Why We Need a New Political Party

The abyss created by America’s recent culture wars only grows deeper as it divides the far-right Republicans and those who are conservative, but socially liberal. My own father, for example, is a lifelong Republican, yet he doesn’t support the socially conservative agenda being pushed by his party’s vice presidential and presidential candidates. The disparity between the two groups of conservatives has only grown wider with this election, and now, cautious fiscal conservatives are no longer represented by the party that has instead adopted a slash-and-burn approach to economic policy (i.e. McCain’s proposed spending freeze). In much the same way, fiscal conservatives/social liberals no longer have a political party that truly represents them. They are now forced to choose between two candidates who they don’t feel strongly about one way or another. I would recommend that independents and fiscal conservatives/social liberals form their own political party. Hopefully, the extremist philosophy of social conservatism would fade away election after election, leaving the U.S. without the ideological dead weight that inhibits societal progress.


The Third “Red Scare”

The liberal-hating witch hunt has begun, courtesy of McCain-Palin ’08.

But this isn’t the first time Republicans have appealed to the mob-forming instinct of a certain sect of low-information voters. Let’s think back to a time of poodle skirts and greased lightning…

In 1950, Sen. Joseph McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period of intense anti-communist suspicion inspired by the tensions of the Cold War. He claimed that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the federal government and elsewhere. During this time, referred to sometimes as the “Second Red Scare,” many thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning. The primary targets of these suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and union activists. In other words, liberals.

On Hardball with Chris Matthews, Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachman called for a movement by the media to investigate liberals (or “extreme leftists,” as she put it) in the Senate and Congress to see whether or not they were “Anti-American.” The new robo-calls by the McCain campaign accuse Barack Obama of being friends with people who “kill Americans.” I have now seen multiple Republican politicians refer to liberals and, more specifically, Barack Obama, as “Anti-American.”

So will someone please enlighten me, poor, unrepentantly “leftist” gal that I am, as to how eliminating women’s right to choose, sending AMERICANS to die for a war based on exaggerated evidence, creating a healthcare plan that ignores the plight of those who can’t afford health insurance, inciting radical right wing mobs under the slogan that the Democratic opponent is “palling around with terrorists” when that “terrorist” (singular) is now repentant, rehabilitated and an advocate for social reform, is “pro American”?

But clearly, these Republican politicians I’ve mentioned don’t believe in rehabilitation and reform. If they did, they’d try it with our country.

Liar, Liar- Will it Backfire?

For someone who claims to want to take politics out of the current bailout plan, John McCain was able to put politics right back into the equation. First, like a schoolyard bully, McCain practically dared Obama to be as “take charge” as he is. By that, I mean John McCain tried to take control of his dwindling poll numbers by looking like an altruist. America, don’t be fooled. John McCain called our economic state a “crisis” last week- yet it was only when the new ABC poll (in which McCain was 9 points down) was showed, that he decided to “suspend” his campaign.  He managed to do several network interviews and spend some time at home, yet somehow an actual substantive debate is tacky when the economy is crashing and burning. When McCain went to Washington, he didn’t make the bailout a shining example of bipartisanship as he promised- rather he walked in on an already bipartisan agreement, introduced a very partisan new idea, and proceeded to undo the past six days’ work within a couple hours. At the comedic farce that was his meeting with Bush this morning, McCain spoke just once and only for a couple minutes. Did he redeem his lack of input with a stunning, “maverick” style new idea? Of course not.

In short, John McCain put his own potical gain over the very real needs of our country. But never fear, McCain has Sarah Palin to lean on. She knows a thing or two about the economy- As governor of Alaska, she saved money by making women pay for rape kits!

As Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel said- in the name of progress, he stalled it. he claimed to take politics out of it and put politics right back into it.

As I said- Liar, liar.

“I’m an Older, Whiter Obama.”

