Thursday, October 7, 2010

Howard Dean vs. Sarah Palin?

Everyone knows I respect and admire Howard Dean. In my opinion he broke the mold for liberal progressives, and he carries it off without being an extremist. I supported him when he ran for President, and would again. He is one of the dwindling few Democrats who have a voice in party politics that is still talking sense. His leadership of the DNC was the main contributor to the gains the Democrats made in Congress during his chairmanship, and he presided over the battle royale between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton with ironclad neutrality.

His neutrality irked Rahm Emmanuel and Speaker Pelosi who were solidly in Camp Obama, and Dean got snubbed for a Cabinet position. (See my OpEd here: The Fall of the House of Dean ) He was tossed up as a serious contender for HHS Secretary, which was eventually given to Kathleen Sebelius, after both she and Hillary Clinton were vetted off the VP short list. Regardless, he took his leave with grace and has been advocating for progressive causes since. Likely he angered the White House further when he loudly denounced any health care reform law that excluded a single-payer (universal) system, openly criticizing Pelosi and the President.(See my OpEd here: Howard Dean Blasts Obama, Sebelius-- Calls Public Option Mandatory) When the Sunday show circuit bore no fruit, he launched his own reform campaign through his PAC, Democracy For America, and I still believe if the Democratic party bosses had listened to him, health care reform would not have been bungled so badly in Congress. (See my OpEd: Howard Dean wades into the healthcare battle)

Dean founded Democracy For America in 2004. DFA is, "the people powered PAC, has over one million members nationwide. DFA is a grassroots powerhouse working to change our country and the Democratic Party from the bottom-up. We provide campaign training, organizing resources, and media exposure so our members have the power to support progressive issues and candidates up and down the ballot..." Most recently, DFA is taking on the Tea Party and its firebrand pin-up girl, Sarah Palin.

Here is an excerpt from a fund-raising email I received from Howard Dean and DFA today titled simply, "Sarah Palin.":

I have been in politics for a long time now and I have never seen more extreme candidates than ones being pushed today by Sarah Palin.

They're not just attacking the work President Obama has done -- they're attacking our social safety net and the building blocks of the modern middle class. They want to kill Social Security and Medicare, abolish the minimum wage and end unemployment assistance. Some have even questioned basic civil rights.

Candidates like Joe Miller, Rand Paul and Christine O'Donnell are pushing an agenda that is more extreme than Bush and Cheney's ever was.

But we can stop them. We have a chance to beat two of Sarah Palin's top candidates with progressive fighters and pick up two seats in the United States Senate -- one in New Hampshire with progressive champion Paul Hodes and one in Palin's own home state of Alaska with small town fighter Scott McAdams.

(Click here to make a donation to DFA.)

Palin is wading into the midterms energetically, and in good American tradition, the election is becoming a referendum on the President and his legislative agenda. State and federal candidates are being forced to align with or against Obama, and one of the loudest voices calling out the President is Palin's. Most observers believe, probably correctly that these are the first sparrings of the 2012 presidential race. I don't think it would be politically wise of Obama to legitimize Palin further by directly attacking her. Most visibly, Bill Clinton has taken on the Obama-surrogate role with his ultra-charismatic campaigning style, but the Dean niche is still skeptical.

Howard Dean is uniquely equipped to fight Palin right now, and if he makes any headway, the Democratic party is going to owe him another huge favor. Dean is an ex-governor, as is Palin, and although the two are oil and water politically, it is what legitimizes both of them. Dean is not in elected office at this time, and therefore has no constituency to please, he can say what he wants. Dean also remains a viable presidential candidate, and has maintained, even increased his credibility with liberals and left-leaning moderates. Much more than the president at this time, Dean is the anti-Palin. He showed his stuff in terms of growing the Democratic party with his "50 State Strategy," and his PAC, Democracy for America supports dyed-in-the-wool liberal progressive policies: reforming the Democratic party, ending the Iraq war, solving the climate crisis and providing universal health care. All the causes seemingly abandoned by the Obama platform so eloquently spun out in 2008. Dean can easily storm the castle over at the Tea Party camp, and he has the ideological headroom to safely distance himself from the taint of the White House at this moment in US politics. Dean can spread the net to liberals and to independents whose critical support is flagging. Both are losing confidence in the president and giving valuable ground to the disturbing uber-conservative ground swell in the GOP calling itself the Tea Party.

Palin did not invent the Tea Party, but they have embraced her as their figurehead. Combined with this and her PAC, SarahPAC, and her growing celebrity, Gov. Palin is still holding the #2 spot in Republican presidential picks for 2012, narrowly behind Mitt Romeny. And the way the Republican primary process works, with their winner-takes-all system, Palin could plausibly shut out the competition with critical early wins. If Howard Dean is targeting Palin it is because he understands the threat she represents to liberal causes. Because of his now-outsider stature, Dean may actually be able to direct the commentary coming into the 2012 election, which is "officially on," once the mid-term Congress is sworn in. If it works, there could be a background rumble, "Dean '12." And wouldn't that be interesting.

