Monthly Archives: February 2008

>OBSERVATION: Vermont … stranger than fiction.

>I seem to be having a fixation with Vermont. You will recall, I previously have written about the effort but the good people of Brattleboro to have President Bush and Vice President Cheney arrested for “high crimes and misdemeanors” against the sacred U.S. Constitution. Never mind that such an arrest warrant would be … uh … unconstitutional.

Item #1: Prisons trump schools

Well, now I understand their zeal to incarcerate the Commander-in-Chief and his sidekick. Seems like bucolic maple syrup center of the world is also one of only four states that spends more money on imprisonment than they do on education. That’s right. That sappy (how ever you wish to interpret the word) New England state would rather see their future generation behind bars than behind books.

Since lack of education is a major contributor to criminal behavior, you can see why the leaders of Brattleboro would do something illegal in the hopes of adding to their prison population. For them, it’s a win-win.

Item #2: Ben and Jerry are from Vermont … figures!

I must admit, in my past writing about the quirky state of Vermont, I failed to connect the state with Ben and Jerry, the quirky ice cream-as-politics duo. I should have guessed.

They recently donated an Obamamobile (picture) to the Illinois senator’s campaign. The idea is to drive around handing out their frozen products in an effort to induce citizens to vote of Obama. In my amazingly corrupt home state of Illinois, we used to give derelicts (now known as” the homeless”) a pint of cheap booze to influence their vote. I guess ice cream is more acceptable to the gentle folks of Vermont. While Chicago was famous for “saloon politics,” I guess Vermont is building its reputation on “ice cream parlor politics.”

The Obamamobile is a variation of their “cowmobile.” I guess they are hoping Obama catches fire, which is exacly what happened to their cowmobile … literally. Yep! Ice cream flambe.
All this stuff ties together. Ben and Jerry, in there roles as left-wing political activists, were responsible for 70,000 postcards being sent to Congress in support of the national Children’s Defense Fund. Now … see the connection? Of course they focus on children’s defense since their fellow Vermonters spend more money on incarceration than education. In Vermont, the kids need lawyers more than teachers.

Item #3: Ice cream soda versus scotch and soda.

Vermont wants to lower the drinking age. I am not kidding.

State Senator Hinda Miller sees it this way. “Our laws aren’t working. They’re not preventing underage drinking. What they’re doing is putting it outside the public eye. So you have a lot of kids binge drinking. They get sick, they get scared and they get into trouble and they can’t call because they know it’s illegal.”

If I am understanding her reasoning, Hinda thinks it is better to see a lot of intoxicated kids in public rather than deal with only those who would imbibe illegally in private.

This would certainly cut down the crime rate in Vermont. Perhaps they could use some of the savings to fund education. Better yet, they could send consolation money to the families of the highway accident victims. Did they forget that a lot of carnage on the interstate is due to teen drinking? It is of little consequence to the victims and their families to know that the teenager behind the wheel was drinking legally.

I wonder what Ben and Jerry think about all this. After all, the mint swirl will give way to the mint julep, and rocky road will be the real highway and not a chocolate treat.
Honest to God! There must be something in that maple syrup that interfers with cognitive thinking.

>REACT: Campaign has reached its nadir… oh… Nader.

>”Stop the presses!!!” Hmmm. I need to be more modern. “Download the story!!!” Ralph Nader has announced his intention to run for President of the United States … again.

Now we truly have history in the making. We can choose from the oldest white guy ever elected President, or the first guy who looks more African American then he is, or the first female who looks more butch than she is, or now the first left winger who looks more sane than he is.

If New York Mayor David Bloomberg gets into the melee, we would have the first Jewish guy AND someone how could promise to pay off a significant portion of the national debt from his personal checking account. And with Nader mucking up things (as a good muckraker should), maybe Bloomberg will take a look. I mean, it is better to have been at least a presidential candidate than end your political career as mayor of the Big Apple. Even Rudy Giuliani knew that much. Look where he is in the fame game compared to John Lindsay, Ed Koch and David Dinkins. Who are these guys? Exactly! (I pictured David Dinkins because I doubt anyone remembers the poor chap).

But … this is Nader’s day. Already the Democrat political handlers and candidates are reaching for the aspirin or the gin bottle. They’re still pretty perturbed over what they consider Nader’s gift of the presidency to George Bush in 2000 — a least when then are not heaping venom on the Supreme Court. Without Nadar, they say Florida and the White House would truly have gone to Al “The Weatherman” Gore.

Nader does not care. He is a bipartisan hater. There is no redeeming value to either the GOP or the Democrat party. Only HE can save this nation from the clutches of corporate America. He is the candidate of the labor-acracy. His only problem is that while he champions the causes of the barons of organized labor, they, too, think he is more than an annoying nut case. If he loathes both political donkeys and elephants equally, one can wonder why he always goes out to kill the donkey. He must be more like the donkey since all my Democrat friends refer to him as a jackass.

