Category Archives: elections

Giuliani and Edwards Are Drop-Outs!

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Today we are expected to hear that both Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John Edwards will be dropping out of the race for Presidential nomination. This is rather big news because it means that both the Republicans and the Democrats have a two-person race. In the Donkey’s ring it will be Sen. Barack Obama vs. Sen Hillary Rodham Clinton. These two candidates will now scramble to pick up all the Edwards supporters (I am guessing that the majority of them will go to Barack, and I am assuming that Edwards himself will endorse Obama soon. Just a guess…) On the Elephant side of things Rudy Giuliani is expected to endorse John McCain. I don’t know how his fear mongering managed to gain so much support anyway, and his supporters will probably just follow suit and jump on the McCain wagon. And though Mike Huckabee has not dropped out of the race, I find it hard to imagine a surge of support for him. It looks like he will be a distant third after Super-Tuesday, but he might wait to see anyway.

David Broder is the man.

David Broder

Note: from now on I am going to try and post after every David Broder opinion column from the Washington Post. You should all read it anyways because the man is good.

Case and point: Today’s article (12/5) highlights the most important events of the international community according to how they might affect the U.S. Broder tells us that things are different than they were two weeks ago. Now, his near perky article must have been a result from this weeks BIG STORY: the NIE report on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Anywho, he got me thinking about how much I want a Democrat in the White House, AND a Democrat controlled Congress. This would be the ill na na, ninjas. Actually … f*ck that, I just don’t want Giulliani or Romney-Bushified chuckle heads. If the Reps cared about themselves they would rally around McCain with Huckabee as the VP. Huckabee is ill because he’s the Republican I could see stabbing the neo-cons right in the heart and letting the blood drip all over him. Interesting guy.

The point is, ninjas, change is on the horizon. If you live in a swing-State, I plead with you: don’t vote for an asshole. Take the time to listen to how these candidates talk, what they talk about, their demeanor, their grace or lack their off … In all sincerity, I think Hillary Clinton should get the nod.

Ninjas, the war on terror needs to end. Because it’s not really a war on terror, this government seems to be all too pleased to feed this fire.

Getting harder and harder

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Times are tough, my ninjas … at least for GDubz, who just can’t get anything to come together for him. Yesterday came a release, the National Intelligence Estimate, which is a report from all of intelligence from all 16 of the departments of intelligence we have: the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, etc. etc. etc.

Now, this report claims that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons development in 2003. President Bush has said that he did not know about this information prior to last week. Whaaaaaaaaat? My Ninja, Please. Bush is trying to claim that though there was new information which surfaced as early as July, he wasn’t told what this new information was until he was briefed on this report last week. I can probably say that he isn’t smart enough to know that he’s insulting our intelligence.

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Now us hopeful bleeding hearts (or just practical folk) upon hearing this thought that this might just be reason enough for the Bush team to take the possibility of an air strike on Iran off the table. However, according to Bush’s response the the report, nothing has changed.

For those of you silly enough to think Giulliani is a solid choice in 2008, this is the statement from his Middle East policy man, Norman Podhoretz, essentially claiming the intelligence community is purposefully doing Iran a favor. [Ed: Podhoretz, a known idiot]

2 For the Price of 1?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfkRjvAYuOc[/youtube]

Charles Krauthammer‘s Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post today got me thinking.

Should Hillary Clinton find her way into the White House because of the 2008 elections, guess who comes with her: PRESIDENT Bill Clinton. Clinton had a great Presidency compared to Bush (and that really pisses some people off). He also had a wife back then, and as much as he’s already been there and done that, she was looking over his shoulder. So, do we, the people, benefit from this? Honestly, I’m gonna go ahead and say yes on this one. Ninjas, if we had foresight of what was to come with the Bush Administration we would have been saying, “Damn, Bill. Go ahead, get some ugly p@$@@, whatever. Just don’t do what this dude’s gonna do.”

And however you look at the f*cked up marriage he and Hillary have, he’s still going to be an enormous influence on this Presidency, if it were to happen… Don’t forget, Hillary has lived in the White House for 8 years. She might know what’s up. And, not that it has anything to do with the U.S., but in Argentina, the out-going President’s wife was just elected President. Things that make you go “Hmmm…”.

I’d say the fact that these two have both lived in the White House for eight years should be a significant thing for voters when considering Hillary Clinton.

A sojourn into the land of smears

It strikes me that I’ve been pretty heavily verbal lately, so I’ve decided to go for the visuals today. In this post, we’ll explore the wonderful world of campaign advertising. Now, I’ve written quite extensively here about the use of fear in politics, mostly in the realm of foreign policy. For example, this little gem, released in the final weeks before the 2004 election:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU4t9O_yFsY[/youtube]

However, I’d like to spend today’s post discussing another sort of ad that’s been a winner for the GOP over the years: the sort that plays on racial fears. Here are two ads, from two different races in the 2006 cycle, both run by the supporters of white Republicans running against black opponents.

