No Public Option Is A No Go!

My letter to Obama, Feinstein, Boxer and Pelosi:

I am reading a Politic headline that about "liberals being prepared to accept health care compromise".  If this is the case, good luck for the Democratic Party.

"Reform" without a public plan is nothing more than a mandate to become a client to dishonest insurers and the crap plans they peddle.  If the result of this process is caving into the fear-based and ill-informed hysteria of the mobs at these meetings and the demagogic politicians shilling for big pharma and insurers, I will be furious.  

A half-measure will please no one, solve nothing, disillusion the base.   The public plan was already a compromise from single-payer! If Democratic Party with a majority can't do this, what can they achieve?  What does this say about other important bills down the road?  Cap and Trade?  Forget it.  

And what does this say about other issues like DADT and DOMA repeal that we are being told to wait on so we could get priorities like health care reform accomplished. It tells me that even with a majority and a charismatic president, the Democratic Party is impotent. A half-measure will devastate the party. No "change", no "hope", and no enthusiastic support come the next elections.

Please inform your colleagues that a milquetoast attempt at reform is disaster.  Bill Clinton just the other day spoke eloquently of what a good Democratic plan would bring even if people are unsure now: if the plan passes, people will see the party could achieve something. A year for now when people see all the bad things the demagogues warn against don't materialize and the benefits become clear, support for the party will skyrocket.  Contrast that to the perception of impotence by the public and the disillusionment of the base if the Glenn Becks of the world succeed and force the Democratic majority to cave with a toothless and useless reform.

Thank you

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Stop Hijacking LGBT Issues

Well, they don't miss a beat. Any rift or disappointment becomes a bright (polished gold) shiny object to attract bigots, PUMAS, trolls and their numerous sockpuppets back to MYDD. They despise Obama and know full well that they can lower the discourse at any moment and overrun the rec'd diaries with innuendo, lies, and hate. And why not? The moderators hardly seem to care.

I know they should be ignored, but this latest salvo is particularly infuriating.  Diary after diary is being rammed through to use the Rick Warren invocation at the inauguration to sow doubt about Obama's commitment to the civil rights.  I am not talking about appropriate anger that is found in thoughtful posts like Todd Beeton's yesterday; I am talking about crap diaries that proclaim that "Obama has always been against civil rights".

Look: I'm as annoyed as anyone with the Warren invocation.  I think it was tone-deaf and particularly insensitive to the LGBT community, especially after Prop. 8. Though I understand why Obama might have thought it was a good idea (reaching out, inclusion), I also think he could have found a better choice.

Nevertheless, I take offense at the attempts of people to use the banner of LGBT rights to mask their real agenda, which is to continue to hurl venom at Barack Obama.  These diaries and posts are a continuation of the gotcha game that goes back to the so-called Primary Wars.  As for LGBT rights, these people are fair-weather friends. Their commitment is shallow and opportunistic.

Yes, this decision is a disappointment.  Despite that, the man is not even President yet. His stance on LGBT issues is as good or better than any Democrat of national standing.  Certainly, his stances are better than his predecessors. For people who really care about LGBT rights, the task is to hold his feet to the fire and demand that he keeps his campaign promises and repeals DADT and DOMA. If he follows through with these promises, Rick Warren's three minutes at the Inauguration will be remembered for exactly what they were: three minutes.

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Lastly Primary

Ugh.  How do I get myself caught up in these primary rehashes?  I hear something I disagree with and simply cannot resist saying something .  Today, it was the "Hillary won the popular vote" thing, and it got my hackles up.  My response is always, "yeah, right, not a soul in Michigan would have voted for Obama if they could". Well, I was set straight.

Of course the Rules Committee convened, and of course they decided to give Obama the "uncommitted" vote, and of course they gave each state half the delegates.  No one was completely happy, but the rules have been accepted by most, and here we are.  By accepting the compromise, yes, Hillary won the popular vote.  In this, I was wrong.  

Now, I have to say something. But I swear this will be my last comment on the primaries.  One question I asked repeatedly in the Spring of our Discontent is why-oh-why did Hillary say that Michigan would count for nothing before the Iowa caucuses, and then find religion on Michigan only after she started losing.  To me the answer is pretty apparent, but I'd be happy to hear something that's a little more flattering than my guess.  If anyone has something better, here's your chance, because, as I said, after this, I will never touch the primaries on this site again.

