Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Right To Vote

It's difficult to overstate how truly odious this challenge to the Nevada caucus law which was approved almost a year ago is. It's no secret that Republicans have yet to meet a voting restriction they didn't like. But for Democrats?

I'm half expecting the Clintonites to start calling for poll taxes if Obama wins another caucus/primary.

This is the kind of crap that makes conservative hate talk of the Clintons hard to refute.

I'm surprised this isn't getting much attention on the blogs, even from those who don't like the Clintons.

Thank God. Geesh.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Republican Taliban

I guess by now you've heard of this story.

I'm wondering how long it will be before Faux News is identifying this former congresscritter as a Dem.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The LBJ Example

While I think Hillary's statement about MLK is being overly parsed, I tend to side with Steve Benen and Andrew Sullivan as to its implications.

But I think there's even something more too it than this, and which compares more favorably with Obama.

And that is that LBJ accomplished much of what he did, including the signing of the Voting Rights Act, the year after his massive landslide victory, which swept overwhelming Democratic majorities into congress on his coat-tails. And while the death of JFK and the extremist campaign of Barry Goldwater helped contribute to that victory, the fact is that LBJ needed those large majorities in Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act and to pass Medicare and Medicaid, among other notable legislative achievements. Obama is campaigning with the recognition that large electoral change is necessary to accomplish significant political legislative and executive change. Hillary's campaign is based implicitly if not explicitly, on the idea that no such electoral change can or will occur and that political and policy change will happen only through the tough grit of experience.

Conservative Clinton

While Hillary's--and her various spokespersons'--statements on civil rights and race are drawing attention, other more-policy-focused remarks are also coming back to the surface.

At a forum in early December, Hillary came out against retroactivity in the reduction of crack-related offenses. Her pollster, Mark Penn, also made these revealing remarks:

In an interview after the debate, Clinton’s pollster, Mark Penn, pointed out that the Republican front-runner has already signaled that he will attack Democrats on releasing people convicted of drug crimes.

Aside from the fear-based nature of this conservative pander, I was immediately struck by Penn's reference to a, the, Republican front-runner. Given the noted volatility in the Republican race today, I wondered who Penn had in mind then.


Rudy Giuliani is already going after the issue,” Penn said. “He’s already starting to attack Democrats, claiming it will release 20,000 convicted drug dealers.”

Speaking in Florida earlier this month, Giuliani said he “would not think we would want a major movement in letting crack cocaine dealers out of jail. It doesn't sound like a good thing to do."

I wonder what Penn--and Hillary--think now that Guliani's no longer the front-runner? Should they change her position to fit with whoever they expect the GOP nominee to be? What if that prediction, too, needs to change in light of primary and caucus votes still to come? All this does is, besides illustrate policy-differences between herself and Obama, is reinforce the idea that Hillary lacks a central political core identity; something besides "experience".

Hillary's fears about how the GOP will smack us around on crime and other issues next fall has also led her to criticize Obama's more liberal--and I happen to think, wiser and more humane--stances on minimum sentencing guidelines and Cuba. (h/t Andrew Sullivan).

For this liberal, it's just more, confirming evidence that the choice between Hillary and Obama is a real, ideology and policy-wise, substantive one.