WE'VE MOVED

Please note that we've moved to a new blog at www.LibraryGrape.com.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama Releases New Gas Prices Ad

Ah, this new Obama ad that calls out McCain and Clinton for their shameless "gas tax holiday" pandering reminds me of the reason why I fell in love with Obama. As Obama says at the end of the ad: "You deserve someone who is going to tell you the truth."



Read more about the McCain-Clinton gas tax proposal:

Newsweek Lists Why Gas Tax Pander is Ridiculous

Johnathan Alter at Newsweek lists many of the reasons why the gas tax pander proposed by McCain and Clinton is so ridiculous:

* It's a direct transfer of money from motorists to oil companies, which are getting ready this week to again report record obscene profits. If the federal excise tax were lifted, oil companies would simply raise prices and pocket most of the difference. Clinton's proposal to recover the money with a windfall profits tax on oil companies sounds nice but won't happen. That tax was easily blocked by the Senate in December and would likely be blocked again.

* It offers taxpayers only peanuts. The Congressional Budget Office says the average savings to motorists this summer would be a total of $30. Did I miss something, or was that measly number somehow not included in Clinton's explanation of her support?

* It sends more hard-earned money to the Middle East, which is terrible for our national security. Remember, 15 of the 19 terrorists on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia. How did they get the terrorist training? The madrassa indoctrination? Oil money.

* It worsens global warming by encouraging gasoline consumption. When you flee your house in 2020 because of flooding, remember which politicians pandered.

* It makes it more likely you'll have a car accident or will waste even more time in traffic. The proceeds from the gas tax go for highway construction and upgrades. Because the tax (24.4 cents a gallon on diesel fuel) was last raised 15 years ago, our infrastructure is a mess, with potholes and dangerous crossings practically everywhere. Thousands of repair projects will be further delayed.

* It will cost 300,000 construction jobs, according to the Department of Transportation. Makes it kind of ironic when Clinton starts her rallies saying she wants "jobs, jobs, jobs."

* It will cost the U.S. Treasury at least $8.5 billion and probably much more, according to state highway officials. For McCain that's no money at all—merely one month in Iraq. For Clinton it's money she's already spent. She has said in the past that any proceeds from a windfall profits tax would go for renewable energy. The $8.5 billion figure assumes the tax would be reapplied after Labor Day. Fat chance. The one-year costs are probably closer to $30 billion.

* It won't happen anyway because Congress isn't usually quite that stupid, and if it is, President Bush would veto the bill.

Read More

Ludicrous "Gas Tax Holiday" Panned

The last couple of days have seen political "silly season" rise to new heights, with John McCain proposing, and then Hillary Clinton endorsing the most brazen, ineffectual and fundamentally pander-laden proposal to come out of this election contest thus far.

John McCain (and then Clinton) proposed lifting the 18.4 center-per-gallon gas tax during the summer. If you think through the numbers, guess what this would save the average consumer? As Obama said:

This is an idea that, when all is said and done, will save you - at most - half a tank of gas over the course of the entire summer. That's about $28.

The blogging and news media intelligentsia have reviewed this proposed gas tax "holiday" and have unanimously and scathingly excoriated the proposal for the pandering, worthless voter payoff that it is.

Here's a roundup from the Huffington Post:

Tom Friedman (NYT columnist)

It is great to see that we finally have some national unity on energy policy. Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away. Hillary Clinton has decided to line up with John McCain in pushing to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for this summer's travel season. This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.

Jonathan Alter (Newsweek columnist)

It will cost the U.S. Treasury at least $8.5 billion and probably much more, according to state highway officials. For McCain that's no money at all--merely one month in Iraq. For Clinton it's money she's already spent. She has said in the past that any proceeds from a windfall profits tax would go for renewable energy. The $8.5 billion figure assumes the tax would be reapplied after Labor Day. Fat chance. The one-year costs are probably closer to $30 billion.

Greg Mankiw (former Bush economic adviser)

"Score one for Obama," wrote Greg Mankiw, a former chairman of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. "In light of the side effects associated with driving ... gasoline taxes should be higher than they are, not lower."

Jonah Gelbach (Obama supporter)

One point that has gone largely unreported in the regular media is that a brief gas tax holiday would likely do little to reduce prices for consumers simply because in the short run the supply of gasoline is relatively fixed (in econese, the short run supply curve is close to vertical). As a result, a cut in the gas tax of brief duration will simply cause the pre-tax price of gas to rise. This would mean that the price paid by consumers would change relatively little, if at all (tho James Hamilton's post, linked below, suggests the consumer price might fall by as much as half the gas tax, which I think would be about 9 cents). Instead, the price received by oil companies would simply rise, providing them with windfall profits."

Federico Peña (former Clinton energy secretary, Obama supporter)

"Today we're seeing another example of Washington politics at its worst. Senator Clinton is running TV ads and launching repeated attacks on Barack Obama for not supporting the gas tax holiday she's supporting, but today her own aides told the Washington Post that they know that this is a questionable plan and that they are using it to make it appear they're against big oil. The Clinton gas tax gimmick does little to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and will actually increase oil prices. It is the kind of pandering that insults people's intelligence. With energy prices skyrocketing, we're looking for real solutions--not political posturing to get elected."

Robert Reich (Obama supporter)

So what else can we do? McCain and HRC are proposing a tax holiday on gas - so this summer you wouldn't pay the 18 cents a gallon that would otherwise go to Uncle Sam. Talk about dumb ideas. This will only encourage Americans to drive more, thereby increasing demand and causing gas prices to rise even higher. Driving more will also put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which fuels global warming. And this will cost taxpayers some $10 billion. It's a cheap political gimmick that does nothing to stem the rising price of oil.

Paul Krugman (NYT columnist)

Why doesn't cutting the gas tax this summer make sense? It's Econ 101 tax incidence theory: if the supply of a good is more or less unresponsive to the price, the price to consumers will always rise until the quantity demanded falls to match the quantity supplied. Cut taxes, and all that happens is that the pretax price rises by the same amount. The McCain gas tax plan is a giveaway to oil companies, disguised as a gift to consumers.


Is the supply of gasoline really fixed? For this coming summer, it is. Refineries normally run flat out in the summer, the season of peak driving. Any elasticity in the supply comes earlier in the year, when refiners decide how much to put in inventories. The McCain/Clinton gas tax proposal comes too late for that. So it's Econ 101: the tax cut really goes to the oil companies.

The Clinton twist is that she proposes paying for the revenue loss with an excess profits tax on oil companies. In one pocket, out the other. So it's pointless, not evil. But it is pointless, and disappointing.

