Tag Archives: Barack Obama

vote

UPDATE: Include 3rd Party Candidates!

MONTICELLO — You’ve seen the national conventions of the Democlicans and the Republicrats. Soon you will see them square off through your devil’s box, i.e. your computer or television.

But you deserve to know all of your choices. Which is why this campaign will change focus to support a petition drive from four different political bents united by a single purpose, i.e. including third-party candidates in the televised debates.

Citizens of the United States deserve to know their choices. An informed populace makes better decisions at the ballot box than one misinformed. If a candidate appears on two-thirds or more of the state ballots, s/he deserves equal airtime on the “PUBLIC” airwaves at the very least.

***

We believe knowledge gives power to the American voter. Therefore, we find it necessary to ask for that which should already be freely given in this 21st Century.

Whereas we are the free citizens of the United States,

Whereas we elect our president through the ballot instead of the bullet,

Whereas we can show the world democracy still exists in our Republic,

Let us therefore DEMAND all presidential candidates appearing on two-thirds of the United States ballots be available for voter inspection by including them in ALL televised debates.

America: Be Fair!

Sign and Share:

http://www.change.org/petitions/open-up-the-2012-presidential-debates?utm_source=supporter_message&utm_medium=email

Courtesy of the League of Women Voters of California

Why a Libertarian Vote Matters

Courtesy of the League of Women Voters of California

MONTICELLO — In hopes of limiting facebook political rants, I’m blogging for those wishing to consider and discuss.

We just thought it was ugly so far.

***
Prior to Labor Day weekend, I plan to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. In a nutshell, here’s why:

If you want to keep the wars, vote Democlican or Republicrat.
If you want to keep the drug war, vote Democlican or Republicrat.
If you want to remain a slave to the Federal Reserve, vote Democlican or Republicrat.

If you think it’s insanity to continue things more-or-less the way they’ve been while expecting change — well, you know what I think. Just remember: when civil liberties disappear, it’s impossible to correct government.

(Note: I plagiarized myself by writing the previous bit here, posting it to facebook, then deciding to repost it here yet again.)

***

This election cycle disheartens me. I see the nation split along social lines as blatantly visible as those in my childhood.

This election will truly show America’s new colors. But it’s the old “colors” that still grab the headlines:

  • The Republican Party attacks women on an array of issues as a new guard of men raised under an old guard try to recapture power over women … WHILE THERE’S STILL TIME! Yet new generations of women never really considered their bodies to be accountable to anyone but themselves. Women still hold a numeric advantage over men according to the newest Census figures. Yet America still has yet to pass an Equal Rights Amendment. Congress did it’s job in ’72, but the states didn’t ratify by ’82 and here we are in ’12 — 40 YEARS LATER — with little discernible “change.”
  • The G.O.P. attacks “illegal” immigrants “taking American jobs” although the most recent numbers indicate more and more are heading home. It’s got to be a hard lot when you’d rather return to the Mexican drug wars than stick it out in El Norte. Led by the esteemed Barack Obama, the Democrats seem to “understand” the immigrant issue as Obama offers those born and raised in America the opportunity to be on the “non-enforcement” list. But what happened to natural-born citizenship? If John McCain could claim to be a natural-born citizen since his parents were in the Canal Zone at a U.S. submarine base, who has the right to say anyone born on American soil is not an American? On the other hand, Obama is deporting more immigrants than Bush did. It’s almost like he’s pulling a Clinton, i.e. taking a perceived weakness and treating it with overkill to pander to the other side.
  • The Constitution of the United States demands equal citizenship. In what should be a simple matter of citizen rights to be able to leave inheritance and insurance payouts to whoever you want, gay couples cannot do that if they’re not legally married. The state gives the license regardless of what deity one follows. Although many conservatives claim government should stay out of business, the insurance industry shows just how problematic that statement is, i.e. how many insurance companies do you know who provide life insurance policies with the premiums available to a LGBT partner? It seems there would be a mint to make, especially considering the rich LGBT population in the medical and academic professions. Instead, the nation must deal with self-righteous bigots who want to make sure the LGBT community cannot claim these rights because it might offend their definition of God’s will.
  • On the positive side, nowhere can the United States see more growth than in the daily treatment of black Americans. No more bodies swing in the Southern breezes. Black and white men work side by side. America elected a black president. Yet the most virulent attacks on Obama come from those raised thinking they had a right to keep blacks from becoming “uppity.” We’re living in the 21st Century, yet still idiots throw peanuts at black media personnel with tauntsincluding, “This is what we feed animals.”
  • Let’s not forget the natives. Although their fortunes have improved with the gambling industry, many still live in poverty. The nation within a nation still has no Congressional representation.

