Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fresh Obama ad

By Libby Spencer

I think it's really good.

As the old saw goes, this one will play well in Peoria.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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How to end the occupation of Iraq

By Libby Spencer

This story didn't get enough attention yesterday and it was truly an awesome development in the narrative on the failure of the occupation in Iraq.

More than 40 Democratic House and Senate candidates have endorsed a document stating that "there is no military solution in Iraq" and calling for an end to the war and the removal of all U.S. troops from the country, though not according to any specific timeline.

The strategy document, titled "A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq," calls for using "diplomatic, political and economic means" to hasten an end to the conflict. As of this writing, it has been endorsed by four Democratic Senate candidates and 38 House hopefuls, a handful of whom touted the plan on a conference call with reporters today.

I'd note this effort is being led in part by a blogger. It's a good plan and I think it's rather incredible that this many candidates have signed on so early in the game. I have to think more will sign on as it becomes apparent it's a winning strategy in an election year where the electorate is undeniably tired of pouring blood and treasure into a quixotic quest with an end goal that has yet to be clearly stated. We've come a long way since the 06 elections.

We're going to end this by electing enough politicians in 08 who are willing to stand up and vote for the people rather than cower in the face of the conventional wisdom inside the Beltway.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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Texas: where strip clubs with underage dancers don't get shut down, but where you can't buy a damn vibrator

By LindaBeth

First, some old-ish news: Texas's law (check out this YouTube vid) against the sale or "promotion" of sex toys was ruled unconstitutional in February, but in March the State Attorney General Greg Abbott (whose views do not necessarily reflect those of the Texas population) has requested that the circuit court of appeals to rehear the case:

Under Texas law it is illegal to sell, advertise, give or lend obscene devices, defined as a device used primarily for sexual stimulation. Anyone in possession of six or more sexual devices is considered to be promoting them. (via Austin American-Statesman).

Um... six devices? Considering the wide variety of sex toys and their uses for women, men, and couples, this turns an awful lot of people who enjoy sex and sexual variety into criminals. But isn't this really the point? When an exploration of sexuality beyond procreative purposes and methods is called "obscene" and those who practice become "criminals," the effort is to return sex back to it's "real" purpose-procreation. Oh yeah, and male-centered, both in who should receive pleasure and how a woman "ought to" achieve pleasure: the good ol' penis-in-vagina way. It's pretty clear that this primarily impacts women, who probably benefit the greatest from sex toys-from being able to understand their own bodies and pleasures, to being able to experience those pleasures with a partner (23% of couples use 'em). Think I'm stretching it? Check this out, again from the Statesman:

The state also argued in a brief that Texas has legitimate "morality based" reasons for the laws, which include "discouraging prurient interests in autonomous sex and the pursuit of sexual gratification unrelated to procreation."

Of course, Texas isn't the only state in the union to have these bans. In October, the state court of appeals refused to hear a challenge to Alabama's 10-year old law. One community activist supports the law by associating sex toy sales with "sexual-oriented crime". Not sure what he means by that... unless he's referring to the laws againsts procreative sex still on the books (which were made illegal by the Supreme Court in 2003). Mississippi and Virginia also have similar laws banning sex toy sales.

But jump to the last few days: A Dallas strip club was found to have a 12-year old (yes, that's not a typo) stripping there. She was a runaway, and likely had been sexually abuse, and was aided by a female club employee and an adult man. In January, the same club was found to have a 17 year-old stripping. But its license is not being revoked:

The 23-page city ordinance does allow revocation of a club's license if, for example, the club knowingly allows prostitution, the sale or use of drugs at the club, or if there are two convictions for sex-related crimes at the club within a 12-month period.

I know I don't have to connect the dots for you. Selling sex toys that have greatly aided individual's pleasure, especially for women (40% of women say they use vibrators), was illegal up until recently, and is under review, but a club that is irresponsible enough to have allowed two underage girls to perform for male sexual pleasure and profit cannot have its license revoked. (And this is to say nothing about the kind of culture that produces 12-year olds as desirable sex objects and encourages their desire to be a sex object.)

And this isn't the only example of Texas law shielding businesses that exploit young women:

Earlier this week, we also told you about Club Metroplois, where Dallas police found 13-year-old prostitutes. That nightspot operates as a bar, so the city says it has to treat it like any other business and has to prove a pattern of crime before it can be closed -- unless they find a loophole.

The great state of Texas my ass.

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Rudy's return?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It was inevitable, but it looks like Rudy Giuliani -- shameless exploiter of 9/11, would-be torturer-in-chief, and neo-fascist thug, not to mention presidential campaign failure -- is looking to restart his political career, the New York Post is reporting:

In the latest twist in New York politics, Rudy Giuliani is eyeing a run for governor in a special election this fall should Gov. Paterson be forced to resign, sources say.

Of course, this is all rather premature. Paterson has admitted to past infidelities and drug use, yes, but "those disclosures have raised little outrage, either from the public or his colleagues in Albany," and, barring further disclosures or revelations, he may have succeeded in putting his personal past behind his political present.

Still, Rudy will come back at some point -- if not this November, then a November to come, and likely sooner rather than later, or perhaps as a high-ranking official in a possible McCain Administration.

About which I say to the people of New York:

Please, please, please don't let this happen. You wouldn't be able to do anything about a political appointment, but if and when he's ever on another ballot in your state, vote for someone else.

Don't unleash this repugnant man upon yourselves -- nor upon the country, nor upon the world.

It is long past time for Rudy's political career to be over for good.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

The significance of Casey's endorsement of Obama

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(Creature posted on it earlier today. Here's some reaction, along with the video.)

Sasha Issenberg at The Boston Globe: "Senator Bob Casey, a champion of the working-class Catholic voters at the core of Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania coalition, bypassed Clinton to endorse Barack Obama today, the latest swipe between two warring dynasties whose battles have defined the Democratic party's search for a modern identity."

Katharine Q. Seelye at the NYT's The Caucus:

In a surprise move, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania has endorsed Senator Barack Obama in advance of the April 22 Democratic primary. Mr. Casey had said he would remain neutral in the race in part because he wanted to help broker a reconciliation between Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton afterward.

