Monthly Archives: January 2008

Edwards’ and Huckabee’s Heroics; the Republican Fiscal Responsibility Myth

I received an unusual email from the Edwards campaign last night. Unusual because it had nothing to do with his Presidential campaign. It was a call to contact our Senators to filibuster or defeat a bill which would give retroactive immunity to phone carriers who illegally tapped phone conversations at Bush’s request. This bill would be a signal that both the President and the companies who conduct illegal operations for him are above the law, something which is a spit in the eye to the legal structure of the United States. The Constitution specifically states the President is part of the legal system, not above it, and the Supreme Court has roundly rejected any argument to the contrary. For Edwards to take time away from his campaign, and ask others to do the same, to uphold basic legal principles in this country is warming. He is really starting to win my support.

I did want to make a few comments about the Republican debate last night, just to show people that I do pay attention to both sides. Actually, this was the first debate I saw and I fell asleep in the middle of it. But I did make an attempt to watch it, and had a few things I wanted to say. You can read the transcript here.

Much of the debate was focused on the state of the economy and the new economy rejuvenation act that Bush asked Congress to approve. Let me just say that all those out there who think the economy is in a big mess because of the mortgage problems obviously haven’t been paying attention. The economy in this country as been struggling for years; Bush has been denying that it’s headed for a recession for months. Obviously the mortgage situation has damaged the health of the economy, causing it to slip into recession (if it wasn’t before), but to put the onus squarely upon this one issue is shortsighted and causes us to miss the bigger problems that have been evolving for quite some time.

Some could also wonder how Bush was able to screw up the economy in a time of war, truly a historic feat of ineptitude, but that’s an argument for another day.

Anyway, one of the arguments which received almost universal agreement was that the tax rebates were a good start, but did not go far enough. They should be coupled with permanent tax relief, the GOP candidates said, with an extra focus on bigger tax breaks for corporations and capital gains taxes.

Get that? In order to spur the economy, we should give tax breaks to the super wealthy that need them the least. After all, what better way to grow our GDP than an influx of yacht purchases and foi gras consumption?

McCain even went the length to wonder how families are going to figure out their 2010 budget when the tax breaks aren’t permanent. Are you kidding me?? Could you say anything that better illustrates how out of touch you are with the average American? Anything at all? I’m sure the average $45,000 income family is running to H&R Block to ask how the tax code is going to affect their DVD purchases in 2010. What a frickin’ moron.

But there was one person, one heroic person, who actually made an intelligent comment regarding the best way to improve the economy and offer aid to real Americans. It wasn’t through tax rebates, he said. I’ll offer the whole quote here because it’s so beautiful (and I assure you that I’m NOT being sarcastic):

One of the concerns that I have is that we’ll probably end up borrowing this $150 billion from the Chinese and when we get those rebate checks, most people are going to go out and buy stuff that’s been imported from China.

I have to wonder whose economy is going to be stimulated the most by the package. And I’m grateful that something is being done. I think we all could at least acknowledge that it’s good to see Congress working with the president to do something.

But if we’re going to spend $150 billion, I’d like to suggest that maybe we add two lanes of highway from Bangor all the way to Miami on I-95. A third of the United States population lives within 100 miles of that.

This nation’s infrastructure is falling apart and if we built those lanes of highways with American labor, American steel, American concrete, I believe it would do more to stimulate the economy. And the reason I say that is because when we were going to through a recession in my state, we were in the middle of a $1 billion highway construction program that brought about 40,000 jobs and brought $1 billion of capital into the economy.

That’s a long-term stimulus package that I think would have more impact on the American long-term future and it would keep social capital from being wasted, fuel wasted.

A lot of people in Florida sit around in traffic every day, never getting to their kids’ dance recitals or soccer games because they’re stuck in traffic, and we’ve done nothing about it.

Mr. Mike Huckabee, I shout out a long and glorious “Amen” and Hallelujah” to you.

McCain said that if we stopped spending so much money on pork-barrel projects we could have given a $1000 tax credit for every child in America. That might sound good if you have a child (or three). And everybody admits that pork-barrel projects are bad . . . except those in their community. You see, though there should be limits on Congressional pork, this money goes to things like building and updating roads, or building more schools or creating new parks. $1000 per child would be great; if you want your child to go back to walking through the woods every morning to attend a one-room schoolhouse. The trick is to approve these with some sense, not to eliminate them altogether.

