Obama Quits Trinity UCC

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | No Comments

The drama never ends, does it?

Probably far too late to help him, Barack Obama has resigned from Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Unfortunately, this seems to be a pattern of Obama’s – pulling ties with the things that hurt him far too late. I can understand his reasoning for doing it. The church keeps inviting the kind of people who make him look bad.

But, I’m going to go with those who say this is too late to do any good. If he was going to pull ties to the church, he probably should have done it several years again for the greatest effect, and the more recent best opportunity would have been after the Wright stuff came up again.

Obama needs to work on responding to these issues in a more timely manner.


The DNC Meeting

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | No Comments

I haven’t said much on the matter of tomorrow’s DNC Rules Committee meeting, other than stating I’m looking forward to the ruling.

I’m a little torn on the issue. On one hand, the state parties did screw up by moving their primaries, and deserve a little punishment. On the other hand, I don’t want the voters to be disenfranchised.

So, what is to be done? Well, if you take Senator Obama’s preferred route, and continue following the proscribed sanction, all those people who voted are disenfranchised, and the ones who decided not to are feeling left out that the DNC punished their state. If you take Senator Clinton’s preference, and seat everybody, those who voted feel pretty good, but those who didn’t because they thought it wasn’t going to matter are disenfranchised. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the latter option is worse than the first one. At least with no delegates seated, everybody is feeling sore. With the latter option, those who didn’t vote and wanted to could be pretty angry.

That said, my ideal method would have been to hold a re-election. There is a risk that some people who voted last time wouldn’t be able to make it out, but at least more people can try to vote in the new poll.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t look very likely to happen. The DNC lawyers have recommended that either half the delegates be seated, or all of them seated but with a half vote each, and this article says that’s definitely an option. However, I am a little confused, because I know I’ve read that the Michigan district delegates have been apportioned, and a significant number of the “ucommitted” delegates have been apportioned to Obama. Yet, that article doesn’t state that; rather, it gives two ideas on what to do with them. I’ll find the link to where I saw this and post it up later.

In the end, I think this is the compromise that will win out. It may not be entirely acceptable to Clinton, but I think she needs to accept it. Hey, she too was for punishing Florida and Michigan. She can’t have everything, and if she wants to be President, she needs to learn to compromise.


A McClellan Brief

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Two whole days of McClellan?  People are dying in China during more aftershocks, Nepal becomes a Republic, a famous comedian dies, and the major networks give two days to McClellan?  I guess possible major revelations from an administration insider are big, but I’m not sure they’re two days worth.

It’s just – I know the story is big, but flicking through CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News today, there was nothing but McClellan.  Come on guys, there’s other news going on, too.  This is a problem I have with the major networks.  When a big story comes up, they attach to it and are reluctant to let it go for a while.

I think it’s about to fizzle out, though.  McClellan’s book is a big story, but with the DNC meeting coming up on Saturday that’ll decide the fate of the Florida and Michigan delegates, and the final three primaries coming up on Sunday and Tuesday, they’ll overshadow him.  If McClellan wants to say anything pretty revealing, he’ll already have done it, since Meet the Press on Sunday won’t make it into the news.

I’m looking toward those three stories, anyway.  My thoughts on McClellan’s book are here.  And that’s my final entry on the McClellan book.  Seriously.


The Year of the Well Known

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | 2 Comments

Well known candidates, in that the major third parties seem to be choosing them this year.  First the Libertarian Party chooses former GOP Congressman Bob Barr to head their ticket, and now the Green Party seems to thinking along the same lines: choose somebody people have heard about.

As Ballot Access reports, former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has taken the lead in delegates to the Green Party’s convention next month:

Cynthia McKinney now has the support of over 50% of the delegates to the Green Party national convention who have been chosen so far. Although not all state Green Parties have chosen their delegates, most of them have, so it is very likely that she will obtain the nomination. The national convention is July 10-13 in Chicago. This post originally said she had clinched the nomination, but that was not accurate.

As a point of interest, McKinney, like Bob Barr, is also from Georgia.

Is this the year where the major third parties are looking for faces, rather than perhaps strict adherence to platform, to try and make a bigger showing than in years past?  I’m not sure.  Lets face it; several times the Greens have run Ralph Nader, and while it’s gotten a few percent of the vote at best, it hasn’t made it big.  The difference between Nader and McKinney, though, is that she has some actual national legislative experience, which could help her, at least in the nomination.

Like McKinney, the Libertarians also have somebody with national legislative experience on their ticket this year, something they’ve sorely been lacking in their candidates since Ron Paul ran on the ticket in ’88.  So, four parties in 2008 have somebody who’s worked in Washington as their candidates.

