Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween From Dog The Bounty Hunter

DOG TAKES DOWN THE BURGER KING. I took this opportunity to arrest The Burger King for selling high fat meals to children.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More On Rumors Of Hillary's Demise

I'm not the only person sensing a shifting of fortune for the presumed Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Walter Shapiro, the former USA Today political columnist and contributor adds to last week's plausible--albeit longshot campaign meltdown--with 10 possible Clinton "tank" jobs.
Number ten is actually the most intriguing--lady luck running out on the the perfect presidential campaign.

Surprising things happen. The future is not an unchanging extrapolation from today. "Expect the unexpected" is an expression that anyone over the age of 17 finds a cloying cliché. But when it comes to a presidential campaign -- more than two months before the Iowa caucuses -- it is also a perfect description of reality
Plainly, things never go so smoothly for any Democratic candidate in any election campaign. If you want the White House in 2008, you had better hope for the stumble to occur in the next few months rather than after Labor Day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What If Hillary Finished Third In Iowa?


The idea seems inconceivable within the parameters of national polls or any casual conversaton with your neighbor, but the liklihood of Sen. Hillary Clinton finishing third in Iowa is very plausible.

A Newsweek poll last week had Sen. Barack Obama at 28 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers, Sen. Clinton at 24 percent and John Edwards at 22 percent.

What if Edwards's formidable organization in Iowa eeks out a few percentage point from Clinton or, more likely, Obama's and drops the presumptive Democratic nominee to the bronze medal? What would be the ramifications and who would gain momentum in such an outcome?

Make no mistake about it, the political establishment would explode in this doomsday scenario. The Clinton inevitability factor is so omnipresent, that the shock could derail her campaign permanently like a third-place showing in Iowa did for Howard Dean in 2004.

Most likely, the nomination would be up-for-grabs in the short term, even pulling Bill Richardson, currently polling at around 10 percent, into the fray. Because of his huge reservoir of cash, Obama would get a second look from Democrats who yearn for a fresh face, despite their loyalty to all things Clinton, but it might not last long.

In this scenario, Edwards could continue to stay just under the radar while the ravenous Clinton campaign throws every sharp object in the kitchen at Obama. She would most likely gain some momentum back from him to the point where he would have to return fire or lose the top spot all together.

This would be a great point of contention in an Obama camp were the mantra has been to run a completely kind-hearted campaign. This strategy worked early on, but it's idealism will become a curse later because in the rough-and-tumble world of politics the nice guy will never win. If Obama stubbornly sticks to this plan he will regret it in exactly the same way Al Gore dropped the ball when he shunned Bill Clinton in 2000.

What's left then? Edwards. From the start the strategy has been to highlight the plight of the poorest Americans, continue to build strong union support in early primary states like Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina and, above all, hope Clinton and Obama begin to spar with each other.

Edwards not only runs third in national polls, but also in funding. The prevailing idea when it comes to Edwards' longevity is predicated on him parlaying his organization in early states like Iowa with labor's strong support in some of those same early states. A strong showing early would then feed upon itself.

This unique political stratagem has been what drew me back to Edwards' campaign, but also a bit of a hugh gamble. If Clinton stumbles in Iowa, it could make Edwards's campaign the stuff of election legend.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Slippery Slope Of Low Expectations Politics

Thompson Is Not Dumb, He's Disinterested; So Beware

It's interesting that a seasoned Washington journalist like Roger Simon would bite on the Fred Thompson as the bumbling politician who surprises the capitol establishment meme. But he did in a column yesterday for

Thompson has been portrayed as disinterested, unprepared and downright dumb. Saturday Night Live even lampooned him saying, "I want to be your president...kind of." (Watch it here)

Is this a media creation by the Thompson campaign? Who is Fred Thompson? Is he dithering country fool who campaigned in Florida without knowing the issues and wore a baseball cap that read "Cocks", a reference the mascot of the University of South Carolina that could be easily misunderstood to anybody outside of the Southeastern Conference or the eloquent lawyer who made a name for himself during the Watergate hearings?

The lowering of the bar for Thompson is a purely political ploy by his campaign. His candidacy is an entire media creation from the beginning. Nobody knows him as a presidential candidate. What does he stand for? What is his record? His "character" is needed for conservatives because a true righty is not accounted for among the candidates.

Why would Thompson put himself before the electorate wholeheartedly when he already ranks second in the polls without doing a thing? Voters know Rudy Giuliani. They have an idea what Mitt Romney is trying to be and John McCain's appeal lies somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum.

