March 13, 2008

Olbermann Offers A Chance for Hillary to Redeem Herself

One last time on this topic and I’ll put it to bed, I promise.

Keith Olbermann, the reincarnation of Edward R. Murrow that he is, has offered Hillary Clinton an opportunity to redeem herself. The video’s below, and it’s been transcribed by TruthOut, and I think his statement is absolutely poignant. He says all of this better than I possibly could. Here’s the video, and transcription of the commentary is here for those who don’t want to watch the video. It’s absolutely brilliant.

[ Clinton’s Tepid Response to Ferraro is Shameful ]
Source: MSNBC News

Good Night, Ms. Ferraro.

No, Ms. Ferraro, Mondale chose you as his running mate not because he felt like he owed women something, and if that were the case then Mondale was wrong-headed too. He chose you because he was under the illusion you were qualified for the position, a mistake that I don’t think any Democrat would ever make again.

No, Ms. Ferraro, no one owes you an apology, and no one wants yours – you wouldn’t mean it anyway. But at least you stepped down from your position. It’s just a shame that neither you or your patron saw anything wrong with what you said. With friends like you, who need enemies?

No, Ms. Ferraro, there is no “race card,” and no one’s playing it against you, or Hillary. I’m surprised you haven’t complained of anyone playing the similarly imaginary “gender card” against you, too. There is only an arrogant, ignorant person who refuses to take responsibility for her comments, but insists that others take responsibility for their reactions to those comments. There is only an arrogant, ignorant person speaking from a position of privilege. I think we’ve all had enough of you – head over to the GOP. You seem to line up more with their thinking.

[ Ferraro Leaves Clinton Campaign ]
Source: NPR News

March 12, 2008

The Real McCain

Speaking of John McCain’s “maverick” ruse, it’s about time to turn at least some attention towards the Republican nominee and all of the things he’s likely hoping to do as soon as he takes office.

For example, continue the erosion of reproductive rights and the basic freedom to decide when and how you’re planning to have children or raise a family. I’ve said multiple times that choice is not an “issue,” not a political bargaining chip, not a ploy, it’s matter of basic human rights. It’s about freedom, and it’s about liberty, and it’s about the people who are willing to erode those freedoms and rights because of their own moral doctrine without scientific or realistic basis in fact whatsoever. In the end, it’s about people who want to take your freedom and impose their own moral imperative and code on others – no better or worse than in fundamental Islamic countries where theocratic laws are the norm.

Beyond that, it’s about time we’re all absolutely clear on McCain’s stance. From NARAL Pro-Choice America:

The REAL McCain has:

* Voted anti-choice 125 out of 130 times in his congressional career;
* Consistently voted to restrict access to abortion care;
* Voted against measures to prevent unintended pregnancy;
* Voted for the global gag rule, which prohibits federally funded family-planning clinics from giving women full information about their reproductive-health options;
* Voted for and co-sponsored the Federal Abortion Ban; and
* Voted in favor of anti-choice Supreme Court Justices like Samuel Alito, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas.

Sound about right to you? McCain has a history of supporting abstinence-only education even though study upon study shows that it’s ineffective, McCain has a history of supporting efforts to whittle away abortion rights, access to contraceptives, and even access to fair, honest information about their options for pregnant women.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire McCain for a lot of things, but his record on choice certainly isn’t one of them, and is certainly cause for attention. The fact that this hasn’t been more widely discussed is in itself an issue. NARAL is sponsoring a petition to get the word out about McCain’s anti-choice record. Link’s below.

[ Meet the Real McCain ]
Source: NARAL Pro-Choice America

Mudslinging, but not from the Right: More Dirty Tricks by the Clinton Campaign

I had been trying to stay off of this bandwagon because I’m exceptionally worried that the Obama v. Clinton rift may be enough to cause a schism in the Democratic party like the rift between the so-called “conservatives” in the Republican party and John McCain. Seriously; I can’t say how happy I am that conservatives are unhappy that they don’t feel they have a “true” candidate in John McCain, and I’m thrilled with the notions that McCain has enough discontent aimed at him from his own side that conservatives are more likely to just stay home from the polls than vote for him in a time when Democrats are so energized that it’s our race to lose.

