Primarying Obama

As a complicated relocation has condemned me to living in a hotel for a month, my posts will be short and sweet. Well, depending on my mood, perhaps not so sweet.

When Ted Kennedy challenged sitting President Jimmy Carter for the 1980 Democratic nomination it put the final nail in Carter’s political coffin. The legacy this left us is the common belief that intra-party conflict against a sitting President dooms that President to one term.  So why you might ask would I even entertain the idea of someone challenging Barack Obama.

It’s not that I’ve given up on Obama but I cannot give him a glowing review. The rose-colored glasses were smashed within about a year of his taking the steering wheel. People hate to hear about what he inherited from his predecessors (yes … predecessors … some of our problems date back to Clinton) but there is no doubt the man volunteered for the crappiest job in the country and he has done a decent job of keeping things afloat. That he did not turn out to be Superman is less his fault than our cult-of-personality expectations.

The fact remains that this Marxist, Socialist, Communist (pick your latest hyperbolic label) is anything but. Compared to the true “liberal progressive agenda”, Obama is the very definition of a moderate. He is the compromiser-in-Chief much to the chagrin of the militants who voted for him in 2008. While I don’t necessarily want Bernie Sanders for President, one has to wonder is Obama really the most dynamic, explosive turn-this-country-around choice we’ve got?

In short, there seems something undemocratic in anointing Obama the nominee without challenge, without debate, without discussion of alternatives. Shouldn’t we liberals at least get to see a couple of folks debate how best to achieve liberal goals? Is Obama’s way the only way? And what is Obama’s way exactly? Never in recent history have we had a President so difficult to pin down ideologically. I have found him to vacillate between thoughtful deliberation and downright political opportunism. The most recent example of the latter was Obama hinting to a group of LGBT supporters that he might just support gay marriage if he got a shot at a second term.

And with your help, if you keep up the fight, and if you will devote your time and your energies to this campaign one more time, I promise you we will write another chapter in that story.

via Obama Addresses LGBT Record, “a Little Debate Going on Here in New York” – Poliglot.

I personally find that sort of hope-and-change extortion pretty reprehensible. But I digress. Why are we not eager to hear multiple voices before we go to the polls in November of 2012?

I suppose the risk of making no further progress with a Republican President makes challenging Obama’s Dem nomination a fool’s game. Sometimes true democracy can backfire in your face.

Rutherford Political Blogger Alliance

The GOP Slate and the Week We Lost Our Weiner

The GOP Slate

OK, let’s be honest, the first GOP candidate debate on Fox about a month ago was a joke. It included at least one candidate, Gary Johnson, who we know will never be President of the United States (Gary who?) and it did not include some heavy hitters, namely Romney and Gingrich through no fault of Fox but just bad timing. So let’s ignore that debacle and turn our attention toward the real first GOP candidate debate carried on CNN last Monday. The debate itself was clumsy with “average Americans” asking the questions. We don’t need average Americans who have no TV presence asking questions. I would have preferred a panel of journalists but then let’s not forget, this is the Palin Era where journalists are to be bypassed. The opening statements were also gag-worthy as each candidate tried to one-up the other on how much successful intercourse they’d had: “I’m the father of three”, “I’m the mother of five and foster-mother of 630”. Finally there were the series of “this or that” questions designed to lighten the mood and make the candidates more human. I was fully prepared for the moderator, John King to ask Herman Cain “Tupac or Biggie?”

Here is my quick review of the roster:

Rick Santorum: One word — Google. Really. Can any man whose last name ranks first on Google as the definition of  “The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex” expect to one day be President of the United States? Gay activist Dan Savage’s evil bit of brilliance in launching a contest to concoct a gay-oriented definition for Rick’s last name permanently makes him a punchline. I will give Santorum credit, however for consistency. He is against abortion even in the case of rape and incest. As I’ve written before, this is the ONLY pro-life stance that has any integrity. As for Rick’s performance in the debate, nothing newsworthy. Just another “red-blooded American” appealing to the far right base.