Remind me how any minority aware of their standing will vote Republican? Oh yeah, there’s these people. I digress.

Only 10 percent of Americans approve of Congress, tying a historic low. And why should they? Those mid-year Tea Partiers basically ground things to a halt on the economy. Meanwhile, they sped through provisions to spy on Americans with drone planes and to arrest Americans for practicing FREEDOM of SPEECH near those in power. It’s almost like they forgot who put them in charge. And the president, that bastion of courage, happily signed away freedoms with the NDAA and HR 347. It’s almost like the uber-elite decided the peasants just needed to be kept in check.

The nation approaches this tipping point when U.S. economic health is at the worst in my lifetime. Obama can blame the G.O.P. for hindering the jobs bill this year, but it was the Democrats last year, which leads one to wonder what kind of leader is this man?

***

I’ve been asked to consider the following video about third parties and voting outcomes. My responses follow the link:

1 – When describing the federal government, the caller claims it’s a result of what the states do. The points she gives eloquently describe some of the problems structure presents. But this is based on a faulty premise, i.e. since the adoption of the 14th Amendment, the federal government no longer kowtows to state government. We saw this in Brown v. Board of Education when the federal government demanded equal access to schools for all, regardless of what the states want.

2 – The caller describes the attempts to change state voting rules, which have come to mixed results and questionable impact.

3 – The caller notes Duverger’s Law provides the structure for a two-party system. She does an excellent job of describing that process, but fails to consider this:

Most students of electoral systems would now consider such attempts to rescue Duverger’s law as reflecting a misplaced characterization of institutions as deterministic, and hence statements about the effects of institutions on political outcomes as deterministic. Despite the law-like character of the propositions formulated by Duverger, it is now standard in the study of electoral institutions to treat institutional characteristics as producing tendencies in party systems that are probabilistic, not deterministic in nature. Duverger himself claimed in a 1986 essay that he had not intended for his ‘law’ to have the deterministic significance later attributed to it (Duverger, 1986).

Indeed, the proposition depends on interplay between psychological and mechanical factors, i.e. some people tend to believe they’re wasting their vote on a third party, which leads to their accepting what I call the “lesser of two evils.” I do not mean to imply Duverger’s principle does not work often; I note it does not work ALWAYS. I will come back to that, but here’s a hint:

‘Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies but which let wasps and hornets break through’ — Jonathan Swift.

4 – The caller suggests we could fix structure through the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. However, the United States does not need to elect the president by popular vote. LET ME REPEAT: The United States should NOT elect the president by popular vote. Why? Majority rule leads to mob rule, which leads to minority repression. America should step away from — not back into — minority repression. If you want a dictator swept into office by the cult of personality, get rid of the Electoral College.

5 – I somewhat agree that you must build third parties at the state level. It’s what gets them on the ballot in the first place. One third-party candidate has that state support, i.e. the Libertarian party represents the fastest-growing party in the United States, easily taking the slot of the third largest political party in the nation. Libertarians are not a fringe group, either having held or currently holding seats at the local, state and national levels.

6 – The caller follows the same logic many of my friends claim when talking about the strategy of voting third party, i.e. “Why try to build an engine of change in an environment where the engine is unlikely to work?”

Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t wait for a better day to initiate his “dream.” Mahatma Gandhi took on the English empire: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Consider the full ramifications of the insight of anonymous[1]: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We cannot wait for change; we must instigate it.

7 – The caller suggests an Article 5 convention be held. Demand that your state legislature call for an Article 5 convention to update our Constitution to a 21st Century status. OK. I’m all behind that. Considering the historic low Congressional approval ratings previously mentioned, we’ve got a better chance of pushing that through than ever before if we’ll vote the riffraff out. But I don’t think it necessary to elect a third-party president.

The caller goes on to discuss centrism. This response will stick to electable third-party candidates, which is what I believe America may finally be ready to do.

***
Do I really need to describe the “NEED” for a legitimate third-party option?

The year of our Lord 2012 marks an American recovery in spite of efforts by both parties to continue sabotaging our nation. Recovery? You ask in disbelief. Yes, recovery. Obviously I’m not talking about the economy …

The American psyche was in a fragile state following the 9/11 attacks. Americans refused to heed Benjamin Franklin’s dire warning: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

But who could blame them? They’d only seen things like that in the movies.

