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link roundup…obama & israel, edwards, clinton, & cuba February 5, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, econ, international, news, politics, religion, terrorism.
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does aipac trust barack obama,” the new republic:

Several other people connected to Middle East lobbying in Washington have told me, though, that they believe there is a rift between the official positions of AIPAC on Obama and the feelings of a good deal of its membership, possibly including some of its major donors. Because AIPAC doesn’t endorse candidates directly, but often encourages its very active membership to get involved in campaigns and fund-raising on their own, how the AIPAC rank-and-file acts is not a matter of diktat; it’s an accurate barometer of how it feels. And according to The Jerusalem Post, “When it comes to the Jewish establishment of campaign donors, fundraisers, and political players, support for Clinton is estimated to be twice that for Obama (except in his home state of Illinois, where he has deep connections with the Jewish community).”

new republic q&a with joe trippi (former dean & edwards campaign strategist):

Going into that last debate, we had a long talk that day about maybe getting out before South Carolina, after the debate. My own personal view is that he went into that debate saying, “Damn it. I may be getting out tomorrow. You’re going to know I was here.” You don’t know what’s going on mentally. That’s why I told him that night that he came back. I’ve never been as proud of anybody as I was for what he did that night.

He went into that debate believing he was going to get out of the race. He didn’t pull punches. He stood there, talked about the things he believed in. He didn’t roll over for Barack, for her. Damn it, Clinton was going to know he was there. Barack was going to know he was there. People were going to know.

It was the tonic he needed to wake up the next morning and say, “Screw you, I’m not getting out of here.” Even folks in the campaign, some of the people said, “We don’t want you to get hurt by getting destroyed here.” There were people saying that. It was pretty unanimous. It wasn’t unanimous that he would get out, but no one was saying you shouldn’t think about getting out. We didn’t want to get four or five points in South Carolina. Go do this debate. The debate prep was during the Giants-Green Bay game. That’s what so blew me away. The campaign had actually spent the day talking about urging him to think hard about getting out. We had no polling. We were watching the game. During the boring part, he would say, “What should I say about this?” It wasn’t the best debate prep we ever had in our lives. He goes in there, it was sheer who John Edwards is. We had that debate. This was a guy who walked into that debate, saying “People are going to know I’m here.” The next day he said, “I hear what you guys are saying, but I’m going to stay here and fight for every vote.”

the wrong experience,” fareed zakaria in newsweek:

Consider Cuba policy. Almost anyone who is being honest will acknowledge that America’s approach toward Cuba is brain dead. No one even remembers why we’ve imposed a total embargo on the country. A policy that was put into place at the height of the cold war, when fears of Soviet missiles and communist penetration were at their peak, has been maintained even though the threat that prompted it has collapsed….

Our policy has the additional burden of having failed, by any measure. We’ve been trying to force regime change in Cuba for 45 years. Instead Fidel Castro is now the longest-lived head of government in the world. Every tightening of the Cuban embargo has resulted in further repression and isolation…

Obama has advocated easing the Bush-imposed ban on Cuban-Americans visiting the island and sending money to their relatives. He makes a broader case for a new Cuba policy, arguing that capitalism, trade and travel will help break the regime’s stranglehold on the country and help open things up.

Clinton immediately disagreed, firmly supporting the current policy. This places her in the strange position of arguing, in effect, that her husband’s Cuba policy was not hard-line enough. But this is really not the best way to understand Clinton’s position. In all probability, she actually agrees with Obama’s stand. She is just calculating that it would anger Cuban-Americans in Florida and New Jersey.

farewell john January 30, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, econ, news, politics.
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john-edwards-at-berkeley.jpg

edwards @ berkeley

it was a good run and you will be missed.

wapo:

 So it would be logical to assume that, if Edwards were to endorse, he likely would support the other change candidate in the race: Obama. But that is only one way to look at the choice he now faces. Edwards has been in conversation with both Obama and Clinton over the past two weeks. How often and exactly what they discussed has been the subject of rumor and speculation but not much hard detail. Some reports suggested he was looking to make a deal with one of them, that he was interested in a cabinet post in an Obama or Clinton administration.

John Edwards ended his campaign where it began a few days after Christmas 2007 — in New Orleans, the city that came to symbolize his commitment to make poverty the central issue of his candidacy. He led the debate on other issues as well. He was the first to put out a plan for universal health care and he sharpened the debate about the about the role of special interests in Washington.

But his was an improbable campaign from the start, given the odds of anyone defeating both Clinton and Obama. Realistically, his hopes ended in Iowa, where he needed to win but finished second. Defeat in New Hampshire persuaded his wife Elizabeth that there was no viable road to the nomination. Nevada delivered the most disappointing result — he ended with just four percent. South Carolina sealed his fate.

Now he is out. But he may have one more act in this drama.

ralph nader 2008 run? January 30, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, campaign finance, econ, environment, iraq war, news, politics.
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bloomberg:

Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate who ran for president in 2000 and 2004, said he is considering another bid for the White House because he believes the current contenders aren’t standing up enough to corporate interests.

“Look at the major areas of injustice, deprivation and solutions that are not being addressed by the major candidates,” Nader, 73, said in a telephone interview today. Among other issues, he cited the need for a “practical timed withdrawal” from Iraq, programs to crack down on corporate fraud and a rearrangement of the U.S. tax system.

