The Long Run, from The New York Times

Most of what I’ve been reading about, writing about, and thinking about over the past week or so have been the developments in Burma.  But here is a quick post about the upcoming Presidential Election in America.

The New York Times has been running a series of extended reports on the Presidential candidates of both parties.  The series is called “The Long Run”.  The paper describes the series in the following way: “This is part of a series of articles about the lives and careers of contenders for the 2008 Republican and Democratic presidential nominations.”

Here are links to the reports that have been published so far:

Dodd’s Other Campaign: Fixing Dad’s Reputation (not exactly part of the series, but the only report of this kind on Dodd so far)
In 9/11 Chaos, Giuliani Forged a Lasting Image 
In Olympics Success, Romney Found New Edge
In 2000, a Streetwise Veteran Schooled a Bold Young Obama
In Turmoil of ’68, Clinton Found a New Voice 
As Counsel, Thompson Walked Capital’s Fine Line 
In a Volatile City, a Stern Line on Race and Politics (Giuliani again)
In Illinois, Obama Proved Pragmatic and Shrewd (Obama again)



Where Have You Gone, Kurt Cobain?

I miss the 90’s.  I loved the 90’s.  And as much as I want to believe we are heading back toward the prosperity and forward thinking of the 90’s, I will wait a year or so to see where the country is at.  The Huffington Post, though, is making predictions now.  Check it out:

Arianna Huffington: Sunday Roundup

I hope you are right, Arianna.  I hope you are right.


Oh, Come On, Part Two!

Really?  I mean really?  Oh, just check it out for yourself:

Hillary Clinton: I’m not a lesbian

Will someone explain to me in what universe this is a necessary and appropriate question to ask Senator Clinton? 

Maybe I’m rushing to judgement here.  Maybe this is a serious question.  Maybe I have serious questions.

Yes, in the name of democracy, for the safety of our nation and for the love of mom’s apple pie, I want answers to the following questions:

Is English really George Bush’s first language?

Is Mitt Romney’s tan real or sprayed on?

Is Rudy Giuliani a goblin?

How old exactly is John McCain?

Is Fred Thompson a real person or a Hollywood invention?

And are these people from Mars?

Republican Candidates Don’t Believe in Evolution” posted by BlissfulKnowledge

UPDATED 9/24/07: 3:34 PM

This thread has been picked up on a discussion board.  Check it out:

I Am NOT A Lesbian


Conservative Hat Trick

There are three news stories that occured in the past couple of days that I wanted report. 

The first comes from Maryland:

Maryland Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The second whammy came out of California:

Governor Promises Veto of Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Finally, because Mitt Romney needs to prove his conservative credentials, here is a story out of Iowa:

Romney launches anti-gay marriage ad in Iowa

I find all this disheartening, especially the Maryland case, though not just because it comes on the heels of Idaho’s ruling that a same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. 

More so, I find it interesting in light of the decision in New Jersey that a doctor is not required to tell a woman seeking an abortion that the fetus is an “existing human being.”  The New Jersey courts made that decision because there was no medical or public consensus as to when life begins.  It doesn’t seem, to me at least, that there is medical or public consensus that “homosexuality is not an ‘immutable characteristic,’ such as gender or race, that one is born with”. 

Yes, an election must be coming up.  Same sex marriage laws are coming to a head again.

UPDATED 9/19/07: 3:21 PM

If you want to read some responses to the Maryland case by gay rights groups and advocates, click here.

And in good news, San Diego City Council has voted to support a law suit that challenges California’s same-sex marriage ban.  This could, of course, then lead to a showdown with Governor Schwarzenegger.

What is an “Existing Human Being”?

Last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a doctor has no duty to tell a woman considering an abortion that the fetus is an “existing human being.”  Read all about it, from The San Diego Union-Tribune:

Top New Jersey court scraps trial on whether doctor misled woman on abortion

The particulars of this specific case in question are difficult and I feel bad if this woman experienced emotional distress due to what happened during her abortion.  After reading her story, I can see, emotionally, why many advocates against abortion rallied to her side.  I could also see why some pro-choice advocates would be wary to criticize the original ruling.  The emotional rhetoric here is high.

But the courts made the right decision.  Ruling that a doctor must inform a woman that the fetus is an “existing human being” simply does not reflect medical or public consensus, as the judges here explained.

Now, this ruling does not forbid a doctor from telling a woman that the fetus is an “existing human being” but requiring him or her to do so, one of many requirements that those opposing abortion have tried to pass, would be a backdoor attempt to undermine reproductive rights. 

As we gear up for 2008 and the candidates get whittled down, we will start to see where the Republican Party will stand on the issue (the Democratic candidates are pretty much all on the same page here).  Many Republicans follow strict pro-life guidelines, often generated from religious beliefs, that a life is a life is a life.  Some, like Rudy Giuliani, call themselves “strict constructionists.”  This means that, following the strictest reading of the Constitution, they believe abortion laws should be decided by states. 

Guiliani is an interesting case because he has taken a lot of heat from the GOP base for his “socially liberal” views.  Many say he is pro-choice — and he may indeed be pro-choice.  But like many Christian Democrats who have said they will never let their religious views affect their governing rules, Guiliani, if he is pro-choice, would never let his liberal views affect his conservative governing rules. 

So, for those of you moderate readers who are considering Guiliani as your candidate in hopes that he will please conservatives with his foreign policies and liberals with his social policies, think again.  There is no doubt in my mind that given the chance, Guiliani will do everything he can to overturn Roe v. WadeHe is no ally of reproductive rights. 