The previous terrorist act on American soil (the Oklahoma City bombing) featured an American enraged by events at Waco and Ruby Ridge, an American seemingly inspired by Andrew MacDonald’s “The Turner Diaries.” The previous “Act of War” on the homeland featured brother against brother in yet another financially driven power-grab clouded by the latest social issue of the day.

Although some vehemently disagree with me, it does not matter if the government knew about the Sept. 11 terrorist plot. What matters? The government took advantage.

In the name of security, the government now claims the right to indefinitely detain you — yes you, an American citizen. Which candidates support this? While you can thank Barack Obama for signing that little piece of New Year’s Eve legislation, know “Rmoney” wants it, too.

So what does that really mean? If the government doesn’t like someone talking about “minority” problems, the government can lock them away. So you don’t think they’d do that? Really? Have you not paid attention, i.e. they’ve locked people away for smoking a weed! A WEED! Not some chemically manufactured shit; A WEED.

Do you really think they’ll have any problem putting away dissident voices when they’ve mastered putting people away for A WEED? I digress.

I tried to support the president after that, knowing that he was trying to “compromise” with a Congress not wanting to put his jobs’ bill through. I thought of all of the things promised in 2004 and — somewhat amazingly, considering the intentional obstructionism — how many have been fulfilled.

But then “The Man” signed HR347; you know it as the “anti-protest bill.

“Such a lopsided vote suggests that nobody in Congress is bothered by this, on either side of the aisle.” “It is a federal offense, punishable by up to 10 years in prison to protest anywhere the Secret Service might be guarding someone.” “The people who believe they are important enough to warrant protest can now shield themselves from protestors.”

Next came his Executive Order — National Defense Resources Preparedness, i.e. martial law by executive order.

The United States is essentially now under martial law without the exigencies of a national emergency.

In short, “The Man” elected to protect our freedom deliberately ATTACKED our freedom.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice … I’m no “Dubyah.”

You may have even been mad about it at the time. But the big “O” doesn’t want you to remember that right now. Why won’t “RMoney” bring it up? BECAUSE HE WANTS THE SAME THING. REPEAT: THE SAME THING.

Instead of bringing up this unpleasant fact, both parties conspire to shout: “LOOK! OVER THERE!” The dearly departed Mark Gibson once called it “The Boo! Game.” It’s a time-honored tradition from the GOP, especially in the South. The Democrats see how to use it too, i.e. if politicians scream about social issues long enough, the electorate won’t notice the theft of our freedoms.

Without our freedoms, WE ARE NOT AMERICANS. And I believe most Americans, when they’ll stop listening to the culture war long enough to really consider it, most Americans will realize 2012 represents our best chance to break the cycle.

So where’s this recovery I see? Americans have grown tired of being AFRAID. The American psyche is back that damnit, something MUST be done. But what?

***

The Whig Party once held considerable prestige in American politics. The question of expanding slavery to the territories ultimately proved to be its demise, i.e. putting too much stock into social issues caused the electorate to turn away from the Whig Party.

Sound familiar? Only if you’ve been paying any attention to the aforementioned G.O.P. attacks on minorities. Rake me over the coals for comparing today’s issues with slavery if you will, but realize again: both issues basically come down to equal rights and equal protections under the law for ALL Americans.

And what will the Republicans’ “slavery expansion” likely turn out to be? Attacks on women. They’ve been attacking minorities a long, long time. But this assault on the MAJORITY of the U.S. population will be the proverbial straw on the camel’s back.[2]

You cannot cherry-pick the Constitution. You cannot cherry-pick who can be an American and who cannot. We’re at a point in history that if you don’t like that, do yourself a favor and get the fuck out. Yes, I realize I just used vile language for the point, but it seems to be the only language that gets through to people who think they have some superiority to others due to their gender, race, creed, religion or bank account.

***

Why do I have a dog in this hunt, other than being an American citizen?

I only love God and family more than I love media. That love means I have no choice but to follow politics.

Gallup notes Barack Obama sits at 46 percent approval ratings. No president since Johnson has won with less than 49 percent prior to the election.

Within that 46 percent, the vast majority I personally know are very scared of the possibilities of a Republican presidency. “RMoney” took a lead today, if your one who keeps up with the horse-race.