Len Burman (Tax Policy Center)

For a moment, forget about whether encouraging fossil fuel burning makes sense during a time of global warming, whether we should raid the highway trust fund when bridges are collapsing for lack of maintenance, or the disconnect between the proposal to cut gasoline taxes and the candidates' endorsement of "cap-and-trade" limits that would raise gasoline prices.


Even in this alternative reality, there's a problem. Refiners run near capacity every summer as families rack up miles on family vacations. That's one reason why gas prices jump in the summer. If McCain's excise tax cut translated into lower prices, we'd all want to drive more, which would push up the demand for gasoline. Since the refiners can't produce much more without building new refineries, the price has to go back up.

American Society of Civil Engineers

The nation's roads and bridges are already overburdened and any "gas tax holiday" -- including the one proposed by Sen. Hillary Clinton -- would only delay much needed transportation projects the American Society of Civil Engineers said today. A moratorium on the gas tax poses a significant threat to the U.S. economy, and could potentially increase the cost per driver caused by traffic congestion and poor road conditions. It will provide no tangible benefit to the American people, and any plan for restoring the $8.5 billion in lost transportation funding is unlikely.

James Hamilton (Economist, UC San Diego)

"I don't think that a gas-tax cut would result in a really big drop in gasoline prices," said James Hamilton, a professor of economics at the University of California San Diego. It's simple economics: Without a corresponding increase in supply, he added, the price would rise again.

Lawrence Goldstein (Energy Policy Research Foundation)

"You don't want to stimulate consumption," said Lawrence Goldstein, an economist at the Energy Policy Research Foundation. "The signal you want to send is the opposite one. Politicians should say that conservation is where people's mindset ought to be."

Lee Schipper (Visiting scholar, UC-Davis)

"Higher demand just pushes the world price a bit higher, giving a sizable share of the tax refund to oil producers," said Lee Schipper, an energy expert and a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley.

Obama on Meet the Press

Set your Tivos to record; Obama is going to be on Meet the Press for a full hour this Sunday on your local NBC station.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama Rejects and Denounces Wright

Obama's made a forceful statement today, rejecting and denouncing his former pastor's recent comments and generational silliness. Amen. I am there with Andrew Sullivan in that I think this was a golden opportunity for Obama.



Here are some of Obama's comments:

I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That’s in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That’s who I am, that’s what I believe, and that’s what this campaign has been about," Obama said.

I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday.

The person that I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.

They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs.

If Reverend Wright thinks that’s political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn’t know me very well and based on his remarks yesterday, I may not know him as well as I thought either.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia, explaining that he has done enormous good in the church. But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS; when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century; when he equates the U.S. wartime efforts with terrorism – then there are no exuses. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced, and that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.

It is antithetical to my campaign. It is antithetical to what I’m about. It is not what I think America stands for.

Donate and Get Limited Edition Poster

Wednesday is April 30 and that is the end of the monthly reporting period for campaign contributions. You can also use the opportunity to get a cool poster. Think this won't be a collectors item in a few years?

Go here to Donate!

Obama Has a Running Mate

This is adorable. Here's video of an 82-year-old lady at an Obama rally asking Obama a question and firing up the audience. Know hope.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Clinton Wins at Basketball

This is a hill-arious little gem I just found that describes why Hillary thinks she's winning a basketball game against Obama (click for the full image)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Obama in 30 Seconds: "I have Hope"

Wow, there are some really amazing videos over on Obama in 30 Seconds. This is one I found particularly funny, inspiring and intriguing.

Click here for videos (they autoplay so I can't post them here)

"Hillraiser" and Clinton Ambassador Defects to Obama

Wham. This is seriously big news. A major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, former Ambassador to Chile Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon is leaving the campaign to join up Barack Obama's campaign.

Here's what MSNBC had to say:

Officially dubbed a "Hillraiser," Guerra-Mondragon raised nearly $500,000 for Clinton's campaign, according to some estimates. He has been informing people inside Clintonworld this week in what's been described as some tough conversations. A formal announcement of a role for Guerra-Mondragon on Obama's national finance committee will be made next week. Guerra-Mondragon was appointed Amb. to Chile by Pres. Clinton in '94 and served until '98.

Among the reasons for Guerra-Mondragon to defect, according to one informed source, was he was uneasy with the tone of the Clinton campaign and was beginning to worry about what this would mean for the general election. [um, ya think!? :) ]

In addition, Guerra-Mondragon's defection could serve as a tipping point with some key Hispanic Democratic leaders that Obama is ready to start making a bigger effort to court Hispanics.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Barack Obama Is Like Roger Federer

Leave it to my tennis-loving mom and stepdad to come up with an nice tennis construct in which to frame the race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Here's the gem my mom just e-mailed me.

In essence, Hillary is like the tennis pro that's losing the US Open.

They fake injury, lie and call medical timeouts, try to get in the other guy's head and piss him off, try to throw him off his game/rhythm, get dramatic, yell and threaten umpire, etc., etc. -- like Johnny McEnroe.

Sometimes it works, but not with the Roger Federers of the world, who stay cool, calm and focused.

Roger doesn't always win every game, and doesn't expect to. He knows the other guys have talent, but he nearly always wins the big ones. And he has class all along the way, so they are great wins, not just pretty good ones.

Plus, he knows that in the long run, this is the way to win the most overall: keep your cool and stay in the zone.

That's why he is tops in the world by miles, maybe in the history of the game.

[My stepdad] thinks Obama is the Roger Federer equivalent.

I totally agree.

Though Johnny Mac or Andy Roddick can be more "fun" or pyrotechnic to watch sometimes -- with their antics and the drama --Roger has historic, world-caliber grace, elegance, talent, discipline, focus and class; like Obama, or Tiger Woods.

Even when Roger is down, he never fakes an injury or resorts to antics, even when he loses something. In the end, he always stays on his "game" and wins the big ones. That's the true sign of an authentic Champion.

President of the 11 States of America

This also helped to lift my spirits this morning.

Hillary K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now

I found that Maureen Dowd's column this morning in the New York Times lifted my spirits this morning:

Before they devour themselves once more, perhaps the Democrats will take a cue from Dr. Seuss’s “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” (The writer once mischievously redid it for his friend Art Buchwald as “Richard M. Nixon Will You Please Go Now!”) They could sing:

“The time has come. The time has come. The time is now. Just go. ... I don’t care how. You can go by foot. You can go by cow. Hillary R. Clinton, will you please go now! You can go on skates. You can go on skis. ... You can go in an old blue shoe.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Expected Malaise in the Proper Margins

Well, it looks as if I was at least somewhat close. Hillary is winning Pennsylvania by what looks to be anywhere from 4% to 11% depending on when the numbers come in.

Even though this was expected, I felt -- similar to what I felt around Texas and Ohio -- that somehow there would be a magical upset tonight that would bring an end to this terrible woman.


Step back -- take a breath -- and ask yourself this.