That all being said, I had been hard pressed until very recently to find serious differences between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and I would have been just as happy to see either of them win the nomination. Sadly, Hillary lost 10 states in a row and made probably the worst possible decision I’ve seen her make: she went negative against someone in her own party just to win two states. It’s actually kind of pathetic that she essentially had to swiftboat Obama in order to win states in which she already had a lead. That’s rather dissapointing, and a sad harbinger of what would come if she were the Democratic nominee.

But here’s what really galls me: one of Obama’s staff says Hillary is a “monster,” and Obama takes swift action: he dismisses her, apologizes for her comments, and reiterates his message of support for Hillary if she happens to win the nomination. That’s apparently a far sight better than Hillary is willing to do when one of her aides rolls out the racially charged language and essentially said the only reason Obama is getting as much attention as he has is because he’s Black. Here’s an incredibly salient point from DailyKos on how I feel about that:

The latest in the disgusting story of longtime racist Geraldine Ferraro:

“Sexism is a bigger problem,” Ferraro argued. “It’s OK to be sexist in some people’s minds. It’s not OK to be racist.”

Hey, former Congresswoman Ferraro, I’ve got a message for you from the 21st Century: it’s not OK to be sexist OR racist. It’s not OK to create a hierarchy of persecution and apply it to Democratic politics. It’s not OK to imply, as you’ve seemed to be implying in recent days, that because women supposedly have it harder, that Hillary Clinton should get an easier path or that it’s OK to denigrate Barack Obama’s achievements by characterizing them as arising from advantages supposedly afforded to African-Americans.

Why this woman is on Hillary’s campaign staff is anyone’s guess, but if this is the type of person she’s willing to pick for her cabinet if she gets elected, that’s deeply distressing. It’s almost like she’s not running a truly Democratic campaign – my bet is that some of those disaffected conservatives might be raising an eyebrow about now and wondering if she fits with them.

The best part is that she stood by those comments after the fact. One of Obama’s people calls Hillary a monster and she’s punished. One of Hillary’s people slings racist language and she gets to keep her job and defend herself. This worries me in a number of ways: the Democratic party has seen something of a racial shift as of late, with large numbers of African American and minority voters casting their ballots for Barack Obama, while the bulk of white Democrats stick with Clinton. I’m worried that should Clinton get the nomination, all of the momentum built by young voters and minority voters will come crashing to a halt, and that message of hope and optimism for a better and brighter American future – experience or no experience – will get lost in Hillary’s divisive, knock-down, drag-out, kidney punch politics.

I’m also acutely worried that disaffected minority voters will wind up defecting from a Democratic party that has been working their last nerve for decades, slowly watching civil and equal rights being eroded while the old guard Democrats like Hillary were supposed to be standing guard over them, and –as we’ve seen it before– wind up turning to the Republicans for at least some sense of change. The Republicans are aware of this too, and have been doing their best in states like Maryland and Virginia to trot out minority candidates and spokespeople to try and conceal their sordid past when it comes to equal rights on the basis of race, sexual orientation, and yes; even gender. A little more from Kos:

When John Edwards and the other candidates were still in the race, legitimate questions raised about Hillary Clinton were characterized by her campaign as examples of the male candidates “ganging up” on Clinton, as if she should be measured by different rules because she was a woman. Since these arguments were advanced on behalf of the same person who was claiming that only she was experienced enough and tough enough to be commander in chief, reporters and voters couldn’t be convinced to see her as the tender woman under assault from the testosterone-addled brutes. The Clinton campaign eventually abandoned that calumny.

Ferraro is reprising the same tactic, but with a twist. She’s fusing the politics of gender bias with a resentment of racial integration that glides imperceptibly past many people but like a dog whistle delivers its message on a frequency that many older white voters hear acutely. It’s not legitimate for Barack Obama to question or challenge Hillary Clinton, implies Ferraro, not only because Hillary is a woman and women take too much crap from men, but also—and this is crucial—because Barack Obama is a Black guy, and the elites in their nice homes with their fancy degrees are once again taking something away from “us” that we worked hard to earn and they’re giving it away on a silver platter to some young Black guy.

