Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jackson's Rubber, Obama's Glue

So this is where you'd find a post discussing Jesse Jackson's recent, um, suggestions for Barack Obama.

I'm going to redirect this one over to Huffington Post so any and everyone can read/trash/discuss it over there. Please check it out, as I'm honored to have the HuffPo folks give me some of their precious bandwidth.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Our Long National Nightmare Is Taking Her Sweet Time, Thankyouverymuch.

As I listened to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech on the telly (can we say “telly" this side of the pond?), I heard pride in our nation. I heard tenacity fueled by her avid supporters. And, peppered with mentions of America’s Barbie-beset little girls, I heard a rallying, communal, “You go girl!”

Naturally, what her audience was not treated to was humility. Nor did the reality of Barack Obama’s victory rear its unwelcome head. Senator Clinton seemed to have been packing up her political marbles and promptly exiting the playground – but not the political stage. Defiantly asking her constituents to write in (and presumably donate) on her website, while declaring she would “make no decisions tonight,” Hillary’s words flew in the face of a conciliatory, gracious, and above all victorious Barack Obama, who as of last night had exceeded the number of delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination.

I needn’t tell anyone the historical impact of Senator Obama’s nomination. Suffice it to say, the man won. But instead of exalting this victory, Obama and others were left to ambiguous phrasing, saying he had “won the delegates to clinch the nomination” and declaring that Obama “will be the nominee”.

However momentous the occasion, however, stealing Obama’s shine is the least of Hillary Clinton’s transgressions. As she rallies her base, states her case for being the stronger candidate (despite being the losing candidate), and does mathematical gymnastics to lay claim to a majority slice of the popular vote, Mrs. Clinton seems to be trying to parlay her unflinching pawns into a checkmate on the VP nomination. To the crowd’s cries of “Denver! Denver!”, she may as well have stamped her feet and held her breath.

Another noteworthy address last night was that of John McCain. To a far smaller crowd than either Clinton’s or Obama’s, he stated his case. He took his shots at Obama. But rather than going toe-to-toe with McCain, Senator Obama is still involved in a dance with Senator Clinton. By now, it’s quite obvious who the more graceful partner is.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sick and tired of sick and tired politics

“Not tonight. I have a headache.” That’s what I felt like telling Dan Abrams. And Keith Olbermann. And Glenn Beck, and Mr. O’Reilly too. I’m just not in the mood. And it’s not their fault – well, except in O’Reilly’s case. It’s just politics in general. I knew they were nasty, treacherous waters. But I didn’t know they were nasty, treacherous, petty, overtly racist, sexist, ageist waters.

Oops, almost forgot. This is supposed to be a hopeful blog. And it is. But today the hope has been bludgeoned a bit. It came to my attention that a presidential candidate and Senator, Mr. John McCain, used the terms “tar baby” and “gook”. Oh yes, America, he did. Being of Black and Thai descent, I guess I’m not someone the good Senator would hold in very high regard.

So I suppose my gall and my disappointment don’t register with him. Mr. McCain knew he wasn’t getting my young, liberal, female, multiracial, educated, middle-class vote anyway. As for his party, the Right has no remaining Presidential contender save McCain. And the supposedly liberated Left? How can they weigh in when the “race cards” are being shuffled, cut, dealt and played to astonishing effect by … who, exactly?

Is it Bill Clinton, hot-headed stump surrogate, taking shots at the Obama campaign by comparing it to Jesse Jackson’s candidacy? Is it Geraldine Ferraro, rogue HRC finance chair, likening Barack Obama to some kind of affirmative action candidate, then casting herself as the victim of reverse racism? Is it H to the C herself, who has by and large given up on the Black vote and now feels free to pander away to her base?

Who, Hillary? Pander?

In my opinion, the Clinton campaign didn’t accidentally make headlines with a racially controversial statement from its topmost tiers. Dear, sweet Geraldine Ferraro wasn’t stricken with a sudden case of verbal diarrhea when quoted in the media as saying Barack Obama was “lucky” to be Black right now.

And what to make of Hillary’s anemic denial of the statement? Perhaps we should consider what would have motivated her to take a stronger stance: votes, plain and simple. Since Black voters are no longer turning out for her, she needn’t actually stand on principle and, you know, reject and denounce the racist sentiment being flung back and forth like so many ping-pong balls.