Think of the best person you know -- the person who is the most wise, the most eloquent, the most honest, the most intelligent, the most engaged in civic life -- the person you would most want to elect as the leader of our country.

Then, think to yourself how this wonderful person you know -- the devoted public servant, the supremely wise and intelligent thinker, the profoundly honest and truthful soul -- would be rendered, masticated, beaten and eviscerated by what our media, and our politicians have become.

What would we be left with then?

This person you envision is what I see in Barack Obama. Certainly not perfect but the highest ideal I have ever imagined campaigning for my vote.

He is the highest measure of a man (or woman) I could imagine to seek the highest political office in the land.

I have faith that he can withstand the storms and vultures and the trials and the tribulations.

But I ache, in my deepest heart, at the prospect that a man so great -- so flawed and yet so deserving -- could yet perhaps have the nomination wrested away from him by the powers of darkness and cynicism.

May there be light at the end of this tunnel.

May there be some measure of goodness within us that instinctually recoils at the filthy and debauched hand that graspingly clings to the coattails of his quest to help us purify our past sins.

I still know hope but -- after the totality of my life -- find it difficult to stoke the nascent fuel powering my desire to forge on.

I'll find some ability to power on after tonight but -- Lord -- how taxing this contest has become.

My Pennsylvania Prediction

Here it is with a timestamp. I predict that, if Hillary wins, she wins by a maximum of 6%.

Bush Hits Historic Disapproval Rating

It looks like President Bush has achieved a historical mark but it's certainly one he could have done without.

Gallup says Bush's 69 percent disapproval rating is the highest it's ever recorded in history.

That's right, his disapproval rating even surpasses that of President Richard Nixon at the height of Watergate.

Read More

Gallup - Obama Opens Up 10 Point Lead

From Gallup:

As Democratic voters in Pennsylvania cast their presidential ballots today, the latest nationwide Gallup Poll Daily tracking results show Barack Obama with a 10 percentage point lead over Hillary Clinton.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Eugene Register-Guard Endorses Obama

My hometown newspaper, the Eugene Register-Guard, endorsed Barack Obama today:

The dispiriting tone of the campaign echoes that of the past several election cycles, in which the voters' divisions over small matters have been exploited for transitory gain, obscuring the need for clarity of purpose in confronting the many large challenges that face the nation...

Voters should grasp the opportunity to open a new chapter -- a chapter with a fresh political vocabulary, elevated discourse and rekindled hopes. Obama offers that opportunity, and Oregon Democrats should support him in the May 20 primary election...

Democrats had a presidential nominee in 2004 who was both for and against the war, and it did not end well. Obama is free of all that baggage, which liberates him to credibly promise to move the nation beyond the past 20 years of Bush and Clinton presidencies. His domestic policy proposals differ in many details from Clinton's, but the biggest difference is that they would be received as representing not a reaction to the Bush administration or a continuation of the one before, but a real break with the past...

Oregon has a rare moment of relevance in the nominating process. Oregon Democrats should use it to give Barack Obama the chance to become the first Democratic president of the 21st century.

Read More

Gallup: Obama Up By 7% Nationally

From Gallup:

Support for Barack Obama's nomination bid has rebounded among national Democratic voters, who now favor him over Hillary Clinton by a seven percentage point margin, 49% to 42%.

State of the Polls - Obama Leading Nationally

Here is a round-up of the latest poll numbers:

Rasmussen - Obama 47 / Clinton 42 (Obama +5.0)
Gallup Tracking - Obama 47 / Clinton 45 (Obama +2.0)
Newsweek - Obama 54 / Clinton 35 (Obama +19.0)
ABC/Wash Post - Obama 51 / Clinton 41 (Obama +10.0)
Reuters/Zogby - Obama 51 / Clinton 38 (Obama +13.0)
AP-Ipsos - Obama 46 / Clinton 43 (Obama +3.0)
RCP Average - Obama 49.3 / Clinton 40.7 (Obama +8.6)

Financial Times Endorses Obama

The internationally respected Financial Times endorsed Obama, with some really excellent points:

  1. "The Democrats should move quickly to affirm Mr Obama’s nomination .... not just because his lead in elected delegates is already unassailable .... also because he is, in fact, the better candidate."
  1. "The contenders’ differences on policy look small and in reality are even smaller. As voters understood all along, this has therefore been a contest of character, temperament and (sadly but inevitably) identity."
  1. "Obama has fought a brilliant campaign .... convincing undecided Democrats as well as the country at large that he was more likeable, more straightforward and more worthy of trust."
  1. Mrs Clinton’s campaign has been a shambles."
  1. "The US has the urge to be inspired a little. Electing the country’s first woman president ought to be very inspiring. But not this woman – with her dynastic baggage and knack for antagonising the undecided – running against this man."

"The Democratic party has waited an awfully long time for a politician like Barack Obama. Enough already."

Hat tip: richprust

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Faces of Change - 35,000 in PA

This is truly remarkable. 35,000 people showed up for an Obama rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Here's some of what he said:

It was over two hundred years ago that a group of patriots gathered in this city to do something that no one in the world believed they could do. After years of a government that didn’t listen to them, or speak for them, or represent their hopes and their dreams, a few humble colonists came to Philadelphia to declare their independence from the tyranny of the British throne.

The union they created has endured for two centuries not because we’re perfect, but because we’ve always been perfectible – because each generation of Americans has been willing to stand up and sacrifice and do what’s necessary to inch us closer to the ideals at the core of our founding promise – equality, and liberty, and opportunity for all who seek it. That’s how we survived a civil war and two world wars; a Great Depression and great struggles for civil rights and women’s rights and worker’s rights, and now Philadelphia it's our turn.

Go here for video

Friday, April 18, 2008

Obama Leads by 20 in Newsweek Poll

A new poll out today in Newsweek shows Obama leading Clinton by 20 points!

The survey of 1,209 registered voters found that Obama now leads Clinton by nearly 20 points, or 54 percent to 35 percent, among registered Democrats and those who lean Democratic nationwide. The previous Newsweek poll, conducted in March after Clinton's big primary wins in Ohio and Texas, showed the two Democrats locked in a statistical tie (45 percent for Obama to 44 percent for Clinton). The new poll puts Obama ahead among women as well as men, and voters aged 60 and older as well as younger voters. (For the complete poll data, click here).

One of the more devastating results for Clinton was that a majority of all registered voters now see her as dishonest and untrustworthy. According to the poll, just four in 10 (41 percent) registered voters view the New York senator as honest and trustworthy, while 51 percent think the opposite. This compares with solid majorities of voters who see Obama and McCain as honest and trustworthy (both polled 61 percent).