Michele Bachmann: It looks like I must abandon my wait for Bachmann’s fall. The Congresswoman from Minnesota just keeps rising and her debate performance, while not brilliant, was hardly the dumb-ass display we might have expected from someone who thinks Lexington-Concord took place in New Hampshire and our founding fathers ended slavery. One could see in this performance a cheer leader for the Tea Party with a degree of gravitas missing from her most closely aligned associate, Sarah Palin. In this sexist world of ours, Palin is almost too pretty. You, and I mean you Rich Lowry, want to bed Palin. But while Bachmann is a reasonably attractive woman, when you look at her you think of a mother, not a lover and you see someone who truly wants to be relevant. You can imagine Bachmann bouncing back from gaffes by doing a bit of study to avoid them in the future. Her best moment was when she referred to Obama as “someone far more eloquent than I” and then hanged him on his own words. I cannot believe I’m saying this but we need to keep our eye on Bachmann.

Newt Gingrich: Fresh from his campaign staff quitting en masse, Newt used the debate to lecture America in his usual nonsensical professorial way. Most telling was his intro where he departed from the pattern of very personal introductions (see reference to successful procreation above) and chose instead to open with a policy statement. This makes sense since Newt Gingrich is a serial adulterer with no moral standing. Like Santorum, but for different reasons, Newt is now a punchline. Time to move on.

Mitt Romney: Making the first debate appearance of his campaign, Romney acquitted himself well. Most pundits gave the night to him with Bachmann a close second. I am probably in the minority on this but I think Romney has made a good distinction between what he did in Massachusetts and what Obama has done on a federal level with health care reform. To me the strongest part of his argument is that dealing with health care should not be a federal responsibility, but should rest with the States. This makes anything he did in Massachusetts his prerogative. I also got a kick out of his assertion that Obama never called him to consult on HCR. If only Obama had called Romney, “Obamacare” might have gone down better! Sadly though, Mitt still looks like Michael Scott from NBC’s “The Office”, that boss who wants so desperately to fit in with his underlings and fails miserably. Pundits have said, he reminds you of the dude who laid you off yesterday.

Tim Pawlenty: Yes there are those who want to give him the rap accolade T-Paw but I simply call him “Punk Ass Beeyotch” (the Notorious P.A.B.). Just a day earlier on Fox News he coined the devastating term “Obamneycare” forever tying Mitt Romney to Barack Obama. When given the opportunity to hammer home his assault with Romney standing next to him, Pawlenty showed us the kind of leadership we can expect in the White House — he punted. I think Romney is a bit taller than Tim and maybe could have kicked his ass. Maybe that was too intimidating? Imagine President Pawlenty talking smack about Ahmadinejad and then entering into negotiations with him where P.A.B. capitulates on everything. The truth is Tim is a wimpy soft-spoken man who does his best to fake tough and fails. The debate only confirmed what I already thought … Pawlenty is a non-starter.

Ron Paul: I’m sorry but despite his racist past, I cannot resist watching Ron Paul in a debate. Whether it’s telling the truth about the war on drugs or on our wars in general, Paul is always a refreshing breath of air. He is the only candidate who actually suggests concrete policy changes that are truly radical, that take us in a new direction. And of course, America being what it is, he will never get elected talking like that.

Herman Cain: Normally I’d launch into a racially charged diatribe about the only black candidate being placed at the far right of the assembled candidates, physically marginalized from the get-go but it does not matter where you place Cain on the stage, the man brings that “I know nothing about the issues” Palin appeal to the masses and it has earned him big points in most recent polls.  Essentially Cain’s performance could have been matched by any one of the folks who regularly comment on this blog. He is a “regular guy” successful business man who, like Palin, uses his ignorance of politics as a badge of honor. (Of course, with Palin it’s a bizarre sort of badge to wear since she has been in politics much of her adult life.) His approach is, what have career politicians done for you lately? He made some murky remarks about not wanting Muslims to serve in his administration but he seemed to step it back a bit to make a distinction about radical Muslims. (Of course, Newt took that opportunity to double down on the Islamaphobia.)  Like Bachmann, Cain seems to be willing to learn and he made attempts at specific policy prescriptions. I would not totally rule out a Cain VP slot.