So, OK, rules. If we are to get anywhere, we need to accept a few things. This means that caucuses do count, just like they did when no one was complaining about them in the previous ten or so cycles. This means that the rulings of the Rules Committee stand.  Hillary accepted it, Obama accepted it, the media accepted it, Washington accepted, the public accepted it. Therefore, yes, the resolution by the Rules Committee to our screwy process is this: Hillary won the popular vote; Obama won the delegates; and Obama will be the nominee.

So, now what? Everyone has a choice. They can undermine the candidacy of Obama by repeating tired arguments from the primary and repeating talking points of the McCain campaign, or they can work towards a Democratic presidency and a Democratic majority in Congress.  Because I happen to care about the environment, war, and rights, I know where I stand.

I'm looking forward to this week.  Obama goes on a little vacation, and we get to hear a lot more from Hillary. Then, in a few weeks, we get to hear great speeches from Bill, Hillary, and Obama.  And, then in November, we get to see how all of them worked together and handed McCain's ass to him. Nice.  Looking forward already feels better than looking back.

OK. Getting-It-Off-My-Chest/Train-Of-Thought rambling, over and out.

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Obama and the "Other Women"

Ever since the primary season was wrapped up in June (well, at least for most of us), the new hot topic has been the veepstakes.  It's mostly a parlor game, but an admittedly fun one for us political junkies.  We get to look at maps, polls, and demographics, while scanning the news to find out who is appearing where with whom, and who says what about whatever. It's our summertime Kremlinogy. Good stuff.

This season, a lot has been written about if Hillary would be on the ticket, and, if so, what impact she would have on Obama's prospects in November. Now that it's looking like she probably won't be on the ticket, a major topic has been what would happen if Obama picked another woman.

According to many here, including a couple front pagers, Obama would be a fool to pick any other woman besides Hillary.  Apparently, McCaskill, Sebelius and Napolitano have their own glass ceiling to crack, and it's firmly under Hillary's feet.  To me, this is an odd kind of sexism that reduces all potential female veeps to a single demographic: their gender. Forget that Sebelius is a two term progressive executive from a red state; she's a woman. Forget that McCaskill was an early supporter from a swing state; she's a woman.

I get the argument that Clinton was the only veep prospect that won 17 million votes, but that's an argument that could be used against potential veeps of either gender.  When applied only against the female prospects, the argument becomes sexist. This argument hasn't come up near as consistently (or predictably) when the names of male candidates such as Bayh or Biden come up.

Some say that for Obama to pick a female candidate would be tokenism and an insult to women.  I've read that if Sebelius (the most often mentioned potential female running mate) is picked, this will be a turn-off to women, and it will hurt Obama's chances among female voters.  Guess what?  Not so much.  Like the mythological problem Obama had with Latino voters, like the mythological problem Obama has with "working class whites", this canard is just a tall tale spun by a small group of diehard Clinton supporters.  

According to a new poll out, 29% of women voters would be more likely to vote for Obama if he picked a female running mate.  More interestingly, 47% of women who voted for Hillary would be more likely to vote for Obama if he picked a female running mate, while only 4% would be less likely. Turns out that it's just a disproportionately vocal 4% that we've been hearing from around here (and at goofy sites like Alegre's Corner and Hillaryis44).  Turns out that their pretense that they are speaking for all women is just that: pretense.

The article in full here:


On the heels of fresh coverage claiming women and feminists remain bitter about Hillary Clinton's defeat, here's a bipartisan poll that offers some real numbers. Sixty-nine percent of American women do believe Hillary was a trailblazer for other female politicians, but their hopes for the future of women in politics aren't pinned on her shoulders -- less than one-third now believe she will be the first woman president. Optimistically, though, about half of the women surveyed believe the U.S. will have a female president by 2016. What that suggests is that many women would be thrilled by the pick of any woman as a vice presidential nominee.

Here are some other takeaways from the poll, conducted by Republican Kellyanne Conway and Democrat Celinda Lake:

       * Obama would benefit twice as much as McCain from offering the second slot to a woman (29% more likely to support Obama if he picks a woman vs. 15% who would be more likely to support McCain).
        * Forty-seven percent of Hillary Clinton's primary voters said they'd be more likely to vote for Obama if he chose a woman running mate, and 4% said less likely. This is the exact breakdown of current Obama supporters overall.
        * Obama also holds an advantage among Independent women, who favor him by a twelve point margin (42% for Obama to 30% for McCain). However, one out of five Independents are still undecided.
        * Despite all the talk about sexism in the presidential campaign, the majority of women voters laid the blame for Hillary's loss squarely on her and her strategists' shoulders; they largely reject gender as a cause of her demise. Thirty-four percent believe she lost "because of the kind of campaign she ran"; 31% said because of "who she is and what she stands for"; and 21% said "because she is a woman."

