Sunday, August 31, 2008

Republicans Convert a Partisan Celebration into a Wholesale Relief Effort

The Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN, site of the 2008 Republican Convention.

Kate Seelye at the Caucus (NY Times) describes the turmoil Gustav is causing in the Twin Cities, host of the Republican Convention scheduled to start tomorrow.

Seelye writes:

“Convention in Turmoil 6:11 p.m. Gustav may be threatening the Gulf Coast with devastating physical force, but it has already thrown the political world gathered here in St. Paul and Minneapolis into turmoil.

“Officials say this is the first time that a convention has been disrupted by a natural disaster. And it is shaping up as a major test of the McCain campaign as to whether it can hold this gathering together or whether it will fall apart at the seams. After an extraordinary political season and a 20-month primary, it is even possible now that John McCain, the man of the hour, won’t come at all.

“Mr. McCain, who seemed to learn the lesson of Katrina long before Gustav materialized, is doing everything he can to avoid a split-screen image between his party and devastation in the Gulf.

“And organizers here are now fully engaged in converting this convention from a partisan celebration into a wholesale relief effort. They have established information centers, are pulling their political commercials, have chartered a DC-9 to take Gulf state delegates home, and, perhaps most importantly, are portraying Mr. McCain as the commander in chief who is calling the shots — and calling for “action.”

“One question now is whether delegates and other support personnel will decide that this is a big downer and leave. The media spotlight has shifted to the Gulf Coast and is likely to remain there for several days. There won’t be much chance for partisan showmanship, and they may decide they can just as easily write their checks for emergency aid from home.

“The organizers are trying to put the best face on things but they are also lowering expectations. Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s top aide, urged those who are scheduled to speak to stay, even as he couldn’t promise that they would get to speak.

“At the same time, Mr. Obama is not ceding the roll of commander to Mr. McCain. He has just spoken with Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security. He also spoke with Louisiana officials and has conducted phone interviews with radio and television stations in New Orleans and encouraged residents to heed the calls to evacuate.

At this point, Mr. Obama is still keeping his schedule, with an event planned in Michigan on Monday. And Joseph R. Biden Jr. is still planning on appearances in Pittsburgh and Scranton.”

Standing Up for Sarah Palin Against Obama’s Online Shock Troops

If you’re a regular visitor at Katalusis, you may have been surprised and a little concerned lately by my several posts in support of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who was recently chosen by John McCain to be his running mate.

Not to worry. As a lifelong Democrat who re-registered a couple of months ago as non-affiliated to protest the barbaric treatment of Hillary Clinton by my fellow Democrats this presidential year, I’m not about to join the Republicans. I continue to relish my freedom from any sense of obligation to put up with crap from political hacks of either major party.

And therein lies the real reason I’ve been standing up for Sarah Palin. As a progressive, I don’t agree with her on many important issues, such as women’s reproductive rights, creationism, and the war in Iraq. At the same time, the youthful Palin has many qualities that I admire and respect, and I’ve been appalled by the barrage of sexist, misogynous attacks unleashed against her by the Obama machine. Obama’s online shock troops have been out in force since the moment Palin first set foot on the national stage, and there’s been no let up. These are the same hooligans who did their best to destroy Hillary Clinton, and now they’re going after the youthful Alaskan governor.

This is unacceptable and along with several other feminist-leaning bloggers who supported Hillary Clinton, I feel obligated to stand with Sarah Palin against these attacks. I hope regular readers of Katalusis will join me in this effort.

Republican Convention Schedule Changed for Gustav

Frank James at the Swamp reports:

“BLOOMINGTON, MN -- Sen. John McCain tore up the Republican National Convention schedule today in response to Hurricane Gustav, which is churning through the Gulf of Mexico and drawing a bead on New Orleans.

(For more information on the Republican convention go here.)

“With concerns rising about the potential devastation the storm could produce and with the shadow of the Bush Administration's poor response to Hurricane Katrina still hanging over Republicans, McCain decided to abbreviate the convention's schedule.

“Instead of the full schedule the convention's Republican planners had hoped for, the delegates will meet for at most 2-1/2 hours tomorrow to conduct essential business only. For instance, they must adopt rules, elect officers and adopt the party platform before they can nominate the party's presidential and vice presidential nominees.

“There will be no evening session. Party and McCain campaign officials will decide each day precisely how much of the convention can proceed as they watch to see how the hurricane and its aftermath unfolds.

‘"I want to thank all of my fellow Republicans as we take off our Republican hats and put on American hats,’ said McCain who spoke to Republicans at the Xcel Center by live satellite video feed. ‘And we say America, we're with you... The time for action is now.’
“Republican officials also said that the convention would quickly pivot, transforming from what was supposed to a celebration of the Republican party and its soon-to-be presidential and vice presidential nominees, McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, respectively, to a fundraiser for hurricane-related charities.”

Male-dominated Lefty Blogosphere Exploding with Misogyny Toward Sarah Palin

From the Tennessee Guerilla Women:

“John McCain knew what he was doing when he chose Sarah Palin for his VP. Already the male dominated lefty blogosphere is exploding with misogyny. And all of those alienated women voters, who were thinking of coming back to the Democratic Party, are thinking again.

‘“The 'progressive' men are actually counting the months of the woman's pregnancies! That's right folks. The formerly progressive netroots is trying to bring Sarah Palin down by proving that she is a slut! The menz over at Americablog (and followers) fervently hope to prove that one of Sarah Palin's children was conceived "out of wedlock!"’

Read more.

Zogby Poll: Sarah Palin May Stunt Obama’s Post-Convention Bounce

With only a couple of months to go before the big day on Nov. 4, the presidential race could be a dead heat until the final weekend. Zogby Interactive flash poll shows that “Republican John McCain's surprise announcement Friday of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate - some 16 hours after Democrat Barack Obama's historic speech accepting his party’s presidential nomination - has possibly stunted any Obama convention bump.”

“The latest nationwide survey, begun Friday afternoon after the McCain announcement of Palin as running mate and completed mid-afternoon today, shows McCain/Palin at 47%, compared to 45% support for Obama/Biden.

‘“After the McCain ‘Veep’ announcement on Friday, Palin was almost immediately hailed as a strong conservative, and those voters have rallied to the GOP ticket, the survey shows. Republicans gather in St. Paul, Minnesota this week to officially nominate McCain and Palin as their presidential ticket.

“Overall, 52% said the selection of Palin as the GOP vice presidential nominee helps the Republican ticket, compared to 29% who said it hurt. Another 10% said it made no difference, while 10% were unsure. Among independent voters, 52% said it helps, while 26% said it would hurt. Among women, 48% said it would help, while 29% said it would hurt the GOP ticket. Among Republicans, the choice was a big hit - as 87% said it would help, and just 3% said it would hurt.”

Read more.

The Vetting or Non-Vetting of Sarah Palin as McCain’s VP Pick

Photo credits:

Left-wing bloggers have been going wild in their efforts to trash Sarah Palin since McCain first made the stunning announcement of his VP selection on Friday morning. The vetting or non-vetting of Palin quickly became a focus for the Left’s attacks on the assertive, well-spoken and youthful governor of Alaska.

However, in this morning’s Washington Post, staff writers Dan Balz and Robert Barnes report that McCain’s “fellow maverick” survived a thorough vetting process:

“Far from being a last-minute tactical move or a second choice when better known alternatives were eliminated, Palin was very much in McCain's thinking from the beginning of the selection process, according to McCain's advisers. The 44-year-old governor made every cut as the first list of candidates assembled last spring was slowly winnowed. The more McCain learned about her, the more attracted he was to her as someone who shared his maverick, anti-establishment instincts.

‘"He looked at her like a kindred spirit,’ said one close adviser, who declined to be identified in order to speak more freely. ‘Someone who wasn't afraid to take tough positions.’

“Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager and the person at the point of the vice presidential process, said there was no abrupt change of course in the final hours. Nor, he said, was Palin selected without having gone through the full vetting process that was done for other finalists. That process included reviews of financial and other personal data, an FBI background check and considerable discussion among the handful of McCain advisers involved in the deliberations.”

Read more here.

An Alternative Focus for Clinton Supporters Choosing not to Vote on Nov. 4

Democrats have seemed a little on edge since John McCain’s stunning announcement this Friday morning of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. The up tick in the Left’s anxiety is understandable. Obama blew his chance to run with Hillary Clinton, an extraordinarily well-qualified woman with an indefatiguable spirit; now John McCain has seized the moment by picking the young assertive reformer Palin.

Naturally, left-wingers have increased their urgent demands – typically laced with guilt and fear-mongering - for Hillary Clinton supporters to get on board with Obama and Biden. As others have pointed out, it’s a little like the abusive spouse asking, “Where you gonna go, Babe?”

