The Era of Bad Feelings Infects the Democratic Party

If early 1800s represented an Era of Good Feelings, our times should go down in history as the Era of Bad Feelings. Nowhere has that been better exemplified than in the current nastiness pervading the Democratic Party. Although Barack Obama has for all extensive purposes won the nomination, the forces of Hillary Clinton claim she deserves to be the candidate and that they would rather vote for someone else or not vote at all than vote for Obama. Continue reading

Powell On Our Side?

From WaPo:

“I will vote for the individual I think that brings the best set of tools to the problems of 21st-century America and the 21st-century world regardless of party, regardless of anything else other than the most qualified candidate,” Powell said at a news conference before delivering the speech, the newspaper reported. “Both of them certainly have the qualifications to be the president of the United States, but both of them cannot be.”

Asked whether he thought it was a difficult choice, he said: “I think so. Yes.”

Just not towing the party line – although “party” and “line” amongst Republicans is in disarray right now – is enough for a little joy jump. What a coup it would be if he threw his support behind Obama.

Hallelujah! Rightwing Christians Turn Left

Personally, while I believe in a greater power, I really would hate to see God and Jesus (or Yahweh or Allah or Buddah or Shiva or Vishnu… you get the idea) bother Themselves with earthly politics but hey… let me say “thank you, Jesus” now.

A panel of researchers from the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics discussed the results of a survey aimed at gauging the voting tendencies among religious groups by splitting the groups in categories.

One breakthrough discovery the panel found was that for the first time ever, more mainline Protestants (approximately one-fifth of the electorate) support the Democratic Party over the Republican Party.

Americans Are In Trouble: Debt, Declining Life Expectancy, Shorter Too

Thinking of Bobby Kennedy’s real passion during his ’68 campaign for the American worker highlights exactly why our candidates – and our next president – needs to pay some serious attention to the plight of Americans, especially those of the working and middle class.

Yet everybody better start paying attention to the American worker, who is greater in debt (less and less see any relief from debt outside of bankruptcy or death), more likely to have to work two jobs or more just to survive, less likely to receive appropriate and timely health care, and under greater measures levels of clinical depression, fatigue, and stress than ever before. See my next (up) post.

New studies show Americans across the board (rather than pockets of wild wealth in a sea of people who have relatively little to nothing in comparison) are doing much worse financially than their European peers, AND that both our height and life expectancy is turning from new longevity to a shortening (yes, we’re living less longer and no longer growing as tall as our European neighbors, which is believed due to our harsh working schedule, bad diet, and far less accessibility to health care since most civilized nations have some type of universal access to care).

Oh, and our infant mortality rate is on its way back up. Not good.

Interestingly, the beginning of the “change” we’re seeing in less health for Americans dates back to about 1982. Hmmm… Reagan was in office, and advocating an economy that allowed for a handful of rich fatcats with the rest forced to buy his bumper sticker foreign policy. Much of the rule since 1982 has been Republican. Coincidence?

Not Exactly Hugs Between Hillary And Barack, But That’s OK

The media has waited with baited breath – and a volume of verbiage the world has rarely seen outside of coverage of Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears’ crotches – for Hillary to do her concession bit and for the two to hug and cry together. But they’re not giving that to us – at least, not yet. And either way, it’s OK.

I don’t want this to be a presidency driven solely by sound bytes and carefully crafted media images. I don’t expect two people who’ve fought so hard for their own campaigns (or the myriad thousands who’ve labored for them) to sudden love each other and make nice.

I don’t want Hillary Clinton named VP (and I think any announcement there will come much closer to the convention, if not at the convention itself in late August in Denver) simply because she was “the other candidate.” If there’s a better person for the Obama Democratic ticket, then I want that person considered. We’re not into legacies here, unless it’s the legacy for ALL of America, and not for a relatively privileged few (named Bush or Clinton or Kennedy, et al).

But what we need most of all is for the American people to unite in an understanding that the way ahead is tough regardless of how we go: that we may have to accept a period of increased hardship to try to get this nation – and the world that watches it – back on track. We’re already hurting; we can probably survive a little more.

And unlike the Bush-McCain technique, we need to take care of America’s working and middle classes through good education, job training, health care, and so much more. The Bush-McCain technique is to give and give to the wealthiest, and the rest have to wait til it trickles down the inner leg of the fatcat Republican peeing gold.

Obama Names Vice President Search Team With Cheney’s Smirk

Caroline Kennedy has been named to head up a three-person VP search team for Democratic presumptive nominee, Barack Obama.

This differs from George Bush’s 2000 VP search team, headed by Dick Cheney, with only Cheney serving as membership, and – surprise! – decided Dick Cheney would be the best candidate for the job!

But does anyone worry with as much as Cheney is smirking and still acting like cock of the walk that you wonder if HE knows something (like what really went on with September 11th and Iraq, to name but a few) you don’t, which is why he’s not worried about having to leave the WH anytime soon.

