In it to win it

I can tell you why Hillary Clinton supporters are sick of Obama mania, because I am one of them.

After month upon month of bashing this woman, who owes it to her supporters to win the Democratic nomination, two new mantras – accompanied by a constant drumbeat from the media and Obama supporters - have emerged:

· Hillary needs to get out of the race.
· Hillary is destroying the Democratic Party.

To put it nicely, that is esoteric bullshit.

If you don’t want facts to get in your way, you are on the wrong blog. The following post will take about 10 minutes of your time, but you might come away better informed.

FACT: The Rasmussen poll released 26 March 2008 (LINK) found that 66 percent of registered Democratic voters want both candidates to stay in the race for the nomination. The poll shows there’s equal dislike on either side of the Democratic race for the rival candidate: 22 percent of both Clinton and Obama supporters said they believe the other candidate should drop out of the race.

FACT: In calling for either candidate to drop out of the race, there is an assumption that the other can defeat John McCain in November – despite unknown developments over the next eight months.

FACT: To win the Democratic Party nomination, a candidate must have won 2,025 pledged delegates. It is mathematically impossible for EITHER Clinton or Obama to achieve this number.

FACT: In the event the required number is not achieved, the rules of the Party, established in 1984, state that the “superdelegates” – a media term - will intervene.

FACT: The superdelegate rule was created to strengthen the role of party leaders and elected officials and to cover the possibility of the unforeseen - something going terribly wrong with a Party frontrunner in the lead-up to the convention. In the nick of time, the major contenders in the 1984 primary were Gary Hart and Walter Mondale. Each won some primaries and caucuses. Mondale was only slightly ahead of Hart in the total number of votes cast, but won the support of almost all superdelegates and became the nominee after Hart’s “Monkey Business.”

(What the rules say: The Democratic Party rules do not use the term "superdelegate." The term refers to unpledged delegates, who fall into two categories: 1) delegates seated based on other positions they hold, who are described in Rule 9.A as "unpledged party leader and elected official delegates" (PLEOs); and 2) additional unpledged delegates selected by each state party, in a fixed, predetermined number, who are described in Rule 9.B as "unpledged add-on delegates" and who need not hold any party or elected position before their selection as delegates. Unpledged PLEO delegates should not be confused with pledged PLEOs. Under Rule 9.C, the pledged PLEO slots are allocated to candidates based on the results of the primaries and caucuses. While the number of pledged PLEOs is fixed and predetermined, the number of the unpledged PLEOs is not set. Pledged PLEOs generally support their state’s primary or caucus winner, but they are not required to do so.)

FACT: You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game.

FACT: In light of the mathematics, a call for either candidate to drop out at this point is just a bit of silliness. After all, the official race against John McCain is not going to begin until the Democratic National Convention in August. So much for the hue and cry that it must begin NOW.

FACT: While the Republicans have accomplished the deification of former President Ronald Reagan, Obama supporters, to my chagrin, have joined the right-wing and the media in marginalizing Bill Clinton. Progressive and liberal blogs which support Obama are exhibiting the blue-dress syndrome and denying the many accomplishments of the Clinton administration.

FACT: Throughout his administration Clinton’s job approval rating was, on average, higher than Reagan’s, and he left office with a 66 percent approval rating. So, why the circular firing squad?

FACT: Despite media mockery, Hillary Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy” was real, and it still exists. It will go after either candidate in the general election. For full, documented accounts of such a “conspiracy,” I highly recommend David Brock’s book “Blinded by the Right” and “A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton” by Carl Berstein. All Democrats will be better prepared for the general election campaign having read these two books.

FACT: If we play by the rules of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the nomination are as good as Barack Obama’s.


From “The Race for the White House with David Gregory,” MSNBC, 26 March 2008 (TRANSCRIPT):

DAVID GREGORY, host: Finally tonight, the Clinton camp is hammering home the message inside their war room that she is still in it to win it, laying out their case in a press release listing a series of myths and facts.

Among the myths … the delegate math works decisively against Hillary. But they claim the fact is that the delegate math reflects an extremely close race that either candidate can win. They went further to say, “The math is actually very simple: with hundreds of delegates still uncommitted, neither candidate has reached the number of delegates required to secure the nomination, and either candidate can reach the required number in the coming weeks and months. That is indisputable.”

