Saturday, April 5, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr.: American Icon

May we honor one of the greatest Americans in our nation's history, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by remembering his profound "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington in 1963. Aside from perhaps the Gettysburg Address, I don't know of a more inspiring speech in American history. Enough to give any American goosebumps...

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Iraq Stategy

What we learned today from the New York Sun:
A key adviser to Senator Obama’s campaign is recommending in a confidential paper that America keep between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Iraq as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office.

According to the Sun, Colin Kahl, the author of the confidential paper, is the day-to-day coordinator of the Obama campaign's working group on Iraq.

Keeping between 60,000 and 80,000 American troops means that we will be keeping half of our current troop levels in Iraq under Kahl's plan.

To be fair, Mr. Kahl stated that the paper did not express the campaign's position. But, what is the Obama campaign's actual position on Iraq. If his main adviser on Iraq advocates keeping up to 80,000 American troops in Iraq until the end 2010, then what will Obama do if he is elected? Throw out his adviser, change stated policies, or more likely, keep his current policy which does seem to allow for what Kahl advocates. The Sun article also reminds us that during the Iowa campaign. Obama stated that he was not opposed to having American troops remain in Iraq to train Iraqi military forces, and that he would remove combat troops but would keep a residual force of American troops in Iraq.

His campaign web site under "Bringing our Troops Home" indicates that he does intend on keeping what might be called residual troops in Iraq.
Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

But, it doesn't say how many or for how long. Does Kahl's confidential paper reveal some unstated specifics of the Obama strategy for Iraq? If it does, is it a good plan? If residual American troops remain in Iraq, what will happen if the insurgency attempts to draw them into the Iraqi civil war? How will we keep them from remaining targets for insurgent attacks?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dean Offers Hope To Enfranchise Floridians

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has not figure out a resolution to the electoral debacle that once again is Florida. But he has offered hope.

"It is our intention to do everything we can and we believe we will absolutely seat the delegation from Florida at the convention," Dean said. But, he added, it's "critical'' that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are ‘‘comfortable with the compromises that have to be worked out."

So, basically the situation has not changed, but there is at least movement on the ground to seat the Florida people's voices at the convention in some fashion, and this is a positive step in the nomination process. It would be an egregious injustice if these delegates are not seated. Dean has pointed out that is now up to the candidates to compromise on a resolution to this debacle, and it is going to be interesting to see how both approach the situation as we get closer to June, if the race is still as close or even closer than it is now. From Dean's comments, it seems that Florida will be seated, but the effect that this will have is still unclear, and the manner in which the delegation is seated rests in the candidates' hands.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Is The Tide Turning In The Media?

Lou Dobbs, with whom I rarely agree, seems to have gotten it right. In strongly worded comments he recognizes and acknowledges the inherent unfairness in the national mass media treatment of Clinton when it comes to the delegate count and each respective candidate's ability to win the nomination.

He recognizes the media's overt fondness for saying that Hillary cannot win, while ignoring that Obama also cannot win enough delegates. He points out the media's "compulsion, this insistence" that Clinton cannot win when "neither can Senator Obama."

The media has allowed the Obama campaign to frame the issue, to write the script, and to prematurely write-off Clinton. But, maybe, just maybe, the media is finally realizing that it has been taken for a ride, and that it has been ridden by Obama like a wet horse. That the media has become Obama's mouthpiece on this issue of carrying the nomination. Well, maybe it's about to end and people will realize that the numbers are the numbers, and the rules are the rules.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hillary is a liar? The little Bosnian girl is the liar!

I think this video clears Hillary's name. How can you argue with video?

Who Has The Numbers

I have hesitated to write another post about the Democratic Primary, but too much hot air is being blown by too many party big wigs and mass media lately about how Hillary Clinton should drop out of the race. These party big wigs cite two reasons for their somewhat self-serving declarations: one, that the primary battle is bad for the party's chances in November, and two, that the delegate numbers are against Hillary.

The delegate numbers may be against Hillary, but, those same numbers are also against Obama. The simple fact is that neither Obama nor Clinton currently has enough delegate votes to win the nomination and neither will have enough next week, or next month, or in June. Neither Clinton nor Obama has been able to convince enough voters or caucus goers to take a majority of delegates, and neither will have enough pledged delegates to win the nomination by the time this primary season is over in early June.

Just as important, from all accounts, this extended race is bringing in many,many new voters to the Democratic Party in PA, which bodes extremely well for our party and our country come November.  

Yes, Obama currently leads in pledged delegates (but it is well-know that he will not carry enough to Denver to win), and he leads in the so-called popular vote. But, by how much. According to RealClearPolitics, his current lead is less than 3% if you do not count FL or MI. If you count FL then his lead dwindles to 1.4%. (Yes, I will count FL for two simple reasons, it is the right thing to do and the DNC's ruling only strips delegates not the popular vote. Floridians count as much as any other people in the popular vote, and more so in November as a swing state).   

It also looks more and more likely that Clinton will close, and perhaps overtake some of the present pledged delegate and popular vote gap with expected primary victories in PA, KY, WV and PR, and maybe IN.

And, Clinton leads in electoral votes, which are what counts in the general election.
Both Obama and Clinton will need a lot of so-called superdelegate votes to win the nomination, and both are campaigning for them.  It is totally legitimate for both to do so.  Those are also the rules.   

So, let's just all relax. Let's not be afraid of the process and the voters. Let's welcome all those new voters and new Dems. Let's not be afraid. Let's continue.