Long-time devoted Democrat, Heidi Li Feldman, has published a thoughtful response to why she’s choosing to abstain from voting on Nov. 4. The Georgetown University law professor offers her fellow Clinton supporters an alternative focus for their time and energy in the coming months, regardless of who wins the presidency. To read Feldman’s post, go here.

Obama Delivers: “The Picture Counts. Staging Matters. Pretty Words Seduce”

Democrats began to notice during the last presidential campaign that the Republicans were better at such things as stagecraft than they were, although the knack for cleverly framing their leader backfired on the GOP with its infamous “Mission Accomplished” banner high above the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln when Dubya prematurely proclaimed victory in Iraq.

This time around the Repubs have struggled to compete with the Dems in staging events and theatrical performances. From Berlin’s Victory Column to Denver’s Invesco Field, Obama has proven his rock star status before hundreds of thousands of adoring fans.

In today’s Boston Globe, Joan Vennochi reaches back to the Reagan years to find a comparable political phenomenon:

“DENVER MORNING IN America. Destiny in Denver.

"The high point for Democrats was Reaganesque, as Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination to run for president. An inspirational video. American flags. Fireworks. Red, white, and blue glitter cascading through Denver's thin air. Obama, Joe Biden, and their families, audaciously framed against a set designed to look like the White House.

“Obama spoke about the promise of the future and wrapped up with the history that makes his quest so poignant. Referring to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the famous "I Have a Dream" speech delivered 45 years ago, Obama noted that King's listeners did not hear anger; instead, they heard "the preacher " say that "in America, our destiny is inextricably linked."

“It was a powerful message. Ronald Reagan would approve.”

Vennochi summed up Obama’s acceptance speech and predicted the Republican counter attack:

“Obama made many promises in his speech, including pledges to launch new programs to solve complex problems, as well as cut taxes for the middle class. Republicans will do their own math. They will conclude the Obama platform doesn't add up and write it off as more of the same expensive, foolish, and failed liberal idealism. Their problem will be voters who want to believe in it, because it feels so good, especially in tough economic times.
“But, how does McCain reclaim the all-important feel-good mantle the Obama campaign stole from Reagan?”

Vennochi concluded:

"He {McCain] can try to unwrap the gauzy story spun by Obama at Invesco Field. But if all McCain does is attack, he becomes the candidate of gloom and doom, a fateful designation Republicans pin on losing opponents.

“In Denver, the Democrats wrapped themselves in flags and admirals, and Obama delivered the poetry that got him to this improbable point.

‘"We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy,’he said.

"But Obama also flaunted an impressive understanding of the party of Reagan.

“The picture counts. The staging matters. Pretty words seduce.”

(What Vennochi failed to mention in this op-ed piece was McCain’s game-changing pick of Alaska Gov. Sara Palin as his running mate announced the morning after Obama’s performance in Denver.)

To read Vennochi’s op-ed column in its entirety, go here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin on Motherhood, Politics, and Neanderthals (Video)

Go here to watch another must-see video of Sarah Palin on motherhood, politics, and you got it: Neanderthals.

Sarah Palin Replaces Hillary Clinton in the Chauvinist Left’s Crosshairs

I never thought I’d see the day when I’d link from Katalusis to an article by Bill Kristol in the Weekly Standard. But this headline in the Huffington Post just did it for me: Sara Palin: Dems Pounce on McCain Pick. And pounce the Dems did with the same vituperation mustered in their concerted efforts - in collusion with their media allies - to force Hillary Clinton out of the race for the Democratic nomination. Always at the ready, Obama’s online shock troops quickly chimed in by savaging the Alaska governor with over 7,500 readers’ comments. If you can stomach the vilification of the youthful Palin, go here.

Over at the Weekly Standard, none of the above came as a surprise. Bill Kristol’s piece titled Let Palin be Palin: Why the Left is scared to death by McCain’s running mate now seems prescient. Kristol writes:

"A spectre is haunting the liberal elites of New York and Washington--the spectre of a young, attractive, unapologetic conservatism, rising out of the American countryside, free of the taint (fair or unfair) of the Bush administration and the recent Republican Congress, able to invigorate a McCain administration and to govern beyond it.

"That spectre has a name--Sarah Palin, the 44-year-old governor of Alaska chosen by John McCain on Friday to be his running mate. There she is: a working woman who's a proud wife and mother; a traditionalist in important matters who's broken through all kinds of barriers; a reformer who's a Republican; a challenger of a corrupt good-old-boy establishment who's a conservative; a successful woman whose life is unapologetically grounded in religious belief; a lady who's a leader.

"So what we will see in the next days and weeks--what we have already seen in the hours after her nomination--is an effort by all the powers of the old liberalism, both in the Democratic party and the mainstream media, to exorcise this spectre. They will ridicule her and patronize her. They will distort her words and caricature her biography. They will appeal, sometimes explicitly, to anti-small town and anti-religious prejudice. All of this will be in the cause of trying to prevent the American people from arriving at their own judgment of Sarah Palin."

Here’s the link I thought I’d never make: to read Kristol’s piece in its entirety, go here. By the way, note Kristol’s sustained tone of civility. Wonder if the Left will ever master that particular skill. I doubt it.

Rasmussen Daily Tracking: Palin Leads Biden Among Voters Nationwide

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

The big news today, Aug. 30, 2008, from Rasmussen’s Presidential Daily Tracking poll is that just a few hours since John McCain first introduced Sarah Palin as his VP pick, the Republican governor of Alaska is viewed favorably by 53% of voters nationwide; whereas, Sen. Joe Biden is viewed favorably by 48%.

The Rasmussen’s poll this Saturday is the first to include reaction to both Barack Obama’s acceptance speech and John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin to be his running mate. The numbers are little changed since yesterday and show Barack Obama attracting 47% of the vote nationwide while John McCain earns 43%. When "leaners" are included, it’s Obama 49% and McCain 45% (see recent daily results).

Rasmussen also reports that Obama currently leads by thirteen points among women while McCain leads by six among men. Among white women, the candidates are essentially even while McCain holds a substantial lead among white men (see other recent demographic observations).

The Daily Show's Obama Bio: The Lion King, The Messiah, The Son Of A Goat Herder (VIDEO)

A must-see video.

Video: Another Heartwarming Tribute to Hillary Clinton from Geeklove

Go here to watch another heartwarming video tribute to Hillary Clinton by Geeklove.

Video: Bipartisan Sarah Palin on Super Tuesday last February

Go here to watch video: AP “Street Team 08 Exclusive” interview of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Super Tuesday during the presidential primaries. Palin offers her views of the candidates and discusses what she feels are the major issues facing America. She comes through as a very bipartisan political leader.

Gov. Sarah Palin - Not a Standard-issue Republican

Yesterday in Dayton, Ohio, John McCain seized the spotlight from Sen. Obama, who was still basking in the glow from his rock star appearance at Invesco Field, by introducing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his VP pick. The magnitude of the shock waves from the Democratic Party elite registered at least 7.5 on the Richter scale. Suddenly, the roar of “Yes, we can!” became heartfelt shouts of “Oh, no, he – they - didn’t!”

McCain’s pick was yet another wake-up call to a party that may live to regret its collusion in the misogynous abuse heaped on Hillary Clinton, its most qualified candidate, while its leaders fell under the spell of a motivational speaker skilled in his ability to draw huge crowds and rake in tons of money.

The Anchorage Daily News pays tribute this morning to the state’s favorite daughter in an editorial beginning: “Alaskans were stunned and delighted that John McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.”

The piece goes on to examine Palin’s background and her record in Alaska politics:

“Gov. Palin is a classic Alaska story. She is an example of the opportunity our state offers to those with talent, initiative and determination.

“Selecting Palin may prove to be a brilliant political stroke for McCain. Like him, she's an independent who bucked her party establishment and has worked with liberal Democrats. She's an ethics-reforming outsider who will help blunt Barack Obama's claim to be the candidate of change in Washington.

“Like McCain, Palin doesn't mind using government to dictate individuals' personal choices. She staunchly opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, which will help energize the religious Republican base.

“But as governor, she has downplayed those hot-button social issues. Soft-pedaling her convictions in those areas may help her appeal to women disillusioned by Hillary Clinton's absence from the Democratic ticket.

“Palin's husband is a blue-collar union worker, which may help the ticket appeal to economically anxious Americans who have lost ground after eight years of George Bush.

“Palin is comfortable around guns and snowmachines and fishing boats. She has a son in the military, soon to be deployed to Iraq. Those non-traditional female credentials help communicate the toughness that Republicans want to project in their campaign. Her youth and good looks are a handy complement to McCain, who is the oldest first-time presidential candidate in U.S. history.

