Saturday, February 02, 2008

Sorry, Senator

Latest Newspaper Column:

As I've written before in this column, I've never been a supporter of Hillary Clinton. But some of the attacks on her have been so absurd ("Oh, my God! She didn't tip her waitress! Oh, my God! She tipped too much!") that I've found myself rising to her defense more often that I ever imagined I would.

Recently, however, Sen. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, reminded me why I have a problem with her candidacy. And it's not for the reasons you might think.

See, I don't care that she's ambitious. It's more than a little disingenuous to criticize a presidential candidate for being ambitious. If you claim that Hillary Clinton is ambitious and that, say, Rudy Giuliani is not, then I submit that you don't know what that word means.

I also don't care that she's supposedly not "likable." I don't demand that the leader of the free world be cuddly. We've had seven years of a president that some people have said they'd like to have a beer with, and where's that gotten us?

All that said, my problems with Sen. Hillary Clinton are twofold.

First, as I've said quite a few times, Clinton is Republican Lite. From her enabling vote for the Iraq War to her recent support of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which pushes us that much closer to a similar disastrous mistake with Iran, Hillary Clinton has been all too quick to roll over and play possum whenever she thought there was a chance the Republicans might say she wasn't "tough" enough.

The second problem is similar: When it comes to the way the political game is played, all Hillary Clinton offers is a Democratic version of the same "gotcha" politics of the last few years. By way of example, all you have to do is look at the way the Clinton campaign is treating its closest rival, Sen. Barack Obama.

Here's a quote from a recent interview with Obama:

"I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people -- he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."

Later, Obama said "The Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years."

Now, this is a perfectly legitimate appraisal of the appeal of Ronald Reagan and the Republicans for several years. They may have been dead wrong, by golly, but they were never unsure. They had some bad ideas, but at least they had ideas, not to mention energy.

Obama did not, you will note, offer a blanket endorsement of Reagan's policies. But you couldn't tell that from listening to Bill or Hillary Clinton or their surrogates.

Obama, Bill Clinton charged, "said President Reagan was the engine of innovation and did more, had a more lasting impact on America than I did. ... and then the next day he said, 'In the '90s the good ideas came from the Republicans.'"

Clinton radio ads were more explicit: "Aren't those the ideas that got us into the economic mess we're in today? Ideas like special tax breaks for Wall Street. Running up a $9 trillion debt. Refusing to raise the minimum wage or deal with the housing crisis. Are those the ideas Barack Obama's talking about?"

I think that, considering Clinton's record of enabling Republican mischief, slamming Barack Obama for making an accurate comment about how Reagan changed America (not necessarily for the better) is more than a little hypocritical.

I think what really worries the Clintonistas is that Obama radiates the same sense of optimism that made Reagan a successful candidate. Obama's speech at the Democratic National convention in 2004, in which he called upon people to set aside the notion of "Blue" and "Red" states and actually be one country again, was absolutely stunning, and so far, his campaign has followed that path as well. Barack Obama has the optimism and energy of a Democratic Reagan. He may very well be the Democrats' own "Great Communicator," and that has to have the Clintons worried.

So what do they do? They engage in a smear that would do Karl Rove proud. I don't want the same old smear-and-distort politics out of the Republicans for the next eight years, so why would I want it from the Democrats?

Sorry, ma'am. After this, you're on your own.

Friday, February 01, 2008

One Reason to Love John McCain (UPDATED)

He makes the wingnuts completely batshit crazy with rage.

Watch the clip of the increasingly irrelevant wingnut harpy Ann Coulter claiming that "Hillary Clinton will be stronger in the war on terror" than McCain and going on to say that she would campaign for Clinton if McCain was the nominee.

It's going to be SO much fun to watch the pro-empire, pro-torture, pro-xenophobia Brownshirt Wing of the Republican Party tear the whole organization to shreds if McCain does get the nomination.

UPDATE: Glenn Beck of CNN has started calling McCain "Juan McCain" because of his positions on immigration. The far-right website has reportedly said that anyone who uses a Hispanic name as a slur will be banned for racism.

Think about that: is less racist than CNN.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thank God

ABC News: Giuliani to Drop Out, Endorse McCain:

As was the plan even before Rudy Giuliani's Florida firewall turned to ash, the former mayor will board a plane to California Wednesday morning.

But, sources told ABC News, once there, instead of participating in the Republican debate, he will drop out of the presidential race and endorse Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

While I was fairly sure that Rudy wasn't going to make it, the nagging possibility of him actually becoming nominee, and more horrifyingly, President, did give me a few bad moments. With Giuliani as President, we could pretty much have kissed the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments goodbye. The man makes George Dubbya Bush look like a civil libertarian.

So bye bye to Rudy, the man who wanted to do for America what his NYPD did for Abner Louima.

UPDATE: Great headline in the Huffington Post:


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Time to Kick Fate in the Teeth

Today is the day that Patry Francis' new book THE LIAR'S DIARY comes out. Unfortunately, since Fate is an evil bastard, Patry was diagnosed not long ago with what is described as "a particularly aggressive form of cancer." This means particularly aggressive treatment, which means Patry will not be able to do the usual promotion for the book. So the mystery community is rising to the occasion and doing what they can to get the word out.

Some praise for the book:

Patry Francis writes with a quietly intimate voice, subtly weaving her spell as the tension slowly but surely builds to a fever pitch. Packed with jaw-dropping revelations, LIAR'S DIARY still manages to save one last walloping shock for the end.
-Tess Gerritsen

The Liar's Diary is a beautifully written first novel by an author who has previously distinguished herself through her poetry and short stories.
-Mystery Scene

I was hesitant to start Patry Francis's debut novel, The Liar's Diary, as mysteries are not usually my first choice. However, I was drawn in after just a few pages. The novel starts off with two very unlikely women who are vastly different becoming friends. As it progresses, it becomes an obsessive love story and murder mystery. You won't see the disturbing ending coming.
-Publisher's Weekly

I'm sold, and I'll be ordering the book today. Hope you will too.