--Dana Goldstein

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Owning The War (HRC and GWB)

I was reading another diary "Top 10 Inane Profane & otherwise Flame arguments used versus Hillary Clinton " and took issue with the writer's (no.9) argument that the Iraq war is Bush's war and no one else's... especially not Hillary's. My response got a little passionate and my comment on the thread was getting long, so I decided to post my response as a diary here. No disrespect is meant towards the author of the original diary.

Yes, Iraq is Bush's war. It'll ultimately be on his head, and it will always be linked with his name.  But this war belongs to a lot of us.  It belongs to Cheney, to Rumsfeld, to Powell, to Tenet.  It belongs to the NYT and CNN and FOX.  It belongs to every American who allowed the post 9/11 hysteria to  sweep them up and away from critical thinking and patriotic skepticism. It belongs to everyone who chose to ignore the thousands on the streets who knew Bush was lying and had a hard-on for war.

And it belongs to a lot of Democrats.  It belongs to Feinstein, Biden, and Reid. It belongs to Kerry and Edwards. Whether for political expediency or a return to rationality, at least Kerry/Edwards apologized.  Though unsure if that apology is really enough, I tried to forgive them and decided that they are at least better than their Republican opponents.

Here's some people this war doesn't belong to: Gore, Obama, or Dean. They were well-informed enough to denounce the war early on and have spoken out against it ever since. Neither does the war belong to Germany, France, Russia, Canada, or the majority of our allies who knew this was an imperial play that would end in disaster.  It also doesn't belong to the majority of House Democrats who rejected the clearly titled "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq".  

It doesn't belong to the only Republican Senator who voted against the Authorization.  In Lincoln Chafee's recent book, he commented on pro-war Democrats, "They argue that the president duped them into war, but getting duped does not exactly recommend their leadership. Helping a rogue president start an unnecessary war should be a career-ending lapse of judgment."

The war in Iraq doesn't belong to the 32 Democratic senators who voted against the Authorization.  It doesn't belong to Boxer, Byrd, Feingold, or Kennedy. It certainly doesn't belong to Carl Levin.  He introduced the Levin Amendment that called for additional Congressional approval before a unilateral (that is, non-UN sanctioned) attack.  In other words, it called for more diplomacy.  Hillary Clinton voted against that measure, even though she now claims that she supported AUMF because she thought that would somehow lead to more diplomacy.

So, yes, the war also belongs to Hillary. She placed herself squarely among the minority of congressional Democrats who voted for the bill.  Was hers just one vote?  Yes.  It was one vote from one of the most prominent and influential Democrats in the Senate. It was a vote from a former First Lady. It was a vote from a likely presidential candidate. It was a weighty vote, and it likely gave cover to Democrats unsure of which way they might go. Worse, it was an enabling vote for Bush.  A Clinton vote for a Bush war effectively mainstreamed our country's march into Baghdad.

So far, no apologies. Hillary Clinton is basing her candidacy on experience, yet she still has been unable to apologize a vote for the war that people are dying in today. Rather than an apology, there are excuses. She says she believed Bush, as if that's supposed to make us feel better. Rather than an apology, there's the "I know you are but what am I" tactic of somehow making Obama complicit by the fact that he hasn't voted to defund the troops while they are still in harm's way.

For me, this is a defining issue. Any politician who voted for a clearly unnecessary war should make any voter think twice. If a presidential candidate can't grasp the basic principle that you don't attack a country that has not attacked you, then he or she  fails a very basic litmus test. Whether Hillary was duped  (unlikely) or going with the prevailing winds with an eye towards her political future (bingo!), it reveals a decided lack of leadership. Yes, Bush owns this war.  So does Senator Clinton.


Before the assault begins, let me say that I was not an automatic Obama supporter. I didn't decide who I would choose up til the night of Feb. 4. There was even a chance that if Hillary would somehow own up to her mistake, I would have given her a second look (there's a lot I've admired about her). Given her subsequent  behavior in the primaries, I've become quite comfortable with my choice and I'm absolutely thrilled that the next president could very well be someone who, like me and so many others, knew Iraq was an immoral tragedy in the making.

