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Jesse Jackass Jr.

Just in case you thought my support of Barack Obama would prevent me from criticizing his campaign, read carefully.  Jesse Jackson Jr. decided (or perhaps it was a decision among the entire campaign, Barack included) to go on TV and suggest Hillary’s Tears would have been better placed at different tragedies in  recent American history.  Specifically, he cited Katrina.

Well, you know what?  It’s worth questioning why Hillary cried and if that’s more important that she cried at all.  But you’re never going to have that conversation, you’re only going to alienate women voters.  Trying to cynically tie this discussion in with a black/white divide over Katrina in preparation for the South Carolina vote is beyond crude.  Perhaps, if more time and care had been taken before making such statements, a question could have been formed in the minds of voters.

But that’s all gone now, and Barack will be needing to appologize publicly for this at the next debate, knocking his mantle of different-politics guy right off him.  If she didn’t already have a nearly impregnable pass based on voter’s rejection of cynicism before, she does now.  And why?  Because Jesse Jackson Jr. is a fucking idiot:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNrlSn7ndAA[/youtube]

This is a pathetic display that shows no compassion, nothing more than calculation, and it’s not going to play well at all.  Nice job, guys.

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Well, Now, Things Just Got Interesting. . .

If Barack Obama’s win in Iowa was something of an unexpected upset over Hillary, then Hillary’s defeat of Barack in New Hampshire was, according to all the poll data coming out yesterday, even more so.  Hillary Clinton managed to beat the pundits and make this race a whole lot more interesting.  Good for her, and good for our democracy.  In this year when Democrats are out raising, out spending and out voting Republicans by two-to-one margins, we can finally afford to have a real debate about what the Dems are going to bring to the party this year.  And in this year when the field is so over abundant with talent, maybe that debate will bring to light real changes that this country desperately need.

I just got done watching Barack Obama’s speech after his second place finish in Iowa.  He was gracious enough to congratulate Hillary Clinton at the outset, but peppered throughout his speech was some pointed rhetoric aimed squarely in her face:

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics.  That chorus will only grow louder in the weeks and months ahead.  We have been asked to take a reality break, we have been warned against giving the people of this nation false hope, but in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Ooh, damn.  Now the question is: what is the next step for Barack Obama?  His campaign has been based on positivity and hope, and while Bill Clinton seems to believe there has been more body checking we haven’t heard about, the public persona of the campaign has not engaged in too much aggression.  But as high-minded as he might want to be, Hillary is going to get increasingly personal, and any Republican contender will be worse.  His speech last night hints at a more aggressive stance in defense of change that he might take on in the future, it will be interesting to see what happens.

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John Edwards is Campaigning Hard

. . . for the Douchebag of the Week award, certainly.  Oh, yeah, and for president. . .

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the Hillary Clinton crying moment gave me a ton of mixed emotions.  For one, I agree with her own statement on the issue, which is that we’ve certainly seen male presidents cry, and so there should really be no different reaction to her own tears.  Reports say that Obama simply pointed out that the campaign has been grueling and he could understand.  Personally, I noted that she hitched her throat on “I have so many opportunities for this country,” which strikes me as whining egoism, irrespective of her sex.  Meanwhile, it seems overly convenient that this crying jag should happen whilst surrounded by her key constituency, the older female Oprah-watching crowd.

But for John Edwards to come out and play the “don’t whine about it,” card was just stupid at best, and mostly a prime example of douchebaggery.  Here’s a guy who’s running a distant third, slowly becoming an also-ran along with Bill Richardson, trying to wedge himself between Hillary and Obama as a last-ditch attempt at winning.  So, he took the opportunity to sink his fangs in rather than show an ounce of compassion.  I mean, even if you think it was crocodile tears, its a ridiculous reaction as a politician.  In his position, who will view this as anything other than a heartless attack by the third place guy?

I’m not a fan of Hillary, obviously, but with such a strong field of candidates I’d like to see the Democratic nomination won fair and square, not on personal attacks.  Nice job, Bilbo Douchebaggins:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_3baR0jvig[/youtube]

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Now Who is “Attacking From the Right?”