One final thought about Republican “responsibility.” Much has been made of the way the Bush administration oversaw the movement back from surpluses to deficit spending, prompting many Republicans to say they need to go back to their roots as the fiscal responsibility party. But most of these Republicans also say they’re Reagan wannabe’s; how “Reagan” someone is often determines if they get the GOP nod. Funny thing about that, though. As reported on zfacts.com, data from page 5 of the White House’s own Historical Tables of the Budget of the United States Government, compiled by the Office of Management and Budget, shows that the federal deficit as a percentage of the U.S. gross domestic product has only increased during three president’s terms since the end of World War II. Those three Presidents are Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George Bush. Fiscal responsibility indeed.

Now, many people blame the rampant deficit in the 1980’s on the Democrat Congress. These people don’t know how the budget is enacted. First, contrary to popular Limbaugh-listeners’ belief, the budget originates in the Office of Management and Budget which, of course, is part of the White House. Then it is sent to Congress for appropriation, at which time it’s finalized and then sent back to the President to be signed into law. So these people actually suggest that something which begins and ends with the President cannot be the President’s fault. The reality is that not only was the deficit not Congress’ fault, but in the 1980’s Reagan asked for $29.4 billion more in spending than Congress approved.

Finally, remember when in the ‘90’s Congress wanted to pass a budget that Clinton said was too big so he shut the government down and all the Republicans acted like he was a big jerk but then magically the yearly deficit turned into a surplus? That’s fiscal responsibility.

I still don’t like Hillary, though.

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Thoughts on the South Carolina Debate

The Democrat Debate this Monday was painful.  It really hurt to watch it.  But, since I missed the boat on the last debate, let me make a couple of comments on this one (I really need to do this thing the next day).

First, watching Clinton and Obama go after each other, I could see the Republicans winning the election the next cycle.  Clinton actually accused Obama of representing slum lords in Chicago??  Obama has been in some hot water for a land deal with this guy Rezco for some time, and for a legitimate reason.  He purchased land from him to increase the size of his backyard while Rezco was under a grand jury investigation.  It’s not only dumb to do deals with people under investigation while you’re a politician, but doing it to have a bigger back yard is a pretty good sized knock against a “change” candidate such as Obama.  Let’s just draw an extra distinction between you and the average American, shall we Barack?

But to levy the claim that he was representing a slum lord was erroneous and irresponsible.  First, as Barack claimed, he wasn’t representing him.  He was representing a client who was also working with Rezco, Central Woodlawn Limited Partnership.  This might seem flimsy, but bear with me . . .  The one example the Chicago Tribune lists of such a representation was when Central Woodlawn was working with Rezco to renovate some low-income housing.  During the renovation, the City of Chicago issued Central Woodlawn a citation due to 16 serious code violations.  This might sound bad, except remember the whole purpose of the work was to make this housing better.  Obama appeared in court, but not on behalf of Rezco or his company, and within two months all the violations were taken care of.  So it seems Obama was working in a greater capacity to alleviate slums than to protect the slum lords.

At any rate, why levy such charges against one in your own party who may be running for President?  Talk about a page out of the Republican’s book.  I guess she saw how successful Bush was at slandering McCain in 2000.  After all, the Clinton’s have spent so much time at the Bush’s that it’s not hard to see the transformation there.

Clinton also said a couple other things that kinda ercked me.  First, she said that every time Obama was confronted with a vote he made that may not be too great he always had an excuse or a reason for voting that way.  I don’t really understand this argument.  Does she not have reasons for voting the way she does?  Does she just randomly vote?  Maybe, since she votes for laws she “was happy [never] became law.”  I would rather someone vote for a bill in a way that I don’t like, but have a reason for doing so, then just randomly vote for a bill, or only vote for a bill because it’s the politically “safe” thing to do (which both her and her husband have a habit of).

The other thing that really stood out was her accusation of Obama “evolving” opinions on issues, right before she stated that she would start withdrawal of troops in Iraq within sixty days.  For those of you who don’t remember, Clinton said she couldn’t guarantee withdrawal of troops from Iraq for much of the campaign; more or less right up until it became obvious that promise was a perquisite for winning the nomination.

