PART ONE * JANUARY 10, 2008
WASTING OUR TIME?
BUTCHERING ENGLISH ORATORY?
ALL OF THE ABOVE?
The giddy white radish dumpling John McCain was on stage proclaiming himself the Comeback Kid at the same time as the upholstery sofa disguised as Hillary made the same speech. This was after King Obama the First began practicing his faux preacher oratory to the New Hampshire milquetoasts in preparation for his self-proclaimed coronation in South Carolina in a few weeks. Mitt Romney was smiling through the root canal of national media disrespect that continues to grind upon the teeth of his campaign. Port-A-John Edwards, the party guest who refuses to leave, continues to sell his snake oil brand of 1920s populism. Huckleberry Hound, the second Hope from Arkansas, continues his midnight used car brand sales pitch to the voters while he milks the television romance like a blue ribbon 4-H dairy jockey at the county faire.
All the candidates could not wait fifteen minutes before fleeing the plastic smile induced flatness of Iowa to the rock hard New England independents in Massy North, New Hampshire. You would have thought Obama made history in Iowa (he did not), that he created a huge turnout (mostly buses of ringers from Illinois who crossed the border to stuff the caucus rooms), and that he buried his rivals to sew up the Democratic nomination for president. If the network anchors would pull their morphine-Obama-loving IVs from their arms, they could have reported that after Iowa, Hillary Clinton still led in the overall committed delegate count, while Romney led the Republican tally sheet. Why have a little fact like that get in the way of slinging bias toward the current media darlings, Obama and the Huckster. Maybe that's what television executives want this summer, a southern-style fried Dukes of Hazzard election called Obama and the Huckster. Mercy!
The voters in New Hampshire had to root out their own research on the candidates. Swayed by the truck stop handshaking, the teary eyed nonsense of an emotional brick, and the tradition of screwing with people's heads, the final vote in this primary made the networks crap a load in their pollster diapers. Before the polls closed, the networks were screaming that Obama was 6 points ahead of Hillary and moving away. Rumors that Hillary would take out a butcher's knife and hack her staff to pieces in her hotel suite because of the impending loss would prove completely wrong. The polls were dead wrong. Hillary won easily over Obama. But the press could not give up its crystal balls: they blamed the voters for lying to them. Their polls are always correct. They have to be; the networks spend millions of dollars on this non-news opinion Polaroid instead of actually covering the candidates, investigating the issues and reporting the Facts. Damn, the latter takes hard work. New Hampshire voters appear to like the hard work ethic and old school political organizational trees because the Obama camp could not bus in loads of Illinois cult members to crash NH polling places (you needed to be a registered citizen), so Obama's handlers were counting on the college kids to turnout in droves. Well college kids are about as responsible as . . . pollsters. In their hangovers, they forgot to turn out. We bad.
All the candidates make the average American cringe: the start of this election was like looking at a criminally insane police line-up.
PART TWO * JANUARY 11, 2008
CULL THE HERD
ROUND THEM UP
RIDE THE BRONCO
The lure of presidential politics draws candidates like flies to a summer cow pie. The hit of a buzz draws more and more participants. The more crapulence the more candidates. It is too much for the national press to handle. The news industry is facing daily cut-backs. Advertising revenue is down. Politics are spenders in election cycles. A good race is good for business. Navigating the race is good for the ego of the media pundits and powerbrokers.
A crowded field of candidates confuses the media. So immediately, the press must pare back the group. The first way is to ignore the proclaimed minor candidates on the grounds of electability (even before the first election votes are cast). The term electability is being used as a code word for rating demographics. Only viable candidates are electable. It is a self-serving protocol by the media that proclaims which candidates are viable, or worthy of coverage.
A candidate is nothing more than a bar of soap. It is a commodity to be packaged and sold to the voting consumer. Lights, camera, buzzwords, smiles - - - what a nice clean person. The sanitized version of the viable candidates plays nightly on the news. The lesser candidates are viewed as the damned stepchildren banished to the basements of the VFW halls eating cold chicken wings and staring blankly at the crusty eyes of sleepy WWII veterans.
It was clear before Iowa that the national media favored three Democrats: Clinton, Obama and Edwards. Those were familiar faces who had campaigned (i.e. spent money) with the press in years past. They are the show guests on speed dial for quotes. They are the perceived insiders who can chew up hour upon hour of cable news dead air. NBC has become so enamored with Obama that it admits its reporters bias. It is like a monopoly chance card: go directly to the White House and collect $200 million.
On the Republican stage, the early indications were that the media liked McCain, who is morphing into a Sunday morning bobblehead liberal, Romney, the legacy candidate, and Giuliani, the 9/11 mayor. All the other candidates were pushed off the stage like wallflowers at the Big Dance. But one of those guys tumbled forward to become the darling of the cornfields, Huckabee, the Second Hope from Arkansas. He was a rumbling former Baptist preacher who turned politician with enough baggage to fill a chartered 747. But no matter, he was the new guy even though he looked like a used car salesman with his 4 o'clock shadow and Nixonian jowls.
The national press calls it sport to build up a candidate then burn him at the stake. Prime example last time was Howard Dean, who's crazy yell after Iowa, made him a laughingstock looney. His campaign was scuttled by the soundbites and pundit jeers. He was branded a loser and sent to the political slaughterhouse. If a candidate gets some traction, like Republican Ron Paul raising record amount of donations on the internet, he is quickly branded a dangerous oddball and taking off the debate stage.
It is not unusual for the national media to play it different between the parties. The Democrats get a general free pass. But Republicans get huge expectation mandates that are tough to cover. If Romney doesn't win New Hampshire, his campaign is finished (even though he still leads in delegates after NH!) Thompson started his campaign too late to get any momentum to Super Tuesday in February. McCain is out of money so he needs to sweep the early primaries. Guiliani not playing in the early primaries is a tactical mistake, the panelists cry. Conspiracy theorists will state that the Democratic bias of the press is used to wound the strongest Republican challengers so that the Donkey party can gain the presidency (and lock all three branches). The hunters have in their sights: Romney, Thompson and Guiliani.
The national press would like to see an Obama versus McCain contest: Obama the speaker against McCain the squeaker. Obama is the empty suit, the pile of wet clay that people think they can mold into their perfect candidate. However, as the campaign progresses, you will find a lot of dirt in that clay.
At this time of the campaign, it all comes down to roping enough votes to collect enough cash to spend in the traveling circus called presidential politics. Get out your speaking points, stay on message, don't choke on the local cuisine, smile to the camera, act like you care, shake a lot of hands, repeat and repeat and repeat until you can do it like a Zombie in a graveyard. If you have good enough Handlers, any prized cow can get to market primed for the cameras. The biggest handler of them all, Bill Clinton, fired up his base in New Hampshire, starting honing his knife attacks at Obama, to help Hillary get a victory.
PART THREE * JANUARY 20, 2008
THE MESSAGE IS PACKAGING
IMAGE OVER IMPORTANCE
WHO IS IN CHARGE?
