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


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. 

Add India to the List. Will America Be Next?

India elected it’s first female president, Pratibha Patil, last Saturday.  This adds India to the list of countries that have elected, appointed or otherwise ended up with women as political leaders.

Now, I don’t know very much about Indian history, its politics or its culture.  I know the basic story of Ghandi and I’ve heard “Bollywood” rivals Hollywood in terms of size and money.  I also know that the few Indian films I have seen are absolutely beautiful. 

But, as happy for India as I am, this post isn’t really about India (did you really think it world be?).  See, America is on the verge of entering that list, too. 

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is making a strong run for the White House and, across the country, feminists, Democrats and moderates are watching with anticipation to see if she can pull off the Democratic nomination and the general election. 

As a male feminist, a large part of me wanted to immediately endorse Clinton and start campaigning for her.  But I wanted to look at the field of potential candidates and, when I did, I also found a strong African American candidate and a wonderful, but second tier, Hispanic candidate.  And I knew in my heart of hearts that as much as I wanted a minority as our Commander in Chief, to endorse, campaign for or vote for someone simply because he or she is a minority is just as wrong as not doing those things because the candidate is a minority.  And thus began a long and difficult process of researching and thinking about each candidate.

I am from Ohio and I am an anti-war, ultra leftist liberal, so I absolutely love Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich.  But he has no chance.  Still, it is great to hear him speak so passionately about making peace the guiding principal of our nation’s political, economic, and foreign policies.

Mike Gravel scares me.  Period.  That man is angry.  And he is too extreme even for me.

As for Chris Dodd … well, I don’t know him.  And after watching three debates and doing a whole bunch of research, I still don’t know him.  I don’t see much that distinguishes him from the rest of the candidates.  And while he seems intelligent and capable of being a good leader, I don’t see the passion in him that I see in other candidates.

At first, I liked Joe Biden.  He is clearly very smart and passionate.  And I respect his comment in the recent YouTube debate about the Michigander whose baby was an assault riffle (Biden said, “That man needs help.”).  Of course, the comment means the NRA will keep him from ever being President, but that is okay.  He doesn’t seem right for the job.  He doesn’t seem to have the temperment needed of a President.

I have been quite impressed by Bill Richardson, though.  Quite frankly, I would love to see him as our President.  But the time doesn’t seem right for him.  He seems too uncomfortable as a candidate and this campaign feels more like a primer for him.  He seems to be getting his sea legs in preparation for another run in four or eight years (depending on the need).  I think he would be a perfect running mate for any candidate, though, especially with his ties to the southwestern states.

When the primaries started, I thought I was going to support John Edwards.  His passion about fighting poverty is close to my heart.  I still have warm feelings about him from the Kerry/Edwards campaign of 2004.  He has seemed gentle, but firm.  He has run a wonderful campaign based on populist ideas and issues that I support.  But, I also think his cure can be as damaging as the disease.  I cannot support a mandated universal heath insurance plan because it will take needed money away from poor people without them having any say in it.  And something about him makes me trust him less and less.  Is he saying what he believes or is he saying what he thinks people want to hear, even though all experts say not to say things like “We need to raise taxes”?  In other words, I wonder if he is being honest or if he is pretending to be honest?  I respect his editorial about his decision to authorize the War in Iraq.  I also respect his honesty about his personal struggle with the issue of homosexuality.  I want to believe him that his personal beliefs will not affect his decisions regarding “the gay issue” but as a strong believer is equal rights for all Americans, I cannot take the chance.  So, for Edwards, gay rights became the deal breaker.

Barak Obama is charismatic, hopeful and exciting.  I love to watch and listen to him speak.  I love to see the crowds gathering for him.  I love his optimism and his belief in the goodness of Americans and America.  But I feel he lacks substance.  His entire plan seems to be “Hope.”  Unfortunately, as Anderson Cooper has said, “Hope is not a plan.”  I know he has had experience as a community leader, as a state legislator and the past few years as a state Senator.  But his inexperience worries me when I think of him as President.  As with Bill Richardson, I think Obama would be wonderful as a Vice President, but not yet as a President.

And then there is Hillary Clinton.  I didn’t want to support Clinton.  I thought there was no way for me to support her without supporting her just because she is a woman.  I really distanced myself when she didn’t take a strong stand against the Military Commisions Act of 2006 that allowed for the torture of individuals suspected of being terrorists.  But then I stepped back and realized that I had given serious thought to the other candidates and I should give serious thought to her too. 

And I found out that I loved Hillary Clinton.  Yes, torture act aside (which she did condemn, thought she didn’t stop the act from passing), she is a fabulous candidate.  Her foreign policy experience and connections are superb and make her, probably, the leading expert on such matters among all of the candidates (Democratic and Republican).  Her record on women’s issues, gay and lesbian issues and other minority issues is flawless.  She is calm, collected, intelligent and assertive.  She considers compromise but also stays true to her convictions.  And, though she is a progressive (which means she a moderate Democrat) and thought I am a die hard liberal, I understand the need for a united country, which a leftist like myself in the White House would never bring.  Some say Clinton can’t bring that either, because of her baggage, but I disagree.  She has a good chance of winning the general election and a good chance of taking us as a nation into the future.  And I don’t entirely disagree with many of the ideas put forth by the DLC.

Monday’s YouTube debate solidified it for me.  I want Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States.  Now begins the future and it looks bright. 

By The Numbers” by KpZa

And because I thought it was a great video:

Candidates” by Richardson4President