

And if those Republicans come at me with the same fear-mongering and swift-boating that they usually do, then I will take them head on. Because I believe the American people are tired of fear and tired of distractions and tired of diversions. We can make this election not about fear, but about the future. And that won't just be a Democratic victory; that will be an American victory.

Mr. Bauer, read my lips: We're not afraid.

Yesterday, Barack Obama made that clear when he came out against the gay marriage amendment in California:

In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club read Sunday at the group's annual Pride Breakfast in San Francisco, the Illinois senator said he supports extending "fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law."

"And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states," Obama wrote.

Is Florida an important battleground state? Yes. Is there a gay marriage amendment on the ballot? Yes. Are we afraid? HELL NO!

Your movement, Mr. Bauer, is on the defense. As I wrote last week, there are experts who believe that Barack Obama's appeal to younger voters could spell defeat for the anti-gay marriage movement in these states.

So Mr. Bauer, it is not us who should be afraid. It is you who should be afraid. Very afraid.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Clinton or Reagan UPDATED

Cross-posted at MyDD.

Paul Krugman has another masterpiece in the New York Times. I really have to give him credit, because was one of the very few members of the "commentariat" that was able to cover the Democratic primary without demonizing Hillary Clinton and blindly praising Barack Obama.

He repeatedly criticized Obama's position on health care and criticized him for attacking Hillary Clinton's health care plan from the right, including print and radio ads that were strikingly familiar to the right-wing's "Harry and Louise" ads that helped defeat the 1993 Clinton health care plan.

He also defended Hillary Clinton when the media and Democrats were piling on her over her comments on LBJ's role in the civil rights movement. In Hate Spring Eternal, he reminded us that Democratic candidates had often been treated this way in the past and that Senator Obama could expect similar treatment should he become the party's nominee.

In today's The Obama Agenda, Krugman compares Obama's campaign to Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign and Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign. Obama has tried to distance himself from the Clinton years and sought to compare himself to the transformational Ronald Reagan:

In his piece, Krugman compares Obama's message to Clinton's and Reagan's and comes to an interesting conclusion:

So whom does Mr. Obama resemble more? At this point, he’s definitely looking Clintonesque.

His economic plan and his message of change are very Clintonian. The similarities, he observed, are "almost scary." While Reagan ran as unabashed ideological conservative, Obama, like Clinton in 1992, is running as a candidate who can transcend the traditional partisan differences.

And what about all that DNC-style triangulation and centrism that sends liberal activists through the roof? Obama has that one down, as well:

Progressive activists, in particular, overwhelmingly supported Mr. Obama during the Democratic primary even though his policy positions, particularly on health care, were often to the right of his rivals’. In effect, they convinced themselves that he was a transformational figure behind a centrist facade.

They may have had it backward.

Mr. Obama looks even more centrist now than he did before wrapping up the nomination. Most notably, he has outraged many progressives by supporting a wiretapping bill that, among other things, grants immunity to telecom companies for any illegal acts they may have undertaken at the Bush administration’s behest.

In his analysis of Obama's new general election ad, Marc Ambinder touched on this as well. In this ad, among other things, Obama touts his efforts to reform welfare, citing a 1997 law he helped pass in the Illinois senate. First, the ad:

According to Marc Ambinder, that law merely brought Illinois in compliance with the new welfare reform law signed by President Clinton in August 1996, a law with Obama had apparently opposed.

So why is the Clinton-Reagan comparison so important? Obama seeks to be the transformational president that he perceives Reagan, but not Clinton, to have been. Yet, he is running a campaign that is very Clintonian in its message and policy. Well, according to Paul Krugman, historians agree with Obama's characterization of Clinton and Reagan. That his campaign is mimicking Clinton's is an ominous sign:

In any case, what about after the election? The Reagan-Clinton comparison suggests that a candidate who runs on a clear agenda is more likely to achieve fundamental change than a candidate who runs on the promise of change but isn’t too clear about what that change would involve.

Perhaps this really isn't so much about Clinton and Obama as it is about all Democrats and the progressive movement. The most ideologically liberal candidates never gets nominated by Democrats. Sometimes we flirt with them (Dean), sometimes we take them seriously (Edwards), sometimes we dismiss them (Kucinich). But we always end up nominating a candidate with an eye on the general election. Is this just the nature of our two parties? One demanding ideological perfection, the other more tolerant of straying to the center? Will we ever have a primary campaign in which our candidates argue over which is the most liberal? That might just be transformational.

[UPDATED at 11:30 pm (EST) by Psychodrew]

Marc Ambinder--and I--may have been wrong on Obama's stand on the 1996 welfare reform bill.