Rachel, what is also indisputable is that she would really have to change the dynamic in this campaign and win something on the order of 70 percent of the rest of the delegates. That is hard math.

RACHEL MADDOW, “Air America” host: The real - realistic way to put this is that NEITHER candidate can win with the remaining state-based contests. Neither candidate can win without the superdelegates. The question for Democrats is not whether or not they want the superdelegates to decide this; the superdelegates are going to decide this, as gross as that may seem to a lot of Democratic voters. And so, therefore, we should stop worrying about the ethics of that. We‘re faced with that now. And, the real question on the people, when should the superdelegates decide? Do we wait until Denver, or do we force them to do some sort of superdelegate primary sometime more soon like in June, which has been proposed by the governor of Tennessee?

GREGORY: But, Richard, is there anything beyond rhetoric here in saying, no, there really is a path to victory here that‘s real, that is actual arithmetic?

RICHARD WOLFFE, “Newsweek” senior White House correspondent: No, it‘s rhetoric. It‘s the department of voodoo math. Look, the pledged delegates are the way we assess the will of the people in these races. There are all sorts of caucus states that we still don‘t know where the popular vote is. So, we can argue out percentages of this or that or the other. He has a 150-odd lead in pledged delegates, that‘s 10 percent more than Hillary Clinton has. It‘s a significant measure.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe:” We? You said that’s how we decide it? If that‘s the way we decided it—if that‘s the way the Democratic Party decided it, then they wouldn‘t have superdelegates. That‘s the thing.

Let me tell you what we love to do. We in the media love to tell everybody - which we have been telling everybody for months - that the numbers don‘t add up for Hillary Clinton ,,,

WOLFFE: So, Joe …

SCARBOROUGH: … She can‘t get enough delegates by Denver. Well, guess what: the numbers don‘t add up for Barack Obama, but we don‘t tell that side of the story, do we?

WOLFFE: No, we don‘t. That happens to be the rules of the Democratic Party, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH: The superdelegates are the rules of the Democratic Party.

WOLFFE: And, the pledged delegates.

SCARBOROUGH: And, they can go any way they want.

WOLFFE: The pledged delegates are how people assess the votes of the people, the voters, what else is there?

SCARBOROUGH: There are superdelegates. And, if the superdelegates decide between now and Denver, which I hate to remind people but, my God, that is months and months away, that Barack Obama cannot win because of things that happened after Pennsylvania, in May, June, July, that is a lifetime. Harold McMillan said a week in politics is a lifetime. We‘ve got months and months and months. –END-

All you Democrats in either camp who fall into the “22 percent” and are stuck in Abraham Maslow’s “instant gratification” stage of development, go fix yourself a cup of instant coffee.

We have two great candidates. Let’s let this primary process play out – as it always has in the past.

“Saddle up!” (CORRECTION: The cited Rasmussen poll showed 56 percent of Democrats surveyed think both candidates should stay in the race. The error is mine. Fighting for truth can be very tiring these days.)


Capital punishment


Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are ready from “day one” with platforms which hold the promise of benefiting all Americans, of changing the direction of our country, of restoring competence to the presidency.

Both are uniquely qualified to do so. Once sworn in, our new president will hit a wall. Only one candidate has experienced its effects.

On 23 January 1993, a couple with an established life goal of helping others took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. They, and the Americans who sent them there, had high hopes.

Bill Clinton would soon find out that his predecessor had “cooked the books,” that the deficit was far higher than was previously known – the biggest dollar deficit in American history. The reality: many of his campaign promises would be put on hold because of inherited economic woes.

The $290 billion deficit Clinton inherited is chump change compared with what our new president will face, so don’t expect campaign promises to materialize miraculously.


Carl Bernstein, of Watergate’s Woodward and Bernstein, brings his best investigative reporting skills to his book, “A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

The Clintons learned early on how tough it is to go up against the Washington establishment.