THE 3 % NON-FACTOR
The national media continues to spend its resources on building bigger and brighter election sets while their hired political pundits continue to spin the industrial sized election dryer full tilt in favor of their candidate choices. Nothing could be clearer than the candidacy of Barrack Obama. The media has fallen in puppy love over the packaging of the Empty Suit. There are no investigations on Obama's past, his record, his shady dealings or the flip-flop of his message. It is the Obama package that sells: he is new, he is smiling, he is non-white, he is central casting in Hollywood's choice of the leading man for the bad sequel, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The national media always falls early for the new Guy, because it is a fresh story line, a new backstory, and a naive person who they can seem to control.
It is all a popularity contest at this point in time. The caucus and primary vote are overplayed in the media because in reality the superdelegates and career politicians will actually control the convention process. But these mini-dramas kill television air time, and are scripted like those dumb cable reality shows: image is more important than any substantive thought processes. In the early race, the candidates are running the high hurdles set at 3 inches from the ground.
And the candidates know that as the media snuggles up to them, they pander to the each segment of the population in an illogical entitlement promise free-for-all soundbite driven stump speech in the hope that it triggers some inert electron pulse in the mind of a voter to check your name in November. Mind control and the heart (and campaign donations) will follow.
The real candidates are the handlers behind the candidate. It is more important to the long term welfare of the nation to determine who are the actual fundraisers, the political operatives, the big donors, the kitchen cabinets --- the people who will really weld the power if their candidate wins office. These shadow players are the ones who will set policy, enforce policy, dole out the patronage, create the entitlement programs and regulate the average citizen's life. Some candidates have screamed that they are candidate of CHANGE, but they are surrounded by the same bloodsucking weasels of their forebearers of national office. These people are not the stewards of change but they are the commanders of the inefficient, bureaucratic, lobbyist driven status quo. The claim of a transparent candidacy is a hollow claim. It is because every candidate has to borrow upon the existing party infrastructure in order to get elected; promises at the local level must be paid back at the national level. Favor for favor; dollar for dollar. It is an inherently corrupt machine where personal gain takes importance over public service.
The national media take on the early states is an appalling mess. They are claiming national winners based upon less than three (3) percent of the delegate count. They are claiming candidates dead in the water when they finish in second place, even though that candidate may be still leading in the actual committed delegate count. The media also lost track of the nonsense of the Michigan and Florida Democratic primaries. The national Democratic committee is punishing Michigan and Florida for moving up their primaries. It was done at the state level in order to gather some economic benefit (campaign spending and election coverage expense accounts). But the national party leaders have decided that there will be no Michigan or Florida delegations recognized at the convention. In essence, the Democrats are writing off two large states in a intra-party spitting match. No one has picked up on the ramifications of the DNC dissing two swing states in the national election. The punishment has to have helped Hillary, because she was the only lead candidate that was on the Michigan ballot, and even though the media tried to spin the pre-poll comment that 70% of the uncommitted voters would cast their lot for Obama in protest, Hillary still beat the uncommitted line item 3-to-2. Her camp is putting that alleged victory as a stop to the runaway Obama bandwagon.
It is not like many people are even on a bandwagon yet. In Nevada, less than 11,000 people voted in the Democratic caucus. But it was played up like the second coming of an Ali-Foreman title fight. More people are interested in the NFL playoffs than watching caucus election results or the town hall meeting debates of the candidates on the news channels. This campaign cycle started a year ahead of normal. People have tuned it out because of the early start. The early pigs fattened with large campaign war chests tried to knock out the newbies with money. But Obama has conserved cash because of his media darling status. The same is true for the unknown Huckabee, who is getting the newcomer attention on the Republican side. But the tide is beginning to turn toward the old media favorite, McCain, the dolting old guy who appears in and out of conscious thought. The sentimentalist media pundits have a soft spot to the D.C. insider, McCain, because he has been a Sunday morning talk show standby, who in reality will do just about anything to win. And the national commentators like to buddy up with a winner so they can have access and a potential book deal in the future. This is also part of the inherently corrupt system: where the newsgathers become part of the newsmaking; personal gain over public service.
PART FOUR * FEBRUARY 3, 2008
LIBERAL BIAS WET DREAM
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
AGAINST THE GRAIN
Apparently, if you receive 10 times the actual votes in Florida than the winner in South Carolina primary, you are still way behind. Hillary Clinton did that, but the national press dismissed the victory as a non-victory because the Democratic National Committee penalized the state party for moving up its primary. No delegates would count at the convention. Damn what the members say. Damn the vote totals, full steam ahead for the media's candidate, Barack Obama.
It does not matter that Obama is linked in Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune stories to a corrupt moneyman named Rezko, who is on trial for political corruption in Illinois. It does not matter that Obama was directly linked to Rezko in odd real estate deals and personal windfalls. In the institutionalized corruption of Illinois politics this is standard operating procedure. Benefits for friends is standard. Rewarding benefactors with rich no-bid government contracts or public board nominations are routine. The candidate for change is not about changing this system; Obama is part of it. Just as Hillary's illegal Chinese money train. America has turned a blind eye to the open and notorious realm of modern elections: all politicians are dirty - - - fundraising is the mechanism for corruption - - - and the lazy can use politics to become multibillionaires by trading public dollars from their position of trust.
Rudy Guiliani gets swamped in his one state campaign, Florida. Suddenly, in a matter of hours, McCain is now the new King of the Republican party. Again, no matter that he is at less than 7 per cent of the needed delegate count to win; no matter that Romney is still in the race for the long haul; no matter that McCain is a bumbling blanched flip flop on the campaign trail. The national press is pushing - - - almost poll pushing - - - a huge McCain lead over Romney going into Super Tuesday. It is like 60-30. It is an attempt to marginalize voters into pulling for the eventful winner, McCain. This flies directly in the face of the wrong polling data from New Hampshire. But the national press does not care about facts since they have invested heavily into their polling data. The only poll that counts is the one marked Election Ballot.
But again, that is not a nice and neat storyline for the 24 hour news cycle. The campaign is now a virtual boxing match, a search and destroy pundit slam by bad poets and slings or arrows of unchecked sound bites. Real stories like Rezko just gum up the works. Because the real end game is starting to crystallize in the liberal wing. No matter what happens in November, America is set to elect a liberal president. The Republicans leading candidates are McCain, who got the liberal stamp of approval by aligning himself with Kennedy and Feingold in the Senate, and who got the endorsement of Gov. Arno and the displaced Rudy late last week. Romney is labeled a progressive Republican, not as far left of center as McCain, but still left of center. Huckabee is fading into a non-factor after his Iowa as conservative Republicans find him not an genuine article for their political faith. On the Democratic side, Obama is ranked as the most liberal voting record in the Senate. Hillary is not far behind. Their agency of change is probably accelerating the American system of quasi-socialism to the nationalization of economy, including health care, insurance, airlines, finance - - - anything that is or can be regulated and heavily taxed. A McCain verus Obama or Hillary final is the liberal wet dream election.