But don’t believe me.  Read Eric Johnston’s recent Op/Ed piece:

Anti-Roe and Pro-Rudy

UPDATED 9/19/07: 8:00 AM

According to The New Jersey Record, Rosa Acuna’s attorney plans to take this case to the Supreme Court.  Here we go again.

UPDATED 9/26/07: 5:44 PM

Rosa Acuna’s attorney has officially asked New Jersey’s Supreme Court to take a look at this case.  The attorney, Harold Cassidy, says this is the last step before filing an appeal with the United States Supreme Court.  Here we go again, indeed.  Read all about it:

State Supreme Court asked to reconsider abortion ruling

Political History: The End of the Two Party System

While I haven’t always been a political person, I have always been interested in Political History.  I am, by nature, interested in history and, for whatever reason, I am quite interested in the way the two major parties in America have evolved, devolved, died out, been reinvented and reborn. 

Searching through various WordPress posts the other day, I came across a blog that resparked my interest in the history of the parties.

The Big Switch: Conservatives leaving the Republican Party from Newsparade

The post describes a recent trend away from the Republican Party by conservatives.  Certainly, I was interested as that would likely be great news for Democrats.  Still, I’m not sure I agree that the thesis is true (I know no evidence either for or against the claim).  Even so, if the thesis is true it doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a huge windfall for the Democrats as many disenfranchized conservatives are probably as likely to not vote as to vote for Hillary Clinton (or any other Democrat).  They may even follow Senator Lincoln Chaffee’s lead from 2004 and vote for George Bush Sr.

Still, it is interesting.  What is happening to the parties and to the party faithful?  Back around the primaries for the 2000 election, I had a conversation with one of my brother’s friends.  We were discussing the two party system and how there hadn’t been a major change in the system in over a hundred years.  Major shifts rarely happen.  The parties rarely crumble.  But there have been significant shifts in the political alignment and platforms of the two major parties.  This can most easily be seen in the shift of Southern voters toward the Democratic party after the Civil War, in response to their dislike of Republican President Lincoln.  This shift reversed itself in many ways after Democratic President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.

So, we were talking about the state of the parties back in 2000.  We both recognized a fissure occuring within both parties.  On one side, for the Republicans, there were old school, fiscal conservatives like John McCain.  On the other side were the newer social conservatives like George W. Bush.  But the same was true for the Democratic party. There were old, school, hard lined liberals (my kind of people) like Ted Kennedy.  But there was also a new group of moderate, or centrist, Democrats that had formed the Democratic Leadership Council (President Clinton was a DLC member). 

My brother’s friend and I pondered this and wondered what the future would hold.  Would the two parties splinter into four, necessitating a long period of political fighting and in-fighting in order to determine which of the four options would dominate and, ultimately, take over the Two Party System (This could explain why, in a House and Senate where barely a majority exists, so little is able to be accomplished that is veto-proof)?  Or maybe the differences within the parties would be worked out and a united front could still be put forward. 

I’m not sure if, seven years later, it is clear how the movements within the parties will work out.  This election, it seems, the Democrats are united at least in message.  The Republicans seem less united and with an unpopular President and an unpopular war, both of which are popular among their base of primary voters, the political historian in me is quite interesting to see how it all plays out. 

Fear Factory

Well, next week General Petraeus will report to Congress about the success of President Bush’s troop surge.  All early reports say he will recommend high troop levels into next year but “could accept the pullback of roughly 4,000 troops beginning in January, in part to assuage critics in Congress“.

Paul Krugman, who apparently I have become a fan of in the past few weeks, has an editorial in which he argues for what he thinks Congress’ response to the Petraeus Report should be:

Time to Take a Stand

The news will be filled with commentary on the Petraeus Report and Congress’ reaction.  We will hear every credible angle on every sentence of the debate.  And I guess that is a good thing, though that will depend on what the American people do with and about the debate.  If anything.

But what I find interesting is this new news item that happened yesterday:

Bin Laden to issue video as 9/11 anniversary approaches

Yep, here we go again.  Now, I’m no conspiracist and generally I find that coincidences are coincidences and I’m more than willing to accept those coincidences.  And I really am not convinced that the Bush Administration is in control of this coming video.  But, it does point me in the direction of questioning the Administration’s use of terror levels and “gut feelings.”

Coincidence once is coincidence.  Coincidence twice might be coincidence.  Coincidence thirteen times, as of October 2005, starts to make conspiracies seem valid.  Maybe even credible.  And in October 2005, Keith Olbermann reported thirteen “coincidences” where terror levels were raised during key moments of trouble for the Bush Administration, includding some that directly correlated with John Kerry’s ascendency in popularity during 2004. 

And now we are heading headlong toward the 2008 primaries.  Thompson is in.  Clinton is soaring in the polls.  Iraq is clouding everything.  And everyone is waiting with baited breath for General Petraeus to speak.  But not until after bin Ladin speaks.

Of course, there have been terror problems lately.  Major attacks have just been foiled in Germany and we witnessed the attacks in Scotland this past June.  And I’m not going to blame the Bush Administration for these things (though others have laid the groudwork for that conspiracy).

I have no real argument here.  I have no detailed, documented point to make.  But I do have a suggestion.  Watch as the 2008 election draws closer.  Pay attention to the terror alerts and pay attention to the information the government releases (which they’ve claimed must be kept secret for National Security reasons, but during an election that doesn’t matter) regarding the War on Terror.

See, I’d love to say that even the Bush Administration wouldn’t stoop so low as to use terror alerts to coerce the American people.  But I would also love to believe the Bush Administration wouldn’t attack the electoral process by trying to convince the American people that a vote for a Democrat is a vote for terrorists.  They’ve already proven they will do the latter.  We’ll see about the former.

Vote Democrat, Vote Terrorist” posted by Nedheads