B After The Fact

Monday, March 31, 2008

Do The Right Thing (Am I Molting)?

I have spent months saying the country was not ready for an African-American President, but that Hillary Clinton may be able to steal the election by driving off the Obama voters, running the same election that Gore ran, but winning Tennessee and Florida and sneaking into office.

Sure, nothing would get done. But the Republicans wouldn't get anything done either.

I have also said that the Clintons will be spending the rest of the primary season lying their pants off, proving that more people will vote for a lying white woman than a black man who is running a nearly flawless campaign.

That liberal Democrats are not ready for an African-American President, let alone the country as a whole.

Now, however, it seems that Hillary may have overplayed her hand with these Bosnian lies.

Sure, I stand by my earlier contention that Hillary will win every remaining primary except North Carolina. I stand by my earlier contention that Hillary will lose the North Carolina primary within the margin of error.

However, I do not see how she can get past the Bosnia issue in the general election, especially in the States where Hillary is saying that she can win and Obama cannot - Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Florida.

Hillary cannot drop out of the race. Because if anything happens to Obama, she has to have the strong claim to being second in line.

However, we learned a few things through this bizarre Bosnia interlude that we didn't know before. Beyond the fact that some have said for decades that the Clintons would lie about anything, and some of us are only reluctantly coming to the realization -- well we always knew they would lie about anything, we just thought that their lying was good for the Democrats.

First -- like Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton seems to have no one who can say "no" to her. You have to be a much shrewder politician than Hillary has proven herself to be so far in order to work without a "no" person. Say what you want about Karen Hughes and Karl Rove -- but when they said no, George W took a deep breath and counted to 10.

I mean this Bosnia thing was going on for months. Little lie upon little lie until it grew into a WHOPPER.

Second -- people in the Clinton camp are reading this blog. They are beginning to make express arguments that no black person can get elected in 2008.

That does not however mean that Hillary can win.

Third -- Hillary's only credible explanation for the Bosnia issue ultimately is going to have to be the "faith based" excuse. While Hillary apologizes for being wrong on the facts, the facts don't matter. She experienced the trip to Bosnia AS IF she was under enemy fire. We live in a country where people write make believe best sellers about their rehab, and where suburban housewives write "true" memoirs about being crack hos. Where we are governed by an administration that told the "fact-based community" to get with the true "reality" of the "faith-based community."

Hillary may not know any facts, but she is in perfect contact with her "faith-based" reality.

It just might work. I admit that I hope it doesn't.

I don't see any reason for Hillary to withdraw from the race. Too many things can happen to Obama between now and August. Hillary has the right to position herself to be the next person standing. Her voters, I keep saying, don't read blogs, and are not as effected by the day-to-day horse race. They have known Hillary for years, love her, and will vote for her come what may.

Although it is probably too late, Hillary should just shut her mouth. Run the wonkish little policy based campaign, and continue to pray that Obama gets hit by something.

So Obama can't win and Hillary can't win.

Who do you nominate when you know you have no chance of winning? Do you choose your ridiculously long odds over your impossibly long odds? Or is it the other way around?

Or do you do the right thing?

What would that look like anyway?

What's In A Name?

Since I may want to be President some day, I will tell you a story that is based on eyewitness accounts and statistical data.

It is also possible I dreamed the entire thing up.

I live in New York's 9th Congressional District. Part of the district is in Brooklyn, part is in Queens. The district is Jewish, Italian and other white ethnics. In a Congressional election, Jews hold the balance of power.

Before 1998, our Congressman was Charles Schumer. When he gave up his seat to run for the Senate, a bunch of Jews from Brooklyn announced their intention to run for Congress, including a City Councilman, Anthony Weiner, who was a protegee of Congressman Schumer.

Only one Jew from Queens announced her candidacy, a State Assemblywoman, Melinda Katz, who was closely allied with Alan Hevesi, who was not, and even after everything has happened, is still not, a dirty name here in Forest Hills (his son is our State Assemblyman). Anthony Weiner took the Brooklyn Jews. Melinda Katz took the Queens Jews. The vote was basically tied.

Weiner won the Democratic nomination and the Congressional seat (no one in this part of Queens is a Republican) because the Italians in Howard Beach (a part of Queens), voted for the Brooklyn candidate. They felt more comfortable with a Congressman named Anthony.

Some people say that the people in Howard Beach thought Weiner was an Italian name, or maybe he was Italian on his mother's side. No. And these people always knew that. They just felt that spending your life walking around as an Anthony may have made Congressman Weiner more sympathetic to issues concering Italian Americans.

Similarly, it doesn't matter whether Senator Obama is Muslim or Christian. It is hard for some people to believe that, given his name, that he won't be sympathetic to issues concerning Islam.

