Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama square off tonight!

For the first time, the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate will feature just two candidates. The Debate will be hosted by Wolf Blitzer and be held at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre at 7:00pm Central time. The atmosphere is sure to be electric, especially after the sparks that flew at the last debate.
Here's a reminder to get you in the mood:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

McCain's Surge is a bad sign for Republicans

During a victory speech following Tuesday’s Presidential Primary in Fl., Sen. John McCain told his supporters that “we have a ways to go, but we’re getting close, and for that, you all have my profound thanks.”
While analysts are still questioning McCain’s ability to win over the Republican base, there’s no doubt that the momentum is behind him going into Super Tuesday’s 22 contests. With all of the excitement surrounding McCain’s recent ascent into front-runner status, it is easy to forget that just one month ago his name was barely being mentioned, and five months ago he was scoring his lowest polling numbers since announcing his candidacy in February, 2007. The rapid pace of McCain’s emergence is even more likely to be overlooked because dramatic highs and lows are nothing new in the race for the Republican nomination.
In an August USA Today/Gallup Poll, Rudy Giuliani had the support of 34 percent of likely Republican voters, but his popularity never transcended to the party’s base who strongly disapproved of his liberal positions on social issues. He is expected to endorse McCain when he officially drops out of the race on Wednesday. McCain now finds himself in the same predicament as Giuliani, but for different reasons. How can he gain the support of the Republican base when he has had such a long history of pissing them off?
His work with Ted Kennedy on immigration reform has received the most criticism, because among other measures, it provided a path to legalization. He was one of only two Republican senators to vote against the “Bush tax-cuts” in 2001, and despite his pro-life voting record, has been quoted in the past as saying that he would not support a repeal of Roe v. Wade. His status as a political “maverick” has frequently been the source of conversation. In 2001, rumors surfaced that he was considering leaving the Republican Party, and in 2004 it was speculated that he would be John Kerry’s running mate. Both claims were denied by the McCain camp, but his negative perception amongst conservatives has continued.
The good news for McCain is that his Republican opposition is out of time. Fred Thompson dropped out of the race earlier this month, and Mike Huckabee, who came from no where to win the Iowa caucuses, has been falling in the polls after his highly criticized comments on Pakistan caused a senior aide in his own campaign to admit that he had “no foreign policy credentials”. Despite his pledge to go “all nine-innings”, most pundits are considering this to now be a two-person race between McCain and Mitt Romney, who in my opinion, has never been a serious contender. In fact, Romney has never exceeded 14 percent of Republican support in Gallup Polls, although he could benefit if Huckabee were to drop out of the race.
So what do all of these seesawing numbers mean for the Republican Party?
With record Democratic turnout in all of the early races and Bush ratings at an all-time low, things aren’t looking good, to say the least. The Republican Party is divided, and McCain’s reentrance into the spotlight seems like an afterthought. While there is no doubt he has the most extensive resume of all the Republican nominees, he is often characterized by his age, boring speeches, a quick temper and the occasional racially charged remark. His has capitalized off of his support of the troop surge in Iraq, but the majority of the country still views the war unfavorably. While Republican hatred of Hillary Clinton is no secret, McCain is having trouble convincing his own party that he represents their values. If the general election becomes a question of whether conservatives dislike Clinton enough to go out and vote for someone else they don’t like, they better get used to the phrase, Madame President.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Random Notes

1. I am currently undergoing the difficult task of eating dinner and watching the State of the Union Address. I might be posting my reaction tomorrow.
2. My piece below on the media's coverage of race in the campaign is being published tomorrow by SMU's Daily Campus. Here's link to the online page:
3. Someone enlighten me as to why Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Obama has been on the news ALL day and The New York Times endorsement of Hillary Clinton got about 5 minutes of coverage, at best.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Media is playing the "race card"...not the candidates.

