Across the country, voters are preparing to take part in (or already taking part in) a national referendum on such monumental issues as “Smart Diplomacy versus Aggressive Isolationism“, “16 More Months (‘God Willing’) versus 100 More Years (‘Make My Day’)”, “Sensible Regulation versus Adam Smith on Acid and Steroids” and “Guaranteed Health Care versus the Freedom to Die Free From Government Interference in Excruciating Pain” .
And yet, in over 10% of New York’s City’s Congressional Districts, seriously delusioned voters will be unable to cast a vote for a Republican candidate for Congress (although in one of the offending districts, they will have the option of voting for a Conservative).
The year was 2000; I was on line at JFK, about to check my baggage for a flight to Florida, answering questions from a young woman with a clipboard.
“Is this trip for business or for pleasure?”, she asked. I felt like Jack Benny asked to choose between his money or his life. A minute went by and then another. She tapped her pencil as folks behind me began to grumble.
“Neither”, I finally responded, “I’m going to visit my parents.”
This less than happy memory came back to me like acid reflux as I pondered the strategy behind “The Great Schlep”, an effort by young Jewish Obama supporters to impact the votes of their grandparents by trekking down to Florida.
As public policy, “Welfare Reform” has been a mixed bag, although it would surely be less so if the Democratic Congress elected in 1992 had not declared the nuanced and moderate proposals Bill Clinton had put forth in his first Presidential campaign as DOA. I am among those who believe that the Gingrich revolution of 1994, and its Contract on America, might have been forestalled, and some of the more draconian aspects of “ending welfare as we knew it” could have been avoided, if Democrats had endeavored to follow through on the effort to make welfare a “second chance” instead of a “way of life,” rather than leaving that effort to the Party which wanted it to be neither.
A politically ambitious young man meets a well-connected (son of the former chair of the local electric company, with a wife who worked at a local white shoe law firm) local activist who lived in his neighborhood at a meeting about education.
Like any smart candidate, the pol wannabe follows up. Both men become heavily involved in an education project sponsored by a foundation headed by a former Reagan administration ambassador.
Later in the year, when the young man runs for office, the activist holds a small coffee for the young candidate at his home. The young candidate wins. Two years later, the City where both lived names the activist “Man of the Year.” Still later, the two men both serve on the Board of a local anti-poverty group and attend about a dozen meetings together over the years. During this time, the activist gives the pol a check for $200, which, given his resources, seems rather stingy. Even after the pol leaves the board, the two men find themselves appearing together in panel discussions at least twice, and say hello to each other when they run into each other.
“Even at this late hour in the campaign, there are essential things we don't know about Senator Obama or the record that he brings to this campaign…
…My opponent has invited serious questioning by announcing a few weeks ago that he would quote -- "take off the gloves." Since then, whenever I have questioned his policies or his record, he has called me a liar.
Rather than answer his critics, Senator Obama will try to distract you from noticing that he never answers the serious and legitimate questions he has been asked. But let me reply in the plainest terms I know. I don't need lessons about telling the truth to American people. And were I ever to need any improvement in that regard, I probably wouldn't seek advice from a Chicago politician.
IFILL: Would you like to have an opportunity to answer that before we move on?
PALIN: I'm still on the tax thing because I want to correct you on that again. And I want to let you know what I did as a mayor and as a governor. And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also.
They say a nod’s as good as a wink to a blind moose, but watching Future Vice President Dipstick's drag queen pantomime of the GOP version of populism last night made me wonder if the wrong Republican had been the POW.
A lot of hue and cry has been raised about the format of tonight’s Vice Presidential debate, specifically about the brevity of the answers and the lack of follow-up questions.
Pish-tosh says I.
Forcing concision on both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin cuts both ways, since hearing more of Palin generally subtracts, rather than adds, to the sum total of the world's knowledge, while cutting off Joe Biden’s amount of words is often somewhat analogous to limiting the supply of rope to someone who is chronically depressed.
Most importantly, follow-up questions serve no useful purpose in explicating the thoughts of Sarah Palin, who usually has run out of things to say on the first go-round and then just endlessly repeats her buzzwords without any form or substance until one cries uncle.
Many blame the Republicans for the failure of the distasteful, but necessary, Bush Bailout the other day in the House. And surely, those spineless weasels deserve whatever blame they got. “We would have stood tall like real men, but Nancy Pelosi made fun of our penis size and we just couldn’t get it up.”
