Monday, May 26, 2008

Lobbyists and ....

I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.

— Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA, November 10, 2007

All candidates talk about taking on the lobbyists. They claim to oppose lobbyists' influence over Washington and loudly and proudly talk about not take money from lobbyists. But what really happens when the camera and lights go off? The facts have been reported on the internet but in very large part, the MSM has virtually ignored this issue. You decide:

the Illinois Democrat's policy of shunning money from lobbyists registered to do business on Capitol Hill does not extend to lawyers whose partners lobby there.

Nor does the ban apply to corporations that have major lobbying operations in Washington. And the prohibition does not extend to lobbyists who ply their trade in such state capitals as Springfield, Ill.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Sacramento, though some deal with national clients and issues.

snip ...

Some of the most influential players, lawyers and consultants among them, skirt disclosure requirements by merely advising clients and associates who do actual lobbying, and avoiding regular contact with policymakers. Obama's ban does not cover such individuals.

snip ...

In Tallahassee, Obama held a fundraiser attended by several statehouse lobbyists, taking checks from lobbyists for trial attorneys, the insurance industry, fast-food chains and sugar cane growers. State and federal issues often are related, as noted by the law firm Akerman Senterfitt, whose Florida-based members donated $7,000 to Obama. On its website, Akerman notes it combines Tallahassee connections with "an involved federal political action committee" to provide its clients "with an enviable level of access."

snip ...

On May 2, Obama is scheduled to attend a $2,300-per-ticket breakfast 10 blocks from the Capitol. The hosts include 22 lawyers. Although they are not federal lobbyists, three in the past have been registered lobbyists; they all work at firms that have Washington lobbying operations or hire outside lobbying firms to contact lawmakers. ... One lawyer co-hosting the Obama event has represented companies fending off litigation over toxic waste cleanup, and another represents employers on affirmative action requirements, force reduction and early retirement programs, their firms' websites say.
- An Asterisk To Obama's Policy On Donations, Dan Morain; Los Angeles Times; Apr 22, 2007; A.1

So, is it only a matter of semantics, or is it more of the same? "I don't take money from lobbyists," only from the lawyers that represent them and their corporate interests. Is this a distinction without a difference? If a candidate or Senator is willing to mingle with, to lend an ear, to accept large sums of money from those in DC and the 50 states who represent lobbyists, and large corporate and monied interests, then what do words really mean?

Maybe its all about truly ignoring lobbyist influence and not allowing money and lobbyists to influence legislative agendas. That would be a good thing. You decide:

Away from the bright lights and high-minded rhetoric of the campaign trail, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has quietly worked with corporate lobbyists to help pass breaks worth $12 million.

In his speeches, Obama has lambasted lobbyists and moneyed interests who "have turned our government into a game only they can afford to play."

"It's an entire culture in Washington -- some of it legal, some of it not," the Democratic hopeful told a New York crowd in June, rallying support for his ethics reform agenda.

But last year, at the request of a hired representative for an Australian-owned chemical corporation Nufarm, Obama introduced nine separate bills exempting the company from import fees on a range of chemical ingredients it uses in the manufacture of pesticides and herbicides. Nufarm's U.S. subsidiary is based in Illinois.
- The Blotter: Despite Rhetoric, Obama Pushed Lobbyists' Interests; Justin Rood;; July 6, 2007

But, Obama responds that he was really only helping his constituents in Illinois. He was simply making those foreign products from NuFarm more available and cheaper for his constituents. Now, that sounds good, working hard on Capitol Hill for local constituents. But, then reality sets in:

In a statement to ABC News defending the measures, Obama's spokesman echoed Junker's argument.
"Just like he fought for funding to ensure Chicago's transit system remains affordable and to invest in ethanol research, Senator Obama helped keep costs low for Illinois residents by helping them get the goods they need to do their jobs," Ben LaBolt wrote.