But it’s August and “RMoney” just received his “bump” from the Republican National Convention. If it’s this still this close after the bump, it’s likely to diminish not too long after Labor Day, i.e. the Republicans picked a loser. Democrats should be celebrating in the streets.

But who wants to celebrate when either party means we keep the same policies that got us to this point?

When either party means we keep scores of our citizenry in chains?

When either party means we continue to prosecute people for smoking A WEED?

When either party means we continue to remain a slave to the Federal Reserve?

When either party means we continue to fight wars oversees when AMERICA NEEDS ITS CITIZENS TO REBUILD AMERICA?

When either party means we continue to fight culture wars to keep the populace from focusing on the issues that will MOVE THIS COUNTRY FORWARD?

We cannot afford either party anymore.

Either party knows the natives grow restless, so either party courts the dollars of the six corporations controlling American media under the assumption that if Americans cannot see a choice, they will not make a choice other than the false choice of the duopoly.

Understanding the trick is the first step to not being fooled by the magician.

I realize my friends see risk rather than opportunity here. But if you’ve made it this far, please hear me out.

There’s a good chance the G.O.P. breaks this year, especially with Gary Johnson promising no corporate taxes. You read that correctly.

Immediately my liberal friends will be up in arms. Before losing feeling in your fingers, though, consider Johnson’s positions compared to the corporate media’s preferences:

Anti-War; Pro-choice; Pro-gun; Anti-drug war; simplifying Legal immigration; anti-Internet censorship. I’ll let you read more, because those are important. But above and beyond all of those?

END the assault on privacy and REMAIN NEUTRAL on personal beliefs. Patriot Act? NDAA? Don’t listen to me:

2012 represents our best chance in years to truly make a difference and show the corporatocracy that even if they buy our media, even if they rig the system, the people will still overcome once they see through the lies. I don’t know how to be any clearer and I’m probably preaching to the choir.

But I’ll be damned before I continue to contribute to the insanity.


[1] Quote famously misattributed to Albert Einstein and Mark Twain. Whoever said it, common sense tells you it’s true.

[2] I’m not the only one who sees the gender gap, though there seems to be a definitive generational gap as well:

Signs of the Times

Justified — This sign seems planned to remind North Carolina motorists why it should remain standing during tough economic times.

Perpetual Notions
by Ronald Sitton

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Aug. 3) — You see them every day on your way to and from work, the grocery store, the library, the pool, the folks … but you might not “notice” them except for the occasional message.

In the late 1990s, “Got Milk?” grabbed the attention of passing American motorists before becoming a world-wide campaign. Without knowing the actual returns on investment, it seems the milk industry fared much better than the pork industry’s “The Other White Meat” and “Beef – It’s what’s for dinner” (note: the beef billboards apparently spawned a PETA/vegetarian response).

Around the nation, recession billboards ask Americans to lighten up. Some of you may remember the racy Calvin Klein ads of the late ’80s, but apparently the company’s newest billboards even messes with New Yorkers. Someone found the time to make a Web site commemorating crazy and funny billboards for the bored to enjoy. But not all billboards are funny:

It’s hard to understand the logic behind the use of some billboards.

File Photo
Priorities — Stop to see where the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker might be, but what about where Louis Jordan was? (File Photo)

In Kevin Clark’s documentary “Is You Is: A Louis Jordan Story,” Arkansongs dee-jay Stephen Koch tells of childhood expectations of seeing a statue of the legendary Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame honoree noting his hometown of Brinkley, Ark.

Instead he found a lot of promotion for the re-discovery of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker — but not one billboard tells passing travelers about Jordan. Wouldn’t it be better to attract as many travelers as possible during tough economic times, especially when located on a busy Interstate?

Perhaps even crazier: billboards on I-40 westbound promote investment opportunities in Brinkley … right after you pass the Brinkley exit with the next exit nowhere in sight.

Of course now, it’s not enough to have a static sign breaking the scenic view as you drive America’s highways and byways. Electronic and digital billboards are becoming all the rage. Even the FBI understands how useful they can be with the ability to update as needed. Are they safe? The federal Highway Administration sure seems to think so, especially when they sit in congested areas that give drivers time to sit and watch them.

Some claim business forays into social media represent nothing more than electronic billboards, but somebody’s watching. And just when you thought it was safe to go out in the water again … amphibious billboards! What’s next? Billboards in space?

But billboards aren’t just for business anymore.