From the New York Times:

During the presidential campaign, she has faced little challenge on the issue, in large part because Mr. Obama has supported the 1996 law. “Before welfare reform, you had, in the minds of most Americans, a stark separation between the deserving working poor and the undeserving welfare poor,” Mr. Obama said in an interview. “What welfare reform did was desegregate those two groups. Now, everybody was poor, and everybody had to work.”

Mr. Obama called the resulting law “an imperfect reform.” Like Mrs. Clinton, he called for an expansion of government-provided health care, child care and job training to assist women making the transition from welfare to work — programs he says he helped expand in Illinois as a state senator.

Asked if he would have vetoed the 1996 law, Mr. Obama said, “I won’t second guess President Clinton for signing.”

Thanks to Lakrosse at MyDD for pointing this out.

Just Say No to PUMA, Yes to Hillary & Barack!

(Proudly cross-posted at MyDD and Democratic PartyBuilder)

OK, OK, so I've been "HOUNDing" on this for a while now. Even though Hillary Clinton herself has been calling on all Democrats to unite in support for Barack Obama, we've seen these few "PUMAs" troll around the internets. They're dishonoring Hillary, trashing barack, and doing the right wing's work in mocking Democrats.

So what can we now do to get out the real progressive message that Hillary wants us to listen to? Follow me after the flip to find out...

So what can we do? Well, all of us blogging here is a start! We're getting out the real message of Democrats working together for victory. We're fighting the smears, and we're unspinning the right-wing spin.

We're making a good start, but we can still do more. We can congregate and band together to strategize. We can spread the word about the reality of John McBush. We can tell the real truth about Barack Obama and why Hillary endorsed him.

But above all else, we can show some compassion to our pro-Hillary friends who are still hurting from the primaries. I really think PA Gov. Ed Rendell hit just the right note last week, and I think we'd be wise to follow his lead. Listen to our pro-Hillary friends, share with them your repressed frustration from the primaries... Just let it all out finally! And then, talk with them about why Hillary supports Barack and why we must elect a Democratic President and Democratic Congress to ensure the vision that Barack and Hillary both share becomes reality.

Oh yes, and let's not forget to contribute! Obama needs all the help we can give him now to ensure he has the resources necessary for victory. Oh, and don't forget to give to Hillary and to the party as well!

And finally, let's all stand together to fight the far right and take our country back! :-)

Please Join Our New Group at PartyBuilder!

Hey, everyone! I hope you're all doing great today. Oh yes, and I want to let you know that we have a new group up at DNC PartyBuilder.
Please feel free to check it out some time. And oh yes, JOIN US! The more, the merrier!

So join the fun... And consider this an open thread. :-)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

LAST CALL for Q2: Help Obama & Democrats Finish Strong!

(Cross-posted at MyDD)

Hey, everyone! We have just over 24 hours left to make a HUGE impact in this election by making sure our Democrats have enough resources to kick some Rethug behind this fall. So what can we all do to help Obama win the White House and Democrats win more seats in Congress?

Follow me down below for more...

OK, so what can we do? How 'bout donating?! After all, Barack Obama still needs some help so that he can shatter some more fundraising records and prove to the corporate media naysayers that he did the right thing by breaking free of the current broken campaign financing system and building a strong campaign in all 50 states. Go ahead and take a listen to what David Plouffe has to say.

So are you feeling excited now? That's good. Just remember that the only way Obama really can compete in all 50 states is by us ensuring that the campaign has the resorces to do so. So please, donate what you can to our Democratic nominee, Barack Obama.

So are you also excited to finally see real bonds of unity being formed among Democrats now? I know I am!

But you know what? Hillary Clinton still has campaign debt to take care of. And the more time she has to spend dealing with her debt, the less time she can spen campaigning for Obama and other Democrats nationwide. That's why it's critical that we help her retire this debt once and for all! If you can spare a little extra for Hillary, please do so.

OK, and let's not forget about our important downticket races! If we want President Obama to really hit the ground running, let's make sure he has a strong Democratic Congress that will help him implement a truly progressive agenda. Donate at MyDD's "Road to 60" ActBlue page so we can have a more Democratic Senate. Donate at BlueAmerica's ActBlue page to support strong progressive Democrats running for the House (and Senate, too). Oh yes, and don't forget to help out the Democratic Party so we can have a strong presence for Democrats in all 50 states!

And finally, will you please help some good friends of ours here in Southern California? My wonderful Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange County, CA) is is working hard for not just herself, but for a fantastic Democrat named Debbie Cook running to replace a complete Rethug nutjob. Debbie Cook is currently the mayor of Huntington Beach, and she's a popular local elected leader who has what it takes to win this race and help President Obama implement a strong progressive agenda in Congress. All we need to do now is make sure she has all the resources to "ride the Obama coattails" to victory this fall.