But the company's financial reports indicate that may not be the case. In a glowing financial report issued just two months after Obama introduced Nufarm's numerous tariff-lifting bills, Nufarm told its shareholders it was making more money than ever before in North America because it had increased its prices on its U.S. and Canadian customers, predominantly farmers.

Nufarm saw "strong revenue growth" in North America, it said in a July 31, 2006, company report. "Net profit was also up strongly," driven in part by "price rises on key products," it said. Nufarm trades on the Australian Stock Exchange.
- The Blotter: Despite Rhetoric, Obama Pushed Lobbyists' Interests; Justin Rood;; July 6, 2007

And, what about lobbyists and monied influence and protecting the environment? That's a key issue in the current campaign, right. Against lobbyist influence, and pro-environmental reform? You decide:

However, the Illinois senator's stance on pending legislation and his adviser's ties to the mining industry are raising questions in a state where mining is an economic engine in rural areas. Democrats will vote in presidential caucuses Jan. 19, and Obama's position could help him against rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards, who have not taken a clear position on the bill.

snip ...

The General Mining Law of 1872 allows the mining industry to pull gold, silver and other minerals from federal lands without paying royalties. The industry opposes changes to the law and several efforts to reform it have failed.

A House-passed bill would impose a royalty of 4 percent of gross revenue on existing hard-rock mining operations and 8 percent of gross revenue on new mining operations. The reform bill also would put new environmental controls on hard-rock mining, set up a cleanup fund for abandoned mines and permanently ban cheap sales of public lands for mining.

Obama said the legislation, favored by environmentalists, "places a significant burden on the mining industry and could have a significant impact on jobs." He also opposes the proposed fees.

Obama's statements are largely in line with the those of Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, a miner's son who has long fended off significant reform and defended the industry as critical to the rural West. Nevada is the largest gold-producing state in the nation and ranks behind only South Africa, Australia and China internationally.

Vassiliadis, a longtime Nevada power broker, is a member of Obama's Nevada steering committee and has contributed $2,300 to his campaign. He is a lobbyist for the Nevada Mining Association at the state level and the chief executive of the advertising and lobbying firm hired by two mining companies to lobby for them in Washington.

Denver-based Newmont Mining Co., one of the world's largest gold producers, hired Las Vegas-based R&R Partners' Washington, D.C. office in January. The firm has represented silver and gold miner Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp., in Washington since 2006.
Obama-Mining Lobbyist Ties Scrutinized; WJLA-TV; November 14, 2007

Monied influence seeps from political campaigns. That includes Obama's and his opponent's. Actions and facts belie public speeches and the oft-stated position that lobbyists will not influence actions.

Friday, May 23, 2008

To Embargo or Not to Embargo, That is the Obama Question

In the past, Obama has repeatedly stated that he opposes or would end the U.S. Cuban embargo. His position, at least in the past, has been based on principle, to help the Cubans, and because it has not worked. He has described it as a failed policy of the past. I agree with that position. He has also said he would meet with the Cuban leader without precondition:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said at tonight’s CNN debate in Austin that he would be willing to meet immediately with Cuba's new leader, Raul Castro. But Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said she would not.

In fact, Obama broadly extended his policy of being willing to meet with dictators without preconditions, while Clinton holds the more traditional position that a U.S. president should hold such negotiations only after extensive groundwork has been done.

“Not just in Cuba, but I think this principle applies generally,” Obama said. “I recall what John F. Kennedy once said: We should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate.

In January 2004, he stated:

In 2003, when running for Senate in Illinois, Obama stated:
in 2003, while running for a Senate seat, Obama filled out a questionnaire saying he favored normalized relations with Cuba without any qualifiers.

His position was clear, honest, and fresh.

Now, when speaking before Cuban-Americans this week, Obama flipped his position. CBS reports:

Sen. Barack Obama, who once said he would meet Cuban leader Raul Castro without preconditions, added Friday he would do so "only when we have an opportunity to advance the interests of the United States and to advance the cause of freedom for the Cuban people."