"I believe in my heart that there is one person who's uniquely qualified to lead us in that new direction and that is Barack Obama." Mr. Casey said during a rally in Pittsburgh Friday.

"I really believe that in a time of danger around the world and in division here at home, Barack Obama can lead us, he can heal us, he can help rebuild America," he said.

The transcript of Casey's remarks is here.

"Vice President Casey?" asks Noam Scheiber at TNR's The Stump. (Makes sense, no?) See also Scheiber's comments on what the endorsement means here. What is noteworthy is that in the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary that pitted him against the eventual winner, current Gov. Ed Rendell, Casey "dominated among working class whites -- which means most of the counties outside the Philly metro area." And so: "[W]ith Casey now endorsing Obama, I suspect he'll be able to make up for some of the bleeding in Philly with a better-than-expected showing out west. I still don't think he can win, but he's got a shot of getting within ten points, which would be a moral victory of sorts."

(Ben Smith at The Politico thinks "[t]he endorsement also will help Obama with Roman Catholic voters.")

Chris Cillizza at WaPo's The Fix also thinks it's a big deal -- sort of: "The Caseys have long been the power brokers of the northeastern Pennsylvania thanks to their power base in Scranton. The Casey name should help Obama make inroads into the blue-collar, white, rural communities that he struggled to penetrate in Ohio -- though it's unlikely that simply being supported by Bob Casey will change voters' mind about Obama."

And, of course, Casey's a superdelegate. Which is no small thing.

There's more reaction at Memeorandum.

Here's the video:

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A trip down Hillary lane -- 2007 edition, Part II

By Edward Copeland

The second 2007 installment of my Copeland Institute posts about Hillary has taken awhile to get to because every time I tried to start it, I had to duck from incoming sniper fire. Excuse me: I misspoke. There wasn't any sniper fire. My bad. If you missed the January through April 2007 post, click
here. If you missed the 2006 installment, click here.

MAY 1, 2007

No, she hasn't officially swapped Rodham for Nothing-But-Ambition, but she is leaving it out of her presidential campaign. I guess she's afraid that her maiden name might put off people who were never going to vote for her anyway.

JUNE 22, 2007

According to today's Washington Post, Michael Moore says Harvey Weinstein begged him to cut a scene out of Sicko concerning Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton.

JULY 27, 2007

"This is getting kind of silly. You know, I've been called a lot of things in my life, but I've never been called George Bush or Dick Cheney, certainly."
Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton

She hasn't been listening very closely to those of us out here who fear she'll cost the Democrats an easy election victory. What Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton thought would be an easy jab at Obama has turned on her as Barack shows he can take a shot and give as good as he gets, leaving Hillary henchmen such as the devilish Howard Wolfson flailing about and looking more malevolent than ever as they try to take offense at being compared to Dubya. If the flawed personality fits...

AUG. 17, 2007

"When people say experience, what they're really saying is -- do you have good judgment? Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney have a lot of experience, but they didn't have a lot of good judgment when it came to foreign policy. Part of what I offer is good judgment."
Sen. Barack Obama

I hope Howard Wolfson keeps being the public hatchet man for Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton. Every time this devilish man appears, I think he hurts Shrillary and helps the mission to stop her. Karl Rove keeps pumping Hillary up as the nominee while admitting she is fatally flawed because the GOP literally is salivating for her to be the Democratic nominee, knowing she is the best hope the GOP has for winning in 2008. Prove Rove wrong and nominate someone with a real chance at victory in the general such as Barack Obama.

SEPT. 21, 2007

Occasional fugitive fundraiser Norman Hsu faces new charges of financial improprieties involving political campaigns and even though the Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton campaign has tried to divest of the largesse he raised for them, the law has frozen those funds to prevent them from getting rid of them for the time being.

Most of Hillary's rivals for the Democratic nomination go after her in yet-another debate over her new
health care plan, given her past record on the issue.

SEPT. 25, 2007

Sen. Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton lives up to her reputation as a female Dubya with a brain once again by killing a potentially negative story in GQ by dangling an exclusive with Bill out as a prize.

SEPT. 26, 2007

Andrew Sullivan had a great column yesterday, pointing out how many more people are noticing that Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton is turning herself into a Bush Democrat, with no plans to abandon his disastrous policies in Iraq (and reportedly even getting advice from him).

The conservative Washington Establishment is swooning for Hillary for a reason. The reason is an accommodation with what they see as the next source of power (surprise!); and the desire to see George W. Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq legitimated and extended by a Democratic president (genuine surprise). Hillary is Bush's ticket to posterity. On Iraq, she will be his legacy. They are not that dissimilar after all: both come from royal families, who have divvied up the White House for the past couple of decades. They may oppose one another; but they respect each other as equals in the neo-monarchy that is the current presidency.

SEPT. 27, 2007

The Senate backed a resolution urging Dubya to declare Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group, co-sponsored by none other than Censorin' Joe Lieberman. While Democratic presidential candidates Biden and Dodd voted against it, seeing it for what it is, an attempt to lay the groundwork for war, Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton backed the measure. Of course, you wouldn't know it by reading MSM stories, since they are covering for her again, but here is the Senate's official roll call vote. Obama didn't vote at all, something he shared with McCain. Meanwhile, the Senate also passed a resolution endorsing Biden's long-sought plan to encourage the partition of Iraq along sectarian lines.