I’ve seen this mindset in more (usually white, and often female) Democrats as of late than I care to admit. This notion that somehow Hillary’s experience as First Lady qualifies her for the Presidency (with some voters going so far to say the mind-numbing “She essentially ran the country before, she can do it again” line) and gives her an experience advantage over Obama is one thing, but the notion that somehow she’s being treated differently as a candidate because Obama is Black is another. When Huckabee lost state after state, at least his campaign had the decency to admit that when people don’t turn out to vote for you, it’s your own fault, not someone else’s. Hillary can’t seem to get that through her head.

Hillary’s negative tone has all but sold a lot of Democrats on Obama, and rightfully so. What worries me more about this is that if her strategy works, the Republicans are lined up in droves to do nothing but vote against her. Those conservatives who would have stayed home from the polls are willing to go to the polls just to make sure she’s not President. Most polls predict that if Hillary goes up against McCain, we’ll have a 2000/2004 scenario all over again. The young people would stay home. The cross-party voters would go McCain because of his “maverick” image (and that’s all it is). I even had the privilege of hearing an interview where one woman (a Republican voter) said “Well, if she were running against Osama Bin Laden, I might vote for her, but until then, never.” Too many people are willing to vote to keep her OUT of office, and enough people are willing to vote against her because she’ll be the “worse of two evils.”

If Obama goes up against Clinton, we have a solid win. So even though Hillary is trying to do to Obama what eerily looks like a Rove-style play like Bush did against McCain in 2000, I’m hoping it doesn’t turn out for her, Florida and Michigan included or no. The last thing this party needs is a racial schism, or a venomous battle that threatens to disaffect young voters who want a change in Washington and are tired of the same-old same-old old-guard politics that Clinton seems to stand for. Frankly, I’m tired of the division, and it seems like Obama and his supporters are the ones interested in bridging that rift, both inside and outside the party. Hillary’s supporters seem a bit more venomous inside the party than even at the real target, the Republicans.

I’ll leave the last word with another quote from blogger DHinMI at Kos, because the article I’m referring to is too good not to:

Ferraro is playing a feminist George Wallace. Wallace appealed to insecure whites who felt that their struggles and hard work entitled them to live in all white neighborhoods, and elitist judges shouldn’t be able to force them to accept black neighbors and integrated schools. Ferraro is trying to appeal to insecure white women who believe they’ve put in their time and now they’re entitled to get their woman president, and nobody should be allowed to take away their presidency and give it to the Black guy who hasn’t earned it.

When Obama rejects racist garbage put forth by a Clintonite, the Clinton campaign attacks Obama for supposedly making the campaign personal and nasty. The tender woman line didn’t work by itself. But the tender woman under assault from the Black man, that hadn’t yet been tried, so Geraldine Ferraro is giving it a whirl, and Hillary Clinton’s response is a tepid “it’s regrettable” paired with the false claim that “both sides” are doing it.

We Democrats–with the evident exception of Geraldine Ferraro and possibly some members of the Clinton braintrust–are better than this. We have evolved to the point where a woman and an African American are competing for our Presidential nomination. I’m happy to be supporting the candidate who is likely to stave off a tough challenge from a formidable rival and become our Presidential nominee. Geraldine Ferraro is angry because she believes the woman she supports is entitled to the nomination but her Black rival is not.

I want the person I believe is our best candidate to earn our nomination. Geraldine Ferraro wants the woman to get the nomination instead of the Black guy. Hillary Clinton says Ferraro’s comments are regrettable. I think Clinton should declare that the attitudes and beliefs underlying Ferraro’s comments are repugnant.

Absolutely beautiful.

[ Ferraro: Give it to the Woman, Not to the Black Guy ]
Source: DailyKOS

March 9, 2008

Global Warming: The Way He Sees It

So-called “global warming” is just a secret plot by wacko tree huggers to make America energy independent, clean our air and water, improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, kick-start 21st-century industries, and make our cities safer and more livable. Don’t let them get away with it!

~ Founder and President of Grist.org, Chip Giller