Any meeting would occur "at a time and place of my choosing," the likely Democratic presidential nominee told an audience of Cuban-Americans that applauded his remarks.

He said he would maintain the existing trade embargo to use as leverage for winning Democratic change in the Communist island-nation.

TPM also raised the issue recently:

I asked a serious person, Susan Rice, what she thought of our US-Cuba policy on a recent Obama campaign conference call. I respect Rice who is on leave from Brookings now while advising the Obama campaign. However, her response on the embargo seemed the same kind of triangulation on the issue that a calculating political cynic might offer -- not a campaign ready to crash through cynicism and more optimistically rewire and redraw the lines of how we think about U.S. foreign policy challenges.

I asked Rice if Obama -- who has been the most progressive among the three standing presidential candidates on US-Cuba policy -- would at least go back to the 'status quo' during the Bush administration in 2003. Before Bush tightened up the noose on Cuban-American family travel, remittances, and other exchanges, there was quite a bit of "non-tourist" travel to Cuba -- usually for educational and cultural reasons.

Rice's response was "no." She said that those kinds of openings for non-tourist travel would depend on Cuba having "fair and free elections", releasing political prisoners, adherence to human rights conventions, and the like.

This is out of the playbook of Republican Congresspersons Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers of South Florida.

Now, what could be the reason for Obama's change in opinion, policy or principle? What is going through his mind that he would abandon a principled position so utterly and completely? From my perspective its political pandering pure and simple; the basest form of politics. After abandoning FL and its voters for months now, after repeatedly telling Floridians their votes don't count in the Democratic primary, Obama now must face his music and the facts: the fact that he needs FL in the fall if he is nominated; the fact that the voters in Florida do count and they do vote; the fact that now that he thinks he is getting close to nomination and a general election, he knows he must carry FL. And, he knows he needs the large Cuban-American population to do so. So, he abandons principle, and panders voters. The same pandering and the same old political nuance he claims to disdain.

Debunking the Disenfranchised Voter

Excellent trashing of Clinton's disenfranchised voter B.S.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Clinton Further Revealed

I know what solidarity will say, but I don't care. The paragraphs below are from an AP story today. Further proof that Hillary Clinton is prepared to destroy the party's chances to beat McCain this year so she can run again in 2012.

Hillary Clinton agreed to rules that disenfranchised Florida and Michigan voters. Now, because she ran a pitiful campaign and lost, she poses as a champion of Florida and Michigan voters. Now, it's imperative for democracy that their votes be counted, even though Obama wasn't on the ballot in Michigan, and no one campaigned in Florida, even though it's changing the rules in the middle of the game. But then, what can we expect from a Clinton? They are absolutely devoid of any sense of fair play. Their only ethic is ruthlessness and lying. They are absolutely disgusting.

Excerpt from AP story

In an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, Clinton said she is willing to take her fight to seat Florida's and Michigan's delegates to the convention if the two states want to go that far.

Asked whether she would support the states if they appeal an unfavorable rules committee decision to the convention floor, the former first lady replied:

"Yes I will. I will, because I feel very strongly about this."

"I will consult with Floridians and the voters in Michigan because it's really their voices that are being ignored and their votes that are being discounted, and I'll support whatever the elected officials and the voters in those two states want to do."

Taking her battle to the convention would fly in the face of an increasing number of party leaders who say the contest needs to be wrapped up shortly after the last primary on June 3 to prepare adequately for the fall election.

Asked if she now envisioned the race extending beyond June 3, Clinton replied: "It could, I hope it doesn't. I hope it's resolved to everyone's satisfaction by that date, because that's what people are expecting, but we'll have to see what happens."