“McCain's choice of Palin was somewhat surprising because she most definitely is not a standard-issue Republican. She worked with liberal Democrats in the Legislature to pass a multi-billion-dollar tax increase on Alaska's oil industry. She went back to Democrats again to win approval of her natural gas pipeline deal, which bypasses Alaska's major oil companies in favor of a Canadian company.

“In fact, Palin is almost totally alienated from the Republican Party establishment here. She tried and failed to get rid of ethically compromised party Chair Randy Ruedrich; they're not on speaking terms. In the August primary, Palin urged fellow Republicans to desert long-time Congressman Don Young in favor of her inexperienced and uninspiring Lt. Governor, Sean Parnell.

“McCain picked Palin despite a recent blemish on her ethically pure resume. While she was governor, members of her family and staff tried to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the Alaska State Troopers. Her public safety commissioner would not do so; she forced him out, supposedly for other reasons. While she runs for vice-president, the Legislature has an investigator on the case.”

There’s a glimmer of justice for Hillary Clinton’s supporters in McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. My first thought yesterday morning as I watched the self-confident governor from Alaska step onto the national stage was “Serves you right, Dr. Dean.”

To read the article from the Anchorage Daily News in its entirety, go here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Video: Naomi Klein on Obama

This video of Naomi Klein on holding Barack Obama accountable provides interesting insights on what being progressive actually means. Klein offers revealing information about the Obama team’s plans and strategies. For example, she talks about how the team’s chief economist, Jason Furman, defends the low wages Walmart pays its employees.

Geraldine Ferraro On McCain's VP Pick Sarah Palin (Video)

Fox News contributor, and former Democratic vice presidential nominee, Geraldine Ferraro dicusses McCain’s choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Watch video.

Obama’s Chief Vulnerability: It’s All About Him

Photo credits: AP

Tom Edsall, political editor of the Huffington Post, offers a sober assessment of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech from that fake “Greek temple” at Invesco Field Thursday night.

Edsall writes:

“There was mile-high Democratic euphoria in Denver last night as Barack Obama promised to restore the prosperity and national honor which have so gravely diminished during the past eight years.

“Still, along with the very real possibility of a new dynamism in the Democratic party that could motivate the grassroots, fuel voter registration, turbocharge turnout, and capture the White House, signs of possible political vulnerability could be seen in the leading sentences of Obama's speech tonight before 80,000-plus people gathered at Invesco Field:

‘“Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story - of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to. It is that promise that has always set this country apart -- that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.’

“This theme is profoundly appealing to his supporters, who see in Obama's personal story the embodiment of change, diversity, and a nation moving past racial and cultural conflict. But, at the same time, it plays directly into the Republican theme that the Obama campaign is more a celebration of Obama himself and of his own life story than a commitment to the interests of the American electorate. Obama's approach, according to this perspective, may serve to exacerbate what Pew Center pollster Andy Kohut has described as

‘“Receiving far more media coverage than John McCain "has proved a problem, not a blessing" for Obama, says Kohut. At the beginning of this month, a Pew poll “found 48 percent of respondents saying they had heard 'too much' about Barack Obama” compared to just 26 percent who said the same.”’
Read more.

Watch video: Alaska Gov. Sara Palin Reaches Out to Hillary’s Supporters

In her acceptance speech in Dayton, Ohio, Sara Palin, John McCain’s surprise VP selection, presents herself as a reform candidate with commander-in-chief credentials; she also reaches out to those women voters alienated by the Democratic Party’s treatment of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Confirmed: McCain's VP Pick is Sara Palin

It's confirmed. CNN reports:

McCain picks Palin for vice president
John McCain has chosen Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice-presidential candidate on the Republican ticket for the White House, a senior McCain campaign official has told CNN. The 44-year-old Palin, now in her first term as governor, is the first woman and the youngest person to hold the state's top political job. full story

Is Alaska Gov. Sara Palin McCain’s VP Pick?

Alaska Gov. Sara Palin talks to constituents.

The Chicago Tribune this morning reports that Alaska Gov. Sara Palin is John McCain’s VP selection although campaign officials have refused to confirm or deny the report.

Jill Zuckman writes:

“Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Campaign officials, however, remain mum this morning.

“McCain is expected to announce his choice at a rally in Dayton later.

“Palin is the first woman governor of Alaska, elected in 2006. She was also the youngest ever elected at the age of 42. She is the mother of five children, the youngest of whom was born in April and has Down syndrome. She ran on a clean government platform in '06 to defeat the incumbent Republican Governor Frank Murkowski.

“McCain reportedly considered Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, among others.”

Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain Team’s Rebuttal to Obama’s Speech

The McCain campaign has already issued its rebuttal. From spokesman Tucker Bounds: “Tonight, Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was so fundamentally at odds with the meager record of Barack Obama. When the temple comes down, the fireworks end, and the words are over, the facts remain: Senator Obama still has no record of bipartisanship, still opposes offshore drilling, still voted to raise taxes on those making just $42,000 per year, and still voted against funds for American troops in harm’s way. The fact remains: Barack Obama is still not ready to be President.”

Watch Video of Obama’s Acceptance Speech

Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field:

Obama’s Speech

It’s been a long week, and the fireworks after Barack Obama’s speech at Invesco Field brought a welcome sense of closure.

I’m one of those people who need time to process a major speech before responding to it, so I’ll turn the task over for now to Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny of the NY Times:

“DENVER — Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party presidential nomination tonight, declaring that the “American promise has been threatened” by eight years under President Bush and that John McCain represented a continuation of policies that undermined the nation’s economy and imperiled its standing around the world.

“The speech by Senator Obama of Illinois — in front of an audience of nearly 80,000 people on a warm night in a football stadium refashioned into a vast political stage for television viewers — left little doubt of how he intended to press his campaign against Mr. McCain this fall. And he linked Mr. McCain to what he described as the “failed presidency of George W. Bush” in cutting language that seemed intended to reassure nervous Democrats that he had the spine to take on what has proven this summer to be a scrappy Republican opponent.”

Read more:

Let’s Hear It for Geraldine Ferraro

Presidential candidate Walter Mondale and his running mate, Geraldine Ferraro

Thank you, Geraldine Ferraro, for your post today in the NY Daily News titled What Hillary Clinton’s Women Want.
After all the abuse Ferraro suffered during the Democratic primary from the Obama team, it’s good she has the courage to continue to speak her mind. Need I remind you that the Obama team managed to smear Ferraro, the first female vice presidential candidate on a national party ticket, and both Clintons as racists?

In her post, Ferraro gets to the point and concisely sums up where Hillary Clinton’s supporters are on the closing day of the Democratic convention:

“Hillary Clinton's speech before the convention on Tuesday night was brilliant. It reminded me of the one that Jesse Jackson gave in 1984 after a very contentious primary, when his name would be put into nomination the next evening and his 465-1/2 delegate votes would be recorded in the history books. His speech soared with reminders of a historic campaign, thanked supporters and recognized it was time to move on as a unified party.”

“Hillary's remarks, however, went even further than Jackson's did 24 years ago - by pressing for support, over and over, for her former opponent, Barack Obama, and urging party unity as the only way to defeat John McCain in November.

“She could not have done more. And despite what some of Obama's supporters seem to feel, responsibility for a contentious campaign does not rest solely on her shoulders.”

“It seems to me there are now three distinct groups of Hillary Clinton supporters.”

“The first are the PUMAs - which, as everyone now knows, stands for "Party Unity My A--." For them - and over the last two weeks I have received hundreds of letters from women who consider themselves PUMAs - nothing Hillary could say or do would move them. They are livid at the sexist way that Hillary was treated by the media, and even angrier at the Obama people, the Democratic National Committee and Howard Dean as chairman, for not speaking up against it.

“They believe that sexism is larger than this presidential race, that it seeps into the fiber of our country and must be stopped. They are convinced that if the media had been racist against Obama, Howard Dean would have been shouting from the hilltops - and so would have Hillary. They feel the party accepted a double standard, and many have indicated that they will either vote for McCain, write in Hillary's name or just not vote for President.
“Those people were outside of Hillary's reach on Tuesday night.

“A second group of Clinton supporters is those who chose her over Obama but who consider themselves good Democrats and will vote for the nominee. They also would never think of voting for McCain, primarily because of two vital, closely related issues of their concern: the Supreme Court and abortion.

“That leaves the middle group. These are the women (and in smaller numbers, men) to whom Hillary was reaching out in her speech. They were on the fence; some of them remain there. They were disappointed when she didn't win the nomination and let down further when she wasn't chosen, apparently wasn't even seriously considered, to be Obama's running mate.

“They were not only a significant number of the delegates in the convention hall on Tuesday night, but they are also the blue-collar ethnics and older voters in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, who came out in large numbers for her toward the end of the campaign.