And it would signal the beginning of the end of philosophy of position. If the model of Illinois become the national way of doing public work, then the planet is doomed. The Democrats have controlled the legislature, the governorship, and the elected executive offices. But there has been Russian style one-party gridlock in the state for years. The Democrats are fighting among themselves like a pack of starving wolves over the last carcass, the Illinois taxpayer. Manufacturing jobs continue to decline, major local corporations have been bought out by foreign investors, public debt is at record levels, every level of government is instituting huge new tax increases. Nationally, the average government worker is making $39/hour; in the private sector it is only $26/hour. The system has inverted; the non-productive government sector is now sucking more capital than the private sector can earn. No wonder that government jobs are only ones still increasing in a tight economy. The treasury is printing dollars (IOUs) as fast as the printing presses can run.
And this will lead to goofy policy. More money spent on global warming research than on cancer studies. More money spent on ethanol production which costs more energy to produce than drilling domestic oil wells. What fuels this Democratic agenda is one thing: grant money. The federal government's earmark pork - - - the unlimited supply of wealth is the modern gold rush to academic miners. Certain professors now make it their career writing grant proposals for a percentage of the gross. No candidate will tell you that it is the cost of the waste that is ruining this country, because that waste stream is the tide of political capital used to keep and retain power. It does rub against the grain for those truly independent voters who realize that just about every tax dollar gets chewed up by bureaucratic gears and waste that only a penny of actual good remains.
PART FIVE * FEBRUARY 6, 2008
BATTLE OF THE NETWORK SETS
MESSAGE ON TOILET PAPER
ANOTHER MISSED CALL
The Super Bowl was on Sunday, drawing a record television audience to the national coliseum gladiator contest. The political headline writers like the 24 state mega-primary day following it Super Tuesday, which in reality sounds more like a funky theme restaurant. But for newspaper columnists and editorial writers this election is their personal Super Bowl, and each candidate is or is not on their team. Journalism.org recently published an article which objectively found that there is a media bias in favor of certain candidates in the media content. It does not stop the rooting interest in the media's chosen path: an Obama v. McCain title bout in November.
After New Hampshire's poor polling snafus and face slaps, the networks geared up their early coverage with multimedia wonder-sets of electronic touch screen HD monitors, and reporters walking among a sea of blog watchers and election number bean counters. It reminds one of the movie set of the betting parlor in The Sting. A lot of distracting action with one end game: be the first to announce a winner in any given state primary or caucus.
Then commentators will dribble strategy text propositions to justify the call; or some analysis that such-and-such candidate won the men's vote, the women's vote, the Latino vote, the African American vote, the rich vote, the independent vote - - - all without any actual vote totals counted by the local officials. Then, with leaps and bounds of a 90 year old Superman throwing away his handicap walker to try to chase down an Olympic sprinter purse snatcher, jump to conclusion on total delegate votes and over-all election winners with no factual basis to support the claims. News is supposed to be reporting actual facts from official sources. News has been displaced by opinion (commentators, pundits, spin artists and PR flacks) and speculation (polls, demographics, predictions).
By the time the polls closed in the East and South, the networks were patting themselves on the back for declaring Obama a big winner, and McCain the Republican juggernaut champion. When Huckabee won his first southern state by a slim plurality, the networks started sharpening the daggers to thrust into the Romney campaign - - - to further emphasize that McCain could not be beat. That McCain will be the Republican nominee. So this forward push polling (which is condemned by candidates as a dirty trick on voters) is fine for network newscasts with huge blocks of dead air to fill. The result of such elevation to winner status for McCain was to suppress the vote in the Western States, especially California. Just like the Super Bowl, people like to say they were with the winning team. On Stupid Tuesday, the early and often proclaimed winning team was McCain.
The analysts role in digesting the election has been weak to poor. One commentator finally stumbled upon the point that Obama has never publicly stated a position on any of the key issues. There is no implementation policy, just general rhetoric. It is the details that get candidates in trouble, like when Hillary was pinned down recently on how she would pay for mandatory health care coverage (with a mandatory payroll deduction tax). It is easy to say on the campaign trail that I am for immigration (and not explaining whether you are for or against an immigration policy). And when you stake out a position like McCain on immigration, it is contrary to a vast majority of his own Republican party members in his home state of Arizona! Yet, the incumbency factor and name recognition squeaked McCain to victory in his home state. (But you would think that if you are elected to the Senate, you would at least try to represent the beliefs of your constituents.) It is easier to slap on voter buzzwords on your speaker podium than create a firm position on any issue. Voters like CHANGE - - - but everyone running for office is part of the Washington DC/career politician problem. (Television stations could not cut off Romney's speech last night where he told the nation that he is the only candidate who has been in the private sector, who actually knows how to create jobs in a weakening economy. Messages like that fail to reach the general public on a regular basis. Instead, the lead stories were the sniping between McCain's operatives and Huckabee's delegates in West Virginia's caucus, which took away a Romney win when McCain released his voters to the Huckster.) Now that McCain believes he is the nominee pro tem, he is starting to label himself a CONSERVATIVE. Real conservatives in his party, including radio talkers like Rush Limbaugh, spit venom at the notion that McCain is a Republican conservative. His voting record in the Senate is left of center. But if that can sew up the nomination quicker, the national press will not confront the McCain conservative label even if it is printed on toilet paper.
We know that politicians cannot add figures or read words. The news commentators are falling into this paradox as well. McCain still does not have half of the needed delegate count to become the Republican nominee, but he is portrayed as the prohibitive front runner and neither Romney or Huckabee can catch the alleged straight talk express. Even if McCain would falter or gaff, like calling his new brand of conservatism by its old name, communism, the voters would at least be startled enough to get out of the media trance and vote on positions and not on telemarketed messages.
Just as the media was patting themselves on the back for a whiz-bang job, Missouri, called a Clinton victory, was withdrawn. Apparently, at the end Obama received an unexpected surge of voters from St. Louis which gave him the victory. It sounds like the last election - - - strange that a sudden surge of minority votes comes in just in time to save the day - - - some call that vote fraud. Old Mayor Daley was fond of holding back ballot boxes in Chicago until his candidate called with a number he needed for a victory. An objective cynic would find this pattern at least odd. But no matter, another Obama is good for the storyboard before the day began: Obama in a romp and McCain anointed the liberal king of the conservative party. It is the fantasy island script too corny to have been actually made by Hollywood:
And the fact that Romney did not win several winner-take-all state contests, the fact remains that McCain did not do well in bible-belt conservative areas all across America. The East Coast and West Coast culturalists may not like to admit that America is more conservative and religious than they believe. Huckabee is like a party crasher who gets annoying after about five minutes. He is the thorn in the sides of both McCain and Romney.
A day later, Obama's camp claims that he is actually leading in the overall delegate count; CNN had Clinton estimated ahead in delegates by 80. In the confusing rules within rules structure of the party's primaries, superdelegates (i.e. elected officials and office holders) don't have to be nominated to vote at their convention. Their status is enough to make them special and powerful. In the end, the majority of the superdelegates will control who will be the party's nominee. Until then, the primaries are merely a series of beauty pageant contests. The national media is most intent on covering the Democrats.
