Month: April 2008

I’m finally up…

after a few technical difficulties that I still don’t understand.
According to MSNBC, CBS, CNN and ABC, Hillary Clinton has won Pennsylvania. At first it looked like a double-digit lead, but it’s been tightening a little bit as more precincts come in.
Now if someone could explain to me how you call a race with less than 10 percent of the vote in, I’d love to hear it.

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Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow…

There’s usually not much to find special about Tuesdays.
But tomorrow is going to be a special Tuesday because the six-week long slog that is the Pennsylvania Primary will finally come to an end.
Not a dignifed end, mind you, but an end nonetheless.
Over the last six weeks we’ve been subjected to the kinds of stuff that no group of voters should be. Stuff like Hillary Clinton doing shots (in Indiana, but it was supposed to prove that she’s down with the blue-collar workers in Pennsylvania), Barack Obama bowling (a 37? I can bowl a 37 with the flu), and the kind of pandering that makes having a monarchy seem like the way to go after all.
On top of all that, we have a First District State Senate race that’s going to be a hot one. When your state senator retires because he’s got a 139-count indictment, and the frontrunner for his seat has got some legal issues of his own, it gets interesting.
But thank God, it’ll be over tomorrow.
And I’ll have the returns and my impressions up on this blog as they come in. I don’t know where I’m blogging from, but I will be blogging….possibly from someone’s campaign headquarters.

Returning from a long minute

I said in my final post last night that I would be back in a minute.
According to my watch, it’s 1:35 p.m. here on the East Coast. Since I stopped blogging at about 9:45 p.m. last night, I’ve been off the air for what’s probably the longest minute in history.
However, I needed the time. If I had written this post immediately after sitting through that farce of a debate, it would have been more “Def Comedy Jam” than “Meet the Press.” When someone takes more than an hour of my life that I’ll never get back and rewards me with less than nothing in the information department, I tend to get angry.
If you were an undecided Pennsylvania voter in search of the information you’d need to make a final decision on Tuesday, and you were hoping to get it from last night’s debate, you got screwed because information on substantive issues was sorely lacking.
As if that wasn’t enough, I had given the students in my journalism class the task of making up “spin room” questions, using the debate as a basis.
I can only imagine the really bad questions that they’re going to come up with. Thing is, it’s not going to be their fault. You can’t make a great cheesesteak if you have bad meat.
Yeah, Yeah, I know. Stereotypically Philly. Sorry. Can’t help myself.

First Amendment…but I bet it’s not a freedom of the press question

Gibson asked about pulling the Superdelegate Grenade. How do you make the case?
Clinton went first. Said she’d say what she’s always said. We need a fighter in the White House. Will take away money from special interests, and give it to those who feel invisible. Will tackle the problems of people who feel alone. Will tell everyone who listens that she’s ready to be the Commander in Chief. Will turn economy around and go back to shared prosperity. Need help of voters in PA to get to those conversations. Hope that I’ve demonstrated that I’ll fight for you.
Obama: Defining moment: nation at war, planet in peril, lost faith in government. Disillusionment. Bet on the American people, and their desire for a politics that’s better. Bet has paid off. Americans have responded in record numbers, including folks that haven’t voted before. Need to form a new political coalition to get these goals met.
Be back in a minute.

And now, the end is near….

I’m on a panel at the Unity 2008 conference called “God, Guns and Gays” that’s going to talk about the wedge issues that Republicans use to divide the electorate.
Here’s the guns part of this debate.
(By the way, Clinton mentioned Nutter in her answer, so you all have to take a drink)
Clinton called for the reinstatement of the COPS program to put more cops on the street. Talked about illegal guns and how she’ll make sure that police know that someone is nuts before giving them a gun. Wants to bridge the divide between legal gun owners and illegal gun owners.
Obama was asked if DC’s anti-gun law is unconstitutional. He says that just because you have an individual right doesn’t mean that the government can’t determine how that right is used. Gibson then brought up a questionnaire that Obama allegedly answered that says he’s against handguns and wants them banned.
(By the way, Charlie Gibson is a handwriting expert. He says Obama’s handwriting was on this questionnaire. Obama says it wasn’t.)
Clinton asked about DC Law, says she’s for for local control. Does she favor licensing and registration of handguns? Supports what works in New York. No blanket rules for country.
Obama was asked about Affirmative Action for both kids of color and poor whites. Asked how he’d change AA so that rich black kids (whomever they are) aren’t getting an unfair advantage over poor white kids. Obama says let’s look at totality of kid. Make sure that those who have been locked out of opportunity are given a chance.
Clinton, in favor of college aid, early childhood ed, look at what trying to achieve differently. Change the goals. Invest in young people.

