Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Reporting, what a concept

Matt points us to some actual reporting.

"Obama is essentially right" that a gas tax holiday really won't accomplish much.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

If it's not one thing, it's another,...

Where the hell is Barack Obama?

We seem to be in a pattern now of Obama getting barraged with bad news before every primary vote. And as the Clintons start to build momentum Obama appears silent.

Of course Wright has now had his 15 minutes of fame, but no one really knows if's over or not, and I can't be the only one wondering if it's over until he reappears in late October.

Then today, The Clintons pick up NC Gov. Mike Easley's endorsement.

And, the NYTs thinks the Edwards might endorse and assumes that if they do, it will be the Clintons.

The Clintons plans seem to be playing out perfectly as Obama has tried to take the high road and sit on what he has thought was the nomination.

If the Edwards endorse the Clintons and / or Obama losses Indiana, it's really going to get very ugly.

Very ugly.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rev. Wright's 15 mins

I'm surprised Wright waited so long to respond to his critics.

He did Moyer's program Friday night, spoke to the NAACP last night and the National Press Club today.

And while I agree that Wright's timing couldn't be worse, I otherwise really don't feel so strongly about it. I've not watched any of the appearance, having only seen a couple sound bits, such as this from today.

I'm being told everywhere I read, that this is the biggest disaster to befall any campaign in modern history. But when I listen to the recent sound bites, he doesn't sound bad at all. In fact he sounds much more reasonable than the now infamous "God damn America" clip that was previously getting all the play.

I'll be curious to see if Rev. Wright having now spoken publicly and answered his critics will step out of the limelight and allow the campaign to go forward, or use the media's current obsession with him to go on a national tour.

Reasonable sounding or not, perception always trumps reality and the current headlines of Wright = Obama disaster (more examples here and here) will not be helpful to the Obama campaign but hopefully the lack of a fiery sound bit from the recent appearance will keep the TV networks a little at bay....?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The other convention battle

Ron Paul supporter have out-maneuvered the McCain supporters and the Nevada GOP forcing the shutdown of the state convention so they can regroup. The Paul delegation was organized and forced a rules change to give them more delegates to the RNC convention.

While everyone is focused on the DNC convention, Paul's supporters are organizing and preparing for their own fight. It's should be a good time.

The Clintons 2012 Strategy

Longtime Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan sees the Clintons pursuing a 2012 strategy.

Noting that The Clintons lost the nomination in February, McClellan looks ahead,
Let's assume that Obama wins the nomination. If you are the Clintons, what then?

You've got to hope that he loses the general election. If he wins in 2008, he'll run for re-election in 2012. That means the next chance for Hillary would be 2016. She'll be 69 by the time that election comes around. (She'll be 61 in October of this year.) Chances are, her time will have passed.

Also, the odds will be against the Democrat in 2016. This is true no matter how Obama does in 2012. If he were to win re-election, we would have had eight years of a Democrat in the White House. After eight years, people are usually ready for a change. Plus, there would be a vice president who might seek the nomination.

Things wouldn't be much better if Obama were to lose in 2012. That would mean that in 2016 the Democratic nominee would be facing an incumbent president, always a difficult task. The following election would probably favor the Democrats, but even chess players can't plan that many moves ahead. Besides, Hillary would be 73 by November of 2020.

So once it became clear that Obama would win the nomination, the only move left was to work toward his defeat in the general election.
When you consider how hard the Clintons are working to destroy Obama personally, it's clear that this is exactly what they are doing.

I stopped giving them the benefit of doubt when they took the position that only themselves and McCain were qualified to be commander-in-chief. For you dead-enders still defending the Clintons, name another time in American history where a member of one party hailed the qualifications opposite party candidate as superior to there own party opponent. That's all about tanking Obama in the general.

DNC Ad

100 years

McCain's Pennsylvania primary

In Frank Rich's column today, he highlights a PA outcome that I'm embarrassed to have missed.

Of the 807,000 GOP votes cast in PA, 27% showed up to vote against McCain. Add to this the fact that there are now a million more registered Democrats than Republicans in Pennsylvania, a state Bush lost narrowly twice, and it all ads up to a rough ride for McCain in the Keystone state.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

OBL's candidate

A couple weeks ago Joe Klein wrote a column arguing that McCain would run an honorable campaign focused on issues. Recently, McCain has gone into the gutter on the so-calledHamas endorsement of Obama and Josh asked Joe to follow-up on McCain.

In his McCain follow-up, Klein notes that McCain's campaign has been a mixed bag with highlights being his appearance in Selma, and NOLA (even, as Klein noted, McCain voted against Katrina aid). Then Klein points out the silliness of the Hamas nonsense by making the case that McCain is the favorite candidate of Osama bin Laden, just as Bush had been before him.
Why? Because both Bush and McCain have bought Osama's disinformation about Iraq being the central front in the war on terrorism. Of course, bin Laden wants the gullible neocons to take the Iraq bait because Afghanistan really is the central front of the war on terrorism--more precisely the Afghan-Pakistani border areas where the real Al Qaeda lives. The war in Iraq has been a grand strategic gift to Osama, keeping the U.S. military tied down elsewhere and off his tail.

Ron Suskind had a relevant scene in his excellent book The One Percent Doctrine: It's the Friday before election day in 2004 and Osama bin Laden has issued a videotape in which he lambastes President Bush. The top dawgs at the CIA are gathered to analyze the tape. Dep. Director John McLaughlin says, "I wonder who Osama is voting for?" Everyone cracks up because the answer is so obvious.
Klein has laid out the blueprint that Democratic 527s need to follow to hit back hard on the GOP cowboy bs that has gotten us into this mess.

The dark hand of Bill

Via TPM, the WSJ has a story up today challenging the conventional wisdom of Hillary being the queen of mean and laying much of the Clintons campaign negativity and nastiness at the feet of Bill.

Campaign insiders call it the 'Billification' of the campaign and include many of Bill's people placed inside HQ, daily message calls from Bill telling the campaign to hit Obama on everything and make the TV spots, "more hard-hitting, faster and harsher." Bill is also responsible for Mark Penn's continued roll.

A musical interlude

Friday, April 25, 2008

On to Tehran!

With Adm. Fallon out of the way, I've noticed the increased saber rattling towards Iran.

Now this from today's WaPo,
The nation's top military officer said yesterday that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action" as one of several options against Iran, criticizing what he called the Tehran government's "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a conflict with Iran would be "extremely stressing" but not impossible for U.S. forces, pointing to reserve capabilities in the Navy and Air Force.
Should firewall 'reserve capabilities' really be used for a second war of choice?

And here is something to really worry about. We have 3 supercarriers sitting in the Persian Gulf that Navy friends have described as 'sitting ducks'. Iran has very advanced anti-ship missiles that they have purchased from the Russians. They could easily target all of their missiles at one carrier in hopes of sinking her.

Settling Scores

Eleanor Clift says the Clintons will take revenge against all those who didn't support them should they pull off the nomination.
Notables who abandoned her for Obama will get the Big Chill. "He's dead to us," a Clinton aide was quoted saying of John Kerry, who along with Ted Kennedy was turned off by the perception of race baiting that led up to the South Carolina primary. A major donor, conflicted between the two candidates and apologetic over his backing of Obama, found Hillary less than sympathetic. "Too bad for you, because I'm going to win," she snapped.
I've read these things before and certainly Hillary was always regarded as the ruthless one, but I'm not so sure.

UPDATE
: Matt weighs in,
Maybe. On the other hand, current Obama endorsers include, among others, the Senators who chair the committees on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (Kennedy), Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (Dodd), Judiciary (Leahy), and Budget (Conrad). Unless Clinton is uncommonly stupid, she's not really going to try to govern the country while freezing those guys not. Nor would it make any sense to make a big push for health care reform while simultaneously freezing out the Obama-backers in SEIU.
In reality, the revenge will likely come from Hillary's senate colleagues. What will be left of her career in the clubby Senate after the campaign she has run including public articles like Clift's ('he's dead to us'?) and the private, ruthless pressure she and Bill have tried to privately apply to each and every fragile ego?