And that is going to cause him a world of problems

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Al Gore For President

Joe Klein , of Time Magazine, the author of "Primary Colors" joins the movement.

More on Iraq (sigh)

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States

U.S. Constitution – Article II, Section 2

The War Against Terrorism is, to the extent it is anywhere, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have barely begun the first day of that war. I will leave it to others to determine whether there is a sufficient threat from terrorism to justify a commitment to fighting the War.

The War For Oil, however, continues apace. We went into Iraq -- simple looting of the treasury of the country (both Iraq and the United States) by friends of Bush/ Cheney/ Rumsfeld aside -- because we could not risk having a person as unstable as Sadman Insane sitting on so much of Our Oil.

Since the United States would have always needed to be in Iraq when Saddam Hussein died, in order to regulate the transition into the post-Saddam world, Cheney (rightly in this view) thought to accelerate the end game. Our unilateral invasion also enabled the United States to cut the French, Germans and Russians out of Iraq for awhile.

However, for whatever reason, since Cheney and Rumsfeld could not sell their honest motives to the public (maybe they might have if they tried, but never mind), the United States had to go into Iraq under false pretenses. Amongst other falsehoods, we had to pretend to care about the people of Iraq. Only, we didn’t actually know anything about the people of Iraq. Naturally, we wound up botching the transition.

However, the world has changed, and the United States cannot leave Iraq.

Bush/ Cheney/ Rumsfeld have not stabilized post-Saddam Iraq, and they can never stabilize it to the point where it is strong enough to stand on its own. Which means that we will be there for a mighty long time to come.

Because after we leave, Iraq will not, as every else seems to think (i) pick themselves up by their own bootstraps or (ii) naturally break into its three (3) component parts.

If the United States is unwilling to keep order in Iraq (which we basically guaranteed to the world we would do), Iran, Turkey, and whoever Saudi Arabia finances will roll into Iraq to fill the void.

Or maybe China, Russia, India or some combination thereof will decide to create a New World Order.

Once opinions about Cheney have cooled down, one of the great questions will be whether Cheney understood the accelerated curve by which China and India was advancing. Whether or not emerging nations, and their need for oil, played a part in Cheney’s calculations about going into Iraq.

Myself. I think Cheney only cares about the money. For a guy like Cheney, caring about your country is a fool’s game. Caring about democracy and freedom is even worse -- a game for girly men. Doesn’t mean Cheney was wrong to go into Iraq though. It only means that the few people who had countervailing power were wrong to let him slip off the leash. You can count those men on one hand.


One of those men with the power and moral authority to rein in Cheney was John McCain. He squandered it. Sure he spoke up, to Oprah and to the television cameras. But he never spoke up when it countered. And the reason he squandered his power and authority, the reason he refused to speak, I submit, is because John McCain believes in the Divine Right of American Presidents. He believes in the notion, that despite what George Washington said, we elect an American King every four years, and that King must be served.

Or to put it less dramatically, John McCain believes that the President is the Commander In Chief over everyone. Except that is not what the Constitution actually says. Whether the American people will choose to elect King John to take us anywhere he cares to go remains to be seen.

I digress.


We will "win" in the Middle East when we solve the energy crisis in a way that does not destroy our planet, and on terms that convince China that it does not need to be in the region itself. That modest goal can take 25 years. We can not leave Iraq until that moment, at the earliest.

If we define "win" in a less cynical manner, in a manner like John McCain defines it, in terms of national character -- or if we define "win" in a manner that the neo-cons define it -- including such goals like democracy or even self-determination, or even military balance of power, or having anything to do with the state of Israel -- we will be in Iraq until the end of days.

If we leave Iraq now, we cede not only the oil, which can be replaced, however painfully, by coal, but a critical component of our power to control events in the 21st century world.

What's that you say -- we already ceded our power when the Bush Administration asked China to pay directly for this war, and asked all the Mid-Eastern caliphates to pay indirectly for this war by buying up our financial institutions?

Certainly some damage to the United States has occurred. Are we doomed forever? We worried about the same thing in 1975. We recovered.

Relative power, that is. Other things were gained and lost in the transition from pre-1973 power to post-1980 power.

Was it worth it?

I'll leave that discussion for another 100 years of the blog wars.

Friday, March 28, 2008

No War In The Middle East Worth Winning Will Take Less Than 100 Years

Krauthammer complains that the liberal media has twisted John McCain's statement that the United States may need to keep provisional forces in Iraq for 100 years into a statement that John McCain wants to fight in Iraq for 100 years.

I responded:

I agree with you that the Democrats tried to turn McCain's statement about 100 years of ancillary U.S. presence in Iraq into 100 years of War, but --

If John McCain does not expect us to be actively fighting in the Middle East for the next 100 years, then what definition of "winning the war" is he working with?