Picking McKinney I sort of get.  Her political views pretty closely align with the Greens as far as I can tell, although I’m not sure of any particular interest in environmental issues, for which the Greens are best known.  Barr is a little more of a mystery to me, since he joined the Libertarians a couple years, but only threw his name into the ring 10 days before the race.  If he has truly renounced some of his older political views in favor of more libertarian ones, then his decision to join is more easily understood.

Yet, have they been picked because of their views, or because they are well known, or both?  I think it may be a combination of the two, definitely for McKinney, and probably for Barr.  I think the two parties sense that with McKinney and Barr, they may not have a chance to get the White House this year, but they have a better shot than they’ve ever had.  Consider the areas where the two candidates agree:

Both disagree with the war and think we should get out, both want the PATRIOT Act dismantled, and both are vocal opponents of the Bush administration.

Where they differ is on other policies, such as the economy, but I think where they agree is more important.  Both can make the case that the two parties in power now have extended the war beyond sustainability and while they’ve made some progress, have failed to make any long-lasting improvements in the country.  While McKinney I think is more likely to tackle it from a anti-war stance, and Barr an economic stance, the message they’ll have will be the same: it’s time to get out.

These arguments are likely to attract disgruntled Democrats and anti-duopoly Independents who are fed up with things in Washington.  Where these people stand on other issues will matter in which party they choose, but the issues that unite the Greens and Libertarians will, I think, seem awfully attractive to the Democrats and Independents.

Now, fast-forwarding to November, do I think this attraction will cause an upset for the Democrat and/or Republican?  I’m going to predict that while there’s not going to be a huge percentage of voters flocking to the Greens and Libertarians (lets face it – McKinney and Barr just are not as charismatic as Barack Obama), I think 2008 might be the year they get their biggest percentage of the vote yet.

Now come on November, just try and prove me wrong.


McClellan and 400

Posted by Mike Merritt in Politics on | One Comment

The big story of the day is former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s new book blasting the Bush administration, but first, a personal announcement.

When I logged on to the blog control panel, the dashboard was nice enough to inform me I have 400 entries on this blog, and this makes number 401!  Not a huge milestone given that there’s other bloggers who spend whole days doing this kind of thing, but I’m happy with it.

Now on to McClellan.  The reaction to his book, which accuses the administration, among other things, of propagandizing and lying to the American people about the war, has provoked some surprising and not-so-surprising comments.

Joe Gandelman over at TMV says it as good as I can:

The White House has now responded to former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s memoir that’s critical of President George Bush, the White House, Karl Rove — and the news media — by using the typical phrase employers use to try and discredit employees who step foward with complaints: he’s a disguntled employee.

In addition to disgruntled, some are using the “those are left-wing arguments” on him, such as the master of spin himself, Karl Rove.

I sent an email to Andrew Sullivan earlier on a post he made linking to a National Review Article that calls McClellan a Hamas apologist.  Though I’m actually no longer sure why I responded to that specifically, since my comment was more general, I expressed why I thought most Bush administration appointees wait until after they leave to say anything bad about the administration:

I think the article underlines to a great extent why we only hear former Bush loyalists tell how they really feel after they’ve left the administration, and it’s something I think most people already know.  If you’re not following the administration line to the T, you’re a liability.  Just look at Colin Powell’s tenure as Secretary of State, fraught with battles against other departments.  Now look at how that turned out for Powell.  Under those circumstances, it’s not unreasonable that McClellan would keep his mouth shut.  He was afraid of losing his job!

I think we’re going to see more Scott McClellans after the end of the Bush administration.  Top administration officials will be ready to prepare their own memoirs, and the truth will come out about how these past eight years have been on the inside.  I think a lot of people already know a lot of the words that are coming to a memoir near you: secretive, inept, unorganized, unprepared, propoganda, and several more choice colorful words.


Happy Memorial Day

Posted by Mike Merritt in Holidays on | No Comments

Happy Memorial Day to everybody!  No matter what you think of the two current wars we’re in, or war in general, be sure to take time out today to think of, pray for, meditate on, talk about (whatever works for you) the soldiers who have sacrificed so much for this country!

Thank you.


Why the Libertarians Might be Important This Year

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | No Comments

The results are in, and one things that’s not quite so surprising has happened: Bob Barr won the nomination for the Libertarian Party. It was widely speculated in the media that this would happen, but nobody who is actually paying attention (read: not the MSM) wanted to say anything until it did.

So, Barr is the candidate. I think a lot of his win has to do with the fact that he’s the more well known candidate nationally. His prominence in the Clinton impeachment and Defense of Marriage acts will set him on the national stage where Mary Ruwart just would not be recognizable. Now, having a familiar face isn’t everything. Just look at Barack Obama. But, Obama got his start in 2007, and I don’t think six months is enough time for Ruwart to criss-cross the nation in an attempt to show people who she is. If the Libertarians want a snowball’s chance in hell of getting any percent of the vote, they needed somebody who already has a recognizable face. That aside, their candidate can focus their time on showing why they’re different than the other candidates, not spend time on a PR tour.