But trailing Obama by almost 200 delegates, even seating both Florida and Michigan delegations in the way most favorable to Clinton would still leave her behind the Illinois senator.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Politics of Sexism and Media Bias this Primary Season

The media has played an extremely important and misplaced role in helping select the Democratic Party nominee. In doing so, the media displayed its true sexist nature and the sexist nature of American politics. A cursory review of what has happened over these past few months reveals the extent of the problem during these primaries:

UPDATE May 21, 2008 11:45 am
Last night as Clinton blew out Obama in Kenbtucky: CNN Analyst says it's accurate to call Hillary a bitch.


1. Obama-Backing Congressman Compares Hillary Clinton to Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction'

Chris Rock said it last month: "It's going to be hard for Barack to be president. ... Hillary's not going to give up. She's like Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction.'"

Then NPR political editor Ken Rudin made the joke, saying on "CNN Sunday Morning" that Clinton was "Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction' -- she's going to keep coming back, and they're not going to stop her." (Rudin later apologized.)

This week, Obama-backing Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said on local television, when asked about Sen. Clinton, that "Glenn Close should have just stayed in the tub."
2. From our friends at the BBC:
The candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton refuses to die. She has been compared to the Duracell battery bunny that keeps on shuffling when others, powered by lesser fuel cells, have ground to a halt. Less kindly she has been likened to Glenn Close in the film "Fatal Attraction", who is supposed to have been drowned in the bathtub but then comes back in one last terrifying moment, wielding a carving knife.
3. Clinton Campaign Brought Sexism Out of Hiding - and there is more so read the commentary.

I will not miss seeing advertisements for T-shirts that bear the slogan "Bros before Hos." The shirts depict Barack Obama (the Bro) and Hillary Clinton (the Ho) and they are widely sold on the Internet.

I will not miss walking past airport concessions selling the Hillary Nutcracker, a device in which a pantsuit-clad Clinton doll opens her legs to reveal stainless steel thighs that, well, bust nuts. I won't miss television and newspaper stories that make light of the novelty item.

I won't miss episodes like the one in which the liberal radio personality Randi Rhodes called Clinton a "big f---in' whore" and said the same about former vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. Rhodes was appearing at an event sponsored by a San Francisco radio station, before an audience of appreciative Obama supporters -- one of whom had promoted the evening on the presumptive Democratic nominee's official campaign Web site.
4. From the Columbia Journalism Review: Camp Clinton as Cast by MSNBC

As cast by MSNBC commentators on the night of Hillary's huge 2-1 shellacking of Obama in West Virginia:

If you got your West Virginia primary coverage from MSNBC, then you know:

1) Hillary Clinton is thisclose to becoming “the Al Sharpton of white people,” per Chris Matthews, what with all of her talk about “white people” and her “so loosely say[ing] ‘hardworking white workers’” (a step up, for sure, from another recent Hillary Clinton comparison: Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN, likening Clinton to Glenn Close’s bunny-boiling Fatal Attraction character).

2) To Keith Olbermann’s eyes, the Clinton campaign’s fundraising efforts are thisclose to becoming:

OLBERMANN: I don’t want to use the term Ponzi scheme, but if we were not talking politics and the chance for a pay off for people who were investing or donating to the campaign were as little as it is for those people donating to Senator Clinton, we might use the word pyramid or Ponzi scheme. At what point does it become some sort of political scam to be insisting to people this can happen when the odds are the proverbial odds of passing the camel through the needle?

TIM RUSSERT: Terry [McAuliffe, Clinton’s campaign chairman] tried to frame it the last three days, with all his appearances on TV shows, anything is possible. As long as there’s a possibility, everything is done with the most noble intentions.