OK fuckers, find just one Republican member of Congress who will admit that’s what caused his change of heart. Just one.
It would be easier to get Sarah Palin to admit to Katie that she wants to incarcerate doctors or ban the morning-after pill; or to get Palin to admit she doesn’t want to incarcerate doctors or ban the morning-after pill.
One would think that in this day and age, political party organizations would go out of their way to avoid the appearance of impropriety, if not actual impropriety itself.
One would be proven wrong. At least in Brooklyn.
I’ve just gotten my hands on a questionnaire sent out by the Party to prospective candidates for Brooklyn Borough President. The questionnaire includes a section on “Land Use”. The section notes that “Borough Presidents appoint representatives to local community boards and the City Planning commission, which vote on land use and zoning actions under the NYC Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.”
“John McCain listened to all sides so he could help focus the debate on finding a bipartisan resolution that is in the interest of taxpayers and homeowners. The Democratic interests stood together in opposition to an agreement that would accommodate additional taxpayer protections"---Statement by the McCain campaign.
It’s a funny kind of bi-partisanship that depends upon demonizing the people you’re purportedly committed to working together with. McCain may be extending his hand and reaching across the aisle, but the hand doing the reaching is grasping a baseball bat.
Perhaps I’d underestimated John McCain.
Yesterday, I made fun of McCain's “suspending” his campaign until Congress passed some sort of plan to address the meltdown of our markets. At the time McCain made his announcement, Congress seemed poise to pass a flawed plan which bore some resemblance to the even more flawed proposal put forward by the President.
As negotiations proceeded, leaders from both parties announced that a piece of the action was at hand. Robert Bennett, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee said “I now expect we will indeed have a plan that can pass the House, pass the Senate, be signed by the president." Calling it “one of the most productive sessions” he'd ever seen, Bennett said “we focused on solving the problem, rather than posturing politically.”
'The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should. I've got Greenspan's book." ---John McCain
Well thank goodness he hasn’t read it. As Dubya’s MBA has proven, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and McCain has not yet attained even that level.
Nonetheless, in a society where the public yearns to have a few aspects of their lives protected in some manner from the vicissitudes of the marketplace (things like their retirement and their healthcare), the McCain platform and the McCain record is one of advocating that market forces be unleashed in the manner of a mad and rabid dog to render their magic and transform our society in ways unimaginable to those not suffering from acid-induced nightmares.
Kevin Powell 11,046 32.84%Edolphus Towns 22,586 67.16%
----The Voters of the 10th CD 9/9/08
“That is why I am proud to say I will be a candidate for Congress again in 2010. The campaign has already begun because of you”
---Kevin Powell 9/12/08
“Anybody else, I'd say what's gonna happen to you would be a lesson to you. Only you're gonna need more than one lesson. And you're gonna get more than one lesson.”
--Boss Jim Gettys in “Citizen Kane”
This is the second time (here’s the first) the opening of one of my pieces on the political travails of Hip-hop philosopher and boy genius Kevin Powell has contained a quote from the cinematic legacy of Orson Welles, a man whose talent for genius had much in common with Kevin Powell’s ego; both were exceeded only by their owner’s talent for self-destruction.
My alarm rang at 5:30 AM. Approaching coherency, I tried to remember why.
Then it came to me: it was primary day.
The candidate I would be riding the polls for was running for Brooklyn Borough President. He was not my first choice. If I’d been voting with my head, it would have been for Ken Fisher. If I’d been voting with my heart, it would have been Jeanette Gadson, a wonderful woman who could bring one to tears reading a laundry list (a task which, in her role as Deputy Borough President, she’d often been called upon to perform).
But, my work for the day had been determined not by head or heart, but by stomach; I wanted to keep on eating, and my boss was backing Marty Markowitz, a man I‘d ghostwritten for once or twice, and who I had introduced to a couple of Rabbis.
“John McCain says he’s about change, too — except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics. That’s just calling the same thing something different.”
Laughs. “You can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change; it’s still going to stink after eight years.” ---Barack Obama
Please, can we retire this cliché about porcine cosmetics?
Barack Obama’s obviously has had it on the tip of his tongue for a long time. In fact, he’s previously used it to describe a supposed change in our Iraq strategy, long before he’d first heard of Governor Palin.