Bernstein quotes the following “welcome to Washington” article:

"Making Capital Gains: Welcome to Washington, But Play By Our Rules," Sally Quinn, The Washington Post, Outlook section, p. 01, Nov. 15, 1992, 1,965 words. (Buy archived article)

Ms. Quinn is the wife of former Washington Post Executive Editor Benjamin Bradlee and a noted Washington hostess. She offered 1,965 words of advice from the “in-crowd” to the incoming president and first lady, but none were so incisive as these:

“Think of it this way: your plane has crashlanded in the middle of Brazil, and you find yourself surrounded by a curious and possibly hostile tribe. Instead of giving them beads and eating the monkey tongues they’ve offered you, you decide that you don’t need their help. Fine. But, don’t be surprised if you end up with poisoned darts in your backside. Like any other culture, Washington has its own totems and taboos. It would serve the newcomers well to learn to abide by them.”

The Clintons and their transplanted Arkansans learned the hard way – and fast – what happens when you don’t play by the rules of the Washington elite. Bernstein brilliantly documents their saga.

Once more, Hillary holds the experience card.

Obama is running on a promise of changing Washington, of somehow transporting his cheering rally-goers into a position of power in D.C. Let’s hope, if elected, he – and all his true believers – don’t end up with poisoned darts in their backsides.

Just as she was told to do when flying into Bosnia, Hillary has learned to sit on her flak jacket. Perhaps experience has taught her that diplomacy and compromise work best - from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other.

It’s becoming clearer every day that the alternative to a Democratic win in November is unthinkable.

So, let’s hope beyond hope that once the votes are counted and the inherent and inherited obstacles are overcome, the core values of the Democratic Party will once more emerge to lift an America left foundering.


Two sad numbers

A recent Pew Research survey (LINK) revealed only 28 percent of Americans were aware that the U.S. death toll in Iraq was nearing 4,000 – a tragic figure reached Sunday with the deaths of four U.S. soldiers killed by a roadside bomb.


The Big Uneasy

It’s Good Friday. Easter and spring are upon us. I want to think of joy and faith and renewal.

Racism (and sexism) keep getting in the way.

Over at Papamoka Straight Talk, he, too, is wondering why such prejudices exist. Read his post: “Obama on Racial Tension in America,” LINK

You always write from your heart, Papamaoka, and that’s the essential quality of good writing which draws me to your blog.

I admit I am one of those persons made uncomfortable when racial tensions reach a boiling point in America. I have believed, naïvely I suppose, that things had gotten better.

That belief was jarred when the scab on this festering condition was knocked off - and should have gained a national forum - with the racial and class injustices in the aftermath of Katrina.

In an ironic twist, the person who raised the most hell, in Katrina’s wake, about race and class injustice in New Orleans was himself a victim in this struggle: Don Imus, a man I greatly admire. I believe to this day that Imus is not a racist and might have been a force in airing this issue if he himself had not uttered three words.

Yes, words matter. The very persons who now defend Obama’s allegiance to his pastor are those “friends” of Imus who turned their backs on him when he needed them most. Imus’ words of unintended consequence cannot compare with those of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Or, for that matter, those of McCain endorsers John Hagee and Rod Parsley.

On a very personal level, my discomfort when racial tension arises comes from its intrusion into my own life. In my life there are no racial tensions. I am not in a “racial stalemate:” I do not hesitate to let othrs know if their prejudices offend me.

I have lived my life believing all “are precious in His sight.”

Early on, there were simple lessons, other than those from my parents and my church:

· A little song which goes, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
· The simple words of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
· Sitting in a Saturday matinee with my kid brother and watcheing the 1951 movie “The Well” with Harry Morgan. Available on video and DVD, the movie is described by Yahoo!: “An incisive study of crowd psychology, focusing on the effects of the townsfolk when a black child gets lodged in a deep well. Academy Award Nominations: Best Story and Screenplay and Best Film Editing.”

For almost 23 years I have lived in a large apartment complex where the majority of my neighbors and friends, some of whom have remained my friends after moving on, has been black. Sure, there have been problem neighbors, white and black, and distancing myself from them was based on their conduct.

So, yes, to be frank, it makes me nervous, it makes me uncomfortable to be drawn into a larger world where hatred and prejudice exist. I was drawn into that world as I sat comfortably in my living room for five days watching my fellow Americans in New Orleans suffer in unspeakable ways while our federal government did nothing.

And, I am drawn into it when I feel the hatred in the heart of the Rev. Wright. I agree that, essentially, some of his statements are based in fact, but many are nothing more than vitriolic reverse racism against his fellow Americans.