The first, run by supporters of Bob Corker against Harold Ford Jr. in the Tennessee Senate race:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vZF5ZTu2Go[/youtube]

And the second, run by the Kerry Healey campaign against Deval Patrick in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2b64RSE26w[/youtube]

Now, aside from the traditional, almost cartoonish “the Dems’ll raise your taxes and take your guns” stuff in the Corker ad, the message running through these ads is pretty straightforward if you’re paying attention. Namely, “hey, white folks, you’d better vote for me, because otherwise that black fella and his friends are going to come after our women.” It’s not exactly a new tactic, this sort of imagery has been around for centuries, in contexts as varied as George Wallace’s warnings about “race-mixing” and King Kong (I’m serious, there’s a brief mention of it here). What’s surprising and saddening is how well it still works.

Bob Corker wound up winning his Senate race against Harold Ford by a slim margin, and it’s not absurd to think that this ad may have made the difference. Kerry Healey lost her race, but the “Deval supports rapists” tactic did gain her a bit of traction, and was just about the only time the Patrick campaign lost control of the public debate. And that was in Massachusetts, bluest of blue states.

The reason I bring this up is twofold. First, to get y’all ready for more of the same. There’s a pretty decent chance that the next Democratic nominee for President will be Barack Obama, and if that’s the case, I daresay we’ll be seeing more than a few appeals to our racist demons. Secondly, understanding these tactics can help us to put an end to them.

People use advertising that appeals to the worst in us because it works. The first President Bush got a huge boost from the Willie Horton ad. The 2000 whisper campaign about John McCain’s daughter in South Carolina arguably cost him the primary, and ultimately the Republican nomination. Why abandon a tactic that’s been proven to so consistently get results?

The only way that this sort of advertising will stop is if it stops working, and it’ll only stop working if we learn how to resist it. So when that latest campaign ad comes on the TV, stop and pay close attention. Political parties pay advertisers lots of money to find the weak points in voters’ psyches and exploit them. It’s not enough to listen to what they’re saying. You have to figure out what they’re trying to get you to think. Are they really addressing an issue, or just trying to make you afraid or angry? And if it’s the latter, why? We need to ask these questions. If we don’t, we’re just going to get more wolves, bunnies, and darkened garages, and democracy will be the worse for it.

Thank Odin the Nobels don’t have a butterfly ballot

As easy as it would be to make a bunch of parallels between tonight’s massive bed-crapping by the Sox bullpen and the performance of the Democratic majority in Congress since we voted them in, I think I’ll go a different route.

The media coverage of Al Gore’s Nobel win has been quite something to watch. For one thing, the American press seems blissfully unaware that Gore’s actually sharing the award with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Not surprising, really, since that would require them to know what said panel is, but it’d be nice if they could at least do the IPCC the courtesy of acknowledging their work. That’s not what’s been most fun, though. It’s been the focus on “does this mean Gore will take a shot at the Presidency again?” On the one hand, I’d love for him to try. He’s easily the most qualified person for the job; he’s got the long-term vision necessary to lead a superpower, and if nothing else, he clearly has a functioning brain.

But come back with me, dear readers, to November of 2000. You’re the sitting Vice President of the United States. Your administration, though plagued by a torch-wielding Congress, has presided over the greatest peacetime economic expansion ever. Your opponent is a callow, inexperienced legacy politician. Despite this, partly due to your own tentative campaigning style and largely due to a media more interested in which candidate would be a better pick to host your frat party, the polls have been close all year. Election Night rolls around, and at the end of the night, you’ve clearly won the popular vote, but Florida is so close that they’ll need to count again to figure out who won. It’s stressful, sure, but such is democracy. There’s a system in place to deal with this sort of thing, and you’ve been raised your entire life to trust that system.

That’s when it all goes to hell. The other guy’s operatives start gaming that system. They use every legal trick in the book to hold up the recount. They launch a press campaign to convince the media that the election’s over, and all the delay is due to sour grapes. When this looks like it might not work out, they send mobs into the streets to intimidate vote counters. (For a more complete account of the post-election battle, read Jeffrey Toobin’s Too Close to Call, which is required reading for anyone wanting to know how easily democracy can be thrown for a loop.) These banana republic-style tactics work, and faced with a mocking press, a hostile Supreme Court, and no support from your own political allies, you concede.

Losing an election, by all accounts, is a crushing blow to your ego. Having an election that you’ve clearly won stolen from you in broad daylight? I can’t even imagine. As much as I would love to see Al Gore taking that oath on January 20 (even if it would be 8 years late), I completely understand why he doesn’t want it anymore. He’s found his place, and more power to him.

Incidentally, for those hoping to avoid a replay of 2000 (and, depending on what you read about Ohio, 2004), a few things to keep an eye on:

-A ballot initiative in California being financed by several prominent GOPer’s which would apportion electoral votes by congressional district, a move which would effectively hand the GOP candidate 20+ votes. The campaign’s hit a few snags lately, but this sort of thing has a way of hanging around after you think it’s been dealt with.

-Whether the Senate plans to confirm Hans von Spakovsky to a permanent seat on the Federal Elections Commission. The Rules Committee passed his nomination on to the full Senate, but there’s as yet been no vote. Keeping in mind that the FEC determines the rules for elections, might be a good idea to check out his record, which doesn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies.

There’s a year until the election, all. Lots of wild tricks can be pulled if our eyes aren’t constantly on the ball.