How many Democrats will have the same view of Hillary after this election that Republicans have had for the last 16 years?

50 state voter registration drive

Obama plans major drive to register voters.

This is exactly what I want to see from the Obama people.

Clinton fundraiser defects to Obama

via msnbc.com,
NBC News has learned that a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, former Amb. to Chile Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon is leaving the campaign to join up Barack Obama's campaign. Officially dubbed a "Hillraiser," Guerra-Mondragon raised nearly $500,000 for Clinton's campaign, according to some estimates. He has been informing people inside Clintonworld this week in what's been described as some tough conversations. A formal announcement of a role for Guerra-Mondragon on Obama's national finance committee will be made next week. Guerra-Mondragon was appointed Amb. to Chile by Pres. Clinton in '94 and served until '98.
One of the reasons for the defection was reported to be concern over the tone the campaign was taking.

I think we will be seeing a lot of this after May 6. The Clintons may be willing to go down with the ship, but there has to be a lot of Clintonistas concerned about jobs and appointments in the next administration.

Hillary's women

Jonathan Tilove has crunched the numbers and put together an article concluding, White 'Resistance' To Obama More Pro-Woman Than Anti-Black.

Hillary's Weather-friends

Following the PA debate, I mentioned the Clintons' 2001 pardon of Weather Underground radicals Linda Evans and Susan Rosenberg. Evans was sentenced to prison for participating in a series of bombings in the 1980s, and Rosenberg, was charged with being part of a bank robbery resulting in the deaths of a guard and two police officers. The morning after the debate, David Corn grilled Howard Wolfson on the matter.

Josh updates the story today. Turns out Inside Edition embarrassed every major media outlet by asking Hillary about the pardons by her co-president. Hill's response? "Well, I didn't know anything about it".

Evidently, she was too busy running for cover from sniper fire.

Neither Josh nor New York Newsday is buying it.
But as New York Newsday points out, the murders in question (the crime the two individuals were in prison for) took place in New York. And the campaign to get them pardons and the opposition to it got a lot of publicity in New York in the summer and fall of 2000, when Clinton was initially running for senate. Newsday's blog has a chronology of who was doing what, including Sen. Schumer's lobbying against the pardon. So take a look and let us know what you think. For my part I think it makes her claim not to have known anything about seem a bit dubious.
TPM is following up, but do we otherwise have to depend on Inside Edition for this stuff or will the Times or WaPo maybe ask a question or two?

Obama on Fox

Obama has agreed to appear on Chris Wallace's show on Sunday.

And suggestions by some that Obama's appearance on Fox represents some desire to curry favor with Murdoch are just silly.

Obama wants to speak to Fox's viewers whose only views of him come from GOP propaganda.

It should be interesting.

'Danny Ortega'?

Looks like granddad has forgotten what year it is again.

BTW, I'm loving TPMs series "McCain's 'Respectful' Campaign.

Here, today's installment.
McCain's "Respectful" Campaign, vol. 1, no. 3

McCain today on Barack Obama ...

I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States. So apparently has Danny Ortega and several others. I think that people should understand that I will be Hamas's worst nightmare....If senator Obama is favored by Hamas I think people can make judgments accordingly.
So what does 'Freddy' Castro think and when will hear about 'dirty Jap tricks'?

Well played, Hillary

I'm with Matt on the "gas tax holiday" and each candidates response.

A gas tax holiday is a dumb idea for a number of reasons, not least of which is that the money it generates is already spent.

From a policy perspective, it's also a bad idea because the current cost of gas is not based upon the shenanigans of the OPEC cartel, but simple supply and demand. As has I explained earlier, there is not rational reason to believe the cost of gas is ever going down for any appreciable period of time. Americans need to get used to it, and not be pandered to and led to believe gas will again be $2 a gallon.

And for these same policy reasons, it's a bad idea to suggest using the strategic reserve to ease the cost of gas. But this objection aside, the Clintons did win this policy battle yesterday.

The Clintons swingstate myth

Via First Read, An Indianapolis Star poll, conducted by the legendary pollster, Selzer and Co., who regularly nails Iowa for the Des Moines Register calls bullshit on the Clintons suggestions they can win the swing states.

Obama has a three-point lead, 41%-38%. Most significantly, the Star poll has Obama actually leading McCain in the general.
Among Hoosiers who said they would vote in the general election -- a statewide sample of voters ... Obama beat McCain 49 percent to 41 percent. Clinton broke even with McCain, with both backed by 46 percent of those polled. And, by 49 percent to 35 percent, Democratic primary voters said Obama is the candidate best able to win in the general election."

The Clintons OBL spot

Whining in a WaPO OP/ED today, Geoff Garin is being willfully obtuse about the objection to the Clintons (his brainchild I'm guessing) Osama ad.

The objection to the ad is the invocation of Bin Laden by one Dem against another. The politics of fear mongering used so offensively by the Bushies since September 11. It's offensive and creepy and all too Rovian.

The Clintons superdelegate problem

Elizabeth Drew writing at the Politico.com this morning says that the media speculation about some sea change post PA is silly and wasting time. Citing a "The critical mass of Democratic congressmen that has been prepared to endorse Obama when the timing seemed right remains prepared to do so."

3 key reasons, Drew explains, are "ones they have held for months, have not changed – and by their very nature are unlikely to.”
(a) Hillary Rodham Clinton is such a polarizing figure that everyone who ever considered voting Republican in November, and even many who never did, will go to the polls to vote against her, thus jeopardizing Democrats down the ticket – i.e., themselves, or, for party leaders, the sizable majorities they hope to gain in the House and the Senate in November.
(b) To take the nomination away from Obama when he is leading in the elected delegate count would deeply alienate the black base of the Democratic Party, and, in the words of one leading Democrat, ‘The superdelegates are not going to switch their voter and jeopardize the future of the Democratic Party for generations.’ Such a move, he said, would also disillusion the new, mostly young, voters who have entered into politics for the first time because of Obama, and lose the votes of independents who could make the critical difference in November.
(c) Because the black vote can make the decisive difference in numerous congressional districts, discarding Obama could cost the Democrats numerous seats."
There is nothing new or surprising about these 3 reasons. They are the very reason I've been reading and spouting for weeks now. What's significant is that the speaker is a Democratic leader on the Hill who is signally that Obama has the superdelegates safely sewn up.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Most unpoplular war,.....ever

Iraq surpasses Vietnam.

Despite the months of stories of Americans forgetting about Iraq, a new USA Today/Gallup poll found that 63 percent of Americans say “the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, a new high mark by one percentage point.” Gallup notes that “majority opposition to the Iraq war is basically cemented.”

gallupiraq2web.jpg

Gallup adds, “The new high in Iraq war opposition is also notable because it is the highest ‘mistake’ percentage Gallup has ever measured for an active war involving the United States — surpassing by two points the 61% who said the Vietnam War was a mistake in May 1971.” (HT: Dan Froomkin)

Electable

If Hillary is so electable, how come she's in second place?

Hillary began this year with every advantage from money to name recognition to institutional support and she has never, ever been first delegates or popular vote.

Not once, not for a minute.

Obvious to anyone paying attention

Even the WSJ.

Daniel Henninger, of the Wall Street Journal.
No matter how many kicks the rest of us find in such famously fun primary states as Indiana and South Dakota, it's going to be McCain versus Obama in 2008. I believe the cement set around the Clinton coffin last Friday. The Obama campaign announced it had received the support of former Sens. Sam Nunn of Georgia and David Boren of Oklahoma.

TV station refuses NC GOP ad

Via msnbc,
WRAL-TV tells the Raleigh News & Observer it has rejected the North Carolina Republican Party's Rev. Jeremiah Wright ad, linking Obama, Wright and, by extension, Democratic gubernatorial candidates Beverly Perdue and Richard Moore, who have endorsed Obama.

