Archive for October, 2006

Four for Tuesday

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

I.  I was having difficulty deciding who to vote for for Oregon Governor.  I had stopped paying attention to the Oregon Gubernatorial race a few months ago, so I can’t say I am fully aware of the elbows tossed all around for this race.

I decided I’d vote for Ben Westlund.  So I went to fill in the ballot, but Westlund’s name wasn’t there.  I called the Department of Elections to tell them that Westlund’s name wasn’t on my ballot.  The voice on the other end was rude and shouted “You have got to be kidding me!” It was truly bizarre.

Frustrated, I just went ahead and threw the ballot away.

II.  Apparently Duncan Hunter is running for president.  He’s a Republican Congressman from California.  Only one person was elected presidency from a perch in the House of Representatives.  The Republican Party was divided at the convention in 1880, and it took 36 ballots for them to come to James Garfield as a compromise.  I see history repeating itself here: the Republican Party will be divided at the convention between McCain, Gingrich, and Giuliana and it will take 40 ballots to decide to go with Duncan Hunter.  Just you wait and see!

III.  I heard the news account that the New York Post had endorsed Hillary Clinton for her Senate race.  I’m not terribly surprised, and even without a conspiratorial mind would come to the conclusion that, yes indeed, her opponent is not credible, hence… you endorse someone who has ingrained herself deeper and deeper into the Conventional Politics of the Political Establishment.

The conspiratorial component is obvious enough, and seems to trail off at the end of all articles on this story.

In recent years, the Clintons have forged relationships with Murdoch that have paid off handsomely for them. Murdoch threw a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s re-election campaign this summer and was a participant last month in the Clinton Global Initiative, an annual meeting that seeks pledges of monetary support to combat AIDS, poverty and global warming.

Ba da Booey.

IV.  I’ve had half a mind to find my way to either Spokane or Idaho and help elect someone (Peter Goldmark or Larry Grant) whose first vote will be to elect to the Speaker of the House San Francisco Liberal Nancy Pelosi, who will enact the Radical Homosexual Agenda of Barney Frank by turning out the votes of illegal Immigrants.  But I guess I should leave that up to residents of the Inland Northwest.

predictions askew

Monday, October 30th, 2006

That Barrons article?  The one that predicted, based upon cash advantage Republicans have over Democrats, that the Republicans would have a better showing than anyone expects and will maintain control over both houses?  that which I remarked on and excerpted all that I had available to me last week?

Reading further, I come upon some curious predictions that lead this into hay-wire status.

Minnesota
D – Amy Klobuchar
* R – Mark Kennedy
Rep. Kennedy has more polish and better funding than county prosecutor Klobuchar, though the seat has been held by a Democrat.
How Much They’ve Raised
Klobuchar: $7.9 million
Kennedy: $8.5 million
Montana
D – Jon Tester
* R – Conrad Burns
Incumbent Burns is in the fight of his life after receiving campaign funding from notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Burns’ money edge should save his seat.
How Much They’ve Raised
Tester: $3.6 million
Burns: $8.3 million
Missouri
D – Claire McCaskill

* R – Jim Talent
Incumbent Talent, who won narrowly in 2002, should prevail over State Auditor McCaskill because of his funding advantage.
How Much They’ve Raised
McCaskill: $7 million
Talent: $12.6 million

Simply put, nobody anywhere believes Mark Kennedy is going to win the Senate seat in Minnesota.  The failure to note this lends an air of incredibility to the whole proceedings.  NEXT!

Jim Webb is a writer

Monday, October 30th, 2006

You will remember that Lynne Cheney wrote a historical novel about the Wyoming frontier that… well… explored Lesbian sexuality.  She neglects to include this on her biographical page along with her other books, but Sisters has become a cult classic of sorts.  It’s difficult to know what to do with this piece of information.  Even without a homosexual daughter, it’s impossible for me to believe that Dick and Lynne could care a rip about homosexuality and the degenerate effects it’s supposedly having on society at large — (you know… Nancy Pelosi and her “San Francisco values” pushing the radical homosexual agenda of Barney Frank — or so goes an Indiana Congressman’s advertisement) — ala Goddam and Sammorah.

More to the point is Bill O’Reilly’s Those Who Trespass.  From what I have read and heard, you cannot slice this novel up without seeing Bill O’Reilly creating two alter-egos for the novel — the heroic hard boiled detective and the villian of the book.  Both receive ample sexual gratification that eerily echoes the sexual harrassment lawsuit of his phone sex transcripts.  Thus, this is surely O’Reilly’s id at work.