Another way to state the same question:

How long does McCain (or even you) think it will take to reach the "win" he (or you) seek(s)? If that win takes less than 100 years to achieve, is it really a win worth the fight?

And the ancillary question:

How does McCain propose to staff the war with soldiers and to pay for the war financially while still maintaining the moral system he is so keen on defending?

The War in Iraq is not enough without the War in Afghanistan, the War in Iran, the War in Pakistan, the solution to the Middle East conflict, and perhaps, the solution of the energy crisis. The United States is not just in Iraq, now, we are in the Middle East. We cannot leave the Middle East with a "win" unless we win everywhere

I propose this "win"

We can not leave the Middle East until the earlier of the time when (a) there is no risk of occupation of anti-United States forces in Iraq and Saudi Arabia (which includes not only Iran, Syria and/or Turkey, but also Russia and China and whatever surrogates they engage) or (b) we are energy self-sufficient in a manner that does not harm our environment (at which point we can leave the Middle East and let the devil take the hind most).

I say that win could take 100 years of real war. It is worth the fight. If John McCain, of all people, has no stomach to commit to that, then maybe he should look for the fastest way out.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Abe Lincoln In Illinois -- 1856

The Case of Abraham Lincoln by Julie Fenster (2007 Palgrave MacMillan)(228 pages plus notes and index)

"Looking over the Know-Nothing platform (the Democrats) did not notice any animosity towards old bachelors, only towards foreigners, and especially Catholics. With that the country was drenched with the news that John Fremont was a Catholic -- a lie they managed to back up with facts. For instance, although Fremont was a practicing Episcopalian, his father had indeed been a Catholic. And Fremont had been married by a Catholic priest, due to his Protestant clergyman being indisposed at the last minute. In the campaign of 1856, that was more than enough to sustain a scandal that followed the Republican campaign all year .. To them (being married by a priest) amounted to a kind of treason, and the Anti-Nebraskans undoubtedly lost votes because of it."

The book covers the murder of a blacksmith in Springfield Illinois in 1856. The blacksmith's wife and his nephew, who was boarding with them at the time, are the prime suspects. Wife and nephew/ boarder may have had something going on. The case pulls in all of the leading Springfield attorneys at the time. Some of these names -- William Herndon and John Stuart, along with the Judge, David Davis -- are familiar to Lincoln buffs.

While all this was happening, Lincoln was hardly in town. He was busy helping to form the new "Anti-Nebraska" Party in Illinois, making speeches for the Presidential candidate, John Fremont, practicing law on the Illinois circuit, which seems a lot like a travelling circus (in the best sense of the word), and leaving his wife to supervise the renovation of their home.

The book paints an interesting picture of Lincoln on the cusp of fame, and what mid-century small-city life was like for the rising man. It also paints a pretty nice picture of the "hurry-up-and-wait" nature of the legal practice, and the theatrics of the political rallies and stump speeches. One interesting vignette shows how Lincoln, due to a scheduling conflict, had to move a speech up a few hours. So he was speaking at one corner of the square (probably more like an undeveloped field), and other speakers were competing for attention at other parts of the square.

The book, in part due to its short length, has problems of focus -- it spends too much time on this, and not enough time on that.

In particular, the book makes too little of the fact that Lincoln, without really being too famous, and without being there, or having any of his major supporters there, was the runner-up for the Republican Party Vice Presidential nomination in 1856. The book does not even mention John Brown at all, or Dred Scott at all.

On the other hand, the book has the fullest development of the so-called "Lost Speech" (the first speech that Lincoln made as a Republican)that I have seen. The tag line to a South threatening secession --

"We WILL not go out; and you SHALL not go out."


Monday, March 24, 2008

In Defense of Hillary

My good friend A Red Mind In A Blue State entitles his blog post "HILLARY'S A LIIAARR."

Just got through listening to the Bush-Bash over on MSNBC -- and quite frankly Red Mind was nicer to Hillary than Chris, Keith, Dan Abrams and the rest of the Obama circle-jerkers were.

But the boys at MSNBC are missing the point. And Frank Rich, who all of us over on the left think is "spot on" is dead wrong when he says that the Obama-Clinton fracas leaves an opening for McCain. My friends at The New Republic, and Huffington Post, too.


Everything Red Mind says about Hillary in his post today is true.

I'll even go Red Mind one better.

Hillary certainly knew that there was video of the trip to Bosnia that would prove that she was a liar.

Bill Clinton certainly knew that he was questioning Obama's patriotism last Friday, when he said he was looking forward to a general election with two people who "love America".

