Obama's Leaked VP List a MacGuffin

With the possible exception of Hillary Clinton (a choice which would be based on desperation and near-convention polling) nobody on the list of Vice Presidential candidates leaked today by the Obama campaign will be selected as Obama's running mate. Alfred Hitchcock employed a plot device called a MacGuffin, essentially to advance the story or motivate a character. In essence, a MacGuffin is a diversion from the real action designed to mislead the viewer. My examination of the Obama MacGuffins follows:

Ted Strickland has made a Shermanesque statement disavowing any interest or willingness to serve. John Edwards has made similar statements and added nothing to Kerry's ticket in 2004. John Kerry inclusion on the list is a gratuitous nod to a supporter or an attempt at humor.

With a real possibility of achieving a fillibuster-proof (or close to one) majority in the Senate, selecting anyone who might cause the loss of a seat would be foolhardy. Chris Dodd, Jack Reed and Bill Nelson represent states with Republican governors who would replace them with gnomes. Evan Bayh represents a state with a Republican governor who is likely to be reelected.


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Tod Purdum is an A**hole


Former New York Times reporter Tod Purdum is a secret admirer of Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler, according to sources who wished to remain nameless to preserve their friendship with him. This reporter has learned that people close to Mr. Purdum attempted to arrange an intervention when they learned that his doctors cautioned him to discontinue his habit of having sex with farm animals. Despite multiple bouts of bird flu, hoof and mouth disease and anthrax, Mr. Purdum was unable to control these impulses. His inner circle, again requesting anonymity, feels that the support group he joined is gradually helping him reduce his daily heroin use. His cocaine habit ended in May following surgery to remove his nose. Mr. Purdum is getting his life under control, say co-workers, after his multiple affairs were discovered by his wife. She had threatened to leave him if he did not break it off his relationship with her pet goat.

According to an attorney in the know, Mr. Purdum is well-positioned to re-make his life after having successfully avoided prosecution for various felonies due to police procedural misconduct. His life is improving now that he no longer pulls the wings off flies, has stopped setting cats on fire before throwing them down elevator shafts and exposing himself at the local sandbox.

Despite his troubling habits, friends insist that he routinely gives his spare change to panhandler.

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This primary season has been long and hard. Barack Obama supporters like me have argued passionately with our fellow Democrats who support Hillary Clinton. On more than a few occasions our intense passion for Senator Obama has gotten the better of us and caused us to lash out at Clinton supporters with venomous rhetoric which belies our respect and admiration for Senator Clinton. Looking back I recall occasions when I have used language which serves to divide us rather than unite us. I realize now that reacting out of frustration and anger is not just something the other side does. To those I have offended or angered over the past months I offer my sincere apologies.

My candidate is a proponent of ending the divisions we have. Your candidate has said on many occasions that our differences pale in comparison to the divisions we have with Senator McCain. Big picture: we are, or should be, on the same side. Our candidates are separated by the narrowest of margins with Senator Obama having prevailed. I recognize that you will need some time to absorb the loss and adjust to the new reality, as I would have, had the battle gone the other way. I know that had Senator Obama lost I would not be in the mood for preachy diaries propounding unity. I'm sure you're not either. Getting over a loss takes time. Please know that I understand this and will be sympathetic in my future posts.

It is my hope that in time you will join me and my fellow Obama supporters in our efforts to defeat Senator McCain in November. McCain's defeat will lead us to a more prosperous future, the end of the calamitous war in Iraq, a safer nation and greater respect for our fellow citizens. I know you share these goals and hope that, in time, you will stand with us for the greater good of our party and our nation. Once again, my sincerest apology for any disrespect I have shown you or your candidate.


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It's Obama's Party Now

Today we witnessed the culmination of the Democratic Party's reenactment of the Bataan death march. In a Kafkaesque hearing, the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic Party all but ensured the nomination of Barack Obama for President of the United States. It's Obama's party now and will remain so unless, as many fear, he comes up short in November. Should that come to pass he will take his place as a pariah among fallen Democratic candidates from Mondale to Dukakais to the feckless John Kerry. (I omit Gore as he actually won his election.)

Obama proclaims himself to be a unifying force in a fetid swamp of discord and distrust. It is now his, and his alone, obligation to prove it. He's got his work cut out for him, and, IMHO, he's not off to a very good start.. While today's result was largely preordained and pro forma, one aspect is likely to engender the ire of Clinton supporters (Full disclosure: I count myself among their number). The delegate apportionment scheme for Michigan is an unconscionable abuse of process, common sense, goodwill and unity. The arbitrary and capricious nature of the ½(69-59) delegate split in the Wolverine state will rankle Obama detractors and Clinton supporters for far longer than he would hope and for some, irredeemably.

Had Clinton been given her share of the (admittedly flawed) January primary vote, with Obama gratuitously awarded  the uncommitted delegates, it would have been disappointing but, on some level, understandable. It would be specious to argue that Obama would have received no delegates out of Michigan. But the hijacking of 4 Clinton delegates, and make no mistake, it was GTD (grand theft delegate), is a slap in the face to Democratic Michiganders and Clinton supporters. Compounding the error is the fact that it was unnecessary. Does any sentient being believe that these four delegates are dispositive as regards Obama's nomination. An expression I am fond of is: pigs get fat, hogs get nothing. Obama fought for these four superfluous delegates because he could, not because he needed them. And in doing so he alienated legions of Clinton supporters while taking a giant step backwards in his quest for a unified party.


