The U.S. Senate passed the new G.I. Bill today, along with funding for the war in Iraq. But where was John McCain? Even though his primary is over, McCain couldn't drag his sorry butt back to Washington to vote on these issues for which he has spoken out on so forcefully. Does he support the troops? The war? Where's his leadership now?
Or did he duck yet another vote that might make him look bad? McCain has missed more votes than any senator this session, including Sen. Tim Johnson who was out of commission for almost a full year due to a brain hemorrhage.
Is McCain going to show up if he becomes president? It's not a hard bar to clear following in the footsteps of vacation king Geroge W. Bush, who thinks his White House duties get in the way of his mountain biking and brush clearing.
I was planning to put something in my last column on this subject but ran out of room (and it was a bit of a tangent). John McCain and others keep talking about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as if he was the absolute leader of that country. But in fact, he's not in charge. The Supreme Leader of Iran is Ali Khamenei, and he is the one in charge of the government and foreign policy. Khamenei was president from 1981 to 1989, when took over as Supreme Leader after Ayatollah Khomeini died.
But Ahmadinejad makes an easy target, so they go after him instead.
Here is video of McCain being confronted with these facts. His answer is revealing:
When confronted with the truth, McCain wants to take a poll. For someone so wrapped up in bombing Iran, you would think he would find out who is in charge of the country first.
It really is a sad story. She was so ill served by her staff that it's almost criminal. A couple of early staff changes and she would be the nominee right now, instead of hanging around waiting for Obama to get hit by lightning.
But it also points to the same flaw that we have seen with George Bush, in that she values loyalty over competence. Considering the political battles she has fought through the years, you can understand why she might lean on the loyalists more than a newcomer like Obama. But it sunk her.
Talk about cutting off one's nose to spite their face. Yes, there are women who are angry about sexist overtones that have pervaded this race. And there's no doubt that sexism has reared it ugly head in this campaign, as has racism. It shouldn't be happening, but it is, and both sides are hypersensitive to these kinds of remarks.
But to boycott the Democratic nominee? Ok, do they want John McCain to be president to make a point? This is the man who dumped his first wife because she was overweight and disfigured, and replaced her with a rich trophy wife who he called (a word that starts with "C" and rhymes with "hunt") in front of a bunch of reporters. How does letting McCain stack the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade help their cause?
People on both sides of this nomination battle need to take a step back and realize they are on the same freaking team, and cut this crap out. Now.
He may not have what it takes to run this country, but ya gotta love Joe Biden for having the guts to call BS when he sees it.
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joe Biden, D-Delaware, called President Bush’s comments accusing Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats of wanting to appease terrorists "bulls**t” and said if the president disagrees so strongly with the idea of talking to Iran then he needs to fire his secretaries of State and Defense, both of whom Biden said have pushed to sit down with the Iranians.
“This is bullshit. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset…and make this kind of ridiculous statement,” Biden said angrily in a brief interview just off the Senate floor.
“He’s the guy who’s weakened us. He’s the guy that’s increased the number of terrorists in the world. His policies have produced this vulnerability the United States has. His intelligence community pointed that out not me. The NIE has pointed that out and what are you talking about, is he going to fire Condi Rice? Condi Rice has talked about the need to sit down. So his first two appeasers are Rice and Gates. I hope he comes home and does something.”
Keith Olbermann can go overboard on his "Special Comments," and this one is no exception. But at the end, Olbermann catches Bush lying about what he said about quitting golf so that mothers of dead soldiers wouldn't see him playing the game. Olbermann finds a photo taken two months after he claims to have quit. It was bad enough for him to say he was sacrificing golf for these soldiers, but to lie about it? In that light, he deserves Olbermann's full wrath:
In football, garbage time is a the period at the end of the game when one team has an insurmountable lead, the starters are on the bench taking a rest, and the coaches are already thinking about their next opponent. If the other team runs up some yards, so what. Garbage time touchdowns count in the stats book, but they don't get you to the playoffs.