While Hillary may be able to hide behind "misspeaking, " Bill Clinton has never and will never misspeak. He may lie, but he has never said a thing in public that he did not mean to say.

Likewise, James Carville expressly refused to back down from calling Bill Richardson a "Judas" for betraying the Clintons. Who's Jesus? Carville did not dispute the implication.

What's going on?

First of all, this fight has nothing to do with Red Mind or John McCain.

This is a family feud concerning whether the most liberal party is liberal enough to go into a Presidential election with an African-American candidate. Thereby, skipping past the step where we, like every other corrupt body politic, vote for the President's wife before we vote for the minority candidate.

The Senator and her husband are betting that in the end, we won't want to skip that step.

Over the next 6 weeks they will lie about anything and everything. They will continually misstate their own positions and rewrite history. There is nothing that they will not resort to.

And they will make sure that you know it.

Despite all that, Hillary will win every remaining primary, except perhaps North Carolina, where she will finish within the margin of error.

This will prove that the worst run, most brazen campaign by a white person can beat the best-run campaign by a black person.

Because the liberal party in America is not ready for a black President.

And then the Super-delegates will have a choice.

Do you nominate Obama -- a sure loser -- because even if his young voters go out to vote, they will find that the Republican U.S. Attorneys have left them with no polling places with which to vote, and no power with which to protest the result. Sure you will have brought the young Americans, and the new Americans into the Democratic Party. But to what end? All you've done is assured a McCain victory -- and guaranteeing that you wind up with 4 more years of the country on the same wreckless fruitless path to hell.

Or do you nominate Clinton -- who may lose the election, but knows how to steal it.

Her older white voters are going to goddamn well have polling places, and we're going to get in and out of them quickly too. 10 minutes tops. And the Big Dog and the boys know their way around the sharp corners and the sharp elbows.

If Jeb Bush winds up being the Republican candidate on election day, then maybe the Clintons will have met their evil match. But McCain? Please.

Nominate Clinton, and you probably still get McCain and the continuous corrosion of freedom and prosperity, but you have a puncher's chance that Bill can find a way through. You take the chance that maybe -- just maybe -- you wind up with President Clinton -- 4 years of deadlock --- in the hope that maybe, just maybe the country can catch its breath before it slouches towards the void.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

More Thoughts on John McCain

I don't think the Republicans did themselves any favors by nominating a 71-year old man 8 months before the general election.

Especially someone like McCain, who after a compelling personal story, and over 30 years in Washington, seems to have no personal following, outside of members of Joe Lieberman's family.

Obviously, McCain will neither win nor lose this election. The election will be a referendum on Obama or Hillary. McCain will be the beneficiary or the victim of the result.

Given the fact that the Republican Party will get a free pass on this election, it is not clear to me that McCain is really what they want.

McCain, strangely enough, and more than any of the other candidates, seems to me to truly represent a third Bush term.

And it is not clear to me, that Republicans, apart from the abortion issue, really approve of what Bush has done for the last 8 years.

Other than abortion, it seems to me that the thing that Republicans like most about Bush is that he has set liberalism on its heels for 8 years.

But it is McCain who made sure that the toughest immigration bills stalled.

It is McCain who got the education bill passed.

It is McCain who got the torture bill passed.

It is McCain who more than any other Republican got the Wars on a footing where it can truly be the 100-year war that it needs to be in for the United States to "win" these Wars under any normal definition of the word "win".

It is McCain who, while professing not to understand economics, knows the most important economic fact of the 2008 Republican Party

It is the lobbyists who run the Republican Party.

It is the lobbyists who are finding the financing for this war.

It is the lobbyists who are finding the foreign dictatorships and kingdoms who are buying the United States. First the land, then our corporations, then the funding for the war, then the security of our ports, then the banks, now the capitalist investment houses.

Every single complaint that the Republicans have about McCain is really a complaint about Bush.

McCain says to the Republicans -- Bush may have sounded like a good old boy, but he wasn't kidding. And I'm not kidding.

Are you kidding?

Is this the sort of country you want?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama on America

I listened to parts of the speech in "real time" on NPR (more on that later), then I read the speech later in the day, and then I saw some clips of the speech on MSNBC later still.

I have read some of the comments of Reverend Wright (sic) but I have not seen any of the clips on YouTube or anywhere else.


It is inconceivable to me, more so after today than ever before, that this country is ready to elect a black President.


At about the same time Obama was speaking, John McCain was in Iraq, addressing his one and only area of expertise.

He said that Iran, which is a Shiite nation, was busy training Al Qaeda, which is a Sunni terrorist group, to go into the neighboring Shiite country of Iraq in order to establish a strong base.

That is sort of like saying that whites used to be slaves in the United States until the Cherokees set them free.

