Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blog #51: The Week That Was

Republican would be president John McCain pulled a fast one (he thinks) in choosing his vice presidential choice. He selected a no longer obscure governor of the State of Alaska, one Sarah Palin. I’m sure in his mind he thinks he trumped Obama, he undoubtedly did it in hopes of stampeding discontented Hillary Clinton supporters to his side of the great divide. But the good senator lacks the wit and sophistication to see that Clinton supporters didn’t support the lady just because she was of their gender. Women are not cattle to be herded and corralled. Democratic women supported Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama because of her experience, her determination, and her proven ability to get the job done. They are disappointed at how the Democratic race turned out as are a lot of men including Jack Nicholson and Little Eddy, but although they may be a little disgruntled they are not dimwitted. They supported Hillary Clinton because they believe in the need for health care for all, an end to our country’s endless occupation of Iraq, and most especially they believe in a women’s right to choose. They will get little or none of this from McCain’s choice of a running mate. She is a no-choice to many Clinton supporters! In his desperation how pitiful can McCain get?

I realize that I’m a day late, and quite a few dollars short with this, but I have just come up with a truly inspired pick for the McCain vice presidency slot. We know there’s no way that George W. Bush can serve another four year term, but there are no term limits on the Veep. John McCain, stop right where you are, quote the late Gilda Radner’s Emily LaTella and say, “Never mind.” Then tell the world you have seen the light, and as a result have decided to enlist the king of vice himself, Dick Cheney for your mate? Running mate, of course. What a damn shame that McCain didn’t put Cheney at the head of his selection committee, for if he had been there would be no doubt as to who McCain’s running mate would be. The timid, ever reclusive Mr. Cheney would have picked himself, just like he did with Bush.

And it’s no secret who received the primary protection during the Bush administration. With every whisper of danger who was it who was always being shuttled off to an undisclosed location, while W. was dangled out there as an enticing target? Why was Cheney the one to get to go into the secret bunker? Because Cheney was the one who was really running things during 43’s reign, and in the process he made impressive inroads into restricting we Americans of our rights and our freedoms. Mark my words, give Cheney four more years and there’s no telling where we would end up. He’d turn us into a full fledged junior fascist state. We here at the Little Eddy blog rank Dick Cheney right up there with Adolph Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Goering, and Benito Mussolini, and all the rest of the best of the right who were so very wrong.

Richard Milhous Nixon was the first Republican to try and turn our country into a mini fascist state. I was living in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn, N.Y. during the ‘72 election and I distinctly remember walking my dog through Prospect Park while watching hordes of Nixon junior storm troopers scurrying through our neighborhood trashing McGovern and other Democratic signs in private yards. Back then there was even talk of suspending the elections indefinitely because of the war, but nothing came of it and looking back on it in a comparison of Richard Nixon to Bush/Cheney, Mr. N. turns out to be a puppy among dogs, a veritable pussy cat among lions.

So listen up, Republicans. It’s not too late. Make John McCain see the light and give yourselves another four years of bliss with a third term of a Dick Cheney vice presidency. After all, don’t you want someone who’s really in charge while McCain charades? I mean half of the time the poor fellow can’t even remember who it is that we support, and who it is that’s against us. And we don’t mean someone like Sarah Palin. Republicans need a red blooded man with balls galore running their show, while McCain makes a visible show of governing. And there it is, my friends, Little Eddy’s gift to the McCain campaign. And unlike those Republican consultants who will charge you an arm and a leg at the drop of a participle, we give you our suggestion for exactly what it’s worth, absolutely free.
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Barack Obama was placed in nomination Wednesday afternoon by one Michael Wilson of Florida, a Republican and former Air Force medic and veteran of Iraq. Mr. Wilson was no orator but his words resounded with the truth of his observations. In nominating Mr. Obama he said, “I’ve seen war up close — not as a political slogan or some think-tank theory.” He went on, “I support Barack Obama because America needs a president who has the strength, wisdom and courage to talk to our enemies and consult with our allies. A president who has the judgment to use war as a last resort, not a first resort. A president who can adapt to new situations as things change, instead of being stuck in the past.” Truer nominating words were never spoken.