Now we get the strange twist that strange Senate race in Virginia has taken.  Apparently George Allen dumped a whole mass of excerpts from Jim Webb’s novels on Matt Drudge — after legitimate news sources never carried on with them.  I will say for the record that I am ambivalent about Jim Webb in general — he possesses some cultural attitudes that I cannot abide by (he railed against Jimmy Carter for granting amnesty to Vietnam draft-dodgers, he expressed negatives views on the issue of women in combat — that being grist for this campaign, and so forth).  I have read Born Fighting, which gives me an appropriately mixed opinion of him — but ends up pointing to “positive” on balance in terms of what he can do for the Democratic Party, the state of Virginia (that’s up for them to decide) and so forth.

In terms of authorship, and I’ll go with the (oh so blue state of me here) New Yorker article just published: you see his rage against rich Ivy Students dodging the draft in his novels.  I suggest some elements of misogyny probably come through as well.  But I propose another thing: you cannot write about war without writing about horrible attitudes displayed all around you, and you cannot write authentically without drawing out a mixed — and that includes dark — view from characters in the novel.

Now we can create a list of writers who can never be in elected office by the rules dictated against Jim Webb.  It’ll be a list of every good writer, and probably most of the bad writers as well.

The problem with the argument.

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

I read this letter to the New Republic, and I suppose I agree with it, kind of sort of in part and within a particular frame at least.  I’ll get to my main problem as soon as I just cut and paste the letter here.  Take it away, Mark Richard of Columbus, Ohio:

 Thomas B. Edsall is onto something when he writes that “the Democratic Party has become the political arm of the subdominant, while the GOP is home to the dominant groups in American life” (“Party Hardy,” September 25). This, however, is not new; it’s the basic story of U.S. politics since the Civil War. Until the Depression, the Democrats were (roughly) the party of the South in coalition with the urban North, while the Republicans were (also roughly) the natural governing party of “the nation” as a whole. Franklin Roosevelt and his followers brilliantly capitalized on the Depression–which occurred at the apex of the urban moment in American politics–to build a party of dependent interest and constituency groups. (His administration didn’t do much to solve the slump, but it did put the middle-class urban intelligentsia front and center as the administrators of American public life, to the gratitude of historians, journalists, artists, and others of the class ever since.) The Democratic Party’s coalition began to break up after World War II. With the exception of Lyndon Johnson in 1964 (in the emotional aftermath of the Kennedy assassination), no Democratic candidate for president has received the 51 percent of the popular vote that George W. Bush garnered in 2004 since Roosevelt did it in 1944–not Harry Truman, not John Kennedy, not Jimmy Carter, not Bill Clinton. (Not even Al Gore.) Democratic Congressional majorities persisted in the decades after World War II, thanks in part to gerrymandering (the party got 59 percent of the seats in the House as late as 1992 on only about 50 percent of the popular vote) and the willingness of Southern Democratic politicians to stay in the party of the Confederacy until their retirement. The great run the Democrats had, from the 1930s until 1994, depended heavily on the artifice of padded congressional majorities and the complicity of the old segregationist South, hard as it might be for today’s blue-state liberals to accept. Significantly, the economy was strengthening in 1994, when the realignment that the Democrats had long been able to skillfully avoid finally occurred. The Democrats are now basically back to being the party they were before the Depression: a coalition of disparate “minority” groups without much in common except their “outsider” status in the context of middle-class American life. They will win elections when the Republicans foul up or get lazy, but the slow climb back to power by the GOP in the absence of one mighty, aberrant event like the stock market crash or the Great Depression seems to illustrate that the Republicans represent “core American values” more authentically (if not more eloquently) than do the Democrats.

My problem is that I get the feeling while most people of any political or historical or even simply cultural bent would cite FDR or Teddy Roosevelt or JFK or Reagan as their favourite presidents, Mark Richards of Columbus, Ohio has no choice but to think of William McKinley as his presidential hero — much as Karl Rove’s political hero is Mark Hanna.

 Try again next time.

Kurt Warner???

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Whether or not it’s proper, if Claire McCaskill defeats Jim Talent in the Senate race in Missouri by a margin of two percentage points or less, I am going to go ahead and say that Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Michael J Fox — his accusation that Fox was utilizing his acting abilities to exaggerate his tremors or ”off his meds” and that was what was causing his tremors– was what swayed the margin of victory.  I’ll say that simply for the irony affect.

Apparently, some anti-stem cell celebrities have come out and are in a commercial against the stem-cell ballot initiative, and by extension for the candidacy of Jim Talent.  They include actor James Caviezel, who portrayed Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, and Kansas City Royals baseball player Mike Sweeney, Everybody Loves Raymond actress Patricia Heaton; Jeff Suppan of your World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, and…

 NFL Quarterback Kurt Warner.

