Sunday, June 7, 2009

Politics: posts from the campaign, 2008

The first debate, 9/27/08
"When the economy sucks, you should talk about the economy sucking!"
--- Chris Matthews, post-debate

TENSIONS WERE HIGH in my house as I prepped to watch the debate. By that I mean: I was tense. "Eat your dinner fast, you guys. Mom's going to be completely ignoring you for the next 90 minutes."

Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that dramatic. But try as I might, I just couldn't make my children understand the importance of the evening. Claire, age 6, and Emma, age 8, were quite happy to be sent off to their room with a little bowl of candy corn; their Webkinz were waiting. (For the uninitiated, Webkinz are the Beanie Babies of 2008.)

I thought I'd be able to get Charlie, 11, to at least acknowledge the significance of the first presidential debate of this historic campaign. What I got was the answer every mom whose child is on the brink of puberty dreads hearing:

"I see your lips moving, but all I hear is bla, bla, bla, bla..."

So, he sat down to watch something on YouTube that was undoubtedly inappropriate for his age, and I perched on the edge of the coffee table to start watching. (It's a good launching pad for emergency takeoffs, like when kids start pummeling each other.)

First of all, it was unfortunate that someone on Senator McCain's staff chose that striped tie for him. It caused a rather distracting moire pattern on the tv screen. Oh wait, he probably picked it himself, without giving a lot of thought about if it was the best choice for the job... which reminds me of... well, you know.

Dan came home about 15 minutes in. He was grateful I had something resembling dinner for him, because he wanted to get out of there fast. He has run out of patience with me and my election fever. "I don't need to watch any of this. I'm voting for Obama, I'm done." Grabbing the keys to the van, he retreated to his escape, Home Depot, to get the quarter-round molding for the new floors.

It didn't take me too long to start thinking, My guy is killing this!!! But I don't even pretend to be impartial, so I'll just pass on the finer points, because I thought Obama did very well. He was every bit as distinguished as I'd expected him to be. A true statesman: polished, informed, thoughtful.

Meanwhile, John McCain was talking about the height of South Koreans. Huh?!?

And I really, honestly never thought I'd hear a presidential candidate in the year 2008 use the words "apparatchik" and "KGB" (okay, it's an acronym) in a debate!

And then it was over, and the candidates' wives joined them on stage. Not your best dress choice, Michelle, sorry. It kinda looked like the darts in the back burst open. But I gotta love her, I got junk in my trunk too. And what's up with the Goldilocks hair, Cindy?

Dan came home and took the molding into the garage to paint it. I think he might have set up a hammock, too, I'm not sure. By then I was deep into the spin on CNN, and the kids were watching "Zathura" on Cartoon Network.

Have I mentioned my unnatural obsession with Anderson Cooper, and how his pale blue ties make his eyes so dreamy? (Yes, I know, he's gay. Like I had a shot anyway.)

And Joe Biden... the whole time I watched him talking to Wolf Blitzer, I couldn't stop picturing him with big sharp pointy teeth, slobbering at the feast coming next Thursday in his debate with sweet sweet Sarah. Mmmm, moosey!

Seriously, though, on substance, it wasn't the big show we'd all hoped for. There were some good jabs. The early polls came in showing Obama with a pretty strong win percentage, which is cool. But there's a ways to go yet.

In the meantime, let us all analyze why Johnny Mac never looked at his opponent, and if it was disrespectful of Obama to call him "John".

Okay, finally! I've been waiting for this. Someone on Rachel Maddow said Obama "knocked it out of the park." I can go to bed now.

And, it starts...

The McCain camp has been mailing out misleading absentee ballot applications in Ohio, perhaps the most important swing state. The incident occurred in Hamilton County (Cincinnati), which traditionally votes Republican. In 2004 Bush won Hamilton County by a slim margin, and Obama has been targeting the large African-American population there in an effort to win the highly populated area.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer, 9/11/08:

"About one-third of the absentee ballot applications received at the Hamilton County Board of Elections have been ruled invalid because Republican Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign printed a version of the form with an extra, unneeded box on it.

In a narrow interpretation of Ohio law, Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner says many of the McCain forms have not been completed properly. If the box stating the person is an eligible elector -- or qualified voter – is not checked, Brunner said, the application is no good.

Even though the box is unneeded, by not checking it voters are essentially admitting they’re not eligible, Brunner said.