‘“These are the ones of whom she asked, after recounting the stories of three people in various parts of the country who were having problems with health care or trouble making ends meet: ‘Were you in this campaign just for me?" And then, again referring to those people, she rhetorically asked, or "Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?’
“She then went on to point out that Obama was the person who could meet those tough challenges. And that he was the leader we need.

“Hillary has done her part. Now it's Obama's turn. Some of that third group at the convention were swayed by Hillary's speech. Some are still waiting for Obama to assure them about his experience and ability to handle the job. Some of them are waiting to hear if he really does understand them and their needs.

‘“They want to be sure that when Obama said so frequently in the primaries that ‘Our time has come,’ that it didn't mean their time had passed.”’
“Thursday night, we will find out.”

Amen to that, Ms. Ferraro, amen.

One last word: The Obama campaign has received a lot of kudos for its savvy, its efficiency, it’s organizing prowess, etc., etc., but labeling Geraldine Ferraro, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton as racists, while not speaking out against the prolonged abusive sexist, misogynyous assault endured by Hillary Clinton throughout the Democratic primary was not evidence of superior wisdom or outstanding leadership. As Ferraro pointed out above, some of us remain unconvinced that Barack Obama is The One.
Note: Ferraro, former U.S. representative from Queens, in 1984 became the first female vice presidential candidate on a national party ticket.

The Obamas Get It – Barack Needs the Women’s Vote to Defeat McCain

It’s good to know the Obamas have become aware of the contribution Hillary Clinton has made to her country through her life’s work and her historical campaign. It’s also increasingly apparent that both Barack and Michelle have had their eyes opened to the importance of reaching out to Clinton supporters and all women if they expect to defeat John McCain in November.

Adele Stan reports:

“DENVER--Today's meeting of the Democratic Women's Caucus featured a surprise guest: Michelle Obama.

“The potential first lady is making a concerted effort, it seems, to reach out to the different women's constituency groups in the Democratic party, including those closely allied with Hillary Clinton. (Earlier this week, Michelle Obama spoke to a gathering sponsored by Emily's List, the organization that bundles donations to fund pro-choice candidates.)

‘“In today's remarks, Ms. Obama offered Hillary Clinton some major props, saying, ‘Thanks to her, my husband is a better candidate.’ The ballroom full of women echoed with cheers and applause. ‘Thanks to her,’ Michelle Obama continued, ‘his campaign is a better campaign. And thanks to her, my daughters -- and all of our daughters -- have the freedom to dream bigger dreams...’

“Michelle Obama went on to list the causes dear to the hearts of caucus-goers: health care, equal pay, reproductive rights. She spoke rather poignantly of the tensions of being a mother who works outside the home, saying she often feels she short-changing her daughters when she's at work or on the campaign trail, and feels she's giving the job and the campaign short shrift when she focuses on her girls. ‘We all known that guilt,’ she said, ‘and I know I can get an 'amen' on that.’ The audience shouted back, "Amen.”’

“Her remarks ended in an appeal to the party's women activists to redouble their efforts on behalf of the Obama campaign. Predicting the upcoming election to be ‘a tight contest,’ Michelle Obama told a roomful of admirers, ‘Women are going to make the difference in this campaign...I am going to need you every step of the way.”’

McCain Ad Congratulates Obama for Historic Achievement

Here’s the ad John McCain plans to release this evening during Obama’s speech:

Hillary Supporter Susie Tompkins Buell Speaks Out

Hillary Clinton and Susie Tompkins Buell at a San Francisco fundraiser in Feb. 2007. Photo from AP by Paul Sakuma.

Dedicated Hillary Clinton supporter Susie Tompkins Buell’s post today, Aug. 28, 2008 is a must-read for all of us who witnessed the sexism and misogyny endured by Sen. Clinton throughout the Democratic primary; this kind of abuse continues to find expression on left-wing web sites as recently demonstrated by the likes of Nora Ephron (Yes, women can be misogynous. Check out the repeated trashing of Hillary Clinton in Maureen Dowd’s NY Times op-ed column.)

Tomkins Buell writes:

“On June 7th, my heart was broken. The candidate of my lifetime and my dear friend Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton suspended her historic Presidential campaign.

“Over the past two months I have become the poster-child, in the press, for the so-called Hillary holdouts; Hillary Clinton supporters who were angry and frustrated with the way she was treated in the primary and post-primary and weren't ready for unity. I was frustrated at the incredible amount of misogyny in our political process and in our media. And I was embarrassed that my party, and its leadership, never came to her defense when she faced a barrage of attacks based on her gender.

“I still bear some wounds, but I've thought long and hard about the issues I support and that I believe in and Hillary has led me to understand that Senator McCain supports little of what I champion.

“The turning point for me was the Democratic Convention in Denver this week. I saw how Hillary was treated by the Obama campaign and his supporters and I saw how President Clinton was greeted as a hero in our party and our country.

“This was not an easy decision, not because I dislike Senator Obama or think he's not a good public servant, but because I so strongly believed that Hillary was the stronger candidate.

“I will never forget about Hillary and will continue to honor and support her -- Hillary's grace and commitment will always guide me and my convictions. Her campaign was a turning point in my life and in my activism. And after working many months on her campaign, there was no doubt in my mind that Hillary would provide the leadership that we needed in these daunting times.

“After eighteen months and 18 million voters, she is so much more defined, known and respected by voters across America and opinion leaders of the world. People have seen how brilliant, compassionate and dedicated she is to her country and I think we can all agree that she came into her own during this campaign. But part of losing is looking back and using your mistakes as lessons. We must never allow misogynistic attacks in the media or in our political process ever again. In May of 2008 I co-founded WomenCount (, a political action committee dedicated at that time to encouraging Hillary to stay in the race and not bow out under pressure. Now we have turned WomenCount into a 527/PAC dedicated to battling the gender bias in our media and political process. I like to think of it as a for Women. And its most important work will serve to protect women like Michelle Obama, Cindy McCain, and Hillary Clinton from misogynistic attacks. I know that Hillary's most important work is yet to come and I know with a President Obama, her dream of Universal Health Care for all Americans will come true. Senator Obama has done the right thing; he has honored her and her policies in the way they deserve to be honored. Do I wish she were at least Vice-President? Absolutely, but that's water under the bridge. We live in dark times and we need the kind of leadership that can take on our problems head-on and I know Senators Obama and Biden will do just that. So I hope everyone will join me and Hillary in saying, NO WAY, NO HOW, NO MCCAIN.

Personally, I’m not quite there yet – I remain in the category of the undecided – but I feel vindicated to some extent by the example set by Clinton supporters like Tompkins Buell, and I’m proud to have been in their company on this long and difficult campaign journey. And I strongly support WomenCount in its new goal to fight gender bias in our media and political process.

See Obama's Greek Column Backdrop at Invesco Field

Obama's Greek column backdrop at Invesco Field, courtesy of the Moderate Voice

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, a columnist at The Moderate Voice, has an interesting post on those faux columns in place for Obama’s appearance at Invesco Field this evening.

Well, the Greek column stage-set for Senator Obama’s 20 minute film, speech, followed by fireworks and music after, is seen by some as a bizarre backdrop.

But, perhaps the only odd thing is that many Denverites associate such columns with three notable places in Denver, each one ‘columnized’ out the kazoo, and also very well known for one odd thing or another

Read More.

Schedule for Democratic Convention Day 4 at Invesco Field

Here’s the schedule for tonight's Democratic National Convention straight from the DNC website. (The schedule is broken down by the hour. All times are Mountain Time, which is two hours behind Eastern Time.)

Barack Obama's address is scheduled to begin sometime just after 8:00-9:00 P.M. Mountain Time.

