Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Bleat Goes On

As has been widely and sheepishly reported by the cable yackers, Rush Limbaugh is conducting "Operation Chaos". This brilliant plan, as its "commander" Limbaugh states, has as its goal the disruption of the Democratic primary process. He claims to be directing his Dittoheads to keep the primary process going as long as possible in order to cause internal bleeding within the Democratic Party.

This strategem has even received a nod of validation from the upper ranks of punditry. It has been seriously discussed by the likes of NBC's Tim Russert as a factor in Hillary Clinton's continued strength. I believe Fat Head is being given way too much credit and credence.

At any rate, the Master of the A.M. dial has issued new orders. He said yesterday,"I now believe he (Obama) would be the weakest of the Democrat(sic) nominees. I now urge the Democrat(sic) superdelegates to make your mind up and publicly go for Obama."

In a related item, Limbaugh then went on to urge the Sun to rise tomorrow, along with a call for the continued application of the Law of Gravity.

Harking back to the evil nemesis of Maxwell Smart, the other KAOS, isn't it way past time to put Limbaugh under the "Cone of Silence"?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Derby Day Politics

Baron Hill at Riverview Towers, Saturday May 3, 2008
Lee Hamilton at Riverview Towers May 3, 2008

The past and present Ninth District Congressmen spoke Saturday, near post time, on behalf of Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
Was it raucus? No.
Was it a packed house? No.
Was it inspiring? Yes.

The crowd was mainly comprised of the elderly residents of Riverview Towers. Frankly, many of them came for the pizza provided by the Obama campaign. They got that, to be sure, but they also got an impassioned plea from both men on the significance of the Obama campaign for America.

Hill spoke first and then introduced Hamilton. Hill talked about the psychological barrier that had kept humans from running a mile in a time faster than four minutes. That barrier came down on May 6, 1954 as Roger Bannister beat the clock. Hill said we, as a nation, could not conceive of a black man having an honest chance of winning the presidency until recently. That psychological barrier is coming down, win or lose, because Obama is in the race. He is elevating the level of the debate by running a positive campaign. His very presence in the race brings the hope of transformational change.

Hamilton spoke also about the hope of real transforming change. As he put it, it's time for a new generation to start leading this country. It is time, he said, to leave behind the back room deals and lobbyist-driven legislation. Neither he nor Hill glossed over the difficulty of playing the game with new rules. Neither said it is a certainty that it can be done. But both said it is imperative that we try, and now, because our stature in the world has been so terribly damaged by Bush and Cheney.

The inspiring thing about the day's event was the fact that Hamilton and Hill but especially Hamilton came out on Derby Day to address a relatively sparse and slightly less than entusiastic crowd. This was an opportunity to phone it in; say something about making sure you get out to vote Tuesday, tell your friends to vote and isn't this a great country we live in? Hamilton could have done that but he didn't. The former Representative with 34 years under his belt spoke with conviction and passion about how the eyes of the world are on, and will be on, Indiana Tuesday. Will we let the opportunity to chart a new course pass us by? Will we show the world that we want to continue on the same path we've been following or that we want to join the rest of the world and somehow make amends for the disasters that Bush has wrought?

Hamilton closed his remarks by pointing out that one man in the back of the room had nodded out and another had spent much of the time checking his watch. It easy to figure why they were not too engaged. After all, it's time for new hands to take the wheel.

I am disappointed in the turn the Democratic campaign has taken and, frankly, I feel that Senator Clinton and or her operatives are to blame for it. Not the Jeremiah Wright mess; that was a self-inflicted wound. What is most disturbing for me is the tone struck by the Clinton camp through the incessant harping on the remark a few weeks ago that Pennsylvanians were "bitter". (I addressed that point in a post here titled "Bitter. Who's Bitter?")

Now we have the goofy suggestion that the U.S. take a summer vacation from gasoline taxes. That is precisely the kind of pandering which results in cynicism about the political system. Don't worry about global warming. Don't try to think about why we've allowed ourselves to be tied to an unsustainable transportation system. And by the way, don't think about the fact that the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid and the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi both say they won't bring the proposal up for a vote. And don't think about the fact that most economists think it's a goofy idea.

Today, on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, Sen. Clinton was in Indianapolis taking questions from an audience. She derided Sen. Obama's opposition to the gas tax holiday, in what must be a newly settled-on wedgeword for the campaign "elite" and its many variants, for being a dealer in "elite opinion". The irony in that is rich. Who is the real elitist Sen. Clinton, when the "common man" is assumed to be too unsophisticated, or thick-headed to realize that a temporary tax break on fuel is only an election gimmick? (kind of like the election-time pledge that Republicans will return us to the days of strong moral values and illegal abortions, when in reality they only want to deliver tax cuts for the real elites)

I'll grant that because of the economic situation we are in, some may be desparate and may see hope in that illusory savings. But the true holder of the elitist label should be Bush Inc., not fellow Democrat Barack Obama. Senator Clinton knows this, and her continued flailing attacks threaten the ultimate goal in November: preventing a third Bush term under John McCain.