Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Should Obama Thank W?

Disclaimer: I voted for Obama yesterday as did nearly everyone in DC, MD and VA.
I think W should be tried and convicted of treason for too many reasons to list here.

BUT...there are at least two important favors that Bush did for Barack. The first, and more readily apparent, is to run this country into the ground, big time.

Four years ago, a "black" (and I won't say African-American here because it is an imprecise term for a man who had an African father and white mother) president was commonly believed to have no shot, even as Al Sharpton and Alan Keyes ran. People assumed a black candidate was an "issues" candidate, and a nice story, but not a credible choice for his party's nominee. Now I'll grant you, Barack Obama is several cuts above Sharpton experience-wise and Alan Keyes is just a self-hating nut job. But in the intervening years Bush really went into high gear destroying America.

Now in 2008, 9 trillion in debt, the Bill of Rights burned to a crisp, and the blood of 4,000 dead American soldiers and 700,000+ dead Iraqis on our hands, people are pissed off. 70%+ of Americans look at Bush's smirking mug and get sick. Americans want a president that is as different as possible. Obama isn't in the pocket of lobbyists and special interests. He's a straight shooter with a consistent anti-war position.

And he's not a white guy. An American who's been trampled on by the rich, white, old boy network represented by the Bush family is ready for someone who isn't a white guy. To paraphrase Bill Clinton, we'll, "roll the dice" with a black guy with a weird last name because we know the white people are going to screw everyone.

The second favor Bush did for Obama was by placing black folks in unprecidented positions of power. How can the Repubs effectively imply that black people aren't ready for "scary terrorism" when the two people in charge of stopping "scary terrorism" for the past eight years were both black? That's right, Powell and Rice have been W's Secretaries of State, his point people for the "war on terror." Bush has spent a lot of time, money and political capital to get Americans to associate black faces and national security. And whether people want to give W credit or not, some of the previously held racist assumptions about a black candidate Bush did his best to dispel.

So does that mean Obama should write W a card for Valentine's Day? Hell no. But that whole strange bedfellows thing is sometimes even stranger than you think.

Video Killed the Candidate

I've come up with a voter IQ test that assesses your knowledge of political issues based on your interpretation of some data presented below. For the test, you'll be asked to watch a video and then choose a letter with the best description of that video. Each choice has a corresponding candidate for whom you should vote (if your state has not held a primary yet) or support to win the nomination and/or general election. Scroll down for answers. Please note, some answers correspond to candidates who have dropped out of the race.

Video Test

If you thought the video can is best described as:

A) What should be playing on MTV
B) What happens when writers go on strike
C) The opening credits for public television show hosted by the Red Hat Society
D) Why the terrorists hate us
E) A far worse experience than being a POW for 5 years
F) Why Bill Clinton cheated on his wife
G) What it feels like to go to college when everyone else you knew stayed at the mill

Then your candidate to vote for/support is:

A) Mike Huckabee
B) Barack Obama
C) Hillary Clinton
D) Rudy Giuliani
E) John McCain
F) Mitt Romney
G) John Edwards

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's Chesapeke Tuesday... do you know where your vote is?

Call me crazy, but I feel like there are Big Things on the Horizon for tonight. Having almost recovered from the loss of John Edwards for the Democratic nomination, I have thrown my support behind and absentee balloted for Barack Obama. Snarff will be heading to his polling place to cast his vote in the DC primary, so we'll be looking to him for some primary coverage.

Having voted in Maryland primaries before, I realized that this is the first time that the Maryland primary actually makes a difference. It's as if Maryland, VA, and DC have banded together to try to make some noise.

DC will undoubtedly answer the call of Barack and if Delaware is any prediction, Maryland will do the same. Virginia's population centers will swing to Barack as well, though Hillary will be trying to eek out support in the low-density areas.

Tonight will be MAJOR. Perhaps tonight will be the night. After Obama's weekend coup, here's to carrying the month!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Super Mardi Edition

Is anyone else feeling a sense of ennui related to Super Tuesday? If so, you might want to consider some King Cake. You don't have to eat it--just consider it. I'm about to consider a piece myself.

So what's going to happen tonight? I'm thinking great victories for Obama and McCain. Clinton, Romney, and Huckabee will all stay in the race, but the momentum will carry Obama and McCain to the nomination.

It's no big secret that I abhor Hillary. I'm a bit concerned, though, that Obama might pick Clinton as his running mate. Is this something I shouldn't really worry about? Because I do. Just as I know I'd rather write-in than vote for Hillary, I don't think I could vote for an Obama-Clinton ticket.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Presidential Politics

A good friend of mine has been posting (almost daily as of late) since 2006. This is a great blog if you want to expose yourself to some great analysis on the bid for the White House. Do yourself a favor and bookmark this link until next November.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fed to pay you to take US money

I still don't think this will help the economy.

Little Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye

One of the benefits of living in an ultra-swank building in one of those cities where developers spent the last five years thinking, "What will attract these young hipsters to our condos?" is that you can watch CNN (does this reveal my city or what?) while waiting for the elevator and can even program your key fob so the TV inside the elevator switches to a channel of your choice.