SEPT. 29, 2007

It's no surprise to see politicians try to answer direct questions by spewing things they'd rather talk about, but Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton is getting really sloppy at it. Check out these nonanswers from Wednesday night's debate:

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, in 1981 the Israelis took out a nuclear reactor in Iraq. On September 6th, to the best of our information, Israel attacked Syria because there was suspicion that perhaps North Korea had put some nuclear materials in Syria. If Israel concluded that Iran's nuclear capability threatened Israel's security, would Israel be justified in launching an attack on Iran?
SENATOR CLINTON: Tim, I think that's one of those hypotheticals that --
MR. RUSSERT: It is not a hypothetical, Senator. It's real life.
SENATOR CLINTON: -- that is better not addressed at this time.
MR. RUSSERT: It's real --
SENATOR CLINTON: What is real life is what apparently happened in Syria, so let's take that one step at a time. MR. RUSSERT: But my question --
SENATOR CLINTON: I know what the question is.
MR. RUSSERT: The question is --
SENATOR CLINTON: But I think it's important to lay out what we know about Syria.
MR. RUSSERT: Would Israel -- my question is --
SEN. CLINTON: Because we don't have as much information as we wish we did. But what we think we know is that with North Korean help, both financial and technical and material, the Syrians apparently were putting together, and perhaps over some period of years, a nuclear facility, and the Israelis took it out. I strongly support that. We don't have any more information than what I have just described. It is highly classified; it is not being shared. But I don't want to go a step further and talk about what might or might not happen down the road with Iran.
MR. RUSSERT: My question was --
SEN. CLINTON: But I think it is fair to say what happened in Syria, so far as we know, I support.
MR. RUSSERT: My question is, would the Israelis be justified if they felt their security was being threatened by the presence of a nuclear presence in Iran , and they decided to take military action? Would they be justified?
SENATOR CLINTON: Well, Tim, I'm not going to answer that because what I understand is that --

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, would you be in favor of saying to the American people, "I'm going to tax your income. I'm not going to cap at $97,500. Everyone, even if you're a millionaire, is going to pay Social Security tax on every cent they make"?
SEN. CLINTON: Well, Tim, let me tell you what I think about this because I know this is a particular concern of yours, but I want to make three points very briefly. First, I do think that it's important to talk about fiscal responsibility. You know, when my husband left office after moving us toward a balanced budget and a surplus, we had a plan to make Social Security solvent until 2055. Now, because of the return to deficits, we've lost 14 years of solvency. It's now projected to be solvent until 2041. Getting back on a path of fiscal responsibility is absolutely essential. Number two, I think we do need another bipartisan process. You described what happened in '83. It took presidential leadership, and it took the relationship between the White House and Capitol Hill to reach the kind of resolution that was discussed. And I think that has to be what happens again, but with a president who is dedicated to Social Security, unlike our current president, who has never liked Social Security. You can go back and see when he first ran for Congress he was dissing Social Security. So when I'm president, I will do everything to protect and preserve Social Security so we can have that kind of bipartisanship. And finally, then you can look in the context of fiscal responsibility and of a bipartisan compromise what else might be done. But I think if you don't put fiscal responsibility first, you're going to really make a big mistake, because we demonstrated in the '90s it had a lot to do with moving us toward solvency.
MR. RUSSERT: But you would not take lifting the cap at 97.5 off the table.
SENATOR CLINTON: Well, I take everything off the table until we move toward fiscal responsibility and before we have a bipartisan process. I don't think I should be negotiating about what I would do as president. You know, I want to see what other people come to the table with.
MR. RUSSERT: But Senator Biden said you can't grow your way out of this. And for the record, when the Clinton administration left office, Social Security was only guaranteed to 2038, not 2055.
SENATOR CLINTON: There was a plan, on the basis of the balanced budget and the surplus, to take it all the way to 2055.
MR. RUSSERT: A plan --
SENATOR CLINTON: And we know what happened. George Bush came in, went back to deficits, and has basically used the Social Security trust fund and borrowing from China --
MR. RUSSERT: But Senator --
SENATOR CLINTON: -- and other countries to pay for the war.
MR. RUSSERT: -- a simple question. A simple question. What do you put on the table? What are you willing to look at to say, "We're not going to double the taxes, we're not going to cut benefits in half; I'm willing to put everything on the table, some things on the table, nothing on the table"?
SENATOR CLINTON: I'm not putting anything on the proverbial table until we move toward fiscal responsibility. I think it's a mistake to do that.

RUSSERT: I want to turn to politics and money. Senator Clinton, as you all know, you had to turn back $850,000 in contributions from Norman Hsu because of his rather checkered past.
Again, President Clinton said this, Now, we don't have to publish all our donors for the Clinton Foundation, but if Hillary became president, I think there would questions about whether people would try to win favor by giving money to me. In light of that, do you believe that the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton library should publish all the donors who give contributions to those two entities?
CLINTON: Well, Tim, I actually co-sponsored legislation that would have sitting presidents reveal any donation to their presidential library, and I think that's a good policy.
RUSSERT: And the foundation?
CLINTON: Well, it would be the same, because that's where the library comes from.
RUSSERT: Until such legislation, would they voluntarily, the Clinton library and Clinton Foundation, make their donors public?
CLINTON: Well, you'll have to ask them.
RUSSERT: What's your recommendation?
CLINTON: Well, I don't talk about my private conversations with my husband, but I'm sure he'd be happy to consider that.

RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, what about a World Series -- Yankees and Cubs?
CLINTON: Well, you know, I've worried about that because I think, given the Cubs' record, which of course, I hope it happens, but it could very well be a sign of the coming apocalypse, were that to ever occur. It would be so out of history that you would have the Cubs versus the Yanks. Then I'd be really in trouble.
RUSSERT: But who would you be for?
CLINTON: Well, I would probably have to alternate sides.

SEPT. 30, 2007

The great Frank Rich, now free from the shackles of TimesSelect, is back where everyone can read his wisdom and his Sunday piece is a true keeper: Defying the "conventional wisdom" and making the case that Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton is following the same path of Al Gore 2000, a path that could help the hapless GOP keep the White House next year.

OCT. 10, 2007

Barely a month after Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton proposed $5,000 savings bonds for every child born in the U.S. only to get slapped around by the GOP, she has dropped the idea and claims that it was always an idea, not a proposal, and that it is off the table now.

Michael Dobbs' Fact Checker column in The Washington Post has an excellent post about Hillary Clinton's bald-faced exaggerations to crowds about her intentions concerning Iraq. "If this president does not get us out of Iraq, when I am president, I will," Clinton declared at the Democratic debate in South Carolina on April 26. Come September, her words had been revised a bit at another debate.

"I will immediately move to begin bringing our troops home when I am inaugurated...[But there] may be a continuing counter-terrorism mission, which, if it still exists, will be aimed al Qaeda in Iraq. It may require combat, Special Operations Forces or some other form of that, but the vast majority of our combat troops should be out."

