Mr. (and Mrs.) 23% and the Obama Phenomenon

How is Congress doing these days?  If you are an American, odds are you're saying "Not so good".  An AP-Ipsos poll conducted April 7-9 finds that Congress has only a 23% approval rating.  This is in line with what most other polls have found, including an AP-Ipsos poll from March which found that Congress had a 24% approval rating.

But, surely, Americans can see that the Democrats are trying to do the right thing(s) and they are being thwarted by the Republicans thanks to the razor-thin margins in both chambers, correct?

A Harris Poll from April 2-6 suggests otherwise with Congressional Dems getting a 23% approval rating and Repubs getting a 20% approval rating.  Being in Congress is never a popular job, but these numbers point to a larger disillusionment with the running of the government.  The same AP-Ipsos poll showed Bush with similarly poor approval ratings (28%) and only 24% said the country was moving in the right direction.  So I guess Mr. 23% is now Harry Reid.  And Mrs. 23% is Nancy Pelosi.  Enter Obama.

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Constitution does not apply to the military

In a stunning revelation last week, John Yoo, the uber-Christian torture memo author, wrote that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, the one that protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, had "no application to domestic military operations." Even in the seventh year of the Bush Administration, when we've all grown wearily familiar with these types of outrages, this one sends a particularly sharp chill up my spine.

It may be that Yoo (and, by extension, Bush), for better or for worse, really have good intentions.  Maybe they are so concerned about domestic terrorism that they think the Constitution needs to be overruled in order to protect our safety.  Let's just pretend, for the sake of our own sanity, that this is true.

Nevertheless, this type of finding is the proverbial Pandora's Box.  You need to have utmost faith in our elected officials, their largely invisible political appointees, and the permanence of their judgment and intentions.  In other words, everyone involved in these operations has to have the best interest of U.S. citizens (except those being swept up by these unreasonable searches) in mind and it must ever be thus.

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The General Election Has Officially Begun

There is a chance that Hillary Clinton could still win the nomination and there are definitely a few hard fights left to be fought within the Democratic party.  But, this has not stopped the White House from dropping the puck, as it were, to officially begin the 2008 General Election.

How?  How else?  By issuing a terror alert. ive/2008/03/04/729103.aspx

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Krugman Turns Lemonade into Lemons

This week, Krugman's Monday Obama piece takes on a slightly different tone than his previous efforts.  For months now, Krugman has devoted his Monday column to dissecting various policies espoused by Obama to assure us that Hillary Clinton was actually the better candidate.  He garners great respect in Progressive circles and so his columns provided a rich, if not unbiased, perspective on the differences between the Democratic candidates.

Apparently seeing the writing on the wall, Krugman forgoes a discussion of policy this week and instead warns that if Obama does not win the election and become the next FDR, "the recriminations could tear the party apart."

Krugman, it seems has concluded that if his candidate (Clinton) does not get the nomination, there is a real danger that the whole party could collapse.  Now if that is not an endorsement, I'm not sure what is.  Unfortunately, it has the ring of "sour grapes" and perhaps a certain stage of grief.  Nevertheless, it does suggest that Obama has won the nomination.

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Obama edges ahead in vote total and in national polling

Momentum is building for Obama.  He has won seven straight state primaries and his vote total now slightly exceeds Hillary Clinton's, even including Florida and Michigan (where his name was not on the ballot) 008/02/13/661146.aspx.
He has also pulled ahead in the Gallup national poll versus Hillary Clinton for the first time , although the numbers are not outside of the margin of error.  The intrade prediction market also has Obama's chances of winning the nomination at 74.8% versus Hillary Clinton's 24.7%.

There is a very good and very real chance that Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee.

Let's set a few things straight.  Barack Obama is NOT a Republican.  He is NOT an empty suit.  He is NOT a misogynist.  He is NOT an embezzler.  He is NOT muslim.  He is NOT a homophobe.  He is NOT a racist.  He is NOT a sexist.

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Ann Coulter to Back Clinton? One more silly tale

"She said on Hannity & Colmes last night that Clinton "is more conservative than [McCain] is" and adds that in that scenario "she will be our girl." news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id= 1003705454

This is probably the most ridiculous thing I've heard so far this election cycle.  Well, ok, the Kucinich flying saucer thing was pretty ridiculous too.  But it does, rather obliquely, raise one question in my head.  

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How toxic is this primary

The primary season is in full swing as are most of the e-Louisville Sluggers in bloggers' hands.  The debate between the Obama and Clinton camps on MYDD has gotten ugly in places.  Most disturbing are the threats or perceived threats that those in the Obama (or Clinton) camp would NEVER vote for Clinton (or Obama) as President.  I happen to think this is a bunch of hooey, but I'm curious:  Is it?  So take the poll and contribute to the wealth of non-scientific data on the internet.  Exactly how toxic is this primary?

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Obama snags Leahy endorsement: Sternly-worded memos to follow?

Just.  Wow.  I'm an Obama supporter, but I like all of our candidates.  Lately I'd been swinging towards Hillary a bit more for reasons I won't discuss right now.  But then this comes today (brought to you by Greg Sargent):

Leahy likened his support of Obama to the 1968 presidential campaign, when as a young prosecutor he endorsed Robert Kennedy over Hubert Humphrey. "He was bringing us a sense of hope, bringing us together," Leahy said. "I know those are intangibles, but it encouraged me to go against the establishment in my own state, and go with Bobby Kennedy." (Sorry, I have no idea how to use the blockquote function)

Leahy is one of the most liberal members of the Senate, so this seems to go against the growing worry about Obama's centrism.  He is also one of the longest-serving members of the Senate, so it seems to go against the criticisms of Obama's readiness to lead.  So what's happening here?  Is it a Clinton revolt in the Democratic party?  Is Obama really all that?  Is Leahy losing his marbles?  Please discuss.

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