Monday, January 11, 2010

To the victor goes the spoils, indeed...........

Hm. Harry Reid makes racist remarks. There is a love fest and everyone is forgiven.

What bullshit.

I have to say, Michael Steel is right: "There is this standard where the Democrats feel that they can say these things, and they can apologize when it comes from the mouths of their own. But if it comes from anyone else, it's racism. It's either racist or it's not. And it's inappropriate, absolutely."

Harry Reid is not resigning over it, of course. But maybe that's because he knows he's going to lose his re-election bid anyway.

This is a livid example of what Obama meant when he said, "Elections have consequences." Yes, they do. The minority party gets shut out, shut down, slapped around. And the winners can conduct themselves any way they please, with total impunity. Look who's running the plantation now.

Also, I'm really starting to wonder what exactly is the point, or the benefit, to Obama never reacting the racist behavior. This isn't the playground, and they are not going to go away if you ignore them. Too much more of it and he's going to start losing the black vote.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

baahhh baaahhhh little sheep

Just a little rant..... It continually amazes me how ignorant some people are. At least this guy likes Hillary Clinton... but again, more examples of stellar garbage. My response was too long for the comment field on his post, and I doubt he would care what I think anyway, so I am posting it here.

+++ +

While I share your respect for Hillary Clinton, a question your evaluation. The White House has certainly not taken power away from the State Dept. -- under Obama & Hillary, State has nearly doubled its diplomatic corps, and almost daily Sec. Clinton is outlining State Dept. policy and agenda, and more than doubled USAID money and participation in a host of global initiatives.

I also question your idea that Clinton is in some way marginalized -- obviously you read the headlines that say she was, but the actual facts tell a different story. Clinton was the point person along with Biden and Gates on Afghan policy, and has done the advance work for every diplomatic trip Obama has taken. She also negotiated the bulk of the new START treaty, and along with John Kerry brought Pres. Karzai in Afghanistan into lock step with US policy / desires. Not to mention... I could go on and on and on, but the point is: Hillary Clinton is US foreign policy, and without her, Obama would have stumbled very bad already. What she has proven as SOS is what she claimed on the campaign trail in 2008: that she has the gravitas and experience to bring foreign leaders -- even hostile ones -- to the table. The reason she "dropped off the radar" is because she shattered her elbow -- not sure if you've ever broken a bone in a joint, but it is one of the most painful and debilitating things that will ever happen to you if it does. The fact that she was only down for a WEEK with it alone makes her super human.

Now, as for "Hillary 2012," -- please. Anyone who seriously thinks that Hillary Clinton will challenge Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2012 (or ever again) really has no idea what they are talking about. She is a member of Obama's cabinet -- there is no way, even if she resigned as SOS, that she would attempt to oust her own president. It would be political suicide. Unless Obama doesn't run again or is out of office by 2012. The more likely scenario -- if there is one at all other than her continuing as SOS -- is that she will step up and replace Biden as VP in '12 which will position her perfectly to win in 2016. Particularly becaus eshe has kept her nose clean of Obama's mistakes, and cannot be held accountable for a thing the Senate does any more. She is -- for a change -- above the fray and almost politically bulletproof. And 78% approval ratings, including 56% approval among Republicans is pretty nice, too. She doesn't NEED Obama to get elected, but trying to beat him again would kill any chances she has. (Which are considerable. At this time I believe that most people see her as the most serious contender for the presidency overall.)

Sorry to jump all over you. But this is a pretty immature evaluation of the political situation in America, particularly as it concerns Democrats and the "Hillary constituency." She is a genius and a political encyclopedia and she has been in the forefront of politics since the 1970's -- she knows the rules, the traditions, and how it works. And she's not going to buck the system in a way that would be detrimental to her reputation among Democrats or really anyone, but particularly she is not going to piss off the people that will elect her. There will be no "I told you so," moment.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

well if I can't have it all, I'm taking my toys and going home

Iran offers some of its uranium and the US refuses because it's not all of it. On the grounds that a partial transfer still leaves Iran enough uranium to construct a bomb. Um... isn't letting them keep all of it leaving them enough uranium to make a bomb? More than one bomb? So, it's all or nothing now? What are we? An only child? I guess we are since Barack Obama has declared the US the "only superpower." I suppose that means we can continue the US foreign policy tradition of playground politics. I guess they didn't notice that Ahmadinejad just had a highly publicized love fest with Hammas. But they're not interested in building a bomb... no, no! Goodness me! They want nuclear energy. Mm-hm.