DAY 4 - Theme: "Change You Can Believe In" - From Invesco Field

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM (LOCAL)

Live Performances (before gavel)

Yonder Mountain String Band Performance
Jeff Austin, Adam Aijala, Ben Kaufmann, Dave Johnston

Voter Registration Presentation

The Honorable Luis Gutierrez
Member of the US House of Representatives, Illinois

David Plouffe
Obama Campaign Manager

Ray Rivera
Obama State Director, Colorado

Call to Order
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Permanent Chair, Democratic National Convention
Member and Speaker of the US House of Representatives, California

Rabbi David Saperstein
Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism – Washington, DC

Presentation of Colors
Disabled American Veterans

Pledge of Allegiance
Shawn Johnson
US Olympic Gymnast

National Anthem
Jennifer Hudson
Academy award-winning singer and Broadway performer

Elbra Wedgeworth
President/Chair, Denver Host Committee

Presentation of Resolutions
Democratic National Committee Vice-Chairs
Mark Brewer
The Honorable Linda Chavez-Thompson
The Honorable Mike Honda
The Honorable Lottie Shackelford
Susan Turnbull

Honorable Bill Ritter, Jr.
Governor of Colorado

The Honorable Ed Perlmutter
Member of the US House of Representatives, Colorado

The Honorable John Salazar
Member of the US House of Representatives, Colorado

The Honorable Diana DeGette
Member of the US House of Representatives, Colorado

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM (LOCAL)

Video & Remarks
The Honorable Howard Dean, Former Governor of Vermont, Chair of the Democratic Party

Video & Remarks: Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King
The Honorable John Lewis
Member of the US House of Representatives, Georgia
Rev. Bernice King
Daughter of the late Dr. King
Martin Luther King III
Oldest son of the late Dr. King

The Honorable Bill Richardson
Governor, New Mexico

Live Performances
Accompanied by John Legend (piano), Agape Choir, and band

Sheryl Crow

Ray Rivera
Obama State Director, Colorado

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM (LOCAL)

The Honorable Jan Schakowsky
Member of the US House of Representatives, Illinois

The Honorable Mark Udall
Member of the US House of Representatives, Colorado

The Honorable Tim Kaine
Governor of Virginia

Live Performance
Stevie Wonder

The Honorable Al Gore
Former Vice President of the United States

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (LOCAL)

John Kuniholm
Wounded Iraq veteran

Live Performance
Michael McDonald

Susan Eisenhower
Granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Retired Generals Tribute
Air Force Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration (Ret)
Accompanied by additional generals

American Voices Program
Roy Gross
Monica Early
Wes Moore
Janet Lynn Monacco
Nate Flick
Teresa Asenap
Pamela Cash-Roper
Barney Smith

The Honorable Dick Durbin
US Senator, Illinois

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM (LOCAL)


Pastor Joel Hunter
Senior Pastor of Northland in Central Florida

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Permanent Chair, Democratic National Convention

McCain’s Veep – a Mysterious TV Ad Announcement?

Political Intelligence has updated its post today on McCain’s Veep Pick with a hint of a mystery that might be revealed during Obama’s speech this evening.

‘“UPDATE: The McCain campaign is hyping a mysterious TV ad – ‘exciting and unprecedented,’ it says -- that is to air tonight around the time Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination. So there's speculation that McCain might even use that venue to announce his pick.

‘“Senator McCain is going to speak direct to camera to Barack Obama. I’m not going to give away many more details than that. But suffice to say it’s going to be a very exciting ad, and I think it’s going to get a lot of attention,’ communications director Jill Hazelbaker said on MSNBC today.

‘“Pressed for more details, Hazelbaker responded, ‘Well, I'm going to keep a lid on it. But I think it's newsworthy to note that Senator McCain is going to have an ad that's going to air in battleground states around the time that Senator Obama is speaking tonight. And he’s going to be talking directly to his opponent. So, I'm going to leave it there, but it's going be very exciting and a lot of people are going to focus on it.”’

Stage Set for Barack Obama, Greek Columns and All

Denver's Invesco Field: Courtesy of Premiere Sports Travel

Charles Krauthammer at Wapo provides a detailed description of the stage on which Obama is expected to appear this evening:

“Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's big speech on Thursday night will be delivered from an elaborate columned stage resembling a miniature Greek temple.

The stage, similar to structures used for rock concerts, has been set up at the 50-yard-line, the midpoint of Invesco Field, the stadium where the Denver Broncos' National Football League team plays.

Some 80,000 supporters will see Obama appear from between plywood columns painted off-white, reminiscent of Washington's Capitol building or even the White House, to accept the party's nomination for president.

He will stride out to a raised platform to a podium that can be raised from beneath the floor.”

Watch Beau Biden introduce his father in Denver

Here’s the Beau Biden video:

Watch Obama Greet the Bidens Onstage in Denver

Here’s the video showing Obama greeting the Bidens onstage in Denver last night.

The Democrats’ Left-Wing Hooligan Problem

Froma Harrop at RealClearPolitics today, Aug. 28, 2008, has expressed succinctly what many Hillary Clinton supporters are feeling the week of the Democratic convention. Harrop’s piece is a must-read. She writes:

“The Democrats clearly have a hooligan problem. It was as though their left-wingers suffered a kind of Karl Rove envy. They wanted to go on the attack, demonize a Clinton and hurl abuse at the Clinton's friends. Only a year ago, Vanity Fair ran a cover story on how Clinton hatred had infected much of the right wing. The left seems to have grabbed the baton. And it apparently did not dawn on the Obama shock troops that they were offending the very people their man might someday need.”

To read Harrop’s Hillary Can’t Fix What Her Party Broke in its entirety, go here.

Watch Video of Bill Clinton’s Speech in Denver

Watch a video of Bill Clinton’s stirring speech Wednesday night in Denver. The response from the crowd is evidence that Clinton continues to be one of the most beloved figures in the Democratic Party and across America.

Convention Day 3: Obama’s Nomination, Clinton’s and Biden’s Speeches

My afternoon yesterday was crowded with a meeting in the afternoon and dinner guests in the evening. I managed to catch part of the roll call vote on CNN and Hillary’s motion to nominate Obama by acclamation. I sincerely regret missing both Bill Clinton’s and Joe Biden’s speeches. I’ll try to catch up with video clips and transcripts today.

In the meantime, Chris Cilliza’s summary of Day 3 of the Democratic convention would entice anyone to look for more in-depth coverage of yesterday’s events:

“Convention Cheat Sheet: Day 3

“DENVER -- After two nights of mixed results, the third night of the Democratic National Convention delivered just what Democrats were looking for: reconciliation between the Obamas and the Clintons, an historic presidential nomination, and a startling kiss.

“Former President Bill Clinton, as only he can, delivered a rousing speech that managed not only to honor his wife's campaign but also to make a forceful and convincing case for Barack Obama.

“Gone -- at least for the moment -- was the unhappiness about his speaking slot, about the way the primary campaign ended, about the way Obama cast the accomplishments of the Clinton Administration.

“In its place was a man in the former president who clearly was swept up in the moment; ‘I love this,’ he exclaimed as the applause went on and on (and on).

“The momentum of the night built nicely to Beau Biden who introduced his father with a powerful address that is sure to stoke talk of the son replacing the dad if the Democratic ticket is elected in the fall.

“Joe Biden, in his acceptance speech was solid and, at times, spectacular. The common touch for which he is best known was on full display during the speech -- from his use of words like "champ" and phrases like ‘I love ya’ to his focus on his roots in Scranton, the loss of his wife and daughter and his pledge to be a voice for the voiceless.

“While Obama's appearance on stage was no surprise -- damn media! -- Obama stunned the audience with a buss to Jill Biden. And his arrival did provide a nice coda to the evening. The soon-to-be nominee's effusive praise of both Clintons showed a savvy and a graciousness that will serve Obama well down the line.”

(For some of us, it will take more than one instance of “effusive praise” to heal the wounds inflicted for months by the Obama camp and his left-wing supporters in their repeated smears of Hillary Clinton as deceptive, both Clintons as racists, and the Clinton Administration as a failure.)

Read more.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Breaking News: Obama Nominated by Acclamation as Moved by Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton arrived on the convention floor minutes ago and interrupting the roll call vote moved to suspend procedural rules and nominate Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate. The motion was seconded and carried by voice vote.

More later - I'm in the middle of making dinner for my son and his wife who will be here shortly.

CBS Video On Hillary’s Stem-Winder

Watch this YouTube video with Harry Smith and Lisa Caputo discussing Hillary Clinton’s stem-winder at the Democratic convention last night. Caputo is a former press secretary to Hillary Clinton.

Did Clinton Do too Well in her Speech Last Night in Denver?

John Dickerson at Slate provides a little context for Hillary Clinton’s speech in Denver last night:

“Tuesday night, the Democrats celebrated Ted Kennedy. He was in Clinton's shoes in 1980, after his hard-fought battle with Jimmy Carter. When he gave his convention speech, he mentioned Jimmy Carter once, congratulating him only in passing. Ronald Reagan never mentioned Gerald Ford in 1976. Hillary Clinton named Barack Obama more than a dozen times. Kennedy's famous speech declared that the dream will never die. Clinton's pitch was that the dream cannot live without electing Barack Obama.

“Everything seemed to be at stake for Clinton. She said the issues she'd fought for all her life would wither if Obama was not elected. She linked Obama to continuing her husband's legacy. ‘We did it before with President Clinton and the Democrats. And if we do our part, we'll do it again with President Obama and the Democrats.’ She told the story of her gender's emancipation and the fight against slavery and then rolled the entire history of progress behind the Obama candidacy. Before that history of progress could continue, ‘before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama.”’