Read More: Hillary Drops Back

Baracky: The Video

I hadn't gotten around to watching this until recently but bravo to the intrepid videographer who put this to video. Here's a video of Obama's campaign set in the mode of Rocky:

Nunn and Boren Endorse Obama

Thanks to reader Jamo for pointing out these two new endorsements:

Sen. Barack Obama has won the backing of former senators Sam Nunn and David Boren, his campaign announced today.

Nunn and Boren will also serve as advisers on Obama's National Security Foreign Policy Team. Nunn was a one-time chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, while Boren was the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Nunn said:

nunn.jpg

“We need a president who has the temperament of a leader – a sharp, incisive, strategic mind, a rare capacity for self criticism, and a willingness to hear contrary points of view.

“Based on my conversations with Senator Obama, reading his book and his speeches and seeing the kind of campaign he has run, I believe that he is our best choice to lead our nation. Senator Obama, as evidenced by his words and his deeds, recognizes that:

Boren added:

boren.jpg“I am joining Senator Barack Obama’s advisory team on foreign policy and national security because I believe it is my duty as a citizen to do all I can to help our country at this critical moment. Our strength is declining. Eighty-one percent of Americans believe we are headed in the wrong direction. We must act quickly to meet and overcome the challenges we face.

“Our most urgent task is to end the divisions in our country, to stop the political bickering, and to unite our talents and efforts. Americans of all persuasions are pleading with our political leaders to bring us together. I believe Senator Obama is sincerely committed to that effort. He has made a non-partisan approach to all issues a top priority.

“Senator Obama is also a person of sound and good judgment. He had the good judgment more than five years ago to warn against our involvement in this tragic and costly war. He also understands the need to repair our partnerships with other nations and to more effectively use diplomacy to serve our national interests.”

Robert Reich Endorses Obama

Today, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich endorsed Barack Obama. Here's Reich, in his own words as to why he decided to endorse:

We have three terrible traditions that we’ve developed in American campaigns. One is outright meanness and negativity. The second is taking out of context something your opponent said, maybe inartfully, and blowing it up into something your opponent doesn’t possibly believe and doesn’t possibly represent. And third is a kind of tradition of distraction, of getting off the big subject with sideshows that have nothing to do with what matters. And these three aspects of the old politics I’ve seen growing in Hillary’s campaign.

And I've come to the point, after seeing those ads, where I can't in good conscience not say out loud what I believe about who should be president. Those ads are nothing but Republicanism. They're lending legitimacy to a Republican message that's wrong to begin with, and they harken back to the past 20 years of demagoguery on guns and religion. It's old politics at its worst — and old Republican politics, not even old Democratic politics. It's just so deeply cynical.

Read More

Et Sequitur 4-18

Stuff from yesterday and this morning I should have written about:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Barack Obama Speaks in Raleigh, NC

No matter how angry I am today, I am not immune to Obama's calm cool and collected demeanor. Here's video of his speech at a rally today in Raleigh, North Carolina. I really hope our country is ready for this man.

ABC Debate; I Am So Ashamed

I am profoundly ashamed today.

I thought I would be angry or some other outwardly directed emotion but, at the root of it all, I'm ashamed.

I am ashamed at what the Democratic Party has become.

To think that a modern political party in this country could continue to stomach a person who, last night, morphed into the "vast right wing conspiracy" she so famously derided those many years ago.

Yglesias: "I had thought the Clinton campaign couldn't sink any lower, but thus far she's really just been giving us the full GOP. Listening to her talk about Barack Obama is like reading a Weekly Standard blog post."

To think that people in this country continue to give her support and comfort when, left with no positive track to the Presidency, stoops to the same crude, small-minded and bitter tactics that make reasonable, thinking people want to scream.

Obama Campaign: "Continuing the theme of her campaign, Senator Clinton used every single opportunity she had to launch misleading attack after misleading attack against Barack Obama, which is why polls show that most Americans think she's running the most negative campaign and don't believe she's trustworthy."
Jed Report: "It's true that ABC carried Clinton's water last night, and they deserve blame for having done so. But remember, it was Clinton's water they were carrying. The questions posed to Obama were all Clinton arguments in some form or another."

I am ashamed at what our national news media has become.

To think that the supposedly "respectable" network news, contrasted with their supposedly vacuous cable news siblings, could sink to the kind of travesty we witnessed last night, described by many today as the "worst debate imaginable", "lousy with right-wing talking points", "worst debate ever", "a huge night for the Republicans", "perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years", "a great night for John McCain", "the dumbest debate in America" and an "unmitigated travesty".

Guardian: "The hosts on last night's ABC Democratic debate were shameful: don't they realise America is sick of their junk food?"
Carpetbagger Report: "What may prove to be the last Democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama wasn’t just awful on its face, it was hard not to watch wondering if moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos were actually undermining the public discourse with their inanity. It marked a new low for the media freak-show. I was conflicted emotionally between anger at ABC for this travesty and pity for the network for having sunk so low."
Sullivan: "And so this was indeed a huge night for the Republicans, and the first real indicator to me that Clinton is gaining in her fundamental goal at this point: the election of John McCain against Barack Obama. How else will she rescue the Democrats from hope?"
Open Left: "Halfway through the debate, not a single question on any policy issue had been asked, it was obvious that this debate was a prime-time hit job on Obama. The questions so far have been why he doesn't wear a flag pin, whether or not his pastor loves America, why he can't win, and how many people were offended by his bittergate comments."
TPM: "Not only were most of the questions on partisan gotchas and frivolous points. But more importantly the questions upon which the candidates were pressed the most were ones that presumed the correctness of Republican agenda items, sometimes explicitly so -- on taxes, capital gains taxes, gun rights, Iraq, etc."

To think that we as a people would put up with such a slanted, one-sided "debate", with tabloid silliness being thrown at a Presidential candidate by a former Clinton administration official who received his talking points from Fox News' Sean Hannity.

DU: "[On his radio show], Hannity asked George what kinds of questions they'll be asking at the debate tomorrow and they discussed a few things. When Hannity asked about the first question below about Ayers and whether George had plans to ask such a question, George replied, 'Well, I'm taking notes now Sean.' It did actually sound like he was pausing to take notes."

To think that a televised debate between two candidates, one of which will soon become the President of the United States, would devolve to the point that the studio audience would break out and heckle and jeer the moderators.

HuffPo: "Reflecting what seemed to be the main consensus of the night - that ABC botched this debate, big time - Charlie Gibson tells the crowd there will be one more, superfluous commercial break of the night and is subsequently jeered."

So, yes, I am ashamed.

This is the country I live in.

This is the Democratic Party that I will vote for in November.

And this is what we have allowed our national discourse to become.

We should all be ashamed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This Election is About Absolution

Here's a brilliant reader comment from Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish:

Even at this late date I have yet to see anyone accurately describe what this election is about. Iraq? No. The economy? No. Healthcare? No. Embarrassment, shame and guilt? Yes, yes and yes.