Monday, December 7, 2009

John McCain throws down


John McCain Rips into Obama over closed door partisan meeting

This could be very bad. What a clumsy move. I am totally in favor of Democrats rallying the troops and getting health care passed without or without Republicans, so long as they preserve the core principles of the legislation as laid out by Obama at the Democratic National Convention last year. However, having a flagrantly partisan closed door meeting at the Capitol building...

Sunday, December 6, 2009


So, someone commented on my article, "Hillary Clinton and David Miliband: political wedding of the new century," and said:

This article is really inappropriate. Grow up.

I've now re-read the article at least 2 times, and I can't find anything inappropriate or immature in it. The only thing I say that might be possibly taken as inappropriate is when I say: Miliband is just the kind of person Hillary Clinton has always admired most: young, brilliant, transformative politicians with forward-thinking ideas and a base in the traditional. It must be like meeting Bill all over again.

And, in fact, I go out of my way to say I don't think there's anything physical between them, that it's a meeting of the minds.

Anyway, I once again broke my no commenting rule and replied: I'm curious what specifically you find "inappropriate" about this article? Have I said anything untrue? Anything scandalous? Anything a thousand other news outlets haven't reported on? And "grow up."? You grow up.

Of course this person will not reply. It's always the flamers that don't leave their contact info or follow up on their own comments.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Flamers, haters, ignorant assholes, everyone: bring it. But if you're going to challenge me, have some balls and say who you really are and how I can contact you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Genghis did not have nuclear weapons, Hillary does

I don't normally reply to comments on my Examiner columns. I can't not take it personally, so I stay aloof from the discussion. I find that not commenting also creates a distance between me and the reader that is productive in the long run, for both parties. The only exceptions I make pretty much are for technical or administrative replies like, "thank you, grammar fixed" or (recently) "yes, omitting that was an error. Fixed." Etc. Although I might stop even writing those. I don't know.


Someone commented on my article, Can Hillary Clinton win the war in Afghanistan?, "Can Hillary Clinton win the war in Afghanistan?

If Genghis Khan could not win there what does Clinton have that he didn't?

.... gee, let me think. Oh yeah...

Um, nuclear weapons.

Monday, November 9, 2009

From Jay Cost at RealClearPolitics

No sense in reiterating. I agree.
Read for yourself: How To Divide a Party, In Three Easy Steps!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Palin is now defacto GOP party boss

Still don't believe me about Sarah Palin?
Apparently she now tells John Boehner what to do, and has the political capital to swing the entire GOP establishment behind a 3rd party candidate she favors. HERE.

Monday, November 2, 2009

One Hundred Responses To A Non-Restaurant Staffer Who Thinks He Knows How To Run A Restaurant

Bruce Buschel has an "article" in the New York Times small business section titled, "One Hundred Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 1)," containing the first fifty of one-hundred tidbits of advice he has for the people who apparently will be working at the restaurant he is building. Why he has to publish his employee manual in the New York Times escapes me. However, here are One Hundred Responses To A Non-Restaurant Staffer Who Thinks He Knows How To Run A Restaurant:

1. Do not let anyone enter the restaurant without a warm greeting.
Fair enough. Please make sure there is sufficient staff so someone is watching the door at all times. Servers are not hosts.

2. Do not make a singleton feel bad. Do not say, “Are you waiting for someone?” Ask for a reservation. Ask if he or she would like to sit at the bar.
Also fair enough. Although I would add, isn't asking them if they want to sit at the bar the same thing? How about just wait on them, and they will tell you if you didn't bring enough menus. They always do.

3. Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived.
You may find this to be very unreasonable as you get down the road. Many, many restaurants have the policy that they will not seat incomplete parties. This is because they are so busy they need the tables to turn -- need them to, not just want the extra money -- because they need to accommodate everyone before closing time. When you tell someone the wait is 45 minutes and it becomes 2 hours because partial parties held up the otherwise smooth process, you have created a snowball effect that is your fault and customers will know it, tell you so, and tell everyone else so, too. This practice also throws off timing for your kitchen, creates double work load for the bar and the servers (for which they will not be double-compensated) and causes frustration cascading from the table to the parking lot and everyone in between. Seating partial parties is a bad policy.

4. If a table is not ready within a reasonable length of time, offer a free drink and/or amuse-bouche. The guests may be tired and hungry and thirsty, and they did everything right.
Yes. However, you must be clear with your staff and your customers what a "reasonable length of time" is. If your host told them 40 minutes and they are complaining after 20, someone needs to remind them politely but firmly of that. This also means an accurate recording and time keeping process at the door. Again, this also means adequate door / hosting staff -- do not make servers be responsible for people who are not at their tables.