Most pundits gave Hillary high marks for last night’s speech, but buried in Dickerson’s response to her words is an odd question:

“Rank-and-file Democrats could hardly have asked for more. Which may actually create a slight problem for Barack Obama. Did Clinton do too well?”

Dickerson concludes:

“…The reaction I got from the Clinton supporters who don't like Obama is that her speech was the best proof yet that she should be president—or at least be No. 2 on the ticket.

“We'll know in a few weeks whether the 18 million who helped Clinton put cracks in the highest glass ceiling are interested in helping someone else—namely, Barack Obama—finally break through.”

Clinton Supporters Still Won’t Sit down, Shut Up, and Get with the Program

Writing for the Washington Post, Eric Saslow begins:

DENVER, Aug. 26 -- Hillary Rodham Clinton's most loyal delegates came to the Pepsi Center on Tuesday night looking for direction. They listened, rapt, to a 20-minute speech that many proclaimed the best she had ever delivered, hoping her words could somehow unwind a year of tension in the Democratic Party. But when Clinton stepped off the stage and the standing ovation faded into silence, many of her supporters were left with a sobering realization: Even a tremendous speech couldn't erase their frustrations

“Despite Clinton's plea for Democrats to unite, her delegates remained divided as to how they should proceed.”

And on Women’s Equality Day, 2008 they still were not willing to sit down, shut up, and get with the program.

Hopefully, the Democratic Party will have learned its lesson from this experience, and hey, it’s even possible the Republicans will have picked up a point or two about the importance of treating women with respect.

Read more.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton Keeps the Crowd on its Feet in Denver!

Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times

What do you know? No derogatory remarks about Hillary Clinton this evening from the CNN crew before or after her speech at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The best political analysis team on television was unanimous in praising Clinton. She kept the crowd on its feet throughout most of her remarks as she stood up for women’s rights, supported both Barack and Michelle Obama, paid tribute to the Bill Clinton’s administration, made the requisite pleas for party unity, and thanked her supporters.

Personally, I was most moved when Hillary quoted Harriet Tubman’s words: “On that path to freedom, if you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there's shouting after you, keep going. Don't ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going."

That’s what Hillary did in the Democratic primary when her own party leaders and their media allies were piling on and trying to force her out of the race, she held her head up high and kept going. And on this night, I’ve no doubt the senator from New York made history.

For a transcript of Hillary’s speech, go

Huffington Post reported reactions from pundits and TV anchors:

Tom Brokaw: Hillary Clinton Did Tonight What She Needed To Do

Chris Cillizza:

She made clear her unequivocal support for Obama but also thanked her own supporters for their efforts and lit into Republican Sen. John McCain.

CNN's John King: She passionately supported Barack obama... She's a big game player, that was a big-game speech... she did what Obama wanted.

Keith Olbermann: A grand slam.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: Anybody who could be persuaded would be persuaded by that speech. She nailed it.

Wolf Blitzer: Exactly what Barack and Michelle Obama wanted to hear.

Anderson Cooper: This speech has electrified everyone in this crowd.

Kate Seelye live blogged at the Caucus, NY Times, reporting:

“Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton took center stage at the Democratic National Convention tonight in one of the most anticipated moments of the week.

“11:11 p.m. Ain’t No Ceiling High Enough: Senator Clinton spoke for 23 minutes. It was a speech that seemed to change the feel of the convention.

‘“Mrs. Clinton concluded: ‘That is our duty, to build that bright future, to teach our children that in America there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great, ­ no ceiling too high, ­ for all who work hard, who keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and in each other. That’s our mission, Democrats. Let’s elect Barack Obama.’

“That theme — that there is no ceiling too high — is also, of course, the theme that emerged as her trademark from her candidacy.”

Read More.

Biden Pick Not Helping Obama’s Poll Numbers; McCain Takes the Lead

Gallup Daily reports:

“PRINCETON, NJ -- It's official: Barack Obama has received no bounce in voter support out of his selection of Sen. Joe Biden to be his vice presidential running mate.

“Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Aug. 23-25, the first three-day period falling entirely after Obama's Saturday morning vice presidential announcement, shows 46% of national registered voters backing John McCain and 44% supporting Obama, not appreciably different from the previous week's standing for both candidates. This is the first time since Obama clinched the nomination in early June, though, that McCain has held any kind of advantage over Obama in Gallup Poll Daily tracking.”

Hillary Speaks to at Denver Fundraising Event

Nicole Pitney reports on Hillary Clinton’s remarks at a fundraising event for rumored to be on its way to becoming the of the women’s movement.

Pitney said:

‘“Clinton's remarks reflected the extent of frustration and resentment over the presidential race among the few hundred gathered attendees, mostly women. Clinton didn't mention either Barack Obama or Joe Biden by name during the roughly 10-minute speech -- she referred once to ‘the nominees.’

“And the New York Senator's unity argument seemed to be aimed specifically at supporters who were considering abandoning the Democratic ticket and backing John McCain.

‘"I believe that with all my heart that the Democratic Party represents a much better future for everything we believe in and care about,’ she said, ‘and I will be making a very strong case tonight that we stand behind our nominees in order for us to keep pushing progress forward. We cannot be deterred, we cannot be diverted.’

“Conversations with attendees found much of the widely-reported anger over the Democratic primary.

“One Clinton delegate from North Carolina, Marc Friedland, recounted his convention hall confrontation with DNC Chairman Howard Dean. He said he pressed him to explain why Clinton-backing delegates were being, in his view, blocked from supporting their candidate on the convention floor.

“Some griped about Obama's outreach efforts – ‘If he'd actually say what he stands for, maybe I could get behind him,’ said one -- while two major donors claimed that while they were willing to support Obama, they viewed the message from his campaign as, "Get on board, you don't have any other choice.”'

Sad But True: Hillary Clinton’s Thankless Job

Marie Cocco at RealClearPolitics describes well – and with poignancy - what Hillary Clinton faces this evening in Denver and how she most likely will handle the situation:

“Hillary Clinton will be damned if she looks too methodically perfect, too much the purveyor of practiced routine and not enough the cheery personification of enthusiasm. She'll also be damned if she's too exuberant, too obviously raising her voice in unbridled exhortation for the team. She will either be deemed too cool or all-too-cagily warm.

“Clinton can't win Tuesday evening. But then, she knows that.”

“She is set to address the Democratic National Convention in Denver to give the valedictory address of her 2008 campaign -- a race in which she went further than any woman in American history toward the elusive goal of electing a woman to the White House. But this is a speech that is also meant to soothe her bruised supporters and get them to support Barack Obama, a man who -- for not a few of them -- has brazenly overtaken the more-qualified woman to grab the prize and in so doing has writ large the story of their own lives.

“Clinton is a woman who knows how to lose -- to lose any shred of privacy, to lose face, to lose any expectation of being treated with a modicum of respect by the talking heads in the media and now, to lose a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination that she expected to win. As if to heap insult upon injury, the Obama campaign let it be known that it did not for a minute seriously consider Clinton as a running mate, notwithstanding the 18 million votes she earned during the primaries and her demonstrated ability to win over white, working-class voters who remain cool to Obama and are necessary for victory in the fall. Those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling that the Obama forces conceded could gain a reference in the party's platform are, apparently, just words.

‘“In her 2003 memoir ‘Living History,’ this is how Clinton described her reaction to her earliest political loss, during her senior year in high school: ‘I ran for student government president against several boys and lost, which did not surprise me but still hurt, especially because one of my opponents told me I was 'really stupid if I thought a girl could be elected president.' As soon as the election was over, the winner asked me to head the Organizations Committee which, as far as I could tell was expected to do most of the work. I agreed.’

‘“The work of the next phase of Clinton's career has been going on doggedly, and often with little notice, since she suspended her campaign on June 7. She's been a campaign emissary for Obama to the Sheet Metal Workers union, to Hispanics and others in New Mexico and Nevada; to older women in South Florida who still haven't quite accepted the loss of what may be for some of them their last chance to see a woman elected president. The June speech Clinton made in departing from the race was, among Democratic activists, ‘probably the most seen, talked about, buzzed about speech of the campaign,’ says Mike Lux, a consultant for Democratic interest groups and an Obama supporter. It went over well, even among Obama loyalists.

“That tends to be how Clinton does things. The public Clinton doesn't usually show hints of the private pain that burns inside.

“The same cannot be said of some of her supporters, who can be expected to stage at least a few demonstrations of their fury at the outcome of the race, and at what they perceive as repeated displays of disrespect Obama has shown their hero. It is not lost on them that in selecting Joe Biden to be the vice presidential nominee, Obama has chosen a Washington insider who voted in favor of the Iraq War -- two of the sustained attacks on Clinton that Obama used to devastating effect during the primaries.

