Saturday, June 16, 2007

Barry dishonest

(H/T Bag News notes, photo credit information available at their website).

I really dislike the tactic of campaigns to have the candidate claim to stay above the fray while the staff throw the mud, and then have the candidate pretend he/she knew nothing of these tactics and proceed to scold their staff.

This is the second time Obama's staff have done something old school politics against Senator Clinton and I expect that any minute now, the Senator will issue a statement claiming ignorance and rhetorically blasting his staff for doing the very thing he is supposedly campaigning against. Will said staffers be fired? Don't hold your breath.

The first time was during the Geffin spat, which really had more to do with David Geffin's anger at Bill Clinton's refusal to pardon a friend of his and less to do with either Hillary or Barrack.

This time, some one looked at the Clinton's financial statements and cried foul that Bill was getting lots of money from outsourcing companies, calling his spouse "Sen. Clinton (D-Punjab)" not only is this juvenile, and selective (25 other Senate Democrats took money from CISCO and you see no press release from them) but also slightly racist for a guy who is supposed to be more racially conscience than any candidate in the race.

Indian-Americans are upset about this, and rightfully so. I thought we got rid of Indian bashing after George Allen lost his senate seat. Plus, Obama doesn't strike me as an anti-trade deal kind of guy. Sure, he will complain about outsourcing, but I can't think of one trade package he has voted against, let alone lead the fight on.

In fact, he pretty much was trying to keep a low profile until his fame overwhelmed those plans.

But really, this isn't about Obama as much as the tactic of going high-road/low-road at the same time. If Obama really wants to change "the smallness of our politics" he needs to ditch his conventional, petty staff and get some innovative thinkers.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

deja vu all over again

(© 2004 Daniel Bersak)
I have been blogging for a long time, since 2002 in fact. (remember when MyDD was called "my due diligence"?) But I didn't start to get serious traffic until my boss State Representative Debby Blumer (D-Framingham)was called upon to vote in a Massachusetts Constitutional Convention ("ConCon") whether to uphold Goodridge [v. MPH].

Debby was a liberal, but also a pragmatist. So she had supported a bill calling for civil unions for gays and lesbians for a number of years. But after Goodridge came down in November 2003, she and other liberals banded together to strategize how to preserve the courts holding from an onslaught led by then-Gov. Romney (who had realized this was his chance to gain attention so he could run for president like his dad had as Governor of Michigan). As her staffer, I was responsible for among other things, constituent services and contact. Letters, emails and phone calls poured in, not just from her district, or from Massachusetts, and not just from around the country, but from all over the world.

As people began to pour their hearts out to us, sending pictures and telling us personal tales (as well as threats and hate mail), I began to realize why civil unions wasn't enough. I blogged about what was going on inside Rep. Blumer's group and the strategy. That got me in trouble with her, and rightly so.

But I also got emails and comments from people around the country thanking me for explaining to them what the heck was going on. We won that fight, and then-Speaker Finneran's civil union proposal narrowly lost.

Thos opposed to gay marriage, including Rep. Blumer's colleagues in one of her committees (meaning their "offices" was only a few feet away from each other) sued all the way to US supreme court and kept trying to revive a ballot initiative in the state legislature (called the "General Court" in Massachusetts).

Today, the latest one failed again. Rep. Grogen and his allies only needed 50 out of 200 State Representatives and State Senators to support it, but got a mere 41. Nearly four years after Goodridge, the sky hasn't fallen on Massachusetts. The divorce rate in Massachusetts is the lowest in the country (Bush's adopted home of Texas has the highest). The more people get to know gay and lesbian couples, they realize that these couples aren't so different from married friends they have.

I just wish Debbie was still alive today to see that marriage equality was basically guaranteed (the next time they could put it to a vote is 2012, good luck by then) in her home state. So while a flood of memories come back, I am excited for the future.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I have no confidence in Hatch or Bennett

Not surprisingly, my US Senators Hatch and Bennett voted against the no confidence vote on AG Alberto Gonzales.