Only a few months after the 2004 election -- the first post-9/11 election, and the first election since the start of the Iraq War -- most Americans knew the truth: the Bush administration had retained power by mercilessly bullying its own citizens and playing the fear card to the nth degree. Maybe you didn't fall for it, maybe I didn't, but enough people.

Nothing like this has happened in anyone's lifetime, Andrew. Nothing. Nixon's resignation wasn't even close. This was wholesale abuse, and of the Constituon no less. Yet because the nation voted for these men, it was also self-abuse.

That's why voters want change: they desperately want to forget.

It's not about payback for Bush -- it's too late for that. This is about choosing someone who will get the blood off our hands. Someone who will make American strong and tall and right again. The press also missed the point that Obama's 'trouble' with Wright, and his subsequent speech ostensibly on race, left him as the only clearly identifiable and credible person of faith in the race, in either party. In effect, the Wright 'scandal' allowed Obama to claim ground that neither McCain nor Clinton will ever be able to take away from him. He is the priest in this election, and we need absolution. He understands faith, and how badly ours has been tested. Forgiveness. Sin. That's what this election is about.

This is a deep wound, and it's going to take time to heal. Which is why voters are looking for a healer. And in political terms that means, first and foremost, a statesman.

I see only one.

Hunting and Shooting Group Endorses Obama

Brushing off Hillary's 11th hour flap over Obama's recent remarks, the American Hunters and Shooters Association today endorsed Obama:

Leaders of the group said Obama is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, David reports. He says they brushed aside his statement last week that many Americans "cling" to guns because they are "bitter" over economic problems.

Some opponents have said the statement shows Obama is elitist and out of touch. "We know Sen. Obama 'gets it,' " said Ray Schoenke, president of the group. "To say that he is an 'elitist' is patently ridiculous."

New Polls Show Obama Maintaining Lead

Two new polls out today show Obama maintaining his sizable lead.

From Rasmussen:

In the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, Obama leads Clinton nationally 48% to 41%. Obama leads among voters under 50 while Clinton has the lead among older voters. Obama has an eighteen-point lead among men while Clinton holds a single-point edge among women. Among White Women nationwide, Clinton retains a double-digit lead. Obama continues to attract overwhelming support from African-American voters. In Pennsylvania, Clinton leads by nine. Rasmussen Markets data gives Obama an 80.9 % chance of winning the Democratic nomination.

From Gallup:

The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update shows Obama with a 50% to 42% lead over Clinton in national Democratic voters' nomination preferences.

Restraining Bush's Expansion of Executive Power

I wrote a post a week or two that asked all my readers to consider which Democratic candidate for President, "Which candidate will most likely roll back President Bush's unconstitutional expansion of executive power?"

Well, I left it to you to ponder and, lo and behold, here's a new article in Reason that asks and answers the question better than I could:

According to John Yoo, the president's powers under the Constitution are so broad that the Constitution itself cannot restrain them. In a recently declassified 2003 memo, the former Justice Department official asserted that Congress, despite its Article I powers to "make rules concerning captures on land and water" and "for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces," has no business regulating the treatment of military prisoners. Yoo also cited a 2001 memo in which he had concluded that "the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations."

Compared to Yoo, all three of the remaining major-party candidates for president sound moderate when they talk about executive power. But Barack Obama is the one who seems to care most about restoring the rule of law and the separation of powers after eight years of an administration that has sorely abused both.

[snip]

Although Clinton now claims to have a modest view of presidential power, she was singing a different tune a few years ago. "I'm a strong believer in executive authority," she told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News in 2003. "I wish that, when my husband was president, people in Congress had been more willing to recognize presidential authority." With the War on Terror as a rationale, her wish could be her command.

Read More: I Don't Want Yoo to Show Them the Way

Earlier: Obama and Clinton on Executive Power

Bosnia and Back Again

This is a an excellent video put out today by The Jed Report. The video juxtaposes Hillary Clinton's statements and interviews in the 1990's with the manner, actions and tone of her campaign. The contrast is striking. Especially this quote from her in 1992:

"When we get to talk about character, we need to look at the whole person. We need to look at the way the person conducts himself". "What I believe with all my heart is that voters are tired of people who lie to them."

I agree, Hillary. I completely agree.

Pittsburgh Steelers Owner Endorses Obama

Thanks to reader Jamo for finding this gem for me. The owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dan Rooney endorsed Obama earlier this week:

"True sports fans know that you support your team even when they are the underdogs. Barack Obama is the underdog here but it is with great pride that I join his team," Rooney writes in a "Dear Pennsylvanians" letter released by the Obama campaign.

"This is not something that I do regularly but as I listen to the candidates in this race, I am struck that we continue to hear about the problems and the same challenges that we have been talking about for decades. Protecting jobs here in Pennsylvania, breaking our dangerous and costly addiction to foreign oil, making health care accessible and affordable -- these are neither new issues nor new ideas. And yet we have failed to make real progress," Rooney writes.

"As a grandfather and a citizen of this community I think Barack Obama's, thoughtful, strategic approach is important for America. When I hear how excited young people seem to be when they talk about this man, I believe he will do what is best for them which is to inspire them to be great Americans."

Pittsburgh Paper Endorses Obama

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette endorsed Obama today:

Sen. Obama is every bit as prepared to answer the ring of the 3 a.m. phone as Sen. Clinton .... He has detailed positions on the major issues ... Nor is he any sort of elitist ... Pennsylvania -- this encrusted, change-averse commonwealth where a state liquor monopoly holds on against all reason and where municipal fiefdoms shrink from sensible consolidation -- needs to take a strong look at the new face and the new hope in this race. Because political business-as-usual is more likely to bring the usual disappointment for the Democrats this fall, the Post-Gazette endorses the nomination of Barack Obama, who has brought an excitement and an electricity to American politics not seen since the days of John F. Kennedy.

Read More: Barack Obama: Democrats deserve a nominee for change

New Poll Shows Most Democrats Want Obama

More great news here:

On the eve of their debate before the Pennsylvania primary next week, Democrats by a 2-1 margin, 62-31 percent, now see Obama as better able to win in November -- a dramatic turn from February, when Clinton held a scant 5-point edge on this measure, and more so from last fall, when she crushed her opponents on electability.

The poll finds other pronounced problems for Clinton. Among all Americans, 58 percent now say she's not honest and not trustworthy, 16 points higher than in a precampaign poll two years ago. Obama beats her head-to-head on this attribute by a 23-point margin.

Read More

More Endorsements and Great Polling News

From Ben Smith:

A random set of good news for Obama this morning: Endorsements from a rock star, an Indiananapolis congressman, and a conservative Philadelphia talk show host.

