Thursday, April 24, 2008

You're not going to be president, but at least you got a book deal!

Sen. Mike Huckabee will not be the Republican candidate, but that's ok - there's always a book deal.

Are we seriously in a world where anyone with 15 minutes of fame gets to write a book about it?

Huckabee's book, not yet titled, will be available on November 18.  11 days after the new president will be decided.  It will chronical his insights on running for office and how he thinks the conservative movement should be remodeled.  

Despite the fact that he barely gained 300 delegates, he lead a solid campaign but at no time did he pose a threat to Sen. McCain who locked up the nomination fairly soon.

Why does the Penguin Group (who is publishing the book) care about his insights on the conservative movement?  I think that the publishers are hoping that Huckabee will become McCain's running mate and that will boost sales of the book should they win.  

Huckabee's 1998 book "Kids Who Kill" was highly scrutinized as people said that he was cashing in on the Columbine shootings.

Huckabee has published two other books as well:  "From Hope to Higher Ground" about his policy views ranging from taxes to education, and "Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork" offering dieting tips that helped him loose a 100 lbs.

One must wonder how will this book reflect the views of certain lobbyists in Washington.  Will he remain true to the "untold stories of the campaign trail" or will it turn into a puff piece that will cater to the ideals of the people who contributed money toward the campaign.  

Hilary Clinton was in a similar position a few years ago when she accepted an $8 million advance to write her book.  But in the Senate Ethics Manual it said that senators could not receive any payments in advance.  The Ethics Committee, however, ended up approving the advance even though it came from a company owned by Viacom.  Viacom has many issues that are likely to come up before Congress.

The Penguin Group is a company that I do not believe would ask for any favors from Huckabee, but I am a firm believer in the saying, "If you want to know a man's priorities, look at who gives him money."


"I remember landing under sniper fire."

Ms. Clinton, your foreign experience amazes me. Oh, wait, you were just kidding?

"There were reports of snipers in the hills and they were forced to cut short an event on the tarmac. That is what she wrote in her book, that is what she has said many, many times. And on one occasion she misspoke, but it’s--the record is clear in terms what she has said before on this topic."--Howard Wolfson

To validate the Clinton camp's story of danger in Tulza, Comedian Sinbad--who accompanied Ms. Clinton on the Bosnia visit--had this to say: "I think the only 'red-phone' moment was: 'Do we eat here or at the next place.'"

Hm... Let me be the last to claim moral authority, but it seems to me that the term "misspoke" translates to "lied." Unless, on technicality, misspoke falls under the same category as the word "is" or the definition of sex vs. oral sex, but I digress.

My current intention is not to question the (un)ethical nature of the Clinton campaign (or the integrity of a woman who will say anything to win the Presidency), but rather to applaud the media for playing its role of watch dog--and correctly, for once, I might add. The media, as it exists today, often plays to the entertainment of its consumers, fabricating or blowing up stories otherwise unimportant (i.e. Britney Spears's latest car crash). However, by exposing the Clinton lie regarding her time in Bosnia was a refreshing lead in an otherwise cluttered channel of communications.

Perhaps this was simply more pro-Obama bias? Or perhaps the media was just pointing out trust issues the nation has--and should have--with the Clinton camp. P.S. We'd still love to see those financial statements. However, to be fair--or, in the spirit of Fox News, to create a "No Spin Zone"--in defense of Ms. Clinton, below I have included footage to sway you in her favor.

Thank goodness for the bravery of our former First Lady.

P.S. On conclusion of the PA primary (that did little to change the political position of either candidate), I'd just like to say that despite Clinton's 10 point lead, Obama still holds the support of thousands across the state (including the many, such as myself, who switched parties to total the Democrat count at a record-breaking 4 million for the state). Yes, we can!

[Posted by Jaclyn]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Resign To Run

As the political race to the White House heats up, the top candidates are spending more and more time on the campaign trail.  Fine by me, but what about all of the bills that are being discussed in Congress?  They are missing out on votes that are coming across the floor.

John McCain has missed 58% of all of the votes in the 110th Congress.  (Nine more than Sen. Tim Johnson who suffered a brain hemorrhage and missed several months recovering).

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have each missed 40% and 30% respectively.  Almost half of McCain.

We elect these people into positions of public office because we believe in what they can do for us, and what do they do in return?  Use it as a stepping-stone.  That is why I believe that there should be a federal "Resign to Run" law, much like what is in place in Hawai'i and Georgia.

Resign to run simply says that if an elected official desires to run for a higher office, he or she must resign from their current position during their campaign.  I think that this would significantly lower the number of absent voters when important bills come up for a vote on the Senate floor.  

In fact, McCain has only voted on ONE bill since March 13.  Last year McCain missed 4 of 14 important votes that were directly related to the war in Iraq.  Sens. Obama and Clinton did not miss any and have each seemed to planned their travels around such high profile votes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was not happy saying, "Sen. McCain has spent considerable time defending the president on Iraq and catering to the Republican base, but has only managed to show up to four of the last 14 Iraq votes

Ethically, I don't think candidates should abuse the power that the American voters have given them.  If a person has been chosen for a job, they should hold that responsibility over all else.

A resign to run law would alleviate this issue, and allow another respected figure the opportunity to represent their constituents in Washington.