McCain’s speech last night was a strange speech. Whoever wrote the speech did a terrible job, because it made McCain look unenthusiastic about his own candidacy. He isn’t known for his oratorical skills, but the speech lacked any overriding theme that could serve as an argument for the Republican “cause,” and it featured a few choice lies about his political record and that of Sarah Palin, as well. McCain wants to be seen as a lobbyist-bashing, reform minded Conservative, when in fact a lobbyist wrote his economic policy, he voted with Bush 95% of the time, and he is willing to adopt the very economic policy he once criticized as being “unfair to the middle class”. “Straight Talk”? Please.

The speech can be summarized like this: “I will change Washington by fighting against the special interests. I will fight for you. I will fight for America. We’ll all fight, fight, fight. Change is coming. It’s time to change politics as usual. It’s time to lessen the influence of the lobbyists in Washington. Fight, fight fight. I’ll never stop fighting for you because I’m a fighter. I remember a Latino man from Michigan…”


Palin Completely and Utterly Unqualified, Scholars Say

(the following was written by David Mark and Fred Barbash at Politico)

“John McCain was aiming to make history with his pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and historians say he succeeded.

Presidential scholars say she appears to be the least experienced, least credentialed person to join a major-party ticket in the modern era.

So unconventional was McCain’s choice that it left students of the presidency literally “stunned,” in the words of Joel Goldstein, a St. Louis University law professor and scholar of the vice presidency. “Being governor of a small state for less than two years is not consistent with the normal criteria for determining who’s of presidential caliber,” said Goldstein.

“I think she is the most inexperienced person on a major party ticket in modern history,” said presidential historian Matthew Dallek.

That includes Spiro T. Agnew, Richard Nixon’s first vice president, who was governor of a medium-sized state, Maryland, for two years, and before that, executive of suburban Baltimore County, the expansive jurisdiction that borders and exceeds in population the city of Baltimore.

It also includes George H.W. Bush’s vice president, Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle, who had served in the House and Senate for 12 years before taking office. And it also includes New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, who served three terms in the House before Walter Mondale chose her in 1984 as the first woman candidate on a major party ticket.

“It would be one thing if she had only been governor for a year and a half, but prior to that she had not had major experience in public life,” said Dallek of Palin. “The fact that he would have to go to somebody who is clearly unqualified to be president makes Obama look like an elder statesman.”

And Alaska is a much smaller state than Illinois, the political base of Barack Obama, whom Republicans have repeatedly criticized for being inexperienced, having served nearly four years in the U.S. Senate after eight in the Illinois state Senate.

“Not to belittle Alaska, but it’s different than the basket of issues you deal with in big, dynamic states.” Dallek said.

Palin has no experience in national office. Before becoming governor in December 2006, she served as a council member and mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, which had a population of slightly more than 5,000 during her time in office.

Brad Blakeman, who ran the 1988 Republican convention for GOP nominee George H.W. Bush, turned the experience question on its head, suggesting accomplishments in office mean more than time accrued.

“Here’s a governor who may have served two years, but her accomplishments are worth eight,” said Blakeman, citing Palin’s work as governor on ethics reform and an Alaska oil pipeline. “She’s got as much experience for being vice president as Barack does to be president.”

But other students of presidential history said that In choosing Palin as his running mate, McCain has reached back to a time when few actually seriously contended that the vice president should be demonstrably prepared to assume the presidency from day one.

If elected vice president, Palin would appear to have the least amount of experience in federal office or as a governor since John W. Kern, Democrat William Jennings Bryan’s 1908 running mate, who had served for four years in the Indiana state Senate and then four more as city solicitor of Indianapolis. The Democratic ticket lost to Republican standard bearer William Howard Taft and running mate James S. Sherman by an Electoral College spread of 321-162.

More conventionally in modern times, running mates could boast decades of experience in Washington, from ballot box winners like Dick Cheney, Al Gore, the elder Bush and Mondale to also-rans such as Jack Kemp, Lloyd Bentsen and Joseph I. Lieberman.