The column details her back-and-forth on the issue and contradictions within her own statements and on her own Web site. Dobbs then spells out in great detail all the caveats Hillary gives for needing to possibly stay in Iraq, including Iraq "is right in the heart of the oil region." Finally, Dobbs employs what he calls "The Pinocchio Test" concluding:

(H)er bold 'I will end the war' promise is an obvious exaggeration. A truer description of her position would be, 'I will do my best to end a war that I now believe to have been deeply mistaken, but the United States has many interests in the Middle East that must be protected.'

Iraq isn't the only foreign policy issue where Hillary has been trying to please all sides, as evidenced by her maneuvering in Iraq, which Maureen Dowd in The New York Times reports today led to one of the few public instances of Hillary exhibiting a Dubya-like loss of her composure when an Iowa voter questioned her about her moves, and no one is supposed to question Hillary.

OCT. 10, 2007

Barack Obama and John Edwards (who really has been doing it for awhile) finally are coming out swinging. They've been doing it for awhile, though most of the MSM have tried to downplay or ignore it since they are so in the tank for Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton.

Former Sen. John Edwards has stepped up his criticism of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton this week, aiming it about her character and truthfulness as well as her substantive policies. This represents a marked change for Edwards, who, even though he has been the attack dog among the top-tier candidates, has gone after her mainly on the question of electability (as he is doing again this week, on a four-day electability tour).
Sen. Barack Obama is taking a sharper edge toward Clinton -- and her husband -- as well. Appearing on The Tonight Show on Wednesday night, Obama joined in mocking Clinton for her strategy of presenting herself as the inevitable nominee.
"Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare mission accomplished a little too soon," Obama said, to applause. "So we're -- we've got a long way to go before the first vote is cast, but we do this every year, every election. Four years ago, you know, President Howard Dean was coronated, and that didn't work out. And so really until those folks start going into the polling place, these races end up being very fluid."
Edwards, meanwhile, has been pursuing Clinton on the question of her honesty and sincerity. During a stop earlier this week, Edwards criticized Clinton for her seeming fluidity on the issues in order to win. "Instead of moving from primary mode to general election mode, why don't we have tell-the-truth mode, all the time, and not say something different one time than we say another time?" Edwards said.

OCT. 19, 2007

The Los Angeles Times had an excellent piece Friday detailing the mysterious circumstances of some of Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton's top donors. Dishwashers, waiters and other workers in the poorest sections of New York's Chinatown somehow are putting together $2,000 contributions for Hillary's campaign. Can you say straw donors? Is this the kind of politician we want to follow the disaster of Dubya?

OCT. 21, 2007

"I don't like her. I don't think she's honest."

"I'm not a fan at all. She shifts a lot of her policies depending on what the question is. I don't feel her values are consistent."

"She should have stayed in Arkansas. I just don't care for her. I don't know if she follows through on what she says she's going to do. I would vote for Barack Obama. I just like his style."

"She's nothing but a fraud. She says she's going to do all sorts of things but doesn't do any of them. All she's trying to do is get people's votes."
Four Upstate New York voters

The campaign for Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton likes to point to her success with Upstate N.Y. voters as proof that those of us who know she can't win nationally are wrong. Unfortunately, if you talk to those in Upstate New York who voted for her for Senate, the presidency is another story.

“Part of the reason that Republicans, I think, are obsessed with you, Hillary, is because that’s a fight they’re very comfortable having. It is the fight that we’ve been through since the ’90s. And part of the job of the next president is to break the gridlock and to get Democrats and independents and Republicans to start working together to solve these big problems.”
Sen. Barack Obama

Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition gets pounded by her competitors for the Democratic nomination and actually starts to lose her composure and stumble over her own inconsistencies in the latest debate.

NOV. 1, 2007


By Anne E. Kornblut and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 1, 2007; A01
After a rare night of fumbles by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination rushed to maximize the damage yesterday, even as her advisers argued that the "piling on" engaged in by an all-male field of opponents will ultimately drive more female voters into her camp.

NOV. 4, 2007

Following last week's debate where chinks finally pierced Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton's armor, Obama keeps up the criticism of Hillary for her doubletalk and lack of candor. As expected, Clinton's minions from hell trot out the tired old line that any criticism of her is a "personal attack."

NOV. 5, 2007

John Edwards continues his battering of Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton as well while stumping in Iowa.

... former Senator John Edwards, said he would draw new distinctions with Mrs. Clinton in a speech here on Monday, raising questions with other Democrats over Iraq and Iran.
“Senator Clinton is voting like a hawk in Washington, while talking like a dove in Iowa and New Hampshire,” Mr. Edwards plans to say, according to excerpts of a speech provided by his campaign. “We only need one mode from our president: tell-the-truth mode all the time.”

NOV. 6, 2007

This John Edwards ad against Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton is just too good not to share.

NOV. 9, 2007

Bill Clinton, trying to defend Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton from attacks on her inability to give a straight answer, has the gall to compare criticism of his wife to the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry in 2004. Barack Obama laughs and he and Chris Dodd beg to differ.

The campaign for Hillary
Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton fesses up when it's caught red-handed planting questions for her to be asked at an Iowa event. She looks more like Dubya with each passing day.

NOV. 22, 2007

“She hasn’t accomplished anything on her own since getting admitted to Yale Law. She isn’t Dianne Feinstein, who spent years as mayor of San Francisco before becoming a senator, or Nancy Pelosi, who became Madam Speaker on the strength of her political abilities. All Hillary is, is Mrs. Clinton. She became a partner at the Rose Law Firm because of that, senator of New York because of that, and (heaven help us) she could become president because of that.”
Joan Di Cola, a Boston lawyer

If you missed Maureen Dowd's Wednesday column sticking it to Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton, brighten up your Thanksgiving by reading it now.

DEC. 2, 2007

The ever-great Frank Rich has an on-the-nose column today detailing why Obama is pulling ahead and why his ascendance poses problems not only for Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton but by potential GOP opponents as well.

JUST 24 hours after Hillary Clinton mowed down a skeptical Katie Couric with her certitude that she would win the Democratic nomination — “It will be me!” — her husband showed exactly how she could lose it.
By telling an Iowa audience on Tuesday night that he had opposed the Iraq war “from the beginning,” Bill Clinton committed a double pratfall. Not only did he refocus attention on his wife’s most hazardous issue, Iraq, just as it was receding as the nation’s Topic A, but he also revived unhappy memories of the truth-dodging nadirs of the Clinton White House.