Sen. Hillary Clinton won 67 percent in West Virginia tonight. Unlike her people, I'm not going to say that West Virginia doesn't count. It does. It looks like she will get 16 delegates out of the state, while Sen. Barack Obama will get seven. It's a big win for her after last week's loss in North Carolina, and a virtual tie in Indiana.
So she gained nine delegates tonight. Obama has claimed nearly 30 delegates since last week's primaries. His lead is even larger now than it was last week, and there are only five contests left. Hillary's win tonight simply ran more time off the clock, and Obama is that much closer to winning. MSNBC's Chuck Todd calculates that Hillary will have to win an astounding 91 percent of the vote in the remaining states to win.
The problem with this game is that it's really a scrimage, a battle between teammates trying to make the starting roster. Obama already has the starting job locked up, but Hillary is trying her damnedest to knock him out for the season.
What makes this different than football is that Hillary's team is trying to spin garbage time scoring into victory. It's not. The scoreboard still has Obama in the lead with time running out.
Let's also remember this is still a primary. The spin from the Clinton camp that Obama can't win "hard-working Americans, white Americans" is still just BS. Let's see, Obama won Idaho with 79 percent of the vote, Kansas with 74 percent and Nebraska with 68 percent. With those results, can't you make the argument that Hillary can't win the white vote?
Mitt Romney won Utah with 90 percent of the vote. Does that mean that John McCain won't be able to take Utah in November? Could Utah go Democrat? Not a chance.
IT'S A PRIMARY, PEOPLE! The whole game changes when it's Obama vs. McCain. New York voted for Hillary, but there's no chance it will vote Republican in the fall. Will Democrats vote for 100 more years of war in Iraq? Will women vote for the Republican who will stack the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade? If the roles were reversed and Clinton was ahead, I'd be voting for her in November.
Obama wasn't my first choice of candidates, either. There are still doubts about his experience. But he has run a great campaign, kicked everyone's butts in every measurable way, and brought millions of new voters into the party. If Hillary is so much better, then why is she losing to an upstart like Obama?
There's a lot of hurt feelings out in Democratland right now. If Hillary wants to keep running to soothe her ego, then go ahead. But low blows against Obama at this point will only hurt the team. And having AFSCME and Emily's List spending money on a lost cause is money that can't be spent against McCain this fall. Whose team are you people on? Would you really want to see John McCain in the White House instead of Obama? If so, perhaps you should be looking at changing parties.
Carl Bernstein says that Hillary will keep fighting until she is offered the VP spot. Bernstein knows Clinton pretty well, and he has a lot of inside contacts.
I think Obama would do just about anything to not offer the VP spot to Hillary. Anything. Especially after her "hard-working Americans, white Americans" remark. Putting her on the ticket would infuriate too many Obama backers, unite all those GOP Hillary haters, and could make John McCain president.
There is too much bad blood between them now. Obama doens't want or need Hillary and Bill Clinton trying to seize the spotlight while he's running the country.
But what if, as Bernstein says, Hillary tries to force the issue? Obama will have to shoot her down while not alienating her base. To do that, he'll need to pick a VP who can heal this division.
I've always thought that Gov. Bill Richardson would be the best VP pick. He would deliver New Mexico for Obama, and make Texas, Colorado and Nevada competitive. And his resumé balances out Obama. But taking into account Clinton's moves, this might not work out.
Another person on the short list is Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebilius. Having a woman on the ticket might heal any rifts Obama has with women voters, and Sebilius can help Obama in the purple states by pulling in moderates. But she doesn't help him on foreign policy, which is McCain's only line of attack.
One way to help heal the rift with Clinton and help the ticket might be to pick Gen. Wesley Clark. He's an old Clinton friend, and his military experience will help counter attacks by McCain.
The wild card is Sen. Jim Webb. He would bring the military and executive experience, and he's a former Republican. And he has some skeletons in his closet in the form of sexist writings he did in the past that Hillary boosters might attack if they want to go kamikazi on Obama. Picking him would be a big FU to Hillary's people.