As something designed to scare American voters, McCain's statement is flawless. Which is why we've been hearing it over and over for the past several weeks.

The only problem was that Joseph Lieberman, who was accompanying McCain on his trip, corrected John in front of a world-wide television audience.

Good. Let Lieberman fuck up some Republican's campaign for a change.

A well-run campaign wouldn't let Joe anywhere near McCain for a while. Except that they need old Joe to parade in front of all the old Jews in Florida.

All respect for the enormous chunk of time that Senator McCain spent defending my freedom. However, that set of events, most of which are now over 35 years old, does not, in and of itself, justify his claim to be President.

It is astounding that this old fraud is the best that the Republican Party could do.


Barack Obama went to Columbia University, was a community organizer, entered Harvard Law School in 1988, was the first black President of the Harvard Law Review (1990), turned down a 100% opportunity to clerk for the Supremee Court to be a community organizer some more, worked for a well-connected public interest law firm, was a State legislator, and is now a United States Senator.

If Obama wasn't running for President from the time he was in kindergarten, as my candidate likes to say (in one of her few recent lucid moments), he has certainly been running for President from at least the time he was elected President of the Law Review, and went straight back to Chicago to build up his street cred. Which meant that this half-white child of privilege needed to be where his constituents were. Which was at the Reverend What's His Name's Church.


I mention all that because no one with the sort of resume and ambition that Obama has is paying even the slightest attention to anything some minister is saying about politics in front of the congregation on Sunday morning. Any more than Mickey Mantle would ask his minister for help with his swing.

I would hate to be accountable for the crap I hear Rabbis say during those sermons I manage to stay awake for.


One implication of Obama's speech that wasn't explored anywhere is that due to the level of anger in the black community --- just the day to day walking around anger that those who haven't made it carry, and the day to day "survivor's guilt" and head scratching that those who have made it may carry --- maybe the Reverend Wright's sermons were not so radical in the scheme of things.

That maybe they are not nearly as radical as some of the book excerpts I read from Uncle Clarence Thomas's book last year (That maybe Clarence is the most radical "Kill Whitey" guy in America? That maybe his agenda is that since America is a right-wing nation, it is simply easier to pull the table down by tugging the tablecloth from the right?)

That maybe if Barack had gone to the church done the road, as the Foxies want him to do, things would not have been much different.

Incidentally, not to blame Rush and his friends for everything. I listened to some of the open phone line comments on NPR after the speech. A lot of old hippies grumbling about lack of gratitude. Thank you, o Great White Father.


Obama's was obviously the best speech any Democratic politician has made in my lifetime. Reagan made some excellent speeches for those who subscribe to his point of view.

The similarity between the two men's best speeches is that neither of them pandered to their audience. Both of them trusted that their audiences would understand the truth when they heard it. Reagan liberally quoted Jefferson and the other politicians he admired. Obama quoted Faulkner. Faulkner.

I'm sorry, but you know that if the current President or his father quoted anyone, it was someone that the speechwriter told them about earlier that day.


Race is this country's original sin, and its present glory. Given its bloody racial history, it is astounding that every year, millions of people of color are literally dying to get here. Like Barack Obama's father. And that so many of those millions suceed in getting their share of the American Dream.

However, if you want to come be part of the American family, then you have to pick up your share of the tab for America's family history. Which is slavery and the legacy of slavery.

You do not get to say that your family was still sitting in Europe in 1865.

You come here, and you are required to puzzle over how the United States could have been, for so long, both the most free and the least free nation in the history of the world.

Most free obviously because of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, fortuitous timing, the nature of its people and the expanse of the continent.

Least free because no nation went into something as dark and sinful as slavery and genocide with its eyes more open than we did.

It is sufficient, even in 2008, for someone to run for President of the United States based on the fact that he can articulate a vision for the United States that tries to move us past the racial tragedies of the past 400 years.

Whether Barack Obama is the person who gets to perfect the Union, as he kept saying, remains to be seen. However, the hope is that someone soon will try the blueprint that Obama proposed today.

I don't know where Obama would lead us, I don't think we'll get the chance to find out. What we are learning, at breakneck speed, is that the only place that McCain and Clinton know to take this once great country is down a dark hole.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

John McCain Defends John Hagee

BENNETT: I’ve got to ask you about something, as a Catholic. This was something a lot of Catholics were talking about. A couple of weeks ago, senator, you received the endorsement of San Antonio Pastor John Hagee. He’s written about my church, “there’s a clear record of history linking Adolf Hitler and the Roman Catholic church in a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews.” He’s called the Catholic church “a great prostitute,” except he used a stronger word. He’s called my church a “cult.” Your comment on this. There’s actually been a lot of talk about it.