If Nader’s constituency were as big as his ego and arrogance, he would be ending his eight-year residency in the White House. Maybe not. I suspect by now he would have scratched out the Twenty-Second Amendment that limits presidential terms.

The only thing that makes Nader at all interesting is the fact that in all probability this will be another close election. We are a nation divided. While most voters will shun Nader, as they did in 2004, a razor thin outcome could … just could … make Nader a two-time spoiler.

I say “spoiler” because it is the term of art, but frankly the Nader campaign of 2000 did not spoil MY election day. Yes, he is a nut. And yes, I think his whole platform sucks. And yes, I do not think there is a snowball’s chance in Hades that he can even come close to winning. If he can get past two percent, however, he could be up for the 2008 Ross Perot Award. So, I say to Ralph Nader. “God speed and good luck.”

>OBSERVATION: President Obama? I think not.

>Okay, I will risk being made the fool. I don’t think Barack Obama can win a general election, short of some catastrophic political event or campaign stupidity that would wipe out McCain. (Hmmm! Perhaps I should not be so bold in my prediction)

Obama has a powerful message, which resonates with the Democrat voters. However, his rise to front-runner status is also due to the unique demographics and sequencing of the Democrat primaries. He gains momentum, in some measure, because the early primaries were his turf to begin with, and his brand of politicking is especially effective in caucus situations. He also gained by having the “white guys” (including Hillary) divide up the white vote.

With fully one-fifth of the democrat primary voters being African-American, Obama had a solid core of dependable votes. Oh sure, there was a lot of speculation about Clinton’s potential strength in the black community – after all, she was married to the first black president according to some agonizingly twisted logic. Bottom line, black candidates generally get 70-plus percent of the black vote. Spare me the “ethnic pride” baloney that somehow does not apply to whites. At the theory goes, blacks vote FOR a black candidate out of racial pride (a good thing). Whites vote AGAINST a black candidate out of racial prejudice (a bad thing). Forget the bogus theory. It is racism, pure and simple. I won’t even buy “reverse racism,” as if it is only reactive to a more malignant white racism. A rose … is a rose … is a rose.

Some commentators note that Obama even did well in the “southern state” of South Carolina – failing to mention that the Democrat vote in the Palmetto State is 50 percent black. The also noted that he “crushed” Clinton in the District of Colombia, Maryland and Virginia. Again the black percentage is high (overwhelming in D.C.) and the high percentage of federal bureaucrats again gave Obama, as the big government programs candidate, the edge. The more liberal states, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, are good ground for Obama. He gets Illinois by virtue of being a “favorite son.”

So, Obama is now the front runner. He is the glamour boy of the press. He is sold to the public in almost messianic fervor. Television opinionator Chis Mathews talks about the feeling that rises in his legs when he hears Obama speak. (Oh, the things we could say about that. Nope! Not going there. Too freaky.) Former hippie Senator and presidential candidate bad boy Gary Hart sees Obama as a transcendent personality. Maybe he meant “transcendental.” A lot of pundits, especially the far left variety, talk about Obama as an inevitability.

So, what shunt will side track Obama in his quest for the Oval Office? Just about everything.

While the sun shines brightly on Obama at the moment, Clinton can still wrestle him to a draw for elected delegates, and secure the nomination thanks to her fragile advantage with the so-called super delegates. Or, maybe she loses to the Illlinois senator because of the super delgates. Either way, it could be a Pyrrhic victory. Such a scenario would mean that Obama and Clinton will spend several months blooding up each other in a serious of primaries, while McCain stands outside the center ring goading them with verbal prods.

Then there is the messy convention fight should neither one of them seal the deal before the convention. Instead of the convention being a grand public relations launch for the Democrat nominee, viewers will watch a bitter credentials fight to restore the Michigan and Florida voting delegates stripped away by the national party for moving up their primaries. Debates will rage of the role of the super delegates. Should the simply endorse the candidate with the most popular votes or delegates (presumably Obama), or should the vote their prior commitments (presumably Clinton).

Obama will show his crass political undergarment by arguing for the endorsement of the super delegates based on democratic principles, while arguing to disenfranchise the Democrat voters in Michigan and Florida. It doesn’t wash.

To see the party which so sanctimoniously condemned the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, the entire state of Florida and half the people in America for allowing George Bush to “steal” the 2000 election shred their party over similar issues is the most entertaining of political theater. God invented irony for just such moments.

Obama could be what I like to call the “cotton candy” candidate. As delicious as it seems on first lick, by the time you get down to the paper cone, you discover that there really was not much there – and your sort of sick to your stomach from the sugar-only diet. Because of the uniqueness of his candidacy, a carefully crafted charisma, and a rather pleasant personality, Obama gets away with platitudes. Sure, he alludes to fixing everything from world poverty to my computer, but there is no substance, no detailed program and no legislative initiatives. Just nice words, well delivered. His campaign offers the “audacity of hope,” and audacious it is. The empty rhetoric will not hold up in the more intense evaluation of a general election campaign.