GOD, Politics and Education

I’ll never forget driving to Knoxville from Clinton, Tenn., and seeing:

“That ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ thing … I meant that.” – God

Apparently, a non-denominational anonymous donor started that campaign. Halfway across the world, the Church of Singapore ran these to get more people to attend church on Sunday.

Some would say religion wouldn’t be religion if there wasn’t some controversy. You expect atheists to question God’s existence, but what about this campaign to “challenge the mindset of a new generation of church goers”? I prefer the approach of The Foundation for Life, whose “Pass It On” series hits really hard.

When it comes to politics, sometimes it’s tough to tell who’s selling what. Continue reading

Service with a Smile

MONTICELLO, Ark. — I watched President Barack Obama’s inauguration between classes today with pride and sore bones. Let me explain.

For the first time since I’ve started teaching, I can legitimately tell anyone that they can do anything they set out to accomplish regardless of race, creed or religion. That’s priceless. But so is the fact that we now have a president who walks the walk as well as talks the talk. President Obama showed his colors by not only asking people to participate in a day of service to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday; he also took part by helping at a homeless center.

Photo by Ron Sitton
Community service — Middle school students participating in City Year paint a quote from Nelson Mandela on a support for the Interstate 630 overpass near Little Rock’s Kanis Park. More than 70 people showed up to volunteer to help on the cold day. (Click photo to enlarge)

That’s where my sore bones enter. I started yesterday’s day of service by going to the Clinton Presidential Library to see City Year Heroes Opening Day, where 70 middle school students committed to working 100 hours of community service over the next five months. Keynote speaker C.J. Duvall, senior pastor at Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church, told the young participants that their service would inspire even more people to serve. North Little Rock Alderman Maurice Taylor then led the students in the Young Heroes Pledge, which concluded with a promise:

“I am a young hero and I will make a difference.”

Just like their new president, they honored that promise. Continue reading

Obama Takes Oath as 44th President of the United States

obama_sworn.jpg
Yahoo
President Barack Obama

Barack Obama took the oath of office as the 44th president of the United States today and pledged to “begin again the work of remaking America.”

Addressing a throng of about 2 million people on The Washington Mall and millions of others watching on television around the world, Obama recognized the multiple crises now afflicting the nation at a time of war abroad and economic turmoil at home. But he sought to rally Americans to a “new era of responsibility” and the promise of a brighter future.

He cited a profound “sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.” The challenges are real, serious and many, and “they will not be met easily or in a short span of time,” he said.

“But know this, America — they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

“Starting today,” he said, with the local crowd totally silent in respect of the historic moment and the words almost as powerful watching on the screen from afar, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

For the full story, photos, videos and the text of the speech and comments, check our sister blog The Locust Fork News Journal.

gwcubamug

We May Not Have Bush to Kick Around Anymore

But we do have much more work to do building the Web Press…

Connecting the Dots
by Glynn Wilson

We aren’t going to have George W. Bush to kick around anymore after Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. So what’s a liberal-tarian blogger to do?

In our case, that’s an easy question to answer. We will be right here continuing to develop the next evolution in the Web Press and building the infrastructure to replace newspapers as the primary information source for a democratic nation.

To read the full column, go to our sister blog, The Locust Fork Journal.

Douglas Blackmon (standing) speaks to Sitton's class and visitors at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Blackmon hails from Southeast Arkansas. Photo by Jim Brewer, UAM Media Services

-isms Dominate Politics, Intrude on Life

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – In spring 2007, I swore to more than one person that I would not get caught up in the presidential campaigns until it was actually time to vote. For more than a year I tried to keep my promise.

So … I lied. Isn’t that what politics is about?

I had no intention of lying, but I got sucked in watching the hyperbole about this historic event unfolding before our eyes. At this point, no matter what happens, the general election will feature two historic contenders – even the Republicans can claim to be running a minority with one of the oldest candidates ever. Be prepared for a media wave even worse than this come election time.

When I tried to stay away from the election, it ran into me. While teaching a literary journalism course at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, I tackled Hunter S. Thompson, proponent of Gonzo journalism, as an example of ethical issues within the genre. To prepare, I read “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72,” a book cobbled together from Thompson’s Rolling Stone articles.