“I have not seen a ruling that indirectly impacts voters to the enormity of this since I’ve been here,’’ Hamilton County Board of Elections Deputy Director John Williams said of his nearly five-year tenure at the board.

More than 750 absentee ballot requests in Hamilton County have been invalidated because of Brunner’s ruling, Williams said."

Read the entire story at:

Sarah Palin: she's got spunk!

And in the famous words of Mr. Grant: I hate spunk.

I would like to congratulate the Republican Party for pulling together behind the hot mess that is Sarah Palin. You gotta give them credit: they are loyal. McCain was never a big hit with them, but once it became clear he was the guy, oh how they fell into lockstep. Not at all like those emotional, fight-to-the-end Democrats.

Like the rest of the country, I have been enthralled by this remarkable train wreck. Watching the RNC now is like watching the biggest advertorial in the history of television. The Selling of Sarah, starring the entire GOP!

She’s a great choice!!! says Tim Pawlenty between clenched teeth.

Her experience and grit, bla bla bla!!! says Kay Bailey Hutchison with a stiff smile, through the haze of the valium she took to make the nightmares stop.

There’s a group called The White House Project, which exists to promote women in positions of leadership and power. I got on their list by applying for a spot at a women’s leadership conference sponsored by O Magazine (didn’t get it). So anyway, when they sent me an email asking “what do you think of McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin?”, I went to the blog and checked it out.

My own comment was short but sweet. “Sarah Palin is so far removed from my views on women’s issues, she might as well be a man.”

I checked back later to see what the buzz was like among the other women associated with the White House Project. I was pleased to see a comment from another woman referring to my comment and saying, “I couldn’t have said it better myself!”

Overall the comments were about 4 to 1 against the choice. One commenter wrote, “… the McCain campaign must believe that women have the collective IQ of a Tampax in this blatant pandering to get the women’s vote.”

And this one really struck a chord with me:

“McCain WOULD NEVER PICK A MAN WITH SUCH INFERIOR QUALIFICATIONS. (my caps) I find this embarrassing and I feel insulted.”

So then I watched the speech.

And I kept thinking, oh my God, if I have to listen to that VOICE for the next four years… She sounds like my late Aunt Thelma (rest her soul) from Toledo.

Okay, okay that’s a cheap shot. But it’s true. For me.

The other thing I kept thinking was, she’s so darn cute! She’s just the cutest thing, I want to pinch her Mary Kay perfect cheeks! Oh, look at little Piper smoothing the baby’s hair! Awwwww!!! And look at Bristol’s boyfriend, holding her hand so sweetly… like he had a choice about that… but those Palins aren’t big on choice, are they?

Okay, sorry. Back to the speech…

Yeah, she’s spunky! Feisty! Funny joke! Lipstick, ha ha ha ha!!! And Todd’s still her guy! I turned to Dan and said, “I’d vote for her for PTA president ANY DAY!”

She was even spunky with her bullshit, and very convincing as she lied about Obama’s policies. Feisty as she tossed off her little slams (between the big ones). My favorite was when she said “after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet…” Big laugh. Healing the planet, yeah, snort snort, that’s funny.

Later, on CNN, Jeffrey Toobin called her “smug” and “sarcastic”. I prefer “snarky”. That’s a favorite word of mine. (That, and “bloviate”.) (and “pudding”, but I digress.) Yes, she was absolutely smug and snarky, no question. Unattractive, but perhaps necessary given her role.

Yet in the end, I felt cheated. It’s true, I’m not on her team. But still, I expected a little substance. I wanted her to tell me more than the same “thanks but no thanks” bridge-to-nowhere, sold my jet on eBay stuff. Where’s the meat? Where do you stand, Sarah? Come right on out in front of the 37 million Americans watching you, and tell them that you don’t believe mankind has anything to do with global warming! Tell them that you think abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape or incest! Tell them about shooting wildlife from helicopters, and wanting to drill in ANWR even though McCain opposes it! Health care, Sarah! You’re the advocate for people with special needs children: what about people with special needs children and no insurance?

We want to know! And it’s not fair for you to attack the media for telling us the stuff you won’t!

Tell ya what… I just can’t wait to see what Joe Biden does with the Hockey Mom. You’re in the big leagues now, spunky. Better sharpen your stick.