5. Tables should be level without anyone asking. Fix it before guests are seated.

6. Do not lead the witness with, “Bottled water or just tap?” Both are fine. Remain neutral.
What do you mean by this? If your restaurant offers bottled water, severs are doing their job by offering it. If you mean don't call it, "just tap," that's fine. Although I don't believe I've ever been asked that question by a server, nor have I heard it referred to as "tap." In fact, I would lay out money that in 95% of restaurants, if you ask for water, you get tap. Most places leave it incumbent on the customer to specifically ask for bottled or sparkling water.

7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.
While I personally agree, and find it totally unnecessary to announce your name, most restaurants encourage it. This is a curious pronouncement, particularly when paired with jokes, flirting and cuteness. Do you assume telling your name to a table is the prelude to coming on to them? And, obviously you are not building a "Hooters." Also, after 20+ years of working in the service industry, I can assure you, if you don't tell them you're name, they will ask.

8. Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment.
This is an absolute crock. A restaurant is a business and a server is a sales person. When a server comes to a table it is for a specific business-related reason, not to chit-chat (or joke, flirt or be cute) and customers should know that they need to address business when it comes their way. Not to mention the nearly endless list of things that are time-sensitive and customer-dependent in a restaurant. When a server comes to a table and customers are talking, a polite pause is all that is needed before saying, "Excuse me," or, "Sorry to interrupt, but..."

9. Do not recite the specials too fast or robotically or dramatically. It is not a soliloquy. This is not an audition.
So let me get this right. Not too fast. But not robotically (condescending code word for "slow",) either. And no drama. So really, just don't bother.

10. Do not inject your personal favorites when explaining the specials.
Agreed. Your personal favorites probably aren't specials anyway. "Inject" those when asked what you like, or "what's good."

11. Do not hustle the lobsters. That is, do not say, “We only have two lobsters left.” Even if there are only two lobsters left.
Obviously you are opening a restaurant in the Northeast, as this is the only place in the country lobster is really even a concern. And why not "hustle" them? Don't you want the specials sold? This one barely even makes sense. A house rule, apparently. No experienced server would take this advice seriously.

12. Do not touch the rim of a water glass. Or any other glass.

13. Handle wine glasses by their stems and silverware by the handles.
Absolutely. Although this does not really warrant being separated from #12, since "any other glass" is already mentioned there.

14. When you ask, “How’s everything?” or “How was the meal?” listen to the answer and fix whatever is not right.
Absolutely. Particularly listen.

15. Never say “I don’t know” to any question without following with, “I’ll find out.”
Any question? How about questions about the restaurant. Servers often act as an impromptu Chamber of Commerce, answering questions about attractions, the surrounding area, etc. Not knowing one of those answers is just fine, and there is no need to go find out.

16. If someone requests more sauce or gravy or cheese, bring a side dish of same. No pouring. Let them help themselves.
Good advice.

17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.
Again, this is a complete crock. Even in fine dining it is now an accepted custom to clear plates as they are emptied. Universal sign that it is time to clear a plate: napkin on it. Also, most restaurants expect tables to be "pre-bussed" meaning, plates and silverware cleared before the table is vacated. Not doing so again creates more work for everyone, slows down the entire operation, effecting everyone in the building, customers included. Plates should be cleared as they are emptied. Period.

18. Know before approaching a table who has ordered what. Do not ask, “Who’s having the shrimp?”
By this you must mean, after you have taken their order. Unless you plan to hire psychic wait staff. So, yes, absolutely -- not table auctions. However, this also means there must be adaquate support staff to ensure that servers can, 100% of the time, carry out their own food. Or, there will be an auction.

19. Offer guests butter and/or olive oil with their bread.
Does anyone not do this? I can't remember ever getting bread or rolls at a restaurant my entire life without at least a few butter patties thrown in.

20. Never refuse to substitute one vegetable for another.
Again, I can't imagine any place that restrictive. However, when a customer wants an entire house salad, served in advance of the meal (again, double work for no more money, for anyone, server or business) instead of a scoop full of carrots, they should know they need to pay more for it.

21. Never serve anything that looks creepy or runny or wrong.
This is your way of saying don't serve anything you would not eat. Absolutely, double absolutely. However, this also means that the chefs must be willing to accept send-backs from the servers. No refusing to remake. No threatening, shouting, or arguing. If it's not good enough to go to the table, it does not leave the kitchen. Period, no arguments.

22. If someone is unsure about a wine choice, help him. That might mean sending someone else to the table or offering a taste or two.
This also means you need to educate your staff on wines, or hire staff who already know wine. This may mean staff tastings as well. If you want to run a restaurant that "knows its wine" you need to be willing to write off a few bottles.