PART SIX * FEBRUARY 23, 2008
SUSPENDED WITHOUT SUSPENSE
THE CONSERVATIVE CRUSH
Mitt Romney suspended his campaign after realizing his message was falling on the same deaf ears as the others in the Republican nomination sausage factory. He was the only one who had the strongest message for this recession fearing stock market rollercoastering mish mashing climate: he was a successful businessman who as an executive knows how to make jobs and prosper. None of the remaining candidates have private sector experience. John McCain is a career politician. Mike Huckabee is also a career public official. Both men view politics as the means of making money and having a long career. Government does not create jobs - - - it takes taxpayer dollars which really create jobs - - - and funnels it into institutionalized political machines called bureaucracy.
The Republican party has three wings. The most known is the conservative wing, die hard principalists who believe in less government, pro-life, religion in public, and the independence of self-assurance. Anyone who works hard can succeed. But the proposed standard bearer for this wing of the party did not work very hard at becoming the nominee. Hound Fred Thompson, the actor, never got into the spirit of campaigning. He failed to hire the writers to give him even a water-down version of Ronald Reagan. The conservatives had no back-up plan when Thompson withdrew.
The other parts of the Republican party are the moderates and the liberals. John McCain considers himself a conservative if his audience is conservative, but most historians view him as a moderate to liberal Republican. He may have certain conservative views, like pro life and pro defense, but he also has many liberal views like campaign spending limits on free speech or universal health care. He does not have a single defining principle of governance; he is like a shotgun when dealing with issues. He is all over the map. True moderates are more libertarian in their thinking; a strict constructionist's view of the Constitution and government power leads to conservative government size and regulation, and personal choice on social issues. Liberal Republicans are those who by geographics call themselves a republican but in reality are caucusing in the Democratic camp. They tagged themselves Republicans in order to dethrone an incumbent Democrat.
Mike Huckabee falls into the wannabee category. He claims conservative values, but has his hand out like a career politician. He is for big government because he is part and parcel of the government way of life. Each part of his life has been a steeping stone to higher office. He is following the path of his other Arkansas governor, Bill Clinton. These political blueprints have no party patent.
So the conservatives are at a loss. Most view McCain, the party nominee, as a moderate to liberal candidate. He may pull in more independent voters in a general election, but he will feed into the Democratic congress' accelerated spending programs. They view McCain as a potential compromiser, a tool of the ultra-liberal-facist elements of growing Nanny State. They find they have no alternate direction as the two leading Democratic candidates, Obama and Clinton, are even more liberal than McCain. This direction is the doomsday for the Republican religious, grass roots regular.
PART SEVEN * FEBRUARY 24, 2008
THE McCAIN MUTINY
GRAY LADY SPECULATION
THE RUBBER MAN
The New York Times proclaims itself as the publisher of the important news stories of the day. News is defined as new information about anything; recent happenings; reports of events. Newsworthy is defined as having the qualities of news; timely, important and interesting.
The McCain lobbyist affair story had none of those elements. A page one story alleging that the Republican nominee had a romantic affair with a female telecom lobbyist for whom he did favors contained no proof, just weak triple hearsay speculation from one alleged former staffer (who denies this) that the Senator's staff speculated that he was getting too close to this lobbyist that appearances could be compromised. Even though the Times had the principals denials for almost four months while holding the story, it printed those denials the next day on page 20 of the paper. The timing, the placement of the denials, the structure of the story, and the reaction by the 24 hour broadcast media pouncing on it like sharks to bloody raw meat to kill McCain's campaign was so foul smelling that the Times' own public editor denounced the story. It was compared to the National Enquirer or gossip rag trying to rummage up a scandal from 8 year old non-sourced and non-verified speculation.
The story will have its running shoes on; it broke midweek, so it got full coverage for two days; McCain's denial was secondary, as the story will continue to be rehashed through the Sunday news shows and into the next week. Every campaign stop will have the local reporters asking the same question to provoke a response for that night's news cast.
The first notion from the Illinois Real News bunker was that this story, based on an October, 2007 tip, was too good to be true for the Democrats. The national press had already given the nomination to McCain before he crossed the magic delegate count finish line. His only real challenger, Romney, had given up and quit the campaign. The national spot light would then be focused on the remaining contest between Obama and Clinton. But Obama was streaking away with eight primary-caucus wins in a row and took the delegate count lead. Uncommitted superdelegates, the party insiders, were starting to gravitate to Obama's camp. Obama was becoming the superstar he thought he was already. Many Democratic talking heads declared Obama the eventual nominee. He could coast to the nomination as Hillary appeared to be running in panic mode, attempting to lash out at Obama's sleazy associations, his lack of accomplishments, plagiarism, his no meat in his promises speeches and his weak voting record. In a normal campaign, those charges would be good fodder for a newspaper columnist to vent a week's worth of bad hotel coffee into copy gold. But there is an invisible curtain around Obama where criticism bounces back to the critic in a windstorm that at times whispers racism. If Reagan was the Teflon president, then Obama has turned into the Rubber Man.
And the New York Times hatchet story on McCain benefited Obama. It was almost exactly the same story that allowed Obama to waltz his way unopposed to the U.S. Senate. An unknown, do nothing local politician suddenly becomes the Democratic nominee for Senate against a long time, well known state Republican, Jim Ryan. But Ryan's campaign imploded when the story was told that Ryan had begged his hot actress wife, Jeri Ryan, for sex, and the details of his divorce surfaced in the media. Alleged sex scandals and Republicans do not mix. Republicans run from the public light and hide in shame. There was no time for damage control; Ryan withdrew and the state Republican party had no viable replacement. So Obama spent that campaign not in Illinois, but roaming the country fundraising for others and selling books. A non-sex scandal opened the door for a free pass to the US Senate. When the McCain story broke, the first thought was that another door was opening wide for Obama: the Oval Office.
It is too circumstantial to see that McCain, as the nominee pro tem, would now spend the next several months bashing away at Obama, unless his campaign was derailed by its own scandal. It does not matter what the facts are or that the story is totally fabricated; the news media now operates in its own vacuum where sex and scandal means ratings. It plants the seed of doubt in conservative thoughts that McCain could be an adulterous special interest pawn. It does not give McCain a chance to mend his already broken fences within his own party. If the Times thought the story was important, he should have never held it. The paper had its story finished before the New Hampshire primary. If the story broke then, McCain's campaign would have been sunk from the start. But by holding the story until McCain was the Republican nominee, it destroys both McCain and the Republican chances of winning the White House. The charge of creating a news story in order to fulfill a personal political agenda is the wooden stake into the heart of the Gray Lady; it is an unthinkable breach of public trust that professional journalists hold as a guiding principle. The timing suggests malice on part of the editors who published the story.