"A spokesman for another Triangle station, WTVD, said it had not been asked to air the ad but would have reservations about doing so," the News & Observer writes.
In 2004 the GOP seemed great at blocking negitive ads against Bush even as their surrogates ran the most scurrilously ads imaginable. There should be an entire division at the DNC working on pressuring station to pass on the swiftboat stuff.

Enough stations do this and the NC GOP ends up with a black eye.

90,000 early votes

Almost 90,000 ballots have been cast so far in North Carolina's primary.

About 81,000 ballots had been cast at one-stop voting sites in the first week of early voting, according to the state Board of Elections.

An additional 8,000 by-mail absentee ballots have been returned as of 9 a.m. today.

One-stop early voting has been underway since April 17 and will continue until May 3.

NC GOP

makes the case for not taking public financing.

This is just the begging of a long summer and fall of these attacks that will be endless and denounced by McCain, who will always express with sadness his inability to do anything about it.

Obama needs to learn how to fight.

The Saudis think she's "insane"


We Americans for the most part just shrugged off the former co-president's recent threat to nuke Iran as nothing more than the bitter comment a losing and increasing desperate candidate.

Turns out the people living in the fall-out zone became concerned.
The statement triggered alarm bells in the Persian Gulf, which would likely suffer the consequences of any war between Iran and the U.S. In a harshly worded editorial, the Saudi-based daily Arab News trashed Clinton's comment today as insane
Perhaps not so ready on day one.

Shameful

Remember the arrest in 2006 of the Seas of David (aka 'Liberty Seven') "terrorist cell" that Alberto Gonzales breathlessly told a fearful nation intended to blow up the Sears Tower? Then we found out that the only weapons they had were paintball guns and their so-called plot was fed to them by the FBI through its informant.

Well, after two unsuccessful trials (actually one was acquitted last time so now it's the Liberty Six), the government has decided to try them "one more time".

Today's moment of zen,....

In Surprise, Ford Swings to Profit on the strength of big European and South American sales. They promise to be profitable in North America this time next year.

Welcome to the reality based world, Andrew

Major Obama supporter, one time Iraq war champion and self-described conservative Andrew Sullivan wrote this morning,
Is Obama a Muslim? Does it matter any more? We are in world of McTruthyism. In that world, Obama is an atheist, a Muslim, a black liberation theologian and a Marxist. Since the truth is irrelevant, they can all be true!
This is amusing for two reasons. One, is the obvious absurdity that Andrew wanted to highlight.

Second, that Andrew appears to believe this kind of absurdity is something new to the right. Whereas those of us who have been paying attention are all too familiar with these lines of attack. One of the many loony winger memes from the 1990s was that Hillary was a man-hating lesbian engaged in a sexual relationship with Vince Foster whom she had murdered in a fit of passionate pique.

Untethered to reality and completely devoid of any sense of shame, the right takes similarly absurd positions almost daily throwing everything at a wall and seeing what sticks. And of course to many of their imbecilic followers it all sticks which helps them move their agenda forward, and for them that's all that matters; forward by any means. The truth has been irrelevant to these folks for as long as I can remember.

Welcome to the reality based community Andrew. No one here will suggest you are a member of "a fifth column" simply because we might disagree on what's best for the nation.

Oddly enough,

Reuters headline: Penis theft panic hits city...

The hard right

is terrified of Barack Obama.

Fallacy

The Clintons are in full bore spin following PA, and the MSM seems to be eating it up.

But all spin aside, it is a fallacy to suggest that winning a state's Democratic primary means you're more likely to win that state in the general election or that your opponent can't win it.

Patrick Healy explains it all in this morning's NYT calls bullshit on the Clintons,
Yet for all of her primary night celebrations in the populous states, exit polling and independent political analysts offer evidence that Mr. Obama could do just as well as Mrs. Clinton among blocs of voters with whom he now runs behind. Obama advisers say he also appears well-positioned to win swing states and believe he would have a strong shot at winning traditional Republican states like Virginia.

According to surveys of Pennsylvania voters leaving the polls on Tuesday, Mr. Obama would draw majorities of support from lower-income voters and less-educated ones — just as Mrs. Clinton would against Mr. McCain, even though those voters have favored her over Mr. Obama in the primaries.

And national polls suggest Mr. Obama would also do slightly better among groups that have gravitated to Republican in the past, like men, the more affluent and independents, while she would do slightly better among women.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Understanding Obama's Relationship with Wright

White people have for years been full of excuses for the bigoted beliefs and statements their older relatives spout at family gatherings (we've all heard those excuses hundreds of times) so I have a hard time believing most people after a little reflection can't understand Obama's relationship with Wright.

Clintonista and major-league shill Lanny Davis published an OP / Ed in the WSJ on April 9 piling on Obama for his relationship to Wright.

In response, Davis received an email from a friend and former Clintons Admin colleague, Jeh Johnson, who so eloquently provided context to Obama's relationship with Wright as to shame Davis into publishing the response in each website that carried his hit on Obama.

I intended to post this two weeks ago, but just dropped the ball. I've pasted the entire must read email here.
————————————
Message from Jeh Johnson:

Lanny-

I write this for myself, and not as a representative of Barack Obama or his campaign. I was prompted to write you when I saw your question “Why did he stay a member of that congregation?”

I think much of the debate over Rev. Wright and his statements overlooks the unique role of the black church in the black community. I’ve never been to Trinity in Chicago, but I’ve been to many churches like Trinity. Historically, the black church is the one place for blacks free of any white influence, something blacks can call all their own. It’s the fraternity, the funeral director, the marriage counselor, the lawyer, the tax preparer, the therapist, the AA anonymous. Black churches such as Trinity are often the center of the black community, the one place where people of different economic classes come together to see each other, worship God, engage in community service and outreach, and it is about much more than the pastor.

I am not biracial and I did not grow up in Hawaii. I did grow up in an overwhelmingly white community, and was constantly plagued by my minority status. I had no place to turn to find my own identity. My parents then had the wisdom and good sense to send me to Dr. King’s alma mater, Morehouse College in southwest Atlanta, the only all-male black college left in the country, and that four-year experience basically made me who I am today.

While there, I started attending the Baptist church across the street (though I am an Episcopalian). It was a real, down-home black church. My very first reaction to it was shock and slight amusement. The pastor was often over the top in his sermons, and he drove a Mercedes despite his poor congregation. I would listen to the good Rev. and often disagreed with much of his overheated rhetoric, but I kept going back to this church.

Why did I do that? For the first time in my life I felt like a full participant in the black experience, with no conditions. No one questioned who I was, where I came from, what I had done before to prove my blackness. There was just an elderly lady with a big smile at the door who handed me a program and said “God bless you son.”

While there I witnessed poor and uneducated black people shake off misery, poverty, addiction, alcoholism, death, sickness, relatives in jail and all the other stuff that makes life challenging in the big city. Women in white uniforms walked the aisle to catch people as they passed out from it all. During the service, a deacon or someone else would describe all the different church-related activities for outreach, helping someone who had lost a job, or visiting the sick and shut-in who could not make it to church.

On the way out, someone else would say “come back again and see us young man” though they didn’t know me at all. By attending that church, I felt part of the community around me, and it was quite uplifting on Sunday after I went back to the books. Barack has never explained it this way, but I suspect given the way he was raised he felt some of the same things when he first started attending Trinity, and why he found a home there.

In the course of my own life, I have encountered many very militant and angry elements of the black community, much of them as formative for me as the large corporate law firm in which I am now a partner, the Clinton Administration, or growing up in Wappingers Falls, New York. But, it would be an act of sheer hypocrisy for me to try to renounce any of this. For example, at Morehouse many educated teachers and invited speakers blasted the white man, black men who acted like the white man, and condemned our whole society as fatally racist.