“The television cameras will linger on angry and tearful Clinton delegates in the convention crowd. The commentators will no doubt take this as a demonstration of disunity -- and not a few will, of course, blame Clinton.

“But it is usually the job of the party nominee to build unity once a vanquished rival has conceded and made the right gestures. Unless the loser happens to be a woman. Then it's just like high school, and she must do the work.”

Media Matters' Eric Boehlert Blasts Skewed Press Coverage of Hillary’s Convention Role

Eric Boehlert takes on the press in his must-read post at Media Matters this morning, Aug. 26, 2008, for its shamelessly skewed coverage of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s role in the Democratic convention that includes a prime time speech this evening and a roll call vote tomorrow.

As if the media, both old and new, hadn’t done enough in their all-out efforts to destroy Hillary Clinton, it continues its hate-mongering efforts to sabotage the first serious female presidential candidate long after the close of the Democratic primary.

Boehlert places the current media’s complete lack of professionalism in historical context:

“Within the fast-forward world of campaign journalism, it's not considered cool to examine the recent past in order to provide context for today's events. (We know it's not cool because nobody does it.) Nonetheless, here's a very brief history lesson that the political press prefers to ignore.

‘“At the Democratic National Convention in 1992, Jerry Brown, who finished a very distant second to the party's nominee, had his name placed into nomination and addressed the assembled convention. After seconding his own nomination (true story), Brown delivered a fiery speech that thrilled his unruly supporters inside Madison Square Garden. Brown's ill will toward nominee Bill Clinton was so legendary that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution considered it newsworthy that Brown's convention address ‘avoided a direct attack’ on the nominee, while the Los Angeles Times noted Brown ‘did not specifically endorse presidential nominee Bill Clinton.’

‘“Indeed, for weeks leading up to the convention, Brown refused to back his party's nominee, complaining to The New York Times in June that supporting Clinton was like buying a ticket for the Titanic.

“Four years earlier, the Democratic convention in Atlanta witnessed even more tumult from the second-place finisher when Jesse Jackson, furious at being passed over for the vice-presidential slot by the party's nominee, Michael Dukakis (who failed to call Jackson and tell him the VP news), threatened to withhold his delegates' support from the party's nominee. In fact, just hours before the convention began, Jackson's supporters threatened to place the candidate's name into nomination for the vice presidency, which would have created a massive floor fight between Jackson and Dukakis' pick, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas.

‘“Pre-convention tension grew so heated that the mild-mannered Dukakis was quoted as saying, ‘I don't care what Jesse Jackson does. I'm going to this convention and I'm going to win.’ During his convention keynote address, which lasted nearly an hour -- much longer than expected, Jackson did not specifically endorse Dukakis.

“End of history lesson.

“Now, take those historical nuggets from 1992 and 1988 and transport them to Denver this week, and try to imagine what the press reaction would be (not the political reaction, but the press reaction) if Hillary Clinton delivered her address Tuesday night and did not endorse the Democratic Party's nominee.

“Honestly, I have trouble even picturing the response, mostly because there has already been such an unhinged media response (see Maureen Dowd, if you must) to Clinton's finishing second, speaking at the convention, and supporting the party's nominee. If she snubbed the nominee? We'd probably see a media-credentialed riot, with hordes of pundits and reporters roaming the late-night streets of Denver (Pitchforks? Probably) in search of Clinton and looking to inflict long-term pain.

Fact: Many in the press have portrayed Clinton's planned convention address, as well as the fact that her name is being placed into nomination, as an unprecedented, heavy-handed power grab.

Fact: It's not. In years past, Democratic candidates who won lots of primaries and accumulated hundreds of delegates (sorry, Howard Dean and Bill Bradley) have always been allowed to address the convention and very often place their name into nomination. It's the norm. It's expected. It's a formality.

This newly manufactured media attack on Clinton is just the latest in a long line of press grenades thrown her way this year. But this time, she's not the only victim, because the media's concocted story line is being used to unfairly skewer Barack Obama, too.

“Consider New York magazine: ‘Obama Agrees to Roll-Call Vote for Clinton. Does That Make Him a Sissy?’

“What's so startling in watching the coverage of the Clinton convention-speech story has been the complete ignorance displayed about how previous Democratic conventions have dealt with runners-up like Clinton. It's either complete ignorance or the media's strong desire to painstakingly avoid any historical context, which, in turn, allows the press to mislead news consumers into thinking Clinton's appearance (as well as the gracious invitation extended by Obama) represents something unique and unusual. Something newsworthy.”

Read More.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Democratic Party Yet to Make Amends for its Shameless Disrespect for Women

Michelle Obama gave a great speech this evening, and I appreciated her grace and warmth and the fact that she even managed to acknowledge Hillary Clinton’s achievements. I’m a civil rights activist from way back - I joined thousands of women to march in Chicago in May, 1980 in support of the Equal Rights Amendment – and throughout my adult life I’ve fought for the rights of women and minority groups. So despite my grief for the way Hillary Clinton has been treated, a part of me is glad to witness the life stories of Michelle and Barack Obama, and I do wish them well.

Nevertheless, I continue to feel a deep sense of betrayal by the Democratic Party and those representatives of both the old and the new media who mistreated Hillary Clinton and continue to take cheap shots at both Bill and Hillary and her supporters, as demonstrated by the CNN crew this evening in the opening hours of the Democratic convention.

For whatever it’s worth, I’m not likely to return to the Democratic Party anytime soon.

A Half-Hearted Look at Tributes to Carter and Kennedy as the Democratic Convention Begins

It’s about 9 p.m. CST here in the Midwest, and I’ve just witnessed the Carter tribute, followed by the appearance of Ted Kennedy, a very moving moment and the highlight so far of the Democratic convention. I admit my eyes misted over a couple of times, but I found myself unable to wholeheartedly get with the proceedings. Instead, I felt an emptiness from knowing the price paid so Democrats could not only ignore the media’s sexist trashing of Hillary Clinton, but actively participate in shoving her aside, thus showing crude disrespect to all women in our own nation and throughout the world.

(You will recall that I’m a lifetime Democrat who re-registered as non-affiliated this time around.)

In the meantime, the convention continues and Michelle Obama will soon be onstage to praise her husband Barack Obama. I’ll probably continue to watch.

If you need to catch up, the Caucus at the NY Times is a good bet. Kate Seelye is live blogging. For her latest post titled Senator Kennedy Takes the Stage, go here.

Echoes of Jimmy Carter in Obama’s Stirring Rhetoric

I’ve been watching CNN’s coverage of the Democratic convention and so far only one or two members of the best political team on television have made abusive, derogatory comments about Hillary Clinton and her followers and just for good measure, Bill Clinton.

I turned the volume on the TV down, took a deep breath, and returned to my keyboard to post a link to Sean Wilentz’s piece published at Newsweek. Wilentz, a Princeton historian, effectively assesses Obama’s failed attempts to launch a convincing campaign in the general election:

“Senator Obama's efforts to reinterpret the Democratic legacy have thus far amounted chiefly to promising a dramatic break with the status quo. His rhetoric of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ has thrilled millions of Democrats and helped secure the party's nomination. Yet millions of other Democrats still find his appeals wispy and unconvincing, and the persistent coolness within the ranks worries some party veterans. Democratic governors have already urged him to be more explicit about how he intends to adjust the party's principles to meet today's challenges.”

Wilenz calls our attention to the convergence of Obama’s rhetoric with this quote by Jimmy Carter:

"'Against this backdrop, how has the presumptive Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, proposed to revivify Democratic liberalism? There is a quotation that ought to give Democrats, and not just Democrats, pause: 'This year will not be a year of politics as usual. It can be a year of inspiration and hope, and it will be a year of concern, of quiet and sober reassessment of our nation's character and purpose. It has already been a year when voters have confounded the experts. And I guarantee you that it will be the year when we give the government of this country back to the people of this country. There is a new mood in America. We have been shaken by a tragic war abroad and by scandals and broken promises at home. Our people are searching for new voices and new ideas and new leaders.’

“Delivered in Obama's exhortatory cadences, the words are uplifting. The trouble is, though they seem to fit, the passage is from Carter's acceptance speech at the Democratic convention in 1976.”

Wilentz concludes by asking a few tough questions:

“Can Obama, who lost the large industrial states in the primaries, deal with a troubled economy and become the standard bearer for the working and middle classes—the historic core of the Democratic Party that the last two Democratic candidates lost? Can the inexperienced candidate persuasively outline a new foreign policy that addresses the quagmires left by the Bush administration and faces the challenges of terrorism and a resurgent Russia? Can the less-than-one-term senator become the master of the Congress and enact goals such as universal health care that have eluded Democratic presidents since Truman? On these fundamental questions may hang the fate of Obama's candidacy. In the absence of a compelling record, set speeches, even with the most stirring words, will not resolve these matters. And until he resolves them, Obama will remain the most unformed candidate in the modern history of presidential politics.”

