Friday, March 28, 2008

Teflon or Krazy: Obama, Hilary & McCain

Following up on a New York Times blog article titled "Krazy Glue Moments" which discusses why some we (the electorate) have different perceptions of candidate's gaffes, mistakes, and misdeeds depending on who they are and what they say. Why for instance do I still remember that damn turkey farm of Nelson's and that McCain angers easily but have to be reminded that Obama is a smoker and that Hilary was a Republican before she was a Democrat. So let's rate each of our Presidential Candidates according to their ability to deflect or attract negative attention. The scoring will be as follows: 0 is completely immune to being attacked for mistakes (aka being Reaganesque) to 10 being unable to sneeze without being lambasted for it.

Hilary Clinton: Can this woman catch a break?! No. She can't. The general perception of Hilary is that she will do (or say) anything to get into the White House (as a President this time). Therefore, anything that she says that is untrue feeds to that perception that she is will lie, cheat or steal in order to dupe more people into supporting her. Furthermore, over the years she hasn't exactly been making friends with the media or with Republicans and Independents.. so what your reap, is what you sow. Oh, and it doesn't help that you completely fabricate a story about how heroic you were in Bosnia, see video evidence totally discrediting you, then say that sleep deprivation made you say it, amend the story, have more video evidence come up, amend the story again, then be discredited a third time by dozens of witnesses and further video evidence.
Score: 8

Barack Obama: He's new, young, looks good, and he's black. If he was an athlete this would be a sure recipe for disaster, but for a politician it means no matter what he says (attacking Pakistan), or what he does (go to a Church of rather bigoted people), or what he thinks (hmm.. too many to list) is not going to make headlines for long. If all fails his campaign can always play the "They say that about him because he's black!" card, which if used seldom but effectively can make some pretty big problems go away. The Obama crisis management goes like this after a mistake or misdeed becomes public: 1) vaguely say that it was misunderstood, 2) claim it comes from the GOP or Clinton campaigns, 3) do something "courageous" like giving a speech on racism, 4) blame it on racists.. white racists, that is, 5) let friendly media outlets take care of it. It's a damn good plan.
Score: 2

John McCain: Well, he is a target for both Hilary and Obama camps but he is a war hero so you can't exactly criticize him too much (unless he threw away his medals..) McCain definitely has had his share of verbal gaffes describing himself as a "conservative.. liberal... republican" and discussing the support Iran was giving its enemy - Al Queda. Being a target of the entire Democratic party and the far right wing of the Republican party has not helped him out in the media. Although one might expect FOX News to be completely enamoured with the GOP nominee they seen to hold some disdain that he prefers MSNBC to them and therefore isn't even guaranteed positive coverage there!
Score: 6

And just for fun, Nebraska's (relevant or semi-relevant) Senate candidates.

Mike Johanns: The only words that could derail M.J. from becoming Nebraska's next senator are "I am a gay American". If he steers clear of those words.. he is a shoe-in and no matter what the media reports the is going to be elected by at least a twenty point margin. The only thing coming between him and being totally teflon is that the Farm Bill isn't exactly structured the way eachd farmer wants it to be. Besides that no matter what Ben Nelson or anyone else says... this non-charismatic Iowa farm boy will be our next Senator.

Score: 1

Scott Kleeb & Tony Raimondo: The truth hurts for NE Dems but the only way these two will ever get any real media coverage is either going negative or having very public nervous breakdowns. So in that sense no one is really paying enough attention to have anything stick to them kind of like when Mike Gravel cursed for a complete minute while discussing 'corporations', remember that? Didn't think so. So, for that reason NE Dem candidates for Senate get a new rating... the infamous and irrelevant -1.

Score: -1

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bill Clinton say what..?! Quote of the Day

Here you go folk, the Political Quote of the day.

I am totally lost as to what exactly is being said here:

"All these guys that say bad things about any other campaign, they say, 'Should they resign?' My answer is no; they're repeating party line. They oughta stay right where they are. Let's just saddle up and have an argument. What's the matter with that? That's what America's about, right?"

-- Bill Clinton, quoted by NBC News.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hagel's New Book: [[America: Our Next Chapter: Tough Questions, Straight Answers]]

Leave it to an active Senator to write a book in which he takes no prisoners but doing just that is definitely one of the strengths of maverick Senator Hagel. His new book "America: Our Next Chapter: Tough Questions, Straight Answers" hits stores on March 25th and will be in Nebraska a few days later to sign books.

