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February 29, 2008

Clip: Update to the “state of the Oregon GOP”

Clip: Update to the “state of the Oregon GOP”:

Republicans are now at an historic low point as a share of the Oregon electorate, at least back to 1964, which is as far back as the online records go for the secretary of state. Last point: the key swing bloc remains that “other” category. They play the biggest role in determining whether Democrats or Republicans win election in this state.

Clip: Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

Re: YouTube - Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early:

February 28, 2008

Re: In red-state Texas, new signs of rising Democratic tide


Re: In red-state Texas, new signs of rising Democratic tide | csmonitor.com:

But the drawn-out fight for the Democratic presidential nomination is driving left-leaning Texans like Mr. Stubbe out of the closet, infusing them with a sense of relevance for the first time in a generation. Ahead of the Texas primary Tuesday, they are wearing buttons, putting up signs, and volunteering, even in GOP redoubts like this well-to-do city southwest of Houston.

Most significantly, as party activists see it, Texas Democrats are emerging from the shadows to vote. Democratic turnout at early-voting stations statewide is nearly four times 2004 levels and is exceeding Republican turnout even in the conservative Dallas and Houston suburbs.

Here in Fort Bend County, a Republican stronghold represented until recently by Rep. Tom DeLay (R), the former House majority leader, Democratic turnout for early voting is 19 times greater than it was in 2004.

February 26, 2008

Clip: Open Letter to Geraldine Ferraro and So-Called Party Leaders

Clip: Open Letter to Geraldine Ferraro and So-Called Party Leaders:

You [Geraldine Ferraro] wrote that you are a “fairly knowledgeable political cynic.” On that, we agree. You've also been focused on the fact that Clinton is “battle-tested” against what the Right has thrown at her in the past, but that is the problem with your generation. You've been one step behind the GOP machine for decades, happy for any tiny, triangulated victory. You are focused on past techniques and tactics, while the electorate--and a growing American majority--has moved on.

Re: Robert Reich's Blog: 2008 and 1968

This an almost perfect placing of the context of the current political situation, in historical context, contrasting Clinton and Obama by someone who respects both, and why McCain is the wrong man for the moment.

Re: Robert Reich's Blog: 2008 and 1968:

Since [1972], it's been basically right-wing politics -- Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and the two Bushes, punctuated by Jimmy Carter's undistinguished single term. And, oh yes, my old friend's [(Bill Clinton's)] administration, of which I am proud to have been a member. But Bill Clinton did not move the Democrats or the nation left. He moved the Democrats to the middle. And by warding off Newt Gingrich and his Republican congress, Clinton kept the nation essentially where it was.

Are we approaching another turning point, like 1968, but one that reverses the great pendulum of American politics and moves the nation back to the left? The George W. Bush presidency has been such an abject failure -- only 26 percent of Americans approve of the job he has done -- that America may be ready. Polls show a significant majority of Americans believing the country is off track. The economy is heading toward a recession, or worse. Inequality of income and wealth are wider than they've been in a century. Iraq is a mess, and America's image has plummeted in much of the rest of the world.

But there won't be a return to the pre-1968 left, regardless of who's elected next November.

Although John McCain, the presumptive Republican standard-bearer, supports reform of the immigration laws, initially opposed Bush's generous 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the rich, has sponsored campaign-reform laws, and doesn't cow tow to the evangelical right, McCain is no heir to Robert Kennedy. He has shown no interest in reducing the trend toward widening inequality or overcoming remaining barriers to upward mobility. He has reversed his earlier views on the Bush tax cuts. And he is an unredeemed hawk on foreign policy.
Of the two [Democratic presidential candidates] who remain, Hillary Rodham Clinton is no sixties lefty. As a senator, she voted in favor of Bush's Iraqi war resolution in the fall of 2002, and, more recently, in favor of certifying Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. She also voted in favor of a ban on burning the American flag. She wants universal health care but won't support a single payer plan, which is perhaps the best way to control medical costs, although obviously no guarantee. She won't commit to raising taxes on the rich to finance any social program including health care, except for rolling back the Bush tax cut for the wealthy. She won't even pay the large, looming cost of the baby boomers' Social Security by raising the portion of income subject to Social Security taxes.
Yet the striking thing about Obama, and the enthusiasm he has stirred up, has little to do with the specifics of the policies he advances. It is rather his almost pitch-perfect echo of the John F. Kennedy we heard in 1960 and the Robert Kennedy last heard in 1968. It is a call for national unity and national sacrifice -- not in the interest of military prowess but in the cause of social justice, both in the nation and around the world. His appeal is for more civic engagement, not necessarily more government. He has the voice and wields the techniques of a community organizer (which he was on the streets of Chicago), asking people to join together, calling the nation to form a more perfect union. Not since the sixties has America been so starkly summoned to its ideals. Not since then has America-- including, especially, the nation's youth --been so inspired.