I’ll give ya three guesses. Her first name rhymes with “pillory” her last name is associated with a “ditch” and her saving grace is that she’s got a smokin’ hot daughter:

New Hampshire Will Be Key Battle In GOP Civil War – Politics on The Huffington Post

Hillary’s aides point to Obama’s extremely progressive record as a community organizer, state senator and candidate for Congress, his alliances with “left-wing” intellectuals in Chicago’s Hyde Park community, and his liberal voting record on criminal defendants’ rights as subjects for examination.Along the same lines, ABC reported that Clinton aides gave the network various examples, of Obama’s controversial stands. The aides cited Obama’s past assertion that he would support ending mandatory minimum sentences for federal crimes, pointing to a 2004 statement at an NAACP-sponsored debate: “Mandatory minimums take too much discretion away from judges.”

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Hillary to go Gutter Trawling

Hillary Clinton has decided she’s going to “draw a sharper contrast” between herself and Obama.  Wait.  Didn’t she do that already?  And wasn’t she just talking about “change” right after the Iowa caucus results were released?  So change, woman.

Obama has, if nothing else, done a great job of being positive and not attacking anyone personally.  And attacks against his character (all by Clinton aids) have thus far proven fruitless.  Maybe its time she tried something new?  Love him or hate him, the dude’s Teflon, man.

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Iowa Caucuses and Race

It’s been whispered – quietly, infrequently – that one of the main problems with Barack Obama’s campaign is that Americans have had an unfortunate habit of supporting the candidacies of black politicians right up to the point of no return and not beyond. Jesse Jackson, while he might never have been in serious contention for the White House, saw his numbers plummet in Iowa. Elections elsewhere are filled with examples of similar let-downs. In fact here in Monroe County, support for Mayor Johnson in the County Executive race was, IIRC, much higher before the vote than after.

Whether that’s because people change their support based on prejudice at the polls or they support black candidates early simply based on race and change their minds later, support is often found lacking when it counts. In this race, support for Barack Obama has been soft among black voters, too. Many pundits have held forth that this was because black voters are concerned that a similar abandonment will take place again.

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SPR Predicts Edwards Win, Kucinich Gets Behind Barack, Kos Pissed.

Things is getting mighty nuts in Iowa, folks. H/T to Mike’s Roundup at C&L, we begin with the fact that the Southern Political Report is predicting an Edwards win, using their formula of reintegrating the votes of second-tier candidate supporters based on their second choices:

Southern Political Report

Using the reallocation methodology InsiderAdvantage used in 2004 – which correctly indicated a fairly comfortable win for John Kerry – our new poll reveals that, if the caucuses were held today, the reallocated final outcome would be: Edwards: 41% Clinton: 34% Obama: 25%

It is worth mentioning before we go farther that this is based on poll numbers which are already disputed before we even get to the second-choice vote. That second choice vote could get interesting too, because while SPR reports that Edwards has the second vote race tied up nicely, Dennis Kucinich has thrown his support behind Barack Obama. I’m not sure how much good the actual numbers would be for Obama’s campaign, but the vocal, early and as far as we know, unsolicited support might help him quite a bit when it comes to deal-making time.

That leaves the supporters of Dodd, Richardson and Biden up for grabs. If any one of those candidates decides to encourage their supporters to go elsewhere, things could get interesting. I’d predict Dodd and Biden would encourage the Hillary vote, but I’m soft on the Dodd prediction. Richardson I think might surprise people and go with Barack, just based on nothing more than a gut feeling I have which may actually be more related to the Burger King I regrettably ate for lunch.

And finally, there is Kos. He put his support behind Barack Obama early, but now regrets it because of a few comments made in the course of the election. Amusingly, he says that “Not being blinded by candidate worship, it’s easier to sniff out the bullshit.” Mm-hmm. I personally think some people on the Left are getting a little too sensitive in a primary. But this line is a gem:

Daily Kos: The Obama close

And call me crazy, but that’s not a trait I generally appreciate in Democrats, no matter how much it might set the punditocracy’s hearts a flutter.

Uh, hello douchebag? You own Daily Kos. You kind of are the punditocracy.

Gotta be a bitch to find yourself part of the machine you used to rebel against.

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Official DFE Endorsement: Barack Obama

Barack ObamaExperience versus new ideas. This has been the frame in which the media has insisted on reporting the race for the Democratic nomination to the presidency. Little wonder. It is a frame in which old-guard concepts in both politics and journalism are treated with an ego-stroking tenderness, and in which every “new idea” is immediately set upon as a foible of an “inexperienced” candidate.