DEC. 5, 2007

Some Democrats in the House who hail from closely fought districts are expressing concerns that their jobs may be in jeopardy if Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton ends up as the party's standardbearer in 2008.

DEC. 27, 2007

Ask yourself what Hillary's true "experience" is, as this New York Times story did yesterday. If 8 years as first lady makes someone qualified to be president, does that mean Laura Bush is as experienced as Hillary?

As first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton jaw-boned the authoritarian president of Uzbekistan to leave his car and shake hands with people. She argued with the Czech prime minister about democracy. She cajoled Roman Catholic and Protestant women to talk to one another in Northern Ireland. She traveled to 79 countries in total, little of it leisure; one meeting with mutilated Rwandan refugees so unsettled
her that she threw up afterward.

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Another senator backs Obama

By Creature

I don't believe Obama has a prayer of winning Pennsylvania (though if he did it would surely put an end to Clinton's campaign). His best hope is to pull within 10 points, or so. With that in mind, landing Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey's endorsement today is very good news. Not to mention another superdelegate has jumped off the fence.

Let the Hillary "death watch" begin.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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He fought Sadr and Sadr won

By Libby Spencer

I leave the big analysis of the morass in Mesopotamia to the policy wonks, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to grasp that this is bad news for Iraq.

Iraq’s Prime Minister was staring into the abyss today after his operation to crush militia strongholds in Basra stalled, members of his own security forces defected and district after district of his own capital fell to Shia militia gunmen.

It reminds me of an article I read several years ago about a military unit in Afghanistan, back when the media still covered that occupation. The commander of the unit remarked, "You can't buy an Afghani, but you can rent one." It seems the same dynamic plays out in Iraq. Maybe Maliki thought he had an ace up his sleeve with the US effectively bribing the various factions to stop fighting, but it apparently turned out to be just a joker.

Mr al-Maliki has gambled everything on the success of Operation Saulat al-Fursan, or Charge of the Knights, to sweep illegal militias out of Basra.

I have little doubt that the recent spate of visits by US dignitaries had something to do with Maliki throwing his cards on the table and clearly the pressure came straight from the alternate reality team at the White House.

"Prime Minister Maliki's bold decision, and it was a bold decision, to go after the illegal groups in Basra shows his leadership and his commitment to enforce the law in an even-handed manner," Mr Bush said. "It also shows the progress the Iraqi security forces have made during the surge."

Cripes. If this is progress I surely don't want to see what regression looks like. Meanwhile...

If the Iraqi forces fail to stamp out the powerful militias, however, and Iraq sinks into a new bout of in-fighting, Mr Bush’s troops and British forces may be forced to weigh in, sparking a new round of blood-letting ahead of US elections and scuttling British plans for an early withdrawal from Iraq.

That prophecy didn't take long to self-fulfill. Three days in and the US forces are already taking the lead. You know, Bush has stated on numerous occassions that his only plan for Iraq was to engineer the circumstances on the ground to force his successor to maintain the occupation. Damn if it doesn't look like it's going to work.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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Once again, caucus voters don't matter

By Creature

Bill Clinton's new math:

"Right now, among all the primary states, believe it or not, Hillary's only 16 votes behind in pledged delegates," said Bill Clinton, "and she's gonna wind up with the lead in the popular vote in the primary states. She's gonna wind up with the lead in the delegates [from primary states]."

Is anybody buying this crap? Just using the word "lead" does not make it so, Bill.

You know, I too would argue that caucuses suck, but there are actual voters who participated in them, and if Hill and Bill want to run around the country screaming that Barack Obama singlehandedly disenfranchised Florida and Michigan then maybe they should just shut the fuck up about whose vote counts more or less than others.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

On the nature of terrorism

By Carol Gee

The subject of GWOT is a perfect study in "The Blind Men and the Elephant." It depends who describes it blindfolded. First of all "GWOT" sounds like someone attempting to clear his throat. And it is a misnomer in several ways:

Global -- there may be a number of terrorist cells and a larger number of virtual jihad groups, but that does not mean they are everywhere around the globe. It would be like the blind man trying to describe the elephant as a wall, or trying to figure out how big the elephant is by trying to embrace the animal. "Global" is to big to get your arms around.
War -- a nation cannot fight a true "war" against the tactic of terrorist acts. It would be like the blind man holding on to the tail trying to describe the elephant as similar to a rope. A coiled rope looks as if it has no beginning or end; it goes on forever.
On -- meaning against, pertaining to, or about is not an accurate description of the various wars we are currently waging. It would be like the blind man holding on to the elephant's leg, describing it as like the trunk of a tree. This war ON terror is like saying the tree trunk is on its branches. It does not work that way.
Terror -- The term terrorism is carrying out an act of violence, against an individual or group, in order to terrorize, to immobilize the victims(s). It would be like the blind man holding the elephant's trunk and describing an elephant as like a snake. Because an elephant acts to coil its trunk does not mean that a trunk is a venomous thing.

Simply put the United States went to war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and it went to war against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Troops and guns and bombs relate to war. It may feel like war but it need not be described that way, just because we happen to be in two wars at the moment. Neither airline security gates, border crossing kiosks, Coast Guard patrol boats, warrantless wiretapping, data mining, nor the consolidation of 16 agencies into one HSA, relate to war. These are defensive or protective tactics, not even rising to the level of a strategy. We do not have a coherent strategy to fight the acts of radical jihadis. We are still too blind to see what what this big thing looks like.

Briefly, Terrorism, is more understandable than one would think, given the propaganda surrounding the term. The Washington Note's Steve Clemons spotlights a moderate Republican businessman's thought provoking essay on Terrorism:

Richard Vague, a businessman who became distressed by the course the U.S. was on and its misapplication of power and resources in the inaptly named war on terror, wrote a set of New America Foundation essays titled, "Terrorism: A Brief for Americans."

This brief was designed for those casually interested in the affairs of Washington -- businessmen, primarily -- who have other things going on in their lives and don't realize how the US economy and America's own moral credibility were being quickly undermined by the war in Iraq and our collectively bad national security decisions.