Thompson is Thompson, and those of you who haven’t read him may not appreciate his spot-on analysis of political machinery at work. He never claims to be sober in his analysis, but history relies on words and deeds more than state of mind. More than a few times I’ve told students that Barack Obama must read FLCT’72 if he wins the nomination, if only to keep from repeating the mistakes of history. If he will be the candidate of change, don’t disillusion those who want it. Salon elegantly laid out the Democrat Party’s quandary recently.

As I read FLCT’72, I marveled at the similarities to the current election, e.g. the importance of a minority candidate. Though not prominent in Thompson’s book, Shirley Chisholm ran for president as the first black woman candidate ever. Chisholm considered her candidacy as viable, even if the media largely disregarded it as an anomaly. I wonder what she would think about this election; i.e. are the Republicans correct? Is the country still not ready for a minority president? I believe Chisholm would claim it is, but she was an optimist.

Of course, 1972 also marked the last assassination attempt on a candidate, i.e. George Wallace, who believed the country was not ready for much of anything minority-wise. Recently, a few black students came up to me with a print-out of an online dispatch that claimed the Ku Klux Klan plans to kill Obama. They asked if it was true. I didn’t see a Web address on the print-out, so I searched truthorfiction.com and snopes.com and only came up with the satirical newspaper clipping claiming the KKK endorsed Obama. (By the way, that proved to be false.)

I wish everyone in the United States would grow past shooting people with whom they disagree. Unfortunately, history shows serious threats of change often bring out the worst in people. I do not think the Klan is any more likely to target Obama than an ultra-right wing fundamentalist is going to target Hilary Clinton; even less likely would be someone pissed about immigration targeting John McCain. I hope and pray we as a nation have grown to the point of letting our differences being decided at the ballot box instead of ending in a pine box. But I digress.

***

Regardless of the election’s outcome, America has been forced to reassess race, first with the anniversary of the ’57 Little Rock Central High Crisis, Katrina and Jena 6; more recently with the “race discussion” initiated by Obama. In the past month I’ve heard Black leaders including Obama, Condoleeza Rice and Julian Bond face the race issue simmering throughout America since my youth.

I applaud them for doing it.

Of course, Obama had no choice. Continue reading

Obama’s MySpace not his to begin with

Current mood: annoyed

Just read about Obama’s MySpace problems. I guess he could legally claim his image was appropriated, but it seems rather petty to dismiss someone who helped him get 160,000 friends. I’m refusing to join any politico’s social networking Web site until we actually make it to the election season. Of course, I may be fooling myself. It’s ALWAYS election season.

Currently listening :
Koyaanisqatsi (1998 Re-recording)
By Philip Glass
Release date: 27 October, 1998

5:03 PM – 1 Comments – 2 Kudos –

gwcubamug

Krystal Ball: Who Looks Presidential For 2008?

Presidential Tip Sheet: Early Bet on Edwards

Looking under the hood of the muscle car in the Krystal parking lot, it looks like John Edwards could be the next president of the United States.

Here’s why.

In this early week in the race for president in 2008, rendered important due to new Democratic Party rock star Barack Obama’s early hints he may run and the resulting step up of Hillary Clinton’s reelection schedule, Edwards also stepped up in the public eye. Edwards the trial lawyer and vice presidential candidate and his smart yet southern wife Elizabeth out hardballed Chris Mathews of MSNBC on Tuesday.

For reasons I’ll explain later, he already has a head start in the early primary and caucus races in Iowa and New Hampshire, and will emerge from the pack as the electable moderate southerner with the strength of character to pull off being president. When you think about it, he even looks a bit like Tony Blair – but without the penchent for supporting George W. Bush.

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, who has been traveling the world since focusing on his major populist theme of solving the poverty problem here and abroad, was the recent top choice among likely Iowa caucus-goers asked to say who they would support in the 2008 caucuses. Edwards, who has traveled to the state extensively since the 2004 campaign when he was the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee, won the support of 36 percent of those polled. U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., finished second at 16 percent. Obama got 13 percent.

Edwards has been working on an upgrade to his profile as the son of a mill worker, the story he used to get the Veep nod after strong early primary showings in 2004.

Trust us when we say this will become even more important as the 2008 approaches and economists officially announce the economic recession. Yes, it will be out of the bag by then.

Edwards has not declared his candidacy yet, so to learn about his recent activities you have to go to his One America Website.

Edwards may also be in a good position from a horse racing point of view. He can refine what his plan is riding loosely in third or fourth and wait for the next turn, while most of the media spotlight shines on the two early leaders on the rail, Hillary Clinton and Obama.