The campaign has set up an exploratory committee and is in the process of filing papers with the U.S. Federal Election Commission. The committee’s Web site says Nader is “committed to challenging the corporate powers that have a hammerlock on our political and economic systems.”

Nader said he wants to spend the next month assessing the fundraising abilities of the campaign, gathering paid staff and volunteers and trying to win over an army of lawyers willing to work for free to fight for his access on ballots across the U.S. He said he would want to raise $10 million over the course of the campaign and initially get enough to cover operations.

By comparison, the top Democrats — New York Senator Hillary Clinton and Illinois Senator Barack Obama — each raised more than $100 million in political contributions last year.

nader’s exploratory committee website:

Maybe the Democrats and Republicans will nominate Presidential candidates this year who will stand up against the war profiteers, the nuclear industry, the credit card industry, the corporate criminals, big oil, and the drug and health insurance industries.

We doubt it.

But hope springs eternal.

In the meantime, take a few minutes and explore with us an idea.

abc:

He was set to announce that he had formed an exploratory committee Wednesday, even before former Sen. John Edwards made it known that he’d be ending his candidacy. But with Edwards — who has made economic populism and ending poverty cornerstones of his campaign — leaving the Democratic field, Nader said, he feels his candidacy is more urgent than ever.

“When Kucinich threw in the towel, now you have Edwards gone — who’s going to carry the torch of democratic populism against the relentless domination of powerful corporations of our government?” Nader said. “You can’t just brush these issues to the side because the candidates are ignoring them.”

He has harsh words for the leading Democratic candidates, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, chastising them for failing to advance aggressive plans to tax corporations more fairly, and to fight for a vastly higher minimum wage.

Obama, he said, is a particular disappointment, since his background suggests that he knows the importance of progressive issues yet hasn’t fought for them in the Senate.

“His record in the Senate is pretty mediocre,” Nader said. “His most distinctive characteristic is the extent to which he censors himself. He hasn’t performed as a really progressive first-term senator would.”

His “self-censorship,” Nader said, “is a reflection of character.”

cnn political ticker:

Nader said he finds Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both unacceptable candidates, and he said whichever wins the party’s presidential nomination will not have an impact on his decision to run.

“They are both enthralled to the corporate powers,” Nader said of the two leading Democrats. “They’ve completely ignored the presidential pattern of illegality and accountability, they’ve ignored the out of control waste-fruad military expenditures, they hardly ever mention the diversion of hundreds of billions of dollars to corporate subsidies, handouts, and giveaways, and they don’t talk about a living wage.”

He expressed particular disappointment with Obama, whose senate record he called “mediocre, and quite cautious.”

“It’s not that he doesn’t know what the score is, of course he does — look at his background, he knows plenty,” Nader said. “But he’s censoring himself.”

huffpost forum: the question of john edwards’ populism November 27, 2007

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, econ, interviews, news, politics.
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huffpost:

Will the success or failure of the Edwards campaign thus serve to answer the ideological and strategic debate between Democratic centrists and their more liberal critics – a debate that has dominated the Democratic Party since the 1960s?

The Huffington Post sought comment on this question from a number of political writers, activists and scholars, including Sirota; Al From, CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC); Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future; Larry Bartels; Lawrence Mishel, President of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI); Time’s Joe Klein; Paul Krugman of the New York Times; Chris Bowers of Open Left; Harold Meyerson, executive editor, American Prospect; John B. Judis, senior editor, the New Republic; Kevin Drum, contributing writer, Washington Monthly, and blogger Political Animal; Ruy Teixeira, fellow, Center for American Progress (CAP) and The Century Foundation; Michael Kazin, professor of history, Georgetown University; Andy Stern, President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and Matthew Yglesias, Atlantic.com.

PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES:

I think it’s not a fair test because voters — even primary voters — are NOT getting a clear picture of the candidates’ positions. You’ll have to dig it up, but I’m sure I saw a poll in which Democratic voters believed that Hillary was the leftmost candidate and Edwards the rightmost. [See here.]

RUY TEIXEIRA, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:

5. More broadly, Edwardsian populism may simply be off in some important ways from the kind of populism American voters are likely to be most responsive to….

[Teixeira quotes from his review of Sirota’s book, Hostile Takeover]: Class-interest populism fundamentally misreads the way the average American sees the economy and the system. As economist Stephen Rose points out in a useful new paper, “The Trouble with Class-Interest Populism”, the typical American-whether you choose to call him/her “middle class” or “working class” is simply not poor enough to be an unambiguous beneficiary of government action. Instead, their beefs with the system tend to be aspirational-that is, they’re not rising far enough fast enough and the difficulties of doing so are far greater than they’d like….

So does that mean giving up on populism, in general, or opposing the way Big Money unfairly games and manipulates the system? No, but it does mean if you want to reach the typical American, you need to couch your populism in aspirational terms, not just, or even mostly, in how their interests are being betrayed by Big Money. They may nod in agreement with the point that their interests and Big Money’s are different, but what they want to really know is: how can you help them get ahead?….

oh those crazy democratic presidential nominees… November 5, 2007

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, comedy, media, news, politics, television.
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when making a case for charisma goes wrong…