And anyway, has anybody checked to see if she’s related to Michael Palin?

Obama's acceptance speech, August 28, 2008

Beginning with U2 playing as he took the stage ("City of Blinding Lights"), I had tears in my eyes throughout Senator Obama's historic and inspiring speech.

I am so privileged to be alive, in this country, at this moment in our history. And so very proud to support this man as my candidate. What an honor. I will never forget this night: sitting on my comfy couch, kids playing at the neighbor's house, puppy at my side, watching a truly transformational moment in American politics.

Filled with hope like never before. Blessings on America.

p.s. a poem by Lean:

totally rocks.
At last we have
an anti-Fox!!!

Tivo Time at Saddleback Church

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I have watched Obama's portion of the program, and don't have much to say, because his views reflect mine with a few exceptions. Obviously I feel he is the better candidate. I am going to watch McCain's half and comment as we go along. Enjoy the ride my friends, welcome to Leanne’s soapbox!

Obama is a thoughtful, brilliant man who is not afraid to acknowledge the complexity of the office of president and the issues. Sincere. Smart. Talk about change.

I find Rick Warren to be very engaging. If you know me you know I do not identify as a Christian... or a Buddhist, Muslim, Shinto, atheist or wiccan. Hooray for Unitarian Universalism, where I am encouraged to explore my beliefs and universal truths. I agree with his statement in the introduction that we believe in the separation of church and state, but not faith and politics. It's a fine line when you talk about faith, as the so-called "evangelicals" want to co-opt that term. Faith does not exclusively equal Christianity, and I appreciate the fact that Pastor Rick acknowledged that.

Okay, so the first person McCain thinks of when asked "who are the 3 wisest people that you know, that you would rely on heavily in an administration?" is Petraeus? As if we needed more proof that he would be a war president, funneling our resources (already sapped by this useless war in Iraq) into more war, instead of domestic needs.

Scary. War, war, war. Military focus. Bummer.

Offshore drilling gets a big hand. Jeez. I guess all these people care about is cheap gas. And they are ignoring the fact that the result of offshore drilling will be pennies at the pump some 10 years from now.

NUCLEAR POWER? I am never going to support that. Forget it. Now we want to emulate France? Freedom fries, anyone?

I am very disappointed that both candidates have come out against marriage equality. Just too controversial I guess. At least Obama was able to be compassionate, which McCain seems incapable of.

Man, McCain creeps me out, and I am officially over the POW stories. (Politically incorrect, I know.) We get it, dude. You're a war hero. Move on and help us out, here. What about global warming? What about health care? It's 2008, man.

I admit I'm easily offended when people trumpet their religiosity. It's always struck me as arrogant. So I'm hating this whole "Jesus died for my sins" stuff. But that's just me. I respect their rights to their beliefs. I just wish it didn’t have to be part of a presidential election. Guess I could never run for office.

McCain: an absolutist on abortion. Typical old white guy. So sick of policy being made by men, who have no idea what an unwanted pregnancy is like. "Rights of the unborn." But once you're born in this country, boy, you are so f*cked. Health care? Education? Abuse, starvation, poverty... good luck to ya, fetus.

Defeat evil. War, war, war. America, America, the chosen ones to judge and police the rest of the world. Obama emphasized bringing the “global community” into the picture. Which is the right thing to do.

Hold it, hold it... the transcendent challenge of the 21st century is RADICAL ISLAMIC EXTREMISM??? Are you KIDDING ME? I guess as long as we get those guys we don't need the polar ice caps, the ozone layer, and sea level can rise 20 feet devastating the world’s coastlines. Global warming is the transcendent challenge of the 21st century! Not to minimize the crazy terrorists, of course they must be dealt with, but we need an EARTH for future generations. Period.

Thanks, John, for helping clear up why I am so SCARED OF YOU!

Does Evil exist? Yes it does. What's evil is sending our troops to DIE in a war thinly disguised as "on terror" when in fact it is for foreign oil. THAT'S EVIL. Finding an excuse for a war in Iraq so big oil and Halliburton and all the war machinery can get rich, while our young men and women are killed and maimed THINKING it's for "freedom", that's evil.

You know what's really evil? RULING THE COUNTRY BY FEAR. That is evil.

