Bernie Sanders For Gadfly

bernie-sandersWonkette said it best today, “Bernie Sanders has approximately zero percent chance of being elected president.” And yet I’m excited about him entering the race for the Democratic nomination for president, probably tomorrow.

Bernie will fractionally do to Hillary what the right wing of the Republican Party did to Mitt Romney… in the opposite direction.

Even though Sanders isn’t particularly well known outside Vermont (where he won his last Senatorial election with 71% of the vote, even against candidates from the Republicans, Marijuana Party and a guy named named Pete Moss!) his ideas are. He speaks to labor and the forgotten middle class. He rails against the moneyed and powerful (actually the powerfully moneyed).

Without Sanders in the race, Hillary Clinton could stake out her territory by being a centrist or even right-of-centrist candidate.

Mitt Romney was a reasonably middle-of-the-road governor in Massachusetts. He was for a lot of things there that he was forced to run against as the Republican candidate for president.

“What we have seen is that while the average person is working longer hours for lower wages, we have seen a huge increase in income and wealth inequality, which is now reaching obscene levels,” Sanders told the AP.

“This is a rigged economy, which works for the rich and the powerful, and is not working for ordinary Americans. … You know, this country just does not belong to a handful of billionaires.” – AP

Now things get interesting.

The Hillary Trial Balloon

I might live to regret saying this, but it’s not going to happen.

It’s tough to go to a news website today and not see Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s names linked together. Here’s a sentence from the Times:

“Speculation in recent days has focused on the possibility that Mr. Obama would ask Mrs. Clinton, a second term senator from New York, to be his secretary of state.”

I might live to regret saying this, but it’s not going to happen. That prediction has nothing to do with the relationship between Clinton and Obama and everything to do with what amounts to a demotion for her.

As New York’s Junior Senator Hillary Clinton can speak her mind. If she disagrees with President Obama she can step in front of the cameras or onto the Senate floor and let it all out. As secretary of state she becomes his surrogate. It’s his policies, not hers, that she’ll be selling.

This is not to say secretary of state isn’t a pivotally important position. You can have a hand in world peace… or tumult. But you are not your own man woman. I sense that’s important to her.

Hillary Clinton will find a place of prominence in the Democratically controlled US Senate. I can’t image her not taking advantage of that.

It Is The Worldwide Web

I’m flattered, though my comment was totally mischaracterized.

My last post about our postal experience with my mom’s gift was picked up on a few other sites. That happens from time-to-time. I like it… encourage it… because I get more hits.

I write to be read.

Sometimes a blog post can be picked up in an unusual place or unusual way. That happened last week. It was one of those things I stumbled upon. Otherwise, I would have never known.

When I wrote about the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, it was picked up by Le Monde, the website of the major French newspaper.

I’m flattered, though my comment was totally mischaracterized.

Cette guerre fratricide risque de réduire les chances du camps démocrate, si l’un ou l’autre ne se décide pas à abandonner la campagne. Peut-être est-il temps, se demande Geofffox, pour Hillary Clinton de quitter le navire de la course à la présidentielle afin de se concentrer enfin sur le scrutin de novembre ?

Which (Google) translates to:

This fratricidal war may reduce the chances of Democrat camps, if either is not decided to abandon the campaign. Perhaps it is time, wondered Geofffox for Hillary Clinton to leave the ship of the presidential race to focus finally on the ballot in November?

I wasn’t saying that. I was just quoting others and the torrent of post-primary pundits.

How sad is this? Even when misunderstood, I’m glad to be cited. The missed perception doesn’t bother me at all. That’s got to be a character flaw.

Hooked On Politics

This is crazy. I have been watching election returns like it’s the Super Bowl and I’ve got a large bet down.

This is crazy. I have been watching election returns tonight as if it was the Super Bowl and I’ve got a large bet down.

(I know you know this in May 2008, but since this entry will be around for a while…) Barack Obama handily won North Carolina against Hillary Clinton, to whom he then lost Indiana.