When I graduated in 1979, Louis Farrakhan was our baccalaureate speaker and Joshua Nkomo, leader of the armed struggle to liberate Zimbabwe, was our commencement speaker. With Coretta Scott King sitting near the front row, I vividly recall Nkomo preaching “the only thing the white man understands is the barrel of a gun.” I certainly didn’t agree with that then, and I don’t now. But I love Morehouse and would rather quit all involvement in public affairs before I had to sever my ties of support to the school. Morehouse is part of what makes me a proud African-American.

A good friend to me from my parent’s generation, a retired ivy-league professor who is like an uncle to me, was branded a dangerous radical and subversive by our government in the 1960s. J. Edgar Hoover wiretapped his conversations with Dr. King. But, if someone combed his books and found something he wrote with which I disagreed, I’d rather disassociate myself from my right arm than publicly renounce this man.

The reality is this: Those of us who participate in both the white and African-American experiences will very likely have a Jeremiah Wright in our lives - it could be our teacher, our uncle, our brother, our father, or our pastor. It is simply part of the American experience.

But, here I am, a patriot who - I can honestly say - harbors no “anger” or racial animosity toward anybody, including my white law partners, my white neighbors, or my white family members. I can’t guarantee much about anything in life, but I can guarantee, from what I know about Barack Obama, that he feels the same in his heart and soul.

- E-mail from Jeh Johnson, a lawyer and Obama supporter, sent to Lanny Davis
Don't believe for a minute that the Clintons don't understand this. They are simply and plainly exploiting white fear to gain advantage, and it's unforgivable.

I do not understand

how an airline can lose billions on fuel cost.

You don't see headlines about grocery chains losing billions on the rising costs of eggs and milk.

If you can't sell your product -- in this case seats on a plane -- above costs than you need to get out of the business.

It's not rocket science.

Yoo resignation watch, day 2

When will John Yoo resign his professorship from Berkley Law?

Via Think Progress,
Former Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel lawyer John Yoo, who wrote controversial legal memos authorizing the administration’s torture programs, will not testify voluntarily before the House Judiciary Committee, ABC reports, “paving the way for a possible subpoena and showdown over Executive Privilege. In a letter to Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), Yoo’s lawyer said his client was “not authorized” by the DOJ to discuss internal deliberations

Obama's fundraising response

I'm surprised it took this long, but I just got an email from the Obama campaign responding to last night and seeking to raise money off the Clintons.
Don --

Last night, Senator Clinton used up her last, best chance to cut appreciably into Barack Obama's elected delegate lead.

She came up short.

In fact, she barely made a dent. At most, she picked up a net gain of 12 delegates -- less than our gain, for example, in Colorado (where we gained 17) or Kansas (where we gained 14). Her gain in Pennsylvania was less than half of our gain in Virginia, where we added to our lead by 25 delegates.

But there is one measure by which her campaign's gains are real.

The Clinton campaign claims they've raised $3.5 million dollars since the polls closed yesterday.

We can't afford to let that go unanswered.

Your support allowed us to come this far, and we need your help to finish this. Please make a donation of $25 today to support this campaign:

https://donate.barackobama.com/thefacts

Cashing in on PA

One of my partners is on a conference call as I type with Hillary getting the squeeze for cash. They are telling their donors they need the money in a bad way.

McCain upstages the Clintons

The NC GOP intends to run a brutal anti-Obama Wright ad and both the RNC and the McCain campaign has intervened privately and publicly to try demand they withdraw the ad.

Here is McCain's letter to the NC GOP Chair.
Dear Chairman Daves,

From the beginning of this election, I have been committed to running a respectful campaign based upon an honest debate about the great issues confronting America today. I expect all state parties to do so as well. The television advertisement you are planning to air degrades our civics and distracts us from the very real differences we have with the Democrats. In the strongest terms, I implore you to not run this advertisement.

This ad does not live up to the very high standards we should hold ourselves to in this campaign. We need to run a campaign that is worthy of the people we seek to serve. There is no doubt that we will draw sharp contrasts with the Democrats on fundamental issues critical to the future course of our country.

But we need not engage in political tactics that only seek to divide the American people.

Once again, it is imperative that you withdraw this offensive advertisement.

John McCain
Now try to imagine the Clintons showing doing this? Wright and race are all they talk about privately with uncommitted white superdelegates.

UPDATE: I'm hearing reports that the Clintons campaign is seeking to buy the ad from the NC GOP and run it nationally.

UPDATE 2: Atrios, ever the cynic, prepares for the next 6 months
Some Republican or conservative group runs a dumb ad.

John McCain nobly distances himself from it.

Cable news spends all day talking about it and showing it for free.

Rinse. Repeat.

Daschle's hidden hand

Howard Fineman had an interesting observation last night (Suffer through Tweety on MSNBC for Fineman and Chuck Todd). Fineman reported that there are two camps on Team Obama.

The Daschle camp has told Obama stay above the fray and not slug it out with the Clintons in the gutter. Obama has the votes and the delegates to take the nomination and the high road helps to hold the party together. Let them burn themselves. And indeed, wins in big states aside, polling does seem to suggest the Clintons suffer more nationally by the nasty tone.

The other camp, Fineman explained, headed by David Axelrod wants to throw down and lock horns.

So which one is better? I can see both sides, but of course Daschle lost re-election even has he led the Senate Democrats to minority status after obsequiously giving pre-9-11
Bush everything he wanted.

Has Daschle Marshaled, behind the scenes, the superdelegates Obama needs come June? Obama will certainly need party unity and not going negative makes it much easier this summer to bring everyone together, but if the superdelegates see his restraint as weakness.....

The downside to the Daschle approach is evident this morning and all over the media. How many times have I heard, "Obama can't close" or "Obama can't finish her Off" and "How will Obama beat the Republicans if he can't even close his own race".

Going forward Obama will win NC big, but he really needs to win Indiana in a bad way. The Clintons will win WV and KY and if they pick up Indiana the negative press Obama gets will be deafening.

My own opinion is for Obama to never pick a fight but make sure he ends each fight the Clintons pick with some serious slap downs. The American people will never believe you can defend them if you don't even defend yourself.

The NYTs

The lead editorial in this mornings New York Times, The Low Road to Victory, has some harsh words for the Clintons, who they once endorsed.
On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.

If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”

By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

To early

I can't take the mindless babble any longer. They have nothing to say and hours to say it.

I'm going to dinner.

Don't believe any vote totals put up on TV until Philly and suburbs are in.

Pay particular attention to the PA second congressional district which is the most Democratic district in PA.

The volunteer army is broken

Any politician who says they will increase the size of the volunteer military to meet the current demands is either a liar or a fool, and I mean any politician....

The number of convicted felons admitted to the Army and Marines doubled last year.

The AP,
The bulk of the crimes involved were burglaries, other thefts, and drug offenses, but nine involved sex crimes and six involved manslaughter or vehicular homicide convictions. Several dozen Army and Marine recruits had aggravated assault or robbery convictions, including incidents involving weapons.

Both the Army and Marine Corps have been struggling to increase their numbers as part of a broader effort to meet the combat needs of a military fighting wars on two fronts. As a result, the number of recruits needing waivers for crimes or other bad conduct has grown in recent years, as well as those needing medical or aptitude waivers.
The felonious, the infirm and the idiots,...

'What The Fed's Job Isn't'

I intended to link to George Will's Sunday column earlier.

George doesn't like the Fed's bailouts of Wall Street and thinks the markets should be allowed to correct. I mostly agree. At some point the markets have to find their footing and no one wins when the Fed removes risk from the markets. And I am very worried about a liquidity trap, which we are at least on the brink of (with the Fed Funds rate at 2.25% where does the Fed go from here?).

George also gets a dig or two in on Greenspan (not quite the God everyone once believed) without mentioning his name, and offers a handy suggestion to prevent Wall Street from getting to accustomed to bailouts,
If Congress cannot suppress its itch to "do something" while markets are correcting the prices of housing and money, Congress could pass a law saying: No company benefiting from a substantial federal subvention (which would now include Morgan) may pay any executive more than the highest pay of a federal civil servant ($124,010). That would dampen Wall Street's enthusiasm for measures that socialize losses while keeping profits private.
Works for me.