“I Will Get Osama bin Laden.” Surefire applause line. I don't think Obama talked about the war at all (perhaps a mistake) and it's, like, the ONLY thing McCain is talking about.

More stuff I hate: ummm... well, his entire view about choice in education... more federal support for religious schools. American children deserve a public education and all public schools deserve federal support. Yeah put all the poor, underprivileged kids with crack moms and gangbangers for neighbors in a religious school and BAM! They’re succeeding! Give me a break. It’s not just education and “bad teachers”. It’s a pervasive social ill and much more complicated than “school vouchers”.

OMG… he actually said something I agree with… “Spending got completely out of control. We spent money that mortgaged our kids’ future.” Like, for a ridiculous war. Not crazy about the rest of it. I am in favor of rolling back the rich dudes’ tax breaks, given under Bush.

Part 3… more war stuff. Obama talked about responsibility to “the least of my brethren” (one of my favorite bible verses) (yes I have read the bible). McSame is talking about shedding blood in defense of other’s freedoms….

Fighting genocide. Remind me now… did we send any troops to Rwanda, John? Oh yeah, I forgot.. They’re not sitting on our oil. No troops for you. Sorry.

Interesting he’s saying the Russian actions against Georgia has something to do with the big oil pipeline going through Georgia… hmmm….

Man, my blood is just boiling. He gives Obama shit about “hope” and then he turns around and uses it in his own closing comments. “America wants hope… America wants optimism…”

Bottom Line:
If you like War, Fear and the same old-white-guy politics: vote McCain.
If you have hope and want to change our country for the better: vote Obama.

And that's my opinion. Have a good day, all.

It's a beautiful day....

As if I needed another reason to love Obama. The song playing when he walked in to give his sensational speech last night was by U2.

"See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out...

"It was a beautiful day
Don't let it get away..."

And then after the speech? Okay, who did I idolize in high school and college? That's right: Bruce. "The Rising". Let's ponder that chorus:

"Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight..."

I think it's the rising of the spirit of Americans. I'm sure my brothers will say it's the rising of our taxes.

Signed, sealed, delivered: I'm yours!
(That was the song after Bruce.) (Stevie Wonder, Dad!!!)

That ball was IN!

You can NOT be SERIOUS!!!

You may recall the famous words of world champion tennis player and crybaby John McEnroe. The line judge ruled against him, and what ensued amounted to a temper tantrum seen the world over; one that has defined McEnroe's career as much as his numerous victories at Wimbledon and elsewhere.

Remind you of anyone?

Does Hillary Clinton have no pride at all? How many times does she have to hear "do the math" before it sinks in?

Frankly, I'm embarrassed for her.

I have just read on the HuffPost that she is scheduled to make a "major speech" tomorrow night. They are speculating that she will suspend her campaign.

However, I will not be at all surprised if the content has some reference to the DNC rules committee, her "decisive" victory in Puerto Rico (!), and "momentum" making her more qualified to beat McCain. And of course taking the fight all the way to Denver. I hope I'm wrong.

I just can't help but wonder what she'd be doing if the roles were reversed. I think she'd pretty much be the line judge, sticking to the rules.

The difference would be this: Obama's no McEnroe.

Okay, it's my blog, I just have to say this...

Hillary keeps yakking about including the voters in Michigan and Florida. We all know the details of that mess: those 2 states willfully broke the DNC's rules (dumb rules still have to be followed). Both candidates agreed not to campaign there. Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan. She wants to count all her votes there, giving none to Obama (arguably, the "uncommitted" votes).

Now just imagine the tune she'd be crowing if the shoe were on the other theoretical foot. Seriously. If Obama were doing all this grandstanding, do you think she'd be okay with that?

Hell, no. She'd be all over the rules, and following the rules, and we agreed not to campaign there, and my name wasn't even on the ballot, and these states willfully broke the rules, and whatever else she had to say to get things to go her way.

Yeah, that's who I want as president. Someone who, from the get-go, ignores the rules or changes them to be in her favor. A delusional egomaniac.

In other words, more of the same.


Philadelphia Freedom?

The latest from your friendly neighborhood Obama mama...

Lately I've grown quite enamored of the Huffington Post, and especially of reading the comments by the members. No matter what the right wingnuts say, the MSM can honestly no longer be described as liberal; rather, it seems like a mishmosh of Entertainment Tonight, Fox News and Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader.

Hey, it's my blog.