[Thursday edit]

McCain skipped the vote today that would assist women in suing employers for pay discrimination...shocker.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Go Big or Go Home

Today was the last day Democratic Presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had to persuade “Keystone state” voters to support them. What has seemed like months of personal attacks, the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary will finally take place tomorrow and will put an end to this bitter saga, at least in this state. Speaking of bitter, what has been the deal with the backlash Obama has received from rivals Clinton and McCain? In my opinion, his remarks have been extremely overblown and demonstrate the type of desperation one candidate is facing. After watching the ABC debate last week and keeping up with media monitoring, the sport of politics has certainly brought out the worst of Senator Clinton.

First, let me address the issue of Obama’s bitter remarks. The comments that the Illinois Senator made, which he himself has admitted may not have been the best choice of words, certainly echoes what many Americans feel across the country. Obama’s statement, like it or not, did represent what many people are feeling right now. Jobs continue to be outsourced, the economy is in shambles, gas prices are at an all time high and politicians continue to make empty promises to change the face of politics. Is it any wonder that many Americans are simply fed up with this system? They are of course bitter and they have a good right to be.

Hillary Clinton and John McCain classified Obama’s comment as being “elitist” and “out of touch with reality.” I find this statement particularly interesting considering that Hillary and Bill have earned roughly $109 million since leaving the oval office. McCain, whose wife is the heiress to a large brewery, is speculated to be worth over $100 million. And Obama, who made just a little over $4 million last year, continues to be cited as an elitist…I just don’t get it.

Another argument from the Clinton campaign has been that Obama is inexperienced and not ready to handle the challenges of the presidency, such as resolving issues such as a potential economic recession. Today, I read a story on CNN that stated that Hillary’s campaign was roughly $10 million in debt. What kind of fiscal responsibility is this? How can we expect a Senator to reinvigorate the economy if she cannot even balance her own campaign? And in response to this story, Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson stated “The money continues to come in strongly. We had a very good month last month of fundraising…we are continuing to have a good month this month." Well of course the money has come in strongly, what do you expect when Elton John hosts a concert to benefit the campaign and raises $2.5 million? Is that her economic stimulus plan? Have upper class Americans, or middle class families who can’t afford it, purchase Elton John tickets? I sure hope Clinton’s previous track record, which ironically she has prided herself on, isn’t an indicator of how she plans to boost our economy.

Clinton also released a new ad in Pennsylvania today which depicts images of Pearl Harbor, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Osama Bin Laden. The narrator in this ad states that:

"You need to be ready for anything – especially now, with two wars, oil prices skyrocketing, and an economy in crisis…Harry Truman said it best – if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Who do you think has what it takes?"

Isn’t this a Republican tactic? Scare people into supporting a war, or in this case a campaign? I just don’t understand how someone can exercise this type of desperation and yet call themselves the strongest candidate for office.

Well, I’m certainly looking forward to tomorrow’s Democratic primary results. Let’s just hope that Obama pulls out a decisive win. It will serve as another reminder that Hillary simply does not have the support for office. Although based on her previous actions, I doubt she’ll pay much attention to it.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Obama’s Speech Good PR, But Doesn’t Answer Questions

Obama’s Speech Good PR, But Doesn’t Answer Questions
I thought Barack Obama’s speech on race last month in the original aftermath of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy was intelligent, honest, and dignified. Helped by the fact that he is both white and black, Obama spoke more frankly and eloquently on race relations in the United States that any mainstream politician in U.S. could, and deservedly received high praise. In addition to being a great speech on race, it was also a masterstroke of public relations. The speech distracted the media and voters from the viciously anti-American lies spewed by the most powerful spiritual influence in Obama’s life and re-focused the campaign on the “chill up my leg” (thank you for that image Chris Matthews) inducing public rhetoric skills of Obama. However, this brilliant PR move will only create a temporary honeymoon from the Rev. Wright issue.
While Obama’s speech may please Obama’s left wing base and overwhelming support amongst the national media, it failed to answer the questions about Rev. Wright and his influence. For many, particularly swing voters and blue-collar Democrats in battleground states, the Wright controversy is not about race at all but rather how much the Reverend’s blatant disdain for the U.S. government has shaped the ideology of Obama. Should we trust a man with the most powerful job in the world if he calls Wright a trusted advisor and tremendous influence? Should the American people trust Barack Obama if the man who has taught him Christianity and married him to his wife believes that 9/11 was essentially America’s own doing? Should Obama be President if such a good friend and profound influence believes the U.S. created the AIDS virus to eliminate blacks from its population? Those are the questions that have not been answered and will haunt Obama in the general election if he continues to not fully address them. This issue will make it difficult for Obama to win back many of Hillary Clinton’s voters and prevent them from for voting for McCain, particularly her more moderate, pro-defense, and patriotic blue-collar supporters (the so-called “Reagan Democrats”).
Clearly, Barack Obama’s March 18th speech on race relations was a tremendous short-term PR move because it distracted Democratic primary voters from the real issues raised by the Rev. Wright controversy. While right-wing evangelists such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have said similarly disdainful things, they do not have the relationship with President Bush and Senator McCain that Wright has with Obama. Certainly, it is going to take an even more clever use of public relations to if Senator Obama is going to ultimately answer the true issues behind the Rev. Wright controversy and win the Presidency.

-Gregg Tobin