Monthly Archives: August 2008

On Elitism

Politicians are not normal people. It takes a special kind of person to run for office, one with an incredible amount of confidence- “arrogance”, if you will- and a belief that they are the best person for the job at which so many have had problems. For these reasons alone, it is ridiculous to for a candidate- running for president, no less- to call another candidate “elitist.” Of course he is elitist. So are you. I am, of course, not referring to any two candidates in particular.

The most comical part of this whole exchange has been the comments leading up to it.

1) In a forum at Saddleback Church in Southern California a couple of days ago, when asked what he considered “rich,” John McCain responded that the term can be applied to anyone who makes more than FIVE MILLION DOLLARS a year.

2) Today, when asked how many houses he owns, he responded that he didn’t know and “would have his staff get back” to the inquiring reporter

3) When Obama started using the “houses” statement in ads, McCain’s spokesman responded:

Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people “cling” to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans?

By 100% non-partisan logic, therefore, Barack Obama is not rich, but by virtue of “only” making $4 million a year, just middle class. What kind of elitist does that make him?

So Obama isn’t rich, and McCain has so many houses that he can’t keep track. Which sounds more elitist to you?

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That’s My Baby! A roundup of anything interesting, stupid, or funny around the web

This is a continuation of a feature that I started a couple of weeks ago and will continue to continue… whenever I feel like it. Here we goooo:

My personal favorite blog, Wonkette, has a great way to freak out your Obamaniacal friends with a fake text message announcing his VP as…. Michael Moore! Or whoever else you want. [Wonkette]

John McCain is gaining ground in national polls– a result of his performance at the Saddleback Church event? Of people getting tired of Obama? Or something else? Will this climb continue? This whole thing makes me nervous…. [Pollster.com]

Rudy Guiliani is set to be the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention, as Republicans are trying to live their post-9/11 days of domination. Did I mention that Giuliani was the mayor then?! Former Democrat and winner of the Benedict Arnold Prize for Bipartisanship, Senator Joseph Lieberman will also speak. [HuffPo]

If you want to learn more about Obama but wish you could be taught in your native language of “frat boy,” Brobama has your back. Learn about the issues and how they apply to you, the common bro. [Brobama]

Check out these TRULY, TRULY awesome buttons from Democratic Stuff: Bug Enthusiasts for Obama! Mohawks for Obama! Oil Barons for Obama! Etc Etc Etc- check it out- all 3 pages. [Democratic Stuff]

Anything else?

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Every Four Years

I have Olympic fever, and I am not ashamed to admit it. It’s a devastating disease- I have been known to turn down meeting with friends in order to watch the Games- and yet one that I have no intention of curing.

He's running for me!

The Olympics are fascinating to me for many reasons, including the fact that I am freakishly competitive. I also love sports, and men without shirts. But most of all, I love the idea that countries, sometimes in the middle of civil wars, governmental instability, and more, can come together and compete. I love that (almost) every nation (and Puerto Rico!) is represented, and that athletes have a uncanny ability to make their fellow countrypeople proud.

Or at least this is the effect the Olympics have on me. On Tuesday night I watched Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak, and the rest of the men’s 4 x 100 freestyle swim team pull off a truly miraculous come-from-behind gold medal win. On the inside I was screaming, jumping up and down, and waving an enormous American flag at the top of the Statue of Liberty- even if on the outside I only was sitting on my couch, cursing and yelling at a TV screen. Last night, I was living and dying by the U.S. men’s gymnastics team’s pommel horse performances. Despite the fact that I don’t know any of these athletes, at the Olympics I watch them with the same nerve and emotional attachment as I would a family member.

Meanwhile, outside of the frantic Beijing bubble, China continues to commit serious human rights abuses in places like Tibet, and fund them in Darfur. Even inside it, they have blocked foreign journalists’ access to websites including those belonging to Amnesty International and controversial religious group Falun Gong.

It’s a stark contrast. The Olympics bring us stories like this, the real world, this. But China will be disappointed to know that the Olympics do not exist to cover up, or even overshadow, international stories. The spectacular Opening Ceremony will not mean that China can escape some responsibility for the atrocities in Darfur, and, although coverage has been waning over the last few days, people will not forget about Tibet. Rather, these stories are approached in a different way at the Olympics. Through the Olympics we come to appreciate the power of the truly amazing men and women around the world that we would otherwise not know existed. Through the Olympics we see past the showboating and chest-puffing of governments and bear witness to the vulnerability of our fellow human beings- and nothing makes us more united.