We American people ought to really ask ourselves the question Ronald Reagan asked us in 1980, bringing the question up to date of course. “Are we really better off here in 2008 than we were in 2000?” Come on, think about it, and be sure to be truthful in your answer. I surely hope Americans ask themselves that question, because if they answer it honestly there is only one way their vote can go. Better to vote for an unknown that you have faith in rather than a sure fire repetition of that which you’ve had eight years of already.

When Reagan asked that question in 1980 unfortunately the nation did not appreciate the modest gains in fiscal responsibility that the Carter years had garnered, and Americans foolishly elected Ronald Reagan as their president. And Reagan proceeded to do his behind the scenes dirty work, stoking conflagrations in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and generally spending money like it was going out of style as he rebuilt America’s war machine, all the while talking a big line about a Republican’s two favorite words, fiscal responsibility. Bush 41 followed Reagan by starting Gulf War I, but as least his advisors had the good sense to stop short of demanding Hussein’s complete capitulation, and so they did not engage us in the quagmire that the Son of Bush managed to get us mired in. The American people showed their appreciation of Bush 41 by voting in Bill Clinton, who led the American people in 8 years of peace, prosperity, jobs, and fiscal responsibility, with Republican prosecutors plaguing him every step of the way. His administration did away with welfare, and produced not higher deficits but actual surpluses.

Anyway, here is our take on the just passed Democratic convention. Monday night was Democrat Lite night, with Michelle Obama the highlight in a speech about her husband. Not bad but no red meat, though the sudden appearance by Ted Kennedy, fresh from brain surgery, just had to be inspiring. On night two of the convention Hillary Clinton gave the speech of her life, reminding her supporters of why we all supported her, and making absolutely clear her no-holds-barred endorsement of Barack Obama as a champion of those causes she has worked for all these years. Her affirmation made clear that if Obama fails to win the election it will be through no fault of hers. She went out of her way to give him a tremendous boost, telling the convention, “Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose,” she said, beaming as the convention hall burst into applause. “And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.” She then offered a battle cry, “No way, no how, no McCain!”

Hubby Bill Clinton followed on night three with his most compelling speech since his presidency. Saying he is convinced that Obama is "the man for this job," he praised the nominee's "remarkable ability to inspire people," his "intelligence and curiosity," his "clear grasp" of foreign policy, the strength he gained from the "long, hard primary" against Hillary and the judgment he showed in choosing Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. as his running mate, which Clinton described as "hitting it out of the park." The longest ovation of his speech came after a slap at the Bush administration's foreign policy propensities to go it alone and rely on force first. "People the world over," Clinton said, "have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power."

Barack Obama made a compelling case for himself Thursday night. Speaking to a rapturous audience of about 8o,000 + in the Denver Broncos’ stadium, the largest convention crowd ever assembled, Obama delivered an address that was alternately outraged and uplifting, personal and political. "Tonight," said Obama, speaking from a specially constructed sound stage on the floor of Denver's Invesco Field, "I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land — enough! This moment — this election — is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive."

He responded to Republican criticism that he was an elitist by presenting himself as a serious man — not a celebrity — who has a plan to turn around the ailing U.S. economy and enhance America's standing around the world. He promised "an economy that honors the dignity of work" and proceeded to surround himself with a platoon of economically battered American workers. "I get it," said the first candidate of African ancestry to win a major-party presidential nomination. "I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office .... But I stand before you tonight because all across America, something is stirring."

To highlight his connection with middle-class America, the Illinois senator invited average Americans to the stage to describe their problems and their hopes. Among them: a suburban housewife from Ohio, a Teamster from Michigan, a small-business owner from Florida, a teacher from New Mexico, an unemployed Republican nurse from North Carolina and a middle-aged plant worker from Indiana whose job was exported to China. That Indiana man, a disaffected Republican named Barney Smith, electrified the crowd by declaring, "We need a president who puts Barney Smith before Smith Barney."

Obama blasted President Bush and McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, with some of his harshest language of the campaign, painting a grim picture of economic hardship: rising unemployment, falling wages, plunging home values and rising costs for gasoline and college tuition. After a passing salute to McCain and his heroic military service, Obama scorched his rival on issues of policy and judgment. "I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans," he said. "I just think he doesn't know." And: "John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell — but he won't even go to the cave where he lives." And "John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time ..... I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change."