Also, he's at his all time high in the RealClearPolitics poll average -- a national number that doesn't have much predictive value, but does hint at the kind of swing you typically see much earlier toward the frontrunner.

Ambinder on How Things Are Going to Play Out

Great article here by Marc Ambinder that discusses his "Clinton Stock Price" theory:

[T]he Democratic primary electorate has been saturated with information about Clinton from time immemorial and her mean level of support -- her true value -- is about 40%. Sometimes it rises, sometimes is falls, but it usually progresses or regresses to the mean. Everything one can know, think, and feel about Hillary Clinton has been priced into her level of support. Well, add to that the perception that she's been the one has campaigned the most unfairly and the most negatively -- the exit polls pick this up even in states she's won.

Here's how Marc sees this most recent flap settling down:

Here's what I think is going on. Time after time, from the beginning of the campaign to now, the media has called Obama on a "major" gaffe or presented his reacton to an event as a "major" problem only to figure out a week later that Obama hasn't suffered a bit and Hillary Clinton numbers have dropped back down to about 40%.

I wonder if, when events cast a harsher light on Obama, Democrats blame Clinton instinctively because they're forced to make a binary choice and the nomination can't be awarded to two people. I also think that the degree to which Democrats believe that Barack Obama will win the nomination is one of the reasons why, especially now, his bumps on the road are sanded down a bit. There's just not that much at stake. Further, it's not clear whether the fact that John McCain and Hillary Clinton are tag-teaming Obama on this makes base Democrats more fearful of Obama's electoral politics or more resentful of Clinton's penchant for warning Obama about the awfulness of the Republican playbook and then operating from it.

A final factor: Obama's supporters don't seem to mind Obama-the-cocky, but they love Obama the fighter. After all, it's their movement too. Nothing rouses the passions like the outrage of an insult. And nothing feels better than fighting back.

Damn right.

Michelle Obama on The Colbert Report

Here is video of Michelle Obama's appearance on The Colbert Report. This is one seriously classy lady. This is the kind of woman I want in the White House with a direct line to the President.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Clinton Losing Traction Over Obama in PA, IN, NC

New Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg polls in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana suggest that Sen. Hillary Clinton "may not be headed to blockbuster victories she needs to jumpstart her presidential bid."

Pennsylvania: Clinton 46%, Obama 41%.
North Carolina: Obama 47%, Clinton 34%
Indiana: Obama 40%, Clinton 35%

Key Finding:
One reason Clinton is struggling in Indiana and North Carolina is that a mainstay of her coalition in earlier contests -- women -- have been defecting. In Indiana, the poll found women split their vote, 35% for each candidate. In North Carolina, they favored Obama, 43% to 36%.

Read More: Clinton losing traction over Obama in Pennsylvania, Indiana

New Obama Ad in Pennsylvania: "Represent"

This is just... downright... BRILLIANT! Remember all the chattering classes pontificating at the end of last year how Obama was too much of a softy and needed to be stronger and more forceful? Well, get ready for this.

The Obama campaign released a new ad today (video below), that highlights how petty and purely political Hillary Clinton has become and how such petty political games do nothing to actually alleviate the problems in our country. Truly brilliant!

Esteemed Seniors for Obama

This is an adorable YouTube video entitled "White Haired Women for Obama", with a cleverly poetic lil script. I love videos of cute older ladies.

Gallup: Obama Has 11-Point Lead

Barack Obama is maintaining his lead over Hillary Clinton among Democrats nationally in the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking average, with a 51% to 40% margin in the April 12-14 average.

Says Gallup:

The current 11 percentage point lead is the largest for Obama this year, and marks the ninth consecutive day in which Obama has led Clinton by a statistically significant margin. The current Gallup Poll Daily tracking average is based on interviewing conducted Saturday, Sunday and Monday -- after the initial reports of Obama's controversial remarks about "bitter" small-town residents began to be reported in the news media.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Obama Up by 23 in North Carolina

From WRAL:

Barack Obama has a 23 percentage point lead over Hillary Clinton in the Tar Heel state, as both candidates prepare for the North Carolina Presidential Primary, according to a WRAL News poll released Saturday.

The telephone survey conduted by Rasmussen Reports showed Obama with 56 percent of the vote, while Clinton earned just 33 percent. A month ago, Obama’s lead was seven percentage points.

Both candidates have gained ground against Republican John McCain in the state, according to the survey. The same trend has been found in Pennsylvania.

Read More: WRAL News Poll: Obama Leads Clinton in Tar Heel State

DNC Member Nancy Larson Endorses Obama

From the AP:

One of Minnesota's last uncommitted Democratic superdelegates is backing Barack Obama, the Obama campaign announced Sunday.

Nancy Larson, of Dassel, a Democratic National Committee member, told The Associated Press she decided to support Obama because his campaign will bring new people into the political process, and she believes he has the best chance of winning in November.

"It's looking more and more that the one person who can do it is Barack Obama," Larson said.

Read More:
Superdelegate goes for Obama

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Et Sequitur 4-13

Things I should have commented on:


SNL: The Petraeus Hearings

I just saw this Saturday Night Live intro skit from last night. Thank God I had it on Tivo because I watched Michael Moore's Sicko just before and was about to cry. Anyway, I had a great laugh and loved Amy Poehler's portrayal of Clinton. Hilarious!

Obama: "There's Some Politics Going On"

Obama truly is a cool, calm and collected leader. Reacting to the silliness of the last few days, he gave this amazing speech in Steelton, Pennsylvania. From what I've read on the Internet today, Hillary's all-out gambit to try to push this story is falling flat.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Unrepentant Philly Gay News Keeps on the Attack

Well, not that I expected any better, but the Philadelphia Gay News, which ran a silly Obama hit piece alongside an interview with Clinton last week, continues to try to paint Obama in an unflattering light.

Last week, contrary to the PGN's claim that Obama is "avoiding" the gay press, Obama sat down for a frank discussion with the nationally distributed LGBT magazine The Advocate. Well, I guess that just wasn't enough for publisher Mark Penn and his local bar rag.

His primary thesis appears to be that local gay publications are the only ones that count. He even makes the absurd and unsupportable claim that "Only the local gay press will ask detailed questions." Seriously. This guy has been drinking his own Kool-Aid for a bit too long.

Two things to take heart in:

1) He published my letter to the editor (see below), and
2) His column was infinitely less credible than his last, as he came off very defensive and infused with a sense of petulant, offended entitlement (see farther below for my most recent email to him).

Published Letter to the Editor:

Dear Mr. Segal and Ms. Blazucki,

I read today your article in the Philadelphia Gay News entitled "Clinton Talks; Obama Balks" and the accompanying editorial "Letter to a Candidate". After reading these, I felt compelled to write to tell you how dismayed I was see such slanted and accusatorial coverage.