Barack Obama wins in South Carolina, but America is losing- and here's why:
I am writing tonight out of pure frustration, not because I am a Hillary Clinton supporter and Barack Obama just won a primary that he was expected to win, but because of the exhaustive media attention that's been given to race. Not the presidential race which is what we should really be focusing on, but the ethnicity of the candidates. I watched over two hours of election coverage tonight and 80% or more of what was discussed revolved around which racial segments of the population are supporting which candidate and how much of that support is contingent upon the ethnicity of their chosen candidate. It left me asking one question; Seriously?
Now, I fully realize that it would be irresponsible to ignore the aspects of race and also gender, especially when discussing a party whose base is rooted in support of minorities. However, there is a point, and we have gone far beyond this point, at which the way that the media is framing this discussion actually pushes us backward. This is an extraordinary time in American history; not just African American history or the history of the feminist movement. It is increasingly likely that the first African American or the first woman will be taking the village idiot’s place as President of the United States in 2008.
So why is the media insisting upon using this unprecedented step toward full equality as a source of division? I can't figure it out. Both during a recent debate and out on the trail, Obama and Clinton agreed to leave the topic of race behind completely, since it is the Democratic Party that has consistently stood up for minority rights, the fight to end poverty, and focused their efforts on improving the middle class and giving those want to achieve that status the opportunity to do so. Yet for some reason the media can't seem to understand that the American public is tired of the press holding a magnifying glass over something that does not address any of the major problems facing the United States. For several primaries now, the economy has been the issue that Democratic voters have cited as the most important in exit polls, with health care and the war in Iraq coming in second and third. RACE is not even on the list, so why is it being given so much attention?
I think it comes down to the fact that on achieving universal health care, ending the war in Iraq, stimulating the economy by eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans, creating blue and green collar jobs, listening to science (before it's the popular thing to do) like with global warming and stem cell research, providing benefits to same sex couples, reducing dependence on foreign oil and funding environmental programs, and so much more, the difference between the leading democratic candidates is very small. Agreements on policy issues are obviously not newsworthy enough or we'd be hearing more about them rather than this incessant focus on stigmas that this election proves we have achieved substantial gains in overcoming; racism and sexism.
Of course both still exist and the battles are not over. I am in no way trying to make light of these struggles. Women still make around 77 cents to the dollar compared to men and it's even less for black women. But what good does it do to put labels on the candidates? I think their physical appearances say enough on their own.
The truth is that male and female Democrats of all races are extremely pleased with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama overall. Yes, this race is a fight, but it is a fight that will ultimately lead to a better America. I, and I’m sure Obama fans would agree, am glad that they are putting everything on the line. So much is at stake, and we can all sense the magnitude of this election. We may disagree on who we think is most qualified and most likely to create the changes that we all want, but supporters of both Clinton and Obama share the same desires....and it appears as though the prospect of true change is resonating with the American people as well.
Record turn out in all the early primaries indicates that the momentum going into the general election is with the Democrats. In fact, both Clinton and Obama lead in national polls when placed up against any of the leading Republican candidates.
It is undeniable that when faced with a hard decision-picking from two highly qualified, viable candidates with very different but equally notable strengths, that race and gender will play a role, but is time for the media to take the responsible step and stop forcing this mostly hypothetical rhetoric down the throats of voters. There may have been divides prior to all the news coverage, but they are widening by the second, and I, for one, have had enough of it. It is insulting to me as a as a Democrat and as an American, and it is a huge leap in the wrong direction for our country.

"The Whisper"

This is SO interesting and has not been getting adequate press coverage. On January 24, 2008 at MSNBC's Republican Debate in Florida, something very peculiar occured. Immediately following moderator, Tim Russer's question addressed to Mitt Romney, you can hear someone whisper, "he raised taxes." MSNBC claims that it was an open mic problem, but NOBODY knows who did the whispering! Even more interesting is the second video from another point during the debate where, if you listen closely, you can hear a similar voice whisper the word, "support". Romney immediately adjusts his wording to include the word "support". These videos are not fabricated. So, who is doing the whispering and why? More importantly, why would Romney react to a random whisper without hesitation? Wouldn't it freak you out if during a two hour debate, someone suddenly whispers something directly before or during your answer?