PART EIGHT * APRIL 13, 2008
A BITTER PILL TO SWALLOW
TAKING THE HEART OUT OF THE BACKBONE
THE LONG ROAD TO NO WHERE
Barrack Obama was caught in true form last week when he was dissing the plight of Rural America. He was commenting on the perception that rural America believes that the economy has past them by and those Americans are so bitter that they only have their guns and religion to hold on to these days. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost in Rural America, mostly from the ivy league MBA executive dealmakers who believed that outsourcing jobs to the third world would increase executive compensation and stock prices. In a globalist's view, the American economy, the value of the dollar or the stability of American families does not matter. All that matters is getting your personal slice of the global pie.
To blame rural Americans keeping their heads held high by their principles of gun rights and religion as the cause of their pain is the height of arrogance, snobbery and elitism. But that is the woeful choice in this Election Year: all the candidates are arrogant, elitist, self-absorbed, self-promoting, selfish snobs who have no idea of what is the average American family. Obama, Clinton and McCain have been isolated in their ultra-richman club called the Senate for years. They all live the life of kings, queens and nobles, mostly on the taxpayer's dime. None have run a small business, had to meet a production deadline, pay employment taxes, and take home what was left in the cash register each week to feed, shelter and care for their families. So when he was talking to his liberal audiences away from the Real America, the heartland, Obama's true colors showed through: he has contempt for most of us. We are merely the means to further his personal success.
It was always illogical from a business standpoint to have a candidate spend millions of dollars for a job, the presidency, that pays only $400,000 a year. Some believed that you overspend the value of the job you were seeking for the presidential perks, which are great. Some believed that you overspend to obtain the power of the highest office in the land. Some believed that you overspend to give back to the people as a form a public service. Well, the true reason became crystal clear when the Clintons released their post-White House tax records. There are at least 109 million reasons to become president; $109 million in income since Bill Clinton left office. It is a staggering sum for a couple who left the White House with millions in legal bills and no tangible assets. Politics has become the easy way to become the ultimate multimillionaire. You don't need a skill, talent or intelligence. You just need to raise about a half a billion dollars and market yourself as a reformer to con your way to the bank.
Hillary is using Obama's bitterness remarks like a wooden stake being thrust into the chest of a vampire in Pennsylvania. The Quaker State is the last bellwether big electoral state before the convention. And it more apparent than ever, that Obama's last strategy of brow beating the media to call for Hillary to quit the race as failed. Clinton is in this race to the bitter end. This is a street fight against intellectual cripples. Both candidates have a grand opinion of themselves, their alleged accomplishments (which are non-existent) and their position in history. Obama's speech on intolerance could have been easily confused with a speech on lactose intolerance because he never experienced the traditional civil rights struggle; he was raised in a upper middle class existence, went to good schools, and have the privileges without any struggle. He is not a reformer or an overnight godsend. He is just a fast-track Illinois politician trying to strike it rich. And Hillary is cut from the same cloth. The Democrats are poised to elect their most liberal and morally bankrupt standard bearer in generations.
The general public is so turned off by this election cycle. It started a year early, and stump speech nothingness has done nothing to instill any confidence in any candidate, including McCain. It is so bad that former congressman Bob Barr has started an exploratory committee to become the Libertarian Party nominee. Such a move is an attempt to round up the Lou Dobbs angry independent voting bloc. However, Barr has no chance. The Democrats and Republicans have made it impossible for any other political group to mount any challenge. Federal and state election laws make it nearly impossible to gather enough signatures to put any third party on the ballot. The myth is that the Democrats and Republicans are the only two parties in our constitutional system. No where in the US Constitution does it mention political parties. Incumbents in power write rules to keep themselves in power.
The conventional wisdom is that less voters will go to the polls in November because the choice of leadership is woefully lacking in both experience, credibility, truth, ideology and heart. A ballot with the choice of NONE OF THE ABOVE would handily win this election. (Uncommitted ran a strong second in the mixed up Michigan Democratic primary.) It is depressing for many Americans who have real fear pay check to pay check that the new Washington DC power brokers will be the same people who have been pushing more and more taxes upon them, more and more social engineering programs upon them, while taking away more and more of their individual freedoms in the name of national security.
PART NINE * MAY 4, 2008
AWAKENED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
THE NEW APOLOGISTS
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO VENGEANCE
There has been great mention by the Democratic candidates of the proposition of the dreaded three a.m. wake-up call for some national crisis. In Illinois, a 4.7 earthquake awoke many startled residents recently. Most thought the aftershocks of nature were attributable to the fault lines in Southern Illinois. But it may have been a metaphor for the earth-shattering shift in the public perception of the Democrats golden child, Barrack Obama. For years, the public has been spoon fed what Obama himself said about himself as being the one and only truth about himself. No one dared to even ask who was this man who wants to be President so badly that he would embarrass himself in a blue collar bowling alley in a feeble attempt to gain a few rural votes in a primary.
Obama portrays himself as a different politician. But he is not different; he is an Illinois politician from the same political machinery that has elected a majority of Democrats into the statehouse, judgeships, board memberships and his Senate seat. This is the same political machinery that has one former governor, a Republican, sitting in federal jail on a corruption conviction, while the current governor, a Democrat, has been implicated in government corruption schemes in a pending federal criminal trial. The seedy aspect of Illinois politics is so generational that the Land of Lincoln has institutionalized it as a way of doing public business. Newspaper columnist Mike Royko coined the word clout to describe the system.
The tremor felt in Illinois recently may have been Obama's handlers falling out of their beds because the nightmare. The nightmare that has inhabited the campaign from within its own ranks: Obama's pastor.
There is a new game being played in the press this election season. It is called denouncing or backing away from non-politically correct or morally offensive statements or actions from people associated with a candidate. John McCain has distanced himself from several pastors who was associated with during his nomination process. Hillary Clinton has had to distance herself from some of the Bill Clinton administration cronies. But Obama tried to play the game differently when it came to his controversial pastor, Rev. Wright.
Character is fair game when judging a candidate for public office. The people who are the associates of a candidate is evidence of such character traits; you can tell someone's character by the company he keeps. In Obama's case, he decries it as being guilt by association. This may be an argument of syntax only.
Rev. Wright is a high octane, ultra-liberal, anti-government black preacher from Chicago. Obama has been a member of Wright's church for twenty years. He was married by Rev. Wright; he goes to mass; he has heard his sermons; he had his children baptized there. Obama completely associated his religious and moral tenets to Wright's church. When Wright calls the US government terrorists who deserved the 9/11 attacks or when he claims the US government made the HIV virus to kill off the black population in America, those are shocking political statements. The shocking part that he has been making those statements for years in his fiery sermons. It was only when a video tape of Wright's rhetoric hit the Internet, did the rest of America get the first uncensored glimpse into Obama's life.
One must realize that Wright's church was the most important institution in black Chicago if you wanted to move up the social-political ladder to the upper black middle class. Obama came to Chicago, recruited to the city by Tony Rezko (the man on trial for political corruption), and who connected himself with politically connected people to further the fast track to elected office. The connections he made through the church and the social-political black Democrats in the city resulted in Obama breezing into a state legislator's chair and then to the US Senate unopposed.