MCCAIN: Well, obviously I repudiate any comments that are anti-semetic or anti-Catholic, racist, any other. And I condemn them and I condemn those words that Pastor Hagee apparently…that Pastor Hagee wrote. I will say that he said that his words were taken out of context, he defends his position. I hope that maybe you’d give him a chance to respond. He says he has never been anti-Catholic, but I repudiate the words that create that impression. I will say, I’d like to say on his behalf, he’s been a very strong supporter of the state of Israel and when we were doing the No Surrender tour, he came and spoke on behalf of not surrendering in Iraq.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jerry Falwell reacts to 9-11

Falwell provoked a storm of protest when he said gays, lesbians and health workers who provide abortions were partly to blame for the September 11 attacks.

"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the Pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’”

Reactions to Falwell's death reflected the bitter divide over his views, and over the role of religion in political life in the United States.

President Bush said he was deeply saddened by Falwell's death, calling him "a man who cherished faith, family and freedom."

"Jerry lived a life of faith and called upon men and women of all backgrounds to believe in God and serve their communities," Bush said in a written statement.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Some things that are being said by everyone. Some things that aren't:

The Republicans got lucky with Spitzer. The Justice Department and the FBI went after Spitzer without cause. The same way they went after the Democrats in Alabama. A former Governor sitting in an Alabama jail on trumped-up charges. The same way they went after the Democrats in Minnesota. An election based on the worst kind of Republican lies. The same way they fired all the Republican U.S. Attorneys who believed in the rule of law, and replaced them with those who believed in the rule of Bush. Ain't that America?

My prediction -- in the weeks to come it will become increasingly clear that the Republicans were planning to indict either Spitzer or his father (he's been in real estate for 50-60 years for chrissakes)-- for something -- true or not true -- as a way of helping McCain and Joe Bruno (the Republican leader of the New York State Senate) in November. As the saying goes, you can always find a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

My bet -- is that Spitzer spent the last 48 hours trying to figure out if he and Silda could hold out long enough for the story of Republican abuse to sink into everyone's head. (Down the road, it may yet help Spitzer escape the full impact of his crash.)

Elliot's problem -- he's a whoremonger. And you can't be holier-than-thou and be a whoremonger all on the same day. Many many times. What a cheap, arrogant way to die.

Elliot's other problem -- you can't piss off all your supporters if you are going to need them some day. That's another reason everyone in New York is so shocked. Not only did Spitzer seethe in moral outrage, Spitzer really was one of those people who -- in the grand Dean Martin tradition -- didntgiveafuck. That's another reason we were all seduced by him in his run for Governor. You really have to be squeaky clean to be that kind of guy. WRONG.

A couple of quick vents about some of the things I am reading --

Prostitution is not a victimless crime. Legalized prostitution, where it exists, sometimes can make the best out of a bad, but necessary, bred-in-the-bone human situation. And that may be enough of a reason to decriminalize. But that wasn't what happened here. Mr. Spitzer was not conducting his affairs in Amsterdam or Nevada.

Marriage is Forever. Especially when he's 48 and she's 50. No one should have their compass pointed any other way, despite what sometimes happens. The same people who complain that Hillary Clinton should take her marriage vows casually, the same people who complain that Silda Wall Spitzer should take her marriage vows casually (the same people who were casual about the nature of Terri Schiavo's vows, by the way) are the first people to tell you that only certain types of people may marry. You can't say that marriage should be casual out of one side of your mouth, and the cornerstone of a certain sort of society out of the other side.

Here's a scenario that I completely made up -- but feels true to me in some way. She knew. She always knew, but for whatever reason, she didn't care. Or didn't care enough to break up a marriage over it. Maybe she thought that all men are dogs, and you do your best to walk the one you have. More likely, though, Silda had the same high opinion of Elliot that he had of himself. That whatever Elliot wanted -- he could get. Silda thought that if Elliot wanted to keep it quiet, he could. She was wrong. That's why she was so heartbroken. But that's why she stood by him in the end. In her own way, she betrayed her children a little as well.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Brave New World -- Tomorrow Is Already Here

Three years ago, I wrote a post called "Barry Bonds --Hero of the Next Generation

It said

"In the end, I fear that the Brave New World is coming. When corporations see that steroids can help their production line workers make more products over longer periods of time, and when white collar workers see that the guy on steroids can work longer hours and sell more, and get the corner office, and when parents of students see the young athlete on steroids get the track scholarship, and the young nerd on steroids able to study all night, everyone will demand, demand that steroids go into the drinking water."

Today's New York Times says I am already too late:

In an article called "Brain Enhancement Is Wrong -- Right" The paper reminds me again, that my real name is Rip Van Winkle, that I should wake up, get out of my horse-and-buggy head, and get to the pharmacist ASAP.