Adding to the historic resonance, Obama delivered his speech on the 45th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" address. "Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!" King said that day; Obama's triumph, standing in the shadow of those mountains, suggested the country was moving ever closer to the colorblind society King saw in 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. As Obama quoted Martin Luther King: " 'We cannot walk alone,' the preacher cried. 'And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.' " "America," Obama concluded, "we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise — that American promise — and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess." There he stood before 80,000 of his Democratic peers, a black man, running for the presidency of the United States, the choice of a major party. Martin Luther King Jr’s ringing words about the mountain top seemed finally to be near at hand.

During the first night of the Democratic convention Republicans were busy trying to divide Democrats with an ad by a self-proclaimed hispanic ex-Clinton supporter (undoubtedly sent to their ad agency by Central Casting) telling the world that she’s dern mad and voting Republican, and golly gumdrops, further assuring other Democrats that it’s okay for them to vote for McCain too. Yeah, it’s okay to vote for McCain if you don’t mind the country going bankrupt, being tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan indefinitely, and financing military services with civilian corporations at a cost well above what the same services would cost if the army handled them themselves. And you’re going to see and hear a lot more of this Republican garbage and misspeak as the Republican convention spreads its wings during the coming week. Next week Democratic advertisements will bloom during the Republican confab, but what’s really a shame is the fact that Democrats have no taste for the lies and slander that make up the Republican lexicon. If they could only get themselves up for a little libel of their own they could have some real fun replying to those Republican ads run during their Democratic lovefest.
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The 2008 Democratic Convention was a show for the ages. It had real honest to god drama and suspense wrapped up in how the Clintons would take defeat, and what Hillary’s followers would do. It had speeches with real, honest to god eloquence, speeches that got right to the point, and which weren’t afraid to show the real reason our government and economy are failing. It had some great music with the likes of Cheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, and Michael MacDonald, among others. And it capped everything off with that 80,000 seat stadium, every seat filled, for Obama’s acceptance speech, which was a stroke of rather arrogant genius.

However Barack Obama failed the 18 million primary voters who cast their lot with Hillary Clinton when he failed to put Hillary on the ticket as VP. After Hillary’s strong support on Tuesday night, and her Wednesday interruption of the role call to have Obama made winner by acclamation, and Bill Clinton’s ringing Wednesday night concurring endorsement, the threat of a large scale defection of female Clinton supporters has materially diminished, in spite of Republican ads inviting disconted females to "come on down!"

Barack Obama is obviously aligned with the Kennedy branch of the Democratic Party. That explains why Jimmy Carter wasn’t invited to speak, the Kennedy’s don’t like him. Caroline Kennedy headed Obama’s vp vetting effort, and not surprisingly it turns out Hillary wasn’t even considered. However putting Hillary Clinton on his ticket would have virtually guaranteed his election, as she would have brought support in two areas he is sorely lacking in, older women and blue collar and Catholic men. Joe Biden might help in the recruitment of the men, but the women have generally been left frustrated. McCain thinks he has countered Obama by putting the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, on his ticket. Let us sincerely hope that Obama has learned his lesson. Should he lucky enough to be elected, he can partially make up for his veep failing by putting Hillary in charge of drafting a health care plan which will cover all Americans, and putting Bill Clinton in charge of traveling the world restoring the rest of the world’s faith in America after eight years of contemptuous neglect from George W. Bush. But in the meantime, the race for the presidency which once seemed as inevitable as the rising of the sun, suddenly got a lot tighter, its waters muddied.

Bush 41 was a typical Republican president, but at least he knew enough to stop at the gates of Bagdad, and his actions didn’t throw America into the world’s contempt. But the son is not like the father, and 43 invaded a nation which was no threat to us, using fictitious charges to support his invasion, and among the many doctrines 43 shredded along the way were the Geneva Accords on torture, and as a result the U.S. standing in the world community has never been lower in my lifetime. Of course, Bush and the Republicans could care less about what other nations feel about the United States. Other nations be damned, the Bush/Cheney cowboy mentality cries out for them to go it alone. But their way is not the American way. It is high time we Americans took back our country.