New America Foundation: A Report from American Respect
Terrorism: A Brief for Americans
The Scope, Causes, and Means for Reducing Terrorism, Including Commentary on Iraq
Richard W. Vague
American Respect | February 2007
There is a very interesting discussion of Osama bin Laden and others going on at Project Lucidity, "Bin Laden's Al Qaeda vs. Sunni Insurgency in Iraq," in which I have been a participant. Many of the comments are about describing of what we are talking, what is the reality of the threat, and how do so-called terrorists think. What drives them -- and us -- in this conflict. Some very smart people are teaching me some things I did not know until recently. The thread is worth the read.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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The McCain FEC Complaint

By Michael J.W. Stickings

This is what needs to be done when John McCain breaks the law -- which he has done.

FDL's CHS: "[On Tuesday], on behalf of a large number of progressive bloggers and activists, Jane [Hamsher] went to the FEC and filed an official complaint against John McCain's alleged campaign finance violations. We've been asking a lot of questions about this, and the answers have been less than forthcoming. So, instead of just sitting here and stewing about yet another GOP ethical problem, we decided to put our action where our concerns were."

I'm one of those bloggers/activists -- the list is here, and what good company it is -- and I encourage you all to add your names and comments to the complaint.


As Jane notes, CNN has picked up on the complaint. Which is a very positive development. The details are rather technical, and it's hardly the kind of story the media and the general public pay much attention to, but, again, we're talking about McCain breaking the law for the direct benefit of his presidential campaign.

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Same old George

By Capt. Fogg

No, I don't mean George Orwell, although the two will forever be linked with antinomial rhetoric. I know the theme has been beaten to death, but Bush's reflexive promotion of bad news as good news simply won't let the comparison die. When he didn't send enough troops, that was a good thing and then when finally he did, that was a good thing and now that the all too brief and all too small down tick in violence seems to have lost the coat of whitewash -- that's a good thing. "It's a positive moment," he said of the renewed fighting to The Times of London; just as it was positive that British troops had withdrawn previously. In fact every military debacle in recent years has been positive to this administration, including the horrible miscalculation that allowed the collapse of Iraq's infrastructure and the rise of an insurgency and the need for re-enforcements.

Reiterating his commitment to occupying Iraq until they become a willing client state and oil source, Commander Guy said he would not listen to "those who scream the loudest," which of course means those who question his fantasy. It's good to know that foolish consistency remains as unchanging as his mind:

I understand people here want us to leave, regardless of the situation, but that will not happen so long as I'm Commander-In-Chief.

How long has it been since we've had or even wanted leadership that recognized the sovereignty of "the people here" or recognized that the term "commander in Chief" refers only to command of the military and not to the nation?

"[A] very positive moment in the development of a sovereign nation that is willing to take on elements that believe they are beyond the law,"

says Bush, despite the fact that Iraq isn't a sovereign nation and with the smug consciousness that we aren't either. If we were, we would be willing to take on elements we believe are beyond the law instead of gibbering like demented monkeys about Obama's preacher and how we just hat, hate, hate, oh yes hate Hillary. If we were a sovereign nation and not the kingdom of a God-chosen ruler, we would have put the junta behind bars long ago.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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Condi for Veep?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Maybe. As Steve Clemons is reporting, she's certainly cozying up to the right people -- namely, the Grover Norquist crowd.

But is she the right mix of supply-sider and theocrat, libertarian and warmongerer?

Maybe not, but she might just be in the process of reinventing herself to Norquist's liking, the right sort of running mate for McCain.

(Steve has more here. Apparently she gave a "stunningly good" performance, "a tour de force discussion of America's global foreign policy and national security positions," at Norquist's weekly gathering yesterday morning.)

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Iraq returns to "normal"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Pentagon is making the outrageous claim that the recent surge in violence in Iraq is actually a "by-product of the success of the surge." Huh?

John Cole calls this "the worst framing of the situation in Iraq, ever," and he may be right. According to the spin, "the positive outcome of the surge to stop the violence was an increase in elective violence."

Which, let's face it, is just plain stupid -- but, then, the warmongers think we're stupid and easily taken in by such stupidities.


Meanwhile, the situation in Iraq is worsening:

With the United States providing air cover and embedded advisers, the Iraqi government on Wednesday expanded its offensive against Shiite Muslim militias from the port city of Basra to the capital of Baghdad — and many of the provinces in between.

The day saw street battles in Baghdad and Basra, mortar attacks by Shiite rebels against Baghdad's Green Zone, bombing by U.S. aircraft and encounters that left government tanks in flames. More than 97 people were reported killed and hundreds were wounded since the operation began early Tuesday.

In Baghdad, at least nine Iraqi civilians were killed and 42 were wounded in mortar attacks, police said. The Mahdi Army, loyal to firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, opened fire on civilians in downtown Baghdad and clashed with Iraqi security forces in Kadhemiya in north Baghdad.

In Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City neighborhood, clashes between the Mahdi Army and Iraqi security forces supported by U.S. forces left at least 20 dead and 115 were injured. By early afternoon, people took to the streets in protest of the Iraqi government.

Mortar rounds crashed into the heavily fortified Green Zone for the third straight day, injuring three U.S. government employees, all U.S. citizens, said U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo.

Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who's directing the operation from Basra, gave the armed groups 72 hours to give up their weapons and surrender without consequences, warning that they'd be treated as outlaws if they didn't.

But al Sadr demanded that Maliki leave Basra and send a parliamentary delegation to hold a dialogue. Maliki immediately rebuffed the demand.

Maliki appears to be taking a huge risk in confronting the volatile city, which is dominated by the Mahdi Army.

There were growing signs that Sadr's cease-fire, which he declared in August and renewed in February, was unraveling. The cease-fire is one of the principal reasons for the downturn in violence and U.S. troop deaths this year.

We knew it was coming -- and that the surge wasn't really working and that the lull in violence was only temporary at best -- and here it is.

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Meghan McCain's manservant

By Michael J.W. Stickings


Today's WaPo "Style" section has a profile of hipster McCain offspring Meghan that's highly amusing and at times dangerously candid. For instance:

She carries five pairs of shoes around with her and has, she says, "the biggest suitcase on the trail."