Also, I thought it was a little unfair for Clinton and Edwards to gang up on Obama about the “present” votes.  Look, I’m from Illinois, and know that in this state if a vote fails to pass but garnishes enough “present” votes, there is a strong likelihood of the bill being modified and coming back to the floor.  If it all out fails without a bunch of “present” votes than it’s probably dead.  Their argument was based solely upon an ignorance of the Illinois General Assembly and how it operates (because Clinton abandoned the state like she’s Reagan).  But since only people in Illinois would immediately understand the argument behind their position, it may actually negatively effect Obama.  Sad.

But the back and forth between Obama and Clinton at the debate was bad in both directions.  It seriously impaired the Democrats’ ability to nominate the next President.  Though if Clinton gets the nod that might not be such a bad thing.

I’ll say this, though, Edwards went a long way, and I mean a loooong way, towards changing my mind about whom I’m going to vote for on the 5th.  I’m still leaning Obama because I think it’s between him and Clinton, and I almost see myself voting for McCain (sorry, Mom) or Romney before her.  But if Edwards wins South Carolina, I will seriously consider voting for him.

Finally, if Clinton does win, I think we’ll see Kucinich run as an independent or as the Green Party candidate.  He made it very clear that he could not support a Hillary Clinton ticket, and I would not be surprised at all if he decides to pull a Nader.

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Canada’s Offensive Assertation

The United States was included on a Canadian list of countries whose detainees are possibly subjected to torture.  Not to worry, however, it only pertains to those who are detained illegally, so you are not in trouble as long as your Constitutional rights are upheld.

Anyway, the Canadian foreign minister has apologized for the list, and said it was part of a training class whose intent was to be provocative, not official Canadian policy.  He apologized to the U.S. and Israel, who was also on the list, saying he would never want to offend such wonderful allies such as us.  Evidently Canada is a family member whose nephews can do no wrong.

Here’s the list of countries:  The U.S. and Israel, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.  My first thought was:  a majority of these countries are U.S. allies.  Other than Iran and Syria we have positive relationships with all of them.  We put the Afghanistan leadership into power, if Mexico was a friend we would be enormous enablers, China is our biggest trading “partner” behind Canada and Mexico (though it’s a one-way path), and Saudi Arabia sells us oil for cheap so we completely don’t hold them to the standards of other Mideast countries (which is to say we don’t hold them to any standards at all).  And what can you say about our relationship with Israel?  If Israel told us to nuke West Philadelphia the biggest controversy would be what news channel got the exclusive rights to air its destruction.

U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, states:  “We find it to be offensive for us to be on the same list with countries like Iran and China. Quite frankly it’s absurd.”  Okay, the U.S. and Iran are at each other’s backs all the time.  But we are so in bed with China it’s sick.  When you are responsible for the GNP of an entire country you have to be prepared to be listed on some lists with them.  Maybe, and this is just a thought here, if you find being mentioned with a certain country’s human rights violations “offensive,” you should use whatever power you have to actually change the human rights policies of that country.  But that would mean we’d have to pay a fair price for goods purchased by Wal*Mart.  Hell, it may even make a noticeable dent in the worldwide use of child labor.  We can’t have that; we already succumbed to the evil liberals who wanted it outlawed in our own country!  What kind of capitalists would we be if we forced fair labor practices on other countries just because we have the opportunity to do so?  Thomas Jefferson would be rolling in his grave, I’ll tell you what!

Besides, the implication that we torture prisoners is obviously erroneous.  I mean, listen to what they defined as torture:  “forced nudity, isolation, sleep deprivation, and the blindfolding of prisoners.”  I find it incredibly insulting that the Canadian government would even insinuate that we conduct those practices.

Besides, it’s not like the next day Tom Ridge said waterboarding, an act the U.S. has admitted to and leaders such as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfield said isn’t really that bad, is in fact torture.  And it’s not like the chief of our intelligence has said waterboarding would be torture if used on him, but not necessarily on other people.  I mean, how hypocritical would our government be if it was so upset that Canada would accuse us of improper interrogation techniques amid news like that?

At any rate, the ends justify the means, right?  Who would argue with that?  Other than Jesus, I mean.

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My Super Bowl Two Cents

Well, the Packers lost in the NFC Championship game, and normally that would make me happy.  But I’m not.  I was actually hoping they would win.  However, I have to hand it to the Giants, they played a much better game.  The Packers were incredibly lucky to even be in the game late in the fourth quarter, let alone force it into overtime, and the better team obviously won.