Money quote:

"One person who posted anonymously on the Chronicle of Higher Education Web site said that a daily regimen of three 20-milligram doses of Adderall transformed his career: “I’m not talking about being able to work longer hours without sleep (although that helps),” the posting said. “I’m talking about being able to take on twice the responsibility, work twice as fast, write more effectively, manage better, be more attentive, devise better and more creative strategies.”

"The public backlash against brain-enhancement, if it comes, may hit home only after the practice becomes mainstream, Dr. Chatterjee suggested. “You can imagine a scenario in the future, when you’re applying for a job, and the employer says, ‘Sure, you’ve got the talent for this, but we require you to take Adderall.’ Now, maybe you do start to care about the ethical implications.”

Mike Lupica disagrees on Anthony Weiner

I say Anthony Weiner for Mayor .

Lupica says Anthony Weiner is misguided.

I write to Mike --

Mike --

This is the point, of Anthony Weiner's more-than-appropriate comments.

In America, people of minority backgrounds can not lie to grand juries. They do that, and they go to jail. Even O.J. had the good sense to keep his mouth shut. You might even say that Democratic Presidents can not lie to grand juries. Look what happened to President Clinton.

In America, White Republicans from Texas, especially friends of the Bush family, go in front of Congress and lie every minute of every day. They can get censured, impeached, indicted six ways to Sunday. They'll never spend a second in jail, and the taxpayers are wasting their money to even try.

Beyond that, I would dare say that you will be no more able to find a jury to send Roger Clemens to jail than you were able to find a jury to send O.J. or Michael Jackson to jail. It won't really matter how strong the government's case is. You could even show a tape of Clemens bragging about how he lied and is getting away with it. No jury is sending this guy anywhere but to Cooperstown.

The 100% chance of a finding of no indictment, an acquittal or a pardon in the Clemens case will only increase the cynicism about the system, and will send a message that in all measures, large and small, is the exact opposite of the one your column suggests.

Bonds should have known better. Roger does.


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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Of course Hillary's a Monster

That's why I'm voting for her.

How else can you beat the Republicans?

Obama says he knows another way -- and that's fine -- maybe he does ...

But ...

Hillary's guy calls Obama "Ken Starr" -- first a lie, and second much worse than being called a monster -- he keeps his job.

Obama's gal calls calls Hillary a "monster" - a 100% factual statement -- and she loses her job.

Does Obama think that denying the truth is where the high road lies?

Does he even want to be President?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Anthony Weiner for Mayor

Congressman Weiner (my very own not-so-liberal, Hillary-loving, outer-borough Jewish Democratic Congressman) suggests that maybe the Feds have more important things to do than go after Roger Clemens.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Yes, I Voted For Hillary -- No, I Don't Regret It But ...

(A bit of a rant while waiting for the 3 a.m. phone call.)

While you might not like the way the Clintons campaign (and you may be right) and you might be horrified by the way they might govern in the 21st century (and you may be right), the reason Hillary is still upright and standing is not because of some supposed rhymes-with-witches' brew.

It is because she was and is the only candidate -- including Edwards (self-serving parting comments notwithstanding), including Kucinich (I'm in this for the free meals and to show off my young wife) -- who even pretends to know or care about the half of the country that does not have the leisure time to sit around and chit-chat on blogs all day.


Obama's empathy is completely intellectual, and not at all emotional.

I don't expect Obama to go back up to a diner in New Hampshire and start crying anytime soon.

However, if Obama wants to get rid of Hillary, and stay on the high road that he needs to stay on, Obama needs to talk a little more about what he learned about the community when he was a community organizer (which would be an appeal to poorer people), and a little less about what he learned about the organizing (which is an appeal to elites).


I think it is completely fair for Hillary to throw the kitchen sink at Obama. I think the notion that Hillary is thinking up things to say about Obama that McCain hasn't already thought of is nonsense. The Senator is a bright and ruthless man. His staff is brighter still (although none of them have Senator McCain's personal flair for giving you a knee in the balls during choir practice, and then complaining to the congregation that you're suddenly singing off-key)

The converse is also true. It is completely fair for Obama to say those things about Hillary that McCain will say.

There are thought to be two exceptions to that rule --

1. McCain will assume that everything the Clintons say is a lie. Democratic voters won't buy that because we all think that the Clintons were set up in the 1990s, and

[RANT WITHIN RANT -- McCain may have a problem making that argument to "undecided" voters in the general election as well. McCain spent 8 years blindly supporting George Bush and Dick Cheney off any and every cliff. You can't do that and say you really care about integrity and honesty in government -- or any other human virtue for that matter. For every Marc Rich, there is a Lewis Libby. For every Lincoln Bedroom and Vincent Foster, there is a Blackwater, a KBR, a Halliburton, a Carlyle Group, a Dick Cheney hunting expedition. President Bush has already conceded (i) that he is taking donations for his Presidential library from non-Americans and (ii) he does not expect to disclose any of their names.]

