Friday, May 09, 2008

Freaks and Geeks

The Party of "losers" is set to gain.

Charles Pierce on Cynicism, Obama, and America

A compelling vision of caution.

Via Atrios.

The other night, though, I heard Obama say words to the effect of "we can change America".

That's a little different than claiming he or we can change the government of American and its policies.

In fact, beyond providing yet another item on the list of politically incorrect things to say or do if you really, really, truly, super duper, double triple true dat luv America more than anybody else, I'm not sure anyone can really change America. It's a rather diverse country, after all, and becoming more diverse all the time. Even Reagan in the age of Reagan didn't change America all that much.

Invasion-Occupation of Iraq and the Price of Gas

I'm not trying to say there's any kind of connection at all, cuz, nobody would have thought that an invasion, destruction and five+ year occupation of a Middle Eastern country that didn't pose an immediate threat to anyone in the region or beyond would have led to an exponential increase in the price of oil/gas.

It wasn't too long ago--2002 in fact--when oil was $25/barrel:

In the wake of the attack crude oil prices plummeted. Spot prices for the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate were down 35 percent by the middle of November. Under normal circumstances a drop in price of this magnitude would have resulted an another round of quota reductions but given the political climate OPEC delayed additional cuts until January 2002. It then reduced its quota by 1.5 million barrels per day and was joined by several non-OPEC producers including Russia who promised combined production cuts of an additional 462,500 barrels. This had the desired effect with oil prices moving into the $25 range by March, 2002. By mid-year the non-OPEC members were restoring their production cuts but prices continued to rise and U.S. inventories reached a 20-year low later in the year.

But no one could have been expected to have foreseen this.

Nothing to lose

Tuesday night I referenced a post from John Cole that compared HRC's continued campaign, scorched earth or otherwise, to that of a bank-robber holding it's employees and customers (the Democratic Party) as hostages, hoping against hope that, at a minimum, by threats and stalling she might at least make a getaway.

But I'm not sure that's quite right. The bank-robber still has something to lose.

I don't think that's the case with HRC. I know there has been some talk of her moving into the Senate majority leader role. And the Supreme Court would also be a possibility. But I gather neither she nor Bill care much for these lesser offerings. In any event, the longer she stays in the longer she risks burning her bridges to the goodwill necessary for achieving these posts, not to mention ruining any sort of "legacy" she or Bill might still hope to lay claim to.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


It's getting to be that time.

There are probably at least three candidate typologies for the number 2 floating around out there.

One, is the "reinforcement" candidate. In contrast to the "balancing" theory of VP selections, where #1 looks for a #2 from a different region, age, gender, ethnic group, division of government, or ideological end of the party, the reinforcement idea holds that the #1 is best served by someone who mirrors or reinforces the top of the ticket. Bill Clinton's selection of Al Gore probably typifies this idea.

Two is the aforementioned balance pick. The balance pick could embrace some balancing characteristics while including a number of reinforcing aspects.

Three is a "unify the party" pick, which in this case, would most likely bear strong resemblance to the idea of balance.

While I've given the second and third typologies some thought, the reinforcement idea makes the most sense to me. But below I've included some examples of candidates that might fit into each type. Undoubtedly, these typologies are not necessarily mutually exclusive. As they say, everything's relative.

Amy Klobuchar -- freshman U.S. Senator from Minnesota. She's young and attractive. And female. Would be a gutsy choice.

Kathleen Sebelius -- governor from Kansas in her second and last term. Has seemingly rebuilt the Democratic Party in a very conservative state. Modest speaking skills. Female.

Russ Feingold -- third term U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. Relatively young. Reliably progressive. Not terribly dynamic and has is divorced.

Bill Bradley -- former U.S. Senator from NJ, and former basketball star. Older, so would provide balance there. Has endorsed Obama and would embody Obama's different kind of politics. Despite his star credentials, Bradley is also charismatically challenged, and is also known for being wonkish and distant.

Bill Richardson -- former everything, congressman, diplomat, energy secretary, current governor of small but swing state of the SW, NM. Hispanic. Foreign policy cred. Also seen as somewhat eccentric.

Tom Daschle -- former U.S. Senator and Democratic leader from SD. Serious, older and experienced. Presided over the Democratic loss of the Senate in 2002 and managed to lose his own seat two years later--and deepen the Democratic Senate deficit in the process. Not particularly riveting as a speaker.

Joe Biden -- U.S. Senator from Delaware. Vetted. Decent speaker. Foreign policy cred. Outspoken, got chased from the '88 field for a verbal plagiarism gaffe that didn't get much notice in his '08 run.

Chris Dodd -- The Democratic, U.S. Senator from Connecticut. Opposed telecom immunity. Former head of the Democratic national party. OK speaker, used to debates.

Party Unity
HRC -- probably brings more negative than positive. But here's an alternative view.

Evan Bayh -- former governor and current U.S. Senator from Indiana. Former head of the DLC. Looks like a president. Not a stemwinder on the stump. Basically conservative and has supported the war.

Wild cards
Tim Kaine -- Virginia governor. Young, thought to be principled. Still in his first term from a conservative state.

James Webb -- first term U.S. Senator from Virginia. Former official in Reagan admin. Blunt and outspoken. Can dish it out.

Gary Hart -- former U.S. Senator from Colorado and two-time former Democratic presidential candidate. Got caught misbehavin' outside of marriage in '87. Has re-invented himself as an elder statesman-scholar.

Bob Casey, Jr. -- first term U.S. Senator from Pennsylania. Like his late but more famous father, is anti-abortion. Wiped out former Senator Rick Santorum in '06. Came out for Obama during primary season.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Some People Say...

John Cole:

This race now is no longer a race, but a hostage crisis. Hillary is surrounded, and she can see the super-delegates through the windows of the bank lobby and she knows they are armed to the teeth, wearing their kevlar vests, weapons sighted, aimed, and with the safeties off. In her heart of hearts she knows it is over, but still she keeps the pistol cocked at the head of the party. Maybe, just maybe, something will happen and she can make it to the fueled plane she demanded be taken to the airport and then she can go away to her big payday. She has come this far, she can’t quit now. Miracles happen. But it won’t happen. It never does. Not even in the movies, at least not the good ones. The only thing left to be resolved is how many hostages she kills.


Easily the best analogy I've seen so far. I really can't add anything to this.