5. From Media Matters; Please read the entire article:

After vowing not to underestimate Clinton, Matthews asserted, "[T]he reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around"

6. The Matthews Video of January 9, 2008, after Clinton's NH victory:

7. Hecklers feel emboldened by the Media's sexism, or maybe it's the other way around:

8. Sexism alive and well in American business:

9. And from the left-wing:

An Example of Disgusting Sexism against Senator Clinton

Most of the time when he mentions Senator Clinton's name, he refers to her only as "Bill's lover" and "the woman who stood by him when he got a blow job from Monica Lewinsky." He has no respect for Hillary Clinton at all, even though since 1992 he has been singing the praises of the Clintons. Suddenly she is a "witch", and a "broad." He has demonized her completely, and it's so shocking to me.
10. Comparing Clinton to "everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court"

On the January 23 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, during a discussion of the January 21 Democratic presidential candidates debate with an all-male panel that included co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist, and guest co-host David Shuster, political and social commentator Mike Barnicle said of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY): "when she reacts the way she reacts to [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL] with just the look, the look toward him, looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court, OK? Looking at him that way, all I could think of ... was this fall, if it's [Sen. John] McCain [R-AZ] that she's facing, McCain is likable. She's not." All three MSNBC co-hosts laughed at Barnicle's comparison of Clinton to "everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court," with Scarborough interrupting Barnicle by laughing loudly before saying, "I'm sorry. Go ahead."
11. Comparing Clinton to Tonya Harding

On the May 15 edition of MSNBC Live, while previewing an upcoming interview with former figure skater Tonya Harding, anchor Tamron Hall stated: "Well, remember when there were those reports out that Hillary Clinton would use the so-called 'Tonya Harding strategy' to perhaps take out Barack Obama? Well, we're going to talk to the real Tonya Harding about her place in history and now her infamy within American politics. Yes, really, Mika." MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski responded: "Oh, my God." Hall said: "That's ahead on MSNBC. No, really. Really, we are." Brzezinski added: "I can't believe that. It's great."

12. Kondracke echoed Maureen Dowd "theory" that "Hillary's a vampire ... sucking the blood out of Barack Obama"

During the "All Star" panel on the May 5 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke presented a "theory" for why Sen. Hillary Clinton may be having a "good time" on the campaign trail: "[S]omebody I know has a theory about this. Remember back when [Bill] Clinton was president of the United States, people said that he's really Satan because he walks through life and people collapse around him and go to jail and die, and all this kind of stuff? Well, this person says Hillary's a vampire. She's sucking the blood out of Barack Obama, and you can watch him wilt and she gets healthier and healthier every day."

13. So Now the Press Tells Candidates When to Quit?

Until this election cycle, journalists simply did not consider it to be their job to tell a contender when he or she should stop campaigning. That was always dictated by how much money the campaign still had in the bank, how many votes the candidate was still getting, and what very senior members of the candidate's own party were advising. ...

And the fact is, the media's get-out-now push is unparalleled. Strong second-place candidates such as Ronald Reagan (1976), Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, and Jerry Brown, all of whom campaigned through the entire primary season, and most of whom took their fights all the way to their party's nominating conventions, were never tagged by the press and told to go home.
"Clinton is being held to a different standard than virtually any other candidate in history," wrote Steven Stark in the Boston Phoenix. "When Clinton is simply doing what everyone else has always done, she's constantly attacked as an obsessed and crazed egomaniac, bent on self-aggrandizement at the expense of her party."

14. Pat Buchanan said of Sen. Hillary Clinton's speech following the Pennsylvania primary that "only once or twice did that voice start rising to the level that every husband in America at one time or another has heard. You know, where it starts going up -- "

15. More from MSNBC: The Cackling Hillary Pen:

16. The media, Hillary is a b****:

17. More from In recent days, members of the media asserted that Sen. Hillary Clinton displayed "mood swings," "could be depressed," "[r]esembl[ed] someone with multiple personality disorder," and "has turned into Sybil."

18. More of the b-word:

So, what is really happening in the media?

The fact is, it's ok to call Hillary Clinton a bitch, because in our present society, it's ok to call a woman a bitch. Its no different in politics, and the media plays this up for as long as it can get away with it. The media has fed this for some time now, and made it almost impossible for Hillary. If she's aggressive she's a "bitch." If she's softer, she's "soppy." If she refuses to quit, even though her opponent does not have enough delegates to win yet, she's crazy and suffering a "Fatal Attraction."