"He's nicknamed 'Mr. Lee,'" [friend Shannon] Bae says of that suitcase. "That's her Chinese manservant."

The 23-year-old McCain immediately assures the reporter that she "didn't create" the nickname and doesn't like it. Still, can you imagine what kind of furious shit storm would have arisen if Chelsea Clinton or a Bush twin had been toting similarly named luggage?

Well, maybe not if it had been one of the Bush twins, but certainly if it had been the child of any Democrat, including Chelsea.

But where do you think Meghan learned to talk like that? She may have been quick enough to distance herself from it, but you just know she loves joking about Mr. Lee.

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Hillary and The Fellowship

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Mother Jones wrote about it last September. I wrote about it in February. And here, The Atlantic's Joshua Green reminds us of an important piece he wrote on Clinton, some of which was about it, The Fellowship, back in November 2006. Green also links to an important Harper's piece published in March 2003 -- written by Jeff Sharlet, who has written a soon-to-be-released book on The Fellowship called The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. The New Republic's Noam Scheiber has more here.

The media have been all over Obama and Wright. Just to be fair, they should be all over Clinton and The Fellowship, the right-wing Washington prayer group led by one Douglas Coe.

Would you care to explain yourself, Mrs. Clinton? In a speech, maybe? Say, on the separation of church and state? Or on how this secretive organization is working to christianize the upper echelons of the political and business worlds?

Or perhaps you'd just care to explain yourself?


Via Chris Orr at The Plank, I see that Hillary's pastor, Dean Snyder of the United Methodist Foundry Church, thinks Jeremiah Wright is "an outstanding church leader" and "a profound voice for justice and inclusion in our society."

Chris: "Does this mean Hillary should 'choose' to attend a new church? After all, her pastor is aggressively defending what she has described as 'hate speech.'"

Good question, good point.

Mrs. Clinton?

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The last gasps of a dying machine

By Creature

I'm not sure which is worse: Hillary sitting down with Richard Mellon Scaife to stoke the Reverend Wright fire, Hillary peddling anti-semitic crap about Obama from the American Spectator, Hillary's guy James Carville threatening superdelegates who are thinking of defecting that they too will be branded as traitors, or Hillary's big money friends threatening Nancy Pelosi with a destroyed party if she doesn't get with Hillary's delegate-poaching scheme. You know, they all suck, and they are all indicative of candidate, and a political machine, thrashing and lashing at the realization that their time in power is finally coming to an end. Good riddance.

Update: Is it any wonder Clinton's approval ratings have plummeted?

Update II: Is it any wonder Clinton's tactics "turn off" superdelegates?

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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By Creature

Tired of Hillary, Bill, Bush and McCain? This will help, and hopefully remind us why the prize of November is so important and that Barack Obama is the person who can speak to tomorrow and help us put yesterday away. [Via Huff Post/by Bob Cesca/and posted with Stickings in mind.]

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Cracks in the ice

By Carl

Al Gore warned us in An Inconvenient Truth about this:

March 25, 2008—New satellite images reveal what scientists call the "runaway" collapse of an enormous ice shelf in Antarctica as the result of global warming.

The chunk of coastal ice was some 160 square miles (415 square kilometers) in area—about seven times the size of Manhattan.

The shelf's rapid collapse began on February 28 (see image sequence at top right), sending a giant swath of broken ice into the sea—as seen in the bottom image, which shows a 2-mile-wide (3.2-kilometer-wide) area.
Keep in mind that it's nearly "autumn" in the southern hemisphere, and so there might be some firming up of this ice before long.

However, ice shelfs in the Antarctic are like dams, and when a dam breaks, it doesn't take much to encourage the stuff behind the dam to fall too.

The collapse and calving of the Wilkins ice shelf won't raise sea levels. It was already on the water, so it's specific gravity was accounted for. But the stuff behind it, that's all on land, and would add to sea levels quickly, like dropping an ice cube into a full glass of water.

Worse for us, of course, is the fact that ice doesn't move as rapidly as liquid water. In the year when the land ice slips into the ocean, people will have forgotten this event, and what triggered the next collapse. This is one large difficulty about explaining the global climate crisis to people who's attention span is now shorter than an MTV video.

It's going to be a long hot summer.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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Hillary Clinton hugs the vast right-wing conspiracy

By Michael J.W. Stickings

So you know how yesterday she just happened to bring up the Obama-Wright controversy seemingly out of nowhere, at a meeting with a Pittsburgh newspaper editorial board and then again at a press conference?

Yeah, well, it gets better.

The newspaper in question is the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which Josh Marshall correctly describes as "the money-losing, vanity, fringe sheet of Richard Mellon Scaife, funder of the Arkansas Project, the American Spectator during its prime Clinton-hunting years and virtually every right-wing operation of note at one point or another over the last twenty years or more".

That's right, Clinton met with the editorial board of a major organ of right-wing propaganda. She even sat next to Scaife himself (see photo below), one of the engines of the Republican Noise Machine, a man who took it upon himself to spend much of the '90s trying to destroy the Clintons and who has spent the past several decades trying to destroy liberalism and the Democratic Party.

Now, Clinton claims that she innocently answered a question presented to her. Well, that doesn't "ring true to me" any more than it does to Josh. This is a right-wing rag we're talking about, a rag funded by one of the richest and most malicious of the right-wing media barons. Clinton must have known that an Obama-Wright question was coming -- and she responded with what seems like a prepared answer: He wouldn't have been my pastor, I denounced Imus, etc.

Is it any wonder so many think that Clinton will do anything to win? I understand that she needs to win Pennsylvania, and I understand that things are looking bleak, but sitting down with Scaife and engaging in a mutual assault on Obama -- she was using him, he was using her, all for the common purpose of tearing down Obama -- was simply disgusting.

However typical.

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Too sensitive?

Guest post by Greg Prince

At The Debate Link, David Schraub accuses 1,200 Jews of booing peace. The context is that of a benefit in Los Angeles for a border town near Gaza that has been under near constant siege for months. All three (two and a half?) presidential contenders delivered taped remarks. Obama's remarks weren't well received and Rob Eshman, editor-in-chief of The Jewish Journal writes to Obama, asking if he knows he was booed:

This happened at the "Live for Sderot" concert at the Wilshire Theatre on Feb 27. All three presidential candidates appeared on screen to deliver a videotaped statement of support for the Israelis undergoing a brutal campaign of terror in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.