These super-credentialed candidates were sometimes chosen, like Joe Biden, to shore up the resumes of candidates with little or no time in Washington, such as Jimmy Carter (Mondale) Bill Clinton (Gore) and Michael Dukakis (Bentsen.)

Palin, on the other hand, is a total “wild card,” said Stanford historian David Kennedy.

“If she had been around for two terms as governor — or been a senator — it would have been an incredible choice,” said historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. “Who else could he have found who appealed to the conservative base … and as someone who was a reformer?”

That’s not to say Palin will be a dud on the campaign trail.

But out-of-the-box picks in recent years have not usually worked out too well for the top of the ticket. Consider independent candidate Ross Perot’s 1992 running mate, former Navy Adm. James Stockdale, who famously asked at the vice presidential debate with Gore and Quayle, “Who am I, why am I here?”

“He took the wind out of Perot’s sails, and Perot could have done even better” than the 19 percent he garnered, Dallek said.

A bad running mate pick can even put a successful presidential ticket in question. The 1988 Bush-Quayle victory over Dukakis and Bentsen came in spite of Quayle’s frequent campaign trail gaffes and questions about his military service in the Vietnam era and other controversies. Bush handlers largely relegated Quayle to small town audiences that would attract little media attention.

“Quayle — it threw off the momentum for some weeks,” said Goodwin. “One has to hope for McCain’s sake that [Palin] has been fully vetted.”

“The first thing that hits me,” said Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution,” is that it suggests that John McCain is a gambler. This is a high roller decision.”

“The next thing you have to ask yourself: Is it worrisome to have a gambler in the Oval Office? That’s an important question,” he said, “perhaps more important than anything else today.”

Update:  After reading this article, the McCain campaign issued the following statement: “The authors quote four scholars attacking Gov. Palin’s fitness for the office of Vice President. Among them, David Kennedy is a maxed out Obama donor, Joel Goldstein is also an Obama donor, and Doris Kearns Goodwin has donated exclusively to Democrats this cycle. Finally, Matthew Dallek is a former speech writer for Dick Gephardt. This is not a story about scholars questioning Governor Palin‘s credentials so much as partisan Democrats who would find a reason to disqualify or discount any nominee put forward by Senator McCain.”‘

A word of wisdom, McCain camp: The scholars, despite their political leanings, weren’t blatantly lying, as you all imply. I know you all like to blame the nonexistent liberal media bias for all of your problems, but really, now you’re saying that history itself has a liberal bias? The scholars were merely citing information that any teacher or student of American history knows well. You can’t dismiss a very real historical precedent as the figmentations of a Democrat’s scheming mind.

McCain VP Choice Exposes True Intentions

“Today, John McCain put [Sarah Palin] the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same,” said Bill Burton, Obama Campaign Spokesman.

What does it show you when a possible President of the United States chooses a second in command with absolutely no foreign policy experience ever? What does it show you when a possible President chooses a second in command who is willing to tear up Alaska for oil when it will profit the ever-powerful oil comapanies far more than the consumer? What does it show you when a possible President is trying to throw a woman on the ballot to steal the remaining rabid Hillary supporters who care more about their own petty disappointment than the wellbeing of the nation? It shows desperation, recklessness, and idiocy.

And the Republicans will probably try to push their “feminism” at the RNC, while they are simultaneously trying to get a man who consistently votes against bills that promote women’s equality elected.

No woman should vote Republican, and no woman planning on voting for John McCain should call herself a feminist, whatever they may say at the RNC.  While women still earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, while discrimination in the workplace occurs on a wide scale, while the woman’s right to choose is threatened, no sane woman should vote for John McCain.

Because McCain chose a running mate in an attempt to pander to “Hillary suporters” in order to get him through an election instead of a running mate who would be a good advisor in terms of foreign affairs, environmental or economic policy, it is completely fair to say that he has his self-interest at the heart of his decision, not the interest of the American people.