I'd pay to see this

Tony Snow: I would 'walk over broken glass' for Bill O'Reilly.

Think O'Reilly would reciprocate?

GITMO prisoners drugged?

It is not clear if prisoners at GITMO were drugged to secure confessions, but what is clear is that the stain the Bush administration has placed on our country will take a generation or more to remove.

The damage to our reputation with the rest of the world will haunt us the rest of our lives.

The next President must form a truth and reconciliation commission to begin the long process of cleansing our national soul.

And how much longer will John Yoo (whose legal reasoning authorized drugging) remain at Berkley's law school? My guess is that he resigns before the end of the year, and certainly by the end of next year. He has shamed the legal profession and the buffoons at UC Berkley who thought it a good idea to give him not just tenure, but a full professorship.

When will the Clintons learn the danger of youtube?

Bill Clinton yesterday on WHYY, "No, they played the race card on me.."

Bill Clinton today, "When did I say that and to whom did I say that?" You have mischaracterized it to get another cheap story to divert the American people from the real urgent issues before us, and I choose not to play your games today..."

TPM puts together the video of Bill's denial today of exactly what he said yesterday. Roll tape,



Will Bill ever recover from the damage he's done to his image with his once loyal friends and supporters?

Memories are short in politics but I can tell you I'll never forget.

Obama's delegate advantage (again) in PA

Heavily Democratic areas (i.e. SE PA) get more delegates.

From the AP,
Fifty-five will be awarded based on the statewide vote, which should be available Tuesday night. Another 103 delegates will be awarded based on the vote in individual congressional districts. All delegates will be awarded proportionally, as they are in every Democratic contest.

The distribution of delegates among congressional districts raises the possibility that one candidate could win the statewide vote and the other could win more delegates, but the statewide vote would have to be very close.

The delegates are weighted heavily toward urban and suburban areas because Pennsylvania, like other states, apportions congressional district delegates based on Democratic voting strength in the most recent presidential and gubernatorial elections.

Under the formula, the 2nd Congressional District, which includes part of Philadelphia, has nine delegates at stake, more than any other district. The 9th Congressional District in the south central part of the state has the fewest, with three delegates at stake.

Getting back to that Gallup poll...

As mentioned earlier, the new USA Today/Gallup poll is out today, and full of all kinds of interesting tidbits, besides Bush's record-setting disapproval rating.

Despite, the universal media opinion that Obama has had a bad couple weeks, he has increased his lead since the last poll to 10 points nationally. The Clintons have received most of the blame for the negative tone of the campaign and lost ground as a result. This is not Obama's best showing in the poll which was in February when he won the nomination.

Also, despite what you read in the newspapers and hear on TV, Americans still hate the war in Iraq with 63% of Americans (a Gallup record)saying the war in Iraq was a mistake.

And finally, in keeping with my observation earlier about the quality of the Gallup Daily Tracking poll, this poll was taken over the weekend as the GDT poll showed the Clintons overtaking Obama and he rebounding with a 2 point lead.

The first DNC ad

Carter and Hamas

Joe Klein gets it right In Defense of Jimmy Carter ,
Not that I have any illusions about Hamas. They're violent, they don't believe in the right of Israel to exist, they may not ever change.

BUT...they did win an election in 2006, an election we--not the Palestinian Authority and certainly not the Israelis--insisted upon. If the Bush Administration is going to push a "Freedom Agenda"--admittedly, a dubious proposition, especially the way that Bush has pushed it--then it has a certain responsibility to deal with the people who win the elections, no matter how odious.
The world has George W. Bush to thank for Hamas taking over the Palestinian Authority. This is what happens when idiots are in charge.

69%

The highest presidential disapproval rating in the 70 year history of the Gallup poll.

Perhaps I've given her too much credit

I said earlier this morning I had a nagging feeling PA would break today for the Clintons and give them a 10 point win.

But the last Zogby number suggest I'm wrong. Zogby shows the Clintons by 10 which if history is prologue suggest an Obama win.

Bill's latest line

Just saw a clip on MSNBC of Bill whining yesterday that the "crazy process" the Dems use to choose their nominee by counting every vote was unfair to he and Hillary.

If votes didn't matter, Bill argued, and the Dems chose delegates like the electoral college than their failure to win the most votes wouldn't matter and they would be ahead like Bush in 2000.

The 'big state' line is a favorite of the Clintons, they never suggest that Obama wouldn't win NY, NJ or Cali. What the Clintons need to understand that they won't be the next Presidents if they don't win Wisconsin or Missouri or Minnesota.

And speaking of NY, check out this 'super fun fact' from the Clintons latest FEC filing on fundraising:

Clinton New York intake: $2,304,612.54
Obama New York intake: $3,162,956.99

PA final numbers at Pollster.com

The final PA Pollster.com numbers are in (I think final, but close enough) which has the race at Clintons 49.4% to Obama 42.8%.

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out tonight. As I said yesterday, If voter rich SE PA (Philly and suburbs) comes in big for Obama he will keep it close, but remember that the Philly machine and Gov Rendell's machine are both working for Hillary. They don't call the 'machines' for nothing.

I just have this nagging feeling that PA is going to break like OH with the Clintons pulling in a 10 point win. The final OH Pollster showed a tighter race than PA. If this happens, it' s going to be a long, ugly spring.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Will the Clintons reject and denounce Gov Rendell?

Via Andrew Sullivan,



Can you imagine if Obama had made these remarks? As Andrew correctly notes,
Given what we know now about this campaign, would it not be the conventional wisdom that it would be the end of his candidacy? And yet, Rendell is still a pillar of the Democratic party, central to the Clintons' Pennsylvania strategy, and praised as a classic old-style white ethnic pol. I don't imagine his credibility or reputation will be affected one iota by this. Even if it were Rendell running for president this year, I don't think this video would have Hannity and O'Reilly and Steyn and Coulter in a lather.

What do we learn from this? That Obama has to be even more distanced from these things because he's black. That's all. Race matters. The double standard endures. And the MSM perpetuates it. As do the Clintons.

The Clintons hypocrisy

It's really galling to hear the Clintons charge Obama with hypocrisy.

During last Thursday's debate Stephanopoulos, on behalf of Sean Hanity, asked Obama about his relationship with William Ayers. Ayers is a former Weather Underground radical who has become a professor at the University of Illinois. Ayers was never charged with a crime but has admitted to participating in bombings in the 1970, in which no one was injured. During his first campaign for the Illinois Senate in 1995, Obama held a fundraiser in Ayers apartment. Ayers and Obama served together on the board of a local nonprofit. The morning after the debate on the Clinton campaign conference call, Wolfson hit Obama hard on this relationship demanding that he become more forthcoming about his relationship with Ayers.

What Wolfson did not mention was Bill's 2001 pardon of Weather Underground radicals Linda Evans and Susan Rosenberg. Evans was sentenced to prison for participating in a series of bombings in the 1980s, and Rosenberg, was charged with being part of a bank robbery resulting in the deaths of a guard and two police officers.

David Corn fired back on the call demanding to know what Hillary thought of Bill's pardons. Ultimately, Wolfson promised to get back to David conceding it was a fair question. Despite several follow-ups, Corn is still waiting for the answer.

Corn won't let go of this, but others need to be asking about these pardons as well, and the pardons of Marc Rich and the Puerto Rican terrorist to robbed banks and killed people.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Amazing

The Clintons put out a new add today invoking OBL which, as Matt Yglesias observes, really makes the case for voting McCain.



In mere hours, Obama responds,

I'm still not buying it

McClatchy Washington Bureau: Thousands in Pa. switch parties, many to vote for Obama
...Since Jan. 1, more than 178,000 people in Pennsylvania have changed their party affiliations, and 92 percent of them have gone from Republican or independent to Democrat.