OK, so here's my odds list for VP:
- Clark: 2-1
- Richardson: 3-1
- Sebilius: 6-1
- Webb: 7-1
- Clinton: 10-1
A mistake I made in next week's column has be examining how and where I get my information. I wrote the column yesterday morning, about how breaking our oil addiction will help solve most of the big problems this country faces. In that version, I quoted a figure for oil imports for March I got from a Bloomberg article:
Imports decreased 2.9 percent, the most since December 2001, to $206.7 billion. Purchases of crude oil dropped, even as the average price for the month jumped to a record $89.85. The quantity of petroleum bought from overseas was the lowest since February 2007.
But last night I was looking at other materials showing we import about 13 billion barrels of oil a day. That's a lot of oil, but even at $125 a barrel, that doesn't add up to $206 billion a month. I sent out a correction to everyone right away, so hopefully disaster has been averted.
What the Bloomberg article meant to say was that $206 billion was the total of all imports for that month, not just oil. The wording of the sentence and the header above make it very confusing.
After some self examination, I found something interesting about my sources of information. When dealing with a major media source (NY Times, WaPost, etc.), you can argue about the slant or tone of an article, but their editing and fact checking processes usually mean that government facts and figures contained in them are correct. But just because the facts are correct, doesn't mean they are presented in the correct way.
I also tend to trust information that comes from conservative and business sources more than I do from liberal sources. Why? It's because I'm more likely to be challenged by conservatives, so tend to do a lot more double-checking of items I gather from liberal sources, just to cover my bases.
Then sometimes you just get a brain fart and screw things up. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that the top income tax bracket was 33 percent. It's actually 35 percent. I was thinking of the bracket the Bush administration was pushing for with the tax cuts, not the rate that became law.
Everyone needs fact checkers to examine their work. When you work for a small company like I do, there's not a lot of fact checking, so it's kind of like walking a high wire without a net. Hopefully you all will help me in this regard.
He starts out by conceding that the race is over. At least he can count. He then says to ignore early polls that say Sen. John McCain has a fighting chance to win, as polls this early in the process don't mean anything. But then he goes on to say Obama is in big trouble because the polls show he has "a deep but narrow base consisting of African-Americans and highly educated whites" and that he can't win over white voters, that he is losing them 60-40.
As for the cause of this racial division, he says "But at this point it doesn’t matter whose fault it was." Then he goes on to criticize Obama supporters for their "tirades" against Hillary. He also throws in the Clinton talking point about seating the delegates from Florida and Michigan.
Gee, there is so much wrong here its here it's hard to know where to start. If Krugman thinks seating Michigan and Florida are important, then maybe he should have said something about the Clinton campaign's rejection of the newest Michigan plan to seat all their delegates. Or, when talking about "tirades" fostering racial divisions, perhaps Krugman could have mentioned Hillary's statement that her "broad" base consists of "hard-working Americans, white Americans," or Bill Clinton's remarks in South Carolina.
I could also point out that if the tables were reversed and it was Clinton who had the lead in delegates, we could say that she would be in trouble since she is losing the black vote 90-10, a group she was winning 60-40 in the past. And Democrats can't win without black votes in November.
But the biggest trap Krugman falls into is trying to draw inferences from primary results and applying them to the general election.
Look at the GOP. A couple of months ago, hardcore conservatives like Rush Limbaugh were adamantly anti-McCain. Now they are actively campaigning for him. Why? Because there is no where else for them to go.
Blue-collar Democrats who voted for Hillary aren't likely to cross over for McCain. They don't want 100 years of war in Iraq and more of the same Bush policies. And women aren't about to elect a presidnet who puts another anti-abortion judge on the Supreme Court. They might disagree with Obama, but they'll still pull the lever for him in November.
Hopefully we have seen the last of Krugman's illogically Clinton boosting.