This book will certainly be exciting if for just the thrill of reading what the maverick Republican is going to say about the Bush Administration, Iraq War, and how he sees the War on Terror(ism) going into the future. He comments on what he considers to be the true blunder of the Iraq War and why Washington's polarization is leading towards the creation of a new (and possibly viable) third party.

I know a lot of NE republicans may not like the guy for his views on those things but no one can call him a coward. Sen. Hagel is the kind of person who doesn't mask his words or play a game of semantics.. he says it like it is, and in that sense should has the original Straight Talk Express stashed away somewhere. Speaking of of which, after much whining about the lack of a clear endorsement in the Presidential race from Hagel, there are a few mentions of them (outside of that context) in his book. Sen. Hagel refers to Sen. Obama once in a chapter about the importance of dealing with nations directly when there is a crisis, however the mention is only connected to a bill Hagel and Obama co-authored strengthening the security of nuclear plants and fuels. As for Sen. McCain he gets heaps of praise in a larger section of his book dedicated to a vision of independent leadership and vision. (Also mentioned in that section is his colleague and former opponent in his victorious 1996 election, Sen. Ben Nelson (D) )

I am definitely going out to buy this book the first minute I can and think that anyone (no matter their political ideology) could benefit from reading it. The price is about 26 dollars and is available at a local bookstore near you or you can buy it at Amazon for about 17 dollars (and if you buy another 8 dollars worth of stuff shipping is free).

Amazon Listing

Friday, March 7, 2008

Whiners & Losers: Florida & Michigan

They knew the rules. They decided not to follow them.

Like a child that throws a tantrum when s/he doesn't get what they want even though they know they've been naughty, the Democratic Parties of Florida and Michigan are demanding that their precious delegates be counted although they decided to hold their primaries early. Were they warned? They sure were.. time and time again. Finally, the law came down from the top: You hold those primaries and the votes are worthless. Did the states' democratic parties listen? Nope.

Now a host of state democratic elites and the respective governors of those states are complaining that their freedom to vote has been compromised by Howard Dean and the Democratic party. Well I have news for them: your primary votes are not protected by the constitution and especially because YOU wasted them. Who really loses here? The democratic primary voters. All of a sudden it is realized that primaries can make a difference when it is a 2-person race for the nomination (not a single woman race the party elites obviously thought it was going to be). [Note: Florida Democrats are losers in general, so this is making them look even worse... if that is possible]

The Recount.. ahem, I mean... Re-vote.

In order to avert what Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) described as a "train wreck" the option remains for the Democrats to have another primary vote. This would either involve a multi-million dollar primary with voting done at precinct stations or a cheapo mail-in primary re-vote which would be confusing and ridiculous. Basically this re-vote would be a defiant call by the states' democratic parties to seat their delegates.. or as the rest of us see it: a multi-million dollar waste of dollars because they couldn't follow instructions the first time. Sad, just sad...

More on this as the story develops (which I hope it doesn't)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hagel:"the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here"

Senator Hagel in new book /The Much Too Promised Land/: "Let me clear something up here if there's any doubt in your mind. I'm a U.S. Senator. I'm not an Israeli senator. I'm a U.S. Senator. I support Israel... But my first interest is, I take an oath to the constitution of the United States. Not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel."

read more | digg story

Oh Snap! Clinton wins TX, OH

Oh woe is you, Obamites! Rejoice, Hillaroons! Pop open the Champagne, McCainians and Republicans everywhere.

By winning the Ohio, Texas, and ever-important Rhode Island primaries Hillary Clinton has shown that she's got some fight left in her (some of it coming from her own pocket apparently). Which means yesterday was a double holiday for Republicans who are licking their chops thinking about a Clinton-McCain Match-up after John McCain clinched the GOP nomination by crushing the Huckster four final times on Super Tuesday (Part Deux).

The question now is how Obama and Hillary will/have change their strategies. Obama could focus on the Apr. 22nd primary in Pennsylvania (which would look a little desperate) or waste what could be valuable time trying to gain some momentum by visiting and raising support in the primaries leading up to April, Wyoming and Mississippi. Clinton on the other hand seems to be doing well in the "big" states that she campaigns non-stop in, so she will probably continue her "Rudy" approach.