Some 4.2 million Democrats are eligible to vote in Tuesday's presidential primary, and the Pennsylvania Department of State predicted Monday that turnout could be as high as 50 percent.

If a big chunk of the party-switchers side with Obama, they could give him a decided edge.

That edge is hard to quantify,....
It's impossible to quantify, and this partially explains why the polling is especially so crazy. What are the geographic samplings, turnouts models, and adjustments for cell phone users, blah, blah, blah.

If voter rich SE PA (Philly and suburbs) comes in big for Obama he will keep it close, but we all must remember that the Philly machine and Gov Rendell's machine are both working for Hillary. They don't call the 'machines' for nothing.

Exactly

McClatchy Washington Bureau: Even a big win in Pa. won't put Clinton ahead of Obama

The PA Over / Under

The Pennsylvania over / under is Clinton by 8 points.

Anything less than an 8 point victory and everyone will be talking about how bad it is for Hillary, and anything more and everyone will be talking about her being the nominee.

I can't imagine Obama doing better than -5 points, and wouldn't be surprised in Hillary won by 10 ala Ohio. In other words I don't know.

Bill Clinton stumping for Obama?

Via TPM,

The Gallup Daily Tracking

Photobucket

I stopped posting info about the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll weeks ago when it became clear that it was whacked. The poll has never agreed with the substantial USA Today / Gallup polls, etc.

Anyway, others are not as discerning as we at the Ward Report and cite to the poll periodically.

I'm posting the latest Gallup Daily to make my case. I think the chart is self explanatory. Clearly, Obama should have suffered a hit during the last week to 10 days culminating in his poor debate appearance, but I refuse to believe the swings are this sharp. Look at Obama's last 6 days. I never believed he was up by 11 or down by 1.

Our cheap gas

I'm always struck by the disconnect when I hear people talk about the price of gas and wondering when it will come down.

The price of gas is never coming down, is the answer.

There is no rational reason to believe that gas will every be as cheap in the future as it is now. Sure, certain things can happen to bring temporary relief, like the recovery of the dollar, or maybe deep recessions in China and / or India, but the cold hard truth is that gas will only be getting more expensive moving forward.

And in response to this looming energy crisis, the Bush administration wants US conservation regulations in 2020 to be where the EU is today! In other words, hopelessly non-competitive.

The NYT has finally run a must read feature on the topic.

Here's a taste,
Today’s tensions are only likely to get worse in coming years. Consider a few numbers: The planet’s population is expected to grow by 50 percent to nine billion by sometime in the middle of the century. The number of cars and trucks is projected to double in 30 years— to more than two billion — as developing nations rapidly modernize. And twice as many passenger jetliners, more than 36,000, will in all likelihood be crisscrossing the skies in 20 years.

All of that will require a lot more oil — enough that global oil consumption will jump by some 35 percent by the year 2030, according to the International Energy Agency, a leading global energy forecaster for the United States and other developed nations. For producers it will mean somehow finding and pumping an additional 11 billion barrels of oil every year.
Get it? Gas will never again be as cheap as it is right now, and we should all be buying petro stocks.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand

The Sunday NYTs has must read piece detailing the Pentagon and Admins ties to retired military brass who play "neutral analyst" on all the news networks.
To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.
Hardly stunning news but nice to see someone finally expose it to the light of day.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A musical interlude

One step up, two steps back

Writing in Foreign Affairs, Steven Simon explains the real price of the surge and our support of the Awakenings Councils.
The Bush administration's new strategy in Iraq has helped reduce violence. But the surge is not linked to any sustainable plan for building a viable Iraqi state and may even have made such an outcome less likely -- by stoking the revanchist fantasies of Sunni tribes and pitting them against the central government. The recent short-term gains have thus come at the expense of the long-term goal of a stable, unitary Iraq.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Debate

I was out last night and didn't watch the debate, but the universal view is that Obama did poorly.

The NYTs sums it up,
The result was arguably one of Mr. Obama’s weakest debate performances. He at times appeared annoyed as he sought to answer questions about his former pastor, his reluctance to wear an American flag pin on his lapel and his association in Chicago with former members of the Weather Underground, a radical group that carried out bombings in the 1960s that were intended to incite the overthrow of the government.

With a few exceptions — one being when he recalled Mrs. Clinton’s dismissive statement in 1992 about not wanting to spend her life at home baking cookies, an attempt to counter her attacks on his recent statements about religion and small-town values — Mr. Obama chose not to go after his rival aggressively, even when he was asked whether voters considered her honest.
WTF kind of question is that? Do voters consider your opponent honest?

Tom Shales at the WaPo thought Gibson and Stephanopoulos sucked.
It was another step downward for network news -- in particular ABC News, which hosted the debate from Philadelphia and whose usually dependable anchors, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances.

For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with.
If the universal reviews are accurate, it's hard to imagine Obama will not suffer. Some (Obama supporters probably) think that the Clintons could suffer for being so negative and nasty. To date, the Clintons have suffered at least as much when they go negative, but I'm not so sure this time. But then I didn't see the debate, so what do I know?

If Obama suffers, he has no one to blame but himself. His unwillingness to finish the Clintons off may be his undoing. The GOP will eat him alive if he gives them all those opportunities.

Obama takes the high ground by not picking the negative fights, but once attacked he must end the fight by gutting his opponent like a carp. As I've written here countless times, the American people will never believe you will defend them, if you can't even defend yourself.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Debate

ABC News is hosting what has to really be the last Clinton / Obama debate of the season tonight starting at 7 PM local time.

I can't decide if I will watch it or not.

So what would happen if Obama looked Hillary Clinton in the eyes and said, "Senator Clinton you know perfectly well what I meant by remarks last week about middle America and should be ashamed of yourself for your desperate, self-serving exploitation of not just all those Americans hurting from the last 8 years of corrupt neglect, but your equally offensive exploitation of "truth". Your nasty, descent into the worst bowls of the politics of personal destruction championed by the likes of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove is beneath contempt, exactly what is wrong with this country and certainly should be beneath someone of your stature."

It would be a lot of fun, but I fear Obama just doesn't have the kill instinct.

Busted!

The Politico reports and the Dems are filing a complaint with the FEC accusing the NRCC of colluding with the GOP hit group, Freedom's Watch (is it a 527? a 501(c)4?).

And it sounds like a slam dunk,
...the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee points to a script Freedom’s Watch submitted to Louisiana TV stations on Tuesday for an attack ad bashing Democratic House candidate Don Cazayoux.

The Democrats say the “metadata” in the Microsoft Word document contains the letters “NRCC” in the title field and shows that the document was last modified by “cforti” — apparently a reference to Carl Forti, a former NRCC official who was recently named as executive vice president for issue advocacy at Freedom’s Watch.
Of course, the FEC is still not functioning right now because of a lack of a quorum of commissioners so my guess is there will be a lot of law breaking to be sorted out after November.

A failure of leadership

Please explain to me -- and I really do want to know -- why we should not hold Harry Reid responsible for this mess?

Do I just not appreciate the dynamics of the Senate which places the minority in charge? The minority wasn't running the Senate when Harry Reid was minority leader.

From The New York Times,
The Senate proclaimed a fierce bipartisan resolve two weeks ago to help American homeowners in danger of foreclosure. But while a bill that senators approved last week would take modest steps toward that goal, it would also provide billions of dollars in tax breaks — for automakers, airlines, alternative energy producers and other struggling industries, as well as home builders.

The tax provisions of the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which consumer groups and labor leaders say amount to government handouts to big business, show how the credit crisis, while rattling the housing and financial markets, has created beneficiaries in the power corridors of Washington.
The House Dems finally stood up to the Repubs on telecom immunity and not only did the world not end, but the WH for the first time I can recall, actually began to seriously seeek compromise.

Why shouldn't we throw the flaccid Harry Reid overboard?