America, you are being pandered to SHAMELESSLY. Ask yourselves this: Would you want to be a passenger on a plane that was piloted by someone who had never flown an airplane before? If that idea makes you slightly uncomfortable, then how do you feel about Palin, only a step away from the Presidency, possibly controlling the world superpower with ZERO foreign policy experience?

John McCain was irresponsible in choosing Palin. Then again, this is nothing new- After all, he was irresponsible in supporting Bush’s war, he was irresponsible in voting against the Equal Pay Act, he is irresponsible in his disregard for the wellbeing of the middle class, and he is irresponsible for guaranteeing us an America where health benefits will be taxed, women will lose the right to choose, further alienation from the international community will make us even more isolated, and most of all, he is irresponsible in his pretense at fiscal responsibility when the war in Iraq costs the strained American economy 10 billion dollars a month.

By the way, that 10 billion a month is enough to cover universal healthcare, universal preschool, and still have 50 million dollars left over.

Published in: on August 29, 2008 at 5:04 pm  Comments (3)  
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Repetitive or Revolutionary? An Analysis of Obama’s Rhetoric

Recently, I’ve been having some feelings of frustration whenever I hear Barack Obama speak. While I agree with his political philosophy a thousand times more than I do McCain’s, I’ve been feeling like there’s something missing. Why does he always sound the same? Why, when he has even more detailed healthcare, environmental and economic plans than McCain, does he continue to speak in vague, all-encompassing terms that we know all too well from his stump speech?

Despite the nonspecific nature of his rhetoric, Barack Obama presents a potentially revolutionary political argument by doing just that. His campaign is rooted firmly in the idea that we have focused our cultural microscope on the small, trivial side of politics, and that we must incorporate grand aspirations into the American psyche in order to keep the petty from diverting actual policies from being passed. In a sense, his vaulting speech is a metaphor for his prescribed remedy for America’s cultural dis-ease. When 80% of the country thinks we’re going in the wrong direction, Obama recommends that we all keep in mind the ultimate goal, which is to preserve the American dream. Obama’s “theory” indicates that in order to accomplish the specifics, an overriding vision is necessary, and that is something that John McCain is sorely lacking.

Published in: on August 25, 2008 at 4:53 pm  Comments (1)  
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Mother Earth Disowns Republican Senators

Let me say this: The priorities of Republican senators are all screwed up. In their most recent act of thick-skulled incomprehension in a long line of acts of thick-skulled incomprehension, Republican senators blocked the passing of a bill that sought to reduce American emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by nearly 70% by 2050. The bill was viewed as a step in the right direction, but by no means the solution to the climate crisis. While the Republicans went on and on about industry and how inconvenient and costly it would be to implement the bill, our planet heaved another sigh of despair, saying to itself, “here we go again.”

Nobody ever said that dealing with climate change would be a cake walk, but last time I checked, America stands for something. We should reconnect with our better selves and acknowledge the huge challenge that is dealing with climate change. America’s brand stands on the pioneer spirit that led our forefathers to the colonies, that led the settlers west, that led us to the moon- we are not a nation built on petty cynicism and stick-in-the-mud mindsets. Republican senators, who seem to be wearing thick, foggy glasses that render them incapable of differentiating between the wellbeing of the earth and mankind rather than their constituency’s temporary convenience, have apparently forgotten this fact. If there’s one thing we can learn from the Republicans further inhibiting our ability to progress as a society, it’s that we must elect Barack Obama. Our senators have proved that the current American brand has been reconfigured to include George Bush’s obtuse denials of the climate crisis. We must not let this happen again.

Published in: on June 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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HE DID IT! Self-professed “skinny black kid from the South Side” defeats Hillary Rodham Clinton

We have all witnessed the greatest upset in American political history. Senator Barack Obama, 46, has been chosen by the Democratic party as their nominee who will compete against Senator John McCain, 71, in November, according to a new Associated Press delegate tally.