Arguments about all the good Wright has done fall on deaf ears. Imus proved that.

Many have asked me why I bother to monitor Fox News and other outlets of right-wing propaganda. Well, read “The Art of War.” The issue of whether Barack Obama should distance himself from his mentor is not going away. The media will not let it. It is, after all, tantamount to the very dialogue Sen. Obama has called for.

How this dialogue will affect the Democratic nomination and, more importantly, the general election in November, remains to be seen.

Boy, talk about naïve, when a womn and a black man entered this presidential race, I didn’t see this coming.

Have I distanced myself from certain persons in my own life? Tp be sure, Such choices were based on individual evaluations of personal conduct. That’s a lesson our mothers taught us.

The long-needed national forum is apparently upon us.

In the meantime, I want my secure, harmonious and peaceful little world to remain intact. It is a world where my closest friends are color-blind and do not give thought to the color of each other’s skin. If that makes me selfish, sobeit.

Papamoka and I share a common quandary: why prejudice exists in the first place.


'A More Perfect Union'

1912 OVERTURE - Women march in NYC to win the right to vote.
WHAT IS THE name of that little stick men use to stop the bleeding when they nick themselves shaving?

Barack Obama’s speech yesterday on race relations in America was memorable, perhaps one of the most memorable speeches of our time, but will it be a catalyst that will stop the hemorrhaging of his campaign and bring about a healing of prejudiced hearts, or is it like that little stick, merely staunching, for the moment, a flesh wound?

If you missed the speech, by all means view the video or read the transcript HERE.

Soundbites won’t work, because Obama built his speech point upon point.

His words were brilliant in linking bygone wounds to the anger they’ve produced among all races in this country. He is right that if we don’t start now to concede the scars of our own history, confront our differences and coalesce around our common needs, these problems will exist in perpetuity.

I could not see Obama or the setting where he spoke, but in better times I stood in the same spot in Philadelphia and walked the streets where this country took form.

Obama is correct in pointing out that the men who created this Republic made concessions on slavery. Better, they thought, to break the ties of English tyranny than to risk not doing so by excluding the Southern colonies.

Benjamin Franklin told his peers (I could make the argument Ben had no peers): “We will hear of this (slavery) problem 100 years hence.” Indeed, we heard it loudly on the battlefields of the War between the States.

A half-century later, on 6 May 1912, the tramp, tramp, tramp of tens of thousands of high-buttoned shoes marching through New York City was heard loud and clear. In 1920, the suffragettes who marched so bravely that day were granted the right to vote by the 19th Amendment.

It got louder in WWII as we fought to stop a racist lunatic whose armies were conquering Europe.

Over another two decades, the cries for equality and justice grew louder and louder until, on 28 August 1963, loudspeakers blared out the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., across our nation’s capital and into our collective conscience:

“Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.”

(Click HERE for video and transcript of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.)

Prejudices and “man’s inhumanity towards man” will not cease to exist. These human failures have been around since Cain slew Abel. They will be around when, as William Faulkner put it, “the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded.”

Years ago, I read this quote and can’t recall who said it, “Tyranny is the natural form of government. Freedom must be won with each new generation.”

The long struggle for civil rights and civil liberties is being reversed in the name of security.

It’s our turn.


For those of you who heard Sen. Obama’s speech or have viewed it online, I would like your comments, pro or con, on these questions posed on cable news networks, in newspapers and by blogs:

· Reportedly, Obama’s team was onstage before the speech, which began some 30 minutes behind schedule, trying to decide how many flags to display behind him. Do you think the flags, the setting and the evocation of our Founding Fathers were a skillful propaganda device to draw ALL Americans into the speech? Was Obama’s subdued delivery aimed at contrasting the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s fiery speech?

· Do you believe Obama’s words were heartfelt or were they simply an attempt to “cover his ass” in the wake of devastating publicity?

· Do you agree that some “knuckleheads,” as Newsweek’s Howard Fineman put it, are unable to grasp the meaning and complexity of Obama’s brilliantly crafted call for racial harmony? (Certainly, a case in point is Sean Hannity’s performan on last night’s edition of “Hannity and Colmes.”)

· Finally, as inspiring as I found Obama’s speech and as deeply as I desire the fruition of his thesis, is it not true that the hateful words of a Rev. Wright, a Rev. Hagee, a Rev. Parsley remain an echo long after the flags were folded in Philadelphia?