The Indiana results came in as if they were from a movie.

First Hillary Clinton went strongly ahead by double digits. Then, as more votes came in, the margin shrank. When Senator Clinton gave her victory speech, she was ahead by 4%. Now that margin is 2% and shrinking, but nearly all votes are counted.

She will win Indiana, but not by enough to really claim victory. The pundits have been keeping busy this early morning, coming up with reasons she will leave the race, or should leave the race.

November seems so far away.

No Way To Make Friends

I’m a non-partisan complainer here, because all three candidates have heard another candidate’s faux pas and latched on to it. Politics gets defined in the gotcha moment.

Barack Obama has said stupid things.

Hillary Clinton has said stupid things.

John McCain has said stupid things.

Geoff Fox… please… you have no idea how many times I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth in nearly 40 year of radio and television ad libs.

In private, I’ve said stupid things that have offended friends in ways I never meant. Actually, I can think of a horrendous example from two weeks ago. These are words I wanted to reel back in as they were going out.

Ask Helaine. She’s been on the receiving end too.

I didn’t mean what my friend heard on the phone, or the words said to my wife in the car seat next to me. They know that. Why can’t politicians act that way too?

I’m a non-partisan complainer here, because all three candidates have heard another candidate’s faux pas and latched on to it. Why must politics get defined in the gotcha moment.

That’s not the way I want to live my life. I don’t want to be picked on because I’ve briefly screwed up. Take me for the sum and total of who I am.

Some of my friends have been friends for 30-40 years. Yes, it’s accomplishment. But if any of my friends, or my spouse, reacted the way ‘pols’ do, our relationships would be over.

I can’t respect anyone who acts that way. I can’t be alone. Are you candidates listening?

The Money Doesn’t Upset Me

What exactly do you do with $109,000,000? Seriously, how could you spend it?

Matt Drudge, who seems to be particularly critical of anything Hillary Clinton does, has this bold faced headline on his site:


Wow, that’s a lot of money. What exactly do you do with $109,000,000? Seriously, how could you spend it? I’m not sure I could, or would want to.

World Exclusive: 4/4/08 15:43:06 ET

2000-2007 Returns

Feds Taxes Paid: $33.7 million

Charity: $10.2 million

Her Senate Salary: $1,051,606

His Presidential Pension: $1,217,250

Her Book Income: $10,457,083

His Book Income: $29,580,525

His Speech Income: $51,855,599

That’s from Drudge too. I love the way he’s pinpointed to the second when his “World Exclusive” broke, though his link goes to (and his facts come from) Yahoo! and wire service copy.

I know his point is to upset me. I’m not upset. Yes, that’s a lot of money… maybe too much money, but we’re allowed to aspire to, and achieve wealth.

I don’t want anyone telling me how much to earn.

This is an equal opportunity pursuit. Presidents see their post-presidency as a time to make money. George Bush “43” certainly does. “41” does too.

From the BBC:

“I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers,” Mr Bush told Robert Draper, author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George Bush.

What I really want to know is where the Clinton’s post-presidential money comes from. Who paid him and for what? That part of the story has not broken. The $109 million figure is sexier, but much less important.

What To Make Of It

Both Drudge and The Huffington Post have linked to an op-ed piece in the Financial Times. It’s written by former Bush insider Karl Rove.

It is advice to Barack Obama. It claims to be a game plan for Obama to win the Democratic nomination.

What is this, a Twilight Zone episode?

Why would Rove would do anything to benefit Democrats?

It is widely suggested, Hillary Clinton runs the poorest of all the major Democrats versus a generic Republican candidate. Wouldn’t Senator Clinton be the Republican’s first choice for Democratic nominee?

My first thought was, maybe Rove is trying to torpedo Clinton’s closest rival? However, when you read the suggestions, they make perfect sense from a strategic standpoint. They would help Obama.