It is such an exciting time in American history- we’re witnessing the first ever black nominee campaign for the presidency. We all need to pay close attention to everything that happens now, because this will be one of those moments where people say “Where were you when…” We’ll be able to recount this historic moment in the great history that is the United States of America.

Obama has managed to clinch the nomination based on genius political strategy, adept management of campaign finances, a unifying message of change and hope and an unwillingness to take the low road. He has revolutionized the way political campaigns function, catalyzed the participation of America’s youth, and told us that the “American dream” is not dead- rather, it has been lying dormant for almost eight years, and he brings enough energy and enthusiasm to resurrect it.

Obama’s candidacy makes me so proud of our country. His story couldn’t have happened anywhere else in the world. We are the first white Western nation to give a black man a real shot at the presidency, and we need to take a step back from the What-Will-The-Clintons-Do-Next-Saga and pay attention to Barack Obama’s historic candidacy.

Barack Obama embodies America at its best, and I feel privileged to watch it all happen. Obama ’08!

Olive Branch (An Open Letter to Clinton Supporters)

Dear Clinton supporters,

I want to address some recent allegations that women are yet again being told to “sit down and shut up” in respect to HRC’s failed candidacy. I think it’s sad that some look at Hillary Clinton, a woman who almost won the popular vote (I’m not counting Puerto Rico because they don’t vote in the general), and think that she’s being told to “sit down and shut up.” The reason that Hillary Clinton lost the nomination is because of a badly conceived campaign strategy that ended on February 5th, a disregard for the caucus states, and a largely negative tone. She did not lose because she is a woman, and it is a disservice to future female candidates for the presidency to create an false aura of prejudice in respect to Mrs. Clinton. Instead, we should look at how many people were willing to vote for a female candidate! America collectively owes itself a pat on the back for not conforming to sexism as it has previously.

One might argue that I’m not acknowledging the small instances of sexism, (remember “Iron our shirts”?) but what they don’t acknowledge is that there will always be elements of prejudice, i.e. West Virginia and the 20% of voters who said race was a factor in their vote. In this election, that prejudice has seemed pretty nominal overall. We’ve had record voter turnout for a black man and a woman.

The fact that we’ve had record turnout for a black man and a woman really demonstrates what the Democratic party is all about- progressive policies, acceptance of all religions, colors, and genders, and a desire for change. Clinton supporters, I know there’s a lot of bad blood out there in respect to the relations between both democratic candidates, but let’s take a look at what a revenge vote for John McCain would get us:

1. A foreign policy identical to that of George W. Bush, fear tactics and all

2. An economic policy identical to that of George W. Bush (tax cuts for the wealthy, trillions of dollars added to the deficit, and billions taken from frivolous things like medical research).

3. A Supreme Court with a majority of conservative justices- a Court that will turn back the clock on human rights. John McCain vows to work to overturn Roe v. Wade.

4. A man whose campaign has been rife with lobbyists (his economic advisor helped fight against victims of home foreclosure!)

5. Someone who has changed policy positions countless times based on political convenience. (see video in my post “McCain falls off the straight talk express again. and again. and again”)

So when you threaten to vote for McCain in November, think of the message you’ll be sending. A vote for McCain equals a vote for what we have right now. Are you happy with the way things are right now? If not, then remember what it means to be a Democrat. Hillary wants to beat McCain at all costs, so help her carry out that mission. That is how you can truly honor her, not by voting for her would-be opponent.

John McCain has been sitting on the sidelines silently, hoping for the Democrats to self-destruct when their win in November is almost certain. Let’s prove them wrong by rising above our intrapartisan squabbling and unifying behind the the Democratic nominee. I extend the Olive Branch to all Hillary supporters and hope that we can come together knowing that this fall is our time for victory. As Hillary has often says, “The goal is to have a Democrat in the White House.”

Published in: on June 3, 2008 at 2:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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