The “comments” link below is your portal to a fair and open discussion. If you do not have a log-in, simply select “name/URL,” and when the new screen comes up, scroll UP until you see a window on the right to type in your name. Or, you may select “anonymous.” Then, click “publish.”


Wright or wrong?

I have agonized over beginning this post and discarded “The Wright stuff” as too flippant a title for a matter of such seriousness to me. This is no time for inappropriate levity.

While I have supported Hillary Clinton, I have made it clear to my readers that I would support and vote for Barack Obama if he is the Democratic nominee.

I have friends who read my blog and are very dear to me who wholeheartedly support Obama’s candidacy. For that reason, I have tried to emphasize issues when discussing the two Democratic hopefuls.

Perhaps it was inevitable with the first African-American and the first woman among top contenders for the presidency that the media would smack their greedy, ratings-craving lips at any hint of racism or sexism.

No one can question that for more than 200 years this has been “white man’s country.”

I find it very hard to level criticism at a candidate who, if nominated, would get my vote in November, considering the alternative.

Simply put, I do not buy Obama’s claim that he has had no previous idea of the tone of his pastor and “spiritual adviser” the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s sermons.

“Tone” is the key word.

Whether you agree or disagree with Wright’s words, there is an anger in his soul which cannot be denied.

Fox News’ Greta van Susteren devoted a large portion of her show Friday night to airing numerous videos of Wright’s diatribes, which I have not seen on CNN or MSNBC.

I found many patently offensive.

As a young woman, I had a pastor for 12 years who helped me in the development of my spirituality. His sermons and his friendship were as powerful an influence as that of my parents and siblings, providing me with an inner gyroscope which helps me keep my balance. I knew his mind and his heart.

There is incredulity in Obama’s sudden disdain for his pastor’s mind and heart – a dichotomy of divinity being heavily dissected.

Arguments can be made about endorsements John McCain has received from right-wing religious leaders like John Hagee, who has called the Catholic Church “The Great Whore,” and Rod Parsley, who says the Founding Fathers intended Americans to slay all followers of Islam. But, McCain has not had the relationship with either that Obama has had with Wright. I don’t know much about McCain’s spirituality, but I’ll bet I know who he talked to during three years of solitary confinement at the Hanoi Hiltn.

(For the record, numerous books about Hillary Rodham Clinton, including her autobiography, note her spirituality took form in her teenage years. Prevalent were: the influence of her church’s youth minister, who has remained her lifelong friend and adviser; the opportunity twice, as a young girl, to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., preach; and Methodist leader John Wesley’s mantra, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”)

Wright’s statements are the antithesis of Obama’s stump speeches, and, whether they have had influence on him and his family, cut right to the heart of his platform of hope, unity, change and good judgment.

If Obama faces McCain in the general election, there will be “swift-boating” by 527s like nothing John Kerry ever experienced.

In a worst-case scenario, McCain would win the presidency, and the ramifications of that are far too frightening.

Perhaps more frightening is what a McCain win would do to young people who have become energized in the political process; to blacks who, in my opinion, are long overdue for an MLK-like leader and role model; and to Obama himself.

I have conservative friends who are telling me the Democratic Party is “imploding.” Certainly, the media would have us believe we’re in trouble. But, in the end, the platforms of both senators Obama and Clinton offer far more help, far more hope for Americans and America than anything the Republican Party has offered in many a year.

I believe Barack Obama when he says he loves America. Questions arise about his judgment.

I believe Barack Obama when he says he is a Christian. No person can question another’s spiritual beliefs or what is in a person’s soul.

Essential to this discussion are the words of Article VI of the Constitution of the United States of America:

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but NO RELIGIOUS TEST SHALL EVER BE REQUIRED as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

I just hope Obama’s little daughters were never in the pews when the Rev. Wright was spewing such fiery rhetoric as “No, no, no. Not God bless America. God damn America. The Bible says so.” across his congregation.