Maybe Rove just hates Hillary or the Clintons in general and will accept any choice instead of her?

The whole thing is a real puzzle. I can’t remember anything quite like this before. And the election is still a year away.

The Most Powerful Movie I’ve Ever Seen

Dear Helaine and Stef,

I could have written emails to you or maybe woken you up, but I know you check the blog, so pardon my posting this personal correspondence for everyone to see.

I decided to see SiCKO last night. It was a cure for boredom, no more. But it turned out to be the most powerful movie I’ve ever seen. Really.

Michael Moore is a showman, I understand that. Some of what was in the movie was there for effect. I can’t imagine his Cuban experiences match those of the average Cuban.

Unfortunately, most of the movie was painful to watch, because it was the truth. I am embarrassed for what we’ve become. I’m embarrassed for what we allow to happen.

Stef, I know you need to see this movie for school. But you should see it sooner, rather than later.

Helaine, I understand you don’t want to see the movie at all. I understand why. You need to see it anyway. It’s that important.

Maybe I’m a sap, buying into Moore’s propaganda. Maybe I’m naive. It would be nice to think the picture he painted doesn’t reflect real life.

I was turned off to universal health care when Hillary Clinton ran the study group while her husband was president. I confused my personal distaste for her (some of which is still there, though not as stridently) with an evil plan that would hurt us all.

I was wrong. Very wrong (About healthcare. Mrs. Clinton… we’ll save that for another day).

There has to be a better way than what we have now. It’s difficult to believe there’s a worse way.



Enough With The Horse Race

The talk on NPR’s Talk of the Nation today was all about politics and the next presidential election. Their political junkie, Ken Rudin, was front and center.

I had MSNBC on while getting dressed for work. It was also a discussion of the ’08 presidential race.

That’s November ’08 they’re discussing. I haven’t thought about what I want for dinner tonight. Maybe November ’08 is just a little too far ahead for me.

I have no idea what any of the candidates stand for, outside a very few hot button issues. I do know Hillary Clinton is not Tammy Wynette, Barack Obama did not attend a Maddrassa while growing up in Indonesia, Bill Richardson has a lead foot and Connecticut’s Senator Chris Dodd has the softest hands I’ve ever shaken.

I attended a dinner in 1972 where I sat next to current Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich for a few hours. I don’t even remember if he was a neat or sloppy diner. I have no idea where he stands on anything. Ditto for most of the other declared candidates.

Let’s get back to the MSNBC conversation for a moment. What it didn’t contain was meat. It was totally about the horse race. Who cares!

The headline on Drudge as I write this is, “TIME POLL: HILLARY 19-POINTS AHEAD OF OBAMA.” But in that same poll a significant portion of the electorate said they’d never heard of Obama.

I hate to quote Ann Coulter (but I will):

In January, two years before the 2000 presidential election, the leading Republican candidate in New Hampshire was … Liddy Dole (WMUR-TV/CNN poll, Jan. 12, 1999). In the end, Liddy Dole’s most successful run turned out to be a mad dash from her husband Bob after he accidentally popped two Viagras.

At this stage before the 1992 presidential election, the three leading Democratic candidates were, in order: Mario Cuomo,

Jesse Jackson and Lloyd Bentsen (Public Opinion Online, Feb. 21, 1991).

Only three months before the 1988 election, William Schneider cheerfully reported in The National Journal that Michael Dukakis beat George Herbert Walker Bush in 22 of 25 polls taken since April of that year. Bush did considerably better in the poll taken on Election Day.

Lord help me – she’s right. I can’t believe I even wrote that.

This early jockeying is reported because no news organization wants to run ‘bars and tone.’ It’s cheap and easy to discuss who is ahead. But, it’s meaningless.

At this point it’s more important to know where people stand, what they believe in. Or, maybe, we should let the recently elected congress wrangle with the currently serving president. Isn’t that the important story now?

November ’08 will come soon enough. Why rush it?