International relations-from the UN to NATO, from China to the US to Darfur- at its core, is glorified group therapy. A former diplomat that I once heard speak described how he once was in the middle of a really difficult negotiation session: the two parties just could not agree, could not even find common ground- everyone was tired and ready to give up. Then they brought out the alcohol. People began to talk about their families. They came out of their emotionless, suit-and-tie shells and began to loosen up. They even began to sing. The result was that an agreement was reached, and each person left understanding that maybe the “foreigners” were not so foreign after all.

That’s what the Olympics do. They take away the boundaries, each country’s own Great Wall, if you will. One can only imagine how much better off the world would be if the negotiations were conducted by people willing to set themselves up for failure- or victory- as much as Olympic athletes. Maybe we’d see a little less war and a little more of this.

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From Me to You: Why Hillary Supporters Should Back Obama

So the media is blowing up over the idea that “embittered” Hillary Clinton supporters (affectionately called “Hilltards” by the Wonkette crowd) would be so angry at the DNC’s treatment of Clinton that they would vote for John McCain, who–get this– is a Republican.

I hope that these predictions do not come true, and I don’t believe they will. I have only encountered one person who, after Hillary lost, switched their allegiances. This person, “Mona,” responded to an email by the UC Berkeley campus coordinator who was trying to rally up support for Obama. Mona wrote (to everyone who received the original email):

When the leaders of the Democratic Party did not stand up to the Trinity Church of Chicago when they mocked Hillary Clinton and when they stayed silent while Randi Rhodes called her a f’ing whore and when the media disrespected her – they in turn showed me this is NOT a party I want to belong to.   Not only will I give my vote to John McCain I am seriously considering flying to a swing state – IF the race is close – which I doubt – to help GOTV on his behalf.  The DNC chose Barry before Country during the last 3 months of this race when she was kicking his ass.

When she was challenged by another person on the mailing list, she wrote back:

HILLARY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY DECISION and to blame her is frankly immature and just another “scare” tactic.   I have a brain — I am a leader not a follower.  I make my own decisions.  When Hillary stepped down today that left me a free agent.  I didn’t believe in everything Hillary stood for, however, I stood by her.  I for one hope she’s NOT the VP – she outshines Barry – he needs her – not the other way around.

You don’t get IT – what I am standing up for is WOMEN TO BE TREATED FAIRLY and with RESPECT.  That’s the stance I am taking.  The leadership of the Democratic Party needs to take heed.  When they lose in November they can blame themselves.  I won’t stay in an abusive relationship.

The whole exchange was melodramatic and frankly sad- the culmination of almost a year of hard work leading to a rapid decline and then failure, resulting in in-fighting and finger-pointing.

I quote this email because it gives us a glimpse of the logic behind a Hillary->McCain supporter. Otherwise, I really can’t grasp why any Hillary fan- Democrat or otherwise- could think that McCain is the better choice.

I mean, really:

  • Hillary- Pro-choice
  • Obama- Pro-choice
  • McCain- Mostly pro-life
  • Hillary- Against the war
  • Obama- Against the war
  • McCain- For the war (“100 more years!”)
  • Hillary- Against Prop. 8 (CA Constitutional ban on gay marriage)
  • Obama- Against Prop. 8
  • McCain- Supports Prop. 8
  • Hillary– Supports habeas corpus rights for Guantanamo detainees
  • Obama– Supports habeas corpus rights for Guantanamo detainees
  • McCain– Against habeas corpus rights for Guantanamo detainees

…. the list could go on forever. The fact is, John McCain, while not maybe as truly terrible as some many most Republicans, he is still a Republican, which means, like it or not, he follows in the footsteps of George Walker Bush (remember him? the President?). Another Republican president not only means 4+ more years of Republicans claiming to represent mainstream America, it also  means Republican Supreme Court appointees (bring us even closer to the overturning of Roe v Wade), and the people who currently advise Bush on issues of foreign and domestic policy will just switch over to the McCain administration. We can’t have this happen.

Hillary Clinton supports Obama. I find it fascinating that Mona can be so enraged by the DNC’s alleged maltreatment of Clinton and then completely disregard the endorsement of the woman she so passionately admires. Furthermore, the idea that Mona is somehow punishing the DNC by voting for McCain is both delusional and self-important. She seems to miss the fact that she is hurting herself and the very rights she supported when voting for Hillary by voting for the Republican party- and therefore against abortion, gay marriage, and, most tragically, the Constitution.

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