The media bias in this campaign is clear and irrefutable. Some will try, but the fact is that the media has continually denigrated Hillary Clinton because she is a woman running for president.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Alleged Media Bias Against Clinton

I know solidarity has questioned my right to comment at all, since I'm not a Democrat, but I'm gonna anyway. I hope that you, pdrez or anyone else harboring the misguided notion that the media is biased against Hillary has, at long last, disabused yourself of that falsehood. Have you observed the coverage of the Wright distraction? Have you observed the campaign analyses since PA? The bias allegation always was B.S. I hope you can acknowledge that now. All the whining about how the media said only Clinton couldn't win enough delegates was completely bogus. Every story I read or watched said neither could win sufficient delegates. It wasn't the media that was suggesting it might be time for Clinton to fold her tent. It was party folks. Get off the media's back and tell your candidate to take responsiblity for her own actions, as hard as that might be for a Clinton.

Peace through sniper fire in Bosnia and opposition to NAFTA.

Clinton and O'Reilly Best Buds

So, Hillary goes on O'Reilly's show to keep the Rev. Wright distraction alive. Talk about a despicable act by a low-life politician. Following this campaign, by what right will Hillary Clinton call herself a Democrat? Her gasoline tax suspension idea? Pitiful. Will increase demand without while reducing supply, raise prices, pump more profits into the oil companies' pockets, and undermine the fight against climate change. Great consumer and energy policy. What bold, enlightened leadership. Just the kind we need in the White House.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The "Rules"

Many of us out here talk about the Democratic Party Delegate Selection "Rules." But, how many of us who talk about them have actually read them, especially those who condemn Hillary Clinton for making her stand in state after state. You can find them here: DNC Delegate Selection Rules

Despite many loud claims to the contrary in the media and from Clinton opponents:

1. There is no Rule "agreed to" by the candidates, but there is a Rule imposed by the party which prohibits a candidate from campaigning in a state that violates the early primary rule: Rule 20.C.1.b. Candidates did sign a pledge not to campaign in FLA and MI, including television ads.

2. There is also evidence that Obama may have violated that pledge or Rule: Obama's national television ad plays in Florida.

3. The DNC Rules do not call for or mandate a complete loss of delegates for holding an early primary; they call for a 50% reduction in delegates and alternates: Rule 20.C.1.a and 20.C.4. (Yes, I realize the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee may choose to impose greater sanctions: Rule 20.C.5.)

4. Even if a state changes the democratic primary date to an impermissible early date, according to the "Rules" that state should not suffer any penalty at all if it is shown that the change was a result of a "state law" and that the Democratic leaders took all positive steps and acted in good faith to oppose that change in state law moving the primary date: Rule 20.C.7.

Of course we all know that the Florida State Legislature is 2-1 Republican and that it has a Republican Governor (Jeb Bush). Let me know how the Dems were supposed to stop the maneuver by the Republican majority to move the date to an impermissible date.

5. You will also find among the party "Rules" many are fond of talking about that any ruling or decision by the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (the committee which chose to impose the death penalty on Michigan and Florida voters) may be appealed to the National Convention in Denver. In other words it is provided for in the "Rules" to challenge any ruling by the committee, including its decision to disenfranchise the FLA and MI voters. It is the Convention that is the final rule maker. Rule 23.D.

6. You will see nothing in the "Rules" which calls for ignoring the popular vote as an indicator of a candidates support.

7. You should also know that Obama voluntarily removed his name from the Michigan ballot; and, he did so in a blatant (albeit successful) attempt to pander to the voters in Iowa (and notice the dates on these articles):
Michigan, Iowa and the Games the Politicos Play
Off the ballot in Michigan

There simply is no DNC rule that a candidate must remove their name from the ballot in a state with an impermissible early primary or caucus. So of those so inclined, yell all you want that Obama wasn't on the ballot so we can't count the votes in Michigan. The "rules" do not support your, pardon me, Obama's, position. In an act of political pandering Obama chose to remove his name from the Michigan ballot. It is fair to say then that he must live with his decisions, good or bad in the end, after all he is running for the presidency. Because he voluntarily chose to remove his name from the ballot due to political pandering that fact certainly should not be used to support an argument that Michigan voters should be disenfranchised. Obama did it to himself.