23. If someone likes a wine, steam the label off the bottle and give it to the guest with the bill. It has the year, the vintner, the importer, etc.
This is fair as an in-house policy. However, be aware by doing this you are likely forfeiting any recycling or bottle deposit refunds. A bottle here and there is no big deal, but if you get a reputation for such a thing, it is a business concern. Additionally, again, this means you must have adaquate support staff to allow for one person to be dedicated to steaming a bottle for 5-10 minutes.

24. Never use the same glass for a second drink.
This is a matter of taste. And I assume you mean beer, wine and cocktails. Refilling sodas, hot drinks, juices and water certainly bears no call for a fresh glass. And many bar customers prefer to keep their same glass. This is not a rule you can really make and enforce. It is an acceptable general guideline at best. The rest should be entrusted to your staff, who should be able to gauge their own customer's needs and preferences.

25. Make sure the glasses are clean. Inspect them before placing them on the table.

26. Never assume people want their white wine in an ice bucket. Inquire.
The only beverage that is traditionally served in an ice bucket is champagne.

27. For red wine, ask if the guests want to pour their own or prefer the waiter to pour.
This is a well-known convention. And, it should be covered along with general wine knowledge from #22 and #23.

28. Do not put your hands all over the spout of a wine bottle while removing the cork.
Again, more well-known wine serving etiquette.

29. Do not pop a champagne cork. Remove it quietly, gracefully. The less noise the better.
See #28.

30. Never let the wine bottle touch the glass into which you are pouring. No one wants to drink the dust or dirt from the bottle.
See #29. So, #'s 22-23 and 28-30 are all about wine service. Allow me to reiterate: if you are running a restaurant that even has a wine list big enough to warrant traditional, formal wine service, you need to either a) hire service staff who are trained in fine dining wine service, or b) offer this training to servers when they are hired.

31. Never remove a plate full of food without asking what went wrong. Obviously, something went wrong.

32. Never touch a customer. No excuses. Do not do it. Do not brush them, move them, wipe them or dust them.
This is fair.

33. Do not bang into chairs or tables when passing by.
This is a curious pronouncement. I am unsure why it warrants being on a Top 100 list, as I do not know anyone who intentionally means to "bang into" things. So, service staff who you have obviously seen doing this enough times that it makes your list, either are doing it on purpose to be annoying or passive aggressive, or things are too crowded and the staff can't move around adequately. Either way it needs to be addressed -- by you, not the staff.

34. Do not have a personal conversation with another server within earshot of customers.
A good general guideline. Impossible and unrealistic to enforce. Yes, long protracted conversations about server's personal lives on the dining room floor are in poor taste / unprofessional, but staff are going to talk during their shifts. It's natural and it helps create a comfortable sense of the place.

35. Do not eat or drink in plain view of guests.
Again, a good general guideline. However, particularly on the topic of beverages, staff should have easy and regular access to water or fluids. I have never been insulted or thought I was getting poor service if I saw a busy server grab a drink of water on the fly. Hydration is important, and cannot be overlooked or banned.

36. Never reek from perfume or cigarettes. People want to smell the food and beverage.
Absolutely. Wash your hands. Use an odor neutralizing spray, not perfume or cologne.

37. Do not drink alcohol on the job, even if invited by the guests. “Not when I’m on duty” will suffice.

38.Do not call a guy a “dude.”
Absolutely. Too casual, even in the most casual environment is unprofessional. Sir, ma'am, folks, everyone, etc., is sufficient.

39. Do not call a woman “lady.”
See #38. You really had to stretch this to get to 50 didn't you?

40. Never say, “Good choice,” implying that other choices are bad.
This is sound advice. However, it is acceptable to praise customer's choices, particularly if you know they were struggling with their choice. "That is delicious," or "you'll love it," are perfectly fine. Set the expectation that they are going to like what they chose. Other choices might not be acceptable, you have no idea. Customers could have health concerns or very specific taste considerations that their server has determined by developing rapport. It is a personal call by the person at the table, in the situation.

41. Saying, “No problem” is a problem. It has a tone of insincerity or sarcasm. “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome” will do.
Again, a good general guideline, but you cannot and should not dictate specific words that servers can and cannot say. The most genuine thing can sound fake an insincere -- or the other way around -- depending on the person speaking, their manner of speech, and their personal cadence. You cannot dictate speech. In #9 you caution against robotic speech -- it applies everywhere.

42. Do not compliment a guest’s attire or hairdo or makeup. You are insulting someone else.
Fair enough.

43. Never mention what your favorite dessert is. It’s irrelevant.
What about when customers ask? They do, they will, they want to know.

44. Do not discuss your own eating habits, be you vegan or lactose intolerant or diabetic.
Again, this is a personal choice. If a customer informs you that they are diabetic, and you are, too, they will feel more assured that they are getting health-safe food from you if you tell them. Allow me to reiterate: you cannot dictate speech.