OK, I know I told you a lot. So would you like a quick refresher on your options?

- Donate to Help Democrats Win in Southern California

- Donate to Help Barack Obama Win

- Donate to Help Democrats Win Nationwide

- Donate to Make Congress Bluer & Better

- Donate to Help Hillary Retire the Debt

Get it? Got it? Great! Now let's go out and make sure Democrats win! :-)

HOUND v. PUMA: What Would Hillary Do?

(Cross-posted at Hillary Feminists for Obama and MyDD)

Apparently, we have a new round of fighting occurring here at MyDD over "PUMA". Now I know it's easy to just become angry and scream about it... However, I'd like for us to all calm down and really think about what this "PUMA" phenomenon is supposed to be all about. Oh yes, and why don't we think about WHO this is supposed to be all about?

So what does Hillary think about this "movement" being built in her name to slash and burn the Democratic Party? Well, I think we now know what the answer is. Hillary couldn't have been clearer in asking us who've supported her all the way to do what she's doing now.

And yes, I really do believe Hillary is 120% genuine now in her support for Barack Obama. Frankly, I think the "PUMAs" who are running around saying that Hillary is being "forced" to do this are onlt reinforcing the negative stereotypes of Hillary being the "conniving, power-hungry witch willing to do anything to mnake it to the top". I really think these "Hillary really doesn't support Barack" rumors are a grave dishonor to both of these wonderful Democratic leaders and everything they stand for.

OK, OK, so some of these "PUMAs" acknowledge that Hillary truly does care about the Democratic Party. So now they ask: Why should we? Aren't they throwing Hillary Clinton Democrats under the bus now? And if we don't "punish" them now, how will they ever learn their lesson?

Well, I'd rather not rehash old battles from the "primary wars". But still, even I must admit that I still have raw feelings over the much of the party staying silent while Hillary and her supporters were being viciously attacked. And yes, as a volunteers who traveled to Nevada for the Caucus there I saw for myself the unsavory lowlights of the caucus system. But hold on, how is electing John McBush an appropriate response to what happened to Hillary?

This is why my heart warmed up when I saw this from PA. Gov. Ed Rendell:

PUMA advocated that Hillary Clinton supporters do not vote for Barack Obama just for the sake of party unity. Even though we in HOUND are loyal Democrats, we agree that no one should cast a vote for President because of a desire to achieve party unity. We believe Sen. Clinton supporters should vote for Sen. Obama because, as Hillary herself said so forcefully and poignantly in her great speech a few Saturdays ago, the best way to achieve the changes she has fought so hard to bring to America, and on which she based her campaign, is to support Sen. Obama, whose policies are almost identical to hers.

The Clinton-Obama plans on health care, the economy, energy, education and on ending the war in Iraq represent the core values that made us all Democrats – values and positions that are light years apart from the conservative policies enunciated by Sen. McCain (e.g., voting against S-CHIP, voting against raising CAF standards, voting against equal pay for women, voting for increased tax credits for big oil and against extending the credit for the production of renewable energy, expanding an increase in the Bush tax cuts, promoting a war without end in Iraq, etc.) If you care about these things, and we believe PUMA members do, then you must support Sen. Obama.

No one worked harder than I did for Hillary and I believe no one could admire her and what she represents more that I do. But we must get over our disappointment and, as Hillary said, not waste time looking back and thinking about what might have been. Our country’s challenges must be addressed immediately, not four years from now. Our beloved country simply cannot afford four more years of Republican do-nothing-for-people government. PUMA members risk just that – it could be a Ralph Nader 2000 redux. Don’t let that happen. Close your eyes and think about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton standing together united at a ceremony for the bill signing of legislation that guarantees every American affordable, effective healthcare.

Now yes, both Gov. Rendell and I may have complaints about certain aspects of this last primary season. And yes, there are ways for us to fix these problems within the party. However, we must not let our anger from the primaries lead us to making the fatal flaw of allowing McCain to make the nightmare of a thrid Bush-Cheney term into reality. Or as Hillary said it on Friday, we have a unique opportunity to make change happen now and "we can not let this moment slip away".

So if you agree with me and you agree with Gov. Rendell and with Hillary Clinton herself, I urge you to look beyond the misplaced anger of the "PUMAs" and take real action to take back our country. Support Barack Obama. Support Hillary Clinton. Ensure that Democrats will be able to compete and win in all 50 states. Oh yes, and why not be a HOUND for Hillary and Barack?