Did John Edwards use campaign money to cover up his affair?
I can say with certainty that, after all the hub-bub yesterday – all day – I am beat tired and really don’t feel like doing shit. So don’t plan on a lot of blogging on this site. Still, I thought I’d pop in to show some of the key speculation about cabinet appointments in the new Obama Administration. And what the hell, I’ll go ahead and offer some of my own thoughts as well.
Rahm Emanuel seems by all accounts to be a shoe-in for Chief of Staff. In an administration that’s supposed to be all about bringing people together, this seems a strange choice, being that Emanuel is such a vociferous partisan. But then, when a cudgel is needed, it’s probably good to have one close at hand. It seems to me that this is a position to watch carefully as we assess the first signs of the Obama Administration’s general personality.
Looks like Al Gore is going to get back in the political saddle again, with speculation that he may be appointed to some post dedicated to climate change. An “environmental ambassador,” or something like that. Doesn’t sound very official to me; sounds like “Secretary of the Posterior,” but who am I to say? I’m guessing he must have had some assurances from Obama that his position would be taken seriously, because otherwise, his position outside of government would have seemed to me the better choice for Gore’s activism. Again, we shall see.
There’s also some speculation that Chuck Hagel will have a position in the new Obama Cabinet, possibly a U.N. ambassadorship. This is an interesting idea and one that’s been bantered around since Hagel’s endorsement of Obama some months ago. The question in my mind is: does this legitimize the cooler heads in the Republican Party or push them farther out of the spheres of influence within that battered and benighted company? Hard to say, but if Fox News gets it’s way, you can expect “Chuck the Baby Killer” stories and other crazy shit inside of a month.
Interestingly enough, the one name I have not heard in speculation thus far is Bill Richardson. I would have bet my car he would be getting an appointment when he endorsed Obama during the Democratic Primary. I still think it’s a safe bet, though maybe not for the most obvious seat. Perhaps Secretary of the Interior or some other such post. I don’t know why, but I have a hard time believing that Richardson would want another ambassadorship.
And of course, there’s poor, old, horney John Edwards. He was a shoe for the Secretary of Housing, and that would have been a good thing, given our current economic crisis, borne as it is out of subprime lending. It would have been perfect for him. Who will fill those shoes, now? Who will be the cabinet member in charge of standing up for the little guy in the mortgage crisis? Because believe me, we need one.
Of course, it’s all over the place now that Hillary Clinton loaned her own campaign 5 million dollars to remain solvent as this race between Democrats continues. It goes without saying that a candidate who has previously had the support of PACs, establishment Democrats and deep pocket friends having to suddenly fund their own campaign is a sign that the engine is over-heating and that this old V8 Ford is about to stall at the finish line. And at the same time, the ability of Barack Obama to raise 3 million dollars just in the last day is an amazing thing pointing to – whatever the naysayers may say – an incredible grassroots bed of support that continues to grow.
But as much as I support Barack Obama and wish him well, it is a shame that in an election where we should be discussing ideas and solutions, the conversation and the race revolve around money. I don’t think that Rudy 9iu11iani would have been any more effective in a Clean Money system, nor do I think Obama would have been less so. But these are the giants for whom the establishment has already made way. Obama was already a Senator, 9iu11iani a Mayor, and John Edwards was a well-recognized face on the trail. But who else might have bubbled up to the surface if money and connections had not been the primary means of success in presidential politics?
Chuck Todd on MSNBC makes what is quite obviously a mistake in his choice of phrasing while discussing John Edwards’ departure from the campaign trail. About half way into this video, Todd says, in discussing who Edwards will endorse now that he’s out, “and then on the other hand, you’ve got the Obama folks who think that once you’ve gone anti-Clinton, you. . . um, you’re not going back.”
With all apologies to you squeamish people out there, but that’s just funny.
Edwards is out. Who’s he going to endorse? Well, as you can imagine, that’s a big, big question in this hotly-contested primary season. So, ass-kissing will now ensue. Well, Hillary got the first crack at John’s crack in an interview on Fox 6 in Birmingham, Alabama:
But of course! Rudy G is looking to get a double-header douchebag award:
But John Edwards is here to remind you “You can’t nice your way into the Douchebag Awards. The douchebags will roll over you like a steam roller.” And its trued that there is so much competition in Republican ranks that I’d never thought I’d be giving the award to a Dem, but he’s coming on strong. So, where better than Morning Joe to make your case for your candidacy:
. . . 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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.