To buy into Thompson's ploy is dangerous because of the precedent set by George W. Bush.

Bush the younger brilliantly played up the political dope persona against the erudite Al Gore. At the turn of the last century, Bush correctly read a growing perception that Gore was the smarty-pants kid everyone hated in school and surprised voters by actually showing up to the debates and even uttering simple sentences.

I think people are wise to this tactic in 2007 and they also see the tragedy of their decision to give him the White House. I also don't think the entire storyline is contrived by the Thompson campaign only because of this one reason: lowering the bar of expectations is wise for a weak candidate, but the perception that the candidate's heart is not in winning the office is political poison.

George Bush Hates Kids And So Do I

George Bush hates kids, correction; he hates poor kids. You have to hand it to the guy he knows how to kick a man--a kid--when he's down.

This is actually something W. and I can agree on. I don't hate kids, I just hate other people's kids.

When Bush used his extremely rare presidential veto on a bipartisan bill that would have funneled tens of billions of dollars from cigarettes to fund an increase in health care for poor children some thought the "Decider-in-Chief" had stepped over the line. (Watch John Stewart's take on this story on the Daily Show here)

First, Iraq now health care for kids. I can't agree with the first, but I can with the second.

Bush believes in bringing yourself up by the bootstraps. You know that ancient Republican line? Is there a shoe company that makes shoes with bootstraps anymore?

In this case, I can see where George is coming. Have you ever seen a snivelling, runny-nosed kid at the docktor's office? Crying because his ear is throbbing or his tum-tum is hurting. Quit being a baby (or are you actually a baby?)and stop crying and go to work. Those Dora the Explorer mitten aren't going to knit themselves.

You see, children need to learn from oppression. Kids these days are coddled more than my copy of Jenny McCarthy nude in Playboy (the December issue when she's sitting on Santa's lap). What will happen to kids these days when they grow up and think they're entitled to buying a mansion with no money down and $5 in the bank at age 18. Oh, sorry 24-year-olds already think they can do that.

Other than making Johnny boy resort to a cocktail of Tiny Tarts and Robitussin to combat his cold, we need to be tougher on our children and, at least in this case, follow our President.

Case in point, last Saturday while dining at Fuddrucker's in Emeryville I witnessed the sort of tough love the President is espousing.

At the air hockey table was a match between a woman in her late thirties and her eight-year-old son. The boy was slight and whiny and without health coverage. He was clearly peeved. The game started and his mother promptly drilled the plastic disc into the goal. She did it again and again and in the process completely annihilating her son's dreams.

He whimpered to his mother, "Can you let me score once." She said, "Why would I do that?" And that's exactly what George Bush is saying to kids this week, whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Generations Of Women See Hillary In Oakland


Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks to over 14,000 people in Oakland Sunday.

As I waited for Hillary Clinton to speak last weekend in Oakland, I was inundated with gratuitious shout outs to every minute faction of the Democratic Party. The everpresent lone figure flashing sign language to the dozen or so deaf Democrats among the estimated 14,000 who attended the rally for Clinton. Don't forget the transgender folks who might of numbered three or four and the Democrats with cockateels, make sure they have recyclable bird stands to place their birds. Oh, and don't forget the lone guy in the crowd who decided to cram his large white husky into a 2x2 space. Make sure that guy has a litter box, not for the guy, but the dog.

Once the Hillary for President campaign kissed up to the subset of every subset in the party, the group that matters most is women. In recent months, Hillary has not shied away from courting this group and she should because the crowd was primarily made up of women, not just individual women and their girlfriends, but generations who took in the apex of their struggle for equality.

I saw numerous cases of elderly women with their daughters and granddaughters in tow. Three generations of women who roughly encompassed the entire 20th century when they went from not having a vote to having, by century's end, two senators from California.

Many may fawn over the idealism and exeptional speaking ability of Barack Obama, but the feeling of awe, excitement and wonderment in the eyes of these women towards Hillary trumps anything from the second place Democrat. In fact, the feeling that we were seeing something important was prevalent. Maybe like seeing Elvis Presley or John F. Kennedy.

This very real belief that a major historic moment is likely to happen will be interesting to watch if Hillary can win the nomination. Will this phenomenom translate to garnering more than moderate women voters and reach into solid conversative territory.

The feeling in that crowd gave me the impression that Hillary's campaign in female eyes might trump the political spectrum. What I'm saying is a lot of Southern conservative women just might lie about whom they vote for come November.

Monday, October 01, 2007