Under the auspices of writing an article about your interview with Hillary Clinton, you take great pains to cast Barack Obama in a very unflattering light.

This is especially troubling, considering the fact that Mr. Segal is a donor to the Clinton campaign. You failed to disclose this important fact in your article and, as a result, unsuspecting readers might think that this article was an unbiased piece of journalism, rather than a slanted missive penned by someone who donated at least $1,000 to the Clinton campaign.

I consider Senator Barack Obama to be an amazing advocate for LGBT issues. Senator Obama has spoken to a variety of audiences, both inside and outside the LGBT community, on LBGT issues, including audiences expected to be hostile to our concerns. For example, Senator Obama spoke out at Ebeneezer Baptist Church and Rick Warren's Saddleback Church about the damage that homophobia causes. I challenge you to find an instance where Hillary Clinton has appeared in front of a hostile audience and spoken out on homophobia or other LGBT issues.

Your article asserts that Obama is not speaking to the LGBT community because he has not granted enough interviews to the gay press. Quite to the contrary, I would argue that Barack Obama is, in fact, speaking to our community, albeit in a different manner.

The gay ghettoization of the post-Stonewall era is steadily eroding, as evidenced by the straight gentrification of previously gay strongholds such as the Castro and West Hollywood. Part and parcel of this de-ghettoization is the diminished need in large parts of our community for "gay only" media.

In Mr. Segal's "Letter to a Candidate", he claims that "the local gay press is to our community what churches are to the black community." I hope, upon further reflection, you realize that this is at least just a bit overstated. When I found word of your article on Clinton and Obama, it was the first time that I -- and most of my friends -- had bothered to read something in a "gay publication" in over ten years, except to find out what the local hotspot was for the coming weekend.

Barack Obama speaks to each and every one of us because we are all, at our root, Americans. And when Barack Obama speaks to Americans, Gay Americans, Lesbian Americans and Transgendered Americans, he doesn't need to do so through the mouthpiece of a "gay publication". He speaks to me through ABC News, The Economist and he speaks to me through his rallies and campaign emails.

Very truly yours,

[Monitor]

My Latest (and I hope final) Email to Mr. Segal:

Dear Mark,

I just read your new column "Obama Goes National, Still No Local". Obviously not appearing to pay much mind to our correspondence of last week, I found your newest column to be defensive, unapologetic and infused with a sense of offended privilege and entitlement.

I was planning on writing you another thoughtful and reflective email to address your points. However, if you truly believe that most gay people have any use for a local gay rag like yours beyond a quick bar read or a skim through the event listings and personals, I don't really have much to say that would have any chance of getting through to you. This is especially evidenced in this highly overreaching (and patently absurd) gem: "Only the local gay press will ask detailed questions." Such baseless and unsupportable tripe does not belong in a publication that you claim to actually have any redeeming merit in the realm of national political commentary.

Disappointed,

[Monitor]

Obama Widens Lead in Washington State

Here's an interesting bit of news from Washington state that was forwarded to me from a faithful reader (and alternate delegate):

Sen. Barack Obama has inched a little farther ahead of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in Washington state.

Figures released Friday by the state Democratic Party show that Obama won about 70.5 percent of the delegates selected last weekend at the party's legislative district caucuses. That's a slight increase over the 68.5 percent of the delegates he won in February at the party's precinct caucuses.

Clinton's share fell slightly, to just below 30 percent.

"It's pretty clear that both campaigns did a good job of maintaining their turnout at the next level," said state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz.

The Democrats are selecting the majority of the party's 97 national convention delegates through the caucus process. The next step in that process: the congressional district caucuses and finally the state Democratic convention, which is scheduled June 13-15 in Spokane.

Obama Addresses His Honest San Francisco Remarks

Some of you may have heard some flap about some remarks that Obama made at a fundraiser in San Francisco recently. Obama said that it's not surprising that people "get bitter, they cling to their guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Although many people would certainly agree that he could have used some softer words to avoid the inevitable soundbite, I think this really speaks to the question of how ready people are to hear hard truths. Because, at their root, Obama's words were right on target.

See below for a video of Obama expanding on his remarks. Talk about a breath of fresh air in this country.



Here's what CNN had to say in his defense:

Obama Continues Lead in Polls

The Gallup Daily Tracking Poll continues to show Obama with a significant lead. He now commands 49% to Clinton's 42% - a gap of 7 points. This is his fifth straight day with such a significant lead.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Two Former Oregon Governors Endorse Obama

Former Oregon Governors Barbara Roberts and John Kitzhaber today endorsed Barack Obama:

Roberts praised Obama for his opposition to the war in Iraq and his support for sustainable environmental policies. Kitzhaber said Obama is the best candidate to bring some real change to American politics.

Read More:
Two former Oregon governors endorse Obama

Endless War... On the Installment Plan

As we continue to grind on in this interminable occupation of Iraq, as tens of thousands more Iraqis are killed or made homeless, and as more and more brave American soldiers die for a war that should never have been authorized, reflect on the following video and ask yourself, "What would McCain really do any differently?" and "When will it end?"

Rasmussen: Obama Consistently Ahead

From today's Rasmussen daily tracking poll:

In the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, Obama now attracts 48% of the vote while Hillary Clinton earns 41%. That’s the first time in nearly a week that Obama’s support has dipped below 50% but the sixth straight day that he has enjoyed a significant lead over Clinton (see recent daily results). Clinton continues to hold a modest lead in Pennsylvania while Obama holds a huge lead in North Carolina. Data from Rasmussen Markets now gives Obama an 83.0 % chance to win the Democratic nomination.
Also:
McCain is viewed favorably by 52% and unfavorably by 45%. Obama’s reviews are also 52% favorable and 45% unfavorable. For Clinton, those numbers are 45% favorable, 53% unfavorable (see recent daily results). Rasmussen Markets data shows that Democrats are given a 59.1 % chance of winning the White House this year.

Read More: Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

Obama Speaks Out on LGBT Issues

Updated! As some of you may remember, a local Pennsylvania LGBT newspaper earlier this week wrote on an interview it had with Senator Clinton and, at the same time wrote a lopsided rebuke to Senator Obama for supposedly not being "accessible" to the LGBT press.

I consider Senator Barack Obama to be an amazing advocate for LGBT issues. Senator Obama has spoken to a variety of audiences -- both inside and outside the LGBT community -- on LBGT issues, including audiences expected to be hostile to our concerns. For example, Senator Obama spoke out at Ebeneezer Baptist Church and Rick Warren's Saddleback Church about the damage that homophobia causes.

I challenge anyone to find an instance where Hillary Clinton has appeared in front of a general or hostile audience and spoken out on homophobia or other LGBT issues.