Primary election combatants tend to play by their version of the overly polite Marquise of Queensberry rules. This is partly due to the fact that it is a family feud. Underlying is always the understanding that unity is going to be needed after the victor is crowned. Also, candidates in a primary often represent similar views – offering up differences without distinctions. Once the General Election begins, the gloves come off and the contest is more like kick boxing. Obama is not tested for such a battle.

Because of the nature of the Democrat constituency, where all the candidates are slightly different hues of liberal, Obama’s extreme leftist record and rhetoric has not been challenged. “Too liberal” is not an effective Democrat campaign mantra. McCain will, no doubt, define Obama as far left as credibility will allow. Despite self claims to the contrary, issue by issue Obama is beached on the port side bank of the political mainstream.

Many of the tarnishes on Obama’s media buffed shining armour that have been minimized in the primary could become significant issues in the general election. Does the name Tony Rezko (right) come to mind? In all likelihood, his political padrone will be on trail during the campaign, and the Obama name will come up in testimony. There is a lot more to be said about Obama’s early rise in the thoroughly corrupt Chicago political machine. And said, it will be.

Another major obstacle on the road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is race. With addressing the morality of racial voting (read that “prejudice”), it is a reality. Within the Democrat party there is a pretty significant strain of racism – on both sides. Obama will receive at least 80 percent of the black vote, and that is not an outcome that can be explained by anything other than racial prejudice.

However, in the general election, a lot of those white Democrats who prefer a white candidate will be crossing over to the GOP. Since the black community is almost totally in the donkey party all the time, there is hardly a black Republican who will cross over the other way. Furthermore, blacks in the Republican party are so conservative that they will vote their philosophy a lot faster than their race. That is obvious by their very presence in the pachyderm party.

Even with the angst over McCain, those who think conservatives will let Obama be president by default (not voting) are about as silly as those Republicans who think they can appeal to the black vote based on issues. Helloooooooo! Race is the ONLY issue.

Because of party rules and skewered demographics, the Democrats are engaged in a fight between the least likely candidates to win a general election. Because the conservative vote was divided, giving the relatively unpopular McCain a plurality victory, the Republicans have all but nominated the candidate with the lesser general election appeal. This means that November will be a contest to determine who is truly the least popular of them all, with the second least popular person becoming what I predict to be a rather contoversial president.

At this moment, it appears to be McCain’s to lose. But then again, he is a Republican, a party with a long tradition of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

>REACT: Can Obama knock off Clinton before the convention?

>With Barack Obama’s victory in the Wisconsin primary, it appears my slumber induced visions of a Clinton nomination maybe be no more than the stuff of which dreams (or nightmares) are made. I looks like Obama can not only snatch the nomination from Lady Hillary, but maybe, just maybe, lock things up before the convention. Should he win a critical number of delegates, and convince enough super delegates to endorse, he could preclude a bloody convention fight. He has the lead — and the “big mo” is definitely on his side.

An Obama candidacy makes sense. More often than not the Democrats tend to nominate their least electable candidates. I call it the “McGovern effect.” That gives the edge to Obama. More about that later.

>REACT: Handicapping the candidates

>Oh my God! I woke up this morning with the thought that the General Election could be a race between Hillary Clinton and John McCain. For any conservative, this is a Hobson’s Choice.

If this is the case, the Democrats will have nominated the stronger of their two leading candidates, if not the most personable. The Republicans will again have blown a Presidential Election with a Dole-like nomination – a man too old, too accommodating (read that liberal) and too much a Beltway insider. I can almost see McCain in plaid bermudas, brown socks and tennis shoes trying to look “kewl.”. I just cannot see the bedrock conservatives wasting gas money to get to the poles to choose between Clinton and McCain.

Or course, it is still possible the Democrats, with their inordinately liberal (and minority) voting base, will bubble Barack Obama to the top as the most left wing of the candidtates. It is what they mostly have often done since the radical left took over the nominating process with the 1972 reforms. They barely beat Jerry “I beg your pardon” Ford for one term for Jimmy “empty suit” Carter, the peanut farmer from Plains; and they knocked off the incumbent squishy middle roader George Bush with a relatively moderate Bill Clinton.

The Dems do better when they nominate to the right of there ideological epicenter, while the Republicans flounder when the move to the left of what is right. So, the most competitive race would be Romney-Clinton – where conservatives have more of a champion and the donkey party has a salable candidate.

McCain-Clinton would likely doom any GOP surge in 2008. McCain-Obama gives the GOP a chance, but nothing for conservatives to celebrate – maybe a big stay-at-home, none-of-the-above vote. A Romney-Obama campaign is a slam dunk for the GOP, and Romney-Clinton would be the Massachusetts former governor’s to lose.

Now, I know a lot of folks think the GOP is facing further humiliation this year. Only if they ignore the American middle-class, good politics, core values and common sense. Not hard to imagine, unfortunately.