Hillary's role in Irish peace

The quote you’ve heard all over TV and the blogosphere:

David Trimble, the former first minister of Northern Ireland and 1998 Nobel Peace Prize winner along with SDLP leader John Hume, had this to say about Hillary Clinton’s role in talks leading up to the Good Friday Agreement:

"I don’t know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill (Clinton) going around," Trimble said. He characterized her recent campaign statements as "the sort of thing people put in their canvassing leaflets. … She visited when things were happening, saw what was going on, she can certainly say it was part of her experience. I don’t want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player."

Trimble said Hillary Clinton’s claims are “a wee bit silly.”

Just another incident of cherry-picking any “evidence” which sheds bad light on Sen. Clinton.

The above quotes appeared in London’s Daily Telegraph in an article dated 3/8/2008. The article, generally negative toward the former first lady, tamps down positive comments about her role in uniting the women who formed the Women’s Coalition, which participated in Ireland’s peace agreement.

Of the women’s role, the much-quoted Lord Trimble said: "The Women’s Coalition will think they were important. Other people beg to differ."

Read the full two-page article: LINK

And, John Hume, leader of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), who shared the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize with Trimble? What has he to say about Hillary’s involvement?

"I am quite surprised that anyone would suggest that Hillary Clinton did not perform important foreign policy work as first lady. I can state from firsthand experience that she played a positive role for over a decade in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland. She visited Northern Ireland, met with very many people and gave very decisive support to the peace process.

"There is no doubt that the people of Northern Ireland think very positively of Hillary Clinton’s support for our peace process, due to her visits to Northern Ireland and her meetings with so many people. In private she made countless calls and contacts, speaking to leaders and opinion-makers on all sides, urging them to keep moving forward."

Finally, in his book, “A Farther Shore: Ireland’s Long Road to Peace” (Random House, 2003), Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams wrote:

"On a number of occasions she (Hillary Clinton) sat in for discussions between us and the President. Her political instincts on issues of equality meant that she had a natural affinity with the struggle for justice and equity. I also think that she understood the dynamics of the peace process and the need for it to have both forward momentum and a capacity to deliver on issues which affected disadvantaged people in their daily lives. She was to bring a singular contribution to the process on the issue of empowerment of women but in my engagements with her it was obvious that her mind was busy on all the issues that required attention."


Still on my blog break, folks, but just couldn’t let this WEE BIT SILLY SELECTIVE SCRUTINY ride.

Later, BJ


'My heart will go on'

I’m a glass-half-full gal, a cockeyed optimist, and I’ve never let anything life has thrown at me get me down for long.

I just need to take a break, to back away from the “through the looking-glass” idiocy which is coming to characterize this Democratic campaign.

Last night I heard MSNBC’s Chris Matthews say, “I’m not a member of an organized party; I’m a Democrat.” Better put: that oft-quoted line from Walt Kelly’s “Pogo,” “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

I have regular readers who don’t want to hear any more about “perceived” media bias – bias which is slapping me in the face ‘round the clock. Never in my voting adulthood have I seen anything like it, and I simply do not understand why people are not bothered by its impact. If you don’t believe communications can cultivate groupthink, meet Joseph Goebbels.

Yesterday I left an innocuous little comment on a liberal blog, simply suggesting, in the end, that whoever the Democratic Party’s nominee is – Obama or Clinton – we must all pull together to ensure his or her election. My statement was followed by two lengthy comments denigrating Hillary. From an Obama supporter.

I’ve never considered myself naïve. I knew the far-right would trash a Clinton, but I never expected what is happening in the media and in my own Party.

Hillary Clinton is not a monster. She has spent her life in one form of public service or another. Her supporters are not uninformed anarchists, dashers of hope.

Yesterday I saw Ann Coulter telling an MSNBC anchor she will support and “even work for” Hillary Clinton against John McCain. We know Ann’s game: this pseudosupport might hurt Hillary and sell a few more books in the process.

Through the looking-glass.

As for rules, anything goes, as long as it benefits one’s chosen candidate. As I’ve noted before, the persons who claim rules cannot be broken when it comes to Michigan and Florida, despite the disenfranchisement of millions, are adamant that the rules governing superdelegates must go, because, well, they ignore the popular vote.

I have said repeatedly I will support the Democratic Party nominee, but I’m not getting that promise from fellow Democrats across the blogosphere.

The Democratic Party is blessed with two highly capable and dedicated hopefuls. Both are drawing new people into the political process – a good thing.