In order to address the Wright situation, Obama gave his Philadelphia speech as an oratory on race relations in America. Many were taken back by the great oratory delivery, while others were taken aback by the lack of insight. Obama never had the deep rooted Southern black discrimination experience that civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King exposed to the nation. Obama was raised in a mixed middle class family in Hawaii and overseas. So he lacked the civil rights street cred of a traditional black Democrat. That is why his church affiliation with Rev. Wright was so important to his political career. It gave him a piece of the history he was personally missing from his resume.
Obama then failed to fully denounce Wright's comments. He said he never heard those words before, but most critics found that comment a lame excuse. Obama then said he did not share the same beliefs of Rev. Wright; that Wright's comments were wrong. But then Obama defended his pastor as a member of his family. He concluded that he could not disown his pastor as he could not disown is alleged semi-racist white grandmother. Most of middle America was shocked that Obama threw his own grandmother under the bus in order to make a minor political point. But America still does not know the true candidate; in Illinois politics, you do anything to win.
Obama had hoped that the Wright situation would go away quietly. But it played out in concert with his condensing remarks about rural America's clinging to religion and guns because of their own economic plight. A person's employment or economic status has nothing to do with religious beliefs or support of the constitutional right to bear arms. It was a statement that fueled the notion that Obama was an aloof, elitist and arrogant liberal-socialist who had little regard to other's beliefs or individual rights. These were the first dents in Obama's untarnished armor image. He went on to lose the Pennsylvania primary by ten percentage points to Clinton.
Obama still had hoped that after the Quaker State defeat, the campaign would go back to normal: his standard dry stump speech and national media admiration of his presence or popularity. But Rev. Wright put himself front and center.
Rev. Wright went a sympathetic ear of Bill Moyers. In a PBS special report, Wright claimed that America had taken short sound bites of his sermons out of context. That Obama's opponents were attempting to use him to unfairly politically attack Obama. Wright said that he was an American, patriotic, and that the rest of America had no idea what black churches are about. America could not judge his sermons because they were not party to them.
Finally, Obama's handlers could breathe easy. The news circle had closed: Wright's videos, Obama's distancing himself, and Wright's PBS interview would close the door on any further traction of the story in the general media. The press would soon have to go on to the next issue, the next superdelegate announcement and the next primaries in Guam, Indiana and North Carolina. The Wright incident would pass into the history books as a minor footnote.
It may have been a closed case but someone forgot to tell one of the principals.
Rev. Wright went to the NAACP convention in Detroit to make a key note address. On live television, unedited, he ramped up his sermons into a diatribe against America. Even Obama's strongest defenders were dumbfounded by the speech. There was not even enough time to digest the ramifications of the full metal Rev. Wright when Wright then addressed the National Press Club. In that speech and press exchange, Wright confirmed all of his crazy remarks against the US government causing AIDS and being a terrorist organization throughout the world. It was like a small nuclear device had just been detonated at the Obama HQ. Rev. Wright's positions were so outside the mainstream that they were toxic.
Obama had to "CHANGE gears. He was the candidate of Change, but in reality he was nothing more than a traditional, Chicago machine politician. His pastor was upset that Obama never defended him when he had the chance. His pastor put himself ahead of the political aspirations of own of his own flock. It was a vicious double cross; Obama used the church to bolster his early political career and standing in the black community, only to have the same church leader destroy his credibility.
Obama went to the podium and claimed that he had never heard those Wright remarks before, and that he denounced his preachings. At this point, in a matter of short weeks, after decades of being around Rev. Wright, to come to that realization sounded more than hollow. It was a shallow political exercise cutting off a gangrenous limb in order to keep the trek to elected office going forward. Obama, the true candidate, the empty suit, the void record, the lack of accomplishments, the associations he kept while climbing the social-political ladder, were all now fair game. Cynics were vindicated; defenders ashamed. The Democrat's perfect candidate had changed back into a political hack toad at midnight.
PART TEN * MAY 11, 2008
INDIANA WANTS YOU
THE BORDER STATES OF THE CIVIL WAR
YOU CANNOT GO BACK AGAIN
There is an old song lyric that goes : Indiana Wants Me, But I Can't Go Back Home Again.
The Indiana primary was another key battle state in the neverending Democratic Civil War. When the national pundits were scratching their heads why Lake County, Indiana had no results while the rest of the state was giving returns, it shows the blinders of the pro-Obama crowd. The Illinois Senate adjourned the day of the Indiana primary in order for its political operatives to cross the border to help the Obama campaign. This strategy of busing people into a border state like for the Iowa caucuses had proven successful. An Obama win in Indiana would have added to his monotone demand for Hillary to quit the race. So when Lake County, which borders Illinois, was slow in getting returns counted, Illinoisians knew that this was an old Chicago machine stand-by ploy . . . waiting to see how many votes your candidate needs. However, a Hillary state campaign politico must have gotten wind of the ploy because he began to raise a real stink on election night. In the end, Obama carried Lake by ten percentage points, but lost the state to Clinton by about two percent of the vote. It was another stalemate in this on-going intra-party civil war.
It is a strange battle. It pits two ultra liberal, big government program, boomer generation professional politicians with seedy past associations into the Ring of Career Death. The Obama supporters have been ragging Clinton to drop out. In fact, Obama has scheduled a victory speech after the Oregon primary. Premature? Perhaps, considering the underreported fact that Obama would need to win 84 percent of the remaining delegates in order to secure the nomination. Clinton taking 100 percent of the remaining delegates still would fall short of the nomination. So the battle has gone to the insiders . . . the party leaders who are the superdelegates, an uncommitted set of dealmakers and power brokers who are trying to keep as quiet as a snake under a rock. If the general public believes this whole election process was a farce; that it really came down to the party elitists, then the party regulars may not vote in November. The superdelegates are not in this process for party unity: they are in it for themselves. Align yourself with the winner (and in their minds presumptive next President), they would be looking for huge windfall contracts for friends and family, cabinet posts and more lobbying power than a nuclear power plant at full capacity.
So Obama is using those carrots to get Clinton superdelegates to switch sides. This is how bitter the campaign has gotten, which one side begins an all out raid on the other side's committed delegates. In turn, Clinton will howl on the fact that she won two large state primaries, Michigan and Florida, key November general election states. Those delegates and her large margin of victory in each should be counted on her behalf and not for Obama. (Obama wants no more to split the delegate count, assuring himself of his existing lead. Hillary won Michigan 55-40 (uncommitted) and Florida 68-38; Clinton wants at least 2/3 of those uncounted delegates.)
Obama, who has campaign cash, wants to do-over Michigan and Florida primaries in August, just before the convention. The idea is that Clinton will be broke and unable to mount a second campaign for the hearts and minds of those voters. She will resist that move to the bitter end. And this bitterness will fuel an angry divide of the far left of the party from any moderate-conservatives.