And this is where the Democrats are this evening as they kick off their convention in Denver with the media as usual sliming the Clintons and dissing Hillary’s supporters, while party hacks busily try to stifle any form of dissent in an already failed attempt to present a false sense of unity – democratic procedures be damned.

Read more.

Watch Out for those Stubborn Hillary Clinton Supporters

Can you believe it? The Obama camp has landed in Denver, but not to the expected thunderous applause from a unified gathering of delegates. Instead, those stubborn Clinton supporters are still demanding justice for their candidate.

USA Today reports that more than half of Clinton backers are still not sold on Obama. Here’s the scoop:

“DENVER — Fewer than half of Hillary Rodham Clinton's supporters in the presidential primaries say they definitely will vote for Barack Obama in November, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, evidence of a formidable challenge facing Democrats as their national convention opens here today.

In the survey, taken Thursday through Saturday, 47% of Clinton supporters say they are solidly behind Obama, and 23% say they support him but may change their minds before the election.

“Thirty percent say they will vote for Republican John McCain, someone else or no one at all.

“The findings spotlight the stakes for Clinton when she addresses the convention Tuesday and when her name is placed in nomination.”

Read the article in its entirety here.

Ethical Questions Posed by a Hillary Supporter Encamped in Denver

Heidi Li Feldman, a law professor at Georgetown University, is probably one of the more knowledgeable Democrats when it comes to party rules and procedures. She’s also unafraid to call Dr. Dean and members of the DNC to account. She posted from Denver this morning to Heidi Li’s Potpourri:

“The DNC, Dr. Dean, Speaker Pelosi, et al. are learning, the hard way, that faux unity is no unity; that when you try to create your own reality, real reality tends to get in the way.

“So now here we are in Denver and Dr. Dean's and Speaker Pelosi's preferred candidate is dead even with John McCain in the polls; it is quite clear that delegates to the convention understand their rights and responsibilities and want to have to opportunity to elect Senator Clinton as the Party's nominee; the DNC seems to be in a panic over its decision to enter Senator Clinton's name in nomination; the DNC and DNCC still will not confirm that they will hold a straightforward, transparent, regular roll call vote as specified in the Call for The 2008 Democratic National Convention, the Party's own official convention governance document.

“Forget about making it seem like the Party is unified. At the moment, Dr. Dean and Speaker Pelosis cannot even make it seem like the Party - or at least its top officials - are honest.”

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Beijing/Denver Connection: Tinderbox Environment

The summer Olympics ended in Beijing today on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008, the day before the Democratic convention is scheduled to begin in Denver and believe it or not, there may well be a connection between the two events.

The Christian Science Monitor reports on how China played its role as Olympic host:

“One prediction that did ring true was that China refused to allow protests, contrary to its past pledges. Domestic critics were silenced beforehand or snared by catch-22 rules on protest permits. Foreign activists seeking to publicize the cause of Tibet pulled off symbolic stunts that few spectators noticed.”

It appears that one of China’s goals was to present to the world a unified country, even at the cost of stifling any signs of dissent.

We Americans are grateful that we live in a country where we have freedom of speech, and dissent is recognized as an important element of living in a democracy.

Oops! I just saw this article by Lisa Wangsness in today’s Boston Globe:

“Democratic Party leaders have spent weeks preparing a national convention this week that will burst with symbols of unshakable unity behind Senator Barack Obama.

“But outside the convention arena in Denver, some of Hillary Clinton's supporters plan to air their grievances against Obama, the party's leadership, and the national media, whose coverage of the primary battle they considered sexist. Hundreds of disaffected Democrats from around the country plan to converge in the Mile High City to hold news conferences, protests, and vigils, threatening the party's ability to present a united front against Republican John McCain.

Wangsness continues:

‘“While many Clinton delegates say they will back Obama and do not intend to embarrass him, grass-roots activists planning protests outside the convention hope to disrupt the sense of unity party leaders are cultivating.‘This is a voter's revolt,’ said Darragh Murphy, who founded Puma PAC, a pro-Clinton political action committee whose acronym stands for People United Means Action.

“Polls suggest Obama's narrow national lead is all but disappearing amid attacks from a newly aggressive and disciplined McCain campaign. One reason for this appears to be that barely half of Clinton's supporters plan to vote for Obama, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last week. With the last two presidential elections decided by a small number of voters in swing states, Obama needs a unified party to win in November.

‘“Puma PAC is among a multitude of pro-Clinton groups that formed online to protest a variety of issues, including perceived media bias and flaws in the primary process. In Denver, Murphy's group plans to show the premiere of an unfinished movie, ‘The Audacity of Democracy,’ and is cosponsoring a protest and candlelight salute to Clinton tomorrow. Another group, PUMA 08, will coordinate communication between its members and the press, and provide a home base for bloggers who support Clinton.”’

“A separate organization, 18 Million Voices Rise Hillary Rise, is calling on Clinton supporters to join a march and gathering celebrating Clinton's achievements and the 88th anniversary of women's suffrage on Tuesday.

“Democratic analysts downplay the significance of the demonstrators because Clinton's top aides and prominent supporters have shunned them. But analysts are aware they could be a distraction.”

Wangsness reports that Democratic strategist Chris Lehane made the Beijing/Denver connection:

‘“I think the vast majority of the Hillary folks did fall in love with Hillary - and now are certainly falling in line with Obama. Having said that, there's going to be the largest gathering of press outside of Beijing in Denver this week, with all of them on a hair-trigger for the slightest sign of dissonance and conflict. . . . It has all the elements of a tinderbox environment.’

True democracy is always kind of messy, Mr. Lehane, and you and your cohorts could have avoided the potential for “dissonance and conflict” had you seen fit to speak out against the misogynous attacks on Hillary Clinton by party leaders and media allies during the Democratic primary. And of course, some of those unpleasant distractions now building up in Denver might have been avoided had the DNC planned a convention offering a legitimate election instead of a media event designed to convey a false sense of unity.

To read the Lisa Wangsness article in its entirety go here.

OMG! Nancy Pelosi Suddenly Realizes Clinton Supporters Count, too!

As I recall from the primary, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was among those Democratic Party leaders who refused to take a stand against the relentless sexist attacks that Hillary Clinton endured. Since then Pelosi has acknowledged that Sen. Clinton’s campaign had been hindered by sexism; however, the Speaker dismissed it by saying “it goes with the territory.”

As noted in the LA Times, Pelosi “never officially chose sides in the Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. But most of those reading tea leaves assumed her heart was with the eventual winner.”

As early as January, the Times points out, Pelosi effectively encouraged superdelegates to abandon Hillary Clinton and jump on the bandwagon of the charismatic Obama with his proven ability to instantaneously convert large crowds into revival meetings starring legions of youth chanting, “Yes, we can.”

In light of all of the above, it’s a little mind numbing to read in the Hill this morning the selfsame Pelosi, in her by now familiar condescending manner, is holding women leaders in the Democratic party, along with Hillary Clinton’s supporters, responsible for the success of her guy Obama this November:

“DENVER – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted Saturday that female Democratic leaders will help unify the party by getting disgruntled supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton to back Barack Obama.

“Beginning with speeches by Sen. Clinton (N.Y.) and other women at the Democratic convention here next week, the party’s women will come out strongly for Sen. Obama (Ill.) throughout the campaign, said Pelosi (Calif.), who holds the highest position in the federal government ever occupied by a woman.

“Addressing reporters at a pre-convention luncheon sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Pelosi predicted that the Obama campaign would be able to win over Clinton’s supporters before the election. She stressed, though, that, if they failed to do so, it would be their own fault.

‘“I believe that women will see that they have the most to gain by the election of Barack Obama and the most to lose by the election of John McCain,’ Pelosi said. The differences between Obama and Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) are like ‘night and day’ on issues such as healthcare, education and the war in Iraq, she said.”’

What Speaker Pelosi still fails to understand is that by their passive response to the pervasive sexism throughout the primary, she and other party leaders actually condoned and encouraged the abusive treatment suffered by the first serious female presidential candidate in the nation’s history.

Pelosi’s comments at this point are not only too little too late, they also bear an unmistakable note of condescension toward those of us who saw what was going on and have refused to sit down, shut up, and get with the Democratic Party’s program of nominating Barack Obama at all costs.

Trying to convince us that we have no choice in November other than vote for the lesser of two evils, Barack Obama or John McCain, doesn’t cut it. First of all, the Democratic Party owes Hillary Clinton a public apology, and her supporters need to know for certain the party will no longer tolerate sexism and misogyny in its own ranks or from its bigoted allies in the media.

Until then, Madam Speaker, we’ll remember to vote present in November.