Feeling Primary Letdown?

When I awoke this morning, I felt different. It took me an hour or two to figure out why: we don’t have to talk about Democratic Primary races anymore because they ended yesterday.

While I found this primary season more interesting than any other in my lifetime, the drama wasn’t so much in what the candidates said or did, and certainly not in the debates (which I find useless when you’ve got 8-10 people vying for questions from a potential 300 million member audience).

No, the big change – the refreshing air – is not just that we’ll be Bush-less (we hope) come January 20th next, but that we went through a primary season where a woman and a black man got all the attention. I never expected to be half way through my life before this happened, so I’ll focus on how wonderful it is now that it’s here.

And it’s not any woman, not any black man. While Obama found privilege, it certainly wasn’t awarded to him by society. He – and his wife, and I think Michelle Obama is great – worked damn hard for all they have.

And while it’s easy to dis Hillary (it seems), she’s been part of a wave of people who came of age in the 60s and 70s who, while making their own way, have contributed MUCH to the overall quality of life in this country and beyond.

So rather than feel just relief at no primary discussion today, I’ve got to appreciate that while the Republicans handed us the same old fat old white man (McCain), the Dems delivered at least some of the change we desperately need.

Who Will Be The New Congressional Democratic Lions?

I hate to bring up such a sad subject at such a tough time but, considering times don’t appear headed for wild wonderfulness any year soon and the subject’s too important to ignore, here goes:

With the hospitalizations of two of the Senate longest reigning Democrats, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who will be our new lions? Do we have any in the making?

Vermont’s newest Senator, long-time Socialist House Rep, Bernie Sanders is already proving to be a fire brand. But he arrived in the upper house a bit late. Wellstone is dead. Corzine, who showed promise, went to be governor of New Jersey. We’ll have to see if Hillary and Barack remain in the Senate after this year (some speculation has Hillary being handed the governorship of New York on a platter, but I’d love to see what resigned-gov Eliot Spitzer’s replacement, David Patterson as the state’s first leader of color, will do).

Have any contenders we should watch for?

The Day of “Over” …?

MSNBC:

Hillary Rodham Clinton will concede Tuesday night that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign officials said, effectively ending her bid to be the nation’s first female president.

The former first lady will stop short of formally suspending or ending her race in her speech in New York City. She will pledge to continue to speak out on issues like health care. But for all intents and purposes, the two senior officials said, the campaign is over.

Most campaign staff will be let go and will be paid through June 15, said the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge her plans.

I like both Democratic candidates, and would vote for either in November. I guess that’s why I feel a sadness that this struggle is coming to an end for one. But my sadness is probably premature. There is a great deal of politicking to be done before the end of August.

Byrd Hospitalized

For those who worried over the very emotional turn W VA Senator Robert Byrd took last week over Ted Kennedy’s brain tumor, there is new cause for concern: Byrd had a “spell” late today and has been hospitalized at least overnight.

At 90, such spells cannot be unexpected. But it’s hard to hear about Kennedy and Byrd both having such a time when America itself suffers so.

Are We At The Eve Of “Over”?

According to Keith Olbermann on MSNBC’s Countdown Monday night, Hillary Clinton is giving every signal of suspending her campaign today, as the final two Democratic primaries play out.

However, it should also be noted that a suspended campaign can be resurrected, right up to and including at Convention time in late August.

The Seeping Anti-Gay Hate Boils Over

Since the California Supreme Court ruled AGAINST an amendment based on hate and exclusion in determining that the state cannot limit marriage to a male and a female, the hate loonies have been on overdrive. Some want to make this about Democrats vs. Republicans: that Democrats would force gay marriage down our throats vs Republicans who will make the Constitution a strait jacket and a vehicle for any hatred they wish to inflict. This letter in The News Times (Danbury, CT) and the comments that follow is a good example.

But this issue isn’t blue vs. red. It’s about what America truly stands for vs. those who want to use the constitution for its own hateful purposes.

Watching The DNC Rules Committee At Work

I’m not certain quite the purpose for showing the inner workings of the Democrats’ Rules Committee as they wrestle with the issue of delegates and super delegates in contested states Florida and Michigan.

On the one hand, I think it’s valuable to some to understand how all this gets worked out re: who will be the Democratic Party nominee. On the other, however, bringing out (so called, cough, cough) big guns like CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to discuss things like the Austin petition and half votes and whether Howard Dean will say, “yeeehaaaaaw” again (he won’t, but CNN likes to make Dems seem dumb) makes the whole thing seem a little ditzy.

Me? I suspect it’s a ratings black hole.

Beat The Press: Play The Political Junkie 2008 Presidential Trivia Contest

I have such confidence in you that I’ll bet my best cup of coffee that you’ll score higher than a Dana Milbank or a David Sirota on this trivia challenge at The Week Behind.

I won’t say you’ll score better than a George Bush, because he’d have to be able to read to take the test and… well…. he’s cognitively challenged (to say the least).