That said, I’m not convinced that this is the year of the Libertarian Party. They may make it on to the national stage, but their candidate is not going to become President. No more than any of the Independents I keep profiling. Yet, I think the Libertarians have a chance to make an impact this year, and nominating Barr might have just helped that chance.

Imagine is the Libertarians could make enough of a showing nationally that they could get themselves into the general election debates. Right now, they’re on the ballots for about half the states, but that number is expected to go up. I think this will be easier to do with such a well known candidate, than say, if Mary Ruwart was the nominee. If Barr and the Libertarians could make enough of a showing, and perhaps get themselves into debates, they might having an effect on the general election not seen since Ross Perot was on the ballot in 1992.

The media likes to say a Barr ticket could potentially knock out John McCain, especially since Barr was formerly a Republican, but that remains to be seen. It could potentially happen, but only if the Libertarians organize enough to make a showing.

However, Barr does have some baggage that could hurt him. Even though he’s now changed a lot of his positions, he used to be one of the most conservative Republicans. He did lead the charge to get Clinton impeached, and was the author of the Defense of Marriage Act. Those who like to attack for “flip-flopping” positions could damage his campaign. In this case, a Ruwart nomination would have been better, as she’d be seen as more consistent.

I think we’ll know a lot more once the Libertarian VP candidate is announced. I personally think that if the Libertarians want to be serious about getting voters, they’ll pick Ruwart. She’s a longtime Ron Paul ally, and say what you want about his supporters, but they make up a pretty large group of people. That’s saying something when a group outside the Democrats and Republicans have had such a large effect on this year’s election. A Barr/Ruwart ticket, with the support of Ron Paul when he inevitably takes his losses at the Republican convention could potentially make a big impact on election day.  However, with Ruwart underperforming last night, and Root supporting Barr, that’s how it could end up going.

All this remains to be seen though, but that’s what I think.


Libertarian Party Debate Aftermath

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | No Comments

You know, I could have spent a lot of time typing up all the notes I took on what was said by the LP candidates at the debate…or I could just link you to this very awesome live-blogging coverage of it by Stephen Littau at The Liberty Papers. I’ve been reading their blog a bit, and I do think it’s going in my feed reader!

All in all, I was impressed by the debate. It was nothing like the ones you see on the mainstream media. Most of the questions were policy-based, and all the candidates got a chance to answer all the questions. None of this favoritism stuff you see with the MSM, where the frontrunners get to answer all the questions and the “second-tier” candidates only have a few minutes of speaking time. How a debate really should be: a place where everybody’s views can be heard. I haven’t made up my mind who I thought won the debate. The trouble is that they all mostly agreed with each other, with very few differences. Except for a few shots at their rivals, with former GOP Congressman Bob Barr taking most of the heat, they all pretty much sounded the same to me.

I must say, the Libertarian Party really caught my attention tonight. Coming from someone who’s fed up with the two-party duopoly in this country, that may not be so surprising to anyone who reads this blog. But to me, who thought they’d never consider joining a political party again, it really is something.


The Other Primaries

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | No Comments

As the Democratic primary season drags to the end of May and into June, other parties have already made decisions or are now making decisions as to who to run for their candidates.

I’m a bit late on this, but in March, the members of the New American Independent Party chose Frank McNulty as their nominee. Since I want to keep focusing on non-party candidates for the time being, I won’t do an analysis on him right now, but Mr. McNulty is just about #1 on my list for when I do reach the third parties. Might be a little while, though. Needless to say, I have been doing some reading on his website from time to time, and I must say, I like what I’m seeing.

Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party is currently holding a convention to find their nominee. It started on Thursday and goes to Monday. A couple of high profile names are vying to be named their candidate, from former GOP Congressman Bob Barr to former 2008 Democratic Party candidate and Alaska Senator Mike Gravel. I just found out on the LP website that they’ll be holding a debate between seven of their candidates tonight at 7pm MDT (9pm EDT) on C-SPAN. I’m pretty interested in hearing what they have to say, so I’m going to watch it. Unfortunately, I no longer have the ability to “live-blog” a debate, as I don’t have cable in my room at home, but I’ll take some notes, and post an entry after it’s over. Stay tuned.

Finally, not part of a party himself, but perennial candidate for many parties, Ralph Nader, has recently chosen a VP running mate in lawyer Matt Gonzalez.

I’ll be back tonight after the Libertarian Party debate. I’m pretty sure there won’t be breaks, with C-SPAN not being a commercial network and all, but if there are, I’ll “live-delay blog” as much as I can.


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