45. Do not curse, no matter how young or hip the guests.
Yes. This also addresses professionalism.

46. Never acknowledge any one guest over and above any other. All guests are equal.
Including the children? OK, sure, little one. I'll bring you everything you ask for. Everything. You're equal.

47. Do not gossip about co-workers or guests within earshot of guests.

48. Do not ask what someone is eating or drinking when they ask for more; remember or consult the order.

49. Never mention the tip, unless asked.

50. Do not turn on the charm when it’s tip time. Be consistent throughout.
Agreed. It just seems disingenuous and is largely transparent. It will hurt the tip, not help it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"I have no interest in running for president," until it's time to announce again, that is

David Paul Kuhn has an article at RealClearPolitics discussing Hillary Clinton and 2016. Here: Hillary 2016? It's a worthwhile read.

Here is my response. Discuss amongst yourselves.


There are many things that could happen before 2012. Barack Obama hasn't even been president a year yet.

I agree with most of what you say here. I think it is obvious beyond most other things that Clinton has not taken her sites off the Oval Office. She is very conscious of her legacy, and that alone means no achievement is really off the table. I also agree with several who have commented on the DNC's meddling in the delegate process -- under extreme pressure from Nancy Pelosi, which is the part that no one seems to want to talk about.

The part I think you might be -- might be -- wrong about is Biden. I'm not so sure how much Biden and Obama like each other. I think the vitriol that was planted on Clinton really came from Biden. Note that both Joe Biden and John Edwards made public comments that seemed as though they would endorse Clinton after they both bowed out of the primaries. And both of them held multiple private meetings with Clinton before accepting similar invitations from Obama. Joe Biden was placed on the Democratic ticket as VP to neutralize him. The office of VP is little more than a place holder for someone like Biden, who has already had a distinguished career and is easily seen as an "elder statesman." He was the Token Old White Guy.

I think it is a possibility that Clinton may well take what I am going to call the "Condi Path." There was significant pressure for Dick Cheney to resign, and he was about to until GWB insisted he stay. And when it was all going down, I feel fairly confident that Condi Rice would have stepped up to the VP slot. And, I think the same thing might happen with Clinton. I think Joe Biden might step down. I think it may have been discussed as early as last summer 2008. I believe there is a very distinct possibility that Hillary Clinton will be on the ticket as VP in 2012, or even sooner if Biden keeps gaffing his way around Af-Pak. It could easily be cloaked in "personal reasons," so everyone's dignity remains intact.

Hillary Clinton is experiencing a career high, both in position and approval ratings, that she has in essence, never seen before. We've seen from her Senate campaigns that she is capable of pulling together a landslide win. And she has already set the precedent in terms of women running for President. No doubt, anyone who thought a woman couldn't be taken seriously as a presidential candidate ate a healthy slice of crow last year. Her supporters are as loyal and as ardent as they ever were, and she is likely attracting even more. And, in truth, she has a broader support base in Washington than Obama, with the exception of last year when the country was swept up in the wave of electing a black man. What I mean by that is: Hillary Clinton has the support of the Democratic caucus -- they only closed doors and wallet to her when it became obvious Obama was going to be the nominee, but they would come running right back to her if it was the other way around, particularly now. And, all along, she has had maintained higher approval ratings with Republicans, who view her as more moderate and more bipartisan that Obama.

As for 2012. No incumbent president in the modern day has ever not run for re-election. However, keep in mind that Obama has already said he is willing to be a one-term president to get health care reform -- Hillary Clinton's #1 legislative agenda for the last 15 years or more -- signed into law. I believe he is a shrewd enough politician that he could be convinced to step aside for a stronger Democrat in 2012 if his approval ratings stay consistently below 50% for the second half of his first term -- and if there were another Democrat whose approval ratings were trampling his. Ala Clinton. I also believe another Democrat could challenge him and win in the primaries, but I doubt it would be Clinton who would do such a thing. I believe she would only launch a 2012 campaign with the explicit blessing of Obama, or in his absence altogether.

Regardless, Hillary Clinton remains a strong possible for either 2012 or 2016. Head-to-head polling for the General Election last year was also telling. While Obama pulled strongly ahead of McCain in the polls in the 11th hour (he was ahead most of the time before, but by only a few points, and McCain catapulted ahead of him in late summer,) Clinton vs. McCain showed a strong win for Clinton consistently. Polling continued for Clinton even after the nomination went to Obama, and a poll I saw as late as October last year showed Clinton demolishing McCain, while Obama was still hanging on by his teeth. And once the actual votes were in, while it appeared to be a "landslide" for Obama, and much was made about his "mandate" (which is already crumbling as he alientates both sides of the Democratic spectrum) the reality is, he only beat McCain by 2 percentage points. In spite of what the media spin doctors said, it was a very close race.