John McCain claims he is a maverick, but that maverick side of him got putrefied when he decided to make a serious run for the president, and began courting the religious right. McCain claims to decry attack ads, but with one ad after another he and his Republican hosts have attacked Obama, his lack of experience, his celebrity status, what have you. And the Republicans will most definitely play the fear card, they already have, and they really have no other choice. There is nothing in their platform or their future that would positively benefit the ordinary people of this country. Their policies only benefit the well connected, the wealthy and the giant corporations. Isn’t it interesting that whenever Democrats attempt to point this out, Republicans start screaming “class warfare?” Tell them with your vote in November that as a member of the left out middle class, we have an inherent right to scream "class warfare" as much and as loud as we damn please. That's because the only welfare Republicans are committed to support is corporate welfare. And so since they have nothing positive to offer the American voter they have no other choice but to attack, and cast doubts and fear in the hearts of voters.

Obama is inexperienced in the presidency. But who the hell isn’t? In fact the only Presidents who have experience are those who are elected for a second term. So both George Bushes were untried when they went in, as were Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton happened to be the only Democratic president since Franklin Roosevelt to have been elected a second term. And what a difference Bill Clinton made. After twelve years of fiscal irresponsibility under Republicans Reagan and Bush 41, with absolutely no help from the G.O.P. (who spent his entire eight year term trying to investigate and nullify his presidency) Bill Clinton went in and managed to work through a crises in the Balkans without war, and here in America he governed with a level of fiscal responsibility that for the first time saw real inroads in the jobs market and which produced a surplus, rather than deficits. And in his recent autobiography Alan Greenspan, the Republican who headed the board of governors of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, praised Bill Clinton for his fiscal responsibility while lamenting George W. Bush for his complete lack thereof.

My son the doctor, was devastated by the recent turns of events, and is particularly apprehensive now that McCain has chosen a woman for his vp. He is sure that not having picked Hillary as his veep, Obama has blown his chance for the presidency, and he is already looking towards another four years of Republican rule. I agree with him that Obama’s slight of Hillary defies logic, but hopefully Obama will have learned from his mistake now that the road to the presidency has suddenly gotten a lot steeper and much rockier.

McCain is dead wrong, however if he really thinks Hillary’s followers are going to cross over to his side of the philosophical divide on the strength of his having picked a female. “No way, no how, no McCain!” Has a ring to it, doesn’t it? No John McCain, as we said earlier women aren’t cattle to be herded. They supported Hillary Clinton because of who she is, because of what she has done, and because of what they felt she would do if elected. Sarah Palin might fill your personal bill as a maverick, but by no stretch of the imagination does she fill any one of those Clinton supporters' needs. No way, Jose! McCain, you should have gotten yourself a good ole’ boy, like you undoubtedly initially wanted. Now you’ve got that damned 3 o’clock phone call ringing on your side of the street, with a vice president even less qualified to answer it. And some of us would challenge your own qualifications in answering that phone. Having been a prisoner of war makes you qualified as a bona fide war hero, but not as a leader of the country. You seem much too reliant on military power as a diplomatic tool, and much too focused on a complete victory in Iraq. For the reality is that a victory is not possibile in Iraq, just as it wasn’t in Vietnam or Korea before it.

But think about it, doesn’t the thought of making Dick Cheney a vice president make those juices start to flow?
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Some final thoughts on the Democratic Convention: Barack Obama's audience for his acceptance speech likely topped 40 million people, and the Democratic gathering that nominated him was a more popular television event than any other political convention in history. More people in the US watched Obama speak from a packed stadium in Denver on Thursday than watched the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the final American Idol or the Academy Awards this year, Nielsen Media Research said Friday. (Four playoff football games, including the Super Bowl between the Giants and Patriots, were seen by more than 40 million people.) Obama’s TV audience nearly doubled the amount of people who watched John Kerry accept the Democratic nomination to run against President Bush four years ago. Kerry's speech was seen by a little more than 20 million people; Bush's acceptance speech to GOP delegates had 27.6 million viewers.

Through four days, the Democratic convention was seen in an average of 22.5 million households. No other convention — Republican or Democratic — had been seen in as many homes since Nielsen began keeping these records for the Kennedy-Nixon campaign in 1960. There weren't enough television sets in American homes to have possibly beaten this record in years before that. And finally, a national Gallup Poll conducted Tuesday through Thursday gave Obama a 49 percent to 41 percent lead over McCain. They had been tied last week.

Loud, Sweet Cheers for Our Side,

The Real Little Eddy

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