The Great Debate

Tomorrow night is the next of the cavalcade of Democratic debates that we’ve endured over the last several months, this time in Pennsylvania, which is this week’s “most important state!” to host a primary. Since the last primaries in Mississippi (which I had to look back to CNN’s political page for – BTW, Barack Obama TROUNCED Hillary Clinton in those 61% to 39%), a lot has happened in the campaigns. We’ve had major gaffes on both sides (“sniper fire” vs. “bitter”) and some serious questions about the people these candidates surround themselves with (Mark Penn vs. Jeremiah Wright).

Previous debates have been extremely short on fireworks as the Democrats have been cordial to each other’s faces, choosing to do their back biting at events and stump speeches.

KC Joke Blogster Tony Botello opined today on the Democratic race and it is an example of the truthiness that can come out of a blog that generally just tries to make people mad.

Both he and I agreed that the outright hypocrisy of Hillary on this issue was utterly mind boggling. A woman with $109 million expects to be taken seriously when she casts stones about elitism?

Hillary has truly pulled the wool over the eyes of her supporters. I can’t figure out how her “beer and shots and my daddy took me huntin’ by the lake” doesn’t get her called for BS every time. It’s fascinating, really, because I think it is THE CLINTONS who are elitist and they take advantage of the ignorance of those less fortunate with their “we’re just like you” schtick.

Barack Obama has his flaws. We all do. Some of his recent errors in judgment have kept this race alive longer than it should, but one thing I won’t call Obama is elitist. He knows that he’s been blessed in his life and he knows that his politics aren’t favorable to everyone. But he doesn’t change his stripes depending on where he is in the country, changing his story depending on his audience.

The people that continue to vote for Hillary Clinton are being duped. In a blog post on Anderson Cooper 360’s blog, Hillary Clinton biographer Carl Bernstein stated:

What will a Hillary Clinton presidency look like?

The answer by now seems obvious: It will look like her presidential campaign, which in turn looks increasingly like the first Clinton presidency.

Which is to say, high-minded ideals, lowered execution, half truths, outright lies (and imaginary flights), take-no prisoners politics, some very good policy ideas, a presidential spouse given to wallowing in anger and self-pity, and a succession of aides and surrogates pushed under the bus when things don’t go right. Which is to say, often.

This is what we would be in for if Hillary Clinton were to become the next president of the United States. Anyone who doesn’t make that same assessment hasn’t been watching the campaign closely enough. That’s why I’m going to continue to support Obama. The thought of another Clinton White House is too much for me to bear.

Obama’s ‘A Perfect Union’

This could be a defining moment, not just of the Democratic primary or the 2008 national election, but in the history of our country. Rarely do politicians speak as frankly as Barack Obama did today. My hope is that his speech perhaps turned the tables in Pennsylvania and that he will defeat Billary there, thus ending the Democratic primary and allowing the race to move completely toward the general election.

Why I’m for Obama

I voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

I can’t deny this. The evidence is buried deep in the archives of this blog. If I could be assured that Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Karl Rove were not a part of the package, I might vote for him again. I believe that Bush is a decent man who is in WAY over his head.

This is an important time in the landscape of our country. Abroad we are viewed more negatively than ever, despite our constant efforts to keep the world a safer, better place. The next president faces many challenges in achieving their agenda. Congress is more divided than ever. Democrats, who have been out of favor with the American people for several years, have regained control and, thus far, their achievements have been few. Very little happens during the tail end of an 8-year term and with a president as universally disliked as Bush, we’ll be hard-pressed to see any significant legislation from a government that argues more than it works.

Going into this very long election season, I first wanted to figure out who I liked. I knew that I didn’t like Hillary Clinton. I still don’t. I don’t trust her. She’s Old Washington. She has built friends and enemies over the course of her “35 years of experience” and there are many who believe that another Clinton administration would be similar to that of the Hoover days of the FBI where there’s a file on everyone who ever dissented from the Clintons (if she does happen to get elected, this post may come back to haunt me). Not only that, but people who called her “strong” or “brave” for staying with her husband through her numerous indiscretions are just what I like to call “stupid” and “naive”. If you think for one second that her staying with Bill was about anything more than political gain, you are kidding yourself.

There are many reasons why people like the Clintons. I just happen to not be one of them. Under Clinton, the military was weakened and mistreated so much that George W. Bush seemingly had to overcompensate when the realities of September 11 set in. It’s arguable that he did the right thing, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Clinton’s weakening of the military and his refusal to go after Osama bin Laden led indirectly to 9/11. The post-9/11 landscape made it really difficult to find the Al Qaeda leader since there were so many sympathetic to his cause by that point.

Barack Obama Logo

My journey to Obama was caused by a series of events. First, Mitt Romney’s poor showing in early primaries meant that my favorite Republican was quickly fading. John McCain seemed OK, but as I watched the debates, he seemed more an more smug; more and more self-important. Even back then, I was intrigued by Obama, but like many supporters, I knew very little about him.

Watching his speech after South Carolina made me want to learn more. Then there was the remix of his speech done by Will.i.am that got a lot of run on the news. So my initial interest was similar to those of many. I was drawn to him because he spoke of hope and the power of the American people, not the power of politicians who were Ready on Day One™.

I watched that Yes We Can video 3 times in a row one morning and then immediately went out to Obama’s website to read his issue statement. I read every one and realized that perhaps I was closer to his beliefs than I originally thought.