Suggesting that we negotiate with our enemies is a mistake; taking nuclear weapons off the table as a means to deal with terrorists is a mistake; intimating that lessons in tolerance and multiculturalism can be learned by a child is a mistake.

Yet in all these cases, public opinion has not followed, but rather steadily risen in a way suggesting that a bedrock of support is taking shape beneath the man who dared to make such foibles: Barack Obama. Poll numbers flex this way and that with every newly manufactured “scandal” of the campaign, but if you set aside the media’s momentary breathless flushes, you see a median number which always increases. This increase seems also to come out of the median of the “experience” candidates in the race.

While I’ve certainly shared my thoughts – positive and negative – on the presidential hopefuls, this blog has been more-or-less silent in terms of endorsement. To a large extent, that is because this site while certainly Liberal has always been non-partisan from the perspective of our two party system. This year, however, I felt the site should not be silent in pushing forward for what I hope is a better America.

And so, after careful consideration, I have decided that I will officially endorse Barack Obama.

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Oh, The Irony

Veracifier puts out a great one: Hillary Clinton talks about how experienced she is with dealing with the Republican Dirty Tricks Corps, and how that makes her a good presidential candidate.  Then, she – in very Republican fashion – disavows a failed bid to smear Obama with stuff from his teenage years which will indubitably fuel any Republican attack on him if he gets past the primaries.  Nice work, ya shrew:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI3B9Bh2VCE[/youtube]

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The Bush Subprime “Rescue”: 5 Years and a Prayer

The D&C reports on Bush’s mortgage freeze plan today. Details are still clouded in mystery, since Bush has not actually formally released the plan, but this AP report does a good job of laying out the outlines. I’ve asked yesterday what comes after the 5-year freeze plan. Well, chalk this one up to more Administration punting, because there’s really nothing:

Mortgage rescue will freeze rates || Democrat & Chronicle: Local News

The administration plan would let subprime borrowers who are living in their homes and are current on their payments avoid a costly reset for five years. The hope is that by then the housing downturn will have stabilized, clearing the glut of unsold homes and halting the steep slide in prices that has hit many parts of the country. . .. . . When sales and prices are rising again, the expectation is that homeowners will be able to renegotiate and change their adjustable-rate mortgages into more affordable fixed-rate loans with payments that don’t change.

The report is also a tad rosy in it’s assessment of the damaging hikes of interest rates. It reports that the “average” $1200 monthly mortgage payment could increase by $350 a month. That’s bad, but I do know of at least one case where the payments came close to doubling in a single pay period.

The troubling thing – though predictable – about all this is that the administration does nothing to try to avoid a similar crisis in the future. The underlying problem here is that mortgages have been getting sold on the stock exchange as commodities. That has the double-negative impact of both encouraging deceptive or at least risky lending practices on the one hand, and removing a major source of bank income from the umbrella of FDIC, thus making any losses incurred by banks entirely uninsurable. If there is any reason that the markets are panicking, it is largely due to this second effect.

Hillary Clinton and John Edwards have both proposed their own solutions to the problem. No word yet from Obama or any of the other candidates, that I know of. Of the two proposed solutions, Hillary’s just throws money at the crisis without addressing the underlying issue, whereas John Edwards’ goes hard and heavy at the banks while offering creative ways to minimize the impact to home owners and allowing them their own ways out of trouble.

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My Man, Barack Obama

Barack Obama is unveiling his new technology plan for the prospective Obama White House. The plan is aggressive and forward-looking, with open-government mandates unlike anything we’ve previously seen. But especially for you Wire New Yorkers, here is a reason to vote for Barack come primary day:

VentureBeat » Exclusive: Barack Obama to name a “Chief Technology Officer”

Second, Obama makes new stances on several other areas of technology of interest to Silicon Valley’s tech community. He calls more aggressive government support of broadband access. Specifically, he calls for subsidies for phone carriers to be given to only those carriers offering both regular phone service and Internet broadband to rural areas. To date, carriers offering merely phone service have been able to claim subsidies from the so-called Universal Service Fund, giving them little incentive to roll out out broadband. This is also new, in that he hasn’t proposed this before.

So, this is one more way to leap-frog our way into the 21st Century in rural counties. It would be a huge boost, if not specifically to the Brodsky Bill, then for the basic fairness issue to which the Brodsky is addressed.