Right before the game it hit me for the first time; these are the waning moments of the NFC Champion Chicago Bears.  Now it’s the NFC Champion New York Giants.

I really didn’t like seeing Tom Coughlin with his head almost on the ground after Tynes missed that second field goal.  I’m sure that’s how any coach would have felt, but you have got to keep your head high, no matter what.  I just kept thinking to myself; what kind of message did that send to the players?  Maybe it made them feel bad and embarrassed.  But maybe it broke their spirits a little.  Whenever something goes terribly wrong in a Bears game, I always want to see Lovie Smith show some sort of emotion other than the occasional deer-in-headlights look (which was a considerably more predominant in the second half of last season).  But whenever I watch coaches who express whatever emotion they may have during a game, I am thankful of Lovie’s stoic nature.

Anyway, though I really ripped Eli Manning apart in my last blog about the playoffs, he had an amazing postseason so far and I am glad for him that he was able to proceed to the Super Bowl.  Not that I’ve become an Eli fan, mind you, but he deserves it.  Of course, as soon as he came into the league I wondered what a Manning vs. Manning Super Bowl would be like.  But last night was the first time I thought it could actually happen.  Part of me actually would like to see it.

So, with that in mind, I am going for the Giants in the Super Bowl.  I would much rather see them win then the Patriots, especially if the Pats are on the verge of a perfect season.

Besides, it may shut up that Bill Simmons character.  What a hack.  I seriously don’t know how this guy has a job (sorry, Matt).  He’s one step above Jay Marriotti, and that’s quite the insult.  Dude, if I wanted to read about how sad it was that Bennifer broke up (you and your wife really, really need to get over it already; I’m not sure why people were into it to begin with other then they lead sad, sad little lives) or what happened last night on Dancing with the Stars, I would drink some formaldehyde, listen to some Madonna, turn on O’Reilly, and let my mind wander into blissful oblivion.  But since I actually treasure my intelligence, let’s can the pop culture in our sports columns, can we?  I know that, to a point, sports and pop culture references go together like bench seats and hickies, but do you really have to be ESPN’s TMZ?  And there are some teams out there other than the Red Sox, Yankees, Patriots, and Celtics.  You may want to write about them some time.  Sports are my escape from the evils of the world; I don’t want to be confronted with said evils during my vacation.  I guess that’s what one should expect from a Jimmy Kimmel writer.

Anyway, if anybody outside of New York actually thinks a Coughlin-coached team can beat these Pats the second time around, I’d love to hear from you.  And smoke some of what you’ve got.  But I’m really pulling for them.

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Are Obama’s Ads Deceptive? No!

I was pretty livid over an article on Newsweek’s website claiming Obama puts out ads that misquote newspaper articles. The article is in reference to a Nevada ad in which Obama has a quote from the AP saying that he offers a universal health care plan. The writer, Mr. Bank, states that the AP article didn’t actually contain the quote Obama listed, which was “Obama offers universal health care plan.” Well, he was correct. The AP article never actually stated that in the article. However, if you notice (as I commented on the website, albeit idiotically twice) he doesn’t actually link the article to support his claim. Oh, he provides a link the AP, but not only is it not to the article; it’s not even to the Associated Press webpage! It’s to Newsweek’s AP reference page, of which this article is not listed, meaning you have to do the heavy lifting to try and substantiate his claim.

Now, I was going to post this in my blog because I feel like my harsh reactions to Hillary can be a little lop-sided, and thought it would be good for my (pseudo)journalistic integrity to be a little more balanced. However, I didn’t just want to post that somebody said somebody said something. That’s called hearsay and doesn’t hold up in court. So I clicked on the AP link. As soon as I noticed that it doesn’t go directly to the article, and then checked and saw he doesn’t provide any link to the article, I became a little suspicious. Usually, when somebody does such a bad job at referencing something it means they don’t actually want people to see it. So I did a little bit of research and found the actual AP article, which I’ve so cleverly hyperlinked for you. It’s from the Washington Post, but it clearly attributes the article to Mike Glover of the AP and also contains the quote Mr. Bank used in his article, so it’s the same article (I could not find in on the AP site, probably because I do not a subscription to the archive).