Here’s the lightening round:
Gas prices: Clinton met with truckers in Harrisburg. Will investigate gas prices, would like to see us have a windfall profits tax on companies that are making a killing. Longterm energy strategy needed. More foreign energy dependent than we were before Sept. 11. Will change that.
Obama says that we have to investigate gouging and agrees with windfall profits tax. Raise fuel efficiency standards on cars. Get serious about investing in new technologies. Create alt. energy strategies.
How to use George W. Bush as a former president: Using example of President George H.W. Bush and President Clinton as tsunami representatives a good thing, Clinton says it’s a show of strength.
Obama says he’d be more likely to use Bush’s dad than Bush himself for advice. Been locked in divided so long that we don’t listen.
Maybe it’s me, but I sure would have loved to see the gas price question earlier.
And hey, there’s a new Geico caveman commercial! It was pretty funny. It featured the caveman dancing.
If that doesn’t tell you how bad this debate has been, nothing is going to.

Economic stuff

Since John McCain says that the Democrats are going to raise taxes for everyone, Stephanopolis asks if the candidates will cut taxes no matter what shape the economy is in, and will people making less than $250,000 a year get hit with new taxes.
Clinton says that she’s going to roll back Bush’s tax cuts to the wealthy, and will do everything to give breaks to those making less than $250,000 on healthcare and education.
Obama pledges pretty much the same thing. Says that one thing we’ve learned from Bush is that pain trickles up, cites the housing crisis. Have to change how business is done in Washington.
Gibson asks about raising the Capital Gains Tax. Says that revenues went up when tax was cut as opposed to when they were raised. Why raise them?
Obama says that those who have amassed huge fortunes on Capital Gains are paying less than their secretaries and that’s not fair. Have to have money to pay for infrastructure and healthcare. Can’t have it for free or use credit card from the Bank of China and have grandchildren pay it off like McCain wants to.
Clinton says that we have to get back to an economy that works for everyone. While Bush economy helped out some, hasn’t helped all. Don’t want to take more tax money from anyone, but wants to make smart investments. Infrastructure, good union jobs, benefits. Tackle the housing crisis. Freeze home foreclosures and interest rates. Cites Rendell, says Pennsylvania hasn’t been as impacted by foreclosures.
(Add Rendell to the Chelsea/Nutter drinking game).
But wouldn’t raise Capital Gains tax above Clinton levels. Also wouldn’t use Obama’s proposal raising cap on payroll tax because it would impact firefighters and teachers.
Obama says that those folks aren’t making more than $100,000. Have to capture some revenue to stabilize Social Security. Can’t get something for nothing. If we want it for the future, have to do something now.
Clinton says that if we had kept going her husband’s route, we’d be in better shape. Commission was the smartest way to work on this in 1983. No middle class tax cuts.
Commission raised retirement ages and payroll taxes, Obama says.

But see, here’s the thing.
Obama made a good point when he said that we can’t get something for nothing. However, that’s exactly what Americans expect. They want great schools, but don’t want to pay for them. They want roads without potholes, but don’t want to pay for them. They want a variety of things, but they don’t want to pay for them.
I think that the politician that can get folks to figure out that there is no free lunch will be the politician that gets the country on track.
However, that would first require telling the American public that there is no free lunch. I want the pay per view rights to that one.

War time

Finally! A fucking issue!
A couple of folks from Philly asked about the War In Iraq and whether or not the candidates mean their plans to end it.
Clinton stuck to her promise of withdrawing troops beginning 60 days after her inauguration. Says she’ll make it clear to the Iraqis that they no longer have a blank check and need to do their part.
Gibson followed up with Gen. David Petreaus contention that the gains in Iraq could be wiped out at anytime. Clinton responded by saying that despite that reality, other problems need to be addressed, such as Afghanistan. Don’t know what will happen if US withdraws, but we do know what happens if we stay. Iraqis won’t take responsibility while we’re there.
Obama says that the generals don’t set the mission, the president does. A bad mission’s been set by our current Commander in Chief and we need to start getting troops out. No permanent bases. Once it’s set up, generals can question, but in the end, the buck stops with the president. We’re overstretched and have no reserves. It’s not a sustainable policy.
Stephanopolis asks about a possible Iranian attack against Israel…Should it be seen as an attack against the US? Obama says that the first thing to do is to keep nukes away from Iran, and offer carrots and sticks to keep them from getting nukes. Will take no option off the table, and Israel and other allies had better be left alone.
Clinton says that we should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrance for Iran, since the country is trying to intimidate people. Called for diplomatic engagement with Iran, but at lower levels, deter other countries from wanting nukes, can’t permit Iran to become a nuclear power. The Bush Administration has failed to convince the rest of the world how important this is.

More non-issue stuff

Talking about Rev. Wright…..again.