Sen. Hillary Clinton appeared first, spoke clearly and decisively and received a smattering of applause. Then you came on. The crowd jeered throughout your brief statement and booed and hissed at the end of it. I didn't have the opposite of an applause meter with me, but I'd say the reaction hit a low point when you said we must all look forward to a day when "Israeli and Palestinian children can live in peace."

Jimmy Delshad, the Persian Jewish mayor of Beverly Hills, bristled. "Palestinian?" he told me. "It's like he has to throw that in our face."

Then Sen. John McCain appeared on screen, and the place exploded. Applause, cheers, standing ovations. McCain spoke with utter conviction of Israel's right to live in peace, and when he was through, even more cheers.

That brief audition was as clear a demonstration as any of something I've noticed happening over the last few months: the giant sucking sound of Jewish support for the leading Democratic candidate.

Schraub observes:

There a couple of things that could be noted here, particularly that the type of Jew that is engaged enough to attend a "Live for Sderot" concert might differ from the average. That being said, I actually have a friend who is from Sderot (a border town under consistent rocket attack from the Gaza Strip), and I certainly think that Jews (and human beings) of all political stripes have an obligation to stand for its security and the safety of its inhabitants.

But booing peace for Palestinian children? "Bristling" when their lives, too, are brought up? Claiming that it is something that he "threw in your face"? It's sickening. For that is the dream, isn't it? We can disagree over how to get there and what needs to be done, we can be adamant (correctly) that Israel's security must be maintained. But the end of this trip has to be a world where Israeli and Palestinian children live in peace. One in which either has peace, but the other has fear and strife, is no world I wish to live in.

I wonder if he's missing the point though, and I don't agree that peace for children is what's being booed here. Rather, it seems the audience reacted negatively to the presumptiveness of an American politician speaking platitudes (which, let's face it, is something Obama does really, really, REALLY well) about peace and children from the safety of being a hemisphere away, and as if both sides in the border skirmishes were morally equivalent.

Eshman's larger point is that Obama hasn't really captured the imagination of Jewish voters who have historically done a lot organizationally, financially, and simply turning out to the polls to help Democratic candidates, and how that might bode ill in November. I've spoken before about how Obama's resume is promising but still thin. It's still developing. The cynic might even note that he's so new on the federal stage it's been crafted every step along the way with a campaign in mind.

Then there is the lack of a track record. Yes, you received a perfect score from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. You have longtime Jewish supporters, some of whom, like campaign manager David Axelrod, have been integral to your campaign. Your record on Israel and other Jewish issues is solid -- but not long. "We know Hillary; we know McCain," a Washington pro-Israel activist told me last week. "Obama -- we don't know him."

With Israel facing Hamas to the south, Hezbollah to the north and Iranian nukes further east, it's hard to blame Jews for being hesitant to cast their lot with an unknown. Finally, there is what Carroll calls the "kishkas factor," the lingering question among less partisan Jews whether you feel for Israel in your guts, or kishkas.

It's been said the presidency is not an entry level position. That's true, but I think the significance of that statement is overblown, so I've not dwelt on it a lot. First, one's record may or may not reflect how one actually governs. When all the candidates have primarily legislative backgrounds. it's just conjecture what that will mean in terms of an Obama or Clinton Deux or McCain administration. Second, while the presidency is not entry level, it's not your typical career ladder either, and I'm not sure there is a specific formula or resume one should expect to prepare one for a one-of-a-kind office. Some presidents with unconventional pasts have been successful, and some with stellar resumes have been disappointing in office.

But still, Obama is the new kid on the block. He's new to the federal stage and he doesn't have executive experience. He comes off well and his rhetoric is stellar. But that only goes so far. There are a lot of us who are still doing the gut check with Obama. Different reasons, different criteria, but still it comes down to the gut check.

I've been asked several times recently who I'm favoring in the race -- apparently my writing has been too even-handed. Well, that's a good question. Depending on the day of the week and phase of the moon, I went back and forth between Richardson and Edwards, and with them out of the race I say with confidence only that I will support the Democratic nominee in the general election. As I've already discussed a few times, it's pretty plain at this point that the "legitimate" nominee is not Hillary, and the question is whether she's prepared to rip the party to shreds, jeopardizing what should be a gimmie in November, rather than step aside gracefully.

Obama and Clinton both would do OK as president. Both have factors pro and con. But we can vote for only one. At the Minnesota caucus, I voted for Barack Obama.

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"Progressives for Obama"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

That's the title of a piece by Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher, Danny Glover, and Barbara Ehrenreich at The Nation in support of Obama.

Read it. (And then click here for more.)

Here's a key passage: "All American progressives should unite for Barack Obama. We descend from the proud tradition of independent social movements that have made America a more just and democratic country. We believe that the movement today supporting Barack Obama continues this great tradition of grassroots participation, drawing millions of people out of apathy and into participation in the decisions that affect all our lives."

I usually describe myself as liberal rather than progressive, and of course both terms are shrouded in nuance, but it seems to me that there is ample room in Obama's movement, and in support of his candidacy, for liberals and progressive alike -- as well as for centrists and moderates and independents and even some conservatives.

Obama is, I would argue, a broad-based liberal-progressive whose centrism coalesces in and around the genuine center of American political life, the liberal center that, over the past few decades, has been eclipsed by media-driven right-wing propaganda. Conservatism, we have been told -- and, increasingly, the union of neoliberalism, christianism, and nativism within the Republican Party -- is the real center. Liberalism and progressivism, we have been told, are extremist ideologies.

It is not. They are not.

The propaganda has worked, but now Obama, spanning the spectrum and presenting a genuinely liberal-progressive vision for America, a vision that restores the center and looks ahead with clarity and determination to the realization of the possible, to an authentically liberal-progressive future, leading a movement that excites and unites, that seeks to fulfill the promise of America, not, as conservatism has done, deny it, leading America astray, now Obama threatens to undo it, to unmask the lies, distortions, and contortions of the right.

That is reason, too, to support him. He will bring America home.

And, yes, I believe he can do it.

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