I have had both a total stranger and a person I thought I knew well suggest I’m racist because I don’t support Obama. I was not ready for that. To be frank, I have spent more time defending Obama to certain acquaintances than I have defending Hillary.

A comrade in arms of some duration spoke of my support for Hillary being “justified.” I don’t have to justify my support for any candidate. I am an American.

No one has called Hillary Clinton stupid. She has campaigned from the outset to appeal to the general electorate.

I believe this with all my heart: this country will not elect a candidate perceived as far left and anti-war. I hope I have to eat those words with a nice side dish of mint jelly. I base them on nothing less that U.S. election history.

Right now, I am heartsick.

But, as the Celine Dion song promises, my heart will go on, and so will this country. The path it takes depends, as it always has, on unity in diversity. Such unity is long overdue. The pendulum swings to the far left and to the far right, but it always comes back to the center. The time has come for a correction.

As I told a boss once, when personal tragedy hit my life, “I might be back in three months or in three days, but I’ll be back.”

I pray the same for my country.


The Hagee kiss

(Reprinted with permission of Matthew O’Keefe, Papmoka Straight Talk.)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Catholics, McCain & Hagee

We Catholic’s are a tough lot. Hell, we have to deal with the shame of the child- molesting priest issue that went underground for decades, but we all own that shame together as Catholics. It is a shame that should never be forgotten by every single Catholic.

Mind you as church organizations go the Catholic faith is very strict with its teachings but very liberal with its actions. Caring for the poor, feeding the homeless, clothing people, offering assistance in many areas of life without care as to whether you are a Catholic or not. There are no flares fired off to make notice of our churches’ response to people in need, it’s just done.

With that being said, there is a religious Christian war going on in American politics that is based in hate. Christian, and hate are two words that should never go together when talking about the American Christian experience of faith. Love thy brother does not have the word “except” in it. Down at the bottom of the page there is no italicized notes with a list of who is not to be loved. If you think this war is happening in both political parties then you would be dead wrong. This issue is totally owned by the “My God is better than your God” Republican Party and the Rev. John Hagee is heading up the battle with his endorsement of John McCain. Over at the Washington Post they have this great read on it:

Hagee Endorsement of McCain Has Risks

The Associated Press, Monday, March 3, 2008; 6:23 PM

SEDONA, Ariz. -- Endorsed by an influential Texas televangelist, Republican John McCain endeared himself to one group of voters but risked alienating another with the pastor's anti-Catholic views.

The controversy has been mild so far, but still, every vote counts in a presidential election that is expected to be closely contested.

Evangelical or born-again Christian voters were key to George W. Bush's victories, but so were Roman Catholics, who chose Bush over their fellow Catholic John Kerry in 2004 and over Al Gore in 2000.

The televangelist, San Antonio megachurch leader John Hagee, has referred to the Roman Catholic Church as "the great whore" and called it a "false cult system" and "the apostate church"; the word "apostate" means someone who has forsaken his religion.

He also has linked Adolf Hitler to the Catholic church, suggesting it helped shape his anti-Semitism.

McCain said he does not agree with some of Hagee's past comments. "It's simply not accurate to say that because someone endorses me that I therefore embrace their views," McCain told reporters at a news conference Monday in Phoenix. - Washington Post

Just checking facts and we have this video from YouTube: LINK

John McCain needs to look in the rear view mirror of his campaign and think about this endorsement more clearly. No matter how McCain spins this in the desire to hold on to the Bush Evangelical right vote he will lose the Catholic vote in large blocs. That is where the weakness of the McCain campaign will be in the general election. Pitting one Christian-based religion against another Christian-based religion offers no hope or change from the Bush full speed ahead of separation of the people. Good luck with that one Johnny! Here is your cross, you earned it, wear it well.

My family was from the old school, marry an Irish girl and marry a Catholic girl. I got one out of two right but one thing is true of both my wife and me: our Catholic faith is one issue we never argue over. Our faith is our rock, and we stand on it many times to keep our heads above the tides of life. To have someone call our faith a bastardization of religion or a whore just bothers me.

As for John Hagee, from this die-hard Catholic, you, sir, are a money-grabbing hypocrite. You call my church a group of “whores.” You call my faith a “false cult.” Then, you call us a “Nazi” shaping tool of Adolf Hitler! I’ll turn the other cheek. Hit me again as you drive away from your multi-million dollar church and studios in your luxury car to go to your personal mansion paid for by believers only looking for any beacon of hope that is the beginning of their faith.