And I can't bring up any of this without a nod to the fiery statements of Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor with whom he has close ties. Currently circulating are video clips of his sermons in which racial issues are addressed and the Democratic candidates are called out by name. (He's off of Obama's campaign, and Ferraro has stepped down from Clinton's.)

But this is nothing new. Ferraro pretty much said the same thing when she was running for VP on the Mondale ticket against Jackson back in ‘88. Perhaps what she and the Clintons, and most of all McCain, must realize, is that this IT’S NOT 1988. And Obama is not your father’s Oldsmobile. He isn’t Jackson (though both men are clean and articulate, thank you very much Joe Biden).

While I realize I don’t have to tell any of you this much, why didn’t anyone brief the “Presidential” candidates?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Why you don’t pick a president by their health plan

Even if I wanted to, I could ill hide the fact that I plan to Barack the vote in the primary, the caucus and the general election. Yet I give full credit to Hillary Clinton for championing the issue of health care in America as best she could for the past decade or so. I will go so far as to say that Senator Clinton is the reason Obama and Edwards needed to make it their issue as well. The reason they were even talking about it, at times.

But here’s why the particulars of candidates’ health plans don’t matter so much when it comes to who we elect our next President. For starters, the candidates admit that they are more similar than divergent when it comes to policy. From the economy to the war to health care, the broad strokes are painted in the same bold blue. They want to curb the mortgage crisis, bring the troops home and make health care more affordable.

Lately though, Senators Obama and Clinton have been wont to point out one difference in particular. Hillary’s plan will “cover everyone”. How does she plan to do that? She will simply make everyone pay for health coverage. That’s like passing a law that everyone must eat three squares and then declaring victory over hunger.

Barack’s plan, much like Hillary’s, aims to make health care more affordable. The logic being that people who aren’t covered probably have some financial hurdles to tackle. That a mandate would necessitate some sort of penalty for non-compliance. (When pressed for answers, Mrs. Clinton had one useful suggestion to enact her plan – wage garnishing.)

So it’s not that Senator Clinton’s plan would be more affordable, or that her numbers add up better than his. It’s just that she would simply make everyone do it and call it “universal”. Very Presidential, indeed.

C’mon. We know that no matter what health plan is proposed, it will have to pass two houses of Congress. And like an embattled filet mignon, it won’t look the same coming out the other end. So let us consider the vision used to propose a plan, the leadership needed to enact it and the spirit to fight for accessible health care. But see the plans for what they are – plans. And don’t forget the other battles our next leader will have to fight.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

How Texas Can Do Some Primary Penance

When I moved to Dallas two years ago, one of my reservations stemmed from the fact that Texas was Bush country. How could I live and work among the fine, proud Texans who had helped unleash the Decider upon the world?

But over the course of time, I noticed that my new neighbors were less and less proud of their association with Mein President. I began to see a hushing of the voice, a bowing of the head, when conversation turned to all things Dubya.

But a sense of vindication I did not feel. No, it was no fun to have been right about the contrived, illegal debacle going on overseas. Not when impeachment would prove to be "off the table". Not when Al Gore would sooner remove his own molars with a Swiss Army knife than run for office again. And not even now, when we've got a year left for George history-will judge-me Bush to push his agenda past a paraplegic Congress.

There is but one thing Texas can do to take responsibility for its part in this mess. That's to help elect someone who will get us out of it. I'm not just talking about ending the war. No newly elected POTUS is going to use his go-go-Gadget arm to yank every troop home by year's end. But it would be nice to elect the candidate who spoke out against this war from the start. As opposed to, say, someone who voted for it.

It would be nice for the Lone Star State to support the lone Democratic candidate who does not employ federal lobbyists or take money from special interests, who has released his tax returns to the public and made his earmark funding requests transparent.

It would behoove the now-penitent home state of G-Dub to bestow its votes upon Senator Barack Obama, who will begin to make up for our current President with his verbal acuity alone. Not to mention his respect for the Constitution, which all but hangs in tatters after eight years of misuse. Or shall we say disuse.

You and I haven't the time to recount the myriad abuses of the Bush years. But we do have time, between now and March 4th, to grab those bootstraps and pull Texas' good name out of the mud. Let's put those
Bush Wasn't Born In Texas bumper stickers to good use and elect his worst nightmare. That, friends and neighbors, is the stuff of our American dreams.