That last one is instructive.  I begin to suspect him of gaining a sudden case of Parkisons during the Superbowl loss against the New England Patriots, hence the stiffness.  As we’ve learned, the medication tends to cause those tremors — a bit of over-compensation for stiffness and such — which accounts for all subsequent seasons that Kurt Warner has endured.

 Okay.  That was a bad joke.  But I had to say it anyway.

The West is the Best…

Friday, October 27th, 2006

 The Weekly Standard, of all magazines, has spot lighted Montana’s Democratic Senate candidate Jon Tester in a generally positive article.  Contemplating why The Weekly Standard would give what can only be measured as a boost to their partisan and ideological foe, I can only say that as a political magazine they do report on electoral trends and comment on them.  And so we have the trend that was picked up on by Democrats in 2004 by Democrats shifting through their political wake for these things, and generally shoved aside and ignored by Republicans.  Witness Karl Rove’s triumphant quoting of a gloomy New Republic report on the trials and tribulations of a Democratic Party which, when all was said and done, had been edged in a presidential race and had suffered what will be the high point of the Republican “Solid South” in the Senate contests… trust me on that last one.

In presidential terms, the trend puts Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico and perhaps Montana into the Democratic candidate’s reach.  The outer edge of this trendline is seen when you look at the map of electoral contests in a “Deepest Red” zone that stretches from Wyoming and Montana on west-ward until you hit the Cascade Mountains in Washington.

 Five races.  The Senate race in Montana, which is more than likely going to go to the Democrat, your organic farmer from the middle of nowhere by the name of Jon Tester — who I presume will end up being lionized by rank and file Democrats just as handily as the current governor of Montana who is at the heart of this electoral shift in the first place.  And four other races that the professional prognosticators have bumped from either the “Safe Republican” or the “Republican Favored” category to the “Republican Favored” and “Leans Republican” category.  The Wyoming At Large House seat, the Idaho 1 House seat, Idaho’s governorship (though here I must note that there are a large number of red state Democratic governors and blue state Republican governors — they are safely away from those wacky ideolouges in the nation’s capital; nobody is going to bat an eye that Wyoming — the most Republican state in terms of the presidential ballot — has a Democratic governor and Massachusetts — with Rhode Island the most Democratic state — hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since Dukakis — though they will in 2006… Montana’s governor stars in the eyes of Democrats because he’s easily identified as a Democrat, unlike their current Democratic Senator who splits the difference), and Washington’s fifth congressional seat.

 Throw out that Idaho governor seat.  It’s status as a contest is noteworthy only because I half thought that the Libertarian Party had overtaken the Democratic Party as second party in that state.  Go to the races that effect Congress, and thus us all.  I’m not really one for moral victories, simply because my sense is that to have a decent chance of maintaining a House majority in two years, several districts, previously deemed unlikely places are going to have to elect Democrats.  So it is… Wyoming At Large, Idaho – 1, Washington – 5.  Carry one or two of these seats, Democratic Party.  Then the Democrats who squinted and thought they may have seen something in 2004 can be sure that they saw something concrete, and not just a speck of dust.

 Without having read these books — and there’s a decent chance I won’t, I suspect part of this “realignment” — or partial realignment as the case may be, is explored in The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians and the Battle to Control the Republican Party and Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South.  Or try this post and a comment made to a link in “erstwhere”: Thursday, May 5th, 2005:  I could do a rant like this one, and I’ve come close with statements such as “I have it on good authority that the residents in Red America swear more than their Blue Counterparts”.  Which is by way of saying that in the Republican governing coalition, there are fissures — regionally if you mix the Republican coalition as being Southern on one hand and Western on the other, the two regional cultures are colliding.

Esquire Endorses America

Friday, October 27th, 2006

Leafing through the Esquire list of endorsements for all the Senate, House, and Governor’s races in this nation. I go to the folks I’m largely familiar with. I wonder about this:

District 4
Doc Hastings (R)
Richard Wright (D)
A strong conservative from Washington’s most conservative district, Doc Hastings has been a loyal party man. But even Democrats have praised his fairness as chairman of the House Ethics Committee. Esquire endorses: Hastings

Argurably he’s been praised, or at least not scorned, for his current role with Foley, because some hearings appear to be happening. And sometime before he was chairman of the House Ethics Committee, he was on some Ethics sub-committee where he was praised, or at least not scorned, for his dealings with non-controversial tasks involving James Traficant and Gary Condit.