Two words for the most self-righteous Reverend John Hagee, “False Prophet.” Somewhere in the Bible is a story about being very aware of men preaching God’s word and directing hate towards our fellow man. Again, God and hate are two words that should not be used together if you are a minister, priest or a “Reverend.” In politics this endorsement is tantamount to forsaking an entire people for the favor of one.

In the battle for Christian voters, John McCain is selling out his own self respect for votes from just one religious political group. What would he do as president? In acceptance of this endorsement he has basically endorsed the same words of the Rev. John Hagee and called all of us in the Catholic faith “whores”! As a practicing Catholic I resent it. If this is what the Republican Party is all about, then I would suggest Catholic Republicans jump ship in the general election simply for this endorsement.

There is no backpedaling on this very central Catholic issue, and Sen. McCain will not back off or denounce John Hagee’s endorsement. That is the issue to stand and fight for as Catholics come November. Our faith is not a whore!

I have to run, as a Catholic I have to say a couple dozen Hail Marys and a ton of Our Fathers for this post …


For more Papamoka Straight Talk: LINK



It was a happy night for Hillary supporters and, God know, we were due.

Thanks to my sweet niece Jeanette, who stayed on the phone reading me vote tallies off the TV as they came in. Nice to share the Texas moment with her!

Now, it’s 3 a.m.

Sweet dreams.


'Our fixation on fantasies'

I am not a “feminista.” I have never burned a bra. I have learned in this election cycle that it’s perfectly all right for the media to attack a person on the basis of gender while broadcast licenses would be pulled if the same attacks were leveled on the basis of race.

I find that deeply troubling.

In many previous posts I have tried to address the role the media have played in putting up guideposts on the road to the White House. In so doing, there has been no way to avoid a discussion of sexism and racism – in the context of media coverage.

A friend who also has paid close attention to this 21st Century dichotomy of equality emailed me the link to “A Letter From Feminists on the Election,” which appears in the 17 March 2008 issue of The Nation – you know, the magazine that cuts “through layers of obfuscation.”

A couple of days after the Democratic debate in Texas an even dozen of the top feminist leaders in the country met for a breakfast discussion with one aim, and I quote:

“We were there to hash out a split that threatened our friendship and the various movements with which we are affiliated.”

The split which threatens the work of these feminist leaders? Whether to vote for a black man or a woman?

I’m sorry, I thought, but these are not criteria for leadership, and they certainly do not address the all-important issues facing this country.

The letter addressed my beef with the media, as well as major setbacks by the Bush administration.

But, what about the issues?

When I decided Hillary Clinton is the best qualified and most capable candidate to be president, it did not enter my mind that I was supporting her because she’s a woman. When Barack Obama gave his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention and cemented his future in politics, I never saw him as an African-American. I see Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as highly capable, intelligent and altruistic individuals.

The media have stoked the race and gender controversies by bringing them – vis-à-vis the Democratic contenders - to the forefront of this campaign. That they have done so with out-of-context quotes and distortion of facts, subtle innuendos and blatant bias are just tricks of the craft. Such tricks are not modern-day phenomena; they are just coming at us 24/7. The media thrive on conflict, and what more lucrative chance to stir racism and sexism – simultaneously?

Further, to see the media’s self-examination of whether coverage has favored Obama is both hypocritical and sickening. Do they forget it’s on tape and on the record?

But, media bias and Bush administration setbacks are not the crux of this open letter, and I am bothered with its opening words, because they suggest you have to choose between a woman and a black man – rather than vote for the best qualified candidate.

Clearly, women are voting for Hillary because she’s a woman, and blacks are voting for Obama because he’s black. Apparently, we Americans haven’t moved beyond discrimination.

A resolution of sorts, this statement of intent in the letter’s penultimate paragraph redeems its message:

“If we could get over our fixation on a fantasy that many of us hoped to see realized in our lifetimes, maybe we could finally turn to the issues that each of them brings to the table.”

The issues are real, dear reader. Arguably more critical than at any other time in American history.

This is no time for fantasy.


“DemWit” today: “R.I.P.”