... And McCain can just sit back, hope that Hillary wins, and snipe at both of them while he waits for at least a month and a half for a nominee to emerge. Also, he could do very well taking some advise from Republican and "Conservative" strategists (read Neo-Cons) as to how to shed his ability to act bi-partisan and start looking more like a Bush Administration. I'm warning you Sen. McCain, if Obama is the Democratic nominee you'd better start remembering that how you use to be pre-2000 or else there will be a bit of a problem catching the pesky independent votes you NEED to be president.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Obama: Hagel for top Cabinet Position

Sen. Obama (D-IL), supremely confident in his chances of success in the Texas and Ohio primaries, has already begun talks of cabinet choices with his top advisers. Among names brought up by Obama and his aides for the office of Secretary of State or Defense is the name of the one and only, Sen. Chuck Hagel. Hagel is probably the most outspoken Republican critic of the Iraq war and not seeking re-election in 2008 (due to opposition in Nebraska by Republicans who cannot see past his stance on Iraq to see he is one of the most conservative voices in the Senate).

That kind of talk produces a few questions:

1.Would that appointment wise?

A: For Obama getting a few Republicans on his side would be a top priority for the Senator rated the most liberal in the past session. Hagel is a very knowledgeable person when it comes to the military and the state of affairs in the world. As a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs and Select Intelligence Committees (but not the Armed Services Committee) he certainly spends at least a couple hours a day pouring over intelligence reports and examining foreign policy. So in terms of knowledge the guy knows his stuff for the job of Secretary of State.

Final Answer: No, Obama has so many (Democratic) options for Sec. of State that there is no real reason to appoint Hagel

As for Secretary of Defense, Hagel seems perfect but he does face a few problems...
Sen. Hagel is a decorated Hero of Vietnam, a Purple Heart recipient (twice), one of two members of the Senate involved in ground operations during the Vietnam Conflict, former head of the USO, a former deputy administrator in the Dept. of Veteran Affairs under Reagan, he has fought tirelessly for benefits and protection for the military, and has c0-authored many bills and amendments relating to assistance for military families. On the other hand, his outspoken opposition to the Iraq War has led to his being labeled as being a person who 'opposes the mission of the DoD'. He is well-known for his aggressive and sometimes blunt questioning of Bush Administration and Military officials about the way the War is being conducted. Obama obviously agrees with this kind of questioning but since his departure in 1982 from the Department of Veteran Affairs he is now seen more or less of an outsider who is neither a friend nor a foe of the Dept. of Defense.

Final Answer: Yes, Hagel has a passion for Military Affairs and definitely has the ambition to serve to evolve the Department of Defense.

2.Will this result in sort of odd couple similar to Sec. of Defense Cohen with President (Bill) Clinton? or is this just talk to persuade anti-war Republicans to vote for Obama in a showdown with Sen. John "Gung-Ho" McCain?

A: Hmmm. Let's think to ourselves of famous Generals or Military related figures who are Democrats.. three names come to mind Rep. Murtha, Gen. Wesley Clark and Sen. Jim Webb. Now, let's review why they won't work: 1) Murtha is the member of Congress using earmarks for absolute Pork the MOST, 2) Gen. Clark is in love with the Clintons and is too political, 3) Webb would be a pretty good choice but he is a bit green and could run for president in '12 if McCain wins the presidency or run in '16 if Obama/Clinton win. So it does seem like a great option for Obama to pick Hagel however he will have to be careful not too ruffle Hagel's feather's too early otherwise Hagel will reject him and Obama's bipartisan cred will be quite low.

Final Answer: Right now it looks like there is a 65% chance that an appointment of Hagel to an Obama cabinet would work.

3. Would Senator Hagel accept?

A: Tough Question. If he were pressured early to stand up or support Obama against McCain he would automatically turn down Obama. After all, Hagel is loyal to the Republican Party and would never try to hurt one of his best friend's chances of seizing the White House (no matter how much of a War Hawk McCain may be). Let's not forget that McCain and Hagel are still very close friends, have neighboring offices in the Senate, and (besides votes on the Iraq War) have very similar records. Also, there is no way Hagel will come out in any direct way against McCain
unless he has been guaranteed a spot with Obama and there is no way Obama will guarantee Hagel a spot before the Election (publicly) without a lot of serious heat from Democratic Party insiders who remember either all of his positions on social issues or his virulent opposition to Bill Clinton.

Final Answer: If Obama played his cards right, he could snag Hagel as Secy of Defense if elected.

Think I'm wrong? Feel free to comment!

P.S. Sorry about the short hiatus, more on the way soon!