It is easy for cynics to write off Obamania as a passing fad, as lofty rhetoric that can't and won't hold up on close inspection -- another bout of the kind of naive and romantic enthrallment that occasionally claims American voters until common sense sets in. This is surely what Hillary Clinton and my friend from forty years ago are counting on. But if the Clintons stop to think back to what they felt and understood in those years leading up to 1968, they may come to a different conclusion, as have I.

Neither John F. Kennedy nor his brother Robert were idealists. They were realists who understood the importance of idealism in the service of realism. They grasped the central political fact that little can be achieved in Washington unless or until the public is energized and mobilized to push for it; the status quo is simply too powerful. The ideals they enunciated helped mobilized the nation politically. That mobilization contributed to the subsequent passage of civil rights and voting rights laws, Medicare, and environmental protection. For purposes of practical electoral strategy as well as high-minded moral aspiration, they never tired of reminding the nation of its founding principles -- most fundamentally, that all men are created equal.

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Clip: Feingold's Vote

Clip: Feingold's Vote:

Feingold expressed high regard for New York Senator Hillary Clinton, with whom he has clashed in the past. But he spoke at great length about having worked with Obama on ethics legislation in the Senate, and hailed the Illinois senator's ability to judge people and hold firm against pressure from interest groups and party insiders.

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Clip: Message to Hillary Clinton: Best get out now

Clip: Message to Hillary Clinton: Best get out now :

With her acute mastery of policy and 35 years of political experience, Clinton is one of the strongest candidates to seek the presidency.

Her campaign didn't anticipate, and has not been able to overpower, an Obama candidacy that has become a movement, one that is less about traditional malcontents – the politics of boomer pols like Clinton – than a new unity in tackling challenges like climate change and nuclear proliferation that obviously require communal action.

This year also marks the beginning of the end of “identity politics,” narrow appeals to African Americans, “soccer moms” and white Southern males, an overdue transformation led by a Kenyan-Kansan educated in Jakarta, multiracial Hawaii, New York and Boston, whose formative career years were spent as a community organizer working with poor blacks and Hispanics in Chicago – America's first “Benetton” candidate, as The New Republic's Leon Wieseltier has labelled Obama.

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Clip: A New Generation of Obama Democrats

Clip: A New Generation of Obama Democrats:

Obama has built his candidacy on reaching voters in the center without moving his policy positions there. In general election match-ups, Obama consistently beats John McCain among Independents, a group long considered to be the fuel driving McCain's success. Instead, Obama has produced a political formula that advocates a strong progressive agenda, while laying the groundwork necessary to ensure its passage. The new majority Obama speaks of is not an empty platitude; it is the most compelling reason to vote for him. The product of Obama's innovative campaign and transcendent message will be a powerful governing coalition, come January. Obama will consolidate and increase the size of the Democratic base while attracting droves of Independents, providing him with larger margins in Congress and a mandate, part hope and part juggernaut. With substantial political capital, Obama will help further the core of the progressive agenda, allowing it to make strides forward that have seemed all but impossible for more than 25 years. Without a doubt, his model will be copied.

Perhaps, much like the New Democrats, the Obama Democratic philosophy will require a master politician as its shepherd, its mimicry falling short of replication. But for a new generation of politicians, even those who fall short of the lofty peaks of Obama's speeches, a new kind of politics may still be a guiding philosophy: the kind of politics that embraces a progressive agenda, honestly and persuasively; the kind that respects the ideologies it rejects; and the kind that stands with pride, knowing that the language of politics still carries the power to spark movements.

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February 24, 2008

Clip: The Audacity of Hopelessness

Clip: The Audacity of Hopelessness - New York Times:

But it’s the Clinton strategists, not the Obama voters, who drank the Kool-Aid. The Obama campaign is not a vaporous cult; it’s a lean and mean political machine that gets the job done. The Clinton camp has been the slacker in this race, more words than action, and its candidate’s message, for all its purported high-mindedness, was and is self-immolating.

This is the candidate who keeps telling us she’s so competent that she’ll be ready to govern from Day 1. Mrs. Clinton may be right that Mr. Obama has a thin résumé, but her disheveled campaign keeps reminding us that the biggest item on her thicker résumé is the health care task force that was as botched as her presidential bid.

As for countering what she sees as the empty Obama brand of hope, she offers only a chilly void: Abandon hope all ye who enter here. This must be the first presidential candidate in history to devote so much energy to preaching against optimism, against inspiring language and — talk about bizarre — against democracy itself. No sooner does Mrs. Clinton lose a state than her campaign belittles its voters as unrepresentative of the country.

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February 12, 2008

Thomas Palley » Blog Archive » Winning the Edwards Vote

Thomas Palley  » Blog Archive  » Winning the Edwards Vote:
The central plank of the Edwards’ campaign was restoring a prosperous and secure middle class, which requires ending wage stagnation and having wages again grow with productivity. This must be the central economic policy goal of any candidate wanting the Edwards vote.

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