Meanwhile back in Iraq

Iraqi Unit Flees Post, Despite American’s Plea - New York Times
BAGHDAD — A company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions on Tuesday night in Sadr City, defying American soldiers who implored them to hold the line against Shiite militias.

The retreat left a crucial stretch of road on the front lines undefended for hours and led to a tense series of exchanges between American soldiers and about 50 Iraqi troops who were fleeing.

Capt. Logan Veath, a company commander in the 25th Infantry Division, pleaded with the Iraqi major who was leading his troops away from the Sadr City fight, urging him to return to the front.

“If you turn around and go back up the street those soldiers will follow you,” Captain Veath said. “If you tuck tail and cowardly run away they will follow up that way, too.”

Captain Veath’s pleas failed, and senior American and Iraqi commanders mounted an urgent effort to regain the lost ground. An elite Iraqi unit was rushed in and with the support of the Americans began to fight its way north.
Smells like victory....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Clinton booed

Hillary was booed yesterday by a Pittsburgh audience when she opened with her Obama attack.

The Obama campaign picked this up and used it in their response to the Clintons attack ad from yesterday,



In my opinion the ad is too tepid and indicative of Obama's unwillingness to go for the kill. The Clintons picked this fight and Obama should be letting them have it with both barrels, or at least stronger language.

Monday, April 14, 2008

'Nonsense and self-pardody'

Josh has an excellent post up today on this 'bitter' bs pouring out of the Clintons.

Josh begins by offering some sage advice, "I think it is always crucial to distinguish in our own minds between what we find offensive and what we've been conditioned to believe that others will find offensive. And perhaps even more importantly, what others will be able to twist and distort into something that other people will find offensive."

And in deed is was more than a little funny yesterday do watch every belt-way pundit drink the kool-aid and hold forth on how offensive these remarks would be to rust-belt middle America.

You need to read Josh's entire post, but here is my summary of his conclusion which just happens to capture my indignation with the Clintons,
So speaking for myself I've spent too much time over, what, 15 years now? ... defending both Clintons from similarly ginned up nonsense to have much energy left to help out as they pull the same puffed up outrage act against another Democrat. I guess I'm just not feeling it.....

And seeing Hillary go on about how Obama has contempt for folks in small town America, how he's elitist, well ... no, it's not because I think she's either. I never have. But after seeing her hit unfairly with just the same stuff for years, it just encapsulates the last three-plus months of her campaign which I can only describe as a furious descent into nonsense and self-parody. Part of it makes me want to cry. But at this point all I can really do is laugh.
This is an entirely manufactured bag of bullshit that is exactly the kind of things the GOP has done to the Clintons for year, and what does this say of the Clintons character to use these same tactics to their advantage?

This is scorched earth politics pure and simple, from people who will destroy anyone who they see has standing in the way of their right to the White House.

And this is the price Obama pays for not finishing off the Clintons long ago. He needs to hit back hard or the GOP will eat him alive in November.

Karma

Gonzo can't find a job.

Wanted: Disgraced Former Administration Official with Zero Credibility

Shows what I know,...

I will freely admit that I have been stunned by the coverage of what is clearly a manufactured scandal over Obama's remarks regarding working class voters that I first mentioned here (The link includes the actual remarks).

Even as several news reports speculated that the Clintons 'bitter' weekend was falling on a lot of deaf ears in PA, it was all that the media was talking about which is exactly what the Clintons wanted, and by Sunday, the comments had become a political disaster of Biblical proportion.

I thought Obama's comments were insightful, so that shows what I know. With the clarity of hindsight, I can see where Obama's comments could cause offense, but I'm still struck at the very Rovian and intellectually dishonest nature of the Clinton assault.

Here's a PA voter who sees the bitterness,



Of course, intellectual honesty has never been the Clintons strong suit.

Obama's problem is that he has allowed the Clintons to hang on too long, not finishing them off by hitting back hard long before now. They are swift-boating him and he has allowed them the position in which to do it.

We knew long before this that the Clintons would win PA, WV, KY and maybe IN, but now when that happens the press (who also knew these Clinton wins were expected) will openly speculate on the relationship to his bitter remarks.

It sounds like Obama is starting to hit back hard, but it's too late to get in front of this story. What Obama needed was to put the Clintons on the defensive heading into the last week before PA, but alas, he's above that.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Victory is no reason to leave

In the Washington Post today, the Admin plants the latest reason for never leaving Iraq.

Here's the very telling money quote,
With "al-Qaeda in retreat and disarray" in Iraq, said one official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record, "we see other obstacles that were under the waterline more clearly. . . . The Iranian-armed militias are now the biggest threat to internal order."

Partly in response to advice from Petraeus and Crocker, the administration has initiated an interagency assessment of what is known about Iranian activities and intentions, how to combat them and how to capitalize on them. The review stems from an internal conclusion, following last week's fighting, that the administration lacked a comprehensive understanding and a sophisticated approach.
It appears that Karen DeYoung, who wrote the piece, is oblivious to the possibility that she and her paper are being used, exactly as they and the NYTs were both used in the run up to the war.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Now that's an answer

Hillary and her idol, John McCain, have been busting Obama's chops over a comment he had made in San Fran to donors about working class American life,
"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not."

"And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Seizing on "bitter" Clinton and McCain have been telling anyone that will listen that Obama called them bitter.

So, Obama responds here in a very effective way.



I have, frankly, been concerned about Obama's lack of aggressive responses to attacks from either the Clintons or McCain. It's all well and good to be above it all, but when someone picks a fight with a candidate, he or she needs to be prepared to fire back a bitch slap of a response. Americans will not vote for the professor who disdains the fight satisfied by the knowledge that he is correct on the issue. And if Obama struggles with the silly carping of the Clintons, the GOP will eat him alive.

This response gives me comfort.

28%

Bush's job approval rating. The lowest approval rating of his administration in the Gallup Poll.

The Documentary investigating Fox that we've all be waiting for,....

Hillary's Penn Problem

This doesn't help in the run-up to Pennsylvania.

'Change to Win' Union coalition Demand Hillary "Sever All Ties" With Penn.

Here's their online petition.

If Obama could just hold PA to 5 points....

Obama won't pay street money in Philly

Barack Obama may lose support in Philadelphia over 'street money' - Los Angeles Times

This has been a common practice in East St. Louis for generations. Republicans and more recently, the Feds have tried to send people to jail over the practice, with very little success. It's not illegal to pay precinct workers to get out the vote in each precinct. Many have drivers they pay every election day to pick up reliable voters and drive them to the polls. I've know people who worked as a driver every election day for extra money. The drivers knew who in their neighborhood would alway need a ride and either had standing times or would contact them before election day to schedule. Actually paying people for votes is illegal, but hard to prove.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Clintons failed leadership

From the Politico,
Hillary Rodham Clinton wants voters to decide the nomination based on who can coolly and competently run the country. She had better hope they don’t study her recent campaign too closely for the answer.

Clinton has overseen two major staff shake-ups in two months. She has left a trail of unpaid bills and unhappy vendors and had to loan her own campaign $5 million to keep it afloat in January. Her campaign badly underestimated her main adversary, Barack Obama, miscalculated the importance of organizing caucus states and was caught flat-footed after failing to lock up the nomination on Super Tuesday.

It would be easy to dismiss all of this as fairly conventional political stumbling — if she hadn’t made her supreme readiness and managerial competence the central issue of her presidential campaign.
If after all these years, the Clintons still can't run an efficient campaign, why should anyone believe they are ready on day one to do anything?

(Posted from 20 N. Clark, Chicago)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sen Voinovich is pissed

As I said earlier, I'm listening to the hearings in my office.

Sen Voinovich (R -OH) is clearly pissed off. He's pissed off that Patraeus et. al. doesn't have an exit strategy. He's pissed off that this entire war is being placed on the credit card and no one has been asked to pay a dime for the war without end.

I'm pissed off too.