Well, contrary to what the local Philly Gay News said, the Obama campaign reached out to the Advocate last week for an interview. He gave his interview on Monday, which appeared today in the Advocate. It is a great read, both for its honesty and candor.

Some initial highlights:

The Advocate: Let’s start with what’s hot, why the silence on gay issues? You’ve only done one other interview with the LGBT press. I know people wish they were hearing more from you.

Sen. Obama: I don’t think it’s fair to say silence on gay issues. The gay press may feel like I’m not giving them enough love. But basically, all press feels that way at all times. Obviously, when you’ve got limited amount of time, you’ve got so many outlets. We tend not to do a whole bunch of specialized press. We try to do general press for a general readership.

But I haven’t been silent on gay issues. What’s happened is, I speak oftentimes to gay issues to a public general audience. When I spoke at Ebenezer Church for King Day, I talked about the need to get over the homophobia in the African-American community, when I deliver my stump speeches routinely I talk about the way that antigay sentiment is used to divide the country and distract us from issues that we need to be working on, and I include gay constituencies as people that should be treated with full honor and respect as part of the American family.

So I actually have been much more vocal on gay issues to general audiences than any other presidential candidate probably in history. What I probably haven’t done as much as the press would like is to put out as many specialized interviews. But that has more to do with our focus on general press than it does on ... I promise you the African-American press says the same thing.

I absolutely agree with Obama on this line of thinking. I believe it is far more important to speak out on LGBT issues in front of general audiences, including especially audiences that may be otherwise hostile to the issues important to the LGBT community. In my opinion, I believe that this is far more important to LGBT interests than giving interviews to specialized press.

Further to this point:

Advocate: I think the underlying fear of the gay community is that if you get into office, will LGBT folks be last on the priority list?

Obama: I guess my point would be that the fact that I’m raising issues accordant to the LGBT community in a general audience rather than just treating you like a special interest that is sort of off in its own little box – that, I think, is more indicative of my commitment. Because ultimately what that shows is that I’m not afraid to advocate on your behalf outside of church, so to speak. It’s easy to preach to the choir; what I think is harder is to speak to a broader audience about why these issues are important to all Americans.

I think everyone can indeed agree that it's easier to preach to the choir.

However, I'll take it a step further. The gay ghettoization of the post-Stonewall era is steadily eroding, as evidenced by the straight gentrification of previously gay strongholds such as the Castro and West Hollywood. Part and parcel of this de-ghettoization is the diminished need in large parts of our community for "gay only" media.

In Mr. Segal's "Letter to a Candidate" in the Philadelphia Gay News, he claimed that "the local gay press is to our community what churches are to the black community." I can assure anyone out there not familiar with the local gay press or a black church, this is more than just a bit ridiculous. When I found word of the PGN articles on Clinton and Obama, it was the first time that I -- and most of my friends -- had bothered to read something in a "gay publication" in over ten years, except to find out what the local hotspot was for the coming weekend.

Barack Obama speaks to LGBT people in this country because we are all, at our root, Americans. And when Barack Obama speaks to Americans, Gay Americans, Lesbian Americans and Transgendered Americans, he doesn't need to do so through the mouthpiece of a "gay publication". He speaks to me through ABC News. He speaks to me through The Economist. And he speaks to me through his rallies and campaign emails.

Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox for a bit. My main point in all of this is that Barack Obama has been the only candidate to get up on the stump, and in front of hostile audiences, and speak the hard truth. The hard truth that homophobia and marginalization of LGBT people hurts not only LGBT people but everyday communities and our society in general.

I challenge (without much hope of succeeding) Hillary Clinton to do more than just give an occasional interview to myopic gay-only publications.

Read More: Obama Talks All Things LGBT with The Advocate

Earlier: My Correspondence with PA Gay News Publisher

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gallup: Obama Still Up, Clinton Continues Slide

Here are the new numbers from today's Gallup poll. Obama is holding steady at 51% whereas Clinton has droped to 41%, her lowest level in months!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Obama at the Helm of a Profoundly Steady Ship

Building on my earlier post, Obama's Happy, Drama-Free Appeal, Obama's masterful stewardship of his campaign during this primary season is getting a lot of appreciative notice, from liberal and conservative media alike:

Obama doesn't have to rely on his legislative résumé to prove he's capable of running the government. He can point to something more germane: the way he's run his campaign.

Presidents tend to govern the way they campaigned. Jimmy Carter ran as a moralistic outsider in 1976, and he governed that way as well, refusing to compromise with a Washington establishment that he distrusted (and that distrusted him). Ronald Reagan 's campaign looked harsh on paper but warm and fuzzy on TV, as did his presidency. The 1992 Clinton campaign was like the Clinton administration: brilliant and chaotic, with a penchant for near-death experiences. And the 2000 Bush campaign presaged the Bush presidency: disciplined, hierarchical, loyal and ruthless.

Of the three candidates still in the 2008 race, Obama has run the best campaign by far. McCain's was a top-heavy, slow-moving, money-hemorrhaging Hindenburg that eventually exploded, leaving the Arizona senator to resurrect his bankrupt candidacy through sheer force of will. Clinton's campaign has been marked by vicious infighting and organizational weakness, as manifested by her terrible performance in caucus states.

Obama's, by contrast, has been an organizational wonder, the political equivalent of crossing a Lamborghini with a Hummer.

Read More: Obama at the Helm

Obama Leads Clinton Among White Voters

One of the more infuriating myths being peddled in the mainstream media is that Obama somehow has a problem attracting support among white voters. Throughly debunking this misconception is this article from the Jed Report:

There's been no shortage of public handwringing about whether or not Barack Obama can attract support from white voters, particularly white men. Some of it has even been pushed by Hillary Clinton's campaign itself.

Most of the analysis has overlooked one important fact, however: Hillary Clinton has a bigger problem with white voters than Barack Obama.

New data from the Pew Research Center illustrates my point: although Hillary Clinton leads McCain among white women by three points, she trails among white men by twenty-three points. Meanwhile, Obama trails among white women by just one point, and trails among white men by fifteen. Obama's net margin relative to Clinton drops by four points among white women, but increases by eight points among white men.

Overall, that means Obama is doing slightly better with white voters than is Hillary Clinton.

And this is according to a poll conducted entirely after the Wright controversy played itself out.

Here's the data:


The article goes on to say that Obama's 43% support among white voters is particularly strong, especially considering that:

In 1992, Bill Clinton won 39% of white voters. In 1996, he won 43%. In 2000, Gore won 42%. In 2004, Kerry won 41%. So 43% is a pretty good starting point, especially with 7% undecided. (Obama currently trails McCain by 7%, while Gore lost by 12% and Kerry lost by 17%.)

Read More:
Barack Obama's mythical problem with whites