But imagine my dismay when my daily dose of CNN informs me that my darling, my golden boy, nay, my man has decided to drop out of the Presidential race. Oh, little Johnny. With your John Ritter-style good looks (before he got all pudge), your charming smile, your gold Dodge Grand Caravan, your brilliant and humble wife, you were my last great hope for this country.


It's not every day that someone who occupies a position of privilege actually takes the time to think about the people who really make this country, its economy, and the great machine of capitalism tick. A political platform, certainly, but also an understanding of the types of programs and policies we really need to sustain our labor force. And by sustain, I'm not talking about keeping the workers alive. What I mean, instead, is that these people deserve respect, dignity, and access to health care, jobs, and education--all of these things that so many of us (including me) enjoy uncritically.

When I was holed up in my Ivy League tower, drinking my education through a funnel (that's a joke, Mom), I really didn't think much about how and why I got there. Yes, I knew that my immigrant parents took a great risk, came to America and worked very hard. Yes, I knew that I had worked hard enough to get into college. But I never thought about why people didn't get college educations, didn't have health care, didn't have jobs.

These are things that became urgently important to me, particularly when I began to work in education, saw and heard about what can happen in classrooms, and read more about the state of the public education in the United States, Every Child Left Behind, and everything by Jay Matthews (for what that's worth). Later, when I went to graduate school and took a course on pedagogy, I read Paulo Freire's Literacy and, later, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. While Brazilian adult education might not seem germane to the problems ongoing in the United States today, Freire had his finger on the pulse of the ideological state apparatus:

Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human. This distortion occurs within history; but it is not an historical vocation. Indeed, to admit of dehumanization as an historical vocation would lead either to cynicism or total despair. The struggle for humanization, for the emancipation of labor, for the overcoming of alienation, for the affirmation of men and women as persons would be meaningless. This struggle is possible only because dehumanization, although a concrete historical fact, is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors, which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed.

John Edwards showed a commitment to the enterprise of being human instead of a commitment to corporations more interested in the enterprise of dehumanization. He realized that those of us who have the means can be noblesse oblige, in the true sense of the word--nobility obliges, with great privilege comes great responsibility. Critics derided Edwards for that soundbite we've all heard: his father was a mill worker as was his grandfather before him. But even though Edwards--a first-generation college student--got the education his father and grandfather never could have and earned amounts of money of which his forefathers only could have dreamed, he remembered where he came from. He remembered the people he came from.

For a brief moment, I had great hope that we might have a leader who was willing to put his money where his mouth was, cared about invisible labor and exploited workers, and demonstrated a commitment to the sort of progressive populism that we so desperately need to make the world a better place. Perhaps you're thinking, "Oh, that'll never happen" and, believe me, I've heard it before. But John Edwards believed that it could happen and offered us a politics of hope.

Monday, January 28, 2008

State of the Union Predictions

Because I loooooove to prognosticate (and, apparently, procrastinate), here are my thoughts on tonight's State of the Union Address.

Things we will hear:
  • "The State of the Union is strong!" (*snort*)
  • "No Child Left Behind was a success!" (*snort*)
  • "The troop surge worked!" (*snort*)
  • "I care about America!" (*triplefucking snort*)
  • "Pass my most awesome, excellent economic stimulus package!" (*sigh*)
Things we will not hear:
  • the truth.
  • the truth.
  • the truth.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obama Kicks Hillary's Ass: South Carolina

I'm flabbergasted that CNN is reporting that Obama won without emphasizing the gigantic victory he had over Hillary. Even more interesting is that 61% of the Dem. voters were female, yet Obama won. I think this is a great sign that we're not allowing identity politics to determine our votes.

Someone I know posted a message which indicated that one could not call herself a feminist if she didn't vote for Hillary. I found this statement completely appalling. I told her as much. A mild debate ensued, and she finally gave up when I suggested that a feminist might, you know, actually think about *all women* (to say nothing of all people!). Is Hillary Clinton good for *all women*? I don't think so. Maybe glass-ceiling-breaking professional women and corporate women in particular. But does she care about working-class women? She doesn't appear to care about working-class people at all. Some other people--including avowed feminists--jumped in to agree that her original statement was offensive. Am I a feminist? Well, I believe that there should be equality between all sexes (and ethnicities, class-status, etc.), so I guess so. Do I believe that Hillary is the best choice? No.

And neither do the women of South Carolina.

John Edwards made a third place showing, and he is vowing to stay in the race. Is this a good plan? Well, I think it is. Perhaps he'll have some kingmaker-style leverage at the convention--though since I just don't understand this "superdelegate" business, who knows. But his presence calms me. And anyone who can calm me is good in my books.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Na na na na.... Na na na na... Hey Hey Hey... Goodbye

Elliott Stabler, Olivia Benson, Richard Belzer, Ice-T, and Assistant D.A. Casey Novak are getting their D.A. back!

Fred Thompson drops out of the race.