I wonder what it was about Gonzales' tenure as Attorney General that gave them confidence in his job performance. His lying under oath, which led them to vote to remove President Clinton for the same offense? His repeated lying about the use of the Department of Justice to further the Republican Party's grip on power? His "inability" to recall basic facts? His vast grant of power to his inept deputies to fire and hire DOJ employees based on partisan affiliation? His endorsement of torture as White House Counsel? His eleventh hour visit to then-AG John Ashcroft's hospital bedside to convince the man to sign on to an illegal wiretapping program (remember, Gonzales was unclear if there were other illegal wiretapping programs that he approved of beyond the "terrorist surveillance program")?
Republicans [such as Joe Lieberman] did not defend him, but most voted against moving the resolution ahead.
Monday's vote was not the end of scrutiny for Gonzales and his management of the Justice Department - more congressional hearings are scheduled and an internal department investigation continues.
Short of impeachment, Congress has no authority to oust a Cabinet member, but Democrats were trying anew to give him a push. Gonzales dismissed the rhetorical ruckus in the Senate, and President Bush continued to stand by his longtime friend and legal adviser.
"They can have their votes of no confidence, but it's not going to make the determination about who serves in my government," Bush said in Sofia, Bulgaria, the last stop on a weeklong visit to Europe.

Your government? Actually Mr. President, it is OUR government, remember that "We the People..." bit? Sens. Hatch and Bennett carry water for man who thinks that the US government belongs to him, not unlike Louis XIV. "L'√Čtat, c'est moi" said Bush, in Europe.

If I could vote on it, I would vote no confidence in my senators. Instead, I am left to vote against these two every six years.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bramble's dumb move

Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble (R-Provo), has the political instincts of Joe Lieberman.
Just a few months ago Bramble announced his support for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, as did 55 of his fellow Republican lawmakers.
McCain's campaign is expected to announce the endorsement Tuesday, but Bramble really switched sides some time ago.
"I think there is room at this stage of the presidential contest to consider several candidates," said Bramble, who does not want his support for McCain to be seen as a criticism of Romney. "I would have no problem if Gov. Romney was the party's nominee."
Bramble signed a Romney endorsement letter that circulated through the Legislature. He also went to a press conference but did not stand on stage with the candidate on Feb. 20.
Less than two weeks later, Bramble spent 45 minutes alone with McCain at the Grand America Hotel. At the end of the meeting, Bramble promised his support.

Now let's look at the obvious. McCain is trying to lower expectations on his second quarter fundraising, which already set a low target of $12.5M. Previously, his campaign had admitted that they really needed to turn things around this quarter to stay viable. Meanwhile, McCain's signature issues-- Campaign Finance Reform and Immigration Reform-- are deeply unpopular with the GOP primary voter. And his Iraq Escalation plan is a huge disaster, both politically and in real terms, for his party and the country. He is now behind not only Giulliani and Fred Thompson, but also "I don't know" in national polling. In the important primary states, he is in a distant third as well.

Meanwhile, Romney raised the most money of all the Republican candidates, and is up by a lot in Iowa and New Hampshire. So much so that Giulliani and McCain gave up on the Ames Straw Poll, a key IA GOP boondoggle. So why would Bramble change horses so dramatically? He says it is taking the unpopular stands on Iraq and Immigration, but I think it is this "McCain's biggest supporters in Utah include Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff."

you know you are joke candidate when

You get put in jail (where your sentence could keep you in jail until after election day) and it barely gets a mention in the press.
John Renteria, a perennial candidate for public office who has never won an election, was booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail on Friday on a violation of his probation from a previous traffic conviction.
Renteria pleaded guilty in November 2005 to one count of attempted failure to stop at an officer's command, a class A misdemeanor; one count of incorrectly positioned plates, a class B misdemeanor; and one count of failure to obey a traffic-control device, a class C misdemeanor.
Renteria's attorney, Patrick Corum, said Renteria admitted to 3rd District Judge Sheila McCleve on Friday that he twice drove despite his license having been revoked and that he has drunk alcohol, both in violation of his probation.
But Corum said he hopes Renteria can go before the judge again to plead his case in the near future.
"I'm very optimistic that we'll be able to get him out," Corum said.
He did not know how Renteria's arrest would affect his run for mayor.
"I've never talked to him about his candidacy," Corum said.

Patrick Corum is a Salt Lake County Legal Defender or as we call them in the biz an LDA. That means that Renteria is really poor, like food stamps poor. To get a public defender, you need to be almost on welfare.

Rolly states the obvious. "Renteria was considered a second-tier candidate and not given much of a chance to win. The last campaign finance disclosure indicated he had raised no money." Note the past tense WAS CONSIDERED. Now he is not going to be even considered, except as a trivia pursuit question.