Has already asked Obama about it, he talked about it.
Now Clinton is talking about it, and basically re-states her contention that she would have left the church, you get to choose your pastor, she says.
Obama says he didn’t hear the remarks because he wasn’t there. But Gibson is reminding him that he rescinded his invite to Wright to his presidential candidacy announcement. Even Clinton’s pastor says Wright is being treated unfairly, he said. Church has done outstanding work for many years. Also says that unless we bridge divides, problems won’t be solved.
Stephanopolis asks perhaps the most stupid question of the night, although the night is young and there’s more time. Does Rev. Wright love America as much as you do? Can we talk about how big an idiot he is? Obama has to once again say that he’s disowned the comments and also says that as a former Marine, he is just as patriotic.
Clinton says that this whole thing deserves more exploration. Brings up the whole “bringing people together and combatting bitterness” thing. Can choose your friends, but this man has Louis Farrakhan as a friend and allowed the head of Hamas room on the church’s program.
But Stephanopolis says that Americans think Clinton’s dishonest. One voter says she’s lost her vote over the whole Bosnia thing. Embarassed by it, said it was a mistake. Can you overlook it? Namechecks Wesley Clark (I knew that it was him that I saw earlier today.) Admits she wasn’t accurate, but manages to bring it back to the experience argument. Says its an advantage against McCain.
Obama, e-mails regarding Clinton’s honesty. He says that she has a strong record to run on, but commented on Bosnia issue when asked. But both of us are working as hard as we can to say what we’d do as president. Both of them deserve to make errors. But he hopes that these errors don’t overshadow the fact that this is a big election with a lot of things at stake. For us to be obsessed with errors is mistaken. Campaign has been about how to bring up specific issues and to change the culture in Washington regarding reform.
Electability: Some woman in Latrobe asked Obama why he doesn’t wear an American flag pin. Says he reveres it and that he wouldn’t be running for president if he didn’t revere America. No other country where his story is even possible. Wants to focus on the issues and says that when people see him debate McCain, won’t be thinking about patriotism, will be thinking about how to make things better. A manufactured issue.
Stephanopolis, asking about his association with a guy from the Weather Underground, makes Obama’s point for him.
Clinton, brings up Woods Foundation board, and his relationship with Weather Underground guy. Says she wishes that the Republicans would just apologize and not run anyone, but says she can better withstand Republican attacks, and they definitely will on this issue.
Obama points out that Bill Clinton pardoned two members of the Weather Underground, and that’s more than serving on a board with one. Also says he can take a punch. Bottom line is folks want to know how to move the country forward. Debate he’s confident that he can win.
Commercial break is here, thankfully.
Now that we’ve taken care of all of the bullshit, can we get to some fucking issues, please!!!!!!!!!

Now we get to the irrelevant part…

Gibson asks Obama about his “bitter” comment regarding Pennsylvanians. Although he says he mangled it, people still think he means it, he said.

Obama explained his point by saying that when people don’t have a ear in Washington and promises aren’t kept, people look for what they’re used to. Prominence is given to things such as guns and religion instead of a lack of healthcare and economic want. Am

Clinton talked about her grandfather from Scranton, said he didn’t cling to religion when Washington isn’t listening. Says it’s a misunderstanding of faith. They also don’t cling to guns and hunting and other things. People are frustrated, but she can see where people might be offended. We must respect one another, listen to one another. Time in Pennsylvania has told her that no matter how frustrated, people will go to

George Stephanopolis asks Clinton if Obama can beat McCain, despite her telling Bill Richardson that he can’t. She says he’ll have to, thinks he can win but that she’s better. Cites her coalition and her ability to fight Republican attacks.

Obama says that he can’t be an elitist against people of faith because he is one. Talked about Clinton’s attack against him regarding his statement, but also brought up how she got torn apart from the whole “staying home and baking cookies” thing. Says she got the wrong lesson from what happened to her because by attacking him, it was politics as usual and it does nothing to help those who are struggling to make ends meet.

Clinton talked about her record of achievement and experience, talks about connection and respect.

I’m sorry, but I have to opine a little here. I’m more than a little tired of Clinton talking about her 35 years of experience. I have to agree with Chris Rock here. Just because you slept in the White House for eight years doesn’t mean that you know how to run the country. I really wish that someone would call her on that. Maybe I will later.

By the way, we got our first Mayor Michael Nutter/Chelsea Clinton sighting. Let’s make this a drinking game. Every time I mention either Chelsea or Nutter, do a shot.

First question

Charlie Gibson asks the first question, regarding party unity. Says former Gov. Cuomo has suggested that they play it through to the end, but at the end, have the loser be VP.

Obama: says it’s premature to think that because the race isn’t over. But also says that no matter who wins, the party will have to unify in Denver. He talked about the differences in the Republicans and Democrats, but also

Clinton: says she’ll make sure that one of us takes oath of office next January, overriding goal. But once race is over, will make sure that party is unified. Both of us have spent 15 months traveling country and seen the bush fallout. Differences between the two of us pale in comparison to Republicans.