Both Clinton and Obama are at the point of the campaign that they will say anything, do anything, promise anything, and kill anybody in their way in order to capture the nomination. If history tells them one thing, the Democratic party does not back national losers for a second election try. One and done.
The Democrats are falling over themselves in the selfish greed of seizing control of all three branches of the federal government. With no checks and balances, the Democrats would call all the shots. (Illinois, for example, is completely Democratic controlled. It is on the verge of both financial and moral bankruptcy as the state, county and local governments continues to borrow billions to balance budgets and substantially raise taxes which is driving people and employment out of the state.) The high and mighty attitude of the party leaders is found in their past nominees: Kerry, Gore, Dukakis . . . liberal, big government, left-wing party regulars. All lost in the general election.
It is the McGovernism ideals that some cling to; that the liberal policy objectives of the Democratic party are the only way to govern the United States. Any issue or crisis devolves into a new government program, usually a new, costly government program. The anti-war platform is not based upon national security, but upon re-distributing the hundreds of billions of tax dollars into expensive Democratic programs. Slithering around in the far left reaches of the radical liberal Democrats is an anti-American sentiment. It is sometimes masked by the argument for globalism.
Obama has indices of this radicalism. He has a former Weather Underground associate who Obama claims is just someone he knows on a charity board. Obama has been filmed without any American flag pins and without placing his hand over his heart during the pledge. The Republicans are already gearing up to use these factors against Obama in the general election. During this primary season, Obama has really been given a free pass from the media on his background, his voting record, his associations and really a detailed analysis of his character and beliefs.
The Rev. Wright matter will not go away. Wright himself has found the warm spotlight of media attention alluring, like a moth to a flame. He will keep himself in the spotlight because Wright himself is pushing for media and book deals just like Obama did when he ran for the senate.
Clinton is praying that Rev. Wright matter will implode the Obama train. However, the media continues to soft peddle it by claiming that Obama voters really don't care about Rev. Wright's comments. Obama voters are just in love with their candidate like a school girl crush on an American Idol contestant. It does not matter whether he is good or bad.
Obama's base of black Americans and eager college students is a blueprint for general election disaster. That was the McGovern base in 1972. When Nixon's landslide humbled the McGovern camp into exile, the Democratic party turned into the blame party. So much bickering led to Carter sneaking into the presidency as an outsider which led to more disastrous national party results. It funneled in the rise of Reagan conservative values and solid Republican gains. Any party leader should be looking at the past playbook and at the Obama-Clinton race and call an immediate TIME OUT!
PART ELEVEN * JUNE 4, 2008
THE TURTLE SHELL AND THE WHITE RABBIT
STAGGERING TO THE FINISH LINE
HOP, SKIP AND JUMP
THE SAME OLD MOVIE SEQUEL
Barack Obama coasted to the finish line after the Montana polls closed on June 3rd. He had been walking, smiling and proclaiming victory before crossing the finish line. The cowards called superdelegates kept in the grandstands, worried about backing the wrong runner, until after the networks called Obama the presumptive nominee. Hillary Clinton gave no concession speech. In fact, she was defiant. But none of the network pundits picked up on the message in her speech; they all thought that she was angling to become second banana on an Obama ticket.
No, Hillary dropped down the gauntlet. She proclaimed that she would continue to fight for her invisible voters, meaning the disenfranchised voters in Michigan and Florida. On the weekend before the final primaries, the Democratic party Rules Committee met on live television to show America the dumb back room politics, power grabs, illogical thought and arrogant self-promotion that has seeped into all forms of government boards. Politicians are tax dollar power sucking big government control freaks who lose any common sense when they take their oaths of office. The Rules people concluded that the Florida delegation would be penalized; each elected delegate would only get a half vote. Then, the same people ruled differently with the Michigan delegation. They cut the delegate vote in half, but then arbitrarily apportioned the delegates between Clinton and Obama. Obama was not even on the Michigan ballot (he withdrew his name before that primary)! So the uncommitted delegates who were elected to go to the convention without a pledge, were forced to vote for Obama. Then to add insult to the voters, the committee took away four Clinton pledged delegates and gave them to Obama! One member opined that this was democracy with a small d. Yes, good history books define it as a dictatorship. In the end, Clinton supporters vowed to appeal this chaos all the way to the convention floor.
And when the AP and networks were crowing Tuesday afternoon that Clinton would concede that night, hardly anyone knew that Hillary would come to the stage and make her closing argument of why she is more electable than Obama. It took the commentators as an outrageous slap at the party's nominee. But since superdelegates don't count until the actual convention roll call, this was all gamesmanship. Clinton believes that she should be the candidate because if you take the vote totals in the primaries and put electoral votes to them, she is a stronger candidate to win the White House against John McCain than Obama. She also believes that she should stay in the race because there could be a huge meltdown - - a disaster that could doom the Obama campaign before the convention.
There are many potential skeletons in the Obama closet. The Rev. Wright militant church of anti-Americanism still haunts Obama. The Father Phleger political mocking of Hillary at Obama's church is another YouTube staple. His associates with known domestic terrorists is a troublesome connection that he will have to address. And Obama's own hubris and lack of grasp of historical fact may be his own undoing. (In Oregon, he claimed he had been to most of the 57 United States; in Florida, he told a group of Jewish leaders that his uncle helped liberate the Polish concentration camps - - - even though history states it was the Soviets.) And his stock answers to reporters to find the answers to their questions by reading his book, is becoming a lame excuse.
Only after Obama claimed the nomination did several national newspapers editorialize with the simple question, Who is Obama? For the past sixteen months, the national media has given the freshman senator a free hall pass to waltz through the primaries without being examined and gutted like a normal candidate. It appears that the national commentators and the cable talking heads grabbed on to the Obama bandwagon and decided to drive it all the way to Denver. They have been hypnotized by the snake charmer; a man who slowly walked the race in a turtle shell . . . no one knows what's inside his head, what's inside his character, what's inside his record, what's inside his judgments. Obama has skyrocketed up the political ladder faster than any other politician in history. He is recruited to move to the Midwest by political insiders. He comes to a strange city, Chicago, and hops into bed with the politically liberal but connected University of Chicago-Hyde Park city machine politics. He aligns himself with politically connected people so he can hop quickly into the state general assembly. He knocks out any of his opponents on petition technicalities. His new found friends are major fundraisers and power brokers in Illinois. Then continue to feed his coffers. Obama then wants to skip the hard work of being a legislator for the star status of the US Senate. He runs virtually unopposed since his Republican opponent implodes over a sex scandal and messy divorce record. He arrives in the US Senate, and immediately wants to jump directly to the White House. He has no time to waste because for gosh sakes, he is only 45 years old. Like a child athlete only told how great he is, Obama takes his oratory skills and fundraising friends to supercharge his campaign for the presidency. He is the perfect candidate: able to raise tons of cash, has no record of any accomplishments, has a cadre of politically connected friends and associates, and the arrogant determination to will himself to his goal.