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Anti HRC Rhetoric on Kos No Surprise

Daily Kos strikers outraged and shocked (shocked!) at the ever-harsher rhetoric against Hillary Clinton should keep in mind that the Daily Kos  has never been a fan of the Clintons. It's  always been unfavorable to DLC backed candidates. She was never going to do well there.

Daily Kos has long been lukewarm at best towards Hillary. Her votes on the bankruptcy bill, the cluster bomb bill, etc. made her suspect to many.  Her grandstanding on issues like flag burning hasn't helped much either. Her 2002 Iraq vote was the nail in the coffin.

If you look at various polls within Daily Kos, you'll see that Hillary was always at the bottom, regardless of who was at the top. In other words, a lot of this hasn't been Obama vs. Hillary, but rather any decent Democrat vs. Hillary.  Until recently, Obama hardly ranked either.  I believe the initial favorite was Gore, then Edwards.  Only since Edwards dropped out has Obama's support gotten so strong.

Finally, it's undeniable that it was Hillary who decided to drag this thing down. The infuriating thing about her 3am ad and all the other attacks is that they seem to be designed to hand over the frontrunner's head to the GOP. Say what you will about anti-Hillary chatter in the blogs, but Obama has pretty much been mild in his attacks, so much so that his supporters are begging him to fight harder.  No one in Hillary's camp has been complaining that she's been too soft.

It's not going to get better. Paraphrasing Hillary, we're just getting warmed up. The primaries are dragging on, and looming in the horizon are nastier attacks, the Michigan and Florida debacle, as well as whatever new tactic the Clinton campaign has to get around the unfavorable math of the pledged (ahem, "automatic") delegates. In this, the party is splitting and the so-called blogoshpere is reflecting that: Daily Kos has settled on its "anyone but Hillary" candidate, and MyDD is showing an equal level of vitriol in support of Senator Clinton.  This is the "fun part", is it not?

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Towards President McCain

Everyone keeps talking about the delegate math being insurmountable for Hillary, but clearly she would not still be in the race if she did not think she could beat it. Her campaign has already broadcast how. She'll tear down her opponent, tear apart (if she must) the Democratic Party, and then deal with the general election when she gets there.

It's obvious that her goal in the primaries is to win Pennsylvania by continuing the kind of campaigning that was effective for her in Ohio and Texas. She is going to continue to throw the "kitchen sink" at Obama for the next seven or so weeks. The media, no doubt, will eat it up. By then, Obama will be sufficiently weakened and tarred for new primaries in Michigan and Florida. Watch her "concern" for Democracy grow louder and louder as these states figure more and more into her strategy of changing the rules that no longer suit her. After pulling ahead in these states, she'll ask the superdelegates to fall in line.

So far, so good. She's not bad at short and mid-term thinking. It's thinking in the long-term that kills her. She had a plan for 'Super Tuesday', but not for what might happen afterwards. Likewise, it seems like her new plan could get her to the Democratic Convention, but doesn't take into account how her behavior in the primaries affects her chances in the general.

Make no mistake, if Hillary keeps playing it how she has this week, the party will end up watching its best opportunity in decades go down in flames. Democrats will be reminded of the 50% of Americans who say they will never vote for her. Crossover independents and Republicans will not materialize. Many of the new voters Obama brought in will no-show. Her scorched earth tactics will have turned off large percentages of significant core Democratic groups, in particular African Americans, younger voters, and progressives.

When the electorate is asked in November "who do you want answering the phone at 3am", it will be a McCain ad. Unsurprisingly, much of the general electorate will decide a grizzled vet is better prepared to be Commander-in-Chief than a 6 year Senator/former First Lady. By Hillary's own standards of "experience", it's McCain who should be President, not her. She even spent this week running around praising McCain over her Democratic opponent. Given her initial support for the Iraq war, she'll have no traction on that issue either.

It's too bad that Hillary's tactics in the last week have proven so effective. If only it was the nice version of Hillary that was winning places like Ohio. That's the Hillary that could win the election against McCain, and that's the Hillary that could bring around Obama supporters. Unfortunately, it's the nasty one who is getting results now. There's no reason to believe she won't continue on that track. Hillary's found her voice... again. It's a recipe for a Clinton nomination and a McCain presidency.

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