There was a CNN special, called “The Broken Branch” about our woeful Congress, within this past week that cast a sympathetic light on Joel Hefley, the man that Doc Hastings replaced after Hefley admonished Tom DeLay. Doc Hastings was mentioned with this phrase “Dennis Hastert accolade” — though it would have been better to say “Tom Delay accolade”.

I guess I wouldn’t expect Esquire to get this right when shuffling through 500 some races from an office in New York — or wherever. Nor would I particularly expect them to endorse anyone but a strong Republican in a strong Republican district. But the reason is phony.

Another interesting endorsement for Washington State:

District 7
Steve Beren (R)
Jim McDermott (D)
McDermott is one of the most liberal, least tactful members of Congress; this is the man who called Saddam Hussein more credible than George Bush. Just because John Boehner says this kind of garbage about Democrats doesn’t make it right for a Democrat to say it about the president. In protest, we endorse the Republican.

Esquire endorses: Beren

Maybe I should go back to see precisely what he said, but you don’t have to toss in Saddam Hussein name as any comparison to argure that George Bush lacks credibility. But this is a piece of the moderating influence in a generally Democratic leaning batch of endorsements — firebrands of any type not welcome.

A bit curious to check Ron Paul from Texas:

District 14
Ron Paul (R)
Shane Sklar (D)
Rep. Paul, a true libertarian, is one of the great eccentrics in Congress. He used to be considered the most right-wing member from Texas. Now most of the delegation is far to his right. They’ve changed. He hasn’t.

Esquire endorses: Paul

Lamont’s Woes

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Anybody with a political bent anywhere in the vicintity of my political bent is going to have to brace themselves on Election Day for one likely election outcome.

Joseph Lieberman defeats Ned Lamont (and that — um– third party candidate, Schlesinger.). He rturns to the Senate with renewed purpose, a re-entrenched passion for what he perceives to be a “Center”, gravitating toward the corporate and the warlike as that cenver appears to do.

I have noticed fiddlings on blogs that turn the bleak poll numbers into a Ned Lamont victory based on unseen and unique factors in this race. It goes like this.

A superior ground operation equals 5 percentage points for Ned Lamont.
Republicans “coming home” when pressed equals a loss of 3 percentage points for Lieberman.
Lieberman’s horrible ballot position — #5 when people tend to only look at the top 2 spots — costs him 2 points.

What do you know? Ten percentage points! With that, Lieberman only leadws by — what? 5 points!

We can only be so lucky. I guess Ned Lamont’s political problem stems back to the post primary pause — a campaign error due to his political novice status where he simply lacked the stamina for this type of work as veteran weasal Lieberman has. But there is another problem with Lamont. His politics comes off as contrived — “empty suit”, I suppose. I presume Lamont is a little more than a cipher — he didn’t pop out of a cave from nowhere and has done stuff with his life — but it makes for quite simply not a terribly smooth politician.

Lieberman is toxic — his campaign currently being helped financially by Bush’s financial backers and people nearly in Bush’s inner circle of Bush Investors. Once again, it is the “Skull and Bones” trap.

Incidentally, a Larouchite grouping sang at the Debates. A horrible and not sympathetic version of Code Pink, they.

Racial Politics

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

I admit I’m sort of out of the loop in emotional – and base level tugs at a strand of Racist Advertisement. For many people, the negative ad against Harold Ford that includes a presumably naked white woman (from just before the breast upward) saying “I met Ford at the Playboy Mansion” — and then, the rejoinder at the end “Call me!” — is obviously tinged. I myself have to think about it for a minute. It is what the viewer is expected to remember — charitably I’ll call it a charge of moral hypocrisy for airing advertisements filmed at churches while having attended a Superbowl party put on by Playboy. (In Jacksonville, mind you, not the Playboy Mansion). The racist implication goes back to the Reconstruction era charge that the Black man is raping our white women — which is why we need the good Christians of the Klu Klux Klan. Or that our white women are being seduced by the Black man. I do not think of that on an average day, notwithstanding politically incorrect moments of mundane comedy. I’m almost willing to give it a pass and think the criticism rings slightly false — that any attack such as that on that (admittedly frivulous) issue is going to end up even accidentally charged like that, but only almost.

I am incorrect in giving it a pass. Just because it doesn’t strike me on any level, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Witness this commercial. Jungle drums play at the mention of Harold Ford. While you need a dark ominous music, jungle drums makes the subtle overt to anyone who wants to hear it. The Republican Party is playing racist politics with Harold Ford in Tennessee.

Harold Ford, meanwhile, is guilty of gay-baiting, and you can justify that or not at your whim. (David Savage accepts it as fine, for what that’s worth.)


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