Yes, Obama is a man of his convictions. But during his victory speech, he basically told the American people that his religion, his associations, his friends, his business dealings and his record are totally off limits from any scrutiny. It is quite a galling and bald statement to make at the start of the general election. No one can be critical of him, lest be called a racist. But since the candidate is devoid of any record, any accomplishments, any experience, the electorate has to rely upon his past decisions, his characters, who he associates himself, and what are his specific platform points if elected President. He does not want to answer anything because it could offend some one. He wants to be elected as a blank canvas so that he could write his own history before it happens.
But the first conviction Obama will have to deal with is the jury verdict of friend and major fundraiser Tony Rezko. On the day after Obama's claimed victory, Rezko was convicted by a Chicago federal jury of 16 of 24 corruption counts. This case is the most current in a long line of Illinois politicians being convicted of public corruption charges. The pay to play game is an institutionalized form of you give me money I will give you more public money (contracts) in return. Rezko was a friend, neighbor, real estate transaction partner, and who knows what else. Obama has dodged the questions of his true relationship with Rezko. No matter how often Obama shouts that he is the candidate of change, his entire political career is tied to the machine politics of Chicago.
The idea of Change as the theme of the general election is also a misnomer. John McCain is not change; he is a career insider in DC He may be for campaign reform, but he was a major user of campaign finance loopholes. He bumbles and stumbles through speeches by looking like a deer in the headlights when reading a teleprompter. While Obama waxes an academic liberal boilerplate big government agenda, McCain claims to be the moderate independent. This race is really a retread of two ghosts of the past:
GEORGE MCGOVERN vs. GERALD FORD.
No wonder the general electorate is not thrilled with these candidates. Obama (McGovern) is using the old worn antiwar firebrand to mobilize his old gray haired hippy base while McCain (Ford) has to stop the charges that he is merely an old hack placemat for the previous administration (Bush II). Obama made his victory speech in the city where McGovern made his concession speech after being pistol whipped by the electorate in 1972. McCain was in hurricane reconstruction Louisiana to kick off his national campaign against Obama. Louisiana, then a Democratic state, where all levels of government failed the people in the midst of a national disaster. The place where President Bush left an underqualified and overwhelmed political appointee in charge of FEMA to be the caretaker, just as some speculate would happen if McCain embraces Bush policies - - - a caretaker and not an agent for change.
Sequels are never as good as the original. That is almost canon law. And this general election is setting up to be one bad sequel after another.
PART TWELVE * SEPTEMBER 21, 2008
THE PENNANT RACE
THE CONCEPT OF CHANGE
MISDIRECTION AND MALFEASANCE
POWER IS THE STATUS QUO
Each presidential election cycle brings about in Central and Southern Illinois the dusting off of top hats, old wool coats, scratchy beards and muttonchops to re-create the historical Lincoln-Douglas Debates. The young upstart attorney debating the state political icon on the values of their day. A day before electronic media, 2 hour news cable channels, radio bulletins, or slick television advertising. The living fossil of the 1800s election cycle is the party Convention, the collection of delegates chosen in primaries and caucuses gathered together to submit one of their own to represent their platform (a detailed series of issue statements and what the party's mission statement) as their presidential nominee.
Platforms used to matter because platforms, issue statements, used to define the Candidates. Voters could read platforms and determine what Candidates stood for or predict how each person intended to govern. It the old days, platforms received as much coverage as the candidates themselves. The convention floor used to be a hot bed of debate on platform provisions, compromises and wrestling of language to appease the majority of their membership.
Party platforms or ideas have become passe. Irrelevant. A worn novelty. In this year's election cycle, the media concentrated on the horse races and not on what the candidates believed in. It was a superficial examination of the candidate's credentials while the airwaves was filled with generalized, tired soundbites from whistle stop tours across America. The public was left with a high school popularity contest instead of an old fashion candidate with a solid platform of specific ideas.
All that mattered was the Victory; both the Democrats and Republicans goal was to win the Pennant; to be the nominee. Damn the cost. Damn the promises. Damn the Torpedoes. Say anything; do anything; collect campaign dollars faster than humanly possible; polish the image; sell the brand; get the gatekeepers to become cheerleaders.
Barrack Obama elevated himself in front of a Greek Temple set to be the new leader of the Democratic party. John McCain buried himself in the sea of falling red, white and blue patriotic balloons to be the nominee of the Republican party. Both men claim to be the agent of Change, but without defining the word.
Each party's handlers have empty vessels to market like processed cheese slices to the voters. It is better to be reactionary and driven by pollster data than to be proactive and put out a position that could create any form of cross examination in the press. Keep the candidates TelePrompTer on message because neither candidate has the rapid fire intelligence to field questions off the cuff. The worst crime of a politician in a campaign is to get off message. The message is more important than the consequences of ignorance.
For example, both candidates have no clue of what is happening in the financial markets. The spinmeisters on Wall Street are blaming the collapse of the subprime mortgage market to dive investment banks into seizing up lending operations to the verge of bankruptcy and collapse. No one has stood up to back slap these alleged reasons. The candidates, Congress, the US Treasury, the Federal Reserve or the Bush administration. Everyone has bought the snake oil that the poor mortgage market is collapsing the United States economy.
In short, the true reason is a massive Enron-like financial pyramid scheme. When the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve are proposing a $1.5 trillion bail out of Wall Street investment firms, they are really bailing out their friends and colleagues (and where current government leaders hope to land once the administration rolls over). The federal take over of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, the two private corporations which bought mortgages from lenders to add liquidity to the mortgage markets, ended the alleged mortgage crisis. The actual mortgage holders foreclose on the collateral, the real estate, to recoup most of the money lent to the defaulting borrower. The lender can also seek a deficiency judgment against the the borrower. There are sufficient remedies already in place in the private sector to take care of mortgage defaults. It is not the actual mortgage defaults that Wall Street choked on, it was the derivative securities, pieces of paper created out of thin air, of investment bankers which were sold like betting slips at an unregulated sports book. For example, an investment bank would guarantee to a customer the mortgage rate in six months against change in exchange for a hefty fee. Others would create complex hedge formulas to buy and sell against movements in various indexes or markets. But these firms were creating trillions of dollars of assets out of thin air without any means, assets or collateral to pay off their promises. If an average person did this he or she would be in jail for fraud. But since this malfeasance was so massive and created by blue blood firms, it was discriminatory decided to save several firms that were too big to fail.
The United States government has no business in owning state chartered insurance companies like AIG, or the mortgage depository corporations like Fannie Mae, or bankrupt investment firms for the sake of keeping up our nation's financial image. That image was blown to pieces when the top executives of these investment firms cannot explain what their own derivative contracts are worth at this moment. Or what these contracts actually say or mean. Yet, the taxpayers are chosen to bear the burden of all these unsecured massive debts without any accountability for those who created the situation.
The candidates go along with these new financial myths because each party is so tied to the investment firms ability to raise cash and government bond debt to keep incumbents in power. And power is the only form of currency American politicians desire. Anything else is just a means to justify the end.
THE DARK ABYSS OF POLITICS
Commentary on the 2008 Election
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