Note also that Clinton's campaign infrastructure is still up and operating. Of course this is because her campaign debt is "not paid off." I find this claim questionable. I remember early in summer seeing a headline saying the Clinton campaign debt was paid off. Then all of a sudden it was "less than a million." I think it behooves her to keep her campaign operation operating, and the best way to justify that is to maintain the appearance that they are still trying to settle debt from a prior run. But she has more staff, more money, and more activity going on than is really warranted in an off-cycle year. Another thing to watch: if she accepts the Chairmanship of the DLC (which I'm sure would be hers for little more than the asking) that is a sure sign of another presidential run. And, were she to run again, she would have a shield / justification she did not have in 2008: she could easily portray herself as the "reluctant candidate," saying she didn't want to run again, but the public called her to serve, etc.

I believe there are a good number of people who not only wish Hillary Clinton was president, but who believe she would be doing a better job than Obama. And I believe those numbers are increasing, not decreasing. She faced a good deal of skepticism, misogyny and carry-over animosity from Bill in 2008, which I think she has effectively conquered now. By 2012 or 2016 she will have a solid executive career of her own, an even wider constituency, and a track record that was not formed on the coat tails of a man. If she can keep her approval ratings high -- in the high 50's or 60's -- I believe there is little doubt she will run again. Seldom do we see a SecState who maintains independent approval ratings from the President. Condi Rice is a prime example -- she was soaring until Dubbya took a nose dive -- in fact, I am sure GW Bush is the reason she was not selected as McCain's running mate. If Clinton can maintain her own image, her own numbers, and her own constituency, she will be back on the campaign trail at some point. Perhaps the appearance that she is being sidelined by Obama (which is not true -- I believe it is to keep Obama from seeming like her apprentice) is actually helping her maintain autonomy. It could be good.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Obama does nothing, gets credit - again

Let me just say:

Um, obviously President Obama is going to sign the hate crimes legislation that Democrats managed to attach to a multi-billion dollar defense bill that "must" pass. Do not be fooled that this is him -- in any way -- keeping his promises to the GLBT community. First of all, you can thank Congressional Democrats for expanding hate crimes language to include sexual orientation. It has little if anything to do with the president. And second, all he has to do is sign the damn thing. It's just barely better than when the administration claimed credit for helping gays by doing nothing. As I've already said, doing nothing is still doing nothing.

And, if the public option falls out of health care legislation -- again do not be fooled -- it will be the president's fault. He has bowed to the insurance lobby and greedy corporate drug lords and is actively endorsing the "trigger" plan that Olympia Snowe is advocating. Since when was Barack Obama to the RIGHT of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi (well, maybe Pelosi is more liberal, but Harry Reid, who is now the lone voice demanding the public option in the Senate??) As I've also already said, I think Reid knows his Senate career is circling the drain, so he is going full-bore-sacrificial-lamb for the public option, and it just might save him.

What a ##@$@#$ joke. Maybe they'll give Obama another Nobel prize for the second twelve days of his presidency.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kyle Sennett on Facebook

Friday, September 18, 2009

Howard Dean wades into the healthcare battle

Former Vermont Governor, 2004 presidential candidate and most recently former Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean has rolled up his sleeves and waded into the health care battle being waged in DC and across the country. Dean has founded an organization called "America Can't Wait" and is pushing for, "At least 218 House and 51 Senate Democrats," to pass a health care bill that includes a public option... FULL STORY

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Race card getting played, but not by Obama, Congress censures Wilson

Eight months into the "historic" presidency of Barack Obama, the race card is finally getting played. But not by him. The media is suddenly turning their attention to Obama's critics, and his race, and drawing their own conclusions... FULL STORY

Monday, September 14, 2009

bin Laden to President Obama: You are waging a hopeless and losing war

A new audio tape from Osama bin Laden has been released. Addressing the American people, bin Laden tells the president, "If you end the war (in Afghanistan), so let it be. But if it is otherwise, all we will do is continue the war of attrition against you on all possible axes. You are waging a hopeless and losing war for the benefit of others, a war the end of which is not visible on the horizon." ... FULL STORY

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hundreds of thousands march on Washington, protest government spending, health care reform

Saturday, September 12th, Washington D.C., the West Front of the Capitol was overflowing with protesters, as many as 2 million some estimates say. The loud and determined mob was another in a series of 'Tea Party' protests that have been galvanizing a populist movement within the Republican party and conservatives all summer... FULL STORY

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Al-Qeada plot to kill Secretary Clinton in Kenya almost worked

The State Department has yet to either confirm or deny reports that a terrorist group associated with Al-Qeada in Kenya attmepted to assassinate the Secretary of State on her official visit last month. However, continued sources are offering information, and the story seems credible... FULL STORY

Friday, September 11, 2009

Interesting Rumor: Hillary for NY Governor

Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard is pushing a rumor that Sec. Clinton will resign from her post as Secretary of State and run for NY governor. I doubt it's true, but if it is, and she does, and she wins, there's pretty much no doubt she is gearing up for another presidential run.