I found, much to my surprise, that the article does not, in fact, contain the quote “Obama offers universal health care plan.” It is, however, the title of the article. Now, quoting the title of an article and attributing it to the article hardly constitutes misrepresentation.

However, saying somebody quoted a line which doesn’t exist, when in fact it’s the title, does.

He also says Obama misrepresents another quote, because the article actually, get this, shows both sides of the story. That’s called integrity; something Mr. Banks obviously knows little about.

And now in the spirit of integrity, let me continue my Obama love-fest without an opposing viewpoint.

Obama’s plan doesn’t actually provide universal health coverage. I’ll admit that. Mr. Bank is correct in his assertion that it only provides the opportunity for universal health care, but does not force people to purchase it. However, I think that’s the point. It’s nice that Obama is going to make health insurance more affordable, but some people will never be able to afford it. When you’re always broke come payday, you can’t afford an extra bill no matter how low it may be. This is common sense, but something that Hillary doesn’t really seem to grasp (or maybe she does but doesn’t care). Plus, individual insurance is not always good insurance. Insurance is great when you have a group plan, say at work, and the group can force the insurance company into responsible policies they may not necessarily want to practice. However, a person with individual health insurance has no leverage to get them to make a claim on an expensive bill, and often don’t have the liberty of time to get a lawyer to force the issue. That’s why I don’t think the best plan is to provide private health insurance to all individuals, and I certainly don’t think forcing people to pay for plans which may eat up significant amounts of their salary while still leaving them vulnerable to enormous medical bills even resembles a responsible plan.

I like Obama’s plan for one reason; it’s a good start. It makes health insurance cheaper so that people who want to get it but can only almost afford it can actually afford it. However, I don’t think it’s an end-all solution. Sadly, Obama does not seem to be in support of universal health care plan that more responsible countries (read: every civilized, and some not-so-civilized, country other than the U.S.) have. I think Edwards’ plan is much more effective, responsible, and ultimately realistic.

I should also note that I would love to see an Edwards presidency. But as right now it seems like it’s either Clinton or Obama, Obama is on the better track. They pretty much have the same plan, minus the mandate, and I think the mandate is bad policy. Plus, as Edwards says, why would we want to reward the insurance companies and put the responsibility of fixing health care in their hands when they are a primary reason why it’s broke to begin with?

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Take that Jim Mora!

FavreWell, I know it’s been a couple of days, but I’ve had a chance to cool down and look at things in a little more reasoned light. I am talking, of course, about the NFL Conference Championships coming up next weekend.

I must say that this has been the most disappointing playoff run since the Astros and White Sox were in the World Series in 2005. The teams I wanted to win are now 0-8 in the playoffs. 0-8! Every single game the “bad guy” has won. Seriously, if you would have asked me what the worst possible matchups would be in the Conference Championships at the end of the regular season, I almost certainly would have said New York vs. Green Bay and San Diego vs. New England.

Not that I dislike these teams as teams, except Green Bay who I despise. I LOATHE Green Bay. However, historically I am apathetic at best about San Diego, don’t really care too much for New England, either, and while I don’t really like any New York sports teams it’s nice when a team with as much NFL history as the Giants do well. If I had it my way, the Bears, Giants, Redskins, and Steelers would have good years every year, because I think these are the teams that best embody the spirit of the history of the NFL (even though the Steelers came from the AFL) and it’s good for football when these teams are at the top of their game. (The same could also be said for Green Bay, but I hate the Packers more than I like the NFL.)

However, all three of these current teams are fundamentally flawed. I really don’t like Eli Manning; I typically can’t stand anyone who feels they should get special treatment in the NFL before they even played a game (they usually suck anyway; see Cedric Benson, Cade McNown, and Rashaan Salaam), and even since his little temper tantrum at the draft he has come across as a whiner and a spoiled brat. Plus, he’s ugly. I really don’t like baby-faced quarterbacks at all (it’d be nice if Sexy Rexy had some stubble or something); I think all quarterbacks should look like that guy in the Old Spice commercials. But I can usually get over that if they prove to be a good football player and ambassador to the game, and I don’t think Eli is either of those. The rest of the team is actually okay; I just don’t want to see Eli Manning succeed. Of course, part of this may be sour grapes. Rex Grossman is better than Eli Manning, but everybody hates Rex and hands Eli free passes like they’re Orbit gum.