8. People can accuse Clinton all thay want about the rules, but I believe it is the height of hypocrisy for anyone to run a self-styled campaign of "inclusion" and then turn around and say "don't count the votes."

Hillary Clinton will follow the Rules as they were written and adopted. And, just like Obama, she will use the ones that help her case. She won't ignore the Rules or break them; she will use them, just like Obama. Now that the Rules are known, Obama's arguments seem to be less genuine and much more political.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Obama Goes Negative and Lies

After months of preaching against negative campaigning, Senator Obama has decided to go negative, running an attack ad misrepresenting Senator Clinton's health care plan. The negative spot is currently airing throughout Pennsylvania. From the Clinton Campaign:

1. The Obama ad claims that Hillary’s “plan forces everyone to buy insurance even if you can’t afford it.” Health policy expert Ken Thorpe reviewed this claim and found it to be false. Under Hillary's plan, everyone will be able to afford coverage.

"Ken Thorpe, a health-policy expert at Emory University who has advised all three major Democrats, said he ran cost estimates for the Clinton plan at the Clinton campaign's request, and found there should be enough money to make insurance affordable for all." [Wall Street Journal, 12/5/07]

2. The advertisement also claims that that Hillary's plan would make people who fail to enroll "pay a penalty." Sen. Obama's own plan would fine parents who fail to enroll their children and he has said he will consider imposing penalties on people who don't enroll.

Hillary would consider a range of ideas, including automatic enrollment, to ensure everyone is covered. Sen. Obama's plan, would, experts agree, leave 15 million people out.

3. The ad also claims that Sen. Obama's plan reduces costs more than Hillary's plan. There is no citation for this claim because it is false. Hillary's plan has more aggressive cost cutting measures and has more generous subsides. Because Sen. Obama's plan leaves 15 million people out, it would drive costs up, because everyone would have to subsidize emergency care for the uninsured.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Philly Debate: Disturbing on Several Fronts

The Philly debate ranked as a low point in the Democratic campaign. The moderators were absolutely disgusting. Georgie Boy should have been required to disclose, prior to the questioning, that he served as communications director for Bill Clinton. Then, to spend the first 45 minutes on BS that already had been hashed and reheashed ad nauseum -- an extreme disservice to voters and the public. The questions? Do you think Rev. Wright loves American as much as you do? How come you don't wear a flag pin on your lapel? Are you kidding me? How come Clinton, Georgie Boy and Gibbons Monkey weren't wearing flag lapel pins? What possible difference does it make in the qualifications to be President whether Obama's pastor is as "patriotic" as Obama?

Obama's responses to the gotcha questions disappointed. He allowed himself to get dragged down into the mud again. He should have refused to answer the BS by dimissing the inquisitors as distraction mongers and than talking about health care, the economy and other issues that matter in folks' lives. He didn't. And while he handled it largely with grace, he would have been better served to marginalize the idiots who asked the questions and focus on real issues.

Both candidates showed a disturbing expertise in distortion-by-wordplay. Clinton said of her Bosnia tale that she said things she knew were not consistent with reality. In other words, she lied. Both candidates' answers on the gun control issue were examples of politicians contorting words beyond any meaning. Both candidates unwisely pandered in their "pledges" not to raise taxes on the middle class, though Obama seemed to leave himself some weasel room on Social Security.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment was on foreign policy. Disappointed might be the wrong word, since both candidates have made their positions pretty clear. But the debate drove home this point: Either Clinton or Obama may get us out of Iraq. But neither will end the underlying policies that place our country under the constant threat of war, war and more war.