Anyway, I like the HuffPost. People say funny things. Here's one of my most favoritest favorites from a thread discussing Hillary's latest campaign ad playing the "Osama" card:

"Hillary is Dick Cheney in a hideously ugly pantsuit."

Love it. Love it, love it love it.

Only 24 hours till the PA primary is in the books. I have not made any campaign calls yet. But I may suck up my phone anxiety for Indiana, as my peeps are there. Oh,by the way, grandma, do you need a ride to the polls?

No Country For Old Men...

(Warning: this here's about politics. I have somewhat liberal leanings, and no amount of argument from my more conservative readers will dissuade me from the beliefs I have accumulated over the 45 years I’ve been hanging out on earth, so save your cyber-breath. Hooray, freedom of expression!)

I’m on Radio Silence right now. I have turned off my beloved NPR, boycotted the LA Times (except for the Calendar section), and switched to Music Choice (Alternative uncensored) in the mornings. I simply cannot stand any more “analysis”, “spin”, “debate”, or whatever you want to call it about the Democratic primaries.

I’m a fervent Obama supporter. I just plain love the guy. And when a Hillary fan asks me why I support Obama, my one-line answer is usually, “Because John McCain would clean her clock.”

Of course there are many more important reasons. I could go on and on about the issues (come on, you know I could!) but just click here to read up on his positions, which, obviously, I support.

Here's the thing. Senator Obama represents the youth, vigor and optimism that will save this country. He speaks of lofty goals that have been unheard of in the United States for countless years. He shows the promise of being able to energize Americans, to get them to speak up for what they really believe in, and yes, to have hope for the future. WHEN DID HOPE BECOME A BAD THING?!? Think about it! Since 9/11 we have been mired in fear, hate and hopelessness. Suicide bombings, IEDs, RPGs, global warming, “Sicko”. Unbelievable bad karma.

When I hear Obama speak, I believe we can solve problems. When I hear Hillary speak, I just want to scream. She is, to me, every bit as disingenuous as Obama is inspiring. Hill wants us to believe Obama doesn’t have the experience to lead. What experience did her husband have? Governor of little ol' Arkansas? What about GW? Experience is simply not quantifiable. There’s no litmus test for who’s got enough.

I’ve always believed that the office of the President has an element of figurehead to it. It’s not like the prez makes every decision in a vacuum. There are a lot of other voices and influences, such as Cabinet members and advisors and oh, I don’t know, the Congress and Supreme Court and the American People. That’s how I see it anyway. Call me crazy, call me a dreamer, but the president sets the overall tone of the country. How wonderful would it be to have an inspiring, intelligent, positive, motivational president? One who has mastered the English language and can give a speech that doesn’t make you cringe? Wow.

Obama represents all the things I believe this country can be, and I believe under his leadership it will happen.

The bottom line, to me, is this. If Senator Clinton is the nominee, this is how the average American will see things. Compared to Hillary, a woman perceived as shrill, negative (see campaign ads) and hard, John McCain comes across as a nice grampa-type who was a war hero and will keep us all safe and warm. The winner: a no-brainer. Remember these are the same folks who voted for Bush because they thought he was someone they’d like to have a beer with.

Now, if the nominee is Barack Obama, a principled, engaging, brilliant man, McCain will, by comparison, be seen for what he truly is: a 71-year-old white dude from the old school who believes war is the answer, panders to the religious right, sees us in Iraq for 100 years, and whose health care initiatives involve “fostering competition and innovation” (read: ya'll on your own, bro). This country no longer has room in the White House for old men, friend-o.

In the meantime, Senator Clinton has gone negative in her desperate attempt to win. She’s fooling herself if she thinks she can prevail, and especially if she thinks what she’s doing is good for the Democratic party and for America. My Radio Silence is in response to the prospect of 2 more months of her attempted character assassination against a man who has more character (as they say) in his little finger than either of the other candidates. Makes me wonder if she’s on McCain’s payroll.

Ted Koppel did a commentary on NPR on March 5 (before my blackout) called “Democratic Divisions May Be Good For McCain”. His closing statement sums it all up for me.

“What Senator McCain and the Republicans most need to win the White House in November is a healthy number of embittered and disenchanted Democrats; a prospect which, today at least, seems like a safe bet.”

Especially if they can’t stand the news anymore.

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