As for the Chargers, you can pretty much copy and paste everything I said about Eli Manning into a paragraph about Philip Rivers. But it’s worse with Philip Rivers. I really, really don’t like Philip Rivers. He’s an asshole! He looks like an asshole, plays like an asshole, talks like an asshole, and acts like an asshole. And it’s worse with the Chargers, because there are a number of players I don’t like. Such as LaDainian Tomlinson. Now, I’ll admit he’s a good running back. What he did at the end of the Wild Card game, when he was stuffed at the goal line but reached the football over the pile of linesman, was probably one of the smartest plays I have ever seen. If he didn’t have it before, he earned my respect with that move. But I just can’t get on the L.T. bandwagon. I don’t know, maybe it’s the helmet. Have you ever noticed he looks like Darth Vader in that thing?

Then we come to the Patriots. You know, I really wouldn’t have a thing against this team most years. I don’t like Belichick, but I don’t dislike him enough to wish bad teams upon him. Same thing with Tom Brady. Though I don’t like Randy Moss to the point where I wish bad teams upon him. But this is not the team that I would like to see go 19-0. I think that’s my biggest problem. I really don’t want any team to run the boards because I’d like da Bears to be the first since the Dolphins. However, if they aren’t going to be the first 19-0 team, I would like to see a better team than this year’s Pats take the honor.

So who do I pull for? You have to pull for someone! As much as I hate to admit it, I think I’m going to go for the Packers. Probably the first time in history. I have said many times before that if Brett Favre didn’t play for the Packers I’d love him. I think, more than any other quarterback in the league, he plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played; he’s a pocket passer, he has that Old Spice quality I alluded to earlier, he’s more likely to take a hit than dive, and he seems like a stand-up guy and a wonderful ambassador to the game. I actually think the NFL should force him to play in handcuffs just to maintain competitiveness; he’d still win anyway. But he has just tore up the Bears for too long for me to like him. Still, the 2007 Packers are a great story, and I suppose he deserves to go out like John Elway. I was hoping the Cowboys would win so I wouldn’t be in the predicament of picking Eli or the Pack, but since I am I guess I’ll go for the Packers. Just this once.

In the AFC, I’m going to have to go with the Patriots. Running the board is probably inevitable anyway, and I really, really don’t want to see these Chargers in the Super Bowl, so that’s my “lesser of two evils” pick.

Besides, the fact that they struggled so much against the Jaguars gives me comfort. Their perfection wasn’t quite perfect (though it’s hard to imagine a more dominant offense. They could name Janet Reno the punter and it probably wouldn’t effect them at all), and they played in a relatively weak division. The ’85 Bears went 18-1, and if a writer doesn’t put them at number one they are virtually always in the top three. However, da Bears really destroyed, and I mean completely annihilated, their post-season competition (and I use the word lightly). These Patriots always find a way to win, and they should be given credit because that’s what’s important, but lately it’s been by the skin of their teeth. Therefore, I can feel comfortable in saying their record was a product of a somewhat lucky season. So even though it’s probably impossible to go undefeated without some luck, and though they certainly earned their right to be named as one of the all-time best football teams, I can still rank the ’85 Bears higher. That does make it a little easier to pull for them over San Diego.

If I have to choose, I’ll go with Green Bay to win the Super Bowl. Though the way this year has gone I should probably bet on New York vs. San Diego with the Chargers winning.

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Clinton: The Definition of Dirty Politics

**note**  For some reason, this article keeps getting a lot (well, that’s a relative term) of airplay, even though it’s now almost three years old and entirely irrelevant.  Reading it now, I’m in complete shock over how cynical and bitter I sound.  And the writing don’t even be too good.  I hesitate to delete it because I want to maintain my blog history as a snap shot of what I was feeling; but do know that my emotions were pretty strong at the time and I actually think she’s “likable enough”.  A pretty decent lady, really.

Also, I heard Karl Rove read the article and got a little upset.  Something about working too hard his whole life to let Hillary define dirty politics.  To Mr. Rove, I apologize.  It was never my intent to hurt you.