Crist crushing potential challengers in Senate race, but it's not a walk yet

Senator Crist? It certainly looks that way. Currently Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) appears to be headed for a landslide win in the 2010 Florida elections which will send a new Senator to Washington D.C. from the Sunshine State... FULL STORY.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SarahPAC Steps Up Its Game

Former Governor Sarah Palin's political action committee, SarahPAC is gearing up for the big time. The PAC has officially met FEC regulations for being a multi-candidate committee, which increases SarahPAC's maximum per-candidate contribution, and opens up the PAC to campaign on as many platforms as they desire. POLITICO reports that SarahPAC is currently leading in contributions to other candidates, although Mitt Romney's, Free and Strong America PAC, has raised more money by over a million dollars. And Mike Huckabee is trailing in a distant third both in contributions and fund raising. It's still too early to tell what will happen, but this is a gear-up move for Palin, and a common tactic used by presidential candidates in order to facilitate travel and campaign engagements, or to develop "chits." Palin is also testing her mettle with the big boy's club in Hong Kong, and will be addressing Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia (CLSA), a global brokerage firm, an organization that has also hosted Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Alan Greenspan.

Monday, August 24, 2009

test 2

another test. ignore.


test post. ignore, plz

Howard Dean Blast Obama, Sebelius, Calls Public Option Mandatory

Howard Dean is campaigning to keep the public option in health care reform. Everyone knows I like Dean anyway -- he was my choice in 2004, and this can go on the list of further reasons why I liked him then and still like him now. Dean Campaigns For Public Option in HC Reform.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Amazing Garbage

I normally wouldn't waste the typing time to draw attention to something like this. But I just can't resist.

I am naturally drawn to any headline about Hillary Clinton, and in particular I am titillated by any mention of a future presidential run. That's how I came to read this piece of amazing garbage: Hillary Clinton keeping her eye on the 2012 presidency

I won't give it the credence a full reprint here would give.

However, it should be noted that the author, Brian Mark Weber (from his tagline): " a professor of United States History at American Military University and professor of English at Anne Arundel Community College. He holds an MA degree in Military History, an MA degree in English Literature, and a BA degree in American History and English..."

An accomplished scholar, one would assume.

Here's some gems from the article:

The demise of President Barack Obama has set the stage for the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2012

This is the opening line of the article. So, apparently Joe Biden is President now, because Barack Obama is dead. Obviously this joker is referring to Obama's declining poll numbers, which in fairness, is somewhat more dramatic than other Presidents in this stage of their presidency. I'll give Prof. Weber that much. (Although it's really Jay Cost at who explains it believably.)

clearly dissatisfied with her role as Secretary of State

I may have read her completely wrong, but I don't think so. I know a lot about Hillary Clinton, how she operates, and what her long-range strategy planning looks like. A lot. And, it seems to me, Secretary Clinton is happy as a pig in mud over at Foggybottom. She is in her element 100%, is excelling at the job, and still enjoying soaring approval ratings, a good 20 points higher than the President on any given day. She is well on her way to being one of the most respected, famous, and successful Secretaries of State in American history. Which brings me to...

Clinton has not abandoned her dream of becoming the first woman to assume the office of President of the United States

No, she hasn't. Weber is right on that count, no matter what she herself may be saying about it right now. Any smart politician knows better than to talk about running for president until it's time to actually do it. And that time, barring disaster, is 2016. And, entirely contrary to Weber's viewpoint that Clinton's presidential aspirations are "completely dependent upon the failure of the Obama presidency," they are in fact, dependent on the success of his presidency, and on re-election in 2012. The only person who is going to be president in 2012 other than Barack Obama is a Republican. Believe me, I would love to see HRC challenge Obama in the 2012 primaries, win, and take the White House, but it's just not reality. Not any reality.

In closing, let me apologize. I know it seems I trash other journalist a lot. But people read this drivel and believe it. Watching David Letterman last night he said in his monologue something to the effect of, "People are saying that once President Obama's health care plan goes through, 'death panels' will decide end of life care..." This snapped me to attention; people are not saying it - -Sarah Palin said it, and now it has been regurgitated enough times that it has become something "people are saying." Again, drivel, garbage, demagoguery. So, yes, I will continue to criticize other writers who talk out their ass. I guess that wasn't much of an apology.