Marching orders

I've been trying to listen to the Crocker / Petraeus hearings today without a lot of luck.

Yglesias has had better luck and was impressed with Evan Bayh's questioning including Bayh's admonition to Crocker: "I would only caution us not to take our marching orders from Osama bin Laden."

What Matt says,
It's really lunatic of hawks to keep citing OBL's desire to fight us in Iraq as a reason for us to fight him in Iraq. He likes the fight in Iraq because it's favorable terrain for his cause and his propaganda and lets him pose as the defender of the Arab world against American domination. They're suggesting we act like bulls running at the toreador's cape.
Bayh also made the point that our intelligence community agrees that the biggest threat to the US comes from Central Asia (Pakistan, etc) and yet we are spending five times the level of resources in Iraq.

And of course the reason we refuse to acknowledge the reality of Iraq is ego. Neither Bush nor McCain or any of the other Iraq war cheerleaders has any intention of owning up how totally and completely they have fucked up.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Bush and the Beijing Olympics

The Clintons today called on Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics to "underscore U.S. concerns about the recent unrest in Tibet and questions about China's relationship with Sudan."

As I mentioned earlier, French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested yesterday that a boycott of the opening ceremony might be appropriate for the same reason, and the news is full of world-wide speculation about boycotts.

The absurdity in all of this is the implication that somehow China's policies on Tibet or Sudan have changed since it was awarded the games in 2001 that would justify a reassessment. Of course, nothing has changed.

China has been violating human rights and killing Tibetans on and off since it invaded Tibet in 1950. China has been trading with Sudan and aiding and abetting the genocide in Darfur since before 2001 when the Olympics were awarded to China.

Bush's error was agreeing last year to attend the Olympics in the first place. Dictatorships shouldn't be awarded Olympic games in the first place, and leaders of the free world shouldn't support dictatorships in the second.

Bush lost his power to influence when he agreed to go, and having accepted the invatation, it would now be inappropriate to cancel and make our position appear weak and easily swayed by world opinion. Our relationship with China is very important and it would also be insulting.

Bush should have never allowed himself to become the propaganda tool he will be at the opening ceremonies, but then he's an idiot, so there you have it.

Nations who choose to participate in the Olympic Games need to respect the choice of the IOC, and objections to candidate host nations need to be shared with the IOC before a decision is made. It's inappropriate and unfair to athletes to now decide that China's decades old policies make a boycott appropriate.

The Army is in crisis

Here is the assessment of the Army vice chief of staff, Gen Cody,
the Army is running on fumes, but Petraeus and his fellow surge advocates are driving flat out in Iraq, with no destination in sight. It hardly matters whether Petraeus would recommend keeping a hundred and thirty thousand or more combat troops in Iraq for a hundred years, or only ten. Neither scenario is plausible—at least, not without a draft or a radical change in incentives for volunteers.
Who will hold Petraeus' feet to the fire tomorrow for some straight answers?

The Beijing Olympics

It looks like it's going to be a long summer for the International Olympic Committee and China.

With China's refusal to seek an end to the genocide in Darfur, dead Tibetans (and no end is sight for the Tibetan crackdown) and now near riots on the streets of London and Paris over just the Olympic torch passing through town things are heating up, not cooling off. French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested yesterday that a boycott of the opening ceremony might be in order, and it's certain that other leaders are going to feel pressure as ceremony draws near. The Clintons think Bush should boycott the opening ceremony as well.

It's a mess and it is 100 percent the fault of an out of touch IOC that has chosen to award the Olympics -- again -- to a dictatorship, even when they had perfectly acceptable democratic finalists in Paris and Toronto.

The appearance of Western leaders at the games will be used as a propaganda tool by the Communist Party to the people of China showing them how respected their oppressive government is to the world leaders. And the Western leaders are caught in a real dilemma ala Jimmy Carter in 1980.

I'm pretty much a free trader and think the embargo against Cuba is one of the dumbest policies in our nations history, but it would be equally dumb to give Cuba the Olympics and allow them to propagandize their repression to the world, and yet that is exactly what the IOC has done with China.

The Clintons logic explained in a parable

McCain denies reality

McCain's assessment of the lost Battle for Basra,
“Look, I didn’t particularly like the outcome of this thing, but I am convinced that we now have a government that is governing with some effect and a military that is functioning very effectively,” Mr. McCain said of the Iraqi operation. He spoke in a taped Fox News interview that was broadcast Sunday.
But isn't the truth exactly the opposite? Not only is Maliki's government not functioning effectively (he didn't even advise his own Shiite ministers of his Basra plans) but now "radical cleric" Moqtada al-Sadr is effectively controlling most if not all of oil rich Southern Iraq, Maliki's home turf.

So not matter how bad the outcome --even if McCain himself concedes the outcome was bad -- he can only see progress, moving forward, getting better. And anyone who says otherwise -- who acknowledges reality -- hates America and loves defeat.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jesus at the bus stop

It's much too pretty a day in Saint Louis to be inside blogging, but I had to share with all of you a sight I saw while heading to the story today.

To my surprise, Jesus was spotted in South City waiting for a bus! I apoligize for the very poor quality of the image, but I only had my phone and was in the left turn lane when I took the photo.

With the appearance of Christ today, I think we all need to consider the possibility that we've been left behind.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Meet the new boss,...

The Battle for Basra lost (NYTs post-mortem), Muqtada al Sadr is now firmly in charge of Southern Iraq. And Sadr is wasting no time asserting himself.

McClatchy,
BAGHDAD — Firebrand Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr on Thursday called for a massive demonstration against the "occupation" of Iraq on April 9, which would coincide with the fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad and come just after U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker are to testify to Congress about progress in Iraq.

As Sadr called for a million people to converge on the Shiite holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq, he also warned the government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to purge the security forces of members of the Badr Organization, the military wing of the rival Shiite Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, and of Sunni Baathists.
And one final kicker, the Iranian who brokered the peace deal between Makiki's militia (aka the Iraqi Army) and Sadr that the US couldn't broker is on the terrorist watch list.

81%

Of Americans said they believed "things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track" which is the highest number since Bush I was in the White House.

It's the Dems election to lose, and it seems the Clintons relentlessness is working to do just that.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Over & Under

I don't believe the Clintons raised $20M in March. I think it was close to that number but they are exaggerating to save face and that the FEC filling will show a smaller amount or evidence of exaggerating like a loan.

So, the over/under is $20M.

I'm under. Where are you?

100 Years War?

Joe Klein, a genuine tool and jackass nevertheless makes a good point,
The problem with John McCain's 100 years in Iraq formulation isn't that he's calling for 95 more years of combat--he isn't--but that he thinks you can have a long-term basing arrangement in Iraq similar to those we have in Germany or Korea. That betrays a fairly acute lack of knowledge about both Iraq and Islam. It may well be possible to station U.S. troops in small, peripheral kingdoms like Dubai or Kuwait, but Iraq is--and has always been--volatile, tenuous, centrally-located and nearly as sensitive to the presence of infidels as Saudi Arabia. It is a terrible candidate for a long-term basing agreement.
Klein's also a little skeptical of McCain's self-proclaimed expertise in all things national security,
Furthermore, McCain's frequent "You don't know anything" tirades about national security might be more effective if he had a better sense of the war in question. When I asked him about Basra in January, he assured me that it was "not a problem." Last week, he seemed to think it was a good idea for the militia that calls itself the Iraqi Army to attack the militia that calls itself the Mahdi Army. So did George W. Bush, who posited it as the good guys fighting the "terrorists." This betrayed a fundamental lack of knowledge about Shi'ite politics, something any good President or presidential contender--especially one who styles himself a "national security" expert--needs to study.
Now would be a good time to remind ourselves that it was the old Washington hands on national security, John McCain, Cheney, Rummy, etc. who got us into this completely foreseeable disaster that is Iraq, and it was Hillary who couldn't vote for it fast enough.

It is possible to make too much of experience and not enough of judgment.