TGG 12/10/10

 

I am in complete awe of the ignorance and hypocrisy of the Clinton campaign, and the absolutely disgusting tactics they used this weekend. I am talking about the Martin Luther King comments Clinton made last Monday which many thought seemed to diminish the role of Martin Luther King in the equal rights movement.

Now, there have been a lot of articles quoting this line, but I had to look a little to find the complete quote. I finally found it in a blog from the New York Times:

I would point to the fact that that Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the President before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done. That dream became a reality, the power of that dream became real in people’s lives because we had a president who said we are going to do it, and actually got it accomplished.

 

First off, let me say that this statement is grossly historically inaccurate. First, the Civil Rights Act was introduced by Kennedy, but was passed by Johnson because Kennedy was shot. It’s not like Kennedy wasn’t able to get it passed, he wasn’t alive to do it. Secondly, she acts like Eisenhower had no sympathy for the civil rights cause. But Eisenhower nominated Earl Warren as Supreme Court Justice to break a deadlock in the Brown v. Board of Education case which lead to the elimination of “separate but equal,” and then he ordered the integration of Washington schools the next day. It was Eisenhower who issued an executive order placing the Arkansas National Guard under his authority so it would force the integration of black students into a formerly-all white school when they had been dispatched to do just the opposite. But in fairness, how could she have known that? It’s not like her husband was governor of Arkansas or anything. And she didn’t say he wasn’t in support of civil rights, just that he didn’t try to pass a civil rights law.

Funny thing about that, though. Eisenhower introduced, and then signed into law, not one but two civil rights acts; the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the Civil Rights Act of 1960. So I guess she just doesn’t have the slightest idea what she’s talking about.

But I digress. Let us ignore Clinton’s obviously lacking understanding of U.S. history and the inevitable question of her qualifications for President when she knows so little about former office holders (after all, W. didn’t know much about this stuff and look at how well he’s done!). This whole thing started when Clinton accused Obama of “false hope,” to which Obama replied that Kennedy did not have false hope when he asked America to reach the moon, and King did not have false hope when he protested for equal rights. Clinton’s response seemed to imply that King’s brand of hope was not false only because a President had assured that would not be the case.

The Obama camp spent most of last week refusing to comment on her little statement, but black leaders across the country, including Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) chastised Clinton for implying that Johnson had a much greater role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act than King.

So what was Clinton’s response? She said Obama’s camp was clearly responsible for these attacks and then accused him of invoking race against her.

So let me get this straight; Obama makes a comment about both JFK and MLK giving hope to many that would result in great steps for our country. Clinton ignores JFK but focuses on how King was successful, not for the hope he aspired, but only because a white President accomplished his goals. Then she accuses Obama’s campaign of organizing black leaders against her, because, you know, black people evidently can’t think for themselves so they could only be upset if Obama told them to be, and then claims Obama is instigating race in the campaign??

I’m going to be sick. I mean it. This makes me physically ill.

For the record, Obama’s campaign has made one, ONE, comment about her statement. On Sunday, six days after the comment and after Clinton accused Obama of using race, Obama said the comment was “ill-advised.” That’s it. Just that it was “ill-advised.”

Of course, the Clinton campaign said that her comments were completely misunderstood and manipulated. They claim she meant that speeches alone didn’t make the civil rights movement, but King’s work with Johnson was instrumental in the Civil Rights Act passage. However, one has to ask themselves how that statement should make people vote for her instead of Obama. I guess she thinks that one person has to give the speech and another has to enact its stated goals? I’m not sure. But to say that King did a lot to further the hope but needed a President to complete it would tend to make me think that the best thing to do is elect the hope-giver as President.

Of course, the question I pose to you is, after reading her complete statement, can it be interpreted as anything less than King was not able to accomplish his dream, only President Johnson could? I don’t think it can.

But because Clinton can’t just say something stupid without another stupid statement to support it, here’s what she said to defend her ludicrous comments:

“And then he worked with President Johnson to get the civil rights laws passed, because the dream couldn’t be realized until finally it was legally permissible for people of all colors and backgrounds and races and ethnicities to be accepted as citizens.”

Okay, her being a lawyer and all, I’m in complete shock that she was not aware that “people of all colors and backgrounds and races and ethnicities to be accepted as citizens” was not made legally permissible with the Civil Rights Act, it was legally mandated by the Fourteenth Amendment. The Civil Rights Act made segregation illegal, it had nothing to do with granting citizenship.

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