A Cook/ RT Strategies poll looking at the Democratic Party’s crowded field of contenders shows Clinton leading public opinion with 34 percent. Obama is a distant second with 20 percent, even though he may not even run.

Former Vice President Gore, who has been testing the track’s surface of late while fishing for an Oscar for his Global Warming film, still gets the support of 11 percent of the people, while Edwards gets 9 percent.

Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts tied with 4 percent. Everyone else – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, and retired Gen. Wesley Clark, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio – scored 2 percent or less in the survey of Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning independents.

Taking Gore out of the race, Clinton rises 5 points to 39 percent, Obama gains 1 point to 21, Edwards goes up 2 points to 11 percent. Kerry picks up 2 points to 6 percent.

Without Gore or Obama in the race, Clinton goes to 51 percent and Edwards grabs second place with 13 percent. Without Gore, Obama, and Kerry, Clinton gets 52 percent and Edwards 14 percent.

But that is before the race has even officially begun.

We still like Al Gore and think he should have won in 2000, and he would prove to be a much more loose and effecitve campaigner now, we suspect. So if he runs, he will be a major contender and may even get our votes.

But then, why would he want to go through it all again – when he can have far more fun and potentially be even more effective on the outside?

Gore on the Web

Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, Ohio, who ran as the Ralph Nader of Democrats in 2004 and didn’t get very far, made an impasshioned speech for peace this week in making his announcement that he would run again.

His key point: “What kind of credibility will our Party have if we say we are opposed to the war, but continue to fund it?”

He says the Congress has already set aside the $70 billion it would take to get American troops out of Iraq and home, and he is suggesting we face facts and do that – rather than give President Bush another $160 billion supplimental appropriation to continue the war for another year?

Dennis Kucinish on the Web

Which brings up another reason Edwards could emerge as the front runner during the primary process.

Expect to hear Bush take John McCain’s advice, not Jim Baker’s. Watch this.

In a month, Bush will go on national television and ask Congress for even more money to send another 40,000 to 50,000 MORE troops to “win” a “victory” – “Over there.” He still doesn’t get it.

Coupled with the inevitable recession, if this war is still dragging out that will make it very hard for any Repubican to “win” in 2008.

The obvious leader will be Sen. John McCain of Arizona. A few months ago he looked like the only hope the country had. But since his foray to the major-domo of the Christian Right, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, and his recommendation for more troops, McCaiin is likely to sink like a horse with a stone embedded in his hoof before this is all over.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will pursue the GOP nomination (ho, hum) and may well be joined by Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas (yech!), Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (yawn), Rep. Hunter of California (who?), and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado (give us a break).

The question marks in the Republican race are former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (har, har).

Although national polls of Republican voters often show Giuliani at the front of the GOP’s 2008 pack, most observers with a real grasp of the Republican nominating process think Giuliani’s support for abortion rights, gay rights, and gun control knock him out of any real chance of winning the nomination.

Cook Political Report/RT Strategies polled Republicans and Republican-leaning independents about the 2008 contest. When Giuliani was included in the list of candidates, he ran first with 27 percent, followed by McCain at 25 percent and Gingrich at 10 percent. Romney ran fourth with 9 percent. Everyone else was in the low single digits.

Taking Giuliani out of the mix, McCain’s support rose from 25 percent to 34 percent and Gingrich’s climbed from 10 percent to 16 percent. Romney edged up to 10 percent. No one else drew more than 5 percent, according to the Cook Political Report.

Then there’s today’s front runner on both sides, Hillary Clinton. But does anyone really think she can really win the presidency? Her negatives with men are way to high for her to have a chance, unfortunately.

If the Democrats really choose 2008 to be the year of the woman in American politics, then McCain could very well be the next president.

You will recall that one of the early front runners in the 2004 presidential race, now Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean, said that to win, the Democrats need to appeal to the NASCAR vote.

If John Edwards is listening, here’s a tip on how he can win this thing. Get yourself a muscle car, go to Nashville and make some CMT-style music videos. In essence, start hanging out in the Krystal parking lot and talking it up. Get yourself a cowboy hat. Go country.

The liberals in New York, D.C., California and the other cities, can’t win this thing without some working class votes in the South. And they will never, not in a million years, vote for Hillary.

Edwards has the union bona fides to talk the talk and walk the walk. He may even be able to carry Alabama in two years – once the economy goes in the tank and the war gets even worse.

How about Obama for Veep and president in 2016?