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It's not Pfleger, Stupid!

I think that everybody here is completely missing the point, as did the media, of the Pfleger incident. The lunatic priest is not so much the issue as the flock cheering his denunciation of white entitlement and Hillary Clinton. Obama is not responsible for the priest's words but he is, in some measure, responsible for his long-term membership in a "church" that glorifies and exults in such sentiments. I was more taken aback by the earlier moments in the "sermon" about what white people "inherited" from the slavery practiced by their ancestors than the now quotidian misogyny and culture of victimhood.

I don't for a second believe that Obama subscribes to any of this patent nonsense but Republican 527s will make much of this episode. It's not just Wright anymore, it's a pattern. And, as they have little else, they will flog it to death in the fall. I do believe that Obama's denunciation should have been much stronger. It may not have occured to the generally well-educated readers of this blog, but this kind of stuff scares voters like those in West Virginia, Kentucky, southern Pennsylvania and southern Ohio.

Just a bit more on the flip...

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Why we Need Mandated Health Insurance

cross posted at Daily Kos

Senator Obama appears well positioned to lay claim to the Democratic Party's presidential nomination within the next ten days. Observers have been speculating as to what price Hillary Clinton wishes to exact in return for her full support. It is my hope that she asks not for debt-reduction assistance or Vice Presidential consideration. I hope, and expect, that Hillary will seek acceptance of her proposed health insurance plan as part of the party's platform, along with a commitment from Senator Obama to fully support it and, if elected, seek to enact it into law.

Mandates are the key component of Hillary's plan. While there has been much discussion of mandates, it has been largely superficial. I doubt that 1 in 10 people can even articulate why they are necessary. This diary will attempt to make the case for mandates using a simple, easy to understand hypothetical.


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Where in the World in Barack Obama?

Answer: not in Puerto Rico.

Over the past several months I have grown to have great respect for the campaign skills of the Obama team. They have run what will probably be remembered by historians as the Presidential primary campaign that changed Presidential primary campaigns forever. Timely messaging, rapid response, social networking and internet fund-raising have been the hallmarks of their successful effort against a candidate with 100% name recognition and years of hard-won goodwill.

For this reason I was taken aback by the perfunctory efforts in West Virginia and Kentucky. Admittedly these states presented overwhelming demographic challenges for the Obama team, but as a candidate who prides himself on his ability to change voters' minds once they get to know him I was surprised that Obama made no serious effort to introduce himself to their voters.


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Hillary Clinton June 4, 2008 Concession Speech

It is with deep affection and great respect for the Herculean efforts of my indefatigable supporters that I am suspending my campaign for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States. It is apparent to me that Senator Obama is well positioned to gain the nomination by virtue of his lead in delegates. It has become clear to me that any that any further efforts to acquire the nomination would sow division in our party and be antithetical to the goal of defeating Senator McCain in the general election.

I apologize to the states of Florida and Michigan for my inability to fully enfranchise the 2.3 million good citizens who cast votes in their primaries. While I gave it my best efforts, it became clear that the Democratic Party establishment was predisposed to make an example of those states as a cautionary tale for states which would deign to violate their rules in the future.


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Hounding Hillary out of the Race

Okay, Obama supporters, we get it. Not only is Hillary a racist, she is now openly advocating for the assassination of her opponent. She is the most divisive force in the party, maybe the universe. The faux outrage expressed in the comments sections of many of the diaries on this blog tonight are again calling for Hillary to exit the race. Just another round of Hillary bashing and trashing. The Great Orange Satan must be on fire.

Obama knows how counterproductive this is to his goals. The reluctant statement issued by his campaign was quite mild. Obama supporters don't seem to understand that hounding Hillary out of the race is the dumbest idea since John McCain sought Hagee's endorsement.  

The simple explanation on the flip side

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An Open Letter to Superdelegates

I don't envy you. You have been given a responsibility which few of you sought and none relish. It's neither surprising nor unreasonable that a great many of you are reluctant to make a commitment for fear of alienating some of your constituents, fellow party members and the rejected candidate. You didn't sign up for this, but you were drafted and it is now your most sacred responsibility to make a judgment, based on any criteria you deem relevant, as to which candidacy is more likely to result in a Democratic White House in 2009.

Before I advocate for my preferred candidate, I will make a few stipulations:

1)    Barack Obama has amassed an unassailable majority of pledged delegates.

2)    Barack Obama has accumulated more superdelegates to date.

3)    The popular vote will likely be won by Hillary Clinton if Florida and Michigan are considered.

4)    The popular vote will likely be won by Barack Obama if Florida and Michigan are excluded (barring a major Hillary Clinton blowout in Puerto Rico).

5)    Barack Obama has assembled a coalition of younger, African-American and higher income, higher educated voters.

6)    Hillary Clinton has assembled a coalition of women, lower income and lower educated voters, Jewish voters, Catholic voters, Latino and Asian-American

7)    A large number of Hillary voters say they will vote for John McCain or abstain if Barack is the nominee; a smaller but significant number of Barack voters say they will do the same if Hillary is the nominee.

All of this is evident from actual voting, exit polling and reinforced by anecdotal evidence cited by various media organizations. It is my contention that none of it matters. I'll explain on the flip side.

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