In the batting cage were three people who could mix things up a bit. The will-she-won’t-she Sarah Palin is still undecided on a Presidential run and her recent SarahPAC funded vacation did nothing to clarify her intentions. I am still hoping she runs just to see her and Bachmann face off on stage! The punditocracy claims that Pawlenty’s stumble last Monday night opens the door for Texas Governor Rick Perry to enter the race. I find the idea of secessionist running for President highly amusing. And besides, look at the last President Texas gave us. Last but not least there is Jon Huntsman who will announce his run in the next few days. Huntsman is what many of my readers call a RINO. He does not pass the far right conservative litmus test. Even more interesting, he must walk that fine line of opposing Obama and defending his own employment under Obama as Chinese Ambassador. On the bright side, the dude speaks fluent Mandarin, so he isn’t a dumb-ass. On the less bright side, he opens his pre-campaign by reminding people that he was in the never-heard-of rock band Wizard while invoking images of “Easy Rider” and being stoned in the 60’s on your motor cycle. While cryptic, it sure is original. I will be watching Huntsman closely as the man who could possibly beat Obama.

weiner with all the fixins

The Week We Lost Our Weiner

If you see the progressives in your neighborhood dressed in black this week it is because they are in mourning. On June 16, after a three-week roller coaster ride of lies, revealing photos and high school worthy word-plays, New York Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner finally gave into mounting pressure and resigned. The circus atmosphere at his resignation speech was entirely consistent with a scandal devoid of any sense of dignity.

What emerges for me from Weinergate is one overriding thing: rank hypocrisy. Everywhere you looked during this scandal you saw a hypocrite:

The Media: The mainstream media said they desperately wanted to get to serious business and Weiner was a distraction but they kept leading their broadcasts with him. A prime suspect was Chris Matthews who declared some relief on Friday that Weiner had resigned so things like the debt ceiling could be discussed, but who with final editorial judgment over his show, decided to lead with Weiner on every show for almost two weeks.

The Democratic Party: From Nancy Pelosi to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Dem’s claimed they wanted Weiner to resign so he could “heal”. We all know that is plain and utter bullcrap. They don’t give one’s rat’s ass if Weiner heals. They want their anti-GOP talking points to take center stage again and not be overshadowed by one Congressman’s proclivity for exhibitionism.

The Republican Party: The party that gave us Larry Craig and David Vitter should do only one thing when a sex scandal emerges. STFU. Enough said.

The man himself: While it is true that Weiner never played the “family values” card like so many of his Republican counterparts, he was an outspoken advocate for moral causes, health care reform most notably. While no one is perfect, it does seem to me rank hypocrisy to talk about honesty and virtue in politics and then betray everyone around you with brazenly stupid behavior that you then try to lie to get out of.  The scandal makes a mockery out of one of Weiner’s finest moments when he talked about political courage.

What a terrible waste.


Image: digitalart / Political Blogger Alliance

Did We Learn Nothing from Nixon?

Watergate was nothing, a petty burglary gone wrong. The scandal that ensued enshrined the now famous adage that the cover-up is worse than the crime. Despite Richard Nixon’s folly which led to the first resignation of a sitting President, countless politicians have ignored the moral of his story and have fallen into the same trap.

Today we saw one of the great champions of progressive causes self destruct before our eyes. Last week, news first surfaced that New York Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner had sent a lewd photo of himself to a female over Twitter. Weiner denied sending the photo, claiming his account had been hacked. Oddly though, he said that he couldn’t say “with certitude” whether or not the picture depicted him. This inability of Weiner to identify his own fully packed pair of underpants left a suspicious stink over the whole affair. My guess had been that Weiner sent the photo to someone as a gag and it got into the wrong hands.

Today, of course we learned the truth. Not only did the underpants belong to Weiner but he had Tweeted this photo to a young woman in Seattle. Again, ala Richard Nixon, the revelation of wrong-doing was really not the story. The story was the week of bold-faced lying that preceded today’s confessional press conference. Apparently, like Donald Trump’s fictional investigators looking for the truth behind Obama’s birth, Weiner had his own fictional security team dissecting the hacking of his account. Perhaps most grievous of all was that Weiner lent credibility to Andrew Breitbart who had said last week that Weiner’s online behavior was reputed to be beyond the pale.

Weiner says he will not resign. Whether he can get beyond this in the tradition of David Vitter or finally take the fall as John Ensign did weeks ago remains to be seen. What remains even more puzzling is why men from Nixon to Spitzer to Vitter to Craig to Ensign to Clinton to Edwards believe their lies will not be discovered eventually. Mistakes are human. We all make them. Mistakes in and of themselves might not ruin our credibility. The cover-ups always do.

Rutherford Political Blogger Alliance

Image: Idea go /