I began to take much more notice of the democratic side of the campaign. After Super Tuesday when McCain was crowned the Republican front-runner, I thought it was important to focus my attention on the race that was still being run. I’m addicted now. I check the CNN political section of its website everyday and I’m reading everything I can get my hands on.

A couple things helped to solidify my belief in Obama. The first was a Keynote presentation that Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig put up on MetaCafe and YouTube.

It’s 20 minutes long. Consider yourself warned.

A couple weeks later, I was directed to a post on the highly liberal democratic blog, the Daily Kos. The post had done what many “Obamicans” had not up to this point. It had looked at the facts of Clinton and Obama’s history in the Senate. It analyzed their voting record, the bills put forward and the co-sponsors who had joined them on their bills presented.

What the article helped prove to me was that my initial thoughts were correct: Barack Obama was a more likable politician and while he is a young senator, that has not kept him from thinking big. He had more co-sponsors on most of his bills and not only that, the bills about similar policies that were put forth by Obama and Clinton overwhelming favored the junior senator from Illinois because his ideas weren’t safe…they took risks in order to try and solve problems.

A key example on the subject of lead paint:

For example, she introduced one bill that offered tax credits for building owners who clean up lead paint. Which is a very good thing. And Obama is a co-sponsor. “S.1793 : A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax credit for property owners who remove lead-based paint hazards.”

Obama’s anti-lead bill (S. 1306) directed the Consumer Product Safety Commission to classify certain children’s products containing lead as banned hazardous substances. He had another bill prohibitting the interstate transport of children’s products containing lead. (S.2132) And Hillary co-sponsored each of these.

In other words, they both care about protecting children from lead.

The difference is in the scope and the approach.

Obama’s bill shows how he thinks big: do everything we can to make sure that lead-painted Thomas the Tank Engine toys don’t get into the hands and mouths of millions of toddlers in this country.

Or Hillary: encourage people by offering tax credits to clean up lead paint in old buildings. People have been talking about lead paint in old buildings hurting kids in living in inner cities, since, well when I was a kid — for decades. If it is still a big problem, is offering tax credits for clean up, i.e. scrape down the walls and repaint, the best way to protect kids from lead?

How many of you parents have lead paint problems? How many have (or had) toxic Thomas the Tank Engine Toys? They are everywhere. The local bookstore and kid’s shoe store and the doctor’s office and the preschool and the toystore all have train tables. There is nowhere you can go anymore with toddlers that doesn’t have a Thomas the Tank Engine train table covered with toxic toys. But that’s just my feeling.

Obama’s bills risk pissing off the toy industry and the Chinese. Hillary’s risks nothing.

If you read the article, there are countless examples of how Hillary is a lifelong politician and Obama is a man who seems to be trying to make the world a better place.

I believe that the next president of the United States is going to have many challenges ahead of them to get their agenda accomplished. In my opinion, candidate who has the ability to unite the American people behind his causes because of his dynamic nature and his big thinking is Barack Obama. That’s why, come November, I’ll be doing something I’ve never done in my voting history – I’ll be voting Democratic. That is, unless Hillary Clinton manages to come up with a miracle.

I feel like Garfield

Garfield hates Mondays

When I was a kid, I loved Garfield. I don’t know why, but I think it had something to do with the fact that Jim Davis is a brilliant marketer and released a new book regularly. I liked how all the books lined up nicely on the shelves…they always looked so nice together.

The comic itself isn’t really all that funny. It always relied on the same tired jokes – Garfield loves lasagna, Garfield hates Odie, Jon is an idiot, and of course, Garfield hates Mondays.

I’ve become Garfield in that aspect. Mondays are really difficult for me because the weekends are becoming more and more like extensions of the week, crammed with things to do, places to go, people to see. I am someone who really enjoys relaxing and by the time Monday rolls around, I haven’t yet recovered from Saturday.

The triple skinny gingerbread latte helped this morning, but by noon, I was dragging. It’s now 8:00 in the evening and I’ve yet to leave work at work. My awesome wife made us some makeshift homemade pizza on some naan we bought at Wild Oats yesterday and we’re watching Celebrity Apprentice until the State of the Union starts. Here’s hoping there’s some way that Bush can salvage the last year of his presidency and at least get some sort of a line item veto policy into place that will curb these earmarks (also known as “pork”). That would at least be a start towards getting some sort of stability into the economy…so that our government stops giving places $50,000 for a mule museum. But while I watch, I’ll be working on the 48-page brochure I’ve been spending time on all day long. Good times.

Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays…

Media is wrong (Again!)

All the media outlets want to talk about how huge Hillary’s win in New Hampshire is. CNN. MSNBC. Fox News.

All of them are attributing her win to several things:

  • Her “emotional” breakdown, which humanized her to voters
  • single women
  • staunch Democrats
  • stupid pollsters

The one thing that they are not pointing out is something I mentioned on Sunday, which was:

John Edwards won Saturday’s debate hands down.

Edwards won 17% of the vote in New Hampshire and a mere 2% separated Clinton and Obama. In my opinion, it wasn’t women voters, staunch Democrats, or her “emotions” that led to her winning the primary; it was that some undecided left-leaning voters may have moved from Obama to Edwards because of Saturday night’s debate on ABC. I look for this to happen more in the coming weeks as Edwards gains some momentum. Obama needs to either woo those voters back or separate himself somehow because right now, their (Obama and Edwards) are very similar.

Otherwise, we can look forward to 8 more years of a Clinton White House…I am hoping that’s not the case.