2. McCain will say that Hillary's experience in the White House does not make her qualified to be commander-in-chief, or much of anything else for that matter. After all, you wouldn't let your brain surgeon's spouse perform the operation.

There is a consensus that Obama can not make that argument to Democrats. In fact, in the last debate, Obama expressly conceded Hillary's right to say she was part of Bill's administration. In Oprah's world, the couple does everything together all the time.

I think Obama has to reconsider that concession. In the real world, we vote for a President, and not for the royal family. George W- never made any claims that he was part of his father's Administration, although in fact, he was as much of a witness (and as little a participant) to that administration as Hillary was to her husband's administration.

Hillary is completely unqualified to be Commander-In-Chief. And McCain and Obama are similarly unqualified.

In fact the only people "qualified" to be Commander-In-Chief at the moment are the people who have already had the job.

If we need someone with 3 a.m. experience as badly as Hillary says we do, maybe Jimmy Carter or Bush 41 would like to take another crack at winning a second term.


Again and again, we get to the heart of the Obama problem. The same issues that Al Gore faced --

y -- Does he want to be President badly enough?

z -- If he doesn't want to roll around in the mud with the Clintons and the McCains of the world, what is his compensating strategy?

Doesn't 55 million buy anything anymore?

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The New York Post Helps Spread A Rumor

Only Gore Can Stop A Meltdown

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

How To Start A Rumor

If 7 weeks and 50 million dollars from now, the Democrats are still deadlocked, will the superdelegates turn to Al Gore?

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Case For Hillary

Hillary Clinton is now so toxic in the media that yesterday on Meet The Press, not even James Carville felt compelled to make the case for Hillary.

So let me make it -

This is just a horse race analysis. I will not talk about policy choices or experience or charisma in this post.

The case for Hillary adds up this way.

The first thing is that Hillary has to win in Texas and Ohio. If she does not win both those primaries tomorrow, even the Big Dog admits that she can not continue

The polls show that it is still likely that she will squeak through in Ohio.

Ihe system in Texas is so convoluted, that she should be able to claim some sort of victory in Texas. In other words, if Hillary wins in Ohio, and then wins the direct election part of the Texas primary, she will be able to say that she has won in both states.

Then -- where will we be?

The following states have already held their primaries and will send 100 or more delegates (including superdelegates) to the Democratic National Convention -- (numbers are from Wikipedia)

California (440)
Illinois (185)
Massachusetts (121)
Michigan (157)
Florida (210)
New York (281)
Virginia (101)

Ohio (161) and Texas (228) will vote tomorrow, and they will each send more than 100 delegates to the convention

On April 22, 2008 -- Pennsylvania votes (158 delegates)
On May 6, 2008 -- North Carolina votes (115)

Hillary lost in Illinois -- Senator Obama's homestate.
Hillary lost in Virginia -- which barely makes our survey.

She won in the other 5 states. If she wins in Ohio and Texas tomorrow, she will have won in 7 of the 8 largest states. (Oops, forgot to count Virginia)

Doesn't Hillary deserve to see what happens in Pennsylvania and North Carolina?

(B-- How can you include Michigan or Florida? Well she won them. Maybe not fair and square -- but if Obama gets credit for being faster off the mark with the caucuses, why shouldn't Hillary get credit for wanting to beat the Republicans so badly that she would do anything to win those two large states? You know they'll seat someone.)

So the argument is that she can lose those 11 straight primaries with those diddley vote totals (607 for the 11 states. California and New York together -- 721). She can lose to Obama in all those states west of the Mississippi where no Democrat will ever beat a Republican in November anyway.

The argument is that Hillary can win the big states, and Obama can't.

Not against Hillary, and not against anyone else.


So, the argument gets a little nastier, a little more subjective. And it's based on things I read, and what I'm being told, and my experience answering, well not the red phone, but the pundit phone, at 3 in the morning (the dark hour of the soul) for a long long time now.

If some how or other, Hillary does find a way to the nomination, all the Obama supporters go home. They will not vote in November. The 2008 election looks a lot like Bush-Gore. If we're lucky. Maybe the Democrat squeaks through in Florida this time.

If Obama wins the nomination, then people younger than 50 who voted for Clinton will most likely vote for Obama.

However, a significant number of the voters over 50 (maybe even over 40 for women) who voted for Hillary will vote against Obama. And in Ohio and in Pennsylvania and in Florida and in Michigan, and in Virginia, those voters will tip their respective states -- and the election --- to the Republican.